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Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
10:36 pm - Do I have a LiveJournal?
Oh, yeah, I do. Far out.
Happy New Year, all.
Now go away, I'm grading.

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Sunday, May 14th, 2006
1:44 pm - Hello all you Mothers
I haven't been here in a long time, so hello to everyone and happy Mothers Day to you Mothers. My beautiful daughter is graduating from Berkeley this coming Saturday, Phi Beta Kappa with a BA Integrative Biology and a summer internship watching humming bees at Mammoth (a nearby ski resort).

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Wednesday, January 11th, 2006
4:01 pm
Lifted from CAhobbit:

Open iTunes/iPod or Windows Media Player to answer the following. Go to your library. Answer, no matter how embarrassing it is. iTunes
How many songs? 957
Sort by artist
First artist: Air (courtesy of Cahobbit)
Last artist: The Zombies.
Sort by song title,
First Song: 2x4 (Metallica) 
Last Song: Zither Carol (Kathleen Battle)
Sort by time
Shortest Song: Capitulum: 'Cum complerentur dies', Vespera in Dominica Pentecostes (.30—takes longer to type it)
Longest Song: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto (21:59)
Sort by album
First Album: 18 Essential Songs (Janis Joplin)
Last Album: War (U2)
First song that comes up on shuffle: Bungle in the Jungle (Jethro Tull)
How many songs come up when you search for "sex"? 1
How many songs come up when you search for "death"? 2
How many songs come up when you search for "love"? 22

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Sunday, November 20th, 2005
12:16 pm - "Nerdanel needs . . ."
I'm not much for lj games, but I love this one borrowed from kiwi_kimi: put "[your name] needs" (with the quotation marks) into a google search and find out what you need. (I used my real name in the search.) Pick ten results that make some sense.

Nerdanel needs: "THE CREEPS." (Hmm, not such a good start.)

More behind the cut, if I figure out how to use it.Collapse )

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Saturday, November 19th, 2005
12:19 pm - "Abortion"
(cross-posted from Redux)

I object to the treatment of "abortion" as if it could be discussed and evaluated in the abstract, apart from the circumstances of any particular pregnancy. I therefore object to any law setting the conditions under which an abortion can or can't take place (apart from medical regulation equally applicable to tonsillectomy and abortion) because such legislation can't possibly take account of singular circumstances. I also object to laws restricting abortion (or requiring it) because such laws assume that the individuals involved (particularly but not exclusively women) are so lacking in moral judgment that a legislature wholly uninformed of their circumstances is better equiped to guide their conduct.

Focusing on "abortion" as a topic of debate also obscures what the discussion is--or should be--about. It's a little like calling all discussions of cigarette smoking the pneumonectomy debate. Abortion is a procedure that terminates a pregnancy, but the alternative to weigh against abortion is not childbirth but motherhood. Denying a woman an abortion forces her to become a mother. The discussion should be about coerced motherhood. There are many, many aspects of our culture, our economy and our physiology operating to make motherhood inevitable while representing it as the result of choice. Abortion rescues from motherhood unwilling women who have been swept into it by these inexorable pressures. Denial of abortion is the iron fist of coercion inside the velvet glove of choice.

Motherhood is a life-shaping joy and a wonder, but the magnitude of the blessing is also the measure of the burden imposed on the woman who is not willing to bear it. Under no circumstances do we impose a comparable burden on unwilling men or women. We do not require any man admitted to medical school to spend his life as a doctor, no matter how rewarding a medical career may be or how desperately we need doctors.

As to when "life" begins, approached as a scientific question the determination is irrelevant to the question of when, if ever, motherhood should be required, or to any other moral question. (And "viability," the legal dividing line between impermissible and permissible coercion, is a moral abomination.) Human life begins when a being becomes a member of human society. That may happen before conception or fail to happen even after birth. It happens when a child is recognized and welcomed into society (however grudgingly).

