Thursday, February 26, 2009

Uggghh Part 2

The more I hear about the new budget the more sick I feel. Remember harder....there are millions of Obama voters counting on you!!

New and Improved Deadly Sins

This just in from the Vatican "Sins and Penances Area". There are some new deadly sins. Environmental sins, cloning, drug use and "inequality of wealth". When Karen read this article to me I almost thought she was reading the Onion.


If you want a horrifying read that better explains how capitalism will be undone for the future read this document from the OMB. This is Barrack's economic plan. that is supposed to curtail spending yet promises deficits like never before. Yeah have fun!!

Area 51 Atwitter

For those of you who don't follow Area 51 you can ignore this one. That probably trims the list down to two people I know. Recently I have been scanning Area 51 as it has been very busy spewing out the inaccuracies, accusations, assumptions, and other conspiratorial theories. Today he provided an "Executive Summary" of all the Church and Change players and activities.

In one specific blurb regarding St. Marcus pastors he clearly knows nothing of the division of labor between the pastors at St. Marcus. His accusations make him look ridiculous. Maybe if he talked to even one member who was involved with St. Marcus he might know what's going on. I don't think he would understand that Jeske is only half-time at St. Marcus and covers Sunday morning worship and half-time Time of Grace. Pastor Steinberg is the school pastor. They are still looking for a replacement for Ski and until they do my pastor has been filling in 80% of the time for Sunday night worship at St. Marcus. These kinds of things escape "Joe's" scholarship.

A little later on he decries some pastors for researching and listening to Pastors outside our fellowship because those outside our fellowship also preach false doctrine. Apparently our pastors are not capable of listening to false teachers and discerning what is correct doctrine and what is wrong.

The large irony is that the person spewing all these accusations is outside of the WELS or any other synod and is a self-declared pastor of an independent, lutheranish based "church" he runs out of his house on the web. He spends his time calling all the synods apostate and their leaders heretics. Yet he spends a great deal of time quoting and reading and researching all these heretics. Recently he put out a glowing review of a WELS book written by a Pastor. Yet the same pastor wrote a paper that outlines Objective Justification ...something this quasi-Lutheran pariah decries endlessly. He did note in his review of the book that he wished that the Pastor had not put references to OJ in the book.

I guess the hypocrisy is that this modern day " Joe McCarthy" of the marginalized Lutheran independents with an axe to grind set, can read whatever he likes, he can sit at the feet of UOJ Stormtroopers and fawn over their other material as long as he highlights the parts that he doesn't agree with. Our own pastors are not allowed this freedom or discernment. Perhaps the line is that Lutheran Pastors can read anything in the realm of Lutheran but are required to stay away from any materials anywhere outside the realm of Lutherandom. I'm not sure but as the chief of sitting at the feet of those at Notre Dame, Yale , and various non-lutheran colleges and at at the feet of so many other's he also criticizes, I think the hypocrisy is huge that the critic of "Spoiling the egyptians." is the top spoiler of them all.

Well I just noticed that the Rev. "Joe McCarthy" has just been spewing at a feverish rate these days and continues to spiral down the path of Lutheran nuttiness. I thought just once someone should say something somewhere to make sure there is a reality check at least once.

Victory of the Lamb Hits the Big Screen

Well the Lord has certainly answered our prayers at Victory of the Lamb. As the church keeps growing and we are quickly running out of space at the Polonia we have finally gotten permission to meet at Showtime Cinema across the highway from the Polonia. We have asked several times to use their facilities and they have not been very amenable. Now they are...and for not a whole lot more than the Polonia was charging. We are grateful for that.

We will have use of the Large theater seating 240 and a small one across the hall for the children's ministry. We also can use a meeting room with tables and the Cafe area. There are not a lot of spaces available in southwest Franklin and this represents the most significant real estate in that area. This will be a big help for the church.

I'm excited by the possibilities for meeting in a room designed around sound. Finally I can resolve the sound issues we suffer at the Polonia with feedback and harshness. Even videotaping will be easier.

