Sunday, April 30, 2006

Baby Weight, Growth Charts & Hysteria

Poor parents. It's like the Eddie Murphy bit in Nutty Professor, "Oprah needs to decide. Fat or thin. Fat. Skinny. Fat Skinny." That's like the CDC and the American College of Pediatrics and children's weight: parents worry all the time.

If you want to have a healthy weight baby here are Dr. Melissa's recommendations:

  1. Breast feed exclusively until six (6) months old. The baby will be a perfect weight for that baby. If the baby is big, look at the parents. If the baby is small, look at the parents. Don't worry!
  2. After six months, only introduce table food (that is, whatever the family is eating) when the child meets these criteria: a) can sit up un-aided b) has enough teeth to chew c) baby shows interest. If the baby does not demonstrate all of these traits, do NOT table feed yet.
  3. Continue to breast feed until the baby weens himself or is around two years old. Whichever comes first. Some nurse after two, but there are no health reasons to do so. A baby does not have a fully developed immune system until age two. Nursing helps the baby develop an immune system. Reduced or non-existant ear infections, robust health can be expected with breast feeding.
  4. As you ween, feed the baby healthy foods. NO fruit juice, no milk. Empty calories and unnecessary especially if you're nursing. How does the baby get calcium? you ask. Raw, organic cheese, organic yogurt should give enough. Get the kid in the sun with NO sunscreen (heresy!) so the body can metabolize the Calcium and lay down bone. Healthy kid, strong bones, no extra fat.
By the way, babies need fat. Good fat. Give him avocadoes. Give him cheese. A healthy, active , breast fed baby won't get obese. He just won't.


Flu 2006: No Big Wup

Here is my Flu Predictor scale: If the Federal Government is screaming about the risk, it will be a non-existant flu season. Sheesh.

The flu was weak this year and the reason cited is that the vaccination matches the flu virus closely. The reason the vaccine matches closely, is because the vaccine is based on the previous year's virus. If you got the flu last year, you won't get it this year--most likely. You're immune!

Oy. I am 100% AGAINST flu vaccines. They are worthless. And the health risks outweigh the benefits.

Male Contraceptive Pill

It has been a source of consternation that men don't have a contraceptive device besides the universally maligned condom while women have several--none of which are very good. Men have simpler hormonal systems (duh!) than women and yet it is women whose complicated chemistry gets manipulated with The Pill, Norplant, DeproPrevara and other hormonal contraceptives.

A manly pill is just what the Doctor ordered! Research shows that it's completely reversible, too. It is fascinating how unmotivated men have traditionally been to take contraception into their own hands. They don't pay with the physical consequences (and sex now always trumps money later--the child support they would have to pay doesn't seem to change a young [or old] man's behavior). If a man got pregnant, this problem would have been addressed millenia ago.

Blog Layout Comments

Yes, the three columns can be distracting. It does help me get more info on the front page. For those of you having a difficult time reading it due to font size, I suggest that you increase the font size on your browser. At the top, click View and Font Size should be there. Just increase it. Voila! Bigger!

Yes, It's a tad busy. When the side colums get filled up and lengthen, there won't be so much visual clutter. I can get rid of the green thing at the top. That is annoying. Who knows what I'll do next. This took me hours to put together, but I was sick of the black background. Let's all live with it for a while before another change. 21 days and if everyone hates it, I'll change it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another Busy Bee

My Blog Tagline has changed to Information Pollination. Here's why:

I try to be a busy bee. My name, Melissa, means honey bee. And my great love in life is spreading ideas and knowledge and helping people use that information. Without bees we wouldn't have just about anything green we eat. No fruit. No flowers. Bees are necessary. And yes, sometimes I bug people.

See? It fits!

New Format

Shocked everyone? I thought that maybe this layout would be easier to read. Let me know what you think.

Comments are very welcome!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Pope: Cites Lack of Love in Marriages and Towards Children

It never ceases to amaze me that an old, never-married dude has more insight into the machinations of human relations than most long-married folk I know. The Pope speaks again. This time about small families and divorce saying "lack of love" is causing both.

I agree. It is so simple, but so true.

True love, the patient, kind, humble, variety of love and not the romantic, lust-driven, selfish kind of love everyone honors is the answer. To everything.

You Tube

Dear Readers, most ofl you are middle-aged people not up on technology who read this blog. A few months ago I brought your attention to MySpace, the group social networking website that has ensnared many a young lad and lassie into ill-advised activities due to youth or rebellion or both. They do seem to go together.

In the spirit of being informed, here is another online phenomenon: YouTube and other video posts. Much like blogs, these are snips of home movies that are comedies, serious commentary, etc. Here is a snippet that almost every kid under 25 knows by rote. You should, too, if only because it represents the sensibilities of a generation. It is the climax of the movie Napolean Dynamite, this generation's Ferris Bueller and if you don't know who that is because you're too old, there really isn't a similar film from the 50s and 60s. (Which explains Ferris' cult status.) Probably the closest you'd get is Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver. Actually, though, Napolean is hardly cynical, never really bad and his worst emotion exhibited seems to be that he's forever put upon. Haskell, like Bueller, were manipulative and rotten in a fun-loving way.

Anyway, media is being experienced by young people through these on-line vehicles, not the TV exclusively. They play video games, they play virtual reality games online with thousands of other people (I haven't tried it, honestly, because I just know I'd get addicted. I liked Dungeon's and Dragsons but wasn't allowed to play with the guys when I was a young teen. You keep not believin' how nerdified I really was as a youth. Things haven't changed much.) Kids today and adults, too, are searching for original sources of all information: music, news, entertainment, arts, everything.

Inventor Friend

A friend of ours has created a new kind of Bow and Arrow that allows the arrow to float rather than resting on a notch before it gets launched. I'm guessing the benefits include reduced resistance, greater accuracy, etc.

Vote here for Stuart's invention in the History Channel's Sweepstakes. He is one of 25 Americans included in this! Yes, we have very smart friends.

Restaurant Inspections

Reading the Houston Chronicle's Lynn Ashby's column today brought some helpful information that I thought I'd pass along. He published a link to get to an online review of Texas restaurants and their health inspection reports.

Just go to Scroll down until you see Select Online Service. Enter your Zip Code and Voila!

Angry People Are Bad for the Brain

For some time now, I have wanted to share with you guys a MOST AWESOME POST about anger and the brain and the social ramifications and health ramifications, too, of being around angry people. This issue was prompted by this Passionate Users post. Since I haven't had time, I'm just going to link to it and will address the issue some time in the future.

It is a MUST READ!

Turn Off The TV Week

This week is Turn Off The TV Week. I kid you not. This is an excellent time to do so. Summer TV sucks, you won't miss it. When everything starts back up in the Fall you'll be used to spending your time other ways.

You'll remember me posting about this before: here and other places I can't remember.

I promise you, if you do this you will be taking a step toward greatness. Great people do not watch the TV. They read, they do things, they learn things. You think I'm joking? Oprah Winfrey does not watch TV and she's on TV. She doesn't like to melt her brain and her show is one of them that does the melting. (I know, I had my brain melted for years with my Oprah Addiction.) One might argue her greatness, but she is a phenomenal business woman at the very least and a people influencer extraordinaire.

Americans are TV Addicted say authors at Scientific American Mind (via Passionate Users). Do you feel a pang about being rid of it?

One thing I've noticed since being without cable and a TV for years is that now that it's back, it holds Zero allure for me. That surprised me. I thought that maybe I'd start back in to my addiction, but I didn't. That addiction has been replaced with blogging and other things, but at least it is mentally active. (More than a few would disagree with that statement.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

May 1: Will Civilization Continue?


Hate Crime in Spring

For the record, these kids do not live in the Woodlands. I checked. They are part of the Klein School District. This is unbelievably gruesome. What is wrong with people?

Circumcision & Fidelity Better Than Condoms

It is promiscuity that spreads AIDs. Read more here.

Fighting Fair: The 10 Commandments of Conflict Resolution

After years of living cheek to jowel in apartments, duplexes and on-campus housing, it was a relief to finally be in our own home, but not for the obvious reasons. Yes, we enjoyed the room of a home. Yes, it was nice to have a garage. Yes, it was great to have a place for the dog to roam. But the best reason to live in our new home: we didn't have to share walls with anyone.

Ranting, raving, screaming, throwing insults, not to mention the occasional right hook, at their loved ones, the one thing my husband and I learned when sharing walls is that no one has conflict resolution skills anymore. Being that we were financially strapped at the time and not enjoying the best accomodations might have accounted for part of it. Lack of education coupled with financial stress inflicts pressures that can result in vented frustration, but doesn't have to be necessarily.

The thing is, the same conflict resolution problems exist in our relatively well-educated, supposedly Christian, less-financially-stressed client base. So what's the deal?

I think there are a few changes in our society that contibute to the problem and I'll briefly name them and then go on to the solution. First, with women working outside the home too, everyone is looking for a soft place to land after a long day, but it is not happening. Women come home and work more--taking care of roughly 75% of the home responsibilities, too. She is not interested in molly-coddling the hubby. The hubby, in turn, isn't interested in long conversations--he never really was anyway--while he's taking care of the 25% (which is 100% more than his father had to do, thank you very much) of the household stuff. He wants to veg or play ball or unwind in front of the tube. Second, with divorce an option, one that nearly 50% of people take now, the threat is invoked with regularity in relationships where conflict-resolution is non-existant. The threat becomes the reality all too often. It's an option now and people use it.

