My Masculinity Isn’t Threatened

Visiting my cousin’s blog I was tricked into taking the Star Trek personality test. However, I’m man enough to admit that it showed:

You are Uhura

“You are a good communicator with a pleasant soft-spoken voice.
Also a talented singer.”

I was 10 percentage points off of my childhood hero Captain Kirk, but sadly I was just as likely to be one of those red shirt extras in a landing party that invariably get killed.

Click here to take the “Which Star Trek Character Are You?” quiz…


I’ve spent a little time tidying up around here. Thanks to developments with WordPress, I have rationalised my categories so they display the subcategory hierarchy. I’ve also added a tag cloud at the bottom of the right column.

I like the WordPress widgets. Its nice to have little bits and bobs to liven up the place.

It’s All Greek

After watching an episode Dr Who, Aidan was under the impression that a female robot was called an android. He was referring to the robotic Anne Robinson character in the Ninth Doctor episode “Bad Wolf”, who has the name Anne Droid. That’s when it finally dawned on me that a female robot should not be called an android.

Android comes from the Greek ανδρας which means a male. A female robot should be called a gynoid from the Greek γυνή. The proper unisex or generic term should be anthropoid.

I’m sure there are science fiction writers out there who have gotten it right, and at first I was going to say that clearly Russell T. Davies isn’t one of them. But being the generous soul that I am, I suppose that Guy Noid wouldn’t have fit the story quite as well.


It wasn’t exactly Baby Jessica, but Henry the hamster was stuck at the bottom of pipe four feet long and four inches wide. The RSPCA couldn’t get him out. It took two council workers and a low-tech solution.

It reminded me a bit of Humphrey, the hamster we had before the children came along. I killed him by dropping a fridge on him, but he was resurrected and lived out his days in peace. Well, until the cancer got him. I had nothing to do with that.

If the state of the world has you down, it’s time for a feel-good story in the news.

The £830,000 Mistake

This was a rental car. I hope he bought the Collision Damage Waiver.

Taking out the Trash

Maybe a lot of other people haven’t, but the spammers have found me. Thanks to WordPress’ Akismet filter, only one rogue comment has made it through. At this point, 120 have been blocked.

I didn’t even notice until I needed to edit one of my own comments to fix a typo.

This has been one of the little advantages of the underhanded upending of my old web hosting account. After my old hosts screwed up my spam blocking software with Moveable Type, I had clean out spam on a daily basis – massive amounts of it sometimes. When I moved to Blogger, the multi-step process of commenting stopped that. Now I know that WordPress is as effective, without requiring all the hoop-jumping. And with comments fully editable, it is as close to a perfect world as could be expected.

All is Quiet on the Inner City Front

Ok, so it’s the small Midlands city front, but why waste a chance to drop in a Bruce Cockburn line?

WordPress may not be the best platform for someone who is borderline OCD. With Blogger, I was blissful unaware that no one was reading my drivel. Now I have stats. I’m constantly checking the stats. Does my public love me?

For some reason, after riding uncharacteristically high, I’ve hit a dip today. This is despite the fact that in between marking Year 9 exams, I’ve put a lot of stuff out there trying to get you tag surfers (and you know who you are, even if I don’t) to click on over.

I could try hiding some stuff under the “More” tag to entice you. Hmm…. Sex? Right-wing politics? Left-wing politics? Devotional content? (I’m still reading Job and Fr Pat’s commentary.) History? (It is the 424th anniversary of the Papal bull Inter gravissimas – the object of derision by Orthodox Christian ever since and the 203rd anniversary of Marbury v. Madison, the bane of Presidents and Congresses ever since.) Humour? (Or maybe I can get more American readers if I write it “Humor”.) Britney Spears? I could be the 4 millionth blog to put up a picture of Bald Britney, or even one with her head shaved. What is it you people want?

Read more of this post

Migration Complete

Well, here I am at WordPress.

The importation was the quick bit. It was all the sidebar stuff that took time. The blogroll had to be added one link at a time. I had to I had to resize my Karenni and Chin flags in Fireworks

I found two things with which I’m not happy so far. I can’t get the blogroll in the order I want it (and with the ability to jumble it up occasionally) and I can’t get images in the sidebar without an empty title bar above them. I can live with these things for now.

