April 30, 2004

Appalling

There's lots of reaction on the news of the American soldiers that abused Iraqi prisoners, but I'm going to send you over to read what Stryker has to say.

For my part, I think the part that bowled me over was that they're using getting no training or guidance and having never read the Geneva Convention as an excuse for their actions. What the??? Since when do you have to read the Geneva Convention to know what you're doing is WRONG? I've never read it either, but it sure never occurred to me that it was okay to mistreat prisoners of war. It's basic human decency, isn't it? It makes you wonder what other actions these people have committed in their lives. They're a total disgrace.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:37 PM | Comments (3)

Third Song

Via the Debster:

1. Grab the nearest CD
2. Put it in your CD-Player
3. Skip to Song 3
4. Post the first verse along with these instructions. Don’t name the band, nor the album-title

No one in sight for fifty miles, sleeping fields sigh as I glide across their spines. If I can just reach the crest of that hill this whole day will tumble, out the night will spill.

Hey, you're lucky it wasn't in Gaelic!

Posted by Ithildin at 6:16 PM

80's Weekend

The Beach is having a totally 80's weekend (again) so here's a music moment a little later than the normal lunch hour one I normally do.

This was one of my faves from the time:

The Bangles: If She Knew What She Wants

If she knew what she wants
(He'd be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can't see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He'd be giving it to her
Giving it to her.

But she wants everything
(He can pretend to give her everything)
Or there's nothing she wants
(She don't want to sort it out)
He's crazy for this girl
(But she don't know what she's looking for)
If she knew what she wants
He'd be giving it to her
Giving it to her.

I'd say her values are corrupted
But she's open to change
Then one day she's satisfied
And the next I'll find her crying
And it's nothing she can explain.

If she knew what she wants
(He'd be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can't see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He'd be giving it to her
Giving it to her (giving it to her).

Some have a style That they work hard to refine So they walk a crooked line But she won't understand Why anyone would have to try To walk a line when they could fly.

No sense thinking I could rehabilitate her
When she's fine, fine, fine
She's got so many ideas traveling around in her head
She doesn't need nothing from mine.

If she knew what she wants
(He'd be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can't see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He'd be giving it to her
Giving it to her.

But she wants everything
(He can pretend to give her everything)
Or there's nothing she wants
(She don't want to sort it out)
He's crazy for this girl
(But she don't know what she's looking for)
If she knew what she wants
He'd be giving it to her
Giving it to her.

(He'd be giving it to her)
(He could give her that too)
(But he can't see through her)
Ooooooh
Giving it to her
Giving it to her now.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:15 PM | Comments (2)

Busy, Busy

It's EOM closing time, so I have a busy, busy day on tap. On the bright side, we're having a mini BFL get together tonight with Peter of Lex Communis, who is in town on business.

Talk at y'all later!

Posted by Ithildin at 9:18 AM | Comments (2)

April 29, 2004

The Flag

One of the most memorable moments from our trip to Dland last weekend was an unexpected flag ceremony. We just happened to be near the flag pole in the main square near sunset, when an honour guard escorted out the bugler from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He played while the flags were lowered, and then the Disney band played God Bless America. I was pleased at how most everyone around the area actually stopped what they were doing, fell silent, and observed the ceremony with no prompting. The whole thing brought more than a tear or two to my eyes.

A little later, we discovered that the Air Force Academy Concert Band was playing in Carnation Plaza, so we got to listen to them for awhile, and they were great! Lots of men there who I'm assuming were WWII vets attending the concert as well.

All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:01 PM | Comments (1)

New Girl!

My last shameless plug garnered a new Girl! The lovley Lachlan decided to take the plunge and join our merry little group of gals. This is of the good!

Posted by Ithildin at 5:55 PM | Comments (1)

$50,000 Or Bust

You still have time to get in on the Spirit of America drive. Check out this post at Wizbang! for the latest details.

Posted by Ithildin at 10:36 AM

First Link Of The Day

I've been following this subject from the sidelines for the most part, and Debbye's post this morning made me laugh. And if you ever wanted to know all the important details about me, check out the comments.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:50 AM | Comments (5)

April 28, 2004

Medicare Prescription Discounts

It turns out that the rant I did a few days ago was premature. The information I had was for people to be eligible for a waiver of the $30 enrollment fee and a $600 credit towards medications. In order to get that, you must make less than $12000 a year and have no other insurance.

After reading more information on the program, it isn't that bad. Basically, there are a few companies that offer discount cards to people with Medicare. You can still have insurance, and the company offering the discount card can only charge a $30 enrollment fee, no monthly fees. These cards are only valid until December 31, 2005. As of January 1st, 2006, there is going to be a Medicare prescription program.

However, 90% of the time, the cash price at the pharmacy I work at is better than the prescription discount programs. There are a few that end up being cheaper using a discount card, but not many.

Posted by Ninjababe at 5:31 PM

While I'm Here

A few shameless plugs:

ALRR

Celts In Space

And if you'd like to be a part of a group blog, check out Girls! Girls! Girls! -- I'm always scouting for new talent :)

Posted by Ithildin at 9:00 AM | Comments (2)

The Music Of Pain

I have another marathon dentist appointment today, so blogging will probably be light to nonexistant.

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:38 AM | Comments (4)

April 27, 2004

It's The Little Things

Words of wisdom from an 11 year old:

"Some people might say, 'Why fight for french fries? It's small,'" Jessica explained. "But if we don't fight this, they might take away pizza and hamburgers."
Posted by Ithildin at 6:27 PM | Comments (4)

Puppy Blogging

Another plug for Mickey and the work she does trying to place homeless dogs. If you're looking for a dog, or would like to help out, check out her blog.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:14 PM | Comments (1)

What About Me?

I've been pondering doing a profile, or an 'all about me' thingie, but I hate writing them. I always sound even dorkier than I actually am. A long time ago, Paul (who used to be the Guy on this blog back when it was a group blog) wrote a bio for me as if I were running for public office. It was a hoot and I wish I could find it. That might be more interesting than the usual bio, huh?

I know I have many bright and funny readers, so how about giving me some alternate bios to go along with my real one?

On another fairly unrelated note: I need to find a man who likes to dance! Real dancing, not the jumping up and down stuff they do in clubs (though that can be fun on occasion) I'm thinking of dragging Nin to Swing Dance classes so we can socialize and exercise. But my experience with couples dancing, and group dancing for that matter, is that there's always more women then men.

I used to Scottish Country dance, and I loved it. I was even in a performance group (she says modestly), but it wrecked my feet. Ended up with nerve damage in my right foot. We always had more women than men, so we did a lot of all women sets and women dancing as men in mixed sets. But I just loved dancing, and I miss it.

Okay, starting to ramble. It's unusually warm here, and I'm tired. Another hour till going home time.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:19 PM | Comments (8)

Thirty Second Movie Review: Thirteen Going On Thirty

I saw this on Friday, and since I just went to kill time while Nin and Jen were at the Tower of Terror opening, I wasn't expecting much from it. But I was very pleasantly surprised! I enjoyed it thoroughly, and so did the other members of the audience. It's been a long time since I've heard so much laughter and applause during a movie. Jennifer Garner sparkles, and does a fine job making me believe she's a 13 year old in a thirty year old's body. It also has a great late 80s soundtrack. An added bonus is Andy Serkis as her boss -- there's one scene where he does the moonwalk that's a hoot!

Posted by Ithildin at 12:07 PM | Comments (3)

So Now American Idol Is Racist

According to Elton John at least.

"The three people I was really impressed with, and they just happened to be black, young female singers, and they all seem to be landing in the bottom three," said John on Tuesday, commenting on the tally in which the lowest vote-getter is eliminated.

"They have great voices. The fact that they're constantly in the bottom three -- and I don't want to set myself up here -- but I find it incredibly racist," John said at a news conference promoting his Radio City Music Hall concert backed by an orchestra of students from London's Royal Academy of Music and The Juilliard School of New York

Here's my take: I think that La Toya, Fantasia, and Jennifer are so good, they're splitting the vote. And never underestimate the power of teeny bopper girls voting for the "cute guy" (hey, I'm not so old I don't remember the girls I went to school with putting up posters of Leif Garrett, etc, on their locker doors!). I don't think it's racist, it's just the way the cookie crumbles. I'd like to know what the voter demographics are, because my assumption is that they would skew high towards female and teenaged/early twenties.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:35 AM | Comments (9)

Dressing The Middle Ages

I may be officially middle aged, but I'm only 40 for Pete's sake! So it was nice to see that clothing makers are finally starting to cater women in my age group. When I was a teenager, we were poor, and I mostly wore nasty clothes (yellow elastic waisted polyester pants) from K Mart & Zellars that my grandmother bought me. In my twenties I had no money, or confidence, to wear anything stylish -- I was shy, baggy clothes girl. Long hair to hide behind, tunic tops to hide under. Somewhere in my mid thirties, I turned a new page, and now I want to make up for all those tunics and yellow polyester pants! I don't want to hide under baggy 'middle aged' clothes, I want to wear stylish attractive garb, but I don't want to look like a teenager. I want to look like me, for want of a better description. And it seems like I'll have an easier time accomplishing that feat very soon now.

Posted by Ithildin at 10:20 AM | Comments (2)

April 26, 2004

Easy Come, Easy Go

I'm devolving. Rather quickly too. I guess that's one of the pitfalls of changing your URL. From being in the mid hundreds, I've dropped like a cookie crumb in a glass of milk to 243.

Oh well.

On the up side, the weather this spring is lovely!

Posted by Ithildin at 7:17 PM | Comments (5)

See What Happens?

I go away for a while and I find myself mentioned in a post on the raging battle of the blog sexes! I have to say, it's very flattering to be included in John's "off the top of his head" listing. Thanks, John, as always for all your encouragment and kind words.

I should leave town more often!

(For those of you that were commenting last week about my missing picture, this was sort of what I was talking about)

(Now if I could only remember that Blake's 7 quote about the battle of the sexes. I know Avon said it...)

Posted by Ithildin at 6:29 PM | Comments (1)

Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam

Undimmed by Human Tears!

.... God bless them all. Never forget them, never take them for granted, never try to diminish their sacrifice with cynical exploitation, and never doubt their dedication.

And never, ever break faith with them.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)

Socializing

Nin and I got to meet up with some BFLers yesterday for lunch. We got to see folks we'd met before, and some new faces as well.

Citizen Smash & his lovely wife
Aaron
Xrlq
Jeff
Juliette
Michael
Kevin
Patterico and Mrs. Patterico
Mitch

If I missed anyone, give me a clue in the comments :)

Posted by Ithildin at 5:53 PM

For That Special Legolas Fan

Lord of the Rings Legolas Computer Mouse
Just when I think I've seen everything.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:36 PM

Home Again, Home Again

Totally buried here, but wanted to say, "Hi!" and to thank Deb for being a delightful guest hostess here while I was gone. There was much fun, eating and drinking, and we did make the Bear Flag lunch yesterday with lots of people who will be nameless till after work when I can do a proper post!

