Saturday, January 31, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/31/04

This quotation came from James Carville's address today.

"He has such reverence for the truth that he used it sparingly." Abraham Lincoln, comenting on a political opponent.

Mock Con: The nominee

And the winner is ... Senator John F. Kerry.

Kerry took the nomination on the first ballot. It would have been Virginia's turn to cast their delegate votes when Kerry garnered the necessary majority, but the W&L Virginia delegation followed tradition and allowed the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to cast the delegate votes that put their Senator over the top. Senator John Edwards was nominated for Vice President via an unscientific voice vote.

Mock Con: Final Session -- The Roll Call

Just like in the real national conventions, each delegation gets to give a little spiel about the grandeur of their state before casting their delegate votes. This was actually one of my favorite parts of Mock Con '04. I learned several interesting tidbits, and I enjoyed reveling in the unique W&L culture where Texas fights the rest of the Union and the Civil War is not yet ended. Here are some highlights and some interesting facts.

Deleware was the home of Dr. Heimlich, the inventor of the Heimlich manuever. Nebraska gave the world Kool-Aid. North Dakota was home to the largest hamburger ever observed. Rhode Island is the birthplace of Mr. Potato Head. South Carolina reminded the hall that they were the first state to secede from the Union. Ohio reminded SC and others that Ohio had produced many winners -- chief among those was Ulysses S. Grant who won both the Presidency and the Civil War. West Virginia was proud to proclaim that they, too, knew how to pick a winner. After all, their state was born in 1863 due to a Union victory over the "rebellious South."

The Arkansas' main claim to fame was this past year's football victory over the Texas Longhorns. Oklahoma also referenced football and reminded the Texans that their Sooners had also defeated the Longhorns -- by a score of 65 to 13. The Texas bashing finally reached its climax when the Texas delegation stepped to the microphone. They had an enitre entourage and two enormous state flags. But, the self-aggrandizing Texans were greeted with a loud round of boos -- twice.

There really is no school quite like this.

Mock Con: Final Session -- The Carville Address

There was really only one speaker of note on the second day of Mock Con 2004. That speaker was the Ragin' Cajun, James Carville. And rage he did. Immediately upon stepping up to the podium, Carville whipped off his jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves. And it's a good thing he did since his wild arm gesturing would have surely split the back of his shirt had his cuffs remained buttoned.

As far as Carville's message ... well, it was quite indicative of who Carville is. Carville is a political hired gun who operates by the Al Davis motto, "Just win, baby." Quite noticeably, intellectual honesty is not part of that motto. The driving force behind "It's the economy, stupid," spent a large portion of his address harping on the President's focus on the economy without really criticizing any particular Bush policy. At one point, Carville asked the audience, "Do you want to raise your children in an economy or in a society?" (I'm not sure exactly what that means, but if I really had to choose, I may pick an economy.) Another interesting switch for Carville was his emphasis on the need for truth telling in the Oval Office. I certainly concur with that point of view, but this is not the tune Carville was singing when he was propelling Slick Willy into the White House.

But as far as entertainment value goes, Carville did an excellent job playing to the college audience. Carville told the room that he graduated from LSU with a 4.0 -- in blood alcohol level, that is. Carville concluded his speech with a comment about how much pot he smoked in school. An interesting finish. Carville must have known that he was speaking to the #5 party school in America. It was certainly not a very dignified end, but it was true to the tone of Carville's raucus address.

Learning about the blogosphere

Banshee Blog had about 35 hits yesterday. It seems that commenting on the World Mag Blog created an explosion of traffic. A valuable lesson learned.

Mock Con: Session Two

Okay, I skipped Session Two on Friday night. There is only so much talk about the downtrodden that I can take in one day. Stay tuned for Session Three. That is James Carville's day. That is what we pay the big money for.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/30/04

"You get fifteen democrats in a room, and you get twenty opinions." Sen. Patrick Leahy

Session One is in the books

Session One of the W&L Mock Democratic Convention is in the books.

The opening comments were given by Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston. This was the typical guilty, New Englander type of speech.

The first address of the day was given by the Democratic governor of Virginia, Mark Warner. Admittedly, Mr. Warner is fiscally conservative. As such, Mr. Warner spent a good deal of his address harping on the current administration's "borrow and spend" financial policies. I whole-heartedly agree that President Bush has been too willing to spend the people's money. However, no major candidate is running on a "spend less" platform. That being the case, I believe that "borrow and spend" is far better than the "tax and spend" policies that all Democratic candidates are putting forth. Mr. Warner did not endorse a particular candidate.

The second address was given by Ronnie Dugger, a writer who has contributed to such periodicals as Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker and The Nation. Mr. Dugger gave a speech to endorse Rep. Dennis Kucinich. While I thoroughly disagreed with Dugger's political views, I did admire his idealism. Dugger is what he is, and he is clearly an admirer of the social ideals of the far left. I can always at least respect a true believer.

