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    Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
    12:41 am
    Goodbye Dad

    Rev. Harold Arden Johnson 1925-2013

    Last Thursday morning around 2AM, my father, Harold "Curly" Johnson, died at Kindred nursing home in Savannah, GA, likely of complications of Parkinson's disease. His funeral will be at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Fort Collins, CO next Sunday, January 27, probably at 2:30 PM. Please contact me if you would like to attend so I can give you directions and a firm time.

    My parents and I were visiting my sister Carla and her husband Don in Savannah over the holidays. My sister Becca and her husband Richard were visiting my brother Eric, who lives and works in New Delhi, on a 3-week tour all over India. On Christmas Eve, while Mom and Carla were at church, Dad began having what looked like petit mal seizures. I called an ambulance, and we met him St. Joseph's Hospital emergency room, where he was still pretty much himself. (Before we left, Carla asked, "Dad, is there anything else you want to say before we leave?", and he said in a loud deadpan voice "Goodbye!" and grinned.)

    He spent the next two weeks in the hospital, some days lucid, others not. On some days, he did not recognize my mother. But on December 30, the 67th anniversary of their first date, he was able to tell her what they had done that night. When I left him on December 28th to join my wife and daughter in Guatemala, I kissed him goodbye, knowing I might not see him again. I was close enough to him that he could see my face, and he smiled at me. I couldn't ask for a better last memory of him.

    Last Wednesday night, he had had a difficult night, repeatedly pulling off his oxygen tube. My mother stayed with him until late, calming him and singing to him. At 2AM, my brother Eric arrived at the hospital to relieve my mom. They talked in the hall for 20 minutes or so, in view of dad's bed. When they came back into the room, they realized he was gone. Ultimately, I think his Parkinson's simply reached a tipping point, and the circuits holding his mind and body together finally failed. There is some reason to think he may have had some sort of embolism, but we're not too interested in a cause of death. He was tired, and often had trouble putting words or even thoughts together. His time had simply come.

    Dad had been suffering from progressive Parkinsonism for about five years, and my 83-year-old mother has been his primary caretaker for all of that time. She stayed by him and cared for him until the very end. Anyone who is near my Mom, physically or electronically, please be in touch with her. She will need some support in the coming months. Fortunately she has a very strong network of loving friends that will help her through this time. Her address is: Viki Johnson, 721 Eastdale Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80524. I can send you her email address on request.

    As my Mom cared for my Dad, my sister Becca made numerous trips over the past several years to help, and called the other siblings to attention when it was warranted. I want to express my deep gratitude for her love, care, and attention to both of them, and for raising alarms more than once when it was necessary.

    Also, in the past several months, my one-time partner Brigitta came back into our lives, living with my parents and caring for Dad in ways I would never have known how. She developed a strong bond with Dad, and took a load off of Mom that had reached the point of complete exhaustion. I can't begin to express how I feel about the blessing she has been to our family. I am sure she will always be part of our family, wherever her life takes her.

    As a Lutheran pastor and hospital chaplain, Dad was often present at the last moments of peoples' lives, helping them and their families deal with pain and death. But now he's not here to help us deal with his death, though of course that's not his job. Yet there are a lot of families in the world who were helped through dark times by his quiet presence.

    While we are all heartbroken, none of us feel that losing Dad is tragic. He lived over 87 years, was surrounded by a loving family, and lived to see his four children into middle age. Last year he told me that he wasn't afraid of dying, but he was afraid of pain. While the past month was difficult for him, he was never truly in pain, and he died peacefully with my Mom at his side. He didn't linger on in pain or vegetating, exhausting our family and impoverishing my mother, as all end scenarios in our unenlightened country threaten to do to all of us. His end was all as he had wanted it, and the increasing difficulties that his disease were presenting are now over.

    My own feelings about my Dad are, of course, painful right now. I keep looking at pictures of him; of him and me together, of him and my Mom, of him and our family over the years. He was kind, and sweet, and very gentle. He worked hard for us, and faced his inner demons of depression and anxiety, and struggled to free himself of them, succeeding partly or mostly, while still managing to make a home for us and be present in our lives. He could always listen to feelings, and not judge or try to fix things.

