Friday, November 30, 2007

if I don't look, it isn't lost

I’m not the most imaginative person when it comes to personal accessories.

For instance, I’ve been wearing the same necklace for the last 8 years. It’s a really beautiful gold chain The Kids’ Dad gave me for my birthday along with a pretty little black hills gold heart that my Mum’s dearest friend gave me. So… put it on, never take it off, permanent accessory. Same goes with earrings. Mum gave me the most lovely pair of double-twined gold hoops that I’ve been wearing for the last 5 or so years. They’re really pretty, go with everything, put ‘em on and forget about ‘em.

But that complacency has come back to haunt me.

I lost another earring the other day. It’s the second one I’ve lost from my left ear in the course of the last two weeks. For some reason they have been falling victim to my headphones. Note to self: pull earphones away from ears then remove, don’t just drag them off your head.

I was really bummed when I lost my first earring, one of Mum’s gold hoops. I’m pretty sure it happened in the middle of the night because when I woke up the next morning, the earring was gone.

I am something of an insomniac and often get up to fiddle with the internet in the middle of the night, checking e-mails, the forum, my blog. The headphones come into play when I am listening to recordings that get sent to me.

The reason I’m not sure when it happened, is that don’t regularly fiddle with my earrings so I couldn’t say for sure when it disappeared, only that it was not there when I woke up in the morning. I do remember, though, struggling a bit when my headphones snagged in the middle of the night. The only thing for headphones to snag on would be earring or glasses, and it wasn’t my glasses they got caught on.

SO- somewhere around my bed is that pesky earring. I looked a bit and haven’t found it.

For ten days or so I’d just switch the remaining earring I had back and forth (just in case the hole closed) chuckling to myself that I had something of a pirate look going and waiting for somebody to notice. It’s amazing how people either don’t care, didn’t notice, or couldn’t be bothered to comment on only wearing one earring.

Really makes me realize that we really are the star of our own personal drama that isn’t being watched by anyone but ourselves. Probably the most important thing to help a teenager realize… nobody else is watching! :-)

Anyway, I finally got tired of the one earring show and decided to just switch. I checked my earring collection and it really is crap. Mostly singles left over from previous times I’ve lost the mate. I still have one of my original studs that were used to pierce my ears and a mish mash of badly tarnished ones that really should be pitched. I did find my really pretty gold leaves so decided to give them a go.

The problem is, they are not stud earrings they are decorative earrings. What that means is that they don’t tolerate being tugged on or even normal, everyday life, for that matter. You’re supposed to wear them for dress-up and then take them off when you get home. I just can’t be bothered with that much activity in the bathroom and just left them on.

So I’ve lost the left earring on that set too. *sigh* Same situation, remember futzing with the headphones and them getting snagged then later noticing the missing earring.

The weird thing is I found the back to the earring sitting next to my laptop. But I thought the snagging took place out in my car…. or was it in the entry way by the door… or maybe it WAS here by my bed.

I was excited to see the back of the earring and really hope the leaf shows up too.

But I’m afraid to look too hard for either earring.

Do you know why?

I’m afraid to look for them because, right now… they could still be around some where. But if I look for them and can’t find them, then they really are lost. Right now, I just don’t know for sure where they are. I can still hope to find them. Maybe they’ll just turn up. But if I look, and they’re not there, then I’ve really lost them.

I wonder if that isn’t how some Christians are when they are confronted by atheists. Maybe they are afraid that if they put their faith aside, even for a moment, to rationally consider the atheist’s arguments against god, that they will look for god and not find him. They want god to be there so badly that they refuse to peer around those corners and to look under the bed because they do not want to discover that god just isn’t there.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

liar liar pants on fire

When I was about 13, my sister, 3 years younger, wanted to get her ears pierced. Mum didn’t want to say yes to her unless my ears were pierced as well. So…we were trundled off to the lady who pierces the precious innocent little ears brought to her all unwittingly.

Young Fiery- “Does it hurt?”
Lady with the ear gun- “No, of course not!”
Young Fiery- “Oh, ok then.”
(That was the extent of my excitement at getting my ears pierced.)
Young Fiery- “OW!!! That hurt!”
Lady with the ear gun- “Ok, tip your head I need to do the other one.”
Young Fiery- “You said it wouldn’t hurt.”
Young Fiery- “OW!!!!”

