Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Saturday, April 28, 2007

I've been blocked again!

Since I was mysteriously unblocked by townhall, I stopped going there, but Karen sent me a link to another article, presumably because it bothers her when I devote time to my kids instead of picking at the loose threads of conservative logic.

anyway, I'm blocked again.  This was my message when I hit the link:

 

 

You are not authorized to view this page

The Web server you are attempting to reach has a list of IP addresses that are not allowed to access the Web site, and the IP address of your browsing computer is on this list.


Please try the following:

  • Contact the Web site administrator if you believe you should be able to view this directory or page.

HTTP Error 403.6 - Forbidden: IP address of the client has been rejected.
Internet Information Services (IIS)


Technical Information (for support personnel)

  • Go to Microsoft Product Support Services and perform a title search for the words HTTP and 403.
  • Open IIS Help, which is accessible in IIS Manager (inetmgr), and search for topics titled About Security, Limiting Access by IP Address, IP Address Access Restrictions, and About Custom Error Messages.
Saturday, April 28, 2007 7:05:25 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Last Time I did a Serenity test, I ended up as Mal. But not THIS time. This is a better test. Your results:
You are Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
75%
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
65%
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
65%
River (Stowaway)
65%
Wash (Ship Pilot)
60%
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
60%
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
50%
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
50%
Alliance
45%
Inara Serra (Companion)
40%
A Reaver (Cannibal)
40%
Dependable and trustworthy.
You love your significant other and
you are a tough cookie when in a conflict.
Click here to take the "Which Serenity character are you?" quiz...

Saturday, April 28, 2007 6:05:46 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] | #
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007 7:47:48 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

Neil, at 4Simpsons has pointed me to this article  by Gregory Koukl, who seems to feel very clever when he strings creationist cannards together with smug pontifications about "Darwinists".  Quotes from the article are in italics.  My comments are bolded.

 

Has anyone else but me noticed an inherent contradiction in the underlying convictions that drive annual “Earth Day” celebrations?  The vast majority of those who attend such fetes are Darwinists who believe humans have a moral obligation to protect the environment.  My question is:  Why?

No, you are not the only one who has ever “noticed” this (and by “noticed”, I assume you mean “made up out of whole cloth from smug, biased delusions in your own brain”.)

 

1)     Who are these “Darwinisits” of which you speak?  I haven’t ever heard of a PhD. in “Darwinism”.  I’ve never heard of someone being a “Fellow in Advanced Darwin Studies at such-and-so university”.  Local communities don’t have “Darwin clubs”.  You and your Bible idolatry crowd of bobbleheads made it up.  How can “the vast majority of those who attend such fetes” be something that only exists in your demented little minds?

2)    If there WERE such a thing as “Dawinists”, there would hardly be enough of them to gather in one place and call it a “fete”.  Even if it involved a punch bowl and finger sandwitches.  Darwin was important, but science has moved on.

For millions of years “Mother Nature” has spewed noxious fumes and poisonous gasses into the atmosphere and littered the landscape with ash and lava without our help. 

Silly me, here I thought God did it because he hoped to nail a couple of homosexuals with each natural disaster, and didn’t mind getting a few innocents just to keep the rest of us on our toes wondering what THEY did wrong and how to avoid it.

Also, it weirds me out that you are supposedly a Christian, but spend the whole article talking about Gaia.  It's kind of like when I was watching that children's show, "Thomas the Tank Engine" and I found out that George Carlin was Mr. Conductor.  It's just not OK.  Stop it.

She's killed species we never saw and heated and cooled the earth solo.  Indeed, the most “natural” condition in the universe is death.  As far as we know, Earth is completely unique; death reigns everywhere else.

Leave it to a fundy to see it that way.  Some people choose to focus on life.  All jocks think about is sports, all nerds think about is sex, and all fundies think about is death.  For every life in the universe, there is a death.  That things live is wonderful and we should be grateful.  That things die is the price of the lives of those that come after.

I am glad it is so, because I believe that I live in a wonderful world, and I am grateful for every moment I spend in it, and through that gratitude I desire to preserve what is good and improve what I can.

You can’t understand that, and you think that makes ME deficient?

Species have passed into extinction at a steady rate from the beginning of time, the strong supplanting the weak.  Why shouldn’t they?  Each is in a struggle-to-the-death for survival.  It is a dance of destruction that fuels the evolutionary process as every creature exploits every other creature for its own benefit.  Survival of the fittest - that’s evolution.

Natural processes have no moral component.  Humans evolved to the point where they have the ability to make conscious choices about their actions.  Due to this, they have the ethical responsibility to make good choices or pay the natural consequences.

Velocoraptors had no moral responsibility because they had no choice but to do what they did.  People have responsibility because they can make choices.

You can’t understand that, and you think that makes ME deficient?

No locust swarm stops short of denuding a field because it ought to “leave a bit for the crickets.  After all, they all have a right to be here.”  The logic of naturalism and the rules of evolution dictate human beings rape our environment, just as everything else does, not protect it.

I think I’ll let Ann Coulter, religionist fascist cocktail waitress extraordinaire take this one:

Ann Coulter: I take the biblical idea. God gave us the earth.
Democratic Strategist Peter Fenn: Oh, OK.
Coulter: We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees.
Fenn: This is a great idea.
Coulter: God says, "Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours."
Fenn: Terrific. We're Americans, so we should consume as much of the earth's resources...
Coulter: Yes! Yes.
Fenn: ... as fast as we possibly can.
Coulter: As opposed to living like the Indians.

Any question?  I’ve got more, but they make me want to cry.

The moral obligations underpinning Earth Day simply do not follow from the naturalistic world view that embraces Darwinism. 

Now, I am for conservation and stewardship of the Earth.  But that follows, rather, from a theistic world view in which God has created man as unique and given him responsibility over the Earth to care for it.  Earth Day makes sense for Christians, not for Darwinists.

You know what?  I hope Jesus DOES come and yank you up into the clouds.  Since HE is responsible for you, HE should have to listen to your smug, thoughtless, sanctimonious, bigoted twaddle.  It isn’t justice that you have to be inflicted upon the rest of us.

I hope he remembers to provide you with a hyperbaric chamber, though.  I’m not vicious or anything.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 1:49:52 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] | #

I'm afraid that, as I've said before, the invisible hand of the market is attached to a retarded monkey. And finally, don't trust people who don't believe in any regulation to give you advice on how to regulate.

