Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A reply

Picture: Yale University Library
Oh Athiest!

Don’t leave me hanging like a monkey in a tree
Don’t let evolution get you ahead of me
Wait for us be patient we’re coming right along
Pretty soon we’ll grow legs and jump out of the pond
You’re helping evolution you’re taking a stand
Monkeys can be like you too if you give them a hand

Take your time be patient were not too far behind
If you argue with us long enough it’s not a waste of time
If we can’t give up religion and it really bothers you
Just lock us in a cage and put us in a zoo


Oh Atheist, Oh PHD, of the university
Help me to see, how I can be more than a monkey
Oh Atheist, Oh PHD, of the university
Help me to get out of my tree and give up my morality

Now if you try hard enough your efforts will prevail
We’ll quit our jobs, smoke some pot, and study hard at Yale
But don’t forget we’re not the only ones that need to be like you
Our ancestors the monkeys are still living in the zoo
So if you’re a true atheist and want to treat them fair
Give them an education and a cushy office chair

Teach them to read and write and practice birth control
They’ll need abortion doctors since they won’t have a soul
We’ll join with the monkeys on the path to be like you
We’ll live like you, think like you, and clean up monkey poo


We’ll all get educations and high paying office jobs
So we can take vacations and spend it all like snobs
We’ll have a gender identity crisis to resolve
Just be there to assure us its part of the process to evolve

If you come and help us we’ll get it figured out
We’ll be bi- or homo- sexual without a shadow of a doubt
And if I’m not evolved enough for homosexuality
There’s still pornography for me to watch on my TV
In the end your sacrifice will be worth it all for me
To live my life for food and sex, will make more than a monkey out of me!


Found here. I can't get that link to work right on my machine, hopefully you'll have better luck.

So being an Athiest means someone with a good, university education, a "cushy" office job and enough money to go on regular vacations, all of which makes you a snob. And of course you should never understand evolution or enjoy your sex life. Ever. All of that is bad and wrong and evil. While those who spend all their time talking to their invisible friend and reading the Magic Book rather than doing anything else with their life are vastly superior to us educated, employed types.


Ahem -
1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

John 8:1-11, KJV
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

Your rules, not mine.

You know. some days....

Adjusted to fit, I hope the artist doesn't mind.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book list meme

When you just can't think of any other post:

Look at the list of books below.

Bold the ones you’ve read
italicize the ones you want to read
cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole
+ put a cross infront of the ones on your book shelf
asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of
(put parenthesis around the book if undecided)

+1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
+2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
+3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
+4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
+5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
+6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
+7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
+8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
+9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

*10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
+11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
+12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
+13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

*14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)

*17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
+18. The Stand (Stephen King)
+19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
+20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
+23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

+26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
+27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
+28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
+31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
+35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

*36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
*37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
*43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
+44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
+45. Bible

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

+53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
+55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
*56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
+57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
+59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
+64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
*65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
+75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
*76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
*79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
+80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
*81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
*84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)

+85. Emma (Jane Austen)
+86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
+87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

*88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
*89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
*90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
*91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
+93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
+95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Meme found here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to cook

Season 01, Episode 05 - Autumn Supper

In this episode they make Old-fashioned Pork Roast

And Cranberry-Apple Crisp

According to the episode notes they test pepper grinders. I haven't seen it yet so I don't know what they recommend but personally I very much like a Turkish coffee mill for pepper.

Not cheap, but a very fine grind of pepper and probably sturdy enough to pass down to the grandkids.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Cream Scones

Sorry, I didn't get pictures through the entire process.

In a medium bowl whisk together:
  • 4 c all-purpose flour (Spoon the flour into the cup. If you just scoop it the scones will be over-floured and tough)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t Cream of Tartar
  • 2 t Baking powder
  • Spices (I used a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in this one, you choose what your family will like. Keep it all under 2 t)
In a small bowl combine:
  • 1 sour cream
  • 1 t Baking soda
In the bowl of your mixer cream together:
  • 1 c (2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 - 1 t lemon extract (also known as we're out of vanilla. I usually use 1 t of vanilla)
Scrape down before each addition.

Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated each time. Add the sour cream mixture and mix until incorporated. Then add:
  • 1 c dried blueberries
Mix until just incorporated. You will have a very tender, soft dough.

Drop onto parchment covered baking sheets with a small cookie/ice cream scoop. Knead each lump briefly to make a smooth ball or oval. I've found that non-latex disposable gloves help enormously.

Bake @ 350ยบ for aprox 20 minutes or until just golden brown. Your oven may vary.

Makes 20-24, depending on what ingredients you use and how large you like your scones. We like them cookie sized.

You can substitute 2 c of whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose, use any combination of spices, and use anything from chopped nuts to dried fruit to chocolate chips in place of the blueberries.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lilac socks

Stolen off Gossip in the Garden

Just finished the first project of 2012, a pair of Dead Simple Lace Socks from Socks From The Toe Up by Wendy Johnson.

I used Judy's Magic Cast-on, a short row heel, and a picot edge bind-off. All done in KnitPicks Comfy in Lilac Mist.

Yes they are loose and slouchy, but when you have self-inflating ankles that's actually a plus.

These are wear around the house socks. I admit it, I made them to match my lilac apron. Of course now I can't find the picture. Oh well.

Next up, the ever exciting dishcloth. Whee.

How to cook

I think I may make this an every Sunday thing.

Season 01, Episode 04, Southern Regional Recipes

In this episode they make Lexington style pulled pork

And Memphis Coleslaw

They also rate tabletop grills and taste test hot dogs.


Friday, February 10, 2012

On modeling respect

I had a student once, let's call him R. R. is African-american, he came from a broken home, his father was in prison, his mother worked at least two jobs. He was the eldest. He had perfect attendance and spent his after school time looking after his little brothers and sisters. He stayed clean, stayed out of the gangs, and got A's and B's. He was, by all respects, a good kid.

And yet everyone treated him like crap.

His mother said he was spoiled, that he didn't do enough around the house, that he needed to go get a job on top of it all. His teachers dismissed him because of his background. He had to put up with regular bullying from the kids in his neighborhood, and I do mean the violent kind.

One night, after a school event, we ended up at the same picnic table. Something finally let go in him and he started crying. He wanted to know why it was so hard, why no one cared, why no one ever listened, why he could never do enough to be a good kid.

I listened. And in listening I modeled respect.

He needed someplace safe to go on the Saturday nights when his younger siblings were at Grandma's and his mother was, ahem, entertaining in. He said there were a bunch of people downtown who were playing some kind of game, he was thinking of going there.

It turned out I knew those people. Most of them were friends of mine, including my step-brother and the man who would turn out to be my husband. It was a live action role-playing group, running approximately one half active duty military, one third LGBTQ and entirely, deeply liberal.

I didn't say yes, I didn't say no, it was not my place to encourage or discourage. But I did tell him my brother was a member. And I gave the Game Master a heads up that if this person showed up he was underage and please keep an eye out.

He showed up. And they treated him with respect.

He was treated as an equal, listened to, expected to carry responsibility. When the time came to appoint people in leadership positions he had an equal chance as anyone, and was given one that involved a lot of public speaking, time management and organization, which the GM showed him how to do and which he learned to do masterfully. And when he spoke people listened to him, regardless of his age. When the local bullies destroyed his violin and his mother refused to replace it because she said he ought to learn to be more careful with his things, we passed the hat and bought him a new one. And when he made first string in his high school orchestra we all turned out to watch his first performance.

But more importantly, he had the experience of sitting with a group of adults who respected each other. No bullying, no threats of violence, no shaming or turning people away because of their gender or orientation or the color of their skin.

In the end he finished high school. Did a turn in the Army like all his friends, went to college on the GI Bill, got his Master's degree. These days he's the head accountant at a major non-profit, giving back to the community. He's also married and the father of two lovely children.

