Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cruise Day 5: Belize City, Belize

Again we had some morning rain, but it ended by the time we reached our destination.

Today we visited the ruins of Cahal Pech, the remnants of a small Maya city. Unfortunately most of the site is gone because over the centuries grave robbers stole the artifacts and local people dug up the stones to use in the construction of their houses.

What remains of the site is in fairly good condition and it seems that a lot is still buried. The government of Belize doesn't have the funds to finish uncovering everything, so unfortunately they're dependent on outside help to complete the project.

There were only two downsides to today's activities:

  • It took two hours to get to the site and two hours to get back so there was no time to shop in the pretty port-side shopping village.

  • Because of the rain the steps of the Mayan temple were really slick so I didn't want to risk climbing up there and busting my ass.

Highlight of the day:

  • An elderly man told my mother he never met a "real" black person before his father took him to see a Negro League baseball game when he was 11. It's always great when people consider my mother and I to be part of whatever entertainment they're getting from being on vacation. This always happens to us.


    It's usually people over 50 who do this. They seem to leave the Chinese, Filipino and Mexican guests alone, but they love to come up to us.

    There are only two things more irritating than this:

    1. People who assume that I work on the ship. That REALLY pisses me off.

    2. The toxic thing that happens when the non-white guests get together and everyone is compelled to say that they've been to more countries, they make more money, they are better educated and they have a better job than the other non-white people.

Other highlight of the day:

  • An old man tried a spin move on the dance floor at a cocktail party and his hearing aid fell out. It wasn't the same guy that was fascinated with my mom, though.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cruise Day 4: Roatan, Honduras

It started raining hard as we pulled into the port, so we had to break out our ponchos. Things weren't looking too good as our tour bus drove us to Gumbalima Park, but the skies cleared and we had a pretty good day.

The park had a mock pirate's cave that was a bit cheesy, but the animals in another part of the park made up for that. Some extremely friendly white-faced and howler monkeys jumped on us. One white-faced monkey jumped on me twice. It curled its tail around my neck and freaked me out. I think it was fascinated with my braids.

I had a local girl rebraid my hair, so I don't feel so violated now.

There were a lot of pretty parrots at the park. Very tame also. They climbed up people's arms and posed for pictures.

At the conclusion of the tour we had a good lunch -- two lobster tails each and some well-seasoned rice.

On a side note, I was intrigued to see that the people of Roatan look a lot like Panamanians. They speak English with West Indian accents also.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cruise Day 3: Cozumel, Mexico

It was hot today, but not scary hot like it was earlier this year when I was in San Juan and Nassau.

The "cultural show" didn't suck as bad as I thought it might. The costumes were good and the chubby mariachi singer had a strong voice.

I tried to do some shopping, but I didn't see any jewelry I liked. :(

Later we went to see a magician/comedian. He was okay, but his show was a bit short.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cruise Day 2: At Sea

The spa thing last night was pretty good. I think I’ll make a habit of going to a spa the first night of a cruise, since it’s good for alleviating the travel fatigue. I didn’t get the hot stone treatment. I got the “Seven Seas” massage instead. The massage was reasonable priced, but I got suckered into buying an “instant refreshing gel” and “Japanese Camellia Oil.” These two items were more than the cost of the massage!


This all seems terribly familiar…

Anyway, it was a boring day. The highlight of the day was when a pod of killer whales were spotted off the starboard side of the ship. This surprised me, since I thought they were found in the Pacific, not the Caribbean (?).

We attended a Cozumel shopping talk that made me want to cancel the folkloric dance tour I had booked, but it was too late. That’s probably going to suck. Thankfully it’s short.

I hope it’s not too hot tomorrow. I forgot to pack shorts. I thought the temperature was supposed to be in the low 70’s, but it looks like it’s going to be in the low 80’s. Wrong again!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cruise Day 1: Houston

Our flight(s) were uneventful, except for the fact that mom, who is lactose-intolerant, decided to eat cherry yogurt and had a stomach ache.


Our room is small but decent. They forgot to give us soap, however. I have to find the room steward.

