Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My new toy

Well, I didn't wait til Christmas to get my new toy, a digital camera. I was going to, really I was, but my old camera decided to die unexpectedly. The battery was dead, but when I put in a new battery it still wouldn't work. Oh well, it was a good excuse anyway, right? Here are some of the test pictures I took with it. Not too bad, I think.

A rose bud from my rosebush in the back yard.

My Christmas Tree

My youngest son (who loves to have his picture made).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Substitute Teaching Sucks!

I've been a substitute teacher before and I've just started back again (today was my first day back). I always hated it, but man it was awful today. I was in one third grade class in the morning and a different third grade class in the afternoon. The one in the afternoon was my son's class, but as previously noted, my son was absent today. I have no doubt that I could teach things to children, but they will not listen to substitute teachers at all! However, one of the other teachers suggested that they don't behave too well for the regular teachers either. The whole experience makes me really want to finish graduate school and move on to something else. Soon!

My Luck Strikes Again

I always say I have lousy luck and today is just another example. We had an appointment to get the van serviced in Montgomery and we had a plumber coming out the house to fix our clogged drain. My youngest son has had an irritated throat all week, but yesterday it seemed to be getting worse instead of better. I told my husband last night that probably this morning our youngest son would be too sick to go to school and they would call me to substitute teach so that either the van wouldn't get serviced or else I wouldn't be able to work. Of course, they called me to substitute teach this morning and my son was too sick to go to school. We had to reschedule the van service and the plumber called and cancelled. Obviously things could be worse, but my luck still sux!

Monday, December 12, 2005


Go check out Heretical Ideas post about the Musical Sandwich. I couldn't agree more. Has the whole marketing industry gone NUTS!?!

"Severe Torture"

An MSNBC and Washington Post article "Abuse cited in 2nd Iraq ministry facility" is citing officials as finding "severe torture". Is it just me or is that a bit redundant? I thought that torture was severe by definition. Does that mean there is such a thing as "acceptable levels" of torture? I certainly hope not.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I love it!

I must confess, I love this post. I would definitely have to be counted among the graduate students involved.

I got my grades!!!

I'm so happy!!!! I got A's in both of my classes. I was honestly a little worried about my final paper in the terrorism class and my final exam in the history class. Maybe I can survive this grad school thing after all.

Abstinence Only Education

I can't say I'm an advocate of abstinence only sex education. That's the only kind of sex ed I got (it wasn't taught in my school and that's all I got from my mom) and I ended up pregnant at 17. But anyway, this site might change my mind. It's called abstinenceonly.com and it's not what you'd expect if you were looking for a site to help educate your kids on abstinence only. In fact, if you are a real sexual conservative, I'd advice that you move on along without checking out the site at all. However, that being said, if you enjoy irreverent sexual humor, you will LOVE this site! I especially like the pictures in the "anal abstinence" section. Don't worry, they are not pornographic, but they are hilarious.

If you'd like a little more info and opinions on abstinence only education check out Sheri's blog. BTW, she's the one that sent me the link to the site in the first place.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Odd Amazon Ad

Is it my imagination or is this a little odd?Usually stores don't want you to know that they changed the price from $209.99 to $312.90

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm Finished!!!

Thank heavens this semester is finally over. I've taken my final exam and my paper has been e-mailed. It feels so good to be finished. If I never have to study revolution and political violence again it will be too soon.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fun with misheard song lyrics and google searches

Tonight my son mentioned an episode of Friends where phoebe thought that the lyrics to the Elton John song Tiny Dancer actually said "hold me closer Tony Danza." I was at the computer so I decided to Google search the phrase "hold me closer Tony Danza." It took me to this site where I found more misheard song lyrics. Some of which I was familiar with, other were new to me.

I myself had misheard "Excuse me while I kiss the sky" as "excuse me while I kiss this guy" and my husband had misheard "there's a bad moon on the rise" as "there's a bathroom on the right" (and, if fact, we have made a short parody in our house to support that line, but anyway. . .)

A couple new ones to me were "Thirty Watt Bulb" for "Dirty White Boy" by Foreigner and "Careless feelings, got no river..." for "careless feet ain't got no rhythm" in an old Wham song.

But the one that really got me was "oh we are sailing, yes give Jesus pants" but there was not explanation of what the lyrics were supposed to be. I laughed so hard when I read it, I just had to find out what it was supposed to be. So, back to google I went. That seach took me to this site where I found out it was actually lyrics to the John Lennon song "Give Peace a Chance": "All we are saying is 'Give peace a chance'"

I'll add one of my own to the list: Billy Squier's "The Stroke". Until I was an adult, I thought he was saying "stroke man" instead of "stroke me" I wasn't sure what a stroke man was, but I assumed he was saying he was one.

Anybody else got any misheard song lyrics to share?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Saying Goodbye (and Good Riddance) to Hurricane Season

MSNBC has an interesting story on the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season - Historic hurricane season end. . .sort of

It has certainly been a bumpy ride this year. Thankfully we weren't really affected here in Troy, but it has been a memorable, and nerve racking year.
It has seen the most storms on record, beating the previous record of 21 named storms set in 1933. It has scored the most hurricanes at 13, beating the previous record of 12 set in 1969.

It has also seen the most Category 5 hurricanes, the top-ranked storms on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane activity.

With TS Epsilon still brewing in the Atlantic (and not expected to make landfall), we can only hope that the season ends here. Let's hope next year is better, but I'm not holding my breath.

MSN Hotmail - Message from the Democrats

This morning I received an e-mail message from the Democratic Party (I'm voluntarily on their mailing list) about freshman Congresswoman Jean Schmidt and her comments on Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha. Apparently many Democratic supporter had suggested reprimanding Schmidt by putting up billboards in her home district. The Democrats liked the idea
From this day forward, the Democratic Party will commit to putting up a "Shame on You" billboard in the home district of any Republican who attacks a veteran's service in order to score political points.

