Thursday, September 29, 2005

Speaking of fun with Headlines

As of right now (3PM EDT) Yahoo lists this on the front page as follows:

Secular Bible text developed for high schools

Now, I don't know if the CSM or Yahoo have editors like the one Terry found, who actually edit stuff when it's, duh, wrong, but it's kind of stupid for such a headline to appear. Makes me think of some other headlines they could assemble:

"Kerry Becomes President, Loses Election"
"Earth is Flat, except for the Round Parts"
"In New Scheme for Daylight Savings, All Hours to be AM"

Look, I'm sorry, but there's no such thing as a secular bible (well, the NY Times is treated that way, but...). Either your bible is about religion and faith in God, as it has been for thousands of years, or it doesn't exist. Give me all the claptrap you like about "the bible as literature", or all the so-called scholars with their "book of J, Book of E" BS. Anyone with half an ounce of sense knows what the Bible is - a religious tome that believers take to be the transmitted word of God.

This dancing around by the ACLUniks and so-called "free speech" types (motto - "MY speech is free - yours is not, because you disagree with me") about how (GASP!) reading the bible will somehow turn us into Iran is beyond stupid. Trying to satisfy these dopes is like trying to kiss a roach - they're damned quick to move to a new position, and it's not much of an accomplishment if you do pull it off.

Some specifics from the article:

Others express concern: "I don't think the Constitution prohibits the use of this textbook, but I have real doubts about the wisdom of this approach," says Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "At this time in America, it's better to simply talk about religious influences when they come up during the study of literature, art, and history, and not take the text of one religious tradition and treat it with special deference."

Look, chuckles, admit the truth. You don't really want them talking about it at all, and you'll fight like hell to keep them from even discussing it, much less treating it with deference. Even a nitwit secularist like you, if you were capable of being honest, would admit the profound influence this book has had on society. You might disagree with it and its principles, but its effect is blatant. Now, were someone to build a curriculum around, say, Lolita, or Tony Kushner's Angels in America, I imagine you'd be crowing about the preeminence such powerful literature should have in the American psyche, and cursing the religious wackos who might think it's offensive.

At the same time, many US English teachers express concern that students' deficient biblical knowledge is hampering their education.

Nice deduction, Sherlock. Glad you're paying attention.

Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress, a constitutional watchdog, says that, "Without question, it can serve as the basis for a constitutional course."

Let me get this straight. The American JEWISH Congress, not a constitutional watchdog, but another collection of secularist, barely Jewish lobbying busybodies (see Foxman, Abraham; ADL) is taking the text central to the faith of its name, and allowing the bowdlerized version as "constitutional." I'm sorry, bubbaleh, but you seemed to have missed a few days of Hebrew School. The point of being a Jew and a Jewish organization is not to destroy the Torah, it's to support it with every ounce of your strength. You should be decrying the bastardization of our holiest text instead of shrugging noncommittaly and saying "meh."

Look, boys, as they still say in Brooklyn sometimes, "Don't do me no favors." You want to dance nekkid in the streets at the altar of secularism, have a good time. Just don't act surprised if the rest of us point out that you and your emperor are a few stitches shy of a three-piece suit.

Thank goodness

for the Thursday Three, or I'd never blog. Anyway, here you are.

1) What one language would you most like to learn to speak, or at least understand?

Wag that I am, I too was going to say English. Terry beat me to it, so that's out. I've taken Hebrew, French, Russian, and Latin in my checkered educational past, and I can't speak any of them conversationally. What I've learned is that I have no head for languages. I'd like my Hebrew to be better than it is, and I think it would be most practical. I can kind of understand, but not as well as I'd like.

2) What one skill would you most like to learn?

I've been interested in learning to fly forever, but the cost is in the way. I'd also like to learn to play an instrument, mostly guitar. The one that's probably most achievable is woodworking, and I've actually started to make some attempts at it. Can I pick two? Or three? You notice I didn't say I wanted to get good at math.

3) What one character flaw would you most like to rid yourself of?

Impatience. I cannot seem to conquer that particular problem. I get it when I'm driving and with my children, and I can't seem to get over it. I recognize intellectually that I'm not getting there that much faster if the guy in front of me moves over to the middle lane. I also realize they are 4 and 2 respectively, and they can't be expected to meet my expectations on some things, but I often feel they're ignoring me deliberately and I tend to jump on them quicker than I should.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

That does it.

I need more memory.

Yes, smartalexes, both personal and computer-wise.

