Saturday, December 31, 2005

Where Am I?

Who am I? What am I doing? Why have I vanished? Where have I gone? I know, my readers have now deserted me. But that is okay. After all, I blog for myself and that's all there is to it. However, it is nice to have readers, so thanks to anyone who actually still visits my blog.

I have good news, my computer will soon return to me. It is on its way, even as I write. I would add that the nincompoops who worked on it tried to send it to Hillsdale despite our best efforts to give them a current address. But the problem may have been remedied by now. At least, I hope it was remedied. If not then I say again, I hate the state of California. Someday I will order a large team of people to hack it slowly from our coast and send it into the briny Pacific and away from our otherwise wonderful country. (If you don't understand me, the computer has been in CA for repairs and the people have been major idiots the entire time they have worked on it.)

In other news, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This is one of my favorite times of the year. I am sitting here on New Year's Eve with no hope of having any real fun this evening, but it is still a wonderful time of the year. I hope you all have fun and make sure you drink some extra champagne for those of us who cannot drink it without getting violently ill.

Tomorrow I have an award to give out. You will see when I post it. Some of you may find it interesting and even humourous, others may not.

I have nothing philosophical to say today. I just got back from a shopping trip and feel like my brain has been fried. I spent too much money on clothing, but I did get something that I have always wanted and I feel better about myself. Clothes make me feel happy.

On the job front: well, things are looking good. I plan to have a short discussion with my supervisor about how much I enjoy my job so that she might consider me more seriously for a permanent position. I have applied and all I can do now is hope and pray. And tell people to put in a good word for me and campaign and refuse to give up on this job before it's in the bag.

Next week Craig and I will be on vacation. So you may not hear much from me. Not that you have recently. Rest assured I will write more when I have my own dear Heart of Gold. Nothing else is quite like it and that's all there is to it.

In the meantime, have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's Just A Phase

I want my computer back! Now! I am using my husband's laptop again. Now I have free rein of this dreadful computer. But I don't like using it. Still I suppose it's better than no computer and no internet. I have a difficult time motivating myself to write posts when I don't have my own computer. Sorry about that. I'm still here. So, I was tagged by Little Cicero. I am supposed to describe 5 of my favorite things or 5 simple pleasures, same difference, dontcha know. Here goes (in random order).

1. Speeding and knowing that the cops won't pull me over for it because everybody speeds.
2. Annyoing an Indiana driver by obeying the law.
3. Getting a Christmas card/sending a Christmas card/seeing someone's face when I get them a cool present/everything that's in the true spirit of Christmas and not all about commercialization.
4. Talking with a good friend.
5. Holding hands with my husband.

Okay, that's it. Now I tag Maria, Foley, Craig and Trump. (That means you have to do the same thing I just did only say what five or your favorite things are I guess, not five of mine.)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Window Into My Childhood

I returned from watching "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" a few minutes ago. Can I just say that it is one of the most spectacular movies ever? Because it really is. Every moment of the movie made me feel like the little child I once was; the one who wanted to find her own magic wardrobe and go through a door into a fantastical land. Naturally, I never did find that particular wardrobe. I did find another one with mothballs in it and a lot of old army uniforms. But that's really, well, not a story for another day because it would be a rather pointless story.

Honestly, I don't want to spoil this for anyone, so I'm not going to say too much. The cinematography was excellent. The acting was awesome. The lines were good and funny. The characterization made me very happy. And the whole thing was utterly predictable. Haha! Since I have read the book several times I am very glad it was predictable.

The other good news would be that the symbolism was not diminished. At least, I did not think it was. Someone else out there may differ.

Oh, it was a masterpiece and I am shivering with delight after watching Narnia. I mean, it brought back so many memories for me. Memories of searching for Narnia and looking for hobbit holes. Little kids have such imaginations. Add in the powerful Christian symbolism and it had me crying through a large portion of the movie. So enjoyable!

Warning: if you're an annoying cynic, you probably won't like this movie. But go see it anyway, it may grow on you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Seconds Ticking Away

I have a few minutes on the computer to post a quick update on myself. My lovely computer The Heart of Gold went off to the other side of the country for repairs. I really hope it comes back fixed and in, well, as many pieces as it is supposed to be in. I miss my puter. It seems so strange to look at its space on my desk and see nothing but a blank monitor.

In other news, anyone who knows me well has reason to applaud me. I have finally picked up Harry Potter and started reading the series. I started out hating the very idea of Harry Potter. I mean violent hatred. Then I got to the point where I would just make fun of Harry Potter all the time. Then I only watched the movies. I finally became convinced that I cannot have an opinion on the whole series unless I actually take the time to read them. So I am reading them. They are decent, but not spectacular so far. But I'm only in the second one. I'll see how it goes. I have a feeling that I will not be amazed by them. I may even wonder why they are so popular. But they are enjoyable and an easy read. I am somewhat offended by the fact that people told me they were well written. They are semi-well written, for the record. So far I have found that the beginning of the books are really good and they build very well and then they kind of dump an ending on you that just is not half as climactic as it should be. Maybe the later ones will be better in the climaxes.

I have a difficult time keeping up on the news since my husband is in the midst of his final projects and he is a computer science student. You won't see much of me, but I'm around. My comments on other blogs are getting scarce too because I just don't have time for that without my dear computer.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Half Of My Promise

A Quick Note Before A Long Entry: Everyone here probably remembers that I said I would write some plot summary a while back and that I have vowed to describe the experience of NaNoWriMo (writing a 50,000 word novel in one month). I have also been saying for more than a month that I will post an article about Mike Pence. Travis and Aaron, I have not forgotten this. I simply have not had time to put one together. I would want such an entry to be well thought out, understandable and persuasive. My brain just has not been able to keep up with that as well as do NaNoWriMo. At this time I will keep half my promises and write up the NaNo stuff. Perhaps this weekend I will sneak my husband's laptop away from him for long enough to post a Pence article. My compy will be on its way to another state for repairs.

NaNoWrimo, what can I say? It was exhilerating and fatiguing; challenging and too easy; enjoyable and painful. Yes, NaNoWriMo covers a host of descriptive words. So I will stop boring you with them.

When I signed up to write a novel for NaNo I had a specific plot idea in mind. Years ago I used to come up with plot ideas for fun (that's why I have almost never been bored in my life). I was just a kid then. One of my ideas was a sort of space opera. I believe I had been watching too much Star Wars at the time. It involved a main character who was a general of some space army and a trained assassin who befriended him. I ended up refining the plot a lot over the course of NaNo with the help of my husband who knows a whole lot more about sci-fi than me and who will definitely get technical credits if the novel ever sells. Pardon me, because I am going to be extremely vague as I go into more depth on my plot.

I have to be very vague indeed and say almost nothing substantial. I really don't want my plot and ideas stolen, you understand. My book is science fiction. I would not describe it to be a space opera anymore, but since it is more about the characters it could fall into that category. There are no aliens, though, and they are an essential part of any space opera. Still, when I'm finished I intend to have a lot of the technical details worked out so in some respects it might be hard science fiction. I am not one for inserting sex scenes, however, so it's not really hard science fiction. I guess it doesn't have a real category other than science fiction. I know, it's good science fiction, that's the category!

The book concerns earth humans several thousand years after they have left earth due to some nuclear disasters. The nuclear disasters involved the War on Terror getting out of hand. Essentially, things were really bad and some impending destruction caused everyone to decide to leave earth rather than find a way to live on it. By that time space technology had grown a lot so a lengthy journey on a huge spaceship stocked with terraforming equipment was not out of the question. In the end, people ended up on several different planets in a far away solar system.

My story's main character is a general who is asked to wage an unjust war on another planet. The antagonist is the person who wants to wage the war: a manipulative, Machiavellian character. He was the first genetically modified human and intended for some major experiments, but he got a little out of control. Then there's another genetically modified human who was presumed dead by those who designed her. Years later she was found and trained into an assassin and now she's a really messed up person meant to show certain contrasts within the scheme of things. So, essentially, the plot involves a revolt and a lot of sadness. But it's action packed and mildly psychological in the Russian novel sense if I do say so myself. It needs a ton of work as my writing style sucks through most of the novel. There are a few good moments, but for the most part, I need to put in some more effort.

Thematically it has a lot to do with bioethics and where I think we're going in that area. Yup, I'm your typical pessimist. I really don't like the idea of experimentation on people in certain major ways. Not that I'm against progress, but, well, you'll have to read the book if it's ever published. It will probably explain my opinion better than I could right now. There is also a major theme on questioning one's life and deeds and trying to discover some sort of meaning. You know, the answer to life, the universe and eveything type stuff: i.e.42.

