The Archbishop is Crazy!

Rowan Williams is the Archbishop of Canterbury. As such, he is the head of the Church of England and the “spiritual head” of the Anglican Communion, the third largest Christan denomination in the world after Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church. He should know better than to make silly comments in public, but on February 7th, Dr Williams told an interviewer on BBC Radio 4’s “World at One” show that “that the UK has to ‘face up to the fact’ that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system” and that “adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion”. Allow me to repeat that: the Archbishop of Canterbury said that Britain should adapt some parts of Sharia law to “help maintain social cohesion”.

I simply can’t believe that anyone would think this, much less the head of the Church of England. In my mind I had written an lengthy rejoinder to the Archbishop’s ramblings, but I simply couldn’t come up with anything eloquent enough. I do have some specific issues that I’d like to bring up, however.

The first has to do with the “slippery slope” theory. If the Archbishop feels so strongly about adopting parts of Sharia law… why stop there? Why not bring back ecclesiastical courts for Christians? Why not set up Beth din courts for Jews? There are a lot of Indians living in Britain, so why appease only those of the Islamic faith? Set up some Hindu courts for the others. And hey, while we’re at it, why not set up courts for Sikhs and Buddhists too? Hell, in a recent government census, 390,127 Britons listed “Jedi” as their religion (which would make the “Jedi Religion” more popular than Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism in the UK); I’m sure that the British government could work out some kind of licensing deal with Lucasfilm to allow the creation of “Jedi Courts” in the UK. I’m getting a bit silly here, but the point remains: where does one draw the line? Muslim extremists in the UK would want everything to be done in Sharia courts, which leads me to my second point…

Equal Protection Under The Law. In the United States of America, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that “no state shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws“. As Wikipedia notes, this amendment was “an attempt to secure the promise of the United States’ professed commitment to the [Declaration of Independence’s] proposition that ‘all men are created equal’ by empowering the judiciary to enforce that principle against the states”. What this means (in theory) is that no state can have any law that selectively targets one group over another. An American state cannot, for example, have a law which states that “people of European decent are immune to the death penalty for murder; all other people are subject to the death penalty for such a crime”. In practice, this is somewhat more complex. For example, at the height of the “crack cocaine” epidemic in the mid 1980s, many states passed laws severely punishing the possession and\or sale of crack cocaine. Since lower-class blacks were far more likely to use crack than middle-class whites, many civil rights leaders said that those laws were unconstitutional.

At any rate, although equal protection cases are usually quite complex, the end result of the 14th Amendment is that everyone is to be treated equally under the law. Although Britain has no 14th Amendment, common law dictates that it should be so in the absence of a written law. And what the adoption of Sharia law would do is absolutely destroy any semblance of equal protection in the United Kingdom. Rights that took a thousand years to obtain are simply to be thrown out the window of Lambeth Palace. A Christian man that strikes his wife might be sentenced to six months in jail; a Muslim man, facing the same charges in a misogynistic Sharia court, might have his case dropped completely. One law for Muslims, another for everyone else. And that will just not do.

Another reason I didn’t write a much longer article than this is because of this Slate article. It summarizes far better than I ever could the “end result” of the Archbishop’s willingness to accept Sharia law in Britain:

Picture the life of a young Urdu-speaking woman brought to Yorkshire from Pakistan to marry a man – quite possibly a close cousin – whom she has never met. He takes her dowry, beats her, and abuses the children he forces her to bear. She is not allowed to leave the house unless in the company of a male relative and unless she is submissively covered from head to toe. Suppose that she is able to contact one of the few support groups that now exist for the many women in Britain who share her plight. What she ought to be able to say is, “I need the police, and I need the law to be enforced.” But what she will often be told is, “Your problem is better handled within the community.” And those words, almost a death sentence, have now been endorsed and underwritten—and even advocated—by the country’s official spiritual authority.

(If you think that “Honor Crimes” aren’t that big a deal in the UK, I suggest that you read this (PDF) report, which suggests that the “murder and beating of women, genital mutilation, forced marriage, and vigilante methods employed against those who complain” are running rampant in the British Muslim community.)

So – what does the Archbishop think about the issue of “equal protection”? He told the interviewer that

[A]n approach to law which simply said ‘there’s one law for everybody and that’s all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts’ – I think that’s a bit of a danger.

