Monday, January 30, 2006

Pat Robertson's Female Counterpart

Recently, during the Alito confirmation hearings, rabid far-right conservative "pundit" Ann Coulter made the comment: "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Judge Stevens' creme brulee . That's just a joke, for you in the media."

Right. A joke. Give me a break! A confirmation hearing for a prospective Supreme Court Justice isn't a laughing matter and it's a totally inappropriate venue for this kind of "humor".

Browsing the net, I found more asinine quotes from this individual, which follow below:

"It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950 - except Goldwater in 1964—the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted."—May 2003

"Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorits don't hate America like liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now."—(from Slander, pp. 5-6; published June 2002)

"In the history of the nation, there has never been a political party so ridiculous as today's Democrats. It's as if all the brain-damaged people in America got together and formed a voting bloc." - Jan 12, 2006

"If you don't hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don't love your country." -- George , July 1999
"I think [Whitewater]'s going to prevent the First Lady [Hillary Clinton] from running for Senate." -- Rivera Live Mar. 12, 1999

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
-- Ann Coulter to George Gurley,-- New York Observer, August 21, 2002

"...a cruise missile is more important than Head Start."
-- Ann Coulter, Nov. 2001 speech rebroadcast by C-Span in Jan. 2002

"The presumption of innocence only means you don't go right to jail."
-- Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes,August 24, 2001

"God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it! It's yours.'"
-- Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes,June 20, 2001

"I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote. No, they all have to give up their vote, not just, you know, the lady clapping and me. The problem with women voting -- and your Communists will back me up on this -- is that, you know, women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it. And when they take these polls, it's always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care."
-- Ann Coulter, Politically Incorrect, Feb. 26, 2001

"It's enough [to be impeached] for the president to be a pervert."
-- Ann Coulter, The Case Against Bill Clinton(1998, Regnery)

To a disabled Vietnam vet: "People like you caused us to lose that war."
-- Ann Coulter, MSNBC

"[Princess Diana's] children knew she's sleeping with all these men. That just seems to me, it's the definition of 'not a good mother.' ... Is everyone just saying here that it's okay to ostentatiously have premarital sex in front of your children?...[Diana is] an ordinary, and pathetic, and confessional. I've never had bulimia! I've never had an affair! I've never had a divorce! So I don't think she's better than I am."
-- Ann Coulter, MSNBC September 19, 1997

"I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote."
-- Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes, August 17, 1997

"Anorexics never have boyfriends. ... That's one way to know you don't have anorexia: if you have a boyfriend."
-- Ann Coulter, Politically Incorrect, July 21, 1997

"My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that's because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism."
-- Ann Coulter, MSNBC, February 8, 1997

"The FBI allowed thousands of Americans [in the WTC] to be slaughtered on the altar of political correctness. What more do liberals want?"
--This Whistle-Blower They Like, June 13, 2002

And so on, ad nauseum. Reading this dreck makes me wonder if she's a blood relative of Pat Robertson...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

People Have Always Been Pretty Much the Same

Many young people have the curious idea that people years ago, at least before the 1960s, were good all the time; that they spent their entire lives working hard and sitting in church, never thinking about sex or any other kind of fun and that everyone was gosh golly shucks wholesome. Some teens and those in their early 20s act as if sex and other types of fun were invented by their generation.

And this brings me to a story my aunt told me about something she and my mother did back when they were teens.

Shortly after my parents got married in 1942, my aunt, two years younger than my parents, came north to spend the summer with my mother while both their men were away fighting the war. They both got jobs as clerks in a photography store, with part of their job involving developing pictures.

One day, business was slow and they were bored, so they got the bright idea to take photos of each other's naked "female anatomy", then to develop the pictures themselves! My aunt was in her seventies when she told me what they'd done, and I have to admit that I had a hard time imagining my fundamentalist aunt ever having that kind of fun. However, I could easily imagine my mother doing it, getting a kick out of being so "naughty".

It just goes to show that no matter the times, people have always been pretty much the same.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Memories of Being a Youngest Child

While chatting with someone on IM last night, we exchanged some of our experiences as being youngest children with much older siblings. It brought back to mind several things, some of which I'll share with you now.

