Friday, April 28, 2006

Not on a Friday!

They're doing it again.

If they keep turning out the lights on a Friday, I'm likely to fall asleep at my desk.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Warning: Put down your coffee

Yes, Karen, I know I'm tagged. But this made me spray coffee on my keyboard - which makes it worthy of being passed on. I saw it here, and she got it here. This is the best news release ever. Enjoy.
WASHINGTON, April 26 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is the text of a memo released today by the Democratic National Committee: To: Josh Bolten, Chief of Staff, Executive Office Of The President Tony Snow, Press Secretary, Executive Office Of The President From: DNC Communications RE: Your Five-Point Plan And Your New All-Time Low Poll Numbers -- 32 percent (!) Welcome to the West Wing! We know it's been a tough few months. So, as you head into the last thousand days of the Bush Administration, we wanted to offer some suggestions on Josh's five- point plan ( ) to help ensure you don't repeat the same mistakes. 1. DEPLOY GUNS AND BADGES Time Magazine noted that this move to focus solely on border enforcement, not comprehensive immigration reform, is "an unabashed play to members of the conservative base who are worried about illegal immigration." For five years, your Administration ignored America's borders, undermining the security of our country. But, why stop there? If you really want to convince the American people that you are "getting tough," how about addressing the need for additional resources for port security, first responders, chemical and nuclear plants? After all, Americans know that homeland security begins with hometown security. It might help if President Bush would finally take a stand to show real leadership on comprehensive immigration reform. So far, he has failed to outline the specifics of his guest worker program, which without a legalization component would make immigrant workers indentured servants and depress wages for all American workers. Instead, the President punted the issue to the Republican-controlled Congress, which has already failed Americans on the issue. As Congress returns to session this week, we suggest that President Bush, Republican Senate Leader Bill Frist, and Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert show the American people some real leadership on comprehensive immigration reform. 2. MAKE WALL STREET HAPPY You might have missed the news reports, but we are pretty sure this one has already been taken care of. From the pork-laden Republican energy bill that helped energy companies profit handsomely, to the flawed Medicare prescription drug plan that will line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and your failed scheme to privatize Social Security that would have handed financial firms billions in fees, Wall Street's been happy since the President first arrived from Texas. Instead, how about helping out Main Street? Tony, the last thing we need is a PR campaign. Ensuring middle class tax fairness, raising the minimum wage, and jawboning whoever can help lower gas prices are all good ideas. 3. BRAG MORE According to Time, "Bolten's plan also calls for more happy talk about the economy." We strongly advise against President Bush returning to his familiar role as "Campaigner-in-Chief." We suggest abandoning the "happy talk" about the economy and misleading rhetoric on Iraq. How about recognizing the fact that median family incomes are down and that the minimum wage hasn't been raised in nearly a decade? We're pretty sure this straight talk coupled with real solutions to the everyday economic realities faced by millions of hard working American families will work better than bragging more. 4. RECLAIM SECURITY CREDIBILITY Glad to see you've finally been able to admit what we've known for some time now, that this is no longer a winning issue for Republicans. That's a good first step. Must have been tough to admit, we know that. For decades, Republicans have controlled the debate over security but President Bush and his Republican Congress's failed policies and stubborn aides (Sorry, Karl!) have undone years of good, solid fear-mongering. No wonder the American people don't feel secure. Not to mention that Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose, sending us more videos than Netflix, and your Administration wanted to allow a foreign government-owned company to take over operations at a few of our largest ports. We've tried it your way, why not join Democrats and implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission for starters? But, why stop there? Having undermined Americans' security across the board, isn't it about time that we properly equip our troops in Iraq, restore alliances with our allies, revitalize our military, and ensure our National Guard has the resources they need? 5. COURTING THE PRESS This one might be tougher than just changing flacks. What was it that you guys called the press corps? Irrelevant? A filter? We'd suggest it might be time to stop playing the blame game. The coverage of Iraq and your failing economy are not the problem, the policies are actually the problem. While we wish Tony well, we'd suggest a different tack. How about just telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? You might have noticed, the press doesn't like it when you cherry-pick the facts and then stonewall when you're caught. So, Tony, just remember honesty will be more appreciated than the kind of clever spin that puts a smile on Ari's face. (Remember "Freedom's taste is unquenchable"?) And Tony, don't forget you're on the taxpayers' payroll now. It's not about pushing Republican spin anymore, its about being accountable to the American people. ---- Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Looking at Oil

Let's take a look at these pieces of information on oil/gasprices. (The bold stuff is my frustration shining through in largefonts)

First, from ABC on April 14th:
Last year, Exxon made the biggest profit of any company ever, $36 billion, and its retiring chairman appears to be reaping the benefits.
Exxon is giving Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly $400 million, including pension, stock options and other perks, such as a $1 million consulting deal, two years of home security, personal security, a car and driver, and use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.
"In 2004, Mr. Raymond, your bonus was over $3.6 million," Sen. Barbara Boxer said.
That was before new corporate documents filed with the Securities andExchange Commission that revealed Raymond's retirement deal and his$51.1 million paycheck in 2005. That's equivalent to $141,000 a day,nearly $6,000 an hour. It's almost more than five times what the CEO ofChevron made.
Uh-Huh.Next, there's this gem from the Toronto Sun:
We understand this: When the world's Big Three oil giants are caught with secret memos alluding to a conspiracy to restrict refinery capacity to boost prices, then rake in a record $63 billion US last year, making them richer than half the world's nations -- something's rotten.
Well, I don't know about any secret memos. But I wouldn't be surprised.

