Strange as it may seem, this life is based on a true story." - Ashleigh Brilliant
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Friday, April 29, 2005
Everyone has their particular insect or rodent fear; the one creature that will make them throw shoes across rooms and wail for their mama when nothing else can phase them. The fear that will keep them up at nights if there's a chance it may be near - the one thing that will bring them to their knees if faced with it. For me, that fear is cockroaches.
Most people have no concept of what a cockroach truly is. There are the pesky, and hard-to-be-rid-of "little" roaches that usually infest kitchens and dark places en masse. There are the weird looking beetle-roaches that are sometimes used in movies in place of real roaches; what's up with that? But you really don't understand the concept of a frightning, terrifying roach experince until you have come across the Southern variety known as "wood" cockroaches. These suckers are huge.
Growing up the first few years of my life in what used to be a forest, and with the rest of said forest right next door, I saw my fair share of these particular roaches; my personal run-ins with them were enough to scar me for life and to this day the site of a big, shiny roach running around will send shivers up and done my spine and reduce me to a sobbing pile of goo.
One of the strangest phenomenon I have noticed about roaches, other than their Shanna-radar which causes any roach at any distance in a room to somehow end up heading towards me or eventually on my person, is their ability to "show up" after a good cleaning. I spent the better part of this week completely re-arranging and cleaning my desk and the clutter around it; stacks of paper and books were removed. Inevitably, a few days later, a roach appears - apparently I have disturbed wherever he had made his home and he wants revenge on me.
What always freaks me out, though, is where were the damn roaches WHEN I was cleaning?? I never saw a one, nor any hint of one - but a day or two after the mass cleaning has taken place, I wake up to find one scurrying around the exact same areas.
I woke up to such a joy this morning, and since it is somewhere on or around my desk at this moment, that place is temporarily "condemned" and not to be approached. Though I am across the room and on another computer, I realize that I will soon have to move because with roach Shanna-radar being the way it is, he will eventually end up over here on this desk; or worse, on me. JoJo was on the hunt, but gave up - seeming to easily ignore my yelps of "JoJo, kill!!"
And since the roach has disappeared, for the time at least, and I am unable to prematurely end his life with my shoe or JoJo's fangs I will not be comfortable in this room, or at my desk...maybe forever.
This is not how one wants to start off their day.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I'm a jerk because I asked the lovely and awesome EJ to interview me and then took forever and 20 days to answer her thoughtful questions. Please forgive me, EJ - I know I suck.
But, better late than never...and you know the rules, folks. If you want me to interview you, say so in the comments (but don't be surprised if it takes longer than 20 days for me to get back to you; I promise it won't take forever, though!)
1. If you were given control of the government for what day and could change ONE thing what would it be (and why)?
Ooh, that is a tough one; there are so many things. I think, though, it would have to be completely sanctioned and legal marriages for gays - simply because to not allow it smacks of inequality and equality is supposed to be the very foundation of this country; its in our best interest to allow everyone the same rights as everyone else.
2. You have just been made a super hero and can choose one super power what is it and why?
To be invisible. There are more times than I can count that I'd like to just disappear and not be seen. I think it would be wonderful; not to mention handy for checking up on things you'd not otherwise be privy to.
3. Would you rather be rich and unknown or rich and famous and why?
Rich and unknown. Though I think I could handle fame, and I wouldn't mind it to a degree, I do cherish my privacy. I'm too much of a hermit to be in the public eye all the time. As a general rule, people tend to get on my nerves and I wouldn't want a bevy of them surrounding me at all times.
4. If you were to commit a serious crime what would it most likely be and why?
It wouldn't be anything deliberate; if I got in trouble for something big it would most likely be because I was helping someone or something or some cause I felt very strongly about and whatever-I-felt-I-had-to-do just happened to also be extremely illegal.
5. You've been placed in the witness protection program and they allow you to choose your new name and new residence....what have you chose?
If I ever do end up in the witness protection program, this tidbit of information could royally screw me, eh? When I was little I wanted to change my name to Anna O'Rourke, because I thought it sounded impossibly romantic so I would choose that. As for a new residence, I'm not picky - they could stick me anywhere with fathomless blue skies and that is near endless blue waters.
Many thanks to EJ - these were great fun!
Friday, April 22, 2005
Happy Earth Day!
Today is designated as the day we remember our lovely planet, and make an effort to do something for her. Because, let's face it, without our Mother Earth - we're in some serious trouble.
I try to make every day Earth Day; I recycle, I don't throw my cigarette butts on the ground, and I try to use products that are environmentally friendly.
We've terribly abused our home in the past, and the results are becoming glaringly, sadly and alarmingly obvious. I can never get my mind around those that don't seem to give a toss about our environment or our planet; those that think there is nothing wrong with raping and pillaging the land to give us more. When we destroy our planet, we only hurt ourselves - and more importantly our future generations.
