Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why is Huckabee sticking around?

I understand the desire to run for president. I really do. You get power, fame, money, everything some people want in life. But when you see that it's hopeless, that you have no chance of winning, why would you stick around? Edwards and Giuliani had the sense to pull out when they saw it was hopeless.

Why is Ron Paul still in? I'm guessing it's because the voices in his head haven't told him to stop his campaign.

But the real question for me is Mike Huckabee. He's got no shot of winning. He's been circling the drain since he won Iowa. So why do it? Why keep spending the time and money to finance a campaign that's going nowhere?

Only one reason I can see: he's running now for vice-president. Think about it. He's getting enough conservative votes to keep Romney from winning. Huckabee is the reason McCain will be the Republican nominee. What better way for McCain to repay Huckabee than to put him on the ticket? Makes perfect sense, at least for McCain and Huckabee.

For the country? Sounds like the worst ticket imaginable. We may be moving--far, far away...

(When I started this post about ol' Huckabee, a new song came on the XM station I was listening to--"Down in Flames" by the Dead Boys. Coincidence? I don't think so...)

The world's smartest boy!

I need to make an announcement. Everyone, please read carefully. This is very important, so I need your complete attention.

Here it is: my son is the smartest boy in the world. (And very handsome, too.) How do I know he's the smartest boy in the world? A lot of reasons, but right now I'll show you what he just put together:

It's a big puzzle of the solar system...and he put it together all by himself! Not bad for a just-turned 6-year-old.

Here's the proud, happy boy with his creation. Your dad is very proud of you, son!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Great choice, Florida!

Well, the Florida Republican primary is over. The good people of Florida have chosen John McCain, who is now the favorite to win the Republican nomination. I am astounded at how intelligent and insightful Floridians are.

In exit polls, Florida's Republicans said the economy was the most important issue in this election.
So, of course, they would choose the guy who has actual experience making businesses work, right? No, they pick the guy who's been quoted saying, "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." Well, that's certainly a reassuring quote from the guy who wants to be the next president. But I'm not worried. Why? He also said, "I've got Greenspan's book." So he should become an economic expert shortly.

In a related story, I just read this book, and now I'm Tiger Woods.

McCain is also the guy who authored legislation to stifle political speech. He also tried to get a bill passed that would have given amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, and encouraged millions more to come to our country. One of his current advisors? A guy who's a dual citizen of Mexico and the US. A guy who used to work for the Mexican government. A guy who is quoted saying that people who move here from Mexico, “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’”

So McCain is obviously interested in closing the borders, and dealing with the crisis that illegal immigration is causing in this country.

I won't go into the many other ways that McCain is really a moderate Democrat disguised as a Republican. And I won't mention his ethical troubles through the years. Ill just say this: if he's the nominee, I'm not sure I can support him.

Again, thanks Florida!

Thoughts on God's second chances...

On her always-thoughtful blog, Emily had a great post about her ambivalent feelings toward getting involved with kids in a local orphanage. (She's in the Ukraine, for folks who don't know.) She seemed afraid that she would use these kids, take their love and affection, and use them to heal her own emotional wounds.

Her post reminded me of feelings that I've fought with most of my life. (By the way, the rest of this post isn't about Emily's post. It's about my reaction to her post. She speaks very well for herself.) I've spent way too much time and energy keeping people at arm's length. My defense against people getting too close? Humor (or the attempting of humor, at least). And avoidance. Especially in my twenties, when I found it really hard to be around people, except for a close circle of friends. During that time in my life, I would have full-blown panic attacks whenever I was in social situations.

It took me forever to get my bachelor's degree. The panic attacks were one reason why it took so long. I would register for classes, then not be able to walk into class. I mean, I wouldn't be physically able to move my body into the classroom. It's bizarre. I understand that. But it's how I lived for a long time.

I know now that the panic attacks were part of my twisted brain's desire to protect me from getting hurt. And so were all the other ways that I kept people from getting too close. But the results were not at all what I wanted--missed opportunities for jobs and relationships, wrong beliefs about myself and the people around me. And I think I did use some people for my advantage.

The good news? Those awful panic attacks are mostly gone. And I don't fear letting people see me for who I am. God has brought me a long way. (I still have a long way to go!) And my life is better than ever. Even more important, I see how great life is, and I can appreciate it. Soon, I'll post a little about what and who God used to put me in a different place...

Monday, January 28, 2008


Here's are pics from Little MacGyver and DisneyGirl's swimn lessons. They go every Saturday at the local YMCA. DisneyGirl is a natural in the water. Little MacGyver? Not so much. But they both have a great time.

Here's Little MacGyver, not really wanting to go into the water. But he does it anyway...

Here's an extra pic of Toddler Houdini. She's still too young to go into the "big kid" swim lessons, but she goes to the YMCA anyway...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Wisdom" from 2 old Doors...

