Thursday, November 27, 2008


I haven't logged on in so long I wasn't sure I'd even remember my password. So, in no particular order:

[1] HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Me? I have lots to be thankful for. I have a job, a means to get to it, a place to sleep at night, a wonderful family - and that includes a wide network of daaang cool in-laws - and I live in the greatest freakin' country on the planet. Thank you, God. Thank you, family. And thank you, every single American troop who puts life on the line so I can enjoy these wonderful blessings.

[2] Now that I no longer have to pretend enthusiasm towards McCain, can I go back to hating him and saying that he was and still is a terible senator? For me the answer is: Yes.

[3] What have I been up to? Well, a couple of years ago I was over 300 pounds, but I'm not sure by how much since the scale topped at 300. These days I'm at 254 and counting downward. All it took was my car punking out and my being forced to ride 32 miles a day to keep my job. If any of you have been to the Reagan Library - a site I pass five days a week to get to my job - imagine taking your bike up that driveway about eight times a day; that's my ride, stretched out over an average day, and I'm proud I can do it while still a middle-aged fat man. 'Course, I'm still the county's bike version of a pace car in that I get passed by every skinny twerp out there, but that's okay. Even on a rainy day, it's still fun.

[4] Right now I'm listening to my brother-in-law's doo-wop group and they are, I must say, dang good. Very 50's.

[5] What was it like being a Mormon during the recent rash of anti-Mormon protests by various gay communities? It was a refreshing change of pace; usually it's the Baptists and vaguely-defined evangelicals picketing our temples.

[6] Politics? Eh. Too depressed about the election results to follow any more news.

[7] Poetry? Eh. Haven't written anything serious in about a year and I don't miss it.

That's what's new. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fire Blogging

Hacienda Woody is surrounded. We live in an area more or less central to three fires. Or one extremely large fire. Depends on who you talk to.

While we make preparations for Woody to perhaps travel to a software conference tomorrow (lot of IFs to consider at the moment), we find ourselves bordered on the north and east by fires in Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda (both of which started in Corona), and now even Brea to the northwest. Freeways are shut down to the north and east, leaving south as our most logical escape route, should that be necessary.

I post this to hopefully put things in perspective. With all the invective being hurled back and forth by people on either side of the Proposition 8 issue, this is a time to settle down and help people. Our ward and another in our stake are particularly affected by these fires. I would not be surprised to hear that members of our stake have lost their homes by tomorrow morning. It's that bad.

So far the Hacienda is safe. It's been smokey all day long, and for quite awhile all we had coming through our windows was dark orange light. The smell has been intense throughout the day, and I was more than a little nervous about going out long enough to buy groceries earlier this afternoon. Folks heading the wrong direction on the 91 freeway were being taken off the freeway, in many cases exiting via the onramps.

We have our evacuation lists made up and ready in case the fire encroaches this far south. Our elder daughter, who has a healthy dose of her maternal side worry genes, has already packed her backpack. She kind of wishes we'd get in the car already and just drive.

I'm sure we'll be fine for now. If the dreaded Santa Ana winds kick up more tonight all bets are off. In the meantime, please say prayers for all those who have been displaced today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Activists or Terrorists?

I have largely avoided any further discussion on Proposition 8 since the election. I have done so for the simple reason that I have no desire to rub the results in the faces of the losers. I wish I could say that of all Prop 8 supporters, but as Obama's elevation to the presidency has demonstrated, there's nothing like a sore winner. I still hear from people who think it's important to smear Sarah Palin as much as possible, which is probably the surest way to keep her in the running for a senate or executive branch run sometime soon.

But I digress. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the popular vote in California. It's important to note that we only needed 50% plus one vote in order to pass, so 52% in a state as liberal as California is still significant. Since that time, we have watched protest after protest instigated by the losing side; although not, I suspect, completely representative of the 48% who voted against the measure. Surely these protesters represent only a fraction of the voters who were willing to give that coalition the benefit of the doubt.

I find it — unsettling — that they target the very people that they must know will tend not to retaliate. I will not deny that what I am witnessing makes my blood boil. I see it as sacrilege to have them mar the beauty of a temple erected to God that represents peace to all the world. Yet, targets we have become. On some level, targets we have always been.

