Monday, December 20, 2004

Give me a break already

Yahoo! News - Pain Drug Naproxen Poses Heart Risk, U.S. FDA Says - I think what's really happening here is that taking these drugs doesn't directly raise your risk of a heart attack. Instead, I think they are *not decreasing* the risk of a heart attack (stick with me through the double negative here) because by taking these drugs, older people aren't taking drugs like aspirin that would normally thin their blood and reduce their risk. The same thing happens when taking hormonal birth control "raises" a woman's risk for breast cancer. It actually, in most cases, postpones the age at which a woman has her first child, which is otherwise something that lowers her risk. My prediction: all this stuff will eventually blow over, and arthritis patients will be able to get back their relief, maybe with some other drug to return their heart attack risk to normal.

A couple of random things

I read an article the other day taking about salaries in the NBA vs. the WNBA. I think it's a fabulously bad message we're sending to today's kids. The HIGHEST paid player in the WNBA makes only $87,000 (the average salary is about $60,000) while the LOWEST paid player in the NBA makes $1.1 million a year (the NBA average salary is $4 million, and goes as high as $28 million for some players). That's just ridiculous.

I think I'm addicted to online advice columns. My favorites: Dear Abby, Dear Prudence, and Miss Manners.

From church last Sunday: A man is putting his son to bed. He's about to turn the light off, and his son yells, "No Daddy! Don't leave me alone here in the dark!" The father replies, "Nonsense. God is always with you." The son says, "I know that, but I want someone with skin on." And that is why Jesus had to be born.

Now Playing: Incubus - Stellar

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Snow!

Yay, first snowfall of the winter. It's really pretty, big flakes too. I just hope that our flight on Tuesday doesn't get delayed. Maybe there's hope for a white christmas after all. I haven't seen one since 1989.

Dinner last night at The Melting Pot was awesome. We started with the Mexican Fiesta cheese fondue, and then salad. We ordered the Surf and Turf entree (lobster, filet mignon and portobello mushrooms. Hey, my mom and dad were paying!) cooked in the Coq a Vin style. Finally, we finished it off with the cookies and cream marshmallow dream chocolate fondue dessert. I was stuffed afterwards, but it was really good and a lot of fun. I'd definitely go back.

My christmas vacation started at 5pm on Friday. Tomorrow will be a "home work" day - i.e. laundry, cleaning out the fridge, and moping the residue from my baking frenzy off the kitchen floor. We'll be flying out on Tuesday morning, so don't be surprised if my posts drop off sharply until the new year.

Now Playing: New Radicals - Someday We'll Know

Two cartoons


This one's for Kim, from her "poker whores."


Luckily the cats didn't do this to our tree.

Courtesy of Dan Reynolds

Friday, December 17, 2004

Poor Planning

Yahoo! News - Soldier Charged With Having Himself Shot - If you're going to go through all that trouble, make sure you at least get your story straight. Come on people, a few rehearsals never hurt anybody.

The Japanese products keep going downhill

So apparantly females are not left out from the "human pillow" trend in Japan (see below). Women snuggle up with "Boyfriend's Arm." I think it's all a little creepy actually.

Fox sued over Trading Spouses - Apparantly Fox is stealing other TV stations' ideas for reality shows and then beating them to production. I understand their point about lost revenue and fairness and all that, but I think they're really missing the deeper point: Those shows all suck anyways, so Fox is probably doing other stations a favor.

Is the shark gay? Of course not - Yet another group of people reading into the "hidden meanings" of kids' movies. This time, instead of sex in the clouds, it's homosexuality in A Shark's Tale and right-wing backlash in The Incredibles. Why can't we just go to the movies and watch something to be entertained anymore?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

One Incredible Moment

The Christmas concert last night was excellent. The choir was great, the solos were great, the narration was great (I helped with that!) The only problem with my part was that we had never rehearsed my entire piece with the spotlight, other than about 10 seconds to get the spotlight positioning right. I had to stand there for an entire choir piece, and about halfway through I started to get really warm. That may have been one of the longest 3 minutes of my life. Thanks to Matt McHugh and Sarah, and to Ryan and Joy for coming to watch. The rest of you who were supposed to be there, poo on you for missing such a spectacular event. (Kidding! About the poo anyways.)