Today is an important day. I urge you to do something good and beautiful for your Mother Earth. Yahoo! has ten simple ideas, Earthday Network and EnviroLink can tell you if there are any Earth Day events in your area, or take a few minutes and learn about the history of Earth Day.
In my little Earth Day post I would like to spread awareness of what has come to be known as "e-waste".
What is e-waste?
In today's fast-paced and increasingly technological world, millions of pieces of technical and electronic equipment are being used, and disposed of, at a rapid rate. This new form of trash is particularly detrimental to our environment; a cell phone lying in a landfill, for example, can emit toxic metals that leak into the air, ground and possibly into any nearby water.
About.com's E-Waste Fact Sheet says:
Electronic waste, commonly known as "e-waste" includes electronic appliances, products, components, and accessories that, for one reason or another, we have deemed obsolete and have thus discarded.
133,000 computers are thrown out every day; that's not counting old cell phones, printers, fax machines, monitors, etc. All of these contain hazardous materials, usually in the form of plastics, lead, mercury, chromium, and cadmium. When these chemicals leak into the soil they will eventually begin to pollute our water.
What people are not yet aware of is that there is an alternative to throwing old electronic equipment in the trash or leaving it to collect dust in the attic. Recycle!
EBay has taken on the problem of e-waste with their new project, Rethink Initiative which encourages people and helps them to recycle, sell or donate their used electronic junk. You will find an extensive list of places you can drop-off used electronics to.
In a similar fashion, Earth 911 lets you search for electronic recycling centers by zip code.
Wondering where else you can recycle your electronic waste?
RecycleWirelessPhones.org or WirlessRecycling.com are both great places to start; donated phones go to charities so you're helping those in need as well as the environment.
The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation has put together Call2Recycle for the betterment of our environment. You can find locations to drop off used cell phones and rechargeable batteries near you.
Verizon Wireless' HopeLine uses the money made from selling donated phones to fight against domestic violence.
And according to this article, The Body Shop is taking donated cell phones through August 31; some will be distributed to "200 women's shelters where they will be given to women at risk of domestic violence for use in emergencies". Proceeds will also go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Wireless Foundation. Drop off your phone at any The Body Shop location. You can get more information directly from The Body Shop's page, Donate a Phone, Save a Life.
Stuck with an old, unused pc? Donate it to The National Cristina Foundation, which refurbishes the computers to give to those in need. Their Mission Statement reads:
National Cristina Foundation (NCF) provides computer technology and solutions to give people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons the opportunity, through training, to lead more independent and productive lives.
PC World also gives a wealth of information and good links on how and where to discard old computers in the article Junk Your Old PC - Safely.
If you would like to know more about the growing problem of e-waste, please visit eWaste Guide, a "knowledge base for the sustainable recycling of eWaste". You can also read the article Drowning in e-waste by Henry Norr.
Have a lovely Earth Day, everyone.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Today is the first day in quite some time that I've had to brave Baton Rouge rush hour traffic; or as I like to call it HELL.
I remember now why I used to come home shaking and irritable - why the stress of my day was enhanced tenfold by the seemingly simple act of driving to and from work.
What is wrong with these Baton Rouge drivers? Driving isn't that hard. All it really takes is a healthy dose of concentration and common sense - something people in Baton Rouge are obviously lacking.
I don't understand; I simply don't.
Connecticut legalized civil unions for gays this week; that's 3 down and 47 to go. It's not marriage - yet - but give it time; these are amazing leaps. It makes my heart sing with joy.
Off to write a much more interesting and meaningful post about spammers, direct-linkers and ham. Bear with me through this little period of bloggers-block, please.
Monday, April 18, 2005
To the genius from San Antonio, Texas who found this blog by typing "teen toying herself with a tampon" into Yahoo! search:
I hate to burst your bubble, but that's not what they're used for.
Friday, April 15, 2005
It's casual-wear-jeans-at-work day.
For a full-time jobholder that's about as good as it gets. Days like this are the best we can hope for. I'd like to say "days like this make it all worthwhile", but that would be a lie.
Now how about this shit: Bill Would Hold Game Makers Accountable for Players' Actions.
I wish that were a joke, but it isn't.
Washington's "big thinkers" (and I use the term loosely) believe that game makers should be held responsible if someone under the age of 17 commits a crime "because" of their game.
What I'd like to know is, how can this be proven? If a kid is disturbed enough to shoot an innocent person just because he does it in a game how is that the game maker's fault? Maybe his mother smoked too much pot while he was in the womb. Maybe he had really shitty parents to start with. Maybe he had other issues. Maybe he's just using the game as a scapegoat to get a lesser sentence.
Where would the line be drawn? I played many hours of Clue as a kid and I wasn't trying to off people on the street with a candlestick. But if this bill was passed, someone could claim that very thing. It's ridiculous.
Furthermore, it's not like these are games intended for kids in the first place. Who are the people that are allowing these children to own and play games like this? I'm not saying every parent can stop their kid from playing M-rated games; there are other parents and older kids that can supply the goods. But, still. You can't hold responsible the game maker - their games are labeled "M for Mature" for a reason; they're not making games for kids. If kids get a hold of them, that isn't their fault.
