Saturday, November 18, 2006

You paid what for that coffee maker?!?

I had initially wanted to bzz Storyville coffee on this blog. I have never bzzed before on this blog, and I will likely never do it again, but I really like the coffee (and I am a woman obsessed with coffee). However, the Storyville site is down, and has been for days. Trés obnoxious. So, instead of promoting Storyville, I will send all four of my loyal readers back to Sweet Maria’s. Sweet Maria’s provides freshly roasted coffee from people who know coffee. Plus they will teach you how to roast your own, if you are into that kind of thing.

Receiving the coffee from Storyville has reminded me of a few things I had forgotten since I left Seattle. Number one: Starbucks coffee is burned sawdust. Number two: As long as the beans are good, even a $17 dollar coffee maker makes great coffee.

Yes, I own the cheapest Mr. Coffee Wal-Mart had to offer. I dream of a Technivorm, but I have told my husband that if we ever have $200 to burn, I want another shotgun. Some days I entertain the thought of actually buying the Dutch monstrosity, but then I realize that if I actually fork over that kind of cash to purchase a machine which pulls 220v to boil water, then I have to upgrade my el cheapo coffee grinder to some kind of yuppie burr grinder. Plus, I would have to unplug the stove. Granted, I would use the coffee maker every day, and I don’t use my oven every day, so . . .

No, buying a $200 coffee maker is the equivalent to admitting defeat. I think it comes with a radio preset to NPR. I purchase the Technivorn, the next step is driving north for weekly cultural trips to Ithaca. There comes a time when a woman has to draw the line.

Right after my next cup of coffee.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Autism / PCOS / Syndrome X connection?

I read Simon Baron-Cohen’s November 10 article on autism in Seed. He speculates that mothers of children with autism may be more likely to have testosterone-linked medical conditions.

Has anyone out there investigated the rise of PCOS and autism? Could the rise in autism rates have anything to do with the rise of obesity in the first world?

Thanks to MR for the link.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday Musings

These days, I teach online for several for-profit universities—mostly grammar and composition. Almost as soon as I got out of the hospital this past summer, I threw myself into work. I took on extra classes, and had seven of them at one time. Now, I am back down to three, and after working ten hour days for the past two months, I can finally step back and relax a little bit.

If you had asked me before if I would be the kind of person to respond to grief through work, I would have denied it. I am not a particularly industrious person, and I have been inclined to think of myself more as the curl-up-on-the-couch kind of griever. However, I haven’t really had much to grieve up until now (which is a testament to the greatness of my life).

Now I know better—-work is easy. It’s the “what-if” game at 3:00 am which is hard. It’s the mental chess you play which always ends up at the same place, no matter how you arrange the pieces. Oh, and the anger and bitterness—don’t forget that. It is funny how prickly we can become. I joined several grief and loss boards, and the hierarchy which emerges even from tragedy is amusing in a dark and twisted way. The moms of stillbirths rank above those women who have simply miscarried. The childless and infertile women lord above the stillbirths, and the queens of tragedy and bitterness are those who are on the IVF juggernaut. Such tragedy all around.

Speaking of anger and bitterness—I read with amusement Lawrence Auster’s rancor at John Derbyshire’s recently-professed agnosticism. See here, and here, and here, and here. Goodness! I have always found strange those who insist that one cannot be truly conservative without faith. Does lack of faith obviate Natural Law, for example? And if it does, then Natural Law must perforce be false. If it does not, then can’t even a godless heathen stumble onto its truths?

How to Fold Fitted Sheets

I never knew how to do this!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Cradle Song
by William Blake

Sweet dreams form a shade,
O'er my lovely infants head.
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams,
By happy silent moony beams

Sweet sleep with soft down,
Weave thy brows an infant crown,
Sweet sleep Angel mild,
Hover o'er my happy child.

Sweet smiles in the night,
Hover o'er my delight.
Sweet smiles Mothers smiles
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sleep sleep happy child
All creation slept and smil'd.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o'er thee thy mother weep

Sweet babe in thy face,
Holy image I can trace.
Sweet babe once like thee,
Thy maker lay and wept for me

Wept for me for thee for all,
When he was an infant small,
Thou his image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee.

