Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Problems of Life...

Sorry for not posting lately. That Da Vinci Code story must be getting pretty stale if you've been stopping by. We've had a load of problems here in West L.A. My 90 year old mother (who lives with my wife, daughter, son and self - along with my 92 year old aunt who lives out in one of our back houses, and a nephew living in another) had a bowel obstruction last week due to a herniated large intestine. We rushed her to UCLA emergency and they operated early on Tuesday morning last.

The operation was entirely successful. The next day she was having some problems with an irregular heartbeat. They followed the standard protocol for it, but she had a really bad reaction to the medication. Her heart suddenly started getting slower and slower and slower. While they scrambled the ICU staff, she was calmly giving me all of her final words - how to handle the funeral ("don't spend too much money"), who to tell that she loved and appreciated, etc. She was totally tranquil and ready to depart. In fact, she was entirely convinced that she was going. They had the pads on her and were ready to jolt her if she flat-lined. She didn't and her heartbeat slowly returned to normal. Unfortunately, her mind has not recovered nearly as well as her body in the last few days. It's partly a case of mom already being a little neurotic to begin with, combined with the surgery, the psychosis producing effects of being in ICU for 3 days and then her not "going" when she fully expected to. Now she thinks she was either in Madera, CA or Palm Springs, thinks they operated on the wrong person, believed that the morticians were standing by her bedside, etc.

Never the less, they released her to us this evening since physically she is doing as well as can be hoped for and there is no reason for her to remain hospitalized. Anyway, I'm kind of tied up with everything that is going on and I hope you'll understand that I may not be posting much in the next week or so.

As long as I'm here though, I'd like you to take a look at this story and explain to me how in the HELL this can happen. I just read it and shook my head. There is just so many reasons why this story is wrong and why we should never have to read something like it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Demystifying The Da Vinci Code "Controversy"

A ficition writer named Dan Brown wrote a novel about an utter fantasy written by a whole bunch of authors, and told his story differently than the believers of the fable like to tell it.

Now it's a movie so the fantasy crowd is REALLY stirred up because those who are most likely to believe their myth don't read many books but they DO go to movies. Because of all the commotion, many more people will see the movie than would have if the the defenders of the faith hadn't said a word but that's ok because, as Buridan's Ass aptly points out, it's really just another chance for the fable-disabled folks to discuss their god and show "moral outrage"; meanwhile ignoring the really pressing moral issues of our time - like always.

Isn't that simple? Now, go enjoy a good action/thriller at your local theatre or just wait for the DVD like me. If you need to engage your moral sensitivities on an issue, allow me to assist you.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Science is Self-Correcting

The recent rift in evolutionary science over "The Hobbit" (Homo floresiensis) is a good example of why, generally, the scientific explanation of evolution is correct. Because when there is a problem, it ends up being corrected - by other scientists who fully support evolution. No one says that everything is known about our past. But the fact of evolution should be beyond debate at this point. The only thing that needs to be discussed are the specifics of it.

It wasn't religion that showed Piltdown Man (read the section "The Exposure) to be a fraud. It was evolutionary scientists. It won't be creationists or supporters of Intelligent Design who show that The Hobbit was not another species of Homo (if, indeed, anyone does. The jury is still very much out. I'm just pointing out once again that the subject is under intense debate WITHIN the community of evolutionary science).

From "Business" to "Vacations"

Reader Tom L. points out that, like you, apes have been shown to plan ahead.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More Monkey Business

Not a huge surprise in this story, but certainly you can see how this would have been an early evolutionary step that our own species must have gone through a few million years ago. There is nothing "irreducibly complex" about speech.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Monkey Business

This is kind of a cool story. New species are constantly being discovered and named. There are perhaps still millions that have not been discovered (how many cubits long was that ark again)? But it is rare that a new African primate would be found. The last one was in 1923! (Click on the picture to the right of the story to see a short video of the little fellow in action).

Friday, May 12, 2006

What YOU Can Do Right Now

This suggestion will do little to change the political direction we are going in. But it sends a message and it can benefit you personally as well.

Most of the major phone companies are complicitous in this by turning over our phone records to the NSA. They didn't have to do it. ATT, BellSouth, Sprint and Verizon COULD HAVE taken a moral stand but went along like sheep. But Denver based Qwest DID show some intestinal fortitude! Qwest, with 14 million customers in the Western United States, was “uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants,” USA Today said - and they refused!

