Friday, April 29, 2005

I'm Fine, Really 

So I had another new medical experience today - my first EKG. Last evening just before our first class, Criminal Procedure, I started developing a headache. By the end of Crim Pro it was killing me and I was having a little nausea as well. I took a couple of ibuprofen before Property, and by end of that it was a little better, but still there. I was starting to feel generally unwell, though. I thought about calling it a night, but there was only one class left for the semester, Law & Ethics of Lawyering, and we were getting our take home exams, so I hung in. In the middle of class my heart started thumping and racing to beat the band. It only lasted maybe 30 seconds, but it was rather disturbing.

After class my friend and I walked over to the T station to catch the Orange Line, and by the time we got there I was feeling rather sweaty and shaky. But the headache was less. I didn't feel like going right to sleep when I got home, so I watched tv and felt my chest getting tight. Finally I gave up and went to bed, eventually falling asleep.

Woke up this morning still with a low level headache, upper back ache, and a dull pressure on my chest. I had scheduled a vacation day to study, so I stayed in bed and watched Grey's Anatomy. Eventually I got up and had breakfast, and The Girl called to see if I was up yet. As soon as I told her my tale, she was reciting our doctor's number over the phone. Finally I gave in and called. Turns out that my doctor's on vacation, so I asked if maybe I should see someone else in the office, and explained my symptoms.

*Brief pause.* "How soon can you get to the office?"

Okay, guess I'll be going into town today.

An hour later I'm at the doctor's office, and about 30 minutes after that they've got me hooked up to an EKG. The technician told me it would only take a couple of minutes, and she was right. And most of that was just attaching all the sticky lead pads and taking them off. The actual cardiogram took about 15 seconds, if that. Get dressed, meet the doctor in his office (this is the same guy that drained my fluid swollen knee last fall. Not the knee specialist - I went to that guy after the fluid came back after the draining.).

Anyway, bottom line is that my heart and lungs are perfectly fine. But I have lots and lots of tension in my neck. In the examining room he took my head and gently tilted it forward - no problem - then gently tipped it back. I nearly jumped off the table. He thinks that the tension caused the headache, and that last night the pain got bad enough to cause a little sympathetic response from my nervous system, leading to the racing heart, nausea and sweating. The chest tightness and muscles aches between my shoulder blades he also attributes to stress.

Prescription: try to get through finals with enough sleep, food and exercise, then take a break and try to relax. Huh. Who knew?

He did ask if I wanted something to help me relax and/or sleep, but I passed. I'll stick with a hot bath and some Sleepytime tea, or perhaps some Tension Tamer. Plus I've got Monday off as a vacation day as well. I'll be studying, but that beats being at work and fretting over the fact that I'd rather be studying. Hmm. Think I'll have some of that tea now.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:16 PM

Friday Random Ten-The girl's edition 

My girl is at home and she has sadly left her player in the office so I am filling in on the Friday
Random we go!

(Edited by RSLS to add: Play random from everything on your MP3 player, list the first 10 that pop up on your own blog, here and at the host, feministe.)

1. How would I know-Melissa Etheridge-Breakdown
2. Kensington Line-Big Head Todd & the monsters
3. Radio Free Europe-REM-eponymous
4. Sultans of Swing-Dire Straits
5. Perfect Fit-Van Morrison-Days Like this
6. Good Feelings-Jon Secada-Heart Soul & A Voice
7. If you could read my mind-Brainstorm-Studio 54
8. Stay up late-Talking heads-
9. Baby can I hold you-Tracey Chapman
10. Virtue-Ce Ce Peniston-finally

Bonus tracks
1. Who's Zoomin Who-Aretha Franklin- Greatest hits-1980-94
2. How sweet it is (to be loved by you) James Taylor-Greatest hits
3. Falling for the first time-Barenaked Ladies-All their greatest hits

Posted by The Girl at 9:51 AM
Thursday, April 28, 2005

Kit Gets a Vote!! 

This just in: someone finally voted for Kit as the Hottest L Word Chick. This poll has been up for a while now, but poor Kit until today was getting no love. I don't know if this was a pity vote or what, but it's nice to see her not left completely in the dust. Tina hasn't been doing much better, but she's at least racked up three votes. These mostly came in the aftermath of the commencement of her affair with Helena.

Shane and Bette are clearly still the hands down leaders.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:27 PM

Last Day of Classes 

Last evening of classes for the semester tonight. It was supposed to be last night, but tonight we have a make up day for Monday classes missed due to one of the winter's big snowstorms.

I'm proud to say that I've been designated the winner of the IM Conference Throw-Off award (top two positions, actually). My second place entry was caused by the January reintroduction of the Subservient Stickman.

Last night's winning event of the year was prompted by a class-related inquiry on whether each of us in the conference would be attending this Sunday's review session. One person mentioned that she can't, because she has to attend her boyfriend's family's celebration of Orthodox Easter this Sunday, which will involve many hours of travel each way. That led to a discussion of whether they roast a whole lamb, to be followed by the men fighting over who gets to eat the yummy eyeballs (this is a favorite story of another friend when describing her own family's Greek Orthodox Easter). This in turn led to a comment that male relatives of a couple of us do enjoy eating other organs, such as the ones that come in that gross little package in the Thanksgiving turkey.

My stream of consciousness then brought up an article in the issue of Vanity Fair article my sister brought with her on her recent visit. It was about the uber yachts of the obscenely wealthy, one of which is the Christina O, the yacht that Aristotle Onassis had completely renovated and customized. One of his favorite features was the barstools in Ari's Bar, the nautical themed lounge area. They're upholstered in whale foreskins. Yes, you read this correctly. I can only imagine what sort of google search hits I'll be getting now.

Unfortunately, instead of simply creating the "Ew" factor I had intended, it produced some giggles which could not be held in. Those giggles produced sympathy giggles from the surrounding area, and so on. And we still had 40 minutes left of class. It was not a pretty sight. I rely on my 24 ounce Lexan water bottle to hide my smirk, and when I can't hold in any noise I turn it into a cough and drink some more water. My nonconferenced friend who sits behind me started thinking that I was actually choking or something, and grew quite concerned, but then she noticed the shoulder shaking going on with my neighbors, and figured it was just a distracted laughter thing. After class a friend from a few rows back commented that he thought we were going to fall under the desks eventually.

But we made it through without being called on it and without entirely losing control. It was tough, though. Clearly the lesson of the subservient stickman was not retained. Hopefully the lesson of the whale foreskin will have better staying power. So to speak. I'm sorry, I can't help it. Sigh. It's been a long year.

For more information on the yacht, and information on private charters, check out Magical Journeys.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:55 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Minority Rights v. Majority Rule 

Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex) on NPR's Talk of the Nation, about 10 minutes ago, in a discussion of eliminating the filibuster when it comes to judicial nominees:
This is not about protecting minority rights. This is about allowing the majority to govern.
Yep. This isn't about the filibuster being specifically instituted to prevent a simple majority from being able to impose their policies at the expense of a minority. It's about allowing the present majority of Republicans to force through that very small number of judicial nominees to which so many Senators object that the supporters would not be able to muster a 2/3 majority show of support.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:47 PM

Bible Class in Texas High School 

The school board of Odessa, Texas has approved a Bible class for inclusion in the high school curriculum, to begin next fall (2006).

Supporters of the class frame it as a "history or literature" course, and will use the Bible to teach about middle eastern geography, art appreciation, and other ways in which bibilical teachings have influenced "history and culture." The course would be based on courses designed by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. The course, and others like it, is opposed by People for the American Way and the ACLU.

I took a look at the NCBCPS (that's quite a mouthful of consonants) website, and I hope their curriculum is better designed than their introductory letter. It looks to me like they took the topic headings from the outline of their talking points and simply strung them together along with a "Dear Friend" salutation, and an overly dramatic call to use their program because:
"The world is watching to see if we will be motivated to impact our culture, to deal with the moral crises in our society, and reclaim our families and children."

The world may be watching, but to see if we are going to turn our backs on our long-proclaimed principle of not using government to either inhibit OR endorse any particular religion. If their program is not intended to impart Christian teachings (as they specifically state), then how will this class on literature, history and geography teach children to "deal with the moral crises in our society," and what exactly is currently holding our families and children hostage?

