Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I understand that we are not the most pleasant neighbors to live next to - if you care about appearance, that is. Our lawn is almost always overgrown and weedy and we have some construction materials stacked on our carport and against one wall, related to various DIY projects.

Even so we have done nothing, beyond an overgrown yard, to merit having code enforcement rammed down our throat. Apparently one or more of our neighbors are that most vile of creatures - a busybody. This morning I heard a knock on our door. It was the lady from code enforcement. I politely accepted the paperwork she had for me and took it inside to read it.

We were charged with the following violation (spelling and grammar preserved - my inner editor is peeved at being served papers with obvious errors):

Overgrown vegetation, trash & debris. Property presents a Serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare. Complaints of snakes. Rats, have increased because of the condition of this property.

I just about went through the roof. I was so angry that I did something just about unheard of from me - I called the lady from code enforcement and told her we most certainly did NOT have rats. We always keep our trash in the appropriate bin issued by the city. We do not have any fruit trees. We do not have anything in our yard that would attract rats. She did not want to hear what I had to say and instead made a snippy comment to the effect of "oh, well, if you guys don't want to keep your lawn mowed..."

Since she was unhelpful, and I was still seriously steamed, I called up city hall and asked for her supervisor. She was polite and sympathetic, at least, and not at all snippy - though not necessarily overly helpful either, bureaucrats seldom are. I'll have to call her back though, because after I talked to my husband he said I should obtain a copy of the corrected paperwork, either with the sentence about rats removed or properly noted that we have disputed that charge.

Ugh. Still steamed.

Update: I have been advised that if we feel the paperwork needs to be updated that we will need to speak to an attorney, because Vanessa, the code enforcement lady's supervisor, cannot (will not?) update code enforcement paperwork once it has been filed with the city - even if the paperwork in question included unfounded statements.

"So you can say that we have rats, but you can't say that we don't have rats?"

"I can't say anything..."

Bureaucrats, indeed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Glass Houses

As a child I once built a lego house whose walls consisted of windows. As I admired my handiwork I realized that I would very much like to have a real glass room. I envisioned it as being glass almost floor-to-ceiling, but lined with low, cushioned benches that were also bookshelves. It would be set out in a pretty field somewhere and I would sit inside on rainy days and enjoy watching the storms. I've had that image in my head for somewhere around twenty years now and find it as appealing as ever. So, while I do not as a general rule appreciate modern architecture, I like the look of these houses.

This just makes me giggle. I don't watch or listen to Beck's show, and so know little about the man and what he is like, but I'm definitely getting a kick out of how much of a knot he's put in the knickers of the left.
Something marvelous has happened.

It's August in Florida and it's under 90 degrees outside!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Excerpts from 40 Years of Scotland Yard:

It is not good for the service when an officer is afraid to use initiative or accept responsibility. I believe that I was considered a disciplinarian and, indeed, I never feared plain speaking. There are slips that must be dealt with by a heavy hand. But official nagging never appealed to me. I have seen the hearts of too many promising men broken by petty routine. It is one thing to deal with a man direct--to tell him straight that he has been a fool; it is another to put on paper some portentous reprimand that will hang to his official record for twenty or thirty years.


In the end, every bit of evidence has to be proved by the spoken word of some witness--even a document or a bloodstain has to be sworn to. Human nature being what it is, witnesses will sometimes make mistakes, or consciously or unconsciously distort the truth. No witness is infallible, although there is a tendency among some people to think that a certain type of scientific evidence cannot be doubted. In fact, experts are no more immune from mistakes than other folk. I would much sooner accept the word of an intelligent and disinterested man in the street when he says that at a particular time and place a definite event occurred than that of a gentleman who asserts opinions and theories as if they were unchallengeable facts.


