Wednesday, December 22, 2010


There is this very bizare article over at Slate ( about the recent arrest of David Epstein for incest. I almost didn't link to it because I don't want to give such drivel more hits's a lot easier to make my point if you've read the initial article. The author asks the question: if homosexuality is okay then why not incest?

So, first, I just have to say: TOLD YOU SO!

Ok, now that I have that out of my system, back on point.

Summerizing, in case you don't want to link jump, he states that incest is demonstratively wrong and should be illegal (although he also says he doesn't think Professor Epstein should be tried) because it causes a breakdown of the family unit. When Dad has sex with daughter or brother has sex with sister they are trampling what defines a family and therefore it is apropriate as a society to criminalize it/immoralize it. Then he makes the logic-wrenching statement that, since homosexual sex doesn't destroy the family unit it should be allowed and tolerated.
Let's see, family unit as it has been defined in this country for over 200 years: father, mother, kids. How does father, father, kids or mother, mother, kids not change that? Is this person mentally deficient?
Not only that but that 'family unit' of father, father can not create 'kid' until and unless a 3rd party intervines. So, it's not only father, father, kid, it's actually father, father, mother, father, kid. (Because the adoptive kid still has a biological mother and father) (Or mother, mother, father, kid. ) Yes, adoption is a viable option for a traditional family as well but, in that case, you are adding onto the traditional father, mother pair the offspring of another father, mother pair. No matter how you look at it homosexual relations mess with the traditional family structure just as much as does incest, pedophilia, bigamy/polygamy, and any other deviant sexual behavior you can think of.
Unfortunately how they mess with the structure is fast becoming irrelavent to the liberal left. Especially for those who love the 'nanny state' mentality, the traditional family, with mom and dad raising, teaching, and equiping the children with the family morals and beliefs, is something they hate and are anxious to get rid of. So today it's 'accept homosexuality or you're a homophobic bigot' with people protesting their arrest/convictions of polygamy and incest (a polygamist recently used the same arguement as homosexuals to try to get him sentence over turned), and a ever more softening of liberal public sentiment towards them and other deviants. Tomorrow it's 'accept any sexual act or you're a sexually repressed bigot. (Or maybe they'll have to make up a new word along the same lines as 'homophobic' to be applied to people who hold to traditional morals.)
Guess what, I'm not 'phobic' of immoral behavior, regardless of flavor, I just recognize it is immoral, and will regardless of which flavor the liberals decide is 'in vogue' next. And regardless of what intelligence-insulting drivel they use to try to sooth their shriveled conscience.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 'Ethics' of Food

"And God said 'See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.'" Genesis 1:29

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is , its blood." Genesis 9: 3-4

