Monday, February 28, 2011

As he walked through the woods the brambles and undergrowth wilted and shriveled away from his offensive breath like snowflakes on a hot stone. I have seen the forest part before his breath like the red sea parted before Moses and the Israelites.


The ethical criticism-

Many criticize planned dwarfism as being unethical. They claim that once we embark on the path towards planned dwarfism, it will be a slippery slope towards more sinister plans such as genetic engineering, euthanasia, or shortened life expectancies. However, dwarfism, in its proper context, should be viewed as an alternative to such plans and not as a precursor. Planned dwarfism is not, “playing God.” It is using our God-given intellect to address a crisis and effect positive change.

Friday, February 25, 2011


"But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God's unfailing love
for ever and ever."
Psalm 52:8
I like this one. It is vaguely reminiscent of a struggling banana republic, isn't it? Or perhaps a former colony in subsaharan Africa, which obtained freedom from Europe only to descend into a maddening cycle of sham elections, coups, and strongmen. Can't you just see it flying over a presidential palace, which stands in stark, gleeming contrast with the surrounding slums and shanties. Sandbag barricades and whip-thin men with AK-47's stand beneath the flag near a large, bullet-riddled mural of the great leader, and U.N. Peacekeepers patrol the streets in advance of elections, the outcome of which are doomed to be viewed with suspicion.
The keepers of the western door.

Vote on which flag you like best in the poll to the right.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


 The Boat Shoes have suffered a mortal wound, a gash along the outstep, and consequently they have been largely removed from the lineup. That's right, just largely removed. I know that most people would completely remove them, and throw them away, but they are still the sort of handy, slip-on footwear that is perfectly ideal for taking out the trash or running out to the car for something.
 My plan is to retire them this spring after the last frost. I will fill them with potting soil and plant flowers in them.
I am pleased to announce the arrival of a new pair of shoes to the team. I have purchased a pair of New Balance running shoes from Marshalls for $30.00. I hope to get back into jogging sometime soon. Jogging and bicycling are the only forms of excercise that I have been regular and disciplined about in years past. I actually really enjoy jogging, and my hope is to take it up again soon.  Welcome to the team "N Shoes."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


1. I wonder if a bunch of feral humans would stink worse than chimps or gorillas. Sometimes I think the stink of an unwashed human is worse than an animal smell. I bet chimps stink pretty bad though.

2. Feral humans? There are some problems with that term. Who is tame? Who is controlled? There are plenty who don't heed God, parents, spouses or the law. I suppose such could be called feral. That doesn't speak to the issue of personal hygiene and the human stink though.

3. Khaddafi can't be as unhinged as he looks. Can he? How could such a man remain at the helm if he didn't have command of himself. There must be more to the man than appearances, but why does he choose to appear as he does? Is that a cape he's wearing?

4. Why are hotdog buns so awful? It's just way too much bread in proportion ot the amount of hotdog.

5. All of these cars used to be brand new. For a time all of these cars were the apples of their owners' eyes. Somebody went onto a lot and out of all the lines of cars they picked out that one. Unbelievable that all of these were once brand new.


For my birthday, way back in January, the small group Bible study that Sarah and I host in our home, chipped in and got us a night on the town, which included:

-Dinner for 2 at the Hidden Village Chinese Restaurant.
- A gift card for two to the local movie theater.
-A room at the Idyllwild Inn
-And (This is the truly amazing part!) babysitting overnight!!!

We have the absolute best small group in the world! Not only are they very patient with me but I really couldn't ask for a more excellent group of people to get together with every week. Sarah and I feel tremendously blessed to have these wonderful (...and generous!) people in our lives. I look forward to Wednesday night every week. It is the highlight of my week. Thanks guys!!!

I have to give a special "Thank You!!!" to Connie and Mariah Benson for volunteering to watch our kids overnight. This whole adventure would not have been able to happen without that generous and selfless act. Sarah and I felt so comfortable leaving the kids in their care and they were so enthusiastic about doing it that we didn't even feel like we were burdening them. Thanks soooo much guys!

Here are Sarah and I prior to the arrival of our dinner (Bao-bao plate, shrimp fried rice, and drinks). 

Sarah's fortune- "You are a true romantic"
My fortune- "Chances of glamour and excitment are coming to you"
After dinner, we walked over to the Rustic Theater for the 7:00 pm showing of the film "127 Hours," which is the story of Aron Ralston- the rock climber who gut his arm stuck between a boulder and a cliff face, and who was eventually forced to amputate his own arm with a pocket knife to free himself. Sarah and I were both surprised at how much we enjoyed the film. I did not enjoy the scene where he drank his own urine.

