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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Our kiddoes attend a fairly small private Christian school in the tiny little community of Poetry, Texas. You have to love that name. My wife and I would never be able to afford private school tuition for even one of our two younguns if it weren't for the way this school operates. As part of our contract with the school, we are required to provide actual physical work at the school, 5 hours each month for each of the two children. By doing this, the school is able to reduce their tuition to less than half that of other similar nearby schools while still providing an atmosphere of education excellence.

They also keep costs down is by frugal and judicious spending. One of my regular chores is picking up and delivering items they have purchased through local auctions and donations. They really know how to make use of the things they get. But a big help is the annual golf tournament. This is the major fund raiser for us, and helps to provide some relief in the budget for purchasing things the kids wouldn't otherwise enjoy. These are such things as stage lights, microphones, and a front curtain for the theatre program (which, by the way, performs on a stage build by the dads at one of the gym/lunch room/meeting hall/whatever other use to which it needs to be put,) tables and chairs for school events, and softball equipment for this year's newly formed team.

So, with that said, head over to this page that gives more information about the tournament, and has a pointer to the school's website.

The 7th Annual Poetry Community Christian School Golf Tournament
Waterview Golf Club
Rowlett, Texas.

Thanks much,


Thursday, March 5, 2009 10:38am

Society to Restore Objective Pronouns (STROP)

Enough is enough. It is time for you and I to demand change. Us must take back our language! For you and I to go on without addressing this serious crime against syntax would be an atrocity. Us cannot allow this to continue.

I am going on about the loss of the first person singular and plural objective pronouns, “us” and “me.” These two words have inexplicably, and annoyingly, come up missing lately. Perhaps it is just more noticeable here in the American South, which is where I am embedded, but this trend is really starting to grate on my nerves.

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not fixing to rag on this as the only grammatical offense going on around here. I grew up in northeast Louisiana and East Texas, and now live just on the west edge of East Texas, where shredding the English language seems to be compelled by genetics. There are plenty of other examples of English manglings. My problem is that this one is so easy to avoid. As is evidenced by the first paragraph above, the error is also easily recognized. Moreover, to my ears it is the linguistic equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard, or more relevant to my nucular family (sorry, must be those genes,) the feeling of metal against teeth. It is like being made to chew aluminum foil. <SHUDDER!>

The rules are very simple:

1. When referring to yourself in an objective sense, the objective pronouns are used, “us” or “me.” Objective means that you or the group of which you are a member are the object of the verb in a sentence or the object of a preposition.
2. When including a first and second person reference together as an object, the second person reference comes first.
3. In the event that number 2 is necessary to convey your meaning, it is almost always better to simply use the plural pronoun.

The test to determine the correct pronoun is elegantly simple: Just remove the second person pronoun and see how it sounds. It’s very, very easy. Here are some examples:
             It is time for you and I to act.

Remove the second person pronoun:
            It is time for I to act.

Surely, that doesn't sound correct to anyone, right? 

I think the trouble begins in grade school.  The steady drumbeat of gradeschool teachers to enforce another rule has led people astray.  That rule regards using the subjective pronoun after a linking verb.  A linking verb describes a state of being.  These are most often cases of the infinitive "to be," such as "is," "are," "am," and so on.  The test for this is also very simple.  Just reduce the sentence to the subject, verb, and the linked subject, then reverse the order of the sentence.  Take this simple sentence, in the form commonly used:

           It was me who answered the phone.

When we simplify, we have:

           It was me.

When we reverse, the inaccurate pronoud use is apparent:

           Me was it.

So we're taught that the pronoun after the verb is subjective.  Simple, right? 

Now, one more rule:  When using words such as "as" and "rather," the trailing noun is subjective again.  Here is the way we commonly here such an instance:

           She is taller than me.

Once more, a simple test reveals the incorrect usage.  The trick to testing this one is to complete the sentence.  Yes, this sentence is incomplete.  There is an implied phrase following the that last pronoun.  In this case, it is one lonely word:  "am."  The completed sentence built from the above would be:

           She is taller than me am.

The error is apparent.  Technically, this is not a separate rule.  It is the same rule as above, about following a linking verb.  We just have to remember to add the linking verb, at least nonverbally, to derive the correct usage.

