Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Executed

As we all should know, Saddam was executed last night (or this morning, the time difference still confuses me). I thought about blogging about it last night, but I really didn't have anything to say about it. But after what I over heard today, I do.

I was in Wal-mart today and I was walking through the fabric department. I overheard the woman who cuts the fabric talking to a customer about the people who had died in the last few days. I hear her say James Brown and Gerald Ford and then she says another name, which neither I nor the lady she was actually talking to caught. The other lady asks her to repeat the last name and she says "Osama Bin Laden". The other lady then says "Oh yeah" as if she now knows exactly what she's talking about. Now either I missed something REALLY HUGE while I was away or they both meant Saddam Hussein. It was a temptation to correct them, but I just walked away.

I have to wonder if she really didn't know the difference or if the names just got confused in her mind. I've seen that sort of thing happen before, where a person says one name when they mean another and everyone seems to know who they mean and not really realize that they've misspoken. But it seems just as likely in this case that neither one really knew what they were talking about. If so, that's really pretty sad. Let's hope that one misspoke and the other was just being polite.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm back!

I'm back from journey into the technology-free zone that is my mother-in-law's house. I had some early withdrawal pains, but I survived relatively unaffected.

We actually had a very nice visit, but it was a whirlwind tour. We were on the road as long or longer than we were actually there. That is usually the case at Christmas because the window of opportunity is so small.

I'm finding that road trips really wipe me out. I hope I can survive our planned trip to Yellowstone in the summer. That one will be two weeks long. Geez, I wish we could fly. I love flying, I hate interstate highways!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Fake Christmas!

Today was fake Christmas in the Cooper household. It is an odd tradition that I married into. The years that we travel north to New Jersey for actual Christmas Day, we have "fake Christmas" before we leave. Maybe it's not that odd, but it seemed odd to me at first.

Anyway tomorrow morning we will be leaving for our long journey northward. While there I will be without internet access. My mother-in-law has no computer, no cable t.v., no DVD player (although we are taking a portable one of those) and no VCR. But I guess it's not that bad to have a little technology-free time.

Anyway, have a Merry Christmas when the time actually comes for the rest of the world and hopefully I'll be blogging again before the New Year!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why are women irrational?

Finally, my answer to the question that you have all been searching for. (I have noticed that since I started this blog, many people who find it do so by searching for an answer to that very question.) Now, I'm not a psychologist or anything, so I'm not really trained to answer the question, but I'll give my take on the situation, none the less. So here it goes.

First issue: If someone is asking "why are women irrational?" it is probably safe to assume the person asking is male, so I'll begin there. The real question at hand is "why do men view women as irrational?" I'm sure that not all men do, but for the purpose of this blog post, I'll be working from that assumption.

Second issue: What do you mean by rational/irrational? Not everyone means the same thing when they use the term. I'll give my understanding of the term and go from there. And yes, I know that at least one reader out there will disagree with me, but that is okay, too.

There are two main sources of my understanding of rationality/irrationality.
1) Notes from one of my professors in graduate school:
The four steps of rational action:
a) state an objective
b) look at options
c) evaluate the likelihood of success
d) evaluate the cost of pursuing options
(Rinehart, class notes, Intro. to Int'l Relations, Sept. 8, 2004)

2) Plato's Republic (I couldn't find a complete copy on line to link to but this site has a decent overview of the part I'm talking about).
Plato suggests that there are three parts to the human soul (or three souls) that guide human behavior. These are the rational, the spirited and the appetitive souls. For Plato, the rational soul is the logical decision-making part of human beings, the linked site equates it with the mind or the intellect. The appetitive soul equates to emotions or desires. Plato sees these forces as constantly in conflict with the rational soul. These attributes are often equated with irrational behavior.

So, to bring the two sources together, rationality is using reason and intellect to weigh options on the path to achieving a stated goal. When emotions and desires (often carnal) cloud an individual's ability to think logically and intellectually weigh options, that individual can be understood as acting irrationally. This can include emotions such as jealousy or love and desires like lust or greed. Also included in irrational motivations would be superstition or blind faith. These are beliefs that cannot be verified using empirical data.

Finally, my answer: Both men and women are irrational at times. We allow ourselves to be distracted from our goals by emotions, desires and non-rational motivations. I believe, however, that men are inclined to view women as irrational, and believe themselves to be wholly rational, because they tend to be distracted from rational pursuits by different irrational forces. Men understand the irrational forces that distract them, like jealousy and lust, but they tend not to understand the irrational factors that affect women. (And of course, there is always the hormone issue, but I'm not gonna go there right now.)

I repeat, I am not saying this is true of all men, I'm just addressing the many men who ask that particular question on a regular basis. Stop and think for a minute, "Is everything I do rational?" The answer is, probably not. Don't use the term to label women, try to understand that it affects all of us, just in different ways.

And although I'm not a trained psychiatrist/psychologist, here is a quote from someone who is.

Heroes Update

It would appear that the Heroes marathon on January 1st, on NBC will only be 3 hours long (from 7PM central to 10PM central) and will only include episodes 5, 6 and 7. So, I guess if I'm going to get caught up I'm going to have once again brave the world of Internet viewing. It must be my Internet connection, but when I tried to watch the first one on the NBC website the video portion kept freezing up. Maybe I'll have better luck next time.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

What to watch. . .

I'm getting a little tired of the shows I normally watch on T.V. I mostly watch crime dramas and they are just getting so predictable. Every now and then they throw me a curve, but usually I can figure out "whodunit" or what "the twist" is going to be less than half way through the show. Often time I can pick out the guilty party within the first scene where that character appears. It's not quite so interesting as it once was.

I watch some comedies too. I'm getting a little tired of Two and a Half Men, it's just gone way over the top with its raunchiness. I do, however, still love How I Meet Your Mother and The Class.

Anyone got any suggestions of shows I should switch to.

UPDATE: I watched the first episode of Heroes and it was very interesting. I may have to wait for the marathon to see the rest of them. Watching on the computer was problematic.
H/T: Steven

Friday, December 15, 2006

Judith Regan FIRED!

Via MSNBC - O.J.’s would-be publisher Regan fired: Former insdustry force sacked in wake of canceled ‘If I Did It’ book
O.J. Simpson’s would-be publisher, Judith Regan, was fired Friday, her sensational, scandalous tenure at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. ending with the tersest of announcements.

“Judith Regan’s employment with HarperCollins has been terminated effective immediately,” HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman said in a statement.
I know she expected the O.J. book to be a big deal, but I'm quite sure this is not what she had in mind.

Poliblog Update

I am pleased to report that Verizon has informed Poliblog owner Steven Taylor that they will be changing the name of their blog from poliblog to Policy Blog.

Congratulations Steven on your triumph over Verizon and their attempted thievery!

Are women more irrational?

I came across this quote and felt that I had to share, given the name of the blog and all.
There's no evidence whatsoever that men are more rational than women. Both sexes seem to be equally irrational.
-Albert Ellis

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Professorial Funnies

Some funny stories from professors around the blogosphere.

Dr. Richard Scott Nokes has two stories here and here.

Dr. Steven L. Taylor links to one here and has his own here.

I'm sure I find these particularly amusing because I'm married to a professor and I hope to be one myself someday. Enjoy!

Show your support!

Steven Taylor is having some issues with Verizon over the name poliblog. It would appear that Verizon thinks it is appropriate to steal the name of an established blog and use it as their own. Get the whole story at the REAL Poliblog. Show your support by linking to his blog and getting the word out in the blogosphere.

Verison = thief

Chiming in on the Pinochet debate

But only sort of.

