Thursday, September 29, 2005

I find this to be highly suspect

So I found this story and I have to wonder about the study that it references. I'd like to see the data that was being used to lead the researcher to his conclusion that religious societies have higher murder, abortion, teen-pregnancy, etc... rates than their secular counterparts.
My first point of contention is with the presupposed notion that we (the U.S.) are a devout nation. As far as I can tell we are moving increasingly further away from being a religious nation. Or did the research data not include the expulsion of God from the Pledge of Allegience? Or the removal of the Ten Commandments from our courthouses? And maybe the researcher conveniently disregarded the lack of publicly displayed Nativity Scenes, or Manorah's for well over a decade. If these are indications of a nations devotion to religion then I fear what a truly secular society might look like.
Another point at which I take issue is the idea that the rate increases are due to religion and not to the falling away from religion. That our dysfunction is caused by our religion and not by our lack of it. We may have many people who go to church regularly, and claim to be Christians, but that hardly means that they really are. Again, if our actions are any indication of what we truly believe, one would be hard pressed to call us a devout nation.
But for me the most telling statements in the study are those which attempt to contrast a devotion to a Creator with belief in evolution. As if that was what the researcher wanted to prove. And isn't it strange that such a study would be released at a time when "Intelligent Design" is being thrown into the courts? It makes one wonder.
All I have to say about this study is this:

"You have wearied the Lord with your words. "How have we wearied Him?" you ask. By saying "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and He is pleased with them." or "Where is the God of justice?" Malachi 2:17

and these words from Jesus:
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." Matthew 5:11

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Quote for 9/26/05

"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."
Jeseph Joubert

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Standing up

Last night's Family Service at church was a good service. It just seemed more vibrant than it usually does. That, and there were a few new faces among us... which is always nice to see. And I desperately needed something to lift my spirits of late. It was a tremendous help for me. However, there was something about the service that bothered me a little.
As those of you who've been reading my blog regularly are aware, JT and/or I typically distribute the communion elements. Last night was a typical night in that respect. One difference was that P.Dave asked if any members of the congregation would like special prayer and annointing. He also asked if anyone would be willing to stand in proxy for those people in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama who have been so hard hit by Hurricane Katrina, to be prayed for on their behalf. Likewise, he asked if someone would stand for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After everyone had received communion, JT and I also stood to pray with P.Dave over those who had asked for prayer. There was somebody standing for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. And this is good. But there was nobody waiting to stand for our troops, and I was saddened by this as I stepped forward to stand for them.
Our men and women in the armed services deserve better than what my congregation showed me last night. Perhaps it was only a minor oversight. Maybe everybody else thought that somebody else would do it. I don't know why it had to be me (which is not to say that I minded being the one to do so) - and after everybody else had received their communion and prayers. I don't know why our soldiers had to come last.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Scratch !!!

As much as I really like what I'm doing at work these days, there's a part of it that really sucks!
Damned fiberglass!
The piston cylinders that we use in our PLV (Life-Support device) are made with fiberglass. And even though we include a washing process to eliminate any loose fibers, the fiberglass is starting to get to me. I still have to handle the cylinders before the washing process.
I'm so itchy right now that I could scream. Nothing seems to help. And scratching only makes it worse because I'm starting to get a rash.
I can't wait until the weather changes so I can start wearing long sleeves comfortably.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Quote for 9/19/05

"Marriage is like having a 20 foot chain, that's staked into the ground, clamped onto your ankle. And having kids is like having a spike driven through your foot."
Dr. Schneider

That quote courtesy of a psychiatrist. Amusing, huh?

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Friday, September 16, 2005

It's about time

Alright, I've been putting this off for about a week now. So I'm going to go ahead with this.
Last week I was tagged by Nash to do the following:

"The explosion of the blog world in the last year has led to countless quality blogs being started, but sometimes it is hard to find them amongst all the other blog muck. Because there are so many quality blogs out there, I thought I would try to start a meme to send some eyeballs toward those unknown bloggers. So, share a blog you think more people should read, and then tag 5 others (who hopefully read your blog!) to do the same."

