Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Well, maybe...

...but I strongly deny any belief in the Rotfang conspiracy. Now where did I put my radish earrings?

You scored as Luna Lovegood. You're an extreme introvert and because of this, are also a deep thinker. You ponder things others would never dream of pondering and stand with your beliefs without backing down. You find it more valuable to daydream than to socialize, because there's so much more going on in your head than others'. Most people don't understand it, but you seem to prefer it that way.

Luna Lovegood


Neville Longbottom


Ron Weasley


Hermione Granger


Albus Dumbledore


Severus Snape


Bellatrix Lestrange


Harry Potter


Sirius Black


Remus Lupin


Lord Voldemort


Percy Weasley


Oliver Wood


Draco Malfoy


Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Book Every American Should Read

The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life, by Ramesh Ponnuru

I put this book in my Amazon.com shopping cart when it was released last spring, but I somehow never got around to purchasing and reading it until a few weeks ago. That was a mistake. This is an important book. It has been out for nearly a year, and there hasn't been nearly the amount of discussion of it there ought to have been. Perhaps some pro-life people figured it had nothing to tell them, but I assume far more people were turned off by the title. The author has explained on NRO and elsewhere that the term "the party of death" did not originate with him and that, no, it does not refer to Democrats.(Although people hearing "the party of death" and assuming it means Democrats is interesting, no?) But this explanation of the term is somewhat undercut by the fact that the subtitle names Democrats and names them first. Surely a better subtitle would have been "Politicians, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life", because, as Ponnuru says, there are members of the party of death in both of America's major political parties and because I think that subtitle might cause many people who would benefit from reading it to dismiss it as just another divisive political diatribe. And that's a shame, because this is a well-reasoned and clearly written book setting forth a secular case--not necessarily the secular case; let's see what other authors have to say--for respecting the right to life. You don't have to be a lawyer or a philosopher or a politics groupie to understand this book; any average high school student should be able to read it and understand the arguments, and the chapters aren't so long that they'll tax many people's attention span. Read it and think about it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

And another thing...

While we're on the subjects of the British and of people using language funny--well, sort of, almost on those topics--some days back I saw a news story about a disabled British man whose Christian hospice had, in some unspecified way, facilitated his hiring a prostitute so that he wouldn't have to die a virgin. Someone speaking on behalf of the hospice said that they didn't make moral judgements for their patients. That is just plain fatuousness. When we refuse to help someone carry out an action that we believe to be immoral we are not making a moral decision for that person, we are making a moral decision for ourselves.

Who says the British are the masters of understatement?

An AP story, dated yesterday but which I only read today, says that a Texas man named Adrian Estrada has been sentenced to death for murdering a seventeen year-old young woman and her fetus. Estrada choked and stabbed the young woman who was pregnant with his child thirteen times.

"Estrada's attorney, Suzanne Kramer, had argued that her client made bad

As a way to describe murder, "bad decision" is accurate, as far as it goes, but it just doesn't go far enough. There are bad decisions and there are bad decisions. A man who decides not to lock his car door because he's "just going to be in the convenience store for a few minutes" has made a bad decision. The man who decides to take advantage of that unlocked door by stealing the car has also made a bad decision. Yet only one of these bad decisions deprives someone of his rightful property and can result in jail time; Christians might also note that only one of those bad decisions requires repentance. And I think all of us, including the most ardent car-lovers and property rights upholders, would agree that deciding to attack and murder a pregnant woman is a much worse bad decision than deciding to steal a car. Even people who wouldn't want the fetus listed as one of Estrada's victims would generally agree that murder is a very bad decision indeed.

"It that enough to execute him? Is that enough to kill him?" she asked the jury.

Apparently Texas law and that jury think so.

A question I'm probably not supposed to ask: I wonder if these murderous attacks on pregnant women have become more frequent since the advent of the birth control pill and legalized abortion.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Recommending Liberty!

I just wanted to recommend a DVD series that Uncle Pookie and I finished watching this weekend: Liberty! The American Revolution. This six-episode, PBS documentary is from 2004, but it was new to us. No history documentary is perfect or can satisfy everyone, but I think this one is excellent. Liberty! is especially good in showing that American opinions were varied before, during, and after the war and reminding us that the outcome of the conflict was by no means known by the rebels or guaranteed to be successful (an obvious fact that we nevertheless sometimes forget, not only about this war but about others in history.) There is a lot of use of extracts from contemporary documents, which I loved. The ending of the war in episode 5 (ep.6 carries us through the creation of the Constitution) seemed rather abrupt, but other than that small thing I can't think of anything I disliked about this series. I heartily recommend this to everyone; families with junior high or high school students studying American history could get a lot of good from it--enjoyment, help with schoolwork, and food for conversation.* It would almost be worth watching just for the poignant rendition of "Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier", a song popular at the time of the Revolution, that ends each episode.

