Tuesday, December 26, 2006
And to those of you that took a moment to stop by and wish me a Merry Christmas, thank you. It sure was nice to see all of your comments in my in-box. =)
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Usually, it is something horrifically evil that makes me feel that way.
Today, I read this article and I have decided that humanity has almost reached the point where we are just Too Stupid To Live and I want to find that red button! Must stop humanity's slide into idiocy before it gets any worse!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
1. Closest red thing to you: The Compaq monogram on my keyboard.
2. Last thing to make you angry: My toddler.
3. Do you have a temper: Yes, but my naughty little boy is just about the only one that can provoke it.
4. Are you a fan of romance: No.
1. Closest orange thing to you: The cover of my husband’s old Spanish text book.
2. Do you like to burn things: Yes, but it isn’t something I indulge.
3. Dress up for Halloween: Usually not, but as it’s my husband’s favorite holiday, I’ve ended up dressing up the last few years.
4. Are you usually a warm-hearted person: Nope. I’ve been described as icy by my husband. Having kids has thawed me out a bit.
5. Do you have anything against redheaded people: I love redheads. I married one, and told him he’d better provide me with redheaded children. Baby number two is a redhead!
6. Are you usually full of energy: Only on occasion and usually not after .
1.Closest yellow thing: Benjamin’s outfit.
2. The happiest time[s] of your life: Childhood in
3. Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
4. Are you a coward: Only in certain areas.
5. Do you burn or tan: Neither. I don’t spend enough time in the sun. (If I did, I’d burn.)
1. Closest green thing to you: My shirt
2. Do you care about the environment: What Birdie said.
3. Are you jealous of anyone right now: No
4. Are you a lucky person: I’m abundantly blessed.
5. Do you always want what you can’t have: No. I occasionally want things that are difficult to obtain.
6. Do you like being outdoors: Yes. Not during the
7. Are you Irish: I’ve got Irish heritage.
1. Closest blue thing to you: My jeans.
2. Are you good at calming people down: I don’t know.
3. Do you like the sea: Yes.
4. What was the last thing that made you cry: I probably had wet eyes from a book or a movie. I try my best not to cry.
5. Are you a logical thinker: I try to be.
6. Can you sleep easily: Usually.
1. Last purple thing you saw: I looked around and saw several purple things. The last one was a colored pencil.
2. Like being treated to expensive things: No.
3. Do you like mysterious things: sometimes, but they often frustrate me.
4. Favorite type of chocolate: Mmmm, chocolate!
5. Ever met anyone in royalty: Not that I’m aware of.
6. Are you creative: I can write and draw a little, does that count?
1. Closest pink thing to you: A photo album given to me when I was a child.
2. Do you like sweet things: Yes. Huge weakness.
3. Like play-fighting: What kind of play-fighting? The kind where you pretend to fight with swords or guns or fists, or the kind where you pretend to fight with words? I used to enjoy the former.
4. Are you sensitive: Definitely insensitive.
5. Do you like music: Yes. I have a huge library of music on my computer that I play throughout the day.
1. Closest white thing to you: Paper, paper, and more paper. Used paper, blank paper, paper bound in books.
2. Would you say you’re innocent: Naïve at times.
3. Good at keeping the peace: In so far as it is within my power.
4. Do you like to play in the snow: I used to. Not sure if I would like to now.
5. Are you afraid of going to the doctor or dentist: Nope. I don’t enjoy it, though.
1. Closest black thing to you: The keys on my keyboard.
2. Ever enjoy hurting people: No. Realizing I unintentionally hurt someone tends to make me feel bad.
3. Are you sophisticated or silly: I have silly moments. They usually aren’t intentional.
4. Would you like to go to space: Yes! But I want to go without the limitations of a physical body, so I’ll have to wait on that one.
6. What is your favorite color: Black, Red and Green.
7. Does the color you wear affect your mood: Nope.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Er - this quiz needs more answers to choose from. Found via Heidi.
Seriously. I might live in my own little world, but it is not one filled with fairies, rainbows and pretty pink ponies.
They're pretty black ponies. Or blood bay. Or a nice shiney chestnut.
But never pink.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The Supreme Court ruled that the Texas statutes regarding abortion were vague and infringed on a woman's constitutional right to privacy. The statute outlawed all abortions except those procured from a licensed physician in order to save the life of the mother.
There is no constitutional right to privacy.
Norma McCovey (Jane Roe) claimed that her inability to legally terminate her pregnancy, which was not life-threatening, infringed on her 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th and 14th amendment rights.
I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
V. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
IX. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
XIV. section 1 - All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
First of all, a law prohibiting abortion is not an attempt to establish a religion, or infringing on someone's right to practice their religion. Nor does it affect free speech, the freedom of the press, peaceable assembly or petitioning.
The fourth amendment protects people from unlawful searches and siezures. The only way this could be interpreted to apply to pregnancy would be to say that the government is not allowed to find out if a woman is pregnant and then seize her unborn child.
The fifth amendment prevents people from being executed, imprisoned or deprived of property without due process of law. It also prohibits someone from being tried twice for the same offense, from having to be a witness against him or herself, and requires just compensation for property taken for public use. This amendment would be more properly applied to the unborn child than to the woman wishing to terminate her pregnancy. The child does not receive the benefit of a jury or of due process of law before being executed.
As for the ninth amendment - abortion was never a right retained by the people until the Supreme Court declared it to be so in 1973.
And now for the fourteenth amendment. First, we all know good and well that when the constitution was established abortion was not a privilege or an immunity. The state was not depriving the woman of life by not allowing her to obtain an abortion when her life wasn't threatened, nor were they depriving her of liberty, or taking her property.
Here is a question: is the embryo created from a fertilized human egg a human being? Science answers yes. It is not simply a lump of tissue, nor is it an extension of the mother's body, nor is it a rat, a chimpanzee, or a dolphin. From the earliest stages of its development the human embryo has its own unique human DNA.
