Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The New Adventure

Aaarrgh! Can't sleep. I should be exhausted. I've been trying to jump-start my workouts the last few weeks by getting up at 6:00 to put in an easy half-hour on the recumbent bike in addition to workouts in the evening. Tonight after work I ran 5 miles with the dogs then went to the gym for a mile-long swim workout. Don't know why I'm not more tired, but am instead feeling rather wound up.

One of the things going around in my head when I was lying in bed (before I gave up on it a few minutes ago) was work, and it occurred to me I haven't commented on the new setting. There's not much to say, really, besides it's nice. Nothing much to complain or get excited about yet. Everyone's friendly, but I'm a bit slow to warm up to new people and I can't really call them friends yet. One advantage over the old branch is they like listening to music every morning, but one strike against them is they couldn't make it through all of my Violent Femmes CD this morning. True it's not exactly an easy-to-stomach sound, and there's something to offend in almost every song. But I think it ultimately got to be too much when I didn't know the player well enough to skip ahead a song so the manager heard the first bit of Dance, Motherfucker, Dance!, so I can't really blame them. Actually my biggest reaction to the new branch borders on boredom. I've been working the desk and such, but I don't know the place and my role there well enough yet to be taking on many projects and the like in between patrons. I've spent a lot of time just observing and taking in the atmosphere and learning the place. I've been reviewing the adult reference sources and web pages since I'll be doing more of that now. And I've been gradually moving into my new desk and making the space feel like it's mine. But overall I just don't feel that productive yet. I'm sure it will come with time, though.

I've also spent some of my time emailing my friends at the old location (finding work-related reasons, of course). My last day there was a Saturday, which meant I didn't work Friday, but I wasn't really thinking about saying goodbye until Saturday. The thing I overlooked is that the Thursday was my last day with most of the staff. They bought me balloons, brought in food, and such. Hugs on my way out the door. It was harder than I thought it would be, especially since I wasn't prepared for it. Perhaps that's also contributed to my being less than excited at the new place, because I miss the camaraderie of the old one. And, now that I think about it, I wonder if excitement about seeing some of them tomorrow isn't contributing to my restlessness in bed. But I've gone on too long now and this isn't putting me to sleep. More updates on the new branch to come, I'm sure.

Monday, November 28, 2005

What to Read?

I think I have a problem: more books to read than I have time. I always have a pile of 10-20 youth books sitting on my desk, things that have been recommended or reviewed well or looked interesting when they came in as new or such. I generally get to them in the order they come due, using maximum renewals and trying not to let any be more than a week overdue by the time I finish. It's often a race against time, though. I have the usual pile right now.

I also recently got the list of titles for the area's Mock Printz in mid January, put them on hold last week, and now have a separate stack of 8-10 titles to get to. If you don't know, the Printz Medal is awarded by the ALA each year to the best book written for young adults. At the Mock Printz, YA librarians get together and go through the same process as the real Printz committee, picking what we think is the best so we can compare our results to the real ones. The hosting librarian narrowed it down to a list of ten for us (the real committee tries to read everything published for young adults during the entire year), but I haven't read any of them yet.

On top of all that, I also have two adult books to read right now. I don't get to very many because the job requires I keep up with youth books, but every so often I'll place a hold on something that really looks interesting. Is Bill Cosby Right? landed in my stack a couple of weeks ago and I'm sure there's a waiting list that will keep me from renewing. And then there's the really exciting one, A Feast for Crows, by George R. R. Martin. It's the fourth book in a series I've been reading as it gets published and I've had a hold on this one since 2/17/2004--the publication date kept getting pushed back--but it's finally on the hold shelf for me. I know I won't be able to read everything before it comes due. What to do, what to do?

Monday, November 21, 2005

A reasoned argument about intelligent design

You may have seen this in your email, but if you haven't, I live to share.

A DEBATE: Intellegent Design vs. Science

Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

(Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

(Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate's kneecap.)


Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn't mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the "naturalistic" explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.

Intelligent Design advocate: AAAAH! THE PAIN!

Scientist: Frankly, I personally find it completely implausible that the random actions of a scientist such as myself could cause pain of this particular kind. I have no precise explanation for why I find this hypothesis implausible --- it just is. Your knee must have been designed that way!

Intelligent Design advocate: YOU BASTARD! YOU KNOW YOU DID IT!

