Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Sign Kinda Says It All

DIY Healthcare

Under ObamaCare, many of us may have to take our healthcare into our own hands.  Jay Chinn of England tried just that when he tried to remove a moth that flew into his ear with his home vacuum cleaner.  When the bug flew into his ear near his eardrum, he tried everything to get it out--blowing his nose, using a toothpick, and finally resorted to the vacuum cleaner.  Nothing worked.  He finally had to go to the ER.  They were able to remove it with a medical vacuum.  Fortunately, Mr. Chinn's hearing is just fine, and he only sustained a scratch on his eardrum from the toothpick.

Kinda reminds me of the time in first grade when a friend of mine got a bead stuck in her ear while fooling around doing something she shouldn't have been doing.  I wonder if Brandi ever got that out?

File This Under "What the Hell?!"

I found this and actually had to go back and do a double take.  Fan Mail?  For HITLER?  The bastard has been dead since 1945.  There is some guy in Germany who is 93 and was his former bodyguard who has been answering mail where "not one has a bad word to say."  Un-freaking-believable.  These people have been writing from all over the world.  I have to wonder what these people are being taught about this period in world history and what they are really being taught about Hitler.  Apparently, this guy was one of the last to see Hitler alive, and has had to stop answering mail because of his advancing age.

Just when I think I can't be shocked, something comes along and totally blows my mind.

Getting Eichmann

Today on, there is an article that recounts the Israeli Mossad operation to kidnap and bring to justice Adolf Eichmann, the man considered to be the architect of the Holocaust.  In an interview recounting the adventure, Rafi Eitan muses that everything in the brilliantly simple plan had to go exactly right, lest the plan be discovered and the Mossad team be arrested and Eichmann be allowed to escape justice for his part in the killing of six million Jews.

Fortunately for him and the rest of the world, the plan went off without a hitch.  Eichmann was captured in 1960 and convicted for his part in the Holocaust in December of 1961.  He was sentenced to death by hanging by a panel of three Israeli judges.

He is recounting his story as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the day that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated from Nazi rule.

Religion and Science are NOT Mutually Exclusive

Take a look at this video.  In our lives, we often have arguments about which is superior--Faith or Science, or even which we should believe in.  When you see this, you will begin to wonder, are the two the same or are they dependant on each other? 

Beautiful Math

Computer Jedi Mind Trick

This is so full of awesomeness I still am trying to figure out how it works.  No matter what, it will nail it every time.  It is driving me crazy!  Go ahead, try it.  It is facinating!

The Amazing Regifting Robin

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How To Gracefully Acknowledge An Honest Mistake

We all make them.  They are as ubiquitous as Facebook friend requests and text messages.  They are Honest Mistakes.  Every one of us has made one.  To me, it's not the mistake itself that is the problem, though that is a problem, but it is how the mistaker treats the mistakee when the mistake is discovered.  The mistakee has a right to be upset, and certainly should react in an appropriate manner, but the mistaker also has a responsibility to acknowledge what they did and try to atone for the mistake.  Let me give you an example.

There is this teacher I know that had to be out for a conference.  The absence was approved in advance, and the teacher wanted an specific substitute that they knew was excellent and knew would assure that the work would get done and would know the material and be able to actually help the students.  The teacher went through the right channels after checking with the substitute teacher to assure they were available.  It probably bears stating that at the school where this took place the teachers are not permitted to input their own substitute teacher requests, though that is their responsibility.  To get back to the story, the teacher went back to the appropriate administrative official and asked them to input the substitute they requested into the system. The administrative official stated that they would do so.  The teacher, believing that the school administrative official would do the job correctly, went back to their job.  The administrative official went to input the absence for the teacher, but was unable to request the substitute.  When they were unable to get the requested substitute, they went back to the teacher, explained the situation and then told them they would get them another substitute.  Life went on.