The protesters, on the other hand, should be careful. Their tactics are beginning to take on certain terrorist characteristics. The mailing of white powder to LDS temples in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City is, in my mind, an act of terrorism. It was meant to inject fear into a peaceful process. It was calculated to create psychological harm and disrupt the lives of people who have only the salvation of their souls at heart. Is this not terrorism? Granted, it's not a car bomb at the temple doors, but neither does it have to be.

Like terrorism, however, the results are never what the terrorists want them to be. Instead of cowering in fear, we stiffen our resolve. If you attack us on our own soil, we hunker down and learn better ways of defending ourselves. So it is with social issues. Rather than making us somehow more "tolerant" towards homosexuals, we find comfort and relief in revealed truth and commit ourselves to remaining obedient to the Gospel.

By their own words the opponents of Proposition 8 have demonstrated that they are willing to do anything — including violence — to gain their point. They have called for intimidation, violence, civil disobedience, and even murder (spoken with extreme hyperbole, granted, but still spoken). Proposition 8 leaders, on the other hand, have called for calm, peace, and even love towards our detractors.

Of course there are exceptions on both sides. There are numerous reasonable voices among the opponents of Proposition 8. We don't hear much from them, however, because the press are dedicated to the propogation of "anti-gay hatred" that they believe to be "prevalent." While you may read of isolated incidents of anti-gay slurs or threats, the vast majority of Proposition 8 supporters are peaceful, loving people who would rather not have to fight anyone, but are willing to work hard to defend their positions.

As history has demonstrated time and time again, terrorists never learn.

Hey, NASA, In Case You're Wondering...

...why astronaut recruits are dwindling, we gotcher reason right here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

More (Self-Fulfilling) Prognostication

Someone found the Woundup whilst searching for graphics related to turning 50. I was still doing my birthday essays on the Woundup, but I'd forgotten that I wrote about turning 50 fours years before I actually did. I'd also forgotten that I'd made some predictions about this most recent election that turned out to be quite true:
As I get closer to what I kind of hope represents the mid-point of my life, my understanding of issues has increased, but my tolerance for the political process has decreased. By the time I turn 50, I will patently hate the process. I will understand what must be done, but I'll hate it.

I'll hate it because this pivotal year of my life will be spent listening to carefully groomed individuals crow about how they will make my life better than it was four years ago. Not one of them will forward a truly unique idea, because there are no unique ideas left. Very much like Hollywood. Every new movie you will see four years from now has already been written and you've already seen movies just like them. But you'll probably plink down the gold it requires to see them because this version has much slicker computer graphics.

I'll hate it because not one single candidate will remind us that the government already has far exceeded its constitutionally limited powers and that we need to return to those constitutional limits. Rapidly.

I'll hate it because not one of them will have a common sense approach to getting this country out of debt. For good. They won't promise not to exceed our ability to spend, because they can't. It's pathological. They can't help themselves.
All of it accurate, so far as I can tell. My predictions, then, were:
  1. I will patently hate the process.
    Yup. I loathe the process. Or, rather, I loathe what the process has become. It's nothing more than Ultimate Fighter in designer suits, using poisonous words rather than lethal kidney punches. I particularly hated the accelerated pace of the primaries this year. I hope we have finally put to bed the notion that moving a state's primary up several months earlier somehow has any positive effect on the election. California's certainly did not. It also means that we don't have anywhere near enough time to fully vet the field of candidates before whittling them down to the two ultimate standard-bearers. I believe had we been given more time we might have had someone else facing off against Obama last week. Perhaps not, but we'll never know now, will we?

  2. Carefully groomed individuals crowing about making my life better.
    It's a sucker bet, really. That's what candidates do. What I left out is the part about warning people that the other guy will try to make you afraid. Fear-mongering — not racism — was the most frequent accusation made during the primaries. And the only person out there who was making a huge deal about one of those candidate's race was the one whose skin tone was different from everyone else's. Just sayin'.

  3. No unique ideas.
    Oh, brother. Every idea we heard was really just a re-hash of ideas that have been floated from time to time over the last several decades. The funniest part, though, was when one candidate would begin floating the same ideas as the other guy while trying to make us think they were new. That was hilarious. But unique? No. Not one.

