Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cold

We are all sick. Colds suck. Glands swollen, sick kid, poor thang.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bulldog

Seems like Orel Hershiser is being considered for the L.A. Dodgers' managerial vacancy. I hope and pray that he gets it. He was a mediocre player who will only lead the team to further ruin and mediocrity. Aside from 1988-1991, the man stunk! His record was like 14-14, 16-16 all the time. That said, he does hold the record for second longest consecutive scoreless innings bested only by my wife after Marley was born. That's why sometimes I call Mickelle "Bulldog", not because she's a UGA fan, but because she's pitching one helluva shut out.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2200123



Petty: Baseball cards had the habit of printing a line of commentary about a player below his stats box on the back of a card. Hershiser's card one year, pretty sure it was a Topps card, said "The pitcher is a religious Mormon" on the back. Hershiser was religious. Very publicly so. All over the place, like he was a televangelist. But heaven forbid someone call him a Mormon. This warranted full page ads and retractions in major newspapers, magazines, and even Beckett Baseball Card Monthly. I can't find the issue, but I know it was there. I wasn't even Mormon at the time and thought it was stupid that he wasted all that money to correct a baseball card. Only people who saw it were kids collecting cards. he could've gotten Topps to correct it the next season.

The Red Hat Society and yet another symptom of bourgeois bohemian detachment

So, I've recently become aware of a Society called the Red Hat Society. Whoa boy this is gonna be a vicious one.

Okay, so this society sprang from a poem about what a woman would do as she got older--celebrating her aging instead of striving to ignore/prevent it. She claims that she would wear a red hat with purple clothing (evidently this is fashion suicide to women) and get feistier a la Wheezer in Steel Magnolias instead of becoming the sweet kind old grandma everyone expected her to be. Someone read the poem and decided to start a club of her friends that would do just this. It has since grown into a national organization. So far I have no objections to this club.

I'm going to respond to various comments in their FAQ, [my responses will be in italics] here goes:

Are there any responsibilities?
The main responsibility is to have fun! No problem here! We see this group as an opportunity for those who have shouldered various responsibilities at home and in the community their whole lives, to say goodbye to burdensome responsibilities. So, let me get this straight, at age 50 after presumably having spent the past 25 years of their lives working and enriching themselves, they suddenly are encouraged to throw off all responsibility in favor of the self? Wouldn't it be more productive to use your later years, when you're in a more comfortable place financially to enrich the lives of others? Notice that it says "goodbye to burdensome responsibilites" and not "a getaway from or a break from". As if raising children were a burden! This is a place to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Of course, someone needs to plan the events or they would never happen, but oftentimes members take turns at these things so that they do not become "jobs" for anyone. If an individual chapter wishes to participate in charitable events or any such things, we encourage them to do so, but the Red Hat Society as a whole does not see itself as an appropriate forum for fund-raising or other such things. Charity is for the young? Charity is for other organizations? Didn't we just say that we were saying goodbye to responsibilities? The refrain of the popular Red Hat Society theme song by Mike Harline puts it rather bluntly: "All my life, I've done for you. Now it's my turn to do for me." HOLY SHIT! How can anyone seriously sing this? The women I know that join these societies are the wives of upper-middle class husbands who have not had to be employed to make ends meet. Their Official Society Sport is shopping. They have been doing for "me" since the day the first bought something for form over function, since they first got an SUV so they "could see the road better", since they first bought a house with more bedrooms by a factor of two than people in their family.

The Red Hat Society calls itself a "disorganization," and we are proud of our lack of rules and by-laws. But, much like the Punk Scene, the lack of rules will eventually become its own set of rules. Crusading against rules in a for-profit company will always lead to splinter groups and eventually a lawsuit by the parent company against a chapter for cease-and-decist or some other ill. It will happen. Rules have to exist in capitalism, especially bourgeois consumer late-capitalism. We are all helping to develop an enormous "nurturing network" for women over 50 , by joining red-gloved hands and spreading the joy and companionship we are finding within and among the chapters. We have also discovered a "mission" of sorts: to gain higher visibility for women in our age group and to reshape the way we are viewed by today's culture. I would cringe if I were a woman to think that women are seeking to be seen as eccentric and self-centered. Always remember that you are eccentric, just like everyone else. We are all familiar with militant groups of the past, which stridently sought to achieve their agendas. We're not feminist! Let's make sure that we distance ourselves from the groups that gave us the cultural freedom to go around in public the way we do. Well, we are decidedly UN-strident, but we hope to advance our agenda [which is? I've read your entire webpage and I have no idea what it is] with good humor and laughter. If we do not join together under the banner of the Red Hat Society, but rather remain isolated, unconnected groups, that will not happen. Therefore, we are working to build a disorganization within which we can all connect – and eventually take over the world! And charge dues and get rich in the process! Besides isn't world domination a bourgeois capitalist cliche? Please, try and not take over something. Truly buck the system that you don't want to be a part of anyway. Dress in conspicuous clothes and have your parties. Go shopping and gambling and divers bohemian activities and stimulate that old economy. Do nothing for others as an organization. Waste these later years and your combined power as a group by refusing to do anything to help the communities in which you reside. Why bother making the world a better place all of your life when you can dine out and gossip?


"Ode to the Red Hat Society"by Sue Ellen Cooper
I'll let it speak for itself
A poet put it very well. She said when she was older,
She wouldn't be so meek and mild. She threatened to get bolder.
She'd put a red hat on her head, and purple on her shoulder.
She'd make her life a warmer place, her golden years much golder.
We read that poem, all of us, and grasped what she is saying.
We do not need to sit and knit, although we all are graying.
We think about what we can do. Our plans we have been laying.
Instead of working all the time, we'll be out somewhere playing.
We take her colors to our hearts, and then we all go shopping
For purples clothes and hats of red, with giant brims a-flopping.
We're tired of working all the time, and staying home and mopping.
We order pies and chocolate fudge, and rich desserts with topping.
We crown ourselves as duchesses and countesses and queens.
We prove that playing dress-up isn't just for Halloween.
We drape ourselves in jewels, feathers, boas, and sateen.
We see ourselves on television and in magazines.
We laugh, we cry, we hug a lot. We keep each other strong.
When one of us goes out for fun, the rest all go along.
We gad about, we lunch and munch, in one big happy throng.
We've found the place where we fit in, the place we all belong.

We do own the rights to this poem, and we share it with our members freely. The "Ode to the Red Hat Society" may not be used on product for sale or in the promotion of product for sale except by express written permission from the Red Hat Society. HA THERE ARE RULES! PROTECT MY PROPERTY, IT'S OURS ALTHOUGH THE BASIS FOR OUR SOCIETY IS SOMEONE ELSE'S POEM!