NaNo has been a bittersweet experience in all. While I enjoyed learning to just sit down and write and write and write, I have seen the results of this method and they are bad fiction. I will spend hours and hours repairing my novel. I expect that in the end it will turn out all right, if not good. As Steven King would say, I might be a "competent writer." (If you're wondering, no I've never read a Steven King novel, I just read his book "On Writing," which is very good.) The fact that I could write 50,000 words in one month has impressed me at the same time as I have been upset over the quality of my work. It's really fine though, because I'm a pretty ruthless editor of my own writings.

I think the most disappointing part of the journey has been the character development. I take great pride in characters and settings. Perhaps more so than my pride in plot creating. I want my characters to be real to my readers. Sometimes they are and sometimes they just plain suck. Sometimes they do things that are totally against their nature. I have not had time to go back and fix those things and that upsets me immensely. I believe that J.R.R. Tolkien used to write out his books by hand. If he got something wrong he would throw out the whole book (or chapter) and start over from the beginning. Similarly, I am that kind of purist. I want to trash it and start over, but I know that I would never remember everything and that would be incredibly unwise. Besides, computers are mighty convenient pieces of equipment.

On the other hand, the most enjoyable part of the journey has been those moments when the characters shone with depth. I very much enjoy the scenes where they acted like themselves. I read and reread those parts even when I did not have the time, just to give me some encouragement and to make me remember that parts of the book are good.

Furthermore, I have finished 50,000 words of a novel. That's 175 pages. That is a lot of writing. And a triumph indeed. I really think I can keep up a pace and pull off writing novels now. It almost makes me want to attempt to become a famous author instead of a politician.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Very Little To Add

Except this: I won NaNoWriMo! I did it! I'm so excited!

Now I just have to finish writing my novel and then I can move on to the attempting to get published stage.

I Remember Why I Have A Blog

After writing and writing and nearly finishing my 50,000 words I have suddenly remembered why I have a blog.

There are moments when I stare at my novel and contemplate what an idiot I must be to word sentences the way I do. Or I just think how stupid this is that I cannot get my book to say what I want it to say. Sometimes it's all wrong and I am infuriated over the fact that I seem incapable of getting my points across. The characters are not as strong as I want them to be. The setting itself makes little sense. The suspense is not suspenseful. I just want to wrinkle pages and toss them in the trash can. You get the picture.

I went back over some of my older blog entries yesterday and then I remembered why I keep this thing around. When I read my better entries I think to myself, "A poor writer and an idiot could never have come up with that." So, in essence, this blog makes me feel good about myself. It's a roundabout form of self-encouragement. That's why I have it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


As of tomorrow I will have three days to finish my novel. I am nowhere near the ending, however, so I suspect that it will be longer than 50,000 words when all is said and done. I currently have over 43,000 words. I have done most of this without caffeine and I am dang proud of myself. When I have finished writing for this month I will tell you all about the experience of participating in NaNoWriMo. I will then save all of the information off of my computer. My computer will then be packed into a box and sent off to someplace far away where strangers will repair its motherboard and return it to me free of charge. It will work better once they do that. In fact, it will earn its name: The Heart of Gold, after the ship in "Hitchikers Guide." But this does mean something. I probably won't be online much for the first couple weeks of December due to the missing computer. Don't expect many posts from yours truly.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I thought that this was an insightful editorial so read it as you contemplate the day, enjoy your turkey and watch football.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More Funny Stuff

After three years Jose Padilla has finally been indicted. Of course, he was not indicted for any of the reasons given by the government which held him three years without charges. Isn't that funny? He's still a terrorist, just not the terrorist we thought he was.

Christmas Shopping In Southern Indiana

I am not looking forward to standing in line this holiday season. Especially not with the crazies in this town and surrounding area.

You may have heard about the shortage of XBoxes. My area is no different when it comes to people wanting their toys. Or is it?

Now, keep in mind I live in a very liberal neighborhood. Of the people I know here the twenty or so regulars at my church are mostly conservative. Of the people I don't know, none of them are conservative. Basically, if you are a conservative you are part of unheard and basically non-existent minority.

So, today one of my new co-workers came into the office and told us about her ordeal to buy an XBox last night. She stood in line for five hours and the guy in front of her got the last one. She called around and no others were to be found.

She had another interesting story about a man who bought an XBox. He was a handicapped man in a wheelchair who had Down's Syndrome. He was lucky enough to get an XBox. At which point other customers began making threats against said handicapped man and began to follow him out of the store waiting for a chance to attack. The man had to be escorted out of Wal-Mart because people were going to jump him for his XBox.

Remember I live in a liberal town, full of liberal people.

Okay, these are people who will not die for their country. These are people who oppose killing terrorists. They oppose killing people who want to kill them. These are people who will not take a strong stance against criminals and instead call for rehabilitation. And these are people who would beat up a mentally handicapped man in a wheelchair to get their goldarned XBox.

That's all I have to say.


I forgot to mention this: Most of the people who bought the XBox went back home and put them up on ebay for at least twice as much as what they paid. Capitalism is good, apparently, when it works in our favor. Even if our political views speak against it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Deep Thought

It just seems like everyone I know is in deep thought at the moment. Or has deep thoughts to express. And it makes me wish that I did not live so far from most of the people I care about. It makes me wish I could go on a road trip to see them and hear their thoughts spoken.

Email and instant messengers are really cool inventions. I must admit I am probably one of their biggest fans. In many cases I use email before I pick up the phone. That may have something to do with the fact that I only use a cell phone and I do not wish to run out of minutes for the month. Or it may be because I often express my thoughts better in writing than in words. It does not matter. Phones are not the same as actually seeing a person either. You can talk into a telephone, you can hear the voice of the person you miss, but you cannot see the person's facial expressions, nor can he or she see yours. The voices are often distorted as well. It's just not the same.

I'm all for long distance friendships. In fact, most of my friendships are long distance. I am very good about keeping up with people. For the most part. But I forget what people look like, and I forget the sound of their voices. There is nothing better than the spontaneity of actually being around one's friends. The funny things that happen when you are with friends are infinitely more funny than the funny things that happen during a telephone conversation or during an email back and forth.

At the moment, it's not Hillsdale I miss, it's not Costa Rica that I miss, it's not even Michigan that I miss. It is all of you who are my friends. I wonder if it is almost better for me to be stuck in a place far away from all my friends. It forces me to come out of my shell a lot more and really talk to people. I also get to travel to see people and I love traveling. Yeah, that's a great way to look at this in a positive way. But on the other hand, it just sucks so much to be so far away from all of you! And you know who you are, you're the people I went to college with and the ones who transferred to other schools or chose another path entirely. You're my family in Michigan, Utah and Texas. You're the cool person I still keep up with who went to Costa Rica with me five long years ago. You're my friends whom I have known since I was a kid. You're also those friends who cannot be defined in any above category: Trump. I just miss everyone. I wish I had a big enough paycheck to cover the cost of two or three road trips.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Department of Needless Bureaucracy

So I worked at this call center today and one of the things that I did was take calls for the Indiana Unclaimed Property Division. It was my job to look up people's unclaimed property, get the id number, put that into a form I had on the computer, get all their address information and tell them that the form would be sent to them in 7 to 10 business days. So, as Craig put it, I was working for The Department of Getting People's Information So A Claim Form Could Be Sent To Them. Now, when people wanted to know how to fill the form out, they would call and freak out and then I would give them another number to call. This was a number where they could reach (again, Craig's title) The Department of Filling Out Forms. That is because I did not even send out the forms, I had never seen the forms, so I did not know what was on them. Instead, The Department of Sending Out Forms did that. And I would add that a member of The Department of Filling 0ut Forms was in the cubicle right next to me, but I could not have the information on how to fill out forms because I was answering calls for The Department of Getting People's Information So A Claim Form Could Be Sent To Them. There is another department that I know of involved in this whole process as well. That's The Department of Processing Claims. Oh yeah, and there's The Department of Answering Questions About The Claim's Status. And then there's . . .

Dont you love bureaucracy? I mean, it would not be right if we did not make people jump through at least five hoops in order to get anything done. We are the state after all. We keep good, productive members of society paid so that they can answer fifteen phone calls a day.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Approval Ratings

When starting up my Firefox today I noticed that my home page of had Bush's latest approval ratings up. I always thought that approval ratings were stupid. I still think that. There are several reasons for this.

