Monday, December 10, 2007

Branching Out Into New Territory

After much prodding by my students, I finally joined Facebook. For the longest, I saw absolutely no use in it; it seemed just a frivolous waste of time. However, I've become convinced that my having a Facebook page will result in more students knowing what is actually going on in class more of the time.

Students inevitably check Facebook first thing when logging onto the internet. If they know that they can go to my page and be reminded of the due date for the next assignment, they will do that long before they will log into the school's server where I keep my class website. After exploring Facebook and its different applications, I have found that I can make my page a somewhat educational experience by adding news feeds and a "word a day" application. So as my students are goofing off online, maybe they will pick up some useful information that could actually turn into a good class discussion.

I'm continually finding that I have to go to where my students are if I'm going to be able to get them to learn what I need for them to learn. I'm hopeful that this will be a good experience.

(Of course, my students aren't the only people welcome at my Facebook page. If you know my real name so that you can find me there, I'll be glad to "friend" you.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Who's to Blame?

Everyone at my university received the following email alert today:

A female [university] student reported that she was possibly sexually assaulted by someone she knew at [a particular] fraternity house in the early morning hours of Saturday, December 1, 2007. The female student reported that the alleged assault took place following a party at the house, and that she was incapacitated at the time of the incident.
This case is under investigation by the [university] Police Department.

Why was this female student "incapacitated"? Is it possible, just by an off chance, that she had passed out from drinking herself into oblivion? I hear from students all the time about their drinking binges in which the next day they remember little to nothing of the previous night's events. How does this student know that in a drunken stupor, she didn't consent to sex?

And does she plan to tell her parents about this "possible" sexual assault? If she does, will they be objective enough to realize her level of irresponsibility in putting herself into that kind of situation? Or will they want to place all the blame on the male student, or even blame the university?

I certainly do not condone the behavior of the person who possibly assaulted her, but this young woman certainly should bear some responsibility. Surely she has learned a lesson from this.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Our Faith Needs Some More Work(s)

This morning I listened to a story on public radio about a couple of women who had encounters with different presidential candidates. One of the women went to a rally for Barak Obama in hopes of speaking to him. From the story:

Punteney has faced much tragedy. One of her brothers was burned as a boy in a Fourth of July fireworks accident and later died. Her brother, as she told Obama, has late-stage cancer. Her father died recently. Her mother has not been well. Punteney said she cries a lot.

A few weeks ago, at the home in Oelwein, Iowa, she shares with her mother, Punteney said she'd been inspired to see Obama when he came to the area.

"I'd seen the commercials," she said. "And he just seemed sincere, like he's for people like my mom, my brother and me."

Many people feel politicians may not be the first place to turn when in dire need of help. But Punteney said she was confident Obama could do something to make her feel better.

"I never had anyone pay attention to me and my needs — and he held my hand," she said.

When I heard this I was reminded of all the people who followed after Jesus because they had no hope, because they needed something that no one else could, or would, give them. This woman sought comfort and relief from a political leader much the same way that people in Jesus’s day sought him out, hoping that he would bring them comfort and relief, hoping that he would bring about a political revolution and change society for the better. What a shame that two thousand years after Jesus came and taught people how to love each other that we still have people who feel the need to seek help and relief for their daily needs from a politician. It is obvious that the church is failing in its directive to feed Jesus’s sheep.

Obama told the woman that he was working to bring health insurance to all people, and then he said to her, "Tell your brother we're thinking of him. Maybe I'll write him a note before you leave today."

I realize that Obama is a busy man and that he can’t respond to every single request for help; however, his reply reminded me of the passage from James 2.15-16: If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

Those of us who call ourselves members of Christ’s church must do more than wish others well; we must do what we can to help make their lives better. We are called to go out of our way and sacrifice our own wants to help those who need it.

I read another story this morning that is indicative of Christians’ lack of response to those in need:

When the first snow falls this winter, 61-year-old Grace Murphy won't be turning on the heat in her Dorchester, Massachussetts home.

With her heating oil tank at empty, she'll be huddled around her gas oven with her husband Paul, 66, and her 88-year old mother.

"I don't buy heating oil because I can't afford to," Murphy said.


In Murphy's case, spending on heating oil will mean cutting back on medical expenses, and trimming down an already slim food budget. Murphy, a diabetic, has spent months without taking her medication.

How can those of us who have more than enough tolerate knowing that others are skipping meals and struggling to keep warm?

I recently heard the results of an annual poll that asks consumers to estimate the amount of money they plan to spend this year on Christmas gifts. The average number this year is $909, up from last year’s figure. I know people who will spend hundreds of dollars this year on Christmas gifts for their children, children who received hundreds of dollars worth of gifts last year. What would happen if Instead of spending $500 on toys that the child will get tired of in two weeks, every family were to spend that money on helping someone pay a heating bill or doctor bill, or helping to stock that person’s pantry?

I think if we did this, we would be much, much closer to the kingdom that Jesus promised to his followers.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Keep Quiet!

I usually think that church signs are really cheezy, but today I saw a really good one:

Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.

If we Christians would spend less time talking and more time doing, this world would be much better off.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Well, it's finally arrived, the day I knew would come, the day that would make me officially feel "old."

Yesterday one of my students told me that her mother is 36 years old.

I am older than the parent of one of my college students.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Working Through the Distractions

This week has been an extremely busy one. I took up essay drafts from all of my students, and that is all I've had time to read this week. Actually, I did manage to get my bible lesson read, and I read a couple of blogs, but the bulk of my time has been spent with freshman personal experience stories and sophomore analytical responses.

This semester I'm experimenting with small group writing workshops in which each group member must exchange essays with the others and read and comment on each essay outside of class. Then the group comes back together to discuss what they have read and help each other improve the essay for the final (graded) draft. This is working out rather well, as the students seem to enjoy "playing teacher" with each other's essays. However, since I am a member of all the groups, I must read and comment on over 100 essays. To do this in a timely manner is next to impossible. I actually was a little over-ambitious in planning how many essays I can read in a week which resulted in my not finishing all the essays that were due to be discussed today. However, it seems to have worked out well anyway because the students were prepared and were able to carry the conversation without much input from me. Perhaps this is what should happen most of the time from now on.

Today is game day at my university, and early this morning parking lots were already being blocked off for tailgating before the game this evening. I really hate Thursday games because it seems that our university is trying to turn into another UT. Tailgating and other pre-game activities are more important than academic activities on days like today. And the students aren't the only ones buying into this attitude; the administration is promoting it as well, it seems. Tailgating begins well before the game and takes place not only near the stadium but also in the middle of campus. The campus is open to all tailgaters, student and non-student alike, and cars are parked in some of the grassy areas which have been transformed into picnic areas complete with gas and charcoal grills brought from home. And although our campus is dry, alcohol is allowed and flows freely. So even as some students are still trekking from class to class, others are enjoying the festivities that are taking place right outside classroom windows. I'll admit that the atmosphere is nice, but it makes it hard for those teachers who have serious activities planned for class. I'm glad I'm not teaching a late afternoon class today.

