Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines! X

I want to start off with an update on an issue I've been following since January when the PA House of Representatives declared 2012 "The Year of the Bible". There were some rumblings about some Congresspeople possibly trying to overturn the resolution in February, but nothing has come of that. Now here in March the resolution is in the news, again!  The Freedom From Religion Foundation has decided to sue the state on behalf of several Pennsylvanians who think this is inappropriate. Frankly I'm a little surprised. The resolution was tabled when it got to the state Senate (no doubt because of the controversy involved) so I wouldn't think that the state could be sued over a resolution that was passed by only the House but not the Senate. I guess we'll see what the courts say!

Let's turn our attention to another "proud moment" for the PA state legislature that has recently come to light. (Yes.  I am being sarcastic.) Examination of the recently-passed Act 13 concerning hydraulic fracking in the state, reveals an interesting clause. When a doctor is investigating whether or not chemicals used in the fracking process have caused a patient's symptoms, he or she can request and receive information about which chemicals are involved in the process.  However, the doctor will have to sign confidentiality agreement not to disclose what these chemicals are to anyone else including the patient!  I don't know about you, but a big red flag went up for me when I heard this news.  One has to wonder exactly what it is that the fracking industry is trying to hide. My state representatives will definitely be hearing from me on this matter.  I think the public has a right to know what chemicals are being pumped into the ground around us!

In science news, I found a fascinating article this week about cattle!  DNA testing seems to suggest that all modern cattle can be traced back to a single flock that lived 10,500 years ago! It is udderly utterly amazing what the study of DNA can reveal!

Speaking of amazing science:  Scientists have created "dry water"!  Tiny droplets of water are surrounded by a silicon coating creating a substance that resembles powdered sugar. Not only are there various uses for this dry water but this technology may be able to be used to store and transport potentially harmful liquids, as well!

Finally, we take a look at the Republican Presidential Primary. The Louisiana primary last Saturday went to Santorum. This was the only contest since we last looked so let's examine the Republican Delegate count.  Despite Santorum's win, Romney is still quite a bit out ahead as far as delegates go. Still, he is less than halfway to the 1144 delegates he would need to win the nomination.  I'm beginning to think that Newt Gingrich might be right that this will go all the way to the convention!  I certainly hope not as even I am tiring of this spectacle!

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go take my temperature. When I start to agree with Newt on anything it might be a sign that I am getting ill.

Image is in the public domain and was found here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts on the Reason Rally

I wanted to blog a little about the Reason Rally but I wasn't sure how to do so effectively.  It was such an overwhelming experience for me that I'm having a difficult time organizing anything into a coherent post. I finally just decided to list some of my thoughts, observations and such so here they are!
  • When James Randi stepped up to the podium and pulled the microphones down to his level, I felt the urge to hug him.  (Was it his height?)  I resisted the urge as I was sure it would have passed before I managed to vault the barriers and pull myself up on stage - if I would have managed to make it past any security personnel between me and the Amazing Randi.
  • I felt the same thing when Adam Savage said:  "I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me. Keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less then I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I am capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me and I’ve concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score is me." 
  • Clarification: I meant that I felt like hugging Adam Savage when he - Adam - said that. 
  • I didn't attempt that, either.
  • I missed Eddie Izzard because I got cold and left the mall before he spoke.
  • I was really, really upset that I missed Eddie!! (but not as much as I would have been if I'd found out that he had shown up in a dress. He didn't. Doesn't he do that anymore?!? *pouts*)
  • Tim Minchin has a potty mouth but was funny as hell! We laughed and laughed!
  • I think the sign language interpreters did a fantastic job!  Boy, were they busy!!  One of them was saddled with signing the lyrics to Tim Minchin's the Pope Song and all I can say is wow. I'll give you a link to the lyrics but I should warn you that they are a little naughty. (Okay.  A LOT naughty!)
  • Greta Christina was fabulous and we should all run out and purchase her book
  • Paul Provenza was a giddy emcee! He reminded me of a court jester but without the headgear.
  • This is an article about the rally with some pictures of some of the speakers!
  • Jessica Ahlquist was presented with a big check for over $62,000 towards tuition costs and gave a speech later on!
  • My phone battery decided to suddenly deplete for no good reason so I had to turn off my phone a couple hours into the rally.  I was irritated and disappointed as I wanted to Tweet!
  • Nate Phelps - son of Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church - talked about escaping the influence of his family and the good he is doing with the Centre for Inquiry in Canada. 
  • An attempt to show a video tribute to Christopher Hitchens failed when the video kept freezing up.
  • I almost cried and probably would have had the tribute continued.
  • I found Waldo at the Reason Rally - and snapped a picture with my phone!