The substitute spent the time between when they got the call to the day of the job waiting for the job confirmation to appear in the system.  Said confirmation never appeared.  Being the conscientious person that they were, they showed up for the job, thinking there had been a mistake.  They were right, but it wasn't in a good way.  Upon showing up, the administrative official expressed surprise that the substitute showed up, stating that they were not able to get the system to accept them as the substitute.  The substitute expressed surprise, given that they had specifically kept that day open for that person.  The only time the substitute had made unavailable was the day prior to the day requested, as they had a previous engagement.  The substitute expressed this to the administrative official, they essentially said that they didn't understand why it happened, but they definitely didn't make a mistake.  Now, given the facts in evidence, it is a very strong possibility that this mistake had been made, and probably was.   Instead of acknowledging that such a mistake was a possibility, the official patently denied it and exhibited an "I don't care" attitude.  The official then turned away from the substitute, dismissing them like a king dismissing a peasant from their presence.

Now, what should have happened was that the requested substitute should have been contacted to assure that there was no reason why the system would not allow them to input the job. Perhaps then, the person inputting the job would have caught their mistake, and then things could have been made right.  Barring that, the official could have profusely apologized, and stated that an honest mistake that could have been made, and for the substitute to accept a sincere apology and that more care would be taken to assure that something like this didn't happen in the future.  That didn't happen.  The substitute was treated like trash by the administrative official, when they had always been treated wonderfully by the teachers.

My point in all this is this:  Honest Mistakes do indeed happen.  Everyone needs to react with grace, and most of all, both sides need to and should acknowledge that they do happen and should admit that humans do make mistakes.  No one should profess to be perfect or above mistakes.  To do so is to have an amazing sense of arrogance and entitlement.  So, I simply say to you, please treat others with kindness and acknowledge the humanity on all sides.  Acknowledge that mistakes happen, and own up to them, and be understanding when they happen.

Peace Out!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Welcome, and Embrace Freedom

I was looking at my all-time stats, and I was marvalling at the number of different countries and nationalities that are visiting.  This world is truly interconnected, and it is nice that someone that lives in the United States can interact and share information with people all over the world.  As a student of history, I am totally in awe of the fact that even 20 years ago, in 1990, the Internet was in its infancy, and blogs and websites were unheard of.  There were parts of the world that were still dominated by Communist thought, and communication and news was tightly restricted by various governments from around the world.  It is hard to believe that in 1989, in China, students were fighting for freedom from a government they felt was repressing their rights to speech and assembly.  Some paid with their lives.  For the record, I remember that night well.  Where I was living, it was a Friday night, and I can remember watching the events unfold on TV in the living room of my house with my father.

In 1991, in what was the Soviet Union, a brave group of "freedom fighters" stood up to a hard-line Communist regime to tell them that they no longer wanted to be dictated to; that they wanted to determine their own destiny.  They won, and the hardliners failed.  By Christmas 1991, there was no more Soviet Union.  The world gave a collective sigh of relief.  The dreaded Cold War that Winston Churchill had talked about in Missouri in 1945 was over, for all intents and puposes.

Now, while many countries in the world are rejecting socialist and communist values and ideas, the United States, unfortunately is embracing them.  Our president, Barack Obama, has embarked on a tirade of spending and legislation-creation that has mired this country in so much debt that my great-great-grandchildren will be paying it off.  Mr. Obama is intent on intruding government into every aspect of our lives, and as Americans, we must stand up to him and say "NO MORE!"  We as a country need to tell him with our votes that we do not embrace his values and his agenda.  We need to remember the words of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and reclaim our freedom.

Monday, January 24, 2011


There are many types of Mondays, and they usually are like hurricanes.  They have five categories, just like hurricanes do on the Saffer-Simpson Scale.  I hope you enjoy this, as it is hysterically funny, and I am sure that you can identify with at least one of these situations.  Enjoy!

Disclaimer: All stories contained within this script are completely fictional (thank God). All character personalities and company settings which are similar to anything in real life are completely a coincidence.


Category 1 Monday:

It’s a half hour before your alarm goes off and you can’t sleep, so you get up to take advantage of the extra time to prepare for the 8:30 meeting. The material you critically need before the meeting could only be made available on Monday morning at 7:30 am, and now is a good time to come in to work.

