Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The fun of grocery shopping

I was at the grocery store this weekend, and as much as people complain about people's behavior while shopping, I just don't see what the fuss is about. But I thought I'd draw up a list of acceptable behavior anyway:

  • Shopping is a family event. Bring all the children. The more the merrier. They'll need energy for all that walking around, too, so make sure to feed them lots of high-sugar snacks and sodas in the car.
  • And speaking of the children, don't try to surpress their natural exhuberance. Children have lots of enery and enthusiasm they need to express. If they want to do cartwheels in the frozen foods section, who are you to say no?
  • For slightly older children, enlist their help. If they're old enough to see over the top of the cart, they're old enough to push it, no matter the weight difference between the two of them.
  • Make sure to walk alongside your cart, and pull it along behind you. Using the handles is just so last year. You look cool doing that, and traffic is only supposed to go one-way down the asile, anyway.
  • Use the cell phone. Use it lots. Use it loudly. There's no point in wasting time that could be otherwise used for gossiping with your friends. And don't worry about using it at the deli counter. We'll be happy to wait.
  • Using the handsfree attachment for your cellphone is a good idea, too. Having a conversation with thin air doesn't make you look psychotic at all.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Candle blogging

Beeswax, #2/0 wick. I just like the idea of beeswax candles, and they smell great, but it almost requires a pact with the devil to get them out of the mold when they're done.

Friday, May 27, 2005


I just found out (by catching the trailer on TV) that there's going to be a movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe released this winter. Due December. Looks pretty good, and it's always been one of my favorite books. Hope they do it justice. Since it's Disney, I expect they will.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We've been there HOW long?

Wow. That's just about all I can say. The Angry Bear pointed this out:

This coming Thursday, May 19, 2005, [two days ago, now] will be the 1,346th day since the attacks of 9/11. That is the same length of time from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the end of WWII on V-J Day. (Dec 7, 1941 to Aug 14, 1945).

Think about that. We've now been at war in Iraq for longer than we were in World War II. And there's no end in sight.

Via Seeing the Forest.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Cinderella Man

Just how sad is it that I'm really tempted (even though I hate sports movies) to see Cinderella Man just because it has Russell Crowe running around basically in his boxer shorts?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Damn lawyers

I got an email misdirected to me at one of my accounts. Looks like it was supposed to go to someone with a similar name, but different email address. No biggie, it happens now and then. What caught my eye, was at the end of the two-line email was this company-mandated disclaimer (edited for privacy):


This e-mail and any attached files are confidential, proprietary, and may also be legally privileged information, and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this e-mail in error or you are not the intended recipient, please send it back to the person who sent it to you and delete the e-mail and any attached files and destroy any copies of it;kindly notify us immediately by telephone at + 99 99 9999 9999 or email us at xxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx. We thank you for your co-operation.

Any views or opinions presented in the e-mail and any attached files are solely those of the sender, and do not necessarily represent those of X and/or any of its sister companies, unless the sender mentions so expressly, with due authority of X.

Unauthorized reading, reproduction, publication, use, dissemination,forwarding, printing or copying of this e-mail and its associated attachments is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful.

Communicating through email is not secure and capable of interception, corruption and delays. Anyone communicating with X by email accepts the risks involved and their consequences. We have checked this message for any known viruses, however we decline any liability, expressed or implied, in case of any damage caused by a non-detected virus. The recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses and defects.

For further details about our company, visit us at http://www.X.com

For Christ's sake! That's at the end of every email someone at your company sends? I'm not even sure how much legal weight disclaimers like this carry. I mean, you emailed it to me, you've lost the right to control what I do with what you tell me. I love how I'm supposed to call them internationally if they email me by accident. Plus, how I'm supposed to check the email for the presense of "viruses and defects." Viruses I can understand, but "defects?" What, am I supposed to spell-check their email for them?

Monday, May 16, 2005


I'm sitting here half-watching NBC's Hercules, and I'm struck by how all the gods have been removed from the story. There's lots of talk about Zeus this and Hera that, but it doesn't look like they're going to be players in the story at all. In fact, it looks like key elements of the story have been changed so that the actions of the gods are now actions by mortals in the story. The rape of Hercules's mother by Zeus was changed to one by a disaffected warrior of his father's, and the insanity that drives him to kill his beloved wife and children looks like it's going to be some drug given to him in a plot concocted by his mother and wife. (It looks like all the women are going to be evil, until he finally falls in love with one later in the movie.)

