For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

On a more personal note...

The past while, I’ve been posting a lot on various issues, but this is actually a personal blog, and today I’m going to dash off in that direction – partly because I want to get this down while it’s still fresh in my memory, just in case I need to refer back to it in the future! Plus, I have my friend’s permission to regale people with it. LOL

I’ve posted before about a friend of mine who is in long term care. Thankfully, she has been able to move to a new care centre that is a whole lot less stressful than where she was before. On the down side, it’s brought up some issues in regards to seeing her children. Not the location – that’s another improvement. The problem lies with her X. He now has to *gasp* take TWO busses to bring the kids to her, so it’s a longer trip. Not that he has anything else to do with his time, what with not making any serious effort to get a job or anything.

Now, my friend had primary custody of the kids before she ended up in long term care. Since then, the kids have been living with their dad, but she had not given up custody of them. Without going into detail, there is a court order that says he has to bring the kids to see her three times a week. He’s also supposed to bring the kids TO her, but if she’s not in the lobby waiting for them, he refuses to go upstairs. Nor will he allow them to go with any of the staff (whom they’ve gotten to know pretty well by now). Keep in mind that my friend is a quad, and sometimes she is simply physically unable to get to the lobby for one reason or another. Even so, if she’s not there, he will simply take the kids back home again.

Just to be clear. He will take transit for something like an hour in total to deliver the children to their mother, then turn around and drag the kids back home again without seeing their mother, because he won’t take an elevator and go to her unit if she’s not in the lobby, despite a court order that says he had to deliver the girls TO their mother at a specific time.

  Yes, this is relevant to my story.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

This guy’s from Egypt and he recently found out that his father is on his deathbed. He wants to go back to Egypt to be with his father, which is understandable. My friend asked me if we’d be willing to take the girls for a few weeks while he was gone, which we are more than happy to do. Their dad, in all the years he’s been in Canada, has developed no friendships or any sort of social circle, so he’s got no one to ask. His response to her arrangements was to come up with a “legal” contract that he wanted me to sign before he’d allow me to take in his kids while he was gone. “Legal” is a rather loose term since, the moment he leaves the country, my friend becomes sole guardian until he comes back, which means all parental decisions would be hers and hers alone. Anyhow, his initial contract was so ridiculous she refused to even pass it on to me without major changes. Among the things he wanted was that I was not to take the children outside the “borders” of our city. He also added that I was authorised to take care, and make any decisions required, of any medical emergency needs UNLESS I was responsible for the medical emergency. So, if one of them fell down the stairs and got hurt, I’d have his permission to take them to the emergency, but if I pushed one of them down the stairs, I wouldn’t have permission to take them to the emergency.

Oh, and if I cancelled at the last minute, I would have to pay him $3,500 cash immediately to compensate him for it. Apparently, this is a common thing in the Middle East.

Also, I would not be allowed to sign any legal documents or make any other decisions in his name. WTF? Why would I even want to do that? I already don’t have any legal right to do anything in his name. It’s not like I have some sort of Power of Attorney or something.

Anyhow, I did see the original “contract”, but only because my friend showed it to me for a laugh. It was really quite insulting, but too ridiculous for me to actually be insulted. When my friend made changes to the document, he had a fit and said he wouldn’t go to Egypt to see his dying father after all.

Well, things have gone back and forth and there is now a version of the document that my friend is okay with passing on to me, which hasn’t actually happened yet. This is where I come to what happened today.

 After texting some details with my friend, she asked me to call her ex to make arrangements. She was supposed to get the kids today. There was a puppet show at the library, which is just a few blocks from us AND basically right at the bus stop he would have to transfer busses at, so she asked him to meet her downtown with the girls so they could see the puppet show. She asked me to call him to bring the paperwork, and we would all meet and we could get this done and he could get his ticket, etc. (We’ll not get into how a guy with no job and on social assistance can afford to buy a ticket to Egypt at the last minute.)

I tried calling him a total of five times. Four times, there was no answer. The second time I tried calling, I got a busy signal. He simply wasn’t answering his phone. She had been trying to call him, too, but he wasn’t picking up (yes, he has caller ID, but no voice mail).

