Showing posts from November, 2005

Rules of Shopping

I posted this a year ago . I think I will make it an annual Christmas thing. Reader suggestions from last year appear in red. If you're really interested in getting something really cool for someone for Christmas check this out . With Christmas fast approaching the great commercial juggernaut is on the move ready to part you from your money. There was a sign at the front of our local Walmart last Friday that read, "4 Saturdays left until Christmas." Many of you will have to venture out into the sea of materialism to hunt for toys for the wee ones in your lives. For those of you who don't have any at home I've devised a list of rules to help keep you on the good side of the parents of the wee ones. The list is entitled, How to buy toys for other people's kids so that they won't end up hating you and wanting to throw you and the toys out of the nearest highrise window. Don't buy any electronic noise making toys that don't have volume control. Don'

Now it's over

Hurricane season officially ends but there's still one storm wandering around in the Atlantic. Folk are already talking about next year's season . God help us all.

What are we celebrating?

So after seeing the umpteenth comercial trying to get me to buy stuff for some unspecified reason and advertising a sale for the same unspecified reason I've devised a new drinking game, for those of you who are into that kind of stuff. Everytime you see a Christmas comercial that studiously avoids any mention of Christmas take a drink. Or if you're inclined to sobriety take a drink only if Christmas is mentioned. If you're totally dry swig some egg nog or something.

Video games I would love to read

I saw a commercial for Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (there are also Revelations and Battles of ) and was practically salivating over it until I realised that it was just a video game. I out grew my lukewarm fascination with video games years ago (but not before I beat the Street Fighter Turbo game) but sometimes I wish that I thought video games were really cool. The stories behind many video games these days are really interesting. That's what caught my interest about this particular video game, the story. Two princes fighting for the control of their kingdom. One would presumably dominate the people and ruin the kingdom. The other would be a good and benevolent leader. The catch is that the two are one and the same. Now if this had been the plot of a book I would have been all over it. So take a hint video game makers and start lining up some good sci fi/fantasy writers (or take a chance on a promising novice) to write books for you based on your video games. Graphic novel

Jesse Jackson and Yasser Arafat

This is an intriguing idea. Jesse Jackson -- America's own Yasser Arafat? " Yasser Arafat made his millions and kept his power by fostering hatred between the Palestinians and Israel. In a horrifying irony, the Palestinians were and are led by the very people who have the least interest in lasting harmony. Black Americans face a similar situation. The present crop of Civil Rights leaders make their daily bread stirring up mistrust among the people they claim to want to help. Rather than encouraging integration into the larger society, they perpetuate separatism and fear which serves only to marginalize the black community. This marginalization in turn feeds the cycle of disadvantagement. "

Excuse me while I snigger rudely.

For those of you who have forgotten your high school Spanish the lower text translates (literally) to, "Now here! Trees of Christmas recent cut." I trust you understand my mirth.  Via Wizbang .

Frivolous Friday

Who would I be in 1400 AD? The Monk You scored 23% Cardinal, 61% Monk, 41% Lady, and 45% Knight! You live a peaceful, quiet life. Very little danger comes you way and you live a long time. You are wise and modest, but also stagnant. You have little comfort, little food and have taken a vow of silence. But who needs chatter when just sitting in the cloister of your abbey with The Good Book makes you perfectly content. My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender : You scored higher than 18% on Cardinal You scored higher than 88% on Monk You scored higher than 45% on Lady You scored higher than 41% on Knight Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave on Ok Cupid , home of the 32-Type Dating Test Via Keer Unplugged .

Thankful Thursday

Today is The Thankful Thursday. Like millions of other Americans I made the trek to spend this day with family. Today I'm thankful for/that: The kids made it through the trip unscathed. They weren't too happy about being cooped up in the car for so long but they seem none the worse for wear. It could have been worse, we could have been flying. I made it through the trip more or less in one piece. A little frazzled but none the worse for wear. Hubby : Have you been losing weight? Me : Err, I don't know. I haven't really been trying. Hubby : You look sleeker. It doesn't get any better than that. Hopping around on one foot must burn a lot of calories. Friends and family. What are you thankful for?

