August 29, 2003


Not sure if it's because it is the end of a long week, or because tomorrow will be a long day, or because of some other unknown reason, but I'm tired. Not really a good kind of exhausted tired, but the depressed kind of everything seems cruddy tired.

I bought two collections of short stories today, perhaps I'll start reading one of them.

Anyway, nothing from me tomorrow unless you come down to the RMDH tailgate and either buy food or volunteer to work. The later would be preferred, since my brother is sick and won't be there to help.

I am really hoping that it won't be just Joe, Michael and myself.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Posted by Michelle at 09:35 PM |

Lacking Religious Freedom

Some quotes from my readings for my history class. What has really struck me is lack of religious liberty that existed here at the founding of this country.

(O)nly church members had the right to vote in Massachusetts up until 1691 when the English Revolution gave all propertied non-Catholics the right.
The Cambridge Platform called for civil magistrates to not only keep the peace, but also to make certain that no one in the population carried on in a dishonest or ungodly manner. No profaning the Sabbath, no cursing or unseemly behavior with a member of the opposite sex, dancing, card playing, etc., was to be tolerated. No one could serve in any branch of the civil government unless he was a full member of the church.
Amish who were facing the heaviest persecution in Europe of any religious group. The Amish differed significantly with the Quakers, but both groups agreed that one's religious views were a personal matter only.
That's right. You couldn't serve in the government unless you were a Puritan and a member of your church in good standing. And when voting rights were granted to white, Christian, male, landowners, they were not granted to Catholics.

I'm finally beginning to get an inkling about why Catholics are so defensive. Being raised a Catholic, I never ran into any anti-Catholic sentiment myself (assuming you don't count the harassment of going to Catholic school, but I think that had more to do with it being a private school seen as having rich kids than anything else) But it seems strange to me, that my family belongs to a group that was politically oppressed in the US in much the same way that it seems strange to me that women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years. It's not a change that I personally experienced, so it almost doesn't seem real.

And I can not decide if this is a good thing, or a bad thing.

On one hand it is good that this lack of repression is something I have never had to experience myself, so it means that things have changed, that our society is seemingly becoming more open and tolerant.

On the other hand, it seems that people are now blind to the dangerous of intolerance. We don't necessarily seem to recognize the warning signs of danger, or brush them off something blathered about by the fringe.

On the third hand, it could be that I'm completely off base either way, and all this means nothing.

Regardless, I'm just glad that I'm alive today, and not a hundred, or five hundred years ago.

Posted by Michelle at 03:37 PM |

August 28, 2003

Zombie Alert!

Since I have an irrational fear of Zombies, this is JUST the product for me. Too bad it didn't exist when I was younger and watched that stupid zombie movie and couldn't sleep for what felt like months.
(via Dave Barry)

NOW what someone needs to design is a Sniper Alarm! Then I'll feel completely safe!

Posted by Michelle at 12:07 PM |

Mars Attacks

If I were a superstitious person, I would note that the area's thunderstorms and flooding and generally bad weather coincided with the fact that Mars was closer the earth than it has been in 60,000 years.

Luckily, I'm not superstitious person, so I get to blame it on Global Climate change.

Posted by Michelle at 09:46 AM |

28 August 1963

Forty Years ago today, in Washington, the Civil Rights March on Washington culminated with a series of speeches in front of the Lincoln memorial.

Read about A. Philip Randolph, an organizer of the March on Washington.

Read the text of Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech

Read also a site by the National Parks Service on the Civil Rights Movement.

Posted by Michelle at 08:16 AM |

August 27, 2003

Hoorah! Hoorah!

I finally found the code for adding recent comments to a Movable Type sidebar. As you can see (Vanna gesture to the right side of the screen) we now have recent comments.

Now I just have to fix the shade of blue...

(Code was found here and slightly modified to suit my fowl porpoises.)

Warning: Color changes have been implemented and look great on my computer.
If things are now unreadable for you, PLEASE let me know!

Posted by Michelle at 11:41 AM |

WVU Events

Was looking for upcoming guest speakers, and found none listed, but I did find the dates for the Mountaineer Week. 7 November through 9 November.

That seems much shorter than usual, but I could just be misremembering....Oh! This is interesting!

You can watch previous Benedum lectures on-line! (Hmmm...can't get anything to come up, but considering the problems downtown has had with various viruses I'm unsurprised) I got to see everyone I wanted to last year. I won't get excited till I see this years list of speakers, although with my luck anyone I want to see will end up being on Monday nights when I have class...

Posted by Michelle at 09:30 AM |

August 26, 2003


I've been reading the latest issue of American Heritage, and I absolutely love the article on the Railroads. (Article not available on-line unfortunately. Run and find it!)

Partially I like the fact that it's looking at an older version of one of my pet peeves--people were afraid to ride trains because of the publicized accidents

Train accidents, like plane crashes today, killed far fewer people than other diseases of the time. Shipwrecks, construction accidents, and road misfortunes like overturned carriages claimed many more lives, but train wrecks struck people asmore deadly and horrific.
But what I loved most about the article was a picture of a sign ranting about the dangers of trains:


When you leave your family in health, must you be hurried home to mourn a
Will you permit this? or do you consent to be a

You have to see the sign to truly appreciate it.

But it is interesting to see precisely how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Trains were new and frightening and something that was not easily understood, and thus frightening. And the sensational news reporting was apparently just as bad as it today, which in some small way makes me feel a little better.

If bad reporting didn't destroy society then, it probably won't destroy society now.

Posted by Michelle at 08:00 PM |

Klein Bottles

For some reason I was thinking about the bottle I had on my lab bench when I worked at NIOSH. Normal bottled labelled dehydrated H2O. Almost no one commented on it for the three and a half years I worked there, which amused me even more.

