Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Wonderfalls DVD - Official Date 

It's official - the full season (of which we only got to see 4 fabulous episodes broadcast) of Wonderfalls will be available on February 1, 2005. I was going to ask for this for Christmas, but I guess instead I'll start dropping Valentine's hints... You can pre-order it on Amazon now.



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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:30 PM

Joan of Arcadia - Book of Questions 

Okay, so I'm warming up to the Luke-Grace thing, but I still think that Joan and Grace would be better off together. The best chemistry occurs when Grace shimmies on up the drainpipe for a chat with Joan. I'm thinking there have been a lot of these pipe-shimmying meetings off camera, because Grace is much better at it than she used to be. The first time she was definitely clinging to the pipe, and needed assistance, but now she's quite casual about the whole thing, and even takes a hand off in order to gesture.

But what's up with these other Grace changes? I'm not talking about the recent insights into Judaism and her personal growth regarding her family and secrets. No, these are all good things. I'm talking about the sudden change in appearance. She's definitely going for a smooth silky hair look. This is going beyond combing and evenly applied haircuts. She's got some product going on! And there was definitely a trace of makeup in the school hallways. Come on - I like my Grace rough around the edges! And where's her skateboard? I expressed fear that with this whole Luke relationship they were going to turn her into a girly-girl, and these fears are only getting worse.

Now that we're finally getting to meet Grace's mom, I'm glad they're making her a three-dimensional character, and showing Grace's mixed emotions. It would have been too easy to make her just "bad mom," and have Grace simply despise her. Life isn't that easy.

Meanwhile, the Girardi hearth is getting a little dicey. Seems there's some relationship backsliding to how things were before Kevin's accident. I really don't think Will has a clue that Lucy has it bad for him. Which she definitely does. But how did Helen know it even before she met Lucy? Was she simply projecting because of her own temptations with Jeremy?

All I know is that was a great portrait of Judith. We miss you, Judith!

Best line:
Glynis to Luke, referring to Grace: "You wanted someone emotionally complex. Enjoy!"

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:22 PM

Coming Soon - The Librarian: Quest for the Spear 

Good thing Charmed is a repeat this Sunday. I'll be able to Tivo TNT's original movie The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. Judging by Scifi.com's preview, it sounds like a fun show. Any chance they're dangling it as a potential series?

Noah Wyle stars as a perennial student who when forced to find a job lands one at the Metropolitan Public Library, where he works with head librarian Bob Newhart and fellow librarian Jane Curtin (!). Also appearing are Olympia Dukakis and Kyle MacLachlan. While he's already about being surrounded by all the books, he is tickled pink to find that the librarians are also charged with safekeeping the secret treasures of the Ark of the Covenant, Pandora's Box and Excalibur. Unfortunately, Bad Guys discover the trove and hijinks ensue.

Sounds like it's got action, travel, braininess, legend, fantasy and likely some high tech security gadgets. Something for everyone!!! It premieres this Sunday, December 5 at 8 pm on TNT.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:29 AM

No Serenity Until Next Fall 

Sci-Fi Wire reports that Joss Whedon's film Serenity is now scheduled for release September 30, 2005, after Universal Pictures decided that the original release target of April 2005 was getting a little crowded for their target audience.

They haven't updated the official site yet, or even maintained it very well for that matter. It still has the April release date displayed, and the blog hasn't been updated since September 17. Actually, the "blog" is more like a monthly news update page which only lasted a few months. Five posts in total. I would have thought that Joss and people working with him would have been much more obsessive than that. Even more surprising is that you can't link back to the main Serenity site from the blog. The synopsis page is a tiny little pop-up with a couple of paragraphs. The most effort seems to have been put into Browncoats, the online community in which they hope to cultivate a rabid audience. But even that's not all that interesting. The old Firefly site (now the DVD promo site) had a lot more to offer.

I'm hoping this is all because all the creative energy has been put into the film production itself, and they just assumed that Whedon fans can be counted on to make our own fun.
**********************************
But I'm a sucker for online fun and distraction, so I joined The Browncoats. Now if only they'd update their banners:



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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:26 AM
Monday, November 29, 2004

Attack of the Wild Boor 

The Boor is holding court once more in the student lounge. This guy is the epitome of the saying about someone being like a car wreck - it's horrifying but you just have to keep watching. Or listening, in this case. And there's no tuning him out - he consumes all the air in any room.

