turning out the lights and putting the chairs up on the tables
This post -- indeed, any post at all -- is long overdue. As visitors will have no doubt gleaned from my abject failure to post anything in nearly three months, this blog, sadly, is no longer a high enough priority to maintain. Simply the fact that I've been meaning to formally close this blog for more than a month now, but haven't gotten 'round to it, is proof of that. I will keep the archives online, and tweak the blogroll as I see fit.
Everything's fine, it's just that work, especially with the traveling to, currently, Michigan, has been taking much more of my time and energy then even before. In addition, I need to devote my spare time to posting and reviewing for Yellow Menace (Formerly Destroy-All-Monsters), another area in which I have been more deficient than I'd prefer.
Thanks to my readers -- all four of them -- and the various other bloggers, commentors and correspondents who have made the last several years a much more swanky experience. I hope to resume posting at some point in the future, and when that happens I'll take the closed sign down.
I took in a bit of local color today: I had a grinder for dinner. (They're submarine sanwiches where I come from.) A light snowfall slowed traffic on US 31, and so when I passed Mancino's Pizza and Grinders, I had both the time and the inclination to stop. The Italian grinder (a house specialty) was quite tasty, and offered plenty left over for lunch tomorrow.
I'm back in Holland, Michigan after a very pleasant weekend at home. I've already been to the store and laid in some supplies (okay, b33r). I arrived this morning at about 2 am.
Something that occurred to me between driving home and returning, on the four-and-a-hald-hour drive, is how inexorable the formula distance=rate x time is. I managed to travel at a fairly steady pace, and that meant that even after two and a half hours of driving, the hotel was still two hours away, and nothing would change that except more driving. Which, obviously, I did.
I'm out of town for work again, this time in beautiful downtown Holland, Michigan. The assignment should last into next year, but fortunately it's close enough to Indianapolis to let me drive home every weekend.
I visited the local comic book store today, and was delighted to discover some real bargains on their holiday clearance table. I picked up a couple of My Neighbor Totoro manga and a pair of swell DVDs for a mere five bucks each: Cowboy Bebop Session 1 and the second Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex disc, along with a couple of stocking stuffers.
They had a DVD boxed set of an entire season of Ranma 1/2 for $20, so I may pick that up next weekend if it's still there.
My return to sporadic posting today marks a very sad occasion. My deepest condolences go to Jaquandor and his family. As much as I've admired his writing in the time I've known and enjoyed his blog, I've admired even more the love, strength and spirit he showed his young son. My thoughts and well wishes are with Jaquandor and his family, as always.
I have been unforgivably lax in posting once again. I have bunches of links I ave marked for comment, but have failed to do so. Still, I thoght I'd note that right now The Girls and I are continuing a tradition from my youth -- the Saturday Afternoon Godzilla Movie (although on DVD as opposed tothe local independent TV channel). Today's matinee is the 1975 Godzilla flick Terror of Mechagodzilla.
The local paper today carried the disturbing news that yahoo GOP lawmakers want to teach non-science -- so-called "intelligent design" -- in Indiana public schools.
Intelligent design is the theory that a supernatural hand, and not just the random process of natural selection, guided the development of life on Earth.
Recently, 36 of the 52 Republican state representatives, including House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indianapolis, sent questionnaires to constituents asking, among other issues, whether intelligent design should be given equal time in science classes.
Rep. Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville, said he would file legislation mandating the teaching of intelligent design if no other lawmaker did.
"It's a passionate issue for me, personally," Borders said.
The proposal comes a little more than a month after Bosma and a handful of other House members met privately with Carl Baugh, host of the Trinity Broadcasting Network show "Creationism in the 21st Century," to discuss bringing intelligent design to public schools.
Baugh was in town as the guest of Zion Unity Missionary Baptist Church, a small Indianapolis church whose pastor, the Rev. Fredrick W. Boyd Jr., is an acquaintance of Baugh's. Baugh is founder and director of the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas.
Boyd said Bosma and the lawmakers already were pursuing the idea, but they wanted to hear Baugh's thoughts on how to create the legislation.
Similar initiatives are being discussed in legislatures nationwide. The National Conference of State Legislatures said 11 legislatures have debated intelligent design this year. None has enacted a law, and in most cases bills died in committee.
In Pennsylvania, the issue is being played out in federal court, where the parents of 11 students are suing a school district for requiring that intelligent design be taught as an alternative to evolution.