I must say that I'm having some difficulty in picking a single blog to recommend. There are so many that I like.
I could recommend Confessions of a Male Pig, but this guy has only posted twice. I'm betting that his girlfriend, wife or possibly even his mother, just finally kicked the crap out of him and now he's recovering nicely at the hospital.
I could recommend The Wolfpack, or Ma Deuce Gunner. Because military blogs deserve our support and attention. And there are links to other military blogs at these ones.
I could recommend my own, other blog, The Bullet Awards. But that would just be self serving - above and beyond the typical level of blogging.
So many options! But I think I have my choice. I'm going to suggest that people visit, at least once, Common Sense. It's a socio-political blog. I read this site regularly, though I stopped commenting to Ken's posts some time ago. Not because of Ken or his replies, but because I've grown so weary of the other commentors. So often the sided responses are just typical liberal vs conservative ranting points. I read this blog because Ken actually seems to be looking for solutions that are better than "the government ought to do more" vs "people should do for themselves" that are so common among socio-political blogs.
If that's what you're into, go check it out.

Now... who do I tag to follow me? I'm thinking about people who I don't think will mind being tagged. People who don't mind a little attention.
Alison @ Live Creative
Amie @ Amiething Goes
becca @ blogofbecca (if she ever gets back online)
JT @ One Long Tale (because he does seem to like MEME's)
Kender @ Kenders Musings (just for fun!)
If I didn't tag you , but you would like to be tagged... go ahead and run with this. It's nothing personal. I just wasn't sure you'd want to be harrassed in this way.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

No life for me

I just want all of you to know in advance that this post is not so much a complaint as it is a cry for help...
I am a glutton for Overtime. If it's available I take as much as I can get. And I usually do it without complaining. But that is because when it's available, I usually still retain the option of not working it, if I just happen to be a bit more tired on a given day.
Now, we have been informed that we will be working Mandatory Overtime. One hour each day until the end of the month. Plus a mandatory 8 hours for the next two Saturdays. As much as I might like seeing the paychecks, this is slowly wearing me out.
When this is all over I'm going to need to let off some steam. Fortunately, I'll have the money to do so without regard for the expense.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Institutionalized unbelief

Read this story about the Pledge of Allegiance.
First: How any sane judge can possibly agree with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is beyond me. Their rulings are consistently overturned by higher courts. So much so that they have become known as the Most Overturned Court in our nation. Agreeing with one of their rulings is a sure sign of judicial activism.
Second: Whoever wrote the article that I link to is either a complete moron, an agenda pushing liberal posing as a reporter, or some combination of the two - that would be my guess. Because of the one quote that they offer us
"The U.S. constitution establishes a strict division between church and state..."
Excuse me! But the Constitution says...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
Can someone please explain to me how that statement is a "strict division" between church and state. Or better yet... how is it that a simple pledge of loyalty to "the republic, for which it (the flag) stands" is an establishment of religion by our Congress?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I suddenly have a desire to clean my guns!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

