28 February 2003

Erin has at least one of these posted on her blog, but I'm posting it again here, plus some others.

Senate Remarks: America Unguarded
...So long as this occupation continues, how is the National Guard supposed to help our states in homeland security missions? Our police forces can hardly pick up the slack – they are already working full tilt performing the myriad tasks that keep our streets and schools safe twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. Just because the threat of terrorist activity is higher does not mean that run-of-the-mill villains go on vacation. Just because Osama bin Laden is still on the loose does not mean that the John Allen Muhammeds of the world will decide not to go on random nationwide shooting rampages...

Senate Remarks: We Stand Passively Mute
To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war....

Senate Remarks: Tell the World the True Cost of War
...But no cost estimate was included in the President's budget. Let me repeat that. There is no estimate of the cost of the looming war with Iraq in the President's budget. The possible war has dominated the airwaves for months, yet there is no cost estimate in the President's budget. President Bush mentions the looming conflict in nearly every public pronouncement, yet no cost estimate to fight this war appears in his '04 budget. Is the Administration trying to tell the people of this nation it is for free?...

Senator Byrd's Newsroom and Senator Byrd's website


Booksense Book Bestseller List



27 February 2003

A post on Erin's blog set me looking for more on this History of Iraq. I found these articles, which I mailed to her, but I'll post them anyway.

History of Iraq up through the Iran Iraq War. This site has a lot of information.
Background and History on Iraq compiled from various sources. This is briefer.
The Unseen Gulf War by Peter Turnley. This is disturbing, but I think important (I also mentioned it in January).


You're Perfect ^^
-Perfect- You're the perfect girlfriend. Which means you're rare or that you cheated :P You're the kind of chick that can hang out with your boyfriend's friends and be silly. You don't care about presents or about going to fancy places. Hell, just hang out. You're just happy being around your boyfriend.
What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


26 February 2003

A German priest has discovered a novel way of getting results from his washing machine...he uses (it) to produce up to 40 litres of beer a day. And he even has is own website dedicated to beer making. Of course it's in German, so it's only useful if you can read that language, but still...

So thinking further about last night's talk, I think I was a little disappointed, mostly because I was either expecting to learn more, or I expected him to have more to say about the political situation in the middle east and how religion figures into that, or about the actions of religious figures and institutions in the peace processes and the war processes. But I just got a very brief history of Abraham (much of which I already know from my own readings and classes) which, I think, failed to address what interested me. Mind you he really was an excellent speaker, but I just didn't get the substance I was expecting.


25 February 2003

Jusst got back from seeing Bruce Feiler. He spoke as part of WVU's Festival of Ideas series. His talk was a little shorter than I expected, but then he wasn't feeling well, so a short talk is understandable. I was also surprised that so few questions were asked. I considered asking a question, but simply could not formulate what I wanted to ask, so I stayed sitting and quiet (something unusual, I realize). Despite the fact being ill, he spoke very well, and even Michael, who goes to these talks only because I make him, enjoyed enjoyed the talk. I have Walking the Bible on audio, and enjoyed it, so I broke down and purchased a copy of his newest book Abraham and got it signed (I felt kinda bad about it, since he was sick, but I got my book signed anyway (I guess I didn't manage guilt on the subject.)

Walking the Bible details his travels throughout the Middle East, following the path of the Torah, or the first five books of the bible (the five books of Moses), but his latest book is apparently focused solely upon Abraham, the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (a subject which fascinates me). He made some interesting points, such as the fact that at the start of his story, Abraham can not sire children--he can not create--and is in a way the anti God of the first books of the bible, for the beginning is about creation. He also pointed out that all three faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all tried to co-opt Abraham for their own use. When each religion started, it had the premise that Abraham belonged to everyone, but through oppression and conflict, each eventually attempts to posses Abraham, to exclude everyone else and make him a member solely of that single religion. The universal figure has become sectarian. But in doing so we are missing the point that the universal message of all three faiths is the same, but instead of focusing upon unity, the faiths are steeped in derision and conflict. Pertty much missing the point I think.

