Thursday, March 31, 2005

Volunteer Tailgate Party - April 2005

Cathy at Domestic Psychology is hosting the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a periodic compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

Be sure and check out her Easter Eggs....:)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Saga Continues...

And the local story-that's-so-not-a-story called "GOPGate" continues...

Memo: GOP chief gave out e-mail info (Knoxville News Sentinel)
"Republican political operative Tyler Harber told a Knox County official that he was able to obtain former GOP Chairman Chad Tindell's private e-mails because he knew Tindell's username and password, according to a memorandum released Monday.

Mike Arms, chief of staff to Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, wrote in the March 23 memo that Harber admitted obtaining the e-mails but denied he broke any laws in doing so."
This is truly pathetic.

Ok, so, you believe it's ok to get into someone else's email account - whether you have the username/password or not - and retrieve, print and deliver certain emails to other people? Does it matter how you get the access, doesn't the fact remain that it's someone else's account you don't have permission to enter?
"According to Arms, Harber said Tindell gave him the username and password while Harber was working to develop a Web site for the local Republican Party. Tindell said Monday he never gave Harber his e-mail account information."
So who do we believe, Harber or Tindell? At this point it's He said/He said....or, more accurately, He said/Squirt Political Hack said.
'"He told me he retrieved and copied them," Arms wrote. "He also told me that he was upset about personal comments made in the e-mails about him and his friends by Chad Tindell."'
So it really was all about your hurt feelings, hm? And that makes it ok? I thought working in politics was supposed to give you a thick skin, not make you run home crying over a scraped knee...
'Arms wrote that Harber "informed me that Mr. Tindell had given him his (Tindell's) log-in credentials two years ago when he (Harber) was working on development of a local Republican Party Web site."'
Maybe that's so, maybe Tindell forgot about this. But I would hope that in two years, Tindell had maybe changed his password once, or maybe a couple of times? Especially if it's communicating such apparently sensitive political and governmental information...

But even assuming Tindell did give him the login info two years ago, and assuming it was still valid after all this time....does that give you a right to go in and root around like it was your own account? No, it most certainly does not.
'"In a telephone interview on Monday, Tindell denied giving Harber his personal e-mail username and password. "I certainly didn't give Tyler Harber free rein to go through my e-mail and access my e-mail," Tindell added. "'
Well, you know, there you go.
"Tindell confirmed that the username and password listed in the memo belonged to his personal account. He said he has since changed his password.

Tindell said he used a different username and password for e-mail he received and sent through the party Web site. Tindell said to his knowledge Harber had nothing to do with the GOP Web site. "
Ok, well that clears things up a bit - maybe the UN/PW were the same, but it was a different account. Still differing answers on Harber's involvement with the GOP site.
"Tindell said last week a computer consultant found a "Trojan horse" program on his home computer, prompting him to call the authorities. A Trojan horse program allows a hacker to see and use information on a computer without the knowledge of the computer's owner."
And we all know how dangerous those things can be...
'On Monday, Van de Vate said he wasn't privy to Arms' conversations with Harber, adding that Harber denied involvement in the incident as late as March 18.

"At that time he still did not acknowledge he was the source of the e-mails," Van de Vate said. "Never in my presence has Tyler admitted doing it. Typically, when you ask him a direct question he responds with a meaningless metaphor."'
Heh. That's certainly consistent.
"Harber said he hid the computer after Sheriff's Office employees stopped him and searched his car on March 16. On March 21, he led officials to the computer's hiding place atop an air duct in the basement of the Andrew Johnson Building."
There were allegations made last week in the Halls Shopper by Betty Bean (I don't think the issue is online any longer - if it is, anyone who has the archive URL can email or comment it) implied that Harber was stopped because he was speeding in, I believe, excess of 30 mph over the speed limit. This, if true, removes credence to his claim he was pulled over for no reason. I'd like to know more about these facts, myself.

So the sage continues, and the local GOP party continues to chase its tail while the Dems, undoubtedly, stand by and snicker. And with good reason.

Monday, March 28, 2005

They Wuz Robbed

Now first off, I am no fan of Kentucky basketball. That's close to saying I'm no fan of Florida football or New York baseball. But when the SEC is in the tournament or a bowl game, generally everyone in the SEC roots for our own schools.

So I'm watching the UK/Michigan State game last night...

If you watched it, or saw any of the highlights, Kentucky was down by three points with about 8 seconds to go. Two Wildcats attempted 3-pt-shots to tie the game, but failed. 2 seconds left - Patrick Sparks grabs the ball, steps behind the 3-point line, lets it loose...

Is fouled!!!

...before the ball bounces and falls through as the buzzer sounds.

The arena erupts as it seems Kentucky has magically sent the game to overtime

The refs spend 5 minutes determining whether Sparks' foot was on or behind the 3-point-line -- which its determined it was -- and overtime is ruled.

But there was no discussion, from the refs, from the announcers, nobody...about how Sparks was fouled as he took his last shot. There was a clear hip check from the MSU defender as he was in the air shooting the ball - a more flagrant foul than several others that had been called earlier in the game.

For you see, had the foul been called...Sparks would've had that rarest of rare opportunities, to make a 4-point-play. Since the foul would have been in the act of shooting and the basket counted, he would've gotten one foul shot.

With 0.0 seconds left on the clock, one made free throw would've won the game by one point for the Wildcats and we would've seen the wildest Kentucky finish since the Duke/Christian Laetner heartbreak of 10 years ago.

But instead, it was never discussed, never argued. Nothing. Kentucky went on to lose in 2OT's 94-88.

It wasn't so much that I was dying for Kentucky to win, or Michigan State to lose - I just wanted a perfect ending to a ball game. And they blew it.

Hope everyone had a Happy Easter!

Some random thoughts, updates, and observations from the last few days:

  • I had an interesting conversation with Becky at April Fool last night, and we were discussing what liberals and conservatives actually believe - or don't believe. Abortion was mentioned, and I brought up the Terry Schiavo case. It occured to me at that point something that had been swimming around in my head, unformed, for several days. Both debates - abortion, and right-to-live, have at their basis not religion or philosophy but science. Medical science, at this point, can not tell us when a person first lives, nor when a person truly dies. Some adherants of the various theories on either subject obviously, as we see all the time, support their views voraciously and occasionally with violence. There are any number of religious beliefs that support the proposition that life begins at conception, and any number that believe life ends at the last heartbeat. But, while these beliefs are valid in many peoples' minds, their all still based on what is generally known about science. Even as basic a science as that of a baby's cry at the moment of birth, or the flat beep of an EKG that signals the end.

    The point is, until medical science progresses to the point where they can tell when the soul enters and exits the body, abortion and end-of-life debates will always hinge of philisophy and religion. But these are inexact science, and depend on faith and heart to make decisions. However, beliefs should exist with an open mind, prepared to learn new takes on new ideas. Oftentimes they are instead relied on as hard truths and supported with blind obedience to the cause.