I am the youngest of three children, with my siblings being ten and thirteen years older. I can only assume my existence is because my father forgot to go to the drug store for a condom run one night in 1957.

Because I was so much younger than my siblings, I was pretty much at their mercy if they chose to tease and torment me, which they did on several occasions when my parents wouldn't be home and they'd be babysitting me. I can remember my sister chasing me down and sitting on my face and farting. It's a wonder I didn't pass out when she did that.

Another time, when I was about three years old, my brother chased me around the house with the vacuum cleaner, telling me he was going to suck me up into it. As young as I was, I believed him and I was terrified.

However, sometimes being the youngest worked in my favor. I remember one time when I was around three or four when I was left with my brother one evening, when my parents and my sister went out for a few hours.

My brother became engrossed in a movie he was watching on TV and was not paying much attention to what I was doing. I went into the bathroom, where I saw that my mother had left the pouch containing her makeup on the sink. I unzipped it and took a lipstick and began writing all over the bathroom mirror with it. I found a tube of some other kind of gunk and began squirting that all around too. When I'd finished making a total mess of the bathroom, I slipped out, quietly shutting the door behind me. I knew I'd done something I shouldn't have been doing, and I wanted to delay the discovery as long as possible.

It's strange, but I can remember doing this very clearly, even all these years later.

Later on, when my parents came home and found the mess, they blamed my brother more than me, as they thought he should have been watching me better.

I'd be interested in hearing some sibling stories from my readers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Intelligent Response?

Recently, I re-read the entire Harry Potter book series. In Book 5, the reader is introduced to a new character, Luna Lovegood, who is portrayed as an eccentric, but loyal friend to Harry and his entourage. There was one running theme related to this character that irritated me and got me to thinking of how this same theme works in real life.

Every time Luna said something that was seemingly off the wall or merely not understood by those around her, and when she bluntly expressed truths that most people would cover up with insincerity, the common reaction of those around her was to giggle.

When something like this happens in real life, that annoys the hell out of me. It seems to me that someone laughing at something or someone they don't understand or something that makes them uncomfortable betrays that the person does not have an intelligent response. It would seem that if one finds something odd or they don't understand something or someone, the intelligent response would be to ask questions and learn something. To laugh at the person is simply to project one's own lack of understanding onto the other person. And not only children react in this manner; adults do it all the time as well.

And, usually, people don't wait until later to ridicule what the person has said - they laugh right in their face, as if the person has automatically forfeited any considerations of common courtesy by failing to act "normal". I don't get this. Even if the person IS totally off the wall, it doesn't necessarily follow that common courtesy no longer applies to them


Monday, January 16, 2006

Lopsided Priorities

Last night, while listening to the radio as I was out driving, a woman called in to request a dedication for her husband. She mentioned that she was fortunate to be a stay at home mom to her four kids, because her husband worked TWO FULL TIME JOBS in order to make this possible.

Excuse me? Does anyone else see what is terribly wrong with that picture?

If her husband has to work two FULL time jobs in order to make ends meet, then the family cannot afford the luxury of a stay at home parent! He is essentially working both his job and the job she should be working. If marriage is supposed to be teamwork, then she is not holding up her end.

There is something obscene to me about this poor man working sixteen hours a day, while she remains at home. If she were any kind of a good wife, she'd not allow him to work himself to death like that.

The first thing they'd say is that it's for the good of the children to have a stay at home parent. But in this case, is it worth it?

They might get plenty of time with mom, but what about Dad? If he's working sixteen hours a day, they never see him, as what precious little time he has at home is no doubt spent sleeping. And the human body can only take so much overwork -- our bodies were not designed to work sixteen hours a day.

He's working himself into an early grave, and what good would it be for the kids to lose a father they never really knew years before his time? There's much more important things about being a father than throwing money at the family.

This family would be better off with two employed parents, each working one job, living in balance, who get to spend some time with their kids, and who will both live long enough to see those kids grow up.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Some Crazy Expressions

After reading a post about wacky preacher Pat Robertson on another blog recently, I commented that he was "A few pages short of a Bible". This got me to thinking of the many other ways people express the unique type of craziness that Robertson has. Following are some examples:

A few bricks shy of a load

A few sandwiches short of a picnic

Elevator doesn't go all the way to the top

Driveway doesn't go all the way down to the street

The lights are on, but nobody's home

A few bullets short of a clip

If brains were dynamite, he couldn't blow his nose

When they passed out the brains, he thought they said trains, so he asked for an electric one and has been searching ever since for a place to plug it in.

