Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Thursday, 30 November 2006

Take a look at this video.    (I got the link from EclecticsAnonymous.)  It is put together by Amnesty International, the ACLU, and The National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA.  It features interviews with some of the people that our country has nabbed, disappeared, and handed over to other countries for torture in the “War on Terror”.  Also note that this program was operating long before the Patriot Act, and before George "W" Bush was our president.  The guy who is identified as the "Chief Archetect of the Extraordinary Rendition program" talks about what they were doing in 1995.


Then contemplate these quotes from Thomas Pain:


Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights. (The Rights of Man)


Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things. ( Common Sense)


As well as this from Thomas Jefferson:

“Freedom of the person under the protection of the habeas corpus I deem [to be one of the] essential principles of our government." (1st Inaugural Address)

So I wonder, how are we better off if our government can simply take us from our homes, our families, hold us without charges for months on end, remand us to the custody of other countries to be tortured, and allow no possible recourse?


Is this superior to living in a situation with no government, where people can be kidnapped and brutalized by thugs off the street?


Isn’t it a greater insult for our government to do this, when we give them the power and money and other means to do it?


I’ve talked to a few people who have said “I don’t want to know about it because there’s nothing I can do about it.”


While it’s true that there is very little you can do about it…KNOWING about it is probably the most important thing you CAN do.  Having people know about it HURTS the people who are doing it.  The more people who know about it, the harder it is for them to work without accountability.


But beyond that, if you are a citizen of this country, you have a duty to know what is being done in your name, with your tax money and the power you invest in your government.

Thursday, 30 November 2006 13:46:24 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Wednesday, 29 November 2006

The minor skirmish over one of many small symbols of Christmas cheer has been won by the forces of freedom.  Ms. Jensen gets to keep her peace sign wreath up through Christmas, and it won't cost her one penny of her estimated $1,000 in fines from the Loma Linda Homeowner's association.

EclecticsAnonymous has the scoop

It is cool to see a situation like this resolved so quickly and (reletively) painlessly through the actions of many many complete strangers genuinly expressing their outrage.

I suppose Mr. Kearns will hail it as our liberal elite persecuting the much-oppressed but oh-so-morally-superior Grinchy-peacesign-hating-dimbulb minorty.

You never know, maybe he'll form an NGO.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006 21:18:46 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Track the speed of this meme through the blogosphere.

Link to this blog entry:

I got this link Via Pharyngula.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006 14:21:46 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, 27 November 2006

Hey, check it out, some

"peace is the reason for the season"-hatin' conservtives are trying to bully a woman into taking down her peace symbol wreath.

Ben at EclecticsAnonymous has a good link and some original commentary on the story.


Know what I think?  I think these people would benefit from a raft of Christmas cards sporting the peace symbol, and hand-written notes asking them why they hate the baby Jesus.

Monday, 27 November 2006 09:41:17 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Saturday, 25 November 2006
Short reflection on a family relationship.
Saturday, 25 November 2006 16:38:36 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Thursday, 23 November 2006

Bonnie Gasper, a resident of my congressional district, wrote a once-a-month column for the local paper (She has resigned.  She wrote her final column last week, and it's a doozy.  I'll see if I can find it for you).  She’s pretty radical, and she’s not long on research.  Here’s something she says in her column “The Myth of the Separation of Church and State”.


The process of undermining liberty started in 1947 when Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a former Ku Klux Klansman) redefined the First Amendment in Everson saying: “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. The wall must be high and impregnable. We could not approve of the slightest breach.”

Black’s redefinition marked the beginning of a systematic elimination of anything “religious” (especially Christianity) from the public square.

Soon prayer, Bible-reading, the 10 commandments, religious topics, crosses and anything remotely connected to Christianity were banned from public schools and squares. (The city of Pittsburgh even renamed Christmas “Sparkle Season.”)

Unfortunately, those who wave the “separation of church and state” banner don’t realize they are attacking the very foundation upon which their liberty rests. It’s time people woke up and realized it before it’s too late.

I don’t know what public schools she is talking about when she said that anything remotely connected to Christianity is banned from public schools.

When I was in public schools in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, we were handed Gideon Bibles in our school every year.  Every year, men in suits came into our schools, took up class time, and talked to us about the Bible, and gave us Bibles in school.

