Sunday, January 31, 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!"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

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 in keeping with my constant singing.

And I remember thinking about it 25 years later and wondering, who was that guy?  And more importantly, what the hell were my parents thinking
Now I can’t help but think, Thanks.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Up

Objectivist Round Up #133.

Find it at Rational Jenn.

More than ‘Objectivity’

Objectivity: The quality or state of being objective.

1. Of or having to do with a material object.
2. Having actual existence or reality.
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.


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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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. Irish Red and White Setter (AKC information here).

Westminster Kennel Club photo

This dog looks like a Brittany with a fancy tail to me.  I dislike Irish Setters and have since I was young. I liken them to the bimbos of the dog world: all beauty, no brains.  Maybe the gene that gives it its multi-colored coat also affects its attention span. It certainly looks more serious than its all-red brethren. I guess I'll save the rest of my judgment for its behavior during the doggie beauty pageant. (The irony is not lost on me.)

Rescue: email 

2. Norwegian Buhund (AKC information here):

Westminster Kennel Club photo

The first bit of information I'd like to know about this breed is how the heck to pronounce its name! I'm tempted to say Buh-HOOND, but don't go around saying it like that unless you don't mind running the risk of sounding like the human equivalent of an Irish Setter.

Anyone here speak Norwegian?

As a Spitz breed, it's unavoidably cute, just not as cute as the Shiba Inu

3. Pyrenean Shepherd (AKC information here).

Westminster Kennel Club photo

If I'm this excited, I can only imagine how exciting this news is for Boo, a Pyrenean Shepherd I met briefly last summer.  In fact, it was the first time I had ever even heard of a Pyrenean Shepherd and now they're in the Big Show.  Beside being an exceptionally alert, well-behaved, and beautiful little dog, Boo - that's Boo de La Brise to you - later gained fame as only the 5th Pyr Shep to earn her Master Agility Champion title!

I defy you to not at least get the urge to shout, "Go, Boo, Go!" as you watch her in action.

No Rescue listed; Club here.

All this talk of Boo makes me miss my Boo - that's Sebasticook's Boo Radley to you - yellow lab quite ordinaire.

A boy and his dog (2002).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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 property rights by invoking “licensing, clearance, and fair use provisions,” Ms. Mitrano clearly asserts that institutions of higher education, by their very nature, should be entitled to the unrestricted use of educational materials which copyrights obstruct. No less than the future of an educated world, she implies, depends upon this access.

Oddly, it is more likely that the opposite is true: man must be able to benefit by the products of his mind or there will be no incentive to spend his time creating these clearly valuable educational works.

I think that maybe Ms. Mitrano fell asleep during the property rights educational video.   

For a related, interesting, and, I should add, understandable scholarly work regarding why copyright should be regarded as property, read Is Copyright Property? A Comment on Richard Epstein's Liberty Vs. Property by Adam Mossoff. 

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)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Simple joys.

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.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

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. 


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 often and change as required. As required by me.

No company, corporation, or any group of people can force you to act unless they violate your individual rights in the process.  How would this be possible? Unless they physically restrain you, or convince you through fraudulent means that a certain action will serve your best interest, violating your rights in both cases, you continue to be free to use your own mind to judge and act accordingly. This in no way implies that all choices are easy or enjoyable, simple or cheap.  But when dealing with all people and all groups, the choice remains yours, except in one case:  when dealing with the government.

Use of Force

It is the threat of physical restraint, jail, the ultimate disabling of man’s ability to use his mind in pursuit of his own best interests, which forces him to act in ways contrary to his own best interest.  No person, company, corporation, union, or religion can legally restrain you from acting in your own best interest.  This is precisely why a proper government has the legitimate use of force: to secure and protect your right to act in your own best interest.  In a country that recognizes individual rights, if you choose to violate someone’s rights, you choose to surrender some commensurate portion of your own.

However, when the government has mandated how you must act, you are no longer free to make your own decisions.  You must comply with regulations, which may or may not be in accordance with what you’ve judged to be in your own best interest, or potentially lose the ability to act in your own best interests – in all aspects of your life. Break the law, go to jail.  This is the essence of the force of government.