In reading all the many, many, many post and comments on Pinochet over at Poliblog these last few days, I'm reminded of a quote from Abraham Lincoln during the Lincoln-Douglas debate (quoted in The Open Space of Democracy). Lincoln says:
What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our crowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny. All of these may be turned against us without making us weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustom to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.
Those who would praise Pinochet are obviously forgetting these words of wisdom. Now Lincoln was certainly no saint, but his words still ring true. (Turning the military against the liberty and independence of Chile's people is exactly what Pinochet did.) When we forget to prize liberty, we forget who we are and what we stand for as a nation.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's official

It is now completely official, I have my Master's degree. I received the diploma today in the mail (I didn't walk in graduation because I forgot to order my cap and gown). It feels good. I really feel like I have accomplished something, much more so than getting my BS degree.

And yes, there are signatures on the diploma, but it was too big for my scanner to get the whole thing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Crimson Tide

Steven Taylor posted some commentary on the University of Alabama's head football coach search. He suggests:
The ongoing assumption that the Alabama job is the job in college football continues to permeate Bamanation, despite the fact that it simply isn’t what it once was, and probably won’t be again, given the way college ball works these days.
And I really can't argue with him. However, it did make me think of an old song and something that one of my friends once told me. My friend's husband is Italian and she says that Italians are still caught up in the illusions of grandeur that hearken back to Roman Empire. I think Alabama football fans suffer from the some problem.

There was a time when the phrase "The Crimson Tide" was synonymous with "winner". And the fact was immortalized in song, "Deacon Blues" by Steely Dan.
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call alabama the crimson tide
Call me deacon blues
That is a hard thing to let go of. If my friend is right that the Roman Empire still shapes the psyche of Italians today, it will surely be many a generation before the grandeur of Bear Bryant releases the psyche of Alabama fans.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Joy-Riding on a Zamboni

Have you ever wanted to take a Zamboni out for a joy-ride? Well don't try it in downtown Boise, even if it is the middle of the night. Someone will probably turn you in. Check this out. KTVB News reports:
Two employees have been fired from the city's ice skating rink after making a midnight fast-food run -- in a pair of Zambonis.

The ice-groomer jockeys, both temporary city employees whose names and ages weren't released by Boise Parks and Recreation, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.

An anonymous caller who alerted a telephone hot line set up by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter was gassing up his car at a nearby service station at about 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10 when he saw the Zambonis roll through a Burger King drive-through, order food, and then return to the skating rink. The rubber-tired vehicles, whose top speed is about 5 mph, drove about 1 1/2 miles in all, said Parks Department Director Jim Hall.

Apparently this isn't the only case of reckless Zamboni behavior in the country either. The article points out an unrelated case in New Jersey:
Last year, Morristown, N.J., Zamboni operator John Peragallo was charged with drunken driving after another employee at the Mennen Sports Arena called police to report the machine was speeding and nearly crashed into the boards. Peragallo, 63, lost his Zamboni privileges.

I think my favorite quote from the whole article is this:
Strange things can happen on a Zamboni.

I never would have guessed it, but I guess it is true, Zambonis can just do strange things to a person's mind.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's a little hard to believe

I turned in my last assignment today. I'm now finished with graduate school. It's really kinda hard to believe. In some ways, it seems like I just started and in other ways, it has become such a huge part of my life that it seems odd for it to be over. I'm really glad that I did it. I think it has been good for me. I'm really looking forward to having the time to do all the things I haven't had time for lately. But it really seems odd not to have that push of a paper I have to write, a book I have to read in under a week, or something. Maybe I can remember how to relax, but then again, I'm not sure I've ever really known how to do that.

Hum. . .I guess I need to change my profile information now, don't I? What should I call myself now that I'm not a graduate student anymore? Anyone got any ideas? Educated bum sounds promising. . .

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A good laugh

Today was the last day of international law class and we had the best laugh. One student, at the begining of class, asked the professor what she should do with the rest of her life and we spent the next hour or more having a group therapy session. His advice was to do whatever you want to do and tell everyone who tries to tell you what to do to go to hell (including your mother!) It was so great to have the chance to just talk and laugh at this hectic time of the semester. I think we all needed it.

Unfortunately, now I have to return to the grindstone of paper writing. :(

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Prenatal programming or just a bad example?

MSNBC - Future smokers may be programmed in womb
Future smokers may be programmed in the womb to take up the habit later in life, research published on Tuesday said.

Scientists in Australia have discovered that children of women who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to become smokers than other youngsters.

They suggest nicotine from cigarettes passes through the placenta and may act directly on the developing brain of the unborn child.

. . .

The researchers studied the smoking patterns of more than 3,000 mothers and their children who took part in a long-term study in Brisbane, Australia.

Children of the 1,000 women who had smoked during pregnancy were three times more likely to start smoking by the age of 14 and twice as likely afterwards compared to other children.
I really feel like this report is missing some vital information. What is the nature of the "other youngsters"? Are these other children ones whose mothers smoke now but did not smoke while pregnant? What about if the father smokes and the mother is exposed to second-hand smoke while pregnant, but does not personally smoke? What if she only smokes in the first few weeks of pregnancy, but stops as soon as she finds out she is pregnant?

It seems fair to me to think that if a woman smokes while she is pregnant, she is likely to continue to smoke after the child is born. If these are the only cases that were tested against the children of women who were never smokers, it seems hard to defend the idea that it is "preprogrammed in the womb" and not just picking up the habits of the parent.

I have never been a smoker. However, when I was pregnant with my middle child (now 15 years old) I was around second-hand smoke a lot. That's why I would be interested in knowing the real results of such a survey that was really scientific and had appropriate control groups.

Again I say, more information in the report would have been helpful.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let us remember today to take the time to count our many blessing and think about all the things we should be thankful for.

I'm thankful to have a wonderful husband and great kids (that really don't give me too much to worry about).

I'm thankful for my extended family and friends that make my life a much happier place than it could possibly be without them.

I'm thankful to be almost finished with graduate school, but I will be so much happier when I can say that I'm thankful I actually finished graduate school.

I'm also thankful that I don't actually have to cook Thanksgiving dinner today (thanks to the extended family I already mentioned).

God bless you all and again, Happy Thanksgiving.

Check out some others giving thanks around the blogosphere.
Politics in Alabama

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Sad Day

Today is a sad day. We had a kitten show up at our house a week or so ago. We tried to give it away, but no one wanted to take it. We had basically decided to keep it, but now it is gone. Some dogs came into our yard this afternoon and killed it. The vet said they broke its back.

A warning to anyone out there who lives in my neighborhood. Troy has a leash law. Follow it! I will be calling the cops if I see anymore dogs in my yard. I have a dog, but I keep her either in a fenced yard or on a leash. You can do it too. If you don't like it, move out of the city limits!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What is the ultimate answer?

NY Times - Democrats Split on How Far to Go With Ethics Law
After railing for months against Congressional corruption under Republican rule, Democrats on Capitol Hill are divided on how far their proposed ethics overhaul should go.

Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate, mindful that voters in the midterm election cited corruption as a major concern, say they are moving quickly to finalize a package of changes for consideration as soon as the new Congress convenes in January.

. . .

Senator Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat tapped by party leaders last year to spearhead ethics proposals, said he was pushing for changes with more teeth. “The dynamic is different now,” Mr. Obama said Friday. “We control both chambers now, so it is difficult for us to have an excuse for not doing anything.”

He is pushing to create an independent Congressional ethics commission and advocates broader campaign-finance changes as well.

. . .

