The Actual State of Marriage in the US

Today, an interesting article appeared in my news feed that made me curious enough to do more reading about marriage and divorce. The facts, when isolated from a conservative or liberal agenda, are sobering, fascinating, and not at all what one might think given media coverage of the same. Here is an encapsulated version of the information I found.

The Data

  • Conservative, self-defined, born-again Christians have the highest divorce rate by far in the nation—a whopping 13% higher than atheists! (The old saying, “The family that prays together, stays together.” just isn’t true.)
  • People living in the “Bible belt” have the highest divorce rate in the nation.
  • Less educated people have a higher divorce rate while more educated people have a lower divorce rate.
  • Married couples who argue about money once or more per week are 30 percent more likely to divorce.
  • Atheists and Agnostics have the lowest divorce rate.
  • One year after Massachusetts legalized marriage equality for same-sex couples, their already low divorce rate actually dropped.
  • If you live in a red state, you’re 27 percent more likely to get divorced than if you live in a blue state.
  • If only one partner in your marriage is a smoker, you’re 75 to 91 percent more likely to divorce than smokers who are married to fellow smokers.
  • Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago. Between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce.
  • The bible belt has the highest rates of: divorce, murder, STD/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, infant mortality, and obesity rates in the nation. (Yet, they believe that being obese is genetic and being gay is a lifestyle choice. Huh?!)
  • The average length of time a couple in the US remains married is only 11 years.

Divorce rates by faith group:

  • Non-denominational (Independent, conservative fundamentalists): 34%
  • Baptists 29%
  • Mainline Protestants 25%
  • Mormons 24%
  • Catholics 21%
  • Lutherans 21%
  • Atheists and Agnostics 21%

Failure to Help
If Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council actually, sincerely, wanted to support family values and maintain a truly special place (the actual definition of “sanctity”) for marriage in this nation, he and his organization would stop wasting their time babbling on and on ad nauseam about marriage equality being a “war on marriage,” and focus on what really is causing marriage to fall apart in this country. Religious fundamentalism is probably strongest in the very places in this country where divorce, murder, STD/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, infant mortality, and obesity rates are the highest. This fact speaks to the outrageous level of ineffectiveness of what religious leadership is actually doing in those areas. Is what the religious extremists are doing actually hurting the institution of marriage. Is their “cure” (raising hell about gay people all of the time) really a level of indifference to the real issues and actually making the state of marriage worse! I have come to the conclusion that they themselves are the ones defeating their own self-proclaimed mission!

To claim an interest, no, more than an interest: a singular focus, a mission, a calling to preserve a very special place for marriage and do little of nothing except ranting on and on about gay people is, at its very best, disingenuous. Why isn’t the Family Research Council grappling deeply with the actual real causes for divorce in the places where the dissolution of marriage has reached the highest levels?!

Instead, the church chooses to ignore real people with real needs, perhaps because the church has presently demonstrated a real inability to provide real people with anything of substantive value to address their needs and reduce their failed marriages. This inaction or misplaced action on the part of the church is not just an outrage, it’s a moral outrage. Devoting so much of their attention, financial resources, and talk time to decrying marriage equality is perhaps their strategy of choice to obscure the absolute failure of their faith practice to provide critically needed care and support to real people in need: to reduce divorce, murder, STD/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, infant mortality, and obesity rates. Instead, their “support” is nothing more than turning the very people who are in need of their support away through self-righteous judgement and condemnation!

While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.“

Source: George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group

Don’t miss these important facts as I suspect they are all deeply correlated:

  • The Bible belt is the poorest area of the nation. (Arguing about money increases divorce.)
  • The Bible belt is the least educated area of the nation. (Less education is associated with divorce.)
  • The Bible belt is filled with Conservative, self-defined, born-again Christians. (This is the religious group with the highest divorce rate.)
  • The Bible belt significantly trends to "red states.” (Red states have a higher divorce rate.)
  • The Bible belt has the highest rates of, among other things, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, and infant mortality.

A Plan that Would Work
Shouldn’t Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher really be focusing their efforts on getting the people in the Bible belt higher paying jobs, better and more education, and more progressive and liberal religious and political ideology. I mean, hello! The data indicate that effort would actually pay long term dividends in their self-proclaimed mission to protect the special place of marriage!

