Monday, July 31, 2006

mikeandtim moment of zen

Stealing a bit from the Daily Show, sometimes a picture is truly worth a 1000 words.... Can you be more hungry than this? Feed your kid! Look at the plate! My boss's daughter. Do yourself a favor and click on the picture to enlarge it. At least 2x as funny. Truly a Larkworthy.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Weird World

1) Andrea Yates- Not Guilty
I am almost without speech on this topic. Almost. If she ever, ever gets out of that mental rehabilitation clinic or whatever it is called- it will hopefully only be in a wooden box or an urn. We have completely lost our minds. It is American society that is insane- not Andrea Yates.

2) Lance Bass- Gay
Does this surprise anyone? Seriously. Why was this even news? Lance, good luck. I hope you guys have a wonderful family someday. Oh, wait a minute... only people of my ilk are "breeders".
(This is in reference to the resort town in Massachusetts where heteros have filed lawsuits after being slandered as "breeders" among other names.)

3) To do list- Funny
The people I need to talk to about ongoing projects:


What country is this? These guys would probably each score 1000 on their SAT's. 800 Math, 200 Verbal. Learn to speak English for the last time. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Astros- 2nd half 2006

Hitting. You must have hitting. How many times are we going to have to endure watching Roger Clemens pitch brilliantly only to lose? Hate it. Roy Oswalt recently made a statement to the effect that he knew once he had given up 3 runs late in the game, that it was over. And he took some heat from various media outlets in Houston. (More from Sports radio call-ins than anywhere else) But he also got a lot of support for what he said.

The Astros traded for Aubrey Huff, which is nice, but not really a huge difference maker. This is what the Astros line-up needs to look like:

2B- Craig Biggio
CF- Chris Burke/Willy Taveras
SS- Miguel Tejada/Alfonso Soriano
1B- The Big Puma (Lance Berkman)
3B- Morgan Ensberg
RF- Aubrey Huff
LF- Preston Wilson
C- Eric Munson

Off the bench: Eric Bruntlett, Luke Scott, Willy T./Burke, O. Palmeiro, B. Ausmus
Notably absent: Mike Lamb, Jason Lane

This is given a trade for either Soriano or Tejada, but this MUST HAPPEN for the Astros to realistically contend this year.

The idea? Trade Mike Lamb, Brad Lidge, and a Prospect to the Orioles for Tejada. Please Astros, before it's too late!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

thanks, apple, website, and mouse ball

i cant write much since i have the work of three (if you need a job in construction email me) but wanted to update a few things that are going on.

1. the comments by Mr. Bronson and Ms. Merryman on Tim's post are much appreciated. thank you both for reading our entry and responding. as a result, i have picked up a copy of Po's "What Should I Do With My Life" and am a few chapters into the book. very interesting.

2. i am now a proud owner of an Apple computer. now i am trying to figure out what the heck took me so long to get one of these things. it has only been one day, but it has been great. i setup and connected to my cable internet by literally plugging in the ethernet cable and clicking three times. total time of setup, approx 30 seconds. nice.

3. we are indeed making progress on we have procured the rights to a while back, but are now working with internationally recognized web developers such as the creator of (the actual mark lancaster) and we are all pretty excited about the site and where it is headed. there will be more interactive opportunities which should be delightful.

4. my dog ate a computer mouse ball. the good thing is, she eventually threw it up. two nights ago the poor little pooch was hackin like she was trying to cough up a recliner, but it was 330am and i was pretty tired so i opted out of immediate investigation. yesterday when i got home from work i crawled in her little kennel tent thingy, and guess what i found. mouse ball. have you taken one of these out of your mouse? it is a pretty heavy metal ball about the size of a shooter marble. kinda like a musket ball coated with rubber. big deal you say? especially when it is taken into consideration that she ate this a month ago and my wife's aunt's house. a month ago and she just threw it up. at the time of ingestion, she was approx 9 weeks old. amazing beast, the puppy is.

Monday, July 17, 2006


This is from andTom, my Dad. Enjoy!