Why are we willing to protect a human being from the moment of birth until the moment of death, but not prior to birth? Is it any less human just because it is not fully formed? None of us are born fully formed. It takes years for us to mature into an adult of our species.
Some people might argue that an unborn child is parasitical in nature, taking its sustenance directly from its mother's body. In response to this argument I will point out that the child, once born, still requires sustenance which it cannot obtain by itself. If I were to deny my children that sustenance I would be considered abusive and negligent and would probably have my children taken away from me.
Unwanted pregnancies are a temporary inconvenience. Death is permanent.
Now that we have determined that an unborn human being is not worthy of the same protection by law that the rest of us enjoy, what is to stop us from labeling other groups as "sub-human" and stripping them of their constitutional right to life? The elderly, retarded and disabled are all in danger of being treated the same way. (For the record, Thomas Jefferson reconciled slavery with 'all men created equal' by claiming that blacks were not human.)
Women facing an unplanned pregnancy without the means and support needed to raise a child do need options, but not at the expense of the weak and defenseless - human beings without the ability to speak for themselves. The unborn child has done nothing wrong. It has comitted no crime worthy of death. This is why I believe that the decision made by the Supreme Court in 1973 was unjust.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Another aspect of Torah law which I really like is that there were no prison sentences. Once it had been established by at least two or three witnesses that someone had committed a crime worthy of the death penalty, the execution was carried out promptly. Lesser crimes required that restitution be payed to the wronged party.
Take theft, for instance. When caught, the thief was required to give back whatever was stolen, plus extra - anywhere from double what was stolen to five times what was stolen, depending on what was stolen and whether or not (in the case of an animal) it was recovered alive. If the thief could not pay restitution, he was sold as a slave and the proceeds given to the wronged party. The thief could not be sold to anyone other than his own countrymen, and was required to be released after six years of service.
While many people believe that prisons help protect society from bad people, that belief is sadly mistaken. As Roci pointed out months ago in a post on Clarence Ray Allen, the 76 year-old man executed at the beginning of the year, prison does little to protect society from dangerous people. Allen, already serving life in prison for murder, arranged three other murders from inside prison, for which he subsequently received the death penalty.
While it is possible that a short term served in prison might scare a first-time offender straight, it is just as likely that the time will serve to leave the person with severe emotional scars that will make returning to a normal life difficult. I believe that the chance of the prison environment helping form career criminals is much greater than the chance that it will help to rehabilitate those incarcerated.
I have heard that there are many men that, once released from prison, will go out and commit another crime so that they can go back to prison. This makes perfect sense to me. While in prison, the inmate has a roof over his head and a bed to sleep in. He gets three meals a day. He gets access to television and a recreation yard; depending on the prison he may also get access to a gym, be able to attend workshops and earn a degree. The majority of this will be paid for by the tax-payers. Once he is released, the former inmate is required to find a job so that he can pay for his own living quarters, food, etc. Having been branded a felon, it will be difficult for him to find a job that pays well, at least through legal means. He is also a pariah in most social circles. Is it any wonder that many individuals, usually socially retarded and immature to begin with, choose to go back to an environment in which most of the responsibility for their well-being is taken out of their hands?
My husband works in one of the county jails, and he has compared the inmates' behavior to that of children many times. Prison does not help these people gain maturity and become responsible for their lives - it makes them perpetual children.
Placing violent criminals in confinement does not prevent them from harming other people. The deputies and civillians that assist in running the prisons, as well as the other inmates, are still in harm's way. There are also plenty of instances in which someone behind bars has arranged violent crimes to be committed by contacts on the outside. Non-violent criminals are not really a danger to society in the first place, and placing them in prison exposes them to risks and violence which their crimes did not merit. Savage beatings, homosexual rape and even murder are possibilities for anyone serving prison time. While most of the violence is likely to come at the hands of other inmates, there is certainly the chance for violence received at the hands of corrupt deputies and their superiors.
The prison environment can be psychologically damaging to the deputies as well. Deputies run the risk of becoming unable to interact normally with people outside of the police force. Being exposed to the worst society has to offer day in and day out can leave them jaded and cynical, unable to trust anyone. Obviously this can be damaging to their family relationships as well. The deputies sometimes have problems remembering that the control and watchfulness they need to exert in the prison environment are not needed in their own home. And is it any wonder that, when surrounded by people such as the man that likes to rape pregnant women, deputies begin to either turn a blind eye when other deputies get violent with the inmates, or participate in the violence themselves?
I also believe by using prison systems, our legal system has greatly contributed to the 'nanny-state' mentality of most American citizens. Instead of understanding that it is our responsibilty to protect ourselves and our property, we look to the government to do this for us. Then we get indignant when they fail to live up to our expectations and perform the way we think they should.
Although it is unlikely that I will ever see an end to the use of prisons in America, I hope that I have at least given some food for thought. Most people either take the prison system for granted or seek for ways to improve it and have probably never considered trimming it down until incarceration is only used for pre-trial detainment (or for holding beligerent drunks until they sober up). If anyone reading this has anything to add, any objections or questions, feel free to place them in the comments.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I may receive criticism from some people for saying this, but I would like to see our country return to something closer to the American West as it was being settled. Many people see that as an era of lawlessness, but I see it as an era of personal responsibility. People knew that they were taking their lives in their hands and taking quite a risk in packing up their families and heading west. There was very little to no law enforcement in the west at that time. People knew that they would be responsible for their own safety and that of their family. Men, women and even many children knew how to handle a gun and were prepared to defend themselves.
Did a lot of people die? Sure. But where on earth did we get this notion that the government and law enforcement are somehow supposed to fight tooth and nail to insure that no one dies? Death is inevitable.