So I decided to do a search for dehydrated water, and came up with a surprising number of results, and also came across the site for Klein bottles. Pictures are not the greatest, but interesting anyway.

Posted by Michelle at 03:58 PM |

My Little Biohazardous World

I also have another iron in the fire. I want to advertise that I'm available for off-site training and consultations related to biosafety. To that end, I've created a single info page at This is another site I would love for you to place on your blog. While not affecting you or your emails strings directly - you never know who might read it and say to themselves, "I need that man and his expertise in my little biohazardous world!"
You've gotta love Jim. Despite that Republican thing.

I think I'll grab the code for his site and redo it, just becase I don't feel like studying right now. Perhaps he'll even like it.....

Posted by Michelle at 11:43 AM |

August 25, 2003

That Explains It!

"If cells accumulate more waste than they can dispose of efficiently, a kind of cellular constipation results."
(Hayflick, Leonard. How and Why We Age p241)

I'm sorry, I can't learn anything new. My brain cells are constipated.

Posted by Michelle at 02:08 PM |


I occasionally have strange dreams that stick with me upon waking. Some are creepy, some are amusing, but this morning's dream was actually quite detailed and unusually enough, I wanted it to continue. I wanted to find out more.

The Dream.

If nothing else, it's a good writing exercise.

Posted by Michelle at 01:37 PM |



Posted by Michelle at 09:18 AM |

August 24, 2003

What Will History Teach Us?

I was struck by a sentence in the Puritanism segment of my American Religious History class: "If the monarch of a country was clearly operating in conflict with God's will then the individuals within that society were obligated to limit that sovreign's powers".

That seems to explain both so much and so little about America. The Puritans left England for American, and eventually rebelled against the British King because they saw him in conflict with God's will.

That one sentence seems to explain the American Revolution.

But it also seems to have so little to do with current American society. It seems almost unbelievable that we arrived from Puritan overthrow of the monarch to John Ashcroft and Homeland Security in only 225 years.

The idea of Puritainism is of course a gorss over-simplification of what happened, since so many of the founding fathers were not, in fact religious men. And perhaps the answer to my question lies in that fact.

I wish I was more well travelled. I've heard that European society is in some places and in some ways far less influenced by religion than the US, but reading about the influence that the Catholic church holds in Ireland and Italy--and even in Spain from what Andy has described to me, it's hard to me to truly know.

Are Americans truly held hostage by our religious background? Does this fiasco about the giant ten commandments monument make of the laughing stock of the free world? How did the US end up with such strict regulation of drugs and alcohol if the roots of our society are so much in Europe?

It seems as if the more I read and the more I learn, the less I truly understand.

Posted by Michelle at 05:42 PM |

Holy Cow!

Holey Rusted Piece of Metal Batman!

Teresa Nielsen Hayden visited here and made comments!


Seeing as how up to this point my excitement for the day was painting the basement stairs (gray) and reading The Land Looks After Us for American Religious History, that's pretty exciting.

Well... we did buy a new answering machine... But I don't think that ranks as high on the excitement scale either.

Posted by Michelle at 05:05 PM |

August 23, 2003

Day Is Done, Gone the Sun

Played with the digital camera this evening. There are still plenty of functions I have yet to figure out, but I'll never learn if I don't play with the camera, right?

So the gardning happened yesterday, instead of today. We took a dead azalea back to Lowes (OCD is good! Not only did I have the receipt and the plant tag, but I knew exactly where they were and found them in mere moments! Ha!)

Of COURSE we had to buy more plants--after all something had to go into the hole at the bottom of the hill. We bought a Dwarf Korean Lilac and a Blue Mist Shrub. I'd never heard of a Blue Mist Shrub, but it was quite pretty, and I figured that since we had to pull the Gerbra Daisies for winter anyway, the new shrub could go where they were. Michael, who got to do the digging, was slightly less excited about this new shrub for some odd reason. (He never should have done the weight lifting study. Knowing that he has the "body building gene" gives me one more excuse to have him do any and all heavy lifting. One day he'll realize it wasn't worth the $150 he got for participating in the study.)

Which is good, because we spent a lot of money today.

Michael added the vent to the basement, so now we'll have better heat here in the basement come winter. (This is a good thing) That wasn't too expensive, the expense came during the trip to the mall, when we bought a new washing machine.

Now you have to understand, our old washer moved three times, and spent over a year in the basement of the last place we rented. Don't get me wrong, it was a great place for a rental, not expensive, and the landlord was fantastic (and he told us about the basement when we moved it). But the basement flooded like you would not believe. I'm serious, some days we'd wake up to several inches of water in the basement. Othertimes we'd discover the water because the smaller cat would go and play in the water, and thus leave wet cat butt prints everywhere.

So the washer spent an unfortunate amount of time in standing water. When we moved here, we noticed that there was a slow leak (who could have told before?) The leak had been steadily getting worse, and we were expecting to discover a basement full of soapy water one day was we did laundry. So as we were walking around Sears we noticed washers on sale AND zero percent financing for a year. Every appliance we've bought has been under zero percent financing. I feel like we're getting away with something, because we always pay it off before the year is over. How do they make any money on that deal?

Not that I'll complain, because now I don't have to worry about a new reason to find small wet butt prints throughout the house.


Regarding the body building gene:

Your Fitness Destiny Revealed!
Researchers May Soon Be Able to Tell You Your Genetic Strength and Endurance Profile. Do You Really Want to Know?
Stacey Colino Special to The Washington Post
July 30, 2002; Page F1
Section: Health
Word Count: 1920

In case you didn't already have enough complaints about the hand you were dealt at birth, add this to the list: your fitness potential. It appears that just as you've inherited certain personality traits and health risks, your ability to get fit may also be partly determined by your genetic heritage. Researchers who have compared fitness abilities in families say there is no other way to explain some of the differences they've found in people's aerobic capacity, muscle ...