I'm supposed to do office hours until 2:00 today. My students have essays due next week, and some of them need to come in and get help. But I doubt that any will come today, not with all the better options outside my office.

The band has just begun rehersing out on the lawn. I guess this signals the official start to tailgating. Class dismissed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Quotable Quote

From a second-year college student and third-string cornerback on the university football team:

If one has God given talent, one should not misuse it or take it for granite.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Day Anniversary

I survived the first week back at school without any big mishaps. My students seem OK, but I can already tell that I have at least a couple of slackers. However, I also already know which is my favorite class. My research and argument students had to read a couple of chapters and a newspaper article that I assigned, and one class in particular really impressed me with their level of participation and the intelligence of their discussion. I'm really looking forward to going to that class every day. The only bad thing about it will be that the rest of the day will go downhill because the other two classes after that one don't seem nearly as talkative. But maybe that was just first-week nerves or something.

Today is JMG and Husband's 12th anniversary. I can't believe it's been that long sometimes. We marked the occasion by going out to eat at a home-cooking type of restaurant last night and having some dessert. It was OK. I think today we'll make some homemade ice cream, and if I'm feeling really celebratory, I might even bake a cake.

It's difficult to make special anniversary plans when the occasion falls during the first week of school, and this year it's even harder to do so because we have had an emergency with one of our dogs. We had to take Trixie to the vet yesterday because she was in terrible pain in her back. X-rays showed that she has two bulging discs. She spent the night in the hospital last night receiving pain killers, muscle relaxers, and steroid shots. We're hopeful that she can come home sometime today or tomorrow, but when she does, she'll have to be on strict cage rest for four weeks. Do you know how hard it's going to be to keep a Jack Russell Terrier happy in a cage for four weeks? We'll probably be sleeping with a cage on the bed for a while.

I hope everyone has a nice day off tomorrow if you have the day off. I know I'm going to enjoy mine, even if I end up having to do some school work.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to the Salt Mines and Other Stuff

I've been quiet lately because I've been getting ready to go back to work, which started back up today. I won't meet classes until this afternoon, so the day has been pretty good so far. We'll see what types of first-day of the semester emergencies this semester brings.

Nothing noteworthy has been happening to me as usual, which I guess is good. Husband and I went to the fair last week. We decided this year we'd pay the dollar to see the "World's Smallest Woman" assuming it would be some kind of trick with mirrors and stuff. But to our surprise, when we went up the steps and looked over the wall, there sat a real live, very tiny woman. We said hi and then hurried back down the steps, amazed that she was for real. The next day when we were talking about it, we realized that we both had the same weird, uneasy feeling when we saw the real live woman. It wasn't that we were weired out by her size, but that we felt strange about paying a dollar to look at an unusual person. We wondered whether she's happy being a side show, if she's placing herself on display by her own free will. We both agreed that we'd have felt much better if the whole thing had been a mirror trick instead of a real person.

We also avoided the horse-made ice cream this year. If you have never seen that, don't bother. They put a horse on an inclined treadmill that is hooked up to turn a manual ice cream freezer. The horse must walk or risk slipping off the treadmill. It seems really uncomfortable for the horse.

This was our first visit to the fair in several years, and I think we got enough this time that we won't need to go back for several more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Convenience is not all it's cracked up to be.

Yesterday I stopped at the Kroger to pick up a couple of items, and when I went up front to pay, there was only one register open. Because a lady with a full cart was already in line, I decided to go against my principles and use the self check out. I do not like checking out my own groceries because first of all, it takes me twice as long as it would take an employee, especially when I’m buying a head of lettuce and the barcode is crumpled up and I have to straighten it so that the scanner will read it. Then I have to feed my money into the machine, and if a dollar bill has a crease on the edge, I have to take the time to straighten that out as well. But the main reason that I am against checking my own groceries is that I don’t get a discount for doing so. Part of the price that I pay for groceries goes toward the store’s overhead, which includes paying someone to work at a cash register, take my money, and bag my groceries. When I have to perform these tasks myself at a store, the store is receiving that much more pure profit while providing less customer service. Also, the extra labor involved in my checking my own groceries means that I am in effect paying more for my groceries than when I let the cashier check them.

Every now and then, when I am in the store and see a long line of people waiting to check out, I forget these things and go through the self check out because I perceive it to be more convenient. Yesterday, however, as I struggled to get the lettuce to ring up, I remembered why I hate the self check out, and I resolved to from now on be content to wait in the line and get my money’s worth in customer service.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer's Almost Over

Yesterday I signed a contract making it official that I am employed by the university for at least one more, and up to three, academic years. School starts up again on Monday, August 27. That gives me a little more than three weeks left to finish getting ready. Where did the summer go?


Husband and I have begun a new project. We are now a part of the community of antique car owners. For a long time I have thought it would be neat to have a car to fix up and drive around to the various cruise-ins, and husband has thought so as well, but we've just now gotten around to doing something about it. We recently acquired a 1949 Ford sedan and a 1949 Ford pickup truck. Alas, we won't be driving our antique automobiles to the cruise-ins for a while, as they require massive work to get them road-ready. My past few weeks have been spent perusing hot rod magazines, websites, and parts catalogs. Yesterday, we took a trip to the paint store and a couple of body shops. We have a vision for what our autos will look like, but it will take some time to get there. My future contains lots of sandpaper.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Locked Out

When we built our house, we didn't spend a lot of time reviewing the options for many common but necessary items such as door knobs. What we ended up installing were knobs that when you lock them, you can still open them from the inside--meaning that it is extremely easy to lock ourselves out of the house, which we have done several times. (What is the purpose of this type of door lock? Who needs it?) I used to keep a spare key hanging outside in a tree, and it came in handy several times, particularly one cold winter night when Husband and I went out into the garage to see what kind of ice cream snacks were in the freezer. When we realized that we'd locked ourselves out, I borrowed his shoes and socks, as I was barefoot at the time, so that I could go get the key (he didn't know precisely where it was). It was a dark and cold night--I was wearing flimsy PJ's--and when I got into the woods, I had to feel my way to the tree and then feel all around to find the key. It was an adventure, and I didn't feel the need to eat ice cream that night.

