Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The NSA is Driving me Crazy

Last week, we found out that the NSA was spying on people and listening to phone conversations. Luckily, george was there to put the fear of the Republicans into people, with his "shame on the people who let you know I was spying on you" speech. This week, we find out that the NSA has been putting cookies on the computers of people who visit their website. Despite the fact that there are specific legislations and laws to prevent the federal government from doing precisely this. Even more fun - the cookies weren't set to expire until 2035. I'll grant you the fact that people who are concerned about cookies will clean out their files often enough that this won't be a problem. You can increase the security levels on your browser so that cookies can't be set. Some people apparently don't see what the NSA was doing as a problem (and to be really fair - they've fixed the problem). "Some people", however, are overlooking something very important: It is illegal for the government to do this. There is federal legislation to prevent this very thing from happening. And there are very good reasons for this lesgislation to be in existance. My question: how many people think that anything will come of it? I know it's naive, but when people - especially the people whom we expect to uphold our laws - break our laws, I expect punishment. Maybe they should all spend the next three years in time out. And to be even more naive, I don't expect my government to track what I do on my phone or on my computer. I thought that privacy actually meant that what I do is private. That if I wanted to look at cartoons of an airplane being forced to make an emergency landing over Crawford Texas while the president was riding his mule and the plane accidentally landed on said mule with said president caught in the middle like the colby on a grilled cheese sandwich, that I could do so in the comfort of my own home without the fear that the Men in Black might notice. (No, there isn't such a cartoon - don't you think I would have linked to it if there were?). I don't want to become a paranoid crazy woman muttering "they're everywhere, they're looking at me." But george is driving me in that direction.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I've been reading a lot of the coverage of the fact that our dear george has let the government spy on people with my usual amount of outrage and indignance. It's one thing for me to know that I could potentially be monitored every moment of my work day - I signed a form when I was hired that says all computer and phone activity are subject to monitoring. If I had had enough of a problem with that, I wouldn't have taken the job. But it's a different matter altogether for the government to just jump into my personal space, unannounced and uninvited. In the middle of my indignance, I read an article that makes the comment that Cheney should go back and re-read the constitution, when it hit me: George is so bad at his job not only because he's an idiot, but also because he hasn't read the constitution. Either that, or he did read it but didn't ask for someone to explain it to him. I'm pretty sure that the language would be over his head. Either way, he's an idiot. A very powerful, very dangerous, one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What a Week.

Whew. Over the past two days, I've overseen what I have named the Annual Periodicals Migration Drive (or APMD for short). It's not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. At the end of the year, we have to move a year's worth of bound periodicals from one floor to another. That's about 1500 titles that are moved. At an average of about 4.5 volumes per title, that's a lot of freakin' books. And when I say oversee, I don't mean to imply that I had a huge staff doing it, with me waving them in different directions. It just sounds better when I say 'oversee.' I've moved more books in the past tw odays than I ever hope to again. And I know that the week before Christmas next year will bring the same thing. The year after that I hope to have gotten a promotion. OF course, this APMD week, I've burned a lot of calories. Shed a lot of sweat. So I've looked at it as an effort to burn those Christmas dinner calories before I eat them. Maybe that way, I'll be the same size after Christmas as I was a week before. :) Good news: My sis is coming for a holiday visit! Not on Christmas day, but we'll work on that another year. There's a remote chance that all my brothers and sisters will be together with my parents for the 3rd time in a year. That's a new record since someone went and moved to Florida all those years ago. :) Maybe next year, we'll break it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Just for fun

You scored 43 masculinity and 70 femininity!
You scored high on femininity and low on masculinity. You have a traditionally feminine personality.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 12% on masculinity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 76% on femininity
Link: The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test written by weirdscience on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Per the requests, here's the recipe for one of the best cheesecakes I've ever eaten. Nothing will ever beat mom's homemade cheesecake - but this comes darn close. It's VERY rich, but yummmmy. My sis's pumpkin latte's would be the perfect drink to go with it, too. Crust ingredients: 1⅓ cup Chocolate Graham Cracker Crumbs ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted 1 Tbsp Splenda ½ tsp cinnamon 4 squares of Milk Chocolate Baker’s Chocolate, divided Cheesecake 3 packages cream cheese, softened 1 can of pumpkin 1 cup Sugar (I used Splenda, and it tasted great) ¼ cup Brown sugar 4 eggs ½ cup evaporated milk 2 Tbsp cornstarch. 1 tsp ground Cinnamon ½ tsp Allspice ⅛ tsp Nutmeg Crust: Mix these ingredients together and press evenly around the bottom of a springform pan. Crush 2 oz of chocolate into small pieces and sprinkle over crust. Set aside In a small saucepan, melt milk chocolate, stirring constantly. DO NOT BURN! Set aside. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, pumpkin and both sugars til smooth. Add eggs, milk, cornstarch and spices and beat until well incorporated. Remove ¾ cup of pumpkin mixture and pour into melted chocolate. Stir completely and thoroughly. Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into pan evenly. Spoon the chocolate/pumpkin mixture over the top, and swirl to create a marbled effect. Bake in a 350° oven for 50-60 minutes. The middle should not be completely set when you remove the cheesecake from the oven. Cool completely and refrigerate. Hint: the best topping in the world for this French Vanilla Whipped Topping, with a slight sprinkle of cinnamon. Don’t even ask about calories and fat grams – you don’t want to know. I use fat free cream cheese and splenda. But the fat-free stuff ups the calorie and carb count. Oh well, it’s the holidays.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Liebrary Board Game

To go with my theme of books, I present: The Liebrary Board Game. Be nerdy and creative at the same time.

The Weekend

Things to do on my last 4 day weekend before I go to work full time: Friday: Major Wal-Mart trip. I'm wrapping up Christmas shopping this weekend. Not to mention we are dangerously low on caffeine supplies, 3 of the basic food groups....and we're having friends over to dinner. Major Wal-Mart trip. Publix trip. Yes, they're 6 miles and ten minutes further than Wal-Mart. But I would build a temple and worship at their produce isle if I could. I think I'll just buy some fresh leafy stuff instead, though. And some good wines. And coffee. Clean House. Ick. Maybe I'll open one of my wines to get me through that. For every room, I'll get one glass. Or maybe a half glass - I'll have to cook later. (I have a small house, but still....) Cook dinner. Not sure what yet. Definitely steamed spinach. Sautéed mushrooms. Stuffed Zucchini sounds good, but it's a bit time consuming. (note to self: buy an extra bottle of wine as incentive to stuff zucchini) And maybe I'll get hubby to spring for some lamb at Publix. He loves their meats as much as I love their fruits and veggies. Hmmm. He'd probably like some fried rice too. Drink some wine, and have a good time with Clark. It's the last time we'll see him til we meet up with him in France at the end of March. He's leaving next week to visit family before he leaves the country for four months, so I know we'll be up and talking late. Saturday: Time to REALLY finish the shopping with Stacey. I know I have to get two things at the mall, which will be wonderfully crowded and frenzied. Then Joann's is having a big sale on Christmas stuff. I'm singing Saturday night, then selling the CD's at church, so I'll have to be there by 4:30. Then home to finish leftovers and wine from Friday. Sunday: I'll be at church pretty much all day. I'm selling our Christmas CDs before and after all 4 masses. The choir is having the annual Christmas brunch that day, too, so I'll be running out to that for an hour. I'll have time to go catch the sales at the Wal-greens after the 2nd mass, maybe have time to run to Barnes & Noble in the afternoon after the Hispanic mass. Home by 6:30 after the LifeTeen one. Did I mention that Sunday's our first anniversary? That means a good Italian dinner, guessed it. More wine. Monday: Sleep in with hubby, letting the effects of anniversary celebrations slowly seep from my brain til it's not painful to think about actually getting out of bed. Curse the fact that I have to go hit the on button on the coffee machine to make the damn thing start brewing (note to self: set up coffee maker before going to dinner on Sunday). Force myself to make it to my 11:30 dentist appointment for more fun with needles and sharp implements. Then we get StepSon for 3 days, so I know I'll be doing some cooking. And I need to bake about 6 dozen cookies, because apparently everyone at my new job exchanges stuff like that for Christmas presents. Think I'll do Mexican Wedding Rings and Christmas Trees and Wreaths. Maybe I'll even get StepSon to help decorate them. Ha. He's way too cool for that one.