I have been often asked whether I made a point of carrying arms when likely to run across dangerous or violent criminals. In fact, I never worried about it, and even at the siege of Sidney Street I was unarmed. On occasions, when I have known colleagues of mine to be carrying pistols, I have, I honestly believe, been more scared of them than of any criminal. From a police point of view I think it is a mistake to carry any lethal weapon. It needs a very nice judgment to hit upon the exact moment when one would be justified in using a gun. In this country an officer would only be entitled to shoot when his life was in imminent danger. To pull the trigger a moment too early, or because of some misunderstanding, would almost certainly bring about a charge of manslaughter.


The truth is, it has been realized that vindictive punishments are not, as a rule, effective deterrents. Not quite as well appreciated is the fact that the only way to stamp out crime is to impress the criminal with the certainty that he will be caught and punished--within limits the amount of punishment does not matter.


I enjoyed this book immensely. It was very refreshing to read the memoirs of a man from an era preceding the blight of feminism and political correctness. Not that Mr. Wensley was offensive - quite the opposite. A hard-working man of courage and intelligence but also honest, scrupled and respectful of others. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that can manage to procure a copy.

Oh, and lest there should be any confusion, the majority of the memoirs were simply cases he worked on and the people he worked with - the philosophical musings, such as the ones I quoted, were a minor aspect but important in what they reveal of Mr. Wensley's character.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It was a busier Saturday than usual for us. My husband will be on day shift for the upcoming week, so he is working on readjusting his sleeping schedule now. In order to keep himself busy and awake we set out on errands - first to obtain a marble slab. For some reason our largely unassuming 70's cement block home has marble window sills, and one of them is broken and needs to be replaced as we replace the window as well.

After that it was off to the SPCA, as we now have a privacy fence around our back yard and the boys have been asking about a dog. This was our second time going and it seemed that they had more animals of a promising nature this time around. We found a two month old lab/golden retriever mix named Dexter with a very winning personality. He seemed to like us, we liked him, and so we filled out the paperwork and were told we would have to talk to an 'adoption counselor' before everything could be finalized. So, as they were rather busy, we waited at least a half hour, while the boys were as good as gold and happy with the prospect of finally getting a puppy.

Lo and behold, the adoption counselor tells us that we cannot have the puppy if we intend to keep him outdoors. Apparently the health risk to the dog is greater if they're kept outdoors before six months of age. Okay - well, we can keep him indoors for a few months and then move him outdoors. It's not ideal, but we can make do. At which point, said counselor informs us that to get a puppy used to being indoors in air conditioning and then sending him outside would be cruel.

This was obnoxious. My husband was immediately set on edge by her attitude but we asked to have a moment to ourselves and discussed the issue. We could always simply agree to their terms and then do what we wanted once we had the puppy at home with us - but neither of us wanted to set that kind of example for our children. Telling them not to lie or practice deception and then turning around and doing it ourselves was not acceptable. By this time, my husband was not just on edge, he was out-and-out angry - though keeping his temper in check. When the counselor returned, he had something to say - about the fact that the SPCA kept all dogs over six months of age in non-air-conditioned kennels and that if a puppy was not adopted prior to reaching the six month mark, they would be moved from air conditioning to no air conditioning by the SPCA - the same act referred to as 'cruelty' were we to perform it. The counselor said 'I don't make the rules' in a tone of voice that suggested she agreed with the rules and merely hid behind them so as not to seem personally responsible for refusing the 'adoption.'

My husband requested a comment card, and was informed they did not have any. He asked - and received - a piece of paper to write a comment on but was at the same time informed that rules were made by the board of directors. At this point I decided it was best to get the children loaded into our vehicle, but left my husband behind so that he could ask for the paperwork with our personal information on it. The lady he spoke to about that told him they did not usually return them, to which he responded 'well the adoption didn't go through, did it?' and was then given the form. Meanwhile, I had to explain to our oldest, who was questioning where the puppy was, that we were not allowed to have it. (Thankfully he took this much more gracefully than I was expecting.)

