Wednesday, December 11, 2002
New Name, New Location

Lacking anything suitably profound to say on this momentous occasion, I will simply direct you to...


Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Everyone could use a little...

...Daily Zen. A new bit of profundity to ponder every day. Thanks to Alan Daniels.

We'll Miss You

The Indepundit is going on hiatus. Congratulations on the career opportunity, Scott, and try to make time for a little blogging whenever you can.

Seriously Twisted

Laurence Simon has a sick mind. I'm going to have to give this some thought. Should I play to win, or send in a wish list?

Monday, December 09, 2002
Finally Found It!

If, like me, you have been getting by with a minimum of HTML you must check out this tutorial. There is also a CSS tutorial. I've spent the past hour and a half reading through it and I think I'm actually getting it.

Things are Weird

Things? What things? Everything. Nothing. In this case "things" refers to vague "somethings" for which there is no other name. I have all sorts of things going on right now, stacking up on me to give me a feeling of impending disaster. Of course I should be reassurred by the fact that I cannot remember a single time when I had this sense of impending disaster and the disaster actually happened. Disasters rarely announce themselves ahead of time.

Still... I feel an urge to retreat from everything. I don't feel like blogging; I don't feel like reading; I don't feel like Christmas shopping. Well... maybe I do feel a little bit like Christmas shopping. That would be something different. But that's part of that sense of impending disaster: the disaster that will be my VISA card statement for the month of December.

Saturday was Pearl Harbor Day. I only heard it mentioned once on TV. I didn't notice any bloggers writing about it either but I could have missed that since for the past three days I haven't been reading blogs as much as normal. I thought about writing something about it. But what? I wasn't there so it's always been just another day in history to me. But now, considering a more recent day in history, it seems wrong to just let it pass without notice.

Saturday, December 07, 2002
Cloning, Stem Cell Research and Evolution

Andy at World Wide Rant has some interesting links about stem cell research and theraputic cloning. And a discussion has started in response to his post on evolution, a subject of which I'm wary because whenever I talk to creationists I tend to start disrespecting religious beliefs and using words like "idiot" and "bonehead" and "medieval fascist."

Language Links List

William Slawski linked to this page of Language Links. One more reason why I need a few more hours in my day.

Car Lover's Rant

My oldest son has a blog. He's had it for a while. I haven't linked to it because for the most part it's just not the kind of blog I'm interested in and also because he's just an intermittent blogger. But he has outdone himself with his most recent post. I'm not much of a car afficionado so I can't vouch for his information but I do love a well-written rant. The rant is a response to this worst cars poll.

More Delay and Frustration

I almost did it. I had the credit card out ready to sign up with a hosting company. Then I decided that it might be a good idea to actually read their Policy. This stopped me:

Any type of pornographic materials, hate materials, adult materials (adult material is not necessary limited to pornography), racial materials, or unlawful practices are prohibited.

Well, obviously I'm not planning to run a porn site or a hate site but some people think anything that would have raised eyebrows before the year 1900 is pornographic, and we have seen that those on the extreme Left define "hate" as any opinion they disagree with. See Andy's comment below, about the commercial with the Barber twins, as an example of how nuts some people are. Would they be like certain others who have called LGF a "hate site" and demand that I remove the link? Would they consider this painting pornographic or "adult"? Or this one?

The statement "adult material is not necessary limited to pornography" especially makes me nervous. Since this is not a site aimed specifically at children it is of course an "adult" site. Do they host only kiddie sites? I doubt it. I wish people would say what they really mean instead of using euphemisms. This is frustrating because I really like this company. Their hosting plan looks great, everything I could ever possibly want, and they have promptly and courteously answered my emails. (unlike some other companies who have automated answering systems programmed to misunderstand all questions)

I know my few readers are probably getting tired of all my complaining the last few days. My apologies and I promise I'll get back to blogging as usual soon. I'm probably overreacting to this but it seems like freedom of speech is under attack from all sides these days and I am afraid of jumping into something that might place excessive and unfair restrictions on me. I suppose I should just go with Hosting Matters like everyone else but there are some others that look much better. Well...except for a few important little details.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Why is it that some commercials are funny no matter how many times you see them, even though you sit there and ask yourself "Why is that funny?" Example: two of the VISA Check Card commercials. There's one with Charlie and Martin Sheen. Charlie comes in to rent videos or something and the guy takes forever checking out his ID even though he recognizes him. Then he walks back to the counter and instead of Charlie standing there it's Martin. The guy says "This doesn't look like you," and Martin says "It did when I came in here." I think that's funny because we've all felt like we were growing old waiting in line.

