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Kraut

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This reality was thrust upon me when, having a strange, almost pregnancy-like craving, I was forced to buy some sauerkraut to go with the hot dogs I had planned for dinner.

Reality is: buying sauerkraut is like going to someone’s house, rummaging through their refrigerator until you find the oldest leftovers in there, and then offering them money for it.

Reality is: sauerkraut is only good after it has gone bad. That’s not a contradiction, not exactly, because it isn’t really sauerkraut unless it has gone rotten for a few days, or weeks. Before it goes bad, it’s only cabbage. It earns the name after it’s gone through the trials of time and torment. There’s probably a life lesson in that, but I don’t want to go down that road. Not today.

You make it by putting your cabbage in a bucket in your garage, you cover it loosely, with gauze or something, and then you wait for it to begin the fermentation process. I’m not kidding around. That’s technically accurate. Actually, some people prefer putting their cabbage in glass jars, but most sauerkraut makers aren’t all that picky. I’m sure you can imagine. I’ve heard that the container can’t be fully closed or you end up with something completely different from sauerkraut.

The next step in the process, after you’ve lumped your cabbage in a bucket, you ignore it for a few weeks. You let it begin the fermentation process, but you don’t let it completely ferment. It just gets started and then you call it done. That might actually be a contradiction. But you really, really, really don’t want to put fermented cabbage on your bratwurst; it tastes terrible. Trust me on that. Don’t ever do it. You’ll have hallucinations of illnesses. You’ll have ghost flavors of dead things trapped in your gullet. You’ll have spasms in the muscles in your tongue. It’s a downward spiral. Your tongue will feel like it has been put in a bucket, thrust to the dark corners of the garage, and neglected—only to be remembered when someone in the house has a hankering for a hot dog.

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writing

True Dreams Never Die

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One of my favorite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quotes: “I hope you can find some consolation from Christianity’s affirmation that death is not the end. Death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man into life eternal. Let this daring faith, this great invincible surmise, be your sustaining power during these trying days.”

He gave this great thought during a funeral. I feel like it applies to life itself, not only the days and hours when we feel closest to death because of a funeral or loss of a loved one. We could live a more full life if we realize death is no ending. We might be a bit more bold, a little more wise, if we didn’t limit ourselves in our concept of life and death.

Another great thought from a great man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Beautiful, isn’t it? So if you combine his religion above with his imperative statement below that, you can catch a glimpse of his motivation—why he was so self-compelled to raise others. He felt that there was an immediacy to doing good, and that since death is an “open door”, there is no need to fear it. He certainly lived a life of acting on his beliefs. And he did a great deal to end racism. The people who wanted him out of the picture managed only to end his mortal ministry. His spirit lives on. His words live on as well. And because of these two truths, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will continue to influence the human race even after his murderer’s children have come and gone.

writing

Is it too bold to fisk NASA?

reaching

Fisking NASA’s take on Climate Change in the year 2017 A.D.:

If you want to see what NASA has to offer:  https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ I see a good effort at collecting data. The first thing they show is a graph about carbon dioxide. Apparently that perfect little combination of carbon and oxygen is on the rise. In this fisking, I took the general topics and sometimes a summary of each one.

Global Temperature Rise—2 degrees in 200 years (1 degree in 100 years)

This happens to be the extent of our weather measurement history—200 years. We can only make educated guesses about the rest of history. Even the Bible and the Quran, historical documents, are bereft of much of anything about the weather—although there is an extremely interesting one in the book of Isaiah.

Warming oceans—at the surface and specific locations.

But we don’t measure the temperature everywhere. Not the entire ocean. So our data is limited. Do we make prophetic statements from limited data, or do we just make guesses? Guesses are more likely when we have so little info. The ocean is still relatively new to us scientific humans. We could study the ocean more extensively.

Shrinking arctic ice sheets

Warming. Provable. I’m not arguing against the fact that ice sheets have diminished, only that the topic is included under the heading of Climate Change instead of Global Warming. Misplacing a topic makes it seem irrelevant. I expect higher relevance from my favorite aerospace collective.

Glacial retreat

Warming. Did you know we still have glaciers in the northern hemisphere? I didn’t until I found out from the writer of the book, The Secret Lives of Glaciers, by Dr. M. Jackson. You see, there used to be a glacier where I live. Now it’s gone. I don’t see it as a great loss, like she does. Dr. Jackson has a love of glaciers that my pragmatic mind can’t quite grasp.

