Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The rest of the fam...


And HG. You know... Mom's a blonde too... it's the system... it really is...

Harry Potter Part 2…

OK, so here’s the deal. I totally intended on writing a several (like three or four) part series on whether or not it was OK for Christians to read Harry Potter. I’ve run into a problem… after e-mail and IM being the primary form of communication between Josh and me, and sitting in front of a computer all day and then all evening, and crocheting and knitting… my hands hurt (grrrr). (Yeah, I also don’t play my violin much anymore.)

But, Issues, Etc. has a really good 2 hour show on Harry Potter, as such, you should listen to it here . Go down to the July 29th show. I’ll permalink later.

You know you’re in trouble when…

During the pre-dinner prayer, your husband prays: “God, please don’t let this meal kill me.”

He liked it enough for seconds and to request it as a repeat.

Score one for healthy eating! It isn’t my fault he ate a low fiber, low vegetable diet for two years.

Josh is (currently) enjoying the experiment known as “beans are acceptable forms of protein on occasion” diet.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

And for more family fun...

We have Becky............ Dad

Josh.... And Ironically enough, Sam... (a brunette, while, I, a blonde come out with dark hair... a flaw in the system...)

Sorry to HG and Mom, I need to cut you out of some pictures so I can upload an image...

And on a Simpson's related topic

Somewhat disappointing because I couldn't lighten my hair, but...

The Simpson’s Movie…

I totally loved it! And I am so tempted to give away everything, but HG and Becky haven’t seen it yet, nor has Dad. And you can’t go off and spoil something like this.

Becky and HG were opining that perhaps it was too expensive to have Sideshow Bob. Rubbish, I say. Tom Hanks appears as himself.

The Welcome Home Troops Song…

From KS95 .

Side note, all the soldier/family media clips are from Josh’s welcome home on June 23rd. (And to the out of state readers, nope, we weren’t quoted.)

Furthermore, Janet has pics of the Anoka welcome home ceremony. Some of these guys (not necessarily pictured) belong to my FRG friends. See pics:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Part 1: Should Christians read Harry Potter?

A deep question that requires thinking. I have now read all books and seen all available movies. I wish to tackle a few different things with this topic. And I want my readers to know right off the bat that I consider it a matter of personal choice. I’m just going to outline some things I think about.

Right off the bat, I want to address the major issue, and no, it is not magic. The major issue that I want to cover first is whether or not a Christian should read fiction. I agree fantasy fiction may lead someone to sin, I also agree other forms of fiction may lead someone to sin as well. Fellow women, do you have an emotional affair with your favorite romance novel character? I hope with honest examination, this point is taken.

Just as I believe fiction can be sinful, I also believe it can be good. For example, one learns vocabulary, the ability to keep track of details of a plot, the ability to follow a story in logical order, character development, and other intellectual topics that may be of some use later in life. Fiction can also be an artistic commentary on society and it can teach moral lessons.

I’m not spending a great deal of time on the issue of whether or not fiction should be read. I think most Christians accept that fiction is OK, or at least some fiction is OK. As such, when I get a chance of it, I will discuss whether the adjective “Christian” really makes a difference in a book.

I was wrong

And I will never doubt HG again when it comes to dark figure character analysis.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Harry Potter Book Seven Picks

A couple of months ago, HG asked me to post on what I thought would happen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I picked up some questions from Mugglenet, and am going with what interests me. I am looking at my calendar and realizing that the book comes out next week. I don’t have the time to go into a great deal of depth. Besides, most of these are gut reactions to the questions. If there is a question you would like a deeper explanation to, please leave it in the comments. But make sure the question you are curious about has some potential depth to it. I just ask not to have to expand on romantic relationships or little details that may cause me to have to write Book Seven, like Dumbledore’s picture, the two way mirrors, or other things that Rowlings may or may not use.

