Thursday, November 24, 2005

You Turkey

Another year and another large turkey is out of the oven and ready for us to slice up and devour as the main dish for our Thanksgiving meal.

This Thanksgiving I decided to look into these tasty creatures and learn a little more about them. After all, I see them in the fields and along the roadside as I travel throughout the Northwest, and the only thing I know about them is what I have heard while I was growing up.

Some will tell you I have not yet finished growing up, and I would have to agree with them.

One thing many of you may already know, is that Benjamin Franklin lobbied to make the turkey the national bird. I can't imagine having the majestic eagle replaced by a turkey, but we were close to having the majestic turkey adorning our national symbols.

Benjamin Franklin was just one of three members of a committee that was assigned by the Continental Congress. The other two members were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Their assignment was to come up with a design for the official national seal.

The first idea the three had designed included Lady Liberty, but congress didn't care for the design and consulted with a Philadelphia artist of the time named, William Barton. Barton came up with a new design which included a Golden Eagle. Although they liked this new design, they wanted a bird more native to America and so decided that the American Bald Eagle should be the bird.

When Benjamin Franklin heard of the choice of a Bald Eagle he is quoted as saying,

For my part, I wish the eagle had not been chosen as the representative of this country. He is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched in some dead tree where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing hawk and, when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish and is bearing it to his nest for his young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes the fish. With all this injustice, he is never in good case.


At some point Benjamin Franklin argued that the turkey was, “A much more respectable bird and a true native of America," he further stated that the turkey was a, “bird of courage" and that the turkey "would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on."

Luckily for us, congress was not convinced that the turkey should win out over the Eagle, and the rest is history.

Did you know that a male turkey is called a “Tom” and the females are called “hens”? If they hatch some little turkeys these would be called, “poults”. At sixteen weeks old a turkey is called a “fryer”, and at five to seven months old they are known as “roasters”.

I found it interesting that in ballroom dancing the “Turkey Trot” is called that because it resembles the short, jerky steps that a turkey makes when it walks.

Turkey's have great eyesight and can see about 270 degrees and can even see in color the way we can. Of course, like us, they also cannot see at night very well. Their hearing is also quite good, and between good eyesight and good hearing they tend to elude many frustrated hunters very well.

I'm uncertain from this bit of turkey trivia, but I thought I would share it with you anyway because it is somewhat amusing. Apparently turkeys have heart attacks. The story goes like this, “The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.” This is interesting because many doctors recommend eating turkey in your diet to prevent heart attacks. Believe it, or not. :)

Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He "pardons" it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

It seems that there is a myth that is perpetuated that eating turkey will make you sleepy. From what I can gather it seems eating turkey does not cause you to feel sleepy after your Thanksgiving dinner. Carbohydrates in your Thanksgiving dinner are the likely cause of your sleepiness.

The caruncle is a red-pink fleshy growth on the head and upper neck of the turkey. Turkeys have a long, red, fleshy area called a snood that grows from the forehead over the bill. The fleshy growth under a turkey’s throat is called a wattle.

How many of you have heard that turkey's are so stupid that they will drown if they look up when it rains? Apparently this is not really true. These types of tales may have come up because baby turkeys are very vulnerable when they still have their down on them and not yet fully feathered. Many baby turkeys that are not protected in a downpour will die from being wet and from exposure, but not from drowning.

Although turkey's spend most of their day feeding on the ground, they actually fly up into trees to spend their nights a little safer from nocturnal predators.

Turkey's are also pretty quick. The can fly short distances at about 55 miles per hour, and can run at speeds up to 25 miles per hour on the ground. Domesticated turkey's, however, can no longer fly.

Now you know some of the more interesting things about the turkey. Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal feeling a little better about your knowledge of the main course.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

And The Winner Is...

I watched the American Music Awards tonight, which is not normally something I would do, but the shows I normally watch were not on. Besides, I saw in the commercials that some great acts were going to perform, so I thought it would be a nice change this evening.

