Sunday, November 27, 2005

Best Email Evah

I was forwarded this by a close amigo, who got it from his cousin.

I have a wide screen plasm that Im trying to sell real cheap.
It was my ex boyfriends, but since I caught the bitch cheating on me with some gym rat from South Beach I figure its fair game. Anyways, its really nice and only a few months old and its still under warranty.
Please only serious people call since Im still shaken up over this whole ting."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A bad sign

CC tries to name the nine supreme court Justices:

Uh, ok, there's Ginsberg,

and Breyer

and Souter

and Scalia

and Roberts

and Alito, likely, but technically still O'Conner,

and Thomas




CC tries to name all nine Bradys

In ascending order of age:







Mrs. Brady,

Mr. Brady,



Do I get extra points for remembering Tiger and/or cousin Oliver?

pretty sure that if they'd ever done an episode where Stevens made two dates for the same dance or Kennedy got hit with a stray football and worried he'd never be a teen model, she would know them.

Can we all agree that THIS is wrong?

Since, well, all of my blogger pals who have written about the "guy who gives a sermon criticizing Bush two days before the election is accused of trying to influence said election" issue have disagreed with my stance that the FEC is at least somewhat justified in doing this, I'm wondering.

We can all agree that a public school teacher giving a vocabulary test with questions like:

"I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes."

is innappropriate, right?

Full story here.

That said, I have heard people put forth the theory that using poor grammar makes one sound more accessible to the average person, which would make the thrust of the question right, though the principle applies to both parties. On the Democratic side, no one with poor grammar comes to mind, but I remember a story that when he was a Senator, former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles would wear expensive dark suits in Washington, then change into cheaper, lighter suits to go home because that's the style in Florida so he could look like a man of the people. Same principle.

To me, poor grammar sounds sort of contrived in a man who learned these things at expensive private schools. But "Walkin' Lawton" never lost an election in 40 years and Kerry certainly didn't win any votes by being true to himself and using phrases like "would that it were," although I thought it was pretty cool.

So maybe there's something to be said for a man-of-the-people act well played, and Bush does seem to pull it off.

I should end there for the sake of a having a well-structured post, but my smart (and by the way, Conservative) friend Pam is a Floridian and she told me a funny story about Lawton Chiles.

The 1994 election between Jeb Bush and Lawton Chiles was a close one and came down to a debate less than a month before the election.

In the debate, Bush said Chiles was a good man who had served his country well, but the time comes when a person has to retire and let the younger generation take over.

And that's about all you need to say to lose an election in Florida.

who suspects that teacher would be really annoying to know.

And who has never actually been able to verify that Bush said that, but politics friends of both parties love that story.

Tee hee.

A Chicago man dies and goes to hell.

When he gets there, the devil comes over to welcome him. The devil then says, "Sometimes it gets pretty uncomfortable down here."

The man says, "No problem. I'm from Chicago."

So the devil goes over to the thermostat, turns the temperature up to 100, and the humidity up to 80. He then goes back to the Chicago man to see how he's doing. To the devil's surprise, the man is doing just fine.

"No problem...just like Chicago in June," the man says.

So the devil goes back over to the thermostat, and turns the temperature up to 150, and the humidity up to 90. He then goes back over to see how the Chicago man is doing. The man is sweating a little, but overall looks comfortable.

"No problem. Just like Chicago in July," the man says.

So now the devil goes over to the thermostat, turns the temperature up to 200, and the humidity up to 100. When he goes back to see how the man is doing, the man is sweating profusely, and has taken his shirt off. Otherwise, he seems OK.

He says, "No problem. Just like Chicago in August."

Now the devil is really perplexed. So he goes back to the thermostat, and turns the temperature down to MINUS 150 DEGREES. Immediately, all the humidity in the air freezes up, and the whole place (meaning Hell) becomes a frigid, barren, frozen, deathly cold wasteland.

When he goes back now to see how the Chicago man is doing, he is shocked to discover the man is jumping up and down, and cheering in obvious delight. The devil immediately asks the man what's going on. To which the Chicago man replies.....