Will Hogwarts reopen? And, if so, will Harry, Ron, and Hermione attend for their seventh year? Yes, I believe Hogwarts reopens. I somehow think Harry will need access to Dumbledore’s picture.
Is Snape good or evil? Where do his loyalties lie? Snape is neither good nor evil. He’s an independent agent, out for his own best interests, where they may lie. And even if he does end up being more on the good side, I think his motives are more in self preservation and advancement then genuine goodness.
Who is R.A.B.? Regalus Black.
Will the two-way mirror that Sirius gave to Harry come up again? Yes.
Is the relationship between Ginny and Harry really over? Will they get back together in the end? No and yes.
What was the "gleam of triumph" in Dumbledore's eyes at the end of Goblet of Fire? The gleam of triumph is the evidence that the charm worked and probably pride in the discovery of well performed magic, likely that he had a hand in.
Will Ron and Hermione's relationship finally come to be, or will something happen to prevent it? Yes it will happen, but they will put it off until the end.
Will Dumbledore's portrait be of any use to Harry? Yes, I think it will end up being useful, which is also why I believe Hogwarts needs to open.
What will Percy do now that the Ministry has been proven wrong and Dumbledore is dead? Will he return to his family? Percy will still work for the ministry. My guess is he will return to his family, and it will be hard for his brothers and sister to welcome him back.
Where did Fawkes go at the end of Half-Blood Prince? I don’t know, but I think he will come to assist Harry.
Assuming Hogwarts will open in Book 7, who will be the DADA teacher? Well, in most of the books, we did not know the DADA teacher, so my guess is a new character.
Again, if Hogwarts remains open in Book 7, who will teach Transfiguration if Professor McGonagall becomes headmistress? And will Slughorn remain to teach Potions for a second year, even though he said he would only be there for one? Again, new character for Transfiguration, and I don’t think Slughorn will return. My reason is he is interested in safety and protection and no longer feels either at Hogwarts.
Will the terms of the Prophecy be fulfilled? If so, will Harry kill Voldemort, or will Voldemort kill Harry? Yes, and Harry will kill Voldemort.
Will Ron and Harry pass their Apparation tests? I’m assuming yes, but if not, then they’ll likely Apparate anyway. So, in my opinion, it doesn’t really matter.
What happened in the period of time between baby Harry's rescue from the ruins of Godric's Hollow and being left the NEXT DAY at the Dursley's doorstep? Well, first off, my guess is the powers that be were looking for *anyone* but the Dursley’s. Or, secondarily, they needed the time for whatever magic would protect Harry to take affect.
What will become of the Malfoy family? Specifically, will Draco remain loyal to Voldemort, or will he change his mind and fight for the other side? HG is a big fan of Snape. I, on the other hand, think Draco can possibly be redeemed. He’s going to get into big trouble with Voldemort for not completing the mission. As a result, he will probably return to Hogwarts for the protection factor, and he will eventually switch sides and go all the way.
Are we going to see the Ford Anglia in the Forbidden Forest again? Hope so.
In Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart says that he transformed a werewolf back into a man using the "immensely complex Homorphus Charm." Now we know that Lockhart didn't actually do this, but he did steal the story from another wizard. So, is there a way to cure Lupin? Not really sure. This is a story from Lockhart, which means there is a measure of exaggeration.
JKR said that someone will manage magic very late in life in Book 7: who will it be? Filch, perhaps? My vote is on either Petunia or Dudley. And that wouldn’t make either a Squib.
Did Dumbledore have a will or anything equivalent to a will? Probably so.
When Snape is about to kill Dumbledore, Dumbledore says, "Severus... Please..." Was Dumbledore asking Snape to kill him or was he asking for mercy? Asking for mercy.
If Hogwarts is opened again in the seventh book, who will be Head Boy and Head Girl? Draco and Hermiony
Is there a connection between Godric's Hollow and Godric Gryffindor? Yes.
Do we know the full reason that Voldemort decided to try to kill Harry instead of Neville? I don’t really think we ever will. Voldemort and Snape have similar opinions of Harry’s abilities, that it is luck and the assistance of talented friends. However, both are very prideful of their own abilities. And their extreme sense of pride will lead to both of their down falls. But, as it has been pointed out, Harry comes from a Muggle born mom and a Wizard dad, so Voldemort feels a sense of extra, not fear, but wariness towards Harry.
Now that Dumbledore is dead, who is the secret-keeper of the Order of the Phoenix? Is the spell broken? Not sure who the secret-keeper is, however I would imagine that the secrets died with Dumbledore, so, no the spell is not broken.
Is there more to the curtain that Sirius fell through in Order of the Phoenix? Yes.
Where did the Potter family's wealth come from? My guess is, much like the Black family, the Potters were a prominent family that went good. So, I guess it is inherited.
Why did Dumbledore give Snape the DADA job if Dumbledore suspected there was a jinx on the position? Probably no vicious reason, rather to prepare his students for the coming war.
Will Voldemort be angry that Snape killed Dumbledore rather than allowing Draco to do it himself? Yes, but not at Snape