Scientist: I surely do not. How can we know anything for certain? Frankly, I think we should expose people to all points of view. Furthermore, you should really re-examine whether your hypothesis is scientific at all: the breaking of your kneecap happened in the past, so we can't rewind and run it over again, like a laboratory experiment. Even if we could, it wouldn't prove that I broke your kneecap the previous time. Plus, let's not even get into the fact that the entire universe might have just popped into existence right before I said this sentence, with all the evidence of my alleged kneecap-breaking already pre-formed.

Intelligent Design advocate: That's a load of bullshit sophistry! Get me a doctor and a lawyer, not necessarily in that order, and we'll see how that plays in court!

Scientist: (turning to audience) And so we see, ladies and gentlemen, when push comes to shove, advocates of Intelligent Design do not actually believe any of the arguments that they profess to believe. When it comes to matters that hit home, they prefer evidence, the scientific method, testable hypotheses, and naturalistic explanations. In fact, they strongly privilege naturalistic explanations over supernatural hocus-pocus or metaphysical wankery. It is only within the reality-distortion field of their ideological crusade that they give credence to the flimsy, ridiculous arguments which we so commonly see on display. I must confess, it kind of felt good, for once, to be the one spouting free-form bullshit; it's so terribly easy and relaxing, compared to marshaling rigorous arguments backed up by empirical evidence. But I fear that if I were to continue, then it would be habit-forming, and bad for my soul. Therefore, I bid you adieu.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ripped from the Headlines

I'm not a bumper-sticker person, but one that I really like is, "Think globally, act locally." It's important to be aware of how our policies and actions effect everyone, not just our neighbors or countrymen or allies, but the poor and needy everywhere. But we can only do what we can do. No matter how much we want to change the world, our actions take place in a given place and time and it helps to have a bit of focus.

Now I'm the first to admit that my ideals are rarely even modestly echoed in my actions, but I try to do some little bit of good for the world with my life. As someone who has based his career on the idea that information is power, a part of what I try to do is stay informed. I don't do nearly as good a job as I would like, but I at least skim headlines in some news source (even if it's just The Daily Show) every day. And in keeping with the bumper-sticker motto, I try to get news at all levels: international, national, and local. I know many people who don't feel the Kansas City Star is worth their time, but I think keeping up with it is an important part of the equation and have a personal subscription.

One of the problems with the paper, though, is it's damn website requires you to have an account to read anything but the latest stories. So when I read a story and want to share it with others, just providing a link doesn't do the trick since who really bothers to create an account just to read something when following a link? I know I don't. I've been trying to decide what to do about this, but there were three things in Wednesday's (11/16) paper that I wanted to share enough that I'm willing to say screw it. Here they are, if I interest you enough to take the effort to find them, great, if not, oh well.

The first one a short article titled, "State Board Chief Faults Blue Valley Book Rulings." Steve Abrams, chairman of the Kansas Board of Education, isn't satisfied to just take evolution out of our schools, now he wants to start banning books. He's come out now as critical of Blue Valley for not withdrawing Beloved after it was challenged. "It just surprises me that the board and the administration doesn't want to do anything about it, when you have parents coming up to try to get rid of this porn." I'm sorry, but when did we stop being a democracy? No matter how vocal a minority group is, they don't get to decide policy if everyone else thinks the book is good literature. I'm sick of schools and others being forced to make decisions based on the outcry of a few instead of the feelings of the silent majority.

Of a similar political nature is the editorial "Cure Threatens Right-Wing Propaganda." The subtitle is "Abstinence-only crowd says lifesaving medical advance will send teens the wrong message." The main idea is that conservatives are working to keep quiet a new prevention for cervical cancer because it also prevents an STD. They would rather have women die of cervical cancer than remove a reason to scare kids out of having sex. Brilliant.

