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Challenged Books

annielaurie Re:Wassup? (2 comments)

"Banned" as in "Don't spend MY school fees on these books." I guess what's really telling about the list is what gets banned and by whom and where.

I guess I'm of the ilk that would rather turn the kid loose among the books and let him (or her) decide what to read. We were, and are, a family of readers, and our kids (now grown) are also readers, and this worked out pretty well for us. Kids will ultimately become their own self-censors if permitted to select and read books in accordance with their own tastes and inclinations.
Occasionally, their father or I would spot a kid reading a book that could serve as a springboard for conversation or discussion. That was good--it allowed us to re-state and reinforce the values we wanted to communicate to them. It's still good--it makes the dinner table an interesting venue.

Anne

more than 10 years ago

Submissions

annielaurie hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Challenged Books

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Herewith, the list of 100 frequently banned books--that I've read either on my own, or to my children.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
77. Carrie by Stephen King
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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Oops! My Bad (or Good!)

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Just a question of clicking the right button; the nameserver was configured but never set up! Nice to know I'm not as stupid as I thought I was.

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BIND and DNS Woes

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

OK, folks, I'm stymied. I thought I knew how all this worked, but I think I've been humbled.

After countless woes with some resold hosting space, I've leased a semi-managed server from some folks I know to be reliable. Unfortunately, on this one topic, we seem to be communicating in two different languages. I wish to migrate about twenty existing websites to my new server, which runs Linux and Apache and is fully equipped with cPanel and Web Host Manager, all installed for me.
Most of the sites belong to folks for whom I've done design/development work and who retain me to do maintenance and updates. None are very complex.

I find myself lost in the thickets of zones and records, and it's clear I have either omitted a step or two or have not set this up correctly to begin with. The WHM docco is so helpful. It says DON'T CHANGE THIS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. (No shit.)

My question: Is there one among this group of mutual journal-readers who could give me some direction and guidance? I can pay you. (It might not be a huge amount, or I might have to pay a bit at a time, but I value everyone's time.) I'm educable and follow directions well.

I can be reached most quickly at annekmadison at comcast dot net.

Anne
(Gnashing teeth)

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I Have to Wonder

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Part of a message forwarded to me by my husband, and apparently from his IT manager. All I can do is wonder what caused the poor man to write it:

Subject: Virus Alert!!

Just a quick reminder, if you encounter a virus, under no circumstances are you to double click on it. thanks!!

Respectfully Yours,

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Help Needed: I Actually Need to Hurt Somebody

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

The topic is junk faxes arriving at our home phone number. They traditionally begin at about 8 a.m. and continue til about noon. A few days ago, I finally had the smarts to hook my fax modem up to the residence line, and I caught someone. I have that fax number and a landline number, as well as a fax.com "removal" number.

The hellish nightmare began this morning. I had a business appointment right across the street at 10 a.m. and was emerging from the shower at about 9:15. Residence phone had rung a time or two with fax beeps.

(Residence phone rings): "Anne, I'm not feeling well. I'm very dizzy, and when I try to stand up I feel as though I'm going to fall down." It's Aged Mum, aged 80--in other words it's non-trivial but not cause for an ambulance. I tell her to stay right there at her apartment, that I will be there.

(Residence phone rings again): Junk fax.

I am down on the first floor. PDA, cell phone, and even Day Timer are up in my office on the third floor. (Yes, this is a very old, Amsterdam-like house.) I find the client's pager number hanging on the fridge and dial it, entering the home number. He calls, but not before another junk fax call comes in. We cancel.

Another junk fax call. I locate doctor's number. Another junk fax call. I dial doctor, get recording, get emergency number. Another junk fax. I dial emergency number, am told to stay by phone and call back in a half hour if I haven't heard. Two fax calls. Has the doctor tried to call and gotten a busy?

After 45 minutes of waiting, I give up and decide to collect Aged Mum and take her to the emergency room. On the way out of the door, there's yet another junk fax call.

