Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Study: Researchers haven't learned basic math. is now sporting a rather astonishing headline:

"Even grandma had premarital sex, survey finds"

Now this may come as a shock to a lot of people whose grandmothers were in their teens and twenties during the early part of this century. Not to worry, baby-boomers, they don't mean
your grandma. They are speaking of grandmas who were born a little later, in the 1940's.

Wow, that's early, you say. But remember, these folks were BORN in the 40's. They weren't having premarital sex in the nursery. ,That came later, in their teens, twenties, and even up to their 40's. And, in case you don't remember, it takes a few years to get from your own crib in the one sense, to someone else's "crib" in the newer sense, if you catch my drift.

Unfortunately, the MSNBC article conveniently fails to mention if the survey took into account which decade it was when Grandma had sex outside of marriage. The good news is, we can use our brains to fill in some of the blanks with reasonably educated hypotheses, even if the article writers did not.

Now, I know it's hard for some of us. I haven't taken a math class myself in about 8 years, and for some of you it may have even been longer. But, humor me here, and do a little basic addition.

So, let's say Grandma was born in 1940. This means she finished high school sometime around 1958. This means grandma had her first legal alcoholic beverage in 1961. Or, let's say grandma was born in 1949. This means she had her high school graduation around 1967, and she could have been an anti-war protesting, pot-smoking hippie college student by 1970. A grandma born in the 1940's would be in her own 40's during the 1980s, and we know how popular pre-marital sex was by then. Let's also not forget that during the 70's and 80's the divorce rate in this country began to rise significantly. It's possible that even if Grandma didn't have sex before her first marriage, she may have had sex between marriages.

Basically this survey has just discovered that the generation that started the Sexual Revolution has now become old enough to be grandparents. But they are probably too busy enjoying their grandchildren to need a survey to tell them this. Unless they are still smoking...

Way to go, MSNBC.

PS: Apparently only 88% of grandmas born in the 40's had pre-marital sex at some time in their lives. Kudos to the 12% that didn't. When people my age are grandmas only 5% of us will be able to say the same.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Dark Night

From a poem with very beautiful and sensual imagery about a soul meeting its Savior. Thanks to Bill for drawing attention to this on his blog.

The Dark Night

1. One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
- ah, the sheer grace! -
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

2. In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! -
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

3. On that glad night
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

4. This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
- him I knew so well -
there in a place where no one appeared.

5. O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

6. Upon my flowering breast,
which I kept wholly for him alone,
there he lay sleeping,
and I caressing him
there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

7. When the breeze blew from the turret,
as I parted his hair,
it wounded my neck
with its gentle hand,
suspending all my senses.

8. I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.

For those who like music: Loreena McKennitt did a lovely version of this set to music, which she titles "Dark Night of the Soul". She changed the words a bit, but the basic meaning is intact for the most part.

California vs. Texas

Most people wouldn't put Texas and California in the same sentence, unless noting how opposite they are supposed to be. I've lived in both states, and find that they have a few things in common:

1. Both were once part of Mexico
2. Both were independent republics before joining the US.
3. Both have fabulous historical sites reflecting items 1 & 2.
4. Both states are huge, geographically speaking.
5. Residents of each state think they live in the best of all possible places, not just on this planet, but possibly in the known universe. Ask them. Neither can fathom why anyone would want to live in the other state.

Texas, however takes its state pride to a slightly different level than California. Furniture stores in Texas often feature pieces with the Lone Star emblazoned proudly upon them. You don't see many Californians looking for furniture with the Bear on them. Texas even has its own pledge of allegiance, which from what I have heard, is often recited in schools along with the national one:

    Honor the Texas flag;
I pledge allegiance to thee,
Texas, one and indivisible.

Perhaps not Pulitzer prize-winning poetry, but it's straightforward, clear and to the point.

I did a Google search, to see if California has its own equivalent. All I got was references to news articles and court cases about people in California trying to ban the national Pledge of Allegiance because of the words "under God". A similar Google search for the Texas pledge got notably different results.

And here we begin to see some of those differences.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Christmas Cookies!

There is a fruitcake recipe out there that has directions similar to these. The perfect recipe for those stressed out by their annual Christmas baking.

