Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Speaking of the Kinsey Sicks

I had not seen this one:

It is particularly good, and don't think they're just picking on BP. Listen to it carefully.

That was sweet

And this is one reason YKWIA and I are friends. Who else to do you send birthday greetings full of drag queens in showers to? (Well, I'm sure a lot of people, given the quickness of that coming up on Google, but you get what I mean.) I love the Kinsey Sicks. And look at that eyebrow action...

Two more days till I'm 44. :) Thanks YKWIA for the video card. :)


I do love this tweet:

If Republicans succeed in slashing education, it will ensure that the next generation votes Republican.less than a minute ago via TwitBird

Oh, yes, indeed, it was bound to happen

Gavon Laessig is right: the cobra needs and agent. Look what sorts of things are showing up on CafePress--

There are also panties, a thong, specifically. You read that right.

Earlier the snake tweeted: 'Indiana Jones. Why did it have to be Indiana Jones?' :)

Via Joe.My.God.

Okay, the itching is now bearable. Here's to trying to sleep for 4 hours. Good night.

I have spent the last two and a half hours tossing in the bed, itching

It's from my neck to my ankles. No rash or bites, just a pervasive itch. At first I thought I may be having a general reaction to that Apidra, which causes a localised reaction on me, but I don't think so. It may be diabetic dry skin, or it may be my bodywash, although I changed that over a week ago. Still, it could just now be causing issues, as your body has to be sensitised to something before it reacts.

YKWIA, who has a medical background, suggested a cool bath, which has helped. I went ahead and shampooed and used my old bodywash, which still had some in it, because it is Aveeno and I thought it might soothe the itch. Then I slathered everything I could get to with an odourless intensive overnight moisturising lotion to see if it would help. So far, it seems better. I thought I had some children's Benadryl somewhere, but it turned out to be a diabetic generic Robitussin. Useful if I had a cough, not so good with an itch. :(

YKWIA called me up because he was having trouble remembering how to spell the name of a syndrome with a French name. Fortunately the medical librarian was familiar with the syndrome and was dead on with the spelling. So I paid him back for his suggestion.

Okay, I'm going to try to get up super early because I was supposed to do something online for a friend tonight and never got to it because of the itching. He'll probably call again tomorrow morning and I already put him off today. I really meant to do it tonight, but it was just maddening the way the itching continued. I also need to work on game notes since I'm going to Danville on Saturday for my birthday and I need to go to the bank before work.

That reminds me: One of my fellow librarians in the system, Laura Mueller, sent me a wonderful birthday card of the Little Mermaid. She knows my birthday is the same as Hans Christian Andersen's and that I'm a fan of his work. It's also International Children's Book Day (instituted the year I was born), and years ago she sent me a poster that hangs on the inside of my apartment door. It's an appropriate birthday for a librarian, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bill shared this with me on Facebook

I won't post the image here, because it's copyrighted, but...follow the link:

It's a tentacled cake!!!

He suggested I commission it for our game master in the Cthulhu game. I do know a police officer who does a cake decorating business on the side... *evil grin*.

Of course, I think she'd balk at Japanese erotica-inspired plastic schoolgirls on the cake. [Hey, I didn't come up with the genre, I just know about it. In the west the genre is called hentai, a Japanese word which actually has the negative connotation as our 'perverted' or 'pervert'. The Japanese word for sexually-explicit is 'ero' or 'eroi'. A subset of Japanese horror erotica deals with tentacle rape. I have no idea why this is appealing, but you also find it in some Western B-movies as influenced by Japan.]

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I love Johnny Horton, a great balladeer

And now someone has made a video setting the 'Battle of New Orleans'--in Legos.

Thanks, Bill. I may forgive you for my foot due to this one.

Well, I have to admit, he has a point, especially given the media

This may be offensive to some, and I'm certainly not saying that the practice is right. It very much isn't. Nor are missing or murdered people funny, really. But although he does it through comedy, the point is very much well taken: the media spend a lot more time reporting on missing white children and women than they do other ethnicities, that's for sure.

Thanks to Graham Murkett (SomeGreyBloke), who posted this on Facebook.

It was inevitable--someone's having a bit of fun :)

Bronx Zoo's missing cobra 'speaks out' on Twitter
A tongue-in-cheek Twitter user giving "updates" on a missing deadly Egyptian cobra now has some 35,000 followers.

The 20in (50cm) venomous snake escaped from New York City's Bronx Zoo on Friday, and is yet to be found.

In one tweet, BronxZoosCobra says: "On top of the Empire State Building! All the people look like little mice down there. Delicious little mice."

In its Twitter account, The Bronx Zoo - which has some 6,000 followers - admits it is currently "the snake's game".
Incidentally, the snake now has over 101,000 followers, but on the upside, the Bronx Zoo gained about 1,000. :) The zoo is confident that the snake is still in the reptile house, hiding in a non-public area.

I think many bibliophiles would kill for this library

But at least now they can take a virtual tour.

360-Degree Panorama Takes You Inside Prague’s Off-Limits Baroque Library
The finished Strahov library panorama, released Tuesday on Martin’s website, is a zoomable, high-resolution peek inside one of Prague’s most beautiful halls, a repository of rare books that is usually off-limits to tourists (a few of whom can be seen standing behind the velvet rope at the room’s normal viewing station).

Martin’s panorama lets you examine the spines of the works in the Philosophical Hall’s 42,000 volumes, part of the monastery’s stunning collection of just about every important book available in central Europe at the end of the 18th century — more or less the sum total of human knowledge at the time.

Martin got special permission from the library to pursue the project. He didn’t, however, get permission to wear his street shoes indoors. He’s complemented his fingerless gloves and down vest — it’s cold in here — with a pair of oversize, felt-soled slippers for the sake of the polished parquet floor.

I'm just now getting home and it's after nine

I worked my full schedule till 7 this evening, waited for the bus till 7:30, and went to Kroger since there was one more bus that went by there for the night. I didn't have anything in the house beyond green beans and Irish oats, I'm afraid, otherwise I would have waited until later in the week. That only took 20 minutes, though, so I waited 40 minutes in the cold for that last bus. I could have walked home, but 1) my foot has really been hurting and 2) I was in black pants and jacket, so it wasn't the best time to go walking down a sidewalk-free road in the bike lane at night. But I'm home now, that's what counts, and I've eaten a bagel and cream cheese (would you believe I had never had one until I worked for a bagel company when I was 25?) Yum.

My foot is either still broken or I have a horrible case of arthritis there. The pain woke me up the night before last and I had to ice it to help. I blame Bill, who fifteen years ago stepped on me (the hazards of being short around a person 6'5") in just that place. I didn't have insurance then and hobbled around for weeks. I think it either broke then or the bone was weakened. Then three years or so ago I had the stress fractures there. This winter my podiatrist suspected another stress fracture. (They don't show up on x-rays until they heal, though.) This time it's hurting there and also up the side of my foot, up the top further, and into my ankle. It started hurting when the temperature plunged 30 degrees; it had been doing better. So maybe it is arthritis. I really do not want to perpetually be in the Frankenboot. Have any of you had similar issues?

Before the foot issue reared its ugly head again, I had thought about joining an aerobic dance class that started at work tonight. Granted, I'd probably look silly, but I think we all think that, I'm sure. It sounds fun. I know the foot would feel better if I lost weight, but it's hard to do so when you're hobblng around. A bike might be a good idea, though, and I have my grandmother's exercise bike here. I know, I talk about it, but I don't get on it, right?

I think I'll check the news and post if there's anything of interest. If not, good night.

This is pretty neat

Awesome Augmented Reality App Could Save Librarians Hours

It's still a little limited (small children's books would be difficult to tag as the author of the article states, and they're still working on getting more info in the tag), but it has some good promise there. We all know the most dreaded chore in libraries is shelf-reading and inventory. This might help.

(My library's books, as medical books, are almost all thick. :) I somehow don't think my hospital is going to spring for a tablet for such a small library, but in a larger one it could be a godsend.)