I have an axiom that can almost always be applied to a liberal’s logic: Take the opposite (or reciprocal) of a liberal’s premise, and you will find the truth. (1/liberalism = truth, for you math lovers.) In this regard, there is an effort underway by some to revise the spelling of most of the words in the English language in order to make them easier for children to spell. This is the topic of Darlene Superville’s article on Yahoo! News, “Push for Simpler Spelling Persists.” (7/6/06) There is no greater illustration of my axiom than in the liberal idea of “simplified spelling,” and Ms. Superville’s article will provide a good proving ground. For the premise, we need to look no further than the second sentence in Ms. Superville’s article:

“Those in favor of simplified spelling say children would learn faster and illiteracy rates would drop.”

Breaking down this opening statement, I find three premises: 1) the assertion that “simplified spelling” is what its name implies: simple; 2) that children would learn faster with “simplified spelling”; and 3) that illiteracy rates would drop if “simplified spelling” was taught. Using my simple mathematical formula for dealing with liberal logic, the resulting truth would be: 1) simplified spelling is anything but simple, 2) children’s learning would be hampered with simplified spelling, and 3) illiteracy rates would soar. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say, so allow me to examine each of these truths using a bit of common sense conservative logic. And since I am into reciprocals for the moment, I will address them in reverse order.

3) Illiteracy rates would not drop, they would soar. If our children do not learn to spell the words used in the historical English language, they will not be able to read them or pronounce them, since no “normal” English words would be recognizable. Not one book in the country is written using “simplified spelling.” (Actually, I have a book at home of Uncle Remus stories filled with phonetic spellings like “Brer”, “cuz” and “wid dat”, but I somehow don’t think it would be politically correct in today’s culture to use the book in the classroom.) This means that a child educated (indoctrinated?) in simplified spelling would never be able to read the typical novel, reference book or newspaper. Somehow, I don’t think there will be a ground swell of interest to translate every known English language book or document into “simplified English.” The bottom line: If illiteracy in children was a rocket ship, it could make it to Alpha Centauri with “simplified spelling” as its fuel.

2) Children would not learn faster; their learning would be hampered. The most obvious support for this statement is reciprocal truth #1 above: if a child cannot read or pronounce the “historical” English language, his ability to learn will be seriously handicapped. But let me add to this by introducing another axiom that can always be applied to a liberal’s logic: A liberal will typically prefer to use a bleeding-heart emotional argument instead of empirical data to support his premise. The thrust behind the teaching of “simplified spelling”, according to Ms. Superville’s journalistic research, is to help the kids who can’t seem to compete well in spelling bees. (They… “cuud do just as wel if speling were simpler.”) My heart is supposed to be touched so much at this point that I am willing to toss logic out the window. But how difficult can learning to spell English words be when foreign kids (some with immigrated parents who cannot even speak the English language well) have won our national spelling bee contests? Let’s face it: The most common reasons for spelling and learning difficulties in students are poor study habits (laziness), minimal parent input, and lackadaisical academic standards in the classroom. If a child cannot learn standardized spelling, which is reiterated in every book, magazine, and newspaper in the country, how can it be that he would learn a new language that is not reinforced anywhere else but in a liberal classroom setting? (Keep in mind we are talking about a child that is probably already academically lazy.)

Ms. Superville quotes Alan Mole, president of the American Literacy Council, as saying that learning English requires rote memory rather than logic, and that he favors an end to “illogical” spelling. So, his answer to the real causes of slow learning (lack of parent input, bad study habits and pass-them-at-all-costs school district policies) is to change the entire English language. That should help, sure. Very logical, Mr. Mole.

3) Simplified spelling will be anything but simple. Since “simplified spelling” is phonetically-driven, there would seem to be obvious problems between different areas of the country, where English words are pronounced differently. (Henry Higgins would have a field day with this.) Imagine how a person from Amarillo, Texas and a native from Brooklyn, New York would phonetically spell the word “bird”. The Texan might spell it “burd”, while the New Yorker would spell it “boyd.” Learning “burd” would make no sense to the second-grader who goes home to hear his parents saying “boyd” each day. We would need multiple phonetic spellings of each word, depending upon the area of the country in which it was taught. Moreover, how would one distinguish between two words that phonetically sound the same yet are spelled differently and have different meanings, like “red” and “read,” “bow” and “bough,” “so” and “sew”? Taken out of context, a student would not know the meaning of such words. “Simplified” English would not be simple. Far from it.