 

                                         --Mark, at Denialism.com

 

Although I prefer my own characterization:

 

“The invisible hand of the market needs a good slap now and then, or you’ll end up screwed.  Remember, silence can be misinterpreted as consent.”

 

At least, I think it’s mine.  That just could be one of those things you hear and remember later and think you made it up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 7:58:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

argh.  shortbread cookies, with a chocolate layer on top.  I am powerless before them.

They are my Jadarite.

(Hat Tip:  A Blog Around the Clock)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 9:17:06 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  |  |  |  | #
Monday, April 23, 2007

My darling husband took me out for lunch today.  We went to The Wanderer's Garden in Minnetonka.  The have pretty good food and excellent service and really nice people working there, so it has become our default place to go for Chinese food.

The waiterss we got was not someone I know, so I did not attempt to speak Chinese.

We had a nice lunch, and enjoyed each other's company.

 

My fortune cookie read:  "You have enough energy and enthusiasm for two people."

Rocky's read:                "You have a great deal of energy and self-reliance."

 

And now I must prepare to go to the dentist and get three fillings.

 

Monday, April 23, 2007 12:23:25 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #

An athiest responds with dignity to Dinesh Dsousas obnoxious bigotry.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/4/19/18451/0971

Monday, April 23, 2007 9:49:39 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cool bit of writing from the team at Stargate SG-1

 

Ori Prior:  "The village will be destroyed."

Tobin:      "Why?"

Ori Prior:  "They have been touched by evil.  There is no salvation for them."

Tobin:      "But we eliminated all the unbelievers."

Ori Prior:   "Not all of them."

Tobin:       "I thought the village had capitulated.  If you'll allow me..."

Ori Prior:   (quoting Ori scripture) "Marcon walked away from the Ori to satisfy his hunger, but no matter how much he ate, he did not feel full.

               Realizing his mistake, he ran back to the Ori, but they denied his pleas, and struck down the village that welcomed him back."

Tobin:      "Forgive me, Prior, but I was reviewing that passage just this morning, and Marcon prayed for forgiveness and took the first

               step..."

Ori Prior:   (interrupting) "...and the hands of the Ori enveloped all those who welcomed him back.  The village was destroyed.  All those who

               stand by and accept transgressions must be punished."

Tobin:       "That is NOT the implication of the text, Prior.  The Ori granted forgiveness when Marcon reaslized his mistake, and blessed the

                village with their light for showing him the way back to the path."

Ori Prior:    (threateningly) "You dare question my judgement?"

Tobin:       "No, it's just...not how I was taught."

Ori Prior:    "There are many words, but only one truth."

 

How many of us have been there?  How many journeys to freedom of thought began with someone quoting scripture, and invoking Biblical authority for their own purposes?  How many of us set out to refute those who misrepresent scripture because of our belief in the goodness of our faith?  A belief that it was good, but just being twisted, so we picked at the loose thread, and it just kept unraveling until we realized that there was nothing there?

For me, it isn't anger at religion, or anger at God or faith.  Sometimes I have frustration for all the waste and misfortune, but in the end I just realized that the Bible means nothing by itself.  It's ALL subject to interpretation, and no matter which translation you use, no matter what school of thought, you are going to come up against something that's just WRONG.

And when you say "That's wrong", the faithful always answer "Oh, well, that's just a bad interpretation, you should read this book or this essay, and then you will understand how to interpret it correctly.

This expert has the correct interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah, but he fails to adhere to Biblical truth on what "modesty" means in women.  Such-and-such translation is correct here, but fails there...well, if you go back to the GREEK it means...but in the Hebrew text...no, the Aramaic...

ugh.

By the time you get the human bias of the writing, the translation, the re-translation, the selection of what scriptures get picked to even be in the Bible, the different translations from there, and then the different ways you can interpret the translations, you have a document that has all the "authority" of a Bazooka Joe comic.

Mark Twain once said "Get your facts straight, then distort them however you'd like."

I realize that this can happen in science and reason, but the Biblical scholors can't even do that much.  And in the mean time, everything bad that happens is the fault of humans, everything good that happens is to God's credit, and anything bad that people do invoking "biblical authority" is due to "misinterpretation" and everything they do that is good, they couldn't have done without the Bible.

AND then people claim that bad things continue to happen because we don't give that logic enough authority and public sanction.

I have an idea.  How about if I respect and support your right to run your life by the Bible if you want to, and you refrain from insisting that you have a right to use it to run my life as well?

Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:13:25 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

OK, I'm not someone who is hung up on how people express their gender identity.  If you're a man and you feel feminine, do what you have to do to resolve that.  I'll be OK.  Butch female?  No problems, people have made disparaging comments on their perceptions of my lack of "femininity".  I'm not about to judge someone else.  We all try to get through this life the best way possible.

But.

Am I the only person having trouble processing the new peanut commercial on TV now?  "Mr. Peanut", with his monocle and cane has never really struck me as anything but a slightly stuffy male peanut character.

But suddenly here he is strutting his stuff and using his hourglass-form "peanut" body like a female dancer's hips and shoulders.  And I'm having trouble with that.  I'm used to Mr. Peanut being a man, and now he's different. The Mr. Peanut I grew up with is very different and the changes are sudden and unexpected. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond to him, and not having those handy consistent gender-based references makes me uncomfortable. 

Sorry, Mr. Confusing Transgender Peanut, you need to give me a little time to work this out.

Sunday, April 22, 2007 9:29:06 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Saturday, April 21, 2007

A bogger has been keeping track of all the political/social opportunists and their crazy "theories" about why the Virginia Tech shooting happened.

(Hat tip to Denialism.)

[update:  A commenter at the site puts up this excellent link to an old story that illustrates how very not new this phenomenon is.  A public school is dynomited in the late 1920's by a crazed man angry about taxes used to build the school. There are also links to news stories about the event from the time.]

I leave you with a quote from "I've Got a Theory" from the musical episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

"I've got a thoery.  It could be bunnies...Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes.  They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses, and what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyways?  Bunnies!  Bunnies! It must be Bunnies!"

 

Saturday, April 21, 2007 9:07:21 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

"Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women".

