Monday, October 31, 2005


from Yahoo! Picks:

Wikipedia's List of Neologisms on The Simpsons
Without a doubt, Matt Groening's "The Simpsons" has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape. Even Homer's exasperated "D'oh!" has wrangled its way into the "Oxford English Dictionary." Now, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Wikipedia's dedicated editors, there's an entire list of words and phrases coined by Springfield's most famous residents. From Bart Simpson's fictitious Scrabble entry "Kwyjibo" ("a big, dumb, balding North American ape... with no chin") to Apu's celebrated Kwik-E-Mart offering, the "Squishee," readers can revel in this ever-growing list of Simpson-ian creativity and inventiveness. Worst. Pick. Ever? That's unpossible. (in Television)

Saturday, October 29, 2005


from Arts & Letters Daily:

Mythology is an art form. In their attempt to counter the sterility and cruelty of modernity, writers have turned to myth. They show us how to look into our hearts... more»

religion gone bad

from Arts & Letters Daily:

They were medical students, fathers, or businessmen who became suicide bombers in Iraq. Now you can read their obituaries on the Web... more»

Friday, October 28, 2005

good writing

from Career Pro News Weekly:

Writing Ability Offers Clues to Worker's Skill Levels

A recent survey suggests that workers who can write well are a rare commodity in the workplace. Workplace experts say a worker’s written communication is an important part of their workplace image, and that poor grammar can influence an employer’s impression of their overall skills.

Read more from the CourierPostOnline

current books

What's I'm reading these days:
  • Kite Runner - set in Afghanistan, 1974-1994
  • Alaska - set from the time of the "land bridge" between Asia and the Americas, to "present day" (20 years ago? I'm still 10s of thousands of years ago at the moment; the settling of the Aleutians)
  • Developing Mathematical Talent - written by the guy who founded CTY
  • Heart of Christianity - because the author will be speaking at our church in a couple weeks; an interesting description of religious liberalism
  • World Religions in America - just what the title says; a history and breakdown of how America is a religious melting-pot as well as ethnic (or are they interrelated concepts? hmmm)
  • What Neitzsche Really Said - I'm intrigued by his "heaven on earth" viewpoints

The most recent novel I have read is The 5 People You Meet in Heaven. I really liked it. It was thought-provoking, a quick read.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm a spiritualist

duh. But when I noticed on someone's blog that they were 60% spiritualist and 60% rationalist I had to look. Here are my results:

You fit in with: Spiritualism

Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.

80% spiritual.
40% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at

I like lip syncing

this little video is great - thank goodness for home movies! (thanks, sis :-) )


from Utne Web Watch:

By Robert S. Boynton, American Prospect Online
Political scientist Francis Fukuyama, famous for penning The End of History, has leapt back aboard the timeline with his sharp criticism of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's foreign policy. His political detour has confounded fellow neoconservatives and incited debates about American politics within conservative circles.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

pet dog site - something to look into. The small dog playgroup that I take my dog, Gertie, to sometimes got featured on this site.

Dalai Lama on science

from SciTech Daily:

Science and Buddhism, according to the Dalai Lama, share a strong empirical basis and are surprisingly compatible [the story]

a quote:
"Just because a current theory or philosophy of science fails to account for a phenomenon does not mean that science itself should be abandoned."

The author has described "a God of gaps", where the religious may fill in any gaps in scientific theory with a religious concept. He doesn't like it. I, however, see its merits. Why not label something that does not have a scientic theory as religious? Of course, there are depths to scientific theory that the layperson cannot even fathom. At this point it seems to me that much of a layperson's belief in the unknown, either scientific or religious, is all religious.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

imagine no religion, too . . .

from Arts & Letters Daily:

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love,” said Jonathan Swift. God forbid we should hate religion – and law should forbid it too... more»

Monday, October 24, 2005

and the lion shall lay with the lamb

brain biology or social skills?

from SciTech Daily:

The rise and fall of psychoanalysis [the story]

Pretty Tree Homicide

from SciTech Daily:

Those lovely northern autumnal hues hide botanical assassination attempts [the story]

Sunday, October 23, 2005

got the time?

from Arts & Letters Daily:

In God’s atemporal view, the act of creation is simultaneous with the moment of your reading this. God doesn’t look back to creation, nor forward to your clicking on... more»

vocabulary words

I always hated vocabulary words, and now my son does too. But today, he's coming to me with every vocabulary word he has to write a sentence for, and I'm going bonkers!

Friday, October 21, 2005

homework assignment

This is a blog started by my friend, Anita. I'm looking forward to seeing what the kids have to say.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

funny penguins

thanks to for bringing this to my attention!
midnight, 10/21: still makes me giggle :-}

my hero . . .

My Inner Hero - Wizard!

I'm a Wizard!
There are many types of magic, but all require a sharp mind and a cool head. There is no puzzle I can't solve, no problem I can't think my way out of. When you feel confused or uncertain, you can always rely on me to untangle the knots and put everything back in order for you.