Decreased snow cover—chosen locations, Northern Hemisphere

Warming. So why are we not just calling it Global Warming? Why would we use an inaccurate title like Climate Change? Hmmm. The immediate problem with treating Climate Change as if it were some kind of Unified Field Theory is that you lose credibility quickly. Credibility is diminished when the locations are selected, rather than diverse.

One of my heroes, Kurt Godel, said, “No net can catch all fish,” and yet if you dare look on the fluctuating “facts” of Wikipedia you’ll see that “climate change” now includes: Sun Spots—El Nino—Decadal Oscillations—Martian Drought—and the fluctuations of gravity in the spaces between Jupiter’s moons. Kurt Godel would have a ball with that nonsense. My conclusion there is: avoid Wikipedia, stick with NASA. Even though NASA indulges in the same generalized cause/effect notion, they at least try to back up their info with facts.

Sea level rise—8 inches in 10 years

That’s good. If ice sheets diminished and we didn’t have more sea water, we’d definitely have a conundrum on our hands. If we need more water for humans to use, well, there it is. Of course, humans will have to start learning how to run a desalinization plant. Oh, the heartache! Oh, the headache! Just kidding. It’s not all that difficult. A teenage boy could run one.

Declining arctic sea ice

This is proven. How you choose to rate the significance of this information is up to you.

Extreme events—U.S. high temperature events—increased rainfall.

This is what’s called provincial information. When they talk this way, it seems like the only country in the whole world affected by Global Warming is the United States of America. That’s like those movies where aliens come to Earth; New York is always where they attack first. Provincial, and clichéd. Of course NASA belong to the U.S., but including this non-global information reduces the credibility of a theory of global proportions.

Ocean acidification—carbolic acid

That’s good. It’s one natural way to decrease carbon dioxide gas in the troposphere (aka breathe-o-sphere). A better method, of course, is planting and caring for a tree. Trees need to breathe too. By the way, if carbon dioxide is a heavy gas, why is it considered a greenhouse gas? Because we’re seeing more of it, but we have fewer trees. Go plant a tree already. What are you waiting for?

writing

Fisking National Geographic

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First, let me unveil my intentions. I’m not against maintaining the environment on planet Earth. I am against false and misleading information. If someone has good ways to be stewards of our environment, then by all means, let’s use those ways. My intention with this fisking is to show the inconsistencies in the logic, the mistitled systems, and the oddness of the topic. If by the end of this fisking you don’t have a different perspective, then you don’t need to read any of my future fisks. You’re excused.

For this one, I dissected a web page from National Geographic in 2017 A.D.—during the hurricane season. When it’s not hurricane season, like right now as this archive hits the infonet datawaves, they focus on info for children, like so: Check out the Farming section! Really, Nat. Geo.? Really?

Seven Things To Know About Climate Change

They’ve already started with an incorrect notion: They say they’re going to give us seven things, then they give us eight. I suppose we should give them the benefit of the doubt. They’re National Geographic, not National Mathematic.

  1. It’s not a myth, hoax, or a conspiracy among scientists.

Why they felt the need to put this disclaimer in there is interesting. What is the purpose of this statement? Does it remove all doubt from you? Do you stop questioning at this point? Did you go to the site because you had conspiracy theories? Does that simple statement negate any conspiracy theories? What would you say if you were trying to convince someone of your conspiracy? Hmmm. Furthermore, would you use trusted agencies to convince the gullible public? Hmmm. Is Nat. Geo. trusted? Is Nat. Geo. trustworthy? If so, then we can give them credibility that this is not a myth, a hoax, or a conspiracy. Otherwise, the statement amounts to an opinionated smokescreen.

  1. The world is getting warmer.

See? No need to panic. Don’t panic. Why do people who push “climate change” sound all panicky? Nat. Geo. doesn’t. They start off giving us the word warmer. The world isn’t on fire. It’s getting warmer. It has been since the end of the ice age. Do you remember the ice age? Oh, you weren’t there? Me either. The current trend is one degree warmer each one hundred years. That’s slow. That’s natural. Why do we need to know? Do we need to do something about it? Let’s read on and find out.

  1. It’s because of us. Volcanic eruptions cause sporadic cooling.

In other words, it’s anthropogenic. That’s a long fancy word which means “man-made”. Nat. Geo doesn’t use that word, but I do. So Nat. Geo. is saying that even though there are volcanic eruptions also putting carbon dioxide in the troposphere, the source is man? Huh? Here’s another inconsistency: If we caused it, and we can correct it, then anthropogenic climate change is the solution to anthropogenic climate change. (For instance: cloud seeding.) No wonder people get so confused with this subject.

