Friday, March 31, 2006

2339 Why would you donate to WHYY?

It's close to tax time (although we're self-employed and every quarter is tax time at our house). Do you know what your charity dollars are doing? WHYY is a public broadcasting station serving PA, DE, and NJ. It overpays its CEO and spends 42% of your donation on fundraising and administration. Look for another charity. If they want to pay the CEO $371,000, he should be doing a better job.

"WHYY operates TV12 and 91FM, the public broadcasting stations serving southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and South Jersey. WHYY makes our region a better place, connecting each of us to the world's richest ideas and all of us to each other. WHYY TV12, serving the Delaware Valley for more than 30 years, broadcasts to more than 2.6 million households in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. WHYY also operates TV64 in Seaford, which transmits TV12 programming to southern Delaware. WHYY 91FM coverage extends as far north as Princeton, New Jersey; south to New Castle County, Delaware; and throughout Philadelphia and the four surrounding counties." Charity Navigator "Low rated charities paying top salaries to CEOs"

But WWHY is a piker compared to Jazz at Lincoln Center, which pays its CEO 44% of its total budget! Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, on the other hand, will put 88% of your dollar into programing, much of it for children.

This charity website explains its rating system from None (really awful) to one star (poor) to four stars (excellent). You can check by city, region, type or keyword. I was sorry to see that the Columbus Museum of Art only got one star. We go there a lot.

2338 Was my address

for 34 years! That's what my kids call home. And that's a lot of blogging. Anyway, I want to tell you about this fun site. I found it on at least 3 Thursday Thirteeners yesterday. There's really nothing for someone my age, and each time I tried to dress her in a trench coat with a briefcase and sensible shoes, all her clothes were wisked off except her pink underwear, and she even lost her left arm! Come on! We can't all look like ladies of the night!

Off to church

Friday night date at Rusty Bucket

Stroll in the park

You can change the hairstyles, facial features, add pets, background, but the clothes are pretty limited. Also not very many blue eyes, and absolutely no options for wrinkles or amplitude or gray hair! You can save, or e-mail or print. Kids from 5 to 95 would have a great time with this.

2337 Librarian on e-Bay

As I was adding the technorati tags to my recent entries on librarians, I came across an entry called, "Librarian on e-Bay." Oh, no! I thought. Some poor underpaid librarian has sold herself to the highest bidder to pay the rent and buy the baby shoes. Would it be for a research project due by Monday, installing new software, or an assignation in the stacks? (At Ohio State our stacks supervisors in the 90s had to have all the walls in the stairwells scrubbed down with disinfectant, repainted and bright lights installed, if you get my drift).

But it was just a category. Whew! Still lots of fun to browse. I found a Seth Thomas clock, librarian model; a sexy blonde Librarian vampire; jewelry for a newly minted Librarianista; a cache of retro 1970s "librarian skirts" that hadn't even been pressed for the photo (negative stereotype); a WWII army hostess librarian patch; a Mrs. Loan the librarian (another negative stereotype); and a "Librarian, quest for the spear" DVD. There were many, many more, but I must move on. Is there an archives somewhere deep in the bowels of the ALA headquarters for librarian kitsch?
The Librarian, DVD
Jewelry for your favorite librarian

Mrs. Loan

2336 Pre-War Condo for sale

Which war I wondered when I saw the ad in the WSJ today. There have been so many. Hitler was marching into Poland when I was born, and the U.S. anti-war folks were marching too, just like today. They were just a little cleaner and neater then.

But this condo is in NYC and apparently the whole building is being redone to "pre-war classic Greek Revival style." Maybe it was the Civil War? Classic Greek Revival was early to mid-1800s. Many Americans objected to "Mr. Lincoln's War" and there were riots in the streets of New York City, killing 1,000 people. Each condo will have 4,000+ square feet, 5 bedrooms, 2 fireplaces, a library, sumptuous baths. Prices range from a Michael Moore level of $8,750,000 to a George Soros type at $35,000,000. There are many ways to profit from wars, right?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

It's about time to switch to a new notebook, so I'm looking back through the notes I've taken since Feb. 20 (in the morning when I'm at the coffee shop). I had a number of Thursday Thirteens started, and a few finished, but nothing felt quite right for this last one in March, 2006. So here's the list of possibilities, all rejected. Since I toss these notebooks in a box when they are used up, I think my blog would be a good place to at least remind myself that these notes are buried somewhere in my office. Just in case there is a day when I have absolutely nothing to write about.

Thirteen Things I'm Not Writing about Today

1. Thirteen things on my calendar for April. Whew! This would put you to sleep. Nothing like reading a to-do list of a retired librarian. I counted and have exactly 13 things written in.

2. Thirteen games we played as children--the first four were what we did with our chewing gum. Hmmm. Another thriller.

3. Thirteen food festivals in Ohio I've never been to. Zucchini, tomato, strawberry, moonshine--anything to bring the tourists in.

4. Thirteen things we did to cut back when my husband went into business in 1994 and we had only one income after 8 years as DINKS. Tip: Throw away every sale flyer that comes to the house. SALE is a euphemism for DEBT.

5. Thirteen words and phrases from real estate ads that tell you to "move along now" without showing the price. Tips: "magestic ballroom," "spa baths" (plural).

6. Thirteen things about librarians you probably don't know. As a group, they are more liberal than the ACLU or Hollywood. ALA has a resolution to impeach the President because of the Patriot Act renewal. Wonder if they plan to dump all the Senators and Representatives too?

7. Thirteen reasons not to borrow money to send your kids to Harvard for an overpriced education, based on the Laurence Summers case. The university is a casualty of left-wing ideology, a collection of petty interests with 60s and 70s has-been gatekeepers.

8. Thirteen health claims and stories I've heard over the years that later were proved false or were revised downward. The latest about 5 fruits and vegetables a day protecting you against stroke sounds amazingly like, "eat all the colors," doesn't it?

9. Thirteen things about Exercise--7 reasons to do it and 6 excuses not to. My exercycle is tied up drying the laundry--how about yours?

10. Thirteen little known things about coupons, sweepstakes and loyalty cards and why they don't save you money. I am the famous Columbus anti-coupon queen without a kingdom. Did you know coupons are often the same size as a dollar, the first one was a wooden nickle (inflation), and loyal cards look just like credit cards?

11. Thirteen things about immigrants, historical and current. I have a plan no one else has suggested.

12. Thirteen games we have in our home and who plays them. Racko, Password, Battleship, etc.

13. Thirteen things that make me special (inspired by a full page IBM ad). I have all my permanent teeth. All my holes and spots are original equipment--no tattoos or piercings. I'm a classic!

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2334 Why are librarians' salaries low?

A woman in the coffee shop asked me this today. Actually, we were talking about women veterinarians, doctors, lawyers and pharmacists. When I mentioned that librarians' salaries were low compared to other professions that required a master's degree, she gushed about how much she loved librarians and how much help she's received. But she didn't know additional education was necessary to be a librarian.

There are people needing promotion and tenure to study this, but here's my take. Librarians have no organization to represent their own interests. Oh, they have lots of organizations--out the wazoo--but just look at the names: American Library Association; Medical Library Association; Association of College and Research Libraries; California Library Association. Do you know what my husband's professional organization is called? The American Institute of Architects. Get it? It is representing ARCHITECTS. People, not government entities or buildings. And although I'm sure it leans left like most professional organizations, I haven't heard that the AIA is trying to get President Bush impeached while they redesign cities in Mississippi as service projects.

