Views from the Outside
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A place to ramble, cavort and endlessly ridicule.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Beneath These Sculpted Lawns: An Apologetica Infernum

I may sleep beneath these sculpted lawns and listen to you beat your wife
I may curse the coming dawn and smile when you twist the knife
But I didn’t build the houses here or cause the wound that makes you bleed.
I have a sympathetic ear and give you what you claim to need.
And if it’s bleak and grey and cold I apologize… but do what I’m told.
You want the fence around your yard that makes you owner of the tree.
You ignore the twisting roots beneath. I know its easier not to see.

Keep your virgin sacrifice, I feed on deeper, darker things
Keep your safe and quiet life. You see the sky but don’t want wings.

There’s nothing broken, nothing old. The rust is scrubbed with extra care.
An extra can and dab of paint can distort the eye and hide what’s there.
Deride conformity if you must but it contains the things you want
The blending of the grime and taint. A sense of safety sold and bought.

But, if you peel or peer too deep, its not my fault the things you’ll find
They COULD make a mother weep. They COULD turn a wise man blind.
But then there’s risk in every thing. It all depends on what’s to gain.
I can’t hide the battered child but I can take away the pain.

Go back inside and close the door. Turn up your music very loud
Luck is fickle and unkind. The silver lining has a cloud.
Every candle casts a shadow, you praise the warmth and like the heat.
You lament the fate and fear for cattle but like the burger, eat the meat.

But what of those that live in shadow? Shadows made by light you seek?

I am not the kind to point a finger. I have no wish to assign the blame
Fly around and poke in corners. Give each evil thing a name.
But don’t forget to look inside dear. Every candle has a flame.
And should it touch a watching child? Would your flame not burn as well?

I don’t believe in Heaven, shaman, but I certainly believe in Hell.

posted by Michael 6:54 PM . . .
. . .

posted by Michael 4:30 PM . . .
. . .
Is God Dead?
Raving man claims "I am God! I am God!" Police prove him wrong by shooting him dead which neatly settles that theological arguement. Nietzche would be proud. Read the
story here.

posted by Michael 10:04 AM . . .
. . .
Are Dragons Alive Today?
Myth or plot by atheistic scientists to deny the power of God?
This site claims that dragons did exist (and do exist today) which should make countless new agers with 'dragon totems' happy. Apparently 'dragon' is another name for 'dinosaur'... so whenever the bible talks about dragons you should think of a Tyrannosaurus Rex running amok and eating the people of Abraham. After seeing Reign of Fire I know that the dragons are actually in hibernation beneath London so I know this site is bogus. They don't once mention the two glands in the mouth that when mixed create a natural form of napalm. How can you trust such shoddy research?

But seriously... the existence of dragons/dinosaurs alive today is not a challenge to evolution and here is why. Scientists believe that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteor strike or some similar global catastrophe and not that they evolved into other creatures and disappeared. The problem is not a conspiracy covering up any proof against Evolution, it is the faulty understanding of the process of Evolution by Creationists that lies at the heart.

Why haven't these 'dinosaurs' evolved? Well... it's the same reason that the seas aren't teeming with coelacanth. Evolution depends on a large enough population for genetic drift. Take any catastrophe from plague to mud slide and there is always a small percentage of the population that will survive it. A small percentage will have a natural immunity to the plague... and this small group will struggle to rebuild civilization until it encounters the Anti-christ living out in Las Vegas and *cough* *clears throat* sorry... I was channeling Stephen King's 'The Stand' there for a moment...

But my point is this... it makes sense that some dinosaurs survived the catastrophe but not hoardes and hoardes of them which is why it is a huge deal when someone finds a coelacanth alive today.

But go ahead and publish all the hoax pictures you can find and claim them to be true. Just chalk me up as another one of the "super naive and gullible" being 'led around by the nose". I have been taken in by evil Hollywood and bought into the agenda of the popular press. I don't quite get the connection between dragons and the Kennedy assassinations and Rome burning and all that but I'm sure there is one and I'm just one of the "dumb doggies".

posted by Michael 9:55 AM . . .
. . .
Slam Dunking for Jesus

The Pope has received countless awards and acclamations but none so prestigious as being named an honorary Globetrotter. That's right... should the Holy Father decide to retire from the Vatican he could take up a new career with Curley Johnson and Lou Dunbar on the courts. Who would dare block out the former pontiff "Gee... I've never seen lightning strike indoors before!"

So the question remains... will the signed basketball make its way into the Vatican archives with all of the other 'never to be seen again' secrets and treasures. Will it be placed on a table next to art taken from the Nazi's that should really go back to their Jewish owners and the diary of Jesus or will it turn up on Ebay in a few months being sold by 'Johnny2'.

It may be old news... but you can
read the story here.

posted by Michael 8:46 AM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Someone needs to talk to their PR Department

Who knew that there was a "Lard Information Council"? I imagine it would be an awful lot like being the price checker at a dollar store. "Yes, it's fat."

posted by Michael 10:35 PM . . .
. . .
When Monks Go Bad
As if there wasn't enough war going on in Jerusalem.The latest round of violence in the city has nothing to do with the Palestinian penchance for blowing themselves up in public places and everything to do with a chair. Left out Christian monks said "Hey! Look at us!" and sent notice yesterday that they can be violent too. 11 monks were taken to hospital after clerics from rival sects that jealously share the courtyard on the roof of the Jerusalem shrine marking the spot believed to be the site of the crucifixion threw rocks, metal rods and chairs at each other all over the placement of a chair. It seems that a monk from the Egyptian Coptic sect moved his chair out of the sun and into some shade. All well and good if the shade had not been in the area claimed by the Ethiopians who took the move as a declaration of war.

Apparently the Ethiopians and Egyptian Copts have been warring for centuries over the right for access to the roof of the shrine and the courtyard there. You can read the
full story and all its gory details here.

posted by Michael 9:13 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, July 29, 2002
Joyce on the Rocks

There is a class of people who insist that the world is a creation of their mind and that there is no objective reality save for an illusion that the individual fools themselves into believing is true. James Joyce said of these people “no man is a solipsist while scraping dog shit from the bottom of their shoe” by which he meant that life has a way of asserting its own reality regardless of our beliefs. Or more succinctly: those people are idiots.

Sisyphus came to love his rock. The endless twilight of the Otherside. Sunrise or sunset, the in-between time. Perpetually still. Perpetually in change.

Each press of his fingers into stone was a caress. He would struggle. Muscles aching. Retracing well-worn path up the hillside. He would curse the rock. Cajole and scream obscenities at it. Urging it to move faster.

And when it crested the rise he would chase after it like a jilted lover. “Come back! Come back!”
He would forget the blisters on his feet or the calluses on his hands. He would forget the harsh words of moments ago.

And in that moment -that scarce second when the rock was balanced precariously and all the world held its breath- in that moment he felt love. Deep and pure and abiding.

Tell Sisyphus that his rock is just a creation. The by-product of some Grecian morality tale. Tell Tantalus that his hunger is a figment and that he should rise up and eat and drink as he willed. Say that and you must say that love likewise does not exist. And that we all but chase phantoms.

‘Come back. Come back”

The words echo in every twilight. In every sunset. In every lover who has tasted their own tears.

Come back.

And will you run? Or will you stand and shrug.

Argue some: there are worse things then the smell of dog shit.

posted by Michael 11:58 PM . . .
. . .
It's Official... She's a Toddler
Rachel took her first few tentative steps today. Twice venturing from the safety of the edge of the couch to brave the unknown expanse of open floor. This morning she took two steps toward her mom walking into her open arms for a hug. Later she did the same for me minus the hug managing a step and a half and then pulling up short and standing there on her own for almost twenty seconds before losing her balance and sitting down. She had that bright smile that said she knew she had done something amazing. It was so wonderful that I shared the news with a telemarketer trying to give us a Platinum Discover card and my joy was so infectious that the man began telling me stories of his son. I still didn't take the card but it was probably my favourite unsolicited sales call to date.