    We can never truly know when life begins or ends. Until we do, I hope everyone involved in either case, on either side, recognizes there's still a lot to learn.

    (P.S. If you haven't met Becky, go there now. No, now..!)

  • BrainyBoy v9.1 has now hinted to us that the reign of the Easter Bunny, and possibly Santa Claus, is over. And it's a much larger relief to me than I ever thought possible.

    Saturday evening, after a long day of church Easter Egg hunts and other activities, BB and Tink (5-yrs-old) were discussing the best place to put their Easter baskets for optimum bunny access. On the couch? By the door? Such decisions for such young minds.

    In the midst of the discussion, BB said to Tink, "We can put them right next to the door, so the Easter Bunny can get right to them..." then to me, as a whispered aside, "Or where you guys can get to them tonight..."

    My jaw dropped, because he'd never hinted he got the truth before. Now I know 9 is pushing the logical Age of Not Believing a bit but he's enjoyed things and we preferred to drop hints along the way and let nature take its course.

    A few minutes later I shooed Tink out of the room and asked BB what was up. He feigned innocence and smiled mysteriously, going on about his way.


    The next morning - treats and gifts all around. We bought BB a Bionicle and a Pokemon toy for the basket, still unable to remember which ones he has and which he doesn't have. Apparently he already had both of the ones we bought him. So I took the opportunity later in the day to ask:

    Me: "So, that's too bad the Easter Bunny brought you the same kind of toys. Why do you think he did that?"

    BB: (slight roll of the eyes) "Because you and mommy forgot what kind of Bionicles I already have..."

    Me: "Hrm..."

    BB: You know, I want to save up my money to buy one of those spy kits I saw in a catalogue with the secret hidden camera, so I can set it up and see who's really doing the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus"

    ....and off he goes on his way.

    Well, it had to happen sooner or later. But that's a switch - why is it affecting me more than him? something in my eye...

  • I just finished my second week with my CPAP, and it's working much better now. I've figured out how to adjust the fit so that it's secure enough that the SCUBA part won't slip off, but loose enough so it doesn't squash my nose back into my brain. I'm still concerned about its effectiveness. Although it seems to have stopped by snoring, to my wife's undying gratitude (and was one of the primary reasons I needed it), but I don't feel different. According to several testimonials I'd read, I should be leaping tall buildings and running double marathons by now with all the increased rest and oxygen flow I'm supposed to be getting inside me. I should be running around like Mrs. Howell on sugar beets, but I don't feel like anything's changed, per se.

    I have a followup with the sleep doc in a couple of days, so maybe I'll find out more soon.

Friday, March 25, 2005

My Interview Questions for Michael

Returning the favor, I interview Michael.

1. You've been an "uncle" to my kids, whose real uncle lives far away. You're always a new uncle to your sister's new children. What does being an uncle mean to you, and how important should the concept of "village raising", i.e. other family and friends assisting the parents, be with children today?

2. I first met you at the Methodist Student Center at UT, and you attended my church in Knoxville for a while. Now you go to one in Nashville. How important is God to you in your life, and can you describe a particularly spiritual experience that you've had?

3. Tell us about your mother and father and sister and what they mean to you.

4. Next, tell us an amusing story about when you worked at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg

5. Finally...The Washington Redskins vs the Tennessee Titans are playing in Super Bowl XXXXI. I'm sitting right there with you watching the game and so are 400 of your closest Titans fan friends. Whose jersey are you wearing?

UPDATE: Michael's answers, ever so much more eloquent than mine were...

Friday's Feast

Feast Forty

Appetizer - What is the worst movie you've ever seen?

Oh boy.. well, for years the worst movie I'd ever seen was "The Stuff" with Michael Moriarty. I don't remember much about it, but it came out during the time I worked as an usher at a movie theatre, and several of us would stay late to watch movies. I watched more movies during those 2-1/2 years or so than I have since. The reason I remember that one being bad was a) Michael Moriarty's horrible, horrible dead-pan performance. I can't stand to watch him in anything now - I turn the channel if I happen across an old Law and Order rerun... and 2) every of my coworkers panned it as well, and we made fun of it the rest of the year.

Of more modern movies...there was the late-night Target caper "Career Opportunities" - yes, you know the one with Jennifer Connely riding the mechanical kid's horse after the department store...with the tight, tight tank top shirt.....(sorry, mind wandered there for a second). I went to see it with Laura at the theatre and actually paid full price for it. We were expecting something a little more..cerebral. I was actually uncomfortable watching the horse-riding scene, with my wife sitting next to me, because it's so blatantly sensual I almost felt I needed to wash my hands afterwards. Anyway, the movie itself was written by John Hughes in a desperate attempt to find another Home Alone success. Bzzzzzt.

Soup - Name something that reminds you of your childhood.

Oh man, for a nostalgia buff like me what doesn't?

Here are a few things:

Land of the Lost. Fountain City Ballpark. Lucky Charms. Walking in my backyard. Visiting my relatives for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seeing my kids react to something relatively simplistic with awe and wonder. The joy of seeing them learn something new in school. Micronauts. Star Wars. Class Reunions. Happy Days. Driving around my old Junior High and High School. Fountain City Library, now the Fountain City Arts Center. Frosted glass mugs with Mountain Dew, and doughnuts at the place I used to ride my bike to down the street with my friends. Mad Magazine. Records N' Things record store. Pretending I like KISS so one of my buddies would think I was cool. Trading sci-fi movie cards. Model cars. Making a giant spaceship out of styrofoam, silver spray paint and tons of old model parts glued on in various places - and it still sits in my parents' attic. Blocking shots in rec league basketball, because I was taller than everyone else. Fun Day. Pizza parties. Dr. Salmon, my first dentist *shudder*. Sitting on the floor putting together a puzzle at the beauty shop while I waited on my mom - the puzzle was purple, and fuzzy. Fountain City Barber Shop. Shakey's Pizza and old Dick Tracy cartoons they'd play on the wall. Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor, which later became Godfather's Pizza, which is now a pawn shop I believe. Space Invaders, Asteroids, Defender, Tempest, Galaxians.


Salad - If you had to live in a large city, which one would you want it to be?

New York City intimidates me with its hugeness, and I've never been to Chicago or L.A. If it weren't so reputedly dangerous both from street crime and as a prime terrorist target, probably Washington D.C. Mainly for the cultural and historical opportunities.

Main Course - What's a "big word" you like to use to impress people?


i.e. Black lung.

Some of you may have heard of this word before - at the time I learned it in 5th grade, it was reportedly the longes word in the English language, although I thnk other words have surpassed it by now.

