January 31, 2006

Update? What Update?

My apologies for the neglectful nature I've shown toward my blog in the last few days. I have a great many things to do before leaving for Mississippi in two days, not the least of which is meeting work deadlines, and finishing graduate applications. (agh!)

I'll have a post up tonight with links to posts about my last trip to Waveland, in case you did not have the joy of reading them. :)

To sum up: I'm thrilled about Alito, looking into Villaraigosa's proposal for LAUSD and writing what feels like one thousand entrance and scholarship essays. 'twill be a busy month for Portia.

I may have to take the CBEST and CSET tests in February/March as well. After having taken those, the GRE and the LSAT (twice), I might as well take the GMAT and MCAT just for kicks.

I hate standardized tests. Love tests that I can study for. Hate the others. Hours of sheer torture at the hands of beady eyed, cold-blooded proctors.

Posted by Portia at 10:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Alito Confirmed.

Congratulations to a fantastic man. The Supreme Court is finally starting to look up.

Posted by Portia at 08:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2006

Not the next movie review

Finding Pluto

Disney is buying Pixar for a zillion dollars or something. There goes any hope of Toy Story 3. Not that we wanted a Toy Story 3, or anything.

(Bigger picture in the Archive)

See? Told ya.

Finding Pluto

Posted by Macabee at 08:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 28, 2006

It's all in the book

I've got your "Song for the Ages" over at Little Green Footballs. Had it on my site for about two seconds, thought about fatwas, thought again, took it off. :)

Posted by Portia at 12:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Epic Battle Ahead

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has proposed a plan for LAUSD reform which would place the school district under the mayor's control. Despite our differences, I am a fan of Mayor Villaraigosa. I like the passion and zeal he has for his job. He takes the job seriously but does not strike me as someone that takes himself too seriously.

The Daily News reports:

On Friday, Villaraigosa said he envisions a system in which he would be able to close any low-performing schools and shift students to campuses that are able to do better.

Even as he pursues a district takeover, Villaraigosa said he also will be pushing to approve more charter schools to give more independence to educators and parents.

While he did not say exactly how many charter schools he would like to create, he praised the ones currently operating - particularly the Vaughn Street school in Pacoima, run by Principal Yvonne Chen.

"You see what's going on there and it's amazing," Villaraigosa said. "Ninety-five percent of the students come in speaking only Spanish. In 18 months, they are all fluent in English. By the 10th grade, they are studying Mandarin and Arabic.

In my opinion, tossing out schools that are already dead weight is a fabulous concept. Teacher's unions and other union members are naturally opposed to such radical measures. Apparently no one's told them that "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of crazy." Everyone acknowledges a problem, but no one's been willing to take on the issue and resolve it. If Mayor Villaraigosa is willing to try, he deserves our full support.

Posted by Portia at 12:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"Harsher Punishment for Parole Violators....and world peace."

Yet another reason why I would be terribly uneasy with a woman in the Oval Office.

Hat tip: Dennis Prager

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January 27, 2006

Blogger ADD?

Heard somewhere:

"Bloggers have short attention spans and lack focus (thank you, Ms. Redundancy). Blogging fosters ADD."

Thought you all might like to know.

Posted by Portia at 02:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Where to now?

Robert Spencer, of Jihad Watch, has written a brilliant piece on the recent Hamas victory.

The Iranian regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has joined Hamas in calling for the destruction of Israel, expressed delight at the election outcome. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “Iran...hopes that the powerful presence of Hamas at the [political] scene brings about great achievements for the Palestinian nation.”

Others were not so joyful. Jasser Jasser, a Christian pharmacist in Ramallah, said of the prospect of Hamas rule: “We’re all afraid. We’re worried about the future, that we’ll become a second Iran.” Jasser and other non-Muslims have every reason to be afraid. Hassam El-Masalmeh, Hamas leader in Bethlehem, recently declared that his movement intended to reinstitute the traditional tax, the jizya, stipulated in the Qur’an for Jews and Christians in an Islamic state. “We in Hamas,” Masalmeh announced, “intend to implement this tax someday. We say it openly – we welcome everyone to Palestine but only if they agree to live under our rules.” Since along with this tax, Islamic law stipulates that Jews and Christians must submit to a series of humiliating and discriminatory regulations, ensuring their second-class status in line with the Qur’anic stipulation that they “pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (9:29).

He continues by assuring people that attempting to corner Hamas into becoming moderate simply isn't in the cards.

The Hamas Charter states: “For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: ‘Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware.’”

And how will Hamas go about “liberating” its “homeland”? Hamas’ Mahmoud Zahar reiterated after the electoral victory: “We have no peace process. We are not going to mislead our people to tell them we are waiting, meeting, for a peace process that is nothing.” Zahar was echoing the Hamas Charter’s declaration: “[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

There it is: proof positive that the happy thoughts of the left are truly without substance. On his show today, Dennis Prager addressed the classic claim of liberalism that those on the religious right are wishful thinkers. Dennis countered saying that religious individuals believe in transcendent ideas but knowing and admitting they are statements of faith.

The left, however, makes statements such as, "Palestinians want peace," without any evidence whatsoever for that assertion, but still proceed to make it as a statement of fact. They are wishful thinkers to believe that the average Palestinian wants to peacefully co-exist with Israel. But let's not confuse them with the facts.

Posted by Portia at 01:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AP, Beacon of Clarity and Purpose

Your daily Pointless Exercise in Journalism: New Orleans Could Lose 80 Percent of Blacks.

Nevermind that it looks like New Orleans might lose 50-70 percent of its total population anyway.

It's not worth it folks. It could happen again. Move close by and visit often.

Posted by Portia at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

Blogling Returns From Iraq

Thunder6 from 365 and a Wakeup is finally home. From his site:

After 18 months away the 1-184 IN returned to the sunny shores of California last Monday. It has only been a week since A Co touched down, but when I look back at my days in Baghdad they seem somehow vaugely unfamiliar. It is almost as if I were watching the actions of an unfamiliar other move through my memories. As the memories reconsolidate I will be posting again to finish filling in all the gaps in our deployment... but for now I am just enjoying the free air.

You cannot understand how beautiful the grass in New Jersey looked to me on a cold day in October of 2003. Just being cold felt so good. And the green grass. Welcome home soldier.

(And, my original title was "She assures me that this is NOT why she's so tired, though, I have my doubts." Just kidding, just kidding. But that would TOTALLY not get along with Mrs. Thunder6)

Posted by Macabee at 03:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Brace Yourself

This needs no introduction, other than a surgeon general's warning about the hilarity being harmful to your health, or job status. If you get fired, I deny all knowledge and responsibility.

Top Ten Chuck Norris Facts

1. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried. Ever.

2. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

3. Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

4. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

5. If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris, you may be only seconds away from death.

6. Chuck Norris has counted to infinity. Twice.

7. Chuck Norris does not hunt because the word hunting implies
the probability of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.

8. Chuck Norris' blood type is AK+. Ass-Kicking Positive. It is compatible only with heavy construction equipment, tanks, and fighter jets.

9. Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a f***ing Indian.

10. In fine print on the last page of the Guinness Book of World Records it notes that all world records are held by Chuck Norris, and those listed in the book are simply the closest anyone else has ever gotten.


11. There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.

12. Chuck Norris killed the Pope with a roundhouse kick to the chest after an argument over who had a better beard, Jesus or Norris.

(I blame my brother Jon for all of this. Especially #12. For more on Jon, see bio.)

Posted by Portia at 01:36 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 25, 2006

The next book review


Just some of that wonderful work from the trolls at Amazon.com. So, guess what the blog-marm's gonna do? Gonna tell all us unliterate people what all the long words means.

When she gets to it. Right now she needs a nap.

Posted by Macabee at 08:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Best Birthday Ever

Birthdays are a funny phenomena. Growing up I never thought I'd reach my "Golden Birthday." I thought 25 was soooo old. :)

This year's been a bit tough coordinating celebrations, now that all my friends are mid to late twenties...we have that little thing called a life. I was beginning to get a bit frustrated with the event planning, thinking things wouldn't work out. Then my best friend went into labor, and all that changed. All I cared about was her and the baby.

