Friday, May 26, 2006


Thanks for the Memory to Vulture Six.

Roth: Return to Van Halen 'an inevitability'
'It's not rocket surgery,' says singer

"Rocket surgery"? I'm no brain scientist, but I think ol' Dave's taken a few too many hits off of the ol' "hookah", if you know what I mean....

The Searchers All Say

I was pleased (but not surprised) at the number of people who got my Edmund Fitzgerald musical geography question right. Professor David, while late to the party, gave the most detailed answer. That didn't surprise me either, since like me, he and Lurch (my to best friends from college) have been fascinated with the story of "the Pride of the American Side". For me, it started the first time I heard Lightfoot's song. When TFR and I honeymooned in Northern Wisconsin, we stopped in Duluth, MN, and visited the Lake Superior Marine Museum, which has an excellent display on the Edmund Fitzgerald, including a model of the wreck on the bottom of Superior, as well as a model of her as she was before the wreck.

For them, it was part of where they grew up -- in Michigan on the shores of the Great Lakes.

When I decided to do a Musical Geography question on that song, I originally intended to ask the question, "To where would 'She' have made it if she's put 15 more miles behind her?" The answer, of course, is Whitefish Bay.

That line in the song is, to my mind, one of the most haunting. And it's a significant commentary on storm-related shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, especially Superior, which tend to happen at a greater rate than even the open ocean. In a recent documentary I watched on that subject in general (not just on the Edmund Fitzgerald), it was mentioned that a significant factor in this is the relatively short distances from one end of Superior to the other. On the open ocean, with enough advanced warning, a ship can outrun an advancing storm, putting enough distance between themselves and the weather to go around or make a safe port. In the Great Lakes, you run out of real estate very quickly and have to turn north or south to make safe harbor, and that's when the storms get you. In addition, the relativer dhallow depths in the Great Lakes (as compared ot the open ocean) increase the danger for ships, especially when they cause the storm swell to break.

David called me last night and recommended a newer book about her, Mighty Fitz by Michael Schumacher. Thanks, Chancellor, I'll check that out.

Memorial Day

This post was originally written on May 30, 2005, just before last Memorial Day. I have decided to bring it up to today, because I really can't add anything to it.

(Posted early, since I won't be near a computer on Monday)

I have memories from my childhood and even my early adulthood of my parents and grandparents going to cemetaries around San Diego every Memorial Day to place flowers on the graves of relatives who had served in the military. I always thought it was a nice sentiment, but felt no urge to participate.

Now my own father and grandfather lie in such graves, and I, far from those cemetaries, wish I could be there this weekend to follow my family's lead. I wish I could, in person, honor the memory of these men who so nobly served their countries. So I will have to settle for honoring them here, in my Blog.

It is customary on this holiday to remember the way in which our honored dead died heroically for their country. And certainly that is a righteous custom. but while neither my father nor my grandfather died heroic deaths, they did live heroic lives. And that, in my estimation, merits honor.

My grandfather was the quintessential Man's man: a rugged, handsome chap who in his lifetime worked as a farmer, a ranch foreman, a Navy machinist's mate, and a pioneer in the field of harvesting salt from the sea. He lived an outdoor life, and adored fishing and hunting. I remember the time he visited us in Southern Idaho. He wanted to try his hand at Idaho's trout, and was disdainful of our proposal that we fish the local irrigation canals. Disdainful, that is, until he saw the size of the lunkers lounging right beneath the surface. I'd never before seen my usually stoic grandfather so excited.

He served in the Pacific in World War Two, and when his ship went alongside to help another that had been struck by a kamikaze, he went over the side and into a burning compartment to rescue other men.

I loved to go for drives with him to the Salt Works at the south end of San Diego Bay where he, like his father before him, was the superintendant. He would take me for rides on the "dinky", the narrow gauge railway used to transport harvested salt. He smoked cheap cigars, and had the slyest wink in the world.

His final days were filled with pain from the cancer and old age that finally took him. But he never ceased to be dignified and courageous. I wasn't there when he passed, but I did have a chance to tell him several years ago that I planned to name my first son in his honor.

My father was a different kind of man, but all the same he was the best man I've ever known in his life. His childhood was full of tragedy and heartache. His mother died of gangrene when he was 5, and childhood polio guaranteed that he would forever be small and beset by medical issues. But he made up for his physical stature with a giant personality. He aggressively attacked life with a suprirsing vigor his whole life. As a teenager, he worked on a cattle ranch in northeastern Oregon, and rode bulls on the side. He attended Bible College, and then joined the Navy, graduating at the top of his class in basic training and in advanced school, and served as a sonarman on the destroyer USS Bausell, DD-845. he played all sorts of sports, both in school and the Navy. The stories he told of his days in the Navy were always fascinating and often highly amusing. After leaving the Navy he and his new bride moved back to his beloved Oregon. It was there that they had me and my sister. It was there that he began and eventually ended his career as a pastor. He served in churches in multiple towns in Oregon, as well as one in Idaho. In all those towns, he made sure he was more than a passtor, he was a friend and a citizen. He served on volunteer fire departments, risking his life on several occasions and prompting a huge, shaggy Idaho farmer and atheist fellow VFD member to comment, "Preacher, you're one hell of a man!" Indeed.

He was more demonstrative of his emotions than my grandfather, and I grew up being hugged, told I was loved, and supported. I loved leaving the house early on a Saturday morning to go fishing with him, stopping at a convenience store on the way for a pop and a candy bar. He was active in our schools, announcing games, serving as a crossing guard, teaching little league softball, chaperoning events. I remember seeing the inside of his coat jacket, patched together with different colors of thread, as he went without new clothes so my sister and I didn't have to. I understood that my father loved me very much, but it wasn't until four months ago, when my own son was born, that I understood just how much.

My father taught me to fish. He taught me to hunt. He taught me to drive and to throw a ball and ride a bike. But he also taught me to care for people, to be good to others, and to love God. I know my own shortcomings and the ways in which I'm not as good a man as my father was, but he instilled in me enough of himself that I can hold my head up.

My father served his country. He served his community. He served his family, and above all, he served his God. For all of that, he is my hero.

This is my Memorial, this is their Day.

UPDATE 5/26/06
The ship on which my father served:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The USS Bausell, DD-845
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath ME
Keel Laid: May 28, 1945
Launched: November 19, 1945
Commissioned: February 7 1946

A Message from Mexico to the United States:

Haga como digo, no como hago.

Thanks for the Memory to Babalu Blog via It Comes in Pints?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Your Blog is Suffering From What We Veterinarians Haven't Got a Word For

In case you haven't noticed, I'm in a bit of a blogging rut here. Sorry to disappoint everyone.

