Saturday, August 31, 2002

Tonight's interesting observations:

This article from a British paper notes that the Labour party level of support for Iraqi military action is quite low. Big surprise there. Thankfully, it also points out Don Rumsfield pointing out that we don't need Europe's permission to seek military conflict with Sadaam's regime. Those silly Britons do think rather highly of their military prowess, don't they?

Apparently being an air marshal is not a very rewarding job so far. USA Today reported this afternoon that the air marshals have been resigning in droves. Maybe they are jealous that the new highly-skilled "federal airport security screeners" are getting paid almost as well as they do?

Apparently Jane magazine has a major problem with Lisa Beamer and any other Christian women that inhabit this planet. The fact that Jane is full of liberal nonsense should be no surprise to anyone who has read a women's magazine recently. It really is a shame, because even the least-prissy girls sometimes appreciate the articles such magazines have to offer. Many of us like to escape by reading about fashion, entertainment, and relationships. However, my biggest problem with said magazines is that I cannot flip through their pages without reading articles that promote liberal multicultural agendas, paint pro-life individuals as bigoted monsters, insult all but the most alternative religions, or paint Chelsea Clinton and Karenna Gore Schiff as saints. Closed-minded, faith-hating commentary is de rigeur for such publications over the last 8-10 years. Jane seems to be one of the worst culprits, but I can't think of a magazine that's better. Does anyone have suggestions for a women's magazine that doesn't engage in such practices? I'd like to hear them.

My Trading Spaces obsession has led to a new traffic high this week at illinigirl. Google has picked up on my obsession, and many of my visitors as of late are seeking info on the show. I'll provide what I can. The co-ed special tonight was rather entertaining as Trading Spaces hit two California universities, and new episodes start next week! For all those looking for information on Laurie Hickson-Smith's baby, it can be found in the August 21st entry "Few Random Links". (links not working -- will update asap)

Thursday, August 29, 2002

63 Reasons to Hope and Be Angry

My parents called a few minutes ago and mentioned that I should turn on the end of Primetime Thursday. Tonight's broadcast was titled "Sixty-Three Reasons to Hope: the Babies of 9-11". I only watched the last ten minutes of the special, which was filled with all kinds of mishaps as they tried to accomplish a nearly impossible feat -- a good picture of 63 babies between the ages of three weeks and almost a year. I think they were shooting for an uplifting message throughout the entire special -- how could sixty-three adorable little ones not be? As the special came to an end though, they started playing a video montage set to Lonestar's "I'm Already There".

"A little voice came on the phone and said "Daddy when you coming home?" He said the first thing that came to his mind, I'm already there..."

They mingled pictures of these baby boys and girls together with pictures of their fathers. Firefighters in uniform, excited young men in tuxedos, dads playing with their other kids. The sadness of it all, the enormity of the loss these infants have suffered hit me like a ton of bricks. They are never going to know their fathers beyond their smiles in photos, the stories that their moms and relatives tell. They'll never get to play ball with him, open Christmas presents from him, catch butterflies with him, be walked down the aisle by him.

"Take a look around. I'm the sunshine in your hair. I'm the shadow on the ground. I'm the whisper in the wind, I'm your imaginary friend, and I know I'm in your prayers. Oh I'm already there"

The fact that these children will only know their fathers in an illusory, spiritual context really bothered me. I thought about how much these children have lost and I found myself teary-eyed and angry. I honestly felt contempt for all the 9/11 apologists out there, those individuals who still hold that America did this to itself and we had the attack coming. How can you say these innocent babies had it coming? Can you really say that they deserved to grow up without their fathers? How can you watch such heartbreaking footage and not want to go out, seek those responsible, and do everything within your power to make sure no more American children are needlessly robbed of the chance to know their daddies? I don't mean to dwell on the anger I am feeling here. However, I think this program should be required viewing for Americans this fall, particularly the Blame-it-on-the-US Americans. It's touching and gut-wrenching, and it should remind all of us why we need to keep fighting.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

A little humor since I'm busy working on an assignment tonight...
Entertainment purposes only -- it just gave me a chuckle

Hillary Clinton died and went to heaven. (Hard to believe perhaps, but bear with me here). As she stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, she saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.

Hillary asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie Clock. Every time you lie, the hands on your clock will move."

"Whose clock is that?" Hillary asked, pointing to one.

"That's Mother Teresa's," St. Peter said. "The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Whose clock is that?" asked Hillary, pointing to another.