It looks like we will be able to start worshipping there in May. We have a lot of things to do to be ready for that. We will definitely need to be a more organized setup and take down crew as we will need to be out a little bit earlier and we have to leave it clean and ready to go. Movies start at 11:45 although on the other side of the building. We'll be at the end of a wing. I can't tell you how much better it will be to walk into "church" on a Sunday morning and not have it smell like burritos and liquor. I'm pretty sure Ike will miss picking up the scattered beer bottles and cigarette butts as well. Clean bathrooms, no puke, no full length bar, no sewage dumping in the parking lot, no more blown circuits and defective furnaces, bacteria water, etc..... Such luxury.

Praise God that he has blessed this church that it has grown from 6 people to nearly 140 in less than 2 years. This next phase of being a mission church should be exciting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Imagine What Could Be Remembered

I saw this article on the Journal-Sentinel and I just loved it.

Madison company offers memory enhancer to leaders in tax arrears
By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Feb. 24, 2009 A Madison biotech company is offering what it is calling a mental stimulus package to government officials who forget to pay their taxes.

Quincy Bioscience will provide free bottles of its flagship brain-enhancing supplement, Prevagen, to any member of Congress or the Obama administration who has forgotten to pay taxes during the last 10 years, the company said Tuesday.

"We're confident that after 30 to 60 days of taking the supplement, most legislators and government officials will recall, without being reminded by aides or reporters, all tax periods for which they have forgotten to pay state or federal income taxes," Quincy Bioscience President Mark Underwood said in a news release.

Prevagen is so effective it also should help most government officials recall when they failed to make Social Security and Medicare contributions for undocumented household workers, Underwood said.

Officials who have had trouble remembering to pay various kinds of taxes include: U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; Tom Daschle, former Democratic senator from South Dakota who withdrew from a nomination to run the Health and Human Services Department; Nancy Killefer, former assistant treasury secretary under Bill Clinton who withdrew from a nomination to be President Barack Obama's chief performance officer; and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

To My Newest Readers

I have been informed that I have a growing constituency amongst the 4 year old cowgirl blog reading demographic (this is definitely a niche market). Not only is the fact that they can find this blog on their "Favorites" list impressive but truly impressive that they like to come back and share family updates along with my other random thoughts. With this knowledge, I believe I need to add a "word of the day" segment so as to be helpful in their preschool education.

So for Emma and Lily the word of the day is: defenestrate. A good use of this word is: Daddy's 401k has been defenestrated. Obama has defenestrated capitalism. Do NOT defenestrate your brother. An interesting side note that the German word "Das Fenster" is related to the root of defenstrate. Quirky huh? Wait until your friends at school hear about this.

I'm glad to have astute young readers join me. Welcome Aboard!!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Look into my eyes Kelly....get Facebook it...nobody is watching...its okay. Get Facebook and be cool like Me, Karen, Mom, Gerry, Deb, Nic, Justin, Christina, Matt, Mike, Kristi, Nichole, Tom, Zach, Katie, Ike, Amy, Alyson, Luke and probably just a few on your side of the family as well.

Share pictures faster, be in the know, bask in the trendiness... Register...add people. Better yet add me and then use my friends list to add the rest of the family. Come to the dark side...Once we have you...I know we can get Pat....

This is just between you and me... Resistance is Futile


Zach Update

For those who asked for a Zach update. I meant to publish one last Friday. My mother emailed me but I didn't want to type a complete update on my here it is. Zach finished MCT at Camp Pendleton last week and headed straight to Pensacola, FL. He is currently located at the Naval Air Station there. This base houses a great deal of the aviation training not just for the Navy but for all the armed forces. There are many Marines there. I will put some pictures in here that show the barracks around the base.

Zach likes the base soo much better already. The temps are 75 during the day but still a little chilly at night. Apparently about 3 weeks ago it was really cold and getting into the 20's at night 40's during the day. Zach does not know exactly when he will start classes. Even though they arrived at the base they have to wait to "class up" There is a little back log at the moment and they could
The front barracks is Zach's (and Ricky and Steve)

easily wait 2-4 weeks or more before they start. In the mean time they get these great jobs like cleaning, guard duty, firewatch, and physical training. So there is plenty of opportunity for boredom. Zach is getting a laptop to help pass the time. For those who are advanced enough technology wise, he liked the webcam thing that other Marines do with their friends and family so his new laptop will have a built in webcam.

