Archive for September, 2008

Mother in law in town

28 September, 2008

MyBetterHalf’s mommy is visiting us this week. Yay! She’ll be helping a lot with the child care because daycare is taking a week of vacation.  THANXIES!

The childrens don’t know her very well…but it was encouraging tonight when they shared their toy bowling pins with her.

Advertisements

Saturday w/ childrens

27 September, 2008

when I wasn’t buying too many books at the library book sale that I won’t read… I spent some good time with the childrens.

The three of us chased each other around the living room by crawling. Lots of laughs.

Later, Mr. Grunty & Miss Squeaky were  chasing each other around whilst walking. Lots of screams & laughs.

Tonight, before MyBetterHalf went off to the b-day party of my favorite violist…the childrens were really clingy, and they both wanted to be held by MyBetterHalf, with tears in eyes, papa was not suitable for holding. They wanted their mommy.

when I clean their hands after eating, I sing the “clean, clean clean” song. Mr. G gets a grin & sways his head from left to right.

Miss S really wanted on the love seat. I wouldn’t help. She yelled, whined, fussed, kept trying…pulled the bag of clean diapers off the love seat, stepped on those, and crawled up on the love seat. That girl was giggling, laughing HAPPY. She was walking back & forth, smiling, plopping down on the cushions, grinning big. I was scared she would fall off and so was hovering. I took her off, it was too risky I thought, and she screamed like a banshee. I let her get back up. I know, I shouldn’t give in when she screams, but, she knows how to get up, I might as well watch the first few times so she learns how gravity works on a loveseat while I’m close by. She fell off twice, but I caught her. And then she wanted to get back on the love seat, and learned to do it without something to step on. Then she learned how to slide down off of it. And she practiced that a few times, a little climbing circuit training. I thought she had it down. So I checked on Mr. G, to see how he was doing. Then, I heard a thud and then a scream. I got her comforted her, wondered why her hand was red….she bit her lip on the fall / landing.

Questionable Content

27 September, 2008

I don’t really know how I got started reading Questionable Content. I’m not really young/hip enough to pick up the music references. And the love-life-drama of some 20 year olds is silly. But, there are times, when the strips are perfect.

QC is basically based in our reality. Except there are sci-fi worthy robots. With personalities.

Some of my favorite episodes:

kitties give advice

when they make subtle DnD reference

I wish I could get my guitar to sound like this

don’t mix robots & birthdays

but robots can be fun

the best equation of the 21st century

regarding how I type asdf

a music reference I get, and regarding gentrification, sad but true

I wish this band were real! Society for Creative Rock Anachronism

sometimes there are guest artists that are funny

my favorite character is Hanners, but I’m a bit worried when I think like her the Hanner’s t-shirt

one heck of a commute

Math is delicous! and there’s a t-shirt

And so, I read it, and sometimes I’m really amused.

“Parable of the Sower” book 17 or 2008

26 September, 2008

Of all the dystopian books I’ve read this summer,  Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower has been the scariest and most realistic.

In a way it’s a post-appocalyptic novel, and I’m a fan of the rebuild society after the collapse type of fiction. It is set ~25 years in the future in Southern California, where rain is very scarce, where the local police & fire don’t do much except collect fees, where a small community walls itself in, to protect against the violence and theft that is just beyond their walls, where most employment is scarce, where almost anything can be bought but inflation is high, where there is a drug problem that is making people crazy arsonists, where you can’t trust anyone, where you need a gun to decrease the chance you’ll be robbed & raped & killed, …

What went wrong and cause the dystopia? Not really dealt with much in the book, but from certain passages there was climate change, and loss of control by the local, state & federal government.

There are three things the book is about, a young girl growing up in the poverty and how that gets worse, a religion that she wants to form, and the special empath powers she has. The sci-fi empath part…eh…when I hear “empath” I think StarTrek’s DeannaTroy, and she was a boring character who seemed useless to the ship, except when they needed someone to crash it. The new religion…ugh…more New Age bull. The story of the poverty. Scary. And then I realized, it is happening right now in parts of Iraq, Afganastan, Pakistan, Africa….

I am so lucky to be living in a safe, rule of law society, where the economy is strong… and …oh…

(more…)

Jesuits & sports

25 September, 2008

Here’s an article about “The Soul of Sport from a Jesuit Catholic Perspective” that I found interesting.