My husband and I both stewed over this as we left the SPCA grounds. We would never have taken the boys to the puppy room, and let them get their hopes up about a puppy, if they had informed us of that rule, or had it posted anywhere. Not once did the lady that took Dexter to another room to 'meet' us and then gave us the adoption paperwork ever mention the rule, even though we mentioned we were there to get a dog because we had a fenced yard now. Then there was the ridiculous hypocrisy involved since they would be moving puppies that passed the six month mark from the air-conditioned kennel to the non-air-conditioned kennel.

I rather disliked the SPCA to begin with, on general principle, so this certainly did nothing to change my opinion.

At least lunch and our next errand - a trip to a used bookstore - improved our moods. My husband even found what looks like a very interesting read: 40 years of Scotland Yard, the memoirs of Frederick Porter Wensley. It was published in 1935. He began working as a constable in 1888.

From the introduction:

It may seem an odd thing to say of a man whose record as a detective is second to that of none, but if I were asked to indicate the dominant personality quality of Frederick Porter Wensley I should say it was simplicity. He has no poses, strikes no attitudes. He looks men and things in the face and with a childlike logic strips them of all nonessentials. "Y'know" he will say, in that slow emphatic way of his, ramming down the tobacco in his pipe with his thumb, "the truth is all that matters. The single object is to get at the truth."

I'm greatly looking forward to reading this, as is my husband.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh come on! The Espresso Book Machine can be found in North Dakota, of all places, but the closest ones to me are Louisiana and North Carolina. =( =(

Florida needs an Espresso Book Machine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Police say it's 'very possible' attacks near fairgrounds had racial overtones

Sgt. David Murillo stated in a report on Friday night, "On-duty officers at the fairgrounds advise there was a group of 30 to 40 individuals roaming the fairgrounds openly calling it 'beat whitey night.' "

Gotta love how the headline and the content of the article try to downplay the racial aspect of the violence, presumably because it is not coming from an acceptable (white) source.
Neat technology news:

Hemp car

Machine turns plastic back into oil

the Espresso Book Machine

Scary technology news:

Connecticut school considers tracking devices for students

Prison guards test new 'laser' weapon


If anyone has noticed any other neat or scary tech feel free to provide a link in the comments.

Scary tech, for the record, is anything (no matter how neat) that has subtle or obvious 1984 implications.

Monday, August 23, 2010

From 2009:

As readers are aware, the Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday advised thrift stores and other resellers and distributors of used goods to discard (unless they wished to test for lead or take other typically unpractical steps such as contacting manufacturers) children’s books printed before 1985 and a very wide range of other children’s products, including apparel and playthings.

Read the entire post here.

This is one of the most depressing things I have read recently. What a clever way to orchestrate a book-burning - and how much longer until adult books fall under the same restriction, and eventually the only people allowed to buy or sell books printed prior to 1985 are those specifically licensed and regulated to do so?

I cannot express how devastated I am by this news. Almost all of the books that I loved as a child were printed before 1985 and I had intended to collect them for my own children. Many of them are out-of-print. Or, if not out-of-print, only printed with a censored version that expunges non-politically correct attitudes of earlier eras.

It has been well over a year since it happened and this is the first I ever heard of it! I would have been in immediate contact with local thrift stores to see if they would allow me to retain the discarded volumes.

So depressing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge
John Everett Millais

Though I found many pictures that I thought very beautiful over at the Art Renewal Center, this I think is my favorite for the moment. I love the artist's style. The composition is beautiful and dramatic. But what I really like about this painting is the intensity of the emotion at play. On her face, fear, sadness and love. On his, gentle love and implacable resolve. This picture just seems to capture some of the essence of femininity and masculinity and the interplay between the two.

I'll admit that I am not nearly as conversant with world history as I could be and this picture inspired me to find out the story of the Huguenots and St. Bartholomew's Day. To my surprise, I discovered it is tied to the history of Calvinism. Despite my general laziness in such matters, I enjoy studying history; I just wish that I could be assured of finding relatively trustworthy, unbiased sources from which to learn.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mexican Police Help Murder Their Own Mayor

Since Calderon took office in December 2006, there have been an incredible 28,000 drug-related killings, it was recently revealed.

