Sunday, December 28, 2003

Personal update

So I didn't mean to take an unannounced two-week hiatus from posting. It just sort of happened. All sorts of pre-holiday festivities, then I was feeling under the weather, then I was flitting about the state for five days visiting family. That's the funny thing about getting married and having both sides of your family primarily reside within a two-hour radius. You feel that it's terrible NOT to visit family members around the holidays, so Christmas ends up being five days of family celebrations repeated throughout various corners of the state.

Such prolonged celebrations have provided some wonderful quality time the past few weeks, but they are quite hard on me physically. The TMJ that I had as a thirteen year-old returned last month. I'm finally getting the headaches under control with mouthgards, but that's affected my posting as well.

The final contributor to my recent inactivity? I'm taking the GMAT on Tuesday. It seems I may have finally reached a decision on my post-graduate degree. I am applying to several part-time MBA programs for the fall/winter terms, and I'm leaving my options open in case my husband's job search calls for a move next fall. I still feel like things are a bit too uncertain for my liking, but it feels good to finally be taking some action. I may expand upon this topic a bit further at a later date, but for now...I must study. I am taking a couple days off at the end of the week, so I hope to do some catching up soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A Hopeful Day

"In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq."

Somehow, this feels like a very historic day. It's nowhere near as significant as September 11th -- I doubt it will be written up as the defining moment of a generation. At the same time though, I can't help feeling that it's the end of an era. The first Persian Gulf War started when I was in the seventh grade. If I remember properly, the Operation Desert Storm bombing of Baghdad began right before my thirteenth birthday. I remember all the talk about Sadaam Hussein's weapons arsenals, how he would retaliate against America for the bombings of his bases.

At that time, I wasn't too politically aware. In fact, I think the first Gulf War was what caused me to start paying attention to politics. I suddenly wanted to keep myself informed. Why? I was finally aware there was a madman out there, a man who slaughtered his own people and dreamed of laying down mass destruction on America and its people. The number one thing I wanted my government to do was stop him.

And now? Almost thirteen years later to the day, the shadow that hung over my formative years is gone. We have this turkey in custody. Iraqis are celebrating, our soldiers are celebrating, the world is celebrating. Somehow it's almost fitting that they caught him hiding underground like the weasel we always knew him to be. Somehow it's also appropriate that he was taken alive, and that the people he oppressed for decades will be his judge and jury. It makes me go to bed a bit happier tonight, feeling as if more things are right in this world and peace is one step closer. One less madman on the loose threatening the safety of many. Congratulations to the American military on this one -- congratulations and thanks from the Heartland for a job well done.

(Great Sunday coverage available at: National Review & Instapundit
Brilliant-yet-emotional editorial content: Peggy Noonan at WSJ.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Two random thoughts

Christmas cards -- gotta love them. I love the idea of sending them to catch up with family and friends, and I love getting them in the mail. I don't love all the time it takes to figure out what to write on them. If I had my druthers, I'd take two weeks off before Christmas and get all the gifts/cards properly put together and shipped on time...but I don't. Anyone have a short yet not hokey/contrite saying that they would like to share? Suggestions appreciated.

My boys from Illinois just went down in flames tonight. It became so painful I couldn't watch. Key stat? Dee Brown and Deron Williams scored just seven points between the two of them. I know these guys aren't seniors, but I would have loved to see one of them step up and exhibit some leadership tonight. They can't keep having these lapses and stay in the Top 25 for long. Granted the Big Ten season will be their true test and hopefully they will have settled into the Weber offense by then...but still. Sad night around here.
RIP Senator Simon

Former US Senator Paul Simon died today in Springfield at the age of 75. While I didn't agree with him on many political topics, I must say that I still somehow admired the man. He seemed ethical, intelligent, and polite. I only met him in person once, but he seemed to be genuine and constantly crusading for good causes (if not offering solutions that I liked). PeoriaPundit Bill Dennis has a nice post on his family history with the former senator.

Thursday, December 04, 2003


I haven't posted much yet on the issue of Massachusetts impending judicial fiat of gay marriage. It's a pretty tough issue for me, because while I care about my few friends in serious, long-term homosexual relationships, I still think that gay marriage would be destructive to the institution of marriage as a whole. Civil unions...those might be a necessary part of preserving marriage in my opinion.

Ben however has an excellent post on the problems with federalism and gay marriage. Read that and hopefully I can come up with an intelligent post on the matter sometime soon.
I root for Illinois...and whoever's playing Kansas

For the record, Bobby is entitled to sweat Bill Self just as much as we here in ChambanaLand are entitled to loathe him for backing out on his gentleman's agreement with the university. Kyle is entitled to be impressed by Roy Williams. I am entitled to my irrational attachment to bald guys like James Augustine. It's all an individual's prerogative as an NCAA basketball fan.

However, I did have a bit of commentary on these two ACC-Big10 games this week. I see two main reasons why Illinois lost to UNC Tuesday night: Dee Brown's failure to contribute and the entire lineup's failure to hit free throws. These are not things that I expect to see in a few weeks after Weber whips them into shape.

As for Michigan State, I haven't seen them play much. After watching their total collapse against Duke though, I can't help wondering if the Spartans are a bit overrated. I guess we'll see how they really shape up when Big 10 play starts. Man I love the basketball season!

Monday, December 01, 2003

Why Liberals Hate the President

Good column up over at National Review by Adam Wolfson - "The Liberal Hangover". In that piece, he lists these reasons that liberals hate the president. On a side note except for the "Bush is stupid" argument that I do not buy into, these are many of the reasons why I respect our current president.

He "stole" the 2000 election; he's too Texan, too Christian, just too dumb; he struts and talks like a yokel. Others complain bitterly of his "far-right" policies: His support for a ban on partial-birth abortion, his opposition to human cloning and gay marriage, and his tax cuts and faith-based initiatives. And, of course, there's the war in Iraq — always the war in Iraq...

Almost all modern liberal thought begins with the bedrock assumption that humans are basically good. Within this moral horizon something such as terrorism cannot really exist, except as a manifestation of injustice, or unfairness, or lack of decent social services. Whether knowingly or not Bush has directly challenged this core liberal belief — and for this he is not easily forgiven.

I would like to believe that all people are good at their core, that it's all just a matter of perspective. However I cannot look at the living conditions for women and mass slaughters of religious dissenters in Iraq and believe that good, well-meaning people were at work. They were just purely oppressive, cruel, and evil, in my humble opinion.
The Windy City

I'll be in Chicago most of this week, which means that my computer access will be limited and my posting even moreso. (New pet peeve: hotels that advertise "High-Speed Internet Access!" and then charge an arm and a leg for it.)

If anyone has any must-sample restaurants or tourist traps that can be visited after 5 pm, I would be much obliged for the suggestions. I know this city well enough to know there are always things out there I haven't seen.

Thursday, November 27, 2003


Count me among those who were. When I saw an ABC News Special Report pop up as we were flipping channels after the Macy's parade, my first thought was "Oh no, what happened?" Two years may have passed since September 11th, but that is still the first thing that pops into my mind when I see a news bulletin on TV. Has there been a terrorist attack?

When I saw that President Bush had flown to Iraq to speak to the troops, I was quite impressed. (Drudge has the logistics of the trip for any that are interested). What a great statement of support to give up Thanksgiving with your family and fly into a war zone to address the troops and boost morale. Richard Brookshiser has this appropriate commentary to offer in The Corner:

"How right that he went; how heartened I am that he saw the rightness. Enjoy the moment. Tomorrow, Maureen Dowd will tell us it was a glitzy, glammy secret sideshow; Paul Krugman will explain that it distracted from the good economic numbers, which are really bad economic numbers; Frank Rich will compare it to some old TV shows; John Kerry will say that the troops should have stayed home in the first place, and by the way, he went to Vietnam. Whatever W's limitations with the talkoisie, he does seem to know how to talk to the Armed Forces."

Washington Post has the full text of the speech. Just one more thing for which I am thankful this evening...
Happy Thanksgiving!

