Saturday, December 31, 2005
Those Who Walk the Walk
If you object to the war in Iraq it is very easy to blog about it or complain to your friends. It is something entirely different to drop your own personal life and camp out on the side of the road in Crawford or go to Iraq as a peace worker.
If you are afraid of the state of our environment it is simple to read articles about it and recycle your aluminum. It is something entirely different to drop your personal life and go out in the field to study, document, protect and hopefully make a difference.
If you are concerned about those less fortunate it is easy to put your old clothes in a bag and donate them to charity. It is something entirely different to drop you personal life to hold their hands, provide support and encouragement, share their joys and sorrows and help them stand on their own two feet.
This New Years Eve I'm raising my glass to those who put not only their money but their time, emotional energy and physical well being where their mouths are. Whether I agree with their ideology or not, I admire people who not only talk the talk but who also walk the walk.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Last night we saw Syriana. I'm going to have to give it a thumbs down. The story and characters were interesting and I understand what the film was trying to accomplish, however there was too much time spent examining side characters and not enough time spent developing the story lines and weaving the plot.
On the other hand, I will give a big two thumbs up to Brokeback Mountain. I walked out of the theater with a broken heart. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were amazing as a couple in love but forever separated by society and circumstance. I can't say enough good things about this film. The cinematography, the script, the soundtrack, the supporting cast were all spot on. If we don't see Oscars for this one it will be nothing short of crime.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Coming up against one's own conscience
So, it might surprise people to know that I spent three years working in medical research. The laboratory I worked for had two departments, Toxicology and Medical Implant and Device testing. The Toxicology department tested new medications mostly on rodents and lagamorphs, the Medical Implant and Device department tested new surgical techniques and (as the name implies) new implant technology. This department used cows, sheep, dogs and pigs.
Now, there is definitely some good that comes out of the type of work I did. Our lab was responsible for much of the research which resulted in the FDA pulling silicone breast implants. We helped develop a device that has helped many people who need portions of intestine removed. We did some remarkable work which has helped burn victims with skin grafts.
While I realized that my work was important to humans, it was difficult to go to work day after day and know that I was inflicting pain on one type of animal for the benefit of another. Now, I personally don't believe that the human species is anything special. I don't believe that we own the world, I don't believe we have any sort of elevated status. We are just one of many species indigenous to this planet, we just happen to be overly brainy. I constantly walked the emotional line, wondering if I was doing more harm than good.
I'm not a hard core animal rights person,I eat meat and I wear leather shoes. I understand that when I sit down to my chicken dinner I am consuming what once was a living, breathing being. As an omnivorous member of the food chain, I'm comfortable with that (although I am not comfortable with the huge industries that bring those chickens to our tables...That is a subject for another day.)
However, I don't feel that we have the right to treat our fellow life forms with complete callous disregard. The life of a cow is just as important to that cow as my life is to me. A tree that has survived decades is deserving of respect, as is the natural algae populations of a lake or stream. Let's face it, if all the humans disappeared off the face of the Earth tomorrow the world would continue without so much as a hiccup. On the other hand, if all the blue-green algae disappeared? We would be screwed! We humans are not nearly so important as we would like to believe.
So, I continued working in research with a conflicted heart. I did everything in my power to make certain that the animals in my care were comfortable and as happy as possible (I even made a point of letting the dogs out for play time on a daily basis...Something many of my co-workers thought was a waste of time.)
After three years I was presented with an opportunity to move to another city. I jumped at the chance, went back into private veterinary practice and have never looked back. I still don't know how I feel about those years I worked in research. Life is so full of grey areas, it would be nice if everything was clearly defined and every decision we make was obviously right or wrong but I guess we all must muddle through and do the best we can.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious!
