To read the tribute to SFC Marcus Muralles, please click here
Monday, February 28, 2005
Drudge Has Jumped The Shark
The Michael Jackson trial. And earlier today? The Oscars.
Drudge used to be great- he'd break the story, hours before anyone else. And now he's doing entertainment schtick.
I can't single out Drudge, though. FoxNews today has been jumping back and forth between real news and Jackson's trial. I guess it's not their fault that we've become such a thoughtless society that celebrity gossip passes as real news.
Please excuse me while I mourn the dropping of the Average American IQ.
He Did What???
Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami announced the resignation of his pro-Syrian government Monday, two weeks after the assassination of his predecessor, Rafik Hariri, triggered protests in the streets and calls for Syria to withdraw thousands of troops.No, we don't know what will happen next. But let us pause for just a moment and bask in this moment of... freedom.
"I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said.
Syria... pay attention.
Fruits of Their Labors...
- First, we have protests in Beruit. Yes, Beruit.
"We have nothing to lose anymore. We want freedom or death," says Indra Hage, a young Lebanese Christian. "We're going to stay here, even if soldiers attack us," says Hadi Abi Almouna, a Druze Muslim. "Freedom needs sacrifices, and we are ready to give them."
- Egypt had suddenly decided that democratic reform is a good thing.
A presidential promise of multi-candidate elections - considered unthinkable for decades - was exciting reformists and opposition groups who hailed it as a "new era."
- Syria has started handing over Iraqi insurgents, masterminds, and anyone else they can think of in an effort to get attention away from them as quickly as possible.
"The Syrian authorities, because of the tremendous pressure on them, did something about Ibrahim," a source described as a "senior government official" told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity in Baghdad.
"Having so many problems on their plate at the moment, the Syrians were willing partners in this, but the Americans and we were also involved."
It won't be this month, this year, or maybe even this decade, but... in time, President Bush, his Administration, and the Coallition he put together will be known as the guiding force behind the reforms that will change the landscape of the Middle East and maybe even the entire world.
No, democracy doesn't always work (at least, our brand of democracy), and you can't bring it at the end of a gun. But it is human nature to long to be free. All President Bush had to do was show it could be done, then let nature take its course.
(h/t to BC @ The Rott - thanks for the links and the great post!)
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King, Jr.When I was in high school, I was on the speech team. I was chosen to represent the school in a competition where I had to deliver a speech already made by someone else. My coach asked me to choose a famous speech and let her see it. Immediately, I thought of the speech that Dr. King gave at the March on Washington, DC, in August of 1963. It was powerful, moving, and I firmly believed (and still do) in that color-blind society that Dr. King longed for. Unfortunately, my coach shot down that idea. You see... I'm about as white as you can get- if you took away my freckles, I doubt there'd be any pigment in my skin at all. And, my coach was worried about offending someone. So, instead, she offended me. (I don't remember what speech I ended up doing... it didn't really matter.) But, I guess I need to thank my speech coach, because she helped shape my views on race relations. She reaffirmed my desire to see that world Dr. King dreamed of, where color doesn't matter- it's who you are inside that counts.
So, I, Little Miss White Chick that I am, have to wonder what African American leaders are thinking when they do stuff like this:
Black leaders debated Saturday how to develop a checklist of political priorities that could be submitted to politicians seeking support from black voters.I'm not sure which part of this bothers me more. There are so many things to choose from.
Tavis Smiley... initially offered the checklist, or "contract," as a political sword, but others said it would be better used as a self-improvement tool for black Americans.
"The next time you come calling on our vote, you come correct on the contract or you don't come at all," Smiley said at the sixth annual State of the Black Union Symposium, which also included the Rev. Al Sharpton and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
First, there's Smiley's assumption that all Black voters are going to follow, lock step, with whatever these goons say. The last election should have shown them that the Black community has begun to second guess their self-appointed leaders and are taking the time to study the issues and make their own decisions about politics.
Second, why do these "leaders" think that politicians will cave into their every whim? I mean, sure, the Democrats have groveled at their feet for years, but they never actually followed through on any of their petty promises.
Third, I have to wonder at the relevance of contracts like this. Are they necessary? What do they want? If they are looking for equal access and equal rights- all United States citizens have that. Demand that current laws be enforced. If they want special treatment, then they're out of luck. Equal rights never has, does not, and never will mean special rights.
I dream of that nation, that place Dr. King dreamed of. A truly color-blind society. I can't help but think that the 40 leaders gathered to discuss this "checklist" are quite content to have these divisions in our society. After all, it keeps them relevant... and employed.
My Token Oscar Post
Most critics say that Chris Rock was a bore. There were no big surprises among the winners. Martin Scorsese slammed both the Left and the Right and whined just a little - he knew he wasn't going to win. Chris Rock also managed to take digs at the Left (said something about Tim Robbins boring everyone with his politics) and the Right (comparing the President's job with someone working at The Gap).
Gold was the gown color of choice, and most of the actresses decided to show some skin- strapless or at least sleeveless was the norm. Blah, blah, blah.
My whole reason for writing this? I mean... we all know that I didn't care about the Academy Awards. Well... I heard the sweetest thing, and I had to share.
Chad Lowe, husband of Hilary Swank, commented that she's a much better wife than she is actress- just after she won the Oscar for Best Actress.
Ok, Ladies, are you with me? "Awwwwww... so sweet!"
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Product Review Time
OK. What do I need, you ask? The protection stuff. My Norton Anti-virus subscription is up, and (in a totally unrelated event) I've begun to get po-ups while using Firefox.
So, what's the best anti-virus software out there?
We use the onboard firewall in the router? Seems like enough. Do I need more?
Any other bells/whistles I need to make my laptop a happy, healthy machine?
Thanks in advance for you advice/product reviews (and negative reviews, too, if you know of something that is just a piece of trash).
Saturday, February 26, 2005
The Turning of a Page (part 1)
Yesterday was spent painting bands on the shafts of two arrows. Each of the bands on each of the arrows represent an accomplishment in the boys' "career" as Cub Scouts. Once I figure out how to attach the arrowheads (I have a plan... really), I will put the arrows onto their Arrow of Light plaques for the Blue and Gold banquet tonight. This will be their final activity as Cub Scouts.
Four years ago, the information meeting for Cub Scouts was at the same time as the 1st Grade Parents' meeting. I went to the Parents' meeting, and Hubby went to the Cub Scout meeting. An hour later, he was the Den Leader for the boys' Cub Scout den, and the meetings were going to be held at our house. (huh?) Hubby was Den Leader for 3 years (his work schedule changed and he was unable to be their leader this past year.) I think he had fun. I know the kids did.
So, tonight is one of the first of the "lasts" we'll be doing over the next couple of months, culminating with their 5th Grade graduation in May. (5th grade graduation? I didn't have a graduation until 8th grade. Thoughts?) And, then, a whole new wave of firsts (and plenty of blogfodder, I'm sure) will follow as the boys start middle school.
No, I'm not going to get all sappy on you. That's not my style. If I get any good pics tonight at the banquet, I'll post them. But... I'll just leave you with this:
Friday, February 25, 2005
Socialize Healthcare Now!!!!
Free chocolate on NHS
Chocolate should be free on the NHS because of its health benefits for women.
According to scientists chocolate helps cut symptoms of PMT and depression reports The Sun.
Chantal Coady, of Rococo Chocolates, said: "It could be used as a substitute for drugs like Prozac."
Chocolate releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It is also full of magnesium, which cuts mood swings, and heart-protecting substances.
The Department of Health said more studies were needed.
New Medications (just for women)
New Medications for Women OnlyWell, I don't need the Buyagra- I have a recessive shopping gene.
DAMNITOL Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 hours.
ST. MOMMA'S WORT Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to six hours.
EMPTYNESTROGEN Highly effective suppository that eliminates melancholy by enhancing the memory of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.
PEPTOBIMBO Liquid silicone for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and improves flirting.
DUMBEROL When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low IQ, resulting in enjoyment of country western music.
