Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hiromi's pages have been updated!! To see Hiromi's latest birthday collage or monthly pics of Hiromi from 2011 & 2012 click on one of the buttons below!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Birthday pages have been updated with Hiromi's 4th birthday and Miyuki's 6th birthday! Click the buttons below to visit them!
.
...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

LIFESTYLE - TRUTH FOR MATURE HUMANS

LIFESTYLE - TRUTH FOR MATURE HUMANS
Written by The Radical
.

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Star Wars Room

In mid July of this year our house was foreclosed on. We are now living with our in-laws (whom we are very grateful to!) One of the hardest things about the quick move was packing up my room... my Star Wars room. I have finally, FINALLY started a page showing what it looked like. It's slow going, there're a lot of pictures to go through. But if you're interested in the former glory to all things Star Wars in the the Johnson-Cordray house, please click on the Star Wars button.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's NOT "We the people... of God"

Godless Constitution: Constitutional Law without Gods or Religion
.
Before presenting the facts as to why the Constitution is NOT a "Christian" document, nor was it based on Christian morals, ethics, etc. here is a definition of those who insist otherwise, the Christian Right:
.
The Christian right (also known as the religious right and the evangelical bloc) is a term used predominantly in the United States of America to describe a spectrum of right-wing Christian political and social movements and organizations characterized by their strong support of conservative social and political values.
.
The politically active social movement of the Christian right includes individuals from a wide variety of conservative theological beliefs, ranging from traditional movements within Baptist, Mormon, and Calvinist organizations to groups within Lutheranism, Calvinism and Catholicism that are more theologically conservative than the denominations as a whole.
.
The Christian right is contrasted with the Christian left, a spectrum of left-wing Christian political and social movements which largely embrace public policies of social justice.
.
The Christian Right is a movement that has been difficult to define due to the heterogeneity of the movement. Although views are virtually unanimous on certain issues such as abortion, some contrasting viewpoints can be found among people who identify themselves as members of the Christian Right. For example, there is dissent regarding issues such as capital punishment and global warming.
..
God, the Constitution, and the Christian Right:
.
The Christian Right regularly claims that America is a “Christian Nation” and was founded on Christian principles. If this is the case, then those principles should be identifiable in America’s founding legal document, the Constitution. If the Constitution explicitly reflects Christian principles and doctrines, then the Christian Right is correct that America was founded on Christianity; otherwise, their claims are wishful thinking at best. So where are God and religion in the Constitution?
.
No Religious Tests:
.
Article VI says: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." In practice this prohibition was often violated, and even today there are unenforceable prohibitions in state constitutions against atheists holding public office. If America is a Christian Nation, why weren't public offices limited to Christians, or even particular types of Christians? Why weren't public offices limited solely to monotheists or to theists?
.
Sundays Excepted Clause:
.
Some take hope from Article 1, Section 7, Clause 2 which gives the president an extra day to deal with a bill from Congress if the 10th day falls on Sunday — known as the "Sundays Excepted Clause." Is this an establishment of the Christian sabbath and thus of Christianity? No, it was a recognition of the fact that many Christians wouldn't work on this day and that an extra day may be needed. It must be noted that at this time, the government continued to deliver mail on Sundays.
.
In the Year of Our Lord?:
.
At the end of the Constitution, the date is prefaced with "in the year of our Lord." Is this an expression of the fundamental role played by Jesus and Christianity in the Constitution? No, this was just the standard dating convention. It's no more significant than using BC and AD when writing dates now. At most, it's an example of the cultural importance of Christianity at the time; it's not a sign of the political or philosophical importance of Christianity to the Constitution.
.
Myth:
.
The Constitution refers to Christianity and Jesus.
.
Response:
.
Accommodationists and others opposed to the separation of church and state sometimes argue that government support and defense of Christianity is justified because the American Constitution refers to Christianity: in Article VII, the Constitution is dated with the words "the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven." What relevance does this point have for the debate over religious liberty? Absolutely none. This was simply the dating convention, not an ideological statement.
.
Yes, the authors and signers of the Constitution relied upon a dating system which marks as its beginning the birth of the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ. Yes, it was custom at the time of the Constitution to set forth dates by writing them out in long hand and to use the phrase "the Year of our Lord." It would have been odd for the document to be dated any other way.
.
None of this would allow us to conclude that any or all of the authors and signers were Christian (though they were), much less that they considered Jesus Christ their "Lord" or that they regarded him as somehow the sovereign over the government. Quite the opposite, in fact: the Constitution is designed to ensure the sovereignty of the people, not of any religious figure.
.
Moreover, if the use of this phrase was designed to communicate a favored status for Christianity, why use such an obscure method coming at the very end of the document? Had the authors wished to establish Christianity as a partner with the American government, or even to send the message that Christianity occupied some foundation or inspirational role for the government, they could have done so much more explicitly and in dozens of more substantive ways. However, they did not — and that silence speaks very loudly.
