Saturday, June 26, 2004


In this administration? Naw. That would be unpatriotic.

"WASHINGTON — President Bush condemned the beheading of a South Korean hostage as "barbaric" Tuesday and said he remained confident that South Korea would go ahead with plans to send thousands of troops to Iraq.
"The free world cannot be intimidated by the brutal actions of these barbaric people," the president said"
NewsMax 6/23

"RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA -- The Saudi government beheaded 52 men and one woman last year for crimes including murder, homosexuality, armed robbery and drug trafficking. But Saudis say that while Islam condones the punishment in one context, it condemns militants who decapitated hostages here and in Iraq."
News&Observ or 6/26

What can I say about this?
Mr. President. I agree with you beheadnings of any kind (except the ritual Barbie kind) are barbaric. Let us send a strong message to these brutal people. Tell your buddies in the house of Saud that we will not tolerate this.

I eagerly await being told to "fuck off" or "go fuck myself" by Mr. Cheney.CNN

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

St. Aug's Smooth

I am moving offices.. Where to? I now have no idea.
Why? Because nothing is ever done smoothly and efficiently here. I guess someone was supposed to move, didn't want to. So the whole production has come to a screeching halt.
I don't really care where I am so long as I have:
1. A door I can close.
2. A desk.
3. A place for my books, files etc..

Some room for a fridge, microwave, coffee maker would be nice.

So.. hopefully I'll knoe tomorrow or Friday where I am going. It might still be Boyer 217, but it is not yet a done deal.

I am all packed, so I better be moving somewhere. Everything is in a box. Including my boxes.

UPDATE: It looks now like I will be Heritage Hall, or something like that. This is a building last used as a dormitory for a Frat I think. Maybe they lost their lease. It is not in the Building I teach in, but if the whole building is converted to Offices that would be pretty cool. We shall see. No confirmation as of yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Permanence and Impermanence

According to Michael, the spine and muscle of LIS, I am getting my official permanent office next week. I will be in the Boyer Building second floor. I like the idea of my own office. I will miss my current one, I've grown accustomed to it. But I will like having a whole office, with my books, and my stuff, and no one else's. I hope to get a mini-fridge, a microwave, maybe an old couch. I am not thrilled about the second floor. It reminds me of the sub-basement of the physics building at Reed. The halls are filled with file cabinets and hand drwn posters. It is a little chaotic. But it could be cool. I had this wierd idea of all the education majors grouped around my office some time I bring Sophie to work. That would be pretty cool.

Tomorrow we go sign our wills. It is so wierd doing stuff like that. Life insurance, Wills... they are so grave. Sure they are important. Deciding where our Kids would live, who would make decisions for us if we were both put into a coma, etc.. Strange stuff. I am glad to get it over with. And to be honest I am glad to have a lawyer. I am not a particularly litigious man. But after the car crash fiasco and the inhumane treatment I got from Allstate. I would like a comfortable path to some backup if necessary.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Problems in the Blogosphere

Testing Testing

Long Live Spooky!

As some of you may know for the last two years we've been home to a very fat cat known as a Spooky (very original I know). Spooky was a stray that lived in our neighborhood. Carly starting feeding him when he came around out door all skinny and sad. I worried about diseases, so we agreed to capture him, and take him to the vet.
He was disease free, so we got him neutered and took him in. We tried twice to give him away, but both people who called for him sounded very scary. One reminded me of the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons.

Spooky blew up from six pounds to sixteen, and kept growing. He is a happy but very fat cat (we didn't feed him much, he just grew and grew). But, he never really fit in our house, Chicken was not overly fond of him, and he wanted more attention than we could give with Sophie's arrival. So after two years we put an ad in the local paper "Free to Good Home." The ad was sandwiched be half a dozen ads for cute little kittens. Our hopes were not high.
One woman called the first night, but was disappointed to find out that our advertized "cat" was in fact a "cat" and not a "dog." Then yesterday we got a call from a family with four kids and a big yard (3 acres). At 7pm they arrived, played with Spooky for a few minutes, and took him home.
So we are a one cat house again. I will miss him. He was a sweet friendly cat, who was exceedingly tolerant of Sophie (who would like to grab handfuls of his fur) and he was very funny in his own little way. But I think this is a good thing. He will get more love, Chicken will have the run of the house again, and our lives wil be somewhat easier.

Here are some early memories of Chicken of Spooky Kitty Fun Page

UPDATE: We recevied four more calls today. I guess the market for used adult cats in the Triangle is pretty good. We were able to get some of our Newspaper Ad money back which was good.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Father's Day

My very first...
Carly and Sophie gave me a portrait they had taken by a professional photographer. It is very beautiful. I will see about getting a jepg for the blog.
Father's day is sort of wierd. I really don't feel like I do anything really deserving a day. Not that I did anything when I was born to deserve a special day... but it seems wierd. I assume Fathers' Day is some kind of invention of the greeting card companies, but what the hey. It is nice getting the gifts and cards.