"That's Abraham Lincoln's clock," St. Peter responded. "The hands have moved only twice, telling us that Honest Abe told only two lies in his entire life."

This fascinates Hillary to no end, so she asked, "Where's Bill's clock?"

St. Peter replied, "Bill's clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it for a ceiling fan."

Monday, August 26, 2002

Television and Morality, Part I
Warning: Rambling, critical, philosophical post about television of all things ahead

E Online points out the Family Research Council has released its annual "best and worst" shows list to help guide parents. Being the media junkie that I am, I always find these lists somewhat interesting. This year I was intrigued that Gilmore Girls, which is one of my favorite shows and pretty family-friendly, was cut out of the list because of the 36 year-old mother's questionable relationships. Let's take a look at what made the cut for the FRC's "best" list this year.

Best: 1. Doc (PAX), 2. Touched by an Angel (CBS), 3. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (WB), 4. 7th Heaven (WB), 5. Baby Bob (CBS), 6. Smallville (WB), 7. Reba (WB), 8. The Ponderosa (PAX), 9. The George Lopez Show (ABC), 10. The Bernie Mac Show (Fox)

Worst: 1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (UPN), 2. Off Centre (WB), 3. Will & Grace (NBC), 4. Friends (NBC), 5. WWE Smackdown! (UPN), 6. Big Brother II (CBS), 7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS), 8. Temptation Island II (Fox), 9. That '70s Show (Fox), 10. Boston Public (Fox)

My first thought about the best list was: obscure. I haven't heard of several such shows, and the rest of the list...well they just don't seem interesting enough to watch. I have no idea of what Doc, Reba, George Lopez show, and The Ponderosa are about. I get bored with Touched by an Angel in five minutes. Baby Bob's ad campaign last spring convinced me it was pretty mindless. The shows on this list that I stand to watch with kids would be Sabrina, Smallville, The Bernie Mac Show, and Seventh Heaven. I am somewhat embarrassed to include Seventh Heaven on that list, as I must admit it's my "junk food" TV. Fun to watch, artificial taste, leaves you feeling kind of empty after spending your time on it. Occasionally it leaves me feeling angry as they infuse it with politically correct attitudes at every opportunity -- such as the show's insistence that Reverend Cam was irrational for being upset that his son was converting to Judaism to please a girl. Alas, that is a post for another day.

The worst list is a mixed bag, IMHO. I would categorize it as full of crass and/or pointless mind pollution (Off Centre, Big Brother II, Temptation Island II, WWE Smackdown), occasionally scary shows with adult subject matter (Buffy, CSI, Boston Public), and programs that don't make a distinction between right and wrong (Will & Grace, Friends, 70s Show). Let us discount the first group -- any parent who doesn't stop children below the age of 14 from watching these programs is just not doing their job. If kids are watching them, I would hope that their parents are watching/discussing such shows with them.

The second group of shows is a bit more complicated. Disclaimer here: I have become a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the past year, occasionally watch Boston Public, and my parents love CSI. Obviously these shows have more adult subject matter. I will agree that Buffy has become more dark and sexual since it moved to the UPN, but it's still basically shows good fighting evil and I think it deals with adult topics in a somewhat thoughtful manner. Boston Public does as well. Although it seems to select topics for timeliness or shock value, its characters regularly seem to struggle with right and wrong, whether they have made the right decisions. Although I am not crazy about the liberal views that its teachers espouse as fact, this may be realistic for a series set at a high school in Boston. The parents' group mentioned that they objected to CSI for its "graphic depictions of ... themes like incest and sadomasochism". I personally think it would be tough to have a show about Crime Scene Investigation and avoid such grisly themes, as they regularly play a role in "real world" crimes.

If I were a parent, I think the shows I would worry about exposing my kids too are the last three on the list -- Will and Grace, Friends, and That 70s Show -- precisely for the reason I mentioned above. Friends and That 70s Show are two of the funniest programs on TV, and I watch them on a regular basis. Sometimes they really bother me though, because they fail to differentiate between right and wrong. I will cut That 70s Show some slack because its pot-smoking and casual sex may have been closer to the norm back in that era. However, the characters on Will & Grace and Friends are some of the biggest pop culture icons out there today. What they do onscreen is just funny to some of us as grown adults, but it's perceived as perceived the norm or cool by millions of younger ones out there. When they fail to point out that Rachel's baby might do better with married parents or that Grace getting married could be a good thing, they do a great disservice to all the kids that perceive these characters as role models.

