Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Stock Market

I am now officially a stock trader. I put in a few hundred dollars and purchased some stocks the other day ... and immediately lost $20. It seems like a good time to buy, with all the shakiness of the economy and all the stock values depressed. So I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring and see what happens. I won't be doing active trading, but just watching it carefully and when the stock value rises above a level I've already decided upon, I'll sell. Of course, that may take a few years ... or many years ... but it seemed like the right move to make.

And maybe there will be a surge after next Tuesday's election ...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tolerance of the "No" Campaign

I've spoken before in this space about the difference between tolerance and acceptance. I've stated that Proposition 8 is not a question of tolerance, as traditional marriage can certainly co-exist with same-sex partnerships without bloodshed, and has for many years. Instead, Proposition 8 is about stopping the legal enforcement of acceptance of same-sex "marriage" as equivalent to traditional marriage upon every person in the state of California.

I spent some time last Saturday on a street corner waving a sign that simply said "Vote Yes on Prop 8!" It had no additional wording, and for any passerby who didn't know what that was, it wouldn't have told them enough to make an informed decision. Nevertheless, what I experienced was that nearly everybody that drove by seemed to know what it was. Interestingly, a very good percentage of the people who drove by actually honked in approval. Many passed by without honking, and didn't respond either way. Nevertheless, it was the minority that I wanted to speak about today.

You see, the minority was extremely negative to me and the others with me. We often received stern looks, the "finger", shouts of "bigot!" (mis-applied and mis-used, mind you), and more thumbs-downs than you can shake a stick at. Interestingly, demographically, the bulk of the people who responded in this manner were teenage kids too young to vote, or women driving alone in their car. Not once did I see a heterosexual couple with kids in the back seat give a negative response. What does that say about this issue?

Our little sign-waving party, our demonstration, went on peacefully and respectfully. To those who agreed, we smiled and nodded, and to those who disagreed, we ... smiled and nodded. We respect the right of others to disagree, but really, really hope that most people agree that traditional marriage should be preserved.

The "No" campaign says that this whole issue is one of tolerance. I believe that, too, and I really do not have any problem with people who practice homosexual behavior in privacy. I just don't want that minority of people to re-define for the majority what marriage means. It's not about "rights", as the "No" campaign will shout until they can't shout any more. Homosexuality is a behavior, and an arguably deviant one. In this way it is much like drinking alcohol which, despite its largely social acceptance, is not a good thing. Regarding alcohol, I respect people's freedom to choose, but I draw the line at teaching my kids in school that drinking alcohol is good. In much the same way, I can tolerate gays and lesbians just fine, but just don't teach my kids that same-sex "marriage" is good and right and normal.

Nevertheless, this is an election. Ultimately, the will of the people will be expressed next Tuesday. I really hope it goes as I want it to, but I fear that it will not. In the meantime, I am exercising my right to demonstrate, to be active in the political process, and to engage my friends, neighbors, and, yes, total strangers in a dialog to explain to them why I feel the way that I do.

As I've stated before, I've put signs on my front lawn urging others to vote "Yes on Prop 8". Four times my signs have been stolen. Once the sign has been mangled and left in my driveway. If the "No" campaign is all about tolerance, then why do they keep stealing my signs?! Attempting to deprive me of my constitutional right to express my religious beliefs and my freedom of speech does nothing but hurt your point of view. And trust me, I've got plenty more signs, so it doesn't do any good.

I ran across an interesting article on how we should disagree, but not be unkind. It's worth reading, I believe. There is just over a week until the election. I hope it goes my way. It might not, and for that I would be extremely sad, and more than a little anxious. Between now and then, though, I will indeed disagree with the "No" campaign, with every breath; but you won't catch me being unkind.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why the Moon?

It's been a while since I actually posted something on space, so I'm rectifying that. I stumbled upon this today, and I thought it was interesting. I'm more of a Mars guy, myself, but going to the moon doesn't disturb me at all. I'd like to go ... but only if my wife can come with me ...

Check out the following presentation:
Why the Moon?
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: research science)

My Barack Obama Nightmare

Okay, so this is a political commentary on Barack Obama (more on the socialistic tendencies of Democrats, really). This is just what my dream was last night -- no embellishments -- you can read into it what you want.

