Archive for December 2004

Still Sick – Happy New Year!

While other family members are recovering, I am still sick. My cold is turning into the flu.

Personally, I blame the French.

Happy New Year to everyone.

Out sick…

As is the entire family – so not doing much but playing Sid Meier’s Pirates and watching Cartoon Network.
Quick thoughts:

Was I the only one whose first thought was, upon hearing about the tsunami, “Betcha we (USA) will be blamed for it,”?

The UN’s comments immediately after the disaster about the US being stingy was tactless. Of course, Turtle Bay is currently mired in so many scandals (Oil-for-Food, Sex Slaves for Peacekeepers, etc) that the lack of tact is the least of the UN’s problems. How long are we going to put up with that joke of an organization before we pull out of it and work bilaterally with the rest of the world?

Wonder how the Pirate-King is doing in CO…

Freedom of Thought? Not At US Universities

Immigration has become an absolutely taboo topic on university campuses.

I was just told this by a noted professor at UC-Davis. His comment was in response to the silence that has greeted when I have approached colleges about setting up chapters of the ITPAA, inc.

I had figured that college administrators might be interested in anything that helped prepare their students for the real-world. I even thought the “collectivist” nature of an association might appear to their Leftist ideology.

Boy was I wrong.

While the ITPAA represents the interests of citizens and residents alike, and has a broad membership that cuts across all ethnic groups, they obviously won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. And the professor states why.

So this is what the American univerisity system has become: an institution run by Politically Correct dogma instead of free-thought and the exchange of ideas. This is the Left’s little utopia – what they would force upon society?

Have they no shame? Can’t they realize that they have become the very fascists that they supposedly hate so much?

During my days at UC-San Diego, I saw the juggernaut of PC dogma beginning, but I always thought it would be tempered by people’s innate common sense.

Obiously I was wrong.

Baseball: 1963 Rookies

For those of you who know me well, I tend to have serial obsessions. My current obsession is rebuilding my baseball card collection from the 1960s-70s. I’m also rediscovering my love of the game, and my heroes of the era: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan and Pete Rose. Of the four, Pete Rose is an enigma. He is truly one of baseball’s all-time greats – and the Hall of Fame remains an empty shell without him in it. However, he has refused to admit his mistakes – that first step of recovery and to redemption. I believe that he will someday, and until he does, I am going to obsess about his cards.

Rose first appeared in the Topps 1963 set in a card shown below:

This card sells for several hundred dollars in good condition – thousands in excellent or better. He appears on the card with Al Weis, Ken McMullin and Pedro Gonzalez. If you don’t recognize those names, you shouldn’t. They may appear on the same card as Pete Rose, but they never matched his skills or longevity.

Pete Rose started his career in the majors in 1963 and finished 24 seasons later with a career average of .303.
Al Weis played for 10 seasons beginning in Sept 1962 and finished with a career batting average of .219.
Pedro Gonzalez played only 5 seasons in the majors and finished with a .244. I wonder why he quit. Injury?
Ken McMullin was the most successful of Pete’s “card-mates”, playing for 16 seasons and ending his career in 1977 with a respectable .248 career average.

The above statistics come from the best baseball reference I have found on the web: The Baseball Almanac.

Either Annan Goes or We Do

The Captain fires a broadside at the United Nations:

What has the UN done for America? They’ve ignored the terrorist threat by linking it to Israel’s status, creating a stalemate on the Security Council and an abject surrender on the Human Rights committees that abound at Turtle Bay (and are usually run by the worst abusers). They allowed Saddam Hussein twelve long years to ignore the cease-fire accords that kept him in Baghdad, and then once we finally bypassed the UNSC, we found out that member-nations like Russia, China, France, and Germany continued selling Saddam arms in violations of the sanctions they insisted would be enough to render him harmless. The oil-for-food program that we hoped would ease the sanctions’ bite on ordinary Iraqis instead was transformed by the UN into a vehicle to stuff billions of dollars into Saddam’s pockets, some of which went to fund terrorism in Palestine and almost certainly against the US.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa
Recently the Kid started doubting your existence, thanks to that wonderful font of knowledge known as his “peers”. I assured him that you exist because your spirit of giving and caring exists. I think he got the gist of my philosophical argument, and just to be safe agreed with me.

Now I recently wrote an article about the things I didn’t want for Christmas and why. Since Christmas is only three days away, I thought I would do a follow up on that article with the things I do want.