Clearly, we are once again witnessing a failure of leadership! Shame on them! Shame, shame, shame on them!!

Enslaving people in ignorance is the cruelest form of imprisonment!

I say that everyone should utterly reject organized faith practice that hurts people!

I say that everyone should utterly reject government policy (and those who make it) that hurts people!

I am personally fed up with religious and political liars whose lies promote only themselves and end up hurting people. America: Stop supporting the people that are hurting you!

Sources include:

Original Article

First Glimpse

Click the image below to see a pano of the living room area when the Sausalito house was completely empty. I shot this the day before the movers showed up. You can see down the short “hall” into the dining room area with the large aluminum fireplace. The long hall goes to the remainder of the “mid-century classic” house. Right now, I feel like a mid-century classic myself!

As you can see, I’ve not been exaggerating about the floor to ceiling windows. Conrad the Kat especially enjoys them when he sees the deer and other critters.

Original Article

Dealing with @Verizon Is Maddening As Hell!

We have one of the new 4G LTE cards from @Verizon.  I went over the data limit last month and incurred a$10 surcharge, so I want to set up My Verizon on my iPhone and iPad so I can monitor the data usage to determine if we will need a plan with greater bandwidth.

Holy $#&*, nothing could be more complicated!

First you have to figure out that all of the @Verizon services are all separate:  FIOS can’t help with 4G.  Once you finally get the correct phone number to call, the horrid automated voice menu system insists that you provide them with the wireless number you are calling about.  Hell!  I have no idea what the wireless number is for this 4G device that looks like a credit card and has no wireless number visible on it anywhere.  Finally, after going round and round with the automated voice message system that did not recognize the number I gave it, because I wasn’t giving it one, I got a live human being.

The live human being was very nice and gave me the wireless number associated with this 4G device so I could set up the My Verizon account online, since there is no link to set it up on the My Verizon app that runs on the iPad and iPhone.  (Why?!!!!! is there no link to set up an account?!)

So, after spending some time trying to find the correct @Verizon website to set up a My Verizon account for a wireless 4G LTE card, I start setting up the My Verizon account online.  First you setup your profile.  Done.  Then Verizon sends you a temporary password.  I check my email.  The email says that, “For your security, you will not receive this password via email.  Once you retrieve your temporary password from the text message, enter it into the Create New Password page on your computer.”

What?!  I just want to stand on top of the house and scream every profanity I can think of!

To what wireless number did they send the damned temporary password?  We don’t have a Verizon wireless phone.  We have a 4G CARD, which is NOT a phone! Where did the text message go?!

I called the horrid automated voice menu system again.  Since I now knew the wireless number associated with my account, it took even longer to get to a living human being.  This guy said I needed to download an application for my computer and that this application would actually receive the text message so I could enter the password in the online setup screen for My Verizon.

Can we make it any more complicated?   Oh, but yes, we can indeed!

He gives me the direct URL for the download, thank god!  But wait!  There are dozens of downloads listed on this page!  Which one do I use?  Well, there are only 5 downloads for the 4G.  But which one of these do I use?

He tells me to pick the one for the Wireless MiFi.  Oh, OK.

What?!  It says no download is required!

So now what?  He tells me that he will send me the temporary password by US Mail!  My god!  It has come to this level of lunacy?!

So I have wasted a good 1.5 hours of my time and accomplished nothing!  My fear is that when I get the stupid temporary password in the mail, hopefully by the end of the week, the web address I was using will not let me continue with the account setup!

This is completely needless!  It is inept rollout of a product.  The team that setup the process for creating a My Verizon account act as if they have no idea that Verizon has an entire product line of 3G and 4G wireless modems that don’t get text messages!  Maybe Verizon doesn’t want me to know how much data I’m using so they can make more money?  I just can’t stand it!

Because of the prices we are forced to pay, this level of incompetence just sends me through the roof!

Original Article

Telling It Like It Really Is...

I recently read an article from a former Republican operative who detailed that the most effective strategy the Republicans have used with a Democrat in the white house was to break government. But they’ve been doing this for many years: spend on war, oil and banking while bankrupting Social Security, Medicare, etc. When Americans think that “big wasteful federal government” doesn’t work, can’t pass legislation, can’t agree on anything, the Republicans’ evil strategy works.

Original Article

Meet Chloé.