"Librarians and library workers are under-valued, and most people, whether members of the public, elected officials, faculty, corporate executives, or citizen board members, have little or no idea of the complexity of the work we do." from California Library Association web site

In my opinion, this inclusion of “library workers” in all attempts to get the professional, degreed salaried librarians paid a fair wage worthy of a master's degree is part of the problem. “Library workers” may have high school degrees or they may have PhDs in Victorian Poetry or Trombone Performance, but they are not degreed librarians. This may explain why people (even librarians) believe the degree isn’t important, and so the salaries can stay low. Anybody can do it, right? Just ask the ALA (which spins its wheels in political, i.e. federal and state, battles).

Automotive technicians who have attended trade schools and passed licensing requirements, don’t concern themselves with the pay grades of those who enter the field without those credentials and learn on the job; licensed hair stylists who have attended school and met state board requirements don’t lobby to have the nail technicians upgraded to their pay scale; Registered nurses generally don’t busy themselves upgrading the lab techs or LPNs no matter how much they need them; elementary school teachers do not include lunch room supervisors, classroom aides or library aides in their salary negotiations even though they'd be hard pressed to educate students without them; architects may employ draftsmen and CAD operators, but no construction documents ever require a stamp from a draftsman.

You can't run a library without the clerks and paraprofessionals, but at Ohio State, we would have had to close down the library if we lost our student employees, too. Increasingly, librarians are losing ground to their own IT staff. Even techie types can't keep up. While the librarians worry about budgets, personnel development, diversity workshops for staff, building codes, new fields that need to be represented in the collection, presentations for boards and committees, licensing restrictions and agreements on digital publications, copyright issues, turn-key systems that can be used statewide in libraries twice as large or half the size, etc., Jane Q. Public sits down at the computer and thinks, "It's all free on the internet; so who needs a library?"

2333 Typology of Leaks

I just can’t stop looking at what should be a snooze--a boring lexicon of government double-speak. But each paragraph unfolds one more strange and corrupt way to use the wonderful English language. I mentioned Susan Maret’s “On Their Own Terms: A Lexicon with an Emphasis on Information-Related Terms Produced by the U.S. Federal Government,” not really expecting that I’d go back to it again and again.

Maret is an adjunct Lecturer of Library Science at San Jose State University (most recent info I found on her), so this would be a librarian’s masterpiece of linking and sourcing. She’s really big into human rights and environmental issues, so I’m guessing she has amassed a large personal file for her other interests which led to this document. That always happened with my own publications, particularly on serials. One time I wrote two publications from the material I gathered for a third. *Maret has ten temporary, visiting and adjunct positions on her resume--even for leftie librarians that’s a lot in 15 years. In academe the left tend to eat their young. Also, since it is a .pdf and free on-line (i.e. about $50 to print and spiral bind it even if you've got flunky help and taxpayer ink and paper), I discovered that she must be updating the references (or making corrections?), because it was being hailed in various library blogs last fall, but I noticed a January 2006 hot link.

I found myself reading Dwight Eisenhower’s Executive Orders of 1953 that had superseded other EOs and were superseded by others! Wow. Is that too much time on my hands or what! At one point, I went from a DoD supply materiel dictionary to a word for word translation of it in Russian, and from that a whole other wonderful “slovar” but I didn’t bookmark it, so you’re on your own. And FBI Director Hoover issuing special directives on sensitive matters on pink paper. Whoa Nellie. In 1940. What could psychologists do with that?

I thought this “typology of leaks” on p. 200 (did I mention there are 346 pages?) was interesting--and since it is 22 years old, I’m sure it needs to be updated. I haven’t read the Hess book, and this is out of context, so I assume the author isn’t noting just press officers here. I’m guessing the “animus leak” is one of the more popular during this administration since career government employees seem to dislike Bush so much. Although the motives of Valerie Plame’s husband seemed definitely ego to me. Also, big leaks need to flow into the big bucket ears of a free press so bloggers have something to write about. Maybe these were all leaks-for-hire, but I'd make lucrative leaks a category, as well as loves-to-gossip leaks.

Source: Stephen Hess. The Government/Press Connection: Press Officers and their Offices. Washington, DC : Brookings Institution, 1984. 77-79;

  • Ego Leak: Giving information primarily to satisfy a sense of self.

  • Goodwill Leak: Information offered to “accumulate credit” as a play for a future favor.

  • Policy Leak: A straightforward pitch for or against a proposal using some document or insider information as the lure to get more attention than might be otherwise justified. The leak of the Pentagon Papers falls into this category.

  • Animus Leak: Used to settle grudges; information is released in order to cause embarrassment to another person.

  • Trial-Balloon Leak: Revealing a proposal that is under consideration in order to assess its assets and liabilities. Usually proponents have too much invested in a proposal to want to leave it to the vagaries of the press and public opinion. More likely, those who send up a trial balloon want to see it shot down, and because it is easier to generate opposition to almost anything than to build support, this is the most likely effect.

  • Whistleblower Leak: Usually used by career personnel; going to the press may be the last resort of frustrated civil servants who feel they cannot resolve their dispute through administrative channels. Hess is careful to point out that Whistleblowing is not synonymous with leaking.
Today's paper reported on Cynthia McKinney D-GA striking a police officer who stopped her going into the House of Representatives Building because he didn't recognize her. Here's either a paid snitch in the police department and/or a leak walking through the building who is just a gossip (not to be disloyal to my sex, but I'm guessing a woman staffer):

". . . according to a police official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident and spoke to AP on condition of anonimity. . ."

*Update: I've had an e-mail from the author who explained her resume. She was a seasoned librarian with 12 years in one position before her PhD and is now finding new opportunities to use her advanced degree; also loves the academic environment.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

2332 Life's little imperfections

Most of the time being me is just wonderful; today it wasn't so great. Libraries. Sigh. I know too much.

I went to the public library to return some material and check out additional items. Like a Buck (I've got a tiger by the tail) Owens CD. While browsing the Friends' Book Sale, I noticed a current journal, barcoded, stamped and labeled, lying on a "for sale" book truck. I took it to the gentleman volunteer and told him someone had accidentally placed a library magazine on the "for sale" cart. "No," he said. "It IS for sale--I found it and took it over to Circulation and they checked it." He was hard of hearing, so I didn't try to argue with him, but I was pretty sure the current issue of American Scholar wouldn't have been put up for sale for $.25. He was probably told it wasn't checked out to anyone. So I urged him to go ask someone else. I should have just picked it up and taken it to the periodical room myself. Grumble, mumble.

Then I was browsing the new book shelves. A young woman was reshelving recently returned books from a cart. I don't know if she was a volunteer or paid staff. I hope we aren't paying her to do such a bad job. I don't think she understands decimals. She'd pause a moment and if she didn't see a spot, she just put the volume at the end of the shelf. I followed her discreetly for a bit, reshelving as I went, but then moved on over to another area, because I think she noticed me.

In the other area I saw a large, oversize book with a sticker on the front stating that it's value was $50.00 and that's what I'd be charged if I lost it. I opened it up and saw it was just photos. Something about saving the planet or we're going to hell in a handbasket with global warming, etc. Anyway, it was only photos. If there was text, I missed it. Definitely coffee table stuff. The reason I mention this is that recently my request was denied for a rather large volume, Wealth of ideas, published by the Hoover Institute Museum and Archives showing a portion of its valuable collection of the history of the 20th century. . .
"The subject matter is epic in scale, covering the great wars, revolutions, political and intellectual movements, and personalities of the twentieth century. The author, Bertrand Patenaude, has assembled an impressive cast of characters, including many of the most influential figures of the age, among them Woodrow Wilson and Leon Trotsky, Friedrich von Hayek and Henry Ford, Karl R. Popper and Joseph Goebbels, Chiang Kai-shek and Boris Pasternak, and Bertrand Russell and John Maynard Keynes. The book contains nearly 300 illustrations, including political posters, photographs, film stills, original artwork, typed and holograph public and private manuscripts, letters, and diaries."