A person obviously has the right to do whatever they want. But, can you think of any large organization that specifically discourages its members from charitable activities. The woman that I know who is a member of a chapter in Georgia told me that every year they have a vote about activities they could, and they always get voted down "even though we all go and participate anyway, just not as a chapter." Ugh! Even motorcycle gangs ride for charity. Any organization worth its salt should have at least one charity activity a year. There are so many people in the world that need help. If this were a men's organization (usually called a country club or golf tourney) I would feel the same way, save the fact that even golfers have charity tourneys.

Shopping will not make the world a better place or you feel better about yourself. Consumerism will tarnish your soul, no matter your belief in a higher power. Altruism benefits everyone, the giver and the receiver. Not saying you shouldn't have fun, but joining an organization like this is just wrong. If they had one thing a year, I could see it, but they have nothing.

The Red Hat Society members are tools of the capitalist machine and they don't even know it.

My Mom has been living the spirit of the red hat poem (not the lame Society one, but the original one) all her life by bucking the conventions of what women should be. I find it funny that now all these women that made fun of my mom her whole life are suddenly embracing the "freedom" from convention that she has known since she was young. And my Mom would be one of the first to try and have fund-raisers and charitable activities. You can be eccentric and help others and go shopping and not revel in the fact that you can revel.

BTW: Capitalism is a good thing. Losing oneself in the trappings of consumerism is very bad, worse than stealing Joeboo's rum.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

RIP

So, it turns out that I did know one of the victims of Hurricane Katrina: Bernice Galloway. "Bea" as we called her died in transit from New Orleans to Houston on 8-29-05. She was bed-ridden and unable to verbally communicate since a stroke about a year ago. I will always have fond memories of her rambling testimonies and the blonde Farah Fawcett wig that she once wore to church. I'm sure that she is happy to be back with "Mr. Galloway" as she always called him. She is an official Katrina victim because her death came as a result of having to be moved. She lived on Esplande right by the Quarter.

I hope her daughter is coping well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A great photograph

Tim took this photo at 1:30 AM last Friday of the Church building on St. Charles Ave. We cleaned up all the trash the next day. I love this photo.

My Spermatozoal Potency

It appears that the goods that God gave me have proven effective once again at procreating despite the vericocele. Mickelle is pregnant according to her sore boobs and a home pregnancy test . The due date would be June 27th. Marley will be thrilled and most likely jealous once the baby is born. Nice that I'll get to have a pregnant wife both times I finish a graduate degree.

I am elated, apprehensive, thrilled, and thunderstruck. Babies are a lot of work.

We haven't told anyone yet, so we put it on the blog to see how long it takes for people to read it and realize this.

Monday, October 24, 2005

AYE HYE HUSH THAT FUSS EVERYBODY MOVE TO THE BACK OF THE BUS

So, Tim and I were driving back from New Orleans today listening to a CD I made for the trip. One song we talked about was Outkast's "Rosa Parks." Her agents actually sued the band over using her name in the title. We were listening to it around the time that she died today. RIP Mrs. Parks.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051025/ap_on_re_us/obit_rosa_parks

I've got some photos of my trip. Tim has some much better ones that he'll post.
check them out at: http://www.spanishlanguagehelp.com/mac/katrina


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Utterly exhausted

We gutted two houses today. 16 people working from 9 Am to 5 PM. There is still more to do. I'm sore in body parts that I don't even have. I want a foot massage from my wife very badly. I want a soft bed and clean white linens. I have an air mattress on a hard floor. I am happy. There is nothing better that I could have done with my day today.

Nothing!

Friday, October 21, 2005

In New Orleans

I'm writing this from my friend Karie Wright's apartment in River Ridge, LA. We've spent the day today doing all kinds of stuff, mostly cleaning out President Van Dam's house and Sue Hawes's house. The smells were so bad that Tim Boisvert, a Great American, and I both vomited. I mean for real lost my lunch vomited. This case of Ensure had rusted out and the flies and maggots had made it their meal. It was vile. I almost vomited when we were moving Sue's fridge. It smelled like ketchup and schnit. I cannot imagine doing this if it were my stuff. I do not understand why I have been so blessed to avoid this disaster.

I don't know if I ever will

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLMMMMMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA



JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GO BACK NEAR THE WATER........


WILMA STRIKES


Again I reiterate once more the need to change hurricane names to more vicious ones like: Napoleon, Atilla, Nero, Caligula, Dahlmer, Amin, Trujillo, or even Hitler (oops I just lost the argument according to my new favorite law: Godwin's Law [aka the Hitler Rule])

Monday, October 17, 2005

From the mouths of babes

So, tonight for Family Home Evening, we were talking about the Holy Ghost. Marley has been confused lately because of all the Halloween decorations of ghosts and she wanted to know what the Holy Ghost is. We knew that she had had a small lesson on prayer during her version of Sunday School yesterday, so we decided to ask her some questions to teach her. Here comes yet another example of why I love my daughter and her innocence:

Me: Marley, what did you talk about in Sunday School yesterday?
Marley: (exasperated) God......AGAIN!!!

The whole room erupted in laughter and even now I have to struggle not to wake the whole house up while I write about what she said.

But there's more.....

My Dad has this habit of saying "what's your name little (opposite of the gender of the child)?" When I was a kid, he would always say "what's your name little girl" and he said the opposite to my little sister. Tonight he said it to Marley:

Johnny Mac: What's your name little boy?
Marley: (forcefully) I AM NOT A BOY!
Johnny Mac: How do you know?
Marley: Because I'm a girl
Johnny Mac: Am I girl?
Marley: No you're a Daddy
Johnny Mac: Daddy's aren't girls?
Marley: No, boys have cha-cha-willys (our euphemism for penis) and I have two holes

She is the funniest kid of all time. Maybe it's just me.

How about Pujols saving the day? Good baseball!

Also, if anyone tried to click on the links at the bottom of my blog and got routed to some crazy end of the world type Bible thumper webpage, sorry. The link has been fixed.

Property taxes in a disaster area

So, what will happen to people when property tax bills come due in the devasted parishes and counties of the Gulf Coast? In St. Bernard parish, the entire place was flooded. Most homes will be condemned. I wonder if they will try and levy taxes at the old rate on the mills. I bet this story gets some attention in the near future. On one hand, the humane thing to do would be to grant a waiver to anyone that got flooded, but most local governments are broke, so what can they do? I'm glad I don't own property. At least not there.

Soy vidente

Como yo les dije, esta tormenta va a llegar a ser un huracán. Lo leyeron aquí primero.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dale Murphy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006!!!


I am completely biased because I consider Dale Murphy to be my all time hero. As far as his case for entering Cooperstown, he did dominate the National League for a few wonderful years in the 1980's. His arm was one of the best in either league. Were it not for Mike Schmidt he could have been THE star of the National League at the time. Only he and Cal Ripken hit 20 or more homers every year from 1982-1990. He hit 40 homers once and 30 several times. He did make the 30-30 club back when it had few members. He wound up with 398 homers. I'm not sure, but I think he is the all-time leader in home runs lost to rain-outs. That might be wrong, but I think I remember him passing Bobby Bonds for first place.