First, what do they mean? That some select group of people out there don't like what the president is doing. Who is that group? Are they all in the same area? Are they a group that would not like what he was doing if he was Jesus? I mean, really, who are these people? I don't get polled. Oh wait, I don't have a phone. I have only known one person in my entire life who got polled and it wasn't for approval ratings.

Second, if I was president and someone came in and handed me a report and it said approval ratings I would shred it without looking at it. Something tells me that Bush does that too.

Third, it is not so much what people think of you and how you do your job that matters. It is how you do your job. If you know you're doing your job right than who cares what others think? If, on the other hand, you don't know, then ask people you trust. Don't just ask anyone. I mean, what good is the opinion of dozens of people who don't know you. And furthermore, if your job is something like the presidency then what good is the opinion of a whole bunch of people who will never be president and have no idea how terrible having that much responsibility would be.

That, in effect, is why I think approval ratings are stupid.

Now, I've got to get back to writing. I must apologize, but I can't post excerpts from my book because I fear that people would steal them. It is a science fiction novel about two genetically engineered humans. The main character is neither one of them, however, since you can't have the main character be someone whom no one can relate to. I'll tell you what. In another post, I'll do some plot summary. Some very vague plot summary. And I will get to that Pence post soon. I will.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I was thinking of the moment in "A Muppets' Christmas Carol" where Rizzo the Rat gets attacked by a cat Muppet and he goes running around in circles shouting to Gonzo, "Help me! Save me! Help me! Save me!" That's because at the moment, I feel like doing the same.

Congratulations, I'm a working woman. That means I have no freaking time, ever! That means that I am going to get behind in NaNoWriMo very quickly. And that means that I cannot write thought provoking posts on my beloved blog where I generally put thought provoking, uh, thoughts. It also means I can pay off my college loans, and at the moment that's more important than any of this other crap. Well, no it's not, but it is more immediate.

I hope my readers do not abandon me in the month of November. Perhaps I should put some excerpts from my book up. Nahh, I'm a very private person when it comes to writing and I hate plagiarism. You can never be too careful with your own writing as my friend Foley has shown me through the sad misfortune of her dad's book being stolen by a potential publishing company that refused to publish the work up front and then published it later as their own idea. I do intend to try to find a reputable publisher for my book once I have edited it.

This is a great big ramble. And I'm sorry. I have to start a war in my book. So I have decided that I am going to take all the liberal ideas (which I totally disagree with, it was a massive beaurocratic miscommunication and I have heard that 500 tons of partially enriched uranium were found in Iraq last year) of how Bush lied and everything and have this government I created start a war based upon lies of a similar nature. Of course, my government is a bad government and it's very imperialistic. Anyways, so I am stalling at the moment because I am trying to decide how best to introduce my war into my book. I shouldn't be telling you all this, but since I didn't give many details you won't be able to steal my ideas. If you do steal my ideas, believe me, you will regret it. Mwahahaha.

Okay, this is Esther, tired and stalling. I am kind of an odd person really. Oh, like you could not figure that out. To T and A, I want to write a Pence post on those articles you sent, but it's kind of not happening very quickly. Maybe I'll do that on Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Temporary Assignment

Everyone, thank you for your prayers. I have a temporary work assignment (temp agency). It will be for one week. The way I see it, one week is better than none. Perhaps if I put up a good show I can get more permanent work after this.

I am very pleased, excited and happy. I am also very thankful and more confident that God will continue to provide for and take care of me.

Some work is better than none.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"You Can't Take The Sky From Me"

I am definitely looking for a job at a grocery store or something similar. I plan to apply at my favorite clothing store and the local Bath and Body Works, just for fun. None of these are jobs that I enjoy or want to do. As a college grad it is difficult to reconcile myself to the fact that I can't get an office job in this dreadful town. I'm too conservative for the school to hire me and everywhere else I've looked has ended up promoting someone within the department. Yeah, what can you do against insiders? Nothing. There would be no reason to work a job if you could not get promoted so every organization must look to those already there before they look to new recruits. I have been told over and over and over again that I have amazing qualifications, and then I don't get hired. I can already hear the people at the grocery/general merchandise stores saying those three terrible words, "You are overqualified." Why does the economy have to suck in my area?

It is not as if I have not worked at a store before, however. I mean, how do you think I made it through an expensive private college to obtain a four year degree when I was paying for it all on my own? Not just loans, I made money during the summers to pay off some of the tuition and I had to work to do that. So I hardly see working in a store as beneath me. I just see it as something I do not want to do right now. That's because it's called a dead end job and I despise dead ends. But I don't really want to stay in this city, so a dead end will not hurt me that much. I'll leave eventually and find a place with a better economy that appreciates my qualifications. In the meantime, even if I do get stuck working a dead end job I can still write. I can still dream. I've been watching too much "Firefly" lately and have come to a very important conclusion: no matter what boring, depressing job I get stuck doing, it can't take the sky from me.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Sign

I have a Bush sign from the 2000 election cycle that I brought back from my parents home when I was up there. It's not just any Bush sign though. It's one of the Hispanics for Bush signs that was given to me by my former boss who used to be the chair for Hispanics in the State Republican party of the state I used to live in. It says, "Un Neuvo Dia" on it. In some ways that was very true.

Still, it's not just any Hispanics for Bush sign either. This sign was autographed by George W. Bush before he was president. It has a huge scrawling autograph on it and it's the reason I have a file with the Secret Service (they yelled at me).

So anyway, now I'm really not sure what to do with the sign. Perhaps I should sell it.

Weekend Out Of Town

I went up to my family's house this past weekend. I visited their new baby puppies, saw the new pond that Dad had dug (finally) and watched my younger siblings star in "The Wizard of Oz." Actually, none of them had speaking roles, they were Munchkins, Winkies and citizens of Emerald City. But it was still awesome and the main roles would not work without the small ones.

That was a long drive so I'm hosed off my can and I do not think I'll post much more for a couple of days. Gotta get back to the job search anyway.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nice Esther Month

I have decided that the month of November will be Nice Esther Month. I mean, I am normally nice. I don't really like to argue with people all the time. I only did that when I was a kid and thought that I was always right. Then I went to college and realized, like Socrates, that I know almost nothing. So, here I am announcing that next month I will not be controversial. Which means that I'm going to take some big pot shots before November . . .

Why have I decided this? Is it because I am scared of being controversial? Is it because I am becoming all warm and fuzzy? No. Haha. It's only because I won't have time to be controversial. You see, next month is "National Novel Writing Month!" I have signed up to write a novel. This novel will be 50,000 words (175 pages) long and I have to write that much in a single month. All you will hear from me will be late night, caffeine driven stupors of senselessness as I write and write and write. I hope I do not go crazy (I know, Bill, I already am crazy), and I am sure that I will have fun.

My friend Isaac who is a real writer introduced me to this event and I decided to sign up. I have a novel I was planning to write and this will force me to write it. I do have some time to develop plot and characters before the moment when I may begin writing the book, so that will keep me busy when I'm not job hunting. Oh, I am so looking forward to November!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Back To Iraq

Votes are being counted. So far there is possible widespread fraud, but that is nowhere near certain. It has sparked some extra investigation at least. Since that article came from the NY Times, I'm nost sure if I believe it at all. The NY Times has got almost nothing right in the news for a long time now and frankly they suck.

I am going to say about this referendum the exact same thing that I said about the election at the beginning of this year. I am glad that these people voted, but until a government is in power it will be difficult to tell if a real representative democracy will find its way into Iraq. I am excited that the people are getting to vote, all the same.

I also discovered this clever article that comes out in favor of the war in Iraq. The author discusses smurfs and that's why I'm writing in blue today. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

No Holds Barred

I have been trying to write this dreadful post all day and it's just not coming very well. I wanted to discuss my thoughts on an event hosted in my town this past weekend. It's not my favorite thing to talk about so that's probably why I am having a difficult time posting my thoughts. This weekend my lovely town hosted an event called Eroticon. If you're wondering what that is, your imagination can probably help. Remove the last two letters and consider the meaning of the word, and if you still can't figure it out there's always

One or two years ago I read about an event at a college where a tent was set up for couples wishing to engage in consensual, free love. Here in Indiana it costs ten dollars or twenty dollars depending upon one's attire, but it's very similar. It was not exactly in a tent though, according to the article in the school paper the event was held at a night club. Now, you may be wondering, why did I bother to read this article? This certainly does not sound like something that I would be interested in attending. No, it's not. I read the article because I wanted to write a post on it. Because
I don't care if someone gets upset at me for what I am about to say. I think my audience is sufficiently moral to agree with me, at least in part.