Today, though, we hear that george is going to do something! Don't worry, America - he's saddling up the white horse:
President Bush on Tuesday ordered a tempory halt to deposits to the nation's strategic petroleum reserve to make more oil available for consumer needs and relieve pressure on pump prices.
Easing the environment rules will allow refiners greater flexibility in providing oil supplies since they will not have to use certain additives such as ethanol to meet clean air standards.The suspension of oil purchases for the federal emergency oil reserveis likely to have only modest impact since relative little extra oilwill be involved.
The president...called for increased conservation, an expansion of domestic production and increased use of alternative fuels like ethanol.
So, he's going to stop making companies use ethanol, because gas is cheaper if it's worse for the environment. But he's also sayingthat finding alternative fuels like ethanol will make fuel cheaper. Gotit.

Instead of asking oil companies why they're charging so much (their"supply and demand" answer doesn't cut it anymore, when we know howmuch money their CEO's are making), or taking responsibility for themarket being unstable because of his machinations in the middle east,Bush decided to take steps that will hurt the environment and makegrandstand promises that things will be looked into. He'll probablystart an investigation of some kind. Gas prices will go down a fewcents, and the noise will calm down. And in two months, we'll all bepaying $3.50 a gallon, because the investigation will report that"supply and demand" have caused the price of gas to sky rocket. Right? of the things that supply and demand tells us is that substantial profits arise only from monopoly power, which is when a firm has a distinct advantage over other firms that inhibits competition. Monopoly power can come from a number of sources including: selling a unique product for which there are no substitutes, government regulations, high start-up costs to enter the industry and anti-competitive practices such as collusion and price-gouging. Any of this sound familiar when discussing the oil industry?
It should.
Firms that have monopoly power can maximize their profits by raising their prices above the market efficient price (which restricts output to levels below the market efficient level). The resulting deadweight loss of market efficiency is a burden borne totally by the consumers who are paying more and receiving less.
What it all boils down to is that we have to find a way to reduce our oil consumption. Maybe Europe has it better - they've always had high oil prices, so they've always had cars that burn cleaner and use less fuel. We've been spoiled, and now we don't want to give up our Hummers and our SUV's. We want someone to pay our gas prices for us so that we can keep them. Don't get me wrong - gas prices are taking a significant chunch of change out of my pocket, and I drive a Camry.

But george has a few more cards up his sleeve:
PresidentBush, under pressure to do something about gasoline prices that areexpected to stay high through the summer, ordered an investigation intopossible cheating in the markets.
Well, I'll certainly sleep better tonight.

Afternoon Conversations

Cast of Characters:
G - librarian who will be retiring in just a couple of years that likes to mother people, but you can tell she was - and is - a bad-ass.
S - mother of two, somewhat-easily shocked librarian, loves to gossip.
Me - your favorite star in work-place conversations.

Setting: I'm working the reference desk one lazy afternoon when G. & S. come up to chat.

G: "I had a colonol ask about you a bit ago."
Me: "Oh yeah? Was it someone I helped last night?" (often, people that we help on a night shift come in the next morning and expect us to be sleeping in since we worked til 10 PM the night before. Alas, we're here at 7:30 to continue the fun.)
G: "You helped him last week. But he wanted to talk to me about you."
Me, getting a little paranoid: "What'd I do? I didn't give him the wrong book, did I?" (I'm always paranoid that I'll give people a book on SouthEast Asia when they actually need South Asia, or NorthEast Asia when they need SouthEast or something equally idiotic. But really - Asia is always divided into three parts like that, but no one can quite agree on where the boundaries are. And my geography class was a long time ago. So I'm paranoid about Asia.)

G:  "Nooo....He wants me to ask you out for him."
S.: "She's married!"
Me, rolling my eyes: "Are we going to go to the Senior Prom together?"
G: "He's shy"
Me: "Ask him if my husband can come along."
S., with very round eyes: "What if he says yes?"
G.: "I told him that you were married and he said it's ok, because he is too." ( why do married men use this as an excuse when they hit on married women? Is it supposed to be like two negatives making a positive, or something?)
Me: "Well, I'm glad he's thought of everything."
G: "I told him I'd have to come along to chaperone."
By now G and I are laughing. S thinks we're serious, and is a little worried.
Me: "Tell him that I don't date Lieutenant Colonols."
G: "He's a full colonol."
Me: "Oh!" pause "Tell him to come and see me when he's a General. Then we'll talk. As long as my husband is there. And you're still chaperoning."
S.: "You can't be serious!"

Just then, the Col. walked by. I didn't recognize him, and wouldn't have even noticed him - but....
G to Col: "I'm talking to her for you."

Col. looks at me, smiles and keeps on walking.
I didn't remember helping him, but then I can't remember everyone.
And he hasn't asked me for any help since.

I can't decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I'm not single and working on a military base.
Probably a good thing. It keeps me from getting into trouble.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Good Thing or Bad, you decide

I can't really make up my mind about this one.
A new big-screen movie, apparently featuring the early adventures of Trek forefathers James T. Kirk and Spock, and boasting the handiwork of Lost creator J.J. Abrams, is being primed for a 2008 release.
Side 1 of My Brain: Holy crap! A young Spock? A young Kirk! They'll pick some hot actors, and it'll be like a Geek reunion meets Playgirl models! I'd better have a tissue handy to wipe the drool!
Side 2: Star Trek movies are so lame about 50% of the time, they are going to mess this up and I will never forgive them.
Side 1: But it's been so long since there's been good new Trek material! Surely this guy will get it right!
Side 2: But it's been so long since there's been good new Trek Material, only Gene Roddenberry can get it right, and I doubt he's coming back from the Great Beyond to help this one out.