He also focused on the fact that at the death of Abraham, both Isaac and Ishmael were present at his burial. The two sons who were in conflict were able to come together at Abraham's death. What I took from that is that the followers of Abraham still have the potential to put aside their conflicts and their hatred and come together.

Do I think that is possible? Not sure. Is it possible within our current religious framework? I find that even less likely.

But one can always hope.


23 February 2003

So I finally read the Harry Potter books, and they were good. (You know how it is, people tell you something is great and you build up your expectations and are always disappointed) but in this case everyone was right. They *are* good. Although I have to say that I read the first three books yesterday afternoon and evening, while the 4th book took about as long to read as the other three (I finished it around lunchtime today).

Friday evening we actually (gasp) went out. Down to McClafferty's to help Erin celebrate her birthday. We didn't stay out as long, but everyone was tired (me, because Friday morning I sat straight up in bed at 5:30, suddenly remembering that I was supposed to bake a cake (never mind that I had only been reminded about 30 times in Thursday) so of course I had to get up and make a cake! (laugh) It was actually kinda nice being up that early--everything was quiet and calm, so it was rather pleasurable.

Not that I am planning on getting up at 5:30 most mornings mind you, it was just much more pleasant than one would have expected. Now I know what to do next time I wake up and can't get back to sleep--get up and bake!


21 February 2003



Critical Updates

I was thinking about all the times that I have installed software, and software updates, on computers (my own and the computers at work). It's a regular part of my job now, look for updates and installing them (and it's almost as much fun as searching for viruses). Doing this typically follows a set pattern: go to a machine, check to see if updates are available, and then run the installation. But before that process begins, you have to accept the terms of agreement set by Microsoft and their lawyer minions (or whatever software company and their lawyers, but to be honest, it's typically Microsoft. They're every where and you can't escape using their products without going to great efforts.) I'm doing it for work, so typically my thought is that I could care less what I am agreeing to, because it's not for me, but for work. If it is for me, I'll sometimes skim through the agreements, and I haven't used some freeware because of things in the agreement (no, I don't want you to share my e-mail address with everyone in the known world), but most times I just click on the Agree button. But what if, by pressing the button, it means that I am personally liable for all those agreements. I'm not doing it for my employer as their representative, but as myself, for myself.

That then made me wonder, what if hidden in all that fine print, Bill Gates has put in a small addendum?

What if I have now sold my soul to the devil?

Numerous times?


"Medical students commonly perform pelvic examinations in the operating room when the patient is under anesthesia. This educational practice poses no physical harm to the patient, and research shows that most women are willing to allow medical students to perform the examinations, but with the proviso that permission is asked for – and granted. Nevertheless, many OB/GYN departments do not regularly inform women when they will be undergoing pelvic examinations by medical students while under anesthesia." Medical students' shifting attitudes about permission to examine. I found this article quite disturbing.


16 February 2003



15 February 2003

Okay... thought continued from Erin's weblog's comment section.....

What if, to be president (or ruler or king), you had to, for an hour every day, see into the mind of an average American (or subject or whatever)? What if the president have to actually *know* what it was like for a single mom working minimum wage? Or an illegal immigrant who has sneaked into this country to try and give their family a better life? A soldier getting ready to leave their family for war?

Now that I think about it, Charles de Lint wrote a story about thought reading, but from a different perspective. In his story a guy grew up with the ability to read the thoughts of others, all the time...... but this would be different. It would be something that would be the price you had to pay for power.

It's an interesting idea... I wonder if it would add a bit of humanity to those who are in power, who are so far removed from the lives of the rest of us that I do not think they honestly have a clue how it is to live as an average American? Would having to share these thoughts, even for an hour a day, connect someone to the mainstream, to those who are struggling. Would it turn you into Mother Teresa?Or would it just drive you insane?

It makes me wonder how far we really have come in this country. Our presidents tend to be part of the elite (I'd say part of the intelligentsia, but that is obviously (painfully) not true currently), the rich, the already powerful. They don't have to pinch pennies, or cut coupons, or worry about paying the rent. I think that causes them to lose a connection to how things really are, to how "the rest of us" survive from day to day. It'd be interesting to see the powerful try to survive on minimum wage, to go without health care, to have to live hand to mouth. I wonder if that would change their ideas and policies, or if they simply wouldn't care even then?