Me and Books

Well, was tagged by big sis Karen for this, so here are 15 facts about me and books: 1.) The first time I read Gone With The Wind (early teens???) I was really ticked off. I had seen the movie over and over (I probably heard it in the womb and fell in love with it at that point, as it's one of my mom's favorite movies too). I assumed they told the whole story in the movie, and found out that they left out, among other things, some of Scarlet's children. It was my first experience with the big differences between a book and its movie - and it made me mad. 2.) Continuing the GWTW theme, remember the year that The Wind Done Gone came out? My sis and I loved the title of the book - had a good laugh at how clever it was on my summer vacation. That year, totally unplanned, we bought each other the same thing for Christmas - a copy of TWDG. We both agree the title is the best part of the book, too. 3.) My favorite book of all time is Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. I read it in high school for some class or the other, and loved it. I still cry when I get to the end, too. 4.) Yes, I cry when I read good books. The first book that made me sob, though, was Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor. I was about 14 or 15 (had to sneak that one - see the next point for how I got it), my grandparents were visiting, and I finished it one night after dinner after sneaking down to my room to read. Then I had to go upstairs and explain why my face was all splotchy. 5.)When I was about 14, my grandmother started sneaking my romance novels. Every time I saw her, she'd have three or four for me. Some were nice big historicals, others were Harlequins. All different types. The first time she gave me a stack of them - and they always came in one of those small brown paper bags, the kind you used to take your lunch in to school - she whispered "we won't tell your mom. And nothing's like the books say it is." I was in shock. But I read the books, and took her some on our next visit. 6.)A few years ago, one of my siblings expressed the opinion that "if books have been banned, it's probably for a good reason." Two months later, all of her children got banned books for Christmas presents. 7.) I have a really hard time using library books. Yes, I'm a librarian. Books that I use for research are one thing. And I do not work in a library that has a lot of fiction, so I don't read much of our collection in my spare time. Using the Public Library is really hard for me, because once I've read a book I think it's mine. I don't want to give it up - I want it to be there, on my shelf, so that I can go and pick it up and revisit the characters whenever I want. 8.) As a result of #7, I once paid the Hoover Public Library over $200 in fines - after only having a library card there for three months (this was about 6 or 7 years ago). I decided it would just be cheaper to buy the books myself. Yes, it makes me a bad librarian. I don't care. I'll just buy my books. 9.) I don't remember learning to read. I've been doing it as long as I remember, and I used to get really frustrated in the reading circles in 1st and 2nd grade with the kids who had to sound out every word. I wanted to know what happened, and I couldn't turn the page until everyone was ready to. 10.) I got in trouble more times in the 4th grade for reading during class than any other year. I got in trouble every year, but in the 4th grade I set my record (and no I don't remember how many times - I finally threw away the journals I had in grade school, and that's where the numbers were). 11.) The Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books are some of the best books ever written. I don't remember how old I was when I read them the first time, but I can still picture the shelf that held them in the children's section of the library my mom took me to (back when she made sure I would return things so she didn't have to pay the fines). In fact, when I graduated from college I went on eBay and bought the entire set, complete with the original cardboard holder. Then I spent a Saturday re-reading them all. My best friend thought I was nuts - I got a degree in English and read children's books. 12.) I have a really hard time loaning out books. I'm afraid that I'll never get them back. If I let you borrow a book, it's a compliment. With some of my friends, I'll just buy them a cheap copy (Not that I have expensive 1st editions or anything - but they're mine!) Yes, it's psychotic. 13.) One of my favorite books is The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. I read it in college, and I still re-read it every couple of years. I even did a paper on meta-fiction as a result of it. 14.) The first romance novel I ever read was Wild Southern Rose by Caroline Bourne. I got it and The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss at the same time, but I don't remember how or where. I have a feeling I might have snagged them from my older sister's room (sorry, Karen - I still have TFATF, if you want it back - but it's falling apart). 15.) I read the entire Flowers in the Attic series by VC Andrews on the sly. I don't know how old I was, but I was sneaking it off my sister Kathy's shelf (we shared a room at the time) at night while she worked. Mom caught me with one of the books when I fell asleep with it one night and she found me in the morning. It was too late, though, because it was the last book in the series. So I finished it by the time I was 13 and Kathy moved out. I think that's where I got the idea to snag the romances in # 14 from Karen.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Death Penalty Thoughts

I've never agreed with the death penalty. The thought that by killing someone you are somehow writing a wrong seems extremely medieval to me. Two wrongs never make a right, and killing someone should be avoided at all costs. The recent media binge on Stanley "Tookie" Williams seems even worse, though. It makes me question the entire reason we have a prison system. I did a paper last year on prison libraries, and learned a bit about the history of prison systems as a result. Prisons were originally meant to places of rehabilitation and reform. Yes, the inmate is being punished for whatever wrong he did (in Williams' case it was murder). But at the same time he is denied the right to most of his freedoms, he is also supposed to be learning a lesson. Learning that crime is wrong, to put it in very simplistic terms. Hopefully, when he is released back into society, he will be able to live a crime free life - because he learned his lesson in prison. The death penalty says that a certain individual has no possible hope of reform. He is judged to be beyond hope of being a decent human being ever again, then locked away for years to await death. Death is his punishment, and it is much easier than trying to rehabilitate someone. (In Williams' case it took them 11 minutes to find the vein - but we are a civilized people. It would have been quicker and more humane to just use the guillotine.) Killing someone does not make the world a better place. In fact, it puts you on the same level as the person you are killing. Sometimes, it puts you at a lower level. But is the death penalty effective? In his book, The Death Penalty: A World Wide Perspective, Roger Hood writes: It is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment. Hood's book is a good place to learn about the death penalty. He has gathered all kinds of statistics on the countries of the world that do and do not use capital punishment. In fact, the countries with the lowest crime rates in the world have outlawed the death penalty. The so called 'civilized' world has rejected capital punishment as an effective means to prevent future crimes. Take a look at these lists - I'll put a shortened version here: Countries that have outlawed the death penalty: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela. Countries that still use the death penalty: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, People's Republic of China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Ghana,Iran, Iraq, Japan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe. There's a proverb I learned in my Spanish classes that seems appropriate here: Dime con quien andes, y te dire con quien eres. Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who are.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Writing, and more importantly: THE CD!!!