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascription's justly due to Him for such singular deliverance's and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. "

-- Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

To name a few

a. Marie Curie, Nancy Reagan, Sally Ride, Billie Jean King, Natalie Portman, Barbara Bush, Linda Chavez, Patricia Heaton, Condi Rice, Jessica Simpson, Oprah, Eleanor Roosevelt, Geraldine Ferraro, Tipper Gore, Norah Jones, Julia Stiles, my grandmother, my mother, my mother-in-law, my sister, my elementary school teachers, my next-door neighbor, and every woman I am proud enough to call a friend

q. Just a smattering of semi-contemporary women that I would names to my (hypothetical) daughter as a role model before Britney Spears.

On second thought, a list of the women that would be recommended after Britney Spears might be shorter.
Ben Kepple, Allison Barnes, and Michelle Malkin offer some excellent two-cents on this role model debate. Perhaps a more interesting question to ponder here: What attributes make a role model? But that is a discussion for another evening...

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Chief endures for now

So I got my knickers in a twist last week, and then the vote was postponed. So the Chief will likely live to dance another fall at least...

As some of you perhaps have seen in the Comments section below, The Squire had quite a bit to say about the Chief. He's a student, and he is entitled to his opinion -- offering them in a couple differents comments on the post below. However, I'm an Illinois taxpayer that supports this I think I'm also entitled to my two cents on the matter.

I beg to differ with the idea that the Chief is a racist symbol...on several different accounts. Account one: my husband and my Illini-alum brother-in-law are descendants of the Fox tribe. Not enough that you would know it if you passed them on the street but enough that they can check Native American on the census. They are also the two biggest Chief supporters I know. The fact that they are going to lose this mascot is burning them up. When this vote is held in July, I have been warned that they will be protesting on the quad, holding up signs that read "Fox Nation for Illiniwek".

Account two: While growing up in this area, I had a friend or two who took place in Native American dance competitions. Details may have been different between their competitions and the Three-In-One, but the overall effect was the same: honor shown for the traditions of the group and respect exhibited for their dancing.

Perhaps the best commentary I have read on the subject comes from Liam over at Hey Listen. Liam offers up a rather rambling post here, but it has several humorous digressions and I say read the whole thing. It offers up two valuable links as to the history of the chief: that from Honor the Chief and that from Retire the Chief. He also offers up a reason by which he might support the Chief's retirement:
"My barber the other day mentioned it to me, asking what I thought of the Chief. I said what I said here, I think the halftime show is cool, but if he's gone I'll survive." She(!) said that maybe it's just important to "the townies," a generally derogatory term that I assume she was applying on purpose. It made me want to support her cause, and so I would if it went to a vote of the student body. Wouldn't it just piss off the anti-Chief crowd if the issue were settled democratically, with the student body, drunk football fans and all, voting on the issue, instead of the "Right People," the Rod appointed trustees making the decision for all us hayseeds."

To this point, I must agree with Liam and dispute the Squire's comment that HotRod is staying out of this one. He's not out of it. He appointed four trustees to the board in the months since he took office. Illiniwek was supported by 10 of 12 trustees in March 2001. The fact that Frances Carroll thought she had the votes to pass this measure indicates that either votes changed or every one of Rod's four appointees would be voting for this measure. In that respect, I must argue that he is not representing the views of his constituents well with his choices for the board, as I (editorially) believe a majority of the Illinois populace supports the mascot. As the Herald & Review argues in an editorial today, if the trustees are going to be appointed by the governor, "it's the governor we should blame if we disagree with the board's decisions."

The Illinois Leader offers up a perhaps-unbalanced but informative article on the issue. In this article U of I alum and State Rep. Chapin Rose is quoted as saying, "When you're that little, you don't know who is winning the ballgames, you go to see the Chief".

I'd like to take Chapin's comment a bit further. When Illinois football is terrible (like this year), you don't go to watch who is winning , you go to see the Chief. Here's to hoping I have a reason to go to the games next year, one way or the other.

FYI: I also thought I should probably clear this up -- mentioned it before but it's been a while. Despite my blog's name, I am not and have never been a student at the University of Illinois. I was born, was raised, and still reside in the figurative shadow of the university. Therefore, I grew up attending Illini games and still bleed orange and blue. (Might as well since I attended a liberal arts college instead of a Big Ten institution). While I love most of what Chambana has to offer, I sense that the nonsense quotient might have driven me crazy.

Also for the record, I didn't work for Pat O'Malley's campaign for governor. I think that was Aakash and Former Miss America Erika Harold. I appreciate being confused with her though :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Rod!'s Out to Get the Chief?

I am not happy about this rumor. Downstate can deal with you shunning the Governor's mansion but Rod? If your new University of Illinois trustees manage to take away our honorable mascot Chief Illiniwek, I predict there will be serious political repercussions. Just something to think about.
Thanks and reflection

I was looking for a few fitting articles to post in honor of Veterans' Day. Although it's a too-seldom observed holiday at this point, I thought I would take a minute to thank all the men and women who have served to protect my freedom, our freedom as a nation. Here's what I found:

Freedom Fighters by Ralph Peters
A Day for All Our Veterans, Newsworthy or Not by L.H. Burrus
Don't Quit as We Did in Vietnam by David Gelernter
A Mother's Salute by Julie McPhillips

(On a personal note, these veterans include my dad's service in the reserves and my grandfather's service on the Western Front in WWII. A girl can be a little bit proud, can't she?)
Back to normal?

I'm still getting back in the swing of things...slowly but surely. After my first pool workout in three weeks, I passed out on the couch at 8:40 last night. Given that extreme exhaustion, I took tonight off physically.

Mentally, well that's another story. I'm working on a new project. Let's just say the writing I attempted to do tonight was nowhere near as much fun as blogging. Details to follow at a later date.

Sunday, November 09, 2003


Does anyone else feel like the Midwest skipped fall this year? One day we are enjoying a 75F Halloween, and the next the mercury cannot break 50 F.

I know that's just how the seasons change. But this year it seems a bit ridiculous. No nippy afternoons spent raking leaves with a nice mug of cider to warm you up. We went straight to bitter cold and arctic winds, burrowing under the covers and/or hiding inside a warm mall. Or at least that's how everyone in the Midwest seems to be dealing with the cold spell so far. I did find some adorable Nine West boots at the mall this afternoon so I guess winter is not ALL bad after all.

Serious posting to resume soon.
Call it "Raised by French Poodles"?

Jessica Simpson just inked a deal to develop a sitcom for ABC. Ben Kepple, eat your heart out.

She may be vapid, but I'm pulling for her. She may be vapid, but at least Hollywood hasn't turned her into this. And Newlyweds is funnier than any ABC sitcom I have seen recently...
Rod update!

While I have been away, our dear governor has been busy. You've all probably heard that Rod is trying to buy prescription drugs from Canada. Now I'm all for saving money, but if drugs from out-of-the-country are safe . . . why are we wasting all kinds of money on FDA regulation in the first place? It appears I am not the only one thinking along these lines, as an FDA statement Friday suggested savings from Blago's plan would be much less than projected and might put patients' health at risk.

While that may be an interesting question, it's the economic implications of this scheme that have Canadian druggists upset. It seems that the law of supply and demand is at work here -- more Americans in the market means fewer and more expensive drugs for Canadians.

Since it seems that blaming the Food and Drug administration may not work out, Rod decided to go look for another scapegoat this week. Rod has decided that the IL General Assembly is spending like a bunch of drunken sailors. Now generally I might agree with this assessment, but it is just the latest party responsible for thwarting Rod's efforts. Today's Peoria Journal Star editorial summed it up effectively:

"We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Blagojevich needs a villain in order to govern. It may be former Gov. George Ryan. It may be former Ryan employees. Until this week, the target was the Food and Drug Administration, which bans importation of cheap Canadian drugs. Last spring it was the General Assembly, and now that lawmakers have returned to Springfield for the veto session, the General Assembly is the villain again. Not individual lawmakers, but the institution."

So now the scapegoat is the Illinois legislature, because the state budget is not balancing out the way our governor had planned. Here's an excerpt from a Springfield State Journal Register article on the topic:

"While the severity of the situation is debatable, the commission report isn't good news for the Blagojevich administration, which earlier this week conceded it no longer assumes it will be able to sell a 10th riverboat casino license for $350 million. When the budget was put together last spring, officials were counting on that sale."

The whole thing is kind of ironic if you think about it, because single-handedly the governor basically destroyed riverboat gambling in the state last summer, when he led the crusade to increase fees/taxes on all the boats. In my mind though, it makes perfect sense. That's Hot Rod. It's typical Rod. Biting the hand that feeds him...and then naively expecting it to keep feeding him.

