winter

winter

Friday, January 29, 2010

Household Notebook? Oops...

Yeah, I was going to make one of those and then I forgot about it. :P

Something else to fight with later today. I've got a few different goals for today. I'm going to put together a list up here and if I can find the time later, I'll comment on how successful I was in meeting them.

1.) Write in:
  • Blogs
  • Morning Pages Journal
  • Daily Journal
2.) Clean Dishes
3.) Bag Dirty Clothes for Laundromat
4.) Sewing
  • Mend Beloved's pants
  • Mend Beloved's brown sweater
  • Finish hemming wrap
  • Make sock puppets for Cuddle-Bear
5.) Work on knitting baby blanket
Let's see how successful I am today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well, that was a cooking win.

I cooked pork chops on a bed of rice with canned peaches. It gave the peaches a faint hint of the pork flavor. The rice came out a mix of savory and fruity, but not overly so. The pork was infused with a hint of peach. I think next time instead of saving the dash of curry and cinnamon for serving, I'll add it initially. On the whole, however, it came out quite well. Next time, I'm either serving peas along side this or acorn squash. I think they'd go together excellently.

Not too shabby for a throw it together quick dinner. I definately need to go grocery shopping soon. I think that'll be after my dr appt tomorrow. I really should plan out next week's menu before I go.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Making my own teething biscuts...

Apparently you can't buy zweibeck toast at the store anymore. I've been looking but it's no where to be found. I've found a recipe that I am going to give a try. Here's hoping it works out well.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

This has prospect...

I was reading an article on the Time's website this morning that has me thinking. Apparently the best sellers on the Kindle and other similar platforms are free. Yep, the most downloaded books have been free. It makes me think that perhaps my first manuscript to be published should be in an electronic format and for free.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Controlling banks? I don't know about that...

The Wall Street Journal has an article discussing President Obama's appeal to the international community for support in a plan to control aspects of the largest banks in the United States, calling on them to pass the same legislation in their nations. Now, I've got a problem with this on several levels. Because my focus here isn't to call the President to task for his hubris in what the Executive Branch of the American government is permitted to do, I'll save that rant for another day. No, my focus is on the banking regulation efforts and what I see as it's effect upon the economy. I'm not an economist by any stretch of the imagination, but I have taken two college level classes on the subject and read several book on personal finance to help me understand it.

Even with my limited understanding of this subject, I can see that controlling how the private banks are run is a bad thing. People may find the analogy I'm about to use like comparing apples and steaks. Apples and steaks, however, have a very basic thing in common (that they are food) and the commonality between banks and what I'm using for my analogy is going to be equally apparent with a little thought.

John Doe runs a car repair shop in little town A. His repair shop isn't very big but he is competent and does relatively brisk business. At the other end of town is a competing repair shop that is part of a national chain Brakes-R-Us. They do a large amount of business and carry the major burden of car repair for town A. Brakes-R-Us could actually be described as handling the majority of the needs because their workload is approximately twice that of John Doe's shop.

One day, Brakes-R-Us's location in town A makes the announcement that they are going to be closing their doors. This is after their location has been reassessed for property taxes and it becomes apparent that their tax burden, like that of John Doe's business, is going up. The town council becomes alarmed at this news and holds an immediate session. At the session it is argued that the tax increase should be waived for Brakes-R-Us because the only other car repair shop in town does not have the capacity to service everyone.

Now, I ask you, dear Reader, is it right for this town's government to waive the property tax for Brakes-R-Us? I believe that your answer will be the same as mine. No because waiving the property tax does not address the underlying problem at Brakes-R-Us's location in town A, among other things. If something else increased in expense, like if there was an unexpected increase in the cost for power or something else similar, Brakes-R-Us would be in the same position.

Let's say the town council votes to waive the property tax in exchange for Brakes-R-Us being required to show the town council their budget and making adjustments suggested to them by the town council. This again fails to solve the problem and actually creates an entirely new one. Because the town council is influenced by political agenda, this would in turn influence the suggestions made to Brakes-R-Us. This not only deprives the owners of Brakes-R-Us of their right to operate their business as they see fit, but makes them dependent upon the good will of the town council to remain in business. For the town council could force Brakes-R-Us out of business and do so under color of law in light of the arrangement presented.

Now, here's another scenario, let's say that the town council votes to waive the property tax and puts in place the requirement that they review the budget for Brakes-R-Us. The town council then determines that part of the problem for Brakes-R-Us is that they're offering too many services and are losing money by providing oil changes to their customers. The town council passes a law requiring that oil changes are done only by places that specializes in them. This is not a good solution either because it limits the choices of the customers of Brakes-R-Us and at John Doe's repair shop artificially. It also establishes the precedent for the second scenario to happen industry-wide in town A.

These three scenarios are describing the effect of government interfering with private business to the detriment of the community. Laws against child labor and preventing the abuse of employees by their bosses are examples of laws that are in place that are good for the community. The difference between the 'good' regulations and the 'bad' regulations is fairly simple. Is the law putting the population in a measure of duress? Is the law favoring one segmant of the population above the rest? Is the law inhibiting the population's exercising of their inherent civil rights? If the answer to the above is yes, it is a bad law and it should be abolished.

The banking system's failures over the last few years are not because the banks are flawed. They are the result of a confluence of factors that highlight the flaws in the system and the effects of generations of government interference. When you look at the long term cycle of how the economy functions, specifically a capitalism based economic system, you will see that it moves from a period of growth into a plateau followed by a period of loss, another plateau and then another growth period. Within this larger cycle are smaller cycles that follow the a similar pattern.

