Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Boycott of American Idol: Day 2

During tonight's boycott we decided to start by watching Firefly "Jaynestown" and planned to follow it up with Buffy's "Once More With Feeling". But we enjoyed Firefly so much, we put in disc one and just kept watching...

And ate ice cream!!!

Judgment Day May 21st 2011

OMG... Too funny!

I have a feeling I'm going to be adding to this. It's just too good to leave alone.
What ever happened to, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." Mt 24:36 ?

Center for Disease Control: Zombie Preparedness Guide

Not one mention of gathering weaponry. Not one mention of removing the head or destroying the brain...

Not one mention of impenetrable fortress. IN FACT, they suggest having the family meet at the mailbox...

Someone's gonna end up dead.... and it's not going to be ME!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Boycott of American Idol: Day 1

So, in lieu of watching American Idol (cuz I'm pissed at America for over-voting no-talents):

I posted my boycott status on Facebook..
I baked cookies with my son...
I watched (gag) High School: The Musical 3 with my son...

Ohhh, what I wouldn't have given to just watch another episode of AI and James!!!

Boooooooooooooooooo American country music lovin' teens!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ok... Absolutely Must Share

Feelin' Seedy - Los Capitanes

Apparently this is an Aussie band.. I've only heard two songs by them...
BUT OMG I LOVE THIS SONG.... It makes me giddy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Temperment Test

Interesting... I think my results where pretty right on...
Take the test here.

My results:
Your temperament type is Idealist.

God's Original Sin

The Original Sin

I have issue with the entire premise of this ideology. Christianity is based on the idea that God created a perfect world and placed a perfect man in it. Man screwed up, thus blemishing the existence of all men that came after and the only salvation was through the Messiah who was born of immaculate conception, was persecuted and killed for his teachings, and was resurrected and ascended into heaven to take on God-like status. Right? I think that we can agree that this is the Christian contention in a nutshell.

What follows is simply my rationalization of why this story appears to me to be flawed, why I don't believe the Bible to be factual, and why I can't believe in the Christian version of things. In properly examining the assertions of the Bible, I have to immerse myself in the ideology. This does not mean I hold it to be true, just that I can entertain a notion.

So God created the world and the heavens and everything in it and saw that it was good, often very good.
Then we get to Day 6… Ignoring the fact that evolution proves that land animals came before birds… I don’t have much argument up to this point. But then, Day 6 begins at Ge 1:22, so there wasn’t a whole lot before that either.
Day 6
Ge 1:27 “And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.” [28] Further, God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”
Then he tells them they can eat all the seed bearing vegetation and the beasts get all the green.

God looked and saw that it was all good, very good, and that was the end of Day 6….

Then God rested. This begins Ge chapter 2.
So Ge2:5 God made plant life on the earth……. Though he’d already given it to man and beast for food in 1:29.
Then, 2:7, “And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.”
Ok… First inconsistency. God had, on Day 5 created the living souls of all the creatures, would this not too include man? Would he create man and animal on the same day and only give animals a soul? If man was first created in God’s image, would this not indicate a “spirit being” of sorts.. a soul ?
Further, if God had given the instruction to “Be fruitful and become many”, how was this to be a followed command without a body?
Then, Ge2:8 “Further, Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. [9]Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.”
So, to summarize……… Two days later, God gave man a body… Built him a special sanctuary with lots of pretty and yummy plants…. And created the SIN TREE and put it in this near-perfect home. That’s right, he created Adam, then the garden, THEN the tree that ruined humanity. This is where, for lack of better reasoning, Christian theologists invent the concept of “testing” and “freewill”. Logic says that The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge were after-thoughts and not necessary to the “life” of man.
Then God settles Adam in as caretaker of this garden and gives him a warning. Ge2:16 “…from every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. [17] But as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.”
One, notice the other special tree, The Tree of Life is not, apparently, currently off limits. I think this passage could very well be taken to mean that eating was not mandatory, but for pleasure. Eating for us is a matter of life and death, no food and you will eventually die. This passage introduces the first concept of death, so it begs the question, “Did death even exist before eating of The Tree of Knowledge?” Even if you cannot fathom that concept, you have to wonder, did Adam have any concept of what death is? There is no timeline, but I think it can easily be rationalized that this was Adam’s first day of life; he had no experience with anything. In my opinion, this is a meaningless threat.