For those keeping score at home, or scrolling through Eckert's chronology, the new movie should take place sometime between the early 2230s, when Spock and Kirk are born, and 2262, when the two become bridge mates aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise (and when the stories of the original Trek series begin).
Side 1: Ahhh...back when they were young! {gulp, drool} And the Enterprise was new! {drool, gulp}
Side 2: Umm...yeah, about the Enterprise....
Side 1: I bet they have some really cool toys.
Side 2: Right now, in the 21st century, we are more technologically advanced than the original series. But a prequel can't be more advanced than the original. Work that out, wonderbrain.
Side 1: Sorry, I just found the link for Eckert's chronology that was mentioned in that last quote. I'll get back to you.
Side 2: Geek.

So what do you think? Good or bad? I know I'll see it... but it might be because I hope it'll be good, knowing that I'm bound to be disappointed. I'm afraid it'll be bad. And with the way the movie industry works these days, who knows if it'll even get made.

Friday, April 21, 2006

To My Concerned Co-Workers

I would like to let you in on something: There is a difference between "broke" and "not spending money." Usually, one stops spending money in order to prevent becoming broke. I am not broke. I am simply not spending money.

Earlier this week one of my bosses wanted to do our monthly lunch thing (there are two of us newbies that have to go with him for these 'lunch-chats'). I'm never excited about this because 1.) I have to pay for it and 2.) It's my lunch break, but I have to spend it talking about work stuff. I like my boss, but if he wants to insist that I have to go out to lunch with him, then he should pay. And maybe it should count as work time so that I can go home a little earlier. But that's all beside the point.

When my newbie co-worker told me that the bossman wanted to do the lunch thing this week, I told him we'd have to wait til after we got paid on Friday, cause I didn't have any money budgeted for lunches out this week. Co-worker said fine, told the boss - and I thought that would be the end of it.

Three days later, half of the reference staff now think that I'm on the edge of poverty. I've gotten offers for snacks. I've gotten comments about the fact that I somehow had enough money to travel to Europe last month, but that I don't have money to eat now. I've gotten countdowns for the last three days, with people reassuring me that payday is only a few days away. I've had offers from people to take me out to lunch. The only one that I accepted was from the other newbie - and only because he owed me lunch since I bought his a couple of weeks ago. When a couple of us went downtown and I put 10 cents in the parking meter, one of the women said she felt guilty because she "knows that money is tight" for me right now. And my boss - the one who wanted to go out to lunch - has had more than one comment to make about my money situation.
There are a few points that I would like to make:
  1. I am on a budget. This does not mean that I am one paycheck away from moonlighting on street corners. It means that I can't indiscriminately spend money.
  2. I do not feel it is worth getting into my savings account so that I can go eat Chinese buffet food. Yes, I have a savings account. There's not much there, and that's why I don't feel the need to use it at the moment.
  3. While I enjoy eating out - and I love to socialize with most of the people I work with - I know that if I want to afford another vacation then I can't eat out every day. It's called priorities, people.
  4. My boss does not need to have updates on the state of my checkbook, and while I'm sure that his financial advice is sound, I don't want it unsolicited.
  5. The comments of "I bet you're glad we got paid today" really need to stop.
  6. Do I look like I'm starving? I'm a size 14 for goodness sake.
  7. I don't feel that eating canned soup for lunch is something to worry about. I actually like Progresso's Minestrone.
  8. Going out to eat for lunch should not be this big of a deal. Really.
  9. You all need to find something else to obsess about. Go back to worrying about newbie-coworker's lack of a girlfriend.
I think that's it for now. I've had more conversations about food this week - and not the "what are you fixing for dinner tonight" variety - than is good for my sanity. I know this shows that people are concerned, but the cynical part of me realizes that this is great gossip fodder - and everyone wants some of it. It's not as juicy as last week when I was a little nauseous (a monthly occurence for me), though. Pregnancy rumors still trump every other kind.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Thank God the Censors Are Still On The Job

Censorship is one of those topics that really gets me going. I did a paper on censorship in public libraries for a class, and had a load of fun doing the interviews. But I also got plenty steamed up. Like when the director of the Alabaster, AL public library told me about the hullabaloo surrounding their copy of Howard Stern's Private Parts. They had many people request that they purchase the book, so they did. And for a long time, it was continuously checked out. The hold list was incredible. The complaints started the day the book was actually placed on the shelf, and the rest of the public got a look at it. Even though members of the community had requested it, other members felt that their opinion was more important, so they started a very public case against the book. In the end, the library "won," in large part because of the overwhelming support of their Board of Directors.

But what happens when a Board doesn't support the library's mission? There's a case in California, where the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of the county has ordered that the book Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics be removed from the entire system (13 copies in all). This is a book on the history of the Manga/Anime craze in Japan, not an actual comic book. There's plenty of controversy around these comic books - some of them are written for adults, and contain some pretty graphic pictures. But this isn't a comic book, it's a book about comic books. This article quotes the Chairman: "
That book is absolutely inappropriate for a public library". Excuse me? "absolutely inappropriate"? For a public library?  I don't think there's any book that could be  unequivocally labeled that way. Every library serves a different community - and collections should generally reflect that - and no two communities are the same. But to say that there's something that doesn't belong, period, is just wrong.  If San Bernadino County didn't have anyone interested in Manga, then they shouldn't spend money on books about it. But they obviously do, if people are checking the books out. Are these people less entitled to read books of their choosing simply because a few other people don't like the topic or the pictures?