It's been an unbelievably rough three days. She's 18 days late. The baby was due January 7. We joked about her waiting until the 25th, just for me, but never would I have wished that on her. Apparently, the fates did.

Her beautiful baby boy was finally born at 11:35 a.m. today, weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs, 7 oz! Mom is pretty beat up; Dad is grinning ear to ear. Grandma is thrilled, and the little aunties that I'm with are just ecstatic.

I'm not so self-centered to think that this is some cosmic present for me, but I couldn't have asked for a more precious, wonderful gift than to have my best friend give birth to her first child on my birthday.

I'm a very proud Auntie Em today. :)

Posted by Portia at 12:59 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 24, 2006

Happy Birthday To You

Portia Rediscovered turns 2, and the blogger turns 25.

Ha Ha! You're old! (This coming from the old guy)

Have a great birthday, sweetie.

Posted by Macabee at 11:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

End of the Spear

Citizen Grim rocks the film review at MacStansbury.org (And RHOG, but why would I post that link?)

I rarely anticipate movies that I've never heard of, but after hearing part of the story of End of the Spear on Christian radio...I'm hooked. Had I known I was going to hear key points of this film, I would've shut off the radio. From IMDB:

"End of the Spear" is the story of Mincayani, a Waorani tribesman from the jungles of Ecuador. When five young missionaries, among them Jim Elliot and Nate Saint, are speared to death by the Waorani in 1956, a series of events unfold to change the lives of not only the slain missionaries' families, but also Mincayani and his people.

Unfortunately, there are no sheep-herders getting busy in Wyoming, so I don't see much hope for it at the Golden Globes. But it's a movie I'm going to search for a place near me to see it. Checking ye olde Rotten Tomatoes, apparently it's a crappy movie with too much religious talk. And not enough men kissing.

And, to be clear, I was hoping that it would have worse reviews, proving it's worthy of seeing. Guess what? It is. Go see this movie.

Posted by Macabee at 08:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Dennis Prager continues his series on Explaining Jews with Part Two today: Why are Most Jews Secular?

Why most contemporary Jews are irreligious, given that the Jews gave the world the Bible and introduced humanity to the God of monotheism, is a fascinating subject. It is also a vital subject given the role that secular Jews -- such as Marx, Freud and Einstein -- have played in forming the modern world.

Mr. Prager discusses the split from Orthodox Judaism to found Reform Judaism, but goes on to address the reasons why that hasn't actually kept the Jewish faith alive and well in the believer. He then explains the reasons why so many Jews leave the Orthodox faith in the first place.

And why did most Jews reject Orthodoxy? Over the course of thousands of years, a combination of anti-Semitism and Orthodox Jewish law -- one of whose primary purposes was to keep Jews separated from the non-Jewish world -- kept Jews in isolation. And when any group has little or no interaction with other groups, its intellectual life begins to atrophy. This was not only true in Orthodox shtetls; it is a problem in much of the Islamic world today as well as in the secular liberal university.

Therefore, once Orthodoxy was exposed to the light of freedom, it had few rational or convincing responses to the modern world's challenges. Faced with the choice between science, Mozart, personal liberty and great literature on the one hand, and Orthodox isolation on the other, the choice for nearly all Jews was obvious.

As always, Dennis is a must read. Thank God for this man, who is not a Messianic Jew, but still believes that Christians are the Jew's best friend. At the conference I attended, many of the Jewish speakers explained that they felt as though Christianity was one of their greatest enemies, given the fact that they've historically suffered tremendous tribulations in the name of Christ. I cannot blame them, but I thank God for men like Dennis Prager and Michael Medved and other prominent, conservative Jews who realize that it's not the same Christianity it used to be, and that, we're really their only ally now.

There's no telling what could happen if the schism between the Jews and Christians could be mended. Christians would so gain from the re-introduction of our Jewish roots, and Jews would find some powerfully loyal friends, at the very least.

Posted by Portia at 08:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2006

Trying to get me jealous, eh?

So, the Notorious P.O.R.T.I.A. says to me this morning, she says, "I've been seeing another...blog..."

Now it's all Port McClellan this, and Port McClellan that. "Did you see what Port McClellan said this morning?" "Port McClellan wouldn't wear that." "Look at how nicely Port McClellan's front yard compliments the overall scheme of the decor." Like I even know what "decor" even is!


If you love Port McClellan so much, why don't you just blog there, huh? But I'm not jealous or anything. In fact, all I have to say is...

Blame Port McClellan for this.

Posted by Macabee at 01:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 22, 2006

Moving On Up

Finally, Mississippi made the news. We hear about "Chocolate" New Orleans every other day, but Miss'ippi never makes the news since their governor and other elected officials are griping about our president and about how racist the rest of the world is.

Rebuilding is slowgoing, but apparently there are some interesting proposals before the state regarding town infrastructure, architecture and urban development.

Here's the "too little, too late" acknowledgement we've all been waiting for:

Katrina hit Aug. 29, and while much of the nation's attention focused on the tragedies in New Orleans, the devastation in Mississippi was sweeping. Fewer people died here, but the storm's fiercest winds and waters flattened the cities of Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Pass Christian. Devastation was tremendous farther east, too, in Biloxi, Gulfport and Ocean Springs.

Ironic that an AP writer would pen such words, as AP was one of the neglectful reporting agencies.

The best sentence in the whole article:

But leaders here are pushing for change, and quickly, hoping to jump-start Mississippi's rebuilding while arguments have left New Orleans hamstrung.

Thank you. Finally.

Posted by Portia at 09:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 21, 2006

Will work for tips

I've finally figured out how to put a PayPal donation button on my side panel. I know I said I'd do that before my first trip to Mississippi, but...I didn't. It's up in time for my second one. If you'd like to give to the trip, it would be greatly appreciated. We've got about $1800 left to raise, and anything beyond that amount will be given to the church in Waveland that has converted itself to a base camp for volunteers. When I was last there, they said their funds were running really low (though they had complete faith in God's ability to provide), so it would be lovely to help replenish some of that.

Just a little fyi. You're under absolutely no obligation to give. But if you haven't given to the relief efforts, this is the perfect opportunity. You'll be fully briefed on just about everything we're able to accomplish with your financial support. First rate tracking system for your money. :)

Posted by Portia at 10:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Dowd, Part I

Talk is cheap. God forbid I ever be accused of such behavior, so here is part one of my review of Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary?

Last week, against all my better instincts, I finally picked up a copy of Dowd's latest attempt at effectually emasculating the male species. Even as I was rung up at the counter, I found myself desperately wanting to have a hood just to pull it over my eyes, as the sales associate was male. That, or I wanted to make a formal announcement, "People of Borders, I, (state full name and occupation), do not agree with this book! I am only purchasing it for the sake of publicly criticizing the author in hopes of scoring some attention from the press. I, in fact, believe men are entirely essential to our existence, and I rather like them, too!"

But, as that was not really feasible, I found myself checking out, and hurriedly leaving the bookstore. I do have to admit that I love the cover. The artwork is truly wonderful. But aside from that, no more compliments!

Enough background fluff. Here's the review. My dive into the abyss that is Maureen's mind and writing (only to find it's more like a wading pool. But I digress!)

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist (for her column about Pres. Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, mind you), and the left's answer to Ann Coulter (though older by at least 15 years; they'll never win) has finally finished her piece de resistance regarding her life's observations, frustrations and questions regarding the dance between the male and female species. Her first sentence: "I don't understand men." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the culmination of over half a century in journalism. She continues: "I don't even understand what I don't understand about men."

But she's determined to at least subject us to 338 pages of trying to figure out what she doesn't understand about her lack of understanding.

She splits the book up into sections, rather than chapters. The first is entitled, "How to set your bear trap in the mink department of Bergdorf's." This was taken from books her mother gave her about men when she was my age. Silly mom.

My first impression after reading about 20 or more pages was that Maureen didn't have a problem with men. No, she actually has a problem with humankind. It appears she's rather unhappy with both sexes. That is, unless they're just like her: a never-married single who still doesn't have a handle on men and hates women who are "happily married."

