Friday, March 30, 2007

You again?

I seem to have gone on an unintentional writing/blogging strike, but Urban Legends are always fun to revist for content. Here's one that keeps coming back: reinstituting the draft. Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Draft Fear).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Divining, part III

The tally is in, and without giving spoilers, I think I owe jemima a drabble because she did slightly better than I did on the BSG series finale predictions pool. That's if, of course, we discount revisionist history. If we don't count revisionist history, it's a tie and we're both off the hook, which is the place to be when yuo're a retired ficcer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Divining, part II

(may contain spoilers for season 3 finale BSG; look away now if you don't want to know).

So jemima and I worked out this deal to our game to figure out what exactly is going to happen on the season finale of BSG and part of the deal was we got to revise our initial guesses after seeing this past Sunday's episode. So we've both revised and jemima's revisions are over here (her part one is over here). Mine are below, after the requisite spoiler space. If you haven't seen the first part of the season finale for season 3, look away NOW.
Death: Tigh
Disturbing: Tigh, Anders, and Tori are 3 of the 5 final Cylons
Decisions: Death penalty for Baltar
Divorce: Lee & Dualla
Devotion: Baltar marries Six just before his date with the airlock
Destruction: The hope of finding earth before the Cylons

Monday, March 19, 2007


Note: This post may potentially contain spoilers for season 3 BSG. If you haven't watched more than half the eps, you may want to look away AFTER the first paragraph (or even this one; I won't be insulted).

jemima and I have decided, on the basis of NO spoilers, to make our 'D' inspired predictions for the "Battlestar Galactica" season 3 finale. As of this moment in time, neither of us has seen last night's episode. So our current predictions are based on everything that's happened season to date. We retain the right, after viewing last night's ep, to revise our predictions. We had to provide guesses for five out of six proposed categories, plus one 'bonus' or 'wildcard' category of our own making. The stakes are quite high: the loser has to write the winner a drabble. If none of our predictions come true, then we're both off the hook and don't have to write drabbles at all.

So here are my guesses, with the required spoiler space. jemima will be posting hers on her blog sometime this evening. You'll have to go over there to see what she has to say since I am currently unable to provide the link. Again, I reiterate -- neither of us has seen last night's ep and we both claim to be spoiler free. That being said, you have been

My guesses are:

* Death: Anders
* Disturbing: Roslin confesses feelings for Baltar
* Destruction: Colonial One
* Decisions: Death penalty for Baltar
* Divorce: Cally & Tyrol
* Devotion: Baltar marries Six just before he meets the airlock

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Only in America

I went to my first Brooks & Dunn concert yesterday. I was possibly the only person in the house who didn't know who they were or why they were popular. But I was given a free ticket and my only other plans for a Saturday night were a hot date with PBS (support your local station and make a donation NOW!). So off I went to the concert and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I didn't find myself bopping to the music and the lyrics didn't particularly grab me as anything that I could identify with or relate to. I chalked it up as another experience I'd never had before and could now say with certainty that I don't ever really need to go to another Brooks & Dunn concert.

During the last song, which was kind of catchy, I suddenly heard clapping and people were getting to their feet. I looked up on the viewscreen and saw four Marines marching to the stage. I got to my feet and started clapping as well. It was an emotional scene, even for this hard-hearted anti-war liberal. I watched as they climbed the stage and stood at attention, the musicians and singers dancing around behind them. The camera panned in on the Marines' faces. They were young men, probably not more than 22, clean-cut and handsome and whole. My eyes started to tear up.

I couldn't help but wonder if these men had been to Iraq or if they were scheduled to go. I knew they must know people who had been to Iraq and I wondered if they knew some of the soldiers from our area who died at an approximate rate of one or two a month. I was sure they must know someone who was wounded in Iraq. Do they think Iraq is worth it? I wondered what they thought of the lights, the applause, the ovation, the realization that we love them now, but don't take care of them when they come home. And I want nothing more for these four young men to stay clean-cut, handsome, and whole.

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, feeling a little silly for getting all teary eyed over the situation. As I was walking out of the concert hall, I reflected on the recent troubles experieneced by McCain and Obama for using the word 'wasted' to describe the lives of soldiers lost in Iraq. They didn't misspeak. Iraq is a morass for which there is no military situation and our army is essentially standing between two sides firing at each other and our soldiers. It's a three-front battle, one that never had a connection to 9/11 -- a war conjured up by men who had never been on the battlefield themselves and with a blatant ignorance of history. This stupid war has drained our finances, has cost our soldiers their lives, has killed umpteen number of civilians, has destabalized the region, and yet we're not allowed to use 'wasted'. Only in America can the truth be so blatantly ignored.

