Saturday, May 9, 2009

Taliban-Like Christian School Forbids Attendance at Prom

Fundamentalists are a queer lot, to be sure.  One can understand how they continue to hold sway in ignorant cultures like Afghanistan, but when they operate in supposed advanced cultures their beliefs, rules and actions come as a surprise.  Right here in northern Ohio, The Blade reports today, a 17-year-old boy is threatened with school suspension and denial of graduation if he goes to the prom tonight.  

Tyler Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School, said he plans to attend the dance with his girlfriend, who is a student at Findlay High.  Instead of graduating with his class May 24, Tyler will be suspended and given an incomplete on his remaining assignments if he attends the prom. He would be barred from graduation, but would be given a diploma upon successful completion of his final exams, the principal said.


The school has banned dancing, kissing, listening to rock music and hand-holding.  It is surprising that the girls at the school are not required to wear hijabs. Perhaps the school board ought to tighten up on the exposure of female hair, because the Bible says...

What is it about these fundamentalists and sex [or romance]?  The truly ironic thing about these goofy people is how often their pastors are found in beds with a person other than the wife.  Luckily for America, they are marginalized and becoming even more-so lately as their political party falls apart.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Windmill Hat

I had a hat with a spinner on the top when I was a kid and thought grand as I ran around, too heavy for lift-off.  I also used to wear a cape and fashioned a sword to go along with the imperious image.

Adults ought to dress up in odd attire from time to time to help them to be mindful of the unstructured and creative fun that framed childhood.  Why not? Adulthood is too serious, too rigid, too ugsome.

Odd that often we need alcohol to 'loosen up' and lower that wall we customarily maintain around ourselves.  Why not do it without the booze?

Sometimes I put on an odd hat just for the hell of it to see how others react.  Not often enough, however, and it is usually when I am spending time with grandchildren.  I wore that pair of 4th of July spinners there in the photo- ran around the house and outside with them twirling wildly and for a brief moment, felt that tug of youth once again.

Author Joan Chittister in her book, The Gift of Years, says this about memories:

Most of all, memory and the way we deal with it is the only thing we have that makes us authentic teachers of the young.  It tells us what we did that now we miss doing, and it reminds us if what we didn't do that now we wish we had.  And such things live in memory forever."

Where's my spinner hat?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Man should cleave unto his wife but not cleave his wife!

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." -Genesis 2:24.

Cleave, it says.  Creative writing assignment:  use the following three words in sentence that might be a headline in a grocery store tabloid:  man, wife, cleave.

Funny word, cleave, but it is not alone in its contranistic confusion.  The word sanction is another that ought to be stricken from common use or spelled in two different ways. How about 'fast'?  Fast has two meanings of the word that are contranyms: to hold tightly and rapid movement [not to mention abstaining from food].  The word bolt conjures up two distinct and opposite situations.

Of course, some words have so many distinct meanings that they ought to go out of existence altogether.  Take fair, for example. Does it denote complexion,  weather, an athletic verdict, impartiality, or middling?  Naturally, there are 'fair' nouns to consider as well as its homophone, fare

English is a wonderfully rich yet oft times confusing language to learn.  My 5-year-old grandson was awaiting his pancakes at Bob Evans the other day, practicing his spelling on the blank side of the place mat, orange crayon in hand.  His phonetics, superb,  his spelling, not. I watched as he sounded out each letter, then penned the result.  After about 5 'wrong spellings' he threw his crayon down and announced, "I hate spelling!"  Rather, and what he has yet to learn, English has accumulated a large number of words whose phonics do not resemble the correct arrangement of letters.  Naturally, 'correctness' has morphed over time as English moved through its phases from old, through middle, to modern English and is still evolving. Donuts and thru, for example, make much more sense.

As a student I hated spelling too and even now, many decades from that classroom desk, I often stumble. My diction is excellent- thank you parents- as is my grammar, yet I empathise with immigrants of another tongue who must learn English from scratch. I've watched and listened to each of my grandchildren 'master' the sound of the language and laughed [quietly] as they made perfectly sensible gaffs. One used 'lello' for the color 'yellow' and all, at one time during their trial said, 'digged.' Who could know irregular verb conjugations at the age of three? Shakespeare penned the line, "the two kinsmen digg'd their grave with weeping." 

Tooth-teeth, booth-beeth?  Man-men, fan-fen?  Brother-brethren, mother-methren? Sheep-sheep, pig-pig?  House-houses, mouse-mouses?  By the way,  are there two 'z' sounds in houses or just one?  And does the word, either, begin with the long i-sound or long-e? What about i-before-e except when sounding  the long-a? Perhaps the Irish have the correct pronunciation of either [aye-ther].

My youngest grandson, the spelling-hater, for the longest time used the voiced dental fricative when saying, thing. How could he know that the [TH] sound could be voiced, that, and voiceless, thing?  What happens when he learns the name of the river flowing through London or the nation west of Laos?

