Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm not so annoyed today

The president of the U.S. is likely to use the term "We are addicted to oil" or some form of that statement in the State of the Union tonight. Umm, well, it's a nice thought, but I know the words are hollow and the sentiment a bit late in the game. However, it is good that it is being said. Oil dependency is leading us down a path of collapse. The more money we unnecessarily send over seas, the more we weaken our nation when we don't have it come back in return. Foreign powers have used oil money to invest in the U.S. economy, but it's not in a way that can provide long term benefit to us. We need them to buy U.S. goods, not to U.S. companies. lol
Well, maybe the words will lead to some improvement of the situation. We get rid of oil dependancy (not just foreign oil), we strike a massive blow to terrorist, long term economic decline, and foreign powers seeking advantage over us.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ok, so these weeks of busyness ...

Ok, so these weeks of busy-ness for me might start winding down after next week. I don't mind the busy-ness, but if it keeps up too long, I have trouble keeping up on my daily needs.
Chinese New Year's eve was spent with Allie's family with a very well cooked meal by her mom. Today, I'm not sure what I wanna do. It's already 1pm and Allie and I are barely getting out of bed. lol We watched my Snatch DVD just a bit ago. Right now, she's taking a shower. Exciting stuff, but all part of the busy-ness. :)
My new apartment has come together nicely. It just needs a bit of cleaning up now. Everything is in order. I like what I was able to do with the living areas and the bedroom. The only thang left is for the landlord to fix a couple of items with the bathroom. Once that is done, I'll pretty much feel 100% settled in.
I'm hungry.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Future talking points

I grew up in a protestant fundamentalist home. The thing about protestant fundamentalism is that followers are told they have the answer for everything right directly from the bible. From my observations, each individual protestant fundamentalist group tends to take a core set of scriptures and ideas and build their beliefs around those; then they go through the bible picking and choosing other scriptures to support their conclusions. Normally they are able to form some grand harmonious scheme that convinces the group’s followers that they are the only ones on the right track in figuring out the bible, the universe and everything.

There are plenty of protestant fundamentalist groups in existence. Each one has convinced itself they are the only true path to fulfilling God’s will. Of course, the question comes up, if God was so interested in saving lives in this manner, why would he give his word to so few at such a later period in time?

Anyways, as I was growing up, I was taught that the bible says all modern supernatural phenomena are the work of the Devil or his demons who are trying their damnedest to pull people away from the word of God. Of course, this belief did nothing but reinforce the notion that Satan was succeeding because so many did not accept our version of God’s Word. I was taught that ghosts were demons pretending to be the deceased, psychic powers came from conjuring demon influence, and other supernatural events were the efforts to turn people away from God or at least distract us from doing his will. So, much of my life, I had both a fear of the supernatural and an unnatural arrogance about having the ability to know what it is and how to eliminate it.

This led me to completely misinterpret what was really going on around me. This led me to not understand my place in this world. I treated events around me too matter of factly (natural, human, and supernatural), almost with arrogance because I so strongly believed myself to be immune to them. Looking back now, I can say I was pretty ignorant, but that my heart was in the right place.

I'm now far more skeptic, but I'm also skeptical of skepticism. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

UFO Grade School

When I was in grade school, my teacher brought up the topic of UFO’s in a class lecture and discussion. I forget which grade and teacher. Either way, it was an unusual discussion for grade school. The one thing that stuck with me from that discussion is a frank consideration as to the possible origins of UFO’s. There are 4 possibilities.

Extraterrestrial (commonly called ET) – This is normally the first thing people think of when they consider the possible origin of UFO’s. From what I’ve see, most people that believe in UFO's pretty much assume they are occupied by intelligent creatures from other planets. In abduction cases, the victim normally associates their experience with beings from other planets doing experiments on us lowly humans.