Then after the movie we ambled back acros town to our room at the Idyllwild Inn. Once inside we found that our friends, Josh and Emily White, who also happen to own the inn, and who donated the room in the first place, had left us a present of Sparkling Cider on the kitchen counter. The Idyllwild Inn is super nice, which won't surprise anyone who knows Josh and Emily.  Some people just do things right. They're that sort, and Sarah and I are really glad to be their friends.  They really are just amazing people.

Sarah and I had a really nice evening just hanging out without the kids. I'm so thankful to God for my wife, Sarah. Not only is she the most beautiful woman in town, but I truly couldn't ask for a better companion and partner. She's fun!

The room, #20, described in the Inn's website as a rustic suite,  was absolutely "Top Shelf," with a comfortable queen-size bed, fully furnished living room, kitchenette, and flat screeen TV, but Sarah and I were both in agreement that our favorite feature was the room's jacuzzi tub.

Sarah and I have decided to be more purposeful in carving out time to be alone together. We have had babies in the mix for almost eight years now, and we had almost forgotten what it was like to just be Josh and Sarah. Times like this allow us to reconnect as a couple. It think it's important, and even if it weren't important, it is certainly fun! It was really good to get away like that, and Sarah and I are so grateful for everyone who helped make it happen.


This man claims to have been continuously bearded for "about thirty years," and he advised that his beard was even longer until recently when he accidentally caught it on fire with a cigarette.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


"She was a real Texas woman*, you know what I mean? That's what attracted me to her, but it was always the problem as well."
So said a man with a British accent who was not dressed in a seasonally appropriate way (T-shirt, shorts and sneakers sans socks. It's snowy here in the San Jacks!) to a second man who was carrying some lengths of Manzanita wood, which he had apparently harvested himself for some unknown purpose. This second man was dressed in a manner commensurate to current meteorological trends. Outside the Post Office, Idyllwild, CA.

*Strangely enough, after overhearing the above quote I continued down to Fairway Market where I observed a book in the "Leave a Book, Take a Book" bin entitled "Texas Woman." Sarah is not a Texas Woman, which is exactly what has always attracted me to her, but that is sometimes a problem as well. I was tempted to take "Texas Woman" home and give it a read in an effort to gain some insight into the Briton's situation, but its cover was pink and looked like a bodice-buster romance so I thought better of it. If any of you readers are interested in acquiring a copy of "Texas Woman" I'm willing to wager it's still there in the bin at Fairway. I would be willing to procure it for you and send it along free of charge by way of the U.S. postal service free if you so requested.


The aesthetic objection-

This is the most trivial of the criticisms that I have been presented with. Many object to planned dwarfism on the grounds that they do not find dwarves attractive. This is ridiculous, and I would not even address the issue were it not for the fact that it is such a common objection. When we talk of planned dwarfism we are referring to proportionate dwarves which are equally proportioned individuals. In other words, proportionate dwarves are exactly like today’s population only smaller. Also, dwarfism would be imposed upon an entire generation, so a dwarf would not necessarily be at a reproductive disadvantage. Finally, society’s concept of what is attractive in a person is in a constant state of flux, and can even vary from region to region within the same country. It is irrational to deduce that because our society currently finds dwarfism unattractive that an entire generation of dwarfed individuals would find one another unattractive.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The wind is inciting the trees,
And they're altogether riotous.
I don't know what the wind is saying
But you can be sure it's scandalous!
The lovely Earth has two suitors,
The somber Moon and vibrant Sun,
And as she dances on her axis
She asks herself, "Which one? Which one?"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Redskins Week 16: Obi-Wan Skinsobi


This morning I found a chain of tracks in the mud, coyote I think. They crossed the field next to my office in a purposeful way, straight ahead and deliberate. I followed them until they came to a place where they ended amidst scattered fur, rabbit I think. The evidence of a kill spoke to me of success. I was glad for the coyote, excited even. I suppose the scene could of just as easily spoken to me of the rabbit's failure, but I thought of success first. Perhaps that was because I had been following the coyote's tracks and had thus come to view this as its story. So I viewed the killing of the rabbit from the coyote's perspective- a triumph! I wonder though, if I had been following the rabbit's tracks first, instead of the coyote's, would I have been preconditioned to view the spot where they met as a sad sort of tragedy?

I think probably.

It made me question my response to world events, sports, and interpersonal conflict. Are all my feelings of anguish and elation just a matter of perspective? Is it all just the stuff of prejudice?

