Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Monday, 31 December 2007

I can understand why a student might feel threatened when a fellow student angrely rips up a symbol of her belief system right in front of her.

Quote from the article:

Some Janesville parents said that they're concerned that in this incident, in which a student allegedly tore pages from a Bible, the balance between the two was tipped toward the First Amendment, WISC-TV reported.

As many Parker High School students get ready for Christmas break, junior Elle Jacobson is at home and will not be returning like her friends.

"I have never felt threatened like that in a classroom before," said Jacobson.

The 17-year-old is talking about an incident in her English class two weeks ago during a class presentation.

"This boy got up and his visual aid was a Bible and a book. And he got up and started his speech by saying 'Now, this piece of crap' and pointed to the Bible."

Jacobson said that she quickly felt threatened

"He took the Bible and he said, 'I'm going to do this because I can. I'm going to do something that your stupid, little minds aren't going to be able to comprehend and he took the Bible and started ripping out pages."

Does that mean that I think the student meant to threaten the other students?  I don't assume so.  As a matter of fact, I think there's a case to be made for temporary insanity.  The boy is a teenager going through an Ayn Rand phase.  Of course he's selfish, arrogant, self-centered and has a need to elevate himself and demean the others around him, and of course that need has a slightly destructive and sadistic edge to it.  Don't worry, they usually reach their peak with Atlas Shrugged, and fall off somewhere in the middle of The Fountainhead.  And even if they don't, they become too busy trolling websites in support of Ron Paul to be a real threat to anyone.

But in a culture where many Christians are constantly trained to expect that everyone hates them, that they are on the verge of terrible persecution, and are trained to expect hate and violence as the consequence of their it any wonder that the students felt threatened?

Even without that indoctrination and training, if you see a symbol of your identity attacked in front of you in this way, it is threatening.

People should probably try to avoid doing things that a reasonable person would find threatening.  Especially in school, where people should feel safe.

The father in this instance is outraged that the school is being careful of the boy's constitutional right to free speech, and feels that they are compromising his daughter's safety.  I wonder if he would feel the same way if someone got kicked out of school for wearing a tee-shirt with certain laws from Leviticus printed on them?

 And I even though I can understand how the girl might feel threatened by the boy's actions...what's with letting her stay home?  I don't see any reason to believe that she is actually in any real danger from a book-ripping Rand-head.

Seems to me that there's a fair amount of silliness on all sides of this issue.  If only they could talk about the issues, find some common ground, share a goal...

Now, let me see...who could bring these two camps together...Christians with a strong reverance for the Bible as a holy relic to be venerated above free speech...and impulsive drama-prone Ayn Rand fans with a crusader complex...

YES!  Ron Paul!  He is the answer!  He alone can heal this terrible rift.

(Hat Tip: Pharyngula)

Monday, 31 December 2007 01:02:58 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] |  |  |  | #
Saturday, 29 December 2007

The chili cheese dip for New Years is all done.  It has been tested by Rocky and his brother and found to be good.

My title of "She who makes chili cheese dip" remains secure.

There was much rejoicing.

Saturday, 29 December 2007 19:36:12 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [14] |  | #

Looking for the perfect year-end gift for the guy/girl who has everything?

What better than a book that will prepare them to lose it all over the course of the next three-and-a-half years?

ORDER YOURS TODAY!  (no really, you probably should - it looks rather thick and tedious, and it might take you a while to work through it.  You've only got about three and a half years, and the clock is ticking...)

[Update...I just noticed, that you can order it for free.  I've downloaded it.  I might be putting the Jack Hyles skinner-box character-building course on hold....]

Saturday, 29 December 2007 11:57:38 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] | #
Friday, 28 December 2007

Best. Ron Paul. Description. Ever.


" I'm also not a particular fan of Ron Paul, who mostly seems to be a Rorschach test for the politically disaffected."

Friday, 28 December 2007 19:28:17 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] | #
Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Yep...sounds real friendly to me.


I can tell you that it's not the power of God making the flesh on the back of my neck crawl right now.

But if that doesn't creep you out...

I found that video on THIS SITE.

But beyond that, take a look at the extracurricular activities of some of the followers.

So much for civillity...



And just so you get the full picture of this "Dream Team's" intentions...

AND from the Daily Kos, I get the expected link Back to R.J Rushdoony's organization: Chalcedon  Any bets as to the likelyhood of funding from that old friend of the IRD and The Chalcedon Foundation:  Howard Ahmunson?

The Watchmen movement's strategy for combating the "disease" of homosexuality calls for aggressive confrontation. "We church leaders need to stop being such, for lack of a better word, sissies when it comes to social and political issues," Lively argues in a widely-circulated tract called Masculine Christianity. "For every motherly, feminine ministry of the church such as a Crisis Pregnancy Center or ex-gay support group we need a battle-hardened, take-it-to-the-enemy masculine ministry like [the anti-abortion group] Operation Rescue."

Lively identifies "the enemy" as not only homosexuals, but also what he terms "homosexualists," a category that includes anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who "actively promotes homosexuality as morally and socially equivalent to heterosexuality as a basis for social policy."

When he personally confronts the enemy, Lively practices what he preaches when it comes to "battle-hardened" tactics. He recently was ordered by a civil court judge to pay $20,000 to lesbian photojournalist Catherine Stauffer for dragging her by the hair through the halls of a Portland church in 1991.

