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An Arborist Daydream

Just over a year ago My wife and I took our kids on a road trip to the redwoods in northern California. It was amazing. I loved being there and I was blown away by the sheer grandeur of those trees. I plan on going again.

Several months later, I came across this article about growing a forest rapidly.

Maybe you can already see where this is going.

At some point over the last little while I wondered if I could somehow mix the ideas in the article to make rapid redwood forests.

In fact I have this secret dream of planting such a patch somewhere hidden, but not too difficult to get to. I’d use the three types of redwoods, douglas firs, maybe lodgepole pines, heck I could throw in some quaking aspens for color in the fall. Pretty much any tree I would find amusing. But the primary goal would be to establish redwoods.

Now, I’ve read that redwoods can grow 6-10 feet per year. That means before I shuffle off this mortal coil I could revisit my secret forest and there would be some very tall trees. They wouldn’t be truly huge in diameter yet, but that’s okay. In a couple of hundred years, someone else will discover my forest and be amazed.

As I’ve batted this idea around in my head, I’ve had fun imagining many “what if”s. After all, if I love the redwoods, then everybody else would, too, right? And not everybody lives close enough to road trip it to northern California. So they should be planted everywhere.

What if somebody planted these forests in a bunch of yards in abandoned neighborhoods?

What if several people planted these tomorrow?

What if a large conservationist movement did it?

How many years would it take before the trees got big enough for anyone to really notice?

I haven’t exactly done any research for this, so it’s mostly a pleasant daydream. Redwoods might not be suited for places I want them (Yellowstone, the park down the street from my house, etc…) And I have this nagging fear that maybe introducing such massive non-native species somewhere would cause ecological mayhem.

Still, if here in 14 years you are hiking about and you come across a grove of redwoods where none should be, go ahead and think of me. Just don’t tell the government about my plan. I don’t want to get in trouble.

P.S. When I lived in Brazil, I had the chance to see a few of what I believe were Kapok Trees, which are also pretty cool. Feel free to plant some of those, too.

Chatting with Maria Lynch

Today’s author interview is with Maria Lynch, author of Beneath the African Sun. What are three things everyone should know about you? I love reading fiction and non-fiction books that interest me; fiction—historical fiction, detective mystery and some popular fiction. Non-fiction can vary from philosophy to current trends in leadership, addressing social justice issues and […]

In Defense of Marriage

I love Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. I find his writings to be quite entertaining. His interviews are interesting and almost always thought provoking.

That being said, I disagree with some of what he says. Today and specifically, I disagree with a recent post on his blog titled Marriage: Civilizations’s Biggest Mistake To be fair, part of me still thinks he might have only been trolling.

Still, because I cannot rest while someone is wrong on the internet, I thought I’d write up why I believe he is wrong. Everything in quotes with be from Mr. Adams’ article.

And 80% of your interactions [with your kids] can be unpleasant if you are the disciplinarian.

This presupposes that his made up statistic is both true and somehow a necessary product of marriage.

Mr. Adams continues on the subject of kids and says our modern public school system assigns too much homework. This homework causes stress. He then postulates a solution.

You know what would solve that?

Get rid of marriage.

The only reason the local school system can crap on kids with truckloads of useless homework is because they hand-off the problem to parents.

There are many examples of schools putting up with stressful mandates right now. For example standardized testing. Therefore I don’t think it’s fair to say they would just fix the problem.

Also, there are other, more effective, possible solutions to the homework problem like homeschooling, privatizing the school system, simply removing homework mandates, etc.

At this point in the article, Mr. Adams proposes a new marriage-less system that would raise children.

For the sake of comparison, imagine a system in which kids are raised by some sort of organized partnership of parents, teachers, and medical professionals. Parents can spend as much quality time as they want with their kids, but mostly for mentoring and social reasons. The jobs of discipline, healthcare, feeding, fitness, and education would be handled by the greater organization.

I will hereby refer to this as the Adams System.

When a kid is in school, one teacher controls 20-30 kids. That is an efficient system, and the teacher probably doesn’t mind the work. When two kids come home to one parent (often) you have a 2-1 disadvantage for the parent.

He claims that a parent is at a 2-1 disadvantage in the at home example. Isn’t 2-1 better than the 30-1 in the Adams System? Isn’t it easier to manage 2 kids than 30? Isn’t a child better off not having to compete against 29 other kids for love and attention?

Do you know why millions of Americans have no healthcare? it’s because of marriage.

I think this is a preposterous stretch. I doubt you could ever find a person who would say, “You know why I don’t have insurance or go to the doctor? Marriage.”

What is the real reason people don’t get insurance? It is expensive, and they can’t or won’t pay that much for it.

