Monthly Archives: July 2013

With Her Crown Now She’s Truly A Princess

Sariah got her first crown at the dentist today. I’m mixed in my feelings; should we spend so much time and money on a tooth that’s gonna fall out in less than a few years? But if we don’t teach them correctly and show them the consequences while they’re young is there any hope they’ll continue when it really counts.
Clarksville Pediatric Dentistry, great place. We had nearly no wait, Sariah got back, wacky juiced up and the procedure took no time at all. Strange to me that they don’t allow the parents back except for the very first visit and even then only if the kid is less than 4-5. Sariah was unsure about going back without me but eventually the assistant talked her into it and she went on. After the procedure a nurse/assistant brought me back to explain what they did and what I needed to do while she came down. They put a sticker on the left side of her shirt to remind her and me that her mouth on that side was numb and showed us a picture of a kid who had bitten his lip while numb, gross but informative.
$252.00! Really! Wow, I never thought it’d cost that much, it’s just something you don’t understand when our parents are taking care of everything. I have an new gratitude for everything my mom did for me now that I’m experiencing it for myself. Thank you mama!

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My Resolve

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, but, if not, they currently have a way for people to make their own electronic billboard banner. Bring a picture and a good quote and make your own at FFRF.com/out!

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Before the last week or so I hadn’t had anyone challenge my posts or ideas. In light of a large fight recently I have become one of the people in my family and community who is out, and I will continue to post not only for myself but for the people who are unable or unwilling to come out publicly. I see these banners as a perfect way to show my support of the out community and I’d like to see many more around the net! My recent battle has not weakened my resolve to get the information out there; in fact it has probably caused me to kick into a higher gear.

 

“God is an ever receding packet of scientific ignorance.”

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

 

I love this quote. I came upon it in a video on YouTube, seen HERE the instant he said it my mind clicked telling me that quote is the best wording of an idea I have been trying to verbalize for a while now. Dr. Tyson has recently become one of my favorite people. He is not only an insanely smart astrophysicist he is funny too, as most of us know you don’t always get intelligence and personality; check out his podcast StarTalk. (cosmic queries are my favorite!)

Those Words…They Don’t Mean What You Think They Do

My rebuttal to a viral picture/quote going around Facebook recently. The majority of the text in this post is directed at a single person but if you can read it open minded you shouldn’t have a problem with all the yous.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post and I will offer this TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read): Giving rights to groups that previously were denied doesn’t equal taking rights away from the first/main group, and a penis is just a penis, not a rod of superiority; love and take pride in yourself!

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Ok, you may be offended by my writing this but I really could care less, this is all getting out of hand. I know you didn’t actually write this yourself but you shared it as if you agree with what it says so I will assume you do.

“I find myself again being put in that same category as a second class citizen,”

The civil rights movement did not take rights away from the majority group. The Civil Rights Movement extended rights to groups that previously had none or had less. Some of the white people in the 50s and 60s felt like their rights were being taken and given away, but just like Christians now, they were/are wrong.

Christians are not comparable to the African race in the story of the Civil Rights Movement, they are the white people! Christians are the majority; they had rights that are now being extended to other groups. During the civil rights movement the whites were the majority and had the rights that were being extended to other groups. White people don’t have the right to eat at a restaurant and not have black people around; they don’t have the right to have the front of the bus; they don’t have the right to decide about the nation with no say from other groups of citizens. Christians don’t have the right to proclaim this a “Christian Nation” and forbid other religions from exercising their beliefs during events; Christians don’t have the right to say anyone who doesn’t believe as we do can step outside while we pray to our god; Christians don’t have the right to control the government. This nation is not and was never intended to be a theocracy.

Your church came to the same decision about equal rights eventually (even though it took far too long for that to happen especially in a church that was supposed to have been revealed from an all-knowing creator god).

“Tell a Muslim he can’t pray at school or at the airport or downtown when prayer time is called for, and see what happens.”

Saying someone or some group can’t do something is wrong, saying someone or some group can’t make other people follow their beliefs is NOT. Who has proclaimed that Christians can’t pray? Where has that come from? The only thing that has been said is that you can’t MAKE other people pray with you, for you, or like you against their will, and this is only in matters of the state (government).

“We refuse to sit by and let you or anyone else mock, attack, demean, or laugh at our beliefs,”

Unfortunately for all groups we have this little thing called the Constitution. It states that just because there is a majority who wants one way they don’t get it just because they are the majority. The minority has a voice too. The establishment clause of the Constitution guarantees the separation of Church and State, and good ole amendment one allows me to “mock, demean, or laugh” at your religion and any idea I see fit.

Another analog to the above story seems to be the plight of women in the “Church.” I recently read an article about the church coming to terms with equal rights for all, View it here. This article is based on the April General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which would be a pivotal moment in the history of the church as it would be the first time a female member would be allowed to pray at General Conference. Of course I was glad to hear this news and I did watch a clip of the conference but didn’t get to see the prayer.

Back to the analog: The males in the church don’t think their rights (to prayer and leadership) are being taken away and given to the female members, do they? Unfortunately, I found this rebuttal to the article, found here. This guy’s response is based on unchanging scripture and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. This is probably one of those verses that is supposed to be taken figuratively or has been “misinterpreted.” Its pretty clear what this verse says and its not an isolated event, check 1 Tim. 2:12.

I don’t know how widespread the belief of female subservience is in the church, but it seems like some do feel their rights are being taken away and unjustly given to the female membership. It doesn’t mean he is right; Just as some whites thought their rights were being taken and given to the inferiors; Just as some Christians think their rights are being taken away and given to non/other-believers. I hope against all hope that you do not believe that an eternal being would condemn half of his creation to be subservient. If you do believe this I feel sorry for you. YOU ARE NOT A LESSER BEING THAN ANY MAN! YOU ARE A MASTERPIECE OF EVOLUTION (or creation if you must) NO ONE SHOULD BE GIVEN ANY MORE OR LESS RIGHTS THAN YOU. I LOVE YOU BUT IF YOU CANT ACCEPT THIS AS TRUTH I WILL HAVE TO BREAK TIES. CRYSTAL MAY CHOOSE TO STAY IN CONTACT BUT YOU WILL NOT TEACH THAT RUBBISH TO MY DAUGHTER.

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To my dear wife, daughter, mother, sister, and all females in my life (and around the world, too): I apologize for the caps lock but the emphasis was needed. I love you all, you are all of equal value to the human condition as any other person including myself. I see no reason why an extra appendage should give me rights over and above what you have. A penis does not give me superiority, it gives no one superiority. You are not a second class citizen and I will do anything in my power to help you not feel like one.

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Thank you for reading.

The Future of our Children

Thank you for reading; my subject today is controversial to say the least, but as a parent raising my daughter who will soon enter the public school system I feel I must voice my opinion. A debate rages in our community (both locally and nationally) that our children are only being presented one side of an argument and that we owe it to ourselves, our children, and to the future generations to allow equal time in the classroom for alternative theories to be taught, but do we really?

I, of course, am speaking of Intelligent Design. The proponents of ID are trying their hardest to present the argument as science based, but at its very core it is founded to teach the Bible and the God of Abraham to our children. They would have us believe that Intelligent Design, or Biblical Creationism, deserves the right to be heard by the students of our schools just as much as Darwin’s THEORY of evolution. This is a blatant and vulgar misuse of the word theory and they know and exploit it. If we were to follow their logic there are a few more ‘theories’ that need to be added to the list that would deserve equal time and attention if we were to allow Intelligent Design.

Our science classrooms lack any information on other scenarios for the creation of our world; the time we have given to Darwin should be divided between Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, Last Thursday Creationism, the creation legends of ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, the Vikings, the Mayans, the creation from Muslim literature, the creation story from Hindu, and all of the hundreds of other MYTHS of creation.

You may laugh at this if you wish, you may think I am only here to be humorous but I must tell you that we are on a slippery slope. If we allow one religion into our science classrooms we must allow them all and it will not stop there, we must then allow equal time to any idea that someone comes up with. Our science classrooms and our dear teachers are here to teach SCIENCE, not mythology, leave that to the Social Studies and History.

The science classroom is for ideas that can be investigated; for ideas that are empirical and measurable; for ideas that can, if necessary, be proven wrong. Religion allows for no investigation, measure, reason, or fallibility. Science is generally intended to be as objective as possible in order to reduce biased interpretations of results, looking at the many different denominations and religions that our world supports, obviously, the same cannot be said of religion. Biased interpretation is arguably the fundamental building block of Intelligent Design and many other of the “controversies” I mentioned.

Many people would, quite correctly, have the argument debated on the grounds of religion in our classrooms bringing up the first amendment to the Constitution and the Establishment Clause. In Everson v. Board of Education Justice Hugo Black wrote:

            The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another … in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State‘ … That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.”

Obviously, the Establishment Clause of the Constitution will not allow for the invasion of religion into our public schools, but the argument of allowing ID and their mythological beliefs about the origin of our world and ourselves need not be debated only on the grounds of the Constitution but on the validity and merit of their “science.”

The so-called evidences they use to reinforce their ideas have been found to be based on sloppy and or out-dated science and are held to be infallible truths. The popular online community Talk Origins has compiled a list of creationist claims and a response to each; to be found here. The community at Answers in Genesis has actually compiled a list of arguments that should be avoided because of the overwhelming evidence against those arguments; this can be found here. I would not dare to ask you to take the word of Talk Origins or myself for each claim as true, in fact quite the opposite, I urge you to investigate the claims of ID and the creationists for yourself.

Thank you for your time. I hope this finds you well and logic and reason dictate your response.

Road Trip 2013 Is In The Books

I must regretfully write that our trip has come to its end. We are at Grammy and Grampy’s house for dinner and the night, thanks you guys. Yes, I know I missed my post last night, I will incorporate it in to this one, though, you really didn’t miss much.
Monday morning I posted a great picture of my breakfast at the beach, awesome. After everyone else got up we spent an hour or so before a storm rolled in though we also had to check out by 11. We said our goodbyes to GGMA and GGPA and drove up the eastern coast to fill the gas tank and our bellies in St. Augustine. If you happen to be going through there and need a fill up, Casa Maria’s will do the trick. Before days end we made our way up near Atlanta to be nearer to The Center for Puppetry Arts.
Tuesday morning we checked out of the EconoLodge and made our way to Atlanta. We had a fun time first finding then riding on the MARTA. After a short walk, we made it to the Center. This is a great show for the kids and for the parents. The kids love it because its one of their stories acted out by puppets right in front of them; the parents, at least Crystal and I, like it because they add sounds and extra dialogue to the story from the book. After the show the puppeteers unmask themselves and explain how they move and use the puppets during the show, very good idea for the older kids who understand that it’s not a tv show and something extra is going on. If we were closer wed definitely get a season pass and make it back to some other shows. On our way back home to middle Tennessee I stopped just before the border to get some peaches because you get the best from where it grows best and nothing beats Georgia peaches.
We’re back home to Tennessee and none of us are ready to be back. I have learned that the next time we get a beach vacation we will not spend it driving the whole time. Although driving was fun, it turned out to be more expensive and time consuming than I thought it would be. Choosing a single hotel and staying there and spending our time at the beach or pool will be a much better use of time and money.
Pensacola Beach, Clearwater Beach, and Daytona Beach are the main beaches we visited and I can’t recommend them enough. The EconoLodge at Daytona was great; great price for being directly on the beach and clean, updated rooms. We only visited Pensacola and Clearwater beaches for a short time so no recommends for hotels in those areas, but the beaches themselves deserve to be visited. Hopefully in the future we’ll get the chance to return and I’ll get a recommend for you. Another thing I hope we get another chance to try is Aunt Catfish’s On The River in Daytona Beach. We tried to get dinner there on Sunday night but the wait was an hour and forty five minutes! Recommends on food from the trip include Casa Maria’s which I’ve already mentioned, Earl of Sandwich, and Sloppy Joes.
Sariah says her favorite part was finding shells; she’s come home with a bag full of them and either a tooth or nail.Crystal’s favorite part was Clearwater because the beach was clean and the waves were negligible. My favorite part was staying at a hotel on the beach, not having to get up and drive to and from the beach. Potentially our next trip could be staying at a hotel on the beach at Clearwater and spend the dusk and dawn searching for shells; the best of all three.
This experience has been great, and I am glad to have spent so much good times with my family in the beautiful locations we visited. I hope that you have been entertained reading about our escapades the last week or so and keep up with me for more info on the family. See ya!

Cumulative Punch Bug Leaderboard (last two days)
Crystal……25.5
Daddy…….22.5
Sariah…….11

The .5 wasn’t half a bug, though I’d like to see that, it was a bug that crystal and I got pretty much the same time.

This Week In Science

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This morning GGMA and I had a conversation about an article in the paper covering the over usage of the word awesome. The article urged us to think about the true meaning of the word; inspiring awe. I have in my life used the word, like many of us do, to describe my dinner, my experience at a store, or even my day when someone asks ‘how’ve you been?” I didn’t really understand the importance of the correct usage until we arrived here at the beach this afternoon.
Our arrival at the beach has, luckily, coincided with my finishing Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins. This book spends a portion of each chapter explaining the myths from around the world concerning natural phenomena. Where rainbows come from, what causes earthquakes, and how we were created are all touched on in this book but I don’t think he touched on the grace and power the ocean.
I have been to the beach many times in my life, but this is the first trip after coming to terms with ‘life, the universe, and everything’. Sitting here I can understand how the ancients attributed the power and majesty of the oceans to Poseidon, or Neptune if you prefer the roman pantheon. Looking up at the wonders of the universe seeing the infinite space stretching out above and around us is awe inspiring. Feeling the power of the water and the ability of the waves to form and calm in mere minutes can lead you believe there is an intelligence behind it, but if we look closely and examine the actual causes we find reason and science far better explain how these things occur.
Crystal, Sariah, and I had fun earlier today playing in the surf and sand. We built a sand castle, as best we could, but it was promptly destroyed by the smallest of waves. After searching for shells and possibly picking up every single one on our stretch of beach, Sariah was ready to head to lunch, cool off in the room for a while, and return later to check out the hotel pool. GGMA and GGPA hung out by the pool with us and GGPA even took a dip and helped Sariah overcome her fear of jumping off the side of the pool. GGPA says he doesn’t like to speak in public because of his stutter but I’ll tell you now, with all the strangers he spoke with today on the boardwalk and at the pool, it’s just an excuse he uses. These two are another set of awe inspiring people in my life.
I vow to restrain my use of the word awesome to those items that are truly awe inspiring and I hope you will too. I know I will still use the word but that is only because my life is, as everyone’s is, full of inspiring events and people; we need only concentrate on the correct ones.