Talk at you all later.

Posted by Ithildin at 9:59 AM | Comments (4)

Oh, what a gloomy day.

If you hadn't noticed, I blame everything on the weather lately.

Weather didn't used to be a big part of my life. Then I moved to New England.

Go ahead and laugh. I know you want to.

Anyway, I'm having a heck of a time getting moving today, courtesy of a lovely little storm that's got it looking like twilight at noon again. This is why winter and I don't get along; you cut off my light supply and I just curl up in a little ball and sleep until it comes back.

But life and blogs march on. I've got to stay awake at least long enough to make it to an appointment tonight. In the meantime, may I recommend paying a visit to The Queen of All Evil? She's lovely, you know.

Posted by Deb at 9:57 AM

April 25, 2004

My apologies.

I had meant to be a much more present and active guest host, and then this life thing happened, and...

Well, y'all know what I mean, and the last thing you want to hear is my sad tale of what a gorgeous spring day it was yesterday, and how I've been pretty much anywhere but the computer for most of the weekend so far, and how I've got family stuff to do this afternoon, and how the husband's home today, so I'm not likely to get to the computer again. :-) I'll try to bribe him into posting something, but he's a tough case lately.

Hope y'all are having a beautiful weekend, too. Yay spring!

Posted by Deb at 9:52 AM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2004

Bits & Pieces

I'm having one of those terribly-industrious-around-the-house days that strike every so often, so blogging is liable to remain slightly irregular. Here's a few links y'all might find interesting:

Tumeric as a treatment for cystic fibrosis? Whodathunkit? The bit about CF being too much of a good thing (arising from a beneficial mutation) is something I was unaware of, too. Fascintaing stuff.

I am extremely amused by this whole thing with Kerry and his wife's SUV. I just want to know why he doesn't go "zoop" and make it disappear. (OK, I've beaten that joke to death, but it still makes me giggle, so y'all are stuck suffering.)

Speaking of amusing, this whole thing about sexism in the blogosphere is much more interesting than doing the dishes. Take that as you will.

I think Zombyboy is right: the record industry is definitely showing suicidal tendencies. I used to think it was just depressed, but it's a deeper problem than that.

I figured that Schwarzenegger would make a decent governor, but his businesslike approach is even more refreshing than I thought it would be.

I'm going to quit before this gets out of control...and because I have to go rescue a load of laundry. Seems like a good time to open the floor to shameless promotion of self and others--any posts languishing in the cellars of the blogosphere that y'all want to introduce to the light of day? Drop a comment if you've got one...

Posted by Deb at 10:46 AM | Comments (7)

I just love the smell of shameless self-promotion in the morning.

Er, actually, in this case it's my blog but not one of my posts. I just really, really like that line. Probably because I haven't had any coffee yet.

If you need a little something sweet to go with your coffee this morning, may I recommend this post, authored by my darling husband and so cute that it makes me queasy?

/self-promotion...shameless is a permanent feature, I'm afraid...

Posted by Deb at 7:41 AM

April 22, 2004

A Bovine Proposal

This makes as much sense as any other proposal to deal with illegal immigration that I've seen:

Is it just me or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington.

Also they track her calves to their stalls.

But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country.

The solution is to give every illegal alien a cow.

That should do it.

Couldn't find a permalink, but I found the post at Middle Age Madness.

Posted by Deb at 3:59 PM | Comments (2)

Continuing the theme of inanity...

I give you the banana guard.

Hey, it's 79 degrees and sunny. Inane is all I've got.

Via Seth Godin.

Posted by Deb at 12:59 PM | Comments (1)

Some things just shouldn't be done.

Donnie's right...this is just wrong. It's like...it's like Glenn chopping up the bitch to put in his puppy shakes.

Why do I feel like I should apologize for extending that analogy?

Posted by Deb at 9:48 AM | Comments (2)

April 21, 2004

Daffodils

This feeling Patrick's talking about it the reason why I'm having such a rough time blogging serious today. Or blogging funny. Or blogging at all, really. It's cooler today, but still obviously spring. Finally. And it feels wonderful.

This morning my husband pointed out that the tree outside our kitchen window is getting leaves now. I could swear they weren't there yesterday.

I think I may come to appreciate spring much more living where it doesn't show up on March first. I'd still rather live somewhere warm, though. ;)

Posted by Deb at 4:16 PM | Comments (4)

Spirit Of America

A lot of wonderful bloggers are raising money for "Spirit of America". Since I'm not going to be in town, I decided to be Switzerland and not pick a team, so I encourage you to visit these fine alliances, and help them out. Any one of them would be happy to add you to the roster for a good cause.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:51 AM

C2...the Coke-inator?

What do you get when you combine the latest diet craze with fear of aspartame?

Why, low-carb Coke, of course.

Am I the only one who thinks that all of this food weirdness is getting just a little out of control?

Posted by Deb at 11:28 AM | Comments (9)

Happy Birthday

Rachel, if you're still out there, happy birthday!

Hope you have a wonderful year.

(her email address no longer works, I discovered)

Posted by Ithildin at 11:26 AM

*taps microphone*

Er, is this thing on?

*waves to Ith's adoring fans*

Posted by Deb at 10:16 AM | Comments (3)

Stuff

The lovely Deb will be your guest host whilst I'm away. Probably won't see much from me after this post hits, 'cus I have a ton to do and little time do do it in.

See y'all on the flip side!

Posted by Ithildin at 9:13 AM

April 20, 2004

Rule

Don't clean when you're tired [sigh]

One of the guys that works here -- hell, maybe more than one -- uses the toilet, misses, and leaves it on the floor. Guess who almost always gets to clean the bathroom? So, the bathroom stinks, I decide to do a quick mop before I leave. I catch my foot on the bucket trying to get paper towels out of the cupboard, spilling Pinesol water all over my new shoes and the back of my pant leg. Then I manage to splash the water with Pinesol in my eye as I scramble to drop paper towels on the spill.

This is not a good day.

Update: I REEK of bloody Pinesol!!!!! [gnashes teeth]

Posted by Ithildin at 6:23 PM | Comments (5)

Coming Home

Go read this post of Ian's.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:02 PM

One More Day

I'm so sleepy. Another 45 minutes till Nin gets here, then I can go hoooome! Well, not quite -- bank, RiteAid, then home. Then packing and getting the car ready for the trip tomorrow. In between, American Idol, Gilmore Girls, & 24. If we're lucky, we should get out of town by 3pm tomorrow. SoCal here we come! So lock up your menfolk.

On a related note: if you'd like to be a Magic Kingdom Guest Blogger here at the Cookie, it's still not too late! If you have a blog, you can shamelessly self promote yourself, and if you don't, you can experience the wonderful world of blogging guilt and carb free! What a deal! And wait, there's more! Order now and you'll get a ham and Ginzu knives!

Posted by Ithildin at 5:52 PM

Something New

There's "cat blogging", and there's even "chicken blogging", but here's something new: "Mulch Blogging". It's new, trendy and hot!

You heard it here first!

(and, Nin, there's even an Alton ref!)

Posted by Ithildin at 4:37 PM

Aaaaaaaaaa!

At work, I just received preliminary information on the Medicare drug benefit plan that's coming in July.

In order to enroll, the participant will have to pay a $30, non-refundable, fee.

The patient cannot have any current insurance or drug discount plans.

And, there are income caps. For a couple, it's $16,000. For a single person, it's $12,000.

Pretty much everyone who does meet the income requirements in this area are already on state-run insurance, which means they currently don't pay a thing! (And, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the same in a good chunk of the country.)

Again, Aaaaaaaaaa!

[deep breath]

Posted by Ninjababe at 3:50 PM | Comments (1)

Band Of Brothers

What can I say that hasn't been said? Frickin' wonderful series -- it's been a long time since I've been so involved in something on TV. It made me cry, it made me think, it made me thankful, and it made me proud to be a countryman (woman?) of those exceptional men.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:29 PM | Comments (6)

Three Questions

I know something like this went around a while back, but it was fun then, so....

You can ask me three questions, and I'll do my best to answer them.(eventually) (I don't promise to answer them if they're too personal though)

Then you offer to do the same thing, linking back to me, and so on and so forth.

BTW: you don't have to have a blog to participate

Posted by Ithildin at 12:19 PM | Comments (5)

Pond Scum

This article in the Scotsman has me fuming. Apparently, white supremacist groups are trying to use Scottish Games here in the US as a way to promote their poison. There always seems to be evil people in plenty to try and defile even the most innocent expressions of heritage and pride.

And this just plays into the media here that anything to do with white people is 'bad'. When I went to Highland Games in SoCal after the Rodney King riots, there were reporters at the gates asking attendees if we didn't feel we were sending the wrong message by celebrating our heritage. I bet they didn't ask that question at Cinco de Mayo or Oban Festivals.

Damned if I'm going to let some pond scum white supremacists hijack my heritage!

This is one of those mentally all in CAPS posts!

Posted by Ithildin at 9:30 AM | Comments (1)

Tit For Tat

You know, some days I really enjoy a good tit for tat moment. This is one of them!

PAYBACK: NOW GOP WANTS KERRY TO SHOW ALL RECORDS

Heh!!

After months of Dems haggling over President Bush's military records, the GOP now moves to demand full-disclosure from John Kerry!

The day after Kerry told MEET THE PRESS he would make all of his military records available for inspection at his campaign headquarters, a spokesman said the senator would not release any new documents, leaving undisclosed many of Kerry's evaluations by his Navy commanding officers, some medical records, and possibly other material.

Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie is planning to deliver a speech later today calling on Kerry to make good on his promise to release all his records, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

[The Bush military records commotion intensified earlier this year after DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe challenged Bush to show records after Bush made a similar promise on MEET THE PRESS.]

Coming Gillespie in a speech to be delivered in Ohio:

"John Kerry's pattern of caveats, qualifications, disclaimers, policy reversals and vacillation are not the qualities voters are looking for in times of change that demand steady leadership.

Posted by Ithildin at 9:10 AM | Comments (3)

There Has To Be A Better Way

Passengers warned of six-hour check-ins

In the UK, they're warning of 6 hour checkins to fly out. You'd think there would be a better way to deal with security. Couldn't people submit to a security check prior to flying? I know if I were traveling overseas, I'd take the opportunity to be checked out and pre approved as opposed to standing in line for 6 hours. Especially when the airlines spend more time questioning little old ladies than anyone in an ethinic group they're afraid of being sued by. If there was a prescreening option, those that took it could have a streamlined checkin and all those that didn't could be questioned at the airport regardless of ethnicity.

My best idea this early in the morning.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:55 AM

April 19, 2004

Hmmm...

I made the font for the posts larger, but I'm not sure it isn't too big. Opinions?