Now, I have to be careful what I write here.
The entire article on the event consists of a bunch of innuendos that make me cringe reading it. If I put in a wrong word I'll get many weirdos reading my blog because of the search words they put into google or something. Then I'd have to turn off anonymous comments.

To start with, this event disgusts me. To end with, it disgusts me. That a college newspaper should share the news with students as if it's an educational event further disgusts me. I get the impression that sex is merely another way for people to entertain themselves, from this article. It cheapens and distorts the subject to the point where I just want to stand on a soapbox on a street corner and talk really loud.

Perhaps you'd like to hear some quotations from the article . . . okay, can't do it. The article disgusts me. Get this, there were rooms available where people could find a partner and go for the experience of BDSM. These rooms were called "playspaces." They even hired people apparently to give others the experience . . . uh, yeah, that sounds like prostitution to me, dude. And another great way to pick up an std. That's about all the specifics I can manage. I apologize for the not kid friendly parts of this post, but I don't want my readers to think I'm going crazy about nothing.

Anyway, my rather stream of consciousness thoughts are as follows: Why did I move here? Okay, bad things happen wherever you go. That's all there is to it. People are people and I am willing to let them be people. But I hate the fact that something God made is cheapened so much by things like this. It appears to me that people view sex as nothing more consequential than watching a movie. The article goes on and on about how they just want people to have "fun." I'm just going to say it, sex outside of marriage is wrong. Add in all the nasty stuff and it is no less immoral, but with a darker side to the lusts involved.
We are warned, especially in Paul's letters, against sexual immorality. Now I know that many people see sex in a lighter manner. Here I am making a Christian argument about it. Well, I'm a Christian and I think that sex is a far more serious thing and treating it like a toy is flat out wrong. I'm not going to lighten up about this. It is a gift of God and like all gifts of God it has been misused by human nature. It is a sad fact of life, and it upsets me to see it. The affects upon people are not to be taken lightly. Aside from being morally wrong, this kind of stuff is also dangerous. Serious emotional and physical harm comes from misusing sex. Obviously, I'm not a psychologist so I can't go into any depth on this. I'm not trying to write an editorial, I'm just outraged.

That's it. Stream of consciousness, dreadful post, but it's what I think.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

For The Casual Reader

Personality quizzes are a subject of some interest to me. When I have nothing to do except Calculus, I often stall by taking random personality quizzes online and reading my results. A serious dilemma has developed in the personality quiz sphere of the internet over the past few years. Namely, every fool, idiot and nincompoop out there can create personality quizzes via websites like Quizilla.

These quizzes are erroneous, assinine and tell me things that I already knew. For example, yesterday I learned from five different quizzes that I am "sweet, kind and like to help people." Some answers make no logical sense. For instance, one quiz told me that I am a "heartless bastard" and should study "law." Now come on, not every lawyer is a heartless bastard. Furthermore, being a "heartless bastard" does not qualify one for studying law. And finally, on what did it base this idea? It asked a question about what I would do if I found a puppy on the street and I clicked the answer that said: "That's a full-bred Newfie, maybe there's a reward for returning it to the owner." Now I don't really care if there's a reward. But I am the sort of person who would notice the breed of a random puppy on the street. I would try to return it to the owner no matter what breed. I just figured that if it was a Newfie a reward might be possible. Anyway, that doesn't make me a heartless bastard, I still cared enough to return the puppy. So, what the hell is wrong with being a little capitalistic about helping a puppy?

Of course, then there are the amusing quizzes that could not possibly help one in any way, shape or form. These quizzes tell you what kind of killer you are. Or what Lord of the Rings character you are. I took one recently on what Batman villain I am. I turned out to be the Penguin which made me very happy. But I'm not a villain so it doesn't really matter. The "just for fun quizzes" are more legitimate than the random career quizzes from the above example. They mean nothing and they never will. Nor do they pretend to mean anything, thus I enjoy them. My favorite would be the "Get Your Pirate Name" quiz which starts out with a sentence that says the following: "You must be very careful to answer each question honestly or it will not give you the correct answer." I enjoyed that, because so many quizzes attempt to be serious by saying something like that when they were created by an amateur.

That's one of my main beefs with personality quizzes. It's not as if they are created by psychologists. Yet they take themselves so seriously. My second beef is that you can tell a quiz whatever you want. If you see yourself a certain way, the quiz is going to see you that way. So there is no way to know if what the quiz says is true or not because it is always subjective to how you see yourself. My third and final beef stems from the type of questions on personality quizzes. Everyone's favorite question: "What's your favorite color?" They then proceed to list some colors, but they are not all the colors in existence. How can you ever be truthful when the answers depend upon the selection of the person making the quiz? It's the same with most questions. I always want to put in an answer that doesn't exist as an option to the question.

In conclusion, I would say that most personality quizzes are completely pointless. They are constructed by people who do not know how to analyze a personality. Furthermore, they are encumbered by several problems. Whomever wrote the quiz thinks that he or she is some sort of amateur psychologist and knows what he or she is doing. Really, however, they are amateurs. Amateur idiots who care way too much about what color is my favorite but are not smart enough to include my favorite color in the list of answers. And of course, the quizzes are always hampered by my view of myself. So, in the future, I will only take quizzes that are funny and mean nothing in the real world. At least those ones amuse me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Why Don't We Give Them What They Want?

This article by Ed Koch got me thinking. I wonder what would happen if the U.S. pulled out of Iraq and Afganistan. Heck, why don't we just pull out of every place where we have troops. Bring our troops home and fight our wars when we are attacked.

I know, the war in which the most Americans died and lost property was fought on our own soil (Civil War) . From that and World War I we learned that it is better to fight on someone else's soil and stop a threat before it makes it to our shores. Yeah, that's kind of self serving, but World War II would not have been won by the Allies if Americans had not been self serving.

In a way, it would almost be humorous to pull out of Iraq. Everyone gets angry at Americans for "being arrogant," and believing that other countries ought to mimic our form of government. Actually, we're only defending ourselves and the rest of the world from a threat that is very real. If the U.S. suddenly walked away from the powder keg brewing in the Middle East, what would happen to Europe?

I know, I'm stereotyping. What a typical, arrogant American thing to do! I believe that people who say they want to kill everyone actually do want to do that. This is a disclaimer, I am not talking about all of the Middle East. I refer only to Islamic terrorists and those who believe in jihad. I'm not indicting every Muslim out there. If you think that's my game, then I am sorry. I try to put the blame on those who ask for the blame. As far as I can tell, terrorists like al-Zarqawi mean what they say when they make threats. I would never blacklist all Islamics as terrorists. I would not say that Islamics are backward and need to be modernized. My words include a select group of Islamics. You know the ones who are out to kill us.

Back the important issue, what would happen to Europe? Better yet, does Europe really want us to pull out of Iraq and Afganistan? What would people think if we left? I bet that terrorism would suddenly be a much bigger issue in European countries and we would start seeing stronger leaders rise up or the ones who are already there would take a stronger stand against terrorism. Maybe only the reality of the U.S. pulling out will make people see the awful truth. The problem that we are fighting is not a problem that is just going to disappear when we leave. We did not cause people to become terrorists by fighting against terrorists. That's as logical as it would be to say that fighting Hitler caused him to kill more Jews. I despise the fact that the U.S. waited so long to get involved in World War II. I despise the fact that we allowed Hitler to do such terrible things. Forgive me, if I am proud of the fact that we are among the first to stand against atrocities against humanity this time around.

But then again, it might have been better to wait a little while until people believed that our country was needed in this fight. Maybe being a tad bit isolationist would have helped us gain allies instead of pushing them away. I suppose there is one problem with that idea: 9-11-2001. We could not ignore that. But we could have waited on Iraq, at least.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

It Is Rare That I Am Ever This Personal On My Politics Blog

Recently, my thoughts have revolved around the fact that I am a jobless person. Nothing I can do will automatically give me a job. I cannot make someone hire me, just as I cannot make God force someone to hire me. All I can do is apply and apply and apply. I can be certain that my applications sound like something an employer would want, I can craftily tailor my coverletters to the specific job requirements and hiring personnel. But I cannot force the hand of another person, I cannot control the mind and will of God.