Thursday, November 24, 2005


Well, we finally got to Atlanta having had a really spiff time with the CSO’s family. Tomorrow we’re meeting a college friend of mine for lunch and seeing his new house, hanging out all afternoon, then going to dinner with some friends of Petey’s in Atlanta.

Tonight, Petey made us spaghetti and now we’re sitting around playing cards and eating cookies. Petey makes good cookies.

Called home and the Chalicemom reported that Thanksgiving has been peaceful up there.


Things still suck in lots of ways, but I have lots to be thankful for tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving MIsadventures

After hitting a freak snowstorm in the Virginia mountains, we found we were really tired, so we called up TheCSO's mother in Charlotte and asked if she'd like to have dinner with us so we could have an excuse to get off the road.

After dinner, we were tired.

Now we're staying at the CSO's mom's house for Thanksgiving lunch.

Smile. Nice thing about family, they have to take you in.

So I am blogging, drying dishes, watching the parade and eagerly awaiting the happy faces that will ensue when TheCSO's grandparents get here to find us. My sister-in-law has made a great Thanksgiving lunch.

We will get to Atlanta in time for dinner.

Katie Couric just doesn't sound into it this morning. She has a Ben-Stein-like delivery. Maybe she's not feeling well. TheCSO and I decided that it would rock if Comedy Central set up their own reviewing stand and had wiseass commentary. The CSO and I don't normally watch things like the Macy's Parade, but we would totally tune in for that.

Tommy Tune as Doctor Doolitte? Tell me Jon Stewart couldn't do something hilarious with that.

Kristen Chenoweth creeps me out. I'm not sure why. But as the ChaliceMom's daughter, I can totally sing along with "Oklahoma!"

I'm not sure why the Brooklyn bridge needs its own float, but the lead singer of the band playing on it is a cutie.

PB is live blogging her Thanksgiving, too.

who really has asked "is there anything I can do?" a bunch of times.

Oh and here's a quirky blgo quiz:

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Politically-motivated sermon investigated in politically-motivated investigation

I've already detailed here why preaching a sermon about how Jesus would have disliked Bush's policies two days before an election and then playing at being shocked when somebody says you're trying to influence said election is a bit precious, IMHO.

But you don't have to agree with me, and if you'd like to sign a petition anyway, you can do so here.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Character Education

In the supermarket, I ran into someone I know who was delighted to hear that I was looking for a job and offered me a position working under her designing "character education" programs for the county schools.

Though theCSO has said we're fine financially and I should look for something that really fits, even a casual job offer felt good. I've had a bull-in-a-china-shop day where I found out I did something that really offended someone I like a lot and wrote a long letter to someone else in which I'm pretty sure I said all the wrong things but can't for the life of me imagine what the right things were.

Anyway, the job only being two days a week made it easy to turn down, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't suited for it anyway. I'm not sure I am philisophically OK with character education in the first place. It's weird to hear people say that liberals are morally relative. The hardcore liberals I know aren't morally relative in the least. They are just as convinced as the hardcore conservatives that they know what is best for the world and everyone should do as they do. Neither hardcore liberal nor hardcore conservative values are mine.

People's characters are different. And different people are going to find different traits to be the most important and different families raise their kids to focus on different values. As a kid, my parents were big on loyalty to one's various commitments. The CSO's family was big on being open with one another. (We found out how different those values really were the first time a good friend told me a secret that she didn't want me to tell anyone. Eventually he found out from someone else and I mentioned that I'd known. To me, keeping the secret was the natural act of a good friend. To him, my keeping something from him was a big deal. We worked it out, but I can easily see how we both got where we are from the families we came from, though certainly a less pop-psychy explanation is possible. )

My favorite way of "teaching morality" is vicariously through literature. Most books of any quality have moral questions at their centers. As a junior high school kid, I was having some fairly sophisticated thoughts about the nature of good and evil that were inspired by Piers Anothony's Incarnations of Immortality series. Surely looking at what different characters value in great works of literature can get much the same message across, and in a way that will resonate far more than a more typical character education lesson could.

