Monday, November 30, 2009

Humanity and Colony Creatures

We are each a colony creature. Cells form tissue, tissue forms organ or bone, organs and bones form a person. And really, what is a person? An organization of meat bristling with sensors by which we interpret the world. Or at least part of the world.
Our senses are limited. We see in a narrow bandwidth, hear in a narrow bandwidth, touch/feel at indiscreet levels. We only have four taste sensations which blend to a narrow spectrum, and smell at an even narrower level. Further, our senses combine in several ways that we aren't aware of. To wit, when temporarily deafened by using an impact hammer without ear protection, I deemed potato chips "stale" because apparently we use hearing as much as "feel" to determine if something is crunchy.
We are in deep error when we think we "know" the world we're in, and we make logical missteps when we think things don't exist because they don't fall in our narrow field of sensation (consider a shark, which has some sort of magnetic sense--we can't even perceive it enough to comprehend it!). Further, limited by our understanding, we can't invent things to detect objects beyond our comprehension and wouldn't recognize readings if we could.
That makes atheism pretty foolhardy. I've read some nasty commentary about how stupid the idea of "God" is when if He existed He'd do this and this and that... Fascinating how a superior being who refuses to work to our wishes is deemed not to exist. What hubris we lowly colony creatures display in demanding from God, rather than simply thanking Him for our incredibly complex cells and tissues. Despite the obvious design of cells (just not how we'd design them), because we as a species prefer metal, wood, and digital science, we think "wet" design isn't possible. The sciences God develops in dips below our menial senses. Is that a shortcoming of God's or of ourselves?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks!

In between feast preparations I reflect on the overwhelming bounty God has graced us with. Used to be I'd feel a bit guilty about enjoying enough food to feed a small country in a single sitting. No longer.

There are people across the globe suffering horribly. I and mine are not among them. God calls each of us to care for those less fortunate, each in a different way. For some people that means volunteering to serve the homeless a warm meal on Thanksgiving. For others, it's serving the homed with a scrumptious meal while doing their part throughout the year for those who need help, some in big ways, some in small ways. And for still others, it's caring for people who don't need physical help but do need friends, hospitality, and God's love.

The Bible shows God to be a God of feasts. No, He's not a party animal, He is a master of symbolism. God's grace and unending bounty is obvious in most American's lives. He delights in us realize that. As I reflect on a grace-filled life, starting with a wonderful family of origin, great friends, wonderful churches, good jobs, terrific wife and children and dogs, I also have to look at the things I counted as suffering. Bone disease, bullies, a faulty moral compass that led me to embarrassing and often horrifying actions... and then I realize these things shaped me into the "container" who would and could receive God's individualized grace.

Extrapolating from that, is it such a stretch that the downtrodden are being similarly shaped? Those who believe God can look forward to tremendous grace, sometimes here, sometimes not until eternity. And even within tremendous suffering, grace abounds. I read of a father who, during the typhoon "over there" lost sight of his daughter. In the throng of fleeing people, he was shoved one way and another, right back to his crying daughter. He praised God, seeing not the typhoon but a caring Father.

Those in poverty should not be ashamed; those of us with an embarrassment of riches shouldn't be ashamed either. God give to us all. Whatever we have, whatever we don't, give thanks.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Star Trek The Second Review

Saw it again on DVD. I know I reviewed it before, but I can't resist.

Spock was terrible, but it's simply not Quinto's fault. Leonard Nimoy succeeded in creating the number one TV character of all time. It was the perfect marriage of role and actor. Consider Star Trek the Original Series without Spock. It simply wouldn't have worked. Spock gave the show the needed bling to work. Without him it would have been completely forgettable. With ANY other actor, it wouldn't have been worth watching.

The Voice, the Height, The mile-long maxilla and naso-labial folds, the Squinty Eyes, and the acting chops to make you believe a man could have green blood... Angular body, deep, full-bodied voice, and just a naturally alien face to begin with, and the ability to conceive and commit to creative and apt action choices.