Zach had managed to get a good case of Bronchitis. Probably was developing even before he left for MCT. By the time he arrived at NAS, Pensacola it was a really great case of Bronchitis. So he is on two weeks of light duty. That just means that of those lovely jobs he gets to do while he waits for class, there will not be runs and heavy workouts. Because he was on light duty he was not able to participate in the All Marine Run the commander decided to have. I believe Zach said there was 2000-3000 marines running. He was not sad about that as the shin splint pain of running really makes it undesirable. Instead he and 40 others got to get up at 3:30am and go out to various instersections and play traffic cop. The run didn't start until much later though like 6:00am or something like that so he just sat there waiting for a few hours. I guess thats the military though.

It sounds like we won't have to worry about Zach getting caught up in any short lived, misguided, military romance yet. Now that he is finally on base where there are women Marines, he doesn't think he'll be running after them. Lets just leave it that a large majority of them share several common undesirable traits. Now apparently plenty of Marines head over to the "D" Barracks which is the barracks for the Navy women. According to Zach's somewhat elitist view, they are prettier than the Marine women, but still the military women in general just have a certain .."aggressive go getting"...personality that he is not interested in.
Going backwards I think Zach was definitely interested in a number of things at MCT. I think he liked all the weapons. It sounded like he liked the various assault training and clearing buildings and 5 man sneaky marine stuff. I feel bad but half the time I now just say "yeah, uh huh, sure.." when I'm on the phone because I have no idea what he is talking about and he uses a lot of terms I don't understand. I suppose its like talking to a computer programmer.

I think that covers the majority of his last 5-6 weeks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

No one ever told me...

...that as a parent you get to do school, not just the one time you did it all, but also several more times as each of your children go through school. Why is that?

I think my parents involvement in my education was minimal. They went to some parent-teacher conferences. Boy, I sure hated when those happened as there was always some new interesting tidbit my parents found out about that I had already forgotten about. I say..why bring up the past...oh but that's what I'm doing. The only other involvement I believe was the 2 or 3 research papers in high school that I had my Mom use her crazy, mad typing skills and type the final draft for me on our state of the art IBM Selectrix. (and no that did not have auto correct... you had to line up the letter and put in correction sheets that you used judiciously until there truly was no "white out" powder left on it.) The best benefit of using Mom to type these papers was the spell check and grammar check provided. No red or blue squiggles...just her brain. Even more impressive was her ability to read the chicken scratch of all 4 of her sons and type at 90 words a minute.

No less impressive was watching her do the books of Dad's business or pay the bills and see her fingers fly on the Burroughs Adding Machine. It was a device with 10 buttons for every "place". so the 100ths place, 10ths place, 1's place, 10's place, 100's place etc.. each column had 10 numbers 0-9 underneath it so you could punch each number and then hit the "enter" button (at least it was a button and not a crank) and it would print it up and do the math on a roll of paper.

Some kids might remember falling asleep to the sounds of lullabys or bedtime stories. I have distinct memories of falling asleep to "clack clack clack clack clack clack" or " click click click click click click ....BRRRRUUUMMMPPPH" of course there was also the faint sounds of Johnny Carson and on the weekend that ever elusive show that I could never watch ...."Monthy Python" Sometimes my brother would listen to "Dr. Dimento" on the radio.

Wow, now that was a diversion. The point of this post though is all about how much parental interaction a child's education requires these days. This week I have successfully been up to 1:00 - 2:00 am helping a child with his major project that was due for Black History Month (funny how he never had a project like that when he was in the suburban school). Even Kt, my neurotic, study-aholic, over-achiever who does homework ahead of time and obsesses over the horror of an A- needed help on a assembling a video commercial for a spanish project last night. It was strange that her and her partner only filmed the segments the night before they were due and that my daughter actually left something to the night before. I was so perhaps there is a trace of me in there after all.

Of course I did not want to start this project at 11:00 at night when she asked for my help, but because she's a princess I went and assembled the video and added transitions and special effects and such anyways. Well it turned out being fun to do. I hope I get a good grade. I also better get a good grade on that black history project. I have to admit I learned some interesting facts. Despite my assistance on the project at least Ike learned the material. He knew his facts so I'm happy with that. I'm okay being his grammar and spelling checker on his paper and helping with display boards for the display board challenged such as Ike. That's why we had to move Ike from St. Pauls...soon they would notice that Ike's project display boards looked strikingly similar to Zach's project display boards.

