Sunday, November 30, 2008

Civics Quiz

Civics Quiz

You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %

Average score for this quiz during November: 77.8%
Average score: 77.8%

You can take the quiz as often as you like, however, your score will only count once toward the monthly average.

Quiz here.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Yesterday at the dinner table I offered some things for which I'm thankful.

I'm thankful to be alive. I'm thankful to be an American. We have so much that we usually take for granted, like regular food. Even if it's not always our favorite thing, most of us don't go too hungry. We have places to stay.

I'm thankful for family and friends, for people who love me. I'm thankful for hope, and joy, and peace.

Happy Holidays, folks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Knives and Real Knives

My most excellent friend Matt G posted one of my favorite posters here.

As he mentions, I've been known to smile on occasion. And I like a BIG knife.
Here I am with Byron, Jen, and Tam.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Start of a New Week

I am for now the sole weekend supervisor at Fort Classified. We have a later shift that begins at 11:30 on Sundays. Yesterday, I cooked spinach omelets with lots of garlic and smothered in cheese, home fries, and biscuits for my Sunday shift. I made enough to feed everyone of my floor staff who wanted some, and still have enough left for the ticketing staff and security guard to eat breakfast, as well. I fed 10 people, and the food was very well received.

There's just nothing else quite like sharing food to build a sense of companionship, I think. Sure, there are other "team/relationship building" things you can do, but sharing food just seems to me to instill a sense of family. My mom and dad are gone, but I remember the breakfasts Dad would always cook on Sunday, and some Saturday mornings. He'd usually cook bacon, sausage or baloney, as well as grits, eggs, and biscuits.

I miss you, Dad.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Body "MPG"

40.5 miles per gallon

Created by The Car Connection

Endings and Beginnings

Last night I used clippers, first with a guard, and then without, to buzz my hair down to stubble. I got into a steaming shower with a tub of Noxzema and a Mach 3, and reduced the stubble to bare skin. It was time-consuming, and at times painful- I even cut myself once or twice- but I cut away all the old growth. It was time to let it go, and now it's time to let something new grow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Doors

I finished my last day student teaching this afternoon. I used 3 web research task sheets that I developed for my U.S. History classes, and 2 for my History of Augusta classes. I also babysat a sub who was with me (in fairness, she did walk around and try to help a few students during the day). I was told to drive downtown and fill out some paperwork so I could be paid for time I cover for Mr. Damon, starting Monday.

I was almost downtown when I received a call, and was officially offered a position teaching at Buttress. I accepted. I'll try teaching on my own for a semester, and see how I like it. At the least, it'll be nice to finally be making decent money again, and not working the equivalent of 2 or more jobs. We'll see how the other areas of my life shake out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Every minute is an eternity
Every second is a blow
Heavy on my defenseless shoulders
As I balance on the tension high-wire

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Note About Pop Feminists

If you say "that's what they get" of people who get drunk and pass out at parties having things drawn on them or pictures taken looking like they're having sex with someone, or other humiliation such as simulating or actually pressing bare erogenous zones against them, that's just not so far away from believing drunks "deserve" to be raped. And you sure as hell aren't a feminist. True feminists aren't just about smashing the glass ceiling and the right to abort. A true feminist is against exploitative behavior by anyone, towards anyone.

Another Big Helping

Of pure, raw belligerence and aggression. Don't click if vulgarity offends you.
This is Dope- "Die, MF, Die". But let me tell you how I really feel...

Long, Slow Day

I woke up yesterday in the very early AM and realized I had a bit of a sore throat. I called in and spoke with Mr. D, and then set my alarm for 10 AM and went back to sleep.

Jordy and I met for an early lunch, and after I swung by the school to pick up A History of the Low Countries (Paul Arblaster, 2006), I helped Jordy prepare for her presentation today. I'm afraid she was a bit stressed, but I still enjoyed hanging out with her for most of the day. She has an innovative game prepared: if a sheet with a question is answered correctly, it is flipped. The sheets together make a mosaic picture.

I also managed to get a decent bit of work done on my History of the Low Countries course Dr. vT was kind enough to allow me to take as an independent studies course. I am terribly behind in the class, but I hope to make that up in the next two weeks. As I worked, and began to make something out of how I interpreted the words in the book in front of me, I grinned. I love this, I remembered. I haven't been true enough to myself lately.

