My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Entry for July 25, 2007

Thought for the day:

It is better to claim ignorance than to prove it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Well, it's ugly

Attached is the ultrasound from tonight. It is due February 8th, 2008 and is currently 8cm, upside-down, and already does not want to cooperate. Also, a certain family member asked me to add the button at the bottom and I had no choice but to comply.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, July 23, 2007

The defining silence of people not watching

Winston Churchill once said that there is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies; I believe that this is also true with getting books into the hands of children.

So this last week brought upon a mass migration of people of all ages heading to their local bookstore to get their copy of the last installment of Harry Potter. This, I believe, is a good thing. Any time people turn off the TV, shut down their computers, and pick up a book, they are bound to get smarter -- even if that book is technically a children’s book.

Being that I’m a quick reader, I had it finished early and actually flipped on the TV (very rare for me) to see if I could catch the weather. And there on the nightly news, was a playful exchange of news people talking about how they couldn’t wait to get home and dive into reading. Yep, the people who make their living trying to get us to keep watching TV were telling us that they couldn’t wait to turn off that TV and read a book. It was wonderful and so subtle that I don’t think that anyone else really caught it. Intrigued, I flipped over to one of the 24 hour news channels and there they were showing video of children reading with a scrolling message along the bottom with the projected sales of the book, how long the book is, and some general information about the author and thought to myself: in culture of immediacy and technology, a good book still trumps all.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Shitters

Do you know anyone who is never completely happy with anything? Now I’m not talking about scoring something an 8 out of 10 rating on something or a “Hey that was pretty good”, but people who immediately after finishing something they feel compelled to start degrading whatever it is that they just experienced. You could have just walked from having the best steak dinner, with a perfectly matched wine, excellent ambiance, and they would have to find something to immediately shit on. And I know that we can all slip into this occasionally, but some people just live in this world of constant complaining. I don’t know whether it is some sort of subconscious self-actualizing situation where they feel it necessary to insult everything that might make them feel better then they believe that they should feel. Maybe it’s some sort of holdover Puritan thing about feeling good about yourself or maybe it’s just because they are a miserable people who want to make everyone else as miserable as they are. Either way, these people piss me off and I do not know why I allow them around me - yet, I do.

Friday, July 20, 2007

So, we're gonna have a baby...

I was against it at first, but it sometimes just happens, even in the best of families. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. We think that the important thing is to keep our wits about us and to immediately borrow some money. If that doesn't work, I plan on threatening to give the child to relatives, which should loosen their purses. Baring a failure in that tactic, I will raise the child as I would raise any other living thing, I will leave it alone in the woods and hope for the best. If it finds its way back, I will try to nurture it, teach it, and love it. And if that too does not work out, I hereby leave my future child in your hands, with all perpetuity and legally binding clauses, the reader of this.

Thank you and good luck.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Website!!!

Hello All,

Well I did it, the new website is up and running. Only one of the six picture pages is currently up, but I am uploading pictures as I write this. In the upcoming weeks an interactive family tree should also appear. Anyway, please give me some feedback and tell me what you think.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.

We are currently approaching ½ trillion dollars in direct costs of the Iraq war. The pentagon current estimates are that by the time that we leave Iraq, we will have spent 2 trillion dollars. With that money we could have bought each of the 300 million people living in the US:

Three 60” HTDV’s, or

New Harley Sportser, or

One semester at Harvard, or

High speed internet for 100 years, or

We could have paid for every single US citizen’s health care for 10 years.

So if we can find the money to kill people, why can’t we find the money to help them?

Are we just too tired and beat-down to do anything about it?

It's your money, how do you want it spent?

Whatcha gonna do about it?



Friday, July 13, 2007


As I watched Bill Moyers interview Anglican Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori a couple of days ago, I was amazed at the tremendous pressure put on that one woman over how her entire sect of religion is controlled, directed, and labeled. Since becoming the first female Anglican Bishop, she has had to contend with several in her domination refusing to take communion with her and threatening to brake away from the domination altogether. So when asked about religions exclusiveness, she responded, “desire to control, I think, is one of the basic human failings, if we can control access to the sacred, or control how the larger world understands those we like or do not like, [then] we have the ability to change things in creative or destructive directions.” What further intrigued me is that this was a person fighting just to be included in something the she was simultaneously attempting to promote.

This got me thinking about my history. Think back through history to those who have chosen to exclude others, what happened to them? Were they stronger because they kept the same beliefs, with the same people, for a long period of time? Or were they eventually undone by a collective group of people, pooling their assorted efforts, for a common cause against the exclusivity? I believe that in almost every case that I can think of, equality eventually won.

Exclusion, no matter how small, weakens your cause. That is the reason that our Statue of Liberty says:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Lady Liberty (or at least the female poet Emma Lazarus who wrote the lines) knew that it the true strength of any Republic rests on the backs of different people, from diverse backgrounds and cultures, who want nothing more than to help your cause. Moreover, it all comes down to simple math. Suppose you had to come up with the best soup ever made, would you select two of your close friends and attempt to make as many recipes as you could? Or would you reach out to the world at large and ask as many people as you could? What if you knew that there were other competing teams trying to come up with the same thing? Now imagine that this is your favorite sports team, your religion, or your government -- wouldn’t you want the best and brightest, no matter what?

So whenever you hear of a group, club, or organization, excluding anyone based color, race, religion, or sex, you should immediately see it for what it is: Either a group about to accept a new member, or one that is about to go extinct.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Variety is the spice of life

Yesterday I was on the hunt for a spice named Adobo and had mild realizations that, even through the stores are getting larger, the selection is becoming smaller. But maybe a further explanation is in order:

Adobo is an extremely popular spice in the Latin American world for meats. It is very common in every grocery store near even the smallest Latin population. That being said, I live in Michigan, so I expected some problems. Meijers is a huge Super Wal-Mart-like store here in Michigan, so they were my first choice. Strike One. Next up was the Kroger, which is smaller, but located near a small and recently imported Mexican enclave. Strike two. So, with much regret, off to Wal-Mart I went. Surely Wal-Mart, with its selection of billions of items, acres of shopping, and constant market research would have a 2oz bottle of spice. But alas, I struck out.