This particular Boor has it all - booming voice, corner bar mannerisms, and complete confidence that he has the answers to any question anyone might possibly have. He is able to go on, and on, and on about topics ranging from the MPRE to Thanksgiving invitation etiquette to law school administration to the wisdom of alcohol at weddings. I've actually been blessed to hear his take on alcohol at weddings more than once - including this evening.

He's all for it. In fact, he can't understand and has no respect for anyone who fails to provide it. Cash bars are perfectly acceptable, but lack of alcohol is not, according to The Boor. One of his court jesters this evening actually had the temerity to inquire why lack of alcohol is "the worst thing," as The Boor had just proclaimed. Others suggested that perhaps the wedding party or their families had religious or other strictures against alcohol, or perhaps it's just too expensive, or they don't want people getting drunk and driving. He would have none of this.

If it's expensive - "they should have a cash bar."
If it's "a Mormon wedding, no one says that they have to drink."
If "you're a recovering alcoholic and you can't be in the same ROOM with alcohol? You've got a real problem."

But he has no problem despite his statement that alcohol is the only thing that can get him through a wedding, and he evaluates weddings based on the quantity of booze provided.

At another point this evening one of the Jesters talked about her high school reunion from this past weekend. She was telling the tale of some woman who "was really hot, I guess, but apparently is dumb as stones..."

The Boor cut her off at the knees at this point by interjecting (loudly, of course), "So? You say that like it's a bad thing." He then refused to yield the floor to allow her to finish telling her story.

And just in case you're thinking of inviting The Boor to your house for an event, don't even think of asking him to bring something. That is unacceptable. If he decides to ask you if he might bring something, then you may suggest that perhaps he could pick up some cookies from the grocery store.

Thus spake the Boor.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:55 PM

Thanksgiving Weekend Fabulosity 

We had a great time up in Maine, including a shopping trip to Ellsworth, "Crossroads of Downeast Maine." At least that's what the signs say. If you watched the phenomenal miniseries event Taken, on Sci-Fi Channel, you might recognize the name. It's where they set up the secret government research facility.

Lots of food, lots of nature walking, lots of fun, very little studying.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:50 AM
Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving Weekend Away 

Off The Girl and I go to Maine for the long weekend. Hopefully we'll make the 5 hour drive in less than 10 hours...

TV notes:

Joan was less of a tear fest last week, which was welcome. They did a good job at regressing the characters, but they couldn't hide the fact that Luke shouldn't have been taller than Joan in the flashbacks. And wow - talk about dysfunction! I hadn't pictured the family dynamic as being so drastically different before they moved to Arcadia.

Joan's face when Luke and Grace kissed in front of her. Priceless.

I watched Charmed last night on Tivo. Getting better, although I can't help thinking that they did this Avatar thing with Cole. He got to see the future he created, then his final act as Avatar was to de-Avatarize himself. Am I making this up?

Having Leo at least admit that he has something he can't tell anyone about is a nice change from the constant accusations and guilty secrecy. Perhaps we'll lose the brooding altogether. I really wouldn't mind.

Well, back to packing up my stuff. The Girl is at the grocery store picking up supplies for pomegranate punch, which we'll be making tomorrow, as well as sandwich material to keep us alive on the road trip. Then a couple of lattes will be in order as we hit the highway.

Ta till Monday. Have a lovely Thanksgiving all!

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:37 PM
Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Sound Bytes from the World O'Geeks 

This post brought to you courtesy of FMB, aka Latin Barbie, who is allowing me to excerpt a recent e-mail from her. She is a combination of geek, fashion girl, Ed Wood and Martha Stewart, with a healthy dose of OCD tendencies. Don't even ask about her pen collection - you'll never get away.

Anyway, she made a trip to Lenscrafters recently for some new specs. Commentary as follows:

A very cute stylish boy helped me to choose a very nice pair of frames that are quite contemporary and with-the-times. FMB is incapable of this task. I kept reverting back to my favorite safety blanket glasses - the thick tortoise shell plastic type that scream LATINA URKEL and he said "NO, NO, NO you are a Goddess, an Executive Assistant--show off your style Girl!!"

My response was "I don't have style I am a Geek and I love my safety glasses" and the WHOLE place started laughing! The glasses cost me $145 for the frames and a smidge more for the lenses-so I walked out spending about $300. Oy vey!

Geeks and glasses. Can't have one without the other.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:02 PM
Monday, November 22, 2004

Law School Breakdown Averted 

I've just survived my first law school near breakdown, and everything is fine now, thanks.

