Friday, December 22, 2006

It'll Be a Red Red Christmas with You (and Cousin Eddy too)

Oh my, getting into the Christmas spirit means less blogging! I've been having too much fun running to the mailbox to see who sent me a Christmas card, and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Well, nothing earth-shattering going on here - just enjoying a couple of days off from work. I went with a great friend of mine today to see the Linda McCartney 60's photos exhibit - wow.

While I was looking at another collection within the museum, a guy went strolling by chatting on his cellphone. I frankly, wholeheartedly admit that I am an eavesdropper. I don't care if you know it - I think it is totally disingenous for most of us to pretend like we don't listen to conversations - and of course, if it's in a public space, that is fair game, friend. Anyway, I gathered quickly enough that this guy had never been to Huntsville and actually, probably not ever to a latitude lower than North Carolina, because he was going on to his phone friend about how "this museum has an exhbit on 60's photography from Linda McCartney!" From the tone of the conversation, I gathered that he was somewhat surprised with Huntsville itself.

This guy probably was not too much of a snob, but I can't stand people who just assume stuff about places they have never been to, especially where the South is concerned. What irks me particularly are those who portray themselves as hip, progressive, and open-minded. Third-world, pollution-belching banana republic? Just hand them the Lonely Planet guide, they're right behind Angelina and Brad. Black Belt Alabama? Hell no! Oh, but I will buy that Gee's Bend quilt from Macy's that I heard about on NPR. How folksy! Blecch.

Vanity Fair had a particularly banal and ill-informed "humor" series running in the culture section a couple of months ago. The REAL America: A Red-State Appeasement Guide purported to know how we bumpkins amuse ourselves down here. I actually wrote a letter to the editor about it, but didn't get published. Thank goodness for the age of vanity publishing - you'll be delighted to know you can read it here!

Before I launch into my tirade (because we red-staters are such hot-headed folks, aren’t we?), I do want to say that I have loved Vanity Fair since I was a teenager for the captivating photography, fashion, cultural notes, and dishy high society pieces. I’ve held my tongue and kept my subscription through the many stupid-Southerner-backwards- Midwesterner-what-the-red-states-are-really-like articles. However, I just have to say bravo on the latest tongue-in-cheek delicacy you printed entitled “The REAL America: Our Red-State Appeasement Section.” You’ve now completely rounded out your well-informed collection of cultural and travel guides for those readers in New York and California who will never deign to visit the red-state wasteland anyway.

I am now a proud resident of Alabama, but I have lived in many other places during my life – even overseas! I also lived in New York City for one year. It was beautiful and lots of fun; everything you would expect. But I have to say, some of the New Yorkers I met were as provincial a people as I have ever run across. Their lack of interest in where others were from and the proud ignorance of other places in the US was astonishing.

Oh, and to Jamie Malanowski – why highlight only the TV shows and Christian themes that captivate red-staters? The last religious cultural event this bama attended was a down-home Diwali festival. My city has a thriving cultural and international community, – why don’t you visit sometime? We’ll speak extra-slow, just for you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Lowest of the Low to Infinity



Wednesday, November 01, 2006

ALP's Proust Questionnaire

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? My imagination.
Where would you like to live? A place with no fear and no hatred. Heaven then.
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Right now, with healthy and happy family and friends. Also, summers spent at #1 Bedford Avenue in Rehoboth Beach as a child.
To what faults do you feel most indulgent? My own.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? Mr. Darcy and Walter Mitty
Who are your favorite characters in history? Richard III, Queen Elizabeth I
Who are your favorite heroines in real life? Condoleeza Rice
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (and Marmee)
Who is your favorite painter? Giorgio di Chirico
Who is your favorite musician? Beau Watkins
The quality you most admire in a man? Humor, decisiveness, and a sense of responsibility
The quality you most admire in a woman? Independence and a sense of responsibility
Your favorite virtue? A kind heart.
Your favorite occupation? Reading
Who would you have liked to be? Dorothy Parker for a week in the 1920s.
Your most marked characteristic? Sensitivity (for better and for worse)
What do you most value in your friends? Kindness and quirkiness
What is your principal defect? Being too hard on myself
What historical figure do you most despise? The obvious ones. As a Christian, I wish I could say I didn't despise anyone.
What natural gift would you most like to possess? Literary genius
How would you like to die? Knowing that I helped make someone's life better. Hopefully many lives.
What is your present state of mind? Introspective
What is your motto? Leave the party while you're still having fun. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your own company.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Salem's Lot

Although I have been in Logan Airport since 6:30am, I'll be entertained by one of the best books ever to read on Halloween - Salem's Lot. Boo!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ready to Wear?

I love this quotation:

"Trendiness can be measured by what one chooses to wear. Style is determined by what one chooses to ignore."

From "A Trend Without a Leg to Stand On" - The Washington Post 10/27/2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006


All expenses-paid business trips with the opportunity for sight-seeing rock. I am in Boston this week in order to help train our new clients at the Boston Public Library. I have already had some great food and a very happy visit to the Museum of Fine Arts this evening. In a little over an hour I saw stuff by Gilbert Stuart, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Diane Arbus, Robert Rauschenburg, Andy Warhol, Whistler, and John Singer Sargent.