Musical Geography Question for the Day

If you've just heard a bell chime 29 times, in what city are you?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Musical Geography Question for the Day

If you're a desperate man and the sh*# has hit the fan, where are you hiding and what do you need?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Pulling My Fat Out of the Fire (Literally)

I barbecued a brisket on the smoker on Saturday, and narrowly averted a very expensive culinary disaster.

I was aiming for a distinctively Pacific Northwest flavor, so instead of a complex dry rub, I seasoned it with salt, pepper, ground rosemary (for an evergreeny flavor, very Northwest), garlic powder, and hot chili powder. The source of smoke was alder (a traditional wood for smoking here) chips, apple chips, and rosemary sprigs. Partway through the smoking process I placed it in a shallow foil pan with the contents of a 22 oz. bottle of Oregon craft brewed beer -- this time Siletz Spruce Ale, which replaces most of the hops with sitka spruce tips -- the fresh new growth at the ends of the branches. Later, I glazed it with a glaze made of marionberry syrup, vinegar, and spices, the leftover of which I mixed with a tomato-based barbecue sauce, the results were delicious.

So when did the near disaster occur? Early in the process, before I transferred the brisket into the beer baste. Normally, I keep whatever cut of meat I'm smokinf fat side up until it's time to glaze it, but with the more involved process I had planned, I wanted to turn the brisket fat side down for a short time to let that side get a good smoke. Before I did, I noticed a pool of juices sitting on top of the fat layer. Loath to let it go to waste, I took a ramekin and tried to scoop it up. Unfortunately, I put too much pressure on the brisket, and the grill came off its brackets, falling into the drip pan, which subsequently came off of its brackets, and the whole thing fell into the coals. Before I had time to react, I had a face full of steam and ash and a $25 piece of beef sitting in a fire.

My first reaction was to grab for the brisket, but I couldn't see, so I tore my glasses off of my face, lifted the main section off of the smoker, and rescued the brisket. Fortunately, the water had doused the fire and washed off the coal hpan where the brisket hit, so it was unburned and relatively free of coals and ash -- it was a breeze to clean off. And because the whle thing had tipped to one side, only half the coals were doused -- I had the fire going again in no time, and within 10 minutes the brisket was cleaned off and back to smoking away.Only then did I clean off my face and change my shirt and hat. And it was a half hour before I noticed the first degree burn on my face.

One taste of the brisket, though, and it was worth it.

Tonsorial Travails

The good news is, The Lad no longer looks like a little girl.

The bad news is, he no longer looks like a baby, either.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to Harry Chapin and get maudlin.

Good Will Blogging

Thanks for the Memory to best friend Lurch, who really should have a blog:

Wise and Honorable
It appears that on a scale of 300 you are: 30 boorish, 0 artless, 0 currish, 0 craven

This quiz has measured your responses in four areas.

Boorish: How rude are you?

Artless: How dumb are you?

Currish: How mean are you?

Craven: How cowardly are you?

"How far that little candle throws its beams; So shines a good deed in a naughty world" (The Merchant of Venice)

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online datingYou scored higher than 50% on boorish
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on artless
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on currish
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on craven

Friday, May 19, 2006

Paying the Piper in Millibars

For most of this week, we've been enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in Oregon. On Monday, it was 96 in Roseburg, where I was born, a 10 degrees hotter than the previous record for that date. The reason was that we've had two low pressure systems, one stuck to the west of us over the Pacific, and one stuck over the mountains, and they've been funneling warm air up from the south. Well, it was due to happen eventually -- they unstuck, and I awoke this morning to raindrops on our living room skylight. Oh, goody, just in time for the weekend.

Your Weekly Dose of Steve Taylor Lyrics: Installment #6

Considering my post earlier today, this seems like an appropriate choice of songs. Steve wrote it in memory of a young Polish man who was killed by Soviet troops during the Solidarity protests of the 80s:

Over My Dead Body

From the album "Meltdown"

After the Nazis we were baited by the Russian bear
our "liberators" wanted Poland for a thoroughfare
I was a victim of December 1981
I took a final beating from the blunt end of a Russian gun

You plant your missiles while our people wait in line for bread
you hang an army tank above us by a bloody thread
you bought our government they crawl like bleating sheep to you
we know from history that human life is cheap to you

Over my dead body redemption draweth nigh
over my dead body I hear a battle cry
try and blow out the fire--you're fanning the flames
we're gonna rise up from the ashes 'til we're ashes again

You make a mockery of all that we hold sacred here
you drive us underground in hopes that we will disappear
we seek our sanctuary where the altar candle burns
our dignity's a legacy the cross of Jesus reaffirms


After the Nazis we were baited by the Russian bear
our "liberators" wanted Poland for a thoroughfare
rise up my brothers don't despair the Iron Curtain's rod
someday we'll draw the string assisted by the hand of God

I was a victim of December 1981
I took a final beating from the blunt end of a Russian gun
you made a memory--the memory will multiply
you may kill the body but the spirit--it will never die


Thanks for the Memory to Vulture Six.

This is just damned scary.

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.
This isn't that suprising a move, considering the popularity of Hitler in the Middle East (outside Israel, that is).

What is remarkable is the utter brazenness of it. It's one thing to see the individual and mob-driven expressions of antisemitism in the Middle East, and even hear the nutjobs who pass for political leaders spouting such rhetoric. But to revive such historically loaded policies like this really does give one a start.

We made ourselves a promise some 60 years ago -- Never Again. Iran, it would seem, is hell bent on making us own those words. What we do with them will determine whether they are a mark of honor or a badge of shame.

Vocabulary Test

Thanks for the Memory to LMC of The LlamaButchers.

These results don't surprise me:

Link: The What Would the Bard Call You? Test written by drew30319 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
Your Linguistic Profile::
75% General American English
5% Dixie
5% Midwestern
5% Upper Midwestern
5% Yankee

For starters, I was born and live in Oregon, a state that was populated by immigrants from other states. In addition, I spent a good portion of my life moving, living in Oregon, SoCal, NorCal, and Idaho by the time I was in 4th grade, and went to college in Indiana, surrounded by students from all over the country and even the globe. All of those regional influences make me linguistically what my ancestry makes me ethnically: a mutt.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Two Smallholders

Here's Smallholder's latest response to my posts. Since his insistence on continuing to link the original discussion regarding the border to the economic issues is a bit distracting, I shall attempt to split my response into two posts, one on the economic isues and one on the original issues. I may or may not post my economic response when I have more time to compose it to my satisfaction, if Smallholder responds to THIs post to my satisfaction.

In his post and in comments on my blog, Smallholder expresses his belief and hope that the harshness of my tone is in jest and that the ribbing is good natured. I'd like to say that is the case, but Smallholder engages in some rhetoric and commits a couple of offenses which make it difficult for me to maintain that good will. They are evident in this post and I wish to address them.