Oh how easy it has been not to write for the last week! Yesterday on my lunch break I started getting the itch, though, so I ate fast and found one of the public computers in a corner. I won't get much chance to put anything on paper for the next few days. Tonight is DH's department Christmas party (you should see the oh-so-yummy-and-incredibly-unhealthy Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake I made...), and half of tomorrow morning will probably be spent sleeping off the effects of that, as I'm sure a couple of people will come back to our house with us for more party fun. Tomorrow there's the shopping, then a best bud from grade school is coming in that'll take up the weekend. Maybe I can push DH out the door to the gym in early afternoon and get a couple of hours in. But on to bigger and better news: THE CD IS HERE!! I AM HOLDING IT IN MY HAND !!! {deep breath} Ok, the CD that my choir made - "Love Came Down" - is a Christmas CD. All proceeds are going to St. Thomas on the Gulf in Long Beach, Mississippi. And may I say that it is one awesome CD? They cost $15 for one, or $12.50 apiece for two or more. Don't blame me for the weird pricing scheme. So what's on it you want to know? O Come All Ye Faithful Silent Night/Night of Silence (gorgeous duet w/ two of our teen choir members) Do You Hear What I Hear O Holy Night (solo!) Child of Mary (choral piece, but it starts with a duet that is!) Lo, How a Rose (has a solo descant part that!) Away in a Manger (unbelievable guitar piece by our choir director) Mary Did You Know (gorgeous solo by our Alto Diva) Joy to the World Let There Be Peace on Earth And a couple of others that I've forgotten. Ok, I'm done showing off now. But I had to get that off my chest, and hubby is getting very tired of hearing about the CD. ("The CD will be here next week!" ...."I may be late Wednesday, cause the CD will be at practice!"... "I'm on my way home, listening to the CD!" ...."I'm home, do you want to hear the CD?!!"....etc.)...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Tree Fun

We put up the tree this weekend, and it is a tree of depth and brilliance if I do say so myself. I say "we" put up the tree. It was only a joint operation in that my husband held the tree steady while I turned the screws in the stand. My step-son also grunted occassionaly when I asked if he would like to hand any ornaments. They both complained that they could not watch TV while I decorated - I MUST listen to Christmas music while I decorate, and I don't want to have to strain my ears to find Nat King Cole's voice among the shouts over whatever sports show is currently reporting things all wrong. But my house is now officially ready for Christmas. And do you know who is getting the most enjoyment out of the whole thing? The cats, of course. They think of the tree as one giant fun-stand that I must have put there for their entertainment. Their favorite game today is to play hide and seek around the trunk. So I'm starting the official count: instead of days to Christmas, I'm counting how many days my cats do not A.) kill themselves by chewing on electrical cords, B.) knock down the tree altogether or C.) give me a heart attack yelling at them. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lazy, lazy, lazy me....

I have done absolutely nothing productive today. Nothing. Not one word written on a story. Not one fact researched for a paper. Not one email opened that had absolutely anything to do with something resembling work or school. For the past two hours I have been on my couch. Cup of coffee beside me. Still in my robe. Favorite throw over my legs, with a cat curled up on my feet. Watching re-runs of Little House on the Prairie (or whichever follow-up series it is that Hallmark is currently showing - Laura's got a baby now, but it doesn't matter - almost every episode makes me cry) and now the Waltons are on (they just found out that John Boy is still alive after being MIA in WWII - I can tell this is going to be a tear jerker too). (Damn it, I stopped to watch for 45 seconds, and I'm crying. Wake up John Boy!!! It's your Mama! {sob, sob}). Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, lazy, lazy me. (I do not like the second john boy. he's missing the mole on his face for one thing.) but I have to go shopping soon. Tonight, I'm having Aunt Debbie's Fun Sleepover and Evening of Child Mania, Episode One. What that actually means is that six of my nieces and nephews are spending the night (Wake UP JOHN BOY!!!) and that I'll be busy stuffing them full of the most un-healthy food I have on hand and letting them watch movies that their mother would disapprove of. Opps, forgot my sister may occassionally stop by here and read. Oh well, by that time I'll have her children and there's nothing she'll be able to do about it. Anyway, I anticipate that the evening will end with at least one child not liking the fact that I have two cats that like to prowl around at night. Followed by at least one child not liking the fact that I'm sleeping on the only available couch while they sleep on the floor. After that, I'll probably threaten them with barley for breakfast if they don't go to sleep, at which point they will all giggle uncontrollably for at least 20 minutes before falling into oblivion. I'm planning on them being up til who nows when, when in reality they'll probably be asleep by 11. Ok, this post is getting long enough to be work - and that's against the rules this morning. I need more coffee anyway, and... DAMN IT JOHN BOY WE ARE ALL CRYING, SOBBING IN OUR HANKIES WAITING FOR YOU TO MOVE YOUR EYES! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? WILL YOU EVER WAKE UP??? ********************************************************** Update, because I know you are as concerned about John Boy as I am: He has finally spoken. He's been asleep with his eyes open, and Olivia's been waiting for him to act alive. Now he does, and it cuts to commercial. And it looks like Olivia's found someone else to take home to the mountain to take care of and add to the crowd, but I have no idea what his name is. Oh yeah, he said "mama" - more tears, of course. I really need to get away from the TV

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Have you ever thought about the word "send"? Me either. Until about 2 minutes ago. That's when this four letter word became the most beautiful word in the world to me. In fact, it's now my word of the day. The point of all of this is that I just used that word in my email account to send one of the most beautiful emails of my life. I just sent my final project (it took 6 attachments, including one powerpoint and a link to a website that i created) to the instructors for my final class in my graduate program. My last act as a graduate student was to hit that one little button to email my papers. Hopefully, they won't ask for any clarifications, and I'm finished. Which means in about a month I'll be receiving a piece of paper in the mail that will be almost as valuable as my marriage certificate. My diploma. So today, the word "send" is the most beautiful word in the world to me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Coffee Breaks

Coffee breaks are great...but not always as productive as I'd like them to be. Today, I was going to work on wrapping up my final project for school....but I decided to see how many words I had for this NaNo thing. A little over a week ago, I figured out that I'd never make it to 50,000 words by the end of today. It took the pressure off, but I decided to keep writing anyway, just adding a few paragraphs here, a few pages there when I get chunks of time. I was able to write longhand in the car last week on the road trip, and got a few thousand words. But I never bothered to check and see what my total was. At the beginning of my break I decided to find out, just for giggles. After I converted the whole thing into a txt file and had the Nano site do a count I had - are you ready? - 43,565 words. Do you know what that means? That means that I now have about 12 hours to write another 6,435 words. I also have a project due tomorrow that is not complete. And my best friend is coming over for dinner. But I have to finish now. Because I am so frickin' close, that I can't give up. Even if I only have 50,000 words on the dot. Even if the last 2,000 words are even worse crap than some of the other words I've put in this monster. It will mean that I've done it. I have an hour lunch coming up, and another break this afternoon. Then, I may not sleep tonight. But it's all worth it, right? {breaks into Billy Joel} You have to learn to pace yourself.....PRESSURE.....

Caption the photo

Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
I have no clue what I'm thinking here or why I'm making faces. And it's anyone's guess as to what Robert is whispering in my ear - probably something indecent, knowing him. And with my Darling Mama only a few feet away too! Why do pictures always seem to catch me with crazy, goofy and weird expressions on my face?

We had an unbelievably good time in Florida for Thanksgiving, and ate an equally unbelievable amount of food. It's been back to the grindstone since we got home, though - my final school projects are due tomorrow morning. I'm sooooo close! After that, I'm sure I'll have more time to rant and rave.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Almost Thanksgiving....

