Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

The New Year is upon me.  I don’t know what it is about us humans that we place such significance in these milestones.  A New Year’s Resolution!  Some magical threshold is crossed and now, because I put a 2012 on my checks instead of a 2011, suddenly I have a previously unrealized capability to complete retool my life.

This year I’ll drink less, work out more, be nicer, give more to charity, blah blah blah.  No, you probably won’t.  Not really.  Oh, sure, for a couple of weeks you’ll burn with that 2012 fervor, emotionally effervescing with a frothy intensity of determination to improve yourself from the train-wreck that somehow managed to limp cross the finish line of the last year.

‘Cept dat, lo and behold, you are really just the same ol’ joe you were three weeks ago.  Still facing the same problems, still fighting against the same intertia that makes it so much easier to watch The Biggest Loser than it does to hurl yourself off the couch and into the gym to actually make your own progress.  Still spending too much, saving too little, saying the wrong things to the wrong people.  Still burdened by the same fears, hesitations, reluctances.

So what’s different?  What makes us think that we suddenly have some new superpower which will help us overcome all the same struggles that kicked our butt for the better part of the entirety of 2011?

(more…)

Progressives do things to make themselves feel good.

Libertarians feel good because they do things.

After reading about the big hullabaloo down Tejas way with regards to a certain polygamist cult, I began to find myself a wondering…

Whyizzit that when a black man has multiple children with multiple women, it’s just a sad statement about our culture, perhaps a failure of the system to properly educate on birth control and benefits of monogamy, etc, etc, etc,

But when a white Mormon does it, it rates a raid by the ATF and HHS?  Isn’t this dude really just one really prolific BabyDaddy?

Mah brutha from anutha mutha and all that?

Seriously.  Why, when its some poor minority dude knocking up multiple women without marrying them, we shake our collective heads and cluck our tongues ever so dispiritedly, but we send in SWAT to get a white guy with a big compound?

I’m not saying either one is right, I’m just a tad perplexed about the seeming disparity in treatment.

 

You remember the Bloom County cartoons, where Opus would occasionally need to take a break from everything and sit amidst the dandelions for a while?  I feel like a I need one of those.

What with all the shootings and crazy weather and the painful mediocrity of the candidates currently in the race for President, not to mention the ridiculous nonsense invovled in the anti-Christmas hype, it’s hard not to feel a little gray and worn down after a while.

 And reading over my last few posts, I realize that I sound, well, pretty cranky and caustic and just generally unpleasant.  I’m not really that way in person.  I guess what I write here tends to be an outlet of sorts.  Reading over the news and other blogs, and seeing the kind of craziness reflected there, at times it just makes my blood boil.  I tend to seethe out through the keyboard, and over time, it tends to give things a pretty acerbic tone.

The blogs I really enjoy reading are the ones that make me laugh, or think, or smile.  Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to laugh.  I’ve got to be so serious at work, and so responsible at home, and things get so busy that I tend to bury any chance of catching my breath, just sitting around and enjoying things.

With that said, I thought I would take a break from calling people idiots, and just drop in some random stuff I’ve written in the past, stuff with a little lighter tone.  Hope you like:

“It is not the intensity of the effort we apply to the hammer, or the chisel, but rather the marks we leave on the stone that determine how we are to be remembered.”

Don’t let the world bring you to your knees…Get there by yourself!

Love is something you are given, not something you earn.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect – He wants us to admit that we aren’t.

God doesn’t expect us to have all the answers – He wants us to admit that we need His Truth.

God doesn’t want us to stand on our own  – He wants us to kneel with Him.

