Wednesday, January 16, 2008

6 Months and 2 Years

Yesterday Nora turned 6 months old. It is amazing how fast it has gone, but all parents say that don't they? She is more fun everyday and is so cute it is regoddamndiculous. This past weekend she really laughed for the first time. Instead of her normal excited squeal she had a steady stream of hee-hees that had the Happynatress and me in tears. It was so cute we broke down and got a video camera, not we just need to figure out how to work the camera.

The 18th will be two years since Mom died from brain cancer. I had almost a year to deal with the loss of Mom before we knew Nora was on her way. I remember thinking how happy she would have been for us and I know she would have been a great grandmother, as I got to see her with my niece and nephew as they grew up. I suppose I will always feel a bit sad that I waited to have a child as long as I did and that Nora will never get to meet her grandmother.

I think of Mom quite often as I interact with Eleanor as I find myself using the same phrases and playing the same games. As I was growing up she taught me to think for myself and to not be afraid to challenge the status quo, even when she was the status quo. Although we butted heads at times one of her main concerns was that I had thought out my position. When we disagreed she would listen to my reasoning and if not except it, she would respect it as my conclusion. I hope to raise my daughter to be an independent thinker as this is one thing I will always have from Mom.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Joel Osteen is a Flake

It has taken a while to get back into the swing with the Oregon trip for xmas and my Buckeyes laying another egg in the National Championship Game. But I've been catching up on my reading and I just read this article about Joel Osteen's new book on the Slate. I've seen him before but I've paid as much attention to him as any other mega church preacher, which is next to nil. I was interested now because my Dad's new girl friend gave him a copy of the book to read. Dad has always been a Christian and gone to church, but his new lady is way churchy. So I was a bit concerned about Joel's message. From what I can gather other than being a ridiculous cheesedick there isn't much to worry about in his message.

It sounds like his message, in this book at least, is a mix between a generic self improvement book and The Secret. He suggests that God wants us to have good posture and to learn to smile on purpose. Which while it seems silly God would care isn't bad advice for anyone. Even I, as a person who slouches and usually has a scowl on his face, would have a hard time arguing with these points. What is rather disturbing to me is how active God is in helping Joel just because he is a good positive person.

For it turns out that the divine hand turns up everywhere, at least in Joel Osteen's life. God upgrades his reservations to first class on a long international flight; God spares his car in a water-planing wipeout on the Houston interstate; God allows Osteen and his wife/co-pastor, Victoria, to flip a property "for twice as much as we paid for it" in a once-sketchy Houston neighborhood; God swings a critical vote on the Houston zoning board to permit Lakewood to move to its mammoth Compaq Center digs—and God even saw fit 35 years earlier to ensure the engineer who designed the ramps leading to the Compaq Center provided easy parking access for Lakewood.
This is the line of thinking that really bothers me about Christians. Good things that happen in our life are not due to hard work, smarts, determination, or even luck they are all examples of God working his magic in their lives. They act as though they are powerless to change their life without the help of an outside influence. Many Christians sell themselves short, which maybe should be a surprise when the basis of their religion is that we are all sinful evil beings from birth. Call me a crazy optimist, but in most cases people have all they need within themselves.

The other obvious problem with the idea of God working so intimately with everyday things in your life is what about the bad things that happen. Did your aunt die in a car crash because she wasn't positive about God? Why does God not care about starving children all over the world, but helps Joel Osteen flip a house for a huge profit? If we give God the credit for the good, how does he not take the blame for the bad, or get a shrug for the mundane?

Dad's lady friend is all about God working in her life. In fact, "God brought her and dad together. It is truly God working in their lives." Which is fine if they believe it, but I could have sworn it was that brought them together. Oh well, to each their own, until they start asking about Nora being baptized/going to church I can leave it alone. And as far as mega church preachers for my Dad to follow, he could do a lot worse than Joel I suppose. Anyone have any thoughts on Joel?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Leaving For Portland

So tomorrow our happy little clan is heading to the Pacific Northwest for over a week for the Holidays. I've never spent Christmas out of Ohio and away from my family here, but I am looking forward to the trip. It is actually a great time to "leave" my family here for the Holidays (a long story I will try to post about in the new year). Any new experience is a good one in my mind and I look forward to seeing the Christmas traditions of my in-laws. From what I've heard the whole clan (15 Aunts and Uncles on one side) gather an Aunt's house . . .I don;t think there is any church involved.

The experience of flying across the country with a 5-month old . . .I'm not so sure about. For years when I flew I would avoid the person/couple with young children and now we are that couple. Ah karma you damn dirty whore! We hope for most of the trip she looks like she does in the picture below.

And let us not forget the "true" meaning of Christmas. "And there was a bear with a buckeye hat living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. The FSM appeared to them, and it's glory shone around them, and they were terrified. But the FSM said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is a Oregon Duck. This will be a sign to you: You will find a duck wrapped in green and lying in a manger."