Not long ago, some landscaping changes made getting to that key very difficult, so I took the key into the house and forgot about finding a new hiding place for it. That is until last night when Husband and I stepped outside to let the dogs go out before going to bed. As soon as I shut the door, I realized that it was probably a mistake, and indeed it was. To make a long story short, we ended up using a drill and a sledge hammer to demolish the door knob, and in the process, we ruined some of the door frame, creating another chore for my already overworked husband.

Today, my mission is to find a new place to hide the spare key.

Friday, July 06, 2007

My Simpson's Avatar

This is me as a Simpson's character. It's a remarkable resemblance, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I reached a new milestone since I last blogged. Last week I visited my eye doctor, just knowing that the inevitable would happen this year. And it did. I now wear reading glasses. I knew it was coming. For a while now I've been sitting as far away from my laptop as my arms will reach. When I read a book, I have to move the book around every so often and look at it from a slightly different angle. I was starting to squint at things. The doctor said that I was suffering from eye strain and said that I would feel better if I wore reading glasses. The good news was that my distance vision is still very good, so I was able to avoid the dreaded bifocals. I swear I will never wear bifocals.

I am reminded at this point of an English teacher I had in high school. She wore two kinds of glasses--a pair for distance and a pair for reading. In class she didn't have to use the distance glasses, but when she wanted to read something she'd put on her reading glasses, read a few lines, look up and take them back off. It was sort of her trademark, repeatedly putting her glasses on and taking them back off. My eye doctor told me that I need to wear my glasses only when I'm going to be reading or working at the computer for long stretches, so maybe I won't become like my eleventh grade English teacher.

Shopping for reading glasses was not an altogether unpleasant experience. The girl who helped me was very friendly and honest and helped me to avoid any glasses that might make me look like a professor. I've never been a vain person, but I rather enjoy being mistaken for a college student when I'm at work, so I certainly did not want glasses that would make me look older. I picked up some brown glasses sort of the same color as my tortoise-shell sunglasses, put them on, and took them right back off again. Right then I decided to stay away from any drab colors. Since I don't have to wear these glasses all the time, I reasoned, why not go for something sort of funky, so I tried on pink glasses and green glasses and red glasses and multicolored glasses. I finally settled on a pair of turquoise and tan glasses that look nice with my eye color and will coordinate with most of my clothes.

When I used my glasses the first time I was sort of shocked. I opened my bible, looked at the words, and then put on my glasses. "Whoa!" I said. Although my eyes aren't in that bad of shape, I was amazed at the difference. I guess I'm sort of surprised since I've been an avid reader since I learned to read that this day didn't come sooner. I just hope that as the rest of my body starts to wear out, correcting the problems will be as simple as a new pair of glasses.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's Time for Passover Again

Here's a wonderful piece of information I received in a newsletter from the president of my university:

"State legislators for the second consecutive year approved increased general operating funds for state colleges and universities. Seventy million dollars for new operating funds and 3 % across-the-board employee salary increases were approved.

"The 3% salary increase will be effective July 1. . . . The percentage raise will not apply to adjunct faculty, temporary employees, graduate assistants or student workers."

At my school, temporary faculty teach most of the general education courses--those classes that are required for all students (English, math, etc.). More and more, universities across the country are relying on temporary faculty; however, these same faculty are continually short-changed when it comes to raises and benefits. (I'm one of the lucky ones who does receive good benefits.) These faculty also typically teach twice the number of students per semester than their tenured or tenure-track counterparts.

This is the second consecutive year that temporary faculty will be passed over for a raise. I would complain about it, but because I had to reapply for my job this year and I haven't heard anything yet, I think it's better to keep my mouth shut. But this continual neglect is causing me to rethink how hard I want to work at my job this coming fall.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Today we finally got some much needed rain. Maybe now the grass in my yard won't be crunchy. But I doubt that whatever rain we get today will do much to alleviate the drought we're in.

Nothing much is happening around my house. We get up around 5:30; Husband goes to work, and I stay home and do laundry, study my bible, and think up something good for supper, or think up a scheme to get to go out for supper. That hardly ever works on a weeknight, however.
We're planning a fun weekend outing. We're going to canoe on the Caney Fork river on Sunday morning, putting in at the Center Hill dam and getting out at Betty's Island. We had a lot of fun the last time we went, and this time should be even better since we just got a new canoe. I can't wait to get it on the river. It's sort of hard to know how well it will handle just trying it out in my brother's swimming pool, but we got a pretty good idea that it's not nearly as tippy as our previous canoe. (Yes, we actually did try out the canoe in the pool. It was the highlight of our day--we're easily amused.)

Is everyone else having as uneventful a summer as I am?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Book Report

Tony recommended that I read Doug Marlette’s novel The Bridge, saying that I would love it. He was right; it is an excellent story. The primary story takes place in the present day, but a secondary story—what the main character, Pickard, learns about his family heritage—takes place in the late 1920’s through the 30’s, the main character of which is Pickard’s grandmother, Mama Lucy.

This is a novel that can be read more than once, and the reader can explore different themes during each reading. I particularly enjoyed the little history lesson presented in the story, one that I had never really learned about in school. Mama Lucy grew up in the South working in the textile mills weaving cloth. Her story centers on the textile workers’ strikes during the 1920’s and 30’s and the workers’ attempts at unionizing and petitioning their bosses for better pay and working conditions. What Mama Lucy experiences during this time is fundamental in shaping her actions and attitudes later in life towards her family.

Family dynamics, particularly those of Southern families, forms a major theme in this novel. Mama Lucy is the cause of much friction in the family. When she is first introduced, she a frail but feisty old woman celebrating her ninetieth birthday and resisting being sent to a nursing home. She still does all she can to exercise control over her grown children and grandchildren. Her family consists of a very colorful bunch, very few of which made it past high school, and those who did (Pickard) are viewed with suspicion. Pickard describes his extended family in the scene leading up to his attendance at his grandmother’s birthday party and family reunion:

The Cantrells are a fiercely modest clan, not given to ostentatious displays of personal wealth, material possessions, or hubris of any kind. Any and all forms of “showin’ off,” “puttin’ on airs,” or “gittin’ above your raisin’” are generally frowned upon in my family, and whatever pride we might possess is religiously suppressed, except when it comes to our means of transportation. Any residual Cantrell strut and boast is channeled into the chrome and paint jobs or the horsepower per cubic inch under the hoods of our latest set of wheels. We Cantrells may not go far in the world, but we’ll get there in style. No wonder a number of my relatives made their livings working on and around combustible engines—as garage mechanics, car dealers, auto parts specialists, service station attendants. Ambition in my family was gauged by whether you wanted to pump hi-test.

Pickard’s cousin describes ambition as the “Southern Disease,” a virus that should be avoided at all costs because “nobody likes it when somebody breaks with the rest of the herd. It pressures the rest to do the same, and that’s risky.”