When the government takes action to artificially extend or promote periods of growth this makes the drop from plateau to plateau larger. Things like switching from a currency based in real goods (like gold) to one based in a concept (like what we have now) encourages inflation of the currency which occurs as the growth period is artificially extended. When the inflationary period collapses, it is a correction of the market back to parity. If you study the financial history of the nation, you will find that we are not only due for market correction but also a period of loss. We're actually past due for a period of loss.

The inflation of the US currency in an desperate effort to stave off the period of loss that is inevitable has had the exact opposite effect of what was intended. It did not bring greater stability to the economy or equality in the socio-economic classes. Instead it brought the illusion of stability and laid the ground work for a deeper drop into (and possibly a longer) plateau following the period of loss. For those who are a little confused between the terms recession and depression, by the way, when it comes to economics here's a quick heads up. A recession is the period of loss that I mentioned earlier. A depression is the plateau that follow the recession.

Instead of preparing the nation for the coming depression, the economic policy of the United States government had been to inflate the currency in a desperate effort to avoid it. They were pushing the proverbial pendulum farther and farther to one side in an effort to have it not swing in the other direction, completely ignoring the fact that a pendulum simply doesn't function that way. They are only providing more potential energy to be turned into kinetic when the pendulum swings back in the other direction. This makes the pendulum swing faster and go higher when it reaches the other side. The same is true for the economy.

What the government should have been doing was encouraging people to be more conservative in their spending during the 'Roaring 90's' and laying the ground work to provide for the needs that are going to come up during the next depression. This, however, was the last thing upon anyone's mind in the government or the population at large. If you want to prepare, it's not completely too late. Look into what you can do to get a small garden going, learn a skill that uses real goods and that you can barter with others if needed, or start building up your emergency supplies for a possible storm or major crisis.

Practical measures mean hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. The government has always failed to do that and has encouraged the population to ignore taking such steps. Why is that? Because when a crisis happens, the government can step in and seize more power from the people under the guise of helping them. I, for one, refuse to trade my liberty for the warm fuzzy feeling of security. That's all it is, a feeling and a state of mind. We are no more secure today then we were yesterday. Economically, socially, or physically, this has not changed. As a people, we need to take control of our destiny and take the measures required to keep ourselves safe, healthy, and to advance our goals.

You don't trust a complete stranger with your bank information, why do you trust the government? All it is is a large group of strangers with an agenda. And that agenda is to control you and justify their salaries and power base. Do you really want to trust that group of strangers?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ah toddlers and their imaginations...

So, I asked Cuddle-Bear what he wanted for dinner. His answer was : Buttons! My solution - ritz crackers sandwiches with cream cheese in the middle, vanilla wafer cookies with peach puree in the middle, and freeze dried apple bits. He appears to be really enjoying it. :)

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Not just for Physics anymore

I'm sitting here, feeding Snuggle-Bug and reading the news on-line when I spot an article titled: The day I decided to stop being gay. To say the least, the title raised an eyebrow and I was curious. As I read the article, I found myself inwardly sighing with disappointment. It's clear that the author has been struggling with the same binary perspective of human sexuality as so many other people in Western society (among many others) has for generations.

I was disappointed to see the mixture of ambivalence to heterosexuality and mild antagonism to homosexuality peppered liberally thru out his piece. Oh, the writing is very good and this is an editorial, thus an entirely appropriate place to express biases and opinions. I'm not complaining on that front at all. He wrote an excellent article and did a very good job making it both entertaining and easy to read. Two things that I believe are very important in writing a good opinion article. He clearly has a strong grasp of the written word and did a very good job using it to express himself. The author may want to consider doing some more writing on the side of his job as a teacher.

It doesn't change my disappointment, however. I guess I was foolish to think that perhaps he would have taken a more... understanding perspective on sexuality. The perspective he did take was clearly more reasonable then that of people like Pat Robertson and even more reasonable then that of several of my neighbors. Perhaps understanding is not the correct word but rather compassionate.

I am firmly of a mind that being homosexual or heterosexual is not a choice but rather following the inclinations that one has within them. We're built to be attracted to a certain type of person and gender is a component in this attraction. Is it possible for a gay man to be attracted to women? Yes, there may be other factors that override the strong pull of attraction to other men and that is not a bad thing. I don't think this automatically make the gay man heterosexual. Nor do I think that the 'reverse' of a heterosexual being attracted to a person of the same gender as themselves is going to automatically make them homosexual. The terms homosexual and heterosexual are designations of opposite ends of a spectrum.

I think it is rare to find the person who is completely heterosexual or homosexual. I think it is far more common to find people who identify more with the heterosexual or homosexual end of the spectrum because that is the more dominant of their appetites. I also don't think that hetero- and homosexual are going to make up the only spectrum to describe sexuality. I believe that sexuality is an extremely complex and beautiful thing.

There are many, many different aspects to it that we need to accept are just there and it can't be boiled down to a single 'one or the other' point. Even the example of the spectrum is going to fail at some point because there's just going to be too many different factors to keep it all organized. Trying to pinpoint where a person is in their sexual orientation in comparison to everyone else may be possible for that one person. When you start trying to do so for an entire population, let's not even look at the whole of humanity just a group of people, you encounter the same problem that you get when trying to place where each and every electron is around the nucleus of an atom.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I think I've found it!

