Aunt Lowey's Fair and Balanced Handy-Dandy Blog

Miscellaneous fair and balanced (or balanced and fair, or unbalanced and unfair as the mood strikes) thoughts, links, rants, and cool stuff.
  "Peace and quiet, peace peace peace,
we all want peace, we all want peace."
-- Fred McFeely Rogers, 1928-2003

  Other blogs, cartoons, and interesting sites

The Agonist


Making Light


The Sideshow


Brad DeLong

The Hillbilly Sophisticate

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Molly Ivins


Unshelved(formerly "Overdue")

Monty Python

The Onion

Dave Barry



This Modern World

Science Blog

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003
This may be why, when I'm not feeling well, I drink a lot of tea. Scientists in Boston have isolated a chemical -- L-theanine -- that boosts the immune system fivefold against disease! L-theanine breaks down in the liver to become ethylamine, which in turn "primes the response" of gamma-delta T cells.

"We know from other studies that these gamma-delta T cells in the blood are the first line of defense against many types of bacteria, viral, fungal and parasitic infections," says Dr. Jack F. Bukowski of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School . "They even have some anti-tumor activity." The article also says "that five cups of tea a day sharpened the body's defenses against disease."

Just in time for iced tea season too!

While on the subject of things in your food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("We're from the government and we're here to help you. No, really.") has released a new database that you can download onto your own computer or PDA that contains data on all sorts of nutrients. If you don't want to download it all, some of the information is here in forms that you can search, or print out (some of them are in PDF format). Already I've printed out from this page some info on potassium and selenium for coworkers who need to add those minerals to their diets. And this one (also in PDF) lists flavonoids in various foods, including tea.
Monday, April 21, 2003
"A real YES man" --an ESPN columnist suggests a new job suited to the former Iraqi information minister's skills. (Thanks to Avram.)
Saturday, April 19, 2003
Hilarious and educational: Peep Research. In which colorful marshmallow candies learn how to use the library . . and how not to! At least I bet they were quiet: not a peep out of them.
Friday, April 18, 2003
A man staring at empty display cases. A security guard, with nothing to look out for but those empty glass boxes.
A stack of eleven books, lonely in a nearly empty room. Eleven. The photo implies they're about all that's left in the whole library. I have more than that checked out of our library!
Photos of ancient, priceless works of art, now missing.
The museum's deputy director, his head in his hands in grief. It was one of "the 10 most important museums in the world. . .to Mesopotamian art what the Louvre is to Western painting. "

". . . the books and manuscripts that were burned . . . Among them were extensive antique manuscripts that are not available in print, and thousands of illuminated and handwritten Qurans, now in ashes."

And what were our troops doing? "the U.S. military successfully assigned men to chip away a disrespectful mural of former President George Bush on the floor of the Al Rashid Hotel." ("History major" -- he gives us a bad name! -- Dubya would rather protect the legacy of his daddy than the legacy of our civilization. Can Yale retroactively change his grades to F's?)

And a short (9 pictures), sad slideshow .

Raiders of the Lost Art - Why didn't we protect the National Museum and Library in Baghdad? By Meghan O'Rourke

As I said over in Teresa's blog, Seshat. wept.
Monday, April 14, 2003
There actually exists a review of this-here blog, from The Talking Dog, who on April 9 was reviewing blogs linked to by The Hillbilly Sophisticate. The Dog says,

Aunt Lowey's Handy Dandy Blog is a proud product of blogging West Virginia, although presumably the part near Pittsburgh, as Aunt Lowey is a big fan of that city's teams. Miscellaneous thoughts, links, rants and cool stuff is the tagline, and Aunt Lowey disappoints not. Come on down for some down home country blogging. The blogroll leans left, and leans FUNNY.
TD Designation: Azawakh

Azawakh -- I looked it up on Google, where else? -- is a breed of dog in the Sahel or Sub-Saharan region of Africa, such as Mali.

Thanks for the review, TD! Yes, I live near Pittsburgh -- about 35 miles due west of the Point. I actually used to live closer; I grew up in the eastern suburbs and went to college and graduate school at Pitt. (This sometimes puts me in an odd situation living in Mountaineer country.) Note, for example, that I say "yinz" rather than y'all for the humorous-regionalism plural of "you". The Northern Panhandle is north -- or, one can make a case, technically west -- of the Mason-Dixon line. And yes, my politics tend to lean toward the left of the bird (where the heart is). Most importantly, I do have a tendency to go for humor when I can. If I ever remove the Fred Rogers (another Pittsburgher!) quote I'm currently using under the tagline, I may replace it with Jimmy Buffett's "If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane." Or maybe the Boss' "Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny."

As far as I know, The Hillbilly Sophisticate -- who is trying to list all bloggers from the Mountain State -- and The Talking Dog are the only blogs linking to this one so far. Welcome!

Friday, April 11, 2003
Despite chemistry being the family bugaboo -- long story which I won't post here at this time -- it seems to me that these two sites ought to be mentioned together:
This animated "music video" of Tom Lehrer's song about the elements (tune borrowed from Gilbert and Sullivan) -- thanks to Vicki at YAWL for pointing out that one -- and Michael Swanwick's Periodical Table of Science Fiction. I think I've mentioned the latter before. He's up to Actinium now, number 89, a pastiche of G&S's contemporary Sherlock Holmes.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Food, glorious food! My friend Robin posted this"fresh sound in music". And since food requires drink, and music goes well with it too, there's this beer suggested by Mary Lou, with a very cute label. The beer is from Hurricane, W.Va., but I haven't seen it in the stores up here in the Panhandle.
Friday, April 04, 2003
Don't know what god(s) you worship, but even if it's just under generic values like mercy and courage, may any and all gods that exist bless this guy and his wife! If they can't go back home, I'm sure they'll be welcome in Wirt County.
Undefeated, and it feels so good! (Apologies though to my friend Debra who's a Reds fan.) The Pirates swept them three games in their spiffy new ballpark. The Bucs are going all the way, or to Philadelphia (who they play this weekend), whichever comes first.
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Shouldn't they have thought this out before they started the [expletive deleted] war? If we blow the peace (may it come soon), then the whole thing will really have been for naught! (Via The Agonist, which I recommend to people trying to keep up with all the war news and rumors, and which in turn I found out about from Electrolite.)
Pittsburgh Magazine's April issue has a really lovely set of articles in memory of Fred Rogers, who spent most of his working life there at WQED (which publishes Pittsburgh magazine). The pictures are wonderful too -- some from tapings of the show, some of him and his family, mostly at their summer home on Nantucket (beautiful beach pictures, but only one is on the web site).
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
"The sports team from my area is superior to the sports team from your area." No brag, just fact. OK, maybe not the baseball team . .. or the hockey team . . . and the b-ball team got knocked out of the Sweet 16 . . . and the football team hasn't won a Super Bowl in 20 years . . . But they're my teams, darn it! And the slogan is real, and on a T-shirt available from The Onion. I'd be tempted to get one except the colors are wrong. If it's not black and gold, or at least blue and gold, who would know which team(s) I meant?

Then again, the Pirates are still undefeated!
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Woo-Hoo! She's safe! Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old from Wirt County, W.Va.. who has been "missing in action" for over a week, has been rescued!
The Hillbilly Sophisticate (who is from Wirt County originally, though she now lives in M'town if I read her postings correctly) has lots more on this because it literally hits closer to home for her. And you don't have to be from the Mountain State to be happy at this news. But it helps!

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