Friday, December 21, 2007

Is there a Santa Claus?

Is there a Santa Claus? The classic question as answerered by Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope. If this doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will.

Dear Cecil:

Over one hundred years ago, on September 21, 1897, a little girl with great doubts asked the editor of the New York Sun for the answer to a question that had been bothering her. There was no Straight Dope then, so she had to settle. The Sun came up with an answer, a good answer, the correct answer. But folks have forgotten it, or no longer believe it. The man who answered her question was just a staff writer who got the assignment from his boss. He wasn't the World's Smartest Human, like you are. He didn't command the respect that you do. So, I hope you won't mind settling this question once and for all, for all the little Annies, Ryans, Joshes, Megans, and Tammys in the world. If I may paraphrase:

Dear Cecil: I am 47 years old. Some of my friends on the Straight Dope Message Board say there is no Santa Claus. JKFabian says, "If you see it in the Straight Dope it's so." Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus? --Ranger Jeff, The Idol of American Youth

Dear Jeff:

Let's just say his existence can't be definitely ruled out.

I'm not saying there aren't improbable aspects to the story. You have x number of kids (even leaving out the Muslims, Shintoists, Hindus, animists, etc., who one presumes get shafted, giftwise), you have y time per visit, you have z average distance between domiciles, you have an earth of known diameter, and you have 24 hours in the day. It doesn't add up. You have the problem of access to the gift-giving venue in the absence of chimneys with fireplaces, unless we're assuming that Santa Claus oozes through the keyholes in the manner of the critter in The Abyss, which is not a pretty picture. You have the problem of what in all likelihood is the earth's single largest concentration of toy manufacturing facilities in a polar region remote from resources of every type (cold excepted), that's so carefully camouflaged as to be invisible to satellite surveillance, and that produces no detectable emissions. Although now that one thinks about it, there's that ozone hole over the south pole. Hmm.

On the other hand, consider the following:

1. A great many seemingly improbable events do in fact occur. Florida winning the World Series. Cleveland winning the World Series. Compared to this, what is the accurate delivery of zillions of packages in the course of a single night?
2. Besides, Fed Ex does it. So what if we're talking Memphis and drivers in baseball caps rather than the north pole and elves? It's the principle of the thing.
3. OK, so there's a certain amount of mortal participation involved. Perhaps, as a parent, you've personally done your bit to help Santa and thought you did so of your own accord. The ants in the anthill probably think they're doing it on a whim, too. But looking at the matter objectively, we can't deny that a larger purpose is at work and that we are in the service of an agency greater than ourselves.
4. You mean the IRS.
5. I mean the impulse to be generous. Three hundred sixty-four days out of the year humankind commits all manner of heinous acts. On the 365th day we give toys to the kids. I'm not saying that the latter compensates for the former. I'm not saying Adolph Hitler wouldn't have given presents to his children, if he'd had children. But come on, it's got to count for something. The giving of gifts in such a way that no credit will devolve upon ourselves is sufficiently at odds with our routine behavior as to be accounted a mystery, and we may as well give that mystery a name. Santa Claus it is.
6. Besides, to believe in Santa Claus is to believe in magic. The belief in magic in many respects is a pernicious thing. Because of it you've got countless multitudes thinking that aliens abduct people, that Elvis is alive, that you can earn big money stuffing envelopes in your home, and that the TV preacher can cure you if you send him 50 bucks. A certain class of persons, of whom your columnist is one, will go through their lives attempting to extinguish these foolish hopes. No doubt in the main it is good that we do so. But even the sternest among us remembers the wonder we felt as children to think there was a force having a kindly interest in us that wasn't bound by the rules of this drab world. Wherefore if there's someone who's going to say flat out that Santa Claus doesn't exist, it's not going to be me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Fraudriguez Story, as Motown would Tell It

Via Bob Hertzel at the Times West Virginian. The genius just never stops pouring out of Marion County!

The following is Reason 23 on his list, but it deserves its own column, which is why I'm reprinting it here as a post. If I get ambitious, I'll post links. (Don't count on it.)

