Archive for December, 2007

In lieu of actual blogging…

Posted: December 28, 2007 in Unblogging

I settle for cat blogging. LOLCATs, that is.

funny pictures

Enviro-OOPS!

Posted: December 18, 2007 in Environmentalism

From the “but…but….but…” Dept.:

Corn boom could expand ‘dead zone’ in Gulf

The nation’s corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing “dead zone” — a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate.

Hmmm. Let us consider. What ultimately will prove more harmful for the Gulf ecosystem: Drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the environmental impacts of which are minimal, OR, pushing “alternative” fuels which result in the dumping of tons of poisonous waste into the Gulf?

I wonder if anyone factored in the carbon emission from all those extra tractors, harvesters, semi-trucks and other machines required to farm all this extra land?  I wonder how that compares to the emissions required to process oil from an off-shore oil rig pumped right into tanks via pipeline?

Update:  Yeah, kind of like that

In journalistic and legal circles there is a concept called “prior restraint,” which essential boils down to an officially-sanctioned restriction on the publication or airing of material which might offend, be prejudicial to a trial process, or in some other way prove harmful to some party.  The potential harm to the aggrieved party is always weighed against the potential impacts on freedom of speech; with freedom of speech being given the much greater weight.  Few instances of prior restraint are ever upheld due to the perception that its use constitutes an unacceptable infringement of freedom of speech.  In other words, the potential harm done to one individual or group is far outweighted by the potential harm done to the society as a whole by setting such a precedent.

So, if you don’t see how the censorship of a choir singing Christmas carols near a Jewish person is the same as prior restraint, then it’s because you’ve made a conscious decision not to.

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You remember the Bloom County cartoons, where Opus would occasionally need to take a break from everything and sit amidst the dandelions for a while?  I feel like a I need one of those.

What with all the shootings and crazy weather and the painful mediocrity of the candidates currently in the race for President, not to mention the ridiculous nonsense invovled in the anti-Christmas hype, it’s hard not to feel a little gray and worn down after a while.

 And reading over my last few posts, I realize that I sound, well, pretty cranky and caustic and just generally unpleasant.  I’m not really that way in person.  I guess what I write here tends to be an outlet of sorts.  Reading over the news and other blogs, and seeing the kind of craziness reflected there, at times it just makes my blood boil.  I tend to seethe out through the keyboard, and over time, it tends to give things a pretty acerbic tone.

The blogs I really enjoy reading are the ones that make me laugh, or think, or smile.  Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to laugh.  I’ve got to be so serious at work, and so responsible at home, and things get so busy that I tend to bury any chance of catching my breath, just sitting around and enjoying things.

With that said, I thought I would take a break from calling people idiots, and just drop in some random stuff I’ve written in the past, stuff with a little lighter tone.  Hope you like:

“It is not the intensity of the effort we apply to the hammer, or the chisel, but rather the marks we leave on the stone that determine how we are to be remembered.”

Don’t let the world bring you to your knees…Get there by yourself!

Love is something you are given, not something you earn.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect – He wants us to admit that we aren’t.

God doesn’t expect us to have all the answers – He wants us to admit that we need His Truth.

God doesn’t want us to stand on our own  – He wants us to kneel with Him.

The truest measure of one’s faith is his willingness to forgo the comforts of convenience and ease, and stand deeply in the midst of an uncertain situation.  As we stand outside ourselves, outside our carefully constructed comfort zones and safety measures, we must face the inevitability of our own inadequacy.  When faced with circumstances beyond our control, in that moment of doubt, we must turn our face toward God, and ask His intervention.  Indeed, it is not until we realize how fully we our out of our depth, in situations beyond our experience, that we turn toward Him who would preserve us.  Our faith is tested in the crucible of trials that we know we could not face alone.  Our faith becomes tempered and hardened as the finest steel, through victories possible only through His divinity.  Where there is confidence in ourselves, there is little room for faith in Him.  We choose to fill that space where He would stand.  Only when we step aside, and relinquish our own selfish desires for personal glory, will the Lord step in and perform a mighty work through us.

Are you trying to receive the benefits of Christ’s name without the demands of His Kingdom?

True wisdom is an understanding of the total inadequacy of your own knowledge.  Those who think that they are wise and believe that they have nothing left to learn, are the fools they believe others to be.  Knowledge is a thirst that is never quenched, yet still should we drink.  Through our intelligence we gain knowledge, through our knowledge we gain understanding, and through our understanding we slowly gain wisdom.  With wisdom comes the realization of how much we have yet to learn, and joy at the prospect of the search.

