Thursday, September 28, 2006

health insurance rate > inflation rate

Have you noticed this?

Workers won’t find much comfort in the smallest increase in health insurance premiums since 1999. The 7.7 percent increase this year was still more than twice the rate of inflation.

“To working people and business owners, a reduction in an already very high rate of increase just means you’re still paying more,” said Dr. Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care research organization that annually tracks the cost of health insurance.

Altman said the rising gap between premium growth and wages is particularly startling when one takes a longer look back. Since 2000, health insurance premiums have gone up 78 percent; wages 20 percent. (MSNBC)

Community earns patient-safety awards

Some good news about my employer.
Two medical teams from Community Health Network were recognized as Patient Safety Healthcare Heroes during the second annual awards ceremony presented by the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety in Hospitals. Community's medication reconciliation team and Indiana Heart Hospital's surgical site infection prevention team took top honors for taking steps to increase patient safety. (Noblesville Ledger)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Domestic Diva likes Slim Shady

Some people may consider pastors (and presidents of Christian universities) blogging about Paris Hilton to be a sure sign of the coming apocalypse, but I actually believe that this is.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

whose severed head would cause you to blow people up?

Read this article about a cancelled Mozart (he wrote the music) opera production in Berlin. One of the scenes in the opera - Idomeneo - features the presentation of the severed heads of Jesus, Muhammed, Poseidon, and the Buddha. It is of note that this scene is a departure from the libretto.

Now consider:

Deutsche Oper said "incalculable" security risks would be posed by staging Idomeneo.

"We know the consequences of the conflict over the (Muhammad) caricatures," the opera company said in a statement. "We believe that needs to be taken very seriously and hope for your support."

The concern isn't about Christians becoming suicide bombers over this controversial scene. The concern is about the presentation of Muhammed's severed head and how certain people might respond to that, especially in light of the drama over the Pope's recent statements.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

fish fight for Homeland Security

San Francisco, Washington and New York are using bluegills - also known as sunfish - to safeguard their public drinking water. A small number of fish are kept in tanks which are constantly filled with water from the municipal supply. The computerised system registers changes in the fishes' vital signs and sends an alert when something is wrong. (BBC)
Attacks on U.S. water systems have become a viable threat since September 11.
New York City's bluegills were put to work recently when the system caught traces of a diesel spill before any of the Department of Environmental Protection's other devices. The bluegills do have limitations however. They cannot reliably detect germs and are no use against other sorts of attacks - the bombing of a water main, or computer hackers attacking the systems that control the flow of water.
They also can't pick up guns or fight in hand-to-hand combat, either.

[mark driscoll]

This post will give you a good sense as to why I'd attend this church if I lived in Seattle.

Also, Salon recently posted an article about Driscoll and Mars Hill.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

smoked meatloaf sandwich

The Hungry Hoosier is willing to sell his soul for one of those. He had one recently at the Corner Gourmet in Indianapolis.

Have you ever bought food on impulse? I'm not talking about the time you bought a candy bar because you suddenly realized you wanted one while you were pumping gas at the Speedway down the street. I'm also not talking about the time you were stuck in some airport on a long delay between flights, and you decided to grab some pizza from the food court. I'm talking about the time you were in some random store or you passed some restaurant/cafe, and with no prior planning (e.g., it wasn't time for B/L/D), you stopped and bought something to eat.

I can't say that I have, but Hungry Hoosier's description makes me totally want to plan a visit to Corner Gourmet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oprah threatens legal action to stop "Oprah for President"

Glenn Reynolds calls this "more crushing of political speech," but I don't agree. This guy seems only to want to make a name for himself by having a website, T-shirts, and a book (!) arguing for Oprah to run for president (of the United States) in 2008. Whatever you think of Oprah, she has a right to protect herself and her name.

Related: It's Oprah's America

[Blogger beta] blues

A few weeks back, I switched from plain-Jane Blogger to what has been touted as a new-improved Blogger, called Blogger beta. Blogger beta claims to be so much better than regular Blogger, more features would be available, and Blogger beta users would be much happier people in general. So, being a gullible fool, I jumped Blogger and went for Blogger beta.

