Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Historic Halloween

In searching for a “How To” video for Rosie the Riveter’s hairdo for my teenage daughter, I found some really cool things. First, did you know that Rosie the Riveter was the name of Norman Rockwell’s painting and not the iconic We Can Do It poster? You probably did, but I’m a little late to the table.

This excellent video from the Library of Congress explores the origins of the iconic Rosie and the real women who worked for the war effort during World War II. As in my History through Art for Adults class, this video also explores the historic symbolic intricacies of Rockwell’s image.

And here’s a fascinating comparison from the video:

Rockwell's Rosie & Michelangelo’s Prophet Isaiah

Of course, my daughter is not so interested in this burly Rosie as she is in Rosie as portrayed by, say, Christina Aguilera.

Happily, my younger daughter, who is also animated by historic figures, is being Anne Boleyn – with a head! As an eleven year-old, she is not portraying her a la Showtime The Tudors fame, but more like the official portrait fame. And therein lies the difference between the teen and the tween. But it's all good!

Have a Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Helpful Halloween (last minute) Hints

First, you need to feed those kids before sending them out into the night to collect junk to eat from neighbors that you don’t normally speak to, right? How about this? It’s the best, most disgusting Halloween meal I’ve ever seen. What do mean you forgot the kids’ costumes? Don’t worry. There are some clever last minute ideas for you to throw together for them.

But what about you? Looking for that last minute glam get-up (ignore the “not for Halloween” advice). Just grab your silk charmeuse bias cut dress, long gloves, a fur stole, or a wool wrap coat with leopard print shawl collar and cuffs, et Voila! What? You don’t have those in your closet? Better still, how about an adult version of this? But, if you’re like me, who would know you made an effort?

Need a last minute idea for something to bring to a party? (Skip step two unless you’re a sissy.)

If you’re not going anywhere or doing anything for Halloween, don’t bother with the whole costume, just put on an old hat, some red lipstick and pretend like you did so you can at least post something on Facebook. If you need some help with make-up, see the Makeup Geek’s Retro Glam look (not for those with a fear of product, but the transformation is always quite interesting to watch nonetheless).

If you’re not feeling that Halloween je ne sais quoi, no matter what you do, try pondering some interesting skull things. I agree with HNTAO writer, Pamela Redmond Satran, that there may be no better reminder of why you shouldn’t act old than the Day of the Dead. That’s why I can run in the cemetery better than anywhere else – constant inspiration.

Whatever you end up doing tomorrow night, have fun, stay safe, and be well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Objectivist Round Up #120

I am really happy to be hosting the Objectivist Round Up #120. This blog carnival is a collection of posts written by individuals who are advocates of Objectivism: the philosophy developed and defined by Ayn Rand.

If you are new to Ayn Rand and would like to discover more about her philosophy, I recommend you read her two greatest novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. If you are interested in her non-fiction, I recommend my two favorite essays, “Man’s Rights” and “The Nature of Government.” The Ayn Rand Institute and the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights provide relevant information and commentary.

Following, in the order in which they were received, are the posts for this 120th Objectivist Round Up.

Jason Stotts presents The Christians are Burning Witches (Again) posted at Erosophia, ” An analysis of the rise of christians burning witches in Africa.”

Jason Stotts also presents Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License posted at Erosophia, saying, “Even in 2009, racism is alive and well.”

Pomponazzi presents Digesting Principles of Objectivism: posted at Pomponazzi ponders, saying, ”This is my first post. I try to concretize what chewing an Idea means. The idea chewed is, ‘Force and mind are opposites’."

Benjamin Skipper presents Slavery or the Highway: "Volunteerism" posted at Benpercent, saying, “Contrary to popular opinion, "volunteerism" is not an ideal or even a mistaken good intention, but rather a vicious idea that will lead to slavery unless attacked at its root: the morality of altruism.”

Andy presents The Skeptical Atheists Or The Tea Party-Goers posted at The Charlotte Capitalist, saying, “In my post, ‘The Epistemology of Richard Dawkins’, I asked: ‘I do wonder if these young Dawkins fans are much better potential Objectivists than the older Tea Party-goers.’ Having been involved in two Tea Parties (April 15 and July 4) and also then investigated the Dawkins crowd, I think these skeptical atheists are the much better opportunity for rational change.”