True that, double true.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Follow up to BG's 9/11 post
Rather than take my time and yours talking about how I'm in the main stream in so many ways (trauma on 9/11, disbelief, shock, horror, anger, blah, blah), I'll wrap up my appearance on GM Blog, which GM so graciously allowed, with the following:
The following is taken from
We are an action-oriented 9-11 website. Many good websites already exist offering research and analysis of the events of September 11th, 2001. Our purpose is not to duplicate these efforts, nor to prove or disprove what really happened. Rather, our goal is to support the 9-11 truth movement itself, led by the victims' families' efforts to obtain full government accountability for the suspicious and unprecedented intelligence and air defense failures that took place before and during the attacks. What you will find on this site are information and tools designed to help build this movement.
I'm not saying this web site is authoritative or singular. Rather, I think a visitor to this site receives the overall impression in a variety of voices speaking for 9/11 Truth. Here, I think you see the heart and soul of those of us who believe sharing this information is the best hope for getting our Country back, or perhaps making the US what it should be, yet hasn't been in recent history.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Merry Christmas to All
On Monday BG will have a post for us to address some of the questions and comments which have been posed. Stay tuned!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
So in the interest of presenting all views on the subject, maintaining an open yet skeptical mind and hopefully encouraging some interesting discussion on the topic I've asked Bill to do a guest post here. Thanks Bill!
Godless Mom has offered me a guest post here. My name is Bill Giltner, and I normally blog at http://bgtruth.blogspot.com.
I apologize that I don't have my blog organized as a reference work/web page. That's a topic for another day.
As a way to manage a "9/11" search tag for blogging, I would encourage you to use the following technorati tag (09/11/2001) to access my recent work, and to include in your own 9/11 blogging activities.
I had envisioned a very long post (not ready yet) that I'd like to do. Wanting to get a quick entry out, I did this short one.
I'm interested in engaging with you, the reader, in the following somewhat limited way. I'll have no time for your comments if:
1) You have not studied the "anomalies" of 9/11 and don't realize the the 9/11 Commission was a Cover Up Commission.
2) You want to disparage, as kooky, questions about whether the one or more of the four identified passenger planes, did in fact crash on 9/11 as claimed.
3) You won't acknowledge the prima facie evidence that WTC 1,2, and 7 were brought down by something other than the impact of the planes and fire.
I'm not saying I know what happened with each plane and each deceased passenger, but the evidence is dubious. If you pick up any of the a hand-full of books in the mainstream, you can get up to speed in a few hours on the above.
If you follow this link, which leads to the book "9/11 Revealed", at Amazon, you'll also see how mixed (high approval / low approval) the reviews of books like this can be. I have several reasons to cite this example. I think the controversy shown is representative of the nature of disagreements among researchers. If you study this, and others like it throughout the Internet, I would submit that Godless Mom's original characterization of the debate about 9/11 as being evenly divided pro/con conspiracy stuff is just wholly misleading. Seeing the blog entry say that certainly irked me to comment.
Rather than evenly divided, it is the case that those who have studied what seems like the best evidence and commentary are firmly on the side that the US Govt. and 9/11 Commission is lying about a broad spectrum of the evidence.
In summary I would say that there's a fascinating world of characters, web sites, Truth Events, etc. out there in the 9/11 Truth World. Before I discuss further any of those details, I curious to see if we can get a broad agreement on the above.
Here's my short recommended reading list:
Webster Tarpley, 9/11 Synthetic Terror
David Ray Griffin, New Pearl Harbor
D R Griffin, 9/11 Commission: Ommissions and Distortions
Mike Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon
I'm not so much of a Ruppert fan these days, but the book stands on it's own.
Thanks for sharing your space, GM!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
The rising of the sun and the running of the deer.
When I was a child, Christmas was about the birth of Jesus and gifts from Santa Claus (not necessarily in that order.) In my young mind I pictured the entire world sitting in cozy homes around tall trees with loving families, all singing Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. The lights made sense, the nativity scenes made sense, the reindeer made sense...It was a pretty picture.
