Thursday, November 30, 2006

unschooling blah, blah, blah

Fancy me saying the following, but if you are going to rant against something, you might actually take the time to know something about that which you are going to rant against. So we come to unschooling. This is only partially prompted by that dumb fuck Dr. Phil who seems to have a PhD in being a loudmouth jackass more than anything else.

Most people who have opted for any variety of homeschooling have plenty of experience and knowledge about public and/or private schooling which may or may not have prompted their decision to alternately provide for their children's education. We know of which we speak.

Of course the whole concept of education needs to be discussed, another point I'm not quite going to bother going into here. I could go into it because I have fairly strong opinions about it. What does education really mean in a time when most of what we think we know can easily be expected to be outdated and proven unnecessary in very little time?

It seems that unschooling is the newest horse that is going to get beaten past the point of no noticeable pulse, and those horse beaters are not really in a position to have a say. And if it ended there many of us on the pro side wouldn't care. The path to shitty laws, like the road to hell, is paved with the very best of intentions (see prohibition for more info) which makes the anti crowd think highly of themselves and their opinions, but they seem to forget the whole "to hell" part.

Please understand that we welcome everyone to their opinions. That's the beauty of a free society, that people can think any outlandish thing they want (see young earth creationist for more info.) That same freedom gives me the right to tell people that they are idiots.

Unschooling is lots of things to lots of people. Like anything in life, there are some people who claim authority to decide what is and isn't unschooling. For some it means fairly broad avenues of freedom for their children to be and act in any way they want. For some it means that they do schoolwork sitting in the floor instead of at the table. For some it might mean a fairly active life full of options for them and their kids to learn as much as they can and want to learn. That last one most accurately describes most homeschoolers and unschoolers.

Many people would say that we unschoolers are lazy parents who allow our kids to watch tv all day with no input. I'd say the lazy parents are those that let the school educate their kids and then blame those schools for their kids problems. See how that works, how I generalize about parents of public school kids? It isn't accurate for all public school parents, and I know that, but I like to make blanket statements about things even though I do know different. It's different from some bloggers who make blanket statements without the knowledge.

I know families involved in all the varieties of childhood education. I know families whose children all attend public schools and would never even consider homeschooling. I know families who homeschool some kids while other kids attend school. I know families who school their children very formally using one single curriculum. I know families who school fairly formally using a variety of educational options including curriculum for certain areas as well as a piecemeal approach for other areas. I know families who don't use any sort of recognizable schooling, families who completely unschool letting their children learn as children do when allowed, and that's the option that we've chose for our kids. I've seen all of these approaches work. It's not my place to tell any of these families that their chosen option is wrong or right.

I wasn't going to write this post, though because of the Dr. Phil fallout, it's been stuck in my brain wanting to get out. I am daily amazed at the misconceptions that people dream up and call fact. If I called fact everything that came into my head, this blog would be a far more fucked up place than I've already made it. You people don't realize how lucky you are that I practice some self control. At least I try to pretend I've done some research before I freak out on paper (okay, not really paper, but anything else ruins the flow.)

And finally, totally off topic, but Blogger needs to figure out that homeschooling and unschooling are indeed both words and that I have not misspelled them several times. I'm tired of the little red underlines from Firefox as well. I know how to spell damn it!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

more jams

I prefer certain musical genres over others, as I imagine most people do, but I haven't found a particular type of music in which I can't find some band I like. Today being library day, we have a few new cd's to which we'll shake our booties for a couple of weeks. I am generally willing to give the boys a chance to pick music from the library. Big Brother often does, though The Boy usually doesn't.

This time he did. He doesn't read yet, and he has no noticeable musical leanings other than Thomas the Tank Engine music which is kid's music that I willingly make allowances for. Usually he just gets the first thing his hand happens to land on. Today he grabbed Vic Damone. I feel pretty certain that I've heard of but can't place Vic. I just put the cd in, and I'm willing to listen for a bit before refusing to let the cd end. According to the case, the songs include both Tonight and Maria from West Side Story. That's not a bad sign.

The selections I made that I'm most looking forward to are James Galway and the Chieftains album In Ireland as well as a best of cd of George Jones. I love George Jones, but I don't actually own any of his music, so we'll have it now. The Chieftains are a band I've recently gotten into. Having listened to The Thistle and Shamrock, a celtic music show on NPR, I was sure I'd like them. My mistake the first time I picked up one of their albums was getting the album on which they team up with various country musicians to play uninspired versions of country songs. I have listened to other Chieftains albums since and know that I'll be likely to enjoy the one I picked up today.

I also picked up Danger Doom, The Mouse and the Mask. I know very little about this group other than that they are hip-hop. I seem to remember some song of theirs that I liked. I haven't listened to it yet, at least not past the first song. I put it in leaving the library and decided I just wasn't in a hip-hop mood at the time. It didn't help that there were bits from Cartoon Network characters, which I hope does not occur throughout the album. Even good music can be tainted with crap to the point that it's rendered suckfull.

Finally, I grabbed some David Bowie, a cd titled Early On. It replaced Danger Doom in the car and is not what I expected from Bowie. I'm not saying I didn't or don't or won't like it as I need to give it more of a chance, but it isn't what anyone would expect who is used to the more typical David Bowie. We were listening to Ziggy Stardust in the car going to the library, so that was certainly on my mind when Early On began. As the name implies, it's early Bowie. It has a sort of early-mid '60's garage sound, and it isn't bad. I'll just have to listen to it again without the preconceived notion thing happening.

Having basically finished this post, I've also listened to just over half of the Vic Damone, and I don't exactly hate it. He is/was a good singer, but he kind of sounds like a cut rate Frank Sinatra. That's not the worst way to be, and if it pays the bills then have at it. He sounds like grandmothers swoon over him in small southern towns that trick the law by digging moats that they fill with technically floating riverboat casinos. Suffice it to say, it's worth listening to because he picks good songs to sing mostly okay.

bottle cap school?

I'm enjoying a bottle of Honest Tea Assam Black Tea. It's really delightful stuff and could easily turn me into a tea geek were it not for coffee and beer. Honest Tea always prints something in the cap of the bottles, often some informative tidbit. This time it's even interesting, so I'll type it exactly as it is on the cap.
Tea was introduced to Europe in the mid-1600's. By the 1700's, it had replaced beer as the beverage of choice at breakfast.
When your best water is likely to make you sick, beer, because it's been boiled and sanitized, is a much better option. Tea, and then coffee, both because they've also been cooked and due to the stimulant caffeine, brought us an end to day long drunkenness and the beginning of the enlightenment. I imagine that they also helped us learn to quit pissing and shitting in our water supply, or maybe with the various scientific advances, we figured out that certain things leave our bodies for a good reason and should therefore not be reingested. Some days however, beer for breakfast isn't the worst idea I can imagine, though it made a lot more sense before having children.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I always feel like . . .

. . .somebody's fucking with me. Is it Bloglines or Blogger/Blogspot? Reading one of the blogs I've subscribed to via Bloglines, I realized that I hadn't seen new posts from her in some time, though perusing her blog, I also realized I'd missed several posts. So I did some investigating.

Turns out I've missed a number of posts from a number of bloggers. I'm really bad about not noticing sometimes when folks don't post for a while. I put people in little categories and rather than visit each individual blog, I'll just click the category and read all the newest posts by the assorted bloggers.

As it turns out, many of my favorite bloggers were not taking time off, but someone or something was. So I've gone through and unsubscribed to a few people and resubscribed hoping that will fix it. It's especially easy to subscribe to blogs now with the newest Firefox. I get a little prompt in the address bar that I click and subscribe. Ease of subscription does not lessen the annoyance of having to fix this. Hopefully I've learned a lesson about paying attention to bloggers I like and care to read.


