Monday, October 31, 2005

Unlinked to the Future

The End of Courtship: Part 2 of 3 by Leon R. Kass.

Thanks to technology, a woman could declare herself free from the teleological meaning of her sexuality — as free as a man appears to be from his. Her menstrual cycle, since puberty a regular reminder of her natural maternal destiny, is now anovulatory and directed instead by her will and her medications, serving goals only of pleasure and convenience, enjoyable without apparent risk to personal health and safety. Woman on the pill is thus not only freed from the practical risk of pregnancy; she has, wittingly or not, begun to redefine the meaning of her own womanliness. Her sexuality unlinked to procreation, its exercise no longer needs to be concerned with the character of her partner and whether he is suitable to be the father and co-rearer of her yet-to-be-born children. Female sexuality becomes, like male, unlinked to the future. The new woman's anthem: Girls just want to have fun. Ironically, but absolutely predictably, the chemicals devised to assist in family planning keep many a potential family from forming, at least with a proper matrimonial beginning.

See also The End of Courtship: Part 1 of 3

Friday, October 28, 2005

Avian Flu Wiki

The Flu Wiki is a collection of resources on influenza and coping with an influenza pandemic.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lone Star Statements

"The Mourning News" has reprinted a bunch of single-star Amazon reviews of books from Time’s list of the 100 best novels from 1923 to the present. They are a scream! A few of my favorites:

The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Author: J.D. Salinger

“So many other good books…don’t waste your time on this one. J.D. Salinger went into hiding because he was embarrassed.”

The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967)
Author: William Styron

“My great-great-grandfather is not gay! I don’t know why this William Styron is trying to lie on my great-great-grandfather. Needless to say I am a descendant of Nat Turner and it bothers me that this author is trying to lie to make this book more interesting. I cannot say for certainty that my grandfather was not gay or that he didn’t like white women and neither can this author but I can say that Nat Turner was married and had children and I am a descendant of that union! Other than that idiotic portrayal the book was good.”

The Great Gatsby (1925)
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

“It grieves me deeply that we Americans should take as our classic a book that is no more than a lengthy description of the doings of fops.”

Lord of the Flies (1955)
Author: William Golding

“I am obsessed with Survivor, so I thought it would be fun. WRONG!!! It is incredibly boring and disgusting. I was very much disturbed when I found young children killing each other. I think that anyone with a conscience would agree with me.”

Thank you to Marginal Revolution for the link.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Apples, Pumpkins, and Devolution

I spent this weekend processing a pumpkin we bought from the farmer's market. Actually, Biscuit and I brought home two—one for me to cook with, and one to carve. We also bought a peck of apples, because she loves apples. She loves to eat them, she loves to talk about them ("Apple!" is her favorite word), and she loves to bang them together while eating them and talking about them.

We have yet to carve the big pumpkin. It has been sitting on the dining room table, all shiny and orange. Biscuit, who just turned two, is still convinced that it is one REALLY big apple. "Apple!" she exclaims proudly, as she sneaks onto the table to get at the bowl of fruit. Against better judgment I ignore that she isn't supposed to be on the table. Just this once. Again. "Apple," she says, as she points at the bowl of shiny red orbs. I encourage her, yes, they are apples. "Apple," she says, kissing the big orange pumpkin. No, I have to say, my heart melting, that is a pumpkin. She laughs and pats the pumpkin, as if she is patting my addlepated noggin. Of course it's an apple. Silly mommy. All the world's an apple to eat and bang together.

I haven't ever tried to make pumpkin puree before. I read several how-to guides on the Internet, but it still took me about two hours to cook the two halves to a desired consistency. I finally gave up and microwaved them. I won't be doing that again.

It also took me forever to puree the pumpkin flesh. I finally gave up and added water to make the puree smooth enough to actually mix in the food processor. Nowhere have I read that it is OK to add water, so I think I flunked that part of "Fall Homemaking 101." However, I did emerge with about 12 cups of pumpkin puree, which is delightful.

My first attempt at baking with the puree was to make pumpkin bread. I was happy to read that one can make pumpkin pie spice easily using ingredients already at hand. At least, I thought they were at hand. I had ginger, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, all good stuff, from the Baker's Catalog. Well, all have gone MIA since the move. However, I am pleased to report that I substituted Chinese Five Spice and cinnamon and the result was quite nice. My husband, who is quite picky, proclaimed it edible. Huzzah!

Next, I made muffins, using the same recipe. I was able to locate the turbinado sugar for the muffin tops, and the results were gorgeous! I still have about 6 cups of puree left (in the fridge, natch—what, me freeze?). I am now looking for a recipe that will use pumpkin puree and apple sauce (from all the banged up apples).

While I was slaving over the hot food processor, Biscuit and I listened to The Proclaimer's 1988 album, Sunshine on Leith:

What do you do
Wnen democracy fails you
What do you do
When the rest can't see it's true?

Pat votes the Scots away
Just like her mother
But South always takes all
Just like her brother
The next time she might vote
So might the others
But time's running out pal
Cause they're giving up in numbers

What do you do
When democracy fails you
What do you do
When minority means you?
--"What Do You Do?"