This is the longest, slowest moving morning of the year. I'm at work, waiting for it to be noon so I can go home, get my husband and head to my sister's house for Thanksgiving with the family. I want it to be 12 pm NOW! Actually, I want it to be about 10 PM tonight, but I'll take what I can get. Unfortunately, what I have is a list of almost-but-not-quite legible citations, missing key pieces of information to boot, that I have to get organized for our ILL office. It's exactly the kind of wild goose chase that I love to take my time with. I've done three of them, but the clock has only moved 15 minutes. This kind of work usually makes the time fly by, not drag on like the apocalypse is around the corner! I purposely put off all my not-extremely-important mundane chores to do today, because they always make the time go faster, but so far that plan is not working. It's my week to file the new reference books and that usually takes a couple of hours. Today there were only 5 books so it took about 20 minutes. After I've finished the rest of these citations, all I'll have left to do is finish getting ready for my briefing next Tuesday. At least that'll give me an excuse to play around on the internet a little. And I do have an hour to work the desk this morning - not that we have anyone in the library that needs help, but at least it'll be a change of scenery from this ugly fake tree in front of me. {sigh} Bring on the Turkey, damn it!

Friday, November 18, 2005


I have a confession to make. I already listened to Christmas music. I knew it was wrong and I did it anyway. But I couldn't help myself! I just found out a couple of weeks ago that Barry Manilow (anyone leaving negative comments about Barry will be hunted down and forced to listen to his music until you change your mind) put out a second Christmas Album a couple of years ago; of course I bought it. I got if off of eBay, and it just arrived today. I tried to talk myself into waiting to listen to it til after Thanksgiving. But before I knew it, I was moving to the CD player as if I had no control. /sigh. It sure is a good CD, though. Quite worth a momentary lapse in the "No-Christmas-til-after-Thanksgiving" rule I've always had. Besides, if I didn't break my own rules every now and then, what would be the fun of having them?


I love Google. If I could, I would seriously consider moving to California just so I could work for Google. They're one of the better companies to work for - free food, 2x a day? Here I am. On site massage-therapy? I'm already drooling. Their package for people with new babies makes me almost want to have a child (how does a $500 allowance for take-out food during the 1st four weeks of maternity leave sound? Bring on the KFC!). On site dry cleaning, medical services, oil change....can I just move in here? :) But the real reason is that I just love Google. I like all the ways you can take its simple interface and make it do searches that make you (well, me at least) drool. And now they've gone a bit farther. How about those times your out shopping, and decide you would really like to see a movie? You can either a.) drive to the theater and hope they're showing the one you want to see; 2.) find a newspaper and buy it and look up the info, or III.) text message Google, who will send you a reply in less than a minute telling you the theaters near you and their show times, along with the length of the movie and its rating. Feel like pizza? Let Google find you aplace to eat. Need the weather? Google has it for you! You can even try things like population queries (for those times that you have to know in the middle of a bar what the population of East Timor is). I've been playing with this for the past several (well, maybe a few sets of several) minutes. Luckily, I can just tell my boss I'm keeping up with the latest in technology. The blog writing? Oh, it's so I won't forget about all these cool things. Did I mention the valet parking?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mr. O'Reilly

This guy is a total fruitcake. Last week, Bill O'Reilly decided that if San Francisco wanted to pass a measure keeping recruiters from school premises, than al-Qaeda should be invited in to blow the city off the map. Because here in America, we may tell you that you have the right to govern yourselves, but don't you dare try to actually do it. Today, Mr. O'Reilly went on a talk radio show in San Francisco (full transcript here). I've pulled out a few of his more intriguing comments (meaning they ticked me off, and I believe that Mr. O'Reilly is probably the Anti-Christ. Maybe only a demon, but definitely something sinister. Exactly why would you go to a city that you had just sent a death-wish too (and we're talking one of the more beloved cities in the country) only to spew out more nonsense? Maybe it's just so that people can't say that he doesn't have the guts to say it to the city's collective face. Then, he announced that he would publish a list of those on the internet intent on 'smearing' his name. Well, they heard you, Mr. O'Reilly. Every word. To help you find out who to target, Daily Kos is compiling a list for your enjoyment. Oh, yeah. The quotes from that transcript:
"You know, this is the hallmark of the left: Cheap shot everybody. Come out with the most insane things you can."
wow. Not only untrue, but hypocritical as well.
"San Francisco a disgraceful city. You can't even walk around the city without seeing people doing appalling things in the streets. I mean, you're not going to wise up, I understand that. The city's been hijacked, it's going to stay that way."
Yeah, those other big cities like Miami, NYC, Chicago - everyone there just walks around spraying sunshine in the gutters, don't they? But San Francisco - it's the blight on the country's honor when it comes to what people are doing in the streets.
"Lazy, terrible reporting, which is the hallmark of the Chronicle, which is why the Chronicle is going to go out of business."
The Chronicle's going out of business? Do they know that?
"I mean, look, everybody knows what's going on there. What I said isn't controversial. What I said needed to be said. I'm sitting here and I'm looking at a city that has absolutely no clue of what the world is. None."
I don't think they like the country. I don't think these people like the country. They feel that we're the problem, we're the evildoers, that al Qaeda is created because of us. That's the hallmark of the radical left. It's always America's fault. We're the bad country, and the enlightened citizens of San Francisco, we're not going to be a part of it. We're gonna separate out. We're gonna ban military recruiting."
Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly, for enlightening my world.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The weekend at my parents' house was just too short, as always, but I have the cheerful thought that I'll see them at my sister's house in less than a week and a half. One more weekend of class, and I'll be so close to the MLIS that I can spit on it. Husband picked me up from the airport yesterday and treated me to a great dinner with a little too much wine, which we promptly topped off with a nip or two of scotch when we got home. Read: Happy Reunion. So why did a week with such potential have to have a dentist appointment in it? And it was first thing on a Monday morning. Dentists should be forced to be closed on Mondays - surely the only thing that makes that day worse is to have someone you are not intimitely related too poking around your mouth with sharp metal objects. And when you have teeth like mine - ich. My years of no dental insurance, then the past couple of years of "I'll get around to it one of these days" have combined to make sure that I'm going to be seeing more of my dentist in the next few months than I will most of the members of my family. But, I should have a new toy to play with this afternoon. Husband had a note from UPS to give me when I got back in town, saying they have two packages to deliver and will make a second attempt today between 10:30 and 2:00. So any minute, I could have them in my hands. I'm going to torture myself, though - I have to finish up an assignment for class before I allow myself to open the packages. The laptop should be motivation enough to get that dreaded project done!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Can't Rant, but wish I could

I'm at my parents house, so I can't give this the rant it deserves. Just check out this info on the Senate voting to keep detainees from disputing their presence in camps. Or read this rant in place of my usual one.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fun with Planes

And, just in time for my flight to North Carolina tomorrow (via Search Engine Watch):
  • RLM Systems/ lets you search for flights by airline and flight number or by city and time. Be sure to check out the airport traffic map which shows flights going into and out of major U.S. cities.
  • FlyteCom/WebTrax provides flight tracking, and also provides information about all flights between an arrival and departure airport you specify.
  • Flight Explorer FastTrack offers a number of different ways to track flights in addition to airline and flight number.
  • offers many services for flying geeks, including a "airspace navigator" toolbar. Most services require a free subscription to access.

The first one is fun if you just keep clicking on the "Let us find random flight for you!" and-help-you-waste-more-time-at-work-button.

Alabama Finally gets praised....why did the governor have to speak, though?

