Thursday, January 28, 2010

Math facts

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?



I forget, which party is the party of limited spending?

Dads' panel at LIFE is Good 2010

At unschooling conventions, dads get their very own private time to kick things around without needing to filter their comments to propitiate a possibly-wary audience. This exclusive boys' club is called SSUDs, the Secret Society of Unschooling Dads, and a SSUDs meeting can be a boon for those guys who maybe feel like they're getting the emotional version of a swirly and don't quite know what to think or do about all this unschooling stuff their family is up to. This is a good thing cuz one of the notable exemplars of sexual dimorphism in humans is that the males are generally not real big on sharing their feelings and it's nice to have an opportunity to do so. And sometimes they maybe even get some useful, practical, male-type advice in return.

Because men tend not to share, other types of humans are invariably curious about what and how they think. Therefore, Mary Gold, the Conference Diva herself, has scheduled a Dads' Panel for LIFE is Good 2010. This panel will feature several dads who are willing to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions with others. Anyone and everyone is invited to attend and ask these dads whatever they want, whether it's a philosophical inquiry concerning the unwritten De Rerum Natura of the essence of dadness or a question as to why men like to watch football on tv when they could, instead, be enjoying the pleasures of gardening. (Ooooh, I have a ready-made answer for that one! See #4 here.)

Here's the writeup from the LiG website:

Do you have a burning question for the dads among us? Do you wonder what goes on in the male psyche when the subject of unschooling is the topic under discussion? Have you been curious about what goes down in those SSUDs meetings besides beer and strippers? Here’s your chance to visit that undiscovered country called What Goes On in Dads’ Heads. Join a panel of unschooling dads for a Q&A session. Discover their challenges and inspirations as they answer your questions and share a glimpse into the XY perspective. Moderated by Frank Maier. [Ha! That's me! My bio for it appears at the bottom of this page.]

EVERYONE is welcome.

That includes you! Come to LiG 2010 and bring your questions. See ya there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Superbowl

Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!
Superbowl!

Saints!

No, it's not an oxymoron. It's real. Fuckin'-A!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Geaux, Saints!

Being a pacifist and shit like that, I don't wish harm to anyone; however, Bret Fart (sp?) is old. His head could fall off at any time, just like the little bird in Dumb and Dumber. I'm just sayin'.


The true flavor of Noo Awlins.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

LOA on MLK

For the MLK holiday, someone I know posted a video of Mrs. Hicks, the LOA proponent who communes with an imaginary friend called "Abraham," talking to a Black woman who had concerns about discussing this day with her son. I could not let Mrs. Hicks' comments go unopposed so I wrote a generic "I strongly disagree" about the posted link. The OP asked me to elaborate, which I didn't really wanna do. I kinda hoped the generic statement that not everyone feels as Mrs. Hicks does would be sufficient. But the OP asked for elaboration, so I'll give it a shot.

I'm describing Mrs. Hicks' points as I remember them from two viewings of this video. I couldn't stand to watch it any more than that. If I've misrepresented her, I believe it's at a granular level of insignificant detail, not at a significant level. I'm gonna try to stick to specifics about the commentary concerning MLK and not let my cynicism of LOA bleed through into this post but some leakage is inevitable so let's just preface this with the admission that I think LOA is ridiculous and Mrs. Hicks is a charlatan who squeezes money from the gullible by claiming that her invisible friend is giving them advice from beyond.

'nuff said.

I have 2 specific statements I wanna respond to.

1. Mrs. Hicks told the questioner that slavery had nothing to do with her son or his heritage. He didn't need to hear about it or feel bad about it. Well, the second part is true. I don't feel bad that I'm of Irish and German heritage and he shouldn't feel bad that his ancestors were slaves, but my heritage has a lot to do with me, as his does with him. It is not insignificant. IMO, it is especially not insignificant to know that 150 years ago, if you were Black, you were a slave. Being a slave is not a career choice, like being a carpenter, or a plumber, or a banker. Slavery is something which should not be forgotten, or even brushed casually aside, as having nothing to do with your heritage, which apparently has nothing to do with you, in Mrs. Hicks' view. Maybe she'd feel otherwise if she or her ancestors were defined as being equal to only 3/5 of a real person. So, I STRONGLY DISAGREE. We are not limited by where we came from but it's part of who we are. It can be a restraint or a springboard or merely an interesting set of facts but I don't think it can be ignored as being trivially unimportant. At the simplest level, Santayana applies.

