Blogs I Read

Disclamer: I don't necessarily agree with every opinion, or even most of the opinions, of the owners of these blogs. However I do belive that it is necessary and instructive to read and listen to opposing opinons, and just because you don't agree with someone doesn't mean that they're wrong or prevent them from writing excellent posts.

Homeschooling & Education


Personal Finance

Politics & Society

Simplicity + Sustainability


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oh wait, I have a blog

Sorry for dropping off the face of the internet (or perhaps its little toe). Things have been extremely busy and, of course, this is exactly when I decided to do blog planning. What a wonderful idea! Anyway, I have a backlog of things to blog about and perhaps some more time so, so stay tuned.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

A most auspicious quote

A person creates what they defend against.

We are defending against terrorists, and terrorists we have become.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

I am a citizen without a country

Beyond Warrant-less Wiretapping

For those of you unfamiliar with the organization of our government, the NSA is part of the Executive branch (i.e. under the president's control)

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.
The concern for the customer was also based on law: Under Section 222 of the Communications Act, first passed in 1934, telephone companies are prohibited from giving out information regarding their customers' calling habits: whom a person calls, how often and what routes those calls take to reach their final destination. Inbound calls, as well as wireless calls, also are covered.

This is just one symptom of a larger problem. The basic tenant of the constitution is the all people are equal under the law. A lot of attention has been paid to the 'equal' part, but the most important word is UNDER.

NO ONE, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, REGARDLESS OF 'NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS', IS ABOVE THE LAW. However, we now have, not a president, but a dictator. A leader who believes that laws don't apply to him and the wishes of his constituents can be ignored. Any country that allows this to happen cannot call itself the United States of America. The largest threat to this country is not terrorists, bird flu, or obesity; it is the apathy of its people and the avarice of its leaders.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

We started our walk to Rivendell

We haven't gone very far yet (.5 mile) but I added a progress bar none the less. I also added progress bars for the books I'm reading.

Really, there hasn't been much going on. I spent the morning painting the house which was a nice break from my 13+ hr days (free tuition, free tuition - I need to keep that in focus). We're almost done painting the 'front' of the house - the three bedrooms, living room, and hallway. (Check out our website for pictures.) All that's left is the bottom half of the master bedroom and one wall of the guest room. And some accent color blocks in the office. Definately doable this weekend. We also need to make a trip to Lowe's - which will probably take more time than the painting.

After that, we need to decide whether or not (and what colors) to paint the kitchen and family room. And what type of flooring we want in the family room. And then we need to paint the trim, and the doors, and pull out the carpet in the master and guest bedroom, and find some curtains, and light fixtures, and move all of our crap, and actually put in the floor in the family room, and add extra molding to the rooms where we removed the carpeting, and buy, cut, paint, and install the trim in the living room, and, and, and ...

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gas Prices and the Media

Extreme Gas Savings - May. 2, 2006

Idiot Media

When settling down in Florida, the couple found a home about 1 mile from their place of work, with shops located between the two. The close proximity is 'one of the reasons we chose this place to live.' The Parkers own a Nissan Xterra full sized SUV but with a one mile commute, gas costs them only $40 every two weeks. The cost is, by the Extreme Saver's own admission, 'just lost in the noise...It doesn't even phase us.'

These people live one mile from work and commute with an SUV? Why not just walk!?! And they're considered Extreme Savers? Moral: Don't ever take the media at face value. Distrust everything they say.

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Tips For Helping Your Career

Sound Money Tips ยป Tips For Helping Your Career

seven career killers to avoid which will help your reputation and career:

  • Procrastination
  • A Sense of Entitlement
  • Only Doing Your Job Description
  • Completely Avoiding Office Politics
  • Failing To Be A Team Player
  • Not Dressing Appropriately
  • Failing To Network

I need to keep this list on my desk. Of course the hard part comes in when your boss will only let you do your job description...

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My Favorite Place

Where's Yours? Place Details

This was my favorite hideout as a child, and the website is very interesting - you can add your own sites as well as comment on other people's. Check it out. Thanks to Here in the Bonny Glen for the link.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ready, Aim, Teddy Bear!

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things:
Gun that fires teddy-bears on parachutes A Japanese paintball-gun company has made a special gun that fires small stuffed teddy bears who float down gracefully on parachutes. It's intended for use at weddings, where, apparently, it's become common to throw teddies instead of confetti. Link (via Neatorama)

I want one! - Hey I wonder if we should fire teddy bears at our wedding...

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The Eowyn Challenge

The Eowyn Challenge

For anyone who's a (dorky) fan of LOTR - walk in the footsteps of the Fellowship! Charles and I will be tracking our progress and keep you updated!

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Chapters 1 & 2 of Vanity Fair

I. Chiswick Mall. Thackeray, William Makepeace. 1917. Vanity Fair, A Novel without a Hero. Vols. V & VI. Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

Chapter 1


  • The Misses Pinkerton - Jemima and Barbara (Minerva)
  • Miss Amelia Sedley
  • Miss Becky Sharp
  • Amelia's departure from Miss Pinkerton's Academy
  • Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Young Ladies, Chiswick Mall, London
  • 1810-1819ish - begins in June
Character Sketches:
  • Miss Jemima - blinded by devotion to sister, but not as cold/mean as Miss Barbara
  • Miss Barbara - blinded by devotion to herself, importance due to pupils and 'patronage' of Samuel Johnson (dictionary author)
  • Miss Amelia - very nice, pretty, etc. also very shallow, flighty, rich
  • Miss Becky - arrogant, poor, not well liked, scorns Miss Jemima's sympathy

II. In Which Miss Sharp and Miss Sedley Prepare to Open the Campaign. Thackeray, William Makepeace. 1917. Vanity Fair, A Novel without a Hero. Vols. V & VI. Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

Chapter 2


  • Miss Amelia Sedley
  • Miss Becky Sharp
  • Expose of Becky's background
  • In the coach on the way to, and at, the Sedley's house
  • Right after Chap. 1
"All the world used her ill ... persons who the world treats ill deserve what they get."
There is a 'tug-of-war' for the reader on whether or not to like Becky - she's 'plucky' and interesting - but only looks at people for what she can gain from them - she's sometimes cruel.
Contrast between Becky's exterior arrogance and her feelings of inadaquacy - she feels she needs to justify her ambitions in society and so she invents grand ancestors.
Not a nice person - ridicule of Miss Jemima who had been nice to her Society is the only arena where Becky could excel/advance in life - interesting to consider how she would act in today's society.

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