    I miss his smile, his childlike delight in simple jokes of self-contradiction ("I can tolerate anything but intolerance"), and his quiet love. I regret the chances I didn't take to spend time with him while I could. I can't believe I will never see him again--denial is still very strong. I don't see any reason to think that I'll be with him again after I die, though of course I'll be delighted if I'm wrong. But the idea that he might be somewhere on some other plane waiting for me strikes me as bizarre, and of little comfort. He's simply gone.

    But now every morning, because of him (and my Mom, of course), I open my eyes to a new day, and walk around in the world, living the days that remain to me. I can see my beautiful wife Carolina, and my daughter Zoe, both of whom I love more than I can say. He passed that life to me, and I see the world with his eyes.

    Goodbye Dad. I miss you.



    And I think over again
    My small adventures
    When from a shore wind I drifted out
    In my kayak
    And I thought I was in danger.

    My fears,
    Those small ones
    That I thought so big,
    For all the vital things
    I had to get and to reach.

    And yet, there is only
    One great thing,
    The only thing.
    To live and see in huts and on journeys
    The great day that dawns,
    And the light that fills the world.
    –Song from the Kitlinuharmiut (Copper Eskimo)
    The Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition 1921-1924

    Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
    Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
    Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
    Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

    Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
    Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
    Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
    Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot cure.

    Here see the Bread of Life, see waters flowing
    Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
    Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
    Earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.
    --Thomas Hastings, 1831
    (One of Dad's favorite hymns)

    Saturday, September 1st, 2012
    8:53 am
    Good news about Michael
    There's good news about Michael.

    This is from Michael's girlfriend Beth at http://loveformichael.org; if you are interested in updates about Michael, please go there and sign up. And click the photo to the right to see some more photos of Michael (in the past, I doubt we'd want to see him right now.)

    They have a communication board they are using to communicate; I guess they point at letters and Mike blinks or something to indicate the letter he wants. That way he can spell messages.

    Michael clearly has his sense of humor, at least part of the time. It is so clear how crucial is the outpouring of support for him, just with those few people he has around him now, Beth and his family. I have no idea if he knows about all the people who are following his progress, praying for him, and working to find ways to help him in the days and years to come.

    Here's Beth's update from last night:


    Blue Moon news...

    posted by Beth, Friday, August 31, 2012, 11:15 PM

    Hello Everyone,

    Happy Blue Moon.

    I feel less shocked and stressed in my body and I think I will finally get more sleep tonight.

    I just wanted to share some highlights from the day...

    Michael can't shut up-he has so many questions and things to share. He had a long hard day trying to communicate with all of us. He finally heard it straight up about his injuries and surgery, etc, from his awesome neurosurgeon, Dr. Beasley. I have been telling the staff all along that Michael is an osteopathic bodyworker and as one nurse said-Michael probably knows more about the body than I do. Anyways, after hearing about his status he spelled out, with our alphabet communication system that requires utmost patience on both communicators, U R-O-C-K. And she, Dr Beasley, simply rocks-she sat with me for 30 minutes after his MRI early tuesday morning and went x-ray by x-ray and explained his situation. So upon hearing this she began to cry and then she gave us all hugs. I have been so amazed at the amount of compassion and genuine care from the nurses and doctors at Longmont United.

    Other moments...Michael asking the nurse if there was a disco next door. We were confused at first because all we had was, "Is there disco..." So, I think the nurse and I were wondering if he wanted to go dancing, and as we stated this to him, he did a little neck dance.

    With my parents there today he told them that I saved him, that he was about to have his last breath when the search and rescue peeps showed up. And as he was explaining his accident to them he used a Maine term, "Ass over tea kettle". We had no idea what he was trying to say as that is a term that is not used on the west coast. So he ended up getting really frustrated and rolling his eyes.

    His condition today is sooooooo much better and the doctors are all so impressed with his progress so far. He can move his left arm now too more than yesterday and he is happily shrugging his shoulders. His fever is lower and he was able to breathe on his own for 2 hours and 7 minutes. Tomorrow the nurse said he will be tested again and it will be like running a marathon, so she wanted him to rest well so that he could do his best.

