Same job, different uniform.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Are "newspapers dead" or are we just lazy?

Dave Barry thinks they're dead. Ibid wonders if our dependence on blogs for the news is an indication of our laziness. To which I say, tant pis.

Maybe it's both?

H/T Relapsed Catholic.

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And the Nominees Are...

"Brokeback Mountain"
"Good Night, and Good Luck."

Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"
Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"
Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line"
David Strathairn,"Good Night, and Good Luck"

Judi Dench, "Mrs. Henderson Presents"
Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"
Keira Knightley, "Pride & Prejudice"
Charlize Theron, "North Country"
Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line"

George Clooney, "Syriana"
Matt Dillon, "Crash"
Paul Giamatti, "Cinderella Man"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain"
William Hurt, "A History of Violence"

Amy Adams, "Junebug"
Catherine Keener, "Capote"
Frances McDormand, "North Country"
Rachel Weisz, "The Constant Gardener"
Michelle Williams, "Brokeback Mountain"

George Clooney, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
Paul Haggis. "Crash"
Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"
Bennet Miller, "Capote"
Steven Spielberg, "Munich"

"Good Night, and Good Luck."
"Match Point"
"The Squid and the Whale"

"Howl's Moving Castle"
"Tim Burton's Corpse Bride"
"Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit"

"Batman Begins"
"Brokeback Mountain"
"Good Night, and Good Luck."
"Memoirs of a Geisha"
"The New World"

"Brokeback Mountain" Gustavo Santaolalla
"The Constant Gardener" Alberto Iglesias
"Memoirs of a Geisha" John Williams
"Munich" John Williams
"Pride & Prejudice" Dario Marianelli

Read the article and full list here.

Postscript: The Academy has discredited itself on many occasions over the years (Titanic? Really?). This year it does it by placing Keira Knightly within two continents of Judi Dench.

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"I have the whole black race behind me"

So said Terrance Howard this morning on Good Morning America regarding his Oscar nomination. Mr Howard is the only black nominee this year (for "Hustle and Flow"). "We do the best we can."

What utter nonsense.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Where maladies may hurt less when white torture is inflicted; feverish giggling ensues

What should I do when I get canker sores?

You can also mix equal amounts of Milk of Magnesia and Benadryl Allergy liquid. After it's mixed, you can swish a teaspoonful in your mouth for about 1 minute and then spit it out. If you do this every 4 to 6 hours, your canker sores may hurt less.

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A Baby, a Boy, a Song . . .

My son was born in Austin, Texas and when we first started putting him to bed by himself we would put music on for him to listen to while he fell asleep. Most of the time, his bedtime routine also involved either my husband or myself holding him and singing to him along with the music. At the time, there was this song on the local "Austin music" radio stations (KLBJ or KGSR) by local artist Kelly Willis called "Wrapped." The song is clearly written about a lost adult love, but the refrain always made me think of the baby boy in my arms whom I had fallen in love with:

"Thought I was doin' fine;
'Bout to get you off my mind;
But I see your face and then
I'm wrapped around your pretty little finger again . . ."

I had not listened to the song in a long time and then "IHEARTEXAS" gave me Willis's CD, "What I Deserve" for Christmas this year. I was listening to "Wrapped" again the other night and was reminded of those seemingly long ago nights rocking my baby to sleep. This time the lyrics to the second verse made me think of my now-two-and-a-half-year-old "baby boy," who at over three feet and 40 lbs hardly looks or acts like a baby any more. My nose burned and my eyes welled up as I sang along:

"It feels like ages since you lay down in my arms;
See no good reason, still I'm tangled in your charms;
My God you're smilin' and you catch my eye;
My heart is poundin' deep inside . . ."

If you want to hear a snippit of this great song, click here and scroll down to "Wrapped."

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Applause, applause. We like applause because we know when it is striking us the audience is liking us!

With some notable exceptions most of us can communicate.

Not all of us are accepted to the prestigious and competitive Communications Council at a highly ranked college.

Way to go. You know who you are.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

De gustibus non est disputandum.

About taste we cannot argue.

I dislike Wal-Mart. I am enamored with quirky, quality and vogue, none of which Wal-Mart offers. I have little patience for the mammoth-sized stores, the crowded parking lots and cheap wares. Even Wal-Mart's appeal to the masses is a turn-off to me.

But this is no reason to protest the launch of a Wal-Mart in my community especially in light of its obvious benefits, namely jobs and affordable groceries.

Ken Blanchard, an Arkansas native, at South Dakota Politics remembers his childhood haunt before there was a Wal-Mart.