For a long time that was the only 'food ethics' I considered. If it moves or brings forth seed we are allowed to eat it. I grew up in the country, cattle country; there was a chicken farm right next to the local school, and I was in a state where almost everything is local to within a couple hundred miles, if not a couple dozen.
The horror stories of factory farms and mistreated animals were PETA propaganda that would be laughable if so many people didn't believe them. The meat of the animal is the muscel, and you don't get muscel if you raise the animal in standing room only. Unhealthy, uncared for animals will only get you unpalatable, unsellable product. No one is going to mistreat their meat animals, it's distroys one's livelihood. Besides, I'd personaly seen beef, pork, chicken, and even turkey ranches/farms. The animals were content and well cared for and slaughtered humanely.
Where I grew up the local store bought almost all the 4-H animals, and even labled which packages of meat came from the blue ribbon winners. And the farthest you could expect produce from was oranges from Florida when the local ones were out of season. (Well, I guess bananas were imported from wherever it is that they grow) There is almost nothing that isn't grown of raised in the Northwest, and that dwindles even further when you add in some citrus and tropical fruits from California.
I rolled my eyes at the 'animal rights' crowd and felt sorry for the people that actually believed that crap. And, having seen the difference between crops grown with and without insecticides, I washed my produce and ignored that overpriced 'organic' section. Only earth first freaks or those that were gulible enough to believe them bought a 97 cent apple for $3.
Then I moved.
I went to the local store and couldn't find the chicken. Oh, they have these little game hen things they insist on calling chickens, all 'plumped with up to 12%' who knows what. But there was no CHICKEN. And they wanted almost a $1 more a pound (on average) for these chicken-esque things than the normal ones back home. chicken, where's the beef.
The 'fresh' beef had clearly been frozen. Isn't 'never been frozen' the definition of 'fresh'? How old was this stuff? And why was it so bloody expensive. And...what? 'Injected with up to 12%' what the *bleep*? I had known that some chicken, the really cheap stuff used by like questionable diners and roadside lunch trucks used chicken that had been 'plumped' but beef? I didn't even know you plumped beef! Ok...where's the pork?
The clearly 3rd rate pork they were passing off as 'fresh' was frozen too. And since when were pork chops that small?
"Fresh trout: farmed in the UK, dyed to improve color" EXCUSE ME?
I broke down and bought some overpriced, injected, and frozen 'fresh' beef. And off to make dinner. Fast forward a few hours.
Wait, what happened to my meat? The 2 lb roast looks more like a 1 lb roast, that's not enough to feed us! And..oh bleck! That's not beef! What did they do to this?
Took me about 2 months of eating weird tasting beef for me to figure out what they had done to it... In Oregon people raise cattle on grass and hay (or alphalfa if it's really good beef) and fatten it on rolled oats and other grains. Over here they feed them corn. Corn! You don't feed a cow corn! They can't digest it properly, they get all bloated and don't develope the muscel and fat correctly. You feed cracked corn to chickens, not cows! No wonder this beef sucks.
The undersized chicken is tasteless and stringy. The pork IS 3rd rate, undersized, and tastes old to-boot. Never have gotten up enough courage to try the so called fish.
And then there is the produce. The apples are hit and miss at best. The rest is barely eatible at best. And it's all so old as to be almost pointless. Apples go bad in a week. Bananas are lucky to last 3 days, and that assumes you buy them green. Pears are worse then pointless, they're rock solid in the store and go directly from unripe to rotten, the pulms, nectorines, and peaches follow suit. The citrus might last a couple of weeks, but it's all tart and sour anyway so why bother? And the vegetables are rarely better.
Peppers start rotting almost immediately. Lettuce is limp from the store. My potatoes rotted under the cupboard in a week. ROTTED! Potatoes don't rot, they sprout! What in God's green earth do you have to do to a root vegetable to make it rot as opposed to sprout? What they do? Irradiate them then store them for 3 months before putting them out for sale?

2 years ago I would have flatly refuted the existance of wide-spread animal cruelty or poor living situations in the food market. Now I'm not so sure. I'm not sure there is another explaination for what passes as 'food' in the Midwest. I still think the organic section is just overpriced malarky, but when I'm staring at plums from Chile, pears from China, or Peruvian peaches, that overpriced, wormy produce is starting to look better and better, especially since it might taste like something other than gasoline and cardboard.
The dairy is right there too. Growing up the milk came from local, family owned farms and went from cow to shelf in 48 hours or less. It all says 'hormone free'. The first time I tasted milk over here I thought I'd got a gallon that had gone bad. More than a year later the milk still tastes funny (I'm going to guess they feed their milk cows corn too) and the cheese tastes more like colored plastic than cheese, that is, when it tastes like anything at all.
Oh, and they don't even sell 'grade AA' eggs. And everything in the stores is pasturized! Where's the raw apple cider? Even the farmer's market meat is frozen and liquid/cheese is pasturized. I actually had a meat seller at the farmer's market try to tell me there was no difference between fresh or frozen meat. (Even more unbelievable that meat defrosted in the microwave tasted no different than never frozen meat). THIS is what people who grew up here really think meat is supposed to taste like?
I still try to cook from scratch but I've got to wonder if, given what I have to work with if my home cooking is any better than store bought stuff?
And now I hear the FDA is holding hearings on the safety of food dyes (in pretty much any packaged food).
So what's my point? I'm not sure really, because I haven't made any decisions yet. But what I do know is that I've been confronted with a reality that is quite a bit different than what I thought was a universal (that and a strong urge to open a chicken farm to sell real chickens locally).
What's the food like where you live? Are you aware it's different elsewhere? What do you think about the ethics of food?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