  • I took two other pictures to show where we were standing but that was all I could take because it started to rain later on.
  • I was disappointed with Bill Maher who taped a new introduction to an old bit from his show instead of giving us something new to see.
  • Penn Jillette did an original taped bit for us, however.
  • I think there were way too many speakers.  It was too long for such a cool, rainy day. I guess if it had been nice weather, I wouldn't have minded.
  • Two tall gentlemen stood in front of me.  I could look between them and see the video screen just fine until it started to rain and they pulled out their umbrellas!!
  • I still think that it was rude to use umbrellas!  They could have bought cheap 99-cent ponchos like the rest of us!!
  • Jamie Kilstein was wonderful! (How does he breathe?!?  He just keeps going on and on!)
  • Our small group was directly in the center of the video screen to the left of the stage.  Behind the screen, you could see the Washington Monument.  At several times I found myself reflecting on the fact that the monument has a cap made of aluminum.  (Yes.  Aluminum.)
  • Christina Rad was fabulously funny!
  • I had a great time - despite getting wet and cold and having to leave before Eddie spoke... It was indescribable to be in such a large crowd of people who are also feminists, gay-rights advocates and atheists!
Sorry for the length but... there was so much to comment on!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Isn't it Ironic?

As I mentioned last week, the Supreme Courts is hearing arguments concerning the Affordable Care Act this week. Today is the big day! SCOTUS will hear arguments concerning the constitutionality of the individual mandate part of the law.

I found out something interesting about the individual mandate last night listening to the Rachel Maddow Show. The individual mandate was originally a Republican idea!  I'm absolutely serious.

See, back during the Clinton administration, if you recall, Hillary Clinton was trying to get congress to enact a national health care bill.  That piece of legislation was different from today's version in that it required employers to provide health care for their employees.  The Republicans didn't like the idea of requiring employers to pay for this coverage so they brought up the idea of the individual person being responsible for obtaining insurance instead of employers.

Funny how now that this is President Obama's idea they have changed their tune and are arguing that this is unconstitutional, isn't it?

Even more interesting is that Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were 100% behind the idea back in 1993!  Now? This article addresses Gingrich's stance (now and then, actually) and this one addresses what Romney has to say now.

I guess it all depends on who comes up with the idea, doesn't it?

Image by Huji and found here

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday Six - March 24, 2012

1. What caused the oldest scar you have on your body? I actually have no idea.  I have a small scar on my left forearm about 1/2 inch long and I've no idea what caused it.  A former boyfriend asked me about it once and I was surprised to realize that I had no idea what had caused it.
2. When getting dressed, what order do you put on your socks and shoes: sock-sock-shoe-shoe, or sock-shoe-sock-shoe? Usually sock-sock-shoe-shoe.
3. What would be the three qualities you think you’d offer to your significant other? I'm dependable, honest and I have a wide variety of interests so I like to think that I'm interesting to talk to. (I hope my boyfriend would agree)
4. How long did it take you to find what you consider to be your “calling” in life, or are you still trying to find it? I'm fairly sure I haven't found "it".  I'm not an expert in anything, really, but I know a bit about this and that.
5. What old movie would you like to see someone attempt to update for a modern audience? I tend to dislike remakes and I happen to like classic movies just the way they are, in general, so I think I'd leave well enough alone.
6. Do you honestly believe that a man and woman can be “just friends” without it becoming sexual? Yes.  I truly do.
These have been the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines! IX

I'll start off this week with a story for the "stupid criminals" file.  If you are going to lie to get out of jury duty, don't brag about it later on - especially on the radio! A potential juror was arrested and charged with a felony in Denver this week.  She created an elaborate lie to get out of serving jury duty, then bragged about it on a radio talk show months later.  The judge was listening to the show and the woman has now been arrested.  She would have been much better off just telling the truth to the judge and serving jury duty, now wouldn't she?

