Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Signs That You're Not Cut Out to be a Pirate Captain

Your crew starts shooting each other!

Yep, supposedly the stress of being surrounded by the U.S. Navy has sparked some debate among the 40 - 50 pirates aboard the Ukrainian freighter Faina. And, as sometimes happens with heavily armed high strung types, now they're forming factions and gunning for each other. Such a lack of discipline!

But they shouldn't feel too bad about things falling apart. The same thing happened to William Kidd, when his crew mutinied twice, the second time taking his ship and leaving him with only 12 or 13 loyal sailors to help him get from Madagascar to New York. And Stede Bonnet was such a lousy captain that his entire crew left him to join Blackbeard. Being that he didn't have even a rowboat, let alone any allies to help him get home, he stayed on as a "guest" of Blackbeard for almost a year. He took up piracy again, after changing his name (no one would serve under him!) and getting hold of another ship, but was caught and hanged less than six months later.

That's your pirate moment o' the day. Now get back to work, ye lubbers!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Looks Like They Picked the Wrong Era ...

... to be pirates, that is.

I'm referring, of course, to the recent hijacking of a freighter off the coast of Somalia by pirates. Turns out the ship was loaded with tanks, rocket launchers, missles, and other military equipment coming from the Ukraine and bound from Kenya. Well, instead of following the time honored pirate code of running like heck after taking a ship, these morons have decided to drop anchor ...

... and take on the U.S. Navy. Definitely not a situation conducive to a long and happy life. You can read more about this standoff here.

By the way, The Pirate (Ex) Chaplain in no way endorses modern piracy. Historical piracy against oppressive monarchies, yes. Modern piracy against innocent victims (though I really don't think this arms deal was all that "innocent"), absolutely not. You might want to check out this article's section on modern piracy for more on what's going on out there on the high seas.

And, speaking of another category of bad ideas, looks like the economy is going to continue its free-fall into oblivion. I just checked the news, and saw that the stock exchange ended today way down, and plenty of investors are moving their money to gold. In more personal news, my bank was just bought out as it stood on the verge of collapse. At least my money (what little of it there is) is safe for the time being.

Now if I can just get all those gold investors to load their coins onto galleons ... now THAT could be interesting!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

One Hour More

And then I can flee this place for calmer (and saner) waters.

It's been crazy today. And I mean that in a clinical sense. I probably shouldn't be too surprised, being that I work in addiction medicine - which is part of the mental health world - but sometimes I just shake my head and wonder, "What were you thinking?" So far today, I've been ambushed by a coworker, lied to repeatedly by a patient, and trapped in my office by another colleague who wanted to tell me her entire life story. I suppose what's really surprising is that I've had more trouble coming at me today from the people I with whom I work than the patients! Although they, too, are proving to be a handful when it comes to group dynamics and issues of race, class, and every other -ism you can think of.

I just hope that this weekend is better.

Tonight One Ring and I are heading to a friend of her's apartment for dinner. The friend's boyfriend might be there, and I'm sorry to say that I'm hoping that he isn't. There are some personality issues that keep popping up, and I have a low tolerance for drama. I've already warned One Ring that this will be a short night if anyone acts out.

Still no news on the puppy adoptions. Three people expressed interest, but nothing has been etched in stone yet. They're cute and lovable, so hopefully we'll find good homes for all of them soon.

Okay, I have a little more work to do before heading home. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Oh, remember that evangelist I mentioned - the whack job who thought that the age of consent should be puberty? Yeah, he got busted. I'm sure they'll just love him in prison!

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Good News for Pirates Fans!

Disney has officially announced that Pirates of the Caribbean 4 will be made! No word on when filming will begin, and only Johnny Depp has signed on so far. Still, it's a good day for everyone who enjoys hoisting the colors high and asking the age-old question, "But why is the rum gone?"

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Somedays, All You Can Say Is, "Arrrgh!"

