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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

phone call

My sister called yesterday with sad news. I'm in Texas to see what help I can be. I stopped for the day and will get there tomorrow. My father is not doing well which is all I want to say for now.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Had a 12pm tee time at Cochiti golf course. This was Grinnygranny's second day of vacation. We've never played this course, which is one of the best in the state, though we've passed it by dozens of times on our way to Dixon's for apples.
It's a great course. They keep it pristine for such a dry desert setting. When you're on the cart path there's grass on one side and dirt, rocks, pinons trees, shrubs, rattle snakes and scorpions on the other. The grass side is about 20 degrees cooler. It's amazing how far the ball travels at 7000 feet elevation. It's the last course I'd want to walk. Talk about steep hills! Being the middle of the week it wasn't too busy. It's most likely crawling during the weekend.
For my non-New Mexican readers Cochiti Pueblo is twenty miles south of Santa Fe. The Pueblo is below the Dam that was built in the 70's and they control the lake. There is a small non-Native American community around the lake that has a 99 year lease, which will be up in the 2060's. The golf course is just past the community, but is run by the Pueblo -- no gambling at this Pueblo, but you pass three casinos on the way up. Never say never, but I have so far avoided playing any of the courses run by casinos, for one they are way too expensive for a teacher's salary, and two why should I help outside businesses that are draining money out of the state's economy?
We took some pictures of the lake which I'll post on another day, but by the time we got to the golf course the memory on the camera was full. We'll have to go back up for pictures again.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Too much of a good thing

Once upon a time there was a young girl who had trouble getting the attention of boys. Her main problem was that while other girls developed normal curves she remained -- well in a word -- flat.

Then one day in desperation as she passed a pond she came across a frog. She reached down and thought to herself, "Why not?"

As she picked up the rather unhappy frog, who wanted nothing more than to eat more flies, she asked, "If I kiss you will you turn into a handsome Prince?"

The frog croaked out, "No."

To the young girls suprise she felt her chest start to grow. Thinking it must be a sign she asked the frog if she could kiss him and again he said, "No!" This time rather indignantly.

Lo and behold she could feel her chest expand even further. Being rather pleased with her new found bosom she thought that if she asked one more time her figure would be perfect. So she asked again.

This time the frog was really angry and yelled, "NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO!"

If you think this is just a joke or fairy tale scroll down a little further.


Now close your mouth.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Interesting day

Took grinnygranny and auntiepesty out golfing with Ritchie. About half way through auntiepesty had a suger crash. She didn't eat anything for breakfast, and it was hot. Grinnygranny and I walked in the last three holes so she could take the cart back to the proshop and get something to eat at the restaurant. When we got in the EMT's were there they thought she was a little anemic. We got some orange juice in her, fed her a sandwich and had her take some vitamins. She was back to her normal self within a short time. Took it easy the rest of the day. Maybe she'll learn to eat a good breakfast from now on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Captains Log

Stardate 072007.100

Paul Abrams hits the nail on the head as to why our Neocon Foreign Policy will never work.
Neocon foreign policy will never work because their assumptions are wrong and because neocons are not willing to make the required commitments. They will not pay more taxes, they will not lead by volunteering to risk their own lives, they will not support a draft. They are willing only to lead the US astray by pretending the challenges are imagined, and then accusing everyone else
Bruce has an interesting assessment in regards to his link to comments made by former President Jimmy Carter's blunt assessment of U.S. policy towards Palestine as Criminal. It's the second post on his blog.
The Islamic world has clearly exposed the foreign policy of the most powerful "Christian nation" in the world as nothing more than the law of the jungle -- "might makes right." America preaches democracy, but we practice "social darwinism.
"In the eyes of the non-Christian world, nothing could discredit both democracy and Christianity more than an American President who launches pre-emptive wars under false pretenses, authorizes the secret rendition and torture of prisoners, and then lectures the world about the virtues of both faith and democracy. And nothing could discredit the Church more than the fact that this President can still boast that his most loyal support comes from the ranks of the most publicly fervent and vocal proponents of the Christian faith.