That is a superficial, glossed over look at two potential causes of conflict problems at home. There are many more making family dynamics even more complex. This doesn't explain the same conflict resolution problems at work.

Some people would say that fewer people are expected to do more, that the hours worked are inhuman and that tension now constantly runs high. Bosses have no loyalty, some say, so the workplace has degenerated into a harsh, unfriendly place where no one but a hard-ass gets heard or respected.

Maybe. That these complexities exist at work and at home is NO EXCUSE. Marriage is a state where two people become one, for better or worse, and when violence--verbal or otherwise--flies both marriage partners are damaged. Both are damaged. Our co-workers are a more constant presence in our lives than our extended families. In fact, they often surrogate for our extended families. Civility is a minimum condition for work-place satisfaction and that begins with the individual.

So here are the 10 Commandments of Conflict Resolution:

  1. Thou shalt not fight in front of people not involved with the fight. Never fight in front of the children. Never fight in front of subordinates. Never fight in front of people who matter to you--and that is everyone. You harm those around you, and yourself, when you fight publicly.
  2. Thou shalt not call names. Ever. It demeans and strays from the purpose of the disagreement which is to resolve a conflict acceptably to both parties. A variant on this theme in our modern times is to scream, "You're just crazy! You need HELP! You're nuts!" This of course, puts the opposite party in a defensive position. If they yell and scream back, it proves the point. If they say nothing, they are being bullied by someone labelling them, albeit in a more subtle way than outright namecalling. When a person's mental health is called into question just because they are critical of a person's eminance, authority, etc. that is manipulative and just as nasty as calling a name.
  3. Thou shalt remember to stick to the topic. A disagreement is not a time to air every irritating thing the other person has done since you met them. The topic should be broached and stayed on specifically. No meandering. No digging up the past. In the moment.
  4. Thou shalt not blab to everyone else about the conflict. Gossiping makes you look weak. Don't try to get a buy in from fifty people before you express your discontent. Keep your yapper shut and go directly to the person.
  5. Remember that you may not always be right and consider, for a moment, the possibility that you are wrong that your days may be long in reality land. Who is perfect? Sure you are, buddy. When entering a conflict, remember that you might not have all the facts, that you might be mistaken about the facts you have, that you may be told the wrong facts.
  6. Thou shalt not scream at the drop of a hat. The volume of your voice is inversely proportional to the importance of your message. He who loses it first, loses. Period. Now, for all you screaming meemie wives out there: listen up! Men get tapped out word wise about half-way through the day and make it the rest by not listening. They are very good at it. If you want your beef to have a smidgen of a chance to penetrate the thick skull, don't yell. Speak calmly, collectedly and straight-forwardly.
  7. Thou shalt not use the silent treatment. The silent-treatment is communication. Because men are sometimes less adept at language facility they often stonewall. I don't want to hear it. I'll ignore her/him/this problem and it will go away. This action, too, is weak and cowardly and manipulative. Rather than deal with a problem head-on, many people will duck and ignore. This is a wonderful tact to take if you enjoy people hating your guts. It is also effective, if you want to up the ante. Want the problem to get drawn out and complicated? Ignore it.
  8. Thou shalt take a breather and come back to the problem looking for a solution. Once the stress hormones start cascading, watch out! Escalation station. It is okay to take a fifteen to twenty minute break with the intention to come back and resolve it. This gives the brain and body time to cool down. Don't stomp away. Don't slam doors. Just calmly say, "I'm going to my room/taking a shower/going for a walk/reading the Bible/meditating" whatever "for a few minutes to get myself together, I'd like to finish this discussion in 20 minutes."
  9. Thou shalt leave the drama behind. Throwing things, hitting walls, head waggling, stupid comments like "talk to the hand", tearing off wedding rings, etc. makes for good TV and for big problems at work and at home. Doing these things makes you look like an ASS. Don't do it. This requires self-control. This requires growing up. This requires thinking about someone else in the midst of your indignation. Yup, it does. The drama queens and kings get frustrated because "no seems to be listening" or "no one takes me seriously". You're right they aren't and don't. When "being heard" is more important than resolution you end up looking like an impotent lump of protoplasm. Also, hitting a person is not just weak and lame, it is unacceptable always. That goes for you women, too. Women initiate physical contact the majority of the time in fights. Don't do it. He's bigger and stronger. And men, hitting a woman is beneath contempt. Don't take the bait. Get out before you hurt someone.
  10. Remember what you really want. Do you get in fights desiring to be right? Do you provoke your coworker, friend or spouse just to let off steam? Do you wish to stick it to someone? Or do you want to solve something? Those who must be right, enjoy disagreement for the sake of it or practice vengence as a life habit end up being alone. A lot. These are the people who are insufferable to be around and end up dying alone. You think I'm joking?
When it comes to human interaction conflict is inevitable. Conflagration is not. Life is one big negotiation. It is an art. It is easy to fight. Look at the Middle East. It is challenging to resolve. But it isn't impossible. And the payoffs are great.

Fight, if you must, but fight fair.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

FDA: Officials Biased

FDA officials often work for drug companies, advise them, are former or current researchers, etc. While the disclosure of connections to drug companies happens more frequently now, these people are still doing the judging and reviews. It's a bit like being a player and referee at the same time, but the stakes are life and death and not win and lose.

Tony Snow Press Secretary

Michelle Malkin says that, "He's exactly what the White House needs." That may be true, but I'm not sure the job is what he needs. Personally, I'd hoped that he would forego the position. It seems a dead-end to me.


Because the press hates Bush and anyone associated with him. HATE. Tony will suffer at the hands of former friends. Betrayal is not good for your health and his health has suffered. I wish him luck, but don't think it will go the way he hopes.

Mary McCarthy: CIA Higher-Up Is Innocent

That the CIA and State Department and all the crevices of the U.S. government continue to be filled with operatives for politicians, political parties and probably foreign governments, too, suprises only the most naive among us. Major Media outlets depend, their very existence justified by, these "noble" men and women seeking to give the American public the "truth".

Mary McCarthy, who in any other generation or in any Democrat administration would be labelled a traitor, will be ignored as a story. Not because the press isn't thrilled with her, because they are. In fact, they are positively jubilant that women and men like her exist. They must not express too much sympathy, however, because it will further reveal their bias. As if that bias is at all hidden.

Meanwhile, a simlar yet far less damaging intelligence breach is being beaten into submission long after rigomortis has set into the death-by-flogging horse. Why this very day, the salacious hounds lick their never-sated drooling chops over the notion that Karl Rove testifies for the fifth time to a grand jury hoping, hoping for the desperately desired public hanging of said official.

The hypocrisy of these inside-beltway "journaists" knows no bounds. The Wall-Street Journal editorial team has their opinion. Christopher Hitchens writes his here. Read them both.

Here's the thing: I'm all for investigative reporting. Go get it! Catch the government doing illegal and immoral and unAmerican things. Do it!

But to call this investigative overestimates the reporter by a long shot. The reporter is a carefully chosen operative revealing delicate information for political reasons. Investigation? Hah! A gossip columnist must do more fact-finding. No, these reporters are spoon-fed information by CIA or State Department or Congress employees and members whose sole mission is undermine policies and people who disagree with them.

The reporters reveal their bias by being incurious to the extreme and disingenuous to boot. Either they don't care about their sources credentials and inherent biases. Or, they know them and choose not to include them because that would undermine (or could) the message they wish to convey.

It is one thing to have a propaganda war with another country. It is quite another to have one within your own country among government factions.

Does the far left wish to undermine the government so much that when they take the helm, it will be of a destroyed vehicle? When will they see that they will destroy themselves in the process?

Little Dude

As if to end my last post with an exclamation point:

All of a sudden the Clouthier household was quiet. Too quiet. Running out of the office to the family room, I see what looks to be like a miniature Dr. Steve standing triumphant on the fireplace hearth, black vulcanic lava pieces strewn everywhere and some still contained in his little, fat fists ready to be launched. He hoots a primal yell of glee and smile broadly revealing a mouthful of pearly white teeth that seems incongruous with his T-shirt-wearing, diaper-clad bottom.

Previously, the wee monkey was found in the fireplace enjoying a very earthy snack only three or four, okay maybe five times.

It would seem, dear readers, pure silliness to advise anyone about childrearing. If Little Dude makes it to the ripe old age of two, we will all breath a huge sigh of relief. He is Dr. Destructo and seems to relish his villianous role.

Gas Prices Inflation Chart

On the phone with my friend this weekend he was spittin' mad about home heating oil prices. He voted for Bush twice. His livid about lots of things. He said he might vote Democrat for spite. If the Democrats could concoct one affirmative plan, it could happen. That's a big IF.

Anyway, for those belly-achin' about gas prices (I must admit, it is breathtaking every time you fill up a Big, Beautiful, Black Bad-ass SUV like my Beloved Suburban--and I do love her so) here is an inflation chart that might interest you.