We were going to meet up at the library anyhow. Meanwhile, Eldest had gone out in the morning to stand in line and sign up for a spot in a local art festival (this will be her fourth year as a vendor in this festival). When she got home, she took me out to lunch so she could regale me with the happenings of the morning, so we left together early. When it got close to the time to meet at the library, we headed over and waited.

And waited.

Knowing my friend and her situation, when she wasn’t there within a certain time, I went to look around to see if I could see her. Unfortunately, we were around enough noise that I didn’t hear my phone ringing, so when I got back to Eldest, there was a missed call and a message for me. She was at a particular bus stop and could I please meet her there?

Not a problem. Eldest and I walk over to the intersection and, as we draw near, we can see her in her chair at the bus stop up the street. I’m thinking, Great! Huh. That looks like a cop beside her.

As we get closer to the intersection, I can see that no, it’s not a cop beside her. That’s a security uniform. Wait. That other person… that’s a cop’s uniform. Gee. I hope this doesn’t have anything to do with my friend, ha ha!

We cross the street.

We see the girls (8 and 7) are already with her. And the police. And the security guard.

Oh, look. There’s the Ex, too.

What the heck?

As we come closer, I can see my friend talking to one officer, her Ex talking to another, there’s a security guard standing past her Ex, and the girls are looking rather upset. We rather tentatively say hello to my friend and the girls, then stand with them, wondering what the heck is going on. As I made eye contact with the security guard, he made a hand gesture at me. I got the hint. There’s a bus shelter sort of built into the building we’re standing beside, so Eldest and I suggest to the girls that they come and sit with us. Their mom tells them to go ahead with us. Her older daughter goes in with Eldest and I follow, but her younger daughter goes first to her father to double check if it’s okay with him.

This is something I’ve noticed before. Their behaviour is very different when he’s around, and not in a good way. We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed it, either.

So Eldest and I go into the shelter and sit down. Her younger daughter eventually joins us, but she’s crying. Turns out she was afraid the police where going to take them away.


We were able to cheer them up a little bit and distract them with conversation. Meanwhile, my friend is talking in French to one of the officers while her Ex is talking at another, while a third officer was taking notes. The security guys had to just hang around. In total, there were 4 officers and 2 security guards involved, though not all at once. After a while, the officer that was speaking in French came over to talk to me and the kids.

I have to say here that this guy was pretty awesome. He was great with the kids. He asked me a few questions about my being able to help my friend out and, if necessary, being able to get the kids back to their dad as required by the court order if necessary. As things dragged on, we were able to interrupt things enough to let Eldest take the girls to the library so they could take in the puppet show. Her older daughter eagerly left with Eldest, but the younger daughter turned back to her father, just as she did before. Her dad was busily making accusations about my friend (I couldn’t hear much, but apparently it involved a fair bit of swearing and him accusing her of lies), so when his daughter tried to get his attention, he pretty much ignored her. It wasn’t until her mom said for her to get her water bottle, which was among his things on the ground, that attention was broken, she got her water bottle, and then went to join Eldest and her sister to go to the library, and they were able to get to the puppet show on time.

Meanwhile, the police were able to convince the Ex to go along with things (I was still in the dark about a fair bit of this) and agree to meeting at this same bus stop at 4pm, when visitation with their mom would be done, and he could take them home. The paperwork he wanted me to sign had come up in discussion, too, and I mentioned that I had tried to call him several times this morning. He kinda sorta apologised for not answering the phone, in a “not my fault” way. My name didn’t come up on the caller ID, you see. It said “unknown name”, he didn’t recognise the number, and it was a Saturday, so he wasn’t going to answer an unfamiliar number. Also, it wasn’t prearranged for me to call him, so he wasn’t expecting me to call (how we were to prearrange a phone call on short notice – especially when he was refusing to answer calls from my friend, too – I have no idea), so he didn’t know to print out the “contract” and bring it along.