The third is an article by Lewis Diuguid about a college student from our community, "Young Woman Speaks Out to Change Minority Stereotypes." My heart swells with pride when I read it because I know her. Rickeena is one of the students I spent a week with as a volunteer at the National Conference for Community and Justice's Anytown camp. While I can hardly take credit for Rickeena's intelligence and leadership, it makes me feel good to know I might have been a positive influence. And I'd love to tell you more about Anytown, so let me know if you are interested.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Of Fiery Goblets

Since I have to spend my Saturday working (last day at "the branch that shall not be named," as my new manager referred to it), I had my day off today. Slept in way too late and then finished the book I was reading (You & You & You - quite good), so my morning was shot. I met some associates from work for a final lunch as a group since we are ceasing to exist due to the reorganization. Had a nice time. Not too much gossip about work. Then I had only had a bit of time to kill before I had to meet the wife and seven of her seventh graders to go see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on opening day. A most enjoyable film. Not as good as the book (of course), but it captured it well. Plus we got to check out the new Legends theater at Village West by the Speedway. Big, comfy seats with tons of legroom. I highly recommend it. After that we ate at Bob Evans and walked through Cabela's. It was my first time there. I've never seen so many dead animals before, not even at a museum. The entire store is filled with displays of taxidermied animals hunting and being hunted. Many are actually in the act of the kill. A rather nice day, although much too short since I skipped the morning. Now it's off to bed so I can get up in time for work tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Do you hear the drums, Fernando?

I have had a bad feeling lately. I don't know why, but I feel like there is something on the horizon. Some kind of change, and you know me, most the time I dig on change, but this seems ominous. Yes there has been a rash of bad luck and even worse things happening as of late, but this seems different. Worse somehow.
I don't want to seem like a pessimist (even though I am), but things don't feel right. It may just be me and my overactive imagination. So just ignore what I've said.
Back to the title.
"There was something in the air that night,
The stars were bright,
They were shining down for you and me,
For liberty,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Would you like some Wine with that Cheese?

This was so cheesy I just had to share. Maybe it could be a contest: who can provide the most godawful cheesy book jacket summary? This one is from that classic tome The Awakening, Seven Sisters : Book 2, by Debra White Smith.

Supermodel Kim Lan Lowery has it all-- exquisite beauty, wealth, a famous
heartthrob fiance, and a close circle of friends. When a "secret admirer" sends flowers and love notes, Kim is flattered. As the letters become strangely possessive, she searches for someone she can trust. Grappling with the impact of her faith on her career, Kim feels the Lord tugging her to take part in a mission trip to Vietnam. At first, trip coordinator MickO'Donnel refuses her application because of her celebrity status. Their
lifestyles clash and values collide, but they also battle a deep undercurrent of passion. Finally embarking on the trip, Kim feels secure-- until her "admirer" reveals his identity ...

I would say you can't make this stuff up, but then, somebody did.

I'm old

Just sayin' . . .

My New Favorite Person

[A list given to me by a co-worker today. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, nothing else.]


10. He's smarter than the average mean librarian.

9. He's one of the few people that I can talk sports with and stuff.

8. The kids who visit the library will miss him.

7. He's part of the library Magnificent Seven Clan ([names excluded, but all male]) Motto: "All for one and seven for all."

6. Anytime there was a computer problem or a question that I had to ask, Degolar was always approachable and helpful.

5. His humor is unprecedented and extremely witty.

4. He's cooler than Steve McQueen, Humphrey Bogart, and James Dean combined (see reason #2).

3. He exhibits very positive energy and it can be seen in his personality.

2. He's got the substance of what legends are made of. That's why I say that he's cooler than McQueen, Bogart, and Dean.

1. Aw, Shucks. Dang it, we're all gonna miss him. The new library is like the New England Patriots of the system. They seem to get all of the talented and great personalities. Good luck to you, Degolar. May thy future endeavors be fruitful. Maybe I'll catch you when I'm at the new branch sometime.

[Actually makes me feel guilty for avoiding him so much.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A poem for bloggers

Here I sit,
Alone and bored,
My inbox full,
IM's ignored,

I wonder why,
I sit and type,
And fill this board,
With loads of tripe.

I type and type
With nothing said.
Just letting out
Things in my head.

My brain is jelly,
My fingers numb.
So much technology,
And yet, so dumb.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Quote for Hadrian

I'm reading a young adult book called You & You & You, by Per Nilsson, and I came across a pasage that made me think of Hadrian. When I showed it to him he laughed heartily and agreed fully, so I thought I should share (take note, expectant parents):

Children are disgusting.

And the more of them there are, the more disgusting it is. Children are always disgusting and snotty and sticky and messy, but it's worst when they eat. And when they pee and poop. Children aren't just disgusting; children are self-centered, ungrateful, naughty, spoiled, and egotistical too.

Compassion--what's that?