I thought I had a copy of the article, but it seems I don't. Ah well....

Posted by Michelle at 09:23 PM |

August 22, 2003

The Real Rain Capitol

Morgatown DOES get more rain than Seattle! Various people about town have been claiming that for years, now you can see the proof for yourself!


See this site. (Ignore the salary stuff and just choose a starting city.)

I like the fact that although we have more rain and more days of precipitation, we also have more sunny days.

Though it sure didn't seem that way this summer....

NOTE: No cities from Preston county are available, so we can't compare the snowfall there to elsewhere in the country. Too bad.

Posted by Michelle at 09:20 PM |


It's Friday.

We're already a week into the semester. Where on earth did the summer go? I think missed out on the summer relaxation, and here it is almost fall. Next weekend is the first football game, which will be fun, but tiring, as once again we'll be volunteering to work the Ronald McDonald House tailgate--although Joe hasn't called. Perhaps I should e-mail him and ask if that means that we can take the entire fall off? Don't get me wrong, we have a lot of fun (even if my brother is involved) but it does make for a long day.

Though if anyone wants to volunteer, you're more than welcome to donate a few hours of your time. Compensation is the entertainment provided by my husband, my brother and myself. On second thought, that might keep anyone who knows better away entirely. Hmm.....

Exciting plans for the coming weekend may include: cleaning the house, cutting a hole into a heating duct in the basement so that we may have heat as we sit at our computers (It's too much of a hassle to fire up the wood stove during the week, which means it's mighty cold down there) and possible install the new exhaust pipe for the hot water heater we've needed to buy since we moved in.

If I'm lucky, I'll manage at least a little playing in the dirt. Probably as an escape from the reading for class that I know I need to do but have not yet so far managed. Unfortunately the only reading I managed was Neil Gaiman's Sandman I and II and a couple folktales. Interesting, but not really helpful for my class work...

That means I will either post lots this weekend as I avoid studying, or post nothing as I'm busy with things around the house. Fifty-fifty chance for either.

Posted by Michelle at 04:51 PM |

August 21, 2003

Salam Pax and Blogland

Salam Pax has another entry today that is well worth reading. Here is an excerpt.

the problem is that people want to read that things are getting better and we are happy, but things are getting better in such a slow pace that it is almost imperceptible, and with the one step we move forward on one front we move back 3 steps on other fronts. People need to know that their kids and loved ones are here for a good reason and this is what they want to hear. Otherwise they send me emails saying that I am being part of the problem. They send me emails telling me that I should help the Americans capture the terrorists and Baathists, as if they walk around in the streets wearing signs.
Please read the entire thing for yourself.

I think the writing he does is fantastic--not his style or his grammar or even what he describes, as much as how he describes it. He is describing things, how he sees them, as he sees them.

The again that probably defines most of the blogs I read. There is no unifying theme to what I read, other than I like the way they are written. There is something fascinating about them, they are small windows into the lives of others. It's like people watching or reading a short story. You see a small piece without ever knowing the entire story, but that makes it no less compelling. I wonder whether others write for the same reasons I do--reasons that I probably could not even properly define but yet drive me anyway. And I wonder whether if I were in Salam Pax's shoes, whether I could write as he does.

After further contemplation, I have to wonder about this comment "They send me emails telling me that I should help the Americans capture the terrorists and Baathists". The people who make comments like that, I wonder what they are doing with their lives right now. Are they in the military, fighting for our country? Or are they sitting safely in front of their computers, cold drinks in the fridge and no bombing going on around them.

I wonder about the people who make these comments. What would they be doing if war broke out around them? Would they be fighting for their country and searching for bad guys? Or would they be hiding and trying to remain unnoticed.

Salam Pax has worked as a translator for at least one journalist, and has worked for a time with an aid group. Do the people who make these comments do any aid work in their own towns? Do they take any actions that would put their own lives at risk? I have to wonder.

But I bet the answer is no.

Posted by Michelle at 04:17 PM |

Politicians and Scumbags

Redundant title, I know.

John Dean has picked up the story that has been circulating blogdom for weeks now, the story about Valerie Plame Wilson, outed as an undercover CIA agent by this administration in retaliation for unpopular actions taken by her husband.

The fact that the administartion has outed an undercover CIA officer, and this fact has gone unremarked by the national media, floors me. Sexual acts are grounds for impeachment, but outing CIA officers and placing their contacts at risk is okay.

What the hell is wrong with this country?

Posted by Michelle at 12:28 PM |

Sick People More Likely to Die

The synopsis of the BMJ article seemed like a bit of a duh at first, but contained this interesting tidbit of information:

...compared with no absence, taking a few absences decreases rather than increases the risk of death because short-term absences may represent healthy coping behaviours.
So it seems as if workaholics who never take a day off are actually in worse shape than those who take an occasional sick day, but those who take a lot of time off are more likely to be dead.

Hmmmm... Perhaps that means I should take a mental health day some time soon?

Posted by Michelle at 11:52 AM |

Bah Humbug

Just found out that it's possible that Kim may move as early as the end of September. She's had a ton of interviews, and is the leading candidate for several of the positions, so when her Mike starts his job 1 October she may also be starting a new job.

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy for her, but I'll miss her if she leaves. I'll no longer have someone to walk with at lunch, I'll no longer get updates on the NIOSH gossip--although there is hardly anyone I know left anymore--no one to talk about gardening and plants and stupid stuff...

