I also posted this on Angry Apostrophe, but I wanted to share it here, since I like it and I never know if you guys actually follow my hotlinks. ;)

Sometimes, you find gems in livejournal icons. I've seen this with a few different accounts, so I don't feel bad transcribing it here:

  • “Your stupid”? My stupid what?
  • Your throws of ecstacy send me into throes of amusement.
  • You can defuse a bomb. But diffusing it might be a bad idea.
  • Your is not mine. You’re means you are.
  • Thru is only a word if you’re referring to getting a hamburger in your car.
  • Per se means of itself. Per say is only how you pronounce it.
  • Fire is fiery. Burn all misspellings.
  • A horde is a large group of people, often unruly. To hoard is to gather, and often references dragons.
  • Et cetera does not abbreviate to ect., ecc., or et. Etc.
  • E.g. means for example, and i.e. means that is. I.e., always be correct.
  • You should definitely spell definitely definitely.
  • If you had a d, you wouldn’t deserve congratulations.
  • A lot is two words. Allot means to distribute.
  • Never enter your pin number on an atm machine. You could get the HIV virus.
  • If you really did have baited breath, you would smell rather fishy.
  • Rouge is a colour. A rogue isn’t.
  • I before E except after C, or when sounding like a as in neighbour and weigh. Unless it’s weird.


Also, take the Carnal Knowledge Quiz (safe for work). I stunk (52%), but then again, American history isn't exactly my specialty.
Americans terrify me sometimes.

Halfway to Heaven
A Catholic millionaire's dream town draws fire.

A Vision: Ave Maria, whose temporary campus-chapel is seen here, is Monaghan’s most ambitious undertaking

By Susannah Meadows
Feb. 27, 2006 issue - The 5,000-acre tomato field in southwestern Florida sure doesn't look like heaven. Bulldozers scrape the land flat while clusters of Porta Pottis signal an undeniable earthiness. But soon a massive cathedral will rise from this barren spot. Reaching 100 feet in the air behind a 65-foot crucifix, the Oratory will anchor Ave Maria, a whole new town and Roman Catholic university 30 miles east of Naples. Ground was officially broken last week, and the plan is to build 11,000 homes—likely drawing families who already hold the church at the center of their lives.

For Tom Monaghan, the devout Catholic who founded Domino's Pizza and is now bankrolling most of the initial $400 million cost of the project, Ave Maria is the culmination of a lifetime devoted to spreading his own strict interpretation of Catholicism. Though he says nonbelievers are welcome, Monaghan clearly wants the community to embody his conservative values. He controls all the commercial real estate in town (along with his developing partner, Barron Collier Cos.) and is asking pharmacies not to carry contraceptives. If forced to choose between two otherwise comparable drugstores, Barron Collier would favor the one that honored that request, says its president and CEO, Paul Marinelli. Discussing his life as a millionaire Catholic who puts his money where his faith is, Monaghan says: "I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines."

The ACLU of Florida is worried about how he's playing the game. "It is completely naive to think this first attempt [to restrict access to contraception] will be their last," says executive director Howard Simon. Armed with a 1946 Supreme Court opinion that "ownership [of a town] does not always mean absolute dominion," Simon will be watching Ave Maria for any signs of Monaghan's request's becoming a demand. Planned Parenthood is similarly alarmed. So far, Naples Community Hospital, which plans to open a clinic in Ave Maria Town, says it will not prescribe any birth control to students. Will others be able to get the pill? "For the general public, the answer is probably yes, but not definitely yes," says hospital point man Edgardo Tenreiro. The Florida attorney general's office says the issue of limiting access will likely have to be worked out in court. Barron Collier and Monaghan say they're following Florida law.