Besides, I have a large bias against the subject because I attended a day-long character education seminar when I was in high school. It was so very painful that when a kid who had mercilessly teased me in Junior High school dropped his wallet as he turned to leave, I almost didn't tell him lest somebody think the attempts to morally educate me had been successful.

But "don't be a jerk" has always been the heart of my moral code and when I saw him drop the wallet, I yelled after him anyway.

What can I say? I'm a girl scout.

whose husband just leaned over the computer and said that a job teaching kids how to be characters is right up my alley.

OK, now be MY Fodor's

TheCSO's and my afore-written-about Thanksgiving with our Vegan friends fell through, so now we are going to Petey's house in Atlanta.

Anybody know of fun stuff to do in Atlanta or good restaurants where we can take our host?


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Rules the Chaliceparents imposed that I still think are kind of stupid today

A service to the kids of today

1. You can own computer games for the PC and watch lots of TV, but you can’t have a Nintendo. It will make you anti-social, despite the kids you see playing them together.
2. You can’t have a Walkman. It also will make you anti-social, despite the fact that all the kids with lots of friends have one.
3. You’re not allowed to watch Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. There was just something disturbing about that show.
4. You’re also not allowed to watch The Simpsons, though this rule was relaxed sometime in high school.
5. No magazines, except certain educational ones. Highlights and then 3-2-1 Contact were OK. But the Consumer Reports magazine for kids wasn’t for some reason. Fashion magazines when I got older were also out.
6. The ChaliceMom, a sweet person who likes things like bright colors and bold patterns, must approve all clothing purchases. My mother quite literally dressed me funny.
7. Family vacations must include many, many posed pictures of mother and children taken by the ChaliceDad. I remember these sessions as very unpleasant and at my wedding asked for minimal posed photographs and tons of candids, which produced amazing results, particularly since the CSO and I had hired a former AP news photographer. My mother had let the picture point go, but my Aunt Barbara was so lost by the lack of structure that she actually started organizing her own posed photos and pulling the photographer over to take them. So my wedding pictures have a couple hundred shots of my friends and relations captured mid-giggle, mid-dance or mid-serious-looking-conversation, and a section in the middle that is my grandmother, aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin’s husband, cousin’s children. Etc, all in a group, smiling obediently at the camera.

CC at the movies

Saw the Harry Potter movie at Tysons Corner’s very large and extremely kickass new movie theatre. On the whole, not as good as the third movie, but better than the first two. It probably did a better job than any of the others at showing the importance of the supporting characters. Neville and the Weasely twins made much more of an impression in this movie than they had in other ones. The director also did a nice job of not showing us much Quiddich. Quiddich, like most sports, bores the pants off CC.

Smile. The candles just hanging in the air in the Hogwarts main hall make me smile every time.

But the weirdest thing was that the wizard kids absolutely flipped out over a carriage pulled by flying horses, leaning out the train window are pointing.

Apparently to them, this is weird.

Oh, and judging by the previews, King Kong will rock.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Mysterious Ways of Adults

Tonight, PB wrote about a fairly offensive ad comparing Dr. Phil to Jesus Christ. (And BTW, the evangelical feel of Dr. Phil's approach is discussed here if you're interested.)

I really do think the ad is too much and that PB's criticisms are justified, but I couldn't help being reminded a time when little CC was sitting at the breakfast table, eating her raisin bran as Aunt Jackie was reading the paper.

"Look at this!" She said, thrusting the paper across the table at me. She was showing me a full-page ad in the Washington Post with a large, pre-Raphealite Adam and Eve.

"This was a big mistake," the ad copy read, "but not as big a mistake as missing Daffy's spring sale!"