When I got home I checked this title on-line at Ohio State, but it was on order and I couldn't place a save. I was told to check OhioLINK, and there was only one other non-circulating copy in the whole state. So apparently it doesn't fit university or college guidelines either. Interesting.

Something drew my eye to the Cartoon library so I stopped to look at the 2007 Cartoon Festival page, and found a bad link to the catalog, so I stopped what I was doing to send an e-mail to the staff supplying the URL, because from experience I know that if you report a bad link, webmasters can't find it and you end up in a convoluted e-mail back-and-forth.

I feel like I put in a day's work. I know too much.

2331 Ready for prom?

About 20 years ago my brother-in-law's son brought him a little orchid plant in a plastic bag returning from a tour of duty in Korea. It is now doing its twice a year prom dance and this year has 12 blooms. He is a horticulture/hobbyist and has always had a lovely flower garden. At his touch green things and people just flourish. He's also written how-to columns for magazines and has published a book on Purple Martins. Since it is my policy to not mention family members' names (unless I slip) you'll just have to guess whether these orchids are blooming in California, Illinois or Indiana where I have dear hyphenated brothers. According to Robert Louis Dressler, for the orchid family there are 5 subfamilies, 22 tribes, 70 subtribes, about 850 genera and about 20,000 species, so you'll also need to guess about this 20 year old, because I don't know its name.

And then there's my efforts.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

2330 Illegal Immigrant Demonstrations

Does it strike you as odd that students who may be here illegally leave school illegally to demonstrate against a proposed amnesty program that might make them legal? I don't think this is impressing the general American public, even though we are all "children of immigrants" (mine came in the 1600s and 1700s). Body Parts, a blogger from California who is much closer to this than we are (although there were demonstrations here in Columbus, too) had this to say:

Why do they think that non-Mexican Americans will be persuaded of the rightness of their cause when they wave Mexican flags?

If they want immigration from Mexico to be unrestricted so that their relatives and others in Mexico can come to the US to obtain better lives, why do they also carry banners calling for return of the Southwestern US to Mexico? Imposition of the social and economic structure of Mexico on the US would simply reproduce the kind of misery that 40% of Mexicans say they want to escape by moving to the US. Mexico is a de facto caste society, with racially based exclusion of native Americans, ownership of the majority of property and income and control of the government in the hands of a ethnic Spanish-legacy minority, and a nearly impoverished Mestizo middle class living off state bureaucracies. Mexico is a morally, ideologically, and socially failed society. If American students of Mexican descent are so eager to live in such a society, they should go sneak across the border into Mexico and live there.

I dare say.

2329 Project CALM

Conservation Attention for Libraries of Mississippi is a preservation program developed by a University of Iowa Librarian, Gary Frost. He is restoring and preserving many of the irreplaceable artifacts, photographs and documents from the home (now a museum and library) of Jefferson Davis, the only President of the Confederate States of America. Davis was also a U.S. Senator and Secretary of War. Later this year Frost expects to help restore documents from the Biloxi Public Library also damaged by Katrina. Story here.

HT Rare Book News

2328 This is a secret?

"It's no secret. On a normal weekday (without prompting from CNN), more than 70,000 distinct visitors come to the FAS web site [Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy] to view hundreds of thousands of archived documents. Over 11,000 individuals now subscribe to Secrecy News directly, and innumerable others receive it through secondary distribution."

Is this where leakers go to work when they get out of jail?

Some history of secrecy--only 6 p.

A lexicon so you can understand all the secret stuff--unfortunately, its 346 p. It would be really useful if you're writing a novel, or if you are a conspiratist, or a librarian trying to foil the anti-terrorist activities of the government. I learned that PSAs aren't just for prostate cancer, they are Presidential Support Activities. There are so many on-line links to documents about secrecy, this thesis will make your nose itch. I don't think there are any secrets.

2327 Killah must laugh all the way to the bank

supported by all the white kids who take him seriously and make him rich. He got a 4 star review in USAToday today. And he was warmly praised in the NYT Critics' Choice yesterday. And a write up in The New Yorker. The title of the latest album is "Fishscale," the street word for uncut cocaine. Oh! for Old Blue Eyes (whom I didn't particularly like until rap and hip hop started turning up, even in church) and his ties with the mob and the Kennedys. The New Yorker says Killah looks like a cross between Frank Sinatra and a jewel thief. Huh? Here's a toe tapper.

Big heavy pots over hot stoves
Mayonnaise jars and water
With rocks in 'em
Got my whole project outta order

Kilo is a thousand grams
Beige, gold, brown, dirty, fluffy, tan
Extract oil come from Cuban plants."

Aside from the lovely name, Killah, his themes are dealing cocaine, violence in graphic detail, stick-ups gone bad, and general, all around mayhem, like some dirty laundry about getting beaten by his mother. He grew up Dennis Coles on Staten Island. He's even marketed a doll action figure of himself. How cute.

“For those that don’t have no soul, y’all wouldn’t really understand or know where the fuck I’m coming from when I play shit like that,” he said. New Yorker
That'd be me

2326 Buck Owens

Florida Cracker has a nice post about Buck Owens, who I remember only from "Hew Haw" days (which he owned). He died on March 25. Hew Haw was sort of a country parody or take off on the popular Laugh-in, and started as a summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers back in 1968. Well known performers on the show included George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Mickey Gilley, Kitty Wells, Waylon Jennings, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Dolly Parton, Kenny Price, Kenny Rogers, Freddy Fender, Johnny Cash, Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Jerry Clower, Roger Miller, and Loretta Lynn. I enjoyed all the corny regular skits like the barbershop, the hotel clerk, and the jokes in the cornfield. We loved that show at our house--no one sings a love ballad better than Roy Clark. Also, I loved that Lulu--she could sing!

Florida Cracker has some audio and video, plus additional information by Donnah, another one of my linkees, about his background and work ethic in the comments. Ms. Cracker, btw, is a librarian, but I was linking to her long before I found out her secret.

2325 Bushisms

Although I like President Bush, I doubt that when he is 20 years out of office, we'll be passing his clever, flexible, folksy way with words around by e-mail. Actually, in another 20 years we won't have e-mail as we know it, but there will be other ways to gloss over the past. Anyway, I opened my e-mail this morning to a batch of Ronald Reagan quotes. And here they are:

Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant: It's just that they know so much that isn't so."

"Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong."

"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandment's would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."

"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."

"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

"The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program."

"I've laid down the law, though, to everyone from now on about anything that happens: no matter what time it is, wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."

Two years ago I blogged about a speech he gave as a graduation address in 1957 at Eureka College when his career was pretty much over and he was still in his 40s. Who could have imagined then what was before him.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday Memories

Grandma's farm

Did I ever tell you about Sunday night suppers?

Thirty years ago, my children thought eating sandwiches and potato chips for Sunday night supper on trays in the living room was just about the most exciting treat ever! That’s because we didn’t do it very often. Our only TV was in the living room, so they probably watched a Disney show. I was pretty strict about eating together as a family, and even for breakfast, the table was set. By 1976 the lime green shag living room carpet (we didn’t have a family room until 1982) was about four years old, so we probably didn’t do it at all when it was new (and they would have been too small to manage a tray much before that).

