Tuesday, April 30, 2013

They shoot elephants, don't they?

I had to chuckle when reading this article. I've been hearing for years that cows destroy the environment and produce methane that will cause global warming and destroy the Earth. Now it seems they are saving the planet from global warming. From the article:
Ecologist Allan Savory blamed elephant herds for destroying African grasslands. It turns out, what all grasslands need to survive is more animals eating them.
Of course, global warming itself seems to be just a dream these days. That's not to say everyone is convinced. But at least people are starting to look at real data, rather than flawed or intentionally misleading computer models.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Joke

The Navy Chief noticed a new seaman and barked at him, "Get over here! What's your name sailor?"

"John," the new seaman replied.

"Look, I don't know what kind of bleeding-heart pansy crap they're teaching sailors nowadays, but I don't call anyone by his first name," the chief scowled. "It breeds familiarity, and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my sailors by their last names only; Smith, Jones, Baker, whatever. And you are to refer to me as 'Chief'. Do I make myself clear?"

"Aye, Aye Chief!"

"Now that we've got that straight, what's your last name?"

The seaman sighed. "Darling, My name is John Darling, Chief."

“Okay, John, here's what I want you to do..."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

You didn't build that

Yes, I know, the "you didn't build that" meme is old hat, but I just came up with this one...

You didn't build that

Friday, April 26, 2013

Competition of Church and State

It used to be that the Church served the spiritual and physical needs of people, and the role of the state was to keep law and order. Indeed, the first orphanages, adoption centers, soup kitchens, schools and hospitals were all created by the Church. As governments have grown, they have decided to move into areas traditionally run by the Church, and since they have a monopoly on legislation, government has all the advantages.

Catholic orphanages and adoption centers are being shut down because of legislation barring them from being Catholic. Likewise Catholic hospitals are in danger if the Supreme Court upholds the HHS mandate. Catholic schools are doing surprisingly well despite the financial inequity compared to public schools, presumably because of the superior education provided. But in countries like Canada the state is legislating to push Catholics out of education. Perhaps the most direct attack on social services is in cities like New York and Philly, where it is illegal for anyone except the government to provide food to the poor and homeless.

But I have to say this story takes the cake. Priests were restrained from giving last rites to the dying in Boston. From the WSJ article:
But it is a poignant irony that Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who died on Boylston Street, was a Catholic who had received his first Communion just last year. As Martin lay dying, priests were only yards away, beyond the police tape, unable to reach him to administer last rites—a sacrament that, to Catholics, bears enormous significance.
[H/T FairAngel]
[N.B. I could say more, but I am literally sick over this.]

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm outraged. Are you?

Via Operation Rescue:
Philadelphia, PA - Judge Jeffery P. Minehart dismissed three of the eight murder charges against Kermit Gosnell this morning, leaving five counts that will eventually go to the jury. The three dismissed first degree murder counts dismissed today relate to the accused murder of three newborn babies, birthed during late-term abortions only to have their spinal cords severed.

Testimony from the medical examiner and toxicologist has indicated that there was no evidence the babies were injected with Digoxin to ensure the babies were dead prior to the abortion, as the defense has claimed.

The medical examiner testified that tests were inconclusive as proof that the babies were born alive. However, the tests also did not prove the babies were dead prior to birth. Those inconclusive test results were overshadowed by the weight of testimony from witness after witness, who detailed how the babies were in fact living prior to being murdered through what one witness described as a "virtual beheading."
[UPDATE] For those claiming that the charges were dismissed only on babies were there was no testimony about whether they were alive or not, see the stories at Life Site News about a 28 week old baby, Baby "B", and Baby "G":
LifeNews has identified that another charge involved “Baby B,” about whom a Gosnell staffer testified was a newborn child who survived a failed abortion and was still breathing into a shoe box.
Kareema Cross told the jury she saw at least 10 children who were breathing after botched abortions but killed afterwards. What happened shocked her so badly she took photographs to document what happened. Cross took pictures to document filth in the abortion clinic and a picture of a huge baby boy tossed in shoe box breathing, moving, and too big for the box. Cross testified of large babies birthed, moving, and moaning some for 20 min before their necks were snipped.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Joke

An airline had a policy that required the crew to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and say 'Thanks for flying XYZ airline'.

The pilot on this particular flight hammered his plane into the runway really hard.  In light of his bad landing, he had difficulty looking the passengers in the eye, afraid that a passenger would have a smart comment.  However, it seemed that all the passengers were too shell shocked to say anything.

Finally, everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane.  She said, "Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?"

"Why no Ma'am,"  said the pilot, "What is it?"

The little old lady said, "Did we land or have we been shot down?"

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Design and purpose

Shows design and purpose

Has no design or purpose, completely chance

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ich bin ein Liebster!

