Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The Tick is finally being released on DVD!

No, not the live action one, the ANIMATED one!

What? What's this 'The Tick' I'm talking about?

Well, he has his own Wiki entry, so take a gander- The Tick

Is is August yet?


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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Light Blogging

Sorry for the light blogging. When we got back from the JRTX on Friday, the cable modem was out. Time Warner didn't get it back up until middle of the afternoon yesterday. So I'm still playing catch up.

Enjoy your Memeorial Day, and in the midst of all the fun and frivolity, please take a moment to remember the men and women who have died to keep our country great and free.

Please take a moment to pray for the fallen soldiers of the 82nd and their families-82nd Airborne Memorials


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Friday, May 26, 2006

And now, for a moment of frivolity...

You Are Big Bird

Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you life your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."

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A couple of op-ed pieces

For your Memorial Day weekend reading-

Victor, Not Victim

From 'Eternity' to Here


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Thursday, May 25, 2006

If you're going to steal a pic

for your magazine cover, you really shouldn't do it with the TIME Magazine winner for the Viewer's Choice Picture for 2005.

But IS that what's happening?

It's easy to jump on this band wagon, but especially after the 'Jesse MacBeth' fiasco this week, I'm a bit wary.

In Blackfive's piece, he asks Michael Yon about the picture on the cover and Michael's reply is-

The publisher, HFM, is one of the largest media conglomerates in the world with over 200 magazines and newspapers in 33 countries. This is a major launch with an initial print run of 300,000.

Blackfive goes on to say that he believes Yon is "more pissed about the photo being used for some kind of political agenda than getting ripped off". But nowhere does Blackfive tell us that Yon says the picture WAS actually used without permission.

It seems odd to me that the company who publishes Car and Driver, Popular Photography, and Woman's Day would use a picture on it's cover without paying for the rights for it.

I'll be commenting over there on this, and will follow up as I get more information.

UPDATE- OK, I've left a couple of coments over at Blackfive, and just want to reiterate that I'm not doubting Matt (Blackfive), I'm just trying to look at what was posted objectively, and getting some verification from Matt or Michael.

Click 'Read More' for more updates!

UPDATE 2- Blackfive posted this comment-

Comment below written by: Blackfive
For everyone that is concerned about my actions on behalf of Michael Yon:

1. Michael is going to take these folks on about the copyright issue. He hasn't said, but I assume he has significant legal help.

2. Michael DID NOT ask me to act on his behalf.

3. I did ask Michael permission to post about it. I usually do that with everyone before I post something about them.

4. JimRob - check things out before you open your trap.

5. You don't have to do anything to help Mike. Am I putting a gun to your head and ordering you to call on Michael's behalf?


Michael is more than a big boy and is more than capable of taking care of himself. But, I'm also a pal of Mike's and Shock pissed me off. I'm returning the favor. Don't take part if you don't want to...I don't lead a cult and my readers are not automatons. Quite the opposite.

The best part, I say again THE BEST PART, of this blog are people that have opinions like senior lechero and thebronze who differ but aren't spineless and have a logical argument to make. I may disagree, but they are welcome here.


I'm going to call those nimrods tomorrow too...

Posted by: Blackfive | May 25, 2006 9:00:46 PM

While still not explicitly saying 'Michael says they took he image', that he is considering legal action is enough for me.

I'll be writing them to know that I will no longer be purchasing Woman's Day or Pop Photography until such time as this is equitably resolved. I only wish now that I'd renewed my subscription so I could cancel it! (that would carry more weight I think)

I encourage all of you to look at which magazines you regularly purchase/subscribe to, and if they are HFM publications to email or call the company and let them know you cannot support a company who steals other folks intellectual property.

Updates as they develop!


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Why am I NOT surprised

That the same type of Left wing liberals who lionized Jesse MacBeth also give their kudos to this-No Gushing in This Grad Speech

I read it originally here- http://somacandra.livejournal.com/400862.html

Now, to be clear, I have no problem with WHAT he said, just that he had to lie and cheat to get the opportunity to say it. It's that whole 'ends justifying the means' thing I take issue with.

(yeah, I'm feeling a little snarky today...why do you ask?) ;)

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Military.com's Top 10 Milbloggers

Their list is here- Milbloggers

I'd add-

Mudville Gazette

These are the blogs you should be checking at least once a week to stay on top of what's ACTUALLY happening in the War on Terror.