I've booked a spa appointment for 8 p.m. -- hot stone treatment. They assure me it is safe.

We're not stopping in Cancun! (frown) It was severely hit by hurricane Wilma, so we'll spend another full day at sea. That sucks. Obviously it's the result of an act of nature, but they should refund us some money. Three full days on this vacation will be spent at sea.

I guess I'll get a lot of writing done.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Day Two: Still No Heat


It's still freezing! Something's wrong with the boiler. The plumber came to fix it, but there's still no heat.

The neighbors keep calling our house like my mom is supposed to fix the boiler. She's the former treasurer of the condo association. For some reason they call her whenever anything's broken, even though she has nothing to do with it. They never call the condo president or the building’s new management firm. And the people who call are always the ones who are three months behind on their maintenance fees.

So irritating.

Anyway, it should be warm(er) on this cruise.

I hate winter.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Sun Is Cold...

...and the new day seems old.

Oh, my God, there's no heat in my apartment! I had to put sweaters on my dogs. We're freezing!

It's Thanksgiving, not New Year's. What's up??

It's too cold to blog. I'll catch up tomorrow. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I'm going on what is likely to be my last real vacation for a long time.

Have I finished packing yet? Nope.

Have I closed out all of my projects at work yet? Nope.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Escaped Cons Pose As Frat Boys In Tennessee

From NBC5 News:
During the Katrina crisis, with New Orleans under water and residents fleeing across the nation, two men showed up on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville with student identification from Tulane in New Orleans.

The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity opened its doors and its heart.

"They had a very credible stories. They presented themselves as true brothers of this fraternity," said Patrick Davis, a member of the Lamda Chi chapter.

However, they were far from fraternity brothers.

Zacharie Arabie, 22, and Steven Ridge, 31, were two enterprising inmates at a Louisiana prison who had escaped using a popsicle stick to pick a cell-door lock.

They wound up in Knoxville, attending fraternity parties, and even dating co-eds.
Isn’t that was special!

Read more

Monday, November 21, 2005

What kind of princess are you?

Why am I not surprised? First a vampire, now this:


The Evil Princess

You are drawn to the sinister side of life and gravitate towards darker things. You are quite proud of your dark side and often flaunt it. Your sinister nature and your willingness to be cutthroat often result in you playing the villainess.

Role Model: Snow White's Stepmother

You are most likely to: Team up with an evil dragon to spread terror across the countryside.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)

brought to you by Quizilla

[I found the link to this quiz on Ribbiticus' blog.]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Will work for food

From USA Today:
Tasha Henderson got tired of her 14-year-old daughter's poor grades, her chronic lateness to class and her talking back to her teachers, so she decided to teach the girl a lesson.

She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."
The mom is getting some backlash and people are calling her abusive. Tasha's approach seems very mild to me and apparently it has worked. Coretha's grades and punctuality have improved.

I don't have a problem with this. It's not as if the girl was abandoned on a highway -- her mom was right there with her. It certainly seems better than smacking her around.

Read more.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


A new art exhibition opened at the South Street Seaport Thursday to some controversy. Art needs to be controversial in order to be, well, art, and this exhibition is no exception.

“Bodies” showcases human anatomy. Big deal, you say? Didn’t, like, Cro-Magnon cave painters do that 20,000 years ago? Well, this exhibition does it in a unique way -- by using real freaking dead bodies!


Oh my God!

Okay, It’s not totally exploitative. Some people are taking their kids to see this so they can show them exactly what a liver looks like when you drink too much or what your lungs look like when you have lung cancer.

But, still.

Twenty-two full bodies and 260 organs were brought from China to create this exhibition. The organizers claim that the cadavers and organs are all from unclaimed or unidentified people, but it occurs to me that if they had said they used the bodies of Americans to create their displays, there would’ve been a HUGE public relations problem, right?

But posing dead Chinese men and women (babies too!) is okay.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Tears save sick mother from cremation alive

From Reuters:
You Guoying, a 47-year-old migrant worker from southwestern Sichuan province, was taken for cremation by her husband and children in Taizhou, eastern Zhejiang province, where she worked, the China Youth Daily said.

