Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Juicy Tidbits

As part of my newfound effort to post here more frequently, I offer up the following links to interesting posts:

Peoria Pundit on the libertarian message of The Incredibles. The message of this movie is to be who you really are, that society needs you to live up to your potential, and to not accept forced mediocrity so as to avoid making other individuals uncomfortable. A refreshing change for a night at the movies in my estimation. Plus, it had the Star Wars Episode III preview before the movie...which ensured that Illinihubby had me in line for this movie as soon as we got off work opening night.

Liam has a nice rant on the comment by Jan Egelund of the United Nations that "The United States is stingy and needs higher taxes to aid in tsunami relief". Please do not get me wrong -- the images of the devastation on TV today are unbelievable. I wholeheartedly urge the large chunk of the American public who today grieves and wishes to help to donate generously to the relief efforts. However, I must say that my donations will be funnelled through an organization in which I have an iota of confidence, rather than a corrupt, condescending, anti-semitic organization like the United Nations. Instapundit notes that private relief contributions through Amazon have already surpassed the $2 million dollar mark as of 2 pm this afternoon. I'm confident this is only the beginning of America's outreach as we assist in the recovery.

IowaWineGuy has a great post on Bruce Weber's commentary as of late, in which Bruce instructs Dickie V to look at Illinois's record at home over the last three years, accept that they are superior to Kansas at this point in time, and basically eat his shorts. Amen brother!

More tomorrow hopefully -- I'm making an effort!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

My Two Cents on Christmas

Since I've been busy and away from my blog over the past few weeks, can I throw in a short opinion on the "Merry Christmas" controversy? It's the holiday I celebrate, and I'm going to wish everyone a happy one. I learn all about everyone else's religious/cultural holidays within my multi-cultural existence -- Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali...even the winter solistice last week. I take no offense if they wish me a happy one or bring in food to celebrate their major holidays. My Buddhist and Hindu friends at work have given me "Christmas" presents. We take rejoice in acknowledging and learning about one another's traditions and holidays. Why should Christians alone be forced to not even mention the name of one of their most significant holidays for fear of offending someone?

Without religious significance in the holiday season, forgive me if I just don't see the point. Without the story of Jesus's birth, the gifts from the Wisemen, the gift of our savior, Christmas is just a senseless buying spree my friends, riddled with materialism and anxiety. Let us all have our desired greetings, as it is part of freedom of speech and freedom of religion in a free society. Please don't strip all spiritual significance from the holidays for fear that it might offend a few.

Off my soapbox, thank you.
Late to the party

Okay, I really have been a blogosphere lurker lately (and not a very frequent one at that). I am still amazed though that it took me a good two and a half months to realize that Kevin Holtsberry has resumed his blogging at "A Nickel's Worth of Free Advice". I should have known that after that stint free-lancing at National Review, he'd rejoin the conservative/libertarian blog ranks. Welcome back Kevin!
On a lighter note

In the grand scheme of things such as the tsunami tragedy, I realize this is unimportant. Still I wanted to pass along news of a great new source of editorial commentary about Illinois basketball that I discovered this week -- Mark Tupper's blog from the sports section of the Decatur Herald & Review. I've enjoyed his columns for quite a while now, and he seems to be updating this blog after each game.
Comprehending such sadness

It hasn't been a particularly cheery Week after Christmas has it? The tsunami tragedy has dominated our thoughts and conversations at work. This is partially a consequence of in-sourcing, the less-discussed alternative to out-sourcing in which American corporations subcontract with consulting companies to bring the best and brightest technology graduates from Indian universities straight into our workforce. While these workers may work for an Indian company, they are based here in America at a variety of large corporate offices, living as your average ordinary citizen in towns like Peoria and Bloomington-Normal and bringing a new swath of ethnic foods and cultrual understanding with them.

My thoughts on technology outsourcing are mixed and most decidedly shaped by the experiences that my husband and I have had attempting to find suitable employment and career advancement in the industry. Casting all that aside though, let me say that I have been blessed to become friends with many kind, big-hearted Indians and Sri Lankans with whom I have worked. Friendly, interesting, and generous to a fault...I have often become better friends with some of these gentlemen than my American co-workers and peers.

There was somewhat of a panic in my area at work today. A co-worker and his wife left town this weekend for a month-long visit with his family in India. Someone came into the office this morning upset, as they had heard that the tidal wave inflicted casualties on his home region, the west coat of India, as well. Always one to worry, the possibilities raced through my mindThe idea that I wouldn't have my friend to consult with on projects, to gossip about the recent OC episode on Friday mornings. The idea that this tremendously warm, intelligent friend of mine was gone. For those few minutes of certainty before we verified his location, my heart was heavy just thinking about not having this person in my life.

