Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pelting People with Pie

From PowerLine:

A student at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana hit Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol in the face with a pie as he was deep into a speech on foreign policy last night: "Earlham student hits pundit with pie." The unflappable Dr. Kristol responded: "Just let me finish this point."

Being smart and funny is a winning combination. And sometimes a good example is contagious. Even the AP reporter covering the incident seems to catch the spirit. Consider the closing line of his report: "Earlham is a liberal arts college of about 1,200 students that is well-known for its peace studies program."

Bill Kristol is just super swell :)

Journalistic Semantics

Instead of headlines that say: "Pope being fed through nasal tube"

I'm surprised they aren't saying "Pope on life support" because then at least they could be consistent about the fact that they thought Terri Sciavo was on life support when she was on a feeding tube.

Of course, even the choice of "nasal tube" is an update from earlier uses of "feeding tube" here (yesterday) and here (at 11:34am ET.

Now pretty much all the stories use nasal tube. I wonder if that's intentional...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Absent Feeling of Urgency

At The Corner there is an interesting contrast between the actions of the Legislative & Executive branches and those of the Judicial Branch by Shannen Coffin:
Here's what I find fairly extraordinary about all of this. The Congress and President of the United States thought this issue important enough to drop everything and focus entirely on this single case in enacting legislation designed to address what they viewed as a matter of critical national importance. You are free to disagree with their assessment if you choose, but it strikes me as the height of judicial arrogance that the District Court and at least six of twelve judges of the Eleventh Circuit do not view the legislation enacted as sufficiently important enough to extend Terri Schaivo's life a few days in order to allow a more careful examination of the issues in the case. The Justice Department's theory of the case today was to request a short stay in order to more fully vent the issues. But the courts, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to decide the matter in hours, based on hurriedly thrown together briefs and no more than a short argument before a district court. Sometimes I wonder about Marbury v. Madison.

So...the Judges have not just ignored the intent of the Legislative Branch, but the Executive as well.

The Judicial branch has the same obligation to due process as the rest of the government and it is ignoring it by making cursory assessments in this matter.

Jumping Ship in the ACLU over Schiavo

The Corner links this Reuters piece:

Eleanor Smith of Decatur, Georgia, sat on Tuesday in a motorized wheelchair in front of the hospice, baking in the sun, with a sign on her lap reading, "This agnostic liberal says 'Feed Terri."' ... Smith, 65, had polio as a child and described herself as a lesbian and a liberal ... "At this point I would rather have a right-wing Christian decide my fate than an ACLU member," Smith said.

I would of course say that at any point, but I'm not Eleanor Smith.

Subjective Quality

As I just alluded to, quality of life is an extremely shifting scale. Here's Mark Steyn (via The Corner):
In practice, a culture that thinks Terri Schiavo's life in Florida or the cleft-lipped baby's in Herefordshire has no value winds up ascribing no value to life in general.

People often say things like "I wouldn't want to live that way" until, that is, it happens to them.

I can imagine Joni Eareckson Tada saying she wouldn't want to live as a quadriplegic, until she was confined to a wheel chair. Her quality of life was redefined so that she could get the most out of the life she had.

And of course, there's Christopher Reeve, who spearheaded the Left's bandwagon about scientific advances. Or, as SharpKnife said:
If Terry Schiavo had only starred in "Superwoman", we'd find a way not to kill her.

Superman probably wouldn't have wanted to live that way. But he did. He found a way, he found a cause. Terri Schiavo has become a cause. But she IS a life.

Hollowed Out

Terri Schiavo's sister was on Glenn Beck this morning. She said a lot of things about the Terri/Michael relationship that I had never heard before today. However, the thing that really reached me was her answer to one of Glenn's last questions. He asked her when was the last time she had seen Terri. She said last night. He asked her how Terri looked. She said Terri was gray, that she looked "hollowed out" and like someone who was "starving to death." She went on to say how bad she felt that her parents had to see their child in this condition and how unhappy Terri must be.

It occurs to me that with all this discussion over quality of life and whether Terri would want to life like this, Michael and the Judges are actually creating a quality of life that is much worse than what Terri had 6 days ago.

And then, I remembered something. I'm hesitant to even mention it because it seems like so many writings on this issue are influenced by personal stories - and I didn't think that mine were. But maybe they are and I didn't even realize it.