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Saturday, November 5th, 2005
11:21 pm - Make-up
Cross-posted from Redux:

I decided, after something like 25 make-up free years, to go to the MAC counter at Macy's and let them make me up. "Angel," who seemed like a sweet girl and whose boyfriend went to Princeton and Harvard, made me "beautiful." So I bought moisturizer--Oil Control Lotion (because it kinda tingled when she brushed it on), Select SPF 15 Foundation NW 20 (Ghastly Pale), a brush for same, Sheertone blush (Gingerly) (that's the name of the color, I guess, but pretty good advice for how to put it on), eye shadow and a brush to "fill in" my eyebrows (in color "Coquette", which Angel, despite her Ivy League boyfriend, thought was called "croquette, although to her credit she thought that was a strange name for eyeshadow), Caramellow Cremestick lipliner, and Lustre Midimauve A 25 lipstick. All for well under (well, under) $200. In my defense, I haven't bought anything but Clinique soap and clarifying lotion for decades, so if you amortize that purchase over 25 years . . .) I didn't buy the lip brush or the blusher brush or the mascara. Angel whispered to me that I should get masquera at the drug store.

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Wednesday, October 12th, 2005
9:10 pm - And speaking of elevators . . .
Another elevator at work sports a sign that says, "If this elevator stops between floors, do not be alarmed. There is very little danger of running out of air." Very little danger!?! Until I read that sign it hadn't occurred to me there was any danger of running out of air! Falling, maybe--the sign goes on to reassure me that there is "very little danger" of that, either. Very little. How much, exactly?

"Do not be alarmed," the sign says. "Press button marked "alarm." Well, if I'm not supposed to be alarmed, why have an alarm button? I'm getting more alarmed by the second. Now I look, and I see that there is no button marked "alarm"!!! That is alarming. I start to feel I am running out of air. The doors open and I run gasping into the lobby. Every day is an adventure.

current mood: anxious

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8:41 pm - Deconstruction in an elevator.
I spend a fair amount of time waiting for and riding in elevators. Today I had an epiphany in one. We were waiting, as usual, for the elevator when a pretty full one opened its doors. "There's room at the inn" announced a voice from within the elevator. I got on and the doors closed. My colleague Norm remarked, "History would have been different if they had said that at the inn [presumably, to Joseph and Mary]." I said, "Maybe they did, but it got revised in the retelling." "Oh, revisionist history," another voice contributed. "All history is revisionist," I glibly declared, drawing a nod from the guy in the suit, apparently a judge making a guest appearance in a class. "But there must one original story before the revisions," said a student standing next to me. "What if the alternate versions go all the way back? What if events happen in multiple ways from the get go, and perception is (wait for it) always already a revision?" At that point the doors opened on the first floor and I got out to rejoin the student I'd been waiting with up on the 5th floor, who had decided to walk down.

My poor law students. How are they supposed to learn the rules from me?

current mood: confused

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Monday, September 26th, 2005
11:18 pm - Tattoos
I was sitting on the subway today and across the aisle was a man in shorts and cut-off sleeves with legs and arms covered with tattoos. Not that unusual--there were lots of other tattoos visible in the same car of the train. But two things struck me about this guy. First, on his shin was a tat of some sort of leering monster or demon, and just below that was Mickey Mouse. Not a perverted Mickey, or a violent Mickey, just good ol' Mickey Mouse smiling at me from the guy's ankle. Then on his shoulder were two girls' names, one below the other. I guess this is his solution to the problem of falling in love forever more than once: just tattoo the whole list!

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Friday, September 23rd, 2005
3:17 pm - Shakespeare
picked up from seejaye

If you see this on your friends list, add a Shakespeare quote of your own!

Let me have men about me who are fat
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep of night.
Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.

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10:26 am - Piggy Personality Test
I don't understand how to post all the code & stuff, but here's my pig: http://drawapig.desktopcreatures.com/gallery/large.asp?id=751246&p=0&hof=0&q=personality+test

in a personality test I took from Celandine Brandybuck.

