Sunday, December 06, 2009

Marriage equality in New Jersey?

It's about damn time.

As people continue to demonstrate their support, the Senate Judiciary committee is planning on a vote tomorrow to bring this important civil rights legislation to the full State Senate.

Separate is not equal.

It's about damn time.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I'm in love... with audiobooks

I love audiobooks.

I love Neil Gaiman.

I love Neil Gaiman's recordings of his own books.

Am quite fond of David Sidaris, too.

So, so happy was I when I found this; it's an NPR piece on audiobooks, reported by Gaiman, where he discusses audiobooks and interviews Sidaris, too. Only eight minutes long, and well worth the time, if you love them too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I heard a little of the memorial service at Ft. Hood yesterday while in the car. It was hard to listen while driving, and blinking back tears.

For all sorts of reasons, I was reminded of Dave Barry's essay Hallowed Ground. It's not the Dave Barry you expect- it's not funny, not even a little- but it does show why he's a good writer. It's about veterans of very different wars than the ones we're involved in now. And about respect. And remembrance.

Happy Veterans Day. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

2009 Election Results for New Jersey

Governor's race

Local races by County:

Atlantic (look all the way to the right, in the box on top)
Cape May County

NOT EVERY ONE WILL UPDATE TONIGHT. The polls close at 8 PM, so some counties may start updating soon after that. (UPDATE 8:30 PM: several have started updating, and the link for the Gov race is active.)

Keep your fingers crossed!

Did you vote?

I voted about 4PM. Was #200 at my poling place.

Voting booths are open until 8 tonight. Go vote!

Monday, November 02, 2009

You must vote.

Go vote. Go first thing in the morning. Go early, before there are lines. Take your neighbor with you.

Go vote.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

H1N1 vaccine

My kids' pediatrician has it.

I keep hearing about shortages, friends in other states with the virus rampant in their kids' schools (and sometimes in their kids!), delays in production- so I was surprized to find out that they had it. I called to see when they expected to get their shipment of seasonal flu vaccine, and while they didn't have that, they did have the FluMist H1N1 vaccine.

So maybe call your doctor, or your pediatrician.

(I get a lot of searches which lead people to this blog looking for flu shots in NJ or flu vaccine clinics- maybe this information will help.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vote now!

Vote by mail is simple. You don't need to provide a reason to vote by mail in Our Fair State, so why wait? You have no excuses this year. Vote now!

Vote by mail application

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Register to vote TODAY

Today is the LAST DAY to register if you want to vote in Our Fair State's election next month. And you can even vote by mail! What fun!

You'll need to visit your county registrar's office to file the paperwork. If you need information about the upcoming election, check out

Remember, if you don't vote, you can't complain about the election or the governor at all. So get registered!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Just because I like him doesn't matter

I'm not voting for Chris Daggett.

The Star-Ledger loves this guy. His performance at the debate was pretty impressive. I agree with much of his position. Yet, why am I not voting for him?

This morning, the Times of Trenton ran George Amick's column (which they have unhelpfully not put up on yet) titled "Daggett says N.J. is ready for independent gov." Two pages away, they ran a story by Linda Stein (also, unhelpfully not online) titled "Study finds every vote does count" citing Hightstown's recent Democratic primary (tie, 88-88; challenger Dimitri Musing will be on the ballot) and Southampton's school budget, defeated by 10 votes. The article is about mail-in voting, but the juxtaposition is what interests me.

I can't vote for Daggett. I can't risk Christie winning.

Daggett knows I feel this way. I'm sure he hears it from both sides. He has a nice page about how voting for him is not a wasted vote. His supporters know many feel this way; I can tell you who will respond to this post first, and what he'll say. But I still can't do it.

Al Gore came to endorse Gov. Corzine a while back. Do y'all remember the 2000 elections? If 550 people in Florida had voted for Al Gore instead of independent Ralph Nader, the world would be a different place. I'm not exaggerating: the world would be a different place now. That's the difference an independent vote makes. It can change the world.

And there are changes I can't risk.

