Sunday, May 30, 2004

Yet again...storm warning in the bottom-right corner

It's hard to love the Midwest in late May. For about the sixth time in the past two weeks, I'm waiting for severe thunderstorms to roll in to town. Compound this with the fact that I was awakened by a hailstorm at 6 am this morning AND that I'm stressing about finding an available basement if a tornado warning starts, and you have a very grouchy Illinigirl. Depending on storm circumstances, may be out of comission the rest of the evening.

Hope everyone's having a nice weekend (and better weather than we are to boot!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Random tidbits

Presumptuous much? I think leaving the "for" off your campaign plane is definitely a case of counting chickens before they are hatched, since polls have JFKerry down in Michigan and maybe even New Jersey at the present. Can you imagine the furor that would have ensued if GWB had painted President on his plane while Clinton was still in office? Billy Boy would not have let that slide, no sirreee!

There's a rumor out on Drudge that Bush is going to unveil a plan for "across the board cuts in domestic spending". One can only hope. This makes me somewhat happy, but I'd feel better if I thought it was being done based on principles rather than based on polls that show some voters would trust a President Kerry to spend less.

Newsflash: Michael Moore is a big fat liar! Fred Barnes asserts that Moore published an entirely made-up conversation between the two men about the meaning of the Iliad and the Odyssey. In Stupid White Men, Moore claimed that Barnes had no idea about the content of the two pieces of literature, when in reality Barnes had read them during his freshman year at UVa. One of them's lying, and I put my money on Moore. Which brings up an interesting question -- if a man will publish blatant lies about another man's intellect, what else will you spin lies about? (My guess -- the President's intellect and matters of national security)

Proof that nothing on the Internet is ever really confidential -- Josh Claybourn provides some commentary and a link to a cached version of the Washingtonienne blog reproduction that has been the source of much gossip on the Internet this week. Michelle Malkin issues these young women a scolding on the utter classlessness of their recent behavior. Let's not forget to scold the faceless government official who did their part to contribute to this story though. It's men behaving badly, girls behaving badly and unashamedly boasting about it in this case.

Ben Kepple with some hilarious musings on who gets to keep the ring when the engagement's broken, marriage annulled, yada yada yada. Poor Ms. Jen Schefft and Mrs. AC Slater respectively. Ben must have been keeping up with his USWeekly reading, since I stumbled on these stories at the gym tonight. On a related note, my sister ran into Jen Schefft on a bus in Chicago three weeks ago. For the record, she was not wearing the ring and was riding the city bus. Just goes to show that even reality-TV almost-celebrities must return to real life eventually.
Doubt This Is Over

Just a reminder that they're still out there. Brief profiles of the seven most wanted are up at FoxNews.

So today the government felt compelled to interrupt the press's regularly scheduled "Iraq is a quagmire!" drumbeat and remind us all of something. The terrorists are still out there and presumably plotting large-scale attacks to disrupt our electoral process before this fall. After all, they saw how well it worked in Spain, so maybe the American public will kowtow here as well.

I have news for them though. The American public is too used to freedom -- it does not take kindly to bullying and manipulation. Plan another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11, and I predict just the opposite will occur. 90% of soccer moms across the country will be standing up and demanding that we defend ourselves properly. We are not just going to sit cowering in our homes until radicals arrive to convert us to Islam. If large segments of radical Islam insist on waging war and systematically chipping away at our freedoms to religion and democratic society, I don't belive we have a choice.
What's playing?

Over at BlogPeoria, Bill Dennis has put into place the set-up for a great idea -- a Central Illinois community blog. I need to drum up a bit of time and get myself registered over there, as I think it could potentially be a very useful site. At the very least, I see plenty of opportunity for debating the usefulness of our local newspapers and TV stations.

There's a great post today on the abundance of Central Illinois military news this week. There's also a nice round-up of what other Central Illinois bloggers have written about lately. Unfortunately, I haven't posted much of importance besides musings about missing Alias this week. Hope to improve on this soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Dating Elephants vs Donkeys

Interesting Fox News article Friday on the sudden appearance of politically-screened dating sites. They make it sound like screening mates based on political affiliation is a new phenomenon, but I don't think it really is. I think it's different when people are seriously searching for the "perfect partner" as opposed to randomly dating attractive people they come across. It makes sense that when advertising they seek someone with a shared perspective on life, by having the same ideas and opinions about given topics they would have more peaceful marraiges.

For example after I dated several people and reached a certain degree of maturity, I decided that I would marry someone with a strong faith and a denomination similar to my own. I wanted to have someone that I could take my whole family to church with and I didn't want arguments about whether the children would be raised Christian/Jewish or Christian/Unitarian or some other messy situation. Would I have violated that rule if the right person came along? Perhaps. He didn't. If I had been writing a personal advertisement for the person I wanted to date at age 20 or so though, heck yes I would have specified that I preferred a Christian.

To some degree, that attitude extends to my political dealings as well. I got lucky. The man I fell in love with shares my perspective on faith, on politics, on families. Despite the assertion that he clings to that he is an "independent" and would vote for Jesse Ventura any day he would run for office, he shares about 90% of my beliefs. Although we do engage in some deep discussion about how we acquired our opinions, we have very little to argue about from a philosophical perspective. We feel like we are playing for the same team, and I wouldn't choose to have it any other way.