Posted by Ithildin at 5:57 PM | Comments (12)

Music To Drive By -- Or Not

Via Angstman comes this list of the five most dangerous pieces of music to drive to:

1: Richard Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries

2: Giuseppe Verdi - Dies Irae (from Requiem)

3: The Prodigy - Firestarter

4: Basement Jaxx - Red Alert

5: Faithless - Insomnia

He also has the safest songs, but you'll have to visit for those.

Posted by Ithildin at 4:55 PM | Comments (3)

Happy Monday. Not

They're earthquake retrofitting the warehouse I work in, which is a good thing, but the noise is not. For the next two weeks they're drilling holes all along the cinderblocks to allow them to do whatever it is they do to keep the building from falling on top of us. The noise and vibration is awful! Thank goodness I'm gone part of this week!

Speaking of, if you'd like to be a guest blogger for 5 days, lemme know! I think I have one hardy soul lined up (Mark?Yes?)

Posted by Ithildin at 8:57 AM | Comments (9)

April 18, 2004

Speaking Of Dinner

I'm making Tequila Shrimp Quesadillas.

MMMMMM!!

Posted by Ithildin at 7:26 PM

New For Spring

This is what I spent my day doing -- restyling ye olde blog. Now I need a drink!

I'm sure there are things that will need tweaking, but now I need to go make dinner.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:54 PM

History Variety Pack

I've been totally absorbed with watching Band of Brothers on the History channel the last week. This is a series that has actually lived up to all the hype. I'll pretty much watch anything set during WWII, but this is a stellar production and I wish I could go buy the DVDs and watch what's left in one sitting. The episode "Bastogne" really got to me. My visit there was one of the things I most remember from my trip to Europe, and at the end of the day, we went to the American Military Cemetary in Luxembourg. A group of veterans were gathered around the grave of one of their fallen comrades and a bugler was playing Taps. I'll never, ever forget that scene. Watching BoB brought all those memories back in a big way. And I've always been interested in the Battle of the Bulge. A while back I read a book called, A Time for Trumpets : The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge which was huge, detailed, and fascinating. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the battle.

Later on, there was a show that dealt with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the start of WWI. It focused on the men who planned and carried out the killing. I'd never really considered the historical parallels between those men and the 9/11 terrorists. Both groups were young, and disaffected, willing to die for their cause -- in the case of the Black Hand group in Sarajevo, they took cyanide after, but it didn't work -- and fixated on perceived wrongs from centuries before, determined to bring back their long lost power/empire/prestige.

Some light before bed viewing, let me tell you.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:27 PM | Comments (7)

April 17, 2004

Not On My Island

Do I really seem like the kind of person who wants a bunch of people on a desert island with her? Helloooo! I want to be alone!

But fine. If you think you'd add something vital, that I need you on my island, then state your case, and I'll decide if you make the cut.

Are you worthy?

(My own choice would be Jack Sparrow, but he doesn't have a blog, so I guess he doesn't count)

Posted by Ithildin at 2:11 PM | Comments (11)

Follow The Leader

'cus Andrea did it, and I decided what the hell?

"'And I heard she pushed him in, and he pulled her in after him,' said Sandyman, the Hobbiton Miller."

Do I even need to identify the book?

Posted by Ithildin at 1:46 PM | Comments (5)

April 16, 2004

Lutefisk Or Die

Paul lets Canadian Prime Minister and history maven, Paul Martin, explain that pivotal battle of WWII: The Invasion of Norway. You remember the one don't you? All about liberating Lutefisk or something.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:10 PM | Comments (1)

Opportunity Knocks

We're heading down to Dland after work on Wednesday so Nin and Jen can go to the Hollywood Tower of Terror preview party. While in nutty ol' SoCal, dinner with the ever luscious D.G. on Friday, and lunch with a few BFLers on Sunday is in the works, so it should be much fun! Usually, I just let the blog sit all by its lonesome when I'm away, but I'm pondering letting a few guests take over the premises for the duration of my trip. If you're interested, let me know, and then I'll let you know! No prior blogging experience necessary. If you already have a blog, you're more than welcome to use the opportunity for as much shameless self promotion as you can muster. What an offer!

Posted by Ithildin at 5:25 PM | Comments (3)

Convention Schedule

This was emailed to me, and I thought I'd share it with my 'following' [g]:

OFFICIAL 2004 DNC CONVENTION PROGRAM

6:00pm - Opening flag burning ceremony.
6:30pm - Anti-war rally no. 1.
6:40pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
7:00pm - Tribute theme to France.
7:10pm - Collect offerings for al-Zawahri defense fund.
7:20pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
7:25pm - Tribute theme to Spain.
7:45pm - Anti-war rally no. 2. (Moderated by Michael Moore)
8:00pm - John Kerry presents one side of the issues
8:25pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
8:30pm - Terrorist appeasement workshop.

9:30pm - * Intermission *

10:00pm - Flag burning ceremony no. 2.
10:15pm - Re-enactment of Kerry's fake medal toss.
10:30pm - Cameo by Dean 'Yeeearrrrrrrg!'
10:40pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
10:50pm - Pledge of allegiance to the UN.
11:15pm - Maximizing Welfare workshop.
11:20pm - John Kerry presents the other side of the issues
11:30pm - 'Free Saddam' pep rally.
11:59pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
12:00am - Nomination of Democrat candidate.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:22 PM | Comments (9)

April 15, 2004

Yak??

Now I've seen everything! You can buy Yak meat through Amazon.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:02 PM | Comments (2)

A Little Bit Of Beauty

New pics up at Orkneyjar:

The Moon and the Standing Stones o' Stenness

Sunset at the Standing Stones o' Stenness

Posted by Ithildin at 2:22 PM

Laughing With A Sore Throat Hurts

But it was worth the pain. GWB as Han Solo and Condi in the X Wing made me very glad I wasn't consuming a hot beverage at that particular moment.

Allah is indeed strange and twisted.

(not that that's a bad thing)

Posted by Ithildin at 1:50 PM | Comments (1)

Isn't It Odd?

That we think of a specific colour when we hear "rose coloured" and yet roses are all different colours.

Though it's probably because rose the colour and rose the flower aren't connected.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:41 PM | Comments (3)

PC Really Does Kill

This article is quite the eye opener. I can't believe I haven't heard about it before:

Richard Ben-Veniste and Bob Kerrey received the lion's share of media attention paid to last week's 9/11 Commission hearing with Condoleezza Rice, thanks to their generally intemperate questioning style. But while Ben-Veniste and Kerrey played to the cameras, it was their colleague, John Lehman, who was breaking new ground with the national-security adviser, but few noticed.

[....]

Among Lehman's questions was this: "Were you aware that it was the policy...to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory?"

[....]

"We had testimony a couple of months ago from the past president of United, and current president of American Airlines that kind of shocked us all," Lehman told me. "They said under oath that indeed the Department of Transportation continued to fine any airline that was caught having more than two people of the same ethnic persuasion in a secondary line for line for questioning, including and especially, two Arabs."

Wait a minute. So if airline security had three suspicious Arab guys they had had to let one go because they'd reached a quota?

[....]

.... The fact is that our enemy is the violent Islamic extremism and the overwhelming number of people that one need to worry about are young Arab males, and to ask them a couple of extra questions seems to me to be common sense, yet if an airline does that in numbers that are more than proportionate to their number in particular line, then they get fined and that is why you see so many blue haired old ladies and people that are clearly not of Middle Eastern extraction being hauled out in such numbers because otherwise they get fined."

Read it all.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:06 PM | Comments (2)

That's Better

I decided to buy a new keyboard that my brother showed me. What I liked was that it was black, so it matched everything else, and the keyboard was lit underneath in purple. It was perfect for using the computer in a dark room. I got it yesterday, but it's too small. So I just put my old old Logitech keyboard back in. Well, at least now I can hit the keys!

Still sick, stayed home again. This has been a bad winter for me health wise. Ever since I had the influenza with the high fever before Xmas, I've had one respiratory illness after another. I didn't get pneumonia, which is usually part of this cycle, but I've had everything else. Tired of being sick, really.

In better news, a computer monitor was bought by someone clicking through my Amazon links on the sidebar, so the domain is paid for next month! If you ever buy from Amazon, it is very appreciated when you click through A&C. Every little bit helps!

Posted by Ithildin at 12:09 PM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2004

My Mission

One of my "following" [snerk] is Mark at BabyTrollBlog and despite his excellence, he's only a slithery lil reptile. [sniff] Now, if you aren't reading this excellent bit of the blogiverse, you should be! My mission is to help Mark evolve from Slithering Reptile to Flappy Bird. So spread those wings, people, and help me out here.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:49 PM | Comments (2)

Grand Announcement

Henceforth, my readers shall be known as [insert drumroll] my following!

Doesn't that sound lovely?

Now your job is to go find me more followers.

(the whys and wherefores are here)

Posted by Ithildin at 5:31 PM | Comments (7)

Double Duh

I just realized I never did the post that I was going to on Cam's new job!

Well, I guess I just did.

Congratulations on your new venture, Cam. I'm sure you will be a huge success!

Posted by Ithildin at 5:16 PM | Comments (2)

Quandary

So what do you do when two of your favourite bloggers have declared 'war' and you have to choose a side?

I guess there's always the French option [g]

(seriously, it's a good cause, so both sides win in the end)

Posted by Ithildin at 3:01 PM | Comments (4)

I Need A New Drug

I've posted about news burnout, trying to keep my blood pressure down (figuratively speaking), and that I'm going to be a basket case come November. Looks like such things are to be expected, according to this Instapundit post:

.... I've seen a lot of studies showing that people who follow the news closely are more stressed,depressed, and unhappy than people who don't -- and I suspect that nobody in those studies followed the news as closely as serious bloggers do.

I guess the saying that "ignorance is bliss" is more true than I imagined. But could I really ignore the news? I honestly don't think so. I can't remember a time when I wasn't interested in what was going on in the world. I subscribed to TIME when I was 15, and Foriegn Affairs when I was 16, and here I am at 40 soaking in all that FNC & the internet can offer -- and blogging about it too!

I don't think there's a cure for my affliction. Well, maybe if I became Amish...

Update: Looks like Michele is going to try and give it up. I'm gonna miss her.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:12 PM | Comments (2)

Jersey Girl Fatigue

The 9/11 Widows: Americans are beginning to tire of them.

.... The core group of widows led by the foursome known as "The Jersey Girls," credited with bringing the 9/11 Commission into being, are by now world famous. Their already established status in the media, as a small but heroically determined band of sisters speaking truth to power, reached ever greater heights last week, when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice made her appearance at a commission session--an event that would not have taken place, it was understood, without the pressure from the widows.

[....]

But the best known and most quoted pronouncement of all had come in the form of a question put by the leader of the Jersey Girls. "We simply wanted to know," Ms. Breitweiser said, by way of explaining the group's position, "why our husbands were killed. Why they went to work one day and didn't come back."