Two years ago my grandmother had a stroke. Simultaneously she had kidney trouble and had to have dialysis. Because of the dialysis schedule, she could only eat at certain times. But because of the stroke, she barely had any gag reflex at all and couldn't really eat. When we first arrived at the hospital, she asked us for a glass of water, because she was thirsty. Turns out we couldn't even really give her a glass of water because she would cough and choke and we would get so scared. After that we could only give her a swab with water on it. But she would talk to us, ask us questions. She did small exercises with a physical therapist that came to see her.

The doctors talked about a feeding tube, but didn't want to do that because it is a big surgery. They were waiting for her gag reflex to return. But after 3 days of no gag reflex, no feeding tube, and a strange schedule because of the dialysis, she began to take on a gray appearance and barely talked at all. She had a fluid IV, but nothing with nutrients or vitamins. That night, the nurse finally took her blood sugar and found that it was 3. I don't recall what a normal blood sugar is, but it's someone around 100 I think. Much more than 3 in any case.
They finally gave her an IV bag with some vitamins in it.
But it was too late.

The next morning, the nurses saw that she had died.

I don't know what happened, I never heard a final explanation. Having had a stroke and kidney problems and being over 80 years old, there weren't many questions about the cause of death. I think she starved to death. It was about 5 days between her stroke and her death. Five days of not eating. Five days when her quality of life could have been improved by a feeding tube, when she very possibly could have recovered, because I saw how strong she was with the physical therapist. And she was 80 years old!

We can't forget the pace of the progression of science. I think I agree with Andy McCarthy. Prove she has PVS, that she can't feel this hollowed out pain, and perhaps her death would be more understandable. Otherwise, one person's poor quality of life is another person's continued perservering existence among friends and family.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Judge rules

Judge Wittemore ruled earlier today in the Terri Schiavo case. I haven't posted about it earlier, in part because I was so shocked at the result and couldn't really believe that it happened the way it did. My shock and disbelief prevented me from properly articulate how unbelievable it was. Thankfully, Hugh Hewitt was able to articulate what I would have said:
Judge Wittemore's ruling is shocking. The crucial discussion in his opinion begins:

"This court has carefully considered the Act and is mindful of Congress' intent that Plaintiffs have an opportunity to litigate any deprivation of Theresa Schiavo's federal rights. The Court is likewise mindful of Congress' directive that a de novo determination be made 'notwithstanding any prior State court determination.'"

Then, without a single witness having been called, and relying on a few hours review of a handful of affidavits, the judge announces that Terri's parents don't have a substantial likelihood of success at trial, and refuses to order any relief that will allow that trial to occur. "This court appreciates the gravity of the consequences of denying injunctive relief," he writes, as though this expression of seriousness on his part will somehow oblige us to ignore his contempt of Congressional intent.

It was clearly the intention of Congress that Terri receive nutrition and hydration throughout the course of a "de novo" trial on the merits of her claim. Her parents could well lose that trial and subsequent appeals, but the Florida legislature might also act in the interim. The judge rushes through his part in this drama and punts to the 11th Circuit, which would have been fine by me if he had resumed nutrition and hydration.

But he didn't. Citing case law having to do with other settings in which injunctive relief has been sought and denied is another sideshow. Tom Delay, in the Sunday press conference where this was announced, stressed that the legislation had been crafted to get Terri back on hydration and nutrition pending a de novo review of the facts in federal court. Judge Wittemore is wrong to rely on other precedents when the Congress gives such an explicit charge.

At a minimum, Judge Wittemore ought to have ordered resumption of hydration until the 11th Circuit and, if necessary, Supreme Court appeals are heard. Convicted felons don't get executed until all the appeals are heard. Their executions are stayed even when they haven't got a prayer of a chance of success. Not so in this setting. And that is what is so shocking.
But it is a wholly different matter when a court simply ignores the obvious intent of an overwhelming majority of the Congress and the agreement of the president. Once again we have on display a judiciary that has grown contemptuous of the directly elected branches. When the Senate returns, the clash over judges will commence again, and proponents of nominees who understand that it is the role of judges to apply the law as intended by Congress will have another powerful example of why such nominees are so needed on the bench.

I hope the panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals does not conduct itself with such contempt of the coordinate branches, and quickly issues the obvious order resuming food and water until the hearings that Congress intended be held are in fact held.