But, she'll have to come into town relatively frequently for a few months, because she has a house to sell (which is not even on the market yet!) Anyone want to buy a house in Fairmont? I know one that will be going up for sale quite soon!

But all in all I'm happy for her. She's had a couple of horrid bosses in recent years, and although she's happy with the lab she's in now, it will be good for her to start a job where she has potentional for promotion and to do more of her own research.

But I'll still miss her.

Posted by Michelle at 09:39 AM |

August 20, 2003

Derailed Train of Thought

Patrick Nielsen Hayden on Electrolite has an interesting post of left wing and right wing views of the "twenty greatest figures of the 20th century". In the comments someone mentioned Jackie Robinson, which immediately reminded me of a misconception I had for years. I was quite young when I heard the song "Mrs. Robinson" and coming from a family of baseball fans, I immediately assumed that the song was about Jackie Robinson's wife, and thought it quite nice that someone cared that she had to deal with racism and bad things.

I was much older before I discovered that this was not so--hell, I don't even know if Jackie Robinson was married or not, but I think I prefer to cling to my idea of someone writing a song for the wife of Jackie Robinson.

And for what it's worth, for style alone I'd go for Satchel Paige over Jackie Robinson. Just because.

Posted by Michelle at 08:30 PM |


Salam Pax posted about the bombing of the UN building in Baghdad

there is a friggin' Iraqi idiot now on Jazeera saying that the security responsibility should be given over to the Iraqi Governing Council. Fuck off, this is not about American presence in Iraq. these attacks have nothing to do with the so called resistance. These are fucking idiots who destroying all the efforts to help this country get back on it's feet. the fucking Governing Council could not control this mess the moment the Coalition Forces move out we are plunged in chaos. We have entered a dark dark tunnel and we have no idea what will happen now.
Read it all.

Posted by Michelle at 12:57 PM |

August 19, 2003


As we were driving past one of the parking garages the other night, I noticed that they had removed the meters, now that the garage has been updated to a gated pay by the hour system (at least that's what I assume it is. I haven't parked there, since that would involve leaving the house to go somewhere other than work, school and the grocery store) and I asked "What are they going to do with all those old meters?"

Michael replied "Sell them on E-Bay."

It would make sense to be able to sell the meters--recoup some money from them, but who would buy a bunch of used parking meters? They aren't antique, they're the digital ones that tell you how much time you have left to the minute. SO I don't see them being collectors items, but they work, so it would seem like someone should want them for something!

More importantly however--why am I wondering about this?

Posted by Michelle at 04:51 PM |

Random Bounce

Came across the link to this on Electrolite. Patrick Nielsen Hayden's blogroll is so long I don't even glance at it (Danger WIll Robinson! Danger!), so I don't come across sites he reads regularly until they are mentioned in a post or comment.

Not that I have time to be reading blogs now; I don't really need to add another blog to my reading list, but after this post I think I'll add this blog.

My second throw took a weird bounce off a music stand and damn near broke the communion chalice that Francis gave to the church in memory of her mother. I had a vague sense that this wasn’t the sort of thing responsible pastors do in church. I am called to be something of a caretaker around here.

So I took the chalice down from the fireplace mantle and put it in the kitchen where it would be safe. Then I ran back to the sanctuary to play with my Superball some more.

Posted by Michelle at 04:13 PM |

August 18, 2003

Shoot the News

Nice article in the DA on the victims of sniper shootings.

Yes, that's right. There have been three people shot and killed, seemingly at random, in the Charleston area. The three victims were all shot outside convience stores.

I'm curious as to what it will take for this to reach the national news.

I supposed Charleston is far enough away from DC that no one cares except us. Bet if it was Shepherdstown or Charles Town or Martinsburg--areas that are fast becoming DC suburbs--we'd hear about it. (Yes, Charleston and Charles Town are two separate places. Charleston is the capitol of West (by God) Virginia, Charles Town is an historic district.)

Well--I take it back, just flipped over to CNN and it's the top news item.


I can't decide whether to be amused or disgusted by CNN's coverage.

law enforcement officials said the truck, perhaps a Ford F-150, is common in the West Virginia mountains, noting that Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and at least two police officers drive such a truck.
Law enforcement officials in West Virginia told CNN they are leaning toward the theory that their killer lives in or is very familiar with the area "because he had to know the roads." Sources said investigators don't believe that a stranger to the area easily could have navigated the 15 miles of winding rural byways between two of the crime scenes in the hour between the killings.
Okay, so a stranger couldn't easily navigate WV "rural by-ways" though I find it just as unlikely that a stranger could navigate the maze of city streets in NY or another big city. Doesn't every city and town have it's streets and roads that only a local would know?

Or am I just being overly touchy about the whole thing?

Well, I just hope that Michael's family will remain safe, as they live in that area.

Posted by Michelle at 05:10 PM |

The Axis Trilogy

The Wayfarer Redemption, Enchanter (2002) and StarMan (2003) by Sara Douglass.

...Regarding the other books, the covers fell victim to ridiculously drawn heroine syndrome. I mean really, do you expect me to believe that a woman fighter carrying a large sword is 1) going to be anorexic thin and 2) going to be dressed in gauze with strategically placed and utterly useless armor? Please!...


Posted by Michelle at 02:54 PM |

August 17, 2003

Garden of Delights

So much for doing absolutely nothing this weekend...

"All we need is mulch. We can run into Lowe's, get the mulch, and be done."