What kind of a kid thinks it's okay to emulate the violence they see in a video game? There's obviously other issues here if said kid cannot differentiate between the game world and reality. Shooting up cartoon zombies or running over 3-d hookers is shameful, gory fun - but when you turn off the computer or gaming console, you don't just decide to continue the fun in real life unless you are already seriously fucked in the head. Game makers shouldn't be held responsible for people, kids or not, that were wackjobs to begin with.
Games don't make people psychotic. Do I even need to be saying this?
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Thomas Jefferson!!!!!
As a present I can only swear to do my best to make sure your name is not tarnished by lies and used to further causes that would've made you shudder in disgust. I promise to do my best to shine light on the principles and beliefs that you held as Truth - ones that I, myself, hold dear to my own heart.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
The first mistake that anyone who can work on computers makes is telling people about it.
Rule #1 - The first rule of Fairly Decent Computer Skills is you do not talk about having fairly decent computer skills.
Rule #2 - The second rule of Fairly Decent Computer Skills is you DO NOT talk about having fairly decent computer skills.
But, really, it's true. Then every Tom, Shane and Elsa who owns a computer but hasn't the foggiest idea what to really do with it will be knocking down your door.
It's sort of like winning the lottery; family members and "friends" you did not know existed will be popping up all of a sudden, "Oh, hey. I heard you can work on computers. I'm your second cousin's boyfriend's mailman's sister's boss's dog walker. Do you think you could look at my computer?"
The hours Baret and I spend of our "free time" building, fixing, and cleaning up other people's computers is absolutely ridiculous. There are at least 2-3 computers at any given time sitting in our apartment waiting to be fixed or being worked on.
Sadly, the main thing we are called upon to do is what is known in the biz as "cleanup". I am honestly appalled at the number of people that bring computers to me infested with viruses and so bogged down in spy/adware that they can barely turn on.
These people do not have virus protection, or are not updating it if they do have it, and don't have the slightest clue what spyware removal is or why they should have it.
When the 'net first became a hotbed for picking up spy/adware, and viruses were just beginning to be a real threat I could understand the average user having no knowledge of these things and not realizing they needed to be protecting themselves from them. But excessive spam, daily scams, spyware, adware, malware, viruses, worms, Trojans, and hijackers are prevalent problems that should be well-known to anyone paying half a mind to the online community buzz. There is no excuse for you not to be aware of these things.
When I scold people for this I usually get the response, "I don't know what's going on with computers. I don't care about that stuff; I don't keep up with the latest news", I want to slap them. Perhaps a year or two ago you didn't need to, but in today's world if you have an active internet connection it is completely ignorant not to be staying abreast of the latest online dangers!
There's no excuse for not knowing what a phishing scam is. There's no excuse for being unwitting enough to click on pop-up ads. There's no excuse for "innocently" opening a suspicious email attachment from someone you don't know. There's no excuse for surfing the Internet without virus protection.
So people don't "get" computers. Okay, fine. But why aren't they taking the time to learn about them? If a computer has become a part of your everyday life and not knowing how to take care of it or protect yourself while on it can cause it to break or stop functioning properly, or get your identity stolen, why wouldn't you try and learn?
It's like having a car and not knowing it needs gas to keep running or that the oil needs changing periodically. If you brought that car to a mechanic, he'd laugh at you. "Why don't you try putting some gas in it?" he'd suggest sardonically. Or "Of course it's broken, you never changed the oil. There's no oil in it."
The computer, I tell people, is not a self-cleaning oven. If you put a lot of nasty stuff in it, it's going to get full of crusty, hard-to-remove junk and it isn't going to work like it's supposed to - if at all. If you do not take the time to run basic maintenance on your pc, it will not be functioning for very long. You will have a dead computer, or one moving so slow it might as well be dead. Then you'll have to dump it off on someone like us to "clean it up" for you. Or worse, you'll have to pay someone to clean your computer and if you get a real dimwitted jackass he may reformat your entire hard drive so that you lose all of your important files and data (there are many geniuses out there that think the only solution to "cleaning up" an infected computer is reformatting - this is always a LAST resort; beware of anyone wanting to do this to your computer and get a second or third opinion before losing everything on your pc). That right there should be reason enough to learn how to keep your computer clean and working properly.
Most of you reading this are fairly computer-savvy, and this really isn't for you. But I'm sure you know exactly the type I'm talking about. Likely, if you've made the mistake of letting people know that you are knowledgeable about even the basics of computers, you, too, are getting calls and questions about fixing and cleaning.
For those that aren't in the know, and for those that are and would like something to give to the unknowing, I offer you my write-up of basic computer upkeep. Print it out - pass it on to someone who can use it.