Once again, let me reiterate that. The Archbishop of Canterbury is suggesting that one secular court system isn’t good enough for modern Britain. It’s hard enough to fathom how a religious leader can feel that way. But take away his chasuble and miter and underneath Williams is an Englishman (well, Welsh actually). And that’s what bothers me the most about all this.

Britain is the country that gave us the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and common law. The country that gave us trial by jury of our peers, the concept of private property, the right to petition the government and the freedom of the press. The country that gave us Shakespeare, the Authorized Bible and The Book of Common Prayer. The country that gave us Roger Bacon, John Wycliffe, Thomas Moore, Margaret Cavendish, John Locke, Samuel Clarke, David Hume, Thomas Reid, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer, among others. This is the country that threw off the shackles of Catholicism and fought off the Spanish Armada. Millions of Britons, led by men from Francis Drake to Lord Nelson to the Duke of Wellington to Bernard Montgomery, died in armies and navies freeing people they didn’t know from the tyranny of dictators like Philip II, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler. This is the country that, despite the stain of colonialism, brought modern education, railroads, telegraphs and medicine to millions of people in India and Africa. This is the country that outlawed slavery in Britain in 1772, outlawed the transport of any slaves on British ships in 1807, and outlawed slavery itself in most of the rest of the British Empire in 1833. In fact, Britain did its damndest to outlaw slavery everywhere on planet Earth at that time. Imagine: one nation using its considerable military and economic might to stop something just because it felt that the practice, however profitable, was morally wrong. Yet somehow the glorious system that created all this just isn’t good enough for Rowan Fucking Williams.

(As an aside, guess which nations were the last to outlaw slavery? Better yet, guess which religion those people were? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism or Taoism or Paganism or even Atheism).

To give you one last look at the moral distortion field that Williams operates in, noted British\American author and journalist Christopher Hitchens – himself an outspoken atheist and antitheist – discusses in Vanity Fair how ran in to Williams at Café Milano, a fashionable restaurant in Georgetown. I’ll quote Hitchens himself:

The archbishop’s church is about to undergo a schism. More than 10 conservative congregations in Virginia have seceded, along with some African bishops, to protest the ordination of a gay bishop in New England. I ask him how it’s going. “Well”—he lowers his voice—”I’m rather trying to keep my head down.” Well, why, in that case, I want to reply, did you seek a job that supposedly involves moral leadership?

The fact that one of the most famous atheists in the world can see the Archbishop’s failings should give anyone pause, much less anyone who is at all interested in saving the Anglican Communion.

When Laughter (Almost) Kills

Laughter is the best medicine, or so the old saying goes. But what if laughter wasn’t the best medicine? What if laughter was the disease?

It all started in a boarding school in Tanganyika in January of 1962. These were heady times for the nation on Africa’s east coast: the country had only received its independence from Britain a few weeks previously, and it had yet to merge with Zanzibar to form the modern nation of Tanzania. Perhaps the joy of independence or the stress of what the future might hold was just too much. No one, it seems, will ever know for sure what the root cause of the epidemic was. All that’s known for sure is that someone told someone else a joke at an all-girls boarding school at Kashasha village on the morning of January 30, 1962. The three students involved in the joke became subject to uncontrollable fits of laughter, sometimes lasting only a few minutes, other times lasting as long as 16 hours. Since laughter is, in some sense, contagious, the laughter fits quickly spread to 95 of the school’s 159 students. The attacks left no permanent injuries, but the laughter fits did mean that few students could learn anything, so the school was shut down on March 18th.

You’ve probably seen a movie or TV show about communicable diseases where the doctors plot the spread of the disease. There will usually be at least one scene in the show or movie where the doctors urge a public official to act on the matter. As part of their plea, they’ll almost always have a fancy computer graphic of the disease spreading across the nation. Like the tentacles of an evil octopus, the graphic shows the disease spreading out from “ground zero” to invade the rest of the country.

As soon as the Kashasha school closed, all of the students went home… and the laughter epidemic spread across the region, almost exactly as it would in one of those maps in a Hollywood movie. Within 10 days of the school’s closure, 217 of the 10,000 people in the village of Nshamba, home to several of the boarding school girls, came down with the “laughing disease”. Several girls that attended a school in Ramashenye but lived near some of the girls from Kashasha infected their own school; within a couple of weeks, 48 of the 154 students there became “infected” and the school was shut down in mid-June. One of the girls that attended the Ramashenye school went back to her home in Kanyangereka when the school closed and promptly “infected” several members of her own family, who in turn “infected” other villagers, who in turn “infected” people from other villages, causing two more schools to close. The “infection” would prove to be tough to eradicate at Kashasha school: after re-opening on May 21st, 57 additional students rapidly became “infected” and the school was shut down again in June.

