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.)