Monthly Archives: February 2004


“The First Amendment says that congress shall make no law establishing (not regarding) a religion. It doesn’t say that the government should not or cannot publicly acknowledge religion.” said MoodVertigo, in a comment under my entry, Answering a Fifth Comment Regarding the Pledge. Sorry, you are simply incorrect.

Let’s look at the wording of the first amendment, shall we? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Publicly acknowledging religion does “establish” religion. By endorsing religion, the government would claim the validity of religion. From your context, you want the government to proclaim the validity of Christianity. But you see, by saying one is right, it means another is wrong. The government has managed to create a law “respecting an establishment of religion.” I think you’re confusing the issue with creating a national church. Creating a national church is contained within the context of the First Amendment.

If merely the creation of a national church was the issue then how come: A) US officials cannot be required to take religious tests, and B) there is “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in the First Amendment.

[03/02/04 – EDIT: Started rewriting this entry, will fix later]

Congress Added Under God

MoodVertigo wrote a really long comment over at my Answering a Fifth Comment Regarding the Pledge entry. It’s really long, so I’ll only go over it piece by piece.

Alright, I’ll make this really basic. For the sake of argument, let’s assume all your reasoning is correct, specifically: “The First Amendment only limits Congress; no one else.”

From The Pledge of Allegiance A Short History, we learn that, “In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, ‘under God,’ to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer” [emphasis mine]. Okay, so Congress specifically made a “law respecting an establishment of religion,” got it?

It does respect an establishment of religion because, first of all, any god equals religion. Second, as I’ve mentioned before, “God” is a proper noun, a specific name. We would not approve of “under Allah” in the Pledge of Allegiance, so we should not approve of “under God”.

Even under your reasoning, the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are still unconstitutional.

To ID, or not to ID

Wired news article: Fighting for Right Not to Show ID. To sum it up, a guy refuses to show his ID, so he gets thrown in jail and, later, fined. Now the case is before the Supreme Court, with the guy arguing that Nevada’s law requiring him to show his ID to the officer violates his Fourth and Fifth amendment rights.

I think I’ll agree that it violates rights because of this quote from the article: “‘Every little time something like this happens, the police question you and want to know who you are, it’s an incident that gets put into a database,’ Hofmann said. ‘And there will be a record of it thereafter, regardless of whether you did anything wrong’.”

Yet, I’m still not completely sure what to think.

Answering a Fifth Comment Regarding the Pledge

Emily Yarr said: “If you don’t like saying our pledge, and it personally offends you, simply get outta here and say someone else’s pledge.”

First, “Hey, Jesus, if you don’t like the way we’re running the church right now, simply get outta here.” Now, I’m not equating myself with Jesus, but I’m guessing that you’re Christian, and what you’re saying would not be approved of by Jesus. Jesus wasn’t trying to form a new religion; he was trying to “fix” Judaism.

Second, your statement does not summarize how democracy works. If you don’t like the way the current representatives are running things, then you vote for someone else, you don’t simply get outta here. Read my Answering a Second Comment Regarding the Pledge entry for a little bit more information.

Google Defusing Goldfish

Currently, on Google, my page for Goldfish jingles (also known as Plot of the Goldfish), is #2. It is right below #1, a now defunct page of Pepperidge Farm’s lyrics for their jingles. The page now redirects you to the main page.

So, I was wondering, if this page doesn’t actually exist, how come it’s still number one? To understand this, you have to understand how Google works. Google gives precedent to pages that are linked to by more people (to make a long story short).

A quick look-up for “google bombing” will give a bit more information of what I want to do. I want to do the opposite for the #1 result for the aforementioned search term. I came up with the term “google defusing” to make it a bit catchier.

Anyway, I used to have a link to it from my Goldfish jingles page, but now I’ve removed it. I plan to ask others to do the same. Except, I’ll be a bit more slick about it: I’ll merely “inform” them that the link is old.

Hopefully, upon the next Google update, my page will be #1. But with my luck, it’ll probably be this weblog entry as the next #1.

