Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pneumatic Anatomica

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New shared items here.

Make your own lolcat picture here.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

NBC Wants to Give Gravel the Boot

I was dismayed to learn that Political Director Chuck Todd, speaking for NBC, has arbitrrarily set criteria that prevent former Alaska senator Mike Gravel from participating in Democratic candidate debates sponsored by NBC. These criteria are:

  • Sen. Gravel has not campaigned in Iowa and/or New Hampshire at least fourteen times in the past year;

  • Sen. Gravel is not polling at 5%;

  • Sen. Gravel has not raised one million dollars.

In his blog at, the senator disputes the first two claims, asserting for instance that he is level with Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dod and Joe Biden in CNN polling. I wonder if Mr. Todd has also disqualified Rep Kucinich and Sens Dod and Biden on the basis of their poor showings in the polls.

While I do not agree with all his positions and views, nonetheless Mike Gravel speaks for this voter with his opposition to the current war in Iraq and to a projected war against Iran. He speaks for me on other issues as well and is, frankly, a breath of fresh air in the fetted atmosphere which is politics as usual in the United States. However, whatever one may think of his platform, it is vitally important that all Democrats, especially other candidates, pull together to support Sen. Gravel now in the face of the NBC ban. The corporate media, including NBC, has no business shutting him out of public discourse and thereby effectively silencing him.

Please join me in calling for a reversal of NBC's dicision to exclude Sen. Gravel from the Drexel University debate on October 30.

I have e-mailed Chris Matthews ( and Kieth Oberman ( on this matter. Suggestions on who else to contact would be welcome.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007


Heh. Look--the word NASCAR in some sort of unholy union with the words "escargot". That amuses me, so I shall post it before I fall down go night-night.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We "fall back" on November 4

I've heard a number of people today say that this weekend is when we set our clocks back, so as a public service announcement, I thought I'd pass along this reminder:

On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This Act changed the time change dates for Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. Beginning in 2007, DST will begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November. The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress. Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.
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Open Thread

It's still totally dark outside and it's pouring rain. I still need to leave for work in half an hour, so I'd better get moving. But here's a fresh thread.

Oops--quickly updating to add this picture...

20 October 2007, Blogger Bash in Montpelier, Vermont
back: Denise, Anne*from*VT
front: sunlight, listener
wearing "I support the National Nurse" buttons.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

A day at the end of the week to wonder and rejoice

Last weekend, I attended a retreat at Proctor Camp and Conference Center. The theme was Celtic spirituality. One thing our leader said was important to the Celts was a sense of time and seasons--and celebrating these things. While I was at the retreat, I was thinking about how much I need to establish a more sane, more purposeful, and maybe even more reverent relationship with time. But then the retreat ended, I drove home, and an entire week sped by without my even managing to write down some reflections on all of this. So far, not so good.

Actually, though, during the hectic work week, getting adequate sleep is a perfectly valid use of my time. Now that another weekend has arrived, though, I will try to remember and reflect a bit on the retreat.

One of them women who attended said that she knew she needed a retreat precisely because she felt like she didn't have time for it. I can certainly relate to that. But, because I knew I needed a retreat, I started making plans as soon as I found out it was happening. I last attended the women's retreat (with the same leader) three years ago, but that time it was held at a convent near Cincinnati. My car had died on the way there--certainly a less-than-serene way to begin a retreat weekend. So, this time, even though the retreat location was much closer, I decided to take the precaution of renting a car. Initially, my plan was to pick up the car Friday morning, work a full day, and leave for the retreat center straight from work.

As the day approached, I realized that plan was insane. On both Wednesday and Thursday I work a full day, and then teach in the evening. When, exactly, was I going to pack? I decided that, even though I was already splurging on a rental car, I probably did need to take Friday afternoon off, even though it meant missing out on some income.

So, when Friday morning arrived, I told myself that I'd done a reasonably good job of getting my ducks in a row. No, I hadn't packed anything. And I hadn't figured out what I was going to bring as a dish to share at Friday night's potluck. But I was taking off the whole afternoon, for heaven's sake!

The air was thick with free-floating anxiety.

As planned, I left work at lunchtime, stopping at the store to get pet food and to pick up a few sundries I needed for the weekend. Then I spent some time stuck in traffic due to construction. Once I finally arrived home, Demetrius and I needed to head right back out to pick up the rental car. On the way there, we passed a church with a marquis sign that read, "Are you ready to meet your God?" Given that whole free-floating anxiety thing, I was less amused by these words than I might have been at some other time.

Why do you ask that NOW, church sign people, as I prepare to drive out of town alone in an unfamiliar car? Do you know something I don't?

And there's a difference between being prepared, in the sense of having a clean conscience, and being ready. Am I ready? Not so much. I've been looking forward to retreat for some time, thank you.

Oh, and one more thing--while I think I'm cool with my God, I'd just as soon not meet yours. Ever. 'Cause apparently he's the sort of guy who encourages you to put up scary messages in front of your church, and that's not very nice.

When we got to the rental place, we had to wait a good half hour, even though we'd called ahead, so I arrived back home just as Son in Ohio was getting home from school. Somehow this afternoon I had taken off to allow myself plenty of time to get ready was more than half over. I certainly didn't have enough time to go to the grocery store and find something to bring for that night's potluck. I printed out the directions to the conference center and started packing my overnight bag, planning to stop at a grocery store on my way out of town. Which I should be able to do, if traffic wasn't bad.

Um, yeah. Given the way the rest of the day had gone, how likely was that? I stopped anyway, because I really didn't want to show up empty-handed. As I left the store and tried to make my way out of Columbus in Friday rush hour traffic, it was pretty clear that I would be arriving late. So I decided I would just focus on arriving there in one piece, and in a reasonably calm state of mind. I put in a CD and sang along.

Once I was finally on an open stretch of I-71 outside of Columbus, the church sign people accosted my eyes again. Two signs, one right after the other. The first read "If you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?" and the second warned, "HELL IS REAL." Once again, I just had to answer back...

It's not that I'm worried about where I'd end up. It's just that, contrary to what the Klingons have been known to say, today is not a good day to die. Mmm-kay?

I sang along with my Paul Simon CD, "...everybody gets a tongue to speak, And everyone hears an inner voice. A day at the end of the week to wonder and rejoice."

I thought about those words. Things certainly do seem out of balance if I don't take that time to "wonder and rejoice". And just to , and spend time in nature.

And, I ended up doing all of those things during that little retreat that lasted less than 24 hours. But I need to do a better job of weaving them into the fabric of my everyday life.

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