He won back to back MVP's. He played in 740 consecutive games, the 12th longest streak ever. He was an All-Star in 1980, 82-87 and the top vote getter in 1985; he started five times. He hit .302 in 1983 when that was good enough for 6th place in the league. We cannot judge him by today's offense benchmarks. Imagine if someone hit .302 now and was 6th in the league! He led the National League in HR 1984-85, in RBI 82-83, runs in 1985, and OPS in 1983. He won five straight gold gloves from 1982-86 and four straight silver slugger awards from 1982-86. His number (#3) has been retired by the Atlanta Braves. But he shouldn't be measured solely for his on-field accomplishments. Let's not forget the class and honor that he brought to the game. He was a tireless supporter of the Huntington Disease Foundation, the 65 Roses Club, MDA, Make-A-Wish, The March of Dimes and many many others. He won the Lou Gehrig Award in 1985 and the Roberto Clemente Award in 1988. He was never ejected from a baseball game. He thanked reporters for interviewing him. In Philadelphia once, a stadium security guard didn't recognize him and wouldn't let him into the stadium. He just laughed it off. I can only imagine what Barry Bonds might have done in that situation. Murphy didn't have an "All suites" clause in his contract, nor did he have his team guarantee him charter jet flights home to his ranch during the season like Kevin Brown. I mean, he even had kind words to say about people like John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and even Ozzie Virgil.

I think we should point out that when Murphy finished 4th in homers in 1986 that he only had 29 homers. In 1987 he hit 44, but Andre Dawson had 49 so Murphy's awesome power that year was overshadowed. Only 4 players hit 40 homers that year. Dawson, Murphy, Jorge Bell, some rookie named McGwire, and Homers were much harder to come by in that day and age. No one hit 50 from 1977 (George Foster) until 1990 (Cecil Fielder). If Murphy had connected twice more I think that he might've gotten in before.

It's 1991, Braves vs. Phillies. Otis Nixon gets beaned by the Phillies pitcher next time up after hitting a homer. The bottom half of the inning, Tom Glavine has to respond and hit the first Phillies batter. Only it's Dale Murphy. He can't do it, no way. So he does the meanest thing he can bring himself to do, throw the Murph four high and inside fastballs to brush him back and put him on. Murph got the base, and Glavine got the boot by the ump. Glavine said the ump later told him, "I only let you throw four, because that was Murphy and because I knew you wouldn't." Not because they had been teammates, but because Murphy was so respected that he was off limits for stunts like that. Glavine is a class act too, he's in the Hall for sure I think, but Murphy will make it somehow. If anyone deserves to get in, without the numbers we're used to seeing, he does, for being the nicest, most polite gentleman to ever grace the field. He is my hero.

Murph's stats: http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/murphda05.shtml
Weird site: www.fmtc.com/~trinity/
An article by a higher news source than me: http://espn.go.com/talent/danpatrick/s/2002/0724/1409552.html

Best Murphy Image Ever!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tain't over yet

That thing out there near Jamaica will become a hurricane. You heard it here first.

Assets in the Gulf Coast should begin making preparations.

Potty Training Update

So, Marley is still struggling with the whole potty training business. Buy Procter & Gamble stock now. She gets it right about a third of the time when we ask her if she has to go. So, this morning when I woke up (Marley ALWAYS already being awake) I decided to act like I was a kid too, that I was learning to use the potty, so I asked her to help me and I acted all confused. I put the seat and the lid down and asked her if that was okay. She told me "noooooo" and lifted the lid up. I then sat down, and she was all, "No, daddy you have you pull your pants down." I did, covering my bits and pieces to protect the innocent, and sat down. Then I asked her what I had to do, and she goes, "You just go grrrrr [grunting noise]" and she made a sort of squatting pushing down motion with her body. I laughed so hard that she literally made me poop.

It's starting to feel like Fall here. It got down into the 50s last night. It was perfect. We made a special point of going out to eat at a restaurant that had al fresco dining. The Copeland's on Barrett Pkwy was our choice. I was impressed with the food. The Catfish Ricochet was excellent. The service was as well.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Saudi auto insurance premiums sure to climb shortly

FIRST READ THIS ARTICLE: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051014/ap_on_re_mi_ea/saudi_abdullah_1

Then you'll see that I'm being a chauvinist pig and all that. I kid, I kid, I make a little joke. I joke with you...

Great photos to follow:













Male or female doesn't matter to me; I'd always rather be the one driving. I hate being the passenger.

Beignets & Hot Chocolate


WOOO HOOOO!!!!!



The Café du Monde is set to open soon, according to this CNN article:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/10/14/new.orleans.beignets.ap/index.html

This is what my daughter misses most about New Orleans. Last night she told me that she was sad and wanted to go home, back to her house, her little kitchen, her rocking horse, and to the French Quarter and Café du Monde for some beignets and hot chocolate. It breaks my heart that she knows what's going on and that our life is disrupted for awhile. It could be worse though.


Marley at the Café du Monde

Last night, Mickelle and I were watching TV and I was lying on the sofa and Marley was play pretending that I was her son. She kept coming over to me and very tenderly giving me little hugs and kisses telling me that she loved me. She did this for about 10-15 minutes. Mickelle and I were discussing whether she should go with me on my next trip to New Orleans or not, and suddenly Marley leans over to me and says, "I love you, I love you so much. You're going to have a great day tomorrow. And next time I ask you to get my Curious George doll, do what I tell you to." I lost it. She is so funny. Both times that I've been back to New Orleans I was supposed to get her Curious George doll and I've forgotten. My kid is a crackup.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rapper David Banner = PURE FILTH

FOR THE FAINT OF HEART I DO NOT RECOMMEND CLICKING ON THE FOLLOWING LINK. THE LYRICS ARE FILTH. IN FACT IF YOU'RE SENSITIVE TO SWEARING AND PURE LASCIVIOUSNESS, STOP READING RIGHT HERE.

Otherwise, click the following link to be offended by the song I heard performed on Late Night with Carson Daly about an hour ago.
http://www.lyriczz.com/lyriczz.php?songid=18838

Sadly, after perusing the lyrics to some of his other songs, this one seems comparatively tame. Misogyny abounds on every track. Even while he's talking about how his manhood and coital talents are able to exhilirate her (in every song!), he still calls her "bitch" and "ho" and talks about having sex with her friends. Sex to him is a performance, an act. In essence, because he has removed all emotion, feeling, and substance from the sexual act, she is merely another level of masturbation. He is using her body to masturbate himself. When you remove love from the equasion, isn't that really all that's left? Satisfy the base need. Ejaculation and orgasm can be achieved without her, but it feels better using her. He cares nothing for her, so she is merely a more elaborate masturbatorial fantasy.

