Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I think this will be a rather long post, since I have some stuff - even if it's semi-boring- to say.

N and I returned from Kansas the day before yesterday. Amazingly, we had clear roads and clear weather the entire way. We must have gotten lucky, because when we left on the 19th we missed all the bad weather, and the same thing happened on our way home.
It was a busy and fun week. It's always amazing to me how quickly our visits back to Kansas go - we had a whole week and yet when we got back on Sunday, it felt like we'd never even left. Christmas always goes too fast. This was our last Christmas in Andale, I think, since we usually congregate at my brother's house, and they're moving to western Kansas. I got some great gifts, and I think gave some great gifts so that was nice. And basically, N and I just hung out with family and enjoyed not having to work. I got to see my nephew's basketball game, and played a lot with my younger nephews. It was sad that my sister and bro-in-law and their two girls couldn't make it down, we missed them.
I was very happy to be able to get lunch with my oldest girlfriends - even though it always seems so short, because we all have places to be and people to see. But it's always so great to see them.
I'm working on getting laundry done and the apartment cleaned up a bit so things are more in order - have to find space for new things and move some older things around. Isn't that always the way?
I am still addicted to HGTV and the Food network, but cable is so expensive that I don't think I'll be able to feed my addiction anytime soon: I will have to stick with my books and DVDs. I really want to start cooking, thanks to watching all those cooking shows.
And, see, I was wrong - it's not a long post, but it IS kind of boring.
Happy New Year's readers, and don't drink and drive!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Almost Christmas!

YAY! I love Christmas - I love the lights, I love the decorations, I love the music, I love giving and getting gifts. Today, I pulled out N's stocking and tried to find mine (it has sentimental meaning, since my mom made it) but couldn't find it - meaning it's hidden in some box in a corner somewhere, laughing as I try to figure out which one. After Christmas, I'm going to have to go through everything and label the boxes precisely with my ultra-cool label maker. But I digress.

Will be coming to Kansas for the holidays and get to see my family; so exciting! I'll hopefully be able to catch my nephew's last basketball game at Andale (they're moving) and hang out with all the kiddos. This year, I have two new nieces and a new nephew to spoil - thanks to Nick and us getting married and all. It's so much fun to tell people, when they ask how many nieces and nephews I have, that I have 9! They're so surprised. Yesterday, a patron commented that I looked too young to have that many. I was very gratified, since I know I'm starting to look older.

I am also excited about seeing my friends and eating great pizza - yes, in that order, but only slightly, since I LOVE Gambino's pizza! I totally miss it, since we don't have one in Iowa. And my family always has great food, so my fitness classes will come in handy after Christmas: I'm taking three: yoga, cardio, and aqua aerobics. I'm very excited about it, because I won't have excuses to not exercise.

Anyway, though somewhat pointless, my blog is now new. And has a far lighter topic.

Happy Holidays!
Happy Winter Solstice!
Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Merry Ramadan!! - Is that even correct?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Quotes I'm Thinking about Now

"If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." - Florynce Kennedy

"A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes." - James Feibleman

"Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home." - Bill Cosby

"Just think of the tragedy of teaching children' not to doubt." - Clarence Darrow

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go further." Richard Dawkins

"In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others." - Andre Maurois

"It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry." - H.L. Mencken

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." Gallileo Galilei

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." - Judy Garland

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mandatory Counseling BEFORE Getting Pregnant

I was thinking about abortion, choice, life, all that today - I got drawn into a debate on this major anti-choice website. I usually try to avoid it - trying to reason with many of the commenters on sites like that is like banging your head against a wall. Mainly cause they twist what I'm saying and are really talented at doing so. Anyway...one of the things that came up was laws about mandatory counseling before an abortion. Personally, making sure a woman knows everything isn't a problem - what's a problem is the wait-period...and assuming that women don't ALREADY know these things or WON'T ASK or something....but still. I was thinking of that and then thought that perhaps, before a woman gets pregnant - or starts trying- there should be mandatory counseling about the risks of pregnancy. So I looked them up. Some I already knew, some are really rare, etc. But anyway - I thought I'd post a list. I think women should know everything they need before they decide to try for a pregnancy. (By the way, I've been thinking about the whole pregnancy thing for awhile now and even with all these risks, I STILL want to try eventually...I wonder what that says about the whole mandatory counseling thing, other than that's it's an inconvenience? Just a spare thought)....

Sorry for the wall of text:

Normal, frequent, or expectable side effects of pregnancy:
exhaustion, altered appetite and senses of taste and smell, nausea and vomiting, heartburn and indigestion, weight gain, dizziness and light-headedness, bloating, swelling, fluid retention, hemmorhoids, cramps, yeast infections, congestion, bloody nose, acne and mild skin disorders, skin discolorations, mild to severe backache and strain, increased headaches, difficulty sleeping and discomfort while sleeping, increased urination and incontinence, bleeding gums, pica, breast pain and discharge, swelling of joint and join pain, leg cramps, difficulty sitting, inability to take regular medications, shortness of breath, higher blood pressure, hair loss, tendency to anemia, curtailment of ability to participate in some sports and activities, infection including from serious and potentially fatal disease (immune suppression during pregnancy) extreme pain on delivery! hormonal mood changes, including normal post-partum depression, continued post-partum exhaustion and recovery period (especially for c-sections)

Normal, expectable or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:
stretch marks, loose skin, permanent weight gain or redistribution, abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness, pelvic floor disorder, changes to breasts, varicose veins, scarring from episiotomy or c-section, other pemanent aesthetic changes to the body, increased proclivity for hemmorhoids, loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

Occasional complication and side effects:
spousal/partner abuse, hyperemesis gravidarum, temporary and permanent back injury, severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after multiple pregnancies), dropped uterus (especially after multiple pregnancies) pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes, placenta previa, anemia, thrombocytopenic purpura, severe cramping, embolism, medical disability requiring full bed-rest, diastasis recti and torn abdominal muscles, mitral valve stenosis, serious infection and disease, ectopic pregnancy (risk of death) broken bones, hemorrhage, delivery complication, refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease, aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions, severe post-partum depression and psychosis, ovarian cancer( from fertility treatments) coronary and cardiovascular disease (6 plus pregnancies)

Less common complications:
peripartum cardiomyopathy, cardiopulmonary arrest, magnesium toxicity, severe hypoxemia/acidosis, massive embolism, increased intracranial pressure, brainstem infarction, molar pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease, malignant arrhythmia, circulatory collapse, placental abruption, obstetric fistula

More permanent side effects:
future infertility, permanent disability, death.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Random Thoughts

I read this very interesting opinion in the New York Times the other day; the guy was arguing that Republicans are basically voting against anything Obama or the Democrats write (bill-wise, etc.) merely because of a form of sour grapes - ie. because Obama likes it, than it's clearly bad - even if it's something that might be good for the country. I thought it was an interesting idea. I mean, politics is messy and requires compromise, something that a lot of people have trouble with, even me, when it comes to certain things/issues. But compromise also requires BOTH sides to be willing to discuss, and debate, and argue the merits of their idea and then come to a conclusion that either makes both sides NOT want to vomit, or at least that both sides than say, okay, this is the best we can do. But if the Republicans (and even Democrats, I'm not saying it's only one party) just say no outright merely because Obama is promoting it, that means our government isn't really working. I think that's sad. I realize that a lot of people are firmly against some things: healthcare, taxes, the war, etc. or for some things....but well, you can't always get your way. Aren't we all supposed to have learned that in kindergarten?

My job is going really awesome. I absolutely love being a children's librarian - although I am working a lot of hours in circulation. But I think that's good, because I get to meet a lot of people and start to know familiar faces. Always important for someone dealing with the public.

I'm doing a lot of research and reading in preparation for writing. Some of my favorite authors (the ones that are alive and can give advice) say that writing about what you're interested in and would like to read is the best way to finish. So I'm taking their advice and have started on a campaign of reading lots of nonfiction and finding out about things. It's kinda fun actually. Normally, I read a lot of fiction - and I'm still doing that. But I'd forgotten how much fun it is to just learn and read about things for no particular reason: it's not for class, or research for a paper, or a presentation. It's just cause I think it'd be cool to learn more about say, architecture or hauntings....

N and I have been looking at houses lately - a lot of the ones we like (shocker!) are out of our price range...but then, we're pretty picky and we want something we'll really love, not just something that fits for right now. Of course, we're not quite needing a house, but we wanted to get started on our research and find out what's out there, the prices and what we can get for that, all that fun stuff.

Also, I just read this great story - definitely an example of free-range parenting (you know, the non-controlling, helicopter parenting so prevalent today) and I just loved it. Thought I'd share, in case none of you saw it.

see the story here

Sunday, August 02, 2009


I am inspired by Kristi (and so excited that she posted) so I thought I'd post too. I have a lot of things happening in my life: I'm graduating, I'm moving, I'm starting a new job, and of course, Nick and I have great news!

1) I can't wait to be back in Iowa: this last year has been a lot harder than I thought!

2) I really do wish I had a million dollars. I have to be very specific: I want a million dollars, or else I want to be a multi-billionaire. So I'm aiming low with my wish.

3) I miss living close to girl friends...I don't think I'm as good at making close friends as I used to be, or else I'm just very, very particular.