I don’t know about anyone else’s ear lobes, but you shove a metal spike in mine and it stings like crazy. The correct answer to “Does it hurt?” is actually, “Yes it hurts a bit, but only for a little while and you get to wear pretties in your ears for the rest of your life.”

Why do adults lie about pain? It would have been much easier to cope with and much less of a horrid shock knowing that it does indeed sting. I’d rather know than be surprised by it like that.

It’s like with labor and delivery. “Do contractions hurt?”

“Yes, absolutely. But because they are natural and your bodies way of expelling the baby, they’re not that big of a deal and in between contractions, barring complications, it doesn’t hurt at all. Plus, once you have the baby, the pain of the contractions is gone. “

“Oh, well alright then. I can handle just about anything knowing that it’s natural, the discomfort doesn’t mean anything is wrong, and that it won’t last forever.”

Which brings me to another question. Why do adults lie to children at all? If you give them the information they need, they are much more able to cope with the world as they find it. Why don’t adults provide children with the tools they need to behave properly? How many adults drag children places without telling them what behavior is expected from them? “Sweety, we are going grocery shopping. I need you to hold my hand or ride in the cart. Your job will be to help me pick out some fruit, choose between 3 types of cereal, help me find our favorite soup, and help me count the bananas.”

“When we go in the mortuary, everyone is going to be really quiet. It is rude to run around and shout so if you need to ask me a question or tell me something I need you to use your quietest whisper. I’ve brought along some toys for you to play with quietly. You can color, or read this story, and I need you to help keep Raggedy Anne really quiet too. You know how she likes to bounce and yell.”

Just tell people what is going on! Be straight forward with them about what you want from them, what you expect from them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I want to live my next life backwards.

You start out dead and get that out of the way.

Then you wake up in an old age home feeling better every day.

You get kicked out for being too healthy; go collect your pension, then when you start to work you get a gold watch on your first day.

You work 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement.

You drink lots of alcohol, you party, you’re generally pretty promiscuous, and you get ready for High School.

You then go to Primary School, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities.

You become a baby, and spend the last 9 months of your life floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions; central heating, room service on tap, larger quarters every day....

and then......

you finish off life as an orgasm.

I rest my case!

Moral Atheists are morally superior to moral christians.

Moral atheists- rational people who live moral lives without the threat of eternal punishment (hell) or the promise of eternal reward (heaven) from a supernatural being.

Superior- to be of greater value or excellence, extraordinary.

Christians- people who believe in the born of a virgin, risen from the dead, son of God called Jesus. They believe his followers will go to heaven and everyone else will suffer eternal torment with Satan and his minions in the hell fires God himself has prepared for them.

In hopes of eternal reward, the Christian avoids specific immoral acts.

Sometimes the choice is between refusing to follow god’s command and impregnating your own flesh and blood.

In fear of eternal damnation, the Christian chooses to act in a moral fashion.

Sometimes the choice is between allowing embryos to continue to be aborted or murderingthe doctor responsible for destroying those innocent “lives”.

Some countries have outlawed abortion for any and every reason, including the saving of the mother’s life. In this case, it is morally acceptable for the poor unfortunate child who is developing the mother’s fallopian tube to spend a few more minutes alive rather than be removed from the mother’s body so the mother herself may live.

And what of the moral atheist? The moral atheist behaves in a moral manner because it is the right thing to do. Because it is good for him, the people he cares about, and the society he is a member of to act in a moral fashion.

So who holds the moral high ground? The one who wishes to avoid an eternal spanking? Or the one who wants to do the right thing because it betters his own life right here, right now.

Know Thy Limits

It would take 7 Long Island Iced Teas to kill me

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Daysaster

No one in my family gives a turkeys gobble about eating...well...turkey. *gasp* I know, I know. It's blasphemous to be an American and to not only not like turkey, but to not even serve it on the big day!!!!!

When I was growing up, it was always Papa Ewok's job to make the stuffing. I remember him drying bread on cookie sheets under the wood burning stove down in the utility room. The day before, he'd get the turkey thawing in a mop bucket, and that evening he'd be able to finally get the little packet of giblets out.

And that's when I started to hate Thanksgiving. He'd open up that lumpy white packet and empty it into a pot of water, put it on the back of the stove, and let it simmer until the whole house smelled of parboiled turkey lips. Yep, Papa Ewok makes hardcore stuffing, homemade bread crumbs and minced turkey giblets.