Raised by nuns in orphanages, Monaghan, 68, has tried to franchise his religious views in the past, creating elementary schools, a small college, Catholic radio stations and, in 2000, a Catholic law school. While many of his initiatives have foundered, the law school, with 88 percent of its most recent class passing the Michigan bar, is off to a strong start. Early signs suggest the new Ave Maria complex, his final and most ambitious project, might also work out. The developers are close to leasing 60 percent of the commercial space (no pharmacists yet), says project manager Blake Gable, and they have received some 7,000 inquiries from people interested in buying homes, which will go for less than the half-million median price in nearby Naples. In an area of strip malls and bad traffic, Ave Maria's communal design—with shops within walking distance to the homes—has civic appeal. "The general buzz is that the university and town are going to be a spark plug for massive development in that area," says Michael Reagen, president of the Naples Chamber of Commerce. Even the pope is interested. When Ave Maria Provost Father Joseph Fessio saw Benedict XVI, the first thing out of the new pontiff's mouth, according to Fessio, was, "How's Ave Maria?" He's not the only one awaiting the answer.


Aside from being busy, stressed, cranky, sleep-deprived and so on, it’s actually been a fairly good week.

I got in some classtime at the gym on Tuesday, when I participated in a class that combines tai chi, yoga and possibly something else. I felt like a ninny at first, moving my arms around in pseudo ‘blocks’ (right, like that would’ve been effective at any attacker other than maybe a sweater), but once it moved into some yoga poses and other more challenging things, it got more interesting. Of course, since I’d done an upper-body workout with my trainer just before, as well as some abs (and then extra abs, after she left), some things towards the end got much more challenging for me. But I also really enjoyed the rest period we did before the final cool-down; something like that always feels a lot more refreshing than even a nap might have.

Tuesday I also picked up some jeans (one of which I have to return to the store with, as they left the theft-deterrent sensor on it), some knitting needles for my next project, some supper for the Smooshy and I, and as I said, the gym. Wednesday was class, whoop de shit (various controversies regarding proposed projects and massive class rebellion, but it blew over – though the prof seemed disappointed. To him, I have to say: Sorry dude, but most of us have lives outside of your class. No one is taking your class exclusively, and unlike your pet, not all of us are looking to suck up to you by engaging in these new class projects that weren’t on the syllabus and would require several hours of outside research… especially when you already have a difficult time with time management). Since we got out even later than usual (again with the time management), it was fairly late (10:30?) when I got home. And I’m probably one of the people who lives closest to campus, too. Urgh.

Yesterday the Smooshy and I had our post-poned Valentine’s Day celebrations. They looked like they might not happen, since we were both crabby with one another (apparently I have a knack for being grumpy at the exact wrong moment… there are some serious challenges to dating someone more sensitive to you that were not covered in the handbook), but we managed to pull it off. We ordered in a buttload of Chinese food, I had picked up some white wine and some cinnamon buns (classy all the way, I am!), and we watched the movie I’d rented last week, “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” It’s a documentary about a guy who took an interest in the wild parrots that he noticed in and around his neighbourhood, and took the time to get to know them and look after them. I’d seen a trailer for it when Ben and I saw March of the Penguins, and I wanted to watch it.

I found some parts of the movie especially easy to relate to, like when he has to give up one bird in particular whom he has bonded with, or when he relates the story of the last days of another bird he looked after. There are also the birds that simply stop returning, and whose fate is always somewhat unknown; these are all things I’ve had to deal with in my short lifetime of pet ownership. I greatly admire his ability to do the right thing – to find a good home for Mingus, to ask the city to leave the birds be, and to let the wild birds stay wild. He really seemed to understand and respect the spirit of what the birds represented, as well as the birds themselves – if that makes any sense whatsoever and doesn’t sound too airy-fairy to the rest of you.

The Smooshy thinks I’m crazy, ‘cause movies about animals are 100% more likely to make me cry than movies about people. He’s not the first person to think that I care more about animals than I do people; The Ex- thought the same thing. Sometimes I get the impression that people who say things like, ‘A movie about orphans in [name developing country of choice] is much more likely to make *me* cry’ feel that they are better than me, or more sympathetic, or more humanitarian, or something. It makes me kind of defensive, but I don’t usually bother to argue the point much.

The thing is, I’m a fairly emotional person, but I tend to hide it more than some. I feel vulnerable when I’m emotional, and I don’t like to show that side to others. When I was crying during Wild Parrots (especially during the last 20-30 minutes, which the IMDB board indicates is a common occurrence), I was trying to hide it as long as I could. Smooshy knew, and eventually it was undeniable, but it’s a side of myself that I don’t like to show many people. Hell, probably about 1% of my friends have seen me cry at any given time.

