Monday, April 26, 2010

The Thrift Shop Find

Every other weekend is filled with teenagers now. Which is wonderful. I don't understand people who don't want children around... or, in this case, young adults. Whatever. A full home is a happy home.

So this weekend we loaded up and hit garage sales, thrift stores, and the beach. New clothes (and other assorted sundries) were acquired and, best of all, we discovered this carved wooden statue:

Perhaps I should've bought it. It could come in "hand"y.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Russian (and other countries') Adoption Problem

The woman who sent her adoptive son back to Russia with a note stating that he was a sociopath is hardly a woman who snapped after singing "I'm a little teapot" one too many times.

She has done what so many parents who have adopted from Russia have been tempted to do. (To read more about this, go here and here).

The sad truth, and one that has been known for years, is that most children from Russia (or many other third world countries) come with problems. It's easy to see why. Here's the recipe:

1. Go to a third world country (and parts of Russia are just that)
2. Take one child being generally unwanted
3. Institutionalize that child for a long time
4. Couple that with him moving to another country and being forced to assimilate the culture

And voila! One freshly made (you choose):

A. Sociopath
B. Child with severe attachment disorder
C. Hell on wheels
D. All of the above

I've read of these cases for years, and I'm shocked that it's taken this long for anyone to take real notice of them.

What's amazing is that it took this one incident to put the spotlight on an issue that's been going on for a very long time. And truthfully, there's no solution. If you want a child desperately enough, you may want there to be a solution, but wishful thinking can't change facts.

Studies repeatedly show a child's personality is developed between 3 and 5 years of age. And these formative years are usually filled with trauma in the case of an unwanted child.

Now other sympathetic families are weighing in, telling of their miserable Russian adoptions. Some have rationalized, some have muddled through it all, but most speak of the toll it takes and the burdens they must carry due to the children they took on.

We are exporting other countries' problems when we take on their children, with rare exceptions.

Years ago I had acquaintances who chose to adopt from India because they felt specially attuned to that country (due to the whimsical fact that the husband played the Sitar). They went through a long and painful process, sending money to India, getting pictures, etc.

The baby was a girl. She had been raised since birth in an orphanage run by nuns, but the problem was that the orphanage had very little funding. Therefore, the children often didn't receive proper nutrition.

When this couple received the baby, she was about 8 months old, had been held rarely (so her head was somewhat deformed from being left in the crib so much), and she was severely thin and undernourished (she was the size of a newborn). As a result, their pediatrician warned them that there was likely to be brain damage or at least mental development issues.

The parents joyfully announced all this to us because, frankly, it was new. And any experience, when new, is something you think you can happily overcome, slogging through mountains and singing the theme from The Sound of Music. It was A Challenge, A Rite of Passage, A Chance To Show Off Parenting Skills.

But that child is now about 18 and I wonder how she fared. And if she lived. And whether or not the marriage survived. And when the bloom fell off the rose, did the Sitar playing husband leave or did he merely sink into despair? For usually it's the wife who takes on the true burden of raising a special needs child.

It is often very hard to bond with a child that is not your biological child, for the simple reason that hormones play a factor when a baby is born. Without your hormones singing that child's praises, it's much tougher to get past the bumps in the road, let alone the crevasses.

Thus, an adoptive child does not have the advantages that a biological child has. Over the years, I have had close friends who were adopted, and not one of them ever felt that bond. And, may I venture to add that it's because their parents apparently never felt that bond, either.

I am sure that there are exceptions: For instance, if a parent adopts a child right after the loss of a child, they may be able to transfer the bond. And there are parents who may truly believe that they are as close to that bond as they can be. One adoption site says that research shows that adoptive families bond as closely as biological ones. I'm not disputing that bonding occurs, but I question to what degree it occurs.

Adoption and assimilation of children is tough enough as it is, without adding other problems to the mix. Although we certainly don't have enough children to adopt within the USA (due to abortion and restrictive laws), going outside of the country isn't a better solution.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Immediate Family Only" Policy is About to End

It's about time. Sometimes Obama gets it right, even if he has the wrong motives.