Again, to review, the "de novo" order was so that the Court would review the case, from the beginning, and not standing on other rulings. Clearly there was no time for this to have happened.

It's amazing to me that the Left is so against Congress, again, elected by citizens of the states, involving itself in this matter, but cheers when Judges involve themselves by allowing death. Some may think that Judge Wittemore's decision to not re-insert the feeding tube is not involvement, but is inaction is more decisively a firm action.

As Hugh stated in the final paragraphs, a situation like this, where the Judiciary ignores a direct intent of the Legislative branch, the Left is simply revealing to everyone else why their obstructionist stance against Judicial nominations is such a big deal. Democrats are being burned on all sides because of this, and they're not even doing it to SAVE a life.

Color Coding

The other day Spiderchick and I were discussing the lively game Collapse. It's great fun, though semi-addicting and I'm sure she would join me in advising that one doesn't play more than one game at a time, unless you're fond of seeing primary colored blocks in your sleep.

Anyway, due to that conversation I began to wonder if there was a way to correlate whether you had a chance of reaching a high-score, based on your score at the end of each incremental level. (Anyone who has a problem with my use of the word "incremental" in this instance, please contact the Ranger, who is quite interested in how people interpret that word)

So a few days ago, in the middle of a game, I started recording my score at the end of each level. I only did levels 7-9, and then the big GAME OVER appeared and my final score was 380,137. Not a personal high score and thus I wasn't too upset that my live blogging experiment was incomplete.

Today, I tried again (because I'm a strong believer in perserverence)

Here are the scores at the completion of each level (with a little annotation here and there to make a big list of numbers more fun :)
Level 1 - 6,481
Level 2 - 15,006
Level 3 - 23,071 (at this point I was starting to worry that my pace was slipping)
Level 4 - 49,826 (respectable I guess)
Level 5 - 173,173 (Woohoo! Eradicating a large conglomerate of red blocks gave me a 90,000+ bonus! :)
Level 6 - 244,477
Level 7 - 331,914
Level 8 - 421,239

Then, I started Level 9. It would have 70 lines, of which I only made it through 61 before the big GAME OVER appeared on my screen.

Final Score - 508,242

A new personal best, thus making this whole endeavor worthy of a post.


Concerns about Michael

At StonesCryOut, Matt Stokes reacts to John Derbyshire's reactions to Terri Schiavo:
John Derbyshire must have been asleep on this issue. His Corner posts over the last two days have exhibited complete and utter confusion on the matter. In this posts he cites an "eloquent" letter from a reader who assumes that Michael Schiavo dearly loves his wife. Yeah, he loves Terri dearly. That's why he has had a common law wife and two children while Terri's been denied adequte medical care over the last ten yeras. This is complete and utter nonsense.

These are good points about Michael. The Ranger sent me an email along similar lines this morning:
I have a question...
How can Michael Schiavo be married to 2 women? He
didn't want to be her husband when he found another
woman, so he doesn't need to be her husband now.

Good points, these.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Feminists for Men

Like I was saying the other day, NOW and its carious hangers on are crossing gender lines in their support of Michael Schiavo. But Paul is saying it too, and somewhat more articulately then I did:
The Terri Schiavo case is the first time I've ever seen liberals and pro-abortionists fighting for the rights of a man. What they have fought for in the past is that any man who has fathered a child has no right or say in whether that child is brought to full term or is killed. To them a woman's body is her body and she has the right to do whatever she wants to do with it even though the "tissue growth" that they call a growing fetus is half his. In this case it's her body and she can't do whatever she wants with it so they're fighting for his right to do whatever he wants with her body including starving it to death.

(via WhatAttitudeProblem)

As opposed to "Inert"

While we're talking about The Corner, and because it's Jonah's birthday, and because I'm a science nerd - I post this Jonah sentence:
I am still in search of an "ert" substance.

Testing a Motto

I had a neat post earlier involving dogs and John Derbyshire, but Blogger ate it.

So now I say this, hoping it will become something highly applicable to me:
"Eminently sensible" means "agrees with me." When my colleagues don't agree with me, they are, of course, "hyperventilating."

Though I must admit that Derbyshire said it first.

President Bush Signed the Bill

It was expected, but he gets a good ol' "Hooray" for it anyway.

