Archive for August, 2006

Pharmatists right to choose

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

I was reading an article about pharmacists and dispensing birth-control or abortifacients.  The arguments continue to amaze me.  It’s best summed up by one line in the article:

“The discussion often comes down to one of rights: the right of pharmacists not to do something that violates their consciences versus the right of patients to obtain legally prescribed medications.”

Since when is “obtaining legally prescribed medications” a right?  I’m pretty darned sure that if a person shows up at a pharmacy without money their “right” to that medication will be refused.  In other words, there is no right to medical treatment in this country.

It seems to me that yet again the issue is that the debate is being held in the wrong arena.  If I go to an Indian resturant and they “refuse” to serve me a steak, is my “right” to eat beef being violated?  No, it isn’t.  If I want a steak, I need to go somewhere else.  However, it is well within my rights to refuse to eat there and/or put pressure on the company/resturant to sell steaks.

I believe the same scenario applies to the medical industry as a whole.

I’ve got no problem (from a legal/governmental perspective) with Planned Parenthood protesting Target for allowing their pharamists to exercise their freedom of conscience by not dispensing plan-B.  I’ve also got no problem with Walmart firing a pharacist who exercises their freedom of conscience just as I’ve got no problem with Cattlemans Steak House firing an Indian chef who refuses to cook a steak.

But I DO have a problem with the government forcing people to do things they do not want to do, including pharmacists who would otherwise be able to keep their jobs.

So, to recap: If you want a steak, don’t go to an Indian resturant. If you want fried dog for dinner, you may have to drive a while to find a place that will serve it to you.  If you want your pharmacist to give you what he considers to be immoral prescriptions, go find a new pharmacist.  If there aren’t any pharmacists who will fill your prescription in the area, do what any fried dog lover would do: move/go somewhere where you can.

Update (after comment #8): My brother has posted on the subject.  The key quote that shows his lack of consistency: “I believe that no one should ever force their morals onto someone else, and that includes me forcing my morals onto Pharmacists, but honestly, if they don’t like the rules of being a pharmacist, they can get another  job for all I care.”

So, no forcing morals on Pharmacists… except they should do what you say or get a new career?

A great Laser picture

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Laser sailing is amazingly fun.  However, its got its downside: crash and burn.  I was looking through the recent pictures of the US Laser Master championships and came across this picture.  It pretty much sums up the downside.

Two examples of why journalism sucks these days

Monday, August 21st, 2006

I always read the online version of the SF Chronicle because frankly it is one of the better Northern California papers particularly their online version which isn’t overly bloated by advertising crud and fancy yet unusable GUIs.

However, there are many times the Chronicle represents the worst of what journalism can be.  First up is the biased reporting:

The Gospel according to the Guv

One doesn’t even have to read the article to get what bugs me.  It’s all in the title.  Although the article is not as bad as the title, the reality is that the title makes a big impact on what the reader is expecting.  And one would never see that title if Jeese Jackson went to speak at a church he wasn’t affiliaited with.

Next up, incomplete reporting:

These Condos’ sizes matters

In this article it’s all about the lack of the data needed for the reader to make a good judgement about the two opposing sides.  We’ve got condo buyers who say their condos are smaller than what they said they would be and builders who say the sizes are approximations.  OK, all I need to know now is how big the approximate size was and how big they actually are.  If they’re supposed to be 550 square feet and they’re really 542, get a grip buyer.  If the number is really 487, then I think the buyer has a pretty good case and should be suing.

But no, we never get that.  We get “units ranging from one bedroom and 550 square feet to three bedrooms and 1,653 square feet for between $500,000 and $1 million.” and “We measured one unit out of each plan, and every unit we measured is undervalued”.

That’s just bad reporting/interviewing.  When the guy makes that assertion the follow up question is: “How much undervalued?”  Either they didn’t ask the question or they didn’t like the answer (see first example of biased reporting).  Either way it is bad reporting.

More reasons to love Marshawn Lynch

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

How about these great quotes from his online chat on ESPN’s website last week:

Saratoga, CA: If you couldn’t be a running back, what other position would you want to play?
Marshawn Lynch: I would want to play rover.

That’s the kind of guy Lynch is: If he wasn’t running the ball, he’d want to be the player who got to punish the guy running the ball.

Geoff, LA: Worse mascot: that dopey tree or the skirt wearing trojan?

Marshawn Lynch: I don’t like either one of them. If it ain’t a Golden Bear, I don’t like it.

While I’ve got to say that the Tree is the most grievious mascot in world history, you got to like a guy who’s not willing to give either one of them respect.

Why God? Why?

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

OK, theologically speaking, one should never question God, especially over something as trivial as a football team.  But in a jovial spirit I can’t help but use those words for my feelings about the recent season and possibly career ending MCL tear of Cal Bear Tim Mixon.

So to repent of questioning God for trivial things I give this confession:

Tim Mixon: I’ll admit, there were times when I was a bit of a pessimist regarding your corner play.  I thought you gave up to many big plays… particularly when it was all that could hurt us.  But not only are you one heck of a corner, you’ve got a ton of heart.  I’ve heard the interviews with you, seen your attitude on the field and I know that your a stand-up guy who gives his all to the team.  Forgive me my pessimism and negativity. May God heal you and bring you peace.

Camping and “The Kayak Incident”

Monday, August 14th, 2006

This past weekend we went camping up at Donner Lake (for those out of the area, it’s where the famed Donner Party ate themselves to death).  We hadn’t been out of the car for 90 seconds and the boys were covered head to toe in dirt.  Andrew’s first official act of the trip was to dump a shovel of fresh dirt on the newly unfolded and yet to be erected tent.

All in all it was a fun trip.  The lone tragedy of the trip was what will from here forward will be referred to as “The Kayak Incident”:

On Saturday we went to the “beach” on the lake and built “sand” castles.  Another one of the families who came up brought their colapsable kayaks (they fold down to be about a foot wide and four inches thick (but the full length)).  I’ve been trying to get Gregory more comfortable on the water in my multi-year project to get him sailing at a young age, so I decided to take him out in the Kayak.

So I start out in the Kayak with him in front of me repeatedly wailing “no, no, no…” and hope that he’ll calm down and see that there is nothing to worry about.  After about 5 minutes the wailing has reduced to a muttering and I’m getting hopeful.  After another 5 minutes of muttering I decide to head back because it’s clear that muttering was as close as we were going to get to enjoyment.

As soon as I turn around and he can see the beach, he got much more content.  You could tell he wanted to go back.  But, the waves from the stern were getting larger and some of them were swamping over the low stern of the kayak.  I paddled in as quick as I could and tried to get my weight forward in the kayak.

However, I was neither quick enough nor forward enough because about 10 yards from shore a wave swamped and capsized the boat.  As I fell into the water my first thought was “so much for Gregory ever going sailing” because I knew he was going to be in a panic.

I quickly stood up (the water was only 3 feet deep this close to shore) and grabbed Gregory who, as “luck” would have it, was trapped under the boat.  He was going ballistic.  I tried to comfort him and tell him it was OK, but to no avail.  The only solution to his problem was mommy, who was quickly on scene to assess the damage that her husband had inflicted on her son.

15 seconds later I was all alone, drenched and standing in the cold water with the upside down kayak.  All in a father’s day of work…

Manly forgiveness

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

I was reading a blog post over at Dale Price’s blog where he was seeking advice on how to deal with daily Mass attendees who criticize his wife for bringing the children to Mass.  My suggestion was to forgive those who comment and continue to bring the kids.

But the issue got me to thinking about a father’s role in the family and forgiveness.  Moments like the one Dale points to are infuriating to the family.  It’s easy to get really angry.  Sadly forgiveness if often seen as a wimpy solution to the problem.  To use a different word besides wimpy, try efiminate.

There is frequent talk about why men don’t come to Church and a big reason is because Church is put in very feminine terms these days: love, peace, forgiveness (in the wimpy sense).  Many talk about changing the things we emphasize to cater more to men.  While I think there are some things that need to be done in this regard, the big risk here is that we miss that love, peace and forgiveness are not necessarily femine things.

Specifically with forgiveness, it takes great strength to forgive when threatened or abused.  I think of the example from the movie Braveheart where Wallace asks forgiveness of his father-in-law for the events that led to his wife (his father-in-law’s daughter) being killed by the authorities.  Wallace gets down on one knee in front of him.  The father-in-law puts out his shaking hand at first as if to grab him in a violent way.  He then recoils slightly, calms his hand, and places it on Wallaces head in an act of forgiveness.

THAT is a masculine forgiveness.  One that takes strength, honor and discipline.  One that summons all the strength one has to muster.

We as fathers need to instill that sense of forgiveness in our families.  We need to teach it to our children.  We need to be leaders with our wifes in displaying it.  We need to help our priests proclaim this masculine nature of forgiveness.  That turn the other cheek is NOT about some mild tap and a wimpy reply, that it is about being repeatedly pounded to the ground and having the fortitude quell the pain, to stand up and look your aggressor boldly in the eyes while you stand before him and proclaim “I forgive you”.

A’s game wrapup

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Well the A’s continue to keep winning baseball games and are up to 11 games over .500.  But more important than that, I went to my first game of the year last night!

I left work just befor 4 PM to pick up Wendy and the boys.  We drove to Oakland from Roseville in 1 hour and 45 minutes, not bad considering it was rush-hour… although it helped that we were going the opposite direction for the majority of the trip.  After a 15 minute chat with my Mom, we left the boys with their Grandma and took my brother Brian, who had come to my mom’s house, to the game.  At the game we met Brian’s girlfriend Sarah, who had come straight from work via BART.  We all met up at the stadium at around 6:30 PM for the 7:05 start.

(Side note: the reason we went to the game was because it was Brian’s last day at his job before he took a new job, with a significant pay raise, tomorrow.)