I already know one person who fell for a phishing scam (her entire bank account was cleared out in less than a day) and one person whose identity was stolen. Again, there's no excuse for not being aware of these dangers - if these two people had taken the time to learn about the risks of being online neither of them would have been scammed. I have saved countless computers from a virus-malware-ridden death. Had their users performed simple and basic maintenance, they never would've come to that state.
Be aware and be knowledgeable about your equipment. That's all I ask.
Shanna's Basic Computer Upkeep & Online Safety Information.
(The file is in .pdf format)
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
A little backstory on why I wrote what I posted yesterday...
I was unsettled when I received an email entitled "God-based USA forgotten?" that read as follows:
This is worth remembering, because it is true. Those of you that graduated from school after the early 60's were probably never taught this. Our courts have seen to that! Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of "The Declaration of Independence" were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? They all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society, immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of Scripture for the people of this nation.
The argument for our country being based on Christian principles is one that has concerned me for many years. My own research tells me this is most likely untrue, so I was troubled to receive the above email - even moreso when doing a search for its source online showed that many people had posted it on message boards and websites claiming it as "truth". Not a one, I have found, took the time to investigate the claims put forth in this piece.
It is an injustice our founding fathers do not deserve to dogmatically assume they believed a certain way without any facts. It is foolish to post such postulations without doing a little fact-checking first; people apparently thought "oh, this sounds good" and appended it to a message, email or site simply because it furthered their own cause. Everyone who forwarded, posted or promoted this tripe should be ashamed of themselves.
It only took a few hours of research to point out the fallacies, half-truths and inaccuracies in this piece. Every bit of what is offered up here as "truth" can easily be refuted by simple facts found on the Internet or in an encyclopedia.
I urge you to do your own research on the claims posited in this piece; bring an end to the falsehoods that have been circulating the online community for at least two years now. The great men who gave us our beloved country deserve nothing less; not only does this piece claim they are something they were not it uses this lie to further a cause they were likely absolutely against!
I am trying to find the original source for this material along with the original author. If anyone knows where this was first shown/published and who wrote it, please email me this information.
My findings on this piece are below. Please take the time to read the other side of the coin before jumping to any final conclusions.
(Note: If you would like to link this piece use this http://anima-x.blogspot.com/2005/04/little-backstory-on-why-i-wrote-what-i.html . This information can also be found on my website at http://skatoolaki.com/soap/shanna/foundingfathers-christianornot.htm.)
Monday, April 11, 2005
I got this email at work the other day and it got me pondering on a years-long personal conundrum - were our founding fathers absolute, devout Christians and did they or did they not build the foundations of our government on conservative Christian principles?
I have always been under the impression that our founding fathers were Deists and Masons. It's not to say that they were not Christian, but that perhaps their world-view was a bit broader than your average, conservative Bible-beater. Those that were known to have actively studied Christianity I believed were merely, as Deists, reviewing it as part and parcel of their study of *all* religions and religious beliefs in their thirst of knowledge and personal truth.
However, in recent years there's been quite an uproar on the Christian front as the fight to have overtly-Christian iconography and ritual removed from public venues. The Christians' battle-cry is that our country was founded on Christian values, and to remove these things attacks the very heart of the principles this great country was founded on. Those on the other side of the coin say this country was founded on anything but - that, in fact, this country's forefathers were of the mindset that no organized religion should be more pertinent than another in a "free" country.
It would seem that the founding fathers, escaping a country of religious persecution themselves, would have gone out of their way to make sure the very mistakes they fled from were not repeated in their new, foundling country. It would seem this was their thinking when reading the very first amendment of our great Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I could spend pages rehashing the arguments over the correct interpretation of this amendment. Some believe it approbates the "separation of church and state"; some say it has nothing to do with that at all.
It would seem to me that our forefathers were looking to eliminate religious persecution - that they believed in a "free" country everyone should be able to think, act, believe and worship howsoever they saw fit. But does that mean our country was founded on Christian principles? That, though other religions and beliefs were acceptable, Christianity was seen as the prominent religion; so much so that our founding fathers embraced it and based all the rest of their decisions upon its morals?
According to an email circulating the online community this would be the case. My own research tells a different story, however - and I'll share that with you now.
I'd like to, first, state that my main reason for looking into the claims of this email is not to take a side on whether our country is fundamentally based on Christianity. While I have my personal views on that, it is not what urged me to show the other side of the coin. If, as I believe, these men were not Christian - if some were even adamantly not Christian - we do them a terrible disservice by eschewing their viewpoints to tout something they would have opposed. To take snippets of these brilliant minds' words and use them to further a cause they would not have supported were they alive to defend themselves is a disrespect the men who gave us this wonderful country do not in any way deserve.
I did not know these men. I cannot say whether they were or were not Christian, Deist or Agnostic. What I can do is look at a broader spectrum of their written words and personal letters to family and friends and compare them to the brief statements by them made in this email.
After reading these things, you will have to decide for yourself if you feel that you can, with 100% conviction, call these men fundamental Christians. You must determine if you feel it is right to add their name to the fight for "keeping" this country predominantly Christian or that they founded everything we stand for on Christian principles. If you feel even a shade of doubt, then it would be wrong to speak for these men and apply questionable morals and beliefs to their names - to do so would be to disgrace them.