It's been a day. Long one. Got news that my job may not exist in another six months or so, which immediately sucked the wind from my sails. I'm going to be allowed to apply for the job that's replacing it - the new one has a great benefit package! - but there's going to be stiff competition, too. Boss did say that it's far too early to plan or worry about it, but I've a tendency to fret about things, and this definitely isn't sitting well, considering that I haven't been here much more than a month!

To make matters worse, the day has just dragged, which has given me more time to think about things. Which is never a good thing, especially when I haven't had a lot of sleep. Which I haven't. Hopefully we'll get these puppies adopted, and then life will return to normal. But until then, sleep is in short supply in our house, what with all the yipping, barking, and whining. And that's just between me and One Ring!

Well, I have to go fax my time sheet off to the big office in Nashville. Joy, joy!

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You Know, All Things Considered ...

... you'd think that attacks by witchcraft would be considered the LEAST of her worries!

Palin pastor prayed for 'witchcraft' protection

But that's what makes election seasons so interesting. Every day the news just gets weirder and weirder!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just In Case You Needed A Reminder ...

... that all religions have their offshoots that are not only strange, but dangerous, here's a little reminder:

Evangelist: 'Puberty' is age of sexual consent

Ahh, Tony Alamo. I remember finding his propaganda stuck under my car's windshield wiper blades every now and then. Even as a youth, I thought his ideas were pretty out there. Then came 1998's news that he had been keeping his wife's body around because he expected her resurrection. And the tax evasion charges. And the anti-Catholic rhetoric and his claiming to be a "completed Jew," even though he was never Jewish, never converted, and has given statements that suggest he's also an anti-Semite.

All of that is troubling enough, but now he's picking on little girls. And that's disgusting, horrific, and, thankfully, criminal. I hope that this investigation closes him down for good.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

There Has to be Better Ways to Spend an Afternoon!

I have 30 minutes until I can flee for home. And flee would be the right word, for I have had a day. Patients squabbling, coworkers acting weird and threatening to leave (again), and Whirling Dervish got some bad news (again) regarding his job search. Add to that the usual craziness that inhabits these corridors - addiction medicine is always insane - and basically it's been a peach of a day, with long periods of boredom and moments of terror.

Or however the quote goes.

So now I have The Cure blaring out of my computer speakers - sad little things that they are, but it's all I have right now - and I'm staring at the clock. Blech.

The package containing my wooden ship and a gift of a model pirate ship from Sharkbait arrived yesterday. My mother even added a present of a framed drawing of a conch shell. The wooden ship and the drawing are now in my office, and the pirate ship will join them as soon as I get it built and painted. Of course, I haven't built a model since I was a kid, so this will be interesting. The pieces are really small, too. I figure the whole ship will be less than 6" long. This may take me a while. Unfortunately, hobby shops seem to be in short supply out this way, so finding model glue and paint may not be as easy as it used to be.

In puppy news, it looks like we've got homes for three of the puppies. We've had inquiries about Othello, Prima, and Rorschach. We're also pushing to find foster homes for the ones who aren't looking like they're going to be adopted right away. So far the SPCA of Tennessee has been really good about working with us. I just want to be sure that the puppies are somewhere else before we go on vacation.

Okay, ten minutes to go. Chart notes have been entered and signed. Time to pack up and bug other people before I go home and then off to the great hobby shop hunt. One Ring just called and said that she saw a new one at a nearby shopping center. Worth a look see.

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Puppy Love

This morning, Barney the Dog of Destruction got to meet Hogan the Puppy Escape Artist for a few minutes. Surprisingly, it went well!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Next Car I Drive ...

... is getting this bumper sticker! Click on it to see where to get it. And if anyone wants to buy it for me, feel free! : )

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Weekend Chaos

Hey all, hope everyone had a good weekend. What with the end of "Talk Like A Pirate Day," this post will be written in modern english (the language, not the band!).

Things were pretty strange in these waters. Don't know if you heard where you are, but there was a run on gasoline in Nashville this past week. News that there was a disruption in the supply lines due to Hurricane Ike reached us, then mingled with a rumor (no one is sure where that came from) that said that middle Tennessee was going to run completely out of gasoline. In no time there were wait times of an hour or more at most stations, as motorists filled up, topped off, and filled back up gas cans in order to beat the rumored shortage.