Despite their various feuds and alliances (which will likely remind readers of some of their own past and ongoing family dramas), the extended family is very protective of each other, not allowing anyone, including other family members, to speak negatively of the family in pubic. When a particularly “redneck” cousin decides to badmouth Pickard at the reunion, another cousin comes to Pickard’s defense with a threat that I found particularly hilarious: “I want you to apologize to Pick, ‘fore I rip you a new asshole and rearrange your digestive tract to where you don’t know whether to piss or fart.” If the offender had been someone outside the family, he likely would not have received fair warning before being subjected to such a procedure.

In his dealings with his family, the main character Pickard enters upon a journey of self-discovery. Along his journey, the novel explores many other themes such as loyalty, betrayal, resentment, and forgiveness, not only within the family dynamic, but in other venues as well. This is a novel that can be read and interpreted on many different levels, and readers certainly will see parallels to their own lives in this very engrossing story. I will definitely look for other titles by this author.

If you've read it, let's talk about it. (Do I get an A, Tony?)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rest In Peace, Woody

My dogs and I will miss seeing you jumping out of your Element and christening cars on Saturday mornings.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bored and withering up like this tree

The lack of rain has taken its toll on the vegetation in my yard. I have watered this tree repeatedly, but as you can tell, my efforts seem futile. It's weird, though, that this tree is the only one that is suffering to this degree. The grass looks pretty bad, too. I last mowed the yard nearly three weeks ago. Husband mowed a little yesterday, but it didn't seem all that necessary.

Life since school has been out has been extremely slow. I have been doing some housework that needed to be done, and I've been putting off some tasks that I know will be very boring. It's sort of ironic, though, that I fear that August will come much sooner than I'd like.

I"ve been reading some. I read a book called The Faith and the Power. It's a history of the time between the crucifiction and the destruction of Jerusalem. Very interesting. Then I started a mystery novel that I picked up for a dollar a couple of weeks ago, but I'm having trouble getting into it.

I have not listened to very much news. It seems that every time I turn it on, it's the same stuff. I'm tired of hearing about Paris Hilton. The story about the tuburculosis guy was mildly interesting. I don't care about hearing from the presidential candidates because I don't see much point in following them this early in the game. Besides, the media will choose the top two in each party and that will be that.

I have not posted in over a week because I have nothing to say. The problem is I still want to blog. I like writing. Someone please give me a writing assignment.

Friday, May 25, 2007

No Worries

Medical researchers are constantly learning new things about our bodies, disease, and what is good or not good for us. However, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, much of the information that we hear about how to maintain good health is contradictory. For instance, foods like chocolate, coffee, and wine have both benefits and drawbacks. How do we know how much we can have and receive the benefits without the harmful effects? We’re constantly told that we need to keep our cholesterol low, but this morning I heard that people who have low cholesterol are at higher risk for Parkinson’s disease. So now all those people who were afraid of heart disease and did all they could to lower their cholesterol are now afraid that they’ll get Parkinson’s because their cholesterol is too low.

It’s really frustrating to constantly hear all this changing information. It’s confusing. The media purport to give us all this information so that we’ll stay informed, but the real result is that we’re just confused. We’re afraid and confused. We’re afraid of the bad things that might happen to us, and we’re confused about how to prevent those bad things. This causes us to worry which, in turn, has a negative impact on our health. We’d be much better off if we stopped listening to the media reports about what may or may not be good for us and quit worrying about the diseases that may or may not afflict us.

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matt. 6.31-4).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Nutcracker Suite

Yesterday, my morning began with something I have been dreading for nearly two months. My gynecologist, whom I have known since fifth grade, is a very good doctor, and she always makes me feel good about what I’m doing to take care of myself. However, when she wants to prod me into doing more (for instance, exercising more), she has a way of using the pronoun we instead of you. She likes to use phrases such as “We’ve reached that age. . .” and “At our age, we really need to. . . .” So, at my visit with her early last month, it was with this tactic that she persuaded me to undergo my first mammogram. She assured me that it wasn’t really all that bad and that she didn’t dislike it nearly as much as that other part of the yearly checkup. I wasn’t exactly convinced, but I decided to go along with it.

Some man who hates women must have invented this torturous procedure. While it didn’t hurt as badly as I imagined it could have, I have nonetheless decided that I will likely not do it again. Surely, a monthly self exam is good enough. If a self exam is good enough for men—you know, guys, that you should examine your testicles periodically—then it should be good enough for women. However, if the medical establishment insists that an x-ray image of the breast is the best way to detect those little breast cancers early, then it stands to reason that men would need to detect testicular cancer early using the same method. In fact, in the interest of promoting healthy families, couples could make appointments together, and her mammogram and his “testigram” could be done at the same time, in the same room even. First the wife could have her mammogram, and then the husband could get his testigram done on the same machine. Besides being a great bonding experience, it would be very practical to do them together because after the exam, the wife would have to push the man back to the car in a wheelchair and drive him home.

On second thought, maybe that much togetherness is not a good idea. After all, when you have to go through a mammogram first thing in the morning, the last thing you want to do is take care of an incapacitated man that afternoon. No, a day of shopping and a nice lunch is a great reward after the torture of the morning.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

For What it's Worth

Recently, Husband decided that he wanted a new car. I told him that he could have one if he stops doing hay in the summers and sells his hay equipment. He agreed, and while we have sold some of his stuff, we still have for sale a John Deere 735 MoCo (mower conditioner). (If you are aware of someone who needs some hay equipment, I'll be happy to point you to the ad.)

I sort of thought that we'd sell all the equipment and then buy the car, but I guess men don't work that way when they want a new car.

I became interested in the Mustang when the new body style--a real, honest retro style--came out a couple of years ago. I dragged Husband to a dealership right after they came out because I just wanted to see one up close--I appreciate a beautiful car, and the new Mustang is a beautiful car. I had no thoughts of buying one. Husband, however, got the fever, and though it subsided, he never quite got over it, and a couple of months ago, I broke down and made the deal with him.

Now when Husband decides to do something, he does it all the way. The way he thinks, if he's gonna spend the money to get something, he might as well get exactly what he wants the first time. He does his research, and in all the time I've known him, he's never made any bad deals. This time has been no exception; however, I think we both got a bit more than we bargained for when we bought this car.

He picked out a Roush 427 Mustang. This car is a real head turner. No more than fifteen minutes after we'd driven away from the dealership, a guy yelled at us with admiration for our car and took our picture as he drove alongside us. Later on down the road, some young kid parked on the side of the road with his souped up Honda gave us two thumbs up and then bowed in a posture of worship. We laughed and laughed. Whenever we go out to eat, we see men stop and inspect the car and sometimes take pictures. It's absolutely amazing.