On a more personal note

I haven't been posting much lately, other than my "Quotes...", because I've been a bit preoccupied.
I think I've pretty much come to grips with my pending divorce. I'm still not willing to shell-out any money towards it, especially since it was Jo's idea. But I think I've resolved myself to get on with my life and see what God has in store for me.
In fact, a few recent events have led me to conclude that I need to move forward with a little more haste and direction. On Saturday I got a notice in the mail from my car insurance company stating that they won't be renewing my policy in November. This is the result of two accidents which Jo had in about a 6 month space of time.
I put this into perspective beside her recent stolen car fiasco, and have decided that I can no longer take the risk - or the financial responsibility - for her life. Or more importantly, for her mistakes.
I finally spoke to her about some of this on Sunday. We spoke for a long time about our situation. Longer than we have in quite awhile. And even though it was good to get some of it out in the open, I'm not sure how things are going to turn out.
I finally spoke up about us needing some sort of notarized seperation papers. I told her that I wanted to sign the car over to her - the one she currently drives - so that I don't have to worry about any other incidents that might arise. She was understanding about what I was telling her.
As we spoke she began to express her disgust with the way her life seems to be turning out anymore. Saturday was her 40th birthday, and she had no one to celebrate with. Her "boyfriend" had planned to take her away for the weekend, but those plans fell through. Then, some of her other friends told her that they'd take her out. And again, those plans fell through. The kids, of course, were with me. So she spent her 40th birthday alone in her trailer.
I admit that I feel bad about this. I still care deeply for her, even though I know that we won't be getting back together - nor do I think that I want to any longer. So it troubles me that she is in such a predicament, in spite of the fact that she chose her situation for herself.
I know that by doing the things that need to be done with the seperation papers, and all of the financial stuff, I will be putting her into an even more desperate situation. But I can't help that. I can't afford to pay for both of us. I can't afford to bail her out of her problems. Not that she's asking me to do so, but I know that she can't afford to take on any more financial strain. I only hope that she doesn't think that I'm trying to screw her over.
I've done my best to explain my position. I hope she understands that I'm not trying to be vicious. I have no intentions of hurting her, or causing her any more difficulty than she already has to contend with. But I have to move forward now, and this is something that she's been saying as well. Perhaps the timing sucks for her. But I can't help that either.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

A moment to reflect

Four years ago today this nation was plunged into war. Actually, I believe that the war began years before then. But 4 years ago today was the decisive attack that finally made it clear to the entire world that there is an ideology in this world which hates all other ideologies. And hates them all enough to want those who adhere to any of them to die.
Four years, and unless you're a fan of The History Channel, that attack has been fairly well forgotten by so many of us. Maybe not forgotten, but conveniently swept from our conciousness.
Over the last four years I've heard too many newscasters declare that showing footage of the attack would be insensitive to the survivors, or the families of the victims. We've been allowed brief glimpses of the attack on the anniversary, but most of them have been sanitized. It's as if we are meant to forget.
Never forget!
Never forget those who died. Never forget the heroes that rose out of the smoke and flame. Never forget the rallying cry of "Let's roll!" as common citizens such as you and I struck the first blow against our enemy - and perished in the battle. Never forget that we didn't start this war, but we will see it to it's end.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Quote for 9/10/05

"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
C.S. Lewis

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Quotes From 8/2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quote for 9/8/05

"God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
Voltaire

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Quote for 9/7/05

"Everyone ought to bear patiently the results of his own conduct."
William Shakespear

Strange how this is my sentiment regarding New Orleans at the moment. I wish everybody would just shut-up and deal with what needs to be done instead of all of the finger pointing and other BS that all the sheeple seem to be regurgitating to the media.

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Renaissance in review

Below you will notice that I did manage to post many (many, many, many) pics from our little excursion to the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. I tried to keep some semblance of order to the themes that I was working with. They start with the Festival grounds. The photos then move onto actors, amusements and entertainers. They then proceed to the jousting and combat. Come around again to more entertainment. Afterwards the wenches. Followed by the wizards. And ending with some "personal" favorites.
It was a glorious day filled with wonder and magic. We had much fun and enjoyment. More details may be forth coming, but I just wanted to get this posted so you wouldn't think that I've suddenly changed this into a photo-blog. I just couldn't resist posting as many of the pics as I did. They were all so good.
Enjoy them. I certainly do. And perhaps they will encourage some of you to join us the next time we decide to go.

Westmorelandshire

Main Gate

Welcome!