As a child I was told stories about how it was my job to be persecuted for Christ in a hostile world.  I brought Bible tracts to school.  I proselytized to my fellow students every day.  I brought my Bible to school.  Never once was I sent home, or reprimanded or persecuted in anyway (well, once I was made to scrub Bible-verse graffiti off the walls, but I don’t think that counts).  I’m surprised as hell someone didn’t kick my ass for being such an egregious twit.  They should have.  They really should have.  I would have learned my lesson sooner, and it would have saved me a lot of time.

Three years ago, I attended Grasshopper’s first grade classroom, and listened to a teacher read a story about how a little Guatemalan girl discovered the “true meaning of Christmas” by attending a Catholic Mass.

Throughout their grade-school years, my children said the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the words “under God”.

Around the country, schools send home flyers inviting kids to join the Boy Scouts, and the Cub Scouts.  Scouting meetings and events are held in school buildings.  The Scouts require their members to believe in God.

But you don’t just have to take MY word for it.  Here is a link to a column by none other than Kirk Cameron about how he spent the day witnessing to a public high school with the permission of the principle.

The crowd had a few great questions, which I did my best to answer, always trying to point them back to the Cross. When the lunch bell rang, about thirty kids came forward wanting Bibles and answers to more questions. Joey and I hung around for another hour talking and praying with seeking students. It was wonderful to see what God did that day with the principal's permission.

Indeed, the de facto situation is that the “wall of separation of church and State” is a myth.  I don’t think it’s that big of a deal either way, but it’s annoying that smug, ignorant, self-righteous bigots can give out bald-faced lies like this and then use those lies to beat the persecution drum over nothing.

Thursday, 23 November 2006 08:02:26 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Those Scooby Doo dog biscuits taste like ass.  And not in the good "Great, now I'm completely clean" sort of way.  Not in a "nice to meet you, how you doin'" sort of way.

No, they taste like ass in the "I'll only eat this dog biscuit if you reward me with another treat" sort of way.


I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006 18:34:19 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, 21 November 2006
"He's oppressing me! Come, come, see the violence inherent in the system!"
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 23:55:41 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
We're all special snowflakes.
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 12:32:53 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
"If you were REALLY open-minded, you'd think what I think."
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 08:43:20 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, 20 November 2006
"It's my superior intellect and understanding that allows me to call you arrogant" (this quote is not an actual quote. It is a spoof summary of Mr. Cornell's position, and is not to be taken as a literal representation of his words)
Monday, 20 November 2006 07:45:45 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Sunday, 19 November 2006
It's "objective" morality if it's against stuff I object to, right?
Sunday, 19 November 2006 16:43:39 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Saturday, 18 November 2006
Clear moral choices can only come from the Bronze and Iron age Nomadic cultures. Wait. I mean God. Clear moral choices can only come from God.
Saturday, 18 November 2006 13:53:33 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
"I KNOW you are, but what am I?"
Saturday, 18 November 2006 12:22:21 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
If a book falls in the forest, God did it.
Saturday, 18 November 2006 11:39:24 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Friday, 17 November 2006
Steve Cornell tells us why you shouldn't be an atheist (apparently, because it's hard). I can't quite keep quiet, despite not being an atheist.
Friday, 17 November 2006 15:34:31 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Thursday, 16 November 2006

"Conduct your victory as if it were a funeral."

                             -- Lao Tzu

Thursday, 16 November 2006 12:42:47 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

Adventure Boy has always had a problem with Math.  Math has always been difficult, painful, frustrating and elusive for him.

Last year, the C- he eventually scored in Math was kind of a triumph.  The first time he had gotten better than a D in math.

This year, he got an A in Algebra for the first quarter.  Indeed, his lowest grade is a B-.  He has two "A's" (Algebra and Art) and the rest are B's and B+'s.

Yesterday he shuffled up to me with a hang-dog sort of expression and  presented me with a certificate informing me that he has earned an "honor point" in his Algebra class.

"What's this?"  I asked.

"I don't know, some stupid thing, I thought you might want to see it."  He answered.

On the certificate there is a list of attributes that go into earning an honor point.  Several of them were circled, indicating that those are the traits that earned him the Honor Point:

Consistent Effort, Initiative, Helpfulness, Positive Attitude, Participation.

If you get enough honor points, you become a "Student of the Month", and your parents can get one of those smug little bumper stickers to put on their car and brag to total strangers stuck in rush-hour gridlock.

Apparently, Adventure Boy told Rocky "That's the worst thing that can possibly happen to you."

