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Archive for April, 2011

We must become the change we want to see in the world.
  —  Mohandas K. Gandhi
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Everybody can be great…  because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.
  —  Martin Luther King, Jr.
[The honor is to serve…  —  KMAB]
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If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you.   What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.
  —  Mary Pickford
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Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.
  —  Henry David Thoreau
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In the 200+ year history of this country, every few years there is an attack on the separation of Church and State in the United States.  These attacks have been more or less consistent for the last 50 years.  These attacks come mostly from those who seek political gain from the lack of historical knowledge by current citizenry of the actual beliefs of our “Founding Fathers”.
One of those “Founding Fathers” – James Madison – was the fourth President of the United States, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, and he is widely considered to be the “Father of the Bill of Rights”.
In 1785, while Madison was serving in the Virginia House of Delegates, there was an attempt to pass a bill providing public support for teachers of religious education. Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” was his response.  It serves today as a reminder that the Fathers of our country REALLY did believe in the separation of Church and State and did NOT support public funding of Christian (or any other religious) education.
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I took Friday off to get a little maintenance done on the car and to just chill a bit from work.  I also went out and picked up the DVD for “Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows (part 1)“.
Hil and I watched it last night.  Hil hasn’t read the books and hasn’t followed the movie series closely, so she was a bit lost.  I’ve only read the books once and although I’ve seen every movie, I don’t tend to “study” them the way my daughter Sarah does.  Anyway, it was my second viewing.  The first was at the theater the weekend of first release.  I enjoyed it (again) even though I still didn’t feel like the movie made much sense.  I also didn’t like the producers splitting the ending movie up by a whole year (parts 1 and 2).  In my opinion, it’s just to drive up the sales of both tickets and DVDs.  Still, it is what it is…
During the day (yesterday), I watched “The Core“.  This is a SciFi movie which I must have seen 20 or 30 times in the last 10 years.  (Actually, I believe it came out in ’03, so the last 8 years.)  I enjoy it more each time I watch it.  There are just some great “movie moments” in this film (for me).  One of the classics is when the character Hilary Swank plays is waiting outside a hearing room where she believes she is to be court-martialed and she gets called in and has no place to put her gum, so she swallows it.  That was just a great, real-life, happened to me moment (forced to swallow gum, not getting court-martialed).  The movie is about the core of the earth stops spinning and a group of scientists must go to the core and restart the spinning.  The effects are great the first few times you see them, average after about ten and so-so after twenty views.  BUT the acting gets better and better!  There is a lot of subtle character interaction and that’s what makes it so enjoyable for me to re-watch.  This is definitely a movie I’ll have to pick up on DVD (when the price is right).  Highly recommended!!
Yesterday, I also read a graphic novel: “Fallen Son: The Death Of Captain America”, written by Jeph Loeb (2007©).   My son (James) and I were discussing patriotism and he was out a the mall and thought I would like this book, so he bought it for me.  I grew up reading most of the comics Marvel Comic Company produced.  Captain America was one of the many characters I read about, but without super powers, he seemed one of the least interesting to me.  Marvel was always ahead of their time in dealing with societal issues – particularly the angst of being “different” in a society where many people just want to “be normal” and “fit in”.  I never really thought much about how a fictional, comic-book patriot would feel about what was happening in America during the George W. Bush Presidency.  After reading “Fallen Son“, it’s refreshing to see Captain America came out against many of the abuses of personal liberty which came out of that Administration and time period.  It is also interesting to see the company have the character captured and “assassinated” in order to draw attention to the ideals of freedom which Captain America came to represent.
Of course, Cap is a popular character, so after a suitable period of time he gets resurrected (more correctly, he never actually died) by Marvel, but still, it is nice to see some company stood up for fundamental American values.  I wonder if Marvel took any “heat” for their stance and if they would be allowed to do it again (as the comic company is currently owned by Disney Corp).
It seems there is always a conflict between the needs of the many and the needs of the few.  This theme keeps coming up in my lifetime – be it in comics, the Army, StarTrek, current politics, or American history.  I don’t know that there is any resolution to the question.  What is “safety and security”?  Are we safer with nine criminals and one innocent in prison than we are with all ten free?  Historically, this country has – in theory – always sided with it being better to have guilty free.  As a practical matter, I’d wager the reverse is the reality though – particularly if the incarcerated “innocent” is poor or a minority.  (But I digress…)
I am currently reading a short book on the faiths of several of the founding fathers.  It is fascinating.  More later…
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So Far, So Good

I intend to live forever.  So far, so good.
  —  Steven Wright
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The whole of modern civilization is based on the idea that the specialized function which gives a man his place in society is more important than the whole man, or rather is the whole man, all the rest being irrelevant or even positively harmful and detestable.  The low-brow of our modern industrialized society has all the defects of the intellectual and none of his redeeming qualities.
    —   Aldous. L. Huxley
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We don’t have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth.  Rather, we focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another, and estimate value accordingly.
  —   Dan Ariely
From his book:  “Predictably Irrational
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I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness,
nor the arrow for its swiftness,
nor the warrior for his glory.
I love only that which they defend.
   —  Faramir
(a character in Tolkien’s novel: “Lord of the Rings“)
[Secessionist are TRAITORS!  Let me be clear: states are subservient to the Federal Government.  This country fought the Civil War over this issue 150 years ago and the secessionist-traitors lost.  Thirty years ago, I gave four years of my life in the Army pledged to protect the Constitution of the United States and your right to free speech.   You can say anything you want – short of inciting a riot – in any public forum, but the minute you ACT on your spoken word, my expectation is the Justice Department will arrest and try you for treason.  —  KMAB]
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Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience — to appreciate the fact that life is complex.
  —  M. Scott Peck
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By the time we comprehend and digest information, it is not necessarily a true reflection of reality.  Instead, it is our representation of reality, and this is the input we base our decisions on.  In essence we are limited to the tools nature has given us, and the natural way in which we make decisions is limited by the quality and accuracy of these tools.
  —  Dan Ariely
From his book:  “Predictably Irrational
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Today’s education:  Learning how to do a job, earns a living.  A valuable education:  Learning how to live increases the probability of a life well lived.
  —  [KMAB]
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Ownership is not limited to material things.  It can also apply to points of view.  Once we take ownership of an idea — whether it’s about politics or sports — what do we do?  We love it perhaps more than we should.  We prize it more than it is worth.  And most frequently, we have trouble letting go of it because we can’t stand the idea of its loss.  What are we left with then?  An ideology — rigid and unyielding.
  —  Dan Ariely
From his book: “Predictably Irrational
[Also known as “drinking the kool-aid”. — KMAB]
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The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.
  —  Bertrand Russell
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