She begins the book by talking about life in the 60's, the rise of feminism, and the shelving of such books as How to Catch and Hold a Man. But twenty years later saw a slightly different story.

I knew things were changing because a succession of my single girlfriends had called, sounding sheepish, to ask if they could borrow my out-of-print copy of How to Catch and Hold a Man.

With a serious male shortage developing, a distasteful fact loomed in the late '80's: Women were going to have to start being nice to men again.

She continues through a chronological study of mating habits of the western culture as exemplified through Hollywood, on and off screen, as well as other public relationships. (See Marilyn Monroe/JFK, Scarlett O'Hara/Rhett Butler, etc.)

The premise of the book, or at least one of a few, begins to take form at this point. Women are predominantly helpless victims, never at fault for failure and always the inconvenienced. She cites quotations from books and articles written in the 50's for the sake of showing the ridiculous hoops that women felt they had to jump through to acquire the affection of a worthy man. Never does she mention the hurdles men would have to face to win the heart of a woman. I suppose that would be ludicrous. Men don't have any part in the dating process anyway. Right?

At the onset of the book, her greatest concern seems to be that feminism has been completely lost on this generation and she sees a downward spiral of younger women looking to the past as a standard for dating/courting/marriage. According to Dowd, women have become more demure, passive and soft. (Apparently she's completely unfamiliar with Christina Aguilera, Pink, and any other female under 18 these days.)

She's in a quagmire (to use a favorite word of the left). She loves the sophistication of the 40's--the cocktail dresses, the classy drinks, the endless flirtation in well groomed clothing. But she hates the fact that women then weren't "empowered" as they are today and fears we're returning there.

Her book is somewhat cleverly written, though her prose becomes quite cliched after a few minutes. She devotes little time to many subjects, which makes this incredibly difficult to briefly review. At the end of section one, the take-away is, "We're no better off than we used to be. We still don't have any answers."

More to come. That wasn't much of a review. More of a description. After I've satisfactorily summarized her writing, I'll be able to address her arguments.

Posted by Portia at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Change of Plans

As previously stated, my intentions today were to attend a conference aimed at uniting Jews and Christians. Well, a tidal wave of fatigue saw fit to pre-empt those plans, so today, I'm a slightly reluctant (but also appreciative) member of the pajamahadeen. As such, I have ample time to write about several pressing issues, the most being Maureen Dowd, naturally. I've decided to review her book as I read, rather than attempt a dissertation once I'm done. So, Part I is forthcoming...meaning in the next hour or so. If not, beat me over the head with comments. :)

Posted by Portia at 12:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 20, 2006

Highlights from Campus Tour #1

Forgetting that the universities I'm interested in also admit undergraduate students, I was a bit taken back by the number of high school students who were on the initial campus tour. Granted most of them seemed like they'd much rather be doing anything but touring a college campus, they were there nonetheless. And boy were their mothers. I, for one, cannot stand mothers who project all their energy and enthusiasm on their child, speak for their child, ask questions for their child, and all but fill out their kid's application. They make my skin crawl. Needless to say, there were more than a few on this tour. I felt a wee bit out of place being the only graduate, but I'm used it it. I'm a Christian conservative in L.A.

Some of the highlights from my trip:
1. Gum popping mother/daughter duos. (Somebody please shoot them....with a pellet gun of course...come on..)

2. The tour guide stopping at a display featuring a piece of the Berlin Wall and mentioning that Loyola Marymount University had an even bigger portion, possibly the biggest in the Western United States. One mother turns to her daughter and says disparagingly, "The Catholics have everything."

3. The tour guide pointing out a quote etched around the Berlin Wall that reads, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," and then proudly saying, "Abraham Lincoln first said that." And me chuckling. It might be worth it to look into where Honest Abe got that quote, darlin. :)

4. Getting a free meal at the school's cafeteria. Since last year, I'm all about free stuff. Prior too, I was too proud to accept. Now, I'm all about it. So it made my day to get free parking and a free meal.

I'm off to my Jewish/Christian conference. I'll be sure to write at length about that as soon as possible.

Oh, and to clarify, I'm most likely going out for just an M.A. at this point. And I'm looking to get it for free. If I get a degree in anything related to education, the "No Child Left Behind" funding will pay for the whole thing. As much as I hate big government, doesn't mean I'm opposed to it funding my graduate/post-graduate education.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Portia at 04:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Out and About

I'm afraid I will not be at my computer much today. I will be out gallivanting about on university campuses, enjoying the courting process meant to get me to commit thousands of dollars to an institution to earn that coveted: M.A. or M.S. or Ph.D. Which one remains to be seen. Once the day's wooing has come to an end, I'll be attending a conference aimed at achieving solidarity between both Jews and Messianic Jews, and Gentiles for the sake of Israel and the West. It's a two day event, and you can be sure I'll be blogging about that one. I'm very much looking forward to it.

In the meantime, have a lovely, lovely weekend. Hopefully Mac will make a guest appearance to tide my pretty, little site over. And yes, I am narcissistic when it comes to my site. I think she's gorgeous. But that was mostly Tammy's doing. I claim only a modicum of credit (for a small ember of an idea). She and Shano deserve the rest. They got the fire roaring.

Posted by Portia at 07:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

Shakespeare, the Vegetarian?

Stumbled upon this quote in Twelfth Night:

Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has: but I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit.
~Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Act I, Scene 3, ln. 82-85.

There ya go.

Posted by Portia at 10:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Polonius has met his match

Harry Belafonte apparently tortured audiences at Duke University by speaking for an hour and a half on his life, his hatred of the Bush administration, and oh yeah...Martin Luther King, Jr.

Toastmasters would have had a field day with this guy. An hour and a half? Our presidents get flayed alive if their State of the Union address is longer than 20 minutes.

The gist of his speech: Bush is evil. He strikes fear and terror in the hearts of Americans. I knew Martin Luther King, Jr. Hugo Chavez is a good man. The government is racist. Bush failed us in Katrina. Our schools need more money.

What's worse, his speech was met with applause, though I'm sure that after 45 minutes (!!) they became more like scattered golf claps.

I still can't get over an hour and a half. No one is that interesting without an intermission. Especially someone who uses a holiday memorium address to spout his leftist ideology and criticize our current president. Just bad manners.

Posted by Portia at 10:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Since I have time...

Try as I might, I can't seem to avoid the infamous meme. (For those who don't know, "infamous" means "bigger than famous.") My answer to Larry's tag.

{Why do these always remind me of a bad Law & Order: SVU episode waiting to happen?}

Four jobs I've had:
1. Lifeguard/swimming instructor
2. Tutor
3. Receptionist--otherwise known as "reason to contemplate suicide"
4. Event coordinator

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. Rat Race
3. A Christmas Story--because we do watch it over and over...and over
4. Three way tie: Cinderella Man/I Am David/Swimming Upstream

Four places I've lived:
1. Orange County
2. North Hollywood
3. The San Fernando Valley
4. ...don't have a fourth (I'm a third gen. Cali girl who's just never left for very long)

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Law & Order: Criminal Intent (strange fascination with Vincent D'Onofrio)
2. Family Guy
3. X-Files, (only episodes with Mulder)
4...that's it. I don't really care for TV

Four Websites I Read Daily: (there are more, I assure you)
1. Townhall
2. MacStansbury.org
3. Little Green Footballs
4. 365 and a Wakeup

Four places I've been on vacation:
1. Italy
2. England
3. Pennsylvania
4. New York

Four favorite foods:
1. Italian
2. Mediterranean
3. Latin
4. Indian

Four places I'd rather be:
1. Nowhere...it's gorgeous here! Gloat, gloat, gloat. :)

I don't tag anyone, but if you want to fill it out, by all means, be my guest. :)

Posted by Portia at 10:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

Shocking! Bigger Gov't Means Lower Test Scores

John Stossel writes about what most conservatives have suspected for some time. Schools don't need more money. They already have too much.

Naturally, instead of considering his facts and suggestions, people have opted out of discourse to name-call. Big surprise there.

Not enough money for education? It's a myth.

The truth is, public schools are rolling in money. If you divide the U.S. Department of Education's figure for total spending on K-12 education by the department's count of K-12 students, it works out to about $10,000 per student.

