Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This year I've invited my five-year-old grandson to spend the night. Then we'll go to Mother's tomorrow for our black-eyed peas and greens, which are traditional Southern foods for luck and wealth in the new year. I'll enjoy spending time with him but also wanted to give my son and daughter-in-law a night out to eat dinner and relax and a morning to sleep late. I'm meeting them at 2:00 to pick him up, and they'll get him tomorrow afternoon. This year I'll probably be asleep when 2009 arrives and wake up to the sounds of a sweet little boy calling me Grammy.
Brendan's First Christmas
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Here's an excerpt:
How weird a year was it? Here's how weird:
O.J. actually got convicted of something.
Gasoline hit $4 a gallon -- and those were the good times.
On several occasions, "Saturday Night Live" was funny.
There were a few days there in October when you could not completely rule out the possibility that the next Treasury secretary would be Joe the Plumber.
Finally, and most weirdly, for the first time in history, the voters elected a president who -- despite the skeptics who said such a thing would never happen in the United States-- was neither a Bush nor a Clinton.
(Asking Obama about his infomercial) Will it annoy us, or will we like it, afterwards will we think – “did he just sell me a “Shamwow?” what just happened? Or will we feel comforted and … (10/29/08)
Monday, December 29, 2008
I love awards shows and always cry during them when someone is genuinely touched about winning. Not, though, when they go over the top like Halle Berry did. That was annoying. Jackie has a problem with her winning for playing that degrading role, but that's another post. In addition to the Oscars, I watch BAFTA, the Independent Spirit Awards (love this one - so irreverent, funny, and casual), SAG, Golden Globes, Tonys, and Grammy award shows. Sometimes I manage some others, like the Country Music Awards so I'll know who they are since quite a few of them live in the Nashville area.
Hugh Jackman will host the Academy Awards year. He hosted the Tonys a couple of years ago. He has a range from musical theater to Wolverine to romantic leads. As soon as the nominations are announced, I'm all over going to see the ones I haven't seen yet. I'm going to see Doubt, Milk, Australia, Frost/Nixon, and some others soon. It's my mission! We all need something to look forward to!
Hancock - It was funny and exciting. Pretty good. Will Smith really did the down and out drunk well and made the changes effectively. I didn't recognize Charlize Theron for a while for some reason. She's able to change her appearance in different movies, but I should have known who she was.
Disturbia (which I kept calling Disturbo) - Definitely disturbing! David Morse plays a creepy, scary psycho so well. Shia Labeouf is cute and believable as a geeky teenager until he kisses the girl next door. This was really good with all kinds of suspense in it.
Baby Mama - Surprisingly better than I expected. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were funny and serious. It was light entertainment and just what I needed after "Disturbo"!
27 Dresses - Hey, I have teenage granddaughters! What do you expect? This was pretty good even though I don't like Katherine Heigl so much. It was predictable but had its moments.
Then after I got home, I watched these Saturday night and Sunday:
Juno - I know, it's taken me this long to get to this one. Quirky and touching in an odd way just as I expected. I liked it and thought the cast was excellent. Diablo Cody got an Oscar for the screenplay, and Ellen Page was rightfully nominated. I can't imagine anyone else delivering those lines and giving that performance the way she did. I liked it. I've read Diablo Cody's blog after she was nominated and during the next movie, which has been interesting.
There Will Be Blood - Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis got an Oscar for this, which happens most times he makes a movie. He gave an excellent performance, but I hated this movie. Hated it. His character had no redeeming qualities at all and made greedy bastards look good. I'll probably blog about this later because it goes back to America's history of violence, greed, fear, and ruthlessness. I can understand reasons for making that movie now about oilmen. His character said he always saw the worst in people, and we saw that, too.
Rendition - This is the one with Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Meryl Streep where Reese's character's husband was detained and tortured by our goverment for being Egyptian. Jake's character worked with the CIA and Meryl Streep was head of intelligence. What makes this so unnerving is that it happens, has happened, and we hope never happens again. I'll post separately about this one, too. Definitely thought-provoking and terrifying.
