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Meme swiped from Madam Cod [Apr. 8th, 2010|01:16 pm]
1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
Property tax

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
At my house, many years ago.

3. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Watching the maid clean my house. ;)

4. How many colleges did you attend?
Six now, including the "continuing education" classes to renew my certification.

5. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
Because it's nice enough to wear in public but well-worn enough to cover in filth. It says "Ms. Firecracker" with stylized fireworks behind it.

6. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
I feel bad for neighbors who must travel farther for the ever-so-scarce jobs, as it decreases the amount they bring home. I've already made changes to my lifestyle, so I fill up only twice a month.

7. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
"Oh, did I leave that on?"

8. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
"Why is that cricket right outside the bedroom window?"

9. Do you miss being a child?
Sometimes. I miss all the elderly people who've since died. I don't miss the vulnerability or the lack of privacy.

10. What errand/chore do you despise?
Remaking the bed, as all the different parts have to be laundered separately.

11. Get up early or sleep in?
Get up early usually, but sleeping in lately.

12. Have you found real love yet?
No.

13. Favorite lunch meat:
Corned beef, which I almost never have.

14. What do you get every time you go to the supermarket?
vegetables

15. Beach or lake?
Lake

16. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
No. I *do* think that too many people treat it as a passing fancy.

17. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Neither.

18. What famous person/people would you like to have dinner with?
Salvador Dalí and his wife.

19. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
No.

20. Ever use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
No.

21. Ring tone?
Old-fashioned ring on my Nokia.

22. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?
While standing in Lake Superior.

23. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go to?
I would like to see Gilroy and the wine country.

24. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?
Relationship. My career and its environment are changing, interesting.

25. How old are you?
41

26. Do you have a go-to person?
For personal matters, Sis. For work matters, the other foreign language teacher.

27. Are you where you want to be in life?
For the most part. I'm still tweaking and growing.

28. Growing up, what were your favourite cartoons?
The Warner Brothers cartoons and the like.

29. What about you do you think has changed the most?
I'm no longer naive and easily led astray.

30. Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life?
No. It took two years for them to be good, and college was preferable.

31. Are there times you still feel like a kid?
Yes, particularly since I find some of the "children's" films and literature more interesting than what's out there for adults.

32. Did you ever own troll dolls?
No.

33. Did you have a pager?
No.

34. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager?
The McDonald's in town, especially to stop by after a game or between cruisin' our small town

35. Were you the type of kid you would want your children to hang out with?
Sure, if I had any.
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Cross-posted: Tolerance [Feb. 14th, 2009|01:02 pm]
There was an interesting reaction to the fact that the Jesuit university, Boston College, decided to re-install crucifixes in their classrooms. I'm not sure when they were taken down, but accounts seem to indicate it was post-Vatican II. Deacon Greg Kandra, at his blog "The Deacon's Bench" posted an article, and a self-described BC alumnus "Matt" agreed that crucifixes didn't belong there.

I was particularly struck by this comment "Matt" made: "If the imposition of "faith", by means of crucifixes, results in the loss of "reason", by the exodus of highly qualified faculty, the university will have failed in its mission to reconcile Athens with Jerusalem."

I was struck by the oxymoron. If faculty choose to leave because they cannot tolerate a crucifix at a Catholic university, then it is THEY who have lost their reason.

The concern expressed in the article isn't about students, but the highly-sensitive faculty members and intercollegiate politics. They weren't told that crucifixes were being installed, or they "missed the memo", as we used to say when we shoved unread memos into the pile of non-urgent papers.

Neither of the faculty members quoted in the article explains why he is personally offended. They both mention "the faculty" as if they are spokesmen for hypothetical adults who are too frightened to voice their concerns.

It reminds me of the recent incident in England in which a nurse offered to pray for a patient. Her patient's sister reported her because - though neither the patient nor the sister were offended - someone MIGHT be offended. I wondered if the sisters were passive-agressive, but I think it's a little more complicated than that.

It's the same concern for "tolerance" that encourages observant Jews to take off their yamulkes when they go to work as doctors, professors, etc. None of their colleagues are personally offended, of course. It's always about a hypothetical patient. (I think this hypothetical patient needs tolerance training, myself. He is offended by the crucifix, the hajib, Santa Claus, and possibly fat women in short skirts.)

What do you suppose would be the reaction if, say, a campaign for Catholic School Month supplied crucifixes and encouraged all Catholic students to wear them for the month - on campus, off campus, at parties? I suspect that suddenly there would be an influx of imaginary offended people to campus, as evidenced by the concern expressed by unoffended faculty and students. :)
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Joss Whedon's weird idea - for a limited time only. [Jul. 18th, 2008|12:59 am]
The man who gave us musical "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has a 3-part mini-series online: Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. It's one of the dumbest/funniest things I've seen in a while. I hear the third part is going up sometime this weekend and after this weekend the whole thing is going down - so catch it while you can!