Recently, I heard Vox Day use the term "observable natural selection". I like that term. Quite frankly, there are some people that just seem to be "too stupid to live". Why should the government protect these people from themselves? Honestly, why should the government be protecting ANYONE from themselves? Let people make mistakes, even if those mistakes might be fatal, for themselves and for others. Accidents happen and bad people exist and it is silly to think that adding more and more laws to our legal system is ever going to change that.
I'll put it in terms that most parents that might read this will understand. When your child is young, you look out for them. You protect them from themselves. You keep them away from the stove, water deeper than a couple of inches, sharp implements, etc. You monitor what they watch, what they read, what they listen to and whom they spend time with. But as your child gets older, you start placing the responsibility for all of that into his or her hands. Your child is not likely to be living with you for the rest of their life, and they need to learn how to make their own decisions. Do they make stupid mistakes and bad decisions? Yes! But (ideally) they learn from those mistakes. Anyone that continues to molly-coddle their child after their child is grown creates a monster. The adult child is dependent on its parents and has no idea how to run its own life. I've seen this happen, and it is not a pretty picture!
The government should not ever be treating its citizens like children. It should be treating its citizens like responsible adults, because that is what they are supposed to be.
Some of the laws I would like to see taken away include mandatory school attendance, speed limits, gun control, mandatory use of seat belts, helmets and child restraint devices.
I'm sure some of the things I've mentioned might raise a protest. Why take away the laws about child restraint devices. Why? Because the children belong to the parents and the parents should be the ones to decide whether or not their child is in a car seat. If the parent is stupid enough not to restrain their child and their child dies because of it, well there you go. I bet that parent will put any further children they have into the proper safety seats. Yes, it's sad when a child dies. Does that mean the government should be responsible for telling people how to raise their children? NO! The government should only be stepping in for extreme abuse or negligence, like when someone has been keeping their kid in a cage, or starving them, or beating them. For the record, spanking is not beating.
The same principle applies to mandatory school attendance. Someone might argue that if parents aren't forced to send their children to school, the child might not receive an education and would be cruelly held back from success. Bullshit. There are plenty of people out there that did not receive the typical childhood education, but they had the will to succeed and they sought out the knowledge they needed as an adult. Education does not equal success and happiness. There are plenty of children that are forced into going to school every day that are still going to be miserable failures. It is NOT the government's job to insure that people grow up to be a success! Tax payer money should not be used for education. Period. Bring back the days of apprenticeship. There are plenty of people that would probably be happier and more successful if they had the chance to enter a trade as a teenager instead of going through high school and college.
I would just like to take this moment to point out that it is never a government's job to protect people from themselves. It is the people's job to protect themselves from the government!
I'll probably post more on this later, but I've got to go get a shower and then head out to do laundry.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Where is the justice when a young man is sentenced to life in prison for selling drugs to someone that subsequently overdosed on them*, while a man convicted of sexual contact with a twelve-year-old escapes prison because the he is too short?
Where is justice when three young men are being prosecuted for a rape of which they were accused but which there is no evidence for, while at least one witness has already poked holes in the accuser's story?
Where is the justice when a young man is given the death penalty for a crime, based solely on flimsy circumstantial evidence and another young man's sketchy (and later retracted) confession/accusation? The West Memphis 3
Where is the justice when the Supreme Court opens the door for women to declare "my body, my choice", even though science proves that the body being torn limb from limb, poisoned, or being stabbed in the head to remove its brains is, in fact, not the woman's body at all? Abortion Methods
In our legal system, men receive the shaft when going through a divorce, rarely being awarded custody of the children they are expected to continue paying to support.
Girls, age 12 to 16 are the most protected bracket in America. If they use a false ID to obtain access to an 18+ club and subsequently have sexual contact with a man met at that club, that man, if caught and convicted, becomes branded a sexual predator for life. Never mind if he had no idea that his consensual partner was underage.
People growing marijuana have their doors beaten down by the police, while violent criminals are routinely released back into society.
Here in my own city, thousands of tax-payer dollars are spent performing stings in adult clubs, supposedly to insure that our 'six-foot rule' is enforced, the one that prohibits the men and nude dancers from getting within six-feet of each other. Never mind that all of this is taking place behind closed doors between consenting adults.
So, these are some examples of why I believe our justice system is no longer very just. Next, I'll cover my views on capital punishment. After that, I'll tackle prisons - provided I have enough time.
*I used to go to church with this man and his family, which is how I found out about it.
Update: My second post shows up underneath this one. Probably because I started it first, but finished it after this one.
Of course, G-d also did not have varying degrees of murder. There was no murder one or murder two. There was only murder and manslaughter, and manslaughter was only instances where a death was caused entirely by accident - for a modern day example, someone that strikes and kills someone that steps out in front of their car. In G-d's law, if someone got in a fight with someone else and killed them, even if that had not been their intention, it was still murder because it was brought about by intentionally violent actions, and thus merited the death penalty.
This leads me to vigilantism. I used to be a big fan of vigilantism. While I still love the movie Boondock Saints and Batman is still my favorite superhero, I no longer find myself in support of vigilantism. This change was also partly based on my reading of Torah law. Torah law gave out the death penalty for several different crimes. Most of the time, the death penalty was required to be carried out by the convicted offender's entire village - public stoning. Only in the case of murder was the punishment turned over to the victim's family. They designated a "blood avenger" whose task it was to take the life of the perpetrator and see that justice was done. This is the closest the Torah ever comes to vigilantism. Even here, however, we find that justice was tempered with compassion. In the event of a manslaughter, the manslayer could flee to a designated city of refuge, where his case would be brought to trial. If he was found to have killed the person unintentionally, and not through any malicious action on his part, then he was set free, though required to remain in the city of refuge until the death of the current high priest. If the manslayer set foot outside the city before the death of the high priest, and the blood avenger found him, then the blood avenger had the legal right to dispatch the manslayer right then and there. Provided this did not happen, upon the death of the current high priest the manslayer was free to return to his home unmolested.