We saw the same thing earlier this year in Troy, which was equally purged of all religious figures. (It also purged the relationship between Achilles and Patrokles, making them "just good friends.")

The authors of this adaptation are, of course, welcome to their own interpretation of the myths. I can't help but wonder, however, that this cleansing of pagan gods is not so much a reinterpretation and a readaptation for more modern sensibilities, but more intended to sanitize these stories to make them acceptably palatable to the so-called red-staters. By removing any references to a religion they would consider evil and "demon worship" it becomes safe and acceptable. But what does it say of us as a culture if we can't even consider the religions of those that came before us?

Update: Interesting, they didn't shy away from showing two men in bed together. Of course, they were scheming, murderous, and evil, so I'm not sure I'm all happy about that.

Update II: It just ocurred to me that the men in the movie (after the "parental generation" has passed away) are all clean-shaven. That's something that Greek men would never have done. Shaving was something for women and homosexuals, i.e. undesirable.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Scary stuff

This blog posting over at Eschaton pointed me to this site, where I found this article. This is the creepiest, creepiest, creepiest thing I have ever read in my life.

So I really am "Daddy's girl." And no man can approach me as an independent agent because I am not my own, but belong, until my marriage, to my father. At the time of my marriage, my father gives me away to my husband and there is a lawful change of ownership. At that point and at that point only, I am no longer bound to do my father's will. Instead, I must answer to my husband.

The Christian ultra-Right really and truly does want to bring the world of The Handmaid's Tale down upon us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Prius, schmius

There's an interesting discussion going on in the comments section at Eschaton. Basically, what is the minimum price to which gas would have to rise to force major changes in your lifestyle?

A number of people have written about how great Prius's are. A little bit about the other hybrid cars, but mostly about the Prius. I've always thought the gas/electric combo is a great idea. It's a really nifty technology at least. Then I did the math...

The milage for a Prius is 60 highway/51 city. Let's average that and say 55. For the Saturn Ion with an automatic transmission it's 32/24 for an average of 28. The Honda Civic is a bit better at 38/32 for an average of 35. Let's say you drive 10,000 miles a year, which I think is reasonable unless you have an 80 mile commute. (How anyone can live in California is beyond me.) Say half that is highway, and half that is city driving. The Prius will use 182 gallons of gas per year. The Ion will use 357 per year (327 for a manual trans.) and the Civic comes in at 285 gallons. With gas around $2.30 a gallon, that means the Ion will cost $403 more per year to run, and the Civic $239. Hardly chump change. So the Prius looks like a good deal.

Uh oh, but look at the base prices for these cars. (This is a simplistic analysis, so I'm not bothering with any options.) The Saturn starts at $12,000, the Civic at $13,300 but the Prius costs a whopping $21,000! Even if gas prices rose to $5 per gallon, it would take 10 years to make up the difference in purchase price for a Saturn, and 14 years for the Civic.

Compared to an SUV, sure, the Prius is probably a great price and you'd save a lot each year on gas. But it's not fair to compare the Prius and the Ford Monstrosity. If you compare it to similar sedans, the Prius is not an economical choice. Believe me, I wish it were, but the math just doesn't work out. This is just one case where economy doesn't pay.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Yay Texas

Manya passed this along to me today. State Rep. Senofria Thompson gave this speech on the floor of the Texas legislature opposing a Texas Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. It's long, but read the whole thing; it's worth it.

I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about; this is the politics of divisiveness at its worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.

Members, this issue is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this Leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP, who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to "protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."

Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book, and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, "gay people can't marry." I have never read the verse where it says, "thou shalt discriminate against those not like me." I have never read the verse where it says, "let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination." Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness-- not hate and discrimination.

I have served in this body a lot of years-- and I have seen a lot of promises broken. I should be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule because that's another promise you broke. You used a wealthy white minister cloaked in the cloth to ease the stench of that form of discrimination.

So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now that blacks and women have equal rights-- you turn your hatred to homosexuals-- and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag-- brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what?

Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this State now. Texas does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this State-- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing-- the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way-- this is obscene.

Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator-- you are putting aside the real issues of substance that we need to address so that you can instead play on the public's fears and prejudices to deceive and manipulate voters into thinking that we have done something important.

