Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mob Rule

I work in a school located in the most cultural diverse city in the nation according to Newsweek magazine.

The school at which I teach is home to 4,352 students.

For the last two days at lunch there have been a number of incidents. Some might call them mini-riots. I prefer the term student unrest.

We have had 9 police squad cars and 11 sheriffs on campus each of the last two days with helicopters circling during lunch and after school as a result of the violence.

Eight students have been arrested and 11 have been expelled. Someone pulled a gun yesterday.

Worst of all, the unrest has been racially motivated.

Please pray for the students, staff and administration at my school.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Family Foto

If they can land a man on the moon, you'd think they would be able to remove the glare from my balding head.

Oh well, cute kids, hot chick.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks

As I contemplate yet another dinner roll, here is a short list of just some of the things I am thankful for.

The transforming grace of God and the salvation that can be found in Christ alone

My beautiful, talented, strong wife and best friend

The two little men in my life that constantly challenge my resolve and teach me new things about myself frequently

Surviving that drug overdose in 1988

A job that is both a career and a ministry

An extended family of in-laws that I look forward to spending time with




My students. 1,496 and counting.

Oh yeah and Doritos, Rice-aRoni, beer, coffee, ice cream and Mexican food in general.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Murder, Revisited


I was going to comment on your comment on my last post, but I was afraid that due to my long winded nature that a post would be a better move.

Thank you for your well researched and well written comment on my concerns regarding the recent bison hunt news story from Yahoo. In short, my problem is with unnecessary hunting in general. I do not regard hunters in a stereotypical way. Based on your comments, I'm afraid you might think that I do, so I want to clarify that straightaway.

The bison hunt outrages me so much because it just isn't necessary. Rules aside, I have a problem with the whole thing. In very few cases, I imagine even in Montana, though it is one of the nation's poorest states, is hunting an essential element to daily survival. There are exceptions to everything however. If a person were starving and had the means to procure meat for their survival, that is a different story. This is just 'sport'. Unnecessary. Even in the hunting culture in which you live, the hunting of bison itself is probably not a necessary means 'to feed their families in an economical, socially responsible way'. What is the purpose of this? This particular hunt has no purpose. What it does do however is feed into the fallacy of man as doers of whatever we want, to whatever we want. Let me be clear, if my family was starving and I had a gun and a buffalo were standing in front of me, he would be dinner that night. I don't have a problem survival hunting, especially when the game in question is abundant in number. I occassionally go fishing. Hunting with a hook. No problem.

You are correct, I'm no vegitarian. I love beef, chicken, fish, pork you name it. I don't care to address the issue because I frankly don't care if people eat meat, vegetables or themselves. My outrage is not at meat eating or the great state of Montana. I never directed my frustration at either one. The other Western states should be equally exposed I suppose, your state just seems to have been unlucky in the news coverage.

You are also correct that the bison, especially in your neck of the woods is not an endagered species...anymore. What is the logic here? As soon as a creature that has escaped extinction is out of the woods, we have the right to start hunting it again? My outrage also extends to the historical brutality this whole thing conjures up. You and I know both know the role the near extinction of buffalo played in the U.S. governments plans of moving Native Americans from their land. Kill the buffalo, you kill the Native. People more liberal than I consider that an act of genocide, I do not. But I am reminded of history and the symbolic role buffalo played in the settling of the west and the diminishing of Native peoples. The recovery of some bison populations is supposed to represent American penance, our learning from our mistakes. And as soon as it becomes numerically possible, we fall back into old patters. That kind of mentality sickens me. I'm sorry, history haunts me.

As far as the cattle industry goes, it is abhorrent. But it is what it is. Those animals have a purpose, to be consumed. Just like the 'live' Christmas tree I buy every year, it is raised with one particular goal in mind, to find its way into my home. As a side note, our family frequently buys free range meat.

I do not care if the boy who bagged the first bison missed a school day or not. I don't believe I voiced outrage at that either and I'm not sure what his being a good shot has to do with legitimately missing a school day. Parents have the right to do whatever they want with their kids, including taking them out of school for a good ol' bison hunt or to take them to LegoLand for the day.

Though some of your statements border on hostile, I think I understand where you are coming from and I certainly know you don't mean them in that way. Such are the limitations of digital communication.

Here is my question, do we have to kill everything? Why can't we leave some things alone? It is a uniquely American perspective that when it comes to the environment(including wildlife) that we have this perogative, nay, mandate to subdue to the point of extinction whatever we want. (I know the sophisticated people who read this blog will not bombard me with biblical references that are out of context) . For me, that is where my outrage comes from with this most recently publicized bison hunt. This hunt represents this larger human deficiency and arrogance that just drives me nuts.

