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Thursday, October 30, 2014

I watched the news this morning and have commentary, cause I'm sure everyone cares...

Random thoughts:
What point in US history did Christians lose their sense of humor? I'm going with 1974. I walked into the kitchen in fifth grade and my Mother said the church more uptight than ours was warning about the evils of Halloween. Mom was never real enthused about the holiday, we were not allowed to dress as devils and being a ghost was somewhat frowned on. But, I used to politely extort candy from relatives and neighbors. I think 1974 was the first "harvest" party I heard of. However, if you have a harvest party on Halloween, I think it is still a Halloween party, especially if everyone dresses as farmers. That is one scary occupation...

I opened my web browser and found some interesting stories:
1- The CEO of Apple has announced that he is Gay. So, a less than enthusiastic product launch and slightly slipping stock prices are worrisome enough for the company to play the "undeniable virtue of the oppressed" card? OR is it because he is looking emaciated and he doesn't have cancer?
I've been feeling more and more frustration with my Apple products. Apple puts you in a box, it continually limits your choices while telling you it is giving you freedom. It was once the exact opposite. 
For example: Apple came out with the feature of streaming audio from iTunes though your home wireless network. This came out at a time when no one else had a simple and non-expensive way of accomplishing this. Last night my daughter wanted to listen to her new album which she downloaded to her iPad. I said, well that is no problem, just click on the funny little icon by the play button in iTunes. The funny little button is no longer there. I spent a half hour trying to find it. Then I opened the Amazon Prime music player and there it was, streaming audio through the stereo system.
Being a liberal in the 21st century is being in a box. You pretend to have freedom but you continually limit your choices and everyone else's choices. The most liberal people I know, are also some of the most uptight and rigid people I've met. 
So, the CEO of Apple coming out as gay is just a natural extension of the "inside the liberal box" thinking that defines the company, plus it should help sales on a product that values style over substance. Which also follows the metaphor of the company but we are not allowed to ever dissent from the new true faith.

2-Our local cancer victim doesn't really want to die. Well of course she doesn't, she is not suffering horribly at this very moment. She is having fun and she wants to live and all this drama is giving her a sense of self-worth.

3-The nurse who won't stay in quarantine. US soldiers are in quarantine even though there no examples of soldiers who have down with Ebola and are not touching supposedly not touching Ebola people anyway, but Doctor's Without Borders are exempt from quarantine even though several of them have actually contracted the disease after returning to the USA. Well, they do know more than we do... (Granted, treating passengers like criminals when they don't pass being scanned with a BBQ thermometer is also insane)  Granted, the nurse was going on a bike ride which is like going to church to the modern day moron...

4. Roman Polanski arrested, Really?? How about Neil Goldschmidt? Or Sam Adams????

5. Amelia Earhart's plane found. Yes a treasure hunter is again out of money and it made our local TV news show.

6. If you are a moderately attractive woman and walk around for ten hours looking unhappy does it increase or decrease the rate of sexual harassment? If you look happy are you more harassed? If someone says "hello beautiful, have a nice day?" are you harassed? If you are ugly and someone says, "hello beautiful, have a nice day?" is that also harassment?  I found the video somewhat amusing because she looked like such a stuck up sourpuss, (now that was sexist and I know it)
For example, I found people to be very friendly in Florida. Guys would often say hello to my wife because she was happy and cheerful, or at least that is what I thought. Likewise I would say "hello" and open the door for women who acknowledged me and often said hello and I had no desire to see most of them naked. This also happens in Portland. People seem to be generally friendly us. Especially with my wife who is usually quite happy when we are somewhere on an adventure. I must say I am slightly confused...

7. What do I do with 6,000lbs of slightly damp flax seed? It was going to rain and we combined it with too much moisture. Some of it is clumping and starting to mold. I could find someone with a cement floor and spread it out but I don't want to annoy my neighbors. I think I will put it in the mixer and circulate it for a couple hours and then auger it back into a truck. I could mix it with another 6,000lbs of dry flax seed but I'm afraid it will spoil the other flax. I could mix it 50/50 with barley I suppose but then that screws up my feed ratio's. Hmmmmm....
 I am confused. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

At the Oregon Coast

My wife took me to the beach for our anniversary.