With the drama over at this point I guess...the news networks have gone back to taped shows. CNN, forever showing us its bias, is showing a Larry King Live with Michael Schiavo from Oct. 2003.

MSNBC is hiding it a little better by simply showing meet the press where the Bush Adminstration bashing is not limited to this particular case.

Fox News skirts the issue altogether by talking about baseball with Geraldo and Tom Sizemore.

So, I'm going to watch a little more of David Sutcliffe on the Travel Channel and then go to bed.

I really pray that all of this midnight politicking is more than just midnight politicking and that Terri's life is permanently protected from the wills of others.

Now Carol is arguing with Bob Schindler about whether the federal court has heard the case or reviewed the case or whatever. Didn't Carol get the memo that the lawyers get the law questions and the family gets the human interest questions?

Well, maybe she's just following in Judy's footsteps.

Not a lot of "doing" in the Due Process

I just heard NonJudy say on CNN that this bill would allow a full judicial review of Terri's case, something she didn't have before because Michael prevented it. How did I miss this? and if it's the case, how can Democratic Congressman Steny H___ (I can't remember his last name, but he's from Maryland) base his whole argument on how Florida has already seen this case through extensive "due process"? If someone was appealing to a federal court after receving an unsatisfactory state court decision, people would not be complaining. That's just how it's done. Why can't it be done this way this time?

Explanations please.

Oh, and I'm not sure what it is, but NonJudy's continually using the term "blood Relatives" to refer to "Everybody but Michael" is really getting on my nerves.

AH her name is Carol! Now I know.

All kinds of bad points

Florida Rep Wasserman Schultz was just ranting on CNN.

First, she said that the "American people lost" today because congress inserted itself in a "Private Family Matter" and that the "Republican leadership thumbed their nose at the Constitution."
Huh? Why is it ok for Judges to insert themselves into "Private Family Matters" but not Congress? At least there's a chance that members of Congress were elected by those Private families.

Second, she said that Terri did not wish to be sustained on "artificial life support." Now we can argue forever about what Terri actually wanted, and because we can do that I still think it's crazy that so many Democrats want to hang their hat on this point ad nauseum. Strangely enough, the thing that made me realize that the Democrats know that to be a weak point, moreover an unverifiable point, is when Judy Woodruff chose that part of Wasserman Schultz's statement. There's no point is arguing that point because there's nothing to conclude. It's all hearsay.

I'd rather go back to the point that a feeding tube is not artificial life support.


"In their mind"


The CNN anchor women (NotJudy) just said that Terri's "blood relatives" were returning to Terri's room to share the "good news about this bill passing - good news in their minds."

Yup. She actually said that, good news in their minds.


Democrats to States' Rights: "I Luv U now!"

Jonah Goldberg had some good things to say Sunday Night about the liberals sudden infatuation with States' Rights:

But I have to say I'm disgusted with the faux moral outrage from liberals who are stunned by the idea that the federal government might get involved in issues like this. This is the party which danced a jig over the Violence Against Women Act and which has defined a vast swath of its political raison d'etre around the idea that the federal government should jealously guard the right to abortion and the right to appeal a death sentence in federal courts. And it is now scandalized that the Republican Party is trying to prevent a state court from killing a woman. It's okay for Washington to meddle when a husband slaps his wife, but it's outrageous when Washington tries to stop a husband from killing his wife? It's mandatory that a federal judge make sure a minority isn't passed-over for a promotion, but it's a rejection of the rule of law for a federal judge to make sure that a woman isn't wrongfully starved to death? Thanks to the hard work of Democrats states can't set their own drinking age or voting age, but suddenly state judges should be The Word of God when it comes to slowly killing citizens. I don't get it.

Over the Top

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I'm watching the vote on CNN and the 218 number has just been passed. It's almost sad to hear Judy Woodruff seem sad that this has passed. She says things like "the republican leadership has succeeded" all by ignoring the 40 plus democrats who have also voted "Yea" thus far.

Also of note, a homemade sign showing behind CNN's on-location guy said "Starve a dog, Go to Jail"
He's right about that too. I've seen it on Animal Planet.

Most ironically, CNN's liberal commentators keep talking about what the Democrats' argument was against order to try and convince us, I guess, that it's the right argument. However, in doing this, they just keep reminding us that the Democrats were in favor of starving and stalling.

