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Showing posts from June, 2008

Sandra Shaw Sculpture

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For your viewing pleasure I present a sculpture by Sandra Shaw called A Moment's Rest. Now, I don't know about the rest of you ladies, but when I get A Moment's Rest, the last thing I want to do is precariously balance my nekkid body on the edge of an oversized drafting triangle. This is best left for the Welcome Home, Darling time of day. It's striking, though, isn't it? For more of samples of her art, click here .

Independence Day.

This is an excellent encapsulation of what Independence Day means.

Logically Absurd.

I only liked Atonement , the book by Ian McEwan, but I really liked the movie (I’m sensing a trend on this front as I had the same reaction to The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini). But I did find what Mr. McEwan had to say about Islamism on Sunday quite interesting and the reaction to it even more interesting. Should those of us who develop opinions based on the morality of life rather than allow the primacy of toleration to hold sway live in fear of prosecution because we opine Islamism to have strong anti-life, anti-freedom , and anti-enlightenment components? Should it be frowned upon, let alone illegal, to point out that these components in are direct and stark constrast to the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? It is within one's individual rights to practice any or no religion as he chooses. When, however, that religion (or other group) begins to censor dissent with the help of the government , there is a real threat to freedom of speech and

This makes me smile.

Thanks to my BIL for bringing this to my attention.

And they were dancing, and singing...

This weekend my daughters had their dance recital. The oldest was in the opening and danced hip-hop to some song I’ve never heard (except when I saw her practice in the studio) and the youngest performed a jazz routine, a ballet to Sleeping Beauty Waltz, and a tap number to Popular from Wicked (I saw this on Broadway and LOVED it –the book, not so much), where she did a bit of acting in mouthing Elphaba's words in the beginning. Both girls performed quite well – exceeding my expectations, which were high for one, and admittedly too low for the other. Yesterday morning, the youngest started a musical theatre dance camp – on her 10th birthday! She is very excited to get to act, sing, and dance, while Stephen and I have been a bit sappy about her giant leap of confidence coincident with her reaching the double digits. It is really quite satisfying to watch them work and succeed and be happy with their successes. While the youngest was at camp for the day, and her older sister was

Dance Dance Revolutionaries

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So, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought…since yesterday. Why do I find this t-shirt (brought to my attention by C. August of Titanic Deck Chairs ) so incredibly compelling? And I’ve decided I know why. Let’s see if I can explain it. First, I love to dance, alone, with others, in my car (caution: that is for the highly skilled only, particularly if you drive a standard, like me), or in line at the store. Whenever I hear music with a driving beat, or a waltz, foxtrot, a rumba, a salsa, or anything Bhangralicious , I want to move! I cast those sideways glances to the wind and celebrate life!!! As I get older I realize that breaking into such rhythmic movement is not always desired in public places – and by “desired” I mean appreciated by my children. Of course, they’ll outgrow this and one day realize, “Damn, mom was fun!” Until then, I try to share my love of movement with them without repulsing them. Beside dance classes (which both daughters love), we are completely enamored of

Possession.

In addition to being 9 / 10ths of the law it would certainly explain my instantaneous digitus impudicus response to some kid who was cruising down our street today at about 40 mph. Because the speed limit is 25 and my oldest daughter and I were walking on our street and because I am nothing if not a paragon of adult responsibility, I yelled at him to slow down as he cruised by me. And he flipped me off! It was then that I lost all credibility with a sudden POOF! and returned his gesture and apparently, to my ill-spent youth. I have no other explanation. It’s a good thing I wasn’t arrested . On the bright side, I found out who the little punk was and that he just got his license. My question is, does my momentary immaturity disqualify me from an adult follow-up role in this case? Or... do you think his parents would be interested to hear about his fast, one-handed driving habits? Eeeee-heee-heee-heee-hee. (Now there’s a chin!) Clearly, I'm not over the immaturity thing yet. I

It's all about me.

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After feeling so negative, I decided it was time to release this winner: It's just plain fun (and weird). I wonder how this is done. Judging on this particular experiment, I'd say shininess of forehead and pointiness of chin are major determinants. And what's with that hideous picture of Katie Couric? I'll admit, despite Hideous Katie being second, I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now because for most of the photos I submitted (after all, I needed to test out the software), Kate Bosworth came out with a pretty high correlation. What do you mean you can't see the resemblance? Oddly, when I submitted a photo of me in sunglasses, and one of my father, we both came out with Laurence Fishburne as the highest correlation - if that doesn't impart confidence in the matching system, I don't know what will. Thanks to Rational Jenn for bringing this to my attention.

Scientific Consensus

I really don't like having two negative posts in a row, but I just found an interesting series of articles on " The Deniers " - a perjorative term used to describe scientists who question the cause, effects, and science behind the generally accepted catastrophic anthropogenic global warming crisis. ("Denier" is also a term used for those who deny that the Holocaust occured.) After I was prompted to watch Al Gore's recent speech at the TED Talks , I was shocked by his blanket statements about scientific consensus and call for all of us to not only "change the lightbulbs, but change the laws". It seems Mr. Gore is now rounding third and heading for home (if I may use a baseball metaphor - and I may - it's my blog) in his quest to run the world. The science is far from settled. Research is good. Premature preventative governmental interference is bad.