Sylvia Bokor presents Ideas and Politics posted at Sylvia Bokor Comments.

John Cox presents To The Precipice posted at John and Ansley, saying, “Last week, the Fed announced sweeping new regulations on compensation across the entire financial industry. Where does this leave the defense of Individual Rights in America?”

Ari Armstrong presents Radical Environmentalists Undermine Human Progress posted at, saying it’s a “Review of Not Evil, Just Wrong.”

John Drake presents Writing 5 year goals - a personal example posted at Try Reason!, saying, “On the recommendation of past comments, I have expanded on my prior post on writing 5 year goals, providing my personal experience in writing my own.”

Rational Jenn presents Look on my Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair! posted at Rational Jenn, saying, “The FTC thinks that blog readers need protection from blog authors. As such, I have outlined a few policies for my blog. For your own protection from my Momnipotence.”

Greg Perkins presents Kant Versus America posted at NoodleFood, saying, “In the Objectivism Seminar's ongoing exploration of Dr. Peikoff's The Ominous Parallels, we discuss Chapter 6 which looks at the fundamental opposition between core American ideals and German ideological imports.”

Daniel presents TV Series: Pillars of the Earth posted at The Nearby Pen, saying, “If you aren't looking forward to 2010 already, start now. Pillars of the Earth is going to be shown as an 8 hour mini-series!”

Gus Van Horn presents The Oath Fakers posted at Gus Van Horn, saying, “The solution to bad laws is to repeal them, not to undermine rule of law.”

Paul Hsieh presents Public Plan Mirage posted at We Stand FIRM saying, The "public plan" has re-emerged in the current health care debate. Fortunately, Robert Samuelson exposes it for the mirage that it is.”

Jeff Montgomery presents Comments On FRONTLINE's The Warning posted at Fun With Gravity, saying, “The PBS show FRONTLINE attempts to make economic freedom seem sinister in its documentary ‘The Warning’.”

Diana Hsieh presents Explore Atlas Shrugged: Explore Atlas Shrugged: Session 4 posted at Explore Atlas Shrugged, saying, “This post contains my podcast and questions for the fourth of twenty sessions on Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged.”

Brendan Moore presents Why Are We Losing? posted at The Undercurrent, saying, “Troop surges, tactical air strikes, and withdrawal and retreat. These are all terms Americans should be familiar with by now, but many Americans have been impelled to ask a truly frightening question: Is it enough?”

Edward Cline presents The Mainstream Smearing of Ayn Rand posted at The Rule of Reason, saying, “As most of our lawmakers consider raising the subject of the unlawfulness of their actions as beyond the bounds of polite or legitimate enquiry, the overwhelming consensus of contemporary critics is that Ayn Rand’s philosophy of reason and individual rights cannot -- should not -- be taken seriously and must be treated with similar contempt and ignorance.”

Jared Rhoads presents Fixing doctor shortages posted at The Lucidicus Project, saying, “HRSA has half a billion dollars to spend to help alleviate the shortage of doctors in the U.S. Is this necessary? Is it fair?”

Stephen Bourque presents Too Big to Fail? posted at One Reality, saying, “The fact that the president and his team of czars think they can fire executives, defy shareholder contracts, and set wages to what they deem fit, is shocking and outrageous.”

Doug Reich presents The Fed's Wish Part III: Exit Strategy and Deflation Confusion posted at The Rational Capitalist, saying, “What is the Fed up to these days and how is government policy, predicated on a fallacious understanding of inflation and deflation, could mire us in stagnation forever.”

Good reading.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of Objectivist Round Up using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wrecked 'em? It killed 'em!*

Sadly, it has happened again.

Unless my article was the empty envelope, it was not merely damaged but entirely lost!
Happily, I can find a copy of the Fall 2009 edition of The Objective Standard at my local Barnes & Noble. Well, there was one ten days ago.

