Wednesday, March 28, 2007

October 30... day of infamy...

So, Stacy's tagged me to do this birthday meme. It involves typing your date of birth into google (which, in my case is 30 October)! Pretty simple really, so here goes:

List three events that happened that day
1) 1938 - Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds, causing a nationwide panic. I'd never heard of this before but thought it rather amusing!
2) 1961 - Due to "violations of Lenin's precepts", it is decreed that Josef Stalin's body be removed from its place of honour inside Lenin's tomb and buried near the Kremlin wall with a plain granite marker instead. Given my interest in Soviet Russia, this seemed a good choice for an event.
3) 2005 - The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) is reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project. And I just thought this was kinda cool.

List two important birthdays
1) 1821 - Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian writer. Hooray! I had thought for years that no one cool was born on my birthday. But there could be nothing cooler than sharing a birthday with Dostoevsky, in my humble, literature-student opinion.
2) 1885 - Ezra Pound, American poet. That's a little bit cool too, but not quite as cool as Dostoevsky.

List 1 death
1968 - Rose Wilder Lane. I chose her because she was literally the only person on the list whose name I knew. Is it right to be depressed that no one amazingly important has died on your birthday?

List a holiday or observance
International Orthopaedic Nurses Day. Part-ay! The other option was 'Mischief Night' in the USA.

Well, maybe this post doesn't quite live up to the promising title. So sue me.

I am about the most tired I have been since ever right now. I am pushing myself very hard at uni and with my tutoring and so on and I'm wondering how long I can keep it up. It is the first time ever that I have drunk about five large caffeine-sodden drinks in one day without feeling any effects whatsoever except the unwanted ones. Please tell me I'm not alone! Actually, don't do that. I want to be the only busy person in the world so that I can gripe as much as I like and everyone else will only look at me admiringly and whisper to each other about how hard-working and humble I am. I think that will be another law in my tyrannical dictatorship. Never be busier than Allie, or it's the gulag for you.

Monday, March 26, 2007

my tyrannical dictatorship

I have decided to take a leaf from Sarakastic's book, and create a list of rules for when I have my own tyrannical dictatorship. Sara is merely going for princesshood, but I'm feeling grumpy, and a dictatorship seemed appropriate given that I am currently up to my ears in Nazi Germany, so much so that I'm not quite sure where I live anymore.

1) I would send long-winded and unintelligible academics to a gulag. Judith Butler would be at the top of my list. Has anyone else had the joy of reading Judith Butler? Here's a choice example: "To claim that gender is constructed is not to assert its illusoriness or artificiality, where those terms are understood to reside within a binary that counterposes the 'real' and the 'authentic' as oppositional. ... Certain cultural configurations of gender take the place of the 'real' and consolidate and augment their hegemony through that felicitous self-naturalization." [Butler, Judith (1989) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, London: Routledge.] Enough said, right?

2) Today I watched some of the Cinderella movie with a Maori voiceover. Didn't understand a thing. But I have decided that in my dictatorship, if children want to watch cartoons or movies, they might as well learn another language while doing so. Therefore, Spongebob will be in Russian, Shrek in Mandarin, and the Simpsons will be in Gaelic. You will be able to choose to have subtitles - thereby, improving kids' reading as well as their language skills!

3) Petrol will be kept at a fixed rate of five cents a litre. That is, unless you drive a ugly great fuel-consuming attention-grabbing four wheel drive and don't live in the country. In that case, you will subsidise everyone else's fuel reduction, plus pay fully for your own. Ha!

4) Every day, people over ten years of age would have to learn a new word, and prove it to a state-sponsored official who would ring every residence every evening to check up on you. And it would have to be an interesting word, and you would have to justify learning it, and you would have to spell it exactly right.

5) I would personally have to approve every song that came onto the airways. Rappers would be treading on thin ice; likewise earnest boy bands. No more Hallmark card Christian hymns; in fact any hymns that mention the word 'passion' or 'hold me close' would be gone. Any songs that were played too much on the radio, enough so that I got sick of them - gone.

6) No more coloured blazers, especially pale blue or pink, with a contrasting tie. Yucky! The only exception would be for very dark colours, such as navy, I suppose. But you'd have to apply for a special exemption.