Sioux City - Lou Diamond Phillips plays a doctor who was adopted from his Sioux mother when he was four by a Jewish couple. We discover during the movie why she gave him up when he visits the reservation where he was born and meets relatives and a woman. It's actually fairly mediocre and predictable but has its moments. Some great scenery and the landscape is beautiful, too. (sorry, can't help myself)
The Bucket List - I always enjoy watching Morgan Freeman. He and Jack Nicholson played off each other so well in this. It must have made an impression because I dreamed about seeing Morgan Freeman in an airport waiting room. I waved to him and smiled, which he returned. He came over to talk to me, and I kept being interrupted by Mother and other people I know. Then there were all these little kids around, and I said I had to get away from them because I'm a retired teacher and just can't deal with that now. He laughed and then looked at me the way he can do. I said he must be thinking about something he would like to tell me. He nodded and told me that I wasn't taking care of myself as well as I should be. I know that, but when Morgan Freeman tells you, it takes on new meaning! LOL OK, OK! I get it!
I have HBO On Demand and planned to watch True Blood but was too late. They'll show it again, but since I missed it, I watched movies on there. I'm going to watch House of Saddam before they take that one off later on this week.
Origins: When Disney discovered in 1989 that three Hallandale, Florida, day care centers had 5-foot-high likenesses of trademarked Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy painted on their walls, Disney threatened to go to court if the centers did not remove the drawings. The threat of legal action did not need to be carried out, as the centers replaced the drawings with cartoon characters belonging to Universal Studios Florida and Hanna-Barbera Productions, who volunteered the use of their character art as part of a publicity ploy.
Disney demanded that the unauthorized 5-foot-high painted figures of Disney characters on the walls of Very Important Babies Daycare, Good Godmother Daycare, and Temple Messianique (all in Hallandale, Florida) be removed for valid business reasons: infringements must be fought in order to keep trademarks intact; other Disney character licensees would have grounds to object if Disney provided inexpensive (or free) licenses to the centers (which are, after all, profit-making enterprises); and the use of Disney characters falsely suggested Disney's affiliation with the day care facilities.
Disney had also just dealt competing Universal Studios a severe blow in the theme park business by opening its Disney-MGM Studios park in Orlando, Florida, several months ahead of the completion of Universal Studios' own Orlando-based studio theme park. Universal, still smarting from the early opening of Disney's studio-themed park (Universal had been planning such a park in Orlando since 1981 but had been struggling with the financing) and claiming that some of the ideas for Disney's park had been stolen from them (Universal alleged that Michael Eisner had seen the plans for their park when he worked for Paramount), saw in the day care controversy a way to seize some publicity for themselves and give Disney a bad name in Florida as part of the bargain. Accordingly, Universal Studios Florida and Hanna-Barbera Productions offered the centers the use of characters from their own cartoons, such as Scooby-Doo, the Flintstones, the Jetsons, and Yogi Bear. Universal and Hanna-Barbera then held a special ceremony showcasing the newly-redecorated day care centers at the Temple Messanique on August 8, 1989, attended by costumes characters and executives from both organizations.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
You click on the box and type in letters. They'll be displayed on those blanks or below when the hangman happens.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Record label after record label signed the Sex Pistols then paid them to leave the label. In four months’ time the recording industry paid the band $350,000 to go away.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water: I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up, and I hate to be alone."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Claim: After repeatedly complaining about the smell in their room, a couple staying in a hotel discovers the body of a murdered girl under their bed.
Origins: In The Baby Train, folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand writes that he first heard the "dead body found under hotel bed" legend 1991. Every version that came to him mentioned a Las Vegas hotel, but the lack of checkable details led him to believe this was an apocryphal tale.
Okay, so we can date the appearance of this legend to 1991. Unlike a number of other such gruesome tales, this legend appears to have sprung from a misremembering of any one of a number of actual news items, with the talebearer shifting certain details so that deaths which took place in anonymous little motels along Interstates are said to have happened in Las Vegas, America's own Sin City, and victims who'd (usually) done little else amiss than be in the wrong place at the wrong time and/or take up with questionable company were transformed through the magic of retelling into prostitutes.
Dead bodies get stashed in the box spring or the bed's pedestal more often than you'd want to believe. What's more, a fair number of them are only discovered days later - after the new tenant complains about a persistent and disagreeable odor.