Marriage creates entities against which you can discriminate. If there were no marriages, all citizens would be equal, and my guess is that healthcare would be universally available.

Post hoc ergo proper hoc logical fallacy. There is no plain straightforward chain of events that leads to his conclusion.

But without marriage, there would be enough money for everything you want. Marriage is what is making us poor (compared to my hypothetical alternative of child-raising co-ops.)

Mr. Adams presents exactly zero evidence that marriage is keeping us poor. Also, he does not address the costs of inefficient bureaucracies. For this to be a valid point, he would need to describe how the Adams System could possibly be more cost-efficient.

Do you know why nearly every parent doesn’t eat right and doesn’t exercise enough? Answer: Marriage. Kids.

More post hoc ergo propter hoc. I know of many counter examples. I can also think of many more likely causes of bad diets and insufficient exercise. For example there are distractions like television and the internet that keep us from physical activity. The widespread availability of cheap, nutritionally void junk food means more people eat it.

Do you know why most adults are self-medicating with alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs? Answer: Because married life sucks and single life sucks just as much.

This presupposes that most adults self medicate, but provides no evidence. And what are the adults self-medicating against anyway? Depression maybe? Whatever the need for self medication, I submit that it could be managed far better through diet, exercise, proper counseling and possibly medication.

It also presupposes that married life both sucks and is necessarily sucky. I don’t think I’m cherry-picking to say there are enough happy, non-sucky marriages out there to disprove the presupposition.

Do you know why so many adults can’t get the training they need for a job? Answer: Marriage and kids. Not enough time or money left over.

It’s starting to look like Mr. Adams is really arguing against having and raising your own kids. Yes, I admit having kids is expensive both in time and money. But again, is that proof of why many adults don’t get training? Nope, it once again ignores many other probable causes. Also many adults that floundered through life don’t even seriously seek out training until they find out they’ll be parents. Now they have a reason to better their employability.

Now look around at your friends over thirty and ask yourself which ones have financial problems. Is it the divorced ones? Yes, it is. Marriage leads to divorce about half the time, which often leads to emotional and financial ruin.

This sounds like it should be a pro-marriage argument. “Stay married, peeps! Don’t double your living expenses!” Also, marriage is a necessary condition for divorce, not a cause. That’s like saying “Half of my tomato plants died, so I’d better not ever plant any again.”

I know people whose parents never mentioned college because they knew they couldn’t pay for it, or they didn’t recognize its value. Why did those kids get screwed? Answer: Marriage. If an organized collective raised kids, all of them would have the same options and information.

That’s not true. Do all public schools teach exactly the same things in the same way? Do police departments treat everybody in every neighborhood the same? Making it an organized collective just means different people make decisions about what to emphasize to the kids.

My best guess is that 75% of kids are damaged by bad parenting.

My best guess is that this statistic is bunk. Damage done by parenting mistakes is more than mitigated by parents trying hard and loving their kids.

Not to mention that it would impossible to design and implement a system that could reliably avoid the bad parenting mistakes.

Here again I am comparing it to some sort of co-op arrangement in which the kids are never the captive victims of a drunken parent, a stupid parent, a violent parent, a mentally disturbed parent, an unreasonable parent, a too-demanding parent, and so on.

Now the kids can be captive to an uncaring, inefficiant, damaging system instead of a parent! One wherein they can not get the close one on one relationship that is possible with a parent. Mr. Adams’ entire article totally ignores all of the positive benefits of having that type of relationship. And he ignores the fact that parents do not have a monopoly on abuse. All of the damaging behaviors mentioned could (and would) exist in the Adams System. In fact, many could be built into the system itself (by mistaken design or faulty implementation) and the child would have no advocate to protect them.

How about terrorism? That’s mostly a marriage problem in the Middle East. In this case, the powerful Muslim men marry multiple women and there are no other religion-approved outlets for male sexuality. That creates millions of young male zombies willing to die for a chance to get laid in heaven. Literally. That’s their best option.

That is ridiculous. Yet more post hoc ergo propter hoc. Do other religions that require celibacy have a terrorist issue? Do a lot of catholic priests blow themselves up? Do a lot of Mormon missionaries commit mass murders? Do you see a lot of Buddhist monks signing up in violent extremist organizations?

Even if ‘marriage’ is a compounding issue, terrorism is nowhere near “mostly a marriage problem.” Treating the actual causes would be far more effective.

I swear if a young man (and his friends and neighbors) had ready access to food, running water, air conditioning, safe (bomb-less) neighborhoods, productive work, a large screen TV, and a set of Arrested Development DVDs, he would not have a reason to turn to terrorism.

Those two are still with the kids, one text message after another. I call this situation dating a cyborg, because the person and the phone are one. How can you fix it?