In Catholic intellectual traditions, play was also take seriously. Thomas Aquinas asked the question in his Summa Theologica, ‘Can their be a virtue about games?’ His response? ‘Yes.‘ “

laugh clap

25 September, 2008

tonight, we got the bath ready, a tub full of bubbles, and both childrens were standing and reaching it, getting bubbles all over their hands.

Then, Miss Squeaky brushed the bubbles off her hand as a farmer brushes the dust off his gloves, and Mr. Grunty started clapping his hands. And then they both were laughing at the hilarity of the situation. It took a few minutes before the clapping of the bubbled hands wasn’t funny anymore.

I enjoyed watching my childrens make each other laugh.

my childrens

24 September, 2008

Mr. Grunty, when done with his bottle, whilst laying down, will toss it off to the side, say a phrase, and smile.

Miss Squeaky, this morning, after her mommy left, Miss S went to the couch and excitedly waited for her mommy to peek through the window.

Last night, Mr. G went into the parental’s bedroom, saw Sophie-kitty, and said “tk-ty”. Sophie ran away.

Miss S will pick up an old, unused portable phone, say in a high pitch voice “ell-o” , lean her head into the phone on her shoulder, and carry out a phone conversation. ( If only she would do that with a real phone when a grandparent calls. Then, she’ll just want the phone to push the buttons.)

Last night, Mr. G using his fingers, put a piece of food on a spoon I was holding infront of him, then he took the spoon and put the food in his mouth. We were happy, said “yay Benjamin!” and clapped. He smiled proudly.

This morning, the childrens got into a fight, they both wanted to take a diaper to the trash. Since Miss S had already done that chore, I distracted her by giving her dirty clothes to go put in her room. Recently, they’ve been helping by bringing a diaper to the trash, and putting it in the trash. (We have to be careful to have an empty bucket, if the bucket is full, there’s the tempation to take stuff out.)

This past weekend, we had some playing catch time. Me & the childrens. As long as I didn’t throw the ball from one child to their sibling, it was cool. They both were throwing their ball back at me!

have I mentioned, sometimes Mr. G will sit with a book and read it aloud, “daba-daba-daba”

$2,295 per person

24 September, 2008

yes sports fans… that is how much $700 billion divided by the current US population comes to.

I heard the awesome Daily Show figured it out to 2000 McDonald’s apple pies per person in America.

I’ll put it as something more important… you could sign Alex Rodriguez  from now until the year 27,933.

Or every city in the US larger that PalmBay Florida (pop 100,116) would get $2.6 billion for sports facilities.

Or every NFL team, every NBA team and every MLB team could EACH get ten new facilities.

Objections to Objectivism

21 September, 2008

I’m a big fan of the Cato Institute. I don’t always agree with them, but I check them regularly.

The Cato Institute is a big fan of Ayn Rand. And since everyone needs philosophy, I decided, to take a look, and it was nice that Anthem fit in my summertime dystopian kick. At the back of the short novel, is the essentials of “Objectivism” the philosophics viewpoint of Ayn Rand. (I’ll be doing a bit of quoting…)

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute”

Once asked if she could present the essence of Objectivism while standing on one foot*

  1. “Metaphysics: Objective Reality
  2. Epistemology: Reason
  3. Ethics: Self Interest
  4. Politics: Capitalism”

Translated into familiar terms….

  1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
  2. You can’t eat your cake and have it too.
  3. Man is an end in himself.
  4. Give me liberty or give me death.”

More…

Man, is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.”

Men must deal with one another as traders, giving value for value, by free, mutual consent to mutual benefit. The only system that bars physical force from human relationships is laissez-faire capitalism. Capitalism is a system based on the recognition of individual rights,…in which the only function of government is to protect individual rights, i.e., to protect men from those who initiate the use of physical force.”

So, if I am to read it correctly, as long as you are happy with your free will choice, then you are OK…so, under Objectivism, it is OK to

  • father 8 kids by 8 women and not support them
  • divorce your wife who’s in the cancer ward
  • divorce your wife when she’s “old”
  • ignore a drowning man
  • not take the risk of immunizations, and rely on the herd immunity provided by others

If Objectivism is all about self interest, that seems very childish. My children, are selfish, and get very upset when they don’t get what they want, when they want it, especially if the other one has it.  But according to AynRand, when they are trying to achieve their own happiness, they are being very moral.