While I don't think I'm quite ready to knit on double pointed needles yet or make knitted socks using the circular needles I have (for as I read more I find that I'm really not ready for that challenge), I have found a crochet pattern that I'm going to do!

The directions are very easy to read and I'm looking forward to using up some of this yarn that I've got around in scraps so I can get to the yarn that I made and the lovely yarn that my Mother-In-Law gave me for Yule. Some of it is in the most wonderful cranberry color! I am having visions of making a sweater with it dancing in my head! :)

Here is a link to the crochet sock pattern. I'm going to be starting on it soon. First, I need to make a few more pairs of baby booties because Snuggle-Bug is out growing the ones we have so fast!

Accomplishments vs Tasks.

So, a gal on a forum I'm apart of suggested that I replace my list of things to do with a list of things accomplished. I have to say the concept is sitting pretty well with me. It's part of a series of changes I am making to comply with what Beloved has told me he wants me to accomplish. He told me very clearly that he wants me to take better care of myself. Changing my perspective on a bunch of things is going to go a long way towards making that a successful endevour.

I want to get healthier this year and I want to accomplish a few really challenging things too. These are going to possibly be the easier part of complying with Beloved's wishes. Breaking habits and years of thought patterns is going to be the hard part. Changing how I view things like the tasks that need done around here is going to possibly be the roughest. So, little steps like having a list of accomplishments rather then a list of things to do are going to be important.

Here are my morning and early afternoon accomplishments:
  1. Got myself up, showered, dressed, and had breakfast
  2. Got both boys up, changed, and fed breakfast
  3. Played with both boys for approximately an hour and a half
  4. Balanced the checkbook
  5. Helped Cuddle-Bear get out toys and put toys away
  6. Morning diaper duty
  7. Helped Cuddle-Bear sing songs to Snuggle-Bug and to his toy baby
  8. Gave both boys their morning snack
  9. Rocked Snuggle-Bug and put him down for his morning nap
  10. Folded one and a half loads of laundry
  11. Supervised Cuddle-Bear's efforts to put some of his story books away
  12. Set up Mean Kitty Song on YouTube for Cuddle-Bear and made lunch for the boys and I
  13. Gave lunch to the boys
  14. Supervised Cuddle-Bear and Snuggle-Bug playing together as I ate my lunch
  15. Read Cuddle-Bear a story
  16. Afternoon diaper duty
  17. Rocked Snuggle-Bug and put him down for his afternoon nap
  18. Calmed Cuddle-Bear and put him down for his afternoon nap
  19. Planned dinner for tonight
  20. Checked my e-mail and read the news around the world
  21. Meditated
Wow, that's alot of stuff to have done for half the day. It makes the few things left on my list not seem impossible And it makes me feel not quite so bad about being tired right now. Between my difficulty sleeping recently and doing more then I thought I had this morning and thru the early afternoon, I guess I've earned a little bit of a nap. This time, however, I really should set some kind of alarm so that I'm not waking up almost at dinner time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Remember, YOU have nothing to hide...

The title of this post is sarcastic. We've all got stuff to hide, stuff that we want to keep private. We don't want the world at large to know details about things like our bank accounts, the number of speeding tickets we've had, or anything else that really is none of their business unless we choose to share it with them. I hate the Patriot Act. Among the reasons why I hate that abomination is because it has set a precedent for actions like this:
The FBI illegally collected 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or persuading phone companies to provide them says the Washington Post.
~ The Crime Report, 1/19/2019

Now, perhaps I am a starry eyed Pollyanna. Maybe some sneaky bastards down there in DC changed things like the principles that the government of this country has been founded on. Quick, let's check to see if the Declaration of Independence has been edited.... Hmm... looking at the text that's available Google can't find any evidence that it's been changed. And I am pretty sure that something that is as much of a bureaucratic mess as the government of the United States can keep a scandal as large as something crazy like that quiet. Looks like there's no new amendments that strip away the protections of the 4th Amendment either.

Listen up kids, this is gonna be something big and I want you all to get it right. If you have to, take notes, tattoo it on your forehead, or do what ever else you need to so that you can remember it:

The Patriot Act and the precedent set for spying upon the citizenry of this nation is UNCONSITUTIONAL because it VIOLATES the 4th Amendment.

Oh, I know, some folks are going to stand there and tell me that I'm over simplifying. I'm going to tell them that they are cowards who are willing to trade their liberty, mine, and that of my children for the ILLUSION of security that is dangled out infront of them by the government. It is none of the government's business what I do in my private life. If there is an accusation that I am breaking the law, I am innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof rests upon my accusors.

The 4th Amendment is in place to prevent things like the flagrant abuse of people's rights in the case where their car was used to commit a crime that they were not involved in, and now the owner is deprived of their posessions even after that case has been closed. Oh, and if you think I'm just pulling that example out of my hat, it was actually in the news a few weeks ago. The 4th Amendment is in place to prevent the erosion of personal property rights, as was blatantly done by the Supreme Court back a few years ago with that decision on emement domain. You know, the one that says the village wanting to take your house for making a parking lot, which fails in town council but after your house has been seized is legal.