Now, as an adult, things are a little different. This is a strange time of year to be an out of the closet atheist. When I go out caroling with neighborhood friends I always get weird sideways glances when we sing Silent Night and people seem to make a point of saying "Happy Holidays" to me instead of "Merry Christmas." I can understand their quandary, they are good folks who don't want to offend and I'm a bit of a curiosity. I try to let them know that I like to sing and be festive just like everyone else and they certainly don't need to change their celebration habits or religious observations because I'm around.
After we had Liz we decided that if we were going to raise her in a religion-free home we would need to help her make sense of all the different things she sees and hears during the season. We want to help her recognize the different celebrations that take place and respect and understand the beliefs that surround those holidays. I am very fortunate that Liz has friends of many different religions and cultures so she is exposed first-hand to families that observe Ramadan, families that celebrate Rash Hashanah and Chanukkah, families who take Christmas and run with it and families who don't celebrate at all. She is able to see that although Christmas is the holiday that dominates the stores, there are actually many different things going on during the latter months of the year.
Each year on the Winter Solstice I invite my loved ones over for a simple dinner and some quiet family time. I use the occasion to teach Liz about various holiday celebrations around the world and about the origins of many of our traditions.(I think this year she might be old enough to actually participate in the family discussion.) It has really turned into a beautiful and relaxing family tradition.
I always serve beef stew (slow cooked in the crockpot) a tossed salad, bread and wine. After dinner we sit down with a cup of wassal and enjoy each others company. This is my favorite day of the year!
So, I hope everyone has a lovely Solstice (it officially occurs today at 11:35 EST)I'll be drinking a toast to all of you!
Monday, December 19, 2005
"The Greater the Secrecy the Deeper the Corruption."
It is long but well worth reading.
I (like everyone else) am busy, busy, busy this week so posts may be few and far between. If I don't catch you later, have a wonderful week!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Tinfoil Hat Time
First we have a Flash presentation about the attack on the Pentagon.
Second, is a website dedicated to the theory that the WTC7 building was demolished using explosives rather than being destroyed by fire as is claimed in the official account of the attack. This one includes the rather credible evidence of the leaseholder of the building actually admitting to giving the OK to go ahead with demolition. (From an interview on a PBS special called America Rebuilds.) On the same subject here is a paper put together by BYU professor Steven Jones. The man is convinced we have been lied to. He doesn't stop with WTC7 though, he also questions whether the Twin Towers could actually have been brought down by the planes.
Here is a link to a list of the top three Bush administration crimes, scroll down a bit for the section on 9/11. (You can find a link to the actual video of the above mentioned PBS special.)
There are many more theories floating about the internet, one man's credible evidence is another man's La La Land. Just remember that in order for your tinfoil hat to fully protect you from the invasive rays it must cover not only your temples but also the base of your skull. Live long and prosper.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Victory for McCain
As Dumbledore would say, "We must choose between what is right and what is easy."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Bible study according to GodlessMom
Although Daddy was a mechanic and Mom was a secretary they managed to pull together enough money to send me to private schools. I was a middle-of-the-road student and I did my best to fade into the woodwork in whatever environment they placed me.
In fifth grade, at the age of ten, I was sent to Anchor Christian Academy. It was a funky place, each child was given an "office" (a small desk with walls which separated one child from the next...Kind of like the study desks in libraries.) If we needed the attention of a teacher we would place a colored block on the shelf above our desk. The teachers would then go around the room looking for blocks and answering questions. The work was largely self-directed. The curriculum consisted of "Pace" books which the student would study independently, moving ahead at their own speed. At the time I loved science and social studies and hated math, so by the end of the school year I was several grades ahead in my favorite subjects and a grade behind in the one I didn't like. Academically it didn't work out well for me.
However, there was one seriously cool perk in attending a funky Baptist school. These guys were REALLY big on memorizing Bible verse. At the beginning of each week we would be assigned a chapter of the Bible to memorize. I assume the chapters were chosen for their spiritually uplifting and morally educational qualities. However, this meant nothing to me. I was interested in the extra recess time I would earn by dutifully reciting the verse. Five minutes for the first third of the chapter, ten minutes for the first two thirds of the chapter and 15 whole minutes of extra recess time for memorizing the entire thing! While most kids took the entire week to memorize the first few lines, I would approach the challenge with complete determination and would recite the entire thing within 24 hours.
