2.25.2008

Generation Joshua

So I'm on a mission. Actually it's more that I am stepping up my efforts. I'm tired of only having a passing knowledge of civics and American history. So I started to look around for online courses (preferably free...I like free.) to deepen my limited knowledge of civics and American history and found Generation Joshua. It looks interesting and I crave structure (yes, I know I could just "go read a book" but I want more than that thankyouverymuch) so I plan to dive in.


Should be interesting. And then maybe, just maybe, I will be more comfortable actually participating in conversations that involve American history and civics rather than merely observing them. We'll see.




Pau.




- hfs

2.24.2008

Don't know much about history...

Sitting with the teens that I work with at church, one of them asked me why we have to go to school and learn things. Specifically things that she knew she was never going to have a need for later in life, such as history, literature, and algebra. We spent several minutes discussing the need for each of these subjects in life but there is something else to it.


Have you ever met someone that you truly admire and, upon spending any amount of time with them, realized that they are so much smarter than you?


There are several people in my life who I admire greatly...people whose thoughts, opinions, and company I feel like I cannot get enough of. I am drawn to them much like a moth is drawn to a flame. They fascinate me, intrigue me, and make me THINK. I love to think. I love to stretch my mind. I love to consider the opposing side of an argument simply because it forces my mind to go in directions it would not usually go. I enjoy spending time with people who make me think as it is like spending time getting a really good massage. Relaxing, refreshing, and invigorating.


They also cause me to feel regret…regret that I was not more diligent in school; regret that I haven’t read more, comprehended more, thought more. DONE more. These people who I admire are intelligent people who have been all over the world, experienced incredible things, thought incredible things, and seen incredible sights. And, in many ways, I feel inadequate.


I tried to explain to my kids that education is not just about taking a test or graduating from high school. It’s about using your brain to its fullest extent. It’s about filling it with as much as possible and stretching it in as many directions as possible so that you may participate in society fully and not just as a spectator. I tried to explain to them the feelings I felt when in conversation with someone much smarter than me that I admired and how frustrating it was not to have the depth of knowledge on subjects that they did.


I think, in many ways, I am merely behind.


It’s not that I am not smart. I am. It’s just that I squandered my formative years (though, looking back, I don’t know that I ‘squandered’ them per se…more like failed to take full advantage of them) and now I’m having to play catch-up. So I read. As much as possible. Books, internet, newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes...you name it. And I pick the brains of those I admire, probably to the point of annoyance.


I was sitting at dinner with a friend and his wife and we began to talk about politics. I am very detail-oriented and can easily miss the forest for the trees. With regard to politics, I see about to November and maybe into January. But that’s about it. He, on the other hand, sees much farther (he said he’s more the type to run INTO the trees as he’s marveling at and running through the forest) and our conversation moved into how this election and the current world political situations play into the coming End Times. He definitely has a much more broad view and it fascinates me beyond words. He is one of those people who I admire greatly and I enjoyed spending a few minutes picking his brain. Easily I could have sat there for hours talking about all sorts of things with him. The rest of the evening was spent mulling over in my head the things we had discussed.


Again, I was struck by how limited my knowledge was. So I started researching which, o course, led me to ask questions. So the poor man was greeted at work on Monday morning with an email from me full of nothing but questions. Lucky guy. Like I said, I pick the brains of those I admire but often to the point of annoyance. He was generous and wrote back, answering the bulk of my questions patiently and thoroughly for which I am grateful. Of course I still have more questions.


Lex posted the link to a civics quiz the other day and, while I passed, my performance was lacking. My grade was essentially a B-. Granted, one of the questions had to do with bonds and I am hopelessly ignorant on that one but found that many whom I admire are as well. So at least I am in good company. But other questions stumped me that probably should not. I will admit that philosophy has never interested me (there were several questions regarding philosophy) but the questions about American history should not have troubled me.


I was blessed to have an incredible US History teacher in high school. Mr. Marshall was his name. Somewhat of a cross between Mr. Magoo and Elmer Fudd in demeanor but with a mind as sharp as a tack and a wit that was even sharper. Don’t fall asleep in his class or you would have found yourself with a teddy bear and a blanket in a Polaroid up on the wall of shame. He was a wonderful storyteller and did an incredible job of bringing the history of our country to life in that classroom. He was the reason I chose to travel to Washington, D.C. my senior year…I wanted to experience, first hand, some of the sights we had talked about in class. Yet, many of the facts I learned in that classroom somehow passed right through my brain and are no longer there to be recalled on an internet civics quiz.