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who will oversee any proposal as the incoming chairwoman of the Rules Committee, for example, said she was opposed to an independent Congressional ethics watchdog. “If the law is clear and precise, members will follow it,” she said in an interview. “As to whether we need to create a new federal bureaucracy to enforce the rules, I would hope not.”

I suppose the question is whether to let the political process deal with corruption, as it obviously did in the mid-term election, or to create even more bureaucracy in Washington. It is a difficult question actually. We, of course, want to feel like there are laws that govern what our elected officials do and some mechanism, other than self-policing, to enforce those laws. However, one has to ask whether this new bureaucracy would really accomplish anything, or if it would just put more people on the government payroll that could be tempted by the same corrupting forces that are currently at work.

What is the ultimate answer?
42 - okay, not really.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Thumb

Auburn wins 5th straight 22-15 over Bama
The loss left Alabama coach Mike Shula winless in four tries against his team's biggest rival and answering questions about his job security.
That's what I'm wondering about. How long can Shula keep his job if he keeps this up? My guess, not long at all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Maybe I was wrong

In a post I wrote at the beginning of the semester I said that I wasn't going to miss being in graduate school. I'm realizing that I was wrong in making that statement.

It is the time of the semester when students are registering for next semester's classes and it is actually making me a little sad to know that I won't be taking classes next term.

It is true that I won't miss the deadlines and the papers. (I should be working on papers right now and I'm not.) But I am going to miss going to class. This has been a good semester and I have really enjoyed my Developing Nations class (even though it is a double listed class) and the Theory and Ideology class I was unoffically auditing to prepare for my comps. The classes have been fun and interesting and the group of people has been great too.

I suppose one might argue that I'm suffering from a fear of the unknown. But I think it is equally, or possibly more so, a fear of the known. Before I started back to school I just stayed at home and I really don't want to go back to that. I look forward to the idea of getting a job, but as I mentioned in the previous post, my options are geographically limited. I know I need to have a way to be out of the house and around other adults. Hopefully it will all work out well and I'm sure it will.

But I just really felt the need to say that I was wrong. I will miss it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Is this really necessary?

MSN - T-Shirt Turns Air Guitar Into Music
Scientists announced Monday that they have developed a high-tech T-shirt that turns the strumming of an air guitar into music.

The T-shirt has motion sensors built into its elbows that pick up the wearer's arm motions and relay them wirelessly to a computer which interprets them as guitar rifts. . .

And this will be good for what? one might ask. Well, they have a plan
Helmer said sensors could be used in the future to reproduce a person in the virtual world so they could get feedback on their actions and improve their sporting techniques.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

well, duh!

Everyone always tells me I have a Southern accent. When I recently went out to Idaho, people thought I was from Texas.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The South

That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it.

The Midland
The Northeast
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

The results box they give you to post is screwy. The one you see when you take the test gives you red line indicators by the other possible accents, but they don't show up in box above when I view it with Mozilla. Oh well.
My red line on Southern was almost all the way across.
Midland and Philadelphia were only slightly shorter than Southern.
Northeast and Inland North were just over halfway across.
The West about 1/3 across.
Boston was about 1/4.
I didn't registar at all in North Central.

H/T: Poliblog

Friday, November 10, 2006


For those of you following my graduate school saga, I PASSED MY COMPS!!!!! I just recieved notification from my advisor that I successfully passed all four sections of my comprehensive exam. Let's just say I'm rather happy about that fact.

Now in the next four weeks I just have four papers to write and a final exam to take and I'll be done! That's a lot of work. I'd better get busy!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Odd but interesting

Someone from 'Thoughts and Rumors' decided to leave a quiz in the comment section on one of my previous posts. It is totally unrelated spam but I decided to keep it anyway. It kinda fun if you want to check it out. Click here.

Allen Concedes

MSNBC - Allen concedes in Virginia Senate race
Republican Sen. George Allen conceded defeat Thursday to Democrat Jim Webb, sealing the Democrats’ control of Congress and the political downfall of a man once considered a White House contender.

“I respect their decision,” Allen said of Virginia voters during a speech to supporters. “I called to congratulate Jim Webb and his team.”

I'm really glad to hear it, and not just because I'm glad to see the Democrats take control of the Senate (although I am glad of that fact).

It is important to remember that democracy has to have winners and loser. Losers have to be willing to accept the will of the people and bow out gracefully for the system to work. It is nice to see the system work the way it is designed to work.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

County-by-county results

Looking at Poliblog's list of counties affected by Amendment 2 on yesterday's election and's county by county election results, I compiled this list.

Autauga - yes (54.58%)
Barbour - yes (54.92%)
Bibb - no (57.52%)
Blount - no (58.60%)
Chilton - no (53.65%)
Conecuh - yes (59.94%)
Covington - yes (52.75%)
Crenshaw - no (by 3 votes) (50.05%)
Cullman - no (67.75%)
Dale - no (52.83%)
Elmore - yes (51.08%)
Fayette - no (64.79%)
Hale - no (51.35%)
Houston - no (59.20%)
Jackson - no (51.09%)
Lamar - no (61.48%)
Lawrence - no (59.67%)
Limestone - no (54.42%)
Marengo - yes (54.57%)
Marion - no (58.29%)
Montgomery - yes (61.03%)
Pike - yes (60.85%)
Tuscaloosa - yes (51.01%)
Walker - no (64.95%)

Out of 24 affected counties, 9 voted in favor of the Amendment. I didn't list the totals or the percentages, but some of the counties that passes it did so by a good margin, others were close. The same was true of the ones that did not pass it. It was really a mixed bag.

I did not check the counties that were not affected, but obviously there was substancial support for the amendment even in the counties that were affected.

Update: It just seemed incomplete without the percentages so I went back and added them.

Webb carries Virginia

Democrat Webb wins Virginia Senate race: AP
The AP has called the Virginia Senate race in favor of Democratic challenger James Webb. From what I can find, Allen has not yet conceded, however. All the talk seems to indicate there will be a recount, but it seems that for the moment the Democrats have won the Senate as well as the House.

Rumsfeld Resigns!!

Washington Post - Rumsfeld to Step Down as Defense Secretary
President Bush today announced he is replacing Donald H. Rumsfeld as secretary of defense, saying a "fresh perspective" is needed at the Pentagon to deal with the war in Iraq.
I do wonder about the timing of this announcement. Although Bush says that it was a foregone conclusion before the election
He added later, "Win or lose, Bob Gates was going to become the nominee."
I haven't believed what he had to say before and I really see no reason to start believing him now. I think that it is just as likely that they were waiting to see how the elections went. If the Republicans had held the Congress, I think Bush would have held onto Rumsfeld.

For some alternate opinions on the subject, check out Poliblog and Outside the Beltway.

Tester wins in Montana

National Post - Democrats win Montana Senate seat
Democrats erased the Republican Senate majority Wednesday with a cliffhanger victory in Montana, hours after taking control of the House in an election that delivered a rebuke of GOP scandal, the Iraq war and the course of a nation.

With Democrats now assured of 50 Senate seats, the battle for outright control came down to Virginia, where the party's candidate, Jim Webb, held a small lead.

I can't say as I know that much about Montana, but I have been there before. When I think about it, it doesn't really surprise me that they ousted their Republican. I think that in the West there is a strong sense of personal accountability. I think that is what ultimately did Burns in.

Too close to call

NY Times - Democrats Seize Control of House; Senate Hangs on Virginia and Montana
But the fate of the Senate remained in doubt this morning, as races for Republican-held seats in Montana and Virginia remained too close to call as Election Day turned into the day after. Democrats would need both seats to win control of the Senate as well.