And if you liked FIREFLY, you'll either laugh or cringe at Dr. Horrible's nemesis. ;)

http://www.drhorrible.com/
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Invader Zim redux [Jul. 6th, 2008|07:25 pm]
The "Invader Zim" cartoon was one of the silliest things I've ever seen, but it only lasted a season. *sniffle* I had no idea if Zim ever conquered the Earth... until TODAY!! Nickelodeon Magazine ran an IZ comic called "The Day The Earth Stunk". Here's the link to the mag on-line: http://www.nick.com/shows/nick_mag/nicktoon_comics/index.jhtml


ZIM: "Your bee insults me, Earth Piggy. Minimoose! Gently chew upon his head until he is sad!"
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Happy Belated Leap Day!! [Mar. 1st, 2008|03:42 pm]
I'm always reminded of the young pirate in "Pirates of Penzance" who couldn't leave piracy and marry his sweetheart until he turned 21. But the poor fellow was born on Leap Day, which meant he'd be an old, old man.

Incidentally, I'm not here as much (or on Facebook) because I have my own blog. It's mostly about art and God and squalor (I kid you not). When I finally get a chance to figure out my digital camera, it'll also be about architecture and the natural beauties of Michigan and Ontario. (The latter DOES include you, Ghoulie!)

If you're interested, here it is:

http://jmbalconi.stblogs.com/
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Why I Love Where I Live #1 [Feb. 1st, 2008|03:03 pm]
School was cancelled today due to snow. Yay! Now I have to do Round Two of snow shovelling.
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Why I Hate Where I Live #1 [Feb. 1st, 2008|03:01 pm]
Teenaged boys in the neighbourhood are snowboarding down the street by hitching a tow from a snowmobile and then letting go when they reach a good velocity.
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(no subject) [Jan. 2nd, 2008|12:12 pm]
[Current Mood |quixoticquixotic]

What a crazy year. I'm getting ready to do a marathon test-correcting session, as I did NOTHING on schoolwork this break and tomorrow class is in session. I swiped the following survey from Buggy.

1.What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Sculpted in clay

2.Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
A few. I joined an art association and had a boyfriend. I didn't write a novel. I also didn't organize my home the way I'd hoped.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Supposedly, my dear cousin Tracy and his wife had a daughter in October or so, but I'm not sure if I believe it. They sent no announcements and there are no photos. (hint, hint)

4.Did anyone close to you die?
My cousin's son, although I didn't know him well.

5.What countries did you visit?
Canada for a daytrip to Stratford. Yooperland, which is supposedly part of the US, but they all speak a foreign language and eat pasties. ;)

6.What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A roadtrip to visit friends and family in Ontario and New York

7.What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 17, the beginning of my Yooper Adventure with my cousin Jill.

8.What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Dragging my sorry self to all the specialists instead of putting it off.

9.What was your biggest failure?
Failed to write on a MONTHLY basis, let alone daily.

10.Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes. Unbeknownst to me, I have had a chronic illness for several years and the symptons finally progressed to the point that I went to specialists. Now I'm on two medications and I've managed to lose 6 pounds already. (That's weight, not money.)

11.What was the best thing you bought?
A tax-filing program.

12.Whose behavior merited celebration?
My parents, who brought a scaffold, painted the high-ceilings, showed me how to hang wallpaper, etc.

13.Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A few students, a couple politicians, a few people in our state who murdered their own children and/or spouses.

14.Where did most of your money go?
Home improvement, car payments, old debts, mortgage, and gasoline.

15.What events did you get really, really, really excited about?
The Memorial Day trip to Mackinaw City, including the reinactment at Fort Michilimackinac
The writer's workshop in August, which put a lot of things in perspective for me

16.What song will always remind you of 2007?
That awful one about the woman destroying her ex-boyfriend's truck.

17.Compared to this time last year, are you:
i.happier or sadder? sadder
ii.thinner or fatter? fatter - although that's changing already
iii.richer or poorer? Richer. I'm aiming to pay off the debts I've had for the past 13 years!

18.What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing

19.What do you wish you'd done less of?
Staying late to help students who never showed up, procrastinating on unpleasant but necessary tasks, and generally wasting my time.

20.How have you spent Christmas?
In my childhood home, with family talking and eating and laughing.

21.Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Adam, Ginny, and various medical personnel.

