Monday, April 28, 2008

Postmodernism and Lying

Postmodernism, in its most explicit form, not only questions the existence of truth, but proclaims its non-existence. Let's set aside the paradox that one cannot make a proposition that there are no truths and have that proposition be true. Instead, let's look at this from another, more practical, perspective.

If there is no truth, then there are no lies. Certainly, if we remain in the relam of philosophy and not in the realm of practicality, a case can be made that there are no lies. However, consider what the response is when you are on the receiving end of a lie. Little else brings out your sense of truth, your sense of right and wrong than being the recipient of a lie.

Lies are so damaging to relationships. Lies rupture trust, throw into question how a relationship will progress, and perhaps forever change the relationship even with forgiveness because once there has been a lie in the relationship, there can never not have been a lie in the relationship. You know that there is the capacity for a lie to be executed in that relationship.

In a bizarre twist of irony, lies may provide some of the best evidence for the existence of truth.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Painlessly invest $9000 in micorloans (for free)

I love the Kiva way of microloans. It is extremely easy to begin with practically no risk. I also like the idea that I can put some money to work in a place where it can do some real economic good.

There is power in revolving money. So, an investment plan with microloans is a smart idea. You loan the money and it comes back, then you loan it again. Repeat cycle until poverty is erased.

It makes sense to build small monthly amount to invest into your monthly budget. Most people's budgets are tight, but finding a way to shoehorn in $25 per month would be terrific. It would create the habit and then when there is more money from that raise or from tax returns or stimulus money, then you can up it.

Here is a modest attempt at a plan for people without tons of extra money:
Year 1: $25/month = $300/Year = $300total ivestment
Year 2: $25/month = $300/Year = $600total investment
Year 3: $50/month = $600/Year = $1200total investment
Year 4: $50/month = $600/Year = $1800total investment
Year 5: $75/month = $900/Year = $2700 total investment
Year 6: $75/month = $900/Year = $3600total investment
Year 7: $100/month = $1200/Year = $4800 total investment
Year 8: $100/month = $1200/Year = $6000 total investment
Year 9: $125/month = $1500/Year = $7500 total investment
Year 10: $125/month = $1500/Year = $9000 total investment

Now, (and here is the "for free" part) this $9,000 is still yours. Since you loaned it out, you got it back when it was repaid.

At the end of 10 years, you have essentially used Kiva and microloans as a savings acount. Granted, it gains no interest and there is a small chance that you could lose some money (Maybe 3%). However, you have to consider the work that the $9,000 has been doing over those 10 years is worth more to the people in poverty that used it than to the bank you would have kept it in or the coffees you would have bought with it.

Furthermore, it appears that micorloans are a safer investment than real estate and stock market in these insecure economic times.

Of course, you can keep loaning that $9000 and you can keep adding to it. In a lifetime, keeping the pattern of increases with the plan above, you could have over $100,000 dollars in perpetual motion, working hard for hard working families in need.

Using Kiva as a socially responsible savings account is an idea whose time has come.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


1. Provide a list of the books you’re currently reading.

a) Statistical Methods for Psychology - David Howell
b) Soul Searching - Christian Smith
c) Soul Searching - William Doherty
d) The Ethnographic I - Carolyn Ellis
e) Divergent Realities - Reid & Larson

2. Pick up the nearest book.

Using Multivariate Statistics - Tabachnick & Fidell

3. Open to page 123

4. Find the fifth sentence.

5. Post the next three sentences.

Here we go: "With more IVs than cases, one can fnd a regression solution that completely predicts the DV for each case, but only as an artifiactof the cases-to-IV ratio. Required sample size depends on a number of issues, including desired power, alpha level, number of predictors, and effects sizes. Green (1991) provides a thorough discussion of the issues an dsome procedures to help decide how many cases are necessary. "

6. Tag five more people.

Blog In My Own Eye
On Becoming Truer
Light and Salt
Changing Tides
Phil Wilson

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Harmonies of Beautiful Amnesia

Frozen land's inevitible surrender;
"Snowfrosticeslush - EVACUATE!"
Sun, now insurrmountable;
Relentless warmth;
Knowing smile;
Sun sings, and,
Cold scurries away like guilty bugs.

Hearing Suns-shine,
Seeds, pods, bulbs, and friends
Shuffle and grunt submerged in mudbeds.

"Awake! Arise! Come sing with me!"

Irresistible call; irrestible song.

Struggling, pressing, straining, growing;
Former seeds all aroot and prepared;
Longing to see the Singer.

Waiting ends.

Pressing from beneath;
Breaking the surface;
Daffodil, Tulip, Iris emerge;
Colorizing, harmonizing - a beautiful amnesia;
Grass and Clover - entourage;
Spring choral delights;
Singer smiles.

This poem was written in celebration of my daughter's 10th birthday.

Fajita's Blog For Sale

This website is worth

What is your website worth?
You could enjoy all of the fame and glory of being the owner of this blog.
If you act RIGHT NOW (Billy Mays voice) this blog could be yours for half price. That's right, only $42,000 and it is all yours.
I am poor doctoral student looking for cash and that is why I can unload this blog for so cheap.
Don't wait too long! There is only 1 blog in stock and it will go the first legitimate buyer.
Potential buyers, please leave a comment indicating your interest.
Restrictions and Warnings: Microsoft, Google, Apple and other majors internet and technology companies are not eligible to purchase Fajita's Blog at the discount rate because you own too much of my life already, but I would welcome a corporate bidding war. This offer is only for the serious fan, friends of mine, faithful readers, faithful lurkers, or blog-stalkers. Cash only, and no bartering. No blog swapping as I cannot pay my bills with blogs. Do not make fun of me for selling my blog or bad things will happen to you. Do not taunt my blog or blogs like it. Blogs can be unstable and explode without warning. Do not try to start your own blog and make it worth more than this blog and then try to sell it to me because I can not afford your blog. The point here is that I get a load of cash from the deal and you get a highly functional and well-established blog.