• Basketball coach John Beilein says goodbye to Rodriguez as he leaves for Michigan: “Someday, We’ll Be Together” (The Supremes)

• The rumors begin: “I Heard It On The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye)

• The rumors get louder: “What’s Going On?” (Marvin Gaye)

• Rodriguez gets an offer, then talks to WVU officials: “Shop Around” (The Miracles)

• West Virginia asks Rodriguez not to leave: “Stop In The Name of Love” (The Supremes)

• Rodriguez thinks the offer over as Michigan awaits an answer: “You Keep Me Hanging On” (Diana Ross)

• Athletic director Ed Pastilong learns Rodriguez has decided to go to Michigan: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Thelma Houston)

• Rodriguez tells Michigan he accepts their offer: “Let’s Get It On” (Marvin Gaye)

• Michigan says fine, but you have to beat Ohio State: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Diana Ross)

• Ed Pastilong laments: “Where Did Our Love Go?” (The Supremes)

• Rodriguez flies to Michigan: “End of the Line” (Boyz II Men)

• And then the final chapter, Rodriguez loses to Ohio State and has to catch “The Midnight Train to Georgia” (Gladys Knight and the Pips)

I'm adding my own postscript: WVU finally realizes that they deserve better than that: "I Will Survive" (Gloria Gaynor).

Hey, what would a post about football and Motown be without that last one? ;-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I guess I'm spicy!!

Is this a good ting?

Your Score: Saffron

You scored 100% intoxication, 50% hotness, 75% complexity, and 50% craziness!

You are Saffron!

Those other spices have nothing on you! You're warm, smart, and you make people feel really good (and with no side-effects!). You can be difficult to get to know and require a lot of those who try, but you're so totally worth it. *Sigh*

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Happy Holliday?

According to the Parkersburg News and Sentinel WVU is poised to hire Doc Holliday, a former WVU assistant coach and player originally from Hurricane. I've heard this on other sites too, so it might just happen! Wait and see...

The strangest and funnies thing I've seen this holiday

Finally, the barking dogs singing Jingle Bells have competition.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What's Behind Rodriguez Leaving for Michigan - FanHouse - AOL Sports Blog

Folks have been asking me how I feel about the whole Rich Rod thing. Well, gee, let's see. I'm at a level of POd that I haven't been to in a long time.

It's not the leaving. People have all sorts of reasons to take and leave jobs, and I'm not judging their reasons, even if I may not agree.

It's the way he left. First, he calls his recruits and tells them. Then he tells the team. That's wrong. The players had calls from the recruits before the meeting even started! Then, when he gives his letter of resignation to a GRADUATE ASSISTANT (who's about as low on the pecking order as you can me, I remember) to deliver to the officials. At least be a man and don't hide.

I'm not crazy about Nehlen's comments either. But that's another post.

Here's some local opinion on What's Behind Rodriguez Leaving for Michigan at the WVU FanHouse

And here's a view from Michigan's Detroit Free Press

Local reactions from University officials and players:;_ylt=AoHHSvo5x1f9jEdQhNB76QvjvbYF?slug=ap-rodriguez-reax&prov=ap&type=lgns

In summation, Rich, you gotta go. Thanks to WVSoundman for the inspired song. I can't believe he got it written and produced that quickly!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Letter from Jesus

I found this on an online forum. Since I'm pretty sure it's a forward, I'm reposting here as I love the sentiment. It's what I try to do. Fail more often than I like, but I try.

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many you are upset that folks
are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten
that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and
that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate
My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival.
Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be
most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed
with children of your own.

I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the
town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My
birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santa's and snowmen
and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If
all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such
a scene on the town square because there would be many of them
all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree
a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made
all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree.
Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that
one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and
what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one,
look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth
here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My
birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope
to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and
lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know
them personally. They just need to know that someone cares
about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on
the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write
and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family
this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't
afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them
the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down
here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him
or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take
their own life this season because they feel so alone and
hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving
everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town
calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there.
Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't
allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you
from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday.
If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd
close and let their employees spend the day at home with their

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a
missionary - especially one who takes My love and Good News to
those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole
families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas"
tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or
receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few
gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other
charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery
for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief
in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do
things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let
people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love
Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all
the rest.

Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll
help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a
most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and

~Earthly Author Unknown~


It's official: Merriam-Webster's word of '07 is 'w00t'. Another example of hacker terminology infiltrating popular parlance. Personally, I have never said w00t before...I'm more of a woo hooo! kind of gal.

Friday, December 07, 2007

One Hundred Years Ago Today: Monongah Mine Disaster

Here's my post from yesterday on Appalachian Greens: One Hundred Years Ago Today: Monongah Mine Disaster. I'm linking because I'm too lazy to crosspost, and I think I'll be making some additions.