Ryan and Joy came to our place afterwards because they didn't get to the church in time for dinner, so I fixed them spaghetti and meatballs. And then Joy cleaned my kitchen. How fabulous was that?

And now, time for today's linkfest:
The rise of "Backlash burgers" - Personally, I think it's kind of disgusting. But if that's what the American public wants, let them eat burgers.

Japanese retailer sells lap pillows to lonely men - Also kind of sad. Who buys this crap??

Jury says Scott Peterson deserves to die - But he probably won't. I mean, he'll die eventually, like the rest of us. But executed? California has executed less than 2% of its death row criminals sentenced in the last 20 years. So what a death sentence really means is a lifetime of free health care, cable, and 3 meals a day.

No baseball in Washington DC? - The sentence that really stands out for me in this article is the one where they talk about using taxpayer money for stadium development instead of funding schools and other public needs. I don't see why the MLB is in such a tizzy about private money being used to build this stadium. It makes sense to me - it's a private past time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Would you do it?

MSNBC - Technology allows sex selection - I think I might...for the first one. After that I think I'd be okay with random choice. I can understand both sides, but I disagree with the comparison to India/China. People desire a certain sex for different reasons there.

Monday, December 13, 2004

A great article about TV shows

The 10 Best Current TV Characters

Degrees of Cold

Degrees (Fahrenheit)

65 Hawaiians declare a two-blanket night
60 Californians put on sweaters (if they can find one)
50 Miami residents turn on the heat
45 Vermont residents go to outdoor concerts
40 You can see your breath
Californians shiver uncontrollably
Minnesotans go swimming
35 Italian cars don't start
32 Water freezes
30 You plan your vacation to Australia
25 Ohio water freezes
Californians weep pitiably
Minnesotans eat ice cream
Canadians go swimming
20 Politicians begin to talk about the homeless
New York City water freezes
Miami residents plan vacation further South
15 French cars don't start
Cat insists on sleeping in your bed with you
10 You need jumper cables to get the car going
5 American cars don't start
0 Alaskans put on T-shirts
-10 German cars don't start
Eyes freeze shut when you blink
-15 You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo
Arkansans stick tongue on metal objects
Miami residents cease to exist
-20 Cat insists on sleeping in pajamas with you
Politicians actually do something about the homeless
Minnesotans shovel snow off roof
Japanese cars don't start
-25 Too cold to think
You need jumper cables to get the driver going
-30 You plan a two week hot bath
Swedish cars don't start
-40 Californians disappear
Minnesotans button top button
Canadians put on sweaters
Your car helps you plan your trip South
-50 Congressional hot air freezes
Alaskans close the bathroom window
-80 Hell freezes over
Polar bears move South
Viking Fans order hot cocoa at the game
-90 Lawyers put their hands in their own pockets

Friday, December 10, 2004

I can't wait.

From my daily e-mail summary of major US newspapers:

"Que bueno... The NYT's Paul Krugman says there is actually a precedent for "Bush-style privatization" of Social Security: Argentina did something similar, shortly before the country's economy collapsed."

Fabulous.

Oceans 12 at 8:15 tonight! Now for that, I really can't wait. I bought our tickets on the way to work this morning.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

O Christmas Tree


The 2004 Christmas tree

I'm in a "judicial" mood

So, I didn't get selected for a jury today. Apparantly I just got a "good day" - the Montgomery county courthouse can handle 20 trials at a time; only three were scheduled for today. I didn't even get interviewed. ..they called the first 36 people for the first jury selection, and I would probably have been in the second pool (I was number 65) but the second and third cases were resolved during preliminary discussion, without the need for a jury. I was kind of pleased, because I don't have to take any more time off and drive all the way to Rockville, but I was a teeny bit disappointed too, because I wondered what it was like. Plus I would have gotten another $30 for my time if I was selected (Montgomery county pays a whopping $15/day). The other reason it was what they consider a "good day" is because all the cases on the docket that day were only expected to last 2-3 days. You have to say up front if you are available for the length of time of the longest potential case, and if you're not, they excuse you but you have to come back within 60 days and then you're not allowed to be excused on the basis of trial length. The orientation person suggested we all stay today, giving the illustration of a man who was unavailable one time, and the day he came back, he was selected for a big savings and loan case that went from June-October.

