Random Asides

Blog Post Blockage

Folks, I’ve got blogger’s block.

Since yesterday, I’ve been thinking I really need to post something brilliant, something worthy of Skepchick, something so amazing that it makes skeptics around the world want to either know me or have my children.

You see, Rebecca totally busted me posting an item about March Madness when I should have been writing about something skeptical. And it made me panic a little bit. I mean, I don’t want her to dock my pay, or make me clean the restrooms again, like she did after Stacey and Amanda caught me stealing White Out from the office supply closet. (Just between you and me, I don’t know what the girls do in there exactly, but the Ladies room is disgusting.) 

Anyway, I’ve been sitting here all day trying to think of something to write about, and I think the added pressure I’m placing on myself has had an adverse effect of my critical thinking writer talent type thing. I’ve got nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I’m totally blocked.

So to work through it, I thought I’d check the news stories in the Breaking News column on CNN.com.

Let’s see: 

  • 2-year-old rescued from well
  • A two-year-old girl was rescued Wednesday after spending 27 hours trapped inside a narrow well outside the Indian capital of New Delhi.

    So now the US is also outsourcing community-rallying tragedies from the 1980s?

  • Iraq gives militants 72-hour deadline
  • Iraq’s prime minister Wednesday gave Shiite militants battling security forces in Basra a 72-hour deadline to surrender their weapons as the fighting threatened to unravel a delicate cease-fire.

    Umm . . . Is it just me, or isn’t returning militant fire a more powerful way of telling them to surrender their weapons?

    What must those militants be thinking now?

    “Gee, fellows. They’ve been firing at us and bombing us to get us to stop being militants, and that hasn’t worked. We’re still crazy, pissed off Shiites with guns. But now they’ve issued a deadline to surrender our weapons. Verbally.

    “What do we do?”

  • Smugglers’ deadly cargo: Cop-killing guns
  • “In Mexico, you gotta get the cop-killing guns first. Then when you get the cop-killing guns, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the woman.”

    Maybe federal officers should give them a 72-hour deadline to surrender the weapons.

  • D.B. Cooper parachute mystery checked by FBI
  • I’ll be damned if I’m not still fascinated by this story.

    It would not have been impossible for Cooper to survive a jump into that rough Northwest terrain, but I’ve been skydiving enough to know it would be unlikely.

    Still . . .

  • Carl Bernstein on Hillary’s candor confusion
  • The source for this story is just hilarious.

    If you’re not familiar, the other day while attempting to appear seasoned and war-experienced, Hillary Clinton claimed that when she was First Lady, she and her party flew into Bosnia under sniper attack, and then had to be rushed to awaiting escape vehicles with their heads down.

    Unfortunately for Hillary, there is a video tape of that landing.

    Yeah, Hillary seemed especially frightened of the little, 10 year old sniper girl who greeted her, Chelsea, and that mercenary soldier, Sinbad, with sniper flowers.

    It was a complete fabrication that the Clinton campaign has tried to down play, saying Hillary “misspoke”.

    Bullshit. She’s a liar, liar. And her pantsuit’s on fire.

    Seriously though, I guess this is the type of honesty we should expect from our political candidates.

  • Ticker: Chelsea surprises Lewinsky questioner
  • Am I the only one who’s sick of reading about Chelsea’s “campaign” stops? They seem nothing but stage shows to me. Only certain subjects and only certain questions are allowed.

    Recently, some kid from Butler University asked her about the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and her reply was:

    “Wow, you’re the first person actually that’s ever asked me that question in the, I don’t know maybe, 70 college campuses I’ve now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business.”

    None of our business?

    She’s campaigning for her mother who is running for president. It was an event involving the presidency and her mother. Her father was impeached when he was president because of the scandal.

    Yeah, it was a stupid reason for impeachment. It was a stupid thing to become politically newsworthy. But it is our business.

    Answer the fucking questions or get off my T.V. and out of my newspaper.

  • Martin: Don’t judge candidates by their company
  • No. Judge them by the lies they tell, the inadequate programs they propose, the outmoded parties they represent, and the idiot celebrities who endorse them. It’s the American way.

  • Teacher suspended for using banned book
  • I hate to see the words “banned” and “book” together in the same sentence like that these days. It concerns me deeply to think we have to share this planet with people who are still afraid of words and ideas.

    Kudos to the teacher for trying to make a difference.