Speaking of that hand, the editorial also points out that Rod may be too busy with his daily commute to Chicago to fully commit to governing. Illinois taxpayers are still maintaining the governor's mansion. Why is that we're running a daily commuter shuttle from Chicago to downstate as well? Suggestion for Rod: either move to Springfield or pony up for those daily round-trip flights for you and your staff. Now THAT might make a dent in the budget.

Thanks to A New Can of Worms and Random Act of Kindness for a few link leads.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

why i dig zell

Reason #1: Honesty
Reason #2: Integrity

I honestly don't give a fig whether he switches parties, since his retirement from the Senate is imminent. But I'd be interested in knowing what the odds are in Vegas this week.

(Thanks to Spoons for the heads-up on the memo).

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Things I learned last week

  • DC traffic is WORSE than Chicago traffic. I didn't think it was possible.
  • Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia will not get you ANYWHERE quickly. HOV lanes or no HOV lanes.
  • Western Virginia is quite beautiful in the fall.
  • Rental car upgrades are totally worth it when planning to drive 3-5 hours through mountainous countryside. A sputtering 4-cylinder Dodge Neon doesn't cut it.
  • Monticello is a worthwhile tourist trap. I really enjoyed my time there.
  • The scenic route is sometimes worth it. Keswick - where Ben Domenech's wedding reception was? Gorgeous.
  • Baltimore has a pretty neat harbor and some great Italian food. Not so much else.
  • O'Hare + flying Sunday evening + rain = Thousands of cranky tourists / businessmen = Quite the adventure!
  • Traveling makes me TIRED. May take a couple days off to recover here. Thanks for your patience in checking back, as my posting has been of a less than desirable frequency lately.

Friday, October 24, 2003

End of an era

Reading about today's retirement of the Concorde makes me a bit sad. Safety comes first, but I always wanted to give it a try. RIP supersonic airliner.

Whether or not the memo was intentionally leaked, I just really like Donald Rumsfeld. His memo questioning the war? I'm glad to see confirmation out there that someone in this adminstration IS asking the important questions. I'm kind of surprised that the press is even reporting this memo, as they seem to regularly assert that the Bush administration is just war-hungry and blindly fighting their hearts out.

I don't think it's the beginning of the end for him (as the MSNBC article wants to assert). I think it's a breath of fresh air, and it may lead to a more thorough examination of what the American people want us to do in Iraq and what we MUST do. Here's to hoping that we can find a nice compromise of those two.
Supporting Bartman

I love the Cubs as much as the next guy. I'm still a bit heartbroken about their loss. But I agree with Rick Sutcliffe and everyone else on one fact: the reason the Cubs are not in the World Series is not Steve Bartman.

The reason the Cubs are not in the World Series was their total loss of focus, their mental collapse if you will in Games 6 and 7. Yes, game 6 was going fine up until that cursed foul ball. However, it was Moises Alou's angry reaction, always-calm Prior getting hysterical on the mound, the wild pitch, the Alex Gonzalez error on the double play ball...that was what led to the Cubs losing the NLCS. It was a wholehearted mental and emotional collapse that could still be felt during Game 7.

In the past few weeks, Steve Bartman has definitely had more than his 15 minutes of fame. He was parodied on Saturday Night Live, he's been offered interviews from all sorts of people, he's been talked about from New York to San Antonio to LA. He's spent the past few weeks in seclusion, reportedly depressed and trying to hide from all the threats and harassment that have been thrown his way.

He came out with a final statement on the incident today -- refusing all interviews about the incident and donating any gifts pitched his way to the Chicago chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in the name of Ron Santo.

While the picture I had posted last week was a tad funny, what has occurred in the resulting days is not. After reading his last statement, I've decided to remove the image from my site. Steve Bartman has proven himself a class act. I hope everyone starts to leave him alone now - starting with me. It sounds like he just wants his life back. Who can blame him for that?
No place like home

Sorry for the long lapse here. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I am going on a couple business trips for work this month. Couple that with the fact that I won't use my work computer for personal business...and I was up a creek for internet access last week. Not to the Hilton chain: listing a public business center as a seemingly-free hotel amenity and then charging your guest 50 cents a minute for access? Not cool.

Texas was pretty cool though. My husband was able to accompany me on this first trip, so we mixed business with pleasure and spent the weekend in San Antonio. Pretty fabulous town -- we had a lot of fun and good food down on the Riverwalk. (Dinner at Boudro's and a visit to Howl at the Moon piano bar are musts if you are in the area.) Then it was off to Austin for a seminar. It's an impressive town -- constantly growing, some pretty interesting nightlife. The highway system down in Texas leaves a bit to be desired though -- I was happy to leave the goofy highway exits and crazy pickup trucks behind. Back to Illinois for a couple BUSY days at work as I am leaving Sunday night for another business trip to Virginia.

Let's just say the glamorous, jet-setting lifestyle of an executive? I don't think I could maintain it. I'm beat. I've been struggling to keep my eyes open past 8 pm. I wouldn't be posting tonight if I hadn't snuck in a half-hour nap earlier this evening. I haven't seriously exercised in a week, and my muscles are doing all sorts of goofy things.

Overall though, I really do enjoy traveling. I like getting out there and seeing the world, reminding myself that people live their lives in different ways. Not necessarily better or worse ways...just different. After a few days though, I look forward to coming home. For all the complaining I may do on a regular basis, I really do love my life here. I'm blessed, and I'm going to try to remind myself of this fact on a regular basis.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

no joy in mudville

It seems the mighty Cubbies have struck out. A 3-1 series lead has turned into a heartbreaking defeat. I doubt anyone in the Midwest is more unhappy about this situation than Steve Bartman, who may have to enter the federal Witness Protection program at the rate things are going.

You know the drill. Say it with me fellow Cub fans: There's always next year. :( Now I just have to convince my husband.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Other stuff

I'm working on a post about the Rush situation, but I couldn't get my thoughts to flow well tonight. My perfectionist tendencies are getting the best of me, and I have scrapped it for the time being.

I have poked a little fun at Jessica Simpson about Newlyweds, but this article on MSNBC that questions whether she was raised by French poodles just seems mean-spirited. Yes she says stupid things and is a bit spoiled, but at least she has her head on straight. She's come through teen stardom fairly well and seemingly stood by her morals and remained close to her family. I really do respect the fact that she was such a proud advocate of waiting until the wedding night for sex. (Although it would be nice to see a famous male with that same enthusiasm at some point). Despite all the dippiness, I would hold her up to my daughter as a role model in that respect. That's definitely worth something.

As this FoxNews article notes, men's jewelry-buying duties are not over after the wedding! Push presents are de rigeur here in Central Illinois. I know several women who have received them lately -- one even pushing up the baby's arrival by a few days to land a certain birthstone. This article makes it sound a bit crass, but guys? If your wife is going to be incredibly uncomfortable for six to eight months of her life and endure several hours of agonizing labor...if you can afford it, is a small remembrance too much to ask? My advice to you -- don't even argue about this one. Buy her something meaningful before it even becomes an issue.

Friends from Michigan were in town for the weekend, so we journeyed over to Champaign for the Illinois - Michigan State game. It was a gorgeous afternoon for least if you weren't part of the Illinois defense. It was a painful game to watch for the Illini Nation, but I must admit Michigan State looked good. Except for Sparty's dancing which I think was still outclassed by Chief Illiniwek's Three-in-One.

Administrative note: As of next Friday, posting may be even more sporadic than usual for two weeks. I'm going on a couple trips for work, and squeezing in a little time with seldom-seen family and friends as well. One week I'll be in the great republic of Texas, home for a couple days, and then it's off to northern Virginia. I am going to be a BUSY girl, but if I can find a public computer, I will make a concerted effort to post.
A few days off...

And the world has changed. Arnold -- goodbye
Terminator, hello Governator. Rush -- goodbye radio, hello rehab. Da Cubs -- goodbye post-season collapse, hello World Series?

Even though only three teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit, last night's defeat by the Marlin's proved it's a bit too soon to get cocky. (Speaking of which -- Josh Beckett pitched great last night but what a cocky little punk!)

Cubs fans don't want to talk about this series for fear of jinxing it, but it's almost like we can't stop talking about it. That just goes to show how long it's been since this area had a professional sports team to get excited about.