Perhaps that's not what TV is there for anymore. Maybe it's just entertainment and entertainment alone. Five to ten years down the road when I have children of my own, I'm curious to see how I will handle the situation. I'd like to think that I will shield them from objectionable programs to protect their innocent for the first 10-12 years of their lives, and then that I will be able to watch and discuss the thoughtful, yet adult-themed programs on this list. I'm somewhat overwhelmed by the whole prospect though. If this is the best and worst of television now, what will it look l ike in 20 years? Any guesses?

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Apologies for the lack of real posts today folks. I hesitate to put subpar content/posts out on my site (perfect typo example of why I should not type tired has been removed), so I am forgoing any posts at all this evening. On the bright side, I got a great deal of work done this weekend for my class and my wedding. Therefore, hopefully I will finish some posts I have been working on (on twenty-somethings in church and morality in television) by tomorrow/Thursday. Check back soon!

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Another late night for Illinigirl, another set of abbreviated posts

Life imitates art -- "I'm not that innocent" admits Britney. You're kidding. Really? We never would have guessed.

Jonah Goldberg mocks a Central Illinois teacher in one of his latest columns on why 9/11 should be kept simplistic. I completely disagree with the NEA's presentation of "choice lesson plans" on how to commemorate this day. Why not just put out a few suggestions/guidelines and let teachers commemorate the event as they see fit? Too much work or too much freedom to express ideas that the NEA might not find politically correct enough?

Speaking of Jonah, he's sad that no one is reading his travel blog. I hold this is because few travelers/NRO-readers can relate to long drives through Alaska and northwestern Canada. His Wednesday post on the matter is somewhat funny -- check it out if you're bored.

Mark Steyn has a great column on the opportunity Bush missed after 9/11 to kill the multiculturalist credo that all cultures are equally valid. Compassionate conservatism should have gotten the heave-ho for this issues. I still can't believe that the press makes it sound like a major injustice when we deny visas to countries that finance terrorism and uphold repressive regimes where women cannot leave their homes unattended. I'm sorry -- I cannot shake my belief that not all cultures are equal to others. All modern cultures that seek peace, shun violence whenever possible, and strive to protect their citizens' inalienable rights and various religious practices -- perhaps all those cultures are equal. This does not include all countries though, and we must defend ourselves against the ones who do not think this way. This distinction should have been drawn.

I went to see a sneak preview of Simone this evening. Although a bit slow in spots, it was actually pretty entertaining. It was a delicious satire of Hollywood life and how the media can turn anyone into a phenomenon these days. Pacino was great in it too -- I'd give it 3 stars. Perhaps a longer review this weekend -- falling asleep now.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Few interesting links:

Trading Spaces update! The Central Illinois news media reports that Doug Wilson is normal! Oops, I'm sorry...Doug Wilson was IN Normal last weekend signing autographs. The Champaign-Urbana native was treated to visits from 500 obsessed fans at the local furniture store, all of whom felt obligated to tell him they really liked his fireplace facade in that Seattle episode where the lady sobbed hysterically at the end. (Before you ask, I was NOT one of them -- just because I didn't know about it beforehand). The article also notes that designer Laurie Hickson-Smith gave birth to a bouncy baby boy last Thursday afternoon (8/15/2002), Gibson Witherspoon. Family names, hopefully?

Martha Stewart -- I was feeling sorry for her being investigated for insider trading, but I'm not so much anymore since she started accusing Republicans of dragging up dirt on her sex life. To make the same point many others have -- Martha Stewart having a sex life? Just not something I want to think about. Rush has put out some rather amusing commentary on the situation the last couple days. Today he alleges that the press thought Martha was a Republican because she was a self-made millionaire, didn't portray herself as a victim, and taught women how to keep their homes beautiful. According to the press, the Democratic party members are the ones out there fighting big business, looking out for the "little guy", and taking down corrupt financial big-wigs like Martha. Then why aren't the Democrats investigating her? And why hasn't it been reported that she stepped up her contributions to the numerous Democrats she funded last year? Once again the press is trying to confuse us and obscure the facts. Money talks, both here and with regards to recent revelations that Democrats have taken tons of money from Enron the past few years . Too bad the media doesn't listen.

