Sending Kids Out

Apr 30, 2008 at 6:36 PM
Hi -

The girls have been homeschooling. One of the great side effects of that is that when it's a sparklingly beautiful, fantastic sunny, breezy beauty of a day like today, I can send them outside to play in it.

Call it PE. But when they are staring at the window, sighing about the pretty birds and sparklingly white clouds, I tell them to go play in it.
Then, when they come back in refreshed, they study better for it.

I think there is almost nothing as vital as enjoying beauty and immersing yourself in something beautiful once in a while. It certainly can't hurt their studies.

Here's what it looks like here right now...



My dad (Aka "grandpadre") took this picture.

Standard Doodles

Apr 25, 2008 at 4:30 PM

Here are some doodles I've been doing while on the phone with wordy people.


I wonder what those free association testing people would think of my standard doodles.

Old dogs, New dogs, Young dogs, Blue dogs

at 4:01 PM
My new puppy Charlie is definitely showing his Blue Heeler side. He's fiesty and loves to playfight with Tucker. He's totally unafraid, and that means when he's older - if I don't get him fixed - that will be a big problem.

Tucker and Charlie weren't getting along so well, so I started solving this by taking them on car rides together. Charlie is definitely not good at cars yet, whereas Tucker is an old hand at it.

Lately, Tucker pulls his head out of the window to the withers. He whines at the car every time I go through bumps and potholes, or around corners. I thought it was because he's a water dog, wanting to bite the splashign water from the puddles.

But he's still been doing it now even through the road has been basically dried up for several days. I realized yesterday while riding with both dogs what was actually the reason for Tucker's howling and whining. My shocks are going, and the squeak makes Tucker think of the sound the mice make in the walls. He thinks there are mice in the wheel well.

So, Tucker is hanging his head out the window, Charlie is curled up next to him praying for me to stop moving the car, and they are getting along fine for once.

As long as I keep the windows too closed for Tucker to jump out, we're all good.

Update on all things me

Apr 15, 2008 at 11:42 PM
The new puppy and Tucker aren't getting along very well. I think that may resolve once I get Charlie fixed.


I randomly catch the puppy trying to eat all of Tucker's food, and Tucker eating all of Charlie's food. Tucker definitely wins, but it's OK because they both get plenty of food in the process.

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Today is Harlan's birthday. He turns ten. Good for him!

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The twins have been reading lots of books lately, as usual. they chew their way through a few books a month, and have already read most of the worthwhile children's books in recent years.

There is one though. A series of books about "May Bird" that I find disturbing. It's about dead people and a regular kid who gets swept through a portal into the land of the dead. The bad guy is a meany devilish thing. Creepy. Very modern children's lit -- kind of a modern take on the whole 7 levels of hell thing.

Not sure what to think of it. Anyone make it through that series and can tell me if I should nip this in the bud? They're not too fussed about it, but I don't know whether to worry that it gets psycho-babbly later (as do most books that broach death as a topic).

I hated the movie "Bridge to Terabithia" -- which I though would be a great kid's fantasy but turns out it is all about the death of the best friend of the main character. The girls and I cried. I hate movies where kids die. Just a taboo I don't think should be broken for fluff pieces. I hate it more than sexual cruft in movies.

The purpose of a movie is to lift you out of your own life, give you an hour of fantasy -- in the case of a kid's movie. I want things my kids watch to be thoughtful and uplifting, not depressing and grief-strickening.

I simply don't like movies that don't make up the damage well enough for putting you through something negative. Whatever it is, that movie better darn well make it right afterward.

For instance, I hated the movie Titanic. Her love is killed off, and they never make it right enough again after.

Yes, it was a real tragedy and in reality, it didn't get made right. But I still hated that movie, partially for making me sit through 3 hours of a mismatched, no-chemistry couple. Kate Winslet is a gem, a rare beauty with a gift for acting. Leo DiCaprio I personally don't like. Not that he wasn't playing a great character, but he didn't imbue that character with enough wonderful to equal Kate's wonderful. It was just a generally flawed movie, and I have no sympathy for throwing a perfectly good blue diamond into the ocean.

For the love of Pete, at least give it to an orphanage somewhere or something. It could fund a million copies of "Bridge to Terabithia" for the kids. Or mayeb some food. Whatever.

The point here is that life needs to be broken apart and given a little LIGHT by children's movies, and I'm sorely disappointed.

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Also, we rented BEE MOVIE. What a load of conflicting crud that was. Is iut better to live like a communist or buck the system? The movie promotes BOTH! Plus it ends off on the upnote that he finally starts "thinking bee" -- which means thinking like a hive mind creature and becoming a small cog in a big wheel. Very communistic.

Yes, it's Jerry Sienfeld's brainchild, and as such, the jokes are supposed to run that engine. But the jokes were crappy, and my kid's didn't laugh at them.

Not only that, but the romance-ish aspect is between a bee and a human -- just plain WEIRD. And when her boyfriend points that out (whom she dumps) he's suddenly out of the picture.