The email is in italics. Quotations I have found are in bold. My excursus in regular font.
This is worth remembering, because it is true. Those of you that graduated from school after the early 60's were probably never taught this. Our courts have seen to that!
There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be. - Charles Sanders Peirce
I'm not claiming here to know the truth, but am simply offering more evidence for you to make your own assumptions.
This email asserts itself as truth - yet so do spam and scam emails. The credibility of this information is questionable at the start simply for the medium through which it is conveyed. Searching for this essay online turns up a number of results - but no where is a source ever identified. Some say "a friend sent this to me", others simply post it on a page with no identifying origin or explanation. If this information is so vital and truthful why has it never been published or acknowledged anywhere other than online journals and forwarded emails?
Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of "The Declaration of Independence" were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? They all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society, immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of Scripture for the people of this nation.
15 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were known Freemasons, importantly Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. 28 of the 40 signers of the Constitution were Freemasons or were affiliated with the organization, including George Washington, James Madison and Ben Franklin.
Robert Livingston, who was the Grand Master of New York's Masonic Lodge, swore in our first president, George Washington, who took his oath on a Bible from a Masonic lodge.
The American Bible Society was founded in 1816 in New York City; our Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 - hardly "immediately".
On September 11, 1777, the Continental Congress ordered 20,000 Bibles to be imported to American troops. This had nothing to do with the American Bible Society or the Declaration of Independence and the Bibles were not sent to American citizens, but to American soldiers. The law read as follows:
The Congress....Desirous...to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God's superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely...on His aid and direction...Do earnestly recommend Friday, the 17th day of May be observed by the colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewailed our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease God's righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain this pardon and forgiveness.
This was done as aid for troops overseas by Congress after our Declaration had been signed and 39 years before the American Bible Society was founded.
Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, 'Give me liberty or give me death,' but in current textbooks, his preceding words are omitted. Here is what he actually said: 'An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.' These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. Patrick Henry was a Christian? The following year, 1776, he wrote this: 'It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.'
From what I have read and seen, Patrick Henry was, indeed, a devout and devoted Christian and fervently dismissed claims that he was Deist:
"The rising greatness of our country...is greatly tarnished by the general prevalence of deism, which, with me, is but another name for vice and depravity....I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and indeed that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory (being called a traitor), because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics....Being a Christian...is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast." - Patrick Henry
- "The Life of Patrick Henry of Virginia", A.G. Arnold, 1854
However, the radical Patrick Henry was not a signer of the Declaration of Independence so his importance in this issue is void.
A great number of political men in the late 1700s were fundamental Christians; no one is denying this fact. Patrick Henry is one of them. It lends no credence to the argument that this country was founded on Christian principles whatsoever.
Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the front of his well-worn Bible: 'I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator.' He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.
It should be noted that while Jefferson considered himself a Christian, he was by no means a "traditional" Christian. Jefferson was a follower of Jesus Christ - and none other. He was against the hierarchy and rulership of the Church and spoke out most fervently on how he believed Jesus' teachings had been misinterpreted and abused.
In January 19, 1810, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Samual Kercheval:
"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." - Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson was such a believer in Jesus' original and untainted teachings that he created was is known as "The Jefferson Bible".
It is said in Thomas Jefferson and His Bible that Jefferson's Jesus was not the Jesus of the Bible; in fact, Jefferson seemed not concerned with other aspects of biblical or Christian history but in shining light on what he believed were the true teachings of Jesus Christ:
Who was the Jesus that Jefferson found? He was not the familiar figure of the New Testament. In Jefferson's Bible, there is no account of the beginning and the end of the Gospel story. There is no story of the annunciation, the virgin birth or the appearance of the angels to the shepherds. The resurrection is not even mentioned.
Jefferson may have called himself a Christian because he believed the tenements of Christ, but it is plain that he did not accept or practice orthodox Christianity and was not a proponent of the Christian Church.
In a letter to his rival and friend, John Adams, on April 11, 1823, Jefferson said:
"One day the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in the United States will tear down the artificial scaffolding of Christianity. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." - Thomas Jefferson
To say that Thomas Jefferson would have attempted to found this country on a religion he vehemently denounced is absurd at best.
On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, 'The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.'
On July 4, 1821, U.S. Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, delivered a speech to the House of U.S. Representatives in celebration of Independence Day. No where in that speech is the above quotation found.
In 1821, the President was James Monroe. John Adams was one of our founding fathers who was president from 1797-1801; his son, John Quincy Adams was president from 1825-1829. The above is attributed to a "President Adams"; since this email is trying to prove that our founding fathers were devout Christians one would assume they are claiming this was said by the first John Adams. However, the only John Adams to give a speech on July 4, 1821 was John Quincy Adams - our forefather's son.