Think about that! For a class of 25 kids, that's $250,000 per classroom. This doesn't include capital costs.

He continues with illustrations of squandered funds and poorer performances. It's amazing how liberals so often try to model Europe, except in this department. Many European countries who outscore our students have much less funding available to them. We've known that for years.

In 1985, some of them got their wish. Kansas City, Mo., judge Russell Clark said the city's predominately black schools were not "halfway decent," and he ordered the government to spend billions more.

The bureaucrats renovated school buildings, adding enormous gyms, an Olympic swimming pool, a robotics lab, TV studios, a zoo, a planetarium, and a wildlife sanctuary. They added intense instruction in foreign languages. They spent so much money that when they decided to bring more white kids to the city's schools, they didn't have to resort to busing. Instead, they paid for 120 taxis. Taxis!

What did spending billions more accomplish? The schools got worse. In 2000, five years and $2 billion later, the Kansas City school district failed 11 performance standards and lost its academic accreditation for the first time in the district's history.

I just wish President Bush would wise up in this area and stop throwing money at the problem. The expansion of government in education under his administration is one of the biggest mistakes he's made. Has it helped at all? Not that I can see.

Posted by Portia at 12:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Priceless Wisdom

If you've never read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, I could not recommend it more highly. I bought it on the recommendation of Dennis Prager, who said it is one of the top five books that has most impacted his life. I might readily agree as far as the affect it's had on me.

Frankl writes of his time in German concentration camps, not for the sake of another horrific account of what happened, but from the perspective of a psychologist observing the affects the experience had on him and his fellow Jews. It's unbelievably moving.

I'm reading it slowly, so I'm about halfway through the skinny book, but I had to share one of the most profound exerpts I've come across so far.

"We who lived in a concentration camp can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

I'm convinced that one of the greatest reasons that we haven't had some truly amazing authors with insight such as this in some time is that we're so comfortable, so spoiled here. It's a blessing, but it also produces academic, spiritual and intellectual laziness. Those words above would mean virtually nothing coming from some of the more popular writers of our day. Sure, they'd be true. But what weight it carries coming from the pen of one who'd seen the most gruesome horrors inflicted upon man by other men.

The other day, one of my dear friends and I wrestled with the question, "Can you be as deep a thinker, as profound an influence, as Dostoevsky, Frankl, and the myriad others who've suffered and live to write about it, but come from our safe environment?" I'm still not sure.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: Apparently my memory is already failing me. Mike, or Captoe, or the guy who blogs InedibleInk has ever so subtly reminded me that he was probably the first to suggest the Frankl book. Portia Rediscovered hereby issues this official correction. We hope that the Mr. Captoe is gracious in receiving it and will not pursue further litigation.

Posted by Portia at 12:31 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Red Flag

I have about a million email addresses, so I don't often check some of them, often to my regret. This is one such instance. I've only now found out that one of my fellow Bear Flaggers and Munuvians, Mad Mickey, suffered a stroke on Sunday. Apparently, he's responsive now, but is still nowhere near "in the clear." Please pray for him and his family. I'm sure it's a long road ahead. They'll need all the support they can get.

Posted by Portia at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You thought that last blonde joke was funny?

Remember this thing? Yeah, that was great. But I found a much better blonde joke.

Try this.

See? Funny, huh? Told you, blonde joke.


Posted by Macabee at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cruel to be Kind

My review of Maureen Dowd's book has been slightly delayed by a few other literary distractions. I'm tutoring someone who is studying Hamlet at the moment, so I've had to dive deep into Shakespearean language and culture to be an effective help. But I don't want to leave you with nothing, so I thought I might give a mini history lesson on a popular phrase whose origin is attributed to Shakespeare.

"Brevity Is the Soul of Wit"
Polonius: My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
What day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad...

Hamlet Act II, scene 2, 86-92

The explanation, from Brush Up on Your Shakespeare: A Delightfully Entertaining Guide to the Most Famous and Quotable Expressions from the Bard, by Michael Macrone:

Polonius, right-hand man of Hamlet's stepfather [and uncle], King Claudius, has been employed to spy on the prince and report on his very odd behavior. As Polonius begins to deliver to the king and queen the results of his investigation, he embarks on this windy preface. Besides being nonsensical, his speech is self-contradictory: he wastes plenty of time denouncing the time wasted by rhetorical speechifying.

"Brevity is the soul of wit" has become a standard English proverb; in the process, its context has been somewhat neglected. Polonius, though he has high opinions indeed of his "wit" (that is, acumen), is the least brief and one of the least "witty" characters in the play. Freud aptly referred to Polonius as "the old chatterbox" in Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious.

There you have it, folks. Your Shakespeare for the day.

Posted by Portia at 09:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

Better Late Than Never

In honor of Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday, I thought I might direct you to a few blogs that are doing a fantastic job of keeping him alive in word and deed. He truly was a tremendous and interesting man, basically revolutionizing Pennyslvania, with the first library, hospital and public electrical system. Not to mention the thousands of other contributions he made not only to our country, but also abroad. He was beloved by the French, as he was our ambassador to that nation for I believe 11 years. (But they also LOVE Jerry Lewis, so...)

To learn more and pay respect, visit these fantastic bloggers:

Mike at InedibleInk has a more colorful descriptioin of Jolly Ol' Ben.

MBMc (or Mike) at Port McClellan weighs in with a few recommendations for good reads on the man.

Other Columns on Franklin: (You can always count on the guys from The Weekly Standard to write wonderful articles on American landmarks.)

David Blankenhorn at The Weekly Standard writes "The American Apostle of Thrift: How We Used to Honor Benjamin Franklin"

Timothy Lehmann, also of The Weekly Standard variety, writes: "B. Franklin, Moralist: Printer, Patriot, Scientist, Inventor--and Philosopher. "

That seems about it for now. If you've got a good post on the subject, hit me up with a good trackback. Especially if you're a Cotillionette. I've noticed our blogroll was strangely devoid of Franklin posts. Lots of chocolate talk, however.

Posted by Portia at 08:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Better Yet...

I've really got a way to go.... Especially if I'm still planning that global domination thing.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

I'm pretty sure I'll have portions of Africa covered by the end of this year. Possibly South America sometime soon, as well. I'm still young yet.

Posted by Portia at 05:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Middle America? What Middle America?

And I assign "well-traveled" to my description....

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Courtesy of MacStansbury.org.Thanks Mac for showing me how much more I have left.

The only thing is, you can't specify how many times you've been to these places. It may not look like I've been out much, but I've been to some of these states numerous times. So there.

As a Republican, I really need to make it out to Middle America sometime. If only to say, "Thank you."

Posted by Portia at 04:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

I Need Answers!

The question that's been burning through the minds of scientists for thousands of years?....

Who is the most fertile man in Ireland?

Well, apparently they can all sleep soundly now. The search is over. I always thought Irish people looked a little too alike.

On another note, how is it that this makes the news, but the hanging of a 16 year old rape victim in Iran doesn't? Not that this isn't fascinating and all, but come on.

Posted by Portia at 08:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Fiction: Insomnia

I couldn't sleep.

The echo of the gunshots was still ringing in my ears, two years later. The smell of the powder, stuck in your nostrils, like when you've been playing poker all night with the boys. That deep combo of cigars and cigarettes.

I guess that's why cops smoke so much. We're used to the smell of it. The fire. It covers the worse scents, like the smell of blood; or worse, the smell of death.

It keeps me up at nights, pacing in the living room. I've gotten so quiet now, Sarah never knows I'm up, and the babies have never said a thing. If that's a good thing or a bad thing, I dunno.

Coffee. How could I forget coffee? It's the detective's best friend. Crazy hours, no real schedule, long, long days...the recipe for falling asleep at the wheel. Not that detectives have the exclusive right to coffee.

I've seen it enough down at the forensics lab. Nerds. Such smart nerds. No idea how to relate to people, but they figure out how bullet A got through victim B. It's a beautiful thing, them nerds.