Fortunately for You, the undertaker realized she was still alive when he saw her move and saw tears in her eyes, the newspaper said.
Freaky! This reminds me of an Edgar Allan Poe story.

Read more

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Primetime: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

I don’t know what’s up with ABC’s Primetime, but they’re really doing a great job of making Thursday nights scary. Tonight they did a feature on lax campus safety at various schools around the nation. On campus after campus their undercover guy was able to blend in with students, walk into dorms without ID and wander where he pleased. To drive the point home they highlighted a case where a non-student walked into a dorm, walked into a girl’s room, raped her, then incinerated her body.

Just so you don’t mistakenly think you’re safe, Primetime was helpful enough to highlight the fact even at schools where they do check IDs, the students should fear each other. Apparently admissions offices don’t do background checks to see if applicants have been convicted of anything.

Last week Primetime did another piece on school safety, but this time the focus was on elementary and high schools. The purpose of the piece was to show how vulnerable kids are during a Columbine-type attack. Boy, did they ever make their point.

The kids at the school being showcased have regularly scheduled “attack” drills, so they thought they knew what to do, but all the security expert from Primetime had to do was flip the script by chasing them with what looked like a real gun and all their planning was shot to hell. The worst part was, the teachers themselves did things that in a real situation would’ve gotten the kids killed. One teacher led her students into a room with no windows and only one door -- a certain deathtrap. Another teacher led her students into a classroom, locked the door, then opened it again moments later to see if the “intruder” had gone away. He was waiting right outside the door for her. BANG! He “killed” her, then entered the classroom and “shot” each student one by one, execution style.

You can see how that would happen, though.

To make things more disturbing, they had some parents watching the exercise on a monitor. The parents were horrified as they saw their kids pass up opportunities to save themselves. They pretty consistently ran past street level windows and few had the instinct to run out the front door of building. Instead they allowed themselves to be herded by the “gunman.” They ran into bathrooms and other places where they could be easily cornered. Even the ones that could think out of the box enough to run out of the building had a tendency to congregate within 20-50 yards of the entrance -- close enough for a rifle-wielding assailant to pick them off.

Primetime touched off this “trilogy of terror” a week before that with a show on how women are vulnerable to various forms of attack. Similar to the school shooting feature, this story showed how people (women) allow themselves to be herded. The “security guy” would enter an elevator with a woman and in a second she would be cut off from the buttons. The guy would follow a woman into a parking lot and get within arm’s length of her without her saying anything. The same guy used some “crime scene” yellow tape in a park and convinced two women to detour off a safe, visible path into a shadowy area behind some trees because they thought he was working in an “official” capacity. Finally, “security guy” pointed a phony gun a woman walking along a road and told her to get in his car. She did, and as he pointed out later, her odds of being found alive after getting into an attacker’s car would’ve been about nil if it had been for real.

Each show had valid tips on how to protect yourself. Of course, the tips all seem (mostly) obvious when you’re not the one cornered in the elevator or in the bathroom while a guy with a shotgun is looking for your ass. I really liked the idea about using the liquid soap to coat the floor in front of the bathroom’s entrance if you’re trapped there. The idea of using a fire extinguisher to create a smoke screen was good too, but I think you might be really vulnerable in the seconds you’d probably be fiddling with it. The advice about what to do if someone driving a car pulls a gun on you and tells you to get in was particularly wise. It’s really not that obvious that you should take your chances and run in the direction the car came from.

Despite the tips, these shows are creepy.

I wonder what’s on tap for next week’s show?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sacré Bleu! (And Brown!)

Things have quieted now that martial law has been in place for about a week, but for a while it looked like France was in some deep shit. For about three weeks there had been rioting by young men following the death of two Muslim teenagers who were electrocuted while fleeing from the cops.

It all seems really familiar…

  • The Muslims make up about 10% of the population. Check.

  • They are decedents of people who were subjugated by Europeans. Check.

  • They have an unemployment rate that is double or triple that of the norm. Check.

  • Leaders in the majority population refer to them as scum. Check.

