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Shit that Pissed Me Off – 8/22

Canadian School Board Candidate Wants Creationism Taught in Schools

Her picture looks adorable.  I’m sure she’s twenty.  Maybe.

She is firmly of the opinion that they should teach the controversy (that doesn’t exist).  She also says that schools should focus on the “basics” of education.

Like evolution, right?

No no no no no no no no!

Well, she thinks it should be taught in science classrooms alongside creationism.  She also thinks sex education should be abstinence only because that is also “basic.”

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

As basic as Abstinence-Bible-Contraceptives are tools of the Devil!

Is this barely not-teenager going to be elected? I doubt it.

And yet I’m tired of living in a world where people continue to believe that creationism should be given the same amount of time in the classroom.  And I’m tired of living in a world where we continue to argue about abstinence-only sex education when the evidence clearly shows it is inadequate.

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Friend a Day – Peter Verrant

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Peter is one of the few friends I have from college.  I suppose that is because I got out of theater for several years so I lost touch with most of those people.

I’d like to think that I had some impact on Peter’s choice to get involved in theatre.  He took a stagecraft class when I was a TA in the scene shop and we hit it off.  I put a pneumatic nail through his hand.  He dropped a platform on my foot.  We both got to spend a snowy January morning trying to move a bunch of steel platforms from Downtown St. Paul to Hamline University in a truck with no traction.  We bonded.

His passion for photography is evident in the sheer amount of pictures you will find on his Facebook page.  He works for the photography department of two major conventions and the number of pictures he takes is amazing.  I would say almost every decent picture of my children was taken by him.

If we were the kind of people to ask someone to be a godfather, I think we would have asked Peter.  Instead, he’s the crazy uncle that they like more than their parents because he brings them weird stuff.

Any time we need help with a project around the house, he’s there.  He is the sort of person who will lend a hand to anyone if he has the time.  You know your real friends when you are looking for someone to help you demolish a ceiling.  Or watch your cats with two days advanced notice.

Peter is the kind of guy who calls you on the Thursday of a convention weekend as he is leaving his house and asks you what you forgot so he can swing by your house and pick it up.

All of it, I guess, is to say he’s one of those people we’ve always been about to count on when we need something.  It is no understatement to say he is one of my best friends.  He actually feels a lot more like a family member than a friend.

And he will remain so as long as he doesn’t drop another platform on my foot.

Friend a Day – David Wick

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I’ve known David all of his life but I don’t really feel like I got to know him until we spend a summer together in Europe in 1985.

As we traveled around the country that year, I was getting ready to go to college and he was getting ready to spend a year studying in France.  We’d spent our lives in the same home and suddenly we were both branching out on our own. We’d spent years hanging out with our own friends and suddenly we had to spend a month with just each other.

David is, like most members of my family, someone who finds ways to fill just about all of his time.  He’s passionate about his career in the study abroad field.  He has grown to take a leadership role in his professional organization.  He worked a full-time job while getting his PhD to advance his career.

While he doesn’t have time for it any longer, David is a great dancer.  I’ve always been in awe of his grace simply because I have none.  In college, his senior project was a tribute to our dad and it is still one of the most powerful pieces of dance I’ve ever seen.  Sure, it was personal and I was the perfect audience but it was still a terrific work by a very talented dancer/choreographer.

We only see each other about once a year these days and that’s a shame because there is always so much to talk about.  He is one of the most genuinely charming people I know.  If you know David, you probably like him. I have no idea how you couldn’t.

He’s had his share of challenges but he always maintains a positive outlook on everything.  I have tried to learn that from him over the years.

I always tell people I’m a big fan of my family.  They are good people and I’m pleased to know them not just as family but as friends.  David is family, but he’s also a great friend.

Friend a Day – Alex and Devon Wick

DSC01642It’s Father’s Day Weekend so I get to write about my kids.

I’ve known Alex and Devon for literally their entire lives.  They are great kids and I’m proud that I’m their dad.

Alex loves school.  He’s great at math and science and he reads just about any book we put in front of him.  He’s got a very cheerful disposition that helps get him through tough times.

He loves to watch videos on Youtube and play on his 3DS.  He is starting to learn how to do laundry and cook.  He’s a huge fan of tabletop games and is up for trying just about anything of any complexity level.

About two years ago, he was having some bully problems in school.  The kids were calling him gay and even though he was upset, he had the presence of mind to tell them that there was nothing wrong with being gay.  I was so proud of him specifically because he was in the middle of an emotional moment but managed to defend a group of people who deserved a defense.

Devon is amazingly creative.  I think The Lego Movie struck home for me because I finally realized that I need to stop freaking out when he takes his Lego X-Wing apart to make something else.  They are his Legos, after all.  He should be able to do whatever he wants with them.

He’s always building something new and is always excited to tell me all about it.  As a dad, I need to do a better job of listening.

Earlier this spring, Devon decided that he wanted to learn how to ride a bike.  He didn’t tell anyone.  He just got a bike out of the garage and started riding it up and down the alley.  By the end of the evening, he was nearly an expert.

Devon does things like that.  He decides that he needs to figure out how to do something and he does it.

Both of them are great kids.  Father’s day is a good time to take a moment to look at your kids and realize that they are wonderful little people.  So thanks to Alex and Devon for making me a dad!