 

                                            -- Phyllis Schlafly

 

[UPDATE: courtesy of Karen, here is the full quote with attribution:

"Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women, except in the rarest of cases. Men hardly ever ask sexual favors of women from whom the certain answer is no. Virtuous women are seldom accosted."

                                                        --Phyllis Schlafly testifying before a Senate committee reviewing new federal guidelines.

                                                           as quoted in Time Magazine in May of 1981

Thanks Karen, for hunting this down]


 

You gotta hand it to Phyllis Sclafly.  She got a big pair of "Thatchers" on her when it comes to telling women what's wrong with them as ladies. 

 

You know, I'm not sure what her idea of a "virtuous woman" is, but I have a hard time believeing that any behavior that falls into the catagory of "lady-like" can cause a man to NOT harass a woman, if he is of a mind to.

 

If you are being sexually harassed at work or at school, don't listen to Phyllis Schlafly and her ilk who would have you be demure and suffer in silence and worry that people will question your "virtue" if you tell them.

 

Be like those unpleasant feminists.  Complain to those who can do something about it.  Demand action.  Kick up a fuss.  Be vocal and demand to be treated well.  If they use words, fight with words.  If they are using the system to harrass you, now (thanks to feminists) the system include tools for fighting back.  Use them.  If it's physical, MAKE them stop, and if they attack you, take them apart.

 

Phyllis Schlafly may have to worry about what men will think of her, and may gauge her "virtue" by the reactions of men...but who wants the kind of men that would want women like Phyllis Schlafly anyway?

 

Real Women want Real Men who don't have to push women around to in order to get their macho on.  Who cares about the rest?

 

Now, good old "Mal" knows what sort of advice to give a lady in distress:

"Now, don't you go standin' for that. Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!"

 

I was recently reminded of a story from a friend of mine where a guy in school would not shut up about her breasts.  He talked about them all the time, whispered sexual suggestions to her, and was generally a disgusting pig.  So she pointed out that her breasts were as hidden as she could make them, but he was still obsessed with their size...so she felt free to wonder about the size of his penis.  She demanded in front of a classroom full of people that he drop his pants and show everyone his huge penis that he was always bragging to her about.  If he was so proud of it, this was his chance to show it off.

 

He backed off and never bothered her again.  THAT'S the way to handel a harrasser.  My guess is, THAT one isn't in Ms. Schlafly's toolkit.

 

There was one guy who, after name-calling and sexual harassment eventually took it to the physical level.  I choked him (leaving bruises) and kneed him in the groin.  Sure, I got a black eye, but hey, he never bothered me again.

 

Of course, that was in the halcyon days before anti-harrassment laws were common.  I mean, I know a lawsuit gets the job done of making them stop...but women don't get that closure that one gets from finding out just how soft-and-squishy the soft-and-squishy's can be.

 

Really, if we want to truly get down to brass tacks here, I think we should point out to Ms. Schlafly that the harassment laws act in the best interests of harassers, effectivly giving their victims recourse to tactics that are less "unladylike", before things escalate to the point of physical confrontation.

 

But if the intellectual heirs of Ms. Schlafly insists that those poor harassers are being abused under the current system, we can always go back to the old one...but  those who don't want a clean fight better be ready for us to fight dirty again.

Saturday, April 21, 2007 6:28:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Friday, April 20, 2007

What is this thing?  It smells like a bunny, yet is is not bunny-shaped.  What a funny flat, fuzzy, bunny-smelling-but-not-bunny thing.

I want to figure it out, but mom keeps yelling something about getting out of the road.  I suppose I better go see what she wants.

Friday, April 20, 2007 4:39:14 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

"No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no! You don't understand. You can't possibly because you're irreligious."

Um.  Interesting.  Yet most of the irreligious people I know were RAISED religious.  They learned religion at the knees of their parents.  In fact, we can understand religious thought very well.

Our rejection comes not from MISUNDERSTANDING...but from understanding it TOO WELL, and going in search of something that makes more sense.

One thing Rush can explain to me, though, is how the shooter deciding that he wants to "die like Christ" could possibly be the result of too little religion.

The boy was crazy.  Adding more religion would have just made him express his craziness more religiously.  Just as he would have expressed his craziness in secular terms if he had been immersed in secularism.

Secularism didn't make him kill.  Religion didn't make him kill. 

We all want answers, we all want solutions, we all want this to be a perfect world (from a human perspective).  It's not.  Blaming secularism might make you feel better Rush, but it does nothing to address the problem.

Friday, April 20, 2007 9:23:14 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  | #

I just heard on MPR a lead in that was discussing a view that Virginia Tech should not have let the shooter return to school after he was hospitalized with a mental illness.

Are people really saying that employers and schools have to be held responsible for decisions to not descriminate against the mentally ill?  I couldn't listen to the broadcast, but the teaser was either repugnant, misleading or both.

If someone's behavior at work or school is threatening and dangerous, then the employer/school should be responsible for dealing with it appropriatly.  Merely knowing that they have been hospitalized does not mean that they are responsible to not allow the person on campus/hire them.

How many people have been hospitalized for mental problems and gone on to live normal, productive lives and not treaten anybody.

Ugh.  I am so sad for the victims and the families, and for the whole terrible mess.  All this over-focusing on single issues is perhaps understandable, but it is inappropriate and will not produce outcomes that will be helpful in any way.  People need time to heal before they can respond rationally.

Friday, April 20, 2007 8:45:36 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  |  | #
Thursday, April 19, 2007

I have a six CD changer in my car.  Yet, it seems like for the last few weeks, every single person who gets in the car, no matter what is playing, says "Is this the only CD you have in here?"

So I'm making some changes.

Slot number four WAS Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Once More with Feeling"'.  It has been changed for Indigenous: Chasing the Sun

The slot number three change-out was in honor of Conrad Zero, because I know it will make him happy:

Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits was changed out for Revolver Modele: Discotheque Crypt.

More changes are likely on the way.

Thursday, April 19, 2007 3:17:44 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [10] |  | #

Atheist:

  1) A person who some Christians believe doesn't value his own life because he is not willing to die for God.

  2) A person who some Christians believe doesn't value the lives of others because he does not celebrate the idea that someone died for him.

Thursday, April 19, 2007 10:47:59 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pro-life forces are trumpeting their victory.  The Supreme Court has ruled, sustaining a ban on a procedure that is reportedly performed 10 times per day in the US (estimated).