Thanks to my friend Michelle for bringing this to my attention.


Christmas Cookie Recipe
1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Crown Royal

Sample the Crown Royal to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Crown Royal again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Turn on the electric mixer...Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one teaspoon of sugar...Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the Crown Royal is still OK, try another cup.. just in case. Turn off the mixer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of driedfruit. Pick the frigging fruit off floor... Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a dewscriver. Sample the Crown Royal to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something....who giveshz a sheet. Check the Crown Royal. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of ar, or somefink.... whatever you can find. Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the bottle of Crown Royal. Make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

Cherry Mistmas

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

UK Newspaper: another way for junk food to kill us...

Never mind the dangers to your weight, blood sugar and cholesterol. According to the Daily Register, now donuts (that's Doughnuts across the pond in the UK) endanger airlines as well.


The War on Terror claims doughnuts
reader sees sprinkling of panic

Published Monday 4th December 2006 12:13 GMT

Airport security is a serious business, but why was a Reg reader refused a Krispy Kreme doughnut at Heathrow airport?

Admittedly, the sugared snacks contain enough cooking oil and sugar to power a trailer park, but who knew they could be fashioned into bombs?

On Saturday afternoon a Reg reader was dropping some friends at Heathrow and stopped off at Krispy Kreme doughnuts outside Terminal 3.

But the reader was directed to the unstuffed ring doughnuts rather than a full-fat, fully stuffed Krispy Kreme special because the fillings fall foul of security restrictions.

"Imagine our confusion when the guy serving us advised that we could only buy ring doughnuts, not filled, circulardoughnuts. A moment or two's wrangling in broken English and we discovered that he thought we were outbound passengers.

On further questioning, apparently the liquid contents of a filled doughnut fall foul of the new restrictions on liquids in carry on luggage. Quite how the authorities imagine that a terrorist could blow up a 747 by rubbing two Krispy Kremes together was a bit beyond us.

But a spokesman for BAA denied they were stamping on Homer's favourite food. He said: "Passengers can take liquids in 100ml bottles carrried in a clear plastic bag. But passengers use common sense on foodstuffs. Sandwich fillings and the like are not restricted."

In fact, the only foods still on the restricted list are: "Liquid-based foods, sauces, stews, soups over 100ml in size."

Drinks suffer the same restrictions, but there is no mention of doughnuts.

The real restrictions are available here on BAA's site. ®

Christmas Shoppers: Help is on the way!

Dave Barry's 2006 Gift Guide is here! The Miami Herald humor columnist offers his perspective on this season's most intriguing gift ideas from a motorized cooler on wheels, to personalized toilet paper ...


What's behind Santa's Ho-Ho-Ho

Holiday gift-giving is a tradition that dates back roughly 2,006 years, to when the Three Wise Men went to Bethlehem with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus. Of course the next day the Virgin Mary returned these items for store credit, because she was a low-income mother with a newborn, and as the old saying goes, ''You can't diaper a baby with frankincense.''

But it was too late: The Three Wise Men had started a tradition. And in keeping with that tradition, this holiday season millions of people will spend billions of dollars to buy gifts that their friends and loved ones do not need.

Full article at
Unfortunately, you will need to create a free account to view the entire article. :(

Another printing of this gift guide at the Star-Telegram

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Bigotry of Low Expectations.

It's not obvious from my profile picture, since my face isn't shown, but I'm technically a minority.

At least, half of me is. You see, I am of mixed Mexican and Caucasian ancestry (one parent from each "race"). This combination of brown and white has left me an interesting shade of beige on the inside, but since my outsides are more on the brown side, most people look at me and go, Oh, she's a Mexican... And they approach me as such.

That doesn't bother me most of the time. I am proud of and identify with both sides of my heritage. I guess that's why I get a little sensitive when people make certain kinds of remarks about minorities in education, the workplace, and other key areas of society.

And that's why I'm furious over the way a certain Puerto-Rican student at Columbia University was recently treated on the basis of two things: His race, and his membership in the US Military. Well, it's not this incident that makes me furious. It's the disease of which this incident is merely a symptom.