There are two topics that you won't see any advice about in this column: marriage and childrearing.


Both are so complex, so daunting and so enigmatic that to advise anyone while in the thick of the challenge would seem the height of folly. So I'll spare you.

This post sent by my brother offers excellent childrearing advice, though. The guy seems older and been there, done that. I don't know what his results have been, but it is still good advice.

P.S. He says that he doesn't set bed times. Hmmmm.... Well, I do. It is for the mama sanity factor.

Monday, April 24, 2006

PT-141 Chemical Coercian: New Meds Change Your Mind About Sex

Some of you wondered what the heck I was talking about when blogging about the fututre of cyborgs (a combination of computer or mechanical device and man) and chemical enhancements. Already the hormone Ocytocin (in its synthetic form Pitocin) is used for bonding or feel-good attachment. Others like Growth Hormone, Insulin, Steroids, Erythropoitin are used to enhance the bodies ability to grow, repair, manage blood sugar, deal with inflammation, enhance the bloods ability to carry oxygen, etc.

My point? These substances are not just used for medical diagnosed deficiencies now (and that's a VERY broad notion indeed) but to increase ability, enhance experience--become "super" human.

I can sense your doubt. Here are just two examples: Athletes are the first to morph themselves into something super human for the benefit of sport. Lovers everywhere who find one encounter per day, simply not enough (they believe that "too much of a good thing is a good thing"), take Viagra or Cialis to become super human.

When Oxytocin came to market as an atomized spray, my anxiety rose. The dubious uses for this are many. Instead of nasty stinky perfume blasted in your face at a store, this hormone could be released and cause you to want to bond to that Prada handbag--"must have handbag, must have handbag" your subconscious chants.

Now a potentially harmful medication, PT-141, is being studied. An aphrodisiac that causes recipients to feel aroused and ready not by manipulating the vascular system to send blood to the nether regions but by manipulating brain chemistry--turning you on. Like a button.

Can you imagine? "Not tonight dear." And the husband responds with a spraying this drug in your face, "Yes tonight and you're gonna like it too!"

Here is the future: clubs with "hormone modifiers" kinda like Smoothie King is now. Want to feel sexy? Spray here. Want to get the most of this workout? Spray here. Want to feel more bonding love with the little cretin going through Tormenting Threes? Spray here. Want to drop ten pounds the easy way? Spray here. Want to make it through the tough week at work? Spray here.

Sounds good right? A little bit o' this, a little bit o' that and medical doctors are the modern witch doctors--although I think that these drugs will see their most generous usage once out of patent and made for OTC use. Anyway, these meds will enhance, extend and excite lives. Woo hoo!

And then people will believe, as at least 50% of the population already does, that their bodies, just as they are, are inadequate. They are inadequate. If a little is good, a lot is better. Since all experience will be heightened (doctors will say at normal levels--they choose the normals afterall and when you fall outside the normal levels you'll get the med) regular life will feel like a windless day at sea: you're on the ocean but man it is soooooo boring.

Is anyone slowing down and considering the ramifications here? Who makes these decisions about who and what is normal? How much better is enough? When is medication manipulation of the worst kind?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Selfishness: Comments About Ayn Rand

Well, my post don't get nearly as many comments as I would like, but this post about selfishness and Ayn Rand did. You might be interested. Or not.

Build The Fence Prez

Well, The Minutemen are putting pressure on Amigo Bush. He is responding by lighting a fire of fear under businessmen who employ illegals. Here in Houston, that would be everyone. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E.

Meanwhile, the illegals pour over the border in greater numbers in anticipation of emancipation.

Here's what I don't get: we have the best scientists in the world. Why can't we set a number of immigrants that we need in the U.S. to sustain the level of growth needed. Then, ease up passage to America. It's called Ellis Island. Open it. Make a similar one on this side of the Rio Grande.

Coming to the U.S. is an event! It is a gift. Skulking in like a criminal should NOT be part of the experience--unless you're a real criminal and then you should be rounded up by border patrol and sent to a Mexican prison.

Stupid straw-man arguments like "Can 11 Million People Be Deported?" irritate the heck out of me. I suppose they could if we tried really hard. But most Americans don't want this and every lawmaker and the insipid journalist/pollsters/news creator knows this even before they ask the stupid question.

Most Americans DON'T want to PAY FOR ILLEGALS. That's right: most Americans want illegals to pay taxes, like they do, pay their hospital bills and insurance, like they do. They don't want to pay school taxes for people who don't pay taxes and yet demand an education.

Ensure that every student, every patient, every welfare mom and dad is a citizen. Give drivers licenses and other licenses and homes to citizens ONLY. Two things will happen: the black market will grow bigger and many will go home because the services there will be better--or the same as here. Dry the well--people will go somewhere else to drink.

Make the people who want to be citizens go back and do the paperwork. Yes, a lot of them have businesses. Yes, a lot of them have knitted themselves into this society. Yes, this will cause hardship. Life is tough. Becoming an American has never been easy. It is a prize worth fighting for and hard.

Ungum the beauracracy here so people wanting to do the right thing, can.

Americans want immigrants. Americans love the fact that people love this country and want to come here. But the last thing Americans want or need is another entitled (and worse illegal) underclass.

Make it legal.

P.S. Build the fence. It's not the big deal Congress makes it out to be. It's called a border for a reason.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

100 Unsexiest Men in the World

Go here to read more.

H/T Instapundit

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Boys Indicted for Rape

When I was in Chiropractic College, a friend of ours with a drinking problem slid off the black-ice covered road on a freezing cold night. Bleery eyed, he walked the block home through the snow and went to sleep.

The police found his car stuck in a snowbank sometime in the middle of that night and came and arrested him for drunk driving. He was terrified. Not that he had been caught but that he could have hurt someone and not even remember. "What if I had killed someone?" he asked us, frantic. That was the last time he took a drink to this day. Almost ten years dry.

Well, it was just the beginning of a very big ordeal. We urged him to hire the best, most connected defense lawyer in town. We were in a tiny area, the judge was a local farmer--a very fair-minded man, I might add. The townies, including the cops, generally hated the college kids (rich, privilaged, blah, blah, blah.) In this case, as in most cases, it wasn't true. Our friend is one of the few pure genuises I've met, his parents poor, always just got by. Every family member was alcoholic. He was the first person in his family o both sides to go to college. He was scholarshipped through undergrad and now paying his own way through grad school. He was anything but privilaged.

But since our friend didn't have money, he relied on the public defender. The public defender was no more interested in helping him out of this than the cops. An election was coming, the new District Attorney was running on "getting tough on drunk drivers". Our friend needed this over and fast. It didn't happen.

Our friend became the "example case". It cost the DA no political will, because it wasn't a local. It was PERFECT. While there is no question this kid did something wrong and it could have been bad. It didn't turn out bad and the lesson was learned. If he had been the son of a local, it would have evaporized into thin air. As it was, the judge, a kindly spared him the worst, but it nearly wrecked his life anyway.

The difference between our friend's case and the Duke Lacrosse case, is that the evidence against the players is even less substantial. It doesn't matter. The boys will be forever tarnished. Their reputations destroyed. The jury of public opinion lead by a zealous, up-for-election DA, Mike Nifong, already confirming their guilt.

It is sick.

Now, I'm a person who thinks stripping should be illegal like pornography and tittie bars and prostitution. Yup. I'm a PRUDE. Those boys are absolutely stupid for hiring a stripper to come on to campus. This type of situation is ripe for exploitation--on both sides. At the very least it looks really bad. It confirms all the stereotypes all the way around.

But stupid isn't criminal. And stripping is legal. And these young men are young and men. And this girl is desperate and has zero self-worth to be doing what she is doing. But she chose it. And so did the guys.

That doesn't mean that a rape didn't happen Colin Finnerty, one of the boys indicted got in trouble before for beating up a guy and calling him gay in D.C. He's from Mineola, NY where a number of kids I went to Chiro College were from. It is macho Long Island culture.

Reade Seligmann, 20, the other kid indicted has a name that just reeks of aristocracy, right?

Where I went to school two extreme developed: the extreme macho end and the extreme feminist end. They HATED each other. The macho guys always lost to the feminists. Put on probabtion, told to be quiet. Yes, they were often pulling stupid stunts and saying inflammatory things. The women, in my opinion were way too senstitive.

This polarization makes it nigh to impossible to feret out the truth. When something bad happens, no one believes either side if they are fair-minded. And those who side up reveal their prejudices.

The problem with a sexual assault case is that hard evidence is almost impossible to come by in situations like these. If the boys are convicted, doubt will always swirl around it. If not, they've been convicted publicly anyway. And the woman, somehow, will always remain the victim.

I hate these cases.

Duct Tape: Uses You Should Know

Ok, so my poor widdle baby has plantar's warts on his foot. On the Internet (where else) is a bunch of helpful advice. The most interesting by far is the DUCT TAPE CURE. Read more at the link.

I'll tell you if it works. Scroll down. There is some advice about Ring Worm, too.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tom Cruise's Baby Blues

A few weeks ago, I discussed (making my rare foray into pop culture) Scientology's Silent Birth. Of course, it seemed utterly ridiculous. A quiet mother during birth? Puhleeze...