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Sariah…….2
Daddy……..2
Mommy…..1

Here’s To You Captain Bob

Captain Bob thank you for making our trip to Silver Springs worthwhile, well at least close to.
We took a glass bottom boat ride today with Captain Bob. He explained the history and geography of the silver springs area. The park itself was kind of sad. In its hay day it was nice and well worth the entry fee; it has a lush history with famous concerts and more than a few movies, most notably The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The boat ride was fun and I’d advise everyone to go on one, but your chances for the Silver Springs trip is fading. The Silver Springs park is going to be handed over to the state of Florida in September and turned into a state park so, I presume, no more boat rides.
Other than Silver Springs we have had a day at home, the food has been much better than anything we’ve eaten so far on our trip, thank you GGMA!

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Mommy…….1
Daddy…….0
Sariah……..0

A Dry Day

Well it was dry except for the waterpark, underwater mermaids, and all the rain but we didn’t get to swim any today. We’ve finally arrived at GGMA and PA! Ocala, FL it’s good to see ya.
Weeki Wachee was the big item for today and it did not disappoint. The mermaids were pretty good acting out Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. The best part of the show was most likely not planned; a turtle in the water was constantly trying to get close to the performers and actually bumped into them a couple of times. I loved seeing all of the kids using their minds being skeptics, constantly asking if they were real and where their legs were and why they needed air if they were mermaids. Being a skeptic is ingrained in us and we need to keep that in our kids for a better future. The park was cool, walking around with us were peacock and peahens. The waterpark that is connected was closed off and on because of nearby storms, so no pool time today. Lunch was great at Perkins, apparently a local restaurant chain, wish we had some up north; the food was good, service was good, and the baked sweets looked yummy.
A funny thing from last night, we were watching AFV and one of the final movies was a wedding scene with the pastor’s cell phone ringing in the middle of the service, he answers a call from god, haha yeah I know but the best part is that the pastor I recognized the instant he said hello on the phone….Kent Hovind. Another story? Well, ok.
Remember those Heavens Gate folks, yeah Nikes and Kool-aid. Story is that they bought a telescope to look for their spaceship behind Hale-Bop but were unable to find it….what did they do; use that lack of evidence to turn from their beliefs? Nope they returned it stating it didn’t work correctly. Insane right? I think this is a good story for everyone, if you hold a belief and find direct counter evidence for that belief you need to let go of that belief, there is no reason to hold on.

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Yet another great day with my ladies. Got up late this morning and had to leave the Hilton Garden Inn. We didn’t make it to Weeki Wachee so our plans have been adjusted. WW is tomorrow, GGs tomorrow night, and another day at the beach.
Before leaving Orlando we visited the most unique McDonalds in the world, I think. This is not like any MickeyDs you’ve ever been to; it has the regular menu and a play place but it also has an arcade and sells pizza, pastas, waffles, panini, and the like….insane. Sorry to say I didn’t have a great experience with the lady who took our order being rude when I asked for no lettuce on my breakfast sandwich and an unexpected spread only croissant. Crystal, however, had a good Belgian Waffle with strawberries and whipped cream, and of course Sariah picked at a sausage biscuit and had fun in the arcade and play place. On our way out we hit up the Bass Pro Shop Orlando; Sariah got a new mermaid doll and a net to take to the beach to catch fish or crabs, I got some fun Christmas gifts for some of you guys, and Crystal wouldn’t let us leave without some fudge (pretty good idea though I think).
Since we changed our plans for GGs and Weeki Wachee we had an extra night to stay somewhere and some time that we could easily fill with some beach time so we drove over towards Weeki Wachee to be closer for when we go. We’re now bunkered down in the HoJo in Port Richie and just got back from the beach. We drove down to Clearwater Beach and it was well worth the drive. Sariah got in and was loved swimming and looking for shells. I’m so glad she likes the beach, I was worried that she wouldn’t want to go in and we’d have to stay on the beach the whole time.
Looking forward to seeing the mermaids tomorrow but more so for GGMA and PA!

Punch Bug Leaderboard
Crystal……5
Sariah…….2
Daddy…….1

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