Another one that always cracks me up - and it's a mystery why it isn't seriously annoying - is the one with Tiki and Ronde Barber and the dumb blond. The chick in this commercial is one of those cute little airheads that I usually want to grab shake until her tiny little brain falls out and goes rattling across the floor like a cat toy - "Are you sure this is you? It looks like him." - but even after seeing it a gazillion times it's still funny.

Uh oh...

Andrea wonders if viruses (real ones, not the computer kind) can be spread through blogging. This morning I have just a slight sore throat and my head feels sort of weird. And I haven't been around anyone else who's sick.

Thursday, December 05, 2002
New Blogger

Diane started her blog Everything Must Go a couple of weeks ago. She's getting off to a good start. Here's a little quote to entice you:

The impending war with Iraq and the war on terror in general reminds me of the movie Notorious. It's a war movie with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. I saw it on late-night tv so many years ago, I don't remember it well enough to describe it in detail, but the main idea is that they're both spies or something, Bergman is definitely on the side of the Allies, but she doesn't know if Grant is on our side or a double agent (bad guy). The whole movie is a lot of plot twists and ambiguity. Is he or isn't he? At the end, he turns out to be a good guy. I read somewhere that they actually filmed the movie with two endings, and they decided not to use the ending that showed him as a bad guy, i.e., really working for the Nazis after all.

What does this have to do with the current war? Well, when I think about how George W. Bush is running things, and the strange, ambiguous signals coming out of his administration (especially Colin Powell and the State Department in general) I feel like Ingrid Bergman trying to figure out if her man (my President) is really okay.

Yeah...I know what she means. Go read more.

Hot Little Rant

I hate Blogger more with every passing day. My last post refuses to appear on the page. For a long time I've had to refresh the page and re-publish several times each time I want to post something but this morning I have tried more than five times and it's still not showing up. I know this is a free service and you get what you pay for and yadda yadda yadda. I really don't expect a lot, but they do offer the service for free and I at the very least expect it to function properly most of the time. And support? Maybe that's a little too much to expect for free but they do post an email address. If they don't intend to offer free support they shouldn't make their email address available to us freeloaders. I would feel a whole lot better about it if they would just be honest and post somewhere on their homepage something to the effect that: "It's free. Use it as is and don't expect any support."

Dreams and Dresses

Have you ever had a nice simple dream that you thought was real, and then woke up very disappointed to discover that it was only a dream? Dreams are the only thing that keeps sleep from being a total waste of time. I often have very interesting dreams. Some would make good sci-fi movies. This morning's dream was not one of those.

This morning I dreamed that I found a skirt that had been missing for a long time and it went perfectly with a blouse I have that doesn't go with anything else. It was a lovely skirt; a large print, mostly light blue; long, rather full, buttoned down the front. But then I woke up and immediately realized that neither the skirt nor the blouse exist. Damn. The style of the skirt was identical to a skirt I do have that's a soft mint green with purple and peach roses. (I swear it doesn't look as tacky as you're probably imagining)

Anyway, now I'm thinking maybe I should make time for a little sewing. After I've done some shopping, of course. We won't talk about the mountain of fabric that I have taking up closet space. We also won't talk about the fact that I only wear a dress or skirt once or twice a year. That's irrelevant. It's a female thing. You guys wouldn't understand.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002
It Can't Be Easy

Some intense stuff is going on at Where is Raed. I read some of the stuff Salam writes, and see the bitterness, and I want to tell him: "you don't get it; it's not like that at all." But most of the Americans who have left comments over there don't get it either.