I can't help but wonder what people think of the owners of this car. To me, it's a pretty car, and it's fun to ride around in it. But many people attach a lot more to ownership of a car and make judgments about people by the cars that they drive. I've done it plenty of times myself. I know better than to do that now. While some cars are more aesthetically pleasing than others, they all have one thing in common: They are all a hunk of metal that get their drivers from one place to another. We get into trouble when we begin to measure the worth of a person by the value of his automobile, or house, or clothing, or any other material possession and think that the person who has the more beautiful possessions is the more valuable person. Possessions can be fun, but their value is only in the eye of the beholder.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I See London, I See France. . .

If I see one more news announcer holding up a pair of granny panties and saying "poor Paris" I'm gonna scream.

Of course, it would be punishment enough for her just to wear granny panties without going to jail.

Friday, April 27, 2007

School's Out!

I have a big stack of papers to grade, but after I'm done, I'll be free until mid-August to do whatever I want.

Having to read so many essays during the school year doesn't allow me much time to read what I want to read, and by the time summer arrives, I've forgotten about all the books I've heard of during the previous months that I thought I might like to read. So if you have any suggestions for my summer reading list, I'll be glad to hear them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Could it Have Been Prevented?

The young man who killed all those people at Virginia Tech was obviously a very troubled individual. News stories have portrayed him as a loner, someone who didn't have close friends. Students who knew him said that when they would speak to him, he'd stare right through them without saying a word. Perhaps we'll learn about his past as time wears on--I wonder what he went through to make him end up the way he was?

When we encounter people who are obviously very troubled, how are we to respond? How do you reach out to a person who no longer wants to be reached out to? Is a person ever too far gone to be helped by another human being?

If you look at all these school shootings, it seems that it was always the "weird" loner who perpetrated the crime. Have we been guilty of contributing to their weirdness? Have we ever not taken the time to become friendly with weird people because it's just so much trouble to try to relate to them? We need to do our part to make all people feel like they are treasured; otherwise we run the risk of helping to drive some people to commit these desperate acts. Jesus hung out with the social outcasts of his day, and we need to not be afraid to do the same. Perhaps we might help to save a life.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Checking In

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately, but I've been swamped at work, and the time I haven't been working, I've just not felt like blogging much. I still have lots to say, but just no time or energy to say it.

I did take some time for an outing with my mom last week. We went to a spa and had a massage and a facial. It was my first time, and it was GREAT! I can't believe I waited so long to get a massage--I won't wait that long again. When I get done grading all the reasearch papers I'll be collecting very soon, I'll probably go again.

Y'all have a wonderful day!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Picking Up Strays

Yesterday, a little black and white beagle showed up and started hanging around at our house. He’s a friendly little dog, and we liked him from the start. He rolled over onto his back, showing us his belly, and, of course, we obliged to give him a belly rub. Since we were outside for a big part of the day, he stayed around, alternating between following us around as we worked and taking naps in the shade. Because he was wearing a collar with a tag, we figured out pretty quickly that he belongs to one of the neighbors, so I decided to walk him back home. However, he didn’t want to stay, and about five minutes after I got back to my house, he showed up again. So I called and left the neighbors a message, thinking they’d come get their dog after they got home. But they didn’t. He ended up spending the night on our front porch. We figure he’ll go home eventually, but for now, we have a new little companion.

The problem is that our dogs do not like this situation at all. At his first chance, one of our Jack Russell Terriers, Pete, took out after this little dog and left a mark on his face. Of course, we punished him, but he is still very upset that this little dog is here. This morning he took out after the beagle again, so we ended up trying to be dog whisperers and making him be friendly. After a few minutes, our dog seemed to calm down, the two dogs enjoyed a wary truce. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Our dogs are very territorial and protective, and if you know Jack Russell Terriers, you know that they’re very jealous little dogs, and our dog Pete is jealous of even the other two dogs in our house. So he’s especially jealous when a strange dog comes around and we’re friendly with it.

People are like that too. When we have a circle of friends, and a new person tries to come into that circle, we sometimes are jealous and don’t want to be hospitable. We’ll even do what we can to let that person know that he or she is not welcome, sometimes resorting not necessarily to violence, but to meanness and spite. We don’t want to get to know that person because doing so means that the relationships we share with our circle of friends that we have become so comfortable with will be different. If a new person comes in, those relationships might change; we might lose our place in the circle. Our friends might decide that they like spending time with the new person rather than us. We don’t consider that we might end up having a great relationship with the new person. Instead, we fear the changes that inevitably will take place, even if the changes might be good ones. Like dogs, we become territorial, allowing our insecurities to turn us into snarling animals instead of the loving creatures that we are called to be. Fear and insecurity are terrible emotions that we would do well to overcome if we want to be better humans than our dogs are.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Insuring Our Treasures

Disgusted with his insurance company after Hurricane Katrina, the Rev. Simmie Harvey let his homeowner policy lapse and left his house in the hands of a higher power.

Somebody up there must like the 88-year-old Baptist minister: His newly uninsured house escaped serious damage last month when a tornado ripped through the city's Uptown neighborhood and toppled a tree that narrowly missed his home.

"I wasn't lucky. I'm blessed," he said. "I'm going to be all right. The Lord takes care of me."

Facing soaring premiums or feeling shortchanged by their insurers, a growing number of homeowners and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi are "going bare," or dropping their coverage altogether, insurance agents and consumer advocates say. Many more are drastically reducing their coverage.
The rest here.

I've been wondering about this for a while. Christians are to be different from the rest of the world, but in reality, we look just like everybody else. We purchase homes and other tangible property that must be insured, especially if it isn't payed for. We buy "treasures" and then pay someone else to reimburse us for it if it should become damaged.

Is this just a necessary evil of living in today's world, or would it be better for Christians to live differently? Can we live without insurance? Should we?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Equal Time

If Fred Thompson really does run for President, should NBC give all the other candidates the same amount of time that Thompson gets in his role on Law and Order?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

They're Gonna Git Ya Whatever Way They Can

According to a story in an Illinios newspaper, an elderly couple in Illinois is being threatened with penalties by the state's department of revenue for their use of vegetable oil as fuel in their car.

"They told me I am required to have a license and am obligated to pay a motor fuel tax," David Wetzel recalled. "Mr. May also told me the tax would be retroactive."

Since the initial visit by the agents on Jan. 4, the Wetzels have been involved in a struggle with the Illinois Department of Revenue. The couple, who live on a fixed budget, have been asked to post a $2,500 bond and threatened with felony charges.

