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

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quiet week

Had grades due this week. Other than that had a real quiet week. Don't feel like getting on a soap box --- must be mellowing out.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Random Thoughts

  • I'm still thinking about the journey that this summer began, but right now it's still to raw to write about.

  • I wasn't too sure about trying to teach this year, and I did look into retiring, but the normal routine has been cathartic which is right now what I need. As much as it galls me to say anything positive about the school's administration, they have been exceptionally supportive an understanding before the year started and since I came back. I only wish they had been this human last year when Robin was dying of cancer and they went out of their way to make her last few months miserable.
  • Scott Horton is so articulate today about how George W. Bush meets all the requirements for the term TYRANT. If anyone is reading this check it out.

  • I've been watching the "talking heads" heads on the idiot box analyzing suicide bombers again. Whether its New York Times, Washington Post or even the Huffington Post they can't reconcile reality to their theory. They always say that poverty is what causes people to become desperate enough to blow up those around them. But Osama is OIL RICH! The bombers at the World Trade Center were MIDDLE CLASS and well educated. It's understandable that those with nothing to lose would opt out for the "Take as many with me as I can take" attittude, what motivates those who have education, wealth or both to become fundamentalist be it Christian or Muslim? They are the ones wanting to blow up the world just to see a spectacular sight. Anwer: they find their education and wealth doesn't give them meaning or purpose.

  • Here's my take: Religion is about MEANING and PURPOSE. Fundamentalism's meaning and purpose is to keep morals of the religion pure. All other aspects of the religion take a back seat. The be-all and end-all is morals, and the morals focus almost exclusively on sex. Lying, cheating, stealing, false witness, murder are all rationalized away in order to keep the marriage bed sacred -- just as long as MEN control the marriage bed. Men can stray from the marriage bed with mistresses if they can afford them -- plural marriages stops this practice, or with prostitutes -- just so long as the practice is illegal and prostitutes are the criminals. Let a woman stray and watch out -- civilization will crumble!

  • Am I wrong? I cite stong examples Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Compare their Presidencies. The one charge the fundies could level at Bill was that he was a womanizer. George has been as far as we know quite faithful to Laura, but every other commandment in the entire Ten Commandments have been consistently broken and overlooked by the Blind Faith fundamentalists.

  • Christian and Muslims are at war with the modern world because of its focus on sex. Hey SEX sells. Ever since the "It Girl" advertisers have sold toothpaste, soap, cars, air travel, and even hemoroid creams by using a pretty face or large bosom. Movies and television shows have to display bare breasts of women and bare bottoms of men. Now I ask you does the whole world have to go up in flames and all life on this planet die just because Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione and Larry Flint have made fortunes selling sex to the masses?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

College Friends

Since attending my college reunion in Feb of 2006, I've been e-mailing a number of friends from College. It has been very helpful to have their prayers and concerns the last few months. One of these friends has recently helped get me in touch with a very special friend from College.

This friend has the feminine version of my first name and we both went by the same dimenuative -- Pat -- as well as having the same first initial on our last name. We both played chess and were in the tournaments that the school hosted,

and a number of our opponents commented that they were confused as to who they would play when they saw the bracket posted. We laughed about it the first year and

from that we started calling each other "Twin" So this is a real special friend as she is my unofficial "Twin Sister."
She e-mailed me and we've started catching up on
thirty years. Here are some pictures of her paintings, and not only that, unlike my novel, she's making money off her art. She paints under the name Anne Littlewolf. And though I may be rather partial they're quite good.

Friday, September 14, 2007

School Failure

Round about way to get to this, but Bruce mentioned this on his blog and I went to the link he provided and like it so much I thought I would reproduce it here, This is an excerpt by Ed Sunday-Winters concerning Public School Failure.

Ed Sunday-Winter’s
10 Ways Public Schools Fail Students

10. They fail to exclude students with physical or mental disabilities that make learning difficult.

9. They fail to exclude students who don't live in the right neighborhoods. Public schools are everywhere, not just in the backyards of suburban churches.

8. They fail to exclude students who cannot afford tuition, books or supplies.

7. They fail to let children go hungry who cannot afford to pay for lunch or breakfast.

6. They fail to exclude students because of race, ethnicity or religious creed.

5. They fail to teach from a narrow, outdated worldview that does not recognize advances made in all academic fields of study.

4. They fail to advocate the beliefs of one particular religion.

3. They fail to recognize that some children just cannot be taught.

2. They fail to quit teaching children when confronted with a barrage of criticism from political and religious leaders.

1. They fail to refuse any student the education needed to live life, embrace liberty and pursue happiness.

Indeed, our public schools are failing in these and many other ways. And I am glad that they are doing so.