.
Days, Months, Years
.
In addition, if a Christian really wants to argue that the use of Christian dating implies a Christian basis to the government, they're in a lot of trouble because the names of the months and days have pagan rather than Christian origins. Although even conservative Christians today don't give this a second thought, it was evidently a source of some consternation of Quakers who refused to use the pagan-based names.
.
Nevertheless, the authors of the Constitution refused to employ the Quaker numerical system and chose instead to stick with the standard pagan names for days and months — just as they used the standard Christian way of marking the year. This suggests that the authors really didn't read much into such naming conventions, effectively undermining the argument that the phrase "Year of our Lord" has any significance worth discussing.
.
Ultimately, anyone using a dating method to argue against church/state separation generally or against the secular nature of the Constitution in particular is engaged in a transparently desperate exercise. It's the sort of argument that a person reaches for only after absolutely every other option has been shut down or if they are so completely ignorant that they just can't recognize the difference between reasonable and unreasonable arguments.
.
Oaths and Affirmations:
.
The Constitution requires elected official take oaths or affirmations before serving; was this understood as an example of the importance of swearing an oath to God? No — if it was meant to get people to swear an oath to God because only theists could be trusted, the Constitution would have said so (and would not have banned religious tests for public office). Oaths can be taken on more than the Bible and God; the choice of using an affirmation signals that religious oaths were not privileged.
.
First Amendment: Free Exercise:
.
The first amendment to the Constitution protects the free exercise of religion. It does not protect just the free exercise of Christianity nor does it suggest that Christianity and Christians should be have special protections and privileges. The authors used the term "religion," meaning that all religions have exactly the same status before the law and the government. If they had thought that Christianity were special, they'd have said so; instead, they treated it like every other religion.
.
First Amendment: No Establishment:
.
The first amendment to the Constitution also prohibits the government from "establishing" any religion. The meaning of "establishment" is hotly debated and some insist that it merely means that the government can't create a national religion. This reading is too narrow and would make the clause all but meaningless. To have relevance, it must mean that the government can't favor, endorse, promote, or support any religions just as it can't hinder any: it must remain as neutral as possible.
.
We the People:
.
The American Constitution begins with the phrase "We the People," and its significance cannot be overlooked. This establishes that sovereign power rests with the people and that all government power and authority derives from the consent of the people. It's a repudiation of older Eurpean ideas that governments are established by God and derive their power or authority from God (for example, the divine right of kings). It's also thus a repudiation of the Christian Right's arguments today.
.
The American Constitution is Godless, Religionless:
.
No matter how hard conservative apologists for the Christian Right try, they cannot locate endorsements of religion, God, theism, or Christianity in the Constitution. At no point does the Constitution exhibit anything less than a fully secular, godless character. The American Constitution was a novel experiment in the creation of a secular government on the basis of popular sovereignty and democratic principles. All of this would be undermined by the Christian Right.
.
God, Deism, and the Authors of a Secular Constitution:
.
The authors of the American Constitution were not atheists, though some might be regarded as little more than atheists by self-righteous religious moralizers today. Many of the authors were deists. Among those who were Christian, few seem to have held same sort of religious beliefs common with conservative evangelicals in America today. The Christian Right would claim them as religious brethren, but the two groups are far too dissimilar for that.
.
Why does the Christian Right seek to make a big deal out of the religious beliefs of the authors of the Constitution, though? They seem to think that if these men can be identified as devout Christians, then it follows that the Constitution is a Christian document which embodies Christian principles and doctrines (as defined by the Christian Right, of course). This does not follow, however. A Christian is every bit as capable of creating a godless, secular document as an atheist is.
.
Indeed, the fact that many of these men were devout Christians (even if not in the way that the Christian Right imagines) bolsters the case of contemporary secularists because it makes the absence of overt religious and Christian language all the more glaring. If they had mostly been atheists, the non-religious language would be expected and unremarkable. Yet because they were religious and steeped in Christian education, the absence of Christian language and references must be read as both deliberate and purposeful.
.
What might that purpose have been? To establish a secular government, untainted by the many problems which sectarian divisions, religious violence, and Christian bigotry had inflicted on European nations. For the most part the authors of the Constitution succeeded. Why does the Christian Right work so hard to undermine and undo what America's founders accomplished?
.
Christianity vs. The Constitution - Christian Principles in the Constitution?
It's a Myth that the Constitution Reflects Christian Principles, Morals
.
Myth:
.
The Constitution reflects Christian principles and morals.
.
Response:
.