"One the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me; a partridge in a pear tree" wait, what? I like that song but, you know what, it makes about as much sense as "We Three Kings" wait, you don't get the comparison? Well here, let me help, here is my list of my 'favorite' Christmas gafts. (In no particular order)
1) Happy 'Birthday' Jesus? The Bible gives us enough information to determine when Jesus was born, and it wasn't in December. The timing of Christmas, Christ's Mass, was initially to celebrate his conception. The Light of the World was conceived on the Jewish Feast of Lights, which falls in November or December (due to the variation between the Jewish and Gregorian calendar). The specific date chosen by the paganized 'official' church was an attempt to line up with pagan festivals (much like trying to slip 'All Hallows Eve', a completely made up holy day, right next to Samhain. Christmas does have legitimate Christian roots just the specific date, Dec 25, was to help make the official church's celebrations more popular.) Of course there is nothing really wrong with celebrating your birthday on a day other than the actual anniversary of your birth. How many times do we schedule birthday parties around other things, like weekends or other birthdays, for convince? But that the average person, probably even the average Christian, doesn't know that we celebrate His birthday around the date of his conception is definitely annoying.
2) 3) 4) We Three the birth. Here's a 3 for 1 sale on these guys. There is no real reason to think of them as kings, and plenty of reason not to. They were 'wise men' or 'magi'. Almost assuredly Persian in origin these figures were most likely learned men of the palace(s) astronomers, sages, advisors, and/or scholars of prophecy. Their number isn't mentioned in the Bible. The '3' is assumed because three types of gifts are mentioned. But the number of magi are not know. For all we know 20 magi decended upon the palace at Jerusalem looking for the newly born king, each with their gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Or maybe 5 wise men had pooled together resources to bring the three gifts worthy of a King-God. Think about your birthday parties, or any gift giving occassion, how many times does the number of gifts exactly match the people involved? (Especially when there are some rich people involved) and speaking of birthdays, they weren't there for the BIRTH! Nativity scenes annoy me more than most because they always show the wise men there the night of His birth. These men saw the star on the night of his birth. They quickly started their journery, traveling from Persia, probably from a palace, to Jerusalem, without the benefit of modern travel. They then spoke with King Harod. Then all the chiefs and scribes gathered together and and consulted their charts and held counsel together. (Tell you what, go ask Congress to answer an obscure procedural question and tell me how long it takes to get an answer) Finally they traveled to Bethlehem and "came into the house" and found "the young child" with Mary. (Note that the angels had used the term 'babe' when talking to the shepards night of) Given that Harod had all male children 2 and under slaughtered in an attempt to kill Jesus this whole process probably took....about 2 years. You'd think with all the nativities with their richly dressed magi and loaded camels that the average person must think the wise men from the east were capable of teleportation!
4) 5) Inn/stable: here come those darn nativity scenes again, the new family settled amongst the wooden stalls kneeling amidst straw with farm animals peeking over the wall. Rustic, cute, and extremely unlikely. There are a couple of possible (Biblical/historic) answers to this one and none of them are what a 21st century American is going to think about when hearing the words. 1st, and most likely, is Joseph and Mary were staying with extended family. But, do to the Feast of Tabernacles (Jesus's birthday, falling in Sept or Oct) and the Roman census there would have been a lot of extended family in the area. Homes at the time were usually built in 3 levels. There was the recessed lower level, the bedrooms on the 2nd floor, and then either an 'upper room' or a flat and habitable roof. The upper room or roof was the guest area, the 'inn' of the day. (True inns were fairly uncommon) If the upper guest room/roof was full when Mary and Joseph got there, then they would have been put up in the ground floor. This recessed ground floor would have likely contained the kitchen and things of the family livelihood too important to have outside, like a loom, potters wheel, carpenter work bench and tools etc. It was also where they brough their more delicate animals in to shelter for the night. A lamb, a calf, maybe a pregnant goat, or sick donkey, any animal that the household didn't want to spend the night outside. Thus the manger. You don't bring animals inside and not provide ready access to food, unless you don't mind them snacking on the decor. Another highly likely senario is like the first but, since it was the Feast of Tabernacle, the whole extended family may have been camping out in temporary dwellings (part of the feast) either on the roof or lower level, thus resulting in the crowding mentioned. (If you're 9 months pregnant and your choice is roof top or lower level how many pregnant women are going to choose the stairs?) So most likely Jesus was born into a warm circle of extended female relatives (who would have cared for Mary in her labor, birth being a woman's only task back then) in what we would today call a livingroom with a few curious animals looking on. There are 2 other less