Sunday, January 28, 2007

What I Think of Things: Shop for the Cure?

Check out the following article: What I Think of Things: Shop for the Cure?

It is a commentary on how effective the breast cancer awareness and other campaigns are, and also explores whether we are truly helping by buying all of their merchandise. I'm not sure of the answer, but the question is worth considering.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Good: Coach Luma Mufleh and her soccer team, The Fugees (short for refugees) in Clarkston, Georgia. Check out the Jan. 21 NY Times article by Warren St. John here.

The Bad:

The Ugly: The trial of Colton Pitonyak, accused of killing his best friend, Jennifer Cave, in his West Campus apt. in Austin, Texas in August 2005 began today. KXAN is providing live coverage of the trial. It's sad ... the guy seems like he was probably a pretty good kid, made good grades in high school, but started getting into heavy drinking and drugs in college. On the night in question he was so drunk and high he has absolutely no memory (or claims to have no memory) of what happened nor how she got shot. When he found her body in his bathtub the next morning, the first thing he did was call another friend, who then came over. Together they tried to figure out what to do. Rather than calling the police or an ambulance, they tried ineffectively to get rid of the body and then ran off to another town, where they hid out in a hotel room until picked up by Federal Marshals.

On the day she was killed, Jennifer had just started a new job she was excited about. They'd gone out to dinner to celebrate. What happened after that is a mystery, except that she was somehow shot with his gun. On the stand his answers are unemotional and straight-forward, but he seems to feel some remorse. When asked why he didn't call the police or his dad, he just says that he panicked.

It's just such a shame. They were at the beginning of their lives. Hers is now gone, and his is a mess, all because of his poor choices.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ok, this is really it for today....

But you just HAVE to check out this band!!! Listen to Ok, Go sing here and here.

Keeping it real....

I now have a cat, thanks to my friend The Photographer and his girlfriend. Back in September a stray showed up at their house. A few days later she returned with 4 little kittens. The Photographer convinced me to adopt one, and I've been thrilled to enjoy Bella's company ever since. She was born in early September, around the 5th we think, of 2006. It's hard to take yourself too seriously when you spend your time playing tag with a rambunctious little ball of fur.

Another wonderful source of sanity and a sense of balance (other than yoga) is spending time with other people's kids. Got to spend time with The Computer Genius today, who had called The Brit, who brought her little darling. Hard to mope when you're hanging around a munchkin who sings the happy Bagel song to the tune of the ABC's, has butterflies on her shoes, and carts miniature talking version of the The Prez around in her baby buggy.

Final thought for today: if you love books, check out Book Mooch. It's a fantastic place to share books with people around the world and get new ones. Like "Amazon without the credit cards" says The Theologian.

This is mostly to keep my sister happy...

My sister, The Math Geek (The Crafts Queen?), has been hard at work updating her blog with interesting tidbits, so you might enjoy popping over to there to check it out. The piece about Breast Cancer Awareness raises interesting issues, and the next one about TV is illuminating ... and much longer than you'd expect. Proof they haven't been giving her enough to do?

News from my corner of the world: I'm STILL working on my dissertation. I've been working on graduate degrees at the University of Texas in Austin (go Longhorns!) since August 1997 ... managed to get my M.A. in 1999 and have spent the rest of the time slogging through my Ph.D. The coursework was fine, the years studying/researching abroad lovely, but the dissertation has taken on a monstrous life of its own. "ABD" is definitely a dirty little acronym....


But I believe good can come from a lot of things, and here are some of the cool things I've discovered when NOT actually writing:

1) The music of Regina Spektor -- you can hear it for yourself here. She's playfully irreverent, and her voice has a very cool quality. Many thanks to The Lawyer and his wife and my dear friend The Librarian for introducing me to her ... and many other fantastic musicians.

2) Two children's books recommended by the Librarian: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. Both have been made into movies as well, but I recommend reading the books. Because they were written for "young adults", they're a quick read, but absolutely worth whatever time it takes.

3) A fantastic new blog by David Plotz, who is "Blogging the Bible". See his latest entry here.

4) The oh-so-yummy Villie's Subs in Hattiesburg, MS. Actually I discovered them long ago, but stop to eat every time I pass through. Their secret is the bread ... and the realization that a roast beef po'boy isn't worth eating if the gravy doesn't get all over your hands.

5) The guy who came up with "Don't Mess With Texas", Tim McClure, graduated from the University of Texas in 1971 ... which is the same year the original Hard Rock Cafe was founded in London. "Don't Mess With Texas" is the most successful anti-litter campaign ever, even more memorable than Hootie the Owl, but maybe not as gripping as the crying Native American. Another of the memorable ad campaigns to come out of his head: "Texas: A Whole Other Country". Now here's a question ... is he in any way responsible for Troy McClure on the Simpson's?

6) Blogging is much more fun than writing a dissertation. Maybe not as worthwhile, definitely not as conducive to a happy financial existence, perhaps not as ultimately fulfilling, but absolutely more fun.

7) This lady on a recent "Ellen" show is funny, funny, funny.

Whether she's as funny as the fruitcake lady on Jay Leno is entirely a matter of personal opinion...