The Pink Passport

Lively occasionally writes for Chalcedon Report, a journal published by the Chalcedon Foundation, the leading Christian Reconstructionist organization in the country. (Reconstructionists typically call for the imposition of Old Testament law, including such draconian punishments as stoning to death active homosexuals and children who curse their parents, on the United States.) But he's most famous as the co-author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party.

Published in 1995, the book is a breathtaking work of Holocaust revisionism. It asserts that Hitler was gay -- a claim no serious historian supports -- and that Hitler and other evil gay fascists were central in forming the Nazi Party, operating the Third Reich and orchestrating the Holocaust. (Lively's most recent book, The Poisoned Stream, similarly details "a dark and powerful homosexual presence" through "the Spanish Inquisition, the French 'Reign of Terror,' the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American Slavery.")

Wednesday, 26 December 2007 22:35:58 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  | #

Christmas eve we were able to continue part of what had been a regular Holiday tradition.

Adventure Boy’s best friend, who had recently moved to Montreal, came over and spent Christmas Eve with us. 

For the past few years, we had an “exchange program” going with Adventure-Boy’s friend, who is Jewish.

AB would go and spend one night of Hanukah at his friend’s house, and his friend would come and spend Christmas Eve with us.  When the family moved away to Canada, we thought the days of the “exchange program” were gone forever (although I assured AB that Goyim are also allowed to buy Matzo.  There’s no law against it)

Obviously, AB was not able to travel to Montreal for Hanukah, but his friend was back in town over the holidays and was able to stay with us.  He got a Nerf gun, some chocolate-covered Oreos, and a Personal Care kit from Santa.  From us, he got Travelers of Catan and a hand-made quilt.

AB’s friend’s aunt came with to drop him off, and begged to come in a look at the tree.  She was thrilled with the tree, and asked many questions about the various hand-made ornaments, which we have made ourselves over the years, or brought back from our world travels.

She seemed particularly thrilled by the addition of Grasshopper’s “Bird nest collection”…a couple of the many nests that he has collected over the years, which we added to the tree.

We visited for a while, and when the mom and aunt left, I just sort of hovered around the periphery, listening to the sounds of my sons and their friend enjoying Christmas together once more…something I had thought I would never hear again.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007 22:07:49 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, 24 December 2007

And best wishes for a Happy New Year!


Monday, 24 December 2007 17:36:15 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] | #
Saturday, 22 December 2007

Are you guys ready for Chapter II of Jack Hyles book:  “How to Rear Children”?

It’s OK, it’s not really that bad.  You’ll be fine.

Chapter two is about developing self-control in a child.  And I’m actually not too far off from Old Jack on this one, and in fact, you get a feeling of extreme compassion for him.  This guy had one screwed up upbringing.  Also, he’s kind of a control freak.  And he likes lists.  If you   read the original, you’ll see more of the list references.

Jack proposes that we teach children the value and rewards of self-restraint.  Some people call this delayed gratification.   You put off satisfying incidental wants for a certain amount of time, so that you have the resources to later satisfy large, longer-term wants.

Of course, Jack could have used a good editor and maybe a technical editor, because he makes such unfortunate statements as :

  How can one train a child to exercise such self-control? This is done by developing something on the inside that becomes more attractive than that which is on the outside. Then more pleasure is gotten inwardly by resistance than outwardly by yielding.

And of course, everyone who’s had an introductory course in psychology suppresses a collective shudder, as the news stories in a long string of fallen religious conservative icons flash through their memories.   Given the psychological profile of the average religious conservative embroiled in scandal, this is a very unfortunate (or perhaps telling) statement.

But one can make some allowances for Good old Jack when you realize that he’s pretty progressive for a religious conservative in the ‘60s.  Consider the model that he is replacing:

 The punishment should always hurt more than the pleasure feels good. For example, a young man stays out thirty minutes late with his girlfriend and all he gets is a scolding or a spanking. Now what young man wouldn’t be willing to trade a spanking for thirty minutes with a lovely girl! The wise parent will take the car away from the boy, ground him, and not let him be with his girlfriend for one week, Hence, he is trading an entire week for thirty minutes.  


Indeed, Jack is several giant mother-may-I steps above someone who would spank a child of dating age, and making the punishment fit the crime is an apt idea.  And speaking of mother…

Another internal competitor to outward attractions is that of pleasing and/or not hurting someone who cares. Here is a very strong internal pleasure or displeasure. If a close relationship can be developed between the parents and the child, the child will have an intense desire to please them. If he feels much displeasure and pain when he displeases Mom and Dad, then the external attraction will be limited by the thought of pleasing those he loves.

Sounds reasonable enough.  We want to make the people who are important to us happy.  That’s a good, social motivation.  Very healthy.

When I was a boy in grade school my report cards were marked either “S” for satisfactory, “U” for unsatisfactory or “N” for needs improvement. “N” was neither real good nor real bad. One time I came home with an “N” in conduct. My mother cried and cried and cried. You would have thought I had fallen into some terrible sin.

Lamentation and tears filled the house. During the next grading period every time I would start to whisper to the boys around me I could see my weeping mother and I would be a good boy.

Oh dear.

