12.29.2006

Driving across America

More cool video from the internets....

Get off your ass and go sign it....

Apparently there is a petition at WEFT to rename part of Market Street in Chef Ra's honor.

You know what to do.

WEFT studios are in downtown Champaign. That would down the street from Mike and Molly's, around the corner from the Esquire, and one block over from Kopi for the address challenged....

12.26.2006

12.25.2006

The newest Internet skirmish



O'Reilly responds:

A christmas present from my mom....

Apocalypt-ow: An Archaeologist's Take on on Mel's New Film

I love messageboards. Particularly political messageboards. One of the things I love about them is that fact that you can interact with people with all kinds of professions from all over the country and sometimes the world.

A poster on one political messageboard I frequent, Distressed American, is a Maya archaeologist and has written a "review" of Mel Gibson's newest film, Apocalypto. It has been posted on two messageboards and I'm reprinting it here in it's entirety.
Apocalypt-ow
My take on Mel Gibson’s latest offense

By Distressed American - www.seedsofdoubt.com

As many of you already know, I am a Maya archaeologist by training and profession. As such, I wanted to see Apocalypto so I would be in a position to debunk the false impressions that it is giving to future students. While this movie is a fiction and therefore not restricted to such quaint notions as “historical accuracy”, I fear that the vast majority of American’s are so ignorant of Maya history that they will have little else to base their opinions on. In my own little way, I hope that this review does something to dispel the extremely inaccurate image of the Maya that Mel is perpetuating.

The core message of the film is an attempted justification of the Spanish conquest of the area and the untold death that that resulted from it. Given Mel’s extreme right wing views and known racism, I am not surprised that that is the best he could do with the subject. Disappointed but, far from surprised.

I have read several reviews from other archaeologists. None of them were even remotely positive. However, there are some aspects of the film that the reviews I have read are lacking. That is not surprising as no reviewer could possibly catalog the full list of issues that this movie brings up. I will emphasize those elements I have seen lacking in other write-ups.

Before getting into the details, I will try to sum up my major objection. The most glaring problem with the movie is its blender smoothie approach it applies to the Maya. Prior to the actual arrival of the Spaniards (some 600 years after they show up in this movie), the ancient Maya saw some 2,000 years of cultural development. The political and religious organization changed greatly over time. They occupied a wide variety of environments and showed great diversity in their architecture and other material culture. Watching Mel’s treatment of the subject, you’d never know.

In essence, cultural elements were selected (presumably for visual appeal) almost at random and intermixed without regard to time period, architectural style, region, etc. If the Maya had anything to do with it, it was thrown in and mixed into a grey slurry of “Mayaness” that is this film. Much as if someone was making a movie about the United States and felt that it was appropriate to pull any visual element out of our history going all of the way back to the settlement at Jamestown and intermix them all based on the whims of the director. Conestoga wagons side by side with the space shuttle for example. All of the above driven by firemen because their clothes look cool.

The story is set at the end of the Classic Period “Maya collapse”, which dated roughly 900 to 950 AD. Yet there is no attempt made to draw specifically from that time period. Many of the elements used from bows and arrows to the Gods that they worship are found hundreds of years outside of their temporal context. Much of the movie features developments that did not arrive in the area for hundreds of years after this movie is set.

One of the most annoying aspects of the tale is Mel’s glaring failure to understand even the most basic elements of Maya religion. For example, the climactic scene in the movie features a ritual in which captives are dragged up the main temple in the city and sacrificed. The problems with this scene are so numerous as to be laughable. For starters, the temple pyramid appears to be based on temples at the Guatemalan site of Tikal. That is as close to accurate as they get in the entire movie. Tikal does fit the time period and theoretical location. However, that small bit of accuracy was almost certainly an accident as evidenced by the rest of the scene. The temples that they are using as models for the pyramid are heavily modified in a manner that belies the ignorance of the filmmaker (it is worth noting that I am not referring to pyramid featured on the posters and ads as oddly that temple which is based on a much later structure from the far northern site of Chichen Itza does not even appear in the film). The original temples theirs were based upon were funerary monuments to specific Maya kings and queens. They were adorned with large images of the rulers in question. Instead they remodeled the pyramid’s superstructure and added stone mosaic facades from the architecture dating to much later and far from the area. The facades that they added feature large masks of the Maya rain god Chac, presumably making it a temple to that deity. Apparently the high priest did not get the memo as the sacrifices he performs are made in the name of the Kukulk’an, who did not even really arrive in the area for several hundred years after the film is set.

Of course that is just where the problems with the ritual begin. The ritual that they perform bears far more similarity to rituals performed by the Aztecs. The main feature is the extraction of hearts to sate the blood thirst of the sun god whom they wildly misidentify as Kukulk’an (despite the fact that the Maya are not known for heart extraction). In reality this god has no connection to the sun and was in fact a creator god that was opposed to human sacrifice. So you are left with an Aztec sacrificial ritual to a sun god that takes place on a temple apparently dedicated to the rain god.

Similar misuse of supernaturals is seen throughout the movie. In one scene the warriors kill a jaguar that is attacking on of their party. They immediately begin offering prayers to the god Ek Chuah apologizing for killing “his” jaguar. What Mel appears not to understand is that Ek Chuah was the patron god of merchants and traveling traders. He has no connection to jaguars just as Kukulk’an has no connection to the sun. What becomes abundantly clear is that the filmmaker simply made up ridiculous rituals based on his total ignorance of the Maya and plugged in Maya god names at random if they liked the sound of the name. A parallel situation would be a movie showing ancient Romans praying to the god of war to ask for more children. A simple look at the gods in the Maya pantheon and their roles in the mythology would have made this clear. Either Mel did not read up in the slightest or he simply decided to reject everything that is currently known about Maya ritual.

There are impressive factual details about the Maya that could have been thrown in here. For example, they were among the most accomplished ancient astronomers in the world. Their sacred books contain many long tables listing when various celestial events will take place. Their tables of predicted eclipses remain accurate today and far into our own future. Despite this impressive fact, Mel chose to include a solar eclipse at the height of the ritual described above. Rather than being a predicted event, the eclipse is met with awe and wonderment as if it would have been a big surprise.

Was Mel borrowing from “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”? Maybe so. However, more likely he’s just plain ignorant of the facts.

The costuming was just as atrocious. While some elements of Classic period Maya dress were represented, they were so badly intermixed with fictional elements that in the end they were no more accurate that white actors in black face and afro wigs dancing around as African natives in movies from early in the last century. In my opinion, the clothing, the hair and the jewelry as depicted are just as ignorant and just as racist. The casting of non-Maya actors for almost every role has been commented on by many. Apparently in Mel’s mind, one native American looks just like any other. To my eye the cast bore little resemblance to modern Mayans and even less resemblance to their ancient ancestors who practiced a number of rather extreme body modification techniques such as cranial deformation. Of course, maybe skin color is all that Mel was interested in. Natives are natives. Right?

Finally, the physical setting of the movie made little sense at all. Throughout the movie they show beautiful vistas of densely forested mountains. The presumed setting and the architecture used for the tale would place it in the distinctly flat Maya lowlands. There are mountains in the south of the Maya area and I thought that the setting may reflect that environment. However that notion is totally blown by the arrival of the Spaniards on the coast at the end of the film. First, the Spanish arrival in the area took place well north of the possible settings for the film in an area totally devoid of mountains. Second, the Pacific coast is the only location where you would find mountains and the sea in relatively close proximity. However, this location would be hundreds of miles away from the Caribbean coast where the Spaniards actually landed. Maybe they arrived on the Pacific coast some six centuries early?

Sadly, the film did employ a well respected Maya archaeologist as a consultant. I had hoped that he would have a lot of say on the final look and tone of the film. Either his advice was sorely lacking or he was totally ignored. It’s hard to pin point which is the case here. However, I can say that I would not want to be the guy whose name is associated with this ahistorical monstrosity.

