Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reader Ben (and blogger at Eclecticsanonymous) recommended this video.  He wasn't wrong.  It comes in five parts on Your Tube.  Here they are:

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:37:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  | #
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

CDC facts about the HPV vaccine.

Here, you can explore the Epidemiology of the various strains of the HPV virus.  Note that strains #s 16 and 18 are the most common strains found in new-borns.  The HPV vaccine covers those strains.  Yet the religious right still opposes the use of the vaccine under the argument that contracting HPV is a “Lifestyle choice”  While a person might make that judgment on the mother, it seems a rather harsh one to make on her innocent infant. (never mind that 1 in 4 women will be raped in their lifetime, and 22% of these will be raped under the age of 12…lifestyle choice?  Who “chooses” to have a spouse cheat (26 – 50% depending on if you buy the conservative estimate or the liberal one) on them and bring an STD home?  

It is estimated that 50% of the sexually active population is infected with HPV at some time in their lives.  It is estimated that 90% of all cervical cancer is caused by HPV, which is the second leading cause of death in women world-wide.  HPV is also implicated in a number of other urogenital cancers which affect men and women…as well as genital warts.

Transmission possibilities include: sexual transmission (most likely) transmission from mother to infant, between children who have been the victims of sexual abuse, and non-sexual contact with infected urogenital secretions ( no confirmed cases, but the possibility exists unlike with some other viruses)

Still, control of this virus on a epidemiological level is portrayed as inconsequential to public health, and the equivalent of heart disease, despite is ubiquity and links to several types of cancer…and despite the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing not only contraction of the virus, but  also in reducing the risks of lesions in already infected women.

Cost is another argument, but estimates on the opposing side merely pit the cost of mandatory vaccination against a single life (the absolute highest I’ve heard in cost per life saved is $1M.  I’ve also heard the cost estimated as low as $81,000 per life saved).  Since estimates of value of lives saved to society are frequently in the multiple millions, it seems fair enough.

After all, Religious Conservatives celebrated the Supreme Court decision that would save an estimated 3,000 unborn recently.  Yet an expected 3,700 women not dying of cervical cancer in the country is considered negligible., and not worthwhile.

They don’t talk about the money saved in pre-cancerous lesions that needn’t be treated, in transmissions that don’t occur.   Plus, those figures fail to mention if they took into account incidences of other potentially fatal and/or life-shortening urogenital cancers which have been linked to HPV (some of them affect men as well).

Add to this the number of different strains of HPV, and the dangers of allowing them to spread unchecked through the population, recombining to create new strains with greater ability for transmission, infection, and a greater possibility of affecting long-term health (risks which would be lowered by control of the virus); and you make a pretty good case for mandatory vaccinations.

Maybe it’s not a slam-dunk, but aspersions about “life-style choice”, and assertions about lowering the resistance of young girls to having sex seems more than a little trivial.

I DID find a JAMA article about mandatory HPV vaccinations.  It recommends against mandatory vaccinations.  Why? Because backlash from the anti-vaccine crowd could politically endanger the mandatory status of already mandatory vaccines.

 Cowards. “Oh, the anti-science people will get us if there’s anything remotely disappointing about the policy.  Run away Run away.”

One of their other arguments is that they haven’t seen suggestions as to who would pay for it.  Although legislation usually covers that…and it really isn’t the purview of the doctors.  Finally, they say that public funding of the vaccine would likely lower the amount of money spent in other areas.  That is an interesting question, and it would be interesting if we could see how public funding of the vaccine for poor people might actually lower the cost of treating conditions caused by HPV.

I notice that all of the objections raised in the JAMA article were political in nature, and not medical nor even went into any depth to really look at the epidemiological effect of mass vaccination.

The JAMA article is in response to the ACIP recommendations for girls 9-12 years of age.

[UPDATE:  I found a reason why the fundies might now rally behind the HPV vaccine.  Apparently, there was a study that showed that it is possible that having the virus might inhibilt the implantation of zygotes into the uterus.  In other words...HPV could cause "abortions".  They won't do it to save women, or babies that are born (since it's a "lifestyle choice") but maybe they will do it to save teh unborn babies]

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 11:49:06 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [21] |  |  | #
Monday, May 28, 2007

Neil at 4Simpsons took his daughter to a Penguin Encounter for her birthday.  He posted pictures.  It looks like such an awesome experience for his daughter.

I think I would have done just about anything for an experiance like that when I was that age.  Kudos to Neil.

And really, despite all the differences, how can you really be THAT different from a fellow penguin fan?

Bill and Opus in 08!  Bringing us all together.  LOL!

Monday, May 28, 2007 4:57:41 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Byron: But where is it written that all our dreams must be small ones?"


Captain John Sheridan: Our new friend just said all the security in the world can't stop a lone gunman dedicated to exchange his life for the target, and he is right. So you may as well live instead of being a prisoner.


Captain John Sheridan: If more of our so-called leaders would walk the same streets as the people who voted them in, live in the same buildings, eat the same food instead of hiding behind glass and steel and bodyguards, maybe we'd get better leadership and a little more concern for the future.


Susan Ivanova: May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk.

 

The world would be a much better place if everyone watched Babylon Five.

But we live in a world where people would much rather view the reality of what and who may have killed Anna Nichole Smith, who fathered the baby and who gets her money than care about the fantasy of the heroic fiction of the possible future.

So, in the knowledge that we have to live here, with the mundane, another quote:

G'Kar: It is said that the future is always born in pain. The history of war is the history of pain. If we are wise, what is born of that pain matures into the promise of a better world, because we learn that we can no longer afford the mistakes of the past.

Sunday, May 27, 2007 11:41:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Saturday, May 26, 2007

This is the Christian Right I know. Anti-Semitic, promoting the execution of homosexuals, saying that God does not hear the prayers of Jews, defending child abusers and child abuse because parents "own" their children by God's ordination. 

 

 

I know also have come to know a lot of really nice Right-wing fundamentalists. They wouldn't hurt a fly except in self-defense. But they don't have to. They just have to defend and support and send money to and vote for the craven, manipulative, cynical, censorous, hypocritical leaders. As long as good people stand behind these dogs, we are in danger from them.

(Hat Tip:  Jason Bock)

Saturday, May 26, 2007 6:59:31 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Friday, May 25, 2007

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

                                                 -- Sinclair Lewis

Friday, May 25, 2007 5:12:56 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

My folks came down to visit over the last few days.  We had a nice visit.  They brought a ½ lb. bag of fresh morel mushrooms from the woods behind their house.

So today for lunch Rocky and I had Bourbon Salmon, fresh steamed asparagus and $20 worth of sautéed Morel mushrooms for lunch.  You gotta love a state where you can go out into your back yard and pull a couple hundred dollars worth of delicacy out of your backyard three weeks out of the year.

My mom and dad got to see Adventure Boy’s band concert (with the obligatory post-concert visit to Cold Stone), and Dad went with to Grasshopper’s cello lesson.  My mom and I took a lot of walks with the dogs, and went to the dog park.  They watched the video of the Middle School’s production of The Music Man, which Adventure Boy played in the pit orchestra for.

And now I get to relax a little and decompress until August.  I love my folks and all, but there ARE a few issues  J

Friday, May 25, 2007 3:06:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

Dear Readers, this is cut and pasted directly and word-for-word and in its entirety from Pharyngula.  I don't think anyone will mind, as it is an attempt to let someone who is being witchunted by the the Bible-bashers defend himself in yet another venue.

 

The Discovery Institute has mounted the latest in a long string of creationist smear campaigns against me in Iowa. While I have never called for Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez to be fired, or even to be denied tenure, there are plenty of creationists who blatantly direct our university to fire me.

All such efforts have failed because they clearly distort the facts and my academic record. Here are some of the most significant questions and distortions voiced in these attacks:

1. Avalos is not a scientist, and so cannot critique ID
I have a formal degree and a year of graduate work in anthropology, which is home to the study of human evolution. The study of human evolution is a legitimate scientific field. I have published numerous articles on science and religion.

Nature and Science also have recognized my expertise in the area of science and religion in a number of news articles. See, for example, my quoted comments on scientific studies or prayer in Science, 276 (1997): p. 359; and on religion and violence in Nature 446 (March 8, 2007), p. 115.

ID is regarded by virtually all scientists and scholars of religion to be a theological argument, and I have the training to evaluate theological arguments. I have a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in biblical and Near Eastern Studies from Harvard.

I may not be an astronomer, but my article, "Heavenly Conflicts: The Bible and Astronomy," passed the editorial review of Mercury: The Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 27 no. 2 (March/April, 1998), pages 20-24. There, I critiqued fine-tuning arguments before I even heard of Gonzalez.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is the SAME organization that has published, via a sister publication (Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific), some of the work of Guillermo Gonzalez.

So the irony is that it is the scholar of religion whose work passed the editorial review of a legitimate astronomical organization, and it is the astronomer who has not published a refereed article on ID in an astronomical journal.

2. Avalos's book, Fighting Words, blames the Jewish people for the Holocaust
This is an outright canard. I see the Holocaust as the synthesis of many factors. But I place much of the responsibility on a long Christian history of anti-Judaism. I explicitly (Fighting Words, pp, 195-96) say that Hitler's plan is an updating of Martin Luther's famous seven-point plan for the Jews.

This outrages creationists because they have long held that evolutionary theory led to the Holocaust (e.g., Richard Weikart's biased and grossly uninformed From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany [New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004]). I show that every major feature of Holocaust had a long religious history that predated Darwin.

