Tuesday, March 20, 2007

'I Feel the Weight of That History' from Newsweek.com

Baroness Valerie Amos

"First black woman cabinet minister and joint first black woman peer and recently appointed Leader of the House of Lords, the third woman in history to lead the upper house of Parliament". Picture and quote from 100 Great Black Britons

I think this is a great article: I Feel the Weight of That History. This year is the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition slavery. As we know, the legacy of the African slave trade is still with us. This is particularly true in my home, the United States.

Anyway this is a good article from a British perspective. They've interviewed Valerie Amos is the leader of Britian's House of Lords. They say she may be "Britain's most powerful black woman". She has some excellent observations on democracy, on how the public must be active and on how we're not as cynical as the press makes us out to be.

I'd disagree with that last point to a certain degree. However, as I'll be feeling "the weight" of not finishing my reading in class tomorrow if I don't get off of this computer, that's another post for another time.

On ordinary people doing extraordinary things via democracy:

The grass-roots movement against slavery was incredible—a lot of people focus on [abolitionist William] Wilberforce, but you also had ex-slaves, you had churches. Most amazingly, and I think most importantly, you had thousands of ordinary people who campaigned. Sugar was a product of slavery, so people boycotted sugar. They signed petitions. In the British Parliament’s archives you can see those petitions, and they run into foot after foot after foot, reams of ordinary people’s signatures. We sometimes forget there’s a whole tradition of ordinary people campaigning and lobbying for change, and that should inspire us today.


Sphere: Related Content

Monday, March 12, 2007

Schoolhouse Rock!!!

Week two of me toiling away at my boring work study assignment for the semester.

Anyway, I got a message with these Schoolhouse Rock clips! These totally take me back to my childhood and Saturday morning cartoons! BTW, thanks Lori!

I thought I'd share for those who remember and also for those who've yet to see them. Also, blogging it is a great way to for me to find them easily if I ever want to see them ;-)



The Shot Heard 'Round the World

The Preamble

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here

I'm Just A Bill

Conjunction Junction


Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mayan Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit

Nicolas Lucas, a Guatemalan Mayan priest. From the UN Works website: Nicolas is free to believe

I just think this is a funny, yet a very clear example of America's bad politics and diplomacy under the Bush administration.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit

Guatemalan Priests Plan to Purify Sacred Site, Eliminate 'Bad Spirits' After Bush Visit


GUATEMALA CITY Mar 9, 2007 (AP)— Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

Bush's trip has already has sparked protests elsewhere in Latin America, including protests and clashes with police in Brazil hours before his arrival. In Bogota, Colombia, which Bush will visit on Sunday, 200 masked students battled 300 riot police with rocks and small homemade explosives.

The tour is aimed at challenging a widespread perception that the United States has neglected the region and at combatting the rising influence of Venezuelan leftist President Hugo Chavez, who has called Bush "history's greatest killer" and "the devil."

Iximche, 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City, was founded as the capital of the Kaqchiqueles kingdom before the Spanish conquest in 1524.

A Guatemalan Indian priest is seen during a Mayan ceremony in Iximche, 60 km west of Guatemala City, October 12, 2003. (AP file photo)

More links:
Reuters: Maya to 'cleanse' sacred site after Bush visit
News 24.com: 'Cleanse Bush's bad spirits'
The Spoof: Guatemala priests poised to unhex sacred site after Bush visit (satire British style)
SFGate.com: Can George W. Bush Be Purged? Mayan priests purified their sacred land after Shrub scurried off. Can we do the same?


Sphere: Related Content

Still Sick, So It's Game Time

"Sick, I am" by Pyro Panda from the Bahanimation - Bahamian Animation Site

I'm still feeling like crap although I can tell I'm getting better. It's just been a scary week, healthwise, because I had two serious insulin reactions where I went unconscious.

Yes, I talked to my doctor. We figure it must be the drugs the school nurse gave me. I think they knocked me out, so that I was too out of it to notice that my blood sugar was going low. Usually, I notice and hypogylcemic unawareness is a serious complication with diabetics.

Anyway, today is Saturday and I've eschewed all drugs and instead I'm sticking with lots of fluid including a Korean cold medicine drink called 쌍화탕, ssang hwa tang. It has:
  1. Peony Root----------------1%
  2. Steamed Rehmannia Root---2%
  3. Astragalus Root------------1%
  4. Korean Angelica------------2%
I have no idea what any of that is, but I do know it doesn't have drugs that make me so out of it that I loose touch with how I'm feeling. Plus, it's worked for me before when I didn't want to use over the counter medication for a cold. Three warm bottles a day and you do feel better. Between those I'm drinking a lot of Celestial Seasonings or green teas and having chicken soup. Plus, it's Saturday and I made sure I had a nice long nap.

I'm going to avoid that nurse from now on. She almost killed me.

Anyway, in my "I feel like crap" websurfing I found a game that's been on the net for a couple of years at least. It's called the River IQ Game. It's annoying but just think through it logically, step by step and you'll get it.