Zachary Quinto has none of the above. His voice is high, he's tall but not gawky tall. Admittedly, he's got a bit of a long face and big nose, but nowhere near Nimoy's. His eyes are too open and bright, and he didn't make a single acting choice Nimoy hadn't done 100 times better. Even the ears were too round and perfect (Nimoy's were longer and narrower, which is true of his natural face as well). And he can't do the Vulcan salute.

To be fair, I don't think any actor could do the role justice. Any choice he made wouldn't ring true with the narrow understanding we have of "Vulcans."

Chris Pine didn't have to mirror Shatner, he had to make choices grounded in the vast panorama of human experience. In truth, the insouciance of his Kirk was far BEYOND Shatner's choices (if you can believe it). The old Kirk had one foot in Starfleet protocol and one foot out. Pine's Kirk had maybe a pinkie in Starfleet protocol and the rest dancing outside the circle. And it worked really well. If "our" Kirk hadn't had George Kirk riding herd on his outlandish traits, he'd be complete rebel with a genius strategic mind and an energetic, childish, unrestrained Id. Pine didn't swipe anything from Shatner (but it's still hard to accept that he'd not only be given a captaincy, but the flagship captaincy? No way. This Kirk can handle a battle but not a crew out of red alert).

The McCoy character, I think, mimicked Kelley's McCoy instead of trusting his own skill as an actor (which is prodigious) a little too much. His initial entrance promised great things. "Space is death and disease wrapped in ice and darkness..." He'll be better next time because several times he shined.

Scotty had no relation to Scotty, and that's fine (though when he said, "I'm givin' it all I got, Captain... he should have tagged it with " soon as I can find the thing..." Where were the engines?

Sulu and Uhura, no relation to their counterparts and that's fine. Uber-competent and that's enough.

Chekov was brilliant. Fantastic. Best performance by far and the kid's only 18.

Can't wait for the next one. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fat-Acceptance Blogs

I run across these every now and then; women, normally, of hefty proportions convincing themselves to love themselves as they are. Almost always they are well written, witty commentaries demonstrating depth and intelligence (there are, presumably, dim-witted zaftigs, but they must not blog).

I find these blogs particularly convicting personally and societally. Why must anyone be forced by the standards of our culture to struggle to accept themselves? Worse, why have I demanded others meet my standards of "beauty" lest I look down on them?

Wit, intelligence, kindness, pleasantness, cheer, caring, and a host of other internal qualities should count for so much more than outward features.

Let's not be naive, of course. From a romantic perspective we probably each have our preferred "types," but in no way should every woman be expected to fulfill the romantic interests of men. And for those of use fortunate enough to have found our soul mate, why should physical presence of anyone else even be of concern?

Here's the deal. You are who you are and that's good enough. Plenty of room for personal growth for everyone, but if someone makes unfair demands on who you are, punt them and their opinion. You're good enough.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Next President

Heard a bunch of stuff about "Governor" Palin on the way home from work. Seems like she's still being put forward for Federal office. *sigh*

Here's what the Kennedy's always had that too many of our current stable of contenders lack: a life-long aim at becoming president.

I like Huckabee, but he's not a strong candidate, just as Sarah Palin isn't. Neither has conducted themselves in a manner lending itself to a clean run at the presidency. In their state positions, they profiteered, if not to legal abuse, at least to ethical abuse.

The Kennedy's certainly weren't clean, but today's candidates must be. H and P saw their Governships as their final stop and milked the positions rather than used them as stepping stones. MAYBE if Palin gets a seat in the house or Senate she can rebuild, but we'll have a losing ticket if she tries to rise to the top.

Say what you want about Obama, but his background may be offensive to conservatives, but it played well to the liberals and undecided.