That some authors of the Hebrew Bible (1 Samuel 15, Deuteronomy 7) advocate genocide is a well-known fact recognized by nearly all Christian and Jewish scholars, and not a statement against Judaism or an effort to blame the Jews for the Holocaust.

Moreover, Jewish scholars who have reviewed Fighting Words have viewed it positively. Note these comments about Fighting Words by Prof. Martin Jaffee of the University of Washington:

"Hector Avalos (of Iowa State), joins the conversation with a lucid, provocative, and deeply disturbing study of the role of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in fostering the conditions necessary to liberate human ingenuity in the services of unspeakable acts of carnage."Source: Comparative Religion (A Publication of...The University of Washington (2005-2006), p. 3 (http://jsis.washington.edu/religion/46756.CompRel.NL.pdf)

Finally, perhaps the DI should also note that I have also been a member of the Jewish Studies Committee at Iowa State for many years. My doctoral research won a dissertation grant from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

3. How can Avalos, an atheist, teach courses on the Bible and religion?
Unlike learning Bible in Sunday School classes, courses on the Bible in public universities are descriptive not prescriptive.

We study what people believe about the Bible, and not what people should believe. We report what different viewpoints (including Christian, Jewish, and secular) say ABOUT the Bible, without forcing students to believe in any viewpoint.

Such pedagogy is premised on the idea that a professor can objectively describe what other people believe about their religion. If that were not the case, then Christians could never teach about the religion of anyone else in a public university either.

My ability to be objective has been validated by the fact that I was named Professor of the Year at Iowa State in 1996, after being nominated by CHRISTIAN students. I was named Master Teacher in 2003-04. I usually receive some of the highest, if not the highest, teaching evaluations in my department, and most of the students are Christians.

And while pro-ID advocates make much of the fact that Dr. Gonzalez supposedly promotes ID only outside the classroom, they always erroneously assert that I promote secular humanism inside the classroom.

In addition, some of my books and articles have been published by well-recognized Christian presses, including Abingdon Press, Hendrickson Press, and Eerdmans (Dictionary of the Bible).

4. Avalos is too anti-religious to teach in Iowa
The Discovery Institute will first have to convince a number of churches who have invited me to speak with the full knowledge that I am an atheist.

My lectures based on Fighting Words and on other topics have been delivered, by invitation, at the following Christian churches in Iowa:

Collegiate United Methodist Church, Ames, Iowa, February 15, 2007
West Des Moines United Methodist Church, January 7, 2007
Westminster Presbyterian Church (Des Moines), November 7, 2006
Bethesda Lutheran Church, Ames, IA, December 7, 2003
Unitarian Fellowship, Ames, IA, November 10, 2002

Open-minded Christians do want to hear an alternative viewpoint from me, and we have had many constructive discussions.

If I am not anti-religious enough to be speaking in churches, why am I too anti-religious for public universities?

5. Avalos spearheaded an atheist plot in Iowa
Not true. Any success against ID in Iowa has come because we have assembled a coalition that cuts across religious lines, and includes Christians, Jews, Hindus, and secularists. They all recognize that being against ID is to be against pseudo-science, and not to be against religion.

Christians can recognize that, even if God exists, there are bad arguments for the existence of God (and ID is one of them).

Pro-ID forces in Iowa can usually muster only fundamentalists, who write letters in the local papers defending ID with biblical passages. Thus, these letter writers only expose the fact that ID is a religious position, and not a scientific one.

The Discovery Institute has only itself to blame for its string of defeats in academia and in court. The DI underestimated Iowans who know the difference between science and religion. And these smear tactics will not help the DI with those who know my academic record best.

Friday, May 25, 2007 11:47:24 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

There is a hilarious video over at Pharyngula.  I've GOT to figure out how to imbed video into my blog.

 

[update: Thanks to Mark at Denialism.com, I am seriously DANGEROUS now!  Moooo-hahhaha.  I can embed video]

Friday, May 25, 2007 10:20:02 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

The story behind South Dakota’s abortion ban. Click on this link, and go read the whole thing.  Whether you approve of abortion or not, is this how you want your laws being made?

  If the “pro-life lobby is so righteous, how come they have to delete testimony:

The dissenters--Linda Holcomb, a family therapist; Dr. Maria Bell, the sole gynecologist on the committee; Senator Stanford Adelstein; and Looby--say the final report distorts the information and testimony the task force surveyed. Though the testimony was evenly divided between citizen and expert witnesses in favor of legal abortion and against it, most of the testimony in favor of legal abortion was omitted from the final report or discredited to what Looby considers a libelous degree.

Claim not to remember the testimony they are deleting:

Hunt is evasive when questioned about this omission. "There were a lot of statements made that didn't make it into the report," he said. "I don't remember that many doctors making that kind of a statement." But an examination of the testimony sheds light on the contention: Of the nine physicians who testified, eight claimed it was not medically advisable to create an environment where abortion was illegal.

 

Falsely represent testimony, skew testimony,

Missing testimony isn't the only troubling aspect of the report; the witnesses were routinely misrepresented. For instance, the report claims that "close to 2,000 women who have had abortions made statements detailing their experience...over 99 percent of them testified that abortion is destructive of the rights, interests, and health of women." These figures actually refer to 1,500 affidavits originally collected as part of an Internet campaign, brought in by a Texas-based litigation firm, The Justice Foundation, and its antiabortion offspring, Operation Outcry, during the October 21 meeting of the task force. There were also seven out-of-state Operation Outcry representatives invited to testify before the task force, even though the day was reserved for South Dakotan testimony only. Though Hunt says he can't remember who had invited Operation Outcry, Allison, the self-identified "pro-life" chair of the committee who often voted with the prochoice minority, says that Hunt was responsible for bringing in all the pro-life witnesses. "He may not remember, but I'm guessing he knows," she added.

 

Just plain lie about science

Looby says that she and the other minority members spent hours trying to correct errors in the report during the final meeting but were routinely voted down. The final straw was the report's contention that there is a link between breast cancer and abortion. The report claimed that "reasons to suspect such a link are sufficiently sound," though nearly all the evidence the group had accumulated supported the contrary. Looby and Bell made a motion to amend the claim, which was tabled without discussion. At that point, Looby, Adelstein, Holcomb and Bell left the meeting in protest. The final report was then endorsed nine to one, with Allison the lone dissenter.

 

And deny responsibility for writing the resulting legislation?

No one claimed specific authorship of the report. "We were supposed to sit down, go through it, critique it, make motions, and we didn't know who wrote it because no one would say," Allison recollects. "I think there were several authors, but the only knowledge I have of who authored it is what I've read in the paper, honestly, because no one would 'fess up during our meeting." Hunt, whose statement on the report's authorship is "I wasn't necessarily part of any of the drafting," contends that it was a group effort and that several members had been e-mailing drafts back and forth before the final meeting. "There were probably six or seven members who wrote different sections of it and then pooled their information," he says. "I know that there were three or four other members who kind of went through the draft trying to tie it all together." Neither Looby nor the other surprised members were privy to the alleged e-mail drafts. "We got the feeling there was a lot of national-level professional input," Looby says.

Friday, May 25, 2007 5:48:04 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sue got a promotion.

Because Sue is AWESOME!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 9:21:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:42:32 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] | #
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Go read this article about HPV vaccine:

 

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050530/pollitt

 

Here’s the money quote:

I remember when people rolled their eyeballs if you suggested that opposition to abortion was less about "life" than about sex, especially sex for women. You have to admit that thesis is looking pretty solid these days. No matter what the consequences of sex--pregnancy, disease, death--abstinence for singles is the only answer. Just as it's better for gays to get AIDS than use condoms, it's better for a woman to get cancer than have sex before marriage. It's honor killing on the installment plan.

And another one:

As they flex their political muscle, right-wing Christians increasingly reveal their condescending view of women as moral children who need to be kept in line sexually by fear. That's why antichoicers will never answer the call of prochoicers to join them in reducing abortions by making birth control more widely available: They want it to be less available. Their real interest goes way beyond protecting fetuses--it's in keeping sex tied to reproduction to keep women in their place.

 

Here is another article for the layman, but more science-oriented about the virus, the vaccine, and the reasoning of the people opposing it:

http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2007/05/11/texas_where_the_living_is_cont.php

 

Here, you can get the facts about HPV Vaccine: http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/cgi/content/full/57/1/7#SEC5

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:18:28 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #

These humans, with their screwed up priorities:

"Come on Jay, we gotta get Grasshopper to the school bus on time.  Rush rush rush."

Sigh.  Don't they know that you have to stop and smell the irises once in a while?

And then lick them?

And then shove your head right in the middle of the Iris bed, and shake your head around to get the smell on you?

They just don't know what they're missing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:38:41 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Monday, May 21, 2007

http://blogs4brownback.wordpress.com/2007/05/18/heliocentrism-is-an-atheist-doctrine/

This is so awesome!  It's so over the top, I'm leaning toward spoof.

(Hat Tip: Pharyngula)

Monday, May 21, 2007 8:10:42 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  | #

You can go here and sign a petition to free Kent Hovind from his imprisonment for tax evasion.  Read the heartfelt pleas from his supporters.

Kent Hovind was sent to prison for real crimes that he was really convicted of.  Saying he’s “innocent” because God told him to do it is a little nutty.  Don’t think so?