Alabama has apparently gotten some good press for once in the way that Hurricane Katrina was handled. Our state was able to act quickly and help people. Of course, we weren't hit as bad as some other places like, I don't know, Louisiana, but let's stick with the story at hand - Alabama looks good for once. Wonder of wonders, a democrat from Pennsylvania actually said "We can learn a lot by what Alabama has done." He opposes the president's proposal about putting the National Guard in charge of disaster response - that's fine and good, and I agree with him. I even like the proposals that he put out there. He thinks that states need "a freer hand in hurricane decisions ...states need a hefty helping of preparedness money. He called on Congress to free up homeland security grants, allowing them to be used on natural disasters, not just terrorist attacks. He also asked for more money on highways to provide swifter evacuation routes." Why couldn't he have just stopped there? But just so that everyone knew where his loyalties are, he had to throw this out there: "I think we've got one of the greatest presidents we've ever had". Excuse me? My governor thinks we have one of the best president's ever? Where has he been living, Norway? All of a sudden the article was tainted. I haven't had too many huge problems with Riley since he took office, in spite of the fact that he's Republican. In fact, in his first year, he probably had more support from Democrats than from his own party. But why does he have to go so far to prove that he wants to be on george's inside circle? But then I found this Q&A session on non-torture, and it cheered me up

Ask Yahoo!

I love Yahoo!’s “Question of the Day” site. I know a few people {ahem, Stacey} who will tell me that this is because I am a nerd. Well, maybe. I won’t debate that point, because she’d probably win. Whatever the reason, it’s one of my favorite feeds every day. Whether it’s finding out which country in the world is the most wired , when the position of National Security Advisor was created or what the “10/6” means in the Mad Hatter’s hat. Today’s question was something I’ve wondered myself, being the nerd that I am. I know you’re on pins and needles by now, wondering what bit of wonderful knowledge I discovered this morning. I’m afraid it’s going to be a bit of a disappointment, but that’s the nature of loving nerdy knowledge. Since I couldn’t let this one go without passing it on, go read about some of the larger denominations of bills the US has used over the years and what’s happened to them.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Has Arnold borrowed an advisor of two of george's? This sounds like something george would say:
“There’s the main event, then there is the sideshow...I don’t care about the sideshow.”
Seriously. Do these guys think that talking in metaphors will make them sound more intelligent? Just say you don't care! And oh please, oh please, oh please....: Voter anger could bring an electoral shift in '06

Saturday, November 05, 2005

My New laptop specs

Inspiron 6000 Intel® Celeron® M Processor 380 (1.60 GHz/1MB Cache/400MHz FSB), Genuine Windows XP Professional
Inspiron 6000Intel® Celeron® M Processor 380 (1.60 GHz/1MB Cache/400MHz FSB) TC16VN [222-0519]
Display15.4 inch WXGA LCD Panel 15XGA [320-3893]
Memory1GB Shared DDR2 SDRAM 2 Dimms 1GB2D [311-4423]
Video CardIntegrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 900 INTVIDS [320-4507]
Hard Drive80GB Hard Drive 80GB [341-0967]
Operating System (Office software not included)Genuine Windows XP Profssional WPXP [412-0689] [420-4770] [463-2282] [420-4830] [412-0706] [420-5460] [420-5476] [420-5598]
Network CardIntegrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem INTNIC [430-0493]
Adobe SoftwareAdobe® Acrobat® Reader 6.0 ADOBER [430-1048]
Combo/DVD+RW Drives24X CD Burner/DVD Combo Drive 24COMBO [313-2570] [420-5111]
Wireless Networking CardDell® Wireless 1470 Internal Wireless (802.11a/b/g, 54Mbps) TM1470 [430-1362]
Office Software (not included in Windows XP)No productivity suite- Corel WordPerfect word processor only ICOREL [412-0803]
Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed)No Security Subscription TMNO [420-5642]
Battery6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery (53 WHr) 6BAT [312-0277]
Hardware Warranty90 day ltd warranty, mail-in and 90 day hardware support NW90N [900-3961] [960-6980] [960-6970] [983-2207] [983-2217]
Dial-Up Internet Access6 Months America Online Internet Access Included AOLDHS [412-0625] [420-3224] [412-0687] [412-0787] [420-5256]
MiscellaneousAward Winning Service & Support I6000S1 [464-0592]
Financial SoftwareNo QuickBooks package selected - includes limited use trial QBSSP [420-5139]
Operating System Backup & RecoveryPC Restore recovery system by Symantec PCR [464-5503]

Friday, November 04, 2005

New Books For Me!!!

My Ebay purchase of Nora Roberts books came in yesterday; over 30 books are now sitting on my shelf, screaming "read me, read me." Last night I gave in and started one of them. I just couldn't pick one of the shorter ones that I could've read quickly. I had to pick one of the nice, thick historical ones that I don't put down until Hubby says "Are you coming to bed soon?" for the third time. Now I'm halfway through a book that I'm dying to finish while I have 3 hours of projects to work on, not to mention that fact that I've only had about 2 hours this week to work on the whole nanowrimo thing. I just can't resist a good historical romance, though!


Is this supposed to hurt?

"Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns. It's not easy to fight back: Often a bashing victim can't even figure out who his attacker is. No target is too mighty, or too obscure, for this new and virulent strain of oratory. "

And then there's this quote from Peter Blackshaw:

"Bloggers are more of a threat than people realize, and they are only going to get more toxic. This is the new reality"

A nomination for Most Interesting Job That Is Also An Excuse To Play On Your Computer All Day also came out of the article: Mr. Blackshaw works for a firm whose purpose is to keep an eye on blogs for companies such as Proctor and Gamble and Ford, in order to make sure that they can counteract any negative publicity that might be floating around the blogosphere. While I think that Mr. Daniel Lyons, the man who wrote this article for Forbes, needs some therapy, it's the same type of therapy that I would prescribe for those who think that supermarket tabloids are evil. Does Mr. Blackshaw's company pick up the latest "Weekly World News" while buying their bread and milk to make sure that BatBoy isn't slighting Ford's new line of hybrids?

"The online haters have formidable allies amplifying their tirades to a potential worldwide audience of 900 million: Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, plus a raft of other blog hosts....Google and other services operate with government-sanctioned impunity, protected from any liability for anything posted on the blogs they host. Thus they serve up vitriolic "content" without bearing any legal responsibility for ensuring it is fair or accurate"

And how much traffic does the average blog get anyway? Let's say that I dislike, oh I don't know, my new coffee maker, and think that it's a piece of junk. I can write a post describing all of its deficiencies , maybe gather some comments online from review sites, completely attacking the maker of this beautiful yet absolutely horrible coffee maker. Who's going to know? A few friends, a couple of people in my family. But that's about it. It's like being a writer - if no one knows who you are, then only a few people will happen to cross your path and read what you've put out there. Some bloggers have huge followings; more have a decent number of people that cross their path. I can't help but think that Mr. Lyons has been "attacked" personally or professionally by a blogger at some point, and is more than a little paranoid as a result.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Guantanamo Bay