In other words, it wasn’t his fault he didn’t answer the phone, which means it wasn’t his fault he didn’t know to bring the paperwork for me to sign.

Over the next while, my friend was able to fill me in on what happened. She had talked to her Ex the night before, mentioning that she wanted to take the girls to the puppet show, which they were looking forward to. That conversation ended up with him yelling at her and hanging up on her. Together with other things I won’t go into here, she knew there would be issues. So, based on what time he arrives to drop the kids off normally, she reverse-scheduled the bus routes to figure out when he’d have to arrive downtown to transfer buses, then made sure she was ON the bus he had to transfer to. She even chatted with the driver to explain why she wasn’t getting off the bus as it went past the several bus stops he could possibly be using and letting him know what she was looking out for. She spotted him on the sidewalk with the girls, so she let the drive know she had to get off. Unfortunately, some woman with a stroller tried to get on the bus before the drive could lower the ramp so my friend could get off.

Then things got interesting.

As they were walking to the bus, her Ex saw the ramp going down and saw that she was on the bus. He immediately started to back up with the kids, who hadn’t seen her yet. Yup, he actually tried to get the kids away from the bus and her. My friend called out her older daughter’s name a few times. When she finally heard her mom, she yelled out “mom!”, and her younger sister then noticed her mother. However, their father was slowly backing them down the sidewalk towards the back of the bus.

 Her Ex, however, was not a happy camper. He refused to release the kids to her. He even physically restrained them, holding them back from their mother. (Later, he accused her of telling the bus driver to not allow him on the bus.) The security guards happened to be walking by, so she asked them for help. They said they couldn’t get involved so, with things devolving quickly, she called 911. She mentioned her concerns for their safety, and that he had an abusive past (one of the reasons he’s an Ex to begin with). Since she called 911, the security had to hang around anyhow, which probably prevented things from escalating even further.

So that’s how the police became involved.

Her Ex continued to refuse to release the girls to their mother, claiming that the court order was for him to deliver them to her residence. That’s right. He wanted to take the kids all the way to the care centre, where they would have immediately had to turn around to take a bus back downtown. Plus, since my friend was *already* downtown, she would have had to take the bus back to her place with them, so that they could turn around and all 4 of them take the bus back to that exact same bus stop (at which point, they would probably have been too late for the puppet show). Meanwhile, the court order is for him to deliver the children to HER, which he refuses to do if it means he has to take an elevator and walk them to her unit anyhow.

This whole thing ended up taking about an hour at the bus stop, with myself and Eldest joining in about half an hour in.

We did have a great visit, though. Eldest got them to the puppet show, and their demeanor completely changed as soon as they were away from their dad. We were able to stay near the entrance and see the girls inside the room the show was held in, and they were having a blast. Even the younger one, who is normally less demonstrative, was laughing and taking part. After the puppet show, the older one went to look at books with Eldest while her sister waited her turn to use the washroom. That was enough time for her to find several books she wanted to take out. They didn’t have their cards, but my friend had their card numbers, so she tried to take them out. That’s when she found out that her Ex had a note put on their file saying that no books could be taken out without his signature.

Yup. The kids can’t even take out library books without him.

Because he was supposed to meet them in the area anyhow, my friend asked them to set the books aside for possible pick up later, and if they didn’t get picked up by the end of the day, to put them on hold.

After that, we made our way back to the nearby mall where she bought her kids some lunch, then we went to a bookstore and generally just had a great time hanging out. The kids are great fun to be with.

Eventually, it was getting close to the time to meet their dad, so we started heading out. As we got closer to the bus stop, we could see he was already there. My friend encouraged them to run on ahead to their dad, which they did. As soon as they reached him he, without making contact with any of us, turned his back to us and started walking away! No chance for the girls to say proper goodbyes or anything. My friend called one of them back because she’d forgotten her water bottle, but her Ex kept on walking, completely ignoring us. Her daughter heard and ran back, got her water bottle, then had to run to catch up with her dad. She was half way back before he noticed she was no longer with him and turned to see where she was. He was still very deliberate about not making eye contact.

What a petulant child.

Their dad, I mean. The girls are much more mature than their father.