By the time the “disease” finally ran its course in June 1964, the laughter epidemic had “infected” around 1,000 people and caused the closure of 14 schools in the area. Just like a “real” epidemic, the only effective preventative measure seemed to be quarantining villages yet to be touched by the disease.

Scientists, both then and now, have been able to conclusively rule out any biological or environmental cause of the “disease”. Whatever it was, the epidemic was not caused by a virus or bacteria, or some chemical in the food supply or environment. There is no historical mention of a similar disease in the area, nor is there any word for it in any of the indigenous languages. In fact, scientists were completely puzzled by the initial spread of the “disease” at the Kashasha school. The girls lived in a dormitory-style arrangement there, yet the “disease” didn’t seem to follow any of the known rules of modern pathology. Girls that shared rooms with “infected” students didn’t necessarily become infected themselves. The disease didn’t follow any known pattern of friendship or location.

Once the disease left the school, however, a pattern became clear: adolescent females at mission-run schools were first to be infected. They would then take the disease home to infect their mothers and other female relatives. Young boys appeared to be somewhat susceptible to the disease, however adult men appeared to be completely immune to the epidemic. There is also not a single instance of a “person of stature” in the community – policemen, doctors or schoolteachers, either male or female – becoming infected. Europeans and other Westerners seemed to have immunity, too. In fact, the disease seemed to follow a strict path along tribal and familial lines. If a female relative, a male relative, and a complete stranger of either gender were locked in a room with an “infected” person, the disease would probably infect the female relative, possibly infect the male, and would almost never infect the stranger.

The “Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic”, as the disease is called, has remained a curiosity in medical textbooks for 40 years now. Although many in the medical community are interested in the epidemic, the fact that the disease only caused laughter, sore muscles and extreme irritability in its subjects means that there’s little priority in researching the matter further. “Mass hysteria” seems to be modern medicine’s conclusion about the incident, although that in itself it pretty interesting, as certifiable cases of mass hysteria are vanishingly rare in human history, especially in the modern era. Cases of mass hysteria in Germany and Italy in the wake of the Black Death are well-known (and I’ll write something about that in the next few days), but examples in the modern era are limited to lynchings and a few other incidents. Cases such as the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic are amazingly rare.

So enjoy your day… but you might want to think twice about telling that joke at the water cooler!

Read more about the epidemic here.

Not as quiet as it seems

At first glance, it might seem to have been a quiet week here at But there’s been a lot of stuff going on in the background:

As mentioned in this post, I added the Plugoo widget to the sidebar. This allows anyone to contact me via instant message from the sidebar. They need not use the same IM service as me; in fact, they don’t even need to subscribe to any instant messaging service. This change was implemented because its predecessor (the IM Online widget) frequently “timed out”, and in doing so held up loading the home page. I feel that the Plugoo widget is more useful all around, plus I like that it doesn’t slow down the page loading. So we’ll test that out and see how it works.

Whilst adding the Plugoo widget, I decided to play around with the layout of items on the sidebar. Things have been moved around a bit, but it shouldn’t be too confusing.

I then ran into some “writer’s block” on Tuesday. Although I wanted to post something, I just couldn’t think of anything to say. So I decided to convert the “British English Glossary” page from the old FrontPage format to the WordPress format. After all, that’d just be a cut and paste job, right? Well, not exactly. I could cut and paste plain text (which would lose all the formatting), or I could copy the FrontPage-generated HTML (which would have been quick, but I just couldn’t abide the clunky HTML code the page uses). So I cut and pasted the plain text, then spent an hour adding formatting back in. In the process, I decided to add several entries I’d been thinking about lately. So what should have been a 30-minute cut and paste job turned in to a 2+ hour ordeal.

And when I was finished, I took a nice long look at the “Pages” link on the sidebar. The widget lists all the static pages on my site (as opposed to posts, which make up the bulk of the content). There are two types of pages on my site: “important stuff” (like the About Me and Contact Me pages) as well as pages that aren’t especially important, but work better as a page than a post (like the British English Glossary, for example). I then decided to break the pages into two widgets: “Pages” for important stuff and “Other Pages” for non-essential pages. I did this in case I want to change themes – many WordPress themes have tabs at the top of the home page for all pages; this way I can have just the essential stuff listed there and users can use the “Other Pages” widget to find other content.