All in all, it is a thoroughly ham-fisted mishmash of Maya cultural elements that lacks even the most basic grasp of the established historical narrative. The depiction of the culture makes a mockery of just about everything that we know about the Maya. The religion is so badly misrepresented that it is difficult to find even small elements that make sense. Worst of all, the early arrival of the Spaniards effectively chopped 600 years of Maya history off entirely. I guess in his rush to blame the Maya for the European conquest, he could not actually wait that long.

12.24.2006

Coinkydink?

Is is coincidence that *just* as my sister and I were having a heated "discussion" on whether or not I would attend mass today the movie Dogma came on Comedy Central?

NORAD is tracking Santa

Be sure to check out Santa's progress has he travels around the world delivering goodies to all the boys and girls.

12.23.2006

Hope he's got a carbon monoxide detector....

J. W. Pirtle, former city council member and "landlord," after being convicted of a misdemeanor for his negligence regarding a rental property he was overseeing, will get 6-months home incarceration.

So...you kill someone because you are too lazy or too greedy to keep up your properties and you get to stay home for six months.

Disgusting....

Local restaurant tidbits

Ned Kelly's is closing December 31st. They blame steak prices. I blame prices in general. If I can go to the Texas Roadhouse and get the same thing they have at Ned Kelly's for half the price, you *know* where I'm going to eat.

I see a Boston's Gourmet Pizza is going up near the Meijer on North Prospect. Never had Boston's before so I don't know what the pizza is like, but it's also supposed to be a sports bar so I'll bet a lot of husbands will be hanging out there having a beer while their spouses shop on North Prospect.

And, while it's not local, here's a video from YouTube regarding another Christmas tradition.

AfricaCam

Here's a link to a webcam on a savannah in Africa. Of course, you'll have to check in during the daytime in Africa, but even at night you can hear stuff out and about.

Cool links to check out over the holidays

Since it's the holidays, I thought I'd post a few of my favorite links for you all to discover and enjoy.

First is Lifehacker. It has *lots* of content---and good content at that. Check it out. I guarantee you'll find something you can use. I found out how to use a freeware program called Audacity to edit your own music files to make ringtones for your phone. Now that I have time off for the holidays, I think I might try my hand at creating some custom ringtones for my friends. That could be *fun* and *way* cheaper than paying to download them.

Second is Before & After magazine. I have some old copies of this magazine that I've saved for several years. It has awesome graphic design tips and I just recently discovered that you can download lots of the tips from their website. Some of the articles are for subscribers only. Print subscriptions are $42/year but online subscriptions are only $24/year. They really break down the how-to steps well so that even relative newbies to Photoshop or Illustrator could try these out. And many of the tips are free so you don't have to subscribe.

Third is Bloglines. If you aren't using Bloglines to read your blogs, you're missing out. Basically, you create an account on Bloglines and then when you find blogs you like, you can add their RSS feed to your Bloglines page. Then, instead of visiting each blog to check for new posts, you can simply check Bloglines. It also helps if you are traveling or using multiple computers. With Bloglines, all your favorite blogs are already bookmarked in one location no matter what computer you are using. When you subscribe, sometimes websites will have multiple feeds available for subscribing. Pick the one that either has the most subscribers or the one updated most recently. The only trouble you *might* have is if a particular blog's RSS feed isn't working properly.

Fourth and finally is MyHeritage. I don't know a lot about the website, but a friend sent me a link to it because you can upload pictures of yourself and they have face recognition software that will analyze your face and show you what celebrities you look like. You are supposed to find the one celebrity that pops up repeatedly with all your photos, but I never had a repeat. I used the photo below (gimme a break---I had been hiking and it was windy) along with a few others and got Winona Ryder, Alyssa Milano, Gina Lollobrigida, Liv Tyler, Mira Sorvino, Michelle Yeoh, Aya Matsuura, Jessica Biel, and Rebecca Gayheart. Honestly, I don't think I look like any of them, but it was interesting to try nonetheless. You need to use a photo that is a large, front-facing straight close-up of your face. If you use a photo where you face is tilted, you'll only get results with tilted faces.















If you have any really cool links you'd like to share, let me know. I'd love to check them out.

12.15.2006

Right-wing news alert: Soy makes you gay!

So say Jim Rutz.
Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality.
Brought to you by the guy who once compared buying shoes to the holocaust.

'Nuf said.

Methinks perhaps someone is trying to rationalize...something....

12.11.2006

Please

For the love of cheese, just *tell* me there's gonna be a Trader Joe's in it....

Beware of shrinkage

If you are 5'1" and 85 pounds, you have a BMI of 16.1%---you are underweight.

If you drive down a freeway the wrong way and *pass* the breathalyzer at the jail---you are probably gonna have to go to rehab for whatever you *are* on. That or jail....

If both of these things apply, you are Nicole Richie.

She was 90 lbs back in 2003 when she got popped for heroin possession---and an inch taller.

Crack may be whack, but apparently heroin shrinks ya....

12.10.2006

Today is one of those days....

Former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, is dead at 91.

He helped overthrow the democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende. Thousands were disappeared, tortured, or killed. The truth commission found him responsible for disappearing or killing 3,197 people.

All attempts to bring him to some sort of justice or accountability were thwarted by the "Hyman Roth" defense strategy. Everytime he came close in some court process, he became gravely ill.

Some days, I really hope there is a special hell for some people.

12.09.2006

Cuz it made me laugh....



Favorite comment for this video on YouTube?
dumbbuff (3 weeks ago)
thanks for pointing out that jersey is more interesting than illinois

I love my hairdresser

Stopped by a gas station to pick up some smokes.

Lady behind the counter says "Can I have your birthdate?"

I say "(Month) (Day), 1972."

She says "*Really?*"

I'm sick and feel like crap in general, but I floated all the way home....

12.05.2006

Fun moments at Brookens

The online N-G has the full story of the county board chairman selection last night. They took 5 votes before Wysocki supporters changed their votes. But not without a parting shot from Wysocki:
Wysocki then told Democrats she would be willing to release her supporters, but not for Fabri.
Can you feel the love?

12.04.2006

Hey You Guys!!!!!

There was a cool show on WILL tonight about The Electric Company. I remember it as one of my favorite shows when I was little, but I couldn't remember a thing about the show---until I watched the Electric Company's Greatest Hits & Bits. It will rerun on WILL-TV (ch. 13 in C-U) this Sunday afternoon at 4pm.

I think it's a pledge drive kinda of thing, but it was awesome. I didn't remember that Morgan Freeman was on it. Or Bill Cosby. Picture pages, sure, but not Electric Company.

I highly recommend it if only to see the clips of the show from the 70s. It was like opening a creaky door in the attic of my mind.

You can do your own YouTube search cuz there's *tons* of Electric Company clips on there, but here a little taste. I'm *sure* you'll remember this one....

Bolton resigns



And let me say, *fabulous* choice for a diplomat.

Heckuva choice....

12.03.2006

Cameron McGill @ Cowboy Monkey Dec. 8

Cameron is back in town this Friday night. Both his and the Wandering Sons' website list the show time as 9pm, but Cowboy Monkey's website says 10pm. I'd say get there early.

Cameron has a new song up on his MySpace page that I've heard him play at the last two shows I saw: Lose Americans. It's exactly what I like about his music/lyrics/style. It seems like he usually does a more electric show at the Monkey and acoustic shows (which I love) at the Iron Post, but we'll have to see what he does this time.

Last time I saw Cameron play, my friend dragged some poor guy from The Quartet Offensive over to take a picture of me, Cameron, and Matt Hopper (who opened for him that night).

Matt Hopper, gamera, and Cameron McGill















I also got a picture of me and Paul from the Iron Post (who I used to work for) that night, but this one is way better....