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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Grrr...Blood Pressure rising....

Things like this really aggravate me. Apparently, this Special Forces Ranger * spent 16 months in Iraq and was ordered to do all sorts of atrocities. Upon returning form the war, he joins up with Iraqi Veterans Against the War and starts speaking at anti-war rallies and gets a 20-minute film made about his experiences.

The only problem is, HE NEVER SEVED IN THE ARMY. At all. Ever.

Much like Jimmy Massey (who did actual serve but made up numerous accounts of atrocities he committed), the anti-war crowd latched onto him and hailed him as hero.

Meanwhile, you have the Army prosecuting the soldiers involved in the actual (although rare) crimes. The Armed forces have ROUTINELY investigated and charged (where appropriate) servicemen and women who commit crimes in the course of their service. Remember, we KNOW about the Abu Graib mess precisely because the Army released the information to the media.

But, back to Jessie-

We KNOW he’s lying about being in the Army and in Iraq for 16 months, because he’s HOME in Arizona in April of 2004. Here he is in his own words (from the State Press Editorial April 23, 2004)-

I understand they're upset about the homeless bathing and panhandling in the store. I would be upset about that, too. But again, my problem with them and the Free to Camp Coalition's problem are way different. I would gladly sit down with Coffee Plantation and discuss a way we can resolve this, because I've really got better things to do than protest. I am on the verge of being reshipped out. If Coffee Plantation will agree to change some things, then I will no longer protest. Some of the things include not banning people based on appearance or social status. If people are bathing in your bathroom, then ban them. But if they are paying customers and they are quietly sitting down and enjoying a drink like everyone else and you ban them because you don't like what they're wearing, then that is not right. If they were worried and customers were complaining, then I might understand.

I served in Iraq 16 months as a U.S. Army Ranger. Coming back home and being treated that way angered me. Coffee Plantation is not the enemy or my enemy. The owners who discriminate are the enemy. I used to go and hang out there all the time. I would play chess and buy food there all day sometimes.

Lucia Bill and Brian Clapp, it works better if you print the whole truth, not shape it to fit your opinion or Coffee Plantation's. Your column is just another example of how the media mistreats the people. I love America. I would fight a million wars and die a million times to ensure the safety of America and the American people. So if that makes me a jerk or a socialistic pig, then so be it. I have a lot of pride in my country, my service in my uniform and all of my battle buddies out there right now fighting and dying. I won't set that aside for anything. If Coffee Plantation wants to sit and talk to resolve this, I will gladly.

I won't discuss the day I'm being shipped off. But we need to arrange talks ASAP if Coffee Plantation wants to talk.

Keep in mind that at this point, we’d only been in Iraq for 13 months, and in later tellings, he wasn't due to be redeployed, he had received a medical discharge.

Wait a sec...what's an ACTIVE DUTY soldier (who would have been at Fort Bragg) doing hanging out in a coffeeshop in PHOENIX?

Bah, feh, I can’t handle any more of this. I shouldn’t let one asshat get me so worked up. Mostly it’s how it reflects on the Army (Fort Bragg in particular), but partly it’s because this idiot was in my adopted hometown.

Here’s some links to peruse if you are interested-



What it boils down to for me is, the next time you anti-war folks want a ‘hero’ to look up to, please make sure that he’s ACTUALLY been in the military, and if he’s admitting to war crimes please alert the MPs at the nearest military installation. Crap like this takes away from things that are really going on, both good and bad.

But I know that the only thing to come out of this will be more “false but accurate” BS.

Oh, and no, he’s not a Rovian plant to make you look foolish. Y’all did that one all on your own.

Sorry for the rant today, just had to get that out of my system.

*Well, they took the interview down now, so you can't see what this idiot was saying. That's a good start. Any bets on whether we'll see a retraction or if it'll just be as thought tey never knew about him? I found a copy of the interview here, if you haven't read it already.


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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

There's just nothing to say about this....

Courtesy of my friend Tallguy

(mostly I just wanted to try embedding video in my blog!)

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Quietly, almost as if it were meant to go unnoticed...

The Iraqis have a new government-

An Important Day in Iraq

(If a bigger noise was made about it in the media over the weekend, please let me know. I saw nothing about this other than the article Hewitt posted. Of course, I don't watch TV, so they mighthave mentioned it tere.)