"...I admit that I don't know much about how Wal-Mart affects "organic urban communities." I have no experience of inner city poverty. But I know small town poverty reasonably well...Most summers for the last 30 years I have gone camping and back-packing in the Ozark National Forest, in North Central Arkansas. The last sizable town before Highway 14 climbs up into the pines was Mountainview. When I began that habit, in my teens, it was a small hole in the cliff-face with a small claim to fame: it was the site of the Ozark Mountain Folk Festival. There were two small stores there where we could stop for batteries, ice, and other essentials. They were expensive, and there wasn't much to choose from. When Wal-Mart came in it very quickly drove them out of business.

But from our point of view it was an immediate improvement. The goods were cheaper, and a full range of camping supplies was available. This was the most important thing that Wal-Mart brought to Mountainview: you could get stuff in town that was formerly only to be found hours away in larger communities. I also noticed that Wal-Mart employed a lot more people than the two dollar stores had. I don't know what those stores paid, but I bet it wasn't a lot more than Wal-Mart did. I know that there were a lot of folk living in that beautiful area who would rather have stuck around if they could get any work at all, and WM provided that.

Another thing I noticed is that as soon as Wal-Mart set down, the town began to grow. Folk from a wide area came in to shop instead of going to Little Rock or somewhere else. And while they were there, they liked to get a bite to eat. Fast food joints sprouted like mushrooms after a good summer rain, and then a catfish house or two. There is no reasonable doubt that Wal-Mart was good for the town as a whole."

Like Mr. Blanchard I have to rely on outside information and very limited experience to understand inner city poverty, but I bet most Idahoans understand rural poverty.

Which is why it's a mystery that Red State Rebels, an attractive and well-written left-leaning blog, has posted a reminder that the "Ada County Dems are hosting a benefit screening of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday (Jan. 29), at The Flicks in downtown Boise." (View the trailer here.)

There is too much evidence that Wal-Mart is good for low-income families to defend our local Democratic party hosting a fundraiser attacking the company.

Postscript: I have just been introduced to a handful of Idaho-based blogs. Indulge me while I link to a few of them.

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A Woman's Place

Last weekend, acting on a tip, I stopped by the Assistance League thrift shop and purchased four vintage purses. Total? Not more than $15.00.

Next up: a purse that accompanies the woman's ideal ride.

H/T blog idaho.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Fifth Noble Truth: Suffering is only bad if its your own

To mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this weekend pro-life supporters gathered to protest abortion. In Boise this number was around 400. The day after these protesters gathered, their opponents rallied to to show their support of Roe v. Wade. One of these was a neighbor from my childhood.

I remember her as a wild, slightly obnoxious but affectionate girl that I called a friend. We had nothing in common except proximity and perhaps age (she is a year or so younger). Since I was raised by Christians and she was influenced by a combination of Eastern mysticism and paganism, we fought over politics and religion.

We rarely saw each other after high school, and the encounters were disheartening. She lived an aimless, wild life, and not a particularly happy one. Our email correspondence was painful. A few years ago we reconnected and she told me that she had become a Buddhist. There is no denying its positive effect on her life. She met a man she loves, they got married, they have a dog. (His name is Buddha.) She is calmer. She is sober. She is studying for an advanced degree.

She is an intellectual.

I prefer the loud-mouthed adolescent to the condescending adult.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, at Sunday's gathering, my misguided friend said, ''When American women are barred from accessing health services at the whim of a politician's religious beliefs, we are not in a democracy at all."

Was she at the wrong rally?

It is easy to defend abortion within the framework of a reckless life. Abortion is a safety net for the lazy and imprudent. Within this context, abortion makes sense: I am foolish and I acted foolishly. I will cover my actions by having an abortion. Abortion is a right I should defend at all costs.

It is difficult to defend abortion when you are a Buddhist. The prudent lifestyle does not support abortion in any context. It is superfluous. Not only is it a threat to a virtuous and prudent society, it inflicts suffering on someone weaker--a fundamental harm that Buddhism (and Feminism and Liberalism, one might argue) aims to correct.

What is Buddhism's First Noble Truth? "The Truth of Suffering. The Buddha's discovery of the solution to the problem of suffering began with the recognition that life is suffering...If people examine their own experiences or look at the world around them, they will see that life is full of suffering."

It might be sufficient to say that abortion is a part of mankind's suffering and ought to be borne. The problem with that logic is "the end of suffering is the final goal of the Buddha's Teaching..." Common sense tells us that Buddhists would be inclined to be pro-life, working to end the "ill will, greed and desire" that would compel a woman fully capable of either raising a child or giving it up for adoption to abort it.

Where was the pursuit of the noble goal of ending suffering wherever it's found, however discomfiting the discovery, in my friend's statement? Where is it in the larger Buddhist communities?