The answer, seared into the nation's heart, is that, like some 3,000 others who perished that day, those husbands didn't come home because a cadre of Islamist fanatics wanted to kill as many of the hated American infidels in their tall towers and places of government as they could, and they did so. Clearly, this must be a truth also known to those widows who asked the question--though in no way one would notice.

Who, listening to them, would not be struck by the fact that all their fury and accusation is aimed not at the killers who snuffed out their husbands' and so many other lives, but at the American president, his administration, and an ever wider assortment of targets including the Air Force, the Port Authority, the City of New York? In the public pronouncements of the Jersey Girls we find, indeed, hardly a jot of accusatory rage at the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. We have, on the other hand, more than a few declarations like that of Ms. Breitweiser, announcing that "President Bush and his workers . . . were the individuals that failed my husband and the 3,000 people that day.

[....]

Nor can anyone miss, by now, the darker side of this spectacle of the widows, awash in their sense of victims' entitlement, as they press ahead with ever more strident claims about the way the government failed them. Or how profoundly different all this is from the way in which citizens in other times and places reacted to national tragedy.

From August 1940 to May 1941, the Luftwaffe's nightly terror bombings killed 43,000 British men, women and children. That was only phase one. Phase two, involving the V-1 flying bombs and, later, rockets, killed an additional 6,180. The British defense, was, to the say the least, ineffectual, particularly in the early stages of the war--the antiaircraft guns were few, the fire control system inadequate, as was the radar system. Still, it would have been impossible, then as now, to imagine victims of those nightly assaults rising up to declare war on their government, charging its leaders, say, with failure to develop effective radar--the British government had, after all, had plenty of warning that war was coming. It occurred to no one, including families who had lost husbands, wives and children, to claim that tens of thousands had been murdered on Winston Churchill's watch. They understood that their war was with the enemies bombing them.

[....]

Yesterday's session of the 9/11 Commission brought an appearance by Attorney General John Ashcroft--a reminder, among other things, of various intriguing questions posed by some of Ms. Breitweiser's analyses (delivered in her testimony before the 2002 congressional committee) of the ways the Sept. 11 attack might have been foiled. If the Federal Aviation Administration had properly alerted passengers to the dangers they faced, she asked, how many victims might have thought twice before boarding an aircraft? And "how many victims would have taken notice of these Middle Eastern men while they were boarding their plane? Could these men have been stopped?"

A good question. One can only imagine how a broadcast of the warning, "Watch out for Middle Eastern men in line near you, as you board your flight," would have gone down in those quarters of the culture daily worried to death about the alleged threat to civil rights posed by profiling and similar steps designed to weed out terrorists. Consider, a veteran political aide mordantly asks, what the response would have been if John Ashcroft had issued a statement calling for such a precaution, prior to Sept. 11.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)

Do I Really Want To?

Kerry's starting a press conference. Do I really want to listen to it? [insert pondering music] Well, I'm home sick, and boy do I feel like crap. Listening to Kerry will no doubt make me even worse, so let's turn if off.

I feel better already.

(The UN ran away, you dolt!!!) (Okay, I'm turning it off now, really)

Posted by Ithildin at 11:36 AM

April 13, 2004

Duh

I'm sure this will come as a great surprise to us all:

The federal government over the weekend issued a bulletin to state homeland security advisers and the Joint Terrorism Task Forces warning of non-specific, uncorroborated threat information that Al Qaeda wants to attack U.S. targets, Fox News has confirmed.

Officials stressed that the threat information, received in the last week, did not indicate a time, place or method of attack. (emphasis mine)

Okay, 9/11 Commission and assorted sundry blamemongers, what do you think we should do specifically to thwart this threat? And remember, you can't do anything even remotely un-PC or anything that may hurt the feelings of any ethnic or religious group, or upset public library patrons.

I'll be right here when you come up with a foolproof plan of action.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:19 PM | Comments (1)

Getting His Back

If only there could be more of this: Cardinal backs Carey on Muslims

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has joined criticism of Muslims for not doing enough to denounce terrorism.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey sparked anger when he said not enough moderates condemned the radical activists who carried out attacks "in the name of Allah".

And Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor said he sympathised with Dr Carey's remarks.

"He had highlighted something that needed to be highlighted," he said.

The Cardinal said Lord Carey was "very bravely" criticising Muslim leaders for not saying more to combat those who might be attracted to terrorism.

He said the former Archbishop had contributed a lot of his life to building bridges between Christians and Muslims. "I think what he said was fundamentally true."

Next?

Posted by Ithildin at 4:50 PM

Remember

No, I'm not reenacting Spock's death scene from Wrath of Khan.

Just a wee reminder that the blog has a new URL, so if you change your bookmarks, I won't devolve into a fish or something :) That would be so sad. Honest.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:09 AM

The 9/11 Commission & WWII

What a frickin joke the 9/11 commission is! I had to turn it off this morning for the sake of my blood pressure. Last night, I was ranting to Nin on the same subject just before I went to bed and she warned me I'd never get to sleep if I got that riled up before bedtime. Politicians just can't be in front of a camera without striking a pose for the TV, they just can't. They don't ask questions, they pontificate. They're supposed to be learning how to build a better mousetrap and what they're actually doing is participating in a massive group ego stroke.

What specifically got me steaming this morning was "the other Kerrey" droning on about how it shouldn't have mattered if airport security measures were unpopular, the President should have instituted them anyway. For Pete's sake, people gripe about airport security now, after 9/11. And he wanted to know why the 9/11 hijackers had even been let in the country. Gee, I don't know, maybe because profiling is something libs like you, Mr. Kerrey think is the ultimate evil. We're not supposed to do it after 9/11, but somehow, the government was supposed to justify doing it before 9/11. This is what makes me crazy. The very things the Dems make the most fuss about now, are the things they think we should have been doing before. Stuff that's in the freakin Patriot Act!! [bangs head against desk] The same Patriot Act that is Satan's tool according to those on the left.

Last night, after Band of Brothers, there was a documentary on the search for a German U Boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. In that documentary, they explained how the Germans were taking out hundreds of ships in the Gulf, and were attempting to lay mines at the mouth of the Mississippi. When the press tried to report on the U Boat activity, Pres. Roosevelt censored the newspaper reports. Yes, you read that right, a President who was a Democrat, censored the press in America. Because we were at war. We're at war now, and we have the 9/11 commission demanding classified documents be unclassified all to score political points.

The other bit of information in the show, that does relate to this in a round about sort of way, is that cities on the Gulf Coast refused to follow blackout regulations because they were inconvenient and would hurt tourism. Whole cities were lit like Christmas trees, and after the war, the logs of the U Boat Captains expressed absolute amazement over it. They were able to navigate our coastline with ease. So pre 9/11, the few times the government did institute heightened security, there was much complaining from the public and the airlines -- it was inconvenient, it hurt business. And Kerrey can sit there this morning and say that with no actionable intelligence the President should have instituted post 9/11 security pre 9/11.

I'm probably going to read this later today, and wonder what the heck my brain was doing. I'm still in slightly altered state from yesterday. (I don't do well with novocaine.) so bear that in mind if you made your way to the very end.

Posted by Ithildin at 9:27 AM | Comments (9)

April 12, 2004

Only Here In The Loosest Meaning Of "Here"

Marathon dental appointment, three valium pills, gas, pain, blrghhh!

This is what passes for blogging in my current space, err.. state, Yeah, state.

Posted by Ithildin at 4:02 PM | Comments (3)

April 11, 2004

Right We Are?

Does anyone know what happened to Maripat and Right We Are? Even email I send is bouncing back.

Posted by Ithildin at 2:49 PM | Comments (11)

Happy Easter

A happy and blessed Easter to you all.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:14 AM | Comments (9)

Back -- For The Most Part

There's still some bugs to be worked out, but that's for later today. Trying to get used to XP and the slighty different stuff in slighty different places. I did get to watch a DVD on my computer for the first time, so that was nifty!

Oh, and at some point yesterday I hit the 60,000 mark!

Now, I sleep.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:41 AM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2004

Going Dark

My brother is in the final stages of switching me over to my new computer, so I'm going to be scarce until everything is up and running!

Keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:06 PM | Comments (1)

Pretty!

pretty1.jpg

Nin sent me this link, and we wants it, precious!! It's so pretty and gleaming and bright. Just think, we could blog anywhere, anytime. We could surf, we could play games!

Posted by Ithildin at 12:29 PM | Comments (4)

April 9, 2004

Shoes Don't Stretch

"No matter what they say, shoes don't stretch and men don't change."

~ Amy Dalley -- Men Don't Change

This is the entire chorus

Cupid works for the devil
Be suspicious if he cries
You know sex is usually good
Yeah, but it ain't always right
Chocolate is a band-aid and no matter what they say
Shoes don't stretch and men don't change

You can hear the song here. It's a very catchy tune and she has a unique voice.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:31 PM | Comments (4)

Coffee In Cyberspace

I actually emailed my boss this morning to tell him I'd made coffee. When I walked past his office, he was talking to someone, so instead of getting up to tell him later, I just emailed him.

(he's all of 16 feet from my desk)

Posted by Ithildin at 6:21 PM

Unsung

Here are the blogs that my gentle readers offered up as unsung and underappreciated.

Besmirched
Galen
Two Nervous Dogs
BabyTrollBlog
Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit Of Happiness

Posted by Ithildin at 6:01 PM

YKYBTMW

(you know you blog too much when)

you see this headline: Avril Lavigne's Stalker Boi, and the first thing you think of is BoiFromTroy.

"Now if she can just ditch the stalker boi, all will be mad chill, eh?"

Posted by Ithildin at 12:29 PM

Why Hate?

I occasionally post snippets of the email essays of Rabbi Lapin. This one is entitled, "Why Jewish Groups Passionately Hate Mel Gibson". I'm excerpting the end of the essay this time, but you can read it all here when it's posted to the webiste.

....Thus President Bush also merits hatred. Here is Whoopi Goldberg musing in the pages of The New York Times, "Wait a minute, is this man leading this country as an American or is he leading the country as a Christian?" Just try to imagine the outcry from the Jewish groups I describe herein were Mel Gibson to have asked during the 2000 presidential elections, "Will Joe Lieberman lead this country as an American or would he lead this country as a Jew?"

Once Mel Gibson revealed himself to be, like the President, a person of serious religious faith the gloves came off. Mel Gibson has done a major favor for serious faith, both Jewish and Christian, in America. He has made it 'cool' to be religious, but in so doing he has unleashed the hatred of secular America against himself personally, against his work, and against his family. God bless him.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:11 PM

A Different Friday Thing

Usually, Friday is "Lend Me Your Links" day, but I'm all linked out from Tartan Day. So for something a little different, I want to know what some of your favourite unsung blogs are. Is there a blog you really enjoy reading, but doesn't get the attention you think it should? Then leave your suggestion in the comments!

Posted by Ithildin at 9:55 AM | Comments (6)

If Only

Why does one's horoscope always sound so exotic compared to one's real life?