Yes, I knew it was only a matter of time.

Chloé has now replaced Watts, my wonderful little 2006 Prius.

Watts had less than 29,000 miles on him when he was traded in today. He averaged about 46.5 miles per gallon. This means that Watts burned about 624 gallons of gasoline during his time with me—far less than the vast majority of cars. Over that time, driving Watts, with a very roughly estimated $3.25 price per gallon of gas*, I have given the oil industry about $2,028. By my best and admittedly crude calculations, this is at least 5 times less than what the average American gave to the oil industry during that same time—well over $10,000!**

Chloé is a Leaf.

I chose the name Chloé***, because it stems (no pun intended) from chlorophyl, as in photosynthesis, as in leaf, as in has an energy capture rate of approximately 100 terawatts—which means that plants capture about 6 times more power from the sun than all of power consumed by human civilization****.

Even though Chloe is primarily a popular given name for girls in England, I chose the French spelling of the name: Chloé, as a deliberate jab at George W. Bush (remember the “Freedom Fries” bozo) and his dear friends and immediate family, with their well-documented deep ties to the oil industry and the middle eastern oil sheiks, including the immediate family of Osama bin Laden.

Chloé does not run on oil at all.  Chloé doesn’t even have a tailpipe.  Chloé never needs an oil change because it has no engine. Driving Chloé will not give the oil industry one thin dime. Chloé will contribute to better air quality in the LA area with tremendously reduced carbon emissions.

I am elated!

Chloé was made in Tennessee, creating jobs in the USA. Chloé runs on electricity, sustaining jobs in the USA, jobs that the corporate elite in America can not outsource to foreign countries.

Chloé is not my sole means of transportation***** as it only has a 100 mile range per charge, but it should certainly be adequate for all of the in town traveling this family does in the LA area. I’ll keep you posted on the advantages and limitations of EV (electric vehicle) ownership as I experience them over the next several years.

The first thing that I noticed that totally rocked my world:  after establishing a bluetooth connection to my iPhone, Chloé began streaming music from my phone with no wires attached to anything. Jeeze! Bluetooth streaming! Awesome!! More later.

My next exploration will be solar energy. Driving on sunshine just makes a whole lot of sense to me!

* based on this chart, I averaged $2.86 (average US price per gallon in September, 2006) with $3.62 (average US price per gallon in September, 2011) and rounded up 1 cent for ease of calculation—not 100% statistically sound, but in the ballpark

** The average American drives around 15,000 miles per year. Over the 6 years I drove Watts, that would be 90,000 miles for the typical American household. If all of the cars on our roads were new cars bought in the last 6 years (certainly they are not), they would average less than 27.5 mpg according to their stickers’ fuel efficiency rating (which we all know overstates fuel efficiency). With an average $3.25 price per gallon of gas, the typical American family would have given the oil industry probably significantly more than a whopping $10,636!

*** from the Greek χλόη (khlóē), meaning “young green shoot”

**** source:  Photosynthesis

***** You will recall the recent purchase of Monica, the hybrid Lexus. Again, the focus is on minimizing the carbon footprint and minimizing the contribution to the most profitable and one of the most dangerous (read: source of warfare, terrorism, and environmental destruction) industries on earth: oil. [Does the Republican party really want another Texan in the White House, so close to the Bush debacle?! But, certainly, in this country, the oil industry gets what the oil industry wants!]

Original Article

In Other News...


Well, I was in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, over the weekend.  While I was there I walked, and walked, and walked, and …

I set a new walking record for one day:  On Saturday, April 23, 2011, I walked 21,168 steps, or 10.13 miles!  I walked from Granville Island, to Vancouver, through Stanley Park, along the north shore, and around North Vancouver.  Yes, definitely a record!

I read an article about research results on why some people gain more weight than others when the eating and exercise variables are controlled.  The conclusion:  people who stand more, use many small muscles in small motions through out the day.  This fact seems correlated with their ability to keep their weight more easily under control.  Interesting.  Walking make help for more reasons than one.  The person recommending the article is building himself a standup desk to avoid sitting behind a computer screen all day long.

I’m working on the photos.  Soon.