That is insane. No wonder Arizona took the steps it did if that violence has been spilling over their borders.

I wonder how much America's 'war on drugs' has contributed to the rise of the drug cartels and the staggering level of violence in Mexico. This just seems very reminiscent of the Prohibition and the violence during that era.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The plight of the fatherless

Mike of Code Monkey Ramblings linked to to a very thought-provoking post on the subject of race. The blog author did not write the essay, merely posted it to foster discussion, and the discussion (what I have read of it so far) is indeed very interesting.

Some of the responses truly are racist and hate-filled. Some are merely frustrated. Others are obviously trying to rationalize their disagreement with the essay and the sentiments expressed even as their own words and stories verify what it contains. The racist blame race - they see all blacks as savages regardless of where they come from. Some of the frustrated blame the welfare state. Some blame economic status. Some blame the culture.

I fall into the latter category. I blame a culture in which illegitimacy is rife, in which so many of the children are fatherless. Any honest individual that is married with children will see how children respond differently to the authority of the father versus that of the mother. The father's discipline and his boundaries are what make the deepest impression. This is true in my home as well. Despite the fact that I am not a softy I have to work harder to enforce discipline and our children are less likely to act up when daddy is at home and awake.

A few years ago my husband and I took the same sociology course, centered around criminal behavior. One of the most fascinating aspects of this course was the journey through theories of crime - such as the racial disparity in American prisons (blacks are a minority in the general population, but a majority in prison populations) and why some people become repeat criminal offenders (career criminals). Some theorized 'institutional racism' was to blame. Others theorized economic status was to blame. Some older, none PC theories involved IQ or race. All of these theories came up short, however. None of these factors were found to be wholly consistent. Then along came a study that yielded highly controversial results: they found that the single strongest correlating factor among repeat criminal offenders was a lack of self-control that dated all the way back to a childhood lacking in consistent discipline!

Why was this study so controversial? Why were the results largely swept under a rug? I think it is because it would mean that the disparate proportion of blacks in the prison population was not the fault of white racism, but was rather the result of a culture in which illegitimate, fatherless, undisciplined children are endemic. It would mean not only were blacks ultimately responsible for their predicament, but that they are also the only ones with the power to put a stop to it.

Edit: for the record, my own opinion of the essay in question is that the author seemed very bitter and jaded. I think it is possible that he exaggerated but I do not believe that he was lying. I have experienced some of the attitudes he referenced in a minor way - my husband, on the other hand, has a job that involves working with the demographic in question (poor urban blacks) and some of the behaviors mentioned in the essay are behaviors my husband witnesses and had spoken of long before I ever read this essay.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

various and sundry items

I was not expecting so many comments about Calvinism. I suppose I've been rather out of it on that subject; I had simply noticed that it seemed to be a belief gaining some popularity as of late.


My husband and I are slobs. We are getting better, slowly, but it is quite an uphill climb. Today, for instance, I once more worked on tackling the mountain of paperwork accumulated over the last three years. There is a box approximately 24" x 24" x 12" FULL of paperwork to be thrown away, not including the pile to be shredded, and I am not even done sorting. The credit card companies might as well just chop down a small tree and leave it on our doorstep with the words 'please spend your husband's money!' carved on the trunk. Once I get the mountain leveled I plan to sort and file paperwork on a weekly basis to make sure it does not get this out of hand again.


In light of the controversy surrounding Dr. Laura Schlessinger's use of the N-word* I've developed a theory - that blacks have actually given that word the offensive power it has today because they have tried to restrict usage. Had they simply embraced it, used it themselves, and shrugged off the genuine racists that tried to shame or anger them by using it, I expect it would have no more power today than words like redneck or yankee.

*I was going to use the actual word, but then it occurred to me that I've long refrained from using things like the F-word because I knew it would bother certain readers. Therefore I'll be courteous this time as well.