4) Trying to keep up with politics and the issues I'm interested in is a lot harder now that I am packing, organizing, moving, starting a new job, and graduating. I'm lucky to catch up on Jon Stewart!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dave Barry

College is basically a bunch of rooms where you sit for roughly two thousand hours and try to memorize things. The two thousand hours are spread out over four years; you spend the rest of the time sleeping and trying to get dates.

Basically, you learn two kinds of things in college:

1. Things you will need to know in later life (two hours).
2. Things you will not need to know in later life (1,998 hours).

These are the things you learn in classes whose names end in -ology, -osophy, -istry, -ics, and so on. The idea is, you memorize these things, then write them down in little exam books, then forget them. If you fail to forget them, you become a professor and have to stay in college for the rest of your life.

It's very difficult to forget everything. For example, when I was in college, I had to memorize -- don't ask me why -- the names of three metaphysical poets other than John Donne. I have managed to forget one of them, but I still remember that the other two were named Vaughan and Crashaw. Sometimes, when I'm trying to remember something important like whether my wife told me to get tuna packed in oil or tuna packed in water, Vaughan and Crashaw just pop up in my mind, right there in the supermarket. It's a terrible waste of brain cells.

After you've been in college for a year or so, you're supposed to choose a major, which is the subject you intend to memorize and forget the most things about. Here is a very important piece of advice: be sure to choose a major that does not involve Known Facts and Right Answers. This means you must not major in mathematics, physics, biology, or chemistry, because these subjects involve actual facts. If, for example, you major in mathematics, you're going to wander into class one day and the professor will say: "Define the cosine integer of the quadrant of a rhomboid binary axis, and extrapolate your result to five significant vertices." If you don't come up with exactly the answer the professor has in mind, you fail. The same is true of chemistry: if you write in your exam book that carbon and hydrogen combine to form oak, your professor will flunk you. He wants you to come up with the same answer he and all the other chemists have agreed on.

Scientists are extremely snotty about this.

So you should major in subjects like English, philosophy, psychology, and sociology -- subjects in which nobody really understands what anybody else is talking about, and which involve virtually no actual facts. I attended classes in all these subjects, so I'll give you a quick overview of each:

ENGLISH: This involves writing papers about long books you have read little snippets of just before class. Here is a tip on how to get good grades on your English papers: Never say anything about a book that anybody with any common sense would say. For example, suppose you are studying Moby-Dick. Anybody with any common sense would say that Moby-Dick is a big white whale, since the characters in the book refer to it as a big white whale roughly eleven thousand times. So in your paper, you say Moby-Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland.

Your professor, who is sick to death of reading papers and never liked Moby-Dick anyway, will think you are enormously creative. If you can regularly come up with lunatic interpretations of simple stories, you should major in English.

PHILOSOPHY: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding there is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. You should major in philosophy if you plan to take a lot of drugs.

PSYCHOLOGY: This involves talking about rats and dreams. Psychologists are obsessed with rats and dreams. I once spent an entire semester training a rat to punch little buttons in a certain sequence, then training my roommate to do the same thing. The rat learned much faster. My roommate is now a doctor. If you like rats or dreams, and above all if you dream about rats, you should major in psychology.

SOCIOLOGY: For sheer lack of intelligibility, sociology is far and away the number one subject. I sat through hundreds of hours of sociology courses, and read gobs of sociology writing, and I never once heard or read a coherent statement. This is because sociologists want to be considered scientists, so they spend most of their time translating simple, obvious observations into scientific-sounding code. If you plan to major in sociology, you'll have to learn to do the same thing. For example, suppose you have observed that children cry when they fall down. You should write: "Methodological observation of the sociometrical behavior tendencies of prematurated isolates indicates that a casual relationship exists between groundward tropism and lachrimatory, or 'crying,' behavior forms." If you can keep this up for fifty or sixty pages, you will get a large government grant.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Star Trek

I read this article in Humanist this month and I thought it was pretty interesting. I have never thought about Star Trek (any of them) in this capacity before...but now I've got a lot to think about. Sorry it's so long.

Star Trek Made Me an Atheist

Published in the July/August 2009 Humanist

Growing up, my parents were very strict. On Friday nights I had to be in bed by 10 pm. My mother would tuck me in, turn off the light, and close the door. I would lie under the covers until I heard her settled back into the living room. Then I would slide out of bed, tiptoe to the door, and quietly turn the lock. I knew what I was about to do was wrong and I was embarrassed and worried that my parents might walk in on me. Still, I couldn’t help myself. I snuck over to the other side of the room and switched on the black-and-white TV. So as not to be discovered I would turn the volume down as low as it would go and press my ear up to the tiny speaker. It was Friday evening in 1967, and I would tune in to NBC to watch my favorite television show, Star Trek.

[Warning: the following article is overflowing with geekiness. Further reading could result in unnaturally splayed fingers, pointed ears, or any manner of themed costuming.]

I was in line the other day waiting to see the new Star Trek movie and it got me thinking about the good old days of science fiction films. Back then special effects looked cheap, and it was always hit or miss as to whether they would work. More often than not a pie tin hanging from a string to simulate a flying saucer looked, well, like a pie tin hanging from a string. So the people who filmed science fiction (otherwise known as sci-fi or SF) couldn’t rely on computer-generated eye candy to keep audiences awake. Instead they had to rely on something completely different—good writing.

There were a number of things that drew me to the Star Trek TV series, not the least of which were the short skirts on the female crew members. And of course there were the characters... mainly Spock. Although Captain James T. Kirk was obviously the star of the show, for me Spock was the real center of the Star Trek universe. Leonard Nimoy’s pointy-eared alien made a big impression on me. Week after week no matter how many times he was chastised, harassed, or ridiculed, this level-headed alien would continue espousing reason and logic above everything else. And the really amazing thing about it was that, week after week, he was always proven right.

To be fair, Shatner’s Kirk was interesting also. Not because of that amazing dropkick that he seemed to work into every episode but because of the pride he brought to his character. He not only had pride in his ship, and his mission but, because this was outer space, he also projected a pride in his species, in being a human being.

Now science fiction movies are mostly just shoot-‘em-ups, but back in the day sci-fi was a medium to explore social issues. SF allowed us to examine the core elements of controversial issues without all the emotional baggage that went along with them. It’s easy to dismiss the genre when you have grown-up fans walking around in costumes and silver make-up, but SF employs disarming tools to tease core arguments from their tired rhetoric. Here pundits, smoke screens, and slogans are stripped away and we see a subject as though for the first time. We get to test whether the rules we create to guide our lives work in any world or are just arbitrary constructs. And back in the late 1960s, no science fiction did this better then Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, TOS (that’s “the original series” for those who actually dated in high school.)

Take the issue of Vietnam. It's an understatement to say that back then it was hard for people to look at the Vietnam war objectively; on one side you had Jane Fonda, on the other Richard Nixon. (I don’t know about you but when I was a young boy, images of both of them used to get my blood pumping, albeit in completely different ways.) Put the issue on an alien planet and set up the plot so the Klingons are arming one side, the Federation the other, and an innocent, naïve alien species is in the middle. It becomes easy to see that simply arming both sides to the teeth is not the answer.

Consider too how complicated the subject of race relations was four decades ago. Star Trek simplified it for me. When a conflict between black-and-white striped aliens erupts onto the bridge of the Enterprise the absurdity of racism is dramatically illustrated. At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that the only reason these two “races” so vehemently hate each other is because one of them is black on the right side and the other black on the left. Sure it’s silly, but in a time when laws were still on the books in the United States preventing interracial couples from marrying, you couldn’t blame the writers of Star Trek for being heavy handed.

On the subject of faith, Trek had a very clear position. Of everything in my past, it is this one show that I most credit for being able to identify myself as an atheist. There was a recurring plotline in so many episodes that it almost became a running theme—some all-powerful being would set itself up as God but would eventually turn out to be nothing more than an advanced alien or megalomaniacal computer. As a little kid watching episodes like “Return of the Archons” and “The Apple,” I learned that it wasn't enough to have faith in something just because everyone else around you did. I learned there might be truths outside one’s own society—heavy stuff for a seven-year-old.

In an episode called “The Squire of Gothos,” actor William Campbell played one of these all-powerful beings. Even though his powers were limitless he was the bad guy. In other words, all-powerful did not automatically equal all good. Captain Kirk decides to oppose this being, even though the alien seems unstoppable. In the end this superbeing turns out to be nothing more than a child, and his parents show up just in time to put an end to his antics. Now consider the message: it doesn’t matter if you are all powerful. If you’re doing something wrong, you’re doing something wrong, and should be opposed. No matter what the consequence. Wow. This wasn't what I was being taught in my catechism classes.

And so as a boy I found it increasingly hard to understand why Christians weren’t acting the way Kirk and Spock were. If there was a God, some being causing earthquakes and hurling hurricanes, why wouldn’t Christians (or Jews or Muslims for that matter) fight against such a being? What I was learning on Star Trek seemed more moral to me than what I was learning in church. As I got older and learned more about suffering around the world, the more I wondered why religious people didn’t oppose such a cruel God. These holy men should be up in arms, I thought. If they were faithful Star Trek watchers, they would be trying to build some sort of giant phaser to take him out.