I found myself in the wilderness, dirty and smelly, with a bunch of other people -- two girls and four guys that I didn't know. These people were all as dirty and smelly as me. The girls were both Caucasian, there were two black men, a Hispanic fellow, and man from Asia (my dream wasn't specific about where in Asia). We were a multi-cultural bunch, and got along quite well, though the girls didn't like me. (I think I was a teenager, so their attitude was what I was used to ...)

Anyway, my dream was basically about us walking north, crossing mountain ranges on the way. We were originally somewhere in Arizona and we needed to get north really badly. As it turned out, President Barack Obama had apparently nuked all the middle latitudes in an effort to curb global warming. I'm not quite sure how that would help, but apparently Mr. President did. It had the effect of making the mid-northern latitudes really cold. So most of our trip was spent going through snow-covered hills. We didn't really run into too many people, just pristine forest and hills with no people allowed (we were interlopers). Thankfully a few people in our group were good at catching animals, otherwise we all would have starved.

Once we got further north, we were above a town. The snow didn't make it down to the town, and we were excited, because this was where we were going -- Casper, Wyoming. Why Casper?! I have no idea, but we knew that once we got there all our troubles would be over. In my dream, Casper was a big college town, and once we got there, we could apply to be students.

Apparently in my dream we were not citizens in Barack Obama's country. But it didn't really matter. Once we got to Casper, we could say that we wanted to be students. The school/government would then have to take care of us. We snuck into town and while we were walking (remember, we're filthy and stinky, so we kind of stand out), people were glaring at us in anger, but were afraid to say anything to us. I guess they weren't allowed to.

So we finally make it to some kind of dormitory. It's a huge building, and once we get there, some scruffy kid welcomes us in. We're grateful and he tells us to go downstairs to his room and shower. His room! We found out that individuals don't have their own rooms, and it was his turn to take in any new arrivals. So we all head down to his room (which is downstairs and is really quite big -- more like a concrete entry to a big building) and go to some gigantic communal shower. Girls and guys shared the same shower because in this new government there was to be no difference in how the different sexes were treated -- I was a teenager, though, so I was cool with that. It was clear by this point due to my nonchalant attitude on the matter that I was neither an adult nor married (but marriage didn't appear to matter in my dream).

As we're there, we find out that our days of being hungry, cold, and dirty are over. Barack Obama's government will take care of all of us -- feed us, clothe us, and house us -- so long as we stay students in Barack Obama's country. Hey, it sounded good to me, so I was in!

Anyway, that was my dream. I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I won't be voting for Barack Obama.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Going to the Movies Alone

I'm on a business trip this week. Typically when I'm out of town, I go to a movie or two at a nearby theater. Most of the time, I travel alone, so find it most convenient to go to the movie theater alone. Tonight I went to go see "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (it was silly, but I still kind of liked it ...). On the way out, I was noticed by a teenage girl who was standing with two friends of hers (a guy and a girl). Right as I'm about three feet away, she says, "Can you imagine going to a movie by yourself? That would be so wrong!"

I about turned around and told her I was on a business trip from out of state and being in a movie theater by myself watching a movie I want to see is better than being in my hotel room by myself flipping through 80 channels and not finding anything good to watch. I was stunned by her flippant comment, not because of what she said, but because I was right there! Totally rude.

Nevertheless, going to the theater by myself doesn't bother me. The first time I did it (nearly a decade ago), it was kind of strange, but I found that it wasn't too bad. I don't have my kids wrestling with me (who are too hungry, or too scared, or have to pee at the best part of the movie, or laugh too loud, or ask strange questions out loud) and I can completely block out everybody around me and simply enjoy the movie. Granted, I always would prefer to have my wife with me, but I find it quite convenient to go see movies that she wouldn't want to see in circumstances like this. In this case, she had taken the older children to see it a few months back, and I didn't see it at that time -- this was my chance to catch up.

Anyway, just something funny. I really don't think I'm a freak for doing so, but I have to ask: do you ever go to the movies by yourself?

(Oh, and after the movie, I came back to the hotel room and watched "Speed Racer" -- also kind of silly, but again, I kind of liked it! Now I'm really tired, it's late, and I'm going to sleep ...)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Synchronized Swimming and a Halloween Party

Tonight was the Ward Halloween Party. We had probably 150-200 people there (I'm bad at estimating crowds) and it was pretty fun. There was a lot of chili to eat and a video that illustrated many of the "Scary Hidden Talents" of the ward members. Some were indeed very scary, like one woman who seemed to be able to move her eyeballs independently of each other; but others were just cool, like one kid who could leap and flip in the air repeatedly.