In addition to the Torah law, I did have the realization that it is far too easy for one person's judgement to be clouded, or for their actions to be based on flawed information. Therefore, while I still truly enjoy reading Batman's adventures, I would not be able to support a Batman-esque crusade in real life.
Now, my friend Pat had asked in the comments of my Various & Sundry Items post if I had ever seen a man die. I have not. But I truly believe that, while I would be profoundly affected, I could personally end the life of anyone that had maliciously murdered one of my family. I'm also reasonably certain that I would be at peace about that decision afterward. I would be capable of doing the same to anyone that raped or otherwise sexually molested my children. Of course, if I were (G-d forbid) to be faced with either of those situations, I know that I would probably not choose to take the life of the perpetrator, simply because in our current legal system I would probably go to jail for it, and I wouldn't want to be taken away from my children.
So, while I sympathize with vigilantes, I no longer support their actions. I do still wholly support the death penalty; I no longer support convicting people of murder based solely on circumstantial evidence. However, in a case where at least two witnesses have testified to a person's guilt, I believe that the penalty should be death and that it should be carried out swiftly. No sitting around in prison for years, with a warm bed and three meals a day provided by the tax-payers, while the victim's body is rotting away in the ground. In my belief that people that rape little children should also receive the death penalty, I apply the same standards.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The weather has been glorious here. What passes for "cold" weather in Florida has arrived. The heat and humidity during our extra-long summer leaves me feeling sluggish and irritable, so when fall finally arrives I feel like I've come out of hibernation. Suddenly I have energy again and want to accomplish things and go places!
I was musing the other day and came to the realization that it's a good thing that stage fright exists, otherwise we might have more politicians.
I read an article about how Iowa is trying to enact tougher standards for where convicted child molesters can live. Critics claim that it puts a high concentration of child molesters in a smaller area, and simply leads to missing and homeless offenders, making it harder for the system to keep track of them. They also say that it won't have much impact on the amount of child rapes and molestation, since 90% of incidents come from someone the child already knows and interacts with. I have no doubt that is true, so I offer this solution... shoot the bastards! Oh for days long past, before the long arm of the law became writhing tentacles, entangling law-abiding citizens and protecting the corrupt and evil.
Well, although our poor Oldsmobile went the way of the salvage yard recently, we were blessed with a good deal on a 97 Saturn two days later. It has a few minor problems, but seems like a decent little car. It is also more fun to drive than the Olds, which was very sluggish. It also looks a more respectable. The Olds had become quite disreputable, reminding me of an old, grumpy man that no longer cares what people think of him, and dresses and behaves accordingly.
Speaking of cars - I have to curb my urge to speed. On the interstate, I'll travel up to 15 miles over the speed limit, but off the interstate I keep it to 5-10 over, depending on the location. My husband teases me about this, and quite clearly expects that I will one day be pulled over for speeding. He, on the other hand, already drives like an 80 year old man. He'll be the one going 5 miles under the speed limit, with a long line of frustrated drivers behind him. This is because he slows down as he either gets lost in thought, or starts a conversation with his passenger(s). The other day, I got my chance to poke fun at him, because he got pulled over for going 20 miles over the speed limit! For once, being lost in thought had the opposite effect. Luckily for him, he works for the county sheriff's office, and they don't bother to ticket their own.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Dental Hygienist - 0
A week after Benjamin was born I went in for a dental appointment; my first since I was eight or nine years old. To my pleased surprise, the dentist informed me that I had good sound teeth and no cavities. I just needed to go to an oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth removed and have a good cleaning, the latter of which the office's dental hygienist could provide. They have three levels of cleaning, a light one for maintainance, a medium for people with some infection and inflamation, and a deep cleaning for people that have more serious problems with their teeth and gums.
My husband had also had an appointment; he was told he would only need the light cleaning, while I would need the mid-level cleaning. So we each scheduled our appointments for the one day during the week in which the dental hygienist is present. My husband went first, but arrived back home shortly afterwards, having told me the dental hygienist had complained that his gums were bleeding too much and that he needed the mid-level cleaning. His private opinion was that his gums were only bleeding because of how rough she was, a problem he had not had with past cleanings. (His dental appointments have been more frequent than mine!) He wanted her to continue with the light cleaning, because he could always come back later if needed. To make a long story shorter, after some mutual antagonism, my husband decided to take his business elsewhere.
I really wanted the cleaning, and I had liked the dentist and his assistants, so I decided I would go anyway and see how things turned out. Well, one look at the dental hygienist's face and I could tell why my husband had not gotten along with her - she had the sour face of a bitter woman. It is my guess that her bitterness is probably aimed more towards men, because she treated me politely. She went ahead and performed the mid-level cleaning, but she was agitated by the state of my gums and said that she was going to recommend that the deeper cleaning be performed.
Today, I had my follow-up visit with the dentist. Fortunately, it was not the dental hygienist's day to be in the office. He checked my gums and said that they were improving and that it was unlikely that I would need a deeper cleaning. My only real problem areas are the wisdom teeth, and the inflamation and tendency towards infection will clear up once they are removed.
The dental hygienist must try to bully the dentist and his staff, because the dentist sounded vaguely irritated when speaking of her recommendation. Then, when his assistant took me to the counter to sign out, she wanted to know if I would go ahead and set up the appointment now, even though it wouldn't be for at least three months, because otherwise the dental hygienist... and here she rolled her eyes heavenward and waved her hands, which I took as an indication that the hygienist would have a fit. Amused, but willing to spare them that trial, I scheduled my appointment.
Then, after leaving it occurred to me - I win! No deep cleaning for me!
Thursday, November 02, 2006
...is a cool guy. Thanks to an e-mail forward, I discovered his website, which contains the knowledge and common sense so sadly lacking in our country these days. From Stuff Ben Wrote:
It is earnings season, when big companies report their last quarter’s earnings to the public. Wall Street predictions are that the big oil companies are going to report larger than usual profits this quarter, as they did last quarter, and thus we can predict something else. In editorials and on Capitol Hill, there will be cries to have new taxes on the oil companies. Oil company executives will be lambasted in hearings and the witch hunt will be on.
