Showing posts from May, 2008

Book report: Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides

Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides is a narrative history of the American Southwest/ Mexican Northwest in the middle of the 19th century as well as a biography of Kit Carson and the army men he worked for. This book did a great job of filling in what the rest of the country was doing during the Civil War. It also helped me understand the land grab by President Polk who provoked Mexico to war in order to seize their New Mexican and California territories. It shed some light on the players of the Civil War who fought together against Mexico. His sympathies are obtuse. His biases are well hidden. He doesn't blame Mexico for the war. He only finds one or two atrocities committed by Carson. He doesn't find much pardon for the Navajo raids and murders that eventually provoked Carson's scorched earth campaign to starve them out of their country.

New Mexico tensions before the US invasion are shown as not unlike the Israeli/Palestinian situation today.…

Thank you George Bush and colleagues

Dear President Bush, Congress, and financial supporters

I want to thank you for the economic stimulus you provided my family. I had a bad week last week as my 1997 Ford Crown Victoria was leaking antifreeze all over the place. Antifreeze is poisonous but really tasty to animals. I might have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of pets across my county unintentionally, for which I am deeply sorry. It turns out I needed a new intake manifold, since mine was cracked, hence the leaking coolant and wholesale poisoning of the lovely countryside. The part alone ran $500. The labor to replace it would double that cost. The question I had to wrestle with was one of value.

I barely drive the car. I bike to work in most weather conditions daily. Should convenience cost that much? I already spent $500 on a new tie rod for the car and another $500 for brakes and drums. If you do the math, that equals the economic stimulus you gave us. Unfortunately, I don't feel stimulated.

I had become l…

Mother's Day Haiku 2008

Some of the haiku I wrote for the Smart Mom this year. I waited a day so my enthusiastic readers can't plagiarize them until next year.

book report: The Worst Hard Time by Tim Egan

picture source

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan is an excellent account of a desperate time, the Dustbowl during the Great Depression of the 1930's. After the Comanches were driven off the land promised to them and the buffalo were killed so the Indians couldn't return to live off the land, the cowboys came to raise beef cattle. The buffalo grass was wonderful for them but there was a glut in the beef market and it collapsed. So then the farmers came and ripped up all that sod to plant wheat. They made fortunes but then that market collapsed. Then the rain stopped. Then the Great Depression came. There was no plant to hold the arid land down. There was no money to buy the produce. The constant wind of the high plain eventually tore up the soil in sheets and blew it thousands of feet in the air. Sometimes these black blizzards would come day after day. But the rain did not come back for 7 years. Livestock and humans would suffocate in the storms. The dust would fill up attics…

Sharing stuff from around the blogging world

Perhaps you've noted that I haven't posted a Top 10 post in a while. It no longer excites me enough to put in the effort. However, Google Reader has come to my rescue. Now I can add comments to my shared feeds, that box at the top of this blog. If you go to the page, or subscribe to the feed, you can see why I decided to share a blog post with you all from someone else's blog.

Bad day

As I climbed up the mile long bridge on my bike ride to work I worked through the Lord's Prayer, as is my habit, out loud. I asked the Lord to forgive us our sins, and I winced over my use of a really bad word early this morning. I woke up late. There was no milk for breakfast and my rice milk had run out too as I poured it into my cereal bowl. I had to quick change and drive to a convenient store for a gallon of milk. I hate driving right now, because the weather is great and my car's "check engine" light had come on. It needed coolant bad. I had none, yesterday. But before I could get to my car I had to overcome a new feature on my back door which locked us in. This is the door I spent an hour trying to fix over the weekend and made minimal improvement on. This morning it had the bonus feature of locking us inside and other s outside. As I fiddled with the door knob futilely, I swore. I went out the front door and unlocked the back door then drove down the road to …

Nazi Eugenics film: updated

Nazi propaganda film arguing against violating the law of natural selection and letting the disabled suffer its consequences. Unlike Hitler, however, Jesus wants us to care for the least of these.

HT:Evolution News and Views

update: From Uncommon Descent, more context...
If we look specifically at the history of the euthanasia movement, just about all historians who have examined it admit that Darwinism and eugenics played a key role in undermining the Judeo-Christian sanctity-of-life ethic. The first person in Germany to promote killing the disabled was the biologist Ernst Haeckel, the leading nineteenth-century German Darwinist. Almost all early proponents of euthanasia—not only in Germany, but also in Britain and the United States—were avid Darwinists who claimed that Darwinism supported their ideology, as Ian Dowbiggin, Nick Kemp, Udo Benzenhöfer, and many other historians have clearly demonstrated. Hans-Walter Schmuhl, a German historian who is an expert on the Nazi euthanasia progr…

book report: Bullock's biography of Hitler

I finished the abridged version of Bullock’s Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. I want to share a couple more quotes from it before I give my final book report.
War, the belief in violence and the right of the stronger, were no corruptions of Nazism, they were its essence. Recognition of the benefits which Hitler’s rule brought to Germany in the first four years of his régime needs to be tempered therefore by the realization that for the Führer, and for a considerable section of the German people- these were the by-products of his true purpose, the creation of an instrument of power with which to realize a policy of expansion that was to admit no limits. (199)
A relative of mine asserts that Hitler did many good things for Germany, but the data show the benefits were only a by-product of gearing up for empire building. He stopped paying war reparations and put people to work by ordering weapons and munitions for his near future intentions.
Hitler had been brought up as a Catholic and was impres…

1st Race

"That's gotta hurt." It's the most frequent comment I hear as I'm running barefoot. Today's 5K race was no different. It was a charity run to support the local hospital with a fantastic turnout and really cool, cloudy weather. Forty-eight degrees Fahrenheit is not my ideal running temp without the sun. I wore long sleeve and long legged tights under shorts and a long sleeved shirt and a wind breaker with gloves. I was a little concerned I might overheat but I never did, except for the gloves. When it was time to line up, I slipped my shoes off and got my first foot numbing. As I said before, foot numbing is not a bad thing for a barefooter. It keeps the little things from overshadowing the more important things like form and pace. Form was very important this time because my left ankle is sore. I didn't want to complicate the glass story by mentioning that my ankle was sore too. I rested it Friday by not biking or running. It was not back to normal this m…


"Put some shoes on," the contractor yelled out his pickup window as he passed me on the road. It seems that truck drivers are the ones most likely to be irritated at sharing the road with me on my bike or seeing a barefoot runner. I had been busy all day and finally had time to get my three miles in. Last week I ran thrice for two miles each. This week, I'm planning to run thrice for three miles each. I was onto my second mile when Joe Contractor yelled at me. Not even two hundred yards later my left forefoot pad got that sharp pain. I had already found a couple pointy stones on this run but they had all rubbed off quickly, not this one. I stopped and rubbed my foot then resumed. No good. I stopped and sat down and rubbed it better. Still no relief. The third time I sat on a wall and really studied my foot. The location of the pain while I ran was not the location of the offender which was closer to the center of my foot. I'm not sure if it was a thorn or a piece of …