In each of the following cases not only were bodies discovered under hotel beds, but it was investigations of the smell of decomposition that led to their discoveries.
On 10 July 2003, a man checked into the Capri Motel, just east of downtown Kansas City, and began complaining about a foul odor in his room. Management told him nothing could be done about the problem, and he spent three nights in his room before checking out because he could no longer stand the smell. When the cleaning staff came in to make up the room on 13 July, they lifted the mattress and underneath found a man's body in an advanced stage of decomposition.
On 10 June 1999 the rapidly decomposing remains of 64-year-old Saul Hernandez were discovered inside the bed in Room 112 at the Burgundy Motor Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey. A German couple had spent the night sleeping over Hernandez's remains, and it was their complaint to the manager about the smell in their room which led to the discovery of the corpse.
In July 1996 a woman's body was found under a mattress in the Colorado Boulevard Travelodge in Pasadena, CA. Apparently the motel's staff discovered her ten days after her demise and only after guests had complained for several days of a foul odor coming from that room.
There were two stashed-and-smelly body cases in Florida in 1994. (Further adding to the confusability of these stories' taking place in the same year and the same state, in both instances the next tenants those rooms had were German tourists.) In August 1994 in Fort Lauderdale, hotel staff discovered the body of 47-year-old Bryan Gregory tucked under a platform bed. Though the staff had themselves noticed the strange smell for days, they only set about looking for its source after a German couple spent the night in that room and afterwards complained about the odor.
In March 1994 the body of 24-year-old Josefina Martinez was found underneath a bed at the Traveler's Hotel near Miami International Airport. Again, the discovery was prompted by an aggrieved German tourist upset about a foul odor in his room.
In Virginia in 1989, Jerry Lee Dunbar disposed of the remains of two victims this way: 27-year-old Deirdre Smith, who was discovered in May under the floor of a motel room on Route 1, and 29-year-old Marilyn Graham, who turned up in June under a bed in the Alexandria Econo Lodge. In Smith's case, the killer first kept her body partially hidden under his bed for two days, then subsequently placed it in the crawl space under the carpeted floor. Her presence seemingly didn't bother him, because he didn't move out of that room until three or four weeks later. Both girls' bodies were eventually found after other guests complained about the stink.
In Mineola, New York, motel in 1988, a body turned up in a boxspring. The remains of 29-year-old Mary Jean DeOliviera were found at the Oceanside Motel. Again, the body was discovered days later and only after other patrons complained about the smell. At least two other guests unknowingly cohabited with the body before it was found, and at least one guest refused to stay in that room because of the smell.
Here's a change of pace — not a murder, but a death by misadventure. In Rosedale, Maryland in 1987, an unidentified man died of a drug overdose after one of the thirty-four balloons of heroin he'd swallowed burst. His partner stashed the corpse under their motel bed, then split. Three days later, the family the room was next rented to complained about the odor, and this led to the body's discovery.
So far the oldest smelly body left in under the bed sighting comes from 1982. Richard Kuklinski, Daniel Deppner, and Gary Smith often teamed together to run auto theft scams. Kuklinski and Deppner decided to kill Smith, and they accomplished this by feeding him a cyanide-laced hamburger in a North Bergen, NJ, motel room. Kuklinkski finished off Smith by strangling him when watching Smith die of poisoning proved tiresome. Smith's body was stuffed under the bed and left there. It was found four days later, on 27 December 1982. During the intervening four days, the room had been rented to others each night. Guests had wrinkled their noses at the smell, but none thought to look under the bed.
There are, of course, numerous other cases of dead bodies being left under hotel beds, but I've chosen not to report on these because one of the key elements of the legend is complaints about the presence of a horrific smell leading to the corpse's discovery. What gives this urban legend its chills-down-the-spine gruesomeness is the body's being found only after an unsuspecting traveller spends the night sleeping above it. That clearly happened in at least some of the cases mentioned here (and perhaps in others where the news reports stated only that hotel guests had complained without specifying which guests).