4G Verizon MiFi

I’m a geek.  I hate @AT&T.  I prefer @Verizon.  AT&T’s advertisement campaign, “We’ve got you covered.” is total horse @#&$, if you ask me.  Thanks for asking.  AT&T’s coverage in Los Angeles is horrid!  Frequently I can’t even get 3G and suffer on their Edge network.

I’ve used a Verizon 3G MiFi card to meet my data needs for my iPad and for my AT&T iPhone, since AT&T’s data service is such utter crap in this remote region of the world.  Well, a 4G Verizon MiFi has been welcomed to the household.  I am amazed at how blistering fast it is compared to AT&T’s 3G network and especially their disgusting Edge network.

Original Article

Second Glimpse - The Kitchen and Dining Room

Here is a second panorama from the house in Sausalito. This one was shot of the empty kitchen and dining room the day before the movers arrived. Click the image to play, and don’t forget you can take control of where you look in the pano.

After everything is finally put in place, I’ll include some panos from around the house and yard.

Original Article

No! You're Too Fat!!

On one of my flights today I noticed a heavyset man in the row in front of me reading some religious magazine.  I caught the title of one of the articles and almost threw up.  I forget exactly how it was worded, but it basically was about how much more religious persecution could the church endure these last days.

My god!  The very people who persecute other people whining about their little fantasy persecution complex.  I was disgusted.  I remember this same language when I was being brought up in the extremist religious right:  how God was blessing us every time we were persecuted for our faith.

The problem was, only the most mentally unstable among us would believe that religious people in Pensacola, one of the most religious and extremely conservative cities in the nation, were being persecuted!  By who?  By what?!  But oh, the yoke of persecution was just so hard to bear.


Then, to explicitly bring my point into the sharpest possible focus, the title of the next article was:  Same Sex:  Different Marriage!  I’ve blogged before about this perverse mingling of church and state with religion owning a civil right over which government should be a guardian and protector.  If religion wants to have it’s own holy sacrament above and beyond the civil right to all of the benefits and accommodations of legal marriage, fine.  Knock yourself out.  Call it something else.  Make it your own.  You can even deny people your holy sacrament if they aren’t willing members of your little religious club.  You’ve got that right!  But don’t deny people civil rights!  That’s evil.

I wanted so badly to say to this man:  Over Weight:  Different Marriage.  (Both he and his wife were exceedingly so.)  You see, even if these extremists were correct, and I personally don’t believe they are, and being gay were a choice, certainly they must admit that being overweight is a choice.  And, in the church in which I was raised, it was called a “sin!”  You were defiling the temple of god €” your body, because of your own selfish, hedonistic, gluttonous ways.

So, why shouldn’t we vote on fat people’s right to marry?  Why shouldn’t fat people be denied the right to marry?  The research indicates they have children who also grow up to be fat.  See, they are recruiting, just like the wacky religious extremists insist the gays are.

Isn’t it all just ridiculous and absurd?!!!!!! There is just no difference!  I don’t know:  Maybe some gay people choose to be gay.  Maybe some fat people choose to be fat.  Maybe some gay people are born to be gay.  Maybe some fat people are born to be fat.  The point is people should have the legal right to marry the person they love when the other person is of age and consents because they love them back.

You probably find my calling this man and his wife “fat” offensive and disrespectful.  Good!  You should.  Just as you should find calling a person a fag just as offensive and disrespectful.  But one is condoned in this culture and the other not.  Oh, the difference a single letter makes!

My god, sometimes I think we live in the weirdest world filled with people trying with incredible meanness to impose their will on others!  Enough already!

Original Article

Aggressive Winter Storm

The weather here in Sausalito is much different from Manhattan Beach! After a month of no rain, we just had a rain storm to end all rain storms. For two days it rained furiously, and yesterday and this morning the wind has been ferocious! Literally blowing the rain sideways and up steep hills, the wind blew over a very heavy cast iron outdoor chair on the front deck. Amazing! Thank goodness it didn’t blew it through one of the front windows!

Since so much of the house is windows and skylights, the noise of the wind and the high speed rain was intense.

The sun is supposed to appear for a little while today and then back to another winter storm coming in once again from the north.

Original Article

Update on Mother

Mother came through the surgery remarkably well and is expected to make a full recovery from the operation. She routinely received an excellent and professional level of care at the hospital. I have great respect and appreciation for the work of her nurses and doctors.