Barack Obama is ordering that nearly all hospitals allow patients to say who has visitation rights and who can help make medical decisions. But his reason is that he wants to pander to gays and give them equal rights when it comes to their partners.

This is a payoff for an earlier campaign promise Obama made in exchange for the gay vote. Not such an amazing reason, when there are so MANY varieties of reasons for this move. And not only gays will profit.

Couples who were living together have wanted this right for years. And in my case, the majority of my family no longer lives near me. In fact, my siblings all live overseas. So close friends and significant others have taken the place of family many years ago. And this is common in an America where people are constantly on the move. *I* am the mutant, having stayed in Florida for as long as I have.

Sadly, this change of policy is something that only a Democrat would have instituted, which shows how stagnant the Republican party has become.

Crist Makes Another Bad Decision

Despite my earlier belief that Crist couldn't possibly make another boneheaded move, he just vetoed a bill that would make teachers ... *gasp* ... work for their pay and demand job performance based raises.

Wow, that was close! Let's not get carried away! Good thing the unions got in the way, or we might have something in Florida resembling real education.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fox News vs. Republicans

An interesting article in Newsweek today argues that the Republican establishment is rejecting Fox News.

This only makes sense, as the Republicans are part of the same good ole boy network that the Democrats are part of. I can't imagine rank-and-file politicians favoring any network that can stir up the masses.

I'm not a fan of Fox News (I never watch it). I've always found CNN to be relatively impartial until Lou Dobson left. Now I just glean my news from internet news sources. But I find this new twist on network news to be fascinating!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It's about time someone tries to take Oprah Winfrey down a notch. For an accurate discussion of what Oprah believes, go to this article by a non-denominational Christian think tank. It's a pretty good assessment of what I've observed over the years.

Now Kitty Kelley, famous gossip hound and biographer, has taken on The Great O, and has found that many media outlets won't discuss the book with her, for fear of alienating Oprah.


Because Oprah has a large number of mindless, brain-dead fans who drool over every word she emits and follow her blindly. To anger Oprah is to anger her fans.

Kitty Kelley has done many biographies and angered many people. I've often heard the controversies, the arguments, and the denials. So, is she telling the truth?

The people who praised her biography of Ronald Reagan and were aghast when we questioned her facts cannot decry her now.

On the other hand, those of us who felt that she was full of crap to begin with may finally find some allies.

I won't buy the book, but you can bet that I'll rent it from our local library.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Dear Roger

Some of you may remember Roger, from When a Guy Can't Take a Hint. Well, he still hasn't taken the hint. Although he laid low for a while, he started annoying Cindy again. So, I helpfully composed a "Dear John" letter for her:

Dear Roger,

You are a putz.

For a guy who looks like he belongs in the geriatric version of The Village People, you really aren't all that virile, either. I wish I could say that you are a man that could fulfill my dreams, but you fulfill my nightmares.

If your personality were of any note, I would enjoy keeping you as a friend. But when a personality is as sour as old jockey shorts, there is little to recommend it.

Your sparkling wit and repartee... oh wait, you don't have that.

If I were to put together a list of all your virtues, you might make it into a fortune cookie slip.

Much love,

If she has the guts to send this, I think it will solve the problem.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Civil War from a Religious Perspective

The Christian "Roll Over" Argument

Obviously since people have devoted entire books to the topic of the American Civil War, I cannot possibly do it justice in a short amount of time. (For those of you who are interested in delving into it, I highly recommend William Safire's book "Freedom").

However, there is a renewed interest in the Civil War at this time, due to the current Federal government's continual references to The Commerce Clause in the Constitution. There are rumors that states may, once again, try to secede.

I have heard some Christians cite scripture from the Bible, who say that it is our obligation to bow to the government, with little exception. (The exception would be if the government demanded we do something which is against what the Bible teaches).