Sitting over there waiting for the bombs to start dropping, how is he supposed to feel? Is he supposed to look forward to that? It must be something like having cancer. (Just guessing, no personal experience) The disease will kill you but the treatment, which is by no means a guaranteed cure, is no picnic either. (Yippee! I'm going in for chemotherapy and I'm going to be sick and throwing up all the time and all my hair will fall out and I will probably still die anyway. Isn't that all just fantastic!)

Everybody just give the guy a break, okay? We're probably going to invade his country (again) and if we succeed this time who knows what will happen next. How's he supposed to feel? Go ahead and disagree (I do) but at the same time try for a little understanding.


A sixty acre spider web. Sixty acres? Oh my.... sixty acres?!?!?! I think I might have to move to Australia. I'm not sure if I can share the same continent with a sixty acre spider web. Fortunately there are no pictures of the whole thing.

Via Redwood Dragon.

Global Warming my @ss!

I really need to try later to write something a little less bitchy. (No it is not that time of the month. Shut up)

Why don't the people in our schools who decide whether or not the weather is bad enough to close listen to the weather forecast instead of just glancing out the freakin' window? It rained all day yesterday and early this morning the temperature was 34F/2C. Right now it's 28F/-4C with snow and sleet coming down. My son is going to have to drive home in this mess in a couple of hours. The drive is approximately 3 miles along a four-lane highway and 5 miles along narrow, curving backroads. We're not unique. It's a small country school with something over 600 students in K thru 12 all of wom live on narrow, curving backroads anwhere from 1 to 10 miles from the school.

This is not a surprise snowstorm either. They have been talking about this since last night and it was all they were tallking about on every TV station in the area early this morning. Anyone who was paying attention knew that the weather was going to get very bad today. Some schools in Tulsa, where they have snow-plows and sand trucks unlike here, closed. What the hell are the people at our school using for brains?

NOT Born Knowing Everything

Some days I feel like I must be the most ignorant person in the world. I hate when it seems like everyone expects me to automatically know everything about a subject. One example is this HTML Tutorial that I found and bookmarked when I first decided to try to learn this stuff. I still haven't learned much because of all the pages like this that give some good information but don't tell you how to begin.

That's just an example, not my main concern at the moment. I'm getting fairly serious about leaving Blogger and I spent a couple of hours this morning looking at web hosting companies. What I'm getting out of all of it is that I'm too freakin' dumb to have my own real website. I'm so tired of reading "information" that talks about cgi, ftp, bandwidth, subdomains and other crap that I'm ready to just go sit in the corner under a blanket and suck my thumb and rock back and forth. What the hell is a subdomain and how do I know if I'll ever need one?

I know a lot of people use Hosting Matters but Feature Price seems to offer a lot more at a slightly lower price. I probably don't need anything near 1000MB but I am interested in more than just a weblog. Anyway, in one place Feature Price says they support MYSQL on all their hosting plans but in another place they say they only support MYSQL modules on the Premium and Platinum plans. HUH?

I should be able to do this. Even pimply-faced, snot-nosed kids who don't know how to spell have their own websites. I guess that's because they just dive right in without looking to see how deep the water is and somehow manage to learn how to swim. I, on the other hand, like to start out knowing exactly what I'm doing.

By the way, is www.dammitallthegooddomainnamesarealreadytaken.com too long for a web address?

Cell Phones

Jeff at Circularity complains about, amoung other things, people who leave their cell phones turned off. (Dec. 2)

3. Individuals with cell phones who leave them off. Their is vibrate mode for a reason, if youo dont want to be interrupted turn it to vibrate, or ringer off and occationally check to see if you have any voicemail/text messages. Why do you have a cell phone if you dont use it??!?!?!?

Why? Well, duh! Maybe they want to be able to make calls but don't want to receive calls. If I had a cell phone I would probably leave it off most of the time because I would have it for my convenience. If you expect someone to be available to you at all times maybe you should pay their cell phone bill plus a nice little salary for being your gofer or whatever you call someone who's supposed to be at your beck and call at all times but is neither married to you nor gave birth to you. Jeff seems to have the same problem with people using instant messenger programs. Everything is all for his convenience.