What is the correct perspective? Who is right? Who is wrong? What is the truth? God alone sees things perfectly. God's perspective must be true for He is truth. We all are naked before Him. He is the one who will one day lay bare all that has been done in the open and in secret, and judge it in perfect righteousness.

That's the view from my house.

But how often do I see things from God's perspective? Certainly not always. I would dare say, not even most of the time. My heart is up and down, it's all around, it spins and dances like a drunken thing. How can I get God's perspective? I want to see things from His angle. I want the peace and confidence that must come from such a vantage point.

I believe the key is God's word. The bible. What a harbor for the wave-tossed heart is the Bible. What a rock of certainty and truth. I have often run to it like a ship before the storm, and found an unrivaled peace in the safety of that harbor. It is God's perspective.

My fallen heart is a wind-blown and fickle thing, that's true, like a tuft of disembodied bunny fur swept aloft, and if I am not purposeful in my efforts to view things from God's perspective, renewing my mind daily through the study of His word, my heart will inevitably stray in its affections. I will be tempted to cooperate with the enemy, and make a peace with this world, to see things from its perspective. Maybe even to agree with that perspective. I don't ever want to drift into a position opposite the Almighty.

I have purposed in my heart to train my affections on the things of God through the disciplined study of His word, giving thanks to Him for rememembering that I am made of dust and for forgiving me when I stray. I am God's man, but all of my sinful inclinations threaten to sabotage the defenses of my heart like a traitor within.

"Search me O' God and know my heart
Test me and know my anxious thoughts
See if there is any offensive way in me
And lead me in the way everlasting."

Psalm 139:23-24

Monday, February 14, 2011




If the size of the average person is cut in half, then what are we to do with the existing products and infrastructure which were built with the proportions of today’s person in mind? Once again the ability of a market economy driven by profit motive to iron out these wrinkles should not be underestimated. The same answer can be extended to those jobs, such as logging or commercial fishing, which are strenuous or physically demanding tasks. If there is sufficient demand for a product or service, the market will find a way to provide it at a reasonable cost. For example, Pepsi, “The choice of the next generation,” would repackage its product in smaller cans and bottles. Footstool sales would go through the roof. One company in a major metropolitan area could do very well simply revamping stairways or modifying furniture. Another company might cut new doors into existing ones, or specialize in lowering cupboards. I am confident that for any problem, which would result from existing goods and infrastructure, there is an entrepreneur with a solution. For where there is a potential for profit there is a way. If anything, planned dwarfism has the potential of sparking a worldwide economic boom unparalleled in human history.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


We flirted like skirmishers meeting in the woods ahead of our respective armies- fumbling our way through the dense woods in a tense reconnoiter to ascertain the others exact position, and the strength of their numbers. The unspoken message in the engagement was that the full weight and passion of our hearts was on the march, and would soon be there- both of us stood determined to fly our flag over the other, yet also content at the prospect of being conquered.

"I've never been on a date," I said.

"Maybe I should help you practice," came her reply


...but I've decided to stand pat, and see this hideous background through until after Valentine's day. I'm increasingly convinced that a man should finish what he sets out to do, and I have purposed in my heart to keep it red until then in honor of the holiday.

I know that red is the color of love, but that is an artificial construct. In my mind, red is not truly the color of the love that Sarah and I enjoy. I think if I could reassign a new color to love I would probably say that love is as gold as a bright tomorrow, as green as money in the bank, as purple as an easy, comfortable silence, or perhaps even as brown as a rich soil from which four beautiful trees would grow. 

Red is the color of anger and injury. It also invokes memories for me of papers returned all marked up by a teacher's pen, and of communist revolutions. For those of you who are spiritually minded, I'm aware of the significance of Christ's blood ( and by extension the color red) as the purest expression of love, but I write without an ounce of concern for theological correctness. My mind can embrace that thought, and I do agree with it of course, but my heart won't follow suit. I reject red on a gut level as the color of love. It just doesn't sit right with me. Red has too much baggage.

(It also doesn't feel right as the BFZ's background. The black background gave the feel of entering a 24-hour diner for some midnight pie. It felt right. This feels wrong. Don't worry, on Tuesday everything will be back to normal. Anyone up for some midnight pie?)
If I had suffered heartbreak
I would be a better poet
So you see, my Dear,
You are at fault
When my words fall short.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Outside are the storms and strangers: we-
Oh close, safe, warm sleep I and she,
-I and she!
Robert Browning

"Love does not consist
In gazing at each other,
But in looking outward
In the same direction."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery


1. Patrick Ewing is the sweatiest man I've ever seen.

2. Rod Blagojevich's hair is like a reverse halo.

3. A sneeze is kind of like vomiting in that it builds and builds and then explodes, but unlike nausea, the whole process of sneezing feels good. Why would I take a medicine to prevent sneezing? Every time is like a gift.

