Thursday, July 31, 2008

Arnold Update 3/24/08

Well, we took Arnold in for a visit with the nephrologist yesterday. Very encouraging visit. Not only was the news on the physical front good, but Arnold did a great job socializing with the doctor (who seemed to go out of his way to try to chitchat with all six of us for some reason).

Arnold's kidney function was calculated to be 51%-46%--now, both of those figures could be 15% lower, but I don't remember the last time that 50% was in the range. Even stranger/better--was his growth charts. Now, I'm not exactly sure why he wasn't a bit more precise, but the doctor told us that Arnold's height was somewhere between the 25th and 50th percentile. 50th percentile!! I honestly don't think he's been above 30th...maybe his whole life. Kid still seems freaky short, but he's growing like crazy.

The kid's smart as a whip (Doc kept warning his brothers about that), and still the funniest arrow in the quiver. He communicates more through facial expressions than the rest of us combined--like Rowen Aktinson on speed. Which can make it very difficult to discipline/correct him when he needs it. He's dying to start his formal education--which he'll do in about six weeks. I predict I'll learn more initially than he will.

Thanks for your continued prayers and interest. Keep it up :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Day at the Fair - Fixed

sorry for the problems with the formatting, fixed 'em...told ya I was tired.

(not just a hilarious MST3K short film)

Sorry for the lack of updates this week, I've just been feeling more run-down/out-of-gas than I'm used to. I've started a couple posts that I didn't get around to finishing, in lieu of napping or thinking about napping or thinking about when I could think about napping.

I was able to shake off the torpor long enough to accompany my family to the Canyon County Fair on Thursday--the kids'd won passes through the library's summer reading program (really a well done program this year, I must say). It's been many, many moon since I've attended anything like this was smaller than I expected.

Other than that, it was your typical county fair (come to think of it, in today's entertainment might have been typical in size)--4-H projects galore; overpriced food; "interesting" entertainment acts (the comedy-magic act we saw was pretty funny--particularly for the sub-13 crowd); wonderful aromas coming from the food vendors; some-other-adjective aromas coming from the animal exhibits.

I'd planned on snagging more photos than I did, but my camera kept getting stuck in my pocket (and I kept putting it back in the same pocket), but here's a few:

Things got off to a great start with our kids, the first thing they saw was the National Guard display--including a couple of Humvees and this tank. Sam tells me "I'm having more and more fun all the time at this fair" (we'd been there a whole ten minutes)

After lunch, a couple of clowns set up near the food booths with balloon animals and face painting. Frodo took a major step and had a conversation with the clown that involved him using more than two words in succession at a time.

Samwise managed to get 3 words out total. But hey...

The Princess had to go for something with a bit more flair.

Arnold managed not to get scared by the clown (but I think the nerves were pretty fragile), graciously letting the clown do all the talking.

Obviously, the highlight of the day was spending the time with the family away from our routine--but a close second was heralded by this sign. I mean...what a country! Only in the USA do we take something so tasty, so wonderful, so nutritionally empty, so, so, so cream-filled as a Twinkie and think "you know what we could do? We could deep fry this." I've heard of these things before, but never had the chance to sample one. Wow!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Graceful as a School Bus

I would be laughing at this if it was Damon, Melky or Abreu--really, I would. Just not as hard as I am now (which is almost as hard as these ESPN guys)...nor would I be posting it here. But I would laugh. Thankfully it's Manny, so I can just cackle and post.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lookin' for a little Help

One of the things they need to put on the qualifications list for my job is "ability to play chess," every 4-6 months we get one client who lovesto play chess. There area couple of us there who aren't utter idiots at the game, but that's about it. My goal when playing these clients is primarily to 1. bond with the kid and 2. not get totally embarrassed.

Friday I was mated in 4 moves.

So much for #2.

I've got to improve my game. Anyone know any decent (i.e., helpful) Chess-tutorial sites out there?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight

So much to say really about this, I'm not sure where to begin. So while I collect my thoughts and hopefully post something in a day or two, I'll just say this:

Believe the hype. It is just that good. And then some.

P. S. Skip the 44 oz. soda. Really, you don't want to be slipping out to run to the powder room anytime after the trailers.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Music Notes

been meaning to mention a few interesting things on the music front:

  • Indie Christian Folk-Rocker, Derek Webb has founded a new website/service called NoiseTrade. You can download entire albums in exchange for whatever you deem the right price to pay or by giving three e-mail addresses of friends in exchange. The more people discover this music, theoretically, the more the artists will sell. Mostly bands nobody but their friends have heard of (from what I can tell), but a few known acts. Like Sixpence, for example.