Is France still burning? Part Deux

Is France still burning? Apparently the answer is yes and it has cost someone else their life . And it's still not news apparently. " Yesterday, authorities discovered racist and extremist slogans spray-painted on a mosque being built in Saint-Etienne in the southeast. Larbi Marchiche, who heads a Moroccan cultural association overseeing the mosque construction, called the vandalism 'a provocation by brainless kids.' " [Emphasis added.] Makes me wonder, what's he calling the razing of the French suburbs? (Via Michelle Malkin .)

To Criticise Or Not To Criticise

There's a strain of thought that says because so and so did such and such then so and so's opinion on X (provided that the opinion agrees with your opinion) can not be questioned or challenged. Take for example serving in the military. Folk are crying foul because Rep John Murtha, a former Marine now serving in the US Congress, is being criticised for calling for US withdrawal from Iraq . Serving in the military does not make anyone infallible nor omniscient (neither does losing an adult child in Iraq who volunteered to be there by the way). For those who would use their service in the military to shield themselves from criticism, if your fellow Americans are not free to challenge your ideas, dissect them and analyse them, and say you are wrong then what exactly did you serve to protect? What did you fight for and your compatriots die for if the ideas of all Americans do not stand on the same footing and are subject to the same scrutiny?

This just in

The landing gear is stuck on a corporate jet somewhere. All three of the cable news networks are covering this like it's the landing on the beaches of Normandy. They've apparently been covering it for hours . Is the world so dull and unimportant that they have to spend hours watching a plane fly in circles on the off chance that there will be some fireworks when it tries to land? This is getting as absurd as the constant broadcasting of those idiots on the California roadways.

Is France still burning?

Really, is France still on fire? If it is it seems not to be news anymore. After more than two straight weeks of hearing report after report about how the rioting in France hadn't spread into the cities I finally began to understand the lackadaisical attitude of the French towards their country burning. All of the burning and what not was going on in the suburbs you see. The suburbs, the French version of the American ghetto where the poor and unimportant folk live. If those places are in flames and chaos no sweat. The city centers though, that's a different story. That's where the privileged and important folk live. Those places are to be protected at all costs I bet. So long as the city centers do not burn every thing seems to be okay for the French. France After The Riots discusses the French response to the riots (I keep wanting to say the piss poor French response but I'm trying to be nice).

Important dates that I missed

November 3 , 22nd Anniversary of my arrival in the United States. It's a bit weird to be considered a foreigner when I visit the country that I was born in. November 9 , 67th anniversary of Kristallnacht. November 10 , United States Marine Corps birthday. Happy birthday. November 11 , Veterans Day. Thank you all for your service. We'd all be in a pretty bad way if these men and women didn't choose to put their lives on the line for us. November 13 , Sis 2's birthday. Happy birthday! I could make some jibe about her getting older but that would probably back fire on me.

Wicked winter weather

There'll be snow in this city before the day is through. There are already reports of snow fall at the airport north of town. I'm spending the morning rounding up all of the kids' winter gear, hats, mittens, scarves, and what not. I'm embroidering their names on them so they won't get lost in the shuffle at school. Ethan came home yesterday with someone else's hat in his bag. There's been plenty of snow up north in the snowbelt on the Tug Hill Plateau but there has also been really warm weather in these parts. We usually get plenty of significant snowfall before mid-November but there's been nothing so far this winter. One winter Syracuse got over 30 inches of snow in November alone. I got frost bite that winter. Oh, we have our own special kind of snow up here courtesy of our proximity to the Great Lakes called lake effect . It's one of the first things you learn about when you first move to Syracuse. Locals (and I've lived here long enough to

Thankful Thursday

Today I am simply thankful that hubby is home and I can take some time to rest my weary bones. What are you thankful for?

Seven 7s (Updated)

I done been tagged by TulipGirl ! I kinda sorta did something like this on my own sometime back. Can't hurt to do it again. Seven things to do before I die: Visit Central Asia. Go back to Ireland. Raise honey bees. (I've been warned that this isn't all it's cracked up to be but I just have to find out for myself. The lure of homemade bees wax candles is just to great.) Make cheese. Live in the country. Make my own yarn from sheep to skein. Visit Australia and New Zealand. (Yeah I know it's only supposed to be seven but it's my blog. I'll do this my way.) Study anthropology. Seven things I cannot do: I'm Super Woman, there's nothing I can't do except: Ride a bike. Play a musical instrument. Put people into neat little categories. Watch the movie Saving Private Ryan again. Make lists in general. Finish this list. Seven things that attract me to Hubby: (Gentleman insert wifey, unmarried folk your best friend okay?) His faith. His sharp mind. His

What do you want for Christmas?