Monday, December 03, 2007

BS Flag

I SO need one of these. I mean, yes, it would be great for games, but imagine how useful it'd be in meetings!! Picture this: the flag flies, and the committee chair says "we have unnecessary jargon. 15-donut penalty, to be assessed at the next meeting." Or this: "Prior to the point, illegal whining. Penalty is one carafe of coffee to be served immediately to avert any risk of sleepiness to the attendees who've heard all your whining before."

Aaaaaah, in my world.....

Slightly nerdy

To recover from the trauma that was Saturday's game, I took the Nerd Quiz and found I was "slightly nerdy." I think that means "nerd wannabe."

I am nerdier than 59% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cook, Furfari can measure depth of WVU-Pitt rivalry

Cook, Furfari can measure depth of WVU-Pitt rivalry: "you will hate Pitt for eternity," which is my favorite Jack Fleming quote. I'm getting much more into this Pitt game than even I had in earlier years. And I'm already getting nervous. Golly I hope we pound them good, in a fashion that would make even Jack Fleming's ghost call to the Mountaineers for mercy.

But this is part of what I enjoy about rivalries. Check out the Backyard Blog, with entries from Pitt and WVU diehard fans. It's good clean ribbing, which can be lots of fun.

Angel from Montgomery by John Prine and Bonnie Raitt

This is probably the most beautiful song I've ever heard. I have fond memories of singing this with one of my best friends. And the montage is perfect...exactly what I pictured when I first heard this lovely song.

The Backyard Blog

The Backyard Blog

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bad Santa!!!

This is the funniest picture I've seen in a while. Courtesy of The Jacknut Chronicles.

Sucks to be Santa sometimes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Eight Things Meme

I was tagged by JediJawa with the Eight Interesting things meme, so here goes:
  1. My house (my bedroom, to be precise) was hit by a tractor-trailer when I was five years old. Since then I've harbored an irrational fear of tractor-trailers.
  2. I'm thinking of growing my hair out for Locks of Love. But I'm afraid that they'll send it back because they can't do anything with it either!
  3. I took gymnastics lessons at the same place (and at the same time) that Mary Lou Retton did. She learned much better than I did.
  4. My eyes are terrible and have been all my life. My secret wish is to wake up in the morning and be able to see.
  5. Contrary to common belief, I was born in Richmond, Virginia.
  6. My family has lived on the same piece of land since the Revolutionary War.
  7. My first major purchase after I finally got out of grad school and got a real job was WVU season football tickets.
  8. Eight is my lucky number!
Now tagging:
Ms. Jamie
Kayak Dave
Anne Johnson
Elvis Drinkmo
Lulu Bunny
Just Judith
Yellowdog Granny

(links to follow after I cook Thanksgiving dinner)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

RIP, Mr. Yup Yup

Here's a video of the Yup Yup man. It's a bit grainy, but I thought the clearer video was insulting, so you're going to have to suffer with graininess.

He was a fixture around Morgantown, a little odd to be sure, but never hurt a fly, and never drank alcohol, regardless of how many bars he frequented.

He never spoke to me, and I've heard rumors that he didn't speak to women. I can believe that. He was a gentle soul.

I remember when his landlord died in the early 90s, the concern was "what's going to happen to Mr. Yup Yup?" as we all knew that the landlord provided a place for him to stay and looked out for him. I never knew till today, but I continued to see him around town so I knew he was all right.

Goodbye, Mr. Yup Yup

A part of my childhood is gone. Morgantown says Farewell to the Yup Yup man

Dying Languages

When we lose a language, we lose another way of looking at the world. It is through language that we create meaning and interpret our world.This article from the New York Times illustrates this concept perfectly.

Monday, November 19, 2007

So I guess I am on the level of undergrads

Saw this tool on several blogs and had to try it. cash advance

Get a Cash Advance

UPDATE: Three days later, I had either gotten a lot better at writing OR the blog readability is pretty random. But I couldn't resist having the GENIUS label on my blog! I've known it for a long time.... :-)

cash advance

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Christmas Songs

I get really grumpy when I hear Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. So here are my alterations.

Stop the Bells (to the tune of Silver Bells, as if you didn't know)

Stop the Bells
Stop the Bells
It's too damn early for Christmas songs
Ring a ling
Stop that thing
Christmas is two months away!