I can't run GoLive with virtually any other program, and I need other stuff running at the same time.

Now, what have I got that would actually get the IT people to come through with something I actually need to do my job?

Monday, September 26, 2005

I would be extremely

hard pressed to find a day more bizarre than this one. It has not been fun, and here is why:

3AM, give or take an hour: youngest comes downstairs to us. I did not wake from my already fitful sleep, happily. Mrs. changes soaked pull-up, nurses, bundles her back to bed. She had reason for waking - she fell asleep on the couch at 3:30 yesterday, woke up at 6 (very grumpy I might add) and asked to go back to bed, which she did.

6AM: Bright eyed and bushy tailed after close to 15 hours of sleep, youngest returns and performs some calisthenics on our bed.

6:20AM: Phone rings, nobody there. Looks like the automated phone system from the synogogue, which usually calls to announce funerals and shiva.

6:26AM: Phone again - a kid from town is missing, and they want volunteers to meet at the house at 7 to help look. Up, shower, hop in the car.

7AM: At the house - grampa and kid left yesterday to go hiking in Bear Mountain State Park, up north aways, and nobody's heard from or seen them since. We start grouping up into carpools, and they ask us to come back in an hour after the park police have had a chance to get things in order. Back home, pray, grab some water bottles, flashlight, sweatshirts.

8AM: Picked up by the carpool, get some instructions; please wait around 10 minutes; OK, head up to parking lot at state park

9AM: collecting other members or our carpool; on the way over to the highway, word comes they found the kid & grampa; everybody stand down. Home, get changed to go to work.

9:30AM: On the road to work, Mrs. calls - school called, oldest is crying & moaning, her stomach hurts. I stop at school (on the way to work anyway) and keep sicky company while momma gets back on the road (she took child today instead of me so I could go play posse.)

10:15AM: She gets child, I get to work & rush off to another oral history interview.

1PM: Get jabbed for annual PPD test, head upstairs. Message from Mrs. "Guess what? Oldest has chicken pox. She's home from school for the week."

So that's the day so far. I guess I shouldn't have told someone that the day couldn't get any more bizarre. Everytime I answer the phone from Mrs. now I ask whether or not someone has the grippe, or gout, or the plague.

It's going to be a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG week.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thursday three has arrived

And I am finally woken from my blog-slumber to respond:

1) Name three events that occurred in your life that you look back on occasionally and wonder how things might have turned out if you had done something different.

One I can think of right away was the choice of grad schools. I don't look back as if it was a life-altering experience, I simply wonder what might have been had I picked up and moved to either Boston (technically Waltham) or Baltimore, as I had the chance to do at Brandeis or Johns Hopkins. Different friends, possibly different relationships. (Come to think about it, I didn't have any romantic relationships at all, so anything would have been a change.) I'm happier where I am, but there's always what might have been.

A second might be my choice to attempt a career as an engineer. I spent a year at an engineering school under the mistaken impression that I wanted a science career. My dad thought I'd be better off in a liberal arts school, which is in fact where I ended up, but I suspect I would have wondered for the rest of my life if I could have done it had I not tried. I'm glad I did, even if my dad had a point.

There's a couple of girls in my past, neither of whom I dated, that I still sometimes wonder about. One is a vague memory from second grade that I had 7 year old hots for, and the other is one from later who remains a friend. I did ask her, but she turned me down. Probably rightly so, but I still wonder sometimes.

2) If you could have lived in another time, what would it be? One stipulation--you have to be pretty much what you are right now--no going back in time and being Alexander the Great, no being Einstein or Moses or Casanova. If you’re a teacher, you’ll still be a teacher; a doctor, still a doctor; a car mechanic--well figure that one out on your own. You wouldn’t know the future, either--so no going back and betting on horse races and stuff. You would just be you, only in another time and place.

Hmmm. Hard to say when I'd want to go to, though I've developed a fondness for the Napoleonic Era. Archivist to Hammurabi?

3) What one aspect of your life, such as your family, job, social life, spiritual life, creative ability, etc., do you find most rewarding?

I suppose I should join the parade and say my kids, but rewarding may not be the right term for it yet. It's hard work, and I sometimes have a problem seeing the rewarding part of it. Though when I see them absorbing lessons (as when oldest voluntarily shared her loot from a treasure hunt with friends & sibling) it's easier to feel the reward. Personal fulfillment often comes to me from cooking, of all things. It's my one creative effort, and I like being able to eat the results.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's this?