Right? … ?

You get caught in an hour-long accident with accompanying cleanup as one of many members of the also accompanying traffic jam, from which you can not escape no matter how much you thump you head against the steering wheel, sigh and look around periodically, and repeatedly leave voice messages on both your boss’s work phone and cell phone, knowing they both are checked only at the end of the day. Your boss’s cell phone is almost never turned on at work in a client’s meeting, and if it is, it’s set to vibrate and left in the said boss’s office. Your half-hour-early-into-work-attempt inverts itself to half-hour-late status.

Why can’t jokers like that one crash into a tree off the road instead of straddling the @#$% cement median, blocking both lanes of traffic, in a position you have no effing idea how it got that way in the first place? Though, when you look at the fine pieces of debris on all 4 lanes in the road, you can tell it has something to do with driving at weekend-for-fun speeds on this road during one’s weekday commute. Well, at least it’s a good thing the rich young invincible-in-his-mind lad walks out of there not seemingly injured too badly, despite his attempts to do otherwise, and just needing 2 pairs of jaws-of-life and a lot of other people’s critical commuter time to make room to get him out. How do you know about this lad’s financial status? The remnents still carries the make and model of a German made, high-end sports car, no doubt designed with the Autobahn in mind. Just as tough as a twisted wreck that it becomes after it saves your life, as it is when it was a fully intact vehicle before it saves your life.

You get into the meeting 5 minutes late with a fraction of the hastily setup laptop-based-presentation you intended to be full and informative when you expect at least a half hour time to prepare, and as a result have to give the long expected, cheap sounding but true, “Sorry I’m late, got caught in an extra long jam and didn’t have time to prepare this morning” line. By looking at the expressions from everyone’s face, every one of which belongs to someone who does not commute from your direction including your boss and the client, you know that asking for sympathy is as futile as carrying a pea shooter and asking mama bear to peacefully hand over her cubs.

Now for the rest of the day: Your half-hour of sleep deprivation manifests itself, and because the meeting was not complete due to the pretty young boy who doesn’t even value his life, much less you and a bunch of other fellow losers’ work schedule, another one has been scheduled. No doubt, the only opening you have is, guess when? … next Monday morning at 8:30am. Fate’s giving you the finger.

Your boss mentions that the client was unappreciative of the lack-of-promptness-and-preparedness by you, but before you can interrupt to defend yourself with the fact you actually tried to come in early, he puts up a hand in order to interrupt your interruption and claims to understand your predicament, but tells you that the client doesn’t, and that he was just letting you know this out of “courtesy.” You can clearly see the blatant frustration on this paycheck-signer’s face, that knowing that your situation was totally out of your control isn’t really actually relevant, and so you don’t buy the implication that this boss, or any boss in this company for that matter, is actually understanding. You wait patiently and in your mind, dare him to say, “you should in the future come in to work earlier on days with important morning meetings to accommodate possible delays like that,” but you weren’t entertained with that or any similar phrase, unfortunately.

Frustration of a day caused by Ivan Pr@#$sworth IV’s new lesson in life that daddy can’t bail him out of seeing images of his life flashing before his eyes. You should have tried to sleep the extra half hour.

This insult of a day is a shoo-in for Mondaycane-strength Category 1.

Category 2 Monday:

You hit a cat on the way to work, and your heart sinks because you own a cat. You consider turning around to see if it’s somebody’s…

…Sniff-sniff…awwww! [hack, gag]

That wasn’t a cat!

You aren’t all that relieved that it wasn’t someone’s pet because that skunk you hit gave a last-stand heroic chemical weapon of mass odorification to its enemy (your car) before succumbing to its fate and now you, being the courteous one that you are, and also a little sheepish about your … new situation, have to park in the back of your company’s lot until all of the skunk stuff passes.

