These are the rantings of Don. I make no promises about what you'll find in here except my honest-to-goodness thoughts...without apology.

Location: Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, March 07, 2005

Francy Pants

I know I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but how does France continue to repopulate itself without any men?

I was watching Foxnews and reading some Chiracisms on the Lebanese-Syrian problem, and it occurred to me. France says they have a "firm stand" on Syrian aggresion and will not stand for it. Is this the same firmness that gave Saddam 9 last chances to fix it's problems? Is this the same firm stand on Iran? My lack of political correctness aside, is there a man left in France? Does anyone in that country ever back up what they say? I am sorry to all who might find this offensive (Lets see ... French people, women, liberals), but I just don't care what they think about anything anymore. I hope Bush just laughs lightly and ignores them from now on, each time they raise a sissyfit ruckus.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Making sense of the Muslim question

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of W. I strongly stand behind my President like no other President I've been old enough to stand behind. These same people also know that I will not agree with Mr. Bush on every thing he does simply because I agree with him on the bigger issues. I have expressed difficulty with the initial invasion of Iraq for practical reasons and am very glad to say that I was wrong. Although true freedom in Iraq is still a decade or so away if it is at all really possible, I believe now that GW made the right move. After all, our own attempt at freedom took over a half decade of fighting and most Americans did not get to experience complete freedom for another 150 years. I have often felt that my President took too much of a pro-Israel stance to accomplish peace in that portion of the world. I am not pro-Palestinian, but I am pro-fairness and I've known far too many Palestinians and Israelis to believe that everything is the Palestinians fault. The history of the conflict is far too complicated.

That being said, I love the fact that George W. Bush is my President and support him with all of my energy. Today I was reading a couple of articles at NRO and saw a lot of things that made more sense of the situation. Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of exactly how much the US has done for the Arab world (Although he fails to speak of some of the harm we've done ... particularly in the 1940's and 50's). We are also reminded of the incredibly hideous acts done by some Middle Eastern leaders and groups in the last 13 centuries. And he is not speaking about terrorist bombings and such. He is ripping into American liberals who fail to remember that the very values they (the liberals) hold to are often brutally crushed by Arab Muslims. The lesson I learned (or remembered) was that, although I personally know 1000's of Arab Muslims and consider them to be good, kind, friends, I can't forget that as a people they have murdered and raped Jews and Christians for centuries. When I discuss religion with Muslims, they tell me that their people were atrociously treated by the Crusaders from 1100-1350AD. This is very true and I always feel as though I need to apologize for that. However, when I ask them why the Muslims treated the Christians at least that horribly during the 7th and 8th centuries as well as so often since then, they do not seem as reticent to feel remorse.

Denis Boyle summed up an awful lot of what I see as both concern and reason to cheer about Dubya's European tour. Although GW played the conciliatory healer very well, and (as Sluggo and Shaking Spears pointed out to me) paraded his successes in Iraq in the faces of the European doubters, he also compromised too much. In addition to the ideas presented in the Boyle article, George called wide disagreements between the Europeans (notably France, their mindless cronie Germany, and Russia) and the Bush administrations position on the Palestinian question, the Iranian and North Korean problems, "similar approaches" and "the same idea". Boyle's article outlines a number of other problems that I see in the Bush trip. I am happy that we get to say to them, "We were right, now do you want to get on board?" I am also happy that he has not had any major gaffes in speaking engagements. I am thrilled that he gets to take the lead in presenting the olive branch to the Europeans. I just wish he would say, "Our way was right and will continue to be right, please get on board. But remember, if you choose to get on board, you are going to get on with the plan that we created. It's already there and it's working.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Mr. Monk and the Election

Saw the latest Monk last night. Good one. I've decided that my sister in law, Lane Binkley, MUST be on Monk. She is an amazing actor. I've watched her in a few things (Roots, a late night skit type show, Law & Order, a bunch of commercials, to name a few). She's wonderful. I'd really like to see one of her stage performances. You can learn more about her at her own website, posted above. I could see her becoming a semi-regular. Hmmm...cast her as a detective on the force who hates Monk and costantly disagrees with his conclusions. Or how 'bout a San Francisco socialite who pops into the show once in a while because she is always crying wolf. She's versatile, we'll think of something.

Tony Shalhoub was great. His Monk was more conflicted than usual, which, of course, is good for us fans. Lots of phobias floating around. His fear of losing Natalie if she wins the election. His fear of being compared to Natalies opponent, who is also an obsessive compulsive paranoiac patient of Dr. Kroeger. His fears of the usual stuff his character is about. Oh, thats good stuff.

I enjoyed watching Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) overdo his duties as Natalie's bodygaurd. He adds a tension to the humor that works so well opposite Monk. His shades and overprotectiveness were funny.

The best part was showing Natalie Teeger let her gaurd down. She opened up, let her toughness go to the side, and told the story of her husbands possible cowardice in Kosovo and wept. Traylor Howard was a bit melodramatic but it was good for the show.

Hey, there is no baseball (except for trade talk, steroid talk, and practice), no football. Monk is all the TV I have.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Euro Trip - Bush makes nice

W and Chirac. Wow! "In the struggle against weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, we have the same approach", said Jacques. Are you kidding me? The same approach? Let's see...Chirac's approach is to allow WMD owners and terrorists to have another chance, or 9 new chances. W says, "Put up or duck!" I don't see that as the same approach. He earlier made up with Schroder, saying the relations between the two are warm and he (Bush) dismissed rumors about invading Iran, suggesting that the two agreed on how to handle the situations.

I agree that it is the right thing to try to restore relations with some of the European nations, but not at the expense of a working policy. Is W giving them lip service or is he carefully trying to pull these nations into the efforts to rebuild Iraq and seriously compromising on some points to get it done?

Either way, I still do not trust Jacques.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Treasuring the moments

After reading posts from Sluggo, Parkway Reststop, and Christina, I felt compelled to write about my own daughter. She is a 21 year old beauty (no bias here) who hit 79 out of 80 in her most recent marksmanship test in the US Army. Don't mess with my daughter.

