JP Straight Up


JP Straight Up

Originally uploaded by Lou FCD

James and I had meant to get up early and head for Emerald Isle this morning, to shoot the sunrise. We overslept, messed around all day, and late in the afternoon we were bored. The car’s tail lights had mysteriously remained on all night and day and the battery was dead, so I couldn’t take him over to the skating rink.

We decided to take a few shots on the front lawn instead.

The results are on my Flickr page:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/loufcd/

A Brief History of Moonbats

Lou FCD

Lou FCD headshot by Ben Zvan

Last Thursday evening was a pleasant one. It was mild and welcoming, a good night for a drive to Wilmington. I had been by the University of North Carolina campus there, but hadn’t yet been to visit. I’ve been meaning to head down there to look around for a while now, as that’s where I intend to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Biology. The reason for this trip was mildly ironic given my intentions, as my son James and I were headed there to hear an anti-science advocate speak.

Dr. Michael Behe is a biochemist at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He’s also a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a well known creationist think tank whose purpose is to disguise religious doctrine as science in order to avoid the Constitutional ban on promoting religion in public schools. It was Behe that we were heading down to see.

Along the hour and a half drive, I gave my son the highlights of the full history of the Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax, parts of which he’s heard before. (Bear in mind here that I was driving, and not working from notes. I’ll be filling in details as I go that he didn’t get during our conversation.) I began with some background on the history of scientific discoveries in biology since Linnaeus. Carolus Linnaeus was Swedish doctor, a botanist, and a zoologist, who set about categorizing life’s varied forms in his long-evolving work, “Systema Naturae”, first published in 1735.

I touched on William Paley’s rehashing of Cicero’s water clock, and the the obvious logical flaw contained therein. In On the Nature of the Gods, Cicero’s character Balbus, a fictional follower of Plato, posited that because a sundial or a water clock has an obvious purpose, we can then infer that it was designed by some intelligence. Balbus went on to argue that because of the complexity of nature, we can therefore infer that the universe is also designed by some intelligence. Balbus concluded that the universe itself was divine, or possibly that the universe had a divine spirit, a sort of mono/pantheism (Collins 187 – 193). Paley bastardized the assertion in 1802, altering the water clock to a watch, and the deity in question to the Christian god (Paley 5 – 13). He failed however to remove the glaring logical flaw that we only perceive complexity in contrast to simplicity, the watch on the background of the heath. One cannot then use the complexity of the watch to argue for the complexity of the heath without undermining the original argument that the watch is itself complex and inherently different from the heath. This was important for what was to come, and I was later quite glad I had taken the time (we had plenty on the ride) to discuss it with James.

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Just a Simple Melody

Feeling each word!, by Shahireh @ Flickr

Feeling each word!, by Shahireh @ Flickr

It’s funny, the connections the internet brings. Finding the little things that connect me to someone half a world away always amazes me, always brings a smile and a sense of wonder.

Now sure, there are the big connections, the grand ideas that I share with lots of people. Ideas that are large and encompassing: important, headline material upon which the future of humanity hangs.

But much more likely to bring a smile of wonder to my face are the little things, little things like a song sung on the street by an unknown street performer.

I was on Facebook a few days ago, and came across a random meme involving ‘my rock band’. The idea was that I was to use the randomize features of wikipedia, quotationspage, and Flickr to put together my fictional band’s first album cover.

I thought it a pleasant distraction, and went through all the steps. (I’ll put up the meme at the end of this post.) The image I drew through Flickr was (oddly enough) titled Flicker, by a photographer named Shahireh. Shahireh’s photostream is made up of photos from the UK and from Iran, and most of the comments left to her are in Arabic Persian of Farsi (though she speaks both Arabic Persian of Farsi and English). It made a great album cover, and I was moved to flip through her other photos. One of them, the one to the left, caught my eye.

Read on, to find out why.

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I Shoulda Took Pitchers

But Why Take A Chance?

Insanity, Thy Name Is James

Life with a teenage boy can be interesting.  Trying at times, but definitely interesting.  Especially when he is such an extrovert.  There is nothing outside the limits of his curiosity, or his humor.  Nothing.  I like that about him (usually).

Put two of them under one roof, add the cover of darkness and sparklers, insanity is inevitable.  It just is.