You arrive at work after the long walk from the Senora Dessert, passing a cactus or two, and sit down at your computer. A short time later you get a very professionally written email, sent to you as part of the email group: “Rest Of The Employees In This @#$% Building,” reminding how this company panders to high-end clients and that every part of the campus, from employee’s hygienic practices to cosmetic conditions of vehicles in the parking lot should represent the best this good company can offer.” It’s obviously a reaction to your car, as if clients choose to park their cars at the back of the lot looking for a long sandy stroll. Would customers be that anxious to delay coming in here as much as possible to park that far away? What about that secret member of the lot police? Aren’t there enough rustbuckets with offensive stickers parking in front of the building, in that they should not have to traverse to the back of the lot with canteens and camels in hand?

You realize you must sneak out at lunch time, and move your car to another parking lot, and walk the extra X number of blocks back to work from the Sahara Desert, instead of the Senora. Then it hits you, who would know about your car but your health-freak department director who parks in B. F. E., next to where you parked this morning, and makes the desert walk part of his exercise routine. You know he is a nice guy pretty much all of the time so you’re sure he will allow you wait until lunch time so you can be more discrete about it, when you overhear from his office talking to someone else:

“I wish who-ever it is that owns that Silver Toy-ota that smells like fresh poll-cat would get the hint and move it outa here! We gotta big-whig from an o’l company commin’ in this mornin’.” You guess it can’t wait until lunch time. Not only that, your visible reaction to that blast-off by the normally docile Southern Gentleman that he is, causes people to turn around and whisper.

Gotcha! It’s in the grapevine, firmly implanted like a virus from a tick in your @#$. You know that it will spread around the office now, and you have to go out to banish Mr. Stinkburger to another lot right away, while everyone is staring at your and the floating overhead multicolored spotlights and disco ball illuminating your way out the door, glittering off you and your new tail-between-the-legs appendage. You know you are now doomed to a week’s worth of cubical gifts like plush skunk toys with heart-shaped “TY”’s tagged to their ears, jumbo packs of air-freshening hang-tags for your mirror, and 48-oz cans of tomato juice with the familiar V8 logo, along with the “oh my God, you killed Pepe! …” comments from your office “friends.” You, of course, force yourself take it in stride because being visibly angry might encourage more of the same. Who are you to interrupt one of the very few sources of corporate morale around here?

Maybe if it was a BP executive who was coming in, you could dump tarballs on your car as a passively-aggressive way of covering up the smell.

Outed as the proud owner of a new stinkmobile. Good enough for Category 2 on the Monday scale.

Category 3 Monday:

Some numbskull doesn’t know what every teenage joker who works a store counter knows. Even the dolts who ring up your convenience-store sales with cell-phones shouldered to their ears know this: orange decanter for decaf, brown decanter for regular! The later-stage caffeine addicts in your office are grumbling and neither you nor they know why, until you get the beginning stages of what will soon be a full-grown, mature, ripe, grade A, fresh from the farm, harvested today, murderous migraine.

You are the poor @#$%^&* who needs decaf for that very reason!

You almost never have migraines unless you have substantial doses of caffeine like the accidental dose you received today, and for that reason, the following things you can ignore most days, but you have to struggle to endure today:

• The flickering florescent near your cubical, which needs ballasts, which are on back-order for who-knows-when.

• Un-shaded window bordering your cube with direct view of the sun, which makes you wonder why the florescents in bullet-point number 1 are even on during the day.

• Click-happy Cube-neighbor #1 who refuses to learn about a miracle invention of a quiet little rollie-thing on top of the mouse called a “scroll wheel.”

• Cube-neighbor #2 who has his ringer on volume 10dB above a 747’s jet’s roar even though Cube-neighbor #2 is not here.

• Persistent caller-every-15-minutes of Cube-neighbor #2 who refuses to learn about a miracle invention called “voice mail.”

You guess they did not consult migraine sufferers as to whether or not to call window-side cubicles a way to reward people for “positions of prominence.” Because your floor is full of people who take their work home all the time, working 10 hours a day at home sometimes, you are sure your boss will understand so you dare to ask, this one day out of 10,000 that you don’t, to do the same today. Without answering a direct “yes” or “no” to you, you wait patiently through a spiel about how this-and-such customer may come in anytime this week and we need employees to be more visible before realizing you are going to receive nothing anywhere near an explicit yes-or-no. This is typical of this boss. Your best bet is to assume that this response means no. Time to go back to your light-and-noise blight of a cubicle. You think about asking him, “boss, can you at least waterboard me so I can get some relief?”