Well, maybe you also don’t think it’s nutty when a woman claims that her husband isn’t guilty of child abuse because Satan targeted him for temptation due to his desire to be a preacher.

Religion is fine as far as it goes, but it cannot be allowed to justify anti-social behavior.  Someone might be a “man of God”, but even religion can’t mask the fact that ugly is just plain ugly; whether it is thought, word or action.

That takes a special combination of religion, stupidity, and insanity.

Add to that the holy warrior persona, and you’ve got yourself a big barrelful of ugly.

Something that seems to be on the rise.

(two hattips to Pharyngula)

 

Monday, May 21, 2007 10:08:17 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  | #
Saturday, May 19, 2007

It’s the answer!  All we have to do is wait until the “right” smears, defames, harasses, and sets their troll posse out with threats against the children of all the conservatives in the country.  The answer is so obvious.  Unleash Bill O’Reilly  and Bill Donohue, and let them do their damage.  One by one, people will wake up when their little liberal child is the one standing in the crosshairs of a fallafel-weilding maniac. I just don’t know if the country has time to let them completely discredit themselves.

The Daily Kos has more about the strange case of Amanda Marcotte.

Her parents didn’t know what to do, either. "It was interesting to see, because they’re Fox News-watchers; they buy into the whole thing," Amanda says. "So I don’t think it ever occurred to them, the human face of someone Bill O’Reilly will slander for political gain. They didn’t stop to consider how much he slants things, and lies, until it happened to someone they knew."

 

Plus, if they keep this up, they are going to do real number on the state of morality in this country by forcing them out of their jobs:

Today, Marcotte is unemployed and—since she gave up her apartment for the abortive move to North Carolina—without her own place. But she’s doing alright. She recently signed a contract to write a book for Seal Press, called Not Your Darling (due out in Spring 2008) and has moved in with her boyfriend — who agreed to support her for a year while she writes. (The catch: she has to do the same for him next year). In the meantime, you can find her on Pandagon.net.

Saturday, May 19, 2007 10:41:25 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] |  |  | #
Thursday, May 17, 2007

Minnesota ranked # 3 in the nation for volunteerism.

Minnesota ranked #1 for youth voter turnout.

Minnesota ranked #5 for median family income.

Minnesota ranked #4 for students ranked as advanced in 4th grade math

Minnesota ranked #1 for high school graduation rates (per capita)

Minnesota ranked #10 for residents with a Bachelor’s degree or higher (33% of pop)

Minnestoa ranked #13 for percent of children with all parents in the labor force

Minnesota ranked # 21 for welfare caseloads (per capita #17 in real numbers)

Minnesota ranked #11 for Patents issued

Minnesota ranked #19 for Employment

Minnesota ranked #22 for abortion rate (for real numbers, but #20 for out-of state non-residents, so Minnesotans who have abortions are less common)

Minnesota ranked #18 for % of women who never marry (#19 for men)

Minnesota ranked #42 for divorce rate

Minnesota ranked # 39 for violent crime per capita.

Minnesota ranked #29 for bankruptcy filings (real numbers)

Minnesota ranked #4 for over-all health index

Minnesota ranked # 43 for child death rate (real numbers)

Minnesota ranked #45 for Infant death rate (real numbers)

Minnesota ranked #40 for Chlamidia (per capita)

Minnesota ranked #41 for suicides (per capita)

Minnesota is #2 for accepting refugees (per capita #4 for real numbers)

 

Not surprisingly:

 

Minnesota ranked  #8 for tax rate pre $ GDP

Minnesota ranked #4 for tax rate per capita

Minnesota ranked #12 for total tax burden

Strangely, enough, I’d rather live in Minnesota than some low-tax, conservative, “family values” state.  I like living in a state that actually values people, families  and civic life.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 11:07:44 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] | #

I need to start a list of all the things I do that are "Evil".

Now I find out that heaven isn't going to allow Science Fiction either?  Forget about it.  I don't want to go.  I want to spend eternity wherever James White and Richard Biggs, and Andreaus Katsulas (among others) are.

You can keep the harp.

Go to:

http://www.progressivehistorians.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1443

Progressive Historian has posted the text from an old Moral Majority pamphlet from 1981.  It has 26 “don’ts” for students.  Some of them are actually pretty good.  Most are just silly.

#’s 1 & 2  made me laugh:

1. Don't get into science-fiction values discussions or trust a teacher who dwells on science fiction in his/her "teaching."

2. Don't discuss the future or future social arrangements or governments in class.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 9:07:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] |  | #

So I was taking off with Grasshopper to go meet his new cello teacher (really nice guy), and we get to the corner and there is an accident.

One of the local spoiled teenagers took the corner too fast (as they do) ran off the road, sheared off a fire hydrant, and into a telephone pole.  His little red convertible sports car was a mess.  No one appeared to be hurt, but there was a crowd of hysterical teen-aged girls standing around doing the teenaged drama girl vogue.  So I assumed that he must be little Mr. Sports Hero.

The lady in front of me was stopped and rubber-necking for what seemed an eternity.  Finally, she eased out into the intersection, and I followed her.

Then, she slowed down and weaved toward the shoulder.  The break lights came on and she slowed even more.  In the middle of the intersection.

I thought, “Oh no, you are NOT going to sit there and do more rubber-necking with me hanging here in the oncoming traffic lane.”

So I steered around her, only to find her wandering back towards me, and accelerating.  I had a choice.  I could slam on the breaks and pull back behind her, or I could accelerate, weave temporarily into the oncoming lane (which was empty) and get past her.  I chose the latter.

I was past her by the time she noticed me.

Whereupon she laid on her horn, and laid on the gas and spent the next mile within a foot-and-a-half of my bumper, leaning out the driver’s side window, waving her hands, and yelling.

Psycho much?

No mystery where these little rich bastards learn their driving habits, is there?

I might add that less than a month ago, we had a three-car accident on this same stretch of road that involved two cars leaveing the road due to all three most likely speeding by way too much, one car passing the other, and a near-miss of a head-on collision.  The whole road was closed down for about 45 minutes while they cleared the cars.

This is the same stretch of road where I narrowly missed a head-on collision with a woman who was passing another car in a no-passing zone (fortunatly, I was able to break in time, and did not lose control of my car.)

About a mile from there is the intersection where I was rear-ended while stopped at a stop-light.  The woman who ran into me claimed that I "came out of nowhere".  Apparently, so did the three cars in front of me.

Sheesh.  I think the whole town needs a refresher course.  I like Eden Prairie a lot more when I don't have to drive (why does a 90-lb bleach-blond-fake-tan-Tammy-Fae-make-up trophy-wife need a Hummer?  And how come they're so angry all the time? And do they think the Jesus fish and "W" stickers will ward off car accidents?)

Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:36:11 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  | #
Thursday, May 17, 2007 1:46:09 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

Yet more proof that the Discovery Institute is "in error where the truth is concerned".

The Panda’s Thumb points out that eugenics principles were not only around before Darwin, but that eugenics principles are detailed in religious texts, and also that some creationist anti-Darwinists throughout history have embraced eugenics.

And yet, somehow Darwin is to blame for eugenics?

Here’s the thing.  Eugenics and eugenicists existed BEFORE Darwin.  Many of them misused theology to support their ideas and even misused the Bible to support their ideas.

Along comes Darwin and his observations and theory… and SURPRISE!  A bunch of illogical, self-serving ideologues, who already proved themselves capable of misappropriating information to support their immoral ideas MISAPPROPRIATED INFORMATION TO SUPPORT THEIR IMMORAL IDEAS.

Tinkle came along after Darwin, reject Darwin soundly and roundly, yet continued to advocate eugenics, as the Panda’s Thumb points out, right up to the eve of the moon landing.

Huh.  Then along comes the Discovery Institute, and claims that those ideas originated with Darwin, when they very clearly pre-date him and anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of history and a functioning brain could bother to figure it out.

But they don’t want to.  Why?  Could it be because they are a bunch of illogical self-serving ideologues who misuse information to support their immoral ideas?

[Update: Denialism.com has a wonderful post about the lying ways of "Pro-family" groups as well.]

Thursday, May 17, 2007 8:37:39 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  | #
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I wasn't going to say anything about this, but a discussion cropped up on Neil's blog, and I found I was able to articulate my feelings better than I thought I would be able to.  So I thought I would post it here:

 

For me, Falwell became an easily recognized symbol for all the very real preachers and rank-and-file Christians who thought and acted and talked as he did.

Not that he is responsible for their abuses of their faith, but it is difficult to separate him from them when his words would come out of their mouths over and over again as they took their actions, justifying themselves with his words (as well as the words of Dobson and Robertson, etc.).

To me, he was an icon that bad people used to justify their abuses of faith.

In justice, I try to remember that personal bias and remember that he was just a man that has lost his life.

Unlike some out there, I can’t be happy he’s dead, because the man behind the symbol probably didn’t deserve to die anymore than anyone else does…and nothing good will come of his death because the symbol will live on without him, and unlike the human behind it, there is no possiblility now that it will ever change.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 9:37:07 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

Neil at 4simpsons provides a link to a blog claiming that a new classification of the fossil remains of  “Lucy” is another nail in the coffin of evolution.  Apparently, “Lucy” has been moved to another branch on the Hominid family tree.  Interesting also how the creationists claim that “Lucy” disproves evolution because she has physiological traits in common with a chimp.  She also still has many traits in common with a modern human, but that is ignored.  At the same time, they claim that a “lack of transitional fossils” disproves the theory of evolution and natural selection.