FLIPITOR Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.
PENISCILLIN Potent antiboyotic for older women. Increases resistance to such lines as,"You make me want to be a better person ... can we get naked now?"
BUYAGRA Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency and duration of spending spree.
Extra Strength BUY-ONE-AL When combined with Buyagra, can cause an indiscriminate buying frenzy so severe the victim may even come home with a Donnie Osmond CD or a book by Dr. Laura.
JACKASSPIRIN Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary or phone number.
ANTI-TALKSIDENT A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers.
SEXCEDRIN More effective than Excedrin in creating the, "Not now, dear, I have a headache" syndrome.
NAGAMENT When administered to a husband, provides the same irritation as nagging him all weekend, saving the wife the time and trouble of doing it herself.
UPDATE: ZiPpo has another medication to add to this list, but this one isn't gender-specific.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
From the Stupid Criminal Files...
A man from Florida faces charges after attempting to bribe a policeman with McDonald's cheeseburgers.Cheeseburgers? From McDonald's? There wasn't a Krispy Kreme anywhere nearby?
Steven T Denton, from Marathon, was originally arrested following a fight at a local pub but tried to prevent being locked up by bribing the police officer on duty reports Keynoter.com.
Deputy Mark Eastly said: "Denton told me that if I would drive him to McDonald's, he would buy me two cheeseburgers if I let him go and did not take him to jail."
I saw Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) on FoxNews' Hannity and Colmes last night. He has this theory. It's an interesting theory. Too bad he's accusing White House personnel of felonies with no proof.
U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, has not backed off comments he made over the weekend that the White House may be responsible for phony documents used by CBS last year in a report questioning President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.
New York Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey is accusing the White House, and specifically adviser Karl Rove, of "setting up" CBS to air the now-discredited report on President Bush's National Guard service. At a weekend forum in Ithaca, New York taped by a member of the audience Hinchey said, "Why did [the White House] do it? They knew that Bush was a draft dodger. ... They knew that he had no defense for that period in his life. ... So] they produced papers ... and they distributed those out to elements of the media. ... [CBS] finally bought into it."So... here's how it went down (in Hinchey's mind)... the Bush campaign was worried about the President's past (no matter that Dem's supposedly don't care about having a draft dodger as President OR the fact that Mary Mapes had been working on the TANG story for 5 years with no luck). So, the campaign, under the thumb of the evil Karl Rove, produced these fake memos. They then gave these fake memos to a known Democrat hack, who gave them to CBS. CBS was duped, and published these memos, thinking they were real, and they were summarily discredited. Is that about right?
Now, I'm sure the respected Representative from the Great State of New York wouldn't make these accusations without concrete proof, right? Well... not exactly... you see... he has a hunch. It just sounds like something Karl Rove would do.
''My suspicion and my theory is that it's likely to be the White House political operation headed up by Karl Rove,'' Hinchey said. ''The proof is circumstantial.''And what circumstantial proof does he have? Well, according to the interview last night, ... uh... umm... Rove is evil and it's something he would do. (No, really. That just about sums up what he said.) The Bush White House routinely attacks media outlets that are critical of the Administration, according to Hinchey. (If that was the case, then they'd be on the attack 24/7, wouldn't they?)
...Hinchey, however, said he has no evidence to back up his claim.
So, let me make sure I've got all of this straight. An elected member of the House of Representatives is accusing the President (via members of his staff) of committing a felony... based on a feeling. No proof. Not even circumstantial evidence, really. Just a hunch.
Hinchey said he did not believe he was being irresponsible by publicly theorizing about the matter. He said he owed it to his constituents to let them how he thinks.You're right, Rep. Hinchey. You have a responsibility to make sure that your constituents know exactly what your theories are. I only have one request- PROVE IT!!! Put some real, tangible evidence out there for us to see.
"I have a responsibility to report (my theories) to my constituents and tell them conclusions or ideas that I am working on or believe based upon my analysis and interpretation of the facts," Hinchey said Monday.
But, even if you can't prove it, keep talking. Let everyone know your theories. After all, we could always use a few more Republican Representatives in '06.
I noticed this on several blogs (sorry, can't remember which ones), and it struck me as ironic, as well. The title of the article linked to above reads: "Judge Extends Stay in Right-to-Die Case." Right to die? Not quite accurate. It should either read "Right to Live"... or, maybe even more accurate, "Right to Murder." I keep hearing on the news that Terri is in a PVS (persistent vegetative state), which she's not. There is so much misinformation in this case- I just hope Judge Greer finally figures it out.
Go to Blogs for Terri. This is such an important case. Don't let it fall by the wayside.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Wrap Your Brain Around This One...
Way back in the day (high school), I talked my parents into letting me go to a physics seminar at Parks College. Every Saturday morning for 8 weeks, I drove down to Parks for a lecture. Astrophysics. Optics. Thermodynamics. Superconducting super colliders. Avionics. Engineering. Quantum physics. Relativity. Aaahhh.... warm fuzzies just thinking about it.
One of the things that I remember being mentioned was the idea of "dark matter." Dark matter is cool stuff... you can't see it... no idea what it's made of. But, it has to be there. To my sarcastic 16 year-old brain, it seemed like the perfect cop-out. "Hmm... none of these equations make sense. But... it all looks right. So there has to be something else there influencing things. Something we can't see. Or measure. Yeah... that's it."
So, cosmologists and other like-brained eggheads have been researching this mystery matter, and... they found a whole galaxy of the stuff!!!
Astronomers have discovered an invisible galaxy that could be the first of many that will help unravel one of the universe's greatest mysteries.... The theory suggests that pockets of pure dark matter ought to remain sprinkled across the cosmos. In 2001, a team led by Neil Trentham of the University of Cambridge predicted the presence of entire dark galaxies.What does this mean for us on Planet Earth in the year 2005? Not much, beyond the fact that these guys just got their funding for the foreseeable futue. It's what this might mean for our children's great grandchildren that's cool. At the rate things are going now, humanity will have to reach for the stars at some point. We will either outgrow this home, or we'll need resources, or our innate curiosity will just get the better of us. Regardless of the reason, at some point, we'll launch ourselves into space, not just to orbit our world, but to find new worlds to explore.
If theorists are correct, "normal matter" only makes up four percent of all the "stuff" out there. Up to twenty-three percent is this "dark matter". We might want to have a clue before we start running into things we can't see. Just makes sense to me.
Oh? That other 73%? Dark energy. Try wrapping your brain around that one.
This Proves it!
An otherwise loving family pet was shot dead by police after the tabby cat went berserk and terrorized a city family late last week, The Intelligencer has learned.Oh, yeah. That's perfectly normal.
While her daughter was stroking the long-haired white and orange tabby in the living room, the feline leisurely walked downstairs.
But when Mickey emerged from the basement-area of the home, it was ... a different animal ... it looked as though it was possessed.
Ears flat back, hair standing on end and eyes bulging, Mickey lunged across the dining room and attacked her daughter, biting through her jeans and slicing into her leg.
When the cat released its grip, it continued coming at the girl, shrieking and hissing....
While it ran wildly around the interior of the brick bungalow, the cat continued shrieking and began defecating throughout the home.
You could actually hear the cat screaming from the other side of the street, he said.
Why the parents didn't take a baseball bat to it at that point is beyond me. I mean, it's one thing for a cat to be in a bit of a mood, but... if you can hear a cat screaming from the other side of the street, something is just not right.
So, the police (and Animal Control, who, it seems, couldn't be bothered because they were in a meeting) answer the call. Can you imagine the poor officer?
"that's what I thought you said. What in the *(#&$^ am I supposed to do about a psycho cat???"
So, the poor guy shows up to deal with Mickey's temper tantrum, only to find the Possessed Feline from Hell.
Speaking to The Intelligencer on condition of anonymity, the constable said he had ... never seen an animal act like that before it was like it was possessed or something, hissing and growling.Dang. Sounds like Mickey got into someone's stash of speed or something. That might explain his protective nature toward the basement- that's where the good cat nip was hid. Either that, or he managed to open a portal to Hell and became possessed by some whacked out cat demon.