With that picture in my mind I worked hard for the entire period and sure enough, I received an “S” for satisfactory in conduct. When I brought the “S” home she was so happy she danced for joy and jumped for glee. You would have thought I had discovered a cure for leukemia.  She made it such a big thing that when I was tempted to misbehave in school I could see her both rejoicing and sorrowing. The desire to see her pleased overcame the desire to talk to the boy behind me. Hence, the attractiveness of the internal feeling exceeded the attractiveness of the external stimulus and I became a pretty good kid.

Well, at least there is symmatry.

And anyway, Jack didn’t turn out to be Sylar so I guess we can be thankful to random fortune for that.

The rest of the chapter consists of some pretty good principles:

1.   Teach your children to not waste time, energy, or money on short-term gratification at the expense of long-term goals

2. Don’t punish your children for your own emotions.  Punish them for deficits of character, not because they made you mad.  Reward them for doing good, not for making you feel happy.

And some silly ones:

3.   The child should be taught that “ought” and “can” are synonymous. Someone has said, “You can do that what you ought to do.” Emerson wrote, “So nigh is grandeur to our dust, so near is God to man, when duty whispers, ‘Lo thou must,’ the youth replies, ‘I can.’ “This is just another way to say that the wise young person is taught that he can do what he ought to do.  My mother used to have me repeat the following three words over and over again, “I ought, I can, I will. I ought, I can, I will. I ought, I can, I will. I ought, I can, I will.” Charles Sumner said, “Three things are necessary for success: first, backbone; second, backbone; third, backbone.” An old proverb says, “Kites ride against the wind, not with the wind.” Another say, “Only dead fish float with the stream; live ones swim against it.”

And once again, I have to point out the absurdity of so many fundies being so in love with quoting Emerson, especially a fundamentalist Baptist minister.  People that engrained with Calvinism SHOULD NOT quote Emerson.  If Calvin were alive, he would burn Emerson along with all of his works. Emerson was a universalist heretic, after all.

4.   Children should be taught to say “No!” A child should stand in front of a mirror and practice saying “no” in many ways.

Gertrude Atherton wrote the novel, RULER OF THE KINGS. In it a rich man sent his boy to be reared in a poor home. The person rearing him required the boy to say “no” twenty times the first thing in the morning and twenty times the last thing at night.

Plutarch said that the people of Asia became vassals largely because they could not say “no.”

My mother would get a bottle, put water in it, and pretend it was an alcoholic beverage. She then would say to me, “Son, would you like a bottle of beer?” My answer was to be an emphatic “NO!” Again she would say, “Son, how about a bottle of beer?” I would answer, “No!” Then she would say, “Son, do you want some wine?” My answer was “no.” She would repeat the aforementioned questions many times so that later in life when I was really offered liquor I had associated the word “no” with beer, whiskey, wine, etc. so long that I would again say “No!” She did the same thing with cigarettes. She would pretend that she had a package of cigarettes and would ask me if I would like to have one. I would say, “No!” This was repeated many times. The wise parent will list the things from which he wants his child to refrain and will train the child to associate the word “no” with this particular thing. My mother would hold up a liquor ad and say, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no.” She would then tear it up, throw it on the floor, and stomp on it, all the time saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no.” She would then give me a liquor ad. I would say, “No, no, no, no, no, no.” Then I would tear it up, throw it on the floor, and stomp on it saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no.”


But these are harmless, if a little obvious

5.   Teach your children to do right no matter what anyone else is doing.

6.   Teach them not to be afraid of being unpopular.

7.   Use punishment consistently

8.   Make sure the pain of the punishment exceeds the pleasure of disobedience.  (could possibly be used badly)

9.   Don’t make the punishment about you and your feelings, but instead about their behavior.

This next one, I thought was weird, and I didn’t understand it.  Is the point feed your kids bland food so they won’t mind eating healthy?  That seems strange.  Lots of healthy foods taste good.

10. Self-control in eating should be strongly emphasized from infancy. Parents are largely to blame for the appetites of their children. Instead of providing food on the basis of nourishing the body, building up tissue, supplying energy, etc., the supply food highly spiced that provokes appetite instead of satisfying it. Such food makes the child sluggish and dull instead of active, healthy, and vigorous. Hence, the child is taught he should eat what tastes good instead of what is good for him. If a family overfeeds a valuable horse, they are considered cruel. The purpose of food is to nourish the body. When eating is done just for the pleasure that results from the gratification of taste, the end is overeating, Overeating causes the body to perform its functions poorly and causes the person to be a slave to his appetites.

This one gives a lot to think about…

11. The will should control the temper. Controlling the temper means that one’s will prevents expression of his inner feelings and thereby prevents reaction.  Anger should be allowed or disallowed by the will. It is not wrong to become angry; however, it is wrong to become angry because we are annoyed or because we have been wronged. Usually our anger does not come from a hatred of wrong, but because we think we have been wronged. Hence, it comes from outside stimuli and this is why we “fly off the handle.” Children should be taught to hate injustice and wrong. They must learn to be angry not because they have been wronged, but because someone whom they love has done wrong.

But then there’s this weird bit about not venting…but I don’t get it.  Venting is just one technique in a host of tools people use to manage their behavior.  It’s not as though suppressing it should be the only way.

Oftentimes a person who exhibits his temper will make such statements as, “I just get it off my chest and get it over with.” This sounds very good but the truth is, it simply makes it easier for passion to follow the same path and to seek the same relief the next time his is offended. Hence, a habit is formed because the person has given way to anger. 