Thought Control

Now you might ask, how can anyone, even the government, force you think in a certain way?

They can’t. 

However, it is notable that government, with its unlimited source of compulsory collective finance, mandated institutions of public training for the impressionable young, and violently energetic use of regulatory force, has a distinct advantage regarding the use of persuasive tactics.  And yet, only ignorance or evasion of the fact that freedom means freedom from force to act on your own best judgment, allows one to dismiss the evidence and discount the sole purpose of a proper government.

Follow the Force

As I hope I’ve demonstrated, I can’t make you think about this; but, if you want to understand the difference between a proper government and a bad government, follow the force. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

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, rickety wagon of statist condescension. 

And that’s the way

Friday, January 22, 2010

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

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 have not. The same finding holds for increases in "pluralistic orientation," another CIRP scale that measures the extent to which students take seriously the perspectives of others."
"Educational and civic leaders know that colleges and universities play an active role in advancing students' commitments to civic engagement and community involvement," said AAC&U President Carol Schneider. "It is very heartening to see that those students who have these kinds of experiences in high school are also far more likely to volunteer and have higher levels of social agency and pluralistic orientations in college. This supports the efforts of institutions to build on students' predispositions and resonates with the AAC&U Core Commitments initiative to energize campuses."

Recognizing the importance of the core commitments of the American Academy of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), HERI has begun to include these core values as part of their survey of college freshmen.  As the oxymoronic notion of “social agency” begins to vie for position in the hierarchy of educational importance to the institutions of higher education, it should be of no surprise that personal goals begin to be subjugated to social goals among the students themselves.

If such institutionally supported self-sacrifice and second handedness is not enough to make you scream, my challenge to you is to read the description of the “
developmentally appropriate goals for students in college” that the AAC&U core commitments identify as essential character traits – remembering that these core commitments are used in a survey which is then used to justify goals of institutions of higher learning – without seething. 
If you don’t have the time to review these appropriate goals, allow me to offer some highlights lifted directly from the AAC&U website (with my rejection):
  • Making an effort to take in everything that is around you, even if beyond the range of the five senses  (advocating mysticism)
  • Being conscious of connections between race, class, and privilege (advocating racism)
  • Doing good for the “sake of doing good,” without any expectation of compensation or reward  (advocating altruism)
  • Giving of oneself even in the absence of gratification (advocating altruism)
  • Recognizing the oneness of the human race  (I don’t even know how to classify this one)
  • putting the needs of others before one’s own (altruism); working to correct social and economic inequities (egalitarianism);
  • Seeking the opinions of experts and having the ability to distinguish the value associated with those opinions (argument from  authority)
  • Being able to make a judgment without being judgmental (violates law of non-contradiction)
  • being loyal to individuals and institutions that have contributed to one’s development; upholding the value of a promise (quite naked appeal to emotions – loyalty)
And why are these traits are deemed important:
  • They reinforce the notion of social justice
  • The presence of these traits in individuals is a reflection of the greater good of society
It's rather stunning.

So why are these bad ideas, fallacies and contradictions included in core commitments? 

According to the AAC&U:

Liberal Education & Personal and Social Responsibility

It is crucial that we return to the core commitments of personal and social responsibility inherent in liberal education. A true liberal education involves much more than academic growth:

  • It develops a student’s personal qualities by cultivating curiosity about new ideas and differing views, honing the discipline to follow intellectual methods to conclusions, strengthening the capacity to accept criticism, increasing tolerance for ambiguity, and fostering commitment to the imperative for honesty.
  • It also involves developing a student’s sense of collective responsibility by helping students learn how to understand the world from others’ perspectives—that fundamental capacity that can lead to the recognition and resolution of moral conflict and the resolve to work with others for a greater public good.
Of course, there are some legitimate personal educational goals included in these core values.  However, in packaging the rational judgment of the individual to pursue his own education with the social needs and the "greater public good" as equally important in the of shaping one’s life, the AAC&U sounds more like Kabbalah practitioners than an association concerned with the quality of education.

