Saturday, November 28, 2009

Out of mouth of babes....

I was playing toys with Oliver and I started to quiz him on various animals and what they eat.  For example, I would point to a cow and asked Oliver what it is and he would reply "Cow". I asked him what they eat and he would say "Grass".  Well, we went through about 10 animals till we got to the skunk.  I point to it and he said, "Skunk"  I asked him what they eat.  His reply:  "Poo-Poo"  I was a bit surprised and asked him why.  He said that they stink and it is because they eat poo-poo.  It was very endearing...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Kentucky Thanksgiving has been quite pleasant. The abundant feast, as usual, was quite scrumptious!  I hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving as well.

I recently read an article by a Jewish Social Critic and Radio Host, Michael Medved, on the history of Thanksgiving - pretty interesting article. There were some historical stuff that I didn't even know. One was that the folks who came over on the Mayflower did not come from England - rather they came from Holland - having lived there for 12 years.  I will need to re-study my history during that time period. I was not taught any of this in school...  Anyone who can recommend a good book or two on this historical subject?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Global Warming Skepticism is Being Vindicated

Those of you in my "circle of trust" (Meet The Parents) know that I'm a global-warming skeptic and have teased me about it. [Again let me be VERY clear- I'm not saying that there's NO global warming activity but I am skeptic of the claims behind the global warming movement -one being that it is human-caused] Anyway...this recent FoxNews article is finally showing a faint crack in the global warming worldview. I have at least 10 to 15 articles by scientists that are disputing the global warming hypothesis but I think you all will kill me if I list them all.  Suffice to say...being vindicated is nice.  Now... here's the interesting thing - when I do challenge folks on this with the scientific studies - I'm noticing another verbal engineering:  "I never DID say global warming - I meant Climate Change."  So I'm now hearing from folks that the real problem is climate change and it is also human cause. Geesh...this is a moving target! 

I'm usually not a skeptic but when it comes to weather theory - I don't know why I become a full-blown skeptic but there's a little history here...  I made one and only one "D" in my entire four years at college.  That "D" was in my Environmental Science course.  I made a HUGE faux pas by writing an editorial ,in my college newspaper (I was the Features Editor after all), debunking the Ozone Hole doomsday scenario.  My professor of Environmental Science happens to be a huge proponent of the Ozone Hole Doom and Gloom theory (OHDG).  Needless to say, he needled me in class but I was able to argue quite effectively with facts because I had done my research for my editorial.  I had visions of being David slaying the giant Goliath of such foolish notion of the OHDG reality it was more like Jolly Green Giant squashing a little ant and I was the ant.  On the Final Exam- I had one question (maybe two if I can recall) and it was an essay on the methodology and scientific proof for the Ozone Hole Problem. It was totally unfair!  First of all, the rest of my classmates had a completely different test - mostly 100 questions composed of multiple choices and maybe some essays but nothing like mine in which I had to answer the one question which I totally disagree with.  I wrote what I was convinced was true with established studies and quotes to back up my arguments.  Alas, I received an "F". If it weren't for the fact that I had A's and B's all semester long I would have flunk that class.  I went to the dean and complained and he was not sympathetic to my complaints. 

So maybe...just maybe I have a little personal baggage here.  So I will always be a skeptic when someone tries to predict the unpredictable using computer base models that could not even predict the weather the following week.

Pet Peeves

The best way for me to get rid of little frustrations that are building up in my head is to share them thus depriving them of building steam. Hence my little Pet Peeves corner.  Usually most of my Pet Peeves are about reckless and feckless drivers on the roads.

This month's Pet Peeves (drum roll...)  I HATE it when I'm driving down a two-lane road and I'm come up to a huge logjam - there's like 20 to 30 cars ahead of me at a complete stop waiting for this guy to turn onto another street on the left but unfortunately the guy is waiting for at least 40 or 50 cars coming from the opposite direction to pass by -so he waits...and waits....and waits. Meanwhile he is blocking the rest of us from moving forward when he could have just driven another block or two to the next stoplight or stop sign and then turn around come back to where he needed to turn off onto.  Really it is that simple!  I would like the auto manufacturers to develop a special bullhorn that can only be equipped on my car and it is the bullhorn that blast into everybody else's car when i have something to say or a "nice" suggestion to move on to the next intersection.  Then again, there's no bullhorn on someone else's car to blast into mine. You'll simply have to trust me that I'm a great driver and that my human heart is in perfect condition. NOT!

There's a message or theme that could be derived from waiting on someone else.  Isn't that life?  Life sometimes feel like you're waiting...and waiting...and waiting on someone else or some event to happen - like a new baby, a new job, a new house and so forth.  It seems like technology makes everything efficient and at the same time very inefficient.