Smiles on thee on me on all,
Who became an infant small,
Infant smiles are his own smiles,
Heaven & earth to peace beguiles.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Our Son

Our baby boy was stillborn on June 30 at 12:44 am, at 37w4d, due to eclampsia. I was hospitalized for 13 days. Thanks to the prayers of friends and family, and the goodness of the Lord, my physical health has been restored.

I never blogged about my pregnancy—I was always very protective of it. I never e-mailed our baby's ultrasound pictures to anyone—I kept them private and fiercely guarded. Our son was always very healthy and active, but I was fearful almost from the time he was conceived.

If the current speculation about pre-eclampsia is correct, there is a strong biological reason for my fear and trepidation. As a Christian woman, I struggle with the fact that the Lord put the conviction in my heart that I would never see my child born alive. There are days I appreciate the kindness of being forewarned. Other times I struggle, as all of us do, with trying to change the past.

I have debated blogging about it at all, but it is one of the most important events of our lives. Unfortunately, as well, stillbirth is not rare, and those of us who have experienced it find ourselves in a silent sorority. When I was in the hospital, nurses would come up to me quietly and say one of two things: "I am so glad to see you—we thought you were going to die!" or "I lost my baby, too." Even today at a follow-up appointment a medical technician shared her story of loss with me. I feel like a ghoul because, right now, stories like these are all I want to hear.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Are You Ready?

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution points to a Houston Chronicle Online article for his "Houston fact of the day":
Spanish titles or resources for learning English accounted for half of the top 20 most popular audio books [in Houston public libraries].
My favorite gem gleaned from the article is:
Among the least popular resources was FEMA's publication, Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness. The book is one of more than 3,000 titles that have not been circulated during the past two years.
I also suspect that the conflated category "Spanish titles or resources for learning English" is more full of "novelas"-- Spanish-language pornographic comic books -- than ESL materials.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

We Are Collective Pie

Our daughter has re-Christened my husband and me, no longer "Mama" and "Daddy," but both "Pie." I suppose we should have seen it coming, as I call him "Pookie Pie" and he calls me "Sweetie Pie."

I admire her syllabic economy, and note that she uses the interchangeable term for her collective parental units when she is being most rational and un-emotional: "Pie, what is that noise?" "Pie, where are we going?" "Pie, when are you going to turn off the computer and take me to the park?"

Of course, in the morning, after she wakes up alone in bed, she comes running into the living room to throw herself into my arms with a "Mama" sigh. And she hits her father's arms with torpedo speed after he comes home from work, screaming "Daddy home! Daddy home!" No gender-neutral term for the Biscuit when it comes to lovin'.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Good Stuff Out There

I am really, really uninteresting these days, but there are at least two other bloggers out there who aren't. Which is my convoluted way of saying I have found some nice blogs out there which have given me some pause and a chuckle or two. One is Flea's blog, who is an anonymous skeptical pediatrician. I have also found Monstera Deliciosa, a funny and insightful blog (via Mean Mr. Mustard) from a woman after my own heart.

Friday, May 12, 2006

MR's new logo

I dabble (barely) in graphic design. I would be the first to admit I am woefully ignorant, but at least I am learning to appreciate the importance of design and form (a difficult feat for an Aspie like me, who more naturally gravitates towards function, function, function).

Anyway, I just wanted to gush a bit over Marginal Revolution's new logo, as designed by Jacob Morse of Volo Creative. It is simple, elegant, eye-catching but not overwhelming. I love the clean lines and the perfect transmission of the concept of economics to a graphic. Well done, gents!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

You don't see this very often

From an AFP news story about the famous "national debt clock" owned by real estate developer Douglas Durst:
Durst insists that the clock is non-partisan in its effort to shame the federal government over what he sees as its willingness to gamble away the nation's future.

"We're a family business," Durst said. "We think generationally, and we don't want to see the next generation crippled by this burden," he said.
Imagine, a public figure mentioning that our nation should be "thinking generationally"!

Thank you for my first belly laugh of the day!