We wandered around Yachats and I told her boring stories of the days I used to cover their city council meetings.
For example: Once I did a story on a video store. The owner was an interesting lady. She had a Langletz leather jacket with a bullet hole in it. She thought it would go good with my Triumph motorcycle and wanted to sell it to me. But she was a smaller size than I.
After my interview about her new video store she asked me if I would like to see what really brought in the money with the retired folks in Yachats during the long rainy winters. She pointed to a door between the shelves of videos.
I opened the door to find that the backroom of the store was wall-to-wall porn, with a few sex toys thrown in for good measure. She said one of her best sellers were glow-in-the-dark condoms and pressed a handful into my pocket. She said, no one in town was really worried about preventing pregnancy, and gave me a knowing wink...
We were interrupted by a distraught elderly man who burst in quite upset about his wife running off with a "biker gang from up the river," I did not know if this was literal or some sort of code language. I made a hasty retreat...
I've always been more on the cautious side, if you know what I mean...

In other news, something has happened to our little helper... He just took one day off to be with his grand child and he is gone... I do have this video...from October 14th...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just another reason for the resistance

It has taken me years to realize the simple difference between "them" and "us."
"They" believe that a law makes it right. "We" believe in right and wrong as a universal standard best exemplified in "the chronicles of Narnia,"  kipling's "if," and "Tom swift and his atomic Highway."
"They" believe in telling you what is best for you, for example, Teddy Roosevelt stealing Yosemite from the local ranchers and local indians and turning it over to John Muir and his Sierra club cronies.
But I digress, before I even got started.  
I hate the new gas cans and the idiots who thought lawnmower gas was killing polar bears.

I try to make it work.

I solve the problem...

I kill a polar bear...
(An iPhone post, can u tell?"

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Working in the rain

My little helper seems to have disappeared.

Two weeks ago we were trying to repair a White combine to finish up our flax. He does not like that combine so he took the silage chopper apart.

That Saturday he asked for the day off to spend with his grandchild. That monday he was sick.
Now it is raining.
Everything remains as it was...

The header

The chopper.

I've been working on the Smith and Smith 2-155. Which continually sprouts new oil leaks. Found a chunk of what looks like a casting in the oil.

I wonder if I should fire my helper for something that I could screw him out of his unemployment. After all, I am a conservative Mennonite. It would be only right to make him accept responsibility for his actions. After all, he has cost me money. I could tell him it is for his own good and then expect him to still be my friend.
So what should it be, "Insubordination" or "Workplace Violence,"  or not wearing underwear. What would wearing bib overalls and no underwear fall under, sexual harassment?
I'm thinking it is not actionable till he bends over!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Why everyone should send their child to Western Mennonite School

I've been getting a lot of questions about Western Mennonite School and it's slow motion implosion. A number of local people know my wife worked there for 15 years. The rumors about people being fired and problems at the school are starting to come together.
People think it all can be stopped.
I think not. I think the board fully believes they doing God's work. They will stick with it till the bitter end and if all else fails they can have Mennonite persecution complex at full strength and feel quite justified.

This rant of a post has been inspired by what I heard today.
Yes, the ousted Bible Teacher has his appeal to the School board denied.
Well of course he did.
Come on, They have wanted to get rid of him for several years. They just finally got up the balls to do it. And of course they lied about it. Or shall we say, used administrative reasons for doing so...