Thursday evening we had our last class meetings for Legal Research & Writing II, which is broken into sections of about 20 students each. The topic was general information on our upcoming moot court oral arguments, plus our assigned dates, courtrooms and opponents. My section's professor couldn't make it, so had arranged that we'd meet with another section to receive this information. About halfway through the class, those of us in my section started to look a bit nervous. We had finally spotted that on our assignment sheets, we were all listed as arguing the opposing side from our briefs.

After class we got together (some people hadn't yet noticed the discrepancy), and there was disagreement over whether this was an error or whether we were all changing sides for argument. This had been done in some sections last year, but generally those sections had some advanced notice in order to prepare. Our first arguments are scheduled for next Tuesday (after Thanksgiving), and our professor wasn't even available!!!

Of course I got all freaked out over this the longer I dwelled on it. I have exams, and reading, and a 5 hour drive each way for Thanksgiving, and where do I start, and what's the point of giving our opponents a copy of our brief when nothing we say will be related to anything in the brief and what was she thinking and is this a mistake but if it's not a mistake where do I start, I really think the side I briefed was the better side, and how can I say "if the court has no further questions, I rest on my brief," when I'm done if my brief has nothing to do with what I will have just finished saying, and AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

So I sent off an e-mail to the professor as soon as I got home, which was at 10:15, and then with The Girl's help I managed to put it out of my mind for the rest of the weekend and move on with the birthday celebration. But it was still there, lurking in the back of my consciousness, until today, when I finally received confirmation that it was indeed an error, and we will be arguing our own briefs.

Thank god. All better now, nothing to see here, move it along.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:40 PM

Prepatellar Bursitis 

I had an appointment with a knee specialist today, given the blob of fluid that has become ever present around my kneecap. I have prepatellar bursitis - i.e. I banged my knee really hard when I wiped out on my Razorboard, and now the protective fluid sac is swollen and tender. Should take 4-6 weeks to heal, during which time I must:

Ice 20 minutes at least twice a day.

Anti-inflammatories (Motrin, Aleve) twice a day.

No treadmill, bike, etc. at the gym. I can use the elliptical trainer for 20 minutes at a time, followed by ice.

In the future, always wear knee pads when doing any sort of fall inducing sport.

The Girl reminded me of this as we drove past a skateboard park in Burlington. Earlier I had commented that I wanted to try snowboarding, and then at the park I mused that perhaps I should get a skateboard.

"Okay, Knee Girl. Anything else you can take up to damage yourself more? How about a nice pogo stick? Maybe a unicycle?"

Sigh. It's part of why she loves me...

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:36 PM

Weekend in Vermont 

The Girl whisked me away for a surprise weekend trip to Burlington, Vermont, where we had a fabulous time. We stayed in a hotel on the shore of Lake Champlain, and our room had a fabulous view of the lake and the Adirondacks. The fun shopping/tourist mecca of the pedestrian mall on Church Street was within easy walking distance, and we made excellent use of all the shops and restaurants. Lake Champlain Chocolatier & Cafe received two visits: one on Saturday, then another on Sunday to pick up additional chocolate sustenance for the 3.5 hour drive home.

Saturday night's dinner was most delicious at Three Tomatoes Trattoria, where we learned the fascinating origins of the chicken pitcher. Sunday morning was breakfast at Henry's Diner, where I had the best mug of hot cider I've ever experienced! I think they put a shot of maple syrup in in it. YUM! The Girl said her sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on grilled english muffin was the best she'd ever had. Good 'n' greasy.

On the way home last evening we took a little dinner side trip in Manchester, NH, to have a broccolo pizza at Luigi's. The Girl's been telling me about this place for years, and it really was delish.

A great weekend, all around. After we unloaded the car, we curled up in front of the fire (okay, in front of the big tv while playing the new fireplace DVD we picked up in Burlington) and finished off the last of the goodies from Lake Champlain Chocolatiers.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:10 AM
Thursday, November 18, 2004

Behold the Gadget Goddess 

(To be read in a booming, pretentious voice)

I am a Gadget Goddess.
The Girl has great wisdom.
Ours is now a two Tivo household.
You may bask in the reflected glow of my good fortune.
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(Return to whatever voice you have assigned to me in your mind)

Upon my return home at 10:15 last night, I was greeted with a freshly prepared dinner of delicious steak with a divine marinade, accompanied by spicy sauteed shrimp atop a zesty remoulad served in a hipster martini glass. There were some veggies too, but do they really matter? This was followed by a birthday pudding and whipped cream, complete with candle. Apparently there was a logistical problem when she first prepared the dessert, as the nonfat whipped cream gradually melted and lost its shape, which left the candle floating in a white pond. Fresh topping was reapplied prior to presentation, however, and I never would have known if The Girl hadn't filled me in.

