Friday, December 30, 2005

AutoResponse:The User Is Currently Away From Their Computer

We're heading out to Wild, Wonderful West Virginia for a couple of days and we decided not to bring the computers. Ya'll have a good weekend and I'll check in with you when I get back.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Me n' Hubby

You Are Likely A Forth Born

At your darkest moments, you feel angry.
At work and school, you do best when your analyzing.
When you love someone, you tend to be very giving.

In friendship, you don't take the initiative in reaching out.
Your ideal jobs are: factory jobs, comedy, and dentistry.
You will leave your mark on the world with your own personal philosophy.

You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.
How You Live Your Life

You tend to deprive yourself of things you crave, for your own good.
You tend to avoid confrontation and stay away from sticky situations.
You tend to have one best friend you hang with, as opposed to many aquaintences.
You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.

Paranoia the Destroy-a

Remember the kid who went to the library and got the little red book that brought the feds in black suits to his little house? Well, now there is a news report that the kid made it up. Just thought you ought to know.

Of course, if this was a Chill game I'd be smelling coverup. But *real* life isn't like a role playing game... is it?

Props to Swami Uptown for the link.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Random Music

  1. Rules - Shakira
  2. When I Think About Angels - Jamie O'Neal
  3. Early Morning Breeze - Dolly Parton
  4. The Mummers' Dance - Loreena McKennitt
  5. Scheherazade - Peter Cetera
  6. Whenever, Wherever - Shakira
  7. Stripped - Christina Aguilera
  8. Vogue - Madonna
  9. Englishman in New York - Sting
  10. Give It Up Or Let Me Go - Dixie Chicks

And Now A Moment of Serenity

Did I mention that I got Serenity? Love that movie. And for my birthday I got Serenity the Role Playing Game. My sister is now volunteering to run a game. Can I get any luckier? I'm working on my character while I'm on vacation. Her name is Eshana.

No, I'm not ripping off Inara. Inara is Arabic and Eshana is Hindi. I'm something of a name freak and I have to look these things up. I usually end up with a character name where the meaning spells out my underlying purpose. See, Inara means "ray of light" or "heaven sent." That's very sweet and a good name for a cleric. Which, in many ways, is how Inara plays out in the plot. Everyone seeks comfort and solace through her. Even Joss was a bit surprised during his commentary on Firefly to realize that everyone comes to her - including Book - to be absolved or cleansed. I'd already spotted that theme, but with 20+ years of playing clerics under my belt I kinda know how they work... I'm usually either a cleric or a fighter -a la Zoe - so my joke is that I can either patch holes or put them in you. (If I were on Serenity I would definitely be Zoe, though. To the job, sir.)

, on the other hand, means "searcher." I'm still in the early stages of character development but she's going to be the lead scientist on a Firefly fit for surveying. That little area down in the nose, below the pilot, that is so underused on Serenity (I've seen Mal get some gear out of there, but that's about it) is going to be Eshana's main gig. Sensor equipment, computers, and blinky lights - oh my! Meanwhile, my husband is going to be playing our Captain Tightpants... er, I mean Captain Merrick. The rest of the crew is to be determined.


Meme of Fours

I picked up the meme of four from Gordon over at Alternate Brain. He left it open for volunteers and I'm just a sucker for these things.

Four jobs you've had in your life: let's go for variety! contract artist for Sansing Editions in Louisiana, hostess at Chi-Chi's (the job where I met my husband), assistant manager at a Sam Goody's, federal budget analyst in DC - another cog in the President's Budget machine
Four movies you could watch over and over: 13th Warrior (it's our "default" movie and I've sent fan mail to Dennis Storhoi... and named a dog after his character), Galaxy Quest (this is the movie that helped my father live through the 2000 elections - 20 minutes of election results coverage followed by 10 minutes of GQ, and repeat, was his method), Spaced Invaders ("Die Earth Scum! Die Earth Scum! I'm going to have that engraved on your tombstone!"), Miss Congeniality (Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, AND Bill Shatner - come on!)
Four places you've lived: Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana

Four TV shows you love to watch: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Firefly (just because they cancelled it doesn't mean I can't watch it over, and over, and over, and...), CSI

Four places you've been on vacation: DisneyWorld! (I can't help it, I'm a sucker for the Mouse), The Bahamas (Staniel Cay rocks!), Ft. Walton Beach, FL,Hartford, CT

Four websites you visit daily:Alternate Brain,BlondeSense,Shakespeare's Sister,The Dilbert Blog

Four of your favorite foods:Chocolate, things covered in chocolate, things with chocolate in them, cheeseburgers

Four places you'd rather be: the Bahamas,Wild Wonderful West Virginia, Los Angeles, New York City

Keeping Current

This is the way things work now. I'm still on vacation but I logged into my IM and co-worker/good buddy Oiko said hi and happened to mention that over the weekend his thirteen-year old son turned him on to a new TV channel called "Current" that features news stories submitted by viewers. As you can imagine googling "Current News" is something of a joke, but I finally managed to get a hit. It turns out that Current is something that Al Gore helped to put together.
Hoping to lure young viewers who have grown disillusioned with traditional media outlets, Current is taking a different approach to current-affairs TV -- one that goes well beyond news and into lifestyle and other subjects. Rather than relying solely on reporters and editors to produce stories, the channel is trying to generate up to half of its programming from members of the public. It uses its Web site to gather feedback from the public on what it should air and pays modestly for those videos it chooses to run.

Current's unorthodox approach shows the effect of the Internet on media habits. Use of blogs and community Web sites have changed attitudes to journalism: Young people now frequently use the Web to post material ranging from diaries about their lives to comments on news events -- sometimes even stitching together video clips to enhance their commentary. Blogs offer interactive and unfiltered content very different from the rigorously edited and highly polished news coverage offered by the mainstream media....

Mr. Gore, who is chairman of Current, said he and entrepreneur Joel Hyatt came up with the idea of a channel relying on consumer contributions. The two first met to discuss working together after Mr. Gore's campaign for president in 2000. Last year, backed by a group of investors, they bought a little-known cable channel from Vivendi Universal SA for about $70 million. They are now working to make it widely available: Current can be seen in only about 20 million homes, whereas most major cable channels are available in 80 million.

My buddy says that Current is available to his house on DirecTV. Ask your cable company to supply it at your home.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

All I Want for Christmas....

I'm going to keep this post at the top until Christmas to archive all of the wonderful toys that the blogosphere has created for this season.

1. The Parsomatic from the Alternative Hippopotamus because the world of politics has gotten more complex than knowing what the meaning of is is.
2. The Republican Dictionary so that I can understand what they are saying, Parts I, II, III, IV, and V, plus the Dictionary of Republicanisms.
3. Gosh, I'd take anything from Baby Bush Toys (Brain Food for the Average Child). A Portable Playground would be GREAT!
4. For my dogs to follow all of the Dog's Rules for Christmas.

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve to ya.

Headlines That Make You Say "Whaaaa...?"

Frist's Setbacks as Senate Leader Imperil His Presidential Bid

The only other thing I have to say is, "Asphinctersayswhat?" He... they... seriously? In 2008? No kidding... We're talking about the cover boy for Fristies brand cat food. The same man that Jon Stewart cracks on as a total boob.