And even at seven I was smart enough to know that God doesn’t get a pass by saying he didn’t cause the terrible things that were happening in the world. If you can stop something from happening and you choose not to, it’s as bad as causing it. (I learned that from my mom when I sat watching my dog eat an entire pan of lasagna off the kitchen counter while my family was all in the other room.) Why were priests and rabbis afraid, I'd wonder, just because this “God” of theirs was powerful? Didn't religious people think someplace out in the vastness of the universe there might be a mommy and daddy god having a much needed night on the town, destined to return at the last minute to whisk away this naughty child calling himself god with a capital G and return the world to its normal conditions?

One of my favorite episodes of the original Star Trek was called, “Who Mourns for Adonis?” In it we discover that the Olympians of Greek mythology were actually alien space travelers mistaken for gods by the simple shepherds and tribesman living in the Mediterranean around 3000 BCE. Considering that Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods? hadn’t been published yet, this was mind blowing enough for me.

Far out in space, the crew of the Enterprise stumbles on the last of these advanced aliens. Lonely and temperamental, Apollo is the personification of an ancient god, loving one second, vengeful the next. At first this immortal being offers the Enterprise crew everything they could possibly want. He creates paradise for them on his planet. In return he asks that the crew stay on the planet and worship him for the rest of their lives—a few burnt offerings once in a while, that’s all. If they do this they get Eden. If they don’t, Apollo will crush their ship like a tin can. (That’s a god for you.)

Brawny actor Michael Forest was well cast as Apollo. It’s interesting that he chose to play this all-powerful being with a slight air of befuddlement, as though Apollo—revered as a supreme being 5,000 years ago—is incapable of understanding this twenty-third century breed of human.

But the character who most caught my eye was Lieutenant Palamas, an anthropologist played by Leslie Parrish who finds herself strongly drawn to this mythological god. The main struggle in this episode isn’t really between a Greek god and the crew of the Enterprise, but rather between Kirk and Palamas. It’s the conversations between the two of them, eerily similar to dialogs I was having with my own Christian school mates, that I found most engaging:

I have a message for you…He wants us to live in peace. He wants to provide for us. He’ll give us everything we ever wanted.

…Accept him and you condemn all of us to slavery…nothing less than slavery…Or perhaps the thought of spending an eternity bending knee and attending sheep appeals to you?

It’s the classic contrast between people who are willing to give up everything, even their own freedom, to be taken care of, verses people who think freedom is the most important thing there is. Kirk explains to Palamas that he has a plan to get them off the planet but it involves her betraying Apollo and turning her back on this alien with whom she has become infatuated. Palamas asks how she could even consider doing such a thing. That’s when Kirk delivers one of those powerful monologues that defined the series:

Give me your hand…we’re the same. We share the same history, the same heritage, the same lives. We’re tied together beyond any untying. Man or woman, it makes no difference, we’re human. We couldn’t escape from each other even if we wanted to. That’s how you do it, lieutenant, by remembering who and what you are: a bit of flesh and blood afloat in a universe without end. And the only thing that’s truly yours is the rest of humanity. That’s where our duty lies!

That really stuck with me, the idea that in this world, we—all of us—have to help each other because as specks afloat in the universe all we have is each other. And smack dab in the middle of that speech is the wonderfully egalitarian line “we’re human,” read with pride and that distinctive Shatner punch.

In the end, with Palamas’s help, the crew defeats Apollo and escapes. The next morning I thought about that episode. When you change it from a god with a small g to the God with a capital G it’s easy to see the meaning: better a free man in hell then a slave in heaven. Not only didn’t I have to trudge through Milton’s Paradise Lost to get that message but I got to watch attractive women in togas that looked like they would fall off at any moment. Star Trek was good.

When the show was canceled I was disappointed and when the first movie came along I was disappointed again. Then came TNG (that’s Star Trek, The Next Generation for those who dated in college). This time it was the Data character (played by Brent Spiner) who got me hooked. Here was an android, this super being, and he wanted to be human—with all our frailties and foibles. It was Roddenberry at the top of his game, giving us a logic machine that concluded it was logical to strive to achieve something it knew it could never achieve. Talk about a symbol for humanity. Aren’t we all at our best when we're striving for unattainable goals, knowing that it is the act of striving that makes us better people?

On top of this, TNG featured Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) who possessed an absolutely clear moral compass despite the absence of any religious beliefs whatsoever. While that series was running there wasn’t a week that went by that I didn’t ask myself, “WWPD?” (What would Picard do?)

The new series even had a semi-regular all-powerful being. John de Lancie mastered the mischievous and often malevolent character “Q” in many episodes, and in each, humanity’s relationship with omnipotence was explored in new and different ways. This relationship was complicated, and subtle. It was not a parent-child relationship. There was no worshiping and devotion, and certainly no blind faith.

Roddenberry and Star Trek were back, tackling other big issues like homosexuality and gender, how we treated our Vietnam vets, substance abuse and the responsibility of the enabler, even the meaning of reality itself. TNG even chimed in on abortion. In the episode “The Child,” one of the crew members is impregnated with an alien child without her permission. The conference room is abuzz with discussion as to whether the unborn alien should be aborted or not. Opinions on the situation are flying left and right. Everyone is arguing a position, until the pregnant crew member quietly announces she's keeping the child. At that moment the conversations all end because the person carrying the unborn child has made her choice.

What the religious right should have been doing all these years is watching more Star Trek. I’d recommend every episode of TOS and TNG with a small smattering of Voyager. Don’t bother with Deep Space 9; they went soft on religion. Enterprise is also pretty good and not just because of Jolene Blalok, playing the sexy Vulcan. (I have a thing for women with pointy ears. Is that weird? My wife thinks so. And, again, for those with active social lives who had no idea there were this many iterations of Star Trek this all probably falls under the category of “too much information.”) Enterprise really tried hard to put humanism back in the show, to explore what it means to be a member of a strange species.

Unfortunately, by the time Enterprise came along the franchise was showing its age. Scripts were becoming predictable (I mean even more predictable then the usual predictable scripts). And Trek’s own history was starting to choke its plot lines. Writers had to keep checking to make sure they weren't contradicting something that happened in, say, episode 42 of the third season of DS9. The franchise was dying quickly and in the tenth movie, Nemesis, Picard’s evil twin finally killed it. It was a box office flop.

This brings us to the new movie, released in May of this year. I have to admit I was wary. For one, the director tapped to resurrect Star Trek, J.J. Abrams, wasn’t known for issue-driven stories. And what the franchise needed was a reboot. But how do you re-imagine a show whose fans consider every previous manifestation of it to be sacred text? In addition how do you reintroduce Star Trek’s idealism to a new audience, one that is jaded by dark knights and chainsaw-wielding villains?

This film takes place while young Kirk and Spock are still in the Starfleet Academy. All the actors selected to portray the young versions of the original Enterprise crew do a great job. Chris Pine is sufficiently hammy enough as Kirk to fill the shoes of that magnificent paradigm of manhood William Shatner. Karl Urban is spot on as the cranky Dr. McCoy, giving a cantankerous voice to humanity’s emotional side. And Zachary Quinto skillfully dons the pointy ears, perhaps “out-Spocking” Nimoy himself. His performance is enhanced by the fact that in this Star Trek, Vulcans achieve their wholly logical minds not because they are void of emotion but because they have chosen to control their emotions.

[SPOILER ALERT: if you haven’t seen the movie yet, the following paragraphs contain specific plot details.] The movie begins with a catastrophic event described by one of the film’s writers, Alex Kurtzman (along with Roberto Orci), as the movie’s 9-11. The disaster inadvertently sends the main villain, an evil Romulan named Nero (played by Eric Bana), into the past. There Nero kills Kirk’s father just after Kirk is born, inadvertently changing history and thereby presenting us with an alternate timeline for the entire Trek franchise.

Thematically the film is all about choices. Over and over, characters are faced with making choices that will not only shape the direction of their own lives but also the direction of the entire world around them. For Kirk the moment of truth comes after losing a particularly nasty bar fight. He is given a choice to continue on the self-destructive path his life has taken as a result of his father’s death, or make something of himself by joining the Starfleet. For Spock it’s the moment he must choose between the Starfleet or the Vulcan Science Academy, where he is told he’s been accepted despite the handicap of being half human. In another instance cadet Kirk is presented with a computer simulation that doesn’t allow for the opportunity to win. Confronted with this no-win scenario, Kirk chooses to reprogram the computers thereby giving him the choice of victory. At the climax of the film, even the bad guy Nero is given the option of being saved by the Enterprise or being crushed to death in a black hole. (You probably have a problem when you can’t see a clear choice there.) So, in the end it is the individuals who weigh the options, who deny fate, and take control of their own destiny who come out ahead. Those who are slaves to the past get crushed in black holes.

The neat thing about this theme is that it’s exactly the gift director Abrams has given to himself. By creating a story in which all the future events of the Trek universe have been wiped away, he can now make the future of Star Trek whatever he wants. Just like the characters in his film, Abrams has gone into the past and changed history. And the message we can take from this is that despite all the disasters and all the incorrect choices we make directly after catastrophic events, we are not controlled by history. We can change direction (I’m talking to you, George W. Bush). We can improve our chances.

In short, this might not be the most cerebral Star Trek ever written but it has re-energized the franchise and presented us hope for the future.