They sit in a lab, them nerds; the smart ones. They sit in there, and the figure out a crime after it's been done. They don't find the vics, they don't case the joints, they don't pound the streets. They sit behind a computer screen and do models of patterns of forensic something something. Without firing a shot, without leaving the building.

Well, no, wait. They do go to crime scenes. All taped off, cleared of any hostiles. And, the rare times a perp does return, there's always some beat cop or highway patrol there to hold down the fort. You know they fake their range scores.

Sarah's gotta know I get up. I would wake up in the night if I was her. She hates being cold, and she's gotta notice her heating blanket's not there. Maybe she does sleep right through.

Amazing. I've got 54 convictions, and I have no clue if my wife knows I get up at night. Unbelievable. There's got to be other clues.

She's gotta see that there's fewer drinks in the fridge. She's gotta know that I've been using the computer. I've left workpads out before. Even the little things, like pens moved.

Okay, now I'm sounding like the nerds. I need one of them computer models or something. Maybe the lady that puts clay on top of skeletons. That'll tell me if my wife is concerned about my insomnia.

Gotta think it out like a street cop. Figure out the perp's motive. Follow the facts to the source. Break it down into manageable, answerable questions. Then, find the answers.

That's what I hate about them nerds. It all wraps up for them, figure out who done it, then the credits roll. It ain't that simple in the real world. It's never that simple.

You've got the facts, and you follow the facts. Then you find the guy who did it. Then you gotta chase down his friends who knew about it, so they can be guilty, too. Then you gotta get them in court. Then you gotta play your part in that big court drama. Then, you gotta hope they didn't pack the jury with a bunch of weak-kneed women who think the scumbag has too pretty of eyes to have murdered that lady.

Then the loser gets back on the streets in two years, does the same crime all over again, and we play the same song all over again. All the while, the nerds are in air conditioning, listening to their iPods, playing with their computers.

I should've been a nerd.

I hate thinking things out about myself. It never comes to a good conclusion. I always did the wrong thing, or took the wrong turn, or made some dumb mistake. Why don't I do things right?

Oh, it's like a broken record. I need to drink more. No, smoke more. Yeah, that's a good idea.

Wow, I'm dumb when I think. Reasoning things out is not my strong suit. I should stop thinking to myself. I'll stop now.

Great. Now I'm babbling to myself. This isn't getting me anywhere. That's the point, isn't it.

My mind won't let me do it. My mind won't let me think about that night. My mind won't let me just settle down, feel the pain, and let it go. My mind works so hard at not letting me think it through, that it keeps me up at night, not thinking about it.

It. Think about "it." That "thing" that happened. Like I can't ever dignify it with what it was.

My mind is working so hard, even now, that I can't even call it what it was. I need some sleep. I need that release.

You would think those computer nerds would learn to shoot. You would think there was some kind of training for them. It's not like a hispanic male looks like a caucasian female. How could you miss that? How?

It just grates, over and over. There's got to be some training assessment program that they can stick in their computers that would show them what targets look like. I'm going to go crazy over this.

Then my children will have to drive my poor wife to the looney bin where their Daddy is counting numbers over and over again. This is not healthy. I'll be writing on the walls with crayon.

No, I'm not crazy. I'm not going to go crazy. I love Sarah too much. I will beat this. I will get over this. I will move on.

It's all about getting the variables knocked down. It's all about asking the right questions. It's all about making the facts line up. As soon as I do that, then I'll have my peace.

It's nights like this I wish this case would wrap up in a 60 minute episode. One perp, one crime, and all between the credits. Throw in a car chase for sweeps. That's not how the real world works. They can't keep the gunshots keep ringing in your head for years, that shot he had no right to make. Grasping for meaning, for years, hiding your insomnia.

It's late. Sarah's cold. Now I'm ready for bed.

Posted by Macabee at 01:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

Weekend Update

Normal blogging will resume tomorrow, I assure you. It's been a festive weekend here at the ranch. Well, if I lived on a ranch, that would be an entirely true statement. For now, it's just mostly true.

I'll be back tomorrow.

Posted by Portia at 06:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Elbows Off the Table

I fully believe that the world would be a much better place if everyone were forced to enroll in finishing school. Finally someone at the LA Times agrees with me.

Apparently a group of rabid soccer moms were enraged by a sign outside of a restaurant that said that children would need to behave in a polite manner once inside. Can you believe it?! I mean, the nerve.

That's fine with the eatery's owner, who was fed up with parents who ignored their children's wilder moments. Not your basic kid stuff of chanting "Mommy" loudly 50 times over 30 seconds until they get parental attention, or playing under the table. These children were brazenly running headlong into display cases, screaming full throttle and spreading themselves on the floor in the path of customers carrying hot coffee.

You must read the rest. If you fancy yourself a part of polite society, you'll nod your head and laugh the whole read.

Posted by Portia at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's not you, it's me

We really do live in a brave new world. It's amazing how much information is available after a few keystrokes.

I have a stat counter that tells me basically everything about visitors to my site...IP addresses, how long they stayed, which pages they visited, which page they exited with, what they ate for breakfast, etc. It's great information for me, but I'd be a bit remiss if I didn't say it still wasn't a little strange how much information it was.

My friend told me last night that his identity was stolen and used to withdraw hundreds of dollars from his bank account, all in another state, of course. Apparently, one of the hottest selling items on ebay for a little while was a card that would allow you to access anyone's bank account so long as you knew their bank and had their pin. It's not so entirely frightening that the product is out there, what is is the fact that it was selling like hot cakes.

So, word to the wise, be careful when entering pins and passwords. Change them frequently if possible. Fortunately most banks are easy to work with when it comes to identity fraud, but it's no fun replacing all of your cards, filling out paperwork for the investigation and so on and so forth.

Had to have one word on protection for this new year. And there it was.

Posted by Portia at 09:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 14, 2006

Meet and Greet with Gary Sinise

I'm really upset that I won't be able to go to this, but if any conservatives in the LA or surrounding area didn't already know about it and you're not doing anything...please go in my stead. You must tell me how it was. It's not often that the Mann Chinese Theatre allows conservatives to have a film festival. Take advantage.

Posted by Portia at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2006

In the Clear

Thank God for the "back" button. We're good. Hope no one noticed that epic flop.

Posted by Portia at 12:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Blonde Moments

Leave it to me to totally ruin my site. I've destroyed my beautiful header. I didn't mean to upload that picture there....I just have no clue how to navigate myself around html and indexes and stuff. And it's nearly 1:00 a.m. and no one's around to help. Agh...I'm so sorry...this looks unbelievably conceited.

Posted by Portia at 12:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I admit, I'm a lurker. I've been reading this blog for quite some time and enjoy it immensely. I've been meaning to add it to the blog roll for an even longer time, but have only just now gotten to it. Better late than never.

So, Port McClellan is the latest add to my Bloglings roll. I'm sure you'll find the posts not only informative, but at times very funny and always intellectually stimulating. Click on the "About" link to learn more about the amazing guys behind the site.

Posted by Portia at 12:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 12, 2006

Uncle Teddy

For those who haven't had the joy of listening or watching the Alito hearing (you're not missing much), I'll be posting some of the more interesting moments, starting with our favorite drunken democrat Teddy Kennedy.

KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

More drunken mumbling.

Judge Alito, I join in welcoming you and your family to this committee.
Your wife's kinda cute...we should go driving.
I appreciated the opportunity to visit with you in my office a few weeks ago. And I was particularly impressed by your personal family story of how you were encouraged to do well and contribute to your community.
Something my family's been encouraging me to do for years...that contribution thing.
KENNEDY: And I also applaud your dedication to public service throughout your lifetime.

But my applause doesn't last long, bucko.

Supreme Court nominations are an occasion to pause and reflect on the values that make our nation strong, just and fair. [Second chances, like the one I miraculously got after I killed that woman.] And we must determine whether a nominee has a demonstrated commitment to those basic values.

Blah, blah, blah. Drunken mumbling. Blah, blah....

We now have the record of Judge Alito's 15 years on the bench and the benefit of some of his earlier writings that were not available 15 years ago. And I regret to say that the record troubles me deeply.

And that's saying a lot. Mostly the only thing that troubles me deeply these days is how soon my supply of Jack Daniels will run out.