There's a reason why there has been so much action taken to turn the 4th Amendment into as much of a foot note in the consciousness of the people of the United States as the 3rd Amendment is. Just like I said in my argument against mayoral control of a school district, this is a movement to disenfranchise the people. Where as the first is part of a campaign to render the right to vote useless in the minds of the people, the campaign to functionally nullify the 4th Amendment is focused upon having us surrender our privacy and individuality. George Orwell warned against this in his book 1984.

This silent campaign to disenfranchise the nation is part of the rise of fascisim. The blanket hatred of Islam and those who practice this religion, as well as of those who are apologists for it, has the same stink as the anti-semitism that came with the last incarnation of fascisim. Fascisim has been responsible for some of the world's greatest tragedies in modern history. If we have to, let's look at the painfully obvious examples of the Concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

The actions of the government to undermine the 4th Amendment and other rights of the people may not be those of Brownshirts, but it's still an exercise of fascisim. It's perhaps even more hideous because it is being done under color of law. Remember one of the biggest proponents of abusing their people under color of law was Stalin. Do we really want to go there?

We need to oppose all actions of the government to strip us of our rights. Even if they claim it is for our own good or the good of our children. Each time I am told that if I am innocent that I should not be afraid, I feel disgusted. This is the same approach that was taken by the Inquisitors. People were tortured into confessing. People were turned in to them for the basis of political or monetary gain. We stand poised on the precipice of seeing such things return in a new and horrific fashion.

Failure to oppose this is not an option. Not if we're to remain a free people.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting back into the swing of things, sort of.

Well, I've managed to reclaim part of my morning routine. :) Now I just need to get my afternoon routine back together and I'll be sitting pretty. Even if I don't succeed, however, I've made progress. For the first time in weeks, I've actually gotten things like balancing the checkbook done.

That's a big WIN!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crochet hook bag!

I'll post a pic of the finished product when Beloved shows me how to get pics off the camera again. (I always forget how to do that. :P) I made this for a friend of mine to hold the extra crochet hooks from my collection that I am giving her. I'm going to make another one for myself, because this just came out so cute! It's a good project for using up scrap yarn. :)

Materials Needed:
  • Size 'D' crochet hook
  • Assorted small lengths of yarn (Medium weight is what I used, thus suggested for this project.)
  • Scissors
Crochet Stitches used: Wattle Stitch, Single crochet

  1. Chain 70, turn
  2. Skip first two chains, crochet wattle stitch into 3rd chain from the hook.
  3. Proceed to end of row. In last chain of row, crochet one single crochet.
  4. Chain one, turn.
  5. Repeat steps 1 - 4 for 12 rows.
  6. Fold fabric in half, slip stitch from edge to fold. Tie off and weave ends in.
  7. Slip stitch from fold to edge on opposite side. Single crochet into same spot.
  8. Chain 4, single crochet into edge of first row.
  9. Chain 4, single crochet into edge of second row.
  10. Repeat around opening.
  11. At edge of first row on opposite side of step 8, chain 9
  12. Single crochet into starting loop for step 8 at starting point.
  13. Turn, single crochet over loop formed in step 11 until covered with single crochet stitches.
  14. Single crochet into starting loop for 11, tie off and weave ends in.
  15. Braid 3 strands of yarn (each 1 ft long) into a cord. Wave into small loops at opening for drawstring closure.
I added new yarn in at beginning of rows 2, 4, 8 and 10. You may want to do so differently, but either way this works up into a nice little bag that holds all but the size Q hook. I have a size Q hook in this bag passed thru the large loop (which is intended to be clipped to your project bag) and into the bag itself with the draw string opening pulled up tight around it. While this is not extremely secure for the size Q hook, it works reasonably well. If you turn the bag upside down, the hook doesn't fall out.

Getting back to my routine? Yeah, right!

I had a relatively decent routine a while back. Then the holidays happened and then I got sick. Now I'm sitting here looking around at the remnants of that routine and I feel badly about it. Getting back into the routine is proving about as easy as fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans. :(

I suppose that means it's time to do the metaphorical sit-ups and stuff.

I've got plans for this year. Among them, I want to get a better handle on my anxiety over money. I also want to get my home organized and get this whole keeping the house clean business under control. I'm going to try to encourage Cuddle-Bear to pick up his toys more. Who knows, maybe I'll even manage to teach him how to put his books away. I suspect it may be a little over optimistic, but what the hell, right?

I'm such a fool...

I let my insecurities and fears get in the way so very much. I get tongue-tied and nervous, so I avoid talking to people that I really do want to. Stormcrow and I talked about this at one point. He's of the opinion I should just let these things go. I think he's right but I'm not sure what to do to replace the habit of fear. He was at a loss for suggestions. The method by which he dealt with this kind of thing really isn't an option for me.

I guess I could jump right in. I'm pretty sure that's what Stormcrow would suggest and I'm fairly sure that's what most of my other friends would also advise. How is it that I think up characters that are bold, if not fearless, and I stumble over fear almost daily? These characters are based on me and parts of my psyche. Why is that courage and joi de verve that are in so many of these character that I create so hard for me to tap into?

And why does rejection terrify me so much? I suppose nothing ventured, nothing gained. I can't use the excuse of liquid courage pushing me forward or powerful pain meds stripping away my inhibitions. Somedays, I think it's a good thing that I refuse to drink on a regular basis. I could see myself as a functional alcoholic with periods of being a very... very sadistic and mean drunk. I can't depend on something mechanically removing those blocks, I need to do it myself. And I sit here stalling and half tempted to go read that dopey train story for the billionth time rather then write the e-mail. *sighs*

That means it's time to write the e-mail. It's ironic, I'm polyamorous but terrified to express it. Much like I'm still damn afraid of my bisexuality. Someday, eventually, I'll get past these fears. First, however, I should stop stalling and write that e-mail.