See the articles about what life on other planets may be like
Also see the articles about what life on other planets may be like
Terrestrial – People who view themselves as more practical tend to consider UFO’s as something common and terrestrial. Normally they associate sightings as misinterpretations of common Earth objects (natural or human-made). If you see an unusual craft in the sky doing incredible maneuvers, then it’s a new government spy plane or similar device. Many times, sightings are shoe-horned into preconceived notions about what the sighting could be. I’ve often seen a person trying to give “practical” explanation for a UFO sighting that sounds as ridiculous as they imagine UFO believers to be. It’s practical to try to rule out other possibilities when analyzing and observing something, but it’s just goofy to try too hard. Sometimes a sighting really is unexplained until further evidence can be found.

Ultraterrestrials (can be known as UT, not because they live in Utah) – This is one idea that is much less commonly known or considered. An ultraterrestrial would be an advanced being that is from Earth, but is generally hidden from view. This means that there are beings on our world that are so far advanced beyond humans, they are able to hide their existence from us, only popping out once in awhile in UFO’s for reasons only known to them. Since humans occupy so much of our planet, and have such a firm grip on our 3 dimensional perceptions, it is generally considered very unlikely anyone could be hiding from us right under our own noises. However, as far as evidence goes, there’s not much difference between this concept and that of extraterrestrials.

Fake – Of course, these previous ideas are all based on the idea that UFO’s are real in one way or another. It is not hard to completely discredit most UFO encounters (real, imagined or misinterpreted) as simple overstatements or outright fakes. Certainly, a lot of 20th Century mythologies are being revealed as hoaxes these days. Loc Ness Monster and Bigfoot are the two biggest examples of that. Pretty heavy discussion for grade school, huh?

If this discussion occurred today, it may have been a bit longer, as new possibilities have been considered.

Metaterrestrial – This New Age style notion is similar to that of ultraterrestrial. The belief is that UFO’s are from higher forms of beings or spiritual beings from Earth, but that they exist on some other plane of existence, astral plane or other dimensions. For reasons only known to them, they pop into our plane of existence in the form of UFO’s once in awhile. This is slightly easier to believe than ultraterrestrials because it offers an explanation on how these higher beings can generally hide from us.

My own contribution to this discussion is a bit more bizarre than the other 5 possibilities I just laid out.

Future Evolved Terrestrial Tourist and Scientists (or FETTS for short) – Far in the future, humans will eventually evolve into some higher form of ourselves. The new future human species is starting to send tourists and scientist back in time to both enjoy and study their species’ past (that’s us), much in the same way our modern tourists visit ancient ruins or our modern scientist study prehistoric hominid bones. They fly around in their UFO’s over our cities to take in the sites of a world that must surely be nearly prehistoric to them. Their scientists conduct the occasional abduction to make comparisons between modern DNA and their future DNA to determine our evolutionary course, and to do psychological tests to figure out how they evolved their superior mega-brain and thinking ability from our puny primitive ape brain and mind. Every once in awhile, they get bored and fry a cow or activate a crop circle.

Despite the fact that I’ve come up with this crazy alternate scenario, I don’t really have a strong opinion about the UFO phenomenon. I do think of a lot of encounters are misinterpretations of what really is going on, but this doesn’t account for many instances that are well documented and don’t have any explanations; and I’m not talking about the mythological accounts of Roswell. There are sensible unexplained events that are often abducted by the UFO mythos believers.

So what are UFO’s? Eh, don’t really care. I just think it’s strange that I had this kind of discussion in grade school.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Right to Die

