Wednesday, November 25, 2009

God Bless the Atheists

To My Atheist Friends.
What makes us different is, quite simply, Faith. Faith implies that which can't be proven; any faith that doesn't contradict itself, history, or physically law is equally valid and unarguable against another faith.
When you attack faith, and take on an aire of intellectual superiority and enlightenment, for those of us WITH faith it's confusing. It's like a man blind from birth arguing against the existence of light, with people who can see just fine.
He's never seen light so has no proof of its existence.
If you have never been in love, would you try to block others from being in love? Do you tell yourself Love is nothing but a chemical drive necessary for the continuance of the species? (how romantic...)
If you've convinced yourself there is no God, why put so much effort into attacking religion? Do you not think the vast majority of religion comes with an attached code of ethics that makes your community better?
Sure, there are religious leaders that have done great evil and harm. The greater potential there is for good, the greater the potential for evil...If you truly understood the role clergy and religious leaders play in our faith, you'd also understand what a serious sin the misuse of such positions is...Instead of finding it titillating, you'd mourn with us. You wouldn't laugh and make jokes if you'd heard our parents were killed, would you?
Religion shouldn't be forced on you. I doubt the street corner evangelist converts as many people as he turns off. Still, the founding father's idea of government not recognizing one religion over another is a long way off from insisting a Nativity scene not be on public property. When you force removal of such things, though, it does tend to make people stronger in their faith. Funny how that works.
We have something you lack. Faith takes work. It isn't any sort of intellectual shortcut or cop-out, nor is it a drug or a crutch. It doesn't provide all the answers, just more questions. There's a unique bond between like minded individuals when we meet for fellowship. Why do you seek to destroy that?
I can understand why someone would be an atheist. I just don't understand why they'd put any effort into pushing an atheistic agenda. Evangelical Atheism?

The Project

OK Here goes. I know there has been a smattering of posts about this project, but so much of the pre-building prep work is slow and tedious. (There are some posts that show moving the driveway, installing the septic system, and some that show the PHENOMENAL view...
A lesson learned from the last cabin was, start with a level surface. This lot is fairly steep slope, so the parking spots required some engineering. For now they'll be crushed stone surface (4 yards of stone were left behind by the guy who thought he could install a septic, delivered the rock, and quit. I ended up going with a system that didn't require rock). So, what 'building' means right now is, filling buckets up with rock and hand carrying them up to the parking. Each bucket weighs 80 pounds, two buckets at a time. My best day so far was 20 trips.
Now for building forms for the stone wall on the uphill side of the parking. It'll match the downhill wall. This was all dug by hand; haven't decided yet if I'll hand dig the foundation or not. The extra dirt and rocks were used to build a retaining wall and flat area for a tree next to the house.
I truly believe that by the time you drive your first nail, you're in the home stretch of building. People offer to help, but when they think of building, they think 'framing', which is a tiny percentage of the project. Most of the work of any building project is digging. If you want to build, learn to enjoy using a shovel and moving dirt around. (If you go back in prior blogs, you'll see Byron helping with some very mundane, tedious, dirty work. Some of it involved laser beams, other involved scraping off his knuckles. No wonder I don't get more help)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thankful for the timing

There's a trend on Facebook right now to every day list something you're thankful for. Something I'm very appreciative of, but couldn't reduce to a little status update, is the timing of my life.

Growing up, we could ride bikes around out neighborhood. There were maybe a dozen TV channels that worked, and most signed off in the late evening. You were able to buy meat easily at the store, unlike just a few decades before, where it was harder to come by; that meat was still 'free range' and full of omega-3's, unlike the rapid growth grain fed warehouse crap you get today.

We DID stuff. Want everybody's status update? Plan a beach party. Usually, most people came. We'd forage around for wood, save up for marshmallows, claim a fire ring early---maybe go for a sunset swim in the surf with no lifeguards around. Nobody felt the need to bring alcohol; I doubt we would have put up with anyone who did. There'd be some innocent pairing up and sharing blankets around the fire. We'd all go home smelling like a fire ring.

We'd take some trips too. Elsinore, Catalina, Glamis, Skiing. We had friends with toys, friends that could entertain, friends that were the planners, friends that could fix stuff, friends that could wire stuff. Oh and people that would take pictures.

I don't want my kids to look back on their young adult time and only remember time in front of a computer game. I hope they have lasting friendships, photos of their own, memories. I'm thankful for the internet, FB and blogging now; I'm thankful none of this was around back then, so the choice was lie on the couch at home or plan something and get outside. Our generation is unique in that we can post, on the internet, a whole bunch of stuff we did before there was any internet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

All That, and a Bag of Chips!

Thanks, Keeka, for the photo. As of yet the chips that've made Patrick famous haven't reached Sandy Eggo.
Patrick is an exceptional student, can do pull-ups until he gets bored, back had-springs; is full of empathy and is just an all around good kid. But his 15 minutes of fame is from being the right place at the right time.
His friend Ethan's mom applied for and was awarded the National Geographic/Sunchips green grant, and Patrick was there when they did the photo shoot. Pretty cool!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Time

We reached that milestone that I'm sure every family across America goes through...You know, where Dad spent all day teaching obstetrical emergencies for the Fire Department, then brings the rubber pelvis home and decides it's high time the kids learned somethin' about birthin' babies. They were pretty unsure about the whole thing.

We had an OB kit to use, but we talked about what you could improvise if need be--shoelaces to tie off the umbilical cord, and so on. The manikin is pretty complete. It's very hard to get the baby through and it requires a lot of help. We even practiced a nuchal cord delivery.