  • The immigrants and their French-born children haven’t assimilated into French culture the way the majority would like them to. Check.

You put the same ingredients together, the same soufflé comes out the freaking oven, oui?

I’m not with torching your own neighborhood, though. I mean, you gotta still live there after the smoke has cleared and now you’ve made it even shittier than it was before! DUH!

Real familiar.

The only thing I find curious is that the impotent French government let the rioting spread to 300 cities and towns.


They seemed genuinely shocked that anyone in their nation was unhappy. One French guy that I saw last week on McNeil-Lehrer gave the following solution to ending the unrest:

“The parents of the angry youths should tell them to stay indoors. They can watch TV. They can make love to their girlfriends.”

Yo, I kid you not! That’s what the guy said. The kids should screw. That will make the problems go away.


Gotta love France! Over here they would've said that they need to pray, or something.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Poser Afros

For Cheryl:

This is what the Alicia hair looks like on a male Poser figure:

The background is Serengeti from DAZ. I did the render of the man over a year ago, so I can't remember where I got the robe! :(

I think I got it from PoserWorld.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Boondocks

I figured I’d give The Boondocks two episodes before I blogged about it. For those who don’t know, The Boondocks is a new half-hour series on Cartoon Network based on the comic strip of the same name by Aaron McGruder. It features Huey and Riley Freeman, two small but precocious African-American boys who live with their grandfather.

I can’t say that I read the strip that often, but occasionally I do. The two boys bitch a lot and they never miss an opportunity to tear Condoleezza Rice’s ass at the slightest provocation, and that’s always funny. But I know that a lot of (majority) folks have a huge problem with the strip, so I was curious to see if McGruder would be forced to tone things down when bringing this into another media.

Silly me! He amped it up. And frankly, it’s crude.

The problem is, since the show’s on cable, I guess he felt that he could cut loose and have the boys speak the way they “really” would. This means that every other word is the “N” word. Now, there’s a time and a place for the “N” word. Coming from a gifted speaker or writer, it can be used to powerful effect (but you better know who your audience is, or don’t even go there). Coming from the mouth of a skilled comedian, it can be funny. But when flying non-stop out of the mouths of cartoon eight-year-olds, it can’t be anything but crass and completely gratuitous. All throughout episode one it was n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****.


With or without that distraction, the first episode was poor. It consisted of the boys misbehaving at a garden party and bad mouthing white people who somehow failed to understand that they were being insulted. Maybe that would’ve been remotely plausible fifty years ago, but neither side thinks the other side is stupid now, hence, there’s no humor in this scenario.

Episode two starts out with Huey giving a “n*****s are crazy” speech while the boys watch the news. They learn that pedophile R. Kelly is being tried in their town and they decide they want to go to the courthouse to support him. Again, there’s no humor here, because no one wants their teenage daughter around R. Kelly. The only thing vaguely funny about the episode was the defense lawyer for R. Kelly, who looked suspiciously like William Kunstler.

I’m dropping this cartoon. I suspect that Cartoon Network will be dropping it soon too.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Michelle’s Wants and Needs

I found this on Mrs. Aginoth’s blog today.

Go to Google and type in “[Your Name] wants” and “[Your Name] needs” and see what it comes up with.

Evidently Michelle wants:

  1. To earn money to buy a tee shirt.

  2. To prove to everyone that though she’s nine she can baby-sit too (Excuse me?).

  3. To set up Cadence with Finch (Please. I’ve never tried to match-make).

  4. To become a registered nurse and work with children.

  5. To know your favorite fantasy. (uh, oh)

And supposedly Michelle needs:

  1. Her own reality show.

  2. To visit one of those awful indoctrination camps known as art museums.

  3. A good man to care for her (Awww!).

  4. A home that can accept her limitations.

  5. To beef up her breakfast of oatmeal made with water.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Which Mythological Form Are You?

I got the link to this quiz from Jon's blog.


You are Form 9, Vampire: The Undying.