That's one more hurdle passed in order to bring our troops home. I agree with Jay Tea at Wizbang on this point too-

Now that Iraq has a Constitution and a democratically-elected government that holds the recognition of most of the world's nations, as well as the United Nations, can we argue that the "occupation" of Iraq is officially over? That our forces remain there to assist the legitimate government, and we are no more "occupiers" than we are in Germany or Japan?

I'd add Korea to that list as well.

And an interesting oped piece on the 'anti-war myths'-

Revisionist History


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Today's Silliness

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet and current street name) Punkin Austin

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your dad's side, your favorite candy) Madolyn Dove

3. YOUR "FLY GIRL/GUY" NAME: (first initial of first name, first two or three letters of your last name) K-DRA

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite animal, favorite color) Ferret Indigo

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Marie Philedelphia

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name Drappslan

7. JEDI NAME: (middle name spelled backwards, your mom's maiden name spelled backwards) Eiram Sppe

8. PORN STAR NAME: (middle name, street you grew up on) Marie Glen

9. SUPERHERO NAME: ("The", your favorite color, the automobile you drive) The Indigo Cavalier

If you post yours on your blog, please leave me a comment here so I can go see! ;)

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Monday, May 22, 2006

All American Week

It's All American Week here at Fort Bragg, and there's all kinds of celebrating going on!

I'll be postign most of it over at the family blog- When I Can't Not Write so check over there for pics and such.

(I'm heading there momentarily to update!)

For now though, I'll leave you with the 82nd Airborne song!

All American Soldier

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I NEED one of these!

Hugh Hewitt


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Friday, May 19, 2006


Even our troops in Iraq enjoy a dose of Cute Overload from time to time.

I think hedgehogs are about the cutest things around.

May have to get a couple when we get settled again!

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Well said!

From Ask Mom

Call me practical. Or cynical. Or opportunistic. But then, I spent years lobbying. For decades I've watched the Republican Party swallow the all-or-nothing suicide pill here in Washington State. Even more to the point, I raised six children. Who now, as adults, are all friends. And from that perspective I know what to do about the current GOP foodfights:

Just. Stop. Now.

Or Mom will bash your little pointed heads together and send you to your rooms until you are all so lonely and bored you'll happy to come out and play nice. Yes, I know you have pet peeves you just can't imagine compromising. Yes, I know some of you think we should let the babies Democrats run things for a while just to make a good contrast with your ever-so-superior ideas.

Reminds me that even though I think McCain is a RINO, he's STILL better than anyone I can think of that the Dems will run in 2008.

But, I keep praying that it won't come down to that...

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This is just cool!

I've had freinds who were into R/C airplanes before, but nothing like this!

The Thunder Run

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

But don't question her patriotism!

Even if she IS writing for Al-Jazeera now-

We Will No Longer Tolerate Your Wars

HT- Thunder Run

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Net Neutrality update-UPDATED

If you've been following the Net Neutrality nonsense lately (start here- Mysa's LJ ) you know that a lot of 'big name' organizations on both sides of the aisle have been supporting legislation to 'regulate' the Internet.

Now we know WHY-

What makes Weber's cynical support of the legislation even worse, say Republican Hill staffers, is that his activities also aid MoveOn.org, the extremist, left-wing organization, which is now being financially backed by Google so that MoveOn can help Google with "Net Neutrality." Google has become the single largest private corporate underwriter of MoveOn. According to sources in the Democrat National Committee, MoveOn has received more than $1 million from Google and its lobbyists in Washington to create grassroots support for the Internet regulation legislation.

Google may be supporting MoveOn.org in a large way, but it doesn't stop there-

"You have to wonder when conservatives will wake up and realize what is happening here," says a House Republican leadership aide. "You have this unholy alliance between Google and MoveOn and groups like the Christian Coalition. I mean how is it the Christian Coalition can help a company like Google, which makes money off of online pornography? Conservatives ought to be very concerned about this situation, but they don't seem to get it. And perhaps by the time they do, it will be too late."

Ok, cut out the rhetoric there, but you still see that the so called 'grassroots' efforts to help out poor Google and buddies is anything but.

Go read the whole article-

Internet Nationalization

UPDATE-The Wall Street Journal has an op ed piece today that ties in nicely. The Web's Worst New Idea (and yes, I know it's not just the Left that's behind it)

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Too much Diet Coke?