I don’t get it. Why are we angry at the oil companies? Is it because of high gas and heating oil prices ? But wait: The oil companies don’t set the world price of oil. That’s set in trading rooms in banking houses in New York and London and Hong Kong by young guys who make zillions each year. There is absolutely no evidence that the oil companies are colluding to fix prices at artificially high levels. Those prices are set, again, by traders with Ferraris, not by John D. Rockefeller, who has been dead for many years.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
And is there anything quite as irritating as a toddler whining and crying when they are not getting their way?
This guy has the funniest blog-roll I've ever seen... especially since I read many of the blogs in question and know who he's talking about!
Stupid Halloween - I hate being home on Halloween night. I have three options - give in to the demands of the little trickers, hide inside my apartment with all the lights off so they think that no one is home, or risk having my apartment egged or otherwise harrassed because they can see that someone is home but not answering the door. I bought a big bag of candy. >:-( If I'm real lucky, this apartment complex doesn't get many trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, as it's a sprawling complex with at least 600 apartments in a decent area of town, that's unlikely to happen!
Oddly enough, although I heard what sounded like trick-or-treaters knocking on my neighbors' doors, no-one ever knocked on mine. Which is fortunate, because I realized (after I bought the giant bag of candy, of course) that it would be awfully hard to be opening the door and dispensing candy while trying to feed, bathe, and put my toddler to bed, as well as nursing the baby!
*This is a shameless knock-off of Pablo's random thought posts.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The young man passed away Thursday evening. Thank you for the prayers, everyone. I can't imagine anything more painful for a parent than losing a child.
I'd like to be climbing hills covered in trees sporting their fall foliage, or following a stream's meandering course - or even simply walking along the beach, staring out to the horizon and thinking wistfully of all the lands the ocean touches, where I would someday like to visit.
Despite living in Florida, even that last option is not easily available to me, with a new baby and an active toddler that need to go where I go. So instead my wanderlust turns to a desire to visit used-book stores and thrift stores, where I can browse in search of the books I read and loved as a child; back when I still had places to explore, before the world shrank to the size of several crowded, dirty cities strung so close together around the crescent of the Tampa and Hillsborough bays that you can only tell when you leave one and enter another by the road signs proclaiming it to be so.
I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel, feel what its like to be new
Cause in my head there's a greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
So they may have a chance of finding a place
Where they're far more suited than here
I cannot guess what we'll discover
We turn the dirt with our palms cupped like shovels
But I know our filthy hands can wash one another's
And not one speck will remain
I do believe it's true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
If the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too
So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause you're the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body
I do believe it's true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
If the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too
So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause you're the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
Death Cab for Cutie "Soul Meets Body"
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
If it were legal to do so, I would put a bullet in his head myself. This is the kind of person that public stoning needs to be brought back for.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Benjamin is doing quite well - and so far, he's a fairly calm, quiet baby. I'm sure that will change once he gets old enough to be sleeping less, but right now it's certainly nice!
Thank you, everyone that stopped by and wished us well - it certainly meant a lot to me. I'd especially like to thank Birdie and Beth for stopping by to comment.
Well - I had thought of several things I wanted to write about once I returned from my week of exile, but of course I can't remember them now!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Benjamin is doing fine. Seems to be quite healthy and surprisingly quiet and placid (that will change when he gets older!) He was born at 6:51 EST Friday night - just in time for first day of the Jewish Feast of Booths. Well, I'd really like to make this a longer post, but I'm supposed to be spending most of this next week in bed. Oh well! Guess it's just a time to catch up on any books or movies we have that I haven't read or watched yet.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
We've tried spicy food, taking a walk, and the 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge - you know what gets labor started!' method suggested to me by my mom and step-dad, and to my husband by a couple of his co-workers. None of it worked! I'll now be taking a tincture procured from the birth center which is supposed to encourage labor, and if that fails, the castor oil method. (I hear castor oil tastes disgusting.) No hospital induction for me, though - I've heard what they put in their concoction and it's disgusting. The only reason I'm going to as much effort as I am to get labor started is because Florida has silly laws about not allowing a woman to deliver at a free-standing birth center if she's gone past her due date by a certain amount.
Well, hopefully the next time I update my blog it will be with news of the baby's arrival. =)
Thursday, September 28, 2006
At one point, after our son was born, our marriage hit the rocks - neither of us were sure if it would survive or not. I knew that I needed to try and focus on the positive aspects of my husband, but all I could see were his faults.
My mother told me that men need to see that they are respected - but at the time, I saw nothing in my husband that I could respect. So I prayed to G-d and asked Him to show me what there was to respect. Over time, our marriage began to knit back together. Now, I see that my prayers of over two years ago are still being answered.
I've had the pleasure of seeing my husband develop a good work ethic, which once involved him biking to a job, five miles there and five miles back. The man that once seemed to put his social activities above almost everything else in his life has now put them on the back burner in order to go back to college while working full-time. He's paid off his debts and improved his credit, and we now have a growing savings account, which will in time go towards the down-payment on a house. He runs his larger fiscal choices past me, and actually takes what I say under consideration when making his decisions. He's an excellent father, and it is one of the biggest pleasures in my life to see him spending time with our son, something he goes out of his way to do, despite a busy schedule that includes working the night-shift. His parenting skills make me realize that my own could use some work. I've also come to appreciate him much more in his role as husband. I can tell that I really mean something to him and that he loves me. I no longer feel taken-for-granted, and get to see many instances of his kindness and consideration towards me. There is even more than what I have mentioned here, but I think you get the idea...