There is something about that smell that makes my stomach roil. *blech* Since neither the kids' dad nor I care for turkey or turkey left overs I decided to let the kids pick various favorites for the big meal.

My son wanted what I grew up calling long spaghetti, which we now just call spaghetti, which the Aussies and Kiwi's call spag bol. Since we eat that quite often, I ixnayed the idea for Thanksgiving dinner, much to my regret as I was later to learn.

I thought the big "Thanksgiving Meal" should be something we didn't eat very often, and encouraged him to pick a different favorite, maybe for a different part of the meal, so he picked vanilla (NOT! French vanilla) ice cream and pumpkin pie for desert. This is significant only in that we have a freezer full of frozen apple slices waiting to be turned into pies or apple crisp, but my son doesn't like eating cooked fruit.

My daughter chose bean casserole as her favorite, and rightly so, I've seen her polish off half the pan in one sitting.

We decided the main course could be meatloaf and baked potatoes and that we would eat around 3 p.m.-ish.

We got the hamburger thawing in the fridge the day before. I was tempted to cut up some all beef hot dogs and boil them on the back of the stove in honor of dad and his turkey lips, but we didn't have any hot dogs to sacrifice.

Unfortunately, for the hamburger, come the day of, it was still fairly frozen. So we throw it, freezer bag and all, into the stove so it can sit at room temperature on the rack, safe from the cats eager paws, until we need it later in the day for the meatloaf.

Attempt 1: About 11:00 a.m. my daughter heads out to the kitchen to get the pumpkin pie made up. And what do the directions say in regards to the oven? That's right... preheat the oven to 425*F and since she decided to follow the directions today, she preheated the oven.

..What is that weird candle-like burning smell?...

That would be melted and burning plastic shrink wrapping itself onto the thawed hamburger. Windows open, fans on, smack out the flames with the metal kitchen utensil.'

Okay- so.... no meatloaf. What else do we have? Well, we've got frozen chicken breasts or I could throw a roast in the slow cooker with the potatoes and have that for a late Thanksgiving supper instead of a late lunch. So... pie's in the oven, I'm dumping spices on the frozen pot roast, cutting up the potatoes, taking the pie out of the oven, and wondering what the heck to serve for lunch.

Leftovers. We have leftovers for lunch (sung to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas): 5 breaded fish fillets, 3 boneless chicken wings, 2 Applebee's onion rings, and a limp slice of pepperoni pizza.

BUT... in honor of the festive day we decide to eat the pumpkin pie and ice cream right then with an eggnog chaser.

Attempt 2- We figure after 7 hours in the slow cooker the roast should be about done so we get the stove fired up again and get the bean casserole tossed in the oven. The timer dings, we put the dried french onions on and back in the stove it goes to brown for five minutes. Time to check on the pot roast.

WTF?????? The potatoes are still rock hard. The roast is still blood red under the potatoes. AARRGGHH!!!! I didn't add water so there wasn't enough fluid to steam everything. I guess we'll eat "leftover" pot roast and potatoes for lunch tomorrow after it finishes cooking at about 10p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

So what the hell did we eat for Thanksgiving?

Attempt 3- The bean casserole, all of it, with pumpkin pie, ice cream, and eggnog for desert.

I can't wait for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dear Jesus

So many people here in America and in Australia, well heck, let's just say around the world, believe in you.

For the moment, I am entertaining the notion and I have a few questions for you.


Did you ever hear the joke about the man who called the psychic hotline?
*ring* ... *ring*
Psychic- "Hello Psychic Hotline, how may I help you?"
Caller- "Don't you already know?"...

Do you answer prayers based on the number of people who submit the same request? Do you answer prayers based on the sincerity of the person asking? Do you give more attention to people who have utter faith in your positive answer or do you prefer people who offer up the problem but leave the solution up to you? If you already know the outcome of the situation, is prayer necessary at all?


According to my dictionary we mortals define omniscience as having total knowledge, or knowing everything. It is said that you also gave humans "free will".

Now I've heard it argued that time is like a road, and you are standing beside that road like a giant Colossus watching us make our little decisions, exercise our little spot of free will, letting us make mistakes that will lead to our own or others pain and suffering. Sometimes you intervene (answering prayers), sometimes you make radical changes (miracles), sometimes you stand aside and do nothing (God's will).

