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

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Honeymoon pictures

Eilean Donan Castle I Originally uploaded by lildebbie_77.
I have absolutely got one of the best sisters in the world I started using Flickr in earnest about a month ago. (come to think of it, she got me addicted to that in the first place....) Being the obsessive person I am when I find new toys, I, of course, went over my bandwidth limit for the month - and it was only the 9th. When I mentioned that to her last week, she bought me a Professional Account so that I could load pictures to my heart's content. I only had to do one thing to pay her back for the present: put up all of my Honeymoon pictures with descriptions and tags, and then do the same after I go to Paris in the Spring. So, I present to all of you My Honeymoon Photo Album - complete with photo descriptions that kind of work as a running commentary. But be warned: there's 182 pictures here. The decision to look at all of them is not for the faint of heart.

DNA Databse

This is a topic that I've been hearing alot about lately. There's legislation around right now that's calling for a database of DNA, taken from illegal immigrants, criminals, and basically anyone else the government might feel the need to keep an eye on. State and local officials would collect DNA samples and upload them into a national database, so that everyone could have access to the information. The bill even calls for them to collect samples from people who have not been found guilty of a crime, but have been charged. The number of privacy rights that this could violate blows my mind. I understand the need to be able to identify criminals - but people who haven't even been tried for a crime? Don't they deserve that "innocent until proven guilty" idea? The bill's already passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is waiting for a vote from the full Senate as part of renewing the Violence Against Women Act, which recently expired. Even scarier (and what got me started on this rant) is an editorial in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. Mr. Coombs feels that a recent article calling for the database of criminal DNA fell short of what's really needed:
Better would be a federal statute giving state and local governments monetary incentives to seek consent of all mothers to collection of DNA from their newborns. Laws already let parents make many vital decisions on behalf of young children: medical care, nutrition, religion, education, etc. Any mother who predicts her newborn will become an honest citizen protected from suspicion by DNA, not a criminal ensnared by it, would consent. Her consent, and later telling her child about it, would provide an extra incentive for law-abiding conduct.
Mr. Coombs, according to the paper, teaches at Rutgers University Law School. The thought of what he's teaching his students - future lawyers - frightens me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

8th Annual Life Raft Debate

Last night was the University of Montevallo's 8th Annual Life Raft Debate. They started these my second year as an undergrad, but I was never able to go to one. This year, I went with my husband, and can't believe I've been missing out for so long. The premise is pretty simple: There has been a catastrophic event that has eradicated almost all human life on Earth. The only people left are the audience and the panel of professors. The audience is in the raft already; they are getting ready to create a new civilization wherever they land - but there is one spot left. The professors have to make arguments as to why their discipline is the one that should be allowed to survive, why they deserve the final place in the raft. The resulting debate was hilarious. This year History, Education, Political Science, Communications, Foreign Languages and Culinary Arts were represented (the Culinary Arts had the chef from the cafeteria as their player - he was the first non-faculty member to participate). History was defending last year's win (the winner gets an oar with their name added to the previous winners), so they got to go first. Everyone made 5 minute opening statements, followed by making a 3 minute rebuttal; then the students got to answer questions while everyone voted. The Chef went last. I knew he had won, when at the end of his opening statement he said: "I can make beer. And I know which herbs are the good herbs." After all of the arguments had been made and answered, the Philosophy Professor who sponsors the event came out. He said that none of them were worthy to be given a spot on our raft, and proceeded to destroy each of their arguments, leaving the audience in tears of laughter. It's one of those things that you have to be there for to understand the hilarity. But the Philosophy Professor brought down the house when he ended with a parting swipe at the Cook: "And hey, Iron Chef: My secret ingredient is SAND" Seems the audience was pretty confident that Chefy could either make something with the sand or make them forget with the beer and herbs, cause he won by the biggest margin in the history of the debate.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Just As Smart As My Sister

Saw this at my sister's place and thought I'd try....wonder if we got the same one wrong? Guess we'll never know....
You Passed the US Citizenship Test
Congratulations - you got 9 out of 10 correct!