Treat yourself to a very private indulgence. You'll recharge your energies and be ready for a whole new love affair. Let yourself be nurtured, rather than always nurturing others

Probably means Sedona (one of the younger kitties) is about to take up residence on my bed again. She will ignore me for weeks, the suddenly, she won't leave me for days.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:21 AM

April 8, 2004

A Different 9/11 Family

The way the media makes it seem, the 9/11 families are all the same four women from New Jersey. But in the April 5 issue of National Review, Byron York has an article on Jimmy Boyle, a retired New York firefighter whose son Michael, also a firefighter, died in the North Tower of the WTC.

Only a part of it is online, but I'll try and excerpt some of what isn't, here.

.... Bush had reason to pay attention to Jimmy Boyle. Boyle is a past president of New York's Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 94, the largest local firefighters' union in the country. He's also a lifetime Democrat who has never voted for a Republican for president (he was, in fact, head of Firefighters for McGovern back in 1972). But this year, Boyle plans to vote for George W. Bush, because Boyle wants the president to keep up the war on terrorism.

All that would be enough to make Bush grateful, but on that day in Long Island the president owed Boyle for another reason. In the week before the memorial ceremony, Boyle, acting not as a retired union chief but as a man who lost his son on September 11, took it upon himself to defend the president against charges that his campaign exploited memories of 9/11 in its first set of advertisements.

[....]

.... By the time the commercials actually appeared on Thursday, the story was not the ads themselves but the "controversy" over them. The Bush campaign was on the defensive.

That's where Jimmy Boyle came in. Boyle was at his home in Westbury, Long Island, early Thursday morning when he heard a report saying that September 11 families and firefighters were furious about the commercials. Boyle didn't know what was going on. "I said, 'Jeez, I'm a family, and a firefighter, too, and nobody ever mentioned anything to me,'" he recalls.

When he looked at the ads later that day, Boyle didn't see a problem. "I'm not knocking any family member who's against the president," he says, "but I felt that September 12 was a new world from September 11, and this guy George Bush stepped up to the plate and became a leader, and I want him to be able to finish this war." Boyle talked to a number of his friends who had lost relatives on 9/11, and they felt the same way.

Boyle decided to write an open letter in support of Bush. "A few of the voices of September 11 have been critical of President Bush's campaign advertisements that, in a respectful way, recall the incredible challenges we all faced," Boyle wrote. "Certainly we respect those voices and their opinions. Those few voices, however, do not speak for all of us."

[....]

Boyle also called Ken Haskell, a firefighter who lost two brothers, both firefighters, on 9/11. "I encourage [the president] to use those images," Haskell says. "It's important for people to remember what happened to us. People are going to be bitter for the rest of their lives for what happened, but they should blame the terrorists, not the president." (emphasis mine)

Boyle did all of his work unbidden by the White House. Indeed, the Bush campaign had no contact with Boyle until after the letter attracted a little press attention.

So when the press will only talk to 9/11 families that fit their agenda, remember that there are other voices and veiwpoints out there. But the liberal media doesn't think we need to hear about them.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:40 PM | Comments (5)

One Of Our Own

There's a good piece here by U.S. News on the kind of money both campaigns are spending, and what kind of money they're going to be spending. Lots of good stuff worth reading, but I'm going to just excerpt this bit:

Despite its huge cash advantage, the Bush camp is concerned by the lurking presence of a series of well-funded outside groups, the 527s allied with Democrats that have become a wild card in the campaign. These groups include MoveOn.org, which helped propel Howard Dean (news - web sites) in the early days, and the Media Fund, backed by George Soros, a billionaire and ardent Bush foe who has given $10 million to help defeat the president. "In politics, there is a lot of focus on winning and losing, and in the winning and losing game having a lot of money, a huge war chest, is what you need," says Wes Boyd, president and cofounder of MoveOn.org. "We have taken it upon ourselves to make sure that there are countervailing voices to Bush's, and we take that seriously. We are committed to it."

This is something I've wondered for awhile -- why isn't there a conservative organization that will do what "move on" does for the Dems? It seems like something it's time for.

And for those that are savvy on such things: I get almost weekly requests for money from the R.N.C., the Bush campaign, and (I think it's called) the Republican Senatorial Committee. So who do I give my money to? Where will my few bucks do the most good?

Posted by Ithildin at 12:20 PM | Comments (3)

Blame China?

Higher Prices? Thank China

The same global economic forces that have consumers paying higher prices at the gasoline pump may soon have them shelling out more money for their beds, their appliances, and even their food.

In a trend apparent at the start of the year that has accelerated in recent weeks, prices have been soaring for nearly every one of the world's major commodities--the raw materials like metals, grains, and fuels that are essential to making the familiar products of modern life. Until now, consumers remained blissfully unaware of the chaos in the commodities markets, because manufacturers have absorbed the increased cost of doing business rather than raise price tags in auto showrooms and department stores. But the strain is beginning to show, and a few companies have indicated they will ask customers to help share the burden.

Most economists doubt that the run-up in raw materials will lead to widespread inflation. The Federal Reserve clearly has debated the issue but concluded that other factors in the economy--such as relatively high unemployment--will keep the risk of spiraling prices low. Nevertheless, a few analysts see the current rumblings as the beginning of a major shift in the global economy, in which new wealth and continued population growth in Asian countries force U.S. consumers to pay more for limited world resources.

Bill O'Neill, a principal with commodities research firm LOGIC Advisors in New Jersey, can sum up the reason for the commodities upsurge in a single word: China. "The warning signs were out there that Chinese demand for industrial commodities would be strong, but I think it happened quicker than some people thought," he says. With its economy growing at an annual rate of nearly 10 percent, even while adding 11 million per year to its 1.3 billion population, China has been gobbling up raw materials. Markets are merely reflecting the fact that for the first time, the world's most populous country now has a significant number of citizens who can afford cars, meat, and better housing.


[....]

Still, it's hard to believe that China's voracious appetite won't seriously affect the No. 1 consumer nation. With oil, where pump prices move in step with the price of crude oil, consumers already are feeling the impact of China's 30 percent growth in demand last year (it's now the world's No. 2 consumer of petroleum). Whether or not the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries holds to the production cuts it made last week, worldwide demand for oil will continue to increase thanks to China, pushing up the cost of all manufacturing and transportation.

Then there's food. China is expanding its livestock herds to meet its citizens' demands for more meat. As a result, the Middle Kingdom has dramatically increased its imports of soybeans, a prime component of cattle feed. China is expected to import 25 million tons of soybeans this year, a 14 percent increase over last year. Soybean prices in the United States, in turn, rose to their highest level in 15 years. Also, while China had been a minor player in the U.S. wheat market, buying just 78,800 metric tons a year ago, over the past year, that figure has ballooned to 1.4 million metric tons. Leading cereal maker Kellogg said last week it is feeling pressure from the grain market and is considering price hikes.

[....]

But a few observers see dire warnings for the future. Lester Brown, agricultural economist and founder of the Earth Policy Institute, thinks the recent increases in grain values are merely "the early tremors before the quake." Environmental degradation in China--loss of irrigation water and rapid urban expansion--has dramatically shrunk the land available for crops. The Gobi desert is growing by 4,000 square miles each year because of these occurrences. China's need for imports will dramatically grow as a result, he argues. And as China turns to the world market, "higher food prices could become a permanent part of the economic landscape," Brown warns.

On the oil front, Stephen Leeb, who manages the MegaTrends fund for U.S. Global Investors, argues that the world is entering a new era in which supply cannot keep up with demand. Although he has no predictions for the next few months (and admits that crude oil prices could drop somewhat, as they did last week), Leeb predicts a dramatic increase over the next five to 10 years. "The stark fact is that the world has very little excess capacity, and it's all in the hands of a very volatile country--Saudi Arabia," says Leeb. In his recent book, The Oil Factor, he predicts $100-a-barrel oil will lead to global inflation. "We have to pray it does so in a gradual fashion," he says.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:08 PM

X-Files To Ride Again?

Duchovny Expects Second 'X-Files' Movie

.... Duchovny said a second big-screen installment of "The X-Files" remains in the works. Though he doesn't know the plot, Duchovny said "X-Files" creator Chris Carter has signed off on the story premise.

"I'm dying to hear it," the 43-year-old actor told The Associated Press in an interview for his new movie "Connie and Carla," starring Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette, which opens April 16. "So now it's just a matter of making sure everybody can get together at the same time and do it."

Posted by Ithildin at 11:43 AM

Let's Hear It For The Locals

Yep, another Scottish post. (Hey, I read "The Scotsman" every morning)

One of my favourite things to do in Scotland is finding music I can't get here at home. Scottish music these days is so varied, there's something for every mood. There was a wonderful music center in Inverness, which I've heard has closed down, that had a shop and a cafe as part of the center. That's where I discovered the sublime Connie Dover. (Though it turns out she's actually from MO) When we were on Lewis, I let the clerk in the local record shop pick out a half dozen CDs for me after telling him what groups I liked. I ended up with some great music!

So, this article is good news for me. One, I think it's cool they're promoting local music in Scotland, and two it lists a few bands I've never heard of, so I have somthing new to check out!

.... A campaign was being launched today to persuade licensed premises to either play more CDs by home-grown acts or bring in performers to play live.

Tourism chiefs, brewers, licensed trade leaders and record companies are behind the drive, aimed at boosting foreign visitors’ experience and promoting up-and-coming acts.

Free CDs are being offered to licensed premises in the hope that they will play music by the likes of Capercaillie, Shooglenifty, Martyn Bennett and Salsa Celtica, instead of Scottish-themed "lift music", or karaoke favourites by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Abba. The campaign, which Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board has thrown its weight behind, will also see specially- programmed live music sessions staged across the country over the summer, the creation of a dedicated website, and co-ordinated promotion of Scotland’s numerous traditional music festivals.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:42 AM

April 7, 2004

Herding Blogs

That "God Amongst Bloggers", the divine Xrlq, has got a spicy ol' BFL Roundup for your reading pleasure.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:36 PM

Just Ewwww!

Eyeball Jewellery??

Body piercing and tattoos make way -- the latest fashion trend to hit the Netherlands is eyeball jewellery.

Dutch eye surgeons have implanted tiny pieces of jewellery called "JewelEye" in the mucous membrane of the eyes of six women and one man in cosmetic surgery pioneered by an ophthalmic surgery research and development institute in Rotterdam.

The procedure involves inserting a 3.5 mm (0.13 inch) wide piece of specially developed jewellery -- the range includes a glittering half-moon or heart -- into the eye's mucous membrane under local anaesthetic at a cost of 500 to 1,000 euros (270 to 540 pounds).

"In my view it is a little more subtle than (body) piercing. It is a bit of a fun thing and a very personal thing for people," said Gerrit Melles, director of the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery.

The piece of jewellery is inserted in the conjunctiva -- the mucous membrane lining the inner surface of the eyelids and front of the eyeball -- in sterile conditions using an operating microscope in a procedure taking about 15 minutes.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:36 PM | Comments (9)

Chance Of A Lifetime, Ladies

Frank J. is looking for an IMAO T Shirt Babe.

