Wedding Songs

Posted on February 2nd, 2006 in Commentary,Music by mynagirl

Some songs are so sweet, so romantic, so personal, you just have to imagine how great they would be as a wedding song. Here’s my personal list as I run across them:

In My Life, by The Beatles — I’m partial to this one since it was at our wedding
Into the Mystic, by Van Morrison — you have to hear this song if you’ve never heard it before. It is so beautiful and wonderful I tear up every time I hear it.
When I’m 64, the Beatles — Just wonderful.

Eminent Domain – Isn’t This America??

Posted on February 2nd, 2006 in Commentary by EngineerBoy

While I’ve never liked the idea of eminent domain, I’ve been able to make an uncomfortable peace with it. Until recently, eminent domain defined a right held by governments and municipalities to forcibly take ownership of property for a fair price regardless of the owner’s wishes to sell, as long as there was compelling case that “public use” would serve the greater good.

For example, suppose a city decided to build a park in a certain area, and all but on of the landowners agreed to sell to the city for a negotiated price. The last landowner, however, holds onto his empty parcel of land that he bought as an investment and demands a price that greatly exceeds recent market prices. It’s clear, in this case, that the landowner is trying to stick it to the government, knowing that he has them by the short ones as the last holdout for a major project. So, the government claims the land under eminent domain and pays the landowner the going rate.

In a less clear-cut example, suppose the evil landowner above was replaced with an 80 year old widow living on the land in a house she’d lived in for the last 50 years. Now it’s not so clear-cut, and it was this type of situation that caused me to have intellectual problems with eminent domain. Who is qualified to weigh the need for a community park against a lifetime of ownership and memories? It always felt un-American to me that cases like this often ended up in the forcible condemnation and claiming of the land, followed by the widely televised bulldozing of the poor old widow’s lifelong home.

However, while there were cases in the past that I would consider abuse of eminent domain, they were nothing compared to the new definition of eminent domain provided by the Supreme Court.

Now, based on the recent Supreme Court ruling (Kelo v. the city of New London, Conn.), the definition of eminent domain has been expanded so that “public use” now includes the ability to forcibly take land and give it to private developers who assert that they can create a material improvement for the community, such as more jobs, bigger tax base, etc. So in the past, eminent domain could claim land for public use such as parks, roadways, etc. Now public use includes taking privately owned land and giving it to private companies to develop more profitable enterprises with the land.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the principal dissenting opinion, where she stated, “Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.” She also stated that this decision eliminates “any distinction between private and public use of property — and thereby effectively [deletes] the words ‘for public use’ from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment”.


Dancing with the Stars

Posted on February 1st, 2006 in Television by mynagirl

Update: Mynagirl picks her faves for the top spot!

Ok, I’m not going to surprise anyone when I pick Stacy & Tony vs. Drew & Cheryl in competition for the lead. To be honest, since we’ve now lost George Hamilton and are down to only four couples in the competition, it’s hardly a huge act of clairvoyance to see them as the top competitors. Not only has each couple already scored perfect 10’s (Stacy and Tony twice!!) but there are only two other couples still left. Would you believe I picked these two competitors out from the beginning? Even if you don’t believe me, I know that I spotted talent right away!

And while I love Jerry Rice, unfortunately he cannot conquer his hunched-over football-player stance, nor his innate “oh my god the guys are gonna so laugh at me” self-consciousness. And although Lisa Rinna tries really hard (oh my god just she try hard) and is actually pretty good, I’m just not rooting for her manic and over-the-top performances. Not only are Stacy and Drew the best dancers, they also seem to be the nicest and most self-effacing, so that just makes me want to root for them more.

Drew Lachey and dancing partner Cheryl

Stacy Keibler and dancing partner Tony

As you can tell, the program has kept me hooked, and I’m sure I’ll watch it next season as well. Who can resist gripping pseudo-drama, humor, dancing, and flashy costumes?! Not this Mynagirl!

Original Article: 01/16/2006

So, Dancing with the Stars was never really on my radar last year. It sort of snuck up on me like a deadline I wasn’t tracking. Being the TiVo goddess I am (married to a Tivo god) and inveterate fast-fowarder I don’t necessarily know when all the new shows are on, or indeed even what they are. By the time I saw enough ads in fast forward to decide to rewind and investigate this sparkly indulgence, it had already left for the season.

But I was prepared this season, the Tivo at the ready. What a great concept — whoever thought this up definitely had a flash of genius. (Or what do I know, they could be a genius 24×7). Let’s get celebrities, some of which have obviously zero dancing talent, and try ballroom dancing with a professional. Not club dancing or anything free-form, but Ballroom Dancing… like, the complicated stuff. With steps and arm and hip motions, all working completely synchronous like an entire orchestra of body parts floating according to plan. Or in some cases, working in an utterly unsynchronous and disorganized manner somewhat like “Pinnochio chasing Jipity Cricket [sic] across the floor”… a hilariously accurate description of ESPN’s Kenny Mayne’s attempting the Cha-Cha.

Five women and five men, plucked from their comfortable niche of acting, sportscasting, wrestling, journalism, or being an eligible receiver, extend themselves way beyond their comfort zone in order to compete for glory and (for some) maybe a way out of obscurity. It’s uncomfortable and inspiring in equal measure.