My favorite though was by an artist I haven't heard of before - William Rimmer. His painting, Flight and Pursuit, was very eerie. Click on the title link if you want some more information and an image. In any case, I loved going to the museum at eight at night. It was pretty much us and the local art students.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Under the Banner of Heaven & The Information

I am currently reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. He also wrote Into Thin Air and Into the Wild. Under the Banner of Heaven is about Mormonism, and more specifically, Mormon fundamenalists that practice polygamy. It was written a couple of years ago, but talks a lot about the group under Warren Jeffs (who just got busted for his huge polygamy group) as well as the guy who abducted Elizabth Smart. Krakauer also goes into the history of Mormonism, starting with Joseph Smith's visitation byt the angel Moroni. It is a VERY interesting book, and hard to put down. My mom said a lot of the way they treat women reminded her of the characters in The Handmaid's Tale, which is an awesome book. One of the women mentioned in Krakauer's book was married to a guy who became fundamentalist, and it got so that she wasn't allowed to handle money, dirve a car, or speak to people outside of their family unless he was there. Her husband even spanked her when she did something "wrong."

Coming up on the list will be No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy for the CSI Book Club, as well as Wicked and Storm Front (Dresden Files series) for The Arcanum.

I also got a lovely surprise present from my very dear friend Jenny. An Amazon box was waiting on my doorstep yesterday, and when I opened it it was the new Beck album, The Information. She has the best taste in music, and has introduced me to so many incredible things. I love her dearly.

Peaches & Bats

I am lucky to have a job that lets me learn interesting but hardly useless information. While researching ancient Chinese art the other day I saw a picture of a gorgeous piece of porcelain decorated with peaches and bats. Sort of an odd combination, but one that I definitely take delight in, being that I like mysterious things. Anyway, I read about the history of the "fruit bats" and it turns out the mystery was solved as follows:

"Peaches are symbols of longevity, and the chinese character for bat, "fu", sounds like the character for "blessings" when pronounced. Therefore, bats + peaches = "May you possess both blessings and longevity." - From -

Pretty cool.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

October Post

I was just thinking how long it had been since I had posted, when I was inspired today by a friend who was kind enough to share her wonderful blog with me! It's been a happy and fairly busy 3 or so weeks, which is always good. I visited a dear friend of mine and her family 2 weeks ago. She was looking beautiful. We had not seen each other since last December, so it was a blessing to have that weekend with her. I also had a lazy time last weekend ordering miniature wallpaper for my dollhouse, shopping with my sister (been doing way too much of that lately, but I won't have a 28 year old body forever, so I may as well enjoy it!), going to the Furniture Factory on a full moonlit night to see Backyard Trash, taking a fall afternoon hike on the mountain, and cooking dinner with my sibs. I also have a ton of e-mail to catch up on - so if any of you are reading this that are owed a reply, you are hanging over me like a spectre, so don't worry :-)

I have also been reading a lot, big surprise. It helps to keep me sane. I finished The Sunne in Splendour a couple of weeks ago. Now I have been jumping around my stack of library books, plus some stuff I just picked up at Barnes & Noble. ;-) Here's a recap if anyone is interested:

The Introvert Advantage - I don't normally troll the self-help aisle, but I became fascinated with the idea of the introverted personality and all that entails a couple of years ago when I found out I was one. Now it is so nice to read authoritative information on it and say "whew, I'm not a misanthrope after all, and it's ok to like to be alone."

Bitchfest - 10 years of the best of Bitch magazine articles - really good stuff!

Good Women - Three novellas by an English author, really fantastic. I loved "Garden Guerillas" the best.

Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 19th annual collection - This is an absolute integral part of my book collection. I have been collecting these every year for over ten years now. Enough said.

AA Gill is Away - Read this now. You really can, it's on the web. This guy is incredible. It is a series of travel articles, mostly done from 1999-2001 - not what you think though. I can't do it justice in words, just read them. He could write about a burlap sack and you would be enlightened. Hands down favorite essay is "Mad in Japan." Second is "Hunforgiven."

Rumspringa - Rent the documentary The Devil's Playground if you can't get the book right away. The author did them as companions to each other. The Amish have a coming-of-age ritual called Rumspringa (literally means "running around"). At about age 16, if the kids choose to so, they can go absolutely wild. Drugs, sex, drinking, you name it. The idea is that you expose yourself to this, you can make a more informed decision to be baptized into the church. Some take a few years. Some never want to go back and join the "English" world. The catch is that you are cut off from the community forever. I haven't finished it yet, but it's fascinating.

Also picked up but not yet read - may have to come back to:

Music Lust (along the same vein as Book Lust) - Interesting enough to read through, although great as a reference.

Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grownup

What to Eat - Marion Nestle is really cool.

A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters

Whew. Enough to keep me busy, but of course I have my eye on more. I am dying to read two short story collections by Margaret Atwood that I just discovered:

The Tent

Moral Disorder and Other Stories.