Note: these are things - not wishes like “world peace” or a conscience for Michael Moore and a hellfire missile up the butt of Osama Bin Laden. So here’s my list. Rest assured that if I don’t find any of these things under the Christmas tree, I will continue believing in you (if only to annoy the ACLU).

1. A Platinum Husband and Wife Membership at Targetmaster - Both the Wife (may Her name be praised!) and I have been talking about one of these for months now. She hasn’t shot since the Navy and would like to get some practice. The Platinum membership offers unlimited firearm range use, members lounge, reserved range time, free light gunsmith service, free guest privileges and free gun rentals – Including Full Auto. Now does that sound like fun or what after a long day at the office/treating GSWs?

2. Nvidia GForce 6600 AGP – While not quite as powerful as the 6800, the 6600 provides the best graphics bang for the buck in my opinion. Given how popular FarCry and Doom are in the house, it would be nice to find one of these under the tree so that I could chuck the old MX440-piece o’ crap from one PC, move the 9550 into it and replace the 9550 with the 6600. That way The Kid and I could frag monsters (and he could frag me) to his heart’s content.

3. 1962 Topps Lou Brock Rookie Card (Graded PSA 8 or better) – Lou Brock was my favorite baseball player as a kid. He was wicked fast and the all-time stolen base champ. I have several of his autographs, received at a time before autographs became a business. While this particular card isn’t the prettiest, it is his first and would be a nice momento to hand down to future generations.

4. 19” flat-screen monitor – This would allow me to eBay a laptop, dump an ancient 15” monitor, and move the Kid’s PC into the kitchen so that Wife (may Her name be praised!) can surf the Internet without having to stumble through the mess in the home-office.

5. A 6 Amp corded drill. I have a cordless drill and honestly, it seems to crap out just when I need it the most. I want something big and powerful that will drill through the hardest wood.

That’s all! No cars, jewelery or expensive clothes – all of which would be completely lost on me. The rest I can manage on my own (books, trains, etc). Thanks for everything that you have brought me in the past, and while some may scoff at your existence, rest assured that I don’t.

Sincerely,
Scott

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design (continued)

Update: Phelps and I continue to argue about this here;

Discovery.org is the playground for Intelligent Designers. While hanging out there, I’ve noticed some things:

First, there are 2 biologists listed as CSC Fellows: Michael J. Behe, and Paul Chien. Both of these biologists are tenured and have written extensively about Intelligent Design. Behe has written a book called Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. Here’s a review of the book at the Boston Review (for the lazy: it’s a pretty scathing critique of it).

Beyond those two men, there are well over forty who are either on the board or also are fellows. The majority of these are lawyers, former Senator Slate Gordon of Washington, philosophers and other non-biologist types including software designers. This makes me wonder exactly what the agenda of Discovery.org is – since it is evidently greater than pushing Intelligent Design. As I learn more about it, I will post it here.

Next, the organization keeps a library of recent articles about ID. Discovery fellow Jonathan Witt (link), holder of a Ph.D. in Literary Studies from the University of Kansas, wrote an article that appeared in the Seattle Times called “Entertaining the notion of a place of wonder” (link)
The main point of this article is that the incredible complexities found in Nature cannot have occurred naturally.

This argument is refuted here.

Yet what bothers me most is that one cannot simply torpedo one theory without offering another to take its place. No ID supporter has step forward to offer evidence that supports the ID hypothesis. I can’t say I blame them, since it is much easier to try to poke holes in an existing theory than it is to formulate one to replace it, especially when that replacement theory involves proving the existence of a Supreme Deity.

For ID to overthrow Evolution requires nothing less than proof that God exists. For those of us who accept God purely on the basis of faith, such materialistic evidence is impossible by definition. That is why I have no problem believing in God AND accepting Evolution as fact – since proving the existence of God would prove Him to not be God at all.

That’s a tall order, and one which all ID believers have shied away from. Nevertheless, the attacks on Darwin continue, and will, as long as those who refuse to accept the existence of God faith alone continue to argue against Evolution and/or natural selection.

Housecleaning

A few weeks back the Pirate-King told me how to lock-down this site so that spammers couldn’t post in the comments.

I have implemented a system by GudlyF that allows comments but blocks the spam robots (or forces them to evolve at least).

After finishing that, I cleaned up the site. I deleted over 6,500 spam posts.

I was wondering what was eating my bandwidth here. Now I know.

And to you spammers out there who may happen upon this post:
May your tongue be used as a litter-box by a thousand unneutered housecats.