Then came the unwrapping of the rather large box, which came complete with three coordinating colored ribbons arranged in very professional curls. It was a Tivo!!!!!

I've been dancing around the idea of a second Tivo for some time, but The Girl always managed to convince me that we didn't really need one right now. In truth she was simply delaying me so she could get it for my birthday. She did an excellent job keeping it a secret - it nearly killed her.

So no more Sunday rushing about to clean up the kitchen and get upstairs in time to watch Cold Case "live" while Tivo records Charmed downstairs. No more rushing to get snacks during commercials while watching Cold Case or other show upstairs. No more having to choose which of two competing shows to record if we're not going to be home. We can continue watching Boston Legal once The L Word season starts. Life is good.

While The Girl commenced cleaning up after dinner, I said I was just going to "bring the Tivo upstairs." We're going away this weekend, and the plan was that Friday morning while The Girl was getting an oil change before we hit the road, I would set up and program the new addition. But once I got upstairs, I figured I'd just take it out of the box and maybe hook up the wiring. Of course, before I hooked up the wiring it seemed like it would be more convenient to have it with me while I was online activating the service (and listing ROGUESLAYERLAWSTUDENT@COMCAST.NET as the referring party, thus adding another 5,000 Tivo Rewards points to our account: hint, hint to anyone who is activating a new Tivo), so that's what I did.

Once you activate it, they say you'll need to wait a few hours before you'll be able to download the program data. But since I was up and The Girl was still working in the kitchen, it seemed logical to get all the wiring set up and start the Guided Setup (specifying your cable box brand and lineup, picking a local phone number for the programming calls, etc.). Once I got to the Download Programming section, I thought I'd give it a try. We had been activated! The downloading takes about 20 minutes, then it needs to process the data, which does take several hours the first time. Once the downloading was done and Tivo was merrily crunching the numbers in the background, I finished up my part by programming the Tivo remote to control the power on both the tv and the stereo. By this point The Girl was already in bed and asleep (I'd turned off the stereo so she wouldn't have to listen to the ubiquitous "be-boop" noises of Tivo programming). I turned off the light and went to sleep myself, secure in the knowledge that I truly am a Gadget Goddess.

Life is good.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:44 AM
Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Tivo and Advertising 

My first thought upon seeing this article:

Tivo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers

was "AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH."

Turns out that once again the headline is misleading. You'll still be able to fast-forward at 8x through the commercials, but they'll be adding some popup ads that you'll be able to see during the commercials (like the "Press the Thumbs Up button if you want to record this show" feature).

I don't mind this idea at all. It sounds like it won't slow down the time it takes to get through the commercials, and it will give you an idea of what might be of interest that you're skipping through. A lot of times I'll spot something flying by during commercials and I'll go back and check it out anyway. This will just force the advertisers to continue being creative in trying to get my attention. If they're not, I'll just continue on my speeding journey to the resumption of regularly scheduled programming.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:11 AM

Monster Thickburger 

Now this is a burger!!! Hardee's is thumbing their fleshy nose at the other fast food chains who have hitched their marketing wagons to health conscious menu modifications, and have announced their next best thing: The Monster Thickburger. This contains 2/3 pounds of beef (two one-third pound patties), 4 bacon strips, 3 American cheese slices and mayo on a buttered sesame seed bun. It also contains 1,420 calories, 107 grams of fat, 34 grams of saturated fat (double the RDA), nearly the entire RDA of sodium (couldn't find the exact amount), 228 mg of cholesterol and 52 grams of carbs.

Hardee's CEO Andrew Puzder has stated that this is "not a burger for tree-huggers... This is a burger for young hungry guys who want a really big, delicious, juicy, decadent burger."

Hey, you know not all environmentalists are vegetarians, and I'll bet some of them can work up quite an appetite.