  4. Ignoring constitutional limits.
    I really can't blame the candidates we had this year. We haven't been paying any attention to the Constitution for, oh, more than a hundred years now. The closest we got was Reagan who at least campaigned on the idea of reducing government. Whether he was "successful" depends on which parts of the government you happened to work for or need. For instance, if you were a huge fan of welfare, you probably didn't like some of Reagan's initiatives. If, on the other hand, military might was your thing, Reagan was a demi-god. No other President in my memory ever promised or attempted to reduce the fingerprint of the federal government. One might even go so far as to call it the "feral" government nowadays. It is untameable.

  5. No common sense approach to national debt
    Need I really expound? We made it possible for people who could not actually afford homes to buy them, and now those people have defaulted on enough loans to sink the country financially. So instead of fixing whatever idiocy allowed that to happen in the first place, we will instead nationalize numerous financial institutions. Were we born this stupid, or did we have to get several math degrees first?
Taken altogether, I hate having been right. The state of modern politics is one of cookie-cutter campaigns, developed by people with Masters degrees in marketing and film-making. We have no truly original political thinkers left in this country, it seems, and we're paying the price with the prospect of yet another failed administration. (Yeah, I know; the guy hasn't even taken office yet. Still, I'm not scoring too badly as a prophet now, am I?)

Check back with me in another four years and see if anything has really changed. If it has, I'd like to bet it isn't for the better.

I hope I'm wrong.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why We Homeschool - Reason #1

Michelle Malkin calls it child abuse. I also refer to this as political bigotry. You have to see this to believe it:

What she did to that little girl is reprehensible. Psychological torture of that sort creates scars, and I desperately want to see this so-called "teacher" held fully accountable. The fact that she felt absolutely no compunction about brow-beating her young charges who dared to mention The Opposition is evidenced by her bald-faced lie about being "okay" with kids who supported McCain. If that's "okay," I'd hate to see this woman get upset about something.

We homeschool precisely because if someone is going to brainwash my children, it may was well be us. Intolerant bigots of this sort should (and will) never have any opportunity to fill my childrens' heads with this hogwash. Bad enough I have to let them go to college at some point. But at least I have time to prepare them.

If I were that little girl's parents, I would have the teacher, the principal, and the school board over a legal barrel and looking to have that teacher's credential immediately yanked.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Curmudgeon's Guide Results

Let the Woundup go on record as congratulating President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. I am hopeful that the election of a black American to the highest office of the land will put to rest the myth that blacks are institutionally prevented from acheiving whatever they choose. I fear it will not, however.

So we lost the Big One. No matter; you can't win them all. We survived Clinton (who, had we been blogging back then, provided us with some wonderful essay material). We will survive Obama. I am less confident that we will ultimately survive the new wave of socialism that seems to have gripped our nation's leadership of late, however. With "spread the wealth" elitists in both the White House and Congress, we are rapidly moving down a path that leads to the sort of policies that remove more and more money from my pocket and give it to people who are unwilling to earn it. It will be the Obama administration's defining legacy, if Obama's campaign speeches are any indicator.

Time for that later, though. Right now, I want to focus on Uncle Woody's performance as a prognosticator with regards to our state ballot initiatives. Candidate-wise, Uncle Woody fared well in this election. We live in a fairly safe conservative part of the country, and our incumbents at both the national level and state level are keeping their jobs. I missed one slot on our City council. So here's a list of our ballot initiatives, how Uncle Woody voted, and how the results seem to be running with 95+% of precincts reporting:
MeasureUncle WoodyCalifornia
1A - Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.NOYES (52.2%)
2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute.NOYES (63.2%)
3 - Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute.YESYES (54.7%)
4 - Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.YES*NO (52.4%)
5 - Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute.NONO (59.8%)
6 - Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statute.YESNO (69.5%)
7 - Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute.NONO (64.9%)
8 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.YESYES (52%)
9 - Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.YESYES (53.2%)
10 - Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds. Initiative Statute.NONO (59.9%)
11 - Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.NOYES (50.5%)
12 - Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008.YESYES (63.4%)

* Yeah, okay, I know I'd said I would vote against Prop. 4 originally. Here's the story: Monday night I had a discussion with Mrs. Woody specifically regarding this initiative. I was fairly comfortable with my position on all the others, but this one niggled at me. Mrs. Woody and I decided that we would err on the side of caution and vote YES, because we'd rather be notified than not. AFTER we voted, I came across some excellent arguments against Prop. 4 (better than my own, that is), and I realized that I had voted in error and that I should have followed my gut instinct, even if for the wrong reasons. Turns out that Prop 4 would create a legal loophole that would make it possible for abortion providers - who are physicians and therefore court-mandated reporters - to file abuse charges against innocent parents, strictly on the say-so of the child. So I voted wrongly after ignoring my own advice. Let this be a lesson to you Young Conservatives!