Perhaps this is why people write letters to those in power, describing themselves and their situations. not because they feel it will help, or that someone in power will come down and help them, but because it is their attempt to remind those in power, those who have wealth and security, how it feels to be poor and insecure.

It'd be nice if it worked that way, but but I'm pretty sure it doesn't.


14 February 2003

Main Entry: ubiq·ui·tous
Pronunciation: yü-'bi-kw&-t&s
Function: adjective
Date: 1837
: existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : WIDESPREAD
- ubiq·ui·tous·ly adverb
- ubiq·ui·tous·ness noun
Webster's dictionary on-line

Updated the book section of my site. That's probably enough for someone who is supposed to be studying.

You might, perhaps, want to visit the guestbook at the House of Clocks. (From Neil Gaiman's Journal


13 February 2003

(Professor Güntürkün) observed couples aged from their teens to their 70s kissing in public, at airports, railway stations, beaches and ports. (He) studied couples in the US, Germany and Turkey to ensure he looked at people from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

How do you do something like that without coming off as a pervert?

The 2001 census reveals that 390,000 people across England and Wales are devoted followers of the Jedi "faith"

There is nothing I can say that the BBC did not already.


12 February 2003


I don't remember the comment the set me thinking, but someone said something in passing recently that started me wondering about how our names are tied up with our identity.

I did not change my name when I got married, and although most people simply excepted that fact as par for the course for me, some people wanted to know why, and I don't think I was ever able satisfactorily (for myself anyway) explain just why I keep my own name.

I have a rather unique last name, and that may be part of it. In many ways, my name is very tied up in who I am. When I was younger, and visiting my grandmother, she told me that if anything happened, to phone any Klishis in the Baltimore directory and tell them I was Lillian's granddaughter, for I was related to everyone named Klishis in Baltimore. Once I discovered search engines on the Internet, I came to the conclusion that I am most likely related to every Klishis in the United States, for I have been unable in any searches to find any others. There is something about knowing you are related to everyone who has your last name, and that knowledge has become an ingrained part of who I am. There are lots of other women who are my height with my eye color and my hair color, but there is no one else that I know of with my name, and so the thought of giving that up is a bit like giving up something that is physically a part of me.

Of course there were other reasons, for keeping my name. Who wants to go through all the bother of filling out the paper work to change your social security card, to change your driver's license, to change everything that has your name on it? But in truth those reasons were only a very small part of it.

Guess this means I should avoid needing to go into the witness protection program.


11 February 2003

There's some fascinating news today:

From the BBC, an article on how space technology helps the blind. An European project has combined the European Space Agency (ESA) of GPS (Global Positioning System) with wireless internet to create a device that helps the visually impaired to more safely navigate the streets. This system will use a new combination of satellites that will not only make the system more accurate than current GPS, but will also allow it to work in the city among tall buildings, which is something with which current GPS has problems.

An article from the NY Times, on a ruling that the state can force a prisoner to take medicine so they can be sane enough to execute. What I found extra interesting was the following quote "The American Medical Association's ethical guidelines prohibit giving medical treatment that would make people competent to be executed". Which makes sense to me anyway.

According to an article from the BBC, charity auction of Harry Potter first editions will benefit street children in Ghana. Author Simon Singh, who wrote The Secret History of Codes and Code Breaking is donating two first editions and J.K. Rowling is donating a signed first edition as well. The money will got to Action Aid and Children in Need.

I remember hearing about the Theater of Science, but it was filed away and lost, until I ran across Simon Singh's site (You can also visit this site about Theater of Science). You can check out the Sleek Geeks website for more information about Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer.

Science jokes! Science jokes! That makes me very happy. (Much happier than a little head jiggling, hmmmm?)

So you have 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but you also have The Erdös Number Project and the Oracle of Baseball.