My fifth grade teacher wrote it on the board, and challenged us to a) pronounce it, and 2) define it. We did, eventually.

Dessert - Describe your hairstyle.

Just fortunate to have some.

Seriously, it's brown, parted on the left with a very annoying patch that likes to stick up on my crown. High, high forehead (thanks Dad and the legions of ancestors who passed this down)!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

My Interview

Uncle Mike at Big Orange Michael has decided he wants to interview me. Heh heh. Ok, pal, do your worst...

1. Over the years, I've recommended a variety of shows to you from The Simpson to Quantum Leap to The X-Files. (But yet, you've never given into the Buffy thing). This question is two-fold. Of all the various shows I've recommended for your viewing, which one have you enjoyed the most? And besides The West Wing, what is one show you'd say I should give a try to?

I would say The X-Files, certainly. It had a lot more staying power, and I followed it religiously from week to week beginning about season 4 or so. We both started watching Babylon 5 at the same time, right?

As for a recommended series: well, The West Wing, sure, although I'm finding out that the current "live" season is not as good as several earlier ones. Catch the Bravo reruns if you can. You know, I don't think there are any other shows I watch that you don't....

2. I knew Barry before he married Laura and they had BrainyBoy and GiggleGirl. (One of the coolest moments in my life was Barry calling me to tell that he and Laura were expected BB. I was so happy for them.). Tells us the story about the first time you met Laura.

I was in my (first) senior year at the University of Tennessee and was a member of the U.T. Chamber Singers, and also was a member of the singing group, "Cantabile" at the U.T. Wesley Foundation Methodist Student Center. When Laura came to U.T. as a grad student, she joined Chamber Singers. The director of Cantabile, Lynne, was also in Chamber Singers and we began to conspire to get the "new girl" into our singing group. As it turned out, she did, and I was able to see her several opportunities throughout the week.

Eventually I asked her to go with me to the U.T./Duke football game, which was our first date.

3. What was your least favorite "Theta game"?

Oh. Great. So you're leaving it to me to explain what the heck a "Theta game" is? *sigh* Ok, here goes:

At the aforementioned Wesley Foundation, there was also a very....special and interesting young woman named Theta (not pronounced "thay-ta", as in the Greek letter, but "thee-tah", as, it rhymes with cheetah). Native North Dakotan Theta was the president of our student board, if memory serves, and the self-proclaimed social director of our tight band of students. Occasionally we would go on retreats, and there would be a bevy of "Theta games," as they were known - games to break the ice and foster communication between us and newer students.

So, to make a short story impossibly longer, my least favorite "Theta game" was the one where you put an orange into a pair of pantyhose, tie it around your waist and attempt to maneuver the orange around like a croquet mallet and knock other oranges around. You can just use your imagination as to what that looked like, especially for a guy....

Ah, Theta, we miss you. Last we heard she was a Methodist minister in the midwest somewhere, serving several churches. This, dear readers, is an image that is nigh impossible to visualize.

4. What is the worst episode EVER of Star Trek (any series)? Share with us why it's just so unwatchable.

There are two:

1) Star Trek: The Next Generation - "Imaginary Friend"
This dreck of an episode involves a little girl on board who befriends another little girl, who is actually an evil alien. Really, my main beef is with the alien girl - I'm sure she grew up to be a lovely young woman - but that was the most obnoxious looking and acting little girl I'd ever seen on TV. The plot was dumb, it was way too cutesy even for TNG and was just an pain to watch.

2) Star Trek: Deep Space 9 - "Profit and Lace"
There's one and only one way to describe this episode that is necessary to get my point across.

Quark in drag.

'nuff said.

5. Barry was a theater major at UT. He's directed and worked on a lot of great shows over the years. What is your favorite show you've worked on and why? And is there a show out there you yearn to work on?

My favorite, by far, is Into the Woods (see a couple posts down for some pictures). The first time I worked on this play I was working as an Assistant Stage Manager in the summer of 1990 at Seaside Music Theatre in Daytona Beach, FL. A few years later I was the Music Director of the show here at the Oak Ridge Community Playhouse. It's a tale combining several familiar fairy tales and telling their stories through music.

Ok, now I need five folks who'd like me to interview them (although Mike's already claimed about half the potential audience...). Just leave a message in the comments and I'll let you know.

Strange Creature Sighted in Knoxville

Various sources have reported the sighting of a large monster stalking the streets and computer email systems of Knoxville. Citizens are warned to lock their doors, adjust their firewalls, and verify that their GOP Membership cards are in good order.

Consider this creature somewhat dangerous and extremely annoying. Local political leaders and wanna-be leaders were last seen hiding their computers in stairwells, under desks, in local cemetaries and atop the Sunsphere.

And to repeat our top story: Local grocer and former mayor Cas Walker is still dead.

Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Great Scott! This is Heavy...

John Z. DeLorean, Father of Glamour Car, Dies at 80
"John Z. DeLorean, the flamboyant automobile industrialist whose dream of running his own car company dissolved into bankruptcy, died Saturday evening at Overlook Hospital in Summit, N.J. He was 80 years old and lived in Bedminster, N.J."
Thank you, Mr. DeLorean, for helping create what I think is the coolest car ever made:

Flux Capacitor....fluxing...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005



Lady Vols win, Pat Summitt is all time best Div. 1 coach

The Other Big Story

The Other Big Story going on in the US today - i.e. not the Terry Schiavo case - is the one about this troubled and hostile young man:

Minnesota Rampage Leaves 10 Dead

Red Lake in shock after shooting by teen 'Angel of Death'
'Grieving parents and friends gathered outside a Red Lake school after a rampage by a self-styled teenage "Angel of Death" who killed nine people before shooting himself.


Witnesses and officials named the gunman as Jeff Weise, 15, a loner who had expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and had used the names "Todesengel" -- German for "Angel of Death" -- and "NativeNazi" when signing on to extreme right-wing Internet sites'
Click the links to read up on the background if you haven't heard the details. Not surprising, since the TV news has been all-Terry all-the-time the last few days. It's more or less understandable since it's a) a continuingly developing story, and b) important to see where our rights are headed with regard to the Federal government.

But the more important story, to me, is the Minnesota one.
'Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Michael Pabman told reporters Weise killed his grandfather, a local police sergeant, with a .22-caliber weapon. He also killed his grandfather's female companion.

"Then, we believe, he took the police bulletproof vest and gun belt of his grandfather, donned those, got into the police vehicle his grandfather had, and drove to the school, driving up right to the door."'
Weiss went on to kill an unarmend security guard at the school, a teacher, several students and ultimately took his own life.

