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Saturday, August 02, 2003

Word for the Day: Brabble 

Brabble, according to OneLook Dictionary Search:
Quick definitions (brabble)
verb: argue over petty things
name: A surname (very rare: popularity rank in the U.S.: #34174)
I like the very rare business on the surname. I tried a Yahoo People Search on the surname 'Brabble' in TX, CA and NY (3 most populous states in the US) and found nada. A google search did reveal a Brabble Insulation Incorporated in NC and VA though. I'm almost positive their name is based on a surname. If not, I would hypothesize that they manufacture earplugs.

Care Packages for the Texas 11 

If you aren't in Texas, perhaps you are not aware that 11 state senators from the Democratic Party have fled the state to New Mexico to avoid voting on a redistricting bill. Hats off to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of New Mexico for bringing the visiting senators a care package to welcome them to their state. Here is what is in each care package according to the Albuquerque Tribune Online:
Their new state chairman, Vic Segura, was at the Marriott on Friday with "care packages" for each of the Texas 11.

On each bag was a photo of one of the 11, with the phrase, "Wasting New Mexico Tax Dollars" below.

Inside the bag, Segura had packed a diaper ('Since they are acting commensurate with diaper age,' Segura said), a schedule of Southwest Airlines flights from Albuquerque to Austin, and a change-of-address form, in case the 11 Democrats choose to stay awhile.

What is really ironic is that when told about the Care Packages, a Democratic legislative staffer tried to guess what was in them...and his guess was 'diapers'. He then goes on to say that he would have done the same thing if he was on the other side. So if the other party did the same thing, it would be considered infantile. What does that say about their own behavior?

Friday, August 01, 2003

Female Wrestlers 

Last night was wrestling night at the Fool household. Of course, it is never fair here. It is always the three kids vs. the King. Despite that, I still always win. (I think the boys could probably beat me corporately if they had the right strategy, but praise God they don't know that...yet.) The boys (11 and 9) attack timidly until my attention is focused on the other. Then whoever is being ignored, attacks with his own style.

My oldest attacks by grabbing a limb and pulling. He is getting more adept at finding a supporting limb and is usually successful in distracting me from my current victim and allowing them to break free. Of course, freeing his brother means that he becomes the prey.

My younger son uses the Limpet approach. He rushes in full blast and wraps his arms and legs around my torso. He usually drives his chin into my shoulder which is bothersome, and then hangs on for dear life. It doesn't immediately free who I'm currently harassing, but eventually I do get around to removing this tumor from my back.

The star of the match, however, was neither of these.

I have a manuever called the 'clam' where I get my legs around the midsection of one of my boys. Once their arms and legs are clear and my ankles are locked, the act of straightening my legs compresses all the air out of the lungs of my prey. This is known as 'being clammed.' Once the word 'clam' has been audibly spoken, the intensity of the wrestling always intensifies. (And for the record, it is not I who usually brings up the subject.)

At one point in the match, I was lying across a large pillow but I had corralled both of my opponents. My legs were locked around the waist of my older son, while the younger was entangled within my arms. With them both pinned down, I was truly enjoying the moment. I could tickle one by moving my fingers and make the other one yell by straightening my legs. All this fun and yet at the same time I could rest and catch my breath for when I finally let them go.

Then my princess (4 years old) went on the attack. She had been in the fray and then out again, but she was back. She pulled herself up on top of my back using my shorts as a hand hold and giving me a severe wedgie in the process. Then, once she had established herself, she proceeded to whack my behind with her small hand, over and over again. Observing her subjects below, the Queen (may she live forever) nearly fell off the sofa. I myself, struck by the humor of the situation and the need to rearrange the location of my shorts, lost my grip on both boys in my mirth.

My princess is as girly as they come with her dolls and hair ribbons and moodiness. But once in a while she likes to mix it up with the boys. Yesterday, I linked to an article which talked about gender equity and that it is a mistake to try and ignore the differences between boys and girls. I agree - I can handle two growing boys, but found myself completely bested by one little girl.

Absent Legislators 

Two disturbing trends are becoming more and more evident in politics today. Here is the first few paragraphs from an article in the Austin Statesman regarding Legislative Exodus - Part II here in Texas: Senators near, far map their strategies:
With the political rhetoric already getting stale, the battle between the quorum-busting Democrats and the redistricting Republicans has settled into an across-the-border game of strategy that will ultimately be decided by the clock, the courts and the stamina of the players.