As a result I have large portions of the Bible committed to memory. I couldn't tell you exactly what chapters I have memorized, that information has left my brain under the crush of relevant information. However, occasionally I will hear a verse or read a bit of the book and the words will flood my brain with the familiarity of a well worn pair of jeans.
The exercise obviously didn't have the intended effect, I'm sure my instructors at Anchor Baptist would be sorely disappointed in the way I've turned out. However, one really cool thing did come of all that extra recess time. I got really good at shooting a basketball backwards over my head from the free throw line! A kid has to do something when they are the only one who earned extra recess time!
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
There were no Furbies to be found within a 15 mile radius of my home.
I think these little things are kind of creepy looking. Apparently they mimic emotional responses to various phrases. They also talk, apparently in several different languages depending on country of origin. I found this weird site dedicated to hacking furbies, some people have too much time on their hands.
They kind of remind me of Gremlins. Remember Gizmo?
Maybe they're related.
Tomorrow my quest continues. Sigh.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Thursday, December 08, 2005
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...
Imagine there's no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...
Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one
It would have been interesting to see where his life might have taken him had it not been cut short.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Our first stop was the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Here is Liz waiting for the Foucault Pendulum to knock over the next peg.
Santa vs. The Snowman was playing on the Imax screen. Outside the museum was this big blow-up snowman. Liz is poking him in the belly to see if he will giggle like the Pilsbury Doughboy. (Yes, it is December and yes I dressed my little girl in shorts. It was 82 degrees here on Saturday!)
Here are some of the butterflies in the Cockrell Butterfly Center.
After the museum we went to Amy's Ice Cream. It is hands-down the best ice cream I have ever had. I had and Irish Coffee malt, REALLY yummy! They actually put Baileys in it!
Amy's is a rather funky place; lots of writing on the tables, cool indie music, eclectic employees and this fellow sitting on the counter.
Our family also spent the weekend making holiday ornaments. I bought a craft kit to make these pretty little things. They really sparkle.
I also used recipe from Lucy's Frugal Living to make these gingerbread-ish ornaments. They are made from spices, applesauce and white glue. They smell terrific! (Thanks Lucy.) I painted them to look like our family. That's me with the glasses, Liz with the long hair and Scott is the bald one with the beard.
I hope you all have a wonderful day.
I will be away from the computer for a couple of days, I'll be back on Friday.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Follow that money to the corrupted absolute power
Connecticut just passed a pretty strict campaign finance reform law. While it is a step in the right direction, it seems that there is some question regarding whether it discriminates against 3rd party candidates.
I don't want those I elect to office to put the concerns of big business or big unions before the concerns of it's average citizens.
I'm also sick to death of having only two candidates to choose from every time I vote. This is a hugely diverse nation and yet we are constantly stuck with trying to choose the lesser of two evils. It makes no sense.
It seems like some sweeping campaign finance reform would do the trick. It would make our elected officials much less indebted to those who would put their own interests before the interests of the country and it would allow a more level playing field for third party candidates.
So, here is an idea (and I freely admit to being woefully uneducated about this subject, so if someone has more knowledge please chime in.) How about we make it legal for every citizen of the US to give a maximum of $200 per year and no more. No donations from PACs or corporations or unions or Santa Claus. Maybe even limit it to donating directly to the candidate rather than through the party?
What do you guys think? Are corruption and lack of choice problems which could be addressed by campaign finance reform?
Thursday, December 01, 2005
One nation, under the intelligent designer.
Earlier this week my niece sent me a link to this article . In it the author compares the testimony of Michael Behe in the Pennsylvania courtroom to an old Monty Python sketch, it is hilarious. Mr. Behe is the author of Darwin's Black Box (it's a bestseller that presents the argument for ID.)
You can find the actual transcripts from the trial here.