In Montana, Senator Conrad Burns, a Republican, was trailing Jon Tester, a Democrat, by a narrow margin. The race in Virginia — between another Republican incumbent, Senator George Allen, and Jim Webb, his Democratic challenger — was so close that some officials said it would have to be resolved by a recount.

I think it is interesting that the Democrat is actually in the lead in the states that are too close to call. Things are looking better than I thought they might be at this point. It is certainly going to be interesting times ahead.

Returns update

In the Alabama election returns it appears that the close races I commented on last night have now been called.

With 98% reporting, Folsom retains 51% of the vote.

With 99% reporting Cobb has a slightly larger lead with 52% or the vote.

The Amendment actually passed pretty handily. With 99% reporting, the "yes" vote had 59% of the vote. (It had actually been called before I even went to bed last night.)

There are, of course, other states with Senate races still too close to call.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Returns

From what I've seen, it looks like Amendment #2 will pass. It is currently 90% reporting and 58% voting in favor. I guess Tal was better informed than I was. I am, however, pleasantly surprised.

I'm also happy to see that Jim Folsom, Jr. is in the lead. I hope he pulls it out. With 92% reporting Folsom has 52% of the vote.

Also with 90% reporting, Sue Bell Cobb is leading with 52% of the vote.

I'm going to bed now. Maybe nothing will have changed drastically by the time I wake up in the morning.

All returns stats via WSFA.

Remember to Vote!!

I know it is a little late in the day to be making this suggestion, but REMEMBER TO VOTE TODAY!!!

An Idea

I had an idea this morning as to how we could increase voter turnout, maybe even get full participation.

Congress just needs to pass a full participation law with the enforcement mechanism being that the political ads don't stop until everyone has voted (or at least some high percentage). I really think that candidates should get about 2 weeks to run their ads and then the electorate could start voting. Once the required percentage had voted, the candidates would be required to stop campaigning.

I think a lot more people would be willing to vote if they knew it would make the commercials and political telemarketers and pollsters stop. What do you think?

Monday, November 06, 2006

I guess I should have mentioned. . .

I took my comps on Friday. They were long and exhausting. I don't feel too bad about how I did on them. Maybe I'll know how I did on them soon.

My youngest son (who is 9 years old) asked me last night if I knew yet what I made on them. I told him that I didn't and that the professors didn't even have a copy of them yet. He responded by saying that he hoped they would tell us soon. He ended with saying "Don't they know that the suspense is killing us!"

He's so cute.

A four finned dolphin

MSNBC - Dolphin reveals an extra set of "legs"
Japanese researchers said Sunday that a bottlenose dolphin captured last month has an extra set of fins that could be the remains of hind legs, a discovery that may provide further evidence that ocean-dwelling mammals once lived on land.
I'm never quite sure what to make of "throw-back" characteristics like that, but it is interesting none the less.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The verdict is in

MSN News reports Saddam sentenced to death by hanging.
Iraq's High Tribunal on Sunday found Saddam Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to hang for the 1982 killing of 148 Shiites in the city of Dujail.
I'm not generally a supporter of the death penalty, but I think I can make an exception in this case. The whole thing's not over just yet though.
The death sentences automatically go to a nine-judge appeals panel which has unlimited time to review the case. If the verdicts and sentences are upheld, the executions must be carried out within 30 days.
Although Saddam made a call for Iraqi unity after his sentencing, I can't imagine this will really give them any unity or peace.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Boise Trip Pictures

I finally got around to uploading some of our pictures from our trip to Boise.
Image hosted by
by rainbowjane
Feel free to go check them out.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

As always, there are amendments

For any of you interested in Alabama politics, there are 3 amendments on the upcoming ballot. #1 and #3 appear to be local issues that, due to the idiocy of our current constitution, require a statewide vote. #2 is a bit more confusing to me. It appears that it will raise local property taxes in certain, undisclosed locations around the state in order to properly fund schools. I am, of course, in favor of using property taxes to fund school instead of using the ever popular (and regressive) sales tax. However, I wish the amendment was a bit clearer. I fear that anything that even hints at raising property taxes will be voted down.

UPDATE: from what I can gather from reading this RSA article, combined with Tal's comment, I'm assuming that this amendment will change the funding requirement from allowing the equivalent of 10 mills from local property tax, to actually requiring the collection of 10 mills of property tax to fund education.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Name
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Apparently 32,997 people have my first name and 338,965 have my last name, but the combination is much less common.
h/t: Poliblog

So much to do, so little time. . .

If anybody was wondering, I'm back from my trip to Boise, ID. I've got some pictures that I'd love to post, and I will at some point, I'm sure. There's also a lot going on in the news with the upcoming elections and the issues in Iraq. However, I just really don't have the time to do any of it. I've got a paper proposal due on Thursday and I'm taking my comps on Friday, so I really don't even have the time to be writing this post. Maybe I will find the time to re-emerge before the semester is over, but I somehow doubt it. Wish me luck. I need it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More blogrolling strangeness

I don't know exactly what happened at 16:21:37 GMT yesterday (or even when that is exactly in CDT), but for some reason most blogs in the blogosphere appear to have updated at that very moment. All the blogs in my blogroll did. Most in Poliblog's blogroll did too. I don't know what's going on, but I hope they get their ducks in a row soon.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Must See

Now this you've got to see. Steven Taylor has posted a great video of Tony Blair "singing" "Should I Stay or Should I Go". You've got to check it out. Whoever made it did an excellent job.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Isn't it ironic?

I find it highly ironic that blogger's spell check feature doesn't recognize the words "blog", "blogging" or "blogger". Go figure.

What do you think?

As I approach graduation, I've begun to think about the road that lies ahead. Once I get my MSIR degree, my ambition is to someday teach, whether it be as an adjunct at Troy or at a junior college in the area or something. I was thinking about what I would want to require my students to do and I had an idea. Could I make them blog?

My husband is an English professor, and he makes his freshman comp students keep a journal, just to make them write and think about writing. He grades them on whether they do it or not, not on the content. I was wondering if I could do that with a blog.

Would it be okay to create a class blog and require each student to be a weekly contributor? The idea would be that they would have to read, and comment on in a scholarly way, at least one class relevant news article per week. They would then receive a participation grade for doing it. What do the blogging professors out there, or blogging students for that matter, think of the idea? Would it fly or not? Please, tell me what you think.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Update-It's working

It's nice to see that blogrolling is back up and functioning. I checked their website and can't find any explanation for the outage. I'm happy that it's working again though.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just checking

Just a quick post to see if I'm updating with blogrolling.

This was only a test.

In case of an actual blog post you would be notified of some interesting personal information or news story.

We will now returned to our regularly scheduled web surfing.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Celebrity Collage

Thanks to Lizzy over at Purse Patisserie I found this site. Here is my celebrity collage.

Try it yourself. It's fun! It also said I looked like Nikki Sixx and Brian May, but I left those pictures out of the collage. LOL!

A less than stellar day

Today was my wedding anniversary, but it was a less than stellar day. I had to get up at 5:45, which is much earlier than I normally get it up, and then drive to Dothan (an hour and 15 minutes away) to the hospital. My oldest son had to have a HIDA scan of his gallbladder. We got there at 7:30 and didn't leave until 11:20.

Then I went by to see my sister, whose birthday is also today. She was at work so I only talked to her for a minute. Then I went by to visit my 90 year old grandmother, who lives between my house and Dothan. We visited there for a little while and then finally made it home around 2:30.

Once I got home I had to clean some because we were going to have a baby sitter coming over later (my wonderful husband had already done most the cleaning).

After the baby sitter finally arrived around 5:00, we took my 15 year old to where he was supposed to meet his soccer team to travel to their away game.