God Rest Ye Merry Customers (again, to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

God Rest Ye Merry Customers
Let nothing you dismay
Just put it on your credit card
You'll pay it off in May

And if your debts get too darn high
You can always get a loan
Oh put up your retirement and home,
Retirement and home
And forget about a cruise to Rome.

More to come as my creativity and annoyance level rises.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How Privileged are You?

Found this on a blog focusing on Quakers and social class. Ones that apply to me are bolded. I'm not sure what this says. I grew up pretty solidly middle-class, I thought. What do you think?

Father went to college (for a year)
Father finished college
Mother went to college (again, for a year)
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor. (Dad's first cousin that I never really knew)
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children's books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 (Guitar, believe it or not, briefly)
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs*(All of undergrad, but after that I was on my own)
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs*
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp (Does 4-H Camp and Church Camp count?)
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (Yeah, RIGHT!!!!)
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 (once when I went to the West Coast to visit Dad's sisters)
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What have you done?

Today I was at work where we were testing out furniture for our really awesome new building. A co-worker was saying that she didn't like the desk chairs because the arms didn't go out far enough to the sides. Me being me, I messed with the arms and got them to turn to the outside more.

She was amazed. "How did you do that? We've all tried it, we even read the directions, and the directions said you couldn't do it!"

My reply: "I wasn't encumbered by the directions."

Which brings to mind the question: what impossible things have you done lately?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I knew it

I joined a bowling team at work. Today, one of my teammates admitted that they invited me onto the team to provide them with amusement. I told them ahead of time that I stink, so I figured it was to set the handicap.

I should have known. At least we're all having fun.

Essential Freedoms

I heard from a speaker last week that six freedoms are essential for us:

  1. Time freedom
  2. Relationship Freedom
  3. Spiritual Freedom
  4. Physical Freedom
  5. Monetary Freedom
  6. Freedom to pursue our dreams.
This list really resonated with me. As I re-launch my blog, I think I'll take a post to explain what each means to me.

The World's Fair

I willl have to try this meme! Maybe tonight.The World's Fair

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rich state, poor state

Crooked Timber � � Rich state, poor state

Free Books Free Minds

This site (WOWIO) has two of my favorite things: 1) free and 2) books. I imagine that these books are published under a CC license or are in the public domain, but as I'm just getting back into my work I'll have to do it later.

I cant' wait to check it out! If anyone checks it out before I do, please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Banned Books

At the request of Jedi Jawa, here's my list of banned books. These are the 100 most banned books. The ones I've read are in bold.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Monday, October 22, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Language, Not Quite Spanish, With African Echoes - New York Times

This article from the New York Times reminds me of Gullah, the creole language spoken by descendants of runaway slaves on the barrier islands of South Carolina.

On another interesting note, the Spanish word "lengua" means "tongue" in both English senses of the word: thing in your mouth AND language. Many of these metaphorical sayings don't translate perfectly: it's interesting to find one that does.

Jena and new media

What Jena means (and indicates) about how we use technology. eSchool News online - Technology spurs students to activism

What they Aren't reporting to bring us stories of Ellen's doggie

This disturbing article from - details how the middle class is slipping closer and closer to poverty. Meanwhile, the title of the article, "Numbers Tricks Mask Declining Wages and Rising Inequality" says it all.

Disgusting that more people can't wake up and smell the coffee.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

21st Century South American Literature

The VQR � Fall 2007 edition features works from South America. I was disappointed with the number of fiction offerings, but I'm hoping the quality will make up for it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mario Vargas Llosa

At the New York Times, there's an interesting interview withMario Vargas Llosa , a Peruvian novelist. I was interested to see his view of Reagan (knowing that he's a conservative too). Although he's not my favorite writer, I have to say that I respect his unwillingness to talk about García Márquez. Obviously the two have had some kind of difficulty that's between the two of them. Let's keep it there and not get into a he-said, he-said bit.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Saying goodbye to the Southern Kitchen

This slide show chronicles Byrd's saying goodbye to a Charleston institution, the Southern Kitchen. This was also one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston. it's not often that you find good home cooking from a family restaurant in that area since so much has been taken over by the chains.

i also see a glimpse of my favorite waitress, Nina, in there. We only discovered the place a couple of years back. Wish we had tried it earlier!

Brains are Weird

This image supposedly indicates whether you are right-brained or left-brained.Brains are Weird, or maybe it's just me. I can see it both ways, and it's not because I tried to as one commenter indicated. I'm also thinking that it might be because of my very weird eyes. I wear contacts, and my right eye is much worse than my left eye.I have practically no depth perception, so I'm thinking that perhaps my eyes aren't working in tandem as they should.