 Let’s see, a fossil that has some traits in common with one set of creatures on the earth, and some traits in common with another set of creatures on the earth, though now believed to not be a direct ancestor of either one of them somehow disproves the theory that they have a common ancestor and the differences are due to changes over time in the genetic code that lead to different species with a common ancestor?

Kirk Cameron demands to see a croc-o-duck before he believes that evolution happens, but then these people insist that a “chimp-o-human” is somehow proof of the opposite?  The discovery of a third cousin somehow proves that you and your first cousin don’t share grandparents?

Evolution and natural selection necessitates the existence of branches in the evolutionary line.  Yet, somehow, the discovery of branches is supposed to disprove the theory?

Creationist “logic”:   “The theory says that B follows A.  Therefore, if A is true, then B cannot be true.  If A is false, the B cannot be true”.

 Whaaaaa?

There is no way to win against such…I was going to say illogic, but somehow, that doesn’t cut it...

Both Neil, and the blogger he points to claim that the “mainstream media” would never cover something like this.

Untrue.  The mainstream press covers this sort of thing all the time.  When new evidence is discovered that changes our understanding of the world, it is most certainly covered.  This, for instance.  Or this.

And CNN will almost certainly be all over it in their race to catch FOX in a contest to see who can out-pander the other for the viewership of the somnolent masses.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 8:21:55 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [18] | #
Monday, May 14, 2007

My mom and I were just talking this morning about the peat-bog fires that are a common event up where my mom and dad live in Northern Minnesota.  There's been one peat bog fire that has been burning, under the surface, for as far back as I can remember being aware of such things.  It's generally seen as an unfortunate fact of life...

...but now I wonder...are those sub-surface peat-bog fires the sort of thing that could result in Pyrolysis?  I have no way of knowing for sure if the peat bog fires are proceeding without the benefit of oxygen...but I suspect it's quite likely, as they burn under a layer of soil.

And if so, they are apparently a potentially useful method of carbon sequestration.

That would be just cool.  I wonder who I would ask to find out about such a thing?  At least there would be SOME benefit to having fires that nobody can put out burning under "ground" for years and years and years...and which are otherwise a dangerous, potentially expensive, hazardous nuisance.

Oh, and by the way, really DO follow that link and read the article.  There is a suggestion that systematic controlled pyrolysis could be one possible remedy for some of our environmental problems...disposing of waste, enriching the soil, producing alternative fuel and sequestering carbon all in one fell swoop.

The catch, of course, is that carbon sequestration must become more economically desirable.

Lehmann said that as the value of carbon dioxide increases on carbon markets, "we calculate that biochar sequestration in conjunction with bioenergy from pyrolysis becomes economically attractive when the value of avoided carbon dioxide emissions reaches $37 per ton." Currently, the Chicago Climate Exchange is trading carbon dioxide at $4 a ton; it is projected that that the price will rise to $25-$85 a ton in the coming years. (quote from article, follow link for more)

(Hat Tip:  A Blog Around the Clock)

Monday, May 14, 2007 9:12:53 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Sunday, May 13, 2007

I ran a mile today as a warm-up for sparring class.  I was able to breath the entire time! (and for the eight laps up and down three flights of stairs.)

If these new meds keep working, who knows, I might be up to try a half-marathon by the end of the season.  No marathons for me, though.  I need more speed if I'm going to try that.  I can't run for five hours straight.  I'm not like the man who runs all day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007 9:18:31 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

Oh!  So THAT'S what they mean by "fetch"!  I don't get it...

...if they want you to bring it back, why don't they just say "Bring it back?"

Why do they always have to make things so complicated?

Sunday, May 13, 2007 8:46:10 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Saturday, May 12, 2007

This New York Times Article is interesting mostly because I have heard NOTHING about this case.  I suppose because I don’t watch the be afraid, disaster is everywhere show local news.  But I know lots of people who watch the local news.  You would think someone would have mentioned it.

Maybe someone else who is local can comment on it.  This is the area where my husband grew up.  There has been a lot of animosity between the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the general population.

Here is a general history of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe form the band’s perspective.

The perspective of the general population seems to be that the Band abuses treaty-supported fishing rights for commercial fishing.  The Band also operates a casino in the area, an issue that seems to inflame jealousies and objections anywhere the right is exercised.

Probably the best illustration of the tensions in the area is this little two-paragraph gem from the NYT article:

The official policy of the county is that the Mille Lacs Band's reservation no longer exists because of legal decisions dating to the early 20th century. Federal courts have rejected a lawsuit to that effect, but Kolb and the Mille Lacs County Commission maintain their position.

Kolb caused a flap last year by detailing the policy in a memo to county department heads. Soon after, members of the local American Indians Veterans Post 52 and the Ladies Auxiliary were booed by some spectators while riding a float in the Fourth of July parade in the Mille Lacs County town of Isle.

The lack of recognition of the Band appears to be countered by a lack of recognition of the county by the band.   Things like not answering summons.

So the story of an 11-year-old boy who is dragged from his school in handcuffs because he failed to respond to a subpoena makes some sense in this context:  The grown-ups are fighting, and they are taking it out on the kids.

But what I don’t understand, is why, if the County Attorney wanted to “put her thing down”, why did she pick on an 11-year-old assault victim?  Somehow I don’t think that it was an effort to sooth old tensions and bring about a constructive dialogue on the situation.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 10:32:31 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

We attended The Music Man last night at Central Middle School.  Adventure Boy is playing tuba in the pit orchestra.  They did a very good job, and it was a lot of fun to see the results of all of their hard work.  The costuming was very impressive, the Barbershop quartet was cool.  Overall the acting was good, the primary characters were very good, nobody did a bad job.

In particular, there was the scene where the local piano teacher, her Irish mother, and a young piano student are in the same room together.  I actually forgot, for most of that whole scene, that every actor in that scene were actually the same age.  The Irish mother seemed middle aged.  The young 20-something piano teacher seemed like a young 20-something, and the little girl seemed like a little girl.  Yet they were all seventh-or-eight-grade girls.

Also, the people sitting next to me (a couple of youth pastors) were very proud of their son, who played the creepy bald salesman who was after the Music Man.  The mother told me that he hadn’t wanted that role, because he had to play a mean, creepy character, and he was worried people wouldn’t like him.  He did a REALLY good job.  I had the creepy-crawlies after the scene he had with the piano teacher.  He is a very talented young man.  Too bad his mother tells me that he won’t be doing drama in High School, because he is afraid people will think he’s gay.  More proof that homophobia is everybody's problem.

Despite the enjoyability of the musical, it's educational value, and it's positive influence on Adventure' Boy's sense of fun with his music, it’s time for the Central Middle School’s run of The Music Man to end.  I don’t mind running Adventure Boy to five rehearsals per week.  I don’t mind shelling out check after check for a “crew” shirt or matching Converse All Star basketball shoes so he can be identified as a member of the pit orchestra, or pizza money for the all-day weekend rehearsals, and another for the cast party afterwards, or watching the list of unfinished schoolwork pile up on his school website (while the estimates of his grades drop no matter how temporarily).  I don’t mind him wandering the house humming the songs from the musical over and over and over again with his fingers working imaginary valves, or having to run to the store and by forty snack bars and forty drink boxes because it’s his turn to bring the after-rehearsal snack. .

But it’s starting to affect his thinking.

I was reading this introductory paragraph aloud to Rocky from the Blog “Think outside the cage

The Colorado Department of Corrections director told local officials Wednesday that inmate numbers are growing at a rate of “one prison a year” and more needs to be done to reduce recidivism before budgetary problems get further out of hand.

 

Adventure boy immediately sang out, with great dramatic flair, “What we need is a BOY’S BAND!”

Enough is enough.

Although, come to think of it, a band might not be such a bad idea after all...you MIGHT stand a chance of getting the funding for it if you could somehow make it a "faith-based initiative".  A prison Gospel band?  Hmmm...

Saturday, May 12, 2007 8:55:38 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Friday, May 11, 2007

It might mean that someone is a creative genius.

It might mean that someone has too much time on their hands.

It might mean that someone is a little too devoted to their church.

It might mean that we can be grateful that someone doesn't use their powers for evil, even if they DO apply them to something we might think of as frivolous.

It might mean that Lego Blocks are brain crack...

...but...

Sometimes you just have to say something is awesome, no matter what it "means".

Friday, May 11, 2007 9:38:51 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

Denialism debunks the perception that 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

In addition to finding that the percived epidemic is more a low-grade endemic condition given to temporary environmental flare-ups, the brothers Hoofnagle point out that those most immune to the disease are Catholics, Muslims and Atheists.  Most succeptible?  Evangelicals and Baptists.

Friday, May 11, 2007 7:31:10 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Thursday, May 10, 2007

It is unbelievable to me that we live in a country where a girl can be kicked out of school for refusing to say the Lord's Prayer at a school function, and Christians can continue to claim that prayer has been taken out of school, and that Christians are a "persecuted" minority.

Lies lies lies.  Doesn't the Bible say something about that?

You can watch the video of this girl's heinous crime here on YouTube

(Hat Tip:  Eclecticsanonymous)

Thursday, May 10, 2007 4:16:30 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] |  | #

I came across this little gem at Pharyngula:  Fox news is trumpeting the happy news that a study shows that religious kids are better behaved than non-religious kids.

