Monday, October 31, 2005
More Halloween Fun
Sunday, October 30, 2005
First Pics From Halloween
Pretty creepy looking, hunh? The funny thing is this is the sweetest, most unassuming, all-around nice guy you'll ever meet.
This pregnant fairy was all aglow.
This guy just wouldn't go home. He's hung around since last year's Halloween party.
One Last Time
Mom: Hey, the fish don't want to play football.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Mom: Hey, we do not gromet the pizza.
Mom, more strident: Give me the gromet gun.....NO!
She Said What?
My wife: "I forgot I had to pee. I was too busy playing with spiders!"
Ah, I love her. Even if she is creepier than I am.
Friday, October 28, 2005
More Reasons For The Love Of Rome
The sheer gall this takes never ceases to amaze me. "I know what I know, never mind the facts!" You know, ignorance I can forgive. But willful ignorance is criminal, and people should be kneecapped for it. And then beaten with sticks. Big sticks. Really big sticks. Maybe stabbed a few times for good measure. Say, is drawing and quartering illegal in the US?
See, in the Roman Empire, everybody got to believe whatever they wanted from a religious perspective (gotta love that REALLY old-time religion), but if the natural philosophers came up with some nifty proof of something, THE PEOPLE BELIEVED THEM!
That's one of the the few problems I see with the egalitarianism of the United States' "Great Experiment". Every opinion is considered to have equal validity with every other opinion. What horse shit.
Say, the next time your back hurts, why don't you just shuffle on down to that crazy guy that lives in your town (because every town has a crazy guy, along with a village idiot) and ask him to ask the aliens to fix it for you? What, you don't think so? Why not? His opinion is just as good as yours! Heck, that crazy guy gets to vote in every election! So his ideas are just as relevant as yours!
Now, see, I believe the crazy guy has a right to have his opinion. I even believe the crazy guy has a right to try to convince others that his opinion is valid. But I don't think the crazy guy should get to teach his "Aliens fix sore backs" theory in science classes, 'cause the last time I checked, ain't no aliens fixing my achin' back, dammit!
Bad Life (And Death) Choices
Evil Halloween Kitty
Evil Halloween Kitty
Dover ID Implosion
Alright, Brain, You Don't Like Me....
I just realized that I forgot to answer this week's 5 Questions. Jeez, I must be getting old. Either that or this whole Halloween decorating thing is getting out of hand.
For The Love Of Rome
Sure, they fought wars of conquest. But they were unabashed about it. They didn't lie and say that Gaul had Weapons of Freedom Fries Destruction. They just went, "Hey, Gaul. Straighten up or we'll spank ya, and make you pay us for it, too." And, of course, Gaul didn't. And, of course, Rome did. For centuries. But at least they brought the Pax Romana to their conquered territories. An area added to the Roman Empire usually florished in the end, even if it took a while to synch up with the rest of the Empire's economy. Peace, value-laden money, a strong military and trustworthy leadership will do that. I wish the United States could say we had any of that these days.
And yeah, they had some pretty screwy societal ideas, like slavery and male supremacy. But Roman slavery, while still slavery, was usually not the US South. Slaves, while property, were still people, and not considered some lesser race. Well, actually, Romans thought everyone who wasn't Roman was a lesser race, but that's what nobility will do for ya. At least slaves were considered human. That's better than the US South is doing NOW, in some places.
As to male supremacy, well, it was a more muscle-powered time, and men do have better upper body strength. But women did have their own, very important roles to play. They might not have been the most glamorous jobs, but everything that went on inside the walls of a home were the responsibility of the wife of that household. That's a lot more power to wield than the typical WASP wife has in the US today.
And while we're talking about Roman gender issues, I'd like to point out that they weren't so squeamish about the so-called "alternative lifestyles". By the Prime Cause, I hate that euphamism. There is no such thing as a "gay lifestyle". Gay people can be found in every walk of life, at every level of society, in every type of church. And the Romans freely admitted to that. Homosexuality was not frowned upon. It was freely accepted. Hell, Alexander the Great had a little somethin'-somethin' going on on the side, and he conquered the known world! How could the Romans look at things any differently? Bullshit like this Kansas thing would have never even made it to the forums, much less ever made it into law. By the Matrix, what the hell is wrong with Kansas? When did an entire state become so fearful of the different, the odd, the unique? Surely there are bisexuals in Kansas somewhere? Of course, when you largest city is less than 400,00o people (that would be Wichita, in case you're wondering), it's not too surprising that sex in any form is frowned upon. If it weren't, then the damned cities would be bigger!
Hell, Charlotte, North Carolina beats out Wichita for population. And let's be honest, folks. It's a heck of a lot easier for homosexuals and bisexuals in larger population centers. For the strictly gay, four to ten percent of 400,000 is a lot harder to find than four to ten percent of New York City's 22 million. For bisexuals, it's easier to find people who are closer to them on the Kinsey Scale, and who are into the same kinds of things.
So, to recap. Rome fought wars of conquest, but they brought peace in their wake, and didn't lie about what they were doing. You never heard a Roman senator talk about "spreading freedom to the Carthaginian people". Rome had slavery, but the slaves were at least considered to be humans. And Rome was somewhat male-centric, but it had a pretty well defined division of labor. Women were definitely the lesser of the species, but they were accorded at least some of the respect they deserved. And finally, Rome had "orientation equality".