The truest measure of one’s faith is his willingness to forgo the comforts of convenience and ease, and stand deeply in the midst of an uncertain situation.  As we stand outside ourselves, outside our carefully constructed comfort zones and safety measures, we must face the inevitability of our own inadequacy.  When faced with circumstances beyond our control, in that moment of doubt, we must turn our face toward God, and ask His intervention.  Indeed, it is not until we realize how fully we our out of our depth, in situations beyond our experience, that we turn toward Him who would preserve us.  Our faith is tested in the crucible of trials that we know we could not face alone.  Our faith becomes tempered and hardened as the finest steel, through victories possible only through His divinity.  Where there is confidence in ourselves, there is little room for faith in Him.  We choose to fill that space where He would stand.  Only when we step aside, and relinquish our own selfish desires for personal glory, will the Lord step in and perform a mighty work through us.

Are you trying to receive the benefits of Christ’s name without the demands of His Kingdom?

True wisdom is an understanding of the total inadequacy of your own knowledge.  Those who think that they are wise and believe that they have nothing left to learn, are the fools they believe others to be.  Knowledge is a thirst that is never quenched, yet still should we drink.  Through our intelligence we gain knowledge, through our knowledge we gain understanding, and through our understanding we slowly gain wisdom.  With wisdom comes the realization of how much we have yet to learn, and joy at the prospect of the search.

The more you know about Quantum Physics, the more sense the Bible makes.

What I find interesting in the increasingly vocal debates centering around atheism, the spurious church-n-state thing, and the apparently “growing” influence of a cabal of Christian “Dominionists” over all things secular in this country (?!?!) is the continued distinction the atheist set seeks to make between “rational thinkers” or “free thinkers,” and those who believe in God; as though the two must by definition be mutually exclusive.

The clear implication is that if you had half a brain, you wouldn’t be so easily duped by this whole “God” concept.  That those with a devout religious faith are some how drooling mental defectives, or possessed of so little discernment that they are too easily fooled by charlatans, or by their own willful self-delusions.  That they rely solely on a blind-faith in what was force-fed them by their parents, sunday school teachers, etc., to determine their worldview rather than thinking for themselves.

Yeah, thanks for that.

Flip over most atheists, and underneath you will usually find someone who was either hurt by a church or group of church members, grew disillusioned with what they were being taught because it didn’t provide answers, or rebelled against a faith that was force-fed to them by people long on rhetoric and short on real answers.

Which leads me to wonder, how many atheists has the Church created simply because those within it don’t know their own scriptures?  How many people have been turned away from the Church and God, simply because the people they met were too ill-equipped to answer the questions of a seeker? 

“BECAUSE I SAID SO!” doesn’t help much in winning hearts and minds.

The fact is that a great many of the traits ascribed to many of today’s churches by atheists are far too accurate.  We give them far too much cause to doubt.  Too often people within the Church are content to sit in a Sunday sermon and have 45 minutes of theology spooned their way, blissfully wandering back to their “other” life after a cup of coffee and a few vanilla cream cookies.

Many are even threatened by an active, questioning examination of the Bible, as though an eagerness to learn, or a willingness to admit confusion on an issue, must somehow equate to doubting one’s faith.

To know the Bible, you must know what it says, NOT just what people have TOLD YOU it says.   And this takes work.  And study.  And being willing to wrestle with the difficult issues.  A blind faith is just that…blind.  Unseeing, undiscerning, unable to explain and teach.  You HAVE to question and dig, or your faith will be shallow, and your witness and testimony to the world sallow, weak and ineffective.

From what I’ve read and heard of late, many atheists seem to be characterized not just by an apathy towards religion, or a passive disbelief in a creator God, but by an active distaste or opposition to all things religious. 

Why is this?  What is it about religious faith that inspires some to almost open hostility?  Despite all the evidence that we are quite clearly living in a “post-Christian” era, what is maintaining this perception that there is a “rise of religion’s influence on politics and policies,” when so much of religious thought and expression (specifically the Christian religion) are being steadily expunged from the public eye?

I don’t know. Somebody help me out here.

What is it that makes atheists and other ardent activists feel that we are on the cusp of some theocratic takeover which must be actively opposed lest the “free thinkers” be rounded up and burned at the stake as heretics?

Thoughts?

Dropped off the net for a while, literally, as my internet access went kerflooie, until I figured out I had a bad modem.  Swapped that out and Tada!  Back on the web.