*This old joke is what ran through my head as I read the post office's apology.
Teacher: So Johnny, how was your weekend?
Johnny: Horrible. A car hit my dog, right in the a**!
Teacher (correcting Johnny's language): Rectum.
Johnny: Wrecked 'em? It killed 'em!

Today’s Lesson: Litigiousness

As part of a homeschool co-op, my eleven year-old has had the opportunity to learn some things outside of our regular academic curriculum this fall. The group has focused mostly on outdoor activities and through it she’s done a ropes course, a map and compass class, and lots of hiking. She’s really enjoyed these little adventures with her homeschool friends, and she’s learned some interesting things.

For instance, before she went out the door to meet with them yesterday, she turned to me and asked, “Do you have to sign one of those things – you know – to say you won’t blame them if I die?”

Yesterday’s adventure: bowling.

Monday, October 26, 2009

3 Good Things (chemical compounds edition)

This weekend, I particularly appreciated three chemical compounds that helped me to enjoy my life. While I take pleasure in the first on a daily basis and the second on at least a weekly basis, I didn't know how often I employed the third and therefore didn't value its impact until I used it in its very caustic form.

Wakes me up, makes me warm, and kicks my day into gear. I particularly love the feel of the warm, heavy mug of its most popular form in my hand. Wear your love of caffeine on your sleeve (or ears as the case may be).

Lets me know it’s time to celebrate. When it’s in this bottle, it screams LIFE IS GOOD. When it’s in this glass with olives and olive juice, it’s a sign that the weekend is over and it’s time to watch Mad Men. Celebrate your geekdom with these glasses. (My birthday is Friday, by the way.)

Helps me maintain one of my critical household systems, particularly when I have a bunch of hairy, and occasionally, very dirty people living here. Over the weekend, this caustic chemical made me happiest of all. Read the interesting history of potassium hydroxide and go-a-black-berrying from Sir Humphry Davy on over to my favorite scientist, Michael Faraday. (Or, if you watched Dollhouse this weekend, you may be interested in one of its niche applications – ew.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Not Something You See Everyday

Unless you live in Somerville.

Growing up, we called these Mary on the half-shell. It's not surprising to me that someone took the time to photograph the collection of them he saw on the lawns in his town.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The $15,000 Insult

What do you get when you compare talking to one of your constituents with "trying to argue with a dining room table"?

If you're Barney Frank, apparently you get $15,000.

Maybe soon, he and Robert Gibbs will be taking their act, Appeal to Ridicule: It's How We Do Politics, on the road.

Powers of Ten

This brief movie by Charles and Ray Eames (1977) does a great job in showing the relative size of things in and out of this world.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


e·lit·ism or é·lit·ism, n.
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
2. a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.

(From the American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.)

In his interview with Jennifer Burns, Jon Stewart questioned the elitism of Objectivism – implying that while it was great for some, it wouldn’t work for “ordinary” people. This gave me pause. I find it interesting that those who invoke elitism to impeach voluntary interactions among rational people seem to be the same folks who attempt to justify compelling preferential treatment for certain groups. In the case of the compulsion, however, the elitism is based on perceived inferiority of others, rather than on perceived superiority of self.

That ordinary people are too stupid to care for themselves and must be cared for by the government seems to be the standard operating elitism of those in power within both parties. One need look no further than the rash of new consumer protection laws, massive government bailouts, nationalization of businesses, taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, and soda, and the proposed nationalization of health care to see this destructive idea in action. And yet, support for these ideas, we are told, stem from the need to protect “we, the people.”

Are the proponents of choice architecture and government welfare programs impugning the rational faculty of the American people on the one hand while promoting the populace appeal of pure democracy, the omniscient will of the majority, on the other? Is this contradiction an untenable political position to hold? In a constitutional federal republic, it should be. And that’s what we have, a constitutional federal republic… so long as we can keep it.

Oh, Yeah, Baby! It's #119.

Oh, behave!

The Objectivist Round Up is here at The Rule of Reason.

Hey! Guess who is next week's host? Me!

Isn't dat veird?