I'll stop here because some of you might have a Pet Peeve in which you hate it when bloggers blog more than 3 paragraphs....and you have the perfect bullhorn on your computer in which you can blast me via my blog entries.  Wouldn't want to mess with you, eh?

Weekend Readings

Wouldn't it be cool if Keynes' prediction in 1930 would come true?  15-hour work week, enough productivity that would provide just enough to live on for everyone in society and so forth. Unfortunately he failed to take in account of the wicked human hearts of humanity (i.e. greed, wars, etc.)  Nevertheless this is a good article to read. How Much is Enough?

Interesting take on Yawning.

Fascinating story about the author of Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace. Ben-Hur

Wow -a brief, fascinating read on the recent shift of verbal engineering in the PC (Political Correct) Worldview. Words That Think For Us

A great quote from an article that un-intentionally and clearly give reason why you should be wary of the government school system (a.k.a. public schools) with their reign du jour educational philosophy:  The fetishisation of change is symptomatic of a mood of intellectual malaise, where notions of truth, knowledge and meaning have acquired a provisional character. Perversely, the transformation of change into a metaphysical force haunting humanity actually desensitises society from distinguishing between a passing novelty and qualitative change. That is why lessons learned through the experience of the past are so important for helping society face the future. When change is objectified, it turns into spectacle that distracts society from valuing the truths and insights it has acquired throughout the best moments of human history. Yet these are truths that have emerged through attempts to find answers to the deepest and most durable questions facing us, and the more the world changes the more we need to draw on our cultural and intellectual inheritance. If you wish to read more of this interesting article...Let's Give Children The Store Of Human Knowledge

One of my favorite author, Umberto Eco, gave a fascinating interview: We Like Lists Because We Don't Want To Die. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Eco's writing - one such book that is a must read on everyone's list is Mr. Eco's The Name of the Rose.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Just found out that one of my favorite singers, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, have formed a band called The Swell Season. And they're on tour!  They will be at The Pageant on December 4th.  I've already bought the tickets. I am PUMPED!

Some of you may know Glen Hansard from The Frames or you might know them from the movie Once which is one of my favorite movies as well. A little trivia:  you might also know Glen Hansard from another movie, The Commitments.

If you are not familiar with Glen and Marketa - you can check them out via Pandora.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Titanic Shift Revisited

Just talked to someone about this and they informed me that this bill has yet to pass the Senate.  For some reason I thought it had...  However, I think the democrat-controlled Senate will pass this bill. We'll see...

Titanic Shift Just Happened

Just saw the news - the House of Reps narrowly passed the Health Insurance Bill.  This is HUGE!  Nothing short of plate tectonic shifting around - creating earthquakes and mountains and crevasses. We have seen history in action.  It remains to be seen what this titanic shift in our domestic policy would actually do. In the words of the sage economist, Thomas Sowell: Always remember the distinction between intent and impact. You may feel good about this bill but what is the long-range impact. (Paraphrased).

 Here are some things that stood out to me when I perused the summary of the bill:

Health Insurance is a requirement - there will be a penalty or jail time if you are uninsured
No higher premiums for specific groups or classes (i.e. gender, pre-existing condtions, or medical history,etc.)
Those who can't afford insurance will get federal subsidies.

We are going to see some serious volatile times in the next few years...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Cheapest Detoxification Process

If you're into holistic medicine and love to detox your body to purge it free from toxins BUT you don't like the expensive products.  Look no further - there's a perfect, CHEAP detox product as I recently discovered:

Need I say more?

Gigi's Soccer Team

Gigi plays for her school's soccer team and they're undefeated.  Note from the picture that Gigi looks away while the coach is giving some serious soccer plays.  Gigi is a true independent, feminine princess!

The Glory of Being a Father

Gigi's Wish List

This is the cutest thing. Gigi has been laboring over this Christmas Wish List for the past few days.

Uncle Steve's Retaining Wall

One of the great benefits of having a handy brother-in-law (Uncle Steve) living with you. He built this retaining wall and plans on finishing the rest of the house. It will be cool...

Monday, November 2, 2009


Snuggies... Will somebody please tell me WHY  this is popular???

News of the Weird

Plastic Surgeon Weds Woman for 'Potential,' Performs 8 Surgeries on Wife

Enormous Jellyfish Sink Japanese Fishing Boat

Man Accidentally Pulls Eject Lever While Flying in Jet

Truth is Stranger than Fiction....