Helpfulness and Cooperation--what's that?

Sharing and Being Considerate--what's that?

Kids don't understand stuff like that. Kids aren't really people. Kids are small, clumsy, helpless, silly animals. They're not really people yet.

(p. 37)

Friday, November 11, 2005

I'm Going to Chicago

Oh, yeah, I got so busy writing about the day I almost forgot what I sat down to write about.

A couple of years ago we were offering a "Teen Game Night" once a month at the library. I tried to offer different things to draw in a variety of people. Knowing that teens like video games, I thought it would be cool to have some kind of video game night. We don't have much of a budget to work with, so the best I could come up with was providing TVs. The teens would have to bring their own consoles with the draw being new people to play against or new games to try beyond their usual circle of friends. On three separate occassions I drove to different branches around the system collecting TVs, but no one ever showed up. I decided playing at the library just didn't have enough appeal and gave up on it.

Someone must have remembered I had the idea, though. I don't know who exactly started the conversation, but recently the computer people in our support services started investigated the idea of gaming in libraries. I was included on some emails and invited to a meeting to talk about it. That meeting was yesterday. I thought we would just be brainstorming the idea and exploring the possibilities, but it didn't take long to figure out that it had already been decided that we were going to have gaming, it was just a matter of how and when. By the end of the meeting we had committed to two tournaments at the Central library, one during winter break and one during spring break.

The first one is just going to be a trial run and we don't have much budget since it's the end of the year, so it will be "small scale." We'll only have four Xboxes, 30 entrants (ages 15-19), and one game (Halo). And only one prize--a new Xbox 360. Plus food and t-shirts and consolation prizes and staffing, etc. This is going to end up costing half of my yearly programming budget at a branch. And this is the small one? Wow! I'm not complaining and I'm certainly glad to be involved, but I'm jealous that those in this group with me obviously have influence with the powers that be. Imagine what I could do with my programming given that kind of money. Anyway, it's a cool idea and I hope it takes off and grows. It could be a lot of fun.

Oh, and the Chicago thing. It turns out there's a symposium on gaming in libraries early next month. The powers that be also approved three staff to attend, one of which should be a public service staff. As basically the only one in the group who meets that criteria, I get to go. Cool.

Hmm . . . if I buy my own Xbox to get familiar with the games can I count it as a tax write-off now?

A Beautiful Day Off

Just taking a quick break from doing chores, running errands, and such on this Veteran's Day, and what a perfect day it is. I took the dogs walking on the trails around Shawnee Mission Park earlier and I don't think you could create better weather. I started in a sweatshirt but quickly peeled it off and was comfortable in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt. The air is dry, with a nice little breeze, and the sky is blue. The grass is still green, but the leaves are colorful and all over place. The undergrowth has thinned enough that the dogs only have minimal stickies to comb out. The ground is dry. Absolutely nothing to complain about, and I'm in a great mood from it. And to top it all off, my back doesn't hurt.

I've had strange thing going on with my lower back--about where it becomes the butt--for around the last month. It started with tight muscles that got worse when I ran, leaving me extra stiff and sore. After the Mahaffie Half-Marathon it became pain. I took a few days off, but the first time I tried exercising after (I think it was a bike ride), it got quite severe. Just on one side, but it was bad enough that I went to see the doctor. She told me to heat and stretch it, which I was already doing, and take the muscle relaxants she prescribed. I did, and thought I would be OK if I just swam while taking a break from the biking and running. It kept getting worse, though, becoming a sharp, biting pain when I moved that leg and a dull throb the rest of the time. I was noticably limping for about a week. So I haven't done anything active for the last week and have finally started seeing some improvement. Wednesday I walked slowly with the dogs and took breaks to sit and read. Now today I did 40 minutes of vigorous hiking with no problems. I'm planning on mowing the lawn (a final time for the year to get rid of leaves) after this.

I was thinking while we walked about the cyclical nature of my exercise habits. When I go, I go all out. I can pace myself fine when I'm doing the activities, but I have a tendency to keep piling on the workouts without enough easy days for recovery. Eventually my back starts hurting or I get sick or I wear out or whatever, and I end up taking more time off than I would like. A bit of moderation would help with consistency; but I enjoy it more when I don't hold back. I kind of like the analogy of the fantasy quest I see in so many of the books I read. The Fellowship of the Ring is a good, well-known example. The hobbits desperately flee the Shire, almost die, then recover with Tom Bombadil. They desperately march through the wilderness before and after Weathertop, almost die, then make it to Rivendell and recover. They desperately push through the Mines of Moria, almost die, then recover in Lothlorien. I work out kind of like that, I just get frustrated when the breaks come sooner and more often than I'd like.