I would like to thank Mike Shaw over at his blog My Life and Such for nominating/granting me this award.This is really nice, especially for a blog that I do not update as much as I could or should. Again, I will try and do my best to update more. Thank you Mike! [N.B. I also stole borrowed this intro from your post on the subject].

What is the Liebster Award and how do you get one? The Liebster Award was started some time ago by a German blogger who wanted to assist others in finding great but, under-subscribed to blogs. The “award” nomination is granted from one blogger to another and is considered as “awarded” when the nominated blog completes a certain set of requirements.

The current requirements have evolved over time and are as follows:
  • Post the Liebster award graphic on your site. (Google to find it if needed)
  • Thank the blogger who nominated the blog for a Liebster Award and link back to their blog.
  • The blogger then writes 11 facts about themselves so people who discover their blog through the Liebster post will learn more about them.
  • In addition to posting 11 fun facts about themselves, nominated bloggers should also answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
  • The nominated blogger will in turn, nominate 9 other blogs with 200 or less followers (We’re guessing for our nominees) for a Liebster award by posting a comment on their blog and linking back to the Liebster post.
  • The nominated blogger will create 11 questions for their nominated blogs to answer in their Liebster post.

That’s It! Essentially, The Liebster Award is a way to connect smaller blogs to one another. It promotes the discovery of new blogs and also helps to increase traffic through link exchanges. While not an “award” in the traditional sense of the word, it is a great way to build up communities and to help other small bloggers to get discovered.

11 Unique Things about me and my family:
  1. My whole family swims like fishes except me, who paddles along.
  2. I make telescopes for fun.
  3. I brew my own beer.
  4. I like photography and I have a theory that people who make telescopes also brew beer and like photography - at least all the ones I know do.
  5. I am a good baker.
  6. This whole blog, and some key points of my faith journey, were inspired by atheists. Thanks guys!
  7. I have only sons because, as a friend put it: "men make men."
  8. I will never be bored. There are so many things I wish I had time to do (blogging is one of them).
  9. A priest once said a requiem mass for my mother by mistake.
  10. My kids will eat almost anything (yes, even veggies).
  11. My oldest son is currently living in Italy.
11 8 questions for Mike's blog (apparently Mike Shaw can't count):
  1. What one thing that makes you most proud with your children (you can list one thing collectively or individually. If you do not have children, then what makes your parents proud about you?)
  2. Well, since I can list individually I get three things, and since I can list collectively I can apply the three to all three sons. I am most proud of their intelligence, compassion, and faith.

  3. What are your two most favorite books?
  4. The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle has to be the best SF book I've ever read. Just read it. The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindbergh was a book I picked somewhat arbitrarily for a school assignment. Turned out to be a great pick. I read each of these books over a weekend once I started - I literally didn't want to stop. Cheaper by the Dozen is a very, very close third.

  5. What is your favorite movie? Why? 
  6. Silverado. Written and directed by the Kasdans, who did movies like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The cast is awesome (Kevin Klein, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Linda Hunt, Jeff Goldblum and more), the cinematography is awesome, and, well, it's awesome. Go see it! [N.B. The Princess Bride is #2 - sorry guys]

  7. What is your most favorite place you have visited?
  8. This one's hard. I'd have to say The Grand Canyon. I've been there several times, and with my whole family, so it gets props for most memories.

  9. Do you have pets? If so, what are their names and what are they?
  10. We had fish, but they went to that great tank in the sky.

  11. What is your favorite? Movie, book, stage, TV. Please explain.
  12. Books. They have all the advantages of the other media, but you can read them almost anywhere and when ever you want, and they cost less.

  13. Favorite adult beverage? If you do not drink, then what is your favorite beverage? 
  14. Beer, duh!

  15. Jock, nerd or something else in high school?
  16. I guess nerd, although I didn't really think in those terms in high school.
Hard to pick just 9. My nominees are (in no particular order):

Sober Catholic
The Refracted Light
Reverend Know-it-all
Laudet Dominum
That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill
Redneck Reflections
Aussie Coffee Shop
Now is the Time
Teaching the Civil War with technology

11 Questions for my nominees:
  1. Hardcover, paperback or eBook?
  2. You're going on a picnic and you're going to bring ___?
  3. What's your favorite prayer and why?
  4. What was your worst subject in school?
  5. What historical figure would you like to meet (other than Jesus)?
  6. What's your favorite food?
  7. You started blogging because...
  8. Favorite quote?
  9. How much wood would a wood chuck chuck?
  10. Paper or plastic?
  11. Why do you suppose there are 9 nominees and 11 questions instead of, say, 10 and 10?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bless those who curse you

Today I am reflecting on Luke 6:27-28:
But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Specifically how this relates to yesterday's news about the bombings in Boston. Yes, I am praying for the victims and their families. But I also feel called to pray for the people who did this horrible act. Let's pray that they experience the love and mercy of God, and are healed.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Joke

This is one I tell the new scouts when we go on long hikes in bear country.