Not a fun experience so far, let me tell you. Now, there are some cool features, and changing templates is much more of a breeze then before (and if you've been a regular reader of Good Brownie for quite some time, you know that I change templates every 6 to 8 weeks).

But, for inexlicable reasons, Blogger beta users aren't able to comment on normal Blogger sites. This has considerably vexed me, since I've wanted to comment on other people's sites but have been unable to do so. I have at times had to act as an anonymous commentor. When will this be fixed? Beta Blogger only says, "soon."

Benedict, some angry Muslims, and me

Read this, and then ask yourself: Is this representative of a so-called religion of peace?

More from The Anchoress, La Shawn Barber, James White, Frank Turk, Donald Sensing, Mark Daniels, Wizbang, Al Mohler, Brad Williams, Right Truth

Also ask yourself: If someone says something that upsets and offends me, am I then not to be held accountable if I react in a negative - and violent - manner?

More: John Piper has some very good words to say here on how Christians should respond to all this.

Monday, September 18, 2006

chuck klosterman on [lost] & [survivor]

Chuck Klosterman, author of Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs (which I've read) and the recently released Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas (which I haven't read), has written a very bloggable article for the October 2006 issue of Esquire. Here is the link. If you're a fan of Lost and/or Survivor, you should read it.

Klosterman spends the first paragraph writing about how people view him as an expert on reality TV since he's written about it. He wonders how anyone could watch a reality-based show when scripted shows seem to be improving (a debatable matter, certainly).

Klosterman says in the second paragraph that it's a more compelling question to ask why people enjoy reality TV. Okay, I'll give him that, it's a better question to be sure. But an even better thing to consider is the reasons why some reality shows do quite well (e.g., American Idol, Dancing with the Stars), while others are barely a blip in the Nielsen monitor (e.g., The Contender) and have to switch networks. He ends the paragraph by saying that the differences between Lost and Survivor help explain the reason why.

In the third paragraph, Klosterman consider the similarities and differences between the two shows. He believes Lost is "sophisticated," "weirdly creative," and "probably the best network drama in the history of televisioin." Well, perhaps, but it seems a bit of an overkill to say this, doesn't it? I mean after all, West Wing seemed to be very sophisticated and creative in its first through third seasons, but then it went downhill from there (until the last season, of course) and certainly can't be considered as one of the best TV shows, like, ever.

It's in the fourth paragraph that we finally get to where we've been headed: Lost may be a better piece of entertainment, but Survivor is the more significant show. Why?
... Survivor has an advantage that Lost could never construct: Survivor—like most reality programming—is powered by the overwhelming significance of jealousy in everyday life. Which is why it still feels partially real to people, even when they know it mostly isn't.
Overwhelming significance of jealousy in everyday life? What is Klosterman driving at? I thought winning Survivor was about claiming a title (i.e., Sole Survivor) and winning a cool mill. Perhaps he means that certain tribes spur jealousy in other tribes due to their success (winning reward challenges, avoiding tribal council) Sadly, he skips over explaining what he means by jealousy.

Next, Klosterman says that Lost is "based on the notion of the Great Man." (What is Klosterman talking about? Read here.) He believes Jack to be the "main character" - hey, Chuck, haven't you been watching, it's an ensemble show. Klosterman consideres Lock to be Jack's "ally/nemesis" but I consider him more to be the faith-filled counterbalance to Jack's scientific viewpoint.

And then, he says this:
On Lost, greatness is everything, and that makes the show likable. But it also reminds people that Lost is fake, and it suggests that the story will rarely show them glimpses of their own life (which, ultimately, is art's main function).
And he has now shown how he doesn't understand some of the main concepts of the show. Almost every Lostie we've met on the island - save for The Others, and we hope to learn more about them in season three - has some kind of undercurrent to their lives, whether it be dark or light (just like Adam and Eve's black and white marbles). Jack may some courageous and noble, but he chose to work his future wife's body instead of focusing on saving the life of Boone's and Shannon's father. Kate has been pretty handy on the island, but she certainly played fast and loose with the law in her previous life - and that's putting it mildly. Michael was such a loving father, he killed two women, and lied and put in jeopardy those he was the most close to. Sawyer is most certainly a scoundrel, but he didn't act like one when he told Jack about his meeting with Christian.
If Jack and Locke were characters on Survivor, neither would have any chance of winning. On Survivor, being a successful leader is a death sentence; with the exceptions of Ethan Zohn from season three and Tom Westman from season ten, the strongest players always lose.