Actually I see that pattern in most of the things I do. I go through phases where I read a ton, then I don't feel like reading for a while and take a break. Right now I am obviously writing a bunch on this blog, but it comes after a couple of months of almost nothing at all. I like projects at my job so I can focus on something, do it all out and really well, but then finish it and move on to something else. I wouldn't say I obsess when I'm in the midst of things, but I like to put myself completely into whatever I'm doing and really focus on doing it well. The only problem is eventually I need a break when going that hard. Well, not the only problem, since it applies to things like eating, which I tend to do all-out as well. As much as I exercise I should be much thinner, but I don't seem to burn out on overeating as easily as I burn out on other things. Oh, well, I'm generally healthy and don't enjoy the misery of depriving myself too much. And it's still a beautiful day, so I should wrap up and get back outside with that lawnmower.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lemony Likes Libraries

A couple of good quotes from Lemony Snicket's The Penultimate Peril:

"Wicked people never have time for reading," Dewey said. "It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." (p 226)


The burning of a book is a sad, sad sight, for even though a book is nothing but ink and paper, it feels as if the ideas contained in the book are disappearing as the pages turn to ashes and the cover and binding--which is the term for the stitching and glue that holds the pages together--blacken and curl as the flames do their wicked work. When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all of the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all of the trouble that befell the author . . . (p 324)

Plus most of the book is set in a hotel that is organized according to the Dewey Decimal System:

For instance, if you wanted to find a book on German poetry, you would begin in the section of the library marked 800, which contains books on literature and rhetoric. Similarly, the eighth story of this hotel is reserved for our rhetorical guests. Within the 800 section of a library, you'd find books on German poetry labeled 831, and if you were to take the elevator up to the eighth story and walk into Room 831, you'd find a gathering of German poets. (p 62)

And one example of why Lemony Snicket is fun even for adults to read:

"Everyone wears blindfolds at a High Court trial," the manager replied, "except the judges, of course. Haven't you heard the expression 'Justice is blind'?"
"Yes," Klaus said, "but I always thought it meant that justice should be fair and unprejudiced."
"The verdict of the High Court was to take the expression literally," said the manager, "so everyone except the judges must cover their eyes before the trial can begin."
"Scalia," Sunny said. She meant something like, "It doesn't seem like the literal interpretation makes any sense," but her siblings did not think it was wise to translate. (p 267-8)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I'm Here

As you may have guessed from the theological ramblings, Lummox's ditty has coaxed me back into contributing mode. I've been a bit preoccupied the last month or so with happenings at work about which I haven't been at liberty to speak (write) since I wasn't supposed to know. I'm still not going to give any details, but if you know me you know what I'm talking about. I've been transferred, and if I hadn't had the benefit of some under-the-table gossip I wouldn't have know until I received the official two-week notice on Monday. It really helped to have the extra notice because I was able to deal with my shock and anger over time. When I was finally told two days ago I was able to look forward and start planning for the changes. I hadn't prepared myself for the reaction of my co-workers, though, and spent much of Tuesday dealing with their reactions. I'm glad I no longer needed comforting about it because they did. I still think the way management has handled the situation sucks, but I'm ready to move forward and make the best of things. It's not so much that I'm upset about where I'm going, I just hate to be forced away from where I've been.

One of the ways I've distracted myself through all of this has been by becoming a browncoat. I finally broke down and bought the Firefly TV show DVD and finished it in time to catch Serenity at the theater Sunday night. Most excellent, from start to finish. I hope they find some way to keep the characters alive.

A Bit of a Sermon

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. As everyone knows, a big topic in Kansas these days. And a discussion on a friend’s blog recently. I thought about adding my comment to the fray, but my take needs more room than a comment should so you get to read it here. You’ve got the two sides, of course, who are at the ends of the spectrum and do most of the arguing. But the thing neither side acknowledges is that there is a spectrum, that most people (the ones who don’t bother fighting about it) tend to be somewhere in the middle on the issue. Which leads to the question, “Why the ‘vs.’?” Does the whole debate have to be framed in either-or terms? Couldn’t evolution be the design that the intelligent God has used? What’s wrong with using both science and faith to understand the world? That’s where I think most people tend to come down on this issue. The evolutionists are happy to say that science is only our imperfect understanding of things and all Intelligent Design claims to require is that we acknowledge that someone is guiding the process, so it seems perfectly reasonable to marry the two.