This is the Nativity my grandmother had in her house for years, for some reason it ended up in my hands. I like the damn thing, despite being a heathen, but the baby Jesus is downright creepy so I replaced him with the Oregon Duck.

Merry whatever you celebrate everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"War on Christmas" right here in Ohio!!

Just saw this story today in the Columbus Dispatch. Same old story, non christian boy sees the Nativity on state property, boy gets offended and complains, Nativity is removed, the Governor steps in and has the put back up. . . .wha wha what?

Gov. Ted Strickland weighed in a day after The Dispatch ran a story about the
controversy last week. Strickland told the state parks to put the scenes back

"The governor believes that Nativity scenes are an appropriate part of
our traditional holiday displays," said Keith Dailey, a spokesman for

Yup, apparently since the nativity is "traditional" is is totally cool to have them. Never mind that baby Jesus is right in the fricking middle of them . . . no religion there. Other "traditional" items cool with the gov, separate drinking fountains for colored folks and women being denied the right to vote. Then he goes on to say that a menorah would be fine, but not a symbol for Zoroastrian because that is not traditional. BTW, I love that the person who protested wanted a symbols of Zoroastrian and Hindu with the Nativity.

Then we get back to some good old stupidity from the local politicians. City Council member Chris Rodriguez said this about another Nativity in Columbus that was moved (not taken down) from the main steps.
"Personally, I think people should get over it and stop being so smug about
their rights. It's freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion."

Smug about our rights? What the hell does that mean? You have rights but if you speak up for them you are being smug? Add in the the old tired line of, "not freedom from religion" . . *sigh*. All I can say is, you sir are a douche bag.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Things have been a bit crazy recently, but here is an update. Our trip the Key West was great. What a beautiful part of the country and it was fun to act like college kids for a couple of days.

Nora did great with Grandma watching her, but a couple days after we got back she got sick for the first time in her young life. She had a high fever for 3 or 4 days and was clearly not herself. It is tough watching someone so little and helpless not feeling good and her sad little cries broke my heart. All she wanted to do was curl up in our arms and fall asleep.

While I was busy someone sent me a link to a great review of the creation "museum" in Kentucky. I know it has been talked about to death, but I thought this review was a good read. Plus he has 100 or so pictures with some fantastic captions. I knew the "museum" was crap, but reading some of the placards . . .I mean . . .wow. This quote from the review sums it up pretty nice, I think.
And this is, in sum, the Creation Museum. $27 million has purchased the very best monument to an enormous load of horseshit that you could possibly ever hope to see. I enjoyed my visit, admired the craft with which the whole thing was put together, and was never once convinced that what I was seeing celebrated was anything more or less than horseshit. Popular horseshit? Undoubtedly. Horseshit hallowed by tradition and consecrated by time? Just so. Horseshit of the finest possible quality? I would not argue the point. And yet, even so: Horseshit. Complete horseshit. Utter horseshit. Total horseshit. Horseshit, horseshit, horseshit, horseshit. I pity the people who swallow it whole.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Night Out

Last night the HappyNatess and I got a chance to go out and see They Might Be Giants in concert while Grandpa watched Nora. We have had a few opportunities to have some time alone but last night we got to grab a casual dinner and do what we do best (drink beer and catch a live show). I've seen the Johns in concert a dozen times or so, it is quite shocking to think back of the first time I saw them in 1989 as a Sophomore in high school. This time through Columbus they were back at the Newport Music Hall which has hosted a myriad of acts from The Grateful Dead, to Billy Cyrstal, to Bob Dylan to Pearl Jam.

Oppenheimer opened and they were a fun duo. They are from Ireland and consist of a lead singer/drummer/toy keyboard/air horn player and a guitarist/keyboard/electronica sound maker. They kind of reminded me of a mix of TMBG and Grandaddy, not sure I could take a whole CD from them but they were entertaining.

It was nice to get out for a normal night, but we were both glad to see our girl after the show. This get away was a test for this weekend when we will flying down to Florida to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. Wow 5 years and it keeps getting better. My wife is really special to keep putting up with me.

Grandma (HappyNatess's mom) is flying in from Portland to to watch Nora while we are out of town so we know she will be in good hands. However, it will be tough to get on the plane and leave her for 3 days. I think it will be OK as long as we check in and hear she is doing fine. Grandma was here for Nora's birth and is VERY excited to get to see her again. I have a feeling she will be pushing on on the plane so her and Nora can play.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


The Friendly Atheist challenged his readers to create a motivational poster for atheists from the site AutoMotivemaker. Here are my two entries.

We all know how atheists love succulent babies. Having a daughter has made me love them even more. And let's face it, life is all about her right now so she should be in her first motivational poster.