Family Formation Project

Click here to see a report by WCCO Channel 4 news in the Twin Cities about the Family Formation Project. The 3 minute video is located on the right side of the page and worth taking a look at.

More about the Family Formation Project is located here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

AI: Jason Castro

Somewhere over the rainbow?
Well, nice ukulele playing.

Castro, you are too weak.

My wife just said, "that was cute." Perfect.

Randy just said that Jason was blazing, smoking, hot. Paula - blah, blah, blah. Simon got it wrong. Castro might not make it this week.

AI: Syesha

Syesha just picked a song by a previous American Idol winner. Bad strategy.
She is doing a good job, but how do you outdo a previous idol.

I like her poofy fro.

Nice high note.

Good job, but was it better than Fantasia?

Randy is MR. Critical tonight. Paula, must you speak? Must you wear this tube sock? Simon ad it EXACTLY right.

AI: Michael Johns

Peformer: Michael Johns
Song: Dream On

Not your best, my friend. This is the reason why you are not going to win. I have never believed that you are going to be the next American Idol.

Sorry. You'll make it tonight, but not all the way.

AI: Paula, oh come on

Paula is wearing a very scary dress.

Decade 1 - Check

a wonderful, intelligent, generous, kind, hilarious, beautiful, big-hearted, young woman is now 10 years old.
Accomplishing a decade of life, no matter which decade, is worth celebrating.
Sierra has a sharp and generous sense of humor, a keen sense of irony, and thirst for knolwedge. She reads and writes constantly. Life, for her, is a learning experience.
We love you, Sierra. Happy Birthday

Monday, April 07, 2008

Refreshed - Psalm 105

A good night's sleep and a good morning read of Psalm 105 has me refreshed.

Apparently it takes me at least two days to recover from exhaustion.

What I like about Psalm 105 is that it says that there is reason to celebrate, there is cause for joy. It is an account of what God did for the wandering Isreallites. When God lead Isreal out of slavery from Egypt and through the desert, He gave them an extended experience which effectively changed their identity from slave to free. Such an identity change is not easy and does just show up when freedom shows up.

People in slavery have such a controlled and oppressed life that thinking free is a challenge. Thinking often moves to survival from the oppressor, from despair, from meaninglessness. There is little room for a free identity for the slave. Just thinking about freedom is a courageous act of defiance. And with little encouragement from anyone or evidence that such thinking could ever become reality, the longer one is in slavery, the more courageous the thoughts of freedom become.

Instant freedom, like the kind Israel experienced, required a sort of freedom training. It also required protection. A people who have only known slavery and a people without much power and a people who have no place of their own are vulnerable to being oppressed again. Psalm 105 speaks of how God protected Israel when she was most vulnerable.

Gettting a reminder of God's love and protection and vision for a better future has given me some peace this morning.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Soggy Soul

There are days when the planets line up and everything goes your way. You know, the kind of days when the wind blows in just the right direction and gives your nose a blessing of fragrant Spring flowers or savory steak sizzling on the neighbor's grill. These days are the days when the sun is shining, you say all the right things, and people can't believe how funny you are. On these days you can eat too much pizza while not gaining any weight and having no acid reflux. Energy is plentiful, the mind thinks with perfect clarity, and if someone were to ask you about solutions to third world poverty, you would give an impressive philosophical, political, and methodological answer which would inspire someone to say, "you should run for office."

I love those days.

Today is not one of them. Not even close. Today I feel soggy, listless, tired, and without much to offer. Don't ask me any questions because no matter what you ask, my answer will probably not make much sense. It is rainy outside and a debilitating grey in every direction. My mind protests any requests for deep thinking or decision making. You know something is not going well when the Kia commercial with the song, "Just Can't Get It Right Today" has a really good ring to it.

I think I have a handle on this thing, though. Rather, I think I know why I am feeling this way. I have the following factors working on me:
1. Post-deadline let down (the presentation went well),
2. 2nd year anniversary of father's death,
3. It's April,
4. Lousy weather,
5. Major paper (exam) coming due in a few weeks,
6. Looming dissertation decisions (lots of ideas and few decisions)
7. Take home statistics test is currently being ignored (but not due until Thursday),
8. Still, it is April,
9. I have tried to find a new pair of jeans and have failed twice in a week. I am not that hard to please. Am I really so oddly shaped?
10. Maybe I am oddly shaped. When I feel so lousy, I notice my weight. I've got a couple dozen pounds I'd like to give that super skinny person who has already completed their statistics exam.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


If it were not for deadlines, I would never get anything completed.
If it were not for deadlines I would have a lot less stress.
Having deadlines, ironically, means I am alive and useful to the world.
I have a big deadline tomorrow in the form of a presentation. I am glad I have it for the project has forced me to think and plan.
I will be glad when it is over because I will rest this weekend.

T.S. Eliot said that April is the cruelest month. He must have been in graduate school when he wrote that. So, any rest in April is a luxury.