4. I like a nice forehead.

5. Why would I buy these paintings in this catalog when full color versions of the paintings are included in miniature inside the catalog? I'll just keep the catalog in my desk. That way I can take it out whenever I want and look at all of the free paintings. Bam! It's a poor man's museum, this catalog.

6. The only cool thing about velcro is that it is vaguely futuristic, but velcro just isn't classy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Last night I was scrubbing a pan which I had used earlier that morning to make the kids some oatmeal. Right-Now-Josh screwed Future-Josh again and failed to rinse out the oatmeal remnants before it had the chance to harden and stick to the side of the pan with the bonding power of some industrial strength mortar. It would have only taken a few seconds and considerably less elbow grease for Right-Now-Josh to rinse it out, but Nooooo, he got distracted or something. Right-Now-Josh is always doing jerky things like that, and Future-Josh is always angry at him for his lack of consideration. He only thinks in the moment. It's very frustrating.

Anyway, I started scraping the pan with the abrasive side (green) of the sponge (#1 above), but that wasn't strong enough to do the job. So I took up the scrubbing brush (#2 above) which likewise failed to remove the hardened bits of old oatmeal. (Curse you, Right-Now-Josh!!!) So I reached for the nuclear option (#3 above) whose relentless application combined with the continuous flow of warm water from the tap won the day.

I found myself wondering why I don't always start with #3. Why bother with #1 and #2? Why this graduated approach? #1 and #2 have their place perhaps with dishes whose delicate construction or non-stick surface might be damaged by #3's abrasive nature. But for other dishes it doesn't make any sense at all to start with a lesser scrubbing utensil. From now on I'm showing up to every scrubbing challenge loaded for bear. No more half measures. I'm going straight to #3 every time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Falling in love with the world is much
Like falling asleep in the snow-
It's a death by degrees.
For its comfortably subtle touch
Is Poison-sure and fifty below-
Stay awake lest you freeze!


"Stars are holes that have been cut
Into the fabric of the sky,
And the light shining through
Is from a source on the other side.

You can't see stars from dawn to dusk
When the sun is shining bright
For beyond the veil in a parallel world
It is the source of starlight."


Today, we are experiencing some truly lovely weather here in Idyllwild. It actually feels exactly like a fall day. Sunny but just a little cool, like you want a sweater on, but not so cold that you need it. Perfect weather. I decided to walk to the post office with the camp's mail. As I walked out the camp's entrance towards town I passed a man walking in the opposite direction. It was one of those awkward deals where you see each other coming, you realize you're the only two human beings in sight, You're getting closer and closer, and you're both wondering if the other party will initiate some sort of interaction (head nod, smile, hello, etc...).

Right in front of the laundromat we made eye contact, and I thought "in for penny in for a pound" so I proceeded to smile and say "hello." Nothing. He just stared right through me and walked past in stoney-silence. Like I wasn't even there!!!

That pissed me off. It really did. Who does that? We're not on the internet or something. I was a real, live person. I looked him in the eye, smiled and said "hello." The nerve of that guy. He just ignored me. We live in a society, sir! I wondered if he regretted his shabby non-response as we drifted past each other in awkward silence. I regretted not leaving for the post office five minutes later than I did so I could have missed this shifty misanthrope altogether.

I continued on, eventually meeting a man in front of the Idyllwild Water District Building, a woman in front of the liquor store, a second woman in front of The Greek Place Restaurant and two more men at the Post Office.

Of those six individuals who I greeted in passing guess how many returned in kind- JUST TWO!!! They were the two ladies.

Four of them, the four men, acted like I was a leper. This is the stuff that separates us from the barbarians, people!

We should greet people in passing and return said greetings. Am I right about that?

Monday, February 7, 2011


With the Superbowl finally in the rearview mirror I can finally declare the 2010 NFL season "in the books." And good riddance. Another rough year for my beloved Redskins, but hope springs eternal...

...for in this moment the Skins are once more undefeated and the 2011 season is like a gift as yet unwrapped.


(Confused? Wondering what is this all about? Click here to get the gist of it.)

The Natural Hazards criticism-

This criticism points at natural hazards in our environment, such as bears, hurricanes or hail, and concludes that mankind has a hard enough time facing these hazards as we are. How much harder would it be if we were half our present size? They claim that to a bear we would be snack-size, and hurricanes would blow us around like tumbleweed. Large hail could knock us unconscious. I answer this criticism in two ways.