In any case I will be looking for some naptime this weekend. I have to recover from 7th grade and 11th grade homework. In general though, I think education has decided that inundating kids with homework is the way to get kids ahead. I never ever had homework in this volume at these ages. Not even in high school. Something pretty weird had to happen for me to need to do homework at home. I think it is the schools way of off-loading some educational responsibility on parents. The parents will be forced to be interactive in their child's education because they are doing a few hours of homework at home everynight. I could not imagine having so much homework that I might have had to miss The Incrdible Hulk, The Dukes of Hazard, Knight Rider, The 6 Million dollar man and the Bionic Woman to do homework.... not to mention the after school programming of Beaver, the Brady's, I dream of Jeanie, Bewitched, and Gilligan's Island.

I believe that it also allows them to step up the material to a younger level. I did my first research paper ...a massive 6 pager at the end of 8th grade. If you got through it...truly you were ready for high school. It was considered THE paper of grade school existance..the Crusher. Ike has just finished his 4th 7-10 page paper in 7th grade. I had no Algebra in grade school at all (although it was coming to 8th graders was inconsistent across schools) now Ike is doing Algebra in 7th grade (granted he had to jump two grades ahead from his old school and it has been a challenge...It's starting to get there though). At least it is an excellent opportunity for me to go through Algebra again if I were hoping I could do it again.

Oh is easier this time I can pick on the wierdo's without getting in trouble this time...well until Karen tells me to stop picking on our kids.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An Applachian Perspective

I follow a website that is rooted in Appalachia in one of the poorest parts of the country, Bristol, VA/Bristol, TN or Sullivan County. I had the distinct "pleasure" to drive through Bristol and stay not too far away in Hazard, TN equally prosperous community. "Okay, so why do you follow the musings of this part of the country?" you ask. Well let me tell you...there are two reasons.

#1 The web-site created by Lewis Loflin that posts such quirky local commentary also hosts some web articles that are chock full of Applachian scholarship regarding the reformation, gnosticism, anabaptists, Martin Luther and all kinds of crazy stuff on religions. It contains some of the most rediculous religious scholarship I have ever heard, but it makes for interesting reading hearing what some may think. Mr. Loflin is a self proclaimed skeptic and makes no apologies for it. I'll give him that.

#2 The commentary portion of the website is filled with the postings of a working class conservative living in a unique area of the country. He describes himself this way:

"Make no mistake, I'm no liberal or socialist. I'd like to see a massive reduction in government meddling and limit the welfare state. It's a failure here and there's no accountability to anyone. It's time to end this self perpetuating welfare industry and close down these legions of useless non-profits for profit. I'm presenting the plight of the working class (in this area mostly working poor) and believe in self-sufficiency and independence. I want to see an end to this corrupt relationship between business and local government. " - Lewis Loflin

I have to admit it is interesting to read a perspective from a person in one of the poorest parts of our country that basically survives off of government welfare talk about how government meddling in Appalachia has only made it worse. Of course that is an obvious outcome of Government welfare but he digs up lots of interesting facts and figures.

It's clear he has a certain bias and overlooks the big picture and facts that don't support him. I hate to slam a conservative anytime but that bias just permeates throughout and discredits him. He reminds me of the commentator from "Area 51" that I have discussed before. Enthusiastic, opinionated, has some truth here and there but whose desire to shock and awe outweigh the good he could do with some thughtful scholarship.

The site: the religion slamming area is at the bottom of the home page.

Here is a link from the homepage. I thought it was funny considering the location of the country it came from. Of course that whole buying American thing doesn't sit well with me. That would give validation to the rape of American industry by unions etc.. and the denial of a global economy is about as backwards as Appalachia itself.

From Lewis Loflin:

Economic stimulus payments explained

This year (2009?), taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.

Q: What about the people who didn't work and pay taxes? What will they get?
A: They'll get a smidgen of the taxes you paid as well, maybe even more than you, so don't worry about them.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:
  • If you spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China.
  • If you spend it on gasoline, it will go to the Arabs.
  • If you purchase a computer, it will go to India.
  • If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala (unless you buy organic).
  • If you buy a car, it will probably go to Japan.
  • If you purchase useless crap, it will go to Taiwan.