The officer shot the cat square in the chest with his Beretta .40-calibre handgun.
Even after he shot it, that cat was so hopped up were talking about a little, eight-pound cat Mickey ran down the hall into the bathroom and jumped into the tub, the husband recollected. He didnt die for at least five minutes ... he was all nerves and adrenaline ... he wasnt in his right mind.
And, in case anyone was wondering... they have NO clue why the little monster went all Damien on them.
Government test results earlier this week confirmed the feline didnt have rabies. An autopsy to determine the exact cause of the animals behaviour is not scheduled, however.Like I said, cats are evil (and I base that almost entirely on the fact that I'm allergic to the little monsters. Cedar trees are also evil. And penicillin.) I mean, if a dog is going to go Kujo on you, he usually has the decency to foam at the mouth and act weird first. But, no... not this cat. He's all sweet and lovable and then CHOMP! There goes a chunk of your leg.
No, thanks. I'll stick with my nice, predictable, annoying dogs.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Adventures in Parenting (A Continuing Series)
So, walking out of church Saturday night, I asked T1 what he had been listening to (he had his cd player with him, so I thought he was listening to one of the Dr. Demento cds I had "liberated" from Hubby's stash for them). He told me that he was listening to 101X, but that he also listens to BOB from time to time.
Then he mentions that he really likes 101X, but sometimes they have some really weird shows on. I asked what he meant. He goes on to explain that there's this one show that he heard where they talk about... well... you know... "sex and stuff."
"You mean Loveline?"
"Yeah, that's it."
"And, you listened to it?"
"Well, no. When I first turned it on, they were talking to some of the people from Napoleon Dynamite, and that was ok. But as soon as they took a phone call and I found out what they were talking about, I turned it."
"Oh, ok." I turned to T2. "You ever listen to that?"
"I heard it once. I was like... " then he made this really funny shocked face, "... and I turned it off."
T1 then asked, "Mom, why do people call in to shows like that? Why do they even have shows like that?"
"I have no idea, hon. No idea at all."
So, what did Mom learn from this little exchange? That my kids might not be able to clean anything (their room, the van, anything) without adult supervision, but they've got good heads on their shoulders. (No, I'm not saying that Loveline is bad, per say...) They know what they should (and probably shouldn't) be listening to.
I may have a lot of stuff to worry about when it comes to my kids. It's one of my jobs as Mom to worry. But, at least for now, I don't have to worry about this.
This Would Be a Very Bad Thing
Leaders of a U.N. Internet panel yesterday said they hope to set up a global system where cyberspace would be under the control of the United Nations.There are very very few things the UN does well. What? You want me to name one? uh... umm... hold on, I'm thinking... let me get back to you on that one...
The committee, which was set up in December 2003, is laying the groundwork for the U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society where a final decision on the control of the Net will be determined, stated a Reuters report. The summit will take place in Tunis in November.
ICANN, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, currently is the most recognizable Internet governing body, but developing countries want a U.N. agency, such as the International Telecommunication Union, to have control over domain names and other issues.Of course developing countries want a UN agency to take care of it. They rely on the UN for everything. Are they allowed to breathe without UN permission?
Hey... I thought of one thing the UN didn't totally botch. The ITU set up the country code system for telephone numbers. But wait... the ITU did that before they were part of the UN... n'er mind.
We probably need some form of international law/policy for the Internet, so that we can prosecute spammers and the like. Unfortunately, the UN is run my thugs and dictators- not the kind of people we want in charge of one of the greatest tools Free Speech has ever known. That would just be... bad.
Very. Very. Bad.
NOT The Groningen Protocol
BRUSSELS - Two doctors and a maternity nurse have been arrested over the death of a premature baby boy at the weekend.You see, if this baby had been born at the Groningen Hospital in the Netherlands, the nice doctors would have just given the tyke a nice little injection of muscle relaxers and put it out of everyone's misery.
The baby, who was six weeks premature and weighing only 1.25 kg, was born in a Namur hospital at 4am on Friday but died between 8 and 9am.
His parents had refused medical efforts to keep him alive, fearing that the child would be handicapped.
Experts say the infant, who was breathing, could have survived with medical intervention and an inquiry has already been opened.... It is believed the mother, who works with handicapped children, was particularly sensitive to the difficulties these children face.... She may also face charges.I will admit a certain bias (beyond the obvious "YOU JUST KILLED A LIVING, BREATHING BABY!!!" ) R was born premature, and my sister was born 6.5 weeks premie. I also had a cousin who was born 6 weeks premie, but she passed away when she was a week old- after they did everything in their power to save her. They didn't just leave her on a table to die. And, this baby could have possibly lived, and might NOT have been handicapped. But, we'll never know, because his parents were too afraid.
Once my initial "I can't believe they did that!" over this story calmed (but just a bit), I got to thinking. I'm not sure how many people know this, but this happens in the US. Not every day, but it does happen. If a baby is aborted, but is delivered alive, they leave it in a basin to die. There is no attempt to make the baby more comfortable until it passes, no attempt to get it to a hospital, where it might get the treatment it needs to live. They just leave it. The same as this baby in Brussels.
Why aren't the doctors in the US charged with infanticide like the doctors and nurse in Belgium? Because law enforcement isn't allowed to go in and have a look. They're not allowed, in many cases, to investigate. After all, privacy rights and all that.
And, I'll put good money that those well-meaning medical professionals at the "women's clinics" around the country don't let the women see the baby if it's born alive. I mean, they might actually change their minds, like this woman did after her baby refused to die.
I can't say that my heart goes out to this couple because of their loss. It doesn't. They made the choice to kill their child, because they were afraid. My heart goes out to that baby- and to all the other babies like him.
Is This Really Necessary?
HONOLULU -- A state legislator is pushing a bill that would ban the slaughter of dogs and cats for food, drawing protests from members of some Asian ethnic groups who believe the measure is aimed at unfounded and racist stereotypes of their cultures.You see... there's only one problem with this- there isn't a big market for fillet of Fluffy these days in the 50th State. Perhaps when some groups migrated to Hawaii, but not now.
State Rep. Glenn Wakai, who introduced the measure, said it is aimed at stemming the growth of a "cottage industry" with the potential to threaten public health. He said news reports last August about dogs being stolen and butchered in some Oahu neighborhoods proves there's a problem....So... no need for the legislation, right? I mean... The Puppy Blender hasn't taken up residence in Oahu, so all's good. Right? Noooo... that would make sense.
The news reports he cited were based largely on tips from Carroll Cox, president of the local environmental activist group Envirowatch, who said his own undercover investigation found evidence of the practice on Oahu.
But investigations of two of those tips came up empty, said Letha DeCaires, a Honolulu police detective and a coordinator for Animal Crimestoppers, part of the local nonprofit Crimestoppers program.
"Either the Humane Society or the police department followed through with every tip that we had," DeCaires said. "There was no evidence of slaughterhouse equipment, butchering tools, or anything to substantiate such claims at the time we visited the locations."
Cox claims the Humane Society mishandled the cases and blew his cover by alerting the media to his investigation.Prove it. Oh, wait! You tried. You failed. Next environmental crisis, Carrol.
"It is commonplace in Hawaii. It's a practice that has been known, noted and documented and no one has touched it because it's a cultural issue," Cox said.
In the end, this legislation will get a vote. And it will probably be voted in. Not because it's good legislation, not because it's necesary. It will be made into law because the Legislature likes having a job, and the Sheeple of the Great State of Hawaii have been freaked out by Cox and his loons.
Honolulu resident Kim Soiti, who has a dog and two cats, thinks Wakai's bill should be passed even if there is no evidence that anyone in the state is consuming dog or cat meat.They might not be stupid, Kim... I'm concerned about their owner's intelligence (as well as the intelligence of Rep. Wakai), but not the pets.
"Cats and dogs are great companions. They're not stupid. They have emotions," said Soiti. "Dogs and cats are generally household pets and are like part of the family."