I've been browsing the Art Renewal Center and have discovered quite a few beautiful pictures. Also, lots and lots of nudity. Don't browse there if you're easily offended by nekkid people.

I think several of the most popular artists are highly overrated. I find Da Vinci's pictures boring. I'm also not convinced Monet was actually an impressionist - I think he was just very nearsighted, as his pictures look very similar to what the world looks like when I take my glasses off. =D Another observation: artists do not seem to like drawing happy, smiling people. Here's one of the exceptions though, and personally, I like her smile much better than the Mona Lisa's.

Monday, August 16, 2010

French toast is not as easy as it looks.

Also, I don't understand the deal with Calvinism.

At best, it is true, but being human, no one can know for sure if they are among those predestined to be saved by the blood of the Messiah. So faith is required for both the Calvinist and the non-Calvinist. Clearly whether or not one believes in predestination is not actually a matter of salvation.

At worst? It is not true and actually turns people away from the Kingdom of God and encourages lawlessness.

Even if the best case scenario is correct, it is still pointless to teach or spread as a doctrine, because it does nothing to further the work of the Kingdom.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sacrifice? What sacrifice?

A major study has found that "despite public opinion to the contrary" there is little evidence that having a working mother during infancy harms a child's mental development or adversely affects its behaviour. (Working mothers 'don't harm their children's development' major study reveals)

The study's authors acknowledge that their findings run against overwhelming public opinion to the contrary. Part of the myth's pervasiveness is self-justifying, of course. Mothers who relinquish their earning power and career status to provide the unpaid labour of raising babies are loath to admit that their sacrifice was made in vain. And who can blame them? (Ditch the guilt, working moms: the kids are all right)

It turns everything upside down when you shift from thinking about what set-up would be optimal for you, to thinking about what would be best for a child. (In Day Care, the Ends Aren't Everything response to the first two articles)

Sacrifice? What sacrifice?

Having children brought me to life. Motherhood thawed a frigid, selfish heart. It opened a whole new realm of understanding for me. I experience joy, daily, that I never experienced while working. There is so much more depth to my life now than before and I've grown considerably as a person. I cannot think of even one career that could possibly enrich my life as much as motherhood has done. There is no amount of money that could compensate for having to hand the hearts of my children into the keeping of someone that cannot possibly care for them the way I do. I am deeply grateful to my husband for his sacrifice, going to a job he dislikes more with every shift, so that I can have the privilege of staying home.

Sacrifice? Priceless gift!

I think God created the teenage years just so we'll always have reason to be humble later in life.

I just recalled that the first short story I ever wrote was a human/vampire romance. At least I have the feeble excuse of having been sixteen at the time (and it was well before Twilight). I wonder if I still have a copy of that stashed in my stuff? I'm not sure if re-reading it would produce more laughter or groaning.

Edit: found it. Embarrassing, indeed. And yet, my sister was correct: I could write romance novels. What kind of crappy talent is that?!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Excuses, excuses

Regarding Mrs. Obama's Spanish vacation: spending time with a friend whose father died does not justify spending the tax payer's money to do so. She could just as easily have fulfilled her promise at much lower cost to the tax payers by inviting her friend to come along on one of the other scheduled vacations she has planned this year.

I don't begrudge the rich their wealth. I do frown on our elected officials using our money to give themselves a good time.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I was finally getting around to ripping my CDs so I would be able to listen to my music from my computer, when I heard what sounded like a mini explosion (sort of like when lit light bulb goes out, only much louder) coming from inside my computer.

My CD had shattered into many tiny pieces! My CD ROM is busted now and the tray is now only useful as a cup holder. =( I've never seen anything like that before, or even heard about it happening.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I first embarked on reading The Lord of the Rings around age twelve. I was so impressed and enthralled by Tolkien's tale that I cried when I came to the end, just because it was over, and promptly turned around and read it through again. I was never bothered by the dearth of female characters. Arwen, Galadriel and Eowyn were each graciously presented and given a place of honor - indeed no such inspiring portrayals of women can be found in modern fiction. Being a bit of a tomboy and hankering to be the sword-wielding warrior woman type myself, I was particularly drawn to Eowyn, the icy princess of Rohan.