Even the people who ignored baseball all summer have caught "Cubbie fever". I heard more talk about Sunday afternoon's game than last night's episode of Alias at work this morning. My friends from western Michigan report that their co-workers have been bleary-eyed the past week from staying up to watch Chicago. The entire Great Lakes region waits with baited breath to see if Marvelous Mark will pull it off tomorrow night.

My guess? If I was in Vegas, I'd be laying down 2-1 odds. Who would really want to bet against Prior AND Wood at this point? It looks like the Red Sox may even up their series tonight. A Cubs - Red Sox series? The world just may be poised on the brink of Armageddon, but Illinois is loving it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


Not much to say this evening. Looks like the Cubbos are going to win handily this evening. That's good news, because everyone at work stayed up far too late to watch them lose a heartbreaker last night. The office was full of groucy gusses today. Lack of sleep and far too much exercise have me BEAT. I was going to post a short run-down of links here, but my eyelids started drooping before the fourth sentence of this paragraph. I'll try to come up with some good material tomorrow & see you then.

Monday, October 06, 2003

more on the cubbies

Jason has up an interesting post that references an article on what Cub fans can teach us about perseverance. Not mention blind faith. My husband's already lamenting the fact that our upcoming anniversary trip will put us far from Chicago during the World Series. (Note: You can also keep up on the latest news at Jason's Cubs blog, The Clark & Addison Chronicle)

Apparently, Chicago wasn't the only place celebrating last night. McLean County Sheriff's Department and Normal police performed crowd control as 3,000 Illinois State students spilled out of their dorms shortly after the Cubs won in Atlanta. Blocked traffic on major thoroughfares and knocked down goalposts. What do goalposts have to do with the Cubs? Wish I knew.

Three good op-eds from the Chicago Sun-Times:
Greg Couch, "Cubs players finally catching up to their fans' commitment"
Mike Kiley, "When you pray for the Cubbies, start with Santo"
Jay Mariotti, "Forget history, these Cubs are winners".

Bring it on, Marlins.
thoughts on arnold

For the past couple days, I have been mulling over what to say about the recent Arnold controversy. As you may totally recall from an earlier post (yuk yuk), the only comments I have really made about the recall are that I think it should happen and this circus should be fun to watch. I have been somewhat silent on the subject of my preferences. The fact is -- if I lived in California, I'm not certain who I would be voting for tomorrow. I would be voting for the recall, but when it came down to punching the chad for governor...I would still be up for grabs at the last moment.

As for Arnold's boorish behavior, I do believe that some of it happened. Do I believe it's just an incredible coincidence that a few anonymous women started recounting some incredibly detailed stories just four days before the election? Not bloody likely. (Bush DUI story anyone?). It's dirty politics plain and simple. Don't even get me started on the Hitler comments -- I don't even consider such an out-of-context smear tactic worth discussion.

It really does bothers me when men treat disrespect women on a regular basis. One overly-friendly display of affection that wasn't entirely welcome? It can happen. An offcolor comment? Not a big deal -- pretty much everyone has said something boorish/sexist at one time or another. However if some guy continues to act this way on a regular basis, am I going to reward him with my friendship and/or support? Highly unlikely. The question then becomes does Schwarzenegger find this sort of behavior appropriate NOW and how would he conduct himself in office? He may stand up for the cameras and claim this is all in the past, but I am not entirely convinced that it's not good acting.

It's been noted in many blog-arenas that we really have Bill Clinton to thank for Schwarzenegger's candidacy. Clinton was the original inspiration for the rationalization: it's not the candidate's personal life that matters, it's the job that the candidate does while in office. If it hadn't been for Clinton, do I think that Arnold would stand a chance tomorrow? Not really. But can we really vote for someone's character/conscience in this day in age -- when the media can dig up a skeleton from almost everyone's closet?

So if I had to pull the lever tomorrow, who would I choose? My principles align more with those of McClintock. I think he did a solid, respectable job in the debates, but I also find his stubborn streak and his willingness to send Gray/Cruz back to the Statehouse very unappealing. (I also think it hurts his chances for a Senate bid later on, but that is a post for another day.)

In an extremely-lefty state like California, conservatives have to take what they can get. Arnold is closest-to-conservative candidate that seems to have a snowball's chance of winning tomorrow. In order to elect someone that would make policies to improve my state's economy. I would probably have to hold my nose and vote Schwarzenegger.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Holy Cow

5-1 -- Cubs win, Cubs win, Cubs win! History was made on FOX tonight, as the Cubs won their first postseason series in ninety-five years. WGN broke in with live coverage as soon as the game was over, if that gives you any idea what an occasion this is. Oh to be in Wrigleyville tonight!

Way to go Cubbies and a special hearty congratulations to Kerry Wood. The fireworks are still going off in my neck of the woods (over two hours south of Chicago). Next year may be here!

Friday, October 03, 2003


This week Kerry Wood and Mark Prior have provided me with an opportunity to witness an event that has not occurred in the first quarter-century of my life: the Cubs leading in a playoff series. They have been gut-wrenching games to watch but the drive and spirit shown by the Cubs kept me glued to the TV. Mark Prior's 132-pitch complete game this evening was quite an impressive achievement for the poised twenty-three year old.

A close associate from work (who ironically enough is a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan) is lucky enough enough to be taking in her first game at Wrigley Field tomorrow. Here's to hoping that she gets to witness history in the making as Chicago clinches a berth in the NL Championships.

Regardless, this year the Cubbies have proven that they are a more than just a post-season joke. They can be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. Here's to hoping this is the first of many such seasons at Wrigley under an impressive Baker regime.

Monday, September 29, 2003

what's going on

I apologize for not posting so regularly lately. Basically to be blunt about it, I am just lacking inspiration. I have already written about all the political topics that I am inspired to post about (California recall, my takes on the war in Iraq, Democratic candidates, HotRod! being ridiculous). I know I have overdone TV and pop culture lately, but I guess that happens. Particularly when I am overly- tired from exercise/physical therapy or half-sick from fall allergies, it's much more difficult to jump off the couch and do something productive when I get home. It's easy to lay around on the couch and watch TV.

I do have one major blessing to report though -- the treatments appear to be working on my calf. Although my running mileage is not very high yet, the leg so-far seems pain-free. I want to thank fellow bloggers/readers for all the prayers and well-wishes that have been sent my way. There have also been some interesting work demands as I have been preparing for a couple out-of-state trips, a potential graduate school opportunity requiring attention, and a bit of social life to boot. All good things, but they take time away from blogging. I'll post as I'm able and inspired, but the idea well has been pretty dry lately. Any comments/suggestions are welcome and much appreciated.
next year is here?

Regular readers know that part of the reason this blog is named Illinigirl is that I like sports. Not playing them so much as watching them, but I am a huge fan of Chicago / Illinois collegiate and professional teams. Overall the sports scene in Illinois has been quite dreary so far this fall. The only win Illini football has been able to eke out was against Illinois State. The Bears seem hellbent on not winning a game until October or November, not to mention the fact that Soldier Field looks like a sea-green spaceship. The White Sox petered out in early September, ruining any chances for a subway series. (An El series in Chicago, I suppose?)

Who has come through this fall? Who persevered throughout a variety of setbacks and played good, steady ball throughout September? Who is now giving Illinois sports fans something to cheer about? Da Cubs -- as da loveable losers from the North Side are heading to the playoffs.

Saturday was a pretty exciting day for Cub fans. Midway through the back-to-back doubleheader after the Milwaukee-Houston score was posted as final, Wrigley Field erupted as the fans suddenly realized that the playoff berth could be clinched that afternoon, in their presence. We were listening to the game in the car at this point, and the excitement was palpable even over the radio. It was pretty neat to see that old charming ballpark full of such excitement and, once the game was won, exuberance. A friends at work was lucky enough to have a ticket and says he feels like he saw history being made. I can't remember the last time I saw that kind of celebrating on the North Side. (Perhaps the last time the Cubs won a pennant -- when I was a gawky fifth grader, not a twenty-five year old married woman.)

As to whether the Cubs have a chance, we will have to wait and see. Regardless of all this, they have the heart. There were plenty of times this season they could have given up or lost their faith. Losing key players like Corey Patterson and Hee Seop Choi could be enough to get any squad down. Instead they took the hand they were dealt and made the best of it.