I will NOT be addressing or rebutting his specific crime statistics, since I do not dispute them. what I do dispute, and highly resent, is:
1. His misrepresentation of his original claims
2. His misrepresentation of my counterargument and position
3. His aspersions regarding my motives for opposing illegal immigration

The first two are closely related. Let's look at what I mean:

However, although I never claimed that all immigrants are honest and law abiding,
Not in so many words, but you DID make the claim that,

People who don't want to work hard and/or don't care about improving the lives of their children don't cross the border into the United States.
While not exactly identical claims, those two claims are similar enough to be easily mistaken. which Smallholder are we to believe? Own up to your original claim. Either defend it or admit it was wrong, but don't deny making it.

In fact, the reason I brought up the issue of criminal activity among illegal immigrants -- specifically to rebut the claim that "only people who want to work hard" cross the border into the United States. The fact that there ARE violent criminals (further homework for Smallholder: Google the violent gang MS-13 for more on their ties to illegal immigration) among those crossing our borders, that there ARE drug dealers and rapists and child molesters, means that, regardless of the "harmless" nature of the rest of the illegal immigrants (whether you accept that II is a "victimless crime or not), it is in our best interests to make every attempt possible to create a more secure border, if for no other reason than to screen out such individuals.

In this regard, I disagree strongly with this statement:

That said, I do agree with Mac Donald and Mr. Memnento that sanctuary laws ought to be repealed. Local law enforcement officials OUGHT to report violent illegals to the INS.
Wrong. The police ought to arrest and prosecute those who commit violent crimes, be they illegals or citizens. Furthermore, an illegal should not feel save to cruise the streets just because he has not been caught/suspected of a violent crime. If the fact that an individual is in the US illegally is established or likely, that issue should be addressed regardless of their violent tendencies.

But Smallholder would have you believe that my original point was that all or most illegal immigrants are violent:

But even if we accept that 12,000 18th street gang members are illegals, that in itself does not prove the violent criminality of illegals as a whole, even when we include grizzly individual crimes. This kind of "illegals are all violent narco-trafficers" fuzzy - even magical - thinking...

Brian pooh-poohed this, bur[sic] perhaps he will accept it now if it inflates the perceived criminality of all illegal immigrants.
That was never my intention, and I resent the implication. I am happy to agree that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are guilty ONLY of violating our immigration laws, and have no intentions of committing rape, murder, robbery, etc. But enough of them ARE that our porous border is a problem. My claims had nothing to do with the percentage of illegal immigrants who are violent criminals, and everything to do with the percentage of our violent criminals who are illegal immigrants -- especially here in the West, and most predominantly in the border states. The fact that it's so easy for ANY illegal to cross into the US means that it's far too easy for the VIOLENT ones to cross in amongst the harmless ones.

It must have been an easy mistake to make, misconstruing my point, since apparently the fact that I oppose illegal immigration means I'm a closet cross-burner:
It all boils down to "fags/wetbacks are icky and I don't like them sorts of people."
Smallholder can keep his crops fertilized with that one, if he intends to paint me with that brush. I resent the implication that I'm a hateful bigot simply because I believe that those who come to this country should be required to do so according to our laws.

If Smallholder wishes to "smackdown" a strawman (point 2 bove), he is free to do so, but I see no reason why I should defend the Scarecrow. If he wishes to engage in personal insults (point 3), that is beneath a rational debate, and beneath me. In either case, if these are the courses of discourse he wishes to continue down, I am growing disinclined to follow.

Reader and best friend Lurch makes a good point regarding Illegal Immigration and criminality:

I would contend that it is a near-certainty that the percentage of illegal immigrants who are violent criminals is inordinately high compared to the percentage of "human beings in general", or the percentage of "Mexican people in general" (in the case of the Mexican border).

Although it is true that nearly all the immigrants that enter our country do so in search of "a better life" (by whatever personal definition the individual may use), it is equally true that, among those who enter the country illegally to find this better life, absolutely 100% are willing to break the law to get it. It would seem unlikely, and even irrational to expect, that a normal percentage of these would be violent criminals, (or repeat offenders or career criminals, or any other kind).

When you start with a population of proven law-breakers, you're going to get a lot more of the worst of humanity than you would from a random sampling.

Parenting Wars: Blue-on-Blue Psy Ops

Normally, in the battle to rear ones children, parents are supposed to be on the same side. But occasionally, it becomes necessary to engage ones partner in combat in order to get things done right. That happened this week.

From birth, The Lad has been blessed with a full head of hair. And despite dire predictions from family members, it never fell out. It has finally reached a length where a haircut is in order (he had a symbolic cut at Christmas time so that his great aunt, a career hairdresser, could do the honors, but it was literally like three snips and done).

The Feared Redhead has been reticent to get the deed done, because she feels that once his hair is cut, he's a little boy, not a baby any more. But I have wearied of having to tell people he's a boy. Despite my exhortations, TFR has dragged her feet.

By this past Monday, I'd had enough. I decided to engage in a little psychological warfare. Did I mention him looking like a girl, or pony tails, or braiding? No -- I went for the jugular. As we were all enjoying an evening together, I began playing with the hair at the back of The Lad's head and commented nonchalantly, "You know, this is long enough to make a mullet."

TFR called the hairdresser Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Gubernatorial Race

My candidate lost. And unfortunately, of the remaining two candidates, the RINO won. This leaves me in a very conflicted position. I can't stand our current governor -- he's an ineffectual, socialist moron. Unfortunately, the alternatives left aren't that much more attractive -- Saxton makes John McCain look conservative, and I don't know any of the third party candidates from Adam. I abhor the idea of not voting at all, it goes against the core of my political beliefs, but I also don't want to vote blindly.

Musical Geography Question for the Day

Where can you go, dashing and gay, to the cardhouse and then down to Rosie's?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Magic Thinking II

The esteemed Smallholder guessed correctly that I have missed his presence at Naked Villainy, for it has been a while since I had a worthy adversary. So it WAS with great gusto that I responded to his missive on immigration yesterday, and with equal pleasure that I anticipated his reply. Alas, instead of addressing my arguments point by point, Smallholder simply reasserted his earlier claim and then changed tack by making a different argument. Such tactics are beneath what I'd grown to expect from him; they seem more in character for a *ahem* Democrat.