Picture forthcoming when we manage to catch her in the act.

posted by Michael 6:00 PM . . .
. . .
Sunday, July 28, 2002
Hmmm... whatever happened to...
Whatever happened to all of that talk by Bush and the Republicans about privatizing social security and getting our money out of the hands of a stodgy and corrupt government and into the hands of kind and benevolent big business and its forward thinking CEO's? I know I'd feel a whole lot safer knowing that my money was being looked after by them. I wonder why we don't hear anything about that anymore. Maybe they're just saving it for the election. Yeah... that must be it.

posted by Michael 3:43 PM . . .
. . .
Mexico Misplaces Iridium: Don't Worry It's Only Radioactive
Mexico admitted today that they had lost a small pellet of Iridium-192 but they weren't certain whether it had been stolen or just fallen off the truck. Nice to see that they have the same high standards of security that we have in the States. One imagines the roadway to the eventual Nevada dumping ground littered with leaking drums and small glowing rocks. Kids collecting them and using them as marbles. "Look Billy! I lost another tooth." "Geez Suzie... your hair is coming back in nice."

You can
read the story here.

posted by Michael 7:26 AM . . .
. . .
Mubarac and Chirac Talk Economy. France Surrenders.

"Oh... yes... well... I'm sorry. I thought that you were carrying a gun. Not a microphone."

posted by Michael 7:10 AM . . .
. . .
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Hit Me Baby One More Time
My wife thinks that there are two Britney Spears... which is a pretty scary thought all on its own. She came up with the theory after watching "
The Mystery of Britney Spears' Breasts" Britney One has smaller breasts but has all the talent (such as it is). She does the recording in the studio. She appears in movies. Britney Two has larger breasts and does all of the promotional stuff these days and does the videos and talkshow circuit.

Go watch the movie and judge for yourself. I watched it three times... errr... for the hard hitting journalism. *blush*

posted by Michael 7:18 PM . . .
. . .
Couple Burn Baby in Fireplace
This story is my proof that the Devil doesn't exist. What's left for him to do? If he did exist I bet he sits around a lot and mutters "wish I'd thought of that" to himself. Stuff like this almost convinces me that there is an apocalyptic end of the world but somehow we all missed it. It happened last tuesday at eight.

Only one virgin showed up. He wailed and gnashed his teeth for awhile and then felt kind of silly and went home.

You can
read the story here.

posted by Michael 9:53 AM . . .
. . .
Friday, July 26, 2002
New Link Added
I've been amusing myself hunting around the net by randomly filling in the with words or phrases to see where I ended up. On one dizzying chain of links I stumbled across
You Live Your Life As If Its Real. This is a dangerous site. It makes me want to write poetry. It makes me think. Go check it out.

posted by Michael 11:34 PM . . .
. . .
In My World...
People have been saying for years that I don’t live in the same universe as the rest of humanity. I have decided to come clean and admit that this is true and here are some of the salient split off points. In my world…

1. John Lennon is still alive just in seclusion. Yoko Ono on the other hand took three to the chest.

2. Senegal won the World Cup in a stunning penalty shoot out against South Korea.

3. If you are in an airplane traveling south and are walking down the aisle northward and stop and jump up in the air the back of the airplane will race forward and smack you in the face.

4. Midget tossing is an Olympic event dominated by the Turks.

5. Magic is real.

6. The world is secretly run by a small cabal of Canadian entertainers.

7. Access to the internet is recognized as a necessity by the government mandating free broadband to all.

8. Liberal is not a dirty word or insult.

9. Questioning the government is not seen as unpatriotic but necessary in a free society.

10. God has a sense of humour.

11. ‘Philosopher’ is a respected but more importantly paid position.

12. Babies would understand and obey when you told them no.

posted by Michael 2:49 PM . . .
. . .
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Proud to Be a Member!

That's right! I'm out there every day with my aerosol can doing my part to lengthen the Canadian growing season and turn Toronto into a tropical paradise. (Graphic liberally stolen from
Brad Templeton's home page)

posted by Michael 3:48 PM . . .
. . .
Baby Update

Rachel bullied a young couple at a restaurant into paying attention to her. At first she just twisted in her high chair and pointed. Pointing is something new and its kind of funny to see what she finds most interesting. Like most new skills it is sporadically applied. Although she's been able to wave for about a month now it is still fairly random when and at what she'll choose to wave. I've caught her waving at strangers, at the cats, at the ceiling fan. Other times it doesn't matter. You could wave at her till your arm fell off and she'd just sit there and stare at you with this bemused sort of expression.

The man at the restaurant looked up briefly and then went back to his conversation with his partner waiting for their food. Rachel took offense. Didn't he see her pointing? She let out this Rodan-esque sqwak that made the man look up. She smiled and laughed and he started waving at her and grinning. Mission accomplished. For the next fifteen minutes until their food arrived and we insisted that she leave the fellow alone she babbled at him and waved. But I would catch him glancing over on occasion during their meal and talking to his girlfriend (?) who would occasionally peer around the edge of the booth herself to catch her own view.

Rachel is walking after a fashion. Not full blown out and out walking. She hasn't ventured any steps on her own but she has walked between CJ and I lurching into our open arms. And she will latch onto your pantleg (or your leg hair if you happen to be wearing shorts --ouch) and pull herself to a standing position walking along with you using you like an unwilling walking stick.

She loves to play hide and seek. And no means keep doing it until I'm pulled away kicking.

She loves balls. The smaller ones she'll flip up into the air and chase after. The larger ones she'll bang on and roll. She understands the idea of rolling the ball back and forth between us. I've caught her trying to balance one ball on top of the other which makes me think that she may be ready for blocks some day soon.

She's still fighting sleep like it was death. And someday soon I'll relay the stress surrounding her upcoming first birthday party. *soft groan* Till then... Rachel seems alive and well. healthy and happy (unless I'm keeping her from pulling lamps down on herself or tearing up books).

posted by Michael 1:31 PM . . .
. . .
A Single Dissenting Vote
The house voted last night almost unanimously to expel Ohio representative James Traficant from among their number. The vote 420-1. The one vote against was cast by Gary Condit who was desperately trying to get his name linked to some other controversy so people would stop asking him about Chandra Levy.

Condit was the victim of a prank pulled against him by the other Democrats. "Hey Gary. We're all voting no." said Rep Zoe Lofgren just before the vote was called. Condit realized it was a joke too late and asked if he could take back his response but the Speaker had already called '"no takebacks!"

posted by Michael 10:10 AM . . .
. . .
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Leftofcenter May Go Bye-Bye
Well... my internet access is powered by Adelphia which means if I disappear for a prolonged period of time you can blame them filing for bankrupcy. But I'll probably be back before Riga and his sons. The former owner was hauled away in handcuffs in Pennsylvania earlier today to face charges of misappropriation and defrauding investors. Later they were released on 10million dollars bail (each) with their travel documents being ceased and held by the court. They are apparently facing 12 to 20 years of jail time (according to CNN). Two other high ranking Adelphia officers were also arrested at the same time.

None of which makes my cable connection any more secure. Bastards.

posted by Michael 5:10 PM . . .
. . .
Continuing My Recent God Theme
Parachutest smacked out of air by God Himself!

posted by Michael 4:45 PM . . .
. . .

posted by Michael 4:35 PM . . .
. . .
On Declaring War
Orson Scott Card has an interesting essay on why we should be declaring war against Iraq and the terrorists. You can
find the essay here.