(I promise not to make any Austin Powers references next week - although I admit to having a sudden urge to expand my use of the word shag to include the verb form rather than limiting it to the description of that 70's hairdo.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Close Enough for Jazz

As the hours of daylight decrease I tend to fill the house with candlelight and jazz. I guess they make me feel warmer (that, and I broke down on Monday and turned the heat on way before my arbitrarily determined November 1 start date). I have found some terrific new-to-me singers and albums in order to fill my soul with the warmth of smoky jazz songs,

Ann Hampton Callaway, Erin Bode (who is not smoky, but beautifully clear) and NPR’s The New Jazz Divas, plus some “old” favorites Diana Krall and Jane Monheit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seven Small Men

Was it is about this,

that inspires this,

and this?

And is it a good thing?

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Oh, I've read."

I'm not sure what a "totalitarian state of individualists" means, but other than that, it's worth watching if you haven't already - hell, it's worth watching even if you have.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c

Jennifer Burns
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

(via NoodleFood and HBL)

Book Arts Bash 2009-2010

I meant to post on this last week, but I forgot. In fact, I forgot it so thoroughly that it wasn't until I looked at it again this morning that I realized that I used the exact same clip-art in my recent bumper sticker art that they did in their logo.

Does your homeschooler like to write?

The Book Arts Bash is a writing contest for homeschoolers judged by actual authors. Click the logo above to get to this year's contest website. Since they are still working on this year's details, you can find the results and information on last year's inaugural event here. Keeping checking back for updated information.

One of the organizers has more on her personal blog, Homeschooled Twins.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Preparation “H”

This year during the one weekend in October that my son came home from college, I was away. Usually, we have a weekend where we purposefully go to pick pumpkins in a field near our house, pay approximately a billion dollars for the yuppie privilege of walking down to the muddy field, getting stung by the prickly pumpkin vines, slogging through the dirty, pre-cut orange beauties, painstakingly picking out the perfect ones, traipsing back up the hill to put them back into our car (after having them weighed and paying the aforementioned billion dollars). Then we go home, set up the pumpkins on the Halloween print vinyl tablecloth on the kitchen table, and ponder their size, shape, and our clever, clever carving ideas for each of our pumpkins while listening to Halloween Hits on a continuous loop, before setting to the task.

This year, we had to find another way to do our annual pumpkin carving tradition together.

As any self-respecting mother who still has younger children at home who value family traditions would do, I brought the carving festivities to my son’s dorm room! He’s in the state, so why not?

First, let me say that he agreed to this in theory a few weeks ago. Then, as the reality of Saturday morning hit, he decided…no…maybe I don’t want my family trudging through my dorm room with soon-to-be-rotten squash guts. Sadly for him, my plan and my car were already in motion.

A short two hours later we were all together and picking out pumpkins from a bin at a local farm store. No prickly vines, no billion dollars – just two bucks each! Free petting zoo with various large and small, but all smelly, beasts - another bonus! (Adamant anti-farm daughter fell in love with the baby goats.) Then I had a brilliant idea: instead of further stinking up the dorm room which already bore the incongruous smell of “Moroccan Street Bazaar” and feet, we carved them in the car – all ten of us (five people and five pumpkins)!

What really put the feather in the cap of the event was the inclusion of the Halloween Hits CD which I had the foresight to bring along with all the carving implements and seven trash bags, which, it will surprise none of my friends to learn, were already in my dumpster on wheels car. The CD is special because it causes real horror in Stephen often inspiring him to create great jack-o-lanterns!

Okay. It was a rather a rush job – and it was a bit of a pain in the butt – but we got it done!

And you know what? Each child thanked me in his own turn, for the fun afternoon.

Stephen’s declaration of appreciation was noticeably absent.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Red Ink and Self-Esteem

The above bumper-sticker art was inspired by a story in this month’s VanDamme Academy Newsletter entitled, Building Good Spelling Skills (it can be found on the last page).

The brief article describes how giving a child the opportunity to correct his mistakes helps him build better skills, but it also mentions the importance of not overwhelming him or distracting him from the task at hand. The first helps the student develop proper self-esteem; the second can be detrimental to it.

As a home schooling mother, I am constantly searching for that critical divide. Finding it is not a skill that comes easily to me, but one at which I must become better. I am confident that it is a goal worth pursuing and a skill I have the ability to improve upon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Whose self-esteem is it anyway?