Time for links:

Boston allows parking violators to pay tickets with toys - What a great idea. I think other cities should take this up. Or maybe make it a year-round thing...the first of the month or something like that. Food banks and shelters are always in need of things.

The truth about Swiss bank accounts - I started reading a book in the juror lounge today called The English Assassin. A Swiss banker gets murdered. Coincidentially, I had read this article earlier this morning. It was kind of a let-down from the Hollywood glamour, but interesting nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I'm Awesome!


I think that should actually read 19.32 points...I did horrible on the quiz.

Carjacking Warning

Before I forget...a carjacking warning from JHMI safety:

This form of carjacking occurs when the operator enters the vehicle, starts the engine and then places the vehicle in reverse. Upon looking in the rear view mirror, the driver notices a piece of paper attached to the rear window that detracts from their field of vision. Normally, the driver will place the vehicle in park and, while leaving the engine running, exits the vehicle to remove the paper. This is when the carjacker strikes by jumping into the car and driving off. Law enforcement officials are recommending that motorists experiencing the paper on the rear window simply not exit the vehicle and continue to drive off until reaching a safe location before attempting removal.

Consider yourselves warned.

Pearl Harbor, Science, and Handkerchiefs

63rd Anniversary of Pearl Harbor - courtesy of MSNBC

Biodegradable Cell Phones - This is a really neat idea. Maybe they'll start offering all different kinds of plants...maybe cell phone users will become the next Johnny Appleseeds.

Sleep loss leads to weight gain - Interesting, because I would have thought that sleep loss would lead to weight loss, since your body has a higher metabolic rate when you're awake. Thus, it seems as if you ought to burn more calories when you're awake for 20 hours than when you're awake for 16.

Miss Manners - Nothing to Sniff At - I usually skip over Miss Manner's weekly essays, but this is a rather amusing bit about the demise of the handkerchief.

Mmmmm...Nativity

Yahoo! News - Huge Chocolate Creche Sweetens Christmas

Monday, December 06, 2004

Pretty


These are the flowers my Grandma Jeanne sent me after I passed orals.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

ACC Champions!

VT wins 16-10! I think that was probably the most hair-raising game of the season. VT and Miami were probably the two most equally matched teams this year. Plus, it's so much sweeter because everyone said at the beginning of this year that they didn't expect too much from VT in their first year in the ACC, that it was going to be a "rebuilding year" etc. We showed them :-)

Time to get ready for holiday party numero uno.

Monday Morning Poll Update: AP 9th, Coaches 9th, BCS 8th.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A fabulous way to blow ten grand

MSNBC - Famed New York hotel offers $10,000 martini - I was amazed to find out that this wasn't the same hotel that offered the thousand-dollar omlette.

A bunch of religion-related stuff


Apparantly Jesus DOES live inside of us, as evidenced by the x-ray on the left. I'm not sure what the significance of the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich is.

School Bus Driver Fired for Stem Cell Talk - The comment about all the research not producing a cure is a little skewed (first, stem cells have only been a major area of research for about 10 years or so, second, it takes about 15 years for a drug to go through development to market, and that's with federal funding.) But fired? That's a bit inappropriate I think.

The Truth About Polygamy: A Mormon acquaintance once pushed Mark Twain into an argument on the issue of polygamy. After long and tedious expositions justifying the practice, the Mormon demanded that Twain cite any passage of scripture expressly forbidding polygamy.
"Nothing easier," Twain replied. "No man can serve two masters."