My final predict... Harry will live. And though I hope this isn't the case, I think as a shocker, he will end up non-magic.

Monday, July 09, 2007

On Deciding to Follow Jesus…

Rev. Weedon from Concordia talks about good works and the misunderstanding that Lutherans forbid good works and also from Concordia, Rev. Cwirla free will .

For someone who has an Evangelical background, the above posts are especially profound. Take them into consideration with July 5ths Issues Etc with Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller (Permalink to follow once the episodes join the archives.)

It is a great relief to know that there is nothing I can do to be saved and that I do not continually have to question my salvation or whether or not my confession is valid.


Via Katie’s Beer at Nerd Heaven, The Semi-Pelagian Narrower Catechism (you’ll like this one Dad). My favorite lessons are:
10. Q: What is thy story? What is thy song?
A: Praising my Savior all the day long.
11. Q: You ask me how I know he lives?
A: He lives within my heart.
12. Q: And what else hast thou got in thine heart?
A: I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
13. Q: Where??
A: Down in my heart!
14. Q: Where???
A: Down in my heart!!
26. Q: What’s the book for thee?
A: The B-I-B-L-E.
40. Q: When is Jesus coming again?
A: Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening, and maybe soon.
41. Q: When the roll, roll, roll, is called up yonder, where will you be?
A: There.
42. Q: Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!
A: Praise ye the Lord!
43. Q: Praise ye the Lord!
A: Hallelujah!
(To fully appreciate this, I had to look up Pelagianism and Semiplagianism .)

Special to my family... Josh does not know "Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!" We have to take care of that.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

On small market baseball…

Barb the Evil Genius asks why people don’t go to more baseball . She links to an article in the Cleveland paper that lists the stereotypical responses. And the basic objection to baseball in small market teams is a disappointment that most owners do not spend like the Yankees.

The Twins have made some headway in changing the competition. If you’re not going to spend large figures to attract the slugger, how are you going to win? You find a bunch of guys with chemistry who make the small plays and get good at the little things that count in a game. Sure, *now* we have a couple of home run hitters and an awesome pitcher, plus the home town hero. And the Twins will have to pay to maintain the current line up. But, we also have had the fun of watching the team develop.

Josh points out that going to a Twins Game is different then going to other games. Little kids get to change the bases. They have junior mascots. They have tons of giveaways. Kids and seniors have their own special nights where they can run the bases. The Twins have a different atmosphere then other teams.

The Twins have done pretty well for themselves the past few years and also this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how the season ends and if Cleveland can hold it together after the All Star Break. (A special wink at Barb.)

Twice a year...

I go through this, "And why do I still live in Minnesota?" phase. I usually go through this during that week in February where it's really cold, and those weeks in July and August where I get severe headaches from the humidity. It's that time of the summer. The difference from last summer, though, is all I have to do is write the grocery list. My husband will go shopping for me.

Attempting a green thumb...

The first week Mom and I went to the Farmers Market this year, she bought flowers for her planter and I bought basil and lavender. Did you know that basil blooms? (Now if my lavender would bloom too, we'll be in business.) I didn't catch the most recent flowers in time, so I'll post a picture when the next set opens. And for the curious, basil flowers smell like highly concentrated basil leaves.

Fresh basil... one can rarely have enough...

I made my husband sick earlier this week...

Or the Army did…

Or both…

Yeah, see, Josh has spent the last two (roughly) years eating military food. No, there is seriously nothing (much) wrong with eating military food, and they provide what the USDA considers a healthy diet. But you place this diet in the middle of the desert and you add care packages with junk food, one becomes accustomed to not fresh vegetables and lots of junk food.

