Showing posts from January, 2010

Good Sense

Upon finding me in a loud room quietly engrossed in a small leather book with a gold integrated ribbon book mark,  a friend said to me, "You look like you're reading the Bible." When I flipped the book closed to show her the spine and thus her mistake, she said, "Oh! You are!"

Hey, Big Spender!

When I was about five or six, I went to the circus with Uncle Chuck.  I remember very little about the circus, and even less about “Uncle” Chuck, but I remember two things distinctly from that day: driving in his very cool, very red convertible and singing for my supper in the diner where we ate after the circus. A few things remain inexplicable to me about that day, but the actual singing seemed quite normal.  After some banter with the waitress, Uncle Chuck announced to the customers that I would be singing a song.  While I don’t remember exactly what song I sung, I do know that Sweet Charity was a big hit musical around then, that we had the album, and that I happen to remember all the words to Big Spender from my youth (and like to trot it out from time to time – but I digress). I distinctly remember standing in aisle, near our booth, and belting one out for the rest of customers to hear.  I also remember that except for the environment, this seemed a pretty normal occurrence


It's Up

Objectivist Round Up #133. Find it at Rational Jenn .

More than ‘Objectivity’

Objectivity: The quality or state of being objective. Ob·jec·tive   adj.   1. Of or having to do with a material object. 2. Having actual existence or reality. 3. a. Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic. See Synonyms at fair 1. b. Based on observable phenomena; presented factually: an objective appraisal. n. 1. Something that actually exists. 2. Something worked toward or striven for; a goal. See Synonyms at intention. Howard Zinn (1922-2010) "From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it.” Acting against injustice as informed by non-objectivity . Objective: met.

3 Good Things (new breeds edition)

That's right, folks. As February approaches and my use of 3 Good Things begins to revolve around one large event so exciting that you can feel the electricity - not to mention fine undercoat hairs - in the air, it can only mean one thing . . . The 2010 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is almost here! While I'm sad that I will once again miss the opportunity to attend the show in person (by four days, no less), I do plan to update readers with the judging results of both nights from the comfort of my own home rather than the hard seats at Madison Square Garden. Despite the build up above, I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll muster the enthusiasm to present Dog Week , my last year's compilation of pictures, AKC information, and witty insight (ahem) of three distinct breeds in each group for the seven nights prior to the event.  But I could not resist introducing you to the three new breeds presenting at the Big Show for the first time this year! 1.

Whose video is it, anyway?

More news from Inside Higher Education .   The Association for Information and Media Equipment has charged UCLA with copyright infringement regarding the posting of copyrighted videos on professors’ course websites.   As the producers of these educational videos enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with those in higher education – the former producing the tools purchased and used by the latter – I found the comments by an “information scholar and director of IT policy” at Cornell University quite interesting.    “Copyright has and continues and poses to be to be a significant impediment in academic research and instruction,” said Mitrano. “Content owners and higher-education administrators and faculty, together with the associations that represent them, must sit down and figure out appropriate licensing, clearance, and fair use provisions in order not to hamper American higher education, if not global education, in pursuit of its mission.” While she pays lip service to prope

Rocking Around the Blogosphere

Just a few posts I’d like to give some linky-love ™ to today: Objectivist Round Up #132 at Erosophoria (Warning: partial self-promotion) The interview at The Main Event (Warning: total husband promotion) Engineers Guide to Drinks (Warning: okay, there is none. It’s just plain funny as was my husband’s earnestness in examining the print out: “Hmmmm.   This would have been helpful.”) Speaking of earnestness (one of my favorite qualities), check out The Playful Spirit where Rachel shares the joy that comes from her successful special efforts in parenting. (Warning: friend promotion)   And finally, there’s nothing like some rapping economists to get your morning going via Coyote Blog (Warning: Austrian School promotion)

Simple joys.

Alone. I am currently alone and will be for an hour more.   Other than my rather telling display of writing a blog post, I am reveling in my aloneness.   By what means am I reveling? Toast and tea. Toast and tea is one of the simple pleasures that I remember from my childhood.   My mother worked full-time and my babysitter/second-mother made me toast and tea  when I arrived bleary-eyed at her door every weekday morning. While I’m a regular tea drinker, I’ve moved onto mostly green tea these days.   But I do so still love a good cuppa Irish Breakfast tea.   Add some cream to that cup and you have something just this side of magical.   Top off this unrestrained delight with some crunchy toast smothered in homemade sweet cream butter, Saigon cinnamon mixed with a little sugar and you have a perfect accompaniment to nibble and sip while thinking for a single, uninterrupted hour. Toast and tea lends me literal and figurative instant warmth.