7) No more piano accordions. As the Far Side cartoon goes, 'Welcome to heaven. Here's your harp. / Welcome to hell. Here's your piano accordion.' There would also be a limit on the numbers of children learning violin or flute, and if you wanted to do violin or flute but couldn't get in, you would be put into a class to do something much cooler, such as bagpipes or didgeridoo. On the other hand, no more jokes about recorders. Recorders are noble instruments.

Well, that'll do for a start, I suppose. Plenty more time to plot.

An aside: I think I'm developing RSI (or OOS) again in my left arm. Grooooaaaaan. I'm right-handed but I've had it quite badly in my left arm before and I have a feeling that practicing CPR on Saturday wasn't fantastic for it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

my new friend

Meet my new friend, Mini-Anne. Yes, she is a blow-up doll. [you can use this space to make a really funny joke about blow-up dolls] Stop laughing now, because Mini-Anne stops at the torso, and doesn't even have arms, and let's face it - she's not that attractive. But only I am allowed to say it.

She is, however, extremely useful for learning CPR. And she now belongs to me. That's right - I'm doing a St Johns First Aid course this weekend. Eight hours have passed today, and eight more will pass tomorrow. I now know how to perform CPR, how to dress wounds, how to handle burns, how to treat hypovolaemic shock, and how to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre. We have covered cardiac arrest, asthma, strokes, anaphylactic shock - and so on.

It's a fun class. There are ten other people in it and we all get along very well and manage to laugh at most of the gory stories our instructor delights in telling us, although the burn photos he showed us just couldn't really become funny. There also happens to be a very handsome Frenchman in the class. :) We get to do roleplays and fun little things like that, and our 'assessments' basically mean doing what he tells us, and if we don't he'll soon correct us. All the same, they couldn't really charge us $200 and then make it hard for us to pass.

I'm actually rather looking forward to going again tomorrow. All the same, it means I have to go and write my essay on D. H. Lawrence's critique of militarism right now. But perhaps after that I can go practice my CPR technique on my very own CPR dummy! Now, isn't that worth $200?

Update 25/3/07: I have just got home after the second session of the course, proud owner of my very own first aid certificate. Today we had to handle different scenarios as an assessment, and took turns being the patient. Thus, today has been a busy day for me - I have had wounds, open fractures, closed fractures, asthma, two seizures, alcohol poisoning, a heat stroke, burns, spinal injuries and allergies - and I have been in hypovolaemic shock several times. Good times. It was especially fun pretending to be drunk, having a fit, and falling into the bonfire at the work Christmas party at the beach. We had a good instructor today too, but I missed yesterday's nice oldish man who liked to say "You have to get down and boogie" and tell gory stories then say "He was not a happy bunny."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

moral dilemma

This morning I went to buy myself a much needed trim fair trade flat white to go (I have fun saying that, and just about as much fun typing it) at Cafe 101, on campus. I waited for my coffee, put a lid on it, and turned to go, when someone barrelled into me by mistake, knocking me backwards, with an "oh my gosh, sorry!" My coffee was safe... but my large and heavy backpack swung round and knocked some poor, caffeine-deprived woman, causing her to spill half her latte all over the floor. Now - this was not my fault, obviously, but the woman turned to me with a scowl and a very loud and angry "watch-where-you're-going!" and proceeded to tell me to clean up the mess in a schoolteacher voice. I was a bit stunned by this, it being early in the morning, and so quietly began cleaning it up - and the person who had caused the accident in the first place helped me, which was nice. But I felt very embarrassed and a little bit annoyed that I got yelled at in front of large queues of coffee addicts for something that was not my fault, although to be fair the woman didn't know it wasn't me. Was this rude behaviour, or was it her prerogative to yell at someone who spilt half her latte? I still haven't quite decided. Oh, the difficulty of assessing moral grey areas. :)

In other news, I find it quite funny that one of my sisters, who lives in Auckland and is off on a jetsetting trip to Malaysia and Thailand for the next three weeks, has begged me to tape Grey's Anatomy, ER and Boston Legal for her while she's gone. Not that I can judge, of course. I have been absolutely shockingly addicted to TV the last few weeks. Mainly because by the time I get home my brain is so frazzled by academia that in my considered scientific opinion the best thing for it is to fill it with fluff. If I was in a women's magazine I would call it my secret shame. I have been watching Desperate Housewives, Men in Trees, Ugly Betty, ER, Grey's Anatomy, America's Next Top Model (it's addictive!!), Shark, Antiques Roadshow, Top Gear and Thank God You're Here. Somebody save me! Hey, but then - at least I don't watch American Idol (except in the ad breaks) ! Yes, we get it here! It's everywhere!