However, in the ensuing weeks I realized that this notion could possibly be the best thing for Katie Holmes. Since Cruise can't seem to keep his yapper shut, this whole silent birth thing could be just the ticket.

Evidently there was misunderstanding all around about the silent birth deal. Everyone else has to be quiet. Mom's can make noise (no words) and do what must be done to get to get the kid out.

Let's hope the birth takes a good 72 hours, pain free of course, so that the world can be spared Mr. Teeth's wisdom. Three whole days without Cruise talking? Maybe Katie will learn to believe in The Full Quiver.

Peace and quiet. Something any spouse of Tom could learn to believe in.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Iran's Crazy Talk

Everyone has a crazy relative that sputters and blathers. He or she gets ignored by the family or nodded to politely. Conspiracy theories, persecution complexes and recycled stories receives dutiful head nodding and sometimes some nodding off. Most people also have a truly crazy relative. When he comes to the family reunion looking to pick a fight, sometimes armed and always dangerous, people scatter, designate a "communicator" who gets the delightful task of 1) escorting crazy, unhinged person out [isolation] 2) speaking in hushed tones about grandma's heart and the children [diplomacy] or 3) a group intervention that lands crazy person in jail, rehab or with a soundly kicked butt--I live in Texas, remember? [threat elimination]

So, which is Iran? Crazy harmless or crazy unhinged?

Can anyone honestly say crazy harmless? Yes some can, and do and will.

Can anyone credibly say unhinged and dangerous? Yes some can and do and will.

You see, President Bush has a dilemma. Iran going nuclear is not an option since her president has already announced, loudly, his intentions. But this means some messy business ahead. This messy business will be soundly denounced by the Code Pink crowd. But what, pray tell, will these same people say if Iran's neighbors, and us too, are nuked or threatened or blackmailed?

First, I would cut Iran off from the world oil market. They only have money because of their oil. Stop their income. That makes it harder to do or make anything doesn't it?

Second, I would bomb the bejeebers out of the ruling Mullah class. What the heck are precision bombs for if to not annihilate specific psychos? There seems to be a fair number of rational younger people in Iran. Could they pluck up their gumption if their nut-job leaders were scattering like cockroaches for survival? Possibly.

Third, I would be arming a nice internal resistance. The Islamists over there are creating every kind of hell all over the world. Funding terrorism here and there. Agitating in Iraq. Covering for Syria. Baddies, all of them.

If Israel gets nuked by Iran, one gets the feeling that a fair amount of Leftists will be delighted/shocked. No one uses such materials except the big, bad USA. Well, we'll see, won't we?

One thing I hope: if we do blast away at Iran, I hope that we don't give the whole world a heads-up. Sheesh. Can we at least keep our war plans secret? It might help meeting the objective a bit faster.

Google Calendar

Well, there's already gnashing of teeth about Google being a portal and I say, "Yeah, so what?" The fact that AOL and Microsoft's portals are clunky and Yahoo's is busy opened the way for clean, simple design. Google has exploited their weaknesses.

On to the Calendar. I worked with it this morning and I like it. Why? Because I love Gmail and use that as my primary email. Firefox is my web-browser (if you are still using Internet Explorer you are a complete looooooser). Outlook bugs me. (Sacrilage!) A calendar within Google is just the ticket.

One guy said that a Google calendar is no big deal with PDAs, cell phones, etc. I don't know. My cell phone calendar is a pain and I don't use it. Since my arse is in front of the computer a good chunk of the day, it's nice to have the calendar right here.

And here's the thing: Google Calendar is free. Microsoft's Outlook is NOT free. (Nothing is free in life, I know this. I'm just sayin....) And here's another thing: if my computer crashes guess what? My data is not lost. No it isn't. Tralalala!

Yes, there's the little worrisome fact that some nerd at Google knows my innermost thoughts via Gmail, Blogger and now Google Calendar. Well, unlike most people, my life is so dull it makes even friends cry at times. Verrry, verrrrry dull.

Anyway, I'll let you know how I like it over the next month of use. If I were Microsoft I'd be afraid. Be very afraid. And I'm not the only one thinkin' it either.

Abortions, Fetuses & Pain

A pro-abortion advocate reveals that he has "examined the research" and come to the conclusion that babies "do not feel pain until after birth".

First, it never ceases to amaze me (and it should by now) to what lengths doctors and determined people will go to establish that a fetus is simply a lump until it is birthed.

Second, this line of reasoning is stupid and intellectually empty on top of being politically motivated.

Let's assume for a moment, that an adult endured a car accident that affected the respiratory center of the brain, thus requiring artificial oxygen support (intubation). Suppose he shows brain activity, but rudimentary brain activity--not the complex activity one might see if he were solving a math problem, say. This man cannot talk, or use any expressive language (fingers, blinking, etc.) to communicate. Should we assume that this man can feel no pain and give him no anesthesia during surgery?

Here is some important information for everyone to know about the neural pathways and pain: the evidence is hardly absolute about how mature ADULTS moderate pain. The research is extraordinarily dicey in children and infants and fetuses. Do you know why? Because we cannot induce pain without medication to do research, that's why. That would be called torture!

In fact, some of the best pain research comes to modern times from, of all heinous places, Hitler's regime. His minions had no ethical compunction about causing pain to their victims (test subjects) and took meticulous notes, too.

The first rule of medicine is: DO NO HARM.

No where in medicine, except abortion and euthanasia, does the notion of inducing pain to "see what happens" enter. So all research is indirect. That is, cortisol levels are measured during procedures. Or, brain scans reveal this or that active area. With a child, too, (under the age of five, really) they cannot say, on a scale how bad they feel. Does that mean that they cannot feel pain? Of course not! They simply lack the expressive language to adequately label their feelings, but that does not mean that they do not feel: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust (ever see a baby eat a lemon?) or pain. Puhleeeze!

Now, assumptions about pain have been made all over in medicine. Wrong assumptions. For example, a person in severe, horrible, excruciating low back pain can receive a spinal block for pain--an injection of cortisone or morphine--to block the pain, but the pain will return. At one time, and some still do this, the actual nerve thought to be involved is severed. But guess what? Six months later the pain returns. Why? NO ONE KNOWS.

That's right. You read that right. No one knows why pain returns. In fact, people desperate to be out of pain have had nerves cut almost at the root and the pain returns!

Pain is one of the most complex and least understood human manifestations. It's subjective--each person feels differently. It's often unrelated to concrete evidence. For example people with huge disc bulges can feel almost no pain while someone else with a teeny tiny bulge can't move.

All that I've been able to conclude "after reviewing the literature" (what a bunch of BS--what literature, how old and who did it? answer those questions and I'll tell you the "researcher's" bias and they ALL HAVE ONE) is that pain is extraordinarily important for human survival. We must have pain to reveal problems that must be corrected. Pain helps us preserve life--avoid jumping off cliffs, cutting off our fingers, holding onto hot pans and washing our hands in boiling water for fun, just for starters.

All this is to say that an honest scientist can only say for sure "we're not sure" about a fetus's pain discrimination. But if we say that, we must error on the side of caution, musn't we? But that's just it, Dr. Derbyshire doesn't want to error on the side of caution because of "increase risk and expense". He wants a fetus to not feel pain. He wants that very badly. So do a lot of other doctors and so do the millions of women, and the men who impregnate them, want this to be true. But wanting something to be true, does not make it true.

Friday, April 14, 2006

SpectraCell Testing: Get It, It's Money Well-Spent

For some time now, I've wanted to tell you guys about a really important advance in nutrition therapy diagnosis. SpectraCell testing, tests the amount of vitamins that the cell can absorb. While too complicated to adequately explain here, you can read more here about it.

Both Dr. C and I had the testing done. My results were shocking considering the anal-retentive attention I pay to all things nutritional especially since I'm still nursing. The most alarming deficiencies included B12 (Cobalamin--indicating an anemia), Pantothenate, and Vitamin D(ergocalciferol). Secondary deficiencies included Coenzyme Q-10 and Vitamin E (a-tocopherol).

The B-12 deficiency explained a lot of the fatigue and some other symptoms. The scary part was that my regular blood test didn't indicate anemia. In fact, I have never been anemic in my life--even at the end of my pregnancy when most women are anemic, I'm not anemic. But I had all these weird symptoms... Sub-clinical deficiencies are like that, though. You are missing something you need, but typical blood testing won't reveal it.

The Vitamin D deficiency indicates a possibility of future problems including cancer (read more here) if it isn't corrected. But it is not a typically tested-for vitamin.

Anyway, get this blood test. It is on the expensive side still, but the price continues to go down as more people use it. For people with cancers in their family, and cancer survivors, also heart disease and diabetes folks, the SpectraCell blood test could be a life-saving early detection/prevention help.

Wash Your Hands & Pray That Health Workers Do Too

Isn't this lovely? A sub sandwich worker infected over 100 people with a stomach flu virus because he didn't wash his hands after enduring diarrhea. Yeah. That's completely disgusting.

Warning to locals:

  • I saw a girl worker at Culvers Frozen Custard on Research Forest leave the bathroom without washing her hands.
  • I saw a dude at Double Daves Pizzeria sneeze into the pizza, not once, not twice but three times. Mr. Snot did not wash his hands the third time. Figured, "What the, Hey..."