Because I don't whine enough on this blog or in real life, I'll go ahead and share today's delight. I feel completely like crap.

Because of the rib thing that I've mentioned, I can only lay on my right side. Laying on my left side, back or stomach causes an insane amount of pain both in the rib shot area as well as in my back, directly opposite the rib thing. Today is just over a week since I got hit, and the pain is not really any less than it has been. I haven't slept for shit in a week, and it's really starting to wear on me.

The kids have been variously sick over the past week, though they seem to mostly have gotten over it. The Boy got the least of the cold, and Big Brother seems mostly over his. I on the other hand woke this morning to the usual back and rib thing as well as a lovely head thing. I feel like a sinusy cotton headed ninny muggins.

I've been a little nasaly stuffy all day, and regardless of whether I blow it out or snork it up, it sends shivers of pain through my chest. It's really pathetic, and I feel really pathetic. I know for a fact that I sound more pathetic than I feel, but it's my blog dammit.

I'm now looking forward to roughly an hour from now when I can justify drinking a beer or five. It will be close enough to pajama and bed time for the boys that I'll be okay with the drinks. I did feel well enough to cook supper, and not counting the frozen pizza from two days ago, this is the first day that we didn't have enough Thanksgiving leftovers to shirk my cooking duties.

Okay, rant off for now. My tears are drying on my cheeks, and Keith Olberman is on. Damn I want a beer, my pain med of choice.

faithful dogmatic atheists

An atheist is a person who believes that god does not exist. An agnostic is a person who does not believe that god exists, though agnostics often allow for the unprovability of a god. Though it seems like minor semantics, there really is a fair difference in that one is a belief while the other is a lack of a belief.

Faith is something that is believed, or as the Bible says, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. Christians often use as an example of faith sitting in a chair. According to the example, one has faith that a chair will hold their weight, but this is an inane example. One has every reason to believe a chair will hold them based on past performance of chairs, which is why it's so damn funny when someone sits in a chair that doesn't hold them but instead sends them ass over tea kettle. This isn't really the point here, but it is indicative of how faith can be seen as something that it isn't.

Some atheists are extremely dogmatic in their belief in the nonexistence of god. Dogmatic means to strongly hold opinion as fact. One could even suggest that these good people are atheist fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are people who strongly demand adherence to their belief system.

These fundamentalist atheists see the world in strongly black and white terms. To them, you are either an atheist with a strong disbelief in god and anything unprovable, and therefore rational, or you are irrational and may actually believe in gods, unicorns and farts that smell nice.

Atheism is a belief system, though many adherents would strongly disagree with this fact. I claim to be an atheist, and I may just mean weak atheist. I do believe that god does not exist in the form we've been taught generally to view him. I do believe that this stance is not at all provable or unprovable. Christians can no more prove their god does exist than atheist can prove that he does not exist. To me, this means that both views require faith. Don't tell the fundamentalist atheist this, as faith is completely anathema to them. Faith, to them is irrational, and they would not dare be irrational. Yet, as we've discussed, faith is a belief in something for which we have no proof.

Is it possible that there exists some broadly categorized interstellar entity with the power to have created the earth and the living being upon the earth? Nothing I've seen suggests that this does in fact exist, but I must also admit that nothing I've seen suggests that it isn't possible. I tend to doubt that it's likely, but I have no argument to stand up to the possibility of this. I would argue that god doesn't seem likely based on my view of the earth, and I'd further argue that the god I was taught about as a child seems highly unlikely to exist based on my understanding of the world. But however we dance around the argument, neither my stance nor that of the christians of the world are provable or unprovable.

That's what it comes back down to, proof. I don't think that there are any vampires, but if I were one, I'd not want my existence to become known as many people would likely want me dead, Anne Rice fans notwithstanding. Are there Martians? If so they too have done a great job of hiding, but again, the rover not seeing them isn't the same as the rover sending us proof that there are no Martians.

In the end, we come down to so many people are willing to strongly argue their personal convictions as fact. To do so is dogmatic fundamentalism, and I contend that this attitude is more ruinous to human relations than anything short of war. It is sad when self professed scientists argue so stridently against the existence of god when science should be expected to contain itself within the realms of things provable whether that proof is able to deny or confirm the existence. If it isn't testable, it isn't science.

Hat tip to PZ Myers since without his usually interesting blog, this subject would not have nestled in my brain as a grain of sand around which the pearl that is this post formed.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

oh please

Someone please tell me it's not just me. Tell me I'm not being some moralistic freak. Tell me that this as an image of babyhood really is fucked up and that I'm not some kind of weird prude. I'm a pretty open minded guy, by which I mean that I believe in equality of race and gender and sexual orientation. I can't accept that this is a good message for our girls, especially given the destructiveness of so much that girls have to face.

pot: the good, the bad and the . . .wha?

Another hat tip to a Science Blogger, this time Coturnix of A Blog Around the Clock. He's provided an interesting link to a piece in World Science telling us that pot may be both good for us and bad for us.

Interestingly or not, the good that is mentioned in favor of pot is not really mentioned so much in favor of pot, and the bad is thrown in to try and distance themselves from being labeled pro-pot. It's not a surprising stance really. Most people who are willing to admit that pot has benefits seem to feel it necessary to offer the disclaimer that pot is actually bad for you, which is just not true.

I've mentioned here before that many people have studied pot and found numerous health benefits. As with anything, one should not too lightly discount possible harm, but the more I've looked into pot, the less this supposed harms seems to actually exist. The only study I've seen to prove any actual harm was shown to prove that the harm came only after one had ingested much more than is actually possible. In this same way, eating hundreds of pounds of potatoes can prove toxic if one were to eat these hundred pounds in one sitting.

Read the article for yourself. I find it interesting that the danger in pot use, according to the article, comes from not using enough pot. Basically, if you do use pot, you'd actually have to use less than anyone normally would for it to be bad for you, and even this minor bad is so minor as to be added, as I mentioned, to get the G rating.

I wonder why this isn't bigger news? Coturnix certainly writes an interesting blog for the most part, and I'm certain he gets thousands more hits than I do, but he isn't exactly the main stream media. Where are they on this story? I guess they've totally given up on real news and governmental lies, and like everyone else, if they were to be honest about marijuana they would immediately be labeled as pro drug and anti child or even worse, it would be suggested that the terrorists will win when we gain the right to use a particular plant as adults in an adult fashion.

Pot does have real and proven benefits that grossly outweigh the suggested negatives. On top of this are real issues of control over oneself and the right to choose what is right for oneself. To make this entire issue even more glaringly in need of real attention is the fact that the war on drugs is a gross theft of freedom and money. The freedoms stolen include the lives ruined by the police and the criminal justice system and the jail system. The money theft happens when more and more of our tax dollars go to police systems to prop up this failure and lie that is the war on drugs, more aptly named a war on people.

my wife can kick your wife's . . . shut yo mouth

Sunday was quite a day. I spent my sporting part wet and freezing and in pain from an elbow that may or may not have cracked a rib. It still hurts like hell and has been making sleep nearly impossible. It's a tad worrisome, but it only slightly effects my ability to be useful.

Momma's sporting part was insanely exciting. Her team won their roller derby match by one point. If their jammer could have gotten through the pack on the final jam, the Machine Gun Kellys would be going to the championship bout. I can't fault the jammer at all. She played one hell of a game, but the opposing team just wouldn't let her through on that last jam, and I know she was busting her ass to get through. It's indicative of how seemingly minor things can change so many other possibilities. All the girls are to be commended for an exremely exciting and hard fought bout.