Now I thought that the President was limited to 30 or 60 or maybe even 90 days of military activity (excuse my Canadian ignorance)before the Constitution mandated that Congress declare war and vote to continue the military action. Clearly Congress has not declared war not legitimately though it has done it perhaps by tacit agreement by the fact that everyone is calling it a war and they passed the ill-conceived Patriot Act to limit our freedoms (and not just while the war is going on either... there's no statute of limitations on the act which means long after we have pulled out of Afghanistan the government will still be holding people without benefit of council, exercising searches without warrants and snooping (potentially) in on your phone conversations and reading your email).

So is this a war or isn't it?

posted by Michael 1:09 PM . . .
. . .
How do I explain it? People are Idiots
The success of the Lahaye/Jenkins literary monstrosity known as the 'Left Behind' series is endemic of a problem among North American readers. By and large the majority of readers are idiots. Readers want pablum. They need to be spoonfed. If Oprah doesn't give it a big thumbs up, they're not really interested and they couldn't spell Siddhartha to save their lives let alone Hermann Hesse.

Sound harsh? Perhaps but my opinion is born out of having worked in a large retail chain bookstore for almost two years.

Them: I'm looking for a book called Animal Farm.
Me: Ahh... George Orwell
Them: Uhhhh...
Me: *trying to be helpful* 1984?
Them: Oh no it was written much earlier than that.

And to top it all off they didn't want the actual book. They only wanted the cliff notes.The cliff notes for Animal Farm. The book is what, ten pages long? The cliff notes are longer than the actual novel.

You can
go here and read the story about the success of the Left Behind series and speculation on why it is so popular but trust me it's because people are in a broad and generalized way idiots.

posted by Michael 9:38 AM . . .
. . .

posted by Michael 8:57 AM . . .
. . .
More of that God Stuff

Well it seems that I may have managed to sneak in under the wire in the whole God debate.
Andy over at commented that he did not see the point of assigning 'infinite' as a characteristic of God.

I still hold that claiming God is infinite adds nothing to the definition of God, making it a non-starter.

The reason that it is important to start from infinity is to recognize the inclusive nature of the concepts that make up our Godforms. God is an infinite sheet of cookie dough and throughout time and history various cultures have come along with cookie cutters shaped by what the society needed at that particular moment limited by what the society was willing to accept and -KACHUNK-ed out a form of God. They picked up the dough and waved it around and said "this is god" which of course it may very well have been... just not the whole of God. It was God cooked into a nice light brown palatable shape seasoned by all the prejudices and hopes of the cookie cutting group.

We can talk about Truths and proofs within the context of a belief system. Whether a particular verse in the Bible is calling for us to kill adulterers or whether the various creation stories constitute a contradiction or not. But it is a mistake to assume that the internal consistency within a belief system maps in any way onto the whole of an infinite God. I reference back my own essay on Theodicy written some time ago, for what I have called 'the fallacy of the whole'

We are fallible creatures and if God did indeed create us in its image we have more than returned the favour.

Andy says further: I can't see the value in belief solely for the sake of belief when it can lead to such different ends - I'd rather keep pursuing the "truth" instead of declaring I have the Truth.

First, I'd like to make it clear that I have not in any way laid claim to the 'Truth' of God. In fact, the whole point of this has been to say that Truth when it comes to such meta-concepts as God is practically meaningless. Whose truth? Us the individual or us the society? Or God's truth? The "value of belief" is unfortunately a non-quantifiable event meaning that it is personal and it can only be measured by what is added to a person's life through the belief by themselves.

Now we can certainly make judgements on how that 'value of faith' affects our life. If some zealot blows himself up in the name of Allah, I think that is more a measure of hatred then the impact of faith. It probably doesn't make a difference to the poor innocents who are being impacted by the shrapnel. Faith may be personal but we do live in the same world and I reserve the right to judge and say "that asshole certainly got it wrong."

When someone says "God hates Homosexuals" what they are really saying is "I hate homosexuals" and God is my handy excuse to make that hatred alright.

posted by Michael 1:46 AM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
I swore I wasn't going to subject any of you happening by to any of my poetry but apparently I lied...

A Digital Prometheus

I don’t like the idea of transubstantiation. Drinking my saviour.
Should I wet my lips? Take a gulp?

I don’t like the letter ‘t’. They remind me of crosses.

No, I don’t want to touch your wounds. It’s not a matter of disbelief
But unease. They weep and ooze.

Technology is my enemy. Photographs steal my soul.
Blinking lights, On-off off-on. Ones and zeroes.
A binary decision.

Bits and pieces in byte sized mouthfuls
Communion wafer chips and Mother boards.

Upgrade. Download. The second coming version 1.0 in a zipped .avi file.

Surf the web and catch a tidal .wav by accident
Stolen fire. A few moments in the monitor’s glow.
Gates fiddled while Nero burned rom.
Networked fishermen pulling their catches from
Server secured LAN-scapes.

When God closes a door, he opens a Windows.

Darwin meets chaos theory best two out of three
Either way, the chimps win.

Pierce my side and I bleed technicolour.

Crash. I pray the surge bar functions properly
Our Father who art in Turing…
Hail Mary full of space…
I believe in one Microsoft…

This is my OS given for you

Forever and ever.

posted by Michael 4:11 PM . . .
. . .
On God
Stumbled on this debate over at
Poet and Peasant Seems that I'm coming in at the end and the chances of any of the participants coming here seems pretty slim... but what the heck.

The problem with claiming that God is one thing or God is another lies in the finite trying to define the infinite. By logical reason it cannot be done. Whatever ‘God’ is it is a certainty that we’ve got it wrong.

Whether God exists or not is really secondary to how our belief in the existence of God affects our lives. If our belief has no effect beyond a few hours spent in Church or a handful of presents exchanged because it’s a holiday then God might as well not exist.
Time spent in church might be better spent volunteering for some charity or if you are of a more selfish bent engaging in something more self-fulfilling. The spending around the holidays is as much a product of commercialism and greed as it is about thanksgiving and celebration.

God is either transformative or dead.

Those seeking to claim God’s wisdom point to holy texts as inspirational writings. Thump a bible on a podium and claim that it contains all there is to know of God but the critical believer needs more than anecdotal stories, symbolic morality tales and dubious claimed history.

All of the great proofs for the existence of God have happened in the past. No great pillars of fire. No parted seas or voices out of burning shrubbery. If an omnipotent God truly needed us to know the nature of its existence, it would provide that proof such that it could not be denied. Therefore the need is all ours.

That proof is not forthcoming. That is why God is a matter of faith and not of fact. A matter for personal subjectivity and not objective reality. Subjectively true. Objectively dubious.

If the proof of God’s existence is not some great outward sign that cannot be denied but a personal feeling that transforms and makes “the evidence seem to manifest everywhere” (as per Eric Olsen) then that proof is a manufactured proof born out of the transformation rather than a proof that existed prior. That is: we begin to see God everywhere outwardly in order to validate the change that has occurred within.

For it seems to me that those who claim to know God best have a remarkable history of demanding that everyone else subscribe to the same views and punishing those that do not. God may indeed be love but you people *waving at whomever our morality despises* are excluded. God said so.

And there is a conceit at work among the rabidly faithful. That if we would only open our hearts we would see the truth. This assumes that we have not opened our hearts already and honestly explored the possibility. To the Mormons that have insisted that I pray and pray diligently to know whether the Book of Mormon was true, I’m afraid the answer has been a resounding no.

But you can keep on believing if it adds something to your life. Because that is what is important. And I have to believe that if there is an objective God that is what it really wants anyway.

posted by Michael 3:22 PM . . .
. . .
Reincarnated Sinners Flock to USA
They've been spotted in seven States. They are voracious eaters. And they are ugly as sin. Literally. The people of northern Thailand and Myanmar (formerly Burma) believe that the snakehead fish is a reincarnated sinner. Hearing this Pat Robertson decryed the presence of the fish as just one more sign of the country's deteriorating family values and permissive lifestyle "Even devil fish are attracted to us" Others blame idiots who import them and then release them. A man in Maryland bought several for a soup recipe (they apparently taste delicious) but decided against making the soup and instead dumped them into a nearby pond.