And don't get me started on the woman who started the whole mess when her 16 year old son checked out the book.  If she wants to police what her son reads, that's her right as a parent. But that doesn't mean that no one else should be able to read it too. She should be glad that her son was reading something informative! Hell, in today's world, she should be glad her son was reading.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Star is Born

Google Calendar has finally put in an appearance (the blog has some details). After all the speculation and waiting and goings-on and waiting and speculation....I'm ready to try it out. Not as ready as some people, though - my sister's been drooling for months over the mere possibility of this thing. I think she's probably disppeared from reality to play with it. Hopefully, she'll remember to come back and feed the kids.

Thursday Blahs

I am more than ready for it to be the weekend. I want to sleep late, and stay up late, and loaf around, and read some books, and cook...and basically just NOT work. At the moment, I'm having problems keeping my eyes open, so that actually kind of sounds a little too ambitious for a mere two days...but I'm sure I'll get some of it done. I swore I'd go to bed before 10 last night - I wanted 8 solid hours of sleep. But what happened? Hubby and I sat outside talking, because it was a beautiful clear night with a full (or nearly) moon. Two bottles of wine later it was 10:30. So now, all I want to do is take a nap for the second half of my lunch break. But they're having a baby shower in the lounge, so I'll just drink more caffeine. You'd think after 5 cups of coffe and a couple of Diet Mountain Dews I'd be bouncing off the walls, but apparently I need more....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Geeky find of the day

Ok, well, it's just a concept...but it still looks pretty cool.
from Sci Fi Tech:
From the wish-I'd-thought-of-that department: the Flashbag. Designed by DimaKomissarov, it's a standard USB flash drive that has a tiny pump in it that inflates when you load it with data. So if your drive is full of stuff, it blows up like a balloon, but if it's empty it remains flat and rectangular. It'll stay inflated even when powered down, so you'll be able to estimate how many more MP3s you can leech from your friend's computer just by taking a gander. Unfortunately, the Flashbag is merely a concept design and there are no plans at this time for it to be manufactured or sold. We hope some brave company will decide to start making them soon, for if there's anything the world needs, it's more bizarre USB devices.
Hmmm... cool except that it would block the other USB port on my PC.And I have a co-worker that wonders "what would happen if you were in acar wreck." I'll let you wonder whether they believed the person whotold them "You'd just have data all over you."

Anniversary Party

Did you know that there's an anniversary party on this day every year for Yuri Gagarin?
Do you know who Yuri Gagarin was?

Ok, to be technical, the Anniversary thing isn't just for Yuri - even though it's called Yuri's Night. It's also for the flight of the first space shuttle.
But who is this Yuri, and why are thousands of people worldwide celebrating him?Yuri’s Night is the global celebration of human space travel, held annually on April 12. Yuri’s Night commemorates both the historic first flight of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, as well as the launch of the first Space Shuttle (STS-1) exactly 20 years later. This year we’re celebrating the 45th anniversary of Yuri’s flight and the 25th anniversary of STS-1, so we expect the highest turnout ever!
With Yuri’s Night consisting of dance parties, educational events and even casual get-togethers, the range of Yuri’s Night events is as diverse as the people that host them. Whether in someone’s living room, a swinging nightclub or a world-class science museum, Yuri’s Night events all have one thing in common - people who are excited about the past, present and future of space travel and want to have a great time celebrating it.
Ready to party? Maybe one day I'll do something worthy of a worldwide party.....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Did you know...

Did you know that the Vice President's wife, Lynne Cheney, has a Ph.D.? I think that's one of those things that I heard at some point and then promptly forgot, because when I read her Official Page today, it sounded vaguely familiar. She's written a bunch of stuff too. But I'm more concerned with the Ph.D. Take a quick glance at her official White House page here, or her official White House Biography here. She is always referred to as Mrs. Cheney. Not Dr. Cheney -even though her bios go into great detail on the work she has done in preserving American history, writing American history, etc. Do her credentials as Dear Ol' Dick's wife trump her Doctorate?
Ok, now let's look at Condi's info. She got one of those degrees too - but apparently, it means more for her. Because her bio takes care to always give her the proper title. so does her personal information on the Dept. of State's page.

My theory? It isn't important that the Vice President's wife has the degree, but it is important that our Secretary of State has one. I think (and you knew my opinion was coming) that anyone that has the degree has earned the respect of being given the title "Dr." But that might make Dear Ol' Dick look not quite as smart. Because to be proper, they should be introduced and addressed as "Vice President and Dr. Cheney." That's only while he's VP, though. Before he got his illustrious position, they should have been addressed as "Dr. and Mr. Cheney." I don't see Dear Ol' Dick liking that very much.

But this post started because it annoyed me that unless I read to the very end of Dr. Cheney's bio, I wouldn't know that she had this degree. Over and over again, she's referred to as Mrs. Cheney. And I think that the fact that her relationship to her husband is given more precedence in her title than the degrees that she's earned for herself speaks volumes not only about the current administration, but also about what is considered important by the vast majority of the public.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Create your own Hell

So I came across this website while I was looking through some blogs tonight. I don't know if this will work from zohowriter, or if I'll have to go get on a public computer, but we're going to try an experiment here:

Militant Vegans
Circle I Limbo

Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Parents who bring squalling brats to R-rated movies
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Circle IV Rolling Weights

Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

Uday Hussein, Qusay Hussein
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Osama bin Laden
Circle VII Burning Sands

Saddam Hussein
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

George Bush
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

Top 100 Movies's top 100 movies of all time, listeds for your perusal. The ones that I've seen are in bold. I really need to see more movies!