The gentlewomen from the midwest

I live in Ohio. I love Ohio. Usually I'm proud of it. But I just heard Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) talk...and I'm not so proud.

She went on this one minute riff about how this decision should be made by her family, who loves her and who has been with her.

Is this woman even paying attention?? Her family who has been with her IS the one who is trying to make the decision, but her husband is trumping their decision. Moreover, as the Ranger reminded me tonight, this man has a common law marriage with another women with whom he has had two children. I'm not going to say that Michael Schiavo is after any money from Terri or anything or that he's deliberately trying to kill her, I just think that keeping her alive is not that important to him because he has built a new life with a new woman and a new family.

Right before Rep Kaptur, a Democratic congresswoman from Indiana (Julia Carson?) came to the floor of the House and said "I don't know what we're doing here, we were snatched from our houses of worship to come here..."
Does she really think that her saying that makes us this she's all Christian about this? Well, if we did, her next comments would make use shake our heads in confusion. At least that's what I did.
She started talking about Medicare. She said that people are crying out for Medicare but the "Powers that Be" has said they can't have it.
Man. You know the Democrats are really losing it when they take this occasion to slam the Bush Administration over Medicare. She her argument is that other people want Medicare and since we're not giving it to them...or giving enough of it to them, Terri Schiavo should starve.

Anyone else confused by that??

These Democrats didn't have to come to vote. They didn't ask for this extra time to read a bill, these asked for this time to talk - about anything they want, since this is probably one of the few times when people are watching C-SPAN at midnight.

The Minority Leader of the Senate was ousted from his seat, probably due, at least in part, to his obstruction of judicial nominations. And you know, a lot of people didn't even know that was going on. Tomorrow morning everyone is going to know that the House Democrats were obstructing life and living tonight. It will be in every news account in some form because there has to be an explanation as to why this vote is happening in the midnight hour.

Hmmm...that reminds me of a line from a song we used to sing in Gospel Choir in college. It was a song about perserverance and standing strong in faith - probably based in part on the verse that says "weeping and sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning":

Late in the midnight hour, God's gonna turn it around...

I pray that it will be in this late hour that God will work to turn around this situation of starvation and suffering.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

In case we thought they couldn't get any more foolish...

...the Democrats have proven us wrong again. I was watching news coverage of the House debate on Terri Schiavo and thinking about how unbelievably ridiculous it was that the House Democrats were making all the rest of the sane reps wait until 12:01 am to vote on the bill. It's almost unreal, but it's happening, as Rick at StonesCryOut comments accordingly:
Congressional Democrats gave me more justification for my choice of party affiliation today. Democrats blocked a voice vote on the bi-partisan Schiavo legislation, a tactic that will only delay the President's signing of the bill. Once the Republicans get a quorum, which may occur as early as 8 hours from now, the bill will be passed overwhelmingly by the House. The Dems know that the legislation will pass, but instead take this opportunity to placate their base and demonstrate to America that they are the party of obstructionism and not on the side of life.

It's like the House Dems are the annoying little brothers of the semi-ineffectual neighborhood bullies that are the Senate Dems.

At least the Senate Democrats can obstruct for more than 8 hours at a time. I can just see them all shaking their heads at their little brothers in the House, saying "Amateurs."

The Amplified Golden Rule

I remember something a Pastor friend of mine would always say:
It's not just 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' Instead it's 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you were them.'

Now, if we forget for a second that there is a strange you/them/others construction there that may not be entirely grammatically correct - we can look at what this really means. Here's an example of this idea:
I'm a big hugger. I'm always giving someone if I were to follow the golden rule in its pure form, I would hug everyone all the time because that would be what I would want done to me. However, some people don't always want hugs. Maybe they are worried about getting sick, or maybe just want to shake hands. This way, when the above addendum is considered, I can treat people with more respect by thinking about what they would want and not just what I would want in their position.

Jeff at Digital Brown Pajamas makes a similar point regarding Terri Schiavo (via WhatAttitudeProblem):
I think the reason so many people are for "letting her go" is precisely because they are unable to truly put themselves in her shoes. They assume that because "I wouldn't want to live that way" that Terri doesn't either. They assume that there is only one "quality of life" that is worth living, and Terri's can't possibly be worth it. It is the height of arrogance to assume that your "quality of life" judgment is better than Terri's. Isn't it quite possible that to Terry living is better than dying?

It's not just being arrogant, it's being self-centered.

Jeff makes an additional good point about what it really means to have a feeding tube:
In Terri's case, however, we are not simply turning off a respirator attached to a brain-dead patient. I would have no objection if we had been artificially keeping her alive all this time. But Terry is being kept alive in the same manner that you or I are kept alive, by feeding and sheltering.

A feeding tube is not a respirator. People who can talk and function in a lot of other ways getting feeding tubs. Stroke victims who can have conversations and write clearly but have no gag reflex cannot eat in a normal way and are thus relegated to a feeding tube. If we removed it from a person like that, they would starve to death. The only difference between that sort of stroke victim and Terri Schiavo is that he would be able to verbalize his desire no to starve to death, while Terri cannot.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The NonStatesRights/NonAbortion Issue of Terri

Jim at StonesCryOut has a detailed list of thoughts and observations about what is going on in Florida with Terri Schiavo. He's there in Florida right now, and so able to see and hear local news coverage of the case. Two of the items are particularly interesting to me.

Item 1:
Tampa radio host Schmidt reflects on the irony that Republican conservatives are going against the grain of their ideology of states rights in their federalizing of the Schiavo case.

The things's not a States Rights issue. First, Decisions made by state courts aren't automatically related to States' Rights, that is why they can be trumped by federal courts or federal laws. Second, this case is not about the State or Florida or laws held by the state of Florida. This is a case about an individual person and her rights. It's also about the rights of her parents who have the right not to watch their child die.

Item 2:
Atlanta-based syndicated radio guy Neal Boortz, who is on a station in the Tampa market, rides that point hard and is pretty ugly in his criticism of the Republicans and the pro-life activists trying to keep Terri alive. This strident libertarianism is rankling and in this case seems anti-individual and anti-freedom, rather than on the side of liberty.

It's true that this is a pro-life issue, but not in the same sense that abortion is a pro-life issue.

But, just for fun, let's imagine that it is such an issue:
On the abortion side, pro-choicers advocate a "woman's right to choose" because she can do what she wants with "her own body" -- that is...if she wants to end the life of her child, she can and the father of the child can say nothing about it. Being that this is a somewhat feminist argument, presumably then this group would also argue that if the baby's father wanted the woman to have an abortion, he wouldn't be able to force her to do so, because that would infringe upon her ability to make a choice about "her own body." Additionally, in both of this cases, the will of the child is not considered because it is impossible to know. (But I would certainly assume the baby would vote "birth" over "death" if such a survey could be asked of him).

Analogously then, in this case liberals are in essence saying that a man, Michael Schiavo, has the right to make a decision about a woman's own body. Also, another woman, Terri's mother, apparently has no say in the matter. The arguments that Terri had conversations about the "what ifs" of a feeding-tube life are slim, and in reality, I don't think liberals and pro-choicers are really using those arguments in their own decisions. They see this as abortion, even when it's not and even when the positions they are trying to hold about these two issue are inconsistent.

Finally, Jim is right when he says this:
Many of us have had informal discussions with our spouses about not being kept alive if we're incapacitated terribly, being kept alive on life support, or in a vegetative state. I suspect that's the kind of discussion Terri and Michael Schiavo had. That's clearly not good enough. It's time to do a living will.
Make what you want for your life clear. Make sure everyone in your family knows for sure what you are going to put in your will. Make sure an objective party knows as well. That will prevent this kind of problem in the future. But the face remains that Terri is alive, many who spend time with her say she is "full of life." Her parents have said that
[Terri] could get better and that their daughter has laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices.

Well, sure, but I would say that babies in the womb respond to sounds as well, but there are people who don't care about that either.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

No deep thinking allowed...

I forgot how much I like Lileks. Tuesday he had a big riff about an old movie, complete with info about the trailers and the short intro films. But before that he talks about Lebanon. Greg quotes it here with a the actual AP photo beside it:
The demonstrations in Lebanon are fascinating and heartening for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is the hubbaliciousness of some of the protestors. But that picture is interesting for a third reason: The words on the placard are from “Braveheart.” That’s what William Wallace shouted to rouse the troops. I’m not quite sure what it means – it’s one of those sentiments that falls apart when you interrogate it too closely, but on the other hand it makes sense, somehow. Except that you would be dead, but free. But Free! But dead. On the other hand, if you quibble about such things, you live in a society where Quibbling is the main intellectual activity, because the real struggles of life took place before you came along, and you’ve inherited peace and stability and freedom, and define “tyranny” as the actions of a town council that votes to ban body-piercing parlors within 1000 feet of an elementary school.

That is exactly the kind of logical progression that makes me smile :)
I think that kind of thing should be on the photo caption itself!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Quick Poll

Who out there has ever made a Topiary? And if so, what was your estimated time for completetion? Cause really...I'm sure my little daisy adventure tonight at church (with about 10 other women) was way over the time limit :)

But hey, at least we weren't freezing and there was good fellowship...and good chocolate cake of course :)

Out of Gas? Yeah...Life's tough.

Now, I'm not one to pass judgment or minimize things that cause stress and suffering in the lives of others...but when you're stressed out by something like telemarketers, you really need to step back and get some perspective. Shockingly enough, I think this is an area where the New York Times and I might disagree:
In 2002, Harris Interactive, a market research group based in Rochester, conducted a phone survey called the Daily Hassle Scale that asked 1,010 people to rank the aggravations they faced in a typical day. The survey found that poor people and African-Americans suffer the most stress from the everyday annoyances such as noisy neighbors, telemarketers and pressure at work, but it did not explain why.

As I just mentioned 3 minutes ago, I'm unemployed and so...relatively poor, and as such I'd have to say that "noisy neighbors" and telemarketers are not the biggest stressors in my life right now. And if you feel "pressure" at work...well...You have a job!!! ahhh.

It reminds me of something I read today from a writer working in LA:
Actual conversation going on next to me: "I mean, this morning on my way to Pilates, I saw my car was almost out of gas. I mean, my life is crazy right now!" I am not kidding.'s sort of like that.

Where's Wil?

This past weekend, for only the 2nd time ever, I watched a complete episode of CSI. These were special circumstances, you see, my mom had taped it and we were waiting for the Cable internet guy to finish drilling holes in the walls of her house as part of the cable internet installation.

Anyway, I noticed during the "guest starring" credits that Wil Wheaton would be in there. You know, Wil Wheaton!! Star Trek: TNG! Come on! You have to know who I'm talking about...

Well...I was so excited to see his name there that...I promptly forgot about it. Then, when this scary homeless guy was drug out of some hovel in the park, it never occurred to me that it was good ol' Wil.

Then as it happens, I saw this:
There's a nice article in the New York Times Arts section today called A Computer Is Also a Screen, Wil Wheaton Discovers about Wil, his blog, and his various other endeavors.

Uh...Wil Wheaton has other endeavors? Among which, apparently, is a blog. He really has a blog?
Wil attaches quite a bit of importance to his blog, saying:
Without my blog, I'd be just another forgotten former child actor, dug up every decade or so on a "Where are they now?" program.

Really? His blog keeps him from being a forgotten child actor? Is that because it's so well known?

Oh well, good for Wil. If his blog can add purpose and meaning to his life, then Huzzah! for him.

I guess without my blog I'd just be an unemployed physicist, drug up every now and then to answer weird math questions and perform random computer services for my network of friends. But I guess I am that even with my blog.

Right Beverly? :)

Monday, March 14, 2005

God is Awesome

It has been three weeks since our church lost its youngest member and God has been with all of us each second of every day.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and kind words. I'm sorry I wasn't more frequent with the posting, but I struggled for a while with thinking that nothing else I wrote would seem important or worthwhile by comparison. Perhaps all bloggers have those moments where we have to realize that there may not be much importance to what we write, but we write it nonetheless for whatever purpose it serves at the time.

In the end, I realized that coming back to the blogosphere with a post about how amazing the Lord has been in these weeks would be a good primer. In the days following their son's death, the parents said how they could feel the prayers of so many people and they knew that God was answering them. They never knew that God could give them so much strength, but He did, because He is, in fact, Awesome :)

For me personally, the strength of this family's faith has been an incredible encouragement. Their kind words at each meeting and their willingness to praise God and be a witness for His glory have not wavered. We read in the Bible how God will never give us more than we can handle through His strength, but seeing it in action makes it all that more fantastic.