It never works that way. Ever. We came home with mulch, soil, another hanger for the bird feeder (there are about thirty thousand new sprouts around my star jasmine, which is directly beneath the bird feeder) 5 pots of mums, 2 pots of black eyed susans, another gerbera daisy, a rose, and a hibiscus. (They were all small and inexpensive! Nothing more than $5 a piece! How could I pass up such a deal?!) All of which were planted yesterday. They all look very nice, except the black eyed susans which probably won't look nice until next year.

But it felt good to get all that planted, and except for the bulbs that Michael does not yet know we are going to plant, we're done for the year. Really. So next year the front of the house should look quite nice, assuming everything survives the winter. I have the walk along the driveway completely planted along one side, and will decide next year what to plant along the other side (It's pretty heavy shade, and none of the seeds I've ever planted have done well.) that won't interfere with the bulbs.

But besides the planting, Del and Kathy came to visit. His father just had surgery and was unable to take care of his wife and mother right away, so Del came to help out for a few weeks. I hadn't seen Del and Kathy in about two years, and have never met their youngest so it was a very nice, if short, visit. But hopefully I'll get to see more of them in the future. (Apparently my reputation preceded me, for D wanted nothing to do with me. Perhaps next birthday I'll get him a copy of The Spider and the Fly. I bet he'd love it. Otherwise, I think I'll get him Arlene Sardine, just so Del will have to read it to him. (Reason number 5,487,092 I don't have children: Reciprocal gifts. I can't wait to hear what Shawna has to say about The Spider and the Fly when Wilson gets it.)

And today we helped Kim install an electric baseboard heater in her attic, so she can finish the attic just in time to sell her house. (pout) Well, actually Michael did all the work and I made stupid comments and generally made a nuisance out of myself. (Note to self: Michael is very irritated by a rousing chorus of "If I Had a Hammer" every time he goes to use said implement. Must remember this for the future.)

And now I'm off to finish Starman the final book in the 'Wayfarer Redemption' series, and probably my last fun book until the semester ends in December, for classes start tomorrow.

I'm taking 'The Fundamentals of Gerontology' and 'American Religious History'. The later solely because it sounds like an interesting class, which seems to stun everyone I talk to. They keep asking if it counts towards my Master's or if it's a graduate class. No, it just sounded really interesting and that's why I am taking it.

Is it so strange to see knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone?

Posted by Michelle at 03:32 PM |

August 15, 2003

Journal of Mythic Arts

There is a new issue of the Journal of Mythic Arts available. Not sure how long it's been on-line, since I hadn't checked in awhile.

Hmm...a quick glance gives us writing by Terri Windling... a poem by Jane Yolen.... and lots more!


Posted by Michelle at 04:44 PM |


I had a horrible nightmare.

My hair was a mess, my face was a mess, my clothing was a mess and even less coordinated than normal (I think there were colors involved, which would explain it), I was tripping over my own feet and I couldn't string words together into a coherent sentence. In short, I was a total wreck.

And I was at my high school class reunion.


Posted by Michelle at 04:29 PM |

Fair and Balanced!

Remember! Today is fair and balanced day!

Posted by Michelle at 08:55 AM |


From the Hillbilly Sophisticate

He proposed a contest to determine the "best English word corrupted by a hillbilly" and sent the following as his submissions...
Seeing as how our nephew pronounces "milk" as a multi-syllable word, I found this rather amusing.

I actually used to be able to do a fairly good drawl when I was drunk, but I haven't tried in ages (drunk, drawl, or drunk drawling). Probably for the best, though it could be a fun way to drive my co-workers insane.

When I lived in Milwaukee, people tried to tell me I had a southern accent. Right. Apparently they had never watched the Dukes of Hazzard. Which is supposed to be coming out as a MOVIE next year. Is there no television show that is safe from becoming a movie? I fear what they will come up with next. Perhaps Knight Rider: The Movie. Just in time for the David Hasselhof comeback tour.

Posted by Michelle at 08:30 AM |


Destiny (2002) by Elizabeth Haydon

Destiny is the final book in Elizabeth Haydon's trilogy. Everything gets resolved, so despite the fact that there is another book about Rhapsody out this is safe to read.


Posted by Michelle at 08:18 AM |

August 14, 2003

August 13, 2003

Fair And Balanced!

Friday 15 August is Fair and Balanced Day!

This Friday, August 15, is Fair And Balanced day on the Internet. You are all hereby instructed to use the words Fair And Balanced in very creative ways on your various websites.
For those who have not come across the story that is taking the blogging world by storm, Fox News is suing Al Franken for using the phrase "Fair and Balanced" in the title of his new book.

Places already adding Fair and Balanced to their sites:
Making Light
Boing Boing
Negro Please

I'll add others as I come across them. :)

Posted by Michelle at 04:17 PM | | TrackBack

William Shatner for Political Office!

Arnold Schwarzenegger's films may not be shown on local TV stations in California in the run-up to elections for the state's governor.

Showing films starring the Austrian-born action hero, who has announced his intention to run for governor in October elections, could break rules regarding equal air time for candidates on local TV which start on Wednesday.

The article notes that this does not apply to cable TV stations.

Posted by Michelle at 02:23 PM | | TrackBack

WV Politics at a Glance

So the big WV news is that Gov. Bob Wise isn't running for reelection. I can't say that I'm sorry. I don't have anything against him personally, and I think he's done a good job holding this state together through a horrible economic crisis. (WV unemployment has increased 1% which is lower than the national 2% increase. Not bragging rights, but a sign that we're at least trying to hold together.)

The short of the story is that it came out this spring that he'd had an affair, and so one of the reasons he gave for not running for reelection, was to spend more time with his family.