One reason anger is so deadly is that it defeats the one who is angry rather than the one who is the object of the anger. Someone said to me recently, “I was so mad I didn’t know what I was doing.” Such uncontrollable temper leads to murder, bad health, broken friendships, and perhaps worst of all, the breakdown of self-control which may be transferred into other areas until restraint is almost impossible and anger is an automatic reaction which divorces a person’s actions from his will. Because of this a child should be taught to count to ten before he gives in to his feelings, for the time that is gained in counting to ten or in the thought of the ritual gives opportunity to reason before hasty action takes place. It gives the will time to collect itself in order to gain supremacy over the reaction. The wise man said, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” Another has said, “Govern your passions or they will govern you.” Franklin said, “What error is begun in anger ends in shame.” Jefferson said, “When angry count ten; when very angry, one- hundred.”

And then there’s the admonition to not allow your child to delegate, or (once beginning) re-assess based on new information and cost/benefit analysis.   I mean sure, the habit of persistence is a good one to cultivate, but I think the implications of this text dance flamboyantly into the realm of anal retentive.  A consistant theme of dear Jacks, if you haven’t noticed.  I’ve cut out several references to his almost pathological listing habits in the interest of space…but you get the idea.

12. Children should be taught to finish a task. Each job should be done completely and well. Never should the parent finish the task for the child. No food should be left on the plate and no satisfaction should be allowed for a job that goes unfinished. Napoleon once said, “Impossible is a word found only in the dictionary of fools.” Hence, a task that is begun should be finished regardless of how difficult it is. The child who is allowed to let another finish a job that he starts does not develop self-control and later is found bouncing from one job to another, one school to another, etc.  This is especially true when a task is an unpleasant one. Teach him to fix his mind on the goal. Teach him the joy of accomplishing the goal and finishing the task. Teach him the shame of a task unfinished. Let him understand that he is being conquered when he does not finish an unpleasant task. Let the joy of doing a job well overcome the drudgery of the work itself.  I know one parent who listed all of the tasks that were unpleasant to his child.  The parent led the child to call the tasks “Goliath” and himself “David.” The child was taught to get angry at the tasks and refuse to be conquered by Goliath. When the child conquered a task the parent praised him, as David was praised when he defeated Goliath.

But let’s go ahead and bring this home, shall we?


In summary, character is habit and habit is formed by practice. When Becky, David, Linda, and Cindy were little children I listed all of the things I wanted them to do and do well. Such things as how to answer the telephone properly, how to meet friends, how react when an adult enters the room, etc. were listed. Each evening we would practice one of these things. The boy would practice walking like a boy and the girls would practice walking like girls. They would practice sitting, standing, being graceful, being kind, etc. We would act out a sample situation and repeat it over and over again until certain reflexes would cause the child to respond automatically to certain stimuli. May God help us to teach our children to have self-control.

Saturday, 22 December 2007 19:07:49 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Friday, 21 December 2007

There's going to be a hue and cry about this, and you're probably all going to see it, so you might as well see it here:



It's not going to quite make the "nameing a Teddy-Bear Mohammad" level of outcry...mobs will not be calling for blood because of it, at least not on anything more than a metaphorical level.

On the other hand, you can bet that it WILL create outcry.

I've heard Conservative Christians proudly proclaim that the Gospel is offensive.  They declare it to be "not politically correct".  They use this to justify their condemnation of others.

But even more offensive is the idea that we are called by their gospel to be servants to one another,  to minister to one another, and to forgive one another, and yes, to turn the other cheek. 

This picture of the concept of Christ as an emblem of humilty and healing in the face of great wrong will, of course, be deeply offensive...probably even mocked as the perversion "Gandhi Christ", and appelation I have heard on more than one occasion.

And that offense will serve the very ordinary purpose of covering a very ordinary condition of being unable to transcend our humaness.

No matter how many platitudes and pontifications are made about "foundations of morality" or having been "made a new creature"...

You're still just a human being.  But.  You are a human being who can IMAGINE a condition where a man could bend down and act as a servant to his enemies, giving them comfort, healing their wounds, and dissapating their wrath.

This picture is a challenge, and an offensive, uncomfortable one at that.  By that measure, which of us can succeed?  Fortunately, for the more non-dogmatic among us, falling short is not a death sentance.  It is merely a continuation of the challenge, to cultivate a person who can approach this ideal.

For those of us who HAVE no religion, it is not necessary to believe that Jesus was God, or even if he was a flesh-and-blood man.  The mere fact that we can conceive of a person so humble, so inoffensive, and yet so noble that he can dispell the aggression and hate of his enemies is a challenge, for us to take up or ignore as we are so inspired.  Must the same as our friends and neighbors who DO have religion.

The good news is, that's you are SUPPOSED to be human.  So get to work being the best one you can make of your self in the time you have.

And stop counting on someone else to do it for you.

(Double hat tip to: Monk-in-Training and Random Reflections)


Friday, 21 December 2007 22:46:47 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #

A charming little tale full of whimsey and adventure.  Steamer-punk elements.  A little disjointed in parts, and with a tepid ending that screamed sequal.

In other words, a good story burdoned by it's condition as a movie adaptation of a novel.

Cool effects.  Some really good performances.

Skanky blond villian named "Coulter".

A certain scene I like to call "bowling for cossacks".