The girls didn't like it, and I think it was a waste of good animation rendering hours.

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OK -- That's everything I've been piling up to say lately.

Until a few hours from now when I've got a new pile. :)

Best Puppy ever

Apr 14, 2008 at 2:16 PM

My new puppy. He's so cute it makes my face scrunch up!

His name is Charlie.

Charlton Heston Speech

Apr 8, 2008 at 1:48 PM
'Winning the Cultural War'

Charlton Heston's Speech to the Harvard Law School Forum, Feb 16, 1999

I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. "My Daddy," he said, "pretends to be people."

There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo. If you want the ceiling repainted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I'm the guy.

As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to reconnect you with your own sense of liberty of your own freedom of thought ... your own compass for what is right.

Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, "We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.

Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for office, I was elected, and now I serve ... I serve as a moving target for the media who've called me everything from "ridiculous" and "duped" to a "brain-injured, senile, crazy old man." I know ... I'm pretty old ... but I'm sure, Lord, I ain't senile. As I have stood in the cross hairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that.
I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated. For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 - long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist.
I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe. I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite. Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.

From Time magazine to friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, "Chuck, how dare you speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public consumption!" But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys -- subjects bound to the British crown. In his book, "The End of Sanity," Martin Gross writes that "blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction.

Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it.
"

Let me read a few examples.

At Antioch college in Ohio, young men seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of the process from kissing to petting to final copulation ... all clearly spelled out in a printed college directive.

In New Jersey, despite the death of several patients nationwide who had been infected by dentists who had concealed their AIDs --- the state commissioner announced that health providers who are HIV-positive need not... need not... tell their patients that they are infected.

At William and Mary, students tried to change the name of the school team "The Tribe" because it was supposedly insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs truly like the name.

In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job, and for transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex change surgery.

In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have been placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely because their last names sound Hispanic.

At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students. Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said "Negroes." Jimmy Baldwin and most of us on the March said "black." But it's a no-no now. For me, hyphenated identities are awkward ... particularly "Native-American." I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen to be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux.

On my wife's side, my grandson is a thirteenth generation native American ... with a capital letter on "American."

Finally, just last month ... David Howard, head of the Washington D.C., Office of Public Advocate, used the word "niggardly" while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course, "niggardly" means stingy or scanty. But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign.

As columnist Tony Snow wrote: "David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly, (b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and (c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance."

What does all of this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression?

Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason. You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge. And as long as you validate that ... and abide it ... you are - by your grandfathers' standards -- cowards.

Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university, Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research findings would undermine big-city mayor's pending lawsuits that seek to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers.

I don't care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas, if not you? Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, "Don't shoot me."

If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a sexist. If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion.

If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you homophobe.
Don't let America's universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism.

But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation? The answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people.

You simply ... disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely.

But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom. I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King ... who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.

Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus that protested a war in Viet Nam. In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous laws that weaken personal freedom.

But be careful ... it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated ... to endure the modern-day equivalent of the police dogs at Montgomery and the water cannons at Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort. I'm not complaining, but my own decades of social activism have taken their toll on me. Let me tell you a story.

A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called "Cop Killer" celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world.
Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so-at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend.

What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues. I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of "Cop Killer"- every vicious, vulgar, instructional word.

"I GOT MY 12 GAUGE SAWED OFF. I GOT MY HEADLIGHTS TURNED OFF. I'M ABOUT TO BUST SOME SHOTS OFF. I'M ABOUT TO DUST SOME COPS OFF..."

It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old nieces of Al and Tipper Gore.

"SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY....”

Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said, "We can't print that."

"I know," I replied, "but Time/Warner's selling it." Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warner's, or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be willing to act, not just talk.

When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself ... jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office.

When your university is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students graduate with honors ... choke the halls of the board of regents.

When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into court for sexual harassment ... march on that school and block its doorways.
When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you...petition them, oust them, banish them.

When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a cross as it did last month ... boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.

So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobedience's of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.

If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree.

Thank you.

Firefox Crashes a lot

Apr 6, 2008 at 4:33 PM
Does anyone else have a major problem with Firefox crashing when it tries to load certain pages?

I do. Firefox has been crashing on me several times a day lately. It's getting old. But I like all my FF plugins! I tried turning them all off and that didn't change it.

So, what? Do I now actually have to start using Internet Explorer again!

Ugh.

Opera it is. Or maybe Safari...

Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Tells All

Apr 5, 2008 at 4:59 PM
Very interesting, the chart of what tactic to take with what attitude in a doctor. It's obvious from this kind of thought process that we're not talking about "what medecine will help this patient most?" but more like "Which medecine comes with the most perks?" -- and if the sales rep is getting away with thinking like this, how badly is the hippocratic oath being abused by the doctors he's talking to?

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/04/05/former-drug-sales-rep-tells-all.aspx

Sign up for Mercola's stuff if you have trouble reading it. I highly recommend it.

The Art of Jim Warren

Apr 3, 2008 at 2:53 PM