New go-to guys like Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek emerged. It should be noted that Karros has been videotaping Cubs games since late August. He'd like to make a film about playing baseball in Chicago, but he's also publicly said that he thinks there's something special about this team. He thinks every major leaguer should have a chance to play one year with the Cubs. That's my kind of visiting talent!

Hopefully, this season is just the beginning of great things for this team. Regardless of what happens in the playoffs, thanks for the memories, Dusty and company. Win or lose, Cub fans will realize that there's always next year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

What About Bob?

Why don't we ask "What has Bachelor Bob Guinney gotten himself into? I just finished watching the season premiere, and it was full of hijinks the likes of which have not been seen on reality TV before. Simply put, Bob is a celebrity now. You would have thought these women were meeting Tom Cruise, that's how excited they were. As Bob himself put it, he expected them to be excited when we walked into the room but "they were going bananas in there!"

ABC managed to pick about a dozen beautiful yet outrageously cocky women and mix them in with about a dozen beautiful yet respectable types. All of them 100% certain that Bob Guinney was the man for them. If you thought the Bachelorette was humiliating, wait until you how manipulative these women are willing to be as they try to "win" this man.

It made for some rather intriguing TV though, especially when ABC's mystery guest proved to be Bob's mom instead of Trista Rehn. She was able to offer her advice and Bob seemed to listen. He picked a couple of my favorites, Darla, Karin, and Lee-Ann. Now do they have a chance? Who knows. He dropped a couple of my favorites last night as well, Julie, Shae, and Christine.

As they showed the previews for the rest of the season, it seemed quite high on the drama. Reality dating may be good for the ratings, but it seems like a really unpleasant way to choose a spouse. As the preview rolled on, Bob seemed to become more disconcerted about "how hard this was going to be". (Not surprisingly as the previews featured an ambulance showing up to pick up one of the women after what appeared to be a suicide attempt. Note to ABC: if you are running misleading promos about something this serious, I may not be able to watch ANY shows on your network anymore.)

The seaon previews also ran clips of Bob kissing one woman. Bob kissing the next woman. Then another, then another, then another. As my husband remarked, "I don't think I have kissed that many women in my entire life". He's definitely taking full advantage of the opportunities placed in front of him.

So I guess the point of my rambling? Funny guy Bob is far from perfect. Sure he's entertaining, but this great guy personae that he had established for himself? I think it's may become sullied rather quickly. He's just like any other guy -- he has his faults. Last night he proved that he's a sucker for beautiful women, even the ones that are somewhat aggressive and obnoxious. That's probably why he didn't want to do this show in the first place. Perhaps Oprah isn't meant to be a career counselor? This whole mess just makes me terribly glad that I'm not single anymore -- if these are the lengths that women must resort to in order to meet a decent guy.

Edited: 9/25 AM for typos and omissions that an extremely tired IG made last night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Media hampering the military efforts?

I went to get a haircut over my lunch hour, and I ended up listening to a rather interesting passage on Rush. Congressman Jim Marshall (D-GA) recently came back from a trip to Iraq. He seemed shocked and amazed at how well things were going over there, given what he had heard in news as of late. He wrote a piece in the Atlanta paper ascertaining that the overly negative media coverage is hurting our success in Iraq.

I have to agree with him -- the doom-and-gloom reports I hear on the major news networks majorly conflict with the uplifting accounts gathered from Iraqi Internet correspondents recently. I would like to think that his article might prompt people to think, to change something. I doubt it will though. I think this is part of the media's approach -- do whatever possible to make the war in Iraq look like a failure, make Bush's approval ratings fall, help open up the field for 2004. I am not sure they realize that by doing so, we may be encouraging terrorists to perpetrate more guerrilla attacks, sacrifice the lives of American soldiers, and jeopardizing our future national security. If we don't question this approach, this will continue to be the standard in the future.

I don't think very many journalists purposefully plan to operate in such a manner, but I think deep-down many of them are subtly complying with this approach. Perhaps liberals are just more pessimistic in general when it comes to matters of national defense? (I.E. it's our turn to just lie down and take our lumps) I don't know the answer, but it's an interesting question to ponder.

Very tired girl here. I am trying to step back up my running, as I start physical therapy for my leg tomorrow and they want it back "under stress". Just a few quick notes:

I don't love the content on MSNBC, but it's quickly becoming my favorite news website. No registration, quite a bit of quantity (if not quality), and the site is well-organized and easy to use. With FoxNews, they are also seem to be emerging as leaders at incorporating the blogosphere into the web news world. Television Without Pity's Sarah Bunting's review of the Emmy broadcast was exceptional. It pointed out what worked/didn't and noted that Six Feet Under and Sex and the City were overlooked for much less-creative shows that have already "Jumped the Shark". It's worth a read.

By now, quite a few people have commented on Jessica Simpson's "Chicken by the sea" confusion. Tonight on Newlyweds -- an encore performance, as Jessica turns down some tasty-looking wings because she doesn't understand the difference between chicken and buffalo! Newlyweds may well be one of the funnier reality shows out there. As my husband likes to put it, it's like she's a female version of Ozzy.

Good sense prevails -- the California recall election is back on. As for the nudie pictures of Arnold that are rumored over at Drudge, so what? Perhaps the Clintons lowered my standards, but it's not like we haven't had American politicans who have done worse. If we threw out the leadership skills of every American that had made a mistake, what would we be left with? My libertarian tendencies showing through, I guess.

Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone recovering from Isabel. Jennifer Graham's Richmond hurricane diary on NRO helped put it in perspective for me a bit. Even with a mild hurricane, things are still pretty rough out there.

Eyelids drooping...gotta go for now. Back as time allows.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Ramblings on Ritter

As I have mentioned on the blog before, my husband and I watch a lot of TV. Perhaps too much, as I was reminded yet again last week when I checked out an article at MSNBC. The Five Best TV Shows You Aren't Watching? I'm already watching three-and-a-half of them.

Regardless, one of the few shows we were looking forward to watching in the fall was 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Within a couple episodes last fall, we were hooked. It's fairly standard sitcom fare, but they had clever writers that definitely "got" teenagers. The dialog was never too cloying but generally funny, and it did so without resulting to gross-out or explicit humor that is everywhere on primetime these days. John Ritter pulled off the dialog brilliantly and even managed to make some of the more formulaic, Bob-Sagety scenes touching. It was a sweet, innocent, fun hour of TV.

One of my favorite aspects of the show was seeing Larry Miller. As the more conservative blog-types here might know, Miller is a Hollywood actor who writes regularly for the Weekly Standard. His tribute to Ritter was published at the site today. Ritter seems to be as nice a guy off-screen as his characters were on-screen.

I was in-utero when Three's Company began and in kindergarten when it ended. I watched him guest-star on Buffy and thought he did a great job in a dramatic turn as Ben's dad on Felicity. I'm not certain why his death has affected me so much though. I'm guessing it's because he reminds me of my father -- roughly the same age, love to make people laugh, all-around decent guys. They make your world a bit brighter just by inhabiting it, even if it's just a half-hour of TV each week. What more can you really ask of an entertainer?

Quite a few media types have criticized ABC's decision to have the 8 Simple Rules father pass away and try to continue the show with his TV "wife" and "kids" dealing with the loss of their father. What very few have pointed out is that as proud as John Ritter were of this show -- he probably would have still wanted it to go on, for the sake of supporting cast and crew. I'll be interested in seeing whether Katy Sagal can carry the show and whether the writers can eventually spin comedy out of the tragedy of it all.
Peoria Pundit's Almost-Always True Observations
Sixteen top-notch observations. Pretty funny and definitely worth the read.
This week at Sunday School...

It seems that the overall theme that will be studied by our room-full of twelve and thirteen year-olds this term is going to be simply "love". Heavens knows that I can't think of an age group that could use the lesson more. Junior high and high school...those can be such cruel, miserable years for teenagers.

This week the scripture was the classic passage about love, 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. Keep in mind that these children are too young to know this passage by heart. They don't yet understand that this passage will be read aloud at every single wedding they attend for the next few decades. It will be recited by the scripture readers, sung by various vocal artists, included in the programs, imprinted onto the cocktail napkins. (Not being condescending here, as it was read during my ceremony last fall. It's just a beautiful, insightful passage. It's tough not to use it).