So, attempting to combine those two ideas, you have known since the moment you chose to create a universe, that one day I would sit here typing this open letter to you. Before there was a sun, before there was a Milky Way galaxy, you knew me and that this moment in time would eventually occur. You knew the decisions I have made, am making, and will make in the future. You know that my mind craves answers, proof, rational explanations. You know that throughout my life I have been unable, but not unwilling, to generate true faith in you, in spite of years of effort. You know that according to the rules you have set forth, that I will burn in hell for all eternity.

Yet you will not take the one step closer to me that will prevent my own eternal pain and suffering? Why?

3- Pascal's Wager

When I was in highschool and doing my best to be a good little Christian, did that count? Did you really count me as a believer? Or did you look down with contempt or pity upon me for making my pitiful little efforts but failing to actually believe?

Does being a believer mean going through the conscious mental effort of choosing to believe? Or does it simply mean saying I believe regardless of my thoughts on the matter? Does deciding to believe count, or must one actually believe in order to get into heaven? If I decide to be a believer so I don't burn in hell for all eternity, is that really what you had in mind for me? Why do you want that?

What is in it for you, if I get to heaven or if I burn in hell? Am I just a number to you?

4-How do you feel about Epicurus?
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Omnipotent- all powerful, capable of anything. I won't bore you with the boulder so big you can't lift it conundrum, or the borrito so hot you can't eat it challenge, but if you can do anything....ANYTHING at all.... I was wondering... Because of free will you allow people to make all the mistakes they want including hurting those who love you dearly. What about the natural disasters in the world that people have nothing to do with creating but which cause enormous amounts of suffering? Why do you allow them to happen? Did sin damage the physical world? When did you decide that was an acceptable consequence in this world that you created from scratch?

Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
If you really are omnipotent and COULD stop evil, why don't you? Doesn't that make you just as bad as the people doing the evil itself? The legal term we have come up with is an accomplice or possibly even an accessory. How is it that in our legal system, you are guilty and yet we are the ones who will burn for all eternity? How is it that we have created a country founded on justice for all with laws preventing cruel and unusual punishment (which at the time consisted of floggings, brandings, and mutiliations, etc...) yet you ...our loving creator, are willing to see your own creations suffer indescribable misery for a never ending period of time.

No matter how long one human being has ever tortured another, it is as but moment in the time frame that you have decreed for those who do not know and love you. I'm scared Jesus, how does that make you a creature of goodness and loving compassion?

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
How did it come about that Lucifer came into being? Why did you create him? Does he have free will? Why would he choose to go against you? If you choose not to prevent the evil ascribed to him that the bible claims but rarely documents, how are you not assisting him? Why allow him free reign in your universe?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Well Jesus, you know where to find me.


Monday, November 19, 2007

redirect 3

They're BAAAACK!!

That's right! Lest you think they were to be counted among the dearly departed (Janice).... Reg Golb and Mountain King commented again, both on the same day. *snerk*

Mountain King with an amazingly long 57k response to a post from last month called "How to shut up an atheist if you must part 2".

I can only imagine that he spent the intervening month typing one letter at a time with a monkey stick normally reserved for fetching ants from rotten logs.

Johnny has a stunning 111k response, his original bits which are particularly impressive, followed by a cut-and-paste war at the end.

Pop over and give it a look see!!

St. Nick's visit to MN

A great big thank you to Protium & Thump Thump Eyes for the nicest, most personal Christmas gift I think I have ever received.

First out of the air mail pouch... "Let's Talk Strine/Nose Tone Unturned" by Afferbeck Lauder a book dedicated to the exploration of the vagaries of the Aussie vernacular. It is set up as a reference book so when an Aussie says, "The air fridge fundy is an idiot."

One can flip through the book and reference the entry for

Air Fridge- A mean sum or quantity; also: ordinary, not extreme. As in: The air fridge person, the air fridge man on the street.

Now I'm thinking, "Yep, the air fridge fundy is an idiot."

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Actually had me laughing out loud within the first 5 seconds of opening it. Not a book to just plop down and read cover to cover, but to pick up at random and savor.

The second item to tip from the pouch was a home made dvd and on the case was written...."Fiery read the text file XX"

And I'm thinking AUSSIE PORN!!!!!! *snerk* And I'm dancing around the room, WOOHOOING waving it in the air, frantically trying to get my dvd drive open at the same time so I can see how the Aussies do it down under when I discover.....It was actually something even better!!!!

A whole collection of stuff put together for me by my dear big brother and his lovely wife. Two home videos (a tour of where they live and the surrounding area), some AFA Forum newsletters, and a whole heap of atheist mp3 podcasts.