The final address of the afternoon was given by the former governor and senator from Oklahoma, David Boren. Boren was an engaging speaker with excellent delivery. I thought that Boren made some excellent points about the importance of understanding history. I was also pleased to hear him remind the audience that no nation that has ever existed has used its military and financial power so selflessly for the good of so many as the United States has post-Cold War. However, Boren dulled that message by spreading the mistruth that our nation currently makes a policy of going it alone (I doubt Tony Blair, John Howard and the leaders of approximately 50 other nations would agree with that assessment). Then Mr. Boren went on to advocate caring more for our nation's children who are lost in foster care or are abandoned at hospitals. However, I think that it is woth noting that Mr. Boren did not mention caring for our nation's unborn by allowing them to live. Then Mr. Boren wrapped up his address by putting forth some deceptive statistics about how much wealth that the wealthy control in our nation (see Quote of the Day from 1/25/04). But Mr. Boren did not make it clear that the wealthy did not take that money out of the pockets of the poorest third of our society. Further, Boren did not inform the audience that the poorest segment of our society is also richer now than they were twenty years ago. But who needs truth when the rhetoric sounds so good?

All in all, Session One was an interesting and worthwhile experience.

The Background on the W&L Mock Convention

(Yes, this post is back-dated)

The Tradition: Like everything at Washington and Lee, the mock convention is a tradition that dates back nearly one hundred years. In each presidential election year since 1908, the students of Washington and Lee University hold a mock convention for the out-of-power party. The purpose of the mock convention is to simulate the real convention that the national party will have later in the year. Supposedly, W&L's convention is one of the most accurate predictors of the eventual party nomination that is out there. The mock convention has correctly predicted the nominee in 17 out of 22 attempts. This may not seem like an impressive batting average, but it's important to remember that predicting a nominee was quite difficult in the days before popular primary elections.

Choosing the Nominee: About a year prior to the mock convention, W&L students begin to divide up into 55 different delegations. These delegations represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia and several territories. The heads of these delegations then do a great deal of research on their state and how the different presidential candidates are campaigning in those states. Eventually, this research is used to decide how the delegation's delegates will be alotted between the different candidates. This process enables W&L to make accurate predictions regardless of the actual party affiliations of the participants.

Super Bowl Prediction

I know that I failed miserably at this for the conference championship games, but I'm back for another try.

Patriots: 17
Panthers: 7

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/29/04

"It [corporate law] is a Faustian drama. At some point you wake up and realize that you’ve sold your soul and no one wants to buy it anymore." Prof. Maureen Cavanaugh

Spreading My Wings

If any of you check out the World Mag Blog postings for January 29, you may find a familiar voice among the comments to Marvin Olasky's "Same-Cousin Marriage" posting. The blogosphere is an amazing thing.

Stranger in a Strange Land

This weekend I will be attending the Washington and Lee Mock Convention. In each presidential election year, Washington and Lee puts on a mock convention for the out-of-power party. This year it will be a Democratic convention. I will be attending as a delegate from the great state of Florida. The festivities begin on Friday morning. A good number of big name speakers will be there, and supposedly there will be gavel to gavel coverage on C-SPAN. Unfortunately, none of the candidates are scheduled to make an appearance at this point (a mistake for Wes Clark, I think). The Ragin' Cajun, James Carville will be the keynote speaker on Saturday morning.

Supposedly, W&L's mock con is incredibly accurate at predicting the actual nominee. How this happens is a mystery to me since they allow a Pennsylvania Republican like me to cast Democratic votes as a representative of Florida. But then again, politics is a mysterious business.

I will be sure to keep all you readers posted. And if anyone has a pitch to make for a particular Democrat, please email or post a comment. I'm still an undecided voter.

A Shout Out for Home Schooling

I found this article via the World Mag Blog. The AP has a nice write-up here that is very flattering to home schoolers. The article focuses on home schoolers' transition to college life. As a Grove City College grad, of course I knew many home schoolers. In my experience, home schoolers there were certainly at least as well equipped for collegiate academics as the more mainstream students were, and the dreaded social maladjustment was largely a myth.

I, however, would be hard-pressed to home school any child of mine after eighth grade. Of course, that is largely so that they can know the immeasurable joys of attending their own high school's athletic events.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/28/04

"The greatest ability is dependability." From Robert Savage’s Life’s Lessons

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The Results Are In

As expected, John Kerry won the New Hampshire primary. But it was a wider margin than many expected. Despite the fact that Dean put a good spin on his second place finish, this cannot be good news for Deaniacs. If Dean cannot win or even come close in New Hampshire, he has little chance of making a stir on Super Tuesday. In contrast, Clark and Edwards did well enough in New Hampshire to remain viable candidates as the primaries head to the South and West next week. The big loser in New Hampshire has to be Joe Lieberman. Although Lieberman claimed over and over on CNN that he was in a three-way tie for third, that was simply not the case. He was significantly behind Clark and Edwards and nowhere near the two front-runners. Things should be quite interesting next week.

Speak Out!

Banshee Blog has entered a whole new era. Thanks to my friend Meredith McNabb, Banshee Blog now has a commenting feature. This is much better than my suggested emailing method. So, please let the comments flow.

New Blog of Note

Mimi pointed out to me that World Magazine now has its own blog. I checked it out today for the first time, and it is truly fabulous. Were it not for the blogosphere, how else could a person have the opportunity to have a daily visit with the likes of Marvin Olasky? Do check it out. For your convenience, I have provided a permanent link to the World Mag Blog on this site.