What I find really funny is that Hardee's homepage features a prominent mini-trailer announcing the Monster Thickburger ("Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid." - if you click on it you're transferred to a $1 off coupon), and just below that is a banner inviting you to click here if you're looking for low carb choices, such as "burgers, bowls and more!" Guess they don't want to alienate completely all those tree-huggers and others seeking less unhealthy alternatives.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:38 AM

Registration Stuff 

Now that I'm approaching the second semester of my second year, evening division, I can finally start with some electives. Okay, one. I chose Land Use Law. Unfortunately, this class has a limit of 20 people, and seniors get priority. Bottom line: there are about 20 people ahead of me on the waitlist.

I just sent over my add request to the Registrar, for Environmental Law. This has a 30-person max, and didn't fill during the initial registration period. It will mean having class on Tuesday nights, which I was trying to avoid, but Land Use Law would have meant having some long stretches of classtime, like Mondays 4:30-9:40 (after working 8 hours during the day). So with this new schedule I'll have class 4 nights/week, but nothing before 6 pm.

I had to make a little run over to the Student Accounts Office yesterday, as I had received my statement of account from their office, and apparently I've been enrolled in the student insurance program at the cost of $1200/year, despite my having signed a waiver last spring. I'm paying plenty for insurance through my job, thank you very much. Yesterday I filled out a petition for late waiver, which has to go to the insurance company for approval. They require a "valid reason" for requesting a waiver at this late date. I hope mine is satisfactory: "I'm being charged for the insurance, even though I already signed a waiver." I should hear within a week.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:44 AM
Monday, November 15, 2004

Condi Rice - Diplomat? 


Movies, TV, Politics and More 

Okay, I've been slacking. The nuts and bolts of daily life are flying about at top speed. In an effort to catch up a bit, I present: The Dumping Ground.

Movies
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - This was fun, but make sure you see the first one before heading to this sequel. Most (okay, all) of the storyline and jokes are entirely dependent on your knowing what happened in the original. They provide a teeny tiny bit of exposition, but not enough to fill you in if you're a complete blank on the first one.

My one issue with The Edge of Reason is the gratuitous lesbian kiss (possible minor spoiler ahead). I kept reading all these press release based articles on how Renee and the other actress performed this kiss over about eight takes in an attempt to get it just right, and how the (impliedly male) crew were very enthusiastic about this. I expected it to be part of some integral plotline, and with some meaning behind it. Not. Shock value, pandering, gratuitous. And not even steamy. Just kind of a surprise peck on the lips. Who cares? Was it important to the storyline? Not particularly? Was it effective - well, yeah, you should have heard the gasps in the suburban audience. Then the follow up questioning among audience members regarding the other character ("She's a lesbian? Really?" Can you believe that?"). Yeah, I was feeling really comfortable sitting in the theater with my girlfriend while the rest of the crowd was apparently aghast at the lesbo action on screen, which consisted of about 3 seconds of closed mouth lip contact.

Shark Tale: A fun animated feature, but it never surpassed being just an extended cartoon. Lots of gags, lots of cultural references, movie quotes, big name voices, good music. But really just a long cartoon. Most of the characters didn't really have much development, and I didn't really come to care about them. For the most part I continued picturing the voiceover actors rather than watching the characters.

The Incredibles: Fabulous movie. This is a film that just happens to be animated. The artwork was great, the characters were multifaceted and developed over time, the writing was clever and witty and fun. Adolescent angst, middle age ennui, longing for the good old days, rebellion and second chances are all subjects. Go see it.

Television
Joan of Arcadia: Enough with the tear fests!!!! Why oh why did they kill off Judith? Why couldn't they have killed off Friedman? I need some lighthearted storylines. And I don't think this coming week's re-examination of the night of Kevin's accident is going to bring it. But I still love this show.

Enterprise: I can't even begin to tell you how immensely joyous I am that they've finally moved away from the freaking temporal cold war/hot war storyline. Now that they've moved back into character driven stories, I'm enjoying it a lot more. But why does T'Pol get to wear custom Vulcan/Starfleet hybrid jumpsuits instead of the official uniform that everyone else wears? She's added some subtle shoulder stripes, an arm patch and rank insignia, but that's about it. Plus the material is more satiny than velvety. I wonder if the rest of the crew are jealous?

Charmed: What-fucking-ever. I didn't even watch it this week. The Girl and I went to the movies, and I told Tivo to record Cold Case instead.

Lost: ROCKS!!!!!!!!!

Politics
Ashcroft out, Gonzeles likely in. Grab hold of your civil rights, you're going to need a stronger grip.

Powell out, unknown in. I have a great fear of Condi Rice as Secretary of State. Start stockpiling your emergency supplies.