When you first watch Star Trek it’s this campy sci-fi show that occasionally takes some not-so-subtle potshots at religion. At a very young age it made me question the nature of God even to the point of questioning his (her or its) very existence. And it showed me that those questions were okay to pose, that there were other people out there like me, asking the same questions. But then Roddenberry’s campy little show goes so much farther. It explores what it means to be human. It is a message of hope for the future of our species and an expression of pride in all of humanity. Through it, I learned that although people aren’t perfect, it is that striving to be better (the voyage) that makes us special. The show helped me realize that I control my own future—me, a speck in the universe. I began to understand that each and every person posseses potential, that within all of us there is the seed of greatness waiting to be nurtured, and that someday we may each be able to tap into that potential greatness, that…humanity. (I hope you read that last line the way Shatner would have.)

Nick Farrantello lives, works, and continues to embarrass his wife in Orlando, Florida.

© 2009, American Humanist Association

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I wish I had a response like this when my ex-husband would bring up this topic. Debates would have been much more interesting (and still way too easy for me......hee.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I honestly have no topic to post, but I'm getting a little tired of seeing my last post so I'm going to try for some kind of random writing - I've heard that just randomly writing things is good practice for all writing, and one of my goals is to get a book or two published (yes, I'm writing now, but it's too soon to really talk about) so I will practice.

School has already started and it's already crazy busy. I forgot to take into account that the summer semester, because it's shorter, will also be busier - assignments still have to be done, but done in weeks rather than months. Actually, this might be good for me, because I tend to procrastinate and this way I have to get things done sooner rather than later. So maybe it will help me break that bad habit. I love my classes - I'm taking three (which apparently is a lot for summer (everyone seems really impressed when I tell them this) and they're all interesting and going to be a great help when I start a "real" job. My favorite is definitely my children's nonfiction, mainly because most of the class are friends (or at least friendly) so I know them and feel comfortable talking and discussing things and mainly because the instructor is AWESOME! She's hilariously funny and very excited about things and just helps make the class fun as well as practical. Today we watched a video about hobbits - the REAL hobbits, not the Tolkien ones. And if anyone is interested, I suggest you search for the Wikipedia entry on Homo Floresias (I have no idea if this spelling is correct, but I know it's close).

I get to see my boyfriend next weekend over the 4th of July, and my friend Ramee is visiting very soon after that and we're going to the midnight premier of the new Harry Potter movie! YAY!

I have someone interested in subleasing my apartment, and despite having to go through a major cleaning fit in the next few days, I'm very hopeful they will like it and take it!

There are two sites I visit every day and one is becoming so hateful and toxic it makes me glad NOT to be associated with the people who post and comment on that particular blog site. Perhaps I'm taking it personally; but I've cut down my visits - the hatefulness and what, in my opinion, is very unintelligent comments all masquerading as a "discussion" is kind of addictive. So I'm glad that I'm weaning myself off of it.

So, that's pretty much it. I promised to write more about my life, and I did.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Abortion: "Morally Equivalent" Doesn't Mean "Politically Equivalent"

I thought this was interesting...Klein has some pretty interesting articles. Sometimes I don't agree with him, but I think that's sort of the point here. And I promise to post something about what's happening in my life once it actually settles down enough for me to reflect a bit.

Abortion: "Morally Equivalent" Doesn't Mean "Politically Equivalent"

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, June 12, 2009

This Is So Sad

ESSAY | summer 2004

* This essay was nominated as a National Magazine Awards finalist. Congratulations to Martha Mendoza.

Between a Woman and Her Doctor
A Story About Abortion You Will Never Forget
by Martha Mendoza

I could see my baby's amazing and perfect spine, a precise, pebbled curl of vertebrae. His little round skull. The curve of his nose. I could even see his small leg floating slowly through my uterus.

My doctor came in a moment later, slid the ultrasound sensor around my growing, round belly and put her hand on my shoulder. “It’s not alive,” she said.

She turned her back to me and started taking notes. I looked at the wall, breathing deeply, trying not to cry.

I can make it through this, I thought. I can handle this.

I didn’t know I was about to become a pariah.

I was 19 weeks pregnant, strong, fit and happy, imagining our fourth child, the newest member of our family. He would have dark hair and bright eyes. He’d be intelligent and strong — really strong, judging by his early kicks.

And now this. Not alive?

I didn’t realize that pressures well beyond my uterus, beyond the too bright, too-loud, too-small ultrasound room, extending all the way to boardrooms of hospitals, administrative sessions at medical schools and committee hearings in Congress, were going to deepen and expand my sorrow and pain.

On November 6, 2003, President Bush signed what he called a “partial birth abortion ban,” prohibiting doctors from committing an “overt act” designed to kill a partially delivered fetus. The law, which faces vigorous challenges, is the most significant change to the nation’s abortion laws since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled abortion legal in Roe v. Wade in 1973. One of the unintended consequences of this new law is that it put people in my position, with a fetus that is already dead, in a technical limbo.

Legally, a doctor can still surgically take a dead body out of a pregnant woman. But in reality, the years of angry debate that led to the law’s passage, restrictive state laws and the violence targeting physicians have reduced the number of hospitals and doctors willing to do dilations and evacuations (D&Es) and dilations and extractions (intact D&Es), which involve removing a larger fetus, sometimes in pieces, from the womb.

At the same time, fewer medical schools are training doctors to do these procedures. After all, why spend time training for a surgery that’s likely to be made illegal?

At this point, 74 percent of obstetrics and gynecology residency programs do not train all residents in abortion procedures, according to reproductive health researchers at the National Abortion Federation. Those that do usually teach only the more routine dilation and curettage — D&C, the 15-minute uterine scraping used for abortions of fetuses under 13 weeks old.

Fewer than 7 percent of obstetricians are trained to do D&Es, the procedure used on fetuses from about 13 to 19 weeks. Almost all the doctors doing them are over 50 years old.

“Finding a doctor who will do a D&E is getting very tough,” says Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.

My doctor turned around and faced me. She told me that because dilation and evacuation is rarely offered in my community, I could opt instead to chemically induce labor over several days and then deliver the little body at my local maternity ward. “It’s up to you,” she said.

I’d been through labor and delivery three times before, with great joy as well as pain, and the notion of going through that profound experience only to deliver a dead fetus (whose skin was already starting to slough off, whose skull might be collapsing) was horrifying.

I also did some research, spoke with friends who were obstetricians and gynecologists, and quickly learned this: Study after study shows D&Es are safer than labor and delivery. Women who had D&Es were far less likely to have bleeding requiring transfusion, infection requiring intravenous antibiotics, organ injuries requiring additional surgery or cervical laceration requiring repair and hospital readmission.

A review of 300 second- trimester abortions published in 2002 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that 29 percent of women who went through labor and delivery had complications, compared with just 4 percent of those who had D&Es.

The American Medical Association said D&Es, compared to labor and delivery, “may minimize trauma to the woman’s uterus, cervix and other vital organs.”

There was this fact, too: The intact D&E surgery makes less use of “grasping instruments,” which could damage the body of the fetus. If the body were intact, doctors might be able to more easily figure out why my baby died in the womb.

I’m a healthy person. I run, swim and bike. I’m 37 years old and optimistic. Good things happen to me. I didn’t want to rule out having more kids, but I did want to know what went wrong before I tried again.

We told our doctor we had chosen a dilation and evacuation.

“I can’t do these myself,” said my doctor. “I trained at a Catholic hospital.”

My doctor recommended a specialist in a neighboring county, but when I called for an appointment, they said they couldn’t see me for almost a week.

I could feel my baby’s dead body inside of mine. This baby had thrilled me with kicks and flutters, those first soft tickles of life bringing a smile to my face and my hand to my rounding belly. Now this baby floated, limp and heavy, from one side to the other, as I rolled in my bed.

And within a day, I started to bleed. My body, with or without a doctor’s help, was starting to expel the fetus. Technically, I was threatening a spontaneous abortion, the least safe of the available options.

I did what any pregnant patient would do. I called my doctor. And she advised me to wait.

I lay in my bed, not sleeping day or night, trying not to lose this little baby’s body that my own womb was working to expel. Wait, I told myself. Just hold on. Let a doctor take this out.

I was scared. Was it going to fall out of my body when I rose, in the middle of the night, to check on my toddler? Would it come apart on its own and double me over, knock me to the floor, as I stood at the stove scrambling eggs for my boys?

On my fourth morning, with the bleeding and cramping increasing, I couldn’t wait any more. I called my doctor and was told that since I wasn’t hemorrhaging, I should not come in. Her partner, on call, pedantically explained that women can safely lose a lot of blood, even during a routine period.

I began calling labor and delivery units at the top five medical centers in my area. I told them I had been 19 weeks along. The baby is dead. I’m bleeding, I said. I’m scheduled for a D&E in a few days. If I come in right now, what could you do for me, I asked.

Don’t come in, they told me again and again. “Go to your emergency room if you are hemorrhaging to avoid bleeding to death. No one here can do a D&E today, and unless you’re really in active labor you’re safer to wait.”

More than 66,000 women each year in the U.S. undergo an abortion at some point between 13 and 20 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC doesn’t specify the physical circumstances of the women or their fetuses. Other CDC data shows that 4,000 women miscarry in their second trimester. Again, the data doesn’t clarify whether those 4,000 women have to go through surgery.