When I was a child in the 1950s, Sunday night suppers were special, too. Oh, Mom made wonderful dinners--my mouth waters as I think of it. She’d put the roast in before we went to church or she fixed fried chicken when she got home. The table in the dining room in our house on Hannah Avenue or in our Forreston home would be set with the white linen table cloth and the good white china with a gold rim. Dad would always say the prayer--and I would know the ending if I heard it today, but I‘ve forgotten it now. I’m sure there were mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables and fruit from the cellar where she kept the home canned items in gleaming glass jars. Even though at the time I didn’t think the clean up and dishes were so great (no one had dishwashers then and she had 3 daughters), I remember that fondly now as a time to chat with Mom.

As good as dinner was at noon, Sunday night with various relatives stopping by was especially nice. Can’t even remember now what we had--maybe sandwiches or left-overs, perhaps a second helping of her fabulous apple pie. But it was casual and relaxed. And occasionally Daddy would disappear and come back with 2 pints of ice cream (we had a refrigerator, but no freezer). We children would just die of excitement and try to guess the flavor until he would get back. Mom would slice the two pints into six even portions and put them into cereal bowls. You wanted it to last as long as possible, but Dad ate quickly and would look in our bowls with his spoon poised and tease, “Do you need any help finishing that?”

Also, I know my Grandmother Mary was without electricity for only a short time after WWII at her farm in Franklin Grove, but I remember Sunday evening suppers in the 1940s of sandwiches on trays by kerosene lamp. Grandma wasn’t much of a cook, but I thought her baloney sandwiches spread thick with butter (we had neither at our house) were a fabulous treat. After a supper of sandwiches, her homemade grape juice from her backyard arbor, and factory canned peaches in dainty little glass dishes, we’d load up the car and start down the gravel lane for home. I’d press my nose against the car window and watch Grandma waving good-bye from the porch silhouetted against the flickering kerosene light in the kitchen.

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2323 Meet Chris White

He's training in NC to go to Afghanistan soon. He'll be blogging about his experiences. He says at his blog:

"Over the course of the next 14 months I will be using this site to capture the story of my adventure into the Panjshir Valley of Northern Afghanistan. . . Shortly after Christmas the Air Force informed me that I was being tasked as the lead Civil Engineer on a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

Our PRT mission is not only the first of it’s kind, but it is also considered to be the most important mission in Afghanistan. Our primary focus will be to help legitimize the central Afghan government by directly supporting the governor of the Panjshir province. Our support will be lived out through various projects to potentially include building schools, roads, hospitals and other facilities, all in an effort to help the local Afghan people reach a quality of living the region hasn’t experienced since the Soviet invasion back in the late 1970’s, which lasted over a decade. There will be other PRT missions just like ours going on throughout Afghanistan. Over 40 other countries are directly supporting these PRT missions."

I'll be watching and praying for Chris.

2322 Another medical service opportunity I'll have to pass up

"Japanese researchers have harvested endometrial stem cells from human menstrual blood. These stem cells have "an extremely higher potential" as a source of cardiomyocytes compared with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, they reported at a late-breaker clinical trials session here Sunday at the 55th Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology.

The findings were presented by Dr. Shunichiro Miyoshi on behalf of his colleagues at Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo. The researchers collected menstrual blood from six women and harvested endometrial stem cells."

Seen at which may require registration.

2321 Blog site Housekeeping

I really like the pre-packaged template I use from blogger, but it is fairly common and sometimes I think (after clicking around) I'm back on my page, but I'm on someone else who uses that same parchment and wallpaper look. So I've changed the side margins to reflect my own books. See those tall black leather bound volumes? My favorite books. I inherited 11th, 12th and 13th ed. of Encyclopedia Britannica, and that's what shows in the repeat, plus some of my kitty boxes and other books. Also I went into the help section and figured out how to reverse my archives so the most recent would be on top.

I took a peek at the Truth Laid Bear and discovered I am now #203, although I have no idea what that really means except today Blue Star Chronicles is #67 and Median Sib is #100--they are sisters that I always read along with their sister Joan and cousin Jane (I'd link, but it's been kicking IE out). "The family that blogs together . . . just might have a liberal brother blogger." Lately, I haven't been reading Blue Star Beth as often because she has so many things on it, it takes too much time to load. But that helps stats.
TLB always flat lines me a 71 hits a day, which isn't true. I get several hundred. Last week I was checking my site meter and for some reason last Wednesday I had over 500 page hits, and I think that was my busiest day ever, although I have no idea why. Something must have been in the news that pinged a story in my archives. Since I only track 100 at a time, most of it had scrolled by before I noticed. Thursday Thirteen has definitely caused an uptick in traffic (I started in January), and Monday Memories slightly so. And I swear, at least two out of every hundred are trying to figure out how to fix a broken zipper, a topic from October 2004.

2320 Love and Money

Today's WSJ has and article on nine financial points to consider if you are planning to get married. I'm going to suggest a tenth, or rather a first--talk about religion and faith matters, and factor that into the budget. First of all, it's just plain smart--you can't outgive God. But secondly, it could cause a huge fight in the future if you find out he's a dollar-in-the-plate guy and that was your first clue about his commitment! Thirdly, you might just find out that you don't know each other as well as you thought, and will call the whole thing off!

2. Know your intended's debt load.
3. Know how she uses her credit card--is she charging $1 soft drinks and lattes? Shop aholic?
4. Know your own financial behavior and mistakes--share credit reports with each other. Don't let a bankruptcy or students loans surprise her.
5. Giving up your career? Get a pre-nup. Or at least bring it up for discussion.
6. Talk about your dreams and aspirations.
7. Discuss career expectations. One income after kids? SAHM? Might be a good time to even discuss if you're planning to have a family, wouldn't it?
8. Who will be the gatekeeper and family accounts manager? Know this going in.
9. One checkbook or three?
10. Do you know the lingo--how to discuss finances--the acronyms--401-k, 403-b, IRA, etc. Do you know why paying the minimum balance on the credit card is a disaster for your coming marriage?

You can make it work without any of this--I should know--I've been married 46 years and didn't know zip about finances at 20 when I said "I do." But as we old folks are told each and every day, "It's not the same today."

2319 More ignorance about Christians

Robyn Blumner, a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times, writes from behind a shield of cultural bias about evangelicals today. She's upset that Bush claims ignorance about the various apocalyptic predictions for the Middle East. Well, doh! Who can keep track? If you get 3 Christians together, you'll get at least 2 viewpoints on end times, and the third (that'd be me or the President) will be clueless. (Actually, I won't take the paraphrase of a liberal columnist for anything the President said, but I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt here because she wants so badly to believe it.)

I'm a Christian and I'm not a tribulationist or dispensationalist. I couldn't tell a pre-trib from a mid-trib from a rapture prediction. And millions and millions of committed Christians don't see the modern day political entity called Israel as the one who benefits from all God's promises in the Old Testament. I know this; and I think the President does too. Someday Jesus is coming back. I know that because, like the song says, the Bible tells me so. I'm supposed to be ready and busy, because it could be tomorrow, or it may never happen in my life time (in which case I don't need to worry). I don't need to read the newspaper headlines, the Christian bloggers or the stars to believe this.