I think Western Mennonite School is going through some changes. It is a decades old conflict that is to involved to be discussed in depth here, and I'm probably not the person to do it.
Basically it as follows:
There has always been a conflict between the so-called conservative Mennonites and the so-called liberal  Mennonites. Conservative vs liberal are terms which refer more to theology than to politics but as the years pass Mennonite theology has become less important and political leanings are more important.
The conservatives are a bit of a minority. I identify with the conservatives. We like to laugh at the liberals with their funny shoes and tendency to support gay clergy, pacifism and a Palestinian state. The conservatives still like to get out of Jury duty (judge not that ye be not judged, and compassion) but all voted for George Bush and mostly secretly supported the war in Iraq.  For the middle of the road semi-comservative Mennonite. The Mennonite values of thrift, modesty, and nonresistance have pretty much congealed into a love of organized sports, making money, and applying nonresistance in the abstract, or to people you think should practice it. But, certainly not letting it get in the way of sound business practices. Nonviolence is mostly important but the thing is that if you get someone mad enough to hit you. well then you can always call the cops, (and then maybe not press charges.)
But I digress,
The school was going along fine until the economy crashed a few years back. There have been two pretty good school Principles in the last fifteen years. Just the same, when the economy crashed, then donations dropped and enrollment dropped and there were projects under way, (of course).
So they cut teacher salaries and shuffled funds around and finished the new library. And then the board had a genius idea.
They would bring in their friend Paul who they knew from the Gospel Echoes auctions. He was a good talker and he could loved to do fund raising.
To begin with Paul was a great asset. He was enthusiastic and seemed to get on well with the kids. He was not a weird liberal, he went hunting, he did wood working, and seemed like a regular guy. Most people liked it that he was really a salesman and was overly positive, and I tried not to let that get on my nerves. I need to be more positive myself. I thought things were going in a good direction.
But his real mission was to get the school back on track. On track meant financially, but there was also the less spoken of agenda to also bring the school in line with the school board's misinterpretation of what a Mennonite school should be spiritually.
What nobody knew was that Paul was there to take notice of all the little things that didn't go in the personnel files. He was the so-called efficiency expert. (I've talked to a couple people who were fired that told me that he actually took notes on individuals and kept a record of things which were not in the official records," which I hesitate to bring up as it makes me kind of a conspiracy nut.
They put him in a position to help Mr. C. who was in charge of the school but was also pursing further education. This was essentially for Paul to learn the Mr. Camp's job, as Paul's basic education was that of an auctioneer ,which may or may not translate directly into running a Christian High School.
The board was able to sweeten Paul's salary by creating a position for his wife as Head of Alumni relations. To help pay for this, the faculty and staff took another cut in pay.
Things seemed to run smoothly, I was skeptical and suggested to my wife that Mr. C. would be gone as soon as Mr. P. learned his job. She was somewhat offended and informed me that it was a "Christian" school and I should not be such a cynic.
Mr. Camp was fired the week before the schools major fundraising auction. There was not a lot of commentary. Everyone was told that his firing was for the best and much prayer and counsel had been sought. (this has become the standard answer to any questions as the school) My wife who was a faculty representative to the budget committee, asked Paul a few questions after the meeting. Paul blew up. He shook his finger in her face and actually yelled at her, asking her if she was for him or against him. She quit.
When she got home I called my board member and had a nice talk. I said she was not opposing Paul but we should expect some answers. We had a nice meeting with a wonderful talk about reconciliation and apologies were exchanged.
We were told that they wanted to get the school on track spiritually and that there were those who had worrisome theological leanings. In fact my wife was asked to affirm that she accepted the traditional statement of faith, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I asked about other items on the 1963 confession, feet washing, the holy kiss, devotional veiling, that fell pretty flat...I wish I would have kept my mouth shut.
My wife was pretty heavily involved with the fundraising auction. Her shop class projects raised quite a lot of money. It would have been a little difficult without her.
But of course all was not forgiven and I sensed she was no longer in the loop. She chose to thing positively and said nothing had changed.
I knew better, I was told privately that some had suggested that she not be rehired because she should have been fired for insubordination.
She staunchly defended the school but I was worried. You can't challenge the boss is he is shorter than you and you are female. All would be forgiven only if those involved really believed in their claimed Mennonite theology.
She was asked questions about things she said. Nothing went in her personnel evaluation but it is the standard pattern. Marginalize the employee, keep them out of decisions, make a list of real or imagined miss-steps, and nail them hard if they do anything wrong.
Then she sealed her fate at the end of the school year. She found a proposed budget which raised administrator's salaries, she suggested a raise for everyone else. At the end of the summer she got an email explaining that her position on the budget committee had been cut and that her computer access on the server was being restricted to protect other people's privacy.
We discussed whether she should return to school. Our daughter was doing quite well at Western and we decided that we should do what we could to allow her to graduate from WMS. We couldn't afford the tuition without my wife working there. We had no idea they would be so vindictive as to fire her and screw her out of her workman's comp.
I thought that if she the board or administration wanted to get rid of her they would be honorable enough to just not renew her contract. I had no idea they would be so vindictive or petty.
Things went smoothly until December when my wife had a discipline problem with a student. She reported it, asked for help, and a few days later she was fired. This happened at 3 p.m on the day before we were leaving for a month long vacation, the first we had taken in a decade.
That is my background and the source of my frustration which is turning to just a hint of bitterness...