George Amick has another recent column, helpfully online here, about how the time for instant runoff voting in Our Fair State is NOW. I wish we had it, I do.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Flu shot locator

The American Lung Association provides one here. Type in your zip code and dates when you could go, and there you are! (Specifically for seasonal flu, not H1N1.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Most Excellent Resource

Q and A NJ:

It's a chat service where you can chat live with a librarian. It's staffed by a cooperative effort of Our Fair State's libraries. Per their web site:

"QandANJ is a service for New Jersey residents and is designed to provide fast answers to your questions, using information found on the Internet and in proprietary databases funded by libraries. In most cases, Librarians will provide an answer online in 15 minutes or less! If your question involves lengthy research, we'll get you started and/or provide a referral for you or your question. "

This is a most AWESOME tool, which I think libraries don't advertise enough. Librarians love to be asked questions, really they do, and this is a great way to get help writing your paper in the middle of the night, or getting the information in your blog post verified before you hit "publish" and make a fool of yourself, or myriad other uses.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I get searches- recycling edition

Recycling information in Mercer County: The Mercer County Improvement Authority has links to curbside recycling schedules and hazardous waste recycling, including electronics equipment. The next electronics recycling day is scheduled for Nov. 14, 2009 9AM-2PM. More info on that here, with a link to a PDF about the plan.

Don't forget about freecycling- the program of letting folks take your usable but unneeded items off your hands, while perusing the stuff of others. Mercer County Freecycle maintains a Yahoo group, where you can subscribe to their listserv and peruse their rules for use.

I've gotten a lot of serches about recycling lately. You ask, and here at CoNJL we eventually get around to attempting to deliver!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The five biggest lies in the health care debate

  1. You'll have no choice in what health benefits you receive.
  2. No chemo for older Medicare patients.
  3. Illegal immigrants will get free health insurance.
  4. Death Panels will decide who lives.
  5. The government will set doctors' wages.

LIES! ALL LIES! Newsweek breaks them down this week, with actual facts from the proposed laws. (This is a follow-up to an earlier article with Seven Falsehoods about Health Care, where they try to debunk even more ridiculous claims.)

Here's the actual bill, where folks should go to verify or disprove any wacko claims they might hear- especially before they repeat them or shout them out at town halls.

If the last month is any indication, more wacko claims will be forthcoming.

Crazies come out for Rep. Palone's meeting

This is frightening. And pathetic. "Nobody's listening to the facts."

I am ashamed of the residents of Central New Jersey. When they shout down and heckle the disabled woman, I no longer want to proudly proclaim my citizenship of Our Fair state. Just as pathetic is the wingnuts parroting the lies, without even knowing or caring what they mean.

Can there be any room for a centrist at a health care reform town hall meeting

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Back to school!

This seemed perfect for library school. From Brad Veley, found via the Funny Times.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Solar panels on the utility poles?

Works for us! It will make Our Fair State the second largest generator of solar power behind California.

Go Solar!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Challenged Books: or, what to read now

gayinpublic's recent post commenting on a Wisconsin "Christian Civil Liberties" groups desire and lawsuit to win the right to burn a library book reminded me about this list from the ALA. Every year, the American Library Association compiles a list of books that are challenged in libraries; meaning, books that someone has requested be removed from the library collection. (That's a nice way of saying 'books that someone wanted banned.') The ALA top ten most frequently challenged books of 2008 are:

1. "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Anti-Family, Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2. "His Dark Materials Trilogy" (Series), Philip Pullman
Reasons: Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint, Violence
3. "TTYL"; "TTFN"; "L8R, G8R" (Series), Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
4. "Scary Stories" (Series), Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, Religious Viewpoint, Violence
5. "Bless Me, Ultima," by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Violence
6. "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Drugs, Homosexuality, Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group
7. "Gossip Girl" (Series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
8. "Uncle Bobby's Wedding," by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: Homosexuality, Unsuited to Age Group
9. "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
10. "Flashcards of My Life," by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

I expect that Baby Be-bop will make an appearance next year, what with all the press it's getting in Wisconsin. (Do these book burners know it's part of a series they might want to burn? I doubt it. These don't sound like folk who bother with a lot of "research.")