There is a quotation by our sixth president that mirrors the above and is attributed to John Quincy Adams, but there has been some argument in the past as to whether he ever actually uttered these words. This page, "Did John Quincy Adams ever say that the American Revolution...", researched by Jim Allison, indicates this is most likely untrue.
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, 'The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.'
Calvin Coolidge was not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, nor was he a founding father of this country.
Perhaps Calvin Coolidge was a Christian and did say this very thing. It is possible that Mr. Coolidge was ignorant of the religious and spiritual beliefs of predecessors that had created the government 134 years before him. Regardless, it lends no further credence to the assertion that our country was founded on Christian principles. President Coolidge's observations of what these men did over a hundred years before him are likely as muddled as our own.
In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: 'The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.'
On January 21, 1781, Robert Aitken presented a petition to Congress to allow him to print an "Americanized" Bible or as he put it "a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use in schools".
At the time the only Bibles available hailed from Europe and publishing a new Bible was prohibited without a special license from the British government. Aitkens sought to publish the first English-language Bible in America and appealed to Congress for permission to do so.
On September 12, 1782, Congress acted on the petition by "highly approving of the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken". This endorsement was printed in the Bible.
Congress did not vote to recommend and approve the "Holy Bible" for use in schools in 1782. It did, however, approve an English-speaking Bible published by Robert Aitken that was recommended, because of its easy readability, for use in schools.
William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the 'Schoolmaster of the Nation.' Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: 'The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it is derived our nation, on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free Institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible, I make no apology.'
It is ridiculous to base an argument on our founding father's intentions on the words of a professor who based his entire career on morality. He may have been a bright man who did many wonderful things for the school system, but stating his beliefs on the nation's Christian roots is no more useful than quoting any semi-famous conservative Christian who's lived in the past hundred years.
McGuffey was no more present in the minds of our founding fathers than any of us. Simply because he was a devout Christian lends no proof to the fact that our country might be based on the religion. He isn't even a politician.
Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: 'Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.'
From Harvard University's official website:
Although many of its early graduates became ministers in Puritan congregations throughout New England, the College was never formally affiliated with a specific religious denomination.
It makes one wonder how many of these other "106" were supposedly "Christian".
James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: 'We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.'
On the page Is it true that James Madison said...", it is noted that this quotation has not been able to be attributed to Madison from but one source - and that one is not direct:
...no such quote has ever been found among any of James Madison's writings. None of the biographers of Madison, past or present have ever run across such a quote...
However, many, many more quotes - some directly taken from letters written by Madison - paint a different picture. Does this sound like a devout, orthodox Christian to you?
During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.” - James Madison
I believe this quote by Madison describes perfectly how he feels about a religion being the foundation for government:
"[The] civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner or on any pretext infringed." - James Madison
This was said June 8, 1789 in an introduction to the Bill of Rights at the First Federal Congress. "...nor shall any national religion be established" leaves little wiggle-room.
James Madison believed that church and state should not intertwine, as he said in a letter to Edward Livingston on July 10, 1822:
"I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of Religion from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace. This has always been a favorite principle with me; and it was not with my approbation, that the deviation from it took place in Cong[ress], when they appointed Chaplains, to be paid from the Nat[ional] Treasury. It would have been a much better proof to their Constituents of their pious feeling if the members had contributed for the purpose, a pittance from their own pockets. As the precedent is not likely to be rescinded, the best that can now be done, may be to apply to the Const[itution] the maxim of the law, de minimis non curat." - James Madison
It seems a mockery of his beliefs to claim that James Madison helped to found this country on Christian principles and morals.
To lend further credence to the idea that our country was not principally founded on Christian principles, Thomas Jefferson says this in his own autobiography:
"[A]n amendment was proposed by inserting 'Jesus Christ,' so that [the preamble] should read 'A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion'; the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination" - Thomas Jefferson
If most of our forefathers were Christians creating a Christian-based government, then who was this "great majority" that voted to keep the preamble open to all believers of all religions?
Today, we are asking God to bless America - but how can He bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him? Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks. Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country's Christian roots.
Most of what you have read in this email is falsehoods, misconstrued and improperly quoted text, and blatant misinformation. Much like Jefferson believed the Bible to a bastardization of the true teachings of Jesus, this and documents like it, make folly of the true intentions of our founding fathers by "revising" the truth to speak how they wish it to.
Let's you and I share the truth of our nation's history and let it be told. For example, in John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.'
This information shared is only a drop of cement to help secure a foundation that is crumbling daily in a losing war that most of the country doesn't even know is raging on, in, and around them...
The war is that fundamental Christianity wants to become the nation's religion-of-choice; that people like this want to impose their views and religious beliefs upon you - to the point of ignoring the freedoms this country was based upon. If these bigots win this "war" a dark hour will come to pass over America's freedom.
Please do your bit and share this with as many as possible and make the ill-informed aware of what they once had.
Do your bit and search out your own truths before heedlessly swallowing up the "research" of others - even in regards to this piece.
And please - begin to tell our children.