As you've noticed, I've included a series of pictures. Go here for more if you are so inclined, but know that, as good as these pictures are, they just can not do justice to the work these girls put in, the speed, the hits, the sheer ecstasy and agony of true sport. Yes, that is my lovely wife with the skull face, and yes she does grow tiny in the distance as blockers attack, wanting so badly to stop her, yet failing so often.

I'll post soon about the Hard Knox Rollergirls next match which will be in December, but most people that show up here are not in or around east Tennessee. I can guarantee that most of you, with a quick google or two, can find a derby league near you. Try looking at the Women's National Flat Track Derby Association site for a start. Find a league near you, and go and support these girls. There are leagues popping up all over the world, and they are all busting their asses in a number of ways. Seriously, go find a derby match, because girls kick ass, and tough girls on quad skates kick lots of ass, though probably not as much as our Hard Knox girls.

Friday, November 24, 2006

first christmas music of the season

Today is Friday, a day I attempt not to go out of the house, not because it's Friday but because of the particular Friday that today is. I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, as I did, and I hope everyone is not shopping and leaving the stress of the crowds to those dumb enough to be shopping today.

This isn't a rant about Christmas, as a season, stretching itself to begin earlier than it ought. We are still at a point where I can mostly ignore that, unless it's coming at us before Halloween, that truly sacred holiday. This is a happy post about a sort of family tradition.

Over the years past, since Big Brother was born, we've begun a near tradition, or at least I have. One of my favorite bits of Christmas is Tchaikovsky's music to The Nutcracker. Having seen the ballet a few times, I can almost picture the scenes as the music plays, but that isn't really a part of my listening. I just love Tchaikovsky and his music, and his music for The Nutcracker is possibly at the very top of that list.

I haven't read the story since last year, nor have I listened to the music since last year. It is Christmas music after all, as far as I'm concerned, and part of its being special is that we save it, waiting to listen till the season is upon us. With Thanksgiving over, I am mostly ready for the season to be upon us. It's time to watch A Christmas Story and Elf, two favorite Christmas movies.

Perhaps tonight, while Momma slaves over the hot sushi stove, I will sit with the boys and read about Herr Drosselmeyer and Maria and the toy soldier as he battles the mouse king. We have a great version of the book that is illustrated by Maurice Sendak based on work he did with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It is a translation of the original story by E.T.A. Hoffman The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, not the shortened and more popular version by Alexandre Dumas on which the ballet itself was based.

As we prepare for the Christmas holidays and the end of the year, go and find a translation. Watch the ballet if you want, but make a point of reading this wonderful story as it was originally written. I think you'll find it worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

happy thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving has begun mostly like they mostly do lately. We are waiting for our contribution to dinner to finish cooking just in time to run to Momma's grandmother's house. We will be a little later than everyone else, but this year, I don't think we'll be so late that everyone has started eating already.

One thing we seem to have avoided the last couple of years is that phone call from Momma's younger brother. He had the worst habit of calling us in an irate manner to tell us we were late. I forget now exactly what we said, but he has not done this in a couple of years. I'm pretty sure we told them to go ahead and eat if it was that big a deal.

This year, Momma made a pumpkin pie and some rolls. The house smelled amazing last night as the pie cooked. I was reading to The Boy and tucking him in bed as the pie went into the oven, and as I exited the room, the smell of pie overwhelmed me in the best possible way. The rolls are cooking now adding their own yeasty, bakey smell to the house.

The parade is on the television right now, though I could certainly do without Barry Manilow's horrid voice. At least I didn't have to see the close up of him, because his newly plasticized face seriously creeps me the fuck out. I'm not entirely against prettying yourself up surgically, but when your neck looks like the flap of chicken that hangs off the big hole, it doesn't do any justice to the surgeon's work on your face. When you touch that face with your age stiffened hand, we see that, though your face is only a couple of years old, the rest of you is still somewhere north of sixty.

This will be the fun holiday this year. Big Brother seems mostly over his cold whereas The Boy's sickness seems to have traveled down to his stomach as he has voided it a few times this morning. The poor kid is so not his usual stuff. As much as his usual craziness may irk me sometimes, I'd so much rather he be bouncing off the walls than moping on the sofa. I'm still suffering what may or may not be a cracked rib, but that isn't going to bother my eating ability.

I'll end with a quick statement about marching bands. I love marching bands. To me, they are the highlight of a good parade. Why is it that predominately white marching bands tend not to have the life and joy of the predominately black marching bands? It's something I see proven anew each year with the Macy's parade. Oh, and can Hannah Montana's float just break down and leave her where she can't ruin the parade?

Monday, November 20, 2006

penguisexual misguidedness

Spunky is concerned about those darned gay penguins. Actually, the concern is with control of public schools not being with the local community. I can understand that concern, even as a homeschool family. If the school system was substantially different, I might feel differently about my own kids attending school. I also might not.

Here's the problem though. She suggests that schools should more closely mirror the local community, representing the values of that community. As tax dollars are taken by the state to be funneled back to the schools, the schools are less concerned with community standards and more concerned with state or even federal standards. Problem? That a few uptight christians could pervert the system with majority rule and make the schools places that teach things they have no business teaching.

Spunky uses as her example the book about gay penguins raising a baby. I will admit that I haven't read the book, and any statements I might make as to the contents of this book are in fact complete hearsay. I don't know if I will ever read the book. If either of my boys wants to check it out from the library, I will gladly do so and will happily read it with them. Given the community in which I live, I wouldn't be surprised if a christian family has already checked it out and "lost" it in order to save us from the evil gay penguins.

Spunky's problem here is that the community library should move this book to a more mature section so that poor innocent babies don't accidentally read it. One must assume that she fears kids will get the gay if they so much as walk past the shelf it's on, so we are better off putting a kids book in the adult section of the library where no one will ever have the evil gay get to them. She's upset that the community wanted this book removed, but it wasn't, and this is her example of the problem with non localized school control.

The real problem with her theory is that she is just plain wrong. If we were to bow and scrape to all such misguided parents, we should much more easily and cheaply just shut down the library system. The majority is not always right, and this is a case in which parents should police themselves and their own children. If your kid has a book about gay penguins and you don't know it, it isn't the book's fault or the library's fault. You should have parented a little bit better. If I want a children's book about gay penguins, I should be able to find that book in the children's area based on the Dewey decimal system. If my kids want books about gay penguins, they too should be able to find that book where it belongs, once again using Dewey's magical number code.

My real argument is best described in the terms in which I commented to her. She may or may not post my comment. Either way, it's here for all to see, and I stand by it. I'm about tired of this clamor from the religious freak fringe, and I may just get some non christians together to start protesting. Perhaps their books do not belong.
What if the request were that books containing the christian christmas story be moved to a more mature part of the library? I don't want my kids minds perverted by any superstition, so all books containing christian references are, to me and my family, books that should not be left where kids might accidentally pick them up and get confused by mysticism.
And that's my point. Christians all too often want to bitch and moan about losing their rights to force their stories on us. They protest that their children are not allowed to pray in school when the truth is that they just aren't allowed to force the whole school to pray as they deem fit. Schools are places where much prayer happens, but like the biblical pharisees, today's christian wants to be able to stand up and pray aloud and force all those around to be part of that prayer even if that part is passive. They can't accept that they don't have the right to force everyone to undergo their ceremonies. In the interest of fairness, if we allow them that right, then we must allow all religions that same right. They want their ten commandments in the court rooms, but they don't want buddhist koans in the court room. They want "under god" in the pledge of allegiance, but they don't want vishnu or allah included.