So there you have it- the books folks most want banned. Don't wait for Banned Books Week to get started on them. It sounds like a summer reading list to me!*

*All except His Dark Materials, which I've pointed out before- but it bears repeating- was just plain disappointingly awful.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Solar spring

It's been a bad spring for solar, mostly. Usually this is the season of the $2 electric bills, where I bank a lot of energy against the summer when the air conditioning is running. Unfortunately, with the rotten weather, even when it's not raining it's been overcast- no good for solar!

The good news, however, is that the SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Certificate program) is up to about $675 each- so I just got a big ol' boost in my repayment schedule. I'm on track to get this completely paid off (through energy savings) this summer. After that- FREE ENERGY!

That is, if the sun returns to Central NJ.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

New Central Jersey Farmers Market

Hightstown is starting its own Farmers Market, Fridays through the summer from 3-7, by Peddie Lake. (That's the corner of Morrison and Main Streets, aka the corner of Rt. 33 and Rt. 539, aka the park by the library.) They're starting small but hopefully more farmers will join in soon. Come out and get what's fresh!

(cross-posted to sfoodblog)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Today is Primary Day in Our Fair State. Polls are open NOW until 8 P.M. Are you registered to vote?

There is more than just the Governor's race on the line today- many Assembly, county and local offices have contested primaries. So, find out about the issues in your local races, and GO VOTE!

Make your voice heard.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Funniest thing I've seen in quite a while. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not that far to the left

Times of Trenton columnist George Amick begs to differ with the old NY Times assessment that Our Fair State is as progressive as it gets:

For example, national polls show a growing willingness to allow homosexuals to marry, especially among younger voters. Same-sex marriage is going to be commonplace in a few years. But it won't be because New Jersey showed the way.
New York is on the brink of repealing its draconian Rockefeller-era drug laws, which robbed judges of discretion in sentencing and filled the prisons with nonviolent offenders, a disproportionate number of whom were black or Hispanic. But New Jersey clings to its law establishing no-drug zones in the vicinity of public schools, which has had the same result. Senate President Dick Codey, D-West Orange, has hinted that he might allow a proposed modification to come to a vote this spring, but so far there has been no sign of it.
Medical marijuana? Thirteen other states, including Sarah Palin's Alaska, have legalized the use of pot for medical purposes under tight restrictions. Their laws suddenly became significant rather than merely symbolic when the Obama administration announced that federal drug officials henceforth would honor those laws, rather than override them, as happened under President George W. Bush.

So, what happened to Our Fair State's liberal bent? Five other states allow everyone to marry, but not here; we stuck with separate-but-unequal civil unions. Massachusetts has near-universal health care. California is studying whether or not they should legalize and tax marijuana.

Here? We're re-electing Chris Smith. How's that fit in to "progressive leadership"?

Amick is right; New Jersey is no longer a progressive leader in many issues. How sad.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bad to the Bone release

Didja see that cool widget to the right there, that says Jeri Smith-Ready's Bad to the Bone will be released on May 19, 2009?

Didja realize that it's only two days away?

Didja order your copy yet?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I finished my iPod project yesterday. I have now officially listened to every song on my iPod in alphabetical order.

Some things I've learned:
  • iTunes capitalizes numbers at the end, after letters, which is the opposite of how we do it in the library.
  • There are lots of songs that start with "I" and "You".
  • I really gotta clean up my library- there's tons of stuff on there I don't need to have, particularly stuff I got free from iTunes.
  • Time for some new music! I have a couple of CDs I haven't ripped yet, and at least two songs I want to buy.

It was a neat project, and took a lot longer than I thought- close to a year. Granted, I only listen to my iPod when I'm walking by myself or gardening, but also I don't have that many songs on it.

Now, I'm going to listen to a book for a change.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Greenwashing with bottled water?

Seen on the back of a Poland Spring .5 L bottle:

Smaller Labels = More Trees

We could write more on a bigger label, but saving trees is important. By keeping it short, we've saved almost 10 million lbs. of paper per year in the U. S. - that's about 30,000 trees.
Be Green.

Never mind that the product is essentially tap water in a non-biodegradable petrolium-based container that's been transported in deisel-chugging trucks across the country! What's important is that they use fewer trees!