Quote of the Day 1/27/04

"I never vote for anyone; I always vote against." W.C. Fields

New Hampshire primary

Tuesday is the New Hampshire primary. It appears that Kerry will win again, but nothing is decided until the polls close. While New Hampshire certainly provides momentum, it is important to keep perspective on what it actually means -- or maybe more importantly, what the NH primary does not mean. Bill Clinton did not win New Hampshire in 1992, and George W. Bush did not win New Hampshire in 2000. The whole Democratic landscape will be much more clear after a few southern primaries are in the books.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Battle of the Sexes Produces Mixed Results

Vince Lombardi is famous for saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” However, I do not think that this is the case on The Apprentice (airing on NBC this Thursday at 9 pm). Thus far, the women’s team has won all three challenges, but in the process, they have done their best to set the women’s movement back several decades. Far from proving that they have more business acumen than their male counterparts, the women have mostly proved the old adage that sex sells. So far, the women have bulged their breasts, bared their bellies and even danced in order to accomplish their goals. When the women are not executing the challenges, they are embroiled in bitter catfights back in their suite. The whole thing should be quite embarrassing for any woman to watch.

It will be interesting to see how The Donald ultimately reacts to all this. My prediction is that these tactics can only carry the women so far. My prediction is that the women will have to prove that they have some legitimate business skills if they are to continue their winning ways. Previews for Thursday’s episode hint that The Donald’s advisors are about to put the clamps down on all the prancing and dancing. It’s too bad that these highly qualified, professional women didn’t have the pride and self-respect to clamp down on themselves.

Quote of the Day 1/26/04

"Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home." David Frost

The Apprentice

Even though the television market is currently saturated with reality shows, NBC came up with a new and interesting program. The Apprentice. The Apprentice is part Survivor, part Real World and part Battle of the Sexes -- all with a business twist. The show features Donald Trump, the City of New York, a team of men and a team of women. Each week The Donald gives both teams an assignment. The winning team is immune to having a member fired from the show. But each week, one member of the losing team must hear The Donald declare, "You're fired!" Truly captivating television.

The Apprentice will be airing its fourth episode this Thursday at 9 pm on NBC. Past episodes are periodically shown on CNBC. But, even if you do not see any of the first three episodes, it is not too late to join in the fun.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/25/04

This quote is in reference to the posting below.

"Statistics are like bikinis: they show a lot but not everything." Lou Piniella

Kerry shining brighter than Bush in the polls

It appears that despite his French-looking hair, his bad dancing and his foul language, John Kerry is surging in the polls -- and not just the polls comparing him to his Democratic rivals. The latest Newsweek poll indicates that Kerry's Iowa momentum has propelled him ahead of George W. Bush. The poll results showed Kerry with 49% support compared to Bush's 46%.

For those of you who are Bush supporters, I post this as a word of caution. Despite the capture of Saddam and the apparent upturn in the economy, nothing is certain when it comes to elections. So, don't get lazy. However, this post is not meant to instill fear. It is perfectly natural (granted, I do not have scientific evidence from past years to back this up) that Bush would be lagging a bit at this time. After all, Kerry has been spending the last few weeks campaigning against Bush. Meanwhile, Bush has spent the last few weeks being President. Things will surely pick up for Bush once he starts his campaign in earnest.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/24/04

"We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us." From Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Smoking in Toledo

Like many cities across America, Toldedo, OH recently instituted a ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants. However, private clubs are exempt from the ban. Entrepreneurial spirit being what it is, Toledo tavern owners have found a way to latch onto this loophole. Several Toledo bars have formed an organization known as Taverns for Tots. Taverns for Tots is a not-for-profit organization that has $1 dues for a lifetime membership. Apparently, participating bars require all patrons to join Taverns for Tots prior to entry. Thus, the participating taverns have turned themselves into private clubs where the smoke can once again billow freely.

Of course, attorneys for the city of Toledo are crying foul, and lawsuits will soon be following. But for now, I say hip-hip-hooray for the creative minds in Toledo that are not willing to give up the free market system just yet.

Comments about postings

A few people have inquired about how they can post comments to blog entries. The answer is that I do not know. At this point, I have only a basic, free membership at Blogspot. That does not include a comment posting option as a part of any of their templates, and I do not have the HTML programming knowledge to set that up for myself.

Right now, Blogspot is not taking any new subscriptions to its premium program. As soon as Blogspot is taking new people, I plan to join. I think that I will be able to include comment posting at that point.

Until then, please email comments to Wild Banshee, and I will post them. I'll make sure to clearly mark the comments as comments so as to not inadvertantly take credit for someone else's brilliant thoughts.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/23/04

"Just because an idiot says two and two makes four doesn’t mean it is not true." Prof. Lyman Johnson

Sharpton and Monetary Policy

This is an excerpt from the transcript of last night's Democratic debate.

JENNINGS: Reverend Sharpton, I'd like to ask you a question about domestic policy, if you don't mind.
JENNINGS: If during your term as president, if you become the nominee, and you have the opportunity to nominate someone to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, what kind of person would you consider for the job? You can name someone in particular, if you have someone in mind.