What happened next surprised me. As I walked back through the spice and condiment isle I realized that I was low on ketchup. Stopping about 10 feet from where the spices ended, I was in immediately dumbfounded of the selection of ketchups available. There were, and this is not an exaggeration, 19 different types of ketchups. Upon choosing one I realized that since I had one item, I might as well pick up a couple of other things that I needed.

It was while picking up these couple other items that I slowly started realizing what was happening. Isle after isle, shelf after shelf, was a cornucopia of remarkably similar items, almost identical in price, size, and type, all next to each other on the shelf. There were over 40 different waters, hundreds of breads, and a selection of cereals that was spread over two 100 foot isles. Yet, everything seemed the same. The cereals were all made by a couple of large companies, the bread was all about the same, with the general variations on white vs. wheat, and the water was, well, water. Nothing that I found in this store had any real variety.

What I did find was massive quantities of similar items with different packing. Everything was a fake choice. It was the equivalent of going to a car lot that spanned acres and acres, to only find Hyundais. Sure, the Hyundai may be economical and cheap, but is it what you always want? Is only having the option of the same bland option an option at all? If your choice comes down to the blue one with the better radio or the red one with nicer wheels, how do you know that you wouldn’t have been happier with a Toyota, Ford, or a used Jaguar from the 80s? And what about motorcycles? Bikes? Electric cars? A scooter? Who knows? Not us, because all we have to see is the same thing in different packaging.

So now I sit lamenting at my computer, Adoboless, and all because I just wanted to add a little spice to my life.

Entry for July 10, 2007

The vast majority of scientists, and the majority of religious people, see little potential for pleasure or progress in the conflicts between religion and science that are regularly fanned into flame by a relatively small number on both sides of the debate. Many scientists are religious, and perceive no conflict between the values of their science -- values that insist on disinterested, objective inquiry into the nature of the Universe -- and those of their faith.

But there are lines that should not be crossed, and in a recent defense of his beliefs and disbeliefs in the matter of evolution, US Senator Sam Brownback (Republican, Kansas) crosses at least one. Senator Brownback was one of three Republican presidential candidates who, in a recent debate, described himself as not believing in evolution. He sought to explain his position with great nuance in a May, 31st article in The New York Times, in which he wrote: “Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the creation order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as atheistic theology posing as science.”

Humans, evolved, body and mind, from earlier primates. The ways in which humans think reflect this heritage as surely as the ways in which their limbs are articulated, their immune systems attack viruses and the cones in their eyes process colored light. This applies not just to the way in which our neurons fire, but also to various aspects of our moral thought. The way that disgust functions in our lives and shapes our moral decisions reflects not just cultural training, but also biological evolution. Current theorizing on this topic, although fascinating, may be wide of the mark. But its basis in the idea that human minds are the product of evolution is not atheistic theology. It is unassailable fact.

This does not utterly invalidate the idea that the human mind is, as Senator Brownback would have it, a reflection of the mind of God. But the suggestion that any entity capable of creating the Universe has a mind encumbered with the same emotional structures and perceptual framework as that of an upright ape adapted to living in small, intensely social peer-groups on the African savanna seems a priori unlikely.

In Brownback’s defense, it should be acknowledged that these are deep waters. It is fairly easy to accept the truth of evolution when it applies to the external world -- the adaptation of the orchid to wasps, for example, or the speed of the cheetah. It is much harder to accept it internally -- to accept that our feelings, intuitions, the ways in which we love and loathe, are the product of experience, evolution and culture alone. And such acceptance has challenges for the unbeliever, too. Moral philosophers often put great store by their rejection of the ‘naturalistic fallacy’, the belief that because something is a particular way, it ought to be that way. Now we learn that untutored beliefs about ‘what ought to be’ do, in fact, reflect an ‘is’: the state of human mind as an evolved entity. Accepting this represents a challenge that few as yet have really grappled with.

It remains uncertain how the new sciences of human behavior emerging at the intersections of anthropology, evolutionary biology and neuropsychology can be best navigated. But that does not justify their denunciation on the basis of religious faith alone. Scientific theories of human nature may be discomforting or unsatisfying, but they are not illegitimate. And serious attempts to frame them will reflect the origins of the human mind in biological and cultural evolution, without reference to a divine creation.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's Pardon

I find it strange that the people defending this action are pointing a finger at the Clinton pardons as a justification for Bush’s action. The reason I find it odd is that it is the same people who would rank Clinton at the bottom of presidents throughout our history. So essentially, they are arguing that Bush isn’t the worst president ever. That is how bad it has gotten; the only argument that the supporters of Bush are now using is that he isn’t the worst president ever.

If you haven’t seen it, watch the Olbermann video below. It’s his July 4th commentary and it is good.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The 4th of July

In our natural culture of hero worship we tend to either look to our leaders as though, by mere election, they’ve been elevated to the level of heroes strong enough to overcome any odds, or as if their cult of personality will doom us all. It is during times of great trails when our country evenly splits that we must look to our past for guidance. Not because the leaders we have today are lacking or superior in any way, but because leaders of the past give us perspective on the direction we are headed today. It is in your interpretation and understanding of that history that allows you to see the present and near future. Always remember who you are, where you came from, and what is really worth fighting for. And above all else, forever support a country that allows you do to so.

Happy Independence Day