Thanks to Kelley Minars (@greaterumbrage) for re-tweeting this link so I could see it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Terribly disturbing

Gadhafi seizes woman who claimed rape, mom says: Al-Obeidi made headlines when she rushed distraught into Tripoli hotel, seeking to tell foreign reporters about assault
Iman al-Obeidi made headlines when she rushed distraught into a Tripoli hotel on Saturday, seeking to tell foreign reporters about her alleged rape. After showing bruises and scars she said were caused by militiamen, al-Obeidi was tackled by waitresses and government minders and hurried out of the hotel and into a car that sped away.

In interviews broadcast Monday on Al-Jazeera, al-Obeidi's parents countered government claims that their daughter had been set free after the hotel incident and was now with a sister in the Libyan capital. They also denied allegations of a government spokesman who had said she is a prostitute.

The parents said al-Obeidi is a lawyer and that she is being held at Gadhafi's compound in Bab Al-Aziziya in the capital. It's unclear where the parents spoke from and Al-Jazeera did not provide their names.

Timely to remember, given current events

March 28, 1979: Reactor Meltdown at Three Mile Island
I was about as far away from Three Mile Island as you could be and still be in the United States (I was in the middle of the Mojave Desert). I must admit I don't really remember much about it from the news--that was before 24-hour news channels exposed and picked apart every aspect of a story before your eyes, and I was about to turn 12 and was more interested in surviving 7th grade and dealing with menarche. In fact I'm pretty sure I learned about it from watching Lou Grant, a show I loved that had lots of gritty reporters.

But it was a very scary thing, and although it pales compared to the results of Chernobyl, I have been very leery of nuclear power ever since I first learned about Three Mile Island. It just doesn't seem smart to rely on a plant that 1) has waste that will stay radioactive for years and no one wants in their backyard and 2) when things go wrong, like a loss of power such as in Japan, things really go wrong, putting the population but more importantly our very environment at risk, in such a way that we may never know just how wrong things went.

That's my take on it, anyway. I know there is no 'perfect' energy source, but nuclear is so far from perfect. And where in the hell did it ever get the moniker 'clean energy', given the waste left behind?

A thoughtful writing, worth a read

Via Joe.My.God.:

I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong: As a Presbyterian minister, I believed it was a sin. Then I met people who really understood the stakes: Gay men

So why had we singled out homosexuality as a litmus test for True Christianity in the first place? Why had it become such a lightning rod for self-righteousness?

One reason, I think, is that it's easy to condemn homosexuality if you are not gay. It is much harder than condemning pride, or lust or greed, things that most practicing Christians have struggled with. It is all too easy to make homosexuality about "those people," and not me. If I were to judge someone for their inflated sense of pride, or their tendency to worship various cultural idols, I would feel some personal stake, some cringe of self-judgment. Not so with homosexuality. 

Now I am wondering why, if two gay people want to commit their lives to one another, they should ever be denied that chance. No church or pastor should be forced to perform those ceremonies, and they can choose not to recognize gay marriage for their adherents. But the constitution of the Presbyterian Church does not explicitly forbid a pastor from being a thief, a murderer, or an egotistical jerk. It is not designed to do these things. It does prohibit a gay person from becoming a pastor. All I can ask is: Why?

Here is that video I mentioned that I could not find

Thanks to YKWIA, who found it for me, and sent it so I could post it here.

That year we played the 'Beyond the Mountains of Madness' campaign in the game I got quite sick of pemmican, and I've never even tasted it. I'm with the Lieutenant.

But you must admit, it is very British.

Not surprising, but sad

Math is for boys? Children absorb stereotypes by second grade
By the time she hits second grade, your daughter has picked up plenty of subliminal messages. Just count the number of pink items she owns or how many of her movie and book choices focus on princesses.

A little less obvious are messages that detail what girls can and cannot do. A worrisome new study shows that second grade girls and boys have already absorbed stereotypes about math and reading -- and the girls have come to believe that math is not for them.

“We still don’t know from where the children are getting this,” says Dario Cvencek, the study’s lead author and researcher at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. “I don’t think anybody is explicitly telling them that. I think it’s a very subtle message.”
The question is how to adequately counteract those messages. It seems parents can try all they want, and they still get through. I'm not a parent, and I don't deal with children on a regular basis, so I don't even know where to begin. But I wish parents well, because we really do need to counteract this. If the advertising folks and the media would get on board, it would certainly help.

Another story out of Germany of a woman doing what she can to confront the past

Nazi family history put to good use by Inge Franken
Inge Franken is a sprightly 70-year-old who lives in an apartment on two floors in Berlin. She has a task, a mission. She tours schools educating children about her - and their - country's dark history.

She shows the class a photograph of two young boys - they can barely be 10 - who pose in Nazi regalia, and she seeks reaction. One has his chest puffed out in pride, the other seems reluctant and shame-faced. It is for today's children to decide which they would rather be.

If the school visit goes well, she says, a child will say that he or she is going home to ask the parents and grandparents what happened in the war in their family. It makes Inge feel that she has set people thinking and asking.

She was spurred to this mission by her own past, a past hidden in a suitcase - and her mother's mind.
Inge Franken, having made a painful discovery about her own father, has confronted the silence many of her generation and those after have had from their parents and grandparents about the war. By doing so, she not only helps bring the truth to light, but also teaches the young how ordinary people got caught up in the Nazi war machine. It can be very painful to discover someone in your family participated in horrific things. On the other hand, it causes people to really think and may prevent something similar from happening again. If only she could send her message worldwide, one on one.

Well, that might work

Robotic Clouds Will Provide Shade During Qatar World Cup

They're essentially blimps designed to shade the stadium in what can be 122°F (50°C) heat. And they're only $500,000 each which, as the article notes, is pocket change for a place like Qatar.

I know what it's like being around someone this smart

and someone who is good at almost every subject he puts his mind to, and with a nearly photographic memory to boot. It's a bit daunting, sometimes, for while I am smart and educated in a variety of subjects, I'm just not in his league. Math probably kept him from being more formidable than he could be. If you married this boy's talent in mathematics with my friend's all around intellect--well, it would be truly amazing. This child seems to be a math savant. I'd be interested in what he achieves as he grows older.

Autistic boy,12, with higher IQ than Einstein develops his own theory of relativity

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Something YKWIA sent me for the b-log (as he puts it)

I love writing down the dream in ones and zeroes. Like most of the Mitchell & Webb skits, it is quite fun. There was a great one with Scott's expedition in Antarctica where Scott wouldn't let his men eat food out of the 'English celebratory calendar'. (Series 3, episode 3). It was quintessentially British. YKWIA showed it to me but unfortunately the only one I actually found on YouTube was a partial clip (although I saw the whole thing at his house, so it obviously exists on the service.)

But as a consolation prize, here is David Mitchell's rant on grammar:

For having had four days off

I am inexplicably tired. My foot has been hurting again badly for days. I bailed on a friend as we watched 'The Guild' earlier because I was tired and hungry and wanted to get home before dark. Now I've eaten, I've blogged, and I'm seriously thinking of going to bed early. I never did do my laundry. I think that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Anyway, it was nice being off, spending time with friends, and eating out at the Indian restaurant.

I suspect Brits love stories of Americans like this

Defecating dog sparks US shootout
Two neighbours in the US state of Mississippi drew weapons and fired at each other as an argument over a defecating dog ran out of control.
I once filed assault 4th degree charges against a particularly unpleasant man who threatened to poison my dogs because he thought (erroneously) that one had urinated on his bush. I wanted a paper trail in case anything came of it. But drawing guns...well, that's even crazier.

Medical term of the day

From MedTerms.com:
Histoplasma: Full name: histoplasma capsulatum. A microscopic fungus that causes the disease histoplasmosis. The fungus is found throughout the world in river valleys and soil where bird or bat droppings accumulate. The spores of the fungus are released into the air when contaminated soil is disturbed (for example, by plowing fields, sweeping chicken coops, or digging holes) and the airborne spores can then be inhaled into the lungs, the primary site of infection. In the US, the fungus is so common that in parts of Kentucky and Tennessee nearly 90% of adults show evidence of exposure by a positive histoplasma skin test. The fungus can be transferred by organ transplantation.