I’m not quite sure where to stand on the Right to Die (euthanasia) issue. Should a severally suffering individual be allowed to commit suicide with their doctor’s assistance? Should there be a ban on medically assisted suicides?
I was first exposed to the debate about euthanasia in discussions about such matters with my mother when I was growing up. Later in a high school class where the topic came up, I believed that suicide itself was wrong, but I believed in the right of an individual choose for themself. One thang I’m not sure I was clear on was whether euthanasia is the same as suicide.
These days, my opinion is still pretty much the same in context, but the reasoning is much clearer. Of course, this makes it harder to know where to stand exactly on the issue. In principle, I believe that the individual has the right to determine their own life. But morally, I know that killing one’s self is wrong. Violence is allowed to defend one’s own life or the lives of loved ones, but it is not allowed to take one’s own life. Whether in mercy or in despair or in cruelty, one should not act in such a way against themself.
However, under rule of law, the right of the individual to any choices about themself is important to keeping the government from intruding in the lives of its citizens. The principle of keeping the government out of our lives is just as important because so many other morally correct doctrines can be threatened with too much control given to the authorities. If the government is given the right to tell an individual they cannot control when they die, the door may be opened to forcing unnatural methods to keeping people alive well beyond what nature intended.
Does the Right to Die only mean euthanasia, or does it include the right to refuse medical care that may or may not prevent the onset of a life threatening condition? That creates a pretty damn big gray area that brings the whole question of Right to Die into a state of confusion.
Then there’s the biggest problem with euthanasia. How can the government protect its citizens from being victimized by impatient relatives that may have motives for pursuing euthanasia upon their “loved one”? Even with the concept of keeping an intrusive government out of our lives in mind, it’s hard to justify allowing the possibility of such a scenario.
So, for me, right now, I think the best course of action is to not allow euthanasia. However, I think allowing the person to control what treatments they receive (or not) should be protected. This means a person (or that person’s immediate family, with the spouse having the second say, then if no spouse, the parents to have the third say) has the right to determine whether or not to be kept alive by machine, drugs or other treatment, but that the person may not choose to take the actual action to kill themself. Removing life support is OK because it is letting nature take its course. Euthanasia is not OK because it is a violent unnatural action that ends a life before its time.

Sponge know not

Recent myspace.com exchange about labelling sponges (almost realtime to the actual events):

Ok, just to finish this story (see below), Mia literally labelled her new cleaning sponges with the words "Kitchen" and "Bathroom" with a felt tip pen. Ok, so this is like psycho for two reasons. First, SHE LABELLED HER SPONGES WITH A FELT TIP PEN! Second, the germs are killed off by whatever chemicals being used. Trust me, she's having the cleaning people use some pretty toxic products! ::cough:: As long as these sponges aren't being used more than once, there's not going to be any germ or grime issues between the bathroom and kitchen.
And this "special attention" list she left for the cleaners had more hmphadumpfs than actual words, so she had to rewrite it, but she still mentioned mcp's a couple of times! Don't know what I'm talking about? Then it's a pretty good bet the cleaners won't know either. hehe

Sweet dreams my very clean mia

Ya'no the funny thang? I know someone else is going to read this exchange and think to themself that labelling sponges is a great idea and start doing it too! LOL

Here's Miriam's myspace.com original post:
"Ok so the cleaning people are coming tomorrow..They are really good at cleaning...the best help I think... but seriously anyone that knows me knows that cleaning my house was my hobby...im portugues...thats what us portugue women do...but I digress.... So I am making my "SPECIAL ATTENTION" list for the week.... even though they are good cleaning people they still require some guidance...AGain cleaning my house was my hobby so yeah I am anal...

Anywho so I am making my list and then I remembered... I have new sponges... So since they all look alike I labeled them.. One baths and the other kitchen... Matt is watching this and then gets this worried horrified sorta dismayed look on his face and says" You are phsyco...who ever heard of labeling a sponge.".. Mind you his idea of cleaning a cup is rinsing it and his old bathub is more gray than white....but again I digress...So I ask...if you have good cleaning people with an english issues should you not label your sponges??? I mean who wants the same sponge that cleaned the muck off your toilette to clean the sink on your kitchen??? Gross... I think so

Anywho, just a random thought for the nite..."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Freedom of Religion|Church and State

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

Together with the 14th Amendment, the Freedom of Religion is established in the U.S.A. by the Second Amendment of our Constitution

The two camps, both liberal and conservative, tend to only recognize the virtue of half this clause from the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Liberals tend to only accept the first half of the clause. Conservatives tend to only recognize the second half. Yet, Freedom of Religion can only be guaranteed if both halves are equally recognized.