    I am positive. The nurse said to me, "Wow-he has quite a spirit!" And I really see him fighting for his life, this life that is not over it is simply turned upside down...

    Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes...keep sending them.

    Okay, gotta get some rest now.



    Michael's Status √

    posted by Gregory Nelson, Saturday, September 1, 2012, 9:45 AM

    They are trying to wean Michael off the breathing tube somewhat today. They are being very cautious because of the swelling in his throat because of the injury and surgery. But, he is going to breathe on his own with limited assistance for an extended period today with the tube in place if needs it.

    I can tell you that all of us look forward to him not using it. It is frustrating to have to communicate with blinks and nods especially for him. You all know how intelligent he is so he needs to communicate. He is really starting to ask a lot of questions about his condition and is having to teach the staff how to communicate back.

    He didn't sleep well last night so he is tired today. Yesterday was so exciting for all of us because he was aware and we were able to communicate with him. The fact that he can shrug his shoulders, can move his right arm somewhat and the left arm a little bit has surprised even his neurosurgeon. I think all your prayers and healing energy is working so please keep it coming!

    The family really is in awe of your community and really appreciates all the offers of support from all of you. It has been so hectic that we have been unable to avail ourselves of all of it but we will soon once Michael is past the worst.

    Thanks so much for all you are dong.

    Love, Beth


    Monday, June 18th, 2012
    12:18 am
    Commentary on Pan paniscus genome
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/06/14/the-bonobo-genome-and-rewinding-the-tape-of-life/

    elucify8:36 am 06/16/2012

    How sad that the commentary on this fascinating post about ape genomes and the signatures of our histories should be hijacked by one comment on the specious “issue” of miracles. Against that view, there are better arguments than “why would God try to deceive us.” God may be merely have been lazy, using what was at hand to create the next new thing, or maybe spent a few days playing Cat’s Cradle with DNA, moving from one form to the next.

    More interesting to me is, why is the idea of “miracles” (and angels and other sorts of related nonsense) so plausible to so many people? A comment complaining that you didn’t give sufficient credit to leprechauns magically creating bonobos from bananas would have received very little serious attention. It seems to me that memes like miracles, final causes, “creation” and so on are a major reason so many Americans remain willfully and pugnaciously ignorant on fundamental scientific concepts like evolution. You can’t talk people out of believing in bonobo-creating leprechauns by questioning the leprechauns’ motives. The problem goes a bit beyond that.

    About the question of bonono vs. chimp evolution, and their different temperaments: Robert Sapolsky has had a very interesting and illuminating career with baboons in the Serengeti. Apparently baboon social interactions are so ferocious that they make chimpanzees look like Unitarians. Yet, in one troop Sapolsky observed, when a tuberculosis outbreak killed off many of the more aggressive babboons, the new social organization that followed was much more pacific, and persistently so. (Seehttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC387823/)

    This raises interesting questions about the relative interplay of genetics, selection, environment, and culture in social organization and speciation. The whole story about the bonobos certainly includes genetic and geographic factors, but as you point out, also probably involves contingency and feedback at several different levels.

    Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
    1:36 pm
    Religious Education
    Sunday we went to Mass. Looks like it's Confirmation Class time.

    I stayed in the pew with Zoe while mommy went for Communion. I didn't go because (a) they don't really want me there, and (b) I'm not sure what it means to me anymore, so it would be empty, and that wouldn't be right.

    Anyway, Zoe was watching people take Communion and said, "Daddy, why do the grown-ups have to drink that stuff?"

    I was about to write that I'll let the priests explain it. But maybe I need to do better than that myself. That's a cop-out. If I want her to hear something other than what's in the classes, I should tell her. And encourage C to do so, too.

    Current Mood: working
    Saturday, August 27th, 2011
    10:58 am
    Nostalgia
    This morning Zoe and I were playing with her Snap Circuits. She had built a little circuit that plays Happy Birthday when you clap your hands.

    "That song makes me feel kind of sad, because I remember all the happy things I used to do when I was little."

    "Well," I said, "you can still have happy times now, right?"