I was recently involved in an internet discussion on a blog, and was surprised that the "partial-birth abortions" that I had heard so much about were the pro-lifer's name for the D & X procedure.

People go on and on about the "Partial Birth Abortions", but their descriptions of it were so outlandish that I thought they were making it up.  Turns out, they kind of were...as the descriptions of PBA that I was told (admittedly by rank-and-file pro-lifers) bear only a passing resemblance to the reality of D&X.

Apparently, the procedure is primarily used to remove babies from the mother's womb after fetal death in-utero, to remove fetus' from the womb who are so deformed that they cannot live outside the mother's womb, or when a continued pregnancy would endanger the mother's life, or vital bodily functions.

I've just really started looking into this, but it does not appear that this decision will actually prevent any abortions, as there is another procedure that is still legal which can be used if a late-term abortion is necessary for the woman's health, so it is unlikely that this ruling by itself will prevent any abortions.

The main reason why I question if this is a victory for anybody is just what I've learned from reading up on this subject over the last day or so.

From what I can tell, the situations under which women find themselves considering a late-term abortion are situations that leave a word like "choice" sounding hollow and meaningless.  The "choice" to abort the baby you wanted to save or prolong your own life, the "choice" to forgo a treatment that the doctors can't give you if you are pregnant, the "Choice" to try to live as long as you can with your pregnancy, but very likely not survive?  Some "choice".

And what about "life"?  The situations described seem to offer very little in the way of "life" for either the mother or the fetus.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to inject themselves or their politics into the kinds of decisions these women and their families have to face, or why anyone would call gaining public involvement into a terrible and private decision like this a "victory".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 5:40:16 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [14] |  |  | #

Opportunistic ass hat: Dinesh Dsousa

“Where is Athiesm when bad things happen?”  Are you serious?  All atheists hear is “shut up, you need to shut up, this isn’t your country, you better shut up”.

Remember the CNN “panel” on atheism that didn’t have a single, solitary atheist on it?  You had a Jewish woman and three Christians standing around nodding at each other for several minutes going “They need to shut up.  It’s our country and they need to shut up.”

And now the atheists are bad because they don’t get up uninvited and say something?  Because they don’t stand up and try to inject their personal beliefs into other people’s grief?  Because they don’t get on TV and use the bodies of thirty innocent victims to advance their pet political agenda?

And anyway, why would you want an atheist to try to spin the “meaning” of such an event to emphasize why you should think like they do?  Televangelists and pundits are enough, I would think.

Maybe Dinesh Dsousa should say something comforting, and stop using the bodies of thirty dead innocents as a cudgel to bludgeon atheists with.

(Hat Tip: Pharyngula)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 4:55:34 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #

Today Jay and I walked Grasshopper to school.  We went out to the bus stop, and just kept on walking because it was a nice day, and we were talking, and it seemed a shame to just stand around.

When we got to the school, I left Grasshopper at the front door, and proceeded back the way we had come, along the edge of the parking lot where the busses come to park before they drop the kids off.

I heard someone yelling, and I looked around, and realized that one of the 4th grade crossing guards was calling to me :

“Please stay out of the danger zone!”

What?  I didn’t know what he was talking about.  Then, I realized that he must be talking about the broad yellow stripe painted down the side of the sidewalk.  It must have been painted in order to keep people from wandering too close to the bus traffic.

“Oh, sorry!”  I stepped out of the “danger zone” and proceeded to walk toward the boy.  He looked familiar.

“Thank you.”  He said, as I got closer.

“Barry?”  I said (Barry isn’t his real name).

“Yes", he replied.

Barry had been in Grasshopper’s first grade class.  I had been one of the parents that came in a couple times per week to help out with the reading groups.  I often ended up with Barry in my group.  He constantly challenged me, was constantly disruptive, asked deliberately inconvenient questions, picked his nose dramatically to make the other kids laugh, pretended that he didn’t know how to read even the simplest words, managed to “lose” every item he needed for the activity at least once, was defiantly, obnoxiously, relentlessly, variously, and creatively difficult.

I really liked him, but I was always exhausted trying to get through the material in the allotted time.  He was obviously bright, but such a source of constant disorder that I was shocked to see this miniature engine of chaos before me, his official crossing-guard vest gleaming in the morning sunlight, thanking me for obeying his request that I comply with school rules.

“How are you doing?”  I asked him.

“Good.  You?”

“I’m good.”

“What’s your dog’s name?”  He asked.

“Jay.”

“He’s not very old, is he?”

“Seven months.”

“He’s very well trained. “ Barry complimented.

“Thanks.  I’d better let you get back to work.”

“Yeah.  It was nice talking to you.”

“You too.”

Talk about weird.  In three short years my primary discipline nemesis had transformed into a polite, mature, social mini-adult responsible for helping maintain order and safety in his school.

I STILL feel a little dizzy

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 3:54:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #

ERV points out that "framing" is inadequate with some audiences and in some situations, such as dealing with the Discovery Institute on
"their" turf
.  This is because they cheat.

If Framing is a screw driver, you can't be sucessful with it in situations that call for a hammer.

You don't engage in a "framing" debate at a Discovery Institute event where the only purpose of having a counter argument is to bring in big names to add legitamacy to the event.  No matter how well you "frame" your argument, it's not going to have much effect when you have fifteen  minutes and the Discovery Institute has a couple of days.  As ERV pointed out, a Q&A that only allows students to ask screened questions is also not helpful.

In a closed system, this would be a disaster.  However, getting those facts out to any media coverage on the event would be a good start.

That's framing.

The Discovery Institute "frames" this event as a debate.  We need to get the word out that it is a sham.  Use analogies to sporting events.  The Discovery Institute is holding a track meet, invites world class atheletes, and then only allows them to run if they agree to run while wearing fat suits.  This is so their people can "win" and say they beat world-class athletes.

When the world-class athletes turn down the invitation, the Discovery Institute can say "they're afraid" when it is the Discovery Institute that is afraid of fair competition.

John Q public is going to say "Huh.  I don't blame them.  I wouldn't go to a track meet and run in a fat suit either."

Right now, if you get into an evolution debate with a rank-and-file creationist, they spew every single Discovery Institute talking point down to the punctuation.  But when you say "Oh, the Discovery Institute" they say "who's that?"