There's a very, very, good chance, as someone living in Kentucky, that I've been exposed to this. I had no idea it could be transferred through organ transplants. I first learned about the fungous and histoplamosis (and the incidence of occurrence here) in my introduction to biology class. In some people, the disease can be fatal, although most people weather through it without symptoms.

Sometimes it's not just what you find, but how on earth it could be there

Brains on campus, sure, but 2,500 years old?: Found in a skull, scientists puzzled by how fragile soft organ lasted so long
A 2,500-year-old human skull uncovered in England was less of a surprise than what was in it: the brain. The discovery of the yellowish, crinkly, shrunken brain prompted questions about how such a fragile organ could have survived so long and how frequently this strange type of preservation occurs.

Except for the brain, all of the skull's soft tissue was gone when the skull was pulled from a muddy Iron Age pit where the University of York was planning to expand its Heslington East campus.

"It was just amazing to think that a brain of someone who had died so many thousands of years ago could persist just in wet ground," said Sonia O'Connor, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Bradford. O’Connor led a team of researchers who assessed the state of the brain after it was found in 2008 and looked into likely modes of preservation.
Usually the brain is one of the first things in the human body to go after death. It liquefies. But this one didn't, and scientists set out to discover why.

Has it really been that long?

Baby Jessica turns 25, gains access to trust fund: Toddler who tumbled down a well more than two decades ago is now a mother of two

I was 20 years old when the toddler fell down an 8-inch well casing, and rescuers spent over two days trying to free the little girl. It's hard to believe it's almost been 24 years.

I feel old.

"Freedom of speech ends where hatred and racism begin"

German woman devoted to removing Nazi graffiti
Irmela Mensah-Schramm stopped abruptly at the crudely sprayed swastika on the wall of a pedestrian underpass. Whipping out a can of spray paint from her cotton tote bag, she quickly made short work of it, turning the neo-Nazi symbol into a nondescript black splotch.

For the 65-year-old retiree, it's all in a day's work.

"I scratched off the first sticker in 1986, at a bus stop in front of my house," Mensah-Schramm said as she ambled through the streets armed with her spray paint and metal scraper. It demanded "Freedom for Rudolf Hess" — Adolf Hitler's deputy, who at the time was still alive and in prison in Berlin.
I agree with her statement in the title of this post. I can understand that some property owners might be upset because in covering Nazi symbols, she is defacing property, but her heart is definitely in the right place. Good luck to her.

Dylan Thomas is hands down my favourite poet

I hope the centre named in his honour continues to inspire others.

Artists' fears over Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea
More than 200 writers, artists and supporters of Swansea's Dylan Thomas Centre have signed a letter expressing concerns about its future use.

Dr Who writer Russell T Davies, Cerys Matthews and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy are among the names calling for it to be run by trust.

Swansea council is looking lease the centre to the city's universities to open a "creative industries hub."

It said the centre would not close and the permanent exhibition would remain.

The letter states since the centre was opened 17 years ago by former US president Jimmy Carter it had delivered a programme of literary and artistic events "unparalleled for its variety and excellence by any other arts venue in the United Kingdom".

It adds: "The centre has celebrated the literary arts of Wales, in addition to music, drama and the visual arts, and has attracted to Swansea a panoply of internationally renowned writers who, returning home, have burnished the renown of Swansea and Wales in all parts of the world."

We need more Miss Shirleys

Glennor Shirley, head librarian for Md. prisons, believes in books behind bars
The library is quiet. At the front counter, workers shuffle papers, sort books and peck at computers. A woman walks in. “Oh, Miss Shirley is here,” says the man behind the reference desk, peeking over the top of his reading glasses. He is a convicted murderer.

Miss Shirley is Glennor Shirley, head librarian for Maryland prisons, responsible for the rows of books behind the barbed-wire fences here at Western Correctional Institution and 16 other state prison libraries. The inmate behind the desk and the librarian’s relationship dates back to a Commodore 64.

Via Steven at Library Stuff.

Cool futuristic visions of glass

If you like videos of possible future devices, you'll love this.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour was rather relaxing

I actually had the lights off from 8:10 to 10:00 pm. I burned candles, listened to the (admittedly electric-powered) fall of the water circulating in the aquarium and just reflected on various things to do with life.

I know some people think it's a pointless exercise, but it is good to set aside time to remind yourself that you're part of a world and your actions matter. There are things we can do to consume less resources; if we all make the decision to alter our behaviour a bit, it can make a more noticeable change. Whether it's recycling, taking public transit, using less electricity, eating more sustainably--whatever. The important thing is to put it in practice.

It's also important to remember that for some people, every hour is Earth Hour. They do not access to dependable electricity, heat, and water. Even in developed countries, this can be disrupted easily, as seen in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

You would think anyone who watched Law & Order would know, but....

It’s Tracking Your Every Move and You May Not Even Know
A favorite pastime of Internet users is to share their location: services like Google Latitude can inform friends when you are nearby; another, Foursquare, has turned reporting these updates into a game.

But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts.

The results were astounding. In a six-month period — from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin.
Cell phone records are frequently used by police to track people accused of crimes, as records show not only what calls are made but from near which tower.

I personally don't see the appeal of Foursquare or other applications that are location-based. I don't include location information when I use Twitter, for example. I try to be somewhat careful, despite having a fairly robust presence on the web, of telling people exactly where I live, although a quick search brings it up fairly quickly, despite a lot of old addresses being there as well, and one would just have to correlate my bus riding posts with the addresses to figure out which one is current. But even it doesn't list my apartment number. But of course all a stalker would need to do is find me at work and follow me home. I know this. But I'm not going to hand over my exact location at any given moment for a coupon or two, either. I guess I embrace technology up to a point. We can't control all the information about us, but there's some we can control, and I'm all for trying to find a balance between privacy and living in the 21st century.

How long has it been since you've seen the Milky Way?

I haven't in over 20 years, living inside a moderate-sized city full of light. And that's sad. Will our children even be able to see it in their lifetimes?

Earth Hour: Protecting the Night Sky from Light Pollution

It's a question that many people who popularize astronomy get asked time and again: "How many stars are there?" And while the sky is packed with a myriad of stars, the number visible to skywatchers depends greatly on the local night sky and the impact of city lights.

With Earth Hour 2011 set for 8:30 p.m. local time on Saturday (March 26), now is an opportune time to take a look at the impact of light pollution on the night sky. Earth Hour is a movement that encourages the public to switch off their lights for one hour to conserve power and take a stand against climate change.
(NASA image of light use around the world.)

In about an hour

I'm going to shut off almost everything electric in my apartment (an exception is the aquarium pump), light some candles, and enjoy being away from electronic gadgets and lights for one hour (Earth Hour). I know it doesn't make a huge difference in terms of worldwide power consumption, but it does raise awareness, and I try to do little things throughout the year to help the environment. If enough people do small things, they add up.

At 8:30 my Twitter icon will automatically turn dark. I've already made my Facebook one dark.

This is the first year I've actually been home to participate, I think. I hope you'll consider taking an hour out of your year and turning off the lights.

Friday, March 25, 2011

100 Years ago today

NYC marks 100th anniversary of Triangle fire: Blaze in 10-story factory building killed 146; galvanized labor movement
The Triangle fire killed 146 people and helped to galvanize the U.S. labor movement. The victims were mostly young immigrant women, many of whom jumped to their death to escape the flames. The tragedy prompted many improvements in fire safety across the country, such as sprinkler installation and laws mandating fire drills.

Days after the fire, 100,000 mourners marched in a funeral procession through the streets of New York, while another 250,000 lined the route. Their grief built support for the right of garment workers to unionize.
I first learned of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in a book about disasters as a child. The idea of being trapped in a burning building with no recourse but to jump troubled me then, as it does now. These women died because the managers had locked their avenues of escape to prevent theft. The fire escape twisted and fell, sending many 100 feet down. Fire ladders could not reach the factory's floors, which were beyond six storeys. 62 people jumped to their death. Of those who died, 88% were women or girls. Six victims remained unidentified until last month.


Thousands of Christians Displaced in Ethiopia After Muslim Extremists Torch Churches, Homes
Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.

At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran.
Ethiopia has a long tradition of Christianity, and Christians outnumber Muslims. But in this area, an extreme form of Islam is being used as an excuse for religious intolerance.