Blarg, I'm a coffee-zombie!

I have a new term for that feeling of being not awake enough to function: coffee-zombie.

While regular zombies seek living flesh to consume, coffee-zombies seek coffee or other caffeinated beverages. When observed in their natural habitat, coffee-zombies greatly resemble regular zombies in their shambling movements and relatively slow. Generally, coffee-zombies are less dangerous then regular zombies. If you bring a coffee-zombie their favored nourishment, it is possible that you can acquire one as a pet. Great caution must be exercised in bringing coffee-zombies their nourishment. If it is not delivered promptly upon giving indication it will be presented or if it is unavailable, coffee-zombies risk becoming a variant of regular zombies.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Who runs the school district?

I've been following for a little less then a year now a debate going on up in Rochester over how the school district up there should be run. I wasn't seriously following it up until earlier this week. An article in the City newspaper caught my eye. It was an interview with Rochester Mayor, Bob Duffy. As far as articles go, it was fairly well written. As far as interviews go, it was very good and quite through. I've got to say, I was pretty impressed with the lack of bias in the work and it was written at a higher reading level, in my opinion, then a lot of what you find in the Democrat and Chronicle over the last few years.

Anyways, I read the article in City and found myself not exactly... thrilled with Mayor Duffy's reasoning. I suppose he did put forth a reasonable argument. If you didn't look at the history of public education in this country and just considered the matter on the basis of the contemporary situation, you could almost convince me that mayoral control of the school districts is a decent option to consider. On 13WHAM's website, there is an article explaining how the initial stage of the process is going to work for mayoral control, so it looks like this whole shindig is going to move forward.

I've got a fundamental problem with it all, however. Historically, public education was controlled by the population of the community, predominantly the parents. They elected the school board and voted upon matters as needed (like school taxes). This wasn't because of the American love of democracy, no matter how much some Constitution thumping, flag waving folks want you to see it. Sure, there may be a measure of tradition behind that, but it wasn't the primary reason. The primary reason is because the parents (and therefore the community) needed some measure of control over how their children are educated. This was to make sure that it conformed with how they were raising their children and to keep the subjects taught responsive to the needs of the community.

Now, some folks are going to say that I'm taking a far too starry-eyed "Pollyanna reads the news" approach here. And they're probably going to say the same thing on the matter of how education has been approached in the USA also, but that is their opinion and they are as entitled to it as I am to mind. I'm going to respectfully disagree with them in advance. Let me explain why I am opposed to mayoral control, for reasons beyond the fact that it runs counter to how the education of the youth of the nation has been done for generations before now. After all, tradition can be part of the problem rather then the solution. Even I will agree to that.

I oppose mayoral control of the school district because the mayor can not effectively do their job and the job of the school board. Furthermore, in a city like Rochester where the mayor's office is already dealing with the proverbial sinking ship with the economy and infrastructure suffering greatly because of things like the changing face of industry, there is far too much on their plate right now to take on additional things. (If you want to know why the Fast Ferry failed, in my opinion that's a big part of it. Mayor Johnson's folly was a combination of ignoring the real problems in Rochester and his ego. Same is true for everyone else who climbed on to that bandwagon. Again, your opinion may differ.)

I also oppose mayoral control of the school district because it sets a dangerous social precedent. When the rights of the citizens to engage in active participation in their government is curtailed, it begins the process of eroding the rights of all and pushing the country towards a system of government opposed to the democratic republic that was instituted by the Constitution. Removing the right to vote for the school board is a soft way to get the populace familiar with the idea that they can not vote. Oh, I know, somebody is going to say that I'm being paranoid, but take a second and look at this logically. (Because I see that this fad of mayoral control of the school district is starting to spread to different cities across the nation and I believe this is a very bad thing.)

Take a population and tell them that they can't do XYZ. Now, XYZ is a fairly minor thing compared to ZYX, though major elements of it are the same. After a period of time, the population becomes familiar with the policy that XYZ is just not an option for them. Because of the similarity to ZYX, they begin to view this as unimportant or minor. Other policies and actions taken by the governmental authorities against 'minor' things that are like ZYX serves to reinforce this false concept that it is also unimportant. Eventually, in the minds of the population, ZYX's importance is so eroded that it can be removed from the actions permissible to the population under the government, thereby removing various rights and privilages associated with ZYX.

Voting has already been undermined dramatically by the disconnect between our elected officials and the electorate. When actions are taken to curtail voting itself, which mayoral control of the school board does, we begin the process of removing our ability to exercise our right to participate in our government under color of law. Now, it may be that the philosophy of how governments work has changed or something since the founding of the United States of America. I doubt that, however, because there is one fundamental rule that remains correct. All governments derive their power from the consent of the governed. When the populace has reached a point where they decide they've had enough of the given government's actions, they will force a change to how they are governed. This why why feudalism is no longer in place, for example.

Additionally, I oppose mayoral control of the school district because it takes the policy decisions of the school district and additionally politicizies them. The school district is already very politicizes and, if anything, needs less of this. The school system should not be a vehicle for propagandizing and pushing political agendas. Placing control of policy into the hands of the mayor, or any other single elected official, removes the checks and balances of having different opinions. This takes a system already vulnerable to such things as propagandizing and completely removes any few protections it has from flagrant and obvious abuse.