Amazon wishlists are awesome. I can keep up with what I want to read there, and just see if the library has them. I also want to read:

Pay the Piper: A Rock n' Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen
The Unruly Life of Woody Allen
The Last of Her Kind
Edgar Allen Poe & the Jukebox
Suite Francaise
My Latest Grievance

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Like September

If you're looking for a great vacation spot and are within a day's drive of the Gulf Coast, get some friends, bring your blender and your favorite books, and rent a house at beautiful, secluded Ft. Morgan off the coast of Alabama. I spent a wonderful four and a half days there with family and friends, and am ready to start planning next year's trip!

Each evening I would take a nature walk down the beach and observed some awesome wildlife. Stingrays (no, I didn't kill any!), jellyfish, TONS of fish, crabs, you name it. Board games were played, seafood was eaten, margaritas were imbibed. No one got too drunk, keelhauled, shark-mauled or otherwise injured, except for a nasty sunburn on my part. That's the price you pay when you stick a gal of Anglo-Irish descent much closer to the equator when her genetic code hasn't evolved to catch up.

Now I am back among the land of the nerds, enjoying beautiful fall weather, and a great stash of library books. Sweet!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Book of the Week - and Woe Betide All Slumlords!

Finished Everything I'm Cracked Up to Be, and I am now reading The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman. I've managed to get a lot of my English history from her books so far - why is it you're always more interested in learning when you're no longer in school?

Anyway, The Sunne in Splendour is about The War of the Roses, and follows the battles and intrigues of the Houses of York and Lancaster. So far it's focused on the rise of the Yorkist Edward IV and his reign, and then (it is a VERY long book) goes into the succession of his younger brother, Richard III. I've been trying not to read too much background, because I don't want to spoil the ending! This also shows how woefully inadequate my knowledge is of some of the most pivotal events in English history. Oh well.

I am also on a crusade to get my neighbors pit bulls removed from the renters next door. It is infuriating. When we first moved in they had four dogs chained in the back yard of the house. Yes, chained 24/7. Not kept as pets. Definitely breeding them, and, I am 99% sure, fighting them. The dogs got loose on several occasions, threatening me, my husband, and others in the neighborhood. After animal control and the police were called several times, I think the landlord forced them to keep the dogs elsewhere. So, we had relative peace all last year, but now the dogs have returned. I am also fairly certain that my neighbor is selling pirated DVDs, and have it on some authority that he may be dealing drugs as well. Arrgg!! I've called the landlord twice now, and have gotten no response. What is wrong with people? This guy is a slumlord, the house looks like hell to boot. Today I am going to call animal control, on the grounds that it is a matter of time before the dogs get loose again, and there is not a sufficient fence to keep them in. I gave the slumlord ample time to call me back - too bad for him.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Why Wait?

As I was driving home this afternoon, I happened to listen to Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer. It's a lovely sounding song - Mayer has a lot of talent and great pipes - but I don't agree with his lyrics. It is interesting in this era of an unpopular war to listen to this generation of protest songs. Click on the link above for the full set of lyrics to the song.

Basically Mayer's message is that our generation is misunderstood and people think we don't stand for anything. "Now we see everything that's going wrong/ with the world and those who lead it/ we just feel like we don't have the means/ to rise above and beat it." Wow, what an amazing attitude - that will get you places.

Now, if you're reading this you may think I am taking a song way too seriously, but it's a serious topic and raises some questions. First, we live in the richest country in the world. We can vote, we can say what we like without the gestapo whisking us away in the middle of the night - we pretty much have every means at our disposal to make change happen. If you're bothered about what's going on, use your head, use your voice, use your youth and energy. If you're over 25, start a grassroots campaign and run for office. We live in a NOW society, but change can take a while. It took time to get where we are, and it will take time to change direction.

The second thing in Mayer's lyrics that bothered me was "and when you trust your television/ what you get is what you got/ cause when they own the information, oh/ they can bend it all they want." Ok - this is incredible. If you're getting all of your news from television you may need some more help than one woman can provide. Never in the history of the world have we had such amazing access to all sorts of media - not only newspaper and radio, but a cornucopia of web content. With the web, nobody owns the information. Download an RSS reader and subscribe to newsfeeds! Make your own information in a free blog or web site. Rank the importance of a news story at I am a librarian and therefore I try to get my news from a variety of sources, and I can guarantee you I am not seeing only pro-war content out there. Salon and the New York Times are huge and freely accessible on the web if you want perspectives that you feel you aren't getting from the Fox News network.

Finally, the third line I want to take to task is: "It's not that we don't care/ we just know that the fight ain't fair/ so we keep on waiting/ waiting for the world to change." A fair fight? I'm sorry, but the fight began when we were suckerpunched by suicidal monsters in airplanes. That wasn't fair.