Well, I kind of lost some steam with the creationism bit, but I wanted to drop in one more post, in response to Brian Switek’s response to me, entitled “Why fight creationism?

 Again, the crux of his argument seems to be something along the lines of because it’s unscientific, and therefore clinging to Biblically-based creationism is rather akin to suffering under religious authoritarianism such as experienced by Da’vinci and other “heretics” of the past.  Well, more concisely, his view seems to be that combatting creationism is a waste of valuable time better spent on researching actual science, especially since creation-science types are pretty much writing themselves out of the mix anyway.

If I haven’t made it clear before, let me reiterate:  I don’t in any way mean to suggest that creationist views and religious ideology should supplant the scientific method.  I enjoy science.  I love learning about the way our world works and the amazing complexity and interdependence of the life and natural processes of this world.

I just don’t happen to think it within the realms of possibility that it could all just “happen” through a series of random accidents and fortuitous spontaneous breakthroughs.

In his well-written and erudite response, Brian however commits himself to the same flaws in logic of which I wrote here, specifically, a vague anthropomorphization to explain the internal mechanism whereby a species adapts to an external change in environment.  Here are some specific examples:

provided the selective pressure for the lobe-finned fish to develop limbs and crawl to other pools as to avoid death.

would have given creatures like the ancestors of tetrapods good reason to develop their lungs and start exploiting food along the shore than to try swimming through the thick vegetation of the water habitats.

they were marvelously pre-adapted by evolution to exploit a new niche

An external change gave the tetrapods a “good reason to develop their lungs.” Okay, so they’ve got the reason. Now what?  Do they think to themselves, “Hmm, guess it’s probably a good time to develop lungs.  Ready…..GO!

Clearly a silly example; or is it? Examples such as these seem so suggest that species respond in an almost cognitive fashion, and that this somehow results in a kind of genetic memory that is imprinted on their DNA.  What’s the real answer?  “Evolution,” (as in the proper noun) was kind enough to “pre-adapt” species (and by that I take to mean “build in?”) the capability to exploit a new niche?  So Evolution pre-engineered in capabilities? Tetrapods were given a reason to developed their lungs?  Lobe-finned fish responded to selective pressure, pushed up on their arms, and “decided” to leave the water in order to avoid death?  The water murks up, the plants move in, and you have a choice: adapt or die.  So you adapt. Huh?

H-O-W!?!?!

If I understand correctly, the tetrapod already had the capability to breath air, it just didn’t know it, as it was too busy breathing water.  But, when the water option ran out, in a last ditch, dying effort it said, “Screw it.  Here goes nothin’,” and launches himself up on the shore.  Gasp, gasp, gasp….hey.  Wait a minute.  I’m not dead!  Woo-hoo!  I can breath air!  Nice!  Good thing Nature built-in a previously unneeded capability to process air as well as water.  Now I just gotta find me a chick tetrapod with the same deal!  “Anyone?  Uh….anyone?”

“Dangit.”

This is exactly the kind of intellectual sleight of hand that causes me the most trouble with much of the current evolutionist theories.  To vaguely suggest that “Nature” did it or “Evolution” did it is NO DIFFERENT than saying that “God” did it!  Do you see what I’m trying to get at here?

What I want evolutionary theory to provide me, to provide us, to provide science the world over, is reproducible evidence of the the internal, bio-chemical mechanism whereby RNA and DNA, all those little peptides and amino acids are re-arranged or reprogrammed, how from one generation to the next they are imparted with new replication data that results in a different species, one now better suited to live on land, rather than water.  How does “Nature” pre-adapt a species to a range of potential changes?  And on a wide enough scale to ensure viability?

I’ll readily admit that much of my data on evolution might be a bit dated, as I’ve kind of been out of the “fight” for a few years.  However, from what I’ve been able to gather, evolutionary theory is still long on what happened, and a little short on the how it happened.  And to me, if you continue to insist on the what, without being able to provide the how, well then my friends, you are operating in faith as surely as that Bible-thumping creationist.