Almost forgot - I am soon to be a jetsetter too. Well, not quite, I'm only going as far as Australia. But the tickets are now officially bought and it is really going to happen!! I am leaving Christchurch for Auckland on 13 July, and spending the weekend there with my sister. Then, on 15 July I am off to Perth, Australia, for a whole semester. This is going to keep me going right up until June, I should think.

Monday, March 19, 2007

the hills are alive

I've been thinking lately that my life should be more fun. To tell the truth, getting high marks and saving money isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm pretty sure I won't lie on my deathbed thinking, "well, at least I got an A on my HIST369 essay in 2007!" (Not that I wouldn't mind having an A, or preferably an A+, on my approaching essay, two weeks away and counting.) I must be the most boring student in the world. But then, I don't really like alcohol or sports, and I plan not to have sex, and it doesn't seem like fun students do much else. So my latest scheme for fun is this:

A singalong Sound of Music!! I will invite all my friends and vague acquaintances who are as silly as me, and we will dress up in crazy costumes, drink pink lemonade, and sing along with Maria and Christopher Plummer and Liesl and Kurt-the-Hitler-Youth-guy and the Reverend Mother, with our hands on our hearts. I went to a commercially organised one of these a few years ago and it was a blast. It was at a big theatre in town, and there were small, cute children who were Marta and Gretel, there were huge numbers of nuns, there were grown, probably drunk men wearing fake plastic breasts and deer antlers (...doe, a deer... naturally...), there were brown paper packages tied up with string, and lonely goatherds. We all sang along at the top of our voices. When Maria sits in her room on the first night, wondering how to get play clothes for the children, we all shouted, "Maria! The curtains! Look behind you!" When Maria and Captain von Trapp kiss, we let off party poppers and cheered. Whenever a Nazi came on, we hissed. When we sang 'How do you solve a problem like Maria?', we had a whole routine to match it, including added words such as a flibbertigibbet, a will'o the wisp, a clown HONK HONK!

Of course the entry requirements for the evening will be that you have to be a real fan of The Sound of Music. The whole thing could flop miserably if half the people there don't really know the songs and feel a bit stupid about it anyway.

I am going to sit down and watch The Sound of Music through, and make notes about all the things we can do, or eat, or sing. Does anyone have any ideas???

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Miss Potter

I have just been to the movie Miss Potter, starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, and based on the life of Beatrix Potter, and I loved it so much that I am going to have to rave about it for at least two more paragraphs.

I was a bit diffident about seeing the film because I'm a little iffy sometimes about whether Ewan McGregor is actually all he's cracked up to be, and I wondered whether Renee Zellweger would mistake an English accent for being Bridget Jones all over again - but this is the best film I've seen with them in it yet. They have wonderful chemistry. The other characters are all really strong, and the relationship of Miss Potter with her parents was especially interesting. It's the sort of film that deserves the adjectives 'charming', 'delightful', and 'Really Nice' - but in no way is it wishy-washy or forgettable. I love that it is in many ways a serious and at times heart-wrenching movie, yet it manages not to leave you with a feeling of sorrow as it finishes. It is beautifully filmed, with a sweet and witty screenplay. From the opening credits you could tell it would be lovely - the attention to colour and texture was perfect. The scenery is also stunning in the sections filmed in the Lake District. The animation of her little characters is also very cute and original. I don't know much about Beatrix Potter's life, but it didn't seem to stray into the realms of Hollywood-izing. It also didn't go in the other direction and just trail off leaving you wondering if that was the real ending; it managed a plot, which I think is important in a movie.

My sister was telling me about an interview with Ewan McGregor she heard, talking about this movie. He was saying that he loved how the romantic climax of this movie was a kiss. Merely a kiss. They don't make them that way anymore. I would agree highly. The kiss was beautifully done. Thank goodness for a movie that doesn't have to make its characters sexually repressed whenever a hint of chasteness is present.