I must conclude that to the average Feminist Buddhist suffering is only tragic when it's your own.

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Perchance to Dream of Other People's Blogs

I have never had much shame when it comes to admitting that I dream frequently and in living color. I will tell someone I've known for less than two days that I dreamt about them the night before. I will tell anyone who will listen about desperate flights from flesh-eating monsters.

It is a vice.

But it is my vice. And since this is my blog and you can click your back button at any time, I am going to tell you that since I started blogging, I dream about other people's blogs. Their blogs. I think this is strange.

Abba Gav is a very interesting blog. I don't know the occupation of the gentleman who authors this blog, but it must be sweet because he writes lengthy posts, primarily about things I know nothing about. (The only thing worse than my geography is my Middle Eastern politics, which is saying something. I once argued the location of Africa with a Spaniard.)

This is what I know from reading his blog: Hamas: bad. Israel: Good. Which is why I read his blog. (Actually I read his blog for his human interest stories. I am far enough behind in my Middle Eastern politics that his posts are sometimes overwhelming.)

Two nights ago I dreamt about Hamas. Or rather, I dreamt about the photos on Abba Gav's blog, which came to life.

I have also had anxiety dreams about comments I have posted on other people's blogs. Was I too harsh? Was I clever enough? What if I inadvertently typed "they're" when I meant "their?" Why don't bloggers post all their comments?

This is stupid.

The only thing more stupid is that I told you. Unless of course it's the fact that you are still reading.

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Excerpt from "Christ in the House of Mary and Martha"

You must learn now, that the important lesson - as long as you have your health - is that the divide is not between the servants and the served, between the leisured and the workers, but between those who are interested in the world and its multiplicity of forms and forces, and those who merely subsist, worrying and yawning.

-A.S. Byatt

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Confessions of a Girlfriday

Apparently short posts are in the air.

Unless you are joking, drunk or affecting your best Helen Hunt impression, never, under any circumstances, say "Buh-bye" when you get off the phone with me.

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The funniest thing I heard yesterday. . .

. . . on the "Colbert Report":

"Oedipus ruined a great sex life by asking too many questions.

'So. . .got any kids?'"

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And now for something completely different...

To inspire a slightly different feeling than perhaps JEB just did, here's something I ran across today.

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We just sent a package to a family friend's son who is serving in the Marines in Iraq; This was his address:

USMC Corporal A. Wingett
3rd Battalion, 1st Marines
Kilo Company, 2nd Platoon
FPO AE 11121-1200

How can you not respect an the person behind an address like that? I think I heard the National Anthem just putting it on the box.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

When You're Better, You're Better.

"The dying have an immediate claim on our attention. Our most careful attention. No disputation may be offered without first making the pilgrimage Solomon described: 'The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning.'"

Isn't he a wordsmith?

Small wonder he produced her and her.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Dear Blogger: Help me.

This is a cry for help.

I don't know you, but does it matter?

How do I change my toolbox settings so the language is my own (English for those who were unsure). I'm on the eve of destruction. I've nearly dismantled the blog and administrated away other contributors' posts. Someone in France could die. It's that serious.

You could be next. One misstep in your site meter and you may be trying to Creer or Modifier les messages or Afficher le blog. Or maybe you won't be as lucky as I've been. Your Blogger toolbox may turn into whatever they speak in Malaysia. THEN who will help you?

Blogger, if you have un coeur, you will aid me! In the name of the Great Lion Himself. In the Name of Aslan!

Wrong story. But mine is real.

(What is UNreal is the number of stupid not-so-literary allusions I've made in this post.)

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A moment of silence, please...

...for the Denver Broncos, and especially Jake Plummer. Ya'll came a long way this season! Next year will be the year of the Bronco.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

"We find thus by experience that there is no good applying to Heaven for earthly comfort. Heaven can give heavenly comfort; no other kind. And earth cannot give earthly comfort either. There is no earthly comfort in the long run."

C.S. Lewis on Charity [The Four Loves].

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Friday, January 20, 2006

An anniversary; a remembrance

On this date, twenty-five years ago, the conservative movement in America took power.

The morning was cloudy and windswept, but the day burst into golden sunlight as President Reagan prepared to speak. Part of his address:

We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter—and they are on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They are individuals and families whose taxes support the Government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet but deep. Their values sustain our national life.

To read it in its entirety

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

This is more than you asked for, but here you go. . .

I got 13/20 right, but I didn't vote on all of the categories. I could have had a better average. We'll see how I do on the Oscars. Speaking of . . .