Understanding that my readers come here for definitive answers on many of life’s issues, (well, that and pictures of Jennifer Lopez, of which I’ve posted only one, but still seem to get a lot of traffic from the search engines, but I digress) I offer you here the once and forever answer to that eternal question, “Which came first: the chicken, or the egg?

The answer is:  It depends. 

If you are a follower of Evolutionism, then it clearly has to be the egg.  Because under evolutionary theory a transitional species — say some hybrid between a turtle and a duck perhaps — one day grunts out an egg, inside of which rests an embryo whose DNA got just a little bit scrambled when some recessive gene traits lying dormant in the parents were all intertwined in the process of conception, and suddenly, POOF, one day, out pops a proto-CHICKEN instead of turtle or a duck!  So clearly, in the evolutionist worldview, the egg has to have come first.

To a Creationist, however, it is has to be the chicken.  For if you created the egg FIRST, you’d have no creature around to warm and incubate it, nor feed or nurture it upon birth. Thus it is counter-intuitive to create an egg which would, from the get-go, be exceedingly non-viable. So clearly, to the Creationist view, it has to be the chicken first.

However, this doesn’t address the issue of the fact that in most natural settings, an offspring born which radically differs from the source parents pairs, or which is in any way deformed or the “runt” of the litter, is often abandoned, neglected to death, or presumptively killed and/or eaten by the stronger siblings or the dominant brood pairs.  Small wrinkle in the egg first theory.  But hey, after all, it is still just a theory, right?

Somewhere along the line I picked up “The Wink.”  You know, that slight twitch of an eye (mine happens to be the left) when you are passing someone you know in the hallway, and on some subconscious level,  a mere “Hey!” doesn’t seem quite sufficient.  So you maybe add in a subtle head nod, and sometimes, even, yes, a wink.  It’s by no means one of those suggestive winks.  And it doesn’t rise to the level of a knowing wink, or anything that needs to be accompanied by a, “How YOUUUU doin’?!”  I don’t really see myself as a quick wink kind of guy, but there it is.  I’ll call it a “qwink.”  As in:

Did you just WINK at me?!

Why, no. Hardly.  It was merely a qwink.”

Oh, well then. Nevermind.”

  A harmless affectation which (one hopes) doesn’t rise to the level of an idiosyncrasy, and, with any luck, isn’t mistaken for a facial twitch or deformity.

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What it is it about some human males that they feel the need to draw a penis on the bathroom stall?  For the last weekend I’ve been working in another building, and forced to use the somewhat substandard toilet facilities therein. The graffiti was without exception vulgar and crude.  The “artistry” was profane and not even fit for Hustler magazine.  I know our culture is all about equanimity and breaking down stereotypes, but I am here to tell you, there ARE classes of people.   Whether through culture, breeding, or simple ignorance, there is a class of people whose idea of making their mark on the world is to scribble threadbare poems we might have learned in 4th grade, unimaginative expletives, and the occasion rendering of genitalia, often accompanied by attempts to portray physically improbable sexual positions, across the interior of a water closet.

For my part, I left a moving Haiku suggesting an essense of eternal questioning, followed by a sudden epiphany about the meaning of french toast, and concluded with a paean to the ecstacy to be found in a well turned-out Aston Martin.  I’m sure I left them properly humbled.  The cretins.

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This just in:

Transformer blast rattles Manhattan

A transformer explosion Wednesday caused panic in midtown Manhattan. “We saw hundreds and hundreds of people running down Third Avenue. They were screaming, they were crying,” said witness Adaora Udoji. One person died and at least 16 were injured, New York officials said. full story

Witnesses weren’t sure if it was Megatron or Optimus Prime who exploded.  Developing…

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From the, “You should REALLY get that checked out” department:

Squirming Fly Larvae Pulled From Man’s Head

Ewwww.