This weekend I hope we can go apple picking. The critter will be in Heaven, and I will have more baking materials. I am really fond of baking right now because it keeps the house warm and it has been FREEZING. We have been putting plastic up on the windows and weather stripping the doors, but there is only so much you can do when it is 30 degrees outside. Brrr…

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The People’s Cube takes on Cafepress and wins!

You really should read the whole thing, but I am partial to the letter The People’s Cube (PC) sent to Cafepress regarding the removal of PC’s graphic "Cafepress is a left-wing nutjob:"

Courts have upheld that privately owned shopping malls are "Public Commons" where people have free speech rights no matter what the policies of the owners of the shopping malls. Web-sites such as CafePress, it could be argued, by allowing in the public, are Public Commons and as such don't have the right to limit anyone's free speech which includes, but not limited to, setting up a section named "Cafepress is a left-wing nutjob."

While the very concept of "Public Commons" is a purely leftist idea used by the Left to survive by parasitizing on capitalism through injecting communist propagandistic larvae into the host bodies of wealth-creating capitalists (which I guess has unfortunately happened to Cafepress at some point), I consider it a fair game to invoke this concept while fighting the Leftist infection itself.

While the "Cafepress is a left-wing nutjob" site merchandise is still banished into ether, PC’s "Che™ is dead" shirts have miraculously been restored! Now, if they only sold coffee cups...

Via relapsed catholic

Monday, October 17, 2005

Phone-tree Hell

I always make phone calls mid-morning, after I have had my coffee and before I have had a change to get involved in anything else. It requires getting into the right psychological frame of mind, girding up one's loins in preparation to do battle with that frustrating post-modern beast, the Integrated Voice Response (IVR) system that almost all companies throw in front of their customer service reps in hopes that you, the customer, will give in and hang up before actually encountering a human being.

Well, gentle readers, the customer strikes back! Here is a "cheat sheet" which gives you the proper way to bypass the phone menu trees of most major companies. Many times pressing "0" works, but not always. Read more about this volunteer-supported database here. Enjoy!

Thanks to Gene Ex for the link.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"The common people swarm like summer flies

And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?"

Great New Post from Bedlam Nation

So we are told in this story courtesy of NewsMax that sex between male and female soldiers is rampant in today’s politically correct up-to-date armed forces. Furthermore, this conduct is “the cost of doing business in the gender-integrated military.” And all because the “policy makers believe that men and women are interchangeable.”

One female soldier said sex is “what people this age do.”

Yes, naturally. But one of the chief functions of civilization is to channel this natural God-given impulse into its proper, life-giving path. At an age when they should be marrying and having children these young people are stationed in a foreign country “fighting” an unnecessary and ill-conceived war because we refuse to see who the real enemy is and to face what must be done.


Why has it come to this? It seems to me more and more that the proper functions of humankind have been utterly ignored in the quest for things that are abominable anyway. An army fighting for the right to enjoy sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and abortion is not going to have any real motivation compared to a people engaged in a struggle to be able to reproduce and provide a future for itself and its children.

The Mothering Mentality

"In the minds of many, the government should be well-oiled and ready, eager and full of verve, even before the disaster has stopped. Food should appear like magic, water flow from the hills, and new homes built silently in the night, as if by charitable elves. When this naturally does not occur, the result is, above all, a complete escape from reality. The government is incompetent, the rest of the world is ignoring our plight, no one cares about us, The Leader is racist, misogynist, anti-poor, a capitalist, a Christian, eats meat, and therefore is corrupt and evil and contains within him the power to in fact create such catastrophes to eradicate those that see him for what he really is.


"It was once easy to dismiss this as the mad rhetoric of third-world asshats, anti-West in toto and usually crushed by local animals who spent their aid money (the only Western product they enjoyed) on weapons and palaces instead of food and water. After Katrina, this isn’t so easy anymore..."

Read More at Dust My Broom. Thanks to relapsed catholic for the link. Vote for her, she's funny!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Johannah Faith Duggar!

Michelle Duggar just delivered her 16th child, and she's already thinking about doing it again.

Johannah Faith Duggar was born at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and weighed 7 pounds, 6.5 ounces.

Read More.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Student Rebuked for Sitting During Mexican Anthem

In Illinois, a 17 year-old high school student was reprimanded when he declined to stand for the Mexican National Anthem during a school ceremony.
Of the 2,550 students enrolled at Larkin last year, 38.4 percent were Latino. Nearly a quarter of students were new to English. Information for the current school year is not yet available.

Four years earlier, 20 percent of the school’s 2,029 students were Latino, according to the 2000 school report card. Some 10 percent of students spoke English as a second language.

As the school grows more diverse, cultural assemblies will follow, Bedard said. But they should take care to represent a range of cultures, including the homegrown one.

“If they have an assembly, I would be happy if they will not try to force students to honor patriotic elements of another culture unless they also honor our flag, our anthem as well,” Bedard said. “It’s just respect for both cultures.”