She's right that many dispensationalists voted for Bush. Like most of us, Christian or not, they probably couldn't figure out where Kerry stood on anything or stomach abandoning the Iraqis the way his post-Vietnam record (did you know he served?) would predict a similar diaster in this century. However, I'm guessing there's a few more issues conservative Christians have in common with the President other than support for Israel. They may have even hoped he'd keep on task about saving social security and securing the borders. Note to Robyn: brush up on what Christians believe. We're not peas in a pod.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

2318 Veggie and fruit plate

There is a Cursillo* Closing at our church tonight and I've been tapped to bring snacks. I always chose a veggie tray, when given a choice although it is a mixed tray of fresh fruits and vegetables. Carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, white grapes, and 3 different types of apples, sliced. I thought about a fruit dip or some peanuts to sort of jazz it up, but who needs the calories? Not me! Today I had to do the old rubber band through the button hole trick to close my skirt--and I don't know anyone else in the Cursillo community, or even central Ohio, who needs more cookies and brownies. How about your section of the country? Most of the thin people I know have eating disorders or an illness. Or they are under 18. Yesterday we hung an art show. The artist is Greek Orthodox. And of course, it was her name day, so we had to celebrate, right? That means food.

*Cursillo, in case you aren't familiar with the word, is a renewal movement started in Spain by Roman Catholics maybe 60 years ago--means "short course in Christianity." The Columbus Cursillo community is ecumenical, but we aren't supposed to call it Cursillo anymore, since that's for Catholics. So in fact, the vegetable and fruit tray is for Cum Cristo, but because I did my week-end in the late 70s, I still call it Cursillo. But we still sing "DeColores" with gusto and peep like baby chicks and crow like roosters.

Other renewals based on the Cursillo model are: The Episcopal/Anglican Cursillo, The Presbyterian Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus (I think this is Methodist), Via de Christo, Tres Dias, Kairos (for prisoners), Great Banquet, Awakening, Pilgrimage Days with the Lord, Chrysalis, Vida Nueva, Happening, Celebration.

2317 How to blog a better blog

Pilar did a nice Thursday Thirteen on 13 steps to a better blog. Nice job, too.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

2316 School uniforms benefit the kids, schools and parents

In today's Columbus Dispatch there was an Op Ed written by a 16 year old girl, Tracy Somers, who attends a Catholic high school where uniforms are required. She defends the uniform policy and thinks her points are valid whether or not the school is religious.

1. Uniforms do not take away one's individuality--if anything, they enhance it.
2. Uniforms do enhance the learning environment. On the occasional "dress down" day, she can see the results of rowdy behavior, slouching, and the time spent admiring each other's outfits instead of paying attention to the task at hand.
3. Students who wear uniforms (which she calls uniformly ugly) learn to ignore outside influences--they help build their pride and self-esteem. (Apparently, people stare at them in public.)
4. Uniforms save her time when preparing for school in the morning.
5. Schools with uniforms rarely report violence.

No, this isn't it; just thought it was a cool way to show your school uniform

While I was reading this op ed, three Future Farmers of America (FFA) came in the coffee shop. Essentially, they wear the same jacket their members wore 50 years ago when I was in high school and it still looks terrific. I stopped and spoke to them--two girls and a boy, and they were pleasant and well spoken. Between the Catholic students and the farm kids, I think the country's in good hands for the future.

You are invited

We're hanging a wonderful art show today by the Columbus Dispatch artist, Evangelia Philippidis. Born in Greece, she includes many Byzantine, ancient Greece and Greek Orthodox motifs and symbols in her work. There is a reception for the artist on Sunday April 2, 2 - 4 p.m. at the Church at Mill Run (Upper Arlington Lutheran Church) in Hilliard, Ohio. The show will run through Thursday, April 27, 2006, and the art is for sale.

2314 Myths about the military

It's been awhile since I heard Democrat Charlie Rangle spouting off on Fox about reinstating the draft to make the military more fair. That the military recruits the poor and minority in a disproporationate percentage to their numbers isn't true, and in fact, it is probably less of a path out of poverty than it was for previous generations because today's all volunteer military requires a high education and skill level. You probably saw this piece in November when it first appeared, but it is worth repeating.

"Yes, rural areas and the South produced more soldiers than their percentage of the population would suggest in 2003. Indeed, four rural states - Montana, Alaska, Wyoming and Maine - rank 1-2-3-4 in proportion of their 18-24 populations enlisted in the military. But this isn't news.

Enlistees have always come from rural areas. Yet a new study, reported in The Washington Post earlier this month, suggests that higher enlistment rates in rural counties are new, implying a poorer military. They err by drawing conclusions from a non-random sample of a few counties, a statistically cloaked anecdote. The only accurate way to assess military demographics is to consider all recruits.

If, for example, we consider the education of every recruit, 98% joined with high-school diplomas or better. By comparison, 75% of the general population meets that standard. Among all three-digit ZIP code areas in the USA in 2003 (one can study larger areas by isolating just the first three digits of ZIP codes), not one had a higher graduation rate among civilians than among its recruits.

In fact, since the 9/11 attacks, more volunteers have emerged from the middle and upper classes and fewer from the lowest-income groups. In 1999, both the highest fifth of the nation in income and the lowest fifth were slightly underrepresented among military volunteers. Since 2001, enlistments have increased in the top two-fifths of income levels but have decreased among the lowest fifth.

Allegations that recruiters are disproportionately targeting blacks also don't hold water. First, whites make up 77.4% of the nation's population and 75.8% of its military volunteers, according to our analysis of Department of Defense data.

Second, we explored the 100 three-digit ZIP code areas with the highest concentration of blacks, which range from 24.1% black up to 68.6%. These areas, which account for 14.6% of the adult population, produced 16.6% of recruits in 1999 and only 14.1% in 2003."

Sean M., a commenter at Protein Wisdom has this to say about the war critics' opinion of our troops:
So, let me get this straight...if you support the war but don’t join up with the armed forces to go and fight, lefties scream “CHICKENHAWK!” at you, implying that your lack of military experience invalidates your opinion.

On the other hand, if you’re over there, your opinion on the legitimacy of the war isn’t to be trusted because you’re obviously some sort of moron who couldn’t get a job elsewhere, much less a college education.

HT for both items Yehudit.

Friday, March 24, 2006

2313 Do you have allergies?

A few weeks ago I went out for dinner with my daughter and her husband. While we were browsing the menu she mentioned being allergic to certain items. I was a bit puzzled because she didn't have any allergies growing up in our home in the 70s and 80s. "What are you allergic to?" I asked. "Oh, everything," she replied.

This week reported: "A recent nationwide survey found that more than half (54.6%) of all US citizens test positive to 1 or more allergens, and allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease, with an estimated $18 billion annual healthcare cost. Alarmingly, this statistic is estimated to increase, presenting increasing challenges to patients and physicians alike to its management. Although self-help strategies, such as avoiding the allergen can be helpful, in most cases, this is difficult and inadequate and most sufferers rely on pharmacologic intervention. Because allergic disease in most cases is lifelong, effective management needs to be immediate, efficacious, and long-term. Despite the availability of several pharmacologic options, the effectiveness of current therapies is limited by treatment formulations, frequency of dosage, and side effects, which can have an impact on treatment compliance and overall outcomes."

Thinking back, the only allergy I can recall knowing about when I was a child was that Francine, a classmate, had hay fever and she was miserable certain times of the year. So where did all this come from? The article suggests that 95% of our time is now spent indoors with constant exposure to allergens like pet dander, dust mites, mold spores and cockroach particles.

Well, let's take a look at this--what is indoors with us? When I was a child, most pets lived out of doors, in the basement, or on the porch. I don't think I knew a single person who slept with an animal, unless maybe the hired man on the farm napped in the hay mow. No one had wall to wall carpet, and rugs were periodically moved to the outdoors and beaten and left in the sun. Sheets were washed AND ironed--many with a mangle, which must have killed off a lot of dust mites.