Smallholder writes:
I acknowledge that there are a few bad men who come to this country illegally. But the VAST majority of people are the hardworking types I described above. It takes intiative to cross the border. Working in Harrisonburg, I encounter a huge number of immigrants, legal and otherwise. My impression is that the higher levels of crime associated with immigration is not caused directly by the immigrants themselves.
And it's rapidly being established, at least from the past couple of posts, that Smallholder's impressions take precendence over any statistics or testimony to the contrary (will he bother to read my links, let alone respond to them? The blogosphere waits with bated breath). Apparently, Harrisburg is much more typical of illegal immigrant populations than, say, LA, San Diego, or other border cities. If personal impressions are the standard, I'd be happy to share the impression I get every time read of another case here in Oregon (a state much closer to the border than VA or PA, and with a significant Illegal population) of illegals being involved in drug trafficking, theft, or violations of the Mann Act. However, my intent WAS to stick to the statistics and documented evidence.
However, a fair amount of the crime pronbably results from people preying on immigrants who literally cannot seek protection from the authorities.
I call bull$***. As Ms. MacDonald's terstimony mentions, most state and local police departments have a policy of not questioning individuals on their immigration status, especially if they're the victims, bystanders, or witnesses, and sometimes even if they're suspects in other crimes. To be certain, illegal immigrants do live in fear of deportation, but their fear is not of local authorities.
Giving immigrants legal status would alleviate a small proportion of that crime.
We have a method for giving immigrants legal status. If your argument is that the process of LEGAL immigration is to restrictive, again, as I've said often, I'm on your side. Where you lose my support is when you start arguing that the answer is to condone illegal immigration.
The greatest criminal activity associated with illegal immigration is largely ignored: the American business communties' profit-driven motivation to look the other way and not check "papers" too closely.
On this we are in agreement. In fact, most advocates like myself of stronger immigration and border enforcement advocate stiffer penalties for employers who emply illegals.

The unspoken reality behing the immigration debate is that the only real way to slow immigration down is to convince employers to stop giving immigrants jobs. And, aside from poorly skilled nativist high school drop outs, no one wants that.
Don't discount how important to our economy the impact on "poorly skilled nativist high school drop outs" is. More on that in a moment.

It's at this point that Smallholder deviates from his original point, that all illegals are nothing more than honest, hard-working individuals, to the "Illegals are good for the economy" tangent -- one that, sadly, the Maximum Leader falls prey to as well.
Companies like immigrants because they hold down unskilled wages.
Here Smallholder uses a nifty trick the illegal immigrant advocates employ quite often, and I'm not sure if he's doing it intentionally or not. Notice that he shifts from discussing illegal immigrants to just immigrants. It's a clever ploy -- because much of what he says about the benefits of immigrants is true --but it's true equally of legal immigrants, without the drawbacks associated with illegal immigrants. Furthermore, some of these benefits are ONLY true of legal immigrants. So let's stick to the issue of people who are here illegally, 'kay?
There is no political way that Congress will actually pass legislation that would create enforceable penalties that would actually deter companies from hiring illegals. The Democrats are known for drinking at the corporate lobbying trough, but the Republican's successful conquest of K-Street is even more impressive. Neither party wants to incur the wrath of the business community.
That may be true for the time being, but the angrier Americans get about illegal immigration (and all the polls indicate we are getting that way), the less true this will become.

It's at this point that SH launches full-bore into his "illegal immigrants are good for the economy" spiel, once again ignoring evidence to the contrary:
Additionally, actually taking immigrants out of the labor pool would force companies to compete for unskilled American labor, driving up the cost of production.
Again with the lumping all immigrants together. Knock it the hell off. I can guarantee you that based on the comments and studies I've read, the legal immigrants resent it even more than I do. We're not taking immigrants out of the pool, we're requiring that they obey our laws before they go swimming. Increasing legal immigration quotas is a valid response if the labor pool dries up. Ignoring those who flaunt our laws is not.

With regards to the economy, there's a dynamic involved in illegal immigration that SH overlooks: A significant portion of the money made by illegals is sent back to Mexico and the other countries of the ii's origin, it does not remain in the US economy. US citizens and legal immigrants working towards citizenship, who hae a far more vested interest in keeping their money here in the US.

The higher production costs would be passed on to the consumer.

More of whom would be employed, increasing the consumer base, and mitigating any rise in costs.
Companies faced with a harsher business climate would start looking at their operations. If cheap labor based on illegal Mexicans can't be found in America, the outsourcing trend wil accelerate. Instead of helping poorly educated Americans get higher wages, removing illegal aliens from the workforce will simply result in the elimination of jobs that poorly educated people can do.
As Maximum Leader pointed out, most of the jobs being done by illegals can't be exported -- housekeeping and landscaping; construction; agricultural work, menial labor. And, as the article I linked to above about construction in the wake of Katrina points out, Americans and legal immigrants WILL do those jobs.

Many of our right-leaning readers will object to this. But consider this, my righty friends: this is exactly the same (and valid) argument made by the right against raising the minimum wage. If the logic opposing raising the minimum wage holds, so does the logic of welcoming immigrants.


As I've said, when it comes to legal immigrants, this assertion is ablsolutely correct. I believe in a free market, and healthy competition. But when it comes to wages, illegal immigration hurts the market for the same reason a minimum wage does: One artificially inflates wages, the other artificially deflates wages. How so? Because while illegals may not be afraid of deportation from local law enforcement, they do fear it from the Federal government. And their fear of deportation is used by employers to keep their wages lower than for other workers.

Costs up + lost jobs + sales down = Recession.

Costs Up, but that's where the formula falls apart. Jobs will NOT be lost -- people who are competing for jobs just out of their league (legal immigrants and unskilled Americans) will be able to settle for jobs now filled by illegals. This will ease competition for jobs at the next level up, increasing those wages and taking pressure off of that tier of society, and the effects spread from there. So I reject the jobs lost. As for sales down, with more Americans and legals making the money, it will stay in the economy instead of being wired to Chiapas. Furthermore, the easing of strain on Emergency rooms and other government services will save a good chunk of that $21 Billion mentioned earlier, helping with taxes and government budgets. So what we have is:

Costs up + Jobs (among potential consumers) up + Sales up == Increased profits.

Bush and the Republican leadership know that a recession and disheartened middle class is a sure recipe for electoral disaster.

The Recession conclusion is iffy at best, and as for a disheartened middle class, well:

Harvard economics Professor George Borjas showed that illegal aliens displace American workers out of $200 billion in lost wages annually.

In conclusion:

Support illegal immigration to avoid a recession.

In conclusion:

Smallholder is wrong.

Maximum Leader, at the least, takes it like a man.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Magic Thinking

Finally, Smallhoder is back. And to make up for his long absence, he posts on a subject near and dear to my heart. Who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?

In his latest post, Smallholder falls prey to something he himself so often decries -- magical thinking. Specifically, he argues that the only people crossing the border into the US illegally are honest, hard working peasants simply out to find work and lead a better life, and that if we simply let them in, they will strengthen the fabric of America and make us a better place. It's a notion with its heart in the right place and its head in the sand.