I remember her as an itty bitty girl. My wife and I were telling her knock knock jokes in the car. All of a sudden, she tried her hand at it.

"Knock Knock", she said.

Excited, we responded, "Who's there?"

"Peanut butter!", she exclaimed.

"Peanut butter who?", we asked.

"Peanut butter, the peanut butter jar, the man was carrying the peanut butter jar and he was walking and he dropped the peanut butter jar and it broke ---hahahahahahahahahah". She started cracking up. Nancy and I spontaneously started cracking up, too.

It was like it was the funniest thing we ever heard. Pure comic genius. Move over Cosby, Erin's coming to town. What's amazing is not only that I remember her exact words, but that I can still hear her little voice saying them. I see this mature, beautiful woman come to visit us but I can still hear her little girl voice. Jim at Parkway reststop gives some excellent advice to parents of little ones (funny, too) in his article, "Some Gratuitous Advice". It's the kind of stuff I wish I heard from someone when I was the daddy of tikes. If I could add one piece of my small mind to his advice, it would be to treat every new event as if it were the most important thing that ever happened. From the time she pooped on my Chicago Cubs baseball cap to the time I helped her break her nose (Don't ask me, please). From working as an bit character in a play where she had a significant role (She was Brigitta and I was the Butler in "Sound of Music") to her first date. And then way back again to the first time I tried to feed her. Every moment is magic. I will grow old happy because of her. I have another truckload of memories from each of my 2 boys, also. But that's another posting, or two.

OK, I'm pretty content right now. Think I'll go to bed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What is love?

I know I'm a bit late on this, Valentines Day was over a week ago. Midterm grades and moving my mom are my pitiful excuses for not blogging during that time.

Love. Hollywood seems to have two views on this. One view is, to quote Og from Finian's Rainbow, that it's a "flibberty jibberty feeling". This view is shared by a million chick flicks down through the years. From My Fair Lady's "On the Street Where You Live", to Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping. The other view is the grotesque view. It's sex.

There you have it. Love is either a conditional emotion or a recreational activity tied to temporary passions. Blech!!

It is a common misconception that there are 3 Greek words for love. Eros (passionate, sensual love), phileo (family or friendship love), and agape (self-sacrificial commitment to another). C.S. Lewis wrote of four loves, the fourth dealing with affections. There are actually, at least 11 Greek words for love ranging from pathos (intense passion directed definitely) to dokizomai (appreciation of the qualities of another, infatuation).

The pagan Greeks felt that the highest form of love was agape. They saw this as kind of a Platonic ideal that was actually impossible to attain to. It sat out in the cosmos as an idea that one could strive for but could only hope to grasp shadows of it. They felt that self-sacrifice was something that might happen in a heroic moment but was not possible as a life practice. They therefore rarely used this word in romantic stories. Instead they used the other 10 words. A word for every possible romantic situation.

The apostle Paul used the word agape to describe God's love for us. The complete sacrifice of His own ease of existence (as in the Garden of Gesthemane) for the sake of humanity. He also said that this must be the kind of love a husband has for his wife (Ephesians 5:25). He said that husbands must love (agape) their wives in the same manner that Christ loved (same word) the church and sacrificed Himself for her. Paul said that this type of love is possible because of the Holy Spirit. We can live a life of sacrifice to others because of Him and we must submit to Him so that we do it.

I believe that the most romantic notion that is possible for me is to say that I will live self-sacrificially in commitment for my wife. I will consider her needs above my own and give myself to serving her for the rest of my life. That's my valentines present to her every year.

Well, in addition, I do get her flowers, a card, and make her favorite dinner, complete with candles and the works. I'm not an idiot.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Natalie stays

I'm starting to warm up to Traylor Howard's Natalie on Monk. She can stay. I was never to the point of some people who consider Sharona's departure as a "duck-because-God-will-strike-you-dead-with-lightning" sort of thing. I was on the Monk Fun Page and they gave a fair and balanced view of the debate but invited the Bitty Schram extremists to go to a site where they can petition USA network to return Sharona. The comments they left behind are amazing. These people love the character a bitty too much. In fact, some of them don't seem to get the idea that it is a character played by an actress. Eg:

"Sharona gave us so much and loved Monk and cared so much about him. You should be ashamed of yourselves, firing her. I hope the show fails".

I really enjoy the show but I think I stepped into a dimension that's way too scary for me.

I'm starting to see where the new character is going and I wont be organizing a militia to bring down USA network.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ted Kennedy makes me angry!

Did anyone watch the congressional leaders questioning the Joint Chiefs of Staff last week on C-Span? Was anyone as ticked at Teddy Kennedy's line of questioning? Could any human being contradict themselves more often than Kennedy did? Why does he talk? Who votes for this guy? I know he's from Massachussets but even a liberal has to be smart enough to recognize hypocricy when they see it.

He continually tried to criticize Bush for not supplying the troops in Iraq with enough armorment or troops while having a public record of voting against any new armorment, money, troops, supplies, or any many times? He went as far as saying, "This administration has repeatedly shot...uh...short...uh...shortchanged you and your men. We've got something about this and...uh...get you...uh...what you need". HEY TEDDY, HOW 'BOUT VOTING FOR THEM TO GET IT WHEN W ASKS YOU!!! I hide my feelings well.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Natalie vs. Sharona (Traylor Howard vs. Bitty Shram)

Ok. There have now been three episodes with Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger, Monk's new assistant. Bitty Shram and her Sharona are not returning. The important question is, who is the better fit for the show? Before I cast my vote on the unofficial Natalie vs. Sharona votelog, a few groundrules and pieces of information need to be laid down.