2. Mrs. Hicks said that MLK should have vibrated with his dream in private. (Whatever the fuck that means.) That pushing it out in public was going against the larger flow. That pushing his dream out in public was something he never meant to do. That he was shot because of the inevitable backlash when he pushed his dream at those who didn't share it. No one should ever push against those who don't agree with you. Don't push and you won't get shot. All dreams are answered.

Well, why don't I start with I STRONGLY DISAGREE. Where to begin after that?

Dreaming only in private, starting in the 1860s, netted (newly) Free Persons of Color the right to get food from the back door of restaurants, to use the disgusting water fountain, to step aside and call all White men "Sir" on pain of immediate and draconian punitive measures, to risk becoming strange fruit for any number of transgressions which could be generally classified as "being an uppity nigger," to be demeaned and dismissed and degraded and denied. For a hundred years. Yeah, he shoulda kept dreaming in private cuz that was working so well. I STRONGLY DISAGREE. It was only when Blacks started taking action in public, pushing the dream of equality into society at large that things started to change. Because they were made to change. By pushing. Which leads us to the next point.

Pushing the dream of equality into the public forum went against the larger, existing flow. Hell yes. Of course it did. If you go with the flow, there is no change. I guarantee Mrs. Hicks and her astral symbiote would be pushing for change against the status quo ante flow if People With Spirit Buddies hadda use the back door at restaurants and sit in the back of the bus. We shouldn't try to push against what is and change the flow of things. I STRONGLY DISAGREE.

He never meant to push his dream into the public forum. This comment is just flat-out dumbass wrong. AAMOF, I invoke Wolfgang Pauli on this one. I STRONGLY DISAGREE. The forum of the body politic is exactly where he meant to take (push) his dream.

He was shot because of backlash he caused by pushing his dream against those who disagree. Well, I partially agree with the words; he was shot by someone who disliked his public actions and policies. However, the subtext here is that he's at fault for pushing out into the public. It's equivalent to: She was raped because she dressed "sexy." Obviously, she deserved it. He was shot because he pushed for equality. Obviously, he deserved it. Don't push and you won't get shot. Well, that may be factually accurate but I STRONGLY DISAGREE.

All dreams are answered. Really? I STRONGLY DISAGREE. James Earl Ray (or whoever, if you're a devoted conspiracy theorist) dreamed of the death of Dr. King while Dr. King dreamed of a long life with his wife and children. There were two conflicting dreams and, inevitably, only one came to fruition. The other died. Literally.

Q.E.D.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Today I'm thinking about nonviolence in American society and what it has accomplished in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. My sympathy, sorrow, and thanks to all who died promoting equality in this country, which was founded on the ideal that everyone is equal, but which has, instead, often practiced the Animal Farm version of "equality."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Serenity, R.I.P.

A bright light has been extinguished and the universe is a duller place for it. Serenity Dixon, you will be missed.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A taste of my high school experience

Posted in conjunction with my Facebook flashback photo...


For my original, text-intensive, query-driven trip down the high school memory lane, read this. For a casual, visual introduction, scroll on down. (Be sure to check out the hovertext on these photos.)

Yawn! Another morning getting ready for a long day of school. Preparation for class was important.


As Sarah Palin might say, "Drill, Baby, drill!" Look out! That one guy has a sword! Nota Bene: Never bring a sword to a gunfight. Lucky for him, they didn't usually issue us ammunition. Not usually.