These last two rules are ignored more often than not.  The good news is that violating these two is not a cardinal grammatical sin.  Through common (mis)usage, the objective pronouns have become acceptable.  That is good news for me, also, since I am likely to use the objective pronoun when I leave the trailing verb implied.  I know I have this problem, so I made a habit of going around the issue.  I go ahead and make that last verb explicit by saying it.  Easy enough to do, clarifies the sentence, and instantly makes the use of the correct pronoun a natural part of the sentence.

What most irritates me is that my assumption regarding all these rule reversals is the speaker's attempt to demonstrate their proper mastery of the rules, yet failing miserably!  The forced use of subjective pronouns in place of objective, and the objective in cases where the subjective should be,

Thus endeth the lesson.

Now get out there and fight for what's right!

Friday, February 6, 2009 11:48am

This Opinion For Sale!

After a recent, very distasteful experience involving a potential vendor, I realized I am missing a huge income opportunity.

My opinion

I have decided to sell the services of my opinion to anyone who makes a decent offer. On this very web page, I will post a glowing review for anything and everything on a subscription basis. Please, describe the target you would like me to shamelessly promote, and what qualities I should focus on. For the right price, my glowing review is available for you to put your own name (or one you invent, "Dave S. in Ottawa" is always a winner,) In addition to having your product or service described in near-deific terms on the front page of this on this You can then copy'n'post the review to any blog, message board, newspaper, billboard, t-shirt, bicycle helmet, public transportation vehicle, or whatever, for a period of six (6) months, after which you must renew your subscription.

Contact me here to make an offer.

Or you can just send money.

- Max "100% For Sale" Nator

Sunday, January 11, 2009 1:03am

After much pain and anguish, I have Intellixchange and my other domains and sites consolidated at one host, or at least about 90% of it.
You'll notice some changes to Scrogglesolver. There were just too many people taking advantage of it. The outage was coincidental, by the way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1:48pm

Our host machine's RAID failed + recovery failure plus family vacation = Scrogglesolver in various stages of failure.
We're back now, though, and our hosting company seems to have gotten everything up and running again. At least Scroggle itself didn't go down again. People get very cranky when that happens.

Why this website wasn't on our minds at all:

"Caged Lightning" at the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas
The Body exhibit is one of the creepiest, coolest exhibits I have ever seen up close. Sorry, photography wasn't allowed so you'll just have to see that for yourself.
"The Natural State" We didn't get into the northern section of Arkansas where there are some really spectacular vistas, but this was quite nice.
Our primary activity: Whacking away at clay and rock hillsides to get at the shiny-pretties inside.
The reason for the whacking:

Saturday, September 27, 2008 11:52am

In one sentence, Melanie Warner provides us with the contrasting elitism and ignorance of the left. In this month's Fast Company, she states in her column, "Green Business: Why FedEx's Hybrid-Truck Program Stalls,"

They need help from other companies, and despite what free marketeers like to believe, help from our government.

Short of Harry Reid's embarrassingly whacko rationalization that payment of the United States' federal income tax is voluntary, I haven't seen a statement better than this that exemplifies the illogical, fantasy world some people occupy and would have us share with them, knowing that the goal can only be met by implementing force. This is as delusional as a warhawk saying, "Despite what peace activists believe, you can't have a war without killing some soldiers."

Follow the money. "Free market" means free from government influence and interference. Remember when PBS was whining, "If we don't do it, who would?" The simple answer that never seemed to occur to them: NOBODY! What rational person would enslave themselves to something that is not worthwhile? The word "worthwhile" itself conveys that very meaning!

If FedEx has a compelling, profit-driven motive for implementing their new fleet model, then it can and will find a way to do it. People like Melanie Warner seem to believe that one way to enhance that profit-motive is to use the inefficient, heavy-handed, soul-destroying power of government to redefine profit to mean "what we decide is good for the commons." And we continue to allow them to destroy us and the United States, while we pretend to feel good about doing right thing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008 11:06pm

See? It hasn't been quite a month since I posted a new message.
Scroggle Solver has some significant improvements as of this morning. You should not have to wait for the puzzle to solve after you get to the site. The current day's puzzle should be ready and solved when you get here. For the individual puzzles you'll still need to enter the letters manually and then click "Solve."