Paul G. will still get the Oscar. Now he's been screwed one more time, so the Oscars can really feel generous when they give it to him this year. But the Golden Globes didn't owe him anything. They at least NOMINATED him last year, and no one could beat Jamie Foxx at either awards. Oscars owe him a lot. I really don't think it's time for George Clooney to win an Oscar, at least not for acting. They might give him screenplay or something for "Goodnight and Goodluck."

Giamatti will win because Oscars enjoy making up for past mistakes so much, they gave Renee Zellweger best supporting actress for "Cold Mountain" (didn't give it to her best actress "Chicago" or "Bridget Jones' Diary") and Judi Dench for "Shakespeare in Love" (seriously? Less than 20 min. on screen time, but they didn't give it to her for "Mrs. Brown). Supporting Actor is like they're freebie award each year. They don't have to take it is seriously, so they can take more chances. They're usually totally chicken on best actor/actress. I.e. Jamie Foxx, "Ray"; Julia Roberts for "Erin Brokovich"; Gwyneth Paltrow for "Shakespeare in Love."

They almost always pick popular favorites, because they obviously didn't owe these actors for any previous performances! The recent rare exceptions are Adrian Brody for "The Pianist . I mean, they gave Bing Crosby an Oscar because he helped keep America's spirits high during WWII. Well, I like the sentiment, and I'm Bing's biggest fan. But an Oscar . . . really?

Or if they're not "popular favorites," but have a lot of buzz, and are controversial enough to give the Oscars street cred (why Hillary Swank won for "Million Dollar Baby"), but not so controversial that America figures out that Hollywood is - gasp! - liberal (why Felicity Huffman won't win for "Transamerica"). Oscars think if they give the MOST controversial film best picture, then they can still keep some of the heartland of America.

They nominate Independent movies but rarely give them major awards for the making of the movie, but will give them small awards here and there (i.e. supporting actor/actress and cinematography). They just like how forward-thinking they look by nominating indie films. And giving "Brokeback Mountain" best picture doesn't change anything. It's not even the most controversial movie out this year, which is why it will win.

There have been exceptions to these rules, of course. Like giving Sofia Coppola best original screenplay for "Lost in Translation." Maybe Bill Murray needs to be a supporting role in a movie. . . then he could get an Oscar!

But these aren't final predictions. Some political things have to win. Jon Stewart's hosting. They want the mood to be political. Maybe this could give Clooney's films an edge? But "Paradise Now" will for sure get best foreign film, so that's a good political "freebie" they can give.

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One out of two ain't bad

Just to bring things back down to superficiality, I predicted 12 of 24 awards at Monday's GG's. So that pretty much confirms I should not go into predicting as a career!

I did hear a great (and by great, I mean sublimely ridiculous) quote from she-who-must-not-be-named (rhymes with heiress kilt-in) the night of the awards: "I go shopping every day so I always have like 50 new dresses."

I can't help but wonder what sort of response this is supposed to inspire. Envy? No. Shock? Maxed out there. Disgust? Maybe, if I cared enough about her. I think my reaction was a good eye-roll.

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People are nuts, and so are you

Isn't it interesting that when you find someone out there in the big, wide world that you think is a completely out of his mind crazy-mad moonbat, there is always someone else who thinks that they are just jolly fine? And that the problem, if there is one, is in YOUR head? I think that this is a prime example of how life is solipcistic, that your viewpoint is yours and their viewpoint is theirs, and never the twain shall meet. Maybe it is that we cannot, ultimately, agree on a good definition of crazy. So let's try this:

If the person you are wondering about is being pursued by a clown car full of psychiatrists, he is nuts.

Shun him and give the car directions.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Not Thankful When it Pleaseth Me, as if Thy Blessings Had Spare Days."

Is my life all that bad?

There is an outstanding and heartfelt outpouring of the tension between broad generosity and prudent giving here. Shall we give only when we know our gift will be wisely used? Do we despair when we can't see immediate results? Can God use our feeble, even misguided, efforts to show his love? And if tears are the only measure of our sympathy for the impoverished, where would they start and how could they ever end?

In his usual alternately crass and sincere manner (I was still touched), Dallas Boyd examines the grim reality of extreme poverty and starvation in Africa and how little affected by it we are in the United States. (Cursor down; trouble with the link.)

When all is said and done, these things are really about redirecting our attention to God, the Source of every good and perfect thing we enjoy, right down to a 10:45 cup of tea.

Oh that my prayer would more often be "Thou hast given so much to me. Give me one thing more, a grateful heart!"

Good night.

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Friendly Fire

A curious discussion is unfolding at Blognostic. We've mentioned them before because they are a blog that we at girlfriday want to take seriously.