The page is in Japanese, so here are the rules:
Get everybody across the river.

* Only 2 persons on the raft at a time

* The father can not stay with any of the daughters without their mother’s presence

* The mother can not stay with any of the sons without their father’s presence

* The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there

* Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft

To start click on the big blue circle on the right.
To move the people click on them.
To move the raft click on the pole on the opposite side of the river.
Here is the link: River IQ Game

After I solved it the first time, I decided to play it again just to make sure it wasn't a fluke:

It can be done. Have fun!


Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Back Into the Abyss

I'm bringing sick back!

Okay, that's a lame play on Timberlake's song, but, damn, do I feel like crap. I have a cold that is so bad that yesterday the nurse at my job gave me medicine so strong that I ended up going from one side of Seoul to the other while sleeping like a baby in a subway car.

When I finally did wake up and figured out where I was, I then turned back around and headed to school. I missed my first class, however, I was present for the second course, International Political Economy, taught by an MIT PhD.

Now I'm set to graduate after this term, and I really don't need to take this course. I went crazy my first year and took the maximum load of four courses per term. However, it's an interesting topic and one I think I should have some knowledge in if I plan on further study. This is the kicker though.

The professor has assigned eight books:

  1. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis by Graham T. Allison
  2. Introduction to International Political Economy by David N. Balaam and Michael Veseth
  3. International Political Economy by Benjamin J. Cohen
  4. International Political Economy: Perspectives on Global Power and Wealth by Jeffry A. Frieden and David A. Lake
  5. State Power and World Market: the International Political Economy by Joseph M. Grieco and G. John Ikenberry
  6. International Political Economy: the Struggle for Power and Wealth by Thomas D. Lairson and David Skidmore
  7. International Political Economy: Interests and Institutions in the Global Economy by Thomas Oatley
  8. Global Political Economy edited by John Ravenhill
The professor said that each week will consist of around 400 pages of reading. Now that really didn't phase me as that's par for the course in law school. However, what is freaking me out a bit is I'm also taking the department's required statistics course (it was my grand plan to take it in my last semester as to not risk my GPA.) Also, this term I have to write my thesis. Now that I could handle, but I'm also working teaching 14 hours a week.

I think this load will be okay because my new job likes their teachers to spend way too much time in their offices.

Well, guess what? I've got a rolling bed in my office, and, I think that I will be spending much more time than they ever imagined here.

In fact, I'll start today. I've got Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger tea and tons of Splenda. I've got take out menus, and I've got the school's shuttle bus schedule. I'll be taking the 9:30 bus home tonight.

My plan is to read the articles I've printed on my thesis topic and summarize them for a literature review. Then I'll start reading for the class with the reading list from hell.

Wish me luck. My blogging will definitely take a nosedive now that school and work have started.


Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Citizen of the Month!

Neil with his stuff four days before his b-day (he's going on a road trip):

I've been in on an interesting surprise for Neil aka the witty mind and penis behind Citizen of the Month. You see, it's his birthday and he's quite the social blogger it seems. His wife, love and "post fodder", Sophia, put a plan together where she contacted all of the people somehow connected with Neil to set up a surprise birthday onslaught. I was immediately in because, wow, what a sweet thing to do. Plus, he'd be so surprised getting gifts and greetings from all over.

It's been said before, but Sophia is a keeper.

This is the email she sent out to everyone. Like I said, there was no way I couldn't participate. It's just such a cute idea. Plus, if you want steal it, this makes it easier as the plan is right here.
This is Sophia, Neil’s frequent post fodder, among other things.
If you’re getting this email, you’re probably one of the many readers of his Citizen Of The Month blog.

Neil has been entertaining us for almost two years now. He gave us the 2006 Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert, Thank Your First Commenter Day and now - Mister Valentine’s Day, among other funny, touching, thought-provoking and silly posts.

I thought that maybe we can all give him something in return - an unforgettable birthday, if you’re game. Neil’s birthday is on March 7, and if you would like to surprise him: send him a note, a trinket, a lottery ticket, a greeting card, a gift, a joke, a plasma TV, a picture, a book, a Match.com membership, a song – I have a plan.

I have conspired with our friend Danny, from the Jew Eat Yet? blog, to have everything sent to his address.

This will only work if we all keep it on the down low. I know it’s tempting to tell Neil that something “is coming,” or warn him of a surprise, but PLEASE, PLEASE, if you have such an urge – don’t do it! There is already a number of people involved in this “conspiracy” and it will just ruin everything. Also, please don’t mention his birthday in your comments or emails, because he’s a smart cookie, as you know, and he’ll figure that something’s up.
To add to this surprise Colleen aka the Communicatrix organized a blog carnival for Neil's birthday. If you're not sure what blog carnivals are. It's where a bunch of bloggers get together to write on one subject. Then all of the posts are linked in one place. Here is the Wikipedia entry on it: Blog Carnivals. It's quite interesting when it's done right because the topic can be on anything and it's fun to read various interpretations, stories or takes on a particular subject.