Now, when they hear something from the Discovery Institute, they are going to say "Oh.  Those are the guys who can't handle fair competition with their ideas. " and go in search of other information.

They still might be creationists, but at least their sense of fairness won't let them use DI talking points whereas before they were unaware of even where that information was coming from.

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 5:49:45 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Framing:  The Teen summer movie edition

 

Anti-science framing:     “Dude, I just saw Jimmy trying to kiss your girlfriend.  I always said he

                                           Had no respect for you.”

Framing for accuracy:    “Yes, I was trying to kiss your girlfriend.  I thought you’d broken up.  I didn’t

                                            plan it.  If I’d known you were still going out, I never would have

                                           done it.  At least you know that she turned me down, that’s something, right?”

Lying:                                “Kissing?  Nah…she had something in her eye.

Refusing to frame:         “Whatever man, if that’s what you think of me, screw you.”

Marketing:                      “Well, you know, if you broke up with her, you could hit on that cute chick I saw

                                          you eyeing on the beach the other day…”

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 1:26:12 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Sunday, April 15, 2007

My  apologies to those not interested in framing.

PZ Myers has reacted to a Washington Post Op/ed by Nisbet and Mooney.

Far be it from me to disagree with Prof. Myers, but on this one, I DO.  Not his principles, but his interpretation of the framing agenda.  As one of the potential targets of "framing", I gotta say, it would be helpful for me.  You know who argues with non-scientist anti-science types most often?  Non-scientist pro-science types, that's who.  I would really welcome some good tools that would help me accurately argue with people who I encounter on a dialy basis who think they "know enough" to be consumers of science, and make decisions in ignorance that they don't even realize is ignorance.  I would like a faster, better way of getting to the meat of scientific matters.

Prof. Myers seems to view it as an attempt to silence or gag atheist scientists, or sugar-coat science.

I don’t see it that way at all.  I see it as asking the science community as a whole to order their priorities, and emphasize those priorities in their explanations of their work to the general public.

Let’s say you’ve got a house with a gecko infestation.  I choose gekkos because they are inherently funny, and I am trying to lighten the mood.  Yes, it is a ridiculous analogy.  Just roll with it.  In this case, I suppose geckos are analogous to the fact that while pursuing scientific knowledge, you will encounter challenges to any faith you might happen to hold, and there may be aspects to that faith that you will abandon as a result of those challenges.

You want to sell your house, and you want to present it to the largest portion of buyers.  You know that the geckos are going to be a critical point in the sales strategy.  Some people think geckos are cute, but wouldn’t want them in the house, some people will see the inherent benefits of having a houseful of geckos (no bugs, for one) so you would be best served to “frame” your presentation of the house by emphasizing the non-gecko attributes.  It has a large kitchen, it has numerous conveniently placed bathrooms…look at that lovely skylight, and then mention the geckos at a convenient time, after the people have had a chance to get ALL the information.  You can’t deny that the house has geckos, but maybe that fact doesn’t have to be at the fore-front of the discussion.

Now pretend your neighbor wants to sell his house, and his house is gecko free because he is unscrupulous about using whatever means are necessary to have a gecko-free house.  Poison, cats, bludgeoning them with clubs, etc.

He puts up a big sign that says “I want to sell you a house.  My neighbor just wants to sell you a big load of geckos.”

So what do you do?  You could put up a big sign and say “I want to sell you a house.  My neighbor is an evil bastard who likes to slaughter innocent animals.”  That is true, and it might convince some people to hear you out.  It’s a little mean, but it’s not like the neighbor didn’t deserve it.  Problem is, you’re going to attract a bunch of people who are interested in the fight and name-calling, and people who just want to buy a house are going to keep driving.  Calling a spade a spade can be refreshing and feel good, but if your primary goal is to sell your house, it might not be the best approach.

What about “Yep!  We’ve got Geckos!  And How!”

Well, it’s honest, and you’re going to get a LOT of interest in your house from Herptaphiles…but maybe you want a bigger set of perspective buyers.

What about a sign that says “spacious kitchen, ample bathrooms, gorgeous skylight, many recent improvements that my neighbor doesn’t have because he spent all his money on the latest gecko-killing gadgets”.

Get the people in the house, show them what you’ve got.  Let them look around.  Let them shop your neighbor’s house, too.  Let them see the geckos, but for Pete’s sake get them in the door.

Sure, some percentage of them will leave with a crawling case of the heebie-jeebies and beat a path to the neighbor’s house and embrace his anti-lizard agenda…but YOU will have a LOT more perspective buyers to choose from.  You may even change some minds about whether or not it is possible to live comfortably with geckos.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 7:42:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] |  | #
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

From Conrad Zero I get a link to this article in the Washington Post.

A world-class violinist playing on a priceless violin, posing as a street musician, and his value is only recognized by a few people...a handful who have dabbled at being violinists, and one who recognizes the musician.

People who rushed past, perhaps flipping spare change, perhaps trying to shout over the annoying noise of this bothersom begger...what would they have done if they had realized that they were getting a free front seat at a performance that they would never get another chance at again?

What do people simply throw out as useless, meaningless, even stupid...just because they don't have a reason to really look at it's value?

How much of our "junk science" is the public policy equivilant of a virtuoso with a nearly priceless instrument being ignored by commuters too busy to bother knowing what they are missing?

[UPDATE:  Michelle gives us a link in the comments to a blog entry that expands on the "framing" aspect of the WaPo story.  She says that in order for the audience to respond to a classical musician in a street musician setting, he needs to develop skills for presenting to that audience appropriately for the kind of audience they are, and in the situation they are in rather than actually expecting them to respond to a performance just because it is good and worthy of their attention.

This is EXACTLY what I've been trying to say.  Thank you, Michelle.

Quote from the blog entry:

A busker is someone who can turn any place into a stage. Obviously, Joshua Bell needs an actual stage. As a busker one needs to interact with those around, break walls of personal space, and lure people into a collective and spontaneous group experience on the street, in the moment, with you. A bad busking act is when the performer doesn’t make an effort to connect with the audience. Like musicians who play for themselves, not acknowledging the audience, just burying their heads in their instruments.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 9:29:10 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  |  | #

Please inform the science-interested teenager of your choice!

http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2007/04/brain_essay_student_contest.php

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 10:27:48 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ben at Eclectic’s Anonymous has a piece up commenting on the current “framing” debate going on in the science blogger community.

