Friday, May 25, 2007

30th Anniversaries

Jim and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with friends at a very nice dinner at the Inn at Little Washington.

Back in 1977, a few days after our wedding, we were back in Pittsburgh and attended Star Wars on opening day. Yes, I can prove we were there - we got the original May the Force be With You buttons.

So, in honor of our anniversary and Star Wars', you might want to take a look at:

Honeymooning with Wookiees

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Heroes Meme

I saw this in Norilana's LiveJournal and here are my results for the test:

Your Score: Mr. Bennet

You scored 50 Idealism, 54 Nonconformity, 45 Nerdiness

Are you on the list?

Congratulations, you're Mr. Bennet! You are one mysterious person with mysterious motives. Despite all the mystery, it's clear that you believe what you do is for the greater good, and you are obviously a well-educated person in your field.

Your best quality: Dedication to your work/organization/etc.
Your worst quality: Keeping too many secrets

Link: The Heroes Personality Test written by freedomdegrees on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Now, if I'd gotten these results in late 2006, I'd've been annoyed. But Mr. B. has turned out to be something of a good guy, and seems to be in position to be the leader of the group.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Can't Say I'll Miss Old Jerry...

He was 73 and not in the best shape, so I can't say Jerry Fallwell's death was a surprise.

I'll never forget the way he tried to rewrite science and American history, and that many people lapped it up.

I'll never forget the way he tried to scapegoat minorities after 9/11. In case you've forgotten, here's what Fallwell and Robertson did:

"What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists
is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant.
The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what
they say about their opponents."

Robert Kennedy Pursuit of Justice, 1964

Anti-heroes: Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson Agree with Osama bin Laden - America Is Being Punished by God

Article Quoted from Studio Briefing

Falwell, Robertson TV Remarks Touch Off Anger

On a day in which the nation was being urged to pray for the victims and families of the World Trade Center attack, comments reportedly made by the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on Robertson's The 700 Club Thursday were igniting debate among the nation's laymen and clergy.

Falwell blamed "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians ... the ACLU, People for the American Way" and groups "who have tried to secularize America" for contributing to what occurred in New York. "I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen'," Falwell reportedly declared on the program, which is carried by the Fox Family Channel, recently purchased by the Walt Disney Co.

Robertson responded: "Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted their agenda at the highest levels of our government."

Asked about the ministers' remarks on ABC's Good Morning America Friday morning, the Rev. Forrest Church, pastor of the All Souls Unitarian Church in Manhattan, commented, "If we respond with this kind of hatred and this kind of bigotry, we really become abettors to the very sin that we are trying to extirpate."

From the Washington Post (by John F. Harris)

God Gave U.S. "What We Deserve," Falwell Says

Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday's terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God's anger against America.

"God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve," said Falwell, appearing yesterday on the Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club, hosted by Robertson.

"Jerry, that's my feeling," Robertson responded. "I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population."

Falwell said the American Civil Liberties Union has "got to take a lot of blame for this," again winning Robertson's agreement: "Well, yes."

Then Falwell broadened his blast to include the federal courts and others who he said were "throwing God out of the public square." He added: "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"

People for the American Way transcribed the broadcast and denounced the comments as running directly counter to President Bush's call for national unity. Ralph G. Neas, the liberal group's president, called the remarks "absolutely inappropriate and irresponsible."

Robertson and others on the religious right gave critical backing to Bush last year when he was battling for the GOP presidential nomination. A White House official called the remarks "inappropriate" and added, "The president does not share those views."

Falwell was unrepentant, saying in an interview that he was "making a theological statement, not a legal statement."

"I put all the blame legally and morally on the actions of the terrorist," he said. But he said America's "secular and anti-Christian environment left us open to our Lord's [decision] not to protect. When a nation deserts God and expels God from the culture...the result is not good."

Robertson was not available for comment, a spokeswoman said. But she released a statement echoing the remarks he made on his show. An ACLU spokeswoman said the group "will not dignify the Falwell-Robertson remarks with a comment."

Falwell's "apology"
(if you really want to call it that...)

Commentary by Laurie D. T. Mann

Falwell and Robertson medieval views are much more in touch with bin Laden than with most Americans. Most Americans seem to understand that tolerance and openness are much more important than hate mongering. Views like those of Falwell and Robertson encourage acts of scapegoating and bigotry. What is it about the mindset of the "right" that demands scapegoats?

Comments like these make me very happy to be an agnostic!

I notice that Falwell and Robertson fail to mention the fact that the one plane that did not hit a populated target was the one in which some plane passengers, led by at least one gay man, prevented the plane from becoming a flying bomb. But let's not let any facts get in the way with their foolish remarks

September 11: Gay Victims, Gay Heroes

Later comment (5/16/2007): As I re-examine all this after four years of war in Iraq and after the death of Jerry Fallwell, if you attempt to take Fallwell and Robertson's post-911 comments to their logical extreme, it almost sounds like their "God" is more like the "God" of the fanatic Moslems who would randomly murder civilians. So when I call people like Fallwell and Robertson mullahs, that's why.

911 may have made many people more religious, but it's made a number of us less so. I may have called myself an agnostic in 2001, and I'm definitely an atheist now.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

First Anniversary of the Move to the Country

A year ago today, we moved out of our old house and into the new house. I really enjoy living out here, love the relative quiet and cleaner air, and can put up with the extra driving needed to get anywhere.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Banning the Smoking Ban Again *groan*

In an effort to get Pittsburgh to join the late 20th century, county council passed a law to ban smoking in most public places (especially restaurants and bars). This ban has now been held up twice by a couple of restaurant/bar owners who believe the ban would be detrimental to business.

Now, let's examine for a moment the establishments who are causing Allegheny county restaurant/bar patrons to stay firmly in the smoke of the 20th century.

I've never been to Mitchell's Tavern, and now I never will. I've been to the Smithfield Cafe one time, but the food was mediocre and even the non-smoking section reeked of smoke. I won't go back for any reason.

If every non-smoker who wants clean air in Allegheny county restaurants and bars would boycott places like Mitchell's and the Smithfield Cafe, maybe the completely clueless owners would understand that a smokefree bar could help business.

Most bars and restaurants in most areas that have gone non-smoking have more business, not less. But let's not confuse the smoking ban foes with facts.

In the meantime, I'm going to Bocktown Beer and Grill so I won't have to worry about the smoke. The Bocktown owner has the sense to be in front of the curve about not subjecting her patrons to smoke.