Religious extremism is, in my view, very bad regardless of the religion. I'd like to think these are just a very misguided fringe. Yet Muslim extremism seems to abound in many parts of the world. I think it's important for Muslim leaders to use their authority to promote peace between religions, rather than the reverse. Hopefully some sort of sense will prevail in Ethiopia, which has a long history of Christians and Muslims living side by side in peace.

It feels like Saturday

Which is why I was getting out the candles and preparing for Earth Hour. Umm...that's tomorrow. So is Purple Day. I'll blog about both then. Gee. I'm losing it. Oh, well, I guess my heart's in the right place, anyway.

Today turned out better than I thought it would

I thought it would be a day of grief, of mourning, of tears. Instead, for now, it was much better, a day of realistic hope. I spent the day with friends and ate a wonderful dinner my friend cooked. Tomorrow we go out to Masala to celebrate my birthday a little early. I'm excited. It's been awhile since I had Indian food.

It's still very chilly outside, though. We had two days of spring and wham! winter's trying to rear its ugly head again.

Hmmm...a new way to store information

Flawed Diamonds Could Store Quantum Data
Scientists have developed a new way to manipulate atoms inside diamond crystals so that they store information long enough to function as quantum memory, which encodes information not as the 0s and 1s crunched by conventional computers but in states that are both 0 and 1 at the same time. Physicists use such quantum data to send information securely, and hope to eventually build quantum computers capable of solving problems beyond the reach of today’s technology.

I love that sort of sense of humour

Elizabeth Taylor late for her own funeral
The service was scheduled to begin at 2 pm but at Miss Taylor's request started late. Miss Taylor had left instructions that it was to begin at least 15 minutes later than publicly scheduled, with the announcement, "She even wanted to be late for her own funeral."


Thursday, March 24, 2011

I agree

From Joe.My.God.:
"To me, Elizabeth Taylor's importance as an actress was that she represented a kind of womanliness that is now completely impossible to find on the U.S. or U.K. screen. It was rooted in hormonal reality -- the vitality of nature. She was single-handedly a living rebuke to postmodernism and post-structuralism, which maintain that gender is merely a social construct. Let me give you an example. Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right is a truly wonderful film, but Julianne Moore and Annette Bening -- who is fabulous in it and should have won the Oscar for her portrayal of a prototypical contemporary American career woman -- were painfully scrawny to look at on the screen. This is the standard starvation look that is now projected by Hollywood women stars -- a skeletal, Pilates-honed, anorexic silhouette, which has nothing to do with females as most of the world understands them. There's something almost android about the depictions of women currently being projected by Hollywood." - Camille Paglia, writing for Salon.

PS Elizabeth Taylor was buried today. Fortunately the service was swift, because Ms Taylor had converted to Judaism when she married Eddie Fisher and Jews are to be buried within 48 hours whenever possible. This seems to have taken the Westboro Baptist Church, who'd threatened to picket her funeral by surprise. That's a blessing, at least. A more involved memorial service is being planned. Also, Broadway marquees will darken the lights in her honour at 8 pm tomorrow night.

Check out

these wonderful 'book sculptures' of Anne Frank, Vincent van Gogh, Louis van Gaal and Kader Abdollah to celebrate (auto)biography during Dutch Book Week. The pieces of art, made from the books themselves, turn into 3-dimensional sculptures of the faces of each person as the pages are fanned.

Here is the one for Anne Frank, featuring her diary:

Written Portraits: Dutch Book week campaign

Via birdie on LISNews.

Nice look at fashion and the image of librarians

Via birdie of LISNews.

It's nice to know the drool starts from the get-go

These are adorable.

The sweetest dog I have ever known is a Rottweiler. She rarely barks, and then it's a playful woof, although she howls when ambulances go by. In all the time I have known her, she has mostly bounced and drooled. She hugs by putting her big head between your legs and leaning into you. Before I met her, I would never have thought of having a Rottweiler. Now I'm quite changed on that front.

I never saw her as a puppy (she was a rescue dog), but I imagine she must have looked much like this. And like the puppies, I always liked the fact that she has her tail, the better to wag when she is happy.

Dogs are wonderful creatures. I only wish they lived as long as we did. But in their fleeting lives they can bring so much joy. We could learn a lot from them.

I just got a phone call

with some rather sad news. I think I'm going to go curl up in a ball somewhere for awhile. It's not the end of the world. It's not my grandmother. But I'm going to go cry now. I'll write later.

Glad to be home

I went back to bed until almost 10 am, got up, got ready, got the bus at 10:40, then changed buses to the Nicholasville one at 11:20 and headed to OfficeMax. I managed to find all the ink I needed, get a bus back about 12:20. Then I came back down the Richmond Road route, stopped at Subway for lunch, read another couple of chapters of my book, and picked up a few things at Kroger. I ran into the daughter of someone I know and she indicated she'd had some health issues, so now I'm back and I went onto Facebook and sent her a message to check on her.

Now I'm home and listening to music. I'll do some laundry once I've got a second wind. Hope you're having a good day.

One of many tributes

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'm up early

So far I have:
  • Taken my Lantus that I forgot to do before bedtime (I have discovered through trial and error that Lantus does not produce the rash I'm having trouble with. Apidra, however, does. I always take Lantus in my abdomen because it's 20 units, and I have a hard time pushing the plunger that far when doing my arm. Lately I've been doing the Apidra in my arm, with a bit of a rash, and then switched back to my abdomen, and lo!, rash again. But it is not lasting long. I'll ask my doctor about it when I have my next appointment. The length of the needle doesn't seem to matter--it's the type of insulin.)
  • Paid my cable bill.
  • Paid my electric bill.
  • Paid my first IRS payment online.
  • Filled out and prepared to mail my instalment agreement with the IRS for direct debiting of my tax liability.
That leaves enough for ink, some money to lay in for this year's taxes, and a little food. Ah, payday, you taunt me. But I'm glad you come every two weeks. :)

I'm trying to decide if I want to start on laundry now or go back to bed for a bit. I've had seven hours' sleep. Maybe a couple more wouldn't hurt. After all, I am off today. :) But first, I'm hungry, and I haven't eaten since maybe 12 hours ago....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Drug prevents Type 2 diabetes in majority of high-risk individuals

Of course, I'm way past that stage, but I am on the drug, Actos. I made my doctor take me off of Avandia and this was the logical replacement, as it is in the same class (chance of congestive heart failure like Avandia, but not linked to heart attacks). I must say, though, the insulin has done the best for me. When I go next he may take me off of some of the oral meds.

However, it sounds like it is a good possibility for those considered insulin resistant or pre-diabetic. For years before I had diabetes, I had insulin resistance syndrome, also called metabolic syndrome, and had low blood sugar attacks. I spent several years on metformin, which may have delayed the crossover to diabetes. Of course, I had all the same tests done when I was 19 and they just didn't know about insulin resistance back then, although they told me I might have trouble getting pregnant (due to polycystic ovarian syndrome and the androgen levels). Just that--no real counseling. It wasn't even a doctor who broke it to me, just some woman in scrubs whom I presume was a nurse. They just put me on birth control pills, which helped with the androgen issue but not the underlying insulin resistance. The good news was at the time I desperately needed to be on birth control pills and then later the idea of having a baby pretty much receded and I decided it was for the best because 1) I don't want to pass on my health issues, 2) I have enough emotional issues that I don't see myself as a good parent, and I don't want to pass on anything that will require therapy later, 3) I've never been financially stable enough to have a family, and 4) we already have enough people cranking out babies in this world, don't you think?

Well, I got the notes started, unheard of on a Wednesday

Plus I downloaded Firefox 4, updated both Adobe Reader and Windows, and did some basic backing up and other computer maintenance. I wish I could figure out how to get a friend's computer to run as fast as mine has been, at least on the Internet. I'd love to download Firefox onto his system, but he's rather resistant to change. Maybe I can at least convince him to go for Internet Explorer 9. It might speed up things a bit. I don't think there's a huge difference in our computers, but he runs on Vista and I run on Windows 7 x64, so that's probably a big part of it. But a change in browser might help.