1. Citizen Kane
2. Casablanca
3. The Godfather
4. Gone with the Wind
5. Lawrence of Arabia
6. The Wizard of Oz
7. The Graduate
8. On the Waterfront
9. Schindler's List
10. Singin' in the Rain
11. It's a Wonderful Life

12. Sunset Boulevard
13. The Bridge on the River Kwai
14. Some Like It Hot
15. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
16. All About Eve
17. The African Queen
18. Psycho
19. Chinatown
20. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
21. The Grapes Of Wrath
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey
23. The Maltese Falcon
24. Raging Bull
25. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
26. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
27. Bonnie and Clyde
28. Apocalypse Now
29. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
30. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
31. Annie Hall
32. The Godfather, Part II
33. High Noon
34. To Kill a Mockingbird
35. It Happened One Night
36. Midnight Cowboy
37. The Best Years of Our Lives
38. Double Indemnity
39. Doctor Zhivago
40. North by Northwest
41. West Side Story
42. Rear Window
43. King Kong
44. The Birth of a Nation
45. A Streetcar Named Desire
46. A Clockwork Orange
47. Taxi Driver
48. Jaws
49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
51. The Philadelphia Story
52. From Here to Eternity
53. Amadeus
54. All Quiet on the Western Front
55. The Sound of Music
56. M*A*S*H
57. The Third Man
58. Fantasia
59. Rebel Without a Cause
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark
61. Vertigo
62. Tootsie
63. Stagecoach
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
65. The Silence of the Lambs
66. Network
67. The Manchurian Candidate
68. An American in Paris
69. Shane
70. The French Connection
71. Forrest Gump
72. Ben-Hur
73. Wuthering Heights
74. The Gold Rush
75. Dances with Wolves
76. City Lights
77. American Graffiti
78. Rocky
79. The Deer Hunter
80. The Wild Bunch
81. Modern Times
82. Giant
83. Platoon
84. Fargo
85. Duck Soup
86. Mutiny on the Bounty
87. Frankenstein
88. Easy Rider
89. Patton
90. The Jazz Singer
91. My Fair Lady
92. A Place in the Sun
93. The Apartment
94. GoodFellas
95. Pulp Fiction
96. The Searchers
97. Bringing Up Baby
98. Unforgiven
99. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lortab Ramblings

I took the day off of work so that I could get a tooth pulled. Sure, I could have made it in by about 1 PM and worked for a half day. But the tooth-ripper-outer had the powers to write me a prescription for Lortabs - which I promptly filled and started using. I'm sure that after you read this post, you'll agree that I would not have been in the frame of mind to properly represent either the government that pays me or the library profession. Well, at least not represent them well. ************************************************ I think I mentioned that I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago. I signed up at Curves, in the hopes that by the time summer got here I would not look like a top heavy pear wearing a bathing suit. I've noticed that there are many encouraging things people will tell you about working out on a regular basis. So far, I think it's just a lot of bunk that people make up to make themselves feel better about working out. Examples: Encouraging Item: Working out releases endorphins, which are miraculous little things that make you feel good. Truth: Working out makes you release massive amounts of sweat, which are miraculous little molecules that make you smell very...interesting. Encouraging Item: Working out gives you energy. Truth: Working out makes you feel like the most energetic thing you want to do is disolve into a hot tub with a glass of wine. Encouraging Item: The longer you do it, the easier it gets. Truth: The longer you pay your gym membership, the more guilty you feel when you don't go to the gym for a couple of days. Encouraging Item: After a while, you will actually look forward to going to the gym. Truth: This has to be a flat out lie. Granted, I've only been torturing myself toning up for a few weeks, but I see nothing that leads me to believe this could possibly be true. ******************************************* Hypothetical situation: If you take a lortab on an empty stomach (which is against the directions on the bottle, but - I have hole in my gums. The thought of eating made me naseaus), and then go cruising around the internet looking for a fun, simple game to keep you occupied, and you come across a game called Lucky Balls you will burst into hysterical laughter. Could they really not expend the energy to come up with a better name? It sounds like either a board game you'd buy in an adult book store or party favors for a bachelorette party. ********************************************* I'm watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'd forgotten how much I loved this show when it was originally on. There's another couple of episodes on, and my original plans were to lay on the couch and mindlessly watch the TV - since Hubby's at work, and I temporarily have control of the TV. But I forgot that after an hour or so Lortabs make me edgy and restless. Since we're under a tornado watch - which is almost guaranteed to turn into a Tornado warning in a few hours - I think I'll go clean out the laundry room. It's our place of safety, but it's also where the litter box is. If I'm going to get sucked into a tornado, I don't mind being doped up on pills at the time, but I really don't want to be inhaling dirty cat litter.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sometimes, The Bible Just Gets Me Into Trouble

It's my own fault. I shouldn't engage people in conversations. Theproblem is that I just enjoy a good argument about a book every now andthen. Living in The South, the one book that everyone has read at leasta bit of is The Bible. Somehow, even after years of living in The Southsurrounded by fundamentalist Christians, I forget that they haven'tread it as a book to be explored, discussed and analyzed; instead, manypeople around me read it and believe its every word.
Maybe it's aconsequence of going to Catholic schools, where they taught us to lookbeyond the meaning of the words on the pages - I specifically rememberFather Scott explaining it as "Do you really thinkJonah spent three days in the belly of a whale?" - to figure out themain point of the stories as a whole. Maybe it's the fact that I feelthe need to justify my English degree by having good debates overwritten words every once in a while. Maybe it's my father's family'sgenes coming out - they love a good argument discussion.