The actual billboard for Schmidt is intended to read as follows:
The first billboard will go up near Jean Schmidt's district office in Portsmouth, Ohio. The message: "Shame on You, Jean Schmidt: Stop Attacking Veterans. Keep Your Eye on the Ball -- We Need a Real Plan for Iraq."

I really don't know if this is such a good idea. I know it's all politics, but, to me, it just seems like tit for tat: political posturing to attack political posturing. Obviously the people of her home district should know that she "had the audacity to call Jack Murtha a coward on the floor of the United States House of Representatives" if that is how it actually happened, but I'm not sure a smear campaign is really in the Democrats best interest. I just hope it doesn't back fire on us.

Update: If you like the idea, you can donate here (it also has some of the information I quote from the e-mail message).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Being Thankful at Thanksgiving

Today is more than just a day to eat turkey and dressing, it is a day to think about the things we are thankful for. I often get depressed and think that there is nothing in my life that is worth being thankful for, but I know that is not really true. There are many things in my life that are wonderful and that I am lucky to have.

I'm thankful to have a wonderful husband who loves me and is always willing to put up with my mood swings and outbursts, and always tries to encourage me in everything I do.

I'm thankful that I have three terrific sons. At times, when they are driving me nuts, I may loose sight of just how wonderful they are, but when I think about the world that we live in today, I realize just how lucky I am and just how good they really are.

I'm also thankful for the love of my extended family. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and sister who are always willing to help me when I need them.

I'm thankful, too, for my friends. I may not have many, but the one's I have really care about me and I care about them, and that's the most important thing.

I love you all. Thanks for being there for me and for letting me be there for you. You're the best.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Favorite Quotes

Last FFM from Poliblog, which I never got around to over the weekend, was to name at least five lines from TV/Movies that you always find amusing–maybe not laugh-out-loud funny, but that always amuse you.

Here's my list (but I can't do the neat "below the fold" thingy):

1. "We were up to our elbows in your underwear drawer. It was like touching the Shroud of Turin"

2. "We thought you was a toad"

3. "Would you go to my front door, bend down, look through the letter box... and if you can see my pussy, would you drop a sardine on the mat?"

4. "We named the dog Indiana"

5. "Taking pictures of it and showing it to your mates? No, that's not normal!"

Now, where they are from:

1. The 1995 version of Sabrina. The Harrison Ford character has just found out that his secretary has packed an over night bag for him. The quote is the secretary's response.

2. O Brother Where Art Thou?. Scene when Delmar and Everett see Pete in the movie theater after Pete had been turned in to the police.

3. Are You Being Served? (British Comedy) Mrs. Slocombe asking her neighbor to feed her cat.

4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indiana's father explaining why he calls Indiana "Junior".

5. Red Dwarf (British Comedy) Kryton, who has temporarily become human, takes pictures of his newly aquired male anatomy and shows them to Lister, asking if it is normal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Super Hero Quiz

You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Batman, the Dark Knight


Neo, the "One"


Lara Croft


Indiana Jones




The Terminator


William Wallace


Captain Jack Sparrow


El Zorro


The Amazing Spider-Man


James Bond, Agent 007


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Obviously Dr. Taylor has more of an affinity for gadgets than I do, but we are both predominantly Batman. How odd.

h/t: Poliblog

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oddly Enough, This Song Reminds Me

The first time I heard the song Doesn't Remind Me by Audioslave, it reminded me of something. (Ironic isn't it?) Over the summer we took a trip north, through Tennessee and Virginia, to visit my mother-in-law in New Jersey. We went through the Shenandoah Valley and went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while. While on the parkway, we stopped and walked on some trails. The kids were looking around and commenting on how the things they were seeing reminded them of things in the video games that they play. My husband commented on what a shame it was that the kids couldn't just enjoy the natural beauty around them without having it remind them of something imaginary and electronic. When I heard the Audioslave song later, it made me think about his comment and how nice it is, at times, to experience something that is truly new and doesn't remind you of anything else.

Also the last line of the song was particularly striking to me.
what's mine is ours
If it doesn't remind me of anything
It does seem true that it is hard to form a shared memory of something and make it really "ours" unless it is a new experience that doesn't hark back to a previous individual experience or memory that is shared with someone else.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Did Rick Berman Read Le Bon?

While working on my paper (comparing Le Bon's The Crowd to Rudé's The Crowd), a question came to mind. Did Rick Berman read Le Bon's The Crowd before writing Star Trek: First Contact? In The Crowd, Le Bon tells us that the crowd acts with one collective mind and is incapable of individual thought. Okay, that sounds a lot like the Borg to me. Then he tells us that the crowd must have a leader and that leader is often a member of the crowd. Sounds somewhat contradictory, but okay. Then Berman tells us that the Borg also has a leader that is a Borg (The Queen). Coincidence? I think not.

Well, maybe we met the Borg Queen before First Contact, but I must admit that I didn't watch TNG religiously.

Looking at Site Meter

Occasionally I take some time and look at site meter to see where my traffic is coming from. When Dr. Taylor is kind enough to give me a link from Poliblog my traffic increases considerably. I also get traffic from Alabama-Democrat, A Glass of Sheri, and Unlocked Wordhoard. Thanks guys, I really appreciate the links and the blogroll listings.

However, the majority of my traffic that comes from search engines seems to most go to one post called Hogeboom on Survivor. I watched the first episode of Survivor and thought it was interesting that a former Dallas Cowboy was now playing on Survivor. I wrote a quick entry about it on my blog, but considered not even posting it because I didn't feel like it said very much (because, of course, it didn't). I received so many hits because of it, I went back and updated it with a little more information. It's amazing what one quick post can do. So, anyway, I just feel like I should say a big "Thank You" to Gary Hogeboom for being on Survivor so that I could comment on it. Thanks Gary!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Am I An Average American?

Well, yep, I guess I probably am.