Multiply that anguish by about 68,000. That's the kind of pain and uncertainty that is out there, concentrated in Southeast Asia but scattered throughout the world tonight. That's even true here in Central Illinois, as I happened upon another Indian friend from work publicly fretting about his family's safety in the local newspaper this week.

Meredith has up a very thoughtful post on the tsunami tragedy and a press headline that noted "3 Americans Among the Dead". I agree with her overall argument about the tsunami itself -- that the headline is unfortunate, especially if it neglects to mention the tens of thousands of others that perished. However, I must admit that I clicked on a few of those headlines today, trying to understand what would have brought Americans there and whether this could have affected one of my friends (or their families) from work. When the press focuses on the plights of Americans in such tragedies, I think that it's primarily an attempt to satisfy our curiousity and answer questions like "I wonder what took them there?" or "Could this have happened to me or one of my loved ones?"

At least I hope that's it. In my own neck of the woods here in middle America, it seems that people are more focused on the enormity of this tragedy. The size of the earthquake, the speed of the wave, the horror of gripping to a palm tree for one's life and watching bodies float by for hours, the families who couldn't find their husbands, wives, brothers, or babies when the waters calmed. I think America understands the enormity of this tragedy, shares in the mourning, and extends their prayers to Southeast Asia tonight.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas to all!

I am still alive, although my posting habits indicate the contrary. I've been quite busy finishing finals and trying to get a few Christmasy things done (like cards) before the holidays arrive. Santa (ie Illinihubby) did bring me a laptop though, so there will be no more battles over our sole functional computer. Posting may be a bit sporadic as we prepare for the move, but my New Years resolution is to get back in the swing of things.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas day spent with family and friends you love. For my Christian readers, I wish you a wonderful celebration of the true meaning of the holiday, a celebration of the miracle of Christ's birth that ultimately led to him making such an incredible sacrifice for us as a full-grown man.

Monday, December 06, 2004


Illinois vaulted to Number 1!

My husband started his job today!

One time-consuming final down, one to go!

Said husband is threatening to tear me away from the computer if I don't get some dinner pronto, but I'm a happy camper. Here's to hoping my posting fire will increase now that my load is lightened a bit. Of course my Christmas cards haven't beeen touched yet...but all in all I'm in happy spirits.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004




The Fighting Illini basketball has dethroned a #1 seed for this first time since 1979. Illinois destroyed Wake Forest this evening 91-73, and it was a mighty impressive game. I realize Wake may have been a bit overrated or underperformed...but what a game! No let up in their intensity from the Gonzaga game last weekend. If nothing else, this showing was actually more impressive because they kept up the defensive play and stellar shooting with very little help from Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, Deron Williams.

I must disagree with this FoxSports summary of the game:

"It was supposed to be a preview of the Final Four. But Wake Forest-Illinois ended up being a major bore instead. The Fighting Illini had their way with the No. 1 Demon Deacons, striking a blow for the Big Ten with a 91-73 rout."

Perhaps this is just the MSSA (Mainstream Sports Announcers) ACC-loving bias showing through. This game was so far from a major bore to a college basketball and Illini fan like myself. I know it's early in the season and there are players to be kept healthy and challenging games to be played. I can't help being excited about this team though! Sure part of it is because other sports teams in the state stank this year, as acknowledged by the Sun Times today ("Illini shine as state's lone beacon" by Herb Gould).

However, sports history was made this evening. The last and ONLY time Illinois's basketball team beat a #1 seed was in 1979. They did it at Assembly Hall when I was a babe in diapers just a few miles down the road, taking down Magic Johnson's Michigan State squad. The game tonight...well, I will have some wonderful memories of watching this one. The only three things that would have made it better: watching it from the sea of orange in Assembly Hall, watching it unfold in real-time (had class this evening), or watching it without this miserable sinus infection I'm fighting at the moment. Delightful game regardless.

Now let's just hope the boys in orange can keep history from repeating itself (Illini went on quite a losing streak after the 1979 dethroning), and increase their playing intensity and skills throughout the year. The heading under the top photograph on now reads "Expect Dee Brown and the Illini to replace Wake at No. 1" Here's to hoping that happens and it doesn't jinx my boys! Eat your shorts Dick Vitale!