On my March weekend at the library, I worked with a woman who is a lotmore religious than I knew about. When we came in on Sunday she asked me if it would be ok if she asked me some questions about theCatholic Church. I wouldn't call my self a Defender of the Church (Ithink the British monarchs still lay claim to that title - even thoughthey're not Catholic any more. But that's another story), or even anApologist - but I have knows so many people in this state that havewarped opinions about the Church as a whole and Catholics inparticular, that I've gotten used to the "let's put the Catholic undera microscope" routine.

So this lady, umm...Jenny, started out by asking me if it's true thatCatholics call their priests "Father." This was about the tamestquestion I've gotten, so I said sure; it's a sign of respect and thatmy priest is Father So-and-So. Her response?
"Then the Catholic Church clearly doesn't follow The Bible where it says "You shall call no man Father."

I looked at her. I have heard, many times, the opinion thatCatholics aren't Christian - most memorably from a worker at aChristian book store. I had never had any one go about it in quite thisway. She went on to ask several more questions - drinking alcoholicbeverages really shocked her, especially when she found out that wineis used in church, not grape juice. After each answer I gave, she'dgive me some quote from The Bible and tell me that Catholics don'tfollow THE BOOK. Finally, she asked what book Catholics base theirreligion on. When I said the Bible, she laughed at me, and said that ifwe were Christians we would follow the Bible, but it was pretty clearwe didn't, so therefore we must not be.

None of this particularly upset me - people have their religious ideaspretty well formed in their head, and it's pretty rare that you canchange them. And I do not feel the need to proselytize or convertanyone. But I'm always up for a good debate. And that's when I get intotrouble, especially on a slow Sunday afternoon at work. I couldn't stopmyself from asking what she thought about all the times that The Biblecontradicts itself - and then giving examples. And then trying to getinto a discussion about different translations of the Bible. Which ledher to explain to me that if people were translating it correctly inthe first place, then every translation would be exactly the same. Andthis is where I forced myself to stop having the conversation, and walkaway to find something else to do. It's simply no fun to have aphilosophical discussion with someone who only believes that onephilosophy is correct and worth discussing.

So why bring all of this up three weeks later? For a couple of reasons.The first is simple - since I got back from vacation (and I've onlyworked 3 full days so far) she has left me several pages of quotes fromthe Bible on my desk. I'm still trying to figure out what point theyprove, because they seem to contradict each other. I'm certainly notgoing to ask any questions! :)
But this conversation has beenbouncing around my head, and I don't know why. She certainly didn'tinsult me or my personal beliefs (I may go to a Catholic Church, butI'm basically just a really great Agnosticat this point in my life). I'm smart enough to know better than toenter conversations like this with people that I don't know very well. A friend of mine told me the reason this whole thing is stillbouncing around my
brain really very simple: for 9 years, I was surrounded by academics atschool and in my personal life. I basically learned to question,analyze and discuss things 18 out of every 24 hours. Now I'm workingwith a lot of people who don't feel that need, but I (apparently) missthe intellectual stimulation, so I'm trying to drum it out of peoplethat can't give it to me.

Well, I don't know about all that - for one thing it makes me soundreally smart, so I kinda thought she was being a smart ass. But itsounds good, so I'll think about it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Needs of the Few Outweigh the Needs of the Many

Or in this case, What the Few Want, the Few Get, Regardless of What the Many Need. There are so many sentences and facts in this article from the NY Times that make me upset with our current administration.
  1. "The first data to document the effect of President Bush's tax cuts forinvestment income show that they have significantly lowered the taxburden on the richest Americans, reducing taxes on incomes of more than$10 million by an average of about $500,000."
  2. "Among taxpayers with incomes greater than $10 million, the amount bywhich their investment tax bill was reduced averaged about $500,000 in2003, and total tax savings, which included the two Bush tax cuts oncompensation, nearly doubled, to slightly more than $1 million."
  3. "These taxpayers, whose average income was $26 million, paid about thesame share of their income in income taxes as those making $200,000 to$500,000 because of the lowered rates on investment income."
  4. "The savings from the investment tax cuts are expected to be larger in subsequent years because of gains in the stock market."
Some lawmakers are showing some sense, though. Massachusetts has passed legislation that will make them the first state in the nation with 100% health care coverage. Let's hope that they have done their homework and passed a law that won't penalize the poor for being poor. And if it works, let's hope some other states take notice.

Maybe I should stop reading the newspapers on my breaks....

Whacky Stories of the Day

#1. From Reuters:
Anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxidriver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said on Wednesday.
Detectives halted the London-bound flight at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Harraj Mann, 24, was taken off.

#2. From NPR's blog, Mixed Signals:
Apparently the new director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, has hired more than 700 people to work under him. (Way to cut through the bureaucracy, buddy.) Among the positions he's created: the principal assistant deputy director of national intelligence for customer outcomes. Take that al-Qaida!

#3 From Shakespeare's Sister  - you should really go read the whole thing on her blog; this is just the beginning of it:
Bush: Death Preferable to Non-Procreative Sex
That’s the only logical conclusion. When criminalized abortion is preferable to safe and legal abortions, when abstinence education is advocated in favor of comprehensive sex ed even in the face of evidencethat kids who go through abstinence courses are more likely to have unsafe sex, when a vaccine against an STD that causes cervical cancer is squashed because eliminating the threat would “encourage casual sex,” when a possible HIV prevention pill is criticized for the same reason, there is no other conclusion other than conservatives would rather see you dead than having recreational sex. Period.
And now, to add to the mounting evidence, this: Bush’s AIDS prevention plan is eroding prevention efforts—including mother-to-child transmissions—because it requires such a large percentage of the funding to go to abstinence and fidelity promotion.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Candy Fun

I was looking for candy statistics and facts for someone (don't ask), and I came across this info. I had to share, cause I just love fun facts! Throw in the Candy Calculator, and you're ready for a good time.