The good news is that Aged Mum has not had a stroke. She has an inner ear thing going on, and she'll be fine. But after cooling my heels in the ER for four hours, my rational outlook regarding the faxes has not returned. (There were several beeping messages when I got home.) I will contact the doc tomorrow, as I suspect he was unable to get through.

This, I believe, was a bona fide medical emergency, and it was made infinitely worse by these junk fax calls. In fact, there's a very real possibility that I was prevented from speaking with her physician by them.

As I said in the journal title, I would like to hurt these people--badly. By "hurt" I mean either big money or long jail time. I know there's a law on the books. What's the best recourse? Local Telco? Some national organization? Is there a lawyer who specializes in these cases?

I suspect that, staying in my office tomorrow, I can catch a lot more of these faxes in hard-copy.

Anybody with ideas?

Anne

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Back!

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I can't believe I've been away for so long. It's a clear, bright Monday, all my bills have been sent out, my spam is deleted, and it was time, in the normal course of things, to go and check out Slashdot.

What have I been doing all this time? Well, a couple of things. First was supposed to be a vacation trip to Colorado. As it turned out, a week before I left, the friend I would be staying with took what should have been a pratfall while working on her car. Only it wasn't a pratfall--she broke the "ball" joint of her shoulder into three large and several smaller bits and wound up in surgery. She reports it's the only time she's ever heard a physician on duty use the f-word, as in "This is really fucked up." Despite that encouragement we enjoyed many cups of coffee while lounging around (alcohol and painkillers being a bad idea), took several drives in the country, and just generally did nothing. So it was a great trip after all, just not an active one.

Home again to a request that began, "We'd like you to do a catalog Website for us. We have 1200 items..." I looked around at every shopping cart I could get my hands on, and for me, the hands-down winner was osCommerce. I was openly gun-shy, having been an observer of what looked like an implosion a couple of years back of php-Nuke. But I have to say, I believe osCommerce embodies just about everything that is right about open source. I found it well-considered, well-designed, full of good features, and more than adequately supported by the user community. I modified the basic installation with several careful contributions and none of them disappointed. It took me about a month with some of that being a learning curve. A surprising amount of time was spent with the client teaching him how to image his products. But I'm happy enough that I turned right around and implemented it on my own, much smaller, site. And I've another in the pipeline.

So now I get to look around and find out how Silly Pixie enjoyed her trip, and what Tuxette is doing with her new certs, and how Ethelred the Younger is settling in, and what everybody's saying about baseball, electronic voting, and other subjects dear to my heart.

Good to be back!

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Book Musings

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Thoughts about a few (very few) books from last night's list that are lifetime favorites of mine. I've added a few from other peoples' lists, and a few that weren't on this list.

Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
In her quiet way, she seems to nail just what it was like, what went on, and how things were in her own society. Who would our Jane Austen be? For now, I'd have to say Brett Easton Ellis. Authors like this are living time machines, mirrors to their own presents. I might add F. Scott Fitzgerald to the list.

Camus, Albert - The Stranger*
As with someone else, I liked "The Plague" better.

Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Not very well written, even for the stilted prose of his day. I would team it with "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque for a look at what war actually does to the people fighting.

Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
An angry book by an angry man--but full of surprisingly witty portraits and observations. It's hard to call a book of this calibre "entertaining," but it truly is. Read also the "Autobiography of Malcolm X," an even angrier man.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
This is just a damned good story.

Homer - The Odyssey -
This book is on my nightstand. I was given it in an obscure translation by a man named Palmer that makes one drunk with the rhythms of the sea. Where the Iliad has always struck me as being about war, testosterone, and stupidity, the Odyssey is more introspective, more home-centered, more grown-up.

London, Jack - The Call of the Wild.
I actually like Jack London, too. I said last night I didn't know why, but maybe I've thought about it a bit. There has to be a place on anybody's list for just plain good yarns. Here's one.

Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude
This is an intoxicating book.

Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
I hadn't thought about this play in years. It's certainly my favorite of all Arthur Miller's works. I couldn't help wondering how far down this same path we've walked over the past couple of years, and who the Arthur Miller of this generation might be. We're going to need one.

Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front - already paired it with "Red Badge of Courage."
Sophocles - Antigone, Oedipus Rex
Don't forget about "Electra" while you're reading Sophocles. I find it more compelling even than "Oedipus."

Those are a few.

What else is on my nightstand (or in the stack beside my bed)?

"The Shipping News" by E. Annie Proulx. Don't be duped by the boring film. This is a fine book about growth and transformation.

"Night Letters: Inside Wartime Afghanistan" Rob Schulteis. Not this war, but the one they went through ten years ago. This man loves the country and its people. That alone would make the book worth reading, but his prose is beautiful.

"Carry Me Home" Diane McWhorter. The author and I are very close in age. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and I spent a substantial part of my youth there. This is what it was like.

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Book Meme (Books I've Read)

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

OK, following Ethelred. Just bear with me. I'm not only older than God, but I was once a liberal-arts major. Since I majored in romance languages, I stuck an asterisk beside anything I read in the original language. One of these times, I'm going to revisit this and line out what I loved and what I hated. Don't like Faulkner, for example, but I love Jane Austen. I'll devour anything of Jack London's, however inaccurate, because I get mesmerized by tales of the "malevolent north."

There are a couple of authors here whose best work isn't represented (IMO) including George Eliot and Thomas Hardy, George Bernrd Shaw, and maybe James Joyce. And I woefully stopped reading thought-provoking stuff from about 1994 til 2001, when I was a million-miler. That really shows in my list.

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot*

Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert - The Stranger*
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales (me too on the Middle and modern English).
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard

Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno (I'm changing this to "The Divine Comedy" and have read excerpts in English)
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote (modern translation)*
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers*
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man

Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays (Huge gap here...)
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary*

Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust (Does hearing the opera innumerable times count??)
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch-22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey - actually one of my favorite pieces of literature, and there is a copy on my nightstand even now. I love it.
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame*

Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis

Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild. I actually like Jack London, too. Dunno why.

Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude (Yes, I actually read this in Spanish and consider that a major accomplishment)*
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible (Acted in it, too. Played the part of Rebecca Nurse)
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way (And the entire "Remembrance of Things Past," yes, in French, and did my senior thesis on it)*

Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49

Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac*

Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone, Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide (modern translation)*

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Harrison Bergeron (How the hell did I miss reading this one?)
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth (Hated this book!!)
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories - Gonna leave this one bolded, though it sounds like a college anthology. I've read enough Eurora Welty to pass.)
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass (The aroma of these armpits is incense finer than prayer...)
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse

Wright, Richard - Native Son
George Orwell's 1984
The rest of Dante's series (already accounted for this.)
Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal
James Joyce's The Dubliners and anything from his series about Ireland.
Robert Frost poetry

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Quickie Entry: My E-mail of the Week

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I'm just tickled to death by a Cialis spam whose subject line reads:

EXPERIENCE PUBERTY AGAIN . . .

This conjures up so many semi-unpleasant associations that I have to wonder what the spammer was thinking. (If indeed he was thinking...)

My other nominee is:

KNOCK DOWN BRICK WALLS WITH YOUR PENIS

Sorry, guys. That just sounds too painful to contemplate.

Anne

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Help, help!

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I believe this wins the prize for impenetrable spam. This guy has so cleverly concealed his message that I actually can't tell what it is.

Maybe the laws of natural selection will apply and spam will deteriorate to the point where it becomes extinct. Consider the poor sabretooth tiger, whose front tusks became so long and sharp he either couldn't eat or actually had his mouth torn up. We can always hope. Herewith, the spam:

Fa#ct of the day: Did you know?

Mosirt deale"rsI8hFip^s purcha\se tfheir extendeXyd warzpranties from
third party sources.