She was generally doing rather well while in the hospital; however, about 3 days after being released to rehab, she developed an infection and her legs began to severely swell. Her general condition, probably unrelated to the surgery itself, deteriorated significantly, perhaps a result of the infection.

My sister has been with her every day at the rehab center, widely regarded to be one of the nicest in town. Based on what she has been telling me every day, I am generally most unimpressed with the level of care my mother has received here. Unless a patient has a fierce advocate vigorously and consistently pushing for the patient’s basic care, things that can become rather serious “fall through the cracks." I’ll perhaps post more about that once she has come home.

Hopefully her current setbacks are merely temporary, and in time she will return to the general health she had prior to going into the rehab center.

Original Article

Christian Terrorism?

This term has been floated about in the national discourse about what happened in Norway.

I find Mark Juergensmeyer’s (Author of ‘Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence") article, Why Breivik Was a Christian Terrorist, a compelling read worth everyone’s contemplation. He makes some significant points many of us might prefer to sweep under the rug. He brings to light a lot about Timothy McVeigh and his reasons, that I did not know, for the violence he committed on all of those innocent people.

Like the Oklahoma City bombing by America’s Christian terrorist, the horrible events of July 22 by Norway’s Christian terrorist Anders Breivik were symbolic attempts at empowerment, aimed at showing the world that the imagined war to save Christendom had begun. It is a tragic fantasy – that Christianity is under siege and needs to be saved – but one that echoes throughout the world of the Christian right, and sadly erupts, at times, in terrorism.

Christianity is filled with violent symbolism and the language of war and confrontation:  blood sacrifices, “I’m in the Lord’s army,” “Onward Christian soldiers,” to just name a few.  Some take this language to extremes.  Even George W. Bush spoke in terms of religious warfare when referring to wars in which he decided to engage this country.

Perhaps this is more than a religious war.  Perhaps this is a clash of cultures and power structures, some ancient, in the quest for economic gain.

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Original Article

Update on Chloé, Our Nissan Leaf

Chloé, our all electric car, has now topped 1,000 miles. Yep, that’s 1,000 miles without any gasoline. (Put another way, that’s easily over $100 I haven’t given to the evil oil empire.)

Driving it here in Sausalito has been an adjustment because this area has some serious hills. (Since I was raised in Florida, I think of them as mountains!) The hills greatly impact the car’s energy use.

Going down the steep hills generates a lot of electricity and charges up the battery. Going up the steep hills, well, that’s another matter entirely. The car is continuously calculating how much further (in miles) you can drive. When that number starts dropping rapidly (as in drops a mile every quarter mile or so) I get nervous. But then, when you’re driving in stop and go traffic or downhill, the number of miles starts going up, sometimes dramatically. (Chloé really loves stop and go traffic!!)

So, it was time.

Time to drive over the Golden Gate bridge and into San Francisco. It just seems so far! And the bridge itself crests. And the hill coming back to the house is one seriously steep, long, grinding incline. Would I have to push the car home up the mountainside???

I was a nervous wreck!

I drove all the way from Sausalito to one of San Francisco’s furniture stores. It seemed like a long way, but it really wasn’t: just under 12 miles one way. Compared to LA, San Francisco is a tiny town.

Chloé has learned that it lives in a very hilly area; so, it told me that, even on a full charge, it would only go 74 miles. Amazingly, when I arrived at the furniture store, Chloé said it could still go well over 80 miles–further than when I started my pilgrimage.

When arriving back in Sausalito, I still had plenty of miles left; so, we went down the hill to the post office, the UPS store, and then the grocery store!

I’ve also ventured all the way to the Home Depot in San Rafael (the opposite direction from San Francisco). I just love this car!!

Original Article

Lacks the Ring of Truth

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Everyone is reporting about the silver-headed gentleman who frantically called 911 early in the week stating that his Toyota Prius was accelerating out of control down the San Diego interstate. In my mind, these are some of the salient things he says in his on camera CNN interview:

  • The the floor mat was not stuck up under the gas pedal.
  • The car reached speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour causing him to narrowly miss hitting other vehicles traveling down the road.
  • The accelerator took on a mind of its own and was stuck.
  • That his attempts to reach down with his hand and physically pull the gas pedal back up were unsuccessful.
  • That, since the vehicle was speeding out of control down the interstate, it was unsafe for him to take one of his hands off of the steering wheel to place the car in neutral.
  • That, since the vehicle was speeding out of control down the interstate, it was unsafe for him to take one of his hands off of the steering wheel to turn the car off, fearing the steering would lock up and cause a horrible accident at the speed he was traveling.
  • That he was standing on the brake pedal with all of his weight and this did not slow the run away vehicle’s speed very much.
  • That when the highway patrol pulled up beside him and, using the speaker, told him to stand on the brake and use the emergency brake at the same time, the car slowed down to 50 mph, allowing the patrolman to pull in front of the speeding car, make contact between the the patrolman’s trunk and the Prius’ hood and use the patrol car to brake the Prius to a stop.

Thank goodness the story ends safely.

Now, I could be wrong, and forgive me if I am; but, I don’t buy this at all! This sounds like total hogwash to me.

Allow me to elaborate…

As a crazy teenager with very little driving experience, I was driving a car, with around 350 horsepower, that got stuck in full throttle, with that huge engine racing at full power down a two lane road, with traffic, at night! Needless to say, I was shocked and dumbfounded. But bringing the car to a full stop was a simple, yet frightening thing.

I put it in neutral.

The frightening part was that the engine then revved to the max and sounded like it was going to explode. I turned it off.

Since I was out in the middle of no where, I then decided to turn it back on and drive it (stupid kid) to the nearest gas station to call my dad. Remember, this was before any kind of portable phones even existed. I could control the car’s speed, with this huge engine, by Pressing firmly on the brake and dropping the car into neutral when needed.

But this isn’t why I think this man staged this whole event. Aside from the fact that he is an experienced driver, look at what he says. His own words make zero sense to me.

  • If you own a Prius (I do.) odds are very high you are fully aware of the media reports about runaway Prius(es?) that have allegedly killed people. (One report said he was aware of this possible problem and had previously asked his dealer if his car was affected.) If you haven’t given some serious thought to how you would bring your vehicle, of any make or model, to a full stop should something like this happen to you, in my mind, you are negligent!
  • He said it was too dangerous for him to take one of his hands off of the steering wheel to reach just a few inches over to place his car in neutral. WHAT??!! But it wasn’t too dangerous to reach under the dashboard all the way down to the floorboard with his hand to try to pull the gas pedal up, thereby not just taking his hand off the steering wheel but his eyes off the road he reported speeding down at 94 mph?! (I can’t see the road and touch the gas pedal at the same time in my Prius.) Please!! Get real, dude!!
  • He said it was too dangerous for him to take one of his hands off of the steering wheel to reach just a few inches over to place his car in neutral. But it wasn’t too dangerous to get out his cell phone and place a call to 911? (Did the officer give him a ticket for using his cell phone while driving, which, because it reduces the driver’s response time more than driving under the influence of alcohol, is against the law in California?) Even with a USB headset and the phone options package on the Prius, I still have to touch the phone or the dashboard several times to dial 911. Don’t tell me you couldn’t reach a shorter distance to touch the vehicle’s on/off button once or place the car in neutral! No, no, no!!

No, I just don’t believe his story. In the terror of the moment, it could be true I guess, but it is so improbable as to reach the level of incredulous!

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Original Article

Cursive Writing Begins to Officially Die

I’m especially interested in what parents and teachers think about this:  The state of Indiana has decided to stop teaching cursive writing in their schools.  (article)

I’m not really sure what I think about that.

Part of me says they’re right:  students should all be proficient at the computer keyboard.  I myself hardly ever even print and only use cursive writing when I “sign” my name.  (It’s an illegible thing that has had many an attempt at forgery–really.)  I literally avoid pens and pencils and demand a keyboard.  It’s much, much faster for me and is searchable.  Now my parent’s generation is a completely different story.  They never even print (but when they do it’s usually only in capitol letters), rarely hunt and peck, and only write in cursive.

But part of me worries.  Cursive was the tool used to craft the most essential documents of our country.  In very little time, children will no longer be able to read them?  Making a whole body of important literature even a tiny bit more remote from our mostly disinterested youth concerns me a bit.  And what of the illegible signature as personalized art form?

So, what’s your take?  Vote below.