Friend a Day – Patricia Wick

Photo by Peter Verrant

Photo by Peter Verrant

24 years ago today, I married my best friend.  Because she is still my best friend, it only makes sense that she would be my subject for today’s blog.

Pat is one of the smartest people I know.  When I’m trying to work through my opinion on something, I will always ask her opinion because if she doesn’t agree with me, I am probably wrong.  She can beat me at just about any game except cribbage and when she tells me how she did it, I feel like an idiot because I didn’t try the same thing myself.  If I try the same thing the next time we play, she’ll beat me some other way.

There is only one person in my home who can find something when it is lost and that’s her.  It doesn’t matter if she’s never even seen that thing, when one of the other three people in the house ask her where it is, she’ll probably know.  That she tolerates our ignorance never fails to impress me.

We talk about a lot of things and argue about very little.  She laughs at my jokes, which in endearing and so very polite.

She supports all of the theater work I’ve been doing lately and that is invaluable.  It takes me away from the family far more than I like and her patience is amazing.  Without her patience, it would be hard for me to do any of what I do.

When I write something, she is always my first beta reader and not just because we live in the same house.  If I’m writing comedy, I want to know if she’ll laugh.  If I can get her to laugh out loud even once, I figure I’ve managed to write something at least a little bit amusing.

She’s also willing to be critical.  She’ll tell me when something doesn’t work.  She’ll tell me when a lyric sounds wrong.  I may not always agree and I may not always make the change but she is never someone to rubber stamp my work and tell me it is perfect.

If you ask me what the secret to a long marriage might be, I’m afraid I don’t have great answers.  For me, though, I know the secret is that I married someone I liked a lot.  I never tire of spending time with her.  A walk around the lake with her is the most pleasant way to spend an hour that I can imagine.

24 years is a long time but I know I’m married to the right person because it doesn’t feel like all that much time at all.

Happy Anniversary, Pat.  I love you!

Thanks for being my best friend.

Friend a Day – Cathy Wick

If you want mom's vote, you'd better be able to do math!

If you want mom’s vote, you’d better be able to do math!

For Mother’s Day, my friend a day is my mom.  I love my mom because she’s my mom but because this is a Friend a Day post, I’m going to write about why I like her a lot.

Just this last week, we went to see Neil deGrasse Tyson speak.  I went because mom got an e-mail about the event and asked if I wanted to go.  Not being stupid, I said absolutely yes.  We had a great time at that event and Dr. Tyson has always impressed me as someone who is excited about teaching people about science.

He’s not the first person who taught me to be excited about learning, though.  That person was mom.  She’s was a teacher of mathematics for most of my formative years and she was good at it because she loved sharing math with kids.  She wouldn’t just talk about her work day, she would talk about the ways she was teaching math that made her excited.

I always tell people I’m the child of math teachers because I’m proud to have come from that background.  Math teachers are awesome.  Mom taught me that.

I love going on vacations with mom because she gets so completely immersed in what we are going to do.  We are heading to Yellowstone later this spring and ever since the plans were made, she has been watching the Old Faithful webcam and sending me regular messages when the geyser is about to erupt.

She keeps trying new things in her life and I think that is part of that teacher mentality that she should always be learning.  Right now, she is doing a sketch journal and talks about it a lot.  It is a new thing that has her really excited and I think that’s great.

She’s always looking for new things to get her excited.  And she always finds them.

I love my Mom, yes.  But I also like spending time with her as a person.  For that, I feel incredibly lucky.  Thanks, Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Friend a Day – Jane Anfinson

901332_10151306122436076_1274080585_oJane is my sister-in-law and I can’t imagine my brother finding a more compatible companion.

She had been seeing my brother for a little while before we met and I remember liking her the first time there was a family gathering in which she took part.  She’s just really easy to like.  From that first day, she’s always felt like a member of the family.  By that I mean that she feels comfortably compatible with the rest of us.  It feels like she’s always been around.

What has always struck me about Jane is the way she deals with stress with such serenity.  I’m sure that she experiences as much stress as the rest of us but she always manages to stay calm and rational in the face of challenging circumstances.  I think that she becomes a great source of support in those situations because she retains her composure.

She has a delightful sense of humor that can be very dry.  Her laugh is playful and always suggests a bit of impish delight.

Jane is a talented musician and an avid bird watcher.  She likes birds (and other animals) so much, that she went back to school to become a wildlife biologist.  What great is just seeing her re-focus her life on something that is a passion.

Jane and my brother spend many weekends together camping in state parks.  They bird watch and get away from the busy lives they lead during the week.  I honestly couldn’t tell you which of them loves the outdoors more.  Given Jane’s day job takes her outside more frequently, I’ll give her the tiebreaker.

She’s also a great “sit down and talk to over coffee” kind of person (even though I don’t drink coffee).  Conversations are relaxed and fun and don’t feel forced or uncomfortable.

I always look forward to time I get to spend with Jane because the time passes so enjoyably and so quickly.  I like my brother a lot and it makes me very happy that he gets to spend so much time with such a great person.

Jane is a member of the Community Women’s Orchestra in Oakland, CA.  She also has a website!

 

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