Now we come full circle to those pesky penguins. This is yet another battle the christians deserve to lose. They should not be able to force their strictures on all of us. They should not be able to force a christian state where a secular state belongs. They don't really deserve the time they take trying to enforce their rights while trampling the rights of everyone else. And the penguins aren't gay from what I've heard, but leave it to christians to make everything about sex in the end. They sound awfully dirty minded when you take the time to think about it.

hat tip to Chris for directing me to Spunky yet again.

Update: As Spunky mentions in her comment here, she did comment at her own blog that she tends to disagree that parents' desires to have certain books removed should automatically be a prompt for those books to end up being removed. However, in this quote I lifted from her post that I linked to above, she seems to suggest that perhaps parental requests for book removal should not be overlooked.
That's why you have library books about gay penguins in the schools over parents objections. It's just one book, but the school administrators are reluctant to remove it.
I should hope that the schools are reluctant to remove this book as they should always be reluctant to remove books because someone's knickers are in a twist.

woe is us

It goes without saying that there are plenty of people who have a worse time/life than I do. I really can't/shouldn't complain in general what with the great wife and kids, but I'm going to. It's time for everyone's favorite, sports injury tales.

My last soccer game of the season took place just a few hours ago. My team won, and for that I'm happy. Momma had a derby match tonight, and her team won, bringing more delight and happiness.

Now for the woe. The boys are happy to share their new cold with each other as well as with Momma and me. They've been slowly getting sickish for a couple of days, and today, Momma and I woke up with that ick somewhere behind our noses and in our throats. Day one of a sick isn't usually bad enough to stop us getting out and doing our thing, though I certainly dread the upcoming whatever it turns out to be. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of woe.

Today was cold, as I may have mentioned in a previous post. Add to that the spongey nature of the soccer fields, and you've got a recipe for . . . well, ick. With each step I took on the fields today I watched the water come out of the ground. I'd guess the temperature was in the mid to low '40's, not as cold as it could be but plenty cold as far as I'm concerned. That wasn't the cause of my woe, but I did spend a good portion of my day wet, muddy and cold.

So my injuries include a nice scratch and bruise combo on my thigh from a relatively clean play. Soon after though I took a really hard elbow to my ribs. That one hurts like fuck. I can feel my back and knees starting to chime in with their own song of woe. The worst of that is probably the pain seconded closely by the fact that the ref missed it completely. I can feel the knees giving their usual song of lament that will open to a full operatic movement by tomorrow.

Roller derby is custom made for causing pain. Momma came out mostly injury free, but she couldn't even get her hand far enough around the back to unhook her bra when we got home from the bout. If you are familiar with roller derby, you know that the blocks are generally shoulder to shoulder. She knocked a bitch or two down today, including the dirty playing gal that caused me not to post about the last match. Seriously, I never can say something nice, and this was a time when I actually didn't. By tomorrow, Momma is likely to have even more pains, most likely scattered across the back. She didn't take too many bad spills, but she hit the ground a few times, and it doesn't take a bad spill to bring the pain when you're moving as fast as she does.

Unless the rib issue I have turns out to be more than I think, we are not really too horribly hurt. The pains and the cold add up to some minor woe, and we aren't likely to be the most comfortable people over the next few days, but we both won, and it's over for the night. We can get the boys in bed, drink some pain killer and hit the bed ourselves. We'll wake up tomorrow bright and shiny with the pain we didn't know to expect. And you know that as soon as we get the chance, we'll both be back at our respective games raring to go.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I hate kids music

Yes, in fact, I hate kid's music with a white hot passion. I have never seen or listened to High School the Musical, and I hope against hope that I will never have to. I have actual issues with most kid's music that I've heard. Don't even get me started on the travesty that is Kids Bop which I thankfully only know through their hellish commercials.

I have made one single exception that I can think of, though if Momma reads this, she may think of one other exception that I'm less willing to admit to. I really doubt that exception exists, but Momma has a way of remembering things I don't, whether or not they really happened.

Before I rant any more I will list my one exception. I love Thomas the Tank Engine. The original stories by Reverend Awdry are the ones I love, and the new ones that exist solely to make money can go straight to hell. Rev. Awdry's original stories were made up for his son, the same way that many classics of children's literature were created. So my musical exception here is Roundhouse Rhythms, a collection of songs from different episodes of the Thomas stories. I'm sure anyone familiar with Thomas knows plenty of lyrics to Gone Fishin' which is a great song. Toby's song is also a good one. I've even found a site with the lyrics so that I can sing along.

Now we continue with the rant. I just don't see the point of music geared toward kids. It's always music that no one but kids want to hear, and kids only like it because we buy it for them and treat is as special for them. In fact, most kid's music just plain sucks, so in my mind, we are, by giving our kids this crap, telling them they don't deserve good music. It's insulting to kids in my opinion to suggest that they can't appreciate good music.

Big Brother doesn't seem to appreciate the ska quite as much as Momma and I, but he does seem to like some of it. The Boy is constantly asking who we are listening to, even when we actually have the radio on, which means I don't usually know who it is till the DJ tells us, and I don't know that we've found anything he will claim not to like. We only listen to three stations regularly, NPR, the local college station and WDVX, easily one of the greatest radio stations known to man. Click the link and listen. If you love Americana and related styles you will love them. They are also commercial free, though my anti-commercial leanings get a different post.

I'll end the rant with music I know the boys like: Dwight Yoakam, Louis Jordan, Leonard Cohen, Carl Perkins, The Clash, Dropkick Murphys, The Melvins, Motorhead, Flogging Molly, Faith No More, Social Distortion, and the list really goes on. I could throw in some classical music that they've enjoyed, Tchaikovsky, the entire Strauss family, Prokofiev (Peter and the Wolf) Basically my point is, why reduce music to pop pablum when you can just give your kids real music? Why limit what they can get into? Why give them music that has an obvious enjoy-by date?

not soccer weather

First, don't assume I'm pretending we get cold weather. We are in the south, as I well know, and it just doesn't really get that cold down here compared to some of the more crazy ass states like Minnesota.

Having said that, it's damn cold here today. Yesterday was oddly cold, colder than it felt, light, not unpleasant breezes all day. The breezes today are similarly light but much colder. Today's weather is the kind of weather where heavy and heavily padded fellows collide into each other while searching for the guy with the funny oblong ball. This is football weather.

I've checked the website of the soccer league on which I play. Our team captain called me last night to make sure I knew that we did indeed have a game today, but I checked again today to be sure that the games hadn't been canceled. We haven't had enough rain for the fields to be off limits, which is why our games are generally canceled. Apparently the schedule stands, and we will play.

The sky is gray and a little unpleasant looking, and the perky news ho last night actually mentioned the phrase "snow flurries." Those aren't rain clouds outside, but they could easily be snow clouds. It looks like winter crap weather outside.

And it's cold. Even in a flannel and leather jacket, my smokes today have not been pleasant. It ain't soccer weather out there today.

I briefly considered not playing. Part of me really doesn't look forward to freezing my nuts to my leg and being so cold that I feel brittle. Another part of me thinks that some of the other team members won't show giving me that much more playing time. That's the thought that might push me out the door into this not soccer weather day. I have also to consider that many team mates may not show. Last season ended with the majority of the team not showing for the last couple of games leaving us to play severely overwhelmed by the opposing team. I'm not looking forward to being part of seven or eight players playing a full side of eleven with substitutes which is a fear alongside the brittle freeze.