Their discussions of their program describe an effort to impart Christian teachings in the school system. They quote Supreme Court Justice Clark to justify their approach:
It might be well said that one's education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literacy and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.
But the curriculum they describe isn't comparative religion or history of religion. It's religious teaching in disguise. If they feel that not enough people are going to church to learn the tenets of Christianity as this group interprets them, then work on getting more people into the pews, not on moving the pews into the public schools and engaging in religious outreach on the dime of the entire community.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:57 PM

The Interpreter 

We saw The Interpreter this weekend, starring Nicole Kidman as a United Nations interpreter who overhears what appears to be a discussion on the floor of the General Assembly of an assassination plot against the embattled and corrupt head of an African nation, and Sean Penn as a Secret Service agent in the Foreign Dignitary Protection team, who is assigned to investigate her claims. The potential target is scheduled to speak at the UN in the coming days, and Penn's team is assigned to protect him.

I really liked the film. Nicole Kidman was absolutely entrancing. Her character is all about language and communication, and through her we hear greater depth than is normally emphasized in the soundtrack of a feature. Sean Penn's agent is all about the visual, and the cinematography and the focus of the lens reflects his perception. They both are dealing with various tragedies and torments, but we're not beaten over the head with them. Their stories evolve slowly, and not obviously. I personally have great enthusiasm for the mission of the UN, and I enjoyed hearing my feelings stated so passionately and articulately by Nicole Kidman's war weary interpreter.

The Girl found The Interpreter rather difficult to follow at times because of the many background stories that are given time to evolve and coalesce, and I have to agree that it's not an easy tale to follow. But I found that made it more plausible, because what events in life are as easy to predict as the plot of most movies?

As he ages, Sean Penn reminds me more and more of Dustin Hoffman. Nicole Kidman just took my breath away.

Director Sydney Pollack (who also has a small role) spoke in an article today about the privilege of being the first director allowed to film inside the UN. A UN committee initially rejected his request, but he appealed directly to Secretary General Kofi Annan, who eventually granted permission. The UN retained the right to retract that permission and eject the cast and crew from the premises should anything unseemly go on. I think the final project is one the officials won't regret having allowed.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:34 PM
Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Texas Fined Under No Child Left Behind 

I've been clear about my position regarding the ironically named No Child Left Behind program. See earlier posts on paid propaganda, possible end outcome, limitations on free speech at "blue ribbon schools," and comments by a couple of speakers at the 2004 Democratic National Campaign.

Now comes the news that Education Secretary Margaret Spelling (of the school of thought holding that animated bunnies should not converse with lesbian moms) has announced a $444,282 fine against the Texas Dept. of Education for a 6-week delay in notifying schools and school districts about their status regarding NCLB student achievement benchmarks on required standardized test.

The delay came about because the administration declared that school systems could only allow 1% of disabled students to take alternative exams, but Texas ignored this requirement and approximately 9% of disabled students took the alternative tests. The Dept. of Education has determined that this action resulted in illegitimately higher total scores for "hundreds" of schools in Texas.

What is the purpose of this 1% limitation? Can it be hypothesized that in the long run this would discourage schools from accomodating special needs kids? Would these kids then end up concentrated at schools that are willing to accomodate, but which are then punished if the resulting test scores fail to meet benchmarks? Only 1% of the students could take anything but the standard test, after all. I've speculated before on the long term effects of this program, and this news does nothing to invalidate my conclusions.

School doesn't meet benchmarks. Funding is cut and vouchers are issued. Modestly wealthy parents use these vouchers to pay part of the tuition at private schools (while poor families still couldn't swing the tuition, even with the voucher). Poor and special needs students become a higher percentage of the population at now lower funded schools, and the downhill trend spirals. The children of the privileged receive a higher proportion of quality education and in turn go on to take their places in the halls of power.

Quite a system, eh?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:32 AM

Bush + DeLay = Anchor Synergy? 

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and President Bush are both facing mounting problems, with polls showing decreasing confidence in both the president and congress, charges of DeLay's ethics violations, criticism of congressional and executive involvement in the Terri Schiavo case, and DeLay's harsh criticism of the judiciary, among other things. In response, it appears that instead of distancing themselves from each other, the two are strengthening their bonds.

Bush has recruited DeLay to join the efforts hyping the administration's proposed Social Security privatization plan, which is widely criticized but to which Bush has pledged a large portion of his "political capital" accrued during his first term and last year's presidential campaign. I know, I know - Rep. DeLay is considered a powerhouse in Washington, so it seems logical for Bush to want to be on his good side. But I really think that DeLay's train is pulling out of the station and heading over to the less powerful part of town, and I'm thinking that Bush would be better off not calling on someone with so many ethics and honesty clouds hanging over his head to convince the American people that Bush is being truthful and straightforward in his Social Security modification proposals.

Then again, perhaps in the long run it would be best for all of us if Bush and DeLay hung tight and dragged each other down. Hmm.

Gentlemen: Carry on.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:08 AM
Monday, April 25, 2005

The L Word - Late, Later, Latent 

Yeah, I'm a bit behind. I haven't watched last night's episode, and I haven't written up last week's episode. I blame this on the long-awaited, incredible, mind-blowing sex scene between Bette and Tina. I'm still recovering. I was dismantled.

Then Tina pretty much gave Bette the boot, but said they can still be friends. Then Helena shows up (after Tina accused Helena of being ashamed of Tina's apartment), and Tina has a major confrontation with her about Helena's controlling, manipulative, exhibitionist ways. It was great!!! But then she told Helena not to leave, but to stay and service Tina. Needless to say, Helena did not stay, because Helena only does what Helena controls. I would have preferred it if Tina had simply tossed Helena out on her pretentious ass after the verbal smackdown.

Jenny finds Mark's surveillance tapes and views Carmen and Shane confessing their true love for each other, and Carmen's dismissal of Jenny as not being able to "recognize the real thing if it bit her in the ass." Jenny was dismantled, but went to her first session with Tony Western Stud (Sandra got them back together for the book), and TWS sees how upset she is, so they bond over their love gone wrong stories, TWS confesses that he's gay but he keeps his arrangements secret (you think?) and will kill her if she tells anyone. She laughs, but he assures her he's serious.

Ivan makes a brief appearance when Kit goes to an AA meeting after Benjamin TOE cancels a date for which Kit has prepared an elaborate dinner, including lobster flown in from Maine. He and Kit head out to some club that isn't Planet Kit, and Kit finds that Ivan is actually in a 5-year relationship. Whoops - forgot to mention that. Ivan doesn't see any fault on his part - it would appear that all Bette's magical rehabilition is being fueled by all the good karma that Ivan just lost. Bye Ivan! Don't think we'll be seeing you again, or at least not in the same way.

The episode closed with Alice getting her wish from last week.

On a side note, Bette's ratings continue to climb in the RSLS poll.

Next week (actually, yesterday, but whatever): Olivia cruising, and Ossie Davis makes a posthumous appearance as the still uptight Mr. Porter.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:09 PM
Friday, April 22, 2005

Registration Glitch 

Shit. I'm fourth on the wait list for Advanced Constitutional Law: Civil Rights. Now I've got to find another two credit course that doesn't conflict with any of my other four courses. I'm thinking of possibly Education Law or Aviation Law.

I have enough to think about without this.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:07 PM

President Bush and Earth Day 

I found it interesting this morning when I heard that Pres. Bush would be visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park today to celebrate Earth Day by working on some trail restoration and of course giving a speech. This was right after the news item about one of the riders attached to the war spending bill being to open up ANWR for drilling, an effort that Bush feels is important for reducing American dependence on foreign oil. This is also shortly after Congress failed to pass an amendment that would have required federal research over the next 13 years on how to reduce oil consumption by 1 million barrels per day. Why reduce usage when we can just suck more oil out of a wildlife refuge?

Of course, the particular park of choice was appropriate, given that it's the most polluted national park. Sort of a glimpse of things to come should the President's environmental agenda come to fruition.

Now I see that his trip to the park was cancelled due to inclement weather. Yeah, this sounds more like him. He's willing to get his hands dirty and do some environmental work, as long as he'd look good for the camera while doing it. But he did make a brief speech at the airport outside Knoxville (in the general vicinity of the park), where he had these words of praise for the citizens who live near this park plagued by soot, smog, and acid rain:
"One of the greatest responsibilities in a free society is responsible stewardship of our natural environment," Bush said Thursday at the White House. "All of you have taken that duty seriously. You have set a clear and strong example, and you're inspiring others to do their part."
Oh yeah, I'm feeling inspired. After his laudatory speech on the locals' environmental efforts, he hopped back aboard Air Force One to jet off to Crawford, where he'll be hosting the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia starting this coming Monday. Think they'll be talking about ways in which we can reduce American reliance on foreign oil?