This whole idea is so potentially destructive to the education of our children and to our country that one has to wonder about the motive of those who promote it. So what do we know about Carnegie, Dewey and Shaw, well-known names “dropped” on the reader by Ms. Superville? A bit of research will reveal that all three were apparently opponents of Christianity, supporters of social Darwinism, and “internationalists” (supporters of the idea that world peace could be accomplished through the governing of powerful men). An ignorant citizenry is a citizenry more easily ruled by an “elite” group of powerful men…and simplified spelling would certainly contribute to the ignorance of our young children. I leave the rest to your “imajinaeshun”.

Tom Lancaster


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

what is the answer for Iraq?

i have no idea, and i am pretty sure you don't either. yes, i know President Bush has read our blog at least thrice, but i am guessing he doesn't anymore. things have been rather busy in the White House.

i think more of us common folk should admit our ignorance regarding what we should be doing in Iraq. we do not know. how can we? i am a little beat down by the Left continuing to state (about Bush) that "he started a war based on lies" as if it is fact and not up for debate. i pulled this quote directly from the July 6 entry of Moby's journal. i suppose this statement comes from Bush's claim that Iraq had or potentially had weapons of mass destruction. we went over there and investigated, and we didn't find any. so, does that mean that Bush intentionally started this war knowing that there was no chance of finding WMD? that just does not seem logical to me. call me naive, but isnt it possible that there could be other people involved, possibly even Democrats (no, not Democrats!) who advised Bush of the situation? yes, i know Bush is responsible, but Iraq was avoiding the UN for a decade, moving suspect trailers around, hiding things is a bit suspicious. enough to start a war? not sure. how are some people so sure about this?

i think my position on the war is somewhat irrelevant, since my knowledge of what is going on over there is based strictly on television and articles in magazines. most notably, Rolling Stone, of which i no longer carry my subscription mostly due to the monthly palaver of Tim Dickinson.

the Conservative Right is no better. they seem to stand behind the administration regardless of result. the Karl Rove thing was no big deal, right? what about us never finding these alleged WMD? there are a myriad of controversialities of which the W has been linked. oh no! this is so much different than the last (insert large number here) presidents!

my issue, if i have one, is with our political system. the republicans are gaining too much power. the democrats are weak. the candidates are terrible. i guess this is because most great leaders and good solid people do not want to have anything to do with politics. super duper. last election i just could not believe that the two BEST candidates the United States had were John Kerry and George W Bush. not good America, not good.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Book Prologue

I decided I would go ahead and post part of the book I am writing on the blog. Tell me what you think!

How To Be A Man In Texas- Prologue

I will go ahead and clarify that this book is not solely intended for residents of
the State of Texas, or The Nation of Texas (depending on your understanding of what Texas’ true nature is) but is instead intended for all who feel it applies to them. Namely, these would be men in America, and those who want to see them reach their potential in all that they do. I need to address a few points to clearly set up what I am about to write and why I am writing it.

The first is thinking and thought. When asked the question of whom the great thinkers of the world are, many different names may come to mind. I think of Aristotle and Plato, Kant and Locke, Jefferson and Madison, Einstein and Galileo, Augustine and Calvin, Leary and Carlin. If you’re not familiar with the last two, perhaps looking into the market of intensely abrasive comedians would help. If you’re not familiar with the first ten, stop reading this book right now and go find out which ones you don’t know. Seriously. Why are you still reading?

Some of the names I mentioned may be some of the same you were thinking of, as these men have had their thoughts and ideas published, read, considered, scrutinized, and generally evaluated in every way possible. Whether you regard many of the world’s great thinkers as bone-headed or brilliant, the bottom line is that they contemplated life, processed their interaction with it, and used their abilities to try to find answers to some of the more difficult questions in human existence.