And none of it will help the American economy. We need to keep that money here in America.

You can keep the money in America by spending it at yard sales, going to a baseball game, or spend it on prostitutes, beer (domestic ONLY) or tattoos, since those are the only businesses still in the US.

Martin Luther Quotes

I found these quotes from Luther a long time ago sitting in a text file on my work computer from 2003. I obviously liked them then and as I reread them I like them now. Relevent as ever.

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say”

"Who loves not women, wine and song remains a fool his whole life long." (A personal favorite)

"Some plague the people with too long sermons; for the faculty of listening is a tender thing, and soon becomes weary and satiated."

"I shall never be a heretic; I may err in dispute, but I do not wish to decide anything finally; on the other hand, I am not bound by the opinions of men."

"I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth."

"An earthly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons. Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects."

“If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.”

Monday, February 16, 2009

On President's Day

I wanted to find some solace so I went back to a sheet of quotes that has been hanging by my desk for 7 years from one of the great presidents. See if you can guess who.

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help"

"The trouble with our more liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just they know so much that isn't so."

"I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."

"The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination"

"Government is like a baby: An Alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

"The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program."

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book."

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

and finally:

"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Good Day to Think

Let's get a refresher course in Democracy. Lincoln's thoughts

Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it.
--July 10, 1858 Speech at Chicago

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.
--August 27, 1856 Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
--December 1, 1862 Message to Congress

Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.
--December 10, 1856 Speech at Chicago

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.
--April 18, 1864 Address at Baltimore

And a good refresher...

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Democracy is Ugly

Gettysburg, Pa. - Can democracy be ugly?

What preoccupied the mind of Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address was precisely his fear that it could. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people might be all well and good in theory, but it can only be as good as the people themselves, and it was the judgment of most of the world in Lincoln's day that the vast majority of the people were very likely to make democracy into a repulsive-looking mash.

Sometimes, this judgment was made by the powerful, by "a king" (as Lincoln said in 1858) "who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor." Sometimes, it came from the self-interested, "from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race."

In our day, we are most likely to hear it from the cynics who argue that democracy only seems to produce the unrooted, unencumbered self, interested only in instant gratification and rampant consumerism. Democracy grants us freedom, rumbles the cynic; but to do what? Can you pursue a vision of the good in a democracy, when all around you, people believe that the only purpose of democracy is to prevent others from imposing any particular vision of the good on them?

This is why democracy's enemies – from Karl Marx to Osama bin Laden – have so much contempt for it. The only freedom democracy appears to guarantee is the freedom to live in the suburbs, read the paper, and have a nice day. This is also why so many of our wisest heads have seemed, and still seem, perversely fascinated with communism, fascism, and other forms of totalitarianism. Why not, when democracy is not only so ugly, but so boring?

How then could Lincoln look out over the cemetery where thousands of those who had been killed in defense of democracy were buried and offer a convincing reason for calling their struggle a great task that would inspire devotion and resolve in this nation?

It was not because Lincoln was naive. Democracy's cynics were as vocal then as now. "Sometimes it comes into my mind/ To sail to America," wrote the German poet, Heinrich Heine, "To that pigpen of freedom/ Inhabited by boors living in equality."

At home, Lincoln had read his fill of justifications for slavery, based on what Sen. James Henry Hammond (D) of South Carolina called the "mud-sill" theory – that every society ultimately rests on a basement, or mud-sill, of forced labor, and that such forced labor was no different if it was done by black slaves or low-wage immigrants. To Hammond and Heine alike, Gettysburg and its honored dead could only be a monument to delusion.

But Lincoln was a fervent believer in a single fundamental fact – the proposition that all men are created equal. In whatever ways the human species differs within itself, there are two universal truths that stand above any cynic's doubts.

The first is that we are created – that we are not thrown into this world by accident, to live helplessly with the unevenness and unfairness that accident gives to things.
The second is that because we are all alike created, we derive a single, common, and equal status from that creation.

Whatever notion of God we subscribe to, there is basic, natural theology that can be read in nature itself, and Lincoln believed that "if anything can be proved by natural theology, it is that slavery is morally wrong." This was "so plain, that the most dumb and stupid slave that ever toiled for a master, does constantly know he is wronged." We may become princes or paupers, but none of us is born that way, booted and spurred and ready to ride everyone else.