All in all, I'd take Rome, especially if I was an alchemist, like I am now. :)
I wonder what the other 20% is?!?
You fit in with:
Your ideals mostly resemble those of an Atheist. You have very little faith and you are very focused on intellectual endeavors. You value objective proof over intuition or subjective thoughts. You enjoy talking about ideas and tend to have a lot of in depth conversations with people.
Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com
I'm kind of disappointed. PZ got 100% scientific.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Show Lesley (And Bertrand Russell) Some Love
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Here's my Halloween playlist. I've been playing this to death, and I've mixed it up with a bunch of creepy Halloween sounds to scare the bejeezus out of everyone at work, too. Heh.
(I Just) Died in Your Arms Cutting - Crew Broadcast
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
Cry Little Sister - G Tom Mac AKA Gerard McMann
Voodoo - Godsmack
The Red - Chevelle
Mouth - Bush
Spike's Song - James Marsters
Bleed Like Me - Garbage
Never Tear Us Apart - InXS
The Murderess - Kim Fox
Red Right Hand - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Deception - The Crüxshadows
Haunted - Poe
Moon Over Bourbon Street - Sting
Goodnight, Demon Slayer - Voltaire
Dragula - Rob Zombie
More Human Than Human - White Zombie
Witch Doctor - ??? (I found this track somewhere and have no idea who did it.)
Brains! - Voltaire
Strange Brew - Cream
Bad Moon Rising - Credence Clearwater Revival
The Legend Of Wooley Swamp - The Charlie Daniels Band
Thriller Michael - Jackson
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
Living Dead Girl - Rob Zombie
Getting Away With Murder - Papa Roach
Santeria - Sublime
I Miss You - Blink-182
So Cold - Breaking Benjamin
The End Has Come - Ben Moody
Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
I Put A Spell On You - Kat Bjelland & Mimi Goese
Midnight In Montgomery - Alan Jackson
Tribute (Live) - Tenacious D
Haunted - Evanescence
Monday, October 24, 2005
My wife: "I just hit myself in the eye with a roll of crackers...and it stings!"
Only in my world.
Working Nights and Being Bipolar
I feel unappreciated.
I could point to a lot of things that make me feel this way. The fact that my wife didn't listen to me a few weeks ago when we were discussing our new Halloween projects for this year is really getting to me. The fact that I don't have a computer good enough to run Civ IV is frustrating as all hell to me right now. And of course there's the big one. The fact that most of my friends and all of my family will never actually read anything I've written on this blog, even though I started it mostly so that I could say the things to them here that I have always had trouble saying to them face to face. Heck, my wife doesn't even talk to me about what I write here. I don't know that she ever reads it anymore. I don't have any proof that she does. She just (metaphorically) pats me on my head and tells me that I'm "getting better" at my writing. I think that frustrates me more than anything. It makes me feel like one of her students. And I haven't had the benefits of being a sixteen year old in a long time.
Sometimes I love being cyclothymic (Bipolar, in everything but name). On my days when I'm moving into a manic phase, but before I get the shakes and the paranoia, everything seems to creep around me. I can think faster. I have better reflexes. I'm sharper and I sure as hell have more energy. All this is literal, too. I actually can think faster, if you can believe some of my coworkers. Those are the days when I get off zinger after zinger and no problem is too big for me to solve by lunchtime.
But then there are times like today, and this whole past weekend, when I can't stop dropping stuff, and I can't even get up the energy to take a dirty dish to the kitchen when I'm done. Heck, before the Great Grandmother Visit of 2005 I pretty much shut down for an entire morning until my wife came home early from work. If she hadn't, I would have just sat there staring at the mess my house was in until my grandmother showed up. I was in vapor lock. I couldn't even come up with a plan of attack, a place to start or an idea of what to do. That's just unheard of from me. I ALWAYS have a plan. But on days like today, it's like nothing clicks. Nothing comes together like it should. I'm slow, even lethargic at times. And this is with my medication. I have a hard time remembering what things were like without it. And I definitely don't want to go back to that. I shudder just thinking about it.
Everything irritates me right now. And by irritates, I mean pisses me the hell off. My wife is home sick today, and I'm sitting here resenting the hell out of her for not going to work, because I was going to try to get some "relaxation alone time" in before going to bed this morning. (Remember, I'm working nights this week.) Of course, that makes absolutely no sense, since she's currently sawing logs on the loveseat in the living room while I work on her laptop in the kitchen. But that's just one more thing I hate about my "mood disorder". I come up with stuff that's totally irrational when I'm at an extreme high or an extreme low. I'd like to think that I can be a pretty reasonable and easy-going guy. The problem is that I share my body with a spastic hypersocial bastard and a morose antisocial asshole. Tack on the fact that I am, by nature, an introverted person and that can create some serious dissonance inside my skull.
Take this blog, for example. I started Revolvo Inritus to say things to people that I couldn't manage to say to their faces, for whatever reasons (usually because they were being difficult to start with). But along the way, as I should have known I would, I have come to truly enjoy some of the stuff I write here. I think I may be working my way up to actually writing something worth reading some day. I mean whole world reading, not just my loved ones.