All-in-all, it was a nice little family outing.

Awaiting final verdict until after the sequal.

Friday, 21 December 2007 22:18:07 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  | #

Monk-in-Training has a take on the "Doubting Thomas" story that I have never heard before.

I like it.

It makes a lot more sense than anything I've ever heard on the subject before.

That probably means it's horribly, horribly, wrong and will lead us all down the feel-good primrose path to hell.  :-)

I'd be really worried if I believed in hell.

Friday, 21 December 2007 07:58:32 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #

I think we might have a bit of a communication issue with the right.


Lewedandlascivious posts a link to this article citing it as an example of the"propagandist" bias of the “Liberal media”.


So the article is in a San Francisco based paper… but it is generally a glowing report of Bush’s political successes this past year, and notes that the Democrats are generally ineffective.


It’s neutral in the advisability of Bush’s policies, but portrays him as a strong leader who is politically effective.


It portrays Dems. As a bunch of dumb-asses who can’t seem to get their shit together.


It seems to me to perfectly reflect reality.


I’m a little stumped.

Friday, 21 December 2007 07:10:58 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] |  | #
Wednesday, 19 December 2007

I’ve discovered a remarkable text (where else?) on the internet.

It perfectly embodies the perfect Fundigelical upbringing!

I’m going to start with Chapter 1 and give you an overview.  Periodically, I will overview another chapter.  I’ll try to give you time to recover in between.  The piece is written by one Jack Hyles, of blessed memory. (from the website: Jack Hyles was the pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond Indiana from 1959-2001. He died Feburary 6, 2001 but his influence lives on.)

From Jack Hyles: How to Rear Children

We will begin with his premise that people need training in self-restraint.  Mere knowledge is not good enough, after all, because knowledge itself does not bring wisdom.   OK, I’m pretty much there with him.  Then again, there’s this:

To be sure, the intellect is a part of the mind. There is, however, another part of the mind that is far too often overlooked - the will. For the intellect to be trained and the will to be untrained is dangerous.  Susanna Wesley said she disciplined each of her children until his will was broken. The wise parent starts when the child is and infant in the training of the will.


The training of the will means the child is taught to do right by constant practice so that the mind rises to action by reflex just like the body. When the will has been brought into subjection to do that which is right the child learns to make his decisions by mental reflex. This is accomplished by applying a certain stimulus to the child and having him practice the proper response. For example, when I was a boy my mother used to have me practice standing when a lady would walk into the room. I would be seated; Mother would go outside and reenter. As she entered I would stand. She would go out again; I would stand again. Over and over this was repeated until it became almost a reflex for me to stand when a lady entered a room. This was continued day by day until I never had to decide to stand when a lady entered the room I stood by mental reflex.  Hour after hour Mother would practice with me on giving a lady my seat when there were no others seats available.

No really, Oh-oh.

But at least this intensive training will lead a kid to develop useful habits that will always result in constructive and helpful behavior…right?

Recently, on a given Sunday I baptized over 100 people. When I baptize a convert I raise my right hand in the air and say the following words: “In obedience to the command of our Lord and Master, and upon a public profession of your faith in Him, I baptize you, my brother (sister), in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” I said those words over 100 times. After the service I went home. The phone rang. I picked up the receiver with my right hand, but every time I had raised my right hand that morning I had said, “In obedience to the command, etc.” When I used my right hand to raise the phone to my ear I said, “In obedience to the command of our Lord and Master, and upon a public profession of your faith in Him, I baptize you, my brother, in the name of the Father, and the Son. . .” Then I realized what I was doing. By reflex after practice I said those words when I raised my right hand.

So, here we see that a proper Fundagelical upbringing will result in crazy and inappropriate phone ettiquitte.

But that’s not all:

  Not long ago I was going to go to the store. It is only four blocks from my house. I got in the car but was thinking about church work, etc., so naturally I found myself driving to my parking place at the First Baptist Church. I had driven three or four miles along the usual route that I take to the church and did not realize where I was going until I was sitting in front of the church. I have taken that route so much that when the subconscious took over I ended up at the church, not at the store.

Unsafe driving habits, time-wasting mistakes, and disorientation.

I take natural vitamins and minerals. I keep several jars of vitamins in a drawer in my office. From the first bottle of vitamins I take four tablets a day. From the second bottle, which contains Vitamin E, I take two tablets a day.  One day I opened the drawer and did not realize that the Vitamin E was in the wrong place. It was the first in line. By force of habit, I took four vitamin E tablets (which, by the way, is not a good idea). The subconscious had taken over. I had taken four tablets of the first bottle for so long that I didn’t notice which bottle was in the first position.

WARNING!  A Fundigelical upbringing can be an important factor in a number of preventable health risks!

I was going to cut this up more, but I just can’t bear to.  It’s too perfect.  Apparently, God is B.F. Skinner, and the path to heaven is conditioned response:

The above illustrations show how the will can be trained to react by reflex.  This is good only if we teach our children the proper good reaction to certain stimuli until the decisions of life are made by mental reflex and good is done subconsciously. This means the child will do right by habit, for basically, character is learning the proper habits.


And you silly secularists and “liberal theologians” thought that character was about consciously making carefully considered choices, thinking about outcomes, weighing pros-and-cons, and doing what you believe will be best for yourself and others in the long run, even if it is hard.  But no.  Character is about making snap decisions and undertaking thoughtless actions that your parents have drilled into your head while you were wishing you could go out and play baseball with the normal kids.