Awesome. Just AWESOME!!!

Thank you both ever so very VERY much!!!!!

college gestapo

I live within 30 minutes of a series of 4 cities right next to each other: West Fargo, Fargo, Moorhead, and Dilworth. In those cities there are 4 main colleges/universities and a variety of community/tech colleges: North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University- Moorhead, Concordia College, and Moorhead Technical College.

For a population of under 150,000 people, there are 30,000 college students.

That's a lot of beer.

Most people, when they think back on their days at uni, think of all the partying, drinking, and shenanigans that they pulled in between studies. Some took the studies seriously and partied anyway, some partied and didn't study hardly at all.

Well the schools are tired of the drinking. Each of the 4 campuses has instituted the toughest anti-drinking regimen I have ever heard, aside from the countries where the penalty for drunk driving is death by firing squad.

If a student wishes to return to the dorm after curfew he must pass a BREATHALYZER test and if he fails, is fined $100, not to mention possible notification of his parents, referral to counseling, and a permanent mark on his record.

Note the lack of internally generated personal responsibility. Nope, not necessary anymore, WE will take care of YOU.

In more recent news, the following posters are being placed throughout each campus:
"Big Brother is Watching You!"
"Happiness can exist only in acceptance."
"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

a new direction

I've been toying with about 4 or 5 different blog posts and haven't known for sure which one to follow through on. Maybe it is that the ideas are too short for what I normally put up on my blog.

hmmmmm..... hadn't thought of that before, stymied by standards I didn't even realize I was establishing for myself.

Well the heck with that. No unwritten rule is going to keep me from posting.

So what follows is a series of short posts on topics that have been niggling me but haven't developed into full blown typical Fiery-length posts. Who knows, maybe in the course of writing them, they'll expand a bit.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fiery's earliest memory

Sean has tagged me to play the "Earliest Memory" game.

1. Describe your earliest memory where the memory is clear enough to provide at least 3 details.
2. Give an estimate of your age at the time.
3. Tag some other bloggers with this thread.

Papa Ewok and my uncle worked the family farm together, and we all lived in the big house. Grama Ewok (the only one of my grandparents I can actually remember) lived in the original homestead house down a tiny hill from us. She was almost completely blind as a result of uncontrolled diabetes.

My earliest memory is trudging down that hill to Grama's house with a small black plastic box (probably 6"x5"x2") of playing cards in my hands. I remember the box had a clear plastic square in the lid and a silver button over flap with the type of closure that you inserted horizontally and then twisted vertically to close. I can still see the cards all a jumble in it. I remember sitting on a footstool in front of her with a tv tray between us. (At least that's what I've always called them, most refer to them as tray tables I believe.) The tray was off-cream with gold glitter flecks spangled across and green flowers swirled around the middle.

She had a light that sat on her television. (Remember when tv's came housed in their own wooden boxes and were a piece of furniture as well as a source of entertainment? It was back when they had dials instead of buttons and no input/output jacks.) The light was about as tall as an upright shoe box, oval opening at the top, with gold painted casing around it and when turned on looked like water trickling over stones. I remember she always fed me sesame seed crackers that to this day remind me of her. I was about 2 at the time.

I pick the following people to play the game, and if you don't have a blog, you can e-mail it to me at atheisthomeschooler at yahoo dot com and I'll post it here if you wish.

Johnny (because I want to know)
Richard (who is too dignified to play such a silly game, but might be goaded by this.)
Harry Nads (who seems to have disappeared on us)
T&A (because he's just such a darn nice guy!)
Thump Thump Eyes (because I know almost nothing about her and would love to learn more.)
Crazyman Bob (who's early childhood memory is practically nonexistant and I want to see how young he can get. ;-) )

Saturday, November 17, 2007

she's baaaaack!!!!! :-)

Hi All!

Looks like things are fairly quiet around here, and I don't blame you a bit, not been much new going up recently. Will have to do something about that.

It was a good trip, great to see my folks again. Mama Ewok is suffering a bit from depression after 7 months of chronic pain, and I don't blame her. Hopefully her doctor will prescribe something to help her through. The trip down was a glorious fall day which I was unable to capture as my rechareable batteries, I discovered 3 minutes into the trip, are bunk. *grrrrrrrr*

So this morning I spent $5.50 on 4 AA batteries at the gas station and now my camera is good to go for a bunch of pictures and maybe a few movies. *rolls eyes*

Camera eat batteries like Cookie Monster eat oreos.