I will complete my classroom hours for my practicum Friday. I'm hoping to be allowed to substitute for Mr. D for some of the remainder of the semester, picking up some much-needed funds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Idiots Running the Asylum

I received this a few minutes ago in my email box.


Your blog at: has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at

Your blog will be deleted in 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and your readers will see a warning page during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. Once we have reviewed and determined your blog is not spam, the blog will be unlocked and the message in your Blogger dashboard will no longer be displayed. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected.

They say spam blog identification is "fuzzy". Perhaps a few of you can read through some History of US posts and let me know why it's showing as spam...

Monday, November 17, 2008

A bit embarrassed...

What dog breed are you? I'm a Poodle! Find out at

The Perversion of Feminism

There is a problem with many "feminists" in the United States today. Feminism has been co-opted and perverted by something it's not. There is a strong streak of misandry that has resulted in authentic feminism being discounted by popular culture. Feminism is the movement to eliminate sex-based discrimination. That's it.

There is a double standard I have seen in many women, even some women with whom I have been close. It is totally unacceptable for any man to deride all women as stupid, sluts, gold-diggers or bitches, and I absolutely refuse to do it, because it's untrue and unfair. I have often witnessed women refer to all men as assholes or dogs. This is hypocrisy. Equal is equal and fair is fair. It is wrong to demand fair treatment and then behave as a sexist. These man-haters are the ones who give authentic feminists the bad image.

Years ago, someone I know who unfortunately is a misandrist (though she often has backed up and said "except you" after unleashing an insult towards all men) saw singer Nellie McKay on a TV show, and found her delightful. Here are some of McKay's lyrics from "It's a Pose":

Fellas can't you see I'm pissed
Tryin' to enjoy my readin'
But you insist on interpretin' text
Oh go on @#$! off I'm pleadin'
Every sentence is a pretext for sex sex sex sex
God you went to Oxford
Head still in your boxers
But you're male so what should I expect?
"what the hell do you mean?"
Well for instance
You've committed every rape
"and what else?"
I won't heed your insistence
Mr. copulatin' populatin' masturbatin' denigratin'
Birth of a Nation instigatin' violator of my escape
But hey hey hey, that ain't nothin' to do with you
You're a sensitive Joe, I'm forgettin'
But every woman knows
It's a pose, just a pose

If any of you need help interpreting this, it says that all men are rapists with nothing but sex on their minds. A feminist didn't write this, a disturbed sexist maniac did, and if you think this song is great, you have a serious "reality challenge". Such hypocrisy sickens me. I wrote this in reply:

"The Protest Song" John R. Shirley 22 December 2004

Pretend you're victimized; I'll pretend I'm pissed
That you actually could believe or pretend to buy the bullshit
That gets fed, spoon fed, shoved in your head
Every god damned way
You can imagine tons of difficulties to clog your hard-fought day
And your fight for suffrage will be here to stay
So you'll never be an equal: you'll always be a slave
You'll fight for your rights, long days and empty nights
Until you're cold in your grave

And I'll never be a hero. Hell, I'm just a man
I have no class, my touch is hard, and I kill puppies for fun
But I can do the bleeding even though you swear it's not for you
I'll catch the bullets and till the soil
And cry tears over my children that no-one will ever
Because I'm just a man

You know, I AM "just a man". Mostly good, with my own flaws, but I'm okay with that. I don't hate myself because of the color of my skin or my biological makeup. I came programmed to look as I do, and I as a human largely get to choose how I will behave. This is true for all people of every sex (there are more than two), color, religion, and group. End the hypocrisy. Embrace genuine feminism, or as it could be even better described (to embrace combatting other prejudicial ideas) equalism.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Favorite Things

When I remember to think about it, I am always deeply thankful. All of us in the United States, 2008, have so much. Recessions and economic downturns and stresses that we have, we still have so much more to be greatful for.

I had dinner with a few friends last night at PF Chang's. I had fairly high hopes, but moderate expectations from Chang's, but my Spicy Eggplant was practically perfect, the company was great, and our waitress was lovely and very nice. I was headed back towards the house when I got in touch with Jordy, and asked if she'd like to wander the mall with me for a bit, and get some coffee. I remember how much fun I had as a child walking through the malls in Mobile, Alabama, looking at all the Christmas displays and lights. I seem to have lost something, there, though I think I have gained much more.