Firstly, the number of dwarfed individuals that may or may not fall victim to natural hazards seems trivial compared to the alternative, which is the famine, drought, and pestilence which would inevitably come with an overpopulation crisis.

Secondly, mankind’s survival has never been contingent on our size or strength. It appears to me that if that was all man had going for him we would have long since gone extinct. It is our intellect which sets us apart, and which is our greatest asset against the often hostile world in which we live. Also, one should never underestimate the ability of a market economy driven by profit motive to overcome these problems.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


With Reagan's 100th birthday upon us there has been a lot in the news recently about our 40th president. I went back into the BFZ's archives and retrieved this post from January, 2009 about when I (little 10 year old Josh Tate) first understood that Reagan wasn't going to be President anymore. Happy Birthday, Gipper!


...but not increased government spending.

In general, when it comes to politics I consider myself a pure conservative, and that's not because I am keen to appear a certain way, but because it is, in my opinion, the right side of the argument.

As a fiscal conservative, you would normally find me a staunch advocate of tax cuts. Even though I am not a person of means and have no immediate plans to become one, I even support tax policies which reward the nation's job-creators for their successes. I think most progressive tax policies are just a scheme to punish success and redistribute wealth, and like Lincoln said, "You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong." Liberal tax policies are misguided and short-sighted. Disagree with me if you want, but that's the view from my house. I am one of those shamefully small-hearted people who supports tax cuts for the rich (or as I tend to think of them "job creators"), and by saying that publicly I put myself, in the minds of some, just a step below Darth-Vader.

Having said that, you may be surprised to hear that I have been dismayed since the midterm elections that few conservatives have emerged advocating dramatic tax increases across the board. It runs contrary to my DNA as a fiscal conservative, but I think it is what we need right now. We need to increase government revenue while making real cuts in spending. It's not because I think the Government makes wise use of its tax revenue that we should give it more. No, not that at all. It's because they have behaved like a teenager with Daddy's credit card, and are now buried in a debt so crippling that it threatens both our present and future as a nation. We have to pay down this debt, but making payments isn't enough if we fail to stop spending this way. We also need to slam on the brakes hard! This issue of being brave enough to cut those sacred cows is what Obama has effectively dared the republicans in the congress to do. "Go on," he is saying, "commit political suicide by cutting medicare, social security, and my healthcare plan. I dare you!" Republicans are put in an impossibly tight spot. They could forward plans to cut these sacred cows, which Obama would bravely veto, and then be pilloried in 2012 for making that effort. they're truly damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they do what must be done there are likely to be dire consequences in the next election cycle. Doing the right thing may just ensure that Obama gets reelected. I'm done with all of this jockeying and strategizing. Just do the right thing and let the chips fall. I would get behind temporary tax increases and decreased government services for the purposes of retiring national debt, but I am filled with an impotent rage when I think about increased taxes to fund a government that is already morbidly obese and ravenously hungry for more.

Mine is just a single voice among the millions, but to the republican leadership I say, "As far as I am concerned, you are released to hike taxes and cut spending to the bone. To the bone, I say!!! I will not punish you. It must be done. Go with my blessing."

The "greatest generation" understood that sacrifices had to be made for the national good during WWII, and indeed they may be called on to sacrifice again, but if they don't, if we don't, than all that they fought for will be reduced to a line in the history books- the eulogy of a nation. I have the same understanding today. I am not so spoiled that I think we can have our cake and eat it too. Lets do what needs to be done. I'll still vote for you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Greetings from Chico, CA!!! I am a big believer in top-down management. It's like I always say, "if you want to get something done you have to start at the top," and, you sir, are at the top. So I'm starting with you. Some might argue that I should begin by addressing my representative in congress or even the local city council, but I am firmly persuaded that this would only serve to waste my time and theirs. 

There is a debate raging across this nation, and I feel it is imperative that you, as our nation's leader, take a firm and unapolegtic stand. I am referring, of course, to the old couch vs. sofa debate. I am a couch person, and I feel that people who insist on referring to couches as sofas are frankly unamerican. Who do they think they are? In a spirit of deference to some older Americans, with whom I am pleased to be acquainted, I have occasionally called couches, "Davenports," but never sofa. Never!

If you would please consider directing the White House Staff and the nation's armed services to refrain from referring to couches as sofas I feel that it would go a long way towards persuading those backward pockets of the population to follow course. The weight of your example here cannot be underestimated. The nation is looking to you.

Thank you for entertaining my letter,


Sharon Rose Paulson