Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whatever happened to shame?

Last week Tom Brady's ex girlfriend Bridget Moynahan announced that she was pregnant. Brady acknowledged that he was indeed the father, thanked everyone for their support and expressed his excitement. But nowhere did he mention exactly how he was going to be involved with the baby and nobody expressed any sense of moral opposition towards his behavior. It was as if getting his ex girlfriend pregnant was no big deal.

I find this to be very troubling. Study after study find that children are better off being raised in a two parent home. Children raised by single parents are more likely to struggle in school, have a higher propensity towards drug and alcohol abuse and generally are worse off financially than those children raised by married parents. I realize even by stating these facts that some people will be offended. But with the data so clear, why do we as a culture not seem to care if another kid is born out of wedlock?

Have we really lost our way in terms of right and wrong? And its not just this instance but even when I look at my teenage nephews who have no sense of shame about taking drugs or fooling around with girls. When I speak with them about these issues it's like they simply don't care that I don't approve. The same could be said for the rising number of couples that live together before marriage. It's all but common place now even within the church. It's the odd couple that chooses to try and stay pure before getting married.

I try not to be judgemental in these cases because I have my own sin in my life. But I also understand that when I do sin, I know that I am wrong and seek forgiveness and try to make things right. Most people in our culture just keep on sinning either for lack of knowledge or because they just don't care. Their conscience has become so dulled by the relativism that many people truly think there is nothing wrong with their behavior.

Say what you want about religious fundamentalism but at the very least, it helped maintain some sense of decency in our culture. Even the people who didn't agree with the black and white rules at least kept their behavior in check because they thought somebody might judge or shame them. Unfortunately there was such little grace involved that people got sick of being told what to do and they grew up vowing not to tell others what to do. As a result, today there are no such checks against immoral behavior. In fact, it is often celebrated and encouraged.

So what is the right answer to stopping to the moral erosion in our culture? I don't know and that's what frustrates me the most.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The empty restaurant

Ever since I traveled to NY City in 2004 I have tried to make a point of going to locally owned restaurants in lieu of chains. There is something unique and quaint about independent eateries and I figure the money stays in the local economy instead of going to some corporate owner.

Around the corner from my apartment there is one such restaurant that is brand new. The name of place is Crumpets which is a lame name but I figured I would try it out for Breakfast. To preface this story, there have been multiple failed restaurants in this same location. They have mostly failed because the service was terrible and the menu limited. The first time I went to one of the closed places, the gay waiter hit on me the whole time and it made me incredibly uncomfortable. It made my girlfriend even more so. Then I went back to try another restaurant for breakfast and when I ordered my eggs over easy they informed me that they only cooked them scrambled. And they only had white toast, no wheat, no raisin. They were not in business for long.

Well Crumpets is a step up from the last two places but the menu is still limited. They had only three selections for breakfast and I got some type of cream cheese and fruit breakfast sandwich. It was good but I really in the mood for eggs Benedict but it wasn't on the menu. While I was there only one other person was in the restaurant. I hope they are able to stay open but with the track record of the location and the skimpy menu, I wouldn't be on their success. It's too bad because I at least like the idea of a local neighborhood restaurant if not the execution.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I hate the academy awards

Tonight is the Academy Awards and I am already tired of hearing about it. I just read on the Drudge Report that they expect tonight's show to be the longest ever. I can hardly wait. The event has become nothing more than rich out of touch elitist congratulationing themselves and sharing with us their wealth of political and social wisdom. And this doesn't even include all the pretentious talk before hand of what people are wearing to the event. Are we all really this bored with our lives that we care about this stuff?

But there are millions of suckers who actually get excited and watch this crap. Why? First they give a bulk of the awards to movies that nobody has ever heard of, let alone watched. This is usually justified by telling us how all us hicks outside of Hollywood simply don't understand good film making. But worse, the evening is usually a crashing bore as they stretch the entire evening out to pat themselves on the back about all the great things Hollywood is doing. I am sure the highlight this year will be something praising Al Gore for his work in battling global warming. Talk about hot air.