    "Yeah, but maybe not as happy as when I was little."

    Nostalgia at age 7.

    Current Mood: contemplative
    Friday, January 28th, 2011
    12:13 pm
    Book review: British Medical Journal, 25 Aug 1979; p. 489

    In brief

    Hands up who knows what a book's about that lists in its index King Juba, lampshades, mah-jongg, monsters, ketchup, hot vagina, Friar's Balsam, and a Sodom apple ? You're right, of course: it's Botanical Dermatology by John Mitchell and Arthur Rook (Greengrass; $39-50.). It's taken as long to produce as it took the Greeks to capture Troy, which isn't surprising for such an enormous undertaking: analysing reports of skin injuries by 248 families of plants consisting of 1405 genera and thousands of species. The thoroughness is sometimes a bit indiscriminate--surely nobody needs to be told that you could get hurt if you slip on a banana skin or a coconut lands on your head--but this is obviously an invaluable reference book.

    You could read it just for the pleasure of the plant names: winged pigweed, for instance, which sounds like something that might worry Lord Emsworth, takes you into the realms of fantasy along with two Shakespearean clowns, Young and Old Fustic; a terse bit of dialogue, "Touch me Not" and "Cheeky Bugger"; three Chicago gangsters, Noseburn, Mexican Mugwort, and Blue Cohosh; and the Ordeal Bean (a painful variation on the "beanz meanz fartz" theme?).

    Back to earth for one last question. Primula, one of the commonest causes of dermatitis in Britain, was once known as the Fatted Calf of Harley Street; what, or who, qualifies for that title now?

    See the original in PMC.  

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
    5:36 pm
    Last night: my first DC Homebrewers meeting


    Michael Tonsmeire (the Mad Fermentationist) is a really nice guy in person. I found him so hard to listen to on the BBR podcast that I almost didn't want to meet him. But then I posted a question on homebrewtalk, and not only was he the only person to answer, but he invited me to the DC Homebrewers meetings. And it turns out, he's a very generous and down-to-earth guy. Not a bit of beer snob about him, and generous and kind with feedback and sharing his homebrew.


    This was the first time he'd hosted at his house. There were somewhere between 60 and 80 people there, in a modest-sized house in Takoma Park. Michael had this cherry flanders red sour ale which was *amazingly* good. He several other guys got together and made 10-gallon batches, and aged the stuff for over a year in a retired wine barrel. It was really sour, lactic sour, not vinegary, and had this great cherry flavor and then just a bit of funk at the
    end. He also had a funky ale on tap that tasted (to me) just like the kvass I threw away for tasting like that. My Christmas ale actually went down pretty well, and both bottles of the pilsner went. I was literally the last one out, and I was pretty drunk. Michael gave me a bottle of his most recent Berliner Weissbier, and told me to give it another week. A really fun crowd of beer nerds, 90% wurstfest. And "cheers" to Michael.


    I got home at 11:30, but was too woozy to sleep until about 1:30. Fortunately the sleepies have passed and I'm getting a lot done.

    Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
    1:03 pm
    Using Genome
    There was some discussion about the new "Genome" resource where I work. The official standards stated that the title of part of a resource home page should be the word "Using ", plus the name of the resource. But people though "Using Genome" sounded weird. My response:

    FWIW I agree. "Using Genome" sounds like a magazine.

    Using Genome
    In this issue:
    • How to form a transcription complex
    • Export control: mRNA to cytosol
    • Handy G2 -> S checklist
    • Stay in shape with chaperones
    • How to get fed to a proteasome (and how to avoid it)
    • Shut it down! Histone methylation for beginners
    • You're Under Arrest: Keeping Out of G0
    • Letters: the assisted apoptosis controversy
    • Regulatory and micro-RNA coding regions with attitude (Who you calling "junk"?)
    • Advanced base J and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine techniques
    Thursday, September 30th, 2010
    9:28 pm
    Welcome Natasha!
    "Natasha" arrived happy and healthy a week ago yesterday. She's a 9 (well, now, 10)-week-old Shih Tzu, black and white, with hair on her head like Cruella deVil. She was going to be called Dixie, but we found that the names were too similar and we were having to repeat ourselves too much. So now she's named after Natasha Fatale.