Migraine sufferers know that this Monday is at least a Category #3.

Category 4 Monday:

The list isn’t complete without computers.

[Grind-grind-grind blue text screen of unintelligible technical babble instead of accounting software screen full of your morning’s hard-work.]

That’s the last dying dramatic speech of your hard drive. IT geeks confirm the obvious: data permanently irretrievable. Hard drive has been rendered to paperweight status. No problem. Every machine in this building is scheduled to make automatic copies of your local data every day and you can borrow a PC while the cheap company finally affords you a new hard drive, bigger in capacity only because the hard drives with the same capacity as the one with X’s over its eyes that used to be yours is no longer made.

Supposedly your data has been backed up. Key word: “supposedly.” Well, somehow the miracle operating system, the brainchild of some Harvard dropout, had quietly failed to back up your work for the last 2 weeks because of a software problem unrelated to your six-foot-under hard drive. It’s the end of the fiscal year tomorrow and you have exactly 52 hours and 28 minutes to make up 2 weeks worth of work. Your appraisals, and therefore your raises, are purely results-based so expletive-laced computers with 5-year-old hard drives can bring your annual net change in pay to zero in an instant like that, without any hope of pleading your way out of negative reviews, except maybe after next fiscal year, even though you repeatedly asked that you get a new hard drive for the last 2 years to prevent disasters like this.

You go back to finish your extra-extra-extra-[276 more “extras”] long Monday to get what you can get done and then have a little more leverage, perhaps, to evoke that miracle drug that is scarce around here called “understanding.” It’s still worth it to try as an absolutely considerably even less-than-futile attempt to save your face and sense of respect to them, … you think anyway. You know that they will acknowledge that this is firmly planted in the “abso-f@#$%^&-lutley beyond your control” pot but will still hold you to that joker standard that they do anyway, because someone else was hurt by, the afore mentioned uncontrollable-factors-are-no-excuse standard in the past. They don’t have deaf ears, just ignorant ones, though the results of deaf or ignorant ears are indistinguishable. Save money on computer equipment = saving money on raises. You thought they would rather have the work done on time. God bless corporate America. Scott Adams definitely worked here.

Modern technology for one day = career flatline for a year. Who ends fiscal years on a Wednesday smack in the middle of a month anyway? Answer: to make this a Category 4 Monday.

Category 5 Monday:

You are slaving away, not unlike any other typical Monday, or any other day of the week, when you get a very startling email from the VP office as a CC: recipient saying: “A client caught a 2 million dollar error on his account and I suggest that this get fixed NOW!!! Because if it does not get fixed before I find out whose fault it is, they will be through!”

When you are the “big f@#$%^& grand f@#$%^& poo-bah of a …. junior Vice President” with the same last name as the company founder of a “highly professional firm” like “ours,” and have a largely absent real VP, and in an economy like ours right now, you can get away with a little bit of less-than-professional tyrannical overreactions that make Donald Trump and Steve Jobs look like Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo. You know immediately who made the common mistake that everyone makes, but not usually at that high amount, so you decide to reply-to-all on the email trying to gently stroke one of the two giant heads of this dragon, assuring that the issue will be resolved right away, and this castle doesn’t have to burn down to the ground right now. You BCC your reply to the guy who you know is the culprit so that person will fix it right away and avoid eminent danger to life and limb. Right…?

Dumbs@#$ you sends it to the wrong person who has one miniscule letter different in first name as the person whom should be the recipient of this email. Dumbs@#$% wrong-person-with-the-one-miniscule-letter-different-in-first-name-as-the-person-whom-should-receive-this-email hits a reply-to-all correcting the name of the intended recipient, with the CCs including the email address of the double-flame-thrower who has the 30-year-dead-founder as a great uncle. This ignorant fool just gave this dragon a large tractor-trailer of gasoline to swallow and a target in which to aim all of its contents in a form of matter resembling the contents within the center of the earth.