Where have these men gone? While Denis Leary and George Carlin are still living, they are comedians. Their impact is significant in entertainment, but trivial elsewhere. Is anyone thinking out there? Most women reading this book right now are probably thinking to themselves that being a “non-thinker” is completely inapplicable to them. And most women would be right. (Sorry, I am still single as I write this and there are still women out there who do not contemplate life beyond whether they can afford a $300 pair of shoes or a $500 purse with their next paycheck.) However, women have done much to advance their place in society over the last 100 years, and generally still work harder than men to achieve an equivalent position in business or government.

This book was written because I have found myself in a relative no-man’s land. (No pun intended) The Non-Thinking Male is the status quo. Homer Simpson is the ultimate American male icon of our time. The problem is, no one cares because no one seems to know how to even begin trying to be “manly” in our postmodern society! In fact “manliness” has gone from desirable trait to direct chauvinistic association to punchline in the last 50 years. It may have been said many times, but apathy is our ultimate foe in the battle for growth and progress and there is widespread apathy in the pursuit of becoming a man. I think it is important now that I define a few terms that I am going to use extensively in writing this book.

1) A Man- n., one who recognizes and invests in his inherent masculine characteristics, to provide protection and stability to those he interacts with. This is accomplished through being an example of high ethical standards, humility, grace, courage, unselfishness, and consistency in all parts of life. A Man has inherent flaws, but uses his ability to think to identify these flaws and work to rectify them for the entirety of his life. A True Man realizes that he cannot accomplish this on his own, but that he is also ultimately responsible for his actions, and he should always act in a way that most benefits the growth and development of those around him, thinking of himself last. It should be noted that becoming a man is a continually active process, without a certain beginning and with death being its end.

2) A Male- adj., one who is born with the masculine attributes and make-up of a man. His development into a man is based upon whether or not he has enough vision to recognize how to live unselfishly and yet confidently in any situation by using the gifts given to him.

3) A Boy- n., a male who is discovering how to be a man. If he is of sound mind and body, the change from boy to man should begin to occur during adolescence for a male, and he should move toward independence toward his late teens and early 20’s. Independence is the primary indicator in the progression from Boy to Man. Treatment of women is the secondary indicator. It should be noted that many boys never become men, but all men were once boys and keep this period as a reference point for beneficial access throughout the continuance of life.

4) Good and Bad- adjs. opposing concepts that establish whether something is inherently beneficial or detrimental to the world at large. Men use their conscience to determine Good from Bad.

5) Masculine- adj., the attributes of a male that distinguish him from the female. Being true to one’s self, being honest and straightforward, having the confidence to make a decision and then deal with the consequences. Often portrayed as a negative, true masculinity is always good.

6) Texas- n. The largest state in the contiguous U.S. The only state to have once been an independent nation. A state where many men have lived. The place in the world that the author of How To Be A Man In Texas knows best. My home.

7) How To Be A Man In Texas- n. A book inspired by the men in the author’s life, his love for his country, his love for his state, his desire to see Men feel strong and free to be themselves in modern society, and his desire to bring recognition to God’s amazing creations.

As if all of those things don’t make me sound like an idiot, I am 27 years old, hardly have any money, have no children or family of my own, and carry an abysmal dating record. My qualifications being evident… let’s discuss being men…….

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Response to "Will This Marriage Last?"

This is a direct critique of the article on To view this article please follow the below link:

"Will This Marriage Last?"

It seems that as a society we are not without punchlines. Whereas at points in time past we would have been hesistant to make light of certain subjects, and while I am definitely not removed from observing and commenting on life in a tongue-in-cheek style, Marriage is not a topic to take lightly. Perhaps it is ironic that I read this article a week prior to being co-officiator at my own cousin's wedding, perhaps not. I feel that the article put forth by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman is something that represents the continuing downfall of America- in this case through "Journalism".

I am not a professional journalist. I sell industrial heating equipment. But I do have the ability to think and reason and treat some topics as having greater sanctity than that of a sporting event. Upon reading "Will This Marriage Last?" I felt as if I was reading a sports column decrying the weaknesses and championing the strengths of two teams. As an attendee and officiant of many weddings, I feel that I somewhat qualified to speak on the basis of many of the points made in the article.