Monday, February 21, 2005
Liar , Liar, Pants on Fire
If someone calls you and tells you they're not selling anything, they're lying. If they weren't selling anything, they wouldn't have even thought to deny selling anything.
Thus ends today's (well, yesterday's) lesson.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Never again will you have to choose between having sushi or having a USB memory drive--thanks to the USB sushi drive. These USB drives are hand-made-in-Tokyo sushi replicas. The convincing USB sushi drive comes in several flavors. Overnight shipping with dry ice pack available. Comes in 32mb or 128mb size.Yeah, they look really cool. Unfortunately, they look really real. I'd be afraid that in a moment of intense sushi craving, I'd accidently eat the backup of Quicken or something. That would be bad. And, probably not very tasty.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Up, Up, and Away!!
"NASA's Space Flight Leadership Council met today and refined the launch planning window for Discovery's Return to Flight mission to May 15 to June 3, 2005," the US space agency said Friday.We can debate the value of the current space program, or what the future priorities for exploration should be. Later. Today, just let me do my Happy Dance. We're back in the Race!
"STS-114 will rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS)," with seven crew members on board, according to a NASA statement that described elaborate testing and system checks as almost completed.
Atlantis also has a mission to the ISS in the works, with a launch window of July 12-July 31, the agency said.
I. Will. Not. Give. In.
- those who can't wait until May 19th
- those who were psyched about The Phantom Menace, cringed over AotC, and wishes that ROTS would just go away
- those who have no idea who that's a pic of, and don't want to know
I'll admit it. Before AotC, I hit The Force.Net's site on an almost daily basis, committing the spoilers to memory. I knew the plot, even tried to find the Easter Eggs in the dvd.
But, no. I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to live at that site. I will not look at spoilers. I will not give in. I can deal with surprise. I can wait. I will have patience.
I will keep telling myself that. Maybe some day I'll believe it.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Oh, THAT's Mature
Well, in their quest to prove that Free Speech is only for the Left, vandals painted a giant swastika on the billboard on President Bush's forehead. But, that's ok. Citizens United thought something like that might happen, so they made to have it repaired right away if the signs were damaged.
I guess the Left still only has that one play in their playbook. You know the one... the one that reads, "when you can't debate your opponent with logic and facts, go right ahead and call them names and trash other people's property."
So, Now I've got a Neurological Disorder?
I think religion is a neurological disorder.Well, let's pick the whole quote apart, and then I'll make a bit of commentary.
"We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking. I think it justifies crazies. I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder. If you look at it logically, it's something that was drilled into your head when you were a small child. It certainly was drilled into mine at that age. And you really can't be responsible when you are a kid for what adults put into your head."According to dictionary.com, a neurological disorder is a disorder of the nervous system. So, that's sounds organic... not really the brainwashing that he's accusing parents of doing to their kids. Bill, if you're going to call us loony, at least get the brand name right, ok? (And, just to clarify, although I thoroughly despise the connotation that religious-based charities are somehow equal to radical fundamentalist terrorism, he has a point. Terrorism, in the context of 9/11, was a faith-based initiative, but only in the dictionary.com definition, not the context of what President Bush is trying to accomplish.)
"When you look at beliefs in such things as, do you go to heaven, is there a devil, we have more in common with Turkey and Iran and Syria than we do with European nations and Canada and nations that, yes, I would consider more enlightened than us."I find his use of the word "enlightened" entertaining. Although I'm sure he meant "highly educated; having extensive information or understanding," one of the other definitions of "enlightened" is "having knowledge and spiritual insight." So, Europe and Canada, who, in Mr. Maher's opinion, are devoid of religiosity, have more spiritual insight that those who profess a belief in a Higher Being (no matter how that Higher Being manifests Itself)? So, only those who have convinced themselves of a lack of Something to Believe In (either to assuage a guilty conscience or to justify science that needs as much faith, in some cases, as the religions they reject, or whatever other reasons they give) have the exaulted knowledge Bill Maher prizes so highly? So, the religion of atheism is the only religion* Mr. Maher will accept as valid.
"When people say to me, 'You hate America,' I don't hate America. I love America. I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality. It is the 21st century. And I will tell you, my friend. The future does not belong to the evangelicals. The future does not belong to religion."How interesting, Mr. Maher. How do you then explain the fact that there is a spiritual revival that is rapidly gaining speed... around the world? People all over the world are searching, seeking Something to believe in. Some are turning to Islam, others to Christianity, even others to New Age Spirituality. Nonetheless, more and more people are turning to religion, not away from it. The future does belong to religion, and the battles between ideologies will only get worse.
"When you were a kid and they were telling you whatever you believe in religion, do you think if they had switched the fairy tales that they read to you in bed with the Bible, you would know the difference?How sad it must be for you, Mr. Maher, to live a life of no faith. To have nothing to believe in beyond the flawed nature of man. To have nothing to look forward to, nothing to hope for, dream of. What you consider a neurological disorder, a disease, I see as a blessing, a Gift from God. A Gift that has made all the difference to me.
"Do you think if it was the fairy tale about a man who lived inside of a whale and it was religion that Jack built a beanstalk today, you would know the difference? Why do you believe in one fairy tale and not the other? Just because adults told you it was true and they scared you into believing it, at pain of death, at pain of burning in hell."
In closing, I'd like to make my own diagnosis. (Unlike Mr. Maher, I have actually taken a few psychology classes, so I might know a little about this.) Maybe not quite like Michael Savage (I haven't read the book yet, so I don't know for sure), I think liberalism is a mental disorder. While I'm not sure which one, my money is currently on schizophrenia. Consider the symptoms:
- delusionsBut, don't worry- there is a treatment program.
- disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
- grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
- negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition
* Yes, I believe atheism is a religion. Allow me to explain.
Atheism: Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods; the doctrine that there is no God or gods.
doctrine: A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; dogma
dogma: A doctrine or a corpus of doctrines relating to matters such as morality and faith, set forth in an authoritative manner by a church
Well, this is encouraging!
As ICE agents have pursued criminals who are in the USA illegally, they also have swept up record numbers of illegal immigrants who have committed no crimes other than violations of visa limits and other immigration laws. That helped increase the total number of deportations by more than 45% from 2001 to 2004.So, you mean we actually send some of the people back if they don't belong here? Who knew?
Most of those deported — more than 70% in 2004 — have been returned to Mexico. Most of the rest have been sent back to Central or South America or to the Dominican Republic. ICE now has four jets that in 2003 alone made 317 flights to return more than 18,500 immigrants to their native countries.
This article tells the sob-story of Ana Ortega, a woman who had it made and blew it.
Ortega, 27, said that she was a legal permanent U.S. resident and that until recently she was an office manager for a chiropractor in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. Four years ago, she was convicted of conspiracy for being a bit player in a drug-smuggling ring. Her husband, a U.S. citizen and repeat offender, received 10 years in prison; she got probation. She was ordered to appear at a deportation hearing, but she skipped it.... Ortega says she was sad to have left the USA. Her son, 8, and her daughter, 5, are U.S. citizens and will live with Ortega's mother in the USA. "It wouldn't be fair for them to have to live in a country they've never lived in," Ortega says.You know what, Ana? Maybe you should have thought about that before you broke the law. The fact that you are permanently separated from your children is not the fault of the US government. That responsibility sits squarely on your shoulders. And you can bet that your kids will know that, too.
An immigration judge ruled that Ortega should be banned from the USA for life, but she plans to ask the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic whether there's a chance she could return to the USA.
"People make mistakes," she says. "Now it's not only me, but my kids who will pay."
Thursday, February 17, 2005
This link is "courtesy" of Eric... not sure if I'm grateful or not.
I guess I knew there were jackasses like this. I mean, statistically, there had to be complete asshats like this, right?
I find myself speechless. I try so hard to find the sliver of goodness in everyone. But... it's not there. Nor is there rational thought.
Go. Read what Eric had to say. He said most of what I'm thinking.