Even if there was no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq, we took down an absolute despot. This is a guy who would have his countrymen arrested, strip them naked, hang them by their hands with their arms backward, and have them beaten or electrocuted to death. In any case, I am sure Saddam Hussein would not have refused the opportunity to have a go at the Great Satan with Osama bin Laden. I find it interesting that those who say conservatives see things only in black and white tend to have some of their own monchromatic viewpoints.

So John, I have to say I give it a 5 for the music and a 0 for the lyrics. I'm just not buying it. Being passive and being a pacifist don't mean the same thing. Remember, my young minstrel - a man of thought AND action gets more chicks.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Book On Deck

Next up on the reading list: Everything I'm Cracked Up to Be: A Rock & Roll Fairy Tale

I am excited about this one. I have gotten on a biography/authobiography kick lately, and this one looks very cool. It's a memoir by a woman named Jen Trynin. Apparently she was on the verge of making it big around 1994 - she was on the cover Billboard and in Rolling Stone and had Aimee Mann as her friend/mentor, and things just sort of bottomed out and it didn't happen. Anyway, the book came out this year. I haven't read it yet so I can't recommend it, but it looks very promising! Here is her site:

Almost finished with Savage Beauty. If you don't read any other poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, read "Renascence."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Series of Tubes

I had heard about this on the news, and looked it up and found a hilarious recap on BoingBoing:

Sunday, July 2, 2006
Sen. Stevens' hilariously awful explanation of the Internet
Senator Ted Stevens, a neutricidal maniac who wants to allow the phone companies to charge Google and others for delivering their packets to you, gave this incredible description of his understanding of how the internet works. This man is so far away from having a coherent picture of the Internet's functionality, it's like hearing a caveman expound on the future of silver-birds-from-sky and why we need to keep them from flying so high they anger the gods.

"I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially...

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

But, It Goes to Eleven

I am so excited. I just found out that there will be a new Christopher Guest movie next year! If you have not experienced the joy of a Christopher Guest movie, sequester yourself for a weekend with "This is Spinal Tap", "Best in Show", "Waiting for Guffman", and "A Mighty Wind".

All of his movies are absolutely hilarious mockumentaries, and Spinal Tap is probably the most well known. The sentence-long description of the new one, called "For Your Consideration" is already cracking me up: "Three actors learn their respective performances in the film "Home for Purim," a drama set in the mid-1940s American South, are generating award-season buzz."

What I love about these movies is that it has introduced to me the genius of actors I have usually seen in more "character actor" parts over the years. Eugene Levy (the dad in American Pie), Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge (the hairdresser in Legally Blonde). So the first time you watch one them, you're going "that's the guy in...!"

Christopher Guest is amazing because of the range of roles he can play, and really become a different person in each one. I think my favorite is Corky St. Clair in Waiting for Guffman. In this, he is an actor who moves to Blaine, Missouri from NYC to direct community theater and is always seen buying clothes for his wife "Bonnie" who is mysteriously never around.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

One Man's Trash

Real estate terminology, Alabama style:

Curb appeal - Any detritus from your house remodeling or any piece of junk whatsoever that you throw out on the curb for the trash guys and 30 minutes later, it's gone.

I'm not kidding, people will take anything.

Last year we ripped a bunch of nasty astroturf off of our front porch and put it on the curb, - this stuff was moldy and had to have been there at least 15 years - anyway, I was talking to my neighbor a couple of days later and she told me her son was looking out the window one day and saw the guy from the across the street come over while we were at work and cart it off.

When we had contractors working this fall to reside and reroof our house, they told us all kinds of people were stopping by to pick up old aluminum siding, moldy awnings, you name it.

The reason I bring up this topic today is because we ripped up a lot of carpet from inside the house today - mulberry colored old lady carpet - and put it outside. Today is Saturday, and the trash pickup is Monday. Wonder how long it will make it. I predict there will be one happy grandma somewhere tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Book of the Month

Currently reading Savage Beauty - a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford. I am excited because I think it will be pretty juicy. I love really good biographies, especially about people who wrote great poetry and had lots of love affairs.

You may have read this poem before, called "First Fig"

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light!

On Modern American Poetry, the critic JoEllen Green Kaiser says of this poem:

"Her most famous poem, after all, does not mourn absent love but rejoices in love’s impermanence."

Friday, July 14, 2006

What Would a Megalomanic Read?

Kim Jong-il's favorite book club:

I just can't help myself sometimes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Man Who Wanted Sounds

I've decided that I need to write down some of the strange but true experiences that fate kindly bestowed upon me over the past few years, before I start to forget them. Most of them came from, you guessed it, when I was working at the public library. The first tale is set in the summer of 2002, when I was working in the library before library school that fall, to see if it was something I wanted to keep doing. har dee har har.

This particular day I was working in the audiovisual department:

Patron - a black man in his thirties

Me - clueless

Me: Can I help you?

Patron: I'm looking for some sounds.

Me: Well sir, we have all kinds of CDs with sound effects. Train sounds, scary sounds...

Patron: No, no I want sex sounds, like with a woman.

Me: Uhhh....

Me: Umm, we don't have anything like that here....maybe you could try an adult store?