Little CC thought it was pretty funny, but didn't let on. After all, when CC had expressed skepticism about the talking snake, Mommy had explained that the Story of Adam and Eve was like that story about the dog who was carrying a bone, but lost it when he saw his reflection in the stream and jumped in after the bigger bone he thought the dog in the stream had. You didn't have to believe the story, you just had to learn from the story. Bible stories were allegories, Mommy had said.

Aunt Jackie raved about how tacky the Daffy's ad was for at least five minutes, and then showed it to Mommy and Daddy, who were equally upset. There was much loud complaining from the adults in Little CC's life that morning, and it had nothing to do with anything she herself had done. They were upset over somebody insulting the allegory. CC just ate her breakfast and listened.

And somehow, she remembers that as the best morning of her entire childhood.


Ps. Picture is by William Strang and hangs in the Tate Gallery. It's not the one from the ad, but fairly representative.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another briefcase in another hall

I just got laid off.

I got the speech about how good I am and how this is a business decision, etc, etc and soforth. No snarking on my evil Republican bosses, please. Though two weeks notice so I could apply for something else from a position of strength would have been nice, they were on the whole quite reasonable and seemed to feel bad. The loud smiley partner offered me a glowing reference. That should make me feel better as people tend to like loud smiley people.

Naturally, my closest friend in the office hid in her office and didn't say goodbye. Sucks but typical.

If anyone knows of anybody hiring in Washington DC, please let me know.


Awake, again

I was kind of bummed out for most of the day, but cheered up significantly when I talked to Linguist Friend and TheCSO (who is in New Haven this week) and am feeling better. Still, prepare yourselves, my annual Christmas bad mood is looking to be huge this year. I pass the giant inflatable snowglobe and I feel my snarky senses tingling.

Yes, new readers, as JField once noted, I don't like Christmas, kids OR

They don't call me a "Cranky Humanist" for nothin'.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Can't win for losing with dolls.

I did actually buy the child of a friend a Che Guevera doll, with his Mom's hearty approval of course.

But now that I read this, I feel all sort of trendy and lame for doing so.

Kate Hudson? Cringe.

Not to mention, that as Catallarchy notes, Che was kind of a scary bastard.

"Hatred is an element of struggle; relentless hatred of the enemy that impels us over and beyond the natural limitations of man and transforms us into effective, violent, selective, and cold killing machines. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy."

Probably not the sort of thing I would want the theoretical Chalicekids to be spouting, but it still beats the heck out of "Math class is tough!"


Idle thoughts

Today while updating the database at work, I discovered that we have a guy whose first name is "Spofford" in it.

And I wonder:

1. Does his wife call out "Spofford!" during the act of love?

2. If so, how does she keep a straight face while doing so?


Friday, November 11, 2005

Yeah, Jesus would have been totally fine with Pat Robertson saying that

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Pat Robertson on Dover, Pennsylvania.

Jeezum crow.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sabina Fallacy reviewed

The world needs a review of the Sabina Fallacy.


Explained this CC-invented term to a friend the other day, and now I am presenting it for the edification of the viewing public:

The Sabina Fallacy a system of misguided thinking held by a person dating/marrying someone who treats others badly that allows the Obvious Future Victim (OFV) to believe that though schnookums may have behaved badly in the past, he/she would NEVER treat OFV this way.

If you hear someone* say “Well, yeah, she got her last boyfriend arrested for stalking her, then sat outside his dorm room for two hours so he couldn’t go to class without violating the restraining order, but she wouldn’t do that to me. Things between US are different.”

Or “Well, yes, she does scream at her adult son for minor things in front of dinner parties all the time, but she would never humiliate me like that because, well, I can’t articulate WHY, she just wouldn’t.”

Or “Sure, his last five wives died mysteriously, but I still can’t wait to be wife number six!”

Then just smack the OFV upside the head.


*The Sabina Fallacy is named for a real person who actually did this.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

CC can't sleep

I should be pretty happy tonight. I emailed back and forth all day with a buddy of mine who used to work at Cato. We were gently debating voter turnout. I may not like politics in church, but I do actually do this stuff for a living and I dig a good conversation about voter turnout. Especially when I'm right. Which I was. Northern Virginia did turn out, delivering us a Democratic governor who did a great job of being "not odious" on the campaign trail, which was all the race really required given that his opponent reminds one of Mr. Garrison from South Park, but evil.

