February 2004 Archives

And the connection is?

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So far this morning I have received four spam* for Viagra. I'm not sure who's spreading the rumour that I'm having problems keeping it up, but I'd like to go on record as saying that it's as up as it ever was, given that I don't have an it.

Which means, by the way, that my it doesn't need to be any longer or wider.

Two of these spam, interestingly, employ what I assume is a filter-busting method: a long string of unrelated words in the subject line. To whit:

"elizabethan valois thermistor weiss aplomb crisis aileen clash eden quickie tallyho mcleod ogre onion ace proteolysis hollandaise"


As in 'he swallowed his Viagra with aplomb'?

And I don't even want to think about 'hollandaise' in that context...

*Is this the correct plural form? There are enough technical writers and their ilk reading this - is it spam? spams? spumati?

The Poisonwood Bible

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Barbara Kingsolver

I enjoyed this book much more than I had expected to. It’s the story of a quartet of sisters who are uprooted from their life in Georgia to live in a small village in the Congo with their Baptist missionary father. The story is told in alternating chapters – each “book” of the Bible begins with a chapter told by the mother, then the sisters take turns telling the story.

Tuesdays With Morrie

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Mitch Albom

Oy, the schmaltz!

This would definitely be waaaaaaay too much on a larger scale; but at 200 pages or so, it makes a good diversion on one of those long afternoons when it’s raining and you have access to a kettle and a box of Kleenex.


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Two days til Spring Break!!

This morning I feel like I really, really need a week off, believe me. I'm heading home after my afternoon class tomorrow - a class which I suspect will be curiously shorter than usual. Then I'm home for ten and a half days!!

I'm doing my best to wrap things up here, to minimize the homework. I have mid-term papers from all three classes, so there's a lot of correcting to get through; for two of the classes, part of what I'm correcting is the students' ability to use APA documentation, which is not particularly exciting, to say the least. Needless to say, I'm engaging in a lot of internal pep talks:

"You can do it, Maggie!"
"Yes, but I don't want to."

Thankfully the weather is encouraging - this morning, though still stupidly cold, is bright and sunny, and the forecast looks warmer.

And let's face it - the world just looks better in widescreen. My new machine is wonderful - I'm impressed, Dr. T (who is, after all, a computer guy) is impressed, and the techie people at school, who took care of my new baby for a couple of hours yesterday, installing network thingies, are impressed.

Suffice it to say that I'm happy - if not for this perpetually growing stack of corrections. Grr.


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Hummus with 7 peppers rocks.

I cannot, at the moment, feel my tongue.

World's Best Impulse Buyer

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Yesterday, I bought two laptops on e-bay.

I have a friend here in Lennoxville who, now that she's retired, is getting into the cyberworld. So she asked me to find her a laptop, not too expensive, whose primary functions will be e-mail and surfing.

Yesterday, I found her machine. Nice little HP, reasonably priced, no bells and whistles, and just enough power to avoid d-o-w-n-l-o-a-d-i-n-g frustrations.

Then, since I was in the market for my own new machine, I kept looking...

The rewards of virtue

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As you can see from the column to your left (that's <---), I have been a very good girl. No smoking for 5 whole days!

I'm going nuts*.

In an effort to convince myself that quitting is the best thing I've ever done, I have calculated my savings and I have pretty much decided that mama's gonna get a brand new laptop.

There are a couple of wide-screen babies out there that I am drooling over...

I am now trying to figure out several things - do I buy on-line or in person? do I need Office Pro, or is the basic version good 'nuff? what are the pros and cons of monthly installment plans? if I go with Dell, should I pay an extra $1/month for the Burlwood snap-on cover? You know, important considerations such as these.

Any advice, recommendations, reviews (pro AND con), etc., are welcome, invited and eagerly anticipated.

* Freudians will get a kick out the fact that I initially typed "I'm going buts."

Conspiracy theory

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Here's a first - L. Ian MacDonald made me laugh this morning, and not in the usual derisive, cynical way:

Paul Martin said he was unaware, because as finance minister and chief financial officer of the government at the time, he was out of the room when it all happened.

This is, of course, in reference to the so-called Quebec Sponsorship Scandal. What I love about this scandal:

Brush with reality

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Since Becca brings up "Survivor," I have a confession to make - last night I watched "The Apprentice." I admit it, I couldn't look away...