Patron: Well I know that! (turns around and walks off)

Stay tuned for our next story, "The Strong Woman of Queens."

Rocking-horse droppings?

Funniest thing I read today:

"Illegal aliens didn't invade in one day. However, if our nation devoted every available federal, state and local resource to their removal, in 90 days, they would be as rare as rocking-horse droppings."

- From a letter to the editor in the Huntsville Times.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Annie Gets Introduced to Physics

I was watching NOVA's Elegant Universe on PBS tonight, and the discussion was about uncertainty at the sub-atomic level and quantum mechanics. What I understood was that Einstein was of the idea that there were rules that explained the behavior of the universe in the somewhat rational and expected manner, but then this new wave of scientists said, hang on, these subatomic particles (protons, neutrons, and electrons) will actually behave in very bizarre manners that we can only predict. One example they gave was that you could walk into a wall, and of course, not go through it, but there is that CHANCE that you might be able to phase through it at some point. Of course, the probability is practically infinite, but it's there. I found all of this fascinating, even if I don't understand the science behind it, and it made me think of a social quantum theory.

People broken down singularly are bizarre and eccentric creatures, ranging from our little peccadilloes to major perversions and stuff that gets one into the Darwin Awards and News of the Weird. Yet, as a whole, we somehow manage in most parts of the world to come together as functioning societies. I suppose your black holes would be places like Darfur or East Timor, and your dark matter would be uncontacted tribes in the Amazon.

"O.K., that means our whole solar system could be, like... one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being...
This is too much! That means...
-one tiny atom in my fingernail could be--
-Could be one little...tiny universe....Could I buy some pot from you?"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mud Spelled Backwards is Dum

Yes, you would be spelling it as "dum" too if the simple minds of the Simplifed Spelling Society and American Literacy Council managed to push their agenda through public schools. This CNN article caught my eye today. Interestingly enough, Andrew Carnegie, he of the philanthropic Carnegie libraries and Melvil Dewey, the Father of Librarianship, were both past proponents of simplified spelling. The basic gist of "simplified spelling" is that you spell a word phoenetically, rather than in all of its rich etymological glory. I can see it now. Take the word "pen." You've got some Alabama kid that's going to spell it as "pin" because of course that's how you pronounce it down here, but some other kid in Virginia is going to say "pehn." Or some other person in Michigan who spells roof as "ruf." Total chaos!!! Kind of reminds me of those parents who won't toilet train their kids because they're afraid of giving them a complex about going to the bathroom. I guess they won't be able to figure out the restroom signage either when they finally learn.

Well, I guess that's enough ranting for one night. I'm going to the liberry.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Best Bun

I am excited because I have had my camera since Christmas, but only got around to figuring out how to upload the pictures today. I was getting grumpy because I couldn't figure out how to do it, and then Matthew asked if I had turned the camera on :-)
He is in tech support, so he is used to this.

This is our most adorable rabbit, Georgie Phillips.

Going to the Chapel

We're already married, but this is a picture of Matthew and me before we left for my friend Tamara's wedding on June 24. I was a bridesmaid.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Are You a Yankee or a Rebel?

Due to my having lived in the South, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northeast, here was my score:

43% Dixie. Barely in Yankeedom.

This was lots of fun!

Monday, June 19, 2006


Oh yeah, I promised Maggie I would post this. We were watching Batman Begins the other night and were a little giddy from being almost done with our "boot camp" at KSU.

These are my "Suri" quotes:

Suri you have Tom Cruise as a dad

Suri your mother has to marry Tom Cruise this summer

Suri you got turned into a Scientology 'bot

Suri your dad is such a nut job he caused the phrase "couch jumping" to come into existence

These don't begin to match up in awesomeness to my friend Beau's brilliant Tom Cruise haiku. Which, for the record, he came up with several years ago, before the Tom Cruise madness. I'll post them if I can still find them (and if he's cool with that).

PS - a big thanks to Melanie for the wonderful "Suri" image!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Back in Bama

I've been incommunicado for a fortnight. Two weeks ago today I got hit with a nasty stomach bug. Nasty, enough said, I won't gross anyone out with the details. I was actually worried that I wouldn't get my appetite back, but that charmed condition didn't last very long. The day after I felt back to normal (not wobbly) - which was last Saturday - I flew to Kent State University in Kent, Ohio for a week-long workshop with my job. This consisted of me and my other co-workers training teachers on how to help us develop our product. I won't go too much into that, but most of the time at KSU was very pleasant. The weather was very cool, which was a wonderful break from the 90 degree temperatures here in Silicon Holler. I was very curious to see the memorial and markers of the four students that were killed duing the riots on May 4, 1970. If you don't know about the "four dead in Ohio" from the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, you can learn more here.

The memorial was beautiful, four simple slabs of polished stone (maybe granite) and a marker with the names of the four dead and nine wounded. Near the memorial and right next to the dorm I stayed in was the area where the students actually died. It is now a parking lot, but each spot where a student died was marked with lights and a marker with their name. It was very moving.