For more inspiration, see the following posts on endangered species (and ANWR), mercury, Clear Skies Initiative (and here). I see that the environment isn't included among the list of highlighted issues on the White House website. There are four items under "Environment & Energy" on the expanded issues page, though. The listings are Energy, Environment, Everglades and Healthy Forests. Go ahead and poke around, but be sure to read the documents themselves, not just the titles and glowing press releases.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:54 PM

Online Research Points Tramp 

I try to remember to log on to both Westlaw and Lexis daily in order to hoard as many of those reward points as possible. I take the tutorials, I click the bonus questions, you name it. I live for the occasions that I'm an instant winner. I'm hoping to cash in some of the points shortly for some summer reading (Lexis) and perhaps a digital camera (Westlaw).

Now I'm one damn Westlaw Trivia question away from the next bonus level, but I've played the maximum 7 times already this week!!! Why must I wait, why?????? It's bad enough we have to wait a millenium for our grades every semester. Is there no such thing as instant gratification for law students?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:06 AM

Friday Random Ten - Last Edition During Classes This Semester 

Yes, this is the last Friday that falls during the class schedule this semester. Unfortunately, I actually have a makeup class tonight, due to this winter's various snowstorms. Tonight is a Wednesday class schedule, but only one professor decided he needed to have a makeup class tonight. Classes are supposed to end next Wednesday, but next Thursday is a makeup Monday, so I'll be in class until 9:40 that night. Then it's reading period and exams.

But back to the task at hand. Load the MP3 player with everything. Hit Random/Shuffle. List ten here, on your blog (if applicable) and at the host, feministe.

  • Blow Gabriel, Blow - Jonathan Pryce - De-Lovely film soundtrack (yes, I cried during this scene)

  • Charlie's Angels 2000 - Apollo Four Forty - Charlie's Angels film soundtrack this is a repeat Friday Random Ten performance)

  • Leader of the Pack - Bette Midler - The Divine Miss M (Melissa Etheridge does a good version of this too)

  • Never Saw Blue Like That - Shawn Colvin - Runaway Bride film soundtrack (I love, love, love this movie. It makes The Girl crazy that I can watch it over and over and over, sometimes two times in a row)

  • White Christmas - Otis Redding - Love Actually (We need a little Christmas, right this very minute...

Bonus Track:

  • Mmm My Best Friend - Sophie B. Hawkins - Timbre (this song is a must for anyone whose dog really is their best friend)

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:01 AM
Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bridal and Prom Spam 

I've finally been hit by a multi-comment spammer. Around 6:30 this morning someone reached the blog by doing a Yahoo search on the following search words: prom gowns archives blogs. That led the spammer here from their location somewhere in the Pacific Rim, in the Russian Federation Zone 3 time zone (IP address, where the person proceeded to leave eight comments, one in each of eight separate posts. Each post was completely unrelated to the subject of the comment, which was basically an ad for their website selling prom and bridal gowns.

These comments were attached to posts on the new pope, Desperate Housewives & The Librarian: Quest For the Spear, the Boston Marathon, the new home wireless network, law review (the person skipped the Friday Random 10 post - what on earth are the criteria here?), being overwhelmed, Lost: Do No Harm, and snow in April. The next post in the chain would have been the one on the Muzzle Awards.

In an ironic tribute to the Muzzle Awards, I am stifling the spammer's assertion of free speech and deleting the posts. In the past I've left the occasional self-serving promotional comment if it was in any way related to the post, or if the author at least made a surface attempt to try to link it. You know, "Hey, great post! By the way, you might want to check out..." But this person didn't even make the effort, and the websites they link to look a bit questionable.


Here's the link to one of the sites (they all seem to be linked to each other) if you want to satisfy your curiosity, but don't say I didn't warn you if you decide to purchase your next gown there and you run into problems.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:07 AM
Tuesday, April 19, 2005

White Smoke Signals Stormy Skies 

The voting cardinals have taken the conservative, business as usual route and selected German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope. The 78-year-old will be known as Pope Benedict XVI. Previously Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Wondering what some of his beliefs regarding the world are? From the Yahoo article:
On Monday, Ratzinger, who was the powerful dean of the College of Cardinals, used his homily at the Mass dedicated to electing the next pope to warn the faithful about tendencies that he considered dangers to the faith: sects, ideologies like Marxism, liberalism, atheism, agnosticism and relativism — the ideology that there are no absolute truths.
Cardinal Ratzinger was also behind many of the Vatican's publications and statements condemning homosexuality, same sex marriage, and catholic politicians who do not vote according to church teachings. Several of the documents, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, can be found in a variety of languages on their website.

I'd say there are stormy seas ahead for progressives.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:05 PM

TV News - Desperate Housewives, Librarian 

Sci-Fi Wire reports that TNT will be making a sequel to The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, to be aired this fall. It will once again star Noah Wyle in his role as an uber geek academic who discovers his inner tomb raider while safeguarding a library full of magical mystical but not so mythical archeological pieces. I'm psyched!

Way down on Sci-Fi Weekly's news items this week, in the Briefly Noted section, is the info that Alfre Woodard will be joining Desperate Housewives, as a guest for the season finale and then as a regular for next season. She might need her second ray gun to defend herself against her new neighbors on Wisteria Lane.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:03 AM

Marathon Wrap 

Copley Square was litter free this morning, but the huge tents and trailers were still in place. I waited for my bus just a few yards from the Boston Marathon Command Headquarters and the Boston EMS trucks.

Final results on those I was tracking:

Classmate: It appears that he made it to the halfway mark in 2:57:47, but didn't make it to the next checkpoint at 25k. He was on track to a 5:55:26 finish. Well, he made it about 12 miles further than I likely could have, and all for the good cause of Dana-Farber's Jimmy Fund.

Professor: Her official time was 3:25:38, minus her offset time gives her a net time of 3:23:06. Phew! She averaged a 7:45 minute/mile pace, and finished 196th in her division, 2803 overall. Congratulations!

JAG's David James Elliott: Official time 4:11:58, net time 4:08:10. Pace of 9:28, and finished 2966 in his division, 10,173 overall.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening assembling the Stamina Bandflex machine that arrived last week, and it was quite a project. Although I didn't run the marathon, I'm indeed rather achy today from the four hour construction project and ensuing testing.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:38 AM
Monday, April 18, 2005

Multimedia Bliss 

The Girl and I became wireless over the weekend. We've got the wireless access point hooked into the router, with adapters on both Tivos. We're now sitting in the living room watching the marathon while I check the online athlete tracking for my classmate and my professor. The women's race is nearing an end, so we've stopped the back and forth viewing of Grey's Anatomy, which we transferred from the upstairs Tivo to the downstairs one. This is so fucking cool.

By the way, my environmental law professor has passed the halfway mark and is on a projected time of 3:13, which is exactly what her projecteed was at 15 and 20k. Runnin' steady. She had a start offset of 2:34 minutes.

My classmate has completed 10k and is on track for a 5:24 finish. At 5k he was on track for 5:09. Hopefully he's just settling into his pace.
UPDATE (2:02 pm): Professor has finished 25k and is projected at 3:14:19. picking up speed.

I see Harmon Rabb, aka David James Elliott, has finished 15k and is on track for a 3:54:03 finish. I just found out that JAG is finishing this season. I love that show. I knew that he was leaving the show, but I thought they were trying to generate new characters and storylines. What will Catherine Bell be doing next?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:51 PM
Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday Random Ten - What May Come Edition 

Friday Random Ten. Load the MP3 player, hit Shuffle, List 10. Note them here and at the host, feministe. And check out feministe's bonus track.

  • We're Not Gonna Take It - The Who - Tommy (See me, feel me, touch me, heal me. Again - love this album!)
  • The Joker - kd lang - Drag (I saw her perform at Symphony Hall in Boston when she was promoting this album. Turns out The Girl was at the same show, which was a few years before we met. kd lang is phenomenal live!)
  • Papa, Can You Hear Me? - Barbra Streisand - Yentl
  • Nuevo Sol - Strunz & Farah - Gypsy Fire (nothing like a little flamenco to get you going during the post lunch slump)
  • Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover - Melissa Etheridge & Sophie B. Hawkins - VH1 Duets (Damn, I love this version)
Bonus Tracks:
  • All Star - Smash Mouth - Shrek soundtrack (You'll never know if you don't go, you'll never shine if you don't glow) (Only shooting stars break the mold)
  • I Am Calling You - Jevetta Steele - Bagdad Cafe film soundtrack (I love this movie. The Girl thought it was weird and boring.)