I'm just going to sit here and mourn the loss of my faith in the goodness of humanity.
UPDATE: (thanks to ZiPpo for the head's up!) Well, it looks like they had to do a little housekeeping at the site I linked to. Here's the link to the main page. And here's the new link to the photo I linked to last night. Here's a quote from this fine American's site:
The fact that the photograph caused so much anger and drama (and apparently caused one marine mother to have a mental breakdown) means that we've served our purpose. Perhaps now, people are realizing that the US military is not all it's cracked up to be, and people don't like that vulnerability.So, showing a photo of a disabled Marine, with a caption claiming that he's a coward lacking honor, served your purpose? How special. I'm sure you're quite proud of yourself, especially since you caused a Marine's mother to have a mental breakdown. How... mature of you. You tout your First Amendment rights left and right on your site, and you do have those rights. BECAUSE of men like that Marine. But you wouldn't understand that, because all you can see is that the money that you want for your pet social projects is being spent on defending our country- and those Rights you flaunt so callously.
Maybe, when you've emotionally matured past the "Mine! Mine! Mine!" stage (I think my kids did that when they were about 5), then we might be able to have a rational debate. Until then, it would be like having a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Or trying to reason with a toddler. Neither works very well.
A Matter of Life and Death
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Terri's story, read her story at that link. There is section with very good explanations of several of the myths about Terri, and the facts surrounding her condition, prognosis, and legal battle. In a nutshell, Terri collapsed in her home in 1990, and she was brain damaged as a result. Her husband has been trying to have her feeding tube removed for several years, claiming she is in a persistive vegetative state (which she is not).
Time for Terri is running out. They can pull her feeding tube as early as Feb. 22nd, unless there is intervention. For more information on what you can do, read through all the information at Hyscience.
Pray for Terri and her family. Then do what you can to make a difference. (h/t to the other Beth)
Don't Blame Me!
George, age 92, and Edith, age 89, had been seeing each other for two years when they decided that life was short and they might as well be together for the rest of their lives. Excited about their decision to become newlyweds, they went for a stroll to discuss the wedding and the plans that needed to be made. Along the way, they found themselves in front of a drugstore.Like I said. Don't blame me.
George said to his bride-to-be, "Let's go in, I have an idea."
They walked to the rear of the store and addressed the man behind the counter. "Are you the owner?" asked George.
The pharmacist answered, "Yes sir, I am. How may I help you?"
George, "Do you sell heart medications?"
Pharmacist, "Of course we do."
George, "How about support hose for circulation?"
George, "What about medications for rheumatism, osteoporosis and arthritis?"
Pharmacist, "All kinds."
George, "How about waterproof furniture pads and Depends?"
Pharmacist, "Yes sir."
George, "Hearing aids, denture supplies and reading glasses?"
George, "What about eye drops, sleeping pills, Geritol, Preparation-H and ExLax?"
George, "You sell wheelchairs, walkers and canes?"
Pharmacist, "All kinds and sizes. Why all these questions?"
George smiled, glanced shyly at Edith and replied to the pharmacist, "We've decided to get married and we'd like to use your store as our Bridal Registry."
I've got a better idea
Here's a better idea. Instead of spending the money on a new prison, how about they drop them off on the other side of the border (where they came from) and then use that money to secure the border.
Just a thought...
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Things That Make You Go "hmmm..." (a continuing series)
Kinda ruined the mood for me. Drat...
My Head is Going To Explode
I occasionally have patience rivaling Job's. Ok, maybe not quite that good, but, still... I'm willing to put up with a lot. Passive aggressive personalities have nothing on me.
But, from time to time, something happens to nudge that one nerve... the one that causes all hell to break loose. Running and hiding is recommended at that point. It's just safer that way.
Well, someone's doing a tap dance on that nerve. And who is doing this Savion Glover impersonation on that one particular nerve? Who else but the MSM?!?!
If you've been living under a rock the last 24 hours, you might not know this, but Michael Jackson has the flu. And they have a live camera aimed at his hospital window, just in case he waves at his adoring fans again. (Oh, yeah... he waved. And the media was all atwitter.)
If he did what they're saying he did, he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. End of discussion. Let us know when the trial is over. I don't need to know how many fans fainted outside the hospital (yeah, someone really did, and one of MJ's brothers came to the rescue.) How many celebrity witnesses are rushing to MJ's defense means nothing to me. I don't need to know how many potential jurors said "x", "y", or "z" during the voir dire. I definitely do not need to know all the details of this bizarre case.
I may whine and complain about Reality TV™, because it turns the viewing audience into wannabe voyeurs (not "real" voyeurs, because... let's face facts- there is very little reality in Reality TV™ these days.) And, with all of the celebrities in the press these days, we've (and I use that term loosely- sure doesn't mean me!) become quite the nosey society.
Why do we care about the rise of fall of celebrity status? Why do we care about the nitpicky details of a celebrity's life? If I had to guess, their foibles make us feel better. We might be bad, but we're not that bad. Well, guess what, Sparky? When all is said and done, you still have to look yourself in the mirror every day. Does this really help?
Didn't think so.
Or Maybe Not
Or maybe not...
Iranian state television reported Wednesday that an explosion near the town of Deilam, about 60 miles from a nuclear facility, may have been caused by a fuel tank dropping from an Iranian plane.Oops. That's one of the problems with a 24 hour news cycle. There's not always time to make sure the facts are all there before you "go to press."
I'm just glad that this looks like it was probably their "fault" and not one of our drones (which, by the way, it appears that Iran knew about all along and... uh-oh... agreed to. So much for that Washington Post story.)
Frank is Dead
A 9-year-old boy who nicknamed his brain tumor "Frank" - that's short for Frankenstein - is celebrating the intruder's departure.His surgery was performed on Feb 2nd, and the biopsy shows that the tumor was no longer cancerous.
"Frank is now dead and gone and never to return," David Dingman-Grover said Tuesday. He was wearing a black T-shirt that read, "Cancer is not who I am."
Frank the Tumor gained national attention when David's mother created "Frank Must Die" bumper stickers, which the family auctioned on eBay to defray the costs of surgery.
The surgeon did not charge for the procedure, which normally would cost about $100,000 including hospital fees and anesthesiologists. The family has donated $20,000 they received to a charity to help other children with pediatric cancers.Oh, the things we can learn from children. I saw David and his mom on television a month or so ago. His attitude was inspiring, as was his mother's determination and hope. If only adults could be as optomistic as this little boy.
Asked why he did the surgery for free, the doctor showed reporters a pebble the boy gave him which he now carries in his wallet. On it is the word "courage."
Courage. To quote the Puppy Blender... indeed.
Viva la Lance
PARIS (AP) - Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will attempt his seventh consecutive win in cycling's most prestigious race this summer.Riiiight. Sorry, Lance. You wouldn't be planning to race in the TdF again if you didn't think you'd win... hands down. Not that I'm complaining.
Armstrong's schedule "will include this summer's Tour de France, where he will go for a seventh straight victory," his Discovery Channel team said on its Web site Wednesday.
"I am grateful for the opportunity that Discovery Communications has given the team and look forward to achieving my goal of a seventh Tour de France (victory)," it quoted the Texan as saying.
The announcement ended speculation about whether Armstrong would skip the race to focus on other events. Last year he became the first cyclist to win the Tour de France six times.
"I am excited to get back on the bike and start racing although my condition is far from perfect," Armstrong said in the statement.
To say that I'm not into bike racing is quite the understatement. But watching Lance and his team is amazing. Every man on his team is a talented athlete in his own right, but, when together, they form a team that, obviously, no one can beat.
Normally, I would be saying that Lance should retire at the top of his game, go out with a bang, and all that. I'd mention something about how this is just rubbing all the other cyclists' noses in the fact that they can never achieve what Lance has achieved. How this is just kind of mean.
But, hey! Who will be most upset and downright offended by Lance if he wins a seventh TdF? France! So, pedal away, Lance! Pedal away!