  • They got knocked down, but they got up again...Remember that 1997 'can't get out of your head' classic, "Tubthumping"? (I've now got it stuck in most of your heads, and it'll stay there 'til you sleep and/or click this link) I remember when the band Chumbawamba was on The Tonight Show, they sported T-Shirts that read "One Hit Wonder." That might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy, but more likely was good foresight. Anywho, everyone's favorite anarachist band is still kicking--and still changing. Check out their MySpace page for some of their folk music--that's right, I said folk music. (pretty good, too)
  • Last, and definitely least...Hide your children (particularly young teen girls), lock the doors, bar the windows, firewall your iTunes. Ace Young--the American Idol finalist with Constantine Maroulis' stare, a little more talent than Sanjaya, and a silly wool cap--has finally dashed my hopes and released his debut album. (knew it was coming after his appearance on Bones where I tried not to cheer too much that he was the victim)

Doctor Horrible's Second Act

Laughed more at this one than Act I...hopefully the servers are ready for the onslaught...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Time for some Jibbin and some Jabbin

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I just don't get In Plain Sight

To say that USA Network's latest series is wildly uneven is putting it mildly. It almost seems like it's two different shows (if not for the almost guaranteed-to-be lame subplots revolving around the protagonist's mother, sister, boyfriend [or whatever he is]). On the one hand, you have a light but generally compelling crime drama--as typified by the pilot, "Trojan Horst", and this week's "Iris Doesn't Live Here Anymore." On the other hand, you have credulity stretching episodes like...well, almost the rest of them--"Who Shot Jay Arnstein" and "High Priced Spread" being the most glaring examples of the lack of quality.

"Trojan Horst" is probably the best episode they've aired so far. The always funny Dave Foley did a great job as the snarky lowlife. The writers were able to skirt very cliched situations/conversations and make them work. The episode was capped with one of the best ending scenes I've seen this year--very subtle and powerful acting.

"Iris Doesn't Live Here Anymore" takes a look at the upheaval--personal, familial, professional, etc.--that people in the WitSec program go through when this change of life is thrust upon them. Wendell Price did a great job as the father watching everything he'd worked so hard for slip through his fingers. Whoever played the mother (can't find her name anywhere) did something I'm not used to seeing--out-act Price. And while Mary and Marshall were clearly present and vital to the plot, they weren't the focus--Iris and her family were. Just that small adjustment helped the episode.

Now I just have to hold my breath and see which series shows up next week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not Once More, but Still with Feeling

In case you've been living under a rock, or without the Internet for a while, thought I'd mention that at 12:01 am this morning, my Master released the first Act of his latest opus--Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blogwhich crashed his server just a few hours later.

Thankfully, I work graveyard so I go to see it. HA!

It was funny, it was sweet--Neil Patrick Harris is fantastic--and the rest of the cast was pretty good. I thought Simon Helberg was great on Big Bang Theory, but this was better work, IMHO. Nathan Fillon was Nathan Fillion--a good hero (thankfully, Captain Hammer's pants are looser than Mal's).

Assuming the server comes back sometime before Act II on Thursday, check it out, it's worth 13 minutes of your day. Or, just plunk down the $4 to buy the whole thing on iTunes and crash their server.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"I was Robert Downey Jr. of cookies!"

Cookie Monster, Colbert...need I say more?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 10

Some facebook user came up with a 'holiday' for today: International Hug a Calvinist Day. There are so many problems with that--I mean, just doesn't fit our stereotype (one too often that fits--seriously, go try to hug this Calvinist sometime and see what happens). But hey, it's a nice idea...

A nicer idea tied in with today's date is the Calvin Quincentenary--a celebration commemorating Calvin's 500th birthday. Some great resources/conferences are going to come out of this--and have already started.

That's right, 499 years ago today in Nyon, France, a little boy named Jean Cauvin was born. He grew up, was converted to Christ and the gospel of grace--abandoned what was surely to have been a profitable career in law and became a minister. His teachings--merely a recovery of Biblical truth--shaped religious, cultural, and political life in countless nations since that time (even giving birth to that little War for Independence we celebrated last week). His impact was probably heightened by the way we changed his name into something less French sounding, John Calvin. Cauvinist just doesn't have the same ring.

It's quite the understatement to say that this man has been used by God to radically alter my own life. More and more it's not his doctrine--well, at least not the stuff he's famous for--that impacts me. It's his piety, it's his love for God, his heart aflame (think there's a book called that by somebody) because of his fame-making doctrine--that's what draws me. I've been telling people in my church (not sure they believe me yet) if you want answers to your theological questions, read Turretin, or Hodge, or Reymond--Berkhoff, too. But if you want your heart moved, then you read Calvin.