What a ridiculous situation. It just blows my mind when a parent is so obsessed with getting their own way, to get back at their ex, that they don’t care how much it hurts their children. At one point, as we watched the police talking to their parents, the older daughter told Eldest that her parents didn’t argue before their mom ended up in the hospital the first time. Then they started arguing, and haven’t stopped since, and she didn’t know why. They are getting to an age, however, they they’re both seeing that there is something wrong with their dad. Seeing how different their behaviour is when he is around is concerning, too. There is clearly come psychological manipulation happening, there.


Well, whatever happens, I hope we do get to have them stay with us. During our conversation, my friend mentioned the possibility of it being for longer than 3 weeks, which is fine with us. Three weeks, three months, three years, we don’t care. Our home is open to them at any time.

I just wish their dad would grow a pair and be a man who takes responsibility for himself and his family, rather than scamming the welfare system while acting like a spoiled brat.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Video: An atheist professor converts to Christianity.

It's always interesting to watch how, when a person is willing to be honest with themselves, logic and reason renders it impossible to deny the existence of God.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Disturbing Silence

A WaPo reporter explains her personal Gosnell blackout

But the thing is that I’m getting kind of sick of pointing out egregious bias only to see things not just remain bad but get worse. Just think, in the last year, we saw the media drop any pretense of objectivity and bully the Susan G. Komen Foundation into funding Planned Parenthood. And then we had how many months of coverage focused on someone calling a birth control activist a bad name? And who can forget every pro-life person in the country being asked to respond to Todd Akin’s stupid remarks about rape?

 I recommend taking the time to read the full article linked above, and following the links in it.  In reading it, I can actually feel Mollie's frustration in her writing.  But then, what honest journalist wouldn't be?

The lack of media coverage is not surprising, but it's not the only place where all we can hear are crickets chirping.  It's at the ground level, too.  The article mentions other controversies - Komen, Fluke, Akin - that the media did cover.  When those stories were running, people all over the place were commenting.  Social activist types I know were breaking out their protest signs and burning up their blogs with commentary.  I couldn't look at my facebook feed without hearing from pro-abortionists making snide updates on their statuses as well as loud commentary as they shared news articles, opinion pieces and blog posts about it.

Yet now?  Not a word.  Nothing.  Not only that but, unless I am looking specifically at pro-life blogs, groups or sites, I'm not hearing it from anyone else, either.

I can understand the silence of pro-abortionists.  The Gosnell case is proof that all their defenses for abortion have become meaningless.  If they really and truly support abortion "rights", then they cannot honestly say Gosnell did anything wrong, yet it's obvious to even the most shrill among them that what he did is wrong.  Not just a little bit wrong in the gray areas, but completely, horrifically, astonishingly evil.  If they condemn him, they condemn themselves, and they won't do that.

The silence that really disturbs me, however, is not coming from them.  The silence that really bothers me is the one from the pro-life side.  Where are they?  I realize my exposure to these groups on social media is quite limited, but even just on my own friends list and other contacts, I know there are many who are pro-life, even if they feared to admit it.  I know people on email groups that I'm a member of that are pro-life and would be willing to speak out of this were a story about, say, animal abuse or oil pipelines.   But these are babies.  Human babies being slaughtered.  Human mothers being damaged and sometimes killed.

By the hundreds.  Possibly more than a thousand.

This case should be enough to bring even those who are on the fence on the abortion issue over.  The horrors being revealed during this trial are sickening and shocking.  I understand why the news media aren't covering it, but why is it I'm still seeing more people upset over a story about pet abuses or fake stories about Monsanto?  What little I am seeing is in very specific sites; places that basically already serve the pro-life community.

I share a lot of stories on my facebook.  Sometimes, my shares result in conversations about climate change, politics, homosexuality - sometimes even abortion.  Yet with this story, for all the ones I've shared, I've had commentary from only ONE pro-abortion person I know, and this is a person who actually does believe Canada should have limits on abortion.  

Where is everyone else?? 

That is the silence that disturbs me most.