But right at this moment, I'm thinking of deleting this blog. This idea wormed its way up into my forebrain some time last night, and I can't dislodge it. It's insidious. But it makes a certain sense. As I've mentioned before, very few of my friends and none of my family can be bothered to check in, even weekly. I have two, count 'em, two regular readers, and one of them is a friend I see on a regular basis. The other is somebody down in Florida. BTW, greetings Person In Florida! Half the stuff I write here these days, I write because of you.
You see, somehow, my ego has gotten wrapped up with this blog. Somehow, the fact that my father will never read the article I wrote specifically for him, about Fathers and Heroes, hurts more than it should. I mean, they're just words, right? The sentiment behind them is heartfelt, true, but the words themselves aren't important, are they? Dad already knows how I feel about him, doesn't he? The fact that my mother and sister will never read the Apologies I wrote for them, but was never able to say to them, doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, does it? The fact that I don't have hundreds of regular readers after only three months of writing this blog is irrelevant.
And that's where this "mood disorder" does the most damage. When I'm manic, I tend to develop unreasonable expectations about things, and then when I'm depressed, the lack of results regarding those unreasonable expectations makes me want to just quit.
I know that my wife is reading this blog. I know that eventually, if my writing gets good enough and I write about interesting things, I'll attract more readers. And I do want more readers. If I didn't, I wouldn't do this on an open blog. You see, I know that what I'm writing on this blog is important. It's important to me, or else I wouldn't write it in the first place. Heck, it's even possible that my friends and family will actually start reading, or reading more regularly. It's not likely, but it's possible.
But at this moment, in this place, I feel unappreciated, no matter how silly, unreasonable and inaccurate that feeling is. I do feel that way and I can't change that feeling. I can't rationalize my way into feeling differently. And, try as I might, right at this moment, I can't help but resent the people who are, superficially, making me feel this way. It doesn't matter that if it wasn't them, it would be someone else. It doesn't matter that my disordered brain chemistry would latch onto something else to blame for my discontent. I know all that logically, and tomorrow or next week, I'll internalize that and use it to shake this feeling off. But right at this moment, I resent all the people in the world who should be reading this blog, and aren't.
I wish I was normal. I hate that fact, but that doesn't stop me from wishing for it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm not normal. And I hate that fact, too.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
The Lesbian Of Darkness
The Lesbian Of Darkness
The Scientific Method In Layman's Terms
To do this, I’m going to use Joe Scientist and his walk through the woods to demonstrate different portions of the Scientific Method.
Joe, being a good scientist, becomes curious about why the ants like the Ant Plant so much. So, he thinks for a while about all he knows about the world, from biology to chemistry to physics and beyond. He then comes up with a Hypothesis, about why the ants like the Ant Plant. A hypothesis is an educated guess about why something is the way it is or why something does what it does. Joe Scientist, from his study of biology and chemistry, knows that ants like sweet things and that some plants make sweet things like berries. So, Joe’s hypothesis is that the Ant Plant makes sweet berries, and the ants have discovered this.
Joe’s next step is to see if the Ant Plant has any berries. He makes a Prediction that says the Ant Plant will have berries right now, since the can see the ants around the Ant Plant, and that they will be sweet. So, he checks the Ant Plant to see if it has berries, and it does! Great, the first half of Joe’s hypothesis has already been proven. Now he gathers some of the berries and takes them back to his lab.
When he gets there, he mushes them all up and tests them to see if they have a lot of sugar in them, which would make them sweet, and thus make the ants like to hang around the Ant Plant. This is his Experiment. If the berries are very sweet, then Joe can then move on and find another Ant Plant, gather its berries and test them. If enough Ant Plants have very sweet berries, he can then propose a Theory that says that the ants like the Ant Plant because it has sweet berries. If the berries are sour, then Joe has to go back to his hypothesis and come up with a different reason for the ants to like the Ant Plant. This is how the Scientific Method works.
1. Observations are made.
2. A hypothesis is created based on the observations.
3. A prediction is made using the hypothesis.
4. Experiments are performed to confirm or deny the predictions.
5. If enough predictions are proven true using a given hypothesis, it can then be called a theory. If the predictions don’t match the experimental data, then the hypothesis is wrong in some way, and needs to be changed, so that it can make accurate predictions.
Some things to take note of:
1. A theory is only as good as its predictive ability. So, if a hypothesis can’t be used to make predictions which can be tested, then the Scientific Method breaks down, since you can’t go any further.
2. There are several things in science that are called “Laws”. These are truisms, axioms or empirical observations like Moore’s Law, or else they are equations that have always held true under a given set of conditions, like the Combined Gas Law.
3. Sometimes, a mathematician or theoretical scientist, comes up with a hypothesis based on the mathematics that they have done, makes his or her predictions and then tests them much later. This was done with Einstein’s Relativity, and the mathematics were so convincing that Relativity was accepted as a theory long before many experiments were done, because it explained how things worked so well. It was accepted because so many things fit so smoothly together within it’s mathematical framework. So, sometimes a theory can be accepted, albeit just as temporarily as any other theory, because it explains observations that have already been made.
I hope this helps, and if it seems to condescend a bit, I’m sorry, but from the level of scientific illiteracy I’m seeing on the Internet, on the news and in my own personal life here in America, maybe it’s not “dumbed down” enough. That makes me very sad.