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A whole bunch of stuffs

Peterson guilty: but once, not twice - I'm not sure if I agree with this article, but it's an interesting idea. The article is written by an anthropologist that thinks that "personhood" is something that is developed, not something that you have at one second that you didn't have previously. She also argues that, instead of granting legal "personhood" to a fetus, that society should recognize that a pregnant woman is afforded special status and that crimes against a pregnant woman should be treated more severely (in the same idea that killing a police officer is judged by a harsher standard).


Death penalty works too slowly, families say - Again in reference to the Scott Peterson case, and again, something I'm not sure I agree with. The appeals process is a fundamental part of our legal system, and I'd rather have someone sit on death row for 8 years than to execute an innocent person because a mistake was made in the evidence.


FDA Advisers Vote Against Female Sex Drug - A good idea, although the FDA hasn't been listening much to its advisory panels lately. You know a man had to think up this one. The data aren't in this updated article (I first read about it this morning) but the patch only increased "satisfying sexual encounters" by one a month. It's not like these women aren't having sex at all. I think their husbands need to take a cold shower once in a while instead of subjecting their partners to the risks of hormones just so they can get some an extra 12 times a year. And while on the subject of sex...


Blessid Union of Souls - When She Comes - Is this song about sex? I've never been able to figure this one out. It's a pretty song though.

That's it for me tonight.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Busy Busy

That almost came out as "busty" in the title line. I'm so sick of trying to reformat figures into a .tif format. Who uses .tif anyways?? They come out looking so crappy.

In other news, the perfect black pants arrived today. I am quite pleased.

Maybe I'll be able to post more after Friday, when I'm supposed to mail this thing out.

"Family friendly christmas music? Isn't it all family friendly? I mean, I don't recall a christmas version of 'Smack My Bitch Up.'" - Matt

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Worth checking out today

MSNBC - Free credit report details announced
The east coast isn't eligible until September of 2005, but I'd recommend checking yours as soon as it's open in your state. I know people who have had errors, or even whole credit histories that didn't belong to them.

Yahoo! News - Study: Nuclear Medicine Can Trigger Security Alarms
Just what we need, another thing tying up airport security.

I need to figure out how to set up a permanent links section on the side bar. Once I do, I'll throw a few webpages up there. In other news, the "perfect black pants" are supposed to be delivered tomorrow! More details later.

UPDATE: Links section. I'm awesome.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Uncle Sam's Credit Card

MSNBC Answer Desk - a pretty good explanation about how the government can mangle finances and produce money out of thin air (it must be magic!)

And while on the subject of money, I give you:
The Truth about Taxes
by Anonymous

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner.
The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men-the poorest-would pay nothing;
The fifth would pay $1:
The sixth would pay $3;
The seventh $7;
The eighth $12;
The ninth $18.
The tenth man-the richest-would pay $59.

That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement-until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20." So now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six-the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?" The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being *paid* to eat their meal.

So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59. Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. "But he got $7!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $7 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were $52 short! And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I went to school here!


The lake at Sweet Briar
Props to Julia for taking and sending the picture.

Thanksgiving was really great. We had tons of food, saw The Incredibles with my brother and sister (and Seth), and watched a lot of good football - including a nailbiter VT-UVA game on Saturday. After church today, we went to AFI to see Finding Neverland with Sean and Jen. It was a pretty neat movie - very feel-good. After a late lunch at Ruby Tuesdays, Matt and I spent the rest of the evening watching VH1's 100 one-hit wonders.

Back to work tomorrow...according to UPS my textbook for next semester has already been delivered. Now all I need are my black pants (see below) and a jacket that's been back-ordered at JC Penney for a month, and I'll be all set.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Perfect black pants


Aren't they wonderful?

I found them on overstock.com for $58. Marked down from $140. Unfortunately I had to tack on $18 for expedited shipping so they'd get here in time for the holiday party season which starts on December 4th. But since I'm going to be wearing them several times throughout the month, it averaged out to about $17 per occasion. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Funny

Kim picked up our cat, who looked rather unhappy.
"You need to support her bottom when you hold her." - Me
"You mean her hindquarters?" - Mike
"BUTT!" - Matt

All I wanted was some fricking chinese food

But no...there had to be a blackout of everything east of Washington Street. And I just can't bring myself to pay $5 for a sandwich. I ended up with popcorn chicken, after waiting in line for 20 minutes.