Urban legends tend to localize to where we believe they likely would have happened. It's easy to understand how in each of the versions Brunvand related that Las Vegas was always named as the city where the corpse reposed, for Vegas is indeed viewed as Sin City, USA. Much easier to believe that the unsuspecting traveller shared his room with a mouldering corpse in Las Vegas than it is to (rightly) place that occurrence in small-town New York, Virginia, or Maryland. Especially when dealing with a half-remembered true story, it's natural for the "obvious" details to replace facts that have been misplaced due to ordinary fuzziness of memory. One, after all, does not let a lack of certainty stand in the way of a good story.
Keep in mind that the Deirdre Smith (1989, Virginia), Marilyn Graham (1989, Virginia), Mary Jean DeOliviera (1988, New York), John Doe (1987, Maryland), and Gary Smith (1982, New York) cases antedate 1991. Gruesome finds like those tend to get heavily reported on, and that certainly happened with Smith, Graham and DeOliviera (the cites below don't begin to do justice to the coverage these discoveries got — they were reported on by a double handful of various papers across the USA). It is because of that widespread coverage that I lean towards this legend's having sprung to life out of a true story whose location got shifted from Your Town, USA (where only nice people live) to Sin City (where both life and room rates are cheap).
Barbara "death takes a holiday inn" Mikkelson
Sightings: Look for this legend in the 1995 film Four Rooms.
Last updated: 2 November 2006 by Snopes
Monday, December 15, 2008
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #231
I believe that inherent within the God-given right to the pursuit of happiness, is the equally God-given right to the pursuit of unhappiness. That is why I support gay marriage.
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #194
I may not have had the best childhood,
but I've certainly had the longest.
p.s. I realize that there is debate about when the century/decade began. I stand by what I wrote in the title.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Unfortunately, this is way too often the case, but with exposure, education, and experience people can learn, grow, and change. The operative word here is "can" since they can but often don't or won't.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
A Modern Parable.
A Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (Ford Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A
management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people owing. Feeling a deeper study was in order; American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing. Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.
They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rowers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The pension program was trimmed to 'equal the competition' and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid-off one rower, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses.
The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles,) so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India .
Sadly, the End....
Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages.
TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US. The last quarter's results:
**TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.
Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting bonuses...
**IF THIS WEREN'T SO TRUE IT MIGHT BE FUNNY*
Ah, yes! I identify! I have been social today, though. Paige called and asked me to go shopping with her for a drop-leaf table and some chairs. Anyone have some you'd like to sell? We went to a couple of antique places. Rachel called earlier and asked me to go to dinner with her, so we did after I got back home from the shopping excursion. Then Rachel came in and we sat around talking and drinking red wine (Merlot I bought at that winery in Florida when I was on vacation). I need some wine glasses since I'm down to two now after breaking the others. Not all at once but over time.
Paige and Rachel were both impressed with my living room since they saw it during the "before" stage. In fact, they were beyond impressed and were amazed. So how about that? Yea!! I think I'll finish the kitchen tomorrow and then hope to report that. We'll see.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The instructions are to copy and paste the list in your own blog and color all of the things YOU have done (mine are in blue). Things you haven't done will be in black.
If you put this on your blog, let me know, so I can go read your list.
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (on my list and I will get there)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (Clingman's Dome in the Smokies felt like a mountain but no, not really)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (not in front of an audience much to their delight)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea (ON the sea but not out there at sea)
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (gave one up for adoption and wish I hadn't - but she found me and things are great with us)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (nope, just the Bunker Hill Monument which was so not worth it)
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (I'd like to do that)
21. Had a pillow fight
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (yeah, right!)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (not on a real, organized team - in the neighborhood when we played)
32. Been on a cruise (I'm trying to build up to that - no way across an ocean!)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (I want to do that, too)
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (in central Arizona)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (again, thankful people everywhere applaud)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (on my list)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted (I've posed for an art class but it was drawing)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (it was closed or we would have)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper (several times and an article about my old blog Joy's Updates)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (twice)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (too many)
94. Had a baby (two)
95. Seen the Alamo in person (another place I want to go)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (I won)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant
Look, I’m not naïve. I know politicians twist corporate and rich peoples’ arms for money in exchange for legislative favors and appointments, and vice versa. But this is the first time in my memory that we know the precise, naked details of how it happens day-to-day, can see the Janus-faced politician as he is, claiming reform in public while selling the public trust for personal enrichment in private.