The more you know about Quantum Physics, the more sense the Bible makes.

Quick, more funding!!

Posted: December 12, 2007 in Utter Inshanity!

Boys, 11 and 14, Charged With Sex Assault on Woman, 60

Me?  I blame conservative Christians for stuff like this.  What will all their antiquated ideas about morality and right & wrong.  Clearly what these misguided youths need is more social programs, and some progressive, forward-thinking sex education about proper use of condoms.

I suspect that it was probably school prayer and a public display of the 10 Commandments that started them down this dark road.

A shame, really.

Okay, so you say you “feel” excluded by all the Christmas hoopla, that it’s rude and impolite and intolerant and whatever else.  Just makes you feel like a marginalized citizen, all disenfranchised and outcast.  Shouldered to the side, thrust to the fringes, your feelings trampled beneath the cruel spiked heels of the madding crowds.  Etc.

But ARE you?  So much of the current anti-Christmas rhetoric seems to revolve around some vague yet dark and dangerous fear that someone might “feel excluded” by Christmas celebrations.  And that cuts right to the core of things, doesn’t it?  It’s about how you FEEL, rather than what actually is.  It’s about your perceptions, your own self-imposed definition of martyrdom or victimhood, rather than the actual realities of a situation.

How many people are actually excluded from anything by using the term “Christmas?”  How many people are barred, refused, expelled, punished, or otherwise “excluded” from any service, public forum, retail establishment, freedom of movement or assembly by the presence of a big Christmas tree in the town square?

Ahhh,” you say as you sigh ever-so dramatically and expressively, “but it makes them feel excluded because the celebration is exclusivistic and excludes them if they don’t participate or share that belief.”

And…what?  Doesn’t that mean that they are the ones excluding themselves?  Isn’t it then a self-imposed isolation?  And if so, how can it be anyone else’s “fault?”

Where does it say or even remotely imply that if you don’t celebrate Christmas that you aren’t welcome in this or that store?  That if the Driver’s License office puts up a festive Christmas tree that atheists or Muslims somehow won’t be able to renew their driver’s license?  We are led to believe that if you went into City Hall, and there was a tree and Merry Christmas banner posted, that it would be tantamount to spraying Muslims with pig blood and torching a Koran, and don’t even THINK about applying for that building permit, because it’s Christmas, so only Christians are welcome.  Heathen.

If you are prevented from celebrating because you don’t share the same underlying beliefs, why would you WANT to celebrate? I don’t get it.  Rather than being offended, why don’t you just ignore it?  Why not just ride it out until January and let the Christies have their fun?

What it boils down to is this:  if you are offended by displays of Christmas, and its associated religious baggage, what you are really saying is that you are offended by being exposed to beliefs different than your own.  You are offended by symbols of another faith, and by running yer filthy pie hole on an on about it, you are effectively saying that people who believe different than you need to keep it to themselves, suppress their faith, suppress celebrations of their holidays so that you, yes, cuz it’s all about you, so that you won’t be offended by their disgusting displays a “divisiveness.”

But that’s not hypocrisy.  Nope.  That’s “tolerance.”

And by divisive I mean daring to disagree with YOU.  Daring to think something different than YOU.  Oh. The. HORROR!

It’s a deeply egocentric worldview.  It requires that YOU not be offended, no matter what, and hang what impacts that might have on other people’s freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion.  If you get your knickers all in a twist because people insist on “shoving Christmas down your throat,” you deserve the title “Scrooge.”  Kill-joy.  Curmudgeon.  Whiner.  Pouty little child. 

Get over yourself.  I don’t require you to celebrate Christmas.  I DO require you to let ME celebrate Christmas.  That’s not called intolerance.  It’s called f-r-e-e-d-o-m.

Newsflash:  Me celebrating my religious holidays has no impact on your ability to celebrate yours, or not celebrate yours..unless your religion requires that no others be allowed…(or somehow involves beheading unbelievers).   And if you can’t see how prohibiting expressions and celebrations of Christmas in the public square because of its religious nature is any different than the imposition of any other kind of theocratic restrictions, then you quite simply aren’t living in the same reality that I am.  For all their bombast and vitriol about Christofascists and the big push for some sort of Christian theocracy, the Far Left seems to working hell-bent on establishing their own version, but in this case an atheocracy.