Here’s what is clear: Most of those women face increasingly limited access to care. One survey showed that half of the women who got abortions after 15 weeks of gestation said they were delayed because of problems in affording, finding or getting to abortion services.

No surprise there; abortion is not readily available in 86 percent of the counties in the U.S.

Although there are some new, early diagnostic tests available, the most common prenatal screening for neural tube defects or Down syndrome is done around the 16th week of pregnancy. When problems are found — sometimes life-threatening problems — pregnant women face the same limited options that I did.

At last I found one university teaching hospital that, at least over the telephone, was willing to take me.

“We do have one doctor who can do a D&E,” they said. “Come in to our emergency room if you want.”

But when I arrived at the university’s emergency room, the source of the tension was clear. After examining me and confirming I was bleeding but not hemorrhaging, the attending obstetrician, obviously pregnant herself, defensively explained that only one of their dozens of obstetricians and gynecologists still does D&Es, and he was simply not available.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Not the next day.

No, I couldn’t have his name. She walked away from me and called my doctor.

“You can’t just dump these patients on us,” she shouted into the phone, her high-pitched voice floating through the heavy curtains surrounding my bed. “You should be dealing with this yourself.”

Shivering on the narrow, white exam table, I wondered what I had done wrong. Then I pulled back on my loose maternity pants and stumbled into the sunny parking lot, blinking back tears in the dazzling spring day, trying to understand the directions they sent me out with: Find a hotel within a few blocks from a hospital. Rest, monitor the bleeding. Don’t go home — the 45-minute drive might be too far.

The next few days were a blur of lumpy motel beds, telephone calls to doctors, cramps. The pre-examination for my D&E finally arrived. First, the hospital required me to sign a legal form consenting to terminate the pregnancy. Then they explained I could, at no cost, have the remains incinerated by the hospital pathology department as medical waste, or for a fee have them taken to a funeral home for burial or cremation.

They inserted sticks of seaweed into my cervix and told me to go home for the night. A few hours later — when the contractions were regular, strong and frequent — I knew we needed to get to the hospital. “The patient appeared to be in active labor,” say my charts, “and I explained this to the patient and offered her pain medication for vaginal delivery.”

According to the charts, I was “adamant” in demanding a D&E. I remember that I definitely wanted the surgical procedure that was the safest option. One hour later, just as an anesthesiologist was slipping me into unconsciousness, I had the D&E and a little body, my little boy, slipped out.

Around his neck, three times and very tight, was the umbilical cord, source of his life, cause of his death.

This past spring, as the wild flowers started blooming around the simple cross we built for this baby, the Justice Department began trying to enforce the Bush administration’s ban and federal courts in three different cities heard arguments regarding the new law.

Doctors explained that D&Es are the safest procedure in many cases, and that the law is particularly cruel to mothers like me whose babies were already dead.

In hopes of bolstering their case, prosecutors sent federal subpoenas to various medical centers, asking for records of D&Es. There’s an attorney somewhere, someday, who may poke through the files of my loss.

I didn’t watch the trial because I had another appointment to keep — another ultrasound. Lying on the crisp white paper, watching the monitor, I saw new life, the incredible spine, tiny fingers waving slowly across my uterus, a perfect thigh.

Best of all, there it was, a strong, four-chamber heart, beating steady and solid. A soft quiver, baby rolling, rippled across my belly.

“Everything looks wonderful,” said my doctor. “This baby is doing great.”

Martha Mendoza is a working journalist and a winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. She recently gave birth to her fourth child, a beautiful and healthy baby girl.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I've become pretty bad at keeping up with my posting. I have excellent excuses though - I'm graduating from the MLS program here early and moving back to Iowa (with Nick) which means I have to sublease my apartment, arrange a moving truck, pack, get ready for my last semester of school, worry about forms for graduating and a myriad of other things, like day to day stuff - working, running, etc. On the other hand, I get to live with Nick again! AND, I have a close friend coming to visit in July and we're planning on going to the midnight premier of the new Harry Potter movie. YAY! So this summer is going to be good, busy and all, but busy in a good way.

Finding a tenant to sublease my apartment is going to be a nightmare, I'm almost positive. I put my ad up a few days ago and I've already received five or six inquiries - so far, only one seems to be from a crazy person. I'm so excited though, and that's really seeing me through. And my classes this summer are going to be fantastic - especially the nonfiction for youth class. I think it's going to be such a fun class. It's taught by a great professor, who I've had before, and a lot of my friends and classmates I'm friendly with are in the class. Such fun.

Anyway, things have been crazy and busy and nerve-racking here, so readers must forgive me. And I'll try to do better and post more!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Tiller Murdered

I'm not even sure what to talk about today. I wanted to bring up the Tiller murder, but I think I'm still in a state of shock and mourning. He's helped so many women. I'm just heartsick - especially being murdered in church! I can't imagine what his wife went through. And I've been reading anti-choice blogs and it's amazing how the people who comment on them are more concerned with how this is going to reflect on them ; talking about how he can't be a Christian because he provided abortions; when was is that people became so certain about how god would judge people?

And then I started thinking about why the people who are virulently anti-choice are so worried - it's possibly because they know that by creating an environment where there is no debate, no discussion, no open minds - the "all people who are pro-choice are just baby-haters, and baby-killers and are going to roast in hell" type of conversation leads to crazy people using that language to justify murdering someone, or bombing clinics, or committing acts of violence. I haven't seen a lot of people posting about how he deserved it, but there have been enough. And while I don't really get into conspiracy theories (even though it's fun) I do have to wonder why it is that 'Tiller Watch' a section of Operation Rescue's website was suddenly unavailable....

And of course, according to Mr. Leach of the anti-choice Prayer and Action Newsletter, there is "Christian scripture that would support this." (NY Times 6/1/09). I know that's probably true - but it makes me sadder, because I am sure a lot of Christians would disagree and totally condemn it. I think this has started a whole wave of attention on a whole range of things.

I don't know. I have so much other stuff to worry about and think about and get done - but I knew I had to post something.

So I'll be thinking of Dr. Tiller today, the women he helped, the women who won't be getting his help, and his family today while I go about my business...Sad day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Last week I was in Kansas, checking on the news from the New York Times website, when my niece and her friend came in to see what I was up to. When I explained and said that it was so exciting, the president would be nominating a new Supreme Court justice. They looked at me like I was crazy - and I of course, explained why I found it so exciting. But hey, they're ten - the most information they get regarding the SCOTUS is a paragraph or two during social studies class. They'll get there.
And now we have a nominee - Sonia Sotomayor. I was a little surprised - I had my own favorite candidates (not that it matters, since I'm not president) but I haven't read all the articles about it yet, so maybe her nomination will prove me wrong in my favorite candidates and give me something to think about. And it IS exciting to have a female nominee and the first Hispanic nominated as well.
Did any of you have favorite candidates - was the choice a surprise?
That sounds kind of like homework - but it's so exciting, at least to me - I want to know, what are your thoughts?

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Guide to Christian Clichés and Phrases

No one liked Mr. Deity? Seriously? Well, okay, then...

I found this one another blog and wanted to post it here, cause I thought, well, everyone needs guides!

A Guide to Christian Clichés and Phrases
By Daniel Florien on May 29, 2008 in Articles, Bible, Christianity, God, Jesus.

“Save sex for marriage.”
Translation: “If I can’t have consequence-free sex, neither can you.”
Acceptable Response: “I pledge myself! Give me a promise ring!”
Unacceptable Response: “So how did that work out for you?” Or, “Where exactly does the Bible say that?”

“All you need to do to go to heaven is ask Jesus into your heart.”
Translation: “You’re going to burn in hell if you don’t say this prayer, little boy.”
Acceptable Response: “Dear Jesus, thank you for coming into my heart and saving me…”
Unacceptable Response: “Dear Jesus, where in the Bible do you tell us to ask you into our hearts? That seems kind weird. And why did the ancient world think the heart was the kidney? Hello? Can you hear me? I guess this is just a one-way intercom. How can I know if you’re still around if you don’t say anything back? Okay, if you’re really there, appear to me right now in person like you did to Paul.” Or, “What exactly does Jesus do in my blood-pumping organ?”

Translation: “Say ‘amen’ back to me!”
Acceptable Response: “Amen” or “Preach it!” combined with vigorous head nodding.
Unacceptable Response: “No!” Or, “Hmm…. That doesn’t sound right.”

“What can I pray for you about?”
Translation: “Any juicy tidbits about your life I can spread through the prayer gossip grapevine?”
Acceptable Response: “Thanks for asking. You’re so kind. My wife is having an affair, my brother is a drunk, and my dog can’t control his sexual desires.”
Unacceptable Response: “Have you ever kept a prayer journal to see if you get more unanswered prayers than answered ones, or if your unasked prayers get answered just as much?”

“I’m not a racist, but…”
Translation: “I’m a racist asshole who attends an all-white church and is uncomfortable around most black people. I love racist jokes and am about to tell you a good one.”
Acceptable Response: Laugher followed by telling a slightly more racist joke.
Unacceptable Response: “You’re a hypocritical racist asshole.”