    She already feels like part of the family. Her sister Pixie, a 1-year-old Shih Tzu, looks enormous to us now. They spend most of their time wrestling.

    Natasha eats like an anaconda. I'm pretty sure she's fatter than when she arrived. We have to separate them when they eat, because Pixie likes to take her time, and Natasha will eat Pixie's food at any opportunity.

    Believe it or not, she came to us already paper-trained! She yelps some at night, but that's getting better. She's a really great little puppy.

    Current Mood: exhausted
    Saturday, August 21st, 2010
    9:50 pm
    A short rant about "Dr" Laura
    "Dr" Laura Schlessinger is complaining that her freedom of speech is being violated. "Freedom of speech" is generally understood to mean the First Amendment protection. But the First Amendment protects you from the government, not from being told to shut up by other people when you're being an asshole. (Or even when you're not.)

    The Constitution prevents the government from legislating peoples' freedom of speech. "Congress shall make no law... abridging freedom of speech". It doesn't say anything about the price you have to pay from other people exercising their freedom of speech by pointing out ignorant yahoos. "Dr" Laura has been spewing obnoxious ignorance for years. Finally someone noticed, and they're saying so, and suddenly she's one of those Victims she's been criticizing all of these years. Boo-hoo.

    As for her complaint that african americans can use the N word while she can't; that's right, she can't. I can joke about my sister, you can't. Self-deprecation is different from ridiculing other people. That's how it is, and she knows it. Her wailing about the unfairness of it all is just race-baiting, making herself look worse instead of better.

    She could play by those rules if she chose to. For example, if she starts been ridiculing self-righteous, bottom-feeding, loudmouthed harpies, well... nobody could criticize her for that.
    Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
    10:56 pm
    The Bible and government authority
    From: boston.com:

    @JSOUL-O Consider this: IF indeed the members of the First Continental Congress were all bible-believing, "God-fearing" men, would there ever have been a revolution at all?

    "For rebellion as is the sin of witchcraft." 1 Samuel, 15:23

    Would they have initiated a rebellion if indeed they thought it was equal to witchcraft (a crime punishable by death)? But that's only the tip of the iceberg. The New Testament gives clear instructions to Christians on how to behave when ruled under a monarchy, as were the Founders.

    1 Peter 2:13: "For the Lord's sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right."

    Paul wrote in Romans 13:1: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resist authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

    The Founders clearly did not heed what was written in the bible. If they were in fact "good" Christians, there would never have been an American Revolution. Compare the above passages with the Declaration of Independence:

    "...when a long train of abuses and usurpations... evinces a design to reduce (the people) under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."


    Posted by Sam Donaldson August 4, 2010 02:54 PM
    Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
    11:52 pm
    11:47 pm
    You didn't get mad when...
    From Democratic Underground:


    Freepers, Birthers, Morons of all stripe, You didn't get mad...



    You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

    You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

    You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

    You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

    You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

    You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

    You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

    You didn't get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.

    You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

    You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

    You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

    You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

    You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.

    You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

    You finally got mad when.. when... wait for it... when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans... well fuck that. That about right? You know it is.

    You people have all lost your fucking minds. You are selfish, greedy, obnoxious, narcissistic, and frankly... stupid. Your pathetic little misspelled protest signs are embarrassing. Maybe you ought to find the smart person in your midst and let them make up all the signs, cause man, you look like a bunch of idiots. Also you're ugly and your mother dresses you funny.
    Saturday, July 24th, 2010
    11:14 pm
    Drag name
    I like funny drag names, and just thought of one for a gender-bending country singer drag act: Nellie Wilson.