This could all be brushed off as subjectivist crud if it did not affect the goals of institutions of higher education and therefore, quite likely the mindset, or perhaps I should say mindlessness, of the students they churn out.

Finally, here is a screen shot of a very interesting slide I found from a power point presentation of one of the authors made regarding the usefulness of the HERI study.  In it she shows that among the Civic Engagement Outcomes: Educationally Purposeful Activities*, taking honors or advanced courses has the “largest negative predictor (for the outcome)” of social agency.   That alone really ought to tell us, let alone the educators, all we really need to know about the rest of their core commitments.

[*I had to do some research to find the right .pdf URL:  This slide is on page 4 of 5, left, center set.  While the author uses a generic name for the institution in the presentation, I have no reason to think that the information she presents in the multivariate analyses is not from the real data.]

[Update: 23 Jan 2010, corrected "advanced placement" to "honors and advanced courses" regarding slide from CIRP presentation. Update 27 Jan 2010, edited format.]

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)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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 41st 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 hasn’t done is given a clear message of what the largely independent voters who rose to the occasion were actually voting for.  That’s where the work lies ahead.
For now, I’ll take the little shot in the arm that comes from being able to be proud to be from Massachusetts.

Monday, January 18, 2010

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.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

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.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

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.

Friday, January 15, 2010

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 survey actually encourage students to NOT engage in risky behaviors? Um.  No. Important follow-up question: Does this school-sanctioned survey educate our children in any way?  You betcha! And while I’m certain this questionable education is not the intent of the survey, you really need to educate yourself by reading the latest report in order to appreciate the suggested normalization of peer activity presented in the questions.
Surely they are not claiming that asking school kids to answer questions about eating vegetables, reporting their body weight and height, watching television, drinking soda, using Ecstasy, having unprotected sex, smoking pot, or drinking alcohol before school in the last three months in an anonymous survey given in the classroom environment is a pedagogically sound idea or remotely related to supposed purpose of government schools.  Nah.  They hardly claim any justification at all for mining our children’s privacy.
What the survey is intended to do, according the CDC report, is generate the data set from which various bureaucratic agencies attempt to justify their very reason for existence and their claims on more legally-seized government dollars. But they say that in this way:
…to evaluate the impact of broad school and community interventions at the national, state, and local levels. More effective school health programs and other policy and programmatic interventions are needed to reduce risk and improve health outcomes among youth.

State and local agencies and nongovernmental organizations use YRBS data to set school health and health promotion program goals, support modification of school health curricula or other programs, support new legislation and policies that promote health, and seek funding for new initiatives.

More from the local notification:
2. Can parents exempt their children from the survey?

Yes. Parents/guardians may request to have their daughter/son exempt from taking the survey. When letters are sent home, parents are asked to notify the principal before the survey date.  In the past, very few parents have chosen this option.

Do you like that tacked on argument ad populum? In all likelihood, as in the past, the “very few” will include me and one set of Christian parents who exempt their children from this educational activity.
11. Why are questions on oral sex being included in the () YRBS?

According to the Nation Center of Health Statistics, “slightly more than half of American teenagers ages 15 thru (sic) 19 have engaged in oral sex, with females and males reporting several levels of experience…” The data also indicates that many young people, particularly from middle and upper middle white families do not consider oral sex serious.  Including questions about oral sex in Grade 8 and at the high school level will give us data to help us provide education and prevention. Examples include programs and education about sexual health, preventing sexually transmitted diseases, healthy relationships, and overall social and emotional healthy.  There are no questions about sexual behavior in the Grade 6 survey.

Overall, I think we should be less concerned about preventing blowjobs and more concerned about being screwed by an increasingly omnipotent, but far from omniscient, government keen on using our captive children as fodder for bureaucratic self-generation while furthering the infantilization of adult Americans through the subsumption of their parental responsibilities.
Apparently, though, I’m among the very few on this.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


It's Thursday, so it must be time for the Objectivist Round Up! 