Evidently, monopolies aren’t a problem. I suspect fire departments should be avoided by the government.

The Hero for AynRand is the individual. But I believe that many of our greatest achievements as humans come from team work, think, the symphony, the sychronized swim team, movies, buildings, the US Constitution, jazz, wiping out small-pox, democracy,…

But, when I think about it, maybe, I am a bit of an objectivist when it comes to the government. I don’t think we should implement policy A, because it is the right thing to do. I think that the US government should implement policy A, because of the benefits.

  • Fire department, sort of like a non-profit insurance company to help me if I might need it, and, help my neighbor, if they might need it to also reduce the risk of my house burning down.
  • Subsidizing the buses, especially important during rush hour, because less cars on road, means everyone can drive faster, (I think of this when I see three buses filled with 50+ people each infront of me on the freeway. What if instead of those three buses, there were 150 additional cars in front of me?)
  • Public health, I don’t want poor diseased children coughing on my childrens.
  • Public education. Teaching everyone to read is good for society.
  • No monopolies. Because when there is no competition, then the business can charge what ever.

I want to comment on something about how big business are about to get a huge government bailouts, because “they are too big to fail.” That, I think is immoral. I think these bailouts only encourage risky behavior. If you want to play wild and go for great rewards, fine, but be prepared to suffer the consequences if you fail.

But for individuals, I think that it is better “To love your neighbor as yourself.” That, I believe is the highest moral purpose in life.

*I think it is great to be able to define your philosophy standing on one foot. I would reply:

  1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

I think Miles Davis would say

  1. Play and pray.
  2. Pray and play.

(more…)

“Anthem” – book 16 of the year

20 September, 2008

This book changed my life.

All that you touch, You change. All the you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth, Is Change.” -from The Parable of the Sower, which is one of the dystopian novels I’m working on now. So, sure, I am a changed man from reading Ayn Rand. And just for reference, OButler is a much better writer than ARand.

I’ll give the book a C+

the sex life in Rand’s dystopian vision: Once a year, in the Palace of Mating, as assigned by the Council of Eugenics.

Anthem is the story of a street sweeper, Equality 7-2521, who wants to be a scholar. But there is no freedom, there are no personal pronouns (which was a nice trick), and it is a sin to have desires for self, to have preferences.

There are forenames such as: Fraternity, Solidarity, Unanimity, Democracy, Collective, Union, Similarity, and the last names are numbers. Everything is designed by the council to increase the survival of the group, and the individual is nothing. I suspect she modeled the society on an ants hive.

Equality 7-2521 likes to think deep thoughts. Maybe dystopian literature is for teenagers to read, people who have the time and energy, and not the chores/careers of adulthood, to think deep thoughts. (Aside, whenever I hear “deep thoughts” I think of Tori Amos “So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts, Whats so amazing about really deep thoughts? Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon, How’s that thought for ya?” from “Silent All These Years” on Little Earthquakes. Tori is awesome!!) Anyway, if I remember correctly, as a teen, I felt that things were bleak, that I wasn’t in control, that I wanted to fight against the system that was unfair and stiffling me. But now? Well, now it seems that the adults that are seeing dystopia, are afraid of political moves on either side of the political spectrum. Me? I’m trying to believe that things are getting better all the time.

Happiness in the dystopia is defined as living for your brothers. “It is forbidden , not to be happy. For, as it has been explained to us, men are free and the earth belongs to them; and all thing on earth belong to all men; and the will of all men together is good for all; and so all men must be happy.” pg 46

The technology in the society is primative. They have lost the knowledge for electricity, for example. Rand is saying that by stiffling freedom, we will step back technologically. Every other dysptopia I’ve read disagrees with her. In fact many of them say that technology leads to and encourages/strengthens dystopia…Farenheit 451, Brave New World, We.

How did it occur?

“What brought it to pass? What disaster took their reason away from men? …The worship of the word “we”

When men accepted that worship, the structure of centuries collapsed about them, the structure whos every beam had come from the thought of some one man, each in his day down the ages, from the depth of some one spirit, such spirit as existed but for its own sake. Those men who survived – those eager to obey, eager to live for one another, since they had nothing else to vindicate them- those men could neither carry on, nor preserve what they had received. Thus did all thought, al science, all wisdom perish on earth.” (pg 102)

Evidently Ayn Rand is not a fan of team sports. A place where success is many times found by surpressing the ego, and doing your part for the team.