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31 December 2005


I have finally started the job of rehabilitating my broken book review blog. I have taken the lazy way out: I copied in the modified template I use for this blog and now I am in the process of adding back in the margin stuff. So Deborama's Book Reviews and Store is at the moment more readable again but is still somewhat "under construction". As soon as I have it looking nice and get some of my huge backlog of posts up there (mostly book reviews) I will do the same for Deborama's Kitchen. So, fans of my auxiliary blogs (all both of you) - be patient and good things will come.

29 December 2005

City Pages - the restaurant scene in the Twin Cities

This is something I keep up with, in a lax and desultory fashion. I don't know why. I no longer live in Minneapolis and I probably never will again, but in some part of my heart, I can never leave. And then they don't really have a restaurant "scene" around these parts, do they? They just barely have restaurants at all, what I would call restaurants, anyway. So Minneapolis now has two kosher restaurants, even though only an estimated 2% of the Jewish population there keep kosher. (And the Jewish population isn't that large, either. NYC it ain't for all its aspirations.) But of course, in the Twin Cities, only a small minority of their clientele are even going to be Jewish.
I miss eating out.
(Cross-posted at Deborama's Kitchen.)

22 December 2005

More Intelligent Design madness

Excerpts from a follow-up story to the recent court decision (see previous post) knocking down a school district's policy of teaching ID as science:

Both sides are looking to Kansas as the most likely new battlefield in the culture war over education. Last month, the state's education board voted for new teaching standards, redefining science to include the supernatural [italics mine - because I am just dumbstruck] and encouraging Kansas science teachers to question the validity of evolution in their classrooms. If a local authority within the state accepts the board's recommendation and changes its school curriculum to play down evolution, it could trigger another legal battle.
Steve Abrams, the Kansas board chairperson, told The Associated Press that the Pennsylvania and Kansas cases were very different. In Dover, science teachers had been made to read out a statement in biology class pointing to holes in evolution theory and recommending pupils look into an intelligent-design library textbook called Of Pandas and People.
Abrams said the Kansas board was not specifically advocating intelligent design, only questioning evolution. . .
Meanwhile, a federal appeals court in Georgia is considering the case of an Atlanta suburb that had stickers put into biology textbooks, describing evolution as "a theory, not a fact".

Trust Georgia to take the lazy way out. Stickers in textbooks! When I was in the Georgia schools, they would have suspended you for doing that, and now the administration is doing it, and smirking behind their hands at the heathens in the "fed'ral gummint".

21 December 2005

Antievolution idea can't be public school class, judge rules

Good news, good sense. I reckon that "intelligent design" is not false on its face, the way hard-core believers in the religion I call scientism believe. But it is not science. And it is not religion either. It is something almost unheard of in the 21st century, a little thing the ancients used to call "philosophy". And Grid knows, we can't be teaching that in the public schools. Wouldn't that be confusing?
By the way, G. Trudeau has a really trenchant observation on the implications of disbelief in evolution. Perhaps, in the trenches of medical care, there are nothing but atheists? (Another negative consequence of the death of philosophy, imho.)

15 December 2005

Political Angels

The Guardian Backbencher, a weekly satirical political online newsletter, has these four fabulous cartoon angels on offer for free. Just download any of the four PDF files and paste onto thin cardboard, cut it out and assemble it for your "holiday" tree. More politically correct than Birmingham's Winterval and funnier than a drunken Santa Claus.

06 December 2005

Buy your way into heaven!

Weekly Grist is a "tree-free" (that is, online only) weekly environmental magazine, and they have hit upon a very clever fund-raising strategy. They are selling officially authorised Indulgences which can be offset against any environmental sin. And, unlike the original, pre-Reformation catholic church indulgences, they can be purchased on the installment plan, so they are not only available to those who have loads of dosh (which of course you get by committing more sins.)

02 December 2005

It's a dog's life

Some people are so stressed out by their jobs that they have a whole separate blog to bitch about how bad their job is. Up until about a year ago, I really liked my job, although I have never liked the 2 to 3 hours of train commuting and certain other specific peripheral aspects of it. However, in the last year, the department of the large, mostly profitable international company I work for has been beset with diminishing revenue, lay-offs, the departure of the most capable, the selecting out of some of the less capable, interpersonal stresses, the madness of paranoia, and general decline in morale. I think a lot of us "left behind" are somewhat in denial about how stressed we are.
A co-worker of ours is blind, and he is accompanied to work each day by a guide dog (I will call the dog Sarah - not her real name.) She is relatively young and new to her job, having replaced another dog who retired last year. She is usually quite sober and professional, though she occasionally "breaks the rules" a bit to show affection. So, this evening, as usual on a Friday, about half of us got ready to leave at the stroke of 4 pm. Much switching off of computers, putting on of coats, nonchalant behaviour, lest the management would think us too eager to leave. But Sarah, bless her, picked up the vibe - and ran with it. Tongue hanging out, foolish doggy grin, bounding around the room from desk to desk. She was ecstatic that it was Friday, and she didn't care who knew it!

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