These fish can walk after a fashion on little nubbin fins that double as legs. They slither, flop and lurch from water source to water source and can survive on land for up to three days. Adults eat fish, frogs, aquatic birds and small mammals, while juvenile snakehead fish prey on earthworms, water bugs, tadpoles, dragonfly larvae and other organisms. With sharp teeth and powerful jaws, big snakeheads can bite other fish in half.

I sense the plot for a b-rated horror movie.

The United States is considering placing a ban on all imports of the fish which really does nothing about the ones that are already here. "If they got into the larger (water) system, they could alter the food chain and displace other species," said John Surrick, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

You know what else would alter the food chainand displace other species? Draining or poisoning lakes that contain the fish. Two options that Maryland officials are considering. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater... let's just chuck the whole ecosystem in order to preserve it. Makes sense.

You can
read the story here.

posted by Michael 10:58 AM . . .
. . .
Can't Buy Me Love?
Money may not be able to buy happiness but it certainly can buy a whole lot of other things... like a trip into space for instance. RASA is trying to greenlight N'Sync's Lance Bass for an October Soyuz mission flight to the International SpaceStation. A letter noted that though his language skills and training may not be completely up to speed they could really use the money.

Now that's some vacation.

Am I a little jealous? You bet your butt I am. I get all excited if we manage to make it over to a friend's house for a barbecue. If our finances look good we may be travelling to Vancouver for a week or so come November. And that is a big vacation for us. Outer Space...

I admit... I'd be pretty useless in outer space. I'm no longer in great shape. As I've gotten older my waist has gotten thicker. I'd be frightened by the toilet and have too much fun shouting "Look at me! I'm a bird!" . I'd want to install buttons marked 'death ray' and pester everybody with my Marvin the Martian impersonation which is actually pretty bad. I'd be about as useful in an emergency as a member of a boy band... hey... wait a minute... Anybody have 10 million dollars that they can lend me?

You can
read the story here.

posted by Michael 10:22 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, July 22, 2002
Is that Really the Best You Can Do?
Hamas spiritual terrorist leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin dismissed the idea that it was anti-productive for a man of god to have his followers blow themselves up. "I do not think of it as killing themselves for God. I think of it as a radical new form of death therapy that I am trying with my parishoners. It helps them with their depression and their worries. So far it has been quite successful. No one has come back complaining about feeling alienated from God or uncertain in their faith. They achieve a new clarity and sense of purpose just before spreading themselves out over that square kilometer."

When confronted with the fact that suicide is expressly forbidden in Islam the Sheikh replied. "Oh they're not commiting suicide. They're committing murder. Which is completely different. If they were just killing themselves in the privacy of their own homes... of course they would go to Hell."

All kidding aside, am I the only one who is confused by Yassin's statements from his recent interview. Let's ignore the roundabout catch-22 that is forever at work "We'll stop the bombing when Israel pulls out" "We'll pull out when they stop the bombing" It's not even that simple. Yassin said that if Israel pulled out of the West Bank, released all of the prisoners they have jailed, stopped demolishing Palestinian homes and basically went away they would study the idea of stopping the suicide bombers.

Not actually stop the bombing mind you... just consider the idea of stopping the bombing. Come on... they can do better than that. They're not even trying to sound reasonable anymore. Maybe they've decided to leave all the platitudes about peace to Arafat?

Just imagine you walk into a movie theater, buy a ticket, sit down and are informed that they are considering whether to run the film. Now set the theater on fire, shoot all the children and then run just the commercials on a continuous loop and you might begin to imagine how asinine Hamas' position truly is.

You can
read the story here.

posted by Michael 12:54 PM . . .
. . .

posted by Michael 12:12 PM . . .
. . .
Where did our Angel Go?
We used to brag about how Rachel was sleeping through the night practically since she was two months old. We'd put her down at 11pm and she'd wake up around 5am for a feeding. She made the transition from out of our bed and into her own crib with minimal fuss. She'd occasionally wake up, scream a little. We'd soothe her back to slep. Sometimes we'd transfer her back to our room for the remainder of the night. It just seemed easier for her to feed.

But in the past week something has changed. She doesn't sleep at night anymore. No matter how red rimmed and sleepy she is she fights off sleep like death. She screams. She climbs. She rolls. She does everything in her power to stay awake. And when she's awake, we're awake. Zombie-like, we ape her schedule. Sometimes she won't fall asleep until 2-3am and then she's still up again for a 530 feeding.

Is this normal? Will she go back to sleeping through the night? Our too tired nerves are frayed. At night we're frustrated and exhausted. During the day, we're just exhausted. I want our sleeping angel back. And somewhere in the back of my mind echoes a voice "welcome to parenthood". The perks are great but the hours suck big donkeys.

posted by Michael 3:30 AM . . .
. . .
Friday, July 19, 2002
When did this happen?

I was giving Rachel a bath this afternoon and while I was putting the shampoo in her hair I noticed that it advertized itself as 'no tears' formula. Being the masochistic sort I dabbed a bit of it in my eye and low and behold it really didn't hurt. And I got to thinking at what stage did we decide "Screw that no tear stuff! I want the stuff that's going to make me go blind with pain. Bring on the redness and the burning! Whooohooo!" This has got to be one of the best marketing ploys of all time.

One day Rachel is gleefully splashing in the tub not a care in the world eating the 'fun bath' bubble stuff. The next we change shampoos and she will be clutching her eyes and rubbing fruitlessly with the palms of her hand trying to stop the ache. I feel like we're setting her up. Do we warn her ahead of time or is this one of those rites of passage that every child goes through but none of us remember?

Why aren't all shampoos 'no tear'?

posted by Michael 5:46 PM . . .
. . .
Nothing New Here
You've all probably
seen this already but I'm not above rehashing old things that make me smile. Apparently Spiderman can do a great many things.

posted by Michael 11:12 AM . . .
. . .

The hijackers knew it was time to close up shop and find a new location on the day that the sign went up.

posted by Michael 9:58 AM . . .
. . .
James Trafficant: Warrior for the Ages
The House ethics committee unanimously recommended Thursday that Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, should be expelled from the House for ethics violations relating to his bribery, racketeering and tax evasion convictions. "It wasn't the tax evasion" explained one member of the committee. "It was the getting caught. A lot of us have done some pretty stupid things but we managed to cover them up."

"Look" said a second. "Everyone knows that politicians lie. It's almost expected of us. We go out there and tell the truth and everyone would be like no way. They couldn't handle it. But no one likes to have their noses rubbed in it."

Trafficant known for his off colour and bizzare non-sequeters treated his audience of press and fans to a breakdown of his intent should he be expelled and go to jail. ""I will take with me a file, a chisel, a knife, I will get some major explosives, try to fight my way out. And then when I get out I will grab a sword like Maximus Meridius Demidius and as a Gladiator I will stab people in the crotch."

Maximus Meridius was the gladiator Russell Crowe portrayed in the movie "Gladiator." Trafficant scored major points with the geek trivia contingent of the voting public for knowing the character's middle name. Unfortunately he also admited to knowing where to find major explosives and was promptly arrested again under the Patriot Act. If I was in charge of the Universe, Trafficant would next kidnap an Elvis impersonator and go on a wild bank robbing crime spree a la Bonnie and Clyde.

You're all just lucky I'm not in charge of the Universe. You can read the
story from CNN here.

posted by Michael 9:22 AM . . .
. . .
Thursday, July 18, 2002
Is Big Brother Watching?
Hmmm... according to my sitemeter 4% of the people reading my blog are coming from I have no idea who/what department that happens to represent but hello!! Make yourself comfortable. If there's anything you can do to help speed up my permenant residence paperwork I'd be eternally grateful. (Well probably not eternally but you'd get a solid two weeks of gratitude followed by another week of smiles and silent thanks after which I'll probably have forgotten unless someone reminds me. Let's call it a solid two and a half weeks of being grateful then just to be safe.)

posted by Michael 6:32 PM . . .
. . .
Every baby is Your Own
I can split my life neatly B.R and A.R. Before Rachel and After Rachel.