Well, this is certainly debatable, isn't it? Richard Hatch certainly wasn't the most physically fit player, but he had the mental game down pat and paved the way for everyone else. Tina from the 2nd season was a very shrewd player - how else do you have the final immunity winner (Colby) pick you over someone he'd surely beat (Keith) to take to the finals? Brian Heidik was certainly the smartest and one of the most physically tough of the Thailand contestants, and he won. Come on, Chuck - the winners are strong in their own way, not just the way that you imagine.

Klosterman goes on to discuss his great/ungreat dichotomy, and how the "ungreat" on Survivor usually band together to topple the great. He even manages to work in a zinger on Bush: "This is why a man who deliberately positioned himself as ungreat won the presidency in 2000 and 2004." That's certainly debatable. I don't believe Bush wrapped himself in "ungreatness" but instead wanted to be perceived as "great" because he's so concerned about the safety and security of The Homeland.

Here's the final paragraph:
Certainly, not all reality shows are based on this kind of reverse elitism; Bravo's Project Runway consistently rewards genuine talent, and the characters on MTV's anachronistic Real World still (somewhat curiously) have no objective beyond getting cast on the show. There are also tangential elements of Survivor that make it unique. (For some reason, it's always interesting to watch strangers starve for nonaesthetic reasons.) But its disenchanting sociology is the underlying explanation as to why reality TV does not disappear. Its dialogue might seem coached and its action might seem staged, but the players' motives inevitably strike audiences as sadly plausible. Lost is awesome, but only so long as the story line remains intense; the moment it gets boring, no one will care. All of its Great Men will suddenly seem like improbable caricatures. But Survivor doesn't have to be interesting in order to be important. All it needs to show is the mendacity of the desperately average, and we will always
understand why it is real.

"Don't worry, all of our items that usually have spinach don't have any."

You're not eating this leafy green vegetable, are you? You should certainly avoid it - at least for now - for fear of this terror.

After working on the house today (moving day is in two weeks!), we ate lunch with the in-laws at Olive Garden. Our waiter gave the quote that's in the title up there. We also heard several other wait staff say something quite similar to their tables.

Just to be safe, I ordered a dish that wasn't supposed to have spinach in it anyway.

quintessential 80's bands

If someone where to ask you, "Name some bands that were popular in the 80's," which ones would immediately come to mind?

Two that come immediately to my mind are The Cars and INXS.

I've always admired The Cars and their leader with the freak-icon look, Ric Ocaseck. Drive is one of my favorite songs.

I realize that INXS had a reality show last year in which it obtained a new lead singer to replace the deceased Michael Hutchence. However, I still think of INXS as an 80's era band because that's the time period when their biggest hits - Devil Inside, Need You Tonight, New Sensation - came from their biggest album, Kick.

I mention this because the other night, I bought "best of" CD's by both groups. My stereo is sweatin' with anticipation.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

2 and 0

Here we go.

Texans can talk about how proud they are of their state all they want. There's no pride there today....

Related: Poor Brett.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

where are you, Eggagog?

Besides combing through the BBC site to find bizarro stories, like the one about the man who went off to marry a goat, another interesting diversion is to look at Eggagog's site. Sadly, he - I assume it's a he - hasn't posted since April 23, so we haven't heard any late-breaking news about the Creeps, Old Armor-Head, or the frying pans. What gives?

man forced to marry goat

Is this merely freakishly weird, or is it downright bizarrely horrific? You be the judge...

I wonder what kind of flowers the goat wanted at the wedding. It probably didn't matter since they were all eaten anyway....