Then finally we got to go have our quiet romantic dinner in Montgomery. It was a very nice end to a less than wonderful day. Hopefully next year our anniversary will be a little less hectic.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Did they or didn't they?

MSNBC - France: North Korea nuclear test was a failure
There appears to be some disagreement around the international community as to the validity of the North Korean claim to have entered the nuclear club.
France said outright for the first time Wednesday that North Korea’s proclaimed nuclear test produced such a small blast that it must have failed, and analysts warned such challenging talk could lead Pyongyang to try again.
Testing for nuclear radiation continues, but it could take some time to prove definitively whether a nuclear explosion took place.

In fact,
Some experts say it’s possible that the world never may never fully determine whether North Korea succeeded in conducting the test.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see what develops.

Not happy with last night's episode of NCIS

Ever since I first started watching NCIS on CBS I've really enjoyed the show. The characters were smart and funny and they had interesting story lines. Unfortunately I haven't been happy with the direction the show has taken lately. I don't particularly like the fact that they have begun to focus so much on terrorism. I also don't like the new recurrent character, Gibb's old boss who retired to Mexico. Anyway, on last night's episode Gibb's old boss, Agent Franks (played by Muse Watson), came back into town because they were investigating a case that was tied to one of his old cases. In order to keep the bad guy locked up Agent Franks lies about having evidence, knocks out Tony in an effort to get out of protective custody, and ultimately shoots one of the bad guys in cold blood (after he had laid down his weapon). For all you can tell at the end, they just let him go back to Mexico like nothing happened.

In my opinion, this is just sending the message that the system doesn't work so we should all turn into vigilantes. I don't think that is a responsible message. I know that shows sometimes send that message, but that's not the impression I've gotten from this show in the past and I hope it doesn't become a predominant theme. If it does, I guess there will be one less hour of TV I watch per week. Which ultimately wouldn't be such a bad thing, I guess.

A question of jurisdiction

I have a question for any body out there who knows something about international law and/or national jurisdiction. I was reading this NYTimes article today and I came across this passage:
Under the U.S.A. Patriot Act, signed into law shortly after the 2001 attacks, the United States labeled a bank in Macao, Banco Delta Asia, as a “primary money-laundering concern” and declared that any bank doing business on American soil — virtually every big bank in the world — could not do business with it.
I'm taking an international law class right now and we have studied the 5 principles of jurisdiction that are established by international customary practice.
1)territorial - states can make laws regarding people and things within its borders
2)nationality - states can make laws regarding its citizens, airplanes and ships regardless of where the action takes place
3)passive personality - a state has jurisdiction in any case where its citizen is victim of a crime
4)protective - a state can protect itself from espionage, counterfeiting or unwanted immigration or importations
5)universality - some acts are considered so serious that any state can claim jurisdiction, examples: slave trade & genocide

Okay, now for the question. Under what form of jurisdiction does the US Congress have the right to proscribe the actions of banks of different nationalities acting outside the United States, simply because they also do business inside the United States?

If anyone out there has an answer I really am interested in hearing it. This is NOT a rhetorical question.

Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea Tests Nukes

World Condemns North Korea's Nuclear Test - New York Times
It would appear that the North Koreans have finally tested their first nuclear weapon.
North Korea said it tested its first atomic bomb in an underground explosion Monday morning. The White House said U.S. and South Korean intelligence detected a seismic event at a suspected North Korean nuclear site and were trying to confirm Pyongyang's claims.
The US and Australia now seem ready to turn the security council loose on them.
The United States and Australia demanded immediate U.N. Security Council action against North Korea for its reported nuclear test, while China condemned its ally for blatantly defying the world.
The tests are seen as a provocative act of defiance by much of the world.

The North Korean government paints a slightly different picture. Text of North Korea Announcement
It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA [Korean People’s Army] and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability.

It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it.

This all just reminded me of something I read this weekend in one of my text books.
The idea of deterrence due to the threat of mutual annihilation is really a product of a bipolar world and relies on the rationality and stability of the actors concerned. But as Keith Colquhoun (1993: 210) has put it: "The problem of North Korea is that the government is widely perceived to be insane."
I'm really not totally up to speed on why the North Korean government is so often labeled as insane, but the idea of procuring nukes is not in and of itself a reason for that label. Plus, if they are testing underground under scientific monitoring that seems at least as responsible as any other country and more responsible than some (remember France's test of nukes IN THE ATMOSPHERE not too long ago). If nuclear weapons are going to be synonymous with international power and first world status, third world countries are going to want to acquire them. Period. For the first world to tell the third world that we can have them and they can't, especially with the reason given that we can be trusted and they can't, just isn't going to fly.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy Blogiversary!

I just wanted to say happy blogiversary to Sheri over at A Glass of Sheri. It's her blog's first birthday.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Irony Anyone?

I was in Wal-Mart today and I saw a woman wearing a Dixie Traditions t-shirt that I just found ironic. Here is a picture of the logo.

If it is an American pride t-shirt, why say Dixie and 1861?
If it's a southern/Confederate pride t-shirt the reference to defending freedom is just ironic and wrong.

It just seems to me that if this is supposed to represent one side or the other of the Civil War, it seems like a Northern Pride shirt more than a Southern Pride shirt. However, the site bills itself as a "southern redneck" t-shirt site.

Ironic. . .or maybe it's just me.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wow! A "Sale-less Fundraiser"

My youngest son brought home a note from school yesterday about the latest school fundraiser and I was absolutely tickled to see what it was. They are having a "Sale-less" fundraiser. The headline of the flyer says
It goes on to say
Please feel free to ask grandparents, neighbors or friends--as you will probably find that people would prefer making a donation rather than purchasing an item for twice what it would cost in a discount store.
I actually made that exact same suggestion in this post last September. I'm sure no one at the school read my blog post, but they may have read Steven Taylor's op-ed column on the same topic, which prompted my blog post. In any event, I'm glad to see that they've finally gotten the idea. I hope this fundraiser goes over well so that the catalogs full of junk can be a thing of the past.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

An interesting blog

I found this blog today that I thought was interesting. I have to agree with the sentiment, but as long as we have a Rebuplican controlled Congress it ain't gonna happen. But he deserves it way more than Clinton ever did!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

I wasn't that lucky

Woman finds 1.3-carat diamond in a state park
I've actually been to that state park in Arkansas before. It was a long time ago when I was in either middle school or early high school. My dad has always been a rock hunter. Unfortunately none of us were as lucky as this lady obviously was. I'm pretty sure my dad found some amethyst, rubies, and garnets, but I don't remember him actually finding any diamonds. If he did they would have had to extremely small or I'd remember. Honestly the thing I remember most was sitting under a tree and reading while my parents looked for rocks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Something to ponder

Since Sept. 11, 2001, I've heard a lot of people say that Islam can't really be a religion of peace if terrorist are blowing people up in the name of Islam.

I've also heard a lot of people saying that the United States is a Christian nation whose laws are based on the Ten Commandment (Roy Moore is the obvious example, but certainly not the only one saying it). I've even heard claims that our President is a Christian man who was put in the White House to do God's will (I don't believe it, but I've heard it said).

That said, I have to ask, are we really a Christian nation, at least in majority terms? Is this President really a Christian President?

My Bible encourages people to turn the other cheek. -Matthew 5:39

Even in the Old Testament Isaiah 50:6 tells us "I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheek to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.

Now I'm not saying that from a national political or international view point the United States could have just set back and done nothing after September 11th, but I am saying that our actions have been far from Christian.

I think that we should take some advice from Matthew 7:1-2. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. For as you judge others, so you will yourselves be judged, and whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you."

That bit of wisdom could take us a long way on so many issues.