Instead, tell our children the truth - that it is fine to worship however you want to, but it is never right to push that religion on another or to use that religion to judge another as beneath you. Teach them that it is not the "American way" to force others in submission or to follow beliefs against their own in the name of religion - at least, it should not be.
Teach your children that regardless of whether our founding fathers were Christian or not, they should always follow their own hearts - wherever it may take them. Tell them to always fight for the right to follow those hearts as well, for that is what this country stands for.
(Note: If you would like to link this piece use this http://anima-x.blogspot.com/2005/04/i-got-this-email-at-work-other-day-and.html . This information can also be found on my website at http://skatoolaki.com/soap/shanna/foundingfathers-christianornot.htm.)
Friday, April 08, 2005
Say it isn't so. And I thought the buffoonery that is reality TV had already reached the depths of depravation and idiocy. That was, until I read about UPN giving the trashy pop-tramp Britney Spears and her insipid, worthless husband their own reality show. Television has reached an all-time low.
UPN's entertainment president, Dawn Ostroff's questionable enthusiasm over the dumb-and-dumber duo's life together boggles the mind. "Even if it were a fictitious story, it would be interesting," she is as quoted as saying. Am I the only one who isn't the least bit interested in the daily mundane activities of these two morons? Famous or not, they're idiots (have you seen the Details magazine interview? It just oozes class.). Yet reality TV appears to be founded on watching idiots make themselves look even more moronic for money and fame, so maybe she's on to something. What does that say about us, though? Do we have nothing better to do with our time than wonder what new tattoos KFed and BSpear are getting next week?
Britney's purported reasons for doing the show are to prove to the world that the rumors about she and Kevin and their relationship together are untrue. What she fails to realize is that we don't care. They make a mockery out of themselvse every time they open their mouths; they don't need to worry about the media doing it for them. This reality show will only further that point.
"From the day that Kevin and I met, there have been constant rumors and inaccurate speculation about our lives together," Spears said in a statement. "I feel that last year, the tabloids ran my life, and I am really excited about showing my fans what really happened, rather than all the stories, which have been misconstrued by journalists in the past. As I mentioned before, I am now going to be expressing my personal life through art."
Brit, considering the music you make, I'll have to excuse you for being so simple-minded as to consider reality TV "art".
Though I really have no desire to sit around and watch Britney try to come up with fresh, new ways to say "motherfuckers", I intend to watch the show. Why, you ask? Well it isn't for the entertainment, trust me. I'm not into TV and even less into reality TV and absolutely opposed to celebrity couples pretending to share their "glamorous yet genuine" lives by taping together a few fairly juicy snippets into something that's half-ass realistic. No, not my bag.
My reasons for wanting to watch are purely for the sake of journalism; or blogger fodder if you want to be unceremonious about it. I can't think of anything more enjoyable than picking apart each episode with a wicked stroke of the keys. That's my plan, anyway. My past attempts at setting up a weekly television-watching schedule have always fallen through. I just have better things to be doing with my time and I hate being pinned down to a schedule - even if it's something I enjoy. So I might catch one or two and I might bash them - it really depends on how I feel at the time. But other than that, I plan to stay as far away from UPN and the Britney-Kevin hour as humanly possible.
The show is slated to be a "documentation of love". Right. We all know it's going to be the documentation of a used-up pop-tart and the low-life who married her for her money; that's why people want to watch it. No one wants to see Britney and Kevin in love - that's not good TV - they want to see them fighting and being wild and trashy. Luckily for the audience, that's what these two do best.
Love. Whatever. I bet the show lasts longer than the marriage.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Okay, guys, I get these fucked up IM's with idiots and jerks all the time, but this one that I just had TAKES THE CAKE...
Be My Whore Tonight
vamp_lynx : Nothing.
craigdurst69: cum meet me
vamp_lynx : What?
craigdurst69: lets hook up
vamp_lynx : I don't know you.
craigdurst69: thats the fun of it
vamp_lynx : Maybe for you.
craigdurst69: just figured ya know
vamp_lynx : No, sorry. I just don't do that. Not safe - esp. in this city. Sorry.
craigdurst69: what city?
vamp_lynx : Baton Rouge
craigdurst69: i dont' live in baton rouge
vamp_lynx : I do.
craigdurst69: yes but im im a small safe city lol
vamp_lynx : Sorry
craigdurst69: well you got some pics?
vamp_lynx : There are some on my website.
craigdurst69: wow we gotta meet lol
craigdurst69: ill wear protection
craigdurst69: you know where butte la rose is
vamp_lynx : Yes I know where it is.
craigdurst69: come meet me lol
vamp_lynx : I can't. I have a boyfriend.
vamp_lynx : And I don't do the meet-up thing.
craigdurst69: ill pay you
vamp_lynx : You're serious?
vamp_lynx : Sorry, I quit the whore business years ago.
craigdurst69: ill pay you
vamp_lynx : Yes, you said that.
craigdurst69: just for a bj
craigdurst69: thats it
vamp_lynx : I don't meet up with strangers for sex - and I can't believe you're offering to pay me. I'm not a whore.