10 February 2003

What I've been wondering about recently, is the perceptions that others have of us, and how that fits in with our perceptions of ourselves.
I read an article years ago where researchers found that people who are depressed actually have a more accurate perception of themselves than others do. People who are not depressed tend to have an overly optimistic and inflated opinion of themselves and their abilities, where as those who are depressed are much more realistic.

Enough to make you depressed, 'eh?


9 February 2003

I said I wasn't going to get involved again.
Told myself that you can't go back, that it's never as good when you go back, revive.
But of course it doesn't work that way (if it did, I wouldn't be writing about it, would I?).
Friday, I bought the new Thieves' World book.

Don't laugh, this is a big thing! I loved the old Thieves' World series, despite the fact that no one else I know--even my husband--like it. I typically go back every other year and re-read the entire series, and then a couple of years ago I read that they were coming out with a new anthology series I immediately decided I wanted nothing to do with it, for it wouldn't be the old Thieves' World, the place I loved (but would not love to visit in person). I knew it would be a disappointment, and I hate it when that happens. So I ignored the fact that new books were even coming out.


We were at the bookstore, and I was looking to see if they had anything by Charles de Lint (they didn't), when I saw that the new Thieves' World anthology was out, and--just out of curiosity mind you--I picked it up. The first thing I saw was "New Stories by Raymond E. Feist, Dennis L. McKiernan, and Others"... Dennis McKiernan wrote a Thieves' World story?! Then I opened it to see the list of contributing authors: Mickey Zucker Reichert, Andrew Offut, Diana L. Paxson, Robin Wayne Bailey, Jody Lynn Nye...plus some authors I don't know. Of course there are names missing: CJ Cherryh, Jamet Morris...and some authors who have passed on since the first series: Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, John Brunner.... but still! Dennis McKiernan? I love his books! Andrew Offut is back?! Shadowspawn was one of my favorite characters! Mickey Zucker Reichert? I loved The Legend of Nightfall--that character would fit into Sanctuary without a problem!

So, I broke down and bought the book--hardcover and all. I've read the Introduction, and am halfway through the second story (Shadowspwan? Old?!) and although the place is much changed, and full of new characters, I have not yet been disappointed.
I have my fingers crossed that the rest of the stories are as good.


Yesterday was James and Dani's New Year's Party, and we had a very good time, talked to some very interesting people. One woman is a federal mine inspector, and it was interesting to hear everything she had to say about her job. Absolutely fascinating. Dani passed around Chinese fortune telling sticks, and according to them, Michael should be finding a new job soon! Yippee! The entertainment of course, was the way the fortunes were written. I apparently managed to read mine and Michael's in such a manner that everyone after me had me read their fortunes as well. (grin)

And Today is Erin's Book Release Party! Yippee!

What all that means, of course, is that it's another busy weekend, and I should be studying instead of writing here....
Note to self:
Spell Check.... Spell Check.... Spell Check.....
Spell check before posting things to the web. Don't go back a month later to discover all the stupid mistakes aired out for anyone to see.


Pictures from Erin's book release party!

Erin and Sean Erin and Amy
Erin and Sean! I have proof! He really does exist!
Erin and her mother, Amy

Okay, I really am going to study now. Really.


7 February 2003

Main Entry: pug·na·cious
Pronunciation: "p&g-'nA-sh&s
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin pugnac-, pugnax, from pugnare to fight -- more at PUNGENT
Date: 1642
: having a quarrelsome or combative nature : TRUCULENT
synonym see BELLIGERENT
- pug·na·cious·ly adverb
- pug·na·cious·ness noun
- pug·nac·i·ty /-'na-s&-tE/ noun

Main Entry: pun·gent
Pronunciation: -j&nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: L pungent-, pungens, present participle of pungere to prick, sting; akin to Latin pugnus fist, pugnare to fight, Greek pygmE fist
Date: 1597
1 : sharply painful
2 : having a stiff and sharp point (pungent leaves)
3 a : marked by a sharp incisive quality : CAUSTIC (a pungent critic) (pungent language) b : being sharp and to the point
4 : causing a sharp or irritating sensation; especially : ACRID
- pun·gent·ly adverb


It's been snowing (again--schools are going to be in session until August), but I thought it was particularly pretty this morning, and took these pictures before I left for work.