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
From the "Dude... you lost" files
"I think my security proposals for the country were smack on, dead on," Kerry said. "I think that had they started to do the things I proposed on Iraq when I proposed them, we would be far better off today. And they are in fact now trying to do some of the things that I proposed."Senator Kerry, could it have been that the President was already working on some of the stuff you suggested, but decided that it would be better for the safety and security of our military to play it a bit closer to the vest. Nah... that couldn't be it...
Oh, and before you read the next line... go ahead and put that drink down. Really... trust me...
"Americans accepted that I could be the commander in chief," he said. "What they were unwilling to do was shift commanders in midstream."Could be? Well, yeah... you were the Democrat's nominee. Should be? Well... we see who's in Office, now, don't we?
Justice Has a Sense of Humor
The driver was pulled over by an officer who allegedly saw the van, operated by West Mercia Safety Camera Partnership, breaking the limit on a national speed limit road.I'm sorry, but that's just... just... bwhahahahahahahahahaha... ok, I feel better now.
For cars this is 60mph, but because of the camera van's weight it is limited to 50mph.
Kate Tonge, for West Mercia Police, today refused to comment on allegations the van had been travelling at 65mph.
They're not serious, are they?
When an illegal alien is apprehended, he is issued a Notice to Appear in immigration court at a specified date, usually within six months or less. At the time of apprehension, ICE decides whether the individual should be detained in the time leading to the court date. If the person has a criminal record or is perceived as a threat to national security, he will be placed in a detention facility. If not, the person is released, with or without bond, depending on whether he is considered a flight risk.What kind of rocket scientists do they have working at the ICE? Could it be maybe, just maybe, they know they have no legal grounds for being in the United States, but they want to stay?
Reached in Washington, D.C., ICE spokesman Manny Van Pelt was not able to offer any conclusive answer for the high rate of delinquency.
"From a practical sense, the reason why people fail to show up is individual to each person," he said. "I couldn’t tell you why; we don’t really look at it that deeply."
Six months to the hearing? Not held in detention until then? Not monitored? And we wonder why everyone is so cynical about imigration in this country.
I've decided that I wouldn't be a very benevolent dictator in my perfect world. You're caught... you can't prove you're a citizen... you've got 48 hours... but you're staying in jail- someone else has to bring your proof. You prove you're allowed to be in the country, fine. You don't prove it- you're on a bus to the nearest border. Buh-bye.
In the February issue of his church magazine, Rev. John MacLeod of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland writes: "Possibly ... no event since Noah's flood has caused such loss of life by drowning as the recent Asian tsunami. That so many of our fellow creatures should have perished in so short a time, and in so awful a fashion, was a divine visitation that ought to make men tremble the world over."Uh... Rev... I know I don't have a degree in theology, but I seem to remember this verse from Genesis:
He continued: "Some of the places most affected by the tsunami attracted pleasure-seekers from all over the world. It has to be noted that the wave arrived on the Lord's day, the day God set apart to be observed the world over as a holy resting from all employments and recreations that are lawful on other days."
GOD smelled the sweet fragrance and thought to himself, "I'll never again curse the ground because of people. I know they have this bent toward evil from an early age, but I'll never again kill off everything living as I've just done. (Gen 8:21)God made a promise, and He keeps His promises. He may have allowed this to happen ( as He does with all things), but He didn't cause it.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Happy "V" Day
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against love- far from it. I just feel bad for the people who, for whatever reason, won't be on the giving or receiving end of Valentine's Day greetings. I can remember not having a sweetheart on Valentine's Day (although I always had a gift- my parents will use any excuse to give gifts! In fact, I'd put good money on a package arriving today.) My heart goes out to those who have to endure what could be seen as a public mocking of their loneliness. That's just wrong.
So... if you know someone who doesn't have a Valentine today (whether it's because they haven't found one yet, or just lost theirs, or are alone again after years and years), be a Valentine to them. Love isn't just the romantic type of love. It comes in many forms. Show your love to your friends, your family.
OK... stepping off the soap box now. I found 2 more Valentine tidbits for you.
First, a Norwegian study states that lobsters don't feel pain when you boil them. So, feel free to order that lobster tonight at dinner!!That's all for me today, gang... Have a couple of tidbits already lined up for tomorrow- they just didn't seem right for Valentine's Day. (And, yes, for the couple of you who asked, I'm headed off to the doctor to try to get some relief for this sudden onslaught of migraines.)
And, second, a Belgian baker is being sued for displaying... risqué marzipan figures. OK... I agree that maybe they shouldn't have been in the front window, but... sue him? Geez...
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Don't Even Think About It, Hubby
Got a steamy night planned for St. Valentine's Day? White Castle offers customers the opportunity to crave some love while they love the crave at (White Castle) locations on Monday, February 14.Now, before any of you guys get any bright ideas, DON'T. I don't care that you can buy them by the dozen. I don't care if they do taste good. I don't care that they're trying to make this seem romantic. This is not romance. This is a recipe for disaster. Please keep in mind that there is a very good reason why their little square bundles of grease are called such loving things as "Sliders", "Belly Bombers", and the Oh-so classy "Rectum Rockets." Let's just say that this will not put your SO "in the mood." Well, not the mood you want her in, anyway.
Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., cravers will be greeted at the door by a host and taken to their own candle-lit table with decorations and table covers. They will receive table service complete with wait staff. Reservations are required.
"We hear many stories from married cravers for whom White Castle is a special part of their lives together, be it because they met at a White Castle or because when they were young it was a fun place to go that they could afford and it has remained so for them. With this history of 'royal' love affairs, a special Valentine's Day dinner at White Castle is a natural fit," said (a White Castle spokeperson) . "And our customers agree -- we start getting inquiries about the dinners in early autumn."
Trust me on this on, ok?
(And, in Hubby's defense, he never would think of something like this- he's not a WC fan. Well, that, and he knows I'd make his life miserable.)
I'll Make a Texan Out of Him Yet
But, he did a good job, and you should go read it. Please. Go read it. And pay attention to the last line. Close attention.
Did you see it? Did you notice? He said, "y'all."
Bwahahahahahaha... his journey towards the dark side is almost complete. I will make a Texan out of him yet!!!
Why It's So Easy to Hate You
I will have you know that I don't have to stop and think about which way to turn a nut or bolt, and I'm quite at home in the garage, playing with power tools. And I at least know a little bit about tanks. (Then again, I've had my chick card taken away, so... something about having a recessive clothes shopping gene or something like that.)
As for the rest of it? Half of those make us chicks mad (not at the guys, but at the way it is.) The other half just makes us hate you, bringing to mind the timeless adage "Can't live with them, can't shoot them."
Thought you'd like to know.
Bad First Impressions
The phone rang, and the "person" asked for me. When I said, "this is she," there was a pause. (hmmm... wonder why...) The "person" on the other end of the line started in.
"Hello, this is Rob from the Dove Foundation. We're conducting a brief survey..." He went on, so quickly that I couldn't get a word edgewise. Then he came to the first question. "Do you have a child or grandchild between 3 and 18 that you have rented a movie or taken to the movies in the past two years?"
"Yes." Another pause. Brief, but a pause none the less.
That's when it hit me. It's a voice-prompted recorded survey. The whole asking for me by name was just a hook to get me to listen. (hey! It's early. Haven't had all of my coffee yet. Cut me some slack here.)
So, I just waited. Didn't say a thing, because, if it had been a real person, they would have said something. "Ma'am?" Something. But, no. Silence. So, I hung up.
Now, I'm not a happy girl. They tricked me, and they're tricking other people. So, I went to their web site, clicked on the "contact us" link, and (politely) told them what I thought of their little survey. I don't dislike automated surveys. And I don't dislike live surveys. I do deeply dislike this deception, no matter how minor it was.
After I did that, I looked around their site. That's what made me even madder. They're a Christian organization. No, they don't say it- "pro-family" is the term they use. But their logo is a dove. Only two types of groups use the dove as a symbol- anti-war groups... and Christians. And they did this. I'm about to have a Dean moment.