Maybe we can hope for a fisticuffs between the Obama and Clinton supporters.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Romney on TV

Mitt Romney just went up on TV this week in some key states including Michigan. You can visit his website to view the ad. It's a good spot and I think you will see his numbers jump sharply over the next couple of weeks. http://www.mittromney.com/


My brother's divorce was settled last week. While part of me is thankful that the whole ordeal is over, I know that my brother is not doing well. Financially he took a bath on the sale of their house and now he lives a much smaller townhouse. He is still bitter towards his ex-wife and who can blame him but that bitterness only hurts him and not her. This is his second divorce and he is trying to adjust to living without a woman for the first time in his life. I know he is lonely and that in all likelihood he will begin dating someone else shortly. I just hope that he is able to first find inner peace and happiness instead of seeking it in another woman who will undoubtedly disappoint him again.

Saturday after church I went out to Denny's and got to know one of the men at my church who just finalized his divorce. He has his kids every other weekend and I could tell that he wished he saw them more often. He mentioned that he pays a thousand dollars a month in child support. That seems like a lot especially since he makes about what I make and I couldn't afford that much money. I understand taking financial responsibility for his kids but I can't help but wonder how he will get by.

Over the weekend, I visited with my aunt who is currently separated from her husband and on the road to divorce. On the outside she appears to be doing okay but I know that she has little money and is struggling to get by financially. The accusations are flying on both sides and I have no idea who is to blame for her marriage falling apart but I hate to see the damage that it is causing her family. After she left, my Mom told me about the deteriorating relationship between her and her grown daughter. I used to think that divorce was easier for older children but apparently it is never easy. My Dad's parents got divorced when he was an adult and it only sped up his descent into alcoholism and depression.

Finally, my co-worker is caught up in a custody battle over her daughter and our office gets sucked into the drama every time she and her ex husband argue over the phone. It's totally unprofessional but in these type of disputes, better sense is ignored in place of passions. She often complains that the friend of the court system is broken. I am sure it is broken considering that government is not intended to make family decisions. But because of divorce we have no other choice but to wager our families fortunes on an ill suited court system.

I mention all these anecdotes to highlight why I hate divorce so much. And yet it is a welcomed part of our culture today even by those who have been affected by it in the past. I don't understand why there isn't more outrage against divorce. I realize that many people don't want to impose their moral standards on others but the current laissez faire attitude is not working. How many of us have attended weddings where there is no pretense that the marriage will last forever? Or have we been too busy to help troubled marriages resolve their issues and simply figured the easiest solution is to have them get divorced? The easy decisions are very rarely the right decisions.

I don't write this post out of judgement but out of empathy for those who get divorced and their families. I have lived through the damage myself and I know they deserve much better than the bitterness, loneliness and financial ruin that come from divorce.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quitting their day job

Much has been made about the early start of the 2008 presidential election. With all the attention and activity it seems like we should be voting next month instead of next year. This fast start got me to thinking of how we could slow down the process. Here is my suggestion; we could require currently elected persons to resign before forming an exploratory committee.

Basically under the current rules, dozens of public officials can raise money and campaign without taking the risk of losing their current job. It's a joke to think that any of the sitting senators running have any interest in their current position as they fly from state to state raising money and giving stump speeches. If they had to resign it would at the very least force them to postpone their campaign plans until they were ready to give up their current perks.

While this might give an advantage to candidates who are already out of office, I think many of them would not be pushed into the race as early if they thought the other candidates would also wait. The sole reason Guilani and Romney are out there already is because McCain has been campaigning nonstop since the 2000 election. Besides, I am not that opposed to giving outside candidates more opportunities to level their chances against sitting legislators and governors.

One final advantage my proposal would provide is a way of weeding out the noncommitted candidates. No way do Dennis Kucinich or Duncan Hunter waste our time if they had to resign their congressional seats. They have it too good to risk everything on some long shot presidential bid. This change would limit the field to only serious candidates who have already demonstrated at least some kind of risk and commitment. The only problem with this suggestion is that it would take a sitting elected official to introduce the bill and none of them want to change the status quo that benefits them.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bad Valentines Day Gifts

Ten Valentines Day gifts that indicate you don't really care about your relationship

10. Leftover Christmas fruitcake

9. A membership to Curves

8. I kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

7. Mouthwash

6. Weight Watchers cookbook

5. A new vacuum

4. Gift certificates to McDonalds

3. Milton Friedman's Free To Choose

2. Laundry Detergent

1. Cash

Monday, February 12, 2007

Love Stories

In honor of Valentines Day I thought I would share some of my dating stories. I trust that these will highlight and give reason for my bitterness towards Valentines Day:

The Halloween Day Massacre
I had been dating Michelle for almost 6 months. We had started out pretty well but had been on the steady road towards breaking up for sometime. The night before Halloween we are on our way to meet friends for dinner and she decides that this would be the appropriate time to bring up the long term future of our relationship. In my normal manner of evasiveness I tried to change the subject but eventually we broke up just in time to arrive at the restaurant. We had to spend the rest of the evening in pretend mode since we were with another couple. But that isn't the worst part of the story. I already promised her daughter Risten that I would take her trick or treating for Halloween and so I had to go back the next night and see Michelle again and walk the neighborhood with her and Risten. I've never viewed Halloween the same.