Smallholder writes:

All the calls to secure our borders are -- how can I put it in my idosyncratically "Squishy" way? -- DUMB.

And instead, what do you suggest, Mark? Allow anyone at all to enter the US and become a citizen, without any sort of prerequisites, without any consideration to who they are, their past, their intentions?

We have a very long border with Mexico.

Wow, that's a shock. Has anyone told the mapmakers?

Life in Mexico, due to the historical legacy of Spanish catholic absolutist colonization that led to undemocratic, kleptocratic traditions, -- how can I put it in my idiosyncratically "Squishy" way? -- SUCKS.

Therefore, lots of people want to cross that very long border.

They want to cross the border because they are willing to work hard to make a better life for their kids. They know that working hard in Mexico will not necessarily provide for their children's future because the lack of legal safeguards protecting the fruits of entrepreneurial capitalism are too weak in the face of government misconduct.

Again, no, really? I wonder why I hadn't thought of that.

People who don't want to work hard and/or don't care about improving the lives of their children don't cross the border into the United States.

Which really must confuse all those DEA agents inderdicting drug shipments, and the government workers handing out government assistance to "undocumenteds", and the police officers in all of those West Coast and border states where illegal aliens account for such high percentages of the crimes being committed, and it would most CERTAINLY be a surprise to my friend Vic.

Unfortunately, people who don't want to work hard and/or don't care about about improving the lives of their children are the only people a wall will stop.

Hardworking people dedicated to improving the lives of their children, in aggregate, can't be stopped by a wall, or by border security, or by the minutemen. You may catch individuals, but can't stop the wave itself.

The wave itself is made up OF individuals. As I've already said, a wall by itself will certainly not do the job. In fact, I don't personally believe an actual physical wall all the way from San Ysidro to the gulf coast is possible, let alone practical. But I do believe that physical barriers in strategic sections of the border can assist in border patrol efforts, if used as part of a comprehensive policy and enforcement strategy.

Smallholder concludes with the following:

I challenge the readers of this blog to consider this little exercise:

A) You live in a disfunctional society without historical processes to internally improve that society.

B) You have children. You love them. You want them to live better lives than their parents.

C) A country to the North has an economic system that rewards hard work.

D) That country has legal protections that secure the right of property.

E) That country builds a wall to keep you out.

Question: How high a wall do they need to build to keep you out?

My answer: No wall would stop Smallholder from trying to build a better life for Emilie and Jack.
A noble sentiment, on the surface. In fact, I can identify, given how far I would go to provide for The Lad. But I have a rhetorical question for Smallholder: If I decided that the best, or at least the quickest and easiest, way to provide for hte lad was to sneak onto his property, steal his livestock, and take food out of the mouths of his children, what would his reaction be?

The fact remains that the United States is a sovereign nation, with a right to establish laws regarding who is and isn't welcome as a guest/immigrant/naturalized citizen. And those who flout those laws to come here, regardless of how noble and heartwarming their motives may (or may not) be, are doing so at the expense of both native born citizens AND those immigrants who play by the rules and enter this country legally, and they and their supporters should be unsurprised when the welcome they receive is less than the warmest.

Musical Geography Question for the Day

If you've worn blisters on your heels trying to find you something better, where are you?

Just Creepy

If I were to assemble a top ten list of Things I'd Rather Not See as I Pull Out of My Driveway For Work In the Morning, I'd say the one I saw this morning could make some compelling arguments for first place: three police officers standing over a body laying in the sidewalk a block from my front door. *shudder*

Friday, May 12, 2006

Keep Talking

Thanks for the Memory to Gullyborg at Resistance is Futile!

I've been watching with amusement/bemusement the series of adds being run by the Mannix and Saxton campaigns, assailing each other on a series of issues. What amuses me is the fact that most of the accusations are accurate. So why should I vote for either of them if all that is true (and it is)?

On the other hand, I'm bemused because the closest either has come to aiming an attack at Jason, let alone making it stick, is a vague reference to "career politicians". Why aren't they attacking him? It can't be because they aren't threatened -- the latest polls make it a close three-way race. Unless, of course, they underestimate him. The only other conclusion I can reach is that they don't have anything on him.

I'm further amused that Jason has refrained from joining into this little mudwrestling match. He's maintained an upbeat campaign with a positive message -- we CAN fix Oregon.

If you love this state as much as I do, if your as proud as I of our natural beauty and rugged heritage, then join me in voting for Jason Atkinson in the Republican primary, and later in the general election.

A Reasonable Argument

Thanks for the Memory to The LlamaButchers.

The camelloids link today to an article at NRO addressing ther latest NSA kerfluffle. Go read it before you form an opinion on this issue and the Fourth Amendment. Interestingly enough, I popped into the comments at the LB's and made a comment myself, before reading the NRO article, only to find it makes the same argument I do. In fact, I have been surprised all along that so many people have overlooked Smith v. Maryland (1978) regarding the wiretap issue in general.

Whether you agree with the scope of the data collection or not, it is irresponsible of senators to go on TV screaming about violations of the Fourth Amendment when it is clear this data does not commit such a violation. The NRO article concludes with the following, and I can't agree more:

Of course, the fact that a government action is legal doesn’t settle the case: There may still be ample room to oppose it. But there is a rush among broad sections of the Left to declare illegal any Bush-administration policies with which they disagree without being troubled by such trivialities as what the actual, settled law says. Here, this reflexive reaction appears dead wrong.

Quote of the Day

Thanks for the Memory to Ken S at It Comes in Pints?

"If God wanted us to believe in global warming, he wouldn't have made Al Gore the messenger.

- Steve Milloy on the KSFO Morning Show.

Feel the Burn

For some time I've been a big big fan of both the Maximum Leader and Smallholder at the blog Naked Villainy. That's why it saddened me when recently they dropped out of the top 5 blogs I go to first thing in the morning. They're still good guys, but their posting has been... lackluster, to say the least.

That's why it pleased me so greatly to read the latest post by Maximum Leader. Go read it, it's a barnburner, chock full of ranty goodness.

Your Weekly Dose of Steve Taylor Lyrics: Installment #5

Well, at least I'm back in time for this. This week's song is off of Steve's second album, Meltdown. This one has been stuck in my head for a while. I hope you enjoy.