So I guess if he WERE to earn enough honor points, and became a student of the month, I would probably not say anything to anyone about it.  But you know, I think Adventure Boy was still proud of himself, and secretly proud to get the honor point certificate.

Thursday, 16 November 2006 10:28:47 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Time travel, childhood memories, household tip on how to use a hairdryer.
Thursday, 16 November 2006 09:56:38 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  | #
Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Sledge hammers can be FUN!

[UPDATE:] Burning the evidence is even more fun.

[Observation:] Concrete dust does just sort of sit in the lungs, doesn't it?

[Explination:] I am assisting someone with home improvement tasks.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006 12:33:18 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Tuesday, 14 November 2006

5)  That puppy in the window needs a serious smack-down.  Who does he think he is, coming onto the deck of my house after dark and barking at me and running at me whenever I run at him, as if he thinks he can run me off?  He's not all that.  Man, if I ever catch that little bastard, he's meat.  That'll show him for mocking me by copying my every move.


But in the mean-time, I wonder what my family is laughing at?  Humans.  Go figure.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006 22:20:39 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Sunday, 12 November 2006

I've had a couple of e-mails, and a couple of phone calls asking me “How come you haven't said anything about Rumsfeld?  How come you haven't said anything about Ted Haggard?  How come you haven't gloated about the elections?


I think it's partly because I've been REALLY busy.


Partly because I've been REALLY stressed, and it is hard for me to focus enough to write the way I like to write when I am doing politics when I am stressed.


Mostly, though I think it's because I look at the Rumsfeld thing and I'm just happy he's finally gone, but can't get up a lot of excitement about Bush serving his head on a platter to appease the incoming Democratic majority.  If it had been a principled decision (ie. “I made a mistake and now I am correcting it, because there have just been to many deaths resulting from this man's lack of leadership”), I would have hailed it.  If there was something of substance to it, a change in the status quo, then I would have had something to say.  Because it was a politically expedient hit-job, the only things I would have to say about it were things I have said before…more times than I care to admit.  Like Saddam being deposed, I think it's a good thing, but I can't get too excited about it due to the surrounding circumstances.


Ditto Ted Haggard.  Ben at Eclecticsanonymous already made the point I was thinking about making.


Beyond that, I could gloat that yet another self-righteous bigoted hypocrite has been exposed…but why?  Unlike Foley, whose actions it was truly in the public's interest to change and correct, (targeting underaged boys who were under his power), Ted Haggard was doing nothing that I find particularly worthwhile to rant about.


Don’t get me wrong, I ridiculed the hell out of him when he was fighting land-use laws and zoning ordinances as being “Christian persecution”.  I dismissed him as a hypocrite and a bigot.  I disliked him and everything he stood for, with his corporate-spiritual one man campaign for the Republican party, and greater wealth and power for himself.


THAT was worthy of ridicule.  The stuff he is being slammed for now?  Hiring a hooker and buying and taking meth is illegal, ill-advised and not the brightest thing he could do.  He shouldn't have done it.  But it didn't affect me.  Sleeping around on his wife, living a lie of being heterosexual, and then betraying her trust behind his back, lying to her and giving her a family life that was based on his lie was wrong, but I can't judge him, because I can't imagine the lengths that that sort of self-loathing and self-hate will drive you to.


When he was trying to affect public policy that would affect millions of people, when he was getting up and teaching 14000 people to live a life that he himself found impossible to live, when he was trying to destroy the careers of judges just so his church could get their urban sprawl on some more,  when he was a huge part of a movement pushing the idea that it is God’s will that you be able to buy a cup of latte at the church Starbucks clone, become a member of the church health club, and buy books at the church bookstore, all tax free THEN I had something to say about it.


What is going on now should be a private tragedy, a private struggle between a man, his chosen spirituality, and his relentless and unchangeable human nature.  All I can summon is sadness now.  Sadness that his 14,000 member flock won’t take this revelation as an opportunity to challenge the assumptions they wrap in the sanctity of “faith”.  I feel sadness that instead of finding a way to live with himself in love, respect, and acceptance Haggard will continue to try to work psudo-spiritual "magic spells" like this process of restoration, running from and torturing his own nature rather than learning how to live with it in a healthy way.  I feel sad that his wife will continue to cling to a lie rather than reach out to her husband in love and help him accept himself and move on.