This is the excerpt I will start with:

"Every wedding is haunted by that axiom, "Half of all marriages end in divorce." But it's not a random coin flip. At the time of a couple's wedding, there are factors already present that can raise the odds of divorce to as high as 70%, or lower it to nearly 20%."

We all know that a marriage will either fail or succeed. But where do these numbers of 70% and 20% come from? Why do we have to assign a statistical association to every possibility? It is absolutely pointless. There are means of statistical analysis that could probably depict tendencies for marriages to succeed or fail; but each relationship and each marriage is so incredibly different that it is insulting to assign percentages to something that most view as having a highly spiritual element. This aside, the percentages quoted in the article have no source! Again, I am not a journalist but without some sort of study to reference or scientific basis for these numbers, anything stated must be seen as completely arbitrary.

There should be some manner of journalistic integrity in writing, especially when writing for a publication as widely circulated as TIME. The lack of a cited source for statistics in this article is an embarrassment. And if these statistics have been concocted by the authors, they should be immediately dismissed from any position held with the magazine. One of the primary reasons that I wrote this is to get people to remember that journalism is fallible. Too many times we read an article like this with statistics presented as facts without questioning or checking sources and we blindly accept them as concrete. And this is not the only occasion where statistics are put forth:

"An average couple now has a 57% chance of seeing their 15th wedding anniversary."
"....a middle-class second marriage has only 3% more risk than a first marriage."
"If this couple will earn a modest $50,000 as a family, their odds of seeing their 15th anniversary jump to 68%."
"'s been known for some time that their children are at higher risk of divorce when they marry. It's quite significant — it raises their odds of divorce by 14%."

Please cite your sources. That way we, the freak bloggers of the world can analyze the study to see if they had an agenda, what the demographics of the sample group consisted of, etc. For all we know, this could have been an informal biased survey of 15 couples in Po Bronson's neighborhood.

Before I continue to tear this article apart I must say that I do think the authors had good intentions in writing the article. Given the steep decline in marriages over the last 50 years or so (here for reference), it is good for us to be aware of some of the pitfalls that often lead to poor marriages or divorce. I even agree with them that living together before marriage guarantees no greater chance of success than not living together. But there are some general statements put forth as absolutes that definitely need to be examined.

"Being religious doesn't make a couple happier with their marriage, but it does mean they might try a little harder to stick it out."

What? How do you know whether or not being religious makes a couple happier or not? Can you even analyze that? What does "being religious" mean? This is just flat out ignorant. Being religious can only really be defined as allowing the direction of your life to be subject to the teachings of a religious system. If I am an extremely devoted follower of Allah, while my wife practices Wicca- "being religious" probably won't help us out. Individually we may be quite pious, but it really doesn't mean much if our beliefs are incompatible. You might make the case that a Muslim and a Wiccan probably wouldn't get together, but why not? "Being religious doesn't make a couple happier with their marriage" anyway. Apparently, it's a crapshoot. What they probably mean is that following in a common system of beliefs together does not insure that the couple will find harmony in their marriage, but it does increase the chances that they will continue to be devoted to one another. I think this is probably an instance of poor word choice rather than anything else, but it is so careless that it begs for proper scrutiny.

"Watch the bride and her father as they walk down the aisle. Are they tense with each other? If so, that's bad."

Again... What? I realize that this is something of a metaphor for the relationship of the bride and her father in general, but it is ridiculous. For one, most brides probably aren't even thinking about their fathers at that particular moment. There are flowers all around, candles, people staring from every direction, a dress not to trip over, an organist blaring the processional, the groom smiling from across the way.. geez! It's amazing if the bride is even aware of the fact that she is walking, much less that her father is walking with her. (No, I have never walked down the aisle as a bride. But I have been blessed with a good imagination.)

