July 23, 2009

Classy, Elegant Gibberish

Alas, my search for a new layout has not gone well. In truth, this blog has really gone to the wayside. Facebook and twitter have taken its toll on where I spend my time. Neither afford me the space or podium that this blog does, but I cannot seem to turn off the filters and censors inside.

For now, I went with a sleeker look. If for no other reason, than to at least do some kind of change. Maybe something will come along to rant about. Until then, thank you for stopping by.

June 29, 2009

Template Change

Not for the better, but Google is suspending some functionality of Page Creator that holds info and images that let my former template work. Rather than find some other way to host them, I went on a search. This is somewhat cool, but it is buggy. Since I am also lazy, I am not in the mood to edit them out. So bear with me as I search around.

May 28, 2009

Ever Evolving Science

"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my tail the most." - Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis

So the big news is now "Missing Link Found!", as a 47 million-year-old lemur-like creature with opposable thumbs and fingernails has been discovered. Well, at least his remains were found.
This instantly reminded me of a post from the Dilbert Blog called, "Fossils - Still Bullshit." Scott Adams posits that most of the evidence for evolution is dumbed down so that the masses can understand it. But that the simplification creates misleading and false information.

It has always struck me as a bit absurd that we base how entire species look on one skeleton. (And sometimes on pieces of a skeleton.) Can you imagine a few thousand years from now, after the machines take over the world and then humans again are triumphant, that someone digs up a skeleton and says that this is what Homo Sapiens looked like. And it just happens that they dug up some inbred hillbilly whose grandfather was also his brother. On top of that, the only surviving record from our time is a Li'l Abner cartoon.

This really just gave me an excuse to rant. On an episode of Mythbusters debunking shark myths, they used peppers (Scotch Bonnets, I believe) as a possible shark deterrent. It didn't work. Then the voice over says that only mammals find the capsaicin in peppers to be an irritant. (Yes, I did have to look up how to spell capsaicin.) The voice over continues that capsaicin does not work on birds, and apparently fish. That pepper plants had evolved to better protect their seeds. This was said with all sincerity and as a matter of fact.
And all that came to mind is, "REALLY?!?"
It seems so illogical to me to give plants the ability to think. That a plant would know what class of animal is eating its fruit. That it could figure out that it can produce a substance which would effectively stop that one class from eating its fruit. AND that this substance would not work on other classes of animals. (It still would want birds to take the fruit so that it would spread the seeds to other areas.)
Yet, the scientific evidence is underwhelming. There is not one bit of data that can prove this. It is strictly looking at the facts - capsaicin affects only mammals, mammals chew and destroy the seeds when consuming the seed pods, birds swallow seeds and drop them off with a pile of fertilizer to boot - and then coming up with a story (they call it a theory to make it sound more authentic) how and why this came to be.

Now, for the record, I do not have a problem with the Earth and Universe being billions of years old. If anything it goes towards proving God's omnipotence. Most believe in that God was around long before he ever put us on the planet. Just what did he do "pre-Adam"? Sat in the dark? Why should we think that our existence on this planet is the first and only time that God created life?
The detail that traps "creationists" is the death part. According to them and a strict reading of the Bible, there was no death on the Earth until Adam sinned. So that means the Earth can only be about 6000 years old. Dinosaurs and man were created the same "Sixth" day. They will tell you that dinosaurs even made it onto Noah's ark. That is the only way to get around the death issue.
I am not saying by any means that I know all the answers. But what if God was referring to the death of the soul? I do find it interesting that man is singled out as being formed by God, who then breathes life into him. And the KJV ends the passage with "man became a living soul."

The overwhelming truth to any and all of this is that NO ONE KNOWS! And yet we spend time and money searching for answers about our supposed past. And we take bits and pieces of bones and remains and conjure up stories to help us cope with the nagging fact we want there to be more. We want to feel special and important. We view ourselves as the pentacle of evolution. That the struggle for life on this planet has a clear winner in Man. All the while fearful in knowing how quickly this futile existence really is for (a) man. And that the real epitaph for each of us is "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my life the most."

May 14, 2009

Permanence, Tangents and Runaway Trains of Thought

So, a "discussion" with Kat has led to a bit of introspection. It started with her wanting to move back to Dallas. Closer to family, friends, etc. I, on the other hand, have no reason to do so. No (immediate) family, friends or etc. No reason and no desire to move. That's when I learned her plan was only to be here about three years; the same amount of time as we spent in New Orleans. That was about two years ago. My plan was to be here about ten years. Maybe more. Actually, I have no exit plan. Needless to say, this put us at odds with each other.
I really don't know where I would like to live next. I do know I don't want Dallas. Ironically, eight years ago, I didn't want to leave it. Dallas was permanence. Florida was a place I wanted to live, but not until we had kids and they were old enough to enjoy what this place has to offer.
Now, I have an aunt and uncle and two cousins in Dallas. That's it. My parents have since moved. I have lost contact with the so-called friends I had there. Dallas now feels intangible.