The Red Lake Indian reservation is not exactly a mirror image of the Colorado community that also experienced a similar event recently:

School gun massacre
'Unlike Columbine High School, in the prosperous middle class suburb of Littleton, the region is one of the most deprived in America. Drug and alcohol abuse is rife, with nearly four out of 10 families living below the official poverty level and outsiders are regarded with suspicion.'
So I wondered, it was well documented that the parents of the two Columbine killers were practically clueless as to their sons' closed-door activities. What was this boy's family life like? Was it similar?

Apparently different as night and day.
'Relatives said that his father committed suicide four years ago and that his mother was in a nursing home because of brain injuries following an auto accident.'
Tragic. He's been fatherless since he was 11 and motherless for an unspecified amount of time.

So where and with who did he live? Who was supposed to be taking care of this boy? Who are these "relatives"? The articles don't specify, and that may be due to privacy concerns. However, judging by this quote:
'The gunman was a quiet loner who was often teased and who had a disturbed background.

"I guess I've always carried a natural admiration for Hitler and his ideals, and his courage to take on larger nations," Weise wrote last year in an online forum frequented by neo-Nazis. He wore a dark trench coat to school every day.'
It seems logical to assume that the home he came back to every day after school wasn't full of love and warmth, communication and hope, support and attention. Plus, kids don't learn about racial "purity" and other principles espoused by the neo-Nazis by themselves - it seems wherever he was living may have but those ideas in his head.

Now...not that I'm sure there aren't plenty of neo-nazi, trenchcoat-wearing loners populating other schools across the country who are perfect gentlemen and will grow up to be productive members of society. Just don't bet your life on it.

But does the home life excuse his actions? Not in the least. He was 15, and perfectly capable of making the right choices - the choices that could have been, "As angry as I am at the hand life's dealt me, as disturbed as I am about the unfairness of fate and all the people I blame for where I am and what I've become....I'm not going to kill. Today. I'm not going to do it, because there are other ways out."

He could have made that choice, but didn't. And a lot of people suffered. Again.

But we see it again and again - children growing up in America by themselves. Parents and guardians who are indifferent (Littleton, CO) or absent or misguided (Red Lake, MN) or just inexperienced.

What's the answer? There is obviously not an easy catch-all answer - except maybe this. Love your kids. Love your relatives's kids. Love your neighbors' kids. Pay attention to them. Help them. Encourage them. Watch them. Train them. Set examples that are productive and helpful. Don't talk down to them, don't ignore their questions, don't take them for granted. Help them gain a sense of spirituality, of wonder, of awe. Show them that there is more beyond their bedroom, their street, their reservation, their subdivision, their state, country and even world.

Raising children is the single most important responsibility that human beings have. There is no other task as vital as the one that parenthood thrusts upon us - not only are we raising our own kids, we're raising the future. We're ensuring the existence of their children, and the children of their future spouses who may not have even been born yet. Caring and nurturing your children and always giving them a grounded sense of home and family goes forever in preparing them for an adult life of happiness, prosperity, success and love.

If you glossed over it before, take a closer look:
Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see.
And learn.

Children may not obey,
But children will listen.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.

Careful before you say,
"Listen to me."
Children will listen.

Fantasy Baseball Coaches: B-Ware B-Bonds

Bonds says he may be out until next season following knee surgery
"Barry Bonds said he might miss the rest of this season following his latest knee surgery."
If you have drafted Bonds already, you know how I felt when Ricky Williams suddenly retired from the Miami Dolphins just before the NFL season started last year.

If you haven't drafted yet, knock him down a couple hundred notches. In fact, you may have to drop him altogether. Something tells me there may be more to this than just a knee rehab (see bottom of page on link)...

Of Interest to No One But Myself

Happy Birthday, Steven Sondheim.

Thank you, along with your partner James Lapine, for bringing me and the rest of the world the perfection that is Into the Woods.

"Once upon a a far-off kingdom...lived a young maiden...a sad young lad..and a childless baker...with his wife."

Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see.
And learn.

Children may not obey,
But children will listen.
Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.

Careful before you say,
"Listen to me."
Children will listen.

Careful the wish you make,
Wishes are children.
Careful the path they take,
Wishes come true,
Not free.

Careful the spell you cast,
Not just on children.
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you...

Careful the tale you tell.
That is the spell.
Children will listen..

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Book Tag

Looks like Uncle Mike's tagged me, so here I go - answering questions about books. Before I start, know that I am a total literature novice. I've never read Catcher in the Rye, or Wuthering Heights or Great Expectations, or even Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. I haven't read To Kill a Mockingbird or A Tale of Two Cities or...

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

In high school, the literary bane of my existence was William Faulkner. I just could not get him. We read about Sarty and the Snopes family, and Burning Barns and all that. It just would not resonate with me - so I'd be willing to toss Faulkner's entire work on the fire....except one.

The Sound and the Fury, which I read my senior year, was one of the best books I ever read. Go figure.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Interesting question - maybe Iola Morton of the Hardy Boys books (she was Joe Hardy's girl. Spunky and exciting, not cool and sophisticated like that iceburg Callie Shaw...

More recently, I like Annie Laurance from Carolyn G. Hart's Death on Demand series - she owns a mystery bookstore in South Carolina.

And in media....How about Jamie Buchman from Mad About You? Not Helen Hunt, particularly, but Jamie.

The last book you bought is:

I bought several Stephen White books at the used book store recently: The Program and Higher Authority for instance. But the last real weighty hardback I bought, I believe, was The Dark Tower by Stephen King.

The last book you read:

To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh

What are you currently reading?

Airframe by Michael Crichton. This is about Mr. Crichton's last chance with me. The last couple stories of his I read (Prey, The Terminal Man, and even Timeless were pretty bad. So far Airframe is pretty good. We'll see).

Five books you would take to a deserted island.

1. The Bible
2. Robert Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky
3. Stephen King's Insomnia
4. The Sound and the Fury
and, for the practical side of myself:
5. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Let's see - how about:
1. Hatamaran, because she needs some good literary distraction right now.
2. Cathy of Domestic Psychology, because Girl Scout Cookies sometimes aren't enough
3. New mom-to-be Misty of Seductive Kisses, cause maybe it'll keep her mind off being nauseous.


So I'm here, at work, and my car won't start.

I'm waiting on AAA which could be an hour.

Anyone have anything to talk about?

UPDATE: Well, the AAA guy fooled around under the front of the car for a minute, and it started right up. Turns out a cable to the starter had just come loose.


CPAP Update - weekend 1

I'm not enjoying myself.

These machines are supposed to give you a wonderfully blissful night's sleep, but that's the last thing I've been getting these past three nights.

Now, preface to say I haven't been getting to bed as early as I ought to, which may have something to do with it. A combination of a resurgent interesting in Civilization III, and our newly installed broadband connection at home has kept me on the PC till all hours of the evening. Which doesn't lend itself to long hours of sleep.