Marriage Amendment

I’ve been thinking about writing about this for a while, but decided to do it today because Lloyd talked about it today and said, “In the coming time, I very much hope to read about this issue from those whose lives I follow on their weblogs[.]” I wrote this before looking at the listlog:

Even if I were against gay marriage, I could never in good conscience support such an amendment. Why? Because it limits the activities of the citizens! It says what they cannot do. The Bill of Rights were specifically created not to have the government take away citizen rights or privileges, and I think we should honor that example.

Alright, there is one case in which there was an amendment that said what a citizen could not do: the 18th Amendment, adopted in 1919. Technically, it forbids the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor, but that’s just a roundabout way of saying that people aren’t allowed to drink alcohol. But you know what happened to that amendment, right? In 1933, it was repealed by the 21st amendment.

As to the actual question of gay marriages, I say yes. Contrary to what chicken little says, it will not destroy the fabric of society. Letting two people get married will not harm anyone. Their partnership should receive the same legal benefits as a heterosexual marriage.

Hey, but what about civil unions? Can’t they figure out ways to give them the same legal status? Sorry, separate but equal isn’t valid. Besides, if a civil union were to grant them the exact same privileges, then the only difference between a marriage and civil union would be the name. At that time, is there any further point to keeping the names separate? It makes no sense.

Another idea I’ve heard is to not use the word marriage for any non-religious partnership. Just an attempt at politically correctness that won’t please anyone. Again, what’s the point of calling them something different if they’re the same?

The only “valid” argument against same-sex marriage is religion. Yet, Christianity preaches against divorce and remarriage. You can’t get remarried within the Catholic Church. Yet, you don’t see the Catholic Church lobbying for a constitutional amendment to not allow people to remarry. Church and state are separate. If a church doesn’t accept the marriage, then that’s the church’s prerogative, not the state’s.

On a not so unrelated note, kausfiles posits that Bush’s announcement helps Kerry: “Why did Bush have to make his gay marriage announcement today, as opposed to next Wednesday? … If he wanted to run against Edwards, don’t you think he’d have waited and given Edwards the space to make his pitch?”

Pathetic Hypotheticals

Ever done a too many people in the boat type of hypothetical situation? The kind where you’re with a group of people, and then you have to pretend that you’re in a lifeboat. Then comes the catch: There’s not enough room for everyone in the lifeboat! Who to dump out?

Kids come up with the most creative answers. I remember having an idea to have people take turns on the outside. There is almost never enough limiting factors, so you just have to end up pretending that there are no other options for the hypothetical situation to work.

This way of thinking is incorrect. We should encourage the creative answers to save everyone. The hypothetical situation is ridiculous.

Here’s another one: You’re in your home. You have a gun. A thief is in your house, and it’s either his life or yours.

Logical fallacy: False dilemma

Just as with the lifeboat situation, you are not allowed to come up with creative answers. But if you were placed in that situation, why would the choice be to kill? The situation kills a myriad of other factors. A thief does not come to kill you. A thief comes to thieve. Often, they do not want to be involved in killing. It’s much messier to cover up. And, you with the gun, you don’t necessarily have to shoot to kill.

Ah, but what if the person intends to kill you. The water is freezing cold so you can’t have people swimming outside the lifeboat. Well, maybe if there were more lifeboats, we wouldn’t be in this situation! And maybe if you or others hadn’t chosen certain actions, you wouldn’t be in that situation, either! A hypothetical situation often disregards the past in order to create its false dilemmas.

In real, non-hypothetical, life, there are always other choices. Perhaps you don’t have the time, or training, to think of them, but they are out there. Maybe if you had taken the time to figure out the other choices, the situation wouldn’t feel so pathetically, and paradoxically… hypothetical.

Why My Big Halloween Two Adventure Is Junk

No, not the actually “adventure,” but the way it was written.

I simply tell what’s happening in order to tell what’s happening. I don’t have a greater point in mind. The events don’t lead anywhere. I could start anywhere in the narrative, and the story will sound the same. There is no beginning. There is no end. There is no conflict, no tension. Most of all, however, I reiterate that there is no greater point in mind. That’s what makes it uninteresting. The only thing separating those entries from a typical Xanga entry was complete sentences.