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:06 PM
Thursday, April 14, 2005

Another Log on the Stress Fire 

In addition to the usual daily dilemmas and duties to which I need to attend, a new one has appeared: should I apply for Law Review? NESL has one-stop shopping for the New England Law Review, the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, and the New England Journal of International and Comparative Law. Applicants are judged on a combination of GPA and score on the assigned writing assignment.

On the one hand, taking part in law review or one of the journals does provide a little bit of extra oomph on the resume, which is especially handy when attending an evening program at a lower tier school. On the other hand, it's another time consumer. I'm already on the executive boards of two student groups, plus I work full time, and I'll be taking five classes (12 credits) next semester. Plus the writing submission will be due before the wedding. Can I juggle wedding preparations and paper production simultaneously? What to do, what to do?

In the meantime, I'm taking particular amusement in the Associate Member description for the New England Law Review:
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS - Associate members are first year members of the law review. They play a crucial role in the production process by completing cite chekcing and proofreading assignments. Associate members also write a comment or a note for consideration for publication in the next volume of the law review. Students gain membership to the New England Law Review by competing in the Summer Writing Competition. For more information on membership, click here.
Do I get extra credit for noting the typo in the description? It's particularly ironic, given the proximity of the typo to the word "proofreading." Hopefully this will be taken care of before long.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:40 PM


So much to do.

Homework, exam preparation, group projects, work, taxes, cleaning, bills, wedding, exercise, airport pickup/dropoff, appointments to make, financial organizing, network setup, various household projects.

I'm all a-swirl.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:37 AM
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lost - Do No Harm 

Boone is bleeding. Jack won't give up. Hey - it worked on Charlie, didn't it?

Once again it's Flashback Jack Day, in which we see his father point out that Jack doesn't know how to let go. We also see that Jack got married at some point prior to Daddy's big trip to Australia. His bride is a woman who was in some sort of terrible accident and was paralyzed. All the doctors said she'd never walk again, but Jack wouldn't let go, and there she was ready to dance at her wedding. Daddy wonders whether Jack really loves her or whether the wedding is simply the most recent manifestation of his inability to let go. During the ceremony, Jack admits that he doesn't know how to let go, and we all think he's going to dump her at the ocean view gazebo, but instead he professes his undying love and that in fact she fixed him, not the other way around.

Something clearly happened to the happy couple sometime before Jack's big trip to Australia, since he isn't wearing a wedding ring (that I've noticed), and he doesn't seem to be mooning over his distant love.

Back to Bloody Boone. He's a mess. Collapsed lung, massive internal bleeding, multiple fractures, and blood pooling in his crushed leg. Jack figures out that this wasn't a simple fall but was the result of a massive crush injury. In his state of shock, Boone makes statements about Locke and the Mystery Hatch, and how Locke didn't want Boone to tell anyone. Jack looks concerned at these revelations, but returns to the medical task and sends Charley to find out if anyone has type A negative blood, which Boone was able to tell Sun is his blood type. Sadly, no go. This gives Jack an opportunity to pour not just his sweat but also his blood into saving Boone, as Jack has O negative blood (so do I). There's still a chance for a bad reaction, but it's the best they've got. Sun has also saved the day by plucking a sea urchin from the water in order to provide a fair approximation of a blood vessel-piercing needle.

After Jack starts looking rather corpse-like himself, Sun finally yanks the urchin spine from his arm and tells him he's given enough. Trouble is, the leg injuries are causing the blood to pool and not circulate. The leg's gotta go. Jack and Michael test out the log splitting device they had apparently built from part of the plane hull, and decide that it will do nicely for a leg guillotine. Jin isn't convinced that it's going to do any good, and thinks that perhaps it's time for Jack to face facts, let go and let Boone depart with some dignity. No dice. Just as Jack's about to pull down the slicer, Boone wakes up and tells Jack to let him go. Jack struggles, clenches his jaw, moves the slicer up and down a little, the exhales and of course realizes that Boone's right. He moves Boone back to his comfy blanket, Boone thanks him for trying and asks him to tell Shannon...

And Boone's gone.

Throughout this whole ordeal, Claire has gone into labor by herself in the jungle. Kate finds her while on the way back to the hospital camp with all of Sawyer's alcohol to help with the Boone sterile field project. I have to give Sawyer credit - he gave up the booze without even a complaint as soon as Kate said they needed it for Boone. Some of the bottles broke when Kate fell on her pack. Anyway, Claire can't walk to the hospital camp. Kate starts screaming bloody hell, which Jin hears from the beach and he goes running to find the source. Kate sends Jin to deliver the alcohol and to retrieve Jack. It wasn't too hard for him to figure out what Kate was asking for, given the obvious nature of the medical emergency. Jack sends Jin and Charlie back with instructions on how Kate should deliver the baby.

Claire, meanwhile, is trying to use the power of denial to stop labor. She's afraid the baby will sense that she wanted to give him up, and he'll hold it against her. Kate finally convinces her that Claire definitely wants the baby now, and the baby will feel that even more. Commence delivery. The net population of the island remains steady, as the baby comes into the world just fine at around the same time that Boone took off.

Poignant contrast scene at the end of the episode, as the maternity ward returns to the beach and everyone gathers to ooh and ah at the tiny little new life. At exactly the same time, Shannon and Sayid return from their beach date on another part of the island, and Jack walks away from the crowd to meet them and deliver the bad news. We don't hear what he says, but just see them talking while the soundtrack plays, and we see Shannon's reaction as it sinks in. We then see Shannon staring down at Boone's body, and she slowly crumples up in unrestrained grief. She used and manipulated him most of their lives, but she loved him and now she'll never have a chance to make it up to him.

Last shot is Jack on the beach, and Kate asking if he wants to talk about Boone's death. Jack's response: "Boone didn't die. He was murdered." He then starts walking away. "Where are you going?"

"To find John Locke." Drum beat close. "Lost" displays.

I love how this show opens and closes. No big deal theme song, no action shots of the stars. Just "Lost."

Next week (tonight - I know, I'm behind again): Repeat of how Special Walt is.

There are five new hours left for the season, plus a special catch-up episode. The special, "Lost: The Journey," airs April 27, followed by four consecutive weeks of new shows, including the two hour season finale on May 25.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:59 PM

April Showers Bring May Flowers. What Does April Snow Bring? 

It was snowing last evening. Less than a week before the marathon, with flowers bursting forth all over the place and people abandoning their warm coats and some even donning shorts, winter gasped its (hopefully) last gasp. It melted right away, but this morning I had ice on my windshield. I've had enough. I'm ready for sunshine, warm weather and trips to the beach.

Speaking of the marathon, preparations are fully underway around here. The banners started appearing around Back Bay a week ago or so, registered runners are listed on the BAA website, and this morning the structures started going up in Copley Square. One of my classmates and one of my professors are running this year, and we all wish them success. They're both registered, so we'll be able to track their progress as they each pass the 5k marks along the route. I'm taking a vacation day on Monday to avoid delays from the various road closures and massive numbers of people who will be in town. Classes at NESL are cancelled on Monday, so it will be a real day off for me! Details on the various street closings by town, with more detail on the streets of Boston, here. By the way - some of the street closings in Boston are starting today.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Muzzle Awards 2005 

It's time for the annual Muzzle Awards, presented by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. See last year's post for links to the 2004 winners and my comments on the award program. From the Center's description:
Announced on or near April 13 -- the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson -- the Jefferson Muzzles are awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press and, at the same time, foster an appreciation for those tenets of the First Amendment. Because the importance and value of free expression extend far beyond the First Amendment's limit on government censorship, acts of private censorship are not spared consideration for the dubious honor of receiving a Muzzle.

You can submit your own nominations for next year's awards using this form. The full list of this year's winners can be found here.

Among this year's winners are the FCC, NASCAR, US Department of State, US Department of Homeland Security, US Marshals Service, a variety of public schools that barred certain items of clothing for their symbolic expressive content, the High School for Legal Studies (this one's particularly ironic - the school first attempted to censor the valedictorian's speech, then when she began delivering the original version they escorted her from the graduation ceremony and refused to hand over her diploma), the Virginia House of Delegates, and others. Check out the award site for full details.