The NotoriousADB is right. This stuff isn't even funny anymore. Any country where Bill Frist is taken by anyone anywhere as a serious contender for the most powerful job in the place - is totally f'ed up.

One of my favorite short stories in Omni magazine from many years ago was called "The Man Who." It focused on a bum (no, literally, a bum) running for president on the platform that once in office he would abolish the job. Where is THAT man when we need him?

Friday, December 23, 2005


Welcome to Festivus 2005!

Shouldn't we have parades or something? Maybe some brave souls will video their Festivus celebrations and compete for prizes on their Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength.

Being from a dysfunctional family the fact that Festivus kicks off the winter celebrations makes perfect sense to me. I think I'll celebrate by re-watching my Titus dvds. (Sorry, I don't own Seinfeld and *gasp* was one of the few people in America who didn't find it all that funny. Except, obviously, for Festivus.)

How are YOU going to celebrate Festivus?

...And God Created Woman

You're Brigitte Bardot!

What Classic Pin-Up Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

So she's a Libra and I'm a Scorpio. And I'm about an inch taller. We still have some things in common. Her quotes include, "If I could do anything about the way people behave towards each other, I would, but since I can't I'll stick to animals." How can you not love that? Since she retired from acting in 1973 she's been working on animal rights causes, including some recent documentaries. And in case you didn't know, she's still alive and 71 years old.

Upon reflection, tho, she looks more like my sister. Mama always said I was more of a Jayne Mansfield.

Hat tip to Thesaurus Rex for the link.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Thanks to StealthBadger I'm into the Seven Things meme.

Seven Books (or Series) That I Love
"Books, I'll read books, be they large or quite dinky! Straight from the shelves, all musty and stinky. Faulkner, O'Neill, Twain, and Saul Bellow! I think I'll curl up with a few of those fellows. Yes, I'll soon be well read, such a fab thing to be! I've allowed plenty of time, at least an hour... or three..." ~ Opus, Bloom County
  1. The Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy by Douglas Adams
  2. The Trixie Belden series (I read the whole series at least once a decade. Nancy Drew is for wussies.)
  3. The Warhorse of Esdragon trilogy by Susan Dexter
  4. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  5. God's Debris by Scott Adams
  6. Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
  7. Anything by Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, G.K. Chesterton, or G.B. Shaw.
Seven of My Favorite Movies (or Series)
  1. Serenity
  2. The 13th Warrior
  3. Miss Congeniality
  4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  5. Star Trek I-VI
  6. Star Wars III-V
  7. Legally Blonde
Seven Things I Cannot Do (or jus' don' wanna!)
  1. Be evil (even during a role playing game - ask me about the time the DM made me play an assassin...)
I'll have to get back to you because I'm just not self-limiting... Well, except apparently on this list.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
  1. Publish a book.
  2. Start my own company.
  3. Have children.
  4. Build our own home.
  5. Go to Ireland.
  6. Spend a year or more in the Bahamas.
  7. Relax.
Seven Things That Attract Me To... Blogging!
  1. Hanging out with my peeps.
  2. The ability to make my own virtual space.
  3. The chance to write and think.
  4. The thought that, in some small way, I'm contributing to the 21st Century pamphleteering effort.
  5. Originally, Howard Dean. Joining the conversation on the election was a big deal for me.
  6. Keeping up on the news.
  7. Pretty colors.
Seven Things I Say Most Often
  1. Whatever.
  2. That's arguable.
  3. Shyeah.
  4. What a bunch of twinkie stuffing!
  5. Ohhh - that's not RIGHT!
  6. *Poof* Whaddya need? *Poof* Whaddya need?
  7. I love you.
Seven Impractical Things I Think Would Be Really Cool Anyway
"Why, sometimes I've believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast!" ~ Lewis Carroll
  1. Living on Mars...
  2. ...with a vacation home on the moon...
  3. and Earth turned into a protected ecosystem.
  4. Taking away everyone's toys until they learn how to play nice.
  5. Having hundreds of pets.
  6. Peace.
  7. Time travel.
I'd like to tag this meme on:
  1. Nevsky at 2+2=5
  2. Shari at An Old Soul
  3. Cleek
  4. Bruce Cordell
  5. lucretius at de rerum natura
  6. sixthdoctor at lighthearted mental sewage
  7. Dr. Otter at The Otter Side (to welcome him back to blogland)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Losing the Funny

The Notorious ADB (aka, "O") has a good point over at The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat in his post Swift is Dead! Long Live Swift!
The problem with satire, of course, is that in order for it to be effective, it must be so ludicrous, so absurd that it makes the opposing view sane by comparison. The systematic oppression of the Irish was not funny for Swift, but eating babies was. At the same time, Swift recognizes the legitimacy of the system, choosing to affect policy through established institutions, rather than overturning them. So, the satire bit works only if he’s proposing that the government eats babies...

How does one effectively mock the subversion of the Law, the blatant disregard for the fundamental truths of our system of government, and the audacity that flaunts both? How can someone mock this guy if he is not adhering to a common philosophical ground? More simply put: IT’S NOT FUNNY IF BUSH REALLY DOES BELIEVE THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE EATING BABIES!! ... metaphorically speaking, of course.
Go read the rest. I think we all agree that this is no laughing matter.

Porn, Back in the Day

My friend Fletcher just sent me the link to this "Caveman Porn." Very, very funny...

Liberal DNA

I can't entirely recommend the Neuropolitics quiz since it seems a bit... intrusive in some of the questions. But Neuropolitics has an interesting idea, "understanding the biological basis of political behavior." These were my results:
  • You are focused on social inequity in your daily life.
  • You have a higher tolerance for ambiguous reality models.
  • You are more likely to weight alpha behaviors in your social ranking analysis.
  • Your moral system is highly based on greatest good or utilitarian principles.
  • You have a lower than average desire for social interaction.
  • You have a right hemispheric orientation in how your regulate your behavior in society.
  • You have elevated spatial analysis skills.
  • You exhibit an elevation in awareness of social ranking.
  • Your communication preferences strongly favor your auditory cortex over your visual cortex.
  • You exhibit an independent nature and are not likely to follow social conventions.
I can't entirely agree with their conclusions since they conflict with my knowledge of myself (I am so, so, SOOO not auditory) and also with other "insightful" tests I have taken. But hey, it's fun.

Hat tip to Adam Dray for the link.
Update 11:14pm
I got curious about this idea of linking political inclination to genetics and went googling. Apparently I missed a very important article that lit the blogosphere on fire. Maybe I was out that week. But if you would like to read more you can check out this article about John Hibbing. It makes a certain amount of sense to me. Absolutists vs. Contextualists. I'm defintely a contextualist.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

So. Not. Right.

Colin Farrell. Jamie Foxx.

Miami Vice 2006.

No, I'm not kidding.

Now, don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed Miami Vice in the 80s. My sister was a huge fan and in love with Crockett/Don Johnson. I was more of a Tubbs fan, myself.

But, dude, it was the 80s. The show was so, so, so, so, SOOOO 80s. What on Earth makes Michael Mann think that it will translate to the thousands? I mean, they didn't really even update the look of the clothes.

Is that still the fashion in Miami and I missed it? Seriously. Vice was always fashionable so shouldn't the current Vice be fashionable for the current times?