Today's Friday Fun Meme from Poliblog asks if you do the things that average Americans do and provides a list to go by. So here goes my addition to today's fun:

Eats peanut butter at least once a week (I don't but my husband and middle son do)
Prefers smooth peanut butter over chunky (most definitely)
Can name all Three Stooges (yep, even though I've never even really watched them)
Lives within a 20-minute drive of a Wal-Mart (what would Troy be without Wal-Mart?)
Eats at McDonald’s at least once a year (Closer to once a month!)
Takes a shower for approximately 10.4 minutes a day (Could be, I'm not sure how long I'm in the shower)
Never sings in the shower (I sing outside the shower often, but not in it)
Lives in a house, not an apartment or condominium. (House)
Has a home valued between $100,000 and $300,000 (I wish!)
Has fired a gun (yep, but it was probably over 15 years ago)
Is between 5 feet and 6 feet tall (5' 6")
Weighs 135 to 205 pounds (usually sometimes I drop below 135)
Is between the ages of 18 and 53 (34)
Believes gambling is an acceptable entertainment option (sure)
Grew up within 50 miles of current home (yep)

I would be hard for me to be more average. How sad.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

On Democracy and Political Issues

I have often wondered what would happen if this country were actually a democracy. We all hear the word democracy thrown about, but of course, we are not truly a democracy; we are a republic. The people vote for representatives to make laws and govern the nation on their behalf. So, what would happen if we were truly a democracy and people actually voted on the issue, not for politicians? It might be chaos, it might run smoothly, but apparently it would be more liberal than what we have right now. The Nation reports:
More than 30 percent of Americans happily answer to the appellation "conservative," while 18 percent call themselves "liberal." And yet when questioned by pollsters, a super-majority of more than 60 percent take positions liberal in everything but name. Indeed, on many if not most issues, Americans hold views well to the left of those espoused by almost any national Democratic politician.
I'm aware that The Nation is a liberal magazine, but they were not the ones conducting the poll. The poll was conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It found that
65 percent of respondents said they favor providing health insurance to all Americans, even if it means raising taxes, and 86 percent said they favor raising the minimum wage. Seventy-seven percent said they believe the country "should do whatever it takes to protect the environment."
Interesting statistics for such a "red" nation. Maybe democracy is not such a bad idea after all.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Personal Description Challenge

Since Dr. Taylor, at Poliblog has apparently taken a hiatus from Friday Fun Memes, I've decided to do one of my own. So here is today's challenge:

Imagine that you needed to describe yourself to someone who didn't know you, but you couldn't talk to them, you could only play music for them. What songs would you play? List at least 5 songs that you feel describe you or tell people something about you.

1. Angel by Sarah Mclachlin

2. Who Will Save Your Soul? by Jewel

3. Wish List by Pearl Jam

4. Wasted Time by The Eagles

5. Good Little Girls (Make Some Mighty Wild Women) by Blue County (this one was actually suggested to me by my 14 year old and I think it fits)

That's my list. Anyone else want to join in? Feel free to jump in, either in the comments or trackback from your own blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Of Mice and Computers

Apparently I have a feline computer - it eats mice. I've had this mouse less than a semester (I think) and it is already not working right. I have to get roller-ball mice because optical mice seem to go nuts as soon as I plug them into the computer. Anybody got any suggestions? Help! Please!

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Strange Thing

I have it set to e-mail me when someone posts a comment on my blog. When I published the last post a couple minutes ago, I immediately got 3 e-mails that were comments to my blog. The comments had not shown up before, but the time stamp on them was much earlier in the day. Actually, I don't know if they were even written today, because, unless I'm missing it, there is a time stamp but no date stamp on comments. I know my e-mail has been screwy lately, but I swear the comments weren't showing up on the blog before I republished it with the last post. Has anyone else ever had that problem?

Update: I changed my comments setting so that it now has both date and time and two of them were actually written yesterday.

Le Bon on Constitutions

Today, during my diligent reading for my Political Violence and Terrorism class, I came across a passage that made me think about the writing of the new Iraqi Constitution. In 1895, Gustave Le Bon wrote in The Crowd:
To lose time in the manufacture of cut-and-dried constitutions is, in consequence, a puerile task, the useless labour of an ignorant rhetorician. Necessity and time undertake the change of elaborating constitutions when we are wise enough to allow these two factors to act.
Now it's for sure that I don't agree with everything that Le Bon has to say, particularly the part about women being "inferior forms of evolution", but I think he may have a point here. He indicates that people and cultures change slowly over time and that drastic changes, particularly those imposed from outside, will ultimately revert back to their previous form until the society has time to deal with the new ideas and make them their own.

Let's just say I'm less than convinced that the new Iraqi government will produce a shining light of democracy in the Middle East. Hopefully they will prove Le Bon and me wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Nearest Book Challenge

Here's a challenge (though I'm not sure why it's challenging) that Dr. Taylor posted over at Poliblog about a year and a half ago (yes, I'm reading old posts again). This is how the challenge works,
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
The nearest book is my old college Spanish textbook: "A full hug, called un abrazo (embrace), is usually reserved for special circumstances, such as after an absence; men are more likely to hug each other than women.

If I look in the books I am actually reading at the moment, I get: "It has been justly remarked that on the stage a crowd demands from the hero of the piece a degree of courage , morality, and virtue that is never to be found in real life." From The Crowd: Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon.

And "'The first of all qualities [of a general] is courage,' he read in the Memoirs Concerning the Art of War by Marshal Maurice de Saxe, on of the outstanding commanders of the era." From 1776 by David McCullough.

Anybody else what to play?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Is this really a threat?

WSFA News reported the arrest of a 14 year old girl in Boaz Alabama who allegedly threatened the President.

A north Alabama teenager is under arrest and it appears her homework assignment is what got her into trouble. Police say she wrote an essay, proposing that everyone in the country be allowed to kill two other people.

. . .To make matters worse, the girl also allegedly wrote that President Bush would be the first person she wanted to kill.

Now, I can see how this might be grounds for suspension and that the girl probably needs counseling, but to arrest her for making a threat against the President just because she suggested that she would like to kill him seems excessive. It also seems to violate her constitutional right to free speech. To be honest, I don't see how it really even constitutes a threat. To say that if there were a day when one could kill people without negative repercussion, I would kill persons A and B, just doesn't seem like a legitimate threat to me. Maybe it's just me. . .