It was neat to see this passage for the first time again through their fresh eyes -- and to hear them dissect it word by word. While it is frequently used in reference to matrimonial love, somehow we got into discussing it within the context of the business world, whether billionaires and philanthropists are earning and spending their money for the right reasons, if that can truly be a loving act. I don't have much more insight to offer on the topic at present, but I thought I'd post the passage here for others to ponder:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;

it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;

but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13:1-13

Friday, September 19, 2003

In lieu of a real post...

Do you ever just have one of those weeks where you have no energy? I'm not sure if it's the Sunday trip to St. Louis making me tired, the fact it's my second week back into a solid exercise routine, or a major allergy/sinus flareup...but I cannot summon up the energy to do much of anything. Case in point...I am a twenty-five year old female at home at 8:30 pm on a Friday night. I've already taken a ninety-minute nap this afternoon, and I am ready to go to bed. I could hardly get myself off the couch to help with and eat dinner.

Therefore I am begging out of any real thinking for the evening. However, I feel like I am really neglecting my posting, so I am at least throwing up answers to the Friday Five. (Did you know today is its second anniversary?) Anyways, I am planning on getting some real rest this evening, so hopefully I can crank out a few real posts this weekend. Thanks for bearing with me and checking in -- hope real thoughtful posting can resume soon.

1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?

Egads. I don't know -- I mostly like musical groups. If I had to pick an individual, I might go with Billy Joel. When I have seen him perform, he has seemed to have a great personality. Surprisingly, the lead singer for Everclear seemed like a nice guy in that same respect.

2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?

Jennifer Lopez, hands down. Not sure why -- perhaps she just comes off as too superficial and egotistical? I've never liked any of her songs, although I can tolerate her movies. (I will give her credit for not starving herself and promoting a healthy body image for young girls. I'm not sure she does that on purpose though.)

On a related note, the musical group I cannot stand at the moment is Black Eyed Peas. Even if their tune is catchy, the attitude kills it for me.

3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?

Probably - especially if he didn't have the drug/alcohol issues that have seemed to accompany his musical career.

4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show?

Let's see -- Billy Joel, GooGoo Dolls/No Doubt/Bush, Dave Matthews Band, Everclear, REM, and the Beach Boys. Billy Joel at the Assembly Hall was a great show for me, but I saw REM at the gorgeous outdoor amphitheater in Milwaukee and that concert was wonderful.

5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from dowloading free music?

Personally, I don't do much of either. There is just not much music out there that I consider worth purchasing. I will listen to various radio stations to get my fix, but I really have to be impressed to purchase an album. There are just too many other things I could be doing with my money instead of paying $15 for a CD with three to four songs I like.

I think I would feel guilty if I tried to rip full albums off the Internet. I generally like to support the artists I listen to so the record companies will keep paying them to produce music. It is copyrighted after all, so I think the RIAA has a right to pursue legal downloaders. I think that perhaps it is not the smartest business move to do so, as it's going to tick a lot of their customers off. They will stop downloading, but I wonder if they won't find other ways to get free music or quit purchasing CDs for a while. I think that Universal's strategy -- reducing the cost of its CDs to make purchasing more appealing to the consumer -- may be a smarter way to go.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Something's rotten

I cannot say that I am surprised by the federal appeals court's decision to block the California recall election. I can say that I hope Californians get outraged. Their legislature drafted these laws for a reason, passed them through the legal channels. Their citizens followed the protocol to implement this election because they felt that governor was not performing sufficiently well.

The court's premise for blocking the recall election seems to be this:

"Hey, these voting machines may not be working equally well in all counties. I know you followed these silly let laws to set start this electoral process, but they mean nothing unless we feel voting methods are 100% accurate. Basically, we're just going to postpone that little election you requested indefinitely. Gray stays as governor indefinitely. Until when? Oh, until we decide that all the voting machines have been replaced to our liking. That will take years you say? Well I guess you will just have to wait until another election rolls around. Nevermind that these machines were just as screwed up when the governor was elected. Why didn't we make this ruling before that election? That's irrelevant."

I am quite interested to see how Californians react and if/how the Supreme Court reacts for that matter. I'm not so concerned with the fact that Arnold, McClintock, and Bustamante won't get to duke it out. I'm more concerned with the fact that this court just found a nitpicky little excuse to toss out a law. Why even bother having a legislative system if the courts can take a rule and magically render it moot?

Obviously, I'm not a lawyer. There are legal types out there that are far more qualified to dissect this issue than me. This is just my off-the-cuff response to the ruling. Something's rotten in the state of California.
Picking up

The tile is done. Hooray! We survived two days without a functional bathroom, due to the compassion of nearby friends and my in-laws. We survived a long weekend without a kitchen, chock full of the best fine dining establishments that our budget and schedule would allow. (Subway and McDonalds were visited multiple times).

We survived a day trip to St. Louis with my family to see the Lion King at Fox Theatre. It was a very cute show, but I think I have perhaps outgrown the Disney 'magic'. Gorgeous costumes and talented actors, but somehow theatre loses something for me when I know the plot by heart. Perhaps it's when I sense PC overtones oozing out at every turn. Either way, I left a bit wistful that we won't make it up to Chicago to see Mamma Mia by the end of this month.

We also survived an ill-advised journey down towards the "Edward Jones Dome" just as the Rams game let out. An adventure perhaps but it just led my husband and I to come up with a theory. There are Chicago people in this world, and there are St. Louis people. For some reason, we are most definitely Chicago people.

Maybe it's the glitz and glam of Chicago that St. Louis seems to lack. Perhaps it's the fact that I fell in love with Michigan Avenue at Christmastime as a young girl. Possibly it's just the fact that I'm a Cubs fan. It may be that I just enjoy rude cabbies and outrageous traffic jams. There's also a chance that I just find Lake Michigan more picturesque than the Mississippi River.

Don't get me wrong. St. Louis is a great town in which to spend a weekend. It has some great entertainment options and nightlife. I would wager that it's a much easier place to actually live than Chicago. Even given all the ugly traffic and politics of the city, there's just something about the Windy City that makes it tough for me to stay away.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Remodeling break

We're doing a little remodeling around here. (The house, not the website!). Extremely last-minute planning as the contractor just decided he could work us in. We're practically homeless for the next couple days though, so I will post as I'm able. Just FYI in case you notice I'm AWOL!

Monday, September 08, 2003

Depps of misery

Not so much time this evening, but Ben Kepple has posted a great assessment of Johnny Depp's comments last week and his later insistence they had been taken out of context. Gotta love those German translations!

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Administrative note

Woo-hoo! How about those Cubbies? It's the second week of September, they've won seven of their last eight, and they are in first place. Thank you Houston! I'm holding my breath and crossing my fingers.

On a related note, can you imagine where they might have been if Hee Seop Choi and Corey Patterson had never gotten injured? Pure speculation...but there's always next year! That's if this year falls through. An all-Chicago World Series is not out of the many years can Chicago sports fans say that? Good thing baseball is giving us something to cheer about, because it doesn't look like the Bears will be competing anytime soon.

It's ten o'clock on Sunday evening, and what did I get accomplished this weekend? Feels like nothing. It's just about the opposite really. I worked overtime on Friday, took a nap, watched The Big Chill, spent several hours cleaning, revised the local sorority alum club directory, went to church, did a lovely post-church dinner at Fazoli's, shopped for furniture, prepared a Sunday-school lesson, taught a class, finished revising that directory, cooked enough Italian beef to last us a week, ate dinner, watched Sex in the City, got on the Internet.

It's sort of ironic that the things I really want to do over the course of the weekend are the last to get done. I have a list of about ten friends to e-mail and four or five blog posts I want to write, but need to balance my time/energy more effectively so I get around to all of them.

Teaching Sunday School has been an interesting experience, if a bit trying. Our church school runs during the early family service, so last week we tried the late worship after our class. Not a great idea. After sixty minutes attempting to teach twenty-two middle schoolers, the only thing I wanted to do was close my eyes. (They are wonderful kids, but convincing them to curb their socializing and study the Bible at that age is challenging, to say the least). My husband and I tried a Saturday evening service this week. It was lovely and a bit more personal than the large Sunday crowd, but it left today feeling a bit empty. Worship is such a great way to start the week. Not sure what the solution is here though...