I’d also like to point out that things like the “Theory” of Intelligent Design and the “Theory” of Spontaneous Generation are not theories at all, because they are not shored up by rigorous testing. In other words, there can be no experiments performed, like in the ID, or else when there were experiments performed, the idea was shot down. Can you imagine the experiment it would require to determine that there was a designer for the rabbit? I know I can’t.
If you’d like a more in-depth and scholarly discussion of this topic, please check out the Wikipedia page for the Scientific Method.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Trailer Link Page
For those of you not in the know about Aphrodite IX, here's a quick history of the character.
Aphrodite IX synopsis
Here are some scans of covers. Sadly, no thumbnails, but hey, it's the best I could find on short notice.
Aphrodite IX Cover Scans
My wife and I both love these comics, and are extremely excited about the anime, since we're also anime fanatics. Who knows, if this takes off, maybe we can get anime of some of Top Cow's other cool properties. I think The Darkness would make an excellent anime, personally.
Follow The Money
In all my reading about Behe and crew, it never dawned on me that they were making money off their shenanigans! It should have occured to me, but I'm dense, I guess. When Richard Dawkins writes a book, he's doing it to make money but he's also doing it to illuminate something. But since Behe's writing couldn't illuminate a paper bag, it's gotta be all about the money. And I'm also sad to say that I know a few people who would eat his crap up, too.
And here I thought he might actually be honest, and just deluded. I wish I could kick myself. This idiot and his menagerie of morons are doing their best to dumb down America. It makes me want to cry.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Convert me, baby!
Sunni, Shiite, Shintoist, Buddhist, Pentecostal, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Freewill Baptist, Expensivewill Baptist, Astrau (hehe, thanks K.), you name it, I'll listen to it.
Leave a comment if would like to try to convert me, and we'll lay some "politeness groundrules".
Man, I hope I get some takers. I've been bored with the same old same old. This should be good.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Yet Another Funny Thing You Hear
My wife: Hey, kiddo, styrofoam is not cheese. Don't try to eat it.
Man, you gotta love it.
Mom Said What?
Mother: No, that's baking soda. You don't get that.
Gotta love it.
Blog Word Count
At the end of this entry, my Blog Word Count will be: 22,167 words.
Wow, that's getting up to novella length! I could write a book!
Some Interesting Quotes
(courtesy of K.): "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
Sin is geographical. -- Bertrand Russell
If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation. To do so would be to shoot yourself in the foot. You cannot have it both ways. Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs. -- Richard Dawkins & Jerry Coyne, Guardian Unlimited
As with all of ID, the important thing is first to have the concept. Production can then follow as a matter of course. -- William Dembski, Intelligent Design Proponent and Village Idiot (of whatever pitiful town he lives in.)
Everyone's entitled to their opinion; everyone's not entitled to their own facts, however. - Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intelligent Design isn’t real science. It’s the equivalent of saying the thermos keeps hot things hot and cold things cold because it’s a god. -- Bill Maher, New Rules
Move Over, Littlefoot
Sounds like a Land Before Time character to me. Better watch out, Littlefoot. No animated dinosaur character is irreplacable. :)
I Wish I Had Written This
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Pretentious Or Just Lazy?
Excuse me, but if you name the kid something, shouldn’t you call it that, too? If you liked the name enough to saddle a child with it, shouldn’t you actually use it? Why bother to name a girl Marylou and then call her Mary? For that matter, why bother to name a kid Robert and then call him Bob? If you’re going to call her Mary, then name her Mary. If you’re going to call him Bob, then name him Bob. If you don’t like Mary or Bob enough to name your child one of those names, then DON’T CALL THEM THAT!
I guess I feel this way because my family actually uses my given name, and I usually use my sister’s given name, as well. Beyond my immediate family, things change, but then, if you’ve read anything on this blog, then you know how I feel about my extended family. My parents saw fit to name my sister and I Jennifer and Michael, respectively. And amongst ourselves, we are called Jennifer and Michael. My parents call us that. We call each other that. My wife calls me Michael. Even my grandparents call us by our given names. And I like it that way. My parents gave us those names for their own reasons. Those reasons might be as simple as “I thought it sounded nice.” It doesn’t matter. They had their reasons. And I respect that.
At work and at play, it’s a different story. Almost all of my friends and co-workers call me Mike (which I don’t mind) or Mikey (which I abhor). But I don’t mind going by a nickname at work and with my friends. It’s a way to separate my family life from everything else. Anyone who calls me Michael is family. Anyone who doesn’t, for whatever reason, isn’t.
And I think that’s how it should be. Nicknames are ways for friends to show affection. It’s a way of claiming you, in a way. Even when it’s not friends, and it’s an embarrassing nickname, it’s still a way of claiming you. But family already has a claim on you that, like it or not, is nearly impossible to break. That’s why I love it that my wife calls me Michael. I know it’s only because she’s heard it so much from my family, but still, the claim we have on each other is such that she shouldn’t have to give me a nickname to claim me. And she doesn’t. Oh, we have pet names for each other, but when we are talking about each other, or having a serious conversation (read that as argument or fight, I suppose), then we use given names. It sets a certain tone that I appreciate.
And so that’s why I don’t think you should EVER discuss what you’re going to name your child AND what you’re going to call him. Any nicknames that do develop should be organic and come about because of life experiences, not be preplanned, prepackaged and preapproved.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Awe Inspiring Article
I strongly encourage you to go and read the whole thing, but here's the part that I like the most.