The subject at hand is: When it comes to Christianity, how much time should a Christian spend "criticizing the very people who he believes have found the correct answer to life's most important question--how to please God and achieve eternal salvation." Is there a place for healthy criticism of the more vocal and public figures of every person's community of faith? If it is in fact appropriate to criticize even berate other Christians, faithful or otherwise, how far is too far? And what is the aim?

We've wondered it privately; now the worthy writers are wondering it aloud.

And responding!

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Prediction(s), January 17, 2006 . . . sometime later

U.S. Senator George Allen, Republican candidate for President. He's a former governor of a not small state (Virginia). He's handsome. He's young (53). He's bright (law degree from UVA). He's the son of late great NFL coach, George Allen (in the official photo of Sen. Allen on his website, he's holding a football in his right hand.)

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Predictions, Jan. 17, 2006

I'm going on record right now, in the bare-bulb light of Hillary Clinton's latest outcry (about the shackled nature of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives): I don't care how much money she has or how much money she raises for the Democratic party, she is not going to be our next President.

If you doubt this, then just listen to any of a number of her screeds. She sounds shrill and she sounds . . . well . . . mean. And the American public, no matter how jaded they may appear when viewed through polls, their poor television choices, or their obsession with Jennifer Aniston, is not so cynical yet as to elect a woman who sounds, um, angry (yes, that's the word) all the time.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

My 2 cents

I like awards show season as much as the next gal. I've posted picks on my blog. And while you're there, feel free to peruse other recent postings and leave a comment or two! (I hope that didn't sound too desperate.) Check out my predictions.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

"It's Award Show Season"

Dovetailing with what "Ihearttexas" just published - though perhaps in a less enthusiastic vein, I bring you this quote by Mark Bazer in a recent column with the headline (which I stole), "It's Award Show Season:" "[It's] that wonderful time of year . . . when you feel like there is a real chance you'll turn on the TV and catch Michael Moore along with the cast of 'Rent' doing and interpretive dance based on Syriana."

I think that pretty much sums up my feelings on celebrity awards shows and Hollywood in general . . . .

(You can read the whole column here:

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Golden Globe Predictions

Motion Picture, Drama
"Brokeback Mountain"

Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Walk the Line (I'm actually not sure about this one, but it's too horrible to think about any of the other movies beating it)

Actor, Drama
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"

Actress, Drama
I have NO idea! The only two who should even be on the list are Maria Bello and Felicity Huffman. I'm going to go ahead and say Huffman, because, like with "Walk the Line" it's too awful to think about Charlize or Gwyneth winning this year.

Actor, M or C
Okay, if Joaquin gets this, then Walk the Line's getting best picture. But I'm not sure he'll get it. The Golden Globes has a history of making some random choices. Hmm. . .I want to send him good vibes, so I'm voting for Joaquin - the power of positive thinking!

Actress, M or C
Reese Witherspoon

Supporting Actor
Well, the Golden Globes have actually nominated Giamatti before, even though he didn't win for Sideways, so they may not feel as compelled to give it to him, and might give it to . . . Matt Dillon, maybe? But I guess I'll put my money on Paul - again, positive thinking, people. . .

Supporting Actress
I guess Michelle Williams

Best Director
The obvious guess is Ang Lee. But I'd love to see Woody Allen finally get his props, and think the might actually be able to pull it off for the Oscars. But I guess I'll still go with Lee for my prediction.

Best Screenplay
I think this will be the one nod "Goodnight and Good Luck" gets. Or maybe Woody Allen? Either way, I don't think it will be "Brokeback."

I don't really care about songs or scores, so I'm not predicting them . . . they'll just hurt my track record

Foreign Language Film
Paradise Now - Palestine

TV Drama
The Golden Globes do like HBO, so it could be Rome, even though it really hasn't gotten a lot of buzz. But I have a feeling I'll be making a trip to the toilet as "Commander in Chief" wins. But I don't really care, because where the hell is "Six Feet Under"???? Are you kidding me!?! The best drama EVER goes off the air in an episode that still haunts me, and it doesn't get one single nod? I should boycott the ceremony just for that.

TV Comedy
Everyone's been bashing "Desperate Housewives" this season, so I don't think it's going to win. "Entourage" might, but I actually think "Everybody Hates Chris" will be the surprise win.

Do I have to vote on mini-series, because I really don't want to. I haven't seen any of them.

Actor, TV Comedy
I'd love to see Steve Carrell win, and I think he might. It's been his year.

Actress, TV Comedy
I actually think having all four of the "Houswives" nominated will split the vote, and Mary Louise Parker will win. If not, then it's Felicity Huffman.

Actor, TV Drama
I don't even care, but I'll say. . . Patrick Dempsey, because the Golden Globes likes honoring comebacks.