"And The Vampire was all that remained on
the blood drowned creation. She attempted to
regrow life from the dead. But as she was
about to give the breath of life, she was
consumed in the flame of The Phoenix and the
cycle began again."

Some examples of the Vampire Form are Hades (Greek)
and Isis (Egyptian).

The Vampire is associated with the concept of
death, the number 9, and the element of fire.
Her sign is the eclipsed moon.

As a member of Form 9, you are a very realistic
individual. You may be a little idealistic,
but you are very grounded and down to earth.
You realize that not everything lasts, but you
savor every minute of the good times. While
you may sometimes find yourself lonely, you
have strong ties with people that will never be
broken. Vampires are the best friends to have
because they are sensible.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Answers (3)

The last of the answers to Tuesday's questions!

Kathleen Hite Babb asked:

What's your Enneagram type (or have you been able determine it so far)?

I found an online Enneagram test here and this was the result:

Michelle, you're a Type 5 - The Experimenter

Friends, family, and colleagues probably appreciate your probing intelligence and open-minded approach to life. They're also apt to know that when they come to you with a problem, you can be counted on to give them a carefully considered answer based on keen observations. As an Experimenter, you're likely to be seen as a capable and competent individual with a visionary outlook.

Being a member of this type puts you in good company. Renowned painter Georgia O'Keefe, with her reclusive nature and intense focus on her craft, and Albert Einstein, with his groundbreaking theorems and unprecedented view of the space-time continuum, were also Type 5s.

This means that compared to the eight other Enneagram types, you have a strong sense of perception as well as a curious and innovative mind. In fact, like many Experimenters, you have a strong drive to understand how things work.

This fits with my Myers-Briggs profile of INTJ.

If you could be a fictional character who/what would you be and why?

Uh, I don’t know -- maybe Yu Shu Lien, the Michelle Yeoh character from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? She had a lot of dignity.

Cheryl asked:

Who are your current favorite Black actors and why?

I wish this question was hard because there were so many choices. :(

Denzel rarely disappoints. Mos Def was surprisingly good in Something the Lord Made. Terrence Howard is talented, but I detest those gangsta and pimp movies (I blogged about Hustle & Flow back in September).

Sanaa Lathan is about the only actress I like.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Answers (2)

More answers to Tuesday's questions!

Florida Voter asked:

Who's your favorite character on the new BSG? And why?

Commander Adama. He commands respect, yet he’s wise enough to know his limitations. He can take advice, but he’s still in control.

You know how in sports you have some players that make everybody on their team better when they’re on the court or on the field? Even the scrubs? He’s that kind of guy. He makes even a pathetic boozer like Tigh into a capable XO. Look how everything fell apart when Adama got shot.

Adama knows how to mentor and motivate in a positive manner. I could work with him. I couldn’t work with Captain Picard (too cold -- I sure hope he’s not reading my blog today...) or Captain Kirk (not a shred of military discipline in that guy).

Unfortunately, Adama hasn’t been the same since he came out of the coma. I guess that’s to be expected.

What was the worst part of Army Boot camp for you? (I was at USMC boot camp in 1986, so I know that lots of it probably sucked, but what was the worst).

I was in basic training ten years after that. I was already old. I was in there with kids that could’ve been my kids.

For me the worst part of the experience was the realization that I was in an environment in which my strengths -- you know, white collar skillz -- had absolutely no meaning.

I also REALLY hated rappelling off that wall, since I have vertigo. I effed up and they made me do it twice. I found that very upsetting.

Sage asked:

Are there calluses on your hands from all the fencing you did in high school?

No, if you grip your foil that tight, you’re doing something wrong. Fencing requires a light touch. You should grasp your foil like you’re holding a bird -- you want to keep it from escaping, but you don’t want to crush it. You need to be calm, but focused. Like Obi-Wan. (smile)

Oh, before someone asks, The Three Musketeers isn’t my favorite fencing movie. Scaramouche is. It has the same plot as many martial arts movies -- a guy needs to learn to fight an acknowledged master to avenge the death of a friend -- but it’s set in the era of the French Revolution.