A gallon short of a full tank

His copier is out of toner

Half baked

Doesn't have all his marbles

One player short of a team

His family tree has no branches

His brother was an only child

His parents never had any children

Flying on one wing


His train has derailed

His ship has sprung a leak

You get the picture. Feel free to add some of your own.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Still More Quotes and Commentary

Success is living up to your potential. That's all. Wake up with a smile and go after life...Live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it.
-- Joe Kapp

I partially agree, but I think that success comes when a person is largely content with their life as it is.

The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust

One must step outside the box and look inwards from the outside at all things we've taken for granted to see if they're actually as we've always perceived them.

All great truths begin as blasphemies.
— George Bernard Shaw

Freedom, democracy, the roundness of the Earth, disease is caused by germs; shall I go on?

It always amazes me to think that every house on every street is full of so many stories; so many triumphs and tragedies, and all we see are yards and driveways.
— Glenn Close

If we could get all those people to blog, we'd be creating future history books.

The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
— Eden Phillpotts

But once such things are explained, they are no longer magic, but science.

I exist as I am, that is enough
— Walt Whitman

"What you see is what you get" -- Flip Wilson as Geraldine Jones

When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
— Lao-Tzu

Wise words that I cannot improve upon.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
— Charles W. Eliot

Not to mention being the easiest way to "travel".

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hear that, Mr. Bush?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Fundies Are At It Again

Well, the fundies are at it again. What is it this time, you might ask?

The American Family Association is calling for a boycott of a new TV show, The Book of Daniel, which they claim is an example of the network's "anti-Christian bigotry".

Daniel is about an Episcopal priest and his family, who each are battling their own issues: the priest is hooked on prescription medications, the wife is a drinker, the son is gay, and the daughter deals pot.

Apparently, the fundies object to seeing Christians being portrayed as fallible human beings, with issues to deal with, just like anyone else.

Fancy that.

I'd not planned on watching this show; indeed, I'd never heard of it until the Bible Buttinskis raised such a furor about it.

I've have to be sure to watch it now.

Monday, January 9, 2006


I don't smoke. I've never smoked, nor have I ever felt any desire to do so.

My mother was a heavy smoker, a habit she picked up during World War II in her late teens. At that time, the harmful effects of smoking were not generally known, and smoking was promoted as a good way to lose weight. A cigarette ad from that time had the slogan, "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet".

My father never smoked, and tried everything he could think of to try to get my mother to quit, all to no avail. One time, he even cut up all her cigarettes with a pair of scissors. She knew it wasn't any good for her health, yet she could not stop.

I am convinced her smoking was a major factor causing her death at the age of 47 of a massive stroke. For a person with hypertension, smoking is the absolute worst thing they can do, as nicotine constricts the blood vessels, which only exacerbates high blood pressure. I believe that had she not smoked, she would have lived many more years, most certainly into my adulthood.

But she didn't stop, so I lost my mother at the age of thirteen. My father, who never smoked, outlived her for nearly 25 years -- 25 years they could have had together.

She served as a negative example to all three of her children, none of whom smoke. Neither do any of her four grandchildren. We've all inherited the tendency to hypertension, but we'll not aggravate it by smoking.

I fully realize that permanently giving up smoking is one of the hardest things someone can do. When I went through the police academy, I learned that nicotine is one of the strongest drugs known -- it is actually easier to kick a cocaine habit than it is to give up smoking.

But to all those fighting this battle, I urge them to keep trying and to never give up, no matter how many times they fall off the wagon. It's worth it.


Sunday, January 8, 2006

25 Years Ago Today

Twenty-five years ago today, I became a parent. At the time, I'd never have dreamed that I'd be soon raising this child alone to adulthood. Knowing what my likely reaction would have been if I'd have known, I suppose it's best that one cannot predict the future.