Oh yeah! This rocks! Now I know what I'm getting everyone for Christmas this year. Check out the World Vision gift catalog . World Vision allows you to purchase items to donate to families around the world to help them support themselves. This is so much better than getting more stuff for people who already have everything they need. I was already planning on sending any Christmas money I got to missionaries. Being able to give gifts that will actually help people is going to be great. And your friends and family won't have to figure out what to do with one more piece of junk that they don't need. Update: Some have asked of you can specify which country you want your gift to go to. Nope .

Muslims killing Muslims

Jordanians Protest Against Al Qaeda Friday, November 11, 2005 "Oh my God, oh my God. Is it possible that Arabs are killing Arabs, Muslims killing Muslims? For what did they do that?" screamed 35-year-old Najah Akhras, who lost two nieces in the attack. Similar thoughts were heard over and over throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I've been trying to feel offended that people in Jordan and the Middle East seem to be most distraught that Al Qaeda would attack other (non-Iraqi) Muslims, implying that attacking non-Muslims isn't so appalling. I can't really be offended at that though when I think of how the American media covers these kinds of things. Who hasn't seen a headline like, "50,000 dead, including 2 Americans" and then the rest of the story goes on to focus on just those two out of the 50,000? In this the Jordanians aren't so different from us. The murder of their own has greater meaning for them than the murders of others.


I couldn't pass this one up. Rohirrim To which race of Middle Earth do you belong? brought to you by Quizilla (Via Dappled Things .)

A Day in the Garden

I just spent the entire morning gardening in the front yard. I woke up at 7:20 AM and before 7:30 AM I was outside. There was frost on the grass but I bundled up and went out anyway. I had to get my bulbs in the ground before it froze solid. I had told myself that I wasn't going to put any money into buying bulbs this year. Then I went to Walmart and saw tulip bulbs selling at $10 for 50 and I was lost. I bought a whole mess of bulbs then went and got injured before I could plant them all. I'd already planted more of the lilies that I had been coveting during the summer before I got hurt. Today I had to plant the 50 tulips (a purple and white mix) I bought along with 15 dutch irises (Eye of the Tiger), 12 giant hyacinths (mixed colours), and 6 aliums (purple). I gave up and came inside before I got to the aliums but everything else made it into the ground. I also dug up some jerusalem artichokes. They are a very delicious (and invasive, don't plant them anywhere near anyth

He's back

Discoshaman is back blogging at Le Sabot Post-Moderne .

The Other Iraq

Have you seen the commercial put out by a Kurdish group thanking the US for liberating Iraq? If not you can view it at Kurdistan - The Other Iraq . Sophia was fascinated by it when it came on the other day. She stopped playing to watch the television intently and then at the end of the commercial she said thank you. Iraqi Kurds taught my little girl how to say thank you.

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for/that: Unseasonably warm weather. We had to take a layer of blankets off of each bed and the kids were down to one or two layers of clothing. Friends, new and old. Umm, would it be un-Christian of me to be thankful that I'm not in France right now? Our vehicle isn't much but it would be a real pain in the neck to have it torched by a mob. Sophia has effectively slept through the night for three nights in a row and she seems to be back to two naps a day. The boys have been going to bed with out much fuss all week. The babysitter. Return to dance class this week. My ankle is still stiff and sore in places and I couldn't really manage the fancy foot work very well but it was good to get out and get moving. I'm limping off to the store all by myself with Sophia (she's refusing her nap this morning) today just to get out of the house. My heating pad and prescription strength ibuprofen. Both are great for a twisted ankle when you over do it. Bei

Bombing Jordan

Terrorism Unveiled is tracking the news regarding today's hotel bombings in Jordan, " It has happened, Amman has been attacked ."