Follow the Force

You can’t make me. Do you remember that saucy retort from childhood? Okay.   Maybe that was just me.   But I don’t think my early use of that particular expression is why I’ve held firm to that idea into adulthood.   In fact, the more I’m able to articulate why it is so, the more I hope to be able to persuade you of the same.   Persuasion There is no person or group that can force me to behave in a certain way, force me to spend my money on things I don’t want, force me to trade what I value for something of lesser value, force me to contribute to their bottom line or force me to adopt their philosophy. Even my family and friends must persuade me to act differently by either showing me the folly of my ways, or identifying the benefit of altering my actions.   If, by choosing to remain associated with a person or group, I end up giving up or compromising on certain things that I do consider to be in my own best interest, then that was my choice, which I should revisit quite

Big “I” vs. little “i”

Just as a point of clarification, the independent voters of Massachusetts who made a tremendous difference in the election on Tuesday are not Independent voters, but rather unenrolled voters.   This means that while we are registered to vote, we have chosen no party affiliation. Because we have open primaries in Massachusetts, unenrolled voters can participate in any one party's primary election.   Being unenrolled, therefore, gives us more choice. The few. The proud. The unenrolled. It just lacks gravitas. But something I found out during the spectacular disintegration of presumed Democratic chair-passing was that 51% of the voters in Massachusetts are registered as “unenrolled”!   This is another fact that points to what Scott Brown’s victory could quite likely mean: It’s not about either party, or even either candidate. It’s about people not wanting to hand over our personal choices to the federal government regardless of what animal it uses to pull the overstuffed, r

Quote of the Day

When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves. Justice Kennedy delivering the Opinion of the Court , 21 Jan 2009

In Pursuit of Higher Education

As reported in today’s Inside Higher Education , in addition to abandoning business as a major field of study, college freshman are more worried about finances.   Although this may strike some as incongruous, it is completely in keeping with other results from the survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) through its Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP). The survey also indicates that college freshmen have an increased need for remedial study in every academic area outside of Social Studies .   It is any wonder? From the HERI report: "Volunteering is also connected to "social agency," a CIRP scale of six items on the survey that measures the extent to which students value political and social involvement in their community as a personal goal. Incoming students who have volunteered or participated in community service as part of a class as high school seniors are more likely to score high in social agency values than those who hav

Too Much Lara Croft?

The hard core, kick ass chick attitude of these  tactical corsets  is difficult to ignore.  For me, anyway. Whether you categorize it as Steampunk, Goth, or fetish fashions, this is body armor that I think even Athena would be proud to wear.   And while you're there scoping out the goods , grab yourself another must-have item, a folding titanium spork . (via New York Times article today)

Now what?

It’s not perfect. I couldn’t get too excited. I didn’t campaign. I didn’t make phone calls. I didn’t talk to friends.   But I voted.   And I was rather anxious all day to learn the results.   While not celebrating, I am satisfied and glued to the TV for the evening. But now that the people of Massachusetts, in electing Republican Scott Brown to fill the remainder of Ted Kennedy’s senatorial term, have convincingly voiced a desire for “change” once again, I have to make note of a few important things this election has accomplished: The 41 st Republican Senator is now capable of providing the Republicans with the power to filibuster the health care bill. A Republican has won the seat belonging to a very big “D” Democrat for near 50 years. It has taken exactly one year for even the staunchest of liberal states to shrug off the aggressive agenda of the great American Apologizer. It sends a clear message against the current push toward big, bigger, biggest government. But what it has

Government Control ≠ Health Care

health care  n. The prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being through the services offered by the medical and allied health professions. Not only does greater government control not equal health care, history tells us that it will degrade, if not destroy the very goods and services it has no business in, and yet claims to provide.

And So the Conversation Turned

Have you ever sung a melodic line from a song but have no idea about the rest of the words or tune and therefore no hope of figuring out what the actual source could be but are nonetheless fascinated by the strange workings of your brain? I was feeling that kind of frustrated fascination  today.

Teaching Writing Skills

VanDamme Academy , a private grammar school in California, has an excellent approach to teaching academic skills.  Recently they've added videos in which the Head of School, Lisa Van Damme, explains their writing curriculum to a group of parents.  This is my favorite from that series.  Go check out the rest of their videos on  YouTube .

Can you spell "fellatio"?

It’s that time of year again.   I just received my notice that with the aid of the local hospital and school board, the federal and state government will once again attempt to quantify the Zeitgeist of risky behavior among our school children through the administration of a school wide survey under a federal program called the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. From our local notification: 4. Will the survey questions encourage students to engage in the behaviors? Research shows that asking questions on a survey such as this do not encourage or increase the likelihood that a student will engage in risky behaviors.   Research also indicates that teaching and talking about risky behaviors does not result in engaging in those behaviors. The survey is designed so that students always have the option to respond that they do not participate in a particular behavior. More important than this question is this one: Does this school-sanctioned participation in a 45-minute long su


It's Thursday, so it must be time for the Objectivist Round Up!  Get it here  at Titanic Deck Chairs .