I'm such a dork.
So there's this huge meeting going on for state web designers and I was invited to go; the email was forwarded to me by the webmaster of the-agency-over-our-agency's web team.
My boss urged me to go and suggested I ask for a ride with all of them, since getting around isn't the easiest thing for me to do.
She just called to ask me if I'd gotten the email, and I said I had and then just blurted out that I'd like to catch a ride with them, if that was okay.
Why did I do that? It just came out, with no forethought, no urging or pushing, like mouthy diarrhea. Even as it was coming out of my mouth, my head was going oh-my-god-you-don't-even-KNOW-these-people-SHUT-UP-!!!. I could've waited for her to offer, or talked to her a few more minutes with some short, stimulating chit-chat before I just blurted out 5 seconds into the call, "Yeah, can I catch a ride with you guys?"
She said sure but that they were all going out to eat beforehand (it's after lunch), if that was okay with me. I said sure, and now I not only have to ride with this group of people that I forced my dorky self on, but have to go and sit through an uncomfortable lunch with all of these people that I've never met before and who I rudely pushed myself on.
WHY DID I DO THAT????
So now I'm feeling totally embarassed and, well, dorky. And then in trying to come off light and less-dorky, I added further devastating dorkiness by saying, "Well, I get around on a cane and have a handicap tag, so we'll be able to get good parking."
Oh god. Why didn't I shut-up after the first spout of mouth-spewing-crap?!
I can only imagine what ideas these people are going to have in their heads about me before they actually meet me; I'm just a clueless dorky, cripple girl who asks for a ride from a group of strangers.
I'm going to bury my head in the sand now and try to pretend this never happened. Like I wasn't already nervous about going to this big shindig to start with!!
I'm such a dork.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Last week was really something. The Pope died, Mitch Hedberg died, Johnnie Cochran died, and Terri Schiavo died. What's with all this dying? Mother Nature doing a little spring cleaning?
Dying; it sucks.
In a weird and slightly unrelated way that reminds me of my last therapist; who I am no longer seeing. She was a very nice lady, and I can't say she didn't help at times. Yet we were so very different that I felt it negatively affected our sessions. When it came to issues of dying, marriage, having children, etc. we did not see eye to eye. Why would that matter, you ask? Apparently it did; she appeared to think that my eclectic views on death and the afterlife, my antipathy for marriage and lack of desire to procreate were the root causes of all my mental problems.
She was older and very traditional and "traditional" is about as far as you can get from describing my personality and views on life. Eventually I just stopped going. I don't need anyone trying to convince me that I should get married to be happier - I haven't noticed that working for a lot people.
Did anyone else have a damn hard time waking up this morning? Wow. I bet a study would find that 85%-95% of all people are late coming in to work the Monday after Daylight Savings Time has fucked time all up to hell and back. I know I was.
In closing this non-sensical Monday ramble, I'd like to suggest a book for you to read. I very, very highly recommend The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I can't tell you the last time I enjoyed a book so much or got into the characters so deeply. I laughed, I cried - I was moody for two days after finishing it, then I picked it right back up and started reading it again. Try it - I promise you won't be disappointed. Many thanks to my sis for insisting we all read it after she fell in love with it as well; this is now on my list of all-time favorite books.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
I wish I could take credit for that title but that is actually the moniker given to the Baton Rouge Zoo's little gala affair that we attended today. My best friend called us early this morning and, pointing out how gorgeous it was outside, suggested we go to the zoo. It was a lovely idea.
Note to self:
The zoo is a much more enjoyable place when it is not Zippity-Zoo Day. Unless you enjoy hordes and hordes of screaming, crying, growling children and rude parents who are so busy gabbing on their cell phones they don't think to step out of the way of your wheelchair.
All things considered, we did have a nice time. Yet I have to say I prefer the quieter days at the zoo, when it is semi-crowded, than when it overfloweth as it did today. I find the older I get the more I dislike crowds. Of course, the older I get the less I find I like people in general so maybe it's just part and parcel of my overall disdain for my fellow man.
After a good bit of sun and over-exposure to bad kids, we left. I remember why we only visit every few years.
I know it's a week late, but we had a nice Easter. After dinner found the entire family sitting around the kitchen gossiping about all of the "crazy" people in town (past and present), a particular family member's questionable choice in women, and current affairs. My grandfather stated that should he end up in a situation similar to Terri Schiavo that I have to pull the plug. When I asked why I was being chosen for this he informed me that I was the only one "tough and mean" enough to do it; I'm still not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.
We had a nice time and everyone had gotten slammed with at least one wicked, dead-on one-liner before the night was done. My family are aces at those and no one is immune. What better way is there to show love than attacking one anothers' weaknesses in fun? None, I tell you.
I'll end this pointless ramble now with a little reminder: Don't forget, time changes tomorrow! Set your clocks forward.