Homes for the most part were not insulated when I was a child. The house we lived in here in Columbus for 34 years (built in 1939) had air space between the outside and inside walls--no insulation--and we had very reasonable heating bills. Air is a good insulator. Now we stuff or blow in all sorts of synthetic material and houses are much tighter. The house can't breathe and neither can you! And speaking of synthetics, we didn't have a lot of that--oh, yes, we wore nylon and rayon occasionally, but rugs and clothing were mainly cotton and wool when I was growing up. Most of that textile material did not come from Asia, South America or China.

Children spent a lot more time out doors 40 or 50 years ago. They weren't sitting in front of the TV or computer with a pet on their laps eating snacks. Also, we just weren't as concerned about cleanliness 40 or 50 years ago. A bath once or twice a week, or washing your hair once a week was considered just about right. That meant you didn't have as much soap and chemical residue on your skin and hair, nor did you smear on lotion to replace lost body moisture. Nobody had a hair dryer to blow dust around. There were no air conditioners were mold would grow and get blown into the house. You didn't have mold growing in the automatic defrost section of the refrigerator, because you only had manual defrost. Oh yes, and most people didn't have clothes dryers which also leak lint and dust into the air of a home and you used laundry soap, not detergents.

No one ate in restaurants except on special occasions, so if we shared germs, it was those to which we had some immunity. We all ate rather plain, homecooked food with very few additives or colors. Deep frying and reusing oil? Maybe if we bought a do-nut from the bakery. We ate meat, but not as much as today, and those animals weren't raised with antibiotics. The eggs and chickens were fresh, free-range for the most part (as a child I even watched them jump around the back yard headless after my dad chopped off their heads).

And everyone seemed to smoke--even up to about 10 years ago. I wonder how many little critters that killed off that we now are allergic to?

Now I'm no tree-hugger who thinks we need to go back to the way things were (and I'm going to a restaurant tonight for our Friday night date), but there are unintended consequences to "progress." $18 billion a year is a lot to sneeze at for "pharmacologic options." Might be smart to put the cat or dog in another room at night, and go outside more often to breath some fresh air. Couldn't hurt.

2312 Gay adoption

The "experts" have spoken again. It was reported in today's paper that some experts on child welfare have blessed gay adoption.

So how have the experts done in the past on this problem of extra or inconveniently conceived children? Well, in the 17th and 18th century in this country, when the parents died during the crossing from Europe, the children were indentured to strangers to pay off their parents' debt and their own for the passage. Even if they had co-religionists, like the Mennonites, to meet them at the ship, they still became unpaid workers in someone else's household. The experts agreed, it was best all around.

Then in the 19th century some early day social workers for the poor decided that orphan trains would be the best chance for some children to get out of the bad influence of the city. And, maybe they were right. City kids on the wind swept prairies of Kansas or Nebraska, torn away from siblings on the train platform, working behind the horses or cutting sod probably did stand a better chance of reaching adulthood. But my gracious, they must have been terrified and lonely.

In the 20s and 30s of the twentieth century, adoption became a little bit more formal, but if you lived in a small town, many people knew who your mother was and that she "got in trouble" so then you were adopted by that middle-aged couple who "couldn't have any of their own" or a relative. The experts thought that was the best way to handle it. With the Depression, you couldn't be too choosy about who raised the children--everyone had too many mouths to feed.*

Lots of babies of unknown origin appeared during and after WWII and our Asian wars. Movie star adoption was popular, like Michael Reagan, son of President Reagan. Even fake adoptions took place for out of wedlock babies like the daughter of Clark Gable and Loretta Young, Judy Lewis, who actually was "adopted" by her own mother. Experts of that era believed that the stigma of adoption was better than the stigma of legitimacy. Amer-Asian children, some biracial, were sent away from their Korean and Vietnamese mothers and villages to grow up the only Asian person in some small mid-western town.

In the late 50s and early 60s the experts, by this time with Master's in Social Work, decided absolute secrecy was best, so laws were passed in most states to falsify the birth certificates of adopted babies. Even when they became adults they couldn't get their real birth certificate--forever being legally a "baby." Unless they could prove they were Native Americans. Oh yes, the heritage of Indians was more important than Irish or German or English descendant children. You can't deprive an American Indian of his or her tribal rights even if he's only 1/16 or 1/32. But you can deny any Caucasian child of all birth family knowledge about their first degree blood relatives. How's that for turn around is fair play? I'm not sure which expert thought that one up. But they probably were members of whatever "rights" group had the ear of the legislators.

Then when the feminist movement joined hands with the abortionists, we got "open adoption." Supposedly, it should hurt a child less to know that his birth mother knew the past 25 years where he was and who adopted him, but chose never to contact him. Go figure. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't feel really terrific knowing my birth parents knew where I was and decided not to even meet me or thought the occasional photo would do! Open adoption was supposed to cut down on abortions with the logic (probably of a lawyer) that it hurts a woman more to carry a child 9 months and place her for adoption than to abort her and never let her live and just wonder about it the rest of her life. I have no idea really who thought up open adoption (which is sort of a throw back to the early 20th century), but that's what the experts believe. The experts will also tell you it is better to kill a child in utero than to let her face life with a family that can help her with a disability like Downs or club foot. The disability rights people who lead perfectly satisfying lives will tell you that "expert opinion" has absolutely nothing to do with the child's welfare.

When the local supply of infants was dried up by abortions (with the help of experts helping the mommies), other experts turned first to Latin America, then after the collapse of Communism to Russia and the Balkans. Girl babies are not much valued in China and India, so now the experts think raising the only dark skinned or Asian child within a hundred miles won't be noticed or will work out with enough love and support. This form of adoption puts lots of money in the hands of the experts, because only rich Americans can afford to create families this way.

And while I'm on experts, let's not forget all the doctors, lawyers and social workers (notice how these days it takes more and more education to become an expert, but the solutions get more bizarro?) who decided that a child couldn't care less if daddy's sperm came from a sperm bank which paid college students who had good grades, blond hair and blue eyes. Or if mommy was an egg donor or the local rent-a-womb lady. Didn't Woody Allen marry the adopted sister of his own children whom he'd helped raise? I'll bet there was an expert in there saying it was OK. I guess that example should go into the Asian group; nah, works better with bizarro.

Now the experts are even by-passing adoption and/or abortion and going directly to just using up the cells of the embryos of the inconveniently conceived for research. Isn't it just so sweet for the pre-child that he can be useful to society without all that messy living and growing up routine? Some of us can live our whole lives without ever making a contribution to medical science!

Excuse me, I'm gagging at this point. So, the end of the story is I don't trust the "experts" who tell us that gay adoption will help children, or that children don't really need a woman (gay men adopting) or a man (lesbians adopting) in their lives--gender identification and modeling being just more outdated artifacts of another time and different experts.

*I'm leaving out orphanages and children's homes, which considering what followed their closings in the 1960s and 1970s (recommended by the experts), may have been one of the better ideas for stability and care of children without parents.

2311 The working family

Who are they? I was a librarian, an associate professor; my husband is just winding down his architectural practice and had a variety of titles like associate, owner, partner and sole practitioner. So what were we? Chopped liver? Didn't we work? We've been in four of the five quintiles, and trust me, we were always employed. But every time the media wants to give us a sad, sad tale about the economy, they refer to what a tough time "the working family" is having. I think it is the new term for "working class" which pushed out "lower class" which was an unacceptable euphemism for "poor." It's really tough to find a good term for a family of five with an income of $55,000. But believe it or not, in Columbus, Ohio that income will qualify you to use the food pantry (AGI $45,200 for a family of 5).