It's possible, though not likely, that we will encounter a bear. If we do, we don't want to surprise the bear. If they know you are here they will generally stay away, but of they are surprised by someone too close, they may not have a way to escape and will run at you.

So, we want to make sure the bear knows we're here. That won't be a problem for a big group of noisy scouts like you, but for people hiking alone or in small groups, it is advised that they wear little bells or carry whistles so that any bears hear them. Also, some people carry pepper spray. If a bear charges they can spray it to irritate the bear's nose and eyes to make it go away.

In this part of the country you will only see black bear, but if you are ever out in the western part of the US you may be in grizzly country. The best way to tell what kind of bears are around before you actually see them is to know the difference between their scat (poop).

The scat differs between grizzly and black bears because of their size and diet. Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings are larger, contain little bells and whistles and smell of pepper spray.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pretend safety

As I mentioned in an earlier post I was recently working on a scout project. The conversation turned to the National Geographic TV show "Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?" In particular, there are a number of challenges that the contestants face that are taken from a book of Boy Scout games. The games involve activities that most Boy Scout camps prohibit due to "safety" issues.

On one of the "tougher" episodes, the scouts and adults played "canoe jousting", where one two canoes are rowed past each other, while one person on each canoe stands up and tries to knock their opponent off the other canoe with a padded oar. Another canoe game I would expect is verboten is "gunwale jumping", where scouts race canoes, propelling them solely by standing on the gunwale and jumping up and down.

I've read articles on this as well. If you tried to do many of the activities that Boy Scouts did in, say, the 1950s you would be drummed out of the Scouts for "endangering" the boys. One of my pet peeves (and many of the adults and scouts in my troop) is the ban on "lazer tag". Lazer tag, for those who don't know, is a game where the players wear vests with infrared light sensors on them, and carry "guns" that shoot infrared lasers. When you are hit by the beam from an opponents' laser, the vest beeps and records it. After a certain number of hits you are "out". There is no physical contact. As several article point out, traditionally scouts have played way more violent games than lazer tag.

Anyway, as we listed games you can't play at scout camp, I mentioned lazer tag, and was immediately set upon by my fellow scouters. No, I was told, lazer tag is in a class by itself. It involves pointing a weapon at another person, which is something a scout has never been allowed to do. The verbal slap down by pretty much everybody present was such that I just shut up. But here I can say what I wanted to say then.

Yes, I am against scouts pointing a weapon at another person too. But a lazer tag "gun" is not a weapon. It is a flashlight. I've seen scouts use flashlights with a handle and trigger. Should those be banned as well? How about Hello Kitty bubble guns? How about pastries? How about fingers?

While I think it's important to keep our kids safe from threats, I also think it's important that we keep them safe from actual threats, not imaginary ones. Even our 10 year old new scouts are smart enough to know the difference between an actual gun, which can hurt, and a lazer tag "gun", which is a flashlight. When we pretend there is not difference, and the lazer tag "gun" is somehow bad, we are just exposing them to the adult world of hypocrisy.

Monday Joke

An  Irishman was looking for work at a construction site in America. To see if he was qualified, the foreman asked him a few questions about construction.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ball and Chain

Yesterday I was working on a scout project with several other men. During the course of the day several of them got calls or texts from their wives. One, in particular, when his phone chimed, exclaimed in a mocking voice "when are you going to be home? Why do you spend all day out at that project? Nag nag nag." Now, men, a word to the wise. You may be the greatest husband in all other areas, but when you do this, you are acting like a heel and a jerk.

Wives, I'm sorry to say this is not all that uncommon in husbands these days. In just about every group of 5 or more married men I seem to find one who complains (often without being solicited) about the degree to which his wife hinders his freedom. Often it's done in a way which is intended to be humorous, but if these men stopped to listen they might notice nobody is laughing with them. Most of us are just silent or change the subject.

On the other end of the spectrum, I have a good friend who, when he notices it's his wife on the line, answers the phone with a greeting like "I really love you." This is something I admire greatly about him, and try (though not always successfully) to emulate.

The thing is, I love my wife. I may not always show her enough (indeed I'm not sure I could show her enough), but at my worst I would never belittle her, especially not in front of others. And even if I did not love her as much as I did, this is the woman to whom I have freely offered myself in a marriage covenant.

As St. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 
In these days, as marriage is being attacked and destroyed from all sides, I think it is important that we take a look at how we live our marriage vows, and if we think marriage is important enough to vote about, or fight about, or change our facebook profile photos about, then I think we have an obligation to reflect that in our behavior.