Sunday, May 31, 2009

The noble savagery

"I could never love a God so impotent He needs me to punish infidels and heretics for Him."

And don't you wish it was all that easy? Don't you wish you could hide forever behind the words of others that you quote with the facility of a parrot?

An abortionist got killed today. God said (or saideth I guess) "Thou shalt not kill."
God also saideth "Thou shalt smite the Midianites" and I don't think the Creator meant "give 'em a good talkin' to."

Bonhoeffer I assume knew the ten commandments, yet was smack dabish in a plot to kill the little corporal. And how about this? It's 1856 and you meet on the road about 24 slaves being led to auction by two overseers. You've got the means to interrupt the outcome where mothers will be sold away from their children, never to see them again. You can get all these people to Canada. It means killing the overseers, so what's your plan?

The overseers probably have family who will be left in dire straits, but these guys are engaged in an immoral biz. Ya gonna smite them Midianites or what?

This guy who got killed today, at the Church where he was serving as an usher, he was engaged in pushing the limits of Roe vs. Wade far beyond limits imagined in 1973. This was a man who used his technical expertise to perform third trimester abortions on demand.

The killer thinks himself a protector of very viable fetuses, and probably counts the taking of one life justified, since it will likely mean at least two dozen late term abortions won't be performed, so unwanted babies will be birthed and given up for adoption.

And I don't know that he's wrong. While there are plenty of schizophrenics who fervently believe God wants them to kill Pat Sajak, the Creator is also unchanging and constant. I won't exclude from my theology the possibility that God dispatched a smiter to Kansas. I just don't know really. I keep thinking about 24 slaves, two overseers, loaded gun and I'm (really really) a good shot. I keep thinking is it wrong to kill a man in Church, who will kill a viable fetus perhaps, the following Monday?

Did that Doctor even have any right to set his foot in a house of worship, unrepentant about his vocation? Was he an abomination in the eyes of Creator, using God given talent to kill babies only weeks away from breath and the arms of loving adoptive parents?

I wish I didn't have to struggle with these issues, and instead just stick to parroting the words of others. David wants a cracker, like real bad.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's not about tank rides

So tiresome, the careless use of "Hitler" in today's political discourse. It's an insult to those who died taking that madman down. But 64 years after the little corporal did the world a favor and blew his brains out, what if he's still a prime influence in US foreign policy?

While WW2 was a justified war, it's another insult to the victims, calling 1941-1945 the "good" war. Simply turned out after the shooting stopped, our enemies across both oceans were evil on a level that beggars the imagination. At the seats of power our leaders were well informed, but the whole thing came as a shock to ordinary Americans when revelations of death camps and "comfort houses" became common knowledge.

In the European front, in purely chessboard terms WW2 looks like the Napoleonic wars. In the Pacific, it was simply a burgeoning empire reaching out for hegemony and natural resources. WW2 is seen like it is because the folk on the other side of the chessboard were in this case, operating from the heart of a nearly unfathomable Manson-like ethos.

The Cold War, well domino theory was real. USSR was an empire, pursuing hegemony via asymmetrical methods, hiding naked aggression behind the scribblings of Marx. We had no choice but to engage the USSR in that series of proxy wars. That it was imbued with a sense of ourselves again in the role of liberators? Well, that thinking isn't a natively American value, and it hampered us, through the process to the outcome. Dumb and destructive as Marxism is, once it gets power it's seldom been practiced in a way that mimics Bushido Japan or Nazi Germany, except by Stalin and Pol Pot.

Now it's 2009, and part of the American heart still wants to find itself in a tank rolling through Paris in 1945, as crowds cheer. All wars are about land, power and natural resources. This WW4 is no different, and neither was WW2, seen in purely chessboard terms. Our foreign policy since 1945 has been influenced by a strong desire to re-fight Hitler. That has at times been used skillfully by amoral opportunists to some extent, I suppose, but mostly? It's now a very real American desire, and has been for sixty years; one more tank ride through Paris.

So yeah, that pathetic little psychopath still influences much of American foreign policy, in a very real way.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Re-train American Bugs

What's done is done. So Western Civ, after the Berlin Wall fell kinda got the big head (as my Mom would say) and started believing (or claimed to) illogical stuff. So globalism and New World Orders that could be designed and managed immune to the law of unintended consequence, well. It was all a giddy ditty that some drunken sailors sang. Western Civ, all is forgiven, just come home? I miss you.