Where yesterday was a beautiful fall day with gorgeous blue skies, this was what awaited me on the road today.

Yes it's true, fall is pretty much over and I sort of didn't get my yard raked of leaves. I wonder if that will be a problem come spring? I really must get the kids' bikes put away as well. oops.

Not bad for snaps taken one-handed while driving 70 miles per hour down a North Dakota highway. :-) It's not a hill, the prairie is flat, it was an over the shoulder shot.

This was the one break in the clouds looking north and lasted about 15 minutes. In the winter, one searches for the blue sky like the ear perks at the sound of your name whispered around a corner.

The kids are thrilled to be reunited, they both missed each other a great deal. I'm so glad they get along so well with each other.

Friday, November 16, 2007

road trip

Well I'm off to pick up my daughter in Minot today. We will be meeting my folks at the mall around 3p.m. and spending the night at the hotel enjoying the hot tub and swimming pool. Yay!

If Dad's along he'll want to get an early start back in the morning so I'll be home around 1p.m. If it's just Mom, then she'll want to go shopping and I probably won't be home until supper time.

I'm bringing the camera again and will take more pics of the road. Late fall in the Dakotas.

'Til then....
play nice!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Holy Bong Bat Man!

What exactly are Mary & Joseph smoking???

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

we are who we edit ourselves to be

In any form of communication with another person, whether that is in person over a cup of coffee, on the telephone, or through text, it is always possible that a person is misrepresenting themselves in whole or in part.

Meeting someone in person does not guarantee a higher degree of accurate information about that individual over what they might say or type about themselves, especially depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the communication itself.

In person, one does not have the opportunity to take back what was blurted. Things can just "get said" without the full ramifications being thoroughly thought through. Sometimes in the heat of the moment or following the general flow of the conversation, it is easy to flippantly toss off a remark, that upon further reflection is a flat out falsehood when it comes to how you really think. That doesn't mean the person was being deliberately misleading, just that they got carried away.

How many times as a child did you see your parents turn from shouting at each other or shouting at you to answer the phone with a cheery, "Hello!" and you're standing there wondering where the hell that came from? She wasn't all sunshine and smiles 3 seconds ago, why does that person rate a smile when she was just yelling her head off a bit ago? As an adult we realize that the person calling doesn't need to know of our bad day, and certainly doesn't deserve to get caught in the emotional fallout of normal everyday crankiness. Is the person lying when they answer the phone in that manner? Not exactly. More just responding to a new context in which shouting would be highly inappropriate.

If the context is an internet dating chat room, chances are not that good that people are interacting on a highly accurate basis. They are there looking for people to like them and presenting themselves in the most positive light possible, including flat out lying. "The internet: where the men are men, the women are women, and the little girls are FBI agents"~CrazyMan Bob.

However, on this blog, and the ones I visit, there is just no reason for the commenters to misrepresent their thoughts, feelings, insights, circumstances, or individual take on a situation. What would be the point? It is very much a voluntary community, one that is easy to withdraw from and if you don't feel you can be honest with those around you, what are you doing on that blog in the first place?

That is not to say that a particular post contains absolutely every possible piece of information that could be construed as being relevant to the situation. It just is not possible or desirable to include that level of detail in a post. So the writer essentializes and strips from the actual to present a snapshot of the situation with the details they feel are relevant to the discussion at hand.

For serious discussions and meaningful conversations, I would rather type than talk. Often during a verbal conversation, I get caught up listening to what the other person is saying without thinking about my own reactions to what they are talking about. Or worse, instead of listening to them I am busy trying to come up with something to say when it is my turn. Neither of which leads to much more than superficial conversations.

I enjoy writing and seeing my thoughts appear before me. Sometimes I look back on what I've written and nod in agreement, or shake my head in amusement at the things I've typed. I read and reread editing for style, content, accuracy and clarity. Do I really mean that? Does it convey my thoughts accurately or is it possible to misinterpret it to mean something different? Does the person reading have enough information to understand what I am saying?

But the most important thing, for me, about writing, is the necessary mental clarity that comes with actually formulating thoughts coherently enough to get them written down in semi-formal English capable of being understood by others. I learn more about myself by writing then I do in any other situation in my life.