Speaking of Denver, I'm sure most football fans have heard that Peyton Manning has finally made a decision and will be playing for the Denver Broncos in the upcoming season!  You might also realize that Denver is the team that Tim Tebow (famous for kneeling in prayer during breaks in a game and for starting the trend of "Tebowing"  based on this action) played for last season.  Not to worry.  Tim Tebow is now going to play for the NY Jets. I've not heard if Sanchez (starting QB last season for the Jets) is going to be staying with the team or not.  Stay tuned!

Moving on...  it would appear that the Supreme Court of the US will be hearing cases pertaining to the Affordable Care Act next week. (You know, the healthcare reform bill that the Republicans like to refer to as Obamacare.)  SCOTUS is going to look at two different issues, if I'm not mistaken:  Whether mandating that everyone be covered by health insurance is unconstitutional and, if it is, whether removing that mandate invalidates the entire act or not. In my opinion, if you remove the mandate, you may as well throw the entire thing out, but that isn't my decision to make.  In any event, we probably won't know until June what their decision will be so let's just hope the government presents a good case!

And onward to the Republican Primary season! Mitt Romney won the Puerto Rico primary last Sunday and no wonder!  After all, Santorum made the mistake of telling them that they'd all have to learn to speak English for Puerto Rico to become a state - which, by the way, is not part of our current requirements. It's not hard to understand how that might not sit well with the residents of Puerto Rico, is it?

Tuesday brought another big win for Romney. This time in Illinois!

Let's take a look at the Republican Delegate count now. Romney is really pulling out ahead!  He has 563 delegates, Santorum has 263, Gingrich has 135 and Ron Paul has an even 50.  Up next:  a big 46 delegate stake in Louisiana on Saturday!

Speaking of Saturday:  The Reason Rally is this Saturday (tomorrow!!) in Washington DC!  Heck, yeah, I'll be there! (even though it's starting to look like it will be rainy)  I've been looking forward to this for months and cannot tell you how excited I am!!

Footnote: Late yesterday we finally got the coroner's report on Whitney Houston's death.  It appears that she died from an accidental drowning. She had cocaine in her system and heart disease which contributed to her death.  I'm saddened to know that she never did beat her drug addiction but I'm glad that her family finally has closure.

Image is in the public domain and was found here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Drill, Baby, Drill? Not So Fast...

You know how some Presidential candidates tell us that reducing our dependence on foreign oil will help lower gas prices here in the US?  (and, therefore, we should drill more at home?)  Well... not so fast folks!  Turns out that it just doesn't work that way!

I came across this article...
 Well, alright.  I didn't "come across" it. It appeared in my Google + stream this morning when Chris Clark posted it.  Have you tried Google +?  You really should...  but I digress...
The AP (Associated Press) conducted a statistical analysis and it is clear that US oil production - and demand - have very little to do with the price of fuel!  There is very little that the US can do to make a difference unless we work with other countries.  It is obviously a world market and the sooner we face that fact, the better.

So if you hear a candidate for President - or for any office - talking about how he or she is going to change gas prices, don't fall for it!  There is very little any of us can do to change what we pay for gas!
You know... we may not be able to control the price that we are paying for gas but there are things we can do - right now - to affect how much gasoline we purchase!
This article tells us about 29 things we can do to make a difference.  Some of them seem a bit petty or silly, but I guess every little bit helps! I'm going to give some of them a try!  Just reducing my speed to the speed limit makes a huge difference in my mpg, I've noticed, so that combined with braking smarter will help.
I think what we need to take away from all this is that if a candidate is making statements about how they are going to reduce what we pay for gasoline, they are full of it!  It doesn't matter which party is in office or how acquainted he or she is with the oil industry.  There is very little the President can do to change the price of gas!