* FWIW, my top recommended question for discussion is, "If you were an American colonial before the war, which side would you have been on?" I have been a patriotic American and a believer in the Revolution since I was a little girl, and yet I have never been able to answer that question with 100% certainty for myself ever since my high school teacher suggested it one day during class. But if you find this an easy question there's lots of other things to discuss in this series.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


However much we might hate talk about "all the wrong people having children" and the egregious idea that lies behind it, try to tell me some of us didn't squirm a little at the wonderful bit of satire at the beginning of this film that contrasts the nice, intelligent, middle-class couple's approach to procreation with that of the gauche, lower-class family.

Beyond that beginning, Idiocracy is less good, although still entertaining in a Fox kind of way--even if Fox did refuse to support the film after it'd been made. Ignore the logic holes and enjoy. And who knows, maybe there will be a few babies born to intelligent, educated couples as a result of watching it. Our society needs more babies.

The Men of Firefly

Jayne is the kind of man you have an affair with if you happen to have an affair (which of course you shouldn't) while you're ovulating. Wash and Simon are the kind of men you marry. The captain is the kind of man you hold a secret, lifelong attraction for; he might or might not marry. Discuss.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Six Weird Things About Me

Noone has tagged me with this meme, but here they are anyway:

# I take pride--not much, but some--in the fact I've never let my household run out of toilet paper. (I grew up in a household where the lady of the house often let us run out of staples, including toilet paper.)

# As a child, riding past fields on Christmas Day, it seemed sad to me that the cows didn't know it was a special day.

# My earliest verifiable memory took place on the Halloween a few days before my first birthday. (I have a non-verifiable memory that would have had to take place months beforehand.)

# I will spend longer dithering over whether to spend two dollars on a non-necessity than my husband does over spending two hundred dollars on a non-necessity.

# Because humans need analogies and metaphors and because I am who I am, I tend to think of God as the Great Novelist.

# I'm a fan of refrigerator stew. (Definition below, for the uninitiated.)

And that's my six things. Anyone who reads this is encouraged to post theirs on their blog or in the comment box.

Refrigerator stew is a soup made in the following way: Keep a container in the freezer and every time you have a too-small-to-save amount of leftover vegetables (non-cruciferous veg only) or legumes you put it in the container. When the container is full or nearly so, dump the contents into a large pot, add broth or vegetable juice and some meat, throw in some herbs for extra flavor, and simmer the whole thing until done. If I have a leftover serving of rice or pasta in the refrigerator, I might add that to the soup pot too. Results are usually good, sometimes very good. Now I think of it, there's no reason you couldn't start with a roux, although I don't.

Words That Sound Like Other Words

Yesterday on Craftster I saw a thread in which a couple of people seemed to have some discomfort with the term "fagot/faggot stitch", a knitting stitch pattern which I must confess I'd never heard of, although I've long known the similar sewing term--and, for that matter, the original stick term and its use in shortened form to refer to cigarettes in England, as well as the pejorative term these posters wanted to avoid seeming to say. Laudable as their desire not to give offense may be, I have a comment.

Item: My mother has told me how, in her youth, her teenage brother used to upset their preschooler nephew mightily by accusing the nephew of "peering out the window". The outraged child would be driven nearly to tears as the older boy asserted that he'd "seen him do it".

Item: Supposedly there was a politician back in the '30s who "attacked" his opponent by telling voters that the opponent's sister was a known thespian and that the opponent and his wife had practiced pre-marital celibacy. Ignorant voters drew the (intended) conclusion that the opponent and his family were immoral and supported the accuser.

People who get offended by words that happen to sound like other, offensive words are like my preschool cousin and those voters: they are betraying their ignorance by getting upset over inoffensive words they don't understand. Actually, many of them are even worse off than my little cousin and the uneducated voters, because my uncle was deliberately trying to annoy my cousin and the politician was deliberately trying to mislead the voters. A city councilman or teacher who uses the word "niggardly" to describe something that is niggardly is not trying to mislead or offend anyone. A person who uses the word "faggot" to describe a bundle of sticks, "fagoting" to refer to a certain decorative sewing technique, or "fagot stitch" to refer to a particular knit stitch pattern is not intending to mislead or offend anyone. To insist on being offended in these cases where there is no offense and no intent to cause offense is either to show that you are ignorant or to show that you are determined to be offended even when you know there's nothing to be offended about. Better vocabulary instruction in the schools could help with the former, but I don't know if there's anything that can help the latter.