And lastly… last night I was typing up this entry for this week’s episode of Ashes to Ashes when I realized that I had a category for “Music”, but not one for “TV”. Instead of simply creating a “TV” category and adding the post to that, I took a look at the categories and added a few new ones (“Anglican News”, “Sports”, “TV”, “Movies”) and got rid of at least one (“My Writings”; all of those posts are now in the “Commentary” category). I then went through all 400+ posts and changed the category of the post, if necessary. Eagle-eyed readers might notice that there are a total of 415 posts on this site but a total of 483 posts when you add up each category of post. This is because each post can exist in more than one category.

Fun stuff, huh? I just wanted to let you know about the changes!

Ashes to Ashes: Season 1, Episode 2

I had a hard time believing that Ashes to Ashes could be as good as Life On Mars. In one sense, it can’t be; Mars was the first version of the show, so all of the “uniqueness” and “innovation” went with the original show. Once Mars was completed, the idea was no longer “new”, so anything that followed it would lack that originality. But this Thursday’s episode of Ashes to Ashes was simply incredible.

In a nutshell, the episode revolved around a property developer. The developer has big plans, you see. He wants to knock down much of the crumbling remains of East London and replace it with gleaming new skyscrapers. As you might imagine, the people that live in East London aren’t too keen on being kicked out of their homes to make way for new offices and condos for London’s financial elite. And one of those residents begins threatening the developer… with dynamite! The developer initially scoffs at the idea of police protection, but DCI Gene Hunt is insistent: this is the week of the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di, and the last thing the Metropolitan Police want is any bombs going in London:

“I’ll not have the aristocracy of this country blown to smithereens on my watch.”

Once the developer finds a fake bomb planted “as a warning” in his DeLorean, however, he changes his tune about police protection. Our time traveler, DI Alex Drake, goes out on a date with the him… partly because he requires police protection, but also because she has a bit of a crush on him.

And thus, my favorite scene of the episode: the couple go out to dinner, then make their way to a nightclub. At first, the camera pans around to show people dancing. The couple could, in fact, be in any nightclub anywhere in the world (well, any nightclub anywhere in the world… in 1981). But then the camera pans around to show our happy couple walking into the club and pausing at the coat check. Alex takes off her coat, looks at the coat check attendant, is taken aback for a second, then gets a goofy smile on her face. “Thanks, George!” she says:

Ashes to Ashes (Blitz 1)

Ashes to Ashes (Blitz 2)

If you’re not a fan of the British music scene in the early 1980s, you can be forgiven for not understanding why this scene is so priceless. The “George” manning the coat check is none other than a pre-Culture Club Boy George, and the nightclub is Blitz. Blitz was ground zero for the New Romantic movement in the early 80s. Many of my early favorite bands were New Romantics, acts like Duran Duran, Visage, Ultravox, ABC, Japan and Adam & The Ants. All of the guys from Spandau Ballet were regulars at Blitz, as was Pete Burns of Dead or Alive. The door at Blitz was rigidly controlled by Steve Strange, who also was rising to fame at the same time as the lead singer of Visage (in fact, Visage is onstage during this scene playing their “their newest single”, a little song called “Fade to Grey”! And yes, that’s the real Steve Strange on the stage (but an actress playing Princess Julia).

The scene highlights something I haven’t really mentioned about Mars and Ashes to this point: at times, the shows can be damn funny! I’ve probably made the shows seem deadly serious to this point, and much of the time they are. They’re about people ripped from their loved ones and out of their element, traveling through time. So yes, there’s a lot of pain involved. But there’s humor aplenty in both shows, especially when someone mentions something about the future we already know. The gruff but lovable Gene Hunt declares in Mars, for instance, that “there will never be a woman prime minister as long as I have a hole in my arse!”

Ashes differs from Mars on three levels, though.

Although I “miss” the 1973 of Mars – or at least the carefree, “smoke anywhere you want, drink at your desk” times – the 1981 setting of Ashes really hits close to home with me. If I could go back in time, I’d probably go back to London sometime between 1975 and 1980. You can bet your ass I’d go to Blitz, too! So when I watch Ashes, it’s almost with a longing, as if I too want to go back to 1981 and see all the things I missed back in 1981 because I was 9 years old and couldn’t get into nightclubs… or go to the record store by myself… or do much of anything, really. ‘Cos I was 9.