Before Rachel my stomach was a little more squeemish. After Rachel I have sat and eaten food off of our daughter's face.

Before Rachel we saw movies. After Rachel we rent movies. Last night I was taken out to the movies by a friend. We saw Reign of Fire and Road to Perdition. Back to back. If the theatre hadn't been closing down I would have insisted on seeing a third. I love seeing movies.

I came back home feeling practically reborn. I was in such a great mood.

Before Rachel tragedies on the news were remote things. When somebody's child was kidnapped it resonated with the same amount of force as the fire in the apartment or the mudslide in India. It was news and it was sad and it was just one of those things. My life went on. Maybe I became a little more cynical assured by the fact that shit really does happen. That life has its joys and underbelly and that sometimes both can be fit into the same minute on CNN.

After Rachel these stories are different. Disease, disaster or misfortune. Each child in every story has the same features. I can no longer watch the news and hear about a child being kidnapped without that child taking on Rachel's face. When I hear about a school bus accident or a child killed in the Middle East it has now become horribly personal. I wonder how I would react. How I would cope if that was happening to us. The news has become a minefield of emotion.

I have lost the luxury of being emotionally detatched. Every baby, every child is Rachel. I feel it on the news. I feel it when we're walking through the mall and I see other children with their parents.

I care about them all. And not in some creepy stalker way. I empathise with the parents. I know how important their children are to them because I know how important Rachel is to me.

Before Rachel I was a smaller person.

posted by Michael 5:00 PM . . .
. . .
Silence is Golden
Just to prove that western society is "sue happy" Pop Guru Mike Batt is being sued for putting out a song that is complete silence amidst claims that he stole it. Lawyers for the estate of the American composer John Cage filed suit against Batt saying that his piece "A One Minute Silence" was taken from Cage's "4'33" and are demanding royalties to the tune of 100,000pounds.

Batt has refused to pay saying “Mine is a much better silent piece. I have been able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in four minutes and 33 seconds.”

Lawyers went on to confirm that they had also copyrighted belching and farting.

You can read
the story here.

Provided for your simple stealing pleasure... in case you have the larcenous urge to plagerize the piece for yourself and produce "30 seconds of Silence". Here's the musical score.

posted by Michael 9:41 AM . . .
. . .
Police Officer Has Got Some Big Ones! Pleads Self-Defense
No really. The police officer charged with assaulting Donovan Jackson while the youth was handcuffed has claimed self defense saying that Jackson had hold of his testicles and refused to let go. Jackson had his hands handcuffed behind his back and was bent over the hood of a police car at the time. That would logically place Donovan's hands straight up in the air. In order to reach the policeman's testicles they would have to be pretty darned big! So... is this a case of self defense or bragging?

posted by Michael 9:27 AM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
Same Sex Marriages Recognized!
Okay all you homophobic conservative types that read this blog (heh.. yeah right) can choke back your righteous indignation and sit back down secure in the knowledge that it's not happening here in the States. Not yet. The United States is still discriminating and keeping basic societal rights from homosexuals so you have nothing to worry about. It's Canada that has moved toward recognizing the vile and permissive practices of gays and lesbians as legitimate relationships under the law.

The Ontario Supreme Court made a ruling Friday ordering Parliament to broaden its definition of marriage to include gay men and women, the first decision of its kind in Canada. The Court (the equivilent to a State Supreme Court) has given the government a two years window to profer and submit all of the necessary legislation to make the necessary changes happen.

Now I would have thought that the conservatives would be happy with gays getting married. So long as they are locked into a monogamous (and legally binding) relationship they're not out there cruising the streets trying to pick you up. You're safe! I would think that you would want them in the army more chance of them getting shot and killed without the fuss and mess of having to string them up yourself.

Other provinces (Quebec and British Columbia) have similar motions before their Supreme Courts. There has been no word yet on whether the government plans to appeal the decision.

You can read
the story here.

posted by Michael 7:08 PM . . .
. . .

posted by Michael 3:12 PM . . .
. . .
A Screaming Whirling Dervish
You would think that nothing more tragic or traumatic could happen to our daughter then being changed. I don't know why it is such a hardship. I would think that she should be used to it by now. Realize that it isn't going to hurt. That it only lasts a few minutes. Passersby outside must think that I am skinning her alive. She twists. She screams. She fights every stitch of clothing. But none moreso then the diaper.

When she had low mobility and little control of her hands changing her was easy. Off with the old. Legs up. Wipe and goop and on with the new. But now sometimes it takes both CJ and I to do it. One of us working the legs. One of us working the arms. And even then it's a challenge.

When I'm home alone it is practically impossible. Do I hold the hands or the feet? Hands and she twists away. Feet and her hands are down pulling the diaper out from under her. This is particularly hazardous if she happens to grab hold of the dirty one before it is properly whisked away. Nothing instills a sense of impending doom quite like the sight of a screaming baby waving around a poop filled diaper. I swear that I need five arms to change her properly.

And I'm sorry but yes I am going to regale you with the consistency of her bowel movements. Only to say that NASA really should look into this stuff. I'm sure it would function wonderfully as industrial sealant on the space shuttle. You practically need a sandblaster to get it off these days.

So gone are the days of easy changes and hello to the days of chasing around a shrieking squirming 11 month old with a half off diaper crawling away at a speed that must be approaching mach1 trying to get the old diaper and all the wipes safely out of her reach while the cats look on laughing themselves silly. And i think to myself "just wait till she's walking". And I wonder is it too late to become an alcoholic?

posted by Michael 1:16 PM . . .
. . .
Monday, July 15, 2002
Guns Don't Kill People... okay guns kill people
Now it shouldn't come as any surprise to long time readers that I am an anti-gun kind of person. I think the assertion that "guns don't kill people...people do" is one of the stupidest catch phrases of all time. And the fact that it is repeated mantra-like by the folks over at the NRA only serves as proof to me of a mental deficiency amongst its members. I mean you've got to admit... guns certainly help.
Without guns would be killers would be forced to throw stones or carry pointed sticks. Names of course will still never hurt me.

I guess I don't understand the necessity of every citizen to have access to automatic weapons or cop-killer bullets or laser guided long range rifles. I think a more apt catchphrase would be "If guns were outlawed, only outlaws would accidentally shoot their children."

Case in point
young child killed at gunshow.

Any attempt to legislate guns is seen as the next step being somebody showing up at the door with a big trash bag and demanding they hand over their weapons. "It's the camel's nose in the tent." I've heard that phrase a lot too. Well sometimes the camel is trying to warn you that the tent is on fire.

If the system ain't broke, don't fix it.

But it is broke. Not only is it broken but it's coughing up blood. And all too often that blood is the blood of innocents. How can anyone look at a country where a Columbine occurs. Where metal detectors are necessary in elementary schools. Where someone can walk into an airport and shoot up a ticket counter because their particular stripe of political fervor believes that its necessary to kill other people and not say to themselves "something has gone horribly wrong here".

At a time when the country is "at war" against terrorism you would think that people would be willing to ease up a little bit on the guns. We're quick to throw away our free speech. Our rights to privacy. Our right to due process but hang onto that gun!

The government is cracking down on tanker trucks. On crop duster airplanes. On helicopters. Presumably because they are weapons that might be used by a terrorist to kill somebody else. Guns? Don't be silly How would a terrorist ever use one of them to hurt American citizens? If we have to wait a week to get that semi-automatic, that's unconstitutional.