I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights-- but I can guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not hide my skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink as Rep. Wayne Smith were still Black by law if they had a great grandparent who was African. I was unable to attend an integrated and equally funded school until I got my Master of Laws degree. There were separate and unequal facilities for nearly everything.

I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury. I had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.

So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against homosexuals in law. We have denied them basic job protections. We have denied them and their children freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have tried to criminalize their very existence. But, we have also absolved them of all family duties and responsibilities: to care for and support their spouses and children, to count their family's assets in determining public assistance, to obtain health insurance for dependents, to make end-of-life or necessary medical decisions for their life partners--- sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to defend our own country. And then, we can stand on our two hind legs and proclaim, "See, I told you homosexual families are unstable." And nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual in their extended families.

Some of you have shunned and isolated these family members. Some of you, even some of the joint coauthors, have embraced them within your own family for the essence of Christianity is love. Yet,you are now poised to constitutionalize discrimination against a particular class of people. I thought we would be debating real issues: education, health care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the elderly, protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the pensions of seniors in nursing homes.

I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors pensions and stem cell research, to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids-- sweet little vulnerable kids-- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of my ilk, when I was a small child; they too are second class citizens.

I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap. Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere. But, I want you to know that this amendment is blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry.

You are trying to protect your constituents from danger. This amendment is a CYB amendment for you to go home and talk about.

Makes me glad to be a Texan.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


I'm now nearing 500 mail messages containing the Sobig virus. All were sent through a high speed connection in Oregon belonging to comcast.net. Comcast, of course, doesn't give a damn. Yahoo, however, has done a 100% job of filtering them out. I'm just keeping track of the number out of interest.

The Sobig virus is currently the cause of 5% of all the email in the world. Holy crap. Damn antisocial, virus-writing bastards.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Yeah, I'm talking to you

To whoever in Oregon has been sent 305 copies of the Sobig worm in the past three days, buy a fucking virus scanner. How can anyone run Windows these days and not have one? It's like owning a car without seatbelts.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Happy 05/05/05!

The Kansas State Board of Education starting holding hearings today about whether or not evolution should still be taught in schools, or if it should be taught alongside creationism cloaked in its current "intelligent design" mantle.

How the hell has it come to this? How can it be 2005 and Americans are still unbelieving of the central tenet of scientific fields ranging from biology to astrophysics?

Oh, there's the usual crap about how evolution is "just a theory," putting it in such dubious company as the germ theory of disease, the theory of gravity, and Einstein's theory of relativity. There's, of course, the bit about "something coming from nothing," a concept which apparently doesn't apply to God. All of these are great soundbites, but they're not science. Apparently, decisions about science can no longer be left up to the scientists.

C-SPAN [vile streaming video link] did a bit on it's morning call-in show about whether or not people supported or opposed the teaching of evolution in schools. Along with the pro-evolution people, there were some real winners. One woman called in claiming the Bible Codes proved the Bible was correct, and therefore evolution was wrong. My favorite was the guy that called in, all but screaming into his telephone, about why are there still monkeys if we evolved from monkeys? Huh? Huh? Why? (My question: how are there monkeys smart enough to use a telephone?)

I think this whole debate is about more than just evolution. Pro-creationism are trying to force an issue into the school system by claiming there is doubt about this scientific theory and trying to make it seem like there is a debate where there is none. Science made up it's mind about this decades ago. The issue has been well-debated by people much smarter than me, and it's been decided.

I think this is about the Christian ultra-Right trying to force it's religion and its agenda into a realm of our society where it's not wanted. We're seeing it with the attack on the judiciary, the branch of government hardest for these people to control. We're seeing it in pharmacists refusing to dispense certain prescribed drugs. (Hope you don't have a Christian Scientist pharmacist. Or worse, EMT.)

This is not a small deal. The scientific literacy of the average American is horrific. We are educating fewer and fewer scientists and engineers every year. In a world where there are a billion Indians and 800 million Chinese more than happy to do our jobs for us, and in an era of increasing globalization, our growing ignorance is going to have far-reaching consequences.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Why didn't WE think of that?

I forgot about the Presidential Press Conference, so I missed the first bit, but managed to catch a bit of the smirk-through-the-Q&A session. Bush wants to allow people to put some of their own money into an account that can be invested, giving people the opportunity for a higher rate of return. It would be "your money." The government wouldn't be able to "take it away."

Apparently, Bush just invented the IRA.