Wednesday, May 29, 2013



One of my more thoughtful cousins sent along the following commentary for my commentary.  So first the Question with the predicted right wing answers:

Can a good Muslim be a good American  or Canadian?

This question was forwarded to a friend who  worked in Saudi Arabia for 20  years. 
The following is his  reply:

Theologically - no. ... Because his allegiance is to  Allah.

Religiously - no.. . .. Because no other religion is  accepted by His Allah except Islam ... (Quran, 2:256)  (Koran)

Scripturally - no. .. .. Because his allegiance is  to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.

Geographically -  no .. Because his allegiance is to Mecca , to which he turns in prayer  five times a day..

Socially - no. . . Because his allegiance  to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews  ...

Politically - no... Because he must submit to the  mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and  destruction of America , the great Satan.

Domestically - no.  .. . Because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat his wife when  she disobeys him (Quran 4:34 )

Intellectually - no...  Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on  Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be  corrupt.

Philosophically - no. . . Because Islam, Muhammad,  and the Quran does not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy  and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial  or autocratic.

Spiritually - no... Because when we declare  'one nation under God,' The Christian's God is loving and kind, while  Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love  in the Quran's 99 excellent names.

Therefore, after much  study and deliberation....perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL  MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both 'good' Muslims and  good Americans/Canadians. Call it what you wish it's still the truth. You  had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be  for our countries and our future.  The religious war is bigger than  we know or understand.

Footnote: The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within. SO FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.

Please don't delete this until you send it  on.

So, first a disclaimer - I am presently quite down on most organized religions and particularly the 'radical' version of any religion - Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hindu, whatever.  Thus, I would tend to agree that of all of the big religions, Islam seems to be the most pernicious. One only has to reflect on the murder in London, jihad and the barbarism of Muslim on Muslim to determine that many Muslims do not view their religion as a religion of peace.  [Of course the same can be said for many Christians, although there seems to be several orders of magnitude difference in the amount of violence].  I would not agree with the author's claim that we need to be suspicious of all Muslims - seems a bit paranoid.

Now, let's substitute Christian for each of the talking points mentioned:

     Theologically - no...because a Christian's allegiance is to the Christian God.
     Religiously - no...because "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me."
     Scripturally - no...Christians reside in and belong to the Kingdom of God, not any earthly kingdom.  [Don't trot out the "render unto Caesar" tripe - how's that working for the Christians in Iran?].
     Geographically - no...the US is a nation of Christians, not a Christian nation.
     Domestically - no...let's review all of the scriptural demands for "put to death" - we can start with mouthing off to your mom and dad, move on to adulterers, and there are about 85 others.
     Socially - no...many Christian denominations do not even recognize other Christian denominations as true believers, let alone those who are non-believers or believers in another tradition.
     Intellectually - this one defies rational comment because of its flawed logic - just which "biblical principles" are used as the foundation of the Constitution?  The bible can be quote mined to support almost any position, for slavery/against slavery, for equality for women/against equality for women, for killing your enemies/for loving your enemies.....etc.
     Philosophically - no...the establishment clause of the American Constitution and the US separation of church and state is diametric to the call of many Christians for a theocracy.
     Spiritually - no...the author apparently sees kindness in God's commands to kill in the Old Testament, in God's decision to torture people for eternity, and Jesus' words: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple."

Of course I am being a bit harsh and overly dramatic, but the point is that almost all issues are not answered by a simple yes or no, a black or white approach, or by either-or sound bite rhetoric.   I think that indeed some Muslims can be "good" Americans just as many Christians can be "good" Americans.  I personally believe that there are times when Christians should be "bad" Americans when the country demands behavior that is counter to the Gospel.  As noted, I think that radicals of any religious stripe are dangerous, and it appears to me that there is a growing number of radical Muslims.  However, radical Christians are also scary - not so much from the violence perspective but in the my-way-or-the-highway approach of radical fundamentalists, biblical extremists and theocratic zealots.

Sorry cousin for the bit of a rant, but this is what came to mind.  Paz.

h/t cuz bs


Monday, May 27, 2013


Which of these kids is the most likely to be headed to the NBA?