And maybe just take a minute or so to give us a little bit about your views on monetary policy.

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, let me say this. I wanted to say to Governor Dean, don't be hard on yourself about hooting and hollering. If I had spent the money you did and got 18 percent, I'd still be in Iowa hooting and hollering.



SHARPTON: So, don't worry about it, Howard.


DEAN: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: I think, first of all, we must have a person at the Monetary Fund that is concerned about growth of all, not setting standards that would, in my judgment, protect some and not elevate those that cannot, in my view, expand and come to the levels of development and the levels of where we need to be.

I think part of my problem with how we're operating at this point is that the IMF and the policies that are emanating there do not lead to the expansion that is necessary for our country and our global village to rise to levels that underdeveloped countries and those businesses in this country can have the development policies necessary.

JENNINGS: Forgive me, Reverend Sharpton, but the question was actually about the Federal Reserve Board.

SHARPTON: I thought you said IMF, I'm sorry.

JENNINGS: No, I'm sorry, sir. And what you'd be looking for in a chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

SHARPTON: Oh, in the Federal Reserve Board, I would be looking for someone that would set standards in this country, in terms of our banking, our -- in how government regulates the Federal Reserve as we see it under Greenspan, that we would not be protecting the big businesses; we would not be protecting banking interests in a way that would not, in my judgment, lead toward mass employment, mass development and mass production.

I think that -- would I replace Greenspan, probably. Do I have a name? No.

HUME: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton. Thanks very much.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/22/04

I don't usually put Scripture on here because I think it trivializes the Word somewhat to appear before and after such brilliant material as country music lyrics and things I heard a professor say. But this seemed appropriate to me today.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/21/04

Yeah, this is back-dated. It didn't really get posted on 1/21.

"Fortune smiles upon the person who can laugh at himself." Robert Savage’s Life’s Lessons

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Lovable Lawyer?

The Democrat Party has once again turned my world upside down. I grew up with the impression that family doctors were kind, compassionate humanitarians and that the lawyers that sued these good doctors were nasty s-o-b’s. But now I learn by watching the Democrats that the family doctor, Dr. Dean, is a nasty, aggressive, screaming maniac and the “King of Torts”, Senator Edwards, is a lovable, gentle peacemaker. What’s next? A general who opposes war?

Quote of the Day 1/20/04

I think this quote is an interesting thought on the night of the State of the Union address.

"Action is eloquence." William Shakespeare

State of the Union

Just a reminder that the State of the Union address is tonight at 9 pm. For those of you who watch it and have a comment to make, please send an email.

The Iowa Caucus

The first results of the '04 election cycle are in. Iowa democrats chose John Kerry. John Edwards came in a strong second. Dr. Dean -- well, he only garnered 18% of the vote and came in a distant third.

As a Republican, I have mixed feelings about this. I think that Dean will be the easiest candidate for Bush to defeat in November. For that reason, I would not mind seeing Dean prevail. On the other hand, I find the fact that Iowa Democrats preferred two more measured candidates reassuring. David Frum in National Review Online expressed that sentiment well today. Certainly, I have serious policy disagreements with both Kerry and Edwards. However, they both have based their campaigns on other things besides pure Bush hatred. I think this is a positive sign.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/19/04

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Day

Today is the day that our nation celebrates the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that an appropriate way to celebrate this day is by reading King's famous "I Have a Dream Speech." Whenever I read this speech, I am struck by how different the tone of this speech is from the tone of the current racial discussions in our nation.

Like many other people, my favorite quotation from the speech is when King states, "I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Interestingly enough, King did not say, "I have a dream that one day my children will be noticed due to the color of their skin and then given the appropriate preferences in higher educations admissions." One has to wonder how different racial relations and policy in our nation would be today had King lived to old age. It is truly tragic that he did not.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Broken Crystal Ball

I'm just a girl. What do I know about the NFL anyway?

Quote of the Day 1/18/04

Okay, this is the last day for the women and men, etc. theme week.

"Beauty in distress is much the most affecting beauty." Edmund Burke

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Mona Lisa Smile

I finally saw Mona Lisa Smile. Quite frankly, I have no idea how the two Charlottes at Inkwell stayed interested in this movie long enough debate it for repeated posts.

The setting of Mona Lisa Smile is Wellesley in 1953. Professor Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) is a UCLA graduate who comes to Wellesley to teach art history and to stretch the minds of her students -- the epitome of the upper class "establishment." Due to the setting and the premise, some people have called this movie a Dead Poets Society for girls. However, I would strenuously disagree with any such comparison. First of all, Roberts’ character is such a stereotype that any comparison of Professor Watson to DPS’s Mr. Keating is almost heresy. Secondly, DPS had a clear and noble message while Mona Lisa does not seem to have any idea what it is trying to say to its audience.

But, this movie was not entirely without merit. There is one interesting scene when Watson’s best and brightest student (Julia Stiles) chooses to be a homemaker instead of choosing to attend law school at Yale. In the face of Watson’s obvious disapproval, that young woman reminds the professor that she is not forfeiting her intellect, interests or independence just because she is choosing a family over a career. In addition, Stiles’ character explains that she is just not willing to risk her dream of home and family in order to pursue what Watson considers a more liberated lifestyle.