The first order of business was to find “the big dog”.  I’m sure many of you have had the unsatisfying experience of paying $3.50 for a hot dog at a game only to find out you’ve received a cocktail wenie in a similarly sized bun.  Well, Oakland found a solution to the problem: the $6.75 big dog.  Sure it’s expensive, but it’s a dog that lives up to the name being 2 to 3 times the size of your average supermarket hot dog.  In stadium food terms, it’s well worth the money.

Next order of business was to find the seats.  Brian is a partial season ticket holder in the bleachers and was able to help me get us good seats right behind home plate.  You could really tell if the ball was pitched over the plate from our vantage point.  The harder part was telling if the ball was high or low.  Although it is usually a good spot for foul balls, none came to our section.

I had so much fun chatting with everyone that I didn’t pay as much attention as I usually do.  I did make sure to get in my usual “too high” comment for all of the home runs.  Overall it was a relaxed game despite it being fairly close.  The Texas Rangers openned a 4 run lead early and I think it got me into the “I’d better enjoy this game some other way than the score” mode early.  For some reason when two back to back homers in the bottom of the 4th by Swisher (3 run) and Payton tied things at 4, I didn’t switch gears.  The only point where I really got back into the game was in the bottom of the ninth when Huston Street almost blew the save.  Up 7-4 at that point, he gave up two runs.

The end of the game was an odd one.  With a pinch runner (running for Hank Blalock) on first, and DeRosa with a 3-2 count, Street struck out DeRosa while the runner tried to steal 2nd.  He was safe, but DeRosa had so badly missed the pitch that he stumbled in front of the plate and interfered with the throw by catcher Jason Kendall.  The home-plate umpire had no choice but to call the runner out because of the interference, thereby ending the game.  We’ll take it… particularly because Street was struggling and I’m not so sure he would have got the last out before someone could have singled the man on second home.

After the game got out at 10:15 PM we drove back to my mom’s house to pick up the boys before heading home.  Gregory (our oldest) had refused to go to sleep up in the guest bed and so was sleeping on the sofa next to his grandma while she watched the news.  We got the boys into the car and left just before 11:00 PM.

When we got home around 12:30 AM, we were exhausted.  The boys had hardly slept on the way home and had spent most of the trip in intermixed delirious giggles and whining with an emphasis on the giggles.  It was quite cute actually to see the two of them feed off each other.

All it all it was a fun night and worth the time, effort and money.  Congradulations to Brian on his new job!

A great e-mail exchange

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

I’m going to do my best to make this relevant to non-sailors…

There was a great e-mail exchange on a Laser sailing e-mail list this morning.  It started with an answer to my question about a recent vote for a change in the rules.  The North American class president replied:

No word yet, but ILCA is most likely still in the process of verifying memberships. Sherri was presented a list of North Americans who caste ballots and has returned the verification already. So, while I don’t know how they voted, I can say that 272 people from the North American Region caste ballots. Of these, one was clearly fictitious (Barry Bonds) and nine others are not members so will have their votes removed.

Which everyone knew was just begging for a reply about Barry Bonds.  So far we’ve seen the following:

  1. I bet he might even try putting glide tape in his centerboard trunk! (note to blog readers: glide tape is illegal and very difficult to detect because it is hidden inside the hull)
  2. Barry Bonds has simply been doing research on how to help Masters Laser Sailors recover more quickly from the pain of heavy air sailing.
  3. I can’t wait for the grand jury investigation as to whether he purged himself when he said he didn’t realize Mylar (aka “the clear”) sails were illegal.  And I’m sure the owner of SailCo sails is not looking forward to the FBI sting. (note to blog readers: Mylar sails are clear)
Awesomely funny!

College football season is officially started

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

Today, every I-A college in America started their fall practices.  Do you know what that mean!?!  It means, college football season is officially here.  True, there won’t be any games for another 4 weeks but when the players are practicing, the season is here.  So here is what you can expect from me:

  1. The Cal look and feel will be back by Sept. 1st.  For those used to seeing my sports sub-blog with the Cal Bears look and feel at, expect to see it back by Sept 1st.
  2. I will continue to have a post-game analysis of every Cal Bears game this season.
  3. I will continue to make weekly predictions for all Pac-10 games using the three metrics I used last season: winning percentage, Margin of Victory Delta (or accuracy) and Total Points Scored Delta (or accuracy).  I’ve found these to be good metrics to really really see how good someone can predict the games.  In fact, I’m going to expand it to be a game in which all Cal Bears fans who visit my site are able to participate.  Expect to see a post in the next few weeks with the link to where you would participate.  Think you can beat me?
  4. As the season progresses I will give the various scenarios in a spreadsheet of who has the inside track for the top spots in the final Pac-10 standings.
  5. A friend of mine and I have come up with a new computer poll that’ll be just as good at predicting the BCS teams as anything out there.  The best part is that it is EXTREMELY simple.  Expect to see a post about it before the season starts.