I looked across the table at Grasshopper, who was stuffing his face with cereal for his after-school snack before diving into his homework.

Me:                    “I should have made you go to church when you were little.”

Grasshopper:   “What?!?”

Me:                     “This study says that you would be better behaved if I raised you with religion.”

 I read the article to him.  He listens intently, a puckish grin growing on his face as I read.

Grasshopper:     “Well…”  he shrugs in an exaggeratedly careless way, “Too late now.”

Me:                       “Yeah.  Guess I’m stuck with you the way you are.”

Grasshopper:       “Yep.  Now, what can I start on fire?”

 

Theist kids may tend to be better behaved, but non-theist kids tend to be more entertaining.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 2:46:53 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #

"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

                                                                                            --James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance, Virginia, 1785

Thursday, May 10, 2007 8:34:13 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #

Adventure Boy's best friend is moving to Canada.  Montreal, to be specific.

Poor Adventure Boy.  His last friend who moved away moved to Argentina.

Rocky and I had made an agreement long ago that we would provide the kids with a stable home-life, none of this moving around having to rip up roots all the time like we did when we were kids.

Too bad we didn't get the same agreement from the rest of the world.

Plus, the boy's parents are super-nice people, but the dad is a pro-Bush, Pro-Iraq anti-tax, anti-public program libertarian conservative...

...and he's moving to CANADA?

When the mom called and told me the bad news, I said "You know, I always thought I'd be the one calling YOU and telling you that WE were fleeing to Canada."  She laughed.

She DID say that Adventure Boy could hide with them if he had to dodge the draft, though.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 7:29:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] | #
Wednesday, May 09, 2007

 

One of the big arguments I hear about why we need pro-life legislation and litigation, is the idea that somehow, abortion is unhealthy for women.  The pro-life movement insist that they are pro-woman, and pro-baby.  The facts say they are neither.

 

According to Planned Parenthood:

 

Compared to pro-choice states, anti-abortion

states spend far less money per child on a

range of services such as foster care,

education, welfare, and the adoption of

children who have physical and mental

disabilities

 

 The states that have the strongest antiabortion

laws are also the states in which

women suffer from lower levels of education

and higher levels of poverty, as well as from

a lower ratio of female-to-male earnings.

They also have a lower percentage of

women in the legislature and fewer

mandates requiring insurance providers to

cover minimum hospital stays after childbirth

Source: Schroedel, Jean Reith. (2000). Is the Fetus a Person? A Comparison of Policies across the Fifty States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

 

According to Feministe over at the Feminist bloggers Network: (following quoted from site)

Mississippi now has the highest infant mortality rate in the country (and other “pro-life” states in the South aren’t doing much better). In Mississippi, 11.4 babies die per every 1,000 live births (compared to 6.9 per 1,000 nation-wide, as of the last time national data was collected). Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. Louisiana and South Carolina also saw increases in infant mortality. To put that in context, Mississippi has an infant mortality rate right around that of Uruguay, Ukraine, Macedonia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Mississippi’s infant mortality rate is twice as high as that of Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Singapore, Norway, and a slew of other countries.

Mississippi also has the third-highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. And the second-highest rate of child poverty

 

Back to Planned Parenthood, we find them addressing the claim that our “anything goes” namby pamby secular humanist morals (including pro-choice) facilitate a criminal and irresponsible atmosphere that is responsible for the way our world has deteriorated:

Previous research has established that a

strong link exists between an adverse family

environment and future criminal behavior;

that maternal rejection is counted among the

various qualitative aspects of parenting that

provide the most accurate predictors of

juvenile delinquency; and that having been

born of a pregnancy that was unwanted by

one’s mother is a circumstance that

increases a person’s risk of committing

violent crime.

 

Source:  David, Henry P., et al. (1988). Born Unwanted. New York:

Springer Publishing Company.

 

 At least one study reported that legalized

abortion can account for about half the

observed decline in crime in the U.S. since

1991. Homicide rates have fallen more than

40 percent, and violent crime and property

crime have fallen more than 30 percent.

 

 The timing of the drop in crime corresponds

to the period in which the first generation of

children born after the legalization of

abortion are reaching what are considered

to be the peak ages of criminal activity

(18–24 years old). Furthermore, states that

legalized abortion before the rest of the

nation did so were also the first states to

experience decreasing crime rates.

 

States with high abortion rates have seen a

greater fall in crime since 1985, even after

taking into account other factors that would

be expected to influence the crime rate.

Furthermore, these declines in crime rates in

high-abortion states are disproportionately

concentrated among those under the age of

25.

 

Source:  Donohue, John J. III, & Steven D. Levitt. (2001). “The Impact of

Legalized Abortion on Crime.” The Quarterly Journal of

Economics, 66(2), 379–420.

 

 

Now, I'm going to come right out and say that correlational studies don't put a lock on anything, but when they fly in the face of conventional wisdom, it is good policy to question the assumptions of conventional wisdom.

 

Also, I don't think that the correlations necessarily have to do with abortion specifically, but instead are likely the result of a general view of human rights and social justice.  Areas where those things are important and valued fair better, and places where they are not fair worse.  The right to appropriate health care as determined by the patient and the doctor is part of that.  Family Planning IS a social justice issue.  For the parents and for the children who are already in the family, and the child who may or may not be joining the family.  Abortion is one part of the Family Planning puzzle.  Hopefully, it can continue to be an ever-shrinking part as prevention efforts become more effective and versitile.

 

But the pro-life crowd is not just about abortion.  If it was about abortion, why would they be so adamant about Emergency Contraception?  It isn't abortion.  It prevents ovulation,and fertilization.  Yet they oppose it and try to deny it to women.  They try to deny sex education to young people...denying them basic information about how their bodies work to produce babies.  This isn't about abortion.  It's about trying to apply bronze age morality in a modern society.  It's disfunctional, it's backward, and it's not going to result in anything good.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 9:34:03 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] | #

Has it ever occured to Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron that the reason a Coke can has never spontaneously emerged from the primordial oooze is that Coke cans don't have self-replicating biological componants whose replication is guided by a complex chemical code that randomly re-organizes itself within the confines of natural chemical laws, the results of which are either advantaged, disadvantaged, or eliminated by the constraints of the environment? the effects of which amount to small changes adding up to cumulative HUGE changes over vast periods of time resulting in speciation and a diversity of life on Earth?

No, I suppose it hasn't.

They are apparently still rhapsodizing that a commonly-used phallic symbol was made by God specifically to be placed into the human mouth.  How easily and naturally it fits into the shape of the mouth.  Because God wants it that way.  Why else would the shapes be so compatable?

And don't forget, as you watch this video, sodomy is an abomination.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 8:09:57 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [10] | #

I'm going to try something new here, If you want to participate, there are a few rules.  If you don't want to participate, you can just follow along.  If nobody participates, I won't try this again.

I will ask a question.  You get one chance to answer it on this thread.  One.  Nobody can argue with it on this thread.  This thread is only for stating your thesis in answer to the question based on your experience, any research you do, and your personal thought process.  Each comment is a sort of mini-post on the part of the person posting it.  Do not respond to another person's comment.  Just make your own.  In one week, I will open up a discussion thread on this topic.  Take your time.  Make it your best effort you can put into it over the week.  Then you can get your fight on if you would like, when I post the discussion thread.

Question:  What definative measure should be used to determine "personhood" in society?  By what measure(s) should personhood be legally acknowledged by society, and by what measure should it be removed?  Do you have any theological, philosophical,historical, legal or medical support for your assertion? Does your definition necessitate any caveats, modifications or accomedations for certain states of being?  You don't have to address them here, but simply identifying them will help for clarity.

Reminder:  No multiple comments. No comments on other people's comments.  No argueing.  There will be time for that later.  Stay focused. Don't get distracted.  Bring your own personal knowledge, perspective and expertise to the table.I reserve the right to delete frivelous posts, multiple posts, posts that are obviously intended to disrupt or subvert the intent of the exercise, and also trolls and such.  Not that I expect anything of the sort, but you know how it is.  Other than that, only participate if you think this will be fun!

 

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 6:13:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Tuesday, May 08, 2007

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize, every expanded prospect.”

-- James Madison, in a letter to William Bradford, April 1,1774

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 10:58:35 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #

Dream Girl 

Once More, product and property of xkcd reproduced here under Creative Commons.  Go to xkcd for more fun!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 7:55:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #

“There he is”, I say.

Grasshopper nods, “Yep.  The man who runs all day.”

 

The sixty-something  guy chugs past us, oblivious as always, with his headphones playing whatever sixty-something men listen to when they run.  He’s wearing his usual spring get-up of gym shorts and a commemorative tee-shirt from some run or another.  In the winter he is in a heavy track suit, hat and scarf.  I don’t know if he has special shoes to handle the ice or not.

I don’t think it’s ageist of me to worry about him slipping on the ice and breaking a hip.  I worry about that for myself, and I’m not even forty yet.

Anyway, every day we are out waiting for the bus, rain or shine, summer or winter, wrath of the great old ones or thankfully pre-apocalyptic, he chugs past us.  As reliable as a Maytag is reputed to be.

We call him “the man who runs all day” because one day Grasshopper and I were out running errands on a weekday.  It was one of those blessed no-school days, yet we were up and about at bus time (8:00AM), ready to begin the day.  The running man was there, on schedule.  We waved at him as he passed in front of us.  He chugged on, oblivious.