Is that a Thursday Three I see? Didn't folks in my blog circle used to do such things many moons ago? Let's see if I still remember how to do this.

1. With the recent hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast, it has once again been made obvious that being prepared ahead of time can be the difference between life and death. Do you and your family keep an emergency pack of supplies ready to go at a moment's instant as so many people recommend? What all is in it?

Unlike the well prepared Possum (much less the overprepared Michael Chertoff), we have nothing prepared. Oh, the diaper bag is usually packed, and sometimes has old boxes of raisins & other snacks, but we seem a bit ill-prepared for disaster. Since our biggest troubles come from snow up here, I don't know if there's a whole lot to do but make sure the snowblower has gas in it and get some extra milk & water in case of a blizzard.

2. If, heaven forbid, anything as destructive as a hurricane or earthquake or fire or flood were to hit your community, and assuming you stayed around or couldn't get out, what are some of the skills you have that you think could be utilized to start the recovery efforts?

Hmm. My history skills will be even more useless than they are now. If I have a full tank of propane, I can grill food if there's any to be found. I do own some tools, so if I can figure out how to use them properly, I might be of some help.

3. How safe do you feel in your own community when it comes to disaster preparedness?

Well, on the one hand, nobody that lives in the neighborhood has guns, so there's hopefully fewer thugs; I guess that also means less defense, but that's one of the big debates about having them up here. We're a tight-knit community, so I'd hope that we'd all stick together and help each other out. We're as safe as I suspect humans can be - if we band together to protect each other, we'll be fine. If we choose to look out for ourselves, we don't stand much of a chance.

More from

the "some people have too much free time" file. I suspect we paid for this from tax money, and I'm glad they can now figure out what garbage I typed on this here blog just by listening to the keystrokes.

Mind you, they could just read the silly thing, but I can't imagine anyone paying good discretionary tax dollars just for people to read this nonsense.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I need

to get out the door and get home, but this is bothering me a bit and I'm going to post on it briefly. Maybe I'll add to it later.

I sat down during the BBQ with some guys I work with fairly closely. As a group these are a terrific bunch of guys, and they're very good to work with. The problem for me is when politics come up during our conversations. Needless to say they're on the left, I'm on the right.

I don't care that they have different opinions - that's natural and healthy. What bothers me is the assuredness with which they lay out what I think are unfounded and in some cases malicious lies. This concept going around that the president is a dyed-in-the-wool racist is laughable as far as I'm concerned, and yet my friends routinely cite it as biblical truth. (The Halliburton thing came up again, too).

I suspect the part that bothered me most is the characterization of the people who support the President and/or Republicans as basically abortion foes and anti gay and little else. I realize it's easier for most people to reduce their opponents (intellectual and otherwise) to a simplistic position. It makes it far easier to discard his arguments if you reduce them to bare minimums. But as I've discovered in my journey to political/social conservatism, people on the right (as I'm sure of the left) are more complex than that.

Abortion never entered my mind in the 2000 elections, much less gay rights. I was unhappy with the Clinton administration and what I considered its cavalier attitude to the will of the people, and I felt Gore would simply continue in that mold; hence, I voted for Bush. 9/11 cemented my view that I made the right call, but I had reasons for voting the way I did beforehand. Through my conversations with the folks who read this blog, I've gotten to know many other conservative types who are not one dimensional, and I get a little frustrated with my friends for acting like we're all either one-note voters or dim-bulb hicks.

I choose not to end my friendships (admittedly born only of a shared workplace, but I do like these guys), and I try and avoid talking politics with them, but they can't seem to see beyond their own prejudices. I do think it illustrates what many conservatives have said - the left, claiming always to be the party of inclusion and openmindedness, has sunken into a rigid orthodoxy that contradicts its avowed principles.

One minor note

before I head up to the employee BBQ they run every year. No kosher food, unfortunately, but the soda is free and it's company-sponsored hooky, so who am I to argue?

I mentioned the other day that the printer (requiring no special assembly at all) was due to arrive sometime next week. The computer, requiring a certain amount of speciality, was enroute and in fact they attempted to deliver it yesterday AM.

Regardless of all the suggested delivery plans, I come home from work and oldest says "daddy, your printer's here." I ask wife (missing completely the box sitting by the back door) "Printer? the printer's supposed to get here next week?" Says she "I dunno, but there it is."