Long Beach, California: Being a Poll Worker Sucks!

My Doctor friend got hit with a virus: it is called Civic Duty. She is still recovering. Here is what she reports:

Hi, In a moment of temporary insanity I decided to volunteer as an election poll worker. I should have suspected something when a mundane city clerk official was extatic. A few minutes after I hung up I received a call from another extatic person who was assigning poll jobs. He asked me if I would be a Poll Inspector. Since I had never worked an election as a poll worker I didn't know what I was in for. He told me I would learn all I needed to know in a two hour class. Two hours, can't be much to learn. Right?
I receive a letter informing me of my poll location but no phone number to arrange a look-see before the big day. The phone company didn't have a listing. Long Beach has a number of yacht clubs and sailing training sites for the city, university system, county, private concerns and the Olympics, Etc. I call them all. I go to the site address to see what's up. The polling office has given me the wrong name and contact person. That was my second clue that I should bow out now. After we finally get a key that would work in the door for 'my' polling room I went home to call my poll workers to make sure they had signed up for their two hour instructional class which is the same as my class?????
Another clue. The first lady told me she wasn't available. The next call was to a robotic answering machine. Next, I get an old lady's machine saying she is out walking the dog. I was calling a 16 year old high school senior who had the GPA and gumption to volunteer. I do wonder about that dog given the number of times I called that number after I called the City Clerk's office to confirm the numbers. The City Clerk people and I are now on first name and voice recognition basis. The last number went to a recording saying that the phone was out of service. Except one time I called it and got the brother??? Was I dreaming? I am not sleeping well these days.
The letter had told me to pick up my ballot box and supplies starting at 7:30 A.M. Monday morning. I am not a morning person so I start practicing getting up at 5 so I can be at the poll site at 6. I go to the water company, which is just 4 doors east of my office.
Another clue that I should emigrate to a dictatorship country. The supplies haven't arrived. MAYBE they will be in on Thursday. MAYBE??? I have a real job, I own a real business! I don't get paid to be running the streets looking for supplies, tracking down ghost poll workers, mirage sail training sites. What am I in for? I call my shrink because I am getting closing to kill mode.
I am calm by the time I attend the 2-hour meeting at the gas company which is two blocks west of my office. I swear the gods were trying to warn me. The minute I turn into the parking lot a torrential rain with those kind of winds that turnout umbrellas hits and eventually dumps 2 inches of rain. I think I can fix my umbrella with super glue. The meeting was informative including the shouting match among three poll inspectors. I know I am not alone in my frustration.
I am moved to tears that the 'greatest' country in the world has such a screwed up mess of a polling system. How do we ever elect anyone? And it is not even election day. No wonder they can't get people to work the polls.
It is an important race for Long Beach, the most diverse city in the nation. We have more cultures, languages and ethnic resturants of any place in the world. We also have the third highest HIV/AIDS per capita population, The top hospitals and hospice programs. The third largest container shipping port in the world, one of the top oil producing regions in the world, We have the Queen Mary, the largest geodesic dome, and the Grand Prix Auto racing through our city streets.
Our retiring mayor, Beverly O'Neill is the the highest ranked elected official to be elected by write in vote and she is president of the U.S. Mayors Congress. This community works together and we want to keep it that way so the person who becomes mayor is critical. Also up was the City Attorney and City Auditor, distict counselmen and school board positions. By the way our schools are some of the most successful in the nation. Our kids wear uniforms. Our park system is one of the top 10 in the nation. It is a nice place to live most of the time. We also have a huge gang population.
I do digress. I call one of the workers and leave a massage on the robotic machine for help in setting up the poll. Monday night at 8 P.M. I set up the poll alone. I have already called the city and my coordinator for help with workers. Several times. I am slightly paniced. (sic) I get home and call the student. He is ready and excited. I tell my coordinator that I know I will be at work on Tues at 6 A.M. I THINK I can trust that the student will be there. I swallow two Ecederin PMs and hit the hay.
6 A.M., 6:30 A.M. 6:45 A.M. No student, no workers. I am dead. I am the poll inspector for one of the wealthiest, policially active areas in Long Beach. The Mayor lives here, so do 3 of 5 mayoral candidates, the two each for attorney and auditor and several of the candidates for district councelman. I am not going to cry. I have called all of my prayer circles from the Christians to the Hindus. This WILL work out. 6:55 a stranger arrives! Is he the robotic machine guy. NO! He is a voter who is early. Another stranger blows in with bags of fruit, water and slams down his things at the roster site. HE is the Robotic Man!I am soooo happy! He also has many years of poll experience, has lived in the area for 51 years and knows everyone! A minute to go and in walkes a cute California blond debutante. A voter? NO, she is the phone-out-of-order worker and she has poll experience! I had told the student that he could be the poll cryer to open and close the poll but he is not anywhere to be seen. I take the ballot box out to the voters and show them it is empty. We seal it up with our seals and signatures. The poll is open.
We have 842 registered voters. Nearly 200 have voted absentee (AV) Then we hear that over 1000 AVs haven't received their ballots including me. At 7:01 my student arrives. He was at the wrong poll. We have three polls within a mile of each other. This is going to be a problem for the next 13 hours. Robot Man and I make a lot of excecutive decissions to let frustrated, angry voters who have gone to the wrong polls vote provisionally at our poll. We take in the angry, frustrated AV voters who want to vote.
Debutante is actually a Political Science and Pre-law student. Don't have to ride herd on her. High School Student is brilliant. I tell him to learn as much as he can by watching. If there is a need to let me know or if he can, attend to it himself. He does his job. I ask the coordinator to do what she can to be sure he is paid. Someone steals our multi-language handicap sign!? He is mad that the poll is multi-lingual. Our well oiled team is teeming for 13 hours. The 16 year old poll cryer closes the poll. The ballot box is pocessed, the poll is taken down. All is accounted but the delivery of the box and equipment to the drop off center 4 doors east of my office. Robot Man and I are off. Another clue that I don't ever want to do this again. Nearly 400 poll stations have to drop off their stuff too. The line is two blocks long when we arrive. It will get to be five blocks long. BUT I know my neighborhood! When we can we turn off and go a circuitous route, park across the street and walk our stuff to the drop off center. We are thrashed and on our way home by 10 P.M. All of this for 175 votes. We are told our site had the highest number of voters not counting our AVs and provisional voters. I wonder if there is ever 50% or more of the total registered voters who vote to elect an official? Only 41%of the total voters voted in the presidential
election. Sort of sad sn't it?
Call the city clerk to volunteer as a poll worker,
just don't volunteer to be the poll inspector.

George Will Discusses "Entitlement Mentality"

He cites Detroit as an example stateside, and Chirac's withdrawal of a simple labor law to increase capitalistic activity as an example in France. Short story: we're in trouble.

For those who "gave their lives" to the corporation and now feel entitled to a lifetime of support, his view will be looked upon with derision. People DESERVE to be taken care of after they have worked so hard.

I deserve. You owe me.

Does this sound American to you? Sounds downright Socialist to me and that's what worries Will.

Peggy Noonan Loves Immigrants

She says:

While the marchers seemed to be good people, and were very likable, the march itself, I think, violated the old immigrant politesse--the general understanding that you're not supposed to get here and immediately start making demands. It would never have occurred to my grandparents to demand respect. They thought they had to earn it. It would never have occurred to them to air mass grievances, assert rights, issue a list of legislative demands. Especially if they were here unlawfully.

I happen to think America in general has deep affection for immigrants, knows they are part of the dynamic, a part of our growth and our endless coming-into-being. But when your heart is soft, and America's is, your head must be hard.

We are a sovereign nation operating under the rule of law. That, in fact, is why many immigrants come here. They come from places where the law, such as it is, is corrupt, malleable, limiting. Does it make sense to subvert our own laws to facilitate the entrance of those in pursuit of government by law? Whatever our sentiments and sympathies as individuals, America has the right, and the responsibility, to protect the integrity of its borders, to make the laws by which immigrants are granted entrance, and to enforce those laws.

I think open-borders proponents are, simply, wrong. I think those who call good people like members of the voluntary border patrols "yahoos" are snobs. I think those whose primary concern is preserving the Hispanic vote for the Democratic Party, or not losing the Hispanic vote for the Republican Party, are being cynical, selfish, and stupid, too. It's not all about who gets what vote, it's about continuing a system of laws that has allowed America to become, among many other things, a place immigrants want to come to. And it's about admitting immigrants in a coherent, orderly, legal manner, with an eye first to what America needs. That's how you continue a good thing, which is what we've had. That's how you leave Americans who've been here for a while grateful for immigration, and immigrants, and loving them, and even wanting, sometimes, to kiss their hands.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happiness Is....

Working for yourself! Don't have to tell me that. While stressful during slow months, and hiring and firing is always difficult (very difficult), the benefits are awesome. Controlling your own schedule has to be the #1 benefit. (Late hours happen anyway and a lot more than those who work in offices, anyway, generally speaking.)