From the album "Meltdown"

When the house fell asleep there was always a light
and it fell from the page to the eyes of an American boy
in a storybook land I could dream what I read
when it went to my head I'd see
I wanna be a hero

it's a nice-boy notion that the real world's gonna destroy
you know
it's a Marvel comicbook Saturday matinee fairytale, boy

Growing older you'll find that illusions are brought
and the idol you thought you'd be was just another zero
I wanna be a hero

Heroes died when the squealers bought 'em off
died when the dealers got 'em off
welcome to the "in it for the money as an idol" show
when they ain't as big as life
when they ditch their second wife
where's the boy to go?
gotta be a hero


When the house fell asleep
from a book I was led to a light that I never knew
I wanna be your hero
and he spoke to my heart from the moment I prayed
here's a pattern I made for you
I wanna be your hero


Thanks to everyone who offered their snarkiness sympathy to me and my family yesterday over our sudden illness. To repay you, I thought I'd share with you how my day went. Just to warn you, it ain't pretty. If you have a weak stomach at all, just move on and ignore this post.

You've been warned.

Of all my commenters, bobgirrl came closest to guessing the problem -- but it was a flu bug, not salmonella. How do we know it was the flu and not food poisoning? Because the Lad had it too, and he hadn't eaten the same food as us in days. Lay of with the garlic powder jokes, or I know what I'm getting you for a new kitchen warming gift.

This all actually started on Tuesday, when The Lad threw up three times over the course of the day. I know, babies throw up -- but not this kid. Or at least, not that often. Before this week, I could cont the times he's gotten sick like that on one hand. So we knew somehting wasn't right. Wednesday, he seemed to be doing better. He had diarrhea, but no more vomiting. That is, until late Wednesday night. He'd gone to bed before TFR got home, but woke up and fussed a bit around 9:30 or so. I suggested we let him go back toi sleep, but TFR wanted to feed him a bottle and rock him back to sleep. I decided to take a shower and turn in.

About halfway through the shower, I was startled to hear TFR shouting my name in a panicked voice. I shut off the shower, stepped out of the tub, and opened the bathroom door to find TFR standing there holding The Lad, both of them covered in what had at one point been milk. Thinking fast, I used my towel to cover most of it. I too The Lad off her hands, and while she cleaned up the mess, I took him to the tup, got him out of his PJ's and diaper, and showered him clean. After he was dressed, TFR put him back to bed while I finished cleaning up and then finished my shower. All in all, a pretty good tag team performance.

Less than an hour later, it had hit both of us as well. First me, then within minutes, TFR. Neither of us could sleep more than an hour without having to get up and suffer. By 4 AM, I knew I wasn't going to work yesterday. Yesterday proved to be one of the worst days of my life. So what was the thing that made it so bad?

Was it the fact that I had something the color and consistency of the Mississippi at New Orleans gushing out of my arse with the force of a fire hydrant? Or the joint aches that made it hurt to twitch, let alone move? Or was it the fact that my beloved wife, besides suffering the same symptoms, was serving as High Priestess of the Porcelain God, offering up her prayers to Ralph?

No. Those were all sheer misery. But the worst part, the part that broke my heart, was the fact that our level of incapacitation made it difficult, almost impossible, to care for The Lad. TFR couldn't get out of bed for more than enough time to perform her "call to prayer", and I was stove in like an arthritic octegenarian -- that is, when I wasn't doing my best to overload the city sewer system. Because I was in slightly less misery than she, I took over the childcare duties most of the day. It was all I could do to stay conscious well enough to watch him, and at one point, we had no choice but to put him in his playpen with some toys and PBS SProut playing 6 feet away (bad, bad parents!) while we both delt with our symptoms. It got so bad that by noon, I started depserately calling anyone we knew in town to see if someone could take him off our hands for the day. The fact that I had no luck whatsoever merely compounded my sense of helplessness, loneliness, and desperation. Eventually, I collapsed, and TFR had to muster the strength to take one shift while I took a hot bath and fell fast asleep.

In the end, ironically enough, what saved our bacon was the fact that he was as sick as we were. He would only stay awake for about 30 minutes at a time, just enough time to get some juice and pedialyte into him, then he'd start acting fussy and tired, we'd put him to bed, he'd cry, and then sleep for hours. his early afternoon nap was long enough that we were able to really rest, and by 3:30 I was able to enjoy a hearty meal of Nilla Wafers and Powerade.

By the time we woke up from his last nap of the day, we were both functioning, if still miserable. By this morning, I actually felt alive again, though I still don't want to look at food. Yesterday at my worst, I had to drag my butt to the grocery store to buy powerade, nilla wafers, and pedialyte. Do you know how much like food a grocery store smells? You don't even pay attention to it normally, but when you're that sick... it was like running a gauntlet.

It really was a lonely feeling not having anyone to fall back on. I don't regret the decision we made to move to Oregon -- this is where we belong. But it would be nice to have family and good friends close by.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Under the Weather

Brian and his family are all under the weather today. Please keep them in your prayers and join us in wishing them a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Musical Geography Question for the Day

Oh, who the heck am I kidding? It's his now.

If you insist, Ken.

If you're hanging in the sky a long time, from where and to where are you en route?

Where's My Tent?

Night before last, we had an unseasonal cold snap -- I awoke yesterday morning to frost on the car. By noon it was back up in the 60's. It wasn't that cold this morning.

The weird thing was, that minor little weather phenomenon evokes some very specific, very vivd memories for me. Here's why:

I'm out the door before 6 AM. At that time in the morning, especially in a small city like Springfield, it's still very quiet. This time of year, thanks to the approach of summer, the days are long, and it's already light out by that time. But it's almost never that cold. In winter, it's cold out when I leave, but it's still dark. There's one set of circumstances where I'm used to it being that cold, AND quiet, with the sun up: camping in the mountains.

Last summer The Lad was too small to camp, and the summer before that, TFR's hyperemesis got in the way. But three or four years ago, we had a chance to camp at Diamond Lake, just across the lake from Mt. Bailey. I remember the morning I awoke at dawn (not unusual even for a morning hater like me. When I camp, I wake up early, stay up late, and nap midday. It's a natural rhythm I fall into). There was a light mist hovering just above the surface of the lake, through which a flight of mallards was making its way for a landing. The sinrise was painting the glaciers and eastern slopes of Bailey a fiery, vivid pink. There was no sound except my own breath and the occasional bird.

Dang, I need to air out the camping gear.

Quote of the Day

Regarding The DaVinci Code:

"I'm just sad they took Leonardo and turned him into some kind of Tom Swift and his Amazing Jesus Repelatron Skyway Retroscope!... "

- Keith in Silicon Valley, in the comments at It Comes in Pints?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Code Red

Thanks for the Memory to On the Other Foot (a blog I just discovered today).

Apparently there's another shocking revelation from the art world that will rock Christian theology to its foundations. See for yourself, if you dare.

Signs and Wonders

Thanks for the Memory to Wuzzadem via the LlamaButchers.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs....

Monday, May 08, 2006

Me and the Little Red Hen

Cowards. All of you.