And then they send soldiers home to women who have been on Weight Watchers and don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house. (I am proud to say all of the snacks in my house are 2 points or less!) And these women cook foods that are very tasty and high in fiber and fresh foods.

My poor husband and his colon.

I promise that if I do make vegetarian burritos again, I will individually wrap them, freeze them, and consume them myself. (By the way, wild rice goes really well with burritos.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fairness Doctrine…

Remember the time when your mom said you couldn’t watch “The Simpson’s?” In our family, my sisters and I didn’t really need to exercise the ask Dad principle, as he was part of the dinner time discussion, but there are indeed certain times when Dad would say, “Ask your Mom,” right after Mom had said, “Ask your Dad.” The point is, even children understand when one parent rejects an idea, the other parent *might* be happy to oblige.

There is very obviously a market for conservative thought, and less of a market for liberal thought. Is this fair?

I will grant the established point that the public “owns” the radio bandwidths. However, for the most part, for profit enterprises rent the bandwidths. When for profit companies decide at one point in time or another to rent or own their office space, they make such a decision with profits in mind. Say a tool and dye maker decides to rent industrial property for his business. He does so with the expectation that the property owner will stay out of his business. If the property owner were to come in and say, “Well, I want you to also make wooden handles for saws and hammers, too.” The tool and dye maker will say, “Well, I would then need to make these additional expenditures to purchase or lease wood working materials and hire employees to work the wood. That would not be profitable for me.” What would the tool and dye maker say when the property owner says, “Well, hammers and saws are tools and they need handles, that’s just tough.”

This is the same principle as dictating what and when opinions can and cannot be expressed on radio airwaves. We, as the public, should not go in and tell an otherwise law abiding company what product they can produce on the radio.

Now, here’s where the fun begins… let’s just say “The Fairness Doctrine” becomes imposed law. We must go back to the first two paragraphs, a child can always find a compliant parent and there is a market for conservative thought and less of one for liberal thought. People can purchase satellite radio, people can broadcast over the internet, people can write blogs, and people can invent new outlets for broadcasting and receiving information there is a demand for.

OK, you say, satellite radio is not free, but what about the internet and blogs? Well, The Wall Street Journal is a subscriber only site. And some blogs have Paypal tip jars.

Several years ago, my little cousin Sam came to my parents house for Easter armed with pictures of bunnies he had drawn. My dad purchased a couple of pictures for a dollar apiece. His mom found out and said, “You cannot sell your pictures.” Sam decided “sell” involves money, but “trade” does not need to involve money. He discovered that older cousins have toys that are no longer in use. He even found a couple of cousins who were willing to bag up large stuffed animals and help him sneak them into his parent’s minivan before his mom could object.
People will engage in behavior they find profitable. Even if “The Fairness Doctrine” is imposed, the market will speak and the innovative will find new ways of filling existing demands.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offencesFor abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Hug a servicemember...

They take your freedom seriously.

Happy Birthday, America!

On immigration...

As I stated below, my problem with legistlative attempts is not immigrants themselves, rather it is our lack of security. We should know who comes in and out of our country. King Banaian offers an eloquent insight into what we are really talking about when it comes to immigration.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

On the Immigration Bill…

I’ve ignored politics for about 20 months. OK, not ignored so much as exercised the in one ear out the other function. I acknowledge its presence, but don’t really donate much effort to it.

Here’s my beef with the entire boarder security issue. I am supposed to take seriously an elected official who believes we need to go to Iraq for our own security whilst anyone can come across the boarder without consequence. Bush at a minimum is inconsistent with his desire to protect our nation from foreign invasion, and I am not talking about Hispanics, and at most could reasonably be held complicit in the next terrorist attack.

I really don’t care if Jose and Maria want to come to America and have a better life. Heck, my dad’s side of the family unsuccessfully tried to violently overthrow a government and sought refuge in America. I just insist upon it being done in an orderly manner, that people follow the established rules and do not insist that I accommodate them in any manner, and that the boarders to the country are secured. The current immigration bill as it stood accomplishes none of the above.