Posts Tagged ‘family’

Jesus is coming! Look busy!

Taken with my cellphone on Davenport Rd just before you go under the underpass of death that connects it to Dupont.

For your edification: Failed end of the world predictions from 30 CE to 1920 CE

So, to clarify, I do NOT think the world will end on May 21, 2011.  In fact, I would be pretty pissed if it did.   I would like to draw your attention to one thing:

It’s very blurry, I know (hey, the cellphone was free, and you get what you pay for!), but this billboard directs you to a website called FamilyRadio.com.

I have to say, for a nutty Christian website, the design is not half bad.  Family Radio  does appear to be an actual syndicated/short wave radio show/ministry/crank haven run by a dude called Harold Camping.  While I disagree with Rev. Camping on, I assume, pretty much everything, I can’t stop him from ranting incoherently to anyone who’ll listen.  I have to say, though…

Family Radio?

What does predicting the End of the World have to do with Family?

“Family Radio” sounds like a show about parenting or fun family activities or family therapy.  Not the platform of a crazy preacher who hates gays and thinks the world is about to end.

But I guess this is all of a piece with the Family Research Council, American Family Association, or Focus on the Family, whose titles make much more sense if you replace “Family” with “Patriarchy”.

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As you know if you read my last post, I just made a quilt for my sister for her wedding.

Have you ever made a quilt?

I’m guessing no, because it’s not exactly a universal experience, but if you have you have my sympathy. If you have not and you are thinking, “Well, what the eff is she complaining about?” you can just shut your bloody mouth.

You know why? Here’s why:


And you should care because making a double wedding ring quilt is hard.  Or if not “splitting-the-atom” hard, it is “making really nice mitred corners on crown moulding” hard.  If you ever run across instructions for something that include the phrase “Make 98 arcs” you know you’ve come across something tricky.

Of course, I made the quilt because a) I thought my sister would like it and b) I really like making things.  But Christ on a cracker it did take a lot of time.

Each square of this quilt took about 2 hours to piece, not counting cutting time.  Once the whole top was pieced, it took a few hours to baste the top to the other layers, then about 2 hours per square (again) to hand quilt the layers together.  There were 20 squares.  (20 squares x 2 x 2) + several other hours = This quilt took at least 100 hours of labour to make.  So now you know why I blogged so little in July and August – because every spare minute that wasn’t engaged in practicing or sneezing 97 times in a row (RAGWEEEEEEEEED!) was taken up by quilting.  Also, think of what a labour of love it was.  If I were to sell it and pay myself my normal hourly rate I could not have found a buyer for it, it would cost so much.

Fortunately this was a gift for my only sister on the occasion of her wedding, so she could hardly say no.*  And I’m happy to have made it for her.  When/if my brother-in-law gets married I will make a quilt for him, because I do really enjoy making things, and it’s a nice thing to do for your immediate family members.  But if you want me to make you one, it’s going to cost you at least $3000.  And you will have to put up with severely limited blogging in the interim.


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I am about to leave for Saskatoon, and I may not have internet access for a bit. So there might not be anything up here for a while.

Who knows, I might hit wifi spots all the way across Wisconsin, but you can’t count on it. If I have time tonight I’ll set up some “classic” posts to repost over the next week.

Now excuse me while I snuggle my dogs a bit and eat the last things in the house – a little ice cream and two beers.

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My non-snarky Thanksgiving post.

I have been something of a downer lately, complaining about my stalled career, my legs, the American political system, you name it. So I’m making an effort now to be positive, to stop railing at fate and finding something good to say.

I was doing yoga this morning, trying to think positive thoughts with a background of worrying about money (the upcoming two-three weeks off with no pay), it hit me. I do have something to be thankful for.

Well, I have lots of things to be thankful for, but this one I hadn’t thought of in particular yet. It’s this house.

It’s not a great house by any standard, but it is my house, or will be in 35 years, and if Ben and I had tried to buy it on our own, it would never have happened.

We’re not poor anymore, but we’re not climbing the social and economic ladder very quickly. Furthermore we’re self-employed and not entirely honest with our taxes. So no one in their right mind would give us a mortgage on our own. Believe me, I looked into it. We might have been able to get a “low-documentation” mortgage from a broker, but the interest rates are usually prohibitively high and would have made it unaffordable.