And since fencing is an obvious interest, did you buy some barbwire when you visited the DMZ in Korea (and I don't remember seeing any for sell when I visited DMZ--but I visited it above Kansong, not at Panmunjom.)

I didn’t buy the barbed wire plaque because I thought it was so tacky and close to being a trailer park kinda thing. But in retrospect, I think I should’ve bought something.

I will answer Kathleen’s questions tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Answers (1)

Answers to yesterday’s questions!

Luke Cage asked:

Now that the 2 trilogies have been combined into one epic tale, what do you think Lucas will do next with the Star Wars franchise?

I think that George will put great effort into his TV ventures in the hope that he can take over the space once dominated by the Star Trek franchise.

I also think he (or his heirs) will remake the original trilogy.

I don't know if you are a comic book fan, but if you are, are you as stoked about the Bryan Singer Superman movie coming out next summer considering the great job he did on the 2 X-Men movies?

Oh, Frank, you missed a classic rant from me back in September about me and comic books. (smile)

I think this incarnation of Superman will probably go over well. The way that Wolverine adhered so closely to the way he is in the comics shows that Singer knows how to handle this genre. Kevin Spacey will kick ass as Lex Luthor.

Having said that, I doubt I’ll catch this in the theatre. I avoid comic book movies in general nowadays, but I might be interested in seeing a Doctor Strange or Thor movie.

Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame is doing Wonder Woman, and he’s good (I loved Buffy), but how can Wonder Woman not be a T&A fest? Great for the guys, but not for me.

Ribbiticus asked:

If a genie were to give you three wishes, what would they be and why?

Can I start by wishing for more wishes? No? (smile)

Whenever I think about wishes, I think about wishes that go awry, like in the short story The Monkey’s Paw.

If I had to come up with something I’d wish that any future children of mine would be healthy and extremely intelligent. I’d save the last wish for an unforeseen emergency.

Who are your top three favorite authors and one book of theirs that you really love.

Oh, this is tough.

Let me tell you, I was enraged at the horrible adaptation that Sci-Fi Channel did of Earthsea. Grrr!

I’ll answer the remaining questions tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Just Ask

I picked this up from Ribbiticus's site.

The rules:

Leave a comment to this post and ask me two questions. Try not to duplicate what others have posted. I’ll put up a post answering the questions after I get enough comments.

Okay, begin!

(If you ask something freaky I'll pretend I didn't see the question.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pirates of the African Seas

From Reuters:

A pirate attack on a ship full of Western holidaymakers has jolted East Africa's bomb-scarred tourist industry and reminded the world of the threat posed by Somalia, an anarchic state awash with weapons.

Woken by machinegun fire and a rocket-propelled grenade crashing into their cruise ship at dawn on Saturday, the tourists gazed in disbelief as attackers in two small boats tried, but eventually failed, to seize their vessel.


When you think about a lightly defended ship with casinos and thousands of guests loaded with money and jewelry, you wonder why there aren’t pirates trying this in our backyard. Image pirate yachts sailing out of Cancun and St. Thomas, sacking ships left and right. It’s not like a cruise ship has cannons on board and rifle-toting security guards to repel a serious attack.

Another thing to worry about on vacation. ;)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

What religion do you fit in with?

I found the link to this test on Aginoth’s site. I came out as a Humanist. Not surprising, really.

[I'm not sure why the formatting is so screwed up. It previews fine.]

You fit in with:

Your ideals mostly resemble that of a Humanist. Although you do not have a lot of faith, you are devoted to making this world better, in the short time that you have to live. Humanists do not generally believe in an afterlife, and therefore, are committed to making the world a better place for themselves and future generations.

20% spiritual.
40% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Where Science Meets Imagination

From Yahoo News:

It's a "Star Wars" fan's dream -- the first public display of props and costumes from all six films in the series, including a replica cockpit of Han Solo's asteroid-battered Millennium Falcon.

But the $5 million exhibit goes beyond entertainment and turns "Star Wars" into a educational tool for science and technology, fields in which U.S. dominance faces a challenge from a new generation of engineers in Asia.