Sure, it's HIS fault it's so public, because he put himself out there, bigger than life on a huge TV screen for all to see and wonder at…but I don't have to play.


As for the Dem's winning, on the local level, I noticed that while there certainly was a shift in the wind at the polls, all three of Bush's favorite people in Minnesota survived and thrived.  Coleman wasn't up for re-election, so he stays, Pawlenty squeeked out a victory (by such a small margin that I think, if there had been one more coat of whitewash on his campaign, he wouldn't have made it through the gap)…and Michele Bachman got a bump up.


I just keep thinking of how, you know, in chess, you sometimes are willing to lose a number of pawns to advance more useful pieces?  That image just keeps coming to mind.  I'm not saying it was planned, 'cause Karl Rove is NOT Grand Admiral Thrawn, after all.  I'm just saying it might not have been the blow that it might otherwise appear to be.


On the national level, I will get excited when I see some real movement.  Before, someone NEEDED to do something, but there was little the Dems could do.  Now, they CAN do something, but will they?  I'll get excited when I see it.

Sunday, 12 November 2006 08:42:58 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

4)  If you suddenly realize that you are doing something you know the human's don't want you to do (say, fer instance, nibbling the edge of the table cloth), you can pre-empt punishment by dropping to your belly on the floor and covering your face with your paws in a gesture that clearly says "Oh!  I'm  a BAD puppy."  Then, instead of saying "NO!" they will say "Oh!  What a SMARTIE!  Look at him!" and unload wheelbarrows full of love onto you.

Sunday, 12 November 2006 07:23:35 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Saturday, 11 November 2006

Here are some excerpts of a drunken conversation with my best friend, Barb.  She's known me off-and-on since we were six (off and on between moves to other states and back):



Barb:     “This book they gave me to read at my new job is a fictionalized book about Six Sigma.”


Me:      “What?  Like Dick and Jane eliminate variance?  See Dick and Jane eliminate.  Eliminate Dick and Jane, eliminate?”


Barb:      “No, it’s like these two guys, Joe and Bob, talking; Bob was successful and went on to get promotions and make tons of money, and sleep with super models, and Joe is like “I never met a super model, and then I got laid off.  My boss was a dick.” And then they just sort of talk and talk about how Bob learned about Six Sigma and Joe should too.  It’s like the Tao of Pooh for Six Sigma or something.


 Me:     “It’s like the Tao of Pooh meets Waiting for Godot at the Six Sigma café.”


Barb:     “Only without that much charm.  It’s like Joe and Bob eat pizza, Joe is dying to know how Bob gets super models and he doesn’t.  And Bob says ‘you need to join this cult, and get a green belt’ –


                -  and then I puked.”






Me:    “I’m drinking Springboks”


Barb:   “What’s that?


Me:     “It’s South African, I guess, Bailey’s and Rumplemintz”


Barb:   The Bailey’s I would have expected, the Rumplemintz, not so much.


Me:     You would have thought, more…Bailey’s mixed with ….um…evil?”


Barb:   Yeah.”



Still Later:


Me:     “I don’t know, why do YOU think this mutual friend misunderstands me so greatly?”


Barb: (who has run out of alcohol and started to sober up and is loyal to this friend) “I don’t know, I think you might have a tendency to misinterpret her motives.”


Me:  (Who has plenty of alcohol and shows no sign of stopping) “Oh yeah!?  What the hell do YOU know about our conflicts?”


Skip forward to:


Barb:  “OK, if you know what’s wrong with everyone else, what’s YOUR secret cover-up miss know-it-all?”


Me:  “Shows what you know, I can be just as tough on myself as I can be on anyone else.  Here goes:  ‘My secret cover-up is that I have no feelings and I’m a tough, wise-cracking smart-ass because I don’t care about anything and if you try to get to me I’ll kick your ass and you’ll be sorry, ho." 


Barb:  Ha!  That’s what I thought.”


Me:  “Doh!"


The moral of the story:  "Don't drink with people who know you as well as you know yourself."


The secondary moral:  "Drunken conversations between old friends of 30+ years only really make sense to them, and no one else."

Saturday, 11 November 2006 01:16:21 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Wednesday, 08 November 2006

1) Ration it.  You don't get a treat EVERY time you pee.  Sometimes the human is looking the other way.  Sometimes there is more than one human, and you find out that the human you are performing for isn't the one with the treats.  Sometimes they just decide to be assholes and give you a pat on the head and praise instead of a treat.  Peeing more often increases the chance that you will get rewarded.