  • Amount the average American spends on Candy - $84
  • Amount of candy consumed annually by the average American = 23.9 pounds
  • Amount of chocolate candy annually consumed by the average American - 11.6 pounds
  • Percentage of the world's almonds that end up in chocolate - 40%
  • Percentage of candy sales that are impulse buys - 55%
  • Rank of Holidays listed by Candy Sales : 1. Halloween 2. Easter 3. Christmas 4. Valentine's Day
  • Typical color distribution in the M&M's : Blue 10%, Green 10%, Red 20%, yellow 20%, brown 30%
  • Largest Per capita candy consumption in the world: Denmark
  • Largest per capita chocolate consumption in the world: Switzerland


For all of those who don't know it, a librarian is a person whose purpose in the library is to help users/patrons/customers/whatever-name-we're-giving-them-this-week find the information they're looking for. Yes, we have many side projects that make us look busy. We have to scan in books, read professional stuff, tidy things up, file things away, do research for many different reasons - but our primary goal, especailly those in public libraries, is to help patrons. That's why we're here. If we didn't want to do that, we'd become specialized researchers and go work for some fancy professor at a research university somewhere and make twice as much money. But we like people, so we're here to help YOU! As an added bonus, we get to make little marks on our statistics charts every time someone asks us a question. The more hash marks on our charts, the busier it looks like we've been (even if we're just being asked where the newspapers are 10 times an hour), and the more our bosses like us.

So this study that just came out of the San Francisco area is really frustrating. This is the statistic that caught my eye and started this little rampage (the bolds are all my doing):
To put all these means scores into perspective, 77 percent of residents responded that they would be either “Much more” or “Somewhat more likely” to use the library if it “Offered customer service to help you find what you’re looking for,” whereas only 43 percent replied that they would be either “Much more” or “Somewhat more likely” to use the library if it “Provided links to online booksellers such as”
They think we don't offer customer service? grrrr.....

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Trip, Part One

The pictures from the first two days of our trip are up on Flickr.
Warning: Long Post Ahead!

We left Birmingham's airport on Friday afternoon and flew into Philadelphia, a sprawling airport. We had a couple of hours to kill, so we ate some Japanese food - that immediately made us feel bloated beyond belief - and found a replica of the Liberty Bell made entirely out of Lego’s. It was pretty cool, so I took some pictures of it, 'cause it was so cool.

The flight to Amsterdam was easy, thanks to the dose of Nyquil I took as soon as the plane was in the sky. Sleeping on planes is not an easy thing to do, so I always give it a little help. :) And the plane we were on - a US Air flight - was one of the most cramped seating positions I've ever had. I was totally spoiled last year by KLM. I don't think Hubby was able to sleep at all, but Nyquil did its wonders and I was sound asleep by the time they came around with the dinner cart. Judging by the breakfast they served a few hours later, that was probably a good thing.

We got to our hotel around noon and dropped off our luggage. We had three hours to kill before we could get into our room, so we walked around and reacquainted ourselves with the city. I love the fact that Amsterdam is so easy to get around. After a couple of hours - a wee bit of shopping - we stopped for lunch at some little place in an side street. Robert had some pancakes topped with rum raisins that had him tipsy by the time he was finished with them. I stuck with a bowl of some great goulash and bread. By the time we finished wandering and eating, we were both tired so we went back to the hotel for a power nap. Our hotel is only a street over from the red light district, and the street outside of our window was busy day and night. There was a church right across from us - which annoyed Hubby to no end, because they played chimes every 15 minutes. Sunday morning, the bells rang for a solid hour! I tuned it out pretty easily and fell asleep.

After our nap we wondered around the red light district for a while and took a very romantic stroll along the canals. We stopped in at a couple of different bars and tried a couple of the yummy beers - which passed for our dinner; as Hubby says, it's basically liquid bread. :) By midnight we were ready to sleep again, so we went back to the hotel and crashed.

Sunday morning we slept in - at least until the hour-long bell-ringing-fest started. I really like the breakfast they have at the hotel - about 5 or 6 types of bread, 3 or 4 cheeses, several types of meat (sliced super thin like we would use for sandwiches), a big bowl of fruit, a couple of huge bowls of yogurt. You can toast your bread, but it takes awhile on their roller-toaster thing. We gorged ourselves so we could be cheap and only eat one more meal that day. After a quick email check, we were off to find the Rijksmuseum. We only had a general idea what direction it was in, and it was a little farther than we had ever wondered before. We decided to be really adventurous and not even take a map. After all, if we got lost, we might find really cool stuff!

After a lot of walking, we stopped at bar, bought a couple of beers and sat outside to watch the passersby. We asked the pubkeep for directions, and I was really excited to find out that even though we had clearly taken the long way from our hotel (read: we walked 4 miles, when we could have walked 2) we were very close. The museum was great, even though most of it was closed for renovations. They have an exhibit up right now through the end of May an bunch of stuff that at one point was attributed to Rembrandt, but has subsequently been proven NOT to be his work. There was a pamphlet that detailed how they had figured this out on every painting, so you could see the steps they took. After about an hour and a half, we realized that it was now late afternoon and we had to walk back to the hotel and get something to eat. So we continued on our journey, taking a completely different (and much shorter) way back.