There’s a difference between telling a story and rambling. I was merely rambling in those entries. The only reason I wrote them was so I could revisit them later. Yet, now I think, will I care later on?

Stories always have a point — even humorous stories. You can’t just tell a tale, then trail off. There has to be some type of punchline. That’s what makes them good. That’s what my entries bad. Now, compare this with the list of my “action-packed weekend.” The list is more powerful because it takes out the repetitive narrative. Although the list has no beginning or end, it has more tension than the Halloween Two narrative. You won’t get bored as easily.

Either tomorrow, or the day after, I’ll be posting pictures. That’s what I should’ve done in the first place. A picture can say much more than words. It would make the entry more interesting and, again, less repetitive.

From now on, I will try to make posts that are more cogent — that have a point. I must remember to differentiate myself from others’ uninteresting rambling. Part of the point of this weblog is to have other people read it, and if I’m writing junk, how can others find a modicum of respectability?

Illusion of Gravity

No website for the past few days. No weblog. I had had little sleep over the past few weeks, even missing fencing on Thursdays. I was no closer to finishing any projects. I had a whole bunch of tests lined up that day. Yet, I was really happy sitting there on the bench, eating my lunch. None of my friends were dressed up for Halloween Two, but I was still incredibly happy. I tried telling random people, “Happy Halloween Two,” but they ignored me. They didn’t even have the courtesy to gawk at my ostentatious royal purple king outfit, with construction paper crown. Hah, but I was still happy in my dumb costume. Why? Perhaps because I felt so incredibly alive?

Tension had sort of abounded lately amongst my acquaintances. Yet, in that silly costume, none of it mattered. No, putting on the king outfit wasn’t an escape. It wasn’t the costume that was fake; it was life that was fake. I felt so, well, alive, knowing that life was just a joke. People take it way too seriously. If people took life less seriously, then I could kill way more people. But really, if life is a joke, then isn’t it easier to find a place in our hearts to forgive? Those transgressions against us, they’re just part of the joke. Stop taking them so seriously. Why waste energy on something so trivial? Remember, to err is merely human. To err a lot, that’s just a lot more human.

In my Major Religions class, we were learning about Hinduism, and “maya.” Maya is the cosmic illusion — its the finite. We perceive ourselves as separate, but we are really one essence, according to Hinduism. Now, I didn’t see this, but this realization was similar. It also reminded me of another school topic. In English, my group is doing a project on the Theater of the Absurd. The tragic absurdist hero is one who attempts to insert order into a naturally illogical universe, and suffers as a result. In essence, the absurd nature of the play is more real than a more logical play and plot.

I was piercing through this veil of the routine of life. I could see the world clearly for what is was: insignificant. All our little, and big, problems mean nothing. My problems, too, meant nothing. I was without a care. That’s partly why I must have been so happy.

All those people seeing me on the bench, dressed as a king, who thought, “What a fool!” were wrong. Really, the joke is on them. They’re the fools! They’re taking life way too seriously — wrapped up in their little world, where all that matters are their problems. In the grand scheme of things, is what I’m doing any less absurd than what they’re doing? They’re trying to inject all these rules, and it comforts them, but they’re arbitrary. They’re just following. Following the others and their rules. Following the day as it goes along. I’m the one living in reality, they’re not.

My Big Halloween Two Adventure Part Two

Once inside French class, I once more draped the cape over mineself. Hans had drawn chest hair with a black pen. Katie had a pumpkin, but it was faded so I didn’t take a picture. Someone else had a good pumpkin, which I did take a picture of (I’ll include the name later). Ms. Schroeder found a dress for Richard, and a mask. He looked great. We three kings (well, I was the only one dressed like a king) stood outside the door, wishing mostly random people a Happy Halloween Two. I saw Jason in the hallway. He had on a helmet, which wasn’t actually for Halloween Two, but it was cool, anyway.