Some people get wiser as they age. Some people just get older. I was reminded of this sad fact last night when I was listening to an interview with two members of the rock group, The Doors. Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek told some great stories about the group and life with Jim Morrison. I've always been a fan of the group (and of Manzarek's work with X, one of my all-time favorites). Overall it was great to listen to.

One thing that I found very sad was their answer to a question about one of today's pop stars. The interviewer asked them about Britney Spears, and what advice they would give her to get herself straightened out. They both answered almost immediately, "Take LSD/Drop acid!"

What?!? That's the best you can come up with? You've got someone with obvious problems, and your recommendation is hallucinogenic drugs? They see LSD as a way to open people up to "higher consciousness," whatever that means. So what Britney needs is a good drug trip.

Maybe these guys forgot about all the people of their era that died because of the drugs they took. And all the others whose brains were fried while trying to gain that higher consciousness. Or maybe their own brains are so addled that they can't remember that part of the drug experience.

Anyway, it just reminded me again that there's a reason why I don't get my life advice from musicians. I've got an idea, Ray and Robbie. Why don't you sing, and leave it to this guy to solve the world's problems. I'm sure he's got a handle on it...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quick thoughts on John McCain...

Does anyone else think it's odd that John McCain has become the media's darling candidate? It seems that he's the new favorite, now that Rev. Huckabee has fizzled (thank God!). Are media folk picking McCain because of their deep desire to see a conservative take the White House? I doubt it.

McCain is an American hero, no doubt. But he has been a lousy senator. Wrong on almost every important issue we face. More and more, it's clear that there is really only one choice on the Republican side, if we want to save any piece of Reagan conservatism...

Monday, January 21, 2008

The saddest day of the year???

My friend Michelle wrote a bit about the fact that some experts say that January 21 is the most depressing day of the year. I don't know if that is true, but it might be. I know I've been feeling a little post-New Year's drag.

I know in my case, it's not weather-related, because I'm in almost-always beautiful southern California. Some of it is physical, because I've been spending a lot of time inside recently. I don't think being locked in an tiny office for hours at a time is really conducive to good spirits.

Much of it is probably emotional and spiritual. When I'm working on a project, I tend to get wrapped up in it. And I neglect everything outside work and family. That means I don't call my friends back. Praying goes right out the window. I don't contact my family that lives in another state. Then of course I feel bad about my failures as a friend, child of God, and relative. That makes my mood even worse.

Yes, it is a lot of fun being me.

The good thing is that all of these things can be changed. I can only go down this road so long before I've got to make a u-turn. I think the turn is coming soon.

Sorry there's no wacky comedy today. And no kid pics either. I'm sure I'll be back to normal festivities within a couple of days...

Friday, January 18, 2008

The illness ends, so does basketball...

This has been a long week for the J family. The Mighty Mrs. J and I have been sick as can be since Monday. It seems to have passed over the children, who seem to have all the energy in the world. She and I are both exhausted.

But this week is going to be a great one. Friday we have the last basketball game of the season. I've had a blast coaching Little MacGyver and the rest of the kids. What a fun age to coach! Of course, I have no idea what I'm doing, but the kids are too young to realize that.

As you probably expected, I have pictures of the basketball excitement:

Here we are before a game. You'll probably notice the varying levels of boredom in the kids. And my boy is completely disinterested in what I'm saying...

Another pic of the kids completely ignoring my coaching genius...

Here's the result: kids wandering aimlessly back and forth, hoping to make a basket.

Seriously, I had a great time. I think the kids did too. Maybe they learned something. At least I hope they learned to enjoy the game. They can pick up skills later...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

We went to the zoo, just after Christmas. We love the Santa Ana Zoo. It's small, just the right size for kids. They have a holiday "Lights at the Zoo" festival every year. I'm finally getting around to posting pics.

Here are the 3 suspects. You see the carriage made of lights behind them. The zoo had those kinds of "light sculptures" all over the grounds.

Little MacGyver and DisneyGirl meeting the mascot of the Rainforest Cafe. (I don't know his name.) Notice Toddler Houdini is nowhere to be seen. She's completely petrified of giant costumed characters like this. I don't really blame her...

Little MacGyver eating candy and hugging a goat. What more could a little boy ask for?

Notice that Toddler Houdini can't be found in this picture. She's also not crazy about animals up close.

Just to prove she was actually with us, here is Toddler Houdini snuggling close to Mommy...

Here are the older two, getting cozy with an inflatable penguin. No idea where Toddler Houdini is.

They really put on great programs at the Santa Ana Zoo. We went for their Halloween carnival and the kids loved it...

Friday, January 11, 2008

All new episodes coming soon!!!

In response to my friend Cap's post about my whereabouts the last week or so, there are 2 simple reasons why I haven't been around. (They are not nearly so interesting as Cap's reason, but that's the way it goes.)