  • Both are single mothers in the show
  • They are both playing attractive women in their mid30's
  • Both can be testy and tough
  • Their kids are close in age
  • Sharona was hired by Stottlemeyer, Natalie by Monk
  • Natalie requires her expenses to be paid, not so with Sharona
  • Sharona has a son, 2 years older than Natalie's daughter
  • Sharona is a tough Jersey girl, Natalie is from SF
  • Sharona's husband was a lazy, selfish man, Natalie is a widow
  • Sharona was a nurse who saw Monk as her boss/patient, Natalie was a bartender who needed cash
  • There are five possibilities with your vote
    • a. Sharona was better
    • b. Natalie is better
    • c. I like them both equally
    • d. It's too early to tell with Natalie, no vote
    • e. I can't believe how lame this posting is, Don...get a life!
Do as the Democrats do, vote early, vote often!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite

This movie is rediculous. It's the most pointless hour and a half a human can spend. And yet...

I am a high school teacher. For those of you who know, you can stop reading right here. For those of you who do not know, you might not care enough to want to read.

Every teenage and college age person in America has been obsessed with this movie. It is just now starting to die down after a couple of months. My students came to me in December with the news that I had to watch this because it is, like, the funniest movie ever. I watched. My mouth hung open as I looked for some reason that this thing was made. No plot, no real dialogue. Just three high school losers moving through a long series of unrelated and semirelated bits.

I went back into school the next day and that's when I got it. As I listened to the students mimicking the actions and quoting the characters, I realized that I had memorized the entire movie. It makes Dumb and Dumber look like serious social commentary. But it somehow grabs you, draws you in, and makes you laugh. I found myself joining in with the quotes and mimickry. We had a big social day at the school and I ended up dressing in Napoleon's burnt orange liesure suit and goofing to his stupidity all day. Am I ashamed of myself? Of course! But it was like an irresistable force that I detest on one hand and on the other...well...I'm sorry...I had to be drawn in to.

So, if you're going to ask me what I'm going to do today, I might just answer, "Whatever the heck I feel like...Gosh!" Or maybe I'll just go out and shoot, like, about 50 wolverines. "With a 12 gauge! What do you think! Idiot!" Or maybe I'll just eat my tots.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Soso Cubs

I have been putting this one off for a while, but here goes. Jim Hendry has dealt the Cubbies chances away for next year. Our "brilliant" GM's latest move was to get rid of Farnsworth for three minor leaguers, two of which stunk in AAA. OK, we got Jeromy Burnitz. I am not impressed. He hit his homers in Colorado, which is a lot easier than Wrigley. In New York, he didn't do so well and in Millwaukee, he hit a lot but with a .245 batting average most of the time. We'll take him but the jury's still out and I don't want another Dave Kingman. They are gaga over Jerry Hairston. Let's see, he has not been able to finish even 1/2 of a season in the majors because he is always hurt, he has no power, and ooh, he hits about .260. That rounds out a new outfield of Hairston, Burnitz, and Corey Patterson, with Todd Hollandsworth playing most of the time for the injured Hairston. Losing Sammy could be good for the Cubs but can't be good for the boxoffice. I love the guy but it was getting freaky watching him swing like he was chasing mosquitos. We lost Moises Alou for nothing and Mark Grudzielanek as well. We lost Matt Clement and seem to have no desire to replace him. That sounds like a genius move. We'll be going into the season with four starters, one of whom will celebrate his 85th birthday this year. Bulldog is still tough though, for an old codger.

We have three catchers who are fair backstops but all poor hitters. We've got a pretty solid infield and a weak outfield with one true slugger/whiffer. We sold our bench and two of our best pitchers. Our closing staff, which was always a frightening thing last year (no matter who they chose on that day) needed to be replaced with a true closer so that these four guys (Hawkins, Farnsworth, Borowski, and Dempster) could become the middle and setup men that they actually are. Instead we just get rid of one of the four and go into 2005 even shakier.

To replace all of these losses, we signed about 10 minor leaguers who were bad baseball players in every league they've been in since Little League. We're expecting Nomar to do everything and he won't. As a side note, I liked the possibility of a double play combination of Grudzielanek and Garciaparra (23 letters). Nomar will be good but he'll have to be good for a weak baseball team if he plays for my Cubbies. I love 'em but it's gonna be a tough year.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Scare tactics

Shaking Spears has an excellent post on global warming fear mongers. I believe it has to be the most self serving act to use fear to motivate people to your point of view. Especially when your view is supported by dubious information at best and lies at worst. Apparantly the enviro-wackos are trying to predict warmer temperatures and move people into doing their bidding. I recycle and pick up litter and all that but come on. They also create quite a paradox by saying that both a strong and a weak el Nino will cause warmer temperatures. They have a short paragraph at the Yahoo news site saying that natural disasters like volcanos can contribute but the story is replete with mentionings of human pollutants. It's our fault. I guess the dinosaurs caused the ice age and went extinct because they didn't pollute enough?

Read my lips, "No new Clintons!"

Easy folks, take it down a few pegs! Many of my fellow conservatives are becoming frightened at the thought of Hillary Clinton as President and Bubba as First Lady. Blyth Spirit at NRO writes that the greatest roadblock to her potential Presidency is her husband Bill. I disagree. If anything, Bill would be an asset in campaigning. I can't stand his politics, but he may have been the greatest campaigner in American history. After all, the first time he ran he was able to convince liberals that he was liberal, moderates that he was moderate, and even some conservatives that he was conservative (at least on some issues). I really don't think that Bill is the biggest problem she has.