[6+1 thoughts about Jesus]

Joe Carter writes that he doesn't often mention Jesus by name on his blog, but he has put together six thoughts he currently has about the Son of God.

Let me add one of my own:

Jesus didn't come to earth to be a nice guy.

He didn't come so that I could feel comfortable. He didn't come so that I could live my life as I please without receiving any judgments whatsoever. He didn't come so that I could drive around in an SUV while ignoring the sufferings of others. He didn't come so that I could, as Fleetwood Mac might say, go my own way.

He didn't say to the woman at the well (who had been married numerous times and was currently living with some guy), "Yeah, relationships are tough, aren't they? Keep trying to work on yours, and don't let other people's opinions get you down."

He didn't say to the rich young ruler who asked how to obtain eternal life, "You got all that money, so you must be doing something right to be blessed by God like that. Whatever it is, keep it up."

He didn't say to Zaccheus (who, as a tax collector for the Roman empire, regularly stole money from his own people), "Man, you're working for the government. Represent!"

He didn't say to the woman caught in adultery, "At least you were loving someone. Love is the only thing that matters, and it's all you need."

No, Jesus said to follow Him. He is calling us to deny ourselves and to take up our cross daily (Mark 8:34,35). He says that if we do not take up our cross and follow Him, we aren't worthy of him (Matthew 10:38) He wants us to die to ourselves (Romans 6:11). His desire is that we go and sin no more (John 8:11). He wants us to lose our life for his sake and the Gospel's sake. He longs for us to kill our own passions and desires (Galations 5:24).

Crystal Lewis sings that Jesus wants us to "come just as you are." That's certainly true, but He doesn't expect us to stay that way.

her place was in the dome

Ann Richards, a former governor of Texas, has passed away after battling cancer. She was 73 years old.
She died at home surrounded by her family, the spokeswoman said. Richards was found to have esophageal cancer in March and underwent chemotherapy treatments.

The silver-haired, silver-tongued Richards said she entered politics to help others — especially women and minorities who were often ignored by Texas’ male-dominated establishment.

“I did not want my tombstone to read, ’She kept a really clean house.’ I think I’d like them to remember me by saying, ’She opened government to everyone,”’ Richards said shortly before leaving office in January 1995. (MSNBC)

I remember watching the Democratic Convention when she gave the address. She famously said that George H.W. Bush was "born with a silver foot in his mouth." She spent four years in the governor's mansion in Texas, before losing her residence to George W. Bush.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"I used to be cable's hottest star and now I'm just a Yellow Springs guy"

Dave Chapelle, a comedian probably most well-known for his creation, Chapelle's Show, on Comedy Central, has opted to live not in the bright lights of Hollywood but in the tiny town of Yellow Springs, Ohio (read about it here).

"Turns out you don't need $50 million to live around these parts, just a nice smile and a kind way about you. You guys are the best neighbors ever... That's why I came back and that's why I'm staying."

Chappelle, who lives near this southwest Ohio village, walked away from a $50 million deal to continue his "Chappelle's Show" on Comedy Central.

Chappelle's decision to quit his show and jet off to Africa was the talk of the town for quite some time. Chappelle has said that he needed some time for thinking and evaluation, so he went to South Africa. He denied that he left because of mental problems or substance abuse, although there were some reports that he checked into a mental hospital. He talked about his experiences on James Lipton's program Inside the Actor's Studio.

I am quite familiar with Yellow Springs, located about 40 minutes from my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I attended college in Cedarville, only 10 minutes away from Yellow Springs. Yellow Springs is a quaint little town with some very nice shops - it certainly has a New-Age, aging-hippie vibe to it. As a student, I often visited this famous Yellow Springs establishment, which has been featured on Food Network's The Best Of. I also enjoyed eating pizza here - the place has always been rumored to have a special condiment of marijuana to put on pizza, but I never saw - or tasted - any. The dishes at the Winds Cafe are good enough to rival any big-city restaurant.