Democracy is obliged, not just to take polls, but to conform community life to the contour of that natural law. Democracy is about tolerance – but democracy's tolerance is about forbearance, not indifference. Democracy is about pluralism – but democracy's pluralism is about finding wisdom in many counselors, not in denying that wisdom exists. Democracy is about popular government – but democracy's people are those who seek, not merely what feels good, but what is good.

These are the qualities that make democracy into a great task, rather than an exercise in self-satisfaction. But these are also the things that make it worth sacrificing to save, which made the sacrifices of Gettysburg into hallowed ground – and which impel us to dedicate ourselves to a new birth of freedom, and to save government of, by, and for the people as the last, best hope of the earth.

Allen C. Guelzo

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday is not like Friday

Monday is never like Friday. We are not nearly as chipper. Although I must say I was pleased with my weekend. I completed a large part of the design for my new project and I even started in on the database development and some of the web work. I'm trying to be meticulous in the naming conventions and in memory management. I have not always done that as thoroughly in the past. However I need to be able to run this efficiently. I also am taking care to document the code and the database as I create it. This all definitely slows the process down, but already has been helpful for me.

I spent most of the weekend working on that. I slipped in a few chores here and there. Ike worked Friday night and Saturday night. Kt was hanging out with a friend both those nights. That's what our house would be like without kids. Aaaaahhh! Then again on Sunday afternoon Ike went mall ratting and Kt worked. Ahhhhh!!! I actually left my computer went to my sweet recliner in the basement and took a 2 hour nap. Really the only thing that disturbed that was Ike asking for a ride home from the mall. That kid needs a bus pass.

So almost all our snow has melted with the warm temperatures this weekend. We had 50's...which is so bizarre considering it was 5 degrees going into work on Thursday morning. I wish it was actually Spring arriving. That was a long stretch of cold and I'm ready for Spring already.

However if it was Spring that means that we will need to start dealing with the corn problem. Yes, we have a corn problem...don't you? Well the reason we have a corn problem is because of Squirrel Man. Squirrel Man lives down two houses and he LOVES squirrels. So much so that he has an old tree stump in his front yar with two spikes on it. and at least 3 times a week he loads those spikes with a cob of corn on each of them. So from spring until fall the squirrels bring the corn cobs that they take off the spikes and deposit them in our yard. That makes it more convenient for them to take the corn off and bury the kernels for safe keeping all over our yard. Last summer I had no less that 70 feed corn plants that grew up in the craziest of places. Of course that makes our yard a great place for bunnies.

Oooooohhh the bunnies!!! they dig holes and eat plants and have babies in our yard. Now my Father-in-Law has a bunny birthing center and condo complex under his deck. and he patiently traps them and humanely lets them go farther away in the country. Thats what you have to do in Madison or the Bunny Toleration League(BTL), Bunnies Are People Too If Smoking THC (BAPTIST), and the Bunnies Are Cute Creatures And Require Animal Toleration (BACCARAT) group will be all up in your face. Little does he know that the bunny network has a groomed path with rest areas and signage directing them straight back to some of the prime real estate on Oak Valley Dr. However in Milwaukee, we eat bunny and squirrel hugging interest groups for breakfast and follow it with a Brat and a beer. This year I am lacing the entire yard with Arsinic. If any living thing licks so much as a blade of grass I want them dead. Then I'm going to take their little carcasses and arrange them around the corn stump I'll put them in little black robes and make it look like a druid sacrafice or something with one poor creature sprawled out over the stump altar. Maybe I'll reenact a scene from Saving Private Ryan, or string them up with nooses around the stump as an example to others. I think if I could string up a squirrel like Sampson between the two cobs of corn that would make quite an impression on the other squirrels. I do have a nice spot in the yard where I could put up little grave markers that might make the rabbits nervous. I'll leave one little grave dug out with an empty headstone. Imagine as the go by and see the headstones...Peter, Easter, Runny Babbit, Bugs, Harvey, Roger, etc... What rabbit is going to hang out to see who goes in the next one?