Opponents of church/state separation sometimes claim that the Constitution embodies or reflects fundamental Christian morals and principles. Their point seems to be that we should regard the Constitution as a Christian document, not as a secular document. Since the Constitution is the foundation of the American government, the implication is that American government is Christian in nature, not secular, and so it's only right if Christian beliefs are promoted by the state. Is any of this true?
.
Although the argument seems to flow relatively smoothly, the opening premise stands on very shaky ground. For one thing, it is clear that there is no obvious and unequivocal statement in the Constitution which specifies the importance or even relevance of Christian principles or morals — at no point is Christianity in any way singled out as a basis for any provision, principle, or institution. Therefore, anyone who wants to argue that Christianity is indeed present in that text must provide well supported and reasonable interpretations.
.
Biblical vs. Constitutional Government
.
One of the most common interpretations offered by opponents of church/state separation is that the government structures created by the Constitution reflect governing principles outlined in the Bible. For example, it is argued that the tripartite separation of powers and system of checks and balances was derived from Isaiah 33:22, "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King; he will save us." Such a link, however, seems like little more than wishful thinking — there is just no good reason to imagine that any of the authors read that verse and felt inspired to dived the American government into legislative, judicial and executive branches.
.
The fact of the matter is, the Bible does not provide for any specific form of government outside of, perhaps, a monarchy — exactly the system of government which the founders of America fought to separate themselves from (and even then, the example of the monarchy is only in the Old Testament, not the Christian New Testament). Any attempt to link biblical passages with the Constitution requires a great deal of imagination and a considerable dependence upon metaphor. Curiously, such an argument is often offered by fundamentalists who tend to rely heavily on literalist rather than metaphorical interpretations of the Bible.
.
The Constitution also does not embody the Ten Commandments in any way, another common argument from those who claim that the Constitution is linked to Christianity. As a matter of fact, it should be pointed out that the first two of the Ten Commandments are effectively repudiated because the Constitutional protection of religious freedom allows people to worship various gods, not to mention make and worship graven images.
.
Another problem with the claim that the Constitution embodies Christian principles lies in Article VI, which stipulates that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." If the authors of the Constitution did indeed wish to create a document designed to favor Christianity, why would religious tests (common in the colonies at the time) be specifically forbidden?
.
Complaints About a Secular Constitution
.
The Constitution is, in fact, unusually secular for the time when it was written. That this was very obvious to the people at the time can be seen in the fact that so many Christian preachers stood up and attacked it specifically because it lacked any overt protection or promotion of Christianity. A favorite target seems to have been the prohibition of any religious tests for public offices — many Christian leaders wanted religious tests on the national level as well as the state level.
.
Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, in their book The Godless Constitution, quote an article widely reprinted at the time which complained that, without religious tests, the following would have a say in politics: "1st. Quakers, who will make the blacks saucy, and at the same time deprive us of the means of defence - 2dly. Mahometans, who ridicule the Trinity - 3dly. Deists, abominable wretches - 4thly. Negroes, the seed of Cain - 5thly. Beggars, who when set on horseback will ride to the devil - 6thly. Jews etc. etc."
.
Kramnick and Moore quote a number of others who wrote in newspapers at the time; many reflect the above concern with Quakers whose pacifism and anti-slavery stance seems to have given many the sort of shudders which are today reserved for the most extreme "cults." Writers complained about how the authors of the Constitution showed "general disregard of" and "cold indifference towards religion."
.
One person observed that the "Constitution is destical in principle, and in all probability the composers had no thought of God in all their conclusions." What a difference two centuries make: this is exactly the argument made by separationists today while fundamentalist Christians, the theological and intellectual heirs of the quoted individual, vigorously argue exactly the opposite. So conservative Christians complained that the Constitution was too secular when it was being voted on, but now that they are stuck with it contemporary conservative Christians argue that their religion and beliefs are actually embedded in the text after all.
.
In closing, I would like to note that I did not write any of this myself. Someone far more educated and specializing in knowing the Constitution backward & forward did. And while I myself am an atheist, I do not have a problem with others of society worshiping their gods. What I DO have a problem with is misinformation.
.
For most adults who believe in falsities such as the Constitution being based on Christianity, it's not because they are unintelligent but rather misinformed, probably since childhood when other Christian adults told them so. After all, I believed my dad could fly when I was a child until I later learned the facts on aerodynamics vs. my father's human limitations.
.
Christians, just like Muslims & Jews & Hindus, etc. pick & choose what they like & dislike with their religion & religious documents to fit their lifestyles, just as we atheists do. But I hope that the theists, like we atheists, can accept facts when faced with proof.
.
My goal with this post is not to put down Christians. I want to educate those who have never been informed before now so that they don't continue to distribute this religious urban legend.
.
Happy voting day!