By3 gVoV1ing D5directlepy zrto one of thIose sour_c3Ces, yzZou can savve
yourself hutndreds of dollars f{or theUS same of even bettgner
extended wOarranSpty co/vekrage.

CaOgr troubles never happen when it's convenient for yo%u!

Pcrot$ect your vewhicle and yourself from la]r`ge, budget
bushjtming repair bisllSs wi9th a qua]lity Extended W~aRzrr7Eanty
for yo[ur Car, Truc=k, Van oqr SU.V.

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Tax Time: An E-mail from the Front Lines

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

An accountant friend has surfaced long enough to write:

. . . taxes have turned into a major pain in the ass. The version of Quickbooks Pro that we have will no longer export to Turbo Tax. Well, actually the new version of Turbo Tax will no longer accept imports from our version. I'm so mad, I could spit nails. We'd have to update to the latest version - at something like $200!!! Fuck that shit. To make things worse, I feel particularly held up because of course I didn't find this out until I tried to actually *do* his taxes. To add insult to injury, I had to download the latest Turbo-Tax updates - taking basically the better part of an hour. You know, I hold off on buying the program until well into the year, just so I don't have to do that shit. They act like everyone on the planet has either DSL or broadband. I don't and it's a major pain in the ass. Plus, you can't close the window while it does it's thing, which I just think is rude. Yeah, I can pull stuff up and cover the window, but I can't minimize the window. So now Intuit is officially on my shit list. I want to write a very nasty letter to the CEO or whoever. You know, the basic rules of accounting haven't changed in a very long time. There's absolutely no reason to force your users into new versions, unless they actually want the new features. It's strictly a revenue generation scam and I resent the hell out of it.

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Unexpected Treasures

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

The packing-up of my Aged Mum proceeds at an excruciatingly slow pace that threatens to kill myself, my brother, and my husband before it will all be over. The work is miserable and dusty, and we are perpetually overpowered by my mother's inability to let go of anything.

Today's trip to the storage bin unearthed two unexpected prizes that may have made the day worthwhile.

First was a thick volume, bound in the old-fashioned way and stamped with gold. The spine read: "Works of Miss Austen." A look inside revealed the works of Jane Austen and a publication date of 1830. The calfskin binding is silken under the hands, still glowing and beautiful, and I believe I will love this book forever.

Second was a forgotten relic of my own childhood, passed down from my mother. That was a copy of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." I am told that Ms. Alcott has passed into disfavor. Rumors abound about about her sexual preference (and her sexuality in general), and young girls today are given a severely edited and "sanitized" version of this classic.

I loved and admired Jo March (Alcott's alter ego in the book) as a girl, and I love and admire her still. In fact, I would say that, were she alive today, she would be busily preparing to be a geek, coding in the attic rather than scribbling. Independent, headstrong, and assertive, she would be planning and preparing to make her own way in the world, using her own gifts.

I'm very glad to have found my non-bowdlerized version of this child's classic, and I'm planning to share it whenever possible. As for the Jane Austen, it simply gives glory to the whole idea of "book."

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The Great TSA Violation of 2004

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

OK, very strange trip last week. The flight was from BWI to BHM, on Southwest. It's a less than two hour deal.

This time I packed to stay for two weeks, and I packed a lot of dress clothes for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture. Clothes, two pairs of shoes, and assorted underwear made a monolithic mass in the medium-sized Samsonite rolling suitcase that is my mainstay. A second, smaller suitcase held assorted jeweler's tools, wires and stringing materials, my kit bag, and a pair of sweats. I checked with Southwest before packing this one, because of all those tools, and was told simply to tell the attendant at check-in. (I checked both bags, again because of the tools.)

To my surprise, when I picked up my baggage, the larger bag had a tie-wrap arrangement in blue secured through the zippers. It bore the legend "TSA" and an inscrutable number. Upon arriving at Aged Mum's and preparing to unpack, I found a very patriotic-looking red, white, and blue card reposing atop the pile of clothes. It said, essentially: "Hello from your friends at TSA. We found it necessary to paw through this bag. It's a good thing you had left it unlocked, otherwise we would have busted the lock. Hail to the Chief."