Image found here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Science Rules.

I don't know if anyone remembers hearing about this back in September, but a team of scientists in Geneva ran an experiment that appeared to prove that neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light.

Understandably, other scientists were skeptical - as they should be.  See, ever since Einstein published his theory of special relativity, scientists have run experiments to test the theory - including attempts to find particles that travel faster than the speed of light.  (Einstein claimed, if you recall, that nothing travels faster than light.)

Other scientists set about to try to reproduce the results from the Geneva group and.... failed.  It appears that there might have been something wrong with the first experiment.  I'm sure other groups of scientists will also attempt to replicate the initial results - or are in the process of doing so as I type.

This points out the difference between a scientific theory and a theory.  A scientific theory has been tested and re-tested over and over and will continue to be tested as technology improves our ability to measure.  Even though Einstein's theory of special relativity is a pillar of the field of physics, scientists are willing to entertain the idea that it might be wrong and to try to prove it!

This is why I trust science so much and why we should seriously question those who tell us that science should not be taken seriously.

Image found here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines VIII

I'm going to start off with some cool science news today!  NASA has created some new glasses for airline pilots to allow them to navigate an unfamiliar airport (or a familiar one) even in the fog!!  They are calling them augmented reality glasses.  They actually show all sorts of data - including a map of the immediate area showing their route- in front of one eye. This sort of thing has already been in use by the military but this is the first time it is becoming available for commercial pilots. This technology could help prevent airport accidents in the future!

The weather here in PA has been mild this past week, to say the least.  In fact, it has been unseasonably warm!  We've had temperatures in the 70s all week and it went up almost to 80° yesterday afternoon!  I was surprised to hear while we've been experiencing near-record highs here in the eastern US, the western states have been going through an onslaught of snowstorms!  This weather is unbelievable and can be attributed to global warming.  I guess we can expect to see the unexpected as the years go on as we sadly aren't going to be reversing this trend any time soon.

It's clear that Rick Santorum is one person doesn't believe in climate change. In fact, he's referred to it as a hoax. It appears that even with all the college degrees he has amassed -none of them in a field of science, I should mention- he somehow missed some basic science lessons.  He was talking earlier this week and scoffed, "The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is." (video can be found here)  Now, I'm not a scientist but even I realize that too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be harmful to plant life - and animal life. This article addresses some of the issues. Perhaps Santorum needs to go back to school and learn some critical thinking skills.  While he's there, perhaps he'll learn the difference between a theory and a scientific theory.  (Hey, I can dream, can't I?)

Speaking of Santorum, let's see how the process to choose a Republican candidate for President is going. You may recall that I mentioned the media was talking about Newt Gingrich's influence in the south and how he was a serious contender in Alabama and Mississippi this past week.  Well... maybe not so much.  Yes, he did garner enough votes to win 12 delegates in both of these states but the big winners were Romney and Santorum.  No big surprise there. You can see the details by scrolling down the page on the Republican Delegate Count webpage. So!  The present delegate count still shows Romney in the lead with 495, Santorum in second with 252, Gingrich with 131 and Paul has 48.

You have to wonder who would benefit if Gingrich would drop out of the race. I'm not sure it is clear but it is a mute point right now as Gingrich has no intention on dropping out right now.  So... onward!  Looks like we have two big races coming up next week - Illinois with 67 delegates and Louisiana with 46. The race is far from over at this point so I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Image is in the public domain and was found here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You can't make this stuff up!

Just when you think the United States cannot get any crazier, you hear stories like these:

The Georgia House of Representatives was considering HB 954 - a bill that would prohibit a women from obtaining an abortion after the fetus is 20 weeks old.  Representative Terry England spoke on the house floor explaining that he thought there should be no exception to this law if the fetus has died inside the mother's body. Yes.  He believes it is perfectly fine to expect a woman to carry and then give birth to a child she knows is dead. After all, that is what happens with pigs and cows! (and we all know that women are just like farm animals, after all...)  [video of his speech can be found at the link]

Meanwhile, the Arizona legislature is considering a bill that would make it legal for an employer to ask a female employee why she is on birth control pills and deny insurance coverage for the pills if they disapprove of her reason! (For example, if she is using them to prevent pregnancy instead of an other medical reason) This is so wrong on so many levels! It is none of an employer's business why an employee is on any of his or her medications!  I don't understand why this isn't contrary to the HIPAA privacy act!