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Anyone know their M*A*S*H trivia?

I have this vague notion that on one episode of M*A*S*H, Hawkeye mentions where his name (Benjamin Franklin Pierce) came from. Does anyone remember who he said he was named after?
An obvious guess would be Benjamin Franklin, but there was also a President named Franklin Pierce. If anyone remembers or knows how to find out, please let me know.

Watching Wilma - Cat 5 Hurricane

This morning the National Hurricane Center is reporting that Wilma has strengthened to a Cat. 5 Hurricane with 175 MPH winds. The internal pressure is probably the lowest on record.
It's record breaking status is not certain at this point,
Strengthening is not really expected and considerable weakening is predicted before Wilma makes landfall in Florida. The current information suggests that Wilma will likely weaken to atleast a Cat. 3 (still a major storm) before landfall in approximately 96 hours.

INITIAL 19/0900Z 17.2N 82.5W 150 KT
12HR VT 19/1800Z 17.7N 83.4W 150 KT
24HR VT 20/0600Z 18.5N 84.7W 145 KT
36HR VT 20/1800Z 20.0N 85.5W 140 KT
48HR VT 21/0600Z 21.0N 85.7W 130 KT
72HR VT 22/0600Z 22.5N 86.0W 115 KT
96HR VT 23/0600Z 26.5N 81.0W 90 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 24/0600Z 33.0N 72.0W 70 KT
UPDATE: James Joyner at Outside the Beltway has more information.
h/t: Poliblog

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tunnel Terror

The AP and MSNBC are reporting that one of Baltimore's two tunnels was forced to close today for a couple of hours due to terrorist threats.
The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel was closed and the Fort McHenry Tunnel was reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction
The signs always say "No HAZMATS" but no one actually checks under normal circumstances.

I guess the news is particularly unnerving to me because I travel through the Ft. McHenry tunnel 4 times a year (I know, many people travel it much more than that, but anyway. . .) My boys always look forward to that point in the trip because they think going through the tunnel is cool.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rocky Returns?

MSNBC is reporting that Sylvester Stallone finally has the go ahead to make "Rocky Balboa", a sixth installment in the Rocky movie series.
Stallone has been trying to make a sixth movie for years and has been reworking a script. The latest version, which sources said is similar to the tone and grit of the first two movies, persuaded the studios to negotiate a deal.

One has to ask, does the world really need a new Rocky movie? I must admit that I stopped watching after Rocky IV (the one where he fought the Russia guy). And apparently I wasn't alone:
It also launched one of the most successful film series of all time. 1979’s “Rocky II” grossed $85 million, and 1982’s “Rocky III,” which featured Mr. T, grossed $120.2 million. “Rocky IV,” with Dolph Lundgren, made $125.4 million after its 1985 release. By the decade’s close, however, audiences seemed to have tired of the character. “Rocky V,” released in 1990, made only $40 million.

It sounds like it could be an interesting movie if it is played right, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I, for one, will not be going to see it in the theaters.

Will Civil War Come to Iraq?

In this article, ex-Prime Minister Allawi suggests that the early stages of civil war have already begun,
Iraq has been plunged into the early stages of civil war by its government's policy of allowing armed Shia militias to infiltrate security forces, accentuating a spate of sectarian killings, according to a former prime minister.

But he also expresses hope that the progress toward civil war can be arrested.
He believes that the constitution's drafting and the December elections mean Iraq could be "moving in the right direction at last".

Obviously no one knows for sure what will happen in Iraq's future, because it is a complicated situation with many variables working at the same time. However, a look at our country's past will show that a civil war can eventually arise when the constitution does not fully address, or deal with, issues of grave importance. It would seem that our country was more cohesive, ethnically and religiously, than Iraq, but we still required a civil war before we could finally work out our difference. Civil war does not automatically mean permanent national division, obviously, but it seems likely that violence will continue, and continue to escalate, unless all divisive issues are dealt with up-front. As long as some groups, in this case the Sunni, feel that the constitution is working against them or not protecting their rights, the likelihood that they will submit to the constitution in the long run does not seem promising.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I'm Home

We just got home from our anniversary trip to Georgia. We stayed at the Georgian Inn Bed and Breakfast in Greenville. It was very nice and I would recommend it to anyone who plans to visit the area. We visited Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain on Saturday and FDR's Little White House in Warm Springs today.

Callaway Gardens was very nice. Not many flowers in bloom this time of year, though. Fall color really hasn't arrived yet either. It was, however, beautiful weather for walking the nature trails. The best part was the butterfly house. There were hundreds (at least) of butterflies in a climate controlled conservatory, along with tropical birds and plants.

As a student of both history and political science, I found the trip to FDR's Little White House particularly interesting. Being a democrat, I have a soft spot in my heart for FDR anyway. Whether you agree with his politics or not, he was a truly remarkable man.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Celebrate Freedom - Read a Banned Book

My husband used to have a shirt that said that. It was then followed by a list of banned books, most of which he had read. Today's FFM challenge from Poliblog is this: Which of the The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000 have you read?

I know my husband's list will be much longer than mine, but here it goes.

41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

We own several of these books and my husband teaches many of them. I should really read more. I'm so embarrassed.

Movies You'd Rather Forget

As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short, or more accurately a week late and paycheck short. But anyway, here's my addition to last week's Friday Fun Meme. I know I've seen many a bad movie, but the problem is remembering them. Here's what I could come up with.

1. Congo - although based on a Michael Crichton novel I enjoyed, the movie was AWEFUL!

2. No Retreat, No Surrender - my dad loved to watch karate style movies in the 80's and so many were aweful, but this is the one I specifically remember. Jean-Claude Van Damme does a split, enough said.

3. Cabin Boy - we rented it because David Letterman was in it (for one scene). As Dave always says, that's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back.

4. Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo - I saw this in the theater. I think I must have been on a date and there was nothing else to see.

