Just a little blog about me and mine.

ATNTFTB: After a Memorable Shot, a Final One for Maryland Seniors March 30, 2009

Filed under: in the news — Katie @ 12:49 pm

I generally try to not inflict my love of college basketball onto unsuspecting friends, but this article, and the game it’s referencing, were too good not to share.

While I don’t like the Maryland men’s basketball team, I do like their women’s team (maybe because we went to some home games while we lived in Maryland and they were fun to watch, even though we cheered for the other team they were playing-Georgia Tech and Duke). We were living just down the road from them in 2006 when they won the national championship–beating Duke with an insane last second 3 pointer. It was a team with lots of young players and a young coach. Those young players are now seniors and still some of the best players out there.

On Saturday Maryland was in a tournament game against Vanderbilt. In the early minutes of the game it was 12-2 (not Maryland), then 14-4 (still not Maryland), and then by the half they were down 18. That’s about the point I went to finish up some house cleaning and take a shower. In the second half they inched closer–almost all thanks to one single player. She scored point after point, jumped higher than anyone else on every rebound. It was as if she was willing her team to win and found extra energy and talent to force it to happen. She finished with 42 points, a career high to say the least.

Whether you like sports or not, it was cool to see someone that determined to succeed that they did so by sheer force of will and effort. It made me feel tired and lazy just to watch.


ATNTFTB: New Political Study Center? Turn Right at Berkeley March 26, 2009

Filed under: in the news — Katie @ 4:27 pm

When we lived in the hippie haven of Takoma Park, Maryland it was affectionately known as the Berkeley of the East. It has signs designating it as a nuclear free zone, the city council passed a resolution in solidarity with Tibet and when Michael Steele, our then Lt. Gov now the RNC Chair marched in the July 4th parade, he was booed for miles.

This article in today’s New York Times, combined with another recent Berkeley discovery of mine, makes me wonder what’s up in Berkeley these days. Berkeley: the Cobb County of the West Cost?

The University of California at Berkley is opening the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements. I suppose right-wing politics is a bit understudied, and academics tend to be a fairly liberal bunch. It’s just fairly incongruous, and amusing, that this will be at Berkeley–where students in the 60s…um, did lots of things that weren’t so right wing.

I learned something else strange about Berkeley recently. In the Bush Administration’s dealings with torture, a man named John Yoo was one of the attorney’s in the US Office of Legal Counsel that wrote memos claiming the possible legality of torture. While PL is the law student in the family, it doesn’t take an expert to know that taking something illegal (i.e. torture) and then writing a memo to try to make it legal, doesn’t really make it legal. After hearing about John Yoo several times, and hearing that he’s a law professor made PL and I gasp, “Where does he teach law? Constitutional Law with him must not teach you much about the Constitution!”

So, where does he teach law? Berkeley. He is on leave at least, and teaching somewhere in Orange County, which is probably a better fit.


ATNTFTB: When It Comes to Detergents, What’s the Least Irresponsible Choice? February 26, 2009

Filed under: in the news — Katie @ 10:35 pm

This morning we finished up a Costo/Sam’s club sized container of automatic dishwasher liquid–it’s all full of chlorine and lots of other bad things–but it’s cheap. Then I didn’t recycle it because even now, 14 hours later, I would probably still be rinsing it out. So, with a little shame, I saw this article in a new Times feature called Green Home.


This article is an interview with the head honcho for the EPA’s Design for the Environment division. This part of the EPA identifies the safest products on the market after the makers submit a list of ingredients.

This article is noteworthy because I learned more about different products that I buy and with real knowledge in hand–not just the claims on the packaging–I might make better choices, although I still don’t want to be sold Amway products.

Better yet, I also found this article to be fantastic because the interview is a classic example in a government bureaucrat being so vague and unhelpful in answering questions that it’s hilarious.


ATNTFTB: Ash Wednesday February 25, 2009

Filed under: in the news,theology — Katie @ 3:46 pm

I wanted to find an article on Lent and Ash Wednesday to combine two blogs into one: one my daily news story and the other explaining why I’ll have an oily and dirty smudge on my forehead later this evening.
So, I went to the New York Times website and searched for Ash Wednesday. I think the results show us a bit about our national religious literacy, or lack thereof.

The first article is about a fairly sounding horrid movie from 1973 called Ash Wednesday starring Henry Fonda and Elizabeth Taylor. From the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s I saw notices that churches would be holding their annual Ash Wednesday services to begin the penitential season of Lent. By 2008, there were only notices that New York City parking rules would follow the weekend schedule on Ash Wednesday. Also, the U.S. and British bombing of the German city of Dresden in World War II took place on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday–burning to death over 100,000 Germans in their homes, but not actually reaching any military targets. A nun meditating on this event said, meditating in her convent on that first day of Lent, thinks of the smudge of ash on her forehead; it is ”as if . . . the dust of cities wrecked by war had touched them this Wednesday of ashes.” Penitence needed indeed.