Kent State is also populated with black squirrels, which I remember seeing when I lived in Ft. Riley, KS. According to one of the professors, these squirrels were brought to the campus about 15 years ago and have since populated about a 12-mile radius. They seem to be genetically dominant. There are still some grey ones here and there, but the little black ones appear to have taken over. I was able to unwind each night with a nice quiet walk around campus and a bit of squirrel watching.

Strangely enough, having to be "on" each day and having to present and teach didn't leave me as stressed and drained each night as I thought I would be. I think it had to do with the fact that for a week, after I finished work each day, all of my meals were cooked for me, I didn't come home to a messy house (just a small room) and I had no TV or internet to distract me (consequently no depressing news to listen to), and some great books to read. I must be afflicted with modern life.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Egg Song

Blech! Twee as can be! I can't stop watching! Actually, the ninja eggs are really cool.

On the bedside table:

Culture Jam by Kalle Lassen

Just Finished: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less

This reminds me of a much geekier and all-encompassing version of the Cajun Man skit on SNL. :-)

Oh, and this is just wrong.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Here's a letter to the editor that I wrote and was published in the Huntsville Times today, concerning the actions of some miscreants at the local high school who decided it would be a really cool senior prank to find a homeless guy and force him to pull down his pants in front of people in the school hallway. I DO NOT understand the depths of cruelty and ignorance that humans can display. What sickens me is the reactions of other people:

Huntsville High degenerates

Besides the obvious, what I find so disturbing in the wake of the Huntsville High incident, are the reactions from many of the community.

On the WAFF online comment board, there are reactions such as "Yeah, next time a homeless woman would be better" to "These are teenagers pulling a high school prank" to "Why don't the police focus on real crimes," etc.

Maybe I am over generalizing here, but I would bet that all of the degenerates involved in this incident come from among the more wealthy homes in Huntsville, and have never had to or will have to worry about too much, not materially anyway.

I think that those of us who are blessed with mental and physical health and other comforts can sometimes amass an arrogance of having so much, as well as a spiritual void where others less fortunate are concerned.

The onus is on us to protect and care for others in our community, not use them as puppets for entertainment.

For any us to pass off these oafs as having fun and games or "kids being kids" makes us no better than those who support tyrants and dictators.

It all contributes to a corrupt and worthless society, and that's a very real crime.

Ann Lee Phillips,

Huntsville, 35811

This may not be a very Christian sentiment, but sometimes I wish they would bring back those stocks that you could stick people's hands and feet in, and throw rotten fruit at them.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A compliment

A friend today told me I was squirrelly, but he meant it in a nice way.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Unsung Heroes

I am fortunate to work with (besides my husband of course) one of the nicest guys ever. In fact, he is so nice you wouldn't guess that he is also in one of the neatest bands I've ever listened to. This month's GQ has an article on the Unsung Heroes of Music, with a list of nominations by writers and musicians. So, way to go Sex Clark Five, nominated by A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers. My friend would probably be horribly embarrassed to know I wrote this here, but that's because he is truly a humble person. Good thing only about 3 people read my blog!

You should be able to listen to a clip and see the list here:

Oh yeah, and THIS guy doesn't know what the hell he talking about:

By the way, I nominate my husband as my muscial unsung hero, for his awesome keyboard playalongs to Bryan Adams' Heaven while I am trying to listen to it on the radio, and his participation in the St. Stephen's bell choir.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Socks Chasing Panties on a Hamster Wheel

That last post wasn't really as cryptic as it sounds. I was in a terrible mood that day, had just written a somewhat long, detailed post, and then the ghost in the machine decided to erase it in one swipe before I saved it. Bah!

Anyway, the last two days have been nice. Work hasn't been completely insane, and have actually started running again and looking forward to doing so when I come home from work.

I had a Hitchcockian experience yesterday. While running up a tree-lined hill, a bird decided to start dive-bombing my head. I have been swiped at before, but this was really the most ferocious little creature I have ever encountered. I think he took at least five dives at me, all the while chirping angrily. Or maybe it was a she, protecting her nest. I haven't seen The Birds since I was ten, but it made me remember how creepy that movie was. It's really like these tiny dinosaurs flying around, with their cold reptilian instincts.

On Sunday - the day of the terrible mood - I went to see Friends with Money. I really like all of the actresses in it - Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, and Catherine Keener, but I LOVE Frances McDormand. She was awesome in Fargo, and Laurel Canyon. Here, she plays this spastic, angry woman, but she is so likeable. I identified with her because she goes around blowing up at people who steal her parking space and all of these little indignities and affronts, when the root of the problem is much deeper. You just see her simmering all through the movie. Finally, she is in Old Navy when a couple of cuts in front of her. You know, those awful people that jump through the line when a clerk opens another register when you have been waiting longer.
Anyway, she loses it and is kicked out of the store, and while she is walking out in a fit of rage, she breaks her nose on a plate glass window.