School
Busy, busy, busy. Exams, papers, oral arguments are all rapidly approaching.

Life
The Girl is the best.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:42 AM
Friday, November 12, 2004

Corporate Move 

We received an e-mail at work today that the company is relocating in the spring, and the new office is convenient to pretty much nothing.

I could continue taking mass transit, if I'm willing to devote 2 hours each way to the commute, and be restricted to arriving at only 8 or 9 am, and leaving at either 5 or 6 pm, because those are the only times the local bus runs between the office and the commuter rail station, which is several miles away.

The closest stores of any type are about a mile away, so quick walks to get a sandwich are pretty much out.

Judging by the outside of the building (The Guyfriend and I took a little field trip out the Mass Pike to take a gander at the new digs), it's going to be cubicle city. We currently have private offices with big windows.

I'm so thrilled.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:30 PM
Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Texas School Books 

NPR's The Connection this hour is focusing on "Textbook Battles." The first guest is Cathie Adams, President of the Texas Eagle Forum. Host Dick Gordon asked her about the textbooks which only include abstinence in the discussion of birth control, and whether that is censorship based on moral judgments.

Her response was to point out that it's not a sex ed book, but a health textbook. Second was that information on other forms of contraception is indeed in the teacher edition, just not in the student edition. She then elaborated that this format is because abstinence is the preferred method, and the method they expect students to use, and that to include other information would be sending a mixed message. She wrapped up by stating that this sort of presentation works, and when students are given focused messages about sexual abstinence, they respond by being abstinent (well, this is a health class, so why don't they just send the students a focused message to be healthy, and be done with it?). He repeated his inquiry about whether this was a moral judgment (which did appear to be the basis of her statements), but she danced around responding directly.

If the idea is a focused message on abstinence as the only acceptable doctrine, then why do they even include the information in the teacher edition? It's valid information, but the students aren't allowed to have it? Well, yeah, I guess that is the idea. Hopefully the teachers will make use of the information, so U.S. Senator Jim DeMint won't have any unwed pregnant teachers to point to.

Ironically, the home page of the Texas Eagle Forum prominently features the Statue of Liberty, with her torch ablaze. Two notes: apparently their idea of liberty does not apply to information, and I'm wondering if the torch is fueled by burning books.

Also of note is that the Texas Eagle Forum home page has a news feed from World Net Daily. One of the news items currently listed is "Demi Moore beheaded in satire." Yeah, because beheading is always comedy gold, especially when you put an uppity woman in the hot seat.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:10 AM
Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Shopping Drama 

Last week I picked up some new workout clothes, in the hopes that I would then be motivated to go to the gym. Unfortunately, I didn't try the stuff on, and some of it fit but some of it was too small, depending on the brand. How depressing is that? I'm too fat for my workout clothes...

So today at lunch I took the stuff back to Sports Authority, and waited in line at customer service. She took the bag and said I could go pick out the replacements. Then I had to come back and wait in line again. When I got up to the guy at the register, the manager woman gave him my bag, and he began ringing out the old stuff and marking the receipt. While he was doing this, he said he would need my license.

"My license?"
"Yes, we need your license for any returns."
"I don't have my license. I have the credit card (debit card) I bought the stuff with."
"We mark them as returns, so I need your license."
"It's not a return, I'm exchanging them for the exact same item."
"We treat them as returns."

I didn't see any point in trying to force the issue, so I gave in.

"Well, just give everything back to me, because I don't have my license."

He looks at the manager, who nods, and then without saying anything he proceeds to continue ringing everything out and back in. I got $7 back because the shorts are on sale this week.

When she opened the cash drawer the manager said "Just for future reference, we do require a driver's license for any returns. It's printed right on the receipt."

"I wasn't returning - just exchanging for the exact same items."

If they had just treated it as an exchange they would have been up $7. By the way, they didn't ask me for my license when they originally processed my credit card last week.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:38 PM
Monday, November 08, 2004

Suggestions for Pres. Bush 

Yesterday Karl Rove told Fox News Sunday that Pres. Bush would be once more pressing Congress to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment, for the following reason:
"If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal, and the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman," Bush political aide Karl Rove told "Fox News Sunday."