Friday, April 17, 2009

More on protests

From today's editorial, the Times of Trenton, about the protests: (emphasis mine)

Shared by most of the country, their concerns are genuine.
The "tea parties," though, were not so authentic. Ignited by Fox News announcers and talk-radio pundits, the protests were less a popular uprising for fiscal reform than a platform for Rush Limbaugh and his ilk.
In an Associated Press report, neoconservative and president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist said as much: "All you have to be is a mildly awake Republican candidate for office to get in front of that parade."
Amid all the machinations and the bellowing, though, we're left with the stunning illogic of it all. The majority of those who joined in the protests Wednesday will realize a tax cut under President Barack Obama's plan. It's all those howling conservative commentators who will be hit with a tax increase.
Secondly, the effects of the enormously expensive but hugely needed stimulus plan will soon be evident. A Times' investigation has identified $40.8 million so far in federal stimulus funding headed our way, $23 million of which is designated for Mercer County road projects. Add to that federal stipends for housing repairs and
energy conservation, and the sum total will be a lot of jobs and a bracing
infusion into the local economy.

Do remember that- it's those howling conservative talk-show blowholes who make enough money to get any kind of tax increase, but they got their followers to protest for them. How nice.

How sad.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Teabagging and the modern conservative sheep

Better than I could've said it: Gary Stein of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

You want to complain about taxes and bailouts and how the government spends your money, terrific. That's legitimate frustration. Activism and protest is great, and necessary. But do it because you want to, not because you are following orders from egomaniacal talk show hosts.

And, spend a minute or two to learn why a cute reference to a landmark historical event turns your manufactured "protests" into an even bigger joke.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

National Library Workers Day

That's right! Today is National Library Workers Day, "a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers."

So, thank a library staffer today for all the work they do for you. Just remember to say it quietly.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Senator Franken?

Al Franken is one step closer to being a senator. There's still another legal challenge that could go, however.

Who would've thought something like this would have taken this long to figure out? Besides Al Gore, I mean.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Governor answers our questions

Governor Corzine stopped by BlueJersey yesterday to answer some questions. Go check out his answers and post a few more if you have 'em.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lazy Sunday

While I get some work done for school, the children are in the next room watching The Chronicles of Narnia. I just can't focus- I have this song just running through my head...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Being asked to give less, not more which I must disagree with Carla Katz. Ms. Katz, former high-profile union leader, comes out strongly against furloughs on PolitickerNJ:

The fight over furloughs has been characterized by the press in a variety of ways. The Governor's "tough times budget" spin-the state is in an economic meltdown, everyone must share the pain, and 14 unpaid days and a wage freeze is better than layoffs. The unions' collective message-a contract is a contract and furloughs (AKA pay cuts) and demands for givebacks of negotiated wages undermine the collective bargaining process and unfairly penalize middle class working families who have already made massive concessions and cannot afford to give more in this troubled economy any more than their neighbors can.

My neighbors? They gave their jobs. In the last three months I've had several friends laid off and unable to find new jobs. These are parents, homeowners, spouses. They have NO JOBS. I must disagree, Ms. Katz; asking state workers to give up 12 paid days of work is a heckuva lot less than these guys have had to give up.

I'd rather take that cut in pay and we all get to keep our jobs.

Ms. Katz makes a great case later in her commentary about class distinction; how the AIG executives got their contractually-guaranteed bonuses but we may not keep our contractually-guaranteed wages. Sure it's a good point, but it's not like Our Fair State's government is the one giving away these AIG bonuses.

I understand contracts and collective bargaining.* I'm not saying furloughs are the best or only answer. I'm just saying that this arguement against the f-word isn't the way to go.

*I've said it before, but just in case, here's my full disclosure: I am both a public employee and a union member.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mercer County Electronics Recycling and Chemical Disposal

This Saturday, March 28th, Mercer County is holding its Household Chemical Waste Disposal and Electronics Recycling day!

8AM-2PM at the Dempster Fire School, Baker's Basin Rd, Lawrence Twp. Full details are here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Double-dippers in Mercer County

Politicker NJ has a great story on pension abuse in Mercer County. Seems that Sheriff Kevin Larkin is receiving an $85,000 per year pension- for a job he's still doing, and getting paid $129K a year to do.

That's insane. That's unconscionable. Especially when Mercer County may have to layoff up to 125 people this year*.