Evolution is the name of a very brief video which I can only describe as fascinating. It is produced by Dove Films as part of their Real Beauty campaign. The video is a cool time-lapsed portrayal of how a young woman goes from being a regular person to billboard fabulous – well, my daughter thought she looked better, particularly in the eyebrows (?), before processing – I don’t agree. This brings me to my point: the video’s intent is to show how the beauty industry is culpable in the development of low self-esteem in girls.

First, let me say that I don’t fault Dove for their attempts to use the current false-morality cash cow of blaming corporate greed for the ills of society. I do find it ironic, in a shoot-yourself-in-the-foot kind of way, but I don’t blame them more than any other company who uses it in their advertising. If you go to their campaign website, you’ll find all kinds of tools for developing your real beauty and self-esteem including how to keep that salon blow-out look all day and the possible ways to react when you find out a boy you like wants to “go out with you” (I found that beauty in the quiz for 11-12 year old girls).

While you’re at the Dove video site, be sure to watch the two videos onslaught and under pressure, each with a beautiful little girl who is at first bombarded by sexual images from the beauty/fashion world and is then further insulted by the group dynamic of having to profess that she is beautiful just the way she is in a crowd assembled for the sole purpose of hearing and applauding such floating pap. How on earth does a young girl get the notion that she is otherwise, or worse, that she can and must bolster her self-esteem through such public declarations???

No doubt about it, she is totally beautiful, but what is really going on here? Where are her parents when she’s slumped on the couch watching infomercials that air at three in the morning? What is she doing in the middle of Times Square, or its advertising equivalent, without supervision? And most importantly, who actively sought out the indoctrination of this spectacular little creature as she is handed the microphone and repeats what has only recently been fed to her? Who is to blame for her uncontrolled exposure to, unexplained curiosity of, and subsequent inability to comprehend the glitz and glam that was not intended for her, but for fully formed adults?

Dove, and many, many others, wants us to think that the beauty industry, the advertising world, and, oh hell, society at large is to blame. Nope. If that little girl has problems with her self-image, her parents are to blame. As a parent, I am keenly aware of and interested in the self-esteem of my children; helping them to develop their self-esteem has been one of my biggest challenges.

Instead of concentrating on the Dove campaign, which I have personally enjoyed for its portrayal of beautiful older women, I wanted to discuss self-esteem in general. Their campaign conflates body image with self-esteem, but more importantly, it presents the argument that self-esteem comes from sources outside of a person. This is the wrong I wish to address more fully.

It is also too large a topic to include in one post. My research into the meaning and development of self-esteem began to get so diverse and unwieldy that I decided to first post on my inspirational point of departure. It is my plan to explore this important topic much further.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Afternoon Delight

Whenever I hear people complain about the sexual nature of today's music I like to break out into my own rendition of this song which I learned to play on my guitar when I was twelve - complete with sound effects.

Oh yeah. I was cool.

Objectivist Round Up #118

When the ship is going down, rearranging extraneous objects isn't going to help.

Find some posts regarding the application of Objectivist principles in this week's Round Up at Titanic Deck Chairs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Running, Rolling, and Romance: My Long, Weak-Knee Weekend

I sustained the first assault to my knees when I ran three miles in the cemetery earlier this week. I try to do this at least once a week, but as it is getting colder and darker earlier, it’s been getting harder to do. The pounding of the pavement in the cooler weather seemed to really make my knees ache. Is it because my synovial fluid is too cold and therefore more viscous? In any case, any knee pounding should not be immediately followed up by tap dancing where cramp rolls are the order of the evening. By 9:00 PM, my legs were toast!

Looks easy enough, right? (Who needs coconuts?) Now do 4000 of them!

Over two nights this weekend we watched one of our favorite movies which my husband once cheekily referred to as “six hours of foreplay.” Yes, I'm talking about A&E's Pride & Prejudice with one Mr. Colin Firth. In addition to a great, pretty-true-to-the-book adaptation, the movie contains one of the best knowing look exchanges in movie history. When Elizabeth sharply jumps to Georgiana Darcy's rescue in order to change the subject of conversation from the vile Mr. Wickham, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth exchange tender looks of appreciation and understanding which quickly turn to looks of love that make my knees go a little weak.