Sunday, August 10, 2008 11:06pm

See? It hasn't been quite a month since I posted a new message.
Scroggle Solver has some significant improvements as of this morning. You should not have to wait for the puzzle to solve after you get to the site. The current day's puzzle should be ready and solved when you get here. For the individual puzzles you'll still need to enter the letters manually and then click "Solve."

Friday, July 11, 2008 11:06pm

Yeah, yeah. It's been 6 months. I promise to get another post up faster. If something hadn't caught my eye, I wouldn't even be doing this one. Besides, wasn't ScroggleSolver enough for you?
The following story is from This is True dated 17 July 2005. It is Copyright 2005 Randy Cassingham, all rights reserved, and reprinted here with permission:

"Ethical" Defined

After more than 100 dead dogs were dumped in a trash dumpster over four weeks, police in Ahoskie, N.C., kept an eye on the trash receptacle behind a supermarket. Sure enough, a van drove up and officers watched the occupants throw in heavy plastic bags. They detained the two people in the van and found 18 dead dogs in plastic bags in the dumpster, including puppies; 13 more dead dogs were still in the van. Police say the van is registered to the headquarters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the two occupants, Andrew B. Cook, 24, and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, identified themselves as PETA employees. An autopsy performed on one of the dogs found it was healthy before it was killed. Police say PETA has been picking up the animals -- alive -- from North Carolina animal shelters, promising to find them good homes. Cook and Hinkle have been charged with 62 felony counts of animal cruelty. In response to the arrests PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said it's against the group's policy for employees to dump animals in the trash, but "that for some animals in North Carolina, there is no kinder option than euthanasia." (Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald) ...Oops, my mistake: that's "Playing God" Defined.

In his author's notes section, Cassingham had more to say about this story:

The more I learn about PETA, the less I think of them. The story of them killing animals isn't even unusual. According to PETA's own filings, in 2004 PETA killed 86.3 percent of the animals entrusted to its care -- a number that's rising, not falling. Meanwhile, the SPCA in PETA's home town (Norfolk, Va.) was able to find loving homes for 73 percent of the animals put in its care. A shortage of funds? Nope: last year PETA took in $29 million in tax-exempt donations. It simply has other priorities for the funds, like funding terrorism (yes, really). But don't take my word for it: I got my figures from http://www.PETAkillsAnimals.com -- and they have copies of PETA's state and federal filings to back it up. The bottom line: if you donate money to PETA because you think they care for and about animals, you need to think some more. PETA literally yells and screams about how others "kill animals" but this is how they operate? Pathetic.

And you know what I wonder? PETA's official count of animals they kill is 86.3 percent. But if they're going around picking up animals, killing them while they drive around and not even giving them a chance to be adopted, and then destroying the evidence by dumping the bodies in the trash, are those deaths being reported? My guess: no. While 86.3 percent is awful, the actual number is probably much, much higher. How dare they lecture anyone about the "ethical" treatment of animals!

(This is True is a weekly column featuring weird-but-true news stories from around the world, and has been published since 1994. Click the link for info about free subscriptions.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008 2:45pm

I was watching a recorded episode of "The Universe" from the History Channel last night.  This one was named "Beyond the Big Bang."  Max Tegmark was on it, and he said something that summed up my suspicions regarding all things "dark" in cosmology.

From Dr. Tegmark's website, and almost verbatim of what he said in the episode: "Dark energy is little more than a fancy name [for] our ignorance of what seems to make up about two thirds of the matter budget [of the observed universe.]" 

It seems to me that this is another example of building on "ifs" to come up with a way to coerce our model into agreeing with observation.  In this case, we have a theoretical model, the Big Bang Theory, modified by the inflationary model, and then a magical "if" ("if there is something exotic out there causing pulling on space at large distances, then we would see large scale structure and homogeneity of cosmic background radiation and the smoothness of space,") that can be turned into an "it" to complete the equations.  That leads me to a couple of thoughts:

1.  "Dark energy" and "dark matter" are comforting since we can give "it" a name or two, but when do we decide that we've gone too far in bending a model and that we need to rethink the model's foundation? 

2.  I've been pondering the possibility that it is the nature of space itself that causes what we see as inflation, and not the nature of some exotic substance or energy that is affecting space.  Perhaps this is some aspect of space that can only manifest far from matter where it is not drowned out by other interactions (gravity, for example.)  It doesn't seem to be any more magical than "dark energy" itself and would be a simpler explanation since it doesn't invoke a need for a more complicated system.