likely but possible senarios: there was a Roman inn in the town or their extended family's house was so full they were given the outdoor stables for privacy/space in birthing. In that area caves were used for stables/barns. It's possible if there was no room for the birth in the overcrowded house the animal cave was the next best offering, but see above for the gaggle of female relatives. Finally Roman inns were fairly predictable buildings. You had the inside space for a communal eating space and possibly higher priced rooms (those might be found in a 2nd story too) and then on the outside of the building you had straw filled stalls, used as both cheap lodging by the less wealthy travelers and to stable the horses or donkeys. While this is a historic possiblity in that such buildings existed, given the importance of family and guests in ancient Judea it is extremly unlikely Joseph would have been turned away from the household of his extended family, regardless of how crowded it was. As they say, there's always room for one more.
6) The happy couple's tailor. Why is Mary (and to a lesser degree Joseph) always shown in rich purples and blues? Lavishly swathed in the finest fabrics? These were things that only the rich could afford. Purple, blue, and to a lesser extent red dyes were expensive. No working class Jew could afford such things. Plus, she's just given birth, who wears their finest to a birth? Birth is messy, you've got every type of bodily fluid there is going all over the place. Even if by some stretch of imagination Mary had been gifted some regal fabrics the last place she's going to wear them is in labor! The second to last is traveling by foot or donkey on a dirt road. There is no reason to portray the young couple in anything other than sensible peasant browns.
7) Nativity scenes: see above. Also they have a tendency of showing everyone blond and blue eyed and/or the baby Jesus with arms outstretched basking very knowingly in all the adoration. Jesus came to earth 100% man (will still maintaining His godhood), so, like all men at the time of their birth He would have been tired, socially interested only in His mother, and likely unable to hold up His head, and, like Jewish babes were at the time, tightly swaddled with only His face showing.
8) Santa Claus is coming to town. Ok, I understand that not everyone who celebrates Christmas is a Christian and they need someone to focus attention on. I get that. I still don't get Santa. Mostly because it involves lying to your children and I definately don't get that (we always knew our presents came from our loving parents not some fat burgler who was only interested in you if you were 'good'). And I don't get why Christians 'do Santa'. There is nothing remotely Christian about him (he is not based on the Catholic saint Nicholas [which still wouldn't be a Christian connection], he's a mixture of Celtic and German mythology sprinkled after the fact with some Catholocism), and even if you just find him a 'fun' and 'harmless' figure, he still involves LYING to your children, which is against the Christian faith. So yeah, I hate Santa.
9) 'Happy Holidays': Yes, Christmas is a religious holiday, a Christian holiday with a fair portion of various favors of pagan thrown in (tree, yule log, Santa etc). It's a mutt holiday, that many people of many faiths why the huge push lately to not only remove any semblance of Christianity from Christmas but to refuse to acknowledge even the name? 'Winter trees' on sale in stores, 'holiday party' at work, 'winter break' for the kiddies, business telling employees they can't say 'merry Christmas', businesses and government removing nativity scenes (which you already know I don't like but are very much part of the tradition of Christmas), some of which have been fixtures for generations, cities putting up 'holiday' decorations instead of 'Christmas' decorations. It's sickening. Sit by your yule log fire reading 'twas the night before Christmas' to the kiddies by the glow of the lights from your Christmas tree while baby Jesus and the 3 wise men look on from the mantel, but it'll get you fired if you wear a button that says 'Jesus is the reason for the season'. Nevermind that it is, in fact, CHRISTmas that we, you, and the atheist next door are celebrating (I have met people who didn't make a big deal out of Christmas, I have met people that further mixed in pagan traditions with Christmas, or edited out parts they didn't like, but in 28 years I have known 1 person who actually didn't celebrate it) deplorable.
10) initially I was going to have 12 to go with the whole '12 days of Christmas', but it's taken sometime to write this and now I can't remember what my last two were supposed to be. So I'll leave you with a couple comments. I don't object to different people celebrating different days, different holidays, different ways. My 1 friend who doesn't celebrate Christmas celebrates Winter Solstice. I have given her Solstice gifts. What 'feast days' you celebrate, and how you celebrate them, are strictly between you and God. The Bible says celebrating certain days is a matter of conscience, not sin, so I've nothing morally against any feast day you may celebrate (I may have a moral objection to certain practices that in and of themselves are wrong such as lying to you kids or see my post on Halloween 'a different world'). I hope, whatever form or version of Christmas or other winter holiday you celebrate, you have a wonderful time with friends and family, and maybe my list of annoyances provided you with a few minutes of thoughtful humor.
Do you have a 'favorite' Christmastime annoyance?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Ashes of the Phoenix