The Immolation of America

I’m discouraged to say the least about our choices for President this time around, but I don’t generally bother talking about either because I dislike both candidates. I have resolved to vote for neither, but am resigned to the fact that one of them is going to be our next President. When, on occasion, I hear or read the candidates own words, it is hard to ignore. Mr. Obama’s commencement speech to the graduates at Wesleyan University a few weekends ago is a must read. You can read it in its entirety here . There is a brief, but excellent dismantling of some of his inspirational collectivist buzz words here . The most telling is his phrase “the poverty of ambition.” Despite his references to our second President elsewhere, Mr. Obama does not appear to have read any biographies of John Adams. Mr. Adams was well known to have recognized and struggled mightily with the potential problem of ambition – his own – in wishing to govern this great nation. It would appear that Mr. Obama recog

Struck my fancy.

As my IP was once again unable to generate a DNS for my computer over the last two days, here are a few things which Struck My Fancy this weekend: Salt by Mark Kurlansky. I’ve been trying to finish this damn book forever. It’s not that it’s a bad, boring, or belaboring book, it’s just that it’s chock full of fascinating stuff! My love of salty meat products notwithstanding, I didn’t realize that the simple white rock played such an important place in history from food preservation to rued taxation, sustenance to subsidence, mythology to geology. My curiosity was piqued by hundreds of ideas presented in the book. I was enriched by reading it. I was really sad to hear about the death of Tim Russert . There is a nice tribute from his friends at MSNBC . His death reminded me of John Ritter’s sudden death during the prime of his popularity – both very tragic. Finally, for you L.A. Lakers fans, did you ever notice how much Luke Walton looks like Richard Kiel ?

I want one.

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I know that sounds quite shallow, but I had completely forgotten about this incredible artistic display celebrating the importance of capitalism until today. Stephen and I saw it during the Art Deco tour which came to the MFA in 2004. The gate was created by Rene Paul Chambellan and was used in the Chanin building in New York City to "enter the executive suite on the 52nd floor" and it "represented the arts (violin at the top), industry (electrical bolts and gears), and commerce (the stacks of coins everything rested upon)." Go here to read more about Mr. Chambellan and his work which I was fascinated to learn about only today.

Sound Waves

Thanks to Homeschooled Twins for pointing to this awesome demonstration of the vibrations of sound waves.

Physics made Head Boy by Headmistress Mathematica

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As Objectivist homeschool parents, Kim and I have been struggling with presenting science in a pedagogically correct way. Okay, mostly Kim has been struggling with it - I have been making "helpful" suggestions or submitting "probing" questions wondering when she will next share her hard won insight. In light of our recent discussions regarding why physics seems to be the foundational discipline in teaching science in a hierarchical manner, I thought this cartoon from xkcd was great!

Attack of the Killer Timaeus

Despite my constant behind the scenes kvetching, I managed to not only attend live, but also to stay live (as in awake!) throughout last night’s OPAR discussion group. (I do concede that Sunday night at 9:30 is very late for my brain to work well as opposed to my last comments on the matter, and that I have either missed, or slept through the last 3 discussions). Last night the members of the group (who actually spoke) discussed the second to last part of Chapter 1, subtitled The Metaphysically Given as Absolute. First, I understood the metaphysically given as absolute. Facts of reality exist, are necessary and non-contradictory. It is what it is. This makes perfect sense to me. What makes less sense to me is that these given facts are put in opposition with man-made facts. While I understand that man-made facts originate with the choice of man and are therefore not metaphysically given, I don’t understand ….wait a minute. I think I’m onto something! All facts created by human choi

Good Mornin'!

This might be what is known as a lingering runner's high, but this is how I feel this morning.

In Celebration of Milestone Birthdays

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Because today is my mother's 70th birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom), I began thinking about milestone birthdays of my own. I need to figure out which activity I find more appealing: lunching at a Tuscan villa, or driving a classic yellow Mustang convertible. I'm just trying to weigh the options for my 50th birthday. Before I know it, seven years will pass and POOF! I'll panic at the last minute and buy myself something practical, like a a nice pair of flats, or something anticlimactic, like a house plant, to celebrate. I don't want that to happen. These things take careful planning.

What can you do with a cup of cream?

I signed up to receive emails from this wildly enthusiastic science guy a while ago. Recently, I found that he had updated his website and sent all list members a link to his video experiment of the week. This week’s experiment was so awesome, that we finally ponied up and paid the $20 a YEAR (!) to be members. I saved the experiment for this weekend knowing that someone in the house would be particularly interested in making his own fresh, sweet cream butter anytime he felt like it. Boy, was I right. Compound butters , here we come! Enjoy (both the butter AND the science)!