In an era where the White House is abusing power, is excusing and authorizing torture and is spying on American citizens, I find Judge Alito's support for an all-powerful executive branch to be genuinely troubling.

Of course, I don't have any real evidence for these accusations, they just feel so good flowing from my whiskey stained mouth.

I recognize this is a departure from my usual serious tone when I chide Democrats, and it's really silly and possibly downright juvenile, but I just couldn't help it! They're driving me batty. Enjoy this post now, because when I run for some type of office or finally ride the coat tails of Maureen into fame, I'm deleting it. :)

Posted by Portia at 11:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

For the Record

CSI, any of them, is utter trash. Everyone casually confesses their crime in the end and happy music comes on. Trash. I'm all about Law & Order, the original and more recently, Criminal Intent. Now there's some interesting criminal drama.

That is all.

Posted by Portia at 08:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Shadow Knows

I apparently have lurkers from the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC checking my site. I'm not sure if I should be flattered or nervous. I'll pick flattered. Hope y'all come back.

Posted by Portia at 04:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

More Dowd

I'm 1/4 of the way through the book. So far we've explored the psychobiology behind men and women's sex drive, how men are evil, how women are amazing, how men are evil, and ...how men are evil.

She said her mother told her she should have titled the book, Why Men are Necessary. I thought, "Wow, okay, now we're getting somewhere." But she continues with the title: For Procreating and Heavylifting. Of course, Maureen vehemently disagrees with both.

More to come.

Posted by Portia at 02:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Daily Dose of Outrage

I need a classic moonbat reminder as to why we're supposed to trust Iran on any level and with any thing when they sentence a girl to death because she fought back when an attacker tried to rape her.

This is outrageous.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Senators Shumer, Kennedy and Feinstein try to paint Alito as the Great Satan.

One more time...how could I ever take liberals or Islamists seriously? Please, fill me in. I'm dying to know.

Posted by Portia at 12:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Goin' Dowd

Well, some might be happy to know that I finally caved and went to Border's to buy Maureen Dowd's latest book, Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide, (it was nearly $30!) and I'm already 50 pages in. It's only 300 some, so I'll be done in no time.

My initial thoughts? It's mildly entertaining. An easy read. She mostly quotes other people and injects her opinion in there every once in a while. Though the quotes she uses make her point. It's written from an entirely narrow, secular point of view. Nearly everyone she quotes is in her industry or in the TV industry. And they're all the same. I have yet to read a quote made by a happy housewife or mother. They're all mostly successful, single and slightly bitter men and women who are quoted.

I'm anxious to finish so I can begin my rebuttal.

Posted by Portia at 10:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006

The Rise and Fall of American Education

Every day I'm invited into people's homes and they come to mine so that I can help their children succeed in school and life. And if there's one thing I've learned in my almost 10 years as a tutor, it's been that our educational system is failing the future generations. Tonight, I just happen to have a prime example of the continued failure.

One of my darling students had to read and analyze a poem. I use the word analyze extreeeemely loosely, since she was prompted with the most ridiculously superficial questions I have yet seen for a "literary criticism" assignment. Here is her homework, restated verbatim.

As you invite students to read and respond to poetry, it's especially important that you avoid questions like, "What is this poet trying to say?"

I need to stop here to note that when I first read this, I could feel my blood pressure rising. What do you mean don't ask questions about the poet's message?! What kind of new agey, hippy, liberal nonsense are they peddling at schools these days? Okay...we continue...

...or "What is the hidden meaning in this poem?" Encourage students to be open to alternatives, and remind them to consider an entire poem, not just a line or phrase. Students should understand that a poem does not have to have a message. It may simply be someone's sharing of a view or a moment.
Questions for a poem:
1. How does this poem make you feel?

At this point, I very nearly thought I'd just call it a night and give up on improving lives. My student knew how much I loathe, despise and wish this question to hades, so prior to showing me the assignment she said, "Guess what? It has your favorite question...."

If there's a more futile, imbecilic, ridiculous question to ask about poetry, I can't think of it. It doesn't matter how a poem makes you feel. Poets like Rudyard Kipling didn't write to make people feel "warm and fuzzy" all over. But, alas, question two....

2. What idea is the author concerned about?

Let's not ask, "What is the message the author is trying to convey?" or "What would the poet have you do?" No, that would be too...well, intelligent.

3. Does this poem make you aware of something you did not know before?

I suppose it's too much to ask, "What have you learned?" or "What has the poem inspired you to do?"

4. Are there any surprises in the poem?

This is eighth grade level poetry analysis. Have I mentioned that? Surprises? Why aren't they talking about rhythm, meter, verse, etc?

5. What is the most important word in the poem?

Now here's the first absolute question they've asked. Only problem is it's completely negated by their preface about "not reading just lines or phrases." But I digress. The best is yet to come.

6. What colors do you associate with the poem?
7. What sound do you associate with the poem?

I can't even respond to these. There were a few more questions but I thought I'd refrain from torturing you further.

C.S. Lewis wrote a searing indictment on England's curricula in the 1960's in The Abolition of Man. He all but prophesied that if texts continued in the direction he saw them headed, it would be the end of classical education and critical thought. He was completely right. I'm a first hand witness. It seems hopeless but all I can do is take one student at a time and inoculate them against foolishness like this.

If you're a parent, please read your children's assignments to see if they're learning rubbish like this. This will not inspire any sort of reasoning skills, analytical ability or deep thought whatsoever.

Posted by Portia at 10:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Drunken Lunacy

I just have to say: The fact that Ted Kennedy is grilling anyone on anything that he views as suspect is ridiculous. Can someone please remind the senator that he was responsible for the murder of an innocent woman? And let's not get started on his drinking or his slander of republican politicians. For him to split hairs over whether or not Alito was involved in a Princeton University alumni club is beyond comprehension.

Posted by Portia at 02:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Yankees Descend Once Again

A picture I took of former ocean front property in Waveland, MS.

I've just gotten the go-ahead to take a team back to Waveland, Mississippi the first week of February. I'm thrilled! So far it's me, my younger brother and his best friend, both capable, hard working men. I need lots more men, especially those involved in the construction business. I need "crew chiefs." So, if you could kindly pray for that or toss some men my way, I'd be much obliged.

In the meantime, yay! I'm so excited that I'll get to return to continue the work that so many amazing people are doing. Our church is sending about four teams in the next two months. I'm honored to lead one of them, and hoping it won't be the last time.

Also, I've uploaded more pics to my Mississippi folder in Flickr. If you don't already have access, let me know and I'll send an invite to you.

Posted by Portia at 10:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 10, 2006

Democrats, Victicrats, Abortion, Islam and Cattle

The Alito hearings have shed a great deal of light on the positions and the priorities of the two parties in the Senate. While little girls have their throats slit by their father in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, Democratic Senators are worried about whether or not a woman in America will always have the opportunity to slit her unborn's throat, ostensibly, at her bidding.

As I've previously written, Democrats treat pregnancy as though it were an all out hostile invasion upon a woman's body and that she has been subjected to this oppression by no choice of her own. It's classic pandering to a victim mentality, which is what the Democratic Party is famous for. Gone are the days of personal responsibility and real choices; it's all about the blame game, as we all know.

However, in making the woman out to be a poor, helpless victim, what they're really doing is actually creating a victim out of the baby, who really is poor and helpless. It's irony at its best, or worst.

The Democratic Party has become a club of thoughtless politicians and mindless followers. Now, granted, there are always exceptions to the rule, but as a general principle, it is virtually impossible to be a deep critical thinker and hold true to their party's ideals. Thinkers aren't victims. The Democrats want drones to accept their meaningless diatribes. It doesn't jive with logic that they're pro-abortion and anti-capital punishment (though they're constantly trying to prove otherwise and instead accusing pro-life/pro-capital punishment people of inconsistency. That's another article for another day). In fact, most of their deeply held beliefs would not fly if put through the logic ringer.

In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis says (of the difference between God's and the devil's intentions for people), "We want cattle who can finally become food; He [God] wants servants who can finally become sons." People on the left often scoff at religion, claiming it brainwashes its followers. Quite the opposite. Religion puts into practice the highest faculties known to man and creates an insatiable appetite for excellence. Not so on the secular left.