The rationale appears to be that whatever is viewed as the ideal by the administration is in fact the ideal for every citizen of the country, and whatever does not match that ideal should be barred from existence. Accordingly, some suggested items in need of banning by constitutional amendment:
  • Divorce
  • Single parents for any reason
  • Homosexuality
  • Being unemployed and therefore unproductive
  • Any questioning of the administration's policies
  • The Establishment Clause
  • Condoms
  • Extramarital sexual activity (look out, Congress!)
  • Democrats
  • Michael Moore

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:02 AM
Sunday, November 07, 2004

Indigo Girl Fan Nears 40 

My 40th birthday is approaching. I'm a stalwart believer in this being no big thing. I ride my Razorboard through the city, I enjoy being active and going to silly movies and watching silly shows, I go to concerts. You get the picture.

But as part of my birthday package, The Girl took me to see the Indigo Girls last night at Lupo's at The Strand, in Providence, RI. This is a former theater (think opera set up - stage, balconies, etc.) that is now a night club and performance venue. We first worked our way to within 15 feet of the stage. Awesome. Then after a while listening to the warmup band, The Girl went off to scope out the rest of the place, as we're both rather short and had difficulty seeing without popping up onto our toes.

We ended up sitting way up in the top balcony, in the third row from the back (general admission), and were much happier. We chose the nosebleed seats over standing near the stage. I guess some concessions must be made to the years. Plus my knee is still sore from those two recent Razorboard wipeouts.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:01 AM
Thursday, November 04, 2004

I am Hope - and I Need It 

Courtesy of The Guyfriend:

You represent... hope.
You represent... hope.
You're quite a daydreamer and can be a hopeless
romantic. You enjoy being creative and don't
mind being alone at times. You have goals, and
know what you want in life... even if they are
a little far fetched.


What feeling do you represent?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:45 PM

What Your Computer Does While You're Away 

I don't know about you, but I certainly needed something to make me laugh today. The Guyfriend has provided it with this link.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:43 PM

Hit the Ground Running 

What did George Bush do on his first day (not a complete day, but the first day nonetheless) as the recognized President re-elect?

Accepts his Re-Election - Congratulates Kerry on his "spirited campaign," and his gracious concession; wishes John, Teresa and their family his and Laura's best wishes. He is humbled. Thanks his and Dick Cheney's family. Thanks supporters for hugs and prayers on the rope lines. America under his leadership "has restored the vigor of this economy", and "served the freedom of all mankind."

He pledges to reform the tax code, strengthen Social Security, "make public schools all they can be," and "uphold our deepest values of family and faith." We will assist the new governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, then bring our military home in honor. We will fight the war on terror "with good allies at our side."

And he reaches out:
"Reaching these goals will require the broad support of Americans. So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent: To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."

He then reinforces his image as the high plains rugged American, full of the blessings of God.

Also of note yesterday:

U.S. Jets Pound Parts of Fallujah

Hungary Joins Others in Pulling Troops From Iraq

White House: Debt Ceiling Must Be Raised

Stocks to Fall After Post-Election Rally

Iraqis Challenge Bush to Do Better Than Saddam

Kerry Concedes, Says He Hopes Healing Can Begin

Conservatives Cheer Gay Marriage Bans

Britain Sees No U.S. War Over Iran Nuclear Plans

Supreme Court Considers Reach of Age Bias Law

Cancer Keeps Rehnquist Home, Prolongs Concerns

Thank you for your pledges, President Bush. We'll be checking back on your progress, and whether you manage to have your actions match your words better in this coming term than in the current one.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:45 AM
Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kerry Reportedly to Concede at 1:00 pm 

NPR just announced that John Kerry has scheduled his concession speech for 1:00 pm today, Eastern time.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:09 AM

A Note About Theresa Heinz Kerry and Cultural Politics 

This morning my friend FMB e-mailed me the following:
My friend from NYC thinks that Theresa Heinz has a big mouth and hurt Kerry's campaign and it's costing him votes. What other opinions does anyone have?

I had an opinion, as follows:

I think the "big mouth" label that has been attached to Theresa Heinz Kerry is indicative of a still-ingrained cultural bias against independent women who aren't afraid to speak their minds and who don't hide behind their husbands.

I also think that the same people who would make their decision on a presidential election based on their opinion of whether the candidate's wife behaves herself in a quiet submissive manner are the same people who would be swayed by the scare tactics and distortions presented by the Bush campaign. In my opinion there is also a large overlap with the people who support Bush because they are afraid that allowing gay couples to marry would somehow invalidate their own marriage. And what's the current heterosexual divorce rate, even without it? Not to mention nondivorced couples who live an abusive, dysfunctional existence.