Thing is, the rumored shortage became a real shortage, as just about every station ran out. Gas prices shot up to over $4 here, and over $5 in Knoxville. Shows you what a rumor can do.

Needless to say, that snafu held us back a little bit. Fortunately, I still had half a tank of gas in my car and was able to run us around on our weekend errands until the tanker trucks started reaching the gas stations again. We did go to another pet adoption fair put on by the SPCA of Tennessee. The big news is that two of our puppies, Rorshach and Prima, may be adopted soon. I took the news pretty hard, because Rorshach is the runt of the litter, and my personal favorite. So when One Ring told me the news, I yelled, "No! Tell him that she's already mauled three children and ate a Pit Bull for breakfast!"

It didn't work, and as soon as she's old enough, Rorshach is off to her new home. We're waiting on Prima's possible new owner to fill out the paperwork, but he and his girlfriend seemed so smitten by her that I'm pretty confident he'll jump through all the hoops to get it done.

That's about all that went on this weekend - and it was quite enough. And in case you're curious, here's what the puppies are looking like these days. I snapped these two pictures with my phone while we were driving over to the adoption fair.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Remember, matey, it be yer solemn duty to speak the right way all the day long!

Want to know more? Click the link down below on the right hand side for the main site, or look here for the FAQ.

Off to teach a class. I'll write more later.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Only 2 More Days ...

... until this year's International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Arrr, me matey, ye know ye want want to. All the bilge rats and salty dogs be doing it!

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Okay, NOW It's War!

Up until now, I've kept out of the conflict brought about by religious extremists. True, I've commented on whacky things that Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others have said that simply do not make sense. But now a religious leader has spoken up in such a way that I cannot stand on the sidelines any more. As Popeye said, "I've stands all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"

According to this article, Sheikh Muhammad Munajid claims that mice are agents of Satan. Yes, you heard that correctly. Mice are Satan's creatures, and that everything that they touch becomes unclean.

But we're not just talking your average rodent here. Nope. Even cartoon mice are part of Satan's great conspiracy, since they have convinced children that mice are actually okay. Said the Cleric:

"The mouse is one of Satan's soldiers and is steered by him.

"If a mouse falls into a pot of food – if the food is solid, you should chuck out the mouse and the food touching it, and if it is liquid – you should chuck out the whole thing, because the mouse is impure.

"According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?

"Even creatures that are repulsive by nature, by logic, and according to Islamic law have become wonderful and are loved by children. Even mice.

"Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases."

Uhm, Mickey Mouse should be killed? Never mind the fact that it is impossible to kill a fictional character - but Mickey Mouse? Killed? Assassinate my niece's favorite character, the one she asked me to give her love when I go to WDW next month?

Forget diplomacy. Here's one guy that definitely has a broadside coming! Death to the infidel!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boring Day and Other Tales

Yep, it's a dull one. I'm down to two patients on my roster, although a third was just admitted to the program. And since half the staff moved to another building on campus, things here have been quiet. Too quiet. In fact, downright boring. I know, I know, I should enjoy it. But to be honest, when I'm not active, I get sleepy. And I really don't want to be falling asleep at my desk right about now! Even though a nap sounds awfully good!

So, instead, here is an update of what's going on in casa de Pirate:

First off, Barney the Dog of Destruction has struck again. This time, the victim was One Ring's cell phone, which she accidentally left on the coffee table when she jumped up to tend to the puppies. Behold, if you will, the tragic remains:

We're going to the Verizon shop later in the week to replace it.

On Saturday, One Ring and I went to a local PetSmart for a pet adoption fair. It's still too early to adopt the puppies out - they're too old by 3 weeks or so - but it was still important to get them out in the public so people can hold them, fall in love with them, and get it set in their minds that they need to adopt one or six. Three or four people seemed interested, but we'll see if it holds. Hopefully, we'll have them all housed by the time we leave for Disney World on October 17th.