Where's the subtlety? The cloaking of the innuendo in some other symbol? Where is the "Cherry Pie" even in all of this crap getting airplay and dollars these days? It's gone. Pornography is an evil that this here Internet has made even more pervasive in our lives. At the drop of a hat and by the power of Google, I can find a photo of people doing anything. And we all know that I mean anything. The stigma of having to seek these things out in public is gone. Ten years ago the streets around Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta were crowded with stripclubs, adult theatres and bookstores. The Internet has reduced their marketshare to the point where the area is almost nice again. Pornography is a lie. A very skillful and deceptive one mind you, but still a lie. And porn doesn't have to merely be hard core; I think porn is anything created to purposefully arouse someone. Personal dress, speech, comments, whatever can all be classified as porn in my opinion.

A lessor-known band called Neutral Milk Hotel had a song called "Song Against Sex" off their album from 1996 called "On Avery Island." Here are some appropriate lyrics from that album that deal with the lie that is porn:

And the last one tore a picture
From a pornographic page
But all the pleasure points attacking
all the looks of love were staged
And its a lie that you've been given
It hurts you everyday
So why should I lay here naked
When its just too far away.
From anything we could call love
Any love worth living for
So I'll sleep out in the gutter
You can sleep here on the floor

Wickedness never was happiness, and if we allow ourselves and our society to reward people commercially for writing uninspired smut, then where does that leave us? While I respect Mr. Banner's right to be able to say those things, cut and attempt to sell his record if so desires, I think it's shameful that people actually buy his music and thus support the unchecked and frankly blasé concupiscence that he raps about. I do not think we should ban his album. He should not be censored (save to protect children, i.e. don't let him perform it on Sesame Street) nor should anyone attempt to take away his right to say whatever he wants. Just don't give him money for rhyming "Gon play with it" with "Work that clit." I mean honestly, is there a public setting where you could actually find yourself humming or singing these lyrics to yourself with receiving a billion stares or sexual harassment charges. The "Thong Song" was bad enough.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The most commonly used herb in the world

Is a banana a fruit or a herb?

Both. A banana (the yellow thing you peel and eat) is undoubtedly a fruit (containing the seeds of the plant: see answer regarding tomatoes), though since commercially grown banana plants are sterile, the seeds are reduced to little specks. However, the banana plant, though it is called a 'banana-tree' in popular usage, is technically regarded as a herbaceous plant (or 'herb'), not a tree, because the stem does not contain true woody tissue.

Source:
http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutother/banana


According to this link it's coriander:
http://www.outofthefryingpan.com/spices/coriander.shtml

This one too:
http://www.gotricities.com/content/article.dna?idnumber=030618124816

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

=w=

The dangers of electricity

I received this email from someone who lives just 5 houses away from me:

As a warning to all along the Boulevard, be very careful before you throw the main switch on your house box. Last Sunday, while working in my backyard, I heard a "pop", followed by two more in rapid succession. I looked over my shoulder and saw flames racing down the wire from the service pole between the Audubon and Versailles properties, toward the corner of Ella Montgomery's house. I ran around the front of the house and met Cappy Bisso coming at a run from the other side of her poperty, and we both realized that the dead fallen limbs in her driveway, as well as her car, were ablaze. In a matter of minutes, those flames had somehow also crossed over into the back yards of two houses on Versailles. Luckily, as a result of our calls for help, several of the clean upworkers, and more neighbors all arrived with fire extinguishers, and we managed to snuff most of the flames before they got out of hand. The Fire Department arrived shortly after and made sure all was out. Entergy came, too, and made sure the pole was no longer energized. This same situation is what I beleive caused the fire on Audubon Place lastweek. If there is ANYTHING amiss with the lines, they can ignite. As theEntergy man explained, those wires have oil in them, and they readily burn. So, before you throw your main switch, have your house and the incoming service wires fully checked by a licensed electrician. In this case, we were not s'posed to get power when it happened, and no one could explain why the line was suddenly charged. But if I and Cappy had not been where we were at that exact momnent, Mrs. Montgomery's house might be a goner, and possibly several more. The dry, brittle grass in those yards on Versailles was what ignited and it happened in a flash, no pun intended. Until we get rain, we are as susceptible to fire as Southern California. BE CAREFUL, folks.

Good grief. What next? Will it snow all winter?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Home schooling from where I stand ( a very very long diatribe)

As all five of my readers are aware, I have, in the past, made some unkind comments about home schooling in practice and in theory. Today I will continue that trend.

First, let me answer my critics.
#1 Of course some people can be homeschooled with no ill effects, just not by Mormons.
#2 Of course homeschooling is difficult and time consuming, that doesn't make it a virtue or noble.
#3 I have never been homeschooled, that alone does not mean that I am unqualified to rail against the ills of homeschooling.
#4 I can think of three instances where homeschooling would be acceptable.
A. The child is in physical danger because of violence from other students. Your
child is white in an all black school or vice versa, another child savagely attacks your child,
etc.
B. There are no schools close to where you live: Some places in Montana, Alaska, Wyoming,
etc. would have this problem. If it is an economic burden because of fuel to send your
child more than 20 miles away from home for school everyday, I can justify that as a
reason for homeschooling.
C. Your child is ill and could get sick and/or infect others by attending school. This would include kids with severe allergies, such as peanut allergies. Instead of forcing everyone at the school to be on a death watch and ban peanut butter from sandwiches at school, home school the kid. He probably won't make it in the real world anyway if he's deathly allergic. No sense rushing him to an early death because someone breathed on him when they ate a Snickers for breakfast.
Almost any other reason or justification for homeschooling is vanity and pride (I will defend my accusation forthwith).


Now for my reasoning against homeschooling in general, and especially by Mormons.