Then there's this from their web site:
THE DOVE FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization established to encourage and promote the creation, production and distribution of wholesome family entertainment. The Foundation, free from commercial pressures, awards a blue and white Dove Seal to any movie or video that is rated "family-friendly" by its film review board... The Dove Foundation is working with the entertainment industry to help them identify and serve people who are eager to watch high quality, wholesome movies. The Dove Seal makes it easy for customers to identify titles that are safe for family viewing. Consumers are casting their votes for "family-friendly" movies by choosing titles that display the Dove Seal.At first, this sounds really good. Before we take the boys to see some movies, we'll hit the Screen It site and check out their description of the movie. (They're a little obsessive- they catch every nitpicky detail.) So, having reviews of movies sounds like a really good thing, right? Well, then I found this on their product page:
Clean Up on these great films that have been edited to remove graphic violence, sex and language. Each of the DVDs in this category has been awarded the Dove "Family Edited" Seal of approval.That is just wrong. For whatever reason, the film makers put that stuff in there. I'm not a "let's support the arts- no matter what" kind of person, and many films are far from art, but... how would certain bloggers (who shall remain nameless) found out that someone had taken their posts, editted them to take out all of the colorful invective, and then reposted them (but gave the original writer credit- while pointing out their implied moral inferiority by editting their work)? I'm thinking there would be much wailing and nashing of teeth. I'm very surprised that the studios allow them to sell edited versions of the films. (Oh, wait... it's about money. Film makers will care, not the studios. Oh, well...)
That isn't going to change the movie industry. They'll just keep making the movies with graphic violence, sex and language. And you'll keep buying them, editing them, and reselling them. Nothing will ever change.
What about financing good quality movies for kids? How about supporting the films that Hollywood makes that are good and wholesome and worth seeing? If Hollywood sees that there is a market, they'll make more. It's the way the marketplace works.
OK, all that being said, I did find one good thing on their site- the Children's Hospital Movie Channel.
Most people agree that daytime network television consists mostly of "soap operas" and adult-theme talk shows. It is also generally acknowledged that this type of programming is unsuitable for young children. Recently, Dick Rolfe, Chairman and Founder of The Dove Foundation was quoted on the front page of USA Today, calling for the television networks to "clean up their houses." Most parents can screen what their children watch in the home. However, there is a very large population (800,000) that is a captive audience of this programming, with few options to choose from; the children in our nation's hospitals.So, the Dove Foundation started the CHMC " To provide wholesome, uplifting movies to patients in every children's hospital in America. This entertainment is free to the patient and will be shown on a dedicated channel on the TV in their rooms." We've all seen the trash that passes as daytime TV, and I'm even including talk shows like Oprah in that. Kids don't need to be watching that. So, to me, this is a very good thing, something I could support (as long as they don't show the edited movies, but I digress.)
Entertainment is an important escape for these unfortunate youngsters, especially during such trying times. Hospital staffs rarely have the time or resources necessary to protect the children from unsavory television programming. While many hospitals offer alternatives such as premium cable channels, they are usually available to patients for a fee not covered by insurance. The program content on many of these cable channels is also questionable where children are concerned, leaving them in need of more appropriate programming. In some cases, where video libraries are available, hospital staffs complain that the tapes and VCR’s are frequently lost, stolen or damaged. Videos are occasionally donated by well-meaning family members or friends. These tapes are usually not screened, and are often unsuitable for their intended audience; sick, traumatized young children.
But, it still bugs me that this organization, which does a lot of good for kids, had to resort to such deceptive means for their survey. And, I can't help but wonder (my glass-half-full-and-filling attitude abruptly ends when it comes to telemarketers, door-to-door salesmen, and anyone who says "I'm not trying to sell you anything.") if, at the end of that "survey," there wouldn't have been a pitch to buy some of their videos. I'm glad I hung up when I did. That would have not been pretty.
Disturbing Commercials (a continuing series)
I'll admit it. I'm a marketing person's worse nightmare. I am just as likely (if not more so) to not patronize a business or purchase a product because of a bad commercial as I am to patronize a business or pruchase a product because of a well-made commercial. Case in point- I may never eat at Quizno's ever again. Why? Singing mutant demonic hamsters.
And, to be fair, I'm not a huge What-a-Burger fan to begin with. They have good burgers. I'm not saying they don't. But, the closest WaB to our house is across the street from a Wendy's, the place with my favorite fries and some pretty good food. So, they'd probably lose that battle anyway.
But... well... now every time I drive past that WaB, there will be this brief flash of an image in my mind. An image of a dancing hot dog, slapping the back of his... bun? And then there's the hot dog saying (Seductively is what I think they were going for) "Chili." Nope. Not very appetizing.
Valentine's Day Trivia
- About three percent of pet owners give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets. (been talking to my mom again, haven't you?)
- One-third of all Valentine's Day cards are accompanied by gifts. (the good ones?)
- Hallmark has more than 1,330 different cards specifically for Valentine's Day. (go figure!)
- About one quarter of Valentine's Day cards have humorous messages. (I like those!)
- American women say they'd rather receive chocolate than flowers on Valentine's Day. (Do I really have to explain why? Chocolate releases some of the same chemical compounds in the brain as certain drugs. And it's legal. Flowers smell nice- if you're not allergic to them. That being said... if I could only choose one, I'm not sure which one I'd pick. hmmm.)
- Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and sweethearts. (maybe because guys would rather receive "gifts" on that other holiday. You know, the one in March. And... uh... that one's not quite PG-13. You've been warned.)
- About one billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. The holiday is second only to Christmas in terms of the number of cards sent. (Yet another reason why guys hate this "holiday." Forcing romance on the unsuspecting public in order to sell cards? Mean. Just plain mean.)
- The celebration of Valentine's Day can be traced to the ancient Roman holiday of the Lupercal, which honored Lupercus the Lycaean, who protected flocks of sheep from wolves. (So, to honor Lupercal, you make all the "wolves" buy chocolate and roses and little trinkets for the the poor innocent sheep? The sheep must have come up with this one.)
- Seventy percent of those celebrating Valentine's Day show their affection by giving a card. Others make a telephone call (49 percent), give a gift (48 percent), plan a special dinner (37 percent), give candy (33 percent), have a meal in a restaurant (30 percent), or give flowers (19 percent). (Make a phone call? Obviously they live far, far away, because no guy living in the same town as his sweetheart would be that... stupid, would they?)
- Pope Gelasius declared February 14 to be Saint Valentine's Day in 498 A.D. (But don't blame poor Gelasius. It's not his fault it's gone nuts. I mean, we don't celebrate St. Blaise's feast day. I guess there's no market for blessing the throat... In case you're wondering if I've completely flipped my lid, I brought up St. Blaise for a reason. Every year, at the Catholic school I went to, they did the Blessing of St. Blaise on St. Valentine's Day, but his feast day is actually on Feb 3rd. I didn't know this until I started writing this. I smell a conspiracy of some sort.)
- Richard Cadbury invented the first Valentine's Day candy box in the late 1800s. (So, gang, I guess we can blame him for this. That man has a lot to answer for- Valentine's Day... those nasty Easter eggs... but the Cadbury Bunny commercials are cute.)
- The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day. (uh... she's a fictional chara... never mind. It's not even worth it.)
- The Chocolate Manufacturers Association of America says 36 million boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine's Day. (and Weight Watchers says it has a 10 percent jump in memberships on or about Feb 17th.)
- About 110 million roses, most of them red, will be sold for Valentine's Day this year. (Because black roses would just be wrong.)
- Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, an "improvement in telegraphy," on Valentine's Day, 1876. (And parents became yelling "Get off the phone!" shortly thereafter.)
- Valentine's Day was originally associated with the mating season of birds. (Awww... that's so sweet... isn't that what I'm supposed to say?)
- Fifteen percent of women in the United States send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day. (That's just sad. I mean, is because their SO's are slugs and forgot? Or, is it because they don't have an SO, but they want everyone to think they do? Either one is... just sad.)