This story has really got me going today. The whole Guantanamo situation is out of control. george has decided that he can arbitrarily separate people from the rights guaranteed to them under not only the Geneva Convention, but also from the very rights that the founders of our country fought so hard for. Why do we have those whole "inalienable rights" and "due process" hang-ups in our legal system? Because once upon a time, a person in power became tyrannical, locking people up without being charged, torturing some, killing others. Many were never told of their crimes. As it was over 200 years ago, so it is again today. This scenario, which our country was (in part) founded to fight against, is now a big part of what we represent to the rest of the world. George has decided that if he can call people "enemy combatants" for some reason (and sometimes those reasons are just made up - but I'll get to that later), then he has the right to take away their dignity as a human being. Innocent until proven guilty? Not if the all powerful george and his cronies think that you might be guilty. Then it's all up to you to prove your innocence. So what has sparked my indignation today? This story reports that Rumsfeld, that embodiment of human kindness, has denied UN Human Rights investigators access to the Gitmo detainees. Wasn't there a pretty powerful guy somewhere over in the Middle East who tried to deny access to UN investigators? Well, let's stay on target with the current story, shall we?
"[Rumsfeld] told a Pentagon news conference that prisoners at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, were staging a hunger strike that began in early August as a successful ploy to attract media attention."
Why are they on a hunger strike? Maybe because they feel they have the right to be told why they're being held in a prison camp? Because they feel they have the right to face their prosecutors, but no one is allowed to hear their side of the story? Even Saddam Hussein is being given the dignity of a trial. Many of these people aren't even given a lawyer to speak with, much less the hope that they'll be able to defend themselves in court.
"The three U.N. investigators, including one who focuses on torture, said Monday they would turn down an invitation extended by the Pentagon Friday to visit Guantánamo unless they were permitted to interview the detainees. The invitation came nearly four years after the visits were first requested."
'Ahh... 'I hear some people thinking. 'They were given the opportunity to visit the detainees, and they turned it down. This is just another try at making the administration look bad when they're really cooperating.' Cooperating my ass. They can go look at the people from a distance. I'm sure that everything would be neat and tidy before the UN arrives with their cameras. The government is simply afraid of what the enemy combatants would have to say about what's been going on in Cuba since they arrived. What possible reason could they have for keeping the UN away? Are they afraid that one of the people in Gitmo is going to sway a UN representative to help him escape? That the UN is secretly in league with Al Qaeda , and that they are on a mission to get the entire camp off of the island? That the UN spy is going to slip a hand grenade to a detainee in the course of an interview? Of course the UN Investigators turned down the offer - it wasn't an invitation, it was an insult. And did anyone else notice that we've been telling the UN "no" for four years? Well, to be fair, I guess we've probably just been ignoring their phone calls, not actually telling them no. And here's another gem from the inner workings of Rumsfeld's brain:
"Asked about the motivation of the hunger strikers, Rumsfeld said, "Well, I suppose that what they're trying to do is to capture press attention, obviously, and they've succeeded.""
But why, Rummy dear, do they feel they need media attention? If everything is as rosy as you say they are in that camp, then why are there people on a hunger strike? Why won't you let the UN ask these people why they're on a hunger strike? Why won't you tell these people (some of whom, to be fair, probably are guilty of something - but don't they deserve to face their accusers?) how long they'll be shut out of the world? Ok, I promised a bit on someone who was kept on made-up charges.

"My cell was 8ft by 6ft, the same size as the detainees' cages at Guantanamo. Barely a week ago I had received a glowing evaluation for my work as the US army's Muslim chaplain among the "Gitmo" prisoners. Now I was the one in chains. "I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim. I was just the latest victim of the hostility born the moment when the planes flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. My real "crime" had been that I had tried to ensure that the suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters detained in the Gitmo cages were given every opportunity to practise their religion freely, one of the most fundamental of American ideals. I had monitored the atrocious treatment meted out by the guards. And I had come to suspect that my appointment as the prisoners' chaplain was simply a piece of political theatre. When reporters came to Guantanamo on the media tour, everyone had always wanted to talk to the Muslim chaplain. I had told them the things that the command expected me to say. We give the detainees a Koran. We announce the prayer five times a day. We serve halal food. Everything I said had been true. But it certainly wasn't the full story."

There are several more pages to this story, detailing James Yee's experiences in Guantanamo. It's one of the most heartbreaking stories I've ever read. It's also one of the saddest. No matter how much I criticize our government and our administration, I've always had a belief that the system will work in the end, that people are basically good people and will see the error of their ways. This story made me doubt that.


Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
I’ve been looking for a picture of my building; this’ll have to do until we get our new website up and running. The building in the middle with the huge windows (the one that looks like a giant box) is the library. Those windows are just to the front of the building, not the actual “book” section. In fact, the part of the library that I work in doesn’t even have windows. This week it’s been a surprise when I leave at night. After sitting at my desk for hours, or even walking around doing “stuff,” it’s been hours since I’ve been outside by the time that I leave work. So when I get outside at a few minutes after 5 and find that it’s almost completely dark already, my mind starts screaming “ where did the day go!!” and I feel like I’ve lost half of my play time. My husband told me that it’s offset by the fact that it’s no longer dark outside when I get up in the morning (like it was last week); I responded that it doesn’t matter – my eyes aren’t open enough in the morning to appreciate sunlight, moonlight, fluorescent light, or any other light that doesn’t come from the “on” switch on my coffee maker.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fun with Intelligent Design

The Intelligent Design Debate is becoming more hilarious over time. The Flying Spaghetti Monster gave me the giggles for months (and I expect more soon, because there is supposedly a book coming); in fact, it only became funnier as people added to his legend. His blog ("Updates on Pastafarianism and His Noodliness' Earthly Doings") makes me howl. But, the debate on ID must move on. Now the owner of The Abstract Factory has added his take on the issue, putting forth a debate between a scientist and an ID advocate. Stop reading this immediately and go read the good stuff.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Where she blithely goes on, unaware of the world around her...

I sat at my desk, at the reference desk, at the lunch table .... Sitting all day, answering questions, meanwhile dreaming of the plot for my soon-to-be-work-of-art. (Not that anyone will ever see it, but it'll still be a work of art)....I occasionally checked the news headlines....but only for a second, cause that's not considered work related. After about 1 or 2, I figure nothing else is going to happen for the day, and slip back into my fantasy world... How steamy can I make the sex scene without embarrassing myself? How soon will the "click" happen? How dangerous can I make the end before I have to show the happy ending? I drive home with the radio on high enough for back ground noise and low enough not to be distracted by what's on...hmmm ? I walk in the door, dreamily kiss my husband hello (he, of course, doesn't realize what's in my head), and go immediately to my box of joy (the computer, of course). When suddenly, I hear the news playing in the background. Words like...."Senate" "Closed Doors" "public...out" "upset Republicans"....are coming out of the television. (I have to admit, it was the "upset Republican" phrase that caught my attention) And suddenly I realized that something happened today while I was scheming up a plot at the last minute: The Democrats grew some balls. Now I have to go read all of my blogs and newslines to find out what when how and why and how much I 've missed in the past 6 hours.

National Novel Wring Month Is Here!

It's here! National Novel Writing Month has begun. 30 days, 50,000 did I let myself get talked into this? I'll be out of town for at least 7 days, not to mention one weekend spent in class. We'll see how far I actually get. I've noticed some blogs with a counter on them, displaying how many of their total word count has been accomplished. Right now, I think it'd be pretty depressing to see that big fat "0." In a few days, though...well, we'll just see how much I can get from my brain to the computer. This should be fun, if I can just make myself be disciplined enough to sit down and write. And speaking of writing: I found this little tidbit interesting, and it's short enough to just put the entire thing here. I knew that IM was good for me!:
"For a while, you couldn't go a month without seeing yet another story in some newspaper with certain teachers complaining that students were letting "txting" speak appear in their writing -- leaving the teachers worried about the English skills of today's youth. However, as those stories became more popular, people began to notice they were almost all anecdotal. In fact, some people began to point out that all of this writing by kids could actually help them have a better command of the language than in times past, when many kids did almost no writing at all. Finally, in 2003, omeone did some research and found that, indeed, kids were actually much more comfortable writing than in the past. While they might experiment with using txting speak or alternative forms of language, they generally learned pretty quickly what was appropriate at what time. Obviously, not everyone gets it right all the time, but the stories of the complete destruction of kids' language abilities has been overstated. It appears that now there's even more research to support this. The latest research does show that kids are better writers than in the past ("using far more complex sentence structures, a wider vocabulary and a more accurate use of capital letters, punctuation and spelling") but are still more likely to let the occasional txting shorthand slip into their writing."