Much of the time corruption is so Byzantine as to be impenetrable. (What exactly did the banks and Wall Street firms do with those mortgages?) What has made the Blagojevich allegations (has anyone called it Blago-gate yet?) so “popular” is that it is corruption at its most base: “you give me money; I give you Senate seat.” It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
A majority of people go through life working hard for living, do their best to raise their children to become morally responsible adults, pay their bills and their taxes and do it all by the rules. It’s hard to know if politics attracts those who are already corrupt or if politics corrupts those who were once honest, but that short-list above tells us the kind of government we have, have always had. And it is not to anyone’s benefit but politicians and their corporate cronies.
In the recently contagious bubble of political “hope,” the Blagojevich affair is thoroughly deflating.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I went to CWHS again yesterday to help the teacher I'm mentoring get organized for the end of the semester. I was there Monday as well and will go back several days next week. I will be doing this the rest of the school year but don't plan to do it again after this time.
Tonight I branched out and watched Secret Milliionaire and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. Secret Millionaire was interesting. They have to decide who to give $100,000 to. Tonight a dot.com millionaire went to the Tenderloin section of San Francisco and lived in a barren apartment and on $98 for the week. He went to a homeless shelter where he helped prepare food and to a women's shelter. He gave money to both shelters, a woman who runs the women's shelter, and a woman who was abused and is trying to make a life her herself and her son.
People who do things like that to help others are angels on earth. The woman who started the women's shelter was from an abusive family herself and made a mission of providing a safe place for the women. Fortunately, I've never been in that situation and can't stand to think of anyone going through it. That infuriates me. I am so glad there are places for those who need them.
Another situation that I wish I could help with is the epidemic of teenage pregnancy. Teenagers think nothing of having unprotected sex and don't think oral sex can spread disease. I've mentioned before how many girls were pregnant and/or had babies and how there were quite a few boys with children, too, during my last years of teaching. It was over 10% of the student population, and those were just the ones I counted and heard about.
I missed writing and reading blogs yesterday. Wonder what effect the not going to work movement had?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
For many years I taught gifted students by going to their schools and teaching in workrooms of libraries, stages, the cafeteria, closets, and anywhere they could put us. My back seat was my traveling desk and always full. One year I went to five different schools in one day, and it rained way too many of those days! This is one reason I was thrilled not to have to get out today in the rain. Later on we had a place where the kids rode buses to us. They would have Challenge Class one day a week for three hours. We could do much more with them and had a place to keep materials and offer more for them. It was also easier on us (two of us taught the gifted students in all of the county's eleven elementary and middle schools). I liked that for the students since they could be with others in their grade, which gave the students from smaller elementary schools the opportunity to interact with peers.
I've been thinking about teaching quite a bit lately. The movie Sunday night made me proud of my profession, and I'm still working with that teacher I'm mentoring. Some people are born teachers. For us, it's never enough to know something. We have to share that knowledge with others. Some things can't be taught and are innate. It's like being funny. You either are or you aren't. It's that way with good teachers.
One thing I decided to do was to plan when I'd retire and know it was my last year. That way I prepared myself mentally for it, let students know they were my last classes, enjoyed events knowing they were my last as well, and rejoiced during what I didn't like because I'd never have to endure it again. This made me ready to go when I did and to adjust right away as soon as I retired. I didn't want to stay too long at the fair but to leave before others wondered why I was still there. As I've told my students over and over, timing is everything!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Be sure to read Charlie's post on Berry Blog about some of his teaching experiences and feelings about teaching that this movie triggered. Thanks, Charlie, for reminding me about the movie!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
1. Witness Protection Name (mother's & father's middle names)
Eunice A. My father's names are initials only. (let's hope I never have to use this one!)
2. Nascar Name (first name of your mother's dad & father's dad)
William James (which is my brother's name - well, we are Southern) This would work, especially if nicknames are used - Bill Jim, Billy Jim, Bill Jimmy, etc.