Robert Sutton has interesing thoughts on emotional detatchment in the workplace.
I have argued for years that learning when not care, what not to care about, and how to not care is just as important to career success and personal well-being as being passionate. I especially think that it is an essential skill for people who are trapped in asshole-infested workplaces and can't get out -- at least for now. If people treat you like dirt, they don't deserve your passion and best efforts. And, as I say in The No Asshole Rule, going through the motions without letting the creeps that surround you touch your soul is, unfortunately, the best - or least bad -- option at times.

Bill Shur explains what the boo's during Hillary Clinton's speech were all about. I would be booing too.
"They jeered the Democratic presidential hopeful when she blamed the Iraqi government for the continued violence that has bogged down U.S. troops."...
That the progressive grassroots, being serious about foreign policy and national security, wanting a fundamental change in our foreign policy away from blundering occupation and towards steely multilateral diplomacy, viscerally reacted to a blatant mischaracterization of what's happening abroad.

Now I'm off to the golf course. The only civilized place to be at the moment.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Good day

Had a book signing at Bible Plus yesterday. Sold 4 books, but bought a book and cd from the two guys selling their stuff. They bought mine so I kind of had to buy theirs. Also gifted one book to the store for the employees to read in their break room.
Had a nice breakfast this morning then went to see Fantastic 4. Richie ran around the play area for a bit and then we came home to watch Tiger Woods come close, but no cigar in the U.S. Open. Hope everyone else had a good Father's Day.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The philosophy of the sociopath

The Sopranos ended last night after eight years. There has always been a fascination in this country with outlaws: pirates in the Carribean, gunslingers in the wild west, bank robbers during the Depression, and of course Gangsters. They all have one thing in common: They are spoiled children -- self-centered. ruthless, greedy and violent.
Most people suffer lives of quiet desperation so they live vicariously by watching people capable of doing what inhibits them. They fantasize about being outlaws but are inhibited and socialized. They've grown up and started taking responsibiltiy for their actions.
Parents for many generations knew that their most important accompishment was to socialize and civilize their children. (Pre Doctor Spock and the self-esteem movement) Teaching them manners, to control their tempers, to obey authority, and to become productive members of their community. There is a word used to describe children that never grow-up -- SPOILED. Cases in point: Paris Hilton, twenty-six years old crying like a baby and begging Momma to make it right. Teenagers killing for a pair of shoes, internet spammers.

Outlaws and sociopaths are morally toddlers. After all what is a three-year-old? They are self-centered, ruthless, greedy and violent.
A three-year-old sees an object and grabs it yelling "Mine."
Tony Soprano sees some action and yells "Mine."
Hitler saw Europe and yelled "Mine."
Any difference?

We've had a President that has exibited most of a toddler's trait ever since the last election. For six years he had carte blance with a rubber stamp Congress, but now he doesn't so he throws temper tantrums -- Vetoing the funding budget until he gets what he wants regardless of the consequences for the men in the field, his words: "I'm the Decider" runs around his house in Crawford pounding on his chest saying, "I'm the President."
Self-centered? What about his signing statements where he states the law does not apply to him? Has there been a President more ruthless? Sending hundreds of thousands of Americans into combat then refusing to attend a single funeral. Underfunding the war effort saving money at the cost of lives. Vacationing while an entire coastal area of the country is destroyed, and refusing to rebuild it. Greedy-- can you spell T-A-X-C-U-T-S for the wealthy while cutting services and raising taxes on the poor. How much more violent can you get than fighting two wars at once while approving torture, assasinations, and throwing people into dungeons at whim.

