** Past 'Skeleton Action Figures" and sources can be found on my flickr.com page. Credit where credit is due.
50 New Things
This year I'm going to try to do at least 50 things I've never done before (I did not come up with this idea...but they say imitation is the highest form of flattery ;-). If you have ideas, feel free to make suggestions. I'll document them on the list below, with links if possible.
36. Played craps and roulette for the first time at a casino.
35. Visited the world's largest bead store (Shipwreck Beads).
34. Drove over a floating bridge
33. Flew in a helicopter!!
32. Visited Mount St. Helen's - wanted to see this for the past 30 yrs
Today Condi said "we knew it would be tough, but we didn't know it would be this tough" speaking about Iraq. Wasn't it Cheney who said in 1998 and 2000 that they didn't go to Baghdad in Bush-41 because it would've been a quagmire??
Killer thunderstorms today! I stayed home this afternoon to work on our upcoming AAPA posters (easier to use my large computer screen here for the 200% size difference) and had 3 very attentive kitties hanging quite close as a result. Spring has sprung in the Midwest...
Here's a story that should've been in the weekly "Random Bytes" - but it's good enough to stand alone. Although I question calling Joe Zias a "leading scholar", the article is a good summary of the controversy over the so-called "Jesus Tomb."
Congrats Irish Icers, they're going to the Frozen Four. I have to admit, I didn't know there was a 'frozen four', but since this is apparently Notre Dame's first time qualifying for the event, it's a big deal on campus.
I hope there's comparable good news for women's basketball tonight.
Well...Earth Hour lasted 4 hours here. I fell sound asleep. Guess I really did my part for the globe ;-) Cities Switch Off Lights for Earth Hour By CARYN ROUSSEAU AP, March 29, 2008 From the Sydney Opera House to Rome's Colosseum to the Sears Tower's famous antennas in Chicago, floodlit icons of civilization went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.
The environmental group WWF urged governments, businesses and households to turn back to candle power for at least 60 minutes starting at 8 p.m. wherever they were...."What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Andy Ridley, executive director of Earth Hour. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody."
...In Chicago, lights on more than 200 downtown buildings were dimmed Saturday night, including the stripe of white light around the top of the John Hancock Center. The red-and-white marquee outside Wrigley Field also went dark.
"There's a widespread belief that somehow people in the United States don't understand that this is a problem that we're lazy and wedded to our lifestyles. (Earth Hour) demonstrates that that is wrong," Richard Moss, a member of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
...In Sydney, Australia — where an estimated 2.2 million observed the blackout last year — the city's two architectural icons, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, faded to black against a dramatic backdrop of a lightning storm.
Lights also went out at the famed Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand; shopping and cultural centers in Manila, Philippines; several castles in Sweden and Denmark; the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary; a string of landmarks in Warsaw, Poland; and both London City Hall and Canterbury Cathedral in England.
Greece, an hour ahead of most of Europe, was the first on the continent to mark Earth Hour. On the isle of Aegina, near Athens, much of its population marched by candlelight to the port.
In Ireland, where environmentalists are part of the coalition government, lights-out orders went out for scores of government buildings, bridges and monuments in more than a dozen cities and towns.
Internet search engine Google lent its support to Earth Hour by blackening its normally white home page and challenging visitors: "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn."
'Tis the season when thoughts turn to football. Our season ticket forms came today, and Michael and I will begin our ritual dance. We get our tickets together to have 4 seats in a row, and we send in the form together each year with a letter signed by "Father Driscoll" asking for better seats. It's a bit hard to complain, our seats are indeed pretty great already, but they aren't on the 50 yard line yet, so we have room to improve ;-)
We approach tickets quite differently. He has to counter my insatiable greed which would have us sell all the sets of 4 for a small fortune (even in bad years...of which this will be one). I have to counter his hospitality which would have guests in every weekend to fill the 4 seats for every game.
Join "Earth Hour" and turn off all your lights & non-essential electrical items tomorrow from 8-9 pm. Apparently this is an activity sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and a variety of major cities & companies around the world. Seems a pretty easy thing to do, and a nice sense of unity worldwide.
Interesting program on Science Friday today about birds. I normally wouldn't care much, but having tried to take pictures of cool birds in Antarctica, I've gained a new appreciation (it's hard to do!). Also, they were unnecessarily harsh on cats for some reason... I know where my loyalties lie if sides have to be chosen!
I've spent a chunk of this week pulling together my tax stuff, and I have to say, Huckabee's no income tax plan is looking pretty good at the moment. If the election were held right now, this very minute...I might just be able to overlook his fundamentalist, homophobic, anti-choice, creationist, death penalty platform temporarily...
April 4th, Battlestar is back!! It's a bittersweet thing, since this is the final season - the sooner it begins, the sooner it ends. This Friday there are two specials to get us all ready for the premier. Woo hoo!! Quick Jaime, get cable!
My Clustermap (to the left) finally updated yesterday - seems to take forever these days - and I found some fun new dots on the map. Tasmania??! I love it! And Alicia's Bangladesh dot is growing quite large. Oddly however, I seem to have lost an Amazon dot from Becky. And the Hudson Bay dot that was getting pretty large, is also AWOL. I feel robbed!