That's right, there's just one month left until vacation! I can't wait. And since we added on points in the Disney Vacation Club, we were given a free vacation in December! A little excessive, doing the Disney thing twice in less than three months, but I'm not complaining. One Ring's parents are tagging along on the second journey, so we'll get to show them our favorite restaurants, hang-outs, resorts, and that sort of thing. Should be lots of fun. Okay, I need to get out of my office before I lose my mind or fall asleep on my desk. Peace.

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A Proper Office for a Pirate

Gradually, my office is being converted to fit more to my personality. I ordered a ship in a bottle, which arrived last week. That's now sitting on my desk. My mother should be shipping the wooden ship model I purchased when I was in Virginia Beach sometime soon. And last night my brother, Sharkbait, called to let me know that he had picked up a pirate ship model. So now I'm all set in terms of tall ships. All that's left are any wall decorations I may find or some other dust collectors. Pretty good progress, overall. Here are some pictures of the ships, in case you're interested:

The ship in a bottle, obviously.

And the pirate ship that Sharkbait is sending off this week. I don't have any pictures of the third ship. I'll post that once I receive it and get it set up here.

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The Irony! The Irony!

"I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."-- John McCain, October, 2007

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Monday, September 15, 2008

You Know You've Gone Too Far ...

... When Karl Rove says you've gone too far!

Seriously, I can't wait for this election season to end. I just hope that the best candidate gets elected. At least, the best candidate who is currently running gets elected. I honestly believe that the smartest, most talented people in the United States would never subject themselves to the garbage that appears to be required to make a run for the White House.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finally, a Desk Set I Can Live With!

Well, the office is finally clean, organized, and looking good. Still no decorations, though. My mother is supposed to be sending the wooden ship I bought up in Virginia Beach, and I ordered a ship in a bottle that was shipped a couple of days ago. So I'm on the way in terms of changing this place into a proper nautical-looking office space. Still, I thought that something seemed to be missing.

Then I saw this, and a smile crept across my face.

Yep, apparently Disney came out with a Pirates of the Caribbean desk set a few years back, and now they're showing up on eBay and other places. Hopefully, there's some still at WDW itself, since that's where One Ring, Tigger, Pooh, Boo, and I will be next month. If not, I'll check online once I get back.

Tigger mentioned this a couple of weeks back when I told him that I was decorating my office, but I couldn't tell what he was talking about. Now it all makes sense, and it looks pretty awesome. My favorite items are the pistol stapler and cannon tape dispenser!

Okay, back to work. Sadly, there are still 2 1/2 hours to go until quitting time.

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Email War!

Today has been a slow morning thus far, as most of the staff is packing to move to a different building on campus. I'm staying put, so I've been occupying my time by cleaning my office and organizing my filing cabinet. One Ring would be so proud, since I never do that kind of thing!

But there's something more important going on here in the office. Mr. Ed, the guy who suggested I apply for this job, has decided to take me on in an email war!

It started out when he put me on the email list for the McCain / Palin campaign. I let it go without response - sort of the same way the Democrats responded to the swift boat attack of '04. Then came the subscriptions to the ultra conservative newsletters. War was declared. Thus far I have signed him up for (in no particular order) the Communist Party of America, the Green Party, Obama for President, Scientology, the ACLU, PETA, MoveON.org, and a few others. I told him that he's lucky that NAMBLA doesn't have a website anymore!

He's struck back by signing me up for Bill O'Reilly, Stop the ACLU, the Jehovah's Witness email list, Sean Hannity, and some sort of Strom Thurmond center at the University of South Carolina (shudder!).

No sign of let up, and we're both exchanging broadsides just as fast as we can reload. Good news is that it's lunchtime, and that most of these sites require people to respond to an email to get the e-subscriptions rolling. Otherwise, I'd be looking at a full mailbox on a daily basis!

It's lunchtime now; maybe a can negotiate a temporary ceasefire!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How Can A Day Be Both Great and Rotten?