At 3:00 minutes, you’ll see the six seconds I’m talking about. (And in this video from 2:43-2:49 in case you want to see it again in another video compilation with different pop music. Or in this video, from the miniseries, at 6:30 to 7:10 if you want a little of the back story to Elizabeth’s slow look up toward Darcy.)

Sometime later, within the sixth hour, Elizabeth delivers the best line of the book which inspires back that lost strength (delivered toward the end of a terrific scene at time 4:42 – 4:52):

“I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me."

Elizabeth Bennet to Lady Catherine de Bourgh

You go girl.

And now, for something completely different: On Saturday night, we fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine by attending the Roller Derby. Okay, I got a hankering to see it only a week or so ago (I haven’t yet seen the movie with Ellen Page). But I was delighted to find out that not only does the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association have a Boston team, The Boston Derby Dames, but also its last bout was Saturday night about a half-hour away. We went and it was pretty darn entertaining.

The set up of the game is a little like quidditch in that there are three chasers and/or beaters (blockers), a seeker (jammer), and a keeper (pivot). Instead of broomsticks, however, they’re on quad wheel roller skates, and the only balls in the game are in the bearings in the skate wheels. It’s campy and fun, but it really did seem to require some athleticism. (They’re currently looking for some new talent, so if you’re interested, just send a digital photo of yourself and copy of your health insurance card to fresh meat.)

I freely admit that I find the entire idea amusing and found the event and even the tattooed players and audience completely benevolent. Yet, somehow, when I mention it, I feel as if I just admitted to going to the Roman Coliseum, and not as a contemporary tourist, but rather as a spectator during the fall of the Roman Empire!

I love to rollerblade, and am always looking for new ways to be active without boredom, but even if I were I big quad skater, I’m quite sure the preferred method of stopping, a knee slide, would kill me. Maybe I’ll just wait until I reach the age where I would be just as likely to break my hip as to successfully skate around the track once to try it out.

Sunday morning, I rode my bike (with the brake slightly rubbing the front tire) for 22 miles on a local rail trail. It was cold, but beautiful along the trail. I am now determined to make myself leopard print toe covers so that I can withstand the heat-sucking wind generated by my riding like the wind. Oh, all right. We ride pretty slowly, but not slow enough to negate the wind­-chill. In addition to suspected frost-bite, my knees once again bore the brunt of my activity.

Later that afternoon, we watched sadly as our beloved Red Sox were swept out of the American League Division Championship series by the Los Angeles Angels. Even watching Jacoby Ellsbury fly magically through both the infield and the outfield offered little consolation to the heavy hearts in our house. The Globe’s 10 Ways to get over the Red Sox also did little to distract me from my disappointment.

Finally, as I reported yesterday, we spent the entire morning relaxing while enjoying the Fox TV show Glee, on hulu. Watching TV or movies on a laptop from the cozy comfort of my bed on a cold, long weekend morning with my own Mr. Darcy is a just about one of the most fabulous things in the world.

I’m a simple girl, really.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Offer Expires in Two Days!


I have spent this morning doing something I should have done for a long time. I watched five concurrent TV show episodes on hulu!

I know, there are those of you who have been telling me to watch the show for a long time, and those of you who couldn't say enough about it (but, sadly, not enough to actually make me understand how very funny, hopeful, poignant, and totally fabulous it is and that I should watch the Pilot before it fell off the queue at hulu - that'll have to wait until the DVD comes out), and even those of you who knew that despite a long-term enthusiastic following, the show is only six episodes long!

In a bit of black comedy combining Bring It On and High School Musical with a John Hughesian flair wrapped up in a hour-long format, this show will delight anyone who has ever, even once, considered her life to be some sort of happy-go-quirky musical.

So without further ado, because such would cause you to miss out on your chance to see it from episode 2, I happily present: Glee.

Really. It's that good.