NOVEMBER updates!!!

Years of Miyuki 2010 has been updated!
.

.
For the entire page, 2004 - 2010, click on the button:

Years of Hiromi 2010 has also been updated!
.

.
For the entire page, 2006 - 2010, click on the button:

There is 1 new Versus picture--it's a "special" one.
.

.
For the entire page of Versus pictures, click the button:

Three new Sisters pictures have been added.
.

.
For the entire page of Sisters pictures, click on the button:

And finally we have the Halloween 2010 pictures:
.

.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Much Photos Update

The Years of Miyuki has been updated with her June picture. Click on the button on the Miyuki button to go to that page & take a look.
.
The Years of Hiromi has likewise been updated with Hiromi's June picture so please click on the Hiromi button to go to that page for a peek.
.
There is a new Miyuki VS Hiromi picture called "Smile!" so please click on the Versus button to go to the Versus page to see that one, however please note that it's underneath another new VS picture... but this one doesn't involve Miyuki or Hiromi but rather my cats! So that's actually 2 new Versus pics!
.
And finally there is a new Johnson-Cordray Family Portrait. It's wet & watery & a good representation of an Arizona family... taken in the pool! Click on the happy Family Portraits button to go and check us out!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Screw Jenny Craig!!

Since my post on Facebook about my weight loss (61 lbs in 4 1/2 months), I've been congratulated & questioned (even warned!) But the 2 things that I've been asked the most are:
.
.........#1. How did you do it?
.........#2. Do you have pictures?
.
Well... the pictures part is easy because I've been keeping a journal & putting my before/after pics in it has been a fun part of it! The "how" part is not so easy because I have a nearly 200 page journal chronicling "how" I did it. However, in a recent email to a friend, I gave her the short version of 200 pages without any specifics. It's probably exactly what everyone's already heard before but was hoping that I was going to say I discovered a magic pill (I know that until I started dieting, that's what I was waiting for!).
.
So below are thumbnails to some of my before/after pics. There will undoubtedly be more to come! And as for "how", here is what I said in the email to my bud:
.
"Losing weight is 90% diet & 10% exercise. You can work-out all day long but not lose a lb if your diet sucks. I haven’t exercised ONCE since starting & I’ve lost over 60 lbs. It’s all about food quantity & quality. To LOSE weight, you HAVE to eat less... or “diet”. To maintain your weight without gaining you have to have a good diet. That word is so subjective, don’t you think? In the beginning I ate less, or “dieted”, in order to lose the lbs. Over time I began to make small changes to WHAT I ate in order to make it easier to transition to a day-to-day (for-the-rest-of-my-life) healthful diet when I stop “dieting”. What I’ve learned along the way (research, trail & error, etc) has been astounding!"
.

.
>> In the 1st pic (purple) I ended up wearing the exact same outfit on both of my little girls' birthdays! This was totally by accident but you can already see the difference between the 2.
.
>> The 2nd pic was staged... @ least the second pic of the 2nd pic (swirly shirt). I was @ the zoo on the left, then I grabbed the same clothes I wore that day & went in the backyard, had my hubby position me & took the one on the right.
.
>> For the 3rd & 4th pics (solid black shirt) the left side is Xmas day & the right side shows me in the 1st outfit I've bought in a "normal" store (i.e. NOT a Lane Bryant or other fat store). I then posed in my new outfit & felt the comparisons were pretty good... so there they are.
.