We all have our pet peeves though and I have a few that I would like to share.
1.Chat rooms and instant messenger programs. "Conversation" is always in short, abbreviated phrases and if you try to put the tiniest bit of substance in your responses someone always complains that you take 10 minuntues to respond to everything [they] say.
2.People who consistently fail to use apostrophes in words like "don't," "won't" and "wouldn't".
3. People who use "their" when they mean "there." Come on! The two words aren't even pronounced the same!
4. Cell phones! Unless your job is so important that people have to be able to contact you instantly or else someone's life or well-being will be in danger then you do not need a cell phone. Yeah, I guess they might be nice to have in an emergency - for instance, having car trouble out in the middle of nowhere - but in that case you would turn the phone off and put it away until you actually need it. Don't go walking around or driving around with it jammed up against your ear all the time.

I could probably think of more but I guess that's enough for now.

Offensive Definitions

Well, I like them but I'm sure these will offend somebody.

Gift Idea

For that hard to shop for person: Celebriducks. Aside from the silly items they are trying to sell this is a rather interesting site. Click on the names on the left side of the screen and you will find some biographies and lists of quotes.

Via Birds Etcetera.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Trusting the Government

In his usual amusing manner, Acidman comments on the National Institutes of Health Body Mass Index.

That idiotic Body Mass Index was invented by retard with a hiatal hernia and severe acid reflux who wanted to make his starving ass appear normal, then recalculated a few years ago by some tufu-sucking, celery-crunching vegans who decided that anybody who didn't look like a refugee from a concentration camp was overweight. They adjusted all the numbers down, so that now world-class aerobic athletes with 4% body fat are "overweight" under their guidelines.

I've often wondered why it never occurs to most people to question the government's health guidelines. Even people who are cynical about everything else seem to accept the Body Mass Index, the Recommended Daily Allowances of nutrients, and that silly food pyramid that they keep changing every ten years or so. Sure most people don't actually follow the guidelines but they still accept them as gospel. I guess it's because most people are not doctors so they know they are not qualified to determine what's best for everyone's health but everyone thinks they're qualified to run the country.

Gloom, Rain, Cold and Music Addiction

Is it possible to overdose on Palestrina? I've never listened to my entire 5-CD set one after another but that's not because I listened to two or three or four and decided I'd had enough. Most of the time after I have listened to one disc of Palestrina I don't want to listen to anything else but more Palestrina and I have been tempted to keep going until I've been through them all.

Some days seem to call for a particular kind of music. On days like today - gray, cold and rainy - I often feel like listening to to music that makes me think of an ancient cathedral filled with the golden light of hundreds of candles. Sometimes though, the music seems to deepen the gloom rather than dispel it, like a candle creating a tiny sphere of light and warmth while leaving the area outside its influence even darker.

Is it just me?

What happened to the polls on BlogBasher? Apparently some people can see them but I can't, not even blank rectangles where they should be.


Some snakes are very pretty.

Monday, December 02, 2002
The Voices of Moderate Islam

Shi'a Pundit addresses the accusations that Muslims have failed to condemn terrorism and posts links to numerous articles as evidence that this accusation is false. I posted the following in the comments:

...In the early weeks after Sept. 11 I did see a lot of essays by Muslims condemning the attacks and terrorism in general, but it wasn't long before I started to notice a pattern. In the majority of these essays the condemnation of terrorism was merely used as an opening for criticism of American foreign policy and American culture. It's a very elementary persuasive writing technique: first draw your audience in by saying something they want to hear then smoothly shift over to your real point.

Seeing this again and again became increasingly discouraging so, after a while I pretty much gave up on moderate Muslims and concluded that if they actually exist they are afraid to speak out. (Which, of course, would be understandable) That might be why a lot of Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to believe that "Islam is a religion of peace."

The response to this? I was accused of "moral relativism." Interesting. To observe moral relativism is... moral relativism. I know this will be hard for some people to believe but by posting these personal observations I actually meant to be helpful. I had hoped I might be able to provide an insight into why so many Americans are bothered by what we see as Muslim reluctance to denounce terrorism.

