Zhaba Zhournal
Wednesday, March 24, 2004 
Annoyance of the day 
Grrrrrrr. Philly.com now requires registration; not just "gender, year of birth, and zip code," either, but actual real-name–and–street-address crap. Bastards. I'll register for the New York Times, fine; but Philly.com? Puh-leeze. I know, it doesn't take much time, but still: It takes time. It's another "no, you can't just click, you've got to stop and type and remember your password" annoyance. (Making it, for one thing, harder to surreptitiously go online during work: that's several extra seconds of visible browser time and typing noise.) And I don't like registering for things. I don't like having an e-mail address, let alone a real address, roaming around the Internet without me. I don't like being used for market research or helping them get ad revenue or whatever the hell else they're doing with it. The bastards. And besides, now I bet Fark.com won't accept Philly.com links. Grrr snarl snap humph bite me.

[ at 9:54 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Monday, March 22, 2004 
On (and on and on) TV 
From the New York Times:
Bereft of any new hit shows, Fox has filled a full quarter of its prime-time lineup with "American Idol."
Um, guys, you might want to tap ABC on the shoulder and ask what happened when they filled most of their entire prime-time lineup with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." They're still trying to recover from it. (NBC seems to have done okay showing "Law and Order" a dozen times a week, but in that case a) they have three nominally different shows, b) they have plots, and c) they have actual actors. [Except that Elisabeth Röhm chick. Isn't it time for her to fall down an elevator shaft?] [Her character, I mean, not her personally. As long as she promises never to act again.])

[ at 9:30 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Thursday, March 18, 2004 
"We can make all kinds of crazy laws" department 
Rhea County, Tennessee—site of the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial"—is making another attempt to divorce itself from reality: county commissioners voted 8-0 in favor of banning homosexuality. (They didn't actually ban it; but they approved a request "for an amendment to Tennessee's criminal code so homosexuals can be charged with crimes against nature." Never mind that pesky Lawrence vs. Texas Supreme Court decision that decriminalized sodomy; remember that? All the way back on June 26, 2003? Maybe the Pony Express riders haven't made it all the way to Rhea County with that piece of news yet.)

Oh, but it gets better:
[County Commissioner J.C.] Fugate also asked the county attorney to find the best way to ban homosexuals from living within the county. [...] "We need to keep them out of here," Fugate said.
Alrighty then! Have you got the tar and feathers ready? How about the rails to run them out of town on? Yeesh...

(Not, I imagine, that homosexuals are exactly lining up to live in Rhea County, Tennessee: "Oh, darn, Kevin, Rhea County's out. I guess it'll have to be San Francisco after all.")

And "keep them out" isn't the right verbal construction; believe it or not, J.C. Fugate, homosexuals are born everywhere, even in Rhea County. What do you plan to do with the ones who are already there? Another quote from the article, from Matt Nevels, president of the Chattanooga chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays:
"How are they going to determine who is homosexual? Are they going to go on a witch hunt? Put cameras in every single bedroom? I think they're digging themselves into a big hole. There's no law that will allow them to do that."
Yes; see "pesky Lawrence vs. Texas Supreme Court decision," referred to above. C'mon, people; you can't pick and choose who gets to live in a county in a state in the United States of America based on what you like or don't like or believe or don't believe. You can purchase land and build a private gated community and charge admission and only let in the people who pass your standards; you can fund private clubs and private schools that only do what you want done and teach what you want taught; but the key word there is private. You can't keep the public out of the public, okay?

[I realize I'm coming down rather hard on Rhea County, Tennessee; but the fact that it's the same county at the center of the most widely-known, well-publicized, and bitterly-fought anti-evolution trial of the 20th century does make future attempts to legally enforce the equivalent of "Let's stick our fingers in our ears and our heads in the sand and sing 'La la la I can't hear you!'" look even more irrational and backwards than they otherwise would.]

[ at 11:22 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Friday, March 12, 2004 
Friday Five 
1. What was the last song you heard?

Probably whatever was on the radio at the store where I bought my lunch, but I don't remember noticing it. And I guess snippets of songs in TV commercials don't count. So, um...um...hm. I don't listen to music on purpose very much. Um...okay, I'm stumped. Next question.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

In a theater, on DVD, or on TV? I hardly ever go to movie theaters; we went to "Chicago" after the Oscars last year, and went out with J.'s brother to "Catch Me If You Can" in the January or December before that. I vaguely remember watching the video of "L.A. Confidential" about two weeks ago, but I don't know what recorded movie we watched before that. And on TV, we watched "Apollo 13" two weekends ago (we just kind of got sucked into it as we were channel-flipping on a dull Sunday [Saturday?] afternoon), and some weeks before that we watched "Stargate" on the Spanish channel. ("Porta de Stellare," or something like that; I don't know much about Spanish. I was mostly paying attention to the dialogue in Egyptian anyway.) It's really a lot of fun to watch cheesy movies dubbed into Spanish; many of them don't make less sense...