Everything I have done these last few months has focused upon my job search. That is probably why I have grown increasingly impersonable upon this blog. My politics has once again been a source of comfort and a place of hiding. Naturally, this has not been a fulfilling way in which to lead my life. Thus, I have made a decision.

I have decided that I am going to spend all this extra time doing the things I have always wanted to do. I am going to get my life in better order and I am going to learn some things I have always wanted to learn. Here are some things I would like to change:

1. Keep up on my workout times.
2. Get up early in the mornings (I am a morning person by nature, but I used to work third shift so I let my sleeping schedule change and now I have a hard time getting up before 10am).
3. Go to the library to do research at least once a week. Take the time to write a really good research paper.
4. Learn Calculus and brush up on my Algebra.

That's all really. I have extra time to do these things right now and I am not using that time for anything. I just mope around about the fact that I am unemployed. I apply for jobs and that makes me feel like I have accomplished something, yet that only stems my continual focus upon the problem that continues to thwart all my attempts to fix it. I cannot solve this myself for it is larger than I am. I have not the resources. I am only human. The most that I can do is apply for jobs and let my focus rest upon God and His saving grace. He will have to do the rest.

I am sure that I will have bad days when my stress overwhelms me. Until I am employed the problem is a problem and will not go away. However, I do not have to look at it all the time and let it overwhelm me every day. Instead I can let God handle it, because He has always been the one in charge, even when I did not acknowledge that fact.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Random Notes

Peggy Noonan wrote a great article on Bush's nomination and the implications of his choice. Let me insert a quotation from the article that illustrates my own feelings on the matter:

Here are some maybes. Maybe the president has simply concluded he has no more elections to face and no longer needs his own troops to wage the ground war and contribute money. Maybe with no more elections to face he's indulging a desire to show them who's boss. Maybe he has concluded he has a deep and unwavering strain of support within the party that, come what may, will stick with him no matter what. Maybe he isn't all that conservative a fellow, or at least all that conservative in the old, usual ways, and has been waiting for someone to notice. Maybe he has decided the era of hoping for small government is over. Maybe he is a big-government Republican who has a shrewder and more deeply informed sense of the right than his father did, but who ultimately sees the right not as a thing he is of but a thing he must appease, defy, please or manipulate. Maybe after five years he is fully revealing himself. Maybe he is unveiling a new path that he has not fully articulated--he'll call the shots from his gut and leave the commentary to the eggheads. Maybe he's totally blowing it with his base, and in so doing endangering the present meaning and future prospects of his party."

My disappointment knows no bounds!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

You've All Been Wondering

Finally, I come before you to answer the question you have all been contemplating for two days: What does Esther think of Bush's nominee, Harriet Miers?

In my opinion, Bush chickened out. He finally cracked. The political upheaval and criticism he has faced for the past several months has done it's job. He could have picked an outright conservative judge with astonishing credentials. There were so many to choose from. Instead he picked a crony, with no record on the important constitutional issues that face the court today. He picked a woman who sounds like a wonderful and impressive person. Do not take this as a post to downgrade her achievements. But I for one hope that conservative Senators decide not to confirm this nominee.

Why? She just has no record of working on and studying the issues that will surely come before the court soon. I have read some of her stuff, yes, and they are obscure, random articles that you have to dig to find. If a Supreme Court Justice has no record in trying to understand constitutional matters, there is a problem. There is tremendous pressure put on these people and a lot of it comes from people who want activist judges. I am against activist judges on any side of the issues. A justice who is not already shaped an molded in the ideas of judicial restraint gives me no reason to believe that he or she (in this case) will stand firm on those notions.

I am shocked that Bush would back down like this and pick someone without the conservative credentials that I thought he sought for this position. The criticism he is under must be difficult to face, I understand that. He is scrutinized and blamed more than any president I can remember. But he used to have more guts. I remember a Bush who did whatever the hell he felt like because he was a Texan who did not care about people's screams of outrage. This is not that Bush.

In short, I am disappointed that Bush failed to choose someone with a strong background on the issues. I do not care that he did not pick an Ivy Leaguer, I think it is nice that he picked a more normal person. But Supreme Court justices are hardly normal! I mean, you don't dedicate your life to udnerstanding constitutional thought by being an ordinary person. Miers has an impressive business background, and who knows, maybe she will surprise me. At the moment though, I am not pleased with the nominee.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Birthday Joy

I write today to popularize my birthday. I am "another year older and deeper in debt." But it's also my birthday and it is always a happy day. I am brimming over with birthday good feelings.

Yay! I enjoy having birthdays. That's why I am never upset at the fact that it is a mile marker to show that I am growing older. Who cares about getting older when you get to have birthdays and they're so much fun? Every age is a new and interesting thing to me and I have always wanted to be every age. Of course, that's the one thing in life that I am assured I will have..

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I Know I'm Posting A Lot, But . . .

I thought that this article from the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. section was very interesting. It reminds me of a certain popular quotation concerning power: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (I forgot who said that.) Many of us were very happy when Republicans got control of the government. This article leads me to wonder, once again, "Were any of those hopes about a different government fulfilled? Have they ever been fulfilled?" Our Republican government tends to get a lot more criticism than the other side when it has been in power and I do not always agree with that. I am sure Republicans have done some good which they deserve praise for. At the same time, many of the things that their constituents believe in have fallen by the wayside of power.

Friday, September 30, 2005

"Morally Reprehensible" Debate

I am sorry to give you another long bit of literature, but I have been keeping up on the outrage over former Secretary Bennett's comment on his radio program the other day. I think that Sean Hannity and Bennett made some very good points about the nature of debate in our society on Hannity and Colmes, so here's the transcript.

Now, obviously, what Bennett said the other day sounds like a horrible thought. It sounds like he said that African Americans are the cause of crime in our society. That is taking it out of context. He was trying to show why a certain type of logic is flawed, thus, he presented the argument as an example of flawed logic.

I would add that no one should accuse Bennett of being a racist. As he himself points out, he has worked for education in underprivileged communities and he believes that poverty affects all races.

If nothing else, read his explanation at the beginning of the transcript. I will leave you with his quotation from the end which I think is very telling about the lack of debate in our society:

What I say to them, Sean, is if they were given the impression that I, you know, am in favor of such a horrible idea as, you know, my critics are suggesting, they need to look at the whole quote. I don't believe that. And I'm sorry that people have misrepresented my views so much that that has given folks that impression. You're right about a person's life. I've got a life, you know, take me in the totality of my actions and I'll tell you, I will stand with my record.

"One must be very careful one gets into these arguments and we try to do it. But, you know, we try on this show to do serious and controversial issues. And it's a big country and it's a free country. We don't put liberals down. We don't put people down with whom we disagree. We talk about serious things in a serious way. And if you're not allowed to talk about these subjects, then it's not the country it's supposed to be.

"You've got to be able to condemn these horrible ideas as I did."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Pence

Here is a speech given recently by Mike Pence. He discusses the conservative movement and the role of government very eloquently. But I am not going to tell you what it says. You will have to read the speech yourself.

You Can Stop Holding Your Breath

Roberts was confirmed this morning. We have a new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Now we have to wait for the next nominee.

Aside: I am proud to say that for once in his career Carl Levin did the smart thing. He voted to confirm Roberts. I am beyond impressed. Oh wait, he's not my Senator anymore . . .

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Partisan And Partisan

So, the Dems want to filibuster Bush's next Supreme Court nominee. The reasons to do this appear to be some vague notion about the ideological leanings of the potential nominee. This would make him or her unqualified to be on the court. What the Dems mean to say is that, if the nominee agrees with Bush on issues instead of them, then the nominee should be blocked. So if a partisan judge gets the nomination, they're going to do the partisan thing and filibuster. Makes sense to me. Hasn't the standard for judges always been whether they agree with the elected branches of government? Well, actually, no.

I have every respect for differences of opinion. But I do not remember Republicans getting this upset over Clinton's nominee. In fact, I think they just made sure that he was qualified and confirmed him. It is not as if the court was any less important back then either.

The major problem with Roberts was his failure to explain how he planned to vote on every single issue. It is perfectly within his right to be professional and refrain from announcing things before they even come close to happening. In response to the possibility of filibuster, I would just say that Dems are upset they could not find anything terribly wrong with Roberts and they're itching for a fight so they can get their constituents going. Don't we all want the good old days of scandal ridden hearings such as Bork's and Thomas's back again?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Difficult Subjects Ahoy

Checking the news for the day I came across this article by Nelson Mandela. I know, Aids is a difficult subject for many Christians. I think most Christians my own age are past the whole, "God is punishing a continent for its sins," viewpoint (which I find to be particularly distasteful). But be forewarned, that if you are uncomfortable with this subject I'm about to discuss it. That is, discuss what little I know, which is definitely not much.