Then God saw that Adam was lonely and he had him name all the animals… THEN he gave him Eve.
Ge2:24 “That is why man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh. [25] And both of them continued to be naked, the man and his wife, and yet they did not become ashamed.”No, shame happens in chapter 3 after they eat the fruit…
Ok….Father and mother are meaningless terms because nothing up to this point has procreated. “They must become one flesh.” This, I cannot seem to wrap my head around. If they were in fact naked, but didn’t realize it or didn’t care, how would this happen? One would rationalize that “being ashamed” comes from knowledge of the sexual nature of the exposed body parts. How can they go forth and populate without coitus? Did God intend man and woman to rut like animals strictly on a pheromone-induced whim like the majority of the animal kingdom? Of course, man was given the command to “be fruitful and become many” before he even had a body.. 2 days before he had a body and who knows how many days before Eve had a body. How was this to occur? One could say that God maybe meant in a spiritual, soul-type sense.. but then that would mean that man does, in fact, create man (and man’s soul) and thus negates God being “The Father”, instead… more like Grandfather….
Perhaps “become one flesh” doesn’t imply fornication at all. Perhaps this refers to the nature of a man and wife working as one, as a team, one being an extension of the other. If this is the case, this makes sense. However, it still causes me to question how man would procreate. Perhaps man was not intended to procreate at all.. Perhaps God’s initial intention was to continue creating man has he had Adam and Eve, and merely intended Adam and Eve to successfully raise them up and send them into the world… Hmmmm? 

Now we’re at Ge chapter 3.
The serpent questions Eve, “Did God really say you couldn’t eat from every tree in the garden?” Eve answers,[Ge3:2] “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. [3] But as for eating the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘YOU must not eat from it, no, YOU must not touch it that YOU do not die’.
[4]At this the serpent said to the woman; “YOU positively will not die. [5]For God knows that in the very day of YOUR eating from it YOUR eyes are bound to be opened and YOU are bound to be like God, KNOWING good and bad.”
The text does not tell who exactly told Eve this rule. Remember she was not present when God told Adam.
So Eve saw that the tree had fruit, and it looked good to eat. So she began picking it, then eating it… and she didn’t drop dead. She then offered the fruit to Adam.
[Ge3:6]”….. Afterward she gave some also to her husband when with her and he began eating it. [7] Then the eyes of both of them became opened and they began to realize that they were naked. Hence they sewed fig leaves together and made loin coverings for themselves.”
She gave it to her husband and he ate it. It doesn’t say that he saw her pick it, and it doesn’t say that he asked where she’d gotten it. It also doesn’t say that he was shocked by the change that came over him, nor in subsequent verses that he was shocked to find out that she was tricked by the serpent… BUT, in truth… was she tricked???? There eyes did open, and in fact, they didn’t die.
Now some would claim here that God was talking about their immortal soul, BUT if you believe the rest of the Bible, then the immortal soul is in jeopardy of eternal torment or sleep (or heaven), but never death. (Even the later passages that say "death", this is referred to as a resting period before the resurrection and it is implied that this "death" is not an end.)

So God comes and they hide and he exclaims, “HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE NAKED, BUT BY EATING FROM THE TREE???” And Adam says, “She made me do it.” And Eve says, “The serpent deceived me.”  (Though again, I have to point out that he was more truthful than God in this situation.) So God punishes the serpent by …. making him be…. a serpent, and declaring that man and snake would forever be enemies.
Then God punishes Eve. “[Ge3:16] To the woman he said; “I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy, in birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your cravings will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.”
Increase? How can you increase what never was? Because we know that, at this point, Eve had never “known a man” nor been pregnant or bore any children. So, again, how do you increase what never was?  By instigating any measure of it. That's right, now she must simply bear children.
“in birth pangs you will bring forth children”… Again, this strengthens my earlier assertion that man was never intended to procreate.
[Ge3:20] After this Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she had to become the mother of everyone living.
Then God turns to Adam and says that now he will have to work for and cultivate his own food, then adds, [Ge3:19] “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Being that this is spoken during God’s punishment of Adam, I think that it can be reasonably interpreted to mean that NOW Adam has to face mortality. Therefore, this strengthens my claim that when being warned of the consequence of eating from The Tree of Knowledge, Adam would have had no concept of what death meant.
Then [Ge3:22] “And Jehovah God went on to say; “Here the man has become like on of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also from the Tree of Life and eat and live to time indefinite, --“ [23] With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. [24] And so he drove the man out and posted at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning itself continually to guard the way to the Tree of Life.”
So, first question…why does the Tree of Life matter now? Because man is no longer immortal.
Second, why does God now post a guard for the tree? Because God made a mistake thinking that his warning against the Tree of Knowledge would be enough to keep Adam away from it and he doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice…
That’s right, God made a mistake, meaning that God is fallible.
There is no logical argument against this.
God made angels. God made man. God made a garden for man to live in. God put the Tree of Knowledge in Man’s home. The Angel tempted Man to eat the fruit creating the Original Sin. God rectified this sin by creating the Christ solution.
Now, supposedly, the Messiah had to be born a man, lead a sinless life, and had to die to pay the ransom of our sins.