Middle Earth Aliases

My Hobbit name is Drogo Danderfluff of Willowbottom .

What’s yours?

In Elvish circles, I’m known as Elrohir Calmcacil.

You can get one of those, too.

H/T to Margi

Ice Ice Baby

The local education authority may not have decided to close all schools in the Shire for Friday, but our school is shut early for half-term break.

The snowing has stopped, but now all the slush will be turning to ice, because global warming has been put on hold. Freezing fog is expected to settle in around the area in the wee hours. More snow may be on the way for the afternoon. There may be even more snow on Saturday.

From indoors it all looks beautiful, especially looking across the meadow and playing fields to the treeline along the river, with the tower of the Cathedral in the far background. The blanket of white across the playing fields has proved too great a temptation for occasional frolicking groups of children with dogs and snow angels have made random appearances.

Now most, if not all, of them will have an extra day to play in the snow. I’m all for that.

Feeling Gibbous

Tonight the Moon is a Waning Gibbous, 72% of full. That’s what the Current Moon Phase thingy on my Google desktop tells me.

On my desktop I have been amazed at how fast the Moon cycles. (That’s not to say I haven’t been observing the large orange globe hanging in the sky – there is something about the way it looks on a cold, clear night.) It seems just a few nights ago it was full. That’s probably because just a few night ago it was. It only takes a week to go from full to crescent, passing through what I feel is the very underrated and literarily largely ignored gibbous phase.

After all, a full Moon doesn’t have a lot to boast about. When it comes to lumination, it doesn’t do anything of itself. The Moon may be a beautiful thing, but it’s a derivative beauty. It’s only a reflection of one true light of the solar system, around which all things ultimately revolve.
Like the gibbous Moon, we spend a lot of time having not quite reached our full potential or maybe having our best days behind us, but still with a lot of reflected light to share.

I learned the term “gibbous” when I was 7 or 8 years old and I have probably heard it used less than a dozen times since then, even though the Moon spends 50% of its time this way, whether waxing or waning. Full Moons and crescent Moons are the stuff of poetry and songs and visual art. So here’s just a little shout out to the gibbous.

Go Look It Up

I was discussing the value of reading books to some of the Year 8s in my form.

I explained that I read a set of encyclopaedias when I was seven years old. One of the girls said, “What’s that?”

When I looked at the cost, it’s not surprising that no kids have heard of a set of encyclopaedias. A set of the 2007 World Book encyclopedia retails for $1,089.00.

The same thing on CD “with thousands of additional articles, plus more than 10,100 pictures and illustrations, two hours of videos and animations, over 77 CD-quality sounds, a database of more than 1,500 maps, and a high-performance search engine, all in one handy package” is $23.00. It takes up less shelf space and you can copy and paste into your school assignments.

With all that, I can’t imagine a kid ever having to use a 22-volume set of books. I know technology is great, but I find that a bit sad.


Some of you may have seen him on Letterman, Leno, Oprah, or Animal Planet. My cousin sent me a link to this video segment from Texas Country Reporter. This is truly an amazing dog.

At over eight minutes, it takes a long time to load, but it is worth it.

Working for the Weekend

The great thing about the final bell on Tuesday is that it is only three days until the same bell on Friday.

It’s almost the weekend!

Staying Put for Now

I was thinking about moving over to WordPress. I even got an account and a blog address over there, just to see what it’s like. It looks pretty good, I suppose, though I can’t say I’m just overwhelmed.

Then I discovered that they can’t import from new Blogger. Old Blogger is no problem, but apparently new Blogger is. Perhaps when they get this worked out, I’ll give it a whirl.

Maybe as I play around with it more, I’ll be more impressed.

Wrigley Cemetery

Grumpy Teacher noted that today is Carl Sandburg’s birthday, so I was looking at his biography on Wikipedia. I noted that one of his collections of poems was entitled Good Morning America. This made me think of the song, “The City of New Orleans,” with its chorus that starts, “Good morning, America now are you?” This was the inspiration for the title of the ABC morning television show.

I also found out that the songwriter of “The City of New Orleans”, Chicago-born Steve Goodman had his ashes buried beneath home plate at Wrigley Field. A number of people have had their ashes scattered on baseball fields, but as far as I could find out, this makes it the only major league base that is, in effect, also a grave stone.