You of course reply to the bozo, without hitting reply-to-all ... let this jerk get the example so this will be repeated loudly: WITHOUT HITTING REPLY-TO-ALL: “Thank you for correcting me, but was it necessary to use reply-to-all as a BCC recipient, which stands for ‘Blind Courtesy Copy,’ with the correct recipient’s name???”

Having enough of the gist of the mail-chain to know who the real BCC target is, but not enough to know not to throw a fellow employee under the bus? Yes indeed, this employee works a safe thousand-miles away, in another facility of this “great company of ours.”

Now how do you kindly let new victims of your latest screw up that they are about to be canned because of you, and that they should run before his cubicle gets turned into a heap of black sooty cinders with little pieces of flames here and there still trying to stay alive on what meager bits of fuel the JVP has mercifully spared for them? Before you even get a chance to forewarn anyone, the victim is already having three security guards standing in the soon-to-be-former cubicle: two firmly locking arms behind the back pushing the victim out to the elevators, and one of them hastily finishing packing a box of personal items before scurrying to catch up to the rest of them. This is how they roll around here when you get fired, even though there is nothing here which needs such Pentagon-wannabe-type requirements of our security company. Just as the elevator doors close like coffin lids on the newly career-deceased, that JVP dares to say to you in front of the whole d@#$ floor, including the afore mentioned career-deceased, “I should turn back-stabbers like you loose on our competitors, as maybe only that will save our client from moving his account someplace else,” of course with no honorable mention of the other one a zillion light-years away who had p@#$-poor judgment on use of company email.

Of course only in your mind, you are performing all kinds of cutesy and acrobatic ways to give him a well-earned one-finger-salute. The Middle-Eastern-snakedancing arms almost gives you the chuckles. There’s also the old dzork-dzorking of the two offending digits in position to be members of the familiar Jacob’s Ladder devices in old black-and-white mad scientist films. The double-vertical spin sounds nice, as well as the cha-cha version. You think you might as well join the fate of the poor @#$%^&* you just threw to the dogs accidentally by attempting one of the above acts, for real, but you can’t think of a dramatic and clever enough act to make it worth it so after you quickly make the corrections the ex employee was to make. You spend the rest of the day attempting to do work between wonderings of how you are going to even begin to make up for this one’s burning-at-the-stake, and long sad looking stares at imaginary portraits on your monitor of you with a wicked smirk on your face and a dripping red-tipped dagger in your hand.

When the day decided to mercifully end, you go back to your familiar old silver vehicle to find all four of your tires resembling the shape of gumdrops: slashed, of course, by the newly career-deceased. Because you have to call the cops in order for your insurance company to cover vandalism under Comprehensive, and because you know the culprit and that your insurance would go after the newly unemployed to recover their money, you decide it best to eat this one yourself out of pocket. You know that you probably earned this one anyway, as much as you wish the ignorant e-mailer with the similar name had suffered an even worse fate. And as for the JVP, anyone know a good dragon slayer you can contract?

On your insurance, can you reclassify disgruntled ex employee vandalism as damage from a Category 5 Monday?

Been Away

Wow!  I'm so sorry that I have been away for so long.  It has been a long, strange journey lately, what with the holidays and working, and so forth.  I am back, though, and I will be posting more regularly and giving you more commentary on the events happening.  I have some interesting observations about the shooting in Tuscon, as well as some observations about Keith Olbermann, and link to a website that allows citizens to give Congress ideas to help cut government waste.  I will be back in force tomorrow, but for now, I am going to post you something that I was sent via email.  It has to do with Mondays, and how bad they can be.  Stay tuned for the next post!

Lady Libertarian

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hey, Obama! Here's a Shovel-Ready Project For You!

Question-When has lack of attention to road repairs gone too far?  Answer-When a pothole kills a young wife and mother of two.  It sounds unbelievable, but it's true.  It happened on a stretch of I-20 in Alabama.  In a report on, it is written that a woman, Crystal Dick was driving along at 70 mph (the speed limit along that stretch of road) and hit a pothole that had been patched and was again breaking down.  A piece of concrete flew from under her tire and flew through the glass of the pickup being driven by John Fisher.  The concrete struck Fisher's wife Jo, and then sailed into the back of the truck between their two children, through the back glass, and behind the truck, never to be seen.

Fisher pulled over, as did Dick, but the damage had been done.  Fisher's wife died the next day.  Fisher asked Dick to come with him to the hospital to help watch the kids, but the police wouldn't let her, because they needed a statement.  Though Dick wasn't charged, as the accident was deemed caused by the road conditions, Dick still felt terrible.  Some people even blamed her, saying she was the one who caused the woman's death.

Fisher doesn't blame her.  It was the most random of accidents, and one that was totally preventable.  Alabama doesn't have the massive amounts of federal and state funding to completely replace or repair roads that are in need of repair.  The best they can do is patch them until funding can come through to do a proper job.

Alabama is now repaving that portion of I-20, but is still several miles from the section that killed John Fisher's wife, Jo.  Crystal Dick will no loger drive that section.  One life lost, and four lives ruined, all over a pothole that should of and could of been repaired.

Woman Who Received First U.S. Face Transplant Meets Donor's Family

In 2004, Connie Culp was just like any other suburban housewife.  One day, however, her husband shot her in the face with a shotgun and then turned the gun on himself.  He survived, and went to prison for seven years.  She was left clinging to life.  The blast shattered half her face, leaving shotgun pellets and bone fragments in her face.

In 2008, she received the face of Anna Kasper, who had died of a heart attack.  She met her family for the first time this past Saturday and spent about 90 minutes with them.

It was awkward at first, but soon they talked about the amazing gift Mrs. Kasper had given Mrs. Culp, and how it has managed to allow her to have a normal life once again.

In my opinion, this is one of the great gifts of Christmas.  Read the rest of the article and slideshow here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do We Believe In Creationism?

A recent study has indicated that four in 10 Americans believe that humans were created by God about 10,000 years ago.  Still others believe God guided our evolution over millions of years.  It is mostly Republicans that hold some level of creationist views, and mostly creationists that attend church.  This makes sense.

I think as Americans, the idea that we were created by some higher power is inherent in our country's creation.  Think about our Declaration of Independence.  "[W]e are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights...."  From one of the founding documents of our country, we acknowledged the idea that some higher power was involved in creating us and giving us rights.  That's big.  Really big.  As a christian and history teacher/scientist, I think that we need to look at both sides of the argument.  I don't abide by the whole strict seven days thing that is floating around.  I take a more pragmatic view; the view that each of God's "days" was actually millions of years.

I urge you, my readers to think about this and your own ideas as you move through this holiday season.  Think about the facts and listen to your heart.

Just something to think about.

Fifth Graders Can't Do Simple Math

x +10=30

The equation above seems pretty simple.  Just subtract ten from 30 to get 20 and that equals x.  Can you believe that there are fifth-graders that don't know how to solve that without using a calculator?  I wouldn't have believed it unless I had witnessed it for myself.

I was working in a classroom, with a small group of kids.  One of the kids was having difficulty with this particular problem.  I was trying to explain how to do the problem and get the answer.  The student could not compute the answer to 30 minus ten in their head.  They were in fifth grade.  When I tried to break the problem down, the student got even more confused.  They couldn't even compute zero minus zero.  And forget about three minus one.

This situation drives home the fact that we are giving our students calculators in first grade to do problems such as one plus one.  Students today are not encouraged to learn how math works.  We want to pride ourselves on our students "doing" algebra in fourth grade, but that is irrelevant if the student can't even perform their multiplication tables with any proficiency.  What I say is this--take away the calculators and make the kids think about how the math works, and after they know how to do math, give them a calculator.

For the record, I graduated high school in 1994, and I wasn't allowed to use a calculator until the second half of my senior year.  Until that time, calculators were forbidden in math.  Physics and Chemistry were different stories.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Obama Can't Play Nice In The Sandbox

We all know that President Obama can't act like a grown-up.  He has shown patently juvenile behavior on many occasions.  Now a report confirms what we have suspected all along.

He gets mad at the media if they criticize him.  He has locked Fox News out of interviews.  He has even taken his ball and gone home, leaving former president Clinton to clean up after him.  Obama is one of those people that is so smart he is dumb.  What I mean is that he is book smart, but lacks "street smarts."  While he can talk a good game (so long as he has a tele-prompter), he can't deliver on what he says in a logical, safe way.  Yes, we had a deficit when Obama came into office, yes, we had a recession when Obama came into office, but Obama has done nothing but make it worse since he has been in office.

Passing muli-billion dollar stimulus packages for allegedly "shovel-ready" projects (of which there are none), spending more to increase the unemployment benefits, for those who can't find work, and passing a healthcare law that has made most Americans want to take to the streets is not what is needed.  In the last two years, Obama has shown himself to be more partisan than Bill Clinton in his first two years.  Even after the historic election, Obama is still dug into his position.  He refuses to compromise.  He is a far-left menace who is not interested in the best interests of the people who elected him, only in his own self-serving interests and angrandizement.  Instead of the stimulus, cut taxes even more, give incentives to companies to create and keep jobs here.  Instead of expanding unemployment benefits, provide funds to people and communities to retrain those out of work for new jobs in new sectors.  Instead of a massively expensive socialistic healthcare law, give incentives to companies to cover people and ecourage them to keep premiums low. 

Can 2012 get here soon enough?

Let Them Eat Room Service! Palace of Versailles Opens A Hotel

In a pioneering move, the Palace of Versailles, the former palace of the French kings, is opening up a 23 room luxury hotel.  In a report out of France, a privately-owned Belgian company has contracted with the publically-owned Versailles to refurbish and open a dilapidated portion of the palace as a luxury hotel.  The Belgian company will "lease" part of the palace for 30 years, paying back part of the profits to the palace as "rent." 

The project is made possible because of a grant designed to encourage tourism to encourage development of historic sites and monuments.

The Grinches That Stole Christmas (Or At Least The Red Kettles)

In Little Rock, Arkansas, two men are accused of making off with two kettles containing the day's donations plus the bells they were ringing, according to a report.  It should be noted that these two men were ringing the bell at two different locations, and were being paid to do so.  The Salvation Army does at times pay people minimum wage to ring the bell.

This begs the question:  who would be so callous, so crass as to steal from those that would otherwise have nothing for Christmas?  On so many levels this is wrong.  If these two men needed the support of the Salvation Army, why don't they ask for it instead of stealing from the organization that seeks to help so many?  To do so simply harms others that really need the money/food/gifts/other things that the Salvation Army provides.

It is estimated, that given the two locations that the men were servicing, that hundreds of dollars were stolen.  What Grinches!  I know that there is a special place in Hell for these two men.  I hope they end up on Santa's naughty list and get nothing but coal and switches for Christmas.

Wikileaks' Assange: What's His Deal

Julian Assange is probably the biggest villain in the world right now.  Everyone in America hates him for the three massive leaks of American classified documents he has done in the last year.  His obsessive need for "transparency" when it comes to international dealings has led to several deaths, and has damaged U.S. international relations for years.  He has no shame.

Assange has also allegedly crossed the line with two of his female groupies.  He is charged in Sweden with sexual assault and has been in and out of British courts fighting for his freedom.  He is out on bail at the moment, and set to be sent to Sweden to face the charges.  In an interview with Britain's Sky News, Assange is of the belief that the Swedish sex charges are part of a larger conspiracy to get him to the U.S. to face espionage charges.  This is bogus.  Any charges would have to be viewed by both Britain and Sweden.  While some of our diplomacy is conducted in the dark, our system of justice is not.

The ironic thing about all this, is Assange wants to desperately protect his privacy.  The man committed to splashing the secrets of others across the Internet wants desperately to keep his own counsel.  In my view, Assange needs to abide by the old adage "what's good for the goose is good for the gander."  He has chosen to expose the private lives of countries, he should expect the same in return.