We had an oral and written test in French, but I guess it wasn’t too hard. At least, Richard, Davin, Han, and I “rocked out” with some singing. “Under Pressure,” “Chamelion,” “Louie Louie,” the charge fanfare, and general beat-boxing. Most of this was recorded on the French oral test tapes, heh. After the quizzes, — suprise! — FIRE ALARM! This is not a drill, folks. (Just not a true emergency either). That just gave us a chance to parade out in our costumes. We wore them as we evacuated to the football field. Mr. Newton wasn’t there, so band just socialized at its designated spot. And yet, we didn’t lose anyone. I learned from Delora that she thought “Halloween Two” was some sort of movie, not a holiday. Slick! All told, the way there and back (and trust me, we took the long way back), we told a lot of people, “Happy Halloween Two.” I absolutely loved it. Mr. Lee even stopped by the French room, asking about it. We told him that it was Halloween Two. He said he would’ve dressed up as Jamie Lee Curtis, if he had known. Instead, he says that Richard already did, or something to that effect.

I kept the outfit on for lunch. Lunch gave me a chance to show people who saw the crown, but not the cape, like Corinne. I kept a look-out for people dressed up to some degree. I took a few more pictures. I think I missed Sonja, though, she had on an excessive amount of eye-liner. I told more people to have a Happy Halloween Two. I even told Mr. parker, my freshman history teacher (coolest teacher at Moreau), and he said he wished that he had got the memo. That was encouraging. Ryan didn’t come until later in lunch. He wasn’t dressed up, but he had some Valentine cards off that “intro-net” that were hilarious. [website later] Before Ryan came, Ms. Roach, an AP, asked about my costume. Hans had already told me earlier that “Phyllis” already knew about it. I told her it was for Halloween Two. She told me to take off the crown. I started to take off the cape, as well, but she told me to keep it on! Wow! And, I had gone through the day half-thinking I would get a detention. Maybe all teachers aren’t out to get you.

So, because of all that, I had the self-confidence to stay in costume during Major Religions. No one else in that class was dressed up and half (probably more than half) hadn’t even heard about Halloween Two. Mr. Steeb asked why I’m in costume. I told him it was for Halloween Two. People were kind of going, “What?” And Mr. Steeb said that he didn’t want to get into it (such a great conversation on Hinduism). Heh.

In chemisty, we had a test, but I kept on the costume. Mr. Fryman asked if anyone called me a “royal pain.” Mr. Fryman is a funny guy — sometimes boring during lectures, but still a cool person. I think the general atmosphere of Friday, before the 3-day weekend, and Valentine’s Day, helped me stay out of trouble, too. I’m sure I got every problem correct on the test, except one. anyway… a subplot: Some wears my hat (not the first person — Chris, Alex, Kalpana, Davin…). Recently, in Major Religions (the class before), we learned about how Hinduism says not to repress desires. Mr. Steeb also goes into the psychology a bit, with little kids, how they want ice cream. So, give them enough until they get sick of it. Thus, I had asked for the crown back, but he said no, and I decided not to press the issue. He eventually realized the crown would not bring him happiness. It was taken off during the test, I think; I got it back later. I leanred that Nick was dressed as “badminton Joe.” Jarod was wearing his “Tony” sweater that he wasn’t wearing earlier in the hallway.

So, with the whole day, I was surprised by getting way more positive feedback than I expected, even if it felt a bit hollow, at times. People hadn’t dressed, but after seeing my follow-through, I think some partly regretted not dressing up. It rained after school, but even that didn’t dampen my spirit. I continued to wear it in the rain.

The End

[Note: Not yet grammar-edited.]

My Big Halloween Two Adventure Part One

I walked into jazz band with only a yellow construction paper king’s crown on my head. Actually, first, I talked to Darryl, my second trombonist, outside the bandroom. He said everyone called everyone else to chicken out at the last minute. I said, “What? You guys are all bastards.” But I’d already made up my mind to wear the stuff anyway. Luckily, he told me he was lying.