These are the conflicts I see:
1) We're supposedly all God's children, but for some reason God had to be explicitly involved in the Christ's conception. Therefore, he would not be the same as you and I.
2) There is some half-assed concept that this had to be a miracle birth in order to give the Christ some sort of authority as the "Son of God" to "die for our sins", yet this defies the premise that he was the perfect human sacrifice.
3) If you assume that the royal "we"s and "us"s throughout the Bible refer to the Holy Trinity crap, then the Christ was "part" of God before his conception, before his death, and before his resurrection. Therefore, his "divinity" shouldn't be in question.

The Christ, whether Jesus or not, would not -in theory- be human.

How can Jesus be called human if he was in fact a demigod?

Sure, human body, but half of his DNA was either Divine...
Or missing, but that it scientifically impossible because he was after all a viable being.
Or he was the product of asexual reproduction.. But that isn’t scientifically possible because asexual reproduction results in an offspring that is identical to the parent being, and Jesus was a man, not a woman.
So, if you go with the idea that Jesus was the Christ and Messiah... then he was anything but human. Therefore, his being perfect and sinless is meaningless because he was... already... Divine.
The whole premise of the Death and Resurrection of the Christ is that he was “the perfect human sacrifice…”

Without The Original Sin, there is no need for the Christ. And I contend that the life and death of the Christ does nothing to rectify The Original Sin. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

AI: James Durbin

I am so pissed off. I can say without a doubt, I will not be watching the rest of this season of American Idol. Who would have thought that the top 3 would be Hailey, Lauren, and Scotty? REALLY? Out of those three, I like Hailey the most, but not more than James or Casey, or even Paul or Stephano.
I might buy a Hailey album... She kind of has a Joan Osborne sort of voice. IF she put out something like that, I might get it. Lauren and Scotty.. they are dime-a-dozen singers. I don't care for country and don't find them to be anything special beyond youthful.

I have only been watching Idol for 4 years now, and this is the first time I haven't accurately picked the winner from day one..... I think... Last year, I really liked both finalists, so I would have been happy either way. It was kinda like the Obama/Clinton primary.. I was good with either outcome.

I just think James is amazing and he did do so much to challenge and defy the American Idol norms. I applaud that.

I really wanted a James/Casey finale. That would have been incredible.

I'm sure we haven't seen the last of James. He is destined to go on and do great things. So, until I can buy his album, I will show my support of him by boycotting the rest of the Idol season.
Please enjoy a few stellar James Durban performances.

 James says goodbye to Amercian Idol.... 

Love you James!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Zeitgeist Part I: The Greatest Story Ever Told (HQ) - Remastered version

Very, very interesting. Skip the first 5 minutes... it's the longest intro and waste of time ever.... But the rest is very interesting. Some I knew, some I did not. Food for thought!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The US Needs Year-Round Schooling.........

I caught this article on this morning.

Granderson pointed out some really good points in his blog.