And finally one we might just have to laugh about...  There is a shortage of toilet paper in Trenton, NJ, government buildings because of a contract dispute!  It seems that city council is dragging its feet on approving a contract for paper products and supplies are running low while they quibble over the unit price of paper cups. The mayor's administration has removed the questionable cups from the contract and sent it back for approval but supplies may run out by the end of the week!

You just cannot make this stuff up!!

Image of "invisible" pink unicorn created by Yamavu and found here

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Six - March 10, 2012

1. Have you ever attended a 3D movie in a theater that required the old-style red and blue glasses? I don't believe so.  I did see such a movie at an after-prom party back when I was in high school but it was projected on a wall of the cafeteria.  I got a headache from the glasses which is how I remember this.
2. Have you ever attended a 3D movie in a theater that required the newer style of 3D glasses? No.  
3. Is a 3D television on your wish list, even if it meant you’d have to watch television wearing some type of glasses? No.  One of the reasons I don't like 3D movies is because I wear real glasses.  Those 3D glasses don't usually fit real well over mine and I really think it is a gimmick anyway.  (One that I wish would go away!)
4. Regardless of whether 3D is involved, what genre of movie (drama, comedy, mystery, etc.) are you most likely to watch in a theater? I usually save my theater visits for movies that really need to be seen on a big screen - like sci-fi movies or superhero films, so... whatever category you would fit those under is my answer. Action movies, maybe?
5. What concessions are you most likely to buy at the theater? Popcorn.  It doesn't seem like a movie without popcorn.
6. What concession do you think would be the last one you’d ever buy in a local theater? Candy.  I'm not a big fan of most candy anyway and everything is over-priced at the theater.

This is the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines VII

I don't know if you heard about this but I hadn't until yesterday.  A huge solar storm that really could have impacted Earth's magnetic field is currently causing us to be bombarded with charged particles.  It appears that this storm didn't impact us as much as experts had thought it might but it was good to take precautions.  Still, it appears that this sort of event will become much more commonplace over the next several years.  I'm slightly disappointed as I wouldn't have minded getting a glimpse of some northern lights (I've never seen them!) but I'm not sure that I would have this far south.  I was going to look, though!

Yesterday was International Women's Day!  There were no events in my area so I just reflected on how lucky we women are here in the US where we are able to vote, work outside the house and simply go outside our house by ourselves!  So many women don't have basic human rights in this world and it is shameful in this day and age that this is true!

Did you know that March is National Women's History Month?  I had somehow missed this, myself. The History channel, in spite of the large amount of non-history content on the airwaves (don't get me started on this...) , has quite a nice website that does seem to focus on history. This page highlights the Women's Suffrage movement in the US while this page discusses women who were pioneers in a variety of fields.  Check it out!

In news that makes me go WTF, the Arizona Senate passed a "wrongful birth" bill yesterday. The bill's sponsors intend it to prevent people from suing their doctors for malpractice if their infant is less than perfect. Now, to be clear, I think that people should not be suing their doctor unless the doctor caused their child to be "less than perfect"  because of his or her actions.  I do have an issue with this particular bill as it seems to allow a doctor to lie to a woman about the condition of the fetus she is carrying with no consequences. Certainly a patient should be given all the information she needs so she can make an informed decision and is prepared for the outcome! I dislike the implication that a woman can't make her own decision based on all the facts and that her doctor is more qualified to do so for her!  This is really the wrong way to go about things in this case, I believe.

Finally, Super Tuesday has come and gone!  Looking at the Republican Delegate Count,  Romney is - not unexpectedly - in the lead with 421 delegates.  Santorum is in second with 181, Gingrich has 107 and Ron Paul has 47.  It's still technically possible for anyone to win but getting a bit less likely that someone other than Romney will win the nomination.  Still, the race now turns to more southern states so the media is telling us that Gingrich might be picking up more support.  We'll have to wait and see if that is all media hype or if there is something to it.  Take a seat!  I'll bring the popcorn!