3.  Could this unknown aspect of space turn out to be what gives rise to what we call the fundamental forces, each varying in domain based on their proximity to mass in some ratio?  Currently, there isn't a standard ratio that lets one predict a relative effect from the ratio of 2 forces the effect of a 3rd force (ie., you can't predict gravity by comparing the weak and strong nuclear forces,) but what if each were dependent upon a 5th variable (strong nuclear force modified by the "fundamental spatial force" compared to the weak nuclear modified by the "fundamental spatial force" results in a prediction of gravity modified by the "fundamental spatial force".)


Thursday, December 6, 2007 5:40am


I think I understand why so many neocon Republicans don’t want Dr. Ron Paul around anymore.  If he were to win the nomination, then all these unthinking, chin-beaver wearing, pro-war Bubbas would need to find a new direction for their chest-thumping. 

Bubba:  “WHAT??? We can’ CUT’n’RUN!  That’s what sissies do!  Real men die on the battlefield!  Hell, they even fall on their swords if that’s the only way to get kilt in battle!” 

Someone with a brain:  “So, sir, when do you plan on doing that?” 

Bubba:  “Oh, I’m a real man because of what I say, not what I do.”

Monday, December 3rd, 2007, 1:06pm

While I'm thinking about it, be sure to sign up at TeaParty07 for the next Ron Paul "money bomb."
The plan is to have a torrent of donations that day for the Ron Paul 2008 Presidential Campaign.

Monday, December 3rd, 2007, 12:20pm

I-30 East AND West-bound, just east of Royse City, Texas!
Ron Paul 2008!!!!
The only real American choice for President.

Friday, November 23rd, 2007, 7:00pm

Wal-Mart = Good, Socialism = Bad

I squeezed into my local Wal-Mart the day before Thanksgiving to get some last minute items for our Thanksgiving dinner.  My “local” Wal-Mart is the one in the mighty micropolis of Quinlan, Texas, that just opened a few months ago.  Our house is almost exactly at the center of a triangle whose three vertices are occupied by Wal-Mart Supercenters (Greenville and Rockwall form the other two vertices.)  I chose Quinlan thinking that it would be a bit less crowded than the other two because of its more rural location.  If it was less crowded, then I can only imagine how packed the other two were.

My visit fell into three distinct phases:

1.        Finding parking.  My first surprise was seeing the parking lot so full.  But from what I fully attribute to the grace of God, I found a decent parking place in my usual section about two-thirds out to the edge.  Farther out is “no man’s land” where employees should be parking.  Closer spaces are for old ladies and that handicapped.  And inconsiderate lazy-loser people.  I get a little inner smile watching Bubba sitting in his redneck dream truck, taking up both directions of the two-way lane, waiting for Grandma to finish packing her trunk and back out so he can have her prime parking spot.  Meanwhile, I’ve parked in my section, burned an extra 3.44 calories walking across the lot, and made it all the way into the warmth of the happy land that is Wal-Mart.

2.       Negotiating the crowd.  Couples double-teaming the shopping:  one driving the buggy full speed, while the other sends a turkey flying from freezer chest to the buggy in a single underhand fling. Cranberry sauce running ankle-deep in the aisles.  Choking clouds of cornmeal dust loosed upon the enemy by the craftier shopper-warriors.  This perfectly describes what the experience was not like.  The nearly manic stockers were keeping their shelves and freezers so readily replenished, that I rarely saw a section with a low product count.  My heart leapt with joy over the abundance of choice.  I fell easily into the great wheel of humanity that rolled through the store, quickly and efficiently selecting my chosen goods and filling my buggy.  I didn’t feel the least bit tyrannized.

3.       Running the checkout gauntlet.  What better way is there to wind down from a grueling shopping course through Wal-Mart than standing in line for a chance to give away some of my hard-earned money?  Not a chance of that on this foray.  I think every checkout was open this day.  I estimated I had 18 items, but since I was not in a hurry and can find endless amusement people-watching from the front of the store while I wait my turn to fork over the cash.  Not being a fully realized masochist, I got into a middling lane with 3 buggies in front of me.  I was at the front of the line and checked out before I barely got a chance to scope for any local celebrities who might still be alive.