Ashes also has a reality streak running through it that Mars didn’t. I don’t know if the “property developer” from this episode actually existed, but I do know that many old neighborhoods in East London were knocked to the ground to make way for new construction in the Docklands area. This was all spurred on by the highly controversial London Docklands Development Corporation (which was formed in… 1981!). The LDDC was frequently seen as being in favor of elite property developers over local residents, so much of this episode, especially the bitterness from the locals – rings true. Of course, Mars had some of this, but it wasn’t nearly as front and center as it is in Ashes.

Another difference is that Drake meets her mother in this episode. In Mars, Sam Tyler met his mother too, but she only appeared in a few episodes. Very little was done storywise with this, as Sam kept her at arm’s length. In Ashes, Alex and her Mom (one of those hardass, “cops are always evil and never right about anything” attorneys) go ’round and ’round with each other over the questioning of a suspect. At one point later on, the two run into each other at Luigi’s. Her Mom begins the conversation by talking about women’s rights, and how it’s a shame that some women get power then act like men when once they do. Alex, knowing she is talking to her mother, defends herself to the best of her ability, but it’s clear that her mother doesn’t approve. Eventually, her Mom says that it’s a strange coincidence that she (Alex) has the same name as her daughter. The two go on talking, and Alex’s mother ends up asking her to spy on her colleagues. At this point, Alex finally stiffens and says “No way, Never”. Alex’s mother storms off, but not before says “[t]hank God the only thing my daughter shares with you is her name. I’d be ashamed if she grew up to be like you.” Ouch.

I can’t wait until next week’s episode! If you’re not watching this show, you’re missing out on some great TV, people! If you don’t live in the UK and want to watch (but have no idea about how to go about doing so), please don’t hesitate to let me know – I’ll be glad to help!


Tenpole Tudor – “Swords of a Thousand Men”
Madness – “The Prince”
Imagination – “Body Talk”
The Flying Lizards – “Money (That’s What I Want)”
Visage – “Fade To Grey”
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – “Souvenir”
The Pop Group – “We Are All Prostitutes”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Geno”
Heaven 17 – “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”
Kraftwerk – “Neon Lights”
Jon & Vangelis – “I Hear You Now”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “There There My Dear”
Chas and Dave – “Gertcha”

News for… Valentine’s Day!

Most modern mobile phones have phone books that can hold at least 100 phone numbers (if not many more). For most of us, that’s more than plenty. So if you have some leftover space, why not consider adding some “important” numbers to your phone? This post over at lists “10 Handy Numbers to Save in Your Mobile Phone”. Most of their suggestions apply to everyone: a local locksmith, a local towing service and\or AAA, the 800 numbers off the backs of your credit cards, the direct number of a coworker (so they can pass messages along to other employees), a “Home” and\or “Work” entry (in case an honest soul finds your cell phone), and the number of a free directory assistance service (they prefer Google’s 1-800-GOOG-411; both myself and Ars Technica prefer Microsoft’s 1-800-CALL-411). Some suggestions – like adding the 800 numbers for all the airlines – only apply to road warriors. A few of their suggestions seem to be a little odd… the number for your primary care physician? I guess that’s a good idea if you have some sort of condition, but I can’t imagine needing to randomly call my PCP. Your auto insurance claims number? Isn’t that printed on every insurance card? Still, it’s good info, and I’d like to add my own contribution: the number of a local taxi company, the number of a good bail bondsman (hey, you never know!), the number of a good restaurant and the number of a friend with a truck… ‘cos you never know when you’re going to need to buy a new 50″ HDTV… or move a body!

Have you heard about the American spy satellite that’s falling to earth? The US military is planning to shoot it downCool!

In case you haven’t heard, Polaroid is going to cease production of film for all Polaroid cameras, effectively killing the Polaroid format. This is sad. I mean, it’s not like you couldn’t see it coming… especially since the Polaroid Corporation filed for Chapter 11 back in 2001 (the brand is now owned by a holding company that will gleefully slap the once respected brand name onto any subpar electronics). Still, the Polaroid camera was a thing of wonder when I was a kid, and it makes me sad to see it go.