Hewitt posted this today-


and it just made me smile...that's all.

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Forever Pregnant?

I read this article today-
Forever Pregnant

It talks about the new recommendations and guidelines from the CDC-

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

Apparently this is a horrible thing, and a plot by fundies to control your ovaries.

Well, that's what Satyrblade and his friends think anyway.

Looking at the article first, (beyond the evocative title which isn't accurate to the information but that's news for you) I'm struck by the fact that these are RECOMMENDATIONS and GUIDELINES, not laws. It is no different from every time my Dad goes to the doctor and she recommends that he quit smoking and lose weight.

No one is trying to force anyone to get pregnant here. But since about 1/2 of the pregnancies in this countries are STILL unintended, recommendations about 'safe sex' and artificial birth control obviously aren't doing their job. When's the better time to quit smoking, now or when you find out you're pregnant? The same is true of the rest of the recommendations.

If you are never ever planning on having kids and if you do get pregnant will absolutely have an abortion, then these recommendations are not for you, and you can do like my Dad does and gently remind your doctor that you've made these decisions and are comfortable with the possible consequences.

For the majority of women, these guidelines will help them live healthier lives in general AND promote good prenatal health should they choose to or accidentally get pregnant.

As the article says, While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

Why is giving this information to ALL women a BAD thing? I just don't get that.

The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than those of most other industrialized nations -- it's three times that of Japan and 2.5 times those of Norway, Finland and Iceland, according to a report released last week by Save the Children, an advocacy group.

Preconception care should be delivered by any doctor a patient sees -- from her primary care physician to her gynecologist. It involves developing a "reproductive health plan" that details if and when children are planned, said Janis Biermann, a report co-author and vice president for education and health promotion at the March of Dimes.

With numbers like these, it would be reprehensible to NOT include 'preconception care' in talking about reproductive health issues.

We're not talking here (as one of satyrblades commenters implied) about this kind of care INSTEAD of birth control. It's not an either/or situation, BOTH should be discussed by women and their doctors to provide the best information for their lifestyle.

Research shows that "during the first few weeks (before 52 days' gestation) of pregnancy" -- during which a woman may not yet realize she's pregnant -- "exposure to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; lack of essential vitamins (e.g., folic acid); and workplace hazards can adversely affect fetal development and result in pregnancy complications and poor outcomes for both the mother and the infant," the report states.

This isn't new, but bears repeating. Many women who want children 'someday' and find themselves pregnant will keep their babies. Shouldn't they be given the best information possible about how to have a healthy baby?

It's not like we're asking women to do things that are BAD for them, for crying out loud. These recommendations are all good ones regardless of whether you plan on getting pregnant.

Now let's take a look at Satyrblade's rant-

Of COURSE this comes from a man.

A man who apparently subscribes to the Victorian health doctrine that all women are in essence walking uteri.

And apparently all the folks who work at American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention's Division of Reproductive Health and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities are all like thinking MEN.

Combine this with the current legal "fad" of restricting birth control, sex education and abortion and the current business trend toward allowing pharmacists to disallow birth control and "morning after" meds on the basis of their "religious convictions,"

WHO'S restricting birth control? No one I know of. Pharmacists aren't 'disallowing' birth control and 'morning after' meds, some just don't want to be the one to dispense them. That's real 'Taliban' like behavior there.

then cross it with the fundamentalist lawmaker insistence upon considering each fetus a viable citizen, and you wind up with a truly frightening scenario for women's rights in our nation.

Hadn't heard of this guy (I'm assuming it's a guy), but pro-lifers believe that a fetus IS a human being deserving rights and protections under the law.

Get out your burquas, girls! The American Taliban has found a way to turn The Handmaid's Tale into reality.

I pity the person who answers the phone at the CDC today.

And I weep for our culture.

Alright, let's toss in the strawman of the 'American Taliban', I was just waiting for that piece of rhetoric. {rolls eyes}

Good frickin' Grief.

I'll end with about the one comment on his blog that actually made sense to me-

I'm of a different mindset than most people on here I guess. I think it's important for any woman that EVER plans or has a GOOD chance(for example not using a highly reliable form of birth control and is having sex) of POSSIBLY becoming pregnant to be educated about the effects of drugs, alcohol, vitamins and mineral supplements, etc...have on unborn children (if they were to continue the pregnancy). I see nothing wrong with requiring healthcare professionals to advise women on these matters, but if a woman says she isn't interested than that should be the end of having anything said to her about it. Any patient has the right to refuse counsel by a Dr. or pharmacist, and also has the right to refuse any treatment they do not wish to receive.