You never know how you might find out something new.

A Jermaine Question

If it’s January, it must be Celebrity Big Brother. I don’t watch much the summer version where ordinary people attempt to become famous by living in front of 40 cameras for as many of 70 days as their housemates or the viewers can stand. However, the celebrity version only lasts for a couple of weeks.

The first person in the house this year was Muhammad Abdul Aziz. He is very well known as one of the lead singers in a popular family singing group of the 1970s. Strangely though, none knows him as Muhammad. They still know him, and he still introduces himself, as Jermaine Jackson. In fact, until Mrs H told me, I had no idea he was a Muslim.

I wonder why he hasn’t gone the way of Lew Alcindor, Bobby Moore, Cassius Clay, Louis Walcott, Cat Stevens, and chosen to use his Islamic name. Since Big Brother is heavily edited, I doubt they will show him doing his Salah prayers, if he does them. We haven’t seen if he has a prayer mat in his bag.

On the first night, he didn’t seem impressed with the fact that everyone wasn’t impressed with him and some of the other celebrities didn’t even know who he was. This was even after he wore trousers with the signatures of all of his siblings embroidered on them to give everyone the hint.

The Season is the Reason

This may be the eleventh day of the Christmas holy days, but it is now the last day of the Christmas holidays. While the pupils are off until Monday, teachers go back on Friday for another one of those days where an outside expert parachutes in to teach us how to teach.

Holidays always go by so fast. It’s hard to believe it’s been two weeks.

Still, when I was doing teacher training I learned from my mentor the three most important reasons to become a teacher: Christmas, Easter, and Summer. How true.


I was thinking back on watching the Keith Green video bio, and a mystery came to mind. Back in the early days of Last Days, Keith and Melody had an adopted daughter, Dawn. It now seems she’s disappeared from history. I don’t recall her being featured in the video, even though Rebekah and Rachel were briefly featured at the end.

I can’t remember if she’s mentioned in the book, No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green. I read it too long ago and I think it is in storage in Texas.

She’s very much under the Google radar. Anyone know anything?

Cash in the Attic

Today they showed the pilot of a new Doctor Who spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures. It is about Sarah Jane Smith, the companion to the Third and Fourth Doctors. She also appears in an episode of the last series.

I thought it might be a family-oriented pre-watershed BBC1 show to balance out the mature post-watershed BBC3 spin-off Torchwood. As it turns out, it is out it is planned as a children’s show. It is going to be shown on CBBC.

The real winners winners are the toy manufacturers and the BBC as the licenser. Sarah Jane has her own gadgets – sonic lipstick instead of sonic screwdriver, a watch that detects alien life, and a super computer called Mr Smith. That’s just from the pilot. There are all sorts of things stored in her attic that will be used in future episodes.

Way Too Seriously

Well, it’s a good thing I’m not Catholic and particularly popular in the blogosphere. Jimmy Akin and Touchstone senior editor Leon Podles have generated a lot of heat (though not much light beyond the glow of their own intellects) for their support of the execution of Saddam. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the comments.

I’ve tried just reading through them and I find them all blending in together. Both seem to have attracted at least one raving lunatic cyber-stalking to respond immediately to all comers. Again, my commenters, fewer though they may be, appear sane most of the time.

You Better Watch Out

That whole thing about being struck by lightning for misdeeds may have more credence than you’d think.

According to The Book of General Ignorance, humans are struck by lightning ten times more often than they should be under the laws of chance.

Just a bit of trivia to carry with you into 2007.

Stay safe.

Small Talk About the Weather

It’s cold outside.

We have had such a mild autumn that when cold weather actually arrived, it was quite a shock. And it’s not just people that have been taken by surprise. As Mrs H and I were noting today when taking Christmas presents to Wales, many of the deciduous trees still have green leaves.

We woke up this morning to ice. Ice and fog. Everyone has been hearing about the fog – it’s even been making the national evening network news in the US. But it was the ice that surprised us. There’s no telling what the trees were thinking.

Okay, they weren’t thinking anything. They are trees, after all. And this isn’t Narnia.