I will most likely be out at the field, freezing, shivering like a scared puppy. I will play my ass off looking to win the last game of the season. And that's the main reason I'll be there. This is our last game of the fall season, so soccer is over for a few months after today. I'm almost looking forward to the freedom of not having games looming each Sunday. But as usual, as much as I might think I'm looking forward to it, I'll miss soccer until spring finally drags itself back.

So I'll play. I'll freeze, sort of. I'll hurt myself a little on a spectacular (spectacularly stupid) slide tackle. And too soon it'll be over for a short time.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

where, oh where

Where do people get the fucked up ideas that they have about homeschooling? We have to accept, to some degree, that the fundys have set a pretty bad example of who we are. People too often see the stereotype, the exclusionary tactics of certain people who make statements to the effect that the schools are anti christian, that their children are not allowed to pray or proselytize. They freak out that god is being taken out of the classroom because some of us don't want to pledge "under god" when reciting the pledge of allegiance.

Yes, these few out of many are the ones that get to describe homeschooling. Though so many of us know that this is not what homeschooling really represents, we are still doomed by our undesired representatives.

There should be some way that we can proclaim ourselves to be different, but we end up painted by this christ colored brush all too often. We may not like it, and we may differ greatly in our reasons to homeschool, but too many people hear that single word, homeschool, and they immediately assume all sorts of things about us.

I don't feel like posting the same old post about how it just ain't that way. I shouldn't have to describe all the ways we are different, all the ways that we know exactly what we are doing. I have read enough posts to know that we are not in the minority, yet I look around and find that we are being referenced as this when we are really that.

I'm a fairly anti public school person. I have any number of issues with the beast, and I'm generally happy to rant about the situation. I have pretty much zero experience with public schools having attended the same little christian school all the years I was in school. Momma has plenty of horror stories about her years in the system, and I can easily use Google to find any number of horror stories that back up our decision.

I know that part of the problem is the blanket statements. I know that one single option is never right for all people and families. I know that not all public schools are evil places. I also know the amount of work I'm willing to do for my kids as opposed to the amount of work I'm not willing to do in regard to the public school system in terms of reteaching my kids. If I'm going to have to do the work anyway, I'll just keep them at home and do it right the first time.

What it comes down to is that I'm not willing for them to have my kids. Plenty of kids will leave the system after twelfth grade with a fair education and without having been bullied and misled. Plenty of kids will get a fine education from the system. My kids won't be among those, though they will end up just fine, well educated and well adjusted.

It all ends at the same conclusion. I love my kids and respect their ability to learn. I want them to grow up to be open minded and caring. I want them to develop into who they are as opposed to ending up a clone of their age peers. I want them to learn certain things when they are at an appropriate point in their lives. I want them to learn the truth about certain things that schools, no matter how good particular school systems may be, will never be able to teach well.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

oh how I suck

My posting here has gone steadily downhill lately. I've either run out of things to say or just finally realized that I never really had that much to say.

I'm going to make a real effort to get back into the habit of writing pithy little rants and blowing up about things that don't really have any bearing on my life.

I've considered a number of tactics to rehabitualize the posting thing. I could use this as an outlet for making up words, a personal favorite pastime. I think one of my problems is the bogdownedness I feel with normal life sometimes. I've got a really sweet habit of getting myself into a personal funk from which all topics, even the rare good one, just seem like crap that I prefer not to plod through.

Good (or not so much) rants are another personal favorite. I can always think of something to bitch about, so perhaps I should admit that uninformed spouting of vitriol is my true forte and should just stick with that.

So with that, I'll wrap this post and begin an angry screed against something completely inane and pointless. I'll give it all I have, writing furiously while railing furiously, tilting at windmills with made up words full of sensity and knowability while simultaneously nonsensabacle.

full quivers, empty heads

If that title doesn't piss off the over-breeders, then I will have to resort to even more inflammatory rhetoric, but I'm pretty sure that'll get 'em. If you think a quiver full is a good way to get a deer during bow season, you are obviously not up to date on the newest dominionist tactics.

God is the ultimate physician, or so we are told by a certain segment of fundamentalist christians. These people revel in having large families as they overpopulate the earth. The only birth control they use is faith that their supreme leader will decide if they need more babies. One must wonder, given this bit of insanity, whether they bother ever going to human doctors. You can't very well call god your doctor and then take your medical business elsewhere when he doesn't give you that physical that the new job says you need, but that's part of the christian thing where there words and actions don't really actually coincide so much.

What's wrong with having a bunch of babies? Isn't it their right as christian weirdos to overpopulate the earth? Who am I to suggest that their reasoning is both faulty and frightening? Are they suggesting that god is a condom and can decide to break or not based on whether he thinks you need more babies?

A quiver full of babies is considered a blessing, or so we are told. Does that mean that my youngest brother and his wife are somehow not worthy of being blessed? Because they had a hell of a time getting and staying pregnant. If you met any of my family, you'd have to also note that they are the kind of people who could be considered good christians. They follow the Bible's teachings and vote republican. How about my second oldest brother and his wife? They have three beautiful and bright daughters, but during the years they were having children, she had a couple of very difficult pregnancies and her own trouble producing.

My real issue here is one of absolute terror that these people are attempting to out breed people who think rationally. They are breeding christian warriors to eventually have enough votes to establish their theocracy. They don't want a free America with liberty and justice for all. They want to base national law entirely on biblical dogma, and since they can't do that as things currently stand, they will change it with masses of brainwashed children.

Christians have every right to pretend their scriptures make sense. They have every right to justify following certain parts of the Bible while ignoring other parts. It isn't my holy book, so I'm in no position to require that they follow it completely or interpret it sensibly. I can only use my knowledge of their book as I've read it, and I can certainly call them out when I catch that whiff of bullshit that follows them around.

The Bible makes very few references to breeding, and those it does are misconstrued to justify making more babies than they should. What the Bible does mention more than any thing else is that it's followers should spend their time taking care of the poor and the needy and the less fortunate. I'd think that children in foster homes, children needing a stable family, fall under all those headings. But certain people, assuming that god didn't mean for them to worry about other people, are too busy making too many babies so that they can send their christian army into the world to fight evil.

I have as many kids as I need. I come from a fairly large family, and I'm not completely against people having big families. I do think that people should use common sense when planning their families and controlling their own personal birth rate. What is a reasonable number of children? That's a question I can't answer. I do know that children should not be produced as political tools for future christian election wins, and that sounds to me like the plan when I read some of the writings by quiver full people. It's disturbing and frightening and wrong.

hat tip: this is a post I'd considered before, though it was reading at Spunky's place that got the brain wheels rustily cranking out my thoughts. Follow the link to a blog that I find well written and well thought out even when her beliefs make me cringe in fright. I don't always disagree with her, for what it's worth, but I hope like hell people like this never get in a position to dictate right and wrong for the country. Our current president has shown us time and again why overly faith based people aren't good at running nations.

english as a second language

I'm no linguist. I'm just a guy with a couple of drinks in him. Something that I believe is that, were I to move to England, I could easily learn English, but for now, I suppose what I speak can best be described as American. Another post for another time might be about the question posed to me some time ago by a Mexican coworker. He wondered why we in the US refer to ourselves as American when there are in fact a couple of other Americas that we sort of preclude from that designation.

So my point here gets back, hat tip style I suppose, to the book I mentioned in a different post. I'm reading An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, written by English food writer Elizabeth David. The problem I'm having is one I've also had with Julia Child with her definite French leanings. I should point out here that I have a huge crush on Julia.