I want my children to learn subject matter, not the agenda of the week. If a given city mayor opposes the theory of evolution, I don't want them to be able to ban it from being taught in school. If they find French Impressionism to be the best thing ever, I don't want them to require it to be the only thing taught in art class. If they hated algerbra or triginometry, I don't want them to completely remove it from the curriculum. Educational insitutions are there to broaden the student's worldview and to teach them various skills. The most important, in my opinion are the following:
  • Critical reasoning
  • Effective communication skills
  • Basic literacy and mathematics
  • A working knowledge of the hard and soft sciences
  • A working knowledge of local, national, and world history
These are all things that should be free of political agenda. A teacher's opinions should stop outside the class room door, just like a reporter's opinions should stop at the headline of their article. Anything else is irresponsible and doing a disservice to the community. If you want to stump for your favorite cause or give your opinion of things, there are places and times that are appropriate to do so. The classroom is not the place for it. I believe that mayoral control is a very large step towards requiring that.

Oh, a side note, on the matter of Creationism being taught in school and religion being taught in school. I believe it is possible to teach these things but it requires a degree of mental complexity in both the students and teacher, as well as a great deal of skill, that is frequently over simplified.

Yes, teach Creationism, but make clear that it is a theory just as Evolution is a theory. Use this as an opportunity to teach what a theory is, how theories are established, and how they are overturned. This is an excellent example to explain how the Heliocentric modle of the solar system came to be accepted upon the basis of overwhelming evidence. Make clear that Creationism is but one of many alternative theories as to how the world came to be as it is today and encourage the students to explore other theories with critical thought and weighing it upon the merits of logic and how well it is supported by evidence. You'll be doing far more for them then just spouting out what a theory is in a 6th grade class on the scientific method (by the way, an educated guess is just another way to say theory).

Yes, teach religion and philosophy. When you do so, place it into cultural context and take a non-biased perspective. In theology classes at the collegeate level, religions are taught with out the students being preached at. If it can be done at college, it can be done at the lower levels with appropriate languaged for the students and concepts introduced when students are ready to understand them. After all, you don't teach a toddler algerbra until they can understand how to count and basic mathematical functions like addition.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti.

So the first news article I see is talking about how relief and aid agencies are getting criticized for the delays in how the distribution of supplies and workers is going. Listen up, Media folks( if you happen to even read this):

Haiti just had a massive natural disaster that has destroyed their infrastructure. Haiti, the country that has been one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and the infrastructure wasn't in good shape to begin with. You know, the country where people were eating dirt cookies because there wasn't enough food and the soil had the right minerals to trick the stomach into not being so upset because it worked like an antacid. Yeah, that Haiti, people. They have NOTHING more then what you see! Stop bitching and help them, you insensitive jackasses!

Now, my next bit of ranting is directed at the relief agencies, namely the various branches of the world's military finest who are deployed there.

Waiting for transportation!?! You idiots already have transportation. Look down at those things sticking off the ends of your legs. You see them? They're called feet! Walk, march, hike, or run the damn two miles rather then piss and moan about the lack of transportation. If that is what the military is made of, all of you idiots deserve the beatings you get around the world in the various conflicts that are currently occurring. Go back to your roots, use those basic training skills and haul ass to where you're needed, dipshits. Stop being a damn embarrassment to the rest of your countrymen and grow a hair on your ass. If I pulled that shit, I'd be still living on the grace and good will of my relatives in the middle of nowhere western New York with out ever having been gainfully employed or accomplished anything over the last ten years.

You civilians, you're not exempt from this bit of verbal ass-kicking. Are you there to help or posture? If you're there to help, roll up your damn shirt sleeves, stop bitching about the situation, and do something. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. There are people down there in Haiti who are doing something (like those guys from the US military who have drop-kicked the airport into some vague sembelance of working order). Either start helping them or get the hell out of Haiti. There's too many people who are in real need down there for the responsible adults who are working to waste their time babysitting and coddling you candyass, spoiled little snots. Like I said earlier: Lead follow or get the hell out of the way!

All of you morons, stop being a damn embarrassment to the rest of the human race, will you?

To the people who are working and making things happen down there in Haiti: bless you all from the depths of my heart. I salute you, wish I could assist you, and hope that you all stay safe down there. Don't over exert yourselves and be careful. I and many, many others are proud of you and what you are doing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Great. :P

So, it's been determined that I have an allergy to Ibuprofen. As the pharmacist who really was useless on the matter of my newly discovered Codeine allergy gave little information about what medications I can safely take with my Ibuprofen allergy, I decided to do some research.

I am ... displeased. The medications that I've used for my migraines in the past are on the list of what I should be avoiding. As the reaction that I have is a precursor of anaphylaxis, I'm going to be avoiding these things this way I don't need to be rushed to the hospital because I'm going into shock. Now I need to learn more about the Codeine allergy.

I'm contemplating more knitting.

I'm seriously thinking about knitting up some socks or baby booties. My mother-in-law has very kindly offered to help me with finding patterns or figuring out how to knit on multiple needles. I'm most likely going to take her up on it. Right now, however, I need to pick out what pattern I want to use. I'm also going to try my hand at crocheting lace.

First, however, I should probably finish up spinning the wool that I've got sitting here. To say the least, I've got a few irons in the fire right now. I'd post more, but the baby is getting antsy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hmm...