The first half limits government from enforcing religion upon the populous. This means schools cannot institutionalize prayer. They cannot teach religion in any context except where religion itself is objectively studied in terms of history or social science. It means judges, states and any government institutions cannot promote religion, use it in their proceedings or refer to it in its decision making process. It also means that government cannot give preferential treatment to particular religious organizations. That is to say, it’s ok to give all religious organization a tax-exempt status, but it’s not ok to actually give money to particular groups without using some non-religious common criteria.

On the flip side, the other half of the Freedom of Religion clause prevents our governments from stopping someone from practicing their religion. This means that a school cannot tell a student that they cannot pray during school hours. It means that religions that are in the extreme minority may not be transgressed upon for their practices. Now, reason had intervened with the understanding of this clause. If a religion advocates harming others or their property, this is not protected religion activities. What is protected is what the individual does themself with their own property or within their own life, as long as they are not harming others.

An example of both ends of the second half of the Freedom of Religion clause have been tested out in the litigation involving Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses fought for the right to practice their religion within schools. Through the Supreme Court, they have won the right to not salute the flag at school. However, they have also been required to prevent unnecessary harm to their children by being forced to all medical care that involves blood transfusions. As part of their religion, they believe that seeking professional medical care is valuable and important, but have a specific prohibition again the practice of using blood transfusions.

So, the Second Amendment doesn’t allow the government to promote religion, and it does not allow the government from preventing it either. This leads to the contemporary discussion regarding the concept of the separation of church and state. The words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the Second Amendment. Nor do they need to in order to establish such a separation because the words actually used in the Second Amendment establish the even greater and more inclusive principal of Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion inherently establishes a de facto separation of church and state, not as a doctrine itself, but as the only practical way to apply the Freedom of Religion principle with the actual wording of the Second Amendment.

Again, the Second Amendment (together with the 14th Amendment) prevents the U.S.A. governments (local, state and national) from promoting, imposing or prohibiting religion on/of its citizens, which creates a de facto separation of church and state.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

More and less

It seems like the more busy I get, the less I talk about it. Damn, it's a buzy month though. Well, I moved into my own apt. The neighborhood is a couple steps down from my last, but it's my own place and the bedroom is all hella huge. I already got my car bumped into while it was parked in its spot. That is less annoying that it sounds. I've been hoping for sumfin like that to happen for a long time now so I could at least share the costs of replacing the bumper from previous incidents. This, coupled with a bunch of other items needing attention forced me to take a day off from work last week. I was running all over town taking care of busy that was piling up, including getting the quote estimate for repairing the damage to my car.
In Dec, I had to deal with two drunk asses (that couldn't handle their alcohol in one way or another) on separate nights, ruining two perfectly fun evenings out. Not cool. Well, New Years was laid back and enjoyable, even though everyone was sick.
Last night a group of us got together for a birthday dinner for Ronie and Fernando at House of Genji. Allie and I have had pretty good experiences there recently with fun and talented cooks, so we where a bit underwelmed by last night's cook, but overall we all had a fun time.
What else? Well, there's a bunch of other stuff too, but maybe I'll go into details later.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pat Robertson

The notion that Pat Robertson might be slowing going insane has recently crossed my mind. Over the past couple of years, he has increasingly said some of the most ridiculous things. This isn't like the 19th Century where one could claim not to have said sumfin, so he always has to make some comment the next day to clarify his outragous statement. His clarification normally contains one or more major undeniable lies to try to make his original statement sound more reasonable. These lies have involved his claiming his original statement did not say what it says. lol The good thang is the people are finally starting to take notion and critize him for the ridiculousness and for the subsequent lies to cover over his ridiculousness. However, for some reason, he's still running the 700 Club. Is no one minding the store over there. Do no one at the 700 Club see that he's starting to slip over the deep end? Psst, the 700 Club is a large corporation that this thinnly guised as a nonprofit charity organization. The fact is, it makes more money than most companies in America, and that it spends that money in the effort to big further wealth. This is illegal for a nonprofit corporation. Anyways, I'm getting off topic. Pat Robertson is going insane. One would think that the people running the 700 Club would want to get their number one money maker back in line with reason to prevent the corporation from being taking as seriously. Hmm