"American 15-year-olds ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math in a study of students in 34 nations and nonnational regions."
"the report suggests Finnish 15-year-olds are one to two years ahead of our kids in math and science."
"We spend on average about $30,000 more per student than the other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, yet the best we can do is middle of the road."
 Look, I am not some nationally egotistical fanatic who thinks "My country is the best" or "We need to be the best in the world". However, I think there is something to be said for global competitiveness and I think that a key to being the best you can be lies in education. I hail from a country that seems to pride itself on the fact that it provides it's citizens a "free" education, but what good is that education if it's second rate? Plus, if you want to get nit-picky, most of the countries that rank above us in this study has a "free" education that continues through university. There are probably more. And, to be realistic, I don't know of a country that charges to educate children, not saying there aren't any, I just don't know of them. Even countries like Sri Lanka, Libya, and Cuba offer free tertiary education. 
"only eight of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries that took part in the study in 2009 have a lower high school graduation rate than we do."
"When the results of the test were released in the winter, Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education secretary, pointed out that despite not being in the top of any of the subjects tested, "U.S. students express more self-confidence in their academic skills than students in virtually all OECD nations. This stunning finding may be explained because students here are being commended for work that would not be acceptable in high-performing education systems."
So............ Not only are we no longer able to compete with other countries on the same level of intelligence, but we're either too stupid to realize it, or so egotistical that we don't care and simply hold our heads high with feigned ignorance. Consider this: The dumbest of the smartest may, very well, be smarter than the smartest of the dumbest.
"Harris Cooper, a summer-learning expert at Duke University, pored over a century's worth of data and found that each summer, our kids lose about a month of progress in math and that low-income students lose as much as three months' worth of reading comprehension."
"More than a month of teaching time at the beginning of the school year is spent re-teaching the stuff our kids forgot over the break."
"At 180 days, we have one of the shortest school years of the countries tested. South Korea, for example, has 220 school days, and a No. 2 ranking in math. Finland is first in math and science at 190 days."
"The organization estimates that by boosting our scores for reading, math and science by 25 points over the next 20 years, the United States would gain $41 trillion over the lifetime of the generation born in 2010."
And to restate....
"We spend on average about $30,000 more per student than the other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, yet the best we can do is middle of the road."
  Interestingly, in my son's school district, due to budget cuts, the school year is 167 days, not counting snow days. 13 days lower than the national average, which is already low. Pathetic. Then consider the changes in education just since I was a child. Fewer and shorter school days. Less homework. No textbooks. New teaching strategies, which I find completely asinine. Then consider how much it's changed since the time my mother was in primary school... If she couldn't help me with MY math homework, how the hell can she help my son? (Except, I have joyfully eliminated that problem.. though not everyone can home school even a single subject.)
I am well aware that because we are a Republic Union, education is mostly left up to the individual states as long as they meet some vague federal guidelines. I am well aware that people seem leery of giving the federal government more power. HOWEVER, I think it's time that we say there is something wrong with our education system and hand it over to the national government. There needs to be uniformity in the ways we educate. There needs to be firmer guidelines. There needs to uniformed funding. No more poor state, poor education system. We need to put out the monies to give our children the best we can offer them, even if it takes 20 years for us to see the pay out.

In about 30 years, the smartest of the dumbest will be deciding what to do with my Social Security and Medicare, if these programs can hang on until I'm in my old age.... Then consider things like economy, foreign policy, do you want the smartest of the dumbest deciding those things for you?

Monday, May 9, 2011

South Korean Study Says 1-38 Children may Have ASD


Caught this on CNN while putting together 5+ weeks worth of Math Homeschooling for Burp.
CNN: South Korean Study may lead to higher autism estimates.......

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Talk Thursday: And Little Did I Know

So, we had our IEP meeting, a little early because I was concerned about how  Burp was doing in Math.

Last year, I was told he didn't qualify for intervention because he was at around the 20th percentile, and they don't do intervention until the 10th or lower. Good thing I called for the IEP, because little did I know... Burp is now at the 4th percentile in Math.

Two things were put on the board. One, testing for learning disabilities. Stupid me, I'd figured that had probably been included somewhere in all the previous testing... Duh.. Little did I know... And (two) Special Ed math. I quickly accepted Special Ed math, he needs help desperately... So because we were going to try Special Ed math, did I want to wait until next year for testing for Learning Disabilities? I was fairly LIVID.
I sputtered, "OK, Last year I wanted math intervention, and was told he didn't qualify.... This year his math skills are abysmally poor and he more than qualifies. I feel like we've wasted a year getting a handle on this.. NOW you want to wait a year for testing? Why? So he can get THAT diagnosis just before handing him off to Middle School?"
At this point, Burp's counselor leaned forward and looked at me, "Psam. Just. Say. Yes." Little did I know, the school has stupid rules about how shit is worded. I think they try to scare you off with a question, when all you have to do is say YES, and they have to do it. I answered, "YES" and they smiled and handed me a form.