No one was mentally prepared for the placenta delivery, but Patrick quickly discovered rubber placentas make good frisbees. Who knew?

Everyone wanted a turn holding the newborn. They already had good swaddling skills. I'm pretty sure what they really learned tonight was, if a very pregnant woman calls for help, run away. Oh well, I tried.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The War For Dependence

I'm out of touch. In a facebook conversation, I was defending capitalism. Seems it's blamed for unhappiness and loneliness, and our nation's obsession with greed.
Tried to make the point that from what I've learned about human nature, capitalism is a great way to reward hard work, risk taking, and persistence. I was astounded how quickly the questions started coming---"What is hard work and risk taking? Why do you put a value on those things? What about love, understanding, and helping others? Don't you want everybody to be insured?"
Ironically, it was Veteran's day but I decided not to be patronising...I tried to explain that everything---new medicines, solar panels, turkey basters---all come from entrepreneurial roots. The government can't produce anything, just redistribute it.
I'm now told that people only work because they have some personal need to do so. I was sadly mistaken---America is a 'free' country because the government gives us free stuff, as long as we vote for democrats. It's as if the wild rats are trying to put themselves in cages--sure, they can't roam and find life's adventure, but as long as they are sheltered and fed, who cares?
I love the opportunity to work hard. I think work elevates dignity. I like to build and say, "I built that!" I like to work overtime and realize I can take my family for vacation. I like to earn some extra and donate it to what I see is a worthy cause. I like to volunteer my time---be it the Lake Board, Hospice, Blood Bank, whatever.
I hate that our government takes so much money away from me and spends it on things I don't support. School breakfast and lunch programs that feed our kids crap. After school programs that make it so parents don't have to raise their kids. Environmental laws that do nothing to protect the environment. I could go on.
This is not the freedom our veterans fought for. Madison was right---As soon as people figure out they can vote themselves money, a democracy fails. Man, they tried to block the tyranny of the majority through the constitution.
The vast majority of Americans treasure their freedom and sense this 'healthcare reform' is the biggest threat to it in our lifetime. I sure hope the 'representatives' do what's right.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Charlie's Back!

This is Charlie. Charlie shows up every year about this time. I'm not exactly sure where he comes from; I just come home from work and there he is on the porch. He never comes inside (not when I'm home at least) and he's pretty quiet. I guess he lost his job as the chef he was dressed as last year, and opted for a more laid back lifestyle. In any event, welcome back, Charlie.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Green Effect winner



Green Classroom Party Kits
Submitted by: triciaoe
Julian Elementary School
Julian Elementary, Julian, CA
Greeneffect WinnerThe average elementary classroom has 25 holiday and birthday parties per year—usually accompanied with disposable plates, cups, and plastic forks/ spoons purchased by the parent or teacher. Think of all that waste…and then multiply that by 14-21 classrooms per school. And multiply that by the number of schools across the county, state, and country….

We can’t cancel all celebrations (that would be just wrong!) – so how can we find a way to party without getting literally trashed?

Twenty thousand dollars would create a $200 Green Classroom Party Kit (washable white plates, clear cups, and silverware, in a rolling storage container) for each classroom at our school. After use, children learn to scrape plates, pack them in the rolling cooler, take it to a staff room or cafeteria, wash, and then re-set for the next party or food activity. The kit would be housed in the classroom, for use year after year.

Because we believe this idea is unique, easily replicable and could catch on with some publicity, we would also create 80 more prototype kits to put in 80 more public elementary schools spread throughout San Diego county (1/5 of public elementary schools). Student leaders would work with parents to create, distribute, and educate about the positive environmental impact and financial savings of these “green classroom party kits.”

School culture is beginning to change with recycling and reducing---but what about re-using? This is an easy way to start----that’s something to celebrate!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why I will oppose legalizing marijuana

I know, it seems contrary to good conservative principles. The government should not decide what's best for us, and if we choose to do something harmful, we should take responsibility for our actions. We are losing more freedom with every new 'program' and associated tax hike as it is.
"Registered to vote in California?" I was badgered on the way in to Walmart. "It's a petition to legalize pot. We'll balance the budget with the taxes it would raise!" No, thanks... "Don't you support freedom?"
Grrr...Of course. I'm in a hurry and want to get my cheap Chinese products and split. There is no WAY I'll be able to explain to you that submitting to drug use isn't liberating but enslaving....Any more than I could explain that sexual liberty just enslaves you to your libido and the true freedom lies in monogamy or for the really strong, celibacy....But all that is beside the point.
Raise your hand if you don't think drunk driving is a problem. Did you know that driving under the influence of marijuana doubles your likelihood of causing an accident? Did you know that drivers that have caused a fatal accident are three times more likely to be THC intoxicated than the general population? When you add alcohol too, the numbers skyrocket?
Drunk driving is enough of a problem. There IS one advantage, though---quantifying at what point you are 'intoxicated'. Here in California, it's .08% blood alcohol (Actually since I have a class 'B' license, for me it's .01%!)
Pot is a strange drug in that, the more someone uses it, the less is needed for the intoxicating effect. How do you quantify that? Convictions for driving under the influence of Marijuana are very difficult. There is no rapid screen, no cut-off concentration. There is only the officer's subjective opinion---pretty easy to fight in court. "He smelled like pot, acted stoned, and was very hungry, your honor"
I've responded to some horrible accidents where the driver that caused it is obviously stoned, and finds the whole scene really funny.
How much tax revenue is enough to justify a spike in fatal accidents? Do we really want TWO legal intoxicants that have a synergistic effect? With all the problems facing our country, do you really want to expend your energy trying to get high---legally?