Is that really how most people date? I don’t think that’s a fair assessment at all. When my wife and I leave kids with a sitter we have phones and almost never get nor send even one text message. So how do you fix it? I guess breaking your addiction to technology is right out?

Get rid of marriage. Marriage caused the family unit and then caused the broken family unit with no support.

Once again, marriage is a necessary condition for a broken family, not a cause. Also, removing the institution of family would then give kids many of the same issues that they get from a broken family.

Climate change? Totally a marriage problem. Marriage causes single family homes with too many cars, long commutes, and about 5X the wastefulness of a better-designed system.

This presupposes that suddenly people wouldn’t want space or a yard if they weren’t in a family. And that they would be more willing to share vehicles. And that they would obviously generate less waste. I do not believe these presuppositions have validity.

In my view – and I mean this literally, not satirically – marriage is the biggest contributor to mental health problems, crime, poverty, drug abuse, climate change, terrorism, violence, rape, incest, poor health, and ignorance. But you have been brainwashed to not see it.

In my view – and I mean this seriously, not in jest – the breakdown of marriage and the family is the biggest contributor to mental health problems, crime, poverty, drug abuse, climate change, terrorism, violence, rape, incest, poor health, and ignorance.

Anytime you weaken families, i.e. take responsibility away from parents and give kids to some bizarre bureaucracy, you cripple a child’s ability to succeed. You also cripple the parents’ growth.

No family is perfect, but family is the ideal vehicle for both parents and children to succeed, grow, and find fulfillment.

I know I have only mentioned a few of the benefits of family life. Maybe that’ll be a topic for another day.

Note on Mr. Adams’ note: I am VERY ANGRY about his article and Scott is an idiot. 😉

Also, the next day he posted something that essentially said, “If you disagree with me, then your brain isn’t functioning right.”

What to Give When The Invitation Says “No Gifts Please”

Dear Friend and/or Loved One, I know the invitation said, “No Gifts, Please!!” This is not a gift. You will know why in a moment. This quarter was new back in 1976. It was minted in Denver, after which it was machined-packaged and shipped to a bank in Ada, Oklahoma. The bank was destroyed by […]

Why it’s hard to start writing. (Again)

This week’s episode of writing excuses was the best one (for me as a writer) that I’ve heard in a long time. They talked about “Newton’s Laws of Writing” which as you would guess is Newton’s three laws expressed in writing terms. They are:

  1. A wordcount in motion tends to stay in motion. A wordcount at rest tends to stay at rest.
  2. Wordcount = Motivation x Focus
  3. When you put words down, the words “write back”, i.e. affect you as a writer. (This was my take away, even if it wasn’t exactly what they said.)

Also J. Dane Tyler talked about breaking inertia. So I have now been reminded to start writing. One futuristic dystopia coming up.

AudioScripter, version 2

A free tool for formatting audio drama scripts.

Surgery Done.

Okay, so I had surgery  this morning. I had two largish lipomas (fatty tumors) that have been causing me pain for a while. Now they belong to the medical establishment. The first thing I remember upon waking up was my anesthesiologist telling me that he thinks I have sleep apnea and I need to lose weight. […]

Okay, all caught up.

I’m done with all the reposting. Now I can move on to making new stuff! Also, I’m having a minor surgery on Monday. Minor it may be, but it’ll be the first since I had my wisdom teeth out when I was 18. Wish me luck & pray for me!

Internet Famous

Occasionally I am stricken with the urge to write bad poetry. *Now with audio!*

Verseless KJV Bible Project

Reader’s Edition of the King James Version of the Bible

What Makes a Man a Man?

Is it purely a biological function, or should it be something more?

The PUA and my Daughters

Pick up artists are jerks.

The Christmas Spirit

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for me to sit down with the kids and watch a bunch of Christmas favorites. The trouble is we started a bit early this year, and already watched them all. Now we have to crawl through netflix and the like searching for Christmas-themed entertainment. Needless to say, we have watched some real stinkers.

Often, the plot revolves around a curmudgeon who has “lost the Christmas Spirit.” Occasionally, spirits and angels get involved. Rarely does any character ever state exactly what the Christmas spirit is.

If you ask me, I say the Christmas spirit is love. Love for family, love for friends, love for neighbors, love for everybody. Why love? Well, Christmas is the time of year we remember Christ’s birth, and thus we remember His life. And his life was all about love. He served the downtrodden and forgave the worst of sinners. He taught that we are all neighbors, and we should love our neighbors as ourself.

And you know what? That’s a great message, even if you’re not Christian. Even if you don’t believe that Jesus really walked the earth, or that He was truly the Son of God. Even if He’s just a story in the Bible. There is still power and learning in a positive story, and what could be better than messages of love and forgiveness as taught by the life and parables of Christ.