This could be your chance for fame and fortune. Well, for at least a few bucks :)

Posted by Ithildin at 10:44 AM | Comments (5)

Thank You, One & All

I just want to take a moment to thank each and everyone of you who made Tartan Day so much fun! Thanks for joining in on my rather off the cuff idea and making it fly. I was totally overwhelmed by the response! One of the best things is I've discovered a bunch of great new blogs to read, and some new friends.

Thanks for your hospitality! Let's do it again next year :)

An Additional Note: Traves has created a "Gathering" blog roll for those that are interested.

Additional Note Two: I run an email list for discussion of all things Celtic. So if your appetite for such talk has only been whetted by Tartan Day, I invite you to check it out.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:31 AM

April 6, 2004

A Memory I Never Had

I'm probably more English than I am Scottish, but I've always identified strongly with my Scots heritage. Maybe it's because of my maternal grandmother, Amy Marie. She was born in Scotland, and she and her parents left Aberdeen when she was a teenager, first settling in Diamondville Wyoming, before moving to Smithers, B.C. where my great-grandmother had family. According to my mum's older sister, I look enough like her to be her twin -- right down to the green eyes that no one else in the family has. Amy loved to dance, music, cats, & horses. Or so I'm told. You see, I only know my grandmother through vague descriptions and stories because she died when my mum was two, after a long illness, probably tuberculoses. I've now been alive more years than my grandmother was given, and still, I wonder what she was really like. I've never even seen a picture of her, but I think I can see her in my imagination sometimes. And when I think of Scotland, I remember my grandmother, Amy Marie Smith Heal.

Posted by Ithildin at 6:03 PM | Comments (2)

The Cultural Cringe

Tartan is suddenly cool again as Scots build on transatlantic link

WHEN thousands of pipers march through New York on Tartan Day, some see a celebration of all that is good about Scotland. Others see the perpetuation of heather and haggis clichés which hold back the modern country.

The big debate over where Scottish heritage in the United States is heading took a huge step forward over the weekend, as dozens of organisations agreed to work together to promote tourism, industry and education.

For years, the myriad Caledonian and St Andrew’s societies and clan associations have been criticised for pulling in different directions. Now, under the banner of the Scottish Leadership Conference, they have vowed to forge a common path.

Larger institutions have been co-operating to organise Tartan Day for about eight years and despite concerns that the use of tartan might perpetuate the "shortbread-tin" myths, it will remain the focus of events.

[....]

"When Tartan Day was first launched, there was a lot of resistance. People were uncomfortable. The fact that Americans were doing this might have seemed patronising, but it was not.

"Tartan, its meaning and its iconic status, is so important to everyone. Now there is an emerging spirit of co-operation and co-ordination, not only here in the US, but from across the Atlantic as well."

Mr Bain said he felt the American-Scottish community had to change - "to be more professional and to work more collaboratively".

[....]

The smaller groups include many US clan associations, believed to have a combined membership of more than 100,000.

One clan delegate told the conference: "I feel like the owner of a lemonade stall who’s been invited onto the board of General Motors."

Susan Stewart, the First Secretary, Scottish Affairs at the British Embassy in Washington, attended the conference. She said: "At a government level there is an eagerness to work with the Scottish-American organisations.

"The Scottish cultural cringe, where we are embarrassed about our heritage such as tartan, is receding. In the past we have been embarrassed by the shortbread-tin and Brigadoon associations, an age when these things were not considered cool. I think we have got over that. In tartan, we have an icon of international recognition.

"Modern Scotland is secure enough in its contemporary strengths, achievements and merits to assume icons of the past. If someone talks to me about penicillin, I talk to them about Dolly the sheep. If someone talks to me about Sir Walter Scott, I mention AL Kennedy or Ali Smith."

Tartan TV is one of many Scottish companies looking to make a break into US markets. Its programmes are already carried to 10.4 million viewers on cable channels in the US and Canada. The Aberdeen-based company is now preparing to sell shows to the US networks, opening up the greatest television audience in the world.

Robert Sproul-Cran, the chief executive officer of Tartan TV, said there was a huge appetite for television programmes looking at both traditional and contemporary Scotland.

He said: "The Scots make up the sixth largest ethnic group in the US. But because of our historical role in the development of modern America, as a group, the Scots are almost invisible. They were the bankers, the merchants and traders who helped build America. As a result, the Scots are totally integrated.

"Tartan is an icon and we did decide to tap into it in our name and branding. We found even those Americans who had no connections felt nothing but warmth towards the Scots. I draw them in with tartan, glens and genealogy, then talk about biotech industries and Dolly."

Mr Sproul-Cran added: "There is a resurgent interest in all things Scottish in the US. The number of American citizens who claimed Scottish ancestry has gone up by almost 50 per cent since the Nineties."

Kate Smith, who is researching nationalism at Glasgow University, said there was growing confidence in Scottish identity: "As far as branding goes, tartan is the best logo in the world.

"The influence of the Declaration of Arbroath and its call for freedom can be seen in the Declaration of Independence. Scottish émigrés took and still take a leading role in the narrative of America and the Scottish-American societies keep that story alive."

Posted by Ithildin at 5:50 PM | Comments (3)

Not Too Shabby

We've long been making our mark on America

VIKING expeditions from Orkney and Shetland headed west 500 years before Columbus. According to the Norse sagas, the first native Scots to set foot in America were Hake and his wife Hekja. Sent ashore to scout, they reported back to the expedition captain, Thorfin Karlsefni, that the land was bountiful with wheat and grapes. As a result, Thorfin called the new land Vinland, the Land of Wine - present-day New England.

• Scots were among the earliest explorers of the North American continent. One, Thomas Blake, accompanied the Spanish conquistador Vasquez de Coronado in 1540, to become the first European to see the Grand Canyon.

• Robert Barclay from Aberdeenshire founded the Scottish colony of New Jersey. It remained untypically slave-free, largely thanks to the efforts of another Scot, the Quaker, George Keith.

• In 1688, the merchants of Glasgow paid for a new, deep harbour at Port Glasgow and the way was open for the rise of a Scottish-American transatlantic trading empire based on tobacco, cotton, hundreds of thousands of Scottish migrants, and eventually a massive Clydeside shipbuilding industry.

• Two of the 56 men who signed the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 were born in Scotland, and 19 had direct Scots ancestry. One of the Scots signatories, John Whitherspoon, founded Princeton University.

• The first Scottish US president was James Monroe, the great-grandson of a Scots Covenanter who had arrived in the US in chains. Monroe threw the Spanish out of Florida and established the famous "Monroe Doctrine", excluding the European powers from the Americas.

• A majority of US presidents could claim some Scots blood, including Andrew Jackson, James Knox Polk (who nabbed California from Mexico), Andrew Johnson (who succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln), General Ulysses S Grant (who effectively won the Civil War), and Woodrow Wilson (who led the US into the First World War).

• In modern times, the Scottish-Texas connection has loomed large. Lyndon Johnson’s family came from Annandale, while the two Bush presidents have long had close oil business links with Edinburgh. George Bush jnr spent youthful holidays on the braes of Angus, befriending Bill Gammell, the former Scottish rugby internationalist and now Chief Executive of Edinburgh’s Cairn Energy.

• Scots played a key part in the expansion of the US during the 19th century. The wilderness was tamed by adventurers such as Davy Crockett before, later in the century, John Muir headed west from East Lothian and invented the concept of environmentalism.

• Displaced Scottish farmers such as Jesse James took to robbing trains, building infamous outlaw reputations, only to have to deal with tough lawmen such as Alan Pinkerton, from Govan, who founded the world’s first private detective agency.

• America’s growing industrial and scientific might was the work of educated but poor Scots immigrants with a flair for enterprise, such as Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. Bell would later use the profits from his phone business to fund the invention of the aeroplane.

• Scots Americans such as Donald Douglas and Allan and Malcolm Loughhead would later create the modern aerospace industry. Five of the men who have walked on the moon were of Scottish blood - Neil Armstrong, Alan Shephard, Alan Bean, James Irwin and David Scott. Nor should we forget the contribution to the information technology age - Thomas Watson built IBM, while the mother of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates is a Maxwell.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:08 PM

Ties That Bind

Executive donates £5,500 to New York memorial

With six days of promotional events under way in the Big Apple, George Reid, the Presiding Officer, has announced a $10,000 (£5,467) donation from the Scottish Executive to a New York memorial garden in honour of the 67 Britons who died in the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Speaking at a reception yesterday hosted by the Executive in New York’s Central Park, he said the donation was an expression of the close ties between Scotland and the United States currently being celebrated during Tartan Week.

He said: "We are delighted to announce a $10,000 donation from the Scottish Executive for this memorial garden which has Prince Charles as its patron.

"It is especially apt that while a lot of Scottish people are currently out here in New York for the Tartan Week celebrations we honour the close links between our two countries."

Posted by Ithildin at 4:58 PM

St. Mary's

I didn't take this picture, but I went to a service at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh on my first trip. The congregation was so welcoming, it was very much like being at my own St. Mary's at home.

stmary.jpg

Posted by Ithildin at 4:33 PM

Holyrood Abbey

These are the ruins of Holyrood Abbey next to Holyrood Palace. I wish you could see the original of this one -- I think it's one of the best photos I've ever taken.

holyrood.jpg
(click thumbnail for larger size)

And a sidenote, my list has been getting longer all day, and I've even added a few links.

Posted by Ithildin at 4:19 PM

Crossing

I tried lightening these next two up a bit. This one I took from the ferry, crossing over to the Isle of Bute. I assolutely love the light in the Western Islands.

ferry1.jpg
(click thumbnail for larger view)

One of these days, I need to get the slides I took on my trip to Orkney scanned in. Some of them were wonderful.

Posted by Ithildin at 3:41 PM | Comments (1)

Blood Fued!

Well, not quite. But never underestimate the capacity of a Scot to hold a grudge (yes, I've been guilty of it myself)

This article is ostensibly about the "Dressed To Kilt" event held in New York last night, but it seems to mostly be about the fued between Sean Connery and Scotland's First Minister.

.... Relations between the First Minister and the former James Bond actor had deteriorated after Sir Sean refused to meet Mr McConnell during celebrations in the United States to discuss ways of improving Scotland’s profile abroad.

Sir Sean was said to be angry at the way he was treated during Scotland’s bid to host the Ryder Cup, but he is also thought to be generally unhappy at how Labour ministers have dealt with him in recent years, particularly over the devolution campaign.

The row came to a head when close aides to Mr McConnell hit back at the star, claiming the First Minister wanted to be seen with celebrities "on the way up" rather than those "on the way down".

Meowwwww!