It made me incredibly sad. Brooks & Dunn put a face to the men and women fighting for our country. But seeing their faces, more than anything I just want to bring them home so they wouldn't be subjected to such a hopelessly inarticulate experiment as Iraq has become. Of course, I would never say that at Brooks & Dunn concert, because then I would just be unpatriotic and dismissing the contribution of our troops.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I think the hardest part of stopping writing is starting up again. There is something to be said about writing something, ANYTHING, just to keep in the habit, and to an extent, I feel like this blog fulfills that quota. But nowadays, when it comes to being creative, I'm hopelessly lost and befuddled, as if I've never done this before. I'm also a lot more cautious, a lot more careful and discerning, which sounds like it could be a good thing, but it's not. The thing about writing is that you have to just go for it, with a playful abandon, with the knowledge that this thing you put down on paper, it might be any good, and that you're okay with that. That's the trick to being a writer. And it's a hard, hard one to learn.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My two cents

You know the argument that makes absolutely no sense and completely drives me batty? It's the one that runs along the lines of "Stop smoking and you'll live longer" and the immediate response is, "Well, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and so I should enjoy smoking while I can." I hate this argument because it makes no sense. I mean, a BUS? Why are we all getting hit by buses? And there are things that we all actively do to AVOID getting hit by a bus such as not crossing in front of a moving one, or taking the tunnels or bridges or sidewalks. None of those things mean people won't get hit by a bus, but it just means we decrease the probability of that event happening.

That's the same thing with smoking or any other vice that threatens to short your lifespan in a way a raw-vegetable-and-green-tea-and-excercising-every-day lifestyle won't. Yet for some reasons, we indulge in behaviors that are downright detrimental to our health, such as driving our car* one block instead of walking or eating eight pieces of bacon and 27 hotdogs for dinner every night. We wouldn't step in front of a bus, so why do we persist in behaviors that are completely unhealthy and wrong for us? Admittedly, I get more pleasure out of a piece of cake than I do out of a stalk of celery so maybe that's what it is: we prefer to indulge in our short term pleasure and enjoyment, even if it does shorten our lifespan, instead of living a more austere, deprived life that be a certain percentage longer.

Whatever the reasons are, my point is: the 'hit by a bus tomorrow' argument is really stupid.

*An antidote to high gas prices: Drive less and smaller and walk more.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I gotta get that

Seen on a t-shirt at the gym: "I'm not bossy. I just have all the best ideas."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ourselves our enemy

Honestly, the only thing missing from the following viewpoint, mho, is the burka. And what's most jaw-dropping about it is that the author is a woman.

Women no longer have a heart and love for children. Women don’t want to do their natural duties (having and caring for babies). Women want to become men, either equal to or superior in home, work, authority and government. Women have so educated the men of today, that they no longer desire marriage. So the few real women which would like to marry and raise a family are either told to go to work by their husband (to enjoy life more) or stay single for lack of a good husband. Many men just flat have no interest in the responsibilities and commitment of marriage because they are already enjoying all the benefits of marriage with some Jezebel without any responsibility or commitment. Once women become men, they are no longer needed in the home. Some have even made their man a house-husband so she can remain "out of the home" at work in the man’s role. These ladies really hate the inconvenience of children. They rather be a run around at the office and soon divorce and remarry. The divorce rate directly follows the rate of women in the work place with men.

Some men therefore, no longer look for a woman as a helpmate (wife), because women have become a threat to their manhood. What happens next? Men then look to other men for companionship instead of Women. And the frustrated woman rejected by men turns to women. It’s no secret that Sodomy is growing today, because people have rejected God’s design for the home and reproduction of the human race. And you guessed it - - WOMEN - - are a root cause"! It started in the Garden of Eden when Eve first lead the first man to complete ruin and lose with God.

Have you ever asked men what they want in a woman? They like quiet and submissive women. Not loud mouth rebellious women. Head strong, bossy, demanding, rude, over-bearing, MAUDE. They like feminine women (in the true sense) who dress like ladies in dresses and have not cut their glory off (long hair). Men do not want women who wear the pants, or men's suits and whacked off hair like men. Men like home-cooking not T.V. dinners or fast food all the time. Men want a woman to listen to them and not try to compete all the time in work, raising the children, and making decisions.