The highly scientific (snicker, snicker) Misterpoll pollster has a strong 75% saying they would vote for Hillary in 2008. I'm not scared. The web is chock full of liberal thinking people who are just giggling at the thought of Hillary as President but they are overlooking one important factor. Her record and her word, going back many years, has been consistently left of left. Until recently. She has made several speeches in the past few weeks, as if she is putting out feelers, that talk about how she would respond to certain situations as President. Each time she speaks in front of a "mainstream America" crowd, she contradicts her long, loud, and liberal record. Each time she speaks to her liberal possy, she sounds just like herself. She is trying to pull a Slick Willy on us! If anyone wants to see just how liberal she is, just check her profile at a site called On The Issues. She is truly left of left. This is the chief reason why she can't win. Obviously, she can't get a conservative to vote for her and liberals, especially women, will turn out in droves to vote for her. It's the moderates that worked for her husband and could never work for her. Bill was able to convince people of something that was not true. That he is a moderate. I still read about how he is a centrist from so many writers. Not true. Check his record. People say he was because he got modifications to the welfare system in his first term. I believe that Bill was adamantly opposed to it and his record proves it. He wanted to win the 1992 election and knew he could not run as a liberal. Why? Do the names, McGovern, Teddy "Pumpkinhead" Kennedy, Mondale, and Michael "L word" Dukakis ring a bell? He had to convince people that he stood for some conservative and moderate issues. When speaking to mainstreamers, he told them that he was for limits on welfare, that he was personally opposed to abortion, and that he was a faithful Baptist Christian. Without looking into it, many people voted for him. The first two years of his Presidency, he worked like a liberal among liberals because he had a Democratic Congress. When all of the conservatives woke up and realized they'd been had, they voted in a Republican Congress and Newt reminded Bill of some of the promises he'd made. Bill said, "I'm just waiting for Congress to write the bill and send it to me so I can sign it". **cough, coughliar**coughBull!Coughcough** Anyway, if you recall, Congress did send him a bill...three times. The first two times, he did not like it because it didn't protect unmarried and irresponsible women enough. The third time, a heavily-modified-to-his-liking bill was sent and he said he still opposed it but felt he had no choice but to sign it. He warned that the Republicans would have to be blamed for all of the harm that might come out of it. He is NO moderate. He danced like that through his whole Presidency.

Hillary will not have that luxury. People DO know her record. She is well known for her liberalism. She will not be able to pull off what her husband was the master of. I think that people who are left of left are important in American politics. I believe the same is true of those who are right of right. But as conservative as I am, I would never vote for an ultraconservative for President. The voices of radicals on both sides are important to keep the debate alive, but are frightening as a possibility in the White House. Therefore, the reason she can't win is because she is very, very liberal and everyone knows it. She will not be able to win. In fact, she cannot win the primary.

Don't be scared, fellow conservatives. Hillary will not be moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue ever again.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

PA Politics

Pennsylvania is an odd state. I grew up in New Jersey, a state that is more divided than people think. Most people I talk to from out of state think of New Jersey as a solid liberal Democratic state. There are actually a great number of conservatives there. For instance, even though the networks called the presidential elections in '92 and '96 very early for Clinton, the end results were actually very close.

Pennsylvania, on the other hand, is divided in a very different way. In another blog, I quoted James Carville as saying that PA was, "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama inbetween". He's absolutely right. Our Governor, the beloved (well, in Philly and P-burgh anyway) Ed Spendell has boasted on his Governor's website that he has not and will not raise any taxes on the citizens of Pennsy. Well, Mr. Rendell, that depends on what the definition of a tax on citizens is. He has raised tax on gas, cigarrettes, certain food items, raised tolls 40% on the turnpike, and so on, and so on. I guess he meant no raises in state income tax 'cuz everything else has gone up. He also brags of creating 70,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania since he took office. Wow. Talk about using statistics falsely. Being the former Philly mayor, he scratched their backs real good and left the mid-state out in the cold. If you take the four biggest cities in PA, you have well over 70,000 jobs created, so the rest of the state lost jobs. We have lost a significant number of jobs in central Penna. Depending on the county (and you can pretty well determine that the bigger the county went for Bush, the bigger the loss of jobs has been), it can range from just about holding it's own to facing serious depression.

Rendell has made it clear, in spite of retoric, that he will do anything for the cities, and will stick it to the rural areas as hard as he can. He has created legislation that will tax farmers more and big businesses less. He has created environmental legislation that will make it significantly harder for hunters to find places to hunt...although I admit it will be a long time before hunters are out of land. He plans on creating a whole new "Green" legislation in the spring of this year that will damage the hunter's rights further. He has changed the laws concerning car inspections so that two separate inspections have to be made per year. This second inspection, which only a few stations are able to perform comes at a gaudy price to us, the untaxed citizens. He has also upped their licencing and is working on making it more difficult to get a hunting rifle. He has caused the state to take over education decisions accross the board and removed any ability for the local school districts to make decisions for their own particular needs. The man hates us.

The up side is that in 2006, he will learn that the mid-state holds more voting clout than he believes. At this point, we don't like him very much either.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


I have been offline again. I will endeavor to be consistent now. Sorry I was gone. Apparently, these people expect you to pay for this service. Go figure.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Michael, have you looked at "The Man In The Mirror" lately?

Michael Jackson is on trial for child molestation. Given the evidence, he certainly should be on trial. What I don't understand is, why do we, the "everyday people", give celebrities a greater audience than other pedophiles, murderers, rapists, and assorted "Smooth Criminals"? I don't know the ,, so why should I be more interested in whether he is guilty or not? I am happy that the judge does not seem to care that poor oppressed Michael is a celebrity. Jim at Parkway Reststop has an interesting article with good insights on the trial and particularly how it's being handled by the press and the judge.

In my perfect world, Michael, Lynn Anderson, Robert Blake, Snoop Dogg, and all of the other celebrities on trial would be put on trial by a jury of their peers without any press or cameras and should be found guilty or innocent. This should happen as quickly and quietly as any other trial. It's the press' fault, it's the celebrities fault, but most of all, it's our fault for confusing the fact that these people are entertainers who have done work that we know, with thinking we somehow know them. We don't. There are people who do know them, and it must be heartwrenching for them. But not us. The schlomo's of the world should fill our lives with more important things than to obsess over celebrities who have been accused of crimes.