3. Star Wars Name (the first 2 letters of your last name & first 4 letters of your first name)
4. Detective Name (favourite colour & favourite animal)
Red Cat (not bad)
5. Soap Opera Name (middle name & city where you live)
Anne Dickson (that would work)
6. Superhero Name (2nd favourite colour & favourite alcoholic drink, optionally add "The" to the beginning)
The Blue Merlot (my super powers would be fluency in every language in the world)
7. Fly Name (first 2 letters of first name & last 2 letters of your last name)
8. Gangsta Name (favourite ice cream flavour & favourite cookie)
Nothing works here. Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip - nah! I could forget the cookie and use Cherry Garcia.
9. Rock Star Name (current pet's name & current street name)
Brigit Oak (so-so)
10. Porn Name (first pet's name & street you grew up on)
Frisky Vanleer (love it)
My money has to face the same direction in order of denomination - 20's in the back, then 10's, 5's, and 1's if I have all those. It bothers me when people crumple up their money and have it everywhere in their purse, but I silently judge. Yes, my books and CD's are arranged by genre and with little jokes to myself with some titles together. If I can't amuse myself, then what's the point?
So how am I living in chaos, you might ask? It's that perfectionist thing of "if I can't do it right, I just won't do it" and has bogged me down. I realize that's nuts and am making things look better without getting hung up on it all. I'm not a perfectionist about everything and not OCD but might have a few control issues. LOL
What about you?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Let me just state the obvious: Every single dollar Congress gives these three companies will be flushed right down the toilet. There is nothing the management teams of the Big 3 are going to do to convince people to go out during a recession and buy their big, gas-guzzling, inferior products. Just forget it. And, as sure as I am that the Ford family-owned Detroit Lions are not going to the Super Bowl -- ever -- I can guarantee you, after they burn through this $34 billion, they'll be back for another $34 billion next summer.
So what to do? Members of Congress, here's what I propose:
1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important functions our government must address. And because we are facing a massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.
2. You could buy ALL the common shares of stock in General Motors for less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You're going to demand collateral anyway if you give them the "loan," and because we know they will default on that loan, you're going to own the company in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)
3. None of us want government officials running a car company, but there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.
Besides, I think she horned in on Ellen's big moment and was a nutcase. It detracted from an important time for Ellen and almost turned it into a circus.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Your Spiritual Number is Six
You bring communication and empathy into people's lives.
You are very open and understanding. You can accept difficult people.
Right now, your life is about being understood. You have trouble with your own vulnerability.
You end up playing the role of therapist in relationships, and it's hard to get people to ask about you.
You will take time out for those you love, even if you don't have much time. You can't help but be nurturing.
You are very responsible and ethical. You deliver on your promises.
You Are a Blueberry Muffin
You are a nurturing, domestic, homey person.
Of all the types, you are the most likely to make your own muffins at home.
You don't like to rock the boat, and you're most content when you're making everyone else happy.
You are very loyal. You'll defend your family and friends, even if you secretly disapprove of what they're doing.
You tend to be a bit shy and withdrawn. You don't make friends quickly or easily.
But once you do make a good friend, the chances are high that you'll be friends for life.
She sang for JFK and planned to sing for Obama's inauguration. There are many articles about her online. Here are excerpts from one of them.
Odetta's repertoire of 19th-century slave songs and spirituals inspired several generations of singers including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin and Tracy Chapman. Her classically trained voice could sweep from husky low notes to delicate high tones and it became the soundtrack of the struggle to end racial discrimination, inspiring freedom marchers in Alabama and Mississippi and protesters in Washington.
"The first thing that turned me on to folk-singing was Odetta," Bob Dylan said in a 1978 Playboy interview. He had heard something "vital and personal" he said, adding: "I learned all the songs on that record, Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues."
Odetta's finest hour was her singing at the August 1963 march on Washington, a turning-point for the civil rights movement when she sang "O Freedom", a song dating to the days of slavery. She said blues and spirituals drew her into the civil rights movement, like two rivers running together. The words and music captured "the fury and frustration that I had growing up".
After I get all this clearing out done, there will be chaos again somewhat. I'm going to replace the counter top and sink in the bathroom. Eventually, I want to redo the kitchen. I'd love to remodel the whole thing - cabinets, counters, appliances, and floor but will do what I can when I can afford it. I'd also like to have hardwood or laminate floors in the living/dining room and hall. We'll see.