Just over two weeks ago, I offered a new recipe for you all to try. It really was, in my mind, a good idea for a recipe. But all I got was "It's too complicated" and " The garlic and onion powder frighten me." It's a good thing R. Lee Ermy isn't a chef, he'd be kicking your BUTTS! [/tongue in cheek]

So I decided to try it myself. and like the little red hen, it was I who enjoyed the results, not my wimpy readers.

I did make some minor changes to the recipe, which I've noted in the original post. Let me just say this about the results: Gentlemen, make this dish for your ladies. Unless you are abstaining, you will get sex. It's that good.

Call for Mr. Priapus

Since it seems he responds more quickly to posts on my blog than to comments on his own:

Dude, months ago, maybe a year, you posted a recipe for a brisket marinade in the comments on my blog. Do you still have that recipe?

A Conundrum

Thanks for the Memory to Bobgirrl at 1 Girl, 4 Martinis.

Which to protest? The War for Oil or the High Gas Prices?

Decisions, decisions....

Musical Geography Question for the Day

UPDATE: Facts fixed thanks to commenters

This is one for all you Roger Miller Kris Kristofferson fans (though Janis Joplin, Roger Miller, and Charley Pride afficionados should get it too):

If you're feeling faded as your jeans, where are you broken down busted flat?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Thanks a lot for the Memory to Gullyborg.

And I had a rum and coke last night.

Your Weekly Dose of Steve Taylor Lyrics: Installment #4

Not feeling so hot today, I'll probably be going home early, so I thought I'd get down to business and share with you the Steve Taylor song that's been on my mind this week. It addresses the idea that faith, or belief in God, is a crutch. Taylor rejects the notion, and observes that it often requires more fortitude to continue believing when you don't see an immediate return on your spiritual investment. He borrowed the title of the song from a letter written by a mid-twentieth century poet who had a mystical streak to her Christianity (though the name of the poet escapes me):

Harder To Believe Than Not To
From the album "I Predict 1990"

Nothing is colder than the winds of change
where the chill numbs the dreamer till a shadow remains
among the ruins lies your tortured soul
was it lost there or did your will surrender control?

Shivering with doubts that were left unattended
so you toss away the cloak that you should have mended
don't you know by now why the chosen are few?
it's harder to believe than not to
harder to believe than not to

It was a confidence that got you by
when you know you believed it, but you didn't know why
no one imagines it will come to this
but it gets so hard when people don't want to listen

Shivering with doubts that you left unattended
so you toss away the cloak that you should have mended
you should know by now why the chosen are few
it's harder to believe than not to

Some stay paralyzed until they succumb
others do what they feel, but their senses are numb
some get trampled by the pious throng still they limp along

Are you sturdy enough to move to the front?
is it nods of approval or the truth that you want?
and if they call it a crutch, then you walk with pride
your accusers have always been afraid to go outside

They shiver with doubts that were left unattended
then they toss away the cloak that they should have mended
you know by now why the chosen are few
it's harder to believe than not to...
I believe

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Paltry Poultry Recipe

On Sunday, Professor Chaos issued a challenge to me regarding the complexity of my recipes. I replied yesterday with a 1-2 punch of Carne Asada and Arroz con Pollo, issuing in turn a challenge of my own -- to both Professor Chaos and myself.

The good professor has not let me down
. And so, true to my word, I ovver the following recipe in return. As promised, it contains a meat of my choice, 1 ingredient from Prof. C's cupboard, one from his fridge (go ahead and drink the beer, sir, it's safe for now).

Oven-Fried Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly coat chicken breasts with mayonnaise, then coat with bread crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet, bake for 15 minutes. Turn over, continue baking until the coating is golden brown.

Turning "La Mesa"

Thanks for the Memory to Darth Apathy.

In response to the "Day Without Immigrants" that occureed on Pinko de Mayo er... May 1 (heh. Thanks, Vic), someone has come up with a great way to repsond -- "Nothing Mexican Day" -- a day without customers -- on Friday, May 5 (Cinco De Mayo).

Count me in.

Thanks For Asking

For those of you wondering about the status of Culinary School:

I called the coordinator yesterday, since she had told me in March that I should hear by the end of April. One of the two chef instructors who make the decisions on who gets accepted hasn't reviewd the applications yet, so not only do *I* not know if I'm in yet, *THEY* don't know either.

Head, meet desk.

Carne Asada Held Hostage

Thanks for the Memory toDrudge via Mr. Priapus via 1 Girl, 4 Martinis.

My first reaction was anger, fear and panic. No burritos? What a world, what a world. But then I remembered how easily we've assimilated pizza, and now I can sleep at night (except for the gas -- I reallly need to use fewer beans next time).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oh, Please

Thanks for the Memory to Mr. Atoz at Agent Bedhead's.

In an effort to be more sensitive and politically correct, Sea World in Sydney, Australia has stopped referring to their specimens of the the world's smallest penguins as fairy penguins, opting instead for "Little Penguins".

What's next, the San Diego Zoo renaming their exhibit of black African-American rhinos?

Musical Geography Question for the Day

If you're in the third boxcar of a midnight train, what's your destination?

Who's Your Cheffy?

Professor Chaos has thrown down the gauntlet. He seems to think my recipes are too complex, at least for a bachelor like him.

OK, buddy, you're on. And in keeping with the theme of his recipe, theyre both Mexican dishes:

Carne Asada
1 lb. flank steak
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or chili powder
2 cloves minced garlic (If you don't have the garlic, ise 1/2 tsp gsarlic powder. If you don't have either, well, beyond wondering what you're doing in the kitchen, all of the dry ingredients can be replaced by a packet of taco seasoning.)
1 lime
1 beer (Any bachelor who tells me there's no beer in his fridge is either a recovering alcoholic, has The Ghey, or is a damned dirty liar.)

Combine all dry ingredients and sprinkle/rub onto flank steak. Squeeze the lime over the steak (yes, yes, a couple squeezes from one of those plastic lime juice bottles will do), cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, add the beer and marinate another 6-8 hours. Sear the steak, cut into 1 inch pieces, and return to heat, cooking until medium well. Serve on tacos with your favorite Mexican condiments.

No? Too complex still? Try this:

Arroz Con Pollo
1 cup rice
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar chunky salsa
enough water or chicken broth to increase the volume of the salsa to 2 1/2 cups

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place rice in a glass casserole dish. Set chicken on top of the rice. Pour salsa and liquid over the chicken. Cover, bake for 1-1 1/2 hours, until liquid has evaporated and rice is tender.

And now for the Coup de Grace:
Professor chaos used 2 ingredients other than meat and water in his recipe. I challenge Professor Chaos to list in my comments 10 items each found in his fridge and his pantry/spice cupboard. I'll pick one from each list, combine it with a meat of my choice, and create a recipe. If he responds by 3 PM Thursday afternoon (Pacific Daylight Time), I'll have the recipe ready on Friday.