Way back in June, I linked to a story about turning politically damaging recordings into ringtones and commented on what political genius it was. Now if you want a "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!" ringtone, you know where to find one. I'd get one, but it has "The Train they call the City of New Orleans," in the background as Bush speaks and I found out recently that song still depresses me.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his wife, Carlita, cast their votes in the city's hotly contested mayoral race. Picture stolen from

CC always feels this way when she votes, too.

She stood in front of the machine tonight, carefully voting for Kaine, then stepped back a bit and had to suppress a little squeak of excitement as she pressed "Vote." Democracy never gets old, kids.


This was much funnier when it was happening to Conservative churches.

Philo gave us the scoop on a church getting investigated by the IRS for having an antiwar sermon where the minister, by total coincidence, having nothing to do with influencing thoughts on the upsoming elections, told the church what Jesus would have thought of the war that just happened to be a huge campaign issue.

I have to say that I find the general "Boy, if Jesus were alive today, he would totally agree with my political views" topic really tired, no matter which side is preaching it.

That said, I think the IRS should have many more blatant cases of politicking from the pulpit than this one. Heck, I could give them three or four that I've actually witnessed that were more blatant. Not going to, but just saying...

I prefer going one notch more careful than the IRS standard Derek cites in Philo's comments. I'd like to see a standard where we don't endorse/criticize candidates OR policies, but the moral stands beneath them. That seems firmly religion's territory. And if we don't change people's minds about the moral questions, killing one referendum or getting one candidate elected is just a band-aid over a deeper wound anyway.

In my church we just had a sermon on the evolution debate where our minister spent a good ten minutes telling us over and over how right we are to believe in evolution. (Before giving us the great insight that evolution and God's hand in creation are not at all incompatible, a point my mom made as convincingly and a hell of a lot more concisely when I was ten. But I'm getting off track...) We're all very certain that the church should stay out of science, even when a church thinks it knows what is best for science.

Is it so unreasonable to ask the church to do the same when it comes to politics?

Is there anyone here who can tell me with a straight face that listing off one candidate's policies and how much Jesus would have disliked them two days before an election has nothing to do with influencing votes?

Furthermore, if the church is so known for its liberal social activism that church members suspect this is political payback, why on Earth is telling its members that Jesus was a liberal necessary? They pretty obviously already believe it. Sermons that tell me how right I am mostly bore me.


Ps. Yes, I would feel the same way if a conservative church preached about how the capital gains tax makes baby jesus cry for half an hour, then added a quick disclaimer that moral people can vote both ways. Of course, it sucks when conservatives do it too. Duh.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Where are we going?

During my lunch with Boy in the Bands yesterday, he raised the question “Where is the UU blogosphere going?”

It’s a good question, and I don’t think I gave him a particularly good answer in that I responded by talking about how one of my favorite things about the blogosphere is that a 27-year old fundraising consultant finds the real live ministers actually talk to her like she’s a peer and take seriously what she has to say. This is a continuing source of amazement to me, I can assure you.

(I do not typically talk to people about politics like they know what they are talking about. My general impression is that most people in no way think through their political opinions or double check to make sure their facts are right.)

Anyway, getting the luxury of being taken seriously is part of what I’m doing here. And I really do feel like I have a lot to say about UUism and the world in general. And when I post about one of my problems, people advise me how to solve it. And when I read a good book or find a good sushi restaurant, it’s my impulse to let the world know.

It’s funny because linguist friend introduced me as a “UU blogger” to someone at his church one time and I about fell through the floor. I love the Chaliceblog, but I can’t escape the suspicion that religion blogging is still a little bit lame.

OK, so we’ve established that I blog for various self-serving reasons.

But what about the rest of us. And where are we going?