#1 Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormons) are already on the margins of society. People view us as an oddity because of our strict doctrines, behaviors, and very different beliefs. The enduring belief that we all practice polygamy, even though over 100 years have gone by since that practice was ended, proves this point. We don't (at least we shouldn't) work or merchandise on Sundays which means that we are always crimping our friends' style about get togethers and parties [that is assuming we actually make friends outside the church--a frequent problem among Utahns who settle in the "Mission Field"]. We don't smoke, which all would agree is a good thing. We don't drink which most would agree is good in moderation, but makes for awkward moments sometimes. We don't do drugs, well duh on that point, no one should. I would not associate with someone who was using illegal drugs while they were using them. The thing that offends some people the most is that we don't drink coffee or tea (especially in the South). Iced tea was what I drank every day before I was baptized a member of the church. It is the water in the veins of the South. We have been told since the 1830s to avoid it, that's why we don't drink it. Who knows how many chemicals, delicious delicious chemicals it contains that might do us unknowable harm. It's the only thing I miss from my former life. Dating someone who is not Mormon is discouraged, not because we can't marry outside the group, but because you don't want to put yourself in a situation where your morals might be compromised by your natural feelings of affection and love for someone who doesn't share you same morals. It's hard enough for Mormons not to have sex with each other before marriage (which some do, sadly), let alone when you throw someone with lax morals into the mix. When people heard that I had only ever kissed or had sex with my wife when I got married they thought three things:
A. He was too fat to ever get any action before (good thing I was too, cause otherwise I would've nailed anything that moved)
B. How could he marry someone without knowing if they were compatible in bed? (Easy, we had nothing to compare with and there's a huge learning curve)
C. That's just freaking weird!
A kid I went to high school with thought that we didn't eat salt. Megan Hobbs told everyone in my U.S. History class that we believe in predestination (ABSOLUTELY NOT). An episode of cheers had Rebecca Howe say "Why can't more men send flowers?" To which Norm said, "Mormons can't send flowers?" and Cliff responded with some kind of historical background about why we don't send flowers. The next day at school people started asking me, "Why can't Mormons send flowers?" Of course we send flowers. (Funniest Mormon joke of all time: Will Ferrell on SNL during the Salt Lake Olympics dressed as a missionary and skiing down the mountain next to an athlete asking him if he knew about the Church). These misperceptions of who we are and what we believe already mark us as different from a young age. The media do nothing but broadcast and reinforce stereotypes of Mormons, which couldn't be further from the truth. Nevermind that Jesus Christ is the center and focus of our religion. We are on the fringe, the margin, and anything that makes us moreso should be avoided.

#2 Unless you are fabulously wealthy and never have to leave your home, you must interact with different people on a daily basis. With the focus on diversity and multi-culturism in our society you will come in contact with any variety of different people, cultures, opinions, beliefs, or habits. Woodstock, Georgia, twenty years ago the whitest county in the state (I'm guessing) is now full of other ethnicities and races. The dry cleaners next to Kroger has a shrine to Ganesh in plain view, just down the street from a Mercado Latino. I see black people far more frequently around town that I did even 10 years ago. The world is a big beautiful place and in order to function in it as an adult, you need exposure to it from a young age. Adults are typically fossilized in their attitude towards change. If you've never had to deal with people until age 18, then you are ill prepared for life in the modern world. If your only friends are only ones from church, then you will be astounded when you realize that the majority of the people around you are both different from you, not Mormon, and (shocking as it is to homeschoolers) still really decent, honest, intelligent people. The insular bubble of homeschooling creates people who can't deal with differences. I am not just speaking from having known one or two people. I can name over 20 people that I know who have been homeschooled and they all share these characteristics. Further isolating ourselves from the world serves no purpose. I saw The Village; all facades crumble violently when the only repair work done is on the inside.

#3 Pride: In the Name of Love. There is a certain selfishness in any parent that wants to homeschool their children. A certain belief that "I can do it better" than the trained and educated professionals who are prepared to teach your children. Far too often homeschooled children suffer from the henpecking of an overprotective mother who smothers her children with their presence and a father without the scrot to tell his wife that her efforts could best be used towards other things. I have never met a homeschooled family with an assertive husband. The women all clearly wear the pants in the family. I don't think that women should be submissive, I'm saying that in any relationship when one partner allows the other to dominate life, especially when it will have negative consequences for their offspring, it's bad. Many times the homeschool parent believes that they can do a better job than anyone else. I've heard mothers talk of wanting to open a private school to educate other people's children (thus proving the theory that the wound can only be healed by the spear that caused it) because they had been so "successful" with their own children. I know that there is no way I could teach my child calculus. I could handle elementary school without a doubt, but if I did that, and then suddenly ushered them off to public school at grade 7, then holy crap they'll have problems socially, which leads me to my next point.

#4 Part of learning how to deal with people is dealing with people. If you go to school with your brothers and sisters, and your only social interactions are with kids at church, your cousins, and people on your sports rec-league teams, you are not ready for life as an adult. People are cruel, mean, unkind, asinine, rude, and will pick on you for no reason. If you've never been made fun of as a child, oh man, as an adult, we're talking Prozac or self-deception. Kids need to have crushes in third grade, get into a fight, get in trouble at school by someone else besides their parents. You need the agony of school lunch, and the joy of pizza day--little boxes of milk on a plastic tray. You need the idea of a deadline. If your assignment is late, it's a zero. Mom and Dad are less likely to punish you for missing a deadline when it's a fixed schedule. I laugh at homeschoolers' GPAs since their evaluations lie in the laps of their parents (people incapable of making rational decisions about their childrens' futures, proven by the fact that they homeschool their kids). People need deadlines and consequences. People need to fail and far more often than they do nowadays. You would have to be a complete moron to fail my Spanish class at Tulane; the curriculum is designed so that everyone can pass. Failure should be an option. Not failing a grade, but failing a test. When I failed a trigonometry test in 12th grade with a 47, that was my impetus to start studying for real, to get a tutor (Joel Calhoun) and to turn around. I got a 97 on my next exam. If my parents had been teaching me that, I wouldn't have had the pressure and the stress of the deadline, and I wouldn't have learned as much as I did. Guaranteed! Kids need a healthy dose of NO, of Failure, of mockery, and of having good friends that they make away from the all-seeing eye of Mom. They need to see someone do something wrong. They need to see that other people, most people, make correct decisions and live good lives regardless of the faith (or lack of it) that the profess.

#5 Homeschoolers all believe that they are clearly smarter and better educated than their schooled peers. No doubt about this one. Some of them actually are smarter and better educated, the same can be said of people who are schooled. Paul Dunn, a great American, and I are both products of Etowah High School, of the Cherokee County, Georgia school system. Paul is one of the brightest people I know. He and I both know people who went to Etowah who were smarter and better educated than we were when we graduated Etowah. Jon Bob Wesselman was one of those people who dominated academically and studied very little. Jon and Paul are both smart and successful. We know others who were brilliant, yet unsuccessful in life. Sam Wagner was a smart guy. Last time I saw him he was so gone from smoking too much pot that it made me sad. Intelligence and education are not in and of themselves guarantees for success. Without charisma you are dead in the water. Charisma can only be perfected by interacting with other people. One of the best compliments I've ever been paid (even though it was meant as an insult) was by the assistant to the president in my mission in Costa Rica. He told my greenie companion, quote "Be careful around Elder Williams, he has a way of getting people to do things they wouldn't normally do." Not saying that I'm charismatic, just persuasive, something I certainly didn't learn from hanging around my parents. Homeschoolers also suffer from being hothouse tomatoes. Sure you can graduate "high school" at 16, but then you are not ready maturity-wise for college. I had a 16 year old in my class once. She had been homeschooled. She was precise in her assignments, her participation in class, a model student. She also had no friends nor the tools to make them, was miserable, and didn't finish out the semester.