[polldaddy poll=5215341]

Original Article

And I Wonder About This (Part 2)

I have mentioned before that I grew up in an extremely conservative home, attended an ultra conservative private school from K - 12, and got 2 degrees from a militant fundamentalist university (that’s what they called themselves) before going off to the University of Illinois for two more degrees.

Between my undergraduate degree in Music Education and my Masters degree in Piano Performance, I worked for 2 summers at the summer music camp at Interlochen, one of the richest experiences of my life. During those 2 summers I struck up a close friendship with some very wonderful people from around the world. One of them was Steve, with whom I have reconnected in the last couple years.

Steve introduced me to the writings of Francis A. Schaeffer. I read many of his books over those 2 summers. I devoured them. He made sense. His perspective on the Bible and what it says changed the way I thought profoundly, coupled with some long and thought-provoking conversations with a self-proclaimed atheist, P.K. (To read a little bit more about him check out number 73 in my 100 Things v 1.1)

(Click above or the YouTube video below to play the Interlochen Theme)

The Interlochen Theme, from Howard Hanson’s Romantic Symphony, is played at the end of each Camp orchestra and band performance and, shown here, at the conclusion of the Camp season. Edward J. Downing conducts the closing theme of this last concert of the season. You can see him break the baton to signify the close of summer camp. I can not express how beautiful my times here were. To this day, I find the theme deeply moving as it reconnects me to that time of metamorphosis and self-discovery. For the full size of this web video, as well as other videos about Interlochen, visit this section of the Interlochen site.

Original Article

Coming Up for Air

Unpacking, Lifting, Pulling, Pushing, Assembling, Shoving, Climbing… This has been my life for the past 9 days. Even though I’m living on Ibuprofen, I literally wake up in the morning aching before I even move!

Despite the fact that Comcast has still not installed the cableTV, Internet, and home phone service (more to come on that later!), the house is slowly coming together. I finally unpacked my Verizon MiFi card; so, I can post!

I love the micro-climates here. This morning I was awakened to the sound of ships’ fog horns down in the fog-filled bays below. It was gorgeous. Rising. Falling. Floating effortlessly. I shot the pictures below from the bedroom and my office.

Then the 3 deer came for their morning breakfast in the backyard. Can you find all three of them in the picture below? The animaux sauvage, Conrad, saw them too. O deer! He’s just not accustomed to seeing such large beasts so close to him. The first time he saw them, he ran under the bed!

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Original Article

Awesomely Helpful

I know little of nothing about network setup and configuration:  NAT, DHCP, Bridge, DNS, Proxies, Subnet Masks, etc.  What little I do know is from my own exploration and experimentation.

The home network was becoming a huge pain in the rear.  It was divided up into 3 wireless networks and 1 wired network.  The connectivity issues with the AppleTV were a direct result of having conflicting DHCP servers, competing channels with other wireless networks in the hood, and general configuration issues.

The latest issues that were driving me mad related to the iPhone and iPads and the network.  The house is so large and has so much interference in it that it requires 3 airports to provide adequate coverage.  But the iOS devices wouldn’t gracefully switch from one (with so little signal strength the iOS device couldn’t hit the internet) to the other (which would be physically closest to it).  I had to always manually change from one network to the other in Settings.  Grrrrrrrr!  Then the iPhone began dropping the network during Facetime calls.  Grrrrrrr!

In frustration I called AppleCare.  The support agent was a bit horrified at the network mess I had created in my ignorance.  He put me in touch with a wireless specialist at Apple who delighted in his job and literally spent hours on the phone with me while I ran around the house like a madman redoing everything.  He was awesome!

Now the house has three networks:  one wired network for the heavy lifting data transfers and two wireless networks that do not compete with each other:  one is the main network while the other is for house guests.  The main wireless network, with 3 airports throughout the house, now functions as a single network.  Now all iOS devices have a strong signal on one network no matter where they are physically located in the house.  Our network no longer is on the same channel of any of the other networks in the hood.

Our home network actually has 21 devices running on it.  Because setting it up was so complicated and time consuming, requiring several router configurations, I saved all of the config files and mapped out the network.

Getting a tech support person who is both extremely knowledgable and eager to help understand what you are doing and why is absolutely a godsend!  When Apple gets it right, which is most of the time, they knock it out of the ballpark.  No wonder they just reported doubling their earning in one hell of a recession!  Thanks @AppleCare!

Original Article