The Manolo is Superfantastic

I have been too serious of late and must get out of my religious reverie pour un moment to bring your attention to The Monolo's Food Blog. It is delicious. He is hilarious. He hates Katie Couric for the same reason I do:

On the one of the hands the Manolo finds the Rachael Ray to be supremely annoying, in the same way that the Manolo finds the Katie Couric to be annoying, which it is to say, that the Manolo disapproves of the bossy/bitchy person who hides behind the perky/nice exterior.

Amen, Manolo! Personally, under that perky exterior of hers is a seriously aggressive manly lumber jack man just wanting to throw on his flannel shirt, Levis and steel-toed boots and kick some tree-huggers stupid arse. Instead she wraps up her hostility in a crazed High School cheerleader exterior.


Do you believe it is possible to change? Can you repent of the scumbag you were, give up the old ways, and become a new person? Can you extend charity to the undeserving and make it out the other side?

The film Ushpizin examines just these questions. And for good measure, the notion of faith, God's plan for us and miracles are included. Set in Jerusalem among Hassidim, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, the story follows the trevails of Moshe and his wife Mali during The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkoth.

Neither overly sentimental nor cynical, Ushpizin reveals how we are "guests" in this temporary world. This movie gets 5/5 stars from me. Please, do yourself a favor and rent Ushpizin on DVD today. Mazel tov!


Ayn Rand believes that selfishness is a virtue. I'm guessing that Ayn was not forced to share one computer with her husband at home. In fact Ayn was all about sharing husbands and expecting everyone to comply, "objectively" of course:

Rand presided over their meetings and eventually let the group read the manuscript of Atlas Shrugged. By 1955, she had begun to polish John Galt's infamous speech at the end of the novel, which remains the best summation of her philosophical views in print. Also at this time, she began her controversial affair with Nathaniel Branden. Other members of The Collective didn't know about it at first, but both of their spouses were told about it and expected to comply; their union was to be seen as rational and undeniable, like the love Rand's heros and heroines shared. Barbara was reluctant, but went along with it. Frank agreed to their arrangement but reportedly started drinking himself into oblivion.3

In 1968, the most devastating blow hit The Collective and its vision. Branden told everyone about the affair between himself and Rand, which caused them to have a personal and professional break which would hold until her death in 1982. Rand responded by publishing an article in her periodical The Objectivist which officially severed all professional and personal ties with both Nathaniel and Barbara Branden.

But I digress. When two people's selfishness intersect, as it has today in my household, a subtle tug-of-war ensues. Both parties wish to vanquish the other and type triumphant. It is time to buy a new computer. This will happen tomorrow or next week and my sad, slow days of frustration, at least regarding the computer, will cease.

Selfishness, as I define it is doing whatever I want to do, when I want to do it, for reasons that are mine alone, using whatever resources I choose, spending any amount of time that is right to me, without considering the consequences for someone else. Me, me, ME!

Altruism could be considered the opposite of selfishness. Interestingly, I find it more difficult to define altruism. That about sums it up right there, but I'll give it a go anyway. Altruism is doing the best for others, when good for them, for higher reasons than myself, giving resources and time I would have used for myself, and taking into consideration the other's needs first. It's tiring just writing it. It should come as no surprise that Ayn Rand was 100% against altruism and called it immoral.

Mothers often enjoy mythical, altuistic status. It is ill-earned, I believe. While most of the mother-work is tough, the toughest in my mind, the way one completes the work matters more than the work completed. Scrubbing a pot through gritted teeth, hissing at the cherubic children and wondering what, on God's green earth possessed you that night you procreated Jr. does not equate altruism. Sadism maybe. Masochism possibly.

One can do for others and still be a selfish pig. For instance, "serving" the widows and orphans so you look good to others, is an example of selfishness not altruism. Driving to work, resenting the yoke placed upon your laden neck (also known as the ball and chain wife and kids) is not altruism, it is selfishness. You see, it is possible to serve only yourself while pretending to serve others.

So, today, think of one thing that doesn't benefit you, that you would like to do for someone else. Sit patiently reading, without resentment, while your spouse plays on the computer, for example--no complaining, no prodding, no eye-rolling. Bring your husband and/or wife a glass of water or coffee without being asked. Read an extra chapter of the book to the kids tonight for fun and enjoy it.

When slowing down, it can be quite depressing analyzing how few things we do out of the goodness of our heart. Perhaps I speak only for myself. This is called transference in psycho-speak. And generalization. I really hope I'm not the ONLY one who is this completely, annoyingly, superficially, selfish. Scientifically, it's definitely possible. Well, at the very least, you can have a better day, knowing there is at least one person more selfish than you. Did you get that? I managed to transform my selfishness into an altruistic act. Man, I'm good!

Light Blogging

Holiday/Holy Day weekend and all will decrease blogging volume. I'll try to post a couple things per day, though, so still visit!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Freedom: 'Tis the Season

For those of Judeo-Christian faiths, freedom holds special meaning.

For the Jews, tonight they will take Seder and remember Israel's release from the bondage of Egypt. Great joy and remembrence will fill their homes as they eat Lamb and matzo (unleavened bread because they did not have time to let the bread rise) and drink wine (the blood of the lamb that freed them--a sign on their doorposts telling the Death Angel to pass over their homes). All the little pieces of leavened foods and all the leaven will be put out of their homes before this momentous evening.

Christians see the lamb for a symbol of the death of their Savior Jesus Christ. Christians, followers of Christ, believe that through Jesus' death for them, they are freed from the bondage of sin. They see Jesus' miraculous rise after three days and three nights dead and buried as a miraculous beginning to a new Kingdom with new commandments built on the history of Moses and fulfilling all the prophecies laid out the night that Israel left Egypt.


Secularists see bondage in beliefs like these. All the ritual and rules and obsession with obedience to some Supreme Being you can't even touch or taste or smell or measure. It is so NOT scientific. Secularists can't quite square the fact that those who are more deeply religious have better health, more enduring marriages, more sex even, and report being happier.

Jews and Christians see freedom in beliefs like these. God guides His people and all people are His people who turn their hearts toward Him and seek to obey Him. Deut. 30:19 says that the commandments "are life". And Jesus told His followers that He came that they could live life "more abundantly". I John 4 is a great book to read to understand what commandments we are to obey now. Here's a hint: it involves Love. (It's not as easy as you might think.)

What is more enslaving than living only for yourself? What is more limiting than reducing your life meaning to the next high, the next lay, the next experience? Trapped in base addictions, living only for today with no thought or vision of the future is a prescription for sadness and despair and loneliness and emptiness. "Where there is no vision my people perish" (Proverbs 29:18). The Armor of God includes the Hope of the Helmet of Salvation--hope for a future world, a better world, a world where the leader is perfect and loving and peace reigns protects your mind.

This is what we all hope for, and this is why I love this time of year and am humbled with gratitude for my Savior and God, for my Country and for all the blessings given to me undeserving:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I hear a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are truth and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is a thirst of the fountain of water freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Revelation 21:1-7
Free at last.

Military Recruiters Flee For Your Lives!

What fascinates me is how aggressive the peace activists methods seem to be.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Vanishing Twins

A doctor friend of mine has spent a good share of his professional life studying Vanishing Twin Syndrome where a woman is pregnant with twins but loses one before birth. I am a surviving twin (my mom miscarried my twin in the second trimester).

Texas: Another Reason to Move Here

Look at this Census chart and the Per Capita income via Drudge. Texas ranks 4th highest in overall taxes but #49th in per capita taxes. That makes a HUGE difference in your quality of life.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A New CommandmentI Give To You: That You Love...

Your Scientist.

Whaaaat? That's not the quote? A discussion of the new religion here at Tent Pegs.

H/T bro


Paramendra Bhagat, a Nepalese blogger has information about the movement towards Democracy in Nepal. He seems to be against the King. He seems to believe that negotiation with the Maoists is possible. That strikes me as naive. The will fill the power vacuum the King leaves and those seeking Democracy will not be looked upon kindly even though they "negotiated" with the Maoists. I wish Nepal well, though. The people I have met from there are unfailingly kind. This poor nation neighboring China and India deserves America's support. It definitely has mine!

Duke Lacrosse Team Rape

LaShawn Barber discusses the whole sordid thing. My first thoughts when I heard this news?

  1. If this happened, how horrifying. Any rapist must be prosecuted and sent away.
  2. If this didn't, double horrifying. These young men will have their reputations destroyed forever. For nothing! Having to give DNA samples--some who weren't even at the party. Where are we China?
I said to my husband, if it were my child being subjected to this exam and he wasn't even at the party and the lesbian activists on campus had posted his picture, I would be suing the college and the individual women to the full extent of the law for defamation of character.

Enough women keep fabricating this type of thing and no woman, even serious victims, will be taken seriously ever again. Ever. An abomination!


John Leo examines how American elites use transnationalism to justify open borders. I have talked about this recently, trying to determine the motives of so many legislators willing to "legislate into the teeth of the American public" as Tony Blankley so eloquently put it.

I addressed assimilation here and indirectly touched on the transnationalism, without using the term exactly, idea saying:

but also part of a philosophy where the powers-that-be believe that massive transferring of wealth is the way to world peace? Or, is there a notion that a combined South America, Central America, and North America would strategically align in opposition to a United Europe and a United, for lack of a better description, Communist front (Russia and China)?