The introspection part: My parents lived in the same house for over 30 years. We grew up there. My grandparents lived in the same house or town for several decades. My grandmother and only surviving grandparent lives in a house that was built before the turn of the century. The 20th century. Talk about permanence. My dad worked at the same company for over 30 years. He retired from there. Both of my grandfathers did the same in their respective careers. I realize that was a different time and place. Still, these are the ideals I have in my head when it comes to how I see living in a particular locale. I want permanence. At least what passes for it in the 21st century.
I think about my grandfathers much more now that Chase has entered my life. I especially think about the advice they imparted. The stories they told. The habits and lifestyles they kept. I know that I learned to love reading by having them read stories to me. Or when they would tell me stories and jokes. Further, I only heard one cuss word uttered by either one of them. And I only heard it once. (The D word.) In fact, the closest thing to an off-color joke my mother's father ever told around the grand kids is still one of my favorites. Indulge me:
A farmer came in at the end of a long day. Exhausted, he tells his wife all about what occurred. "Joe and I were plowing the North end of the farm, when a rattlesnake spooked Joe's horse. The horse took off with the plow behind him but Joe didn't let go of the plow. I yelled at Joe to let go, but the horse was just going too fast. Then they got to the treeline and the horse made a sharp turn. Joe was whipped into the trees. Joe was pretty cut up, but the worst was that he took a branch to... you know... his back side... to that um, opening..."
"Rectum?" asked his wife.
"Wrecked him! Durn near killed him!"
I was about 10 years old at the time. I knew what a rectum was. But the play on words intrigued me. I suddenly found there were several layers to how words could be used. I also know that this is when I began listening to words sung in country music. Those lyrics were full of double meanings and plays on words. For a frustrating summer, I attempted to write songs just like I was listening to. They ranged from pitiful to downright appalling. My career as a song writer ended, and I think the world is a much better place because of that.

I have been wondering if any of my grandparents would have moved around more. In today's world, where would they have ended up? I do know that they did move early on in their lives. My father's mom and dad moved to California from Kansas during the Great Depression. So did many others, all out of necessity. And I know that my great-grandfather really got around. He started out in Ohio, made it as far west at California, through the South including Texas and Tennessee, and if memory serves, he lived in Illinois and Nebraska before landing in Kansas. Why that kind of wandering/exploring gene became dormant for the next few generations still puzzles me. Don't get me wrong. I love visiting/exploring other places, just no desire to live there for any length of time.

Which brings me back around to permanence. And on to a much larger issue of why. What is it that I seek with permanence? I realize I am not a fan of change, but it goes beyond that. Why stay in any one place?
I know some want to make their portion of the world better than how they found it. I know some are a slave to a job/career. And I know some who live in a place for what the surroundings provide them. I mostly fall into the third category. While so much of the country freezes, I can enjoy some of the world's best beaches. For some, the entertainment here is not their cup of tea, but for me, a morning at the theme parks is great fun. If I ever move from here, I know that I would miss it. And dwell on it several times a day.

Maybe I am being selfish. I know that it would be good for Chase to see his grandparents more. But I am afraid that living in Dallas, the number of visits would drop off dramatically over time. When we lived there, we would see her family maybe once every two to three months. They never came to us. We would go there.
I have even thought about some kind of compromise. Maybe in Texas, but in the Hill Country. That way family is close for her, but still places for me to enjoy. Would either of us be happy with that? It seems like asking a doctor to remove a tattoo from a leg, and then place it on an arm.

And here is where the tangents and trains of thought have led. For now, I think we will be here for some time. Chase will have his formative years in the state of his birth. And I would like to think that my reason for being here will move towards making here a better place than I found it. Kat already is doing that with teaching. And what better type of permanence (memory) could there be than shaping the minds and lives of future generations?

April 07, 2009

Random Gibberish, April 2009

It makes me very frustrated, going about a month between posts. It makes me feel like I am letting myself down. I really thought I could post 6 times a month. Well, technically I can. The real truth is that I censor about  95% of what I write. Mainly because I don't feel I have something substantial to add to the web. And it isn't like any/many do stop in.