So, it's winter and I tend to make casseroles more during this time of year. I think I want to do a few new ones. I've been looking around on the internet for ideas that'll let me use up some of my stash of beans. Here's what has caught my eye:

Zulandt's Lentil Casserole: I've got the lentils and all I ever use them for is soup. I'm thinking this could make something nice and hearty for a weeknight dinner. Beloved often gets rather harried at work and sometimes winds up missing lunch all together. I'm thinking this could make a good fix for the feeling of hunger that comes with that and possibly a nice reheated lunch for the next day.

Navy Bean and Artichoke Casserole: We both like artichokes and I've almost four cups of dried navy beans sitting on the shelf. I may need to make a few substitutions, but this looks interesting. If I make a loaf of bread with this or some rolls, it could make for a nice dinner. I'm thinking that it'll only need a few things picked up at the store and if I add a little crumbled bacon to this, Beloved will probably really enjoy it.

Green Split Pea and Vegetable Casserole: This looks like an interesting recipe and can make for something different to do with the four cups of dried split peas I've got on the shelf. I'd really like to do something more then just split pea soup. While we all enjoy it, I want to have something different to do with it. This looks like something that we can put a simple ham sandwich with it and make for a full meal. Beloved feels that each meal should include meat some how. The only time that he's willing to consider not having meat in a meal is if it's pasta, and even then I get funny looks when I don't have meat in the menu.

Taco Casserole
: I'll be making a Frankenstein monster out of this recipe, the one I've got in my Campbell's Casseroles and One Dish Meals cookbook, and the cookbook from my Great-Grandmother. I have almost four cups of chili in the freezer right now along with four cups of dried kidney beans on the shelf. Before I start making up more chili, I need to use up the stuff in the freezer. The cashew chili went over alright, except for the fact that Beloved felt it needed meat. I'm in the midst of developing the perfect chili recipe. I've already done the chili recipe that burns like the fires of Hell, so now I need to do something else that is just so wonderful that it's to die for.

I'll post up some stuff later about that recipe and a few other things of moderate interest. I think I'm going to be using this blog as a spot where I do my menu planning. Who knows, maybe the internet will find this useful or interesting.

Good Morning, World!

I'm pleased to report that the sweater fits. It's actually a little bit big on Snuggle-Bug. I'll be posting a picture up a little later. Aside from that, I believe that there is an excellent description for this fool Blagovich: drama whore.

I'm sitting here reading the news via Google when I find this quote, which happened to also be the headline:
I'm blacker than Obama.
I'm sitting here rather amazed by the fact that he had the nerve to say that. There is a fine line between courage and stupidity, I suspect that Blagovich has flirted with it many a time. Talk about political suicide and I think that his picture is going to be the first that pops up for poster child. We'll put aside the whole pissing on the President thing. I'm not a big fan of the President but you've got to at least respect the office, which clearly didn't happen here. That, however, doesn't seem to matter too much in the eyes of the populace at large.

Where do I begin? If Blagovich is truly from the impoverished background that he claims, you'd think that he'd show a little more compassion and a little more pride in the successes of others who came from it. It doesn't even really look like he's claiming to be a person who rose up from poverty when you think about it, but rather having lived in the midst of it and letting people jump to that conclusion. Why do I say that? Well, if you have ever used a laundromat, you know that it's incredibly expensive to go wash your clothes, even if it is one of the more inexpensive ones. Hubby and I drop roughly 80 dollars every two weeks to wash clothes. And that's not including the cost of gasoline to drive there, laundry soap, or various other minor details that would be included into it. That's just to put the clothes into the washing machines and dryers.

Consider the cost of water, power, and the other factors that go into the overhead of a laundromat versus the sheer volume of money spent there by a functionally captive customer base (like in the poorer sections of the inner city where the general practice is to use the laundromat because you can't afford your own washer and dryer) and it's easy to see that they make money fairly easily. He can't say he grew up a poor man when you've got income flowing fairly easily and in a dependable fashion, compared to the neighbors who are struggling to find work and are about to have their unemployment run out, but still need to pay YOU money to wash their clothes. I could go on, but I think it's pretty clear what the picture I'm painting here is.

Now, we've got this false image of 'hey, I grew up poorer then he did!' going on and Blagovich is trying to say that this equates to the experience of the black man in urban America. Hey, I'm a white country girl and even I know that the experience is going to be dramatically different. I've seen racisim in action and it's a disgusting thing. I've seen black people get treated like crap because they looked different then everyone else in the room and were believed to be inferior because of a laundry list of stereotypes that haven't changed since the days of Jim Crow.

It didn't matter that the black man in question had a degree from a prestigeous college, a good job, and in all respects was a pillar of the community. He still got proverbially spat on and treated like he was an ignorant, uncultured sub-human wretch who was some how incapeable of understanding subjects like economics or politics. Ironically enough, the black man in question had a political sciences degree and had minored in economics when he was at college, actually teaching classes at a local junior university. Because he wasn't dressed in a 3 peice business suit and carrying a briefcase, however, he was treated like he was one of the lowest of the low. Blagovich shouldn't go around and say that he was worse off or something else like that because he'll never have that strike against him by society at large.