22.Did you fall in love in 2007?
Almost but I escaped the Abyss just in time. :)

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favorite TV programme?
LOST

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No.

26. What was the best book you read?
A toss-up between "The Watchers" and "Odd Thomas" by Dean Koontz. I had never read any of his books before, but two different people recommended these books, which launched a reading spree over the summer.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery or rediscovery?
The radio stations out of Sarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan. It's amazing when DJs actually PLAY MUSIC! ;0

28. What did you want and get?
An electric heater for the shed so I have a workshop for the winter (thanks, Mom and Dad!)

29. What did you want and not get?
Peace on Earth

30. What were your favorite films of this year?
The last Pirates of the Caribbean movie and Rattatouille.

31.What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I spent the day sleeping off a bad cold and fever, and missing my paternal family holiday party. I turned 39.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not being sick for so much of it.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007
Retro, thanks to an "eras" wedding and a cool resale shop

34. What kept you sane?
Clay class.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most/least?
I like the new pope and the new director of the United Way. For the bad, there's the whole gaggle of young actress/singer/lawbreakers that are thrown into news programs and papers.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
It's a toss-up between the too-early presidential campaigning, the attempts by political parties to get the lists of voters and their ballot preferences during the primaries, and the idiotic idea that the northern states (e.g. the Great Lakes states) should "share" their water with the "thirsty" Southwest like Arizona which have population explosion. (A better idea: If you're thirsty, move OUT of the desert!!!)

37. Whom did you miss?
Buggy, Ghouie, Luny, Jodi, Marie and all the other long-distance friends.

38. Who were the best new people you met?
Carolyn, Connie, Jan, and other people in the Art Association. Julie at the Book Blues, who runs a tiny bookstores and hosts community events.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007:
Sometimes the harder you work to improve a relationship, the lazier the other person gets until there's nothing left.

40. What are your plans for 2008?:
Pay off the debts (the car in May, credit cards and bad loans by the end of the year). Keep going to the gym. Write every day. Donate a lot of stuff that I was planning to sell, because the profits won't be worth my time or the freedom I'd immediately get by getting rid of it in a few weeks!
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Usually it's funny because it's true... [Nov. 20th, 2007|07:06 pm]
...but this time it's kind of sad that way, too.

This is an "article" from The Onion, a satirical website. It's about the fact that the Presidential Race for 2008 began about 18 months too early.

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/69752
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Never believe the Politically Rabid... [Nov. 11th, 2007|08:54 am]
[Current Mood |pessimisticpessimistic]

I voted this past week (the millage passed over 2-1) and got the scoop on voting in the primaries. I'd been freaking out that next year I'd have to register with a party affiliation. Au contraire!

According to the election volunteers, I will have to request just one of the party's primary ballots. But my name isn't taken down and there's no need to register. The idea of party-registration is a hoax.

"Years ago they tried that here in Michigan," one of the women said, "but it didn't go over well."

In other words, my co-worker has done it again. This is the second time that he has convinced me of political annoyances coming down the pike. The first time, he extolled the inevitability of the state taking over our health care and eliminating our choices. When I actually contacted my representative, I was told that it had been discussed but wasn't a strong possibility (since the state was having enough problems balancing its budget).

My camel is very delicate when it comes to being saddled with such straws. My co-worker, whom I'll call "Chicken Little", is a master of presenting rumour as truth. Then again, he has been known to paint the rosey future under federally-controlled education, health care, etc. He's not the first one to forget that the federal government has been overreaching. The states retain the rights to make decisions about education, health care, welfare benefits, etc.

Of course, when I informed him about the information that the election workers gave me, he pooh-poohed it and said, "We'll see."

I'm disappointed in Mr. Little. I thought he was a level-headed fellow, unlike the dreaded Mr. DiehardDemocrat. That's not to be confused with a person who votes Democrat (which I've done) or who supports Democratic candidates. Mr. Diehard is the man who (along with a young female who no longer works here), reacted to the results of the last presidential election by raging against the only out-of-closet Republican in the teacher's lounge during lunch. They swore, used the f-word and asked, "Are you happy?" It really was the most horrible and unprofessional conduct I've seen at close range.

Mr. Republican answered, "Yes, I am." He sat quietly until he finished lunch - which couldn't have been enjoyable, considering all the screaming directed at him. Then he got up and left. I must admit that whatever my disagreements with his political views, I admired Mr. Republican's character.

Anyway, I am now back to keeping notes on the candidates and seeing where they stand (or fall down) on issues. I just hope the two big parties actually nominate decent candidates this year. The last election felt like choosing the lesser of two evils.
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