The other amusing bit was about Richard Branson:

.... Meanwhile, back in Britain, Sir Richard Branson was showing exactly how not to wear a kilt. He was at an event, in London, to celebrate the successful bid by the National Railway Museum in York to buy the historic Flying Scotsman steam engine, saving it from possibly being sold abroad.

But he raised eyebrows . . . by wearing his kilt the wrong way round.

There's a picture too!

Posted by Ithildin at 12:49 PM | Comments (1)

The Royal Scots

Feste has a great post entitled, "Scotland the Brave". A good read for this Tartan Day.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:11 AM

Clouds Break

We were on Lewis at the beginning of November, so the weather went from hurricane force winds and rain, to times of glittering sunlight. The stones of this circle have a kind of pink quartz in then, so they literally sparkle when hit with ligt. When the stones are under the light of a bright moon, they're said to look as if they're dancing.

circlesun.jpg
(click on the thumbnail for full size)

Posted by Ithildin at 11:00 AM

Callanish In Shadow

These were pics my boss scanned for me from stills about ten years ago, so the quality is iffy. This is the Callanish Circle on the Isle of Lewis (or as it's called in Gaelic, Calanais). It's an amazing place. And because it is fairly remote, you can actually walk in the circle. I'll be posting more photos from this trip as the day goes on.

circle2 crop.jpg
(click thumbnail for full size)

For more information on the Calanais Circle, check out this site.

Posted by Ithildin at 9:40 AM

Listing In The Gloaming

As I sit here with my cup of tea -- Scottish Breakfast Blend -- I'm pndering what sort of post to do for Tartan Day. I've been doing Scots themed post for several days, so I need something fresh. So I'm going to do a list. A list of things Scottish that I'm fond of. I'll add to it through the day. As always, you're welcome to add your own fond things in the comments.

Yummies
Shortbread
Venison
The awesome food I had at the Flodigarry Hotel on Skye (and you must stay there if you ever visit!) (I can't wait to go back some day)
Chocolate
Baked goods

Pretties
Tain Silver
Ola Gorie
Cashmere
Woolens
Leather Goods

Movies
Local Hero

Places
Inverness
Isle of Skye
Orkney
Isle of Lewis
Galson Farm, Isle of Lewis (This is where my brother and I stayed. Wonderful!!)
Western Isles
Sterling
Edinburgh

Music
Silly Wizard
Capercaillie
Connie Dover
Tempest
Wolfstone
Natalie MacMaster
Alex Beaton
Karen Matheson
Alisdair Fraser

Scottish Country Dances
Reel of the Royal Scots
1314
Flowers of Edinburgh
FizzBin (waves to Carolyn)
Black Mountain Reel
The New Rigged Ship

Posted by Ithildin at 9:00 AM | Comments (5)

I Raise My Glass

Thank you to every single one of you who has joined in on this year's Tartan Day blog event. You're making it a memorable day!

Posted by Ithildin at 8:47 AM

Gathering Of The Blogs 2004

Welcome to Tartan Day 2004

Hark, when the night is falling
Hear, hear the pipes are calling
Loudly and proudly calling
Down through the Glen

There where the hills are sleeping
Now feel the blood a-leaping
High as the spirits of the old highland men.

The Bonnie Bloggers

Absinthe & Cookies
Ninjababe's Ramble
Jen Speaks
Frozen In Montreal
Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love
Grim's Hall
Miss Apropos
Jackalope Pursuivant
Accidental Verbosity
Right Wingin-It
Drowning at 2 Feet Sea Level
Straight White Guy
Hard Times
TacJammer
BabyTrollBlog
Triticale
Laughing Wolf
Da Goddess
ChristWeb
Mudville Gazette
I Love Jet Noise

And because there's always room for a few more, here's the gang that turned up just before last call (better late than never!)

Sekimori.org - Live Blog
Swanky Conservative
Arguing With Signposts
G'day Mate
Sketches of Strain

And as the party carries on into the night, this wee lass is going to bed!

If I missed anyone, please trackback to this post, or leave a comment, and I'll add you upon the morrow!

Those That Came In With The Dawn
Physics Geek
A Collection Of Thoughts
Hugin and Munin
Flitting Here & There

Afternoon Tea
Ininite Monkeys
Fools Blog
Being American In T.O.

A Wee Dram Before Supper
Redsugar Muse
The Country Pundit
The Fall of Jericho
Aaron's Rantblog

Looking forward to reading everyone's Tartan Day posts!

Calling in gallant fame
Scotland my mountain hav'n
High may your proud standards
Gloriously wave

Land o' my high endeavor
Land o' the shining river
Land o' my heart forever
Scotland the brave

High in the misty highlands
Out by the purple islands
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies

Wild are the winds to meet you
(Such) are the friends that greet you
Kind as the light that shines
From fair maiden's eyes.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:00 AM | Comments (8)

April 5, 2004

Whoa!!

It's but 1030pm and I've had my best day ever, nearly double my normal traffic. It stands at 207 right now!

Wooo!

Posted by Ithildin at 10:31 PM | Comments (3)

Passover

I want to wish my friend Gail, and all my Jewish readers, a happy Passover.

Posted by Ithildin at 7:19 PM | Comments (1)

Not For Glory, Nor Riches

Tartan Day is on April 6 because it is the date the Declaration of Arbroath was drawn up in 1320. This was the Scottish Declaration of Independence.

Although the English armies under Edward II were routed at Bannockburn in 1314 and by 1319, with the recapture of Berwick, effectively expelled from Scottish soil, they continued to mount attacks into Robert the Bruce's Scotland over the succeeding years.

The Pope had not accepted Scottish independence, perhaps partially because Robert the Bruce had been excommunicated for killing John Comyn in a church in Dumfries in 1306 (Comyn had formed an alliance with Edward, but perhaps had more of a right to be King than Bruce).

Thus the Declaration of Arbroath was prepared as a formal Declaration of Independence. It was drawn up in Arbroath Abbey on the 6th April 1320, most likely by the Abbot, Bernard de Linton, who was also the Chancellor of Scotland.

Here's a small excerpt:

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
(emphasis mine)
Posted by Ithildin at 5:45 PM | Comments (2)

"Must Read" Of The Day

Michael Williams has written a wonderful post entitled, "Men, Women, and Civilization". As I said in his comments, I wish there had been a few guys like Michael around when I was of "marriageable age".

Posted by Ithildin at 5:24 PM | Comments (4)

18 & Counting

We're up to 18 bonnie bloggers taking part in "Gathering of the Blogs"

tday3.jpg

There's still plenty of time to join in the revelry. (whether it's drunken or not remains to be seen)

Posted by Ithildin at 1:38 PM

Match Made In Middle Earth

Who is your Lord of the Rings love match?

Aragorn. It seems you seek a lover who doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, a real man, strong, silent and determined. The kind of chap who can build a fire, track a man across hill and dale through darkness and survive in the wild for months at a time. Regular shaving may be beyond his reach, and you may have to make substantial concessions to secure his affection. Your dad won't be happy.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:31 PM

And You Thought It Was Bad When Your Mom Came To School

I can't even imagine how this soldier must have felt.

Posted by Ithildin at 12:30 PM

Cruel Is The Snow

Another favourite song in the depressing vein, The Massacre of Glencoe

Oh, cruel is the snow that sweeps Glencoe
And covers the grave o' Donald;
Oh, cruel was the foe that raped Glencoe
And murdered the house of MacDonald.

And this song comes with a current news story.

"On a cold, dark morning in February 1692, the snow-covered valley of Glencoe was stained with blood as the small Clan MacDonald of Glencoe was butchered by the Campbells under the order of the sovereign.

Now more than 300 years after the Massacre of Glencoe, two houses that are intrinsically connected with the event have come onto the market.

Invercoe House, originally the main house of the Glencoe estate and within the boundaries of which the massacre of Glencoe took place, is being offered by FPDSavills for offers over £250,000."

They came in the blizzard, we offered them heat, A roof for their heads, dry shoes for their feet; We wined them and dined them, they ate of our meat, And they slept in the house of MacDonald

They came from Fort William wi murder in mind;
The Campbell had orders King William had signed;
"Put all to the sword," these words underlined,
"And leave none alive called MacDonald."

They came in the night when the men were asleep,
This band of Argyles, through snow soft and deep;
Like murdering foxes amongst helpless sheep,
They slaughtered the house of MacDonald.

Some died in their beds at the hand o the foe;
Some fled in the night and were lost in the snow;
Some lived to accuse him wha struck the first blow,
But gone was the house of MacDonald.

(if you'd like to participate in Tartan Day 2004, Gathering of the Blogs, you can find out how here.)

Posted by Ithildin at 9:28 AM

Bleah

I hate daylight savings time.

Really, really hate it.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:46 AM | Comments (3)

April 4, 2004

Welcome Home

Ian and his family made it safe to Gaum, just in time for tropical storm Sudal, and a troll that's taken up residence on his blog.

Glad you and your family are settling in and hope the storm passes you by.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:16 PM

Loch Tay Boat Song

To keep with the Scottish theme of the last few days....

I love sad Scottish songs, and this is one of my favourites:

Loch Tay Boat Song

When I've done my work of day,
And I row my boat away
Doon the waters of Loch Tay
As the evening light is fading
And I look upon Ben Lawers
Where the after glory glows
And I think on two bright eyes
And the melting mouth below.

She's my beauteous nighean ruadh,
She's my joy and sorrow too
And although she is untrue,
Well I cannot live without her
For my heart's a boat in tow
And I'd give the world to know
Why she means to let me go
As I sing horee horo.

Nighean ruadh, your lovely hair
Has more glamour I declare
Than all the tresses rare
'tween Killin and Aberfeldy
Be they lint white, brown or gold,
Be they blacker than the sloe
They are worth no more to me
Than the melting flake of snow.

Her eyes are like the gleam
O' the sunlight on the stream
And the songs the fairies sing
Seem like songs she sings at milking
But my heart is full of woe,
For last night she bade me go
And the tears begin to flow,
As I sing horee, horo.

She's my beauteous nighean ruadh,
She's my joy and sorrow too
And although she is untrue,
Well I cannot live without her
For my heart's a boat in tow
And I'd give the world to know
Why she means to let me go
As I sing horee horo.

One of my favourite versions is by Silly Wizard (one of the best Scots bands to ever play) (you can't go wrong with any of their albums)

Posted by Ithildin at 7:38 PM | Comments (2)

Beauticians Without Borders

This one is dedicated to Rae (who has just moved to bright shiny MT digs).

Opening Afghan Eyes With Mascara and Beauty Classes

Posted by Ithildin at 4:18 PM | Comments (1)

From Long Ago

In local news:

Guess what they just found in the Bay Area?

World War II Mortars Found at Ft. Funston

I dunno, maybe if Hans Blix had been on the job....

Posted by Ithildin at 4:07 PM | Comments (5)

B5 Guy On The Airwaves

Jerry Doyle has a talk show.

Posted by Ithildin at 3:43 PM | Comments (1)

U.S. MI5?