Internet communication may not replace face-to-face interaction. But if the alternative to face-to-face interaction is nothing, then I will take text any day and revel in the ability to take my thoughts and refine them to be as clear and accurate as possible.

Monday, November 12, 2007

StarHawk- guest blogger

This post is mainly to say goodbye. The last week or so has been a bit stressful for me. My sister (whom I have a joint mortgage with, for our house) has apparently fallen into financial ruin. I've spent everyday of the last week going over her finances and realizing there is no way out. She is the most responsible person I know of when it comes to money. Unfortuneately between her credit card bills (which she only uses for emergency bills we didn't expect) and her deteriating health, there is no way she'll be able to pay all her bills... she needs to double her income to stay afloat. Even with my help that's not possible.

I'm not griping I'm just trying to explain to those who are interested why you won't hear from me for a while. I have to concentrate on my family (I live with her and 2 of my younger siblings).

I spend more time on this blog than I should or even have to. The problem I've found with the internet is that people think it replaces face-to-face conversation. It does not. We spend 30-40% of our time explaining what we meant to say as opposed to understanding the message. How many times have you posted something and then spent the rest of the thread trying to get others to understand what you were saying. The internet is an incomplete medium when compared to actually meeting someone and spending quality time with them. I'm not knocking the net, it has allowed people seperated by a globe to communicate with one another; but I spend 1-2 hours trying to come up with a post that will get across what I mean and not allowing it to be misinterpeted. It's not just because I lack the ability to express myself; or my lack of formal education. I watch Crazyman and Richard (two minds I respect) spend an inordinate amount of time trying to explain what they said 2 weeks ago instead of progressing the conversation to the next level.

I was raised and born by manipulative people. I have spent most of my life (since I was 15) trianing that out of me. I want to express honest opinions and recieve objective feedback. The problem I have with the internet is it is to easy to coach a post to get the response you desire. In order to police myself I spend an hour...minimum... typing my post, and rethinking it just to avoid coaching the response I want from you folks. Look to your most recent posts and you may find yourself guilty of such things. Not lying per-se, but gearing what you DO say to hear the response you wish. Using what you know those here will say about situations that do not pertain to most of them.

The worst part of it for me is that despite the time and precaution I take; I still find myself manipulating the conversation to suit my desired goal. Until you meet me and sit down for coffee with me face to face... possibly on multiple occasions; you will not know me. I feel wrong pretending you would. Too many things I've posted here, I believe in a general sense. Specific situations... once you know all the details can change how one views the case. Many of you seem to have a firm strong belief in their view of the world and how it works. Good for you, I wish I was so settled. I just feel uncomfortable with putting my thoughts in such a permanent form when I'm still determining my own moral outlook.

In the end I need to focus on what is going on with the people and family around me for now. I'll drop by and maybe take peek from time to time, but I need to focus on what is before me... thank you for the time we did have. Hopefully I'll be back at some point in the distant future.

Some of you have my e-mail address, so feel free to drop me a line if you want to talk to me specifically. Otherwise, good luck and good travels.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

heartfelt laughter

*sigh* I can't figure out how to embed the video. *rolls eyes*

Since 99.99% of you are on faster Internet connection than me downloading shouldn't be a problem. ;-)

I hope you find this as adorable as I did. Thank you Richard for a thoroughly delightful laugh, warmed my heart.

I remember when my kids were at that age. I know they would find absolutely the most astonishingly simple things amusing and would giggle themselves silly over it.

Oh- watch out for the comments underneath. A couple of the people are abominably cruel for no apparent reason other than to throw mud at the innocent. What is wrong with people like that? Anyone here have any insight at all as to why people behave that way? It is completely uncalled for.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

lessons from B5

A friend of mine recommended that I give the Babylong 5 tv series a try. Fortunately for me, the public library had the series readily available. Being the left to right sort of person that I am, I watched all 5 seasons in order. There were many times when a character would say something profound enough that I would reach for the pause button and capture the thought. Yes, I'm that much of a nerd, I actually take the time to capture good quotes. B5 was riddled with them and I would love to give the series a rewatch and capture more of them.

The relevant one for this week was said by the character Marcus, a ranger steeped in wisdom, knowledge, and skilled in battle.

I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair.

Then I thought, "Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair? And all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?"

So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

~Marcus, ranger, Babylon 5

At least when bad things happen in life, it is not because we are being punished for misdeeds. It is simply that sometimes.... poop happens and all you can do is find a shovel, step into your waders, and slog through it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Johnny- guest blogger: Evolution

A new member of the Aussie Atheist Forum, Freediver, has jumped into the pool and dropped this little gem.