Back at Hillsdale we had a week long lecture series on marriage and family. One of our speakers was this crazy woman who decided that instead of talking about marriage and family she was going to talk about whatever the hell she wanted to talk about. I don't remember her name. I only remember that she said, in all seriousness, that Aids can only be spread through homosexual intercourse and infected heroine needles. When challenged by a student who had worked in Aids camps in Africa and seen many children who had contracted Aids while in the womb, the speaker mocked this idea openly. While some of the students chose to be very disrespectful to the speaker I can understand it to some degree. Ignorance is not deserving of total rudeness, but that was a bit over the top. Personally, I was ashamed that my school could bring in a speaker who would make such assertions. It sure doesn't look good for us when we pay people like that. Anyway, if your beliefs fall within that speaker's then I am sorry. And you will not like my own opinion.

Aids is a terrible problem that has afflicted a continent which has been monumentally mistreated by the rest of humanity. I do not know much scientifically, but I have studied African politics. While I do not go all out in the view that white people are the only problem with Africa, I do at least agree that we have not helped matters. In fact, we have not tried to help matters. Most of what we have done has been exploitation until recently. First there was colonization, which included the almost barbaric monopolization of natural resources. It also took from most Africans the ability to govern themselves because European nations took over governance and did not teach Africans to better themselves, rather they taught them to be corrupt in their governance of themselves. I understand that Europeans were opposed to practices such as human sacrifice and I am okay with that. But where things could have been made better, they were not. South African apartheid is a terrible example of exploitation and abuse. The Afrikaaner government made laws that were very similar to Hitler's anti-Jewish laws. While it did not set out to exterminate black Africans it did set out to separate the races economically, socially and politically. Eventually, however, it began to ammend its ways and it was a white government that released Nelson Mandela from prison and helped bring in a representational government. South Africa is doing rather well now compared to the rest of the sub-Saharan continent. Suffice it to say, that I think Africa has been exploited. I am saddened that those of us who believe that we have good governing methods could so purposefully harm countries that did not meet our standards.

I also find it somewhat arrogant that we always believe that the nation-state is the only way to govern properly. The African patrimonial system could have been made to work as well as our systems. Besides, how is the patrimonial system so different from our system of taxation? They take money and bribes, yes. But we have taxes and the only difference is that our methods are institutionalized. While I realize that bribery is wrong, I challenge anyone who believes that a system of taxation that lets wealthy people and corporations find and utilize every tax break in the book is more right than the patrimonial way. Okay, back on topic . . .

In the case of South Africa it took internal changes as well as external pressures (i.e. trade embargo) to change its ways. I find it interesting that in his article on Aids Mandela cites both of these things as ways to fight the HIV/Aids pandemic. While he is somewhat vague he does argue that behavioral changes must take place and through this education is the best offensive tactic. All in all, I agree with his conclusion. For too long the international community has let Africa slide away. For too long we have exploited its resources, but avoided aiding it because it is not economically advantageous to aid it. External pressure and aid combined with the internal motivation to get things done is the best way. Funding community based organizations has been proven to be very effective in African countries in decreasing the practice of female genital mutilation. Surely something like that could help against Aids as well.

Now, I know that many different countries have done a lot to help in Africa. I applaud these efforts. Change is difficult there, like anywhere else. However, I am not just talking about letting the government help these countries. I am not just talking about pressuring a government to send more aid. I am -- like Mandela -- suggesting that people do something to help with this cause. It is the interest of individuals that will do the most in this case. Help fund organizations that are actually getting something done in Africa. Take some personal responsibility instead of just letting the government do whatever. The government is not a charity operation anyway, but people can be.

Now maybe this is helping against a problem that has become a problem because of too much sin. I ask you, what human problems are not caused by sin? Besides, Jesus did not come to earth to condemn us, look down upon us and beat us over the head with news of our own death. He came to suffer our punishment, offer us forgiveness and redeem us from eternal death. He did not spend time with the righteous when he was here, he spent time with those who knew that they needed his mercy and love. It is not for us to judge, but it is for us to follow Christ's example.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Solutions For Too Much Spending

Mike Pence recently demonstrated a very wise viewpoint on the subject of fiscal conservatism. In the face of not just one, but two record hurricanes, our government has decided to spend money like it's going out of style. Like Pence, I feel terrible for the hurricane victims, I think that much should be done to help them. I am very happy that the American people have been pouring out money and offering lodgings for these people. I am pleased that the university in this town accepted many students from Louisiana and gave them another chance at their education. All the charity that has been going on and will continue to go on impresses me immensely. The government plans to spend a lot on rebuilding and since that is part of the government's job (infrastructure) I am okay with that. But this is just an incredible amount of money that we do not have. And we are in debt already!

Congress has come up with some ideas on how to reallocate money for the hurricane. Of course, it's not enough. Furthermore, the recent trend of spending suggests that Congress is not extremely cautious or remotely responsible with our tax dollars. My guess would be that a few members of Congress will stand up for fiscal responsibility, while everyone else will vote through the spending increases and let the debt fall upon those of us who will be leaders of this nation before long. Eventually, all debt comes back to strangle its incurrer, even if it takes until the next generation to do that.

I met a young student at a debate tournament one time. He and I were batting ideas back and forth because he was a liberal and I a conservative. At one point, this student wanted to discuss Social Security, he said that he thought it was ridiculous to do anything to change social security. I could not believe how shortsighted a statement that was. Even if you do not want to privatize social security, you must at least realize that the way our government uses the money will cause an enormous tax hike eventually. Either way, I bring up this example for a reason. This student acted like our government often acts about debt. He was young, thus he can be forgiven. Most young people are not faced with actual debt and we do not understand bills until we are well out of the house and beyond college. Members of Congress, however, are old enough to understand debt. They should realize that it will not just go away. It will increase until it causes massive economic problems. But our Congress insists upon acting like debt is nothing. It's as if most of them have forgotten the fiscal responsibility that each one of them must excercise in their own home.

Pence's argument brings these points home. He compares government fiscal issues to the fiscal issues that any family would have to face. It is only different because it is on a grander scale. Thus, Pence's words ring true:
“Congress must ensure that a catastrophe of nature does not become a catastrophe of debt for our children and grandchildren.”

I encourage you to go to this website, find your Congressperson, and let him or her know that we do not want this debt to get any worse. Finding creative solutions from which to draw this funding is a far better idea than "a catastrophe of debt."

In the meantime, I'm still plugging away for Pence in 2008! His committment to fiscal responsibility is outstanding. I pray that he fights a winning battle.

I Think This One Worked

At last, a political test that seems to have done its job. I think this one is almost accurate! I'm not sure that I'm exactly a "social moderate," but I am more of a centrist than you'd think. It also said that I "exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness. " And I think that was the part that was most correct. l

You are a

Social Moderate
(56% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(63% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No,No . . .

So, I got rejected. Again. I'm blue. I hate this. I thought I had a chance at this job. I really did. But no. Some idiot who already worked for the DNR had to go and apply. I hate people like that. Let somebody else get a job. I know. I will be one of them myself someday. Wait. I don't have a job. So I won't be.

I am tired of waiting. I am tired of getting rejection notices in the mail. I really hate this.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Ponder-ance

Perhaps you, my ever so patient reader, consider yourself an open minded person. The sort of person, who, by definition, allows others to express their opinions without censoring them or telling them they are blatantly wrong. You might listen to be sympathetic, or to gain some insight into someone else's viewpoints or so that you can formulate arguments during some later quiet hour so that you can discuss the person's views in more depth next time. Whatever the reason, you're not a bigot, and you know it.

I have known many people of differing opinions on life in general and there is one characteristic that each seems to carry. They all think that they are tolerant toward the views of others.

To illustrate this point, I will speak in terms of political views, because that's what I am good at!

No matter what your political views, I am sure you have heard someone of opposite opinions explain how they listen to everyone with an open mind even if they differ from them. Or maybe you haven't, but you have talked about this yourself. Why do people think that those of your persuasion are so bigoted? You can explain in detail why you have a far more open mind than those opposed to you, and you can describe the sort of people who really bother you. The ones who think they're always right and refuse to listen to anyone with a differing opinion. Maybe you've never met these people, but dammit you know they're out there. You are a lib or a con, or a mod. No matter what you are, you know that your type is the type that listens to others and values their differing opinion and the other types are incapable of doing that.