But if we're really gonna put the past behind us, you got to quit this lying about, "Oh, they're just doing jobs Americans don't want." You know what I'm talking about, the whole country is up in arms about it. Bringing those South American flies to Texas!

Oh sure it sounds good. We got fire ants, so what ya do is go get this fly that swoops down on a fire ant, lays an egg in it, thereby transforming the fire ant into a walking incubator/TV dinner for the next generation of Phorid fly. For some reason this ain't considered a happy outcome in the fire ant community. Just the sight of one Phorid fly can put a whole colony of fire ants to cowering in their underground tunnels. Great ideas sometimes sound dumb at first, but really really dumb ideas ALWAYS sound good, right off the bat. So bringing Phorid flies to Texas sounds like a good idea.

I predict that 20 years from now, science will have learned some very interesting other things about Phorid flies, someone will be scouring the Amazon for whatever it is that eats Phorid flies, and I just hope it ain't Piranhas. But that's not my point.

We have billions of hardworking American beetles, moths and spiders, and they lay eggs too. American bugs want these jobs that foreign insects are being given. Our American bugs just need training for the new service based economy is all. It's a quite simple thing really.

All you have to do is figure out why Phorid flies like to lay their eggs in fire ants, and teach American bugs that. As I understand Darwin, long ago Phorid flies laid their eggs in, I dunno, Madonna's ex-boyfriends, something like that. Then one day, via spontaneous random mutation, one Phorid fly decided to lay its egg in a fire ant. It was the better reproductive strategy, so now all Phorid flies do it. So just repeat the random spontaneous mutation, in an American ladybug for instance? You can do that, right? That way everybody's happy. Phorid flies can stay in South America, fire ants are contained, and American insects have good paying jobs.

I hate courting controversy, but we'll have to re-train the fire ants too. Look, I know they're here illegally, but they're not going anywhere, right? Just for the sake of efficiency, we've got to get fire ants understanding that ladybugs have been re-trained to lay eggs in them. I'll admit this is where it gets complex, but we Darwinists never shrink from a challenge, right?

We've got to figure out by what mechanism a Texas fire ant who's never been to South America, can recognize a Phorid fly and be terrified of it. Now how in the world would a dumb old ant know that? It's almost as if some force exists that loves both Phorid flies and fire ants. Phorid flies got to reproduce, or no more Phorid flies. Fire ants have to know to be scared of the dive bombing egg layers or pretty soon no more fire ants.

To correctly re-train fire ants to fear ladybugs, we're going to have to find out what this force is exactly. I think we're gonna need a bigger blackboard.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Belated Thanks

I didn't say goodbye and Thank you Willem, as I should have at the time. I didn't even know you were still alive and in Pennsylvania, until you were gone. I'd have loved just one phone call with you.

Hope you'll forgive my using this picture from the old days? I had one of you as an adult, and really Willem with a kisser like that you could've played a Doctor on TV. But you didn't play a Doctor, did ya? You were a Doctor, smack dab in the middle of the big Mac Daddy hellhole of the 20th century.

I used this photo, cause I like you geeky in those black knee socks, on a day you never guessed what lay ahead. And cause ya'll do kinda look like the Addams family, no offense. But there you were Willem, on a spring day, everybody staring at the camera like a smile would kill 'em, and you never dreamed back then, did ya bud?

You'd grow up to be a Dutch Doctor, conscripted for service on wounded German soldiers in Nazi occupied Holland. And you stole medical supplies didn't ya? Every evening as you went through the checkpoint in your car, with that stuff in your trunk, did your pulse quicken, or were you cool as ice? Cause you knew if they looked in your trunk, they'd want to ask some questions.

After you left the Nazi hospital, you went to the secret hospital. There those medical supplies were used for downed Allied fighters, escaped POW's and Jews too. One big ol' happy family at the secret hospital, and your involvement would've meant a date with a firing squad, or transfer to a concentration camp, if you got caught.

And while all that was going on, you were inventing the kidney dialysis machine. Thanks Willem, on behalf of the tens of thousands who have their lives extended by your invention, and will never even know your name. And the circumstances under which you made your breakthroughs, wow! Does Edison have anything on you?