Yellow Springs is the home of Antioch College, where both of Chappelle's parents worked. In the early 1990s, Antioch obtained national noteriety with the implementation of this policy. Famous Antioch alumni include Coretta Scott King, scientist Stephen Jay Gould, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, and author Sylvia Naser.

quote of the day

Medicine used to be simple, ineffective, and relatively safe. Now it is complex, effective, and potentially dangerous.

- Sir Cyril Chandler

What do you think? Does Chandler have a point, or is he missing the mark?

iMonk on Osteen

Michael Spencer, who goes by the blogger name of Internet Monk, has written two posts critical of Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. You can view them here and here.

The iMonk concludes:
Osteen appears to be continuing on his chosen trajectory to become the most influential preacher on the planet by abandoning the Christian faith in favor of a very American and very Christless message of salvation from a bad life by positive thinking and behavior change. Osteen’s charm and good looks have won over millions, and most evangelicals are too mired in the materialism and “good life” pursuits at the root of Osteen’s message to effectively challenge him.

Conservative evangelicals are strangely silent about Osteen, even though he outdoes liberals, mystics, the emerging church and many outright apostates in his abandonment of the Gospel. One of the reasons I am a post-evangelical is that I see little evidence that evangelicalism has the ability to separate itself from a successful minister who threw the Gospel itself away in order to be popular. Osteen is the present and the future of evangelicalism. If this is where we’re going, you can have him, and the whole movement.

I’ll close with a summary of my criticisms of Joel Osteen.
1) As presented in his books and messages, Joel Osteen isn’t an evangelical. He’s a motivational speaker.
2) No matter what his personal or occasional doctrinal statements, Osteen’s books and sermons are absent the Gospel message.
3) The vast majority of Osteen’s message is simply advice for being a better person- the antithesis of the cross and the Gospel.
4) The MSMs attention to Osteen as a successor to Billy Graham should be loudly opposed by every pastor, preacher, teacher, leader and blogger in evangelicalism.
5) The promotion of Osteen by publishing interests is an outright detriment to the cause of Christ in the name of making money.

From what I've seen of Osteen's program on TV, the iMonk has a correct assessment of him.

Related: Does God want you to be rich?

how easy is it to start a blog?

So easy.
According to the Pew Research Center, 12 million American adults blog, publishing on the Internet everything from the meals they eat to the lives of pet cats, to reports on terrorist plots, media sins and celebrity DUIs.Authorities estimate that at least 50 million blogs have been created worldwide and say that number could double by spring. Blogging is the product of relatively new technology and a primitive urge to communicate. All it requires is a computer and a line to the Internet. With those two conditions met, blogging, at its cheapest, costs nothing more than the blogger's time. The reward for that time is connection, whether your target audience is a few family members, a handful of friends or the entire world.
Blogger LaShawn Barber, one of my favorites, gets a mention and some quotes in the article.

Should you quit your day job to blog? Only if it pays....

If you are going to blog, you may want to keep Ecclesiastes 3 in mind...

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Monday, September 11, 2006

does he really have to fall down anymore?

Congratulations to Roger Federer, who earned his 9th overall Grand Slam title yesterday with his third consecutive U.S. Open win. He beat Andy Roddick in four sets, taking the first, third, and fourth sets. Roddick, who hasn't had the best year, is to be commended for being the U.S. Open finalist - he had a little help from tennis legend Jimmy Conners, who knows a thing or two about winning in New York in September.

After claiming the championship, Federer fell to the ground. Come on, Roger - you don't have to fall down. You've won enough championships to just smile and acknowledge the crowd. You don't need to act like I can't believe I just won anymore. You have won NINE championships so far, and three of them were this year.

Congrats also to Maria Sharapova for beating Justine Henin-Hardenne in straight sets to claim the Open title. She's no one-hit wonder anymore.

UPDATE: As of U.S. Open 2007, Federer has won 12 Slam titles. The dude still fell down.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

tall people earn more money than short people

Why? Because they're smarter!

You know, I've always suspected this...

CU in CT

My undergrad alma mater, Cedarville University, is in the news. There's an article in Christianity Today about CU, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC), and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC) voted in June to sever ties with Cedarville University. GARBC said the school's "public relationship with Southern Baptists was not considered to be in harmony with the GARBC purpose statement."

