Thursday, August 29, 2013

If I Were Dead on Decoration Day

If I Were Dead on Decoration Day

Would you come and visit me?
Would you plant the ground with paper flags?
Would you sprinkle confetti down upon me
Like paper tears of paper grief?

Would you cry and moan and say,
"Oh how I wish...if I only could...
But now is too late"
So now it's safe to grieve

Do not come on decoration day
Do not plant your flags on me, nor shed your paper tears
If you cannot love me now
Do not pretend to love me then

I am here, so where are you?
Far from me in heart and mind.
So far away you cannot feel
The love I bear for you

Safe from loving, safe from care
Safe from me or from yourself?
Love suffers and endures
It does not run and hide

If I am not good enough for you in life
Do not moan for me in death
Paper grief is but a show
That insults the tears of those who care

I am not angry, only sad
My love is real and it endures
And when it suffers, it cries wet tears
The tears of living hearts

First draft, rewriting of a poem written in high school.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Taps for Today

What a long day, hard day, done day.
Good day, bad day, done day.
Lie down in bed day
Bury the bad and plant the good day.
Done day.

 Matthew 6:34 KJV
[34] Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fun with Commercials

My favorite car insurance commercial just came on TV. You know the one, a father is looking at his damaged car and says to his little girl,  "Now my insurance rates are going to double!"  The little girl sweetly says, "No daddy," and then suddenly her voice turns into a deep and scary male voice which declares,"Not since you have Allstate!". Her father then screams,  "Honey she's possessed again!   Bring out the holy water!  Bring out the holy water!"

As his wife rushes out with a large spray bottle with a cross painted on it the a little girls head start to spin; she floats in the air, vomits pea soup on her father, and declares, "There's no escape!  You signed up with Allstate!  The contract is forever."

Her mother starts to spray her with holy water while her father shouts out, "The power of Christ compels thee.  The power of Christ compels thee!"

The child's demon voice screams deeply.  She drops to the ground, turns back into a normal girl, then says to the camera, "Your family should sign up with Allstate too!"

I think I won't.  Holy water is too hard to come by these days.  Besides, I don't really like pea soup.

Jesus vs. the GOP

Jesus said  we must feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The Republican Party says don't feed the hungry and don't clothe the naked, it will just make them dependent. Then these Republicans promptly add, "Aren't I a good Christian?" The answer is, "No, you are not."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You Animal!

-- Plans for a pet repository in San Francisco spur theological flap -- Let me add that those who care about animals, generally care about people.  Those who abuse animals, often abuse people.  The Franciscans are in the right.  Needy humans are not harmed by this, but loving hearts are comforted and encouraged.

What's this Facebook post about?  The LATimes article adds much detail, but it sums up the conflict as follows. --SAN FRANCISCO  This is, after all, the City of St. Francis. So when a shrine named in his honor announced plans to build a repository for pet ashes in a catacomb-like hollow under the stairs of its 19th-century church, many animal lovers were elated.

Little did they know the plan would stir old-fashioned church politics and deep theological questions. (Is the stair nook a sacred space? Does placement of cinerary urns equate to pet burial? Did St. Francis only care about living creatures?) --

My response is the Facebook post I have reposted above.

Admittedly, the issue is extremely complicated. Critics fear that money will be diverted from the homeless and other needy humans in order to provide for this memorial to dead pets. However, I must point out that the cost will be minimal. Then I must ask do you really think that if people don't donate to the church in order to place their pets here, every bit bit of that money will then go to the homeless?  

If this action benefits the church in question, then the church in question will be able to divert any funds generated to the areas where they are needed.  I suspect the only real issue here is the theological question of whether animals can go to heaven. It may seem theoretical, but to those who care about such matters, it is hotly contested and regarded as essential dogma.  The argument is that animals do not have souls. They have no knowledge of good and evil. Therefore they cannot be saved by Christ's sacrifice.

My answer to that issue is, so what? They are still beloved and they matter to human beings who love them very much. I don't think this simple act of kindness and comfort being made to people who have suffered what to them is a terrible loss can in any way be seen as a bad thing.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Whiny Guy Iratus

I was innocently watching the Daily Show when that other John pulled a really nasty one on me.  He said, "It's like, imagine you had the same refrigerator for the last 27 years.  You haven't cleaned it and all of that time, but you keep putting food in there..." Well, I'm not gonna say the rest of it. Okay, so what if I have had the same refrigerator for 27 years?  Maybe I haven't taken absolutely every single thing out of it, unplugged it and spent a few hours scrubbing it. That is not to say it hasn't been cleaned. It's been spot cleaned. Very effectively spot cleaned.

 By the way, you do know I'm talking about that other John, don't you? You know, that English one. I don't think Stewart would have ever done such a thing to me!

I guess he's getting even with me for all those  comments I made on the royal birth, but I really ought to stop watching the show in protest until Stuart returns. But then I'd miss a lot of fun, so I guess I can put up with it.  Nevertheless, I have been insulted!

Whiny Guy Saves The, I Mean, Loses a Day!

Whiny guy strikes again! …flops again?  I just discovered that today is Wednesday. That's not so unusual. I often feel like I have lost or gained a day based on discovering that the date isn't what I thought it was. What's different about today is that I am absolutely convinced that it's Tuesday even after I've discovered that it isn't.  I haven't just lost track of the days, which happens on at a least weekly basis; this time a day has genuinely disappeared. I'm sure I had it just yesterday but somehow I've lost it.