They want kids to watch MTV, vote mindlessly, engage in as much promiscuity as possible, uphold affirmative action, support abortion, protest war, and on and on. The Republicans demand no such things of their party members. There is tremendous diversity within the right, and that's how we like it.

The Lewis quote has frightening parallels with Islam. Dr. Sayeed Tashbi, the editor-in-chief of Muslim World Today and a Muslim himself, speaking of how Islam utilizes dhimmitude to remove critical thought of followers says, "No one could accept this ideology if allowed to remain free thinkers." It is no wonder that the greatest apologists for Islam in our country are leftists. Neither group believes in free thought, let alone critical thought.

The battle on our shores for the minds of the next generation is very subtle, which makes it all the more difficult to fight. But it must be fought. We must awaken the brain synapses of the young people in America or we can kiss our religious freedoms and our principles of free speech goodbye.

Posted by Portia at 10:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Abortion on Demand

According to Democratic senators, the most important, pressing issue facing our nation is whether or not a woman has the right to kill her fetus. Strike that. Whether or not states have the right to decide if women have that right. If a Supreme Court Justice were to decide that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, it would NOT make abortions illegal; it would simply toss it back to the states to decide abortion laws.

I was listening to Al Rantel and Michael Savage (who I can only handle in 20 second doses) last night and the two of them both had "words" for senators like Feinstein who vow only to vote for a justice who will uphold Roe v. Wade. Rantel noted that Republicans, who run the pro-life line, have elected justices who were pro-abortion (see Ruth Bader Ginsburg). But Democrats won't even consider someone who doesn't tow their party line. More ridiculous double standards we've come to know and hate from the left side of the aisle.

Mr. Rantel also continued on to pose the question, "If Sen. Feinstein were to read about the 10 million abortions that have been performed in the last two decades in India, simply because the parents found out the fetus was a girl, would she then be pro-choice? What about those women's rights? Or do they have to be born first to be a woman?" Brilliant question.

Democrats, who faithfully plug "Children are our future" propaganda, portray pregnancy as some tyrannical force imposing itself on a woman against her will and outside her control. As though a baby is such a disposable, horrid burden that it can be discarded based on it being "unwanted" or "inconvenient." For them to be so flippant about a life before exposure to elements outside its mother's womb and yet to basically worship at the alter of children once they are born is so completely mind boggling.

The argument that the fetus is dependent is also futile. What exactly are we qualifying as "dependent?" They need the mother to breathe? Granted. Once they're born, they also need the mother and father for food, clothing, shelter until...possibly well into their twenties. According to the IRS, lives can be dependent almost indefinitely. So what makes an unborn child's dependency any different than those who were allowed a chance at life?

What the whole pro-choice argument boils down to is that democratic legislators want girls to be able to have abortions on demand. Although, once you start asking questions such as, "What if the girl is getting an abortion because the baby has a risk of down syndrome? What if they really wanted a boy?" things start getting a little iffy. All the more reason not to ascribe to their ideology.

Posted by Portia at 04:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And now...

Your daily reminder of "Why I am a Republican."

(Hat tip: My mom)

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Funny Reviews at Amazon, no, really

I told Muzzy that I was going to get around to linking this post that links to reviews by Noel Hurley. They are probably evil and stuff, what with they being all funny and stuff.

I should also point out, it's Christian humor, so I'm sure that this might actually cause small fires in parts of California. Not that pretty much anything will cause a fire in California. I'm just sayin'.

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A little frightening

Not sure if you've heard of this, or what you think, but apparently we now have the capability to implant chips under our skin that can access everything from computers to car doors to apartments.


(Hat tip: Dad)

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January 09, 2006

A Tale of Two Reviews

I'm a fan of BoxOfficeMojo. I like checking movie stats as they happen. This morning, I saw a teaser for a review of Brokeback Mountain, and naturally, I had to read it. (This should have been included in the 5 Quirks Meme; I have to read reviews, even if it's 5 weeks later.) The reviewer waxes on and on about how beautiful the story is, how compelling the drama and how breathtaking the scenery. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The same reviewer's thoughts on Narnia? Christian propaganda. The contrast of the two reviews is actually hysterical. Clearly the man is not a fan of the gospel, but is so of married men having a homosexual affair. That's not propaganda in the slightest. Heaven's no!

For your own review, here are the links to the two, as well as the difference in opening paragraphs. (The latter review is actually infuriating. Not since The Passion have I read such a hateful review.) I just had to show the difference. Enjoy.

Brokeback Mountain: Simple and honest, director Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, based on a story by Annie Proulx (The Shipping News) is what it's been cracked up to be: a compelling tale of two men in love with one another. Lee displays good timing, keen understanding and striking visuals.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, based on the first in a series of children's books by C.S. Lewis, puts its religious ideas—faith, sacrifice, selflessness—to graphic images of death, supernaturalism and stark terror, making it inappropriate for young children.
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Persecution of the Saints

This morning, my church hosted a couple from Sudan who had previously been imprisoned and tortured for betraying the Saudi Arabian government by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others in their country. It was bizarre to listen to a couple so joyful who had been through some of the worst, barbaric treatment only to stand in front of a comfortable, predominantly middle to upper class congregation to try to convey what it is truly like to be persecuted for one's faith. When the interviewer asked, "In your opinion, what is the greatest downfall of the American church?" He replied, "Taking your freedom for granted." At this point, I teared up and was overwhelmed with grief. It's true.

We're so comfy here. It's a tremendous blessing. It's also cause for complacency. I wonder what we would accomplish if we were oppressed or persecuted the same as other Christians in Islamic countries. What would we do without taking our freedom for granted?

In many ways, I hope we never find out. In others, I wish that we would.

Persecution Blog

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January 05, 2006

Living Art?

Someone very important once said, "The poor you will always have with you." The same could be said of crazy, hippy, beatnik artists. Was it last year that a man died because he chained himself to a tree and threw the key too far out of his reach? Well, we've got another winner here. Only this one made it out alive.

(Hat tip: My dad, who always manages to find really interesting articles to anonymously pass on to me.)

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If Mac says it's true, then it must be

Being blonde, I have a deep appreciation for self-deprecating jokes. And this happens to be The Best Blonde Joke Ever. Don't take my word for it. Go.

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Lazy Sunday

AKA "The Chronic(what)cles of Narnia"

So, the Portia, she says to me, "you need to put that thing on my site."

And I'm all like, "uh, don't you hate music that people under 50 like?"

And she's all like, "no, you foo'! I'm down wit dem' hip-hop rappas, yo! I'm gansta, [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted]"

So, I stuck it on here.

Also, did you know you could get Lazy Sunday on iTunes?

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You Tell Me...

I've gone back and forth trying to decide whether or not to disable the link I've previously given for Dennis Prager's announcement of his divorce. The comments left on that post are reprehensible. It's really beyond my understanding how people can gloat and gleefully watch a marriage end. These are baseless people, completely unlike those who read and comment on this site, hence my dilemma. But I think everyone's mature enough to read the dribble that the liberals spout on that site.

I'm sure Dennis would smirk a bit, for it clearly distinguishes between those on the left and the right (not that all liberals would be this disgusting), and those who know and love Dennis know that he loves and values clarity.

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January 04, 2006

Go 'SC!!!

As a native Los Angelean, and one with a long family history at USC, I must take this opportunity to say....Go Trojans!! Let's put some hurtin on them Longhorns! We've got the track record. Let's show them Suthuners how it's done. :)

UPDATE: 19 seconds left. This is unbelievable. Young is pounding SC. What the heck?! Agh

Posted by Portia at 05:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Why Men Are More Than Necessary

By Portia, Archnemesis to Maureen Dowd, only younger and less surgically reconstructed.

~That's going to be the title of my review to Ms. Dowd's Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide, which unfortunately looks like I'm going to have to purchase. Determined to ride the coat tails of the acerbic, liberal man hater, I went to the library to check out her latest contribution to the dying cause of feminism only to discover, to my chagrin, that every copy was checked out. The library said they'd purchased 45 books and that there were 190 holds. This was greatly disappointing in that it signified the popularity of her book. But my brother assured me it was not an indication of that, but rather, that people are trying to avoid buying it. I'm hoping that's right.