But How Do You Define Government?

There were 13-16 states that defined the confederacy in 1861, out of a total of 33 states at that time. So it was a significant number of states (almost half) that decided to exert what they considered to be their state rights.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Kentucky Resolution:

"Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that by compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: That to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party....each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress."

Yeah, he was the master of the run-on sentence.

What It Boils Down To

But what it boils down to is that Jefferson (the third President of the USA) felt that the States called the shots and created the Federal government, thus the Federal government wasn't supposed to reign over the states, but was supposed to be ancillary to them.

Jefferson also wrote the famous "Separation Letter" which set the precedence for the separation of church and state, and contributed to a great deal of thought as to how government should work in the early stages of our republic, so let's not quickly dismiss him as a crackpot.

So, What Does it Mean?

So, is it truly rebellion if the states try to secede again? And if so, is it contrary to what a Christian should do? And, perhaps more importantly (as Christians are a minority), is it something that should be considered by a citizen of the USA?

Rebellion, like history, is in the eye of the beholder. It can certainly be slanted to justify whatever we might want. However, this is a topic which we need to begin to consider, as the Federal government continues to extend its powers via the excuse of the Commerce Clause.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Neal McDonough

Neal McDonough is a name I hadn't heard before, as I watch so little TV. I recognize him from his pictures, but I have no idea what I've seen him do.

But Neal McDonough is apparently the man with the big cahonas in Hollywood, and he chooses not to share them with everyone. Because of that, he was recently fired from a new TV series, as he wouldn't do a sex scene with sleazy co-star Virginia Madsen (who apparently has no qualms about it and couldn't be bothered to stick up for the guy).

Wow, an actor with morals! I don't think we've seen such a thing since Pat Boone.

One writer snarkily commented that morals didn't stop McDonough from playing a serial killer once, but let's face it: Playing a serial killer hardly compares to getting naked in front of a crew of people and being very intimate with a naked skank when you're a married man with children.

At a time when we keep hearing how skeevy Hollywood men can be (thanks to Tiger and Jesse), McDonough brings a breath of fresh air.

Bravo, Neal McDonough, Bravo!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fools' Day

In the grand tradition of April Fools' Day, Google has announced that they're changing their name to "Topeka". As Google is my homepage, I was met with this announcement immediately and, half awake, I read their explanation with growing bewilderment until it dawned on me that today is April Fools' Day.

You would think I would remember April Fools' Day. My grandmother was the patron saint of April Fools' Day. Forget about St. Patrick - no one can lay claim to a holiday like my grandmother could.

I don't know how the woman was able to find so much fake food in an era when there were no computers and we lived in Florida, for heavens' sake (there wasn't much shopping variety here in the 70s). But every April Fools' Day she delightedly fooled one of us into almost taking a bite from a sponge-and-rubber sandwich or a piece of angel food cake made from sponge. And that was just the opening round.

There was always a spectacular prank on April Fools' Day. We learned from an early age to be fully aware that April first was coming, but although we felt we were prepared, Grandma always was able to get at least one of us.

One year, fully knowing that it was April Fools' Day, I went running to answer the phone. "Saur!" my grandmother said excitedly, "Oh my goodness! Run outside and look real quick! There's a hot air balloon over your house and I can see it from here!"

What do you think I did? Yup, you guessed it. When I got back to the phone, Grandma was laughing hysterically.

Of course the apple didn't fall far from the tree, and I've been known to indulge in a prank or two myself.

One of my best friends, Pov, has a gorgeous collectible car that he's madly in love with. During the restoration process, he had become extremely annoying to all of us. We heard more about carburetors and paint jobs than any of us ever wanted to hear in our lives.

One day, when he was over at my house, I had run to the store to grab a couple things. When I came back I walked by him casually and simply said "Where's your car, Pov?"

He ran outside quicker than I ran when I thought there was a hot air balloon waiting for me.