Look... it's silly. Nobody needs a gun that quickly. Right now. If somebody comes stomping into a gun store looking to buy a weapon the best thing for them is probably a seven day waiting period to cool off. Who knows it may save somebody's life.

But we wouldn't want that would we? Bad camel!! Bad!!

posted by Michael 11:56 PM . . .
. . .
Saturday, July 13, 2002

posted by Michael 1:40 AM . . .
. . .
Friday, July 12, 2002

"Look honey! I'm George Washington! George Washington! I will never tell a lie. I never saw that cherry tree before in my life."

posted by Michael 11:41 PM . . .
. . .
Climbing Baby Gives Dad Heart failure
If 'cruising' were not bad enough... since becoming mobile (with ever increasing speed) Rachel has proven to us that there is no such thing as a 'baby proofed' home. We try but she always manages to find something that we missed. No matter how thoroughly I think I have vacuumed, there she is trying to stick somethingin her mouth. Bits of plastic. A snatch of paper. With industrial strength saliva she can reduce the sturdiest cardboard to brown sludge in seconds. Even the television remote control now has little teeth marks edging the buttons.

But what's worse than her penchance for eating anything and everything (unless it is dinner time and then obviously food goes on the floor rather than in the mouth) is her newfound ability to climb. I suppose it's the next logical step. She has been pulling herself up on anything that doesn't move too quickly for about a month now. She has learnt how to pull herself up using just a convenient wall. Ahhh... oooey goooey handprints.

She's quick.

If you had told me that a baby could move with any kind of speed six months ago I would have laughed at you. But now she practically leaves cartoon vapor trails when she moves. Babies come with two speeds. Off and Go! Go! Go! Go!

And she's smart.

She uses her toys like little steps pushing them to the entertainment center and pulling herself up so she can reach higher than before. She has discovered that the hearth is something more than an object to walk around. And stairs go up.

Now we have effectively blocked her access to the stairs (At least for the moment. I don't even want to think about the day that she figures out how to move the porta-crib and work latches) but the hearth is another matter entirely. She wriggles up on her belly. One leg and then a titanic pull-jump and she's there. And there's only one direction to go from there.

She's going to fall off something eventually. I know this. I can't stop it from happening. I only hope that I can delay it long enough so that my wife is home when it happens so she can share in some of the guilt. *big grin*

posted by Michael 10:29 AM . . .
. . .
Arafat Will Remain in Power
Arguing that Bush wasn't talking about him because he wasn't mentioned by name in the President's speech, Arafat asserted that he intended to remain in power. "No, actually no, officially no. He didn't mention my name at all." Obviously Bush was talking about all those other Palestinian Authority figures and not Arafat after all.

George Bush then released a statement "Yassar Arafat. Resign and get out." But Arafat had placed his fingers in his ears and begun to hum and sing very loudly.

"He said what? No! He couldn't have. I was right here the whole time." argued the Palestinian leader. When shown a written copy of the statement signed by the President he said "See my name is Yasser Arafat. This is directed to Yassar Arafat. No relation whatsoever!"

"First of all, no one can bypass the Palestinian people and their choice of their leader," said Arafat, speaking with CNN correspondent Brent Sadler. "Not even the Palestinian people themselves can bypass the will of the Palestinian people. If they tried I would ignore them as I ignore Mr. Bush."

"The most important thing is my people and my cause. ... Toward the peace of the land which I had signed with my friend [former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin," Arafat said.

"I cannot forget, and no one can forget, this friend had been killed by the fanatic group which is in power now in Israel. They hold our land. I cannot forget and no one can forget that my friend Rabin had signed the peace pact."

When asked if that was the same peace pact that the Palestinians had walked away from Arafat had no reply as he was again busy with his fingers in his ears humming away.

Now I am a tried and true supporter of the Palestinian right to exist as a free state out from under the yolk of Israeli occupation and subjugation but there is no way that Arafat can claim to be a man of peace. Perhaps he was once but peaceful men do not form affiliated terrorist organizations like the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. What men of peace do is take a stand in more than word. They act and act responsibly to root out the rot within their own institutions.

Now how exactly the Palestinians can hope to accomplish this task when Israel systematically destroys all forms of infrastructure is a bit of a puzzle to me. But the fact remains that they have not even made a token gesture toward halting the suicide bombers or dismantling the terrorist structures at work in their lands.

This is not me saying I support the policies of war instigated by Mr. Sharon. I believe that he is a warmonger and is using the climate of fear created by the Palestinians to put in place outrageous policies. I believe he is the opposite side of the same coin as Arafat and will not be happy until all Palestinians are ground beneath his heel in the name of safety. But his policies would not be finding the fertile ground that they have were it not for Palestinian 'martyrs' watering them with the blood of innocent Jews.

You can read the actual
story here from CNN.

posted by Michael 1:32 AM . . .
. . .
Thursday, July 11, 2002
The Simulator
this is really really scary.

posted by Michael 2:12 PM . . .
. . .
United States backs off Court Immunity Demand
The United States backed off its demands that the US be exempt from World Court prosecutions. Instead the country tabled a proposition that would ban prosecutions for 12 months with the immunity renewable every twelve months.... *waits for the other shoe to drop* Huh? Now how exactly is this different from demanding outright immunity from prosecutions?

"Well..." said one American UN representative. "There would be one day every four years that United States citizens could be prosecuted under this court. Leap Year. February 29th."

Look. It doesn't take a mathamatical genius to realize that if you have immunity for twelve months and it is automatically renewed every twelve months that you have yourself permenant immunity. It's a political shell game. Same poop different package.

You can read
the story here.

posted by Michael 9:36 AM . . .
. . .
Debt Clock Starts Again
The Debt Clock in New York City is scheduled to be restarted today at 10:00am. It was officially turned off September 7th, 2000 when it started going backwards for the first time in over ten years. The restarting of the clock signals a return to government deficit spending and shows that not only corporations seem to be having problems handling money. So much for the trillion dollar surplus of last year.

posted by Michael 9:26 AM . . .
. . .
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Daily Show gets Berth on CNN
Starting next fall you'll be able to catch Jon Stewart and a special 'Global Edition' of the Daily Show on CNN. The new show will piece together bits from the previous week and tie it altogether around the relevent issues of the day. Read
the story here. (Okay Jenn you can stop drooling now.)

posted by Michael 11:51 AM . . .
. . .
Cheney Faces Lawsuit over Halliburton Accounting Practices
Apparently the fact that the vice-president is facing a fraud lawsuit is not news in the United States. There has been no mention of it in the mainstream press. I had to find it while wandering through a British newspaper. You can read
the story here.

posted by Michael 11:47 AM . . .
. . .
Alright... I'm Convinced!
Screw small business! That's right... little leaching parasites blotting the character of a town. Pave them over and make a parking lot for a super ultra mega store. Now you would think I would be standing up and championing the home-owned store that has been in business for twenty years and builds their name on a level of customer service that the corporate monstrosities could never match. And normally you would be right... but I have been converted by a simple trip to Fredericksburg's newest arrival: Costco.

We went last night to the gala opening party and wandered through aisles of toilet paper as tall as a house. We marvelled at DVDs and video games and bulk CD-R's. They had the little freezer chest that we have been looking for for ages. A gallon of mouthwash and fish with the heads still attached. Their meat prep area is huge and windowed. I'm convinced they march a cow in and butcher it while you wait. They have shoes and jeans and microwave ovens. They have mufflers and swingsets and a mamoth case of baby wiipes. I never thought I'd get excited about baby wipes but there I was standing in the aisle weeping big tears of joy.

Sure... their prices are low designed to force out any and all competition so that they can later jack the prices through the roof when there's nowhere else to go because everyone else has gone out of business. But until that happens whooohoooo!!