Still, there are those things that I write down that, at the time, seem to be something. I wrestle with making them a worthwhile read. Most just bounce around and get deleted. Here, if for no other reason than to rid a few of them from my skull, are topics, rants, thoughts (gibberish, drivel) that have been squatting like a band of homeless gypsies and need to be evicted from my brain:
  • Ducks have such attitude. But they get away with it. Next time you see some ducks on a lake, just stay there and watch. Sooner or later, they will dip headfirst into the water, getting a bite to eat. Not hardly. They are mooning you. And you thought they were all cute.  Another reason to hunt them.
  • I miss Feedburner. Google analytics is so clunky. And you really have to dig for the information Feedburner would gift wrap and present in such a clean, simple way.
  • Speaking of analytics, 4 people a day visit this site. Poor unfortunate souls. They obviously didn't know what they were searching for. And it's NEVER anyone I know. (Okay, almost never. 99.99997% of the time NEVER.)
  • If I opened up a puppy mill (or even a legal dog breeding facility), I would call it the Bar K Corral.  (Not really; I find one dog to be a chore.  I cannot imagine what more than one would smell like...) 
  • If I could be one age the rest of my life (sort of like vampiric/never-aging, but not necessarily an undead/eternal state *huh?*), I would like to be 28. It just seems more respectable. More responsible than an 18 or 21 year old. And yet still has a youthfulness about it.
Well, now. Out of my head. And into yours. All 4 of you. In truth, most of you stay around about 38 seconds, so most of you didn't even finish reading this. And I wonder why I don't post more often...

Edit: I do want you all to know, I really am not hung up on how many and who visit here.  It is all tongue-in-cheek.  And done for a laugh only.  I do this blog for my amusement; not so much for acclaim.  Orlando Daily Photo (the link is at the top) gets well over 2000 visitors a month, and I post quite regularly there.  Over 500 photos.  And that's with taking over two months off.

March 09, 2009

It's Good To Have Goals

Just a quick Life Check:
Chase will be the Big Three shortly. He has moved into the Big Boy bed with relative ease. In fact, he has taken each and every change with such ease that I sometimes wonder if we were given the wrong child.
Yet, with all his adaptability, we have yet to master the potty. He would rather stay in diapers. I cannot seem to get past this hurdle.
Any advice? Anyone still out there?

February 23, 2009

Does My Insurance Cover That?

A wave of sinusitis and flu paid us all a visit last week. And since I am now an alarmist parent who does not wish to even pass by a hospital, we rushed Chase into the doctor's office for a second opinion. (The first being a check against medical websites and his hospital's discharge papers.)
He was not at all acting that sick. Daddy, fever ridden with chills, had on multiple layers, a hat and ski gloves. Did I mention it's in the 70's? Much too cold to be out running around with chills.
The doctor got all the information she needed from Mommy and Daddy. Still, she talks to the kids to make sure nothing is overlooked. So she asked Chase if he had any boo-boos. She asked, "Do you hurt anywhere?"
Chase answered, "Yeah."
"What hurts?" queried the doctor.
Chase responds, "My feelings."
Mommy quips, "I don't think this is the right doctor for that."

Almost 3, and already I have to worry how I have emotionally scarred my child.

February 20, 2009


So, I have been under the weather this week. The weather is most likely the culprit in this, as it keeps going into the 80's and then a few days later down into the 40's and 50's.
I cope with my sickness through hibernation. Leave me alone and let me sleep. So none of my laundry was washed - for a while. (Yes, we each do our own laundry. That way I don't mis-wash her items. Yes, that did happen. Lesson learned.)

Now, I am doing laundry today. But I ran down to the last of everything before that. And you know that underwear that would embarrass Mom if one is in an accident? I am wearing them.

Needless to say, I'm going nowhere. Not until the first load is done.

February 16, 2009

That Tingly Feeling

We/I take Chase to the themeparks on a somewhat regular basis. Three times a month is about average. Not just to Disney, but to SeaWorld, also. Is it possible that I am destroying any magic that these places have?
I did not make it to Walt Disney World until I was 27. It was someplace I had always wanted to visit. (More like work/play/sleep/live there.) It was truly a memorable experience from the time I knew that I would go. I knew more about WDW and the inner workings and minute details than most will ever know. So I enjoy it in ways few really ever will. Like, did you know that the windows along Main Street, USA, have the names of the designers and workers involved in building the park? I can also tell you what role some of those played. Is that something that is necessary to enjoy the Magic Kingdom? No. But for me, it enhances the experience. Even today, I still get that tingly feeling as I drive onto WDW property.
The underlying issue is in how I view other parks. Or specifically, how I view Six Flags Over Texas. We would go maybe twice a year. I always looked forward to going. But it did not really mean that much to me. Sure, I knew the ins and outs of the park. I knew insider tips. I hardly ever needed a map. I even "worked" there - one day as a fundraiser for church. But, never once did I ever get that tingly feeling after the age of 12 or so. It was a place to go and play for a day.
So, here I am in Orlando. I live in between three of the most well known themeparks in the world. I enjoy going to two of them with Chase. I would go once a week if I could. But will these places become a "place to go and play for a day"? Will he ever even get that tingly feeling?

