Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life
My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
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Sunday, April 06, 2008
I've often been amazed at how birds can fly in front of cars and never get hit. Well, no more. Yesterday, we were zipping down the freeway when suddenly, a handful of birds lept into the air from a bush in the center shoulder. We were going... well, lets just say we were cruising down 280, moving with the flow of traffic and there might have been the possibility that we were exceeding the posted speed limit (65mph) slightly -- like by about a third. Not that I'm admitting anything, mind you.
The last of the birds to take flight didn't plan its flight path so well -- it plowed into the windshield with a huge thump. Naturally, I ducked and when I sat back up, all that was left was a few feathers, some blood, and a bit of poop. As someone once said, first you say it, then you do it. Rachel, startled, asked what that was and I responded, half under my breathe, "el bird-o." Jared misheard me and thought I said "Myrtle". He kept asking about the myrtle and we sort of brushed him off.
Later, I checked to outside, hoping that the carcass wasn't stuck under the tent. It wasn't, but in addition to the smudge on the windshield, there was a smudge on the roof by the first support pillar for the ten and then on the side window at the rear.
I apologize to those who might have suddenly seen every post I'd ever written suddenly show up as if they were new. The server I was on got hacked (and this is at a hosting company with "Fortress" in their name) and their solution was to move all my sites to a different server. Unfortunately, they were unable to preserve the files' timestamps so as far ask Blosxom was concerned, every post was brand new.
To make matters worse, they decided that they could no longer allow shell access (that is, users are not allowed to connect to the server directly, so I was unable to fix things. My solution was to move the entire site to a server at another host, but that's not something I could just do overnight. Anyway, hopefully, all is better now.
Who knows, I might even get some new posts up at some point.
A dear friend and I had a bit of a discussion recently about a parent's responsibility to his kids. His position was that a parent has a responsibility to expose their children to a wide range of viewpoints, even if the parent disagrees with those views. Specifically, we were speaking of religion and spirituality.
As you may know, I am an atheist. I don't believe in any gods or ghosts or higher powers or collective consciousnesses or what-have-you. I have been and intend to continue raising my children to believe the same. Or not believe, as the case may be. He felt, however, that even if I do not believe in such things, I have a duty to teach my children about them so that they may choose their own path.
So, if I am to teach my children Christianity, without any disparaging commentary on my part, should I not also teach them other religions? Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology? Where do I stop? Should we go visit Warren Jeffs' "family" when Sara comes of age? Should I teach them that some believe that the sun revolves around the earth and that there's nothing wrong with that point of view?
What about the KKK? Should I teach the kids, at their tender age, about the Klu Klux Klan and tell them there's nothing wrong with their beliefs and, while we're at it, those nazis that killed their great-grandparents and great-aunts were a-okay too? For that matter, perhaps I have a responsibility to introduce them to recreational drugs and the fun of getting drunk?
Now, my friend argued that bring up such extreme analogies only served to prove the insanity of my position, but I disagree. The way I see it, it is my job to teach my kids right from wrong. That includes teaching them that what the nazis did was not okay and that what the KKK promotes is wrong. It includes sheltering them from people like Jeffs and scientologists. It means I teach them that recreational drugs and drunkenness are -- as I believe -- not a good idea.
It also means that I teach them that we know for a fact that the earth travels around the sun (not the other way around), that those "whoooo-ing" sounds are caused by wind blowing across the top of a chimney (not a ghost), and that the Magic God Guy is a myth made up by people who didn't understand the scientific nature of the universe.
As I have said before, I want my kids to know about religion, not to know it.
Someone please remind me why we give these twits a pass on paying property taxes?
An Austin, Texas area interfaith group has, for the past twenty-odd years, organized a Thanksgiving gathering to allow people of any faith to come together. This year, the event's hosts -- various muslim groups -- arranged to rent space from a local evangelical megachurch. Just days before the event, however, the church decided that muslims were not welcome. From a statement issued by the church:
"Hyde Park Baptist Church hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church's beliefs that have resulted in this decision."
So, they want us to be tolerant of their intolerance?
Y'know, I am perfectly free to say I don't want group X to have a party at my house. These jerks, however, get aways without paying any property tax on their 58-acre property because, presumably, they serve the community and it is therefore in our best interest to support them in their efforts. When they start to pick and choose which parts of the community they are willing to serve, then I say they are no longer a community service organization and they lose their tax-free status.
When I was younger, I used to watch Hogan's Heroes. One of the unimportant details I remembered most from the show was the Geneva Convention. I didn't know who was at the convention, but I figured it must have been some pretty powerful people since whenever Colonel Klink tried to do something mean, Colonel Hogan just had to say "Geneva Convention" and Colonel Klink would straighten up and fly right.