Leave to to the Finns to come up with a unique solution to an age-old problem: apparently the toilets at Finnish rest stops were being vandalized at an alarming rate. So the Finnish government came up with a high-tech solution: users will have to text the word “open” (in Finnish, of course) to a number on the restroom’s door. The government hopes that people will think twice about spraying graffiti if they know the government knows their mobile phone number!

And lastly for today, a couple of videos for you to enjoy. The first is from Jane Fonda’s classy appearance on the Today Show, where she discussed the name of her “role” in a production of The Vagina Monologues (I’ll give you a hint: you can’t say it on TV and it rhymes with “bunt”):

Secondly, enjoy the first teaser trailer for the new Indiana Jones film:

New feature: Plugoo widget

If you’re a regular visitor to the site, you may have noticed that the IM Online widget disappeared last week. I disabled it for one reason: loading the homepage is dependent on the IM Online widget loading quickly; if the servers that power IM Online are under a heavy load, then the IM Online widget will appear to “hang”, and this causes the site to load slowly for end users. IM Online used to “hang” only once in a blue moon; in recent weeks, however, it seems to hang several times a week. So for performance issues, I disabled the widget.

I did, however, find a nice replacement: Plugoo. Plugoo is a Flash-based instant messaging widget with a unique twist: platform agnosticism. Other instant messaging programs offer “embedded” instant messaging clients that you can add to your own web site (AOL offers WIMZI, for example). But these clients tie me (the website owner) to a particular service, such as AIM or Yahoo! Messenger. Many of these services also reveal your AIM\Yahoo! Messenger user name to the general public, which is something you might not want to do.

Plugoo is different. You sign up for an account at the Plugoo site and choose which instant messenger you’d like to use with the plug-in: AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk or Jabber. You then add a customized “buddy” or “friend” to your contacts list on the service you chose to use with Plugoo. The website widget then sends messages to the customized “buddy” on your list, who then turns around and forwards them to you. You, the website owner, are completely anonymous in this setup. And you can change which instant messaging service you use on the “backend” at any time.

That’s pretty cool, huh? Let’s test Plugoo out and see how well it performs. I’ve already noticed that it takes a few seconds to load; however I’ve noticed that it doesn’t slow down the rest of the content, so perhaps it’ll stay.

Happy Georgia Day!

Happy Georgia Day, everyone! Although I now proudly call North Carolina home, I spent the first 33 years of my life in the great state of Georgia. As such, I’m kind of attached to my “home” state.

On February 12, 1733, British general and philanthropist James Oglethorpe disembarked from the HMS Anne with the first settlers of the future city of Savannah. Interestingly, Georgia was originally founded as a “debtor’s colony” – a colony where Britain’s “worthy poor” could grow silk, indigo or rice to pay off their debts. However, so many years passed between the initial idea and the actual granting of the royal charter that few debtors actually made the move. In fact, less than two dozen households would move to Georgia to pay off their debts. Instead, the colony was filled with poor English artisans and tradesmen, as well as Protestant refugees from Switzerland, Germany and Austria. When it became clear that the Trustees of the Province of Georgia could no longer govern the colony (especially since their initial goal of helping debtors had been ignored), Georgia became a crown colony. After joining the Revolution despite the large number of Loyalists in the colony, Georgia eventually became the fourth state of the new United States of America by ratifying the Constitution on January 2, 1788.

Some interesting facts about Georgia:

– Although James Oglethorpe didn’t spent a lot of time in Georgia, he did spent a year there 1735. He secretary during this time was Charles Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism. Although Charles and his older brother John were known as “rebels” in the Church of England, Charles remained loyal of the Church of England and died an Anglican priest.

– Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River (although Michigan claims to be larger because they count lakes as “land”). Georgia also has 159 counties, the most of any state in the U.S. besides Texas.

– Georgia was named in honor of King George II of Great Britain. Six other U.S. states are named after monarchs: North and South Carolina are named for King Charles I of England, Virginia and West Virginia were named for Elizabeth I, Maryland is named for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I of England and Louisiana is named for King Louis XIV of France.

– Georgia’s Cumberland Island is the largest undeveloped island on the Atlantic Coast. You can get to Cumberland Island by taking a ferry from St. Mary’s, the second oldest city in North America.