Thru the Gates

The village

The 'shire's folk

Tricks & Torture

Wrap Around Dinner Jacket

Amusements

The King

The Announcer

Lord Morgan

Lord Ashton

The Joust Begins

Morgan Wins

Mounted Combat

Unmounted Combat

Ashton Moves On Morgan

Mogan Dodges

Amateur Combatants

Have At Thee, Knave

Sheriff Marshall & His Son William

Hooray! For Mud!

Pandora

Our Favorite Wench

I Wish I Did!

Fetch My Gobblet, Wenches!

She Has An Axe

A Rose Among Thorns

Druid

Offering Sage Advice

"Help Me! Mr. Wizard!"

Wizards Apprentice

Faeries Everywhere

Legolas... NOT!

Like Father...

... Like Son

Food!

Souvenirs

T-shirt

Something To Say

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West Morelandshire

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This view from the hillside above just seemed so spectacular to me.

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Approaching the main gate

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Welcome!

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Thru the main gates

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Directly ahead is a guestbook which anyone can sign. You can even request to be put on their e-mailing list.

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The village proper

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A few of the shire's folk

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I'm not sure if these people were actors who were actually working the village. Or if they were simply visitors who are entusiastic about their garb for the occasion.

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Tricks and Torture:

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The Magic of Morgan de Gray.
An interesting concept. For every magic trick which Morgan successfully performed, his assistant was permitted to perform an act of torture upon him (also a magic trick or some form of physical comedy). The show was good, and pretty funny, too.

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The infamous wrap-around dinner jacket

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Excuse my squeaky voice for a moment, but this trick just looked painful!

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Amusements of other sorts

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There were a few other "rides" like these as well. I may have them in other photos as part of the background.

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His Majesty

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I was well pleased that the king saw fit to allow me to take this photo of him.

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"For those about to rock!"

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The announcer (whose character name escapes me) telling the crowd what to expect on the field of battle.

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Lord Morgan

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... preparing for the contest of skills. Working the crowd, as it were.

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Lord Ashton

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... winning the contest of skills.

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The joust begins

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Morgan's aim was true.

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Morgan is victorious

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This was the final round of the joust. In the previous round Morgan managed to take Ashtons helmet from his head.

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Mounted combat

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A tie-breaker. Since Ashton won the contest of skills, and Morgan the joust, the match would be settled by combat.

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Unmounted combat commences

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After Morgan was unhorsed, the combat became more "grounded".

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Ashton moves on Morgan

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Morgan dodges Ashtons mace

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This was an awesome display of both choreography and skill with weapons. These two did an excellent job without killing one another.

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Amateur combatants

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JT and I did this once, the very first time we ever went to the Renaissance Festival. It started out OK, but after I popped one of his balloons we just started swinging at each other like idiots. I was so ashamed of myself afterwards, and have never attempted it since.

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Have at thee, knave

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These two actually did OK. Too bad the guy popped all three of his girlfriend's balloons in less than a minute.

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Sheriff Marshall and his son William

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The start of The Mud Show at the Bogges Theater. What a glorious mess!

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Hooray! for playing in mud!

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This guy really seemed to love his job here.

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Pandora

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I don't know how she stayed so clean through the show. The last time we saw a performance at the Bogges Theater, the young lady who was performing was... shall we say... "down and dirty"?!? Without implying anything nasty!

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Our favorite wench

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And why was she our favorite? Well, aside from the fact that she was sweet and kind and quite friendly to us, even after we completed our business. She was brilliant as well.
As we talked, she told us of her need to purchase a shower gift for a friend. She also informed us of her plan to raise the money necessary.
Perhaps you'll notice the lollipops in her cleavage. It was her plan to offer, to any gentleman who wished to do so, the opportunity to "fish-out" a lollipop for himself for a dollar donation to her cause.
Yes, she has one of my dollars now. She also has one of JT's, as well. If I should happen to make it to the festival again, while she is still attending to this booth, I might just ask her if I might give her two dollars and go "bobbing" for the lollipop, instead?
Yes, I know I'm bad!

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