You never got the Nobel did ya? You will always be my hero Willem, a standard for the behavior I expect from myself. You passed, two days before my birthday. For the rest of my life, my birthday will always be a time to pause, consider and celebrate your achievements, your courage under fire when courage alone held the thin line against an inconceivable madness. You did good work man. But you do look hilarious in those black knee socks!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Boids, filthy stinkin' boids

Lately, every time I see a bird I'm struck with the whimsy that maybe they know everything. As a colony of bees can have a collective consciousness totally alien to humans, why can't birds have a collective memory?

Maybe every bird, while knowing its current bird stuff, also participates in some way with evolutionary memory, in understanding it was also once a great hulking lizard carnivore. So part of the work of being a bird is understanding you're a bird and a dinosaur at the same time? That would be so wonderful for them. In less complex times that I thought were plenty complex, I watched bird parents urging a nestling to fly. It was pretty interesting. What a thrill that must be to realize your wings work and you can fly.

A collective memory would mean understanding in some bird way, you were once hiding in the tall grass with your pack, waiting for a migrating herd of plant eaters to come into striking distance. Nervous, so nervous. Many of them got away because you couldn't take the tension and struck too soon. Then a million years later you were smaller, with feathers, and you climbed trees, and that is where you hid waiting for smaller prey. You glided down upon them, and then one day? You found out you could not just glide, you can FLY! You are the very first. You don't fly because Mom & Dad can fly, you are the first ever! What a joyous thing it must feel, to be the first ever creature to soar above the land.

If my whimsy is right, every bird understands they are also the first bird, and also the smart dinosaurs who hid in the tall grass.

We are all we have been, good and bad. Our current form reflects the needs of the times. Each sunny day, when we take flight casting a shadow on the ground, we understand in some way, we once owned the land below. Back then, everything that walked on land feared us. Now we own the air. We are all we have been, and it may be we will be that again, who knows? But it is a beautiful thing to recall not only our first flight, but the first flight of our ancient ancestor, and all that came before.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Columbus among us

I thought that e-mail to the Memphis Muslim Association was worded quite eloquently, if I do say so myself. "While I know Christians and Muslims disagree about many things, I believe we pray to the same Creator, and I wish to attend one of your worship services, so I can better understand how you approach the Creator."

I don't know! I'm doing the best I can here! Oddly, it's not the easiest thing in the world to contact Muslim clerics directly in Memphis, TN. Go figger that one! Thought the stuff I said about "your cousin in the great faith" was pretty good. That may cause some head scratching on the other end, but I see it like this. I'm a Christian, and I'm wrong about some stuff. All Christians are wrong about some stuff. They're Muslims, and they're wrong about some stuff too.
Well, Christians and Muslims probably disagree on a level comparable to that of Pentecostals and Catholics. We're cousins, all of us who believe there is but one God. I mean Hindus? God bless them, and they're mostly fine folks I bet, but they're over there in India, ankle deep in gods, godesses, and cow shit. Jews, Christians and Muslims are cousins in the great desert faith where the wind can get mad and sandstorms can strip the hide off a camel, and where burning bushes tell you to go do what you don't want to do actually. We cousins have that, the belief in the one God.

Maybe I'll get a response. I don't know. They might not want their "cousin" at the prayer service.

Some adventures are designed and some are forced upon us. The other e-mail was about getting paperwork straight so I can go be a College student again. How charming! Not like I've ever attended College classes, so this should be exciting and exotic! Well it could be worse. I could be signing up for bagpipe lessons! How does one tune one of those things, I wonder? Oh yeah, I remember. When bagpipes sound in tune, they must be discarded and a new set procured.

So I'm 52 years old, and I'm about to go back to College, this time studying Electrical Engineering. That because it's the hardest thing I can think of. I don't really like the thought of studying stuff what can't be seen with the naked eye.

Well. Columbus was a misunderstood figure, and perhaps a dandy bagpipes player, who knows? Sometimes we sail to new horizons because they look interesting, and we need to see ourselves in other latitudes. Other times we sail because we can't stay where we are, don't feel welcome anymore.

I reckon none of my ancestors came to this country on a lark. Not like I have to brave Atlantic storms in a leaky wooden boat or anything. I'm 52 and going back to College, when I REALLY kinda thought I already did that! And just like Columbus, I may start thinking I'll discover one thing, and discover something entirely different. That bagpipes thing though, sounds really cool! Great thing about an instrument like that, if you can't play it worth a damn, who can tell?