It seemed Jordy and April were already at the mall, so I turned around, and we met a little later. We ended up at Barnes and Nobles before going our seperate ways. I found myself still in the bookstore after 9 PM. As I stepped outside, I realized the mall was closed, and I was a decent hike from my car. And it was chilly. I can use the exercise, but as I walked, I thought, cars: they're one of my favorite things. Compared to our ancestors of just over 100 years ago, we can go further, at speeds unthinkable not so long ago. Hopefully we can use that extra time profitably.

Love Hurts

(Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke)

Love is funny, or it's sad,
Or it's quiet, or it's mad.
It's a good thing, or it's bad,
But beautiful...

Beautiful to take a chance
And if you fall, you fall,
And I'm thinking,
I wouldn't mind at all.

Love is tearful, or it's gay,
It's a problem, or it's play.
It's a heartache either way,
But beautiful...

We humans have emotions. Sometimes those emotions, those feelings we have evolved to take the place of raw instinct, are painful. But that's okay. It's just means we're human, and we're still alive. We can still feel, we can still participate in the totality of life. Good, bad, or indifferent- life happens, and we decide how we'll interpret it. So, yes, love hurts, but it also soothes, and fulfills, and help us understand what it means to live fully. That's a good thing. Here's to love.

"But Beautiful" has been sung by various performers. Here is a version from one of my favorites, Nat "King" Cole.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Morning Rough and Ready

I like to make omelettes and scrambles with potatoes in them. Getting the right texture is somewhat of a challenge. I deal with this by partially cooking my potatoes in the microwave. They are then diced, and browned.

This morning, I heated my pan, and added some peanut oil. Rosemary went in next, and then a diced potato. (If you like a bit of spice, 1-2 fresh jalapenos or half a poblano pepper would be a nice addition at this point.) I crumbled a grilled Bubba Burger into the pan (if you are in a bit of a hurry, this is a great time to make coffee), and waited a few minutes before adding four eggs. I reduced the heat after adding the eggs, and then drizzled a bit of sesame oil around the edges before flipping. 2% Velveeta was laid in strips across the top, and after the whole affair was cooked and in a container for transport, I poured a generous serving of chunky salsa on top.
This was delicious and hearty. I had plenty, and it fed two of my coworkers, as well. A great start to a weekend morning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Beautiful Wreck

Sometimes a song just says something so perfectly...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all my fellow veterans. Your service, whether you were drafted or volunteered, is appreciated.

If I read the scales correctly when I went to the gym last night, I weigh the lowest I've weighed in some years. I got in a brief but fairly intense workout at the ASU gym, and then Jordy and I enjoyed watching Get Smart.

Today, I'm going to try to get my CRX up and running. I think I have a bad battery, and may also buy some new tires. Byron is coming over. I'll cook a late breakfast for us, and then we'll take care of the car stuff.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Save us From Your Followers

Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks competed today for the title of "fastest fists at the Holy Sepulchre".

Clear and Cool

It's a beautiful autumn day, clear and slightly cool. It's dazzlingly bright, with just a hint of wind.

It's good to be alive.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Into the Light

The past two months have been hard. (Hell, much of the last 18 months has been hard.) I drove towards Buttress this morning, with my mountain of uncompleted school work, and relationship, economic, employment and other issues on my mind. I was somber and somewhat sad, but my eyes lifted from the road towards the sunrise. The deep purple of the horizon gently blended into the pure light of the dawn, over which a clear blue, almost cloudless sky rose.

And I knew everything would be all right.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dust in the Wind

Someone I love now has "single" listed as her status on her online profiles. I mean, hell, it's been eleven days since the big fight. Totally understandable, right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just a note

My 401K, small as it is, has lost 43% since January.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Accounting Time

Go vote. As always, do the right thing as you understand it. Unfortunately, every politician seems to be at least a few shades of wrong...

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Point of Living

When I was younger, as a Christian, I found irony in what "the wisest man to ever live" had to say about life.

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

Could be one of the reasons why I'm a Buddhist. There is pain in life.

There is beauty, too, if we can find it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Marching Through Georgia

I've been on and off with what I've been able to eat this week, ranging from one day in the reasonable 1800 calorie range, to 30 calories last Sunday. I hope to make it through this patch without serious physical injury: at least, I'll be lighter.

My pens are broken

Jordy ordered some pens to give out at our wedding as favors. The pens are blue or burgundy, and have "John and Jordy" and the year underneath. I really like these pens. They look nice, and write beautifully in a medium point.

I have recently discovered they tend to fall apart, unfortunately, and usually when it's least expected.