On the flip side, the Center also awards the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award to individuals and groups "whose commitment to free expression is consistent with Justice Brennan's abiding devotion. Such commitment might be shown by a single act or through a lifetime of activity to enhance the liberties of free speech and press." Sadly, while the Muzzles are given out to multiple winners each year, the Brennan award is given out "not more than once a year or less than once in five years." The most recent awards were in 2004, 2001, 1996, and 1993. You can submit nominations for the Brennan Award using the same form as for the Muzzles. Hopefully the time will come when the Brennans outnumber the Muzzles.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:20 AM
Monday, April 11, 2005

The L Word - Loyal 

This week on The L Word: The rehabilitation of Ms. Bette Porter.

Seriously - she's finally jettisoning some of her very excess baggage, and she's doing it down deep, not just with Charles Dutton's TOE surface works. She's being considerate, she's going into therapy on her own, and she's reasserting her assets that got her where she is. Instead of falling back on being catty and domineering (skills she really could only assert after having attained a level of Hollywood power lesbian), she's relating to people as people, and discussing art projects as the objects of beauty, knowledge and revelation that drew her into the field in the first place, instead of as trophies to be lorded over lesser art centers.

This is all making Helena seethe.

Countering Bette's return to the character we all loved, Helena is losing her veneer and is displaying more and more of her controlling and vindictive interior. Her increasingly obvious displays of bad behavior are not going unnoticed by Tina, either. First there was last week's incident in which Helena put the moves on Tina under the covers while the kids were sitting atop the covers (to which Tina wisely put an immediate halt), followed by several occasions last week and this week in which it became very clear that the kids are pretty much trophies for Helena. The perfect accessory for the up and coming power lesbian. It all added up to the conclusion that Helena really is doing everything she's currently doing in order to defeat Bette in some sort of concocted competition.

Winnie Mann, Helena's ex, shows up to recruit Bette for her assistance during the upcoming custody hearing. She wants Bette to be a character witness against Helena. I'm not really sure what Bette can say that would be relevant in this sort of hearing. "Don't give Helena the kids, because she's mean to me, cut my funding, is dating my ex, and is renting the house I thought was the perfect California beach house." What? Fortunately, Bette is hesitant to take part in the proceedings, both because her opinion doesn't seem relevant to the case, and also because she's stepping out of the catfight arena.

It was also fun watching Bette dealing with the presence of kids in House of Hot Pool Parties, formerly known as House of Desolation, perhaps to be renamed House of Re-Emerging Sanity. One of the kids races over to some jars that are on display and starts to take the lid off one, but Bette rushes over to put it back on the shelf, explaining, "This is a Richard Price, and it belongs right here." (note, I'm not sure if this is the correct name of the artist, I couldn't find any confirmation online, the recording's at home and I'm not, so I'm going with "Richard Price.") She says the name really slowly, like it's going to impress upon the kid how meaningful it is. He just wants what's in the cool jar under the shiny lights. Then after they have lunch she offers the kids the use of the pool, but looks aghast when Winnie reveals that she's not much of a swimmer and asks if Bette could go in with them as lifeguard. But she ends up playing in the pool with them, looking very happy. She accidentally says the f-word in front of them, but promptly apologizes - to the kids! It was fun.

Quite a contrast in parenting styles of the feuding Peabody-Manns. Helena is all about nannies, tv, sweets and playtime, not to mention swearing, bad-mouthing Winnie and sexual exhibitionism in front of the kids and anyone else in the general vicinity, not to mention the court order flouting. Winnie is about nutrition, eating a balanced meal before having ice cream, maintaining proper adult supervision, and not swearing or bad-mouthing Helena in front of the kids. I vote Winnie for sole custody. Helena can have supervised, scheduled visitation.

On the professional front, Helena has joined the Board of Directors of the CAC, just so she can lord it over Bette. Her first appearance at the Board Meeting is accompanied by this reclusive, rarely exhibited artist. Bette's actual expertise saves the day, however, because it turned out she wrote her dissertation on this woman's work, and the artist knew the paper and felt it was the best piece ever written about her. They know lots of the same artsy people, and develop a quick camaraderie that silently infuriates Helena. Flies and honey, Helena, flies and honey and a little class.

Our last scene with Helena for the episode finds her and Tina sitting at Helena's newly rented Perfect California Beach House, with a perfect array of sushi and other such food items, and no guests. Helena invited everyone over for a rub-it-in-Bette's-face, I mean, housewarming party. Instead, everyone went over to House of Re-Emerging Sanity for "Family Night." It was really sweet. And it really bothered Helena that no one came to admire her possessions. And it seemed to bother Tina that Helena was so bothered and so hung up on pretentious displays. Good.

The episode opener seemed like another bizarre, surreal writing piece, but it didn't seem quite to fit either Jenny's or Hunter's writing styles. Then someone off-screen yells "Cut!" and we discover that this is a shooting scene from 20 years ago, for a film starring Jenny's ghost writing project guy. Tony Goldwyn plays the actor who in 20 years will be interviewing Jenny Schecter. In the flashback we see that Tony's a raging homophobe, who burst into his male co-star's trailer in order to forcibly eject the male co-star's love muffin in the middle of a rather intense baking session. Tony didn't trust the muffin to keep a secret, and "I've got too much riding on this film." Any guesses as to how the interview is going to go 20 years hence? He's either still a hopeless homophobe or he will have finally admitted that his homophobia was rooted in his own repressed same sex feelings.

Actually, the interview was going swimmingly until Jenny admitted, after being prompted, that she had only seen Tony Western Stud's cinematic ouvre over the last few days, but then she added that "my girlfriend has seen them all." Then she rambles on about how Carmen and her dad stepdad (her father died in a motorcycle accident before Carmen was born) used to go to the movies all the time to watch the westerns, and how Carmen knows every line, blah, blah, blah, all the while just beaming with this "I'm so in love" glow. Tony Western Stud called everyone out of the interview pool, and thanked her for coming. In Jenny's favor is that she immediately understood the situation, and called him on it. "Am I being fired because I'm gay?" "Well, I don't recall actually hiring you, but there are some things I prefer not to have flaunted in my face." Exit, stage homophobe.

Back at Casa di Heartbreakers, Jenny tells Carmen the sad tale, but Carmen boosts her spirits by giving her a high ten because "You outed me to Tony Western Stud? That's so cool!" No Carmen, you're just so cool we really can't stand it. Which brings me to my biggest point of confusion in this episode. Throughout, we were treated to various scenes in which Jenny and Carmen were definitely behaving girlfriend-y. Making out on the couch, making out on the street, making out on the porch. Little relationship-type conversations, and Jenny referring to her as "my girlfriend." What's up with this? In the last episode they seemed fairly well resolved to being friends. Self-tortured, mutually scratching and clawing friends, but friends nonetheless. Sigh. Who can keep up?

Certainly not Shane, who's still dealing with her own inner turmoil. When Carmen asks her who gave her the black eye and offers to return the favor, Shane lays the cop out line we saw from the previews: "You did this." In yet another demonstration of her groundedness, Carmen tells her to fuck off and that she's not taking part in these particular mind games. Shane immediately caves and apologizes. Shane insists that she wants to be friends with Carmen - but her eyes telegraph that she wants a lot more. A whole lot of relationship-type more.

Speaking of Shane and people wanting more, Shane's getting totally burnt out and is of the opinion that people only want her for sex, and she's getting tired of being the Heartbreaker. We also find out more of her troubled past via her telling the tale to the priest in the confessional. It's not happy. Addict absentee mother, foster homes, interstate runaways - you get the picture. The priest tries to get her to join a church group, and to believe that not everyone just wants her for sex, but that he's sure there are many people out there who just want to know her as a person because of who she is inside. Her soul. Not that other inside. You know what I mean.

Then there's Mark, who has fallen head over heels for her. He dances around the whole lesbian-straight man barrier by declaring himself to be her servant, due to her having provided him the ultimate warrior's gift of being able to save someone. Shane seems to find this a bit freaky, but lets him fix her a snack, and later on she invites him to tag along to Family Night next door. He hesitates, so she orders him as her servant to accompany her in case she needs defending. This scene, combined with an earlier scene in which Mark physically knocked Gruesome across the studio for being an asshole about Mark's obvious feelings for Shane, allowed Mark's rating to go up a little bit. This was sorely needed, because his rating had plunged earlier when he accepted film funding from a porn producer who doesn't give a shit about the documentary aspects and just wants lots of hot lesbo action. Only he was more explicit.