The interaction between the Wellesley girls when they are not in the classroom is also quite interesting. Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ginnifer Goodwin -- particularly Goodwin -- each play interesting and believable characters and give good performances. These young actresses, along with Stiles, really steal the show. This is so true that when scenes involving the personal life of Roberts’ character are on the screen, audiences are bound to be slightly bored (if not somewhat annoyed) by the time away from the characters they actually care about.

All in all, I would say that if you are going to see this movie, you may as well wait a few months for the video. If anyone else has seen this movie and would like to comment, send me an email and we'll discuss.

Conference Championship Predictions

AFC Championship Game (Colts at Patriots): Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have proven repeatedly that they have the toughness to win big games on the road. It won't be an easy task to pull off a victory in frigid Foxboro, but this is Peyton Manning's year. The Colts will certainly have to punt -- and more than once -- in this game, but I believe they will win by more than a touchdown.

NFC Championship Game (Panthers at Eagles): The Philadelphia Eagles. This will be a white knuckler. Even though the Panthers are 7-0 this year in games decided by 3 points or less, the Cardiac Cats will come up short at the Link. The Eagles will give up a lot of real estate on the ground, regardless of who starts at running back for the Panthers, but Donovan McNabb will finally take Philly to the Super Bowl -- or else get run out of town.

Quote of the Day 1/17/04

"Girls just remember it is better to have no man than to have the wrong man." The Gramiest Grammy of the Grams.

Friday, January 16, 2004

New flags on US Army uniforms

Sorry to have to post this as a link, but until Blogspot starts taking new subscribers to their upgrade program, I lack the capability of posting pictures. I love this picture, though.

Quote of the Day 1/16/04

"I like him, but I’m not sure I like-him-like-him." Winnie Cooper discussing Kirk McCray on The Wonder Years

A Nose-full

I saw a commercial this morning for a cold reliever that I have never heard of before. Simply Saline. According to the commercial, this is a nose spray that contains no medicine. Just salt water. I never realized that when I got a nose-full from a wave at Myrtle Beach that I was actually getting a health treatment.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

"Big Fish" - Catch It!

Do you like things with multiple layers? Like Boston Creme Pie or a club sandwich? If you do, then you should go see "Big Fish."

Like many movies today there was a gratuitous naked backside shot (Danny DeVito's, uh). But unlike many movies today this movie values living life to the fullest, marriage and family.

This is definitely not a movie for everyone (especially children) but for those of you who think you might like the combination of quirky comedy, tall tales and complex family relationships this is for you! My husband laughed, I cried and we both had a lot to talk about when we left the theatre.

Quote of the Day 1/15/04

"He’s the kind of guy you’d like to slap when he’s talking, but if he tried to kiss you, you’d let him." Becky Lee

Another funny Dem

I hope you all got a chance to see the video footage of John Kerry's "Puff the Magic Dragon" sing-a-long. Unfortunately I could not find a good link to either a video or a photo. In case you missed it, here's the story. Maintaining his rock-and-roll image, John F-ing Kerry, made a stop at Peter Yarrow's (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) home in Iowa. While singing along with "Puff the Magic Dragon," Kerry really got into the performance and feigned a toke on a marijuana joint.

Perhaps the issue of whether or not Kerry has smoked or does smoke or approves of smoking the wacky tobacky is worth debating. But that's not what I want to discuss. I think the most interesting part of this whole thing is how hilarious Kerry looked while he "performed." I don't think I've ever seen someone look more awkward. Kerry has already proven that he has the salty language down, but he's going to have to make some serious improvements in his dance moves if he's trying to branch out to the MTV generation.

Poor old Al

One of the lead headlines on the NY Times webpage today reads: Bitter Cold and Blustery Snowfall Knife Through the Northeast. An interesting headline for the day that Al Gore is headed to the Big Apple to discuss the dangers of global warming. While I am certainly informed enough to know that no individual weather pattern either proves or disproves global warming, this certainly did seem more than just a little ironic to me. I am no lover of Al Gore, but sometimes you just have to feel a little sorry for how silly he looks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/14/04

"Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weaknesses." Madame du Deffand

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/13/04

"Baited breath is a good way to trap a man." Greer Smith

Monday, January 12, 2004

American Dreams: A show worth watching

For those of you who long for the good old days of wholesome family dramas like Little House on the Prairie and the Waltons, American Dreams (airing Sunday nights at 8 on NBC) may be just what you are looking for. American Dreams is centered around the Pryor family. The Pryors are a working class, Catholic family in Philly in the mid ‘60’s. The Pryor family consists of Jack and Helen, a couple married for nearly twenty years and still very much in love. They have four children, J.J., Meg, Patty and Will. Four of those children are in Catholic school. J.J. is a Marine.