It's just a little after 9 pm. This evening seems to be going by rather slowly. I think I'll go do some reading [I'm still working on A Discovery of Witches, and the slowness isn't because it's not a good read, because it is, but I find my reading just isn't as voracious as it used to be. I peter out towards the end of the night. Plus, I skip around and read other things. Welcome to attention deficit disorder. :)]

I don't know what the woman upstairs is doing

but it sounds like she's walking back and forth from the living to dining room over and over, and every five seconds she drops to the floor and rolls. So there's lots of squeaking and stomping. I blame the general thinness of walls and floors of apartment living. But it pulled me out of a very nice reverie.

I'm off until Monday, yay!

Of course, the last couple of days have been in the 70s; the next few are supposed to be in the 40s for highs, as a cold front is going through at the moment, with thunderstorms around central Kentucky.

Tomorrow the plan is to do laundry, go out to OfficeMax (I have a discount card through work) and get some toner for a friend and myself (we have the same type of printer), and maybe excavate the rest of the living room (mainly the love seat).

Friday we'll hopefully go out to an Indian restaurant to celebrate my birthday a bit early.

Saturday I have no plans as of yet. Sunday there's no game. So I really do have four days off.

Tonight I'm going to try to work on the game notes and get them out of the way, or at least get a good start on them.

But right now, I'm going to sit in the comfy chair for a bit and listen to some music. First though...

RIP Elizabeth Taylor, who did, indeed, live life to the fullest, and used her fame to raise money for causes such as AIDS research. She was a true Hollywood legend.

I will always remember her as a young girl in National Velvet the best. One movie she made, Raintree County, was shot partly in my hometown of Danville, Kentucky. The cast caused quite a stir in the area. The town library still has a collection of memorabilia, as far as I know.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I got an AMBER Alert on my phone earlier, and this is why

Metcalfe County death investigation prompts Amber Alert
Kentucky State Police issued an Amber Alert for two children who are missing after two people were found dead Tuesday in rural Metcalfe County.

The children, 12-year-old Kyra Shockley and 15-year-old Christopher Endicott, may be traveling in a white 1997 Chevy Lumina with Kentucky license plate 843 GMM, police said. The car has paint peeling from the trunk and hood, one inoperable daytime running light and a missing trunk lock.

Kyra is white, weighs 110 pounds, stands 4-foot-8 and has blonde hair and hazel eyes, according to the police description. She wears black glasses adorned on the side with pink diamonds and her left eye is scarred.

Christopher is white, 5-foot-11 and weighs 250 pounds. He has a blonde buzz haircut and green eyes and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt and a dark baseball cap.

Trooper Billy Gregory, a state police spokesman, said one of the children may be related to one of the people found dead, and they may be with a suspect in the death investigation.

Anyone with information on the children’s whereabouts is asked to call (800) 262-3717.
I don't normally copy an entire news story, but all of this information is pretty much listed in the alert itself, and the descriptions and phone number are important. Here's hoping they are found and the case is resolved soon.

PS The two were found. The fifteen-year-old has been arrested for the murder of a couple who were distant relatives and who had recently received custody of him. The twelve-year-old is back with her family.

Preliminary results say

Berlin zoo: Brain problems led to Knut's death
Brain problems apparently caused the shockingly early death of Knut, Germany's four-year-old celebrity polar bear, the Berlin Zoo said Tuesday.

Initial findings from a necropsy performed Monday by an institute in the German capital showed "significant changes to the brain, which can be viewed as a reason for the polar bear's sudden death," the zoo said in a statement.

The zoo didn't elaborate on the changes to the animal's brain, and officials could not immediately be reached for further comment.

Pathologists found no changes to any other organs, the zoo said, adding that it will take several days to produce a final result. Further planned tests include bacteriological and histological, or tissue, examinations.

Three countries in the whole world don't use the metric system--three!

one of which is the US. The others are Liberia and Burma (Myanmar), if I have my geography right. I saw this at:
Map of countries officially not using the metric system


From the Wikimedia Commons:

Good news for people on Medicare

Better Benefits, Better Health for Seniors (and people with disabilities on Medicare)
People on Medicare are now eligible to obtain certain preventive services, like mammograms and colonoscopies for free. Click here to find a list of preventive services that will be covered. Seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare can also get an annual wellness exam from their participating physician or health professional for free. Please speak with your doctor for more details.

Earth Hour is almost upon us

Saturday, March 26th, 8:30 pm

Monday, March 21, 2011

These are cool

Fake Smithsonian Ads: Historically Hardcore

Be sure to check out the link for the photos. They were done for student portfolios and widely tweeted and blogged. Unfortunately the Smithsonian was not amused and asked that their logo be removed. Here's the updated posters, which admittedly aren't as kickass without the other logo, but still great. Of course, the museum can ask that the originals be changed, but there's probably a bazillion copies of those ads out there now with the original logo. Ah, the power of the Internets. Taking down governments, racist co-eds, and institutional stuffiness. Hey, Smithsonian, you should pay for these ads. :)

More serious news of interest

Rare Medieval Jewish Manuscript to be displayed at The Met

Did God have a wife? Scholar says that he did: Word of 'Asherah' was nearly edited out of the Bible, researcher concludes

The cat is an invasive species

Tsunami leaves hundreds of Japanese schoolchildren stranded [Video]

'I will come again tomorrow': Boy, 9, desperately searches for missing family in Japan

Tears fall for U.S. teacher in Japan's ocean of grief [Video] (The first American known to have died in Japan's disaster)

Everglades islands are trash heaps (from 5,000 years ago)

Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble over Nook e-book

Kinect hacked to guide the blind

Prosecutor: Fight prompted yoga shop killing

Google says China blocking its email services

Indian youth suicide crisis baffles families, community

[German polar bear] Knut Dies Unexpectedly [at age 4]

Early-warning diabetes test hope

Girl, 4, is 5th child slain in Acapulco this week

'Lovely' Ky. woman accused of horrific war crimes: Croatian factory worker allegedly killed a prisoner and forced others to drink his blood

Odd news of the day

'Zombies ahead,' warns electronic road sign in SC

I See Rock People: Mimetoliths of the World

How much for burritos? Man fires BB gun in protest: Suspect apparently angry that 99-cent Taco Bell promotion had ended, police say

Bird 'muzak' piped in California town [Video] (Lancaster, California, which was the largest town near Edwards AFB and which we visited frequently when I lived there.)

Sometimes it's better just to be yourself: Man posing as officer tries to pull over undercover police vehicle, cops say

Listening to

A Thousand Suns, by Linkin Park, a concept album concerning human fears, including a lot of imagery regarding nuclear holocaust and disasters. This song in particular kind of brought to mind some of the current events going on in the world...

Here's another:

I think I'm going to have some transportation issues come May

Currently buses go every 30 minutes on most routes during the weekdays until 6:20, when they go hourly till the last bus. Here are proposed changes to the LexTran buses:

Weekdays: The first three departures from the Transit Center will remain at 6:20 a.m., 6:50 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. After 7:20 a.m., trips will depart the Transit Center every 35 minutes until 5:50 p.m. After 5:50 p.m., trips will leave the Transit Center at 6:40 p.m. and every 70 minutes until 11:20 p.m. Midday routes that currently operate hourly will instead operate every 70 minutes to maintain transfer connections. Routes 20, 23, 26 and 28 are not affected by the changes at this time.

Saturdays: The first four departures from the Transit Center will remain at 6:20 a.m., 7:20 a.m., 8:20 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. After 9:20 a.m., buses will depart the Transit Center at 10:30 a.m. and every 35 or 70 minutes until 5:30 p.m., then at 6:40 p.m. and every 70 minutes until 11:20 p.m.

Sundays: Departures from the Transit Center will be unchanged, although time points along some routes may
change slightly

Right now I get to work at 10:30, meaning I catch the 9:50 bus at 10:10 to get there in time, then wait around for a half hour before clocking in. If these proposed changes go through, I'd have to catch the bus 20 minutes earlier (so leave the house almost an hour before work to go four miles down the road) just to get to work on time Since I often do bank and pharmacy runs by going a bus or two earlier, this will mean getting up much earlier. Also, currently if I get off at 7 pm, I wait 30 minutes until the 7:20 bus comes by the hospital around 7:30. Now I'd have to wait until about 8 for a bus. If I want to catch the prior bus, though, I'd have to change my schedule to work till 6:30 so I could still get it at 6:50. So that 10 minutes difference adds up to either leaving almost a half hour early or working almost an hour later (or standing for longer at the stop). It seems more complicated than just knowing a bus will be by in 30- or 60 minute-intervals.