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And from the “WTF?!?!?!” Department:

‘The Darkness’ has too many demons

“It’s unrepentantly violent, soaked in obscenity, and stitched to its skin with the occult. Blood goes flying as you summon demons to massacre anyone in your way. To gain power, you devour human hearts. Oh, and did I mention that you also play a Mafia hitman?”

We are circling the drain, people.

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On a lighter note, one of Jeff Harrell’s funnier ones:

A not-exactly-brief visit from an unnameable horror from beyond time and space.”

Oh sure, go on, laugh.  You know you want to.  {{mutters incoherently under his breath, sticks pins in Jeff Harrell voodoo doll, drinks himself into a stupor on MadDog’s Raspberry-Green Apple Sorbet.}} 

He is the Mozart to my Salieri.  He must be stopped.   ARRRRRGHGHGHGH!

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I’m think I’m done now.  Maybe.

I don’t know that I could vote for Barak Obama for President, because I’m not sure he could adequately represent the interests of white people, or understand their unique cultural concerns and viewpoints.

Although, he does seem to have plugged into a robust support network for the Black Family, businesses, and community value. (Via LGF)

I always find in darkly humurous when you transpose a few choice words in Progressive rhetoric, and instantly it becomes the very thing they claim to hate.   

Say, for example, you took some screed against conservative christians, and replaced every instance of the word “Christian” with the word “homosexual.”  Then re-read the article and imagine it getting published without some wildfire of indignation and calls for apologies and sensitivity training. 

So when certain groups talk about Black Pride, or Black Solidarity, or black “cultchAH,” it’s with heartfelt appreciation for the struggles of a, eh hmm, “minority.” 

But change it around, and you get white Pride or White Solidarity, which has become synonymous with the KKK and neo-Nazis.  

How many times in the past have we heard a black candidate scorned because he or she wasn’t “black enough,”  i.e. – he or she was trying too hard to get a long in the “white” system, and had abandoned his black “roots?”

Imagine suggesting that a candidate wasn’t acting “white” enough, and that he was abandoning his roots in favor of trying to appeal to those “other” people.  You’d be political dog meat.

So, when black or hispanic or asian voters ask themseslves whether a particular candidate will be able to appreciate or represent their unique cultural concerns, I guess I have to ask myself whether or not Obama can truly represent my concerns as a person of color…the color white, that is.

 We SHOULD be asking ourselves if a candidate can represent, defend, and uphold our collective concerns, the concerns of the American people, and our American culture and heritage, instead of pigeon-holing him into a specific cultural or gender demographic niche. 

I don’t want a candidate who will “speak” to the issues of African-Americans, or Native Americans, or Asian-Americans, or whatever other form of Hyphenated-Americans there are out there.  I’d like to see a candidate who can strike a common cord among us all,  maybe someone who can bringing us back from the brink of this hissing, spitting, clawing catfight between rabid blowhards on both ends of the spectrum who take no position other than that the guy across the table is pure demonic evil, simply because there is an (R) after his name instead of a (D).

But, more than anything, I’d like to see a candidate for President who will put the needs and concerns of the nation as a whole ahead of those of any one specific group or demographic over another.

I can remember her so clearly now, though in every real sense, I never really knew her at all. 

She was the one who stood beside me as I crested a mountain top and, for a moment, lost my breath at the incredible majesty unfolding before me.  She leaned into me, her arm entwined in mine, and whispered such melodious words into my ear, each rich with color and vibrance and an aching passion for life.

She was the one in the seat next to me, laughing in an almost mad sort of ecstasy as I raced down the freeway, the side of my car a foot from the jersey barriers flashing by at better than 60 miles an hour.  I could hear her throaty scream of utter abandon as I stuck my head out the window and narrowed the gap between blurred concrete and human skull to less than eight inches.  My own mad grin mirroring her own.  My own shout of exhultation mixing with hers, mixing with the rev of the engine and the rush of the wind, a three-part harmony to the accompanying hum of the tires, creating a symphonic cacophony of intensity and heart-pounding energy.