Well, all I can say is that we all influence one another and we all pull the blogosphere in our own directions. If I put up a pointless screed about my personal life, I have to assume I’m encouraging other people to do the same. So I at least try to make it entertaining and I hope they will too. I really do think that thoughtful, quality posts improve the blogosphere. I know that when I read one, it makes me want to write one.

So where are we going?

Probably about where we are.

All over the map.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Information Gaps

In the days after the 2004 election, I had a huge pet peeve about people saying “I just didn’t know what Kerry’s plans were. What was his plan for jobs? He never communicated that well.”

To which I would typically respond. “Well, Kerry being a far more moderate Democrat than he typically got credit for, the plans were sympathetic to big business in lots of ways. Mostly, he focused on job training programs to prepare people to do the jobs that big corporations are hiring for and doing things like giving tax breaks to companies who brought outsourced jobs back to America.”

“Wow.” Said person would say. “How did you know that?”


The assumption that if a piece of information hasn’t been tossed up into our collective faces, we haven’t been given it annoys me. Right now, I’m seeing it from the opposite side in that people are so upset that at McDonalds one must WALK OVER TO THE POSTER on the wall to get the nutrition information on one’s Big Mac rather than having the information printed on the packaging.

In California, Conservatives are all in a fuss because Union members have to LOOK IT UP ON THE INTERNET if they want to know what political causes their union dues are supporting.

All this makes me want to make the internet available as a public utility. Already, you can get a cheap computer for not much more than you would pay for a decent TV. (Dell’s low-end models start at $349. Emachines at $339, etc. Yes, those both include monitors.) For other folks, there’s always the library.

Anyway, we aren’t quite there yet, but I look forward to the day when people having internet access is as natural assumption the way people having a phone is.

Then I will finally be able to respond:

“Shut up and Google it!”


Pretty romantic as slime molds go

If my fossilized remains are going to be found some day, I'd like to be found like this.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

theCSO: More on the HPV vaccine..

There is another reason for this, one I see as primary. One of the major scare tactics used by the abstinence-only folks is "Condoms haven't been proven effective against HPV, so you could catch HPV even if you use a condom.. better wait until marriage."

They're mostly banking on how HPV has a very similar acronym to HIV. Nevermind that condoms, properly used, have been proven highly effective against HIV which, unlike HPV, is deadly. Nevermind that HPV has no serious symptoms (and is often completely asymptomatic) except for the cervical cancer risk, and that there IS evidence that condoms reduce that risk. For that matter, nevermind that the increased cervical cancer risk is actually quite small.

When it comes down to it, I think the real issue is that this vaccine would take away a favored arguement against premarital sex. I don't think it's the reason anyone will rally around, but I think it's a large part of the real issue.

I do wonder what the religious right would do if an effective HIV vaccine was to be announced. Would they oppose mandatory vaccination?

Also, there's a quite different question about this vaccine, one that probably won't be asked as much as it should be. And I'm not anti-vaccination in general. I have some reservations about the chicken pox vaccine for this same reason, but generally support vaccine and mandatory vaccine programs.

Basically, the only group that needs this vaccine from a *clinical* perspective is girls. And even then, the risk that's being protected against is pretty small. In men, HPV is generally asymptomatic and doesn't increase the risk of any disease, so there really isn't a clinical reason to inoculate boys. There isn't even a good *test* for HPV in men - in women, there's a limited test for some of the high-risk types that can be done during a pap smear. Even there, the treatment is basically "Be really sure to not skip your next pap smear, just in case." From a public-health perspective, it makes sense to eliminate a reservoir, so any mandatory vaccination program would have to include both.

There is also the consideration that it would reduce the number of 'nuisance' cases by preventing the three most common strains that increase cervical cancer risk - but that's only some of the high-risk types, and not even the low-risk types that cause more visible lesions. It's also possible that widespread vaccination against these more common strains would help make the other strains more common.