Today was great, in the sense that, after crunching numbers and making budgets, One Ring and I decided to add on to our time share with the Disney Vacation Club. Not only that, we bought into the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is just flippin' awesome. Given the way the day's gone, this is just about the only thing that has kept me running on an even keel.

What's going on, you ask (Well, even if you didn't, I'm going to tell you)? Well, the guy who asked me and encouraged me to come on board in this department just decided that he would be much happier at another facility in South Carolina. He was given an offer by a friend of his, with an increase in pay that would offset the cost of living difference between here and there. He also is interviewing with a music producer tonight for some writing gig. That might keep him in the area, but he was so unhappy today, it's unclear what's going to happen.

Part of the problem - a large part, if you ask me - is that there is a lack of professional behavior between staff members. It's almost a Survivor / Lord of the Flies kind of thing, where groups and alliances have formed and are now picking at members. Medical staff is sniping at therapists, contract level secretaries are telling people higher up the food chain what to do. That sort of thing. Not sure what's caused the spike in ill will, but it seems that over the last week or so, friendly faces have grown far less so. To be honest, it reminds me of some of the churches I led!

I'm staying out of this kind of fighting, obviously. I've seen way too much of it to know that there's no good that can come out of it. And since overall I like this job - I just got a great compliment from one of my patients who is doing really well, progress wise - there's no need for me to jeopardize things by allying myself with one group or another. Which probably means that eventually I'll be hit by both! Eh, who knows. Anyway, this is the best paying job I've had in a long time, and One Ring and I are happy with the way life is going, for a change. So I'm in for the long haul. Raise the jolly roger and ready the cannons!

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the Colors high.
Heave ho,
thieves and beggars,
never say we die!

(From Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And This Is Why I Don't Like Pundits!

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Lull in the Action

I'm finally getting a chance to breathe today. Been a busy one, as I've been trying to prepare several patients for rotation back into the real world now that they're (temporarily at least) sober. Lots of paperwork, counseling sessions, and arranging of housing options for the homeless vets. Enjoyable, but sometimes stressful work.

In the meantime, One Ring and I are trying to decide whether or not to expand our timeshare with the Disney Vacation Club. Not something to be taken lightly, but something I would love to do. More time in Florida, more opportunity to invite family and friends to go with us, and more chances for me to act like a kid again. Hopefully, we'll be able to make it happen.

Speaking of "making it happen," I was unable to convince my sister to allow my niece to come with us to Disney World. Seems that my sister and her husband want to take the kids on their own for their first visit. However, since they just bought a boat, and my nephew is two, that won't be for another four years, at least. Needless to say, I was left grumbling about the whole situation. Unfortunately, barring breaking federal kidnapping laws, there's nothing I can do to convince her otherwise. Sigh.

And the boat they bought? It's an outboard motor boat. 17 footer. The kind just like everyone else in the world owns. Ick. Give me sails and maybe a little manuevering engine, but nothing more mechanical than that. A nice sloop ... something with lots of sailcloth and cannon. Now that's the life for me!

Other than that, my quick trip home to Virginia Beach went well. I bought an inexpensive wooden ship that is supposed to be the HMS Victory. Since it was made in China, though, it doesn't have all the detail that would identify it as such. Come to think of it, I think it doesn't even have a British flag flying from the mainmast! My mother is shipping it, since there was no way I could get it on the plane ride home. As it was, I was travelling without checking any bags. First time I'd tried that, and it's definitely the way to go.

Tropical Storm Hanna hit west of my mother's home, so we were spared the brunt of the storm. I spent part of Sunday helping her clean up her yard. No house damage to speak of, just branches in the front yard, same as every other storm I can remember. Which was a big relief. Lots of other people haven't done so well.

Well, 45 minutes until I'm on my way home. Hope everyone is having a quiet, enjoyable end of the day!

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Some Days You Feel Like This

Just plugging along, no energy and not really going anywhere. I feel bad, because I've been just staggering through the day, doing what I can but feeling like I haven't done anything. And, at this point of the day, I wonder if I have.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better one. Right now all I want to do is crash and sleep.