So I relearn. I re-read. I try to refresh the facts and stories that once filled my mind. My teenagers think I’m nuts. They do not understand, in their youthful arrogance, the feeling of inadequacy and ignorance that is felt in the presence of those smarter than oneself. In many ways, I miss that arrogance. Yet I am grateful that I am painfully aware of the areas in which I lack and am therefore able to try to remedy them.


And now I am off to read.




Pau.




- hfs

2.17.2008

Spiritual Warfare

Last year, Matt over at Blackfive gave us a heads' up about a wounded Marine - DJ Emery. You can read the original post here. DJ is still fighting to recover and is currently in need of some more "spiritual warfare".

DJ just went through another surgery to repair some of the damage to his stomach and what was supposed to take 3-4 hours took 6 and the after-effects are really rough. Needless to say, he's having a really rough time and could use some love and support.


You can check on DJ through his CarePages webpage using the name "DavidEmery" (no spaces).


Thanks everyone.




Pau.




- hfs

2.16.2008

Psalm 14:1

In Florida , an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared, 'Case dismissed!'

The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah...yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!'

The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, 'Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists' holiday!'

The lawyer pompously said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?'

The judge said, 'Well it comes every year on exactly the same date---April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as 'April Fools Day,' consider that Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture, he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday! Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!'




Pau.




- hfs

2.14.2008

Robot Revenuing

Shots were fired


Let’s be clear about the tyranny here. This is not about running red lights. Camera enforcement is a revenuing scheme that depends on an end run around the fundamental American principle of innocent until proven guilty. The glassy-eyed accuser is a robot, and it’s not subject to cross examination. Moreover, it’s a robot employed by a for-profit business that makes its profits from guilty verdicts. It makes nothing on innocent verdicts. Such an obvious conflict of interest should bring out all the rifles.



I get the man's point. I don't agree with the way in which he expressed his opinion but I get his point.




Pau.




- hfs

2.12.2008

Lesson for the day

Dropping your phone in the toilet makes it stop working.




Pau.




- hfs

2.11.2008

Pictures!

Photobucket



New pictures of the kiddos are up for those of you that are interested. Head over to their blog to see what they are up to!



(BTW ~ thanks to Beth for the tip on PhotoScape for photo editing software! It's AWESOME!!!)




Pau.




- hfs

2.08.2008

These people do not learn

UN.BE.LIEVABLE.


VA Joe.com was contacted by Jessie Findlay over at Nickelodeon recently with this announcement. Help spread the word!

"The Nickelodeon news series “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee” is looking for kids of soldiers currently home from deployment who are willing to be interviewed about the readjustment process. We’re looking for a few well-spoken kids around 11 to 15 years old to talk about how life has changed now that Mom/Dad has come home - particularly those dealing with a physical injury, divorce or PTSD. This show will recognize that war affects whole families, acknowledge the sacrifices of American troops and their families - especially their kids, and portray the good feelings that come with being reunited. Filming will be completed by the end of February.
Interested families please contact Coordinating Producer Jessie Findlay at Lucky Duck Productions - 212-463-0029 ext. 153 or jessie@nicknews.com. "

Thank you,
-VAJoe.com




Keep in mind that "Nick News" is the same show that gave us "Rebels with a cause", showcasing children who are protesting the war andimplying that military members are torturing Middle Easterners and killing children.


Just as AWTM said, "This Nickelodeon "news program", is not a news program. It is a leftist primer on how to be a "left-wing radical REBEL".


And now they are back at it, digging for the families that are experiencing difficulties with the readjustment period following a deployment. Lovely. It's easy to see, based on the statement "particularly those dealing with a physical injury, divorce or PTSD", that they are looking to highlight the worst-case scenario rather than giving a broader picture of ALL families that go through this process.