On one side, the 11 Senate Democrats holed up in New Mexico say they'll stay away from the Capitol until Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst changes the Senate rules or Gov. Rick Perry drops congressional redistricting from the Legislature's agenda.

Their salvation could lie in a lawsuit to be filed as early as today challenging the Senate's power to arrest members and force them back to the Capitol. If it goes their way, the Democrats could come home without having to show up for work.

But on this side of the border, Republicans are prepared to wait out the Democrats and even tweak state law to buy some more time for themselves. And they've made it clear that the rules will stay the same and that redistricting will stay on the table — indefinitely, if needed.

"You leave off redistricting and then there's something else they don't like and they leave on that. That's like negotiating for hostages," Perry said Thursday. "There were hundreds of thousands, millions of people who went to work this morning, and they expect their legislators to be at work also."

First and foremost, running away to avoid a quorum cannot be rewarded. I've spent many hours watching the house and the senate on CSPAN waiting for action on a bill of interest. It is truly a wonder that anything gets accomplished with all the amendments, speeches, committees and recesses. I realize and accept that this is the way that our government functions, but to intentionally shut the legislature down because you can't have your way is very unsporting. I truly hope that it fails here because I would hate to see an epidemic of legislatures held hostage across this great nation and even at the Federal level. (I won't even go into the fact that the fleeing Democrats are trying to deny the first Republican (i.e. Non-Democratic Party) led redistricting in the state of Texas in over 100 years.)

The second issue is even more disturbing: The use of lawsuits to overturn or manipulate legislation. In the article above, both sides are in the process of filing lawsuits to help things go their way. The constitution defines specific rolls for each branch of government. I truly fear we will see lawsuits and the Judicial Branch wielded as a weapon of legislation again and again in the future.

By the way - if you are not from Texas, I would be very curious to know what opinion is outside of this state on this issue. Please drop me a comment or an email.

Beautiful Irony 

James Lileks has a great article in the StarTribune: As fascists, these guys are doing a lousy job. I truly admire his writing abilities. His columns are excellent, but if you want to really appreciate his craft then check out his blog: The Bleat. He mostly just muses about life, but his talent is such that he transforms a description about something as banal as a trip to Target into compelling reading.

Interesting James Woods Interview 

There is a very interesting James Woods interview in Salon.com. Well worth the read (if you can handle a few expletives). Here is an excerpt for you:
Of course that didn't happen, but it was kind of a good one to let loose. Actually, I guess I did contribute to the fact that people think I had a wild and woolly love life.

Is it fun to start those rumors?

Yeah, it's fun, because the press is like a big bass, you just stick a hook in their mouth and they'll take it. You know, I have to say that, with all due respect, the press is pretty gullible, especially the gossip press. They love to write about anything. You just go along and feed them crap and they eat it.

He goes on to talk about politics and makes some very interesting points. Throughout the entire interview you can tell he is sure he is going to get skewered in the article, but kudos to Amy Reiter who just published exactly what was said.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Telling Time 

Time is a non-renewable resource. If I spend my money unwisely, it hurts me but I can make that money back eventually. If I don’t keep my skill up in any of my talents, they will decline with disuse. However, with a little effort and discipline, I can get them back into shape. But if I waste time, I can never have it back. Every 10 minutes spent is 10 minutes less that I have left to live. This is bad (if you are wasting time) but it also has some benefits. We all have the same resources as far as time goes – everyone gets 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds. Think about it...
Bill Gates' watch says Rolex and mine says Timex, but they both run at the same speed!
Just something to think about as you waste your time reading this blog. (I honestly hope it’s not a waste of time!)

Boys will be Boys! 