We passed him on our way to the mall to pick up some things at Target, drop some stuff off at the dry cleaners, buy some things the dog needed, get the oil changed in the van.  We had lunch at the mall, splitting a plate of Chinese food from the food court.

I decide to take the alternate route home, and there he is, the running guy.  It’s after one in the afternoon, and there he is…still running.  His knobby gnarled calves churning away at the pavement like pistons in an engine…persistant, mechanical, seemingly effortless precision.

Two hours later, I have to take grasshopper to an appointment.  There’s the running guy, strolling along on his way back towards our house, not looking the least bit fatigued.  Back straight, slightly paunchy belly moving in a barely perceptible fashion with his easy breathing, bald head not particularly gleamy.

And that’s why we call him the man who runs all day.  Because “The man who runs 2/3 of the day” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 7:32:32 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Monday, May 07, 2007

The Cure 

 

This is the product and property of the most excellent:  XKCD  I have reproduced it because it is designated Creative Commons.  And because it is funny.  so there.

Monday, May 07, 2007 8:59:05 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
    Today Grasshopper (4th grade) had a math assignment.  There were ten problems of about equal difficulty.  the most fun one, however, was the final one.  Using the functions; add, subtract, multiply and divide, parenthesis, and the numbers 1 -9, create a math problem where the answer is 100.  You can't change the order of the numbers.  There are several correct answers.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

How he did it:

((((1+2) x 3) x 4) +5) + (((6x7) +8) +9)= 100

basically, 41+59 = 100


uh huh.  fourth grade math.  And he's in the "average" group.

Not that long ago I was at a dinner where a vocal conservative said "We should just admit that public schools are a complete failure, shut them down, and let the private sector take over."  This guy's kid is in the same school district as my kids are.

My kid stuck with this problem with minimal help and encouragement, and solved it.  AND HAD FUN!  Failure?  I don't think so.

Monday, May 07, 2007 5:27:14 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

One of my favorite religious conservative sites has gone into an abortion discussion again.

I threw out a few comments and was ignored, except for one case where my argument was intentionally misrepresented.  Same old same old tired, worn-out just-so stories about what constitutes "personhood" that ultimately just throws up it's hands and admits that the whole argument is based on faith, nothing can be proven so we must "err on the side of life".  Even if it means that then we have to define an unborn fetus that never developed a brain as a person.

LA-la-la-la-la-thumbs-in-the-ears self-congradulatory wanking, and ignoring very real questions about the debate, and implications about their positions.

It's so unusual for this site, but I guess we all reach a point where reason fails us, and we pull something out of our ears and stick with it.

It's just that most of us don't try to turn that into legislation and public policy.

Especially public policy that will burdon the person we are making the decision for, and will cost us nothing.

Abortion discussions are inherantly pointless.  Both sides have too many thoughtless and dishonest people in the ranks.  Neither of them want to talk to anyone.  They just want to scream insanely at each other.  The main difference is that the pro-life side has crazy people with guns and bombs.

Monday, May 07, 2007 8:22:06 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [17] |  | #

PZ Myers at Pharyngula  has a link up to this fun little gem of a list on Radar Magazine Online.  The ten dumbest congresscritters of2006.

There’s lots of good stuff, but my favorite was this:

1.    Representative Katherine Harris (R-FL) If dumb Congress members were the X-Men, Harris would be their Wolverine—a mutant possessing fearsome skills, the product of a demented government experiment gone horribly wrong.

Fun.

For the conservatives here, don’t think they just pick on the Republicans.  There are some Democrats too, but they are more toward the bottom.

PZ also provides a link to a Radar Magazine Online countdown of the Holiest Congresscritters.  Chin up Minnesota!  Our very own "hot for Jesus", and apparent President-molester (what can I say, she seems to like men of power)Michelle Bachman is the winner!

Monday, May 07, 2007 7:54:48 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cleaned two bathrooms spotless

Did seven loads of laundry

Prepared three nutritious meals

Unpacked and assembled the new lawnmower (yes, honey, if you are reading this, I RTFM-ed)

Mowed the lawn (and picked up the dog dookie, and the sticks knocked off the trees by last nights insane wind)

Walked the dog

Proof-read one of Adventure Boy's friend's English papers.

Cleaned and organized the entry-way and the entry-way closet.

Arranged for both Adventure Boy and Grasshopper to entertain friends.

Emptied all the trash baskets in the house.

Got a good start on updating my resume'.

I've got three hours of conciousness left.  I'm trying to decide if I want to tear into organizing my office or get out the painting supplies and touch-up the paint in the public areas of the house.  It's looking a little scuffed.

Not bad for a Sunday.  I think the new allergy and asthma meds are working already.

Sunday, May 06, 2007 6:07:40 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

Grasshopper and one of his best friends (S-dogg)got into a knock-down fight at Kung Fu yesterday.

Apparently, S-dogg punched Grasshopper in the throat (not a legitamate target), AND hit him a little harder than the "light touch" that they were instructed to use.

So Grasshopper punched back really hard.  They then attacked each other full force, and fell to the ground, whereupon ShiFu broke them up.

I arrived shortly after, and they were not speaking.  As we walked out to the car, I told them a little story about a similar thing happening with me and a friend of mine in the Karate school.  I tried to make it funny and instill in them the idea that one day they would laugh together about this.

By the time I dropped S-dogg off at his house, they were laughing and sharing snacks.

Isn't that just like boys?  All-in with the fight, and then totally over it when it's over.

 

Sunday, May 06, 2007 1:22:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #

Taking a page from a certain High School English teacher, who used grammar exercises to promote his conservative political opinions, I have come up with a little activity for any of you who wish to attempt it:

 Identify the similes and metaphors.

1)       I’d be all over that like Michelle Malkin on a new justification for the Japanese-American internment in WWII.

2)      The air was as thick with tension as Rumsfeld’s press conferences are with folksy affectations.

3)      With the rainfall and precipitous drop in temperature, the road became as slick as Wolfowitz’ comb.

4)      Dinesh Dsousa’s writing is a thundering rain of self-serving incivility.

5)      Hubris fills the holes in Wolfowitz’ socks.

6)      The flaws in the pre-Iraq justifications were as apparent as Ann Coulter’s knobby shoulder bones.

7)      The Discovery Institute is an actor that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  Sorry Bill.  (Shakespeare, not Dembski)

8)      The sentiments in Ann Coulter’s columns are a confusion of angry bees in the middle of an episode of Colony Collapse Syndrome.  Each buzzing off in its own direction for no apparent reason.

9)      Knut is like the whole question of man’s impact on the environment.  One we can feel slightly guilty about, and yet embrace with warm fuzzies at the same time…and then let someone else worry about it until we need to blame them for the outcome later.

10)   Bill O’Reilly is the “eccentric” uncle at the family picnic that everyone secretly waits to see what he’ll do next, but nobody wants to talk to.

Sunday, May 06, 2007 9:20:59 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  | #
Saturday, May 05, 2007

So, I went to the allergist today.  Three bouts with bronchitis in a row, plus endless breathing problems before that, and I'm done.  I don't care what it takes, just break out those needles and FIX ME!!!

For those who don't know, they draw a huge grid on your back, and poke you with some sharp peices of plastic containing concentrations of allergens.

You also get two controls:  one is a non-reactive substance (I assume Saline or something equivilent) and the other is Histamine, the chemical that is produced by the body's attack on the allergins, and which causes the allergy symptoms.

My reaction to the non-reactant control was the expected - and my reaction to the Histamine was the expected ++++

This gives you the range from no reaction (-) to the Histamine reaction (++++) (a scale of 0-4, basically).

Here are my test results:                                                                                         Mold Spores:

Paper Birch                    ++++               Short Ragweed         ++++                        Alternaria                 -

Boxelder/Maple Mix          ++++               Giant Ragweed         ++++                        Cladosporium             +

Mulberry                        ++++               Marshelder              ++++                        Epicoccum                 +

Red Oak                        ++++               Sagebrush Mix          ++++                        Helminthosporium        +

White Ash                      ++++               Russian Thistle         ++++                        Aspergillus fumigatus   +

Shagbark Hickory            ++++                Careless - Pigweed   ++++                         Pullularia                    +

American Elm                  ++++                                                                           Fusarium                    +

Kentucky Blue Grass         ++++                                                                           Penicillium                  +

Timothy Grass                 ++++                                                                           Phoma                       +

Dustmite (D. Farinae)        -                                                                                 Rhizopus                    ++

Dustmite (D. Pteronyssinus)   +++

Cat                                    ++++

Dog                                    +++

Cockroach                           -

 

My allergist, who seems to have a gift for understatment, said "You are a candidate for shots."   

No wonder I have been having a hard time running.  I'm allergic to the whole darned out-of-doors!  (And the in-of-doors too!)

One up-note...my peak-flow reading in the middle of an asthma attack was 490...a good score for a normal, healthy adult woman.

Another up-note is that I CAN get shots, and don't have to sell the dog and buy pet cockroaches.  LOL!  Although those Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are pretty cool.

 

Saturday, May 05, 2007 8:38:58 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] |  |  |  | #
Friday, May 04, 2007

Slot 2)  Godsmack: "Awake" out  -  Disturbed "10,000 Fists in the Air" IN!

 

So, my 6 CD changer has:

1) Rush "Snakes and Arrows"

2) Disturbed "10,00 Fists"

3) Revolver Modele "Discotheque Crypt"

4) Indigenous "Chasing the Sun"

5) Evanescence  ... uh...whatever the name of that newest album is.