(A side effect of getting an undergraduate degree in film studies and spending three or so years in a master's degree film program seems to be that I absolutely hate watching movies, unless I really get myself psyched up for it, or I get sucked into it without meaning to—like, channel-flipping into something, or wandering into the living room while J.'s already watching something. People have made fun of film classes because they think watching movies is fun, not work; but after all those film classes, I think watching movies is work, not fun.)

(Could be worse. I could've been an English major and wound up hating reading.)

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

Lunch: a roast beef hoagie, a green apple, and a bottle of V8 Splash—the "Berry Blend," because the tropical fruit one has mangoes, which I love, but am irrevocably allergic to. One of the seminal moments in my young-adulthood, in terms of assuming responsibility for my life and making decisions I didn't like For My Own Good, was when, in high school, six months after discovering mangoes and deciding they were the best fruit in the entire world, I made the connection between eating them and getting hives on my lips a week later (the delayed reaction kept me from figuring it out sooner), and resigned myself to never eating mangoes again. I'm still kind of bitter about it. I mean, if I have to be allergic to something, why does it have to be something I like so much?

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

We're buying, or at least planning to buy, a pet parakeet (yay!), so we have to make sure the cage is set up, figure out what pet store to go to, find a bird, and buy it...does that count as four things, or is it really only one? And I've got to do laundry. And pick up some prescriptions that have been languishing at CVS all week. Also J. is going to work on my brother's house on Sunday (the kitchen we started working on in October is almost done!), but I'll probably just stay home with the laundry and the TV Guide.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

The coworker I'm training to do some file conversion work, the coworker who took it upon himself to tell her the way he thinks she should do it, a guy who wandered in off the street and asked what we do here (we moved into this office two months ago, but the previous tenant's sign is still on the roof, so people keep walking in, stopping, looking around and saying "You're not the copy place anymore, are you?" There's a small copy shop on the corner, though, and we direct people there; they [the store] are picking up a lot of business all of a sudden), another coworker who asked me if I was going to talk to the second guy who wandered in off the street (I didn't), and, before all of that, the cashier at the convenience store where I bought my lunch. I have a thrilling life, don't I? (I actually waited until the afternoon to do this Friday Five because in the morning I hadn't talked to five people yet.)

[ at 2:19 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Random odd thing 
I just noticed that the plastic lid of my convenience-store coffee cup has "12/16/20" written on it. What's that supposed to be? The expiration date? (I really love that there's an expiration date on bottles of distilled water. As far as I know, nothing can ever happen to distilled water in a sealed container. You could probably drink it a hundred years from now. But maybe the expiration date is for the plastic.)

[ at 9:44 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Friday, March 05, 2004 
Wars and words 
Another "today in history" (I hope I don't resort to these too often): on March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his "iron curtain" speech (that's a link to the actual 1946 New York Times article). I don't know if that's the first time he used the phrase, but it's the one that brought it to international attention and added it to the cold war lexicon.

How the heck did Winston Churchill get so good at speaking and speechwriting, anyway? "The end of the beginning," "so much to so few," "I shall be sober in the morning." Politicians just don't seem to be able to do that anymore.

(A year or so ago J. read the great Churchill biography "The Last Lion"; perhaps I'll embark upon it. The most...I don't want to say amazing, but surprising thing about it, to me, was that it ends at the start of World War II. The whole two-volume, hundreds-of-pages enterprise is just the lead-up to the days of what I think I can legitimately refer to as his greatness. I just wish the biographer had written a third and maybe fourth volume, covering the war and post-war years; if the introduction is so amazing, what would the centerpiece be like?)

(I realize I used the words "great" and "amazing" several times in that paragraph, and I mean them literally; not "That was a great dinner" or "What an amazing episode of 'CSI'," but "great" as in "remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness...markedly superior in character or quality" and "amazing" as the inflected form of "amaze," "to fill with wonder" [those are from the Merriam-Webster Web site].)

(Okay, I'm a language nerd. I did start this entry with "wars and words.")

[ at 9:40 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Wednesday, March 03, 2004 
You know you're ______ when... 
Last night I was so bored that I was literally watching a History Channel documentary on concrete. I didn't even know there was such a documentary; I thought it might be one of those things people hyperbolize about to illustrate how dull educational TV is. But no, there really is an hour-long program on it. And I suppose it's even moderately interesting, if you like engineering and Building Stuff; but after about half an hour I decided I was being just too pathetic and went upstairs to do the New York Times Sunday crossword on my computer. Which is just as nerdy, I guess; but at least it's not the punchline to a "you know you're _____ when..." joke.

[ at 9:56 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yes, that's me.


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