So I haven't made a real post this weekend. I have updated my blogroll however, updating links and adding a few regular reads back to my list. We welcome Jay Solo's Verbosity and Little Green Footballs back to the list and usher Mapchic onto the Illinois blogs list. All three high quality reads.

Between these three and the other links at right, I'm sure there is some quality commentary on the President's address this evening. My thoughts? Fairly good speech, but I wish he'd made one like it every month for the past year or so to make the American people feel more informed and invested in this battle. As we prepare for another grim anniversary this Thursday, it's good to remember what our soldiers are fighting for, what our soldiers are fighting to prevent.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Celebrites on US

Yesterday turned out to be "Give the US a dirty name day" as described at Josh Claybourn's site. The always-batty Johnny Depp came out with a slew of downright nasty comments towards America. Maybe he should do us all a favor and not come back from this vacation to France. My husband and I have been meaning to go see Pirates of the Caribbean after all the positive word-of-mouth, but I think we'll keep that $17 for ourselves now. Awful courageous of him to voice such anti-American opinions two months after his big comeback movie opens... Sorry to make you wait til video, Orlando Bloom!

Just a few days after her controversial make-out session at the MTV Music Video awards, Britney Spears decides to jump on President Bush's bandwagon. In the same interview where she says wouldn't kiss another woman again unless it was Madonna, Britney jumps onto the support Bush bandwagon. CNN's article on the interview makes her seem...well perhaps a bit clueless? I applaud her blind patriotism, but I still wonder how many parents will buy their teenage daughters her next album.
My pop culture obession continues

I finally gave in and watched Queer Eye for a Straight Guy last week. I found it to be an interesting mix of Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear. In the episode I saw, the "Fab Five" took perhaps one of the mostly grossly unclean apartments I have ever seen and turned it into a happening bachelor pad for their crewman.

First of all, they did have some pretty good ideas. I really liked the outdoor courtyard they came up with...I think I really need a house with a patio sometime soon. Also, the breakout star / fashion guru Carson Kressley does have good taste in clothing.

Most of what they teach these men is common sense and good manners. I can't believe that their mothers didn't cover this stuff. For example, take your girlfriend out to a nice restaurant once in a while instead of hanging out at her place. Try to be romantic with some candles and a nice cup of coffee /dessert. Clean your bathtub once a year or so. Contrary to what the made-over crew member asserted, a bathtub is more than just a receptacle to catch all the dirt that is being washed off your body.

A few things are taken to the extreme though. Speaking as a girl who likes masculine men, well I'm going to find it a bit strange if my former quarterback / offensive lineman husband starts heading to the salon for manicures every three weeks. Not to mention the fact that this recommendation seems like a budgetary drain, particularly for someone who is not rich or has a family. I can't afford regular manicures myself! And waxing the poor guy's back...OW! Note to all the heterosexual males out there: If this is what it takes to get a woman to stay with you guys, then you do not want to be with her. Run! Run now!

All in all, it's a pretty entertaining half-hour of television. I myself wouldn't term this show mind-opening. If anything, it plays up all the traditional stereotypes about gay men. Perhaps it works for some though.

Me and Hillary

Over at Inner Monologues, Meredith takes me to task on whether my recent description of Hillary Clinton (8/28) was mean-spirited and angry. I give her that did over-generalized, as I am certain far too many Midwesterners support Hillary for my liking. Perhaps the mean-spirited criticism is well-deserved as well. I have hit a grumpy patch the past couple weeks. If it had a vicious tone, I apologize as that was not my intent.

One of my key personal weaknesses is that I get far too vitriolic when I detest someone. There are few people in the world that make me feel this way – people that somehow I cannot see their good side. (Short list at present: Jesse Jackson, the Clintons, and Hot Rod! Blagojevich). I definitely concede that I need to work on this. If not to develop a more Christian attitude, then because I’m going to give myself a heart attack before age forty at this rate.

That being said though, "Machiavellian shrew" was the first description that came to mind. I am not convinced that it was inaccurate. Straight from

1. Machiavellian, adj.: suggestive of or characterized by expediency, deceit, and cunning.
2. shrew, noun: a woman with a violent, scolding, or nagging temperament; a scold

Why do I feel this way about the Clintons? I was fourteen years old when their term in the White House began. The general vibe I got from the Clintons…they just rubbed me the wrong way. I was embarrassed by how they led their lives and our country. Not as much by what they did, as the way they tried to cover it up, their lack of apology when the truth surfaced, and how they portrayed everyone who objected to this behavior as a raging maniac. I was convinced that they would do anything to win. Now that Bill has retired -- provided the 22nd amendment holds -- Hillary bears the brunt of these feelings. In my mind, she is the student council geek who will will bending all the rules to win at all costs – a real-life Tracy Flick (Election) with much higher stakes.

As I said before, this is just my impression – of both of them. (What’s the male equivalent of shrew? Brute perhaps?). Without going into the conspiracy theories on the string of ill will that befell many of their associates, here’s a smattering of my influences:

Dick Morris – An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton
Peggy Noonan – Newly Aggressive: Hillary changes her tone
David Limbaugh -- The Clintons: They’re Your Problem

I may be logical and right. I may be mean and wrong. As always, this is just a place for me to express my opinions. I’ve always been a big believer in gut feelings. Generally I can disregard anyone’s political affiliation if I feel they are genuine and sincere. That's not what images of Bill and Hillary bring to mind though. My gut feeling there: extreme queasiness.

Monday, September 01, 2003

More about Sex

Last week's Sex and the City post elicited a couple great elaborative posts from Blackavar (at the blog Silfray Hraka: The Warren) and Stephen Karlson (at Cold Spring Shops).

These posts further elaborated on the challenges and problems with Generation X / Generation Y to settle down and/or enter into serious relationships and marriage. Interesting perspective from two somewhat older guys...I hope to elaborate on this trend further later this week.
Bowling for baloney

I don't read Rachel Lucas on a regular basis, but I came across her post Bowling for Bulls**t the other day. What a fabulous read.

Perhaps it was because he passed off this editorialized dreck as a documentary and won an Oscar for doing so, but I have avoided Michael Moore's latest film like the plague. I've gotten the willies everytime I considered renting this movie. I've gotten nauseated whenever I hear pieces on Stupid White Men or his controversial Oscar speech. I get angry when I hear one of my touchy-feely co-workers claiming that the man is a genius. I feel such dislike for this man that it bothers me sometimes. I have generally just written this off to the fact that I disagree with virtually all of his moral, political positions.

I'm not begrudging the man any of his First Amendment rights. He has a right to say and film whatever he wants. I don't doubt that he is smart or a talented filmmaker. I DO doubt that he is objectively "documenting" anything. He's trying to advance his political causes in an incredibly manipulative piece of filmmaking that was portrayed by the American film industry as fact. Just what kind of warped reality are these people living in? Just because Michael Moore sees the world in such a warped manner, doesn't mean the media has to help convince citizens to buy into the anti-American propaganda he is peddling.

Stepping off the soapbox now...end of rant.

PS. Rachel also has up a great piece on the impending 9/11 anniversary and the lack of commemoration it will be receiving by the major television networks. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Saturday, August 30, 2003


Jason Steffens adds his two cents to a discussion of the Top Ten Teen Movies of the 1980s and the 1990s. It's over at Thinklings weblog. I must confess I am not a regular reader, but after reading the running commentary on Dawsons Creek and The OC, I may have to be a regular. There's also an interesting discussion within the comments, on whether there is a societal attitude that women think they "putting up with" incorrigible husbands. In particular this discussion refers to Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond, but there is an interesting discussion to be made of this outside of the sitcom world as well. Perhaps soon.

Thanks to Mark Byron for picking up a discussion on outsourcing to foreign companies within IT and other industry. I have a few more thoughts to offer on this subject, and I will try to do so by the end of the weekend.

The hub and I are off to the Chicago suburbs shortly, to attend a much-anticipated barbecue with college buddies and a visit with friends in town from Michigan this weekend. Will probably be back late Sunday evening - so maybe I'll comment before Labor Day. Regardless, hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Short rundown

Heaven help us all. I must say I saw it coming when that miserable "autobiography" was released. Somehow though, I think this Bush versus Hillary would be less competitive than Bush versus Howard Dean at this point. I know there are people out there who find some reason to respect Frau Clinton, but at least here in the Midwest I think many people see the manipulative, cruel Machiavellian shrew hiding behind it all.