You can see a hint of that in these quotations (I could've killed blogger's disk space by posting everything I wanted to):

. . . I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels.

For Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know. Therefore we must guard against depriving believers of anything disclosed about predestination in Scripture, lest we seem either wickedly to defraud them of the blessing of their God or to accuse and scoff at the Holy Spirit for having published what it is in any way profitable to suppress.

For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by His fatherly care, that He is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond Him - they will never yield Him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in Him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to Him.

If the Lord himself teaches that the Church will struggle with the burden of countless sinners until the day of judgment, it is obviously futile to look for a Church totally free from faults.

Without Christ, sciences in every department are vain....The man who knows not God is vain, though he should be conversant with every branch of learning. Nay more, we may affirm this too with truth, that these choice gifts of God -- expertness of mind, acuteness of judgment, liberal sciences, and acquaintance with languages, are in a manner profaned in every instance in which they fall to the lot of wicked men.

Doctrine has no power, unless efficacy is imparted to it from above. Christ holds out an example to teachers, not to employ themselves only in sowing the Word, but by mingling prayers with it, to implore the assistance of God, that His blessing may render their labor fruitful.

If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is 'of him' [1 Corinthians 1:30]. If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Hebrews 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Hebrews 5:2]. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Galatians 3:13]; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other.

Lord, thank you for your gift of this man, and the work you gave him to do. Soli Deo Gloria.

(picture taken from Reformation Art--great products, btw!)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais

I was able to steal 10 minutes here and there, and was able to finish Elvis Cole's latest adventure. This is the best Cole in years (The Watchman, technically a Joe Pike novel, doesn't count).

Pike is Pike (Hawk to the 3rd power); Elvis is still the less-funny, more-broody of the later novels; the nameless cat is still the nameless cat, and the regular supporting cast is at least mentioned.

The status remains quo with Elvis' relationships with Carol and Lucy. Elvis won't let go of Lucy, who is trying to distance herself from him (with a degree of success). Carol's still hung up on Elvis, but seems in more control of her emotions. I've liked Starkey in every one of her appearances, this time, perhaps more than others.

Crais was near the top of his game when it came to plotting--I suspected the culprit early on, but it was still well plotted. What appealed to me most about this was that what drew Elvis into the case wasn't something in his personal history, a friend's past, Pike's past, etc. Yes, there was a historical draw--but it was professional, making this a case of Elvis finishing a job, not exploring what made him who he is today, etc.

The ending was also pleasantly small. There was no apocalyptic battle between Elvis, Pike and several gunmen, or whatever. A simple, solid resolution. Yes, something that resonated, something that read well and contained the requisite suspense...just not an 'end of the world' scenario.

Sadly, have to wait another year for the next installment--but am sure it'll be worth it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Answer's in the Question

While checking my hotmail account a couple of times today, I kept noticing a stupid little feature on their "MSN Today" tab--which I must confess, I do scan every time I log on...5% of the time, they have something moderately interesting to read there. This one really bugged me for some reason:

I'm thinking the answer really is "Those Who Take Time to Vote on This"

(and no, I didn't click it, so can't tell you what's really winning)

Monday, July 07, 2008

"Go to hell, I'm reading."

Sorry for the profanity, blame Mrs. Goodwin for not teaching her little Archie better.

That's both one of my favorite lines from the Nero Wolfe corpus (from Fer-de-Lance) and what I'm so dying to say to the world.

I've got Robert Crais' new book, Chasing Darkness an arm's length from me. Unopened. That's a crime worthy of Elvis Cole's attention in an of itself. I've got one other novel and one nonfiction work that I've gotten far enough into that I want to finish them soon. One other nonfiction work waiting in the wings. And...

But alas, I have kids needing to be schooled (ironically, they spend more time reading than I do...all part of my custom "Do as I Say, Not as I Do" curriculum), kids needing to be played with, chores to be done, a shift to put in (depending how alert I feel, I might get an hour or so of reading in tonight), a wife to talk to, etc. All of which I love to do, don't get me wrong (well, except folding laundry...).

But, oh for one day...where I could just tell everyone and everything, "Go to hell, I'm reading."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Not Gomer Pyle's Catchphrase

I know not all of you read comics, but for the few of you who do regularly/occasionally, let me heartily recommend Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1. The splash page rightly credits Mike Kunkel with "pictures, words & heart"--this looks and feels like a labor of love.

From the great animation-style drawings, to the clever plot, to the horribly-detailed and annoying coded-intro pages, to the use of the old "Solomon=Wisom, Hercules=strength.... acronym; this was a fun, clever, well-written book.