Image is in the public domain and was found here

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Controversial Billboard Concerning "Non-controversial" Resolution

Early in 2012, the PA House of Representatives passed a "noncontroversal" resolution (HR 535) to call 2012 The Year of the Bible in Pennsylvania. The document calls the Bible "the word of God", states that it was instrumental in the founding of the United States and recommends applying the teachings of the scriptures to our lives in 2012. I discussed the issue here and here again when some of the Representatives considered trying to overturn it.

Local atheist groups (and other local groups) took issue with the resolution.  Members of non-Christian groups felt that this resolution specifically excluded them and implied that there was a state-sponsored religion.  Some groups also questioned the notion that we should use the Bible as a guide to living morally. Two local atheist groups decided to erect a billboard to highlight this point of view.

(Please note:  No one is implying nor stating that there are not sections/stories of the Bible that can be looked upon as a guide to moral behavior. We are simply pointing out that - as a whole - the Bible does not always recommend actions or behavior that society would consider acceptable.)

Here is the billboard as it looked yesterday:

We expected a reaction and we got one.  It was not, however, the one we thought we'd get.

The first problem was that our billboard was placed was in a predominantly black neighborhood.  We hadn't even considered this as the leaders of both organizations chose this location because the price was the best they could find for what was available.
The second problem was that many people either misunderstood or disregarded what the message of the billboard was intended to be and decided that it was racist.  There were people all over the news lambasting the American Atheists and PAN for being racist!
The final problem was that the billboard is low to the ground.

This morning one of the group members drove by the billboard and stopped to take this picture:

Yeah.  It lasted less than 24 hours.  Worse, the vandals removed the message and left the offensive verse intact.

I've no idea who vandalized it nor why but I'm greatly disappointed.  I have to admit that I thought it would be vandalized at some point but I thought it would last longer than it did.  While I did expect an uproar, I didn't expect the discussion to be whether or not it was racism.  I honestly thought most people would realize what the message was supposed to be and we could discuss that issue.

I went to PAN's website this morning and made a donation to their billboard fund.  I'd like to see us able to get our message out and have the discussion we should be having about the HR 535.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reality 101

Okay.  I was sure that everyone already had all this straight by now. It is the 2000s, after all.

I'm often told I'm an optimist and I guess I am, but seriously.  Do we really have to go into this sort of thing now days?  Shouldn't we all be aware of how to treat others by now?

I guess not. *sighs*

Once again, then:
  • A woman can be sexy/beautiful/attractive and intelligent/competent at the same time!  She doesn't have to be one or the other to fit into whatever categories you would like to place women in.
  • A woman who takes birth control pills is a woman who either doesn't want to become pregnant and/or is taking them as a treatment for one of a variety of medical conditions.  It's none of your business which one it is. 
  • Human beings are human beings and do not fall into easy-to-sort categories.  We need to stop trying to label people and accept them as the individuals they are.
That said, Rush Limbaugh makes a living by spouting hate and bigotry. He did this again last week when he insulted Sandra Fluke on his radio show.  (I'm not providing a link.  If you are unaware of this, then Google it.)

Hasn't he made enough money by appealing to our baser instincts? Isn't it time we told him we aren't interested in hearing it anymore?  

Isn't it time to turn the dial to something else?

Image courtesy of Stefan Kühn on Wikipedia and found here.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Seven - March 4, 2012

Name your seven products from the list of 15 Foods You Should Never Buy Again that you’ve been most likely to purchase.