The latest one I saw was a one column front page USAToday article on housing by Noelle Knox--either yesterday or Wednesday. She wrote that nearly 70% of Americans own their own home--but that's not good, because "working families with children" have less ownership than in 1978. Sometimes I talk back to these ladies (the journalists who write human interest stories about how tough the economy is are always women--even in the Wall Street Journal), so I said to Noelle: in 1978 "working families" weren't paying cable bills or monthly cell phones charges nor were they eating out several times a week, nor did they download music or have computers to eat up the paycheck with games, e-bay charges and blogging bills. Also, Noelle, in 1978, more of these "families" started out as married couples. Not being married, even for a period of years, helps reduce income.

And of course, Noelle didn't look for real estate in Ohio where it is affordable--no, no, no. For her sad story, she had to choose the Bacaros, a "working family" both with a good income (but not college) looking for a house in LA, or San Francisco, I've forgotten which. You can buy a perfectly decent crackerbox ranch in need of complete renovation in California for half a million, which will practically buy you a new-build mansion in a Columbus suburb.

But the real give away on these economy sad stories are the "think tanks" that provide the data. They are always "The Center for . . . name your cause." I think this one was Center for Housing Policy. But if the word "justice" is in the name, look out. Policy is another. Then they really want your money. It's the only form of justice they know.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Here are thirteen poems I've posted on my blog over the last 2.5 years. I wouldn't expect you to read all 13, but here are some clues. Missing someone? Try #4, #7 or #8. Tired of winter? #13 is good. Ever wondered about gossip in a small town? #1. Had any really crummy jobs? Betcha can't beat #2. Do you like to paraphrase scripture? Think on #3. Nostalgia? #6, #11.

1. What I heard about you

2. Working for DeKalb Seed

3. On a theme from Habbakuk

4. The anniversary

5. Susanna looked East

6. Christmas Formal

7. Mothers of our Childhood

8. Daddy-lions

9. December 21

10. New and unread books and unopened music

11. Last day of July

12. Complementary Colors

13.The longest month

(If you participate, leave your link in the auto-link and it will post here, but please leave a comment.)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things.

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2309 Everything's clearer now

There was a very interesting story about classroom teaching in this morning's Columbus Dispatch. A classroom in the Harrison Street Elementary School in the Big Walnut School District (Delaware County, Ohio near Columbus) is using full spectrum light bulbs and every student gets a water bottle as part of required school supplies. The teacher is fitted with a wireless microphone and there are four speakers in the room so that every child can hear the instruction easily. They are also treated to brief periods of calisthentics to stimulate their brains. This experimental classroom is based on the research of Laurence Martel, an educational consultant on reducing stress in the classroom for better learning. I remember when I gave freshman orientation to the veterinary students I would suggest that they get up periodically from the tables in the library and walk to the hall to get a drink rather than sit for hour after hour. I didn't know I was in the forefront of educational research. I thought I was just keeping them awake.

2308 Finding a human bean

Kidney beans. Lima beans. Pinto beans. Casserole beans. How do you find a human bean?

Gekko (big computer guru) says to try this Get Human Database. I didn't try it--don't know how many snapped and ugly beans you'll get. The product I am interested in wasn't listed. But it looks like it could be useful

2307 Cyclone Larry

One of the Thursday Thirteeners The Purple Giraffe, was in the path of Cyclone Larry. Here's a description from Earth Observatory with photos:

"Tropical Cyclone Larry formed off the northeastern coast of Australia on March 18, 2006. The cyclone gained power rapidly and came ashore on Queensland’s eastern coastline, where it hammered beaches with heavy surf, tore roofs off buildings, and perhaps most destructively, flattened trees in banana plantations over a wide area. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported early estimates that as much as 90 percent of the Australian banana crop may have been lost in this single storm. Since many trees have been destroyed, it may be many years before the banana industry recovers."

And if you're visiting that Earth Observatory site, take a look at the "Meddie" story. I wonder how they are going to blame this on President Bush?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

2306 I want one of these

A PowerSquid for the office and a dough scraper for the kitchen. Cool tools.

The flap that didn't fly

This item was in the NYT yesterday. I'd sort of forgotten this little anti-Bushy tale from . . . December or January.

"An inquiry has found that an American public relations firm did not violate military policy by paying Iraqi news outlets to print positive articles, military officials said Tuesday. The finding leaves to the Defense Department the decision on whether new rules are needed to govern such activities."

Ah, now it's coming back to me . . .

"After disclosure of the secret effort to plant articles, angry members of Congress summoned Pentagon officials to a closed-door session to explain the program, saying it was not in keeping with democratic principles, and even White House officials voiced deep concern."

We should try planting good news about Iraq in the NYT and forget about the middle eastern media. Better yet, leak it. I read this story on-line, so I have no idea if it was buried in a hard to find section.

2304 PLO mission to Washington and the Muslim Brotherhood distribute this paper

says Alexandra at All Things Beautiful. And well they should. It's a gift from Allah. And Harvard. It's got legs and creds! The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt Working Paper Number:RWP06-011.

“To be sure, the contents of this essay are manna from heaven for all anti-Semites and enemies of the State of Israel. It provides well laid-out arguments and enough seemingly neutral 'facts' to mask once true and utterly irrational convictions as reasonable and scholarly. The left will be defending it on that basis alone, and ridicule any notion of it providing fuel for the anti-Semites' and Islamists' peddling agenda."

She's right (no pun), and I looked at some of the left bloggers she links to who are criticising not its content, but the right wing for taking notice of it and its poor scholarship.

She says: "I welcome this essay because it will lure out the anti-Semites amongst us, who have been waiting for such an excuse to dress their irrational hatred in reasonableness and fake moderation. It is our task to differentiate between those who welcome this opinion to debate the issues and those who pursue their morbid hidden agenda."

It lured at least a few to her comments section.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

2303 Perhaps I should have known

One of the things I enjoyed about being a librarian was that everyday there was something new and exciting to learn. Retirement started to look good when I needed to relearn my job everyday because of evolving technology and therefore could never feel I really had a grasp of anything. Still, with the internet it is a bit like having a mega-million volume library in the attic of my garage. I didn't know that there were jobs for "curators of e-mail," did you? I suppose I should have, because often you read in these high profile legal cases, or even in all the investigations of Katrina mismanagement, that such and so was noted in an e-mail. So someone, an actual person and not just a computer, was tracking and saving things. So, if there are positions to corral e-mail and put them to bed, there must be workshops and conferences, which makes me wonder if Bachelor degrees in e-mail conservation and curation will be far behind?

"The Digital Curation Centre is pleased to announce that it will be delivering a two-day workshop on the long-term curation of e-mail messages. This event will be held in Newcastle on 24-25 April 2006.

The increasing use of e-mail has drastically changed the way that many organisations work. To provide evidential value and to ensure legal compliance, it is essential that traditional record-keeping practices are applied to the management and preservation of e-mails. This often requires a cultural change in organisational practices, which can be exceedingly difficult to implement. In addition, there are a range of technical issues that can impact the long-term viability and re-usability of e-mails. This workshop will investigate some of the organisational, cultural, and technical issues that must be addressed to provide accountability in the short term and to ensure that e-mails can be located, retrieved, accessed, and re-used over time." DCC Events

So, watch what you put in your e-mail. Someone you don't know and never intended for them to read it may be "curating" it for a court case, a tenure review or a divorce case.