It seems to be marketed like a DCKids title, but it's produced better than the rest of that line--and it's technically not one; but it is for "all ages" (something far to rare in comics these days, even from The Big Two). I enjoyed it, and am sure the Offspring will, too.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Struggle Continues

The liberties so brilliantly enumerated and bravely won, are in peril today. Attacked by those who are in direct opposition to them, ignored by the complacent, and undermined by well-intentioned societal reformers of every stripe, it is the duty of every citizen of this nation to continue to support that Declaration, still relying on the protection of divine Providence. The Spirit of '76 still lives.

Remembering (and/or learning) what happened to the signers of the original Declaration should inspire us in this.

In that vein, I'd encourage you to check out a special webcast this coming Lord's Day.

Dr. Richard Bacon will preach from Luke 22:38 and other Scriptures on the topic "Thanksgiving For The God-Given Right To Bear Arms." This topic is in celebration both of the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and the fact that Friday is the 232nd anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence from Great Britain.
Given the reaction from some corners of Evangelicalism to this decision (for example), Bacon's sermon will likely be a very timely help.

Naturally, the wise Rosie, reminds us today of the more vital definition of freedom.

232 Years Later

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Science Fiction, Gender Balance, Marxism/Collectivism and My Kind of Male Chauvanist

I really need to spend time editing these post titles...

Whilst trying to come up with something to post today, I made a mistake--I read something great. Sometimes reading something I appreciate will inspire me, other times it'll just intimidate me. Today, I was intimidated, I read two posts that were thought-provoking, skillfully argued, with some killer lines...oh, and they had the added bonus of being right.

John C. Wright is one of my favorite living science fiction writers, even tho I have yet to really get into one of his novels. But I love reading his blog, and trust that one day, I'll appreciate his fiction. Yesterday, he responded to an online panel discussion about gender balance in genre fiction with two great posts, "Gender Balance in Genre Fiction" and "The Coldness of the Heretics." Even if you don't care about Science Fiction publishing (or genre publishing in general), they're worth the read.

In the first post, he talked about his own position, and pointed to a take he appreciated (as did I). Am sure he's correct when he said, "I doubt this will be the most popular response." But his explanation for his doubt is phrased perfectly: "In an age when thin-skinned whining is regarded as a moral good, stoicism is regarded as unethical." (gotta get that one committed to memory for future use)

In his last four paragraphs he gives a summary of what it is to act like a man--not unlike Brad Miner's view, just put in a pithier manner. In short, "If male chauvinists like me really want to be male chauvinists, we have to be male chivilrists as well, in which case we cannot treat womanhood with other than courtesy and fearful reverence."

In Wright's second post, he really lets loose, reacting to a comment to the panel, which stated in part:

I would argue that to consciously embrace and celebrate the dominant culture through an act of writing, editing or publishing - or even reviewing/acknowledging -- knowing the inequities and injustices that the dominant culture is built on, is an unethical act that perpetuates the worst of that culture's inequities and injustices.
Wright responds:
I hope the disproportionate absurdity of the sentiment expressed speaks for itself (it is an unethical act to review or acknowledge a book complimentary to Western values, because the West is built on evil. So don’t review STAR WARS or acknowledge STAR TREK because Virginian planters kept black slaves, the Romans conquered the Gauls, and the Homo Sapiens wiped out the Neanderthals).

I hope the illogic involved is likewise obvious (Only within the ethical context of Western values, Judo-Christian and Greco-Roman ideals of justice, individualism, and pity for the underdog, it is regarded as an evil to side with one’s forefathers against the stranger or sojourner when one’s forefathers are arguably in the wrong. Oriental ethical systems make patriotism and family loyalty paramount. The Muslim has a broader standard, since Islam is a universalist religion, but no pity is obligated for the infidel, but instead, a positive obligation to war, to pillage and to conquer. Hence, we cannot reject the West except from Progressive philosophical ground; but Progressivism is unique to the West, a heresy of the Enlightenment, so to speak, that can grow out of no other intellectual tradition.)

So seeing no need to dwell further on the lack of proportion and the lack of logic, I should like to emphasize the dismal coldheartedness of the world-view expressed. I submit that it is an inhuman world view.
Wright follows that with a 2400-word worldview apologetic against "that inhuman worldview" (Marxism/collectivism) that he'd do well to expand and publish (as well as cleaning up the typo 'Judo-Christian', as fun an idea as that is)--he attacks Marxism on political, moral, and aesthetic grounds.

Wright's well worth your time, particularly on these two posts.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reason #546 Why I Hate Local News...