The obvious thing to do is adjust my schedule in May. It'll probably mean going in at 10:15 and getting off about 6:40 and hope I can get to the bus in time in the evening, but I don't think I can guarantee I'll be there specifically from and to those times. That way I could catch the bus at 10 and 6:50, but it'll be pushing it. But it'll still make errands difficult.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Taxi Driver Found Shot To Death In Cab
A woman made a gruesome discovery Sunday morning in Lexington when she found a taxi driver shot to death in his cab. Several people who live on Hedgewood Court say they feared the worst when they heard gunshots just before one o'clock Sunday morning. They later noticed a cab just sitting in the back of a parking lot.

It's in the Woodhill-Codell area, about halfway between where I live and where I work. I take the bus through there when the combo Woodhill-Richmond Road route runs late at night. It's gotten rougher over the last few years.

For all I know, I may have had this driver before on one of my cab rides home. He was from Morocco, and I've ridden with several cab drivers from Arabic countries. He leaves behind a wife and four-year-old daughter. I feel so sorry for them.

I do not think I could ever drive a cab for a living. You literally never know who you have riding behind you, what kind of weapon they may have, etc. It makes me nervous, as a woman riding by herself, to take cabs home at times, but at least they are required to display ID, etc. No one knows who a fare really is. The cab company has whatever name the person gives and a phone number, which could be public. Also, it may not have been a fare robbing him, but rather some sort of drive by shooting, etc.--someone heard a car speed off at the time of the gunshots. Unfortunately, he wasn't found until this morning, although people heard gunshots around 1 am, which makes me wonder if anyone even dialed 911 that night. It might have saved his life.

Years ago I lived in the Richmond Road-Lakeshore Drive area, and I heard gunshots come from that direction. We could hear them all across New Circle Road. I got away from the windows and called, as did several others in my apartment complex. They were tracing the gunshots by the location of the callers. I can't imagine not calling 911. The woman who found him thought what she heard was fireworks, and only recalled them after she found the body. But others knew the sound of gunshots. Why didn't they call?

It's sad. I'm not sure how many murders Lexington is up to this year. It's actually a fairly safe city, but such shootings are troubling.

A blessing after 9 days

80-year-old Japanese woman and grandson rescued from rubble
An 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson were rescued Sunday after being buried under rubble for nine days after the worst recorded earthquake in Japanese history and a massive tsunami toppled their home.

I don't really want my wireless service to be acquired

AT&T Has to Fend Off Regulatory Scrutiny to Win Nod for ‘Unthinkable’ Bid

I am a T-Mobile customer. Now AT&T is apparently making a bid to buy the company for $39 billion. I'd rather that not happen. I like T-Mobile. It's served me well for eleven years, and I've only experienced one outage and have only had one dropped call, and that was at the hospital with its shielding. Also, I like that I can pay monthly without an actual contract. I don't know if AT&T has something similar.

So we'll see. But I haven't been impressed by AT&T's reputation. If it happens and I have any problems, I may see about going to Verizon. I get a discount through work with them.

I'm actually posting on a game night

I was quite satisfied with the game, although I really didn't do much other than make healing rolls and croak out, 'Is everyone alright' and 'Sorry I didn't do better'. But still, my character is alive, there's no permanent damage, and another character managed to heal about half of her damage. So there's hope that she'll be fine when all is said and done. Thank goodness for a kick-ass constitution.

It's been a very frustrating campaign, but it's almost through--just one-and-a-half sections to go. We learned some more of the nefarious plan. We still aren't sure what to do to stop it, of course, but I truly believe it will work itself out. My fellow player isn't quite as hopeful and feels like nothing we do advances our cause, and things just keep stacking up against us. Maybe it's good we'll have a break next week.

Of course, since this was an investigative session, I'll spend more time transcribing the notes. But it was broken up (we went to the grocery store about half way through, and were there for two hours because Brenda had a sheep emergency) and in retrospect maybe lasted five hours, so it'll even out. I need to do the notes earlier than normal this week, as I have plans towards the end of the week. I could put it off till next week, I suppose, but I'd rather not.

Okay, I'm tired, having gotten up at 5 am today. I saw the moon rise last evening and it was still pretty high in the sky this morning when I left to catch the bus, and I got to see it set. Tonight's moon rise was very nice, with a large reddish moon ringed by mist and clouds. I'm going to check the news and then head on to bed.

Good riddance to Winter (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere)

Okay, it's not technically until this evening, but...

No matter what you call it--the vernal equinox, Alban Eilir, whatever--today is March 20th, the time between night and day is equal, and the sun and earth are in a certain position, which means:

Happy Spring!

I don't think there's been a year I was so glad to see winter go away.

At least autumn isn't so bad, either, so you folks in the Southern Hemisphere are in for (hopefully) a nice fall.

But here it's spring, it's spring, it's spring.

Okay, it's off to get things for game day. Have a great day.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

But first...

Saw this one Brian Herzog's Swiss Army Librarian blog from a T-shirt humour site and had to put it here, with their permission:



Well, I suppose that was silly

you don't really care if I had a shower or not. Sorry, that was pretty much about as useless as some people's tweets. I think I'm feeling a bit manic today. That may be why I've made so many blog posts. Of course, in the past, I once had Blogger think I was a spam blog because I posted so many times in one day. :) So I'm doing better.

I spent a relaxing evening, with the exception of trying to slip my shoes on, nearly falling, crashing into a couple of things, and nearly taking a wind chime down. Have I ever mentioned I was a klutz? I took the trash out (I'm trying to limit it to a Kroger bag when I'm not actively cleaning, so I don't get fruit flies again) and went out to see the rising moon at perigee, the closest it's been to the Earth since 1993. Oooh. Ahhh. It was very pretty.

I got a phone call from the library telling me that a CD I'd put on hold has come in. I watched a couple of episodes of 'Bones', a show which I haven't really watched before, but have heard was really good (Bones is so much like YKWIA). I enjoyed it. I spoke with my mom and grandmother and made plans to go to Danville on my birthday. Then I spent some time on the phone with a friend. Now I'm listening to some music and am considering going to bed, since I have to get up about 4:30 or 5 am.

Another reason I've blogged, even when I didn't have anything meaningful to say, is that I'm not used to having so much free time in one day. I don't really know what to do with myself when I'm alone, other than read or go online. It's something I have to work on, being more comfortable with myself than with others. I know that's an odd hang-up. For years almost all of my energy went towards my friends or my work. Now I'm trying to learn to relax with just myself. I have more free time with the schedule I have now, and the lack of a car, so I think this is a good thing. Funny, but I did not normally have this problem as a child. I'd just play by myself or read. I especially have a hard time doing stuff at home. I feel comfortable going out to a movie or eating by myself, but I feel awkward at home. That's reflected by my house; I tend to hoard things to keep others out, but it also makes me feel uncomfortable. I'm trying to change that now, though.

Okay, enough about my odd psychology. I think I'll go to bed now. Good night.

PS When I was a kid in Louisiana in the 70s, the moon once rose as a huge orange ball at perigee, similar to the photo taken in Florida at the link above. I was convinced that it was Mars (hey, it was 'red'--I didn't understand harvest moons and atmospheric conditions yet) and it was headed straight for us. I was an odd child.

I could not stand it any longer

I had thought to skip a shower today because I wasn't going out anywhere and just stay in my comfy clothes that I sleep in. Unfortunately I'm one of those people who can't go for more than 24 hours without getting decidedly funky, especially my hair, and so I took a quick shower and now smell of jasmine, rosemary, and mint. Yay. It also worked out some of the kinks in my muscles. I'm feeling decidedly more relaxed. Yay for warm water, which many people take for granted but many people don't really have.

Heaven help me, I feel like watching TV. Let me go see if there's something good on, or pull something from the DVR. I still have Doctor Whos to watch from last season, and a new one is starting at Easter.