If you answered "Number 25" you no doubt understand where this post is headed.  As I watch the never-ending NBA playoffs, it is clear that white US players make up around 10% of the league, and generally as non-starters.  In 2012, 78% of all NBA players were African-Americans [full report here] and the percentage of African-American, henceforth black,  players at the Division I college level is well over 50%.  I have yet to find a satisfactory answer as to why there is such domination in this sport whereas hockey is the inverse with even a greater percentage of players being white, with only a couple dozen of the 600+ players being black.  Understandably the demographics of Canada is a big contributor the the distribution of whites in the NHL, but demographics does not tell us much of anything about the NBA.  There are the genetic arguments, the cultural arguments, the racist arguments, etc., but I suppose the best analysis that I have seen can be found here.  Basically the paper is a fairly clear argument for innate talent [genetics which is a very unpopular explanation] being primary and culture playing a minor role.

What do you think??  And while you are at it, you can also explain the growing preponderance of Latinos in professional baseball......

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I am always fascinated by the trends in names of newborns, and the most recent data are available here.

Rank Male             Female

1 Liam                   Emma

2 Noah                  Sophia

3 Mason                Olivia

4 Ethan                  Isabella

5 Jacob                 Ava

6 Jack                   Mia

7 Jackson             Emily

8 Lucas                Charlotte

9 Aiden                Amelia

10 Logan             Ella

Below are state maps for the girls from 2011 and 2012 - couldn't find the maps for the boys???

popular baby names state by state

A list of trendy names can be found here, and include such winners as Thor, Mingus, Severine, and Phaedra.  And a list of just plain wierd names can be found here - how would you like to grow up being named Excel, Jazzy, Sesame, Yoga, Drifter, Elite, Neon or Vice?  Sheesh....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Now, I must admit that I do not know anybody from South Carolina or even anyone who lives there.  No doubt there must be some reasonable, intelligent, discerning folks there - however - they are obviously not a majority among the voters.  It is beyond my comprehension how a lying, cheating, self-centered criminal could  win a seat in Congress, except for the claim by Sanford that God's redemption led to his victory.  A few of us would have some questions for Sanford's God about this particular decision.  Bottom line - a dysfunctional Congress is directly attributable to a dysfunctional electorate - QED. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


Silas, our oldest grandchild, claims to have made this one up - regardless of the veracity of his claim, I think it's funny!

"Your momma is so fat, I can't believe she's not butter."

Saturday, May 04, 2013


The Heidelberg Year In Review - 2012-2013

What an amazing year and truly a wonderful group of students.  In my parting comments, I bid them Farewell, but more importantly, my wish for them is to Fare Well.

Friday, May 03, 2013


The Bull Nebula Taurus

I always check out my horoscope so that I can properly plan my day - kidding of course.  You can read all about us Taureans here.  But to summarize just a bit: 

Patient and reliable
Warmhearted and loving
Persistent and determined
Placid and security loving

And here is how my year will be shaping up - sounds exciting :-)

Forecast for April 2013 to April 2014
If You Were Born Today, May 3:

Thoughtful and involved, you express yourself well, possess quite charm, and easily endear yourself to others. You have an artistic bent that is undeniable, and your creative mind can help bring financial success. You are multi-talented and many of you spread yourself over multiple career paths and hobbies as a result. You expect a lot from yourself, and sometimes too much, which can lead to indecisiveness. Famous people born today: Bing Crosby, Sugar Ray Robinson, James Brown, Mary Astor, Christopher Cross.

At times you can be quite assertive this year. You are especially interested in setting goals and challenges for yourself, and taking the necessary action to meet them. You may meet or interact with others who encourage or inspire you in some way to have more confidence in yourself. Your desire nature is strong, and increased physical activity is likely. Independent work is favored and competitive activities may also thrive this year. Even so, impulsiveness and rashness should be watched for. Your temper might easily be aroused during this period of your life.

You are particularly dynamic right now, sometimes impatient, and you often experience bursts of energy. You are courageous, but be careful to not go to such extremes that you are foolhardy, as this inclines you to mishaps.