But, enough about us, let's talk about Dave Engle, the Bible teacher who was fired in the first or was it the second week of school.
 That is the issue that really makes me mad, and which confirms what I suspected about the firing of Mr. C, and of my wife.
I've got a little different perspective that most of Mr E's supporters. You see, over the past few years I have heard discussion at my church about things being taught at Western that I would be shocked if I knew what they were. It was never really explained what those things were.(So I never got the chance to be shocked.) It was inferred that this happened in Bible class. I assumed it was referring to Dave Engle. I do not know what those issues were. I assumed they were serious issues of faith but I never got Mr. E to say anything terrible shocking in casual conversation.
I accept that the school board has certain standards for theology. I feel comfortable talking with my daughter about what she is taught in school, but I want a pretty traditional view of theology.
I can accept that the school can hire and fire pretty much who ever they want. I would like to have a say in my kid's education so I would like to know what is going on. As I see it the contract is pretty slimy. It gives loopholes so that teachers can be terminated for disloyalty or insubordination or being a danger to students, and but it is really set up to be open for abuse. You are supposed to appeal to the school board if you think your are fired unjustly but it is a set-up. The same people who fired you to begin with are the people who hear your appeal. (we did not appeal)
But they don't have lie about why they want to fire people, they don't really have to talk about it, or use fake administrative reasons like "insubordination." Just don't renew the contract! Ask the person to resign! Again, don't be mean or un-Christian. All they have to do is just not renew the teacher's contract.  (Also, my interpretation of Mennonite belief tends to stress resolution of differences.)

The day I heard Dave was fired I called the person who I assumed was my board representation. He refused to give me details using the fallback of confidentiality but he finally got a little upset with me and revealed that Dave was fired because he an incident that happened and I would be shocked if I knew the truth. I pointed out that if it was an issue of theology, or if there was a pattern that they didn't like, Dave was the same as he had always been, I doubt it just happened suddenly, and perhaps they should have not brought him back only to fire him the second week of school.
(And then I got a lot of doublespeak after that and I'll just leave it alone.)