Apparently some people aren't buying that the newest Apple ads simply showcase satisfied customers who wanted to tell the world how happy they are to have scrapped their PCs. My thought -- who really cares? I'm still not buying one. My personal theory has always been that MacIntoshes are good for graphic designers and people who are too lazy to learn a PC. They just don't seem as powerful, and I cannot stand the software limitations that Macs present. Hope I didn't offend Mac loving masses out there. I think I was turned off to them in high school, as the school computer labs contained Apples that had been obsolete for almost a decade. I love my PC. End of story.

I really want to post on the current debate about Generation Xers problems with the church. See the post that started it (David Heddle at He Lives) and the interesting response posts by Josh Claybourn, Brianna Leone, and Mike Congrove. I particularly like the argument that social activism by the church is desparately needed. If religious organizations still had a zeal for helping the poor, perhaps the poor wouldn't feel that bloated, inefficient government assistance programs were the answers to fixing their unfortunate financial circumstances.

Getting too tired, so I must stop for the night. Apologies in advance for any undetected typos. Goodnight!
I must eat a little bit of crow for Verizon today. One fairly short chat with a nice employee, and the DSL was back. It's been a heck of a week, and I am still getting used to a major schedule change and my return to part-time graduate student life. I'm hoping to add some significant content here tonight though...

Please excuse another bit of blogging about blogging...

Steven Levy's "Living in the Blog-osphere" article on Newsweek's web site is worth a look. He makes some interesting points on different "types" of sites, the microcelebrity that comes along with blogging (being famous and important to 15 or so people), and the privacy concerns that go along with blogging. I've touched on most of these in my previous ponderings on the art of blogging, so I won't rehash it all here.

I did have a few observations about the article though. Levy writes that "Blogging is a social phenomenon, and the Blog-osphere self-organizes into clusters of the like-minded." I don't think the diagram of the blog-osphere is quite that simple. While many of my "daily" sites are run by like minded people, that's not entirely true. For example, many individuals within my diaries links are of the more liberal persuasion. When I stumbled across their sites on the web though, I was either enamored with their general writing style or intrigued by the obvious thought put into some of their posts. I fundamentally disagree with certain bloggers on certain topics (first example that comes to mind is Andrew Sullivan on gay marriage), but I still visit their sites frequently because they make important contributions to the debate. Truthfully, I believe the debate is my favorite part about the blogosphere. Many of the conversations that people are too polite or fearful to have in everyday life seem to occur in the Blog-osphere on a daily basis, free from the repercussions that accompany such discussions in our politically correct schools, workplaces, and communities.

Levy also seems to think that all blogs should be about one particular topic. Some of the examples he lists are blogs about cats, knitting, wireless connections, religion, even The Golden Girls. (Strikes me as odd for some reason). Obviously there are some blogs out there that subscribe to such guidelines, but he ignores the multitude of blogs that don't fit such rigid categories. I think as blogs become more integrated into all of society -- this may change. Face it folks, at the moment the blogosphere is full of the geeks and fanatics. Before we get insulted here, let me say that I'm including myself in this sweeping generalization -- the Blogosphere is full of computer-literate individuals who seriously care about a few given topics. If we didn't, we'd be sitting on our couches watching television instead of surfing the net and posting all night. My personal theory on this is that as blogs become more well known, the subject matter will evolve a bit. I think we already see this in certain "renaissance blogs" that include a variety of posts. Technically I guess illinigirl might fall into that category: a mix of entries about politics, Christianity, entertainment news, celebrities, my personal life, the economy, and Trading Spaces. Did I miss anything there?

Monday, August 19, 2002

Personal ramblings from the library

Greetings to my readers from local public library. My highly-overpriced DSL has not been working for the past 36 hours now, illustrating once again why competition is a good thing. If there were any other telephone companies here that offered an iota of customer service, prices that weren't sky-high, and reliable broadband access, I would switch to them in a heartbeat. Alas, there are none in this area, so I am stuck with extortion from Verizon. The fact that it cost me $30 a month just to have a single no-frills phone line into my home was bad enough. Then I decided that I just couldn't live with a dial-up connection anymore about a year ago. I love my high-speed connection, but my pocketbook regrets it to this day. So anyways...library-controlled internet bites. They have trapped me in a single browser screen, so I can't flick between windows to post links. Therefore, you are encountering a rather personal, stream-of-consciousness post today.