6) Godsmack "Faceless"

 

Interesting musical aside:  A slightly creepy young man in a coffee shop that I stopped at in Manhatten once tried to "witness" to me by "noticing" my Evanescence tee-shirt and informing me that they had originally been a Christian band, and only went the emo route because it would allow them to "reach" more people for Jesus.  I told him that if that was their plan, they probably shouldn't sing about suicide so much.

...wait...I just realized that there is no Cake on that list.  Or Flogging Molly.  Great.  Now I am going to have to choose whether to replace Evanescence with Cake, or Flogging Molly.  Grump.  Hard choices.

Friday, May 04, 2007 9:42:27 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #

Yes, Mark, This one’s for you.  J  Please don’t take it personally, as I am only poking fun.  And after all, you DID call me a socialist.  More than once.  Kind of like being called a dyke, I don’t really take it as an insult…it just doesn’t really fit.  And if it is clearly meant as a jab (even a good natured one, which I take yours as) I feel almost obligated to jab back.  Plus, I enjoy our little chats too much to let it sit.

As you may have guessed, I threw out the previous Quote of the Day to give you a chance to get your rhetoric on a little bit…but then I remembered that you had never heard of Grover Norquist…so I went to find an article about him so I could make it easy to find out about him.

Then, I read the article.

Up until then, the only link I had between Anti-Tax activists and terrorism was that one creepy neighbor back in the Northern Minnesota countryside with the two VERY quiet little girls and the wife we nicknamed “Mrs. Frankenstein” because of her salt-and-pepper bouffant and ugly temper.

Nobody did anything when she got on the school bus and threatened the bus driver’s life because she felt her children were not being treated properly.

Then, one day, the FBI showed up and hauled lots and lots and lots of military weaponry from his property.  The good stuff, too.  Let’s just say, that the kind of deer you would need this sort of arsenal for would spit running chainsaws for their opening act.  He was an anti-government tax evader.  And he was SERIOUS.

As the years went by, I began to think of anti-government tax protestors as being more like Kent Hovind (AKA Dr.Dino).  You know, sort of a crazy old crank with a cheap rip-off tourist trap creation museum and an argument that, because he is a servant of God, he doesn’t have to pay any taxes.  You can read his prison blog here.

And, of course, there’s Grover Norquist.  Other than his attempts to use his national organization to affect local politician’s decisions regarding taxes(which have nothing to do with HIM), and his super-chummy associations with the power-elite of the Republican party, you wouldn’t think there was that much amiss about him.  But then I came across this little gem in the article linked to for Mark’s edification about a major leader in a cause he feels so strongly about:

During the second half of the 1980s, Norquist detoured from his tax work to engage in a series of safaris to far-off battlegrounds in support of anti-Soviet guerrilla armies, visiting war zones from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to southern Africa. Working alongside Col. Oliver North's freelance support network for the Nicaraguan contras and other Reagan Doctrine-allied insurgencies, Norquist promoted US support for groups like Mozambique's RENAMO and Jonas Savimbi's UNITA in Angola, both of which were backed by South Africa's apartheid regime (Norquist represented UNITA as a registered lobbyist in the early 1990s).

“In support of anti-Soviet guerrilla armies”  What guerilla armies were operating along the Afghan-Pakistan border?  Wasn’t it *gasp* the Taliban?  Grover Norquist supported terrorism?  Say it isn’t so!

Information on RENAMO (those of you with an aversion to Wikipedia, don’t worry, just follow the links to their citations.)

Information on UNITA (repeat of Wikipedia disclaimer above)

I especially liked this little line here:

 

As Savimbi gained ground despite the forces aligned against him, American conservatives pointed to his success, and that of Afghan mujahideen, both of which, with U.S. support, were successfully opposing Soviet-sponsored governments, as evidence that the U.S. was beginning to gain an upper hand in the Cold War conflict. Critics responded that the support given Savimbi and mujahideen, which came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, was inflaming regional conflicts at great expense to these nations and even risking the potential of nuclear war between the superpowers. (The bolding is mine, for emphasis.)

 

So, in Grover Norquist’s mind, it appears that spending tax dollars arming and training terrorists warlords freedom fighters that we will have to go back and spend even more money defeating two decades later is a GOOD use for American tax dollars, while spending it ensuring a decent education and welfare for trailer park kids in some rural backwater so that we won’t have to spend a lot more imprisoning them two decades later is a BAD use of tax dollars.

By the way, what is one of the best places for American “patriot”  skinhead  neo-nazi terrorist organizations to recruit new members?  Prison.

Don’t even get me started on the discovery that Norquist’s organization Americans for Tax Reform allegedly served as a conduit for some of Abramoff’s dirty money to astroturf grassroots lobbying efforts.

Friday, May 04, 2007 3:49:14 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [11] |  | #
Thursday, May 03, 2007

According to Ben, at EclecticsAnonymous, there is a move on to censor millitary blogs. (Link to the Danger Room)

 

My Schwan's guy was one of the first bunch of troops to go into Iraq.  His special area of training had something to do with weapons of mass destruction.  I won't go on to tell you what he told me about his feelings regarding the necessity of his skills in that mission (or lack of necessity, as is more accurate).  This is a family blog.

 

But I WILL tell you his opinion on the necessity of these guys staying connected with the non-war world.  Letters and such are good, but blogs and IM are better, because they are things that the soldiers can indulge themselves in at THEIR leisure...which is not that great of an amount of time, but it IS an area of outlet and something they control themselves, and it is contact with the "normal".

 

He assures me that it's hard enough to come back and "get back to normal" with such contact.

 

So anyway, I would urge those of you who read sixty-six and other blogs done by the troops, to speak out for their ability to speak out. (I just realized it wasn't in my blogroll.  I thought I'd put it there.  Have to fix that)

 

And visit sixty-six while you have a chance.  I know some of the men serving with the writer of Sixty-six.  I'm related to one of them.  When I IM with my relative over there, I can talk to him about what I read on sixty-six, and he knows I'm thinking of him. 

 

You will most likely find something there to offend you.  The guy uses course language (wouldn't you) and he uses bigoted epithets against the native population (hey, if a certain type of person were shooting at me everyday, and had killed friends of mine, I couldn't tell the baddies from the goodies, I might do the same.)  Also, he sometimes expresses frustration with the war and the millitary and the situation in general. (I've seen some conservatives get really mad at veterans of the war airing their feelings.  Have you heard the things they say about Jessica Lynch just because she didn't go along with the whole "hero" story the government cooked up for her?)

 

But just remember, he's a regular guy from somewhere in Minnesota who signed up to protect his country and ended up pulled out of his regular life to go get shot at half-way around the world.  Attempts to stay oriented in those situations are not always pretty.  You wouldn't do any better, no matter what criticism you might want to level, and chances are good you would do worse.

 

So, conservative rabid pro-war, or liberal rabid anti-war, or wherever you are in between, please go read sixty-six.  Don't judge.  Just listen.  If you don't have something nice to say, at least be kind enough to keep quiet. And also, speak out for their right to stay connected, and to have a voice.

Thursday, May 03, 2007 5:44:42 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Quoted in it's entirety from:

http://www.votevets.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=249&Itemid=16

 

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Today, in your veto message regarding the bipartisan legislation just passed on Operation Iraqi Freedom, you asserted that you so decided because you listen to your commanders on the ground.

Respectfully, as your former commander on the ground, your administration did not listen to our best advice. In fact, a number of my fellow Generals were forced out of their jobs, because they did not tell you what you wanted to hear -- most notably General Eric Shinseki, whose foresight regarding troop levels was advice you rejected, at our troops' peril.

The legislation you vetoed today represented a course of action that is long overdue. This war can no longer be won by the military alone. We must bring to bear the entire array of national power - military, diplomatic and economic. The situation demands a surge in diplomacy, and pressure on the Iraqi government to fix its internal affairs. Further, the Army and Marine Corps are on the verge of breaking - or have been broken already - by the length and intensity of this war. This tempo is not sustainable - and you have failed to grow the ground forces to meet national security needs. We must begin the process of bringing troops home, and repairing and growing our military, if we are ever to have a combat-ready force for the long war on terror ahead of us.

The bill you rejected today sets benchmarks for success that the Iraqis would have to meet, and puts us on a course to redeploy our troops. It stresses the need for sending troops into battle only when they are rested, trained and equipped. In my view, and in the view of many others in the military that I know, that is the best course of action for our security.

As someone who served this nation for decades, I have the utmost respect for the office you hold. However, as a man of conscience, I could not sit idly by as you told the American people today that your veto was based on the recommendations of military men. Your administration ignored the advice of our military's finest minds before, and I see no evidence that you are listening to them now.

I urge you to reconsider your position, and work with Congress to pass a bill that achieves the goals laid out above.

Respectfully,

Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA, Retired

(Hat Tip: Jason Bock)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:02:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #

"Wherever we cast our eyes, we see this truth, that property is the basis for power; and this, being established as a cardinal point, directs us to the means of preserving our freedom.  Make laws, irrevocable laws in every state, destroying and barring entailments; leave estates to revolve from hand to hand, as time and accident may direct; and no family influence can be acquired and established for a series of generations - no man can obtain dominion over a large territory - the laborious and saving, who are generally the best citizens, will possess each his share of property and power and thus the balance of wealth and power will continue where it is, in the body of the people.