That seemed to me to be pretty impressive -- and pretty important. The Geneva Convention was something special if it could make even the callous Nazis do the right thing. I was very impressed.
Of course, the Geneva Conventions are a set of four treaties that deal primarily with the treatment of non-combatants and prisoners of war. What is sad is that these treaties which, at least in Hollywood, could temper the Nazis, seem to have no effect on our own leaders. Our president, sad as it is, has decided that we, for some unknown reason, don't have to follow those treaties, the earliest of which dates back to 1864 and which we signed in 1882.
It seems to me that we, given our great wealth and power, ought to be setting an example, especially if we want to run around forcing our form of government onto others. If we want other countries to do as we do, then we probably ought to be doing as we want them to do. Bush said that "we expect them to be treated humanely, just like we’ll treat any prisoners of theirs that we capture humanely... If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals."
I would gladly trade our current idiot in chief for Werner Klemperer's Colonel Klink. He was smarter, far more lucid and coherent, and, it seems, both more human and more humane.
I'm sure you've heard all the hullabaloo (and seen the video) about Miss Teen South Carolina's answer to a question about education in the US. I don't see what all the fuss is about -- she's certainly more literate and coherent than the President of the United States. How much more must we require of our bathing beauties?
While making sandwiches:
"Do you want some tomatoes? I'll squish them."
June 3, 9am
To his sister, at the top of the stairs with a cardboard box:
"It's a box roller coaster. You get in and I'll give you a push."
"It's only three steps high so it won't hurt anybody."
June 5, 9:15pm
Looking at a picture of two little people:
"I would say to them, you're different than me, but you can still be my friend."
June 6, 8am
Describing a toy lizard:
"This is a friendly lizard. He loves kisses."
Musing on current politics:
"Do you know why we're naughty children? It's because out president is naughty. He makes us do naughty things."
"I want to call the president of the United States to welcome America to our house."
August 20, 8:30am
After a year's hiatus, I'm going to start updating my photo journal again. Head on over and, if you haven't been there before, take a look at some of the older ones as well.
One of our neighbors, talking about what it means to adopt:
"Back when we were talking about this and freaking out about having a kid, I realized that it meant that we would have to give up some things in order to give someone a home who doesn't have one. I can do that."
You can read more about this over at ParentDish.
This post is part of the second annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day event.
I know it's going to be a nightmare for Rachel, but I'm kinda looking forward to the month of May. She always spends a lot of her time at home doing schoolwork, but lately, it's been much worse. She has a split class this year, with first- and second-graders, so naturally she felt it necessary to develop all new materials, projects, and centers for the second-graders. The other second-grade teachers are totally loving this, of course, and the kids are definitely benefiting from it, but it's a lot of work for Rachel.
Recently, she had Open House to prepare for, which for some reason requires lots of work. Then, after that, there is all the work she needs to get done before May, since she won't be able to do it then. That's basically double the work for her right now. Plus, we're going to Jared's school picnic in the middle of the month so she needs to write a sub plan (more like a book) for the teacher that will be taking her class that day.
So what's so special about May? Rachel hasn't gotten a raise in six years and, in fact, her net pay has actually decreased because the amount the district pays for health care has remained the same even as insurance costs have skyrocketed. Six years ago she had to pay about $50 over what the district paid for insurance. Next year it will be close to $1,000. That's per month, by the way. So we're talking about her annual income decreasing by thousands of dollars.
In May, as sort of a warning shot before striking, the union has called for a slowdown -- what they call "work-to-rule". That means the teachers will only do that which they get paid for. They'll show up when they're supposed to (not two hours before) and leave when they're supposed to (not two or three hours afterwards.) They won't be bringing any work home to do at night or on the weekends. They won't be staying late for things like talent shows or literacy nights or what-have-you. I imagine they're also not supposed to buy stuff for their classroom either.
I know this May will be a very difficult month for Rachel and her cohorts. I'm thinking it might be fun.
You know you're getting old when the people you think of as "kids" start to look like they're getting old.
I wear Merrells because I'm too lazy for Velcro.
Sitting on the sidelines of an evolution/cosmology/science-versus-religion discussion, I suddenly had an epiphany regarding religion. God doesn't really exist; all those creation myths and parables and so on were merely the frustrated ramblings of a tired parent dealing with a curious child.
So all those churchgoers are really just following Calvin's Dad.
Don't you hate it when you know you had this awesome dream about something really cool like Land Rovers or lesbians (or even better -- both), but you can't for the life of you remember what it was? The worst part is that it's like a part of your life that you know should be there but isn't.
I think we can agree that no one "loves" abortion. The problems arise in trying to deal with it.
The thing is, abortion is not the problem. It's a symptom of the problem. Dealing with abortion is like mopping up the blood after you've cut your leg off.