We, as a society, tolerate quiet and sly racism. It's changed some, but it is still there. If anything, it has become more stealthy and subtle then it was before the Civil Rights movement. Now, I'm not saying that discrimination against people who are white doesn't happen. It does. It happens and is just as ugly as discrimination against people who are not white. Society, however, acts that discrimination against people who are not white is acceptable if it is not overt and too loudly voiced. A slur said quietly is just as hurtful as one screamed loudly, and just as much cause for shame.

I would contend that Blagovich's most recent nonsense laid bare his own racisim. Why do I say that? Because he had the nerve to say that his petty experiences are the same as a culturally approved set of biases against a person on the basis of their skin color. If you want to wave the flag that you came from poverty, that's one thing. You can play the game of 'my daddy is poorer then your daddy' all day. You bring race into it and it makes it very clear that you believe that racism is fine because you're acting as one yourself. You are calling attention to a difference in skin color and attempting to make it into a negative thing.

At one point, I just thought that Blagovich was the village idiot of Chicago and Illinois. Now, I'm certain of it. I don't think his daddy taught him that a wise man will be quiet and a fool will open his mouth and prove it. Must be it got lost in the lessons on hair styling or something, because I've got a feeling there's a lot of common sense that his parents taught him which he has just thrown out the window.

Aside from all that... I think I feel a little better for ranting about that. I'm still kinda ticked off but purging it helped some. Just expected it to be only a few short sentences and it turned into a full blown rant. Heh, some days work out like that, I guess. Now to drink up another cup of coffee and go thru the mail.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Still sick.

Fie on it, I'm still sick. I am doing much better then I was last week, however. Last week, I had the questionable joy of an emergency trip to the hospital to be diagnosed with pneumonia in my right lung. Oddly enough, my darling husband being laid off from work for a spell proved incredibly helpful because I was too sick to mind the children.

I'm doing much better, I can manage to stay awake for a significant portion of the day. When the boys go down for nap time in the afternoon tomorrow, I will be as well. With Monday morning, Beloved will be going back to work because they've got a new contract to work on. I'll be minding the boys and taking care of some rather boring stuff. I get to sort out about two weeks worth of mail and figure out what bills need paid. I hate dealing with the mail but it's a necessary evil, much like dishes.

It'd be really nice if the dishes, bills, and dirty laundry all took care of itself. Just went 'POOF!' and things were cleaned up, put away, and properly attended to with out anyone needing to lift a finger. Ah well, if wishes were fishes and such...

Stormcrow is out in Tulsa and working hard over there. It's really great to see him chasing his dreams and I'm happy for him. I really should give him a call sometime soon and visit a bit. He's doing really well in his classes and I knew he would be. He's got a new gal in his life and it seems to be working out well for him too. I'm glad, because I know that he is looking for the person who can be right there at his side for the long haul. Long distance relationships are a pain in the neck, but I'm sure that they'll do fine. A big part of success in a long distance relationship is just being stubborn enough to keep it going. And if I have learned anything about Stormcrow, it's that he is one hell of a stubborn guy.

Stargazer is off enjoying the sunshine on her cruise. She's doing well with grad school. I'm so very happy for her because it's been a dream of hers to go to grad school. She's working really hard and doing wonderful things. Having your GPA be made almost entirely of A's is just wonderful and I know that next semester she'll do fantastic as well.

Lady_Cinnibar is having a rough time of it. I'm worried about her but I have absolutely no idea what I can do to help. The job market down near DC is awful and she's been having a terrible time trying to find work. I really wish I could do *something* to help her out, but there's absolutely nothing I can think of. I really should call her again soon as well. I've been letting life run away with me far too much and neglecting my friends.

I haven't spoken to my parents since my last post here. I've been thinking alot about them. It's hard because I want to call them and I want to visit with them. I know, however, that I can't do that because Mom is not a good person for me to talk to. Heck, the woman would blame me for getting sick and tell me that I did something wrong. From what the doctor has said, the main reason why I got as sick as I did was because I have asthma and sometimes it just makes you get really sick when you get a cold.

Beloved was very pointed in telling me to stop kicking myself for getting sick. It's hard to break that habit, but I am doing my best to do so. It was really disturbing when I realized that as I was resting last week, it was the first time I had not felt guilty or pressured to heal up faster then I was. I did too much thinking about the past when I wasn't knitting last week. Perhaps I should have focused more on knitting the sweater...

Either way, I've got tomorrow ahead of me so I should log off the computer now and head to bed. It's going to be a long day. I will get to see if the sweater I knitted and sewed together fits Snuggle-Bug. I'll try to snap a picture of it and slap it up here for the world to see. I made it with some lovely yarn that my Mother-in-Law made and gave as a gift for when Snuggle-Bug was born. I tried to crochet a sweater but it just wasn't working.

Ok, I'm procrastinating on going to bed. I need to brave the nightmares and just get off the computer now. I'll ramble more tomorrow.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I'm sick.

I haven't posted in a little bit because I am extremely ill. I should be bed ridden right now but I feel so nauseated that I can't rest. I also can't manage to take a deep breath with out a bad coughing spell. The doctor diagnosed me with bronchitis on Wednesday. We weren't sure if it was viral of bacterial, so a preventive prescription of antibiotics was given in case I didn't start to improve by Monday or if I got worse. As I'm going to be taking the first dose of the medicine a little later with a hot cup of tea, you can guess what's going on.

I really hate this because I am staying in my 'yellow' zone, even with taking my albuterol. Coughing spasms set off wheezing, which prompts my taking the albuterol. I feel positively awful. I don't know what we're going to do.