Smaller tree covered in snow
This is the view that drew me outside this morning.

Front Porch View
This is a different view from the front porch.
The Holly bushes look quite overwhelmed by the snow, but when they are not covered in snow,
they're healthy and very green--some of the only green visible amid all the gray and brown.
I think that in a year or two they'll be quite large, and block some of the view of the road--
A small amount of privacy from the parade of cars.

Big Tree next door
This is the tree a couple houses down from us.
It hangs out over the road (I don't want to be around when it falls),
and I thought it looked quite beautiful this morning, covered in snow.


6 February 2003

Found this site from an news article in the BBC. You can purchase items from traditional African craftsmen online, at e-shop Africa. The site contains information not just about the products, but also the artisans who create the products. The product the BBC news article focused on as the coffins--you can get coffins in the shape of many things you never imagined as coffins, including a chicken. The site is quite fascinating, with traditional crafts, and occasional explanation or tidbits about the crafts, such as how the black color is created in "mud cloth". Their web commerce seems to be done in cooperation with the Sustainable Village.


5 February 2003

Work is busy, I'm trying to study, and I've felt cruddy.

Other than that, everything is peachy, especially since Gina used the word trollop in a sentence today. Saturday was my Aunt Chris' surprise 50th birthday party. We had fun, as we always do, and as always it was good to see my family. We drove up in Brian's new Urban Attack Vehicle. I have to say I'm glad we had it, because riding two hours each way, in the middle in the back seat of my Dad's Camry would not have been a lot of fun. Not that I had much choice in the matter. Being the shortest in my family means that I'm always the one who gets stuck in the middle in situations like that. Oh course as much as I grip about being short, I really have no room to complain, for I am not truly short, in fact I'm almost tall for a female, it's just that I'm shorter than everyone in my family, except for my cousin Liz, and she's only 12, and her brothers all seem to be destined to top 6 foot, so I figure I'd best enjoy it while I can. (grin) But the point was that I had a really good time, and the pictures looked good. Now I need to make time to go back and scan and print more of the pictures I picked up last visit to Baltimore.

Good news is that Erin is having a release party for the anthology she edited, The Modern Art Cave, which you can purchase. I have a copy, but have not had time to read it, because of course I am too busy avoiding studying to read it. Does this mean that I now know someone famous?


3 February 2003

Interesting Tidbits:
The French Revolution was responsible for the metric system. After accurately measuring the Earth's shape, the French defined a meter as one ten-millionth the distance along Earth's surface from the North Pole to the equator (passing through Paris.)
From Natural History February 2003.

The original name of Scranton Pennsylvania was Skunk's Misery.
The screenplay for You Only Live Twice was written by Roald Dahl.
From American Heritage March 2003:

Got caught up on my reading list--not the reading, just the writing about what I've been reading. I really shouldn't be reading all this fiction, when I have lots of non-fiction to read for school, but.....


2 February 2003

Ran across this link at Neil Gaiman's on-line journal.

I am, of course, none other than blank verse.
I don't know where I'm going, yes, quite right;
And when I get there (if I ever do)
I might not recognise it. So? Your point?
Why should I have a destination set?
I'm relatively happy as I am,
And wouldn't want to be forever aimed
Towards some future path or special goal.
It's not to do with laziness, as such.
It's just that one the whole I'd rather not
Be bothered - so I drift contentedly;
An underrated way of life, I find.
What Poetry Form Are You?

If I were not Blank Verse, I would be a Triolet.

This is an interesting page about the Chinese New Year. I wore red yesterday, just for the New Year, although no one else knew it but me. (grin)

Hey! WV Public Radio's Inside Appalachia did a story on Todd Burge!

March 7 - Fri opening for Johnny Staats & Robert Shafer - 123 Pleasant St - Morgantown, WV
Todd Burge AND Johnny Staats AND Robert Shafer.

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