This arrogance seems to know no bounds. Some illegal immigrants (but more of their American-educated legal children) share this entitlement mentality, which is why the Democrats lick their collective chops.

And why were Muslims, legal presumably, marching? And why were Black Panthers? And how about the Communists?

Do people so crave the heady, emotionally (drug) laden halcion 60s and early 70s where marches and protests and anti-authoritarianism, and, laziness of thought and action so grabbed a generation that people are trying to recreate the past? I am not sure the manipulation and coercian will work. We are not talking about an oppressed people because of color or draft here. Average working Americans, legal Mexicans and other immigrants included, are fed up with lax security (we remember 9/11--does our government?) and law-breaking people.

I, for one, am not against immigration. In fact, I welcome legal immigration. If thousands of people could come into American through Ellis Island daily, why can't we, with our sophisticated technology do the same now? Let's make it legal! Let's make these people and employers too, pay taxes. Simplify the beaurocracy, make sure people have jobs, are healthy and are not criminals and welcome them as citizens.

I am an AMERICAN CITIZEN. That means something. The borders of my country mean something. By letting every uncaring, communist, welfare-sucking person into our country and then granting amnesty, it diminishes the legal immigrants who were my forebears and my husband's and everyone else who came here legally. It is a prize worth fighting for and defending.

I am NOT a CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. The people pouring over our borders leave a corrupt society where the rich enjoy a huge underclass to serve them. By allowing everyone into America we serve as enabler to that system and recreate that system here. It must stop.

Can our leaders please stop this doe-eyed idealistic, pie-in-the-sky theorizing and remember what was fought for under the Red White and BLUE?

UPDATE: Glenn Reynold's opinion is to embrace the interdependent world and demand that Mexico make life as easy for incoming Americans as they would like America to be for incoming Mexcians. Fair enough, right?

Demand nothing. Close the border and create a glut of jobless people in Mexico, Glenn, and America will have to demand nothing. Mexico will have to change or be changed because Mexicans will be demanding that their OWN GOVERNMENT changes. All the peaceful demonostrations will be on the Zona Rosa in Mexico City and not in the middle of LA or Miami or Chicago or Dallas.

Make it easier for Legal immigration here. Seal the border. America created the Hoover Dam and Golden Gate Bridge for heaven's sake, the border should be easy!

Immigration Demonstration Consternation

Michelle Malkin has good coverage of the immigration madness gripping our illegal brothers from south o' the border.

While the Republicans are taking it on the chin in the press, while prominant Republicans including Amigo Bush in the White House pander for votes, while the conventional wisdom is that Republicans have more to lose without a Bill that includes amnesty, the widdle innocent Democrats cower away from the cameras and are surprisingly mute, for once (it is a blessed relief, even still), about this whole mess.

I'm gonna say it here, now: The Democrats have MORE to lose with any illegal immigration bill passed. If the push too hard for amnesty, they tick off another element of their party. Right now it matters. Blacks view Hispanics, especially Mexicans, as competitors for the same jobs. In Houston, for example, over 80% of whites view the Mexican immigrants as a good thing. Only 20% of blacks did. They saw blacks as competitors. Illegal workers drive wages down.

The Democrats walk a fine line. They count on 90% of the black vote. No questions asked. No thought involved. Blacks vote Democratic. (But even the few black conservatives and moderates don't like illegal immigration.) It's axiomatic. But Blacks are making a smaller piece of the Democratic pie every day due to population changes and location changes. (The New York Times just wrote a piece about the huge percentage of blacks moving out of New York City. NY is gonna be all colors of the rainbow, except black, in the near future.)

When Democrats (and Republicans) look into the future they see Brown not Black people getting them into office, if they play their cards right. Sure Hispanics are overwhelmingly Christian (traditionally more Republican). Sure Hispanics tend to Americanize, inter-marry, assimilate, etc. after two generations like other immigrants and end up paying taxes (traditionally more Republican). But, some people believe this doesn't matter. Some people believe immigrants will vote like their families who vote Democrat. Couple with this the Democrats actively stirring up a "victimhood mentality" in these new people, and if Democrats can believeably portray the Republicans as white bigots who hate poor people of any color (not hate ILLEGAL activities), they figure they have another big chunk of the electorate wrapped up. Or more wrapped up.

Twenty years, maybe even ten, from now, the Black vote won't matter as much to Democrats as it does today. Or, more accurately, it won't carry more weight than other color voting. Their block vote won't be the determining factor in any politician's win or losss. The numbers of other minorities will make the blacks even more marginalized. If some few blacks, Al Sharpton being one, have nagging suspicians that the Democrats take them for granted, that feeling will be more pronounced as they see the love-fest with their economic competition--not just jobs but social services and a "voice" in the political realm. Uh oh.

Already the AFL-CIO STRONGLY is against the "Guest Worker" program. Why? Lower wages, less power for them because of less membership, more competition, etc.

While many people, especially conservatives, view the whole illegal immigration as a security issue after 9/11, the politicians are viewing all things border related politically. Satisfying business owners (economics), satisfying Mexican leaders (diplomacy), satisfying future potential voters(pandering). Nevermind that the vast majority of the voting public is NOT SATISFIED with this proposed program--whether they are black, white or hispanic.

My prediction? That this whole issue won't be voted on this year, if ever. Both parties have a lot to lose in the mid-term elections with this stupid legislation. Almost everyone is irritated.

The Conventional Wisdom saying that Republicans have the most to lose is wishful thinking on the other side of the isle. Everyone, not least of which the average American (remember him, remember her, guys? they are the vast majority of people of all color who vote and pay taxes), has a lot to lose with this legislation. I'm guessing that all the politicos hope it will die on the vine. They stirred up the rats nest, though. If the illegals keep marching, it will be decided that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. Maybe. With mid-term elections coming. Maybe not.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nunchucks: Living Without Fear

Last Friday, I took the kids to the annual Carnival at school. Part entertainment, part fundraiser, make that almost exclusively fundraising for the parents and entertainment for the children, there were some high notes to the whole excursion.

We spent a couple tickets for some cheese pizza slices and root beer and then settled down to enjoy the healthy, well-rounded meal at a cafeteria table close enough to the stage to hear the raffle announcer announcing winners. For the thirty bucks we spent in raffle tickets we won a $10 gift certificate to a restaurant that my husband finds vile. On the upside, I spent two dollars to buy the kids four raffle tickets in the "Kid's raffle" (you simply cannot train children in the arts of gambling young enough, I say) one of the youngins won a pretty cool toy worth significantly more than one dollar and probably off-setting my raffle investment.

Back to the dining experience. Standing on stage were some funny-looking kids wearing their karate outfits. You know the ones, ill-fitting white pajamas with many-colored belts--the best being black. As a break in the raffle we got to see these kids demonstrate their "art". They were ser-i-ous. Deadly serious.

The kids went in order from the least to the greatest, I presume. Although, honestly, they all looked about the same. It could have been just shortest to the tallest. Since they might maim each other actually doing their moves, the demonstration consisted of Karate-Kid style "shadow moves". Slashing the air, making super slo-mo turns and startling kicks at phantom enemies, the kids were trained killuhz.

Childsplay, this exhibition was, until the end. Clearly the children deferred to this last woman, the teacher. She was tough, on the butch end of feminine and definitely grim. She also could wield the fear-inducing, spine-tingling, extra-special, super scary, cower-in-the-corners weapon of Ninja choice: NUNCHUCKS. Now we were getting somewhere. Besides Bruce Lee films, nunchucks just don't pop up in ordinary suburbia life much.

She bows slightly to the audience, her mouth curved in a I-dare-you-to-laugh sneer, her eyes meeting anyone's who is not entirely enraptured in their fine dining. The nunchucks start flying. Around her neck. Under the arm-pit (for all the enemies that attack from under the arm-pit). Behind her back. She prowls the stage twirling. She head fakes and turns her back swinging. Chop! Slash!

I watch transfixed. Stunned, really. The part of me that was rolling on the ground laughing (inside of course, I didn't want my ass kicked--do you think I'm stupid?) was superceded by the part of me that was fascinated by the sight of a woman who was clearly empowered by two little sticks and a chain. She looked utterly ridiculous.

Nunchucks suck. Anyone with a broom could whack her on the head or poke her in the stomach before she could put a stank on them. Over at Wikipedia the author states:

It is generally considered by martial artists to be a limited weapon: complex and difficult to wield, it lacks either the range of the bo (quarterstaff) or the edged advantage of a sword, and is prone to inflicting self-injury on the user. [emphasis added -ed.]
No kidding.

But there this woman flailed, humorless and utterly self-unaware. She was without shame.

This caused me to pause. Why am I so worried what other people think? I don't go in public wearing white pajamas. I don't engage in staring contests with completes strangers. I don't stand on a stage kicking the air and nearly choking myself with an ancient weapon.

Surely, if this woman could strut herself in front of mature adults and their families to forward the reputation of Karate, the martial art of champions, I could pick up the phone and call a pretty warm contact. What is so difficult?

Fear of looking stupid, or fear of what people might think, or fear of failure stops people from living their dreams all the time and most of us don't aspire to being a Ninja. Most of us just want increased sales, or better client service or product improvement. Easy.