Hallelujah, some one gets it!

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I don't know what I did, but now ALL my posts have the 'read more' link at the bottom.

All it does is take you to the page for that post, but it shouldn't be on EVERY post!

I'm trying to figure out how to fix it, so bear with me.

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Today's quote

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

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More on Da Vinci

I read this today-

HOLLYWOOD HERESY Marketing "The Da Vinci Code" to Christians

It's long, but has bunches of good information.


Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, and a usually reliable volunteer in the culture conflicts, decided early on that he was not going to participate in any boycott of the film. "First of all, it's a useless exercise," he says. "The movie's going to be a box-office extravaganza the first weekend or two. After that, if it's a good movie it'll continue; if not, it'll fail." Donohue says that he is galled by Dan Brown's insistence on the book's factuality, and that he has asked Sony and Ron Howard to add a disclaimer to the film, labelling it as fiction. He says, "I have to be prudent. I want to win. This book has sold forty million copies. It's got Tom Hanks, Sony behind it, Ron Howard. To the extent that we can get the word out--'Look, go and be entertained, this is good fun, but this movie is a fable'--to that extent, that's about as good as I can get."

This from the group that had brochures in Churches across America decrying the film Dogma (which also says that Jesus was married and had kids, but no one took it seriously) several years ago. I guess they're finally learning to not give films like this the extra publicity.

The theme of engagement has come to define the Christian response to "The Da Vinci Code" well beyond the Sony discourse. Ministers across the country have arranged discussion groups and courses of instruction tied to the questions raised by Brown's work, and even Opus Dei leaders now speak of it as a "teaching moment." Sony is undoubtedly pleased by this outcome. If Christian leaders are speaking of "dialogue" and "engagement," they are not saying, "Don't see this film." In the realm of damage control, that may be a serviceable definition of controlling the controversy.

Well, SOME folks are still saying "don't see this film", but we're doing so quietly, so as not to give Sony any publicity about it. Christians can't ignore this film (and book) because too many people DO take the claims seriously, so we MUST engage the culture in discussions and 'teaching moments'. We must be prepared to, as St. Peter says, "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:15-16 NAB)

As it happens, the "Da Vinci Code" experience has provided Opus Dei itself with a valuable marketing tutorial. After initially considering a lawsuit against Brown or Sony, the prelature decided instead to take advantage of the publicity. The red brick building at Thirty-fourth and Lexington has been opened to reporters, and so many tourists stop by that the prelature began leaving recruitment literature by the front entrance. Opus Dei redesigned its Web site, making it more user-friendly, and has posted a list of "Da Vinci Code" corrections. (Regarding Opus Dei "monks," such as Silas, the prelature notes, "Like all Catholics, Opus Dei members have great appreciation for monks, but in fact there are no monks in Opus Dei.") The Web site has received more than three million visitors, and Peter Bancroft, Opus Dei's national communications director, says that some of the curious have now become members. The Silas wannabes are generally screened out.

So, good is coming from this and I support all the efforts to educate both Christians and non-Christians on the issues that the book/movie bring up.

But I still don't have to support the film with my money.

Oh, by the way, here's Opus Dei's website, just in case you are interested! ;)

Opus Dei

UPDATE- Then again, maybe we won't have to worry too much aboutit after all- 'Da Vinci Code' Misses the Mark for Critics But we're still off to see Over the Hedge this weekend!

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Neil Gaiman

Neil blogs about the Nebulas, his computer wallpaper, and life as family man and superstar-

Yes, Neil BLOGS!

There's also a CD of music 'inspired' by Neil's work-


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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sounding off on the Da Vinci debate

I've heard several people wonder what all the hubbub about the Davinci Code is all about. After all, it's just a novel, right?

True, but unfortunately many people are changing the way they think and believe based on it's premises. Take a look here- Reading Da Vinci Code does alter beliefs: survey

I don't plan on seeing the movie, for much the same reason I didn't see V for Ventdetta. I'm just not into movies that make a point of bashing my faith.

I'm also not into the whole lawsuit against Sony over it either. I'd rather support this Othercott: A New Way to Speak Your Mind . We're planning on going to see Over the Hedge anyway, so we'll brave the crowds and do it this weekend to let our money do the talking to Hollywood.