Monday, October 31, 2005

Candy Calculator

Just what we need for Halloween - a way to know how naughty we're really being when we sneak pieces of candy out of the bowl. Thank Goodness I only bought stuff that I don't like!


So we have another Supreme Court nominee, and this one doesn't seem to be an insult to the nation's intelligence level. He, at least, has a pretty heavy resume. I'm sure that over the next few weeks, there will be enough discussion on the Planned Parenthood decision to make all the political bloggers happy. And, one of the great things about the blogosphere is that you can find opinions as soon as things happen....such as this post on the horrible things that Alito will do. The nickname "Scalito" is enough to scare me. But most of this doesn't sound so bad:

In a 1999 case, Fraternal Order of Police v. City of Newark, the 3rd Circuit ruled 3-0 that Muslim police officers in the city can keep their beards. The police had made exemption in its facial hair policy for medical reasons (a skin condition known as pseudo folliculitis barbae) but not for religious reasons. Alito wrote the opinion, saying, "We cannot accept the department's position that its differential treatment of medical exemptions and religious exemptions is premised on a good-faith belief that the former may be required by law while the latter are not."

In July 2004, the 3rd Circuit Court ruled that a Pennsylvania law prohibiting student newspapers from running ads for alcohol was unconstitutional. At issue was Act 199, an amendment to the Pennsylvania Liquor Code passed in 1996 that denied student newspapers advertising revenue from alcoholic beverages. Alito said the law violated the First Amendment rights of the student newspaper, The Pitt News, from the University of Pittsburgh. "If government were free to suppress disfavored speech by preventing potential speakers from being paid, there would not be much left of the First Amendment," Alito wrote.

In 1999, Alito was part of a majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler. At issue was a holiday display in Jersey City. The court held that the display didn't violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment because in addition to a creche and a menorah, it also had a Frosty the Snowman and a banner hailing diversity.

In the case of Homar v. Gilbert in 1996, Alito wrote the dissenting opinion that a state university didn't violate the due process rights of a campus police officer when they suspended him without pay after they learned he had been arrested on drug charges.

One of the most notable opinions was Alito's dissent in the 1996 case of Sheridan v. Dupont, a sex discrimination case. Alito wrote that a plaintiff in such a case should not be able to withstand summary judgment just by casting doubt on an employer's version of the story.

In Fatin v. INS (1993), Alito joined the majority in ruling that an Iranian woman seeking asylum could establish eligibility based on citing that she would be persecuted for gender and belief in feminism.

In a 1996 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of a federal law banning the possession of machine guns, Alito argued for greater state rights in reasoning that Congress had no authority to regulate private gun possession.

As for the Planned Parenthood decision, I think I''m about to have a heated argument with my husband, which makes typing incredibly difficult. Especially since I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning. And I really need to grab more caffeine, because I think he may call me the dreaded "C" word, which means he may have to sleep on the couch tonight. And that's "C" for "Conservative" - the worst insult he can think of.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Good Weekend

It's been an all around good weekend. Friends over on Friday for dinner, a full day of shopping on Saturday, and now a beautiful lazy Sunday. My poor next door neighbor's house got 'rolled' last night. He's the only one in our neighborhood, but I noticed a couple in the subdivisions around us. I think the husband wants to sleep in the bed of his truck tonight so that we don't get it next. Luckily, our neighborhood is so new, that our one-tree-allotment-per-house hasn't gotten very big. Some of the other houses had huge trees completely covered. One of my purchases yesterday was another bookcase. I knew it wouldn't hold very much - it only has two shelves - but I wanted to get some of my paperbacks out of the boxes that are stored under the beds and in the garage. I ended up cramming about twice as many books in it as I'd like to have, just because I was so excited to have the books out of boxes. I need another bookcase. Of course, the shelf shortage will only be worse in a few days. One of my last purchases of the day was a lot of 20 Nora Roberts books on eBay for a ridiculously low price. There are a couple of other lots of books that are extremely reasonably priced (I missed out on one that I really wanted - 15 books for about $8 - including shipping - but I started adding rum in my coffee and forgot to go back and bid on it. Ah well.), but I'm really supposed to be concentrating on my final project for school, not reading all the books that I'm trying to buy. Time to go enjoy the beautiful weather outside with a cup of coffee and another book. And Karen, I know you're going to ask, so: 1. KEY OF LIGHT-Book One Key Trilogy(HB w/DJ) 2. KEY OF KNOWLEDGE-Book Two Key Trilogy 3. KEY OF VALOR-Book Three Key Trilogy 4. FACE THE FIRE-Book Three Three Sisters Island Trilogy 5. JEWELS IN THE SUN-Book One Irish Trilogy 6. SEA SWEPT-Book One Chesapeake Bay Novels 7. RISING TIDES-Book Two Chesapeake Bay Novels 8. CHESAPEAKE BLUE-Book Four Chesapeake Bay Novels(HB w/DJ) 9. REBELLION-MacGregor book 10. THE MACGREGOR BRIDES-MacGregor book 11. THE MACGREGORS GROOMS-MacGregor book 12. THE STANISLASKI BROTHERS-MIKHAIL & ALEX 13. ENCHANTED-THE DONOVAN LEGACY 14. NIGHT SHEIDL-Night tale series 15. DIVINE EVIL 16. BRAZEN VIRTUE 17. SWEET REVENGE 18. THE LAW IS A LADY 19. MONTANA SKY 20. REUNION 21. HIDDEN RICHES 22. THE FALL OF SHANE MACKADE-The Mackade brothers