  1. Premium frozen juice bars - I'll admit that I'm sometimes many times too lazy to make my own
  2. Boxed rice entree or side dish mixes - I've not been able to recreate the Zatarain's Jambalaya mix by cooking from scratch so I do purchase that.  I do get the reduced sodium type, though, so it's not as bad for us. One of these days I'll find a good homemade substitute and I won't buy this anymore.
  3. Spice mixes - I do get some rubs and such but I also check the ingredients first.
  4. Bottled water - We buy these to take camping and for when we have get-togethers.  We don't buy them to be used everyday, however.  We have a water purifier so our water is delicious.
  5. Individual servings - K likes snack bars for his lunches and I can't convince him not to eat these.  (or haven't, yet...)
  6. Gourmet Ice Cream - We buy ice cream infrequently so when we do, I get the good stuff.  I don't apologize, however, as I won't buy anything containing high fructose corn syrup (or other junk) and the cheaper brands almost always contain this ingredient.  I prefer Ben and Jerry's as a treat now and then.
  7. Tomato-based pasta sauces - Seriously?  I don't know the first thing about making my own sauce so I'm sure I'll continue to buy these.  We get them a bit cheaper by buying 3-packs at Costco.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Six - March 3, 2012

1. When you hear that a movie is a likely nominee for an Academy Award, are you any more likely to watch that movie in the theater? I might be more interested - if only to see what the fuss is about.
2. When you hear that a movie you haven’t yet seen actually is nominated for an Academy Award, are you more likely to watch that film? Yes.  I like to try to see the movies so I can better pick which ones I think will win.
3. Of the nominated films this year, how many of them did you watch? Hardly any, this year. I just haven't been to the theater much. 
4. Have a look at the former winners for Best Picture prior to this year. Which is the last one you remember watching at home? The King's Speech
5. From that same list, which is the last one you remember seeing in a theater? The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
6. If you could experience any Best Picture winner in a theater environment, which would you choose? Braveheart. It's the sort of movie that you should see on a big screen.  I've only ever seen it at home on our TV.

These are the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ripped from the Headlines VI

This first item isn't really a news story but I found this interesting gem that made me look at police searches in a different way. It would never have occurred to me to not allow an officer to search me (or my car, bag, etc) if requested - as I can't imagine I'd have anything to hide - but after reading this I might think twice before allowing one. I guess this proves I don't think like a lawyer, doesn't it?

I was saddened to hear of the death of Davy Jones a couple days ago at 66. That seems too young, doesn't it?  I wasn't really ever a Monkees fan as they were slightly before my time  but I was certainly aware of them.  I think this might have to do with Marsha's obsession with Davy Jones on the Brady Bunch.

In other sad news, I heard this week that Senator Olympia Snowe - a moderate Republican from Maine - will not be seeking reelection. She was definitely one of the "old school" politicians who knew how to work with people who didn't agree with her and find a compromise.  This sort of politics seems outdated these days with all the partisan divisions we have now.  It's really a shame she won't be around to show the newer members how it is done but perhaps this is a sign of the times.

Finally, I can't let a week go by without discussing politics - especially in a Presidential election year!  There were two Republican primaries this week - Michigan and Arizona.  Mitt Romney easily won the Arizona primary and squeaked out a win in Michigan as well. The Republican delegate count puts Romney squarely in the lead (no pun intended but I'm tickled with it nonetheless) with Rick Santorum in second place.  Still, technically, anyone could pull it out!

Romney and Santorum are busy arguing over which one of them appeals more to cross-over voters from the Democratic party.  It's a bit amusing as they condemn each other for appealing to more liberal minds while at the same time each is trying to attract those voters themselves.  Sounds like a tricky dance step to me...

And finally, I just have to wonder just what Rick Santorum has against education! He called President Obama a snob for suggesting that people should be able to go to college - and misrepresented what the President has actually has said, by the way.  Thing is... Rick Santorum has 3 degrees himself!  So what he appears to have a problem with is others educating themselves.  I am very suspicious of people who imply that there is no value in seeking knowledge especially when that person is highly educated him or herself. Is he afraid that people might learn how to think for themselves? It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Finally, it seems that Sarah Palin is getting tired of how long the Republican primary is going on without a clear front-runner. I have to disagree with Palin.  I enjoy watching the petty bickering.  Of course, I don't have a horse in this particular race so I can sit back and watch this time around.  I know who I'm voting for this fall and I have my bumpersticker!

Image is in the public domain and was found here