Alice and Dana, meanwhile, have spent the five days leading up to the episode at Dana's house, having lots and lots of sex and losing track of the days. They suddenly realize that it's Monday and that Alice has an audition to do a weekly radio show on KCRW (and yes, I did listen to this station when I lived in LA), so they get up so Alice can work on her piece and Dana can start training again. A little bit of tension is building up in the new relationship, however. They both freak over the hickies they inadvertently delivered to each other, and Dana keeps finding something wrong with all of Alice's ideas. There's also some edgy nerves around a sexual suggestion that Alice whispers into Dana's ear, the gist of which seems to involve some silicone and a harness. I get the feeling that Dana's a little taken aback. Alice takes off for Planet Kit to brainstorm some more, and Dana heads off to be Women's Sports and Fitness magazine's first openly lesbian cover girl.

Much to Alice's shock and horror, her psycho manipulative ex Gabby wanders over to say hi. Gabby's really friendly, and it turns out that she's in love. With Soup Chef Lara, who is the new chef at Planet Kit. Alice takes off, and I'm certain that all the way to the KCRW studios she was checking the sky to make sure it didn't squish her when it fell. In studio, she starts telling her friend who works there about the whole Gabby-Lara-Dana-Alice circle, and the Relationship Chart, instead of her planned commentary, but they love it and hire her for her own weekly spot, "The Chart," about life, love and the intersections between and among just about everybody.

Next week: It's old home week, with Sandra, Camryn, Tony Western Stud, Gabby, Lara, and... IVAN!!! Hi Ivan! We've missed you! Please inspire Kit to give Charles Dutton the old heave TOE. Dana and Alice go on a field trip for just the right silicone accessory, and Dana is indeed less than tickled. Jenny discovers Mark's video surveillance equipment just as Shane and Carmen are having a heart to heart in the kitchen, and Carmen is less than flattering in her descriptions of Jenny. Bette accompanies Tina to her ultrasound, and it must go well, because there's a kiss involved at some point.

Side Note: As Bette has been regaining her sanity, she's also been climbing in the sidebar poll (see top right, or bottom left if this post is really old by the time you're reading it). Early in this season, when Bette was just being a total controlling bitch and Shane had yet to start her psychological plummet, Shane had a solid 50% of the votes, well ahead of Bette and Carmen, the next closest. As of this moment, the results are:
  • Shane - 26%
  • Bette - 22%
  • Carmen - 16%
  • Dana - 15%
  • Alice - 11%
  • Jenny - 5%
  • Tina - 4%
  • Kit - 0%

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:37 AM
Friday, April 08, 2005

Bush and Clinton on John Paul II 

The current and most recent former presidents had contrasting views on how Pope John Paul II will be viewed by history.

President Bush:
"I think John Paul II will have a clear legacy of peace, compassion and a strong legacy of setting a clear moral tone," Bush told reporters on Air Force One as he flew from Rome to the United States just hours after the funeral. He said he wanted to amend his remarks to add the word "excellent."

"It was a strong legacy," the president said. "I wanted to make sure there was a proper adjective to the legacy he left behind, not just the word clear."

President Clinton:
"There will be debates about him. But on balance, he was a man of God, he was a consistent person, he did what he thought was right," Clinton said. "That's about all you can ask of anybody."

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:47 PM

Sign of the Times 

Many of the world's leaders gathered today in Rome to pay respects to a fellow head of state, Pope John Paul II. As is traditional, differences and tensions are put aside, as can be seen in this post funeral AP photo of French President Jacques Chirac kissing the hand of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Also shown in the photo are US President George Bush, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Phillipines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Spain's King Juan Carlos.

The United States and France have been attempting to repair the damage inflicted on their relationship during the lead up to the war in Iraq and France's opposition to the US invasion. This opposition by France was played up by the Bush administration as a personal slight against all Americans, a perception which was heartily joined in by many and in many forms, such as the cafeteria in the Capitol Building renaming french fries to "Freedom Fries," and the appearance of such global harmony inducing bumper stickers as "Pave France. We need parking for our SUVs."

The UN is a favorite target of self-proclaimed US patriots who apparently like to proclaim their conviction that seeking to resolve international crises through UN based negotiation and unity is akin to waiving American sovereignty.

The Vatican has been highly critical of Spain's recent steps toward secularizing their government and legalizing same sex marriage. Chances are Pres. Bush doesn't look fondly on the latter either, although I've not seen any official comment in the press.

A more detailed article on other leaders sitting near one another despite current international disputes can be found here. One unfortunate note is that China refused to send a delegation, in protest of the Vatican having diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China views as being part of its own territory, not an independent nation.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:28 AM

Friday Random Ten - True Love Edition 

It's Friday again. Whee! Load the MP3 player, hit random, list the first 10 on your own blog if you have one, and in the Comments/Trackback here and at the host, feministe.

  • Let's Settle Down - Vanessa Williams - Bye Bye Birdie 1995 tv soundtrack (That green stuff's grass, and that smell everywhere - do you know what that is? Fresh air!)
  • Pinball Wizard - The Who - Tommy (I love the acoustic guitar on this album) (Ironically, when you do an Amazon search in music for "Tommy," the soundtracks for both The L Word and Queer as Folk come up on the first page. They're on the Tommy Boy label.)
  • You Don't Know Me - Eva Cassidy & Chuck Brown- The Other Side (I love this song, especially when Meryl Streep sang it in Postcards From the Edge. I can strum out a fair rendition on my now long-neglected guitar. Perhaps this summer...)
  • Your Tongue Like the Sun In My Mouth - Sophie B. Hawkins - Timbre (Oh my. I'll have what she's having.)
  • The Man In the Moon - Bea Arthur - Mame 1966 Original Broadway Cast (this is my least favorite song from Mame. I much prefer Bosum Buddies or It's Today)(but I love this line, regarding the discovery that the Man in the Moon is a Miss: "She winks at the stars from her bed of green cheese. That isn't a nightgown, it's a satin chemise.")
  • Permanent Summertime - Eunice Sim - Mercurix 30 160 (this track was factory preloaded on my Nomad Jukebox 2 player, and it's a winner. Sadly, it's not included on her debut CD, Stronger Than Some.)
  • Lose Your Way - Sophie B. Hawkins - Timbre (I still wish on an evening star, and I s'pose I always will)
  • I Want To Be Happy - Jack Gilford, Susan Watson - No, No Nanette 1971 Broadway Revival Cast (Life's really worth living when you are mirth-giving. Why can't I give some to you?)

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:06 AM
Thursday, April 07, 2005

Guest Speaker Countdown 

They finally opened the room for our class with Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, an hour before class. We had to go through a security check to make sure that only registered members of the class get into the room. The Associate Dean just reminded us that no cameras are allowed, and to make sure all cell phones are off. Twenty minutes to go. This is so cool.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 5:37 PM

Here Comes the Sun, But Don't Touch My SUV 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday approved a proposed amendment to reduce American oil usage by approximately 10,000 barrels per day by starting daylight savings time a month early (in early March) and ending it a month later (in late November). The theory is that this will allow businesses to rely less on electric lighting during business hours, and perhaps also encourage shopping in urban areas, by having more daylight hours during the business day.

However, the same committee yesterday rejected a separately proposed amendment that would "require the federal government to find a way to cut U.S. oil demand by 1 million barrels a day by 2013." This proposal was opposed by representatives from districts with automakers, who argued, "it was backdoor way to require U.S. mini-vans, sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks to improve their fuel efficiency."

God forbid automakers should have to make their products more fuel efficient. According to the article, gasoline use makes up 40% of US oil demand. It does seem like an obvious place to look when seeking ways to reduce oil dependency. Not to mention reducing the pollutants generated in the processing and use of all those barrels of oil and subsequent gasoline products.

The amendments were proposed for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the committee print of which can be viewed here.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:34 PM
Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My Ground Is My Castle 

At least in Florida, especially if I'm carrying a handgun.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has signed into law a bill that allows persons to use deadly force in self-defense without any obligation to attempt retreat first. This is often the situation when it comes to defending your home against intruders, based on the "home is my castle" premise, and the theory that people should not be forced out of their own home by illegal intruders.

On the street, the general rule is that persons in reasonable fear of imminent grave bodily harm or death may use deadly force in self-defense IF they are unable to withdraw to safety. That's no longer the case in the Sunshine State.

Why should I have to run away when threatened? Just pull out your handy 9mm and blow the perceived threat away. After all, they started it, right? Or maybe, just maybe, it could be a little better for the supposed goals of a civil society to encourage people to step away if they can, just in case the perceived danger isn't what it may have appeared.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:39 PM

Dark Horse Papal Candidate 

I really wanted to come up with some sort of biting satire or insightful commentary on the upcoming papal elections. This will be the third such event in my lifetime. I remember very clearly the last two, but I had a sudden realization in the car the other morning about the age difference between me and some of my law school friends. One of them wasn't yet born or even conceived when John Paul II was elected, and another was about 6 months old. I was 13. Yeesh.

