More than one side to a coin in this Euclidian verse…

I was watching a video by a gentleman yesterday- he is a cop who also has a popular youtube channel, facebook, etc.  He had some pretty interesting things to say, several of which I agreed with, but the one thing that stood out to me was his analysis of the root cause of why we have the problems today with the citizens and the police.  His basic theory is that latest generation was spoiled by his generation – Generation X.  I found it interesting for a couple of reasons, the first being that he took ownership of it as his generation, as opposed to blaming on the baby boomers.  The second was that he basically laid it out as the the newest generation of lawbreakers came from a very self-entitled group of people that never developed a work ethic and just thought everything should be handed to them.  The usual examples were trotted out – participation ribbons, lack of ability to discipline in schools, etc.

Some of this I agreed with, much of it I did not.  The one thing I noted, however, is that he placed all of this as being on the citizen, not the police force.  My question is this-  If my generation raised a class of self-entitled, problem causing degenerates who just don’t know follow the rules, as if they didn’t apply to them…  What kind of police officers did they make?

A Day to Remember

I remember being in 8th grade History, taught by a very smart man, Mr. Derrig.  He was explaining to us that Columbus did not actually discover America.  It was a bit of a defining moment to me, as I remember experiencing a great deal of anger over learning that.  Even as I was experiencing the anger at what I viewed as a betrayal of me by the educational system, there was a detached part of me that was observing my reaction and noting that I was unusually frustrated by this new knowledge.  You see, even when I was younger I constantly reviewed information given to me with suspicion.  I can’t tell you precisely where that cynicism came from, but rest assured, if I noticed something not quite right, or out of the ordinary about what I was learning, I pointed it out.  It wasn’t that I was trying to rebel against the system, I enjoyed learning and loved my teachers, I was just naturally seeking out the cracks in the system.

The anger over the Columbus lie was, in part, because it forced in me a natural distrust of everything I had previously been told.  I years and years of teaching were suddenly being invalidated, then how could I trust anything else.  This was exacerbated by the fact that we still celebrated Columbus Day.  So here we are, knowing that Columbus didn’t discover America and yet we are honoring a day in which we claim exactly that.  At 13 years old, I wasn’t really handling that cognitive dissonance with aplomb.

Fast forward to today and Columbus Day has a pretty large group of detractors, if the media coverage is any indication.  It turns out that the leader of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria might not have been quite the upstanding guy I learned about in my earlier years.  Certainly all the atrocities he is accused of is something I wasn’t taught about all the way through high school.  I learned a bit about the disease and the colonization, but no mention of the oppression, slavery and rape the accompanied him.  No doubt this would enrage most people today, but back then, it wasn’t quite so uncommon.  I am definitely not opposed to doing away with Columbus Day in favor of something else, but I’d like to bring up a few points before we jump on any particular bandwagon.

  1. Columbus was seeking to get rich, he wasn’t this romanticized explorer.  –  Well, true, but exploring costs a great deal of money.  Finding people to give you their money out of the kindness of their hearts is pretty damn hard, especially since he didn’t have access to things like Kickstarter or Patreon.  Exploration was a risky investment, done only at the behest of the very rich.  The successful became famous and hopefully, very wealthy, the unsuccessful are dead and broke.  You can imagine which occurred more often…
  2. Columbus was a bastard.  – Yes, yes he was.  He was also a product of his times and a leader of bastards.  That doesn’t excuse his actions, it merely explains them, and that explanation needs to be acknowledged if we’re going to push for change in the name of “truth and fairness”.
  3. Native Americans were here first.  We should be honoring them.- True enough, certainly before Columbus.  With that said, although we are honoring Columbus, we’re also honoring the supposed values for which he stood.  Bravery, adventure, exploration, growth, leadership, etc.  In short, positive attributes we want to instill in our culture.  If you pay attention to the majority of those pushing for a Native American day vs. Columbus Day, you would think that Columbus was a wretched monster and the Natives were Noble Savages.  The problem with that is that it trades one set of lies for another.  The Native Americans were as complex as any European society, and that includes all the usual negative attributes associated with them.  They may not have been as technologically adept in many areas, but they were no strangers to warfare, slavery, competition for resources and more.

In the past couple of decades, as our ability to democratize knowledge and its access has grown, our temptation to “fix” history has increased.  We rename landmarks now that we find the name offensive.  We re-write history to reflect how we think it really was, but we also sanitize it so as not to offend our current sensibilities.  In doing so, we perpetuate a new set of lies.  Ones that ignore what our history was like before the current changes.  If we erase our frame of reference, abolish our understanding of the choices we made, how can we purport to be anymore intellectually honest or ethical, than we were before?  I don’t believe that is positive change, real growth, if we elect to ignore the lessons and circumstances of our past in favor of writing a new one.


Adam Purple’s Garden

I caught this link from Dubious Quality.  Adam Purple’s Garden of Eden

What strikes me most about this is the vision and effort of one person transformed urban decay into something beautiful.  Two decades of work created something organic in a concrete jungle.  And it was destroyed by the government in an hour.  Now, I’m not going off on an anti-government rant here, there’s more to the story than the Man getting you down.  That said, I do think there is a moral here, a parable that we can learn from.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

A little humor for Friday

I like Fridays… especially with butter and jam.  Here’s a bit of humor to start your weekend off right, including an obligatory cat picture.

Aliens Jason Friday Whoo Cat


Things to say when caught napping at the office…

  • They told me at the blood bank this might happen.
  • I wasn’t sleeping, I was trying to pick up contact lens without hands.
  • I wasn’t sleeping, I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm.
  • This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in the last time management course you sent me to.
  • I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work related stress.
  • Hey, that cold medicine I took last night just won’t wear off.
  • Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem.