Other than shabby internet luck, it has been a somewhat exciting weekend. I decided to break down and register for a graduate-level web development class at a local university, and I just got out of a syllabus overview. There is something promising and yet overwhelming about the first day of the semester. Part of me is saying, "These topics are really cool. This class could actually be interesting!". Another part of me is full of self-doubt, "This syllabus sure has a lot on it. What if I don't remember how to program after two years away from the grind? Is this going to be too much to handle right now?" Guess I'll find out. I'm a bit nervous, but I think it will probably be better for me to be intellectually challenged and stressed out versus just stressed out.

Other happy personal news for the day: I am almost done buying wedding attire! It is paid for and being altered. Plus my bridesmaid dresses arrived in less than five weeks! Apparently this is a new record, and I'm happy the fates seem to be smiling upon at least this aspect of the wedding. I have been meaning to write a blog entry about the whole wedding planning process for a while. I realize that many readers of this blog are male and would rather have teeth pulled than read about weddings, but I thought it might be interesting for them to get a firsthand perspective from the female side of this whole endeavor. On the other hand, I am not your stereotypical girly-girl. Suffice it to say that I am not wrapped up in planning the flowers, the music, the centerpieces. I really just want them ready to go so I can quit spending time on the details and start worrying about what I see as the important stuff -- ceremony, scriptures, vows, etc. I will save that for another day because I am on the library computer's clock, and I must go politely express my displeasure at a Verizon employee now. Hope to be back up & running soon!

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Just did a post but Blogger ate it up while publishing. Sunday School teacher training starts in T minus 8 hours. Will try to recreate it tomorrow. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Hopefully some real opinion-style blogging will occur this weekend. This week has just royally beaten the stuffing out of me. I do have a couple interesting links for you first though.

Benjamin Kepple's Daily Rant directed me towards some pretty interesting Weekly Standard commentary today, David Brooks' "Patio Man and the Sprawl People"
Weekly Standard also has a
Jeffrey Gedmin web piece on the decline of the German work ethic in "Ich Bin Ein Slacker". The author notes how service at restaurant, retail, and tourist attractions in Berlin has become almost nonexistent. He notes that Germany's world class work ethic has fallen off sharply as socialist principles have become more ingrained within the German psyche. Why should they have to work hard? They're entitled to 5-6 weeks vacation this year and to close retail establishments in early evening so it doesn't interfere with their social lives.
Except for the generous vacation policy, this reminded me quite a bit of my recent service at Walt Disney World. Perhaps they need to lighten up on the socialist principles in the name of redeeming their customer service?

Larry Miller rocks. What a brave man to head off to Israel at such a time. I'm not sure if he's Jewish or protestant, but he's done a heck of a job writing up his flight over Israel for the Weeky Standard here.

That's all folks! See you tomorrow -- serious content will return at my first opportunity.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Somewhat frightening post about the Democratic presidential primaries.

Josh Claybourn has some interesting observations on the "game theory" of dating. Actually, he had these observations about six weeks ago, but I'm just now noticing because of another post. Definitely funny stuff but I definitely think he got the last part right when talking about why arranged marriages couldn't fix all our problems with dating -- "But we value our freedoms too much, and trust our own instincts more than our parents’. Dating is surely a vicious cycle, but when it all comes together and clicks, The Rules go out the window." Been there, done that, and totally agree with you on that last part Josh.

FYI, that Economics of Dating forward hangs proudly in one of my favorite co-workers cubes. So obviously hyper-PC articles on sexual harassment haven't hit Central Illinois yet. Turnabout is fair play though. I think it's time for some women to come up with a clever/witty mathetmatical equation on the cost of boys. Any takers?

Think that's it for tonight folks. See you tomorrow hopefully!
Philosophizing about blogging and getting personal

I have just discovered that Kevin Holtsberry can read my mind. Be afraid folks, be very afraid. In this post on the nature of blogging, he elaborates some of the issues that I have been struggling with the past few weeks. Let me give you the short story here: I'm in my mid-twenties, working ten hour days and hitting the gym 4 days a week, running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get details in place for my wedding in three months (insert funny mental picture of such a chicken here), having a tough time relating to my parents at the moment, finishing premarital counseling with my fiancée, trying to keep in touch with my friends and listen to the many exploits of their lives, maneuvering to get into a graduate course as a student-at-large this semester, and attempting to figure out what/when/where/how/if I want a post-baccaulaureate degree. Stress much? No wonder even Disney World seemed like a nice break from reality. Given all of this, I find it somewhat bothersome that one of the things I am worrying about is whether the quality of my blogging has suffered. Should blogging really have that level of importance in one's life? Are one's priorities out of whack if it does?