– Some famous Georgians include Joanne Woodward, Kim Basinger, Julia Roberts, Holly Hunter, Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Oliver Hardy (of “Laurel and Hardy”), Lawrence Fishburne, Ossie Davis, Chris Tucker, Stacy Keach, Robert Patrick, Kip Pardue, DeForest Kelley (“Bones” from Star Trek), David Cross (played Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development), Steven Soderbergh, Bill Hicks, Jeff Foxworthy, Paula Deen, Ed Helms, Sterling Holloway (did the voice for Winnie the Pooh and 100 other Disney films), Spike Lee, Jerry Reed, Burt Reynolds, Nipsey Russell, Ty Pennington, Ryan Seacrest, Ted Turner, Jim Brown, Ty Cobb, Bobby Jones, Larry Holmes, Herschel Walker, Jackie Robinson, Bucky Dent, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, André “André 3000” Benjamin, Jermaine Dupri, Brian “Ludacris” Bridges, TLC, Harry James, Buckner & Garcia (of “Pac Man Fever” fame; they also do the “Waffle House songs”), Brenda Lee, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Ray Stevens, Amy Grant, Jessye Norman, Madeleine Peyroux, Bill Berry and Mike Mills (of R.E.M.), Duane and Gregg Allman (of The Allman Brothers), The Black Crowes, Drivin’ ‘n Cryin’, Guadalcanal Diary, Pylon, The B-52s, Collective Soul, Indigo Girls, Widespread Panic, Howard Finster, Margaret Mitchell, Alice Walker, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, James Dickey, Clarence Thomas, Andrew Young, Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts), John C. Frémont (explorer and first Republican candidate for president), Crawford Long (performed the first surgery with patient under anesthesia), Bert Parks (TV personality and longtime host of the Miss America Pageant), John Pemberton (inventor of Coca-Cola), Pernell Roberts (Trapper John MD!), Junior Samples (if you have to ask…), Will Wright (developed the computer game Sim City), S. Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-Fil-A), Clark Howard and Deborah Norville. There’s also Jimmy Carter and Nancy Grace, but I don’t claim those two… I like to pretend that they’re from Ohio.

Automating System Maintenance

Windows has some nifty built-in system maintenance tools. Disk Cleanup, for example, rids your hard drive of unneeded temporary files. Disk Defragmenter reorganizes your files for optimum system performance. Sadly, though, there’s not an easy “just click here” way to automate those utilities. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t automate those tasks:

Automating Disk Cleanup

You can make Disk Cleanup run as often as you’d like. It takes a little bit of work, although once it’s up and running, you don’t have to do anything else:

1) Click Start > Run

2) Type “cleanmgr.exe /sageset:50” (without the quotes) into the “Run:” box. Note that you can use any number between 0 and 65535 with the /sageset switch. I chose the number in my example (50) for simplicity reasons.

3) A window will appear that looks much like the standard Disk Cleanup screen. Choose which options you’d like Disk Cleanup to clean and then click “OK”.

4) Click Start > “Control Panel” > “Scheduled Tasks” > “Add Scheduled Task”.

5) Click “Next” (there will be a considerable delay between this step and the next).

6) You will be presented with an alphabetical list of most of the programs on your system. Scroll down and choose “Disk Cleanup”, then go on to the next step. If you don’t see “Disk Cleanup” listed, click “Browse” and navigate to the Windows\System32 folder and click on “cleanmgr.exe”.

7) Give the task a name and choose how often you’d like the task to run, then click “Next”.

8) Refine your time choices on the following screen, then click “Next”.

9) Enter the user name and password of the account you’d like the task to run under (usually this would be your own user name and password), then click “Next”.

10) Make sure that the “Open advanced properties for this when I click Finish” box is checked, then click “Finish”.

11) In the window that opens, look for the “Run:” box near the top of the screen. Type in “/sagerun:50” at the end of the run command, so that the complete text looks something like this:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\cleanmgr.exe /sagerun:50

12) Click “OK”. You be probably be prompted to enter your user name and password again; do this.

As you might guess, you can run the SAGESET option with different numbers to create multiple “profiles” for Disk Cleanup to use. For example, you might want to have Disk Cleanup clear out your Temporary Internet Files daily, but only do a “deep cleaning” once a week. In this case, you’d run SAGESET with one number (say, 50) and choose only the “Temporary Internet Files” option. You can then run SAGESET again with another number (say, 51) and choose to clean out all options. You’d then schedule one task to run daily with the /sagerun:50 option, and another task to run weekly with the /sagerun:51 option.

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