5. Gigli - (T.J. if you happen to read this, I'm sorry.) One of my best friends recommended this movie to me because it is her favorite movie of all time, but in my opinion, if you want to see a movie with gratuitous cursing and Ben Affleck getting it on with a lesbian, Chasing Amy is a much better choice.

6. January Man - I love Kevin Kline, but this movie was nothing like I expected. Very dark and not very funny.

7. Anything in 3D. I remember when I was fairly young, I went to see a 3D movie at the theater and I had to take the glasses off and watch it blurry because of the glasses. The movie was so bad that it didn't really matter though. Can't remember what the movie was called though. UPDATE: I think it was Metalstorm - The Destruction of Jared-Syd

Dishonorable mention goes to:

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas - It might not be that bad a movie if I saw it now, but it is the only movie I can remember getting up and leaving the theater during the show. I was only 11 at the time and my parents took us to see it. One has to ask. . .what were my parents thinking!?!

Max - Not an especially bad movie, but we did rent it and never finished watching it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ten Years Ago Today

On a personal note, today is my tenth wedding anniversary. Here's a picture of the happy couple. And we're even happier today than we were then.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Vocabulary Quiz

So, you think you have a good vocabulary, or maybe you know you have a great vocabulary, or maybe you are at least convinced that you have a better understanding of word usage than, let's say, President Bush. Well, here's a test to find out if you really know how to use those words appropiately.
Here's how I did.

Well, I don't know about Smartland, but I do live on Smart Road.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Fun Fact

Fun Fact from the Baseball Almanac

The unassisted triple play is one of the rarest fabulous feats in Major League baseball. It has been accomplished only twelve times in history.

Note: I'm so avoiding writing this paper, it isn't even funny.

A Little Halloween Fun

Like Halloween Jack-O-Lanters? Check this out. It's fun. Make sure the speakers are on for your listening enjoyment.

h/t: Lisa Hardy via e-mail.

My Blog and MSN Search

I'm certainly not complaining, mind you, but I've noticed lately that I'm getting traffic from MSN searches. I was #2 on the list for both "dallas cowboy survivor" and "siegelman for governor" and on the first page for "'Gary Hogeboom' former NFL player". I have blogged on all these topics, but I really don't understand why I would be so high on the seach list. Oh well, I guess I shouldn't look a gift link in the mouth.

UPDATE: Just for fun, I did an MSN search for "irrational woman" and I was the #1 result. Does Blogger have some sort of deal with MSN or something?

Is Violence better than Nudity?

Apparently judges at the Alabama National Fair think that violence is more acceptable than nudity. Alabama native and artist, Barrett Bailey, had his painting removed from the Fair's art contest because it was not considered acceptable for a family audience by the manager, Russell Melton.

His ejected piece, titled "Transition," depicts a nude model in pixilated squares. Even though the fair art director accepted Bailey's submission, manager Russell Melton decided it wasn't appropriate for the venue.

Melton says, "There are plenty of places in this city for that type of artwork, and I'm not against that type of artwork. It's just that it isn't for a family entertainment center." Judging by what is on display, religious imagery and violence are acceptable.
I have not been to the Fair, nor have I seen the artwork, but I do not understand why our society seems to think that violence is more acceptable for children to view than nudity. Explicit sexual imagry is one thing, but a pixilated nude model hardly seems like the end of society as we know it. I found it interesting that artist said:
It's something that I didn't feel bad about showing my parents, who are a very religious family. If my mother felt in any way offended, she would let me know.
So I assume it couldn't have been anything to explicit. Sensorship seems to be the news of the week however.

Fun words to say and use

Last week Dr. Taylor, over at Poliblog, posted a FFM that I never found the time to join in on. I thought maybe I'd catch up today. The challenge was to list 10 words that you like the sound of and actually use. I'm afraid I'm not really up to the original challenge, but I'll list 5 instead. Here goes:

1. Ameliorate

2. Incomprehensible

3. Inexplicable

4. Lovely (my sarcastic response to anything that irritates me)

5. Geef (ok, that's not really a word, but it is in my house. It's an all-purpose nonsense word that my youngest son made up years ago and it just stuck.)

Funny, I just realized that 4 out of the 5 are words I use when I'm frustrated. I wonder if that says something about me . . .

Note: Maybe seeing this trackback will remind Dr. T that it is Friday and he'll do a new FFM for today.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Iraq vets and party politics

I was reading Tal's post about 6 Iraq War vets running on the Democratic ticket and it reminded me of this post over at Poliblog (which I think was actually quoting from another blog). It struck me that just because vets have tended to run as Republicans in the past, does not necessarily mean that Iraq War Veterans will follow suit. Shortly before reading the original post at PoliBlog, I watched Fahrenheit 911 (I know, by no means a neutral source). In the movie, Michael Moore interviewed several Iraq war vets who said that they had always voted Republican but that they would vote Democrat from now on. It struck me that the political tide might be shifting in terms of vets and their party affiliation due to the current war (especially since many vets of this war are actually guardsmen not full-time service men), but I suppose only time will tell for sure. I'm glad to see, however, that at least some vets are proving the stereotype wrong and running as Democrats.

Note: I'm not even comfortable with going on record as completely agreeing with the original assumption that vets run as Republicans since Kerry, JFK & Truman were all vets and Democrats. There are, of course, many examples of Republican vets as well. I just think that it is not safe to assume that vets will automatically support one party or the other. I'm curious if there is a difference between the politcal affiliation of short term service men compared to life-long service men. I'd guess there probably is.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Moore Makes it Official

Former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, has officially announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for Governor of Alabama. Moore has big plans if he is elected governor.
He has taken on the Alabama Legislature by suggesting they meet only every other year, have term limits, and stop what is called double-dipping, receiving pay for both legislative duties and duties as a state employee in another position.
He has taken a pledge to return Alabama to the People
Return Alabama

To The People

1. Legislative reform - Stop power of special interest lobbyists and return control of government to the people of Alabama.