If you need a sneak peek you can check out the Colin Farrell Fansite Photo Gallery. Then you'll be able to see that I did not photoshop the above for a joke.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


God rest ye, Unitarians, let nothing you dismay;
Remember there’s no evidence
There was a Christmas Day;

When Christ was born is just not known,
No matter what they say,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Our current Christmas customs come
From Persia and from Greece,
From solstice celebrations of the ancient Middle East.

This whole darn Christmas spiel is just
Another pagan feast,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

There was no star of Bethlehem,
There was no angels’ song;
There couldn’t have been wise men
For the trip would take too long.

The stories in the Bible are historically wrong,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Tune: God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen
Words: Hymns for the Cerebration of Strife
Copyright 1990 by Christopher Raible

Stolen from the beancounter - because it's just that much fun. One day I'll have to go hang out with the UUs. I think we'll grok.

Where Am I?

The US is not like much of the rest of theworld: France has always been France, and England has been England for many centuries, and Russia defined itself during the reign of Ivan the Terrible as Russia in contrast to the Tartars and Europe. Chinese history is, supposedly, the longest continual history of any people in the world, but the US is based on an abstraction--a certain set of ideas that divide up and share out power so that it does not become concentrated in the hands of a single tyrannical entity, either party or person. We are expected to participate as citizens in our government at the local, state, and national level, and our government has been expected, from the beginning, to be a shared enterprise, not an engine of power and wealth for a single oligarchic group. Our government was devised as a set of ideas about how to avoid kings, aristocracies, and tyrannies. If it fails at that, or is manipulated into producing tyranny, then we are no longer living in the US, we are living in a no man’s land, without an actual identity. ~ Jane Smiley

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Out and About in the Blogosphere

Swerve Left has a scary story about Big Brother: Making sure we don't read the wrong things.

On A Mockingbird's Medley Mimus Pauly GOES OFF on House Resolution 579 which was drafted to preserve references to Christmas in public discourse. This entry was also the first time I realized Mimus Pauly lived in Richmond, so the next time I go shopping over yonder I will raise a wing. The Chemist also calls bullshit on the resolution.

In his joy of announcing he's on vacation lucretius gives us a rather exhaustive list of holidays on de rerum natura. Although he mentioned Elvis' birthday (Jan. 8) he did miss Jimmy Buffet's (Dec. 25).

Susan at Easy Bake Coven pointed the way to this modern Oedipus story.

Jim at Making Light reminds us to be careful in the cold. My favorite line? "Sometimes the clothing you need to wear is a “cabin” with a pot-bellied stove." Mmmm, now I want hot cocoa...

Adam Felber at Fanatical Apathy cuts through the Patriot Acting to get down to the core issue. "Democrats hate America. Republicans hate liberty." Because, "if that’s not true, then things get complicated…"

In case you missed it the Liberal Marine reported the "First Woman Silver Star Recipient for Direct Participation in Combat, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester" on Dec. 12, including a picture (scroll down). There's also an article at the WaPo if you want to read more.

Oyster at Your Right Hand Thief contemplates real estate concerns in his hometown - of New Orleans. (BTW, Oyster, I recently read a blogger who referred to "disaster pansies on the Gulf Coast." I recommend you send him a cup of mold for Christmas.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

You Get What You Pay For? Not So Much

I was just last night considering signing up for TypePad since I like their layouts and don't seem to have the html skills to emulate them here. But when I got to the part where I saw it was around $4 a month for the lowest cost blog I said, "To hell with you!"

I considered it for a few moments because, as you know, Blogger can get, well, bloggered. (When your brand name turns into a descriptive term of your product screwing up, it's a bit of a sign.) Perhaps I could avoid being bloggered, I thought. But I didn't sign up because free is such a great price, even if I get bloggered from time to time.

Then today I noticed that some typepad blogs I visit weren't working right. Then Shake's Sis pointed us over to Typepad Refugees because the whole typepad system is... bloggered? That doesn't sound right. But it's definitely screwed up.

Sure, here at Blogger I might get what I pay for. But it's better than paying AND getting screwed.

Dingell All the Way

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House

No bills were passed ‘bout which Fox News could grouse;

Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,

So vacations in St. Barts soon would be near;

Katrina kids were nestled all snug in motel beds,

While visions of school and home danced in their heads;

In Iraq our soldiers needed supplies and a plan,

Plus nuclear weapons were being built in Iran;

Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell;

Americans feared we were on a fast track to…well…

Wait--- we need a distraction--- something divisive and wily;

A fabrication straight from the mouth of O’Reilly

We can pretend that Christmas is under attack

Hold a vote to save it--- then pat ourselves on the back;

Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger

Wake up Congress, they’re in no danger!

This time of year we see Christmas every where we go,

From churches, to homes, to schools, and yes…even Costco;

What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy,

When this is the season to unite us with joy

At Christmas time we’re taught to unite,

We don’t need a made-up reason to fight

So on O’Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter, and those right wing blogs;

You should just sit back, relax…have a few egg nogs!

‘Tis the holiday season: enjoy it a pinch

With all our real problems, do we honestly need another Grinch?

So to my friends and my colleagues I say with delight,

A merry Christmas to all,

and to Bill O’Reilly…Happy Holidays.
~ Congressman John D. Dingell (MI-15)

(Thanks to the link from Gordon.)

This Explains A Lot

Enrollment [in Christian colleges] has increased 70.6% since 1990, from 135,000 to 230,000, at the 102 evangelical schools belonging to the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Over the same period, enrollments at all public and private colleges increased by 12.8% and 28% respectively. ~ USAToday

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Advice for My Redesign?

Your Blog Should Be Yellow

You're a cheerful, upbeat blogger who tends to make everyone laugh.
You are a great storyteller, and the first to post the latest funny link.
You're also friendly and welcoming to everyone who comments on your blog.
You Are Dancer

Carefree and fun, you always find reasons to do a happy dance.

Why You're Naughty: That dark stint you had as Santa's private dancer.

Why You're Nice: You're friendly. Very friendly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

So This is Christmas...

When my husband and I stopped at the grocery store tonight he observed, "I don't think I remember a Christmas that felt less like Christmas."

I said, "Oh Lord, don't tell me you're going to get on the 'There's a War on Christmas' bandwagon."

"No, seriously, there is," he said. I was only willing to hang in there with him because I know he's not a wingnut. "There is a war on Christmas, but it's not the one that the Christians are whining about. It's the fact that none of us have time anymore. It's the fact that they push Christmas decorations and products out so early that by the time Christmas gets close you're over it."

I think that he has a point. What do you think? Are you so pressed for time and over-Christmassed that it doesn't seem like Christmas anymore? And if you celebrate a different holiday, have you seen the same impact?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
I've always liked the Daily Show. They act like real people. Screw "the show must go on." When something bad happens you have to stop and deal with it. Certainly you remember Jon's speech after 9/11. And the fact that it didn't happen until 9/20. Jon knows that when tragedy strikes there is nothing to joke about. That's why there was no new Daily Show on Monday. Since I had to go to bed early Monday night and didn't get home tonight until AFTER the 8pm rerun I didn't realize it until the Tuesday episode.

If you caught the Tuesday night show you may have noticed that at the end Jon dedicated the "Moment of Zen" to someone named Billy Clarey. Jon seemed pretty choked up about it so I was suspicious it was someone from the cast and crew. Then they ran a photo of Bill Clarey with dates 1982-2005. I started digging in IMDBPro and found a Hollywood Reporter article that gave me the scoop.