 It is learning to do right without voluntary action. It is the subconscious doing of right. This can be done only by practice and more practice and more practice.  The wise parent will make a list of the things he wants his child to do under certain conditions and influences. He will then require the child to practice the proper response to each condition and stimulus. When my children were little I made a list of all the things I wanted them to learn to do by mental reflex.  Some of these things were: answering the phone properly, shaking hands properly, walking, sitting, using correct posture, paying bills, having respect for elders, and many others.

Good God Almighty

 Each evening we would spend some time practicing each of these things until they became natural. This is the way a child learns to walk, to eat, etc. This is the way an athlete learns to be successful.  When I was a child my mother would often ask me this question, “Son, would you like a cigarette?” I would say, “No!” Over and over again she would ask the same question and I would give the same answer. She was trying to get me to associate the word “No” with cigarettes. She did the same thing about liquor and other temptations. She would hold up cigarette ads in front of me and say, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!” Then she would ask me to do the same thing. I would look at the cigarette ad and say, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!” until the two words “cigarette” and “no” became associated indelibly in my subconscious mind.

No really, Good God Almighty.

Every great nation, whether her philosophies were right or wrong, rose to greatness using this method of teaching. Such discipline made America a great nation. She is now crumbling because of the lack of it. All strong nations were made strong by such training of the will. Such programs had been added to their schools. Every nation that has crumbled did so when such discipline was deserted.

Is it just me, or does this guy seem like, instead of viewing the Stanford Experiements as a dire object lesson, would view them as an excellent tool for teaching dinner-table etiquette?

The wise parent, the wise pastor, the wise coach, etc. will produce the proper decisions by constant repetition until the child has learned to do right without voluntary action. Hence, the will has been cultivated to make decisions by principle. The making of decisions by the child, or the adult for that matter, will have less chance of being wrong when the doing of right has become habit!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007 14:33:28 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [7] |  |  |  | #

Oh no you don't, Media.

You don't get to spend the whole LAST presidential election saying that Kerry would be a bad president because he's a stiff, due to his complete LACK of a sense of humor, and because his penchant for precisely answering the question can be percieved as "waffeling"...

...and then turn around and say Huckabee isn't "Presidential" because he's hilarious and has a shoot-from-the hip style.

Pile on one for being academic and humerless, and then turn around and pile on another because he has a quick come-back for almost everything?  Sheesh.

Huckabee wouldn't make a terrible president because he is funny, quick-witted, charming, and takes rhetorical risks.

Huckabee would make a terrible president because his approach to the world is trapped in the middle ages, because he thinks that he has a little man trapped in a book who will give him all the answers, and because he thinks that Chuck Norris (who, despite being a terrible actor, and a horrible judge of politics, is STILL the guy who I looked up to as a young Karateka) is a cherry political endorcement. 


Wednesday, 19 December 2007 06:08:28 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  | #
Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Your Score: The Grizzly Bear

Here's your results! Your spirit animal has a Nobility ranking of 14 out of 18.

Your spirit animal is the Grizzly Bear. No other spirit animal matches it's size and strength. This creature is among the noblest and most respectable, and you are truly fortunate. It is both fearsome and awesome to behold. It will serve you well, and shows that you have a deeper understanding than most. It is quite rare indeed to have a Grizzly as a spirit animal!

***Wondering how this animal was chosen for you? These questions were carefully thought out to see how important you hold certain virtues such as: humanism, self-knowledge, rationalism, the love of freedom and other somewhat Hellenic ideals. Some of the questions were very subtle. Your score was then matched with an animal of corresponding nobility. However, you shouldn't think this was a right/wrong sort of test, but more of an idealistic values test. It's ok to not hold these values, you'll just get an animal spirit of lower stature if you do!***

Link: The What is Your Spirit Animal Test written by FindingEros on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Tuesday, 18 December 2007 14:36:31 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #

I can't wait to hear how the apologists for the worship of the almighty dollar (The Church of Wall Mart) make this OK.

Seriously.  Stealing the compensation a woman got for having her brain ruined?  They can do that?

Note to self:  Don't sign any F#$%$^%$^ thing without having a lawyer look over it first, and also, just for good measure, have it doused in holy water, buried in consecrated ground under a full moon, left there for a month, and then have a voodoo priestess clear it of evil spirits.

(And yes, I know a laywer and a voodoo priestess.  Although for efficiency's sake, I think I should find a lawyer who IS a voodoo priestess.  Anyone know where I can find some decent holy water at a discount?)

Then, leave the contract lying somewhere uninhabited, take off, and nuke the site from orbit. (it's the only way to be sure).

[Update:  They couldn't just be happy with Dead Peasant Policies?  Evil I say.  Wall Mart is evil] 

Tuesday, 18 December 2007 05:47:31 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [10] |  |  |  | #
Sunday, 16 December 2007

Poor Neil asked me to go away.  He's feeling a little embattled right now.  You know, not "Beaten by ten Christians for not saying Merry Christmas" embattled, or "Stabbed to death by a Christian for beliving in evolution" embattled, or Beaten to death by Christians for dancing with another man embattled, or Tortured as a child by Christians because they think you're a witch embattled...but one must make allowances.