When some fellow students at a booth for the International Socialist Organization were making rather loud, negative comments about the military. Matt Sanchez, the student in question, tolerated this, until they asserted that the military exploits minorities, using them as cannon fodder. Sanchez, noting that all of the ISO protesters were not minorities, challenged this, informing them that he is a minority person who signed up for the military, and he does not feel exploited. Their response? "You're too stupid to know you're being used."

I guess they felt it was their duty as his racial and intellectual superiors to inform him. And the University must have agreed, because it has yet to discipline these students for their violation of Columbia's policies against racial harassment.

Unfortunately, this attitude that minorities are too inept to look after themselves is not limited to this small group of students at Columbia University. When Jaime Escalante (the high school teacher immortalized in "Stand and Deliver") wanted to teach Calculus to minority kids at his inner-city school site who were academically behind, he met with resistance from faculty. These teachers believed Escalante's students incapable of advanced academic study, and argued that they should be protected from what they believed was inevitable failure.

There are universities now that are considering lowering their admission requirements, in the hope that it will attract more minority students to their campuses. What happened to helping them rise to the existing standards?

When I was in high school, my ethnic background and my very respectable GPA resulted in lots of mail from academic advancement and scholarship programs for minority students. Most of the letters I received assumed that I came from a financially, academically, and even culturally disadvantaged background. The message between the lines was, "you poor thing, let us help you". It never occurred to them that, thanks to the diligence of my parents many of the racial obstacles I might have faced had already been overcome. This is especially a credit to my father, who had to overcome a significant amount of overt racism to become a successful adult, including the low expectations of many of his school teachers, who assumed that a Mexican kid from a poor neighborhood would never go anywhere.

I encountered similar attitudes early in my own teaching career. One person I worked with, who taught a remedial English class for 7th graders told me, both in and out of the presence of these students that "These kids are low" and that they were never going to handle academic life well. She assumed that most of them would end up as dropouts, teenage parents, and even inmates before they were 18, and it was clear from her remarks that the fact that most of these students were ethnic minorities played into her assumptions. She therefore did not assign any homework, since she figured they wouldn't do it and she didn't want them to fail the class. It never seemed to occur to her, despite a lifetime of teaching, that she was contributing to their future failures by not reinforcing a study habit that might keep them from becoming dropouts and delinquents. (I will also note that this person was surprised to find out that English is my first language, even though she never heard me speak any other language, and I haven't the slightest trace of any foreign accent.)

Ironically, several of the kids in this class to whom I spoke wanted to go to college--a place she assumed they would never see, and which she didn't want to bother preparing them for. This teacher was skilled at gaining the respect of her students. Seeing the crestfallen looks on their faces when they overheard her say that she did not believe they would amount to anything was among the most frustrating and painful moments in my career. I had to remind myself that it really is the 21st century.

Even more frustrating is when I see people of color, who have positions of power as teachers, public activists, politicians, doctors, attorneys, actors, and occasionally even parents and students, adopting this attitude as well, and ceasing to encourage younger people to use their talents to follow their dreams and ambitions.

The initial intent of programs like Affirmative Action was, I have always thought, to provide a way for students to get around barriers created by unreasonable stereotypes. I reasoned that the assumption was that people of color are just as intelligent and capable as anyone else, and the forceful minimization of the effects of racism on the education system would provide equal opportunity for people of equal talent to shine. Experience, however, is making me start to think otherwise. Maybe these people who seek to "help" us never really believed in racial equality at all.

Related Link: The Columbia Daily Spectator

Sunday, December 3, 2006

The first order of business...

Howdy there, whoever you are. :)

Welcome to my first blog entry.

Hm. I hate those awkward silences.

Here is where I will occasionally post things that I *hope* will be worth reading. I have, until now, been mostly using a "blog" on myspace, but that's....well... Myspace. If you are wondering who I am, I am a music lover and literature nerd, a certified high school teacher, and a newlywed. This means I'm slightly insane, but I'm also happy and therefore harmless. If you are as nuts as I am, welcome! Put your feet up and stay awhile. If you are sane....flee to the hills now before you become as strange as I am! :)

Until my next ravings, I shall leave you with the following image for your contemplation and enjoyment: