Archive for the 'Signs of the Times' Category
Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 (7:38 am), by John W Gillis
Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2010 (10:06 pm), by John W Gillis
It seems that The Great Entitlement Society has hit another bump in the road to paradise lately. Seeing California in the throes of economic meltdown has been one thing, but watching the Greeks taking to the streets to clash with police in frustration over government austerity measures that threaten the leisurely lifestyle of public sector “workers” who collect 14 monthly paydays per year until retiring at age 57 is breathtaking. Where do these clowns think the money to bankroll them is going to come from, and how is it that they are entitled to it? Well, as it happens, they think they have some entitlement to fleece the Germans, and are even willing to invoke WWII to justify what I guess is some craven attempt at reciprocal or retributive criminality. No small part of this, of course, is played by the reality that the Greeks, like so many other moderns, have contracepted and aborted their way into demographic irrelevance.
Apparently not to be outdone, however, are public education beneficiaries in the U.S. who targeted Thursday as a national day of protest over the diminishing availability of funds to underwrite or subsidize their learning experiences. It’s a little hard for me to get my head around their thinking. The economy is tanking, so tax receipts are diminishing at all levels of government as less money changes hands in the private sector, so there is less money in the public coffers to pay for services and entitlements, so they think they should protest that the world is treating them unfairly?
I don’t know why they don’t just offer to pay more out of their own pockets: that would not only ameliorate the unconscionable crisis of their lacking expected perks, but would prove a glorious example to the rest of us of how enterprising Americans have always accomplished their goals. “Put the $ where our minds are” one of these signs reads… to which I can only reply: What money? Whose money? Your money? My money? More proof, as if any needed, that we have raised a society of people who think public goods come from a big wet-nurse in the sky, called “they.”
Posted: Monday, March 1, 2010 (11:59 pm), by John W Gillis
I came across a couple of interesting studies today – whether there is any kind of correlation, I’ll let the reader decide.
In a poll done by the Knights of Columbus, the religious attitudes of the so-called Millennial generation are compared to the older surviving generations, breaking out the Catholics among the generations as well. This is a bit of a fluffy presentation – looking more like a PowerPoint deck than a real study – but the results are intriguing, in a morose way. I must say that I question some of the analysis, as presented on the KoC site, since they seem to be able to take as “good news” that 66% of Millennial Catholics consider abortion morally wrong (and an even smaller number considering euthanasia morally wrong). I can’t help focusing on the 1 in 3 who don’t find abortion morally wrong – that’s like Holocaust survivors thinking the Final Solution must not have been all that bad!
The second one, the American Civic Literacy 2010 Report, from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, explores the relationship between civic knowledge and college education, and reports some disturbing, if unsurprising, results concerning the state of civic knowledge in the country. [Note: The actual civic literacy test being reported on is available for taking on-line at the site linked – please go see how easy this was.]
Why am I not encouraged by any of this?
Posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 (11:55 pm), by John W Gillis
Chalk up another victory for the asininity department…
Someone much smarter than all the rest of us, as we all know, determined some time back that it was possible for babies to be injured in car accidents. This, of course, was simply unacceptable, and called for a solution. As fate would have it, someone much smarter than the rest of us was actually selling just such a solution – the baby car seat.
After many hours of posturing, prevarication, and, quite possibly, plunder, “important safety laws” were passed – which have increasingly constricted people’s ability to operate motor vehicles containing children not ensnared in one of these devices. The result? As this story makes clear, parents (and others) now find themselves overwhelmed by a maze of complexity, requiring the service of ever-multiplying yet increasingly hard to find installation & certification “experts,” just to put some kids in the car. Parental car-pooling is now a logistical nightmare if anyone has kids under 9.
And the seats themselves? They are so dangerous, you can’t give them away. Seriously. Apparently, it’s so difficult to keep track of all the product safety recalls that it is impossible to give away used ones. We tried to give away two last spring, and nobody would touch them. And to think: I didn’t even know I was supposed to have experts install them, or at least inspect them, before I used them!
All this rubbish, and yet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S.? A report from the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us one study found that 72% of nearly 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash? 72%!!!
These moronic safety regulations are precisely the type of crap that passes for morality and responsible citizenship these days… Does that make anybody else angry?
And then there’s these ding-dongs, who rated a bunch of car seats on the basis of a “concern” level over (drum roll, please) potentially harmful chemicals used in their manufacture! Is there no end to the tomfoolery?
Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008 (10:17 pm), by John W Gillis
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2008 (11:58 am), by John W Gillis
I saw this bumper sticker on the car in front of mine upon leaving Saint Patrick church this morning, following morning Mass. I actually didn’t have my cell phone with me, and had to run home for it, then went back to snap the picture. Fortunately , the car was still there, as it turns out it belongs to our parish youth group leader, who is staffing a fundraiser this morning.
It’s a definite keeper. I’m too old to put it on my car with a completely straight face, but I just may do it, anyway. It was obtained through some now-unknown website, but I’ll come back and post a link to it here, if I can find it.
Update: here is the link (no guarantee you won’t something to offend you on the site, if you look hard enough).
Posted: Friday, April 4, 2008 (8:22 pm), by John W Gillis
The local United Church of Christ parish is having a “U2charist” on Sunday. This is billed as a worship service, but rather than being focused on worshiping God in Christ – as in “traditional” Eucharistic worship – this looks more like an event that celebrates celebrities. They’re even touting local “News” celebrity Liz Walker as guest speaker.
As I understand it, these are essentially fund-raising events, with proceeds going to support efforts that fall somehow under the umbrella of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals – a noble enough set of goals, though I am a bit baffled as to how a group like the UCC can rationalize their unabashed support for the abortion license with support for a set of goals that includes reducing child mortality. I must just be thick-headed…
While this “U2charist” is going on at the First Congregational Church, Saint Patrick Church – just three blocks further up East Central Street – will be partaking of the Real Presence of the Lord in the last Eucharistic celebration of the day, if anyone’s interested.
Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 (9:58 pm), by John W Gillis
My blog is one month old today, so I’m having a quiet little celebration tonight. I might even upgrade the site to the new WordPress 2.5 release to mark the occasion.
It’s been unsurprisingly quiet on the site during its maiden month. A couple people have poked around, but I’ve been mostly talking to myself. That’s OK – I’m still trying to figure this out. I did the WordPress install on my development server on January 23rd, and I went live on the production site on March 1st, so I took just over five weeks of “spare time” to learn the basics of WordPress, craft the site’s look in CSS, modify or create template files, choose and configure plugins, etc.
I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. I’ve learned not to run WordPress on Windows – my development server is Windows 2003, and every step along the way with it has been painful (and it still doesn’t work right). I’m trying to figure out how I can shuffle some things around so I can rebuild that box with Fedora. Having a dev environment for my website might be overkill, but I think I’ll be glad I have it someday.
I’ve learned that using wp widgets in my sidebars is not an option for me, since you can’t use any non-widget code once you insert a widget. I’ve learned why web folks hate IE6. I’ve learned that plugins not infrequently come with faulty code (or at least incorrect setup instructions), but I’ve also learned that there are a lot of really decent folks out there who are willing to help a stranger who bangs on their door.
Since going live, I’ve discovered the stand-alone post editor w.bloggar, which is a huge improvement from working in the WordPress admin module. I also discovered HTML-Kit, which would have been a lot more help in February, but better late than never. I haven’t had to change much on the site itself – so far. I moved the Site Page Navigation list on the homepage from the bottom of the left sidebar to the top of the right one (making it more consistent with the rest of the site). I added classes in the style sheet to support displaying thumbnail pictures within posts, and made a couple other minor tweaks, but that’s about it.
There are some other changes in the works, though. I need to change the post metadata display to clean up the look of post footers. I need to expand my classes for displaying pictures in posts – establishing a few standard display sizes. I need to replace the nav bar menu with something that works right with all browsers. I need to start writing shorter posts, and start using the More function to break up the long ones so the home page doesn’t grow so long. And, of course, I need to get more content written.
One big change I’m suddenly considering is replacing Now Reading with LibraryThing. Now Reading is a pretty cool plugin, and I spent several days just before go-live getting it set up the way I want it (not counting the night I wasted trying to get it working on the Windows server). I haven’t really started using it yet, but it was definitely in my plans. However, I stumbled across LibrayThing today, and it seems to do much of what Now Reading does, plus providing social networking functionality that puts it in a completely different league.
I’ll have to check it out further, and see if it will provide enough flexibility in terms of managing content display on the site. I’m hearing WordPress 2.5 breaks Now Reading anyway, so it might be a good time to rethink before I start populating it.