My father and I spent hours sitting with the ex as she suffered in the labor room. She was given an epidural that apparently did nothing for the pain, as she spend the long hours waiting writhing and moaning in agony. She asked to be put under general anesthesia, considering that her mother had had it back in the 1950s when she was born, and it had turned out just fine. But the doctor refused, as "natural" childbirth was the big thing back in the early 80s. This one always baffled me -- why would anyone consider "natural" childbirth any more than they'd consider "natural" dentistry. To me pain has always equaled bad and is something best avoided, if at all possible.

When she was finally wheeled into the delivery room, I went into the waiting room. Many fathers then went into the delivery room to witness the births of their children, but neither she nor I were particularly keen on that idea, especially considering it was to be an emergency caesarian birth. I was satisfied to remain in the waiting room until it was all over.

There was an intercom in the waiting room, so I was able to listen to the progress of the delivery. As soon as the baby was born, I asked if it was a boy or a girl. The technology to determine gender before birth was available then, but such tests were not done routinely for that specific purpose then, but only when it was suspected there might be something wrong with the baby.

After I'd seen my son, I went in to see her in the recovery room. As soon as I was satisfied that she was OK, and would be soon taken to her room to sleep, I went home to catch a few hours myself.

She ended up spending five days in the hospital, which was standard for caesarian births at the time, spending most of the time resting up for the ordeal of caring for an infant soon to come. She chose to bottle feed, so that I could share in the feeding duties, a decision that was met by frank disapproval by the hospital staff, as breast feeding, along with "natural" childbirth was heavily promoted at the time.

The entire bill was three thousand dollars, which was completely covered by our insurance, compared to the seventy five dollars a ten day hospital stay cost in 1945 when my brother was born. I can't imagine what the cost is now.

Damn, twenty-five years have certainly gone by in a hurry.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Locked Out

I read an interesting survey question on John Sherck's blog that I decided to answer here, instead of in his comment box.

He asked readers to describe one time when they were locked out of the house. I've been locked out a time or two, but one incident stands out in my mind.

After my divorce, I'd moved back in with my father temporarily until I could get back on my feet. It was also helpful for me to have someone to help care for my then toddler son. Not too long after I'd moved in with him, my father remarried, after several years of being a widower, so there were four of us sharing the house.

One cold December Sunday, my father and his new wife decided to take a long drive to visit some friends of hers. They planned to be gone all afternoon, so I was just going to stay home and veg out with my son in front of the TV.

Not long after they left, I pulled the garbage bag out of the kitchen garbage can and took it out to the garage to throw into the larger can there. My son tagged behind me as I did this.

But as soon as I'd shut the door from the house into the garage, my son came behind me and locked the door, not really knowing what he was doing. It was a cold December day, with temperatures in the 30s, but I was only wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and was barefooted, as the house was heated nicely.

I could hear that he was still right by the door on the other side, so I tried to get him to unlock the door, even explaining to him how to do so. But reasoning with a two-year old is doomed from the start, so I was trapped outside.

I knew that my father would not be home for hours, so waiting in the freezing garage until he returned was not an option. The idea of leaving my toddler son totally unsupervised inside in the house for all that time was also not going to fly.

None of the neighbors had a spare key, so I was on my own. It was also before the days of cell phones, so calling my father to come back home was not an option.

The only option was to try to break down the door. After warning my son to stand back from the door, I slammed my left shoulder into the door, just above where the knob was. It took three tries, but after the third slam, I heard the doorframe crack, then the door gave way.

My son ran off as soon as this happened knowing he'd done wrong. When my father returned hours later to find the broken door, he was not angry, realizing there was nothing else I could have done.

Let's hear about a time you were locked out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Different Ethical Philosophies

A few weeks ago I read a book, “The Science of Good and Evil” by Michael Shermer, which takes a rational approach to the subject of morality and ethics. His basic premise is that one need not be religious to be moral.

The author describes morality as right and wrong thoughts and behaviors in the context of the rules of a social group and ethics as being the scientific study and theories about morality.

In one chapter, the author covers several different philosophies of morality, which I’ll list and describe here for you to consider.