Actress, TV Drama
Okay, maybe "Commander" doesn't win best Drama, but I do think Geena Davis will get best actress. And THEN I'll be heading to the toilet. If it's not her, it's Kyra Sedgwick, but I'm still going with Davis.

Supporting Actor, TV
I'd say Jeremy Priven, but he gets a lot of bad press about being a stuck up celebrity, so maybe not. So, let's say Paul Newman for "Empire Falls."

Supporting Actress, TV
Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy."

That's all, folks. . . I'll see you on Tuesday!

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Happy thought indeed

I've just returned from the new version of "Pride and Prejudice," and I can't wipe the smile off my face.

Kiera Knightley charms as Ms. Bennet, and Jane is actually prettier than Elizabeth, as it is written in the book. Mr. Collins is laughable, but very different than the Mr. Collins from the A & E version. Judi Dench is superb as always, and Brenda Blethyn is perfectly cast. Unfortunately, Jena Malone is in the movie, possibly one of the most obnoxious actresses EVER, but as she plays Lydia, the sister you love you hate, it works out okay.

I didn't like actress who plays Caroline Bingley, and definitely prefer the father from the other version to Donald Sutherland, but he also does a good performance.

At the beginning I kept comparing it to the other version (which is still, of course, the better of the two movies), but by the end I was so enraptured I began seeing it as its own film. And while this Mr. Darcy is no Colin Firth, you still love him. Towards the end there were scenes I didn't like as well as other parts of the movie, but they were easy to look past.

It separates itself from the A & E version by being a completely different movie, with a completely different feel, but still stays true to the book. It probably shows a more realistic view of the Bennets' lives, by showing how common their lives were.

Yes, I am eating my words. I loved the new "Pride and Prejudice."

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Friday, January 13, 2006

An Office with a View

Eat your heart out.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Love is, and is not.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately, and while I doubt I have any definitive answers to any of the usual questions, I’m sure I have a fairly good grasp on what love is…and what it is not. For those of the feminine persuasion, please reverse all personal pronouns.

Love is wanting her nearby always, even if that means sitting across the room and catching glances in passing.

Love is not sex.

Love is the deep-seated desire to make the world a little nicer, smile a little more and generally behave a little better just because you feel so happy and lucky.

Love is not doing something for someone who cannot be bothered to do it herself.

Love is the sure knowledge that her well-being is far more important to you than your own.

Love is not therapy.

Love is knowing beyond the shred of a doubt that she is the most beautiful woman in the world – and that no-one else remotely places second.

Love is not “constructive criticism.”

Love is that catch in your breath when you hear her voice and are waiting for her to enter the room.

Love is not something done “for your own good.”

Love is seeing the faults but respecting the whole.

Love is not guilt.

Obviously, the list can be much longer, and I expect that those of you onboard the good ship girlfriday have your own ideas. I’d admire to hear them.

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I've posted on Baby Whisperer.

And if you're a mom, or have any experience with kids, please read it!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oldie but a goodie

There really should be some sort of warning before a country music station replaces the oldies station you've listened to since you were a child. Do we really need FIVE country stations? So long early '60s Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers ... I guess I'll have to start buying music again!

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Excerpts from a "To Do" list:

Lest we lose perspective on our nation's place in the world or become overwhelmed with our day to day lives . . . .

These are a few things I have on my list of things to accomplish in the early part of January, 2006:
- Pick up dry cleaning
- Drop off shoes for repair
- Organize photos
- Paint downstairs bath
- Organize files

These are a few things that John Adams had on his list of things to accomplish in the early part of Janaray,1776:

- Powder mills to be built in every colony
- Prevent the exportations of silver and gold
- Government to be approved in every colony
- An alliance to be formed with France
- Declaration of Independency

(The above is from a small notebook kept by second U.S. President John Adams and now owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society.)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Things are awry. I've clicked on something in my site meter that turned my blogger edit mode language into French. Even the blogger help items are in French.

This is not the end of the world since I have a rough idea what everything means and I know enough French to be dangerous. By dangerous I mean I have the vocabulary of a 3 year old. There is still the possibility that I will delete when I mean to edit, post when I mean to save or start donning a beret.

I have no idea how "Titre de message blog" translates, but it is so funny without knowing that I'm afraid its translation will ruin it.

Has this happened to anyone else? Ibid? Tex? I may need you. Pauvre moi!

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When Words Fail Us

Pictures speak.

From Reuters via NRO's The Corner: "Even Pat Leahy can't take Biden"

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A Fantasy League for the Rest of Us, Part One Million

Tonight were the Broadcast Film Critic Choice Awards. I only watched because my mom has cable and she was home sick tonight.

But I'm glad I did because now I am ready for the Oscar nominations on the 31st.