I sum it up as a good adventure in capitalism:  I got what I want in a satisfactory manner while parting with an agreeable sum of money (which I fondly think of as the “fruit of my labor” and a reliably exchangeable valuation for a portion of my life.)

All of this got me to thinking about those few I’ve met who are militant anti-Wal-Mart types (my, oh my!  A website run by a union full of happy smiling drones that has desperately tried to unionize Wal-Mart since the mid-90s, but hemorrhaged membership by 70,000 people between 2001 and 2005!)  The typical arguments I hear (admittedly not often, but often enough to give me some much needed eye-rolling exercise) go something like this:  “Wal-Mart is evil.  They don’t pay their workers a fair wage, they ruin the local small business climate, and I can’t even think about what they’re doing to the environment without crying little baby penguin tears of anguish!”

“What,” I then ask, “would you do to alleviate this tragedy, and dry up those obnoxious tears?”

What follows is the usual litany of fixes:

1.        Raise the minimum wage and provide top-notch benefits to workers

2.       Force Wal-Mart to either raises its prices (also a proposed solution for funding #1 above) or confiscate part of their revenue to “revitalize” failing areas (again, another proposal to help the disadvantaged slave-laborers down at the local Wal-Mart)

3.       Nebulous “greening” ideas  (more in a later entry on this one)

So, what do any of these have to do with Wal-Mart performing the function it was designed and built to do?  For those who don’t know or are having trouble understanding, Wal-Mart has one and only one purpose: to make money for its owners by providing a valuable service to as many willing clients as possible.  In other words, to engage in the very activities that this country and our society are founded on:  taking part in voluntary, profitable trade.

Let’s go to that strange Fairy Land where the Wake-uppers have their way, and see what has happened:

Wal-Mart has been besieged by state and federal law, and must concede or be wiped out by the only folks who have deeper pockets: government lawyers (who just need to print more when they feel the supply running low, thereby stealing from all of us!  Joy, joy!)

In an effort to meet these demands, Wal-Mart raises prices to meet the higher costs plus to pay the confiscatory taxes levied against it.  Business slows.  Customers no longer have the motivation to shop at Wal-Mart like they once did.  Mom and pop businesses make a comeback.  Everybody’s happy!

But wait a minute.  That’s not the whole picture.  Something’s wrong here!

The actual effect is that the market has shrunk.  The shrinkage means that less money changes hands for fewer products (or in this case, more money that is worth much less because of inflation.)  The market can bear fewer employees.  Wal-Mart ends up laying workers off by the thousands.  It’s a good thing the tax money was taken from them, because now it’s needed to support all those out-of-work folks.  Who now must shop for higher-priced goods with money worth just barely more than the paper on which it’s printed.  So much for helping the workers and the locals.

I would like to believe that this whole scheme can be attributed to incompetence by well intentioned do-gooders, and we all know what famous path is lined with said “good intentions.” However, I just can’t quite convince myself that they are so incompetent that they can't see how quickly the above scenario would come true.  I'm left to consider just one alternative:  they truly are maliciously trying to destroy the already tattered fabric of the free society we enjoy and force us under their favorite flavor of socialism, regardless of how history has proven it to be a failure.


Achmed the Dead Terrorist!

Friday November 23, 2007


It’s the day after Thanksgiving.  We had a good day yesterday.  Just us, my Mom, and Marvin, a friend from church.  We didn’t have much food by choice.  I just didn’t want to be living on leftovers for the next 3 weeks!  Ah, the balances we strike:  Pay someone else to feed us and clean up at one extreme, and at the other, go all out with 2 days of cooking leading up to 2 hours of gorging, 4 hours of cleanup, and 2 weeks of tasting turkey in everything.  We had the best of both.

I’m trying to get a good mental grip on this blogging thing.  I want to post thoughts, and I have 10 or 20 a day that I want to share, but I don’t know how to keep on a topic.  Notice how I’ve already shifted?  Give me a paragraph or two, if you don’t see it yet!  What to write on?  Dr. Ron Paul?  Metamaterials?  Jesus? Marriage?  Friends?  Business?  Inventions?  Time and Space (or rather, my suspicion that neither really exists?)  I guess I’ll just have to do them one at a time as I get to them, or as I’m inspired to write of other things.