Oh, by the way

Happy Purim tonight to my Jewish readers. Pass the hamantaschen!

Lazy day

It only took just a little under 2 1/2 hours to do the game notes, mainly because it was mostly combat (and miserable combat at that, with two characters left standing, two near death--including mine--and two cursed by an evil sorceror), and I don't put it in blow-by-blow. Investigation sessions take much longer. Afterwards I took a couple of hours for a nap, now I've been catching up on the news and blogging. It's almost 7 pm. I haven't really done anything else like laundry, which I should, but I don't really feel like doing right now. Maybe later in the day. I should be working on the rest of the house, or the aquarium, or something. But it's nice to have a lazy day every now and then, isn't it? And of course I'm getting up super early tomorrow to go to the store and get ready for the game.

Next week I'm going to take off Thursday and Friday because we have a lecture series at work that curtails the number of sheets I'd be entering in since the doctors will be involved with the seminar rather than seeing patients or doing surgeries. A friend of mine, who insists I was born in March despite really being at the beginning of April, thought maybe that we could go to an Indian restaurant to celebrate, which sounds really fun. Then on Sunday, we're not having the game because Brenda's going to one of her doll meets (she an excellent seamstress and makes clothes for ball-jointed dolls) and she and others get together and well, I'm not sure exactly what they do. It sounds rather like grown women playing with dolls and taking pictures. But hey, it's a harmless hobby. So that's four days off, basically. So I'm going to try to do this week's game notes fairly early. But somewhere in all that I'll do some work on the house, too. Depending on what else is going on, I may try to go to my grandmother's, or do that the next week on Saturday, April 2nd, my actual birthday. We'll see what will work out best for them. I've called, but I haven't been able to get a hold of my mom. I'll try again today.

Apologising for an injustice done

Lawmaker wants Ala. to apologize to rape victim
An Alabama legislator wants the state to apologize to a black woman raped in 1944 by a group of white men who later avoided prosecution.

Democratic state Rep. Dexter Grimsley of Newville says he is preparing a resolution apologizing to Recy Taylor, who was 24-years-old and living in her native Henry County when she was gang-raped in Abbeville. Two all-white, all-male grand juries declined to bring charges.

Grimsley said he believes police bungled the investigation and harassed Taylor. The married woman was walking home from church when she was kidnapped, raped and left on the side of the road in an isolated rural area.
It is thought that she's outlived her rapists, but the apology is being sought because of how the state handled the case, including making it sound like she was a prostitute when in fact she was not. She felt so much pressure in her home state that she moved to another state entirely. A lot of things were done during Segregation that were shameful, and can never be made up to those who lived (and died) under its sway.

The state should apologise for victimising Recy Taylor, for daemonising her for her race and trivialising her pain. It think it would certainly be just. I guess it is better late than never. It's a nice gesture. But it still smacks of 'too little too late' for me.

It can never erase a life of knowing justice wasn't done because she was seen as 'deserving' her lot due to her 'racial inferiority'--or so it was thought of then. The men who did this not only escaped justice; others were complicit after the fact. The state can only apologise for its role, though. Plus, she certainly was not the only person treated this way. How do you apologise to everyone who had similar experiences in a meaningful way? Does one apology to one person suffice?

Apologies are simple gestures. I'm not saying they shouldn't be made--they can go a long way to healing a rift. But they shouldn't stand on their own--what would be best is to also make sure no one else is ever treated this way. We've come a long way since 1944, but there are still those whose mentalities are the same. The state has the responsibility to prosecute and discover the guilt of perpetrators of whatever race against victims of whatever race to the fullest extent of the law, leaving behind prejudice. Race should really only come into it if it is a racially-motivated attack. And in cases of rape, the victim's character really is for the most part irrelevant. I don't care if you're a stripper or prostitute or a nice church-going married lady--you don't deserve to be raped. So the use of those sorts of tactics must be abolished. I'd like to think they were never used these days, but we know they are.

It's good these sorts of situations still make the news, though, so we can think about how to make our society as just as possible.

Today's Unshelved

reminds me of a good friend, who does not read. I find it sad that he does not read, but of course, it is a lifestyle choice. Instead, he watches pundits on TV and little snippets of news stories without any real substance, and considers himself informed when he parrots what he hears back. The only thing he reads is the Herald-Leader newspaper and anything to do with sports. I'm not sure he's been in a library his entire adult life.

Nor does he read on the Internet, just in case you're thinking books are not some people's thing. He is the only person I know who doesn't surf the net other than my grandmother. But he is my age.

Ironically, he lives in a house where he is surrounded by books because he married a bibliophile. But of all the books, I think he owns two, and at least one of those were given to him. I'm not sure he has actually read those; even with the newspaper he skims.

It is to mourn, for he is missing out on not one whole other world, but two, by eschewing books and the Internet.

Delightful Doctor and company for Red Nose Day

Yesterday was Red Nose Day, when all of Britain goes funny for charity.

Part I:

Part II:

(Sorry, when I first posted, I forgot to put the first part in.)

Worries and hopes regarding the dangers of radiation in Japan

Hiroshima survivors fear new nuclear fallout
The cities flattened by last week's earthquake look eerily similar to the decimated buildings Shigeko Sasamori saw after an atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown in 1945.

The floodwaters from the tsunami -- the waves of debris and bodies -- remind her of the rivers in Hiroshima, Japan, swamped with corpses.

And the struggle to contain radioactive emissions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant makes Sasamori, 78, wonder if the crisis there will plague a new generation in Japan.

"Radiation is the most horrible thing, and it's more horrible to me because humans make it," she said from her home near Los Angeles. "We don't have to make that."

Sasamori is a hibakusha, or heat radiation survivor -- a name given to those who lived through the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States at the end of World War II.

For them, radiation is an invisible enemy that has haunted them, claimed their loved ones, altered their bodies and threatened their lives.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm up in the middle of the night

Having fallen asleep around 11 pm. I came back out to feed the fish, turn of the aquarium light, and take my insulin, so I checked the news while I was up. I thought I'd write a little disjointed post on random things.

One, I searched my headboard pretty thoroughly tonight for spiders. I've been been bitten twice in a week. It's definitely a spider bite, not bedbugs, thank the Gods, but each time it's been my left arm, and I'm thinking its where I put my left arm under the pillow and up against the headboard. Now, I'm not sure what I would have done should I have found said spider, as I have a religious proscription against killing them. Probably I'd have coddled it outside where an arachnophobic friend insists they just come back in, anyway. But I didn't see anything.

Today I received the first of two books to review, one for the Journal of Hospital Librarianship, the other for the Journal of the Medical Library Association. I've done three for the former so far, one of which is still in production but soon to be published, the other two already having been done so. I really enjoy doing book reviews. Both of these are on social media. The one I received today is very short, so I think I can send it in within a week or two, well ahead of the deadline. Book reviews are so much more wieldy than the project I took on last year that I feel utterly a failure about, although the book is out. Also, it's almost time to do my selections and grading for Doody's. So I've got a lot of little personal projects going on.

Tomorrow I have a project at work I need to finish up. We're also starting a weekly jeans day, which is nice. Originally they were going to let us wear jeans Friday to celebrate if the University of Kentucky won against Princeton in the NCAA basketball tournament (it did), but then decided that instead of a monthly jeans day plus special events, we'd have a weekly jeans day, something I've been wanting for a long time. Hey, it's the little things.

I'm not a sports fan, but people's brackets got thrown into utter disarray today with Morehead State's win over the University of Louisville. :) You've got to like it when the little guys get ahead, especially when the big guys have Pitino for a coach. I never liked him, even when he was UK's coach.

I've steadily been working on the house, not majorly, but a little each day. I meant to work on game notes tonight, but that didn't happen. Tomorrow I'm going over to a friend's house, meaning I'll probably be trapped there without a cab if my bad luck with taxis holds, and I'll be doing the notes on Saturday like usual. I'll send in my IRS paperwork tomorrow and do laundry on Saturday, so that will take care of my list from the other day.