What's new?

Well...I sent a link to my blog to two friends and a sibling. This is big news for me because I have been using this blog as a scratching post for Objectivism and any related ideas that I might have. As such, it can be rough, ugly, and downright loopy sounding to people who are not familiar with Objectivism, or who don't know me personally as the rather persnickety, sometimes highly animated, but otherwise normal person I am. In light of these hopefully new readers, I have also enabled "anonymous comments", but would hope that he/she would leave an identifying mark in any comments made, if not a full name (says the lady with the two initials). So DH, MP, and DT, welcome and I hope you visit often and make nice tasty comments upon which I can chew (or ones that make me laugh are also appreciated).

Hard Working People: Go Home.

Not since the entire Elian Gonzalez debacle of 2000, have I given much thought to immigration. Sure, after 9/11 I was shocked at the inability of the government to even monitor, let alone control the admittance of those whose hostilities toward America could actually be a threat to us. But what about the vast majority of immigrants who come here to work, to better themselves and their families, to take advantage of opportunities still found in America? Apparently, some of them are just plain screwed. Arthur Mkyon, 17, of Fresno, California, is currently threatened with deportation back to Armenia, a country he left when he was 2 and knows only virtually through internet videos. While his parents attempted to jump through the proper hoops of the immigration process, their application was denied. Apparently Mr. Mkion’s claim of feared reprisal of the Armenian government about his whistle-blowing at the Armenian equivalent of the DMV did not satisfy the immigration officials as meetin

Six words or fewer.

Six-Word Memoir book preview from SMITHmag on Vimeo . So, how about it? Write your biography in six words or fewer. Give it a try.

Lochinvar

I was going to save this for tomorrow, but I couldn't resist. Lochinvar Sir Walter Scott Oh! young Lochinvar is come out of the west, Through all the wide Border his steed was the best; And save his good broadsword he weapons had none. He rode all unarmed and he rode all alone. So faithful in love and so dauntless in war, There never was knight like the young Lochinvar. He stayed not for brake and he stopped not for stone, He swam the Eske river where ford there was none, But ere he alighted at Netherby gate The bride had consented, the gallant came late: For a laggard in love and a dastard in war Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar. So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall, Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all: Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword, For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word, ‘Oh! come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?’ ‘I long wooed your daughter

In case you missed it.

From Parade Magazine (1 June 2008) Should Home-Schooling Be Illegal? In February, a California state appeals court ruled that unless parents have recognized teaching credentials, they must send their children to school. The judge, citing a state education law, said that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children.” Parents and politicians were outraged, and the court will rehear the case this month. At stake is the education of the 166,000 California children who currently are home-schooled. But the court decision also could influence laws across the country. Nationwide, up to 2 million children are taught at home. Experts estimate that the number is increasing 7% to 12% a year. “If upheld, the California ruling will send shock waves nationwide,” says Richard Kahlenberg, the author of a number of books on education. He says the case “pits those who believe parental rights are paramount against those who place a premium on well-educated citizens.”

Can...not...resist.

Dollhouse Preview Featurette Uploaded by FoxBroadcasting Just saw this on NoodleFood. New from Joss Whedon. Cool beans, huh? Olivia Williams and Eliza Dushku - Stephen could hardly ask for anything more! (Okay, maybe an occasional appearance by Summer Glau.)

Excellence in History Education

While this is somewhat an update to my May 30th post on sensitivity , it's more of a reinforcement of just how great a history teacher Mr. Powell is. In his response to the article referenced in that post, he clearly and concisely described how to deal with children and their burgeoning definition of self when encountering some of the more unpleasant facts of history. He explains that it is important to be able to acknowledge that while they may relate to a certain ethnic, religious, or national identity, children need to understand that they are not responsible for the misdeeds of that group. The teaching of history should not be altered to accommodate certain sensitivities, but rather the teacher needs to assist any child bewildered by his connection to wrong-doings of generations past. Mr. Powell's response is much more clear and concise and you can read it on his History At Our House email list. Again, I urge anyone who is interested in history or excellent pedagogy to joi

The Wait is Over!

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So, I finished my first 5K yesterday afternoon and only now am beginning to feel the effects wear off. The effects were all good! I have been so pleased with myself it's almost unbelievable - I mean, I didn't cure any diseases or anything! It was a very good thing for me to do. I hated every step, but loved the thought of it even as I plodded up this 5K's answer to a treeless Heartbreak Hill in 80 degree weather. My time? Well...that's not really important, is it? Okay...now remember, until a scant 3 weeks ago, the furthest I had run was to my car in a rainstorm...37 minutes and 30 seconds. That's pert near 5 mph. In my defense, I was in the back of the crowd (obviously) when it started and had to run very, very slowly (even by my standards) before there was any running room to set your own pace (at least 3 minutes). Did I mention the hills? I did, huh? How about the heat? Yup, mentioned that too. Oh well, it was fun to start and finish with a bunch of my friends fr