Did anyone else have the same experience?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Can they sink no lower?

This article in the NY Times details how the right-wing nutjobs like Michelle Malkin are Sliming Graeme Frost, the Maryland child that served as an example of the kinds of people the SCHIP is supposed to help. Instead of feeling sympathy for the poor kid who has gone (and is going) through a terrible ordeal, instead Michelle Malkin publishes his home address so that people can drive by and take a look at their house for themselves. There's an excellent analysis in the WV Blue. This is unconscionable. These Republican chickies, both Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter. Exactly how nuts do these people have to show they are before they are taken somewhere to get treatment? I hope they're nuts and not just eaten up with hate. Nuts you can treat. I'm not so sure about hate.

Again, I'll add to what Kanye West said about Bush. He also hates hurt children. And anyone else who opposes him.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reading the Mind in the Eyes

According to this test (Revised, Adult), I have high-functioning Asperger's. While I may not be the most socially adept person on the planet, I generally do OK, so I'm wondering if anyone else is having a hard time with this test?

Bizarro World

I normally dislike the Seinfeld show, though I'm quite familiar with it because I was a young adult in the 90s. Nuff said. However, a government official says that "It's just sad to hear a former president speak like that" to refer to a former president TELLING THE TRUTH, we have officially entered Bizarro World. Carter says U.S. tortures prisoners

Stop the Hate Rally

What with the recent events in Logan County, this year's Stop the Hate Rally in Charleston is even more important than ever. If anyone's able to go, I'd love to hear about it.

(Cross posted in Appalachian Greens.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Steps to a More Satisfying LIfe

Fortunately, according to this article, I am so satisfied that I can hardly stand myself. Well, except for the sleep bit.

Finally, a Cool Nerd says I'm a Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Tomato Mystery

My honey and I planted tomatoes this summer. They're nice tomatoes, but many of them had some weird thing going on with them. They seemed to have chunks taken out of the bottom of them. they didn't look like worms or bugs, so the mystery remained. Until last week when he saw this.
Yep, we had a turtle. A box turtle that we call Bobby. we hope to see him again soon. And we hope he lays off the tomatoes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Words I love to hear

"We just could not beat them." --Doug Flutie, re: Every game he played against WVU.

Aaaah, that sounded great!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Corner on National Review Online

The Corner on National Review Online

Parody State Quarters, Etc

These Parody State Quarters, Etc made me laugh. I'm going to have to get the East Virginia one! :-)

A dark day, or maybe a light one

this morning I heard that my favorite author,Madeleine L’Engle, Writer of Children’s Classics, Is Dead at 88. I can't believe she is gone, but a spirit like hers doesn't just goes on in a different way. And we still have her books. I'm currently in the middle of A Ring of Endless Light but I can't seem to get through it. Perhaps with her death, the book will help me see the light. and maybe she will continue to speak to me through her pages, as she always has done. You see, I was Meg too. And so were my best friends.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

four things meme

Here's my first meme:

four first names of crushes:
1. Chris
2. John
3. Todd (turned out to be gay)
4. Jack

four pieces of clothing i wish i still owned/or fit into:
1. those old Levi's cutoffs
2. the dress I wore to my brother's wedding. I was told I looked better than the bride!
3. Hard Rock London sweatshirt
4. that great sweater of Dad's that I stole in college and kept several months before he stole it back.

four names i’ve been called at one time or another:
1. Cloud
2. Lisa
3. blue eyes
4. Cleopatra (yes, the queen of denial)

four professions i secretly want to try:
1. foreign correspondent
2. travel celebrity (a la Samantha Brown...she annoys me but I'd love her job)
3. WVU color commentator for football games
4. community activist

four musicians i’d most want to go on a date with:
1. Jim Morrison
2. Michael Hutchence
3. Robert Plant
4. Lou Reed (not from attraction, but interest)

four foods i’d rather throw than eat:
1. tomatoes
2. mushrooms
3. more tomatoes
4. nuts

four things i like to sniff:
1. lavender
2. Laurels
3. basil
4. pad thai cooking

Semi-tagged by Ianqui

Now tagging:
Dean Dad

Mountainlair: Coal Bowl Week

This writer is as sick of hearing about Mountainlair: Coal Bowl Week as I am. Love the Mountaineers, root for Marshall every time they're not playing WVU, but HATE this whole "Friends of Coal" bullshit. They're friends of coal? Well, I'm friends of coal families. The ones who risk their lives every day several miles underground. The ones who are having their lives ruined by poor environmental forces. The ones who are dying of black lung. The one who are losing their houses to flooding and slippage. all of which is caused by irresponsible mining practices.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'll agree, but I would have preferred something by Isabel Allende