That said, the unit itself is not difficult to operate, but it requires some preparation to get ready. There's a small water tank that has to be filled each night with distilled water, that's used to create a humid airflow. It has to be preheated 15 minutes before I go to bed, which, to me, is way too much order in my life :)

Then there's the mask, which as I said before consists of a breathing tube connecting the unit to an object similar to a SCUBA diver's breather - it fits under the nose and in the nostrils, and straps around the back and top of the head to hold it in place. When it's turned on, air flows from the unit, through the humidifier and into the nosepiece, which send a continuous stream of warm, moist room air into my nose and to the lungs. In theory, this stream of air keeps the nasal and throat air passages clear when deep sleep tends to relax the tissue. With sleep apnea, those tissues are very relaxed - I believe they suffer from Caribbean delusions that they are soaking up the sun on a tropical beach. Way, way too relaxed. Anyway, the constant airflow keeps 0-2 moving into my lungs, creating a deeper and more restful sleep.

In theory.

In reality, the mask doesn't fit my nose all that well. If I turn my head or, God forbid, try to lay on my side it breaks the "seal" and allows the incoming air to start escaping and hissing out the side. Which does little good for either my or my wife's sleep habits. In fact, it's really beginning to irritate me.

The first night was a bit rough, the second night was better and the third was the worst. I couldn't get it adjusted comfortably, and Laura woke me a couple times that it had slipped again. I finally ended up taking it off and tossing it aside about 4am. That's no way to help my problem, but at least it let me get some sleep.

Another problem I seem to have is I don't really feel the continuous air stream is making it through my nasal passages and down to my windpipe unencumbered. I've always been perpetually "stuffed up" to some degree or another. I rarely am able to take a good, deep breath without feeling there's a piece of a rag stuffed up one side of my nose. It has nothing to do with allergies that I know of - just the way my head is made. Thus, when I go to bed and my nose is not very clear, the full effect of the airstream doesn't make it to the windpipe. At least I don't feel that it does - maybe I'm wrong and just don't feel it.

I'm not going to stop, obviously, and will be trying my best to fine tune things. I'm hoping it doesn't require the building on an additional room to the house for myself to keep from waking up my wife during the night, but who knows ;)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Illegal Seizures

First of all, more about the circus revolving about local Republicans:

Ex-Knox worker mum on lawsuit: GOP campaign specialist says he was harassed by sheriff's deputies (Knoxville News Sentinel, registration required)
"On Friday, Harber said the incident with the sheriff's deputies, in which he says undercover officers handcuffed him and searched his vehicle without showing him a search warrant, made him fear for his safety."


The Sheriff's Office is investigating whether a crime was committed when someone obtained former GOP chairman Chad Tindell's e-mails and provided copies to [Knox County Mayor Mike] Ragsdale.
In his resignation email, Harber said this about fellow blogger Adam Groves:
"Shortly before my incident, Knox County Sheriff Officers invaded my close friend, Adam Groves’ house and conducted an illegal search and seizure of his computer and illegally and forcefully interrogated him while showing no warrant, receipt of property confiscation, and without demonstrating due cause."
However, the allegations about illegal search and seizures of Harber's and Adam Groves' cars, houses and PC's are serious. What I haven't been able to glean from the narratives (and is difficult to find, anyway, in the midst of such hyperbole as "invaded" and "forcefully"), however, is what leads to the conclusion of legality of the actual searches and seizures.

If a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that an item of private property was either used in the commission of a crime, or could provide evidence that the crime was committed by the owner (illegally tapping into Tindell's email system), doesn't the officer have just cause to do so? What kind of legal permission (i.e. search warrants) must be obtained, if any, to allow him to do so? Harber alleges no warrants were presented, yet I'm sure we all know that sometimes the wronged party sees or remembers just what it chooses to, when it's politically expedient. And, to be fair, our men in blue don't always show due dilegence when presenting search warrants, even if they do have them.

I just don't imagine all searches and seizures are "illegal", but have no idea what determines whether it is or not.

Anyone have any ideas?

Friday, March 18, 2005

My Last Night of Unencumbered Sleep

CPAPI'm getting my Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device delivered today.

Based on the results of the sleep study I went through, I will start wearing one of these babies to bed at night. The photo to the right isn't exactly what mine will look like - mine will be more like what a SCUBA diver would wear. It's an apparatus that's attached below the nose, and strapped around the back of the head. I'll also wear a mouth guard, to keep my chin from flopping down in the night. Continuous airflow into the nose creates a kind of "vacuum chamber" in my mouth, and if it opens, the "seal" is broken. I know, sounds hideous.

It's designed to increase oxygen flow into my lungs at night, while regulating my breathing and preventing snoring. I've read a number of testimonials, not to mention the commentors to my previous posts, that indicate it can do wonders to your blood pressure, memory and general health plus improve your feelings of restfulness at night and alertness during the day.

I certainly hope so. Although it's not been so bad lately, I have gotten tired at work. I don't recall dreams like I ought to be able to, and I have little sense of time passage when I sleep. I fall asleep, and *boom* 2 seconds later it's time to get up, so I don't feel as rested as I ought to. I have hereditary blood pressure, so it's unknown if that will be affected. I also have terrible short term memory, and can forget a figure or phrase very quickly.

We'll see how it works, and I'll deliver a progress report.

You know with a little modification, I could go as a TIE Fighter Pilot at Halloween:

TIE Fighter Pilot

UPDATE (03/20/05): Photo replaced with more accurate picture. I have a REMStar Pro w/C-Flex system and heated humidifier.

Bad Boys

Young Master Harber is in the news again.
'A Knox County Republican political operative and county employee resigned Thursday, saying he has been harassed by county law enforcement officers and become an enemy of the now-former chairman of the local party."

In a lengthy e-mail to Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, Tyler Harber, 24, accused the Knox County Sheriff's Office of "vengeful and illegal actions" in recent days.


Harber's letter follows the anonymous delivery Monday of copies of e-mails to Ragsdale that came from the personal account of former Knox County Republican Party Chairman Chad Tindell. The correspondence dealt with newly elected Chairman Brian Hornback's removal of paperwork and computers from Republican Party headquarters over the weekend.


He wrote that he had become "a political target of the Sheriff or at least persons in the Knox County Sheriff's Office."


While Harber does not address the e-mail investigation, he does lash out at the Sheriff's Office and Tindell. In his resignation letter, he accused the Sheriff's Office of acting in a way "reminiscent of Nazi Gestapo tactics."'
This is all too idiotic for words. If you have anything officially to do with the Republican or Democratic Party in Knox County (or anywhere else for that matter), you should have serious thoughts about your mental capacities.

When politicos use terms like "enemies", "political targets", and the big one: "reminiscent of Nazi Gestapo tactics" then you know it has nothing to do with representing the people and all to do with everyone's own egos and immaturity.

