February 28, 2007
Some stats, in case anyone’s interested:
- Most prolific month: June 2006 (I had a tutoring job where I had internet access and not much to do…)
- Least prolific month: August 2006 (no comment)
- Biggest spike in readership: 153 views on 8 February 2007 (I submitted my Bridge to Terabithia post to the Carnival of Education)
- Next biggest spike: 109 views on 14 February 2007 (I titled a post “An overtly sexual person” and made “sex” one of its tags… it wasn’t deliberate, but it amused me all the same…)
- Total views (between my migration to WordPress in December, and 2:08 PM, 28 February): 2,959. I think this makes me, officially, a Q-list blogger. Evil Bender has had nearly 10 times as many hits–I don’t think he’s allowed to complain anymore.
WordPress also lists the search engine terms through which people find this blog. I get a lot of hits from searches relating to banned books, especially Bridge to Terabithia. Other search terms are less obviously connected to this blog; a sampling:
- “how to spell what a polite cough sounds [like]” (I would go with “ahem”)
- “dog breeding license muswellbrook” (huh?)
- “what is word for women sexual organs” (ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, labia, vulva (includes the clitoris))
- “stephen king turns into a lizard” (cool!)
Here’s to another year of blogging–thanks for coming along for the ride!
February 27, 2007
I love Keith Olbermann. I love his Special Comments. That said, I think his Special Comment from earlier tonight–addressing Condoleezza Rice’s assertion that revisiting the resolution in Congress that enabled us to go to war in Iraq “would be like saying that after Adolf Hitler was overthrown, we needed to change then, the resolution that allowed the United States to do that, so that we could deal with creating a stable environment in Europe after he was overthrown”–was his best yet. Video and transcript over at Crooks and Liars; it’s well worth checking out.
February 26, 2007
Lately it seems as if we’re getting a new category to go along with Belligerent Blacks, Feminazis, and Militant Queers: the Angry Atheist. It seems as if it’s not enough for those in the majority (or, at least in the case of men and women, those with the bulk of the power) to be in the majority; they also want freedom from having their privilege questioned or even pointed out. African Americans demonstrated peacefully against the injustice they received at the hands of the dominant society, and certain Alabama clergymen “expressed understanding that honest convictions in racial matters could properly be pursued in the courts, but urged that decisions of those courts should in the meantime be peacefully obeyed.” Women are still being told that they’re less than men–for example, we’re “not rational political actors”–and some men’s sense of entitlement continues to run rampant. When homosexual citizens ask to be given the same rights and privileges their heterosexual counterparts enjoy, conservatives start yelping about “special rights”. It’s not enough that these groups are in the minority, different from “the norm,” historically oppressed. They need to be invisible as well.
While atheists have been around for a good long while–perhaps as long as there have been theists–it’s possible that the rise of modern science has caused an increase in atheists and agnostics, and, either way, more atheists have been going public with their godlessness in the past twenty-or-so years. Furthermore, there’s been a rise in people promoting tolerance across the spectrum of beliefs. Movements in the direction of acceptance tend to have their backlashes, and I think this recent CNN piece might win the prize for the backlash against religious tolerance. Karen Hunter, a journalism professor at Hunter College in New York as well as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, was invited to comment, and said, “I think they [i.e. atheists] need to shut up and let people do what they do.” Read the rest of this entry »
I saw this on Pandagon this morning, and wanted to post about it because it relates to a couple of other posts I’m currently working on. I frequently hear cries that hate crimes legislation grants minorities special rights, and that racism isn’t a problem anymore. Because of that, I wanted to draw my readers’ attention to this case in Texas. The story begins with a sheriff’s deputy being led to an unconscious man:
…Elder could make out a figure on the ground, huddled in the fetal position. He was a short, slight black man, and he was wearing only a T-shirt and jeans despite the cool weather. Elder knelt down, and after fishing the man’s identification out of his pocket, the deputy saw that he was Billy Ray Johnson. Around Linden, the county seat, Billy Ray was often seen hanging around the courthouse square or walking by the side of the road, and he was what people in town politely called “slow.” Elder could see that he was alive but in bad shape. The bottom half of his face was bruised and swollen, and his breathing sounded labored. His upper lip was cut, and blood had pooled on the ground under him. His entire body had been badly stung by fire ants. The deputy tried to wake him, but Billy Ray was unconscious.