So, all in all, I would highly recommend this movie. I happened to love Beatrix Potter's books as a child (in fact, I still do), but even if you've never heard of her before, you will probably love this film too.

Let's hope the coming movie based on Jane Austen, starring Anne Hathaway, will be as brilliant. I am inclined to suspect no. The few reviews I've read so far don't sound very promising (eg this one), and it sounds like they are going to focus on a part of Austen's life that has never seemed that crucial to me. It's a bit depressing really. It does have James McAvoy as the romantic lead, which I approve of immensely, but for any of the purists out there (like me), I have a horrible feeling we're going to hate it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Just got home. Am exhausted. But I will sacrifice my sleep to tell you something cool.

I am in a Christian group at uni called Navigators, which we call Navs most of the time, and this year I am a small group leader. Tonight was the first night for small groups, and we had a basically social time, just getting to know each other, as this year there's heaps of new people. Ryan (my co-leader) and I decided to take our group of about eight up on the Port Hills to the Sign of the Bellbird which overlooks Christchurch, taking blankets, hot chocolate in thermoses, marshmallows and a little gas burner... until this morning, winter officially arrived in New Zealand in a blaze of cold and wet glory and we almost decided to be boring and go to a cafe. However, it wasn't raining so much by this evening, and on the spur of the moment we decided to go up anyway, although we didn't manage the marshmallows and gas burner.

However, when we got there we discovered two people setting up a fire at the little ruin which doubles as a shelter at the Sign of the Bellbird. Get this for a coincidence - they were ex-Navs people. Half of us knew them. And what was the coolest thing - they were setting up the place for their flatmate to bring his girlfriend to and propose to her!!! They had a log fire going in the old fireplace there, they set up candles all around the room, and they had an electric piano they had brought up so their flatmate could croon love songs to his girlfriend - who probably, by now, is his fiancee!

At first we thought we were going to have to leave, but they said we could stay for an hour or so because their friend wasn't coming up for a while - so we got to sit in our little circle eating food and drinking hot chocolate, near a roaring log fire, with candles all over the room, looking down on a sparkling Christchurch! It was lovely. We all chatted and then did the obligatory ice-breaker thing, and then when the prospective proposer texted that they were on their way, we all left and drove down the hill to the nearest cafe.

How cool is that?!

Friday, March 09, 2007

James Joyce

Dear Mr Joyce,

I want you to know that I think your book, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is the stupidest book I have ever read. I only read it because it was on the reading list for my Twentieth Century Novel course. I was bored from start to finish (except for a few pages where it looked like some semblance of a plot was forming), and from about page 200 I was counting the pages until the end. I don't know why you "artistic" types feel that to be a real artist you have to bore any normal people to tears. Stephen Dedalus is an arrogant twerp and the rest of the characters seem to me just to be shadow-like plot devices to use whenever you get sick of the sound of your own voice (which, believe me, is not often). No wonder the book was only $8.

I have heard before that Ulysses is the greatest novel ever written in English. Although I have not read that novel, my scepticism is now unbounded. Do you write these books simply to torment English students who already have too much reading to do anyway?

Yours sincerely,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Allie's Academy Awards

In honour of the awards season only just finishing and in honour of this being my 250th blog post (yay!), I would like to create my own set of Academy Awards. As this is the first chance I have had to compile such a list, they will be covering the last fifty years or so. My academy consists of one (me), all categories are created by me, all categories are filled by as many winners as I choose and they all lack thorough or considered opinion. Judge's decision is final.

