Friday, March 30, 2012

A year's service for a philosophical question?

Bink stayed the night.  He found he rather liked the castle and its denizens; even the manticora was affable now that the Magician had given the word.  "I would not really have eaten you, though I admit to being tempted for a moment or three when you booted me in the ... tail," it told Bink.  "It is my job to scare off those who are not serious.  See, I am not confined."  It pushed against the bars, and the inner gate swung open.  "My year is almost up; I'll almost be sorry to have it end."

"What question did you bring?" Bink inquired somewhat nervously, trying not to brace himself too obviously for flight.  In an open space, he was no possible match for the manticora.

"I asked whether I have a soul," the monster said seriously.

Again Bink had to control his reaction.  A year's service for a philosophical question?  "What did he tell you?"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Atheists "celebrate" reason with sophomoric mockery of religion

On Sunday, 8,000-10,000 atheists showed up in Washington, DC at what was billed as "The Reason Rally" — a display of unity and strength meant to "Celebrate Living without God"!  And how did this remarkable collection of supremely bright, intellectually superior people trumpet the unquestionable, impregnable reason of atheism?

By obscenity-laced mockery of religion, of course.

From comedian(?) Eddie Izzard's jeering because "God never comes down [when He's called]" (and what was He supposed to do ... play banjo? juggle? make a few cutting remarks about idiots who don't believe in Him?)  to Tim Minchin's extremely creative musical refrain, "F*** the motherf***ing pope", to Richard Dawkins' trademark exaggerated incredulousness and calls to relentlessly mock religious people (atheism, my dear Dr. Dawkins, also makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiatiated), the whole thing apparently degenerated into a massive display of juvenile name-calling.

If you're gonna claim to be more rational, it would lend credibility if you acted more rational.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

More gender silliness in Miami, Ohio

Wow ... two weeks without a word here! I apologize for the prolonged silence.

As soon as I saw the headline for the Creative Minority Report entry, I had to check it out: Transgender Student Files Complaint After [Being] Banned From All-Male Dorm!

Transgender Ohio Student
Ms./Mr. Kaeden Kass
Kaeden Kass is genotypically and phenotypically female.  But in the alternate-universe thinking of "queer theory", that doesn't matter — she says she identifies as a male, and therefore must be treated as a male.  Confident that the world must bow to her self-identification, she applied to be a resident assistant at a male dorm at Miami (Ohio) University.

MU, oddly enough, paid no attention to her self-identification and rejected her application, offering her instead an RA berth at a female dorm.  “The problem is, I’m a male-identified person,” Kass told CBS Cleveland, who posted her story (and used masculine pronouns whenever the story referred to her). “As soon as I’m in a space that is all female, my identity gets erased.”  And so she has filed a complaint against MU ... with whom, the story doesn't mention (I presume some university board empowered to make changes in the name of diversity and inclusiveness).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Memento mori

Today would have been Bob's 44th birthday.

All told, it's been about six months since Bob passed, and the grief is mostly settled.  Mostly settled ... I had a memory of Bob at our niece's wedding, when we managed to turn David Lee Roth's cover of "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" into a reference to Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein; a memory that brought a grin only slightly touched by melancholy.

As I've said before, grief keeps its own schedule, and will be neither denied nor rushed.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Calling BS on Sandra Fluke's testimony

Perhaps her pants are on fire?
Okay, I'm going to copy some things that I said over on The Other Blog.   It's not that my creative well is running dry — um, at least it's not all that — but rather that, in that other piece, I was headed in a different direction, so the first couple of paragraphs were merely a set-up.  Now, I want to stare directly at the sun.

Right now, there’s a lot of guffawing and name-calling over Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke’s testimony before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Monday.  Among other things, Fluke estimated that “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.”

Over a three-year period, that’s about $83 a month and change.  A quick browse through the Internet got me a range of prices on generic estrogen-progestogen pills going from $49.52 for a 3-month supply (≈ $16.51/month)[*] to $25.99 for a 1-month supply of Levora or Lutera.[†]  Craig Bannister figured it out at $1 a condom … largely for laughs.  [According to Prof. Janet Smith, "These are the costs given on the Planned Parenthood website: Depoprovera costs $35-75$ and last 3 months, the pill at about $15-20 a month; Norplant costs $400-$800 but lasts up to 3 years."  And CVS lists a box of 12 Trojan Extended Pleasure condoms at $12.99.] Yet unless the braniacs attending Georgetown Law still don’t know how to go generic, or the Safeway Pharmacy on Wisconsin Avenue is deliberately ripping the rich kids off, there’s still quite a gap between $25.99 and $83.33 a month — Ms. Fluke’s numbers refuse to add up.

But besides the two explanations I've given above — that either Hoyas are spendthrifts or the local drugstores are taking advantage of them — there are a couple other explanations that don't have GU Law students spending more time in their bedrooms than in their classrooms.  One is that Fluke is great at public speaking but lousy at math.

An equally simple and more likely explanation is that Sandra Fluke deliberately exaggerated the costs of contraception.