Thank You Steven Den Beste

Just A Cat

Update: The cat’s alive for now…

About six years ago the family started feeding a scraggly looking stray that took up residence outside our house. The cat was a tortoiseshell, thin and a bit scrawny; definitely on the runtish side of things. While she took us up on our free meals, she never let us get near her, choosing instead to dash off into the yard to seek the cover of the rose bushes and peonies.

Five years ago next month, we had a terrific snowstorm that dumped over a foot of snow on our neighborhood. For weeks we had noticed that the scrawny cat named “Chalupa”, after a Taco Bell ad campaign running at the time (thank you Madison Ave…), had an injured paw, forcing her to run with her rear leg held up close to her haunches. Instead of getting better, the leg seemed to be getting worse, and as the snow fell I noticed blood tracks on the path.

Taking advantage of the situation, I leapt at Chalupa, who avoided me with cat-like grace. However, she had not planned on a yard covered in the equivalent of 7 feet of snow for a man, so that grace didn’t get her very far before I had her hissing and spitting in my arms.

I took her in, and let her go in the basement where it was warmer and away from the other animals. Days later we had her to the vet, where she had her paw looked at, and arrangement for her spaying were made.

For the next year, Chalupa was a shadow in our household that could only be glimpsed out of the corner of your eye as she padded silently from one hiding place to another. The other cats were livid, but livid is the default setting of cats if you ask me, so it didn’t bother me – though the kitty equivalent of protest signs – peeing on the carpet – did.

Chalupa wasn’t comfortable in the house, and so taking advantage of an open door one Summer day, she bolted and disappeared into the neighborhood. She was gone for several days, and I started to get worried, visions of smushed kitty on the roadway being seen by one 0f the family running unedited and in the special Director’s Cut in my head, I finally got up the nerve and checked out the ASPCA.

There she was, alone in a cage and strangely happy to see me. Is such a thing possible for a cat? I took her home after bailing her out with $35 cash, and a remarkable thing happened over the coming weeks: Chalupa became one of the nicest, sweetest cats we owned.

Whereas she had hidden from us, she was now usually nearby. At night she alone would choose to sleep with us, curling up on our pillows near our heads. Changing position during the middle of the night would result in a sharp “meowp” as she complained about being disturbed. She was a true sweetie, and the first cat that had gravitated to me since I was a kid (Wife is the usual recipient of feline honors).

That’s pretty much been the story for the last 3 years.

Unfortunately, little “Lupa” has become quite sick with some kind of liver ailment. As I write the Wife is taking her to the vet again to see if anything can be done. The prognosis isn’t good, and we now have the prospect of having to explain the euthanizing of a pet to our child. We have decided that if it is the only option, then we will have it done but only after explaining the situation to our child.

While this isn’t any earthshaking news in the grand scheme of life, especially given what is happening today and what has happened in our world in the past, it is going to be for our child. I’ve researched the subject on the Internet, and information/knowledge/the truth seems to be called for when a pet is put to sleep.

Sometimes being a parent sucks.

Are the Republicans Serving up Kosher Chicken?

Rumor has it that the administration may offer Sen. Joe Lieberman (D – CT) the lead of the new combined intelligence service. So far Lieberman has turned down the posts of Director of Homeland Security and UN Rep.

In a case of chickens coming home to roost, should Lieberman take a post in the Bush administration, his senate seat would be filled with a Republican, pushing that party closer to the magic number of “60” where it can torpedo any attempts at Democratic fillibustering. The chickens have been out on the range since December 2003 – when former VP Al Gore threw his support behind Howard Dean – and later, the Democratic establishment through its anti-Dean support behind Kerry instead of the more conservative Lieberman.

While the article linked to above doubts that Lieberman would take the position, it is intriguing to imagine him doing so since, in my opinion, the Dem Party leadership screwed him royally.

Truth in Advertising

Google ad irony:
Google Ad

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

The Evolutionary Cage Match continues here.

The challenge to ID believers remains:
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Evolution and Natural Selection have been proven. The existence of a supernatural being driving evolution is an extraordinary claim.

Where is the extraordinary proof supporting that claim?

Prove ID to me and I’ll teach it myself.

Dishonest Reporting Awards 2004

HonestReporting.com has released the Dishonest Reporting Awards 2004. Needless to say Europe figures prominently in the awards (what is it about Europeans hatred of Jews? Killing 6 million not enough?), but the USA doesn’t leave unscathed.

The Evolution of Dean Esmay

I’m in a nasty intellectual dust-up over at Dean’s World on Evolution. Come over and watch me go ape on some and make a monkey out of others (and myself)!

I wrote about it almost three years ago here.