So, the delivery works out as follows. Computer, set to be delivered yesterday, arrives around 10 AM on Truck #1; no answer, leave a tag to pick up or it will be redelivered tomorrow (i.e., today). Printer, set to be delivered next Wednesday, arrives on truck #2 at 2PM, and is simply left on the back porch in view of all passersby. Computer is then picked up by me at the FedEx location after 7PM, and brought home.

Somehow I can't help feeling there are some inefficiencies here that could have been avoided. But I suppose they ship a million packages a day, so they must know better.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

For the record

This entry comes via my spankin' new laptop. I keep hitting the frappin' CAPS LOCK... sorry, caps lock button, but otherwise all is cool.

I've never seen a desktop so empty.

Anyway, time for hockey, but I have moved up a notch or three since this AM.

Be forewarned

This link is in reference to a somewhat explicit scene in an upcoming film. Most of you reading this are adults of one form or another, so the concept that Hollywood is including more than two people in a bedroom scene should neither totally surprise nor shock you.

What I find even less shocking (and why I'm even bringing such silliness up here) are the comments made by the female participant in this little menage a trois. This from the attractive in a "waiflike, please eat a cheeseburger, honey" fashion Rachel Blanchard:

Blanchard said she agreed to do the sexual scenes because they are integral to the film's message.

"The film is basically about the power of celebrity and the abuse of that power," she said. "It sort of expands on how abusing that power sexually has consequences. It's a redeeming film and it has a positive message."

Look, dear, I'm sure you're right. Somewhere in this brilliant piece of art I'm quite sure there's some kind of positive message. The kids are definitely going to uplifted by Kevin Bacon playing a drugged out alcoholic comedian. And yet I remain unconvinced that you stripping nekkid and pretending to get hot & sweaty with Chip ("Thank you sir may I have another") Diller from Animal House is socially redeeming.

Look, I don't honestly care if anyone chooses to write this, film this, act in this, watch this, whatever. But let's call the proverbial spade a spade, shall we? This was a chance to put nekkidness in a movie with a nice looking woman, and they took it. Making up moral messages for this sort of thing is silly, and makes you look like the lightweight I already suspected you were.

It's sad

but my new computer is better traveled than I am. Despite Gateway's claim that it would take until next week for the machine to show up, it was nearly delivered this morning. I say nearly because Mrs. didn't hear the doorbell (wasting her time on the ridiculous concept of actually taking a shower 3.5 hours after being woken).

Based on the FedEx record, the 'pewter has been in Shanghai, Anchorage, Indianapolis, and Jamaica, Queens. I can only claim to have been in one of those places. And it ain't Shanghai.

Nonetheless, I'm quite pleased. I'll have to go pick it up, but I can live with that. Oddly, the free (well, once I file the rebate forms) printer apparently won't be here for a few days yet. Which I can live with, since I don't desperately need it anyway.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why chocolate

might be bad for you.

M & Ms - melts in your mouth (BOOM!), blows up your hands.

Rumor has it

I have been somewhat remiss in my posting of late. I can't say I think anyone should be so desperate to see what I have to say, but I guess with Sugarmama on hiatus people will look at ANYTHING.

My professional life has become all oral histories, all the time. I had to make up a spreadsheet to figure out what I'm up to with which interview. The boss wants to schedule 5 this week, and it's a shortened week. I'm also trying fairly desperately to get more storage space, since I'm jammed to the gills already and I know there's more out there. I can't seem to get my oar into the available spaces before somebody comes up with a reason why I can't have it, so it's getting a little tiresome. It'll work itself out.

We did go away for the long weekend down to our friends in the DC area, which was really lovely. We really didn't do anything, but it was nice to see them and pleasant to be away. Ate a LOT of meat - grilled lamb chops, chicken, and steak for dinner Friday night (and again cold on Sat. lunch), then burgers Sunday night. We're going to be eating a bit more vegetarian this week to make up for it. On top of it, our friend is expecting and we brought them a ton of stuff - crib, clothes, stuff. We're not just gaining a surrogate niece/nephew, we're getting back our basement and garage.

Last bit of news is the best - I have finally pulled the trigger on a new computer. Been agonizing for months on a replacement for my five year old Sony refurb with the devil in it, and I couldn't bring myself to do it. Mrs. finally pushed me over the edge last week, and a shiny new Gateway M360 is eventually on its way to me. I wanted the laptop enough to swallow the higher price, and as the wife said, I'll probably get a new one in five years anyway, so it's not forever. All I really need to do is upgrade the memory, which I will do separately on my own.

So that's the update.