* Term Limits. No legislator should be allowed to serve 3 consecutive terms in the same office, a provision already in effect for other constitutional officers.
* Fewer Legislative Sessions. The Alabama legislature should hold regular sessions every other year, as it has done during three periods of our history.
* "Double-Dipping." Iron-clad legislation to stop the unethical practice of legislators holding two state positions for profit, making them taxpayer-paid lobbyists for special interests.

2. Education - Recognize freedom in education and return control of education to the parents.

* Eliminate education bureaucracy and control of special interest labor union bosses.
* Explore enhancements to the public education system such as: charter schools, private tax credits, (SGO) scholarships granting organizations, etc.

3. Taxation and wasteful government spending - Restore a conservative philosophy of government.

* Just say "No" to irresponsible taxes like the "largest tax increase in history" recently proposed by the current administration.
* Revoke order mandating annual reappraisals of property which result in increased taxes every year.
* Stop "pork barrel" spending by strengthening the Governor's veto power.

4. Illegal aliens - Secure Alabama citizenship.

* Urge the President and U.S. Congress to close U.S. borders to illegal entry.
* Effective legislation to impose fines and penalties on those who employ illegal aliens for their own profit.

5. Morality - Preserve our moral heritage.

* Defend the right of every person to include teachers, judges, and state, county and municipal offices to publicly acknowledge God as the moral foundation of law, liberty, and government.
* Oppose gambling, pornography, and same-sex marriage.
* Secure God-given inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property.


Commitment to the People of Alabama
I hereby pledge to uphold and support the principles set forth
in the above platform, Return Alabama,
when elected to the office of Governor.
So help me God!
signed Roy Moore
I fear that his platform will appeal to much of the Republican base in Alabama, but hopefully Dr. Taylor is right that he will not be able to win the office. If he does win, I guess I'll be looking for a new address.


Does anyone know what is going on at blogrolling.com? It appears that they haven't updated anyone in the blogroll since Thursday! Plus, even though I'm a blogspot blogger and should therefore be updated automatically, I have to manually ping every time or else I'm not updated (when the system is working). It would seem that they are experiencing some serious issues.

UPDATE: Since this post also deals with blogging issues and because he requested trackbacks, I'm sending a trackback to Poliblog on this post.

Democratic Math

Let's just hope the Democrats can come up with a good candidate to wear that 2008 button.
Thanks to Sheri Brooks for the cartoon via e-mail.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Yahoo - Hong Kong?

For some thoroughly inexplicable reason, my blog is the number 2 result for the search "woman and irrational" at Yahoo - Hong Kong. Go figure. I'm not even close to that at our Yahoo. Oh well, give me time.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stuff On My Cat

For all of you who enjoy cat blogging, you'll love this site I found called Stuff On My Cat. It has lots of cute pictures of cats with, you guessed it, stuff on them. And not to miss out on the fun, here's a picture of one of my cats with stuff on him.
He LOVES playing in my fabric scraps!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Love Bugs

Ever wondered what that annoying insects that stick to your windshield really are? They are popularly known as "love bugs," but they are really Plecia nearctica a specie of small flies.

Did you ever hear a story about them being genetically engineered or the product of science experiment gone wrong? Neither had I until today. Here's the story if you're interested.

Natural Cycles or Global Warming

There seems to be much debate over whether or not the recent increase in the number and severity of hurricanes is due to do global warming. This article from the BBC suggests that it is really to early to tell. But it seems to lean more toward the Natural Cycle theory of current hurricane behavior:

The changing phases of Atlantic hurricane activity are not completely understood; but there appears to be a link to fluctuations in the thermohaline circulation, the global pattern of ocean currents which in western Europe appears as the Gulf Stream.

By causing the sea-surface temperature in the tropical Atlantic to change by even a degree Celsius, these fluctuations can bring major differences to the number of hurricanes generated in a particular year.
They do go on to point out however:
it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that we would all benefit from people on both wings of the issue looking rather more to research. . .
I certainly can't argue with that statement.

This article at RealClimate presents the argument in more the way that I view the situation:

Yet this is not the right way to frame the question. As we have also pointed out in previous posts, we can indeed draw some important conclusions about the links between hurricane activity and global warming in a statistical sense. The situation is analogous to rolling loaded dice: one could, if one was so inclined, construct a set of dice where sixes occur twice as often as normal. But if you were to roll a six using these dice, you could not blame it specifically on the fact that the dice had been loaded. Half of the sixes would have occurred anyway, even with normal dice. Loading the dice simply doubled the odds. In the same manner, while we cannot draw firm conclusions about one single hurricane, we can draw some conclusions about hurricanes more generally. In particular, the available scientific evidence indicates that it is likely that global warming will make - and possibly already is making - those hurricanes that form more destructive than they otherwise would have been.
It would seem that even if the "natural cycle" people are right and this increase in frequency and severity is due to normal cycle of warmer Atlantic Ocean tempertures, it would seem that global warming could only serve to magnify that effect. Even if it is not affecting us yet, do we really want to contribute to the possiblity of future hurricanes like Katrina for our children or grandchildren to deal with?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

On Rebuilding New Orleans

New Orleans will most likely be rebuilt. President Bush has promised enormous amounts of federal dollars to aid in the rebuilding process. However, with new rains from Hurricane Rita, New Orleans has once again begun to flood. I am aware of the fact that the levees have not been fully repaired from the damage they sustained from Hurricane Katrina, and therefore new flooding would be expected under the circumstances. But, it does bring to mind the question of how secure the area would be from future storms.

Hurricane specialist indicate that we are currently in a cycle that will cause more active hurricane seasons, possibly for decades to come.
In the past decade, the southeastern United States and the Caribbean basin have been pummeled by the most active hurricane cycle on record. Forecasters expect the stormy trend to continue for another 20 years or more.

Is it really wise to spend billions of dollars to rebuild below sea level? I'm not necessarily saying that New Orleans should be abandoned altogether, only the areas that lie below sea level. These area are always going to vulnerable to major flooding.

Hurricane specialist also suggest:
Since the 1970s, hurricanes have caused more property damage and casualties. Researchers disagree over whether this destructiveness is a consequence of the storms’ growing intensity or the population boom along vulnerable coastlines.