The same point, exactly.

The exact same…  You know you have heard this used, probably many times.  The odds are good that you have probably used this phrasing yourself a time or two.  And, as most of us probably remember from years of angry English teachers berating us, the use of that phrase is wrong.  Today, in two separate incidents, I heard it used in college related materials.  The first was on the radio- an advertisement for Arizona State University.  Apparently their online classes offer the exact same curriculum and benefits as their on campus experience.  The second was in this article, where a representative of Bard college notes that criminals that attend their school are held to the exact same standards…

Irony tastes sweet in the morning.

To be honest, however, I am fairly certain that exact same has firmly entrenched itself into colloquial English.  We all know what is meant, and many of us will continue to use it as a matter of habit.  Still, there is a part of me that is haunted by the ghosts of English teachers past.

Confusion is from Satan

Confusion is from Satan, go away.

This was said to me today in an online discussion. A friend of my wife’s,  a nice lady with some strong religious convictions, had posted a link purporting that school children in California were being indoctrinated into Islam. The link in question was about a mother who found a homework assignment on world religion offensive.  Apparently knowing a few things about a religion that 1/7 of the world believes in is a Bad Thing.  Before I go further, it is only fair that I say that I have disagreed with her posts in the past, too, so we do have a bit of a history of disagreement, and her frustration with me stems, in part, from that history.

The lady was posting the link so that others would be edified in what schools are teaching their children, that they might stand up for the Truth.  She posted two supporting links, here and here, but I don’t think she read them.  Being who I am, my first response to her post was that I had similar lessons when I was in school.  I thought it was a good thing.  She didn’t care for that response. Her reply to me where those two links as well as a reference to 2nd Peter regarding false prophets.

I could not rebut the 2nd Peter reference, as the moment you unilaterally declare something to be the work of the Devil based on your interpretation of Scripture, the discussion on that point is done.  I did note regarding her two links that the students were not made to “pray”, as the act of reciting a written verse is not prayer without the element of faith.  More so, I learned those same things in world studies.  It isn’t indoctrination to learn the basic tenets of a population’s belief system.  The nice lady said these kids were being forced to learn religion(I suspect she meant Islamic religion), which shouldn’t be allowed and was certainly not allowed when we went to school.  I kindly pointed out that I was required to sing songs of praise and worship from Kindergarten through 12th grade, attendance mandatory.  I even got to play a religious figure or two in school plays.  I was one of the three wise men in first or second grade.

The end result of this discussion was that she admonished me for not standing up for the Truth and then basically said I was the Devil.  Her only intent, she said, was that she share this news so that parents know what is being taught in the classroom and can then stand up for the Truth.  Yes, she capitalized Truth.

I was frustrated, but I dropped the argument at that point.  My intent wasn’t to antagonize her, merely to stand up for the truth, as it were.  My take on the situation was that the children were not being indoctrinated.  Nor were they being lead by a false prophet.  Knowledge and understanding are good things, especially from a Biblical perspective. What frustrated me about her posts, the issue that I have, is in her well meaning attempt to showcase another apparent attack on Christianity in America, she perpetrated a series of lies.  That these lies might strengthen some people’s convictions in Christ are beside the point, as I firmly believe that one cannot defend any truth by lying about it.  By perpetuating these false outrages, we make Christians of all denominations look like fools.  If we are commanded to go forth and make disciples of all peoples, how can we expect to do that if we continually build walls of lies between us and the rest of the world?  Faith in God does not require a lie in order to prove that you believe in Him, we shouldn’t need a lie to defend our faith in Him, either.

Some quick humor for the day.

Accountant – Someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
Auditor – Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded.
Banker – The fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain. (Mark Twain)
Economist – An expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.
Statistician – Someone who is good with numbers but lacks the personality to be an accountant.
Actuary – Someone who brings a fake bomb on a plane, because that decreases the chances that there will be another bomb on the plane.
Programmer – Someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.
Mathematician – A blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn’t there.
Lawyer – A person who writes a 10,000 word document and calls it a “brief.”
Psychologist – A man who watches everyone else when a beautiful girl enters the room.
Schoolteacher – A disillusioned woman who used to think she liked children.
Consultant – Someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time.
Diplomat – Someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

Read more on page:

A Shameless Plug- And an appeal to your deeply seated guilt

Hey guys,

My son, Joshua, is participating in a fundraiser for his school. The funds will go towards the construction of the Lion’s Lair 2.0 Playground, which is not only a school playground, but a community one, as well. I actually helped build the original Lion’s Lair when I was in 9th grade, so it is neat that Josh gets a similar opportunity now. The original Lion’s Lair was an awesome community project that benefited a great many people over the years, but unfortunately it eventually got too old to be safe. The new one will be bigger, better and hopefully, even more future proof. To that end, Joshua is selling Spirit Cups – Drinking Cups and Travel Mugs sporting the Team of your choice from the NFL, NHL, MLB, Collegiate and Military organizations. Joshua’s goal is to exceed 100 items so that he can win an Amazon Gift Card, which he’ll use to purchase books(Probably MineCraft related). Please consider purchasing a cup to help towards his goal. If you can’t purchase, we understand. You can still help by sharing the link so that maybe friends and family can help. Anything ordered will be shipped directly to you, but please let us know, as Josh will record a personal thank you message that he will send to you via YouTube. Thank you and happy shopping!

But wait, Dan, didn’t you say you would appeal to my guilt?  Yes.  Yes I did.  Today is game day and quite clearly you do not have enough sports related merchandise in your house to be considered a true fan.  Shame on you.  Now make amends by ordering up a 4 pack and doing some good in the world.  Not to mention you’ll no longer be the laughing stock of the block.

Brax Fundraising