Anyway, I was thinking of something along the lines of a comparison between the Pope and the Grand Nagus, but I'm just stretched to thin lately to give this a really good treatment. On a side note, Saturday evening The Girl and I were in Starbucks, and the cute barrista sarcastically suggested we enjoy the lovely weather (it poured all day long). It was on the edge of my tongue to respond that it's lovely weather if you're a Ferengi, but decided against it. Fast forward an hour or so, and there's Quark on Joan of Arcadia!!! The civics teacher running the moot court program was played by Armin Shimmerman, also of Principal Snyder fame on Buffy.

But that's neither here nor there. We were talking about the yet-elected pope. I discovered that there actually is someone I could support for the position. Click here for more info and to offer your support.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:50 AM
Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The L Word - Luminous 

This was a strange episode, full of things that were just odd.

The precredits opening had an odd Jenny writing scene to it, so The Girl and I immediately screamed, "Oh no - not the writing scene!!!!" But it didn't seem quite like Jenny's writing. It was more freakish and annoying, if you can believe it, and featured Hunter and Sandra Bernhard walking around the vicinity of the Moulin Rouge in search of just the right prostitute to share, until they finally settle on the Jenny hooker. It was odd, trust me.

We waited a few minutes before watching it so we could Tivo forward through the opening song. Ah, much better.

Camryn Manheim totally freaks out, throws decor around her office and terrorizes all of her staff, except Shane, who she asks to teach her how to not need anything from anyone. Instead of then buckling down to learn, Camryn then proceeds to drag Shane around town while Camryn gets a very painful chemical peel of some sort, then back to her mansion where she orders Shane to get in bed with her and watch movies. After Shane politely extends her regrets, Camryn freaks out again and goes totally over the top, screaming that since she pays Shane she basically owns her ass and all her other body parts, and that Shane must do what Camryn says. Kind of defeats the entire reason she hired Shane in the first place, doesn't it? But good for Shane for getting the hell out of Dodge Mansion and over to Planet Kit.

Alice and Dana have decided to out their relationship to all their friends, so they invite everyone to meet them at Planet Kit. Of course when they arrive they get a big ole spotlight pointed at them while Carmen announces the arrival of the new happy couple and proceeds to play a hooked up version of Love Story for them to dance to. Everyone applauds and then the dance floor fills. Guess the secret got out somehow. This wasn't a strange storyline, but was kind of cute and involved several goofy Dana-Alice makeout scenes over the course of the day.

In continuing odd storylines, Jenny and Carmen are all over each other at the DJ station, despite the fact that Carmen's got it bad for Shane and Shane's got it bad for Carmen, but Shane's afraid of getting hurt by other people so she hurts herself instead, blah, blah, blah. Eventually we see Jenny and Carmen in La Cucina di Casa di Heartbreakers, and they're finally just going for it by the fridge, when Shane and a pair of scantily clad identical twins come in to forage for beverages, then return to Shane's room. Jenny astutely observes, "What the hell was that?" to which Carmen wisely responds, "I don't think I want to know." But the damage is done, Carmen is reminded of where her true love lies (and with whom), and heads out. Jenny pouts. We see Creepy Mark cyberpeeping on Shane, and see Shane not playing with the twins but instead indulging in the Oxycontin she got from Camryn.

Next day, Jenny is in her all too pink and pretty bedroom when Carmen arrives to talk things over. What follows is incredibly odd and involves Carmen suddenly stripping off her shirt, Jenny following suit and stretching out on the bed with no emotion visible. Carmen takes top and they proceed to slap each other's arms a few times while exchanging meaningful looks, then Carmen rests her head on Jenny's shoulder and they appear to settle in for a nap. WTF was that all about?

After a while, Jenny leaves, but Carmen pauses in the living room to sort of scold Shane, in a sort of effective but sort of incredibly vague and noncommittal way, but it ends with a clear message. Shane's crashed on the couch, and Carmen tells her that she's been getting away with this shit for way too long because people really care about her, but if she doesn't wise up, "we simple folk" are going to stop kissing her ass eventually. Exit Carmen, focus on Shane's tormented face.

Time passes.

Mark gets a call from someone in distress, and he heads to Venice Beach to rescue Shane, who is in the midst of getting the shit kicked out of her by the two bouncers whose requests to leave she was actively resisting.

Helena and Tina are still seeing each other, but Tina freaks when the two kids come bounding in on their naked love bed. Helena doesn't think it's any big deal. I'm with Tina. Later, when everyone is fully clothed and the kids are playing with arts supplies, Helena coaxes Tina into a little action on the balcony. Bad timing, since Helena's ex walks in (out?) on them. Turns out Helena doesn't adhere to the court ordered visitation schedules, and the ex has come to retrieve the kiddies. And to heave quite a bit of bile on anyone in sight. Later Helena talks to Tina about how hard it is asserting her parental rights over one co-adopted child and one child that her ex gave birth to. Tina ponders meaningfully.

In an amusing storyline, Bette hits on a young artist by inviting her to Planet Kit, but discovers that the artist has an equally young girlfriend, so Bette invites them both along. Bette's expression was priceless. She clearly expected to work her powerful Hollywood lesbian magic on the sweet young thing, but got slapped down in no uncertain terms. Later at Planet Kit, however, the more mature crowd has decided that it's time to start making the moves on the newly available powerful Hollywood lesbian, and Bette receives an ongoing series of offers. She only has eyes for Tina, who joins her at the table. Later Bette goes home and hears Tina's voicemail agreeing that they are both the mothers of the baby-to-be, and the Magical Bette Glow lights up once more.

In news I'd rather forget, Kit's still hot for Charles Dutton, and he's sending her huge pretentious bouquets. That's enough of that story.

Oh, and the opening writing segment turned out to be an assignment written by Hunter. Sandra praises him, but Jenny shreds him while glorifying woman to woman orgasms. In class. After class Sandra tells her it was uncalled for and basically acknowledges that Hunter doesn't have as much potential so she doesn't push him as hard, then hooks Jenny up with a ghost writing job, since she's the most promising student in the class. We got to see one of Jenny's mini-stories as well, and it actually was a lot better. Maybe because it was in contrast to Hunter's piece of schlock.

Next week: Shane blames Carmen for her bouncer beating (that's just so wrong), Shane turns to the church and the confessional for solace (!), Helena's ex tries to enlist Bette in her battle against Helena, and Lara and Gabby reappear - as a couple (that's just so incredibly wrong).

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:43 PM
Monday, April 04, 2005

I Heart Blogging 

I had a dream last night that I was going into the hospital to have a heart transplant. My biggest concern was that I have a chance to put up a pretransplant blog post before being put under. It was "I'm heading off to have a heart transplant. Leave me a note here, and I'll post again when I'm out of surgery." Then I had to make sure that there would be a notebook computer with wireless access in my hospital room, so I could surf and post during recovery.

No one could tell me what was wrong with my heart, just that it wasn't going to function much longer, and they'd be able to tell me more after they replaced it. My uncle was doing the surgery. He's a retired diplomat, not a surgeon, but in dreamworld he was one of the world's top heart surgeons. The role of my uncle was played by William Shatner. I think this might have been related to my having watched What are Little Girls Made Of? while I was Gazelling after I got back from the library last evening.

There was also a secondary dreamstoryline involving some sort of intrigue with werewolves, but it didn't get fully fleshed out before the alarm went off.

All in all, I'm glad it was a dream. I may heart blogging, but I heart my heart a whole lot more.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:57 AM
Friday, April 01, 2005

Lost - Deus Ex Machina 

Spotlight on Locke. I think his daddy issues might be able to beat up Jack's and Sawyer's daddy issues. An unspecified number of years ago, when Locke had a receding hairline but still had hair, could walk and worked in a large toy store, his mother (Swoosie Kurtz) who had given him up at birth tracked him down and chatted him up. At one point as he was trying to figure out why she was stalking him he was struck by a car backing out of a parking space, but he got right up and continued his pursuit. I'm wondering if this is going to turn out to be the origin of his paraplegia, one of those injuries that aren't apparent right away.

Anyway, mom appears to be a bit on the wacko side as she reveals to Locke that he was immaculately conceived. Locke's not big on buying this, so he hires a detective to track Daddy down. Daddy is a very wealthy man who enjoys hunting and who didn't know about Baby Locke until a year after he'd been handed over to the first of his long series of foster homes. Daddy NRA decides to bond with Locke over several hunting trips, which apparently started Locke on his path to acquiring his many survival skills. One day he shows up and finds Daddy NRA hooked up to a dialysis machine - turns out his kidneys have failed, and he's at the bottom of the organ donor list. Surprise! Locke of course volunteers to donate one of his own, since he's become so close to his long lost relative and he now feels like he belongs in the world.