According to those clutter experts, clearing out clutter from your house makes way for money. I can deal with that and will let you know. If I win the lottery, Beth, we'll go to NYC and Chicago and see our guys!
What fascinates me most about Criminal Minds is the profiling. I read one of the books written by John Douglas . This biography is from his website:
Legendary head of the FBI’s
Investigative Support Unit
He has hunted some of the most notorious and sadistic criminals of our time: the Trailside Killer in San Francisco, the Atlanta child murderer, the Tylenol poisoner, the man who hunted prostitutes for sport in the woods of Alaska, and Seattle’s Green River killer, the case that nearly ended his own life.
He developed the first psychological profile of the Unabomber, but found the FBI wary of his pioneering techniques. His aggressive plan of action was ignored.
He has confronted, interviewed, and studied dozens of serial killers and assassins — including Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) and James Earl Ray — for a landmark study, to understand their motives and motivations. To get inside their minds.
He is able to become both predator and prey. He examines a crime scene and creates profiles of the perpetrators, describing their habits and predicting their next moves. Ultimately, when his work has helped snare the criminals, he can help build strategy for interrogating and prosecuting them.
He is Special Agent John Douglas, a legendary figure in law enforcement and the model for the Scott Glenn character in The Silence of the Lambs. (He was also the original choice to play the role.) As chief of the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit — the team that tackles the most baffling and senseless of unsolved violent crimes — Douglas is the man who ushered in a new age in behavioral science and criminal profiling. Now, after 25 years of service, he has retired and can finally tell his unique and compelling story.
Expanding on his national best sellers, Obsession, Mind Hunter and Unabomber: On the Trail of America’s Most Wanted Serial Killer (all co-authored with Mark Olshaker), Douglas’ lecture program delivers a fascinating inside look at some of the most intriguing criminal cases of our time. His most recent book, The Anatomy of Motive, analyzes such notorious criminal minds as Lee Harvey Oswald, Theodore Kaczynski, and Timothy McVeigh - and helps us learn how to anticipate potential violent behavior before it’s too late. Drawing from his long and extraordinary career, Douglas takes us inside the cat-and-mouse struggle between his elite squad of investigators and a chilling rogues gallery of assailants, a sort of surreal chess game with life-and-death consequences.
I'm still mentoring that teacher at Creek Wood which will go on all year. (a teacher year - which is an academic year from August to June - we teachers have years and summers) I figured it out and will need to spend around twenty hours a month to get all my required time in. This student will be on homebound the rest of the year, too. I'm ready for a break! LOL
I still use my favorite appointment calendar I did when I was teaching. I love it because there is room inside to write what I need to, and it feels comfortable to me. I have a stack of them and can look back during the last ten years to keep up with events that took place. It's much less filled than it was, and I'm delighted to have blank days now and then where I can stay home and do whatever I want to. I haven't had many of those since I've been retired. As David pointed out, I'm semi-retired.
As most of you know, I finally got started clearing out the clutter in my house and am 2/7 finished. The living/dining room and bathroom are the only ones completely done. The kitchen is about 3/4 cleared out and organized. Yes, I'll post pictures when I'm brave enough. So far, not there yet! You won't believe how bad it is. I've never, ever in my life lived like I have the last several years. Those clutter experts say that a trauma usually triggers the kind of chaos that is my house, and in my case, that is definitely true. During chemo and sepsis, I was too sick to do anything. Then after I went back to teaching, it took more energy than I had just to get through the day, so I'd collapse and watch TV and stay on the computer when I got home along with sleeping which I hadn't done much of for way too long. Those habits still continue quite a bit when I'm home. At last, I am beginning to dig my way out of all this and am getting my house and life back. For the first time in years, I feel some hope instead of being overwhelmed.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I love Venice! The people were friendly; the city beautiful; and the ambience incomparable!
Brian and I had a cappuccino at one of those tables. That second one on the right, I think. ;-)
Monday, December 1, 2008
I've done this for many years, so it's not an old age kind of thing - just a Bernice one.