Reason 1: I've been swamped with a work project that sapped most of my time and energy for several days.

Reason 2: I caught a nasty virus last week that I had trouble getting rid of. The doctor called it the Huckabee virus. He said it comes on strong, then fades quickly because it has no true core. Then it tries to take out more conservative organisms. Its ultimate goal is to become vice-virus on the ticket with a really pernicious liberal virus from Arizona. But I think I'm over it now. I just hope it doesn't become an epidemic.

Back shortly with more fun and hilarity...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Straight questions on gay marriage...

In my last post about Mike Huckabee, I mentioned that a lot of Christians are supporting him because he claims to be pro-life (which he isn't-he's pro-cash), pro-guns, and anti-gay marriage. Well, I don't know how pro-gun he is (he took money for speaking to an organization that wants tighter controls on gun ownership). But he does seem to be a man of his word in one area: he's very much opposed to homosexuals having the right to marry.

I've been confused for a while about how vehemently Christians oppose gay marriage. Especially since the rationale I hear for opposing it is always the same: it goes against God's design for marriage. Here's what Jesus said about it in Matthew 5:32--
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
I totally agree with that. Gay marriage does go against God's plan for marriage. But so does divorce, unless infidelity is involved. How many Christians are pushing to pass strict anti-divorce laws? Or anti-infidelity laws? Or anti-remarriage laws? How many Christians are committed to only voting for candidates who want to see a no-cheating amendment added to the Constitution? Not too many.

Mike Huckabee said this recently:
I don’t think the issue’s about being against gay marriage. It’s about being for traditional marriage and articulating the reason that’s important. You have to have a basic family structure. There’s never been a civilization that has rewritten what marriage and family means and survived.
That's great, but he's not for any other laws that would forbid people to act in ways that hurt marriage. Like inifdelity, for example. And no-fault divorce. And having babies outside of marriage. Where's his outrage in these areas? Or the outrage of the preachers who rail against gay marriage? Or the outrage of ordinary Christians who pour millions of dollars into campaigns to pass "defense of marriage acts" in states across the country? I don't see it.

Maybe you can help me see the reason behind all the passion against gay marriage, while there's no outrage about these other "marriage-degrading" activities. I can only come up with 2 possibilities. One, infidelity and divorce are so rampant in the church that no one dares to talk about it any more for fear of stepping on toes. Or two, Christians don't like gay folk very much, and they feel safe speaking out against homosexuals. Or maybe a combination of the two.

Last question: which is worse for society, the massive number of straight marriages that end up in bitter nasty divorces, or a tiny number of homosexuals (US Census estimates 700,000 homosexual couples in the country) who want to get married?

Looks to me like our priorities are out of whack...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Huckabee in '08???

I need to apologize. Not just to you, my blog-tastic friends. But to this great country of ours. Why must I apologize? Well, I am an evangelical Christian, a recovering Southern Baptist. So I need to apologize for what my well-intentioned brothers and sisters in Iowa have done tonight. They were largely responsible for making sure Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucus.

I believe they were bamboozled by the good reverend. You can hardly blame him. He sounds like a conservative. He says he's against abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay marriage. And he says he's for lower taxes, school choice, stricter immigration laws, and gun rights. What's not to love?

The problem is that the good reverend has the right talk, but his actions reveal a totally different person with very different values. According to this article, he's taken money from businesses that endorse call embryonic stem cell research "essential" in curing disease. He also took $13,000 to speak to a group that advocates the expanded use of the "morning after" pill. He pocketed another $4,000 to speak to a group that wants to expand health care coverage to illegal immigrants.

Speaking of illegal immigration on that front as governor of Arkansas the good reverend proved to be a good friend for those who want to come here illegally. See reports here and here for details. No matter what he's saying now about immigration (and his current plan is still amnesty for illegal aliens), his past record says he's an open-borders guy, just like the current president.

Then there's school choice. He had the support of a lot of homeschool families in Iowa, but he signed some of the most restrictive laws in the country regarding homeschooling in Arkansas. He has even picked up the endorsement of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Education Association (they're an ultra-liberal teachers' union.) As governor, he partnered with a branch of the United Nations to bring "international standards" to several schools in Arkansas. (Read the story here. It's too long for me to go into in detail.) He's no conservative on education, and no friend of homeschoolers.

This post is running way long, so I won't even go into detail about how he raised taxes, or let rapists and murderers out of jail early, or how he's clueless when it comes to foreign policy. I also won't go into how disgusting I find his attacks on Mitt Romney and his faith. Or his hypocrisy on the WGA strike.

To sum up, Huckabee is a fake conservative, and he's playing conservative Christians for the suckers we sometimes are.

And I, as a conservative Christian, just want to apologize...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Prayer for the new year...

"Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not enjoy it enough."
--Garrison Keillor