#6 This point is my most negative one, but one that I stand behind 100%. If you don't like it, I don't care. This is based off of my experiences with people, not one person, but lots of people.
*************HOMESCHOOLERS ARE THE MOST SELFISH PEOPLE I KNOW**********
Now that might sound odd, but it's true. They are not selfish in the typical sense, as in stingy. They are just selfish in a general way, whether it's always having to be right, not being able to "deal with" certain situations like "life", not sustaining other people in their church callings, or assuming that their way is the only or best way to do something. I can't elaborate on this point without insulting certain people by name, but this point is true. I stand behind it 100%.

#7 Torremarfilismo: Ivory tower syndrome pervades homeschoolers. The belief that you can conquer the world, or that the world's problems are far off or are someone else's problems comes from not being exposed to other people. I hear people say that they love homeschooling because they can take their child somewhere and show them something instead of reading about it in a book. Poppycock! I know all about Argentina, it's people, it's places, it's food. I could teach a class about Argentina and I've never been there. I knew all about how the government worked from reading books before I ever watched C-Span. Also, while I've heard people use this argument before, I know precious few who've put it into practice other than local trips.

#8 Kids need a break from their parents, and parents from their kids. There's something to be said for not being around people all the time. Even though I constantly whine that "It's not good for Mac to be alone" that only applies to the long term. I think it's healthy for a Mom to get a few hours of alone time each day. Raising children is hard work. Raising and educating them is two full time jobs. I want to make sweeping indictments here, but I can't save one: Home schooling Moms and anti-depressants are good friends. I wonder why?

#9 Mixing religion and education might seem like a good idea, but it's not. While I do believe that we learn more when we are filled with the Spirit, and that a class started with a prayer was a special treat at BYU, I don't think that basing a child's education around the Gospel is a good idea. Even if your child plans to grow up to be a CES seminary teacher, he will be woefully unskilled if you teach him history from the narrow viewpoint of how it relates to the pioneers. A rigorously debated scholarly written curriculum is vital to avoiding centrism and poor scholarship. I cringe when I read websites about LDS homeschoolers basing their studies around the Book of Mormon. Come on! The Book of Mormon is Holy Scripture, not a textbook about science. Sure you can say, "Yes it is" and abstract it to fit whatever point, but why? Where's the meat? Where's the benefit, other than some self-righteous kitten purring idea of I'm being really obedient by "TEACHING" my child the (from) Book of Mormon?

#10 Vegetarians and homeschooling: Many homeschoolers don't have TVs, don't eat meat; that's just freaking stupid.

D&C 49:18-19 "And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;
For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance."

The New Testament shows how in touch with modern times the Apostle Paul was:
1 Timothy 4:1-4 "In the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron: forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."

In our society, not having a TV and homeschooling your kids is as good as making them Quakers and really really isolating them.

LIVE IN THE WORLD, JUST DON'T BE WORLDLY. MAKE YOUR HOMES FORTRESSES AGAINST THE EVIL IN THE WORLD, JUST BE SURE TO GO OUTSIDE AND ONLY HUNKER DOWN WHEN NEED BE. THE CITIZENS OF ROHAN DIDN'T LIVE IN HELMS DEEP, don't make your home a keep.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Karolyn Wright

Karolyn "Karie" "Kare Bear" Wright is an awesome human being. She came and worked from 9:30 AM til 8 PM on Wednesday helping our friend pack all of his belongings and getting them out of his house. She took a car full of his stuff that we couldn't fit into the rental truck and mailed it to him from Metairie. She did all of this in good spirits and with only the mild complaining of "It's hot!" that's permissible in that situation.

She helped me clean out my fridge. The smell was so gross that we both gagged and almost puked twice. I mean it was BAD! We rubbed Vick's vaporub up our noses. Didn't matter. The ring of maggot eggs around the seal of the fridge door was revolting. My fridge will never be usable again. My landlord is dreaming. Karie, or "Karesalot" as we call her, helped me do this. The butter in my freezer had melted into the ice trays forming a rancid chunky soup. The pork chops spilled all over when we tossed them into the bag. I have never ever, nor can I imagine ever, smelled anything so vile, so noxious, so utterly and completely disgusting as the contents of my fridge last week. Even now I can think of the smell and it makes me want to barf. Karie knows how to show Christlike love.

Saturday she went and worked all day long going to every single member's home in my church and doing an assesment of what kind of damage and work needed to be done to each and every home. 11 hours. Karie rocks. She would blush from all this praise. Oh yeah, she's now the seminary teacher for the stake too.

History has a way of repeating itself.




....

I long for the return of normal life. Cafe du Monde, Camelia Grill, not freaking living with my parents, taking the streetcar for no other reason than just to take it. My 3 year old daughter wants to go to the French Quarter all the time. Alas, Babylon.

Por la décima vez en diez años

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

Mi equipo perdió otra vez. No es justo. Malditas wildcards.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The definition of irony (see my italics below)