A REALLY interesting tidbit

Those of you St. Louisian (St. Louisan? Let's make it simple: Those of you Hoosiers!) might find it really interesting that in today's WSJ article, More College Presidents Get Million-Plus, that our own Webster University's president,Richard S. Meyers makes 1.43 million dollars!  Wow - the dude makes MORE money than the president of Vanderbilt University which in my humble opinioin is a 100-times more kosher and cooler than Webster University!  Quick research (NOT scientific statistical analysis -don't have time - do your own research at your own risk) shows that Harvard paid about $600K a year.  Yale paid about $900K. Princeton paid $600K.  These are in 2006 numbers.  So let's say we did a little upward adjustments - they still would not beat Webster's Meyers salary.  Let me restate again why this is fascinating: a little known university in Missouri not known for anything pays their president nearly twice as much as the presidents in Ivy League.  Now some of you may protest saying that those Ivy League presidents are probably getting nicer contacts, book signings, nice rent-free homes, prestige and so forth.  But still...Richard Meyers kid in kindergarten could still say to his classmate whose daddy is the president of Harvard: "My Daddy makes more money than yours!" It is all about perception rather than reality...sadly so.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekend Readings

Didn't even think that it was possible to induce snow by seeding the clouds: Chinese Meterology

Just in case you don't know...the church that I'm a member of: Crossroads Presbyterian Fellowship

Ever since I've read  the famous linguistic Prof. McWhorter's book Word on the Street I've been a huge fan of Prof. John McWhorter of Columbia University.  His recent article did not fail to hold my attention: The Cosmopolitan Tongue

Interesting article: Beauty, Art and Darwin The author asked, " It is possible that we have a kind of built-in moral resistance to the runaway pathologies now visible in the arts. Where did that resistance come from?" - I'm still processing this article. Made many interesting points.

Whether you agree with climate change or not - Clive James's article In Praise of Skepticism was an enjoyable read.

Very informative article by the Washington Post on the H1N1 Flu (a side note: I've noticed that the CDC folks no longer call the flu by the origins - for example it originated in Mexico - so it should be called the Mexican Flu.  The Swine Flu has nothing to do with Swines...Guess PC reigns brightly here)


Quote of the Day:
"Dr. Paul Brand points out that every cell in the body has its own specific job, in interdependence with every other cell. The only cells which insist on being independent and autonomous are cancer cells."

--Madeleine L'Engle, A Stone for a Pillow, pg. 42

Wow!  Mary Ellen and I were reviewing the movie, A Wrinkle In Time, to see if it is appropriate for the kids. It is not...yet.  When the Great Geeg turns 8 or 9 - this might be a great book to read out loud with her.  Same for Ollie.  Anyway, I decided to do some research on the author, Madeleine L'Engle and came across this fascinating quote.  Although Ms. L'Engle meant it as a new age worldview in that everybody is inter-connected - I see the quote in a different way:  It is the body of Christ.  We are one in Christ - there's no autonomy in the Body.  Such autonomy are like cancer cells - they damage the Church.

Halloween 2009

Even though I'm sick as a dog - I mustered the strength to be there with my kids for Halloween. At the suggestion of my pastor, Andrew VanderMaas, we did our trick or treating over in a certain cool neighborhood in Richmond Heights where everyone goes hog wild with serious candies and decorations!   Anyway, Oliver was falling asleep so Mary Ellen stayed with him in the car while I soldiered on with the Great Geeg throughout the neighborhood - it was great. There was one house that even I got a little spooked (glad that Ollie didn't come or he would have nightmares for years to come).  But I digress... So... what's interesting about this particular neighborhood was that EVERYBODY asked the SAME THING: "So do you have a joke for us?" [A side note - growing up in KY - NOBODY asked us for a joke - we would think they're weird if they did.  Guess this is a Midwestern thing - kind of like calling rednecks "hoosiers" - whatever that means! Again, I digress...] So...the Great Geeg really only had one joke which was, "Where do the sheeps get their haircut?  At the Baa-Baa shop."  OK...since everybody was asking the same question - by the time we got to the 7th house. Gigi got really exasperated.  She was like throwing up her arms and saying, "Dude I've said this 7 times and do I have to do this????" It was hilarious.  But the real kicker was that we got to the 10th house and by then Gigi was glumly telling her joke which she has repeated 9 times before.  The guy with the candy at his house said, "Nope. Not good enough! Give me another one."  At that point I really thought the Great Geeg was going to kill the guy.  I gingerly stepped in and prodded Gigi with, "C'mon you can think of another one."  The guy, fearing for his life perhaps, asked gently with, "Well do you have a knock knock joke?"  To my relief, Gigi did have one: "Knock Knock. Who's there? Interrupting Cow. Interrupting Cow W...then Gigi yells, "MOO!"  That got the guy cracking up!  She scored her candy.  There were five more houses and five more of the same joke.  I was already getting tired too.  But she managed to make it through!  Next time - I'll have the kids memorize a lot of jokes...

One last of the "candies" was a bagged pretzel.  I'm not a complainer or even a quibbler - in fact I'm very laid back about life. But regarding Halloween treats - pretzels just don't do it for me. I PROMISE you that that pretzel will be the very last piece eaten in the next few day and it would probably be fed to Lucy our brother-in-law's (he lives with us) dog.