Well, it's not my perfect world. People will be glued to this garbage as sure as the grocery store rags will outsell any other newspaper. Oh well, wake me up when the trial is over.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Piece in the Middle East

How do we achieve peace in the Middle East? Well lets see. Jimmy Carter won a Nobel Peace Prize but his efforts, as great and noble as they were, lasted a very short while. Bill Clinton tried to garner praise for himself by attempting to mimic Mr. Carters efforts but that, as we all know, was just fluff. With Israel and Palestine, you have two groups of people who want a form of autonomy that mutually excludes the other sides desires. If a people have a right to rule and protect their own people, then all people groups have that right. There are literally 100's of variables at work in the Middle East all working against each other at the same time. It seems to me that peace is not possible because groups are too determined that other groups have no right to exist. The Kurds, Baluchis, Chechnyans, the Sunnis, the Shi'ites, the Jews, the I-hate-yous, and the I-hate-you-mores. The Palestinians commit all kinds of unthinkable acts of atrocity but people forget that Menachim Begin committed (and even invented) all kinds of acts of terrorist atrocity when they were trying to establish themselves as a nation. I have personally spoken to 100's of Palestinians who do not know whatever happened to their fathers because they were arrested by Israeli police for refusing to give up their land to Jewish settlements and other construction. My point is, neither side is innocent. None of the many sides are innocent and none of them are willing to budge in their desires.

So what do we do? One option would be to do nothing. Get out and watch people butcher each other, commit genocide, violate human rights in the cruelest and most violent ways. That is obviously not a solution. We could also keep trying to get national leaders to tables and keep signing peace treaties until someone actually means what they sign. Unfortunately, there is always a dissenter for every person sympathetic to these signings and so the violence will continue. We could divide the land further and further until every people group has a chunk of land but that will not work because there are people groups that will not be happy until others are exterminated.

So what do we do? We support our President and any action that is decisive, strong, and as smart as the situation will allow. We let people like Teddy Kennedy retain his right to free speech and completely ignore everything he freely says. I believe that while we act decisively, we continue to talk. We talk to all of the leaders, even the "unofficial" ones. We try to get them to direct their people rightly and warn them of serious consequences if they fail. And, unlike Bill "Where'd my spine go" Clinton and the UN (United Nonaction), when we warn, we follow through and do exactly as we said we would do.

More than anything, we trust a God who is far wiser and understands the end of this mess infinitely more than we could. We pray, pray, pray.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Between Iraq & a hard place

I saw all of the liberal news media (including our local Harrisburg paper) put a negative spin on the election. Amazing. One of the greatest accomplishments in my own lifetime. Some of the most courageaous people in the world. Voting because they believe in it so fervently, at peril of their lives. And CNN, and the network news stations focus almost completely on, "Terrorism and deaths mar election". 57% nationwide went out and voted. Way to go, Iraq!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Take my life...please.

Michael Ross wants to die. He is a serial killer who admits he is guilty and hired a lawyer to make the death a quick one. The lawyer he hired, T.R. Paulding opposes the death penalty and has delayed the execution. I don't know how many Connecticut lawyers favor the death penalty but there has to be someone out there. Ross hired the wrong guy. At the same time, Paulding was hired, I mean he agreed to the terms and reason for his hiring, I mean he's accepting money to do what he was hired to do (get Ross executed quickly) and he is failing to do his job.

I favor the death penalty. I believe that multiple killers deserve to die. Quickly. I believe the wishes of the multiple killer are irrelevant. It's not about "sending a message" either, although that would certainly happen if we were at all serious about the death penalty. I took some of my students once (about 1986 in South Jersey) to a series of debates on "hot social and political topics". It was hosted by a huge public school and we were the lone representative of the Christian School movement. As it turned out, there were a number of other Christian kids there and many non-Christian kids who favored the death penalty. The area where the death penalty debate took place peaked my interest the most (other topics were, Joking and stereotyping by ethnicity, The drinking age - higher or lower, American involvement in international anti-communist activities, Protecting the environment versus necessary destruction of the environment, and abortion). There were three adults invoved in the debate, a moderate judge who said he does not have a strong opinion either way, a conservative pro-death penalty lawyer, and an ACLU lawyer. The kids were supposed to listen to the debate, debate the points themselves, then write a joint paper summarizing the adult and teen views. I just remember that the ACLU lawyer's main defense was mocking the other two in a deeply personal manner. He laughed at everything they said and came accross to the kids as an arrogant man who didn't have many facts. Imagine that. An arrogant liberal who uses mockery and bits & pieces of information to make his point. **CoughMichaelMoorecough** **CoughCoughJonStewartCough** His one point was that it costs more to put a prisoner to death than it does to keep him alive in prison for 60 years. The kids saw right through that one. I remember one of them correctly saying, "That's only because the ACLU keeps tax paid efforts alive to postpone deaths. And they fight to tie up courts for years and years before it's ever carried out". The debate centered around whether or not it creates a deterrent to others not to murder. That part of the debate was done poorly on both sides with the MOTR judge lending the only intelligence to it, saying that in his experience, crimes met with quick and certain justice cause a slowdown in crime in that area. I remember the ACLU fellow snapping back with, Well, if you want to turn our freedom into a fascist regime, go ahead"! I always love *ahem* how liberals love to misuse the word "fascist" but never seem to use "communist" as a negative word for iron control of people. Hmmm. Anyway, the kid from our school made me proud by chirping in with, "It's not about whether it serves as a deterrent, it's about justice. It's simply the right thing to do. A man kills in a first degree sort of way, he deserves to have his life taken from him". Way to go, Eric.