This is both terribly disturbing and at the same time not really that bad. Taking them in order, it's extremely bad because I have lost today. I feel as if I laid down in bed last night and woke up two days later.  That harkens back to the bad old days when I could lose two or three or, in some extreme cases, even four days.  At least, I think it sometimes added up to four days.  To tell you the honest truth, I really am not sure. I know I've lost as many as three days and I'm pretty sure that once or twice I lost four. Pretty sure.

So the bad news is for the first time in six years, it's happened again. Unless it's the first time in seven years…Who knows?

Now to get to the good news!  No, really, there is some good news.  Specifically, the good news is that if I lost a day, and I did, it wasn't due to the most terrifically intense levels of vertigo.  Those are the really bad days, the ones I've referred to occasionally in previous posts. Those are the times when, on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm off the scale. It's so bad there is simply no way to rate it.

That didn't happen this time.  Obviously, I have not been doing very well. I'm sorry to admit that that's been extended over the past couple of months, which are, essentially, a very poorly focused blur . Nevertheless, although I have once again found myself cut adrift in time like a character out of a science-fiction movie, the day disappeared with the minimum amount of suffering.  I even got out yesterday to restock the dwindling supplies in my freezer -- unless that was the day before yesterday.

So, although I have lost a day, I don't feel that I spent it in hell. I don't think I used that particular reference before to the public, but yeah, it's actually that bad. Only this time it wasn't!

So if I, as Whiny Guy, am the bearer of bad tidings, I'm also the bearer of not so bad tidings. I guess that's gonna have to be good enough.

And hey, if it's only gonna happen once every six or seven years and it's with a minimum of suffering and if it's only one day lost, that ain't so bad!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Something From Nothing?

Discover magazine September 2013, "Starting point" by Steve Nadis

This article was quite interesting. Unfortunately, it was also extremely irritating. Consider the following quote:  Just how did the universe begin? Maybe our fantastic, glorious universe spontaneously arose from nothing at all.

I recently heard this concept articulated in a book review in which Stephen Hawking proclaimed that the universe could have begun from nothing at all.  To anyone who has been reading popularizations of quantum physics, the idea is not a new one.  Nevertheless, I have experienced a great deal of frustration resulting from the fact that I can't recall anyone making the simple and obvious point which contradicts the statement. This glaring fault is obvious. Of course I did check to see what Dr. Hawking was referring to, and of course, it turned out to be that he was repeating the assertion that the universe could have spontaneously sprung into existence in a  creatio ex nihilo, based on the laws of quantum physics.  Sadly, that was just what I had expected.

Later, I saw this point repeated by Dr. Dawkins, the brilliant biologist and borderline hysterical fundamentalist evangelical atheist.  Hawking, being at least somewhat more cautious, had stated that this did not prove that God did not make the universe, only that this indicated that God was not needed to explain the creation of the universe.  The statement is very reminiscent of the purported statement of Laplace who, upon being asked by Napoleon if it was true that his theories made no reference to God's place in creating the universe replied, "I have had no need for that hypothesis."

The error which I'm referring?  The definition of nothing. You see, the statement has been made quite clearly. The universe could come from nothing, but then the person making that statement goes on to add, "except the laws of quantum physics."

It should be clear to anyone that the laws of quantum physics are most certainly something. Their existence clearly contra indicates the declaration that there was nothing, then there was the big bang. At the risk of sounding like a Neoplatonist, or perhaps we should say a Neopythagorian, I must ask, is there anything more real than the laws of physics? I certainly should not need to ask that question of any scientist, although a biologist might be excused.

Consider the following: if our planet were to disappear, the laws of physics would still be in place. However, if the laws of physics were to disappear, our planet, indeed the entire universe, would no longer exist.  Arguably, the laws of physics are more real than our planet, or our entire universe.  They certainly are not nothing.

The reason I'm writing this is because the article was irritating me so much by ignoring this clear and important point.  I didn't actually shout at the magazine, but I did keep informing it that it was being pigheaded and foolish (none of which caused any changes in the print).

The good news is that near the end of the article, Mr. Nadis finally added, "Although a universe, in Vilenkin's scheme can come from nothing in the sense of there being no space, time or matter, something is in place before hand-- namely the laws of physics."

Well at last somebody's finally willing to admit it!  Took them long enough.

Conclusion: While it is true that the universe may have been spontaneously created in accordance with the laws of quantum physics, this is simply another matter of regression. We do not thus solve the problem of origin, we only move the problem a little bit further back. The question now becomes, who created the laws of physics? Or, if one takes the atheist position, what created the laws of physics?

Some afterthoughts: There has been at least one experiment in which a universe in what is called Misner space was created in a computer simulation, said universe eventually shocked the experimenters when it created a closed time like loop and sent some of itself back to the beginning of time to give birth to itself.  And you thought science was all cold heartless theory!  What soap opera could beat that scenario?  (Yes,  know...All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein)

We also should not forget the concept that our universe may be nothing more than a computer simulation, or perhaps even a creation of some alien graduate student whose science is so advanced that his...her..its... doctoral thesis was to create a viable universe, ours.