For some reason I felt somewhat disappointed most of the night.

The first almost embarrassing thing was watching Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff trying to perform on stage in front of amazing musical talent. I must admit that I have enjoyed songs in the past by both of these ladies, but for some reason they just did not seem to have the entertainer power that is expected to perform for the superstars of the industry.

As I watched each of these ladies perform it felt like I was watching television and movie stars trying to compete with some tough competition in the world of music. They just did not seem to have the star quality when it comes to musical entertainment.

I really loved seeing Cyndi Lauper on stage. Personally I think that Cyndi Lauper has such a unique voice and singing talent that I wish she would do more original work. Last year I bought a new album by Cyndi but it was a studio album and was just a collection of recycled songs. This type of album almost never turns out well. It’s tough to make existing songs new again, but sometimes it can be pulled off.

One example of a recycled song done right is from the group SheDaisy. Their Christmas album was great, and I think their version of “Deck the Halls” is one of the better renditions of that song I have ever heard. The voices of SheDaisy sound heavenly together, and the interesting composition of that song just worked well.

Will Smith won an award tonight, and I don’t know what it is about Will Smith, but I really like his music. Now he’s an example of a multi-talented person who does well in television, movies and music. The difference between him and Hilary or Lindsay, is that he can pull it off. I’m sure the ladies have worked hard, but Will is smokin’ and it’s hard for anyone to match his versatility. I’m always ecstatic when I see he has released a new album.

Women are fantastic to look at, and I’ll ogle them right along with everyone else when they wear skimpy clothing. Heck, there’s nothing like a hot day on the beach watching beautiful ladies walk by in a variety of bikinis. Why do some women think that award shows are the time to come out on stage virtually topless? Is this necessary?

Well, yes I do like to see their barely restrained fun bags, but I fail to see the purpose behind exposing themselves on national television. People who know me already can attest to the fact that beautiful woman always get noticed by me. I’m lucky to have married a beautiful woman. During an awards show, however, let’s keep the morsels in their stay-fresh wrappers so they don’t dry out from all of the hot lights.

Another highlight of the night was watching the Eurythmics perform, and learning the group is back together. They said they have just released a collection of their previous hits, but let’s hope they still have it in them to crank out a few new songs and reclaim their following. I know I’ll be waiting for any new material from them with anticipation. After watching them on stage, I think they still have the strength to belt out the tunes.

The highlight of the evening was supposed to be the Rolling Stones. They were introduced as Rock and Roll royalty, and on that point I don’t disagree. As far as classic rock and rollers go, the Rolling Stones can certainly hold their own. It’s precisely because of this lofty position that I was somewhat disturbed by their live performance from Salt Lake City Utah.

The first song they sang was not very good, and then they dusted off one of their tried and true songs and it sounded like crap. With their typical scary looks, and this dismal showing, it was an anticlimactic ending for the show. I’m sure it was the fact that not only was it a live show, but it was also being watched on television. Hopefully their new CD will have a better sound then their live stage performance did.

That’s it, my thoughts on what I spent my night doing. Of course I managed to do a little work on my websites (very little between commercials), and even write this revue of the American Music Awards. In the end, I now know why I seldom watch these types of shows. It ran for too long, and in the end felt like a huge waste of my evening.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Intelligent Design - Still Going

This article is in response to a discussion going on at The Roost.

Ah, back to the ID thing again are we? ;)

I certainly don’t deny that many supporters of ID do so because of their religious beliefs.


Who else would support ID if not for religious folks?

What interests me most about intelligent design is whether or not we could tell if some intelligent force has influenced the development of life on earth. That is where the critics of intelligent design tend to bother me. Rather than addressing if we could know, or how we could know they seem on the whole to be demanding that it is impossible that it could have happened. I think the meta questions of how we could know are important even if it didn’t happen and the refussal to even address those questions strikes me as being profoundly anti-scientific.


