Random December

What is it with the spam these days? In the past couple of months, I have received more spam than I have in my entire computing career (and I started in 1991). I am inundated, everyday receiving at least 50 spam messages and I was getting worried that I might miss actual real e-mail in the frenzy of hitting the 'delete' key. Then I updated my darling Internet security program (TrendMicro’s PC-cillin, easily the best and most unobtrusive antivirus/anti-spyware program I've ever used) and am madly in love. The wonderful and talented people at TrendMicro have added an antispam function, which installed itself in my Outlook Express and takes care of 95% of the spam I get. Woo-hoo!

I saw a clip from a talking heads program discussing the movie Happy Feet. The 'journalist' - and I use the term loosely - asked her guest if it wasn't clear that, what with the message about being accepted and happy with you who you are (hardly ever seen in kids movies, y’know) obviously, these penguins were gay. Yes, indeed! Happy Feet is homosexual propaganda, designed to subvert all our innocent children to their dangerous and ungodly lifestyle! Needless to say, this clip was from Fox News (and again, I use the term 'news' loosely). I wasn't sure whether I should laugh or cry...

And speaking of news, I also saw clips from the White House press conference regarding the Iraq Study Group's report (which I haven't read yet, although I do own it and intend to do peruse as soon as I feel capable of doing so without having an apoplectic fit). Tony Snow, the White House spokesperson, talked about not being able to answer questions asked of him by the press corps, as the White House had yet to 'parse' the report. Parse? What the hell is parse? So naturally I looked it up and every single definition I saw referred to splitting information into component parts, apparently used in linguistics or computer programming, although I suppose it might be expanding into other areas. But still... Aside from the fact that the improper usage of words bother the crap out of me (yes, I am aware that makes me sound like I'm about to use the word whippersnapper any minute and yes, English changes all the time), it’s very simple: don't use a fancy word if a simple one will do. I will never forget the book I read in which our brave hero kept cogitating instead of thinking. Stop trying to look like you’re smarter than the rest of us - it ain't working!

While we’re on words… Stephen Colbert’s ‘truthiness’ (truth that comes from the gut, not books) has been named Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year.

Am I the only one who is bugged by the term 'the less fortunate', which is bandied about relentlessly at this time of year? Partly, it bothers me because people forget about those less fortunate for the rest of the year, partly, it's such an us-them statement, isn't it? It nicely establishes a hierarchy where someone is below you and you are above them. Wouldn’t it be better to remember that we are all people and sometimes, people need some extra help?

I found this nifty geography test which drops the name of the state at the appropriate place in a map of the US and have been utterly obsessed. Although neither Alaska or Hawaii is part of it, it's taught me all kinds of things about where e.g., Missouri and Iowa are located (yes, I know - my bad). I managed to finish the test and my new challenge is to do it in alphabetical order. It's still a work in progress.

Many, many horses. Found this link via dooce and was alternately amused, intrigued and brought to tears. I blame the latter on the music. If you tear up, please let me know so I don’t feel like the only sap. My darling sister doesn’t have to. Many years ago, a friend of hears was making fun of her for crying when they saw Single White Female and I immediately asked Janne if a pet died. It’s genetic in our family.