Earlier this year, the Council of Eighteen, the GARBC governing body, adopted a statement on why the association should separate from the Ohio school. At the 2006 annual conference in June, GARBC messengers ratified the statement 311 to 283. They concluded that "Southern Baptists are inclusivists and permit the presence and ministry of liberals within the convention."

In 2000, the GARBC discontinued its approval system for partner ministries, which included Baptist Bible College and Seminary near Scranton, Pennsylvania. Cedarville and other schools maintained ties with the GARBC through displays at the annual conference and a scholarship program. In 2002, the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (affiliated with the SBC) decided to recommend Cedarville to the state's Southern Baptists. When Cedarville applied to display at the 2005 GARBC conference, the GARBC declined, because of the school's new SBC affiliation.
I agree with Brian Orme's assessment. He graduated from CU three years after me.

I also like what Brian McCrorie has said.

The university has a written statement about its historical connection to the GARBC, which you can read here.

Read here about the GARBC's reported issues with Cedarville. John Greening, the GARBC national representative, issued a statement about Cedarville - read here.

The overkill in this article about Cedarville's speaking invitation to Brooklyn Tabernacle pastor Jim Cymbala is palpable:
Beware of schools which profess to be fundamentalist and Baptist but which are neither in practice. Beware of the leaven of compromise which is flooding into fundamental Baptist churches, schools, evangelistic and mission institutions. It is not the time to cover ones eyes and pretend that all is well. It is not the time to keep quiet about error and compromise. By refusing to speak out against compromise in their own ranks, God's people pave the road to apostasy.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

[food on TV]

John Maynard of WaPo watched cooking shows for a week, two on Food Network and one each on Travel Channel, TLC, and PBS. He determined that while he may have been entertained, he learned very little he could actually use.

As any regular viewer of the Food Network can attest, the one ingredient essential to any cooking show is its entertainment value. It's not just about the lengthy ingredient list or the availability of specific foods (can we find blood oranges in the Midwest? we can be hard-pressed to, and blood oranges aren't that exotic) or the quality of the dish. The show - and specifically the hosts - must have some form on entertainment value. After all, will viewers tune in to a cooking show where the host is dry and uninteresting?

Speaking of entertaining hosts, it appears that Paula Deen's influence on Food Network is growing. She started a few years back with Paula's Home Cooking. She added a few specials such as Paula Deen's Wedding, which documented the planning of the wedding of Paul and her husband Michael, and Paula Goes Hollywood, which wasn't as much about food as it was her role in the film Elizabethtown. Earlier this summer, Road Tasted premiered, which is hosted by Paula's sons Jaime and Bobby (who occasionally visits Paula's show). Now, Paula is adding a new series - Paul's Parties, or something to that effect (it's not yet listed on FN's website - beginning at the end of September.

CBS Evening News with Katie Couric

So did you watch? I did. All in all, not a bad beginning. She had a few rough spots here and there, and she was even shown straightening her skirt as the broadcast was fading out, but she remained poised and calm throughout the broadcast. You're not going to judge her on just her first show, though, right? I'll probably watch the rest of the week to see how she does, and especially on Thursday to hear what Rush Limbaugh has to say in that "freeSpeech" segment.

More from NY Times, Ann Althouse, MSNBC, The Anchoress, Lost Remote

do they look both ways?

Chimps can cross the street!
Experts studying chimpanzees while investigating the evolution of human social behaviour have uncovered their ability to safely cross roads. They said the discovery has shown chimps' ability to cope with the risk of man-made situations. The University of Stirling research was carried out with a small chimp community in West Africa. It found the dominant adult males took up protective positions in the group when it was tasked with crossing roads. (BBC)

These findings are evidently important enough to merit publication in Current Biology.