2) Think it through first.  At first blush, racing up the stairs with the sock of your teenaged master in your mouth might seem like a good idea.  But it is rife with complications, such as the fact that the socks of a kid with size thirteen feet are longer than your actual body, and can get tangled in your feet and cause trippage.  You probably won't get hurt, but you will never recover your dignity.

3) Leaf piles are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.


Wednesday, 08 November 2006 15:15:49 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #

My Governor is still Tim Pawlenty.

And Michele Bachmann got elected.

But pretty much everything else is coming up roses.  No matter.  I think we got enough good people in this election to keep this state's "Minnesotaness".

Seriously, we complain about the schools, but I've lived other places with lower taxes and more pervasive anti-intellectualism and our schools are great by comparison.

We complain about our roads, but you havn't SEEN a pot hole unless you've lived in Alabama.  At least we have the extremes in temperature as an excuse.

Still, it bothers me that we have someone like Michele Bachmann in a position of power. 

Wednesday, 08 November 2006 14:11:44 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #

Jay had gotten to the point this morning where he will come and sit near you and LOOK at you meaningfully as if trying to beam the need to go out directly into your brain.

When someone notices and interprets the signal correctly, he gets let out.  If not...there is still an accident.

Today should be better in those respects, as the two deer that Adventure Boy shot last weekend are all taken apart, put into little family-sized packages, and in the freezer.  Adventure  Boy has killed three deer in two years.  He's quite the hunter.

Jay is currently curled up beside Grasshopper's bed, looking as though he is just waiting out the day until Grasshopper comes home.

I have had several nights now of sporadic and spotty sleep, and several weeks of days packed with more stuff to do than time is allowed for.  All of it urgent, all of it important, and much of it annoying.

Rocky has unilaterally declaired that I have bitten off more than I can chew with the downstairs bathroom project, and has hired our neighbor who is the construction patron deity to do it instead.

Nothing against me, but things HAVE been rather non-stop lately and I guess he thinks I won't be able to finish the project until sometime in the middle of next year, and he doesn't want to have to wait that long.

Well, now you are as caught up as you are going to be today.  The dog needs to be let out again pretty soon here, I have more plaster work to do, and it's 9:00AM and I still don't know who my governor is.

Oh, and those of you who have been down on me for tearing into Crazy religious fanatics to much:  Notice that I have said nothing about Ted Haggard.  That won't last, but still you could chuck some tokens of appreciation my way as a show of support for my restraint.  Chocolate is the token of choice.



Wednesday, 08 November 2006 09:10:25 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Monday, 06 November 2006

Everyone say "hi" to Jay.



Monday, 06 November 2006 21:59:05 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [9] | #
Thursday, 02 November 2006

I’ve been painting.  When we put the new windows in , there was inevitable damage to the walls, as they had to cut the holes bigger for the new windows.  I painted the areas around the outside of the house a while ago.  Now I am trying to plaster and paint the inside walls so that they will not look crappy.  Yesterday I moved everything out of our Master bedroom, and got the painting done.


This morning as Adventure Boy was getting ready to run out to the bus, I said:


Me:  “And when you get home, I’ll have all of the stuff that I stashed in to livingroom back in the Master bedroom.  Then it will be back to normal…only clean and a different color…and smaller.”


AB:  “Smaller?”


Me:  “Sure, I put another layer of paint on each wall.  That made it smaller.”


AB:  “But not a lot smaller.”


Me:  “Sure, but if you put a new coat of paint on the walls every day for the next five years, that room would be tiny.”


AB:  “The paint would fall off the walls before then, because it would be too heavy.”


Me:  “Because the effects of gravity would be more powerful than the bond the paint has with itself?”


AB:  “Yep.”


Me:  “You’re too practical.  That’s no fun.  Where’s the fun in that?”


AB:  “Practical is fun.  Practical jokes are fun.”


Grump.  I thought I raised the boy to have a little whimsy in his soul.  Turns out, I just raised him to be a smart-ass.

Thursday, 02 November 2006 22:34:32 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

zeFrank makes my brain hurt.


Watch, laugh, learn.

Embrace the pain.

I started with the first episode about two weeks ago, and I'm almost caught up.

The space between my eyeballs just went numb.

Thursday, 02 November 2006 22:25:02 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
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