The problem with this, of course, is that there is more to Intelligent Design than its proponents claim. They aren’t just after acknowledgment of an Intelligent Designer, but a very specific design story based on a literal reading of the bible. A literal reading of the bible as interpreted by contemporary, U.S, Christian fundamentalists. And that’s the thing—someone from North Africa of 1000 years ago could have set out on the same task, to use a literal interpretation of the bible to describe the natural history of the world, but would have come up with a completely different narrative. He or she wouldn’t have had to work dinosaur fossils or the American continents or a solar system centered around the sun or hundreds of other things into the equation because his or her understanding of the world would have been different. There would have been different cultural concerns. The entire question may not have mattered. That’s because we are context-specific creatures and our understanding of ourselves and the world around us is shaped by our experiences.

And that’s the problem with trying to read the bible literally. Not only are we as readers context-based, but so were the writers. The bible is God’s Word (capital W), the Truth (capital T) that has been passed on to us, but it has been filtered through men and women who had to do their best in their limited, context-specific capacities to understand the truth (small t) of it and capture it in their words (small w). God is infinite, a concept that we can describe but can’t really get our minds around. It’s the same with God’s Truth. I like the metaphor of a prism refracting light. The whole, pure light enters the prism and what emerges is a rainbow of the different pieces of that light. That’s what we are capable of getting with our finite minds. We might get the blue and know that it is truth, but it is only a part of the greater Truth of the complete light. Our human-ness limits us, makes us incapable of seeing/understanding the light before it hits the prism, so all we can know are the bits that come out on the other side. There is nothing wrong with what we understand—it is a part of God’s Word and contains some of the Truth—but it is limited and incomplete. That is the best we can ever hope to do. All of the writers of the bible were limited in the same way. They had/have something real and true to tell us, but it is but a part of the whole. They did their best to point toward the whole, but it is filtered through their context—their understanding of the world, the audience they were writing for, their immediate purposes, the limitations of language, etc. Romans was written by Paul. It was a letter to people he knew in which he tried to address their particular needs at their particular time and place. We can get something useful from reading this letter, but we can get at the bigger message behind it better if we understand who Paul was and what he was talking about (and what he wasn’t) in their specific circumstances. It’s the same with every book and passage in the bible. That’s why it can seem like the bible contradicts itself, because each piece should only be understood in light of the overarching message of the whole. What does this mean in light of the two creation stories—and there are two, not just the one—in Genesis? It’s not the exact details of the myth(s) that are essential, but the point that God is responsible for creation and no one else. If God has accomplished that through evolution, fine, but the thing to remember is that God is behind it.

So what does all that mean in terms of forcing the idea of Intelligent Design into the schools? I think it’s silly and the only true purpose for doing so can be evangelism. Let the scientists teach your children their best understanding of the world using science and you can explain to your children how God is responsible for it. If you understand things as I do, then there’s no problem. But even if you do insist upon a literal understanding of the bible, you can still teach that to your children at home. They may be bothered by the dissonance of the two not agreeing, but you show very little faith in your children, your influence on them, and the Truth of God if you think they will pick the scientific explanation over yours. But they are still learning what you want them to, even if it’s only happening at home and at church instead of at school. No, the only reason to force it into the schools is to force it on other people’s children, and that offends me. So I will have fun mocking you with the Flying Spaghetti Monster since I doubt you are inclined to listen to my true beliefs.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Pastafarian Heresy

Pastafarianism? or FSMism? Not sure. Not sure I care... but, these pirates are out evangelizing. While its not something I would ever do myself, it makes me just a little bit proud to be a Missourian. Thanks guys.

The Joys of Customer Service, Part IV

I hate my job. To most people who know me this will come as no surprise. It is certainly not something that I keep to myself. In fact, bitching about my job is one of the few joys this dismal life affords me, especially since the job itself provides none whatsoever. But why you might ask, do I hate it so?