Best ending - because an ending that adds something really special to its unexpected twist = satisfying.
Gloomy Sunday
The Ladykillers
Best premise
Waking Ned Devine - a man on a tiny Irish island wins the lottery and dies of shock. What will his friends do?
Nicest French movies
Les Choristes
Best beginning-credits - because these can so often be boring that a really good one deserves some credit.
Casino Royale
Funniest movies
Thank You For Smoking
The Castle
Best New Zealand movies
Whale Rider
The World's Fastest Indian
Heavenly Creatures
Best superhero movie
Batman Begins
Best crime movies
O Brother Where Art Thou?
The Ladykillers
Best soundtrack
Gloomy Sunday
Best casts
A Room With A View
Waking Ned Devine
Notting Hill
The Ladykillers
Best characters
Charlotte Bartlett, A Room With A View
Eleanor Lavish, A Room With A View
Amelie, Amelie
Darryl Kerrigan, The Castle
Derek Zoolander, Zoolander
Billy Mack, Love Actually
Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump
Spike, Notting Hill
Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean
Sam, I Am Sam
Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility
Best animated film
Shrek (1 & 2)
Best children's movie
Nanny McPhee
Best based-on-a-true-story movies
The Dish
A Beautiful Mind
Best dance movie
Strictly Ballroom
Best chick flicks
Legally Blonde
Best WWII movies
Gloomy Sunday
Life is Beautiful
The Pianist
Best make-you-cry movies
I Am Sam
Gloomy Sunday
Walk the Line
Forrest Gump
Best romantic comedies
Notting Hill
Love Actually
Best adaptations of a novel
Sense and Sensibility
A Room With A View
Best songs in movies
"Be Prepared", The Lion King
"Gloomy Sunday", Gloomy Sunday
"Oh What a Circus", Evita
"You're the One that I Want", Grease

Please do feel free to question or contradict my opinion! As said earlier, not a colossal amount of thought went into these and there are certain to be some really good 'uns that I missed.


Amanda and Brooke.
Band members of Fat Freddy's Drop.
While Fat Freddy's Drop plays, someone dances with pois.

Today I went to an O'Week concert - O'Week is Orientation Week, when students go a little crazy and try to ignore the large amounts of money they need to spend on textbooks. It was the "big" concert of the week, called Cheap as Chips - although it was actually more like the price of fifteen scoops of chips - and it featured three bands, Korah, Fat Freddy's Drop and Shapeshifter. They're all Kiwi bands, and Fat Freddy's Drop has done especially well in New Zealand [see their website here]. They've probably sold more albums than any other band over the last few years. They're a kind of dub/reggae group with a really laidback, summery feel, and they have a really cool brass section with trumpets and saxophones.

Well, the atmosphere of the whole concert was great. Perfect weather - not too hot, but I still managed to get sunburnt. Silly me. There was a huge range of people at the concert as it wasn't open only to students, and what was kind of nice was there were heaps of families with cute kids running round. So it was nice at times just lying back on the grass with a picnic lunch, listening to summery music and applying sunscreen, with my friends Amanda and Brooke.

All the same, I was kind of disappointed with Fat Freddy's Drop. Their two major singles ("Wandering Eye" and "Skanking With Me" - please don't judge them by their song names) are really, really cool and as I'm not a major fan, they are really the only songs I know well by the group. But they didn't play them! So they have been touring the last two years playing the same songs, but all the same, the rest of their music was a bit vague despite a cool beat now and then, while those singles were really distinctive and original music with great rhythm and great tunes. The perfect type of music for a summer concert. Therefore, I was annoyed that I had spent $27 and not heard them! It was also annoying that there was a one hour gap between every band, so the concert didn't end until 6pm, when it started at 1pm. Here the review endeth.

Friday, March 02, 2007

halfway down the stairs

The March issue of Halfway Down the Stairs, the e-zine I'm involved in, has just come out - so if you like reading, check it out! Avis has done a stellar job on web design and I must say it looks terrific. If you're a fan of Stacy's blog, also have a look because she's the senior nonfiction editor! Or if you like writing poems, short stories, nonfiction, or book reviews, take a look at the submissions page for our September 2007 issue, themed Notes.

Last night I was tutoring a Korean student, and I asked her to make a list of the places she would like to visit in the world, and why. It inspired me to make my own list, so here goes. I am leaving out all the places I have already visited, which are Malaysia, the USA, Thailand, Singapore and Australia - I would revisit all of these if I could as well as the countries on the list below!

1) Britain. It is probably very WASPish of me to choose this and I feel like I should be culturally adventurous and choose something like Haiti or Lesotho to be first on my list. All the same, having grown up in a culture that has been influenced so much by another country, I can't help but want to visit it. I would do a Jane Austen pilgrimage. I would visit the Tower of London. I would go to Portland, where a sort-of-ancestor wrote an amazing diary during the Napoleonic Wars, and find her grave. I would go to Devonshire and Dover and Stonehenge and all those places I've heard about in literature or history or life in general. Note my cunning in choosing Britain rather than England, which means I can also visit Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland!