Too bad his street skills weren't developed yet, because the whole thing was a set up, as Locke discovers upon waking up one kidney lighter only to find that Daddy Dearest has checked out and is receiving his post surgical care at home, where Locke is now persona non grata. Turns out Crazy Mommy wasn't really crazy, but just needed the money Daddy Dearest offered her to set the wheels in motion.

Our last shot of Past Locke is him sitting in his VW Bug, wearing his hospital gown and a pair of pajama pants, seeping blood from his kidney removal wound, screaming and punching holes in the windshield.

Back on the island, he and Boone have unearthed the mystery bunker, but can't get in. Locke gets a vision of a Beechcraft plane crashing, his mother pointing at it, and a very bloody Boone saying "Theresa falls up the stairs, Theresa falls down the stairs." It was all very Twin Peaks. Locke uses the Theresa information to convince Boone to help him find the plane, which he is sure holds the answer to unlocking the bunker. Turns out Theresa was Boone's nanny, whom he'd torment by calling her upstairs all the time until one day she slipped on the stairs and broker her neck. Nanny go boom. Meanwhile, Locke's legs are starting to go numb and give out again, so Boone has to climb the cliff on which the plane (of course they found it, silly) is perched. Turns out it was a drug smuggling flight, loaded with hollow Mary statues filled with heroin. But the radio still works. Boone sends out a mayday, to which someone starts to respond, but then the plane slides off the cliff, crashes nose first and flips over on its back. Boone go boom.

Locke defies his failing legs, drags Bloody Boone out of the plane, tosses him over his manly shoulders and carries him all the way back to camp. Jack takes over, but things aren't looking good.

Speaking of looking good, or not, the comedy B-sketch involved Sawyer having terrible headaches, not wanting treatment from Jack, Kate finally dragging him to the medical cave and Jack giving him an exam. This involved waving a pen in front of his face, then asking him all sorts of questions like have you ever had a blood transfusion, sex with a prostitute or a sexually transmitted disease. After Sawyer storms off, Kate asks Jack what's wrong with him. "He needs glasses." BWAH!!!! Go Jack! He then rounds up all the abandoned eyeglasses and does the "better or worse" series of tests. Sayid then splices and dices parts of two different pairs to make a custom pair of Sawyer Specs. Upon seeing them on Sawyer, Hurley's response is, "Whoa! Looks like someone steamrolled Harry Potter!"

Fun at Sawyer's expense. Does it get better than this?

Tantalizing closing: Locke returns to the bunker, peers in the inscrutable window, pounds the metal and demands to know why the island isn't giving him what he needs. Moments later, a bright light starts shining through the window. Hmm.

Next time: Things don't look good for the continued existence of Bloody Boone, but he's trying to deal well with his pending demise. Claire goes into labor, and Charlie doesn't deal effectively with the pending arrival.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:44 PM

Holding Out For a Hero 

I just experienced a serendipitous collision of thought threads, and I'm enjoying it.

I've been thinking and planning and dwelling and rethinking my selection of classes for next semester, and semi-planning for the semester after that and speculatively planning for the semester after that. Of course they only have a tentative schedule for the spring offerings, and what will be offered during my fourth year is ethereal at this point. It can be overwhelming.

Armed with what I think are my final choices for next semester, I checked the tentative exam schedule for those classes. Five classes, one scheduled exam, four take home exam/papers. I haven't yet had the pleasure of a take home exam in law school, but I read other people's mixed experiences last year.

Just now I was sifting through my bloglines subscriptions, and noticed that Stay of Execution has posted advice for take home exams. Good timing! And good post. As I was reading her recollections, complete with extensive preparation, cautions against overpreparation, plus the inevitable late-night fluorescent bulb lit panic over printer cables, Bonnie Tyler's classic "Holding Out For a Hero" started emanating from my MP3 speakers. In this case, it's from the Bandits film soundtrack. This was a great scene. Cate Blanchett is in the kitchen of her loveless but fabulous lakeside home, preparing a superb gourmet dinner for her mostly absentee but wealthy husband, listening to this song. She's all dressed up, and is doing a total air band routine, with the ladel as microphone, spinning around and tosses of flour for emphasis, with stunning views of the lake and mountains out the panoramic windows.

I've now decided that this is the perfect take home exam song. The beat is racing and pressured, I've got these great images of careful but spirited (kitchen) preparation, there's an edge of desperation matched with hope of a breakthrough appearing through the mist in the middle of the night to carry you away to victory. And after you've completed your given task, you can dance away from the faculty offices, burst through the front doors out onto the street and leap into the air, thrusting your fist to the sky in a symbol of your ultimate triumph.

Who says law school is dull? Clearly you haven't chosen the right soundtrack for your life.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:50 AM

The L Word - Lagrimas de Oro 

Okay, I'm a little behind this week, what with the brain fog and all. But I'll try to reach back five days to when I viewed the episode and give very high-level comments.

Tina gets her own apartment in a very California looking complex. Bette attends a T.O.E. session with Kit and takes some hints that she'll try to apply to her Tina troubles, but her own very developed complexes get in the way. Like the one where Bette really can't remember that it's not all about Bette. Tina seems really happy in her little nest, which is much less planned and orderly than the House of Hot Pool Parties, aka House of Desolation.

Speaking of pool parties, while Bette shows up at Tina's doorstep and attempts a grand gesture without really trying very hard, Tina is out on the town with Helena Peabody at a boring dinner for other grant recipients. Helena sneaks out to the hotel pool and Tina follows along. Helena must have put some security in charge of keeping other guests away from the pool, since without much delay she and Tina are getting very closely acquainted poolside and then in the water.

Kit and Charles Dutton got very closely acquainted early on in this episode, despite the fact that the slimeball con artist is married. This has disaster written all over it. I just hope Kit can manage not to lose Planet Kit by the end of it.

Sandra Bernhard made another appearance, this time doling out advice to Jenny while working out in the weight room (Sandra, not Jenny). It must not have been that interesting, because I really can't remember much about it except that right after Sandra points out that she has a policy of not socializing with students, we see that a male student from the class is spotting her on the bench press.

Much as I hate even to acknowledge this particular storyline, I feel I must. Filmmaker Mark is no longer content just to peep and record on the intimate goings on inside Casa di Heartbreakers, and has now taken to hiring and sending in outside characters to fulfill his own lesbian fantasies. Come now Mark - I think you're compromising your documentary vision just a tad here. Anyway, he hires an acquaintance to pose as a hot UPS-type chick and make a very special delivery to Shane, all for the benefit of the camera. Shane seems a little surprised by the extreme forwardness (usually Shane's the one pulling the surprises), but plays right along. I actually found this a little out of character. Yeah, Shane's not one to shy away from a little spontaneous sex with strangers, but she's street smart enough to spot a setup. Anyway, our Heartbreaker With a Heart of Gold had some sort of emotional impact on the ho, who expressed her regret and concerns to Mark over whether Shane's feelings might be hurt when the film is made public. She takes the 200 bucks for her effort, though.

In a much anticipated story development, Dana finally breaks it off with Evil Tonya. Dana was playing a charity demonstration match, with various celebs in attendance. Alice followed to whatever city it was in, to provide support and prodding. After the match, Dana faced the music with Tonya and actually gave a very nice speech that was kind, accepting of blame, expressive of gratitude for what they had, and for all the help Tonya has given Dana in both her career and in finding her own true self. In the perfect finale to this ill-fated affair, Evil Tonya immediately counters by announcing that she and Melissa Rivers (who was sponsoring the match) have fallen head over heels, brings Melissa into the locker room and makes out with her in front of Dana, and bounces off into the poisoned sunset. After their departure, Erin Daniels delivers the perfect face of mixed relief, shock but not surprise, and enthusiasm for what she hopes will come next.

But we'll have to wait until Sunday for what comes next, because that's it for this episode. I'm sure I left lots of juicy details out, but it's the best I can retrieve from my brain, what with all the pressure from my swollen sinuses. Check out the detailed recaps at AfterEllen. That's where I'm heading now.

NEXT WEEK: More Camryn Manheim, troubles with Helena's ex, and Shane makes poor choices in dealing with her supressed but overwhelming true love for Carmen.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:00 AM