The Port Authority transcripts released today are heart-breaking. Even two years later, I get choked up just reading them, imagining what those people went through. If we had reminders like this of September 11th every day, I can't imagine our national resolve with regards to Afghanistan, Iraq, et al would waver.

Not trying to sound whiny or paranoid here, but John Derbyshire's Monday column really got into my head. It details his sneaking suspicion that " a lot of the driving energy behind modern liberalism is the desire to affront and provoke Christians." There's a lot more to his article than that though -- definitely worth reading IMHO.

In that same article, Derbyshire is discussing some of the more worrisome features of contemporary America, and he revisits a recurring concern of mine. Specfically, he links to a Business Week article on the "new global job shift" -- how manufacturing jobs have already fled America and the "middle-class paper-shuffling jobs are following them fast". It doesn't seem like a topic of particular interest in the blogosphere lately, but for those of us out in the Business World it's a huge concern. This trend has struck IT, engineering, business consulting, physical therapy, and other lucrative fields in recent years. In my opinion, it's just a matter of time before these countries figure out how to produce professional lawyers, dcotors, and the like that are willing to work for much lower wages than your average American.

I'm a few weeks late on the uptake here, but the Spoons Experience is back up and running, producing quality blog material from a formerly ChiTown, now Champaign-Urbana perspective. I'll be adding him back to the blogroll soon. He has a nice idea for readers to make small donations to worthy causes in honor of Instapundit's birthday yesterday.

Coincidentally, Glenn happens to share the day with my father. Happy fifty-somethingth birthday to my wonderful, beloved dad! He doesn't read the blog, but I thought I'd throw that in anyways. Two great men born on August 27th!

Personal update: My calf muscle is not torn, but I definitely have internal muscular bleeding. This is both a good news and somewhat worrisome, as I nearly fainted shortly after the orthopedic exam yesterday. I'm having an MRI next week to rule out a few possible causes. I'm not the world's biggest jock, but I really have enjoyed exercising this past year and would like a fully-functional leg. Any extra prayers and good wishes are much appreciated.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Interesting Piece on Diversity

I don't read David Brooks very frequently, but I believe he's got a point in this Atlantic piece on diversity: "Many of us live in absurdly unlikely groupings, because we have organized our lives that way."
Rough week

Sorry for the gap in posts. I'm trying to get inspired. The week got off to a rough start as I had to run all over Central Illinois getting my old Dodge repaired. Car came through pretty well, but the whole miserable repair experience started me daydreaming about a new vehicle. Need to get that out of my system. Then I noticed some bruises on the back of my leg after I finished my jog Wednesday morning. "Gee," I thought, "It's odd that I have a bunch of little bruises right where my calf muscle has been bothering me every time I have jogged over the past six months".

By noon or so, I was practically crying from the pain. I called just about every orthopedist in town. The sports medicine clinic couldn't squeeze me in for a week, but they were nice enough to tell me that I probably had internal bleeding from a torn/strained calf muscle. I'm icing, downing large amounts of naproxen, and depriving myself of cardio for the forseeable future. I guess President Bush had a torn calf in late June and switched to swimming/weights when he couldn't jog. I'm looking into doing the same. It's amazing how tired/sluggish I have been without the exercise. I literally passed out on the couch, in front of the TV before nine three evenings this week.

After a nice relaxing weekend, hopefully I will get back in the groove this week. I say that every week though! We'll see.
Sunday Night Cable Ponderings

I just finished watching this week's Sex and the City, and it got me thinking about Josh's post on Candace Bushnell earlier in the week. Apparently her newest book, Trading Up is being considered for a series on ABC, about "a Victoria's Secret model who sleeps with men to get ahead and befriends women solely for the same purpose".

Aside from guest appearances by David Duchovny, Blair Underwood, and Ginger Spice, Sex and the City has been a tad boring lately. By the final season of this series, these women have exhausted their pre-occupation with casual sex. They don't revel in it anymore. Instead, they are obsessing about their relationships. With the exception of free-wheeling Samantha, each one approaches her significant other with skepticism and extreme caution. They have begrudgingly accepted that most of their relationships won't last forever, but they are still clinging to some ideal of exclusive, romantic, life-long love. At the same time, they seem filled with an increasing sense of self-doubt that perhaps they have been wasting their time dating all these years.

While they flit about the city hitting all the popular restaurants and exclusive clubs, most of the characters seem and worn out by the whole they would rather be sitting at home on the couch, watching movies with some man they really care about and eating Ben and Jerry's. Unfortunately, their girlfriends are the only ones with whom they can attain this kind of relationship. Is this just the way it has always been? Is this a Blue America phenomenon? Is this perhaps a result of society portraying men as the enemy all these years?

Regardless of that, casual sex does not lead to "getting ahead" for most women. It leads to uncertainty, to loneliness, to diminished perceptions of worth, to illogical attachment to destructive relationships. My point here? I guess it's that jumping into the sack with many men does not make most women happy. Why must Hollywood keep pretending that it does?
Bare Minimum Implications

Illinois's economy took quite a hit this weekend as HotRod! signed a bill drastically hiking the state's minimum wage.

Now we realize that minimum wage does not go very far, particularly in the Chicagoland area. My husband worked for years in high school/college at his local Kroger, busting his rear to stock shelves and help often-rude customers. He seemed to be in favor of the increase, as he can still related to how hard many workers toil for that minimum-wage cash. When he realized how large an increase was being suggested, he was incredulous. While the minimum wage goes up to $5.50 as of January 1st, 2004, it takes a huge leap to $6.50 as of January 1st, 2005.

I know all the general microeconomic theories -- hike up the minimum wage and drastically raise overhead, businesses will have to lay off employees. But I am having a bit of trouble visualizing the more less-direct implications of Illinois having a minimum wage that is much higher than all the states surrounding it. Will this prompt businesses in border areas to relocate into Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Kentucky? Will this lead to significant price increases for all goods bought in Illinois, as WallyWorld, grocery stores, cleaning services, et cetera have to pass the costs onto their consumers? Will it result in layoffs and reduced hours/services similar to what occurred on Illinois riverboats this month when the Guv laid obscene amounts of fees/regulations on the riverboat gambling industry in a desperate attempt to bail out the state budget? Will it result in a sudden flurry of hiring those under age 18 as they can be paid fifty-cents less each hour.?

Regardless of all the academic projections on how this will effect Illinois's economy, my gut feeling here -- this is not going to be good for the state's economy as a whole. I feel like my taxes just went up again...
More on Rod

I really don't have such a one-track mind, but this was too good to pass up.

On a side note, I attended several Illinois College Republican Federation conventions with Chapin Rose (#6). He was one of the few stand-up guys that I met there, and it doesn't surprise me he's state representative for the Chambana area's 110th District before age 30. Keep an eye out for his name in 10 or 15 years.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Algor part deux

Apparently, Hot Rod has his eye on the Veep slot for 2004. (Thanks to Greg Blankenship for bringing this link to my attention).

First reaction: Bwah-hah-hah-hah. Yeah right.
Second reaction: That was what I said about him becoming governor.
Third thought: This couldn't happen too, could it?

Of course, then he wouldn't be Illinois's problem anymore...but I wouldn't wish him on the rest of the country. I wonder if he'd eschew living in the White House to give his family a normal life in Chicago?

Sunday, August 17, 2003

problems with leaving no child behind

The Decatur Herald & Review runs an editorial today noting that five schools in District 61 schools have gotten caught by the new "No Child Left Behind" provision. This means that because the schools didn't meet standards, parents of children attending those schools are given the option to transfer their child to a school that meets standards within the distrct.

The problem here? Two out of three district middle schools failed to meet standards, Thomas Jefferson and Mound. If all the students were to follow this editorial's suggestion and transfer into Stephen Decatur middle would that solve the problem? Instead there would be one massively-overcrowded middle school that would likely not meet educational standards for long.

While in principle I endorse taking kids out of failing schools, this is just one example of how too much meddling by the federal government on education results in ineffectual policy. School reform issues are best left at the state/local level in my opinion. GWB shouldn't have capitulated to Teddy Kennedy on this one, in my humble opinion.