http://www.newsreview.info/article/20051006/NEWS/51006016

Rising animosity between two Douglas County commissioners and the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians has taken a new turn. The tribe has asked for copies of thousands of pages of documents detailing the activities of Commissioners Dan Van Slyke and Marilyn Kittelman.At the same time, the tribe has accused Kittelman of making disparaging remarks about the tribe while dining with her husband over the summer at a Rice Hill restaurant. Kittelman has denied saying anything negative about the tribe.Last month, Steven K. Blackhurst, an attorney with Ater Wynne, a Portland firm representing the tribe, asked the county to supply him with copies of e-mail messages from the two commissioners, along with appointment books, calendars, telephone logs and cellular phone records.The request was filed under the Oregon Public Records Law, which holds that most documents produced in the course of business by a government agency are subject to public review. Blackhurst also asked for agendas of meetings of the Board of Commissioners and the Douglas County Planning Commission since April 1, 2004, along with copies of county policies and employee handbooks.A separate request to County Clerk Barbara Nielsen asked for election contribution and expenditure reports for the separate 2004 races involving Kittelman and Commissioner Doug Robertson, along with the 2002 race won by Van Slyke. Blackhurst asked for the same records for the 2004 clerk’s race won by Nielsen. She defeated David Jaques, who served as Van Slyke’s campaign manager and also assisted Kittelman in her campaign. Jaques, the chairman of the Douglas County Planning Commission, served with Kittelman on the commission until she became commissioner in January.Tribal officials have accused Van Slyke and Kittelman of making racist remarks against them. Rancor between the two commissioners and the tribe grew over the commissioners’ opposition to the tribe’s request to have land in downtown Roseburg planned to house a convention center placed in tribal trust.The two commissioners believe the loss of property taxes on the land outweigh the benefits of a convention center, even though both said they support the convention center project.Over the past couple of months, the commissioners and tribal officials have criticized each other during the public comment period of the commissioners’ weekly meeting. At one meeting, Wayne Shammel, the tribe’s attorney, threatened to sue the county over actions by the commissioners.That’s what fueled the records request, Shammel said.“Why wouldn’t we protect ourselves?” he asked.Shammel said the tribe is collecting information that could be used in a lawsuit, although he stopped short of saying a court action would be filed. The allegations made against Kittelman stemmed from an alleged incident at the Homestead Restaurant in Rice Hill on Aug. 27.A witness reported seeing Kittelman enter the restaurant,and, in response to a question from a customer leaving the restaurant, raise her arms and simulate pumping a shotgun and firing it. After firing the nonexistent gun, Kittelman allegedly uttered “I’m fighting Indians. Anyone want to join me?”The allegation was contained in a sworn affidavit signed Tuesday by the witness, whose identity The News-Review agreed not to reveal. The affidavit provided by the tribe was prepared by the Ater Wynne law firm, the same one that submitted the public records request.The affidavit claimed someone else asked Kittelman whether her actions might offend Native Americans. The witness said Kittelman replied by saying she had “nothing against Indians but they are stealing our land.”Later, Kittelman spoke to someone on her cell phone and allegedly told the caller she would not allow the tribe to take over Roseburg, and that the county stood to lose millions of dollars if the Cow Creeks were allowed to continue to take land off the property tax rolls and put it into tribal trust, the witness said.The witness said Kittelman also said “It’s time to stop Indian growth. I’m the cowgirl to do it.”Kittelman on Wednesday denied making any of the remarks attributed to her.“This is nothing but character assassination against me,” she said.Kittelman said she had never harbored such thoughts nor ever said anything like that. She also said she has never referred to herself as a “cowgirl.” She denied calling tribal members a derogatory term, an allegation contained in the six-page affidavit.Kittelman said she may utter a swear word once in a while but that as a Christian she tries not to do that often and tries to refrain from doing so in public. She said she never called tribal members names nor used the word alleged in the affidavit.As for the alleged gun incident, Kittelman said she has never fired a shotgun and wouldn’t know where to put her hands to simulate firing such a weapon.“I don’t know who made those allegations, but those things didn’t happen,” Kittelman said.

Atlanta Greek Festival = Not Spartan

So, we went to the Atlanta Greek Festival tonight down off I-85 in Dekalb County. It's hosted by the Atlanta Greek Orthodox Church. They had buses taking people from a big office park parking lot over to their church. They had two pretty good bands one was standard greek music, the other a greek-latin fusion band. I enjoyed them both. The second band sang in Greek, so it was lost on me and most of the people in the audience.

I hadn't been to Atlanta's Greek Fesitval since the 1980s. My how times have changed! This time around, the had plenty of everything. This is big business. I imagine that hundreds of thousands of dollars if not a million, will change hands over the four days of the festival. We had a good time. I ate a lamb sandwich and too much baklava. I like baklava with cloves in the top. These didn't have them. I still ate too much. Butter and honey are like this magical combination that make anything taste good. The festival was very commercial. Food, goods, over priced shirts with creative designs that incorporated the Greek flag. I saw lots of women with shapely figures and those little shiny metal sparkly things they wear on their hips that draw attention to them when they shake them. When Shakira does her shaking, I can't watch--she's too bootylicious even for this married gringo. She's not Greek--she's Colombian of Arabic extraction. This paragraph is going nowhere. Next!

Now for the harangue. So a church, with the name ORTHODOX in its title, hosts a festival. Nothing wrong with that. Great idea for a fundraiser. My problem with the festival is that they are holding it on Sunday. Sunday is the Sabbath for Christians. The Scriptures tell us that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath--meaning that we should and need to observe it. That a church would host a festival on Sunday bothers me. Money will change hands unncessarily. There are no essential services being provided by selling uzo and gyros. Doctors, policeman, EMTs, pharmacists, bus drivers all must work on Sunday in the modern world. Why does a church, an "orthodox" church break the Sabbath then? Will they hold services with people cavorting in their parking lot? There are only 3 reasons I can think of for cancelling church: war, severe weather, or an ox in the mire. If you push your ox in the mire Saturday night, you shouldn't get him out on Sunday. If he falls in the mire on his own, by all means go and get him. Meaning that the people who go to the hurricane disaster areas to work, are justified in working on the Sabbath, because they are helping their fellowmen and it's not like they planned the hurricane to destroy their homes to make them have to work on Sundays. These are the exceptions. Keeping the Sabbath Day holy is a commandment that was given by Moses, but that was not fulfilled by the Savior's fulfillment of the Law of Moses by His sacrifice. The New Testament shows the reverence for the Sabbath in the writings of the Apostles. Merchandising on Sundays forces others to work. When I was a kid, K-Mart didn't open but from 12-6 on Sundays so that people could go to church. Most stores were closed. Now, it's business as usual most places, 'cept Chick-Fil-A. At least some places keep the Sabbath. Wish we all would. Life would be better for all. Not by force, but by the willingness of each person to honor the Lord's wishes for that day. You can't compel someone to obedience, but you can remind them of things. I need to be better about truly keeping the Sabbath too. It's not just napping after church and watching TV all night. There are many other things I could and should be doing. I will try harder.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Can you feel the love tonight?

So, we're still trying to potty train Marley. She hasn't been doing very well, but she's trying. Unless we are constantly nagging her, she will poop or pee just about anywhere you don't want her to poop or pee. She pooped her pants Friday, the same day that she had been watching the Lion King repeatedly. Mickelle takes her upstairs and makes her stand up on the toilet seat (with the lid closed) and turn around while Mickelle wiped her butt clean. While Marley is bent over grabbing her ankles and Mickelle is wiping her, Marley sings, "Can you feel the love tonight?"

Mickelle couldn't control her laughter. She immediately came and told me. That's one of the best Marley lines of all time. Wiping up someone else's poo is true love.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Back from New Orleans

Made it back safely from New Orleans. City still looks like war zone. Flies everywhere, mosquitos galore. Will write more tomorrow. I'm exhausted for now.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Dr. David K. Fagundes, DMD = A generous man

So, I drove to LaGrange, Georgia today, about 100 miles away from my parents' house to see an endodontist about my #30 molar. I may lose the tooth because he thinks it has a crack in it, though when he opened it up he couldn't find one. He did a root canal on me. It had four canals. He did it for free, as in no money, no charge, no nothing. I can't begin to tell you what an enormous burden the ever looming threat of a $900 bill is. It would have cost me $70 to have it pulled. My cup runneth over. Dr. David K. Fagundes did this for me out of the kindness of his heart.
This is his photo:

I recommend the drive to LaGrange if you live in Atlanta and need a good endodontist. Check out his webpage at: www.doctorfagundes.com

Allow me to explain what a root canal is (taken from his webpage)

The Endodontic Procedure:

1. The Endodontist examines and x-rays the tooth, then administers local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, the Endodontist places a small protective sheet called a "dental dam" over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
2. The Endodontist makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for filling.
3. After the space is cleaned and shaped, the Endodontist fills the root canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called "gutta-percha." The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals.