Because we both come from upper-middle-class families with parents who’ve made wise financial decisions, we could get the help from our families to get mortgage approval from the bank. All other things being equal, if we had been the respective offspring of, say, factory workers* and McDonald’s employees it never would have happened.**

Like I said, this house isn’t a palace, but it’s my house and I like it. This makes me thankful, because it’s a mere accident of birth and circumstance that I’m here. There are lots of people whose financial circumstances are identical to my own who don’t have this opportunity.

So there we go. A mostly non-negative thought.

*I know some factory jobs, like auto work, pay well enough to catapult those lucky enough to still have them into middle-class comfort, but the majority are in the $8-$12/hour range – not bad wages, and people who earn that certainly provide for their families and build up savings, but it’s a hell of a lot harder than when you make a professional salary.

**There’s a socialist analysis in here somewhere.

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“You are the enemy of archaeology!” I once yelled at my mother.

I think I was fourteen or fifteen, and in one of her periodic “throw random things away” moments she must have gotten rid of something I had wanted to keep.  “It’s people like you that will make it hard for future archaeologists to piece together our civilization!” I cried.

Yeah, I was a big nerd even then.

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OK, so even though I said I would try to stop myself from exploring the dark, dark world of Quiverfull, I couldn’t help myself from looking up Alan Carlson and Paul T. Mero’s The Natural Family: A Manifesto.

This has led me to another conclusion I didn’t come to yesterday: these people actually hate children.

[actual quotes]:

“We will end state programs that indoctrinate children, youth, and adults into the contraceptive mentality…We will give real control of state schools to small communitites so that their focus might turn toward home and family…We will hold up the primacy of parental rights and hold public officials accountable for abuses of their power.  We will end abuse of the “childabuse” laws.”

Nice to see that they take the rights of children (you know, to life, liberty, access to education, freedom from abuse and harm) so seriously that they put “child abuse” in scare quotes.

You know, when I was about ten or eleven years old I remember having a mini-revelation about the nature of language and euphemism.  In my family political discussion and critical thinking were very much encouraged, and in the course of a conversation with my grandfather I realized that:

  • when people say “the economy”, they mean “rich people”

(i.e., “Wages must be lowered for the good of the economy” really means “Wages must be lowered for the good of the rich people”)

  • when people say “society”, they mean “men”.

(i.e., “Women should stay home for the good of society”…yeah, you get what I mean.)

After reading this document I would like to add:

  • when people say “the natural family” they mean “sociopathic domineering right-wing assholes who want to lord whatever power they can get over helpless and disenfranchised women and children”

Not that I’m encouraging anyone to read this worthless piece of crap, but wow, do Carlson and Mero ever like to make sweeping, evidence-free generalizations.  Here’s just one example:

“We affirm that human depopulation is the true demographic danger facing the earth in this new century.  Our societies need more people, not fewer.”

Well, I affirm that I am a millionaire!  So I need to spend MORE money, not less!  That was fun.

Unfortunately there’s this pesky thing called “evidence”.  It’s wise to have some when making a factual claim about the nature of reality.  My affirmation about my financial status is, unfortunately, all too easily refuted by the evidence of my bank statement.  But Carlson and Mero are real academics or something, so their notion that the world needs more people must have some evidence backing it up.  Right?  Right?

[insert cricket noises here]

Anyway, I’d just like to point one more thing out.  One more thing and I’m done.

Do these people understand WHY our ancestors had such large families?


When I was a teenager, I found a scroll in one of our cupboards.  It was my father’s mother’s family tree.  It went back to around 1700 and it was really cool.  When I got to my grandmother’s generation, I found out something I’d never known: that she had been one of eleven children.  And six of them had died in infancy.

Six.  More than fifty percent.

So for the parents of her generation (she was born in 1896), having a large brood was a smart move.  Because the odds of any given child making it past the age of two were ~ 50%.  In times of war, famine, or disease, they were even less.

My grandmother had twelve kids herself, and all of them not only survived early childhood but until this spring eleven were still around.  And my father and his siblings figured out this simple piece of emotional and financial mathematics and none had more than four.

It’s simple, Alan and Paul: big families make sense in rural communities with high infant mortality.  They don’t make sense in urban communities with minimal infant mortality.  And I’d rather live in a world where people only had as many children as they wanted than one in which every parent had to watch half of their children die.


If you want to give yourselves the creeps, here’s a link to the Natural Family Manifesto.  Just don’t read it right after eating.

*and it wasn’t very good, either

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