Now to the point. So far I've talked about the actions of the spoiled. There is a guiding philosophy that backs up their actions. How they rationalize such barbaric behavior. Today it's called Objectivism. Based on the writings of Ayn Rand. Her two most famous works being The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
Jim Hightower in his book Thieves in High Places mentions that corporate heads treat these books like the Bible. Rush Limbaugh quotes from it at length. I've even seen a bumper sticker that said "Who's John Galt? -- Ask Rush" (the question is the main focus of the story in Atlas Shrugged)
In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand basically writes a philosophical doctoral dissertation about two-thirds into the story. She sums up her belief by asking everyone to take this oath:
"I swear--on my life and my love for it--that I will never live for the sake of another man, or ask another man to live for me."

Truly a sociopath's motto. The attitude of I'm the center of the universe and nobody else exists but me.
Xpatriated Texan has an enlightening post listing how understanding Objectivism explains most of Bush's actions.

The Bible also explains this philosopy. In the book of Revelations it's known as the mark of the Beast: 666. In numerology 3 represents the number of God (the trinity), 6 is the number for Man (created on the sixth day), 666 represents Man becoming God.

Bush once said in an interview that the reason he decided to become President was because God told him to. Obviously he believes his thoughts are God's thoughts. It's only a delusion that there is a God outside of himself.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower

Grinnygranny won't watch a movie with subtitles so I couldn't get her to watch this one. Believe it or not there are some really good movies made somewhere other than in Hollywood. Gerard Depredeau's Danton and Cyrano De Bourgerac are excellent. One of the perks of having summers off is that I can rent movies I want to see while the wife is at work. Drives her crazy.

I just watched Curse of the Golden Flower with Chou Young Phat. It was visually stunning. The sets, scenery and costumes were lavish, plush, colorful -- a veritable feast for the eyes. The subtitles were under the screen in black and readable. (My biggest complaint with most foreign movies is that the subtitles get washed out.)
The plot is similar to The Lion in Winter. Really nasty palace intrigue. The movie revolves around the Emperess who is forced to take hourly doses of medicine and the Emperor is poisoning her. She knows it, but can do nothing to stop it. The Crown Prince thinks his mother is dead, but she's really the wife of the Imperial Doctor helping poison the Emperess. The Emperess has seduced the Crown Prince, who is also having a fling with the daughter of the Imperial Doctor -- major problem when they learn they are actually half brother and sister. The Emperess does have two sons the eldest is the most capable at ruling...
Hey, it's palace intrigue the plot has to be complicated.
The Imperial Doctor is made the Governor of a province when the Emperor learns he is married to the Crown Prince's mother. Once outside the palace they are attacked and from that point on it is battle after battle. The youngest brother attacks first, but doesn't have that strong of a followiing. The middle son, Jai makes it into the inner courtyard with his troops. The entire courtyard is covered with chrysanthemums which are trampled while the battle rages. The fighting is intense, but not bloody like Braveheart, Henry V or Saving Private Ryan. The Emperors assassins sent to kill the Doctor's family climbs down on ropes and throw swords with a boomerang effect, but there's none of the silly flying over rooftops and trees like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Once the battle is over the courtyard is cleaned up and all the flowers replaced by thousands of workers and in a matter of minutes all traces of the battle are erased. It was amazing.
I won't divulge the outcome, but it did catch me by surprise. It finishes with a beautiful song as the closing credits roll. Reading the subtitles of the song it is a really touching poem.
Chou Young Phat was the only actor in the movie I knew about. He was King of Siam in Anna and the King and is a truly gifted actor. The Emperess was spectacular and is evidently the top actress of China -- for good reason.
If you feel like watching a truly spectacular movie this is the one to rent. See it at night with no other distractions -- you need undivided attention for the subtitles to follow the story.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Addam's Famly