2302 The war protests

Yesterday's protests of the anniversary of the start of the war were pretty predictable. Although I don't think the numbers were all that large, even world wide. (I tried several sites looking for information and came up with nothing specific--did anyone show up? If 500 protests were planned and 4 people showed up at each, that would be "thousands," right?) They were organized by people who want to destroy the United States and our booming economy--you know the drill: Socialist this and that, Communist Party aging Yahoos, and the various "justice" coalitions and anti-capitalist groups. I'm sure a few true pacifists, even sincere Christians, got suckered in. But it's an odd coalition they joined. The home-grown anti-Americans and the fundamentalist Muslims working together. The Osama and Michael dog and pony show. American Thinker has a wonderful piece on peace. I noticed it referred to at Cube, since I hadn't made all the rounds yet. He points out that these groups have never been against war when it comes to their own goals. Gosh, how many millions upon millions were imprisoned, tortured and killed under Communism in the USSR and China--forty? Fifty? Does anyone even know? Democide--death by government--is SOP under Communism. Where's the justice in "you play you pay?"

Vasko Kohlmayer writes: "It is understandable why many well-meaning citizens are worried about the course of this war, but they should carefully consider the manner in which they express their concerns. Above all, they should not fall for ploys of domestic radicals who seek to subvert America by limiting the government’s ability to fight the enemy whose consuming goal is our destruction."

Monday, March 20, 2006

2301 What could be this bad?

Conservator posts a bit of Library Journal's John Berry. A reader says, "This is Andy Rooney bad. It's local news bad. This is bachelor uncle raving after his fourth beer bad." Yup.

Monday Memories

Did I ever tell you my favorite story about Serendipity?

In 1993 I was heavy into research on the private library of an Illinois farm family. I knew what was in the library from an estate list because the owners were my grandparents who had died in the 1960s, and they had inherited some of the books of their parents who settled in Illinois from Pennsylvania in the 1850s--with books. However, it required a lot of background material about publishers, what people read and why, the role of religion, what the schools were like, etc.

I was the librarian for the veterinary medicine college at Ohio State University, some distance from the main campus. One day I was in the Main Library for a meeting and made a quick trip into the stacks. I don't know how many books were in the collection in 1993 in that one building (12 floors), but there were 4,000,000 total in the various 20+ locations to serve 50,000 students. Anyway, I went into the stacks to browse shelves--my favorite unorganized way to do research. Although I taught classes on how to do library research (there was no Web in those days and very little was digitized), I never actually used those methods myself.

I saw a book that looked interesting but was out of order and pulled it off the shelf. When I flipped through it, I saw it contained some studies on what farmers read and what books they owned during the 1920's so I took it down stairs to the circulation desk. When the clerk attempted to charge it, the computer refused, and so she looked at the record. It was already charged out--to me! It had been charged out to me since 1991 and I had never seen the book. I had probably noticed the title in a bibliography, found it in the on-line catalog, and charged it out from my office without ever seeing it.

At Ohio State, faculty and staff could charge books out from any library on campus remotely and have them mailed to our office address. Apparently this one went astray and never made it to my office and never had the charge removed. Because I was doing so much research at that time, I probably had 20-30 items on my record. We had a computer command that would renew anything we had that was overdue, so each time I did a batch renewal, I was renewing this book that I’d never seen. I don’t know what the system allows now, but in 1993 you could literally keep a book forever if no one else requested it.

What do you suppose the chances are for picking a mishelved book in a collection of four million volumes and having it already charged out to you--two years ago?

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2299 Ridiculing religion--Hayes quits South Park

Isaac Hayes, voice of Chef on South Park, has quit. Odd, he had no problem ridiculing other religions.

"South Park co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem - and he's cashed plenty of checks - with our show making fun of Christians." Last November, "South Park" targeted the Church of Scientology and its celebrity followers, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, in a top-rated episode called "Trapped in the Closet." In the episode, Stan, one of the show's four mischievous fourth graders, is hailed as a reluctant savior by Scientology leaders, while a cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and won't come out.

Stone told The AP he and co-creator Trey Parker "never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin."

You can watch the South Park Scientology episode here.

2298 I love this gal's name

Tara Parker Pope, the medical/science columnist, had an extensive article in the Wall Street Journal today about the mixed reviews and studies on vitamins--ran through the whole list of maybes, probably nots and NoNo's. Studies are suggesting that these mega doses some are taking may be doing more harm than good. If you eat all the colors, you’ll get most of all you need, or maybe a multi-vitamin. Some disease problems that are helped by A or C, cause other problems by encouraging other conditions like heart or cancer. $7 billion a year business. WSJ is usually a pro-business paper, but when the women write the stories, they often have a very skeptical slant. I love her name. Have written a poem about her.

Tara Parker Pope--
such a lovely name;
sing it, play it,
hang it on a rope.

Tara Parker Pope,
she of Wall Street fame;
read her, write her,
She will help you cope.

2297 I have no use for this on-line calendar

but I loved watching the demo for Airset, and if I were managing a group, and children's activities and my social life, and going crazy doing so, I'd sure give this one a try. I saw it at Joel On Software, a software developer who writes clearly about techie stuff on his blog, most of it over my head. I'll probably stick with Boogie Jack, but peek at Joel once in awhile. Billo gave him the nod.

Is the code for that plug-in that everyone's using to enter links of visitors on MM and TT free? I sure see a lot of people using it. Instead of the blogger entering the code, the reader does it. Saves a lot of time, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

2296 Needs a bit more color

Honda has an ad "Introducing Shannon Banks. The next Chief of Surgery." An attractive African American woman about 19 or 20 is in the operating room "poised to make great contributions to medicine." The ad promotes Honda's "All-Star Challenge and "Battle of the Bands" for HBCU. Story about this and Shannon here.

The anesthetist, surgeon, O.R. nurse and patient in the ad are all white. I think we've made a bit more progress than that in the last 50 years.

Here's a funny minority ad that I've missed, but read about in Business Week. Grupo Gallegos (Hispanic advertising firm) won an award for this one: an Energizer battery ad showing an Hispanic man, with an arm transplanted from a Japanese man. He couldn't stop taking pictures with his new hand.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

2295 I hate to buy shoes

They are all ugly. They are all size B or wider. If they don't have my size (8.5 AA), they bring out 9.5 or 7.5. I hate to shop for shoes. I think I know why everyone I see on the street is wearing clunky, fat athletic shoes. Today I walked into the shoe department at Kaufmann's Department store. The shoes were lovely and beautifully displayed. Be still my heart. I would have bought 10 pair in a minute. I picked up one--think it was an Anne Klein, but not sure--and took it to the help desk (or whatever it is called these days) where two young men stood. "Do you have this in a 8.5 narrow?" "We have no narrows," the American-looking clerk said. (The middle-eastern looking guy with an accent didn't know, or didn't understand.) "None at all--not in any style?" I persisted in disbelief as I looked around at the huge selection. "No. None." All the little old bag ladies you see wandering the malls are probably there looking for shoes.
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2293 Has anyone followed up on this?

Or protested the unfairness of one group making more than another?

"A white woman with a bachelor's degree typically earned nearly $37,800 in 2003, compared with nearly $43,700 for a college-educated Asian woman and $41,100 for a college-educated black woman, according to data being released Monday by the Census Bureau. Hispanic women took home slightly less at $37,600 a year.

The bureau did not say why the differences exist. Economists and sociologists suggest possible factors: the tendency of minority women, especially blacks, to more often hold more than one job or work more than 40 hours a week, and the tendency of black professional women who take time off to have a child to return to the work force sooner than others."

Reported at my blog via AP in March 2005. Story here in USAToday.

I looked, and someone had blogged about it from the left, disagreeing with the stats, natch.

2292 Ladies, take notice

A casually dressed man always looks more business-like in slacks than you do in a pants suit. You won't get to the position you want by dressing like a guy.

And fellows, that bag over your shoulder will always look like a purse, no matter what you choose to call it. If you have something to say, just come out with it.