I've kind of gotten off track in managing my diabetes. It hasn't been bad, but I sometimes eat at odd times so my blood sugar seems higher when I test because I've had a snack mid-way or so. I don't always remember to take the second dose of insulin because I may eat something very small while I'm still at work to get me through the second half of my day and then eat a main meal at home. I don't know. I just need to pay more attention to the timing. I was testing every single time I was supposed to, now I forget at night a lot. I definitely am not to a point where I should eat snacks between meals or at night--it just raises my blood sugar, really. What I've learned is best is just eat when I'm really, sincerely hungry, and try to space my meals out through the day. But I haven't been eating breakfast since I've been getting up so late and generally eat lunch by 11:30 am. I don't know, I just need to figure out the timing better, and record what I've been testing as. I have an appointment in April and I want to be able to take in some decent readings.

Okay, time to take my insulin and go to bed. I discovered that if you inject too high on the abdomen you get a pretty nasty bruise, which makes sense, since there is muscle there. It's probably the only place on my abdomen with any to speak of.

I also discovered that companies will bend over backwards to make sure you're happy if you make simple enquiries. Where I've been having the rash from injections, I contacted both SanofiAventis (the maker of Apidra and Lantus) and BD (the maker of the pen tips) to see if any of the products had latex in them. They don't. But SanofiAventis was very diligent in following up and made sure I filed an adverse reactions report, and BD sent me a package via UPS the other day of a mail-in sharps container and a coupon worth about $40 for free pen tips since I'd made an enquiry. I've been impressed with both companies.

Okay, I'm yawning. Have a good day tomorrow. We're finally starting to feel like spring, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. I hope it lasts. Good night.


NASA probe reaches Mercury
"Despite its proximity to Earth, the planet Mercury has for decades been comparatively unexplored," said Sean Solomon, Messenger principal investigator.

"For the first time in history, a scientific observatory is in orbit about our solar system's innermost planet," he said. "Mercury's secrets, and the implications they hold for the formation and evolution of Earth-like planets, are about to be revealed."
Kudos for the folks on the Messenger mission for achieving orbit. Hopefully we can find out more about the elusive inner planet.

So with a title like that, I had to read the blog post

Don’t donate money to Japan

No, it's not about being a Scrooge. Felix Simon has a very good point. During disasters, well-intentioned people give restricted funds to charities to be used in one area, ensuring that some funds may be unspent while needs remain elsewhere. He gives one of my favourite charities, MSF (Doctors Without Borders), as an excellent example of a non-governmental organisation whose position on giving helps prevent this:
The ability of MSF teams to provide rapid and targeted medical care to those most in need in more than 60 countries around the world – whether in the media spotlight or not – depends on the generous general contributions of our donors worldwide. For this reason, MSF does not issue appeals for support for specific emergencies and this is why we do not include an area to specify a donation purpose on our on-line donation form. MSF would not have been able to act so swiftly in response to the emergency in Haiti, as an example, if not for the ongoing general support from our donors. So we always ask our supporters to consider making an unrestricted contribution.
So the point is to give, but do not give restricted funding for a particular disaster. This hobbles organisations like the Red Cross and others. Instead, give generally, allowing money to be spent where it is needed most, including the disaster area but also in areas just as needy that don't get such mega-attention.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reason #1 why you should always subscribe to your own RSS feed

It is so much easier to catch typos and homonyms on my reader's screen than on my blog page, for whatever reason. Of course, by the time you find the problem it's already been delivered to a whole bunch of people who wonder if English is really your second language. :)

We may not be the only ones out there with a sense of individuality

Sperm Whales May Have Names
Subtle variations in sperm-whale calls suggest that individuals announce themselves with discrete personal identifier. To put it another way, they might have names.

The longer I'm on this planet the more I realise that we, as humans, are extremely arrogant in terms of our belief of being the end-all-and-be-all of creation.

To be honest, I rather liked Douglas Adams' view better, with humans as the third-most-intelligent species on Earth. Although I'm afraid the sperm whale does not fare as well as the dolphins or mice in his books. ;)

:) This vagina haver agrees

Okay, it's comedy with a good message. Warning, contains the F-word, so if you're easily offended don't watch. Of course, it's bleeped just to make sure you caught it. :)

Via Joe.My.God.

RIP Toff the Cat

A Cat Fit for a Library, and a Library Fit for a Cat
On March 9, 2011 students, faculty, and staff at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota mourned the loss of one of the school library's most popular visitors. Toff the Cat, who died of cancer at age 14, had been adopted by the entire campus, but was especially popular with the literary set. His April 1st birthday was celebrated with book displays in the Laurence McKinley Gould Library, and his recommended reading list was an annual feature both there and at the campus bookstore.
It sounds like he had a good life, and an entire campus of admirers. Rest in peace, kitty.

Via LISNews.


I just did something I haven't done in a long while. I watched a video. I just had a marathon session of 'R.O.D.: Read or Die', a DVD I've had for quite some time but had not gotten around to opening or watching completely (a friend had shown me the first chapter).

I am so geared up now, though ready for bed. I should watch this the night before the Cthulhu game. You know, enterprising bibliophiles saving the world from insane steampunk genuiuses one paper scrap at a time. :) A few decidedly non-mystical ninjas trying to save the world from genius insane cultists about to user super-science and magic to summon an avatar of Nyarlothotep one bullet or kick at a time. You see the similarity. Don't you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Silence for those who should be laughing with childish joy, not kidnapped and put on the front lines

The Protection Plan from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

For more information, check out Invisible Children - The 25 Campaign and the Wikipedia article on the Lord's Resistance Army.

:D Now, that's a nefarious evil plan for mind control

A psychoactive drug that’s spread through unprotected sex with men
You're a nefarious supervillian and you want to transform this city into a hive of mind-controlled minions. But you also need the element of surprise. Two new scientific studies offer a possible solution. You can implant behavior-changing proteins in sperm, creating a sexually-transmitted form of mind control.

Let's not bother with why you would want to do this. Maybe you're conquering Orgyopolis, or you only want minions who are willing to have sex with your sperm donors.

The point is, scientists are working on research that could one day make your evil plan possible.

I have to agree, for the most part

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others
It’s time to take a look at the line between “pet” and “animal.” When the ASPCA sends an agent to the home of a Brooklyn family to arrest one of its members for allegedly killing a hamster, something is wrong.

That “something” is this: we protect “companion animals” like hamsters while largely ignoring what amounts to the torture of chickens and cows and pigs. In short, if I keep a pig as a pet, I can’t kick it. If I keep a pig I intend to sell for food, I can pretty much torture it. State laws known as “Common Farming Exemptions” allow industry — rather than lawmakers — to make any practice legal as long as it’s common. “In other words,” as Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of “Eating Animals,” wrote me via e-mail, “the industry has the power to define cruelty. It’s every bit as crazy as giving burglars the power to define trespassing.”
I don't expect everyone in the world to turn vegetarian, but there a lot more ethical and humane ways to raise food animals than in today's megafarming production and processing. People just look the other way and there are folks who have never been on a farm who don't even know where that wrapped piece of meat came from--and even those who have grown up on farms would be shocked at how the megaproducers keep and slaughter animals. If I did eat meat, for example, I'd rather eat a deer that had a good chance to get away than a veal calf or debeaked caged chicken.

As far as animals, I eat the one thing I feel I can kill--fish. I do eat eggs, cheese, and drink milk, but I try to get the majority of that from free-range, organic sources when possible.

Contrary to many people's opinions, we don't need to eat animals to live. But, at the very least, can't we try to lessen their suffering?

I'm geeking out

I just downloaded (a genuine copy of) Office 2010 Professional Plus for $9.95.

Yeah. I know. I nearly choked when I read that, too. I thought it was a typo when I first got an e-mail about it. See, our workplace is upgrading throughout the whole system and so we got a special deal to receive a copy for home use for as long as our system has it and we're employed there. The download included Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, plus more. I was running Office XP on my system. So you can imagine there have been a few changes along the way. I'm really pleased. :) In some ways it seems easier to navigate, once you figure out where everything is. And I sure can't beat the price.

I did forego the $12 backup copy on CD, which may eventually come back and bite me, but I put a copy of the download on my external hard drive, so hopefully I'm set if my computer itself crashes.

Ah, geeky happiness.