I have heard Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, all talk like this. We care about other people's ideas and on and on and so forth and so forth . . . ad nauseum.

My question is this, why do so many assume that the only person who can be reasonable about other people's views is the person making that assumption? Don't you think that if you were smart enough to realize this then others are too?

I am full of questions. But I have come to one conclusion. When next I hear someone make this broad statement in which they explain why they are more open minded than anyone who disagrees with them I am going to weigh the statement against the person's actions. If they refuse to reconsider their own ideas in all circumstances, then they probably have a very feeble self knowledge.

My philosophy class back in college was very interesting for many reasons. I learned to defend my views, but not just that, I learned to think them through and to question them. I took away an ability to question the very foundations of my thought processes, not so that I could sit in a corner and philosophize, but so that I could communicate with others. I remember that one of the guys in my class was a strict determinist. He believed, for instance, that if you raise your arm it is predetermined that you were going to do that at that moment. I'm not sure who he thought predetermined everything, but that's what he thought. This guy is a great guy, but he never once questioned his own train of thought, at least not in the classroom. It struck me as so strange that someone could come into a class like that and flat out refuse to rethink one's beliefs. I got a poor grade in that class, but I sure analyzed and re-analyzed my worldview.

Sometimes the people who claim to be in the so-called "open minded" camp are the least open minded at all. That always strikes me as funny as I listen to them explain why people of differing opinions suck so much. Actions, those are what really count. What you say or do when no one else is paying attention, that's where your true opinions lie. So I ask you, do your actions and your little spoken thoughts reflect your desire and ability to hear others' opinions or do they reflect the idea that those who differ from you are not open minded? These are very different things.

And for the record I do believe in universal truths, I know this is not completely open minded. I do not care. I agree with Alan Bloom to some extent on the definition of open mindedness. When you take it too far then you have no identity anymore and no leg to stand on. But I also agree with Benjamin Franklin that I learn from almost every idea that I hear. I realize that I might think myself correct in this moment, only to realize in the next that I was all wrong.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Another Side To Americans

I found this article in the Times to be very interesting. It's actually a positive report about Americans in general. The last part concerning the popular view that government is responsible for everything is very insightful. I have thought it myself many times and wondered why we always forget that we can take action just as well if not better than any lethargic, bureaucratic organization.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Roberts Nomination Process

I am definitely keeping up on the Roberts hearings. I find issues of the Supreme Court to be extremely interesting. I have been reading articles, and even some of the transcripts from the hearings.

So far, Roberts has been criticized for not telling his views on certain issues. Democratic Senators keep saying that he will not answer questions or tell how he would rule on abortion or a "right to die." Roberts says that he is not a politician and does not need to make campaign promises. Furthermore, these are touchy issues to him since they may actually come up under his watch.

I think he's being completely fair. Senator Feinstein asked for his personal views on assisted suicide. He refused to answer. The way I see it, there's only one reason to ask the judge his personal views: so they can be skewed into his legal views. He pointed out something interesting near the beginning of his testimony. When he worked as a lawyer for the Reagan administration Roberts urged against the executive giving certain pension authority to Congress having to do with the Lebanon crisis. Senator Leahy appeared convinced that Roberts has an overblown view of presidential authority. Roberts countered this by pointing out that any good and careful lawyer who worked for the executive and whose job it was to ensure the executive keep its power, would have done what he did. It was his job, he had to, otherwise he would not be protecting the authority that he was paid to protect. That seems to reveal a lot about Roberts in my book. He values the job he is doing at the moment, he does not mix his personal feelings into it. When or if he takes the oath of office, he will most likely uphold the Constitution and all the precedents that have been set since then. Thus, he is a lot more like Rehnquist than I at first noticed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Special Thanks

I recently discovered that I am sensitive to sulfites. This is not a fun thing to be. Let me tell you, here in the USA almost everything you can eat is sulfured in one way or another. There are two main reasons for this: grapes and refined corn products. Of course, the biggest culprit is refined corn products.

Refined corn products include the following: corn syrup, corn starch, fructose corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and dextrose. The very first step that a manufacturer takes in refining corn is the worst. They soak it all in a giant vat of sulfur oxide solution! Corn syrup is used in every kind of sweet made in the United States. It is used in juices and jellies. It is the primary sweetener of our country. Any type of non-diet soda contains corn syrup.

Grapes are not as bad, mainly because they are not in as many kinds of food. However, they are sprayed with sulfur when they are on the vine. Otherwise they grow a nasty mold. Thus, even unsulfured wine is very bad for me. The only types of wine I have found that I can drink are made with no grapes and no sulfites are added. They are made with different types of berries and you can find this company online here. Of course, they do not have a store in my area and according to shipping laws they cannot ship wine to my state. Oh well, maybe I will get some when I go visit the fam sometime.

I only just figured out about this sensitivity problem. But I have been having digestive difficulties for at least two years. Now I know why.

I would like to thank my primary source of research to this post. Some caring sulfite sensitive person did a ton of research and was nice enough to put it all online for the rest of us. Here is his website. I don't know who this guy is, but I would have had a lot of trouble without his effort. I read his research and now I know what to avoid to evade my stomach and digestive problems.

How do I know for sure that I am sensitive to sulfites? Well, I stopped eating food with sulfites in them and I felt all better. Furthermore, I can trace any digestive problem I have had recently to some sort of sulfured food. I often suspected that certain foods and drinks were causing me problems, I just did not know why they were doing it.

A sensitivity is different from an allergy. I have been tested for food allergies and I have none. Being sensitive, my reaction comes very slowly, often 6 to 8 hours after I ate the contaminated food. I know this is self diagnosis, and oh my gosh, I should go see a doctor. Really, maybe I'm some sort of nutty hypochondriac who thinks she's sensitive to everything under the sun. Okay, yeah, I do not want to be sensitive to sulfites. I happen to like wine and grapes, sodas and candy. I happen to think corn starch is a very useful thing. If I could wish away my sensitivity I would. But I can't. It's here. From what I have read, doctors cannot check for a sensitivity. They can only check for allergies. Half the time they don't actually figure out what's wrong with you when it comes to things like this anyway. The most a doctor could do is ask me to stop eating sulfites and see if I feel better. I can figure that out by myself, dude. Besides, since sulfites do not have to be disclosed in everything, just reading labels will not do. And neither the government, nor most doctors know what all sulfites are in. I had already stopped eating wheat and lactose, and still I kept being sick. So it has to be the sulfites. It seems so obvious now.

I do enjoy feeling better all the time now.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four Years Later . . .

. . . and still I remember exactly where I stood the moment I heard about it. I walked into my dorm after my 9:30am class, I had about 45 minutes of down time before I would head to lunch. All these girls were standing there, watching the news. I thought, "Since when have I ever seen any of these people watching the news? They can't be watching the news!" Seriously, how often does a large group of freshman girls gather in front of the news in the morning?! Then I heard those awful words, ". . . the Pentagon was hit too." Now I thought they were watching a movie. This just could not be real. In a daze I made my way back to my room and called my Mom, of course, Mom knew what was going on. And then I knew. I remember that entire day in excrutiating detail. Every moment of it. Down to the fact that I skipped math class. I remember the next few days. I cried in the supper line in front of this guy I had a crush on (this was before Craig and I were dating) because my friends promised me that they would take me with them to give blood and then they left me behind. I wanted so badly to help the people in New York, but I had no car at the time and Hillsdale is woefully without a busing system.

Yes, I remember it all. And here we are now. Four years later.

What have we to say for ourselves? Osama Bin Laden still lives. Acts of terrorism in numerous places have occurred with increasing frequency. Some of our state governments have no clue how to deal with emergencies and do not call the Feds in before it's too late. The media screams it's anger at Bush and his approval ratings keep falling nad rising. As if any of it matters.

I often wonder about things like this. When any leader messes up, even a tiny bit, his or her enemies go into conyptions. In fits of glee they tell the world about whatever new problem he or she now has. It goes on and on like that. Then the public all have an opinion and it's one of two things a) they hate the leader because he/she is "stupid," or b) the liberal/conservative media is out to get the leader! As a Christian, I believe that both those attitudes are wrong. I propose a different plan of action.