Billy Clarey was a staff member of the Daily Show. He had been an intern and then a receptionist. Everyone was shocked when they came in this Monday to find out that he had committed suicide over the weekend. Instead of pressing on to film their Monday show the staff halted production. The company even brought in grief counselors.

I'm sorry that Mr. Clarey felt that he needed to take his life, and I'm sorry for what his friends and family are going through. But I'm glad that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is demonstrating again that they are people to admire. That is something so rare on the national stage that it requires comment. On so many levels they always seem to "get it."
Update: StealthBadger also posted about this.

Monday, December 12, 2005

You Are The Godfather Ice Cream

Someone crosses you, and they'll end up with a scoop of this in their bed
Your Animal Personality

Your Power Animal: Eagle

Animal You Were in a Past Life: Whale

You are active, a challenger, and optimistic.
Hard-working, you are always working towards a set goal.

Dogbert is Born

Via Rocketboom I discovered Cute Overload. Since seeing is believing, I submit to you a screenshot of my favorite post I found on the page.

Admit it. One day this puppy is going to take over the world.

Meanwhile, go check out Meg's other cute things. Or I'll bite your hand.

Festivus for the Rest of Us

A special delivery for sixthdoctor - the Festivus collection. Due to your enthusiasm for the product we made sure to get it out THIS holiday season.

Everyone have a Happy Festivus on December 23rd. Enjoy airing your grievances and demonstrating your feats of strength.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

What's Your Holiday Style?

My sister had a brilliant idea at Thursday Night Liberal Wings. To save everyone the anxiety of wondering, "What should I say to this person? If I say 'Happy Holidays' will they beat me with a cross instead of accepting the good tidings of the season?" she proposed that we should all wear buttons telling everyone what we would like to hear. I still have some more to make up, but I have three at the Pith Stop so far. My husband has recommended a text change to "Wish me a [insert preference here]." If you have an opinion feel free to leave it in the comments.

The other designs I just have to have would be Festivus (for the rest of us), Yule, and Junkanoo. I think that it would be good to be able to also select from Seasons Greetings, Twelfth Night (one of my personal favorites since it was THE big feast back in the day... like back in the medieval day), Ramadan, and... well, what else can you guys think of that coincides with the winter solstice? Feel free to leave your ideas and celebrations in the comments.

To me the underlying brilliance of this approach is that the current whining is based on "they are trying to take Christmas away from us!" Actually I'd be perfectly happy to be CONSIDERATE of you and wish you a Merry Christmas if that's what you want to hear. You know, since you won't let me be unilaterally considerate and just wish everyone a "Happy Holiday." Whatever, it's your call.

Death and Dishonor

I never liked the idea of war in Iraq. It is bad enough that our soldiers are dying in a war that, to me, was a mistake. Now I find out that not only are they dying, they are not being treated with the honor due for their service to our country.
Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.

But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo.
(Family Upset Over Marine's Body Arriving As Freight)
What does this say about us as a nation? What does this say about the value we put on life? What does this say about our leaders? I'm sickened. Tell 'em, G.
"There's a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates." ~ General George S. Patton, Jr
Thanks to Fixer for the story.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said that the two men who beat him made references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring.

Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request.

The class was added after the Kansas State Board of Education decided to include more criticism of evolution in science standards for elementary and secondary students.

"I didn't know them," Mirecki said of his assailants, "but I'm sure they knew me."

Oh my.
One recent e-mail from Mirecki to members of a student organization referred to religious conservatives as "fundies," and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a "nice slap in their big fat face." Mirecki has apologized for those comments.
Wait a second, it was rude (he can apologize for that) but we still have freedom of speech. THERE IS NO FREEDOM OF BEAT-DOWN! You can read the whole story if you like. What is wrong with Kansas?

Friday, December 2, 2005

Blog Against Racism

Tips of the hat to Shakespeare's Sister and Deborah Lipp for inspiring me to write about this. Kudos to Chris Clarke for the blogswarm idea.

I was born innocent of racism and managed to grow up in the South without "getting it" until I was in my 20s. Suddenly I looked back on my childhood and figured out part of why everyone thought I was weird. (Ok, the rest of it was 'cause I was a total geek.) So I've gone through about a 10 year period of self-examination of my thoughts and feelings about racism. I still don't entirely get it, but I get that it matters to other people. For instance I'm going to a birthday party tomorrow where I know the majority (if not all the rest) of the attendees will be black and the question I asked myself wasn't "will I be uncomfortable?" but "will they be uncomfortable?" Yes, there is racism in both directions. When you blithely wander around happy to talk to anyone you figure this out. I decided I don't care if any of them are racist because I adore the birthday girl and she invited me. She's also one to blithely wander around and happily talk to anyone so we get along famously and can talk for hours about racism from our different perspectives (I'm white, she's black).

I ended up facing the issue of racism in America because I assisted a Civil Rights office (from a finance perspective) at work in the mid 90s. I found their information interesting because I was innocent to the point of thinking that everyone (except the total cretins) had gotten aboard the rainbow train back in the day. Au contraire, the data said. I went home and said to myself, "Am I racist and I don't even realize it? I'm white and my husband is white. Am I insulated?" Then I thought about my group of friends and realized something that I had NEVER NOTICED BEFORE. They were diverse. One whose Mom was from Mexico City. One whose Mom was from the Philipines. One whose dad was black and Mom was from Korea. These things hadn't even hit my radar because, well, it just didn't matter to me. If you're a smart friendly geek then you and I will be friends - regardless of race, religion, or (although this is harder these days) political affiliation. We'll play roleplaying games and talk about science fiction movies.

Regarding the world at large I SEEK The Other (as Shakes Sis calls it) because I think people who are not like me are fascinating. I ask them all sorts of questions. And "not like me" means - geographically, politically, or intellectually. Sometimes that falls on race lines ("What was it like to grow up in a traditional Indian family in America?" to my buddy Sanjay), sometimes race is incidental to it ("What was it like to grow up in mainland China?" to my co-worker who was old enough to remember when her family fled the country), and sometimes it doesn't matter at all ("What was it like to live in New York City?" to my co-worker who lived my dream of going to school for writing in the Big Apple).

I always tell my friends that my dream of the future is very simple and based on an experience I had as a kid. I was watching a history documentary on America in the 1800s and in passing they showed a picture of a sign in a store window where they were looking for help that said, "No Irish Need Apply." The documentary touched on this topic very briefly and went on. I sought out my mother, the history major. "Mom! Mom! Did you KNOW that? Did you KNOW that people were prejudiced against the Irish?" She looked at me like I was a bit demented. "Yes, honey, that was a big thing. Especially when so many Irish immigrated during the famine." I was blown away. My family is primarily Irish and I didn't know that a hundred years earlier, when my great-great grandfather came across the Atlantic, that he was greated with signs like that. I didn't realize that it was a pretty big deal that my grandfather had gotten a degree in Engineering. I didn't realize that there was a time when we were categorized as shiftless, lazy drunkards. What the hell? So that's my dream. That one day in the not too distant future every kid will learn about racism not through personal experience, but through a tv show on a Saturday afternoon. That they will have to run through the house yelling, "Mom! Mom! Did you know..."

Thursday, December 1, 2005

The Employee Hierarchy of Needs

Before you can hope to motivate employees you must understand their hierarchy of needs.