There is a fascinating article in The American Enterprise by Christina Hoff Sommers. The article (Men – It’s Their Nature) talks about the difference between boys and girls and the ways that society has tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to eliminate those differences. In addition to a few extremely funny examples of gender equity gone awry (at least to me with my male sense of humor), there are some really insightful quotes:
In the face of what we know, it is altogether unreasonable to deny the biological basis for distinctive male and female preferences and abilities. Does this mean biology is destiny? As anthropologist Lionel Tiger (who is part of the male symposium beginning on page 24) says, “Biology is not destiny, but it is good statistical probability.” There is still room for equity. A fair and just society offers equality of opportunity to all. But it cannot promise, and should not try to enforce, sameness. The natural differences between men and women suggest there will never be mathematical parity in all fields; far more men than women will choose to be mechanics, engineers, or soldiers. Early childhood education, family medicine, and social work will continue to be dominated by women. Boys will prefer bonfires to diaries and any teacher who requires them to contribute squares to a quilt should brace herself for insensitive images of monsters, dangerous animals, and weaponry. The male tendency to be competitive, risk-loving, more narrowly focused, and less concerned with feelings has consequences in the real world. It could explain why there are more males at the extremes of success and failure: more male CEOs, more males in maximum security prisons.

Efforts to civilize boys with honor codes, character education, manners, and rules of good sportsmanship are necessary and effective, and fully consistent with their masculine natures. Efforts to feminize them with dolls, quilts, non-competitive games, girl-centered books, and feelings exercises will fail; though they will succeed in making millions of boys quite unhappy. Dissident feminist Camille Paglia is one of the few scholars who values maleness: “Masculinity is aggressive, unstable, combustible. It is also the most creative cultural force in history. When I cross…any of America’s great bridges, I think—men have done this. Construction is a sublime male poetry.”
I agree 100% with her assessment and conclusions. They line up with a few other books I’ve read on the subject: Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson and Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.

It is hard enough to be a man without society sending you the message that you shouldn’t.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Who Killed Jesus? 

It amazes me that the attacks continue against Mel Gibson's current project: The Passion. Maybe I'm just ignorant, but I was under the impression that in order to review a movie, it is usually viewed first. Free Republic alerted me to an interesting article in Jewsweek named Gibson's gaffe by Lewis Regenstein. Here are the first two paragraphs:
"The flood of recent articles and publicity on Mel Gibson's forthcoming movie on Jesus' crucifixion have failed to mention the most important point about this controversy: if the movie does tell the truth about the cruelty and brutality of Jesus' crucifixion, it will make it clear that it was the Romans, not the Jews, who are the real 'Christ killers'.

According to the Christian Bible ( the 'New Testament', especially the Gospel of Mark), Jesus, his family, and virtually all of his followers and disciples at the time were Jews. Jesus preached almost exclusively to the Jews ('the multitudes'), who dined and walked with him. It was his popularity with the Jewish people that caused Jesus to be killed by the ruling Roman authorities; and it was Jews who took Jesus off the cross, prepared him for 'burial,' mourned him, and then got the blame for the crime."

I'm no scholar but as a perpetual student of the 'Christian Bible' I find this to be intellectually dishonest. I believe the author is leaving out some key facts in making his point. Here is what Luke 23:13-18 says:
13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him." 17 Now he was obliged to release one man to them at the Feast. 18 With one voice they cried out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!"
It is spelled out even further in John 18:31-32 where Pilate says "Take him among yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jewish leaders respond with "But we have no right to execute anyone." If you look at all the facts, you come up with the following: Jesus was a Jew. His disciples were Jews. Most of the Jewish leaders were against Him and directly responsible for his death. The Romans were the instrument who actually carried out the execution.

The amazing thing is that any Christian who knows his theology understands that it is himself or herself who really killed Christ (or at least caused Him to allow Himself to be slain). So if you really want someone to blame...you can blame me.

Eggs, Eggs, Everywhere 

My 11 year old son is learning to cook. Today he made a burnt omlette. I honestly thought someone was making fish because that was the smell which made its way back into my office. I can handle the smell of fish, even as strong as this was. Only a few smells can I not handle (like hard boiled eggs); smells which require use of my olfactory defense mechanism - breathing through my mouth until either the odor dissipates or I arrive at a fresh location.

However, the fishy omlette was too much for my 4 year old daughter. She cried and refused to eat lunch in the kitchen. She protested so much that the Queen (May she live forever) relocated her into my office. She eats beside me while I work, and while it seems this would be a most pleasant arrangement, there is a catch. In her quest to avoid a distasteful smell in the kitchen, she has brought her lunch into close proximity to me.

I honestly hope she is enjoying those hard boiled eggs, but I'm sure getting tired of breathing through my mouth.