The last time we talked he thanked me for suggesting that group. He said they taught him that he didn't have to be afraid of the world, that it was a place where he could be respected, that the Golden Rule was true.

I had another student, let's call this one J. Everyone said he had his head in the clouds, was too smart for his own good, was disrespectful of the adults around him because of the way he acted and spoke. He was considered the school smart-ass. The first time I met him he demonstrated this by dropping a near-perfect salaam, something he had read about in a book.

I salaamed back. It was the appropriate response.

J ended up hanging around my classroom a lot. I ran the school computer lab, back in the day when not every house had a computer or a net connections. And as he surfed he talked. And I listened, with respect.

At one point I suggested to the school special-ed teacher that she administer an IQ test. Turned out he was three years ahead of grade level and bored out of his mind.

Last I heard he was a PhD candidate at Berkeley.

S. was another student of mine. Bright girl, sweet, looked after her little brothers and sisters, never got into trouble. Same problem as the other two, right? Nobody listened, no respect, nothing was ever good enough. No modeling of how you wanted to be treated.

Yes, she's still in the barrio. But that's because she's working at the local free women and children's clinic. As a pediatrician.

Had another kid, we'll call this one B. Younger this time. She liked to hang around my classroom as well. She was always telling me these horror stories about Bloody Mary, the demon in the mirror who would come and eat your soul. Everyone dismissed her as telling tales, trying to scare the other kids. She was just causing trouble.

One night after work I was on my way to a friend's party and I stopped to buy a bottle of wine. A woman approached me in the parking lot, asking for money. I recognized the child with her as B. And something just did not feel right at all.

Kids tell tales, you see. They rant and bitch and make up lies. But not always, and the not always part is what matters. Sometimes it's just because they do not yet have the words to say what's really going on. It's up to the adult to investigate, each and every time.

I went back to work the next day and insisted that they send our community outreach worker to investigate. Yes, she was probably just telling tales, investigate anyway. All this horror movie talk and now the way the mother was acting, it just didn't feel right.

It turned out her mother was pimping her out of the bathroom at a local gas station. Bloody Mary was the only way she had to tell what was going on.

Back when my husband and I first married we had some friends. Good people, good to us, I will always be grateful to them for helping us over some rough patches.


It got to the point where we couldn't go over any longer because of the way they treated their children. They never hit their children, not where I could see, but there was constant bullying going on, constant raised voices, a pervasive threat of violence. A wise, old friend summed it up this way; "Someday those boys are going to be big enough to take a swing at their father. And I won't blame them when they do."

Years later I found them on Facebook. Sure enough, after years of psychiatric medication, being in and out of institutions and yes, after drug problems and gang problems and round upon round of violence and both boys had been kicked out of their home when they were in their mid-teens for attacking their parents. One boy ended up with his Grandma, the other with an Aunt. Their parent's response was something along the lines of "We feel bad for the bleeding heart liberal relatives you've managed to fool, but they will soon learn how horrible you are."

The last I looked the older boy had finished high school and had joined the Navy. The younger had also finished high school, had a part-time job and was hoping to start college soon. We'll have to see how well they do, but they seem to be doing much better in an atmosphere where they weren't always afraid and bullied. Where they were treated with respect.

Anyway, that's what I know.

What I did last summer, part 2

I grew pansies on my windowsill. I didn't think I had enough sun in that window, and that the cats would have them for lunch, but this year I decided to give it a go.

I consider them birthday gift from my Mother-in-law. (For the record my in-laws are about the best parents on the planet, and not just because of the pansies)

For some reason this one grew utterly huge. It was three feet tall at one point.

They were one of the more magical parts of the summer around here.

So much so that I plan to repeat the experiment this year.

I just hope it works as well.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Tommy Jordan rants on Facebook

So someone on my Facebook page shared a video.

For the record, I'm not a 15 year old girl. I'm 40, been married for 12 years, have a college degree, spent 8 years as a teacher and 4 years before that working with kids in the foster care system.

Mr. Jordan, you're wrong.