However, one thing that all of our schools need--be they public, private or home schools--is our prayers. Please remember to pray for our students and those that teach them this week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The worst part of being a history teacher is that you can see things coming and you feel like Casandra -- No matter how much you try to warn people what is going to happen, they won't listen!
Within a week of the attack on the World Trade Center, when Bush finally came out from the rock he was hiding under, I could tell he was going to use this disaster the same way Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag to disband the German Parliament and take over total power.
Six months later the American Patriot Act started the burning of the Constitution. No more need for Warrants, assassinate people you don't like -- that's called a Bill of Attainder -- expressly forbidden in the Constitution -- Forget Habeus Corpus -- call a press conference, announce you've captured a terrorist and lock him away for three years without charge, subject him to mental and physical abuse then convict him for leaving fingerprints on a piece of paper. Stalin at least made the innocent sign blank sheets of paper which would later hold their confessions before sending them to the Gulag. Arrest all your political opponents on trumped up charges so you never have to fear the outcome of an election. The polls are showing the American Public is fed up with the dog and pony show. Now if we can just get some backbone into the Democrats before more damage is done.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hard Times

Mom has been over a couple of times to make sure daughter is properly packed and taking everything she needs to stay with her. They are leaving in the morning. Mom's friend is driving with them and will fly back so they can all take turns at the wheel.
Penni had a colonectomy today, and they are inserting a feeding and hydration tube in her stomach to try and clear the bowel blockage. They will start chemo therapy in a few days. The doctor is telling her not to give up hope, but she has gone down so fast it's hard not to think the worst. Bruce has been with her for the last few days and will be there this weekend as well.
It's hard being 800 miles away, but there's nothing I can really do either here or there except pray.

Bruce has posted a picture of Penni with her daughter. Penni wrote one of the chapters in this book that deals with Ovarian Cancer. TORCH: Tales of Remarkble Courage and Hope.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Too good to pass up

I found this post at Scott Horton's No Comment and like it so much I copied and pasted. I hope he doesn't mind.

Scott Horton

Brontë on Convention and Morality
Charlotte Brontë, a colored drawing from 1873

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns. These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is — I repeat it — a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them.
–Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, preface to the second edition (1847)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Q & A Game

Yesterday I answered the questions spookyrach asked of me. If you are interested in playing the game here are the rules:

1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Whirlwind and questions

Just came back from four days of almost non-stop driving. We spent some time Saturday night and Sunday morning with Mother-in-law. They're talking of releasing her from the hospital Tuesday and she's actually looking forward to the nursing home. After the initial diagnosis this is amazing. She has COPD and came down with Pneumonia which put quite a strain on her heart. She is rallying and will be back on her feet in a few weeks. It was good to see her and spend a couple of meals with Grinnygranny's brother and family.

Spookyrach picked me while I was away to answer some questions. So here goes.

1. What is the most embarrassing CD or Ablum you own?
I've always had a thing for Iron Butterfly's Innagoddadavida. I played it over and over again when I was a senior in high school and drove Mom crazy. I studied to it in college at an institution 40 miles from the nearest known sin. My room mates weren't pleased. I had a tape player that I listened to on the bus when we traveled for Track and Cross-country meets. I was playing it once when the coach was filling up with gas. He got on and started up the bus just as the music hit the rift where they are scraping the guitars shifting from the drum solo back to the melody. Coach turned off the engine and started it back up thinking the bus was throwing a rod. When he figured out it was the music and not the bus he gave me one of "Those" looks. Whenever I listen to it at home wife and kids either leave or close their doors. But I still love the song and groove on the drum solo.
2. Which could you better tolerate - leaving the country permanently or never leaving your current state?
I seem to be traveling all over the place outside my state and have lived elsewhere. If I had to I could live in another state, but I don't think I would want to live outside of the good-ol-US of A.
3. Who would play you in a movie of your life, and why?
It would have to be someone not too tall, a little overweight, but not bald with a good sense of humor. Tom Arnold comes to mind.

4. What is your greatest fear and how do you conquer it?
I was a summer missionary in Grant's NM the summer after my sophomore year in college. I spent two weeks in a small house by myself. It was fine for the first week, but the second week the walls started caving in on me. The lady who owned the house was visiting her daugher for those two weeks and when she came back I was very grateful. After my ex-wife left Ft. Worth when I was at Seminary I spent the rest of that semester and the next alone in student housing. Even though Bruce was not far away I hated the feeling that if something happened to me no one would know about it for weeks or months and I've never regretted leaving seminary to come home. I guess my biggest fear is being alone. God has been gracious to me all my life that I've have been surrounded by those I love and the times of solitude have been of short duration.

5. What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you?
I was hired at a job once. When my supervisor took me around to meet my co-workers he introduced me to a guy I had never met before, but when he told him my name he said he knew my ex-wife, who my brother married, knew I was married to grinnygranny, and my first roommate in college. When I learned his name it made sense because his son was my age and was in the church youth group I attended in high school. He was also a fellow deacon with my Father-in-law at their church. I really did learn just how small the Baptist circle was in Albquerque that day.