It surprises me, sometimes, to realize that in the space of two years I have gone from believing myself married to an irresponsible jerk, to counting myself greatly blessed to be the wife of a man who really is a man. I know that this change is not all due to my husband, though - it's also due to the changes in my own attitude which G-d has helped work in me. I just hope that as time passes he will continue to find reasons to appreciate me, the way I have been finding more reasons to appreciate him!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I think G-d must have enjoyed designing the stonefish.
The Reef Stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world. It has thirteen stout spines in the dorsal fin which can inject a highly toxic venom. The venom causes intense pain and is believed to have killed many Pacific and Indian Ocean islanders. No deaths have been recorded in Australia since European arrival (Underhill, 1987). An antivenom developed in 1959 further reduces the likelihood of death. Despite this, many people suffer the agony of a sting every year. Very hot water (not scalding) can be used to relieve the pain, but medical treatment should be sought.
The Reef Stonefish eats fishes and crustacea. It usually waits for prey to swim past, and then strikes with incredible speed. High speed camera equipment is required to record the feeding of this species.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Meet the world's largest known living reptile, the saltwater crocodile.
Hatchlings contain a good yolk supply, on which they can survive for days and even weeks if necessary, although they have sharp teeth and will begin feeding almost immediately. Juveniles take a wide variety of small prey items such as insects, other arthropods, crustaceans and small fish. Larger animals take bigger versions of these prey items, plus amphibians, reptiles, birds and small mammals. Very large animals will take almost anything including dingos, wallabies, shore birds, other crocodiles, large reptiles, domestic animals, cattle and even people. They will also eat carrion, being attracted from some distance to reach it (even out of water). Smaller animals tend not eat carrion, however, which can rot in their guts before they have chance to digest it. Teeth are designed for holding rather than cutting, but they help to penetrate and crush the prey within the incredibly powerful jaws. Larger prey are broken into smaller pieces either by a violent flick of the head, or a twisting / rolling action of the body (if the prey is secured or held down by its own weight). Swallowing must occur above the water surface, or water will flood the lungs and the crocodile may drown. Normally, a fleshy "palatal" valve at the back of the throat prevents this from happening when the head is submerged. The typical crocodilian feeding strategy is to wait close to the water's edge and pounce upon prey which ventures too close. Larger animals will actively follow and move towards potential prey items, but in most cases the animal doesn't reveal itself until just before the attack. Stones and pebbles are often ingested to aid digestion - crushing food by a grinding action within the gizzard of the stomach. Stones also act as a ballast, which is important in maintaining bouyancy.
Fatalities are very uncommon - there have been only 7 deaths in 27 years of protection in the Northern Territory, and 14 throughout Australia. In most cases, the victim was swimming. In virtually all cases, death could have been avoided with correct education. The low incidence of attacks is due to the fact that most people in Australia are well educated about crocodiles.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Our next subject is certainly not as pretty as the other two, though certainly more well-known!
The great white shark, one of the most well-known predators in the world.
Given this animal's reputation, I was a little surprised to find that there have only been 64 recorded deaths caused by great whites worldwide since 1876. Recorded non-fatal attacks number 212.
Australia holds the dubious honor of the most fatalities per attack. 37 attacks, 27 fatalities.
It would seem that the reputation of the Australian great white is not wholly undeserved! Apparently, that's where all the big sharks like to hang out.
Friday, September 08, 2006
This installment comes courtesy of Morris. Until he brought it to my attention, I had no idea this nifty little animal existed.
Blue Ring Octopus
With a beak that can penetrate a wet-suit, they are one little cute creature to definitely look at BUT Don't touch.
The bite might be painless, but this octopus injects a neuromuscular paralysing venom. The venom contains some maculotoxin, a poison more violent than any found on land animals. The nerve conduction is blocked and neuromuscular paralysis is followed by death. The victim might be saved if artificial respiration starts before marked cyanosis and hypotension develops. The blue-ringed octopus is the size of a golf ball but its poison is powerful enough to kill an adult human in minutes. There's no known antidote. The only treatment is hours of heart massage and artificial respiration until the poison has worked its way out of your system.
The venom contains tetrodotoxin, which blocks sodium channels and causes motor paralysis and occasionally respiratory failure. Though with fixed dilated pupils, the senses of the patients are often intact. The victims are aware but unable to respond.
Although the painless bite can kill an adult, injuries have only occurred when an octopus has been picked out of its pool and provoked or stepped on.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
My previous post on Australian wildlife was largely facetious, but I must assure Morris that the reputation of his native wildlife stems more from scientific fact than from the embellishment of his fellow Australians. Australia truly does have a rare collection of some of the most deadly creatures to be found anywhere in the world, though the actual danger posed to the population is fairly slight.
I thought I'd offer a glimpse of some of Australia's dangerous wildlife, beginning with the box jellyfish.
Box jellyfish is considered the most venomous marine creature. It can kill more people than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
The body of a sea wasp can weight as much as 2 kg. The tentacles are armed with up to 5,000 nematocysts, or stinging cells. Certain chemicals on the surface of fish, shellfish and humans activate these. Contact with only 3 m of tentacles may be fatal for an adult. There are many (about 70) reported deaths that have occurred in northern Australia between November and April.
It has a certain ethereal beauty, though, doesn't it?
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Great white sharks, salt-water crocodiles, deadly jellyfish, poisonous sea snakes, poisonous fish - and now giant stingrays capable of stabbing a man through the heart.
Not that you're much safer on land - some of the world's most poisonous snakes, spiders - and even that giant attack bird, the Cassowary.