Jason is a lucky guy:


The Lab - Rhoda, Staci, me, Jason, Megan and Kim (Byungwoo was a loser and didn't come to lunch with us that day)

And finally, this is just plain funny:
MSNBC - Bush Kills Turkey, Pardons Tom DeLay

I hate Maryland

Who uses a weed wacker at 7:30 in the morning in the rain? That's right, our maintainence people. I swear, 90% of this state has the IQ of a mackeral.

In other news...
Researchers developing male birth control pill
Yeah, it looks good on paper. But then, so did communism. The reason why this will never work? Because men cannot remember anything that doesn't involve cars, sports, computers, or things that directly affect their ability to live and thus drive/build cars, play/watch sports, or build/play computers. Men forget anniversaries, to take the trash out until it's almost as high as the countertop, to put the toilet seat down. And we want to trust them to remember to take a pill everyday so that their partner doesn't get pregnant?? My advice to stockholders - don't sell your shares of Ortho-McNeil anytime soon. I have the feeling this is going to go the way of the slap bracelet.

Now Listening: Z104 Morning Show

Monday, November 22, 2004

New picture

I decided to change the picture over on the right. The new one is 2 1/2 years old (taken in Lynchburg while celebrating my and Nicole's 21st birthdays) but at least I don't look like I have 2 chins. Hopefully before the holidays are over, I can get a current picture up there that still makes me look under 150.

One pie down, two to go. Making, not eating.

Breaking medical news

Yahoo! News - Chocolate May Hold Cure for Coughs

This is the best discovery I've heard in quite a while. Where do I sign up for clinical trials?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

What is this world coming to?

New video game recreates Kennedy assassination

MSNBC - Debt limit to rise to $8.18 trillion

The first link, I just don't get at all. Trying to recreate the Kennedy assassination and losing points for hitting Jackie O? I mean come on, aren't there enough violent video games out there without trying to recreate tragic episodes? What's next, a video game where you fly planes into the World Trade Center and lose points if you hit too high or low?

The second link just disgusts me. If anyone else in this country spent like the US government did, they'd be in jail. Instead, they just pass legislation that lets them keep stuffing their fat bloated wallets and keep spending our "dollars."

Now Watching: American Dreams

Something for everyone

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS JEWISH
He went into his father's business
He lived at home until he was 33
He was sure his Mother was a virgin, and his Mother was sure he was God

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS IRISH
He never got married
He was always telling stories
He loved green pastures

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS PUERTO RICAN
His first name was Jesus
He was bilingual
He was always being harassed by the authorities

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS ITALIAN
He talked with his hands
He had wine with every meal
He worked in the building trades

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS BLACK
He called everybody "brother"
He liked Gospel
He couldn't get a fair trial

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A CALIFORNIAN
He never cut his hair
He walked around barefoot
He started a new religion

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A WOMAN
He had to feed a crowd, at a moments notice, when there was no food
He kept trying to get the message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it
Even dead, he had to get up because there was more work for him to do

Success!

Well, the poker night was a success...in the end, however, my hands were not. Sarah managed to cash in, literally, on her beginner's luck and take first place; Ryan and Matt finished a close second and third respectively under the wrath of Sarah's pocket pairs. I came in fourth, in front of Matt McHugh, Mike, Kim and Phil (in that order...I think). Next time we need to start on time, and maybe we'll all get to bed at a decent hour. As for me, I am off to teach the first chapter of James at Sunday School, and then find some way to amuse myself while Matt and Ryan play computer games.

Now Playing: Howie Day - Collide

Saturday, November 20, 2004

New Webpage!

So I decided to give this website thing another try. Props to Matt Skinner for inspiring me to get a blogspot account. It looks like it'll be a lot easier to work with than geocities (no HTML!) Anyway, I'll try to keep things fresh around here. But first, I have to clean our apartment for poker night tonight.