After the video, the Bishop, his 2nd Counselor, the Ward Clerk, and the High Priest Group Leader (the 1st Counselor and Elders Quorum President had a conflict -- yeah, like a football game and work were more important ... priorities, people!), and I performed some "synchronized swimming". The video tells it all.

This is something that the Activities Committee Chairwoman found out about, and she foisted it upon us. At first, I was really quite unhappy about being involved in this, but after it was all over, I'm actually quite glad that I participated. It was a good, fun time. I'm the one who is on the left most of the time, and the shortest one of the bunch. I think it turned out pretty well!

After, the kids went outside to the parking lot where they went "Trunk-or-Treating", where many people had their car/truck/van trunks opened up and were passing out candy. Instead of going house-to-house, the kids went vehicle-to-vehicle and acquired an enormous amount of candy. They were so tired afterward, even after consuming so much sugar which should have kept them awake, that they went to sleep right after they came home. Pretty funny. Is there such a thing as a sugar-induced coma?

It was a good night.

Television Review: Crusoe

I'm really not much of a television watcher; there isn't very much on TV that captures my interest -- mostly because of the paucity of science fiction fare that is on network television. Nevertheless, the commercials for "Crusoe" caught my attention, and as my wife was out for the evening (for a "Girls Night Out", whatever that is ...) I was at home by myself with the kids soundly tucked into bed. Normally, I'd find some family history to work on, a video game to play, or just read a book, but I thought I'd watch this show just to see how it went.

And honestly, it went very well. I really quite enjoyed it! It was definitely the "cleanest" television I've seen in a long time. The typical things that turn me off on a television show, such as gore, sex, and language, were nearly completely absent. That's not to say that there wasn't violence and innuendo, but it wasn't in the in-your-face, let's-see-how-far-we-can-push-the-boundary kind of way.

I found the dialog to be crisp, the backstory compelling, and the overall structure of how the episode was put together to be refreshing. The narrative couldn't help but use back-flashes to help anchor the story, which some may feel is derivative or a weak story-telling tool. However, I felt that there needed to be some way to explain how Robinson Crusoe got where he was, and why he was the way he was, and I thought they worked well. His motivations would have been a complete mystery without it.

In any case, I do look forward to watching the next episode. For a guy who follows fewer than 5 television shows at any given time (I was down to 3 ...), it's a pretty big accomplishment to find a television show that is entertaining without feeling cheap. However, it's because of the aforementioned "cleanliness" of the show that means it probably won't last very long.

To make matters worse, I actually liked it, which definitely puts a death-knell in it; my history isn't too good (remember Jericho? Enterprise? or -- let's go way back -- Space: Above and Beyond?). But I've been surprised before -- Lost has been a pleasant surprise -- and I hope I am surprised again and that this show lasts for a while.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"No on Prop 8" Nonsense

In my previous post, I simply indicated that my "Yes on Prop 8" signs had been stolen. I made no diatribe about how Prop 8 was a good thing, nor did I suggest that everybody should vote "Yes on Prop 8" (I'll say it now, though: "Vote YES On Prop 8!!!").

Nevertheless, somebody left a comment on that entry that contains clearly copy/pasted content from the "No" campaign outlining several of the claims from the "Yes" campaign, and attempting to debunk them. Well, I'm going to take a little bit of time right now to debunk the debunking. (Seriously, why these people continue to harrass my family-friendly blog is beyond me -- can't they tell my mind is made up?)

I include the content in it's entirety, highlighted in italics, with my position immediately after each segment. Here goes:

If Proposition 8 passes, the law will change to designate an entire class of people as unequal to, as less than, every other class of people.

My take: Gays and lesbians are not a "class" of people, any more than pet- or gun-owners are. They are "normal" people (or so they say) who choose to participate in behavior that most other people don't consider to be "normal".

In the eyes of the law, gay people will be seen as inferior to everyone else.

How, exactly? California law already very clearly provides protections against hate crimes and does not diminish the rights of gays or lesbians as individual citizens.

And when opponents of gay rights see the idea that gays are inferior validated by the government, it will allow them to continue on their path of dehumanizing gays and lesbians.