It's a wonder any of you Aussies survive leaving the house. =P
Saturday, September 02, 2006
The universe does not want our car to look remotely respectable. After I finally got around to cleaning out all the trash and vacuuming the interior, the liner fell down and coated everything with yellow fuzz, then my husband got stuck in the mud and tracked a bunch of dirt in, then later spilled stuff on the upholstery. I have to admit, feeling like white trash because of the state of your vehicle hurts one's pride just a bit. At least I've got it cleaned up again, though the liner is only loosely tacked back into place and the outside is still mucky. Being eight months pregnant, now, I'm not going to wash the vehicle myself, and I'm pretty sure my husband has decided he's not going to wash the car himself, instead waiting until our son is old enough to do it. =P
Speaking of my husband, he'll be gone all weekend at Dragoncon with friends. I won't go into an explanation of what Dragoncon is, it'll suffice to say that it will be a very large amount of geeks collected into one spot. Feeling a bit lonely knowing I won't see him until Monday afternoon, but fortunately I'm not the kind to get overly emotional about short separations.
In a half hour to forty-five minutes I'll be heading out with the rugrat to go visit the in-laws. In a way, I'd rather stay home, but I know they get lonely too, and my son does love visiting his grandparents.
I'll have to call my sister (the one that still lives in Florida) and find out if there are any family plans for Labor Day. They're usually not very good about remembering to tell me - they just take it for granted that somehow or other I'll hear about it. I can't fault them for this, it's a family trait which I have a large share in myself.
Less than four weeks until my due date, now - frankly, I hope this baby decides to come a week or two early. I'm tired of feeling like I've got a large bowling ball strapped around my middle!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
These are some of the most atrocious names I have ever seen!
From Nicholas Cage and wife Alice:
From Frank Zappa and wife Gail:
From Bruce Willis and Demi Moore:
(The first two I would find more acceptable if they hadn't been given to girls!)
Talullah Belle (that one makes me fall over laughing!)
From Paul Geldof and Paula Yates:
Also from Paula Yates, with Michael Hutchence:
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (clearly, this woman thought she was naming lap dogs, not children)
From Erykah Badu (real name, Erica Wright):
From Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell:
From David Bowie and wife Angie:
Zowie Bowie (This child quite sensibly changed his name to Duncan Jones upon reaching adulthood)
Penn Jillette and wife Emily:
Pretty special, eh?
All information obtained from this article, located on the MSN homepage.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Now, of course, I can't remember any of the topics which I had planned on writing about!
Oh well - I suppose I'll think of something later.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Two weeks ago the birthing center I'm going through for pre-natal care put me on an iron supplement. I'm amazed at the difference it makes - I haven't had this kind of energy (on a consistent basis) in years. I should probably have started taking an iron supplement nearly a decade ago.
Prior to starting the supplement, I had an extremely hard time waking up in the morning. I would generally be sprawled out in a chair, or on the floor with a pillow, dozing off and on while my son jumped all over me and tried to get me to play with him. Between 11-12 I'd get enough energy to get dressed and begin the day. Even then, I wouldn't get much done. Most of my time was spent putzing around on the computer.
Now, I'm usually up and dressed between 8-9. Then, I actually get things accomplished, whether it be running errands or cleaning. I still get a bit fatigued in the afternoon, but that's normal even for people with healthy iron levels, so I can't complain.
I'm also surprised by what an impact the added energy has on my mood. Apparently the apathetic attitude that stayed with me for months at a time was in large part due to my physical condition. Of course, I really didn't think I was unhealthy, so I thought that attitude had just become a part of life for me. It sure is nice to know that is not the case! Going through life on a semi-permanent plateau gets dreary. Everything gets very dusty.
My husband is also starting to see the benefit of iron supplements. My libido has been very low since my first pregnancy began three years ago. Now, it's showing signs of making a come-back, which should help put his mind at ease. "I'm tired" seems like a trumped up excuse for avoiding intimacy, but I really was quite fatigued on a regular basis. (Anyone that has gone beyond tired to truly weary should understand that any physical exertion is not a pleasant prospect at that point.) I told him that I thought it was probably a physical problem, but man-like, he was skeptical. I sure wish I'd known it was something as simple as an iron deficiency! (Bet he does, too.)
Anyway, I'm truly thanking G-d for the help something this simple has given me!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I'll admit, I find that first assertion to be irritating. I don't fear the government. At all. I dislike and distrust the government, and I treat it with caution, the same way I treat a hot stove with caution, or would treat someone inexperienced wielding power tools. Recognizing that something can harm you and fearing that harm are two entirely different things.
Over the last few years, I've come to take a fairly Libertarian political stance. The less the government interferes in our daily lives, the better. I don't like a nosy, meddling government any more than I like a nosy, meddling neighbor. The more ways the government finds to harrass the citizens of this country, the more annoying I find it. I'm a grown adult. I don't need the government telling me to wear a seatbelt, wear a helmet, have prenatal care, have no more than two people per bedroom when renting an apartment, or that I have to wait three days to purchase a gun. (I'm willing to bet, Roci, that you would be pretty indignant if your mother called you up every night to tell you to brush your teeth and change your underwear.)
As for end-times Christian persecution - I admit, I do believe that Christians world-wide are going to experience severe persecution sometime within my lifetime. I also believe that this persecution will be part of events prophesied in Revelation. However, I do not believe that these are 'end time' events, as I fully expect, after Armageddon is out of the way, to have a thousand years of peace under the rule of our Messiah. (I also do not believe in the Rapture, but I suppose that's a discussion for another day.)
I don't live in fear of this persecution occuring, though my flesh is certainly weak and doesn't relish the prospect of exchanging an easy, comfortable life for suffering and deprivation. I must apologize if my writing bespeaks fearfulness, because that is definitely not the spirit in which I write. I fear my own failings far more than I fear anything that can happen to me!
Correction: I do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
"The potential privacy invasion ... makes me nervous," says Richard Wright, a member of the Massachusetts ACLU board.
Although I hate to do so, I have to agree with the ACLU on this one.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
First, the leasing agent that was handling our application went on vacation and did not turn over the paperwork to someone else to finish. After calling up to find out our status, and turning in some additional paperwork, we finally signed the lease at 4pm on the day that we were wanting to move. My husband rented a truck, and with the help of a couple of friends, managed to move most of our stuff that night - though he wasn't finished until 5-6 in the morning.