The- pronounced either [th uh] or [th ee] is often misused, mostly by youngsters but frequently by adults. By the way, is that [uh-dult] or [add-ult]?  Further, why the hell do we have that dental fricative anyhow?  It clearly is an unnatural positioning of tongue and teeth, which is why so that few languages have the sound.  [Dis]  or [duh] is easily substituted by non-native speakers and those Americans  with no upper teeth.

So goeth our native tongue amidst ever-so many twists, turns and culs-de-sac. 

The Clever Cleaver

Cleave unto thy wife, reads the believer.
Yet, on her, use not thy cleaver

Joe the Plumber Await's God's Call, Fears Queers

No wonder John McCain lost so terribly with Joe the Plumber as his poster boy.  Samuel Wurtzelbacker, aka Joe the Plumber, was interviewed by Christianity Today magazine and said that God had not yet called him to run for public office.  Perhaps the unemployed ex-plumber forgot to pay his phone bill.

I wonder how Joe's new book is selling? It's always a hoot when Joe opens his mouth and here is the latest: "I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I
stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children."

"People don't understand the dictionary - it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do - what man and woman are for."

I wonder if Joe thought [ sorry for implying anything] that those 'actual homosexuals' were the same thing as pedophiles?  Do you think he knows the difference?

The Blade article continues,"  Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization, dismissed Mr. Wurzelbacher's comments."It would matter if Joe the Plumber mattered," Mr. Solmonese said. "One thing among many things we learned in the 2008 campaign is that he doesn't."

He doesn't.  Exactly, but was John McCain that dumb or was he that desperate when he invited Joe into his presidential campaign?  Imagine the thought if McCain had won- Joe the Plumber may have  given a position in his administration.  Secretary of Education?

By the way, did Joe ever graduate from high school?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trilobites vs. No-Lobites

On Hardball this afternoon, Chris Matthews came on strong against GOP representative Mike Pence of Indiana.  Matthews wanted Pence to admit that he did not believe in evolution and Pence spun like a top attempting to avoid answering it.  My head was spinning too.

The reason that Matthews wanted him to acknowledge that fact is that, according to Matthews, the GOP is stuck in science-denial because it has to kowtow to the religious right.  The Hardball host said that such an anti-science position clearly hurts the credibility of the Republican Party in the eyes of the citizens.

It must be difficult for the GOP to skirt facts and blur the line between science and creationism so that the christian fundamentalists continue to support their candidates.  Yet, as new science data pours in at such rapid rates, the GOP will find it more and more difficult to deny science facts for the sake of the religious right.

Today School Tax Levies Await Defeat

It's election day in Ohio and the future of schools, teachers, and students are in the hands of the voters. Here in northwest Ohio a dozen school districts are asking their citizens to pass operating levies or other millage to maintain school performance.

It couldn't come at a worse time.  With 'tea parties' fresh on the minds of the anti-tax right-wingers, these school levies are in serious trouble.  Further, the generosity of the regular citizen will be tested in these economically dicey times as well.  The local school levy is as close to direct citizen action as it gets.  Up or down in one vote.  Yet I fear 'down' will be the outcome tomorrow morning- angry and/or nervous community members voting against the welfare of their own community, their own children.  Stunningly bizarre, incredibly idiotic, yet that one vote may be, in the mond of many, their only direct slap at the careless and haughty business and political leaders who have ground this nation into the mud.

On the backs of students and teachers they will vent their anger, their disgust.  Too bad it is the wrong target, the wrong cause.  These voters knew the accounting was awry over these past years, yet they played along, heads deeply buried in the sand, while the economy went to hell.

And now, as always throughout history, it is the children who suffer.

War of Necessity, War of Choice

When should America go to war?  Interesting question and poignant considering that our nation is engaged in two at this time.  I was born during WWII, attended grade school during the Korean War, and went to college during the Vietnam War.  War seems to have been one of those growing-up things that kids deal with.

Maybe that's why I'm extremely cautious when presidents start to play war games. Like my friend UptheFlag, I've studied history and understand the folly of most wars as well as the effect they have on the ordinary man, the commoner.  War ought not be a game, nor a toy in the hands of some power-hungry ruler or madman.  The blood on too many battlefields in too many places attest to that fact.

Richard Haass has published a new book titled, War of Necessity, War of Choice which asks the question- a question only asked of a democratic nation- when should we go to war?  For those of us who have been paying attention, it is obvious to us which presidential family litters the pages of the book. 

Most of us need not open the book as we lived through both Iraq wars and understand the difference between the wisdom of the father and the stupidity of the son.  Been there, watched that.

Yet, more importantly, we might consider that Mr. Haass is skeptical about  President Obama's  plans for the region, warning that Afghanistan could become the president's war of choice.  Most of the people who come to this blog have similar thoughts and I fear that Obama's wisdom may not be deep enough to make clear choices about continuing this war.  Additionally, i fear that the sheer power of the presidency may contribute to a numbing effect when war and war games are being discussed in the Oval Office. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Great Political Art Piece on Daily Kos: "Eclipsed"

Midas Touch Golden Elixir

The Dogfish Brewery in Deleware brews a 9,000 year old beer recipe and calls it Midas Touch Golden Elixir.  National Geographic featured the brew and its discovery and adds these details:

Sam Calagione of the Dogfish Head brewery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, used a recipe that included rice, honey, and grape and hawthorn fruits. He got the formula from archaeologists who derived it from the residues of pottery jars found in the late Stone Age village of Jiahu in northern China.

Patrick McGovern, an archaeochemist at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, an expert in the origins and history of alcoholic beverages, performed the chemical analysis on the pottery. He said fruit juices and liquid honey in a temperate climate would easily ferment, allowing for the production of alcohol.

In earlier research McGovern found evidence of a similar alcoholic beverage in a 2,700-year-old royal tomb in Turkey—perhaps that of King Midas. He then collaborated with Calagione, Dogfish Head's president, to re-create the drink.

Mike Gerhart, distillery manager at Dogfish Head's brewery, struggled to categorize the beverage. "It wasn't a beer, it wasn't a mead, and it wasn't a wine or a cider. It was somewhere between all of them, in this gray area," he said.

Visually, Gerhart described Chateau Jiahu as gold in color with a dense, white head similar to champagne bubbles. Calagione said the beverage most closely resembles a Belgian-style ale.

The Dogfish website touts this information about its brew:

This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! It is an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between wine & mead; this smooth, sweet, yet dry ale will please the Chardonnay of beer drinker alike.

Food Pairing Recommendations:

Pan-Asian dishes, risotto, curries, baked fish and chicken

Glassware Recommendation:

White Wine

Tasting Notes:
Honey, saffron, papaya, melon, biscuity, succulent

Wine Comparable:

Sauterne Champagne

Perhaps we ought to begin a Thursday evening Greek Mythology Reading Club while downing a bottle or two of this interesting elixir.  That might be a grand affair and could, after the 3rd bottle is opened, lead to discussions on democracy itself- as played out here in America.  Time?  Place?

note to microdot- could you fly over maybe every other Thursday and bring along some wonderful French cheese to go along witht he elixir?

Angels and Demons Ruffles Righteous Church Leaders

UK Telegraph

Angels and Demons, the film adaptation of Dan Brown's book, has caused a senior Bishop to warn that it could stir up anti-Catholic sentiment. They have accused director Ron Howard, who will attend the movie's world premiere in Rome on Monday, of distorting history for dramatic effect.

One bishop, who chairs the Church's Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis, said that Catholics were "getting tired" of the sensational stories and plot lines contained in Brown's novels and subsequent film adaptations. "I don't think that Catholics will be interested in seeing this as it's so far removed from the truth," he added.

Imagine: 'sensational stories and plot lines.'

Who can imagine a pregnancy induced by an angel on a virgin and that child, in adulthood, dying yet, three days later, rising from the dead and being lifted off the planet to another location in space where he lives on forever.

Yes, bishop, we are 'getting tired' of the sensational stores and plot lines.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swines, Lipstick and the GOP

Who doesn't recall that faux-flap that the McCain campaign attempted to foist on the electorate regarding porcine cosmetics? Actually the pig has gotten the bad rap amongst humans for eons from today's Swine Flu through its 'abomination' in the Bible. I read that swine have quite a high brain to body mass ratio, indicating that it is much 'closer' to our intellectual equal than cows and, of course, chickens.

Further, the pig has given doctors the opportunity to transplant its organs and tissue directly into humans, perhaps indicating that our DNA and theirs is much more similar than we [or they] want to admit.

Which child of the 40's cannot forget Porky Pig cartoons- that lovable speech-impaired swine and which child of the 70's did not similarly fall in love with Miss Piggy, the diva of The Muppet Show?

Yet, no matter how cute we make them, they do, in fact, stink as anyone who ever visited a pig farm will attest. Been there, smelled that during my masters studies down in Yellow Springs. I was thrown out of the dorm barracks upon returning from a 3-hour stint on a pig farm.

Enter the GOP. Sorry for the sudden shift. I just found this headline on CNN: "Republicans kick off campaign to shine party image." Hopefully you understand how this headline fits with my essay on swine.

ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) -- Three prominent GOP leaders kicked off a campaign Saturday to reshape their party's image, gathering at a restaurant in northern Virginia for the first of a series of town hall meetings. The goal of the initiative, called the National Council for a New America, is to connect Republican leaders with voters across the country to help get the party's electoral fortunes back on track.

Back on track , they said. Lipstick or real change? Another attempt to bamboozle the electorate or a serious examination of their tent?

In another CNN article, Meghan McCain said the GOP is going to have to become more inclusive if it wants to rebuild. “I just wish that moderates like myself — more moderate Republicans and more socially liberal Republicans — weren’t looked at as, ‘Get rid of the dirty moderates. Get rid of them,’” the 24-year-old told CNN affiliate KTAR radio in a joint interview with her father.

“We need to be an inclusive party. We need to be an umbrella party. We need to inspire 20-somethings, which is something the Obama campaign did very well,” she said.

Well, yes, of course, but how will her voice be heard over the rough and tough voices of the far-right- those angry white men who love to hate in order to feel better about themselves? I'm not sure that they want any advise from a young female. They want the country to become more like them. And, damn it, they've got the guns!

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