I'm sure my attempts at pronouncing French sound really funny if I were trying to say them to a French person. Lucky for me they usually stay in my head, but that's where the problem comes in. When you are geek about reading random food related stuff, you find often that you're reading about French food of one kind or another as well as about French other stuff.

Sometimes I just get stumped by a word, and I end up with a snooty French man inside my head pronouncing the words in a variety of ways. I can run through a few words that seem to make a certain sense in my head, and suddenly, out of nowhere comes the hard one. I'm not pretending I get all the words right, but I get them right enough in my brain till the one word shows up. My brain beats at it every which way, but my complete lack of any real knowledge of the language cuts through all my confidence from earlier. And that little snooty French man starts saying the word in a very stereotypical French way, laughing AT and not WITH, at which point I'm doomed to stay stuck on this word until I put the book down and walk away for a while.

For what it's worth, I'm cool with the French. I have nothing against them really. They seem to have a nice enough place over there in Europe. Maybe one day, when mother powerball bestows her wealth on me, I'll take a trip out there and have some of their food. I hear it's good. Hell, I might even learn the language finally.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

new movie

The Boy is wrapping up his television for the day with some cartoons before we read and pack him off to bed. I'm not watching with him, or wasn't, and then something pulls my eyes to the screen. Suddenly, I find myself wanting to watch a new movie, which hasn't happened a lot lately. So many new movies look like such crap.

I was looking forward to Christopher Paolini's book Eragon some time before it came out, I'm sure to some extent because he was homeschooled. It didn't hurt that the book is a pretty good story as is the second in the trilogy, Eldest. I love dragons and mythical creatures and swordplay and long drawn out stories of good versus evil.

Reading the book, I couldn't help but find comparisons to other works of a similar nature. Perhaps for some that would be an issue, and in doing a search I actually came across a christian teen message board that seemed entirely populated by young teen girls explaining how much the book sucks because it's like other books. It was sadly funny, but not so much that I'm going to link to the bitches.

I seem to remember hearing something about a movie, and now I've seen the proof, the commercial, and I hope like hell it's good. No movie can ever really be as good as the book on which it was based. I'm sure scientists have hypothesized and theorified about this, and I'm sure there is some sort of natural law that declaims exactly this truth. As happens, that's going into the "not for this post" pile of ideas for things I may one day blog about.

Damn chriswanzakuh and its cash depleting ways. Damn that this movie is likely going to nestle in my brain which will steep in thoughts of wish and hope for this movie. I don't know how soon I'll willingly brave the movie theater with The Boy in tow. Given all this, I'm not sure when I'll see this movie, but when I do you can be sure I'll tell you all about it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

a pair of books

I won't recount the horror I've made of my library visits recently. I've racked up some fines through sheer ineptitude and laziness and payed them off at 10% by sheer fortune. We happened to visit the library on amnesty day in which donations of food erase your fines. I didn't realize this before we went, but I had missed two overdue items when packing up the library stuff, so I needed to return those before we could actually check new books out.

One of the books I picked up recently is The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney, and this is the book I suffered through. It was certainly eye opening, to some extent, but I've also been just into conspiracy theory just enough to not be surprised. It was more depressing than enlightening, but I finished it, and of that I'm proud. I would suggest to most people that they read this book through at least once. Hopefully we can turn things around and this book will soon be a forgotten warning.

I was actually looking for that book as well as The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, which our library system doesn't have. I'm not quite sure what to think of that. I really don't want it to be some backward southern thing, but if one searches the library catalog, Dawkins almost shows up more often for introductions in books as opposed to as an author. Which brings us to the book I may not get around to before it's due, The Origin of Species and The Voyage of the Beagle, with . . . guess . . . an intro by Richard Dawkins. I'm not sure if I really want to read this book or if I just want to have read it.

Part of the reason I may not get to Darwin this time (I've checked this book out before and not read it because it was due before I got around to it) is that I may just not get around to it before it's due again. I have newer borrowings that seem to be cutting the line in front of the old fellow.

I've hit upon the idea that what I need is to reread John Holt, How Children Learn. I've read it once before, and at some point I remember mentioning to Momma that we needed to just go ahead and buy it sometime. We didn't, so the library comes to the rescue. The book I'm currently reading is only a few Dewey mapped shelves away and wasn't actually on my list. John Holt gets pushed down the line a little. This should in no way demean Mr. Holt as one should certainly read his books. I'd go so far as to suggest that this one book should be given to all new parents as well as all teachers and school administrators.

Somewhere around 340, our downtown library's nonfiction section moves up a floor. On this same floor is the a/v section. I always love a trip to the second floor, and we usually take a few minutes upstairs, usually for music for me, and if Big Brother wants, they have a great selection of videos. I time myself upstairs because of The Boy. He gets noisome, perhaps even crazy, so I don't venture into books to browse until we hit the kid's section. There of course he can be a kid.

The boys were behaving mostly, so I slipped from education to food and cooking, John Holt in hand. I didn't have anything in mind when I came to food, so I may have actually stared at the shelves for a minute waiting for something to go off. Elizabeth David was the one. I picked An Omelette and a Glass of Wine. I have another book of hers that I've loved, though I'm not certain I've read it all. Both books are collections of pieces she's written for a variety of publications, and the book of hers I own, I've skipped around reading different bits as I felt like it. Because it isn't a book you need to read straight through or all at once, Holt may find himself worked into the middle.

Elizabeth David has become a favorite cooking writer of mine. How to describe her writing is a bit difficult. What I'm familiar with mostly happened in the years following World War II. She writes about cooking that I can only imagine. She writes about food rationing well after the war ended. She writes about travelling in France where fees for hotels and meals in the hotel restaurant were priced based on pensioners plans. She makes me jealous, and I read her all the same. Go get one of her books.

Quit with the rambling to end with a question. Why do I feel guilty if I return something to the library without having read it?

Friday, November 10, 2006

loudest voices say the least

Once more, I'm going to start writing a post with no idea exactly where I'm going with this. Chris posted a link to PZ's blog at Science Blogs titled Demand Higher Standards for Homeschooling. What actually follows is his thoughts upon reading a piece about Patrick Henry College. PCH, from what I've read about it, is a college begun in order to cater to a certain segment of the homeschooling population, one of my arch enemies, the fundamentalist. Once more, we as homeschoolers are described in full by a small segment of our population.

What I understand as the meat of the argument is that some homeschoolers teach their children young earth, creationist beliefs instead of the provable truth of science. It's assumed, it seems, that these parents, ever distrustful of all science, must certainly not only not teach it but also have no ability to teach it.

What really struck we were the comments. As Chris mentioned there and at his own blog, something that jumped out at me early on is the similarity between many of the commenters and those fundamentalist they so love to heap scorn on. So many people are so tightly clinging to their own inherent rightness in belief in the one true god be it the judeo christian boogey man or the pure provability of science.

One can neither prove nor disprove that there is a god. One can argue anecdotal evidence and faith, but beyond that, religion is not any in way provable. Science relies solely on proof and must be provable. Science revolves around the evidence we can gather and the variables we can introduce in order to measure outcomes. But often in science, a theory is proven for any number of reasons to be incorrect, and true science has to accept when this happens. Religion has no proof and is in fact based entirely on faith. No amount of faith can make a science experiment produce a desired outcome, and the results of the experiment must be accepted.