The question of whether or not some intelligent force has influenced the development of life on Earth is indeed interesting, it's just not science, it's metaphysics. It raises questions that cannot be explained by science, therefore, these are not scientific questions.

Many religious folks are trying their darnedest to move ID into the scientific community. I would think that if any remote ounce of ID were based on scientific facts that they would bring this to the table in their argument. Since we have never seen any such data, it pretty much means there isn't any to be found. Not yet at least.

If ID is not provable to be a science-based study, then it should remain out of the scientific community, and yes, that means our children's science books. Trying to force scientists to add ID into their books does not make it science, it makes followers of ID very questionable.

Go study ID and ask your questions all you want to. Who's stopping you? When you get something worthwhile, come back and talk to us. Until the time comes when you bring real scientific evidence to the table about ID, stop trying to shove this man-made fairytale down our children's throats and passing it off for real science.

Although the questions that the possibility of ID brings to the discussion are interesting, I choose not to waste my time with them because I don't feel they are relevant any more then trying to prove the existence of the Galactic Chicken or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Our time on this Earth is limited, and spending time studying mythological pursuits seems to be a waste when so many other things need to be studied.

Spending your time studying cures for diseases is a more lofty use of your time then memorizing every phrase of a book based on tales to scare unbelievers. Heck, just using that time to spend with my daughters is infinitely more appealing then wondering how Moses parted the Red Sea.

I'm not saying people should not study the idea of ID if that's what floats their boat, I just don't want it forced onto others. It seems throughout history many religions have tried to force themselves on others. We're currently knee-deep in a war for that very reason.

In the past entire cities have been destroyed right down to the women, children and animals because people did not believe how others thought they should believe. By forcing your belief system into our schools and government you are following in the footsteps of others that have come before you. The argument that ID belongs in our science classes is nothing short of attempted brainwashing.

Christians have been freaking out recently because people are trying to make this country more generic when it comes to religion, and Christians are afraid they will lose their foothold as the dominant religion. They are in a state of panic because apparently allowing others to practice their religious beliefs, or at least stepping aside so others have a chance to worship how they like, is a bad thing.

All religions function by trying to make themselves desirable for followers to join. It's all about marketing. When competition comes along then historically religions pull out all the stops to prevent their flocks from dwindling.

Here's a question for you to ponder. If Christians are secure in their belief and know that it is the only path we should follow through life, why do they try so hard to remain in our government and schools? Why not just be content to worship in their churches and not try so hard to force their way into society as a whole? Because like any organization they need numbers to retain power. Small numbers mean less of an influence on just about everything.

Religion is a business. They collect money, buy property, and find loopholes to operate “in the black”. Without a steady source of income, their flock, they will shrivel up and waste away. Sure you will go to Hell if you don't give to your church, but what they really mean is that if you don't give they will disappear, not you.

Want to climb up on your soapbox and beat the drums of how ID should be allowed into our school science classes now? Go ahead, but you'd better bring something more substantial to your discussion other then the question of “whether or not we could tell if some intelligent force has influenced the development of life on earth“.

My two cents in the grand scheme of life on Earth. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Boycott Christmas!

This year the United States has undergone a barrage of criticism for favoring the Christian religion over many others. In our schools there is the constant battle to place Intelligent Design into our science books. Some states were more successful at blocking this ignorant attempt then others.

The pledge is taking flack for the words “Under God”, and seems like this one will not go away until the highest court in the land makes a ruling.

Hang on now, because the monotheists are going after retailers next!

It seems a group called the, “Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights” has rallied the troops for a boycott against Wal-Mart because they feel that,

Wal-Mart discriminates in its treatment of Christmas


On their website Catholic League president Bill Donohue happily remarks that,

...I e-mailed Dan Fogleman, Senior Manager of Public Relations, letting him know the following: ‘Now that Wal-Mart is standing by its position, I hope you’re ready for our next move. Don’t forget, we have the next six weeks to pull out all the stops, and we will.’