12.02.2006

This could get interesting....

One of my favorite blogs, feministing, has discovered John Bambenek.

Both feministing and narciblog parse out his latest post "You are more than your vagina."

Thanks for the tip, John....

11.29.2006

Since it's been in the news a lot lately....

A lot of this is NSFW, by the way---especially the YouTube video. Course, that's also just about the only link that isn't celebrity p0rn....

In light of several recent suspected publicity stunts that make me want to vomit, here's Margaret Cho.

11.26.2006

Ever play SimCity?

There an article in Sunday's News-Gazette about a backlog in major road projects in Champaign. More specifically, the lack of arterial street development in the south, west, and north Champaign---you know, where all the *development* is.

There is some comparison to what Bloomington-Normal has in regards to developer fees. B-N charges developers for half the cost of arterial street development up front and then send the developer a bill for the remainder if the city builds the roads within one year. That probably ensures speedy road building so the city can recover the costs. They also require park dedication---10 acres for every 1000 residents in a subdivision. I've driven around the outskirts of Bloomington recently while trying to attend a wedding---the outer ring roads were paved, marked, and moved quickly.

Some of the residents in the story talk about driving on tar-and-chip roads. And, growing up in the middle of nowhere, I think part of the traffic problem comes from people not understanding country driving and city driving. If you are driving on a tar-and-chip, unmarked road---you know, with the hump in the middle---you generally are on a low-traffic road. You tend to drive in the middle so you aren't tilted to the side. You *slow down* when there is traffic to pass. Plus, driving on the side can be dangerous depending on how much gravel there is on the edges of the road.

Both the fact that some of these high-traffic areas are being serviced by these low-traffic roads and the fact that too many people want to drive at 50 mph on a straight road outside of town will contribute to problems I don't think any of us want to see (accidents, etc.). Regardless, it seems there are growing pains where the city meets the country around Champaign.

There is some discussion about how raising fees will result in increased costs. That is true---just as requiring developers to add sewer lines and toilets will "increase costs." But developing the streets that service the very developments that will use these roads the most should be considered the same as sewage removal.

If you play SimCity at all (I do---it's one of my addictions, and I don't break it out very often because I end up playing for days), in order for a subdivision to be successful, you have to supply zoned property with water, electricity, *and* roads. Otherwise your city doesn't develop. It stagnates. It runs down. You get angry citizens. I had a whole section of my city rioted one time because they were unhappy.

Now, I don't expect the outer ring of Champaign to rise up and violently revolt and burn each others houses down, but perhaps while Champaign is patting itself on the back all the time about what great financial shape we are in, we could ensure there aren't any sections lagging behind.

It's bad enough that whole sections of town have no sidewalks or streetlights, now we have whole sections of town without adequate roads....

11.24.2006

I love a little bass with my politics

The description of this blog is "A meandering mix of serious and not." That's mostly because I find all kinds of shiny objects in life and I feel compelled to share them with anyone and everyone I can. You might call it unfocused, I just call it diverse. I, like you, have a lot of interests. Some might conflict, but sometimes, when they combine, they are *fantastic*....

Here's a little tidbit from YouTube: Gil Scott Heron from *24* years ago. You might recognize a few of the names---it's still relevant today. Especially today---Black Friday.

11.22.2006

Meachum

I usually have a favorite Illinois basketball player. He's my "basketball boyfriend." Not is some sick, twisted, stalking kinda way. More like: I know he's the shit. Meacham is the shit. My old "basketball boyfriend" has been gone for over a year now, so I'm happy to have a new one.

I saw him for the first time at last year's scrimmage and I've been waiting a year to see him play again.

He hasn't disappointed me. One thing, though, are those crazy lob passes. Those he needs to work on. But he's unselfish and he's confident with the ball and he looks like he's going to mature even more. I think his senior year here is going to be a doozie....

I hope he continues to get minutes even when the other injured players are back. Frankly, I'd rather see Meacham play than McBride. I'm nervous when McBride has the ball whereas when Meacham has it, I have no worries.

11.17.2006

I have no words....

Make sure you have some tissue nearby because this is horrendous.

Congo's Wounds of War: More Vicious Than Rape


There is a warning on the article:
Warning: do not read this story if you are easily disturbed by graphic information, or are under age, or are easily upset by accounts of gruesome sexual violence.

This is about fistulas---and rape, which in Congo has become the continuation of war by other means. Fistulas are a kind of damage that is seldom seen in the developed world. Many obstetricians have encountered the condition only in their medical texts, as a rare complication associated with difficult or abnormal childbirths: a rupture of the walls that separate the vagina and bladder or rectum. Where health care is poor, particularly where trained doctors or midwives are not available, fistulas are more of a risk. They are a major health concern in many parts of Africa.

In eastern Congo, however, the problem is practically an epidemic. When a truce was declared in the war there in 2003, so many cases began showing up that Western medical experts at first called it impossible---especially when local doctors declared that most of the fistulas they were seeing were the consequence of rapes. "No one wanted to believe it at first," says Lyn Lusi, manager of the HEAL Africa hospital (formerly called the Docs Hospital) in the eastern Congo city of Goma. "When our doctors first published their results, in 2003, this was unheard of."
More at the link. Note that the article states that the first publication of this occurred in 2003. It's now almost 2007.

Apparently, this is my week of outrage....

HEAL Africa has links for more information and donations. According to the website, $300 will pay for one women's fistula repair.

Five odd things

Gnightgirl has tagged me with some sort of task. I'm to post 5 odd things about myself. Here it goes....
Here are the rules: List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets. Tag 5 friends and list them. Then, those people need to write on their blogs about 5 weird things, and state the rules, and tag 5 more people. Don't forget to let the people you tag know by posting a comment on their blog!
1. I eat some food in an odd way because when I was a child, I lost all eight of my front teeth at once---the four on top and bottom in front. This poses a problem when trying to bite into stuff. Trust me. I eat my pizza (when no one is looking) by picking all the toppings off, eating the cheese and sauce with a fork, and then prying off the gooey part of the crust off with my fork. You then are left with a crispy bottom and bone to break up and eat or dip in something else yummy like garlic cheese sauce or marinara.

2. I don't like feet. At all. I just don't. Ick. Keep 'em to yourself---and covered.

3. I'm a picker. I pick at my cuticles. I pick at my face. I pick at my skin. I pick at stickers on stuff. I pick at tears and strings on clothing. I pick at things that are broken, cracked, or peeling. I pick at my food when I'm done in the restaurant. Pick-pick, pick-pick, pick-pick-pick....

4. I can roll and cross my eyes at the same time. I believe it to be a learned trait---my aunt and her 5 boys, my nephew, and I can all do it and I'm not blood-related to any of them. (I'm adopted, so technically I don't have any blood-relation that I'm aware of.)

5. When I was about 5, I stepped on a sweat bee hive in a hollow branch of a weeping willow tree. The branch broke and fell to the ground and I was quickly *covered* in angry sweat bees. They stung me all over my body. I got a few scars from scratching the stings even though we used some sort of sting-reliever medicine stick. My mom would start at my head and dot each sting with a dab of icy cool liquid from a little sponge-tipped applicator. By the time she got to my feet, she'd have to start over again at my head. About six months later, I got chicken pox and once again was covered from head to toe in itchy sores. Out came the wondrous medicine stick. My entire life I've been looking for that magic stick at drug stores. I've never found it. Come to think of it, this might explain #3 a little better....

I'll tag Don Gerard, sagefool, matt, "mrs. chicken," and lbotp.

Really, the question should be "how are you *not* odd" because frankly, let's face it, we're all at least a *little* odd....

11.16.2006

I'm soooo pissed....

This video is *extremely* difficult to listen to---almost painful. You've been warned.