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get choked up about things. Hell, especially when I’m PMSy (which I think was another culprit last night), I get choked up about the dumbest things. I can remember once getting worked up over the last episode of Saved by the Bell, ‘cause I was PMSy. I’m a loser, I know it.

When it comes to people, I think expressions of joy or despair are usually the two that get me. The people who jumped from the top of the World Trade Center rather than get crushed by rubble, or the people who had to choose which child to let go of during the tsunami; those are horrific situations in which to be placed, and I hope to never have to make those choices, or be so far from any sign of hope as to make choices like those.

I feel that animals are less able to look out for themselves in face of human cruelty than other humans. There is no explanation for some of the harm that we inflict upon on another, but a grown man punching another grown man can defend himself. A grown man punching a dog or a cat… people torment one another, and in extreme situations, the tormented brings a gun to work and kills. But a person who torments an animal, sometimes there is no recourse for that animal, and it will simply never trust anyone else again – or not without a lot of care and attention. Certainly sometimes that animal will turn and snap, but others will simply give up. And yes, this is seen in people, too.

I know I’m not making an especially strong argument, but it’s very difficult to explain why you feel a certain way about something that happens to be very close to your heart. Without bringing religion into it, try explaining why you’re opposed to murder, or abortion, or gay rights. “It’s just wrong” doesn’t really cover it very well, but it’s hard to come up with other arguments that are very strong – they’re just part of your moral or ethical code (one is changeable, and I think it’s values, but I can’t remember). According to my mom, being an animal lover is in my blood, and that’s just how it’s always been. I can’t explain why movies about animals are a sure-fire way to make me cry, whereas I can be horrified or upset by a movie that features poor treatment of people and stay more composed, but that’s how it is for me. Maybe it’s like humour; poo and fart jokes don’t make me laugh, but the book “I wanna go home!” by Gordon Korman still makes me laugh out loud, two-dozen plus readings later. Go figure.


I’m currently taking a course that will remain unnamed as part of my requirements for my masters degree. This course is not really something that interests me, but it happened to fit into my schedule (i.e., it was in English and it was in the evening, and it was the only one that fit both requirements). I have many complaints about its time of ‘day’ (7 – 10 p.m.), and the way it’s run and so on, but those are not really part of my current complaint.

As part of my readings for tonight’s course (oh yeah, I’m on time with this stuff; it doesn’t help that the professor’s idea of posting things ‘on time’ means making them available on Monday for a Wednesday night class… and there’s a crapload of crap to read, but that’s not my complaint right now), we’re reading a speech that the professor gave last week to some gathering of foreign bigwigs in Turkey. Now, I used to work on speeches for a fairly large Ministry in my last federal public service job. I know that people who give speeches like to breathe, and long sentences tend to lose your audience anyways. As such, I felt no compunction at editing speeches (be they originals or those incorporating changes from the ten thousand people who had to review these things before they were approved) to contain short sentences. Granted, I write long, winding, confusing sentences full of interjections and sidenotes, but that’s only in text. I have written and delivered a number of speeches as part of past course work, and I like to think I’m actually fairly good at it (I've been told I have a natural style of delivery, and I'm now old enough and apathetic enough that I mostly enjoy public speaking, and don't have to prepare too thoroughly ahead of time).

My professor wrote his own speech, so he only has himself to blame for gems like this one: “Third: We are in what Manuel Castells has called an Informational Age running on every smaller, cheaper and faster circuitry that has facilitated overlapping and cross-cutting policy networks peppered with non-governmental actors running the gamut from large NGOs such as The International Federation of the Red Cross and Crescent Societies to someone with a computer who can self-publish his or her views for a global audience.”

Commas, periods, colons, semi-colons, ellipses… these are all natural pause points in (spoken) text, and allow the speaker to take a breath. I shared that paragraph exactly as it is written on what he has provided us; you can see there exists precisely one colon, one comma, and one period. I’m only on the third page of his speech, and so far this is the worst offender, but it’s hardly the only one.