I will spare you the full list of nominees and winners though you can read them here. Here are the highlights:

Paul Giamatti got his props at last and won the award for best supporting actor ("Cinderella Man"). Last year they denied him the best actor nod for his fine performance in "Sideways."

Every child actor since Jodi Foster was nominated for best young actor/actress and in a surprise move, the Critics gave it to Dakota Fanning.

"Brokeback Mountain" did win best picture and Ang Lee best director. This is a telltale sign since five of the six winners in the past six years have gone on to win the Oscar. I am resigned. The good news is Jake Gyllenhal and Heath Ledger won nothing and the perennially overlooked Philip Seymour Hoffman won best actor.

The adorable and apparently incredible Reese Witherspoon (isn't that a funny last name?) won for "Walk the Line."

The best news? "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit" wins best animated featured.

Labels: ,

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Monday, January 09, 2006

EVERYTHING is not in Vain?

Every is a mighty word. Nothing is excluded.

Every idle word...Everything he does lasts forever...Every knee will bow.

Everyone who admits their true standing before God receives grace. Everyone who knocks will discover an open door. Every repentant murderer will be forgiven. Everything can be forgiven.

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Everything is not in Vain

Though few things reveal this with as much blazing truth as the death of five American missionaries in Ecuador in 1956 and the subsequent conversion to Christianity by their killers.

And not every movie is about the disaster Man has made of his state. Though frequently these are not well made movies, let us hope "The End of the Spear" is an exception. Mom and I saw a preview for it tonight while whittling away our evening laughing with Dennis Miller during the "Critic's Choice Awards." (More on that later.)

It is encouraging when stories like the one mentioned above make it to the big screen. Mom mentioned how, in spite of their claims to the contrary, Hollywood is lacking in cinematic bravery. 1960's sexual repression? Yawn. McCarthyism? No wonder nobody went. But a film that presumes to tell a true story about courageous men who died at the end of the spear because of their faith? Besides two miserable attempts to tell the Joan of Arc story, it's been a long time since we've seen this.

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Failure is Not an Option

At least when it comes to what you're wearing.

And when your lackluster hair, your cheap blush and your faded top are failing you, there are really great shoes to console you.

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Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

If I had a dollar for every time this happened to me.

"$1.4 billion suit claims German bank hired women as "eye candy"

Takes a lot of nerve to file a lawsuit like this one, doesn't it?

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Pot and the Kettle: a Tale of Two Congressional Leaders

Tom DeLay has stepped down as Majority Leader in Congress. Unlike those with very close ties to him, he has acted with prudence.

I think it's possible that Mr. DeLay will not survive the Abrahamoff investigation. There are too many indications that those in a position to influence his official position were being paid to do so. And may have succeeded in doing so. Unlike the work performed by registered lobbyists acting on behalf of paying members of an interest group, this is illegal. What is unclear, and ultimately omnipotent, is how the scandal, which has so many ins and outs, will play out in the media and with voters.

If he does survive it, he will not come out unscathed, and I'm relieved that he is not going to try to keep his post as Majority Leader.

This does not excuse Ms. Pelosi from being an embarrassment to reality:

"For years, at the expense of the American people, the House Republicans have enabled and benefited from the Republican culture of corruption engineered by Tom DeLay. The culture of corruption is so pervasive in the Republican conference that a single person stepping down is not nearly enough to clean up the Republican Congress."

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Friday, January 06, 2006

The Truth is Out There

In Jeb's backyard it turns out.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Love's Labours by the Descendants of Monkeys

Dying miners write love letters to their families. "We didn't suffer. We love you."

Precious, spirited humanity. This is the work of time and chance colliding? Time and Chance, which are mere measurements and not, after all, forces themselves.

Yes, I am more convinced than ever that we are the soulful, literate, imaginative offspring of monkeys.

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"Mind Your Dress, Nan."

A delightful middle-aged man with a thoroughly Glaswegian accent said this to my friend Ann Malcolm on the banks of Loch Lomond in the late summer of 2000.

She responded pleasantly and later explained to me why she loves the Glaswegians: Unlike their neighbors to the East, they are people without pretension. Glasgow has a 2,000 year history, much of it centered around trade and heavy industry. It is a blue collar town that is at last experiencing a cultural renaissance of sorts. But its roots in shipbuilding, trade and manufacturing remain and the effects of a depressed economy linger.

Many Glaswegians live hard lives. The crime rate in Glasgow is (in most cases) higher than the Scottish average. The cost of living is high, but wages are average. As a result, the people are a little rough around the edges. Modest. Plain spoken. These are the people among whom Ann and her husband labored as ministers for ten years.