I have no words. None. It's as stunning on the fourth or fifth read as it was on the first. Of course, I understand this is an extremist view and that as a free country, everyone is entitled to extremist views; I'm sure, as a pants-wearing, hair-chopping, voting, working professional, non-married woman, I've got plenty of extremist views in the author's opinion. Let's start with the one where I don't believe women are responsible for all that's wrong with the world or the family and as a woman, I'll be the first one to support most women in most things they attempt (the exceptions being a couple of loonies on both sides of the political aisle) and hopefully succeed at.

Complete article here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Stoup's on!

I admit, I stole 'stoup' from the omnipresent exuberant Rachel Ray. 'Stoup' is a cross between soup and stew, and in my case, it means Spanish rice gone woefully wrong but in a totally tasty way (no, I didn't splat rice all over the place! You people!). This happens to be my fallback recipe on Sunday evenings when I'm entirely too lazy to make something that requires more effort than stirring. It's quick, simple, gets all your nutrients into one pot, and did I mention it's rather inexpensive? And also that there's only one pot so clean up is a cinch? Total prep time is about 10 minutes, and total cooking time is about 40 minutes.


1 can garbanzo beans (or kidney beans), drained
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup rice
1 cup water
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 tbs cumin
1 pinch corinder seeds
salt & pepper & sugar to taste

1. Sautee the rice in the vegetable oil until golden brown. This is also the time to add all the red pepper flakes, cumin, corinder seeds, garlic, and onion.

2. Once the rice is golden brown, dump in the can of tomatoes, juice and all. Fill the tomato can with water and dump the water into the pot. Stir.

3. After about 5-10 minutes, add garbanzo beans and corn. Stir.

4. At about the 20 minute mark, add the green pepper. Stir.

5. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is soft. Be sure to stir occasionally. The final product will be overall watery, but mmm mmm good! Add salt, pepper and sugar, if required, for taste.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ghosts of Rwanda

Yesterday I watched Frontline's "Ghosts of Rwanda" which has to be one of the single most disturbing films I've ever seen. I'd read about Rwanda countless times in the last decade, though to this day, I'm unsure if I even was aware of the situation when it was unfolding in the April of 1994 through July of that same year. Even knowing the story ahead didn't lessen the shock -- the stunning gut check -- of seeing the piles of bodies and the footage of all the western powers pulling out of the country, leaving countless behind to die. I wondered, as I watched the American conveys passing the people standing on the street, how many of those people are alive today?

The film traces the development of the genocide, beginning in 1993 when General Dallaire from the UN first visited the country to the assasination of the Hutu president to the brutal murder of the Belgian peacekeeping troops and through 100 days of genocide when approximately 800,000 people were slaughtered with machetes (among other things). At that rate, with primitive weapons, the extremist Hutus would have reached, if not surpassed the Holocaust, within two years. It's astonishing to me because butchery with a machete is up close and personal. It's an intimate act and yet so many people participated, even coming up on a church and somehow managing to slaughter all 5,000 Tutsis sheltered within.

The documentary has plenty of interviews including with General Dallaire, Pierre Gaillard, and Madeline Albright among others, insights, including some very touching and heroic actions taken by the few westerners left in the country, including Pierre Gaillard, who represented the Red Cross. I was left alternately stunned by the world's indifference and by the heroism of the few who stood up to the killers, the few who had no weapons except their words and mere presence to defend against an organized, ruthless campaign of extermination.

This is an extremely strong and disturbing film with appalling graphic footage, but if you can get your hands on it, you should. It's very much like visiting a concentration camp. You can read all about atrocities, you can see pictures, but until you're face to face with it directly, you cannot even fathom the pain, the suffering, the loss, the evil. As I mentioned, this film is NOT for the faint of heart, but I also think not acknowledging what has happened in the past and not bearing witness means we will let it happen again. So much for 'never again'.
Global warming?

Vermonters say winter's not what it used to be.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Hello, world!

I haven't blogged lately because I stepped up the excercise program which means that most nights this past week, I've come home, sat on the futon and promptly fell asleep. The one exception was Thursday night when I went to my book club. Today was my first day when I was able to tolerate the new regime without significant exhaustion. I did try to nap right after my lunch, but alas, my newly energetic body refused to sleep, so I ended up getting up and doing super fun things like cleaning the microwave, washing the bathroom rugs, and dusting the crown molding. I really hope your Saturday was more fun than mine.