I know everyone is worried about global warming – except for the Head of Geography at my previous school, who thinks it a load of propaganda – but for Britain in the short-term, it sure is nice. Maybe we’ll have an early Spring.

Back in Action

No longer in denial about his attitude problem, Greg Wallace is back to blogging at areopagitica – a site that is either named after Areopagitica: A speech of Mr John Milton for the liberty of unlicensed printing to the Parliament of England published in 1644 or a speech by the 4th century BC Athenian rhetorician Isocrates or more vaguely a reference to St Paul’s sermonette on the Areopagus (Mars Hill) about the altar to the Unknown God.

Knowing Greg, I’m going for A or C.

Travel Quality

If you were ever wondering about the quality of public transportation in Boston, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, or Washington, you can checking customer ratings for every subway and bus line.

I’m not planning to visit any of these cities any time soon, but now I know that if I am in New York, the Q line is the highest rated subway (with a 7.3 out of 10 overall), followed by the No. 6 (with a 6.8). Of course it doesn’t matter how good a line is if it doesn’t go where you want to go. You might be stuck on a 2.8-rated G train.

I can’t find any similar rating system for the London Underground.

Here in Hooterville, we don’t have a train system, except for the one station with tracks leading to other towns and cities. However, we can still go three miles in 42 minutes, just like in the big cities. It can take 20 minutes just to get out of my side street in the morning.

No Surprise

Your Vocabulary Score: A

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

H/T to Grumpy Teacher.

The Original Language of Western Orthodoxy

With the growing warmth between East and West, perhaps it is time for all Orthodox living in historically Western lands to brush up on Latin.

Though not blogged for this purpose, Jimmy Akin recently provided a helpful list of Handy Latin Phrases.

Doctor, Doctor

Until today, I had only known of one person to ever use a honorary doctorate to call himself “Doctor,” the founder of the Word of Faith movement, Kenneth Hagin. Looking through the Rhema Bible Training Center website, it appears that posthumously the title, cap, and gown have been quietly put in the cupboard.

Now I see that John Carlos, the former track athlete who, with Tommie Smith, raised the black power salute at the 1968 Olympics, calls himself Dr. John Carlos thanks to an honorary degree from San Jose State University.

I’ve always thought that even the D.Min. is a bit of a dodgy degree, since it generally involves an “experience” factor.

On an unrelated note, I found this in the FAQs about Rhema:

Q. Is the student body comprised primarily of single people?

A. No, approximately one-third of our students are married. In some cases, only the husband or wife attends RHEMA, but in many cases, the husband and wife attend together.

There’s obviously no math component to the Rhema curriculum. So what you are saying is that, yes, the student body is comprised primarily of single people.


The staple sausage in our house is the Welsh Dragon. It is quite spicy and delicious. But who would have suspected? There’s not an ounce of dragon meat in it. Well, I tell you, it is good thing the bureaucrats at Trading Standards are on the job. Their investigation revealed that despite this misrepresentation, the only meat in them is pork.

You think I’m joking. Here’s the article from The Times yesterday:

A SPICY sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned the manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.

The sausages will now have to be labelled Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages to avoid any confusion among customers.

Jon Carthew, 45, who makes the sausages, said yesterday that he had not received any complaints about the absence of real dragon meat. He said: “I don’t think any of our customers believe that we use dragon meat in our sausages. We use the word because the dragon is synonymous with Wales.”

His company, the Black Mountains Smokery at Crickhowell, in Powys, turns out 200,000 sausages a year, including the Welsh Dragon, which is made with chili, leak and pork. A Powys County Council spokesman said: “The product was not sufficiently precise to inform a purchaser of the true nature of the food.”

A Sword and a Shield

While looking for Texas election results, I found this on the website of the NBC affiliate in Houston:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 54-year-old Florida man credits two small Bibles in his shirt pocket with saving his life when they stopped a bullet.

The man, whose name was withheld because his attackers are still at large, told Orange Park police that two men he didn’t recognize ambushed him with a rifle as he carried bags of garbage to a trash bin.

He said his attackers then fled in opposite directions.

The man said the bullet was stopped by two New Testaments that he was carrying in his shirt pocket to give to friends. Police took them as evidence.

The Florida Times-Union reported that aside from a red mark and a pain in his chest, the man was not injured.