But as Professor Meyers tirelessly points out, Intelligent Design is not a theory or an alternative to evolution; it is not, in fact, science, and has no place in science classes. (See also: The Panda's Thumb.) Shame on these GOP yahoos for proposing to dilute Indiana's educational standards by pandering to religious zealots with pseudoscientific claptrap.
Update: Kudos to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for at least expressing doubt over the teaching of non-science in science class. Unfortunately, he echoes the bogus talking points of the ID-iots by suggesting that there's an equivalence between it and evolution.
The state should be removing mandates from schools -- not adding to them, Gov. Mitch Daniels said Thursday, maintaining he'd be reluctant to sign a bill requiring teachers to incorporate intelligent design into their lesson plans.
His comments come as House Republicans are trying to gauge public opinion for the concept, which maintains that the development of life on Earth required a supernatural designer. At least one Republican has said he will sponsor a bill in the upcoming 2006 session if no other lawmaker steps forward.
Daniels said Thursday his policy is to support greater freedom for teachers and principals.
"I'd have to think hard about a bill that would require any particular curriculum or assignment," he said.
However, he added that if he were running a school, he would want students to think critically and be exposed to competing ideas.
"But that's different from saying the state, let alone the legislature, ought to force that or any other such rule on everybody," he said.
I also note that Daniels' comments embrace the possibility of local school boards mandating the teching of this hucksterism in science class. Daniels should have issued a categorical statement that only science should be taught in science class. It's a shame that even a Republican of Daniels' pro-business stripe feels compelled to pander to religious extremists and pushers of pseudoscientific hogwash.
Atrios today reminds us of a key concept that I've argued several times on various comment threads:
Of course we must constantly remind ourselves that "WMD" was always intrinsically somewhat of a bullsht argument. It should never have been whether Iraq had some nonconventional weapons, most of which aren't capable of "mass destruction," but whether Iraq was, through any means, a genuine threat to us. Absent an active nuclear program that really just was not the case, no matter how many nasty drums of chemicals Saddam had (or, apparently, didn't have) lying around.
Word. And no nonsense, please, about preventing Iraq from developing into a threat in the future. The other members of Bush's so-called "axis of evil" --North Korea and Iran -- pose much more serious actual nuclear threats, and the Bush Administration has done a poor job of responding to these threats to national security. Focusing on Iraq -- which, in becoming a terrorist training ground, is more of a threat to national security now than before bush launched his pet war -- at the expense of attention to two actual nuclear threats, not to mention diverting troops from hunting for al Qaeda in Afghanistan in preparation for invading Iraq -- was the very definition of incompetence. Alas, the damage is done, and the United States now faces a much less favorable global security situation going forward thanks to the incompetence of Bush and his cronies.
I just this moment got back to my hotel room in beautiful downtow Saratoga Springs, NY from a day in New York City. (as of about 1:30 am; posting was initially Bloggered.) I was up early today and drove to Albany, where I caught an Amtrak in to the Big Apple. I took the subway from Penn Station all the way downtown, rode the Stanten Island Ferry back and forth, caught a bus to Chinatown, grabbed the subway to midtown, where I wandered around Fifth Avenue up to Central Park, got another bus to the Empire State Building (the day passes sold by the local transit authority are simply awesome), zipped over to Grand Central Station and caught the crosstown shuttle to Times Square, then back to Penn Station for dinner and the train back to Albany. The last 45 minutes in the car were probably the hardest part.
More details and photos later; for now, it's off to bed.
I fixed dinner, hit the hotel gym and took a dip in the pool, and now I'm settled down to watch the insanely great zombie film Dead Alive, by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Here are reviews at Badmovies.org and Cold Fusion Video Reviews.
It was a rainy day today, but I still kicked around beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs. I took in the sights and shops, had a bit of lunch and swung by Spa City Comics. I was peased and astonished to discover in their five-for-a-dollar bin a whole batch of Rumiko Takahashi comic-book-format manga from the mid-'90s. I picked up five issues of Ranma 1/2, five of Urusei Yatsura and several others, including a Venger Robo by Go Nagai and the first issue of Neil Gaiman's Blach Orchid (w00t!).
I also picked up, for five bucks each, DVDs of Excel Saga and Dirty Pair.
Last night I went out to buy a pair of swimming trunks, which I'd neglected to bring with me (after all, who would have thought they'd be needed in upstate New york in fall, but it turns out the hotel has an indoor pool and hot tup -- w00t!), and the store also had a copy of the sixth and last Cowboy Bebop DVD for less than nine bucks. Of course I grabbed it, and so the series' concluding episodes -- which I'd never seen -- were today's Saturday morning cartoons.