So, no more picking on Neil by drawing his assertions to their logical conclusions.

lewedandlascivious comments in one thread that I have my "hate" on for Neil.  Actually, if lewedandlascivious knew what "hate" really was, he'd view things a little differently.  A few snarky comments do not "hate" make.  To REALLY have to BELIEVE it.

Sunday, 16 December 2007 21:48:00 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [10] | #
Thursday, 13 December 2007

In the first scrimmage in the "War on Christmas" season...

Jews and Muslims 1 each,

Christians, -1

Athiests, Agnotics and Deists didn't play in this one.

(hat tip: Pharyngula)

[update:  Unfortunatly, there was no friendly Muslim rescuer around to save this Scotsman from the anti-evolution rage of his Godly neighbor.] (also found at Pharyngula)

Thursday, 13 December 2007 14:27:29 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

You just gotta LOVE good old Neil.

He's got another post up about how there are only three choices when it comes to Jesus;  lunatic, liar, or lord.

The argument is best read in the original weirdness...but I'll summarize it for you:

Jesus cannot be passed off as a great human teacher with some good advice and a good example.  This is because he claimed to be God, and he claimed the scripture (including the Old Testiment) to be the Word of God, and he made many statements to those effects.

Neil goes on to list all of the hard-line intolerant things that Jesus is supposed to have said.  and of course we KNOW it as a FACT that everything in the Bible was written down EXACTLY as God wanted it to be.  So it isn't possible for it to be wrong in any way.

Because by Neil's argument, God (who is comletely consistant) directly supervised the transcription of the Bible.  Every word written is exactly as God wanted it.  Got an inconvenient Bible verse?  Well, don't worry.  It was TRANSLATED innaccuratly.  Because translations aren't God's department, apparently.

So it is completely impossible that the people who wrote the Bible might have written things down wrong, either because they were written a long time after Jesus' death, or because they had political motivations, or because they really believed that Jesus MUST have said something like that, even thought they didn't really know.

Nope, you only have three choices.  You can pity the poor lunatic, Despise the brazen liar, or worship the Jesus of whom you can have no understanding outside of exactly what is written (and the verses about hard-line kick-ass Jesus trump all the verses about lovey-sharey-fluffy-bunny Jesus).  There is no more to Jesus than what is written in the pages of the Bible.  He fits neatly into the hand-written pages of human language.  (The whole "my sheep hear my voice, and I know them" verse must have been one of those "mistranslations")

Bible idolatry at it's best.  It is absolutely unpermissable to look at the Bible as a human work.

Thursday, 13 December 2007 08:42:46 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] | #

Wow!  I don't know what "Don't eat pins" means...

...but I guess she really means it.

I sure hope I don't do THAT again.

Thursday, 13 December 2007 06:17:30 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #

Guess they didn't want to hand the election to Hillary wrapped up in a bow.

Sucks to be you.

Still, being a Republican fall-guy has it's upside.

Look at Ollie North.  Worked out OK for him.

Just hang in there one more year, and all that can be yours!

Thursday, 13 December 2007 05:55:40 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 07:54:57 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Neo-Nazis are still obsessed about my bathroom.

And, apparently, they think I'm dumb.

Mostly because they don't recognize sarcasm when they see it.

Can you believe I'm still getting hits off of them?  You'd think they'd have all seen the thread and given their two cents by now.

I love reading the Prussian Blue forums.  It's like being back in a rural high-school all over again.

The only thing missing is a game of Chevy-Ford "snaps".

One person seems to wonder how I could have rejected, as a child, all of the Neo-Nazi arguments about how the New World Order is going to make us all gay Jews, abort our children, and tax us to death.

Obviously, this is a person who never made it to rural northern Minnesota in the late-seventies-early eighties, attended a fundamentalist church, and listened to the paranoid rantings of numerous religious fanatics on a school-bus route that lasted an hour + each way.

Trust me, there was plenty of exposure...I suppose it's ebbed a little now...what with the homeschooling craze and everything.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007 21:47:36 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #
Monday, 10 December 2007
Friday, 07 December 2007

I was over at Uncommon Descent for a little light-headed reading.  I skimmed this silly little number.

It’s not really very interesting, except if you give it a Freudian deconstruction (it’s OK, I’m an English major.  I’m trained for this.  Don’t try it at home.)

Of special interest is this revealing little gem at the end:

“Of special interest would be the flagellar genes.”

Does the obsession with flagellum at the DI seem a tad…well…Augustinian?

I wonder if Dembski et. al. will ever discover tiny biological systems with analogous features to a hair shirt and salt chalice?

If so, it’s possible they’d never leave the prayer closet laboratory again.

Friday, 07 December 2007 22:04:49 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

I was just watching a History Channel special on China yesterday.  I had to laugh out loud when a Chinese Communist Party Official was shown talking about certain economic woes in his province.  He said:

"What we need is some sort of Social Security System".

I had to pause the DVR because I was laughing so hard.

See?  The conservatives are right!  Social Security IS communist! If it weren't Communist, the Communists wouldn't be thinking about maybe someday getting around to having it!

Friday, 07 December 2007 08:29:15 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  | #

Create in Kent Hovind a clean brain.



(Hat Tip: Jason Bock)

Friday, 07 December 2007 06:46:22 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] | #
Wednesday, 05 December 2007

I've ALWAYS wanted to say that!  Well, now I can.