It's nice to see that throughout the centuries the fanatical Catholics have not lost their touch. It's a nice “Holiday Season” message when the head of a group for “Religious and Civil Rights” threatens a store because they are not mentioning their religion more then other religions.

Like a Catholic criminal, Mr. Donohue makes his demands,

We want a) an apology for insulting Christians by effectively banning Christmas and b) a withdrawal of its insane statement regarding the origins of Christmas and c) a revision on its website.


In another article on their site entitled, “CHRISTMAS CENSORS ALREADY AT WORK”, Mr. Donohue takes issue with San Diego changing Christmas Programs to Winter Programs

...to enable diverse communities to participate without feeling left out or marginalized


What's wrong with this approach? Wait a minute, it would mean that Christians are not dominating the “holiday season” in Sand Diego schools.

Call out the Knights of Columbus!

Hey I have an idea, why don't we just back up the historical clock and burn everyone who would dare call the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas the “Holiday Season”! After all, it worked in the past, it should work now. Kill everyone who is not Catholic.

The title of this organization is a scam. They are not for Religious and Civil Rights of anyone but themselves, they seem to be for Catholic rights above everyone else.

This attitude of attacking everyone, whether physically, financially or psychologically, who does not believe the way you do is exactly why Christians are losing their foothold with the younger people.

Maybe the Dictators of the world have it right and we should not educate our children because they will become smart and realize that fanatical religious zealots can no longer dictate how we live our lives. The harder they try, the farther away they are pushing their potential sheep.

I have nothing against Christians celebrating the “holiday season” any way they choose, except when they start threatening others with demands.

This attack on Wal-Mart might make Mr. Donohue feel all puffy, like his organization actually won something because Wal-Mart did not want to go into one of their busiest seasons fighting with religious organizations, but it simply makes his organization look truly sad.

The plain truth is that the entire society is not Christian, and should not have to be bullied by organizations like these into celebrating Christmas. There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling this time the “Holiday Season”. It leaves nobody out, and does not harm anyone for doing so.

We celebrate Christmas at my house, and I am not so insecure in my belief that I have to attack my Buddhist, Jewish, or Wiccan friends, because I am scared that they may some day take over the world.

With an organization claiming “Religious and Civil Rights” why don't you start practicing what you preach?

You should be demanding the term “Holiday Season” so that Christians can celebrate side-by-side with everyone else. Keep up your current course of action of trying to force your agenda on others and perhaps someday you may find that Catholic children might be pressured into pledging their allegiance to Odin.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Rose Colored Glasses

This article was written in response to a post from Opinions From On High


Sometimes I have found that these observations can be skewed from the perspective of the observer.

My sister has the opinion that I am the angel in the family and everyone picks on her, but this is far from the case. To this day I think she realizes this to not be completely true, but she still harbors these feelings for no apparent reason.

As your mother's child, you are viewing life through the eyes and observations of your mother. As such, you empathize with your mothers situation because you have been raised to view things as she does. Don't claim to be your own person and able to view things completely objective, because it can't happen. You're in the thick of it and therefore unqualified to make objective observations about you're own family. The only way to find out truly how things are would be to see a psychologist who can examine the situation from an outside perspective.

(I'm in no way qualified to comment on this area either, yet I always seem to have opinions and can't keep silent about them. So take what I say as the ravings of a madman, for who knows if the commentary I type out is right or wrong? Now, back to our program...)

This same thought process can then be applied to you as well. You being the “evil one” is your own perspective. Many people feel “picked on”, or even that they cannot do anything right in the eyes of their parents. Many people have shields in place and they perceive everything as an affront to them personally.

I operate under my own rulebook, primarily that I don't give a crap what people think about me (to a point). There was a quote from someplace that I don't recall about people cannot do anything to you that you don't allow. Meaning? That if you think you are being treated like the evil child then you are letting people do this to you.