I have a lot of questions about this. Why, for example, check the bag of LL Bean's best womens' wear while leaving all the sharp objects and wire in the other bag alone? Where is my necklace of pink freshwater pearls that I wear with everything these days? Am I alone in getting the skeeves because they didn't check the bag in my presence? (US Customs, noted for their great surliness, has pawed through my luggage on numerous occasions--always in my presence. Mexican Customs actually extracted a pair of white cotton drawers and held them aloft for all to see--but I was right there to chew them out.) How did browsing through my underwear enable TSA to enhance homeland security? Am I unpatriotic to want my necklace back? Would I feel any better if I didn't know they'd checked the bag? Now that I have had a bag checked, am I somehow marked for life?

I have no idea of the answers to any of these. I don't feel very patriotic at the moment, and I'm as mad as hell about my necklace. If we have to go through this, it would be nice not to get robbed.

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Hate Mail

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

No idea why I am feeling so down-hearted about this, but I've finally been the recipient of my first genuine white-supremacist spam, replete with graphical hate-symbols.

What to do about this spam? No idea. I have forwarded it, with headers, to my website host, to the ISP of the forged signature (Earthlink) and to the ISP of the actual mail server (Comcast, with some indication it's in Tennessee...).

I want to do more. I'm angry to have this beautiful new day soiled just as it's beginning. I want to find whoever it is and humiliate them and put a stop to them. I think I really want some kind of revenge.

It has always occurred to me that the spammers' First Amendment rights stop where my right not to communicate with them begins. I still believe that. Probably nothing to do, but if I can find a way to stop them, I'm planning to do it.

The only way that evil can triumph is for good men to do nothing. (Women, too...)

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Shock and Awe

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

From Yahoo comes this wonderful list of banned words for 2004. At the top of the list is "metrosexual," which apparently describes males who are into fashion and grooming but in reality conjures up visions of illicit hanky-panky on various subway systems.

"Shock and Awe" made the list, and no wonder. I personally credit our friends at CNN with turning this phrase into an instant cliche.

I first heard the term about three days before the actual bombing of Baghdad started. Someone gave details of a book or military paper of some sort that described a total saturation bombing effort. The general idea was to scare the living daylights out of the enemy by giving them a sort of preview of military coming attractions while softening them up. Such an attack was intended to inspire "shock and awe" in the recipients. Dark images of places like Dresden, London, or God forbid, Hiroshima were conjured up. I listened, nodded, and being myself, hoped it would never come to that.

It also conjured up recollections of the "pity and awe" you're supposed to experience while watching a Greek tragedy. Oedipus and Jocasta realize the awful truth. She hangs herself. He, after a bit of angst over her dead body, blinds himself with the brooch from her gown--but lives on to suffer. Pity and awe are the order of the day. It's a kind of saturation bombing of the emotions to be followed by catharsis, which any woman will tell you is just a good cry.

On the day the bombings in Iraq actually started I had escaped from my computer to have lunch with an old friend. Afterward, I went to a mall bookstore and saw a cluster of folks gathered around an ominous-looking television picture. The eerie green night scope revealed huge explosions in Baghdad, while the speaker yielded enormous crashes and booms. It didn't take long to figure out what was going on.

Of course the good folks at CNN were there to remove all doubt:

-OK, ladies and gentlemen. Here's some actual footage of the shock and awe.
-This is the shock and awe bombing. You're seeing it live on CNN.
-We're bringing you live footage of the scene in Baghdad as the American shock and awe efforts get under way.
-Step right up, get yer shock'n'awe here. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Bingo! The bombing started, and ten minutes later, a cliche was born. How many times can you use the term "shock and awe" before we break for commercial? It's like the Greek play, only it's a saturation bombing of our linguistic sensibilities followed appropriately by nausea and boredom.

