Friday, May 9, 2008

The Duggars Are At It Again

Today, I read that the Duggars, Jim Bob and Michelle are expecting another baby, their 18th. He is a real estate agent and sometime politician, she, obviously, a stay at home mom. When I first heard of these folks they had sixteen children and had "outgrown" their home. They were expecting number seventeen and building a new home to house their ever growing family.

The Duggars are very religious and traditional, dressing their sons conservatively, but not overly so. Their daughters, however, wear the more traditional garb of the more conservative religious groups. They wear long dresses and skirts at all times and swimsuits more related to the early twentieth century. The children are well mannered and appear to be well behaved, at least in front of the TV cameras. They are talented and intelligent, and are home schooled.

I often wonder what motivates their behavior in these modern times. They are definitely not withdrawn from society and embrace modern traditions and inventions, unlike some other conservative religious groups . What motivates them to continue to have children? Michelle is now forty-one years of age and has been pregnant for eleven years of her life. Her husband says they will continue to have children "as long as God wills it."

For the last few years, the Duggars have been appearing on the Today Show and in a television series on the Discovery Health Channel. Discovery Health maintains a website ( to keep their "fans" up to date on their activities. You can log on and help name the eighteenth child.

I have begun to wonder if they aren't having children these days to keep their reality series going, thus bringing in the funding to support the family. After all, these are the days of "branding" and sponsorships. How long before there is the Duggar clothing line and the official baby food of the Duggars? Will there be spin offs, when the older ones marry and begin to over produce? Details during the next hour...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ramblings from Road Atlanta to Eight Belles to Yet Another Primary

The past weekend my son and I attended the "Mitty" historic races at Road Atlanta. What a great day of entertainment for only $60, including parking! No unruly, impolite crowd to endure, just a day of soaking up the sun and hours of good road racing with a great collection of historic race cars and even a few historic drivers like Jack Baldwin, Elliot Forbes-Robinson, and Jim Downing. Sports car racing is so much more fun than the NASCAR money grubbing and whining drivers and fans. We enjoyed the paddock, inspecting race cars at our leisure and moving around the track, enjoying the races from different perspectives. It is even fun to see what the fans are driving.

Our next trip will be the 10 hour Petit Lemans ALMS race in October. The crowd will be much, much bigger, but still fun. We will get to look at the cars and drivers up close and personal on the starting grid as well as tour the paddock and see the various teams as they prepare the cars for the race or make repairs during the action. The fans at the Petit Lemans are such an eclectic mix from all over the world, and once again the mixture of cars the fans drive to the track make for a car show in itself.

The Kentucky Derby on Saturday once again brought tragedy as Eight Belles had to be euthanized after the race due to broken ankles. Horse racing is an exciting spectacle, especially the Derby. I am only a casual fan, watching the Triple Crown races only, but I can't help but tune in to see the outcome. The horses run hard and racing is dangerous for them and for their riders. Obviously, the horse doesn't really have a choice, but one wonders sometimes whether a horse who didn't want to run could really be successfully forced to do so.

PETA has gotten involved, trying to force Eight Belles' jockey out of racing in the US because of the injury. I don't see how they could have a case against the jockey, but then PETA doesn't always seem to be reasonable in its demands. I have mixed emotions about that organization. Obviously, they mean well. I agree with the principle of treating animals with respect and ensuring their safety. Yet, I don't think that PETA is always smart in its demands and the way that it approaches issues. It certainly doesn't build broad support for the cause of proper treatment of animals. I have seen forum posts today calling for the death of those who questioned PETA's comments on the Derby issue.

Tomorrow is another round of Democratic primaries. My enthusiasm is waning, and I hate that. I'm afraid that too many voters will lose their zeal for making a change in the White House and sit on their laurels in November. This could make for a very bad future for this country if yet another Republican sits in the oval office. McCain might surprise me and return to being his own man (if he ever was), but I fear his warlike stances and his determination to "win" in Iraq. The other day I saw him speaking about how badly he would hate to "lose" a war. I have news for him, we have already lost in Iraq, simply by our unprovoked invasion of that country. The future is an uphill battle, not only on the battlefield, but more importantly on the diplomatic front, where we are making absolutely no progress. The Bush Administration simply doesn't want to negotiate and has no one skilled in the process.

In spite of my increasing lack of interest in the primaries, I still believe that anyone is better than what we have now. The US economy is in the toilet and sinking deeper as oil prices increase. When two oilmen run the country and make millions as their oil company dividends come in, there will be nothing done about the obscene oil company profits. Americans continue to die needlessly in Iraq, and we stay the course and will continue to do so if McCain ascends to the throne. Sadly, many Americans continue to support these bad policies and leaders. I hope that we are raising a new generation of people who will think for themselves and not allow themselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter, but I fear my hopes will be dashed on the sands of the Middle Eastern deserts.