  • 911 doesn’t answer teen’s calls for help
  • Are you crazy? Don’t have an emergency during lunch or when it’s time for a smoke break.

  • Fighting with spouse good for your health
  • A study published in January followed 192 married couples in Michigan from 1971 to 1988 and found that those who kept their anger in when unfairly attacked did not live as long as those who expressed their anger, says lead study author Ernest Harburg, Ph.D., an emeritus research scientist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and psychology department.

    Doesn’t this also apply to anyone, regardless of marital status? If you’re single and you hold in your anger, you could die young, too, right?

    I guess there’s just more opportunities to be pissed off when you have to look at the same fat face day after day after day.

    Hmm . . . Well, that was kind of fun. Unfortunately, I’ve still got nothing. No ideas.

    Oh well.

    Guess I’ll check in with you again later.

    Sam Ogden

    Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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    30 Comments

    1. Wow, thanks Sam… didn’t you read the answers to the February Divining for a Date Challenge? I have a recurring dream that I need to call 911 and I either can’t dial the number or can’t get through.

      Next time, post the story about calling 911 and David Duchovny responds then saves my life by making passionate love to me.

    2. oh and just to kick off the discussion, I actually support the school boards decision to suspend the teacher.

      Here’s a better link with real information,
      http://www.thestarpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080311/NEWS06/80311022

      The main issue I have with the teacher was that what she did was insubordinate to the decision of the school board. This one teacher attempted to change the curriculum for the here class in the middle of the school year.

      She unilaterally decided what book was to be read and would have decided the curriculum and therefore how it would be taught to people’s children. This is why we elect school boards, to set the curriculum.

      I don’t really know anything about the book itself and apparently it contains racial slurs and explicit sexual content. Especially at the high school I don’t have a problem with that necessarily but you have to be careful in how this stuff is taught, which is why there is an established curriculum.

      Just as a thought experiment, substitute Freedom Writer’s Diary with The Bible or Dianetics. I’m not opposed to them being in our schools I just want to make sure they are taught very carefully.

      I’ve rambled enough.

    3. oh and just to kick off the discussion, I actually support the school boards decision to suspend the teacher.

      Yes, for this case, I have to support the school board’s decision, too. She broke the rules and they reacted. They reprimanded her for insubordination.

      But I don’t agree with them for banning any books. If it’s not explicitly in the curriculum, that’s fine. But to ban it. . . .

      And I think the teacher was making a statement about that more than being insubordinate for its own sake.

    4. I agree “banned books” = “bad idea”;

      Has Footloose taught us nothing? I guess it wasn’t books in that movie, anyway…

      The only problem I have is that this wasn’t really a banned book situation. It never made it onto any banned book list, the teacher sprung this on the board early last semester, the school board said no, she went ahead and introduced it to the class and was suspended in November (Indiana school year starts mid-August).

    5. Has Footloose taught us nothing? I guess it wasn’t books in that movie, anyway…

      Hey, the first Footloose reference I’ve seen here at Skepchick.

      By the way, the CNN story made it seem like the book had been banned. I just realized the story you linked to reports otherwise. So the school board is totally off the hook.

      Damn it. Isn’t there anything “the man” is doing in this case that we can rail against?

    6. “In Mexico, you gotta get the cop-killing guns first. Then when you get the cop-killing guns, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the woman.”

      If you exchange “Mexico” for Metropolis and “cop-killing guns” for cryptonite, that sentence is like, sooo Lex Luthor.

    7. I’m sorry, but regarding the Chelsea episode, what exactly makes the scandal our business? Is it because it involved a President? Or because he was impeached as an indirect result of the scandal? Or maybe because it was in the news so much? And how deep into the story do our business interests go? Where is the line drawn between that which is private and that which has been forced into the public sphere? Given the subject matter, I think it was an acceptable, if not a particularly useful response.

    8. In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women. – Tony “Scarface” Montana

    9. …and I didn’t even have to google it. Nope I surely didn’t. That’s the truth Ruth, no googling going on here whatsoever. No googely-boogely on this side of the globe. Nothing to see here folks, move on..

    10. “A study published in January followed 192 married couples in Michigan from 1971 to 1988 and found that those who kept their anger in when unfairly attacked did not live as long as those who expressed their anger, says lead study author Ernest Harburg, Ph.D., an emeritus research scientist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and psychology department.”

      See, it’s like I always say– It’s BEST to fight with family and friends; After all, you could get HURT if you pick fights with STRANGERS.