I’m sure that part of my fascination with this show stems from the fact that I graduated from a Catholic high school in Pennsylvania. However, I think there is genuine quality in this show. The acting is good, the soundtrack is great, and the writing is insightful and poignant. As the Pryors experience the turbulent sixties, the issues they confront – including birth control, changing sexual mores, racism and the Vietnam War – are dealt with in a frank and yet entirely non-cynical way. A rare combination in the modern popular culture.

This show values innocence, traditional family values and faith in God rather than mocking those things as absurd demonstrations of naivety. Earlier this season when one of the teenaged characters decided to have sex with her serious boyfriend, she encourages her best friend Meg not to follow her example. When Mrs. Pryor's boss offers her a promotion at her part-time job, Helen declines the career advance because she realizes that her family is suffering from her absence. And this week’s episode faded to black as the Pryors held hands around the dinner table and concluded their prayer with the words, “We ask these things in Christ’s name. Amen.”

All in all, American Dreams is a well-acted and well-written drama that is both entertaining and emotionally stirring.

If any of you would like to check out the show this week and would like a little background info then please contact Wild Banshee.

The political power of Mommy

Over the past several years there has been a lot of discussion about the political power of “soccer moms.” For many women this attention made them feel as if their political power lay in their ability to cast their vote. However, they would be wrong.

The real political power of mothers lies in their ability to teach future generations how to think critically about political topics and how to influence the political system. No responsible woman would dream of not talking to her child about how to make wise choices in the areas of religion, relationships, or even nutrition, but most women overlook the importance of helping their children understand how public policy and elected officials affect their everyday lives.

As W.R. Wallace said, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." Remind yourselves of that important responsibility. And remind your friends that when they decide to turn over their child to a daycare worker or a nanny they are also turning over the future of our country.

Strange Bedfellows

I have never believed that intellectual honesty was the ACLU's number one strong suit, but check this out: The ACLU is backing Rush Limbaugh's claims that his privacy was violated.

Quote of the Day 1/12/04

"When the eyes of a fine woman are veiled with tears it is the man who no longer sees clearly." -- Achille Tournier

Sunday, January 11, 2004

A look ahead

Okay, this was not intended to be just a sports blog (although, I do think that a strong argument can be made that sports are the most influential and important aspect of popular culture in America). Hopefully there will be some pop culture posts coming up in the next week.

Unfortunately I missed the debut of The Apprentice this week and the replay this weekend, so my first posting on that unique reality show will have to wait until after the second episode airs.

As some of you probably have noticed, the two Charlottes at Inkwell have been having a lively debate/discussion of Mona Lisa Smile. I've been anxious to get my thoughts on paper about this film, but I realized that I should probably wait until I've actually seen the film. That should be remedied on Tuesday night.

This week, Quote of the Day will be themed. I'm taking this idea from my old friend Eddie Bednarz. Mr. Bednarz used to email a quote of the day. Eventually his mailing list grew to what seemed like thousands. He would often do themed weeks. I'm going give that a try myself. This week's theme will be about men and women and their relations with each other. Not too narrow, I guess. But, hey, this isn't a thesis proposal.

And ... (drum roll please) ... rumor has it that Mimi is preparing a new post. That should be appearing early this week.

Seer of Seers?

I guess not. Hope none of you took Wild Banshee's NFL predictions to Vegas. Banshee only went 2-2 in the divisional playoffs. Although, I was right about the lightbulbs at Arrowhead and the late field goal in frigid Foxboro. All in all, it was a great weekend of football. My only regret is that we have to wait seven more days till anyone takes the gridiron again.

Quote of the Day 1/11/04

"I don’t know why I ever got this job." -- President Warren Harding

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/10/04

"... isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" Anne Shirley in Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables

NFL Predictions

Panthers at Rams: Rams. The Rams are built for playing in that dome. The Panthers just won't have enough offense to stop the greatest show on turf.

Titans at Patriots: Patriots. The Pats will win in a frigid and epic struggle. I predict that it will come down to a late-game field goal.

Colts at Chiefs: Colts. I hope they have some spare bulbs for the scoreboard at Arrowhead. The Chiefs are tough at home, but the Colts are a good road team. The Chief just won't play enough D to advance.

Packers at Eagles: Packers. Ahman Gree will run wild with Carlos Emmons out of the lineup. As much as I hate to say it, I think the Eagles will fall short once again.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Dean and NASCAR?

Howard Dean is looking to sponsor a NASCAR team. I heard this first on Pardon the Interuption. PTI reported that Dean was looking into a team in the Busch series, but I read some sources that said Kenny Schrader's #49 Dodge could be a possibility in the Winston Cup ... excuse me ... Nextel Cup series. I guess Dean was serious when he said he wanted to be the candidate for "guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks." I can't wait to see how the other Dems react to Dean's likeness flying high atop an RV at Talledega -- on the same flagpole as the Stars and Bars. Some NASCAR drivers, including DEI's Michael Waltrip and up and coming Kurt Busch, have said that they want no parts of associating their rides with the Dean campaign. I can't blame them. But if I was Mark Martin, I would seriously consider the Dean sponsorship. Even Howard Dean's smug mug on the hood of his Ford would be an improvement over Viagra.

Quote of the Day 1/9/04

"My pen is always freer than my tongue." Abigail Adams in a letter to her husband John.

And don't I know it!

Odds and Ends

So, just a couple of days after I posted my praise of Inkwell, the two Charlottes post some fairly randy material on Sex in the City. I don't take back my endorsement of the site. I still think that it is generally witty and insightful. But, if you're visiting Inkwell today then just be forewarned.

Also, I woke up this morning to a discussion on dairy and dieting on The Today Show. Seems like Mimi was right on. The man said that if you're at the Mickey D's then definitely go for the cheese on your burger.

And another thing .... Have any of you seen Ruby Tuesday's new menus? They now have special menu items identified for their low-carb content. Who would have thought that we would one day be living in a world where a side of fried pork rinds has become a healthy dining choice?

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/8/04

"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome." Samuel Johnson.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Mad Props for Inkwell

Even though it's already listed on my links, I want to give a shout out to Inkwell. This blog is written by two ladies named Charlotte who are a part of the Independent Women's Forum (for those of you who have never checked out IWF, please do -- especially you law school gals). Inkwell pretty much embodies what I'd like this blog to eventually become. They appear to write about whatever they feel like. And it usually involves clever wit and humor. So, for those of you who find this blog to be less than entertaining, check out the two Charlottes. And, it wouldn't hurt to mention that you heard about them from me. Yeah, a shameless attempt to gain publicity.

New Years Dieting Tip

If you've read the latest issue of Reader's Digest you may have learned the exciting news that calcium keeps fat cells from getting fatter! Who knew? So next time you feel guilty about ordering that Big Mac and large fries - just be sure to include a milk shake and enjoy!

Quote of the Day 1/7/04

"Wednesday is the new Friday." -- Carter Williams

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/6/04

"Tell me something that you mean, not just what comes to mind." -- Lyle Lovett lyrics

Good ole Texas

Guess everything really is bigger in Texas. According to Men's Fitness magazine, five of the eight fattest cities in America are in the Lone Star state. And holy gravy, three of these cities are really the same place.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/5/04

"Whoever thought that computers would solve the problems of college football are the same kind of people that thought the Maginot line would hold off Nazi Germany. .... I wish that the computers were the bookies instead." Beano Cook on the BCS rankings in college football.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

BCS: Bowl Championship Sham

It's about an hour before LSU and Oklahoma will kick off at the Superdome. They will be playing in the Sugar Bowl, a game that has been labeled as the BCS title game. I say, "What a sham!" There has to be a better way to crown a champion. And that better way is no mystery. It is the way that champions are crowned in all other divisions of NCAA football, NCAA basketball, NCAA baseball, you name it. That way is a playoff tournament.

Before I offer my favorite plan, a little history lesson is in order. In college football, conference championships have always been quite important. In the old days, conferences had contracts with specific bowl games, and the conference champions automatically went to those designated bowls. Then pollsters voted their number one. This was clearly not a perfect system because undefeated teams were rarely matched against each other, and independents with no bowl affiliations were often hurt. But at least there was no pretending that we had somehow, scientifically crowned a champion. It was clear to all that this was an opinion poll. Then came the Bowl Alliance. This allowed more flexibility in the match-ups for the major bowls, but the PAC 10 and Big 10 were not part of this system. That flaw became glaringly apparent in 1994 when an undefeated Penn State team traveled to Pasadena to take on the Oregon Ducks the day after a "champion" was crowned in the Orange Bowl. Then came the BCS. Largely due to luck, the BCS has managed to crown a fairly legit champ thus far. That will end tomorrow when the number one team in both human polls, the USC Trojans, will be denied the BCS title.

But, as Teddy Roosevelt said, "It is not the critic who counts." True enough. So I will not merely gripe about the current system, but offer an alternative. This alternative is not solely my idea. It was a collaboration of several family members -- primarily my father.

So here's the idea: All the non-BCS bowls would remain unchanged. They will remain just as insignificant and yet just as fascinating as they currently are. For the current BCS bowls, we'll have a little bit of throwback. Restore the old conference ties. Let the PAC 10 champ play the Big 10 champ in the Rose Bowl. The Sugar Bowl would get the SEC champ and the Big East champ (or a an at-large if the Big East loses its legitimacy). The Orange Bowl would get the Big 12 champ and the ACC champ (that way they can get either FSU or Miami every year). The Fiesta Bowl would go back to its roots and get two at-large teams (see Jan 2, 1987 when the Fiesta secured its position on the national stage). The at-large berths would be given to the teams with the highest BCS ratings.

These BCS games should all be played on New Years weekend as they are now. The next week would have two neutral site games pitting the bowl game winners against each other. The week after that a College Super Bowl. What could be better than that?

Possible negatives to this system: (1) The season is extended for two weeks. Okay, but it's only extended for a handful of teams. Besides which, it doesn't kill NCAA basketball players to play 30 games over a 5 month period. (2) The prestige of the bowls is diminished. I just flat-out disagree. How much more prestigious would the Fiesta Bowl have been this year if OSU or KSU were playing for a chance to advance? (3) Attendance concerns for semi-finals. Please spare me. These games would be must-have tickets. And if the NCAA is really that concerned, they could make the semis into home games with the venues decided by some random selection. I'm pretty sure Sooners fans would find the time to make a final trek to Norman in mid-January. (4) Controversy still exists for the at-large berths. True. But, just because all flaws haven't been eliminated doesn't mean that nothing new should be tried. Certainly this system would create some controversy as to who should get the at-large berths, but no one with a legitimate claim as best team in the nation would be on the outside looking in (yeah, that means you WAC champs).