Last time I checked, that is as completely antithetical to everything for which the country stands, and everything enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights as the imposition of a full on theocracy.   The Founding Fathers strove diligently to create and protect for perpetuity an environment that was BY DEFINITION not hostile to expressions of religious faith.  More and more this seems to get set firmly on its ear by progressivists more worried about feelings than about historical fact.

So if it bothers you that Christians are allowed to celebrate Christmas in December…move to Iran, Sudan or China or Indonesia.  Trust me, you won’t be faced with same awful spectacle there.  

My seven year old daughter complained the other day about how one of the boys in another class was bugging her.  I guess he was trying to get one of his friends to ask my daughter for her phone number.  Yeah.  Apparently he wants to “date” her.

Date her?  She’s in 2nd GRADE!!!!

I was rather hoping not to have to face this particular specter for some time yet.  B.J. is his name. I’m sure he’s a nice kid.  Yeah. Right.  Probably a future drop out and drug dealer.

I can’t imagine what a second grader thinks is involved in dating.  Probably sharing your Cheetos at lunch or something.  Now, I must admit to being somewhat torn between thinking, “Oh, isn’t that cute” and the alternative of,” Why that little…what’s he think he wants with MY daughter?!  Why I oughta….”

I think I’ve discovered an easy fix.  I’m gonna go all old-school on him.  If he wants to date MY daughter, he’s gonna have to ask ME first!  HAH!  That oughta fix his little red wagon.  Kind of a pre-screening.  If a boy is interested enough in my little girl to face up to a grumpy old fart with a mean scowl and poor disposition, well then he might be legit.  Might be. 

I suppose there might, just MIGHT be a few good boys still out there; but in today’s day and age, I’m not really all that confident.  I don’t cotton to no playaaz.  What with me having been a bit of a playa myself in the day, I hold a pretty strong bias common to most men of daughters against the intentions and moral fiber of most of the male species.  Yes, even in the 2nd grade.

I always figured that about the time she comes of age for that whole..{{grrk}} dating thing, I’d start keeping a baseball bat and a Bible by the door.  When the young feller comes a calling, I’ll pull him aside for a brief chat.  I’ll say something like, “Son, my daughter was raised in a Christian house with Christian values.  So I’m gonna offer you a choice, my boy,” as I hold up first the Bible, then the Bat.  “You follow one, or you get the other!”

Seems pretty cut and dried to me.

Do you ever feel like the Matrix is breaking down?  Like there is some sort of unraveling going on that is slowly dissolving the bonds of rationality, civility, even just basic humanity in us all?  Some sort of corrosive substance being poured on the foundations of our society, even the fundamental core of reality?  It’s like some weird Star Trek episode where the shields are failing, and there’s some strange sort of radiation leaking through which is starting to make everyone act all crazy.

And from the “Just Freaking Stupid” Dept.

And from the, “Well, ya don’t say!” Dept.:

 It just really doesn’t look good for the human race, folks. 

Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!!

Offended yet?  No?

Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!! Merry Christmas!!

How about now?

I’ve read several blog posts about the whole “War on Christmas” thing.  I especially like the one by Rachel Lucas, ‘cuz you see, I just flat don’t get it.  What, for all that is furry, soft and static-free, exactly is it that is so all-fired “offensive” about the phrase “Merry Christmas?!”  

Yeah, I can see how all that “Peace on earth, good will towards men” and “Joy To The World” stuff must really just get under your skin.  The gall! The temerity! How DARE you wish me a Merry Christmas!  FASCIST!

Honestly, what really is the difference between getting all huffy and “offended” if someone wishes you Merry Christmas, and getting all huffy and offended if someone names a teddy bear “Muhammed?”  Seriously.  Explain it to me, ‘cuz I’m really struggling with that one.

Oh, but wait, we aren’t even talking about being offended anymore, are we?  According the article referenced in Rachel’s blog, the schreeching little shrew in question considered it the height of impoliteness to wish someone Merry Chrismas. Like there aren’t worse things in this world than occasionally being impolite. 

Okay, lets break this down fer a second.  Apparently we are excluding people by calling it a Christmas tree.  Who, exactly, are we excluding?  Muslims?  Buddhists?  Jews? Hey, newsflash….THEY ALREADY DON’T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS, MORON!  So how is calling it a “Holiday” tree going to suddenly kick the door wide for them to deck the halls?