Basically, it comes down to whether preventing a few cases of cervical cancer and some people from getting annoying but treatable warts that eventually go away is worth the risk and expense that goes into vaccinating everybody. Chicken pox doesn't kill or cripple in kids either, it's just annoying, and the chicken pox vaccine got pushed through on that basis.

This is about money, just like the chicken pox vaccine was. Merck would love to sell millions of doses of this vaccine, and what better way to do that than to make it mandatory?

You say potato, I say pah-tah-to.

Linguist friend is visiting and today we were in the car on the way to a booksale (naturally) when he noticed the vanity plate on the car in front of us.

"A href," he read aloud.

"Yeah," I said, "that's a blog thing. It's part of the code you type when you want to link to somebody. The person in the car must be a blogger, or at least somebody who knows HTML."

"Oh," he said. "Looked like Old High German to me."


Sigh. Watch this one become a study action issue.

A few liberal blogs, and even some atheist ones have raised the issue of the HPV vaccine.

Basically, there is a sexually transmitted virus that a woman can get that makes it much easier for her to get cervical cancer. Merck has developed a vaccine against it and some are calling for every little girl in America to get it along with her regular round of vaccines.

The problem is that the Christian right objects to the idea, saying that to vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease is to condone premarital sex.

IMHO, this is an asanine view. The theoretical Chalicekids would get vaccinated against anything and everything so fast it would make your head spin and the idea that kids today are worried enough about HPV not to have premarital sex but would go right ahead if all they had to worry about was AIDS is ridiculous.

That said, I am skeptical that it is my right to impose that decision on other people. HPV is not particularly easy to spread in the sense that the measels or mumps are, nor is it remotely resembling an epidemic.

After all, we are talking about people who really honestly believe that it would be the best thing if every kids got saved. And at least right now, nobody's trying to impose that.

But more to the point, it seems like every time we decide to impose something like this, even when we're right, it creates a huge and pointless backlash.

If "our side" succeeds in imposing this decision, we may or may not be doing the right thing. But either way, my conservative clients are going to make so much money from this...


Thursday, November 03, 2005

CC and the CSO's Christmas Card

Will be pretty freaking spiffy.

If you didn't get a wedding invitation from us, or you have moved since we last mailed you something, shoot me an email at chalicechick at gmail and I will put you on the list.

who really does want to send a Christmas card to anybody who takes time to read this blog.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

If Linguist Friend had an advice column

It would probably read something like this:

There is some debate on the UU blogosphere about the meaning of the word "censorship."

If I remove someone's post from my blog, can I be said to "Censor" them?

My understanding was that "censorship" could only be done by a government, and that was the crucial difference between "Censorship" and "Editing." Looking at the word in the Shorter O.E.D. and the Random House Unabridged, I can see some justitification for the first definition, though.

Shed some light?



The third place I would look for an authoritative view would be the
Webster's Third International, which recognizes both governmental and
non-governmental censorship, and distinguishes them. For instance, s.v.
censor: "2. a supervisor or inspector esp. of conduct and morals: a: an
official empowered to examine written or printed matter (as manuscripts or
books or plays)in order to forbid publication, circulation, or
representation if it contains something objectionable . . . e. One who
lacking official sanction but acting ostensibly in society's interests
scrutinizes communications, compositions, and entertainments to discover
anything immoral, profane, seditious, heretical, or otherwise offensive".
e. seems relevant.

Best Wishes,

Linguist Friend


If I am not removing a response to one of my posts on the basis of a MORAL objection, but rather a PRACTICAL one.

(E.g. The response is about something that has little to do with the post and I don't wish to derail discussion)

Is that really censoring?


I do not believe that the situation you describe constitutes
censorship. It simply constitutes a recognition that there is a continually
shifting window of focus of what is relevant for posting. The subject
window for the posting you refer to is not the one currently effective. It
is like when the dean of a medical school was put in charge of long-term
planning, which meant that he was removed from control over anything that
affected the medical school in the present or immediate future, at any
given time, which was a very good idea.

Best wishes -
Linguist Friend