Employees will not develop a need for things at the higher levels of the pyramid until they have totally satisfied their needs at lower levels. Make sure they get plenty of the stuff on the lower levels, but not so much that they develop a need for more money.

(I got this in paper copy from co-worker TheShark and thought it was worth recreating for the internets. We agreed that we mostly live in level two.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.
- PG Wodehouse

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Future Job: Author

What is your future job?
brought to you by Quizilla
Buffy, You are the chosen one who puts other people
first and will do anything to save the world.

Which Buffyverse Girl Are You ?
brought to you by Quizilla
You are the super human transgenic Max Guavera from
the show Dark Angel. Max was created to be the
perfect soldier, but when she escaped at the
age of nine from a secrect facility she did
everything in her power to lead a normal life,
but Max could never seem to outrun the friendly
folks at Manticore...

brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thank You, Christopher Titus - You're Making History

"The normal make a living, the deranged make history. " ~ Christopher Titus

I'm not sure if you were a fan of the show Titus when it was on television (2000-02) but I loved it from the start. The first time we saw it we sat there laughing, with tears rolling down our faces, shouting out, "Oh my God, that was your dad! Oh my God, that was my dad! OH MY GOD, THAT'S MY MOM!!!"

Now, three years later, I got the first DVD set and I just spent an hour laughing my head off. Christopher Titus speaks for my dysfunctional family.

I also have a special love in my heart for Erin - a blonde, green-eyed Irish girl. My husband still laughs and points at me when she blows up his car. :)


The TTLB Ecosystem went through some changes over the Thanksgiving weekend that apparently resulted in my de-evolution. I am currently a Crawly Amphibian. Oh, woe is me!

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Some may doubt evolution but I've seen it in action. I've made my way back up to Flippery Fish in the TTLB Ecosystem.

I'd like to think of myself as a mummichog (with the unfortunate scientific name of Fundulus heteroclitus - don't laugh at me!) simply because you can't kill those things with a stick. (Ok, maybe with a stick.) When my husband was doing research on the Eastern Shore one of the researchers put a mummichog in his damp pocket and the little sucker survived a trek through a marsh and a 15 mile car ride before being put in a tank.

We have a 'chog at home now that we adopted from the lab. She's a voracious little thing that eats more than our monster goldfish. Don't worry, they aren't in the same tank.

(No animals were harmed in the creation of this post.)

Friday, November 25, 2005

You're a Cardassian!
You're a Cardassian! Intelligent and devious,
you're a bit of an enigma to those around you
and scientific to the core.

What Star Trek Race Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

That's Me

For awhile my Susie-Freaking-Sunshine t-shirts were flying off the shelves (or wherever it is they keep them at CafePress). I can only hope that the slow-down is due to people saving up for Christmas presents. Although the sentiment does seem more in the spirit of Festivus...

Festivus for the Rest of Us

Yes, I'm sure you've always wanted to celebrate Festivus in a big way. Well, now you can get Frank's Official Festivus Pole. You can also weigh in on the Festivus Blog. I heard about this site on the radio this morning.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Violence in (Home)School

I thought it was worth noting that this tragic story of teens murdering parents had an unusual twist.
"Neighbors say the two teens met at a support group for home-schooled

Ah, so teen violence has definitely hit the fundy set. Ok, I don't know that they're fundy, but I can strongly suspect based on these tidbits:
"Kara [is] in the care of relatives and church members...She regularly attended
youth group meetings and got along well with her sister, said Kevin Eshleman,
executive pastor of Ephrata Community Church. "In my mind, that generally
indicates that things are going OK at home," Eshleman said."

I'm sorry that the parents were murdered and I don't blame their fundy religion even though I'd like to. (I think it's dark-sided. With Gargyles.) Bad people are everywhere and they use whatever is at hand to fuel their insane tendencies. There was obviously something badly wrong with those kids and it's too bad no one sensed it before it was too late.

Don't Speak

Your Celebrity Style Twin is Gwen Stefani

Trendsetting, unique, and stylish.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Stand With John Murtha

If you stand with John Murtha go to the link Shame on Them: Tell Col. Murtha Not to Back Down and add your statements to the ones that Howard Dean will be delivering to the Congressman.
"Every one of us -- right now -- needs to let Jack Murtha know that we
respect his service, respect his leadership, and respect his right to speak the
truth. This man has spent his life serving us. The very least each one of us can
do is let him know that no matter what dishonorable smear campaign Republicans
wage we will be there with him." ~ Howard Dean

Monday, November 14, 2005

Maybe YOU Should Be a Chartered Accountant

In case you read the last post and ended up wondering about the ExxonMobile financial statements (I probably just got down to about one reader pressing on past the first sentence, didn't I?), I have some links together from the 2004 Annual Report.

Balance Sheet - You can see at the top of Current Assets that Cash and Cash Equivalents have risen to $18.5 billion (yes, these statements are rounded to the million) from last year's $10.6 billion. Total shareholder's equity went up $11.8 billion or 13 percent.

Income Statement - Sales are up $54 billion or 22 percent over 2003 and if you compare 2004 to 2002 you see an increase of $90 billion or 45 percent. Of course, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, this may be because all of China decided to go out for a drive one afternoon (revenues from new markets vs. a change in prices). What points to prices being up is that costs are not keeping up with the rise in revenues (unless it is just soooo incredibly cheaper to do business in China). This has resulted in net income more than doubling from 2002 ($11 billion) to 2004 ($25 billion).

Cash Flow - Cash is the blood of a company, and how is this blood flowing? Net Cash from Operating Activities has just about doubled from 2002 ($21 billion) to 2004 ($40 billion). Investments in Additions to property, plant, and equipment has remained stable at around $12 billion per year for 2002 through 2004. Under Cash Flows from Financing Activities we find that dividends paid out to shareholders have increased much more modestly than revenues and income (from $6.2 billion in 2002 to $6.5 billion in 2003 and $6.9 billion in 2004) staying around a 5 percent increase per year. At the end of the cash flow it is revealed that the cash in hand at the end of 2002 was a little over $7 billion.

They are definitely saving for something. The question is - What?

My post title comes from the fact that typing all of this up made me flash back to the Monty Python skit I watched this weekend.
Counselor (Cleese): Well I now have the results here of the interviews and the aptitude tests that you took last week, and from them we've built up a pretty clear picture of the sort of person that you are. And 1 think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the ideal job for you is chartered accountancy.

Anchovy (Palin): But I am a chartered accountant!

Counselor (Cleese): Jolly good. Well back to the office with you then.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Don't Hate Us Because We're Evil

At lunch this week a friend asked me, "Do you believe what the oil industry is saying, that they need the profits they are creating because they have to reinvest it into rebuilding and oil refineries?" Although I'm not a fan of the oil and gas industry I told my friend that I couldn't make any assumptions about that until I looked at some financial statements to see what they were doing with retained earnings, etc.

So, I went to and among other things I found this cute flyer that included today's graphic. I just had to show you the chart because to me it is simply crying out, "Don't hate us! Look at who is eviler! LOOK AT THE BANKS! BIG PHARM! HATE THEM! HATE THEM!!"

Their opening statement on the flyer is:

"The oil and natural gas industry is probably the world's largest industry. Its revenues are large, but so are its costs of providing consumers with the energy they need. "
Hmmm, so let me see if I can use that education for which I'm still paying off student loans. You're saying that it is a high volume/low margin industry aren't you? In fact, you're bordering on whining that helping us get what we "need" is just about breaking your bank. *Sniff* Try not to notice *sniff* our executive bonuses *sniff* it's all about the children and what they neeeeeeed. (Insert picture of small child and cute puppy here. Snuggling a gas pump.)

Don't let that "high cost" (but high volume/low margin) whining get to you. You know what other high volume/low margin industry you may be familiar with? Bargain or "discount" retail. Because a few of the big boys kept it "all in the family" you see things like positions 4 through 8 on The Richest People In America (Forbes) occupied by the name Walton. Yes, 5 out of the 10 richest people in America make their money on high volume and low margins. If you go to the International list (The World's Billionaires) you get a couple of brothers who own Europe's biggest discount retail supermarket chain. The Albrechts (Karl and Theo) have slipped a bit because they used to kick the Walton's butts.

And may I just say that when you read the opening paragraph on that Billionaire's link, "The collective net worth of the world's 691 billionaires is $2.2 trillion, up $300 billion from the combined net worths of the 587 people listed last year," don't you have to ask yourself.... Why is there world hunger again?? I can think of a lot of useful things to do with $2.2 trillion dollars, how about you?

Where was I? Oh, right, oil industry. Reinvestment. So I reviewed the ExxonMobil 2004 financial statements on the theory that they were most of the industy and a good place to start. It's been a couple of hectic days since then but what I recall is that their earnings more than doubled from 2002 to 2004, as did their retained earnings and dividends. They do retain earnings and their payout of dividends agains earnings per share is something like 1.69 against 3.84 (but don't quote me) and they reflect reinvesting earnings in the statements.

What are they spending that money ON? Well, that's a good question now, isn't it? From what I could see I think that they redistribute overhead against the business functions so I couldn't easily see how to tease out things like EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION. I'm sure that multi-million dollar bonuses for the CEO can get lost in the "noise" of a multi-billion statement. Except that for me it doesn't. I have the same rule for business that I do for government - I don't mind paying for your service so long as you are prudent with the money. A lack of prudence puts my panties in a wad.

So what about executive compensation? According to this site:
ExxonMobil CEO Received $38 Million in Bonuses, Despite Soaring Oil Prices. According to the Associated Press, "Buoyed by high oil prices, Exxon Mobil Corp. had a record-breaking year in 2004 and chairman and chief executive Lee R. Raymond shared in the company's success with a $38 million compensation package Exxon said that Raymond, 66, was paid $7.5 million in salary and bonus plus restricted stock worth $28 million and nearly $2.6 million more in other compensation and incentives, according to Exxon's proxy filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission." (AP, 4/13/05)
Although we see all these numbers flashing by all the time - millions, billions, trillions - let me point out that $38 million is equivalent to every man, woman and child in America sending him about 12 cents. Let's just round and say it's two-bits per four-person family. What in the hell did he do for me that was worth a nickel, much less two-bits? Can I fire him? Vote him off the island? Have the Three Ghosts visit him and scare him straight?

What I told my friend at lunch is that I have no problem with a company seeking rational profit. To me rational profit is that win-win balance of a symbiotic relationship between company and community. Basically nobody gets too screwed. Any year when two of the big headlines focus on (1) amazing profits for what is essentially a utility industry, and, (2) amazing increases in poverty, there is obviously something amiss. I think we have ventured into the land of irrational profit.
Update 11/25/05
For more oil industry info check out Schroeder's post Bush petting session with Saudi prince.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

All She Wants Is...

Excellent meme from lucretius. I Googled "Susan wants" to get my top 11 hits.
  1. Susan wants to throw a party
  2. Susan wants to clean house
  3. Susan wants to buy assets
  4. Susan Wants To Hear From You
  5. Susan wants to Be Discovered by Agents
  6. Susan wants to be more like Edie
  7. Susan wants him to settle down
  8. Susan wants to add color to the walls
  9. Susan wants to change the prices on notebooks
  10. Susan wants you to believe that she was "under Felix's spell"
  11. Susan wants to go to Europe within the next 6 months
Dang, that's actually a pretty good list. The only thing that worries me is that I don't watch Desperate Housewives so I'm not sure I want to be more like Edie...

I Shoulda Known

Gordon's post (and numerous radio announcements) informed that today is the 'birthday' of our United States Marine Corps. Which means that the old USMC is a Scorpio. Doesn't that make sense? I mean, I just typed "Scorpio Description" into Google and this is from the first hit on the list.

Scorpios are the most intense, profound, powerful characters in the zodiac. Even when they appear self-controlled and calm there is a seething intensity of emotional energy under the placid exterior. They are like the volcano not far under the surface of a calm sea, it may burst into eruption at any moment. But those of us who are particularly perceptive will be aware of the harnessed aggression, the immense forcefulness, magnetic intensity, and often strangely hypnotic personality under the tranquil, but watchful composure of Scorpio. In conventional social gatherings they are pleasant to be with, thoughtful in conversation, dignified, and reserved, yet affable and courteous; they sometimes possess penetrating eyes which make their shyer companions feel naked and defenseless before them.

In their everyday behavior they give the appearance of being withdrawn from the center of activity, yet those who know them will recognize the watchfulness that is part of their character. They need great self-discipline, because they are able to recognize the qualities in themselves that make them different from other humans, and to know their utterly conventional natures can be used for great good, or great evil. Their tenacity and willpower are immense, their depth of character and passionate conviction overwhelming, yet they are deeply sensitive and easily moved by their emotions. Their sensitivity, together with a propensity for extreme likes and dislikes make them easily hurt, quick to detect insult or injury to themselves (often when none is intended) and easily aroused to ferocious anger. This may express itself in such destructive speech or action that they make lifelong enemies by their outspokenness, for they find it difficult not to be overly critical of anything or anyone to whom they take a dislike.

They can harness their abundant energy constructively, tempering their self-confidence with shrewdness and their ambition with magnanimity toward others provided they like them. They relate to fellow workers only as leaders and can be blunt to those they dislike to the point of cruelty. In fact they are not above expressing vindictiveness in deliberate cruelty. They are too demanding, too unforgiving of faults in others, perhaps because they are not aware of the shortcomings within themselves, and extravagantly express their self-disgust in unreasonable resentment against their fellows. They do, however, make excellent friends, provided that their companions do nothing to impugn the honor of which Scorpios are very jealous. Part of the negative side of the Scorpio nature is a tendency to discard friends once they cease to be useful, but the decent native is aware of, and fights this tendency.

I was always drawn towards the Corps, and I guess it's because I'm a Scorpio myself. If I had to sum my sign up in three words it always would have been Honor, Loyalty, and Violence. (Most of us don't advertise that last one but I can assure you that when I go to the trouble to throw something my aim is true.)

Semper fi, ya'll. Prayers and thanks for all our Marines at home and abroad. And a special tip o' the hat to my stepdad - Captain and helicopter pilot, Corps in the 70s, reserves in the 80s. I think I'll go send him a "birthday" card now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The Endangered List

If you missed Jimmy Carter on AfterWords (C-Span) you can check it out online. It's an interview by Brian Williams about Carter's new book "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis."

What IS Wrong With Kansas?

Just when you thought that the world was getting saner, you check on Kansas.
Board of Education votes to include challenges to Charles Darwin's widely accepted theory in curriculum.

Corzine in New Jersey

Also good news in the left-leaning world, Corzine will be Govenor of New Jersey. You can get good blog at Blanton's and Ashton's.

Where Do You Keep Your Gubers?

A great sigh of relief for all the left-leaners in Virginia because Tim Kaine was declared the winner of the gubenatorial race. There is coverage all over the place but you can get some blogiliciously good stuff over with Waldo Jaquith.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Social InSecurity

I just found the coolest thing - a calculator to show you how much you would lose in Social Security benefits under the Bush plan. It's simplified, I'm sure, but effective. Check it out at Representative Moran's website.

Wild-Eyed Coalition Addition

Just a little shout-out to signal the addition of the blog StealthBadger. The name entertains me on many levels, not the least of which being that my beloved penpal during my teen years went by the nickname Badger. Another is my favorite line from Thunderheart.
"The officer has been bit by a fucking badger!"
- Frank Coutelle (Sam Shepard)
Meanwhile, this Badger is quite entertaining so drop on by and say howdy.

Opening Presents on Election Eve...

Direct from Blondesense:
Monday, November 7
I don't care wherea person's compass may point them. But, it does bother me when someone is a hypocrite in the political arena.

The executive officer of the National Rifle Association, Wayne Lapierre, is currently endorsing Jerry Kilgore for governor of Virginia in media ads saying Kilgore stands for the same family values that Wayne had as a child growing up in Roanoke.

Well, while Wayne Lapierre was in high school in Roanoke (Patrick Henry High School class of '67) he was my brother's lover. Their affair lasted past graduation and on during the anti Vietnam war protest marches they attended in 1969.

Not only is Wayne Lapierre gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) but he marched in protest to the Vietnam war.

Now he's touting his high ground morality and family values. That I have a problem with.

Posted by BlondeSense Liz | 9:19 AM
Thanks Liz! (Contact Blondesense Liz if you want verification - you can find her contact info in the original post linked to above.)

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Googlicious Bibliophile Fun

The media is reporting that Google has opened it's virtual library doors (BBC) with GooglePrint. Although this is great fun (search on your name and stuff, it's cool) don't forget that there are already some great online resources for just reading great works, such as the ProjectGutenberg and the Electronic Text Center.

Three cheers for easily accessible text!

But if publishers really think that this will keep us from buying paper books they don't know us very well. Sure, the nature of the market will change. But true bibliophiles have a love and respect for the printed page that is bred down deep in the bone. My husband and I are both the type to have multiple copies of a treasured book while still reading a copy on the laptop or PDA - both for the convenience and to keep the "nice" book from *gasp* getting damaged.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Phantom Menace

How nice that on Halloween they would provide us with a new spectre to haunt our dreams. Darth Alito. The Los Angeles Times assures us that an "epic battle is expected." The Washington Post says that this pick is sure to rally the GOP. And the USA Today, America's gold standard for inoffensive news and the official newspaper of Generica (is there a hotel that DOESN'T stick this under your door?), printed a variety of opinions but labeled the article "Nominee Signals Step Backwards."

Meanwhile, I guess we know how Aaron McGruder felt about the Miers nomination...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Peeps Make the World Go 'Round

The past few weeks have been crappy busy at work. I was committed to do some Halloween cube decorating but had run out of time. The Thursday night liberal trivia gang came in and helped me out. Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Today we passed the 2,000 mark for soldiers dying in the Iraq war. The last time I was this depressed was, well, November 2000.

Oh, no kidding...

You scored as Sleeping Beauty. Your alter ego is Princess Aurora, a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty! You are beautiful and enchanting, and as sweet as ever.

Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?

created with
Heh. My husband has been saying this for years. It's a toss up between Sleeping Beauty and The Princess and the Pea. If there's a Princess sleeping, that's me. Apparently if she can be sleeping and COMPLAINING, even better.

Watch Out for the Dangerous Donuts

Ah, at last. Scott Adams, Dilbert artist and author of God's Debris, has joined us in the blogosphere with The Dilbert Blog. Get on over there.

Say What?

I had the sudden epiphany that our president is Yogi Berra and this quote clenches it:
"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"
Except W would give the first bat a medal of freedom.... Oh wait! There's more!
"If you ask me anything I don't know, I'm not going to answer."

"I wish I had an answer to that because I'm tired of answering that question."

"I never said most of the things I said."

"Half the lies they tell about me aren't true."

"It gets late early out there." (Can't you just hear him saying that about Iraq?)

"There are some people who, if they don't already know, you can't tell 'em."

"We made too many wrong mistakes."
Oh, maybe not that last one so much. But once he DOES admit a mistake, I'm sure it will be expressed just as eloquently.

Monday, October 24, 2005

She Never Raised Her Voice, Just Our Consciousness

(Rep. John Conyers) remembered her as someone who never raised her voice -- an eloquent voice of the civil rights movement.

"You treated her with deference because she was so quiet, so serene -- just a very special person," he said, adding that "there was only one" Rosa Parks.

There's a gentle new voice singing with the angels tonight.