Thank you for you intelligence and friendship.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005


From Yahoo news.

GARDINER, Mont. - Montana's first bison hunt in 15 years opened at sunrise Tuesday, with a 17-year-old boy bagging the first buffalo within 90 minutes.

The hunt, aimed at thinning the bison population near Yellowstone National Park, came after years of protests from animal rights activists.

State and federal officials say the hunt will help manage a population that has grown to an estimated 4,900 animals, more than some fear the area can support. Some ranchers also worry that some diseased bison could spread illness to cattle.

George Clement, a teenager who took the day off from school, killed the first bison near Gardiner. Officials later confirmed a second bison was killed on private property near the park's western boundary.

Montana's last bison hunt was in 1990. Other hunts since then were canceled because of protests over the way wardens would lead each hunter to an animal, which was then shot at close range, often while peacefully grazing.

This year, there are new limits. For example, wildlife officials cannot tell hunters where bison have wandered outside the park, and no more than 50 bison overall can be killed during the three-month season.

Fifty hunting licenses — entitling hunters to kill one bison each — were made available.

Animal-rights activists were on hand with cameras as Clement and his companions skinned the animal where it fell. State wildlife officials also were out in force to monitor the hunt and protesters.
Wildlife officials said they expected many hunters to stay home on the season's opening day.

"I've had a lot of hunters say to me, 'We're going to stay away. We don't want the attention,'" said Mel Frost, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Where is the sport in shooting a passive animal, that has recovered from the brink of oblivion, at point blank range? How can this be condoned? If there are too many of them, can't they be relocated? We spend billions every year making sure energy companies get undeserved tax breaks. What could it cost to transplant a few bison.

We suck.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Best of a Decade?

So, my eight year old was scrolling through my iPod today and noticed one of my playlists was titled 'Essentially 80s'. Once I defined our terms, he asked about music when I was a kid and we talked for a while. His reaction made me think of Scott's recent post with his oldest.

Anyway, being the good little absolutist that he is, he eventually asked what the best song of the 1980's was. I initially looked at him in dismay, not knowing how to respond. I guess I really had not thought about a best song of the decade in which so much of my life was formed. I'm not even sure it is possible. It got me thinking though.

This is where you come in. Given my vast readership(he laughs), I thought I would pose my progeny's query to you. In your humble opinion, what is the best song of the 1980's?

Don't worry, if you can't pick one, give me a few.

Thanks for playing. Peace.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Taking Me Back

Do you remember the Three Investigators?

When I was eight years old I delighted in the adventures of Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews. I thought these guys were so cool because they were smart and adults were always blown away by their intelligence and courage, especially Jupe.

Anyway, I recently bought a copy of one of my favorites in the hopes of getting my oldest boy to read it with me. When I recieved the book a couple of days ago he did not seem very interested, even after I enthusiastically described the premise of the series.

Well, he has had a bad week. Behaviorally, he is having a difficult time adjusting to his two best friends being relocated to a new school. This has translated into issues in the classroom and at home. And to make it worse, his soccer team got destroyed in their game this morning.

On Friday and Saturday nights we let him stay up an extra half hour passed his bedtime to read in our room. As a 'treat'. He gets to spread out on the big bed and prop himself up with all the pillows his mother swears are accent pieces and cuddle under the warmth of our down comforter. Well, tonight he mentioned it is too bad that he had to read alone. Talk about your signals. I immediately asked him if he would like it if I read with him and he said yes. When I asked him what he wanted to read he said, "How about the Three Investigators?". Yes!!

As I opened the book I mentioned to him that it was actually written a year before I was born, to which he said, "So this is an old book, huh?". Smile creeping across his face. We laid down on the bed, scrunched up some pillows and plowed through the first six chapters. When I stopped he asked for one more chapter. How can you say no?

When we were done I asked him to wash up, brush his teeth and hop into bed. A few minutes later I walked out of the kitchen to be greeted by him. He asked if I would tuck him in, something that he has not asked for in a while. We climbed into his bed and cuddled under his blankets.

He asked, "Dad, is El Diablo a real person in history?"

"No son, it is just a story in a book."

"Well, it's an interesting book, very suspenseful."

He grabbed my arms and drew himself closer to me. A few minutes later I felt the slow release of his grip as he drifted off to sleep. I lay there for a while, in my own state of half sleep, listening to the symphony of sounds of my boys sleeping, wondering how much better it could possibly get and promising myself to remember this moment during the week when things get crazy and the kids are driving me nuts. This is the sweetness of life.

Be well friends.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Halloween '05