According to many of the atheists commenting on Mr. Myers' blog concerning this, teaching children anything that isn't true is actual, real abuse, and one commenter went so far as to compare this to sexual abuse. Another commenter directed us to Auschwitz to show us what happens when kids are taught the religion of their parents. They stand by this not because they are able to prove what they say but because they are right. That's all the proof offered that I can see, because they are right, and because they say so.

The problem here, and it's the same problem in every single anti homeschooling thing I've ever read, is that the people suggesting fixes for what they perceive as wrong with homeschooling generally have no real interest in or knowledge about the subject. All the arguments that arise are answered by homeschoolers, so the argument changes just a little to something we didn't answer, or perhaps it's something we answered, and they've decided they just don't accept our answer. Again, the argument turns into the antagonist proclaiming that what we've said is wrong because they are right and disagree with us. So we as homeschoolers answer the argument only to rebutted again. We are never agreed with, and when we do successfully counter someone, they won't generally admit it, but they will in fact change their argument starting the process all over again.

Especially worrisome was the tone, in many of the comments, that children are little more than wards of the state that people produce to add to the structure of society. People are seen as having few real rights when it comes to raising our children and in fact it's suggested that society has more rights to our children than we do. If we argue against that we are assumed to view our children as property over whom we hold all power. Those so secure in their personal rightness would argue that the state/society, has a right to teach our kids their view of the truth regardless of our wishes as parents. The state, they argue, even has the right to take your children and force them to attend school and be indoctrinated with what they see as the truth.

Reason and thought don't seem to account for much when people argue to be right instead of being willing to rethink their position. This doesn't seem like a very stable place for science to stand. Science needs to be able to move and sway with what is and isn't, to be both provable and disprovable. Being right has no place in science, but learning the truth, working hard to find out what can be proven and rigorously testing, that is science, and it is homeschooling.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

more kid's words

Only half of us were home tonight, me and The Boy, and I was enjoyingish a bowl of ramen noodles while he had leftover peddi (spaghetti). With my hurty jaw, it was almost the right thing, though I'm not sure how much chewing of noodles occured as opposed to just mashing them lightly before they slipped down the gullet.

After scanning the channels on the television, I settled on the newest Blue Collar comedy show and listened to Jeff Foxworthy giving his fashion rules. One of his rules had something to do with tattoos, though I forget now exactly what he said. Tip to other bloggers, sometimes you should write the shit down so you don't forget if you won't be posting right away. More likely that's a tip for me, but it's out there now.

Regardless of the exactness, Foxworthy said something to the effect of not everyone should have a tattoo. The Boy replied immediately to say, "Everyone should have tattoos you idiot," speaking of course to Mr. Foxworthy. I'm sure I don't know who teaches my kids to use words like idiot, but I'm glad he didn't call him worse, like a douche bag or asshole.

wanted bacon, got a banana

Momma was nice enough to let me sleep in this morning, though when I say nice enough, the niceness was probably being nice to herself in not dealing with me as she attempted to awake me. She was also nice enough to be cooking a real breakfast, pancakes, eggs and bacon.

I ate everything including most of the bacon, but I left my last piece. I didn't want too much digestion going on as it was very close to time for my soccer game. I intended to eat it after returning home from the game, and I was rather looking forward to it. The Boy ended up getting it, but not because I didn't want it.

I did want that bacon, and I attempted to eat it. The one bite I got was excruciating.

You may not think this is a soccer story, but all good things end up being about soccer in the end. My team played pretty well today. Our front line is still passing well, and we out shot the other team by a very wide margin. Their one goal came off a muddle in the box which is how we've given up most of our goals this season. We've won our third game in a row, no thanks to a referee that just didn't seem to like us much. The game was mostly clean, but there were really just too many little calls that either didn't go our way or were missed entirely.

One call that didn't go our way was against me. An opponent and I were charging for a loose ball and were pretty dead even. I pulled out the defensive ace, the slide tackle, and launched myself feet first into the ball. It was a clean play if a little rough. We got to the ball at the same time, but my tackle took the other guy down. He came down right on top of me with a little elbow in the side of my jaw.

I've felt the jaw, pushed it and pulled it, wiggled it, opened and closed it. It doesn't hurt in its normal resting position. It doesn't hurt very much to open or close. Where it does hurt is closing it with any force, force such as it would take to eat a piece of bacon.

The bacon went to The Boy, and I got to eat a banana. Sure, my body needs the potassium more than it needs that lovely, smoky fat and meat and saltiness, but dammit, I wanted the bacon. My options for food as the night progresses seem limited at this moment to ramen noodles. They take slightly more chewing than the banana and somewhat less than the spaghetti that is my other reasonable option. I've also considered peanut butter and jelly, but I don't know that there is enough peanut butter for that, and I've got a feeling there may be some peanut butter graham crackers in The Boy's future. He's already decided against going to derby practice, opting instead to stay home with me and watch a movie, and he's refused all the leftovers in the house.

I don't know what is wrong with my jaw, aside from having a grown man land elbow first on it. I do know that it don't feel too pretty, and I'm dreading the later evening when I'm even hungrier and have already had the ramen.

screwdriver booty

Does that title make sense to you? Does the thought of screwdriver booty give you pause? Do you want to know the story behind screwdriver booty? File this under can't make this shit up. Seriously, click HERE.

Motherfucking screwdriver-butt, monkey-spanking crazy ass shit!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

ooooooooh evil cartoons

Yeah, cartoons are evil, but those cartoons you're thinking about are not the ones I'm thinking about. I spent way too much time today looking through 228 comics about the holocaust. These are the cartoons called for in the wake of the mohamed cartoons in the Danish newspaper.

We all remember the story, the Danish newspaper that ran comics featuring the islamic holy man mohammed. The comics incited the crazy part of the muslim world to freak out for a few days and throw bombs. Apparently, to prove a point, the muslims then called for retaliatory comics regarding their disbelief in the holocaust.

What struck me most throughout my reading was the mindlessness being hurled back and forth. Conspiracy theories were the norm in addition to the racism and hatred. The hatred seemed driven by a combination of religion and racism.

I really don't know what to think about the middle east. I know some amount of the tension is oil driven, but the oil isn't helping that many people there, and I wonder sometimes why anyone would stay. It seems insane to me who has picked up and moved a few times over the years. I suppose that's one of the beauties of not being born in that area.

I might be able to tell you a thing or two about living in the southern US, but I know so little about Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Egypt or any of the other countries crammed into that tiny, arid zone. I was once fairly oppinionated about the area with my baptist past teaching me its own judeo-christian view, and I have to make an effort not to let that continue to color my thoughts on the area now.

A perfect example of this inability to understand is the Iraq civil war. We in the US are certainly somewhat to blame for the crisis, but what is it that makes neighbors turn guns on each other based on doctrinal differences within the same religion?

We can try the issue raised in the comics. What makes Israel and Palestine get stuck in this endless loop of violence? Is it all oil? British and now American imperialism? Superstitious fucking nitwits? Is there really a zionist plot? What kind of people put bombs on kids?

It seems sometimes as if a certain part of the muslim world is stuck in a whole other time period from the rest of the world. One thing that stands out to me. Over the years, I can think of any number of US military incursions, and for the most part, we seem to go in and do whatever the guvment tells us they do, and then we get out. What international news I can remember over my short time on the earth has always involved the middle east and jews and muslims regardless of whether the other stories were Kosovo or the Philipines or Nicaragua. Who the hell even remembers Imelda Marcos anymore?

I'm done writing with I don't know, otherwise this post will turn into an anti-religion rant. I try not to hate it, to try to let people have their things, but it gets hard when diverging dogmas seem so often to result in killing and more killing. I just don't get it.