I realize that I promised to write about my trip, my conversation with my best friend from high school, and my conversation with my sister regarding my requests to take my niece to Disney World. Unfortunately, I am just not thinking clearly enough to get all that down. Maybe later tonight, maybe tomorrow. But we'll get to all that fun stuff.

Speaking of fun stuff, the photo above of course comes from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World. Years ago I thought I saw a statue of this scene was available for purchase. I think it would look awesome on my desk, but now I can't seem to find it on eBay or anywhere. Am I just imagining things, or did such a thing ever exist?

One Ring just called me and told me that our Magical Express tickets (the free bus ride from the Orlando Airport to our resort) arrived today! Five weeks to go!

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I'm Home

Well, actually I'm at work. I got in about 11 last night, and didn't make it to bed until after midnight. So I'm pretty beat. No biggie. I'll write more about my trip and tropical storm Hanna later on, since I have a meeting in about 8 minutes. In the meantime, I leave you with this gem.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or neo-hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Gone for the Weekend

This is going to be brief, since I'm heading off for the airport in just a little bit. I'm flying up to Virginia Beach, VA to see my family for the weekend. After my mom's health scare, I felt that a visit was more than necessary. So I'm off. Down side is that there happens to be a hurricane or two making a bee line for my home town. So this will be a rather soggy adventure. But it beats the hot, dry weather of Tennessee any day.

Also got a really big surprise today. Out of the blue, my best friend from high school found me on Facebook! I'd been looking for him for years, but to know avail. Last I had heard, he had some brain damaged plan to go work on crab fishing boats out of Alaska. Good news is that he didn't do that - I kept expecting to see him floating out to see on an episode of Deadliest Catch! Bad news is that he's stuck in Iraq along with the rest of our troops cleaning up W's mess. He made a reference to KBR and war profiteering and how he was outraged at it. So I'll have to investigate further to see what he was talking about. Anybody out there know anything about that?

Okay, that's all for now. I'm hoping to meet up with Tigger, Pooh, and Boo while I'm in VA, but what with Hanna showing up, it's not looking good. I'll write more from Virginia or on Sunday night when I get back home.

Peace out!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

This Should Provide All The Information You Need ...

... to decide on your choice for Vice President of our nation. It should also, by extension, determine your choice for President. I know it did mine (not that I hadn't made up my choice months and months ago).

"I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."
-- Gov. Sarah Palin, urging Pentecostal congregants to pray for a $30 billion natural gas pipeline project that she wanted built in her state.

So let's take a look at that, shall we? Is God all for unifying people? I think so. Lots of Bible verses (as well as verses in the scriptures of other religions) talk about how the Divine wants people to put down weapons and learn to love each other. So that parts okay.

But then she says, "and companies ..." Now we have a problem. Companies aren't people, and although they have legal rights - sometimes more rights than the people they employ and those who are affected by corporate decisions! - They are not mentioned in any scripture, any theology, any religious dogma anywhere as being something whose health and vitality are something that the Divine is even remotely concerned about.

And why does Palin want people and corporations to come together? World peace? Environmental health? Curing illnesses? Nope. She wants people and corporations to come together so that a $30 billion pipeline can be built through her state!

To combine a building project that has no religious value or significance (aside from potential environmental damage to God's creation) with a prayer request is not only wrong theologically, it's simple political pandering. It's manipulating religions for political and economic gain. And that, in my humble opinion, is about as wrong as you can get.

So keep that in mind as we approach election day. What kind of religious ideology do you want in Washington D.C.? I don't want that kind, taht's for sure!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Two Reasons to be Happy Today

1. My day today was nothing like yesterday!

2. There's only 20 minutes left before I head home.

and 3 - there are 3 reasons to be happy today -

Starbucks starts selling the Pumpkin Spice Lattes today! Woohoo!

I'm serious, it doesn't take much to make me happy these days.

Enjoy the rest of your afternoon

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See? I Told You It Was Good For Me (And You)!

New Article just came out on the benefits of Zen meditation. I'm getting busy again, so read it, enjoy it, and get to meditating!

I'm going back to work.


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A Meme

According to Wikipedia, "A meme (pronounced /miːm/)[1] is any thought or behavior that can be passed from one person to another by learning or imitation. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, gestures, practices, fashions, habits, songs and dances. Memes propagate themselves and can move through the cultural sociosphere in a manner similar to the contagious behavior of a virus."

In other words, it's a series of random bits of information that one person posts on a blog or website, then a bunch of other people post similar stuff in the same way the people pass colds around.

I bring all of this up because I came across a meme a few minutes ago and figured that I'd continue my slow morning with my own answers. I figure that it's been a while since I offered any information about myself beyond what my day to day life is like. So here we go. This one's called the "ABC Meme."

accent: I was born outside of Boston, but lost the accent when my family moved to Virginia Beach when I was 7. So my relatives up north think I have a southern accent, and people down south think I don't have an accent at all.

booze: Rum, it's what pirates crave!

chore I hate: mowing the lawn. In fact, I hate any outdoor chore. Pave the world, I say. Zen rock gardens are the way to go.

dogs/cats: Despite the fact that I now have ten dogs in my house, counting the eight puppies that Kona had two weeks ago, I am still a dog person.

essential electronics: computer with Internet connection.

favorite perfume/cologne: Hate the stuff. Allergies, you know.

gold/silver: gold coins all the way!

hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

insomnia: yes, all my adult life.

job title: Addiction Therapist or Readjustment Counselor, depending on who you ask.

kids: None. See previous posts for a discussion of this.

living arrangements: living with the wife and dogs in a wonderful house.

most admired trait: In others? Humility and serenity, I suppose. Those are things that I aspire to reach myself.

number of significant relationships: Never kiss and tell.

overnight hospital stays: As a patient? Never. As a chaplain? Too many to count.

phobia: falling from high places. Or, more accurately, "Sudden Deceleration Trauma."

quotes: I have too many that I love to list them here.

religion: I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. I also have an ongoing interest in Buddhist meditation and philosophy, and attend meditation sessions on an irregular basis.

siblings: One sister, 34, who is the mother of my niece and nephew. I also have a brother, Sharkbait, who is 28. We get together to sink ships and pillage small towns every so often.

time I usually wake up: as late as possible, but lately it's been at 5:45. Sadly.

unusual talent: I have the creepy and irritating ability to guess what a present is before I open it. This has driven friends and family alike to the point of apoplexy on occasion.

vegetables I refuse to eat: cauliflower

worst habit: giving up too easily. Or maybe Kroger rage.

x-rays: Nothing broken yet, but I've had a few. MRIs and CAT scans, too.

yummy foods I make: One Ring does most of the cooking around the house, but I can make a few dishes. I'd cook more if I had to, but for now I'm pretty good at making reservations.

zodiac sign: According the the western system, I'm a Leo. I don't believe in that sort of thing, so it doesn't matter much to me. According to the Chinese system, I was born in the year of the Dog - Iron Dog, to be precise, although that gives rise to odd renditions of a certain Black Sabbath song. I don't believe in that, either, so I haven't read up on it.

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Taking A Quick Break in the Morning

I just finished my first lecture of the day - feelings and addiction recovery, for those of you who are curious - and my second cup of coffee. So far, the day is starting out much better than yesterday ended. Hopefully, it will stay that way!

So I'm celebrating the moment of rest by taking a short quiz. Pretty lame, actually. I'm in the process of trying to find a better one. In the meantime, I'm celebrating that there are now 18 working hours left until my brief vacation!

Your Pirate Name be ...
Black Bart
You are the craziest of all pirates. Your actions make no sense, but that's why people follow you, they think you have got some secret plan. In reality, you are stone cold crazy, but your love of shiny things drives you to loot.

'What is your Pirate Name?' at QuizGalaxy.com

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Looks Like A Soggy Trip Home

Just got off the phone with Sharkbait. He had texted me yesterday, suggesting that I bring some extra clothes along in case I get stranded in Virginia Beach. "Stranded?" I asked. "Why would I get stranded?"

"'cause of Hannah." He wrote back.

Yeah, I had spent so much time focused on Gustav, who was tearing through the gulf, that I never even noticed that there was another storm hanging out in the Caribbean.

So now it looks like I'm going to miss out on getting to see the ocean, walk on the Chesapeake Bay, or pick up some sea glass. Well, not if I want to do it and stay dry at the same time. Apparently they're predicting that at some point over the weekend, it's going to hit the Carolinas, and then head north. Which means for a very wet time with the family. Oh, well.

Sharkbait did tell me that he is scoping out a few places where we can go shopping for office decorations. Which is way cool. Got to get my pirate on in this place. I had to lower the boom on one of my patients, more as a way of letting him know that I'm taking his recovery seriously than just to bust on him. Didn't feel to good. I'm sure that I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had the appropriate look to the office. You know, something that would make my threats to keelhaul seem that much more believable!

The good news is that we're now down to an hour and a half on my first day back from the Labor Day weekend. That means I'm about two hours from a nap, as One Ring should be home long before me and the dogs will be pacified by her presence. She has that effect on them. Last night Barney, after getting beaten up (again) by Kona, curled up behind her on the bed, so his head was touching hers. I don't think there was a point through the entire night that he was not touching her for security and comfort!

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Just As I'm Getting Used to the Idea, This Comes Out

We're only a month and a half away from One Ring and my incredibly awesome, wild and crazy yearly trip to Disney World. Tigger, Pooh, and Boo are coming with us, and we're all celebrating Boo's first birthday. Actually, we wouldn't be going there at all if Tigger and Pooh hadn't suggested it. But they did, so we are, crazy though it may sound (does a one-year-old really care about this? Probably not.)

So all this talk of taking kids to Disney World, combined with me (finally) having a stable, well-paying job, has nudged me closer to accepting the idea of having children of my own. Needless to say, One Ring is pretty happy with that turn of my mind. Right now we're trying to get my sister to turn over our neice for a week so we can take her, but we seriously doubt that's going to happen. Grrr. So all that's left is either kidnapping someone else's kid - something the government tends to frown upon, piratical though it may be! - or have one of our own.

Well, I was even getting okay with that idea, until the morning news greeted me with this tidbit.

Kids of Older Dads Run Greater Risk of Bipolar Disorder: Study Says

This is probably the number one reason why I've been so reluctant to follow all my friends and neighbors, classmates and fellow Gen-Xers down the road to parenthood. Not only am I bipolar myself, but because I am, my children are more likely to become bipolar, based on what limited knowledge exists about the disease (there seems to be a genetic link). Now, this new study suggests that the longer I wait before fathering a child, the more likely it is that the child I father will have the disease. I know just enough about probability to figure the odds aren't good.

My illness came on when I was a teenager. High school was a living hell for me, and my undergraduate years were even worse. I spent my first two years of Divinity School self-medicating with alcohol to slow down my manic phases and pick me up when I was depressed. It didn't work too well with either. It was only a year or two after I was married, that I was diagnosed and my life became somewhat sane. I still have bad days, of course, and will for the rest of my life, but at least they're manageable now.

Thing is, I don't want that for a child. Even though research is getting better all the time, and genetic testing is commmon for parents, and treatments are improving (hey, at least they've moved on from lobotomies and electroshock therapy - although the latter is making a come back), I am still struggling with the idea of taking a risk. I know what bad choices I made when I was untreated, and I know what opportunities I missed and what pain I felt back in those days. The question is: is it worth it to even try? Or should I just bite the bullet and shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars and try and adopt a child from a third-world country, like some of my friends and in-laws have done?

These are the thoughts running through my head this morning. That and how I'm about to collapse on my keyboard. Three day weekend, and I still end up without sleep! Go fig.


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