Get it here at Titanic Deck Chairs.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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.” 

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.” 

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 have helped to sway me in that direction. 
A career politician will always legislate on one principle: securing her reelection.

Monday, January 11, 2010

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.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

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. ]

Friday, January 8, 2010

Four Minutes to Save the World

Who knew?

Madonna, JT, Timbaland,

The President,

And my older children.


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.  

Thursday, January 7, 2010

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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


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 to be perfect, just sort of good-ish.  At first I didn’t like that idea, but of course, with beginner animation (not high-tech CGI-Pixar stuff), it’s not only okay, it can be encouraging.  
The color palette and fill controls are extremely limited, but I guess I’ll play with it the whole two weeks before I pronounce judgment on it again.
In the meantime, I’ll keep experimenting with it in order to determine if I can master the power of the $60 program before determining if I should move onto the $180 Toon Boom Studio (for a two week test drive), or if this kids program is the end of the road for my animation experiments.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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 Ruby anywhere you might want to discuss arguments designed to distract us from the real issues. 

Note: I had to make the image Extra Large before she began to move. Since its head was out of the post's column, I had to rework it. Now she seems to be moving and is a more tasteful size.

Monday, January 4, 2010

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 used to have in thou and ye, the subject forms of singular and plural you, respectively (thee and you were the singular and plural object forms). The distinction between singular thou/thee and plural ye/you began to blur as early as the 13th century, when the plural form was often used for the singular in formal contexts or to indicate politeness, much as the French use tu for singular and familiar "you," and vous for both plural and polite singular "you." In English, the object form you gradually came to be used in subject position as well, so that the four forms thou, thee, ye, and you collapsed into one form, you. Thou and thee were quite rare in educated speech in the 16th century, and they disappeared completely from standard English in the 18th. However, the distinction between singular and plural you is just as useful as that between other singular and plural pronoun forms, such as I and we. In addition to y'all, other forms for plural you include you-uns, youse, and you guys or youse guys. Youse is common in vernacular varieties in the Northeast, particularly in large cities such as New York and Boston, and is also common in Irish English. You-uns is found in western Pennsylvania and in the Appalachians and probably reflects the Scotch-Irish roots of many European settlers to these regions. You guys and youse guys appear to be newer innovations than the other dialectal forms of plural you. See Note at you-uns.

2 Regional Note: The form uns, derived from ones, occurs in you-uns and also young-uns, "young ones, children." The use of young-uns is common in a number of varieties of English, particularly among older, more rural speakers in Appalachian states. Ones becomes uns through the deletion of an initial (w) sound that is pronounced but not represented in the spelling of ones. Initial (w) sounds may also be deleted in vernacular Southern varieties in the verb was, as in She's here last night for She was here last night. The loss of the initial (w) on ones and was is simply an extension of the process, common in informal Standard English, whereby the initial (w) is lost from the helping verbs will and would, as in He'll go tomorrow for He will go tomorrow and He'd go if I asked him for He would go if I asked him.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2002, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

While I found their notes compelling reading, I was left with this overwhelming thought: really? Since when is youse an acceptable variant of you plural?

I know that I sometimes allow the standard use of the English language to slip when posting here, writing emails, and definitely on Facebook or Twitter (at least from what I remember).  But seriously, is the dropping of 'wi' from will and replacing the missing letters with an apostrophe, which is the standard rule for the making of a contraction, anything like dropping letters from the end of one word and the beginning of a following word, respelling, and hyphenating them to form a new word? I think not.

Or, should I say, I thik-it.

When I read this, I couldn't help but think that this must have been submitted by the same man who explained how noo-kyu-lar was an acceptable pronunciation of nuclear.  At the time, I brushed it off as inordinately and sickeningly deferential to the current President's inability to speak correctly.

Being from the Northeast, and not one to settle for a longer variant when using my vernacular speaking skills, I have never fallen prey to the use of the word youse as a plural form of you.  Now, yiz - that's another matter entirely.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Some more random number geekiness.

Today’s date is a palindrome.

I’m holding off celebrating until Pi day.