Freediver said..."Evolution is not a scientific theory!

Evolution should not be taught in high school science classes because it is not a scientific theory. It fails the requirement of falsifiability that is the litmus test for judging whether an investigation is scientific.

The modern scientific method is defined in terms of hypotheses, theories and laws. The difference between each is the level of acceptance in the scientific community. What they all have in common is that they must be falsifiable. This means that it must be possible to run an experiment that would prove the theory (or hypothesis or law) wrong, if it were not true."

Johnny replied...

It is naive to think that falsification is the only thing that makes science, science.

Falsificationism is not abused by antievolutionists invoking it as a rigid standard for rational discourse; rather, it is abused when they use it as a rigid standard for deciding what belongs to the realm of science. The demarcation between science and non-science is a very thorny issue that is not sufficiently addressed by falsificationism.

It is a naive view of falsification to expect that whenever we encounter data that are contrary to what is predicted by the hypothesis being tested, that we must discard the general concept behind that hypothesis. This is an exceedingly important point to understand because, while at face value it seems counterintuitive, it does not violate any rule of logic.

The structure of scientific epistemology acknowledges
1) General Concepts
2) Specific Models and
3) Observations.

1)General Concept= Darwinian evolution
2)Specific Model= Continuity of the fossil record and
3)Observation= (for falsification) Discontinuity of the fossil record.

When the predicted observation is not found, then one needs to examine either the Specific Model and/or the General Concept. Often one can reasonably make the equation fit simply by changing the specific model and retaining the general concept. Thus, the prediction of gradual evolution might be substituted with a prediction of punctuated evolution.

Science, therefore, often does not directly test the General Concepts. Rather, it often tests Specific Models and a number of Specific Models can support any General Concept. So, while the General Concept of Darwinian evolution may not be falsifiable, it also is not the direct object of scientific inquiry. The Specific Models of Darwinian evolution are what is tested by science and these are what need to be falsifiable.

Simply put Freediver, evolution as a concept is undeniable (unless you are wearing god goggles) and also unfalsifiable. It is the mechanism of evolution ie. the theory, that is what needs to be testable.

Look past your nose and you will see that there is lots of repeatable experimentation in the field of evolutionary biology here is a start for you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

happiness: theirs or mine

When you love someone, their happiness becomes like unto your own. The smile on their face becomes the one on your own.

Yet when does the delight in their happiness become a responsibility to maintain it? How does one fight the compulsion to keep another happy at the expense of your own happiness? How do you weigh the consequences of finding your own happiness when you know it will cause unhappiness to those that you love? When is it ok to choose your own happiness over someone else's?

Long have I caused my parents distress and perceived myself as a disappointment to them. They have not said so, in so many words, yet I know that the life I live and the choices I've made are not the ones they wanted me to make.

I find myself approaching a crossroad. A crossroad that has the potential to bring me great happiness and contentment the like of which I've never known but only dreamt of. Yet if I take that path, Mom will cry, Dad will be saddened, their happiness diminished. For that path will lead me far from my home, far from the place of my birth. And it will not be an easy path. It is fraught with challenges, obstacles, change.

I do not want to remain on the path I am on and die regretting the life I might have led had I but stepped onto the crossroads and taken a chance on a dream of my own.

The alternative is to continue on as I am now, knowing full well that when I have walked this path to completion I will look back with regret for what might have been, but could not be.

Yet what if I am wrong? What if the path at the crossroads leads to disappointment, disillusionment? Then again, what if it does not? Is it worth the risk, to take the chance? Are the consequences of reaching for happiness and not getting it irrevercible?

What is the alternative to maintaining the current path? If nothing changes...regret.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

open forum 7

October was a month of extremes. It had some of the highest highs I have had in years, and some pretty darn low lows as well. Inspite of the rather grim present, the future looks bright, hope blooms on the horizon.

It has now become a tradition here on my blog that on the first of each month I put up an open forum.

There have been times when visiting other blogs that I wanted to ask the blog owner a question off topic, but never really knew where to put it. I didn't want to be just bust into an on-going comment-conversation.

So- This post is the opportunity for any of my readers to broach a subject, ask a personal question, bring up a topic, talk about whatever is on your mind...

It is after all an open forum, speak your piece!