Absolute Morality

This is an inflexible set of rules for moral thought and behavior as derived from a particular group’s canon of ethics. This can be a particular religion’s sacred scriptures, the state, an ideology, and so on.

The problem with absolutism is that it requires black and white, dualistic thinking, which is maladaptive as the world is infinitely more complex to be fairly addressed by simplistic yes/no choices.

Relative Morality

A flexible set of rules for moral thought and behavior derived from how the situation is defined by a social group.

This better addresses the complexity of human nature, but can be abused and is subject to the slippery slope syndrome where nearly any human action can be justified, implying that all moral actions are equal.


This philosophy believes that one’s essential self is constantly being created by the experiences we “choose”. Existentialism believes that everything bad that happens to a person is ultimately a person’s own fault, totally caused by the choices one makes in life.

While there is some truth in this in many situations, it, too, is entirely too simplistic and does not allow for randomness (“dumb luck”) and unpredictable circumstances beyond our control.


This is a rather mathematical approach to moral choices. When contemplating an action, utilitarianism has seven criteria by which the potential for pleasure or pain can be evaluated.

Purity: The chance it has of not being followed by sensations of the opposite kind
Intensity: The strength, force, or power of the pleasure.
Propinquity: The proximity in time or place of the pleasure.
Certainty: The sureness of the pleasure
Fecundity: The chance it has of being followed by sensations of the same kind.
Extent: The number of persons to whom it extends, or are affected by it.
Duration: The length of time the pleasure will last.

After one has considered all seven aspects, they are expected to tally up the pros on one side, and the cons on the other in order to reach a decision on whether or not to proceed. It essentially reduces moral choices to a bottom line mentality.


This philosophy maintains that the consequences of an action determine whether it is right or wrong.


This belief states that contractual agreements between people determine what is right or wrong and that violating the terms of a contract determine immorality.


This states that one’s duty determines which actions should be seen as moral or immoral.


This approach claims that morality and immorality is determined by whether a particular action evokes positive or negative feelings.

Ethical Egoism

This philosophy asserts that people always act in their own self-interest, so even good deeds are motivated by selfish desires.

Moral Isolationism

This view believes that we ought to be morally concerned only with those in our immediate group.

Natural Law Theory

This theory believes there is a natural, benevolent order to human affairs and morality is determined by how an action conforms to these natural laws.


Nihilism believes there are no truths to be discovered, particularly pertaining to morality.


This view believes that we limit our moral preferences only to those morally relevant to us.


The view states that multiple perspectives should be considered when evaluating a moral question, and that no one approach has all the answers.


This philosophy asserts that moral choices are an individual thing that can’t be properly evaluated in the larger social and cultural context.

Provisional Ethics

According to this view, moral or immoral means confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer provisional assent. It is provisional because the evidence and justification may change. Provisional moral principles are applicable to most people in most circumstances most of the time, yet are flexible enough to account for the wide diversity of human behavior, culture, and circumstances.


Monday, January 2, 2006


Several years ago, my stepmother got rather worked up when she overheard me telling my son that human beings were animals, quickly interjecting that this wasn't so.

The reason for her indignation was religious; her literal belief that human being were "created in the image of God" necessarily precluded the possibility of human beings being animals. Along with a disbelief in evolution, she believed this set human beings apart from all other life on this planet, just as surely as if we'd been aliens who came from another world to settle on Earth.

Yes, human beings have distinct differences from all other animals: our self-awareness, our intelligence and ability for complex reasoning, our larger capacity for individuality, our ability to use both spoken and written language, our ability to alter our environment to suit our needs, to name a few. For those who believe in God, surely these attributes are what is meant by the "image of God", rather than our physical bodies.

Recent scientific studies in genetics and DNA have shown that we humans share about 98 percent of our DNA in common with our closest primate relatives, which is sufficient proof to me that human beings are indeed animals. Darwin had it right on the nose, even without the DNA evidence to back him up.

As for me, personally, the sex act in particular leaves me in no doubt whatsoever that I am an animal. Though I'm capable of being civilized and "making love", the best sex for me is a raw, primal act of mating when the thin veneer of civilization is stripped away and I give myself over completely to my animal nature.

The way I see it, life on Earth has two basic choices -- one is either a plant or an animal.