We went and watched the fireworks at Camp Lejeune last night, as we do every year.  Nice display, though a little shorter, smaller, and less dramatic than usual.  Parking was a little better handled this year, and leaving the base not the usual pain in the ass.  Of course we had D with us this year, and it was his first time that he could remember going.  He and J.P. hung out and kept each other occupied and out of trouble, so it worked out pretty well all the way around.

The fun really started after we got home.

Fireworks are mostly illegal in North Carolina.  Well, illegal to possess.  Apparently, not illegal to sell, as they sell all sorts of things in Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, at road-side stands, etc. that I would think fall outside the law.  It’s one of those things that come the approach of Independence Day, everybody just sort of ignores, I guess.

I don’t mess with them, just because they’re illegal.  It’s just not worth the potential hassle to me, and I try to set a good example for the kids.  But somebody gave Jane a few boxes of sparklers for the kids, and I don’t have any problem with that (they’re legal), so once we got home (10:30/11ish), I sat out on the porch and lit sparklers for the kids.  They were tough to get going, so I lit them and handed them off.

Remember the two teenage boys?  Yeah, that wasn’t going to be interesting enough, by any stretch.

(Crazy kids, below the fold)

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Fire

Got a call from Kay a while ago, she had just gone to pick up her check from work and put it in the bank.  (Still hard to get over her working and driving and all that!)

She’d gotten a block down the street.  A friend of my son, we’ll call him D, lives down there.  He’s kind of one of my adopted children.  D was home alone, and his house had caught fire.  I grabbed both house extinguishers and started to run down the street, hoping it was maybe a pot on the stove or something.

No.  When she said “on fire”, she meant “on fire”.  D was out and unhurt, spraying the garden hose in one of the front bedroom windows, but it was a battle he had no chance of winning.  At the very most he might have slowed the fire a little until the fire companies got there – except it was already in the ceiling and attic.  It was brave, if hopeless.

(More after the fold)

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Happy Coffee Pots and Sad Connections

I made this cup of coffee and it danced for meI’m a coffee addict. I drink a couple pots a day, which probably isn’t terribly healthy. With that kind of (over)usage, I tend to go through coffee pots fairly quickly. Usually, I’m happy to get a year or two out of them, so I don’t bother spending a great deal of money on them.

Last year, on Mother’s Day, my $10 Sunbeam decided it had had enough, and just stared angrily at me, rather than make my damned coffee. Recalcitrant jerk. It was Sunday, it was Mother’s Day, it was 6 A Fracking M. How terribly rude and inconvenient. Fortunately, Wal-Mart is open, even on Sunday, even on Mother’s Day, even at 6 A Fracking M.

It took some time, and was somewhat later in the morning before I actually got out the door, but I came home with my very first Mother’s Day present (from myself). I decided I’d splurge, and see if I could get more life out of something more expensive. It was sleek, black, and had a cappuccino / espresso maker attached. It was awesome, and I looked forward to the occasional chokalokacappuccino mocha latte ramalamadingdong.

Sadly, by Father’s Day, the thing would take like an hour to brew a pot of coffee, and gurgled and wheezed and caused the windows to rattle and I got the occasional complaint from the neighbors. I could always tell when they had planned on sleeping late in the morning by the evil stares across the yard in the afternoon. I had brewed too early. Still, I was determined to get my fifty bucks worth, and I’ve put up with the rattling, groaning, overpriced piece of garbage for over a year now.

This morning, the neighbors are happy. They are asleep in their beds, contentedly dreaming of JanieBelle and Kate and Lilith and Lucifer, whilst I sit here writing nonsense, enjoying freshly and quietly brewed joe. Little John, his own father now a permanent resident of California, surprised me with a beautiful white cheapo coffee pot for Father’s Day, and I love it dearly already.

But this Father’s Day brings me strange and sad news already as well.

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103

In the shade. Not a cloud in the sky.

Brutal to be at my son’s block party at school, but sometimes, a Dad’s job is never done…

My wife and I went and volunteered to chaperon. We lasted about an hour and a half, and fortunately, they were sending the kids back inside early because of the heat. I don’t think I could have taken much more.

I like it hot, but this was withering, without a sea breeze.

Got home and Shakespeare needed to go out. I took him out, he did his thing, he said out loud, “Dude. Fuck this.” He’s lying on the cool carpet under my desk.

I’m just going to cool off with Shakespeare under the desk for the rest of the day. The lawn needs mowing, but I just don’t care right now.

The end.