We also went out to brunch, I violated the low carb mantra (it is MY SPECIAL DAY!!!!). Waffles, bisquits, and a danish. I am bad.
Sophie just gets cuter and cuter. It is amazing. And now she is really doing stuff. Apart from the genius of her now mastered Cherrio eating, she is getting good at holding her sippy cup, and operating some of her more complicated toys.

Thursday, June 17, 2004


It is interesting to see the various responses to Reagan's death. I never really saw the appeal to the guy, certainy nothing to justify the near deification of the man. I like the idea that we should name something for him: the "Ronald Reagan National Debt" seems appropriate.
I don't really want to talk about the merits or lack there of in his presidency/governorship.

What I find particularly interesting is the two-faced support for this man.
Now that he is dead, people are overflowing with praise for the man. But while he was suffering from a horrible disease, Alzheimer's is one of the worst a person can suffer, they were almost silent. There was always an uneasy tolerance of poor Nancy when she would come up and quietly speak about his suffering, but the general sense was that they really wanted her to go away.
I remember when Christopher Reeves was first paralyzed, and there was at least some public interest in finding solutions for the paralyzed, and maybe cures in the form of neural regeneration. That still exists, and Reeves continues to work on it mostly by his own efforts. The same can be said of Michael J. Fox and his battles (is it Parkinsons or MS?)[This shows how much I know].
But with Reagan the case was never really made. And I think it is mostly because Reagan was unable to speak for himself. He was helpless and dependent on the efforts and work of others: both Reeves and Fox were able to speak to people, to make them see that there was a need. Reagan was hidden away on his ranch and discouraged from making public appearances.
Now it is not exactly like conservatives are jumping on the bandwagon to fight the problems Reeves and Fox suffer from. But there is some sense that with thosepublic afflicted something ought to be done. Instead with Reagan I sense a collective sigh of relief from the Right, that their great standard bearer has stopped being an embarrassment to them. And it goes to show that no matter how much they heap praises on this man (of dubious achievement), in reality when he could've used their help the most, they simply ignored him.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Calling Families with Kids in Public School

The Brights are looking for a non-religious family with children in the public school system to force the US Supreme Court to face the issue and not dodge it like they just did.

Details here.

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that Newdow has no standing (the Court has skirted constitutional issues and left the situation open for another complainant to bring a case). The prior 9th Circuit decision is nullified and the pledge remains as it is. In short, this decision leaves untouched the practice while sidestepping the broader question of the separation of church and state.

Those who agree with the Newdow complaint are looking toward developing a new case along the same lines as Mike’s case.

NEEDED: A family of Brights -- the parents are bringing up children free of supernatural. The children are in a US public school that imposes the pledge on the its students. If you are that family, we would like to explore with you stepping forward and being litigants in the next court challenge.

Although we wrote an amicus brief for Michael’s case, we have no expertise in law. Brights Central will put you in touch with the appropriate parties to fully explain responsibilities, challenges, and what you can expect to experience before, during, and after a court decision.

To respond to this request requires a strong commitment to remove the words “under God” from the pledge. It will require time and a mental ability to ward off heavy criticism from many quarters. The most serious will likely be that you are “using your child” to advance your own cause.

If your offer is considered the “best case,” then you will be working directly with Michael Newdow. It will not impose a financial burden. Email your interest and appropriate contact information (name, phone and address) with the subject line: PLEDGE FAMILY

If your situation precludes your entry into such a case, then please follow the citizen suggestions in the prior Brighten Op(portunity) that you will “ride herd” on your representatives and public officials.

Look'em up they are pretty reasonable.

Also... some updates over at

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Cherrios and Genius

When people ask me about what it is like to have a 7 month old daughter.
I say this.

This week Sophie started eating cherrios. It required a fair amount of manual dexterity and several tries before she got it.
But when she did, when she was able to reach across the table and pull the little cherrio to her mouth, then chop down on it with her little new teeth, even the little ones still covered by a thin layer of skin..... I kept thinking to myself.


I guess that is what parenthood means to me.
It is pretty cool, I mean, she did it almost all by herself. We just put the cherrios in front of her.
Hey why I am defending her to you? Or am I just talking to myself.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Summer Session

I am not a huge fan of the condensed summer sessions for Philosophy. I think it could work for foreign language, or maybe math. But Philosophy really requires some time, letting things sink in, returning to the text.

Yet, here I am teaching a five week class. Two hours a day, five days a week. Graded the first quiz, some students did okay, but most did pretty poorly (63.9% average). I am hoping the grades improve, but I am dubious.

Part of my real problem with the condensed sessions is all the problems of a regular philosophy class are also condensed. The apathy and laziness seems compounded and far more obvious.

Still it is short, so I guess that is good. We shall see.
I gamed twice this week and am going to do it again this Sunday I am shocked, and frankly thrilled. I miss my regular games.

Of course, my character died... twice.. So if we ever play that again I will be three levels behind the rest of the party.

I am running the first adventures on Malaan in a while this Sunday.
I've started a Malaan Blog as well.

I'll try to post game summaries and the like there.