Then, he had to work all weekend, which mean that the only time he had at home was needed for sleeping. That left me to go back to our old place, finish packing and loading what remained of our stuff, and clean in the few hours I had before having to return home so my husband would have the car for work. I didn't finish until Monday. It might have gone faster, but being six months pregnant, I could only carry small amounts at a time, and thus it took me a while to get anything accomplished.
Tuesday, our (former) housemate had her wedding. Wednesday, the internet service (and thus our phone) was turned on, after which I rented a car and drive over a hundred miles in order to visit two of my sisters - one of whom had rented a vacation house for a week to celebrate her 30th birthday, the other of whom had flown in from Texas (she's in the army and will be leaving for a second year in Iraq at the end of summer).
Today, I drove back, meeting my husband at the car rental place so I could drive him to work, so I would have our car to get home with.
Tomorrow, I have to be at the hospital at 6 o'clock in the morning, because my son is being circumcised at 7:30. Mind you, when the urologist's office called with the original appointment, it was for 10 o'clock, so I'm not sure how or when it got switched to 7:30am. Ugh. I had wanted my husband to be there, as I'd feel more comfortable, but he'll be at work.
I'm hoping that by next week, I'll actually have some time (and energy) to unpack! I'm living in a sea of boxes right now.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Then after two days of restored service, it was out again - this time, after the guy crawled through the attic, the upstairs crawlspace, and ran multiple diagnostics from different points along the line, he finally figured out that the cable was going bad and would have to be replaced.
The fastest they could schedule a replacement cable was one week later!
Ugh. At least the symptoms of internet withdrawel aren't that bad - boredom and mild irritability.
Anyway, just wanted to let people know why I suddenly dropped off the face of the internet - if anyone had even noticed yet. =D
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Window Washer Faces Jail for Killing Seagull
1) It's a seagull
2) It's a seagull
3) It's a SEAGULL!
What kind of CRAP is this? This man faces jail for killing a seagull, while a pedophile escapes jail because he's only 5'1"...
“My whole floor, as every other floor from my company, was banging on the glass and screaming,” Sarah said. “He started batting at them up in the sky intentionally and then beat the mother bird down totally dead to the ground.”
Somehow, I bet this woman would not have been screaming, crying and banging on the window had the man in question been killing a rat* with a lead pipe. I'm also betting that what really whipped her into a frenzy of self-righteous outrage was the crotch-grabbing and bird-flipping that followed.
Personally, I think it's insane that this man was even arrested. I don't condone animal cruelty, but a situation like this is simply not one that the law needs to be involved in - especially when there are far more important crimes that need to be prosecuted. That's the government for you - always finding new and outrageous ways to waste the tax-payer's money.
*Seagulls are practically rats with wings anyway, in my opinion. At least rats have never snatched food right out of my hands...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
He took this picture himself, along with a handful of others, prior to being caught and having the digital camera taken away from him!
Now that I've discovered how easy it is to include pictures in my post, I shall have to do this more frequently. I'll wait on a better picture of my son, though, until I've gone through the digital photos and cleaned up the red-eye. Otherwise, he'll look too much like a demon-child. =D
Ah well - at least my husband and I had already had plans for the weekend, so instead of sitting around twiddling our thumbs and wishing we had access to our favorite toy, we spent Saturday and Sunday with friends.
Okay, enough rambling for now, hope everyone had a good weekend. =)
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I'm usually not able to think of anything - but I sure as heck will have a story to tell after last night.
I went to bed around midnight. Sometime late at night/early in the morning, my husband came to bed, which woke me up from a pretty sound sleep. Having reached the discomfitting stage of needing to empty my bladder more often, I got up and went to use the bathroom, afterwards heading downstairs to get a drink of water. I sleep naked, and this was the state I was in when I went downstairs, believing it to be only myself, my husband and my son in the house. I had opened the fridge door and was pouring myself a glass of water when I looked out into the living room and realized there was someone lying down on the futon.
My husband had neglected to tell me that one of our friends was staying the night. This friend does spend the night on our couch every now and then, as he lives over an hour away and sometimes needs a place to crash when he is in town visiting us or mutual friends. My husband, man-like, assumed I would somehow know that he was spending the night last night, even though the friend in question doesn't spend the night every weekend, and didn't call until after I'd gone to bed. (And I was certainly sleeping to soundly to have heard him arrive.)
I can only hope that he was soundly asleep by the time I wandered past in nothing but my birthday suit! Now whenever I see that friend today (he's still asleep downstairs) I'm going to be struggling very hard not to turn beet red!
*Bet that title got your attention. Words like "nudity" just seem to scream for attention, don't they?
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I lost my poor meatball,
when somebody sneezed!
It rolled off the table,
and onto the floor,
and then my poor meatball
rolled out of the door.
It rolled on the sidewalk,
and onto the street,
and then my poor meatball
was trampled by feet!
That is one of many "Silly Songs" which I, my sisters, and our psuedo-sis Lisa collected during the course of our younger years. We serenaded our family and friends with those songs for many years - we would probably still sing those songs, were we ever together to do so!
I haven't been posting anything lately because life has simply been too calm and placid. I haven't felt riled enough to rant over anything, nor have I been inspired to enthuse about a particular subject. Every now and then I get a weak inclination for posting something, but if ignored for a few minutes the feeling usually goes away. (Which should be easy to tell from the lack of activity!)
I've been very lazy offline as well, for the most part, though I am getting ever-so-slightly better with the housework, which I neglected while suffering from morning sickness. Of course, I really need to get my lazy rear in gear, because we're supposed to be moving in a month. It looks like we have hopefully found an apartment of the right size close to my husband's work, we're just waiting for the leasing office to let us know if our applications were accepted.
I need to get ahold of some empty boxes, so that I no longer have an excuse for putting off packing. I don't want to be down to the wire and scrambling to get things done - even though that is what commonly happens. =) It runs in the family!