The past couple of years, I feel like I have been on that low boil. Getting mad about things on a deeper level, bottling it up, not confronting the actual problems and then embarrassing myself by giving the finger to people on the highway or screaming or punching the wall or throwing things. And when I saw this character in the movie getting so angry she ultimately causes physical damage to herself, I knew that I had been approaching this level of anger, that any day now I am going to just blow - and I don't want that to happen. But at the same time, I want it to happen, like a little kid, show everyone how MAD I am, and feel really gleeful about it!

Oh well. This is why we are called adults, although many of us these days seem to think we are entitled to act otherwise. I often catch myself doing childish things, like whining on a blog :-)

On a happier note, I saw this line in an ad for laundry detergent yesterday and it cracked me up: "Imagine some socks chasing some panties around on a hamster wheel."
I'll buy it if I get to see that!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Oh hell. I have been silenced.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Not too much

Well, it's been pretty busy for me and I haven't had time to post much this month. My close friend David just left last week to go for a year to Afghanistan as an engineer for the army, so we had a nice sendoff for him. He will be very much missed, but a year isn't so long!

I also have been staying busy with work, as well as gearing up for my sister's wedding on May 20.

Last night I saw a very moving documentary about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German minister who was part of a resistance plot to kill Hitler. If anyone is reading this and has the chance, watch this program, or visit the PBS site:

I have to go for now, but more later.

Monday, April 03, 2006


This is a poem I found today on Writer's Almanac and I really liked - it was the one on the date of my birthday in 2005, which I happen to share with Garrison Keillor:

The Bachelor

No family pictures on the wall, no books,
A drafting desk, a travel magazine;
No children, one divorce, a satellite dish—
A cold, efficient exercise machine,

And in the corner with the firewood, stacks
Of videos. The fridge comes with "lite" beer
And non-fat milk for the granola stored
In jars. I've looked, but there's no sugar here.

Platoons of running shoes camp by the door;
His Boston fern, neglected, pays the price;
His one unfriendly cat purposefully saunters
Across the threshold, searching hard for mice.

As he begins to age, and his gray beard
Inaugurates the thinning of his hair,
He'll pale with each sensation in his chest,
Each flutter, every pain and numbness there—

No cardiologist, nor any chart
Will ever find the trouble with his heart.

by Leslie Monsour, from The Alarming Beauty of the Sky

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hip to be Square? Nah.

Pretentious website of the week:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I read a column today by John Leo that was so sad, and about people so evil, I could not stop thinking about it the rest of the day. Unbelieveably, (and this was Leo's point) I saw nothing of this on CNN or any of the other major American news sources, more than likely because these media sources are pussy-footing around the fact that it was vicious anti-Semitism by Muslims - just as many papers were afraid to publish the political cartoons. Do a news search - you won't see a word in any US news sites.

A young French man named Ilan Halimi who happened to be Jewish was kidnapped and tortured to death over a period of THREE weeks by a gang of mostly Muslim youth in one of the suburbs of Paris. They apparently invited friends and neighbors over to participate, yet no one ever called the police. I can't write anymore about it, it's too sickening.

I love France and enjoyed my time there, but attitudes like this just make me want to stay away. I am not anti-Muslim - I am anti-depraved violence against others, and I am against spineless wimps offering apologetics on why souless thugs may be justified in their acts. Let's call something for what it is, and not act like scared kids at recess trying to avoid the bully skulking in the school yard.

In addition, I am a Christian, and when I saw Rolling Stone's cover of Kanye West as a crucified Jesus, I didn't run around burning stuff and threatening murder, although I was highly offended by the content. Guess what, I chose not to read it, and suffered the fools who decided to print that garbage.

On a final note, we all (myself included) need to keep alive in our memories ALL acts of violence against every human, lest we fall into the trap as great as hate, which is indifference. Before Hitler began the death camps that murdered Jews, as well as Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, and many others, he said "Who will remember the Armenians?" (One million Armenians were murdered during WW I)

John Leo's Column:

Here is in-depth information about the crime:

Saturday, March 18, 2006


This links to a PDF that has a photo of my great-grandfather, Louis Prentiss, with Richard Nixon when he was Vice-President. I found this one day when I was just messing around, and it's pretty weird. I had no idea he had ever met Richard Nixon.


I am in a much better frame of mind today. I think I just get too sensitive about things. It is a beautiful day today and I have so much to be thankful for. The image that was in the last post is called Melancholy and Mystery of a Street, by Italian metaphysical artist Girogi de Chirico. It is one of my very favorites, and his art just appeals to me on so many levels that I don't think I can even conciously express. I like the brightness and shadow, and the silence. If you like it, also check out Max Ernst, featured here. I was lucky enough to see a Max Ernst exhibit in Paris in 1998. This image is titled Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I'm getting depressed again. Or maybe I am always depressed and it just has peaks and troughs?
The Little Prince made me weep when I read it.

I'm reading The Eye of the World for The Arcanum on March 21. It's pretty good, although I have heard of the dangers of getting sucked into the entire series. Apparently Robert Jordan wasn't kidding when he named the series Wheel of Time.

I just read What Was She Thinking by Zoe Heller, which may have precipitated the depression. The writing and storyline were excellent, but the characters were a real downer. All kinds of psychological complexes in people with nearly zero redeeming traits.