The main plus: The prestige of conference titles is not diminished to the level that the Big Dance has cheapened conference crowns in NCAA basketball. Even though there are at-large spots to be had, conference titles are the primary ticket to the bowl tournament.

So those are my thoughts.

Quote of the Day 1/4/04

"As long as a word remains unspoken, you are its master; once you utter it, you are its slave." Solomon Ibn Gabirol

Woo Hoo!

After just three short days of existence, Banshee Blog has already broken the century mark in hits. This may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of the Internet, but I believe that may surpass the total number of hits on my three previously failed websites combined. Thank you!

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Maramet, WV

Today I ate lunch in Maramet, West Virginia. It's a little town on the outskirts of Charleston. Actually, it feels more like the underskirts. In order to get to the main drag -- such as it is -- you have to exit I-64 and twist around and below the interstate. What appears to be the main street is squished in between factories on one side of the road and a mountain on the other. The elementary school is also on this strip. The brick building's size and shape would suggest that it was a local utility building. The chain link fence surrounding it suggests that it could be a county jail. But the white lettering on the front indicates that it is indeed a place of education.

The Maramet Wendy's is only .8 miles from the Interstate, but it felt more like 8 before I reached my destination. I ate alone and felt incredibly conspicuous as an outsider. Partially because I was wearing make-up. But mostly because I wasn't related to any other person in the restaurant.

This turned out not to be the most convenient lunch stop of all time. But I'm glad I was there. Some people would be creeped out by the apparently low income level or the industrial dirt that hung in the air. But not me. I have been to many Maramets all over the country. Las Cruces, New Mexico. Salisaw, Oklahoma. Heck, I grew up in a Maramet in Pennsylvania.

For those of us who no longer live in a Maramet, it is important to remember that this country was built on places such as this. It is in these towns like these that people do most of the working and praying and living and dying in this country. They are the fabric of our country. A fabric that's worth experiencing.

Quote of the Day 1/3/04

"On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again." Willie Nelson

Seems like the story of my life. Too bad my lifetime love isn't making music with my friends.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Quote of the Day 1/2/04

"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." James B. Conant

Adding on to Mimi's Thoughts on Idealism

Mimi's thoughts on idealists appear to be right in keeping with the concepts in Philippians 4:12-13. Paul says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Therefore, an idealist does not have to give up fighting for dreams that seem impractical to others because all things -- all things -- can be accomplished through Christ. And even when reality does fall short of the ideal, the idealist does not need to despair because true happiness is not found in any worldly victories anyway. It seems to me that it would be much harder to deal with the frustrations and disappointments of being an idealist if you are not a person of faith.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

An Idealist’s Guide to Survival in the “Real World” of Politics

Can you imagine that perfect election where ideas are presented and vigorously defended without personal attacks and denigrations? How about new legislation that is fairly administered and produces no unintended consequences? Or better yet, a world where a homicidal dictator actually complies with a UN resolution to disarm? All of these things fall into the realm of possibility for those of us who are idealists. And yet, we must admit that none of these things have ever actually happened. So what’s an idealist to do when the “real world” keeps interfering with what could and should be? Too many idealists give in to resignation or despair.

Year after year when things never work out the way we idealists envision, it is easy for us to fall into the habit of despair and discontentment. The world is judged against our ideal and always found wanting. No leader is perfect enough. No organization pure enough. No victory complete enough.

Or perhaps we idealists resign ourselves to the uninspiring philosophy of “it is what it is.” The temptation is strong to give up our hopes and dreams in exchange for the cold truth lying in front of us. Sometimes it is simply too painful and exhausting for us to continue to strive for solutions that always seem impossible to achieve.

Well if you’re a true idealist you are thinking to yourself that no, there has to be a better, brighter way. And of course there is!

The key to survival as an idealist is to develop the ability to see and appreciate the small progresses of today and to celebrate the victories of the past. See the future possibilities when a group of teens is interested in discussing the concept of a just war. Appreciate that fact that the President supports school choice even though a behemoth bill expanding the role of the government in education gets passed. Celebrate the ban on partial birth abortion as a step toward the day when society will abandon its contempt for the weak and defenseless. And even when a disgusting immoral president avoids impeachment take heart in the fact his despicable deeds underwent public scrutiny. And best of all, take heart in the glorious example of those idealists who fought the long fights against slavery, fascism and communism.

Political reality is not the death of idealism. It is actually fuel for the next dream, incentive for the next campaign. We idealists need to fight our many small fights being inspired by the ultimate victory we are trying to achieve. We need to continue to dream our dreams - but with our eyes wide open!

Quote of the Day 1/1/04

I thought this was an appropriate quote to start the new year and this new website:

"The best is yet to come, so do it well." Justin McCloud (Mel Gibson) in Man Without a Face