Hat tip to Orac at Science Blogs

Go here if you really want to sit through a bunch of racist cartoons that don't even have the decency to be funny.

Friday, November 03, 2006

two wins in a row

Many years ago, somewhere between 1986 and 1988, I played my first soccer. I attended a fairly small christian school and played football my eighth grade year which was the year all the football size people either graduated or left to attend a different school, so the next year we could not reasonably pretend that we were going to have a football team. So we were given soccer.

I was never a really big football fan, though I do watch at least a little of the yearly squaring off of the Vols and the Bulldogs. I always hope that Georgia wins, and I'm usually given that joy by the final buzzer. And there is a little someone inside of me that gets a little feeling when I hear Larry Munson's voice, sort of an aural time machine.

The small christian school grew much smaller the year I'd have been a senior, though I was on the soccer team each year till then. That isn't any sort of brag of course as even the two seventh graders that we lapped while running laps around the field made the team. These were kids that would never have made the team in a public school, and good little christians that we were, we were still total dicks to these poor kids.

So then came the years in which I didn't play any soccer. When the small christian school ceased half its operations I was "homeschooled" and no longer was able to play. The quotes above are not scare quotes because my own adventures as a homeschool kid were not what you'd call real overly homeschooley and as such are a whole other post. That was my twelfth grade year.

After a few years of all sorts of trouble I ended up in North Carolina for a few years. I met Momma in what certainly wasn't love at first sight for either of us, but this is one more instance of different post, different day. The point here is that I ended up getting her pregnant which prompted our move to Tennessee. The pregnancy produced Big Brother.

Another few years passed before Big Brother was old enough for soccer. We'd decided to homeschool and had never really considered sports. Neither Momma or I were really sports fans at this point. I still had fond memories of those days playing soccer, and I'd even carried a pair of cleats between different moves, never using them but hoping one day to find a game. I didn't really look, but in my defense, I was pretty busy doing drugs before the whole baby thing.

Those cleats were nowhere to be found when I finally did get that chance at a game. I think it was Big Brother's first season playing AYSO, possibly his second. I didn't coach his first season, but I soon realized that, not only did AYSO need volunteers, but I was not going to stay off the field. It just so happened that another coach needed some players to fill out his team that played in an adult league. He was wandering across the soccer complex and happened to randomly introduce himself and invite me to play.

That began my adult soccer years. The cleats I have now are a lot like my old high school cleats, the cheap kind of Adidas that have that annoying little bit of extra toe. They fit all right, and I do hate the living shit out of them, and they work well enough. I could stand to stop smoking and start exercising, but I figure playing soccer once or twice a week is good enough to cover both those.

This story started out being about winning two weeks in a row. Being on a decent team isn't something I'm used to. Maybe I've been on decent teams that weren't as well coached as they could have been, but that's probably just adult sour grapes about a certain high school basketball coach. It's nice having won these games.

Now that I've finally reached my point, I find that I've written as much about soccer as I care to for one night. We have a game coming up with a team we played earlier in the season. They were recently beaten by one of the teams we beat, though I remember them winning our earlier match. We'll see Sunday how that turns out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

'nother quickie

From the classifieds in the most recent edition of our local alternative newsweekly comes this proof that we should all proofread and run spell check. The ad is for a finance company seeking a secretary/assistant. Among the requirements is "basic offive skills." I want to blame the finance company as I tend to like those employees of the newspaper that I've met, but . . .

another silly quote

Even I laughed at myself when I built this alien cross genetic DNA analyzer, but I guess I showed me.

-Proffesor Hubert Farnsworth, Futurama

thinking about thinking

I've sucked at posting lately, and I fully intend to remedy that. I have a whole pile of ideas that I've planned on thinking about writing about. I've also gone a few days without posting before the last couple of days in which I've been a bit more diligent.

Sunday night saw a very exciting derby match. I also played soccer that day, and I'm happy to say that we've won two games in a row. Big Brother's season should have been over this past Saturday, but we have a final make up game this week. As much as I love coaching his teams, I'm always happy when the season is over. I've gotten sucked into the reality cooking show on Bravo, having almost completely ignored it in the past. I actually got into the end of the last season based on the characters/chefs.

Right now I'm sort of watching Ultimate Fighter 4. The Boy is in pajamas and has just asked for cake, which he'll probably get, though my original plan was to have him in bed by now while we read some Winnie the Pooh. After that is probably some co-op Lego Star Wars with Big Brother while I wait long enough to be sure that The Boy is asleep and then run Big Brother off to bed. Momma is at work and is closing tonight, though the restaurant closes at midnight tonight meaning that this isn't a really late night.

There's a rundown of possible topics for me. That doesn't even delve into the mindless drivel I call political discourse. Okay, I don't really call it that, because even in my mind I know better than giving myself that kind of credit. I can come up with other stuff too, entirely new topics that I've yet to cover. So until then . . .

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

new toy perhaps?

So, because someone (all the cool kids?) else did it, and because they said it was cool, and because I'm a sucker for cool, I have hopefully done everything correctly in setting up MyBlogLog. This is a fancy new thing that somehow or other makes the blogging/commenting world that much brighter and friendlier. I won't even attempt to explain what it is, and I'm not even sure I've got the code right. If you don't see it on the page, then I've fucked something up. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's fine, because I don't either. The Zero Boss does, and he posted about it as you'll learn if you click his name up there. I'll mention again that I'm not sure I've done everything right, so maybe I'm talking about things not to be. Or perhaps I'll just break my brain tomorrow night figuring it out. I've dedicated enough time to it tonight.

death by gay equality

Okay, perhaps I've argued for equality on occasion, like letting gay people have the same rights as the not gay people. And up to a point, I'm certainly happy to oblige the gays of the world. But I've had to point out to people the nightmare scenario of gay marriage one too many times. I fear that, due to Ed Brayton preaching the gay equality message, I must once again break open a package of truth, though I promise to leave the buttery spread of morality off this time.

Will gay marriage allow gay families the same rights afforded those with differently gendered parents? Will marriage equality allow aging gay couples the same rights as the not gays when one of the gays is hospitalized for some reason? Yes, they would be able to visit, such a simple act, taken for granted by the hetero couples. Will marriage equality make adoption by gay couples easier and thereby enhance the quality of life for some children who may otherwise live out their lives between foster homes? It is entirely possible that this may indeed happen. Those are only a few scenarios in which equality would work to make some lives better.

The arguments we generally hear against equality for gay people are generally mindless religious based meanness and spite. The closest we get to arguments are not good arguments and are often lies instead. So why do politicians fight so hard against something they know is destined? Why not be the good guy and help equality legislation get through? Title IX means that we now have a good national soccer team, so maybe gay equality will be good in a similar vein.

I've said it before, and I fear that I must continue to proclaim the news about gay marriage. It may be good for families and for society and for gay people to grant them the same equality that they should have had all this time, but that ignores the chilling truth of gay marriage.

When gay marriage is legalized finally, our world will immediately face its doom. Earthquakes will ravage the entire surface of the earth as the nazi tyrannosaurs break free from their underground cages. As they break through and out of their nests, their laser eyes will develop fully. Nazi tyrannosaur with laser eyes will then stalk the earth killing all who dare appear. We will all, gay and not gay, atheist and superstitious alike, be nothing more than food for the hungry laser eyes and gullets.

So, sure, we could start treating gay people as equal partners in humanity, kind of like we should have been doing all along with the gay people, the differently hued people and the non-penis havers, but when you've got an ass full of nazi tyrannosaur laser eye, don't come fucking crying to me because I told you so.