“God is in control.”
Translation: “I only believe this about overwhelming situations. The rest of the time, I believe things are up to us and I act that way.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.” Sometimes followed by an anecdote about some unexplained or coincidental experience that you attribute to God.
Unacceptable Response: “If God’s in control, then relax and don’t do anything about it! In fact, you don’t have to do anything at all ever, right? But that’s not right, and people still have to do everything, so what does it mean for God to be in control and why does it matter?”

“I believe this because the Bible says so.”
Translation: “I have no clue about the history of that big book I’m in love with, and I don’t care either, because it’s God’s Word, and if God said it, it must be true.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “It also says to kill homosexuals.” They might heartily agree to that one, which in case the unacceptable response becomes, “It also says to kill your children when they talk back. Have your children ever talked back?” Or, “Explain to me the authorship and transmission of the Bible, and why you think it’s God’s Word.” Or especially, “Jesus said to give anything to those who ask of you – and not only to give what they ask, but more. So please give me your wallet and your car.”

“What’s God doing in your life?”
Translation: “I’m getting ready to judge you.”
Acceptable Response: “I’m conquering pride and lust!” Or, “Oh, Jesus, Jesus, I love Jesus my beautiful King and Savior!”
Unacceptable Response: “God’s been teaching me about how much evidence there is for evolution.”

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
Translation: “I’m a flaming fundamentalist.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “That’s a relief, because I’m a homosexual transvestite in an interracial relationship.”

“We’re in the end times.”
Translation: “My pastor said we’re living in the end times.”
Acceptable Response: “God will punish America for our sins!” Or, “America isn’t mentioned in the Bible because we’re going to crumble soon!”
Unacceptable Response: “Did you know that out of the millions of times Christians have claimed this throughout history, they’ve always been wrong?” Or, “If you’re so confident, I’m sure you’ll be confident in putting some significant money towards a bet on that.”

“He is risen!”
Translation: “It’s Easter! Let’s eat!”
Acceptable Response: “He is risen indeed!”
Unacceptable Response: “Where? I don’t see him.” Or, “Do you have any evidence for that statement?” Or especially, “Like yeast?”

“Jesus loves you.”
Translation: “Jesus does, but I don’t.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “If that were true, why doesn’t he tell me himself?”

“Do you know where you’re going to go after you die?”
Translation: “This is the question they told me to ask in my evangelism class.”
Acceptable Response: “To heaven to see my sweet, precious Savior!”
Unacceptable Response: “How can you know that before you’re actually dead?”

“What would you say if you stood before God after you die?”
Translation: “I’ve got you now, sinner!”
Acceptable Response: “Please forgive me! I was so fracking stupid! How blind of me not to see you in everything you created!”
Possibly Acceptable Response: “Oops.”
Unacceptable Response: “If you wanted me to believe in you, why didn’t you show some kind of evidence? Why create everything through the painful process of evolution? Why did you let your creation suffer through hunger, neglect, disease, and war? Why incarnate yourself and then commit deicide/suicide? Why were you so bloodthirsty in the early years? If you’re God, you’re not a very good one.” Or, “Which one?”
[Thanks, Steve, for the last response.]

“Thank you Jesus!”
Translation: “It’s easier to thank Jesus than the people who deserve it.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen!”
Unacceptable Response: “I’m not Jesus.” Or, “You’re welcome.”

“Have you found Jesus?”
Translation: “Are you also a Jesus-lover, or must I convert you?”
Acceptable Response: “I’ve been walking with the Lord since I was two years old, Praise Gawd!”
Unacceptable Response: “I didn’t know he was missing.” (source)

“I’ll pray for you”
Translation: “This conversation is over. My mind exploded.” Or, “I refuse to believe you won this argument.”
Acceptable Response: “Thanks, you’re so kind.”
Unacceptable Response: ”Instead of praying, why don’t you read a non-Christian book?” Or, “I’ll think for you.” Or especially, “Liar.”
[Inspired by Richard, Gdad, and Wazza.]

“Lord willing…”
Translation: “The Bible says somewhere to say this, and I feel uber-spiritual whenever I do.”
Acceptable Response: “…”
Unacceptable Response: “How would you know if it’s the Lord stopping you, or just your laziness?”
[Inspired by Polly.]

“Here’s my testimony…”
Translation: “I was a guilt-ridden sinner until I hit rock-bottom and then believed in Jesus and my sins were forgiven!”
Acceptable Response: “That’s a great story, how can I have my sins forgiven and go to heaven?”
Unacceptable Response: “The reason you’re telling your story is because it’s impossible for me to say you didn’t have that experience. Unfortunately, people have religious experiences all the time, and many of them have nothing to do with Jesus. Your story is nice, but it’s easier to fool yourself than you might think. You don’t know the truth about God and Jesus and the Bible through an emotional experience, but through evidence, and you’ll find that lacking.”

“It’s a miracle!”
Translation: “My brain can’t comprehend how this could happen without the God of the Universe getting involved, so it must be true.”
Acceptable Response: “Exactly! How else could they have called when you were thinking of them, except for God to control them like a puppet to impress you?”
Unacceptable Response: “Maybe, but could you prove it?” Or, “Would this really be impossible without God?” Or especially, “It seems you don’t understand probability theory. Let me explain.”
[Inspired by Brian.]

“It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian.”
Translation: “I don’t really understand atheism or how it’s possible not to believe in a god.”
Acceptable Response: “That’s right, brother. Denying God is like denying gravity.”
Unacceptable Response: “Believing in something without evidence takes faith. Not believing in something without evidence takes intelligence.”

“Atheism is a religion.”
Translation: “Atheism is a religion because everyone believes there is a god, right?”
Acceptable Response: “They know there is a God and they reject him and hate him! They will burn in hell forever!”
Unacceptable Response: ”Calling ‘atheism’ a religion is like calling ‘bald’ a hair color.” (Don Hirschberg) Or, “If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.” (Mystyk)

“It’s a mystery.”
Translation: “It doesn’t make any sense to me either, but that’s what the Bible says.”
Acceptable Response: “And when has the Bible ever steered us wrong?”
Unacceptable Response: ”If every hard question ends with mystery, how can you be so confident you are right?”

“It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”
Translation: “I hope he doesn’t ask if I attend church every week.”
Acceptable Response: ”Yep, it’s all about the big J.”
Unacceptable Response: ”Can’t every religion claim they are about a relationship with God?” Or, “If you’re not a religion, why do you attend church, read the Bible, believe in orthodoxy, and are trying to convert me?”

“God always answers prayer.”
Translation: “He just usually answers no…”
Acceptable Response: ”God knows best.”
Unacceptable Response: ”Jesus said if you ask anything in his name you’ll receive it. He also said if you have even the smallest amount of faith, like a mustard seed, you can move mountains. Does that fit with your experience?” (Inspired by Jack D)

“Have you made your peace with God?”
Translation: “Are you a Jesus-lover like me?”
Acceptable Response: ”Of course, Jesus is my best friend! He’s filled my soul with gladness and joy, brother.”
Unacceptable Response: ”I wasn’t aware we were quarreling.” (Paul Bogan) Or, “It’s hard to make peace with someone who never calls you back.”

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Grappling with Evil .... and Disasters ....

I got the idea to post these from the humanist blog I read..Very funny...I'm only gonna do a few, maybe five or six...I'll keep putting them on throughout the week...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sometimes I'm Right

I'm signed up for a ListServ to bring me news from the intellectual freedom group in ALA. There's an actual name for it that escapes me at the moment. At any rate, every day I get news articles sent to my inbox of books that people want taken out of libraries or put in a different section, etc. Since we talk a lot about this in many of my classes, and since I'll be working as a librarian fairly soon, I think it's good to know what books cause people to get angry (almost all of them, depending on the people involved) and how to address that. But this particular challenge is kind of unique so I thought I'd post it. Many of the people who challenge books do so for a religious reason - their particular religious reason - and usually they're just sort of surprised at the placement of a certain book. But in my head I have a lot of trouble dividing the concerned people (who just want to be taken seriously and be listened to) and the people who, in my opinion, would have been far happier being alive during Hitler's book burning parties, or the Dark Ages, or some thing like that. I usually talk myself out of thinking that way. But this morning - I got THIS in my inbox.
Sometimes, I'm right.

Publication: APD - West Bend Daily News;
Date: May 2, 2009;
Section: Front Page;
Page: A1

Christian rights group joins library fray
Suit by Milwaukee chapter singles out ‘Baby BeBop’ for complaint
By DWAYNE BUTLER Daily News Staff

The Milwaukee branch of the Christian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) has filed a legal claim that says a book that is available in the West Bend Community Memorial Library is offensive.

Robert C. Braun of West Allis, Joseph Kogelmann of Milwaukee, Robert Brough of West Bend and the Rev. Cleveland Eden of Milwaukee, representing the Milwaukeebased group, filed the claim with the city of West Bend clerk's office.

Named in the claim are the city of West Bend, Mayor Kristine Deiss, the West Bend Library Board and Library Director Michael Tyree. The group is seeking $30,000 per plaintiff, Deiss’ resignation and a racist book be removed and publicly burned or destroyed as a deterrent to repeating the offensive conduct, the claim states.

Pursuant to section 893.80 of the Wisconsin state statutes, the claim says the Library is engaged in having books on display that the plaintiffs consider to be obscene or racial in content and promote violence. The plaintiffs question why a taxpayer funded library makes literature available that has damaged the plaintiffs, the claim states.