If you are interested in (or just curious about) other resources dealing with this book and film, here's a few sites to check out-

Da Vinci Outreach
Mark D Roberts
Hewitt on Da Vinci (scroll down for part one and more links from Hugh)

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Talent and Skill

I’ve been involved in a couple of discussions lately about writing, and it’s been interesting to see how different people view the act of writing a piece of fiction. To some, it’s almost a Zen experience of getting in the groove before one can write. For others, it’s more mechanical, more deliberate, something learned. The way folks from both sides talk about the writing experience is so different, that it sometimes comes across as the ‘Zen’ side saying it’s way is superior to the rest of us poor schlubs.

I know that’s not the intent of the folks on that side, and I think it has more to do with the difference between innate talent and having to work hard at something. Folks with an innate talent for something (and we ALL have talents in something) tend to think that EVERYONE does what they do in the same way. Because it’s easy for them, they have a hard time understanding why it’s so difficult for some one else. This is natural.

Over at elsieaustin’s LJ and in a friend’s Yahoo group we’ve been discussing this, and the following example was given in the Yahoo group-

Aaryk said:
Practice does NOT make perfect unless you have criticism.. PERFECT practice makes perfect. Otherwise you continue to repeat and reinforce bad habits.

ElsieAustin said:
Actually, I'm going to disagree with you--at least about this particular thing. When you're learning to play the violin you have to have someone standing over your shoulder, correcting your posture, fine-tuning the places you put your fingers, or else you do learn it wrong--you reinforce the bad habits. But writing isn't like that. First of all, there are just so many different opinions about what's a good habit for a writer and what's not, but more importantly, being in a state of mind to be a writer isn't something you learn by rote.

Having worked at both writing and music, I can say that there are more similarities there than not. Both have rules, things that MUST be learned in order to perform well. In both you have people with innate, natural talent who are able to take those rules and run with them in ways most of us never will. For instance, while I needed some one standing over me, correcting me, teaching me to play the cello, I doubt Matt Maher needed it to the level that I did, and once he learned the ‘rules’, even less, but he STILL went through years of formal study. Why? He’s obviously a talent to whom music comes naturally, why would he NEED years of study under people who are likely not as innately talented? Because you still need some one to correct you when you get sloppy (something I think that happens to the naturally talented more), and to encourage and push you further than you thought you could go. That’s the skill side of it.

Writing is the same. Even natural writers need to be well grounded in the rules, and have some one to tell them when they are overusing a certain element, or aren’t working up to their potential. Otherwise you cannot do more than you are today. The axiom that you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes is true, even here.

She went on to say-

It's something you can only learn by doing it over and over, and you can't get in that state of mind when you're scared you don't have any real talent. You have to believe in your own ability to be able to do it at all. Generally, even if you do something you're not completely satisfied with, you recognize the things you want to change the next time all on your own, and each time you try again, you get closer to being able to express that dream.

Like most things in life, writing takes a combination of talent and skill to do well. Skill is that which can be taught, and improved upon over time. Talent is what you bring with you when you start. Even the most talented, without some training to develop the skills, will only be mediocre, and never get better. Even the ‘greats’ still need editors to ‘look over their shoulders’ to point out what could be dome better.

So, this is not to dismiss ‘Zen and the art of writing’ but hopefully to get the point across that innate talent will only get you so far if you don’t have the skills to back it up, and even those folks with very little talent can make up for it to a large degree by honing their skill.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not an either/or situation, but rather a both/and one. Or, in the words of the infamous (for my generation at least) commerical~

You got peanut butter on my chocolate…No, you got chocolate in my peanut butter!

EDIT- I just realized that there's another part to this equation.


You can have all the innate talent, great skill, but without the discipline to sit down and work at it (whatever 'it' is) it will still never get done. That's my problem. Great ideas, I know how I want to say them, it's just getting them out of my head and somewhere they can be seen (if only by me). I'm a bit like Richard Bach this way, he puts it-

I do not enjoy writing at all. If I can turn my back on an idea, out there in the dark, if I can avoid opening the door to it, I won't even reach for a pencil. But once in a while there's a great dynamite-burst of flying glass and brick and splinters through the front wall and somebody stalks over the rubble, seizes me by the throat and gently says, "I will not let you go until you set me, in words, on paper."