Nevermind....I hate spring. Don't even get me started about the birds....because yes you guessed it Squirrel Man has bird feeders. Its such a good meal they can only make it to the tree in front of our house and poop on our cars. If I could electrify a tree...I would.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Yes I have been known to greet some sleepy compadres at work with that loud obnoxious greeting (its done with a Gilbert Godfrey voice). It also wakes the kids at times. Sometimes it is not even Friday when I do it. But I already feel GREAT!! I don't know why though. It might be that I started riding the bikes in the fitness center. Usually I declare bike day April 1st. This is fitting because watching a fat guy on a road bike in spandex seems perfect for April Fools day. However I want to get started now. The cold makes me want to be moving. Also I can't really start riding my bike to work until I am done dropping Ike off at St. Marcus. I still say he should ride his bike with me. I could get him some spandex bike shorts too. You may not be aware of this, but nothing is cooler than pulling up to an inner city, all black school on your bike wearing spandex. I think Ike would appreciate the attention.

So in lieu of a paying customer for CCD I have started on a project that I have always wanted to do. Well at least for 6 years or so. It's not new or even that interesting of an idea, but I think could be beneficial for WELS schools. Well any school but I wouldn't do this for them. Its an online grading program. I have researched the ones out there and there are some fine ones out there already. I have learned two things. The good programs...cost a fortune in subscription fees for schools. They are naturally prohibitive for a WELS school budget. Setup fees around $600 - $2000 and $10 to $15 per student per year. There are other pricing models but they all end up around the same prices. Then there are the not so good programs that are affordable. Their technology is not as good and can be a nightmare in configuration and often have nasty MS Access databases as their base. I have seen two of the more popular grading programs in action and they have plenty to be desired.

I have started the design of this program and am modeling the database now. I will be doing it in ASP.Net using a MS SQL Server DB. It will be completely online and not supported by advertising (as many "free" online graders are). It will be configurable and customizable online as well. I am going to try and make it the most robust in grading rules as I possibly can. I have already been collecting a lot of data on grading scales, curves, grade point calculation, weighting, pass/fail, etc... The worst part will be making it so everything prints all nice. I'll be using FOP to make web data print in nice formatting or as PDF's. Of course It will need to run in a data center and have good support. I'm sure some schools will not want to part with their in-house systems so that means I will need to develop good file import converters so they could upload grades from their current systems just for online use. That wouldn't be my ultimate desire but I know it will happen.

I think I can add a lot of value in the space particularly for WELS or maybe parochochial schools in general because what I do is sweat equity and I don't need to live off of it. Also I have experience designing software used by a large number of users. It will be fun and keep my programming skills sharp. I have been slacking lately. As an architect I only draw pretty pictures and tell people what to program. I hardly ever get to actually program anything anymore. Thats no way to be a .NET master. Well we'll see if I can have this finished in 6-12 months. I have no particular end date in mind.

Well thats enough for this Friday. Poke your head into the Fitness center at NML around 1:20 this afternoon if you want to see a fat guy sweating on a bike.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Sunday

So...I watched the last half of the super bowl. Maybe all the good commercials were in the first half. I'd have to say that at least it was one heck of a game to watch. That's how superbowls should be.

Talked to Zach yesterday. He is doing alright. I believe he had his hardest week at MCT. He was in a lot of pain with his shin splints and a cyst on the bottom of his foot. He is avoiding proper medical treatment for that as to avoid getting dropped back a week if they decided to freeze it off and he'd be off his feet a few days. They had a 10k hike with 90lb packs on Friday. This next week he is at a remote camp firing large weapons. 50 calibre machine guns and rocket launchers etc.. He definitely is waiting for Florida although the temps in San Diego have been 75 degrees or so. It is so much nicer that I can email him, text him and phone him. For now it is just the weekends but it is sooo much better than only being able to write letters.

Today we had 113 in church. Pastor mentioned about a building for sale not too far away that might just be the thing that God was closing all the other doors for to lead us here. It was a light industry building with a 6000 sq ft warehouse and a number of offices and rooms. It is for sale by a member from St. Jacobi who also owns the building next door. That would be an important part because we might need to use the overflow parking of that building. I was soooo excited. Pastor is talking to him this week. I will pray that some doors are opened up here.

I did get the Jetta cleaned today. I hardly recognized it. Ike went to the movies with his new girlfriend. Yeah him and Naomi are just friends now. Now we're on to Michelle. Ahh the love life of a 14 year old.

That will have to cover it this Super Sunday. Have a great week.