Who To Vote For

When you don't know who to vote for.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

China and the US

I heard a great commentary on NPR's Marketplace tonight on my way home from work tonight. The main thrust of the commentary was that we have no right to demand that China do anything less regarding their national defense than we do regarding ours. And it struck me, once again, how unbelievably vain the US now seems to the rest of the world. We seemingly have the right to tell other countries "Do as I say, not as I do." Now, I remember when I was growing up that this was one of my father's greatest lines. It works great on 8 year olds. But when you're talking world politics, it seems that a little more maturity would be called for. At least, for anyone but the current administration. From the commentary"
  • Americans take it for granted that the US has the right to act as the world's sole superpower; but what about China?
  • "Few abroad would conced to the US the carte blanche it desires"
  • "Why does the US spend as much on its military as the rest of the world put together?"
  • China has the right to ask "who elected the US global policeman?"
  • "The Chinese will take the US behavior and the principles that underlie it as the moral norms of the international system"
I don't know about you, but that last bullet point scares me. Update: if you don't have RealPlayer, I don't think you'll be able to listen to the commentary. I just got it, and it was a royal pain. Sorry for the problems :(.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Outrage of the Week"

If you have never followed any link that I have ever posted, you have got to follow this one. I thought about adding to the rant, but I'll just leave it as is. I may print it and frame it and quote from it at every available possibility.

Tuesday Mornings

Tuesday mornings are my Mondays. There's never enough coffee to go around, and since there's between 3 and 10 of us sharing one little pot (thank the heavens that some of the librarians only do decaf or tea), then it's a free-for-all as soon as the coffee stops dripping. Today I'm lucky. There are 5 librarians out on leave today, two that won't come in until 1 o'clock and my boss doesn't come in til 9 today. Usually, the librarian that comes in at 7:30 gets the coffee started; today the early bird is a non-drinker. So when I got here at 8 there was nothing in the pot, and all that was in my cup were the dregs left from the hour-long commute. I was very close to panic mode; on Tuesdays I don't even turn my computer on til I've got a second cup in hand - and that's saying a lot, because I can't live without my computer. I'm even thinking about naming her. Then my boss would really think I've lost it. So I made a pot of coffee, and was hovering over it, waiting for the thing to drip. I had thought about being selfish and only making a couple of cups worth (I could always use the excuse that I didn't know how many of the coffee drinkers would show up today....but then they all know me well enough to know that I'd just drink the whole pot for myself and be glad I didn't have to share)....I thought about sneaking that first, really strong cup straight from the pot before the rest was finished brewing (but there's a rule against that, cause it makes the rest of the pot a little weaker - not that most of them would notice)....I thought about making the coffee as strong as I like - and they don't, the pansies - just so I could take that first cup without feeling too guilty (but I'd feel guilty anyway, probably for something really stupid like having planned it all out just so that I wouldn't feel guilty).... And then I realized that I was spending way too much time ruminating on one cup of coffee that would burn my tongue as soon as I sipped it because by this point I was too impatient to wait for it to cool off and I didn't have any cream.... and the pot had finished brewing. Ahhh....Sanity, Thy name is Coffee.....

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Last night was StepSon's Homecoming dance; his first high school dance! I could tell he was nervous all day, because it was also his first formal date. He surprised me in the way he showed his nervousness, though. Usually when he's in any strong mood he's extremely hyper-active, talking nonstop and moving around restlessly. Nervousness, though affected him completely opposite - and reminded me of how I reacted all through high school in the same type of situations: Total shut-down. The closer we got to the time to leave, the quiter and more withdrawn he became. I remember doing the same thing before a first date, or a voice recital, or any time that I'd be nervous about something. As if by being still and quiet, I could make time stop and the anticipated/dreaded/hoped-for event would either a.) not happen or b.) just be over with. But, as always, time marched on and it was time to go to dinner. As soon as he saw that some of his (male) friends were already at the restaurant, he relaxed. Well, until it was time to walk his date in. There were about 6 or 7 couples having dinner together; they were all freshman, and none of them were actual "couples" yet. But they were awfully cute!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Lazy Saturdays

...with my cats The weather has been perfect for having a lazy Saturday; all of the windows are open and Sultan and Lucius haven't left the windowsills in hours.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

9 Senators against the Torture Ban

Why did one of mine have to be one of them?