I found this explanation very interesting because from what I have read and heard he was fired for a "Pattern of Insubordination." I discussed this with my friend on the Amity School board and he said Insubordination would pretty much end your career in education. It is sort of a codeword, like "workplace violence."
So here it is in a nutshell, the board hired Paul to clean house and he is doing it. Paul has no education relevant to school administration, or any real management experience, but he is friends with board members and was on several sports teams at WMS while in high school there. I would suggest that his problems with insubordination come from his incompetence and his mandate from the board rather than from a problem that Dave Engle, or my wife, had with authority.
As this whole issue has slowly and painfully drawn on and on I have become much more angry and disillusioned.
To begin with all it would have taken to change my attitude would have been an acknowledgement from the board of my wife's efforts at WMS. She was there for 15 years. She did every job she was asked. She even volunteered to be a janitor when there was a crisis. She would have resigned if asked. Just one official thank you would have made a big difference.
Likewise Dave could been told his contract would not be renewed. Obviously no one on the board has the assurance of their Christian Faith strong enough to confront him on his "wrong" theology, if that actually wan an issue. I don't even know he has wrong theology. I am more and more convinced the school board has the wrong theology, and I have just presented you the evidence of that.
As far as I'm concerned the insubordination was a cheap lie and it was mean and vindictive. They didn't have to try and ruin his life. (I bet they are also going to deny him his workman's compensation like they did to my wife.)
Do I sound a little bitter? Well, yes I may be. But, has anyone but my brother tried to talk me out of it? I've been accused of causing trouble, being bitter, distancing myself from Mennonites, encouraging my friends to call the head of the board and not following proper procedure by filing an appeal.
When I was a wee lad our church split because of someone not giving someone else the proper greeting at the proper time. It was a bunch of baloney. Over the years I've seen these same sorts of petty issues time and time again. There is always some appeal to a higher moral authority, and there is always some bogus issue of theology, but in the end it is about being in control, who you are related to, who you went to school with... The same as any "wordly organization."
I've pretty much had my fill of it...
My daughter is doing well at Amity. She has Christian friends. She has found Christians who are teachers, she does not have to deal with the double standards at WMS.
One income is a little tough. I'd sell Amway but I don't have any short pants...

Edit: One day later, it was pointed out to me that it is important to understand that the board is completely convinced of it's own rightness. So, Dave E. must be fired for insubordination and that must be attached to his permanent record because they fully believe he was insubordinate. They cannot see that they have imagined that he is insubordinate because they just want to get rid of him. They are so self-righteous that they have imagined themselves to be super-ethical. The irony is that they will hire someone's cousin or unemployed recent WMS graduate to replace him. Sort of keep it all in the New Family.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I now get all my news from British tabloids

I am not allowed to look at the page three girls but everything else is good stuff!
It all happened when I got a malware program which I can't remember the name of. It pretends to be an extension of a program you can use to watch TV on your computer. So, you click ok in the little box and it installs and copies all your search history. Then it hijacks your startup page with links to stuff it thinks you should view.
I think it is called macinstaller or something like that. It would be more helpful if I looked it up, but I overslept this morning and I have Meadow Foam to plant.
I downloaded an anti viris program called "avast" which solved the problem (and was free) but in the process I lost my start up news page.
So I switch to the BBC but instead of the BBC I ended up with The Daily Mail. Foreign news services have all the good stuff that the US networks do not have.
Like the story about our Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his crazy girl friend.
The Governor of Oregon pretends to be a regular guy with his cowboy boots and suit jacket. One of those country folk from 1971 as seen at Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Concerts and neighbor hood hot tubs in Eugene. A local cultural phenomenon.
He dumped his wife and took up with this psycho lady after his first term of Governor. His psycho girl friend started a number of "environmental consulting" firms with ties she had through screwing the former Governor of Oregon  through her own hard work and effort and did not talk the Gov. (affectionately know as Dr. Doolittle during his first tenure) into running again when consulting jobs were hard to find in the economic crisis.
Anyway... I gotta go... Read The Daily Mail story by clicking here. 
Note: This was first reported in Willamette Week and is sort of old news. This is just a twist on the WW story I think.
I looked up Governors Girlfriend Willamette Week and I found her using a State Police Pass to park her Prius  in Portland. She is soooo Environmentally sensitive that I forgive her....
I also found the story about Neil Goldshmidt  tapping a 12 year old having a relationship with young girl.
And Sam Adams and his forbidden love...
Packwood and his box wine seductions seem pretty tame now-a-days!

Sunday, October 19, 2014


We now have goats. They tend to escape.