  1. We’re sure. Svante Arrhenius saw global warming as a good thing. Nat. Geo.: “dangerous”.

“Remember,” they say, “we told you it’s not a myth, or a hoax, or a conspiracy among mafia bosses.” I’m kidding. They didn’t say that. But when they give us a statement like this, it sure doesn’t sound scientific. It sounds blatantly pushy. “Don’t you dare doubt us. We’re sure.” They admit that the scientist Svante saw global warming as a good thing. They say it’s dangerous. Thanks for your opinion, Nat. Geo. That’s all it is at this point. And the consensus among scientists? That’s nice. The consensus of the flat earth society is that the world is flat. Consensus has another name: bandwagon logic.

  1. Ice is melting fast.

That’s what happens when things warm up. If the Earth was warming and ice didn’t melt, I’d probably start panicking. They’re talking about glaciers, arctic ice, and Greenland. This is a good thing if you’re one of those who don’t enjoy drought. Water once stored in glaciers is now available for consumption, and for washing your socks. On the flip side, are we all going to drown? Only if we succumb to Natural Selection ourselves. Human ingenuity never ceases to amaze.

  1. Weather havoc. Climate change…doesn’t cause a particular drought or storm…

I agree with that thought of climate change not causing any specific weather. Unfortunately, the average climate change believer thinks that’s exactly how it works. Anyway, here we start talking about the weather. Weather is supposed to be immediate, by scientific definition. Climate is supposed to be measured over longer periods of time, by scientific definition. These are the scientific fuzzy definitions. Because if you’re a normal dude, you might climb in your truck and adjust the climate controls causing an immediate change in your surroundings. If you’re a normal dude and you’re confused, it’s understandable. These sorts of definitions are what cause doubt. Scientists jobs aren’t necessarily to persuade, but if they’re going to get my vote of confidence, they better not have any inconsistencies in their definitions. If the weather where you live is tempered, you might have a severe doubt that the world is in dire flux, or that there’s any “havoc” out there. That’s an interesting word choice, by the way. Why say “weather havoc” if the topic is only “warming”? How does warming translate to havoc and panic? Is there a need to panic? Obviously not. “It’s not a hoax. We’re sure.” If certainty was true, then why not just say weather “changes”? That would be more logical, more consistent with the general form, and less manipulative.

  1. Species are being disrupted.

Here is where I sound like an uncaring cynic. Natural Selection.

  1. We can do something about it.

Finally, something actionable. We’re humans. We’re very intelligent, at least in comparison to other species on the planet. We can help the other species on the planet, instead of sitting around idly and jawing about the weather. We can help our own variety too. Here are some good and not-so-good ways Nat. Geo. gives us to do something about it:

Develop renewables.

Items that are discarded don’t necessarily contribute to weather change, and can’t logically be attributed to “havoc”, but renewable energy is how nature propels itself. We could mimic nature in this.

195 countries signed the Paris Agreement.

This is irrelevant. Scientists didn’t sign the Paris Agreement. Politicians did that. Though signing a document isn’t directly harmful, neither is it directly helpful. As an action, political action is inert.

Solar energy.

Only solar? Does someone at Nat. Geo. have stocks in solar energy related companies? There are many alternate energy solutions. Wind energy. Oceanic energy. Geothermal energy. Anthropogenic energy. Gravitational energy. The list goes on. If you’re looking for alternatives, don’t limit yourself to solar.

Carbon-free.

What?! Carbon-free? They’re talking about energy sources here, of course. However, they did seem to miss one of the physical laws: matter cannot be destroyed. We don’t really want a planet void of carbon or its molecular combinations. Also, there are many sources of carbon dioxide. Coffee bean processing. Chocolate production. Bread making. Beer production. Paper recycling. Using cleaning chemicals. Humans breathing. Other mammals breathing. Volcanic action. So if we’re talking about the origins of carbon dioxide and how to stop it, they should have included all of the sources, not only their pet peeves.

Preserve forests.

Preserve forests, yes, but don’t stop there. Make new ones. Plant trees. If carbon dioxide is your worry of choice, trees are your relief. Trees consume carbon dioxide, like humans consume oxygen. Their conclusion is my conclusion, and I think it would have been a much better article if they had simply stated “Preserve, maintain, and renew forests.”

 

writing

The Son of God

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I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Son of God. I find reinforcement of this belief in many places.