Prop 4 aside, I'm not disheartened by these results. I "lost" 5 out of 12 initiatives, although given my Prop 4 story, that should really be 4 out of 12. Of the ones I lost, I'm most bothered by Proposition 2, the humane treatment of animals initiative. I see this as over-regulation and will be a costly one overall. Also, Proposition 11 is still in play. I won't holler too loudly if it passes, but I really don't think it will work as well as its proponents believe it will. I just can't see that we would have 5 Republicans on that commission acting in unison to create fair districts in this state. Too many RINO's to choose from, I'm afraid.

I was pleased to note that both alternative energy initiatives were soundly defeated. Across all counties, too. I guess I wasn't the only one to see the flaws in those initiatives. Speaking of all counties, the only other measure that had all counties voting the same way was Prop 12, granting low-cost loans to veterans. Nicely done.

Mrs. Woody and I of course spent copious amounts of time talking about this election with the Woodyettes. We had to send them to bed before Proposition 8's outcome was fully known, but we were able to send them to bed on a hopeful note. We are, of course, thrilled that Prop 8 appears to have passed. Not only that, but Arizona and Florida also passed similar measures. Traditional families prevail. There is still hope for this nation.

Monday, November 03, 2008

If You Do Nothing Else...

Proposition 8 Intolerance

One of the aspects of the so-called "progressive" movement in this country is its continued desire to define itself as "inclusive" or "tolerant." Yet liberal passion for intolerance is its most outstanding defining characteristic. This has been nowhere more evident to me as an observer than in the Yes on 8 vs. No on 8 sign waving campaigns for the past two weekends.

As I described in my previous post, the differences between the two sides could hardly be more obvious. The Yes people that I have observed at local intersections have been unfailingly polite and pleasant as they smile at passing motorists. They often work in family groups, and even the teenagers smile and wave cheerfully.

Contrast this with the No crowd who, apparently, only have time to be passionate about this cause of theirs on the weekends. There's little doubt of their passion for the cause; certainly they do more to get "in the faces" of cars that pass by. But their collective attitude speaks to their utter lack of tolerance for those who support this proposed constitutional amendment.

The No people tend to jump in front of the Yes folks, trying to obscure their signs as much as possible. They tend to yell at passing cars, or provoke drivers who are stopped at the intersection while waiting for the light to change. This last Saturday found one girl waving a California flag in folks' faces to get their attention. No other indication that she was either for or against the Proposition, but her body language put her squarely in the No camp.

The crowning act, though, for the No forces on Saturday was one incident that I observed while out running errands. One young man for the No side decided to walk part way across the intersection on the green light, tear up a Yes on 8 door-hanger that had been passed out that morning, and toss it in the intersection near to the Yes crowd on the opposite corner. He then jumped up and down as if doing a victory dance, pumping his fists at the drivers who sat - bemused or stunned - while witnessing this foolishness.

This must be what tolerance looks like to the progressive left.

To their credit, the Yes crowd merely ignored the infant and kept smiling and waving. I didn't stick around to see if anyone picked up the mess (this is one of the busiest intersections in this part of Orange County, and one must be EXTREMELY careful about stopping in the middle of the street), but it was gone by the time I'd run my errand and came back through. No sign of that particular youngster, either. Probably knocking back a victory beverage at the Carl's Jr. nearby. The flag-waver was still there, though. She had switched to mis-matched stockings (one red and the other a sort of sickly yellow) to make herself even more noticeable.

Tolerant and fashionable.

Please see the latest video from The folks working for the Yes campaign are already heeding this timely advice.

Vote YES for Proposition 8 tomorrow.