You've Got Mail
Ever since college I was infatuated with Laura. We never dated in college but always kept in touch and had an on again off again relationship for the better part of 8 years. This relationship culminated in her visiting me while home from the mission field. We spent the first couple of days in Lansing and then met again in Chicago for a romantic weekend. During that trip we talked about the future and when we kissed goodbye in the parking lot I thought we had taken a serious step forward. Three weeks later she is back oversees and I am in Mackinac Island for a political conference. I go to the internet cafe to check my email and have message from her. In it she explains that she just met another guy and was dating him instead. I can honestly say that I usually know when things are going south a in relationship but that email came as a real surprise. Up until she got married last year, she would still call me but after that email things were never the same.

No Field of Dreams
My freshman year of college I met a woman named Crystal. All the guys in my dorm had a crush on her but somehow I was the lucky one whom she chose to take home with her for Thanksgiving. The night before while bragging to my friends we all thought that I would be kissing Crystal in the corn fields of Iowa. Well things didn't go as planned. When I got there, she basically pawned me off on her family while she went out with her high school friends. I remember one night sitting on their hard backed couch with her Dad watching the sound of music while he shared his storied of visiting where the film had taken place. It might have been the worst evening of my life. To this day, I am still not sure why she invited me home with her. The worse part was having to admit that I had struck out to all my friends.

The Not So Great Escape
When I lived in Washington I met a woman name Lila. She was smart, funny and sexy and we soon became friends. After I moved to Michigan I went back to DC to visit and went out with Lila. I had a good time but I wasn't really looking for a relationship especially at the time with me living so far away. So on the day of my flight back home I decided I would call her during the day so I could just leave a message on her answering machine explaining that I had fun but I wasn't interested in dating. Well wouldn't you know, she was home that day from work and she totally caught me off guard when she answered. I have never sounded so stupid in my life trying to explain why I called. I tried to stick with my script but it was a lot harder talking to her in person than leaving a message. Needless to say she wasn't impressed and I haven't seen her since.

Shock and Awe
A couple of years ago I became friends with Sheila. She and I had similar interests and eventually during the summer we spent a lot of time at her parent's pool relaxing together. To everyone on the outside, they assumed we were dating and it felt like it often times but we never really discussed it. I was okay with that type of relationship but apparently she wasn't. I remember one day at work I called her because we were going to concert and I wanted to find out the details. During our conversation she asks if she can bring a friend and I was okay with that until I learned it was a guy named Troy and she was bringing him as her date. I was shocked and I remember thinking so does this mean that she and I aren't really dating. In retrospect I blew it. I really miss her parent's pool.

Wedding Crasher
I met Andrea at work and we hit it off. As usual I like to take things slowly to allow my charm to take effect before making my move. I guess I waited a little too long this time. Just as I was getting my nerve up to ask her out on a real date, she tells me she's getting married. I knew there was another guy in the picture but he was kind of a dork and I never really pictured him as much competition. Fast forward a few months to her wedding. She asked me to sing at the wedding and I have to say I have never sounded better. Apparently I must have made quite an impression on Andrea. As we were dancing at the reception she whispered in my ear how much she loved me. If only we she had been drunk and danced with me 6 months earlier.

Out Of My League
One of my closest friends in college was a girl named Stephanie. We were from the same hometown and we just clicked right away. There was one problem. She had a boyfriend back home. So when valentines day rolled around she was going to the banquet with her boyfriend but I still wanted to spend time with her. So I asked her roommate Ruth out so we could double date. It was big mistake. Ruth was attractive but we didn't have anything in common and during the date she was most annoying person I have ever been out with. Every question I would ask her was responded to with one syllable or less. I am not sure if she was nervous, a mute or if she knew that I was only using her to be close to Stephanie. Either way it was a horrible night sitting in the silence watching Stephanie make out with her boyfriend. Now for the rest of the story. Stephanie and I both graduate and go our separate ways and then I hear through a couple friends that she had gotten a divorce. It's sad I figure but it may have provided me the opening that I finally needed. I look her up in the alumni book and send her an email just to see if she might be interested in getting together. Well it turns out the reason she got divorced was because she was a lesbian. I guess I never really had much chance to begin with.