If you want to know more about the story, read at Foxnews.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Monk Mania

I don't mind saying that I am a big fan of the TV show Monk. Every time it dissappears for a few months I start to look forward to the next set. Other than sports, weather, and news, it's about all the TV I watch. I am not sure what the furor between the show and Bitty Shram was that led to her departure, but it was a mistake. Her spunky character that was not afraid to confront Tony Shalhoub's Monk made Monk funnier and more interesting. The new assistant seemed interesting but isn't the firebrand that Monk's character needs. He is dull, fascinating and quirky, but so cautious and methodical that he needs someone who contrasts that. Now, if they have to replace Sharona (and I can't believe it would be about money), they don't want to replace her with a Sharona-clone. They do want to put somone there with his or her own brand of spitfire. I enjoyed the first show and I'm curious as to what they'll do with a full episode of her (Traylor Howard as Natalie Teeger) being Monk's sidekick. Well, I'll be there tomorrow night at 10:00 on USA network. Hope it's good stuff.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Walk for Life

I spent all of yesterday in Washington DC taking part in various facets of the Walk for Life. What I find remarkable about the event is that there are 1000's upon 1000's of people from all different religious points of view (including atheists and feminists) who oppose the idea of Roe v. Wade. These people, whether chanting the Rosary, praying quietly, or calling out slogans; walk peacefully. There is always laughing, chatting, singing, and making acquaintances. I have never, however, seen the anger or hatred that we are accused of. I see a great deal of love, just no anger. I even see a few anti-rally demonstrators once in a while (I saw none this year), but no one from the crowd of marchers acting hateful. This year I even saw a group from France walking with us. FRANCE!! I didn't know anyone opposed abortion in France. Well, I do now.

No matter how peaceful, loving, and positive the rallies remain, the network news and CNN always find the most negative way to spin the story. CNN's story was filled with discussion about "pro-choice" advocates protesting on Capitol Hill as though they were a significant number. I always look for them specifically, and this year, I did not see a single one. I did not see a single sign or hear a single chant. Where were these phantom protesters? The use of negative adjectives and adverbs describing us contrasted by the positive ones describing these ghosts who were allegedly protesting our presence shows more than a media bias. It shows a bullying position being taken by the media. Oh well, there were a half million or more people braving the cold who know the truth of what took place there. More importantly, God knows.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Cubs fan, neurotic..synonyms

I just heard blasphemy on TV. They said now that the Red Sox won the World Series, the neurosis sports capital has to go to Philadelphia for watching the Iggles lose three NFC championships in a row. Give me a break. Although the accomplishment is impressive in itself, you need decades of futility to match the Cubs. I will go on record as saying that no Phila fan can tie my neurosis shoelaces. I will not sit still and be called less neurotic than anyone and I share this title with millions of faithful Cubbie fans. Even before the Bosox won, we were number one. We have been swept in the Series, lost in seven games in the Series, had championship after championship "locked up" just to find rediculous ways NOT to win. The Eagles never lost after having anything sewn away. The Eagles were completely dominated in two of the championships and were playing catch-up in the first one. Yeah we've done those things, many times, AND had the distinction of dominating the other teams just to lose anyway. The Iggles were in the Super Bowl in '81 and got blown out. They won the world championship as recently as 1960 and won two others in 1948 and 1949. pshaw! You have got to go a lot longer to even be in the Cubs league. 1908 was the last one, so it's been 96 seasons without a champion. 45 years does not compare. I had my hopes crushed in '69, '71, '73, '78, '84, '89, '98, and pretty much, the 21st century. Eagles fans should take notes on how to be a sports neurotic from me. Philadelphia, the new reigning sports neurosis city? Please!!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Loving the magic white powder

Snow. OK? I wasn't talking about the other magic white powder. We have tons of it today (Snow, that is). The mild winter is over. It's magic because it causes important businesses to close and social functions to cease. Right now in my house, there is a new social function commencing. My wife had to go to work because she's a nurse. She'll probably stay there overnight to work her next shift. She spun out last winter and ended up in a ditch. We had to pay $50.00 to have a tow truck drag her car 10 feet, literally. She's been, needless to say, a bit gun shy about driving in the snow ever since. They are calling for about 14 inches today and, while they might not even call out the snowplows for that in Duluth, we consider that more than we can handle here.

Donnie did the right thing and called out from work. He did go out at 7am to get his buddy, Gordon. They're playing "Need For Speed II" and an Amish card game. Let the party begin!! Alex was supposed to have a mandatory military function and work (Panera Bread) at the same time. He kept putting off calling out because he kept saying, "These are both required things...I can't call out". I guess it didn't occur to him that he couldn't be at both places at the same time in spite of my urgings. Fortunately, the Army called and told him not to come in. Panera said, "Yeah, we stay open in blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions". I heard that the Jakarta Panera Bread in Indonesia stayed open right through the Tsunami (On an unrelated note, there are many opportunities to help the victims of the Tsunami as giving is starting to wane on many fronts. Operation Blessing is an excellent one - Get involved!). It's scary to think that the U.S. Army has more understanding and sensitivity to peoples safety and health than some stupid chain resaurant. Wait a minute...that's not scary, that's a good thing. Anyway, I made Alex call Panera Bread and tell his boss that the roads were impassable (We actually did try, briefly) and his boss got angry at him. Why I oughta... We live a half hour away in the middle of Mennonite country, Pennsylvania. I aint driving up and back four times in a blizzard just to get him there so that his precious store can have a salad maker. If he fires Alex for this, I will be intensely angry. I would debate the situation with him but you can't debate with a person who puts the life of a $6.00 an hour worker below his own laziness and drool for money. Therefore, my plan is to get angry, yell a lot, and get nothing done. Good plan.

Just smile, smile, smile!

Remember, it takes 18 muscles to frown, but only 8 to smile. More importantly, it takes none to sit there with your mouth half open and a dumb look on your face.

The actual skinny on this, according to David H. Song MD FACS (Plastic surgeon), is that it takes 12 muscles to smile and 11 to frown, but it's usually easier to smile anyway since the muscles particular to smiling are stronger.