Now don't get me wrong, I think that the personal lives of politicians should be just that, personal. And if someone is a philanderer, well, that's their own business and shouldn't have anything to do with their suitability for office. If it did, then I'd guess that many past presidents would now be deemed unsuitable for office. But I think he made the right choice, and perhaps by not running for office he can mend his relationship with his family. Which would be a good thing. Because not to sound old fashioned, but I think that families are taken a little too lightly in this country. So it's a start.

The interesting thing now becomes who will be the democratic candidates for governor? Secretary of State Joe Manchin had already declared his candidacy. Treasure John Perdue is considering a run as is Lloyd Jackson from Lincoln county, and I'm sure more dems will be coming out of the woodwork as the days pass.

Personally, I like to see Ken Hechler as governor, but last I heard he was probably going to run again for secretary of state. Unfortunately I'm not sure that there are any really good candidates for governor right now.

Nick Rahall probably would do a good job, but I think we're better served keeping him in Congress, and heaven forbid he run and we end up with another Capito fiasco (one of my hopes for the next election is to get her OUT of Congress. Won't happen however as long as she continues to run against Humphries, who is only slightly more appealing than Charlotte Pritt (Pritt whose bungling lead us to Cecil "Drain the Coffers" Underwood.)

Anyway, not sure that there are any great candidates out there, but we can hope that someone will appear. The state (like the rest of the nation) is struggling right now, and we don't need another Cecil Underwood to send us under.

Posted by Michelle at 01:31 PM | | TrackBack

August 12, 2003

Today's Nice Thing to Read

From Eric Muller's Is That Legal?:
"At the gym I go to (with insufficient frequency, I might add), I often see an older couple..."

Just in case you wanted to read something nice today, admist all the chaos of the new computer virus from hell. (Luckily we managed to keep our servers up and everything running, and got patches up and available by lunchtime. Yeah us.)

Posted by Michelle at 03:21 PM | | TrackBack

Not Coppertop

I've been mostly silent on the "How will 'The Matrix: Revolutions' end" front, because to be honest I don't want to know beforehand. I want to go into the movie and have everything be a big surprise, and not have to sit there and be disappointed that things didn't work out the way I thought they would.

So this isn't about how the trilogy will end per se, as much as it is about some of the ideas floating around that have been posted on Matrix Essays.

As far as the endings do go, I will be VERY angry if we get it "it was all a dream" ending. I also don't like the matrix within a matrix ending, because it seems to easy, and I don't think the ideas in the movie are that pat and simple.

As for the theories floating around, I still don't like the "humans as batteries" explanation for the humans-in-goo plant. It simply violates basic laws of physics. (See: Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics for an excellent explanation.) I think that there may be a different, unstated reason for why the machines need humans. In the 'Animatrix' in 'The Renaissance Part I & II' it seems that for the most part the machines are willing to take a lot of abuse from humans in an attempt to keep the peace, to continue to co-exist, and I wonder whether this is because they in some way need humans, not for energy but for intellectual stimulation?

My reasoning is this: humans are, as individuals, unpredictable. It would be impossible I think to pluck any one individual out from the multitudes and predict with any accuracy exactly what they will do, either in their present situation or in an unknown situation (the machines seems to have shown that they are not very good at predicting human behavior, else or heroes would not exist). I think this randomness, this chaos, is necessary to the machines in some way. Perhaps they get bored (al la Marvin the Paranoid Android) or perhaps they need the variability provided by the humans. It's hard to say exactally what free will and variability add, and perhaps this is why the people of Zion have assumed the simpler explanation that humans are needed to power the Matrix when what they truly do is animate it.

For me, it boils down again to the idea of free will versus predestination. The machines for the most part do not have free will (Smith does, the Oracle and the Merovignian etc may) but humans do have free will. Free will is built into our very nature. Perhaps humans are needed not to power Zion, but to give the machines hope that one day they too will achieve free will, by learning from the humans. Of course it means that they'll have to put up with all the problems that free will has caused for humanity, but I think that most people would feel that free will is better than the alternative of slavery, no matter how gilded the cage.

Posted by Michelle at 08:35 AM | | TrackBack

Looking to Waste Time?

You can check out the BrickFest Lego Convention.

"Who is Attending" (Sidebar of the Information page) takes you to a list that includes links to websites where available. I particularly liked the City of St. Lego Fire & Rescue.

Posted by Michelle at 08:15 AM | | TrackBack

August 11, 2003

They're Women in Comfortable Shoes

Or not as the case may be.

"I've had people ask for toe liposuction," says Dr. Levine. "I tell them to go see a therapist." (via Sound and the Fury)

As for me, I'll stick with my comfortable black boots.

Posted by Michelle at 04:51 PM | | TrackBack

I'm Fezzik

Was looking for a Princess Bride website and as a bonus, found this:

Which Princess Bride Character are You?

Fits! Except for the part about being a giant, and being really strong, and a good fighter...

And as I'm bored today....

This should not come as a surprise to anyone:

Find Your Warped Personality

Posted by Michelle at 12:51 PM | | TrackBack

August 10, 2003

August: Autumn Arrives Anon

Busy weekend.

Some people like flowers and trees, at least I do. We planted a spirea shrub into what will one day be a hedge, but is currently a bunch of small plants in a row, and also planted some periwinkle around the mailbox, where nothing wants to grow (even grass). The pictures, however, are simply of how pretty things looked around my house Saturday morning.

The big thing was helping my dad clean his office. The pictures don't really do justice however, to the amount of work we did. Perhaps knowing that we were there for about ten hours on Saturday, and my parents went back today to finish up might give you some idea of the magnitude of the paper pile.

And I didn't take any pictures of all the work we did today around the house. You'll just have to trust me about that.