-From the introduction to Illusions

That pretty much sums up my writing style!

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I miss Arizona

Not just because of Sherriff Joe, but I'll add him to the list!

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Wow...a lot of thought went in to this!


Ah, the memories!

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Runs with scissors

Just read this and it made me smile!

Store manager corners robber with scissors

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Where are you?

Track Your Visitors on a Map!

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A poll or two for YOU!

Of the following choices, how will you vote in the 2008 Presidential elections?
John McCain
Hillary Clinton
Neither, I'll stay home!
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Now, please respond to just one of the following, based on how you voted above-

If you selected McCain above, whcich category generally describes your voting history
Free polls from Pollhost.com

If you selected Clinton above, which catagory generally describes your voting history?
Free polls from Pollhost.com

If you selected Neither above, which category generally describes your voting history?
Free polls from Pollhost.com


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What's up with the little pictures?

For those of you who weren't reading me over at Live Journal, they have a feature (one of the few cool ones I miss) where you can choose an icon to go with each post. With the free account you get six, and I used mine to let folks know if the post was going to be about general thoughts (Rosie the Riveter), the War on Terror (my one star flag), religion (Mary Maglalene), or silly stuff (Strypes from CoH).

I may not use them with EVERY post I make, and I may add others where appropriate.

Just wanted to let you all know what I was thinking when I put a pic of Mary M on that last post about Creationism! ;)

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The Vatican Astronomer

How cool is that. I'm not sure I even knew there WAS an official Vatican astronomer! Here he is talking about Creationism, how science and religion should be working together and how thanks to the literal 6 day Creationists there is a dichotomy.

Creationism dismissed as 'a kind of paganism' by Vatican's astronomer

I especially like this part-

"Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism - it's turning God into a nature god. And science needs religion in order to have a conscience, to know that, just because something is possible, it may not be a good thing to do."

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Quote for the day

"Our tolerant multicultural society is so tolerant and multicultural we'll tolerate your intolerant uniculturalism. Your antipathy to diversity is just another form of diversity for us to celebrate."

~Mark Steyn (by way of Tallguy)

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Bird blogging from Iraq!

Got this link from a friend, and thought it was too cool to not pass on!


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Hollywood, Patriotism, and the American Way

Over at my LJ here- http://kyrillandra.livejournal.com/107666.html we got started talking about Hollywood and how it's different now than in the 40's during WWII.

That got me to thinking.

When did it become fashionable to bash one's nation of birth?

I don't understand understand the thinking that says that we can't be proud of our heritage, our country, because at some points it has done bad things, or is continuing to do bad things.

America isn't perfect, but overall it IS good.

It would be like saying to your spouse, "Honey, because you did some bad things in your youth, and are not giving me everything I need and want, I not only don't love you anymore, but I hate and revile you." (Ok, too many commas, but you get the idea)

Comments in my LJ also talked briefly about propaganda. It went like this-

I said, "So why would it be BAD for Hollywood to act like it did in the forties? Sure, they cranked out a lot of propaganda, but that's not a bad thing. Well, at least I don't think so."

She said, "I am against propaganda. I'd rather have honest questions than pat answers."

To which I replied, "There is a time and a place for both I think."

Back in the 40's Hollywood as an industry put out quite a bit of propaganda to be used against our enemies, and also much to bolster patriotism here at home. The first can now be handled by the military/intelligence community, but I think we NEED the second as well.

We need to remember that despite the things that divide us; politically, religiously, socially, and cynically, that America IS a good place to be and does much that we can rightly be proud of.

Unfortunately, it seems that you can only mention the good in passing unless you want to be considered a tool of the government, or blindly patriotic.

It is not quixotic to celebrate the good in America. We ALL know there is plenty of bad things, we know America isn't perfect, but she is still good, and worth loving.

I wish more people in Hollywood could see that. Thankfully, there are a few, and I look forward to what they produce to honor America and the good she has and is doing.

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Welcome from Live Journal!

I finally decided to make the move back from Live Journal for a number of reasons. This is where I'll be posting all my ranty stuff, links, quizzes, political and social commentary and the like. I still have my 'what's going on with us' blog and will update it accordingly as well.

I will hopefully be able to bring over some of the more interesting posts from my LJ, but that may take a while.

So, grab something to drink, settle in, and we'll be returning you to your regularly scheduled blogness.

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