And, apparently, the Hamilton Township administrator has been pulling a similar stunt- receiving a public pension and a salary for a public job.

Even if it is legal- and it sure sounds like it is- the wise move is to forgo the pension while you're still drawing from the public funds. Better still, make it illegal to do so.

*Including, possibly, yours truly or her coworkers. Full disclosure: I'm a county employee.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In which Fox News discovers that, with effort, they can sink even lower!

The crew over at Fox Newz has essentially made up a story about Vice President Joe Biden, by splicing a six-month-old campaign video where he was ridiculing John McCain's position. They used it in a montage of "recent interviews this week" about the condition of the economy.

Their mommas must hang their heads in shame every day. I'm sure they tried to teach their kids good manners, such as not to make stuff up and to keep their mouths shut if they had nothing to say.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


When we first got Cooper, the very first night, he was just a young kitten and was a little nervous about exploring. After a while of sitting on the couch with us, he got brave and wandered around a little bit. He made his way down the hallway and into a dark room. After a few minutes, I heard a very loud "Meow!" from down the hall. I went to check on him.

"What?" I said.

"Meow meow meow!" he said.

"Ok.' I said.

He promptly ran into the other bedroom. He was fine- he'd just wanted to tell me what he found. And from that day on, he always talked to me. He would "meow" and tell me what the problem was, what was going on, and that he wanted food. He always wanted more food.

After years of health problems, he finally turned the corner. We knew it was time when he didn't want to eat any more. We made the painful decision, and he went to the vet last night for the final time. He would have been sixteen in May.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bad to the Bone

Jeri Smith-Ready's next book, Bad to the Bone, will be out on May 19th! There's a lovely picture of the cover over there on the sidebar.

Pre-order is available now at Mysterious Galaxy,, or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jon Stewart v. Jim Cramer

Jon Stewart wins. Big time.

This is the whole episode, and fully worth your time to watch it all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

AC grabs the sun

The Atlantic City Convention and Visitor's Authority has installed the largest single-roof solar panel array in the U.S.:

The 13,321 photovoltaic panels will produce an average of 26 percent of the convention center's energy, according to consultants. The panels cover most of the roof's usable space, leaving room for walkways and other equipment.
"We estimate that we are going to save $4.4 million over the 20 years of the contract [with the solar provider]," said Jeff Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.
In greener terms, authorities estimate the solar panels will avoid the release of 2,349 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- equivalent to removing 390 passenger vehicles from the road or reducing oil consumption by 4,956 barrels per year.
"This is something we started thinking about when Gov. [Jon] Corzine came out with his energy master plan," Vasser said. "We thought, looking at our roof, that we would have a perfect opportunity to take the lead for New Jersey."

They saw an opportunity to lead and took it. That's the American way.

Thank you, Atlantic City convention center!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Better than I could've said it: Hypocricy in the 12th edition

Jason Springer nails Declan O'Scanlon for his fair-weather property tax rebate stances.

Drug Law Revisions

For some reason, the Times of Trenton has not seen fit to post yesterday's column by George Amick* about the bills in Our Fair State's legislature about revising our drug laws. Here's what he said:

Imagine that New Jersey had a law that resulted in the imprisonment of thousands of nonviolent offenders - most of them minorities- at a high cost in taxpayer dollars and wasted lives, had no measurable effect on crime, robbed judges of the discretion that is that sole reason we have judges at all and was opposed by prosecutors throughout the state. Wouldn't the Legislature repeal it as quickly as it could assemble a quorum?
You'd think so. But our legislature has a selective sense of urgency.

(What a great line- a selective sense of urgency.)

New Jersey has had such a law for more than two decades and the law has produced all the toxic effects described above. A bill that would moderate some of these effects has been introduced in the Senate, where a majority is thought to favor the reform, but no one seems to be in a big hurry to advance it.

Mr. Amick goes on to describe the lost wages that those incarcerated could have produced as opposed to spending the money to incarcerate them, the unfair Drug Free School Zone laws that increase sentences whether there were children around or not and how dense urban areas fall entirely into these areas, and how the laws have shown to have no benefit whatsoever.