January 30, 2009

The Celebrity of President

In the age of Paris Hilton, I guess there should not be any shock that we elect someone to the office of the presidency based more on style than on substance. Still, during the first 10 days, we have reports on what Obama is wearing mixed in with the celebrity gossip shows. We hear about his bold decisions he tackles along with what designer's tie he is wearing. (Go check it out on your own if you don't believe me. I am not about to link to any of them.)

Now before anyone (any liberal leaning person anyway) gets all rankled that I am attacking him, let me say three things:
1. I do not think that either of the two candidates were good choices for President. In fact, I do not like the idea of senators even running for the office. Most of our presidents have been governors prior to being elected to the office. The last sitting senator to be elected president was JFK. And one could argue that he was elected on style as well. And at least JFK had more than 70 days worth of actual Senate time under his belt before running!
2. This election was more about voting against someone or something than actually voting for a candidate. There was so much vitriol (yes, using the secondary definition of the word) towards Bush that you would have thought Bush was running for a third term. No one looked at voting records or experience (exception would be Sarah Palin's experience).
3. And Bush certainly did not help his party's chances by allowing gas prices to get so far out of hand. This truly was the snowball that caused the economic avalanche. Never once did he consider opening our reserves or push for new drilling anywhere in or around the US. He had the power to do so, without Congress first pursuing legislation. (Side note: Who is the largest importer of oil to the U.S.? Anyone care to take a guess?)

So here we are at the 10 day mark and two very troubling items have come up. The first is the stimulus. We run into a surreal universe where we can increase our debt load by giving money away AND somehow we can cut taxes. Try this little trick at home tonight. Tell your spouse that since times are tight and prices are rising, you have voluntarily chosen to reduce the amount of income you make. And then while your spouse is dazed tell that person you also want to do your part to stimulate the economy, so you are buying up beach front property in Arizona at a ridiculously high price. Sure you will have a debt load that even your great-grandchildren still won't be able to dent. But that will be their problem, right?
The second comes out of the the "shameful" bonuses paid out last year. Obama blasted bank executives for their irresponsibility (Responsibilty is his theme song) in paying out such large bonuses. After some digging (and you really have to dig through quite a bit) I found a couple of interesting facts. Most of these bonuses were not paid to executives. In fact, banks that were assisted by TARP had to eliminate bonuses to executives. That means that this money went to lower level workers. Also, the bonuses were the total paid over the entire year. Meaning it includes first quarter bonuses. Before the recession hit. And above all else, the banks paid bonuses based on profits and reaching certain benchmarks. This is how the banking and financial industry compensates its workforce. From the top all the way down.
I fear that Obama does not understand capitalism. Or, more sinisterly, I fear he wishes to do away with capitalism. One news report mentioned he chastised Citigroup for its proposal to purchase a $50 million jet. But think about this for a second. How many people does it take to build a jet? How many people were paid for their labor to design, manufacture and assemble the pieces that become a jet? Isn't that the whole idea of his stimulus plan is to get people working?

In that same news report is a quote from our newly crowned leader:
"The American people understand that we've got a big hole that we've got to dig ourselves out of," Obama said. "But they don't like that people are digging a bigger hole even as they are being asked to fill it up."

All too true. But government is digging a canyon. And Mr. President, that will become the responsibility of our children's children's children to fill. Is that how you want your 4 years to be remembered?

January 17, 2009


As I sat here tonight, I realized that the month is half over and I haven't talked about resoultions. The truth is, this year I mostly made resolutions for those around me. I figure that most would benefit from the keen observations and insights I could give them. I learned two things:

1. The list of resolutions for others is perhaps longer than most find comfortable.
2. Some really do not wish to have their shortcomings pointed out. A few were most inhospitable, tearing up the list before getting much past the first couple.

It is really a shame how some would rather stay the way they are.

January 08, 2009

New Year, New Start

Well, I have resumed posting daily to Orlando Daily Photo. And while I was at it, I changed up the whole template. I was having issues - like widgets duplicating themselves, not being able to add new widgets - with the last template. The only buggy thing with this one is that I cannot get the label cloud to work. O well. Let me know what you think!