“The damage and casualties produced by more intense storms could increase considerably in the future,” Emanuel said.
If were rebuild the areas that are below sea level, we are just asking for trouble.

Friday, September 23, 2005


If you receive a phone call telling you that someone you love has been injured in some kind of accident and they give you a number to call to get more information, it may be a hoax! It was brought to my attention (via family members) that several people have received such calls and been directed to call a number beginning with the area codes 809 (Dominican Republic), 284 (British Virgin Islands), or 876 (Jamaica). When they called the number, they found that it was just a hoax and they were charged a large sum of money for the call. If you receive such a call, you are advised to check on your loved ones through other means, but do not call the number.

I do not know if this has only been aimed at senior citizens, but it was the senior citizen center that was spreading the warning. Many people have loved ones on the road and displaced at the moment due to storm evacuations and it appears that someone has decided to try to cash in on the misfortunes of others. It is a horrible hoax, please spread the word so that others will not fall prey to it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Are they crazy?!

Hurricane Rita spins toward Texas, Gulf Coast - Hurricanes' Wrath - MSNBC.com

I would think that after what happened with Hurricane Katrina and the Galveston storm of 1900, everyone would want to evacuate that lived in Galveston. That is apparently not the case.
Jennifer McDonald in Galveston planned to ride Rita out. She and her husband have enough food and water to last 10 days in their wooden house. If it gets really bad, the couple will take to the roof.

“If it goes, it goes,” the 42-year-old nurse said of the house. “We’re completely prepared.”

Anyone who believes that they can be complete prepared for something like this must be either crazy or also prepared to die. I would think that being prepared to die would have to be part of being "completely prepared" to ride out a Cat 5 storm on an island that is only 8 feet above sea level.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dangerous Jobs and Retirement Age

I was reading an article at MSN this morning about the Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs and I was reminded of a post I read a while back at Poliblog. I had intended to make this comment on the post at the time, but never managed to get around to it.

The subject of the post was that GOP Senators wanted to raise the retirement age to 69 and Dr. Taylor seemed to imply that he was okay with the idea. In a comment to the post, Mark Griffith, of PoliticalMan, suggested that people who do blue collar/hard labor jobs are less able to continue to work as they reach their late 60's. Dr. Taylor replies:

This is true, and the normal objection. However, is there really that radical a
difference, on average, between 67 and 69 in terms of physical ability? (or even
between 65 and 69?)
And while there is no doubt that being a blue collar
worker is harder on the body than being a white collar worker, I am guessing
that most people in the 60s, even in blue collar jobs, have advanced beyond
working as a basic-level dock loader.

It is this statement that gives me pause.

First of all, what statistics back up this argument? There could be quite a bit of difference between one's physical capabilities at 65 and 69. Do Dr. Taylor or the GOP Senators have statistics to back up their point of view that their is little appreciable difference?

Furthermore, Dr. Taylor goes on to suggest (he guesses) that even those who work in blue collar jobs progress beyond the more strenuous tasks as they advance in age. This suggestion brings me to the article I was reading at MSN about the dangerous jobs. I do not claim to have statistics to refute the argument in general; however, I do have first hand knowledge that refutes his blanket "guess" about blue collar workers.

If you look at the list of dangerous jobs provided at MSN, you will see that the 8th most dangerous job is working with powerlines. For almost my whole life, my father has been employed in this field of work (He got the job when I was 2 years old and he retired last year). He was an actual lineman who climbed poles and repaired electrical lines. He did get promoted over time and was the foreman of his crew when he retired. However, his job was still quite physically demanding. At least one week out of every month, right up until he retired, he was "on call" to "catch trouble" any hour of the day or night. If there was a storm that knocked out power, he was expected to go out in the storm and repair the lines. He would sometimes work through the night with no sleep at all, doing a very dangerous job under less than optimal conditions. Therefore, age and advanced position does not always mean less physically demanding labor.

Just something to consider.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Accidental Gardener

It seems to me, that I somehow manage to do all my best gardening by accident. Every year I plant vegetables and flowers in small gardens around my yard and experience some amount of success with these gardens. However, also every year, I always seem to manage to have plants I didn't intend to grow, or at least not in there present location, and I'm not referring to weeds, per se.

My first experience with "volunteer" plants was in my front flower garden. I had planted Vinca and Petunias and they grew relatively well. Then the following year, before I planted anything, small Vinca seedlings started to emerge from seeds that the plants had dropped the year before. This was nice, because I didn't have to buy seeds or plants and the volunteer flowers filled in nicely.

However, mixed in with the Vinca seedlings were small tomato seedlings. I had planted tomatoes in a vegetable garden in the back yard the year before and apparently some seeds were transferred from the compost pile to the flower garden. I transplanted some to the tomato plants, but more began to emerge, so I just left them. The tomato plants that grew in my flower garden that year were healthier and produced more than either the ones I transplanted or the ones I purchased at Wal-Mart and planted. So thus, I had tomato plant "weeds" in my volunteer flower garden that year (and every year since).

The next year, I had volunteer potato plants in my vegetable garden. Again I am crediting the compost pile (obviously I don't know how to properly compost). I had never planted potatoes, but had thrown potato peels in the compost. The potatoes, too, produced well as "weeds" in my vegetable garden. The carrots and radishes I planted, however, never even came up.

Now this year, I've had a new volunteer (weed) vegetable to come up in yet a different location. This however, is NOT due to my faulty composting skills. For 3 years I had planted watermelons in the vegetable garden and never produced a single edible watermelon. Even this year, my youngest son carefully planted a watermelon seed in the vegetable garden next to the cucumber plants (which didn't amount to anything, btw). That watermelon seed never even sprouted. However, over in the flower garden next to the swimming pool, a watermelon seed, which was apparently dropped between the cement sidewalk and the concrete edging of the flower garden when someone was eating watermelon, sprouted. While we were out of town for about a week, the seedling grew. When we returned home, we found that we had a thriving watermelon plant growing on our pool deck, partially in the flower bed, partially on the sidewalk. At that point we figured we would let it grow and see what happened. Eventually it filled the flower garden (approx. 4' x 24'), covered half the sidewalk between the garden and the pool and began to grow through the fence. It also produced ten good-sized watermelons.