You're One Hundred Years of Solitude!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Lonely and struggling, you've been around for a very long time.
Conflict has filled most of your life and torn apart nearly everyone you know. Yet there
is something majestic and even epic about your presence in the world. You love life all
the more for having seen its decimation. After all, it takes a village.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ten things I love about my life

So you won't all think I'm a huge whiny loser:
  1. I love a wonderful man and he loves me. Lots of people don't get that lucky.
  2. I work with a great bunch of people. They are all top-notch at what they do.
  3. I have friends. People often say, "Hi, Laurel, how are you?" And I KNOW they mean it.
  4. We have ceremonies where I work. I love ceremonies.
  5. I have a wonderful crawdad living in my back yard.
  6. My friends are virtual (like the ones at Appalachian Greens) as well as face-to-face. Heck, I've probably walked or driven past Kayak or Elvis, but neither of us would know it.
  7. I've been reading and sharing great books with my friends.
  8. Thus far this year, four beautiful babies have been born healthy to my friends. What's better than that? UPDATE: Five beautiful, healthy babies. That's what's better than four. Welcome, Chloe!
  9. I still can't count, but luckily I'm in a field where it really doesn't matter.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ten things I hate about my life

  1. People who laugh when I have computer difficulties. I know, it's an occupational hazard, but PLEASE show some empathy when I've shagged my little tail over to your office and found that I'm having troubles too. Surprise: if it were easy you wouldn't have had to call me!
  2. People who swear that the impossible has happened, i.e., Them: "I know you can do a back handspring." Me: "Nope, I can't do a back handspring. Never could." Them: "but I SAW you do a back handspring last spring." ME: You must have seen someone else. Them: "No, it was you, I know it!" As if their being mistaken is a moral deficit.
  3. 13-hour days.
  4. Hurting feet.
  5. Endless humidity. Is this related to global warming?
  6. My honey is WAAAAY too far away.
  7. The fact that I can't count too well.

As if there were any doubt....

?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family History Clues from Cemeteries

You'd be amazed how many Family History Clues you can get from Cemeteries.

Holy Schmitt!

It's almost time for football season again! This clip of Owen Schmitt should get you in the mood for football.

Aaaaah, less than a month!

Friday, July 27, 2007

System Administrator Appreciation Day

Share the love. Today is System Administrator Appreciation Day. Let's face it: nobody thinks about the people who make the Internet work every day. We just cuss them when the conenctions are too slow or a site goes down. WE don't realize that they work very hard, are on call 24-7-365, and care about nothing more than keeping the connections up and running so that we can look up our LOLcats. I realize a little bit of what sysadmins do, having closely worked with them for over 7; years (sheesh!). They don't get the credit or the recognition they deserve. So if you can, hug a sysadmin. Or at least send an email thanking your friendly neighborhood sysadmin. They don't bite. Well, most of them. :-)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kids these days

This studyNew MTV, Nickelodeon and Microsoft Challenges Assumptions About Relationship Between Kids, Youth & Digital Technology. It's an interesting idea, and I wonder if I can get the concepts out to my faculty. They think the kids know everything about how the technology works, and I've known for a while that they really don't. They're great with application and how-to,but not so good with implications and fixing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

it's official

According to Facebook, I have 34 friends. According to GoodReads, I have read 50 books. So now I have more books than friends.

You can make of that what you will.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's official.

I am a Freak.

Your Score: Freak- INFJ

46% Extraversion, 66% Intuition, 33% Thinking, 53% Judging

Well, well, well. How did someone like you end up with the least common personality type of them all? In a group of 100 Americans, only 0.5 others would be just like you. You really are one of a kind... In fact, I do believe that that's one of the definitions for the word "FREAK."

Freak's not such a bad word to describe you actually.

You are deep, complex, secretive and extremely difficult to understand. If that doesn't scream "Freak!" I don't know what does. No-one actually knows the REAL you, do they?

You probably have deep interests in creative expression as well as issues of spirituality and human development.