... to Steve Sailer, who is reviewing "V for Vendetta":
An ambitious, deeply religious Conservative politician, he had imposed martial law in the wake of a terrorist virus attack, putting society under the thumb of fanatical Church of England bishops. (According to Google, the phrase "fanatical Church of England bishops" has never been seen before.) The government dispatched all Muslims and homosexuals to concentration camps (although the film forgets to mention how these two victimized minorities got along on the inside).

Saturday, March 25, 2006

There are days...

...when I am really glad to be living in PoMo America.

And this is one of them.

Progressives have been hyperventilating over Daniel Edwards' sculpture "Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston," which, according to Salon, is a "life-size piece depict[ing] Britney Spears crouching naked on her elbows and knees atop a bearskin rug," giving birth.

The biggest problem with this piece is that the sculptor is dedicating his work to the anti-abortion movement. Says Laura Barcella at AlterNet, "…Please don't use some nutty, obsessed artist's hypersexualized fantasy of celebrity childbirth as your twisted anti-choice propaganda. On second thought -- do that, if you really think it'll help your cause. I think it makes all of y'all anti-choicers look as crazy as the artist -- which, of course, you are."

The problem is, of course, the piece is a hoax.

Commenter quinnskylark [at the same blogpost, above] pointed to Dan Edwards' other work, which includes a Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy Memorial. He writes, "If I were a betting man, I’d guess that the artist’s point in this sculpture has nothing to do with the pro-choice/pro-life discussion and everything to do with the perception and judgment of pseudo-liberals. The press release is not meant to promote the work; it is itself part of the artwork, intended to provoke reactions like your blog post. Thus your reaction is also part of the artwork. A really good showing of the artist's work would be not only the sculpture, but framed reproductions of the condemning articles written about it. The fact that you were so emotionally affected by this artwork shows that it was successful. It is likely that the artist is not pro-life, but that he’s pro-self-expression. Perhaps he wanted to say that liberals could be as bad as conservatives when it came to reacting to opinions different than their own. If that's the case, it worked. You took the bait and revealed yourself to be a philistine in liberal clothing."

Well done, sir.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What We Have Lost

The WarNerd nails it again:
So much of what made war worth doing died in '45. That's the Nazis' real crime, if you ask me: they ruined it for everybody except the damn suits.
Via Steve Sailer, natch.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Harvesting Federal Students Loans

Expect to see the least among us saddled with increasing student loan debt, thanks to these kinds of "opportunities."

Online Colleges Receive a Boost From Congress
"This is a growth industry and you get rich not by being skeptical, but by being enthusiastic," said Henry M. Levin, director of Columbia University's National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day..."

from ParaPundit:

America's Younger Workers Losing Ground On Income

A new survey shows that median incomes fell for householders under 45, even as they rose for older ones, between 2001 and 2004.

Randall Parker suspects this may be because the U.S. is becoming less white, and the predominate immigrant groups are downwardly-mobile.

He points out that "from 1970 to 1997 men under 35 experienced a 19% decline in income."

• The entry of women into the workforce in those decades has helped push median family incomes up over time. But even when men and women are included together, younger workers (age 25-34) are earning well below what they did in 1970. And at all ages, evidence suggests that families are putting in more hours of work to make their household incomes rise.

• Even with extra time at work, median family income has barely budged since 1995 for householders below 45, up about 5 percent after inflation through 2004.

He writes, "Some libertarians argue that a rising tide lifts all boats. Well, wrong. A large proportion of the boats have leaks and are sitting rather lower in the water. Think of all the technological advances that have boosted productivity since 1970 and then consider these results. Something is going terribly wrong."

Parker also refers to the problems facing the children of America's majority population, most notably raging student loan and consumer debt.

Is the problem really that we are all feckless debtors? I think there is some truth to this, and it has be admitted. We have all been raised with a buy-now pay-later mentality. However, even without the problematic consumer debt saddling younger people, there is the larger issue of student loan debt, due to America's education racket.

In the future, as men continue to eschew higher education, I believe that the student loan problem will fade away on its own. Higher education will not be tenable without men. It certainly will prove to be a bad investment, as future earnings will cease to track with education.