2) Germany. Basically, I couldn't put every single western European country onto the list at the number two spot, so I had to choose one. And Germany is the land of my maternal ancestors, and I would like to learn German, and I have a good friend who's German, and it's a beautiful country with lots of castles! All the same, when you read Germany, also read "detours into surrounding countries also".

3) Russia. I think Russia is one of the most fascinating countries historically speaking and within it there is such a huge variety of people and sights. One of my dad's dreams is to travel on the Trans-Siberian railway, and I think that would be rather cool also. Russian is another language that I would like to learn, also.

4) Alaska. Okay, so this is part of the USA, and I said I wouldn't be including that, but to be fair, I was only in the part of America that stretches from California to Maine. Alaska looks like a fairyland, basically, and I would love to go there. For examples of the gorgeousness of Alaska, see Dave's blog - he's a great photographer who lives in Anchorage. Although I don't think it would be hard to take great photos if you lived in that part of the world.

5) Israel. Yeah, there are difficulties with this one. I don't know if I'll ever get to go, so it only makes number five, but in terms of wanting to go, it would probably make number one or two. To go somewhere that is so ancient would just be amazing, when I come from a country that has at most 800 years of human history, and only 200ish years of well-recorded history. Being a Christian, to go places that I've heard about in stories all my life... well, it would be amazing.

6) Norway. Another beautiful country. This time my reasons are a little more obscure and I'm not sure why it gets such a high weighting because of them - but there you are. I like the composer Edvard Grieg. I think you couldn't write music like he did if you didn't come from an incredible country. I also like Roald Dahl. Okay, so he was born in Wales, but he was of Norwegian extraction. Yes, I know these are very tenuous reasons.

7) China. China looks like it's the most fascinating country. I wouldn't even know where to begin because there are so many amazing places to see there. One in particular that has been tempting lately is Harbin, in the north. Super-cold in winter, and has an Ice and Snow festival, or something like that, that looks so cool. No pun intended there.

8) Jordan. This makes number eight for one sole reason. Petra. I want to go to Petra so much. Why? It's amazing. It's in a Tintin book. Reason enough, right?

9) Morocco. I've heard fantastic things about Morocco, but I have to admit that the main reason Morocco is so attractive to me is that Moroccan food is scrummy. I've only had it several times... but it's simply delicious. Fascinating country, too...

10) Greece. Again, ancient lands are alluring. I'm sure the tourist crowds at places like the Parthenon are terrible, but at the same time, to see places so old must be awe-inspiring. Greece is also so beautiful - the buildings, the sea, everything.

So - there's my list. Does anyone have any lists of their own?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

hooray for conspiracies

So - yet another group of people have come forward with "compelling" evidence that Jesus's body never left earth, and that he married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child. You can catch up on the goss at this site. A documentary called The Lost Tomb of Jesus will be directed by Simcha Jacobovici and produced by James Cameron, no less - must be true, right? As the Discovery Channel president said, "The evidence is compelling. The consequences are enormous." DNA samples have even been taken from the corpses - well, naturally. Won't that be useful.

I always find it amusing how people pick their words. In these sort of situations, you always seem to hear words like "compelling". From now on I am avoiding that word because it seems that whenever it is used, it is being used to try and manipulate you into believing something that has no reasonable basis. Likewise, as I commented early last year on my blog after being subjected to the critique of a weirdo with stupid hair, people seem to use the words "conservative", "reactionary", "puritannical" or "moralising" whenever they don't agree with what you say. Or, it goes the other way round and people start talking about "political correctness gone mad". It's silly really, that single words like this, without any real meaning, can actually affect the way people think about something, but as soon as someone mentions the word "compelling" in something, a little trigger seems to go off in our brains (or, at least, mine) that indicates it must have scholarly, unbiased backing or something. They are basically trigger-words for invalidating other positions, so that no one can attack your own.

Well, at any rate, this whole we-have-found-Jesus'-tomb seems to me to be as probable as successfully proving that Adam and Eve were monkeys.

For your viewing pleasure, I have included a recent photo of my little niece Ruby that my sister sent to my phone. She is soooo cuuuuuuuuuute! (I am a clucky aunt.)