This slightly humorous position aside, where does the tension come from? If her father is thrice divorced, had alcohol problems, and cheated on his wives.. he may be a little apprehensive about seeing the daughter he loves get married. The daughter on the other hand really has found Prince Charming, even though her father hates him for his being morally upright and devoted to creating an unconditionally loving environment for his soon-to-be wife. This all stems from jealousy, but no one really understands that because the father allows his case to be stated for him through said tension. I have been to several weddings where there was some tension between bride and father, but there was overwhelming support for the couple. No one realized that the tension was truly just the father's inability to deal with his own jealousy. Should that be the basis by which we judge the potential success of a couple's marriage?

Bronson and Merryman do show how the relationship between the bride and the groom's family can help to rectify the problem of having an unstable relationship with her own father, but it is almost forgotten as a topic. It seems they would rather dwell on the negative.

Before I finish, I must say that I am very critical of weddings. WEDDINGS. Not marriages. Buildings, tuxes, dresses, food, open bar, pay bar. These are all just asides. I would encourage all people to be able to set these things aside from the marriage itself. Each marriage is incredibly unique and special and should be seen as perhaps the greatest event in both the bride and groom's lives prior to the occasion. Even beginning to speculate on the chances of a couple "making it" is incredibly disrespectful to the institution of marriage itself. If you even catch yourself thinking those thoughts, perhaps you should refocus your thoughts on prayers for the success of the couples' marriage. Do not let yourself fall into this mindset:

"Bottom line, the weddings you attend this summer are likely to have much better odds of lasting than a coin flip. That's something to relish, when the champagne has run dry and the band covers Kool & The Gang and one of the bridesmaids has run off in tears."

"The weddings you attend this summer"...
as if they were a baseball game. "Better odds of lasting than a coin flip"... as if that should be even a remote matter of thought associated with marriage. Again, the wording is a problem here. The sentence should read, "Bottom line, the marriages that you witness this summer have a greater chance for success than they do failure."

My conclusion? Between the poor wording, poor thought, and poor lack of statistical references it is little wonder that it was co-authored by "Po" Bronson. Despite having some good intentions, this article falls on its face in the attempt at having any sort of journalistic or editorial merit.

Monday, July 03, 2006


most of us could identify a penguin. they are typically found in cold climates. they are flightless birds that look to be wearing the tuxedo. they have short legs with webbed feet and can endure the harshest of climates. they are amazing animals, sometimes going months without food. however, there are penguins amongst the populace. they live in houses, apartments, perhaps even condominiums. they are the human version of the penguin. this nickname of penguin comes from the first identified penguin. he kinda has the stature and posture of a penguin, that being the first and most obvious characteristic. he also has a unique pitch of voice which is somewhat close to that of a penguin bawk. they typically talk quite a bit about their past, making unusual claims and frequently going on diatribes that are mostly, if not entirely versed in cliches. they tend to bawk out orders instead of handling tasks on their own and like to talk a lot. when they do put their beak to the grindstone, it is usually in tasks that they enjoy doing but are not good uses of their time, often an actual waste of time. penguins often stand with their hands on their hips, except for one distinction - they invert their hands which gives an appearance of a flipper. they also probably liked to spend large amounts of time in the nude when they were in Jr High and High School sports locker rooms. the reason for this has not been confirmed, although the speculation is they just like to make others uncomfortable and think by exposing their Dr. Dingle that he shows he is being a man by not caring about being unclothed. rumor has it that the penguin will only wear "Tighty Whities" but no sane human is willing to try and confirm this.

penguins often talk about how great they were in the past, usually in an academic or athletic sense. they are masters of palaver, often wasting hours of time bawking of the good ol days or details that are completely irrelevent which they ramble on because they think it makes them look smarter. they have a strange blend of positive encouragement coupled with public degradation. penguins misuse words in the english language frequently, again with the intention of sounding intelligent. outrageous claims by penguins may or may not include the following: inventing concepts, inventing assorted gadgetry, inconsequential innovations, plagiarism, thievery of good work, post-graduate education that cannot be confirmed, being knighted by the Queen of England, and being nominated for various Nobel prizes. in short, they speak of nonsense and are quirky, ornery little folk.

you know these penguins are out there. be aware.