According to this article, the 9/11 may reccomend creating an MI5 like agency to hunt terrorists in the country:

.... The FBI lapses have led some commissioners to consider recommending an overhaul of U.S. intelligence in their final report, due July 26. That could include a proposal to break up the FBI and create a new domestic spy agency, similar to Britain's MI5, to hunt terrorists inside the country. "This is perhaps our most difficult choice," Kean tells Newsweek. FBI Director Robert Mueller is fighting the idea. A possible compromise: a semi-independent anti- terrorist unit inside the FBI.

Do we need a whole new agency, or will restructuring existing parts of the FBI be sufficient?

Posted by Ithildin at 3:39 PM | Comments (1)

The Secret Search

Quick and Quiet Search to Fill the Democratic Ticket

And it turns out my pick for Kerry's running mate is actually on the list:

.... Democratic officials said that in addition to the main list, other candidates being debated as running mates include Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana; Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, another swing state; and Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia. Inevitably, some Democrats have been pushing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York for the spot.
Posted by Ithildin at 3:33 PM

Gutting Three Strikes

Patterico has a must read post on attempts to gut California's Three Strikes law and what the results would be if it happens.

Posted by Ithildin at 2:33 PM

Tartan Day Update

So far, we have 8 bloggers make that 13 15 bloggers participating in the "Gathering of the Blogs". If you want to join us, leave a comment, trackback, or drop me an email.

You can check out these links for the posts on Tartan Day.

For those of you gathering, on Monday evening I'll email everyone (who I have an email address for) a list of the blogs participating.

Thanks to everyone who has publicized this on their blogs and thanks to everyone who's participating.

I'll leave you with a poem from Robbie Burns:

Yon wild mossy mountains sae lofty and wide,
That nurse in their bosom the youth o' the Clyde,
Where the grouse lead their coveys thro' the heather to feed,
And the shepherd tends his flock as he pipes on his reed.

Not Gowrie's rich valley, nor Forth's sunny shores,
To me hae the charms o'yon wild, mossy moors;
For there, by a lanely, sequestered stream,
Besides a sweet lassie, my thought and my dream.

Amang thae wild mountains shall still be my path,
Ilk stream foaming down its ain green, narrow strath;
For there, wi' my lassie, the day lang I rove,
While o'er us unheeded flie the swift hours o'love.

She is not the fairest, altho' she is fair;
O' nice education but sma' is her share;
Her parentage humble as humble can be;
But I lo'e the dear lassie because she lo'es me.

To Beauty what man but maun yield him a prize,
In her armour of glances, and blushes, and sighs?
And when wit and refinement hae polish'd her darts,
They dazzle our een, as they flie to our hearts.

But kindness, sweet kindness, in the fond-sparkling e'e,
Has lustre outshining the diamond to me;
And the heart beating love as I'm clasp'd in her arms,
O, these are my lassie's all-conquering charms!

Posted by Ithildin at 2:04 PM

April 3, 2004

Happenin'

Thanks to Xlrq, who is a God amongst men and bloggers, A&C can now be read on your PDA and other such devices.

The permanent link is over on the sidebar, in the "attic".

Posted by Ithildin at 6:29 PM

More Tartan Day x 1

Or, "ask and ye shall receive" :)

Here's two more banners in different colours:

tday2.jpg
(hope this one works better, Jen!)

and....

tday3.jpg


The original one is here.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:03 PM | Comments (2)

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!

I finally have colour boxed blockquotes!

Thanks to the divine Miss Emma, I found Mandarin Design which has a wagonload of nifty CSS tricks and tips.

Thanks, Em!

Posted by Ithildin at 3:23 PM | Comments (5)

Jihad Next Door?

Via Nick, this link to a map that purports to show active Islamic terror cells in the U.S.

Posted by Ithildin at 1:54 PM

Who Knows

I've decided to colour my hair a little darker than my normal colour, mostly because I'm bored with my hair right now. It's either this, or cut it all spikey short again. So if you read screams of horror here later, you'll know why!

Posted by Ithildin at 1:05 PM | Comments (6)

Another In A Series

Last weekend, it was the boar statue, then the police checking with Muslim clerics when they arrested terror suspects. The latest, once again via Andrew Stuttaford:

”A school yesterday banned children from wearing England soccer shirts in case they incited racial tension.

”Parents of pupils at Grange School in Stourbridge, West Midlands, were told their children could not wear anything with the England motif during a non-uniform day to mark the last day of term.

”The decision followed attacks on the school by vandals spraying graffiti offensive to white people and the school did not want to heighten tensions."

Posted by Ithildin at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)

Birthdays Galore

Everyone go wish Jay a happy birthday! And after that, head over to Kevin's and offer your congratulations on a new arrival.

AND

It's Mickey's birthday as well. So go wish her a happy one.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:58 AM

April 2, 2004

Tartan Day Banner

Here's the promised banner for Tartan Day:

2004tartan.gif

Feel free to save it to your own computer and use it for the Tartan Day blog goings on.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:37 PM | Comments (3)

What The Tip Jar Is For

Anyone want to donate money towards my purchase of this?

We wants it, precious!

Posted by Ithildin at 6:02 PM | Comments (2)

Tartan Day

Tuesday, in case you didn't know, is Tartan Day. I thought it might be kind of nice to celebrate with fellow bloggers of Scottish descent, or bloggers who have Scottish souls (or just like single malt)!

So let's do this (and other ideas will be more than welcome, cus I'm making this up as I go along!): If you'd like to participate, email me, or leave your email in the comments. I'll share the list with everyone who wants to participate, and come Tuesday, we can all do a related Tartan Day post, along with the links to the Tartan Day blogs.

Let's celebrate our Scottish heritage blogstyle!

(I'm going to create a banner too. So check back in a few hours for that)

Oh yeah! If you'd be willing to pre-advertise on your blog, I'd appreciate it!

Posted by Ithildin at 4:31 PM | Comments (35)

Linky Love

Because I've been picking on Jay this week, he gets extra special linky love, and lots and lots of it. Plus extra helpings for Deb, and the littlest Jedi. Not to mention a few for the donuts.

Posted by Ithildin at 3:44 PM | Comments (2)

But Will Gopher Be There?

Via Infinite Monkeys comes your chance to see Capt. Stubing's liitle girl get married this afternoon.

Posted by Ithildin at 10:44 AM

With Friends Like This...

Via Left Coast Conservative, comes this: Maverick McCain rips GOP.

And he's supporting the President's reelection!! Dang, I'd hate to see what he'd be like if he wasn't. Watch the press drool over this one, because they're McCain obsessed, and in their eyes can do no wrong.

Posted by Ithildin at 10:40 AM | Comments (2)

A Sign

This blog is one I keep visiting everytime I notice a comment from the authour on another blog. I figure that's a sign I should probably cut to the chase and blogroll the puppy!

(yes, I'm slow, but I eventually get there)

Posted by Ithildin at 10:21 AM

Friday List

Just a few bits and pieces:

Remember, there's a chat room you can use now. The link is over on the sidebar, under "Bittersweet Patisserie & Chat Room"

If you'd like to participate in a group blog, and you're of the female persausion, check out "Girls! Girls! Girls!". We'd love to welcome you to the group.

If you're interested in chatting about books, writing, and a few extras, then may I suggest ALRR?

And a reminder that A&C is at a new URL, so if you'd like to change your bookmarks, that would be nifty.

Posted by Ithildin at 9:28 AM | Comments (2)

Lend Me Your Links Friday

It's Friday again, and that means it's time to lend me your links!

If there's some great article or blog post you read this week that you think others should read, then leave a link to it in the comments. Leave a link to your blog too, if you have one. Then, later today, I'll add your reading suggestions and your link to the post.

Everyone can play, so lend me those links!

The List

* point2point offers up: Sowell Quotes

Posted by Ithildin at 8:30 AM | Comments (1)

April 1, 2004

Follow The Link

This blog grabbed me today: "Oriental Redneck". Love the banner, love swing dancing, and he's practically a neighbor. What's not to like?

Posted by Ithildin at 6:21 PM

Meanwhile

Cassandra is emailing me about "incommunicable insurgent".

You don't say....

Posted by Ithildin at 5:39 PM

Is It Over Yet?

The day, that is.

I dunno what it is today, but I just can't wait for it to be time to go to sleep.

Posted by Ithildin at 5:36 PM | Comments (1)

The Mad Piper

'Mad Piper' saluted by stamp issue honouring D-Day feat

Private Millin played Highland Laddie, Blue Bonnets, Over The Border and Our Road to the Isles as troops landed on D-Day (Photo: PA)
0104pipb.jpg


Bill Millin, 81, found fame as the soldier who piped Lord Lovat’s 1 Commando Brigade ashore during the landings at Sword Beach in Normandy on 6 June, 1944.

Mr Millin, originally from Sandyhills, Glasgow, went on to play himself in the Hollywood film, The Longest Day, alongside Sean Connery and John Wayne.

Now an image of him stepping on to the Normandy beach-head has been included on a stamp depicting the greatest seaborne invasion ever undertaken.

[....]

Mr Millin was labelled the "Mad Piper" by German troops who were captured defending the Normandy beaches.

Lord Lovat told him to ignore army orders banning the playing of bagpipes in battle for fear that the pipers would be picked off by the enemy.

Wearing his kilt, he marched up and down Sword Beach playing Highland Laddie as German bullets rained down around him.

German prisoners interviewed after the beach was in British hands revealed they had not shot Mr Millin because they thought he was mad.

Posted by Ithildin at 4:38 PM | Comments (12)

It's Back

Yay, my blogroll is back! Though I'm always surprised how many URLs I remember off hand when blogrolling does go down.

Posted by Ithildin at 3:29 PM

The Hobbit -- Coming 2007

From TORN:

A press release has been announced indicating that The Hobbit will begin
production with director Paul Anderson, who is, and I quote 'the young
director whose portfolio includes smash successes such as Resident Evil,
Event Horizon and Mortal Kombat'. This comes directly from a new teaser site
www.thehobbitfilm.com. My question is where is PJ? Why hasn't he picked this
up after King Kong?! [More]

"THE HOBBIT" TO BEGIN PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN NEW ZEALAND in 2005

New Line Acquires Distribution Rights; Paul Anderson to Direct; McKellen,
Serkis to Return

- The Hobbit will begin principal photography in Wellington, New Zealand, in
2005, under the direction sci-fi/fantasy director Paul Anderson, it was
jointly announced today by Robert Shaye, Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of New Line Cinema; Michael Lynne, President and Chief Operating
Officer of New Line Cinema; Mark Ordesky, President of Fine Line Features;
and Anderson, who is also a writer and producer of the production. [Press
Release]

Hmmmmmmm..........

Is it still April Fools Day in New Zealand?

Update: Heh, turns out it was. New Line contatced TORN and gave them a heads up.

Posted by Ithildin at 11:55 AM | Comments (3)

When Ninja Berries Attack

The results over at Nin's.

Posted by Ithildin at 8:42 AM