Tasers are sold as "less-lethal" weapons. As in "less lethal than a gun." No sane person would use a gun in this situation. Even TASER International states these are meant to stop a "truly aggressive, combative attacker." I don't see an aggresive, combative attacker in the video.

Escorting the man out of the library is one thing. Tasing the guy three or four times on his way out is *way* beyond appropriate.

The part that steams me still is this:
Laila Gordy, a fourth-year economics student who was present in the library during the incident, said police officers threatened to shoot her with a Taser when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number.
Since when was asking for a police officer's name and badge number a crime punishable by taser?

11.14.2006

Wear old shoes....

The Gordyville Country Christmas Craft show is this weekend.

If you don't already know, that's a reference to a Christmas craft show they have in a *huge* horse barn outside of Rantoul. Huge like 160,000 square feet. And there is a *ton* of stuff---most of it country. Lots of wood and Christmas wreaths and ornaments and decorations and more. Think Farmer's Market in Gifford.

It's also where I discovered the heavenly smelling Candles by Kathy. They give off an amazing scent. Here's a scent list. I like a lot of them, but especially the Scotch Pine this time of year. I buy a bunch of votives---12 for 12.25.

A couple people I know will have a stall there this weekend. Look for Stamped Expressions. If you go, stop by and say hello. They do *great* work. They've done all the work---from invitations to name cards and more---for weddings and other events.

Take Rt. 45 up to Rantoul, go east (right) on 136 and Gordyville is on your right a couple miles outside of town. Be warned: the floor is dirt and strollers don't do well. We learned in years past. But the parking lot is gravel if I remember correctly, so mud isn't really a problem outside unless you park on the side of the road---which I don't recommend...

Potential Democratic Senate chairs....

I'll just list the chairs. The complete list is here. Now, I'm not one for party politics, but really, if you are gonna give a chair to someone who *left* the party, why would anyone stay?

Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry: Harkin

Appropriations: Byrd

Armed Services: Levin

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Dodd

Commerce, Science, and Transportation: Inouye

Energy and Natural Resources: Bingaman

Environment Public Works: Boxer

Finance: Baucus

Foreign Relations: Biden

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: Kennedy

Homeland Security and Government Affairs: Lieberman

Judiciary: Leahy

Intelligence: Rockefeller

Budget: Conrad

Aging: Kohl

Veterans Affairs: Akaka

Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Kerry

Rules and Administration: Feinstein

Joint Economic: Schumer

Indian Affairs: Dorgan

11.12.2006

Turkey skate

If you are like me and you avoid the stores like the plague on the Friday after Thanksgiving (or Black Friday as they call it in retail), then you might like what Campus Recreation at the U of I has planned instead.

On Friday, November 24th from 11:30am-2pm and 7:30-9:30pm kids can skate free---if they color Tom Turkey and you drop it off at the Ice Rink before November 19th. The U of I Ice Rink is at 406 E. Armory in Champaign.

When you drop off your entries, you'll receive free passes for the kids. And their entries will be displayed at the Ice Rink the week of Thanksgiving.

Regular entry and skate fees are pretty reasonable as well, so if you can't make it on Black Friday, you could still pop by sometime over the holidays. Skate rental is $2 for the public. They also have a Cheap Skate night 7:30-9:30pm the first Wednesday of every month when it's $1 to skate.

10.29.2006

Trick or Treat mood music

If you are planning on driving around for Trick or Treating or if you are just going to be at home handing out candy on Tuesday, turn on WILL-FM to listen to spooky music. Tune to 101.1 in Champaign, 106.5 in Danville, and 90.9 if you are farther out. From 5-8pm on Halloween (this Tuesday) they will have a wonderful Halloween soundtrack for you to enjoy.

I've listened in the past and heard songs I recognize from movies---the Omen, Vertigo, and more. It's fantastic and *really* puts you in the mood for Halloween.

Happy Halloween!

10.24.2006

University Library annual book sale

The University Library's annual book sale will be held on Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 25 and 26) from 9am to 4 pm in the east entry of the Main Library.

Hardbacks: $3
Paperbacks: $2
Trade paperbacks: $1
Special edition books and prints priced accordingly.

All proceeds will benefit the collections.

Ick

So, there's this photoshopped picture of a local boy by Leo Buchignani that's been on the Orange and Blue Observer website for about 6 months. It accompanies an article about the local IMC. One local blogger suggested we should give the guy who made it a break cuz he's in China. Apparently, that really isn't a problem.

A friend of child's parents wrote a letter to the OBO staff.

Leo has responded.

10.23.2006

Foudini's

A good friend of mine and his wife and business partner just had their business written up in the N-G. Foudini's is a business that has been around for almost a decade in one form or another.

Well, actually, my friend, Jim, has worked at a *ton* of places in town since I first met him over 15 years ago.

But after all that, I think he started running Foudini's out of that place that's Ruby's now (if it's still Ruby's) and he was based out of the kitchen at Gully's for a while as well. He's had a tent at the Taste of C-U before, but I think he moved to mostly catering for a while. Oh yah, he also owned Tommy G's and ran Foudini's out of there for a while.

After he sold the bar a few months ago, my friend Jimmy started hatching his ingenious new plans.

So...Foudini's is now open in Tolono on Thursday nights until 8pm. It's located in the old Sugar's coffee shop right on 45. If you are driving from Champaign, it's south on 45 (Neil St.) to Tolono and it's after the Monical's but before the traffic light. It's in the building on your right before the gas station. You can drop by and pick up dinner to go---and it's yummy. You can get the Family Meal with 5 sandwiches, 2 sides (usually stuff like baked beans, potato salad, pasta salad, chips, and stuff), 6 jalapeno corn muffins, and a 2 liter of soda for $20. Now *that's* a deal.

They also sell individual meals (about $5.25) and they have 1/2 grilled chicken and other stuff from time to time. I had the pork sandwich---pork that Juan, Jim's business partner, said he cooked with applewood smoke. Sometimes you can get a pork tenderloin that's rock hard and tough, but Jim's partner told me he *knows* how to cook a pig. He's right. It was juicy and tender and delicious. I ate half the meat before I even started on the sandwich. They also have hamburgers and pulled pork, but they ran out of pulled pork early last week, so go before 7pm if you want the pulled pork.

They grill the food on a huge grill out in the parking lot all day. You can order ahead at 217-485-5630 or you can order it when you arrive. They have limited indoor seating. There's a counter and some tables. Jim's wife, Christie, is in the process of changing the decor, so if you are a large group (more than 4) you might want to get it to go. Lots of people order for carryout.

Jim also recently purchased the Pesotum Hardware store building and plans to open a bar there after the catering season---I mean tailgating season is finished. I have every confidence it will be a success.

Course, the fact that I'm friends with he and his wife might taint my vision. Why don't you go try out his food and let me know if I'm biased or not?

And make sure you tell them you read it on a blog for my own personal enjoyment....

10.19.2006

Postal Art Cards

An artist is giving away his art. He's turned them into post cards and if you request them, he'll send you a package of 45 cards---9 copies of 5 different cards. And he'll mail them to you free.

All he asks is that you send him some postage after you receive your package.
Nine full sets of all five Postal Art Cards sent USPS First Class in a plain brown envelope to your home at no cost. Please share them with friends. When you receive your cards, you may wish to send me postage stamps equal in value to the $2.55 postage required to mail them to you. The return address is on the envelope. You are free to keep the cards and not send postage. You will be elevated to Electoral Delegate status, although you must live out your life knowing that you are a scoundrel. You are free to send stamps equal to or exceeding the $2.55 postage necessary to mail the cards to you. Doing so elevates you to the status of Electoral Delegate and Distinguished Patron. You may live happily knowing that you have done what you can to further this project of freedom, hope, and peace. The balance sheet will be updated on a nearly regular basis and at the End. We began with postage for thirty offers. When the pot is empty the offer expires.

Interesting stamps are preferred.