At this point, I'm trying to decide which of my "leisure" activities need to be dropped. The pottery class got the boot six months ago, cutting my volleyball league status to substitute, switching to a less rigorous bible study that I can miss occasionally this fall. Cutting out blogging though -- it's not even an option. It gives me a forum for expressing all those conversations that I have with myself in my head all day. I'll hear something on the news, have a strong opinion about it, and want someone to listen to my take on it. That it where readers come in, checking out my blog, hopefully finding yourselves amused and challenged by my perspective. So thanks for reading & let me know if I can do the same for you.

I also especially like Kevin's take on the ethical and moral questions relating to blogging. If you dear readers haven't noticed, I post only at night and on Mondays (i.e. times that I am not working). I have just banned myself from blog-tivities on company time. I am not disciplined enough to keep it to a minimum, and I am not sure I would feel right about it anyways. I already feel guilty about checking Fox News or sending bills from work, and I consider those part of my legally mandated 15-minute breaks during the day. I think I've dodged the bullet on that issue, but I've kept my blog anonymous so far to keep myself safely distanced from potential employers, graduate schools, and the like. Just in case.

As for the personal issues that blogging brings up, let me be the first to admit that my ego does play a part in the blog. I get a kick out of hearing that people relate to what I have written -- partially because I don't have as many everyday-life peers with similar interests as I do in the bloggerworld, and partially because I am still enamored with the idea that I am meant to make a significant difference on this planet. I just haven't figured out how to do so yet. I grapple with the "what should I really be doing with my life?" demons on a day-to-day basis. Lately I've been mulling business school, law school, various types of writing, getting more involved with the local GOP and running for an office, all sorts of things. Even if it doesn't pay like my day job, somehow I feel like blogging is helping me to become a more mature, well-formed, interesting person. In the end, hopefully that will take me somewhere worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

You'll have to excuse the lack of consequential posting so far this week. I think I have bloggers' block. Between getting back in a routine at work, tackling the gym again, resetting my archives tonight, my Internet explorer crashing and burning, phones ringing, and my bed calling, I have not found much motivation to blog. I have all kinds of thoughts all day long at work, but when I write them down they sound silly and not blog-worthy. I've written a couple coherent paragraphs tonight but decided they weren't worthy of posts. Instead, I'm just going to do a quick link run-down. Hopefully it won't take so much out of me tomorrow.

Doing a little catching up on my favorite blogs, and I came across this Mark Byron post on the "Evolution of a Conservative". I think that he hit the nail on the head with this one. Mark spends a bit of time discussing why certain liberals become conservatives. It's a real phenomenon that I've seen with my own eyes. Those who are becoming more conservative come in several different forms. If time and energy permits, I'll publish a little run-down on it tomorrow.

Mark Byron also picks a few front-runners in the 2008 Presidential Race. I like his odds, except I would have put Giuliani much higher. Despite his previous political indiscretions, Giuliani acted liked a true, strong leader when we needed one last fall. I don't think the public will forget that anytime soon. If he wants to run, I think his odds are better than Steve Largent and Rick Santorum.

Anonymity in blogging - a particularly fitting topic for illinigirl to cover, don't you think? Megan McArdle (the no-longer-anonymous Jane Galt) had a good post on this that got me thinking about this. The Amish Tech Support blog had another interesting set of comments on this, but I can't find that to link to tonight. Hopefully I will be able to do so tomorrow and offer my own take on the matter.

Dying of sleepiness here, so you will have to excuse me for the evening now folks. Have a good one!

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Found this article on concealed-carry handgun permits for women to protect themselves from serial killers quite interesting. I salute the governor of Louisiana for urging women to responsibly learn to protect themselves. This seems like a perfect example of why such laws can be useful.

Brothers Judd blog has a rather touching post on Ronald Reagan's worsening condition. I have seen firsthand the devastation that Alzheimers and dementia can cause. I will be keeping the Reagans in my prayers, as well as seeking strength for Charlton Heston as he begins his battle with the disease.