So, for some reason it seems, the flowers the children give me for Mother's Day die, the plants that I purposefully plant may or may not produce, but the plants that plant themselves thrive beyond belief. I guess I'm not really a gardener, just a caretaker for what ever God gives me. That seems to be the story of my life.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

OMG! Another Hurricane in the Gulf?

The National Weather Service is now perdicting that tropical storm Rita will build strength and move into the gulf later this week. This is certainly not good news for the already battered Gulf Coast.

On Students Selling Junk

Dr. Steven Taylor over at Poliblog has posted a copy of one of his op-ed columns on school fundraising and I couldn't agree with him more. I have always felt that it was a waste of money to buy the overpriced trinkets in order for the school to receive a small fraction of the selling price.

There are other fundraising efforts that bother me just as much or more even. Have you ever had your child bring home a booklet to fill out for magazine sales? You are expected to supply the names, addresses and (maybe) phone numbers of TEN close relatives so that they can be solicited to buy magazines. Just what your family wants, right? Selling them out to telemarketers. I told my son that maybe we should call up those relatives and tell them to give us a donation for the school or else we'll give there information to the telemarketers. (We ultimately did not participate in the fundraiser.)

If your child is in band at school it is even worse. They are bombarded with all the school fundraisers and the band fundraisers. The one for band that irritates me the most in the Boston Butt sale. All band students are required to sell three Boston Butts. The first year my son was in band we bought one and sold two more to neighbors. There are supposed to be fully cooked, ready to eat Boston Butts. When we received ours and brought it home, we found that it was FAR from fully cooked and was, at best, half cooked. If I was going to have to cook the stupid thing my self, I could have bought one much cheaper at Wal-Mart. The next year I refused to buy one and told my son that he could tell the teacher he would not be selling them in the future. I sent a note to school telling the teacher that neither I nor my son would be involved in selling half cooked pork.

I remember when I was child trying to sell junk to my grandmother, she would always ask if she could just give a direct donation to the school instead. I think that the schools should make this an option for the children so that they could still feel like they were participating in the actual fundraiser but not have to sell junk door to door.

Siegelman Running for Governor

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman announced that he will once again seek the state's highest office. The article states:
Siegelman says he has "listened to the people of Alabama. I have learned that a good many of them want me in this race."

Hopefully if Siegelman really is "listening to the people of Alabama", this time he will not put all his eggs in one basket - an Alabama education lottery.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's son arrested

The AP reports :

John Ellis Bush, 21, was arrested by agents of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage
Commission at 2:30 a.m. on a corner of Austin’s Sixth Street bar district

The article also reminds us:

Noelle Bush, the governor’s daughter, was arrested in January 2002 and accused
of trying to pass a fraudulent prescription at a pharmacy to obtain the
anti-anxiety drug Xanax. She completed a drug rehabilitation program in August
2003 and a judge dismissed the drug charges against her.

Taking into consideration these problems, combined with the similar problems experienced by President Geo. W. Bush and his daughter, Jenna, it would seem that drug related problem run in the Bush family.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Undies Man lives

Over at Fruits and Votes we find the story of Undies Man. Is he anything like Captain Underpants? Find out for yourself.

Living in the same house with 3 young boys, I find that references to "undies" and the giggles that follow are waaaay more common than they should be.

Hogeboom on Survivor

Former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Gary Hogeboom is a contestant on the newest installment of Survivor, Survivor Guatemala. He's hiding his true identity from his fellow survivors for fear that they will vote him out if they knew he was a former NFL player. He assured viewers, however, that he played before the day of high dollar contracts.

UPDATE: Although I have been unable to find Hogeboom's actual salary information, I did find some general salary info for the period in which he played (1981-1989).
• The 1982 strike resulted in the average salary for average player salaries rise from $120,000 in 1982 to $244,000 in 1987.

Also of note to Troy views, hometown boy Bobby Jon Drinkard has come back to try again at the title of sole survivor. Maybe he'll have better luck this time.

Official Sports Team?

Dr. Taylor over at Poliblog has started today's Friday Fun Meme early this morning by asking what is the official sport team of your blog. I'll join in the fun even though I'm not really what you would call an avid sports fan. Here goes. . .

Pro Football: Never watch it, don't care.

Pro Basketball: Haven't watched a game since Michael Jordon retired (the second time)

Pro Baseball: I do actively root for the Atlanta Braves.

College Basketball: Oh course, the UNC Tarheels!

Hockey: Never watched it, can't imagine I ever will.

Soccer: That would have to be limited to my sons' youth soccer games. Although the pro games are interesting to watch at times, I don't even know any of the teams.

And, btw Dr. T, of course you noticed the NHL strike, see here's proof.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Human Arrogance

After the recent events in the Gulf Coast and after watching this PBS special, I am especially reminded of the arrogance of human beigns.

The PBS Special about the flood of 1927, relates the story of the flooding of Greenville, and how African American men were forced into service to fortify the levee on the Mississippi River. The white elite were convinced that if enough men worked to sandbag the levee, they could hold back the raging flood waters of the Mighty Mississippi.

In New Orleans, many believed that human engineering could save the city from the disaster than has now wrecked the city. Meteorologists knew it was only a matter of time, but many believed that time would never come, or that, with time, the levees could be made to withstand a storm like Katrina.

Why do we believe that we can control nature or at least out smart it? If humans are so intelligent, why won't we realize that we are a part of nature and that we must learn to live within its cycles and not always try to do battle against it? Humans are arrogant and arrogance is a dangerous thing. People die from it, but we do not seem to learn from it. . . not the ultimate lesson anyway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Irrational woman

No, I'm not making a derogatory comment about women. I'm just expressing my belief that neither man nor woman is rational by nature and trying to set Descartes on his head.