Tolkien introduces her thusly:

The woman turned and went slowly into the house. As she passed the doors she turned and looked back. Grave and thoughtful was her glance, as she looked on the king with cool pity in her eyes. Very fair was her face, and her long hair was like a river of gold. Slender and tall she was in her white robe girt with silver; but strong she seemed and stern as steel, daughter of kings... fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that is not yet come to womanhood.

The moment when Eowyn faced the witch king of Angmar, lord of the Nazgul on the field of battle, removed her helmet and delivered the line "No living man am I, but a woman" was one of my favorite parts. It gave me goosebumps.

I loved the ending Tolkien wrote for her - body healed, spirit unfrozen, setting arms aside to become a healer herself and marrying Faramir. She remains one of my favorite literary characters.

And this is one of the many reasons why Jackson's movie adaptions made me spitting mad. By casting the sweet, fresh-faced Miranda Ott in the role, Eowyn, ice princess, became Eowyn, hurt puppy. Cate Blanchett should have been Eowyn and Ott should have been Galadriel. I swear half the time Ott's Eowyn appeared to be on the point of sad tears, something that just about gave me an aneurysm. THEN Jackson further butchers one of my favorite scenes: in the confrontation with the lord of the Nazgul,
gone is the inspiring display of courage, where Eowyn staunchly defends the fallen king Theoden against a nigh-invincible foe that made even brave warriors quail in fear. Because Jackson failed to include an explanation in the movies about where Merry obtained the blade he used to strike at the witch king, we're left to believe that all that was needed to kill this amazingly powerful undead king is a uterus and a midget.

Thanks, Peter Jackson.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Speaking of image search: this is the Rio Caño Cristales, a river in Columbia. Amazing!

edit: missed one
We all have hobbies, right? One of mine just happens to be looking up pretty pictures of nature via google image search.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Recently on a forum that I am part of the question of Christians and alcohol was raised by a young man (a Christian) that typically drinks a glass of wine with his evening meal. He was rather shocked when a Christian family that had treated him like a member of their family found out he drank alcohol and refused to have anything more to do with him. He wondered how common that attitude was and how it had arisen within the church, to the point that some Christians were fully convinced Jesus had turned water into non-alcoholic wine.

People that responded had varying attitudes toward alcohol but in general agreed that it was not a sin to drink. As I perused the posts I began reading one that made me smile - I was considering commending the writer on their excellent satire when the realization dawned: it was not satire. I'll provide a snippet and perhaps you'll forgive me for thinking it was:

After my many years of intense investigation and research, I know with 100% certainty that Jesus drank unfermented grape juice.

It's not a matter of something to get over. It's just fact, sealed in stone, not an opinion. The evidence and documentation for it is, well, to be quite frank, overwhelming. I'm talking about exhaustive research into Hebrew, Greek, and the historical records.

In past threads, I have exhaustively provided the evidence. The problem is, when people read my stuff, naturally the temptation comes over them to glance over it. Unfortunately, however, it requires time and patience to analyze the material meticulously and thoroughly if one is going to grasp the full picture.

The full post was much lengthier and his arguments simply gained momentum (and length) as the topic went on. We were treated to a lesson in historical practices (the size of the wine cups, what level of fermentation existed and how potent the effects of ancient wine were), what the original Greek words meant, and quotes from Proverbs. We were assured that Jesus had never tasted wine, either at weddings or at Passover:

To imagine that Christ would sanction such ill-effects by personally offering a sizeable cup of alcoholic wine to His disciples, is tantamount to destroying the moral integrity of His character. Believers who truly accepts Christ as their sinless Saviour instinctively recoil from such a thought."