Driving for Charity

I found an endodontist in LaGrange, Georgia who will check out my tooth and possibly perform a charity root canal since the tooth is already crowned. I'm headed off there right now and then I'll be getting ready for my trip to New Orleans tomorrow. Wish me luck. It's worth driving two hours each way for an endodontist who's kind and giving. I don't know how I am possibly going to repay all the generosity I have received during this time of my life. I did tithe my life when I went and served a mission, serving two years out of the 20 I had alive at the time. But, this is overwhelming. People I didn't even think could tolerate me have bent over backwards to help us. Maybe it's my daughter. Most likely it's my wife. I am feeling undeserving and a little bit of survivor's guilt because so many of our friends lost everything. Mike & Kristen Lindsey lost everything. What's worse, he was on a medical school rotation and they had planned to fly back to New Orleans the Saturday before the storm hit. So they didn't even get to "evacuate" their sentimental or personal stuff. It's all lost. He's in medical school and she's due with their first child in December. They are sleeping on an air mattress on the floor in Houston. I am going to New Orleans to see what kind of help I can get them. Maybe salvage a few things from their house. He can't even afford to drive over. Since he was living in a basement apartment, there's some sort of problem with FEMA giving them money. Not sure of the details, but it sucks. We almost moved into the apartment where they lived. Survivor's guilt is swamping my soul.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Why Orrin Hatch makes the Angel Moroni cry

So, Orrin Hatch is the marquee LDS politician for now. Most people have no idea who Harry Reid is. Most church members think that Reid can't possibly hold a temple recommend because he is <> a Democrat! Mitt Romney is a good Mormon politician. He might even run for president. I might even vote for him, but a Mormon doesn't stand a snowball's chance anywhere of ever getting elected. The Protestants in this country would never vote for an "openly" Mormon candidate. I can imagine the jokes:

How many First Ladies will he have?
Will he be the President on Sundays?
What will they call the tea room? coffee tables?



Okay. Enough. Back to why Orrin Hatch bugs me.

I don't know the man personally. I only know his exploits through the media and what I know about him. He obviously does much good. No one can take away the service he has rendered to both Utah and the nation as a whole. But, he's done three things in the last few years that make me think it's time for he and his wife to go serve a church mission instead of political agendas. Here they are:

#1 Running for president. I imagine that he keeps the Word of Wisdom, but I have to think that his staffers got him really drunk and convinced him to run for president. No Mormon, especially one from Utah will ever be elected president. All it does is make him the butt of jokes, the current focus of the nation on the Church. A really bad idea. When Jospeh Smith ran for president, it was merely to increase awareness of the Church. He knew he had no chance of being elected. It was a PR move, so to speak. Orrin Hatch's run makes no sense other than vainglory. Dennis Kucinich had a better chance of being elected.

#2 Two years ago, he actually advocated the destruction of music downloaders' computers. And I quote, "If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that. If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines." He said if a few hundred thousand people suffered damage to their computers, the online community would realise the clampdown was serious. He advocated sending two warnings to computer users about illegal downloads. On the third transgression, their computer would be destroyed or damaged. "There's no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2999780.stm But this is old news. He's already partially retracted or backed away from those comments after the schnitstorm they caused. Everyone's entitled to say something they wished they hadn't. U.S. Senators might want to think a little more about the Constitution and due process before making such claims.

#3 This is the most damning reason why Senator Hatch bugs me. According to the Deseret News, he is taking money from any special interest group that will give it to him. His rationalizations for taking money from gambling, beer, tobacco, and other vice industries is ridiculous. I wonder if he has taken money from pornography or "adult entertainment" industry groups. Especially given his high profile as an LDS celebrity, the fact that he is taking this money is just as damning in my mind as the money Tom Delay is in trouble about.
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,615154461,00.html This is bad form and has soured me on Senator Hatch. I would hope that he would remember that he will always be held to a higher standard because of his Church membership and that this is hypocrisy extraordinaire.

If you like Senator Hatch, that's fine. If you're his relative, calm down. If you are him, think about it. I think it's wrong. Points #1 and #2 are petty. Point #3 is for real. Sheesh!

I am shocked, SHOCKED to discover that there is gambling money being accepted here.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Why Priceline is very very good to me

So imagine being 31 years old, married, with a child and having to sleep on a damned air mattress in the room that you grew up in. The baseball wallpaper I just had to have and that we special-ordered from a catalog from Sherwyn-Williams over at 92 & Bells Ferry (next to where Premiere Video was before it moved across the street before it went out of business and where the Cherokee Sheriff's South Precinct now is) still adorns the walls. The pennants of every baseball team then in existence (re: NO Marlins, Devil Rays, Nationals, Rockies, or Diamondbacks [and the Brewers were still in the American League]) are still in order by division (4 divisions, not 6 and no stupid, Marlin-favoring wildcard BS) from 1992 along the sloping ceiling of my attic add-on room. My bed is gone; long tossed into the heap of the Dixie Landfill (where Six Pack with Kenny Rogers was filmed). When I moved out the springs were poking through and cutting me in my sleep. I am here. My wife and daughter sleep in my sister's old room. My mom is an only child and her parents outlived all their siblings. She inherited all their furniture. All their old, hand-made, North Carolina antique furniture. We have furniture for everything, especially really beautiful, ornate and damned uncomfortable beds. I can't sleep in the same bed as my wife. A double bed doesn't work for two people when one of them's my size. When you don't get to sleep with your wife, when your daughter sleeps right next to you in a glorified foam cot, when your parents both work from home, have no social life, and never go anywhere EVER, your sex life suffers. Let me just put it out there. It almost ceases to exist. Which leads me to Priceline. Despite numerous offers from family and friends to let Mickelle and I come and stay with them, I still couldn't in good conscience come over to their houses to stay just so Mickelle and I could do unmentionable acts to one another. So, I got on Priceline and put in a crazy lowball price for a 4 star hotel. It was accepted, to my shock. Mickelle and I stayed at the Marriott Marquis last night for about a fourth of the going rate. My parents kept Marley for us. Let's just say that we went to Hawaii. I love Priceline.

When we came home, after having been gone all day, Marley was elated to see us. We had stopped and gotten pizza for dinner and she knew that we were coming home with it. When we walked through the door, Mickelle went first, I heard Marley yell "MOMMY!" followed closely by, when she saw me, "PIZZA!", then "DADDY!" I know where I stand. Somewhere between Mommy and pizza. I love Mickelle and Pizza both, so I'm comfortable with that.