Tuesday, February 28, 2012

3½ Time-Outs Tuesday (Vol. 14)

Just like Conversion Diary's 7 Quick Takes, except it's half as long and twice as good.

Today my new computer chair came. I've been struggling with severe back issues over the last year and sitting for a living makes it worse. I finally found a chair at work that doesn't hurt my back, so I ordered one for the house. It cost as much in shipping as it did to buy the chair, but Mrs. Nod assures me it's worth it!

In the "adults are worse than kids" category, Wynken's Boy Scout troop leadership has had a few strong personality problems with the Committee. After a particularly tense business meeting when they asked if there was any more business I said "yes" and offered a prayer. That seemed to "reset" everybody and a few people even thanked me.

Melamine is a crazy substance that on one hand makes a Formica countertop and on the other hand is a "magic eraser" that will get permanent markers off of your wall. Guess which one we're doing? Hmm, I wonder what happens if you use markers on a Formica countertop? But I digress ...

Finally hired a system engineer to be on my project at work. Now I can stop asking myself aloud if

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giving HHS Mandate The "Finger"?

Some things need to be seen and not just heard.  Fr. Leo has a humorous take on a serious subject.

h/t Mark Shea & Curt Jester

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Remember, O man, thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.

I got the inevitable, "You have something on your forehead" today. Kinda makes me laugh.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fun With Fruit

We're prepping for a Blynken and Dab joint birthday bash and we thought we'd have a little fun with the fruit. Blynken spent a couple of hours helping me put this together.

Cookie cutters from the kids' playdoh set (washed of course) make funky shapes which we stuck on skewers. Melon gingerbread men, ducks, and butterflies; watermelon balls; and pineapple spears (literally!)

Kinda looks like a winter luau, doesn't it?  It's 50 degrees today, tomorrow it will snow. Maybe I'll complete the effect by putting a tiki torch in the snow.

If that doesn't grab you, maybe you'd like to try the grapes which I dipped in a honey-lemon cream cheese torta and covered with crushed buttered rum walnuts?  Sounds odd, but tastes yum! yum!

We haven't even had the party yet and she (Blynken) said it was the best birthday ever. So worth the time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Would You Pay For Rosa Parks To Sit In The Back Of The Bus?

Would you pay for Rosa Parks to sit in the back of the bus and call it justice?

Of course you wouldn't. No decent human being could conscience that. It's just wrong. It's a matter of principle and basic civil rights. Relieving her of an obligation to pay the fare while simultaneously requiring her to sit in the back would not respect her dignity as a human being.

We hold that civil rights are rights precisely because they go to the core of who we are as persons. They cannot be separated from us without grave injury; they are inextricably linked to our human dignity. It abuses the victim and debases the perpetrator.

Among these rights are freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and organizations, along with freedom from discrimination on grounds of gender, religion, or race, etc. It is not a matter of elevating one civil right over another, nor a matter of degree of how much a civil right is infringed -- any attack on these basic rights is an abrogation of the dignity of a person as a person.

Unfortunately, that is precisely what is going on with the HHS mandate (even as amended by the Administration) with respect to Catholics and any person of faith or conscience.  Whether you require Catholics to "pay the fare" or not, being forced to follow a mandate that explicitly violates their fundamental beliefs is literally unconscionable.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde of the Arlington Diocese wrote in the Feb. 16 issue of The Arlington Catholic Herald: (emphasis mine)
Make no mistake: this “accommodation,” as described, is no accommodation at all, but
rather remains a direct violation to our right to religious liberty, a right which is protected in the Constitution.

The president’s new plan purports to transfer the burden from religious employers to their insurers. This is a distinction without a practical difference; the funds still come from the employer and the employees. Moreover, it fails to address the situation of self-insured health care plans such as those offered together by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. Under a self-insured plan, the employer is the insurance provider—there is no distinction between the two.

Up to now, we have been free to provide health care coverage that is consistent with our religious and moral principles. This freedom is being taken away. Under the proposed revision, our diocese, as well as other objecting individuals and employers, would be mandated to pay not only for birth control and sterilization, but also for abortion-inducing drugs—such as Ella—which end the life of the human person in the womb. This mandate must be rescinded or overturned.

It is not only Catholics who are being threatened. This mandate is a dangerous precedent for all those who seek to act according to their consciences.
This HHS mandate is reprehensible, plain and simple. Let us have no straw man arguments on whether or not Rosa Parks paid bus fare, how many Catholics use contraception, or how you hate/disagree with Catholic teaching. Spare us your misplaced indignation on how dare you compare my civil rights abuse with your civil rights abuse (that's what analogies are for). Let's not split the gnat's eyelashes on how many degrees of separation are required before it's considered "material cooperation with evil".

It's not about degrees. It's about fundamental civil rights. Religion. Race. Gender. Human.You cannot violate one without violating them all in principle, because they are bound to our humanity. Any attack is not to be tolerated.