In the end, though, the only thing that stayed with me is the thought that Donald Trump really, really needs to fire his hairdresser. How much money does this guy have? Then why does he look like a tribble died on his head?

Why my colleagues rock


"Maggie, I'm writing a letter of recommendation for a student. How do you spell 'narcolepsy'?"

And Kerry clinches the nomination

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Recently, I suggested that what was missing in the US Democratic primary race was raciness.

Well, the Drudge Report, which brought us the Lewinsky scandal, is now pleased to report that John Kerry, the current front-runner in the race, may have what it takes.

This scandal has all the ingredients - a Democrat, an intern, and an apparent cover-up. At this point, it's strictly rumour and innuendo.

Timing is everything - Kerry now needs to keep the rumour going, yet unproven, until he's safely ensconced in the Oval Office. If the allegations prove true prior to the election, Kerry will be the new Gary Hart. But if he can keep the whole thing under wraps until he's redecorating the Lincoln bedroom, he'll be the new Bill Clinton.

According to the Sun, who interviewed the alleged other woman, “He invited her to be on his re-election committee. She talked to him and decided against it.”

Woo, steamy stuff.

via Alternet

Live Monkeys

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Last month, bloggers far and wide posted entries about the jobs they've had. This was the first "Monkey" from blork and Martine.

This month's monkey is a little more philosophical (read hard): "Talk about the times in your life when you felt really, really alive."

Okay, here goes:

It's official

I'm tired of winter.

The fluffy white snow, the glistening icicles, the lightly dusted fir trees - it's all getting a little old.

I took my car through a car wash yesterday morning - of course, then I spent an hour and a half on the autoroute cursing every truck or car that splashed salty, muddy, dirty slush all over my beautiful, shiny, waxed car. Sigh. It was clean for approximately two minutes.

This morning, I awoke to a blizzard. Lots of big, fluffy flakes, which are awe-inspiring when you can lie in the snow, looking up into a night sky - it's like the starscape screensaver, but real. On the other hand, when it's morning, and you have to get the stuff off your car before driving along half-heartedly plowed roads riddled with potholes, it's more augh-inspiring.

So, yes, it's official - winter can end anytime now. I'm ready to move on. The novelty has worn off. Let's see some daffodils and robins, please.

One of these days, Alice...


I'm in correcing mode - only five essays left. But I think it may be time to throw in the towel for today. What makes me think this, you ask?

I just gave myself a fat lip with my own pen.

See, I had the pen in my mouth, I was trying to contain my hair in a clip... next thing I knew, fat lip. And the chances are very good that somewhere between my mouth and my nose, there is a lovely streak of red ink.

Yup, definitely time to go home.

But I just got the yellow right!

you are blueviolet

Your dominant hues are blue and magenta. You're the one who goes to all the parties but doesn't quite fit in at every one... you know what you want, but are afraid of what the world might think of it. You're a little different and that's okay with them, and if you're smart it's okay with you too.

Your saturation level is higher than average - You know what you want, but sometimes know not to tell everyone. You value accomplishments and know you can get the job done, so don't be afraid to run out and make things happen.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

via SheilaRene

Spam, spam, spam, spam...


In the last two days, I have received five email offers to order Tylenol 3 with codeine online. One of these messages says, "why suffer the embarrassment of asking your local doctor?"

Am I missing something? Why would I be embarrassed to ask my personal doctor for Tylenol? The only reason I can come up with is excessive use - which leads me to ask:

Are these people crazy??

For all intents and purposes, they are blatantly promoting unsafe drug use. Now, it's one thing for Americans to do their crossborder drug shopping on-line - that's a case of availability, cost and health insurance. But to actively solicit, with the not-so-subtle implication that this is a recreational drug, is beyond the pale.

Frankly, the whole thing - the message, coupled with the inundation - is giving me a headache...

Now that's a marketing strategy.

Explanatory Note

As promised, or threatened, depending on your point of view, I have started putting together some of my writing from days gone by. "The Moving Blues," which first appeared in the Vanier Phoenix more than a dozen years ago, is the first of these.

I plan to post some of my fiction as well, assuming I don't make myself gag in the process of retyping it.