All around. Everyone.

We have troops overseas fighting real evil, and you have children over here squabbling over their PC hard drives and sending the police to harass each other.

Grow up, kids. Get real jobs that you can handle, and not political appointments and civil service careers that other people could use and really do something constructive with.

Free Bird!

Finally learn the history of rock and roll's biggest joke tradition

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


41% of parents skip truancy meeting (Knoxville News Sentinel - Registration Required)
'Cecelia Donaldson, who received a letter about her 5-year-old grandson's absences, came to West High on Tuesday, but she refused to enter the auditorium where the other parents heard remarks from [Randy] Nichols, Superintendent Charles Lindsey, Juvenile Court Referee Cynthia Chapman and Knoxville Police Lt. Gary Price.

"I don't want to hear what Randy Nichols has to say," said Donaldson, who said her grandson has asthma and other medical problems. "He needs to call my house when (my grandson is) up at 3 in the morning throwing up everything he ate."

Donaldson said she was furious after receiving Nichols' letter.

"I sat down and I ate three Mr. Goodbars because I was so angry," she said, adding, "You can't lump parents in one group." '
There's just nothing you can add to that.

Seriously, of course you can't lump parents in one group. But the point is that when a child has 10 or more unexcused absences, that's when inquiries need to be made and actions taken. If the child is legitimately ill, then there shouldn't be a problem getting the absences excused. If the parent or guardian neglected to follow through with explaining the absence, then it's their own fault and they have nothing to complain about.
'Rhonda Garren, the community prosecution coordinator in the attorney general's office, said she did not know the details of individual cases, but she said officials investigate each one.

"I feel we do as fair a job as possible in working with these parents," she said. "Some of the excuses they give us are not viable." '
Obviously, the point of this exercise is to rectify actual truancy problems by bringing them to attention of the parents and making clear that continuing neglect of their children will not be tolerated. And shouldn't be.

And eating a candy bar won't make it better.

UPDATE (03/17/05)
Reader C.I. Abramson does his homework in the comments and comes up with the following:
'In most cases with a child as described the care taker is trained to handle the ongoing medical problem on a daily basis otherwise the medical cost to the childs family would be astronomical.

OK, after a convoluted search I have found reference to the "time for time" policy. This is copied from Pricipal Clifford David, Jr's ( message from the Karns High School web site in Knox County Tennessee.
Time for Time Attendance Policy – For those students who accumulate 5 absences from a class, written notification will be sent to the parents or guardians. Class absences over 6 must be made up by attending a Time for Time session in order to receive credit for the class at the end of the term. Session dates and times will be announced within the next few days.
(This is with MDs excuses or any other viable excuse)

This is not the same as the attendance policy listed at ( "the official Knox County School Board [policy]'
So it looks like there may even be discrepencies between official Knox County School Board policy and local school policy in some cases.

I still think what needs to be qualified to parents is what constitutes "excused" vs. "unexcused" absences.

From the KCSB policy:
Acceptable (excusable) conditions for students being absent from school include:
1. Personal illness;
2. Illness in the family temporarily requiring help from the child;
3. Death in the family;
4. Recognized religious holidays regularly observed by persons of the student's faith;
5. Verifiable family emergency

Any absence not complying with the above reasons for excused absences will be considered as unexcused.

Examples of unexcused absences are a) family vacations taken during the school year and b) Senior Skip Day.
I didn't realize Senior Skip Day was an officially recognized Day :)

But if you take this above and apply it to the complaints of the parents in the article written above, any personal illness of the child is excused. Any illness in the family requiring temporary help from the child is excused (which I would take to mean originally farm work and such, but could be interpreted in different ways today).

So what does this all mean? Who knows, except that people are more willing to fuss adn argue than work things out reasonably and logically when it comes to their kids. And it's funny how some parents will make a huge cry when their own "rights" are threatened, but allow their kids to run free otherwise.

Funny, that. And we blame the kids.

Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy

Judge Upholds Death Sentence for Peterson
"Scott Peterson will be sent to California's death row after a judge upheld a jury's recommendation that he be sentenced to death for the slayings of his wife and her fetus."
I've never been quite sure how I feel about the death penalty, but there are some people I wouldn't think too hard about it for.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Oh. My. God...

Knight contacted about UT job (Knoxville News Sentinel - Registration Required)
"Texas Tech coach Bob Knight has been contacted about the head basketball coaching opening at Tennessee and said he is "intrigued" about the position, a source within the UT athletic department said."

Da-DUM....da-DUM...da-Dum da-Dum da-Dum...

24, unfortunately, may have just reached the point where it has left the ramp and is sailing over the shark...

Last night, after a shoot-out in a gun store Sporting Goods store, Jack and his girlfriend's husband, Paul are wandering around...sorting out the mess. Just a couple hours earlier, Jack had been torturing Paul for information but now they're big buddies...

Anyway, the baddest bad guy that had been shooting at them was lying dead on the floor....well, he wasn't exactly dead, he was only kinda dead. After multiple quick shots of his quivering hand, this critically injured man, riddled with bullets and bleeding out of dozens of new and interesting places, suddenly grabs a pistol (lying conveniently near his gun hand), jumps up and fires at Jack. OldBuddyPaul sees what's happening, pushes Jack out of the way and takes a bullet in the belly. Jack immediately blows about 45 more rounds into bad guy, ensuring (finally) that he not only is he not only merely dead, he's really most sincerely dead.

That, my friends, may be the "Jump the Shark" moment. One of the oldest cliches in the book, on a show that prides itself on avoiding cliches, is where the bad guy is not quite dead and enacts his revenge at the final moment.

I hope it's not the case, but we'll see.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Nice Timing

Georgia Tech coach suffers heart attack; undergoes angioplasty
"Georgia Tech football coach Chan Gailey suffered a heart attack Monday while playing racquetball at the campus recreation center."
It looks like Gailey is going to be fine, which is great. But nice timing for it to have happened while he was playing racquetball, which I just took up again last week...

Just One Word

James Lileks often waxes kvetchingly about his DirectTV system. It's on, it's off, it's working, it's dead.... He makes calls to the support group at 1:45am complaining because he's lost a signal, only to have it return when he gets off the phone. Numerous service people come to his house one after the other to attempt to repair, replace, upgrade or exorcise his home satellite dish. I believe he may keep a witch doctor on standby.

Lileks is my favorite online read, and he should be yours as well. His views on life, fatherhood and popular culture and nostalgia are unparalleled.

But Jim, buddy. I have one word for you.


Thank you.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Oh, ok...

Kentucky 76
Tennessee 62

Never mind. There they are.

Friday's Feast

Feast Thirty-Nine

Appetizer - Where do you go when you want to relax?