And on a personal note a certain ex-boss of mine who was once a manager is working there as a door checker. She made life miserable for most of the people under her. She fired some good hard workers and bum-rushed me out of my job after I returned from paternity leave. From manager to hourly peon. Karma's a bitch LG and so are you.

posted by Michael 11:22 AM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
Bush Demands Business have a Conscience
Momentarily confused as to what he was supposed to be speaking about, President Bush was grateful for the helpful backdrop behind him. Choking back his instinctive snort of derisive laughter and a muffled "yeah right" he launched into his speech on Wall Street and ended with "Hey! Can I ring that bell thingee?"

Calling for a "new ethic" in the wake of the "high profile acts of deception" that have rocked Wall Street and shaken consumer confidence, President Bush today told a Wall Street crowd that "in the end, there is no capitalism without conscience, no wealth without character." Which really translates to "you can keep screwing people over, you just have to feel bad about it afterward." He then went on to explain that 'no wealth without character' means that only rich people have character and that poor people just don't have the money to buy any which he thought was a shame because what poor people need more that affordable health care, guarantees of a living wage and social security is, of course, character.

If it wasn't for the 'high profile acts of deception' we'd never be hearing from Mr. GW. If only business could have kept to the low profile business as usual acts of deception he wouldn't have to waste his time making these speeches. "Hey we're still bombing in Afghanistan. Wouldn't you like to ask me any questions about that?" The President asked hopefully. "I think we hit another wedding."

posted by Michael 11:56 AM . . .
. . .
More than just Sniffles
I know someday a cold will be old hat. Rachel will be sneezing and coughing and I'll pass her the tissue box and tell her to stop whining and yes she still has to go to school. I'm not there yet. It almost breaks my heart to see her sick. She has the most pitiful whimper and her eyes get huge and moist as she tries to understand what is going on and why she can't breath properly. Last night I kept poking her to make sure she was still breathing. I had this uncontrollable fear that she was going to stop. I know it's dopey. It's just a cold. But still it feels like more.

posted by Michael 9:48 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, July 08, 2002
Hello... MCI calling about our long distance plan
For a company that has built its reputation around hastling and annoying people at home with long winded speels and plaintive pleas to change long distance providers the executives at Worldcom were oddly silent during depositions before Congress today.
Surprised by the opening question "Okay... who here has made millions on the backs of employees paid barely a minimum wage?" the CEO's automatically raised their hands. Their council quickly cried foul play and the proceedings had to be restarted. Now hip to Congress' wily tricks they all plead their fifth amendment right not to incriminate themselves joining such notables as the esteemable Kenneth Lay.

posted by Michael 6:26 PM . . .
. . .
I am so Proud of my Mom...
Pride is supposed to be one of the seven deadly sins but I suspect it was slipped into the mix by authority figures looking to take credit for the works of those beneath them. Quiet little monk. Pride is sinful. Why yes, your Holiness it was I who found those scrolls... Pride, true pride, acknowledges weaknesses and imperfections while celebrating the wonderful and the amazing. And there is a lot about each of us that deserves to be recognized and celebrated.

Pride of the Self has nothing to do with what you do and everything to do with who you are. Being comfortable in your own skin. It's hard to do. There's an awful lot of things in our society that give us the message 'you're not good enough'. Magazines show pictures of painfully skinny women and say -this is the ideal-. If you don't measure up then somehow you're ugly and less worthy. Not one of the 'beautiful people' as though beauty were their sole perview to judge. It's insidious and of course it doesn't stop there.

Appearance, religion, morality, what is good and what is a sin. They're all measured and judged in the court of public opinion, marketed and spun according to the agendas and beliefs of whomever currently has control of the podium and designed to make those that don't fit into whatever narrow definitions are currently at issue feel removed and marginalized. The structures of patriarchy have had control of that podium for a very long time here in North America. Fit in or get out seems a common sentiment.

My mother doesn't subscribe to that sentiment. She never has. Not when she was living the life of mother, father and two kids. Not when she decided that she felt a strong calling to the priesthood and not when she decided that she was gay. She has spent her life instilling pride in other people. Building them up. Telling them that they belong, that they are worthy and that God loves them for who they are. There's something incredibly special about her marching in a pride parade. I hope that this symbolizes for her an acceptance of those values that she has been giving to others for years.

From my mothers partner I have learnt what the word 'devotion' really should mean. Not a blind acceptance but a considered investing of the self into the wellbeing of another. There is a reason that 'devotion' is another word for 'prayer'.

Life has not been easy for either of them. But together I think they make that 'joyful noise unto the Lord'.

posted by Michael 1:45 PM . . .
. . .
Friday, July 05, 2002
Who is Awesome?
I officially recognize the efforts of one Jeremy who stops by on a weekly basis and saves my sanity by offering me adult conversation and not complaining too much even though I'm pretty sure he's bored out of his mind. Thanks Jer! I really appreciate you... now will you let me out of the headlock?

posted by Michael 12:34 AM . . .
. . .
Thursday, July 04, 2002
Picture of Angry Baby
Trying to escape the camera's eye.

posted by Michael 1:34 PM . . .
. . .
New Baby Record
Rachel stood unassisted by herself for five seconds. Whenever she stands up like that i catch myself holding my breath waiting for the fall. Babies have their own magic. They make something as mundane as standing something exciting and new and special. Five seconds today... walking tomorrow.

Right now CJ is chasing the baby around trying to get her to sit still for a picture. All I hear behind me is "Rachel...Rachel... Rachel baby... Rachel." punctuated by a screaming baby. Doesn't sound like things are going particularly well.

posted by Michael 12:24 PM . . .
. . .
Illegal Dumping in the White House?

And not just the typical nuclear waste or poisonous chemicals in the water supply. That's not the government, that's Big Business with the government's tacit consent and support. But now the government, or more specifically the President, is under scrutiny for some dumping of his own. Stock shennanegans that look an awful lot like insider trading and misrepresentation.

At a time when Bush is promising to clean up American accounting practices and make business more responsible to its shareholders and the consumers out come a few skeletons of his own which sort of make all of those allegations surrounding what he did or did not know regarding Enron a bit more believable.

The White House dismissed comparisons between Bush's dealings at Harken and the current corporate scandals.

``To compare a $12 million sale of a subsidiary company by Harken to a deliberate attempt to hide $3.8 billion in losses is ridiculous,'' said White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett. He added "Why 3.8billion has quite a few more zeroes than 12million so it is hardly the same thing at all. Let's face it... you're just jealous that the man had 12million dollars to hide in the first place."

Apologists for the President like to point out that while the stock did tumble after initial revelations it quickly bounced back. Bush sold his shares at 4.00 a share before news that sent it spiralling down to two dollars and change. Three months after the announcement the stock had climbed back to 4.00 and would eventually double to 8.00... so Bush could have made more money if he had held onto the stock.

To my mind that doesn't exhonerate him. It just points out what everybody in the business world could have told you. Bush isn't that good at managing a business or money. Why do you think the Republicans had to sneak raising the debt ceiling last week through Congress in a late night endrun? At a time when the economy is unstable and the government is already floundering in debt largely due to our much lauded 'tax rebate' (and what did you buy with your check?) the government wants to borrow a few hundred billion more.

But honestly, I don't know what everyone is complaining about. All politicians lie. It's a given. And what's that old saying? Send a thief to catch a thief? Who better to crack down on Insider Trading and suspicious business practices? Well okay... maybe Martha Stewart.