I don’t really know much about the original paper that introduced the concept of framing into the scientific debate…because you have to pay to read it.  So reading the commentary on it is a little like trying to follow a conversation by just listening to one side of it.

But I will try.

Near as I can tell, Chris Mooney and Matt Nisbet put out a paper saying “Maybe we should try to figure out what it is that the public doesn’t understand about key areas of science that have become political footballs, and instead of giving them more facts and figures to digest we should give them a better means of digesting the facts and figures that they have.”

Framing is nothing new to people who are in marketing, or in politics, or Human Resources…or domestic abusers and those who try to rescue their victims (more on this later).

“Framing” seems like such a bad thing to some people because it is, at its heart, manipulative.  Some of us prefer to be allowed to make up our own minds about things, and when we smell “framing”, we think that someone is resorting to such tactics because their material can’t stand on its own.

But as Ben points out, it has gotten to the point where there is so much information that impacts us every day, that we cannot be expected to know it all.  Add to this that there is active MISINFORMATION being spread, and on top of that, there are competing “frames” that have been being refined and come so readily to hand for the anti-science crowd, that the inability of the common man to understand everything he should amounts to more than laziness or disinterest or even something that can be called ignorance.

Framing helps get a message of how evolution REALLY works across without having to begin at the level of Eukaryotic cell structure to teach a middle-aged Sunday School teacher with three kids of her own who all need to get to their orthodontist’s appointments on time.

The anti-science forces don’t balk at “framing”.  That is how they manage to get their 80% of the population to doubt evolution.  They don’t have to prove that God has his angels on a protein assembly line working over-time to roll out the this year’s upgraded model of the Avian Flu virus.  All they have to do is yell “Monkey’s uncle!” or “gaps in the fossil record” or “scientists disagree”…and they shed enough doubt to get their audience to do their work for them.

Framing the forces of “evolution” as “just random chance” has been VERY successful…but I wonder what would happen if scientists managed to shift the emphasis in the debate from “Random mutation” to “the relentlessly ordering force of Natural Selection”.  The idea that we could just spontaneously emerge from some primordial ooze is, of course, ridiculous.  Many people reject the idea of “evolution” just because of that frame.  I talk to otherwise intelligent people who wave their hands and say “well, I don’t know what happened, but I can’t believe we’re the result of random chance”.

Right now, many people see the choice as being between “our air was created for us to breath.  Why else would it be so perfect for us?” or “We just randomly happened to spontaneously pop into existence ready to breath the air.”

I don’t think that most people would come to this dichotomy on their own.  They see this as the choice to make because it has been framed so by the anti-science types…and there are few people out there who are interested in seriously providing another frame…because it seems so “stupid” to have to say “maybe only things that could use the air survived to replicate, and maybe those that were able to use the air most successfully survived and replicated more successfully.”

The main problem with this from the scientist’s point of view is that it is simplistic and imprecise.   But to be more complex and more precise is to lose the soccer mom with the orthodontically challenged offspring.  And she votes and goes to church and talks on the phone to all of her church friends (who also vote) on the phone about how stupid it is that they have to spend tax money on science books that teach their kids that they come from monkeys, rather than fix the potholes at the intersection down the street.

Reframing can be used to remove these stumbling blocks to understanding.  While it is not, in-and-of-itself and answer, it can be one step toward an answer.

Reframing that one thing will not be enough.  You will have to have a frame to answer every frame of the anti-science forces, and they will always come up with new ones.  More promotion and funding for science education, more emphasis on science education, more strident and strenuous defense of science in the public sphere and more generalized science literacy is the ultimate goal.  Wouldn’t it be great if people could just understand and know what they need to in order to be good consumers of science information on their own?

But you aren’t going to get that unless you first convince people that they have a reason to want it and value it.  Marketing.  Promotion.  Branding.

It seems so dishonest, doesn’t it?  Manipulative.  Abusive.  Distasteful.

Yes and no.

Think about a situation of domestic abuse.  The bad partner in the abuse creates a view of reality.  A “frame” if you will.  They spend a lot of time and energy to create a world where their partner is alienated from friends and family (eliminating competing frames), they make it difficult or even impossible for their partner to maintain a job or reliable habits.  They create a “frame” for reality where they are the most powerful person in the partner’s world.  They are the person that the partner fears, and yet also looks to for protection.  They set up a “choice” where the abused partner “chooses” between two outcomes…both originally selected by the abusive partner, and presented as the only alternatives in a closed system.

In that “frame” there is a choice between “order” (the imposed order of the abusive partner) and “chaos” (the results of disobedience in rejecting order).

Enter the domestic violence worker.  The helper’s job is to break down the frame.  She can’t so it by depicting the abuser as a monster, because that is part of the frame.  The monster abuser isn’t responsible for their behavior, because in the “frame” the abused “chooses” the monster through disobedience, rather than the “protector” form of the abuser. 

She has to do it by offering a different frame, and inviting the abused partner to explore it.  Rather than attacking one side of the frame, only to have the abused partner defend the flip side (the side the abused person sees as the only alternative), the helper presents a frame that allows for other choices.

You might call the Domestic Violence Worker’s frame “reality”.  You might wonder why she has to present this frame at all.  You might think it’s a waste of time for her to have to present it to someone who won’t accept it.

But in her absence, the abusive partner can continue to frame the situation, not making it impossible for the abused partner to escape, but making it less likely.

To get the abused person to leave the abusive person,  you might realize that they need a job and a car and a house or apartment to live in, but getting them all those things is not only putting the cart before the horse, but ultimately useless if they do not have a new frame through which to view their relationship to those things, as well as the rest of the world.  If they continue to accept their role within the old frame, nothing you do can change their outcome…no matter what other things you add to the mix.  While a job, car and a place to live SHOULD give them independence…they will never achieve it without first accepting and embracing a new frame.  Gaining the tools of independence without actually gaining that independence will just cause them to have new tools to use as the abuser dictates.

If you continue to allow the opposition to frame the argument as being one between God’s order and chaos, for instance, or between environmental safety and economic stability, or public health and personal freedom or whatever…it will not matter how much information you give them, they will still continue to view things with the same process and outcome.  They will use the new information as dictated by the old frame.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 3:27:27 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Monday, April 09, 2007

Wait...those things, those things that are gliding across the water?  You know, the ones that go 'quack'?  They smell like...like...like something I WANT.