Lucky 13

Thirteen straight nights of rioting in France but things are looking up. Only 617 vehicles torched this time. Oh, and one firebomed major transportation hub. And some burned out stores. But only 617 vehicles torched. State of Emergency Begins in France Wednesday, November 09, 2005 PARIS -- Rioters defied a state of emergency that took effect Wednesday, as they looted and burned two superstores, set fire to a newspaper office and paralyzed France's second-largest city's subway system with a firebomb. However, the number of car burnings -- a barometer for the unrest -- dropped sharply, suggesting the movement lost steam. Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, youths torched 617 vehicles, down from 1,173 the previous night, national police spokesman Patrick Hamon said. Incidents were reported in 116 towns, down from 226 the night before. Judging by this report on NPR the French are in denial about their situation. Cobb had this to say about the "rioting turns deadly" headline

I'm so blue hoo hoo blue hoo hoo blue hoo hoo hoo!

Watching the returns for our local elections I realise that we live in a very blue district in a very red county with a bit of green around the gills. There are always some candidates from the Green party on the ballots (I even know a former Green party candidate, nice family guy). All of the university types tend to skew the numbers in our neighbourhood. The Republican challenger is in a dead heat with the Democratic incumbent. No incumbent, Democrat or Republican, has ever lost a re-election bid in this city. The Democrats apparently thought they had this thing in the bag and are a bit chagrined. I'm tempted to sit up and watch the returns coverage but the race probably won't be decided tonight. Update 10:33 PM EST: Looks like the mayoral race may be decided tonight after all. The Demeocratic candidate has 50% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting to the Republican 46%. The Green party has 5%. There's always absentee ballots and what not.

Get out and vote

I did my civic duty today and voted although I don't have a purple stained finger to show for it. Hubby and I took Sophia with us. She was a hit with all of the grandmas working at our polling station.

It's not just Paris that's burning.

Paris burning huh? It looks like the whole country is up in flames to me. In case you can't read the print at the bottom of the picture it says, "The main flash points."  Via Tim Blair . Jihad Watch has been keeping tabs on the activities of the rioters.

Riot Control

When the usual suspects turn up to burn and break stuff at some summit somewhere I would love to see people stand up to them. How far do you think these guys would get if when they rolled up on the main street of any given town to do their dirty work they found signs hanging in the windows of various businesses reading: We are civilians. We are armed. We use real bullets. We shoot to kill. Accompanied by a very visable individual on the roof with a weapon? These protestors don't really risk much when they face the police. Police usually treat these jokers with kid gloves using tear gas and lots of officers in riot gear. The rioters come prepared for all of that. They know full well that the police won't shoot them because that kind of thing is generally frowned upon in free societies. But a private citizen defending their property, that's a different story. At least in the United States it is (gotta love that Second Amendment!). You mess with an armed individual in this co

Welcome back

Looks like Mulatto Advocate is back. Thanks to Indigo Insights for the head's up. She's also got a discussion of the origins of the term jarhead.

Cooking by Candle Light

I woke up from my nap this afternoon just in time to watch a savage storm blow by our house. I'd been half listening to the distant rumbles all afternoon but there was an oddness to the sounds as the storm moved closer that woke me completely. As I listened to the thunder and rain and watched the lightening flash and the wind bend the trees (half hoping that the tree that shadows our driveway would fall over) I thought a few things. I thought that what I was seeing looked a lot like the prelude to a tornado. I found out later that the storm had spawned an F3 tornado in Kentucky that jumped the Ohio River into Indiana. I think we got real lucky with that one. At the time I wondered how quickly I could get every one to the basement if I spotted a funnel cloud. As I looked at the way the trees were bending and bowing in the wind, I thought we would lose power. About 5 minutes after that I realised that the lamp beside the bed had gone out. So I got out of bed and started lighting ca

Mar del Plata, Argentina burns

Anti-American Protest Turns Violent Don't they always? Did anyone really expect anything less? I am a little surprised that it took them so long to get around to trashing the place though. All of the destruction of local businesses and the damage it will do to the local economies will no doubt be blamed on the United States. Update "What I'm most upset about is that I'll bet you Bush wasn't even told about" the riot, said Mar Del Plata (search) Mayor Daniel Katz, whose seaside city has many residents strongly opposed to Bush and his foreign policies. Because it's all his fault that these idiots started breaking stuff in your city isn't it? I hear the President is on his way to Brazil next. Will rioters turn up there to break and burn things too?

