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.