The big picture still holds true. If you love laziness, open your mouth slightly, and drool.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Triple E

The school where I teach is a Christian School. At the school I advise a club called Triple E (Encouragement, Exhortation, Edification). It's a group of High School kids who want to make a difference for their faith and their God. We pray for people, write encouragement notes to people, discuss faith issues with people, and try to strengthen the Christian community. My brother did us this wonderful favor and built us a website. If you so desire, you can visit us at Triple E. A few of the link buttons are not operational yet but you can leave a prayer request, an encouraging thought, or an idea for us and we will get back to you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Playoff picture

I am a meat and potatoes sports fan. I am a baseball nut, a football fan, and I can take or leave hockey and basketball. I see George Will's comments on the shift from baseball to basketball as fitting. He said that our society has shifted from a baseball loving society to a basketball loving society with the shift to postmodernism. Basketball can be enjoyed by someone who doesn't understand the game while baseball is enjoyed by someone who knows the nuances of it. Basketball constantly gratifies the observer with continuous scoring and continuous motion while baseball requires patience to watch. The baseball fan has to enjoy the battle, for instance, between the pitcher and each batter. Baseball has infinitely more things going on at any time than does basketball, but only the knowledgeable would see this. Postmodernism says, "FEED ME NOW WITH ENTERTAINMENT", otherwise life, to them, has no purpose. Football fills a gap somewhere inbetween. There is more scoring (Well, at least higher numbers) than baseball, but there is still the greater emphasis on tactics and planning than basketball.

That brings us to this years playoffs. I had always been a Browns fan but obviously I am not from Cleveland. I didn't have quite as much outrage at the Browns move to Baltimore because it wasn't as personal for me. I mean, I still hate the fact that owners show this kind of lack of loyalty to fans (The players are guilty here, too) , but I live close to Baltimore so that seemed easy for me to adapt. Besides, I was still rooting for the same players. I became a Ravens fan.You could see the dilemma I had when the Browns became a expansion-not-an-expansion team. Do I root for the players or the uniforms? I became a schizo-fan, standing behind both teams. It's tough when they play each other. I originally thought that the event would make it easier for me. My true loyalties will surface when I see them play each other. They did not. It is further complicated by the fact that I have always had a fondness for the Eagles (Iggles for all you Philadelphians). I lived in Philly for 3 years and in the Philly suburbs for another 5 years. My in-laws live there and my grandparents lived in a Philly suburb while I was growing up. No problem now though, Philly's in, the Browns and Ravens are out. I however, do not like the Eagles chances. I don't know what it is about them, but winning the "big ones" has not been something they do.

Here's what will happen:
The Steelers and Patriots will have an unbelievable game and the less talented Patriots will win on some last second freak thing (sorry, Mike). Maybe 17-16. The Falcons (Or as I like to call them, the Vick and a bunch of other guys) will beat a vastly superior Eagle team fairly soundly. Something like 31-17. The Super Bowl will be like a reversal of the 80's Super Bowls. The Patriots will win by 30+. One thing is for certain though, Paul McCartney will not show us any skin. He'll do something crazy like, I dunno, sing and play music.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Intelligent Designer

The furor over creation as an option to random chance evolution has come to our back yard here in Central PA. The Dover school district is fighting a battle over the validity of creation by intelligent design as science. I firmly believe in a God who created the universe by the word of His power and believe that it makes much more sence than the idea that order somehow came out of chaos. There are increasing numbers of scientists who agree. This posting is not being written to lay out the science of it, though. I am angry about the hypocricy of the elitists who want to deprive children of the freedom of choice by controlling their minds in a Stepfordesque world. I am tired of watching them force children to parrot answers until they believe them. I am sick of teachers and professors that brainlessly follow the queue of the ACLU and other pseudointellectual nazis without hearing their own drivel.

The ACLU represented John Scopes, a new teacher that had NOT taught evolution in school, but was used by the liberals to push their test case. Scopes took two students, during nonschool hours, to a secluded area on the campus of Dayton's (Tennessee) high school and opened the book to a page that had a chart of the growth of biological evolution on the earth. This chart went from lower order creatures, to the primates, to black people, asian people, and finally to the crown jewel of evolution, white people. That's right, like essentially ALL evolution books from Darwin to George Hunter's book (the book in question in the case), it presented a blatently racist view. Darrow asked Scopes if he had taught from the book and Scopes answered in the affirmative, saying that he assigned reading from the chapter but due to an absence the next day, no discussion on evolution ever took place. This, in fact, was false. He NEVER used the book in class and the students NEVER had copies of the book.

A bigger issue than the case is a brief comment made by Darrow during the trial. Darrow said that the ACLU did not want to ever see a school where evolution pushed creation out of the classroom. He said that doing so would be unconstitutional and would remove the fairness and objectivity from the students minds. He only wanted evolution to be taught alongside of creation. I can't crawl inside of Darrow's conscience and know if he was sincere or lying. I do know that once the laws started to allow evolution, the ACLU immediately began to push for creation to be banned. The open-minded liberal is a myth. They are the champions of censorship and book burning. Read December 27th (Press-to Chango) to see how the liberal elitists pull this off.

Anyway, I am done being angry. Good therapy, this. I'm going to go upstairs to my bed and talk to the God who made me and thank Him that I'm not an accident. I was created with a purpose. I suggest that you do the same.

Monday, January 17, 2005

MLK, Jr.

Well, yesterday was a travel day. Good day. My wife and I drove up to see my brothers for a second Christmas. The family on this end is my wife, kids and I, and my mom. We brought hers and our presents for them up to Jersey City and they gave our kids some truly cool stuff. I got to watch the Eagles win. My two brothers are a Steelers and a Jets fan respectively, so there was joy and mourning there. Mostly joy though. Very nice time.

Today I'm here celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr's great accomplishments and tenacious pursuit of human dignity by sitting on my butt, doing nothing. Somehow another injustice is done. I admire Dr. King the same way I admire his father's namesake, Martin Luther. These two men both knew that their actions would probably lead to their death but were unflinching in their drive. Both of them were men of faith who were aided by a notion that if God said so, it's right, and therefore I'm right. Both of the men were substantially flawed and had ideals that I wouldn't support. The main thing that each pursued, I would not only endorse, but march alongside of them. Two of the greatest revolutions in human history were sparked by these men and great things came out of their battles. Equal rights for all races and religious freedom. The only negatives here are that the first is not completely accomplished yet and the second is deteriorating rapidly in our secularistic world. Reformation Day is October 31st. Today is MLK's day. I thank the Lord for Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only because of his accomplishments, but for his example. A man who acts upon what he says he believes and does so with all of his heart, soul, mind, strength, and resources.