It wasn't long before we came up to a little plaza with men sitting around playing chess, and a couple of men standing playing on a board that had been painted on the ground, using chess pieces about 2 feet high. They had a crowd gathered around, so we stood and watched for awhile. Chess - unless you're a fanatic - really isn't that interesting to watch for extended periods of time, though, so we walked on. And that's when I saw one of my favorite sights of the whole trip:

This translates as "A Wise Man Does Not Piss Into The Wind." Words of wisdom for everyone. A few minutes later we passed by a really pretty park, that had some little statues of lizards all over the place. I have no idea if they are supposed to mean something (maybe the lizard is sacred to the Dutch for some reason?), but they were cute. A little bit more walking and we came to the Flower Market, a huge outdoor market, devoted to....wait for I wanted to buy bulbs, seeds, plants - but the US really frowns on people bringing those into the country, so we just strolled around it for awhile.

Thirty minutes later and we were back in "our" part of the city. I felt like dressing for dinner, so we went to the hotel so I could get prettied up, then found an Italian restaurant. A couple of bottles of wine later, we were done with some incredible pasta and went out to do some touristy shopping. It was still pretty early, so we hit a couple more bars, chatted a bit with a couple of locals, then went back to the hotel to have a nightcap at the bar in the lobby. We had to get to bed, because the next day we were bound for Paris on a 9 AM train.

The adventure will continue....

Google Romance?

Update: To the 100+ people who have stopped by here today via the Google Blog's reference list and are still pouring through at about 10 an hour: yeah, I finally got it. I was a little slow on this one. I bow to Google's ability to suck me in and sell me ocean front property in Arizona. I would try to use the excuse that I completely forgot it was April Fool's day...but that would make me look even lamer than I already do. Enjoy. Have you tried, and all the others, and you still haven't found your one true love? Don't worry - the company that handles all things Internet has finally come up with their own matchmaking service. Google Romance is now alive and well in beta testing....

When you think about it, love is just another search problem. And we’ve thought about it. A lot. Google Romanceis our solution.
Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using our Soulmate Search, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life. Then we'll send you both on a Contextual Date, which we'll pay for while delivering to you relevant ads that we and our advertising partners think will help produce the dating results you're looking for.
Can Google really do romance? This is what they posted on their offical blog:
Does it really work? Ask our internal beta testers -- if you can findthem, that is. Not a single one has shown up for work in days.
Is there anything they can't do?

Geeky Librarian Humor

I got this off of Library Avengers while I was working the desk tonight, and K. and I had to take it. We were laughing out loud by the end of it, proving - before we even tallied our scores - that we are, indeed, geeky enough to be a librarian. Which is good, since we both are. I scored a 14. How 'bout you?

Am I Geeky enough to be a Librarian?



1. I enjoy acronyms.



2. I own a cat.



3. When confronted with a pile of books I think “Hmm…first I would sort by author, then by title.”



4. I am obsessive enough to appreciate the difference between 345.065 and 345.605.



5. I possess a useless undergraduate degree.



6. Being surrounded by books makes me lather with delight.



7. The idea of someone preventing me from reading Orwell because they don’t like it strikes me as…Orwellian.



8. I am comfortable with the Internets.



9. If my house caught on fire, one of the things I would grab is my favorite book.



10. I possess a useless graduate degree.



11. I can daisy-chain a herd of Ubuntu boxes faster than you can say FreeBSD



12. These kids today. I swear. If they would just read a damn book once in awhile, they wouldn’t be blowing each other up so much.



13. I could find out the middle name of your high school boyfriend with just ten minutes on the Internet.



14. I could find out the first line of A Tale of Two Cities with just ten seconds on the Internet.



15. I know the first line of A Tale of Two Cities.



16. I am a disenfranchised intellectual.



17. The idea of arming the public with knowledge appeals to me more than, say, arming them with pitchforks and torches.



18. I would rather do something cool than get rich.



19. I possess a useless doctoral degree.



20. I can say “Colon classification” without laughing.




Under 5 = I think the “We hate libraries” meeting is down the hall.
5-10 = You are geeky, but can you HANDLE the acronyms?
10-15 = I’ve got some library school applications under my desk you big dork
15-20 = Quit your job immediately! Grab the nearest child and teach him to read! Oh, and start stocking up on acid-free paper.

National Workplace Napping Day

Did you know that today is National Napping Day? This annual event that no one has ever heard of started in 1999 or 2000 (depending on which of the above links you choose to believe), and takes place on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time begins. It's a way to get back into the swing of things. Personally, I think naps should be mandatory, just like lunch breaks. I'm a much happier person in the afternoon if I can have about 30 minutes to shut my eyes and ignore the world. Instead of napping, I usually start my second coffee treatment of the day about an hour after lunch. Sometimes, my first coffee treatment hasn't ended, and the two kind of merge together into one big caffeine orgy in my bloodstream. I think a nap would be healthier.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I can't believe how fast the last week went by. We had a fantastic time, and I'll probably spend many hours over the next couple of days putting all the photos up on Flickr. It's so much fun to go back through everything that we did and relive it. So be warned: over the next day or two, an extremely long post or two about what I've been up to for the past week will show up here. For now, here are some basic things to whet your appetite: 1.) If you walk around early enough in the morning in Amsterdam, you will see a puddle of vomit on the ground somewhere. 2.) French protests are a great place to take pictures of people dressed up as vikings. They are also a good place to get pictures of riot police. 3.) The top of the Eiffel Tower is really freaking high off the ground. 4.) When you're on an airplane, it's dark outside, you hit turbulance while going through a cloud - and this causes the plane's outside lights to flash madly as they reflect off the cloud - and the guy behind you yells "This is it! We're Going Down! Hold on Everyone!" etc, you will feel an urge to turn around and smash him in the mouth with your digital camera. DO NOT DO IT. Even as he starts The Final Countdown to landing (and is wrong), remember that airport security will eventually find you.