So next time you're afraid to step out there, think of Nunchucks Lady. What's the worse that can happen? On your death certificate, I guarantee it won't say: Cause of Death--Embarrassment.

Terri Schiavo's Legacy

If there is one legacy of Terri Schiavo it is this: make your desires CLEAR to all, in WRITING, have a LIVING WILL, and if you hate the person who would be making the decisions for you, or fear they hate you and would rather you dead, make someone else the person who decides your fate--preferably someone you trust to carry out your wishes against the tumult of those who might wish otherwise.

The Schiavo case is sticky and not likely to happen to any of us in the same unique way because it is unlikely that our spouse will be the suspected ax-man and state-certified executioner, too. Terri's case is complicated by the fact that her husband is believed to be her murderer, at least by her family, at worst or simply did not get care for her when she was dying at best. Then, after years of carrying out her wishes to keep her alive, he decided to pull the plug because "that's what she wanted". (Could it be because it became clear to him that he wouldn't be facing murder charges? Could it be because he fell in love with someone else? Could it be because he didn't want to get a divorce and look like a scumbag for divorcing his disabled wife--so it was better to have her starved and die? Could it be that he was truly carrying out her wishes?) It seems unlikely that we'll ever know which reason now.

People like Joni Eareckson Tada, a disabled woman, worry over this case. Rightfully so! At what point is someone no longer living a quality of life that others think necessary? Should Stephen Hawking be starved? Should Chris Reeve have been denied his supplementary oxygen? Here are some other disabled people who have lead extraordinary lives despite being disabled.

What is the definition of a life worth saving? Perhaps you think this issue won't matter to you. It will. It does already.

What is the definition of a good life? A productive life? A "viable" life?

Abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, disabled rights, capital punishment, premature babies, genetic testing, gene therapy, organ growth, pharmacology, double-blind medication/treatment studies
and many more areas of life are touched by this.

For example, many adults with Autism DON'T want a cure to be found! They believe they are just different and that they offer one end of the unique spectrum of the human experience.

Baby Boomers should be very interested in the answers to these questions. Since they outnumber the next generation almost two-to-one, perhaps they've considered a possible "solution" to old folk's homes overcrowding? Since they are the first generation to believe whole-heartedly in institutionalizing the young (day care at six weeks old), their children may whole-heartedly believe in institutionalizing the old--and sooner rather than later. Perhaps palliative care when the old, worthless parent serves no further purpose will be discontinued. Comfort will stop even being a priority. Perhaps.

Worldwide, girl babies are aborted and/or killed and/or given up for adoption because of their double X chromosomes. Among those getting pregnant with artificial help, selective abortion is an option often used to increase the likelyhood of the other babies' survival. There are those who are having genetic testing via amniocentisis and having abortions to eliminate Down's Syndrome and other maladies like clubbed feet.

Hardly anyone is considering the ramifications of the slippery slope we now find ourselves gliding unhindered down.

Add to these societal trends the enhanced abilities due to cyborgs. Would you, for example, desire a higher intelligence or more accurate sight (say like an eagle's) via a computer chip? Would you find it permissable for professional baseball players to embed a chip that doubles their brains ability to react to moving stimuli? How about implanting that chip into a soldier? We are already enhancing human abilities with hormones and medications. Already people seek to enhance and extend the life they live.

Wake up people! These possibilities are not far away from today. For some people they are already here!

Who will make these decisions? The Supreme Court? Will nine people decide Western Civilization's fate? If society continues on this path, Planned Parenthood's founder Margaret Sanger's dream will be reality. Terri Schiavo will be just one more "weed" that has been removed from the human landscape. Anything less than perfection... Forget that! Anything less than super-human will be unworthy.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Volkh Dispells Gospel of Judas Stupidness

More religious stuff for you to ponder here. If you have read the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (I have, btw, fun read but biblically and extra-biblically factually inaccurate. But it IS a novel.) this information might help.

H/T Instapundit


In ancient history, and not too far back in our own history, the concept of sacrifice was one that people lived with every day. Whether folks were farmers or hunter/gatherers, great work and effort went into growing, nurturing and raising an animal or hunting one down and killing it with rather primitive means--by today's standards anyway.

To kill a buffalo or cow or sheep was no small thing. This animal represented wealth, prosperity and often protection and clothing and so much more. Killing the animal was either symbolically or literally a sacred affair. For the animistic American Indians, the hunt and kill was ritualized. For the farmer, the protection of the flock and the kill, were life and death decisions--for the humans.

When you have starved or been without food for a while against your will, the food can take on mythical proportions. It is a manifestation of God's beneficence when food grows and sustains you. It is a measure of your wickedness when sustenence is lacking. The Deity that blesses you with berries and grain and rain and animal receives high honor. The Deity that curses you with empty bellies receives supplication and repentence and fear and respect.

God gives. God takes away.

Few Americans know empty bellies. Even the "poor" suffer from non-nutritive fatness and could use a slimming diet--also known as fruits and veggies.

Few Americans think about the animal that was killed so the prime rib or filet can be enjoyed. Not having to personally feed it, protect it, breed it, birth it, the animal is reduced to rendered parts.

Americans need to get back in touch with history and the rituals that were once part of their lives. Why? Because part of the Judeo-Christian heritage is understanding Christ's sacrifice through the sacrifice of an animal.

In Jewish times, tithes and offerings and sin sacrifices were made by people, most of whom brought their own treasured animals to the altar. God expected the best sacrifices, too. So people weren't bringing their diseased, nappy-lookin', sad-sack beast. They brought the best. The lamb that they named and hand-fed to fatness, was slaughtered. The prized bullock that could have sired a herd of prized cattled saw the chopping block. The first, most tender fruits of their grains and corns and figs and grapes and honey was given for God's service.

Those who have been to the Rodeo here in Houston (and everyone should experience this, it is quite something) will remember the young people showing their prized animal and hoping it gets judged "best in show". These competitions mean scholarship money, and pride and much accomplishment. But there is sadness, too. These children raise and love these animals and care for them as pets. And these animals are doomed. Some children are crushed. Many are resigned to the eventualities.

Our daily lives no longer revolve around the rituals of harvest and birthing season and slaughter and hunting. Our lives are no longer dictated by knowing the moon phases and counting time by what's in the field and how ripe it is now. This is a shame really.

People no longer connect the everyday with the sacred or the sacred with the everyday. When a woman gives birth, it might be the first time she's seen a head crown ever--she has not even witnessed an animal birthing. When a man buys a steak, rarely has he fed the animal and slaughtered it himself or walked the woods stalking his prey with only a spear. The depth and breadth of modern man's experiences with these ancient rites of passage can be found in cold institutions--hospitals and supermarkets--designed to remove people from the sacred experiences.

Ancient Israelites, starting in Egypt, made the connection between their animals, their lives and their relationship to God. It was concrete. Direct.

A blessed havest meant a big tithe to God--FIRST. A small harvest meant a little tithe to God--FIRST. God was thanked big and small. All good came from God.

A harvest celebration meant an offering to God from the heart, a sacrifice of thanks. It wasn't the sacrifice as much as the heart that mattered. God wanted hearts turned to Him.

Forgiveness for sins meant an animal sacrificed to God. This served two purposes: one, the loss of the animal because of the sinners stupidness hurt the sinner economically. Hopefully, this deterred more sin. Two, the loss of the animal was a gain for those who admistered the government and was shared with the poor. Since those who governed, the Levites, couldn't own land of their own (unlike the fat, happy government we have who are almost all independently wealthy) they had to stay humble about who they served. Without them, they'd starve, too. So they really, really wanted God to bless the common people.

When Jesus Christ walked the earth, the Jews and even the Romans (pagans though they were), knew about sacrifices. They knew about the animal paying for a sin they committed. They got what sacrifice meant.

After Jesus, the perfect lamb, unspotted, unbroken, without sin, without blemish, white and utterly pure, died and the sacrifice was pointed out to the people by Peter, people were horrified at what had been done. In visual, ritualistic, graphic detail they understood what a great price the sacrifice.

Sometimes it seems that modern society is so fragmented, so removed from the natural ebbs and flows and rhythms of life, that the sacrifice of Jesus in this spring season creeps upon us like a surprise. In Israel, it wouldn't be so. The harvest reminded everyone--the wheat, the barley in the field. Celebrations. And serious reflections upon sin would bring Jesus' sacrifice alive in tangible, literal ways.

There are ways to bring the sacred into the every day, so that the memorial of Jesus' death isn't just a 24-hour experience but a reminder woven throughout daily living:

  1. Tithe. Give to God in good years and bad. Thank Him first for the blessings you enjoy.
  2. Offer thanks. When especially blessed, give God a chunk.
  3. Pray. Before eating any meal, and especially one where meat is enjoyed, give thanks to God and Jesus, too, for the sacrifice that keeps you alive. That animal died so you could live physically. Jesus died so you could live spiritually. Honor that.
  4. Live a conscious life. Each moment is a gift and one not to be taken lightly. Redeem the time and live honorably and stop doing the self-and other-destructive things that interfere with your life mission. Jesus didn't die so you could slowly kill yourself. He died so you could live and live abundantly.
Bring the sacredness of this sacrificial season into your daily life.

Many blessings and peace to all of you during this holiest of seasons!