Pause for a moment, think to yourself. Who put that leader where he or she is now? According to that one chapter in Romans it was God who did that. So, what should we do? I suppose you think that I am going to say "obey without thinking." Hah! You're wrong. We should pray for that leader. I will not say ruler, because we do not have rulers, we are our own rulers here. But we do have leaders. Why are we always more ready to hate our leaders, cry out against them, criticize them, discourage them, explain why we hate them, tell people why we disagree with them, get our opinions out there, then we are to pray for them?

We cannot do anything to that leader with our opinion, it is not a bullet as much as we would like to believe it is. But God answers prayer as he sees fit. The most important thing about prayer, however, is that God uses it to teach us things. Who knows how your perspective on a given situation will change if you start praying for the person who upsets you? We do not pray to force God's hand, His will is already chosen and in motion. We pray because God asked us to pray, because we receive from Him during prayer, and for a many other reasons that I am incapable of explaining.

After four years, you would think much had changed in the global arena surrounding terrorism, wouldn't you? Only if you are used to instant responses to everything, you would. Neither you nor I can see the hand of God at work. Not a one of us can foresee what will happen within the next moment. Who are we to tell the Almighty when it is time for a change in something? We can do nothing, save through God's grace. Then we can discern what is right or wrong, and learn how to make a difference. But the first difference ought to be made within our own hearts.

Four years ago I was horrified by the attack upon my country. Four years ago I wept in public because my people had died for no reason other than the hatred displayed toward us by a godless person. And today I realize that if those in control of our country and many other countries were to deal with this terrible threat appropriately, it will only be through the grace of God. And for that we must pray.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

News On Jobs

I have another interview coming up! I am excited about this one. It's for a job with sucky hours at a state park. I love parks! Especially parks with big, beautiful lakes and this one has one of those. I have always wanted to work at a park. The nice thing about sucky hours is that not many people are willing to work them. If I get this job then I will work at getting better hours when I can. In the meantime, they're not that bad. I could take classes very easily with the hours the way they are. Anyway, I haven't even had the interview yet. Wish me luck. I have to get busy preparing for this.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


My former roomie and I had a long wonderful chat this evening. We talked about people and we solved all the world's problems in about an hour and a half. Interestingly enough, I found this article on Victor Davis Hanson's website just after our long discussion. It addresses some of the things that we were talking about. Namely, people's selfishness and willingness to blame others rather than take responsibility. The article concerns the aftermath of Katrina. But it says so much more than that. Victor Hanson never fails to bring some universal principle or theme into his writing.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist passed away last night. This is very sad. I hardly know what to say. Rehnquist served on the Supreme Court for 33 years. His strength lay in unifying a divided court. Rehnquist voted for decisions that he disagreed with a few times that I remember. Some of those I disagree with. But I do not disagree with his reasons for voting the way he did. He made these difficult decisions based upon changes in the times. Many of his decisions reflected his leadership qualities and his more conservative reading of the Constitution. Rehnquist was a wise justice. I am sorry that he is gone.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Tragedy

We are all asking the same questions in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: "How could this happen in the U.S.? Why isn't the government doing more? Why hasn't the problem been fixed yet?"

I do not have an actual answer to these questions. It is a catastrophe beyond any we have faced within the U.S.A. for a hundred years. We live in a modern nation-state, we have technology, we have science. Why can't we just wave our modern wand and fix this?

Again, I have no answer. But I did find a terribly interesting article that puts this tragedy into perspective. I will leave you to consider its words.

Monday, August 29, 2005


I found this article on the rapid adoption of the flat tax to be very interesting. It has been several years since the United States seriously considered going to a flat rate tax. I remember Dick Armey the flat tax man very well. My thoughts on a flat tax are twofold. First, anything is better than the crappy system we have with more than 17,000 pages of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo to complicate it. Second, I do believe the flat tax would spur economic growth. It is attractive for one other reason, we could practically fire the IRS! Less bureaucracy! That's always a plus. Of course, since the number one rule of bureaucracy is to expand bureaucracy, we will see how far this idea goes.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Let's Try To Be More Controversial, Shall I?

After considering the last several days worth of posting, I have come to realize that I have now discussed two of the most controverial issues ever to arise on this planet. So, what shall I talk about next? Would not anything be a step down from where I am? Oh well.

I think I will be nice and normal and talk about jobs. I still have not got one, in case you did not know. I have not heard back from the one I interviewed for last week. I hope I hear back on Monday, and that's about the most I can do.

Jobs and finding jobs are very annoying aspects of life. Every job I apply for requires some sort of experience. Sometimes I have the experience, sometimes I do not have it. I still try. Because I know that I can learn just about anything on site. If they would hire me, I guarantee that in one week I would know all the important things that I need to know, and in two weeks I would have tied up most of the details. No, you have to have experience! A certain time length of experience. I just went through four years of hell and I have to have experience?! Whose idea was this? My four years of work and pain count for nothing unless I have on the job experience to back it up. Even with the on the job experience I have (which is more than most college graduates) it does not really count for much. I worked my way through college, paying for an expensive, private school education on my own and it counts for nothing with these people! I feel like throwing a temper tantrum.

Another thing you need is contacts. People who will give you an in. That worked so well for me. The guy who said he would help me find a job would not hire me himself! Even though I have tons more experience with what he needed than most people. So now I have no one but myself to recommend me, and that's never quite good enough. I guess I need to be the daughter of an oil tycoon or something. Fat chance of that happening anytime soon . . .

Sorry for the rant. I have not been doing so good on the job hunt and it is starting to wear at me.

So, I keep applying and applying. I hope I hear something eventually.

Friday, August 26, 2005

By This Will All Know

I am a Lutheran (LCMS to be exact, not the ones who get in the news all the time). I have been a Lutheran for 4 months and 16 days. I did spend a lot of time in the Lutheran church before I changed from my previous state of non-denominational to my current, more liturgical one.

I purpose to organize some thoughts by writing this out on my blog. First off, I do not think denominations matter all that much. I am a political scientist of sorts, and being a political scientist of the United States I strongly believe in freedom of religion. Thus, I do not have problems with differences of opinion and all that kind of thing. I am not going to sit here and tell anyone what denomination they should join, or what non-denomination. I am not going to say that any one denomination is more right than any other. I think that is silly.

Sometimes, though, people do talk about their own denomination as if it is somehow better than the others around it. I completely respect people's opinions. I also respect the natural human desire to like best that which we choose to like best. There is nothing wrong with preferring one denomination of Christianity above another. That's how we got all these different types in the first place. Personally, I think that denominations allow us to see Christian principles from slightly different perspectives. No one person can have a complete picture of what God intended with the body of Christ. But many different ideas can come together and weed out the terribly wrong ideas by working through the truth that is in God's word. Evenutally something resembling a more complete picture can come of this. Without freedom of religion and the liberty to debate different ideas this cannot happen. That is my political notion of the church. Then again, that is me, that is how I think. I am only a humble wannabe politician and what I know best is politics. I do not pretend to know more. Frankly, when it comes to issues of the church I am the most ordinary layperson you could find. In fact, one might say that my views are hampered by my political ideas. You can forgive me, I am sure, we are all human after all, and that's why we need God.

Ealier today, I listened to some music by my favorite artist eLi. I decided to go read up on his website since I had not checked it in a while. I would not mind another eLi concert, dontcha know. eLi's writings reminded me of a verse in John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

It does not matter what denomination you are a part of. People are not going to recognize you for being a Lutheran or a Catholic or a Baptist or a non-denominational or anything else. They are going to recognize that you are a disciple of Christ by whether or not you love other disciples of Christ and whether you show that love. The fact is, we can sit and say as much as we want that our particular denomination is better. That may not show any love for other disciples of Christ. But most of all, it is not the way people will recognize whether or not we are followers of Christ.

As a disclaimer of sorts I would like to add a note on the subject of truth. I believe that if a person confesses that Jesus Christ is their risen savior, that he died and took the punishment for their sins, then rose again so that said person could have eternal life then they are a Christian. Yes, there are other important beliefs, for an outline you might read the Apostles or the Nicene Creed. I am not arguing about denominations that do not confess at least that which I wrote above (meaning that Jesus died for their sins and rose again portion). I make no point about things that are completely outside of God's word (i.e. the Pope, or the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). Minor differences of doctrine, so long as they do not affect the main point, do not matter in this argument. In fact, that's the point of the whole thing.

And that's all this embarrassed, little layperson with no understanding has to say on that matter.