Here’s a little test you can do. Look at some of the modern sources of entertainment: books, music, and movies. Check out a large enough number of them, and you’re bound to find the ones that include the name of Jesus in them. In books you can find many in which the “action” and the “drama” is achieved by a character shouting, “Jesus Christ!” Books with this particular attempt at drama are not few. Now, if you can detach yourself from the emotional response you might be having, and look at the use of the name in a clinical way, you can ask yourself why. Why does the writer use that specific name? Would the name Siddhartha Gautama work as well? This is the name of the Buddha. Why not use the name of the Buddha when we curse? Why is Jesus’s name so effective?

It gives people a thrill when they read it. Why? If you don’t have any scientific answers to this, then you might start to see that Jesus is the Son of God. You’re not supposed to use His name in random contexts, especially angry ones. That’s another way of saying, “Don’t use His name in vain.” Deep down inside, your conscience will tell you this truth. If you listen.

Speaking of listening, what about music? I love alternative music, but there’s a common theme in alternative music where they use the name of the Savior to make the music seem more imperative, or edgy, or rebellious. (Jim Morrison once wailed, “Jesuuuus, save uuuus!” Two reasons that couldn’t change: 1. It rhymes. 2. “Buddha, save us!”?? Who’s going to scream that in a rock concert?) Whatever the reason, the question could be repeated: Why not Buddha? Some of the band names could change too. Buddha Lizard, and The Buddha and Mary Chain. Yeah, neither of those quite capture the same feeling as the originals, do they?

What about movies? Have you seen a movie and heard one of the characters use the Lord’s name? Why not Buddha? And for that matter, why do I keep picking on Buddha? Because I revere him. He left a legacy of goodness in this world.

Okay, so there’s another question: When we’re cursing, why don’t we use the names of bad people?

“Hitler!”

It makes more sense. Cursing with the name of someone who left death and destruction in their wake makes more sense than cursing with the name of someone who did good. But it doesn’t give you that thrill when you say, “Hitler!” Why? Because Hitler’s name has no power associated with it? But if the name of the Savior has power associated with it, shouldn’t we use it more sparingly, even more respectfully?

Something to ruminate.

What would the makers of movies think if they found a script with a character saying something like, “Vishnu! We’re gonna die!” My guess is that they would point at that Hindu god name and say, “Change that to Jesus Christ, and we got ourselves a movie.” I know, there are a lot of movies that don’t use the name of the Son of God, but that’s not my point. My point is not that there are no good movies, no good books, no good music. My point is not that ALL the writers and musicians and directors and actors are going to hell quick fast and in short order. What I am saying is, “Have you ever thought about why the name of the Christ is used so often?” I think that’s a subject worth pondering. To play the other side of the street: If Jesus isn’t the Son of God, then why do they use his name when they’re afraid, or to show that a character is in fear, or to state the terms of their rebellion?

humor, writing

The Great International Baking Show

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It was a beautiful misty day in the U.K. The morning rain was getting lighter and keeping the air moist. “Misting” as we say back where I’m from. I had landed a spot on The Great International Baking Show, a pilot episode of a new program, so I was in the tent with my apron tied up all tight and my baking brain all ready for the day. They told us three days each week baking a variety of goods. They told us not to be shy of the cameras, just to face front and keep our chins up. I said, “Superb, guvnuh! Let’s go!” So they fired up the ovens and cranked up the cameras. We were given our first task. I heard Mel and Sue say it perfectly clear, “Make as many cookies as you like in the time given.” I mixed up some general dough faster than fast and modified it a bit to make chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, anise drops, frosted sugar cookies, and some hermits.

While I’m baking I like to listen to some music, so I lined up some great surf songs. I had Dracula from Houston, Surfin USA (Summer Mix), Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf), Make Mayan a Hawaiian, and The Jetty. I figured everyone around me would enjoy Surfin USA (Summer Mix) since those boys are straight out of Scotland.

Pretty soon I was cranking out the cookies. They paraded two people up in front of us and told us they were the judges, a Paul and Mary duo. They looked nice enough to me. The Mary character said, “Where’s the music coming from?” And I said, “Don’t judge me now, I’m not finished!” So they took her and the Paul character away, and I completed my plethora of cookies at the ding of the timer. I took them all out and started lining them up to cool when the camera crew came over and told me I couldn’t be done yet because they hadn’t filmed me doing anything. I said, “Who gives a rat’s, uh, I mean, sorry, I’m really trying to clean up my English, I can’t exactly start over. Once I’m done—I’m done. You want me to pretend to stir something?” They just shook their heads and started walking away, so I stopped them in their tracks and said, “Hold on, you haven’t sampled the wares yet. Have a cookie.” They started in on the hermits, and I had to stop them, “Actually, don’t eat those; they’ll be better tomorrow. Have an oatmeal.” They took my advice and loved the oatmeal cookies enough to have seconds. Anyway, long story short, after I pleased the entire camera crew with my delectables, I gave some to the other contestants, as well as Mel and Sue (those are some funny ladies, by the way, I love their humor, I mean humour).