Reporting at its finest

Today’s Boston Globe has an interesting look at the candidates running in the special election to fill the senate seat once owned by Ted Kennedy.   I find it humorous that these collections of photos are entitled “The Road to the Senate Race.”  photos here Apparently, Scott Brown once worked as a model, so there is a photo of him without a shirt on.   There is also a link to a music video in which his wife, Gail Huff, a local newscaster, worked as well. The piece is subtitled, “A Revealing Look at GOP Candidate Scott Brown.”  photos here   Martha Coakley’s photo montage consists of pictures of her in public forums, or things done in the name of her public servant image with the subtitle, “A Look at Democratic Candidate Martha Coakley.” If I weren’t already considering voting for Brown with the smallest hope that one less leftist lawmaker might somehow help turn the tide of our rush toward socialism, this unbiased, in-depth look into the candidates race to the senate would ha

There are 10 types of people

in the binary world:   those who would classify today’s date (with a modified “yy”) as 30  and those who would classify it as 54 .   In either case, I could not resist embracing the geek represented in today’s date (011110 – I’m a Little Endian and quite happy to discover such ). If binary is not your thing, how about this? Define vinculum . You learn something new everyday.

A Violation of Individual Rights

Sponsored by the United States government. [n.b.  I couldn't get the ideas across without resorting to a voiceover.  I apologize - I have a headcold. It's been only a week since I started experimenting with the tablet and Animation-ish. Yup. I think I'm done the excuses now. ]

Four Minutes to Save the World

Who knew? Madonna, JT, Timbaland, The President, And my older children. Hmmm.

3 Good Things (blog posts edition)

These are by no means the only good blog posts I’ve read since the new year, but each one makes some good points that stayed with me beyond the time necessary to read it.   Enjoy. Mtn Runner2 has a terrific post about the lack of reason behind environmentalism in The Mind Deniers at Fun with Gravity .   I find his comparison between Pascal’s wager and Al Gore’s wager an interesting one.   At least Pascal didn’t advocate using the force of government to place his bet. Speaking of the force of government, another excellent post from Don Watkins at Voices for Reason clearly explains the difference between Economic Power vs. Political Power . It never ceases to amaze me how often these two are confused. And finally, Jennifer Iannolo from Food Philosophy answers the question: “What is Edward Cullen’s secret ?” to my delighted satisfaction.  

The Roaring Twenties

Looking for some 20/20? Check out the first round up of 2010 . You might read a thing or two that helps you to see things more clearly.


Don't look at it too long - you'll start to get a complex.

I'm sorry-ish.

Yesterday I reported that I didn’t like the animation software that I was trying out, but I take it back.   For $60, I can overlook the kiddie packaging (well, it is marketed as children’s software) and the fact that it saves your files without revealing the extensions – as if such things are not important.   I am having a devil of a time figuring out how to save the files in anything usable outside of the particular software, but that could just be me and my preference to recreate the wheel in Word or Photoshop , rather than use new programs which make wheel recreation unnecessary but learning new particulars a requirement.   I do like the way this loosely rendered picture of my daughter came out. While it's not animated and I could have easily created it in Photoshop, I never gave such a drawing a thought until I tried out Animation-ish .   (The watercolor-like background I did create in Photoshop). The entire “-ish” thing is the idea that in animation, drawing doesn’t need

Just a Red Herring

During a tour of local newspaper with a homeschool group yesterday, I was struck by some old newspaperman saying (not that the newspaperman was old - he was exactly my age - but rather that the expression struck me as very old school). A picture is like an advertisement for your words.  I like that.  And I like pictures.  If you can animate them - bonus! I got a drawing tablet for my computer for Christmas.  I am thrilled to try my hand at more animation.  Today's work included drawing a herring on the tablet, animating it in some free-trial software (not loving that, so I'm glad they let me try it) and finally importing it into Adobe Photoshop Image Ready and making it a .gif file for a wee bit of animation.  This was half inspired by the wagging tail Airedale .gif  and half by the fact that today, for the second time, I received an email about the evils of immigrants receiving welfare in America. I'm tired of that particular red herring. Feel free to use Rub

That Ain't Right

Lookee what I's found in da dictionary t'day: youse (yz) pron. Chiefly Northern U.S.   You. Used in addressing two or more people or referring to two or more people, one of whom is addressed. See Notes at you-all 1 , you-uns 2 . 1 Regional Note: The single most famous feature of Southern United States dialects is the pronoun y'all , sometimes heard in its variant you-all . You-all functions with perfect grammatical regularity as a second person plural pronoun, taking its own possessive you-all's (or less frequently, your-all's , where both parts of the word are inflected for possession): You-all's voices sound alike. Southerners do not, as is sometimes believed, use you-all or y'all for both singular and plural you. A single person may only be addressed as you-all if the speaker implies in the reference other persons not present: Did you-all [you and others] have dinner yet? You and you-all preserve the singular/plural distinction that English


Some more random number geekiness . Today’s date is a palindrome. I’m holding off celebrating until Pi day .