[For the record, I am slightly concerned that one day the loathsome Cheerios squad leader, played by the terrific comic actress, Jane Lynch, will reveal that she is an Ayn Rand fan. The character of Sue Sylvester is driven and ruthless in the achievement of her goals. However, based on a prevalent stereotype, she is also dishonest, conniving, and moves people around her like pawns (behavior some incorrectly identify as "selfish"). Since the show pays a great deal of lipservice to overcoming stereotypes, I sincerely hope this is not the case.]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Virtual Coffee Mug #5

I've been collecting a few things that I'd like to link to in this one post. This is not to imply that each does not deserve its own post, but rather after having given them all some thought, I could come up with nothing better than the links themselves.

I Love Cheese
A list of facts you may or may not have known about this luscious substance can be found here at listverse. And if you love cheese and typestyles, this little quiz (via a Facebook friend) is not to be missed!

I Love Words
Though I may sometimes seem model myself after Norm Crosby or Amelia Bedelia, I appreciate the actual and implied meaning of words. Like the faintest change in hue, the subtle nuances of words can create an amazingly different tone. World Wide Words (via Rockhound Place) is a fun blog about words and phrases - my most recent favorite of which is crepe hanger.

I Love Atlas Shrugged
Because of our sadly inconsistent efforts, we are only now nearing the end of Part I in our rereading of the book. But my enthusiasm has been invigorated by the work of Diana Hsieh (of NoodleFood) who has constructed a new blog for the systematic book club study of Atlas Shrugged. Not only do I plan to use this blog as a check on our attention to the details, but I hope to start my own local book study group in the new year using it as a guide. I'll keep you posted on that.

I Love to See Light Dawn
While this author may display more of an "everything's funny as long as it happens to someone else" attitude than an understanding of the proper role of government, it is clear that he comes close to a partial understanding of the problems with a paternalistic government. With lines like, "Today's morality cops are less interested in your bedroom than your refrigerator," how far can he be from making the connection that all attempted government control of personal behavior is wrong? (via Gus Van Horn)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fun with Photoshop (and a webcam)

Bright blue, orange glow, cabaret chanteuse,
Photoshop + webcam = no better use.
Overexpose, cutout, photocopy, colorize,
It's how I see the world in my many eyes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's My Anniversary!

That's right. It's been exactly one year since I linked to this.

And to think, I almost missed celebrating this three minutes of happiness today!

The New Drug

In today’s Boston Globe, an article about the new marketing of cigarettes resonated with me.

First, I had no idea that the words “light”, “mild”, and “ultralight” were going to be banned from cigarette packages by next June. Secondly, the push to save us from ourselves by allowing an uncontrolled growth of government is becoming unbearable. This latest attack on the tobacco companies is minor compared to the explosion of rules and regulations proposed under the banner “consumer protection”, but it is a decent encapsulation.

In a statement about the new colorful labeling proposed by some tobacco companies, a doctor, and the director of a tobacco research and intervention center, states that his patients feel virtuous switching to the “light” or “mild” brands that these colors will soon represent.

“These are individuals who have a chronic case of tobacco dependence and are struggling to break free of it, and that struggle is compromised by labeling that gives them a false and deadly sense of reassurance.’’

By replacing “tobacco” with “government” and “labeling” with “the largesse” this sentence has some real meaning. It seems, however, that rather than struggling to break free of our addiction to governmental largesse, we just keep searching for the next fix.

Oh, Give Me a Home Where Objectivists Roam...*

This week's Objectivist Round-Up is...well...up.

Go git it at Trey Givens!

(* I'd like to state for the record that Objectivists would neither ask to be given a home nor would we roam aimlessly. Other than that, though, I like the new lyrics to describe the blog carnival that is the Objectivist Round Up.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Protecting the Horse and Buggy

Here you will find the FTC’s notice in the Federal Register:

Public Workshops and Roundtables: From Town Crier to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?

Again, it’s important to note that The Federal Register is "[t]he official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents." From FedThread, “It's published by the U.S. government, five days a week. The Federal Register tells you what your government is doing, in a lot more detail than you get from the news media.”

This FedThread website to which you’ll be redirected, allows you to comment (not an official government comment) and start a discussion with others who are interested in this particular governmental activity as well as establish an RSS feed for all comments on the matter. You can search for issues, and keep up to date with matters that interest you. I’ve added it to my sidebar. (Thanks, Curtis).