Pretty soon everyone else was done with whatever they were making, it wasn’t cookies, and the judges came back out. They introduced themselves this time, as if we might have forgotten in the few minutes since they were gone. Mary once again asked, “Where’s the music coming from?” And I said, “Oh yeah, sorry, I got it.” And I turned it off so we could all hear what they were saying. Then Mary said, “Well, since you’re in my focus, why don’t you be the first to bring up your petit fours?” And of course I said, “Sure, if that’s what we’re calling them now.” I lugged up my tray of cookies which was considerably lighter since everyone helped me thin out the herd, if you know what I mean. I brought them up to the judges and they looked at the cookies that were left: the anise drops. You really have to love that licorice flavor to enjoy the anise drops. Paul said, “They smell delicious, but they don’t look like petit fours at all.” I said, “You can eat all you want though, none of the camera crew put their fingerprints on those.” He gave Mary a look that seemed to have a subdued scorn in it. I figured it was some sort of European tradition, so I gave Mary the same look. She glowered back at me. No words were exchanged.

While they were both stewing over something, I figured it was my chance to test my own poison. I snatched up one of the anise drops and chomped down on it. “Whew!” I said, “I guess I should have used the actual anise extract instead of Jagermeister.” Both judges gave me a surprised look and started chowing down like it was the first plate of cookies they’d ever seen. In between bites, Paul said something like, “This is why we asked for petit fo—om nomp chomp.” I didn’t know it at the time, but Sue explained to me later that the two judges had a love of Jagermeister that predated the company. If I had known, I guess I wouldn’t have made those particular morsels. If I had known those two were trying to kick the habit, I might have been more cautious, and I wouldn’t have been kicked off the show on the first day. I learned later that they decided not to open the show to international bakers, and they decided to change the name to something else.

writing

More Transformers

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Photo by Arseny Tugolev

After reading a rather well-written review* of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I realized a few things. First thought, it was after that movie when lots of dudes started in with the disrespect of Shia LeBeouf. My opinion on those guys is they were just jealous that he was in, not one but, two movies with Megan Fox (then, of course, by the time the third movie was released, their jealousy must have escalated sevenfold).

I remember when the first Transformers movie came out, a lot of dudes were celebrating Shia. They were impressed by him getting the lead role. What could they have possibly thought was going to happen in the second movie? Did these dissin’ dudes think that Shia would be replaced? Did they honestly think that the role would be given to some never-tried-acting dude like themselves?

Second thought, the movie was as plotless as the review said. The movie rumbles through a couple of hours of explosions. It stumbles through some poorly-timed and poorly-executed jokes. A lot of the camera-work is messy, disjointed, amateurish. However, and this is a big however, you have to take in to account the demographic and the source material.

The original cartoons were fairly plotless. Giant robots did battle with each other. That was the main point of the plot. The demographic target for the cartoons, and the movies, are your average everyday boy. Not really the most picky section of society. They like robots. They like explosions. Plot lines are way down on the list of priorities.

As for the claim that Revenge of the Fallen is the worst movie of all time, I could easily disagree. There are movies that are truly difficult to sit through. Grandma Kisses. That one falls off most people’s radar. Or Spanking The Monkey. I can’t even get past that title. Why would anyone want to watch that? Or how about a more recent one? The Spy Who Dumped Me. Did they even try to sell that one in theaters? I never saw it, but I can tell from the title that it is laaaame. How is it that people who make movies can’t tell? Do they have a brain blockage? Are their senses dulled from hours of watching inane film footage? Whatever the reason, it still surprises me that so many movies get made and released and advertised that are obviously bombs. Not bombs as in explosive, but bombs as in standing on stage getting rotten vegetable bombs thrown at you. Anyway, I think by these three examples (and I could cite a lot more) I’ve shown that despite Revenge of the Fallen’s poor quality, it’s still not the worst movie ever.

*There are many, many reviews of this movie. If you like to read, you could read these for hours. The three below are fun to read, but they’re not the one I read that I really liked. Unfortunately, the infonet is a deep sea of text and images. It can be difficult to find things. If I find that well-written review again, I’ll cue it up. In the meantime, check these three out:

Rotten Tomatoes

Roger Ebert

Geeks.Media