1) Assuming you're right, you're not expecting too much of this girl. Taking care of her own laundry and cleaning up her own room is not too much, neither is sweeping the floor once a day or emptying the dishwasher or even washing dishes. However she's not ranting about that and you said that she has a little brother and a step-mother. My first question is, is your older daughter having to clean up after her little brother all afternoon, and second, what's going on at your ex-wife's house? You might want to be absolutely certain before you say these things publicly. You sound like a hard-working man so I assume you're off at work all day which means you don't know what's going on between her and her step-mother. And you don't know what's going on at your ex-wife's house. If she really is legitimately staying up until 10 to get homework and chores done (not just fooling around on line) there is a problem. Check before you get your dander up.

Also, get up and get your own coffee.

2) Kids have ranted off about their parents since there were such things as kids and parents. Your child whines on Facebook to her friends? Grow a thicker hide. Why does what a fifteen year old say effect your self-esteem so much? Respect needs to be earned, and in my experience the man who runs around whining that a fifteen year old girl doesn't respect him probably doesn't deserve it. And no, being her biological father doesn't make it an automatic, I've known far too many god-awful biological parents to buy that one anymore. All it means is that you had sex with her biological mother one night without a condom. Past that you have to earn it because she didn't ask to be here.

3) You're complaining about having to buy her things. Fine. Stop. Either start paying her for extra chores around the house or your business or she'll have to go get a job for them. Extra chores include shoveling fertilizer in your garden and working in your clinic. Also, every single thing she does for what I assume to be her step-brother. If you're going to give her things out of the goodness of your heart then they are gifts and you don't get to complain about the gratitude of the giftee.

4) Language. Get over it. It sounds like you have a pretty decent kid there, one who isn't running around with a wild crowd getting in all sorts of serious trouble. Using words like "shit" and "ass" are not going to end the world. I've had kids call me a cunting bitch to my face and they still turned out okay. Also, how many times did you say "shit" and "ass" in this video?

5) There is nothing wrong with having a list to keep track of your chores. I keep lists to keep track of my chores. Stop making her feel bad because she needs a list and try helping her learn how to keep track of her time and commitments. Teaching works better than shaming, even though it can take time to get through a thick teen-age skull.

And now for the big one.

6) Shooting your daughter's laptop? Of all the terrifying, childish stunts! As a gun owner I have to say that you don't deserve to be a gun owner, that is the most ridiculously dangerous thing I have seen in years. Shooting anything that close to the house and that close to a road is ridiculously dangerous. Outside of every other concern I have with this video, if you're going to do it at least take it to a proper range and do it safely.

For another that's a threat of violence, if I was your daughter I would be terrified of your right now. If I was your neighbor I would call CPS for making that kind of a violent threat. That was deeply. deeply foolish and I hope your ex-wife steps in and says something.

In short I find that you are acting like a spoiled, whining brat yourself, hardly a good role model. Go ahead and ground her if you want, but I suggest trying some time with her or maybe some counseling first. Believe me, it will help.

Good luck.

Monday, February 06, 2012

How to cook

And the series continues....

Season 01, Episode 03, "Feeding a crowd, Italian style"

In this episode they cover Meatballs in Marinara

And a long-cooked meat sauce known as "Sunday Gravy"

Heavenly stuff.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Things to do today:
  • Make gratin
  • Make hummus
  • Pick up living room so husband can vacuum
  • Clean out the fridge
  • Wash the sheets
  • Empty all the trash cans (Friday is pick-up day)
  • Finish 10 rows on the lilac sock
  • Organize the "work week"
  • Update blog
Breakfast - eggs and sausage or toast, yogurt, orange juice

Snack - toast with peanut butter

Lunch - M-wrap (ham, swiss, lettuce, sprouts, red onion, tomato, bell pepper, pickles and hummus all on a large tortilla)

Snack - apple and cheese

Dinner - Chicken and gratin (recipe to come)

Snack - cottage cheese and fruit

Currently reading:
Emma by Jane Austen