She was with me in those moments of quiet solitude, the early waking hours of day as the sun would just crest the horizon, the air still heavy with nights chill, and then the first rays of warmth would catch my face and hold it in golden-gloved hands, caressing my cheeks, planting a lingering kiss of warmth on my lips.  I could sense her there, curled up like a cat, her hair spilling across the blanket covering my lap as the bittersweet aroma of freshly-brewed coffee lingered in the air like an exotic turkish perfume.

And she was there, faithfully, even at two or three in the morning, rubbing shoulders tense with an as-yet unexpressed sonnet of angst and passion, anger and futility, fervent idealism or somber introspection, slowly forming bits and pieces of some nearly incommunicable idea, roiling and churning beneath my skin, tying muscles into knots with the visceral frustration of trying to find exactly the right way to string the words and sounds and thoughts and syllables together.  Her fingers worked and worked at the tightly bound coils, loosening, softening, until finally the words would begin to flow down my arms, into my fingers, and finally out across the page with a simple majesty that at times would leave me breathless and in awe.

Slowly, though, her presence began to fade.  Her once reassuring presence no longer lingered by my side as faithfully as before.  I caught only glimpses of her now and then, her visits becoming rarer, and shorter, more and more filled with gentle regret than fulfilling hope.  Her once strong hands grew frail, no longer able to wring the majesty from my knotted tendons.  Her lusterous hair lay in tangled disarray, dull, and ill-kempt.  Her pale, perfect skin, once shining with an inner light so bright it could illuminate the dimmest reaches of my soul, became but a wan, flickering glow, the barest guttering spark of a forgotten candle, the wick all but consumed.

Her eyes still sparkled, but her face betrayed the growing emptiness within her.  She no longer stood beside me, whispering in my ear, exhorting and inflaming my mind’s eye to truly see.  Now she only gazed at me listlessly from across the room, a pale shadow, nearly indistinct against the gathering shadows as evening reclaimed its domain.  Sorrow began to drift from her like an ephemeral mist, emanating, radiating outwards like the thin strands of a vaporous shroud, a shroud which would soon become her burial cloth.

I let the voices within me be stilled.  I let my gift go untouched, lying forgotten beneath the burdensome weight of life’s myriad demands on my time.  For a time she cried out to me, anxiously seeking my attention, pulling me back towards that life.  Yet I spurned her, rejected her, and by doing so, slowly began to kill her.

She seemed to lose the strength to do more than stand, eyes sunken and hollow, a grayness about her which blurred her features into a confusing jumble of shapes and forms, nearly unrecognizable.  Her skeletal hands trembled with an ague, a palsy bearing all the hallmarks of impending death.  Her mouth opened in a worldless entreaty, barely enough breath left in her dessicated lungs to whisper a final admonition. 

Don’t…forget…me…”  The final word spent in whispering rush, like a rush of leaves in the sudden gust of a cold, autumn wind.

I slowly shook my head, a bitter, rueful smile contorting my mouth into some grim fascimile of a gargoyle’s mad, capering maw.  “I can’t afford to remember,” I said. “Not now, not like before.  It just…I just…can’t.”  And so I turned my back on her again, one, final time.

I felt a cord break within me, releasing, as though some anchor had broken loose from its mooring chain.  I turned back, a sudden hesitation, a vague sense of irrevocable disaster at the edges of my senses, only to watch as her diaphanous form burst apart in a sudden shower of effervescent mist, a slowly settling cloud of angelic dust which sparkled briefly before disappearing as it settled to the ground.

I heaved a reluctant sigh, but perhaps it was for the best.  I don’t have time for such distractions, do I?  No place for melancholy broodings or wild flights of fancy.  Such recklessness, such childish idealism has no place in the hectic world which clamors for more and ever more of my time and attention.  Right? Right.  It was for the best.  Really.

But as I walked away, a still, small, quiet voice whispered in my ear…the vaguest hint of a breath of air…and asked:

When did living become just staying alive…?

I didn’t have an answer.