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 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.