The Moving Blues

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How to Disorganize Your Life in Four Easy Steps

Imagine, if you will, a young couple. They have been seeing each other for about two years, and have decided to take the BIG STEP: living together. Shudders of morality aside, let’s take a look at the worst part of the relationship to date – the one thing that can destroy your happiness, not to mention your back. The Move.

The (Gulp) War

Originally published in the Vanier Phoenix, 1991.

It seems to me that the President of the United States of America, a.k.a. the “leader of the Western world,” should be able to afford at least one advisor well-versed in Middle Eastern affairs and diplomacy.

Sex sells

It recently occurred to me that what's missing from the current Democratic primary race is sex.

Let's look at this historically: in the last 50 years, the most successful US presidents (Dem.) are Kennedy and Clinton, both of whom were plagued by sex scandals, and the more we learn about them, the steamier they get.

Carter kept the "lust in his heart" and the beast in his pants - and lost his reelection bid to some actor from California.

LBJ, meanwhile, branded all the females in his entourage with his initials, but although he followed through on several Kennedy initiatives, such as civil rights and the space program, he failed to keep up, well, "it."

Kennedy and Clinton, on the other hand, were randy buggers who, it seems, were willing to boff anything in a skirt (or a blue dress). I'm willing to admit my ignorance when it comes to American presidents pre-1960, but I bet there are even more examples of the Democratic Ass gettin' some.

So, Democratic candidates, listen up - get out there and get dirty. Your country needs you (note the very, very subtle wordplay. Shakespeare did it first).

It was only a matter of time

Leave it to our litigious neighbours to the south. A class-action suit has been filed "on behalf of all Americans" against Janet "this boob's for you" Jackson:

Terri Carlin, a 47-year-old Knoxville bank employee, contends that Jackson's exposure and other "sexually explicit conduct" during halftime festivities caused viewers to "suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury."

Also named in the suit: Justin Timberlake, CBS, MTV and Viacom. Apparently the Patriots and the Panthers are not being held accountable for the outrage, anger, and embarrassment, although the serious injury charge might stick.

Via Tenorman

I will grant you that this is a case of nonnewsworthiness, and that just thinking about that massive piercing makes certain bits of my anatomy cringe, but I still say I'd rather be exposed (pardon the pun) to Janet's boob than Michael's face.


Unelected Officialdom

Canada has bid a farewell, fond or otherwise, to Jean Chretien, after more than a decade at the helm. His successor, Paul Martin, is currently experiencing the pendulum swing of media favour. During the federal election campaign in 2000, rumours were rife that Chretien was planning to retire practically as soon as he was sworn in - and that Martin was the presumed heir to the Liberal throne. In other words, a vote for Chretien was a vote for Martin - and the votes were cast.

Now, however, there seems to be a growing sentiment of "well, we didn't vote for you, buddy." Particularly in light of the most recent little oopsie: in February 2003, the government reported that it had paid about $137,000 to a shipping company owned by Paul Martin. The numbers, as it turns out, were a little off.

By a factor of 1,175.

New figures released this month show that in fact, the government gave the shipping company contracts worth $161 million.

Martin's response? He said he knew immediately upon hearing it that the $137,000 figure was wrong.

"I was appalled when I saw what the original answer had been," he said.

So, about a year ago, he saw the number, knew it had to be wrong, and didn't say a word???

Well, I didn't vote for you, buddy.

Meanwhile, away down south, Senator John McCain is putting the blame for Iraq on - wait for it - Bill Clinton. According to McCain, it was Clinton who was snowed by faulty intelligence, and since Clinton signed the Iraqi Regime Change Act in 1998, the Bush league cannot be held accountable.

That's right - the Democrats did it.

The Parrot, Part II

According to Winston Churchill's daughter, Charlie the Parrot is a fraud.

Lady Soames says that the Churchill family did have a parrot, but a different one, for a few years, but the idea that Churchill taught the bird to swear at Nazis is, and I quote, "too tiresome for words".

Once more with feeling


Okay, here we go again - I did some more futzing with Photoshop, and here is the new new background. I'm using the laptop, so once again I rely on your input to let me know if the colour is hideous. I'm going for a mellow, yellowy-orange, not bright, screaming acid yellow, so I implore you to give some idea of what you're looking at.

The current colour is "light goldenrod." It was "Navajo white" for a day or two, but I was uneasy about the hex code: FFDEAD.

I toned down the flowers, as per Francois' suggestion, so the text should be easier to read.

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