ATNTFTB: What Was With the Peacocks and the Gothic Fiction? February 23, 2009

Filed under: books,in the news — Katie @ 8:27 pm

Today’s article of the day is actually a tie with a Business Section article on Tropicana’s failed package redesign. But I love this article title, and I love Flannery O’Connor and her magic of capturing the Southern Gothic, so Books of the Times wins out today. But man, why waste all that money on an orange juice carton?

How does one go about writing a biography of a enigmatic reclusive writer who didn’t live very long? A new book, Flannery attempts this task, and does unravel a bit of the mystery and appears to do a fair job of illuminating Flannery O’Connor’s deeply admired and dark body of work.

Here’s what we know about Flannery O’Connor: She owned peacocks. And made outfits for them. She was racist. She was Catholic in an anti-Catholic South. She mostly lived as a recluse at her family’s farm, Andalusia (a Southern Gothic theological pilgrimage with a good friend from seminary has been in the planning stages for a few months now). A lady friend was madly in love with her–it’s not clear whether the feeling was mutual. She died of lupus at age 39.

My first awareness of Flannery O’Connor began many years ago when my mom talked about meeting her in the 1960s. My mom attended what was then called Women’s College of Georgia (located in Milledgeville, GA). Flannery O’Connor went to college there was well, and while my mom was there from 1961 to 1965, and Flannery O’Connor–quite ill by that time–would occasionally come to campus to speak. My mom doesn’t love her writing, but even then she grasped the awesomeness of having someone like Flannery O’Connor in your midst.


ATNTFTB: Tamer ‘Rent’ Is Too Wild for Some Schools February 20, 2009

Filed under: in the news — Katie @ 11:45 am

I’m not a prude. Or a Puritan. I’m really not. My favorite tv shows are Weeds and The L Word, and I would prefer that How I Met Your Mother came on Showtime so they could spice it up a bit. And Callie as a lesbian on Grey’s Anatomy? Hot. I’m also really into free speech and really not into censorship, even of things that, well, should be censored.


But I kinda agree with some of the folks in this article that Rent maybe isn’t the best idea for a high school play. (I mean, we all know Zac Effron will eventually come out and put some new perspective on High School Musical, but even then it won’t be quite as the same level as Rent)

I first heard about Rent on the Rosie O’Donnell show in 1997–the summer between my junior and senior years in High School, and recall riding around in my trusty 1988 Dodge Shadow playing the Rent soundtrack nonstop. (Yes, I should have known I was gay then but didn’t). So, yes I was in high school and consuming Rent and its message, but we didn’t all go see it as a class or anything. And the drama club certainly wouldn’t have performed it–that would be…gay. PL went to an arts magnet high school, so they had a VERY different campus culture, but I’m not sure they would have even done it when she was there. When her little brother was at the same school as a senior in 2005, the school put on the Laramie Project and it was met with some protest. He shrugged his shoulders and didn’t care whether they did the play or not, but that’s his usual approach to most other things in life as well.

As the article explains, the high school version of Rent has removed some explicit language and they removed the song Contact (they did that in the movie too). I guess “Rent: School Edition” is much more along the lines of the movie than the original play, and the movie did seem to fairly popular in the mainstream way. On the other hand, a part of me is ashamed of my old person-like shocked reaction, and thinks it’s a great thing that high school kids don’t blink at the thought of a play with gay and straight characters and draq queens. It makes me feel both very old and also very hopeful that “kids these days” by and large grew up with LGBT figures in the media and in their lives. I am also hopeful that people who actually see Rent will love it, and even though they may scoff at the subject matter at first, deep down they know it’s quality stuff.


ATNTFTB: Great Workout, Forget the View February 19, 2009

Filed under: fitness,in the news — Katie @ 7:53 pm

Today’s article stands out for the quirky factor of the event chronicled, but also because of the juxtaposition of reading (and then blogging) about extreme sports instead of actually going running.

In New York City on February 3, 319 people participated in the 32nd annual Empire State Building Run-Up. Participants race up 86 floors–that’s 1,576 stairs. The Empire State building stair well is closed to visitors every other day of the year, so it’s cool that they open it for the race. But, ouch.

In other news, it’s colder today than I thought it would be and more windy too, so we felt that we had a good excuse to not go running. Instead, I changed out of work clothes, ate some Cocoa Puffs and watched the Rachel Maddow Show Podcast.

We’ve been fairly faithful runners lately, and progressed back up after some cold weather laziness to week 4 of the Couch to 5k running plan). I also have a shiny new green Ipod Shuffle (a great Valentine’s day present from PL) so I’m enjoying some weird techno funk running podcast to help pass the time. But not today. Today, I’ll just read about the 15-20 minutes of agony of other people.