When someone treats me poorly, or makes some snide comment that might offend a weaker person, I let it roll off of me “like water off a duck”. Do you remember the saying as a child that, “I'm rubber and your glue, what you say bounces off me and sticks to you”? There is a lot of wisdom in many old sayings.

I also explained to my daughters the saying that, “It takes two to tango.” Any time there is an argument between two people, whether family, coworkers, or strangers, it always takes two people. A commercial on television where one person is wearing some jell-based shoe inserts, and no matter what happens to them they are cool with it because they are “Jellin'”, is what I am talking about. There is a radio version of this commercial where a waitress dumps coffee in a guys lap, and “even though there is considerable redness and swellin'”, he's still OK because he's jellin'.

Through the years I have known folks that feel picked on, or can't gracefully exit from an argument, or maybe even dwell on things and can't release the negative thoughts effectively. I have tried to help people to see life as I do, but it's a difficult thing to pass along. Everyone has grown up with their own minds, and I'm not smart enough to know how our individual minds work. It's easy for me to say, just ignore an insult, or forget about a family spat that happened yesterday, but it's another thing for you to actually be able to do that for yourself.

Can I toss yet another colloquialism in here?

Rule #1: Don't sweat the small stuff.
Rule #2: It's all small stuff.

Never get so wrapped up in what other people think that it affects you emotionally and you should find yourself to no longer be the “evil child”, but the child that is now doing her own thing, standing firm on her beliefs and with her family, and to hell with what anyone else thinks of her. You're no longer anyone's mental play thing. If a poorly phrased comment is made by someone, ignore it and move along. Don't argue, don't “cop and attitude”, and most of all don't dwell on it. Just act like “there's nothing to see here, move along...”

By not acknowledging the attempted assault on your psyche, you remove the power the assault has on you, and effectively defending yourself against further annoyances caused by the assault. Instead, let it roll off you, and think about something more pleasant like your children, or the upcoming holidays.

Another quote I love to whip out in articles like this is the one from the Kung Fu television series, “If I worry, will the future change?” The moral here is that keeping things inside and dwelling on them will serve no purpose other then to destroy you from the inside. Cast out the bad thoughts and move along in your happy place. :)

If you find yourself upset because something happened between you an another person, the best way to feel better is to swallow your pride and apologize. You don't have to admit the other person is right, just that you're sorry for getting upset about the topic the disagreement was over.

There is nothing harder in the world, it seems, then to apologize to someone else, especially if that person has some authority over you such as a boss or parent. In the end, when the apology is accepted (or frankly even if it isn't), I know you will feel better for having made the effort.

Focus on the good and happy things, and ignore and remove the negative things that make you grumpy. Would you like to buy some rose colored glasses?

Friday, November 04, 2005

You Gotta Have Faith. Or Do You?

This article has been written in response to an on-going discussion on The Roost.

I look at faith as a type of trust relationship. If I have faith, then I am trusting in something. I have faith that the sun will rise yet again tomorrow. I trust the nature of the star to continue to burn as it always has, yet I also know that it is equally in its nature to one day burn out. Hopefully I will not be here to witness this event.

When I look at religion, I do not trust religious leaders, or tomes written a very long time ago. I do not have faith in something I view as being created to placate or rule others with fear and retribution. For the same reason the majority of us no longer worship the sun for fear it will not rise again, or perform sacrifices so that our crops will grow this season.

Faith in God is truly a blind faith because there is not a definite logic behind the trust relationship. Just because someone believes in Thor because they have witnessed the thunder claps on a stormy night as proof of his existence, still does not make him real. It's a perception and a delusion, not a reality.

Looking at a blade of grass and marveling at its complexities then drawing the conclusion that some intelligence had to have created it is simply based in faith, and that's it. Digging up artifacts created by others who believed in the same fantasy's still do not make them real. Unearthing statues of Athena does not make her any more a real goddess then finding old scrolls of lost Bible stories.