I switched my long distance and local service to Qwest this morning. It took 2 minutes. I got a better deal than I was currently getting. I suggest you look into it!
UPDATE: Don't let anyone use a diversion tactic on you! Remember - stay focused on things that actually IMPACT your life.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Impeach Bush!

I don't need to know what Bush was "thinking" (in fact, that's becoming a bit scary to contemplate. As I heard about him once; he was lost in thought - it was unfamiliar territory). I don't need to know "what he knew" or "when he knew it". I don't care how "valid" he or anyone in the administration "felt" this was (an Administration official defending it today by saying, "Afterall, we're at WAR"). All I need to know is - "Is it TRUE"? Because if it is true, combined with everything else, this is the last straw and people need to stand up and ask for this guy to go away quietly.

As always, I give you the right to disagree with me without me ranting and raving over it. Live your life as you see best for you and yours. But I will tell you that you either learned nothing from the history lessons of The Third Reich, Stalinism, McCarthyism, Viet Nam and Watergate - or you learned all the wrong lessons.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Oil at $100 a Barrel - or Higher?

It's not the projections of "environmental crackpots" or "end-of-timers" - this comes from corporate America, and is not based on "peak oil" scenarios .

So, what do you figure a gallon of gas will cost? I'm thinking around $5.00.

Of course, there are a lot of possibilities, and as soon as someome tells you they KNOW what's going to happen, you can usually figure it will be the opposite. Nevertheless, the trend is there and while gas prices could well come down significantly just prior to the election, you can bet they will go up again. The question is how much and how soon - not "if".

Friday, May 05, 2006

War Heat

The administration has been getting this kind of heat abroad for a long while. Now it's really warming up at home.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Different Kind of Blog?

I don't know, I thought my idea for a blog was worthwhile, but I think I'm kidding myself. Maybe I'll just start a "Happy BS Blog" and talk about basketball, video games and movies. The endless nature of these kinds of articles really makes me wonder. Then again, I do enjoy my primeval scream as I fall into the void!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Political Misdirection, Common Sense and Money

I watch the television and scan the internet, I listen to the radio are read magazines and newspapers - and all I see right now are people yelling back and forth about immigration.

It reminds me of many other things that occupy our nations' undivided attention. Things like abortion, teaching creationism, capital punishment, prayer in school, gay issues, etc. All of these periodically pop up and become centers of great debates. These debates take millions of man-hours of activity. Seldom is any real consensus reached. We will all have our various points of view on all of these and many more issues. But I wonder - why do we spend so much time on these, when there are such huge matters that require our attention?

The planet is melting, but we spend time worrying about whether Jose Garcia is working on this side of Tijuana, Mexico or that side. (And, please, when I say "the planet is melting" please don't try telling me about wacko liberal leftist science. Global warming is a fact. The legitimate questions are 'how much (if any) of it is man's fault', 'is there really anything that humans can do about it', 'is it just a periodic climatic change that will bring some differences to our life-styles, or is in something more cataclysmic'?)

The main point of this short look at wedge issues is to say this - if you are reading this blog, chances are that being on either side of these wedge issues and spending hours of your lives debating them is a waste of your time. If you want to be a part of something important, then don't let the issues be dictated for you. You can see what really has an impact on your lives and the lives of those you love. If your son or daughter might have to go fight in the desert, THAT IMPACTS YOU. If gasoline is $5.00 a gallon and gasoline is the only feasible way you have of moving about, THAT IMPACTS YOU. If catastrophic climate changes make life as we know it impossible, THAT IMPACTS YOU. And when you get around to debating these, or any issues, always think about who is gaining financially from a status quo that IMPACTS YOU.

Even if you think the immigration issue is worth spending time debating, look at THAT from a financial standpoint. Who makes it possible, desirable, for illegals to come across the border?Again, if you are reading this blog, it probably isn't you. It's the business community of America, that wants that low-wage labor force here, and the government that collects taxes from those illegals and never gives a refund on it. Don't spend your time arguing over what language the national anthem should be sung in. Use your common-sense about what issues really effect you, and to understand why they effect you the way they do - think about who benefits from you concentrating on non-issues, and watch the money flow.

(Additional information from today on global warming)

Blog Recommendation

I just found out that Big Al now has a blog and read his first entry this morning - an interesting take on the current immigration debate. For those of you who don't like my mild style, you'll love Al. He is thoughtful, but also very forceful. Knowing Al's contrarian views on a number of subjects, I could see this blog becoming quite the hot-spot for political discussions in coming months. Welcome to the blogosphere, Al. Let 'er rip!