Now, I have a personal stake in this.
Because scientists reject supernatural causes for natural phenomena, because researchers apply methodological naturalism in their pursuits, because evolution has provided us greater insight into how the human body functions, my father is walking around today.
He has cancer.
That’s not exactly right.
He’s had three separate cancers and has endured three major operations over the course of five years. He has had chemo. It’s been terrible.
But he’s still with us, still able to root on his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish and New York Yankees (OK, I didn’t say he was perfect), still able to substitute teach at William Penn, still able to take his little dog for walks, still able to irritate my mother like no one else can because nearly 2,500 years ago, some old Greek named Hippocrates rejected the idea that disease was caused by vengeful gods and sought to treat illness by applying methodological naturalism.
You see, the ID/Creationist crowd like to posit anecdotal evidence as reason to believe their version. That's bullshit, but if that's how they want to roll, then it's good to see that there are commentators out there that are starting to fire back with the same thing. And the best part is that he prefaced it with a solid backing for real scientific enquiry.
Once again, Mike Argento is showing how cool he really is.
But he points up something that has always bothered me. Creationists just love to poo-poo science when it comes to biology (evolution), astrophysics and cosmology (age of the universe), geology and geophysics (age of the earth), nuclear physics (radiocarbon dating), chemistry (ice core dating), hydrology (lake varves) and even botany (dendrochronology).
But boy oh boy will they ever run to the doctor when they're sick, or drive their cars to church on Sunday morning, or whip out that cell phone when it rings. They seem to forget that biology, chemistry, botany and nuclear physics all lead into the medical help they seek throughout their lives. The seem to skim over the fact that without geology and geophysics, the oil for the car would have run dry a long time ago. They definitely don't understand how a knowledge of astrophysics and cosmology helps to insure good cell service.
These greedy idiots just suck up the efforts of science in technological form, never thinking about the fact that the people who invented antidepressants used evolutionary biology to do so, even if it was indirectly. They use the TV, the computer and the cell phone without ever putting any thought into the fact that the plastics and ceramics in these devices wouldn't exist if we couldn't find or create the right materials, and that would be impossible without some of the scientific fields that Creationists love to deny and decry.
Creationism is an attack on all of science, because it attacks the way science is conducted. "God did it" is not an acceptable scientific answer to a question, because it doesn't explain anything, it just pushes responsibility off onto some Unseen Father Figure In The Sky. People used to believe that the mentally ill were touched by invisible spirits. I, personally, am glad that some scientists and doctors decided that the "invisible spiritis" were really the chemicals in my brain, and that those are open to manipulation. Otherwise, I would still be suffering from my mood disorder, instead of spending my days being happy and getting healthy.
Biology is one of the cornerstones of scientific inquiry. Evolution is the binding theory within biology. You can't discard evolution without terminally damaging biology. Do the math, Creationists. I don't think that's against your religion. Yet.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I couldn't figure out why I had so many pageviews from so few visitors until I went into my visitor details, and saw who all those pageviews were from.
So, all I can say is, hello C., M. and T.
The Great Grandmother Visit of 2005
Dad was unresponsive for half the day, but that could be explained by him being really tired. He spends a lot of time on the road, after all. It could also be explained by him being pissed as hell at me. I don't know which one it was, and my relationship with dad is not one that is conducive to talking about it. Some things mom said indicated that he was less than thrilled for me to be there, and from one perspective, I can understand that. But, then again, he never bothered to get my side of the story in the whole blowup back in July, now did he? No, he didn't. And by this point, it wouldn't matter if he did. He's heard his wife's version, and his daughter's version. What's a son's version going to matter? His mind is made up, one way or the other, whether he believes it is or not.
My sister was a little less snippy than I had expected, though. I honestly didn't even know if she would speak to me at all once she got home from work. And for a while, she didn't. But by the end of Day Two of the GGV of 2005, she was actually picking and playing, even touching me, the way she used to.
I even managed to get into a political discussion with Mom without yelling and screaming. I imagine part of that was my Grandmother's presence. Another part of it was that not even Mom is really pleased with Georgie Porgie's performance, of late, even if she does still think he's "a good man". But mostly, it was because neither of us was very tired, and I was on my medication.
I think it's funny, though, that Mom believes I'm still carrying this around with me in some negative way. After my wife took off with my grandparents (she was driving their van, since they didn't know where they were going and it was dark) she kept trying to reassure me that we would get through this crisis and that I was welcome in her home. And she thought that I was tacitly trying to do the same thing. I wasn't. I was hanging around and talking to her because she was talking to me. I was just being polite. I figured if Mom had stuff to say, I'd let her say it. She thought I was doing that to spare her feelings. I was just doing it because I was raised to be polite.
From what I can tell, Mom's definitely of the "Forgive, But Never Forget" school of thought. Personally, I prefer the "Eh, She Is The Way She Is" school. To draw an obscure Andromeda reference, "I trust Tyre to be Tyre." Mom is who she is, and that's not going to change. She's too set in her ways to do, or think, things differently now. The same goes for my sister and my father. I loved them before I had this fight with Mom, and I love them now. The blowup in July was mostly my fault. I forgot who I was dealing with, and paid the price. Lesson learned.