Read the entire story to see the ridiculous hoops the state wants this couple to jump through in order to be able to collect used cooking oil from restaurants and use it for fuel for their car.

It's really pathetic that we're told to decrease our use of gasoline, but when people try to provide their own alternative, they are penalized for it. The reason for this is obvious: our government in dependent on the revenue derived from gasoline taxes, so they must find new sources of revenue. However, harassing people for being resourceful isn't the answer.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Back in time for Spring Break

Spring Break begins for me this afternoon at 3:55 p.m., and I am ready! Unfortunately, I have about twelve papers to grade, and I have to do my taxes. Thankfully, I am feeling much better after my battle with the flu, and I look forward to actually having a little fun if an opportunity for fun presents itself. Maybe I'll even blog a little bit over the break.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Friday, February 23, 2007

This is How They'll Read Our Minds

I guess I'm a little bit slow, but I just realized that when I am logged into my Blogger account, I am also logged into Google. My Google account name is at the top of the Google search page. Yes, I know that Google owns Blogger, but I just didn't think about the idea that my blog content and my Google searches are now connected in one account.

Does anyone else find this a little bit disturbing?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This is what I get for allowing my students to write about topics that they feel strongly about:

One of my students is working on her cause/effect paper, and the topic she's chosen is what causes many girls/women to be overly flirtatious to the point of being a tease. Of course, when she told me her topic last week, my suspicions were confirmed that she is a lesbian. I'm fine with that. However, today she informed me that her research on her topic just became more complicated because,

"The straight girl that's been flirting with me told me this morning that she's bi."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Don't Bother Crying Me a River Because I'm Wearing My Hip Waders

This week marks the sixth week of classes here at my university and is nearly the halfway point of the semester. Next week is the last full week before Spring Break. So a professor would think that she is well past the point of having to deal with the student who appeared on the class roll but never bothered to show up to class. This morning at my 8:00 class, however, a student I had never seen before came into my classroom and introduced himself. I always have one student on my roll who for some reason has registered for class but has no intention of ever coming, and this guy was this semester's winner. I never expected him to show at this late date.

Now, this guy was desperate to find a way to begin attending my class and pass it, and he came to class armed with several ill-conceived arguments with which to plead his case. First he tried the "I-really-thought-that-I-had-dropped-the-class" appeal. Since obviously the computer system somehow wanted him to remain in the class even though he thought he'd pushed the right buttons to drop the class, he wanted to know if he could begin attending class and make up the work he had missed. I said absolutely not. There's no way I'm going to allow someone to come in at the middle of the semester and have a chance at passing this course when everyone else has been coming to class from the beginning. He then began to try to break me down. His next tactic was to give me the "but-my-GPA-will-suffer" story, saying that if he dropped now, he would get a grade of W (Withdrawn) which would harm his GPA. Of course, this is not true. A grade of W simply shows that the student dropped the class after the drop deadline. The only way that he would be harmed is financially if he were to drop below full-time status. Upon inquiry, I learned that he is enrolled for 15 credit hours, so dropping my class would render him no harm.

Next, he tried the old "my-mother-will-be-very-disappointed-in-me" trick. He wanted to attend class and do the rest of the work (assuring me that he's really good with writing and grammar). I told him that there's no way that he can pass because he's already missed too much work. He said that he'd rather attend class and do the work and fail giving it an honest try instead of not coming to class at all because his mother would be disappointed in his dropping a class. I told him that as an 18-year-old, he is able to make his own decisions about what classes to take and what classes to drop. Of course, he then applied the "but-my-mom-is-the-one-who's-paying-for-school" appeal, which had no effect on me whatsoever. I shrugged my shoulders.

Who is he trying to kid? I know that once a student gets a foot in the door, he'll do whatever he can to try to change my mind and allow him to pass the course, so I gave him no opportunity. I told him that attending class would do him no good and that he'd be better off just sleeping late in the mornings. He finally realized that no amount of illogical argument would get me to allow him to attend class, and he left.

If these students put as much effort into their academics as they do coming up with excuses and sob stories, I'd have some of the best college students ever. But I wouldn't get to share their antics and laugh about it with you.

Friday, February 16, 2007

R.I.P., O.V.

My grandpa, O.V. Warren, died late Wednesday afternoon. He had been sick for about three weeks, and for the last week, he really didn’t know that he was still alive. He was 97 years old.

His name, O.V., is just that—the letters do not stand for anything. In fact, most of his brothers and sisters had only letters for names: L.V., O.T., U.T., and S.T., I think; there may have been more that I don’t remember. S.T. changed the spelling of her name to Estee—I can’t really blame her. I guess his parents didn’t have much imagination because only one or two of the kids that I know of had actual names.

My brother once asked Grandpa what O.V. stood for, and Grandpa answered, “Old Varmit.” Ever since then, that’s what my immediate family has called him.

It’s sad that he’s gone, but he lived a long, healthy life and still got out and pretty much did for himself to the end, so we really can’t be anything but grateful.

Rest in peace, Old Varmit.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I suspect some bad essays this semester

I've been really busy with school the past week or so, so I haven't really had much time to blog. And to tell the truth, nothing has really pressed my buttons enough to make me want to. However, I did get a great line in an essay this week:

My life has been filled with many unsuspected events.

On another note, I took my research and argument students to the library yesterday. It's amazing how many of them had not been in there before and didn't know where or how to find things. Do school kids not go to the library anymore? I remember when I was in elementary school, every week or so, we went to the school's library where we learned how to find books, and we were expected to check out a book and bring it back on time the next week. Going to the library was always a fun experience because we could browse through the books and find some interesting story to take home for a week.

Apparently, library trips have fallen by the wayside for kids today, because too many of them seem to view going to the library as a chore to be avoided whenever possible, and they have no idea what to do once they do go inside. I think the internet has ruined the library experience for many people. I know that the internet is going to ruin the grades of some of my students who will find out that they can't use the first hit on a google search to write a good research paper.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Terror Tax

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Tuesday that Congress should consider a special tax to pay for the nation's war against terrorism.

Such a tax could help ease the squeeze that military and security spending is putting on "critical domestic programs," said Lieberman, whose support for the Iraq war has come under fire from anti-war Democrats.

Lieberman favors President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq.

"I think we've got to start thinking about a war-on-terrorism tax," Lieberman said during an Armed Services Committee hearing on Bush's defense spending proposals. "I mean, people keep saying that we're not asking sacrifices of anybody but our military in this war, and some civilians who are working on it."

More here.

Do I have to pay the tax if I don't support the war?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Just A Typical Exciting Evening at JMG's House

We did not watch the Super Bowl at my house yesterday. Trixie was busy watching the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Here she is cheering for the boxer puppy.