Thanks for the Memory to Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.


*(Not Safe For Saps Like Me)


Thanks for the Memory to Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.


*(Not Safe For Diabetics)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Talk About Single-Minded

Thanks for the Memory to Darth Apathy.

This is simply amazing. I've read of shots like that being made by snipers who had time to set ther shot up -- but in a reactive situation like this? Wow.

And as was pointed out, given the circumstances, I doubt there'll be any problem establishing that the police fired in self defense.

More Pictures of The Lad

Luke, Give in to the Cute Side. It is... your destiny:

The Closest They'll Come to Meeting This Side of Heaven

While we were in San Diego for my grandmother's funeral, w took The Lad to visit my father's grave at Fort Rosecrans National cemetery. My mother took pictures:

I'll never be ok with the fact that my son will never know my father. But he will know of him, and he will know to honor him.

It's a Start



Here's hoping history repeats itself (to a point).

Blogging Hope

Thanks for the Memory to The Llama Butchers.

If you haven't read her before, I second the Llamas' recommendation that you go read Melissa at Here in the Bonny Glen. She's witty, she's insightful, and she's a wonderful mom.

Today, she gave me a shot in the arm. Her post is sweet, and full of maternal love and pride. And it was what I needed to hear.

Why? Well, you see, The Lad just turned 15 months and still isn't walking. He can pull himself up to a standing position, but still leans on furniture, including human furniture (that's me!). Yesterday he managed to stand without support for a full second -- a huge accomplishment in my eyes.

But it's been discouraging. We knew from the start that despite how well he's done, he's still a preemie, and some htings might just take longer. And I'm delighted that in all other areas, he's right on track -- he's developing a vocabulary (last week he pointed at his shelf and said, clear as a bell, "book!"), and a distinct personality, and his fine motor skills are... well, fine. But the gross motor skills are still an issue. Part of it, I think is that his method of scooting is so effective (he's fast, and it leaves a hand free to carry stuff) reduces the incentive to walk. But whatever the reason, It worries me.

Then I read a post like Melissa's, and it reminds me that I'm not the only parent dealing with these things, and that if Melissa's "Wonder Boy" can do it, so can MY wonderful little boy. So thank you, Melissa. And congratulations.

Caps Lock & Load

Thanks for the Memory to the Colossus via The Llama Butchers, and also to Villains Vanquished.

Over the course of the last three years or so, in the ongoing discussion of the war in Iraq, one of the memes that opponents of the war throw in the faces of supporters is the the epithet of "chickenhawk". They've even come up with a nickname for pro-war bloggers -- "The 101st Fighting Keyboardists".

A few bloggers, including Captain Ed, Frank J, and Chief at Freedomdogs, decided to pull a "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on the phrase and turn it into a badge of honor. The result is a blogroll of proud "chickenhawks" -- and a unit patch:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sign me up.

I've always thought that the "Chickenhawk" argument was disingenuous at best, especially when it's used as a rebuttal to arguments for the necessity of the war. So what's your point? Are you say I'm a hypocrite for making the pro-war argument, but not fighting myself? Maybe I am, maybe I'm not -- judging me on that point would require that you know a HELL of a lot more about me than is possible, considering I don't know you from Adam. But even if it were true, it has nothing to do with the validity of the argument I'm making -- it's an ad hominem attack.

Or are you saying that only those who serve are qualified, either morally or by merit of experiencial knowledge, to have an opinion on matters of national defense? I seem to recall that when Robert Heinlein proposed that system in Starship Troopers, it was decried as "fascist". And if you truly believe that, doesn't that disqualify YOU from speaking out on these matters as well? Sauce for the goose, you know. And what about the 132 million Americans who let only 4 millions fight for them in WWII? And are we all hypocrites for believing in laws, but not joining the police force? No, sorry, this argument doesn't hold up. While those who serve have earned a greater level of respect and honor than the rest of us, and while their acheivements in service of the country may make their qualifications for leadership more evident, they are no more qualified (or less, for that matter) to form and express opinions on matters that aafect us all than any of us are.

Beyond the logical inconsistency of the "Chickenhawk" attack is the personal nastiness of it. It states, often explicitly and always at least implicitly, that those who support the war but are not enlisted in the military are too afraid to fight. In fact, this insult is at the core of the supposed hypocrisy in being a chickenhawk -- why else the word "chicken"? But it commits another fallacy, that of the false dilemma -- it ignores a panoply of possible reasons why a person would be willing but unable to serve, and it ignores the fact that many of those who are not currently serving HAVE served in the past. I can't speak for veterans, but I should think they find this particular attitude insulting.

So that's why I'm joining the 101st. Yes, I support the war. It is horrific, and tragic, but not nearly so much so as the alternatives. No, I am not enlisting -- I tried that route, years ago, and got a "don't call us, we'll call you" brush-off from the Navy. But if I can't fight, I'll at least do my part by making sure that I honor those who can -- and do.

Schrodinger's Kid

Over the weekend as I was thinking about the parenting observation I made last week, I became aware of several other truisms about parenting and children (especially small children still in the larval and rugrat stages of development). These are mostly things I was aware of before becoming a father thanks to exposure to kids as an uncle, but became more acutely aware, and more introspective towards, as a parent -- namely these two: The more tired a child is, the more violently he will resist being put down for a nap; and the quieter a child is being, the more likely it is that they're getting onto trouble. I decided to express them as mathematical formulas.

The first is pretty simple: Ws=1/Ns where Ws is the willingness of the child to sleep and Ns is the need to sleep.

That second one is the trickier of the two. At first it seemed like simple Newtonian parenting: T=M/L, where T= The likelihood that the child is getting into trouble, M is their natural mischeivousness, and L is how loud they're being. But there is another variable here, and that's time -- it takes time to get into trouble (though not always a LOT of time). So I reassigned the variable L to represent the Length of time since you checked on them, and assigned V as the volume of the noise the child is making, and got T=(M/V)L.

But that's where Uncertainty and Superposition come into play. For starters, the value of M varies from child to child, and can even change for a given child, depending on mood, maturity, and how much trouble they got in last time. Furthermore, while it is true that as L increases, T approaches 1, you can never be sure that T has become 1 and the child really has gotten into trouble until you go check on them. Doing this, however, affects the outcome in a couple of ways: Like Schrodinger's cat, it fixes the value of T at either 1 or zero -- either they're in trouble or they're not. Secondly, checking on the child resets L to zero, and finally, if the child becomes aware that you are checking on them, this will alter their behavior (M).

There you have it, folks -- Quantum Parenting.