Chelsea was apparently well-received today, she spoke to about 500 students & faculty on campus. Hilary comes to town on Friday -- apparently the Clintons can't get enough of the area. Bill & Chelsea on Monday, Chelsea on Wednesday, Hilary on Friday. One would think Indiana might actually have a voice in this election. First time since I've lived here if so. This time, Chelsea’s all policy: Hillary Clinton’s daughter tackles students’ questions on the issues. By ED RONCO SouthBendTribune.com, March 26, 2008
Chelsea Clinton and Sean Astin will be visiting campus tomorrow. No announcement yet on where or when, but I have a feeling it will be very well attended. It'll be interesting to see how it compares to Obama's upcoming visit next month. Let the wooing being ;-)
(I can't believe this is the first time I've used Lesley's Fighting Irish skeleton! Thanks Lesley)
In South Bend, we have a little known holiday that follows Easter. It involves politicians, drinking, pickled eggs, and more drinking. Politicians make the rounds, and this year Bill and Chelsea Clinton are coming to town. Apparently Nixon came as VP, as did Bobby Kennedy when he was running.
Here is the Wikipedia definition (somewhat abridged):
Formerly, the post-Easter festivities involved a week of secular celebration, but this was reduced to one day in the 19th century. Events include egg rolling competitions and, in predominantly Catholic countries, dousing other people with water which, at one time, had been holy water blessed the day before at Easter Sunday Mass and carried home to bless the house and food. The day remains informally observed in some areas such as the state of North Dakota, and the cities of Buffalo, New York and South Bend, Indiana.
My colleague Dan L. sent me the article below, thinking it somehow might apply to me?? I don't know. Apple/PC, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the use of terms found in readings on Byzantine monasticism -- I don't see the connection. Anyway, I thought I'd share excerpts: The Thin Skin of Apple Fans By DAN MITCHELL; NYTimes, March 22, 2008
Farhad Manjoo, a writer for Salon, argues that “new communications technologies are loosening the culture’s grip on what people once called ‘objective reality.’” He looks at an area where facts often become particularly slippery...Apple.
“Last year, I praised the iPhone in something of the way Romeo once praised Juliet: The device, I said '...marks a new way of life. One day we’ll all have iPhones, or things that aim to do what this first one does, and your life will be better for it.’ ”
But because he mentioned that the phone was a bit pricey, “several readers alleged that I was an Apple-hater.” One wrote him to ask, “Does Salon actually pay you or are you being paid under the table by rival companies?”
Anybody who has ever written about Apple products will tell the same story — introducing even a hint of negativity into a review or article will bring down the wrath of Apple’s most fanatical fans.
What explains this? Mr. Manjoo cites a study...that measured perceptions of media bias relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. People who held strong opinions on the conflict going in were more apt to perceive bias in news accounts. Pro-Palestinian subjects saw a pro-Israel bias, and vice versa.
“Psychologists call this the ‘hostile media phenomenon,’ and it goes far in explaining how both Apple and PC folks can see the opposite bias in the same news story.”
But the phenomenon is particularly stark when it comes to opinionated reviews — however laudatory — of Apple products. That’s because many Apple fans “care little for honest opinion,” Mr. Manjoo writes. “They want to pick up the paper and see in it a reflection of their own nearly religious zeal for the thing they love. They don’t want a review. They want a hagiography.”
Now I see why I'm voting for Obama. It all comes together ;-) A colleague sent this to me awhile ago, I was cleaning out my in-box and came across it again. Since all I've done today is work on a lecture, seems a nice substitute to fill a blog entry in lieu of a life...
Finished an interesting book recently called "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova. Fun read and smart. You travel thru England, France, Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania on the protagonist's adventure, learn about Vlad the Impaler, archival research, Iron-Curtain politics, and the mythology of Dracula (or IS it a 'myth'??? Da da DAAAAAAA!!) Easy to see why it was a #1 National Bestseller.
Oh, and one of the protagonists is an anthropologist.
Tuesday Obama gave an exceptional speech about race in this country; as Jon Stewart observed "he spoke to the American people as though we're adults."
Sean Hannity's response on Fox? While interviewing a gentleman (who was distressed that Obama read the speech from a teleprompter), Hannity asked "What if he (Obama) thinks like his pastor, will we be electing a racist and an anti-Semite??"
WHO THINKS LIKE THIS????!!!! How does one counter (or even anticipate) this kind of malice??!
Could this be real?? I'm hoping a story from Ripley's Believe It or Not inadvertently made its way onto the AP. An April Fools joke a bit early?? Where did the guy go to the bathroom? Did the woman at least have a pillow for sleeping? A microwave and fridge nearby? I guess a ready water source would've been close, but come on?!! I don't know, something seems amiss. Woman Sat on Toilet for 2 Years By Martina Smit Telegraph.com; 3/16/08
Interesting 2-part segment on "60 Minutes" this Sunday about the importance of sleep. I stuck to their recommendations for a good night's sleep for one day...sadly last night I lost the battle to an unfinished lecture. I've included the video URL links (because there's something wrong with the "embedded" HTML code they provide).
This is of course only conjecture on my part....but given the low-ish number of students in class today, and the amount of yawning taking place....I think a wee bit o' the bubbly might have been consumed yesterday by much of the student body of Notre Dame.
Apparently one young man went running down the hall of DeBartolo yelling "Yeah, it's St. Paddy's Day" loudly, 2 liter bottle in hand. Don't know what became of him, but since it was rather early in the day, I don't think he made it to class.
I'm about to say something that hopefully won't get back to Steve Jobs and thus threaten my high ranking Mac Cultdom standing -- I HATE the new iWeb!! I never thought I'd bash a Mac product, but there it is. I had our website for the NSF program all nicely made on the former version of the program, then they changed it and I had to redo almost the entire thing. And I'm still not sure it loads properly but am going to stop working on it for now to avoid the looming aneurism.
I didn't even have time to blog, THAT'S how much work it required!! Arrrggggh! Clearly a program designed by a PC spy in the Apple organization!
Not in far-off lands, but in the US! Apparently there are more slaves in the US today than there were in the 1700s, when slavery was legal!! Even more disturbing is the cost of a human life. You should really listen to the story, it's amazingly disturbing.