The Caribbean, preferably on a Carnival Cruise. But if that's not available, I'm most relaxed in front of my computer playing Civilization III or some other like game where I can just let my brain go.

Soup - Tell about something that made you laugh this week.

When I was home with the kids, we watched several episodes from my H.R. Pufnstuf DVD set. One part has the witch, Witchiepoo, suddenly turning good and singing a happy song. The kids and I at one point of extreme silliness all began dancing and singing that song together. It took several minutes of coughing and laughing to restore order.

Salad - What is your favorite texture?

There's nothing like flannel bedsheets against bare skin...

Main Course - If you were to publish your autobiography, what would the first sentence be?

"Ironically, I was born at the hospital of my later competition..."

Dessert - Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? If so, how?

Being of Irish descent, I probably should but I don't. I mean, how exactly do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day if you a) don't live in New York, or b) don't particularly care about getting stinking drunk on green beer? I'll probably wear something green, but that's about it.

Zen and the Art of Raquetball

I look at myself often, and wonder how old I really am.

Chronologically, I'm 38. In the mirror I feel like I look younger than that, but I don't know. Some of you have seen me in person and can judge that better than I.

Physically, also, I don't feel I'm on the tail end of the 30's. Well, usually. I'm still pretty active - get up out of the bed and the chair with a minimum of creaking and groaning. I still roll around on the floor with the kids, carry Tink on my shoulders, endure charging-rhino assaults from my 100+ pound BrainyBoy. I've actually lost almost 20 pounds myself since Christmas, I hope due to my new workout routine.

So, in the spirit of thumbing my nose at the advancing 40's and a thirst for real exercise and competition I joined a racquetball league.

Now, when I was a teenager I played a good deal at CourtSouth on Merchants Road. In college I bummed around at the HPER building at UT with some friends, but since then I haven't played at all. So I was a perfect match for the "C" league at the Fitness Center. Those who were just learning, or who had played before but not for a while.

Last night was the first game. I had gotten a new racquet for Christmas, new eye guards, about 75 new balls and a spiffy carrying case. I was ready to rock and show these guys how to play ball.


Something about my cardiovascular system renders me useless after a some kinds of physical exertion. My chest tightens up, I get a pain in my lower side and my breath gets short. Nothing dangerous, just years of couch potato-ism and keyboard jockeying taking their toll. Since I started working out and doing cardio training back in November, I thought maybe I was going to move beyond that and actually be able to pursue a semi-rigorous session of physical activity without feeling like I was in the throes of a boa constrictor. On crack.

So, my opponent and I get into the court. He appears in his late-20's/early-30's or so. Better shape than me, to be sure, but hey - racquetball is supposed to be a great equalizer. Height/weight don't matter as much as quickness and stamina.

Traits I apparently no longer have in any particular abundance, if I ever did.

By the 3rd point I was breathing heavy. By the end of the first game (which I lost, natch, 15-6) I was dying. A short break, and then game 2. He won that one, too, this time 15-5 and most of the game he was serving up gimmes. Which I thoughfully returned only about half the time. Since it's best 2 out of 3, after that game was over we were done. I collapsed on the couches outside the courts while he, after a short break, agreed to join two other guys in a game of 3-person cutthroat.


I took my own time changing and going home. I was so exhausted, mentally, physically and emotionally over this past week even though I went to bed at 12:15, I didn't get to good sleep until after 2am.

So, next week is game #2 against a guy that looks even younger than my first opponent.

Pray for me.

All Right, Two Questions to the Team That Won...

Tennessee 65
Arkansas 46

First, who are you people? And second, what have you done with the regular basketball team?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Those Darn Kids

On the occasion of BrainyBoy's 9th birthday:

BrainyBoy and Tink show their mutal admiration for one another.

A rare affectionate moment.

43 Things

Try out 43 Things and list for yourself, and others, what 43 things you'd like to do with your life. You can link to others of like interest, or even get advice from those who've already accomplished...whatever it is.

Mine (so far) are right here.

(Hat tip to Danielle)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fantasy Baseball

Anyone interested in joining an online Fantasy Baseball League?

Go to:

In order to join the league, follow the link above or go to game front page at, click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# and password below.

League ID#: 45257
Password: govols

Hurry - time's running out!

So, Where Do I Collect My Nobel Prize?

English Genius

You scored 100% Beginner, 93% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 83% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 62% on Beginner
You scored higher than 33% on Intermediate
You scored higher than 40% on Advanced
You scored higher than 88% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid

Open Query to my Wife

Recent search referral:

"laura calender girl hooters florida"

Something I should know about, dear?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Keeping Score

So far at our house in the 2005 Illness Olympics:

Me: 1 sinus infection, or something (3 days).
Laura: 1 stomach virus (2 days), 1 sinus/throat/chest infection (9 days)
BrainyBoy: 1 case of micoplasm (3 days)
Tink: 1 influenza (3 days), 1 something-other-that-just-happened-last-night-with-fever-and-barky-cough (1+ days)

Boys are winning, 6 days to 15+. Boys rule!

I hate winter. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I hate transmitting bugs around families, schools, churches...

At this rate, we'll all be healthy at the same time between 3:45-3:47pm, Thursday Nov 12, 2009.

UPDATE (03/09/05): Ok, add 1 each to Tink and BB's scores. He's sick now, too.

Boys: 7
Girls: 16

Tomorrow we are expecting metorites, and possibly locusts. Locusts carrying the plague.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Discovering and Rediscovering my History

The weekend in Knoxville was nice and sunny, warm at times and breezy. It might for some nice outdoors time, finally, after a nasty rainy sloggy winter. Some thoughts and reflections:

  • We went to visit my parents in Fountain City Saturday evening, mainly to do some geneological research. I've become interested in understanding my family history, on both sides, so I've been "interviewing" my mom and dad for dates, times, etc of our immediate families. Strange, interesting stuff. I'd ultimately like to find out when and where my ancestors actually emigrated to America from Scotland/Ireland and whether or not I'm actually related to a certain famous Scottish warrior. Suffice for now that I'm finding it fascinating to discover that certain ancestors from the 19th century fought for the Confederacy, and others later owned and operated businesses in Knoxville's "Old City" and Market Square areas. I purchased Legacy Family Tree v5.0 software online, and so far it seems to be working great. It allows connections and searches to other geneological online sources, through which I've already made a lot more headway (or is that tailway, since it's actually going backward in time?). I may keep you up to date on my progress.

  • Meanwhile, I got to spend some quality time earlier that Saturday afternoon with BrainyBoy v9.1. We visited the new Fountain City Art Center, of which I was asked to redesign and maintain their website, the Fountain City park, the Duck Pond (if you don't know, don't ask), and the new Fountain City Library. The Arts Center moved into the old library building next to the park last year, which is wonderful. I and many, many other native Fountain Citians spent our formative school years in that library building, huddled around encyclopedias and book reports. It's great to see it's still being put to good use.
  • Friday, March 04, 2005

    Sleep Study II: The Sequel

    I went through my second, follow-up sleep study last night. I do, indeed, have a "nice, juicy" case of sleep apnea. While this session was very similar to the first (electrode hookups, etc) the major difference now was the use of a CPAC.

    The CPAC is a mask-like device worn under the nose, similar to a Scuba breather, and attached to a small pump device. The whole thing straps to the head and is actually not that uncomfortable once you get used to it.

    The pump draws air from the room, moves it through a humidifier to moisten it, and into the tube to the nose. The pressure creates a continuous airflow through the nose, because when I go into deep sleep the air intake gets way too low and not enough oxygen makes it into my lungs. This breather alleviates the problem. One interesting side-effect is that I can't open my mouth because the inrushing air will rush out the mouth - which is an interesting sensation to say the least.

    The pressure is not so great that it's hard to deal with - you can breathe in and out through the nose normally. But it's still an odd sensation that will take getting used to.

    So, I wore it all last night. I didn't sleep nearly as well as I had last week and woke up several times during the night. In fact, they said I only had one session of truly deep sleep because my mouth would open slightly and the air pressure change would wake me up. So I get to wear a chin strap to hold my mouth closed.


    I should be receiving the mask sometime this week, and they'll set it up for me at home.

    Friday's Feast

    Feast Thirty-Eight

    Appetizer - Who is the one person you email more often than anyone else?

    Probably Mike from Big Orange Michael, or my wife.

    Soup - So far, which year of your life has been the most enjoyable?

    2000 was a good year - Started out with the big turn of the calendar we'd been waiting for forever... Tink was finishing her first year on Earth and we got to see all that hold. BrainyBoy turned four and we got to experience that wonderful age with him. Then that fall we took our first family trip to Walt Disney World. A good year :)

    Salad - Name someone with whom you have lost touch but would like to reunite.

    My best buddy from when I was a student in college is named Scott, and I wish we still kept in touch. Ironically the last day I saw him was my wedding day, as he was a groomsman. We just never got together any more after that day. More ironically, his older brother is our kids' pediatrician so I do keep up with what he's up to.

    Another guy is my roommate for 2 years in college, Gary. He was also a groomsman, and that's the last time I spoke with him. I have no idea where he is now, though he was studying to be a lawyer so I assume that's what he's doing.

    Main Course - What was the tastiest meal you had this past week?

    Lunch yesterday afternoon at Old College Inn, on the strip. Tomato Basil soup and my favorite, Cheddar Cheese Bings. Mmm!

    Dessert - Using the letters in your favorite color, write three words that describe your personality.

    Stayed up all night thinking of this one, huh? Ok....

    G - Generous
    R - Romantic
    E - Ecletic
    E - Empathetic
    N - Naive

    I'm glad my favorite color's not chartreuse.

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Volunteer Tailgate Party - March 2005

    Miss Zoot is hosting the latest Volunteer Tailgate Party, a periodic compilation of the best and brightest blatherings of the Rocky Top Brigade.

    Go visit! Click the Links! Now!

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Word Associations

    * Using the word, what comes to mind? *

    Sagacious::Crumb (heh)

    * Then for the second part a little music bit, answer the following 3 questions. *

    What is the song or artist that you love to hate?

    Nobody in particular, although I don't think Britney Spears has a particularly pleasant singing voice. She usually sounds as if someone's stapled her throat shut, and barely any sound's getting through except for a vague, Pee Wee Herman-like squeal.

    But I can't stand anything to do with Rap. At all. It has no redeeming artistic or musical value that I've seen since it became popular back in the 80's and 90's.

    What is the song or artist that you love but don’t like to admit to?

    Well, I've always loved Huey Lewis and the News but every time I mention that these days I get funny looks, so I don't do that much anymore.

    What is the song or artist that you first ever remember listening to as a child and loving, or that you purchased their first CD. Any story behind it?

    Funny you should ask. See here

    (Via Big Orange Mikey)

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    I Love This Picture...

    This is a Lebanese girl in Beirut declaring victory over the Syrian-controlled government.
    Most of the opposition protesters are Maronite Christians, who have long opposed Syria's role in Lebanon, Druze and some Sunni Muslims. Shi'ite Muslims, Lebanon's largest community, have mainly stayed away from the anti-Syrian rallies.
    I think this is much more significant than it's being reported even so far. Christians and Muslims, working together to protest totalitarian and fundamentalist rule. Interesting the Sunni and Shi'ite seem to be on the opposite sides that they are in Iraq - maybe that lends credence to the fact that the whole split between the Muslim factions has nothing to do with religious custom and mostly to do with regionalism.

    But more than that, it tells us that Christians and Muslims can work together toward a common good. That they can live, work and exist together without inevitable friction. Let's hope this is a sign of things to come...

    Blog Comments

    I'm getting really tired of moderated blog commenting.

    If you allow comments on your blog, but only those that are allowed after your "moderated" them, I'd urge you to rethink. I understand there are those that take great delight in buggering up someone's comments with spam or harsh language, but if you have a post that welcomes comments but they don't show up for hours because you haven't looked at them yet....what's the point?

    And how do we know you're not censoring the ones that don't agree with you?

    I totally understand those that don't allow comments at all - that's fine. If I disagree or want to make a point to you, I'll use e-mail. But don't allow comments but leave it to your whim who's worthy of posting. Comments are for back-and-forth discussion on the topic at hand by those in the outside world.

    Make up your minds.

    PS. I'll never moderate my comments. Go for it.

    More on School Uniforms

    Michael Silence is covering this with several links, including one to this page.

    Of interest is an article in the News Sentinel (Registration Required) about a parental survey gone bad.
    One problem with the first survey, which took place in January, was that it was conducted differently at the 26 schools where principals chose to participate.


    ...The percent of parents in a school that turned in surveys ranged from 6 percent to 70 percent. Only six schools received surveys from more than half the parents.

    "The response rates are so low, and I suspect the responses are so biased, that you can't really say what the community feels," [Board of Education Chairman Dan] Murphy said.
    I'm not an expert on statistical analysis, nor do I know the specifics of the survey - maybe there was a minimum number of responses necessary to make the survey viable - but as long as there were, and the responses were spread out fairly evenly around the city it should be fairly accurate. And parents, if you had the opportunity to respond and didn't...there's no one else to blame but yourself.

    I really don't have a dog in this fight - as I said below, my kids already wear uniforms to school and always have. Cathy mentioned in comments to the previous post about her middle school kids being unhappy about the change... My main objection is basing it on the fallacy that fashion diversity=individuality.

    Parents of Knox County public school kids - what are you specific chief objections to school uniforms?