Actually, the Puppy Bowl did not interfere with the Super Bowl, but since neither Husband nor I are sports fans, we watched Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, and M*A*S*H* and were in bed by 9:00. We did manage, however, to see a couple of Super Bowl commercials in between episodes of our favorite TV shows.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dinner and Supper are not Interchangeable Words

Apparently, people all over the country are confused about what name to call the evening meal. I know this because nearly every day, at least one person surfs into this blog having googled the terms "dinner" and "supper." Being the truely Southern country girl that I am, I wish to offer my expert, educated opinion, which should clear up the matter definitively.

Here in my neck of the woods, the meal eaten in the evening is always called supper. If you have moved here from some other area, you should be aware that when someone invites you to supper, you will be eating sometime around 6 p.m. It doesn't matter what type of food you eat in the evening, whether a sandwich, steak, soup, salad, chicken and dumplings, pizza, or tacos; the meal you eat in the evening is always supper. (Sometimes I like to eat breakfast food such as biscuits and gravy and eggs and grits for supper, but I still call it supper.)

So, then, what is dinner? Now here's where it can become confusing, but it really is simple. Dinner is eaten around noontime. Always. However, sometimes we don't eat dinner; instead some days we eat lunch. Here's the difference: Dinner consists of a hot meal that is served on a plate not made of paper. However, if you can hold it in your hand, and/or it comes wrapped in paper or sits on a paper plate it's lunch. A hamburger served hot on a plate is still lunch because you typically pick it up with your hands. Most of what you could eat in a fast food restaurant would qualify as lunch. Dinner is a heavier, more substantial meal than lunch, and it tends to make you sleepier than lunch does. Dinner also tastes better than lunch. It's more satisfiying and more memorable. No one talks about Grandma's Sunday lunches, but they sure do remember her Sunday dinners.

Today's typical adult works outside the home, and usually eats lunch instead of dinner for the noontime meal. However, some working people do eat dinner. How does one know whether he or she is eating dinner or lunch? Some foods could fall into either the lunch or dinner category, for example, say a loaded baked potato. If said potato is served on a plate (and I don't mean a paper plate), then I would call it dinner, but if it comes from a drive-thru barbeque stand, then it's lunch. Soup and salad are some other problematic foods. Usually soup and salad are lunch. However, if the soup is really hearty and is served with some bread, then I'd probably call it dinner. If the salad is just some greenery, then it's lunch, but if it's one of those that's loaded with meat, then I might call that dinner. If the soup and salad are eaten at the same time, then in my book, that qualifies as dinner, but only if both are served in real plates and bowls, not paper.

I don't know what it's like in other parts of the country, but most native Southerners that I know adhere to these definitions without really giving it much thought. These aren't definitions that we were taught, but ones that we just sort of learned through traditional use. However, the line that tends to divide the language of food is being blurred, mainly because of the migration of people from one part of the country to another, and because of television watching. As we are exposed to new and different people with their different ways of speaking, the little things that make us unique, such as our different names for the same thing, are gradually falling by the wayside.

No matter where I go, however, I will never eat dinner after dark.

Snow Day!

This morning I woke up to find that it was snowing outside, and there was about an inch of snow on the ground. This is the most snow I've seen in ages.

Of course, I had a bit of a dillema. My students have a paper due today, but I really don't want anyone getting killed on the highway on my account, so I decided to cancel class today. I doubt anyone will complain.

So I get to enjoy a snow day at home today. But it isn't quite as fun as when I was a kid and school was cancelled. Now I'm the one who has to weigh all the factors and make the decision, and I'm the one who has to rearrange the schedule to keep the class caught up. Being a grownup sort of sucks sometimes, but I still like snow days.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Why Bother With Church if This is All There is to It?

I've been sitting here working on some handouts for my students with the TV on in the background. Right now a certain church minister from Texas is on. Every time I have listened to him, his "sermon" sounds like a self-help workshop. Before his sermon, he has everyone hold up his or her bible and recite a little mantra about how "I am what the bible says that I am, and I can do what the bible says that I can do." During his sermon, he doesn't open his bible, and he rarely quotes from it. When he does, it's always one verse lifed out of its context so that it works well with his topic. Today he's talking about developing good habits and overcoming bad ones, and he used Paul's words in Romans 7.14 as an illustration. Right now he's offering the opportunity for TV viewers to ask Jesus into their lives, but he never mentioned Jesus once in his whole sermon.

Every time I hear this preacher, it's the same sort of thing. It's all about self-improvement, with some asking God for help thrown in. Maybe I'm just watching on the wrong days, but I sort of doubt it. I think I can see why there are 25,000 people in attendance at his church. There's no real challenge to act like Jesus. Everything that's said is something that could be read in any popular self-help book in any bookstore. People can attend that Sunday service and come away with some decent advice on how to improve their lives, but they haven't gotten anything that will help them understand God and his purpose for the world. From everything that I have observed, people will come away with a false spirituality that will do them little good in cultivating a deeper relationship with God. I hope that the smaller Sunday school classes offered at that church are more "meaty" than what is being presented in the main service.

I'll admit that I haven't been to church much in the past 10 years. Is this the trend in churches today? If so, I'm not missing anything.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

We Like Foreign Oil, But Not Foreign Wool

This is wierd.

According to, "Bancroft Cap Co. in Cabot, the only company currently under contract with the Department of Defense to supply the U.S. military black berets, has dropped the hat and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court, forcing the Pentagon to look for a new domestic supplier. There may not be another U.S. company that can supply the military with 100 percent domestic materials, which was Bancroft’s downfall: It got caught mixing domestic and foreign wool and leather, which is in violation of U.S. law."

. . .

"Not listed among [Bancroft's] creditors is the Department of Defense, the company’s biggest customer, which alleges that Bancroft owes the government repayment for 340,000 black berets at about $4 each which were shipped before March 2006. Those berets were paid for and then later found to contain either foreign wool or leather and therefore unacceptable. Whether Bancroft concedes that its berets contained materials not produced in the U.S. is not known because repeated attempts to contact owner Barry Goldman have failed."

Surely the Pentagon has more important things to worry about.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

No Gold for You

This week in his State of the Union speech, the president is set to outline a new plan which would be aimed at helping to provide health insurance coverage for people who have none. According to an article reprinted in the Seattle Times, “The basic concept of the president's health-care plan is that employer-provided insurance, now treated as a fringe benefit exempt from taxation, no longer would be entirely tax-free. Workers could be taxed if their coverage exceeded limits set by the government.” In the president’s plan, “The administration would cap the amount of benefits that can remain tax-free at $15,000 for a family and $7,500 for an individual; anyone whose health insurance cost more than the cap would pay tax on the difference. The cap also would be used to establish the amount of the new deduction for people who lack coverage. In this example, a family buying insurance could take a $15,000 deduction — even if the insurance cost less.”