Speaking of Oreos

All this talk of throwing Oreos has given me a craving for the tasty cookies. I just called hubby to ask him to bring some home. His immediate response was, "Oreos? You want to throw them at the Lt. Gov. of Maryland?" No, I just want to eat some. Wizbang's Jay Tea has some suggestions if you're in a food throwing mode though.

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for/that: Freedom in Christ. God's grace and mercy. My ankle is getting better faster than I thought it would. Friends to help around the house while my ankle gets better. Kids that are too smart for their own good. I found the three of them standing around the ice cream (lactose free) in the kitchen last night. Hubby had been a little late getting home with dinner and they apparently decided to take matters into their own hands. The recycling bin had been carefully emptied and turned upside down in front of the fridge. Ethan had a spoon in his hand. I haven't had any episodes like this ....yet. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I tell that kind of story. The boys have willingly gone to bed early two nights in a row. Sophia is another matter entirely. Isaiah has been counting to 5 at the top of his lungs and has now gotten Sophia into the act. Almost forgot one. Ethan has found other ways to herd Isaiah besides grabbing him around the neck and

We are Rome

I think I watch too much television. You can learn a lot about a culture by the way it chooses to entertain itself though. I've always thought of the ancient Roman Empire as a bunch of blood thirsty primitives. We all learned in school about the bloody spectacle of gladiators doing battle and unfortunates who got on the wrong side of the law being tossed to various wild animals all for the entertainment of the people. Certainly we modern civilised folk, with a greater appreciation for the value of a human life, have moved beyond that kind of madness. Not. Spike TV , which bills its self as the first network for men, runs a lot of adds for shows where grown men beat up on each other. The Ultimate Fighter , TNA: iMPACT! , and UFC Unleashed are just three of their shows. Then there's the regular wrestling stuff that I stopped watching when I was about 12. The main selling point of Spike TV's shows seems to be the bloody brutality of it all. All of the ads for these shows flas

Trifling fools

Beyond the physical appearance, blackness is cultural, and Thomas doesn't live in that neighborhood any more. It doesn't make him a lesser man, just someone who no longer relates to the mainstream black community. brotherbrown | Homepage | 11.02.05 - 2:49 pm | # That's a comment on the post Clarence Thomas Is Not Black? Trifling mess like this gets on my nerves. People (read black and white liberals and black folk who claim to be independent but can't stop talking about how bad the GOP is) will says things like this about any black person who doesn't hold the what are considered to be the correct political views for black folk. Y'all can take a long walk off of a short pier. I normally don't bother with this mess, I let the life I live show this sentiment for the racist dribble that it is. But I've been reading of others making excuses for the attacks on Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and of Steve Gilliard's reprehensible behavior (documented here

Some autism articles

Australian study explains autism problems [10/24] (Via I Speak of Dreams .) Move closer to schizophrenia, autism cures [10/6] More and more research points to autism being a genetic disorder that essentially results in the brain being cross wired. How exactly would you cure that? I think "cure" is the wrong word to use when talking about autism. Study: Training improves attention in kids [9/27] The Age of Autism: Gene suspects located [8/3] Autism in women largely undiagnosed [6/29] I can see how an autistic fixation on cleaning house or caring for children can be mistaken for a normal mothering nature. This article proposes the intriguing theory that disorders such as anorexia may result from an autistic fixation with counting calories. American Journal of Human Genetics lists over 100 articles on research into the genetics of autism. You can read the abstracts for free but paid subscription is required to view the full articles. It's all rather technical but my

Oh come on!

Orders from Brussels: Spell Christ with a lower-case "c" This kind of stuff reminds me of a book I read in highschool, 1984 . (Via Tim Blair .)


I caught Ethan hopping around the house today in imitation of me hobbling around with my gimpy foot. He was having a grand ole time of it too. Sophia thinks it's the funniest thing in the world to get bounced around in my arms when I have to haul her off somewhere that she can't/won't go on her own. Isaiah doesn't seem to notice all of the trouble he's caused me. How long does it usually take for sprained/twisted/whatever-it-is-I-did-to-myself ankles take to heal? The rest my body is getting sore from compensating for the bit that's not working properly. On a lighter note, hubby just brought home a bag of post-Halloween loot for me.