Today my coworker handed me a candy cane and wished me a happy series of holidays, before he got to Valentine's Day.

Happy St. Valentine's Day, folks, be you with someone or single. There are plenty of advantages to either state, and I'm sure longterm readers of this site have heard me enumerate on them all.

In other news, I keep thinking of things I want to write, be they anecdotes or pieces of prose, and they go nowhere. Hopefully, after I manage to cull from my life all of my time-sucking hobbies and other tedious things (work, school, the usual), I'll have the chance to write them up here.

I went through my LJ page the other day and figured out how to filter my friends communities away from the other high-frequency communities like the kittypix or the ohnotheydidnt communities. Then I sort of caught up on peoples' lives and felt slightly more in touch.

I've also managed to bork my computer somewhat, I suspect, so tonight may involve me lighting scented candles, pouring a glass of wine, slipping into a nice teddy and trying to romance the shit out of my computer. And no, I don't have an USB-capable vibrating attachments for me to get anything out of this arrangement.

When did I turn into such a geek?

P.S. The Smooshy and I finished Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II last night. Anyone know when the sequel is coming out?

Such a geek. It's almost hopeless. Except that I still look good in a teddy. ;)


I have a mild addiction to Roger Ebert's site. I like to read his reviews on the new releases, partly because it's nice to get another's opinion (though I'll still see something I really want to see, even if he pans it), and partly because he's entertaining in his columns (like when his review for Adam Sandler's "The Longest Yard" basically consisted of him writing about how he wished he could take back the review he'd given it).

Point in fact, his review for Curious George. The following amused me:

"I have no idea what teenagers think, but I know what 4-year-olds think, because I was one, an expert one, and I believe that up to a certain age all children enjoy more or less the same things: Bright colors, vivid drawings, encouraging music, a plot that is exciting but not too scary, and a character they can identify with. This character should have an older friend who guides him through neat adventures and keeps things from getting too scary. If that doesn't describe what you liked when you were 3 or 4, then I blame your parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chainsaw."


Here we go, I'm going to invite some controversy with this one (sourced from IMDB.com:

Jackson To Release Pope Prayers?
Pop superstar Michael Jackson has been asked by the Roman Catholic Church to set the prayers of the late Pope John Paul II to music. The 47-year-old singer was chosen to write music for the 24 prayers and chants, after Vatican officials decided his global celebrity would best promote their holy message. Father Giuseppe Moscati says, "We have the rights for the 24 prayers written by Pope John Paul. We had hoped the fact that we have been in contact with Michael Jackson would remain a secret. But sadly it has leaked out ahead of time. We are in discussions and trying to sort it out." The priest, who is head of the Millennium Music Society, insisted Jackson's hard-won battle against child molestation charges did not discount him as a candidate. He adds, "He was cleared and found not guilty by a jury. Michael Jackson is very interested in this project - we shall see what happens."

Now, am I the only one who thinks that having Michael Jackson put Pope prayers to music kinda adds the wrong kind of weight to all of the allegations of child molestation on the part of the churches?


Why do reporters think that me saying, "I don't really know much about this issue; I'll have to look into it and get back to you." means that they can continue asking me questions about it? Especially when those questions lead to, "I don't really know much about this issue; I'll have to look into it and get back to you" being repeated.

"So-and-so from this department told me that it's a very political issue. Why is that?"

"I don't really know much about this issue. I'll have to look into it and get back to you."

Mind you, this same reporter contacted the Deputy Minister's office to try to get answers to her questions; she figured that since s/he should be the one making those decisions, that she should ask his/her office directly.

*blink* *blink* Umm... most organizations of any size have a media relations department. They're much better equipped to a) answer your questions; b) find you information; c) line up interviews for you. All organizations with a media relations department know better than to answer any questions directly from the reporter; you always go through your media relations people first.

It's bureaucracy, people. It's not new, and while it's a pain in the ass, it's there for a reason. In the end, it's often faster to go through the proper channels.

Often. Not always.

P.S. I want to be at home.
I posted this at The Angry Apostrophe, in full.