OK. So the federal government wants to tax the difference between the $15,000 cap and whatever the excess cost is. I guess this is like allowing a certain amount of income to be untaxed, but when you earn more than that amount, you have to pay tax on the difference. I get that. I don’t like that if my insurance cost goes up, which it has every year, I’ll soon be paying tax on the difference. But I get it. Apparently, the tax revenue generated is supposed to offset the cost of the next part of the plan, the tax deduction for people who have to purchase their own insurance. The way I understand it, if I bought my own health insurance instead of getting it through work, no matter how little it cost, I could claim a $15,000 deduction on my income taxes. However, I’d venture to guess that most people who don’t get insurance through work either can’t afford what their employer offers or they aren’t offered insurance at all. If the former is the case, these people can’t afford an outside plan either. If the latter is the case, they probably are not paid enough to even consider buying insurance on their own. In either situation, a tax deduction won’t do them any good because they likely already have enough deductions to make their adjusted gross income below the taxable limit. Another deduction is not going to put more money in their pockets to be able to buy health insurance.

What this plan sounds like to me is just another way of collecting more tax to fund the unpopular war effort.

In his Saturday radio address, the president said that the way people normally purchase health care, through their employers, “unwisely encourages workers to choose overly expensive, gold-plated plans.” Now that’s an elitist statement if I’ve ever heard one. A worker who is willing to spend a little more for the better of the plans that his or her employer offers should not be criticized for wanting the best that is offered. I want the president to show America his health insurance plan. I’d be willing to bet it’s more than “gold-plated”—it’s solid gold, I’m sure. I’d like for him to live like an average American for just one year, with an average salary and an average health insurance policy, and see what it’s like to wonder whether insurance will cover a hospitalization from a major illness or accident.

This plan won't do anything to help people who already can't afford insurance. And it certainly won't help those who because of pre-existing conditions must either pay outrageous insurance premiums or do without.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Luther's Day

It's really great that the federal government has set aside today to celebrate my husband, Luther's, birthday, and there will even be parades in his honor!

Happy birthday, Baby! I love you!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


There's a lot to blog about, but I'm not feeling very articulate today, so I won't say more than a couple of sentences about any one thing.

First, my grandpa is very sick. He had to have surgery last night, but he seems to have made it through OK. The situation is still very serious, however, because his body is pretty much worn out--he's 97 years old.

Second, Husband slept really well last night because I did not snore once. However, I slept only fair because it was my first night using a CPAP machine. This is going to take a lot of getting used to. I had to force myself not to take off the mask in the middle of the night. My dog Pete wouldn't get very close to me after I put the mask on--he didn't like the way I looked.

Third, I did not watch Chimpy's speech last night. Just watching and listening to him gets on my nerves, so I'll just see what the commentators have to say about all of it.

Fourth, I still have a lot of work to do before school starts. I have to get my websites up and running, which will mean either going over to my parents' house to use their high speed internet or going to the office, and I don't want to go to the office until it's absolutely necessary.

Fifth, Husband is having sinus surgery on Tuesday, and he is scared half to death about it. I keep telling him that everything that the nurses said could go wrong won't go wrong for him. I think today I'll look online for people who have had the surgery just so he can see that lots of people go through it just fine. He'd never admit it, but he's a little bit of a hypochondriac, so if he knows about any complications that could occur, he will think that he's having the same complications. I hope he doesn't drive me crazy next week.

I guess that's all. I know your life is richer for reading all of this today.

I'm really not in a bad mood--I'm just feeling sort of lazy and don't feel like putting a lot of effort into providing you with one of my usual enlightening and thought-provoking articles.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Thou Shalt Not Plagiarize

Sunday morning as I was straightening up my kitchen, I turned on the radio and began listening to whatever radio preacher happened to be on at the time. This particular guy was preaching out of Romans, which I found interesting since I am studying Romans in BSF right now. As I listened to the guy, I began to realize that his sermon sounded very familiar. The more I listened, the more familiar the message became. I suddenly realized where I’d heard these words before. Now, I am one of those annoying people who talks back to the TV and the radio, and at this moment, I turned to the radio, pointed my finger at it, and exclaimed, “You’re a plagiarizer!”

This guy was preaching straight from the BSF notes. I know this because he read almost word for word, as if they were his own words, a passage straight from the lesson 11 BSF notes on Romans—a passage that I blogged about just a few weeks ago.

I was so amazed that this guy would do such a thing that I went to the internet and found the website for his ministry and clicked on the link for that day’s radio broadcast. As I listened, I hoped that I’d hear him give credit to the BSF notes for the ideas, but he didn’t.

Now, I know that sometimes preachers will recycle other preachers’ sermons. I’ve heard preachers say that they heard so-and-so preach this message and wanted to use the same material, but they gave credit to the author. This guy just made it sound like all the illustrations were his own.

Is this common practice among preachers? What do you think about this?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Will This Presidency Ever End?

First our phone calls, then our emails and internet use, now our snail mail.

Read about it here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The State of Marriage, According to the Readers of Popular Magazines

According to a poll conducted by AOL and Women's Day magazine, "More than a third of American wives would not marry their husbands if they had to do it all over again.

"The poll by Woman's Day magazine and found that 36 per cent would not marry their husbands, while another 20 per cent were not sure if they would re-do their 'I Do.'

"The poll findings carried in the February issue of Woman's Day magazine, which hit newsstands yesterday, provides an insight into a variety of issues, including flirting, infidelity, soul mates, bedtime habits, honesty and jealousy.

"Of the 3,000 married women surveyed, 76 per cent said they keep secrets from their husbands. The poll found that 84 per cent of American wives would want to be told if their husbands were cheating, with 49 per cent of them stating they have suspected or even caught their husband having an affair.

"On the flipside, 76 per cent admit to fantasizing about a man other than their husband, with 39 per cent stating they flirt with other men constantly."

I don't read women's magazines even when I'm at the doctor's office--I take my own reading material--so I have a sort of negative view of the type of woman who reads them and takes the surveys. It seems to me that many of the women who read women's magazines and take the time to answer the surveys and quizzes have a lot of time on their hands, or they are just too lazy or shallow to read things with more substance (yeah, yeah, I know those magazines sometimes have informative articles about women's health and such, but they're mostly a lot of fluff), so I have to wonder just how representative of all women this poll of 3000 is.

What do you think?

(I'm sorry if I've offended anyone who regularly reads those types of magazines. I guess I should just be glad that you're reading something.)