Dehumanizing? Seriously? Who's doing that? I have several co-workers that are gay and while I do not agree with their chosen lifestyle, I do not consider them any less "human" than me.

That's what denying a class of people an equal right does.

Since when is marriage a right? Marriage is no more a right than holding a valid drivers license. It is a social institution. To have a valid drivers license, you must obey by the rules of having a drivers license or you can not have one. Marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman -- that is the rule of marriage and if you can not abide by that rule, you do not have a marriage. You can not redefine it. The second you do, the word "marriage" no longer means what it did and it becomes something different.

The lifestyle that grown and consenting adults choose to live is up to them -- that is their right, and one I would not deprive them of. However, you can not equate a chosen lifestyle with a "right".

It dehumanizes them, and it is dangerous.

There's that dehumanizing thing again. Repeating it doesn't make it true.

It is the dehumanization ...

I repeat, repeating something doesn't make it true.

... of a group that creates a culture in which people feel that it is okay to yell epithets at others in public; that it is okay for kids to be bullied and beaten at school; that it is okay for a jeering mob to incite a gay 17-year-old to commit suicide by jumping off a building. (Read the news.) These things happen because gays are demonized.

No, these things happen because people are people, who need very little excuse to behave badly. Kids are bullied and beaten at school for being overweight, dressing badly, or just having freckles. Teenage suicide happens for many, many reasons. Your argument that things like this happen because "gays are demonized" is ridiculous -- people are teased and belittled all the time for any attribute or behavior that is considered out of the ordinary. Consider a "goth" young man who can't get a job because of the way he dresses, or the pretty young woman who gets whistled at when walking down the street, or the friendless young man who stutters. In the first case, the choice of the young man has consequences on his life; in the second and third case, there are more biological reasons for the consequences they experience.

Gay and lesbian behavior is just that, a behavior -- like dressing like a "goth" -- and arguably a self-selected behavior that when "out of the closet" presents to the larger population a manner in which the gay or lesbian person is out of the ordinary. Is it acceptable for people to tease or belittle anybody who is out of the ordinary? Absolutely not, but it is unreasonable to expect that it will not happen -- we do not live in a perfect world. Should we provide protections for people who choose to engage in behaviors that are out of the ordinary? That depends on the behavior at hand, and today's society has concluded in the affirmative for gay and lesbian behavior, as evidenced by the plethora of laws on the books to protect them. But I see no way that this means that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to participate in the institution of marriage -- their behavior breaks the rules of that institution.

And gays are demonized when they're made out to be an inferior class of people. And they are made out to be an inferior class of people when they are not allowed the same rights as everyone else.

Again, gays are not a class, and marriage is not a right.

Fiction: Teaching children about same-sex marriage will happen here unless we pass Prop 8.

Fact: Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, and no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it, and the Yes on 8 campaign knows they are lying. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley has already ruled that this claim by Prop 8 proponents is "false and misleading."

Ah, but you see, this may be the case today, but we are thinking about tomorrow, when all it will take is one gay or lesbian couple taking a case to the very same San Francisco Supreme Court that struck down the 2000 proposition and insisting that "their child" is being taught that "their marriage" isn't equivalent to a traditional marriage. We can easily foresee that this court would then state that if marriage is to be taught at all, all forms of marriage must be taught. Regardless of what California law states today, in the face of the California constitution (which currently remains silent on the topic -- we hope to fix that: Vote Yes On Prop 8!!), the Supreme Court would likely continue with precedent; if they've already said that same-sex marriage is "constitutional" today, they will say the same thing when this hypothetical but not unrealistic case comes forward, thereby eventually overturning other California laws that are out of line with their previous ruling.

Fiction: Churches could lose their tax-exemption status.

Fact: Nothing in Prop 8 would force churches to do anything. In fact, the court decision regarding marriage specifically says "no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."

Again, this may be the case today, but tomorrow will likely tell a different story. Those who are convinced that Prop 8 will hurt gays and lesbians aren't realizing the precedent that has been set by the California Supreme Court and the greater hurt that will come to everybody else if Prop 8 doesn't pass. In stating that a traditional marriage-only concept is unconstitutional, they have opened the door to all manner of litigation that will eventually enforce the formal acceptance of gay marriage, not merely its tolerance. There is a very clear distinction between the two. I have no concerns tolerating it, but I can not in good conscience accept it. That is my religious belief, and this very clearly is infringing upon my 1st Amendment rights.