 Jagged Spiral will be playing at Stasiu's along with 32nd Day and Sirens of Titan.

Stasiu's is loated at University and Lowry in NE Minneapolis.

There will be a $5 cover charge.  Jagged Spiral will be playing sometime after 11:00PM.

Wednesday, 05 December 2007 15:40:22 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #


A friend recently sent me this picture in an e-mail describing it as "The Eye of God."  The e-mail assured me that if I gazed upon the Eye of God, it would change my life (presumably for the better, in a way that I could understand and appreciate).

Laughingly, I responded:  "In ancient times, if you told someone that they could look upon the Eye of God, they would refuse to do it.  They would be certain that someone would be instantly struck dead for such an offense.  Today, we take pictures of the Eye of God, transmit it to our friends through the internet for entertainment purposes, and use it as a charm for granting free wishes...and they say ATHEISTS are arrogant."  :-)


Wednesday, 05 December 2007 08:54:57 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  | #
Tuesday, 04 December 2007

Eden Prairie High School is ranked 12 out of 454 public High Schools in the State.

Interestingly, the school I graduated from is 112th.

Here’s an excellent resource for funding information on a state-by-state basis.

Here’s some quotes from the above link:

Minnesota rankings on per pupil expenditures, FY 2005:

  • 23rd Total per pupil expenditures
  • 15th Per pupil instruction and instruction-related expenditures
    (Includes salaries and benefits for teachers, teaching assistants, librarians and library aides, in-service teacher trainers, curriculum development, student assessment, technology, and supplies and purchased services related to these activities.)
  • 4th Per pupil percent instruction and instruction-related at 69.54%
    (This is the 70% solution figure)
  • 48th Per pupil student support services
    (Includes attendance and social work, guidance, health, psychological services, speech pathology, audiology, and other student support services.)
  • 33rd Per pupil expenditures for administration
  • 22nd Per pupil operating expenditures


And yet there is a constant hue-and-cry that we spend WAY TOO MUCH for education in Minnesota.

There is a sense that we are somehow particularly over-burdoned…and yet..

October 2004 (updated) - According to How Does Minnesota Compare?, Minnesota Center for Public Finance Research/Minnesota Taxpayers Association:

  • Minnesota is 8th in the nation in earning power and 27th in the nation in education funding. (2002).  In 1996 we were 5th, in 1997-14th, 1998-18th, 1999-18th, 2000-21st.

Yet Minnesota has pretty high achievement in education.

  • Minnesota ranks first in the nation for having the highest proportion of both 4th and 8th graders scoring at the highest two levels in math. The proportion of Minnesota 8th graders who scored at the highest levels in math increased by 74% between 1990 and 2000. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  • Minnesota ranks among the best – 4th out of 50 states – in the proportion of high school graduates with scores in the top 20% nationally on either ACT or SAT exams. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2002)
  • Minnesota public schools teachers are the most qualified teachers in the country. They rank 1st out of 50 states, based on 12 indicators of teacher qualification. (National Commission on Teaching and America's Future)



What’s our secret?  Well, this might have something to do with it:

  • Minnesota has the highest proportion of crumbling roofs of all states in the nation (62%). Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Minnesota schools have a building that needs extensive repair or should be replaced.  (American Society of Civil Engineers)


Still, we have a constant “grass-roots” public pressure to CUT public spending on education.

Is it any wonder that administrators that can manage funding increases for their districts? can command a higher level of compensation?

I recall one caller I talked to when I was volunteering to call and educate people on the need to finally pass a bond referendum to address deferred maintenance on the schools.  He insisted (and by insisted I mean yelled into the phone) that the only way to solve Eden Prairie’s funding crisis was to close half the schools in the district and issue vouchers.  Why would you do that to one of the most successful districts in the State, in one of the most successful states in the nation?

I ended the call when he screamed at me that I was “uneducated” and “blind to what’s really going on.”


Tuesday, 04 December 2007 10:20:39 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Sunday, 02 December 2007

No one can deny the sheer power of the combination of desperation and "belief".

But THIS is rediculous.

Sunday, 02 December 2007 13:46:07 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #

Adventure Boy came home a couple of weeks ago, and informed us that he was going to try out for a role in the school play.  I thought that auditioning would be a great experience, so we sat down and surfed the Internet for a good, dramatic monologue for him to use.  I printed it out, and he took it with him, along with a ton of study materials and homework, on his trip to Spain with Rocky.

(Yeah, haven't told you all about that yet, have I?  Adventure Boy and Rocky went to Barcelona for 9 days over Thanksgiving vacation).

Anyway, I told AB that it was great that he was going to audition, but since there are a few thousand kids in his High School, and since he is a Freshman, and since he hasn't had any experience with acting except for one drama workshop last summer, he shouldn't expect to get a role... but should try his best to get the most out of the experience of trying.

Needless to say, he returned that evening and informed me that he had a call back the next day.  They would be performing "Rebel without a Cause".  So I helped him research the plot and the characters on the Internet, and the next day he went off armed with a fair understanding of the sort of stuff he'd be asked to read.

He got a part.

Not only that, but it is a pretty good part.  A small but important role.

He's the female love-interest's abusive father.

Needless to say, he's a little creeped out by the role. 

Anyway, I guess it goes without saying that you all will be informed of the date and time of the performances so that you can attend if you wish.

Sunday, 02 December 2007 00:27:13 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
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