In jazz band, we didn’t have the strict Mr. Newton; we have Joel. If Newton was there, we would’ve gotten the ol’ exasperated, “Stop that,” or “take that off,” which is a reward in itself, but Joel is looser. so, I whipped out the purple — royal purple — cape from my backpack. It drapes over the shoulders, and has two white strips on the collar area, with black dots all over the white [pics to be added later]. I ended up wearing my costume during all of jazz (pretty much, I do shrug it off because it gets a bit itchy). At the beginning of jazz band, Hans took off his dress jacket, revealing his “sailor shirt.” He told me that he was Russel Crowe from Master & Commander. He had his hair tied back, too, which is different from how he normally wears it. Darryl wore mostly green. He donned a towel as a cape, and then put on construction paper eye-wear. He says he’s a “Super Hero In Training (SHIT).” Alvin said he had a costume out, but didn’t have time to put it on because he was running late. Biff only brought in a Count (from Sesame Street) mask, on a popsicle stick, but he did bring in a real pumpkin. Rather than being disappointed in those who didn’t dress up, I was happy about those who did. Okay, so Hans and I came up with the idea and follow-through of Halloween Two, but at least Darryl dressed up.

Math class wasn’t so great. I took off the cape, but I held the crown in my hand, because, you know, stuff I was wearing wasn’t exactly in dress code. It was geting late, so when I walked to math class, the halls were rather empty. I was even late to math, but I told the substitute teacher that I was late because of jazz. Even if I was marked late, it wouldn’t matter, I just decided to try the excuse. Wait, rewind a bit — substitute teacher! If my regular teacher had been there, I would’ve sat down, and pulled out the cape, but no… So, we started the day with an unexpected quiz. Joy. I always get 100s in the class, however, so I didn’t worry. Math class was boring as usual. Notes were handed out that didn’t even explain the tedious homework. No one else dressed up for Halloween Two.

It did get better. As I walked down the halls to French, I greeted people. Tony was dressed in all black; it was great. I donned the crown at various times to wish various people, “Happy Halloween Two.” I only specifically remember greeting Emerald and Corinne. No one besides Tony was dressed up.

Once inside French class…

To be continued in My Big Halloween Two Adventure Part Two.

[Note: I haven’t spell- or grammar-checked this entry yet.]

[Another note: Links in various old entries are not working properly. I think it’s because I had previously deleted some files. Thus, when I exported and re-imported, certain entries had been pushed back to fill in the deleted files spaces.]

The Legend of Halloween Two

I was going to post the first installment of my narrative of Halloween Two, but I now realize that some of you don’t know what Halloween Two is all about. Therefore, I present to you, the Legend of Halloween Two (barely edited from its original improvised form from an AIM conversation):

“One day, the people dressed up on Halloween. And they had fun. They wanted to have more fun, so they decided to dress up the next day. But the next day, the others ridiculed them. They said, “It’s not Halloween today.” And they laughed. And the people who had dressed up cried. The Halloween Fairy saw this, and it saddened her to see the people crying. She decided one Halloween was not enough. So, she borrowed Santa’s sled, to spread the news of a new holiday, dropping oranges decorated as pumpkins, and new costumes. The oranges splatted and the costumes ripped, but that’s not the point. The point is that this new holiday is called Halloween Two. This year, it will be celebrated February 13th, a Friday. To celebrate, all you have to do is dress up. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be even be a hat or mask. Also, if you don’t want to dress up, you can at least bring in an orange, decorated with sharpie, as a substitute pumpkin. In order to be fun, Halloween Two must be celebrated by many people, lest we have a repeat of the sad scenario in the story. So, make sure you tell everyone about it.”

As you can tell, it’s a bit outdated since it gets preachy at the end, but that’s not the point. The point is, now you know what Halloween Two is all about.

Hans and I are the architects of this little holiday; we are the ones who followed through with the idea. We just wanted an excuse to dress up on a day that wasn’t Halloween (One).

A little bit more information: Halloween Two was not originally planned to be on Valentine’s Eve, but we changed it because it originally coincided with the MLK Mass at my school, and Hans was in the skit. Oddly enough, it was Biff who thought up the new date.

Anyway, this whole week is basically a feature on Halloween Two. I have a two-part narrative of the events. I also have some… I guess one could could call it… philosophy of Halloween Two. Finally, I’ll be posting all my pictures.

I’m Like a Cold; You Can’t Get Rid of Me

All my website stuff went bye-bye because of webhosting issues. I tried to renew it using Opera, but then I got a blank page. I didn’t want to end up ordering two things, so I waited for a few days. No e-mail reply. I figured it was safe to use IE to try ordering again. I order, it tells me it’s done renewing. Renewed? But my account was cancelled on the 11th, I tell them in an e-mail. Turns out, it was my dad’s account they renewed. So, I add my websites to his account. I wait for the name servers to change over. Everything is back up. Not quite. Re-upload. I installed the newest version of MoveableType. All my entries and comments are in. My stylesheet is back. However, I have yet to change all the templates. That’s why you can’t access the Category Archive. Stay tuned. Tomorrow: My Big Halloween Two Adventure Part One.

Answering a Fourth Comment Regarding the Pledge

In response to my original critique of the Pledge of Allegiance, Christina Williams said: “First of all an agnoiologist needs to study you because what you said is stupid. I respect that some people have different beliefs than I do, but you don’t even back up why God should be taken out of anything. God is everything and one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that he is Lord.”

But I do back up why God should be taken out of the Pledge: It’s unconstitutional to have “God” in there, which is a proper noun for a specific god.

Do you really respect that some people have different beliefs than you do? In essense, what you’re saying is: “I respect what other people believe, but they are all wrong, and one day they’ll realize that my god is the correct god.”

Answering a Third Comment Regarding the Pledge

In response to my original Pledge of Allegiance critique, Melissa said: “Under God should NOT be taken out of the Pledge. It’s just wrong and everyone knows it. We are dismissing a true and powerful God that sent his son to DIE for us so that we could go to heaven if we just asked Him! Taking Under God out is a big mistake”

You need a reality check: About 2/3 of the world is not Christian. So, be careful how you define everyone. How would taking “under God” out be a big mistake? After all, if i just ask Him, I can get into heaven, anyway, right? So, do you think your god will punish us if we don’t put him in the Pledge of Allegiance… even though God wasn’t originally mentioned in the Pledge for over 50 years? And if he’s so powerful, how come the idea to put “God” in the pledge derives from people? How come he can’t just keep it in there himself? The main point of my argument is that it’s unconstitutional. If it’s “just wrong” to take it out of the Pledge, then I guess the idea that state should be separate from religion is “just wrong” too. Let’s stop governing ourselves, and just ask God to do it, I’m sure that will work.

Action-Packed Weekend List


  • Pho Quyen vietnamese noodles
  • “Jammed” on piano, not really trombone
  • went to show
  • bands sucked
  • friend’s band better


  • Folsom Jazz Festival
  • charter bus trip
  • Blues Brothers
  • New green wrist band
  • listened to iffy performance of High Maintenance
  • Straight I’s
  • Ron Cunha Big Band
  • Good performance of High Maintenance
  • First place, AA Division, beat Berkeley’s and Rio Americano’s second bands
  • Sponsor: Dan Groat… Who is that?
  • Bus ride home
  • Trophy in overhead compartment
  • Dime in balloon
  • McDonald’s
  • Candy at gas station
  • 25 cents for air
  • “We Are the Champions”
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Finding spot for big trophy


  • English project
  • Superbowl
  • Halftime moral decadence
  • Stupid homework

Out of Context Awards: January 2004

Hm, all girls this time… Wasn’t intentional, just how it happened…

“Hey, you’re vibrating.” – Lindsay

I don’t know how that one happened. Craig was sitting next to Lindsay, and somehow, she found reason to say that.

“You look like Easter!” – Sarah

Sarah was loudly commenting on the wardrobe of Jenna and Ganesh.

“See, that’s why I’m not a squirrel.” – Megan

She was mentioning how someone she knew had run over a squirrel, and how it smelled. Another guy mentions how he ran over a squirrel with a mountain bike (but the squirrel was still okay). We all don’t want to be run over. I guess that’s why we’re all not squirrels.

Winner: “According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), more than half of teenagers are virgins until they are at least 7 years of age…” – school newspaper article by Christina

Typo. She meant 17. But it was a hilarious typo.

[02/06/04 – EDIT: Was just quotes… commentary added today, which is way later than “tomorrow”]