The last bit of goodness to come out of this visit was that I got to spend some time with my aunt and cousin. The bad part of that was that I had to be in the same room as my uncle. My feelings on him have been made perfectly clear before. But it was nice to see his wife and one of his sons, and to find out his other son is doing well at college.
All in all, the Great Grandmother Visit of 2005 was a success. I hope Christmas goes as well.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I'm A Good Doggie.
My sphere is Guardian (Person of great Love and Altruism), and my class is Arms Master (Pragmatic and Stout).
I am a Guard.
You are a true, versatile guard. You have a defensive nature, that is, you are good at instilling a sense of security in the places around you. A strong presence weakens any possible threats around you, and a swift, practical approach to the problems that crop up puts them down before they can get out of hand.
Two Minute Management Course
A Two Minute Management Course
A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?" The eagle answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Management Lesson Learned
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy." "Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients." The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.
Management Lesson Learned
Bull shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.
Management Lesson Learned
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
(3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!
This ends your two minute management course.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Of Baseballs and Kittycats
Daddy: Hey, buddy, the kitty doesn't want to play ball.
Buddy: Kitty! Play b-ball!
Kitty: Mrow? Hissssss.....
That's right up there with Bill Engvall's "Get it from the cat, don't kick it from the cat" bit.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I Said What???
Me: "Mystery, don't you dare jump on my ass."
My wife: "Ahahahahahahahahaha"
Me: "Ooomph. Mystery, get off my ass."
Baby Feeding Myths
Now, over on CNN.com, there's an article that discusses this very thing. Very cool. Check it out.
I'm pretty sure we can all agree that this is why a lot of people marry. Not because they actively want to spend the rest of their lives with another person, but because they don't want to live alone. I was like this once. When I first met L., who is now my wife, I wasn't actively seeking someone to spend my life with. I just didn't want to be alone. She was willing to spend time with me, and later, willing to marry me. Thus, I didn't have to be alone.
Fortunately for me, circumstances dictated that it be quite a while before we could actually get married, and I had a lot of time to get to know L. better. I can't read her mind, but I can read her face. I don't always know what she's going to do, but I can be pretty sure about how she'll feel about something. She very emotionally driven, so that's what I read off her the best. I'm less emotionally driven (although they're mixed up in there, I assure you) and more thought driven, so she would probably say that she can tell what I'm thinking, and what I would think about a given situation. We suit each other well.
But back to the circumstances that required us to wait, and their consequences. I got to know my wife very well before we ever officially and legally committed to each other. (We were committed long before that, but they let us out of Arkham to get married.) But it's this getting to know each other stage that I want to talk about. It seems to me that most people don't take long enough to get to know one another before getting married anymore. And that's understandable. It really is. Our society frowns on participating in some of the more traditional marital activities unto you're actually married. That just goes to show how sick our society really is.
Anyway, I really wonder how much time people spend actually getting to know their potential spouses before tying the knot. Because a hell of a lot of evaluation should go into this decision. Just think about how vulnerable you make yourself when you get married.
First, there's the physical. You gotta sleep sometime. And if "the wife" is a little more unstable than you think then POW you just got stabbed, smacked in the head with an iron skillet or some other gruesome act of violence. I think my personal favorite was the hot iron in the crotch. That was one pissed off wife. And on the other side of the equation, well, there's a reason most domestic abuse cases involve battered women. I know that battered men are more common than people realize, but it's usually men doing the smacking, not getting smacked. And if you married one of these assholes, then you put yourself in a bad situation.
And if that wasn't enough, think about the financial situation. Once you open a joint account with your spouse at a bank, he (or she) can clean you out in a heartbeat. A spouse with a name on the account can empty the account. And then walk away. All perfectly legal. Not to mention, max out credit cards, run up other debts and basically screw you over financially.
Don't even get me started on your social standing. One word in the right gossip's ear about that "little problem", whatever that "little problem" may be, and everyone in the neighborhood and you're social circle will be snickering behind your back.
Heck, a creative spouse can even get you fired. "Here, honey, have a lemon poppyseed muffin before you go to work." An hour later, an anonymous tip to your boss about your "drug use" and bam! Out of a job. There are other ways that I could come up with, too, and I'm not all that creative.
So, with all these vulnerabilities built into the whole marriage relationship, I think you have to ask yourself, if you're married, "Would my spouse do that?" And if the answer is "I don't know." then you probably got married too fast. If you're planning on getting married, then I suggest you get to know your spouse well enough to answer that question with something other than "I don't know." before saying "I do."
Monday, October 10, 2005
That makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose. But when you really dig into the implications, it can be absolutely frightening. I am, by nature, an introvert. I don't get along well with crowds of people. Hell, I don't get along well with three people in a room together, unless I know them well. Family reunions are a nightmare for me. There are times when I think that I could spend the rest of my life not meeting anyone new and be perfectly content.
And then I see my new nephew, and remember that he's a new person, and that he deserves a chance to form a connection with "Uncle Mike". And I smile. And I realize that I can be a great big idiot.
Even major introverts like myself need human contact. And not just with the people already accepted into our "inner circle" of safe people, either. It's hard work to continue seeking connections outside our own, by definition, small social groups.