Just something to think about.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Where is the American Spirit?

I was reading the "perspectives" section today in this weeks Trop (the university newspaper) and I was so annoyed that I'm considering writing a letter to the editor. I know that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but this person just seems to be living on a different planet than I am or something. He suggests that our country has fallen "into a rabbit hole of moral decay and global danger" due to our "ultra-tolerance policy" because we don't want to "offend any group of Muslims." He thinks that we worry too much about the opinions of other nations and I quote, "When did America turn into a bunch of pansies, scared of what someone thinks?" He ends his article by saying "With the government cowering behind its ultra-tolerant views and political correctness, it is only a matter of time before we are attacked again."

As to our "ultra-tolerance policy" I have to ask, are we not humiliating and most likely torturing Muslim prisoners of war as we speak? Why yes, I think we are. Our government my give lip service to not offending Muslim groups, but in reality they do it everyday. I'm sure our actions toward Muslims have increased the enrollment in Al Qaida more than it has ebbed it.

Also, we are supposed to be a liberal society in the classical meaning of the term. We are supposed to believe in freedom of religion. We are supposed to believe in the rights of the individual and the limitation of government control over people's lives. If this guy doesn't want to live in a liberal society, maybe he needs to go live in a dictatorship for a while to see what an illiberal society is really like (preferably a dictatorship that is intolerant to his religion and/or ethnic group).

As to our worrying about world opinion I have to ask, does he forget that the United States attacked Iraq against international law and against the objections of most of the civilized world? I personally think we need to pay more attention to world opinion. Just as "no man is an island," no state acts in a void. Even if we are the "only remaining superpower," we have to consider that the world is not our playground.

To his last comment I offer these quotes from some fine American's who knew what it was like to live in a less than liberal society and in less than safe times:

Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.
-American Revolutionary War General John Stark

Give me liberty or give me death.
-Patrick Henry

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
-Benjamin Franklin

My own opinion is that liberties freely given up are not likely to be freely returned. Okay, I'll stop ranting now.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Is it just me?

Is it just me or does the Pope just look evil in this picture?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Irrational Woman - A Year Later

Well, today is my first birthday, or at least my blog's first birthday. I must confess, it's been a bumpy year. There have been periods of fairly regular blogging and months with only one or three posts. It's been fun, but I've found that avid blogging is something I don't really have the time for. I've decided to blog what I want when I want and not worry about how often that is or how many people read it. Maybe some day I'll find my true voice, but for now I'll just keep trudging through.

Odd News

'CSI' Crew Finds Real Corpse on Set
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, an actual mummified body was found inside of a Los Angeles building where the show was filming an episode that just happened to center on the discovery of a mummified body, reports People.

I don't actually watch CSI:NY, but the headline caught my attention. I suppose it's not that unusual to find a dead body in a NY apartment building, but it is an ironic combination.

Monday, September 11, 2006 - Bush may hurt GOP with Southern women - Bush may hurt GOP with Southern women

President Bush's once-solid relationship with Southern women might be on the rocks.

"I think history will show him to be the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant," said Barbara Knight, a self-described Republican since birth and the mother of three. "He's been an embarrassment."

In the heart of Dixie, comparisons to Grant, a symbol of the Union, is the worst sort of insult, especially from a Macon, Ga., woman who voted for Bush in 2000 but turned away in 2004.

This part of the story gives a little hope in the days ahead.

This part, however, doesn't:
Still, some Southern women remain stalwart supporters of Bush and the Republican Party. At a watermelon festival in Chickamauga, in the mountains of northwest Georgia, substitute teacher Clydeen Tomanio said she remains committed to the party she's called home for 43 years.

"There are some people, and I'm one of them, that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord," Tomanio said. "I don't care how he governs, I will support him. I'm a Republican through and through."

Statements like that are the scariest possible thing in a democracy. It's that "yella dawg" mentality that just seems to linger in the South, whether it be Democrat or Republican. It's a terrible thing.

It reminds me of something that a famous man once said:
What luck for rulers, that men do not think.
-Adolf Hilter
Apparently it applies to some women equally well. When people don't think for themselves, terrible things can happen.

I don't necessarily believe that the Lord put Bush in his current position. But I do believe that he gave each and every one of us a brain for a reason.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 - 6.0 quake in Gulf shakes Southeast - Sept. 10, 2006 - 6.0 quake in Gulf shakes Southeast - Sept. 10, 2006

A strong, 6.0 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico was felt throughout the Southeast but caused no apparent damage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Funny, I didn't feel anything. Oh well, it is interesting none the less. When I was searching on the web for info about the quake I found this blog post about the previous quake in the gulf earlier this year. It's an interesting read.

I really hope this area isn't heating up to be a seismic hot zone anytime soon. I don't think I could take hurricanes and earthquakes. Ugh!

btw,IRIS Seismic Monitor lists it as a 5.8 not a 6.0, not sure why there is a discrepancy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I finally finished it, and just in time

As I mentioned the other day, I was working on a quilt over my summer break. The quilt I was making was a baby quilt for my new baby cousin. I actually finished making the quilt on Aug. 30, but I didn't get the label sewn on until today, because I was waiting for the little bundle of joy to arrive so I could add her full name and birthdate to label. She finally arrived yesterday. A beautiful little girl named Allie Faith. I don't yet have a picture of her, but here is a picture of her brand new quilt.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quote of the Day

This was actually the quote of the day over in the right margin. I thought it was quite appropriate for a student of international relation.

"There is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement." E. B. White

It was all a hoax - I'm not surprised

Lurid details part of Karr's hoax - Crime & Punishment -
I never actually blogged about the arrest or the confession (although I did comment on it over at Poliblog), but I never really believed it was true. When I first heard that someone was going to be arrested I didn't believe it was the real killer and then as the details surfaced I doubted it even more. I agree that it is possible that he has been in contact with the real killer, but I don't think it is an absolute given that he has. However, if he is fantasizing about this type of behavior, something should be done about him. I'm glad to hear that he still faces charges and is not just being released to go on his merry way.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Just for Fun

I haven't done a meme here at Irrational Woman in quite some time, so just for fun I thought I'd try one. It's a reincarnation meme and here it goes.

NOTE: You don't have to really believe in reincarnation to participate, it's just for fun remember.

1. If you could be reincarnated as any other animal, what would it be?

2. What other person or animal do you think you were in a previous life?

3. If in your next life you could be reincarnated as a human being, but you could not be born in the United States (or to US parents living or traveling abroad) where would you choose?

My answers:

1. Either a bird of some kind (not sure which, but I think I'd love to fly with my own wings) or some kind of deep sea creature that lives farther down than we can explore as human beings).

2. I was probably once royalty (because I hold my pinky out naturally when I drink from a glass and I have only male children) and I was certainly once a cat (because I'm way too feline not to have been). Maybe I was an ancient Egyptian cat!

3. I think maybe Switzerland. They have the alps (I love mountains), they have an interesting political system, and they are just so darn neutral who can resist.

Please, join in and have fun. You can answer here if you like, or link to your own blog and spread the fun.

Monday, August 21, 2006

MSN TV - 2006 Emmy Awards

MSN TV - 2006 Emmy Awards
I just couldn't resist linking to this one. It's a funny article and it nominates William Shatner in the "Best Performance by a Hairpiece" category. It also mentions Chris Noth, I didn't even realize he wore a hairpiece. I guess I'm just behind on pop culture. No big surprise there.

The first of the last

Today is my first day of my last semester as a graduate student at Troy University. As this day has grown near I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about my hope and expectations going into graduate school. Unfortunately, the whole exercise has been quite depressing.

When I first decided to attend graduate school I was full energy and excitement at the prospect of being in the classroom again, discussing interesting topics with my professors and my peers. Instead, I found myself in classrooms largely filled with undergraduate students who had little or nothing to say. Due to the size of the department at Troy, the classes available to me were also quite limited, therefore my actual interests were seldom allowed to have any impact on the courses I took.

I had also hoped to make friends and get involved with campus activities. I did join a couple of clubs, but neither group was particularly active, try as I might to encourage them. I did meet several interesting people during my time at Troy, but never really had much of an opportunity to really get to know them. As a mother of three boys and wife of a tenured professor, I found I had little in common with either my fellow graduate students or undergraduate peers. I really tended to have more in common with my professors than my peers, but it tends to be difficult to build a true friendship with someone who is technically, academically your superior. There is always a need for a certain amount of distance for ethical reasons, I suppose.

In addition, my academic peers are at a different point in their lives than I am. They are all headed off to great and new adventures, still having dreams and believing they can come true. I suppose I still have dreams, but can hardly believe they will come true anymore. Unlike my peers, I shant be going away to Paraguay, or even Washington, DC, for some great new job or internship. When my degree is firmly in hand, I will still be firmly in Troy.

I do have some positive experiences from graduate school experience, however. I have made some good acquaintances and, as my husband puts it, I've come out of my shell some. I have learned some interesting things about the world around me and the unfortunate way in which it works. The experience of taking a class this summer was helpful in making me realize what is important and what isn't and in realizing that, no matter what my academic status, I'm still an adult and human being. (I'm sure Dr. Taylor didn't realize that's what I was getting out of the course, and yet somehow I did.)

I won't miss being a graduate student and I have no intention of doing it again. I'll be glad to have a graduate degree and hope that it will do me some good in the future. The experience is not over yet, however. So I need to go and get ready to face the day, to begin the first of the last. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More trip pictures, this time from Lookout Mountain

We took just a quick drive up Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. We did not go all the way up to Rock City so we did not get to see the full seven (I think) state view. We did stop for about 45 minutes at the park that is up on the mountain. That is were we took these pictures. It is still a really nice view. Hopefully we will get a chance to go back some time when we have time to see all of Chattanooga.

Martin and Stephen enjoying the view.

A Civil War monument placed on the mountain. (The Battle Above the Clouds was fought here.) We were told that is is the only Civil War monument to depict a Confederate soldier and a Union soldier shaking hands.

A better view of the hand shake.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Pictures from Gettysburg

If you've ever been to Gettysburg National Military Park, you know that there are monuments placed every 500 feet or less. Here are a few that we took pictures of.

The Alabama Monument with Middle and Youngest son in front

The Louisiana Monument, which I found to be just a little strange.

This is the only Confederate Monument currently allowed to be placed on Cemetery Ridge (the Union Controlled side). It marks the spot where General Armistead fell and is considered the highwater mark of the Confederate Advance against the Union. (Youngest son poses beside the monument)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Breast implants save Israeli from rocket - Peculiar Postings -

Breast implants save Israeli from rocket - Peculiar Postings -

And to think, the insurance companies won't pay for that kind of surgery because it's not medically necessary. You think this will change their minds? Me neither.

Some Pictures

When we took our semi-annual pilgrimage to New Jersey this year we took a couple of side trips. First, we took a detour over to Gettysburg, PA, to see the battlefield (we never made it to the cemetary because a storm came up), and on the way home we drove up Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. It turned into a mini-Civil War history lesson for the kids. Here are some of the pics from Gettysburg for those interested.

A View of Cemetery Ridge from Seminary Ridge (The domed building in the distance is the Pennsylvania Monument)

A View of Seminary Ridge from the top of the Pennsylvania Monument (on Cemetery Ridge)

The Pennsylvania Monument

Monday, August 14, 2006

Yeah, I'm still here

If anyone out there is wondering, yeah, I'm still here. It's been quite a while since I posted anything though. Didn't realize it had been that long. Anyway, I've been enjoying my time off this summer and have tried to spend as little time as possible at the computer. Instead of blogging I've been spending my extra time reading and quilting, and I did a little bit of traveling too. Maybe I'll even post a few pictures soon. I'm sure as school gets back into full swing, I'll find myself on the computer more and subsequently blogging more (probably to avoid writing papers). It's going to be a busy semester, so we'll see how it goes. Cheers!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Blogthings - What European City Do You Belong In?

Blogthings - What European City Do You Belong In?: "
You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

H/T: Sheri of A Glass of Sheri via her facebook wall.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gay Marriage Amendment in Alabama

In tomorrow's primary election, there will be an amendment on the ballot to outlaw gay marriage in Alabama (which is already outlawed here) and to allow the state to not recognize the marriage of gay couples performed in other states.

Oddly enough, I hadn't even heard about this amendment until this weekend when my mother asked me what I thought about it. I did a quick search of Poliblog and didn't find anything about it there either. So I just did a google search and found a Montgomery Advertiser article about it here. According to this article:

Alabamians will decide in the June 6 primary whether to add another layer of barriers to gays getting married or getting recognition for their marriages performed in other states.

Alabama already has a law that bans gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses, but there will be a proposed amendment on the ballot that would make the prohibition of gay marriage part of the state's constitution.

The article goes on to say:
John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition, predicted the proposed constitutional amendment will get between 80 percent and 90 percent of the vote.

Howard Bayless of Birmingham, chairman of Equality Alabama, disagreed.

"Reality is, our neighbors respect us," said Bayless. "People are trying to use fear and use other tactics for their political gain."

Bayless said he is optimistic that Giles' prediction of a landslide won't happen.

"We believe there are a lot of fair-minded people in Alabama, and come June 6 they will defeat this amendment," he said.

I will definitely vote against such an amendment but I'm afraid I don't share Bayless's optimism about Alabama voters. We couldn't even pass an amendment to take racial language out of the constitution. I find it hard to believe the majority of voters will be "fair-minded" enough to defeat this amendment. I've lived in Alabama my whole life and I must say that "fair-minded" is not the first word I would think of to describe the average Alabama voter. There are several fair-minded Alabamians out there, but not enough to make the difference I'm afraid.

This whole issue reminds me of something I read a day or two ago in a book on Comparative Politics. In the chapter on political culture it said:
But surprising as it may seem, the extent to which a given public is tolerant or intolerant of homosexuality is a stronger predictor of stable democracy than any of the items that tap overt support for democracy. (Howard Wiarda, New Directions in Comparative Politics, 151)
All the moves around the country to block gay marriage does not speak well of our political culture. As I try to explain to my homophobic eldest son, the law is not about majority rule as much as it is about protecting the minority from the majority. Democracy has to be tolerant or it doesn't work. I fear that too much of this country is heading in the wrong direction.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I guess I was right

My birthday was on Tuesday and I turned 35. I jokingly told my husband that I had finally caught up with him in age (he's 50). He asked me why I said that and I told him that 35 for a woman was the same as 50 for a man. I don't think he was convinced but today I got proof. When we checked the mail this afternoon I had a letter from AARP inviting me to join. NO JOKE!! See, I guess I was right after all.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all. On this day to remember and celebrate motherhood I'm reminded of a poem, "The Lost Children" by Randall Jarrell. I once gave a framed copy of this poem to my mother for Mother's Day. It's not a happy poem, but it is one that, in my opinion, grasps the reality of what mothers go through as their children become adults.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thought of this poem on Mother's Day. The entire text of the poem and some commentary can be found at Neo-neocon's blog, written last Mother's Day. It can also be found, with commentary at New Media Journalism @ Seton Hill University but that one was not Mother's Day inspired.

Take a minute to read the poem. It is somewhat long, but I think it is worth it. But I'll warn you, it always makes me cry.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Finally, a chance to breath

This seems like my first chance to breath, not to mention blog, in forever. I was working like crazy trying to write two papers for my IPE class (15-20 pages for the first and 6-8 pages on the second) and staying up 'til all hours of the morning working them until Monday. Then when I thought I'd have a break on Tuesday to rest and catch up on my sleep and household chores, I was called in to substitute teach on Tuesday. I ended up working everyday after that too. Sleep deprivation begins to take a toll after while. But, the good news is I'll get a paycheck the end of this month and I made A's in both my classes!!! Hooray!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

They grow up so fast

Prom Night 2006

Middle son with his prom date

Youngest step-daughter with her prom date

Youngest step-daughter is actually a junior, but Middle son is only a freshman. They are both going to their first prom tonight. Time certainly flies.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Easter Greetings from the Whaley-Cooper family!!

Have a happy and blessed Easter.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's not really mine but. . .

it would totally suit my middle son.

My Evil Genius Mission Statement
Mission Statement
To control the world's supply of paperclips using nuclear powered iPods.

His two favorite sculpting mediums: paper clips and aluminum foil.

h/t: The Wilson Tag Team Blogfest

How do you treat your waiter?

Apparently it says alot about you to the people around you.
USA TODAY - CEOs say how you treat a waiter can predict a lot about character
This story caught my attention because my husband was just telling me about someone whose treatment of waiters was used to describe his general personality, which is pretty nasty. And my husband and I have often commented to each other about how someone's treatment of a waiter or waitress echoed their personality.

It's definitely something to keep in mind when you are going on job interviews at restaurants.

H/T: Rob via Jay

What kind of cook are you?

You Are an Excellent Cook

You're a top cook, but you weren't born that way. It's taken a lot of practice, a lot of experimenting, and a lot of learning.
It's likely that you have what it takes to be a top chef, should you have the desire...

h/t: Accidental Verbosity

Cartoon Diabolical Plan of the Day

My youngest son was watching "The Xs" and one of the bad guys, Glowface, was devising a plan to ruin the world's economy. It went like this:
1. Rid the world of non-dairy creamer.
2. Coffee will become undrinkable.
3. Workers will no longer function without coffee.
4. The world's economy will grind to a halt.

Sounds reasonable, there's probably not enough black coffee drinkers out there to keep the economy afloat on their own.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Love Monkey. . .On VH1

A little good news for Love Monkey fans, according to TV Guide VH1 will be airing all 8 episodes of the cancelled CBS series. It seems that they are not commissioning any new episodes and the actors appear to have moved onto other endeavors, but at least we'll get the chance to see the rest of the episodes that already exist. If that's the best we can get, I'll gladly take it. I thought it was a good show, but probably not really a good fit for CBS's Tuesday night line-up. CBS could have given it a chance in another time slot. I think they gave up on it too soon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bizarre News

MSNBC - Three men charged in 'dungeon' castration

That's a headline that will get your attention (and make most men cross their legs). The details are somewhat sketchy, but still quite bizarre.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Three men accused of running a sadomasochistic "dungeon" in rural Haywood County were in custody Friday, charged with performing illegal castrations.

Investigators from the office of Sheriff Tom Alexander said the men admitted performing at least eight surgeries on six consenting clients over the past year, including castrations and testicle replacements.
. . .
Investigators said other surgeries performed at the home included urethra rerouting and penis removal.

Yikes! And it gets even stranger
victims may have come from as far away as South America.
You would think they could find someone to do that illegally a little closer to home.

They were charged with
five counts of felonious castration without malice, five counts of felonious conspiracy to commit castration without malice and eight counts of misdemeanor performing medical acts without a license.
Each of the felony charges carries a maximum sentence of three years, three months, Bonfoey said.
Just bizarre.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Funny Warning Label

My youngest son won this cute little fan for selling items in a school fundraiser. The toy was made in China, but the writing on the box was, of course, in English. I got a real kick out of one of the warnings on the box. I certainly hope it wasn't too important, because it is hardly decipherable.

If you can't read the print, it says "The body keeps away the fan leaves when using!" That's clear, right?

Obviously it just wasn't meant to be

Obviously I just wasn't meant to receive instantaneous e-mail. I have a hotmail account and I began to notice that I was receiving messages that were obviously sent hours or even days before I was receiving them. A friend suggested that I should change to a gmail account, so I did. Now recently I've been getting my gmail messages hours after they were sent. The other day, I sent a message at around 5 o'clock in the evening. I checked my account before bed and did not have a reply. I checked my mail the next morning and still did not have a reply. Around 10ish that morning I finally received a reply, but the time stamp of when it was sent was only minutes after I had sent the original message. I often notice when I log onto gmail that it's instant message feature is "temporarily unavailable" so I guess they have been experiencing some technical difficulties, but still. . .

I'm not sure if the answer is that the internet hates me, or that I just wasn't meant to communicate instantaneously through computers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Amazing and yet not too surprising

MSNBC - And who says I want to be rescued?
Boy, 3, crawls up into pizzeria claw toy machine, doesn’t want to leave

I can certainly believe that a 3 year old would want to get into a claw toy machine and not want to leave. What amazes me is that he could fit.
He said the gap Devin squeezed through was about 7 inches by 9 inches.
And apparently there have been similar incidences in the past. Maybe it's time the manufacturers rethink their design.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

On politics and sports

Over at Poliblog and OTB there is talk of how politics is being treated like a sporting event and I feel the need to chime as I have some strong opinions on both.

James says:
Aside from following the occasional link during a blogstorm here and there, I quit reading the most virulent blogs on both sides years ago. What’s the point, really? Unfortunately, most blog readers, like talk radio listeners, gravitate to those sites where the host’s views mirror their own. This actually encourages over-the-top language, villification of the other side, and shoddy reasoning. Echo chambers tend not to reward nuance.
And then adds:
Yay us! Boo them!” is not particularly helpful in framing a public policy debate.
And I couldn't agree more. I've gone to some blogs that were way far left or way far right, but I quickly determined they were not worth my time. When it is all just regurgitated rhetoric from the party line (either party) with no original thought or analysis, what is the point.

Steven makes the original comparison to sports:
The notion that politics is a sporting event, and not a serious discourse that affects the lives of actual people, contributes to such attitudes, clearly.
I have often felt the same way and made a similar comparison. My feelings about sports and my feelings about politics are actually very similar. As previously noted, I do watch sporting events on occasion, but I'm not an avid sports fan, largely because of what "sports" have become. It is a game but so much of the sportsmanship has been lost. During the recent basketball games, I think Alabama was playing UCLA, and everytime Alabama got the ball, the fans started booing or making some distracting noise. It just really annoyed me. Why can't they just watch the game and let the teams play, but that is not what "sports" is about. Politics, unfortunately is the same way.

Political affiliation, for so many individuals has become as irrational as football in Alabama. There are so many people who are Auburn fans or Alabama fans who have no real affiliation with the school, but they practically bleed either orange and blue or crimson and white. The same is true of political affiliation for many people these days (or maybe always) it seems. The new addition of "red state"/"blue state" terminology only proves to accentuate the comparison. People support a political party that has no practical benefit for them personally and actually give very little thought to all the things that the party actually stands for. Consequently, political "debate" turns into name calling and political campaigns are like sporting events with the home crowd booing the visiting team. I just can't stand to watch.

The actual games of sport, like baseball and basketball, actually interest me. "Sporting events" do not. The actual study of politics and political theory interest me. "Politics" does not. It's rather sad actually.