I certainly never intended to imply that Muslims, or anyone else, should refrain from criticizing U.S. foreign policy, but to immediately follow a perfunctory condemnation of terrorism with a condemnation of U.S. foreign policy seems to many of us rather like telling a woman who has been raped, "What happened to you was terrible. Of course I don't approve of rape but you shouldn't have been wearing such a short skirt and you really need to go easy on the make-up." (There! How's that for moral relativsm?)

* * *

Fortunately, this evening I did find something much more encouraging. Glenn Reynolds quotes an article in the L.A. Times.

The main reason we lack legitimacy among many Americans is because we don't take a critical look at the theological orientations within the Muslim community that could produce ugly acts like 9/11 or the Taliban regime's destruction of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan," Syed said in an interview.

Others argued that acceptance of foreign donations could prevent American Muslims from criticizing the human-rights records of Muslim states.

"Saudi Arabia is a corrupt, dictatorial, fascist state that is an embarrassment to Islam and Muslims," wrote Sarah Eltantawi, communications director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council. Accepting foreign donations from such regimes "could set us back decades, or keep us in the 'straddling the fence' posture vis-a-vis Muslim dictators and oppressors that we seem to be shamefully stuck in today," she wrote.

As Glenn says, we need to support these moderates who are willing to take a stand.

The Goal of Protesters

This thought occurred to me while reading this piece on some of the latest propoganda from the Washington post: What if it was announced that we would definitely not invade Iraq or any other country? Would the Lefties be happy? Would they celebrate victory? No, they would not. They would immediately find something else to protest against or, more likely considering current happenings, they would continue the exact same protests.

Look! Are we invading Iraq? We've been playing nice with the U.N. for months. The inspectors are back and the Iraqis are once again playing their games with the inspectors. So where's the invasion?

It looks to me like the Lefties are already getting everything they say they want. So what is their problem? Why aren't they happy? They aren't happy because no matter what they say they want, the real goal of protesters is to protest. Give them what they want and they will pretend not to notice. Manage somehow to convince them that they won and they will find something else to protest against. Protest for the sake of protest is the whole point.

Is Bush on Our Side

A disturbing comment from one of N.Z. Bear's readers:

"There's no nice way to say this. I don't think GW Bush is totally on our side. I think the Saudis own him and his family. I don't want this to be so, but there is No Other Explanation for his behavior... I have to believe the obvious--the President is not playing to win."

I'm afraid that's what it looks like to me too. I've read comments by several bloggers who believe that once we have Iraq things will change. Steven Den Beste wrote a few days ago:

Once we're firmly established in Iraq, we won't need to pretend any longer that Saudi Arabia is our best friend, and the kid gloves will come off. They will be ordered to stop subsidizing Wahhabism internationally, and ordered to crack down on the people who have been giving money to al Qaeda. They will be given other orders, too, and with no leverage over us, with us able to destroy their economy and with large American forces poised in Iraq capable of invading Saudi Arabia any time (an interesting mirror of 1990, wouldn't you say?) those threats will have teeth. Almost certainly the result would be the fall of the House of Saud.

I want to believe that, but I fear that, like many things that we would like to believe, it's only a fantasy.


All of these are so good I couldn't possibly quote only part of the post. Well, maybe just one or two.

90% of the population are idiots, yet everyone who says that believe themselves to be in the remaining 10%. Line up ten random people. Tell them 90% of the group is comprised of idiots. Every one of those people is looking to the person at their side, feeling sorry for that idiotic sod.

Some folks believe that Man is naturally good and holds within himself a part of the Divine. They've never worked retail. During the Holidays.

And my favorite:

The Saudis are our "friends". Friends don't let friends fund terrorism.

On second thought, maybe this is my favorite:

We've been bombing anti-aircraft sites in southern Iraq for ten years. For a country under severe economic sanctions for the past decade, it sure seems to have an inexhaustable supply of anti-aircraft weaponry.

Lots more where those came from. Go read.

Sunday, December 01, 2002
Back to the Routine?

Does anyone else have trouble getting back into the routine of regular blogging after taking a few days off? I just deleted a much longer post on that subject because I couldn't figure out a good way to end it. Having an audience, even though it's a very small one, makes me feel an urgency to write something. I'm feeling a little pathetic right now. Hopefully a little reading will cure this problem by tomorrow afternoon.