Who else? Non-christians?  Soooo….you’re telling me that in the roughly 230-ish years this country has been around, it’s only ever been orthodox, fundmentalist, hard-core Bible-thumping Christians what actually had a Christmas tree, and all the other scrooge-nostics out there had to grit their collective teeth with a bitter, seething rage as they bought their tree, secretly feeling all outcast and excluded, wishing deep in their hurting little hearts that they could just buy a Holiday Tree instead?  How does calling it Christmas exclude anyone

If someone wished me Happy Haunukah, or Joyous Kwanza or whatever it is, “Have a Mystical and Magical Winter Solstice,” I can say with utmost certainty I wouldn’t be offended by it.   Okay, no, no, you’re right.  I’d probably file a hate-crimes lawsuit against them for their willful and hateful failure to respect my religious beliefs which, of course, are clearly evident just by looking at me. 

Actually, being a rational individual, I’d likely just smile, wave, and wish them the same thing back, out of POLITENESS.  What. A. Concept.

Every time I hear that someone is “offended’” (yes, I’m going to put that in quotes every damn time) by displays, words, thoughts, graphics or songs with the words Merry Christmas in them, I have to think that we’ve really lost track of what “offended” means.  I am offended by people swearing like stable hands around my kids.  I’m offended when I see my faith mocked and derided in movies and television shows.  I’m offended by a really bad smell coming out of the sewer.  I’m offended by self-righteous blowhards who want to require that I think and act like they do or suffer the consequences.  I’m not “offended” by someone wish my a Happy Saint Patrick’s day even though I’m not Irish.

Hey, wait a minute.  Lessee if I got this straight…we have to remove every hint of anything which might be offensive to someone else?  So…there are only certain acceptable viewpoints, and all others must be supressed as unacceptable?  Isn’t that sort of the Liberals’ textbook definition of intolerance? Refusing to allow any viewpoints but your own?  Limiting access to the public forum only to those who conform to the mandated and “approved” views?

Approved by whom?  Why, the scroogenostics of course.

The modern celebration of Christmas has become so secularized that for a great many people it is a cultural tradition as much as a religious one, celebrated by a broad spectrum of people from a variety of backgrounds, both religious and ethnic.  Calling it Christmas only excludes those who have a vested interest in being offended in order to further their social(ist) agenda.  No one seems to care if I’m offended by Kwaanza or Ramadan.  There don’t seem to be any shrill cries about excluding or silencing them. 

No, that would be intolerant, right? Right?

Nuance.

Quantum Physics and Abortion

Posted: December 4, 2007 in Abortion

An interesting comment thread over at Protein Wisdom.  The subject? The always popular…abortion!  In this instance, the case of a boyfriend who slipped his pregnant girlfriend of rufie of RU-486 and caused her to miscarry.  He now potentially faces up to 100 years in prison for “attempted homicide of an unborn child.”

What caught my eye in the comments was the “kill your dog” analogy, such that you can kill or euthanize your own dog, but not your neighbors, so that’s why it was illegal for the boyfriend to kill the baby, but not the mother if she opted for an abortion.

Here’s the key, though: “boyfriend” not “father.” This line of reasoning assumes that the fetus/baby is the property of the mother, and thus the male in the equation took undo liberties with HER property.  In effect, stating that the father has no rights to the child at all;  pre-birth, that is.  Once it’s born, suddenly he has all this responsibility, child support, etc.

I just don’t get it.  Making a child takes two people.  Even if the gestation takes place within the mother, it’s quite a bit of grammatical gymnastics to suggest that it is not, in fact, THEIR child from the get go.

Unless of course you treat it merely as another organ or mass of tissue within the female’s body, sort of like another pancreas or liver.

One commenter in particular, taking the pro-choice side, had some particularly mind-blowing patterns of thought in defending the much-cherished “woman’s right to choose.”

Comment by MayBee on 12/1 @ 4:43 pm #
MayBee – Looking at this from the “pro-choice” mentality, don’t they say that there is no “baby”, it’s just a “fetus”?   The pro-choice activist’s rhetoric doesn’t determine or create the law. I’m pro-choice, and I say any wanted fetus is a baby.

So, apparently if you want to have the baby, then it’s a baby.  But if you don’t, then it’s only a fetus.  Okay. Got it.  Thanks for clearing that up.  Kind of a quantum physics thing, I guess.  It may, or may not be a baby, depending on how you chose to perceive it, on whether or not it’s wanted.  Which in turn, determines the situational morality of terminating it. 

Where I come from, we call that moral relativism.  A handy mechanism for rationalizing away sticky moral dilemmas, what? (more…)