He's really gone over the edge now....

...although I don't guess I should be surprised that george is hearing voices. That's a much nicer verdict on his personality than thinking he has an over-inflated sense of self-importance mixed with a heavy dose of simple greed and oil-lust where most people have a conscience.


It's finally coming. I can smell it in the air. I stood outside this morning on my way to my car taking deep breaths.... Autumn, Revisited ( 10/20/02 )

At last the summer is gone. The winds – cool, now – blow away the last of the sun’s savageness. The strong tones of summer Are gently dethroned by russets, maroons, and deep mysterious browns – The warm colors of Fall.

Light softens, And the world quietly glows with it’s own secret – A secret that whispers through the trailing leaves – The secret of Fall.

The world slows, and Time herself seems to be holding her breath. Soon the winter will come With a whiteness that has it’s own beauty. But for now, this moment, It is the reign of Fall

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

george's month so far

Ahh,,,,if only I had time to list them all. And I blame george for everything. (Well, Dick can get 10% of the blame. And Rumsfeld is evil, so he gets another 10%. Rove is half of george, so give him 20%. And Laura gets 5% for marrying him. But george gets everything else). This is what I’ve got though:

I would really like to blame the entire Indiana debacle regarding state control of who does not get to have children, but that would take more mental energy than I have at 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

Bush wants to use the military to quarantine people if there’s a bird flu pandemic because the military is sooooo good at that compassionate nurturing stuff

Nominated someone to the supreme court who was AGAINST repealing the sodomy law in Texas (note: the Supreme Court decided this one, so if she were already on it, it may have ended up differently. No pun intended).

And, of all things, they’re really getting tired of having so many darn liberals in higher education. (we’ll leave aside, for the moment, the fact that the more education a person gets, the more likely they are to be a liberal/progressive): (from today’s Wall Street Journal, which you have to have a subscription to see. Don’t pay for it, just read this):

Some Republicans are pushing a measure through the House of Representatives meant to ensure that students hear "dissenting viewpoints" in class and are protected from retaliation because of their politics or religion. Colleges say the measure isn't needed, but with Congress providing billions of dollars to higher education, they are worried.

The measure's chief promoter, Marxist-turned-conservative activist David Horowitz, says an academic bill of rights will protect students from possible political "hectoring" and discrimination by their professors. "We have enough institutions in America that are political. Let's keep [universities] above that fray," he adds.

But professors say Mr. Horowitz really is trying to silence liberal faculty members. "It's an invitation for the government to get involved in the internal affairs of the university," says William Scheuerman, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Oswego, and president of the state's faculty union. "We don't want Big Brother here."……

But Mr. Horowitz's measure concerns colleges and universities because it reflects lawmakers' growing exasperation with higher education. The federal government provides loans to more than half of all college students and grant aid to about one in three, leaving many colleges vulnerable to congressional displeasure.

The House resolution suggests how seriously conservatives take the issue of academic rights, and implies they might be willing to use the big stick of federal funding down the road…..

The academic-rights bill poses a different risk for colleges and universities, though, because it second-guesses their classroom practices, says Robert Andringa, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, which represents 131 schools. "If Congress feels it needs to start addressing academic freedom in a law, what's next?" he asks.

The current legislation is being fueled by several headline-grabbing incidents last school year involving outspoken college professors, including a University of Colorado teacher who justified the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. The larger backdrop, though, is the culture war simmering on campuses that long have tended to be politically and socially liberal, but now are experiencing the growth of conservative political and evangelical Christian groups.