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Saturday, September 10th, 2005
2:11 pm - Gardening in Southern California
Not even a month since my last entry! Soon, no doubt, I'll be tearing up the bandwidth with my wisdom. But not today--today I have to get into the garden and make up for a summer of neglect. It is never a good idea to neglect the garden in Southern California, especially heading into winter. Plants and weeds that are just a little unruly in September can take over and completely consume nearby plants, gardens, houses and neighborhoods by spring. Unfortunately, September is generally the hottest time of the year around here--it can easily go over 100F this month. But today it is only around 70F at 2pm so I have no excuse--I mean, a perfect opportunity to rip, hack, uproot, prune and destroy so I can find my way out the front door in the spring.

current mood: determined

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Friday, August 19th, 2005
11:32 pm - Cognitive Dissonance
Here's my schedule for the weekend. On Saturday morning (in just a few hours) I have to drive my kid to San Bernardino to see Ozzfest. San Bernardino is just far enough away from here for me to consider staying out there for the day until it is time to bring him home. But other than Ozzfest, what is there to do in San Bernardino (actually Glen Helen--greater metropolitan San Bernardino)? There is the Glen Helen Speedway. The Glen Helen website describes rolling hills and fishing--maybe I'm just blinded by my Los Angeles bias. Anyway, once I get through my peripheral role in Ozzfest--Oh, did I mention that the reason Kid is going is that he got a voucher for a free ticket for giving blood at a radio station blood drive? I guess that's an appropriate way to see Black Geriatric Sabbath.

Anyway, once I'm done with that, Sunday I'm going to the home of a colleague to learn to sing Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young numbers in harmony for our faculty retreat. The group involved includes one operatic soprano, several acceptable baritones, me (an enthusiastic untrained amateur), 2 guitars, a treble recorder, a mandoline and an electric keyboard. I can't wait to see how we do with Judy Blue Eyes. I think I have the na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na part down. I wonder if we should also try some Black Sabbath?

current mood: optimistic

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Sunday, August 14th, 2005
12:34 pm - Fear
I posted this over on ASF in response to a question about whether people are more fearful to speak out now than in the late '60s-early '70s, and the effect of a draft on public protest, but I don't have that many coherent thoughts so I'll post it here too.

Update: The Christian Science Monitor on similar issues: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0815/p01s01-uspo.html

****

Certainly the abolition of the draft cut the legs out from under the protests of the '70s. The leaders and true believers were still in the streets, but 2/3 of the followers suddenly found it wasn't their problem. The "all volunteer" army (are you really volunteering if so much money has been siphoned out of the economy and into the pockets of the top .5% that there is no other job for you?) is a brilliant way to keep anti-war sentiment to a minimum. "We" don't enlist, "they" do. "We" don't really know what's going on and, most of the time, don't need to pay attention. When "we" do speak out, "they" think, with some justification, that we are blowing it out our collective ass. "We" don't care what "they" think, since "they" get all their news from Limbaugh and Faux. Not a good foundation for collective action.

I have always been quietly pro-draft (even though I have an 18-year-old son) as a necessary corollary of being against war and a standing army.

As to fear, there is a different kind of fear today. Many of the folks who oppose the current regime and its crimes were speaking out in the 70s, but then we had nothing to lose. Now we do. Those of us who take to the streets anyway are not particularly fearful because pics of police bashing old grey heads tend to get media attention and look bad. But here in Los Angeles it is very, very scary for sweatshop workers, union organizers, victims of routine police violence, etc. to demonstrate in public. The National Lawyers Guild chapter here provides Legal Observers for any progressive demonstrators requesting them. The Legal Observers' job is basically to witness interactions between police and public, take notes and pictures, and let the police know that "we" are watching. It works.

current mood: frustrated

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Monday, August 8th, 2005
6:02 pm - Wow, I wish I had time for this.
But right now I don't. I'll be back later.

current mood: okay

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