I think that next I would like to pick up Gain by Richard Powers, and also a new children's book called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Crooked Teeth

I feel like I have been using quotes as a crutch for filler the last couple of posts, but oh well. I like to read and I like to listen to music, so it makes sense for me to be ruminating on one or the other. My husband got me Death Cab for Cutie's Plans for Christmas, so I have been listening to the CD off and on for the last 2 months. I just got fixated on their song "Crooked Teeth" the other day, however. I love how Ben Gibbard can take something as poignant as a dead-end relationship, keep the poignancy, but make it light-hearted at the same time. I know I can relate at least a couple of past relationships to these lines:

It was one hundred degrees, as we sat beneath a willow tree,
Whose tears didn't care, they just hung in the air, and refused to fall, to fall.

And I knew I'd made horrible call,
And now the state line felt like the Berlin wall,
And there was no doubt about which side I was on.

Cause I built you a home in my heart,
With rotten wood, it decayed from the start.

Cause you can't find nothing at all,
If there was nothing there all along.
No you can't find nothing at all,
If there was nothing there all along.

For me it was that "oh no, what have I gotten myself into and how can I extricate myself" sinking of the gut. And no matter what, I always felt like a jerk.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Love Tam Lin

"I would that there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest: for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting."

Shakespeare, A Winter's Tale, Act III, Scene iii, lines 59-62.

This is a quote that I disovered in Pamela Dean's version of the ballad of Tam Lin.

I am not sure how many times I have read it, or more accurately, picked it up and thumbed through to favorite parts. It's like sitting down with a box of chocolates. The above link has all of the fantastic literary references that Dean uses throughout the novel. A line that gives me chills every time I read it is when the Queen of Hell confronts Tam Lin (or Thomas, in this version) after Janet has pulled him off the horse and covered him while he shape-shifts:

" 'Oh had I known," she said in her own voice, but with a wild note and a wilder accent, Scottish flavored with Welsh or French or something nobody knew; she said this much straight to Janet, and then jerked her head to address Thomas. 'Tam Lin' she said , 'what this night I did see," and she looked back at Janet, 'I had looked him the eye, and turned him to a tree.' "

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Thought

I find it truly amazing that with the web it makes it so much easier to find people. Say you think of someone you haven't talked to in years, or maybe had a crush on in highschool. You can look them up on their Amazon wishlists, their wedding registries, Intellius, Google them for photos. It's so bizarre, and yet, now that we are in this mindset, it almost becomes not a very big deal. I suppose it will get to the point that you find a long-lost friend's e-mail or web site and get in touch with them, and it will be like "so what, I can't believe you it took you this long to find me."

A passage that sort of parallels this is from Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers:

"The web was a neighborhood more efficiently lonely than the one it replaced. Its solitude was bigger and faster. When relentless intelligence finally completed its program, when the terminal drop box brought the last barefoot, abused child on line and everyone could at last say anything instantly to everyone else in existence, it seemed to me that we'd still have nothing to say to each other and many more ways to say it."

The Indigo Child

Ok, there is an article in our paper today from the syndicated press titled " 'Indigo' Children Gain Following. " An Indigo Child is a child who is more "enlightened and spiritually attuned." Apparently these special children were first noticed in the late 70s by a San Diego psychologist named Nancy Ann Tappe. She could see auras and "noticed that a new color attached to a growing body of children, indigo, had 'entered the Earth plane."

Now the idea that their child might be an "indigo" has started to appeal to many parents, and why shouldn't it? Many kids (and unfortunately the rest of us) today are subject to the Baby Jesus syndrome by their parents, where everything they do is special and magical. I am not trying to sound like a jerk, because I think the qualities of sensitivity and creativity, supposed traits of an Indigo, are a blessing and should be encouraged in everyone. However, some of the other qualities listed, such as:

  • They feel like royalty and deserve to be here
  • They are full of self-worth
  • They have difficulty with absolute authority
  • They will not respond to "guilt" discipline
to me seem like a cop-out for parents who have an unmitigated spoiled brat on their hands.

There is more and more buzz about this type of personality, with web sites, books, and seminars - it will be interesting to see if this is the second wave of Boomeresque child-rearing principles. I do not yet have a child, but, indigo or not, I think we will be following the advice of mom.

I can't find the article online, but here is a link to a website about Indigo Children:

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Strange Things Afoot

My husband and I are bemused and fascinated by a local business in our town. Each time we pass it we have noticed that they post something new and strange on their sign outside. We've been giggling about it for over a year now, and I wish we had started keeping track of them earlier, but these have been the latest nuggets of wisdom:

Last week of February: "He is hostile."

This week: "Two out of three ain't good."

I'm imagining some guy who's owned this place since the 70's (it's called Southern Business Machines, which is a mystery in itself) has reached his dotage and now fancies himself a sage. Who knows? I may just call them this week and see if anyone can tell me what these mean and who puts them up, but that may spoil the fun.

Cool link today: