Saturday, July 31, 2004

Hitting the Right Notes, Evidently

My thoughts, over the past week or so, have still been concentrated on my upcoming court appearance.  I have spent many hours researching, plucking legal verbiage, outlining an opening statement, gathering documentation, and figuring every conceivable legal angle in support of my arguments, and proposed order for relief.  When I walk into court, I plan on being fully prepared.  I possibly may not have to, now.

I just retrieved my mail, and in the box was a letter from my ex-wife’s attorney, which agrees with one of the stipulations in my proposed order and counter-offers against two others.  Additionally, the letter states that they, my ex-wife and her attorney, hope to be able to resolve this matter without a court hearing.  Good.

Though I think my arguments, and supporting evidence, shall prevail in court, I also would prefer to resolve this issue like men, without the tentacles of the government wrapping themselves around me any further than they already have encompassed my life.

I now will prepare a counter-offer to their proposal and drop it into the mail by tomorrow morning, in the hope that it will hit my ex-wife’s attorney’s desk on Monday morning.

I am not out of the woods, yet, but I have prepared myself a clearing, and a servicable stockade, against further forays against my property.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/31 at 09:52 AM
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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Thanks for the Help, Not

My ex-wife and I have an acrimonious relationship, now.  A fact that is understandable, say, ten years ago or so, but at this point it seems rather, well, pointless.

She, as I, was brought up in the Christian Reformed Church.  A church I was a member of for thirty-one years, having gained admittance via birth.  I left the Church when I strayed from the marital path, and I haven’t really looked back since.  Even so, what I was taught in the Church, or told, being a Believer was all about; forgiveness, not being a part of the world, humbly guiding or advising individuals who stray from the path; are lessons that remain in my mind.

You see, I wanted to believe members of the Church meant or practiced what they preach.  Not that I necessarily do, mind you, but even though I left the Church, I thought I could approach the Church, contritely, honestly, for some of that guiding and advising, the mediation that is preached by Christians everywhere as living in Christ.  I was wrong.

I wrote two letters to the Church, some time back, requesting, no, imploring, their mediation between my ex-wife and myself.  It had gone on long enough.  My first letter was ignored.  So one month and three days later, I wrote a second letter.  A week later, I received a response.  The Church declined, stating, as part of their reply,

”...we as elders do not feel that we have the right or the responsibility to involve ourselves with these matters.”

Fine.  The elders are correct in stating that they do not have the right to involve themselves in these matters, or any matters for that matter, but I wonder why elders believe they can involve themselves in individuals lives, in a disciplinary manner, when the individuals are members of the Church?  Even so, I was giving the Church the right to involve themselves, I desired their help, and they refused.

As to the elders denying their responsibility, well, that’s one of the most un-principled statements that could be uttered by a Christian, at least if one is to believe what is preached from the pulpits of churches everywhere.  But the responsibility preached is not really meant, it is merely a raining down of verbal blows before the collection plate is passed, it seems.

I’m not angry with the Church, or my ex-wife for that matter, for if I deem either of them worthy of my anger, I am simply wasting my energies on irrelavant foolishness.  That doesn’t mean I do not feel the whip of acrimony, it only means that I can bear it with the same ease with which a duck sheds water from its back.

I smelled the decay, as Nietzsche writes, a long way off, but in this case, I absorbed a snout full.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/28 at 07:21 PM
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Well, It Would Save Alot of Money, and Prevent Much Lying and Additional Theatrics

“Ex-dictator’s lawyer says he had brain scan and could die.”
Good riddance.

Via Drudge.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/28 at 02:48 PM
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That’s Un-American

Apple pie, baseball, hotdogs, the previous are many times appended to the phrase “That’s American as…”  Here’s a story I find un-American.

A young individual close to me, is employed in a table waiting capacity at Olga’s Kitchen.  Yesterday evening, this individual returned from picking up their paycheck, and I overheard, and commented, on the following, and I am paraphrasing.

Olga’s employee:  “Well, I picked up my check.  I earned eighty-eight bucks, but my check is only for fourteen dollars and some change”

Me:  “What?  How come?”

Olga’s employee:  “Because I have to claim tips.”

Me:  “Well, claim less tips.  The government has no clue as to how much you make in tips, unless you tell them.”

Olga’s employee:  “I can’t.”

Me:  “What do you mean you can’t claim less tips?”

Olga’s employee:  “We have to claim at least fifteen percent of our sales for the night in tips or the company disciplines us.”

Me:  “Come on, that can’t be true.”

Olga’s employee:  Seriously, if we claim less than fifteen percent of sales as tips, the manager posts our names and we can also be removed from the work rotation.”

Me:  “That just isn’t right”

Think about the above conversation, people, and what that means.  Think about what it means when a business is part of the IRS’s enforcement arm.  I’ll never eat at an Olga’s again, they’re un-American.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/28 at 05:23 AM
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Fire and Brimstone

Here’s a headline that caught my eye this morning.

“Belief in hell boosts economic growth, Fed says.”

“In countries where where large percentages of the population believe in hell, there seems to be less corruption and a higher standard of living,” the St. Louis Fed said in its July quarterly review.”

Damn it to hell, Greenspan should evidently be thumping the Bible in addition to tweaking the money supply and the Federal Funds rate.  On your knees you SOBs, the devil is coming for you, and the government is his agent.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/28 at 05:15 AM
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Nietzsche Quotes

In the sidebar, on the left of this page, you’ll notice that I am still involved with the Basic Writings of Nietzsche.  Though I am a quick study, and an even more powerful reader, I have chewed on this tome like a Ju Ju, picking pieces out of my mind to chew again and again.  I shall soon turn the last page in this book, but before I do, I will post some quotes, winnowed like kernels of wheat, which I have spent a considerable amount of time mulling over.  I find them nourishing.

“One has to sit firmly upon oneself, one must stand bravely on one’s own two legs, otherwise one is simply incapable of loving.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Basic Writings of Nietzsche, Translated and Edited by Walter Kaufmann, Ecce Homo, Why I Write Such Good Books, pg. 722

“Knowledge, saying Yes to reality, is just as necessary for the strong as cowardice and the flight from reality—as the “ideal” is for the weak, who are inspired by weakness.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Basic Writings of Nietzsche, Translated and Edited by Walter Kaufmann, Ecce Homo, “The Birth of Tragedy,” pg. 728

Last, but far from least, the following quote, which called to my thoughts the political circus surrounding us in this year.

“When I now compare myself with the men who have so far been honored as the first, the difference is palpable.  I do not even count these so called “first” men among men in general: for me they are the refuse of humanity, monsters of sickness and venegeful instincts; they are inhuman, disastrous, at bottom incurable, and revenge themselves on life.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Basic Writings of Nietzsche, Translated and Edited by Walter Kaufmann, Ecce Homo, Why I Am So Clever, pg.712

Posted by John Venlet on 07/27 at 06:37 PM
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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Status of the Apparatus

On July 9th I received, via the USPS, notification that my ex-wife was once again hoping to dip into my pockets.  I’d like to say that the notification surprised me, but unfortunately, she was only attempting to execute her stated goal.  A goal she set for herself when she accepted the fact that we were going to divorce.  The goal; to take me for everything I have.  A goal she verbalized not only to me, back in 1991, but to my Mother, prior to our divorce becoming final.

Normally, I do not allow such a communication to interfere with my daily activities, or life, but in this instance, the notification came at a time when I was just heading out of town in support of a newly undertaken business venture.  Thus I could not adequately address the matter at hand, or, show for the hearing, as the court date selected by her attorney, the 16th of July, was the day of travel for my return.

Since I do not use an attorney, and the courts close on the weekend, I had no recourse but to commence my business travel on the 12th of July, and miss the court hearing.  An action the court frowns on, and, as the defendant in the case, casts myself in a somewhat negative light.

The action of course proceeded without me, and I received notification of this on Monday, the 19th, when in my mailbox I was presented with a “Notice of Presentment of Order,” under “the 7 day rule.”  A “rule” I had no knowledge of, though I pretty much figured out that I had to respond quickly, and thoroughly, or fall victim to ignorance.

So with alacrity, I educated myself in the nuances the 7 day rule, rolled up my sleeves and went to work.  My first order of business was to file an “Objection to Presentment of Order,” which I did.  Unfortunately, when I went to the court to file the objection, I was notified that in addition to the objection, I needed to file a “Brief in Opposition to the Motion and Notice of Motion to Enforce Judgment of Divorce,” which had been filed against me orginally.  So back home I go, objection in my hand, and one day lost.

I vigorously attack the above mentioned brief, incorporating two exhibits, legalese rivaling that of a “real” lawyer,” and headback down to the courthouse on Wednesday, the 21st, and attempt to file my objection, and the accompanying brief, once again.

Unfortunately, and also fortunately, I was unable to file once again.  When I presented the objection and the “required” brief, this time, an engaging clerk informed my that though I had prepared the objection and brief correctly, I would also need to file a proposed order as an alternative to the proposed order filed by my ex-wife and her attorney under the 7 day rule.  Damn.  I only had two more days in which to file in order beat the 7 day rule deadline.  Time to scramble once again.

Thursday, the 22nd of July, was spent gathering the documentation I would require to prepare my own proposed order, and Thursday night was spent writing the proposed order.  My proposed order incorporates 9 exhibits, admonitions to the court to justly and fairly enforce the state of Michigan’s child support guidelines, and reminders to the court that a man should not have to accumulate debt in order to satisfy the call for monetary punishment of a man who divorced his previous wife to marry the “other woman.”

As I sit here, now, on Sunday, the 25th of July, a court date is set for August 13th, at my behest.  My objection is filed, my brief in opposition is filed, my proposed order is filed.  I have prepared myself to the best of my ability, and I am well satisfied. 

Now I wait, though I wonder if my ex-wife’s attorney can somehow manipulate the system to move that August 13th court date forward.  I do not know.  One thing I do know, though, I do look forward to sparring with the ex-wife’s attorney live and in person, before a supposedly fair judge.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/25 at 02:15 PM
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Monday, July 19, 2004

An Update

There are times when circumstances demand a bit more of one’s attention.  Dealing with our onerous legal system; a system of procedural rules, what fors, and judas frickin priest that’s asinine; is one of those times.  This is compounded by the fact that the dealings stem from my divorce in 1992, and that I am proceeding In Pro Per.  Though I litigate with confidence, I detest the penny ante procedural burdens attached to a process which should be straightforward enough for any individual to walk into a court, confidently, In Pro Per.

The above actions and tenets of an organized religion, all the talk about voting for the better candidate, as if there is such a thing, and a recently undertaken business endeavor, lead to me choose a temporary hiatus from this page.

I’ll return with some observations on all of the above.

Update:  I know, I know, supposedly a man who represents himself has a fool for an attorney.  I think it was probably uttered by an attorney.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/19 at 08:11 PM
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Friday, July 09, 2004

But They Could Name Every Crotch on MTV

The state of education in the U.S. is, depending upon who you speak with, either pitiful, or leaving no child behind.  I’m in the pitiful camp.  I just looked at a final exam for eighth graders, which, I would wager, big, 99.8% of eighth graders could not pass, heck, I’d bet big many twelfth graders couldn’t pass, today.  The exam is from 1895 and was given in Salinas, Kansas.

Title to this post is a modification of a lyric from an Iris DeMent tune.

Link to exam via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/09 at 05:21 AM
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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Everything But the Apathy

Micha Ghertner, over at Catallarchy, gives “a hearty “Hell Yeah”,” after reading a Fred Reed piece titled “This Ain’t Fifth-Century Athens.”  In the piece, Fred casts his eye on voting and democracy, and he puts forth some very fine reasons not to vote, for example,

“Voting in particular is an embarrassment, being a public display of weak character and low intelligence. Let us face the truth: Democracy, like spitting in public or the Roman games, is the proper activity of the lower intellectual and moral classes. It amounts to collusion in one’s own suckering.”

Further into the piece, Fred proposes the following, in regards to how to react, or contend, with government.

“First, and most important, stop regarding yourself as part of government. Government doesn’t concern itself with you; why should you concern yourself with it? The change of attitude provides both relaxation and perspective.”

Not bad advice, per se, but Fred also proposes developing the following.

“Finally, cultivate apathy, which is cheaper than Prozac and works better. You do not worry about what you do not care about. I do not propose a depressed scowl at life, but merely a wholesome indifference toward those forces malign and otherwise over which you can have no influence.”

Once again, I don’t necessarily think this is bad advice, but, I cannot embrace a wholly apathetic attitude toward government.  I cannot wholly embrace Fred’s suggested apathy towards government, because I cannot bear to see MY country’s continuing degeneration into the morass of socialism, especially when I consider the future of my children.  Though preceding generations have left me with an increasingly nannying and more intrusive government, I cannot bear the thought of leaving the same to my children.  I want to give them something more.

Additionally, apathetically allowing the government to continue to pick my pockets, or license me for this, that, or the other thing, is akin to allowing myself to be rounded up and put on a boxcar for resettlement in a camp where work will set me free.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/08 at 05:16 AM
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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Accumulating Property at the Expense of Christ

I come from a Dutch Protestant background, and I am fairly well acquainted with a wide range of organized religions.  One thing that has always bothered me about organized religions, is, what is spewed from the pulpit and into the ears of the faithful sheeple; the call to sacrifice and to give to the church, whether it be through tithing or special collections for the “church.”  I think that the idea of accumulating assets, for the church, is a smack in the face to the ideas preached by Jesus Christ, and an abuse of faithful church attenders.  Churches which speak of monetary sacrifice to the faithful, only to accumulate assets, are stealing with as much impunity as the government when they tax.

“The Archdiocese of Portland owns nearly $2 million in Jackson County property, assessment records show, but the archbishop promised local Catholic church leaders on Tuesday he wouldn’t touch it to pay bankruptcy debts.”

“Filing won’t affect church’s local holdings.”

I think the church would sell your soul to the devil and then offer to “redeem” it for you, for a nominal fee.

Via Google News.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/07 at 10:07 AM
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Night Vision and Nocturnal Navigation

While attached to the USS LOS ANGELES (SSN688), I had numerous opportunities to experience coming to periscope depth at night.  Approximately one-half hour before coming to periscope depth, the control room would be “rigged for red,” to allow the OOD’s eyes to become accustomed to night vision.  Maybe the OOD should have just smoked a J.

“We knew it gave people the munchies and made them giggle. Now researchers claim to have found a new property in cannabis - it helps us see in the dark.

Scientists made their discovery after becoming intrigued by Moroccan fishermen who not only failed to lose their sense of direction after smoking generous amounts of local kif, a mixture of cannabis and tobacco, but seemed to navigate better on dark nights.”

“When spliff gets in your eyes…”

Via J. Orlin Grabbe.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/07 at 05:24 AM
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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Consider Yourself Spanked, Young Man

One of the news articles, out of Britain, yesterday, dealt with the House of Lords voting on a bill regarding parental spanking of children.  Does anyone other than I see the ridiculousness of this?  Government involvement in setting rules, or law, regarding spanking?  Judas Priest, what in the world is going on when a body of politicians is discussing regulating spanking?

I was spanked a handful of times, or so, when I was a kid, and I bear no ill will towards my parents regarding this fact, and carry no scars or secret desires to inflict unmitigated violence against my children, or revenge on my parents.

Be that as it may, Arthur Silber has taken a look at this story, frowningly, and has come to the conclusion, that spanking is just a step away from torturing your children, and is in some way causally tied to the incidents at Abu Ghraib.

I think individuals who make the leap from spanking a kid on the ass, to beating them or torturing them, have a wee bit of a problem understanding that spanking is not beating or torturing, and parents who go beyond spanking and venture into the dark and terrible world of torturing their children, or beating their children, are worth no more than the detritus that gathers on the bottom of my shoes.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/06 at 05:26 AM
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Monday, July 05, 2004

A Pleasurable Evening Read

Kids love fun and excitement.  Heck, I still do too.  Here’s a six year-old’s review of Legoland; not just “Loserland,” but “Lamo-loserland.”  Too funny.  Read a more descriptive review of Lamo-loserland, written by Dale Franks and posted at Questions and Observations, with an eye cast towards Europe, who accompanied the more succinct six year-old.

“A little bit of Europe in the good ‘ol USA.”

Posted by John Venlet on 07/05 at 07:21 PM
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Johnny, Hold Out Your Hand

In times prior, when a teacher asked a student to hold out their hand, it probably meant that the student was about to receive a rap on the knuckles for some type of disruptive behavior.  Those knuckle raps could sting.  My how times have changed.

“When teachers take attendance at a new middle school next month, they won’t need a notebook or even a piece of paper.

They can depend on biometric hand readers to do the job.

The little black boxes, which take less than a second to identify students based on the dimensions of their hands, will be placed in all 61 classrooms, the cafeteria, main office and media center at Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, which will open Aug. 11 at Spanish River Boulevard and Military Trail.”

Of course, this new method of student control is for their own safety, rather than a cover for the ineptness of the educators.

“Don Estridge Principal Debra Johnson said she sees the hand readers as a time-saver as much as a security measure. Teachers spend precious minutes each morning taking attendance. And she said she has spent many hours on the phone with parents whose children did not get off the bus on schedule. With the hand readers, the school will know if they got on the bus and where they got off, she said.

“We’ll be able to say, `Johnny got off the bus at 10th and Dixie,’ and the parent will say, `Oh, that’s where my aunt lives,’” she said.”

I guess it’s not just Santa Claus and God who want know what you’re doing, and where you are, each and every moment.

“Hand scanners to keep tabs on students at Boca middle school.”

Posted by John Venlet on 07/05 at 04:29 PM
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