    Current Mood: amused
    Monday, July 5th, 2010
    12:18 am
    Response to 'God is Great to Christopher Hitchens'
    Response to a fatuous post about Christopher Hitchens' cancer:
    http://blog.nj.com/njv_george_berkin/2010/07/god_is_great_to_christopher_hi.html

    ----

    Really, deathbed conversions--really? Pascal's Wager is a fool's game. Placing that bet on one god merely pisses off any number of other possible gods, most of whom you have never heard. Of course, to a Christian, the bet looks like 50/50; either God exists or He doesn't. But to an atheist, there's a multitude of gods in whom not to believe, and therefore from among whom not to choose. Christians already don't believe in hundreds, maybe thousands of other gods. Who knows how many of these gods are tending hells into which they throw timid Christians who scurry back to their churches when the first cold breath of the Reaper flows past their necks?

    I suppose that if you must take Pascal's Wager, it's best to pick the most petty and paranoid god you can find, the one that acts most like a suspicious and insecure spouse. After all, many of the others are more forgiving, or indeed care nothing for whether or what you think of them. Maybe that explains why Pascal's Wager is so compelling to Christians, whose God is one of the more coercive, sadistic, petty and capricious. Hard to know whether He will accept the vulgar coin of fear in place of the love He demands, though. But never mind: if you think you were born into a Cosmic Casino, you must place your bet--you have no choice.

    Supposedly Voltaire once summoned a priest for last rites and presumably a deathbed conversion. But when the priest told Voltaire to renounce Satan, he answered, "Now is no time to be making enemies." So it turns out there are atheists in foxholes--and deathbeds--after all.
    Friday, July 2nd, 2010
    7:41 am
    More jokes
    Q. How do you sell a duck to a deaf guy?
    A. YOU WANNA BUY A DUCK?



    Q. What's blue and smells like red paint?
    A. Blue paint.



    Q: How does a blind parachutist know when he's about to land?
    A: His dog leash goes slack



    Two whales walk into a bar, one says to the barman: "OOWWWHHOOOOOOOOaaaaAAOOOOOOOWOHHHHH HOOOOOAOOAOAOOOOOAAAAAaaaaoaooooOOOOOhhhhHHHH WWWWOOOOOOOOWWWHHOOOOOOOOaaaaAAOOOOOOOWO HHHHHHOOOOOAOOAOAOOOOOAAAAAaaaaoaooooOOOOOhhhh HHHHWWWWOOOOOO"
    Then the other turns around as says "Shut the fuck up Frank, you're drunk"


    Thursday, July 1st, 2010
    11:33 pm
    Book book book
    A chicken walks into the library. It goes up to the circulation desk and says: "book, book, book, boook".
    The librarian hands the chicken a book. It tucks it under his wing and runs out.

    A while later, the chicken runs back in, throws the first book into the return bin and goes back to the librarian saying: "book, book, book, book, boook". Again the librarian gives it a book, and the chicken runs out. The librarian shakes her head.

    Within a few minutes, the chicken is back, returns the book and starts all over again: "boook, book, book book boook". The librarian gives him yet a third book, but this time as the chicken is running out the door, she follows it.

    The chicken runs down the street, through the park and down to the riverbank. There, sitting on a lily pad is a big, green frog. The chicken holds up the book and shows it to the frog, saying: "Book, book, book, boook". The frog blinks, and croaks: "reddit, reddit, reddit".

    Current Mood: amused
    Sunday, June 20th, 2010
    10:47 pm
    Response to yet another clueless commentator
    Screed at
    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/opinion-right-big-business-is-still-best-bet-despite-bp/blog-352893/

    -----

    Response:

    I thought this piece was satire, until I got to the bottom of it and there was no punchline. Except, of course, the "innovate our way out of it bit." BP lied up-front about whether it could stop a worst-case scenario like this. Why didn't they "innovate" before they destroyed the entire Gulf Coast? No money in it, I suppose.

    As for communication, the government created the Internet, you'll be surprised to learn. Without which your iP[od,ad,hone], not to mention the IT communications revolution, would not have happened. Get this: proprietary, closed competitors to the Internet protocols, created by big business, failed. They failed because what the government had created was simply bette

    The Internet also wouldn't have taken off for business (and the rest of us) the way it did without Al Gore and others in Congress taking leadership to promote the communications infrastructure (the "Information Superhighway" the '90's). And while Big Al didn't invent the Internet, he did lead the charge for commercializing it: that is, according to Vint Cerf, who actually DID invent the Internet.