I know some of these people, and every now and then I will catch a glimpse of them in the grocery store or on the street. Strangers with wrinkled faces who warn you to mind your dress, or too-skinny teenage boys with beat up tennis shoes who hold the door.

At the stoplight near the Overland Cinema tonight, one of them walked through the crosswalk. I caught his eye for a moment and he looked away. I happened to be listening to The Dargason of St. Paul's Suite ( I looked the title up) and half way through the piece it crescendos. I listen to my music very loudly. The passerby heard it, and, still walking, looked up and around for the source. He sussed out that it was me and raised his arm and made a small quick motion as if conducting an orchestra. Smiling. I laughed and he reached the sidewalk and walked on.

He had the air of Glasgow.

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UT 41 USC 38

"Ihearttexas," please tell me that someone, somewhere down in the Lone Star state ran a headline that said, "Don't Mess with Texas!"

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There was a story here

But it was very, very short.

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You know who I don't like?

Flippers. No, not the dolphins -- real estate investors. Of course not all flippers are bad; some are just savvy. But it's the ones that abuse it that really bug me. How do they justify buying a home dirt-cheap and only paying for cosmetic improvements before turning around to sell it? I hope they lose LOTS of sleep at night over the thought that some well-meaning family is sleeping over a rotten foundation and under a collapsing roof. But that profit was worth it, eh? Hey, at least that linoleum is nice and shiny! Find another hobby, people. Geez.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Two words:

Hook 'em

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

To Pee or Not to Pee

Is it acceptable for men to leave the toilet seat up? I've asked myself some serious questions lately, but this is among the most important.

AbbaGav wonders why , "In this age of neo-post-feminism, grrrl-power and men who wear earrings in their noses...lowering the toilet seat still considered such an exclusively macho responsibility?"

AbbaGav mistakenly believes that women insist that men lower the toilet seat because we don't want to bother double-checking. Another reminder that men, no matter how "well-trained or well-meaning," can be slightly obtuse.

The seat goes down, gentlemen, and not because we don't have the brains to look first. The seat goes down because we don't want to see what's under it.

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The Iron Law of Unintended Consequences

Newton’s Third Law of Physics states that any action will have an equal and opposite reaction. Shoot a cannon: the ball goes one way and recoil sends the barrel smashing back against the gun carriage. Rockets, for instance, are nothing more than mechanisms for shoving energy towards the ground, thereby sending the rocket upward in reaction.

In the area of human interaction, something entirely different occurs. I refer to this as the Iron Law of Unintended Consequences, which states that while every action necessarily causes a reaction of some sort, secondary consequences inevitably eventuate that cause as many, or more, problems than the original difficulty. An outstanding example of this would be the Second World War against Germany. The allies (the US and Great Britain) knew that the defeat of Germany would require Russian assistance, and so they made a series of deals intended to keep the USSR in the war. With the final German collapse came the realization that Russia’s agenda was somewhat different than our own, and that they had no intention of disbanding their forces. Churchill’s Iron Curtain descended across Eastern Europe and the Cold War was on.

An unintended consequence of the Cold War was that both sides, in enlisting allies, made few fine distinctions in terms of freedom or something rather less than that. The US found allies among such folk as the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos and Anastacio Somoza, not really caring about the citizens of small countries, but rather caring about how the countries fit within the East/West polarization. The same was true for the USSR. Ultimately, the support of strongman governments cost the US dearly as those strongmen fell from power. Iran is still a significant problem for US diplomacy, as is Venezuela, Vietnam, Nicaragua, the Philippines and various other places here and there around the world.

Perhaps the most enduring unintended consequence of the Cold War evolved from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. United States operatives, most notably from the CIA but also from other intelligence agencies, provided weapons, sophisticated training, command and control and technological assistance to the Mujahedeen fighting the Red Army. Using increasingly coordinated command and control amongst the various factions of the resistance as well as the latest in missile technology, the Muj found ways to confound, confuse and finally conquer the Soviet military, inflicting on the USSR a Vietnam-like defeat that helped in the dissolution of the Soviet state.

The unintended consequences of the Mujahedeen and the defeat of the USSR include the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamicist movement throughout the Middle East, all of which we are having to deal with now. I cannot help wondering if our policymakers have given any thought to the unintended consequences of our “War on Terror.”

If they have not, the one suggestion I would offer is that we should take care of our allies, both during the war and afterwards, regardless of the ultimate outcome, and that we must be perceived as the friends and allies of particular countries and their citizens, and not just as partners or cronies of any particular government or faction.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Ready or Not

2006 has arrived.

Last year things were bestowed, weighed, broken, lost, despaired of, taken away, hoped in, recovered, reveled in.

365 days of living.

But one thing did not happen. God did not leave me.

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