    11. I’ve read the book. I’m also a high-school student, (although the read was extra-curricular) and it deals with the social issues we go through everyday. The board should have said,”We shouldn’t have banned the book, sorry, our bad.” It’s not like she was teaching Madonna’s “Sex”. That would have been cause for concern. She broke the rules, and should have been reprimanded, but the board should also have noticed the problem with censorship.

    12. I’ve read the book. I’m also a high-school student, (although the read was extra-curricular) and it deals with the social issues we go through everyday. The board should have said,”We shouldn’t have banned the book, sorry, our bad.” It’s not like she was teaching Madonna’s “Sex”. That would have been cause for concern. She broke the rules, and should have been reprimanded, but the board should also have noticed the problem with censorship.

      Hi Mae. Glad to have you reading Skepchick. Hope we have something interesting and informative to offer high school students.

      I think I should apologize for giving the impression that the school board banned the book. The story on CNN led me to believe that, but apparently that’s not exactly the case.

      It appears that, even though the the school board did have some stodgy, short-sighted, old-fashioned reactions to the content, they simply had not included the book in the curriculum. And when the teacher assigned it as part of the curriculum anyway, she was cited for insubordination.

      An extra-curricular assigment might have been a better approach in this case; for the teacher.

      I apologize for the confusion.

      At any rate, Mae, be sure to let us know what we can do to better speak to students in your age range if we need to.

    13. Glad to see I’m not the only one with blogger’s block … *sigh*

      I have a friend who taught a junior-high English class with the administration’s (and the parents’) approval that was entirely on banned books. They read them, talked about them, and talked about why they had been banned. She was careful to pick things that were more on the Huck Finn and Harry Potter end of the spectrum than “The New Joy of Gay Sex”, since age-appropriateness was still obviously a factor, but I always thought she deserved a medal for even suggesting such a thing.

      I wish this gal had been willing to go through the proper channels … this makes an interesting story, but there’s still the obvious criticisms against her for doing an end run around the school board.

    14. @Improbable Bee

      I agree that this teacher had an opportunity in the waiting but was exceedingly impatient.

      I think she actually did more harm than good. Those who want these kinds of books banned constantly rail against “activist judges”.

      Now I can see the Sean Insanity’s in America,

      “Activist teacher attempts to thwart the publicly-elected officials responsible for setting the curriculum for our children. These liberals cry about freedom and democracy but when they can’t get what they want they throw a temper-tantrum and do whatever they want despite the democratically-elected school board officials who told her not to.”

      sigh… I’ve lived in Indiana too long.

    15. Elyse- I have the same dream. In fact, I can never dial any phone number in my dreams, I think it might signify my inability to ask for help from people…

      I also heard something about the study about fighting with your spouse. It was on a radio show somewhat notorious for making fun of men. They spun it as why it’s okay for women to yell at their husbands more.

      In seriousness, though, I think it’s exactly the type of story in danger of being misused. People need to know what kind of arguing they’re talking about, and not saying we should all call each other big, fat, ugly, stupid-heads whenever we’re angry.

    16. As long as this is true, I’m OK with it (from the article)

      “Small wonder, then, that the government is looking for alternate means to treat these injuries. The Defense Department “is dedicated to supporting evidence-based approaches to medical treatment and wants to support the use of alternative therapies if they are proven efficacious,” notes a recently-issued request for proposals.”

    17. QuackCast and Steven Novella talk about this sometimes. Maybe it is an overly strong position, but if the government is going to spend taxpayer money on evaluating treatments it should focus on treatments that have a reason to work and some existing evidence supporting them.

    18. I love the post but let me get this straight. You hope to get back in Rebecca’s good graces by calling her a ball-busting shrew with questionable hygene?

      To get on topic, I can’t believe a politcian would lie about their past to make themselves soud better. Next they’ll probably say that George Washington really didn’t cut down that cherry tree. Oh, wait…

    19. I love the post but let me get this straight. You hope to get back in Rebecca’s good graces by calling her a ball-busting shrew with questionable hygene?

      I know. Too saccharine, right?

      What the hell. She deserves to have something nice said about her every once in a while, even if it is a stretch.

      I can’t believe a politcian would lie about their past to make themselves soud better.

      I’m usually okay with it, you know? Lying politicians are what we’ve come to expect. But every once in a while, like during a major campaign, we become inundated with all the BS and it gets frustrating.

      Plus it’s fun to point out the most outrageous lies.

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