While having an online back and forth over at something occured to me. Something fundamental that I hadn't realized before and it inspired me.
We get and receive complements all the time in life, some sincere, many insincere. But can you think of the best complement you've ever been given? Out of everything from everybody does one stand out as 'the best'?
I can. While there are a handful of complements that I have been honored over the years to receive I think one bestowed upon me freshman year in college squeaks by as the best.
I was sitting in my buddy Adam's room in winter of freshman year (mine not his). It has been a rough month. I was dealing with a lot of personal stuff, very much depressed and struggling deeply with some relationships...but so were a lot of my friends and I was doing my best to comfort and help them, non-christians all, as they struggled with their own messes. I don't remember specifically what sparked the conversation that night but he looked at me and said: "I know your God exists because despite everything you still have such hope, and I know that comes from something greater". It goes right along with a handmade poster I had hanging in my locker in high school "It is fruitless for a mirror to have 'self esteem', 'self worth', or pride. Reflect the LORD!"
In what has certainly been one of my lowest points, personally, I succeeded in something that all Christians struggle with for their whole life (and certainly I still do). I reflected the hope of Christ and love of God so brightly my non-christian friend was able to see God through me. What Christian could possibly want for more? To die to ourselves so that Christ shines through? Almost 10 years later and I still can't come up with a better wish, a more perfect goal, a more noble hope.
I have long said that Christians and non-christians alike get depressed. The difference is Christians have HOPE. It means a lot, the difference between hope and hopeless, especially in the worst of situations.
So back to my revelation. I, and the blog author Jim, were in a back-and-forth discussion with a regular tagged 'girlevolving' about abortion. Specifically how abortion is not made morally right just because someone's situation is bad or because the babe will be poor, beset by hardships, or disabled. And something occured to me.
Christians look at any situation, regardless of how bad, and see the hope held therewithin. We know that every situation can be used for good, every heartache a path to joy, every empty wallet a start to a full heart. History teaches us the undeniable resilance of the human spirit. The greatest rise from the worst of situations, the strongest unfold from the weakest.
Non-christians look at a poor mother, an abuse victim, a woman struggling to make ends meet and can only see how hopeless it is. Why bring a child into that? Do not fault, they tell us, the murder of a babe in womb to save it from a lifetime of suffering; it's a kindness, a curtesy, a heartwrenching decision that the woman believes is 'best' for herself, her existing children or family, perhaps even the soon to be dead child itself. And we look at that and marvel at how they can view it that way, horrified at the wanton destruction of so much potential! A child could be exactly the thing that turns a delinquent teenager into a responsible adult, that convinces the abuser they are wrong, or finally gets the abused to leave. A baby could lead to a new friend, who leads to a job opening and financial security, or it could repair a fractured family as the mother is forced to accept help from relatives. That disabled babe might become a world class scholar, or painter, or simply find happiness and acceptance in a commited loved one. How can they not see that they are trying to 'fix' a temporary problem with a permanent and horrific 'solution'. Abortion not only doesn't address the problem, it takes away the solution that can be found in new life!
Somewhere along the way they forgot, or maybe they never knew, that humanity has survived every horror, every holocust, every depression, and has risen to greatness. Not by dying, but by living! Somehow they can't see that humanities ability to overcome and rise above puts the phoenix to shame! Like that mythical bird humans rise back up from the ashes of distruction, but it is not simply to our old selves we arise but to a greater self. From the desolation of despair do humans create the finest riches. It is the soul scarred by the worst that life has to offer that has the most capacity to empathize and help others, and the most capacity to revel in the simple most universal joys of life.
We see hope.
They see hopelessness.
Which is why, I realized suddenly, that all the biology, science, statistics, and facts so rarely make a difference. You can not make the hopeless understand hope, and you can not take hope away from those who have it.
But you can try to give it; it can not be forced, only offered, only accepted. And the best way to do that is to introduce them to the Author of hope. He can not be forced upon anyone either, but if they accept then hope springs eternal. Hope allows even the weakest, basest of humans in the worst situation to pick his head up and exclaim "it is well with my soul!"