I could go on and on and on but I need to save some stories for next year's valentines day post. Who knows I might even have a few new ones to share.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Global Warming Propaganda

Let me preface by saying that I am not a scientist. But I am a politician and the recent declaration that the debate over global warming is officially over, thanks to the United Nation's report, is not a scientific statement but rather a political one.

The pro global warming crowd's argument is circular nonsense. It goes something like this: There is consensus that global warming is caused by humans so it must be true. Therefore no one can express another opinion because it goes against the consensus. And of course if nobody is allowed to express a different opinion it just builds the argument that there is consensus on the subject.

It is particularly scary to see how willing they are to intimidate and strong arm anyone who dares go against the so called "consensus". Heidi Cullen from the Weather Channel wants any meteorologist who disagrees with global warming to lose their credentials from the American Meteorological Society. In Oregon the Governor wants to strip the title of state climatologist from George Taylor because he believes global warming is occurring due to natural effects and not due to humans. In Delaware, the state climatologist is being vilified because he may have taken money from Exxon mobile and therefore he cannot be trusted on this issue.

I always thought liberals were supposed to be the tolerant wing of the political and social spectrum. But I guess that only applies if you agree with them. Otherwise watch out. And for all people who claim those that oppose global warming must be backed by the oil companies, how come they never doubt the claims of those scientists who get funding from the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. These groups have just as much an agenda as the oil companies to steer their studies in a particular direction.

One last thought; the very notion that the United Nations is the driving force behind this latest "consensus" should on its own be enough to raise doubt about that report. Somebody please tell me one time when the United Nations has been right. Not just on global warming but on any issue.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Okay Winter has officially arrived and it is dang cold. This morning when I came into work it was -2 degrees. It was so cold that my eyes were watering and I had a headache. Thankfully by the time I had to go out again it warmed up to 7 degrees. It's amazing how just being the positive numbers makes you think it's that much warmer out. I guess I shouldn't complain considering we've had a mild winter to this point. But I sure do hope Al Gore is right.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Da Bears

This year's Superbowl is completely different to me from Last year's game. This time last year I was an anxious mess worrying about my Steelers. This year I hardly have a rooting interest. Although, I do really like Tony Dungy. He is a former Steeler himself and he hails from Mid Michigan. But the main reason I like him is because of his Christian witness. To me, very few other men live out their faith in such a positive way as Coach Dungy does. If more of us followed his example the world would be a much better place.

As for the actual game, the keys are run defense, turnovers and special teams. Everybody knows the Colts run defense is the worst to ever reach a Superbowl. Although they have played much better in the playoffs I trust Chicago's defense much more. Give this edge to the Bears.
Both quarterbacks are prone to make mistakes and the question is which defense is best equipped to capitalize on those turnovers. I'd say this area is a draw but whoever wins the turnover battle wins the game. Finally, who will be the special teams star? Will it be Adam Vinateri kicking another game winning field goal or will it be Devin Hester returning a punt for a touchdown. This is just a guess but I think Hester has the best return game since Desmond Howard won the MVP. Give the edge to the Bears.

As much as I am rooting for Dungy and the Colts, I have gut feeling that the Bears are going to win the game this weekend. I thought from the very beginning of the season that the Bears were one of the best teams in the league and I never got that same impression from Indy. The bears are not always pretty but they find ways to win and I think they scrap their way to a Superbowl title this year.

Friday, February 02, 2007

My new look

Over the Christmas holidays I decided to stop shaving and grow a beard. I always thought it would be a manly thing to do but had never taken the time to do it. I had originally anticipated shaving it off once I got back to work but so far my boss hasn't complained about.

What's interesting is that I get a lot of comments on my new look. In the past when I would grow a goatee or whatever nobody would really say much. Now I have complete strangers commenting on my beard. I would say it's a mixed reaction so far but yesterday I did get a compliment from a young woman whom I have a crush on. Her compliment whether genuine or not has sealed the deal at least for this week.