The book in question is “Baby Be-Bop,” by Francesca Lia Block, and should be removed from the Library, which is in the vicinity of a school, the claim states. It describes the book as being “explicitly vulgar, racial (sic) and anti-Christian.”

The plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, say their mental and emotional well-being were damaged by the book at the Library, the claim states.

In the claim, they cite Wisconsin’s sexual morality law. Under the law, obscene material is a publication or recording that:
“The average person, applying community standards, would find appeals to the prurient interest if taken as a whole.”
“Under contemporary com- munity standards, describes or shows sexual conduct in a patently offensive way.”
“Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value, if taken as a whole.”

The claim states that specific words used in the book are derogatory and slanderous to all males, and dangerously offensive and disrespectful to all people. The claim says the words can permeate violence, and puts one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.

The plaintiffs have also requested in the claim that West Bend City Attorney Mary Shanning could commission a grand jury to investigate whether the book should be declared obscene and inappropriate since it uses racial language that offends the plaintiffs' Christian beliefs.

The plaintiffs believe the book should be kept out of the Library and constitutes a hate crime, and they feel the book is inappropriate for the elderly and their minor grandchildren, and degrades the community, the claim states.

“We don't want it put in a section for adults,” said Braun, who is the president of the CCLU branch. “We're saying its inappropriate to have it in the library, and we want it out or destroyed.”

Assistant City Attorney/Director of Human Resources Warren Kraft said Friday the claim has been referred to Tyree and the Library Board for their review. Because the claim involves a financial request, Kraft said the city's insurance carrier has received a copy of the claim. He said the carrier will evaluate the claim and conduct an investigation into its circumstances and then make a recommendation to the city whether to allow or disallow all or part of the claim.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


So, a rundown of my week. I'm still recovering - but I'll hit the highlights.

1. Exam on Monday - barely prepared because I worked all weekend - also, can't understand Freud and wish there was a Freud's Cliff's Notes

2. Found out that the library paid me for more hours than I worked (YAY, I guess?!) But now have to work an extra 20 hours.

3. Poster project due and must be turned in at printshop as well as online for professor...first poster and very nervous I did it wrong.

4. Might have to graduate in Dec. 2010 instead of May 2010 because of financial aid stuff, pressure from classes, and assistantship stuff...freaking out, although have come to terms with this possibility.

5. Had a storytelling day for class - did not have a story prepared and made sure I "volunteered" to go next week.

6. Worked everyday as well as went to class...

7. Have not thoroughly cleaned my apartment for like, two weeks. Am lucky to get dishes clean when all I want to do is lay on couch and fall asleep.

8. Met a crazy person at the bus stop - who was apparently being beaten up by people I could not see and who would not leave her alone.

9. Got to hold a baby - my manager brought her six-month old, Bella, into the store, so that was a nice little baby fix.

10. Had no one respond to my last post except Sara...very sad.

11. Missing my girls.

12. Missing my boyfriend.

13. Missing my family - including my nephew's fifth birthday - he had an obstacle course and a spiderman cake.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pro-Choice Does Not Mean Pro-Abortion: An Argument for Abortion Rights Featuring the Rev. Carlton Veazey
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Since the Supreme Court's historic 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the issue of a woman's right to an abortion has fostered one of the most contentious moral and political debates in America. Opponents of abortion rights argue that life begins at conception - making abortion tantamount to homicide. Abortion rights advocates, in contrast, maintain that women have a right to decide what happens to their bodies - sometimes without any restrictions.

To explore the case for abortion rights, the Pew Forum turns to the Rev. Carlton W. Veazey, who for more than a decade has been president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Based in Washington, D.C., the coalition advocates for reproductive choice and religious freedom on behalf of about 40 religious groups and organizations. Prior to joining the coalition, Veazey spent 33 years as a pastor at Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

A counterargument explaining the case against abortion rights is made by the Rev. J. Daniel Mindling, professor of moral theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary.

Featuring: The Rev. Carlton W. Veazey, President, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Interviewer: David Masci, Senior Research Fellow, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Question & Answer

Can you explain how your Christian faith informs your views in support of abortion rights?

I grew up in a Christian home. My father was a Baptist minister for many years in Memphis, Tenn. One of the things that he instilled in me - I used to hear it so much - was free will, free will, free will. It was ingrained in me that you have the ability to make choices. You have the ability to decide what you want to do. You are responsible for your decisions, but God has given you that responsibility, that option to make decisions.

I had firsthand experience of seeing black women and poor women being disproportionately impacted by the fact that they had no choices about an unintended pregnancy, even if it would damage their health or cause great hardship in their family. And I remember some of them being maimed in back-alley abortions; some of them died. There was no legal choice before Roe v. Wade.

But in this day and time, we have a clearer understanding that men and women are moral agents and equipped to make decisions about even the most difficult and complex matters. We must ensure a woman can determine when and whether to have children according to her own conscience and religious beliefs and without governmental interference or coercion. We must also ensure that women have the resources to have a healthy, safe pregnancy, if that is their decision, and that women and families have the resources to raise a child with security.

The right to choose has changed and expanded over the years since Roe v. Wade. We now speak of reproductive justice - and that includes comprehensive sex education, family planning and contraception, adequate medical care, a safe environment, the ability to continue a pregnancy and the resources that make that choice possible. That is my moral framework.

You talk about free will, and as a Christian you believe in free will. But you also said that God gave us free will and gave us the opportunity to make right and wrong choices. Why do you believe that abortion can, at least in some instances, be the right choice?

Dan Maguire, a former Jesuit priest and professor of moral theology and ethics at Marquette University, says that to have a child can be a sacred choice, but to not have a child can also be a sacred choice.

And these choices revolve around circumstances and issues - like whether a person is old enough to care for a child or whether a woman already has more children than she can care for. Also, remember that medical circumstances are the reason many women have an abortion - for example, if they are having chemotherapy for cancer or have a life-threatening chronic illness - and most later-term abortions occur because of fetal abnormalities that will result in stillbirth or the death of the child. These are difficult decisions; they're moral decisions, sometimes requiring a woman to decide if she will risk her life for a pregnancy.

Abortion is a very serious decision and each decision depends on circumstances. That's why I tell people: I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice. And that's an important distinction.

You've talked about the right of a woman to make a choice. Does the fetus have any rights?

First, let me say that the religious, pro-choice position is based on respect for human life, including potential life and existing life.

But I do not believe that life as we know it starts at conception. I am troubled by the implications of a fetus having legal rights because that could pit the fetus against the woman carrying the fetus; for example, if the woman needed a medical procedure, the law could require the fetus to be considered separately and equally.

From a religious perspective, it's more important to consider the moral issues involved in making a decision about abortion. Also, it's important to remember that religious traditions have very different ideas about the status of the fetus. Roman Catholic doctrine regards a fertilized egg as a human being. Judaism holds that life begins with the first breath.

What about at the very end of a woman's pregnancy? Does a fetus acquire rights after the point of viability, when it can survive outside the womb? Or let me ask it another way: Assuming a woman is healthy and her fetus is healthy, should the woman be able to terminate her pregnancy until the end of her pregnancy?

There's an assumption that a woman would end a viable pregnancy carelessly or without a reason. The facts don't bear this out. Most abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Late abortions are virtually always performed for the most serious medical and health reasons, including saving the woman's life.

But what if such a case came before you? If you were that woman's pastor, what would you say?

I would talk to her in a helpful, positive, respectful way and help her discuss what was troubling her. I would suggest alternatives such as adoption.

Let me shift gears a little bit. Many Americans have said they favor a compromise, or reaching a middle-ground policy, on abortion. Do you sympathize with this desire and do you think that both sides should compromise to end this rancorous debate?

I have been to more middle-ground and common-ground meetings than I can remember and I've never been to one where we walked out with any decision.

That being said, I think that we all should agree that abortion should be rare. How do we do that? We do that by providing comprehensive sex education in schools and in religious congregations and by ensuring that there is accurate information about contraception and that contraception is available. Unfortunately, the U.S. Congress has not been willing to pass a bill to fund comprehensive sex education, but they are willing to put a lot of money into failed and harmful abstinence-only programs that often rely on scare tactics and inaccurate information.

Former Surgeon General David Satcher has shown that abstinence-only programs do not work and that we should provide young people with the information to protect themselves. Education that stresses abstinence and provides accurate information about contraception will reduce the abortion rate. That is the ground that I stand on. I would say that here is a way we can work together to reduce the need for abortions.

Abortion has become central to what many people call the "culture wars." Some consider it to be the most contentious moral issue in America today. Why do many Catholics, evangelical Christians and other people of faith disagree with you?

I was raised to respect differing views so the rigid views against abortion are hard for me to understand. I will often tell someone on the other side, "I respect you. I may disagree with your theological perspective, but I respect your views. But I think it's totally arrogant for you to tell me that I need to believe what you believe." It's not that I think we should not try to win each other over. But we have to respect people's different religious beliefs.

But what about people who believe that life begins at conception and that terminating a pregnancy is murder? For them, it may not just be about respecting or tolerating each other's viewpoints; they believe this is an issue of life or death. What do you say to people who make that kind of argument?