I'M SORRY. To me, asking if I want to do it now (when we're talking about the possibility of learning disabilities NOW) or wait to see how this tactic works, gives the non-verbal implication that the asker thinks we should wait..... Hmmmmmmm. Some day I will learn their dialect.

So Burp will be tested for learning disabilities. How this filters out real deficits compared to Aspie learning differences, I don't know... That's a question for his counselor to explain to me. To be honest, I don't think he has learning disabilities.... I just think he hasn't been taught in a way that makes sense to him. I've proven that in spelling, that with constant repetition he can memorize words. I just had to increase his spelling homework on this end to meet his needs.

Next on the table was Special Ed Math... Which everyone agreed Burp needs, but.... little did I know,  "special ed" math is not intended to be a core math class. Only to support a core math class. BUT.. his teacher and I felt that mainstream math is NOT the place for Burp. He needs streamlined materials laid out in a logical progression from system to system with little to no strategies taught with it. Just bare bones, "This is how it's done".. He can't handle having a plethora of tricks and strategies to work from. He gets them all confused and it takes him longer to work that out then actually doing the problem.. SO any way.. They were trying to figure out how to manage this.. Burp should not be in mainstream math any longer, AND the special ed math is working on simple addition... like 3 + 8 =..... which Burp is definitely beyond. There would be absolutely no benefit of putting him in special ed math  and keeping him in mainstream if the "support class" isn't going to address the materials of the core class. LITTLE DID I KNOW HOW FUCKING STUPID EDUCATIONAL HOOPS AND RED TAPE ARE!!!

The bottom line is that mainstream math is only keeping Burp back... so, I did the only thing I could. I asked them to not give Burp a core math class. Take him out of mainstream math. Put him in the special ed math... though I'll see how I feel about that... and LET ME HOME SCHOOL MATH. I told them I would work on the skills he should have already mastered, and hasn't by, focusing on daily comprehensive activities and only adding new procedures when he's gotten a firm grasp on the previous material. I told them I would do daily homework in math and send it to school so that they can be aware of what we are doing. I strongly feel that Burp can benefit from one on one instruction that focuses on repetition and constant comprehensive work to keep him from losing skills he has obtained. I try to do this anyway and often feel like I am fighting against classroom instruction that Burp has improperly learned.

So, for the time being... I am my son's primary math teacher. YAY??? I don't know if that should be a yay.. but I'm hopeful this will help. The goal is to get him caught up and them hopefully next year he can join mainstream math again.. 5th grade does it slightly differently, in that they break up into groups based on skill level.. SO Burp might be able to integrate that way. *fingers crossed*

Previous to the IEP meeting, I had been asking on WP what I might expect them to offer Burp and what was reasonable to ask for... and in truth, I was already considering the prospect of home schooling math.. and someone was talking about getting him an Aspie tutor in math (which I can't afford) and telling me that there are such things as charter schools for ASD kids. Two hours later, we were in the counselor's office and he told me that HE is trying to start a charter school for ASD and learning disabilities, and is just waiting for the school boards to approve his proposal. He'll know by the end of the summer if they will, and if so.. he's hoping to open doors to the school in January!
The way he explained the curriculum is:
1) an approx. 8-1 student/teacher ratio.
2) integrated classrooms based more on skill level than age..
3) logic and reason based subject matter and teaching strategies (no more multiple strategies.. no more "be creative" for kids who can't be creative)

The school would be 1st through 8th grade, with progression to 9th grade based on skill, not age. And, the only reason he's only planning to go through 8th grade is because the high schools here already have a really great autism program. He talked about sensory and de-sensory rooms... It seemed like Aspie/Autie heaven!

It's so weird to have absolutely no clue where all of this will lead us. I mean, you never know what the future may hold, but you usually have a generalize idea... I'm clueless... But, I think we've found a good starting point. I am still mildly frustrated that it took us a year to get here. I feel like no one ever admits there's a problem until I say, "HEY! WTF IS GOING ON??"