- During Abraham Lincoln's campaign for President, a Democrat named Valentine Tapley swore he would never shave again if Abe were elected. Tapley kept his word and his chin whiskers went unshaved from November 1860 until he died in 1910, attaining a length of 12 feet six inches. (Nice to know that Democrat's haven't changed over the years. They still throw temper tantrums if they don't get their way. Except now, they move to Canada.)
- Americans spend $655 million each Valentine's Day on candy, making it the fourth biggest holiday of the year for confectionery purchases, after Halloween, Christmas and Easter (in that order). (And the American Dental Association is both appalled and strangely excited by that fact.)
- In the U.S., it's estimated that 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for Valentine's Day. (Only 64 percent? Surprising. Doesn't quite fit the stereotype, does it?)
- During Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine's Day card. (Bad luck? So, they unintentionally invented the Secret Admirer. And the Stalker.)
- Eighty percent of all Valentine cards are purchased for relatives. (Really? That's sweet. I mean it this time.)
Evangelical Environmentalists? (Take 2)
Looks like some Evangelicals are climbing on the Environmentalist bandwagon. Wait... that's not fair... that either makes "them" look like whackos or "us" look like selfish pigs. Well... just... here:
Thanks to the Rev. Leroy Hedman, the parishioners at Georgetown Gospel Chapel take their baptismal waters cold. The preacher has unplugged the electricity-guzzling heater in the immersion baptism tank behind his pulpit. He has also installed energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs throughout the church and has placed water barrels beneath its gutter pipes - using runoff to irrigate the congregation's all-organic gardens.Well, Rev... I'm with you... all except the baptismal tank. Don't unplug it- turn down the thermostat, or, better yet, install some photovoltaic cells and power it yourself. But, cold baptism? No thanks- not unless it's in a river. Then it's all good.
Such "creation care" should be at the heart of evangelical life, Hedman says, along with condemning abortion, protecting family and loving Jesus. He uses the term "creation care" because, he says, it does not annoy conservative Christians for whom the word "environmentalism" connotes liberals, secularists and Democrats.You're right, but... ew. "Creation care"? What is it with Evangelicals needing to find cute little labels to distinguish themselves from everyone else? That sounds so... cheesy. How about something more cerebral, like "Biblical Conservation" or "Biblical Environmentalism"? If your goal was to not annoy conservative Christians, you blew it with this one.
"The environment is a values issue," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals. "There are significant and compelling theological reasons why it should be a banner issue for the Christian right."Why does it have to be a "banner issue"? Why does everything have to be an issue? Why can't we take care of the Earth because it's the right thing to do? Why do we need to wrap it up in a cause or a banner? Oh, to be like Nike™- "Just do it!"
"We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part," said the "Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility" statement, which has been distributed to 50,000 member churches.That is so true. God gave us dominion over creation. "God spoke: 'Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.' "'(Gen. 1:26). We have a moral and spiritual obligation not to waste the gift that God gave us. On the other hand, we also have the God-given right to use the gift.
"Because clean air, pure water, and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation."The government? I guess, if everyone would follow the guide of a Higher Moral Authority, then the government wouldn't have to step in. But, even in this world where many choose not to look to a Higher Power, I have trouble with the government providing anything but the bare minimum of regulation. (That whole "power corrupts" thing)
Also last fall, Christianity Today, an influential evangelical magazine, weighed in for the first time on global warming. It said that "Christians should make it clear to governments and businesses that we are willing to adapt our lifestyles and support steps towards changes that protect our environment."Noooooo! Not global warming! Along with the gifts that God gave us, one of them was a brain. In spite of what some people might think, Christians think for ourselves, and we have the obligation to research and develop informed opinions. And, let's face it- global warming is just a theory. Not even a sound theory. There is just as much evidence that humanity is the only thing holding back an Ice Age. So... before I buy into it, you're going to have to prove it. (Hint- ain't gonna happen.)
"There is a lot of suspicion (of environmentalists by evangelicals-B)," said Schweiger (president of the National Wildlife Federation-B.), who describes himself as a conservationist and a person of faith. "There are a lot of questions about what are our real intentions."Ya think? I know that all environmentalists aren't complete whackos, but organizations like ALF and ELF have done a really good job of giving them a bad name. Christians, as a rule, have this problem with using terrorism in order to push an agenda. (And, for my moonbat readers- all three of you- don't even bring up war- apples and oranges, people. Apples and oranges.)
Green (a pollster-B) said the evangelicals' deep suspicion about environmentalists has theological roots. "While evangelicals are open to being good stewards of God's creation, they believe people should only worship God, not creation," Green said. "This may sound like splitting hairs. But evangelicals don't see it that way. Their stereotype of environmentalists would be Druids who worship trees."
When some (not all, maybe not even the majority, but...) environmentalists see humanity as a virus on the face of the Earth that needs to be destroyed, it makes people nervous. And, let's face it- when you take out the "normal" people who have been scared into environmental extremism by propaganda, you're left with a core group who are probably more likely to worship Gaia or plants and trees and rocks or nothing at all than to worship The Creator. Just the way it is. Christians believe that humanity has dominion over God's creation, not the other way around. It's not to be worshipped- it's to be cherished. There is a difference.
Another problem, besides that whole worshipping Mother Earth thing, that many Evangelicals have with the "evangelical environmentalism" movement is the people who are leading the charge (no offense- I'm sure Rev. Hedman is a great guy.) One leader cited in the article is Rev. Jim Ball, executive director of the Evangelical Environmental Network. You might remember him from the (in)famous "What Would Jesus Drive?" anti-SUV campaign. It was so very over the top that I can't help but think that, instead of challenging the average Christian to rethink some of their habits, they only stoked the flame within the already converted. He was preaching to his own choir. Instead of inciting change, his campaign became the topic of many, many jokes (very funny. really-B). (Personally, I think Jesus would drive one of those big ole 15 passenger vans. I don't have any Scripture to back it up- just a sneaking suspicion that a van would make it easier to keep the apostles together.)
He adds that evangelicals themselves - not such groups as the Sierra Club or Friends of the Earth, with their liberal Democratic baggage - are the only ones who can do the persuading. "Environmental groups are always going to be viewed in a wary fashion," Ball said. "They just don't have a good enough feel for the evangelical community. There are landmines from the past, and they will hit them without knowing it."He's got a point. But I'm not sure any of these well-meaning people realize what one of those "landmines" is. Many conservatives (Christian or not) see environmentalists as... well... obsessed. They are viewed as being all-or-nothing, solely focused on saving the Earth to the exclusion of everything else. And that's just not something that we're comfortable with. If you want to sway us at all, you can't make demands, and you can't expect us to change everything, just because you said so. It's not the way we work (or, at least, it's not the way I work).
But, that does not negate the fact that we, as Christians, do have the Biblical command to be good stewards of God's creation. It's not a sin to use what God gave us (Rev. Hendan won't be sinning by turning the water heater back on... really), but it is a sin to waste His precious gift. And it doesn't have to be Big Things ™ - you don't have to go off the grid or take ice cold showers or stop using toilet paper (if you don't know what I'm talking about, scroll down a bit.) If everyone does a little bit, we leave the world a little better than when we got here. Turn down the thermostat on the heater (or up on the a/c) a degree or two, turn down (not, off!) the hot water heater, use organic material on your yard and in the garden (especially if you're growing food!), recycle, use rain barrels to water your lawn if it's feasible, and, for goodness sake, turn off the frickin' lights when you leave a room!
And, in all honesty, if I had my dream house on a little bit of land, I'd probably do even more, and not just because I'm trying to be all environmentally friendly. Some of these things just make fiscal sense (which is also being a good steward). I'd install photovoltaic cells on the roof, and attic fans and better insulation (I've seen our electric bill in August!). I'd plant xerascapes (to save water).I'd look into green building techniques. It just makes sense.
And, that's the point. We need to do things that make sense. Going off the deep end isn't any more Scriptural than intentionally wasting natural resources.