Monday, April 08, 2013

How to Refute Christianity: A Handy Guide

How to Refute Christianity: A Handy Guide

The Bible makes many claims that can be scientifically and philosophically tested – and if these claims are falsified, Christianity will crumble. So here is a handy guide I’ve developed for those who would like to refute Christianity.
This guide highlights the major testable Christian beliefs and provides suggestions on how the skeptic should go about the refutation process.
 One of these days, I'm going to have to write a post about my own journey from believer to non-believer to wishy-washy believer to being utterly and completely convinced of the Truth of Christianity.  When I finally took the time to examine Christianity through evidence, logic and argumentative reasoning, I simply could not come to any other conclusions and still be honest with myself.  I've applied the same standards to other ideologies and religions, and none have stood up to them.

I've had many try to confront me with claims that anyone who is religious is illogical, anti-science, etc.  Interestingly, while I learned to respond with rational arguments, evidence based claims and critical thinking, those who attack religion seem capable only of bombastic claims with no evidence to back them up (like saying that Jesus never existed, or that religion is the cause of all or the worst suffering in the world), derogatory insults and mocking statements (seriously, folks; can you not come up with anything more original that the Bearded White Guy in the Sky, Sky Fairy or Imaginary Friend?).

For a group that claims to have logic, reason and evidence on their side, they don't seem to know how to use any of it.

h/t The Poached Egg

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Apologetics Makes a Comeback Among Youth: Youth ministry sees the return of reasons.

Apologetics Makes a Comeback Among Youth: Youth ministry sees the return of reasons.

Challenging the cultural climate is a major component of the new apologetics, said Sean McDowell, head of Worldview Ministries. "The apologetics resurgence has been sparked ultimately by teens who are asking more questions about why people believe the things they do," he said. "Those who thought that kids in a postmodern world don't want an ideology were wrong."

 I've have been seeing some interesting cultural shifts of late, including among our youth and young adults.  It's something I've described seeing to people I've had debates with on various topics, but those I've mentioned it to do not see it.  I'm not surprised by that.  What they are seeing is what the mass media and certain alternative media that they follow want them to see.  They are seeing the results of popular polls and superficial trends.  In their eyes, religion is being destroyed by "science" and "rationality"; they see opinions towards SSM going in their direction, which they describe as "the right side of history" and other such meaningless catch phrases; they see the abortion issue as decided and beyond debate.  Everything around them is telling them that "their side" has won.

I follow enough of popular media to know what they are seeing - and who is telling it to them.  However, I follow both sides, and what I'm seeing is something very different.  Even as the mainstream media claims that the abortion debate is no debate at all, painting pro-lifers in the worst possible light, I am reading the blogs and articles and watching the videos of those who were there.  I am seeing the astonishing increase in people who are now openly and unwaveringly pro-life, even in the face of sometimes violent attacks from pro-abortion supporters.  In popular and social media, I see the assumption that people of science are all atheists, and the claims that religion is anti-science and ignorant.  The verbal attacks on those who hold religious views by those who claim to be "rational" and "scientists" are inevitably rude, crude, vile and completely unreasonable and unintellectual.  Meanwhile, I am seeing people of faith make polite, rational and evidentiary defences in the face of these attacks.  I read the papers, articles, books, blogs and reports written by men and women of both science and faith, and their careful claims blow away the irrationality of their attackers.  I am also seeing, in complete contradiction of the claims made by those who support SSM, a rise in support of traditional marriage - a rise based on logical argumentation, rationals discussion and evidence based claims.

In all cases, this shift that I am seeing is very much a grassroots thing, and the demographics are completely at odds with how the opposition portrays anyone who disagrees with them.  They are not the "old, rich white men of privilege" or "Christian bigots" and so on.  No, I'm seeing this shift happening across the board.  Men and women, rich and poor, of all colours, religions (or lack of them!), cultural backgrounds, even sexuality.

Most of all, however, I am seeing this shift increase among youth.  For all the social experimentation of our public schools, some youth are still managing to be exposed to both sides of issues.

And when they are, they are seeing through the politically correct shadows and lies, recognising truth for what it is, and taking a stand.