Bought a DVD that has both The Addam's Family and Addam's Family Values. It's been a few years since we've watched either one. They have stood the test of time and are still very funny.
I can't watch the first movie without putting into context with the year it came out and we went to see it in the theater.
That year was supposed to be a good year. I had finally grabbed the holy grail. I had one World History class. I had taught 7th and 8th grade language arts, worked my way up to 9th and 10th grade language arts, government, U.S. History and now finally had the class I've always wanted to teach in the regular school year. I had taught World in Summer School so I'd be ready when the time came. Instead it was a LONG BAD HAIR YEAR.
It was the second year that the Principle nit-picking everything I did. The year before in the teacher's lounge, Larry, an older teacher could see how distressed I was after a brutal evaluation. He looked at me with sympathy and offered the best advise I ever received. He said, "Just remember you're permanent, she's temporary."
He spent part of that year in the hospital with a heart attack. When he got back the aforesaid Principle called him into her office and wanted him to take a classroom management class because while he was in the hospital his students (behavior disordered special ed) had misbehaved for the substitute. It was also nice to know I wasn't the only teacher she was digging her nine inch nails into.
As the bad hair school year started:

  • one of my students was shot in the mouth during a drug bust just three weeks after giving birth.
  • A male assistant principle was placed on paid administrative leave for sexual harassment, and the head Mistress tried to fire with falsified evaluation papers in retaliation another teacher I considered friend. The assistant principle did not have his contract renewed the next year. At the hearing to terminate my friend he was smart enough to have kept the copy of his evaluation paper and proved the grounds for his termination to be false. He returned to his teaching duties, but greatly subdued, and the Principle chastened. We all scratched our heads over the whole process as he wasn't the one who brought the charges. He had only celebrated the news a little too loudly in the main hallway.
  • Then one morning as I arrived at my box to get mail the other teachers were in tears. Larry was out in his garden the evening before, suffered a heart attack and passed away. The longest day of teaching I've ever endured.

Depression is a deceptive state of mind while at the time you don't always realize you have it. I had trouble sleeping, was moody and withdrawn, stayed in my classroom during lunch instead of eating in the teacher's lounge. It was pre-Prilosec and my acid reflux was at its worst. I was feasting on Pepsid and Rolaids. At my fall evaluation I got pissed off enough to ask the dragon lady if I would be holding a sign on Central Avenue the next year that read "Will Teach for Food". I'm pretty sure Grinnygranny worried about me, and to her Saintly credit stuck by me. The children didn't have much of a choice all they knew was that Daddy was very cranky.

Then around the first of December we went to see The Addam's Family. It was funny, irreverent, black humor. Gomez walking up to Morticia and asking "Are you miserable, darling?'

She smiles sensuously and says, "Yes."

Christina Ricci as Wednesday strapping Pugsly into an electric chair telling him that they're playing a game called "Is there a God?" delivered with such a wickedly serious expression on her round, large eyed pale skinned face. Without realizing it I was laughing most likely for the first time in months. By the end of the movie it was as if a great weight had lifted from my shoulders. Walking out of the theater I looked at Grinnygranny and said "I needed that!"

Suddenly all the dread and grief was lifted. Somehow it gave me serenity. I can't explain it, it just did. Laughter can truly be the best medicine.

  • The drama with the Principle's and my friend continued to the end of the school year.
  • The day before the Student/faculty basketball game (which I had been practicing and getting into shape the previous month) I closed the car door on our cat's tail. When I tried to open the door it bit me on my hand so I had to watch the game instead of playing in it with a bandage as big as a tennis racket.
  • At my Spring evaluation the Principle finally came out with why she was raking me over the coals. She didn't think I was doing enough extra-curricular duties. When I explained that I was sponsor of Youth and Government and the Rodeo club it was like night and day. From that point on I was her fair haired boy. I then took over as our department's representative on the Governing Council. She faced one pissed off Union Rep every month when the council met.
  • During spring break a star football player and homecoming Queen were at a party, a fight ensued over the homecoming Queen and the football player killed another person at the party. Numerous students and faculty members were called as character witnesses during his sentencing.
  • Two weeks before school ended one of our female students was raped and murdered.

I've never wanted a school year to be over so much before or since. What I do know is that the only thing that kept me sane that year was watching this movie.