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Oh I Wish I had a Keyboard...hooked up to the internet that is

I like to blog; I want to blog. And today is one of those days that thumb-pecking at this cell phone qwerty just won't cut it. I have so much I want to post right now. So, baring the sudden appearance of an internet connection to my laptop I'll just say this:
A blog I read over at did a post on parenting today that made me want to write about the topic in more than quick responses, so, check her's out and think on it.
A friend posted on facebook about wanting the DREAM act to go through and that sparked a mini-debate on illegals on her board. I've written about illegal aliens before, but apparently never on my blog so, next time I get to a computer look for something on the topic to be forthcoming. In the meantime, if you are a facebook fan I expect you can find the discussion off my page, it's on Leslie's post.
And a brief post over at about how sexual 'rights' are trumping inalienable rights makes me want to write something on personal responsiblity. I suppose you could look back at my 'altered' post to get an idea of what I'm likely to say.
Anyway, I'll leave you with two points, you can ponder how they relate to the topics at hand. First, from wise old Mother Goose: there was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children she knew not what to do. So she fed them on broth without any bread, whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.
Then from old honorable Nathan Hale: "I regret I have but one life to give my country."

Monday, December 06, 2010

I'd say the victim was between 18 and 25 years of age.

I like crime drama, Law and Order, SVU, CSI, NCIS, and Bones, even the 'oldies' like Murder She Wrote and odd ball ones like the Sentiel and Moonlight, but I find their means of aging bodies extremely annoying. Growth plates are bad enough. I had an xray in 5th grade and the only growth plates still open were on my sacrol crest. I stopped growing in 4th grade (that would be around 10) while my father grew two inches between 21 and 25. I was 5'6" and 130lbs in 4th grade, and 5th, 6th, get the point. In fact I was still 5' 6" although I had dropped to 125lbs when I was married at 22. On the other hand my (female) cousin grew steadily until she reached her final height (about 5'8" but I may be off an inch or so) in late high school.
And then there are the teeth. According to crime shows everyone gets their wisdom teeth between 18 and 25, all four of them. Excuse me while I roll my eyes. Let's see:
Dad: 3 wisdom teeth removed in late 20's, never got the 4th
Mom: 2 wisdom teeth removed in late teens, never got the other 2.
Brother: 2 removed in early twenties (don't know if the others have/had come in)
Me: all 4 erupted and removed at 12. (Yes, really, I'm not kidding)
Husband: all 4 removed at 18 or 19.
Friend1: currently in her 40's, never got them
Friend2: 1 removed in late 30's...
Do I need to continue?
How do real life cops determine age of an unknown subject or victim? I have no idea, but I certainly hope they have something more reliable then those old television standbyes of growth plates and teeth! I realize it's television, but really, it's as ridiculous as using non-poisonous species of snakes, frogs, and spiders and having the scientist run away screaming. Really? Because a phd biology major doesn't know the difference between a Coral snake and a Milk snake, and, according to Hollywood niether do we. Which I find just insulting. I mean, come on, is it really that difficult to paint a snake? Or use one of the non-poisonous varieties that really do look like a poisonous one?
I like t.v. and movies, I do, but I shouldn't have to check my brain at the door to enjoy one.
What about you, what's your 'favorite' Hollywood annoyance? Or, when did you get your wisdom teeth in/stop growing?