So why bother? Simple. Human contact is part of being human. As ol' Bert said above, fear of love is fear of life, and I refuse to fear life. I work to embrace it. Even though my family has pissed me off time and time again, I keep going back to them, because they're more good than bad. I keep meeting my wife's coworkers and making nice with them. Why? Because they may be worth knowing. If L. likes 'em, then there's something good there. I've never known her to grossly misjudge a character before. I trust her instincts. It doesn't hurt that she's an extrovert, and is seemingly constantly forcing new people on me. I know that she's not really doing that, but sometimes it feels like it. And I have to fight against that feeling. Because it would be really easy for me to convince myself that I don't need human contact anymore. It would be so simple for me to just let myself slip into a place where connections to the world around me became unimportant. After all, most people are sheep not worth knowing anyway, right?
Wrong. Even sheep have something to offer, and as often as I classify the bulk of humanity as sheep, they aren't. They're often easily led, gullible, stupid, short-sighted and mean. But they aren't sheep. They're people, and they deserve the same respect my new nephew does. He may be a sheep. He may be a wolf. If we're all lucky, he'll be another shepherd. Goodness knows we need a few more of those. But he will be human. And I have to work to overcome my natural inclinations, and give him a chance to show me what he'll be, and whether, sheep or wolf, he's worth spending my life, and love, on.
If I don't give him, and others, the chance to connect to me, if I don't try to connect to others, then that circle of safe people starts to slip away. Parents pass away and friends move. That's when the coldness starts to set in. Then your wife and kids sense the change and withdraw and suddenly, you don't have a circle of safe people. You have yourself, and no one else.
I refuse to let that happen to me. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't refuse. Just because you're an introvert doesn't mean that you have to be alone. Some people buy into the whole introvert thing a little too much, and use it as an excuse to not get hurt. But you have to expose yourself to getting hurt. You have to expose yourself to rejection. That's the only way to make the connections in life that matter. That's the only way to avoid fearing love.
To do otherwise leads down one of two paths. Either you end up like Howard Hughes, storing your own urine in bottles and refusing contact with the outside world.
Or else you give yourself a short drop, a sudden stop and a dirt nap.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
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I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it was. :)
Q & A
A. When highway traffic is busier on Sunday morning than Saturday night.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
A Really Good Read
Hmmm...that didn't sound as "ringing endorsement" as I thought it would. Oh well, read him anyway.
Or else. :-[
Even The Church Gets It Right Sometimes
They site, among other things, the two separate creation accounts in Genesis. They also go on to take a stab at fundamentalism in general, which I find most pleasing. I know it's a maxim that extremists get more extreme the closer we get to a solution to the extremists' problem, but damn, fundies get under my skin. They are the adult equivalent of children sticking their fingers in their ears and saying, "I can't hear you. I can't hear you. Lalalalalalala." They will ignore any evidence that contradicts their own narrow little worldview. I had never seen someone actually turn off cognitive dissonance before I met a true-blue dyed-in-the-wool Christian Fundamentalist. That's scary. The potential for abuse by their leaders is disturbing, too.
It's sad, though, that once again, we have to go to England or somewhere else in Europe to get some sense out of the religious community. Hell, the bulk of Christians in Europe believe evolution is accurate! Why couldn't I have been born there?
I'm sure the fundy Bible thumpers in the US (especially in the South and the Midwest) will decry the Catholics as not being True Believers, but they need to buck up and shut up. The Catholic Church kept Christianity viable through the Dark Ages. It is the original Christian Church. Protestants are, well, protesters. Heretics, even. Hehe.
Learn some history, goobs.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
He Named It What?
Yup, that's right. Nick Cage named his kid after Clark Kent. And his wife let him do it!
Madness, I say. Madness!
Bush Gets Scarier And Scarier Every Day
The military as a whole is not trained to do police work. It is trained to carry out missions. Often violent ones. John Ringo says it better than I ever can, and he's retired military and sharp as a tack to boot, so I'll take his word for it.
When is America going to wake up? When will we finally realize that this administration has perpetuated a slow erosion of our rights and freedoms in this country? I can understand a Republican President who takes a whack at the overtime rules. I really can. I don't agree with him, but I can understand him. That's what Republicans, as a rule, do. They try to strengthen corporate America. And, to a point, that's okay. Corporate America needs to be strengthened. It needs its own proponents. Democrats try to take care of the little guy. The little guy needs his own proponents, as well. It's a balancing act. We decide as a country how to balance those things by voting for one side or the other.
But this administration, along with the responsible yahoos....I mean, parties....in Congress, has done more to yank rights out from under the American people than any in my living memory. I have always known that we were never as free as the propaganda would have us believe. Our rights end far shorter than most people realize as it is. But good grief, folks, WAKE UP! We have this administration for another three years, and looking at his civil liberties record, by the time his term's up, he'll have the power to see to it that his term isn't up.
The Patriot Act allows wiretaps which the FBI admits to bungling on a regular basis. It also allows the authorities to snag-and-bag you without access to counsel. Indefinitely. In other words, the Patriot Act allows the government to "disappear" you! Think about that. Now add in armed forces acting as police forces under exclusive federal control. I hate to make uncalled-for allusions, especially this one, but visions of the Gestapo keep goosestepping through my head.
Bush is scaring me more and more every day. How can you be the President and not READ THE PAPER?!? He is so cut off from the world around him. I don't think he even cares about normal people anymore, if he ever did. I think he's been at such rarified levels of power for so long that he's completely out of his mind due to lack of "common sense"-ygen. I don't understand how Christopher Hitchens can still support this idiot. He's loony-tunes. Crazy. Crackers. Not playing with a full deck. Hell, I don't even think he plays cards anymore.
He has to be either insane or stupid. Because the only other explanation for his actions is that he's a cold, calculating sonofabitch who is intentionally eroding the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the United States of America. That's criminal, at best. But I can think of a better word for it.
Creationism Explained Scientifically
Ultimately, what brings people together to reject evolution is a sense of identity and belonging to a group that has a non-rational anti-evolutionary dogma as a part of their social toolkit. It's not assessment of the evidence that drives them away from science, it's entirely because the evidence challenges a facet of the beliefs they recognize as distinguishing elements of their tribe. In a war between reality and their social group, they cling to their subculture. It actually makes sense, in an evolutionary and biological way: an isolated human being is not a particularly viable unit, and it's the cohesion of the clan and tribe that is more important for long-term success.
He's my hero.
By Popular Demand...
London Times article
Journal of Religion & Society paper
Remember, this isn't saying that religious people are evil, only that religious societies don't handle societal ills well.
But just between you and me, I knew it all along. The whole "Our country is worse because we're getting away from Gawd" argument never sat well with me.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
When Good Cups Go Wrong
The girl in this video is apparently the world champion.
I don't miss the classes or the food or the dorm life. I sure as hell don't miss hiking across campus in six inches of snow and subzero weather.
No, what I miss is the seeking after knowledge that I and everyone around me participated in. Even J. C., whom no one will ever confuse with a paragon of philosophical virtue, spent long nights with me trying to get a better understanding the world we live in. I miss those bull sessions around an old trunk, playing spades and debating the finer points of our knowledge of consciousness and what it means to be human.
It seems that as we have continued down life's many paths, we are starting to settle into certain ruts. I'm not satisfied with a water-cooler discussion of scientific breakthroughs. I want to talk, at length, about their implications. The pros and cons, pluses and minuses, the good, bad and ugly of cutting edge scientific discoveries.
Along with that, I want to talk about the ills of the world, and how we can fix them. I was never naive enough to think that I could take on the world alone and make it utopian. But I also think that I can do more than turn my house into a miniature version of what I would like the world to be. That's pretty useless, and pretty selfish. I try to keep up with world events, and I am passionate about the important things going on in our country and the world. I speak out about them. I don't hide my thoughts. That's what this journal is all about.
It seems like most people my age are going about their small lives, keeping their heads down and doing whatever it takes to get by in life. If that's all our generation is capable of, then I'm ashamed to belong to it. We have let the religious right take over this country. We have let politicians, of all stripes, decide what proper scientific inquiry is. We are relying on judges to make our decisions for us.
This is wrong. We have a voice. We have a multitude of voices.
There will always be a religious voice in this country. That's okay. It's what this country was founded on. But that voice should not be a Christian voice. Or rather, the Christian should be only one of many.
There will always be political involvement in science. It costs too much for that to be otherwise. But we should be able to stand up and tell our government when it has gone too far. And I say that it has gone so far beyond "too far" that it can't even see it anymore.
The courts will always be the final arbiters of dispute. That's the whole point of the court system. But the key word there is final. What's happening in Dover, PA is ridiculous. The elected officials of Dover, and every other community in this country should listen to their parents, their teachers and their community at large. They should also be required to read the Constitution, or at least the Cliff Notes.
These are the things I want to talk about. I want to have an hour's discussion on the nature of conciousness. I want a day-long discourse on the weirdness called for by string theory. I want in-depth, thoughtful conversation about evolutionary theory, and the fine points of punctuated equilibrium.
I want to talk about gay rights, and the concepts of freedom this country was founded on. I have always felt that the model to use was one of "My rights end where yours begin." I know there are other models out there. I want to hear about them.
How the hell am I supposed to make sure I am holding the best possible opinions if they're never challenged, or even discussed. Life is more than the day-to-day grind of work, eat, sleep. It has to be. It's also more than watching animals and children do funny things. David Letterman has been doing Stupid Human Tricks for decades. It's old hat. Moldy old hat, even.
Talking about hobbies is okay, too. I have a plethora. I love sci-fi, and gaming, and pirates. I can talk about that stuff for hours. But ultimately, I'm going to start tying it to real-world events. Serenity is the best sci-fi I've seen in years, and guess what. It. Has. Meaning. There is more to it than mindless entertainment. The best entertainment is never mindless. So don't be afraid to tear it apart, and analyze it. Put your own spin on it. Look at your philosophies through it. Use the mind you were born with for something other than "getting the joke". And for goodness sake, avoid pointless eye candy. All that glitters is not gold.
Disagree with me? Fine. I'm up for a good discussion about. >:)
Serenity mini-review (no spoilers)
That being said, I have come to a conclusion about Joss Whedon. He is the directorial version of a serial killer!
Stay with me, now. At the end of BtVS, one central but mostly supporting character dies. At the end of Angel, one central and very important character dies. In Serenity, one central but mostly supporting character AND one central and very important character both die. He's stepping up his time-table. I can only imagine who's going to die in Wonder Woman.
Maybe I shouldn't watch so much Criminal Minds.