Back to the matter at hand:

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) announces that it will hold two days of public workshops on December 1 and 2, 2009, to examine the Internet’s impact on journalism in newspapers, magazines, broadcast television and radio, and cable television. The Internet has changed how many consumers receive news and altered the advertising landscape. Low entry barriers on the Internet have allowed new voices of journalism to emerge; the Internet-enabled links from one web site to another have given consumers easy access to all types of news; efficiencies available through the Internet have substantially reduced advertising costs. These and other changes related to the Internet have benefitted consumers greatly.

At the same time, however, lower online advertising costs have reduced advertising revenues to news organizations that rely on those revenues for the majority of their funding. The explosion in the number and types of web sites has increased the supply of advertising locations. As that supply has increased, advertisers now pay less for online advertising, and some advertising has moved from print, television, or radio to online sites. In addition, most online news is offered free, so online readers of news frequently do not contribute subscription revenues to news media.
I kid you not. This is an example of our tax dollars at work: discussing how to protect the horse and buggy companies from being run out of business by the horseless carriage.

More importantly, does anyone else have a problem with the fact that our government is looking into deciding for you how and where you should get your news?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Don't Bring it Home; I Don't Fry it Up

While discussing the division of labor between spouses in our various households last weekend, my girlfriends and I ended up with one overwhelming question after a rather gushing review of my husband’s many virtues: Just what the hell do you do, Lynne? Since I don't work outside the home (or much in it if you want to get technical) and I had just revealed Stephen's rather unacceptable practice of actually cooking on a nightly basis – unacceptable because no one woman should be the beneficiary of so much good fortune – all I could think of was the third skill listed in old Enjoli commercial.


Sniff. Yup. That’s right. Everyone needs to be good at something.

Okay – so I’m good at remembering old commercials. I’m not exactly sure how Stephen benefits from this, but so far, it's been working for us.

Since this commercial tagline was so deeply embedded in my mind, I searched out some other old perfume and soap ads from the 70s and have included them below for a little blast from the past.


Charlie! before Charlie's Angels. I know all the words to this one. But not why.

Old Spice

I have no recollection of this ad, but I found it to be hilarious. The second lady is just plain dopey!

Chanel No. 5

Apparently this was a groundbreaking ad in its sexual suggestiveness. I remember it distinctly.

British Sterling

That one had a pretty jingle – as did Wind Song, but I couldn’t find a good 70s ad for it.


"Honey, our budget’s a disaster, but your hair looks like a million bucks."
Nice priorities, dude.

"Touch your hair. What do you think of?"
"The girls in your office?"
"Mmmmm. Yes. Me too."

Monday, October 5, 2009

3 Good Things (Girls’ Weekend edition)

1. Enjoying friendships that you’ve had since you were actually a “girl”.
2. Creating new memories instead of merely reliving those of the past.
3. Celebrating life with people who knew you when … and still like you.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Weekly Round Up #116

This week's Objectivist Round Up can be found at Reality Talk.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Perfect Moment

Sitting outside the library,
The bells are clanging ten,
Daughter taught by “not me”;
Feeling a little Zen.

“Venti Mocha Latte, please,”
Deserving of whipped cream,
Small price of $3.88,
To live an idyllic dream.

Shady coolness, the sun, warm,
Still-green leaves rustle.
Enjoying the eye of the storm,
Tutors amidst the hustle.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Posturing Yoke

The President has authorized the EPA to move ahead with regulations in an attempt to get congress to pass a climate bill.

“We are not going to continue with business as usual,” Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. “We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them.”

The tools and technology of the force of government? That’s the only thing that the EPA has.

While the push to stop global warming seems to be based solely on political considerations rather than any global warming itself (alternatively known as science or reality), President Obama’s push to place onerous regulatory burdens on American power plants is timed so that he has negotiating power at the United Nations summit on global warming in Copenhagen in December.

And what will this posturing yoke cost us?

Apparently, American money, much like reality, is no match for the political popularity of the idea of cataclysmic world destruction.