How about you? Click here to find your own inner hero.

we love drug companies

from Utne:

Panexa. Ask Your Doctor for a Reason to Take It
By Staff, Stay Free!This parody drug ad with its excessive small print and sales-pitch drivel shoves a sharp peccadillo in the side of the big pharma bull. The panacean poison Panexa has side effects that include "really geeky laughs," "shiny, valuable feces," and "susceptibility to wedgies." -- Archie Ingersoll


from Utne:

By Rose Miller,
Online mapping technologies like Google Maps, Google Earth, and MSN Virtual Earth have created new ways of visualizing the world. Software programmers are following suit, charting new terrain by customizing interactive online maps to bring users interesting and useful place-based information.

and coming up next, martians from outer space

from SciTech daily:

New zombie worms found devouring dead whales [the story]

talented youth

sites I've run across while seeking to learn more about talented youth programs

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

mimicing is friendly

from What's New at IEEE in Computing:

When computer-generated artificial intelligence replicates positive human behavior and emotions, people respond similarly to how they would when reacting to a real human, according to a new study published in Psychological Science. The researchers conducted an experiment where participants listened to an argument from an artificial agent that either copied the listener's head movements or those of another participant. Those who were mimicked saw their agents as more persuasive and likeable than those who were not. Read more

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


lots of downloadable sheet music on this site:

safe stuff plus cool website

from SciTech daily:

Check out this inspiring and ultimately uplifting catalog of human ingenuity [the story] [the cool website]

Monday, October 17, 2005

my favorite is the snowman murder scene

from Arts & Letters Daily:

Calvin and Hobbes was such an exuberant, strange, and metaphysical realm you wonder how it ever got shoveled into a comic strip... more»

song dance revolution max 2

from Arts & Letters Daily:

Every child in every society creates song and dance: it’s a fundamental activity of Homo sapiens. Why and when did music evolve?... more»

Sunday, October 16, 2005

peace pic

talented youth

Our son has done really well on the standardized tests that the kids take each spring. So this year he has been invited to do some more testing, to further "categorize" him (so he can "be all that he can be").

During the information night at the school, the teacher was really discouraging the parents from accelerating their studies in a particular area (like math), because they would eventually "run out of" topics that could be tought at the school. I didn't like that answer, because if the kid is so excited by the topic that he/she needs to study more and more, he/she should not be discouraged from doing it. Especially in the area of math, where topics of study in college and grad school are not even fathomable in grade school.

So, I've bought a book (suprise!). One of the first things it says, in the section meant to "dispell myths", is that one of the myths is that the child will "run out of curriculum" before they graduate high school. This hits the nail right on the head, and really makes me hesitant to trust the opinions of this teacher whom my son is likely to have in a couple of years. Man . . .

I guess one of the big points of this learning exercise I've been going through is that any child who is not of the mainstream learning capability needs extra attention from his/her parents in order to be nurtured properly. But, I wonder, does any child really fit "the mainstream"?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

more war thoughts

war on terror - goal: eradicate terror so that the world may live in peace and not fear

Does anyone really believe that the US war against Iraq can ultimately end in there being no more terrorism in the world?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Houses that Swim

from Utne Web Watch:

Dutch Answer to Flooding: Build Houses that Swim

Translated from the German by Gareth Davies, Spiegel Online
The Netherlands' first amphibious houses sit floating and bobbing on the Maas dyke. Moored by steel posts driven into solid ground, 37 new homes with watertight cellars can move up and down as water levels fluctuate. The company that built these ship-shape domiciles touts them as a housing solution for delta regions prone to flooding. -- Archie Ingersoll

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Narnia, Etc.

from ChristianityToday's Books & Culture:

Narnia Etc.
A chronicle of reading.

I've lost track of how many Narnia-related books have arrived in the office in recent weeks. (I stopped counting at a dozen.) Easily the standout so far is The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis (HarperSanFrancisco), by Wheaton College's Alan Jacobs. You may have seen some of Jacobs' essays and reviews in B&C, First Things, The Weekly Standard, and elsewhere (last week he had a superb piece on James Agee in the Ideas section of the Boston Globe) or heard him on the Mars Hill audio series. If so, you won't have to be persuaded to check out his new book, his finest to date, which takes the Narnia series as a point of departure for a penetrating study of Lewis' imagination.

| more |

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Old Fort Niagara

This is where we went this weekend. It's 7pm the next day and I still feel hungover (we got there at 1pm yesterday and left at 11am this morning). We slept on the wooden bunks that the solders from the late 18th century slept on, minus the "tick sacks" (mattresses that happen to have loads of ticks in them - they're the original bed bugs).

Friday, October 07, 2005

Elevator to Space

from Utne:

Have you ever dreamed of riding an elevator into space? Well, now you are just that much closer, as recent tests of a new technology enabled a climbing robot to scale a ribbon 1000 feet into the air. The LiftPort Group that executed the test hopes to build a working space elevator by the year 2018. -- Rose Miller [the story]

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Gospel of Buddha

as seen in the mystic bourgeoisie blog:

The Gospel of Buddha -- "Compiled from ancient records by Paul Carus, 1894" says the full-text online version -- has sold over three million copies in its long life. And who knows how many times it's been downloaded. [the rest of this entry]