I would say that they have a right to their beliefs, as do I. I would try to explain that my views are grounded in my religion, as are theirs. I believe that we must ensure that women are treated with dignity and respect and that women are able to follow the dictates of their conscience - and that includes their reproductive decisions. Ultimately, it is the government's responsibility to ensure that women have the ability to make decisions of conscience and have access to reproductive health services.

Some in the anti-abortion camp contend that the existence of legalized abortion is a sign of the self-centeredness and selfishness of our age. Is there any validity to this view?

Although abortion is a very difficult decision, it can be the most responsible decision a person can make when faced with an unintended pregnancy or a pregnancy that will have serious health consequences.

Depending on the circumstances, it might be selfish to bring a child into the world. You know, a lot of people say, "You must bring this child into the world." They are 100 percent supportive while the child is in the womb. As soon as the child is born, they abort the child in other ways. They abort a child through lack of health care, lack of education, lack of housing, and through poverty, which can drive a child into drugs or the criminal justice system.

So is it selfish to bring children into the world and not care for them? I think the other side can be very selfish by neglecting the children we have already. For all practical purposes, children whom we are neglecting are being aborted.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Friday, April 10, 2009


I have been abandoned by my intrepid girls Star Trek Team to fight off Seven of Whore who has stolen my man! The agony! The pain! The anguish! The betrayal! I am all alone. How will I defeat her - she has huge breasts and blond hair, and can sing!
heeheeheehee...I miss melodrama sometimes.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Eek at the End

Does anyone have any interview advice? I've been reading books and researching it and such, but I've been reviewing my past job interviews and wondering if maybe I'm screwing something up? Maybe I'm not asking good questions, or I'm being too honest, or something! It could also be that I'm just not right for the particular position, but I'm wanting to make sure that that's the reason I am not getting jobs and not because of something else, like sucky performance.
Also, our conversation seems to have hit a dead-end on my last post (which is why I'm posting again) but definitely interesting. Trying to read Vatican documents is like trying to read law documents or Freud or something else very complicated with a language all its own. It was taking me awhile, and cutting into my time reading Freud (for class) as well as other class stuff, so I had to shelve it. Sorry for anyone ready to continue. I'm sure we'll get into some more down the road.
I've been reading two books that I think everyone should read (or at least all women):
1) The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts.
2) The Price of Motherhood by Ann Crittendon - it's NOT against motherhood, it just sounds it.

Basically, I've been branching out on my feminist theory and practices reading. I've read most of the big ones in Women's Studies, so now I'm re-reading or looking for new ones or new perspectives. Helps my research!

I don't really have any more news...school is starting to wind up: I have a bunch of final projects to complete and exams to study for - but the reading continues. I also have to figure out my classes for summer and fall and register for my Library Subject Exam. Eek!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Pope

Remember my last post, where I mentioned that the Vatican and the Pope aren't really getting my full respect (not that they'd care) as truthful or worthy of respect? Basically, it came about because of two recent articles I read - the first about the Pope and condoms - as "exacerbating the problem of AIDS" and secondly because of an article in Ms. magazine. called Vatican Justice. I'll post the article here and given the fact that people might find Ms. biased because of its feminist stance, I'll also link to articles that support Ms. from different sources.

NATIONAL NEWS | winter 2009
Vatican Justice
Pedophile priests can stay in the Church, but priests who ordain women may be excommunicated

By Bill Frogameni

WHAT HAPPENS IF A Catholic priest molests children?

Usually, he’s protected by the Church hierarchy. Maybe he’ll eventually have his parish or diocese taken away, or be switched to another one—often after years of serial abuse. But there’s a good chance he’ll stay in the Church.

So what happens if a Catholic priest publicly supports ordaining women? Well, then he’s excommunicated on the double.

“Nearly 5,000 Catholic priests [in the U.S.] have sexually abused over 12,000 Catholic children…but they were not excommunicated,” says Father Roy Bourgeois, who faced the latter scenario after helping celebrate what the Vatican considers to be an illegitimate ordination mass in August 2008. Bourgeois, a Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart who became a prominent peace activist, stood with the trailblazers of the female ordination movement in Lexington, Ky., to make Janice Sevre-Duszynska a Catholic priest.

For thumbing his nose at one of the most sacred tenets of the conservative hierarchy—that only men are worthy of the priesthood—Bourgeois was swiftly rebuked by the Vatican in a letter two months later, telling him he had 30 days to renounce his actions or face excommunication.

After his deadline passed without a definitive word, Bourgeois told Ms. that his heart wouldn’t allow him to cave in to the Vatican. “Deeper than the hurt, the sadness, there’s a peace that comes from knowing I followed my conscience in addressing this great injustice,” he said.

Still, Bourgeois wanted to question the Pope: “Who are we as men to say that our call to the priesthood is valid, but yours as women is not?” Given that 64 percent of American Catholics in a 2005 AP/Ipsos poll agreed that women should be ordained, they might ask the pope the same thing. But the Vatican, despite parish closings across America and a 30 percent decline in priests between 1965 and 2000, doesn’t seem ready for that question.

“The church believes that the intent of Jesus’ founding of the priesthood is that it was reserved for men,” explained Sister Mary Anne Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. But, speaking for the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Bridget Mary Meehan, herself ordained in 2006 and subsequently excommunicated, disputes that teaching. “Jesus never ordained anyone,” says Meehan. “And in the tradition, women were ordained deacons, priests and bishops for the first 1,200 years.”

The Vatican’s strong response to Bourgeois’ action stands in stark contrast to its overwhelming failure to punish molesters. Even a homicidal priest, Father Gerald Robinson, who was convicted in 2006 of the satanicritualistic murder of a 71-year-old nun in an Ohio chapel (see “The Nun’s Story,” Summer 2006), has not been excommunicated. Though Robinson to date has spent more than two and a half years in prison and lost an appeal, he still remains a priest, albeit one quietly retired by his bishop.

Walsh’s explanation: As heinous as the crime was, the Church doesn’t excommunicate for murder.

The Vatican may soon have further explaining to do, this time in a U.S. courtroom. A federal appeals court ruled in late November that a lawsuit arising in Kentucky over the Vatican’s negligence in dealing with sexual abuse could proceed—the first time a court that high has recognized the Holy See’s potential liability in this arena.

One of the key pieces of evidence in the lawsuit? A 1962 memo, approved by Pope John XXIII, directing Catholic bishops to keep silent about sex-abuse claims.

Photo by Jenny Warbug

Now, I also checked for validation: there's an article from Catholic News Service about the ex-communication of Bourgeois.
It was hard to find anything about the priests that abused children and whether they were ex-communicated separate from other issues. But if anyone wants to look further, that'd be fine.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Trying to Stay on Top of the Blog

Spring Break is over and I'm home in Illinois. I would normally do a top ten list covering my break, but I just don't feel like I can do only ten, so I'll do a top ? list and let the numbers just fill themselves in...

1) Arrival - hugs from kids, watching tv, and feeling right at home
2) Zoo - Took Colin, Taylor, Dalton, and Tristan to the zoo and had a blast - although I'm thinking about writing a letter of complaint to the zoo because of the food at the restaurant there, which totally sucked. But the day was great!
3) A break from stress - homework, work, money, next semester, etc. and getting enough sleep!
4) Seeing family
5) Fried chicken and Scattegories
6) Watching Alyssa drive - which was both amazingly scary and amazingly cool!
7) Bridesmaid dress shopping with Kay - who knew dress shopping could be so exhausting. BUT, awesome burgers!!!
8) Seeing Watchmen with Ramee and getting a chance to catch up on our lives

In other news: I've decided to try a new facial routine, using clinique's 3-Step. It's gotten really good reviews and I LOVE the scrub I'm already using, so hopefully this will make my skin look beautiful and glow-y. Also, it's time to start my exercising again - for my break, I kind of relaxed it and didn't worry too much about it, although I was pretty busy with the kids: we played basketball and hide and seek and such, so I wasn't totally sedentary.
School is winding down, and it feels very fast, but I'm still loving this semester and my classes. I have to take a class I'm totally dreading this summer and I'm confused about my education classes, for summer and fall, but I'm seeing the end of school and such. I'm also very nervous about my exams for my teaching certification: have to decide which subject exams to take and make sure I get all that stuff done before student teaching and my practicum (both of which leave me weak in the knees but also very excited).
I I'm also working on my cover letter and resume and hoping for an assistantship - all pretty standard news there.
On my driving spurts: to KS, to IA, to IL, I listened to NPR and also to conservative talk radio, including Rush Limbaugh. It's funny how much conservative talk radio or religious shows sound totally moronic to me - it's usually not the subject matter; sometimes, the subject makes sense, I might even agree on their take of an issue or something. But for the most part, I feel like they're morons OR, most of the time, they jump to conclusions that make no sense given the context and such - it's all very illogical and irrational. Also, WHY are there so many stations of crappy Christian music? I mean, seriously, I think one or two is probably enough.
Also, everyone should read Dale McGowan's blog through my link.
And what is with the Pope? I thought the Catholic church respected science? I get that he's against all birth control, even condoms, but they "exacerbate the problem of AIDS?" Seriously? Condemning them as against church teaching is one thing; but that's just a lie! Not that I'm surprised. The Catholic Church as a whole isn't exactly getting my full respect in regard to truth and respect of humanity lately. No surprise to my readers, I suppose, so no need to yell at something you already know. I have an article about that for my next post. Which should be a treat: there will be a new post!