At first the deputy assumed Billy Ray had been hit by a car, but as the story unfolded, it turned out that Billy Ray had received a punch to the face (I’m skeptical that it was just a single punch, but I might think a single punch can’t do all that much damage due to seeing too many cheesy action movies), and his unconscious body had been dumped beside the road. After a handful of anonymous tips stating only that the sheriff’s department should look into what happened to Billy Ray, the department began to investigate… Read the rest of this entry »
February 25, 2007
Lindsay Beyerstein has an interesting article up on Salon.com about why she turned down an offer of a blogging job with the Edwards ’08 campaign, and why hiring independent bloggers could prove problematic in general. Here’s an excerpt:
Republican benefactors lavish funds on the conservative message machine because they recognize the value of a good surrogate. Candidates don’t pay their surrogates or give them orders. Instead, they rely on them to say all the outrageous things they can’t say themselves.
So far, the left doesn’t have much in the way of institutionally supported partisan counterweights. We’ve got Bill Moyers, they’ve got Bill Donohue. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Progressive blogs have the potential to become the left wing’s open-source counterpart to the right-wing noise machine. But that doesn’t necessarily mean using money and a title to yoke an established blogger to a specific candidate.
There is a breed of blogger that has proven useful working in an official capacity for political campaigns — the party activist/consultant/blogger hybrid, someone like Matt Stoller of MyDD. Ideally, but not always, that kind of blogger puts his or her own blog on hold while being paid by a campaign, perhaps returning to it once the race is run. And the content of a party activist’s blog is heavy on poll numbers, policy discussions and electoral minutiae. An opposition researcher might unearth something allegedly “intemperate” from the archives and use it against the candidate, but that risk is less than with the other style of blogger, an independent polemicist like Amanda.
The whole article is worth reading if you’re interested in the connection between the blogosphere and politics.
It’s Easter candy season! Cadbury creme eggs and mini eggs… those “chicks and rabbits” that are essentially circus peanuts in different shapes and colors… jelly beans galore… those vaguely marshmallowy (basically just slightly creamy compressed sugar) eggs with brightly colored candy shells that I wanted to buy at the grocery store last night but talked myself out of because I imagine they’d put me into diabetic shock in spite of the fact that I’m not diabetic… and, of course, Peeps (though naturally I would rather play with Peeps than eat them). I love it. Why, I don’t know exactly. Partly nostalgia, perhaps, but also, as much as I love truly good food, high-quality dark chocolate, shopping at Wild Oats or Trader Joe’s, and so on… I enjoy this junk. And before long I’ll be bouncing off the walls, singing sugar’s praises. Good times!
Speaking of nostalgia, though, I have to admit that I don’t always take kindly to innovations or new products in the realm of Easter candy. Green Peeps? Pastel candy corn? Nonsense! And then I thought of the Mad Hatter “fixing” the White Rabbit’s watch in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland: he slathers it with butter, tea, and jam, and then is offered mustard. He accepts it, then does a double take. “Mustard?!” he exclaims. “Don’t let’s be silly…” Don’t let’s be silly, indeed…
February 21, 2007
Hump day goofiness: Squidsquid.com
My Squid Quotient: 152 (An average Squid Quotient is around 100. A SQ of 100 means you have a normal affinity for squid. A SQ above 100 means you have an attraction or fondness for squid. Below 100 means that you should probably stay away from the deep ocean.)
My squid name: dallies with cephalopods (sweet!)
(Hat tip: who else?)
February 19, 2007
…let’s talk about banned books some more, shall we?
(Alas, the title “Hide the children! It’s the attack of the dreaded scrotum of doom!” was already taken…)
I don’t remember how old I was when I learned that boys have penises and girls have vaginas, but I know it was way before I was 10. (Indeed, the first cat my family had, Puck, had enough urinary tract issues that not only was he neutered, but ultimately his penis had to be removed as well, and my mom has a story about my exclamation about it being missing when he was brought home from the Vet’s. I have no memory of said incident.) I didn’t learn the word “scrotum” until much later, but that’s largely because I don’t have one. Still, I would never have thought (if I didn’t already know better) the following would be a big deal:
The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.
Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.
“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”
February 16, 2007
[Koechel (R.I.P.?): “Your ‘series of tubes’ is crowding my nap space…”]
Finally, for no apparent reason, George Washington.
Happy weekend, everyone!