Pissy people.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Pot, meet kettle". But bitching about something is entirely different than bitching at someone. And my friends, being bitched at for no good reason is my primary job description. I'm pleasant, I'm polite, and I get repayed for that effort with snide remarks, rudeness, and sometimes, outright hostility. This is why I hate my job. I would write more, but now I must get back to it-- wish me luck.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Big Time and Friends

Someone went to a lot of trouble to build this thing of brilliance. Funny, sad, and sickening all at the same time. Enjoy.

Vote for me in '08!

I've decided to run for president next election.

Sure, I have absolutely no governing experience, no great understanding of law, and I'm not even old enough to qualify, but what difference does that make? I've never been outside this country, and have scarcely traveled within it, and I'm so terribly liberal that ranks me farther left than the Dalai Lama, and more communistic, but if there are rabid conservatives out there it shouldn't make any difference.

I do realize that the president is technically incapable of anything but vetoing and sending out troops, but I'm perfectly capable of signing my name and avoiding the use of the military. Isn't that an improvement? I may not know much about a lot of things, but I realize that there are people who do, and I'd be able to ask them what's going on. I know where to find information, and, what's more, I actually have the capacity to process it. That puts me a few steps ahead of the current government. Most of all, if I mess up, I admit it and try to fix things, rather than continually insist that I was right in the face of all evidence to the contrary. That makes me better that what we've got by several orders of magnitude.

My campaign slogan: As unqualified as the rest of them, but honest about it.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Oh Yes, My Brother, I Know

Oh, links to be added, links to be added.... I don't know how it is that I've never stumbled across this guy before. Apparently I haven't been spending as much time at McSweeney's lately. Well, thanks to an intrepid co-worker, I have seen the light.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Uhhhh,... This Sounds Interesting.

It seems the Devious Manipulator has something up his sleeve. Should I approach this with trepidation? excitement? barely concealed consumerist longings (boat journeys! An excuse to buy that book I've been drooling over!)? Perhaps false bravado?: Bring it on Douchebag Malcontent! I dunno.

One thing I will say is this: it's cool that Scott is thinking about the game, putting in time and effort to make sure that all of us players have a good time, trying to make sure that there are enough subplots and character hooks to keep us all interested all the time. It's a big job, a time consuming and --I'm sure-- sometimes difficult one, that he toils at without any form of material compensation. So, in lieu of money, here's a nod of appreciation the DM's way. Thanks man... but we're still gonna kick your NPC asses come game time.

Still Around, Kinda...

Don't worry Dave, we're still here. Kind of. My story: I've been reluctant to post for while because I haven't been really sure what I wanted to do here, why I wanted to blog etc. etc. I was beginning to think that blogging was really just a distraction from more serious concerns, more serious writing (not to mention law school applications). But then again, I haven't been using that time for anything productive; the Great American Novel remains unwritten. Where could that time have gone, I mean, really?

The truth is, there should be time for some frivolous and angry posting-- it's still writing after all, and any writing teacher will tell you that practice is the only way to really improve your writing skills. In the next few days though, I'll be starting up a new blog-- one dedicated to things of a more serious nature. Politics, religion, literature, they'll go there. The address hasn't been nailed down yet, and there will be some site design issues, so it may be a while before it is up and running (that's right kids, a non-Blogger blog, thanks largely to the techie/designer roommate). Of course, if you're looking for posts on D&D, expletive filled rants on the "Joys of Customer Service" and friendly open letters to the Kansas Department of Transportation, look no further-- you've come to the right place.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A little ditty

(to the tune of "Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone."

Oh where, oh where have my goblin pals gone?
Oh where, oh where can they be?
They don't want to blog and that, really, is sad
Oh why did they leave only me?

I think, I think Eric's "walking his dog."
Oh where, oh where can he be?
It has been so long since he's written a blog
Oh where, oh where can he be?

And Chris, who comments on everyone's post
Oh where, oh where can he be?
I used to enjoy all his comments the most.
Oh where, oh where can he be.

And Rachel, the one who wants to be a rogue.
Oh where, oh where can she be?
It's not very easy to rhyme things with rogue.
Oh where, oh where can she be?

Oh where, oh where have my goblin friends gone?
Oh where, oh where can they be?
I miss them so much and hope they'll log back on.
I miss him, and him, and she.

What do you expect? I ain't Shakespeare. *shrug*