This. Must. Not. Stand.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fer Cryin' Out Loud

Msgr. Pope alerts us to a change in Federal policy that now excludes religious workers from Federal Student Loan Forgiveness because they are no longer deemed in "public service" as defined by government employment or part of a 501(c)(3) charity.

New Rule Excludes Religious Workers from Benefits Offered to Others. Another Example of Hostile Secularism in the Federal Government

However, a recent rule change now excludes those who are involved in any work of a religious nature. In the Washington Post “On Faith” section Brad Hirschfield writes the following to explain the change:
What counts as public service? 

Until the end of January, the government definition was clear and inclusive. It read as follows: “Qualifying employment is any employment with a federal, state, or local government agency, entity, or organization or a non-profit organization that has been designated as tax-exempt by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC)."

Now though, the rules have changed. At the end of the description of who qualifies for this program, a new paragraph appears and it’s striking not only in that it re-defines things, but that it does so in a way that seems purposefully disingenuous. 
“Generally, the type or nature of employment with the organization does not matter for PSLF purposes. However, if you work for a non-profit organization, your employment will not qualify for PSLF if your job duties are related to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing.” [1] 

Thus, the new policy explicitly goes out of its way to exclude religious work. In effect it implies that such work is NOT public service, merely because it is exercised through a religious organization for a religious purpose.
Click on over to read the rest.

Is anyone really surprised at the new hostility to religion by the administration? Dismayed, yes. Surprised, no.

I Don't Feel Bad

We just found out that Wynken took 2nd place for his science project in his category for 7th grade physics after oral presentation at the Science Fair.

And no, I don't feel bad after all.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Did I Pass?

I have passed seventh grade twice, fifth grade thrice, and third grade four times. And I'm doing it all again.

That is to say, I've successfully completed these grades once for myself, but they (you know who you are) are compelling me to do it again and again.  It seems inevitable, that my children will come home with a project.

I hate projects.

And because almost all the Nodlings go to the same school ... they're the same projects over and over again.

Now of course the children do their projects all by themselves. Of course they drive themselves to the store to get their supplies. Of course they do all their own research without asking for assistance, and of course they are all wizards on the computer the way the school system requires them to be these days. (Of course they all have their own computers and printers -- silly you, for asking.)


That being the case our oldest, Wynken, is the latest Nodling to have a project -- and not just any project: The Seventh Grade Science Fair. Da Da Da DUM!!

I hate the Science Fair most of all. I studiously avoided it growing up by focusing year after year on either 1) dinosaurs, or 2) salt crystals. (Hey, look -- dinosaur salt crystals!) It's not that I hate science (it's rather interesting), it's that I hate Science Fairs: the pressure of competition, the stupid poster boards, the flimsy models, the lame ideas (are seventh graders really supposed to come up with an original idea?), the awkward reports, and so on.

After having Science Fair Idea Block for a couple of weeks solid, Wynken actually found a cool looking (and mercifully simple) topic called Hero's Fountain. Hero (or Heron) was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineer who did a lot of cool experiments.

Hero's Fountain is a "standalone fountain that operates under self-contained hydrostatic energy".  Huh? Wha-?  Basically it's a 3 tier fountain where you pour water in the top and gravity makes it go down and come spurting out the top again (almost) endlessly.

He came up with the idea and the hypothesis, did research, built a model, conducted the experiment, and typed up the analysis.  I made it pretty.

Now I know that everybody says that you should let your kid do his own project and let his work stand on its own, etc. I get it. I do. Individual achievement. Learning (sometimes by failing). Helicopter parents need not apply.  BUT (you knew there was one) since Wynken has an executive brain function deficiency despite being a near-genius (more on that later), he would still be formatting the title if I didn't intervene. (And I want my computer back.)

This meant that even though I wasn't "doing" the project, it took up a lot of my time (and Mrs Nod's). I had to (literally) stand over him to get him to keep typing, look up stuff, (STOP looking up stuff), get supplies, use the hacksaw and the hot glue gun, and make sure he was following the already-laid-out-for-you outline provided by the teacher.

When it came time to make the display board, he showed me the Wikipedia image of Hero's fountain he wanted to use and we discussed what information he wanted to attach to it.  So I took those things and combined them with a little Photoshop magic into an infographic. I admit, it was a little over the line (but just a little).  It's hard not to want to help your kid, especially when he struggles. And he did work hard. It just took forever.

We went from this:
Wikipedia image of Heron's Fountain

To this:

Wynken's image of Heron's Fountain
Here is the actual fountain he built:

So ... did I pass?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HHS Mandate Is Wrong

Others have said it louder, better, and more often -- but that doesn't mean it isn't worth saying again.

The HHS mandate is WRONG. It isn't a Catholic thing either, it's a religious liberties issue.  It doesn't matter so much what we believe, but rather that we are free to believe it in practice.


Related Posts with Thumbnails