However, in October and November, Saturn transits opposite your Sun. At this time, you may experience some form of disillusionment with regards to an important person in your life, with authority figures, with personal plans and achievements, or with aspects of your own personality. You may feel "left out", blocked from advancing in your chosen life path, or temporarily lacking in energy and confidence. Ego boosts don't seem to be forthcoming, or if they are, you don't see them in such a light. Some sort of buckling down is necessary at this time, and is often perceived as limitations coming from other people or from circumstances. A general feeling of "slowdown" is likely, and if regular tasks seem more overwhelming than usual, it is likely due to poor spirits and lack of motivation. Sometimes, this transit is associated with problems with the teeth, bones in general, and the skin. It is also associated with mechanical breakdowns in your life. However, these generally happen because you haven't been managing your life effectively, and Saturn calls upon you to identify the weaker areas of your life, and to fix or strengthen them. Take the time to sort out your life, improve your work, and to become more efficient. Taking a slow and steady approach to life is necessary now. Pushing too hard will likely lead to frustration and setbacks. Take it easy and work on self-improvement. Results are not immediate, but will eventually come and bring healthy rewards. This influence lifts rather quickly, lasting only approximately a month.

You want your objectives to reflect what you're really about, and you are likely to rid yourself of unsatisfying goals this year. Your ability to concentrate and focus helps you to achieve what you set out to do. A new project or goal begun this year has a good chance of being successful and long-lasting. Your sexual and physical activities tend to be more intense, passionate, and focused. It's an excellent year in which to make a lifestyle change, as your ability to concentrate on what really matters to you is enhanced. Temper and impatience are the things to avoid most - these will surely trip you up.

Venus conjunct the South Node of the Moon in your Solar Return chart suggests a review of your love or social relationships in terms of whether they are truly contributing to your growth. Making changes may be difficult, but possibly quite necessary as well this year, when it comes to your love relationships.

You are more spontaneous, emotional, and reactive in the year ahead, and your personal magnetism runs high. However, if you push too hard, obstacles and blocks are likely to trip you up. Patience is necessary because progress may not always be steady, and energy can be stop and go. Love requires inner changes.

2013 is a Number Five year for you. Ruled by Mercury. This is a year of exploration and freedom. It's a time when exploration and reaching out to others brings opportunities. It's a good time to advertise and sell. Surprises are in store, and the routine is broken. This is a year when exciting relationships can be formed, or, if you are already in a partnership, new life is breathed into the relationship. Advice - explore, look for adventure, keep your eyes open for opportunities, mingle.

2014 will be a Number Six year for you. Ruled by Venus. This is a year of relative contentment. It is a time when love is the easiest to attract, and partnerships formed under this vibration have a better chance for longevity. You are able to attract others, and material things as well, this year. This is a good year for establishing harmony in the family and in the home. Advice - develop existing relationships, be positive and receptive because these kinds of energies help you to attract what you desire.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


May Day has never meant anything in particular to me, and even today, it only means that my birthday is just two days hence!  Rather than dancing around the Maypole, we are shoveling snow once again.  Earlier in the week, it was in the 70's and now last night's rain has turned to snow - at least six inches thus far and probably at least another six on the way.  We did not get the first picture, but rather the second......

Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson is a dolt, and a pernicious one at that.  After last night's win by the Nuggets, he was whining about the Nuggets' 'hit men'.  That's laughable.  Let's see - who was it that received not one, but two Flagrant 1 fouls last evening?  Wasn't the Nuggets.  And hatchet man Andrew Bogut should have received a Flagrant 2 for his double stiff-arm to Kenneth Faried's neck - watch for yourself below and tell me why that wasn't a Flagrant 2.  And who was it who pushed an opposing player after a foul?  Hint - Stephan Curry doesn't play for the Nuggets - and he too a whiner.  The refs bailed Curry out by giving a double technical.


Also on basketball - CU Boulder's Andre Roberson should have stayed in school rather than leaving early to enter the NBA draft.  My prediction - he will either be drafted in the second round [there are only two rounds, and second-rounders do not get a guaranteed contract] or he will not be drafted at all.  He will be exceedingly lucky to make any NBA roster next season, and likely will be playing on a developmental squad.  I believe that his family sees dollar signs, but I think that it was not a wise decision.  Time will tell....

Just finished a book entitled Charades- A Retiring Teacher's Diary by Ken Zimmerman - a pseudonym for someone that many of us know.  It is a diary of a teacher's last year in the classroom, after 31 years of teaching experience.  It is both humorous and sad, the latter being that Zimmerman accurately describes the sorry state of public education today, from the students, to the parents, to the administrators, to politicians, to the younger teachers.  All are in a state of decline with collapse being a distinct possibility.

Also finished up our 2012 tax forms - Federal, Colorado and California, as well as paying our 2012 property taxes.  It's not particularly edifying to see how much of what one earns ends up in the federal, state and local tax coffers.

Enough curmudeontary for now - gotta go shovel some more.....