Posted by Michelle at 08:25 PM | | TrackBack

August 09, 2003


Prophecy by Elizabeth Haydon

The sequel to Rhapsody, this story was good enough that I broke my own rule of reading ahead, because I just HAD to know whether things worked out in this book or not and I had a very difficult time putting down the book everynight to go to bed.


Posted by Michelle at 11:44 AM | | TrackBack

August 08, 2003


Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon

For some reason it had been I while since a read a new fantasy series by a new author. Possibly because I refuse to read a series until it is completed (I own Robin Hobb's Farseer in succedingly more expensive editions: The first book is paperback, the second is the larger paperback (trade paperback?), and the final book of the series is in hardback.) and possibly because it's always disappointing to read a series and not like it, especially when the time you have available to read is limited.

I definitely did not find Rhapsody a waste of my time...


Posted by Michelle at 04:46 PM | | TrackBack

Bad Gnus

My Aunt called last night to give me the latest news about cousin Pat.

Here's an idea: Stay out of the sun if you aren't wearing sunscreen.
You don't look hot with a tan, you look like a future chemotherapy patient.

Posted by Michelle at 10:53 AM | | TrackBack

August 07, 2003

In from Out

Yesterday Kim and I got to have lunch with Jim and family (No, none of the hyperlinks work on his website, he just put it up.) as they wend their way back home to Indiana.

It was good to see him, for however brief a visit, and to see his kids finally. Let me tell you, he is raising a family of blonde giants. Nicholas at a little over a year is only a couple of pounds lighter than his 2 1/2 year old sister, who is also not small for her age. They were both exceedingly cute. I didn't get to ask him at all about his bid for world Council, but we did talk a bit about work. It is amazing--stunning even--the blatant disregard that people have for safety in the workplace, and how they become outraged when safety standards are enforced.

I mean really! Cell culture without gloves or a labcoat? Not only is that stupid safety wise, but you're likely to contaminate your experiment.

I'd say unbelievable, except that it's not really.

Posted by Michelle at 08:57 AM | | TrackBack

August 06, 2003

Human Suffering and Justice

If you don't read Electrolite, you may not have seen the blog post Cruelty Lessons on Body and Soul.

Ostensibly it's about politics in the US, but it's the bit in the middle that got me.

Please read it.

Posted by Michelle at 02:40 PM | | TrackBack

Upcoming Important Dates

September 19th - Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 20th - 27th - Read a Banned Book Week

Posted by Michelle at 01:51 PM | | TrackBack

August 05, 2003

Mirror Mirror

Mirrors can make women feel worse about working out.

Just one more justification for me not to have a full length mirror in the house.

Not that I exercise at home, but still, I don't like mirrors....

Though I have to say that I recently read a folktale about a mirror that I quite liked. It was Asian in origin, but I can't remember anything details more specific than that.

A man with a beautiful wife and daughter travels to the big city, and wants to bring a home gift that is suitably beautiful for his wife. A merchant recommends a hand mirror, which the gentleman then purchases and takes home. The mother looks in the mirror and as she is doing so, the daughter peeks over her shoulder and sees her mother’s face in the mirror. Because the mirror was an expensive gift, the mother wraps it up and puts it away for safe keeping. As things happened in these times, the mother dies, and eventually the father remarries. Things are fine at first, but the new wife does not care for the husband's daughter, and once her place in the house is established, beings to make life difficult for the girl.

One day as the girl is still grieving for her mother, she goes through a box of her mother's things, and finds the mirror. Remembering the day her father gave it to her mother, she looks into the mirror and sees what she believes is an image of her mother looking back at her. Finding this a comfort, she begins to look in the mirror regularly, talking to the image, and sharing her troubles and sorrows, as well as the day to day details of her life.

Of course the new wife is looking for an excuse to cause difficulty for the girl, and complains to the father that the girl must be summoning demons or some other trouble, for she is always in her room talking to herself, though the father initially ignores the wife, refusing to believe that his beautiful daughter would cause difficulty.

One day the wife, frustrated by the constant murmuring drags the husband into the girl's room where they find her staring into the mirror. The husband berates the daughter for what he sees to be her vanity, and tells her she is not allowed to look in the mirror any more. This breaks the poor girl’s heart, as she has now lost her last connection with her mother, and so she becomes more sad and withdrawn, convincing the step-mother and eventually the father that she is a trouble maker.

One day, while the father and his wife are out, the girl, unable to restrain herself any longer, pulls out the mirror to see her mother again, and is so caught up in telling her mother everything that has happened to her, that she does not hear her father and step-mother enter the house, or come into the room behind her.

The father, finding the girl looking into the mirror, tells her she must his home leave at once, because he will not tolerate such disobedience. The daughter bursts into tears and cries that it is only because she misses her mother so much, and just wanted to talk to her again. At this the father and step-mother realize why the girl spent so much time staring into the mirror, and both are horrified at the pain they have caused. So the father gently explains that it is not her mother’s face that she has been seeing in the mirror, but her own face that looks so similar to that of her mother.

After this the girl and her father are reconciled, and the wife realizes that the girl is not at all vain but is truly good, and after apologizing for her actions, eventually becomes a true mother to the girl.

(You weren't expecting that ending, were you?)

I apologize for any details I messed up in the retelling, but then I suppose it is my impression of the story that is important here.

Posted by Michelle at 04:26 PM | | TrackBack

Caffeine and Exercise

An article from the BBC discusses a study that found out that the caffeine in as little as one cup of coffee boots exercise performance by increasing the length of a work out and "trigger(ing) the muscles to start using fat as an energy source rather than carbohydrate sugars."

So I could have a soda before my lunch time walk! If it weren't for the fact that then my co-workers would be unable to deal with me when I got back. (You think I kid, but this is the second job where I have been "banned" from caffeine while I work. It makes me a bit too...enthusiastic shall we say. So for everyone's sanity I avoid caffeine.)