Wouldn't society be better off focusing on promoting the idea that people should respect each other and themselves, rather than finding a scapegoat on which to blame all of our culture's ills?

I'm once again reminded of the movie The American President, and the speech made by Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepard, addressing tactics of and accusations made by his presidential opponent, Bob Rumson (played by Richard Dreyfuss, looking not unlike Dick Cheney):
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism -- you tell them she's to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore.

And that, apparently, is still how you win elections.



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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:30 AM

The Morning After - Massachusetts Races 

Despite the determination of gay marriage opponents to send a message to Beacon Hill by ousting those legislators who voted against the proposed amendment, they failed. Despite Mitt Romney's determination to increase the number of Republicans on the Hill, he failed.

Not a single Democratic incumbent lost. The Republicans lost three seats - one in the state senate and two in the house.

Massachusetts' delegation to Washington is still entirely Democratic. Particularly satisfying to me is the defeat of rabidly anti-gay (marriage and otherwise) Massachusetts Family Institute President Ron Crews, who was vying for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent Jim McGovern defeated Crews 71% to 29% in District 3, where most of my rather large family resides.

Congratulations should go out to Republican Jeff Perry, who retained his seat as State Rep. for 5th Barnstable. Jeff is also a second year student in NESL's evening division. I don't particularly agree with his politics, but good for him for winning 66% to 34%.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:54 AM

The Morning After 

Copley Square is still awash with media. Starbuck's was peppered with staffers buying numerous hot foamy beverages to bring back to the folks relaying to the cameras and satellites their 7 millionth report from Kerry Central.

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card has determined that preemption also applies to voting. We don't need to count the votes - Bush wins! Because he just knows. He has faith.

However the final count goes, given the closeness of the race, wouldn't it be best to wait for the results, rather than adding to the muddle?

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:39 AM
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day 

I arrived at my Town Hall a bit before the polls opened at 7 am. This was not early enough to beat the crowds. But I got my vote in, and now I can just observe for the rest of the day. The Girl prefers to go after work (she prefers not to do anything that requires getting up early, except MAYBE golf), so I called her up and told her to make sure her MP3 player is fully charged before she heads over.

Copley was a zoo yesterday, but it was even worse today. All pedestrians are being routed through cattle chute type traffic patterns, and you can only get within about 20 feet (in the street) of the bus stop. I looked carefully for any signs indicating temporary bus stop areas, but there were none, plus the crowd control barrier was slightly askew directly out from the bus stop, seemingly to allow people to enter and exit the buses there. So another woman and I waited there for our bus. About 7 or 8 minutes later, the MBTA Inspector who had been sitting in his official vehicle about 30 feet away the entire time finally got out of the car and walked over to ask us which bus we were awaiting. He then directed us to the beginning of the block and across the street, to the temporary stop. There were no signs anywhere indicating this.

When the DNC was in town, the T put up all kinds of helpful signs and pointers, plus had scores of pleasant staffers standing by to assist visiting delagates. But when it's just the locals being displaced, forget it. We're on our own. This isn't meeting Mayor Menino's stated plans and projections:

"It's a great opportunity once again to shine the spotlight of the world on Boston," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "John Kerry will be president-elect, and it will be a very special night for the city.

"The city can handle this," Menino said. "We'll deploy the same kind of plan we had during the Democratic National Convention in late July."


But you know what? I really don't care, so long as the whole area is a big celebratory festival sometime before midnight tonight. The surrounding buildings are draped in bunting and American flags, people are exercising their right to vote in record numbers, and our chosen system is moving along as designed.

The Guyfriend and I are going in to Copley at lunch today, just to soak up the atmosphere. Hope is in the air.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:30 AM
Monday, November 01, 2004

Election Day Gear Up 

The entire Copley Square area is a sea of satellite trucks, media trailers, metal frame stands and support structures, crowd control barriers and wiring. All the sidewalks are blocked off, except for a little carved out area around the bus shelter. The buses can't actually pull over because of the media trucks parked there, but they do stop in the lane of traffic to let people on and off.

I awaited my bus this morning outside the CBS and Reuters trailers, while workers continued assembling the gigantic wood model of a waving flag behind the grandstand. I wonder what the City Year kids are going to do this morning? They usually assemble on the grass for morning calisthenics and work assignments. The grassy area in the middle of the square is now surrounded by all these trucks, plus the grass itself has been divided into sections with crowd control barriers.

But this is all good, so long as tomorrow night all this preparation is being put to good use in a massive election night celebration.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:17 AM