Who will that be for the right party? Dunno, but if we don't get our act together, we have no one to blame but ourselves if we lose the next election.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I'm Deleting Facebook

I blame it on the TV Writer's Strike a decade ago, when arrogant writers thought what all writers think, "let's see them fill the air without us." And so Reality Television was born. Like original sin, the people of the world believed a lie, "we're interesting when we're petty."

And we wondered how could it get worse than Reality TV? The answer is Facebook (which we topped -- or bottomed? -- with Twitter).

A digital monument to banality masquerading as "relationships." Except 99% of it isn't relating at all. Broadcast proclamations of less-than-small-talk isn't the fellowship the Bible promotes.

Oh sure, many people use it well. The Lashways, alerting us to their mission in Madagascar, Scott George's needs for his ministry, commercial purposes (and to be honest, if one of my business ventures takes off, I'll re-up the account to promote it... when I have purpose).

I profess it is nice to know what's going on with distant friends, and reconnect with people I haven't seen in decades, but is knowledge without relationship anything other than gossip, even if it's spread by that individual?

Finally, there are better things to do with my time than read stuff I wouldn't care to hear or take quizzes about things I don't need to know.

Nor is this a condemnation of Facebook users. If you get something out of it, bully for you and fare-thee-well.

For all those dear friends whom I am in fellowship with, please check in via e-mail, or, you know, in person. I do still love you all. But for me and mine, we shall Facebook no more.

(For my e-mail, please see my website

Monday, November 09, 2009

Just a Little Post (OK, Bad Pun; Read On)

Maybe I've blogged this before, because I tend to think cyclically and ratchet through my story ideas ever few months and things just stick out, you know?

Dwarfs prefer to be called "Little People" instead of "Midgets." It's a whole thing, I guess. My bad, I had formed the uninformed belief that "midgets" were proportionally correct and dwarfs weren't until the PC Police clubbed me in the shins (oooo!).

In fact, the term "midget" is a term of exploitation because Hollywood had a habit of rounding up any dwarf regardless of talent to staff movies like Wizard of Oz, Disney elf, gnome, or fairy movies, Buzby Berkly flicks, and anyone else who wanted a, let's say "height challenged," piece of human furniture.

So somehow, and I'm not sure where such things are decided for a people en mass, the clever term "Little People" was chosen to be less demeaning.

Say what?

"Little People?" That isn't demeaning? "You're like a person, only smaller." Come on PC Police, that's a little short on sensitivity isn't it? (oooo, again!).

Let's face, these guys get the short end of the stick all around. The correct term, "Dwarf", conjures pictures of white haired guys with long beards. Can't use that. "Little People" should be an embarrassment. What's an individual, then, a Little? Pretty sure that's a copyright infringement...

"Midget." What's wrong with that, exactly? Perhaps it comes from the term "smidgen" meaning a pinch. Is that so bad? Does it conjure a negative image?

For my story, a minor character (oooo! unintentionally) is a... dominunator (how's that!?) isn't much of a joiner (like me) and while she refuses labels and "group think" as a matter of course, has particular loathing for the term "Little People" but if a label is demanded, goes with "midget."

Can I, a 6'2" "Big People" make such a claim for one of my characters when I don't represent their group at all? (Ultimately, it doesn't matter, I'm going to anyway).

Which term is your label of preference?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cynicism and Faith

Great home group tonight. Dr. Brady is teaching on "the Gospel." Speaking about faith tonight, it hit me between the eyes that cynicism is the opposite of faith on so many levels.

Cynicism is, of course, pride. "The universe isn't going to put one over on me! Those who expect the worst are never disappointed!"

How opposite of faith which says, "I believe that God is Good. His will is right and just. He wants what is best for me."

While faith masquerades as naivete, it isn't. It is, as Scott said, objective truth.

Is my reputation so important to me that I don't want to be caught flat-footed by the universe just in case God isn't what He says He is? Hedging my bet isn't an act of faith, it's an act of pride.

Food for thought.