One of the few religions that can be argued as having a decent stake in reality is Buddhism. I'm not a Buddhist, but they teach real lessons about real things. They teach about human nature, and nature itself. They are not about scaring their followers into their teachings by fantastical stories of Hell and fallen angels.

This is why Christianity is beginning to lose its grip on the population of this planet. Their teachings are scary fairy tales, and people are beginning to seriously doubt teachings that were handed down from their parents. The issue about the pledge is extremely important to Christians because this has been a great brain-washing tool for them, and they are about to lose it.

I was raised Christian, went to Sunday school, and learned the golden rules. As I got older things did not seem to make sense to me. I began to feel like something was wrong with me because I just didn't get this whole God thing. Trying to “heal” myself, I approached the leaders of our church asking some deep questions about my religion, God, and whatever I could think of. This was a huge turning point in my life because many of the replies were that there were no answers, it just came down to faith.

My doctor doesn't get away with that line of reasoning with me, and the people running my life and my children's lives are not going to float that one by me either. People can get upset and feel like I am being harsh to their belief all they want to. The plain fact is, I will not trust a religion.

There is zero need to be religious. We can get together and enjoy other's company and support without having to believe in an all-powerful being. Religion offers little other then making us feel guilty and unworthy. Religion has been the root cause of bloodshed throughout our history and it is still going on today. This is why I have turned my back on religion and turned toward reality.

A movie I find interesting is “The Matrix”. In it we find that people have been blindly following something that wasn't real because they were content.

There are times when I feel like Neo when he was brought out of the world based on faith, and into reality. I am still surrounded by a large number of people who are content in their belief, and that's really OK with me.

I do think that religion is used as a crutch because people want to believe that there is something more then their own mortality. They want to believe that their loved ones are in heaven waiting for them to arrive, because it eases the pain of the loss. Most importantly, they want to feel like they belong, and church provides this womb where they can feel secure and protected.

I'm certain that many of you will read this and become very offended that I would say such things, but it is my belief just as you have your belief.

For the most part Christians, and the various off-shoots of Christianity, are wonderful people. I do not hate Christians, nor most people that follow various religions. I think there is room enough on our fantastic planet for everyone and what they choose to believe in. Where I draw the line are those beliefs designed to harm others. The second your belief system turns into hate, and the desire to wipe out those who do not believe as you do, then your time on Earth has expired and you must go.

Christians, Buddhists, Wiccans, Native Americans, whatever can all live together in peace, and so far seem to be making a good attempt.

This article is not about harshing your world, insulting your religion, or calling you names. It is about what I believe and why I believe how I do. You may find it a twisted misguided belief, and you could possibly be correct. In light of that, I welcome any sane discussion on the thoughts that I have shared with you through these words. Come equipped with your wits, and share your view on what I have written.

Have I made you think?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What Serenity Character Are You?

Yet another quiz found on Justus For All.



You scored as Capt. Mal Reynolds. The Captain. You are the captain of the ship, so the crew are your responsibility. You just want to do the job, get paid and keep flying. Why is that always so hard?

Capt. Mal Reynolds

88%

The Operative

81%

Zoe Alleyne Washburne

75%

Simon Tam

69%

Hoban 'Wash' Washburne

69%

Inara Serra

63%

Jayne Cobb

63%

Shepherd Derrial Book

56%

River Tam

50%

Kaylee Frye

44%

Which Serenity character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

What Religion Do You Fit In With?

I noticed this over on Justus For All and could not resist.

No real shock on the outcome. Take the quiz and see what you really think.

Thanks Dave!












You fit in with:
Atheism



Your ideals mostly resemble those of an Atheist. You have very little faith and you are very focused on intellectual endeavors. You value objective proof over intuition or subjective thoughts. You enjoy talking about ideas and tend to have a lot of in depth conversations with people.


40% scientific.
80% reason-oriented.















Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com