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Christian Exodus

Sometimes there are stories that come around that are crazy and all you do is roll your eyes, take another sip of coffee, and forget about as soon as you've opened the next page of your paper. Then every once in a while, as your surfing your news online, you come across the crazy story that there's no room to print in a newspaper. It can only be published online, because if an actual paper devoted print space to it, their subscribers would demand a refund. However, in the world of the Internet, anything is possible. This isn't even close to being the craziest story I've ever come across...but for some reason it hit me as so ludicrous that I just couldn't leave it alone. Probably because people who think that "the South will rise again" crack me up, and anyone who seriously contemplates trying to break off from the rest of the country will give me giggles for at least 15 minutes. Ok, let's take this one step at a time. First of all, you have a group that (apparently) does not believe it can convert a large number of people to its way of thinking. So they want to get the 1000 or so people that they can brainwash together to take over one state. What in the world will they do after that? Take over North Carolina? I'd advise them to go with Tennessee. North Carolina may seem like an easy target with all of the "mountain" population, but they have two things that should be taken into consideration: The Cherokee Indian Reservation (I don't see Native Americans being too keen on this philosophy) and Research Triangle. The Triangle, by the way, could probably care less about being "redeemed" most of the time. Being forced to participate in religious practices would take them away from their scientific and technological pursuits....and I don't know about you, but I'd rather not get on the bad side of the people who are on the cutting edge of this country's science and technology. The things they're probably capable of doing in retaliation would give me nightmares for months. And Georgia has Atlanta; granted, that's a hotbed of sin if the South has one, but it would simply be too hard to start redeeming the country in Atlanta. They'll have to be forced to see the error of their ways after there are plenty of converts. Tennessee, however....well, I think most of the state would be an easier conquest than the other options (sorry, Jaime). Moving on in this breaking news story, we come to a statement by state senator Mike Fair who (crazily enough) gave this as his self-description: "narrow-minded, right-wing, fundamentalist fanatic." (go back and actually read the article if you don't believe me.) If the people of South Carolina re-elect him after he admits he's a fanatic about anything (I just don't want a "fanatic" about any issue making legislative decisions for me) then I say they deserve what they get from him. He's proud of the fact that he's narrow minded?? Was he wearing white sheets while he was speaking? Have I sufficiently expressed my incredulity? Should I use more question marks???? Thankfully the uber-conservative fanatic is leery of Christian Exodus. How he has the right to be suspicious of anyone, well....I'll figure that out later. Ok, next on the agenda: This christian movement sent an ACLU lawyer a "nasty" letter calling him a liar. Well now, that certainly embodies the principles of Christianity doesn't it? Somewhere deep in the book of Deuteronomy, in the middle of all those crazy laws, there's that often-overlooked verse about being as rude, abusive and obnoxious as possible in an effort to convince others that your way of truth is the only way of truth. In fact, all that turn the other check nonsense really means "insult your beloved neighbor out of the side of your mouth." As for the entire idea of secession, {sigh}, I'm not going to go near it. It's too crazy. What would they have, the Christian Exodus Homeland in the middle of South Carolina? Or would they take the entire state for their own? I admit, at first glance they probably feel that going into the South is the best place to start this movement - we all now the War of Northern Aggression is still going on, right in our backyards under our noses. However, think of this from a Good Ole Boy's point of view: "There's a group of people about 5 miles a way who tried to do some crazy thing like overthrow the government. Who knows why, that's not important. This is war - there are terrorists everywhere, and now this group of people wants to create their own country right here in South Carolina? I don't think so. We have enough to worry about with everyone attacking our homeland, much less my worrying about Eliza Jane going down to town on the weekends because some freak who wants to be president of "X" County can't keep his mouth shut." So then, Billy Bob will go get his friends. After a few beers, they'll get in their truck and forget about the whole thing. After a few more beers they'll remember they're supposed to be kicking some serious ass. But not exactly why. Then they'll remember there are terrorists in their backyard, trying to flirt with their sisters. Or daughters. Whatever. The rest will be history. As will the Christian Exodus movement, if they get on the wrong side of the wrong people. Or flirt with the wrong people's sister.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I don't even want to know

How many of these have would probably humor me far more than it should. And if you see the ad and think "golly what a good idea!" run - don't walk, run - to get help.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Limited Blogging

Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
Ich! The powers that are in charge of what my computer can and cannot do have now blocked Blogger at work! That means that my penchant for posting on coffee and/or lunch breaks must stop, unless I use the public computers. I'm going to look at having that changed, though. I had just talked my boss into starting a blog along with our new website (Whenever those elusive computer powers ever deign it worthy, that is). I've been making trial posts for a few months, and he really likes the way it looks. So hopefully, we'll be back to normal.

I hate having restrictions on what I can and cannot look at. It's all supposed to be to keep us from accidentally going to sites that could give us nasy viruses....but it's still annoying. Luckily for me, I can post through Flickr...until the gurus figure that out too. Until then, however, you may have to deal with random pictures of my life along with my random thoughts.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Proud Moment

StepSon's friend is spending the night. Being the cool stepmom that I am, we're going to a Sister Hazel concert (it's at the local university and the tickets are only $10, and Sister Hazel isn't actually the best band around anymore....but he doesn't care - he's going to a concert), I bought snack food for them (baked potato chips and diet soda, but more than I usually get - and I have to admit, that was just as much for me as for them), dinner will be pizza and I even bought chocolate chip cookies so they could stay up all night on a sugar high. The boys are watching Anchorman - a perfectly horrible movie, I might add - and gobbling down their chips like they haven't eaten since they were given their last bottle 13 years ago. As StepSon hands his friend a soda he says - without even glancing my way - "Make sure you use a coaster if you're going to put it on the coffee table." Ho-Ly Furniture Polish Batman! Without being prompted my neurosis has slipped into his subconscious. My work is done for the day.

Readers' Choice

Canada's Chapters Indigo polled its people to find out their favorite books....and here are the top 100. I've only read 30 of them. Considering that I majored in English, I was kind of disappointed; I realized, though, that popular fiction isn't included in most of your University Literature courses. Doesn't matter - I consider myself a reader, and I haven't read 70% of the books on this list. My books-to-read-list just grew.... :) Books I've read are in blue
  • The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
  • A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K. Rowling
  • Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
  • Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone, J. K. Rowling
  • Fall on Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald
  • The Stand, Stephen King
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  • The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
  • Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis
  • East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  • Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
  • Dune, Frank Herbert
  • The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks
  • Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follet
  • The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay
  • I Know this Much is True, Wally Lamb
  • The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M. Auel
  • The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
  • Gift and award Bible NIV, Various
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  • The Cound of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
  • Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • She's Come Undone, Wally Lamb
  • The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  • Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
  • Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Stone Angel, Margaret Laurence
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J. K. Rowling
  • The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  • Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • Interview with the Vampire, Ann Rice
  • Fifth Business, Robertson Davies
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brashares
  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  • The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Fielding
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Shogun, James Clavell
  • The English Patient, Michael Oondatje
  • The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  • The World According to Garp, John Irving
  • The Diviners, Margaret Laurence
  • Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
  • Mot wanted on the Voyage, Timothy Findley
  • Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
  • Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  • Wizard's First Rule, Terry Goodkind
  • Emma, Jane Austen
  • Watership Down, Richard Adams
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  • The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields
  • Blindness, Jose Saramago
  • Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer
  • In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Oondatje
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum
  • Th Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
  • White Oleander, Janet Fitch
  • A Woman of Substance, Barbara Taylor Bradford
  • The Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield
  • Ulysses, James Joyce

Why do I always take these things? :)

And I want to know who you are!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Galadriel is a character in the Middle-Earth universe. You can read more about her at the Galadriel Worshippers Army.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Johnson’s Little List of Library and Technology Laws

I love this website. There's always something on it that makes me laugh. " Harry Truman said it best: 'I don't give them hell; I just tell them the truth and they think it's hell.' " And now for some of Johnson's Laws:
  • Johnson's Test Fairness Plan: Require no high school tests that the legislators who vote for them can't pass.
  • Observation on the school of hard knocks: I don't mind learning from my mistakes. I just don't want to earn a PhD.
  • Johnson's Observation on Multimedia Content: You can put all the pretty clothes on your dog you want, but he's still a dog.
  • Johnson's Rule of Technology Neutrality: Tools are neither good nor bad. The same hammer can both break windows and build cathedrals.
  • Johnson’s Law of Network Capacity: You can’t be too thin, too rich or have too much bandwidth.
  • Johnson's First Law of Presentations: Show your audience pictures of happy, productive children and they will believe anything you tell them.
  • Johnson's Homily on Beta Testing: The early worm gets eaten by the bird.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What Planet Are You (Thanks, Karen!)

Venus .:Venus:. "You thrive on balance in all aspects of your life. You have a great deal of passion and when it comes to love, you like to play games. You have a tendency to search for something better, a search which always seems to come up short. You have difficulty finding satisfaction in life, but you have a great ability to get along with almost anyone." . : : Which Astrological Planet are You? : : . [10 Gorgeous Pics!] brought to you by Quizilla