He dreamed of a day. Let's keep dreaming and act on our dreams.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Way to go, Ryno!

I am a Chicago Cubs fan. Love my Cubbies. I started liking them when I was a little kid growing up in central New Jersey. Makes no sense, I know. We lived equidistant to Philly and New York. A lot of my neighbors were Italians from Bronx, Brooklyn, or North Jersey so their allegiance was set. For most of the rest of us, we hated hearing it from the New Yorkers so we chose teams from wherever and for whatever reason. I took on the Cubs around 1965 after watching Banks, Williams, and my favorite, Ron Santo. During that year and into the next year, they added Fergie, Bill Hands, Kessinger, Beckert, Hundley, and their relief corps. That was the team. I lived and died with those guys. Loads of memories.

This is to honor the third guy that I ever called, My favorite player". After Santo, and a brief stint with Bill Madlock, I transferred my baseball affections to Ryne Sandberg. What a player. He could do it all. Oh the soft glove, the quick and consistent bat, the swift feet, and the low profile ego. I am so glad that he entered the hallowed Hall with Wade Boggs. Boggs was a better "pure" hitter but Sandberg had power. Ryno was the best fielding second baseman that ever lived. It took me a while to come up with the tribute but I'll leave that to you with some things that my good friend, Joe (who is a diehard Phillies fan), said about him. He said that he deserved to go in, especially for his fielding. But the thing he said that made it worthwhile was, "The Phillies were idiots!! They saw him as a third baseman and didn't have the smarts to see him at second. Idiots!". Even though I understand the Phillies situation in 1981 (Schmidt at third, Manny Trillo at second, Sandberg showed no promise of power or consistency in the minors), I also undertand that Ryno had great talent and a lot of people knew it. I appreciate Joe's comment.

In the end, the man did it. He played great baseball and kept his ego out of it. How many players in the history of baseball gave the team back $6 million because he didn't think he played well enough that year. I don't know if anyone has ever given back any money that he was contracted for.

Well, way to go Ryno!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

On a positive note...

Larry Kudlow wrote a "good news, more good news" article on the economy. Look it up on the National Review Online site. It appears that G.W.'s budget is working and working well. Boy, that really must make some Dem's mad. The deficit is shrinking and doing so rapidly. Whoa! Isn't that supposed to be impossible under a fiscally conservative Republican? He talks about how the media is suddenly not talking about the deficit. Hmm...really? The economic talk is now all about the oil imports and the widening of the trade gap. Well, Janeane Garofalo is so right (he says with tongue firmly planted in cheek), there is NO media bias.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Welfare farewell

I have had this gnawing sense for years that our welfare system is not doing anyone any long term good. The whole movement in the early '30's by FDR was, in his words, "A drastic solution to a terrible situation". He also called it temporary, stating that as the need for it passed (the depression), he would discontinue it. Well, the doggone thing went and helped to make him popular. No, it made him somewhere between God and King Arthur. We were stuck with it. I maintain that the initial big program (giving government checks and housing to out of work people), coupled with the plethora of tri-lettered programs, worked because most of the people that were the recipients of it recieved their dignity from working. They were ashamed to take charity but did because they had no other choice. These people (for the most part) couldn't wait to get off of welfare. As some of the people were left out of the improvements (particularly the black communities, due to overt racism), they moved into the next generation of impoverishment. The solution was no solution at all. Leave the thing alone and do nothing. Welfare became a way of life that guaranteed that the next generation of poor would produce another generation of poor. It became assumed and even demanded of the government. The "victim mentality" made it even worse. Crime became the way that poor people could make a lot of money and that fact further denegrated these communities. I don't care what race, religion, or creed a person belongs to; any of us in this situation would do whatever it took to survive. We are all inherantly corrupt.

When Bill Clinton lied to America, saying that he was in favor of reforming welfare (when actually, he wanted only to garner enough conservative and moderate votes to win the election), he set things back even more. What we ended up with was a time limit on welfare that was an insult to everyone.

A radical change is needed in the system. A change as radical as the one FDR instituted in his first term. Something is needed that brings people dignity, but at the same time, no option but to work. We don't put third generation homeless people in charge of major corporations, that would be rediculous. In Ireland, not long ago (It has become more socialistic), the government offered a day's pay for a day's work. You went to the unemployment office, they fit you with a job that you were capable of, and a supervisor that would, well, supervise you. You were given transportation to and from this job and were given lunch. The jobs were not dissimilar to the ones FDR created in his CCC, TVA, etc. jobs. They acted like a temp agency. You also had to prove that you were looking for a real job. Not the way it's done here, there you actually had to produce proof that you were applying. At that time, no other options were given. I am definitely NOT saying that this is our solution, I realize the difficulties in doing something like that, but something equally drastic needs to be done. Otherwise we are condemning another generation of the poverty striken to a life in the slums.

One thing I do know for certain, churches and other religious organizations are not fulfilling their duties here. I am a deeply devout Christian and I will say that the church I attend is failing miserably here. There was a time when the church WAS the welfare system. People of faith, with or without the governments approval or help, need to be obeying commands to minister to the poor. Let's get going.

Hello again!

Well, here's my excuse. My computer caught a pretty bad virus and was down for a few days. When my wife resurrected it, my two boys created some major time-consuming snafu's (is that the plural?), then my mom was hospitalized with very scary stuff. I know I still had time in the evenings but I did not feel up to writing. Maybe it would have been good therapy. Oh well. Here I am and hello to all that come here to read. All three of you!

Friday, December 31, 2004

Hello 2005!

All I want for 2005 is for my kids to be healthy and wise and for my wife and I to be happy as we enter empty nest-land (sort of). My resolutions are out here on the internet. I want to keep my weight off and be a better teacher this year than I was last year (I always have that one).

I wish you all God's richest blessings and a truly happy New Year.