    Industry didn't innovate the Internet--government did. And as a result, any ass clown with a keyboard can use it to repeat the same tired BS about how government can't ever do anything right.
    Friday, May 28th, 2010
    9:02 pm
    Exchange on Facebook about immigration

    Julia Julie Overton Pulliam
    I don't believe that is anything like "hey you're a jew, ok, time to die" nope. .....nothing at all like that. in fact, if you'll look, our constitution is so messed up that it will protect those who come here and don't register-like we who are born here have to, IT PROTECTS THEM.... I'm sorry, that's messed up. so, if we're going to complain about some movements, let's talk about how the constitution protects all the people that are coming in to CHANGE america from what it was

    Mark Johnson I'm not sure what that talk is about people coming to "change America from what it was". Seems to me Europeans did a pretty thorough job of that. Somehow I think that's not what you meant.

    It is not true that people who are here illegally have no Constitutional rights; http://tinyurl.com/aliens-rights

    If you don't like the Constitution, ask the Bible: Ex 22:21, Ex 23:9, Lev 19:33-34, Lev 25:35, Deut 5:18-19, Num 15:15-16, Eze 22:23, Heb 13:2, Matt 25:35-40. There's more. Jehova has pretty strong opinions about how people treat foreigners.

    Mark Johnson To get back to your original question, Julie, I can think of a few reasons why not [to have a national ID]:

    Repurposing: Governments and businesses both will get up to all sorts of new mischief with a reliable unique personal ID.

    Privacy: What can you link together with a reliable personal ID? Name and birthdate, probably. Library records? Purchases? Magazine subscriptions? Arrests? Medical conditions/test results? ID, please. Religion? Sexual orientation?

    Identity theft: data gets stolen.

    No escape: Victims of violence who flee to other states could always be found in the national database, if the abuser/criminal can get to it.

    Doesn't solve problem: IDs, or the documents needed to get them, can be forged.

    Mark Johnson Eventually people will tire of the cards, and we'll go with implantable RFID chips instead. So convenient. Already doable and legal for pets, prisoners, military. I chipped my dog yesterday (really!) I guess the kid's next.

    National ID gives everyone something to hate. Libertarians can freak out about Big Brother. Liberals can moan about civil rights. Conservatives can complain that it grows the federal government. And religious wingbats can hold up their palms and wail about the coming of the Beast.

    Julia Julie Overton Pulliam I have not read the bible versuses as of yet. I'm not sure if I've given the wrong idea. The constitution that was set forth by our forefathers was right and correct for its time. Of course, with time and "evolving" there have been amendments. Our forefathers could NOT have even dreamed of what was to happen to cause changes and amendments, but I digress. Yes we "europeans" came and changed America from just indians being here to eurpoeans and indians. so is that what we're saying here? We should let others come in and change it? I'm assuming what everyone is getting at is, WE came in and changed it so everyone else can to? I guess you're right. What's good for the goose is good for the gander....

    Julia Julie Overton Pulliam I know, it's always something or someone. I've been saying for awhile now..."just waiting for the second coming, I'm done"

    James Pulliam Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Give us ur tired, ur poor, etc. These are ideals our forefathers set upon us, our immigrant forefathers set upon us! It started off real good and then we started crapping on are fledgling ideals and now look what we are!

    Mark Johnson That poem is on the Statue of Liberty. I had never actually read the whole thing until I just googled it.

    THE NEW COLOSSUS

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!


    Current Mood: nonplussed
    Sunday, May 9th, 2010
    12:13 pm
    Spelling trouble
    Zoe is very interested in spelling and writing. Her teacher says she always has to remind Zoe to leave her notebook in the classroom when they go somewhere.

    The other day we were in the car, and Zoe asked, "How do you spell 'we'?" "We is spelled W-E". "No, I mean, 'Wii'" "Oh, well the *game* is spelled, W-I-I." "No, I mean 'Oui', like in French."

    She also asked me the other day, "Papi, how do you say 'Dimanche' in English?" She's learning some vocabulary at school she hasn't learned at home. It's a lot of fun.

    Current Mood: proud
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