You've probably even been called a "psychic" before, because of your uncanny knack to understand and "read" people without quite knowing how you do it. Don't fret. You're not actually psychic. That would make you special and you'll never accomplish that.

You're also quite possible the most emotional of them all, so don't take this all too hard. Nevertheless you most definitely have the strangest personality type and that's not necessarily a good thing.


If you want to learn more about your personality type in a slightly less negative way, check out this.


The other personality types are as follows...

Loner - Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Pushover - Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Criminal - Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Borefest - Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Almost Perfect - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Loser - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Crackpot - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Clown - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Sap - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Commander - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Do Gooder - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Scumbag - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

Busybody - Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging

Prick - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

Dictator - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Link: The Brutally Honest Personality Test written by UltimateMaster on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What I'm Reading update

Last night I went to the College bookstore to wait in line and get my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I didn't really WANT to drive the 12 miles from my house to the bookstore, but it won't be open tomorrow, we'd already paid for our copies, and Mountain Man has to be out of town all next week, so he wouldn't be able to get it till the next weekend. And I have no restraint when it comes to Harry Potter. I stayed up till 4 a.m. to finish the first one, and the others are similarly addicting. So we came home and read till 2 a.m. I have to say that it moves quickly, perhaps the most quickly of any of the books. Then again, she doesn't have a whole lot of space to wrap things up.

I've also joined a cool new service called Good Reads. It's a social bookmarking site where you list the books you've read, you review books, and you can share the books that others are reading. I've already got 3 friends that I've invited, and I have to say it's pretty addicting. You can link to it from the right bar on my blog. I've concentrated on pleasure reading now, but later I'll be posting the professional books I've read, some of which are damn cool.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Recipe for tonight's supper

1. Take a tiny zucchini, fresh from your friend's garden, slice it lengthwise, then slice it into bite-sized pieces.

2. Put in the pasta salad that you made last week. Mix well.

3. Return to the refrigerator for a half-hour (or as long as you can stand the wait).

4. Sprinkle individual serving with Parmesan cheese.

5. Eat. Marvel at how well the sweet crunch of the zucchini blends with the vinegar-based dressing, green peppers, and olives.

6. Smile as you think how lucky you are to have good friends!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vatican issues 10 Commandments for drivers -

I'n not Catholic, but I've often thought that we needed these for a long time. Many of them are ones that I practice already, like praying in the car. Vatican issues 10 Commandments for drivers -

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I'm fascinated by these Lolcat pictures. Anyone know where to find some good ones?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Why Nerds are Unpopular

This interesting article explains my high school career, and why life got ever so much better in college an afterward. I wouldn't go back and relive those years for all the money in the world! I'm not sure about his solution, but I don't think that more authenticity will hurt.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Historic river town has plenty to offer visitors

This interesting article from the Lebanon Reporter in Pennsylvania features my new hometown. I'll vouch for everything except the Holl's Chocolatier. Yes, their chocolate is WONDERFUL (all caps merited), but I've never been in their store. I'm going to have to go there to see it.

Trans-Allegheny Bookstore is also a joy for any booklover. The only thing that he forgot to mention is the cats that lounge in the reading area. Hey, come to think of it, that sounds like a perfect Saturday...eating chocolates while browsing fascinating old (and new) books, and sitting on a couch reading a book with a cat in my lap. You know, heaven sounds a lot lke that.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Missing the MySpace vote?

Yet More Republican consistency. They've passed a bad law and now they're trying to subvert it. Typical.

eSchool News online - Missing the MySpace vote?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


The only rap song I'd think of listening to or downloading. I might even make it my ringtone!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Elvis Drinkmo: Appalachian Dialect

Fascinating article on the Appalachian Dialect by my buddy Elvis. Some of these I'd never heard. What shocked me was the use of the word "stocking cap." A toboggan, for me, was both a long sled meant for several people and a knitted cap that you wear in the winter. I guess you learn something new every day.

thanks again Elvis!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Strangers - a photoset on Flickr

Strangers - a photoset on Flickr

This is a very interesting project in which a person takes a photo of a stranger every day. I imagine I would have a hard time!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Where is your accent?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The South
North Central
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

States I've visited

create your own visited states map

Interesting idea. And now I know where I need to go next! Maybe that New ENgland trip isn't a bad idea.

Interesting enough that the only region that I've visted all the states is Appalachia. Guess I have more of a connection than I thought.

Countries I've visited

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands