Sunday, March 18, 2007

Finished! (mostly)

The DH and I have finished cataloguing our books, or, rather, the ones that are on shelves or otherwise easily accessible. We still have four or so boxes of language books (mostly Latin) and children's literature that will get catalogued next time we can actually get to said boxes. Current tally is 1430 books, but there are a few multi-volume sets that we only entered as a single item, so our actual volume total is closer to 1445.

Go on, take a look . We still have to edit some entries and add tags, but you can get a good feel for what we own. It appears as though the DH owns ways more books than I do. I think that surprises me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

And One More

Over on Ann Althouse's blog, she has a topic regarding favorite buildings. I did something rare and commented (I think for the second time ever). (What? I'm shy!)

There is one building I didn't mention, mostly because it's a little embarassing. I have always, always loved the clock tower facade on the "It's a Small World" ride at DisneyLand. I remember it being so bright and shiny in white and silver and gold. The last time I was there (around summer '97) I was very surprised to see how very colorful it was. I don't know if I misremembered or if it had been repainted, but I was still in love with it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

As I was saying...

So, back here I mentioned Camille Paglia's Religion and Culture speech that was broadcast on C-SPAN. I promised to write some comments on it. Well, her monthly Salon column just came out today, and I remembered that I forgot to comment on the speech.

Alas, I did not take notes, so I will probably be a little scattered.

Let me start by saying that I have been a fan of Dr. Paglia's for many years, since my undergrad days at UF. I agree with most of her politics, but where she tends to go liberal/libertarian in her search for candidates to solve problems, I tend to think more moderately/conservatively. I think her opinions regarding cultural issues are just dead on.

What I liked most about Dr. Paglia speech is her insistence that religion must be understood and embraced, at least on an intellectual level. I, myself, am an agnostic, but I have always had an interest in people's religious beliefs and how those beliefs shape the cultures they create and the stories they tell. I believe that the movement to keep Judeo-Christian ideas out of public schools is misguided and that students would be better served if school districts included comparative religion courses in their curricula. Of course, such courses would need to be taught carefully, to ensure one religion is not taught to be above or below others, but I truly believe that these courses need to be taught.

I had something of an odd upbringing. I often say, "My daddy was raised Baptist, My mom was raised Lutheran, and I was raised." I remember going to Sunday school as a child, but, for me, it was another way to hear stories. When I was around 8 or 9, I came across D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths and was completely enthralled. At some point, my brain made the connection that the Bible stories from Sunday school and the stories about the Greek gods were basically the same. Nobody could tell me why we were supposed to believe in God but not Zeus. I decided to not decide and to believe that everybody had an equal likelihood of existing. I'll sort it out later.

What I found was that my interest in these different religions made my appreciation of history, art, and literature much stronger. I remember being appalled when one of my classmates in an upper-division Shakespeare course was having difficulties understanding some of the mythological allusions. How can anyone study Shakespeare without a foundation in Christianity and the classics?

I grant that there will be people who have no use for such matters. Another point that Dr. Paglia brought up during her speech is the necessity for the re-building of technical/vocational training in schools. Let's face it. There are a lot of students who have no interest in and no business participating in higher education. When did the school system decide everybody had to go to college? It's no longer true that only college-educated people get decent paying jobs. I'll bet your plumber and auto-mechanic make as much if not more than you do. The education system should re-open the auto and wood shops and bring back sewing and home ec. You might actually improve your graduation rates.

So, those are my thoughts. Go Art! Choose Religion! Literature Rocks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Things that make you go "Hm"

Anyone else wonder how well Miss Ross and Little Sanjaya got along at their mentoring session?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My New Obsession

I've found a new hobby: Library Thing. It was mentioned on a Buffy fan board I frequent (mostly in lurker mode). It is so cool. You can catalog your books and share your library with people. I promise to share mine (and Icepick's because I'm not about to try to separate our books) as soon as I have it done.

In the meantime, maybe you'll want to give it a try. I'll be back when (if) I'm done.

Update: Nowhere near done, but I have catalogued just over 300 books (four small sets of shelves) so far. I still have nine or ten sets of (larger) shelves to go. This project is way more fun than cleaning house or organizing paperwork. You can see our list here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Oh No!

The following is the opinion of this blogger only and may or may not be factual. This ISP is not responsible for any idea expressed herein.

Huh. Whaddaya know? TV network execs in Australia are completely flummoxed by the idea that nobody came to their Save the World from Global Warming Party. (Link provided courtesy of Drudge.)

"Truthfully, we're confused," says Ten's network head of programming, Beverley McGarvey. "They didn't come. It's not like they came to the show, sampled it and went away. They didn't come.

"We had study guides in schools, we had the full support of the print media, both editorially and with advertising, and an extensive [Ten Network] on-air campaign with a number of different creative treatments and different stances.

"We spent a fortune to get the audience there and it didn't work. We've talked about it quite a lot internally. We're disappointed."

Study guides in schools? Support of the media? By god, why won’t we, the public, eat our broccoli when we're told to? Don't we know it's good for us? Next thing you know, we’ll be thinking for ourselves!


One more time people: Just because you, the media, think some idea or issue is important does not mean the rest of us actually care. This concept also applies to celebrity gossip and political wrangling. 24/7 coverage of Anna Nicole’s funeral is not necessary. We aren’t really dying to know. You say that you’re only covering the stories that get good ratings, but they only get good ratings because it’s the only story you're covering.

Here are some real news flashes:

  • Globe? Possibly warming; reasons to be determined.
  • Anna Nicole: Still dead. Please provide an update if, and only if, her zombified corpse rises from its grave to point to the father of her baby.
  • Britney? Nobody cares!

The viewing audience does not need to be told what's important or what to think or even how to feel about it. Please stop trying to indoctrinate us. Please stop preaching at us. Entertain us. Educate us even. Doing otherwise will cause you to risk losing your all advertisng revenue as we continue to turn to Netflix and pay cable to turn off the constant flow lecturing, posturing, and posing.

This just in: I am not the father of Anna Nicole's daughter. In related news, neither is my DH. Film will not be shown at 11.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I'm Tifauxing tonight's Idol results so I can catch up on Lost. I want to be on record with this prediction, however.

There is supposed to be some bigger than big announcement on Idol tonight. It's supposed to be so big that it just might change the world.

I believe that they have finally, at long last, found Elvis and are bringing him in to coach the contestants.

Will I be right? Tune in to find out.

UPDATE: Alas, no Elvis. Instead we have Idol charity. I have credit cards bills I'm willing to donate to the cause.

Worth the time?

I just finished reading Black Sun Rising, the first book in the "Coldfire" trilogy by C.S. Friedman. I found one of the central characters, Gerald Tarrant, to be interesting, but the overall plot left me, well, cold. I'm not sure that I'm interested in reading the rest of the series. It's not as if I've got any money invested from having already purchased them, since I get them from the library.

Has anyone else read the series? Any thoughts?


This weekend, AMC (so very formerly known as "American Movie Classics") is showing Catwoman. More importantly, they keep advertising it like it's something to be proud of. Seriously. I've seen ads all over I assume they're just in it for the ad revenue.

To be fair, I haven't seen the movie. I can't say for certain that it is absolute dreck, but I haven't heard anybody say anything good about it. Never. I'm not even certain Halle Berry's attractive visage redeems any part of the movie.

What has poor AMC gotten itself into? Maybe TCM should just buy any remaining good films in AMC's library and put the channel out of our misery.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Melinda Does-a-Lot

Yes, I watch American Idol too. I tried to resist; I really did. But, I love the idea of Idol, that a talented person from the middle of nowhere could be discovered and successful. I, as a semi-talented person from the middle of nowhere, get really excited for the contestants. I often wish I were several years younger so I could try out myself.

I'm not really interested in doing weekly recaps. Other people have better and snarkier recaps, and I can't really add to that body of work. (But really, Jared, argyle? I kept waiting for you to shill for Jell-o pudding pops. And Jordyn, Pat Benatar didn't need the backup singers to hit the high notes. She did it herself.)

I like to focus on the good performances, and that's all about Melinda Doolittle. This former backup singer astounds me every week with her flawless vocals and nuanced interpretations. The DH thinks Lakisha has more pure talent, and that may be true. Lakisha seems to be singing arrangements that are nearly identical to the versions that made her famous. The fact that Lakisha has been talented enough to successfully pull off that feat has saved her from the judges' "copycat" label. Melinda has chosen different arrangements of well known songs that best show her range and versitility, and she has shown every week that practice and experience make talent shine even more brightly. I hope both women go far, but I'm rooting for Melinda.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Interesting viewing for insomniacs (or people like me)

I just finished watching (God bless the Tifaux) this Camille Paglia speech that was broadcast by C-span, as part of their American Perspectives series. I'm too tired to write much about it now, but the link goes to a viewable version of the speech. The topic was Religion and Art, which is one of my own scholarly interests.

Click over and watch, if you're interested. I'll share some thoughts on it later in the week, after I've had a chance to digest it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

"Fun, Fun, Fun"

You know how I said below that I'm just a big old musical theatre geek. Well, I really am. One of the shows I've gotten hooked on in recent weeks is NBC's "Grease: You're the One that I Want", I confess that it's not exactly high art. I mean nobody ever said Grease was one of the classics of Broadway history. It's no Show Boat or Carousel. But it's bright and fun and popular, and the movie was one of the few successful of movie musicals after the 60s.

Anyway, I am completely hooked on this show. I love the fact that they are giving these kids to live out a dream. I'm sure it can't hurt Broadway either. While I wish they were doing this for a revival of some other show, or, better still, a brand new original
Jason Robert Brown show, I can't deny that Grease is the best show for NBC to showcase in this manner. Everybody is familiar with it (see above re: movie popularity), and Danny and Sandy are rather iconic characters at this point in time.

So anyway, I 'm hooked.

I'm personally rooting for Ashley, aka "Ballerina Sandy". She's absolutely beautiful, has the voice, the dance talent, and the right sexy ingenue look. Laura (aka "Small-town Sandy") seems to be Ashley's biggest competition, but she leaves me cold somehow. The only remaining contender is Allie ("Baby Sandy"), and I just don't think she's can really compete with the other two.

I'm split on the choices for Danny. Austin (aka "Hot Danny") is most assuredly hot, and he's got a great voice, but he's too polished in a way that Danny shouldn't be polished. Derek, also known as "Wholesome Danny", has the perfectly look for Danny; he's definitely talented, but I'm not sure he can hold up to eight live shows a week when he seems to have trouble getting through one. Max ("Slacker Danny") is really growing on me, and that's surprising. He's got talent and charm to spare, but he's no dreamboat, and I'm not quite sure he's the studly macho ladies' man Danny is supposed to be. He managed to be convincing tonight though; his hands have been all over the girls for the past couple of weeks, and he seems to enjoy it. Chad ("Ambitious Danny") just doesn't have enough charisma or energy to project to the back of a big Broadway house.

By the way, hundred years and another lifetime ago, I dreamed of being a Broadway star. My critiques come from hard-earned experience of my own. I know what these kids are going through, and I applaud them for getting this far. It's a hard, hard road they've chosen. I hope this show grants them many more opportunities.

P.S. In case you're not watching, the title of this post comes from the name of the Beach Boys song that Austin sang tonight. It's really not completely irrelevant.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Perfect Movies

I have a sort of mental list of, what I consider to be, "perfect movies". These movies aren't necessarily classics or award winners. They may or may not be critically or publicly acclaimed.

They are, however, in my estimation, perfect little jewels of filmmaking. Perfectly cast, perfectly paced, perfectly accomplishing whatever it is the filmmakers have managed to accomplish.

They are movies that I have seen dozens of times, often from somewhere in the middle, because once I stumble upon it on TV, I sit down and watch the entire rest of the movie, regardless of whatever task I was in the middle of performing.

There are several movies on my list. This is the first in a series of posts focusing on some of those perfect movies. I don't have a particular order for them, but I am am going to try to group them by genre. Today, because one of the many things I am is a great big musical theatre geek, I am going to start with musicals.

Victor/Victoria: I defy anyone to watch any scene with Robert Preston or Leslie Ann Warren and not laugh off their posteriors. The score, by Henry Mancini, is beautiful and whimsical. And Julie Andrew is, as always, practically perfect in every way.

Singin' in the Rain: This movie is so very joyful. There are whole scenes of dialogue that are always quotable. ("Dignity. Always dignity.") Jean Hagen, as the not-quite-as-dumb-as-she-sounds Lina Lamont, steals every scene she's in. ("'People?!' I ain't 'people'! I am a 'shimmering star in the cinema firmament.' It says so. Right here.") One note: The fabulous "Make 'Em Laugh" number is taken almost note for note from "Be a Clown", a song from another great Gene Kelly (and Judy Garland) movie, The Pirate.

Cabaret: This might be the first movie musical to avoid the controversial convention of movie musical: the idea that whole towns burst into the same song at the same time for no apparent reason. Bob Fosse very beautifully showcases all the musical numbers as acts within the cabaret and frames them to comment on the action. I've never been fortunate enough to see a stage version of this show, so I'm really not sure how much the stage version uses this convention. I know it works here regardless of the idea's origins. Also Liza Minnelli performs the role of her lifetime as the downtrodden Sally Bowles. If you ever wondered where the love for the downtrodden Liza comes from, look no further than this movie. Some fans of the text prefer a less obviously talented Sally; I prefer the idea that Sally's life choices are responsible for her (lack of) success. Her character seems much more tragic that way.


Today is one of those days where I'm annoyed enough with the world to write about current events.

Drudge has a link to a CBS News/NYT poll that states the majority of those polled think the government should be more involved in the healthcare system.

This is the same government that is having
issues running its own flagship Army hospital.

Please understand that, while I have a lot of problems with the Bush administration, my criticism of the Walter Reed issues and of government-run healthcare in general have nothing to do with those objections. I just wonder when the
last time was that anyone expected the government to run a public service efficiently.

It seems to be that most people should be concerned about any kind of government-run healthcare system. Isn't the whole premise of the pro-choice movement based upon keeping government out of women's bodies? Of course, there is also the
ruckus about whether state and/or local governments should require school-age girls to take the HPV-vaccine. I guess feelings about government involvement in healthcare decisions comes down to what side of Debate X a person wants to take on a given day.

But, really, do you want anyone in Washington involved in your day-to-day healthcare decisions? Do you want them knowing, or caring, that you have a runny nose, a hurty tummy, an achy ear? How about an itchy rash on your private places? Feelings of depression? Chest pains? Cancer?

How involved should the government be in your medical issues? And do you trust them to treat you properly, efficiently, and with care or compassion?

And, as one last point, when was the last time the government spent less money on a program than the private sector?

Count me as highly skeptical if this idea should ever move forward.

Hello and Welcome

So. Huh. I guess I've started a blog. That was...unexpected.

Who am I?

No one special really. Female, happily married, thirty-something, no children, two cats. Too overly educated for my own good. Self-described "extreme moderate." Love my job. (When was the last time you heard that?)

Why am I here?

Sometimes I have thoughts that I need to share with someone other than my DH. And when I get annoyed with his refusal to
blog about something, he says, "Well , why don't you start a blog?"

Ok. Alright. You win. I've started a blog.

More about me:

I love media: music, movies, TV, and books. If this goes the way I hope, I will be writing mostly about these things. Occasionally, I'll dip into current events or politics, but that will mostly be when something has annoyed me enough to spend time thinking about it.

Oh, and one more thing;

If everyone would just elect me King, I could solve the world's, or at least the country's, problems. Really.