Fiction: A Massachusetts case about a parent’s objection to the school curriculum will happen here.

Fact: Unlike Massachusetts, California gives parents an absolute right to remove their kids and opt-out of teaching on health and family instruction they don't agree with. The opponents know that California law already covers this and Prop 8 won't affect it, so they bring up an irrelevant case in Massachusetts.

I think I've said enough about what may happen in the future that I want to protect against. In a way, the actions in Massachusetts has been "helpful" in that they have been showing us very clearly an example that I do not want California to follow.

Fiction: Four Activist Judges in San Francisco…

Fact: Prop 8 is not about courts and judges, it's about eliminating a fundamental right. Judges didn't grant the right--the constitution guarantees the right. Proponents of Prop 8 use an outdated and stale argument that judges aren't supposed to protect rights and freedoms. This campaign is about whether Californians, right now, in 2008 are willing to amend the constitution for the sole purpose of eliminating a fundamental right for one group of citizens.

Again, marriage is not a "right"! I understand why the "No" campaign keeps using this word (to give them more bang for their political buck), but they are using it erroneously. And, yes, this campaign will show what Californians, right now, in 2008 really want.

Fiction: Unless Prop 8 passes, CA parents won't have the right to object to what their children are taught in school.

Fact: California law clearly gives parents and guardians broad authority to remove their children from any health instruction if it conflicts with their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Didn't they already say this?


Fiction: Civil unions and domestic partnerships give gay couples the same rights as married couples.

Fact: In the few states in which civil unions or similar domestic partnerships exist, same-sex couples are granted the same rights as married couples but only on the state level. There are hundreds upon hundreds of federal benefits that do not apply to those couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships.

The state level is exactly what is at hand here -- this Proposition is a state proposition and will do nothing at the federal level. If the "No" campaign has a beef with the federal laws, they're fighting the wrong war here. Ironically, this "Fact" is exactly what the "Yes" campaign has been promoting -- Prop 8 seeks not to harm same-sex couples in any way, it only seeks to protect traditional marriage. Prop 8 will not harm same-sex couples or reduce any of their rights (I use this word correctly here) or benefits.

And, just what are those hundreds upon hundreds of federal benefits that don't apply?

PLEASE VOTE NO ON PROP 8. Please do not allow blatant discrimination to be written into the law. California is better, smarter, and more humane than that.

This is not discrimination. It is simply protecting the traditional definition of marriage. Is California better and smarter? We'll see. Is California more humane? What, are you pets to be treated humanely?! Are we taking all the gays and lesbians out and publicly whacking them with sticks? Nope, we just want them all to leave the rest of us alone.

Vote YES on Prop 8!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My "Yes on Prop 8" Signs Were Stolen!!

Yes indeed, I had two signs out on my property and they were both stolen. I have heard an unsubstantiated rumor that the "No" campaign has encouraged their minions to take down signs that they find from the opposition. The interesting part is that these signs were both very clearly on my property -- one even fairly "difficult" to reach -- so whoever did this most definitely broke the law. A good friend of mine has had many signs stolen from his property, as well. Should I take down signs that I see for the "No" campaign? I'd love to! However, for this battle, I'm going to stay on the moral high ground.

It is curious how the "No" campaign says this is all about tolerance, yet those who are against Prop 8 can't tolerate my constitutional right to freedom of expression, spewing vitriolic hate against every sentence I articulate in support of Proposition 8. I need to go pick up a few more signs to put in my front yard ...

Fire Season is Upon Us

Well, the first local fire of the season has started. It is over off I-210, which is the road I take to work. I left for work this morning at about 6 am and after spending an hour on the freeway, most of the time at a complete standstill, and not actually leaving the Santa Clarita Valley, I decided it wasn't going to get any better and so I turned around and came home. I'm glad I did. Apparently things are really congested on all alternate routes and it is taking people hours to get anywhere.

Some headlines:

Daily News: Wind-whipped Marek Fire chars 3,000 acres

LA Times: Wind-whipped Marek fire closes the 210 and 118 freeways, area schools

CNN: Santa Ana winds could stir 'sleeping giant' blaze

CBS2: Fierce Winds Fuel Marek Fire, Homes Destroyed

CBS2: Officials Investigate Possible Arson In Marek Fire

The winds really are blowing out there. I'm in my living room right now, and I can hear it whistling past the chimney -- that's not such a good sign. With the Santa Ana winds blowing so strong, it will be difficult to contain the fire. Ah, life in Southern California!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hannah Montana Birthday Party

My daughter turned 7 last week. For her "friends" birthday party, my wife had the idea to let her invite some friends over for a "fake" sleepover, where they would all arrive in their pajamas with pillows in hand, watch movies, and goof off. By and large, it's been going pretty well -- they're all still downstairs as I type this.