A general and tolerably equal distribution of landed property is the whole basis for national freedom:  The system of the great Montesquieu will ever be erroneous, till the words property or lands in fee simple are substituted for virtue throughout his Spirit of Laws.

Virtue, patriotism, or love of country, never was and never will be, till mens' natures are changed, a fixed, permenant principle and support of government.

                                     --Noah Webster

                                        "An Examination into the Leading Priciples of the Federal Constitution"

                                        (Italics in the original)

 

So, am I alone in thinking that he is saying that if the people more-or-less equally possess the sources of wealth in the country, the country will be safer and more stable?  Oh dear.  One more "socialist" founding father advocating the redistribution of wealth for the good of the country.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 4:34:22 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [17] | #

Flashbacks to that one Batman movie.

Effect Measure has an article on Melemine, and the convention of adding the substance to food to boost the appearance of a high protein content.

But now there is talk of the Melamine not being that big of a deal, that there is a second chemical that reacts with a metabolite of the Melamine that has caused the crystals to form in the kidneys of the animals that have been affected.

This leaves a person wondering about the identity and source of the second chemical.

I get the feeling I should be worried about this, but for some reason my brain sticks on that scene in the Batman movie where the reporters are all wan and washed out and greasy and they are reading off the list of things to avoid mixing.  Something like: “Do not combine Shampoo with mouthwash and toothpaste”.

It DOES bother me that we’ve been eating plastic thinking that it is protein all this time.  If a US food producer did this to us, it would be called fraud.  China has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Also, note to you “anti-regulation” people out there…this is what happens when a government doesn’t regulate industry.



Oh yeah, and I'm ALSO put in mind of the sneaky and diabolical cleverness of "Famine" in the Book The Nice and Accurate Prophacies of Agnas Nutter, Witch By Neil Gaiman...where Famine is all chuffed with himself because he has anorexics starving themselves to death in the middle of plenty by binging on non-nutritious foodstuffs.  Melamine shows up in food tests as protein, but it has no nutritional value.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 9:20:43 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

Rush's new album, Snakes and Arrows is AWESOME!

The concert is coming up!  I can't wait!  Saveau and TempleViper are joining us.  Woo!  and might I add...Hoo!

I'd also like to thank Jenny for her effort in making sure we didn't miss the concert.  We already knew about it, but suppose we hadn't?  Catastrophe!

It's nice to know Jenny is looking out for us.

Oh yeah, another CD Change-out now in changer position one:  Rush's "Snakes and Arrows" in - Godsmack's "Godsmack" out! 

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 8:26:06 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

PZ Myers thoroughly debunks Stephan Milloy's crazy stories about how butter-fingered environmentalists are going to go bankrupt paying to clean up all those Compact Flourescent Lights they break.  And, as he drives by, he takes a swipe at Stephans hypocracy in saying that the negligable amount of mercury in the CFL bulbs is dangerous while pooh-poohing mercury from power plants.

Denialism also has a nice treatment for the layman.

The verdict is:  CFL are still a good idea.  Find out where you can recycle them, and find out how to clean them up safely and cheaply when they break.  In other words USE YOUR BRAIN.  Sheesh.

Here's the link to the EPA page

Here's a link to the Earth 911 recycling page.  Just click on the item you'd like to recycle, and you will be taken to a page where you enter your zip code, and they will point you to a facility near you where you can learn how to dispose of common household items properly.

It took a mid-western suburban housewife 20 MINUTES to find and put together this information, and Steven Milloy couldn't figure it out?  Junk science indeed.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 6:04:47 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #

The other day, Rocky reminded Adventure Boy to be sure to get all of his stuff together for school the next day before going to bed.  He's been forgetting stuff and aweful lot lately, and we are tired of running stuff in to him.

Rocky:  AB, make sure you get all your ducks in a row before you go to bed to night.

AB:      (In his TERRIBLE Londo Mollari impression) Don't you mean cats? 

When Rocky looked at him quizzically, he came out with this quote:

 

Ambassador Londo Mollari: But this - this, this, this is like being nibbled to death by... what are those Earth creatures called? Feathers, long bill, webbed feet... go 'quack'...
Ambassador Vir Cotto: Cats.
Ambassador Londo Mollari: Cats. Being nibbled to death by cats.

 

LOL!  We ARE raising him right.

 

Another fun quote:

ME:  You should have your friends over and play basketball or something.  You need to get in some time playing sports, because in college, the best way to have a social life is to go out and goof around at the basketball court, or the vollyball court.  You will want to hang out with the guys and play sports.

 

AB:  (flippiantly) Um, no.  I'm going to want to stay in and cook with the girls.

Then, he seemed to remember that he was talking to his mother, turned red, and walked away.

 

And one from Grasshopper:

"Who needs video games when you have THE WHOLE WORLD to frolic in?"

My jaw dropped when I heard this one, because Grasshopper is the KING of wasteing time with video games.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 5:45:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Mandarin Chinese word for “I” is “Waa” with a falling/rising tone.  Grasshopper and I had trouble remembering the tonal component, (as Americans often do).

 

Until I remembered Jon Stewert, and his trademark response to some woefully stupid or incomprehensible action/statement/position by a politician or media talking-head:

 

“Whhaaaaaaa?”

 

Forgetting the tone of that word is no longer a problem.

 

Jon Stewart.  Cute, funny, impeccably well-dressed, and the best darn mnemonic device out there for the Mandarin personal pronoun.

 

There should be some sort of award.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 4:12:06 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #

For those who wondered why we are here, in the decade of the double aughts, and you don't have your personal flying machine yet...WAIT NO LONGER.

Tony - This one's for YOU baby!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 4:04:41 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

Before we go any farther; a definition.  Read the whole definition, you will need each and every possible definition of the word to cope with what follows below:

(Hat Tip:  Hot Blava)

freak 1 (frk)

n.
1. A thing or occurrence that is markedly unusual or irregular: A freak of nature produced the midsummer snow.
2. An abnormally formed organism, especially a person or animal regarded as a curiosity or monstrosity.
3. A sudden capricious turn of mind; a whim: "The freaks of the psyche can no more be explained than the Devil" Maurice Collis.
4. Slang
a. A drug user or addict: a speed freak.
b. An eccentric or nonconformist person, especially a member of a counterculture.
c. An enthusiast: rock music freaks.
adj.
Highly unusual or irregular: a freak accident; a freak storm.
intr. & tr.v. freaked, freak·ing, freaks Slang
1. To experience or cause to experience frightening hallucinations or feelings of paranoia, especially as a result of taking a drug. Often used with out.
2. To behave or cause to behave irrationally and uncontrollably. Often used with out.
3. To become or cause to become greatly excited or upset. Often used with out.
 
(definition courtesy of The Free Dictionary)
 
 
Submitted by: Don Larsen, District 65 Chairman
(full text of resolution below)
 
 
Resolution opposing Satan’s plan to destroy the U.S. by stealth invasion

Whereas, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9)
Whereas, in order for Satan to establish his “New World Order” and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the Scriptures, he must first destroy the U.S. There are ways to destroy a nation other than with bombs or bullets. The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nation the way open warfare does, but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness.
Whereas, Americans will have to make a choice: either close our borders to illegal immigration, which is now vastly greater than any time in the past, or witness the passing country [sic]. The proof of this statement is the record of history. It is a history littered with the gravestones of great nations and civilizations which allowed invaders to overrun them. If we fail to learn from the lessons of history, we are doomed to repeat them.
Whereas, all polls show that the American people overwhelmingly want limited immigration, reform and control of our borders as mandated by the Constitution. But many do not realize the extent of the dangers ahead because of the lack of accurate media coverage and public debate. An important reason for the lack of understanding is that the powerful commercial, political, ethnic, and the godless globalist elites who control the major media do not want the issues of illegal immigration to come to national attention.
Whereas, it is obvious that most promoters of massive immigration and open borders do not like the ideas of patriotism, national identity, sovereignty, our Christian culture and freedom. Many consider themselves cosmopolitans or world citizens. Their religion is atheistic humanism. They are found primarily among the elite of foundations, universities, big business, left-wing politicians, Hollywood, ACLU (Anti-Christian Lawyers Union [sic]), CFR (Council on Foreign Relations), the American power elite and the liberal media. They prefer a world without borders ruled by a one world tyrannical government.
Whereas, we cannot benefit the world by eliminating our borders and sovereignty as advocated by Satan’s “axis of evil”, if we do, the world will pull us down to its lowest common level and we will have committed national suicide. In that case, the U.S. will no longer be a free and prosperous land or light of liberty for all nations. Once he has destroyed the U.S., Satan will be able to establish his “Satanic New World Order” and destroy the freedom of all people.
Whereas, the national security and the future of the nation and the American people depends upon how well we do our job and defend our borders. We must control our borders to illegal immigration, have a well regulated temporary worker program, as needed, or face extinction. The destruction of the U.S. by the forces of evil is a top priority of Satan.
Now therefore, we (delegates) are obligated to support the Utah State and Utah County Republicans Platforms regarding the mandates to support the “Rule of Law” and the Constitutional mandate to protect and secure our national borders.
Now therefore, because we support the “Rule of Law,” the Constitution and the principals that made America the greatest and freest nation in history, the Utah County Republican Party supports the closing of our national borders to illegal immigration to prevent the destruction of the U.S. by stealth invasion.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007 10:54:39 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #
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