I’m sure that the students will enjoy the exhibits, but where is their enthusiasm going to go when they come back to classrooms where, at the insistence of fundamentalists, they’re going to be taught that dinosaurs never existed, the Earth is only 5,000 years old, human beings were created in their present form, etc.

I went to Catholic schools from preschool through eighth grade in the 70’s. What I find amusing (not really) is that back then in a religious school:
  • We were taught evolution was a fact.

  • We had sex education classes where we were instructed about birth control and the focus was not on abstinence.

  • We had science classes where we conducted experiments and were encouraged to ask questions instead of being dictated to.

  • We were never taught to take biblical accounts like Adam and Eve and Noah’s ark as literal truth that trumped scientific knowledge.
We did all of the above and we had prayer in school and we went to mass all the time.

I wonder if a curriculum like that would be possible now?

Fluke passed this article on to me.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Twenty Answers

Hello! Wow, a lot of people participated in this game! I have to try this again another time.

[Sorry for the delay, but my staff meeting ran overtime.]

These are the answers:

  1. I am a member of Mensa.
    I have been a member of Mensa for over ten years, though I have never attended a single meeting of my local chapter.

  2. I am divorced.
    I have never been married. Jamaican Queen and Luke Cage astutely guessed this, but others seemed to have been led astray.

  3. I am related to a former Governor-General of Barbados.
    Through my mother, I am distantly related to the late Dame Ruth Nita Barrow, the first and only female Governor-General of Barbados.

  4. I have been to the DMZ.
    : As part of a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Korean War, my Army unit visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ). They sell barbed wire souvenirs in the gift shop there.

  5. I knew Biggie Smalls before he was famous.
    I did not personally know Christopher Wallace, the late Notorious B.I.G., however he did grow up in my neighborhood. I have a vivid memory in high school of a chubby, sullen boy getting into an altercation with a crackhead on a crowded C train over nothing. I thought to myself, “What a jerk that kid is.” :)

  6. I am Catholic.
    Born and raised. I disagree with a great deal of Church doctrine, however. I was greatly disappointed that Pope John Paul II’s successor was not from Latin America.

  7. I have had dinner with Barbara Bush.
    My company contributed heavily to an Americares fundraiser dinner about five years ago and they were looking for bodies to fill up the table. I volunteered and sure enough, I ended up sitting at a table adjacent to George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. I’ll post the picture where I’m cheesing standing next to her. I think she was scared, but she made a good show of it. LOL!

  8. I was on the fencing team in high school.
    : I was on the fencing team for four years. I still have my gear.

  9. I lost a tooth playing football.
    I was only six, though, and the tooth was loose.

  10. I wore an eye patch as a child to correct a vision problem.
    Yes, like Captain Typho, I rocked an eye patch back in the day. Do they still do that to kids now? They made me wear it to strengthen the vision in my weaker eye.

  11. I once performed in Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus.
    It wasn’t much of a performance, though. My mom took me to the circus and a guy came and picked me and some other kids out of the crowd. They put us in a chariot and we got to clown around and wave at the crowd from the center ring. There were elephants and acrobats all around us. Very exciting!

  12. I went to school with former basketball player Mark Jackson.
    Completely false! ;)

  13. I have a stepsister.
    I met her for the first time at my paternal grandmother’s funeral. I was like, WTF? I wasn’t even aware that my father had remarried! (rolling my eyes)

  14. I escaped from Manhattan by boat on 9/11.
    My office is about three blocks away from Ground Zero. At about noon when the dust cloud had lifted enough so that there was some visibility, two co-workers and I started walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge. As we got towards the water we saw a ferries, tug boats, sanitation boats, personal craft, you name it, lining up to take people to safety! Those people didn’t have to help us. I still get choked up when I think about that.

    The evacuation of Dunkirk in WWII must’ve been a lot like that.

  15. I have shot a member of my family.
    I shot a cousin in the eye at pointblank range with a pistol that used little army men for ammo. I thought he was holding my doll hostage and I was not in the mood to eff around with him, so I popped a cap. Turned out he didn’t have the doll, his brother had it! Oops! Shot the wrong guy! He turned it over quick since he saw I meant business. See, I should’ve been a cop.