This isn't to say that I don't know some fabulous men out there who are liberals. It's also not to say that they aren't intelligent -- I just question the thought process that brings them to some of their opinions. However, it's the "of course we are right, we're liberals!" attitude that I cannot stand. Mindlessly extolling the praises of Michael Moore would most definitely disqualify a man from my potential suitor list. Hence the knowledge that I would never hunt for potential spouses at the Cannes Film Festival). In related manners, one of my libbie friends recently told me that he probably couldn't respect me if I adored Ann Coulter. I don't really dig Coulter -- she's a bit too callous and strikes me as the conservative epitome of the "of course we're right!" mentality. My favorite liberal example besides Michael Moore? James Carville. His marriage to Mary Matalin has always disturbed me, as she seems like a somewhat reasonable woman. It's one thing to love a liberal, it's another to love an arrogant, abrasive one. Seriously, I have never understood what she sees in that man but to each their own, I guess.

Overall though, I think the article is drawing some sweeping generalizations that don't apply to every relationship. you don't always fall in love with the person who fulfills your idealized shopping list for a mate. Sometimes you fall in love with the person who is everything you never knew you always wanted. And that in my humble opinion, is the only explanation for a relationship like James Carville and Mary Matalin's that makes sense.
Interested in intelligent systems?

For all the geeks like myself who are interested in artificial intelligence, I discovered a really interesting site known as Gnod last week. It is basically a self-adapting system that is trying to glean knowledge from the reported likes and dislikes of visitors to its site. After it gains an "understanding" of a topic (such as movies), it can take the name of a given film you like and predict other films that you are likely to enjoy. It's not perfect yet, but it's kind of fun to see how closely related given films may be.

It's currently trying to gather information for music and literature systems as well. If you desire a few entertainment suggestions or wish to help with an interesting scientific project, I highly recommend a visit to the site. I wish I'd been creative enough to do research like this when I was studying computer science. So much more fun than endless experiments with ones and zeroes.
Gotta love Central Illinois weather

Grrr frustration. Ninety minutes of severe weather warnings. Tornado sirens and the anxiety that accompanies them when you live in a second-story apartment. Leave or don't leave? Go somewhere else? Hit up the downstairs neighbors for shelter?

So once the storms passed, what did we find out? I managed to tape 20 minutes of The Weather Channel over the Alias season finale. Alias, which if you can suspend all sense of reality, happens to be one of the most entertaining shows on TV (and is leaving us with a heck of a cliffhanger for 7 months to boot). If anyone knows what happened between Katya freeing Lauren and the Sydney/Lauren showdown, comments would be appreciated.

Added: 10:30 pm -- thank goodness for Television Without Pity recaplets.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Excuses, excuses

One of these days my posts really will pick up again! Sinus infection, another allergic reaction, and now I am on the road until the end of the week. I have some limited access to the Internet, but no real time to catch up on its goings on. I had an idea for a post about suggested improvements to hotels, but how many people would really want to read that. Will try to put something up (even if it's just links to interesting articles) later today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

No joy in Cubville

Just some major worries about Kerry Wood tonight. Here's to hoping that it's nothing major, and he's feeling better soon.
Jaded and saddened

I haven't weighed in much on the torture situation in Iraq because...well others have said it far, far better than I can. Like everyone else, I am thoroughly disgusted by most of it (particularly alleged sexual/physical assaults). I think the behavior was immoral and juvenile and reckless, and I don't want to fathom that our troops were just fighting back and sinking to "their" level. At the same time, I am furious with those so-called soldiers. What the $*&% were they thinking? Didn't they realize that behavior like this would eventually be uncovered and paralyze the progress that was being made in Iraq? All the sacrifices our country has made being derailed (at least temporarily) by the cheap, cruel shots of a few yay-hoos.

I'm particularly disheartened today by the photos and stories about the decapitation of 26 year-old Nicholas Berg, a guy from Philadelphia who was just looking to find work and perhaps contribute to rebuilding Iraq. It also makes me angry when you realize that this is another death of a good-hearted American for which we certainly won't be getting any apologies. Peoria Pundit relates this to the Daniel Pearl murder and asks an interesting question about this today:

As wrong at it was, the treatment these Iraqi prisoners receive from us is vastly kinder that the treatment Americans and westerners receive at the hands of these thugs and terrorists.

And I have a question: Why aren’t there vidcaps of the beheading available on the Web? Disturbing pictures, I know. But why is is that the bad things Americans do are plastered all over the Internet, but the pictures of the bad things our enemies do to us cannot be shown? Are they afraid that showing the murder and mutilation of an American might drive the Iraqi prison story and its photographs off the front page, where it can do the most damage to the anti-war and anti-Bush cause?

The media furor about Nicholas Berg's death? It will be gone in a day folks. We'll be hearing calls to apologize for making detainees wear women's underwear for weeks. It just seems wrong to me somehow.

(Realize this isn't particularly substantive, just what's on my mind tonight. Still fighting a never-ending sinus infection, hoping to check in more soon.)

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Sorry for the slowness...

of posts around here as of late. I've been battling some minor health issues (primarily sinus problems, migraines, TMJ, and a 48 hour allergic reaction). The allergic reaction was the most draining though -- imagine being flushed like you've just finished running 3-4 miles, having a pulse to match, and feeling feverish for about two days. No obvious culprit, perhaps some older moisturizer. It's all downhill after 25, I tell you!

Some madness here this week with the hubby's end of school preparations, but I hope to pick up the pace of the posts soon.
Uptick in his stock

Long, long ago and in a galaxy far, far away, Illinigirl supported John McCain for a certain presidential nomination. (You can ask what she was thinking, but she's not sure.) By the time I met him later that year, I was somewhat disllusioned with the man. Our brief encounter didn't improve my opinion any -- he just didn't strike me as that sincere in person. His RINO behaviors since then have kept that stock plummeting in my book.

That changed today for the first time in ages when I read McCain's eulogy from Pat Tillman's funeral. McCain may not get it all, but he gets courage and sacrifice. I hope Tillman's family can find some solace in this tribute.