The bigger problem facing Red State America will be weaning our children off of credit.

Monday, February 27, 2006

"I'll explain it all to them when they get older about why they look so different."

Black and white twins
When Kylie Hodgson gave birth to twin daughters by caesarean section, she was just relieved that they had arrived safely.
It was only when the midwife handed them over for her to hold that she noticed the difference between them.
Remee, who weighed 5lb 15oz, was blonde and fair skinned. Her sister Kian, born a minute later weighing 6lb, was black.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Notice they aren't in red, white, and blue

Judi Werthein has designed a special "crossing trainer" to help illegal immigrants cross the border from Mexico to the US.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Random Assortment of Links

My husband treats me like a piece of property! And I like it just fine, thank you. For example, he sent me the link to Electric Venom's website, who has been discussing her family's decision to homeschool their young son. He also turned me on to Salon's article discussing the fact that more and more men are eschewing college. (Don't miss the "Letters" section. My favorite? "Sorry, but if the future of caucasian [sic] humanity depends upon women being nothing but fetus factories, as far as I'm concerned, the white race will just have to die out.")

JLH's pens the best blog entry I have ever read. The only thing I would add is one more link: "Why Some Old Lovers Look Alike."
Yes, it is true: "If your spouse is genetically similar, you're more likely to have a happy marriage, for example. Child abuse rates are lower when similarity is high, and you'll also be more altruistic and willing to sacrifice more for someone who is more genetically like you, research shows."

Like any good survivalist, I just purchased "How to Survive a Robot Uprising." Consider yourselves warned, people!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

This was reported under "Odd News" on Yahoo! News...

Marriage builds wealth more than being single?

By Joanne Morrison
Fri Jan 20, 1:55 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Staying married has its benefits, especially financial, as a new U.S.-wide study shows the wealth of a married person is almost double that of somebody who is single.

Divorce among U.S. baby boomers reduced personal wealth by about 77 percent compared to that of a single person, while the financial standing among those who remained married almost doubled, according to a nationwide study released this week.

"If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay married. On the other hand, divorce can devastate your wealth," said Jay Zagorsky, author of the study and a research scientist at Ohio Sate University's Center for Human Resource Research. (emphasis mine)

"If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay married..." It is hard to believe that this would shock anyone over the age of 12. As much as this is a dog-bites-man story, however, it is still quite telling that this was filed as a fluff piece.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Sacred Nursery

I think many of the cognoscenti are beginning to wake up to the reality of their lack of reproductive fitness (for example, university-educated women have a 35 percent lower fitness than those who leave school as early as possible).

After defining the worldliness which is killing our best and brightest White and Asian minds, Professor Geoffrey Miller speculates that the most important factors that will keep a population from entertaining itself to death include those which are near and dear to the Kinist heart: "Those who persist will evolve more self-control, conscientiousness, and pragmatism. They will evolve a horror of virtual entertainment, psychoactive drugs, and contraception. They will stress the values of hard work, delayed gratification, child-rearing, and environmental stewardship. They will combine the family values of the Religious Right with the sustainability values of the Greenpeace Left."

Of course, Steve Sailer has taken Mark Steyn to task for saying essentially the same thing with regards to the United States. Sailer points out that massive amounts of unskilled Latin American immigration will mitigate any increase in the native population, no matter how booming the natalist movement.

Sailer is right that there isn't much hope for a right-wing political boon from these demographic projections. The USA will become increasingly left-wing and totalitarian as it becomes more similar in population to other Latin-American countries. However, what is not being said is that Whites by definition will become increasingly more racially-aware, Christian, and conservative.

Those Whites who survive will do so only by embracing the Christian values of our ancestors. Whites who do not have a world view which eschews the nihilism of today's entertainment-based culture will see little reason to invest long-term time and resources into enterprises such as marriage or entrepreneurship which are the foundations of successful extended families and communities.

The Christians who survive will survive as Whites only through an explicit racial consciousness; less racially-aware White Christians will be lost through miscegenation and absorption into the majority non-White population. Many mainstream Christians may be comfortable with this, but the Christianity that their children's children may practice will not resemble their own.