  16. I started a race riot at a day camp.
    I was involved in an “incident” between the black girls and the white girls at a Catholic Youth Organization day camp, but the nuns put both sides on lockdown before we had to represent.

  17. I am a Democrat.
    I’m not a Republican either. I’m an Independent.

  18. My family is from Panama.
    My parents were both born and raised in Panama. Their parents came to Panama from Barbados, Jamaica and Colombia to build the Panama Canal.

  19. I was deployed to Cuba as part of operation Enduring Freedom.
    My Army Reserve unit was sent to Guantanamo Bay about 8 months after 9/11. I could tell ya more, but… you know the rest of that sentence. ;)

  20. I graduated from MIT.
    I don’t go to any reunions or anything, though.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Twenty “Truths”

I saw a variation of this one someone’s site. I forget who. Anyway, there are 15 true statements below, and five false ones.

  1. I am a member of Mensa.

  2. I am divorced.

  3. I am related to a former Governor-General of Barbados.

  4. I have been to the DMZ.

  5. I knew Biggie Smalls before he was famous.

  6. I am Catholic.

  7. I have had dinner with Barbara Bush.

  8. I was on the fencing team in high school.

  9. I lost a tooth playing football.

  10. I wore an eye patch as a child to correct a vision problem.

  11. I once performed in Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus.

  12. I went to school with former basketball player Mark Jackson.

  13. I have a stepsister.

  14. I escaped from Manhattan by boat on 9/11.

  15. I have shot a member of my family.

  16. I started a race riot at a day camp.

  17. I am a Democrat.

  18. My family is from Panama.

  19. I was deployed to Cuba as part of operation Enduring Freedom.

  20. I graduated from MIT.

Can you guess which statements are false?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Episode III DVD: Special Features

I decided to start my exploration of the DVD with disk 2, the "Special Features" disk. The disk contains six deleted scenes, the teasers, trailers and TV spots, theatrical posters from various countries, an Xbox demo, stills, a music video and various documentaries.

Tonight I watched the six deleted scenes and "Within a Minute," an exhaustive documentary detailing the tremendous effort it took to create the duel on Mustafar. Ironically, when all was said and done, for me that duel still fell short of both the Vader vs. Luke match in Episode V and the Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul fight in Episode I. It was too short, not to mention the fact that the lava and the lighting got in the way of appreciating the swordsmanship.

I'm always curious about the choices made in removing certain scenes from movies. On both the Episode I and Episode II DVDs there were scenes cut that would have made both movies just a little better. In Episode I a scene in which young Anakin gets in a fistfight with a young Greedo was cut and I feel that it was important to show that even at age nine Anakin had aggressive tendencies. In Episode II, they cut one scene where you get to see Padmé’s family and another scene in which Padmé shows Anakin holograms from her early days in politics. Both of these scenes would have served to flesh out Padmé’s backstory.

The scenes deleted from Episode III aren't on the level of the ones I mentioned above, but at least two of them would've provided a good transition into Episode IV. Both scenes, one set in Bail Organa's office and another in Padmé’s apartment, serve to establish Padmé as one of the founding members of what would become the Rebel Alliance.

It's interesting to note that the Rebel Alliance was formed by two black men, a Hispanic man and four women. Not one white guy. Yet when you look at the awards ceremony at the end of Episode IV, the Rebel Alliance twenty years later consists of nothing but young white men and a lone white female, Princess Leia. Non-humans, humans of color and women of any type need not apply to help rid the galaxy of evil.

I wonder what the hell happened in that timespan?

Of course, by the time you get to Episode VI, another white woman appears (Mon Mothma) and the Mon Calamari come out of nowhere and save everyone’s asses by supplying the ships and the tactical expertise needed to assault Death Star II.

These are the problems you run into when you film things out of sequence.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Episode III DVD!

I got to get my Sith on!

I picked up the DVD at lunchtime today, but I’m not watching it tonight ‘cause I need to update my other blog. You know, the one that's worth $0 because I only update it every 9 days.