So, dear movie and tv writers everywhere: don’t be afraid to mention the story of Christ, even if your work is mostly about Santa Claus. Isn’t more love really what we need most in the world?

The State is our Church

We treat the government like a religion. We might as well own up to it.

The Most Important Survival Skill

Seriously, learn it or die.

The Real Election Winner

You’ll never guess who it was. From way back in 2012.

Ghost Stories

I remember eight or ten years ago there was the “Ghost in a Jar” phenomenon. If you don’t know what that was all about, I’ll give you a synopsis. A guy screen-named teajay101 posted an add on Ebay, saying that he was selling a “Ghost in a Jar”, and in the description he told the […]

A Bulletproof Plan To Preserve Gun Rights

Sorry about the bad pun.

4 Lies your Parents told you about the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse

Sorry you had to hear this from me.

Haven’t I seen this before?

Over the next few days I’ll be moving some articles here that were originally posted a while ago on my other blog. As I have mentioned somewhere, I decided I only needed one site, so I’m merging the two. In other words, if you see articles that you’ve read before pop up in your rss reader, then I […]

New Theme is Enabled

Okay, I still have some post sorting to do, but this is the new theme. As you can tell, I’m a big fan of simplicity.

New theme is done.

Ok, so I have some stuff rearranging to do first, but I finished building a new theme for this site. Typography wise it is similar to the theme on my other site ( And speaking of that other site, I am going to merge all of it’s content here and then redirect it here. I […]

Merry Christmas! Have a Bedtime Book.

Merry Christmas, everybody! For Christmas I wrote my son a ridiculous bedtime book. Don’t tell him and ruin the surprise, please. I thought I’d go ahead and share it. Download a free pdf version by clicking the cover below. Alexander Adam Astronaut free pdf download. ~11mb A paperback version is available on Amazon, too. In other news, […]

I’m (Still) Alive.

Just in case anyone was wondering, I’m still alive. I’ve been pretty busy off the blog, though. I’ve been working hard on my latest book(s). I have one chapter and a half left to edit on my first fairy tale novel. I’m preparing things so I can migrate blogging platforms (because I’m insane). I’m 85% done […]

Ramblings on Christian Fiction and Movies.

These thoughts were all sparked by a post on my buddy Dane’s blog called The Christian Fiction Tightrope. I would have left it as a comment, but it just seemed far too long and rambling. I may throw some text from Dane’s original post in blockquotes. Here’s one now:

I’m a Christian, and I’m not shy about that, or ashamed of that in any way.

Like Dane, it’s no secret I’m Christian. Heck, I have a whole podcast filled with topics for Christian men. And yet no fiction I’ve ever written has action taking place in a church or deals with coming to God. I doubt there is anybody out there that would shelve my novels under “Christian fiction.”

…they don’t want a book with an altar call at the climax…

I wonder what people actually consider to be requirements for Christian fiction. Does it have to have an overtly Christian message? Does is just need Christian characters? Does it only need to have some kind of message supporting Christian values? As Dane sort of suggested, just done by a Christian author?

This is one thing Christian books – and movies, I suppose – do that ensures they stay locked into the subculture of believers only, and sit on the shelves of Christian bookstores without finding a wider audience: they preach to the choir.

As long as a story shies away from a ridiculous Deus Ex Machina ending (Deus Ex Caelum?) where God just solves the protagonist’s problems, I’m usually fine with a little preaching. I just wish the makers of Christian movies would be a little less heavy handed about it (See Kevin Sorbo’s deathbed repentance scene in God’s Not Dead) A little subtlety could be much more powerful. But I am grateful somebody is out there trying to make art with overt Christian themes.

And besides, I put up with all sorts of consequence-less immorality in the other media that I watch. And that’s basically just preaching for the other team. I can be “open minded” enough to enjoy fiction that has a strong political (either right or left) slant. I can even enjoy a show with a strong atheist character (Captain Malcolm Reynolds…) or two. I’d think others could still enjoy a comedy wherein Trace Adkins in biker’s leathers says, “It’s beautiful to watch one of God’s creations just doing what it was made to do.”

That’s not to say I think all Christian authors/creators should make art that always has a religious message.

That’s why I don’t write Christian fiction. If I get the theology right, the book probably will lose something fictionally. If I don’t get the theology right, I’m not going to want it to see the light of day.

For some reason when I read this, I thought of The Shack. That book played fast and loose with biblical doctrine, yet still sold like crazy. Not that I really think somebody should purposefully write false doctrine just to stir up controversy and sales. I don’t remember what my point here was.

I may post again on this if I have more thoughts.