Looks like the democrats may have their election issue after all. Read the story here
from AOL News. And for a more investigative (read biased *grin*) look you can read the expose at the 'Public I'. It has pretty graphics and a nice flow chart too.

posted by Michael 9:50 AM . . .
. . .
Now Back to our Regularly Scheduled Silliness
Sorry for the last couple of morose posts. I guess I've just been feeling a little overwhelmed recently but as the saying goes "I'm much better now." Woke up this morning. CJ was nursing Rachel in the bed and I was struck by how beautiful the whole scene was. I promptly fell back asleep. Woke up again to Rachel trying to crawl over me. Patting my head and babbling. She had the cutest smile and her eyes were bright and happy. I fell back asleep. Or at least tried to... my body was busy telling me "just ten more minutes" My eyes were gummy and trying desperately to sneek their way back closed. My daughter was telling me "Wake up! Daddy!" I felt so much love for my family in that moment.

posted by Michael 9:11 AM . . .
. . .
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
Turned Down Again
I've been trying to find a place to gab and share my experiences as a stayhome parent online. Find others who are stayhome parents and see what they are going through to assure myself that what I'm experiencing is normal, maybe get some tips on coping or share some of my own... but so far no luck. There are plenty of webrings out there for 'stay home mommies' (and 'go to work mommies' and 'work at home mommies' name it mommies have a group) but none for 'stay home daddies' and the mommies it turns out are pretty proprietary. The first group I sought admission to thought I was joking. The next assumed that I was only applying to gawk and I got a terse message back about invading safe spaces. Like somehow I didn't belong and how dare I. The only father groups I have found are all 'dad: the provider' sorts of places or worse 'dad: the spiritual leader'

Well now I've been turned down again and I guess I can appreciate how threatening it would have to be to have a (-insert gasp here-) man adding his thoughts to the forum. How different. How oddly radical. But at least this time I got a genuinely nice reply and possibly a link out of it. (Thanks KWK).

I replied to her that I understood but I don't. Not really. Damn this 'y' chromosone! Invalidating me as a caregiver. Unclean. Unclean. Don't touch.

CJ found a group quick enough. Hardly without trying. I never thought i'd want to find a support group or need one... I was pretty dismissive of the thought early on but it's a lot different now when it's just my own thoughts ruminating around in my head. I really appreciate the email, Will and the phone call really picked me up Lisa. Thanks guys.

posted by Michael 7:27 PM . . .
. . .
Today I'm feeling burnt out
Rachel has been riding me pretty hard the last few days. She seems to have phased out her late morning nap which means a little less time for me to get away and unwind. Everything is so new for her and she doesn't understand the word 'no'... or if she does she doesn't really connect it yet with the fact that she should stop doing what she's doing. Lifting her up and taking her away from the object does little good. Pull her away from a lamp cord and she doggedly returns again and again. Turn your eyes for a second and she has raced to something else. No book is safe. The cats live in a constant state of fear now.

And the entertainment center!! The entertainment center is now my enemy. Rachel has decided that crawling behind it has got to be the absolute most fun thing in the world. Why else would daddy stop me from doing it? She pulls open the doors just enough for me to worry about her pinching her fingers. We've had to relocate our cd's and now our dvds. She insists on pressing her face against the television if its on and I have horrid visions of her burning out her retinas by remaining so close.

This is the first time I've really felt beaten being a parent. I try to remain patient but I catch my voice rising after the umpteenth time pulling her away from something and telling her 'no'. Is it inevitable that I'll turn into a screeching harpy repeating "no. No. No. Don't touch!" over and over again?

I hope not. But right now I'm feeling like a failure as a parent.

posted by Michael 3:43 PM . . .
. . .
Bush Urges Senate to Pass Faith Based Initiative Program
President Bush on Tuesday urged the Democratic-led Senate to pass a bill making it easier for faith-based groups to get federal funds to offer social services to ease "despair and worry and hopelessness." The president went on to add 'because God knows the government sure isn't doing it'.

"In our plenty, there are pockets of despair and hopelessness," he said. "And so long as there's that despair and worry and hopelessness, this nation must do something about it." Bush then had to go back and define his terms. By 'this nation' he apperently meant everybody but his administration and by "do something" he meant pass the buck to someone else. When asked if the pockets of despair and hopelessness might have been caused by a failing trust in big business brought about by deregulation and an unwillingness by the government to enforce standards and patrol the people that line their pockets with generous donations.

We get despair and worry in our pockets. He gets big fat checks to allow business to continue to destroy the environment. You can read the
story here.

posted by Michael 10:08 AM . . .
. . .
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
US Opts Out of World Court
After trying to block the formation of a new World Court created to prosecute war crimes, the United States is now seeking resolutions that would grant US citizens immunity from prosecution. "I don't care if an American is running around chopping the heads off of babies and feeding them to specially trained seals, there's no way that they're guilty of any wrong doing and should never face prosecution. We're the land of the free damn it." said one US official. "So long as they're not encouraging abortions or abberant lifestyles we're okay with that."

Despite the protests of the United states, 73 countries ratified the UN-sponsored court. Washington has threatened to withdraw from all U.N.-authorized peacekeeping missions around the world if the 15-nation Security Council fails to grant it assurances -- via council resolutions -- that U.S. nationals are safe from the court's grasp.

"We'll only take part in attacks that we sponsor... which is plenty so we won't be hurting for action." assured a high ranking army officer. He then neither confirmed nor denied the existence of specially trained seals.

You can read the
story here.

posted by Michael 11:30 PM . . .
. . .
Should have been born with gills

I think the first time we had Rachel in a pool she was around three months old. She couldn't have been much older then that. And she absolutely loved it. Her face lit up. Her eyes went wide and she made the weird chuffing sound that passed for laughter at the time. We bounced around with her, supported her while she floated and had a great time. We hadn't been that worried because she has always loved baths and showers. She loves water being dumped over her head. She should have been born with gills.

Now we have her enrolled in an infant swim class at my wife's gym. She's the youngest member but seems to hold her own with the others. The only thng she can't do yet is practice climbing out of the pool and jumping back in. But everything else she does fine. She is a constant source of amazement in my life.

posted by Michael 10:35 AM . . .
. . .
I'm Begging you Sarasota... Let the Dog Win!!
Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris will be running against a border collie-german shepherd mix named Percy in her bid to get the Republican nomination for Congress. Somehow I doubt that there are a whole lot of registered Florida Republicans reading this site but if you are and you do... I'm begging you VOTE FOR THE DOG. I know... I know... It would be almost as embarrassing as losing to the dead guy but you've got to admit it would be pretty great. Besides there's a law that says if Percy makes a mess it has to be cleaned up... not so for Katherine Harris who is free to poop just about anywhere and never has to pick it up.

Ahha! I hear you asking but which is which? Well one of them is a bitch... and the other is a dog. Oooh... cheap shot from the Outside. You can read the story from
CNN here. Or you can stop by Percy's official website here.

Views from the Outside officially endorses Percy! Now here's a compassionate conservative I can believe in. Because if he had bitten anyone... he would have been put to sleep by now. Again... you can't say the same for Ms. Harris.

posted by Michael 12:52 AM . . .
. . .
Monday, July 01, 2002
A bit of History... done in song.
A recap of the War of 1812 as performed by the Arrogant Worms. Warning... this link may not last long. The size of the file is a little prohibitive and may be sacrificed to the Great Gods of Server Space.

posted by Michael 11:14 PM . . .
. . .
Oh Canada! Happy Birthday eh!

I'm not saying that Canada is perfect. I'm just saying that I love the country. I love the fact that we don't need metal detectors in our elementary schools. I love the fact that I can go to a doctor without an appointment and receive medical care without the fear that maybe I should have taken out a second mortgage just in case to cover the visit. To quote the Arrogant Worms "It's not that we're better. It's just that we're less worse."

Canada isn't perfect. In recent years Ontario under the leadership of Mike Harris has systematically raped a health care system that was once the envy of the world. The Federal government has become mired in complacency and quietly stagnates instead of moving the country forward and the only voices for change are those that would move the country further from its socialist roots.

But with all that I still miss living there. My family is here and wherever they are feels like home. But there's a part of me that will always get misty when Canada kicks the US's butt at hockey. Happy Canada Day!

posted by Michael 5:38 PM . . .
. . .

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