A True Story

A night or two ago, The Equuschick took herself to bed at the relatively early hour of 11 pm. She set her alarm, and then stopped short and stared at the clock in confusion. What was wrong with it? Why were there TWO little dots? She didn’t remember seeing two vertical dots there before. At least, not any time in the recent past. But wait, perhaps, she could remember. Yes, it was coming back to her. The “pm” meant something, yes, now she almost had it…

Oh. Duh. Yeah. “PM.” That’s all it meant. That the Equuschick was actually crawling into bed in the PM for once.

Still, it did look eerie and unfamiliar. The Equuschick is a creature of habit, and it is a great habit of hers to set her alarm clock right before bed and see only the one dot (representing ‘a.m.’).

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Cock-a-Doodle-Do

Peggy Noonan writes a hilarious column about the 14 Senators who just betrayed the Constitution:

Listening to them I thought of some of the great and hallowed phrases of our Republic. “The rooster who thought he brought the dawn.” “The only man who can strut sitting down.”

I know they’re centrists, but there is nothing moderate about their self-regard.

Read Mr. Narcissus Goes to Washington

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Darfur

I’ve been wanting to blog about the situation in Darfur for some time, but have not been able to figure out how to discuss it while still keeping to this blog’s personal goal of never going beyond PG-13 material. The situation in Darfur is just nothing less than an R, and I couldn’t find a useful website summarizing the situation in terms suitable for young maidens of tender years and sensitive hearts.

I still haven’t found such a website, but I have found blog arranged in such a fashion that I can work with it. New Zealander Catez Stevens blogs at Allthings2all, and he has put together The Darfur Collection (contrary to my usual custom, I do NOT suggest you click on that link just yet. Please read on).

Says Catez,

“The Darfur Collection brings together various writers who share a common concern for the people of Darfur and a desire to see an end to the suffering and genocide in Sudan. The contributions here are diverse and do not represent any one group or organisation. I hope this collection serves to highlight the Darfur crisis, assists in providing information, and enables further discussion. All links open in the same new window.”

I’m grateful for the work Catez put into this project, and impressed, too! I strongly suggest that parents visit the website first. Your young maidens may not be quite the sensitive plants that ours are, and the website may well meet your criteria for approved reading for your children. You may visit the site and think I am being old maidish and silly, but I had far rather you think me foolish than accidentally wound the sensibilities of a gentler and younger soul, so please, if you are still under your parents’ jurisdiction, seek their counsel before clicking on the link, and if you are a parent, please click on it yourself to preview on behalf of your young people.

I propose to post excerpts that are suitable for our young maidens here later today, linking back to the originals, of course, for those strong enough to take in more details. It’s ugly, very ugly, and I suggest that fasting and prayer on behalf of the people of Darfur is a step those of us who believe in the value of fasting and prayer may wish to take.

Excerpts later.

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Sublime

My alarm clock has a CD player, so I can program it to play a CD-track as the alarm in the morning. It’s much nicer to wake up to a song than a beep-beep-beep-beep. I’m not eager to turn it off if it’s playing music and not just making obnoxious electronic noises.
For the past week I’ve programmed it to play Libera’s version of Pachelbel’s Canon. Libera is a boys’ choir from Britain… I suppose you’d call their music a mix of classical and “New Age.” They sing loosely arranged versions of classical pieces. I love boys’ voices and I love classical music, so I find it a happy blend. Mercifully, Pipsqueak also likes it. Since she shares a bedroom with me it would be a sore trial indeed if she complained every time their CD turned on in the morning.

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The Aztecs and The Common Good

Here’s a disturbing lesson plan.

According to the website:

In this lesson, the students read about some of the religious practices of the Aztec Empire and discuss the practice of human sacrifice to appease the gods. Students discuss the concept of sacrifice for the common good and debate how far we go in sacrificing for the common good.

Oddly enough, this lesson has no recommendations for parental involvement:

School/Home Connection:
Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
None for this lesson

According to something called the ‘instructional procedure:’

Many ancient civilizations and religions practiced some form of human or animal sacrifice to appease the gods and ensure prosperity. Even today, some cultures practice ritual sacrifice of bits of food or crops to ensure continued abundance. However, no one practiced human sacrifice to the degree of the Aztecs in their devotion to appeasing the gods. The Aztecs didn’t always practice human sacrifice. Sometime around 1450, the growing Aztec empire was experiencing severe drought that lasted for four years and destroyed their valuable corn crops. The Aztec priests encouraged the people to sacrifice blood to the gods to regain their favor. In desperation, the Aztecs sacrificed thousands of people in a few weeks. By awful coincidence the rain came and restored the corn crops. With this powerful evidence, what do you think the Aztec leaders learned? Soon the practice of human sacrifice became a necessary ritual to maintain the lifestyle they built. This leads us to wonder how far we should go to sacrifice for the common good.

Another part of this lesson plan instructs the teacher to be sure the students understand that the Aztecs

treated victims kindly with food, drink and a medication to help them relax before the sacrifice.

And the victims were promised great honour in the afterlife.

Moreover, there is an ‘extension activity.’ Behold:

There is a lesson here about the lack of understanding and tolerance. Cortes’ people came in and called the Aztecs barbarians. Without trying to understand their ways, Cortez’ people destroyed them. Ironically, the Spanish Inquisition was a large part of many of the Spanish soldiers’ experiences. They saw the sacrifice of many “sinners” in their religious practice. Although the Aztecs are sometimes viewed as a violent group, they had a rich culture and successful civilization. If the Spanish had been more open-minded and tolerant of diverse cultures, would the Aztec culture have evolved and survived?

What nasty, intolerant, right brained, linear thinking Conquistadors- so close-minded. If only they’d been a little kinder and gentler, Aztec culture could have survived. I wonder what the teacher who wrote this lesson plan would say if somebody suggested that the North should have been more open-minded and tolerant of diverse cultures, so the Southern culture of slave ownership could have evolved and survived?

I am also stunned by the historical and logical gaps that must be present in this author’s education in order for her to cast the victims of the Spanish Inquisition as sacrificial offerings. I am no apologist for the abuses of the Catholic church, but the inquisition was not remotely equivilent to the Aztec practice of human sacrifice. Those who died were not sacrificial lambs, but were rather executed as punishment for perceived crimes. The Spanish Inquisition put its victims on trial, and often found them guilty. Those found guilty were punished. The trial may have been unfair, and the charges unbiblical and unjust, but nonetheless, it was a trial, and the deaths were executions (or accidents resulting from ‘overzealous questioning’). The priests and judges of the Inquisition were not engaging in human sacrifice. That is, they were not sacrificing a human victim in an effort to bring about some blessing upon the rest of the population.

But I know somebody who is:

Rep. Joe Barton, R. Texas is making the dumbest argument for expanded funding of embryo-killing research that I have ever heard. His view is that we allow adults to decide to risk their lives for the greater good–as in the case of members of the armed forces. He argues that if the embryos were capable of voluntarily deciding to sacrifice themselves for the good of science, some of them would; and since parents have custody of their children, they can make this choice for them.

Really. That’s his argument. He doesn’t deny that the embryos are living human beings–he explicitly says that he believes that they are.

If there are any parents out there who want to sacrifice their children for science, they’ve got a green light from one committee chairman.

Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO, The Corner

Here’s a thought: Perhaps Aztec culture did evolve and survive.

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