I embarked on a quick search via Biblegateway.com and it would appear that there is no general prohibition against drinking alcohol. Not in the Old Testament, and not in the New Testament. Plenty of advice against getting drunk, but not a ban on alcohol. In Acts 15, we find the apostles and other believers discussing what aspects of Hebraic law Gentile believers should be held to. When it was determined that it would be too much of a burden to ask them to practice the whole of the law, four things were selected, none of which included anything to do with alcohol.

I managed to rein in what I wanted to say and only wrote the following:

We don't have to do in-depth study of the original language in order to understand the ten commandments, or to understand the greatest commandment (Love the Lord your God...) or the second (Love your neighbor as yourself).

For those interested in further study on the matter, I recommend Biblegateway.com. You can do a keyword search for wine to see what is said in Hebraic law (Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy) and the New Testament. I'd also recommend Acts 15 and Romans 14.

My intent was to encourage people to read up on the matter for themselves and a reminder of what is actually important. Afterward I found myself pondering. Had I handled things as I should have? This man, his obsession with this topic, had brought to mind the following passage:

As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
-Paul to Timothy

Should I have been more blunt and called him out for his arrogance presuming to bar Christians from an activity which God himself did not see fit to ban? Well, I seem to have found my answer in Matthew 15 when, after a confrontation with the pharisees, the following exchange takes place:

Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?"

But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The following article is an excellent example of why I tend to approach scientific 'knowledge' with a healthy dose of skepticism. Too many ifs. Too many hypotheses treated as fact.

The Demise of Mitochondrial Eve

Take carbon dating, for example - it relies on the assumption that our atmospheric conditions have been largely the same for the last 10,000 years, something that cannot be proven. (My personal belief is that the atmosphere before the Flood was very different than the one we have now.)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I like spiders. I used to catch little jumping spiders when I was a kid and bring them to show my mom. She was less than fond of spiders, but did her best to stay calm so that she wouldn't teach me to fear them. Today my children and I were in our back yard (which is fairly overgrown) and were looking at the various insects we could find. There were several varieties of spider, among them the beautifully colored green lynx spider (this is not the one we saw, just a good picture of the type).

While looking for the identity of the types of spider we had found I stumbled across what has got to be the cutest spider picture ever.

It's called a peacock spider. Nifty, isn't it?

After that I discovered a picture of something considerably less cute:

The golden orb weaver devouring a bird. Yes, that's right, it's a spider eating a bird. Unsurprisingly, this gigantic spider (said to be able to grow to the size of a human hand) is found in Australia, home of the world's freakiest, deadliest critters.

That is a spider I would NOT be willing to pick up.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Bits & Pieces

Regarding clothes shopping - I've grown to hate it, mostly because I have a great deal of trouble finding anything that can meet my criteria: inexpensive, durable, reasonably modest but not dowdy. In terms of durability the quality of what I find in the stores these days is noticeably worse than it was ten years ago.

Regarding the legalization of marijuana - all for it. I've never used it and have no intention of doing so, but if alcohol is legal there's no reason marijuana shouldn't be.

Regarding vaccines - on the one hand, if I do not vaccinate my children they are at risk to contract diseases that could, theoretically, have been prevented. If I do vaccinate my children, there is no guarantee the vaccination will work and there is a chance, even if it is only a small one, that they could have a fatal reaction to the vaccine or otherwise develop health problems. In this instance, I would rather risk harm through my inactivity than harm through my activity.

Speaking of children, trying to write while my children are still awake is an awkward endeavor that involves a lot of interruptions and subsequently forgotten ideas.

My husband and I are getting close to wrapping up Battlestar Galactica. After watching an episode or two of the first season I told my husband that it had great production values but that I didn't really like the characters. Despite the latter, by season two I was hooked on what turned out to be a very fun space opera.

And here's a pretty picture of nature to look at. Sadly Florida's summer climate is not very conducive to spending time outdoors. (I don't know where this picture was taken, but it does not look like Florida.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

just need to be able to link to these images elsewhere