Michael Ledeen had the honor of interviewing Eliah Mored after she survived the Hebrew University homicide bombing almost two weeks ago. Since the attack, she has decided to speak out on behalf of Israel. I wish her luck in this endeavor, in becoming a significant voice within this conflict. She has some interesting, true, and chilling observations such as:

"I see history repeated. It is again considered a crime to be a Jew, just as it was during the thirties and forties. Nobody gives a damn. Just as in the thirties and forties, the rest of the world stands by while Jews are assassinated every day."

"It is only the beginning. The political conflict in Israel is only used as a pretext. The truth is that the aim of fundamentalist Islam is to dominate the world, in every place, no matter who is the population...Muslim Fundamentalism represents a danger for the whole of humanity, wherever there is democracy and freedom."

Apologies for any typos in the above material, because I am getting terribly sleepy and must be off to bed. Finally a fun link via Inner Monologues and whomever she stole it from. What movie symbolism are you?

The Matrix Symbolism: Reluctant Messiah

what movie symbolism are you? find out!

Good to be back...

Just spent about 18 of the last 36 hours in a car with my fiance and future in-laws. It was a surprisingly smooth yet monotonous drive. Aside from Nashville, Atlanta, and a few rolling mountains, there is not much to look at between Orlando and Central Illinois. The important part though is that we have safely returned and had wonderful, somewhat relaxing trip.

The irony in that last statement is that I spent the last eight days running around Walt Disney World. I was quite the Disney freak when I was younger. I believe it was the subject of the first research paper I ever wrote in sixth grade. It was a frequent family vacation spot that I found to be a magical place. With each trip in the past few years, I have noticed more things that either rub me the wrong way or just strike me as interesting. My trips observations are presented in short form below.

1) If Disney is any indication, Americans are not traveling like they used to. Foreigners on the other hand, must be getting a lot of mileage out of a weak American dollar. The parks were fairly empty for August, and it seemed like every other visitor was British or Australian.
2) Perhaps I just haven't been mingling with the masses, but people are RUDE these days. Even Disney can't control the huge numbers of people who happily disregard any and all rules. Smoking is everywhere (not just designated areas), dress codes are blatantly disregarded, lines get jumped constantly.
3) Even Disney's standards seem to have fallen over the past few years. They were either understaffed or lacked the guts to stand up to rude visitors. Additionally, their customer service was abysmal. Even in Walt Disney World, it seems no one believes the customer is always right.
4) Disney = In bed with CNN. One gander at the cable line-up should make it clear that they're in cahoots with the Turner empire. Lots of TNN, TBS, TCM but no Fox News or FX for Buffy reruns. I was in withdrawal.
5) CNN and ABC affiliates may be acceptable, but forget the other empires. In addition to Fox, cross-town rival Nickelodeon was obviously persona-non-grata on the property televisions. Missed my Cosby reruns!
6) In WDW Land, there is no need for the Internet when you're on vacation. Even at the somewhat high-end Wilderness Lodge, online access was nowhere to be found. Discovering an EPCOT computer that let me pull up was one of the bigger adrenaline rushes I had all week.
7) Disney Vacation Club -- After seeing two separate television stations and multiple "information stands" in every park, I definitely get it. Disney sells timeshares!
8) Last but not least -- the Hall of Presidents is not what it used to be. It starts out with a 15 minute film on the "American Experience" that focuses on all the wrongdoings and injustices perpetrated by our founding fathers by allowing slavery, then focuses on the "efforts to right these injustices that continue to this day". Then it let Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush speak brief passages and called it a show.

This bothered my fiancee for some reason. I believe it was more the apologist attitude -- the fact that this show focused on the great wrongdoings committed by our forefathers instead of the things they did well. You know, those little inconsequential details like setting up a democracy that has managed to endure for over two-hundred years. Obviously slavery was a terrible thing, and it is good that our government eventually eliminated it. However, the show basically seemed sanitized and politically-correct in hopes of squelching objections from certain demographic groups that might object to show honoring the institution of the presidency. I know that Disney is a hyper-PC company, so this isn't much of a surprise. Given all the patriotism in our nation at this moment though, we were still somewhat taken aback. We were also surprised the Bill Clinton animatronic figure was about 70 pounds too skinny, but that was just good for a laugh.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Perused the internet this evening but I found very few blog-worthy articles. I did a little site maintenance (i.e. changing my comments window after a couple requests). Since unpacked bags are calling my name and I have to work a half-day tomorrow, I am going to say adios for now. If I can find internet access near my hotel, I may post sporadically over the next week. In the meantime, check out some of the my updated links at right. See you Monday, August 12th at the latest!