Letter To An Atheist

Letter To An Atheist

Maybe you’ve had bad experiences with Christians. I would think it’s quite likely. Join the club. I, and every Christian, has had bad experiences with Christians. I and every Christian is guilty of being part of, of causing a bad experience. We’re human, with all the faults and frailties that come with being so. We call it sin, or having a sinful nature. To say otherwise is to let our ego lie to you and to ourselves. And to God. Make no mistake, those lies have been told. To say otherwise is, again, to lie to you, ourselves and God. If you were to tell me you have not been the cause of someone’s bad experience, I would not believe you. I think it’s fair to believe that our human nature is on equal ground; that is, that we’re both far from perfect. Our imperfections will have similarities, and we also will have our own unique imperfections; the point is we have them nonetheless.

Friday, April 05, 2013

I'm offended ...

... by Islam
Pat Condell

I've found the use of the term "I'm offended" to be one that only certain groups are "allowed" to use, but is denied others.  Those same groups are also "allowed" to offend others, but if their targets object, they are told they are being too sensitive, or simply further attacked.  Because they deserve it, apparently. 

Ah, the hypocrisy of the "tolerant" and "progressives."

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Culture of Life and the Culture of Death: dueling conversations

The Culture of Life and the Culture of Death: dueling conversations | NRL News Today

Thanks to years of research, we now also see how abortion often involves coercion more than “choice,” and can and does result in significant long-term consequences for women, rather than solutions. Thanks to the courageous efforts of Silent No More, Rachel’s Vineyard, and others, we also see and hear through post-abortive women and men how they have suffered mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually from abortion.

Global Warming: Was It Just A Beautiful Dream After All? - Forbes

It occured to me that I hardly ever post about anthropogenic global warming/climate change these days.  To be honest, the AGW/ACC case has fallen apart so badly, I'm surprised when I find anyone who still supports it. 

Global Warming: Was It Just A Beautiful Dream After All? - Forbes

But I’ve grown old waiting for the promised global warming. I was 35 when predictions of a looming ice age were supplanted by warmmongering. Now I’m 68, and there’s still no sign of warmer weather. It’s enough to make one doubt the “settled science” of the government-funded doom-sayers.

Yeah.  That's about it.  

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Woman sues Ohio clinic over failed abortion after delivering healthy 'miracle' baby

Woman sues Ohio clinic over failed abortion after delivering healthy 'miracle' baby

My heart breaks for her child. How is she going to feel as she gets older and begins to understand that her mother tried to kill her?

h/t COTR

A series of videos...

Some worthwile videos from Dr. Frank Turek.




Bracketing Morality — The Marginalization of Moral Argument in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Bracketing Morality — The Marginalization of Moral Argument in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

The brilliance of this book lies in its careful distinction between two rival views of marriage — the conjugal view which defines marriage as “a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond” which sustains the world through the creation and nurture of children, and the revisionist view, which defines marriage as “a loving emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity, with no reference to a duty beyond its partners. The conjugal view, based in the function of the family and the nurture of children, points to lifelong fidelity. The revisionist view points to a relationship based on emotional intensity in which the partners remain “as long as they find it.”

This argument is vitally important, even essential, to any conversation about marriage in our modern context, for it points far beyond the issue of same-sex marriage to the prior assaults on conjugal marriage brought by no-fault divorce and the replacement of personal responsibility with mere personal autonomy. Sadly, the revisionist view of marriage is embraced by millions of heterosexual couples, married and unmarried, but it is essential to the very idea of same-sex marriage.

The Bible vs. the Heart

The Bible vs. the Heart

The other modern substitute for the Bible is the heart. We live in the Age of Feelings, and an entire generation of Americans has been raised to consult their heart to determine right and wrong.

I've heard too many people justify their positions based on their feelings, to the point that they refuse to even consider logic, reason or evidence.  The irony is that these same people are frequently also atheists, who hold themselves to be morally and ethically superior to people of faith because they claim they are the ones who are rational, logical and reach conclusions based on evidence.