Those groups complain about a lack of intellectual diversity on their campuses, even as universities undertake high-profile and expensive racial- and ethnic-diversity programs. To prove the point, conservative groups this year tabulated the political-party registrations of their professors, then published statistics that they said show Democrats predominate on most campuses.

Mr. Horowitz says he began promoting his seven-page academic bill of rights as a way to "protect the independence of the universities" from lawmakers or others that might try to interfere should professors be seen as overtly political. Among other things, his measure calls for hiring and promotion decisions to be based solely on a professor's competence, for reading lists to include dissenting viewpoints and for schools to "welcome a diversity of approaches to unsettled questions." Faculty members shouldn't use their courses for "indoctrination," it adds.

Through an organization called Students for Academic Freedom, Mr. Horowitz also has called on students to report professors who they think promote a political viewpoint or discriminate against students for their beliefs. The two-year-old group, which says it has 150 campus chapters, has introduced nonbinding academic-rights measures in a dozen state legislatures, including those in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

In its most significant victory, Colorado's public universities pledged to follow Mr. Horowitz's bill of rights in return for the withdrawal of a binding law then before the legislature.

Roger Bowen, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, the faculty union, dismisses Mr. Horowitz's assertion that he is only acting to protect colleges. He sees a bill of rights as an attempt by conservative politicians to "rectify what they believe is an ideological imbalance" on the campuses. Because it "comes at a time when power in Washington is heavily tilted in one direction, that concerns me," he adds.

Members of Congress began pondering their own academic bill of rights two years ago when Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican, introduced a bill that largely copied Mr. Horowitz's wording. Mr. Kingston, whose father and sister are professors, says he is "pro- academic." But with taxpayers providing billions of dollars to the universities, they should be assured that professors won't "ridicule my kid when he has a George Bush bumper sticker," he says.

The Kingston measure went nowhere for two years, but in June, Republicans attached a shortened version to the Higher Education Act, which provides grants and loans to millions of college students. In hopes of heading it off, university presidents passed their own academic-rights statement. But the House education committee passed the measure anyway, over the opposition of Democrats who called Mr. Horowitz's student groups "thought police."

Faculty groups say that Congress's measure is costly and unnecessary. Florida has estimated that an academic-rights measure before its legislature would cost $4.3 million a year in staffing and legal costs. The AAUP argues that colleges already have grievance procedures and student-written teacher evaluations where allegations of ideological discrimination can be aired.

For Congress to get involved suggests "a lack of professionalism" among teachers, says David Hollinger, who heads the AAUP's committee on academic freedom and teaches the history of academia at the University of California at Berkeley.

Mr. Horowitz says that isn't the point, and that his measure is only about "decorum," "consumer fraud" and protecting the core values of the universities from activist professors. "It will only be a conservative issue if liberals make it that," he adds.”

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Top 25 Film Scores of All Time

1 STAR WARS 1977 John Williams
2 GONE WITH THE WIND 1939 Max Steiner
3 LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 1962 Maurice Jarre
4 PSYCHO 1960 Bernard Herrmann
5 THE GODFATHER 1972 Nino Rota
6 JAWS 1975 John Williams
7 LAURA 1944 David Raksin
8 THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 1960 Elmer Bernstein
9 CHINATOWN 1974 Jerry Goldsmith
10 HIGH NOON 1952 Dimitri Tiomkin
11 THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD 1938 Erich Wolfgang Korngold
12 VERTIGO 1958 Bernard Herrmann
13 KING KONG 1933 Max Steiner
14 E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982 John Williams
15 OUT OF AFRICA 1985 John Barry
16 SUNSET BLVD. 1950 Franz Waxman
17 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 1962 Elmer Bernstein
18 PLANET OF THE APES 1968 Jerry Goldsmith
20 THE PINK PANTHER 1964 Henry Mancini
21 BEN-HUR 1959 Miklos Rozsa
22 ON THE WATERFRONT 1954 Leonard Bernstein
23 THE MISSION 1986 Ennio Morricone
24 ON GOLDEN POND 1981 Dave Grusin
25 HOW THE WEST WAS WON 1962 Alfred Newman