Yes, the readjustment process can be tough, difficult to navigate, and challenging. Moreso if you add in any kind of injury, PTSD, or marital difficulties. But focusing solely upon those families only gives the impression that ALL military families are facing these same difficulties and that it is PURELY a result of the deployment (and, while the injuries sustained in combat are purely the result of the deployment, other challenges may have had roots that were established BEFORE the deployment). It is a slanted and unfair picture of the experiences of military families.


I am surprised that this made it past the staff at VAJoe.com and hope that they are reevaluating their support - tacit or otherwise - of this program and Ms. Ellerbee. I've sent off an email to VAJoe.com but have not heard back. I also sent off letters to Nickelodeon, Viacom, and Hasbro (their biggest advertiser) about the "Nick News" program and never heard back from any of them either so I'm not all that surprised.


AWTM has heard back from them and hopefully this will not only help to get word out to military families about this program and Ms. Ellerbee but hopefully it will also get VAJoe.com's attention and cause them to rethink their involvement with such an organization.


And this just reinforces my decision to remove Nickelodeon from our television programming in this house. We won't be back.


UPDATE: Bill O'Reilly has picked up on AWTM's post (see "O'Round the World", about 1/2 way down the page on the left...go to the 2nd page of that section).






Pau.




- hfs

2.06.2008

Why, why, why?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are dying?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale? (Tammi...care to answer this one?)

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right?" Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, "That really hurt, why don't you watch where you're going?"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?




These are some of the things that keep my brain occupied. Heh.




(h/t 'Nifer)




Pau.




- hfs

2.05.2008

Lolita and Churchill

Shop Pulls 'Lolita' Bed for Girls

"What seems to have happened is the staff who run the website had never heard of Lolita, and to be honest no one else here had either," a spokesman told British newspapers.

"We had to look it up on (online encyclopedia) Wikipedia. But we certainly know who she is now."



My BS meter is pinging BIG TIME.


Then again, one-quarter of all Britons think Churchill was a myth.


Kinda makes you wonder...




Pau.




- hfs

2.04.2008

Flying Snakes

Princess Trouble was telling us about a book she read at school about snakes. She got to the part where she was describing flying snakes and Little Man, in all seriousness, looks at her and asks,


"Flying snakes? How do they put on their capes?"





Awesome.




Pau.




- hfs

Surfacing photo

Photobucket

Erinie Pyle Death Photo Found


On the third morning, a jeep carrying Pyle and three officers came under fire from a hidden machine gun. All scrambled for cover in roadside ditches, but when Pyle raised his head, a .30 caliber bullet caught him in the left temple, killing him instantly.

Roberts and two other photographers, including AP's Grant MacDonald, were at a command post 300 yards away when Col. Joseph Coolidge, who had been with Pyle in the jeep, reported what happened.

Roberts went to the scene, and despite continuing enemy fire, crept forward — a "laborious, dirt-eating crawl," he later called it — to record the scene with his Speed Graphic camera. His risky act earned Roberts a Bronze Star medal for valor.



Ernie Pyle is buried here at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl and, once the rain lets up, I am going to go down for a visit. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while now.




Pau.




- hfs

2.01.2008

Writer's block - update

Anyone who has met my son will tell you he is one articulate young man. And, truly, he is. His older sister has always had strong command of the English language and started speaking at an early age.


Little Man has always done things better than she. Always. She walked at 9 months. He walked at 8.5. She had at least 15 words in her vocabulary at a year of age and was speaking sentences by 18 months.


Little Man had 20+ words in his 1 year old vocabulary and started speaking with sentences at 15 months.


And he has yet to shut up. He talks in his sleep. I know what he is doing AT ALL TIMES because he TELLS me what he is doing at all times. If a thought crosses his brain, it comes out his mouth. There IS no filter.


And, because he is not yet in school, *I* am the benefactor of his verbal abilities. ALL THE TIME. I seriously have not had a thought of my own ALL DAY LONG TODAY. Not one. I've been up since 545am and he's been up since 615am. He woke himself up because he was talking in his sleep. He's not stopped since.


And it's tough to come up with anything interesting to write about here when I cannot formulate a thought in my head at this point in time. So there's my excuse. Granted I had 3 posts up after apologizing for not posting so I don't know that an excuse is in order. But there ya go.




Pau.




-hfs