My iGoogle is set to give me the latest headlines from Idaho's largest newspaper, a feed which is occasionally almost useful. Usually, not so much. For example, I just logged on to read, "Boise police to step up patrols to target drunken drivers during July 4th weekend." How is this news? Haven't the Boise police (like every other police dept. in the U.S.A.) been doing this every year since Candice Lightner got started (if not before)? What would be newsworthy is if the Boise police decided to sit out one holiday weekend.

But that wasn't the worst excuse for 'news' I saw posted on the paper's website today. No, sir. It was this piece:

Police go undercover on dog poop patrol

Boise police tried to crack down on dog owners who flout the city's dog leash and poop pickup laws Tuesday, but an early-morning rain storm apparently kept many away from the parks.

Four citations were issued in the first two and a half hours of the focused patrol, according to Boise Police Sgt. Paul Burch, who leads the neighborhood contact officer unit. They began observing park users at about 7:30 a.m.
I'm not sure how this last sentence helps the story much, save getting the writer a few characters closer to her word-target.
The eight neighborhood officers who targeted North End parks were in plain clothes to avoid tipping off the scofflaws.
"in plain clothes to avoid tipping off the scofflaws" was included for all those readers confused by the term "undercover" in the headline. No, the police weren't in dog costumes, they were dressed as dog owners.
"The truth of the matter is ... people actually get out of their cars, look around with their dogs on leash, then they unclip them and let them run amok," Burch said.

Members of the group Boise Trail DOG and regular users of the Foothills, including North End resident Jodi Peterson, have been trying to educate dog owners about their responsibilities.

A week and a half ago, Peterson announced a new leash-lending program that would make leashes available at kiosks at a half dozen trailheads.
For dog owners who don't want to go to the bother of buying a leash, congrats! You now know where to steal one!
Burch said police did a focused patrol Tuesday because of the volume of complaints recently about people letting their dogs off leash in leash-only areas and not picking up dog poop.

He noted that annual community surveys show that dog issues are a top concern among Boise residents.
Translation: Life in Boise is pretty good.
Boise police's bike patrol issued 83 off-leash dog citations in city parks and along the Greenbelt last year. That's a five-year low in annual citations issued, according to police data. There were 141 citations issued in 2005.

Burch speculated that more citations were issued in 2005 because more people complained that year.
I'm going to give Sgt. Burch credit for not being this clueless and chalk up this fairly obvious bit of observation (sorry, "speculation") to the way it was written.
"Complaints drive our enforcement," Burch said. "If we get a lot of complaints about something, we respond to the needs of the community."

The fine for each violation in city parks is $25 plus court costs, bringing the total to $66.50.

Anywhere else in the city, a dog at large violation is a misdemeanor, which means dog owners are summoned to court. The penalty is set by the judge.

Zet Castets, a North End resident who regularly walks her dog at Camel's Back Park, noticed that there were four or five piles of dog poop in the grassy area of the park Tuesday.
What are we to conclude about Ms. Castets here? Has she spent too much time in Camel's Back Park to note the natural beauty? Maybe she should switch to another park to walk her dog. Or maybe she's Camel's Back Park's version of Gladys Kravitz.
She keeps her waistpack stuffed with green dog poop bags to clean up after her 3 year old dog, an Australian shepherd-border collie mix named Voyou (French for "little rascal").
Clearly, the writer (name withheld to protect the guilty) is just going for word volume here, not content. Who cares what the dog's name is? How is that relevant? And the French translation? That's just showing off--not unlike "scofflaw" above--the latter I didn't mind, actually appreciated the atypical vocabulary, but "French for 'little rascal'"? Puh-leez.
"Some are responsible, but not everybody," said Castets, a native of France who has lived in Boise for the past couple years. "Some people don't pay attention. They don't care. We all have to do our share."
And as she said that, Gung-Ho and Duke from G.I. Joe came up behind Ms. Castets and said, "And now you know." To which she replied "And knowing's half the battle." The three all laughed and the article ended.

Or something like that.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How Have I Not Read This Before?

Just started Gatto's The Underground History of American Education--have seen it cited, quoted, lauded several times over the years, but have yet to pick it up.

Today, I took my first dip into the prologue. Wow! Am loving this already (am pretty hard-line on this issue already, this could turn me into a frothing at the mouth lunatic)

You aren't complelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livlihood, eeven though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical harm happeneing to them in school...Your great-great-grandmother didn't have to surrender her children. What happened?

If I demanded you give up your television to an anonymous, itinerant repairman who needed work you'd think I was crazy; if I came with a policeman who forced you to pay that repairman even after he broke your set--you would be outraged. Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a school teacher?