My wife and daughter agreed that the party would be themed on Hannah Montana, which seems to be such a culturally significant force in my daughter's life that she squealed in delight at the prospect, despite having only seen a few of the episodes in her entire life. Her whole attitude is clear evidence of the power of peer pressure -- even at such a young age.

Nevertheless, the six girls who were able to come tonight were all delighted to arrive. Four of them watch Hannah Montana regularly, and three of them actually arrived wearing Hannah Montana pajamas. It's shocking how inundated these girls are with Hannah Montana paraphernalia.

In any case, they're having a really good time. My daughter asked to have hot dogs, grapes, and French fries for dinner, which all the girls were happy with. Then they put most of the lights out and watched a few episodes of Hannah Montana. Interestingly enough, most of the girls quickly got bored with that. Instead, they wanted to just play games and be silly. Ironically, my daughter is the only one being a stick in the mud, as the games that the girls are playing are "boring". It's a classic "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" moment (kudos to my wife for this observation!).

Still to come tonight they will play more games, including games with glow sticks. They will also eat some cupcakes that my wife placed in the tops of ice cream cones and covered with frosting and silver sparkles -- they look like microphones! My wife intends to get them to sing "Happy Birthday" to my daughter into their "microphones" before eating them. It should be a hoot. Afterwards they'll watch while my daughter opens presents.

All in all, it seems to be going well. It is way after my daughter's bedtime, and it shows. She is grumpy, opinionated, and demanding right now, which cracks me up. She was so excited about having this late party, and at this point, she pretty much just wants to go to bed.

Tomorrow will no doubt be very interesting. She has a soccer game at 9:15 in the morning, and she has not yet had a good game due to various reasons (too much heat, too late in the day, too close to a meal ...). Because of this, she really does have a bad attitude about her soccer games, which just saddens me since she has so much promise. I have absolutely no doubt that her attitude about soccer tomorrow morning, because of this late party, will continue in that trend ... Ah, well, she's happy tonight! (Sorta!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Death by Falling

Have you ever noticed that in most movies where there is a villain, they are usually dispatched by falling? I call this the "death by falling" phenomenon. I noticed it many years ago, and still find it to be true. Consider a smattering of Disney movies (and this is by no means an exhaustive list):

-- Snow White (witch chased over cliff by dwarves)
-- Peter Pan (evil Captain Hook falls off ship into crocodile infested ocean)
-- Sleeping Beauty (bad dragon stabbed to the heart and then falls over cliff)
-- The Great Mouse Detective (bad rat falls off the clock tower)
-- The Rescuers Down Under (bad guy falls into crocodile infested river then over a waterfall)
-- Beauty and the Beast (bad guy falls down gully)
-- Atlantis (bad guy falls to lava cone)
-- Enchanted (dragon falls off building)

It's not just a Disney phenomenon, either. Consider the dispatching of Elsa in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" as she falls down a bottomless pit, or Ra's al Ghul crashing down from an elevated train in "Batman Begins". Just last night, my wife and I finally watched "Iron Man" and, sure enough, the bad guy was dispatched by falling into a huge "arc reactor." Never will you see the protagonist dispatch the bad guy (or bad girl) by simply pulling a trigger when the enemy is standing, disarmed, in front of them. That wouldn't be sporting or proper -- we don't like our protagonists to be cold-blooded killers.

Anyway, it's just something I noticed.


Apparently, my three-year-old was at preschool the other day and was having a conversation with his teacher when he announced, "My mommy is so happy!"

"Why is your mommy so happy?" she inquired.

"Because she's married!" he says.

The teacher then went on to ask what his mother's name was, to which he replied, "Babe!"

The teacher got a good chuckle out of that, as did both my wife and I. Apparently I call my wife that far too much in the presence of my children. My older kids are unphased by it, but it seems I've confused my youngest. Very funny.

(As a side query, just how exactly did the word "babe" come to mean an attractive young female?!)

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