The waxpaper envelope[s] at the Post office are nice. They keep the stamps from sticking in side the envelope.
I'll be sending some stamps this weekend.

They were originally done with enamel on glass with toothpicks.

Yah, toothpicks. The artist explains his project a bit here.
If these paintings are an accurate representation of the circumstances and direction of our nation, then we have much to fight. Is our government collecting names and information to compile a list of the disloyal? Who would be so foolhardy as to put their name, address and the same of a friend on these cards and then put the cards in the public mail? Will buying these cards earn you a place on the List? Will mailing them gain you special attention from the authorities?
He's got suggestions for what you can do with his cards. Put them on magnet paper and put them on your fridge. Put 24 cent stamps on them and leave them at coffeeshops for people to pick up. Mail them to your congressional representatives.

I'm pondering a collage....

10.16.2006

Free Hugs

Maybe so, maybe not

Interesting article in the NYT yesterday about a look at census figures regarding unmarried versus married couple households. Apparently, married couples are now a minority in American households. Here's a few highlights:
The American Community Survey, released this month by the Census Bureau, found that 49.7 percent, or 55.2 million, of the nation’s 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples — with and without children — just shy of a majority and down from more than 52 percent five years earlier.

...

The census survey estimated that 5.2 million couples, a little more than 5 percent of households, were unmarried opposite-sex partners. An additional 413,000 households were male couples, and 363,000 were female couples. In all, nearly one in 10 couples were unmarried. (One in 20 households consisted of people living alone).

And the numbers of unmarried couples are growing. Since 2000, those identifying themselves as unmarried opposite-sex couples rose by about 14 percent, male couples by 24 percent and female couples by 12 percent.

...

Some of the biggest gains in unmarried couples were recorded in unexpected places. In the rural Midwest, the number of households made up of male partners rose 77 percent since 2000.

...

A number of couples interviewed agreed that cohabiting was akin to taking a test drive and, given the scarcity of affordable apartments and homes, also a matter of convenience. Some said that pregnancy was the only thing that would prompt them to make a legal commitment soon. Others said they never intended to marry. A few of those couples said they were inspired by solidarity with gay and lesbian couples who cannot legally marry in most states.
It appears this downtrend in marriage isn't anything new. According to the article, 84 percent of households in 1930 were married couples and in 1990 that had shrunk to 56 percent. Also, married couples haven't made up a majority of households in the under 25 bracket since the 1970s, but now that has increased to the under 35 age bracket.

I am not married and I'm not sure I would get married in the future. I'm not religious anymore so I'm not interested in participating in a religious rite. The only things I would be interested in is choosing who would make medical decisions for me and perhaps other legal aspects like spousal benefits and property inheritance.

I'm also glad to see that some couples also don't marry in solidarity with those who are legally *prohibited* from being married. I know some made fun of Brad Pitt's remarks essentially stating this very reason for not getting married, but it looks like he's not alone.

The ugly truth about "beauty"

Found via Exploding Aardvark.

10.12.2006

Do Over!

Ok---let's try this again. Prairiebiker has announced another attempt at a CU Blogger Bash.

Saturday, October 21
7pm at Boltini's, downtown Champaign

Looks like 6 or 7 people have already confirmed they will attend. I can't get there until around 9:30, but I'm gonna stop by then and see if anyone is left standing.

Internets Phone Tree Activated!

If you have a blog here in CU, post a notice on your blog so everyone who reads *your* blog will read it and hopefully post it on *their* blogs and so on.

10.08.2006

Learn something new everyday

Not for the squeamish. Apparently, Rick the-P-is-silent Santorum has entered the realm of urban slang. His last name is now redefined and used as slang.

This will have to enter my vocabulary immediately.

10.06.2006

My idea of a fun Friday night

Apparently, WILL-TV, our local PBS station, is running debates on Friday nights. I missed the first two, but it looks like some of the rest should all be interesting. If you don't know your State House or Senate districts, this pdf will list your precinct under the corresponding races.

Tonight, we have Naomi Jakobsson (D), Rex Bradfield (R) and Tom Abram (Green) who are all candidates for the 103rd State House race.

Next Friday, Tim Johnson (R) and David Gill (D), candidates for the 15th Congressional district race, will debate.

On October 20th, the debate will involve candidates from the 52nd State Senate race Mike Frerichs (D), Judy Meyers (R) and Joseph Parnarauskis (Socialist Equality).

October 27th will be a governor candidate debate between Rod Blagojevich (D) and Judy Baar Topinka (R).

On the first Friday in November, the final show before the election, there will be a roundtable discussion with journalists and political science professors.

If you aren't really up on what's going on with local races, here's your chance. It looks like they have the audio available for download on their website after the show is over, so you could listen later if you miss the show. Plus, each live Friday show is repeated on Saturday at 5pm, but if you watch Friday night, you can call in and ask the candidates questions at 217-333-1070.

I'm wondering why the Green candidate for the governor's race, Rich Whitney, isn't included in the October 27th debate. Perhaps I'll write an email and ask that very question....

10.05.2006

Energy efficiency and ecological design events

I got this announcement on a listserv today. Perhaps some of you might be interested....

e-co Lab Hosts Training and Symposium

e-co lab, a local non profit Community Housing Developer, is hosting an Energy Efficiency Training Session and the 4th Annual Ecological Construction Symposium on October 13-15, 2006.

The Energy Efficiency Training on Friday October 13, 2006 is from 8AM to 4PM at e-co lab's office at 110 S. Race St., Suite 202 in downtown Urbana.

The training is intended for local individuals, non-profit community groups, and for-profit construction professionals. Learn about methods and techniques that, when implemented together, make homes or commercial buildings that uses 90% less energy than standard, are economical to implement and are nearly fossil fuel independent! The training is sponsored by City of Urbana/Cunningham Township.

Suggested Donation: $25 for individuals and non-profits, $100 for professionals. Materials, refreshments, and continental breakfast will be provided. You can download registration forms here.

The 4th annual Ecological Design Symposium will begin Friday night with a keynote presentation by the architecture firm Farr Associates on the planned green residential redevelopment of the Kerr Ave. site in Urbana.

With presentations on Saturday and tours on Sunday the symposium will present and investigate different local design examples employing concepts based on creating an overall beneficial relationship with interrelated and surrounding aspects. These examples will span the fields of ecosystems and permaculture design (Peter Bane and Rob Scott), passive architecture and cradle to cradle (Katrin Klingenberg and David Stecher of e-co lab and Julie Birdwell of New Prairie Construction, Inc.), waste & water management (William Bagby of Green Island Sustainable Community), renewable energy technologies (Bill Fabian of Midstate Renewable Energy Services) and societal design strategies (Mark Enslin of the School for Designing a Society and Danielle Chynoweth of the Urbana City Council).

According to e-co lab Executive Director Katrin Klingenberg, "Our challenge is to shine light especially on the green construction field, its surrounding fields and its economic potential for the US building sector. We propose that the situation, based on the predicted increase of oil prices, offers an opportunity for local businesses to anticipate economic growth possibilities and jobs in a rising environmental market. By presenting local cutting edge projects, we hope to inspire others to explore the green business opportunities in their field. Together as a community, we can take responsibility for the environment locally as well as reducing global warming and enhancing economic well being for all."

The tours on Sunday will conclude with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Fairview House, e-co lab's premier project, encompassing the "triple bottom line" of sustainable construction: environmentally friendly, economical, and socially responsible.

The 4th Annual Ecological Construction Symposium will be held at the Urbana Civic Center, 108 E. Water St., downtown Urbana, on Saturday with Friday and Saturday night sessions held at the Lake House at Crystal Lake Park (intersection of Race and Park Street, Urbana).

Suggested Donation: $25 for individuals and non-profits $100 for professionals. Materials, refreshments, and a continental breakfast on Saturday will be provided. You can download registration forms here.

For more information on the 4th Annual Ecological Construction Symposium, the Energy Efficiency Training, or e-co lab in general, contact Katrin Klingenberg or Dave Stecher at 217-344-1294 or info@e-colab.org. More information can also be found at www.e-colab.org.

Look what I got!



There's still room for a "Don for Mayor" sign....

10.02.2006

I feel bad for him, but....

Richard McBride was arrested for a DUI this past weekend. He was *also* involved in that apartment "dispute" a few years back. Basically, it was alleged that he was involved---along with Luther Head and Aaron Spears---in the unauthorized "CD exchange" that happened a few years ago at a campus apartment.
"I am extremely disappointed in Rich's actions," Weber said in a statement. "We are continuing to review the situation, and there will be severe penalties forthcoming."
Now, I don't want to kick a guy when he's down, especially since this will be the *second* time he's going to have to face disciplinary actions, but....

I'm not a fan of McBride. And it has nothing to do with his off-court shenanigans. It's more like everytime they pass him the ball I'm terrified he's gonna shoot the thing.

Yah, yah, I know. He played good against Memphis---3 years ago.

Poor Rich. Not the best baller on the court and not the best decision-maker off.

Actually, I guess it's sorta the same problem, just different arenas.

I wish him better luck in both....

I got over 13000 today

I don't normally post about work, but in this case, I'll make an except---partly because it really isn't work-related and partly because I'll probably be posting more about it as time goes on.

There is a campus-wide Walking Challenge coming up that's organized by Division of Campus Recreation. We have 14 people at my work that are going to be participating. Since you can only have a maximum of 10 on a team, we are going to set up two teams and have a little inter-office rivalry going.

Last Friday, there was a big walk to kick it off on the Quad. If you were one of the first 2000 to sign up, you got a free t-shirt and a *pedometer.* So...about 12 of us went to the walk, picked up our bags, walked around the Quad at noon, and cut out on the defined walk route early. Instead of the regular walk route, we walked down Green Street to Basil Thai and had Tom Yum Noodle Soup. Mmmmm....

Then we walked back to work---exactly 1.0332 miles. How do I know the *exact* distance you ask? Well, with this handy dandy Gmaps Pedometer.

Click the "+" to zoom into where you want to map a route.

Click "Clear points and start over"

Click "Start recording"

Double-click the cross hairs to mark a point. You can click and drag the map to get the map to view a new area.

The boxes on the left side of the window will show "Total Distance." You can "Save the route" and then bookmark it for future reference. There is also a calorie counter.

Christ didn't come to Earth to give us the willies....

One of my *favorite* movies is Dogma. If you haven't seen it (what, do you live under a rock?), the IMDB describes it as:
The last known descendant of Christ is called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loophole [in Catholic dogma].
It's a look at Catholic dogma and religion and beliefs and ideas and more---like masturbation, fart, and dick jokes. You know, T&A---theology and ass....

In it, Cardinal Glick (played by George Carlin) tries to put a new face on the Catholic church by unveiling....















Buddy Christ. (The title of this blog post is straight from Cardinal Glick's monologue where he unveils Buddy Christ.)

So...here we are about 7 years later, and Buddy Christ has surfaced again---only this time in a much less humorous way.

I think coalition spokesman Maj. Willy Willhoite says it best:
If it wasn't so serious it would be funny.

9.30.2006

Because I know my audience....

I saw something on LiveJournal that might interest my multitude of readers who are into plants.

Dr. May Berenbaum, who you may have heard on Focus580 with David Inge, will be talking about plants and insects this Wednesday in downtown Champaign.
Gut Reactions

On Wednesday October 4, award-winning entomologist Dr. May Berenbaum will be on hand to discuss the co-evolutionary arms race between plants and the insects that eat them. What kinds of toxins do plants produce to deter insects from eating them? How do the insects evade or detoxify those chemicals? How do humans handle the toxins in the plants we eat? How does BT corn (and other GMOs) affect insects in or near the GMO fields?

This is a great opportunity to meet Dr Berenbaum and ask her all your insect-related questions! The talk starts at 7:30 pm but come at 7 pm if you'd like a chance to meet Dr. Berenbaum and get yourself something to eat or drink from Verde. Questions and discussion starts at 8:15 and goes through 9 pm (lots of people stay after to ask more questions). It's a lot of fun and a rare opportunity to speak directly with an internationally-known researcher in an informal setting.

==========================
CU Café Sci (http://www.cu-cafe-sci.org)
7-9 pm Wednesday 4 Oct 2006
Verde Gallery Café (http://verdant-systems.com)
17 East Taylor Street (Champaign)
FREE admission!
==========================
They have a few more events scheduled before the end of the year.

9.29.2006

It'd be funnier if it happened less....

So I'm going to visit a friend tomorrow night in Bloomington. She just got back from her honeymoon---camping from here to a cabin in Nova Scotia and back (fun, huh?). I was invited to her wedding and I'm hoping to see her wedding video. Mostly because I attended the wrong wedding.

Yah.

So I drove over to Bloomington, which, I'll admit, I don't know my way around very well, but hey, how hard can it be? I'm driving into Bloomington from Downs and I'm running about 15 minutes late anyway (surprise). I'm driving through what seems to be downtown Bloomington, but I keep driving. No streets seem to match up with the map I got in my invitation. I'm starting to panic when I see Olive St. Great. That's on my map. Then there were a couple of president streets---great, church should be close. Come up to a light, Buchanan and something, look to my left and voila! Trinity.

Pull around back and rush into the church...to see people taking pictures up in the front of a *huge* church. I start to panic a little. Did I have the wrong time? Is it over? I see bridesmaid's in blue-silver dresses. That's right. I see a bride with a tattoo and a bustier wedding dress. Check. Pregnant matron of honor. That's right. Crap. So as I sit there and try to figure whether I go up there or sneak out to the reception, I look behind me and see a basket with programs. I go get one and it says

Kim
&
Tim

Crap! Wrong wedding! Okay. Maybe I was *completely* off on the time and it's over and everyone is at the reception. Ok. I drive out to the reception at some golf course in SW Bloomington. It seems to take a lot longer than I expect to find the road I need to take. I get all the way out to the reception and go inside. No one is there except the waitstaff.

Crap.

Okay. Let's backtrack. So I go back by the map because now I have a definite point of reference. I drive back into town and discover...Trinity *Lutheran* church. As I turn to go around to the parking lot, I see everyone is leaving. I'm now 45 minutes late and the service is over.

Crap.

So...I drive *back* out to the reception. I'm still one of the first to arrive.

Weee....

I think I'll let my friend drive us around tomorrow in Bloomington.

Bonus moment? I caught the bouquet. Well, actually, it hit me in the head because no one reached for it and it rolled down my body into my arms...so technically I caught it by default.































It was a perfect moment. Not only did I miss the wedding, but the bride hit me upside my head.

Did I mention she still has four boxes of wine left from the wedding?

Enjoy your weekend....

9.26.2006

Wish you were here....

So...just got back from the CU blogger meetup.

It was me, gnightgirl from This Just In and momo from CatPeople. It was totally bizarre.... I used to work *with* gnightgirl.

I had the Esquire's wonderful Bleu Pear pizza. Momo had a melontini (I think) and gnightgirl had a beer. They had to head out to a dinner party so we wrapped things up after an hour.

If anyone else showed up afterwards, sorry, we missed ya.

I think next time, the local blogging community should plan about 2 weeks ahead and commit to spreading the word to all the local blogs you read. That way we can get a nice big crowd together of all kinds of bloggers.

Plus, we'll need to bring a sign.

I kept wondering "Is he a blogger?"

9.25.2006

CU Blogger Meetup

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
5pm--?
Esquire, Downtown Champaign

Stop by for a few minutes if you can. Especially all you new bloggers.... You can spare 30 minutes, can't ya?

9.22.2006

As seen in a fast food parking lot

This message was sent using PIX-FLIX Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!
To learn how you can snap pictures with your wireless phone visit
www.verizonwireless.com/getitnow/getpix.

To learn how you can record videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/getitnow/getflix.

To play video messages sent to email, QuickTime� 6.5 or higher is required. Visit www.apple.com/quicktime/download to download the free player or upgrade your existing QuickTime� Player. Note: During the download
process when asked to choose an installation type (Minimum, Recommended or Custom), select Minimum for faster download.

9.17.2006

A *true* challenge

There's an interesting post on the UCIMC by Darrin Drda titled (Still) The Most Radical Thing Ever. It relates to 9/11 and, more specifically, how we react to and think about those around us---near and far. Here's a few excerpts, but I recommend reading the whole thing---it's not long:
As everyone knows, September 11th marked the 5th anniversary of the infamous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As it turns out, it was also the 2nd Monday of the month, which in the context of my local meditation group means that it’s the one session of the month set aside for Loving-kindness meditation, also known as "metta" practice, which I typically lead.

...

"Metta" practice itself involves the use of "resolves," or earnest wishes for the well-being of a certain person or group of individuals. The recipient is brought to mind as an object of concentration while the resolves are repeated, usually in silence. "May you be safe from harm…may you be healthy…may you be happy…may you be at peace…may you be free," etc. Traditionally, one begins by focusing on one’s self, then moving outwards to friends and family, then maybe community… country… world… eventually including all sentient beings "in all universes."

Clearly, nobody gets left out. Which is where this practice gets tricky. Because at some point in the expansion of our bubble of loving-kindness, we come up against characters we might not particularly like – perhaps even openly despise: the Bushes and Bin Ladens, the super-patriots and the suicide bombers of the world. Suddenly the bubble bursts and the heart hardens. The mind insists that X does NOT deserve to be healthy and happy and at peace. In fact, what they REALLY deserve is…

...

So on that dreadful anniversary, I was reminded by a Buddhist practice of Christ’s directive to LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. And it struck me, as it has before, of how completely radical that is, in concept and in practice. It’s extremely subversive, not just emotionally, but politically – perhaps now more than ever. Just to sit silent and still is to defy America’s overdriven consumer culture. And to offer understanding – let alone compassion – to terrorists could surely be construed as high treason to many on the right, just as many on the left might consider the idea of extending love to Cheney and Rumsfeld to be offensive at least, and ineffectual at best.

Got me a new phone

I just finished up a two-year contract with the same phone and original battery I started the contract with. I think I paid $20 for this phone after sign-up incentives and rebates. I've dropped the phone a million times and that's sorta why my photos from my phone always sucked. I couldn't get a signal in my house to save my life. Sometimes, the volume on the ringer and keypad would go silent. Sometimes the phone wouldn't ring or receive calls. And I cracked the lens on the camera on the phone about 9 months ago.

oops.

So...I got a flyer in the mail to remind me to re-up my contract and get a new phone. My carrier gives you so much money towards a phone every two years---not enough to fully pay for the phone, but with the $50 rebate they have going on, I ended up getting it for free.

While there, I bought some accessories I really don't need let alone can afford. I plan on returning them this week. For some *unknown* reason (lust), I bought a bluetooth head set with stereo earbuds and a caller ID display. They sync up with your phone and you can wear them to listen to music from your phone wirelessly *and* answer your phone calls. I got a discount and for some reason, I rationalized that spending the money was really saving me money.

Ha.

I didn't even really want the stupid things, but boy they sounded cool and I thought---what the hell. Until about 30 minutes later when I went to lunch with my sister and nephew.

me: "Why did I buy that headset?"

sister who works in retail and can sell airline tickets to birds: "She was selling you pretty hard."

me: "I know---where the heck were you?"

sister: "Next door---at the Game Exchange---remember? So the nephew would leave you alone for 5 minutes?"

me: "Oh yah. I think I should take them back."

sister: "Really?"

Smart ass....

Isn't it terrible? I was blinded by my lust for something I didn't really need or thought I wanted until I walked into the store and now I'm gonna end up taking back a *really* expensive item and lowering this poor girl's commission.

^^^^^^^^
See...I still kinda lust after them....

But they are still going back.

Soon.

Really.

Maladjusted

There's a new local blog, Maladjusted, by someone who has commented on this blog and others I read.

In one of her first posts, she says this about what she hopes to right about:
1. General life, here, travel, work, day to day stuff, etc.
2. Food. I'm a HUGE foodie. I LOVE food blogs. I like to look at food, eat food, talk about food, cook food, etc. So you'll likely hear a lot of what we are eating, getting in our veggie share, etc.
Check her blog out and see if you like it. She's already inspired me a bit....

"You are a happy harlot of whoredom!" ---Rev. Dan

Some guy is calling up leftie talk radio shows. He calls himself Reverend Dan and says he went to the University of Oral Roberts and went to the school of theocracy and got a degree in theology.

Here's his call to Stephanie Miller's show.

Here's his call to Ed Schultz's show.

He also called Randi Rhodes show, but I'm still looking for the audio for that.

All three think he's a comedian at first. In all three calls, he says he's not.

Speculation is that it's Mike Judge having a little fun, but only the Ed Schultz call sounds like Hank Hill. The calls to Stephanie and Randi's shows sound different.

It's funny if it's *supposed* to be comedy. It's just sad if it isn't....

9.14.2006

Hacking electronic voting machines

Check this out. It's from Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy. It's very slow to download, but it gives a perfect example of why electronic voting is *not* ready for primetime yet. There is also a link to a full paper and some of their suggested solutions at the site.

If you were given a receipt when you vote and that receipt were put in a ballot box (like your ballot is currently), there would be a paper trail to any tampering. Why people resist a receipt when you get receipts for any other transaction is beyond me.... In addition, you don't even have to allow the receipt to leave the voting machine. You could display it under a glass window for the voter to see and visually verify before leaving the polling place.

There are several other strategies to help prevent this, such as rewriting the code to prevent the voting machines from automatically running programs on the memory cards. Regardless of political affiliation or ideology, everyone should be able to see the potential for abuse with the current machines. I don't want to vote on those machines. Any yahoo in a booth can infect those machines.

9.08.2006

I guess this means no Trader Joe's....

Bummer....

Path to 9/11 Propaganda

Since I can't possibly replicate all the information that has been compiled on this, I'll link to my good friend z's Ominous Psyops Blog.

This project is political propaganda from start to finish. And if you don't believe it, follow the links z has. Those links lead to more links.

It's all right there on the internets....

9.07.2006

NSFW, unless you've got headphones....

Someone sent this to me today. I watched it at work---sorry, boss.... And since I know some of you all *occasionally* peer in here while at work, let me save you some grief---he says *penis* a lot. And a few other choice words.

And now, I give you:

Keep your Jesus off my penis



Apparently he has another song, "Clinton got a blowjob!" that you can buy at his website for $2. Fifty cents of your purchase will go to Moveon.org.

9.04.2006

Cameron McGill was *awesome* last night

If you missed the show at the Iron Post last night (it was fantastic by the way), you can still hear him before he leaves town for his tour. He's gonna be on WEFT Sessions tonight at 10pm on 90.1 FM. Live in the WEFT studios, he'll be playing his music along with Matt Hopper (who he is touring with) so you can get a taste of Cameron McGill without leaving your home.

I got my picture taken with him, but I'm still waiting for it to come to my email, so I'll post it later.

There was a recent article about Cameron in the Buzz. A friend told me about it before the show last night, but I didn't get to read it until after the show:
While wandering around from venue to venue at the Midwest Music Summit, I made a note to stop by Cameron McGill's solo show. Little did I know that he had more than just a solo show planned for Indianapolis. McGill had brought along a string quartet dubbed the Quartet Offensive. In a short time, he managed to silence an entire crowd full of industry folks, music lovers, and members of other Summit bands by playing songs about the best and the worst of human nature. Songs about love, loss and what it means to be an American today. Each song poured over the silent stricken crowd by a man who looked like he'd dropped in from the Depression for a visit.
That's the thing about Cameron's shows: the crowd is always so quiet---almost completely absorbed by his music. I'm always amazed at the personal relationship he seems to develop with the crowd while he's on stage.

Unfortunately, I don't think he'll have the Quartet Offensive with him on WEFT tonight, but last night at the Iron Post, he had the string quartet backing his music. It was beautiful.

So...tonight as you are winding down your three-day weekend, tune into WEFT and listen to Cameron and Matt. It's worth it.

9.01.2006

Lose your lunch is more like it

Kevin Federlin's newest song and video, Lose Control:



My *favorite* lyrics:

A lifestyle of rich livin' and fast cars
Don't hate because I'm a superstar
And I married a superstar
Never come between us no matter who you are

At least he's rappin' about what he knows: marrying Britney and living off her money....

*sigh*

Oh. My. God.

Look at the spider at my door...it's the size of a quarter

8.31.2006

On a lighter note....

Here's something funny via Exploding Aardvark....

The Chief may be on the way out....

The Squire from the lcoal blog Running from the Thought Police has a post up regarding the Chief at the U of I. Sounds like the ban on postseason sports event hosting was the final blow.

*Fabulous* Olbermann Editorial

I have no words to describe this piece that aired on Keith Oblermann's MSNBC show Countdown last night. It's lengthy---almost 7 minutes---but it's a masterpiece. Absolutely beautifully written and delivered. In it, Keith talks about the lastest speech by Rummy to the American Legion.

Here is how he finishes the piece---by quoting Edward R. Murrow:
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954. "We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear - one, of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men; Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were - for the moment - unpopular."

8.28.2006

Lost LOST orientation film clips...

...and some answers. Once again, thanks to sagefool---who is *also* now addicted to LOST....

8.25.2006

Letterman's take on Microsoft



I wish I had a mac at home....

From a friend

I get all kinds of stuff in my inbox from tons of people. But this one made me laugh.

A Women's Poem

I want a man who's handsome, smart and strong,
One who loves to listen all day long.
One who thinks before he speaks,
One who'll call, not wait for weeks.

I want him to be gainfully employed,
When I spend his cash, be not annoyed.
Pulls out my chair and opens my door,
Massages my back and begs to do more.

Oh! For a man who makes love to my mind,
and knows how to answer to "how big is my behind?"

I want this man to love me to no end,
And always be my very best friend.


A Man's Poem

I want a deaf-mute nymphomaniac
with huge boobs who owns a liquor store
and a nice bass boat.

I know this doesn't rhyme
and I don't give a shit.

Local blogger to run for County Board

Matthew Gladney from It's Matt's World is running for the Champaign County Board District #6 seat this November. Patricia Avery recently announced her intention not to run for re-election for the County Board when she was interviewed for the open city council seat. Avery said she will be running for city council or mayor in April.

Go, Matt, Go!

8.21.2006

Who the heck is buying all these houses?

Cuz I really don't understand where all these people are coming from and how they can afford $300,000--700,000 houses....

Aren't you supposed to only buy a house that's equal to or less than three times your income? If you buy a $500,000 house, you (or you and your spouse) have to make 1.5 million/year. Do we really have that many people around here that make that kind of money?

(Fixed post for clarification)

8.16.2006

Overheard on the internets

TSA person: Do you have (long list of stuff not allowed on plane).

Wise ass: No, but I'm bringing a snake on a plane!

TSA person: Very funny, I haven't heard that one at all. Would you please come with me for a cavity search?

8.15.2006

The Nexus of Politics and Terror

I love Keith Olbermann....

Keith Olbermann had a segment last night on his show Countdown on MSNBC where he documented all the past "terror alerts" and what political events they coincided with. Here's a link to the video from Crooks & Liars. It's about 12 minutes long (the Quicktime version isn't loading properly) and worth every minute of it.

8.13.2006

For the ladies....

Introdcing the OhMiBod

What will they think of next?

Things I learned this weekend

1. I am not college-aged anymore and trying to drink like I am is stupid.

2. I like sangria. See #1.

3. I like vodka. See #1.

4. I miss my college friends. I only get to see them a few times a year now, but it's always fun to catch up and hang out and, well...see #2 and #3.

5. When you have two events scheduled in different towns on the same day, don't drink at the first event if you want to make the second. See #1.

6. I have really good friends that won't let me do anything stupid after I drink---like drive. Course, my friends were making my drinks, so....

7. It's a really, really, really small world sometimes. I found out I knew people I didn't realize I knew this weekend. Putting 2 and 2 together is enlightening. Unless it's a lot of #2 from this list---then it's just sleep- and slur-inducing.

8.12.2006

Oh my....

According to Illinipundit and the TPS Report, Ken Pirok, Champaign City Council member for Distric 5, was arrested for DUI and leaving the scene of the accident.

Kiyoshi has the PDFs of the accident report on the TPS Report.

8.09.2006

Out of touch in so many ways....

So Lieberman's website went down. The Lieberman campaign said they'd been hacked. They asked Lamont to stop the attack. The Lamont campaign denied any effort to hack Lieberman's site.

Surprise---Lieberman's website wasn't hacked....

From Kos:
But now I have the definitive answer as to why Lieberman's site went down.

They are paying $15/month for hosting at a place called MyHostCamp, with a bandwidth limit of 10GB. MyHostCamp is currently down, along with all their clients.

Here's the deal -- you get what you pay for. My hosting bill is now over $7K per month. A smaller site doesn't need that much bandwidth, but if you're paying $15 because your $12 million campaign is too freakin' cheap to pay for quality hosting, then don't go blaming your opponent when your shitty service goes out.

It's sucks when your website goes down. And it sucks to get hacked. But it looks pretty stupid to go around name-calling because of your own incompetence.

I'm just sayin....

8.06.2006

Soul Sanctuary

I found a new podcast that is nothing but "soul/neosoul/whatever label you choose" music. I'm listening to a show now that's just outstanding. I find that I meet very few people interested in this kind of music, but who knows, maybe there's someone else interested in it. You don't hear it on the radio and I don't see a lot of it on the TV machine---other than VH1 Soul (ch. 278) but it gets clogged up with crap as well. If you catch VH1 Soul in a good block, you can hear a few good songs, but the Soul Sanctuary podcast is jammed *full* of good stuff. If you like soul, check it out on iTunes.

There are two Soul Sanctuary podcasts on iTunes---Soul Sanctuary Radio and Soul Sanctuary on ProjectVibe.net. The first one is a regular weekly show. The second is bi-weekly show from ProjectVibe.net. The July 20th ProjectVibe.net show has a fantastic live acoustic version of Me'shell Ndegeocello Bitter. The July 31st Soul Sanctuary Radio podcast has a great acoustic version of Down Here in Hell with You Van Hunt.

8.04.2006

Housekeeping

I've updated the links in the sidebar. I've added some blogs that I've been reading more of lately.

My Pet Goat, 27 Views of the Boneyard, OpeningBlands, Soy is the new Black, design*sponge, C-U Blogfidential, and mediageek are all adds. 27 Views of the Boneyard and Soy is the new Black are food-related blogs though the focus of each is completely different. OpeningBlands is truly bizarre. design*sponge has great design ideas. My Pet Goat is a little political, a little programming, a little photography, and a little personal. C-U Blogfidential focuses on microfilm. And mediageek is a blog about media issues---it was a complete oversight not to have added his blog before. I've been reading his blog for years.

And, if *you* have a blog here in Champaign-Urbana, go register your blog at CUBlogs.com.