Pretty sure this is from Junior year (probably taken Spring - '65, right around when Ronnie was busy being born). I'm on the far right, standing next to the coach. (Yes, we had a lay [That's the Catholic version of "civilian."] coach instead of just having one of the priests assigned as the nominal coach. The Jesuits like to win, so they don't skimp or stand on dogma when it comes to competing.) Team captain is the guy in the center who's too special to wear his warmup jacket. (Which I still have, BTW. MJ has worn it a coupla times.) The two in uniform are our equipment managers.


Apologies to Dr. Julian "Sonny" Haro for being in the crease and getting squeezed out of this image. Sonny is on Facebook for anybody who wants to look him up. (wink) I think somebody also got cut off on the right side. Oh well, you get the idea. If you can't spot me on your own, I'm the guy sitting to the left of the crease in the madras jacket and shorts with bare feet. I was always a stylish fella! The Beau Brummel squatting to the right of me in the haute couture hat is my guitar-playing buddy, Mange (Mike Mangiapane to the noncognoscenti). Obviously, this was taken outside of school hours/control. Mostly.

Hey! The notice for the class photo ad (which COST us good money to put in the fuckin' yearbook) specified: Jackets required. It didn't say shit about ties, shirts, or long pants, so I was in compliance.

P.S. The movie "Passing Glory" (There's an interesting narrative at that link or here's the IMDB link) is about the basketball team at my school the year most of these were taken (1965). Well, actually my school's team are the antagonists to St. Augustine's protagonists. It's a movie so it's not all that accurate but it is about actual events. If you're interested in Civil Rights in the South during this time period, you might find it worth watching. Or if you're too young to remember the Jim Crow world, I recommend it for your edification.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Comments

Calling upon my Bergsonian intuition, I'm gonna opine that all bloggers love comments. Calling upon reality and honesty, I'll admit that I love comments, even the strange and unexpected ones. There was that time a coupla years ago when I made a brief throw-away mention of cold fusion as pathological science in a lengthy post which was mostly about common sense vs. gullibility and wound up with a stern talking-to in a series of comments from the librarian for LENR-CANR. Fascinating. That was the first time I emotionally accepted that my blog was openly accessible to the entire series of tubes which comprises the interwebs rather than just being an occult fairy glen in the deep forest at the end of a secret path known only to a bare handful of family and friends, who didn't exert themselves to make the parlous journey there with any regularity. I thought of my blog as the Hades/Inferno/Pandaemonium of Vergil, Dante, and Milton, a locale difficult to access, mostly unpleasantly creepy, and, ultimately, not really worth visiting for sensible mortals. It is, instead, just another cowpie in a vast meadow of cowpies, perhaps a bit stranger than some but a cowpie for all that.

So, anyway, I was greatly pleased and entertained to receive this comment just the other day on a post I made a bit more than a year ago:

Anonymous said: Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

I hastened to post a thank-you as a followup, although I dunno if this particular anonymous saw it. So, I'm turning the whole thing into a new post here.

When I first saw the email which told me that I had a new comment on an old post, I figured it was spam. I get those occasionally because I don't do any moderation. Instead, it was this gracious praise followed by an honest assessment of the author's opinion of my style over delta-T and concluded by an exhortation to continue posting better stuff. (I wonder, however, if anonymous went all the way back to my first real posts - my 3-part math rant, which I consider as heartfelt and creative as anything I've done recently.) All in all, a delightful combination of thoughts rolled into one comment.

Thank you, anonymous, thank you to everyone who has ever commented here, and thank you (and I'm sorry!) to anyone who has ever read anything I've posted. The old folk tune declares, "Have you been to jail for justice? Then you're a friend of mine." I'll paraphrase that to say that if you've waded through one of my self-indulgent blog posts, then you're a friend of mine!

Hello, friend! Wanna go for a ride with me?

Monday, January 04, 2010

New and improved!

We started our new year with the girls driving away on their own to attend a party and sleepover.

Ronnie and I are alone, rattling around the house, reading, eating bon-bons, watching tv, having HDS, listening to music, playing music, etc.

Wow! It's a new year, indeed.