The bills our esteemed Mr. Amick mentions to eliminate the unreasonable drug laws is A 2762 and S 1866, sponsored by Assm. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Sen. Ray Lesniak, respectively. They should be furthered, debated and made into law. Ours is a failed drug policy that isn't helping keep our kids or our streets safe and is costing us a fortune in the process. It's time to revise it.

*Amick isn't listed as one of the Times of Trenton's columnists anymore, either. Since I'm looking at a paper from yesterday where his "Capital Talk" column is printed, I know he is- or was, as of yesterday? What's going on?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

None too surprising

Ann Coulter insults TCNJ students, calls liberals (expletive)

Yeah, that's what we all expected. No riots, either. The protests went off as expected, without violence.
Many of the dissidents wanted to draw attention to the nearly $24,000 price tag her attendance garnished from TCNJ’s student finance board, which is funded in large part by fees included in the semester’s tuition, according to the TCNJ chapter of the College Republicans.
“Coulter has said things in the past that are extremely offensive and racist, and I don’t think that my tuition should go towards hateful speech,” said a soggy Marlowe Boettcher, a political science major, as he clutched his protest sign.
The hype behind Coulter’s appearance has been months in the making. She was supposed to present in January but was forced to postpone because of a broken jaw, according to her Web site.
Sophmore Dena Lago said that the injury was “poetic justice.”

You said it, Dena.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Skinny bleach blonde evil at TCNJ

Professional hatemonger Ann Coulter was expected to finally make an appearance at TCNJ tonight. From the Times of Trenton:

Coulter, whose latest book, "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America," was released Jan. 6, has been booed, jeered and even hit by pies during past speaking dates, but members of the TCNJ community insist they expect no such antics.
"I'll put nothing past liberals, but I think generally speaking, with the way the event has been planned and the security we have in place, we have planned an informative, entertaining lecture and we don't expect there to be any problems," (president of the College Republicans Brian) Hackett said.

He'd put nothing past liberals? What does he expect? The riots predicted by comedian Rush Limbaugh to finally happen? Luckily for our wingnut "patriots," there's extra security against those horrible left-wingers!

Ah, but what protest do our crafty liberals have in store?

Protesters clad in black with white armbands plan to quietly walk out of the auditorium at a certain juncture during the lecture, at which point they will gather at the student center to hold a discussion on topics such as halting prejudice, ending the Iraq War and the impact of the recent presidential election. (junior Matt) Hoke says protesters will also be handing out pamphlets before Coulter's talk that will attempt to persuade audience members to join the walkout.

A peaceful walkout during a biased, hate-filled speech.

I have hope for this world yet.

(I was unable to find an updated news report or a fresh blog post about the event. I'll post something tomorrow if I can.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The iPod Project, or, Too much of a good thing?

At the library where I work, a patron who came in regularly would chat with me about my iPod. At the time, I had a small iPod (that they don't even make anymore) and my husband had the larger one that held up to 20,000 songs. My patron couldn't wrap his head around this.

"How will he ever listen to 20,000 songs?" he'd ask.

Now, neither my nor my husband's iPod was full (even though he had a lot more than I did on his), but it was an interesting question- how will I ever listen to all the music I have on my iPod? So I decided to find out. I will listen to every song I have - just songs, mind you, not podcasts or tracks of audiobooks - in alphabetical order. I guessed it would take maybe a few months.

It's been 8, so far, and I'm only on the Ss.

I only listen to my iPod while walking by myself or doing yardwork. I walk 2-3 hours a week and yardwork is seasonal, but that gives an idea of how long this is taking me. Folks who listen in their cars on long commutes or other places would take much less time to pull this off. But it's been an enlightening exercise for me.

I have songs I forgot I had. Stuff I got free from iTunes and never deleted. Things I can't imagine why I put on there. Old albums I didn't even remember having on CD. Audiobooks I forgot to delete when I finished listening to them that come up in rotation.

Mind you, my new iPod is nowhere near full- and I have pictures eating up memory, too.

This project has been a lot of fun- it makes for some great segues. I have a CD of Yo-Y0 Ma's cello performances that are titled with the composer's name- Bach. After listening to a whole CD's worth of lyrical music, the next song alphabetically was AC-DC's Back in Black. Sometimes Gorillaz finishes and a Sandra Boynton song comes on. Gotta love it.