 

Monday, April 09, 2007 7:19:40 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Sunday, April 08, 2007

Now I must go and shred potatoes and bake the pies.

Sunday, April 08, 2007 7:44:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Saturday, April 07, 2007

"The powers lodged in Congress are extensive; but it is presumed that they are not too extensive.  The first object of the constitution is to unite the states into one compact society, for the purpose of government.  If such a union must exist, or the states be exposed to foreign invasions, internal discord, reciprocal encrochments upon each other's property - to weakness and infamy, which no person will dispute; what powers must be collected and lodged in the supreme head or legislature of these states.  The answer is easy:  This legislature must have exclusive jurisdiction in all matters in which the states have a mutual interest.  There are some regulations in which the states are equally concerned - there are others, which in their operation, are limited to one state.  The first belong to congress - the last, to the respective legislatures.  No one state has the right to supreme control, in any affair in which the other states have an interest; nor should congress interfere in any affair which respects one state only."

 

"This question is of vast magnitude.  the states have very high ideas of their seperate sovereignty; altho' it is certain, that while each exists in it's full latitude, we can have no Federal Sovereignty.  However flattered each state may be by its independant sovereignty, we can have no union, no respectability, no national character, and what is more, no national justice, till the states resign to one supreme head power of legislating, judging and executing, in all matters of general nature."

                                                               --"A citizen of America" [Noah Webster]

                                                                  "An examination into the leading priciples of the Federal Constitution.

Saturday, April 07, 2007 6:40:37 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Friday, April 06, 2007

Go to Townhall.com and read this article that was the first article that I have been able to legitimately view at Townhall.com in several weeks.

Jon Sanders is getting his outrage on that a school district staged a mock emergency with the mock premise that Fundamentalist Christian Militants were storming the school.

For the record, Jay Sekulow is also outraged.

I realize that most of the “school burning” rhetoric on the right is hyperbole and such, but the fact remains that the lunatic fringe of the radical religionist right emits “lone nuts” with enough frequency that it isn’t unreasonable to assume that it could happen.  A person would have to be crazy to take “The Turner Diaries” seriously…and yet…Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.  The Christianism of the KKK seems so wacky and fringy, and yet you have Lynx and Lamb Gaede making a living for their family singing their hate songs heavily laced with Christian Identity themes taught to them by their home-schooling mother and swastika-wearing grandfather.

In a country where Ann Coulter goes to college campuses and urges students to terrorize their professors, and some students do just that…why is it unreasonable to assume that Right-wing religionists who refer to public schools as an enemy to be destroyed might spawn a couple of crazed gunmen?

When the rhetoric of Randall Terry can cause a “lone nut” to assassinate an abortion doctor, or another “lone nut” to get a gun and go off to “rescue” Terri Schaivo, what makes it so nutty to think that the violent anti-public school rhetoric of the far-right loony fundamentalists could result in a violent school attack?

In his article, Mr. Sanders makes the remarkable assumption that educators are “leftist academics”.  I don’t know what school Mr. Sanders went to.  Maybe HIS teachers were all leftists, but there were very few in our school.  In particular, I’d like to introduce him to a certain English teacher at Bemidji High School in the ‘80’s who would rant and rave about immorality of today’s youth, teenage pregnancy, the immorality of union labor and the value of the profit motive, and the inherent moral supremacy of the capitalist system; a man who physically threatened my sister when she objected to him using the “N” word in class to refer to one of the few black kids in our school.  He didn’t preach his religion in the classroom the way he preached “patriotism” and capitalism…but he didn’t make any secret of his religiosity either.

Actually, come to think of it…Mr. Sanders would probably think of that guy as a flaming leftist too.

Anyway, Mr. Sanders does a whole lot of tortured rhetoric to make sure he hits all of the talking points about what “conservatives” want to believe “liberals” think…and then ends with this sentence:

Oh, and if they teach the kids to fear Christians, that'd just be gravy.”

As if it isn’t “Christians” that teach people to fear Christians.  I know that everything I know about Christianity was taught to me by Christians…both the good and the devastatingly, painfully, terrifyingly bad.

That said, the school should have known better than to portray the gunman as anything other than generically anonymous bad guys.  They should have remembered the fact that, as public servants, they can’t do ANYTHING without being subjected to any possible criticism. (Ask my dad, who was constantly swamped with equal complaints that he was always just sitting around at his desk (and thus, obviously, not working) and that he was never in his office and available (and thus, obviously, not working), or that he was a power-drunk busybody running around forcing communities to adhere to Minnesota State public health standards…(and thus, obviously, working too much.)

Additionally, they should have remembered the “ten percent turkey” rule.  In any population, no matter how you divide people up, by hobbies, interests, political affiliation, religious belief, etc.  There will always be the disgruntled few who believe that their group is the most hated and despised group in the planet.  They will be looking for signs of persecution and unfairness, and (surprise, surprise) seeing them everywhere.

Picking any group would just add grist for the persecutionist mill of whatever group you have picked.

“Oh look, they’re picking in the Christians/Jews/Muslims/Chess Club/Dog Fanciers again.”

It’s not as though it matters WHY the nutty gunmen are shooting up your school.  You don’t need their motivations to act out your simulated strategy.  Just keep it generic and get the job done…and try not to feel persecuted that the wacky right-wing Christian Militants can openly call you the enemy and vow to destroy you, but you have to be non-specific and general when it comes to identifying an enemy when doing a self-defense exercise.

You don’t want to develop a persecution complex.  It isn’t healthy.

Friday, April 06, 2007 8:07:09 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

Whoa.  Just out of curiosity, I tried to follow a link to a townhall page, and I got in!  WOW!

Repeated attempts to go to any Townhall.com page ended in a message that my IP address was on a list of blocked addresses.  Numerous e-mails asking why ignored.  Then, no word of explination or reply...and I am unblocked.  I wonder what happened.  Townhall.com taketh away, and Townhall.com giveth again.  'course, now that I'm able to do it without having to resort to subterfuge, I find I'm not all that interested in their paranoid, hate-filled drivel.

Friday, April 06, 2007 4:43:52 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I met this guy a couple of times, but he seemed nice and not so potty-mouthed and liberal.  Had I known, I probably would have spent more time talking to him.

