And to think my mom only ever hired a clown for my birthday parties…

… and she didn’t even do that until I was 21 years old!

Cops: Mom charged after stripper party – Times Union.

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Police arrested the mother who hired two strippers for her son’s 16th birthday party, according to the Glens Falls Post-Star.

The newspaper reported that Judy H. Viger, 33, of Gansevoort, was charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The Nov. 3 party at Spare Time Bowling Alley featured two exotic dancers performing for partygoers as young as 14. The dancers stripped to thong underwear and bras and gave lap dances to some of the teenagers. A photo taken with a cellphone camera shows an upside-down dancer with a teen’s head between her knees and her head between his legs.

At least she meant well.

Teaching your kids about sex can be difficult.

As for this mom, I’m a little torn about what she did. Her son is 16. Chances are he’s already had sex a few times by that age. In Michigan he’s at the age of consent, though in New York (where this took place) he’s still a year away.

Personally, I probably wouldn’t hire a stripper for my kid. For one I have a daughter, but even if I had a son I’d probably still not do it. Not because I think its wrong, but because he’d probably find it awkward. It’s similar to watching a sex scene in an R-rated movie with your parents in the room. It’s just awkward. But maybe this kid and his mom don’t find such things awkward.

If the mom didn’t let the parents of the other kids know about this ahead of time then I can definitely see why they might be pissed, but if they knew and didn’t have a problem with it…   well…

Granted I think 14 is a bit young for this sort of thing, but these women stayed in their bras and thongs. We live in an age when they can see as much in the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show which aired last December on CBS at 10PM EST. True, the Victoria Secret girls weren’t shaking their money-makers in anyone’s face, but it’s only slightly more upscale.

At best I can only say that it’s not what I would’ve done, but the fact that someone else did doesn’t outrage me.

This would have been a perfect time for a miracle.

Either there’s a lot of unrepentant sinners attending church these days or God really hates contemporary Christian rock music:

More than 40 injured after floor collapses at church concert in B.C. – CBC News

More than 40 people were taken to hospital — three with serious injuries — after the floor caved in at a packed concert in an Abbotsford, B.C, church late Friday night.

“We were dancing in the front of the stage,” Kyle Weber, a teenager who was at the Christian rock concert, told CBC News. “The floor just collapsed. All the speakers just fell down [and] crashed a lot of people…. A lot of people fell through the floor.”

[…] A mosh pit in front of the stage was filled with teenagers, she said, and they were jumping and dancing. After the lighting fell, the floor beneath the mosh pit collapsed, she said, and the people on it fell through to the basement about three metres below.

About 1,200 people were watching the concert at the church, at 1661 McCallum Road, she said.

[…] Ian Hern, a youth pastor at the concert, said there were hundreds of youth jumping and dancing at the time.

“All of a sudden, one of the light poles started to tilt and then the whole floor just caved,” Hern said.

Some of the young members in his group suffered injuries such as a broken arm or a dislocated shoulder, Hern said.

“Obviously, the church floor wasn’t built to handle that number of people,” Hern said.

Or perhaps there was a thirteenth commandment: THOU SHALT NOT PARTY IN THE HOUSE OF THY LORD!

Is anyone else as amused by the idea of a Christian mosh pit as I am?

Teenage pregnancy on the rise for the first time in 15 years.

So how well are all those abstinence-only over funded sex education programs doing anyway? If this report is anything to go buy the answer is “not very well.”

The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. Yesterday, government statisticians said that it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

U.S. health officials said that it was possibly a one-year statistical blip and not the beginning of an upward trend.

But several experts said that they have been expecting an increase. They attribute the rise to increased federal financing for abstinence-only health-education programs that do not teach teenagers how to use contraceptives.

Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have also been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teenage pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, a professor of maternal and child health at Emory University

“It’s not rocket science,” she said.

Indeed it’s not, but then we don’t have have any rocket scientists in the Bush administration.

Another report shows that Abstinence Only programs don’t do jack shit.

From the Haven’t-We-Heard-This-Before department comes word of yet another study that says despite the spending of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars abstinence only programs still don’t work:

“At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners” among teenagers, the study concluded.

The report, which was based on a review of research into teenager sexual behavior, was being released Wednesday by the nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having “positive outcomes” including teenagers “delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.”

“Two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens had positive behavior effect,” said the report.

Telling them ‘don’t do it’ doesn’t do shit. Let’s start spending the money on sex education programs that actually work.

Saving your kids’ souls, by any means necessary.

Here’s an entry that’s going to combine two things I talk about often, but which usually aren’t associated with each other: religion and video games. It’s seems a number of churches around the country are using the ever popular Halo video games to lure young men into church so they can be proselytized “ministered” to after a couple of rounds blowing the living shit out of everything on the screen:

Thou Shalt Not Kill, Except in a Popular Video Game at Church – New York Times

First the percussive sounds of sniper fire and the thrill of the kill. Then the gospel of peace.

Across the country, hundreds of ministers and pastors desperate to reach young congregants have drawn concern and criticism through their use of an unusual recruiting tool: the immersive and violent video game Halo.

Right off the bat we have a conundrum for our Christian friends. The Bible says “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and yet they’re luring in kids with the promise of being able to virtually kill to their hearts content. It goes even deeper than that, however, because the Halo games are rated M for Mature and is considered inappropriate for people under 17 years of age. Yet many churches are letting kids several years younger than that play the game:

Those buying it must be 17 years old, given it is rated M for mature audiences. But that has not prevented leaders at churches and youth centers across Protestant denominations, including evangelical churches that have cautioned against violent entertainment, from holding heavily attended Halo nights and stocking their centers with multiple game consoles so dozens of teenagers can flock around big-screen televisions and shoot it out.

Far from being defensive, church leaders who support Halo — despite its “thou shalt kill” credo — celebrate it as a modern and sometimes singularly effective tool. It is crucial, they say, to reach the elusive audience of boys and young men.

Witness the basement on a recent Sunday at the Colorado Community Church in the Englewood area of Denver, where Tim Foster, 12, and Chris Graham, 14, sat in front of three TVs, locked in violent virtual combat as they navigated on-screen characters through lethal gun bursts. Tim explained the game’s allure: “It’s just fun blowing people up.”

Now, personally, I don’t think there’s all that much in the Halo games that the average 12 or 14 year old can’t handle, but I’m not the one using the game to lure kids in for a little brain washing ministering with it. Needless to say some other Christians have a bit of a problem with this tactic:

“If you want to connect with young teenage boys and drag them into church, free alcohol and pornographic movies would do it,” said James Tonkowich, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a nonprofit group that assesses denominational policies. “My own take is you can do better than that.”

Free booze? Maybe, but I don’t know of too many adults, let alone teenagers, who’d rush to church to watch some porn followed by messages about Jesus dieing for their sins. That’d be a bit… awkward. Whereas the free booze might make sitting through the sermons a bit easier to handle. Still, think of the slogans you could have: “Get a boner, for Jesus!”

Daniel R. Heimbach, a professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, believes that churches should reject Halo, in part because it associates thrill and arousal with killing.

“To justify whatever killing is involved by saying that it’s just pixels involved is an illusion,” he said.

I can imagine that how you approach your interpretation of the Bible would play a role in how acceptable you find this practice. The Baptist church I attended taught that just thinking some naughty thoughts was enough to get your ass in a sling with God and there’s at least one Bible passage to back that claim up. So wouldn’t virtually killing be more or less the same as thinking about killing as far as God is concerned?

Apparently such questions aren’t an issue to this fellow:

Playing Halo is “no different than going on a camping trip,” said Kedrick Kenerly, founder of Christian Gamers Online, an Internet site whose central themes are video games and religion. “It’s a way to fellowship.”

Mr. Kenerly said the idea that Halo is inappropriately violent too strictly interpreted the commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” “I’m not walking up to someone with a pistol and shooting them,” he said. “I’m shooting pixels on a screen.”

Mr. Kenerly’s brother, Ken Kenerly, 43, is a pastor who recently started a church in Atlanta and previously started the Family Church in Albuquerque, N.M., where quarterly Halo nights were such a big social event that he had to rent additional big-screen TVs.

Ken Kenerly said he believed that the game could be useful in connecting to young people he once might have reached in more traditional ways, like playing sports. “There aren’t as many kids outdoors as indoors,” he said. “With gamers, how else can you get into their lives?”

Which just sounds insidious to me. It’s no secret that if you can get people to believe something when they’re young they’re more likely to hold that belief when their older and this sort of thing just reveals how far Churches are willing to go to suck people in when they’re most likely to buy the bullshit. When they’re older you have to wait until people are in a hard way and vulnerable to have the same sort of impact so catching them when they’re young is key. And the thing is, it works:

David Drexler, youth director at the 200-member nondenominational Country Bible Church in Ashby, Minn., said using Halo to recruit was “the most effective thing we’ve done.”

In rural Minnesota, Mr. Drexler said, the church needs something powerful to compete against the lure of less healthy behaviors. “We have to find something that these kids are interested in doing that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol or premarital sex.” His congregation plans to double to eight its number of TVs, which would allow 32 players to compete at one time.

Among parents at the Colorado Community Church, Doug Graham, a pediatric oncologist with a 12-year-old son, said that he was not aware of the game’s M rating and that it gave him pause. He said he felt that parents should be actively involved in deciding whether minors play an M-rated game. “Every family should have a conversation about it,” he said.

Mr. Barbour, the youth pastor at the church, said the game had led to a number of internal discussions prompted by elders who complained about its violent content. Mr. Barbour recently met for several hours with the church’s pastor and successfully made his case that the game was a crucial recruiting tool.

In one letter to parents, Mr. Barbour wrote that God calls ministers to be “fishers of men.”

“Teens are our ‘fish,” he wrote. “So we’ve become creative in baiting our hooks.”

I’m willing to bet that last line has some Christian readers nodding their heads in agreement where it just makes me cringe. Of course there’s nothing new here as the churches have always been willing to usurp anything they consider popular to try and bring in the heathen. Again I point to Halloween, Christmas, and Easter as prime examples of the True Believers taking something popular — pagan festivals in this case — and using them to their own ends. This is just a lesser example of the same thing.

Gotta get their asses in the pews by any means necessary. After all, it’s only for their own good.

Teenager kills parents so they won’t consider him a disappointment.

That’s some, er, mighty fine thinking you got going there, Jacob:

Jacob Brighton said he shot his parents last month because he always felt like a disappointment to them because he didn’t have a job, smoked marijuana and didn’t share the same “qualities or interests” as his father, according to the recently released documents.

“So there’s nobody, now there’s nobody to be disappointed in me, try to make me lead … their life,” Brighton said.

Most amazing? He’s plead Not Guilty to the charge of first degree murder.