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Evening Prayer

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Now I lay me down to sleep
A Bayesian filter at my feet.
Drive away the Paris flicks
And likewise all the great stock picks.
Let angels guard me from The Bat!
Let bogus Ebays all fall flat.
From virii keep me clean and pure,
Let me not Banned CD's endure!
O smite the Patch Folk with thy wroth
And let their penii all fall off.
Defend me from the diett pills
And other remedies for my ills.
Expose to view the Visa fakers,
Likewise the dubious Ponzi takers.
Bless all the dear Nigerian folk
With knowledge that they are now a joke.
Let no one Base64 encode
Or sneaky web bugs in HTML load.
From the evil worm, guard me forsooth.
Let all my envelopes tell the truth.

Keep my server free from porn.
Let friendly e-mails greet my morn.

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Maybe the spam really worked at one time...

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

We all thought those herbal, patch, and enlargement spams were bull. Not so, according to at least one sea creature from the Silurian:

WASHINGTON - A fossil of a small sea creature extracted from a 425-million-year-old British rock formation is the oldest unequivocally male fossil known, researchers say.

The animal, a new member of a large species group called ostracode, was buried under volcanic ash which mineralized and retained an image of
its soft body parts. That unique preservation enabled researchers to construct a highly detailed three-dimensional picture of the animal after digging the fossil from a rock bed in erefordshire.

Details revealed include gills, eyes, limbs designed for swimming and the oldest known male organ in the fossil record. It was this last that
led researchers to name the new species, Colymbosathon ecplecticos, which is Greek for "amazing swimmer with large penis."

(The rest of the article is at Yahoo)

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I Do Not

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I do not want your weekend pill.
I do not want your herbal swill.
I do not want your penis patch.
I do not want your dating match.
I do not want your bogus stocks.
I do not want your cable box.
I do not want your Nigerian monies.
I do not want your porno honeys.

I hope you starve, I hope you cry.
I hope you shrivel up and die.
I wish that you would go away.
I wish I did not have to pay.

My filter's in an awful jam.
I really, really hate your spam.

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Maryland's Diebold voting "Systems"

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Sheesh, every time I see that "permanent record" thing, I get stage fright. I began this afternoon by writing directly to the reporter who wrote the story and thanking him for it. I told him it had occasioned quite a bit of comment here and provided him with a link to the /. article. I gave him a sense of the general commentary on the subject of e-voting, the concerns often expressed here, and what people are saying. I urged him to take a closer look.

He won't see that e-mail til Monday, most likely. I plan to gather up links tomorrow.

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Annielaurie's Book Club

annielaurie annielaurie writes  |  about 11 years ago

First in a series of literary classics updated for our time:

Seven Days in May: Heartwarming story of the American family who try to pack double the enjoyment into the vacation their breadwinner is allowed to--or dares to--take.

A Passage to India: An American database administrator watches mistily as her job is outsourced to faraway places. Will she find happiness as an airport limo driver in Denver? Read more in this desperately romantic tale.

No Time for Sergeants: Heartwarming story of the wacky adventures of a squad of big-city detectives trying to keep their streets free of narcotics as their staff is cut and their entire budget is re-allocated to "Homeland Security." A true tale of American resourcefulness.

Gone with the Wind: Stirring saga of a group of homeless Marylanders in search of their insurance reimbursements following Hurricane Isabel. While emotionally gripping, this story maintains its balance as the insurance claims adjusters, FEMA, and the state band together to assert, "We'll think about that tomorrow..."

Far from the Madding Crowd: Emotional tale of the retired general and the senator who distance themselves at the last minute from the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

The Fugitive: A thrill a minute in these adventures of a White House staffer who goes on the lam after ratting out one too many CIA operatives.

The Philadelphia Story: It's not the City of Brotherly Love any more as yet another Democratic incumbent fends off the theft of his jurisdiction by Republicans who couldn't win it honestly. Warning: May contain racial overtones.

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