A Few of My Favorite Things: Star Trek

When I say that I’m a big Star Trek fan I say it with a bit of hesitation because this is something with such a range of shades that you need an RGB color-picker just to figure out where you fall. For every guy on the left of me saying, “Star Trek? I liked that movie. The light sword was so freakin’ cool” (just typing that made my inner geek cringe a bit) there’s another one on my right who can quote all the lines from, well, everything. And can debate the minutia on copper-based blood and transporter technology. In Star Trek, like in life, I’m too much of a geek to be considered normal and too normal to be considered a geek. Some people at work are actually surprised by my geekiness when its vastness begins to be revealed to them.
So, back to Star Trek. How much of a fan am I? The core of my collection was passed on to me by my older brother who had the good fortune of seeing the original series on TV (I was born a year after cancellation) and he was such a fan that I consider myself to be a fan from birth. From the start I wanted to follow my charming and engaging older brother. Then my step-sister and best friend came along and we found a common bond over science fiction geekery, Star Trek chief among our obsessions. We met in 1982 which was a sort of Star Trek boom time. It was the year of Khan. Novels (some of dubious quality now that I try to reread them) were churned out almost monthly.
Things I own:
  • The Original Compendium (a little the worse for wear since I actually read it repeatedly)
  • Novelizations of The Original Series
  • The Star Trek Logs (animated series novelizations)
  • A lot of other books on this page
  • My beloved Spock Bear (with cute little removable pointy ears and his own tricorder)
  • Multiple Starfleet badges
  • A sign that says “Captain’s Quarters, USS Enterprise”
  • Three models of Enterprise NCC-1701
  • Some tricorders (homemade and manufactured)
  • Some phasers (homemade and manufactured)
  • TOS Star Trek coffee (yes, I said coffee)
  • Lots of action figures (please don’t make me count – it’s more than 10 and less than 50 with at least 10 still in their packaging)
  • A red yeoman’s uniform I picked up for $5 from a costume store clearance rack
  • TOS DVDs
  • Vulcan ears
Things I’ve done:
  • Drawn a LOT of Spock pictures
  • Written my own series of Starfleet spoof short stories about a ship called the USS Bob crewed by my aforementioned brother (Captain Dave) and all my friends (many of whom have also contributed stories)
  • Joined Starfleet in the 80’s (“We’re just one big happy Fleet!”)
  • Tried to start my own fan club (bad, bad, bad idea – there are some WEIRD people into Star Trek and you don’t want your 13-year old hanging out with them)
  • Started numerous Star Trek novels and TV series concepts with my co-writer, co-conspirator, step-sister and best friend Cmdr Tal. The winner of novels by weight fills a desk drawer since I kept all of the revisions from back in the day before computers.
  • Gone to a convention (yes, only one – I’m lame)
  • Emailed Wil Wheaton – and got a response!
  • Pulled Leonard Nimoy’s home address off an online political donations database. No, you can’t have it.
  • Wore black to The Undiscovered Country because it was supposed to be the last movie with Spock in it (all dressy, too, because I was going to see SPOCK)
  • Used my USS Bob moniker as my online identity from the beginning (there was never a question because I AM Commander Sue London – First Officer, Science Officer, and All Around Fun Chick. Uh, no, I’m not Vulcan.)
  • Had pictures taken of myself bouncing up and down in front of the sign at the Smithsonian saying they were going to have a Star Trek Exhibit (Yes, I looked like an idiot. No, I won't post the picture.)
  • Had pictures taken of myself touring the Star Trek Exhibit when it finally arrived. Including “pulling a Spock” pose next to the Captain’s chair (stiff posture, one eyebrow raised). Also loudly discussed with myself how difficult it would be to pry open the case holding the one of the original “Trouble with Tribbles” shooting scripts (including hand written notes in the margins). My friends suppressed me.
Things I still plan to do… one day:
  • Turn the USS Bob into an online animated series
  • Go to another convention (or ten or twelve)
  • Get our Star Trek series produced. If you know Majel Barrett ask her to give me a ring.
I think that answers the question of what kind of Star Trek fan I am, so the only remaining question is… why? I find the underlying ideas to be very heartening. I like the thought that in the future we will be out there exploring the stars. And although we will still be working to keep our moral compass in trying times we will somehow manage to do a bit of a better job about it than we seem to be doing now.
 Besides, Star Trek is FUN. It’s a universe I’ve lived in part-time my whole life. There’s camaraderie, idealism, and cool-looking aliens.
If you have Star Trek stories to tell, feel free to drop ‘em on me here, or go tell Eugene Roddenberry at Trek Nation. I will probably update this some more before I think it is "done," maybe adding some pictures of my collection and stuff.
(p.s. The original USS Enterprise NCC-1701 is still on display at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Store.)

I am the Semicolon! Hear Me Pause

You scored 30% Sociability and 70% Sophistication!
Congratulations! You are the semicolon! You are the highest expression
of punctuation; no one has more of a right to be proud. In the hands of
a master, you will purr, sneering at commas, dismissing periods as
beneath your contempt. You separate and connect at the same time, and
no one does it better. The novice will find you difficult to come to
terms with, but you need no one. You are secure in your elegance,
knowing that you, and only you, have the power to mark the skill or
incompetence of the craftsman.
You have no natural enemies; all fear you.
And never, NEVER let anyone tell you that you cannot appear in

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on Sociability
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 83% on Sophistication
Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Funniest Thing I Read Today

From Meghann Marco's open letter about GooglePrint:

Someone asked me recently, "Meghann, how can you say you don't mind people reading parts of your book for free? What if someone xeroxed your book and was handing it out for free on street corners?"

I replied, "Well, it seems to be working for Jesus."

Tip o' the hat to Boing Boing.

The Complete Idiots Guide to Voting in Virginia

So Virginia has a pretty important election coming up in a couple of weeks. We're deciding if we want to continue to follow the leadership of the Democrats who, you know, have balanced our budget, increased jobs, and generally made things better in the state. Or not. You can probably guess how I'm going to vote. But the thing that bothers me is that I don't keep up with all the little details on who is running for what, or what party they are, and find myself a bit anxious (not to the point of doing research, mind you) by the time election day rolls around. It occurred to me that sending a little card out to citizens with the list of their democrat people to vote for, and a reminder of when to vote and where, would be very, very helpful. I assume that you could blanket an area based on the map, or you could solicit addresses for people who want this reminder service. Me, I want it. No issues, no hype, just a nice little list of "here's the Democrats" with my polling location, maybe a map, and the date/time I can vote. Maybe a nice reminder that voting is a right. I'd be happy to go to the Downtown Mall, etc. to get people to sign up, and they might even throw a few bucks in the donation jar to help cover their future mailings. Dems are nothing if not fair-minded.

I assumed that there must be a Virginia Democrats group who could do this sort of thing and merrily went a Googling. Yes, they exist. They even have a blog.

Now I just have to convince them that this subscription/reminder/mailer service is money well spent.

Home for the Holidays

It’s that time of year again where we have to decide, “Will this be another year where we go hang out with family during the holidays and slowly learn to hate ourselves?” To try to figure out exactly what is wrong with our family gatherings I’ve decided to do a little biological classification of the family members.

familia necrotoxinae – I think that this woman probably exists in every family. She’s poison. She might even kill you with kindness at times, but you always know that her endgame is all about the "kill you" part.

familia unreliabilumThey're late. They borrow 50 bucks. Everyone has this sibling/uncle/aunt/cousin. They are just sure that with a little help from you they will get their life together. You stopped believing that some time (and dollars) ago.

familia imperiousumYou know that they can't believe that they are related to the rest of the family. Hell, you can't believe you're related to these people either, but at least you don't have your nose stuck in the air about it. One year you promise yourself you're going to dip a little too deep into the spiked eggnog so that you have an excuse to call them a supercilious asshole. (Or a stuck-up bitch. Your call.)

familia bellicosumThey want to turn everything into a fight. One year you're just sure that the whole holiday will turn into a bloodbath. Sometimes your only defense is to retreat to the bathroom for an inordinate amount of time and wait for another family member to distract them. Some day you may find out whether you can get out that bathroom window and down to the car before anyone notices.

Those are the ones who come to mind. I'm sure as Thanksgiving approaches I will have other revelations...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

She's Such a Card...

I've been called that before, I just didn't know what card I was. Now I have my answer.

You scored 77 clubs, 16 diamonds, 57 hearts, and 62 spades!

Fitting almost everywhere, you're the Joker! More than balanced, more
than the Gemini! You spice up most events you attend to and people want
you around. Keep going!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 99% on clubs
You scored higher than 13% on diamonds
You scored higher than 67% on hearts
You scored higher than 79% on spades

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Early Morning Breezes

Last night's Daily Show guest was Dolly Parton, who I adore. I had always liked her voice but I had underestimated her talent until I got a copy of her album Jolene. It has the most delightful songs. I think I can be forgiven for missing the album until a couple of years ago since it came out shortly after was born. It includes a song that basically captures my own brand of prayer called Early Morning Breeze.
I open up my door to greet the early morning sun
Closing it behind me and away I do run
To the meadow where the meadow lark is singing in the tree
In the meadow I go walking in the early morning breeze
I cup my hands to catch a multi-colored butterfly
Perched upon the petals of flowers growing wild
Freeing it I watch it as it flies away from me
To visit with the flowers in the early morning breeze
And in case you doubt her song-writing prowess, remember that the album included I Will Always Love You. Yes, the same song that Whitney took back to the top of the charts about 15 years later.