So my patron is right about one thing- it's difficult to remember what's there. But I can't say it's too much of a good thing to have that much memory; after all, I can still add more pictures, and I've been building up podcasts I haven't listened to yet. In theory I could add movies, if I wanted to watch on a tiny little screen. The capacity of the device may not be used up, but I'm having a lot of fun with it anyway.

It's warm out today. Maybe I'll take the dogs for a walk, and see if I can get to the letter T.

(Originally posted on my Info Tech class blog)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Come home safe, and soon

Our Fair State's National Guard 1150th Assault Helicopter Battalion is being deployed, first for training, then for Iraq. For many this is their second tour overseas.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I wonder what the aliens thought

Pictures of the Inauguration- from space- at Stephen Shankland's Underexposed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He spoke to me

In speaking about terrorism, President Obama* spoke about me. Didja hear him? Listen:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

Catch that one word? "Nonbelievers."

He included me.

I'm not used to that. For once, those of us who don't believe in religion were included when talking about Our Fair Country. I heard some pundit on the radio today saying it was the first time that nonbelievers had been mentioned in any major presidential address- I'm unsure of the accuracy of that statement, but it certainly is exceedingly rare.

I cried along with everyone else when I watch the inauguration. I shook with anticipation for where our country can, and will, go. I beamed with pride and made sure the children saw the speech. But I never expected to be included in it in any way; I expected the usual "With God's help" and "God Bless America" only. Of course that was there, because President Obama is a man of faith and most of Our Fair Country has some measure of belief or religious identification.- but he acknowledged that I'm part of America, too.

Our country is truly a more inclusive place today.

* I don't know if I'll ever tire of this phrase. President Obama, President Obama, President Barack Hussein Obama.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

CNN ran the film of Dr. King's I Have A Dream speech today at noon. The whole family sat down to watch it together. (One of those teaching moments that you can't miss when they come.) Youngest asked if there were white people there that day- apparently, even though the crowd shots clearly showed faces of all colors, it's hard to tell the difference in B&W.

I kinda hope that we can see past the color differences in other ways, too.

"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!""

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Flashback: January 17, 2001: The Onion

Remember the last time we got a new president? Let's walk down memory lane, Onion-style.

"Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Over"

... Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.
During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"
On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.
Continued Bush: "John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."
"After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012," Rahway, NJ, machinist and father of three Bud Crandall said. "That's not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in."

Last night, at a gathering of friends, someone remembered this Onion article and read it out loud for us. We definitely laughed, but by the end, we were silent, knowing how it all turned out. The foresight of the Onion's editorial staff- and many Americans, by the way- was pretty impressive.

It's so time for a new day in America.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Added a widget

I just added the Goodreads widget on the sidebar. If you're on Goodreads, let me know and we'll hook up there.

I'm also on Shelfari, but folks don't seem to be updating that one as much- however, drop me a note if you want to compare notes there, instead.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We need our libraries more than ever

Folks are flocking to the library, a cozy place to find a job:

A few years ago, public libraries were being written off as goners. The Internet had made them irrelevant, the argument went. But libraries across the country are reporting jumps in attendance of as much as 65% over the past year, as newly unemployed people flock to branches to fill out résumés and scan ads for job listings.
Other recession-weary patrons are turning to libraries for cheap entertainment -- killing time with the free computers, video rentals and, of course, books.

Free internet. Free/cheap DVD borrowing. Free book borrowing. Free help from librarians who really want to help. What's not to love?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

One step forward, one step back

In less than two weeks, the country- the whole world- will witness the inauguration of the first non-white president of these United States. This historic event is a huge step forward.

Here, in Our Fair State, we took one step back recently:
A Gloucester County mayor who reported death threats and racist vandalism during his two years in office has declined to serve another year.
Charles Tyson will remain on the South Harrison Township council, which chooses a mayor each year. But Tyson said he doesn't want to put his family through more threats.
The 66-year-old retired computer technician says he received a dozen threatening calls and several e-mails calling him a 'dead man' and using a racist epithet. His tires were also slashed and "KKK" was written on a campaign sign on his lawn.

We mentioned his story a while back. It's horrible that someone fears for his family because of their race. Especially in this day and age.

Especially on this day.