Either way, it's a rather fascinating idea, although I have to say that I don't think that the general population should encouraged to drink more soda. Empty calories are probably more of a problem than needing that extra boost in a workout.

Posted by Michelle at 04:00 PM | | TrackBack

Cohabitation and Divorce

A new study by Penn State researchers has found that co-habitation before marriage is still linked to higher rates of divorce.

What struck me about this was that, at least in the article on the study, income was not mentioned as a variable that was considered as a contributing factor, which seems incredibly important to me. The article says "once a couple is living together, the fact that they share possessions, pets, and children and have invested time in their relationship may propel them to marry" but they don't seem to be looking at why cohabitation occurs in the first place.

If you and your significant other move in together because you can't afford to live alone, this would seem to be quite different from moving in together because you really like each other but are not yet 100% certain you want to commit. To believe that the two are equal or even similar is a serious mistake I think, and for the researchers not to say that they have considered this I find slightly disturbing.

Posted by Michelle at 03:49 PM | | TrackBack

Wirt Returns to Normal

I haven't had too much to say about Jessica Lynch since her rescue, mostly because I think the media feeding frenzy was a bit much, and she deserves her privacy, but I did like this wrap up:

Australian-born chain-smoker Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post was experiencing a little trouble with the local vernacular, while interviewing a crewman from the West Virginia Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter that flew Lynch back to Wirt County.

The Guardsman said Lynch was “setting up” while making the homecoming flight.

“Setting up? You mean, becoming tense?” Dunleavy asked.

“No, setting up. Like not lying down on the litter,” the crewman replied.

via The Hillbilly Sophisticate. She also has the brilliant idea of giving hurricanes hillbilly names.
Naturally, the Appalachian hurricane would have a first and middle name, but would be known by another name entirely. For example, the hurricane's legal name would be Doy Anse, but it would be called "Billy" because its father and grandfather were also named Doy Anse and are known as Doy and Anse, respectively.

Posted by Michelle at 10:30 AM | | TrackBack

August 04, 2003


As we took our restful three day vacation last week, enjoying the time away from our jobs, we came back to the knowledge that our fearless leader was readying himself for a month long vacation.

A CBS News tally shows this is Bush's 26th presidential trip to Crawford. He has spent all or part of 166 days at the ranch or en route -- the equivalent of 51/2 months. When Bush's trips to Camp David and Kennebunkport, Maine, are added, according to the CBS figures, Bush has spent 250 full or partial days at his getaway spots -- 27 percent of his presidency so far.
That's right. Our troops remain under attack. Many of our National Guard troops have have been activated for the better part of two years, and all remain in Iraq far longer than they were told they would be, but the president makes sure that he gets his month vacation.

The president who has cut funding for Veteran's Health Benefits while himself receiving state of the art care at the National Naval Medical Center now leaves for his vacation while leaving National Guard Troops in Iraq.

It always amazes me how those who do the work benefit so little while those whose success depends upon the blood and sweat of those workers benefit so much. My only hope is that those who go to the polls next year remember that the president made sure he got his vacation, while leaving American soldiers in Iraq, many without an idea as to when they would be coming home.

You can read other commentary from Daily KOS and Making Light.

Posted by Michelle at 12:04 PM | | TrackBack


I read something about arsenic and horses the other day and was curious as to whether it was true or not. Apparently it was.

Arsenic is the horse's remedy... The reprehensible fashion of "doctoring" horses with Arsenic is merely an abuse of a therapeutic fact. The horse is an animal on whose power of endurance and "wind" enormous demands are made, and Arsenic is the remedy for the effects of feats of prolonged endurance.

The fine skin and glossy hair of the young women among the arsenic-eating populations is remarkable, and is comparable to the fine coats of arsenic-fed horses.

And there is your worthless information for the day. Old horses were doctored up to sell by feeding them arsenic.

Posted by Michelle at 10:41 AM | | TrackBack

Project Bandaloop

Coming home from Cirque du Soleil, Susan said that one part of the performance reminded her of something she had seen/heard of elsewhere, called Project Bandaloop. Yesterday she sent me an e-mail with the name so I could find it.

She's right, it's fascinating. If you have a high speed video connection, check out the video gallery.

Posted by Michelle at 09:09 AM | | TrackBack

August 03, 2003

Vows and Honor

Reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress series put me in the mood to read about Tamra and Kethry...


Posted by Michelle at 06:07 PM | | TrackBack

August 02, 2003

Picture This

Well I think this is a very nice picture of Susan.

Plus it'll add something new for all her fans who come to my site looking for her.


Posted by Michelle at 01:43 PM | | TrackBack

August 01, 2003

Sword & Sorceress

I've been catching up on missed volumes of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword & Sorceress anthologies. I've recently finished Sword and Sorceress II and Sword and Sorceress XX.

Read more....

Posted by Michelle at 09:59 PM | | TrackBack


Talked to Erin today. She finished the bar exam yesterday, but says she has not a clue whether she passed or failed.

No wonder lawyers are bitter and money grubbing. Tens of thousands of dollars for law school, thousands of dollars for the bar, and you walk out without a clue as to how you did, and it'll take two months to find out.

Explains a lot actually.

But she's done, and perhaps now she'll be able to write more, and I'll be able to post further congratulations as she is further published.

Regardless: Way to go Erin!

Posted by Michelle at 09:25 PM | | TrackBack

Friday Afternoon

My Mormon name is Mischelle Kayliss!
What's yours?

That doesn't make me sound mormon, it makes me sound like a Klingon.

Stupid quiz.

Posted by Michelle at 04:38 PM | | TrackBack