This is her invite into the 2007 Citizen of the Month Blogger Carnival Birthday Conspiracy. The official title is "First Annual Carnival of Neilochka." "Neilochka" is his Technorati handle if you're wondering:
Greetings, all.

Because I am insane and because I love Neil Kramer, Citizen of this and Every Month, I have agreed to take on the fool's errand of organizing the First Annual Carnival of Neilochka, set to run on Neil's birthday, March 7th.

If you have been living under a blog-sized rock and do not know what a carnival is, here's a definition from (where else?) wikipedia:


Since I have never been in a carnival, much less run one, I'm kind of winging this. But as I understand it, everyone posts a little something on their blogs, and then the host (that would be me) aggregates the links on hers. This will also be a one-stop carnival, unless someone is crazy enough to do it more than once. (Haha. That's a good one, Colleen.)

Anyway, we are trying to keep this a secret, and since Neil is an especially vigilant reader/commenter, this is going to make our jobs harder. But not impossible!

At first I thought we could backdate posts, but they'll still show up in an RSS feed and tip Neil off. So what you'll have to do is figure out the URL of the permalink in advance of uploading it, send it to me so I can compile the digest, then set it to post at some time Neil might be asleep: say, 3am PST on March the 7th. This should be fairly simple in most types of blog software, since there's a system each one has for creating permalinks, and since most of them will let you upload for scheduled publication. If you're totally clueless and have no smart geek friends who can help, let me know, and I'll see what I can do. (Alternately, if you are a smarty-pants, let me know in case someone comes for help and I can't help them!)

I know, I know--it's a pain in the keister. But think of all Neilochka has done for you! Or...I don't know. How fun it'll be.

So as I see it, the steps are these:

1. Write a post dedicated to Neil. A poem, silly anecdote, weepy story, whatever. Maybe an explanation of why you love Neilochka (or lovingly hate him). Maybe an explanation of the gift you sent him, if you sent one. Just make sure it's Neil-centric.

2. Upload the sucker to your blog, scheduled to post on March 7th around 3am Pacific Standard Time.

3. Send me the URL of the scheduled post (ie, the future permalink) NO LATER than Wednesday, February 28.

4. I will compile the responses in a hugely long carnival-type post and post on March 7, and send a copy of the link to this list to you on March 7 for those of you who don't already read me religiously.

Thaaaaaat's pretty much it. If anyone has any other suggestions or questions, fire away. But please send to me and don't copy all these other people, or life will get ridiculous and I will run screaming into the night and then where will Neilochka and his carnival be, huh?

Okay! Have at it, kids! And remember...

I gotta say it's just crazy, in a good way.

I had a great time picking out a gift for Neil. I don't think he's gotten mine yet because I mailed it late and they're off on a road trip. So I'll update this with what I got him after he gets back.

So Neil, in spite of the fact that:
  1. I have a horrible cold
  2. This cold is so bad that I fell asleep on the subway today en route to my first day of class (yes, I missed my first class. I did wake up, however, feeling much better, but I was majorly embarassed once I realized I slept from one side of Seoul to the other.)
  3. I did make it to my second class of the day to find out that it has 400 pages of reading a week (not too intimidating for me as it's law school all over again, but still...ugh)
  4. It started snowing heavily this evening and that makes it even colder.
  5. I'm just a stressed out camper now :(
I'm a fighter, or I'm just completely crazy. I hauled ass home to throw this blog together to wish you all the best on your birthday! Your blog has made me laugh out loud so many times.*

So anyway, thanks for the laughs Neil! And, most importantly, Happy Birthday from ExpatJane!

Oh and Communicatrix, I PAID someone to pack that for me.

I was amazed at his skill, but realized that was going to be a pain to unpack. I'm sure nothing broke, so it was well worth it. Next time, however, I'm going to videotape it because it was amazing to see him make a box from scratch and attend to every little detail.

*I discoved Citizen of the Month when I first registered my own blog on Technorati.com


Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Curvy Stars of Color

I'm two weeks behind on the buzz around Rounding Off Their Figures written by Robin Givhan for the Washington Post.

In that article Givhan talks about how Hollywood is more forgiving to women of color, read black women and Latinas. However, for white women thin has never been more in. What's interesting is she neglects to mention Asian women at all.

This is probably because her argument is blown right out of the water if you include them. Most female Asian stars are very thin also. This is because of various reasons, and I'm more comfortable with letting an female Asian blogger talk about it because my take on it is definitely from the outside looking in.

Anyway, I'm going to leave the critical analysis to others because, well, they've already done it. I'll just make it easy for you and link them here.

Writers and bloggers weigh in on Givhan's article:


Sphere: Related Content

A Night with Ann Coulter

No comment on the Ann Coulter madness going on. It's really not worth it. Once you realize not to take her seriously then she's easy to ignore.

Here is an offensive cartoon. I figure all is fair since "offensive" describes a lot of what she says and writes.


A Night with Ann Coulter


Sphere: Related Content