We used to work out at the same gym a while back.

I think I seriously creeped him out once with a demonstration of my Kung fu spear technique.

Anyway, I give you, Snideblog.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 11:04:02 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

I hate spam.

I hate Hitler.

I'm not a fan of pronography, particularly artless, badly written pornography.

So when I repeatedly get spam messages that appear to spam Hitler porn...I block the sender.

What possible purpose could someone have for sending out such stuff?

Ugh.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 11:14:45 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rocky is home.

He's been fed, showered, medicated, hot stone massaged, and installed in a comfy bed with 600 thread count Pima cotton sheets, and strategically placed pillows to enhance his comfort (I spent the better part of a year as a home-health aid for an elderly polio vicitm.  She was also a diabetic, so bed sores were just not something we could allow to happen.  I got really good at pillow placement for comfort.  Give me four-to-six pillows, and I can make anyone comfortable.)

And I made him Chai.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 8:15:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #
Monday, April 02, 2007

I finally find myself with a little bit of time tonight, so I’m going to fill you all in on what is going on around here.

It all started Monday of last week when Rocky was in San Francisco for VSLive!.  He started feeling sick (no details, it’s better this way).    Sometime between midnight and Tuesday morning, his umbilical hernia (which I’ve been nagging him to get fixed) popped out, and he was sick AND in agonizing pain.

The hotel staff drove him to the nearest hospital ER, where he was treated for flu (given medicine to alleviate the symptoms we’re not talking about) and sent back to his hotel room.  He spent the rest of his time in SF in his hotel room sick as a dog, and came home early on Thursday night.

I picked him up at the airport and brought him home, gave him some chicken broth (free range organic) and sent him to bed.

Friday morning he informed me that he needed a doctor’s appointment, because he couldn’t stand being this sick any longer.  I thought:

“You’ve got the flu, what are they going to do?” but made the appointment anyway.  I took him to the doctor later that day, and lo and behold, under the harsh, unforgiving fluorescent lights of the clinic, he looked yellow.

The doctor said; “I think you have hepatitis.  Drive to the ER.  I will call ahead and have them waiting for you.”

I called Sue, and she came right down to sit with the boys for the night.

We got to the ER, and they immediately got him a bed and ran a bajillion blood tests and did a sonogram, which revealed a very large gall stone in his gall bladder.

“It’ll have to come out” said the radiologist.  The Internal Medicine specialist agreed, and told them to find Rocky a bed. 

Then we waited for six hours while they worked on that.  During that time, we heard a poor woman having a psychotic episode, a senile old man screaming for some woman that nobody knew who she was…she’d probably been dead for years, and a number of really uncomfortable sounding babies.

After they put the psycho woman in restraints, a nurse came in to apologize for the noise the woman was making.

“She can’t help it.” We responded.

She stopped in her tracks just for the briefest second to look at us and said “No, she can’t but most people don’t realize that.”

I think that’s really sad.  How can you listen to someone losing their mind in the next room and summon only annoyance at them?  I don’t think that could possibly be true.  Some people might express their feelings as annoyance…but they CAN’T be that callous, can they?

Rocky was only allowed to eat a couple of ice chips to ease the dryness in his mouth, and those he was ordered to keep to a minimum.

Finally, at one o’clock, we got Rocky ensconced in a real live hospital room, and I went home.  I got home at 2:00AM. Sat. morning, slept for four hours, and then went back to the hospital to be with Rocky when he met with his surgeon.  She seemed to be bright as a penny, and we were filled with confidence.  It turned out to be well placed.  She explained everything to us, each decision had a reasonable explanation.  She answered questions smoothly, confidently, and extemporaneously.  Also, she was going to fix the hernia as part of the gall bladder surgery.

There was a delay getting Rocky into the operating room.  His surgery started an hour and a half late.  When they finally wheeled him away, I called Rick, and he came down and relieved Sue of her Watcher duties.  I took the opportunity to call a few family and friends, and then fell asleep.

Fortunately, the hospital had given me a pager something like what they give you when you are waiting for a table in some restaurants.  It went off in a frantically cheery burst of “music” when Rocky’s surgery was completed, so I was able to take a minute or two to get all of the different areas of my brain rounded up and stampeding in the same direction by the time Dr. Nowak was in front of me telling me that the surgery was a complete success…

…with two problems.  The stone was REALLY big, and the gall bladder was REALLY infected.  She didn’t think he’d be getting out of the hospital before Monday, but she had very high hopes for his complete recovery.

I waited until Rocky was comfortably set up in his room, went back home and told Rick he could take off, and then went back to the hospital to make sure Rocky was doing alright.  I don’t remember arriving back home.

The next couple of days are a blur; running back and forth between the hospital and home trying to take care of everyone...

I remember a nurse names Leo, whose accent sounded West African, who was very nice, thoughtful, thorough and knowledgeable.  There was a guy named Dan in the ER who lifted our spirits while delivering Rocky to the sonogram room…lots and lots of wonderful, caring professional staff in the hospital.

Rocky has a bit of an infection from the gallbladder problem.  He’s being held at the hospital until they get him over that.  He was supposed to come home today.  They say he will come home tomorrow…

…we shall see.

But Rocky got tons of calls, and well-wishes.  EVERY person I called to tell about this offered their help and pretty much wrote me a blank check, figuratively speaking.  My ShiFu and his wife stopped by to visit Rocky in the hospital.  He has flowers and cards, and lots and lots of e-mails to answer wishing him well.

I went shopping today.  The next couple of days after he comes home will consist of massive spoilage of the Rocky person.

I just hope that he really comes home tomorrow.

Monday, April 02, 2007 10:18:05 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] | #

“Let me know if you need anything.”

“Just let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do.  Anything at all.”

”Just tell me where to go, and when to be there.  Oh!  And what I need to bring.”

If I get to the end of my life and find out that there IS no super-uber-God-being;  I will be disappointed for one reason, and one reason only…that I can’t look him in the eyes (or whatever), list off the people I’ve heard these words from in the last few days, and say “Thanks” for the fact that I know so many people who will just drop what they are doing to offer kindness and help to someone who needs it.

But even that disappointment will be small and fleeting, since I can say it now, when I know it counts.

Thanks everyone.

Monday, April 02, 2007 12:19:03 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
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