Speaking of chimps, did you know that Cheeta of "Tarzan" fame is still alive? At 74 (he's older than my mother!), he is believed to be the oldest primate alive. (H/T: Metafilter)

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

[it's all Bush's fault]


U.S. foreign policy is furthering terrorism in the Muslim world, and negotiations are the only way to resolve the impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told CNN while on a two-week visit to the United States. (CNN)

The reformist leader is widely viewed as moderate compared with new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As president, Khatami favored stronger U.S. ties. In an interview Sunday with CNN, Khatami said American policies have "only increased, and will only increase, extremism in our region."

Sounds like someone is about to drop their name in a bid for a Democratic seat in the House...

Monday, September 4, 2006

work ennui

It's the end of Labor Day. Labor Day is a bit of a bizarre holiday, in that America takes the day off work - a day of leisure, if you will - to celebrate one's ability to work. The new bastion of information - Wikipedia - has this on Labor Day:
Labor Day is generally regarded simply as a day of rest and, unlike May Day, political demonstrations are rare. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school. However, of late, schools have begun well before Labor Day, up to the 15th of August in many urban districts, including Nashville and Atlanta.

I feel a great sense of ennui with my work. I think this is an accurate word because my feelings go beyond mere boredom to a sense of dissatisfaction. The work in itself - meeting with people who are clinically depressed, suicidal, psychotic, or some combination - can't really be described as "boring" or "dull," and at times it can be classified as "exciting" (especially when meeting with psychotic people or someone in a manic phase).

I just feel weary of the work. I get tired of seeing people at a low point (probably the lowest) in their lives. Since I see people at the beginning of the process, whether they are going to be hospitalized or not, I don't get to see what progress they have made or how they are when they are discharged. I don't get to see results, as it were. I've often thought of doing other kind of work, perhaps in the hospitality field where I can still help people in some way but in a much more positive setting.

I don't know if this is a phase, or some early mid-life crisis thing, or what it might be. Have you ever felt this way? If you did, what did you do about it?

portrait of the suffering artist

Poor Jude Law. He was ridiculed by Chris Rock at the Oscars - last year! - for having six movies out at once, and he is still pained by it.

At first I laughed, because I didn’t think he knew who I was. Then I got angry as his remarks, I felt, became more personal. My friends were livid. I was moved when Sean came to my defense. As a celebrity I know I’m fair game for a lot of things that I don’t like, but Rock crossed the line when he made his point and got his laugh then seemingly wouldn’t stop. It’s very unfortunate that I had five or six films come out at the same time. However I had no control over that.
Yes, it's terrible to be good-looking and rich. Just terrible....

Jude, if you're going to whine, at least whine about something important. Don't whine because some comedian took pot-shots at you.

the last "Crikey"

Steve Irwin, the Australian "Crocodile Hunter," has passed away after a stingray struck his chest (story here) when he was on a diving expedition. He leaves behind his American wife Terri, 8-year-old daughter Bindi, and 2-year-old son Bob. I always enjoyed watching Steve, but I was afraid something like this would eventually happen to him.

Steve, your energy, excitement, and passion for animals wil be missed.

More on the sad news here and here.
Update: Kos has given what is probably the most perturbing statement about the tragedy - "I'll never understand parents who put themselves in such positions of danger knowing that a misstep can leave their children without a parent." When he hears of police officers or firefighters or soldiers dying, does he think the same thing? How dare they take a job serving and protecting when they have children... Heck, just walking out the front door can be a dangerous things in some neighborhoods. What would he say to that?
I understand that some jobs, more than others, involve considerable risk of personal injury, and even death. Does that mean that they shouldn't be undertaken? Not while Bush is president, according to many of the Kos Kids...

evil beasts in the backyard

Professor Ann Althouse, you're not the only one with monsters on the loose....


Oh, no! Two of them! And look at how the sun shines down on one of them beasts. It's downright bucolic!

And, yes, I've had the grass cut since these pictures were taken...

mural on side of building, north of downtown Indianapolis

Interesting cast of characters, don't you think? I'm not quite sure who the children are supposed to signifiy, nor do I know why Popeye has chosen not to assist them in their tug-o-war. I also can't tell whether Spider-Man and Superman are coming to the childrens' aid or not. As for the identity of Wile E. Coyote's basketball foe, you'll just have to guess...