I don't want to wait for 235 people to burn through the book, or burn it, so I'll end up buying a discounted copy, I'm sure. I guess when you have a goal in life (to destroy Dowd's ideology) it does require some financial investment. Hopefully mine won't cost me more than $20. Anything more than that won't be worth it to me.

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January 03, 2006

Mississippi Mud

I'm setting up a photo album of my trip to Waveland, Mississippi. (For those who don't know, I participated in hurricane relief.) I'm setting it as private, so you'll have to be invited to view the pictures. If you'd like to see them, please leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I'll send you the password.

I'll add more and more as I get others from my team members.

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January 02, 2006

Why I'll always admire Dennis Prager

One of the concerns that Dennis Prager expressed upon his announcement that his 17 year marriage to Fran was ending was that he might lose credibility or moral clout due to his marital status. This is a valid concern, namely because a huge constituency of his listeners are Christians, among those Catholics, and divorce is the big "D" word within those circles (eventhough the rate among Christians and non-Christians is the same, and in some cases, Christians have a higher divorce rate.)

Callers to the show that professed a Christian faith wrestled with his ideas about divorce citing, rather misquoting, the old testament as saying, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Dennis gently reminded them that that scripture verse is not from the Old Testament, and that it's a New Testament idea.

For many Christians, especially those who share a deep love of those ascribing to the Jewish faith, it's often difficult to remember that Jews do not follow the New Testament teachings of Jesus. Many of them are well versed in the New Testament, but we must remind ourselves that they do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and therefore do not follow his teachings in the same way Christians do. They might to a certain extent, but not to the extent that followers of Jesus Christ would and should, and often don't. :)

Dennis said several times that nowhere in the OT, does God expressly forbid divorce; it only says He hates it. I'm not a NT scholar, but I know that there is much more talk of staying together and serving one another in that section of the Bible than there is in the Torah. Once again, Christians must remind themselves of the differences between themselves and Jews. Again, they aren't checking what Paul has to say about marriage, they're looking at Moses' revelations. It's a difficult distinction, mainly because everyone is rooting for marriage to work, but it must be done. Dennis is not a Christian. Therefore Dennis isn't going to follow what the New Testament has to say on the subject. (Though he sure can quote it better than many Christian callers can.)

But if there's one thing that speaks volumes of Mr. Prager's integrity during this season, it's been his unwillingness to disclose any details about their separation. (For his announcement, see this site.) On the one hand, it's difficult for people not to know why something has ended. It leaves much room for speculation. But on the other hand, for a man to cover the dignity of his family the way that Mr. Prager has, says a great deal about what kind of man he is.

People frequently call his show saying, "I feel like I know you," and he always responds, "You do." And on Friday, he reiterated, "I'm not a talk show host, I'm a man who happens to have a talk show." He insists that he is the same on the air as he is off. I, for one, believe him.

No one but his closest friends can really know why he and Fran feel it is necessary to sever the bonds of their marriage. But it's really not for us to know. In the meantime, he's not lost one ounce of respect from me, since the way a man conducts himself through a trial is even more telling than when everything in his life is fine.

Posted by Portia at 01:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Review: Memoirs of Geisha

When I would tell people that I wanted to see Memoirs of a Geisha, most would react, "You want to see a movie about a prostitute?" Well, I loved Moulin Rouge, so my answer was a resounding, "Yes!" But on a more academic level, I really love Chinese and Japanese films, as tragic as they are. I think they're beautifully shot and have artistic direction that is extremely unique to their culture. So, I was looking forward to this film.

The movie was just as I expected: stunningly beautiful. I was mesmorized by the cinematography, the color scheme, the costumes and the scenery. Though I will admit the magic was broken in one scene when I recognized the scenery as belonging to the Huntington Library (a location I frequent as much as possible). Not entirely authentic at that moment, but it was just one short scene.

The direction was excellent. It didn't fall prey to the all too common dead giveaway. Nor was it snobby or elusive. It found a happy medium--giving details as they became necessary and letting the story unfold with the pace of the movie.

What I enjoyed most about it was really seeing the culture and the practice of the Geisha. I'm not naive enough to say that I know loads about it after watching one film, but the schooling, the art of their occupation was truly beautiful. One line in the movie said, "Geisha are taught to be living pieces of art." And in this film, they were.

It is a sad story. A girl ripped from her home, sold to a house in the city, sentenced to be a slave to the Geisha, then given another chance only to be viciously undermined by other, insecure, jealous Geisha, and finally to pursue her love all the while he is unaware of her affection. Tragic. But redemptive.

Unlike all the other Asian films I've seen, this one ended like a Shakespearean comedy. In no way funny throughout, but ends well. Therefore, it came as no real surprise when I saw that the director was Rob Marshall, the producer Steven Spielberg and all the others involved in the film making Americans as well. Of course it ends happy; it's American! Even the author of the book is Arthur Golden. That made me laugh. I really should do more homework before seeing a film.

The score must be mentioned. Naturally, being that Spielberg was the producer, John Williams was the composer. The score was breathtakingly beautiful. The violin solos were so filled with raw emotion that once the film was done, I took a deep breath and almost cried, I was so moved by the music. Come to find out that Itzak Perlman was the soloist. Of course. And Yo-Yo Ma was the cello soloist.

I highly recommend this film to those who love this genre and to those who love beautiful films. If I were a guy, I'm not sure I would see the appeal of it, so I'm not telling you all to buy a ticket ASAP, but if you love cinematography and music, this would be well worth it.

The movie is very tasteful. There's nothing offensive in it. There are a few uncertain moments in which the audience is left to wonder if gruesome things are about to occur, but they don't. It's a triumph of a film. Finally an epic that wasn't incredibly disappointing.

UPDATE: I take it all back! Men, go see this film. One man did, and loved it. He even disagreed with Hugh Hewitt's judgment on the film.
AND...FrontPage mag also agrees it's a great film.

Posted by Portia at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 01, 2006

Not the New Year's I Expected

Last night, any New Year's Eve celebrations were interrupted when my dear friend, visiting from Sacramento, called me to tell me that 1.) she'd been admitted to the hospital due to tremendous pain in her side, and 2.) she couldn't get a hold of her husband and was really worried something happened to him. He had been gone a while and she wasn't able to call out or anything.

Now, my friend is six months pregnant, so I was immediately really scared for her. They thought it was either kidney stones or appendicitis. Neither option was really what I wanted to hear. And then to hear that for hours she hadn't seen her husband, my blood was definitely pumping.

I packed an overnight bag for myself and was heading out the door when my family stopped to pray. My parents were sick about me traveling late at night on New Year's Eve. (I had to remind them of how many crazy overseas experiences I've had where I came out alive. Arcadia's nothin.) I called her hospital room about 15 minutes after praying, and her hubby had returned safe and sound. Thank God.

Today, I packed up a bunch of stuff for her and went to visit to find out she positively had a kidney stone. I've never seen anyone in so much pain. Aside from the time my little brother got hit by a car. The worst part of the whole deal is they can't do anything for her but give her safe pain killers. They can't help break down the kidney stone because it would harm the baby.

If you've ever seen the overly dramatic labor scenes on tv or in film, then you've seen my friend today. Only, this pain never ceases. It doesn't come in waves like a contraction. It's always there. They'd knock her out with meds as often as they could, but in between was hell.

It's difficult to stand by and watch someone go through that. I felt totally helpless and useless. But we prayed and prayed for her. She and her husband were supposed to fly back home tonight. That won't be happening. She's away from family, but luckily rich in new friends, and isn't sure when this evil stone will pass. Please pray for my friend, for her baby, for the kidney stone to pass through her system quickly and for the airline to stop being ridiculous and let them transfer their tickets.

And, don't get kidney stones. Ever.

This isn't the welcome to L.A. I wanted her to have, nor the beginning to 2006. I told her, "At least the only place you can go now is up." We pitifully laughed. Humor and pain--strange companions.

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