Christmas Day 2011

Originally posted on thelastminstrel:

I think it’s instructive to remember that when Christ was born in Bethlehem, Judea, the official announcement by Heaven that the greatest event in human history, up to that time, had occurred, was given in a dark field, outside of the cities and towns, to a handful of anonymous shepherds.

While emperors planned, and powerful men and women spun designs for conquest and acquisition; the event that would shape the destiny of all  mankind, that would change the face of the entire earth; that would establish forever the point from which time itself would be measured, had played itself out in a forgotten corner of a minor province. And no-one knew except a handful of shepherds.

I’m not certain where shepherds stood on the social scale of Judea, I suspect they were closer to the bottom than the top. But for one glorious night, in an empty field, while all the world slept, they alone knew.

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Ichabod

Ichabod
It’s one of those odd, old names from the Bible. The only place I think I have ever seen it used is in Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The  awkward, unlucky school teacher newly arrived in Sleepy Hollow is named Ichabod Crane.
Outside of Irving’s story, I’ve never met or heard of anyone named Ichabod.
It’s as unlikely a name to hear as Judas.
The story, and the reason for the name, is found in The Old Testament, in the book of 1 Samuel; chap 4;
The Philistines had attacked Israel and the two foolish sons of the High Priest, Eli, thought that by carrying the Ark of the Covenant into battle they could force Gods hand.  He would not risk the Ark falling into the hands of the heathen Philistines, the reasoning went. God would not allow Israel to lose.
They were wrong.
The Ark was captured and the two sons of Eli killed by the Philistines.  When he heard of it, Eli fell backwards and died.
The news reached the wife of one of the sons and she went into labour and delivered a boy .
She named him Ichabod; “For the Glory of God has departed from Israel.”

A lot of people believe that’s where We are, The United States.
The Glory of God has departed from us.
If that’s so, the solution to our troubles won’t be found in the assembly lines at Lockheed or Boeing.
It isn’t being built on the slipways at General Dynamics.
It isn’t being trained at Camp Pendleton or Fort Benning.
No piece of legislature will solve it.
No Executive Order will cure it.
No politician ever born, no representative, senator, or president can end this trouble.
The Glory of God has departed from us.
How do we persuade it to return?

‘Racking’

It’s a ‘Backyard Engineering’ term, or principle I guess you’d say. It applies to many areas of human endeavor.
A good example is a fence post you want to get out of the ground; you grab the post and push it as far as you can in one direction, then yank it back as fast and hard in the opposite direction. You are loosening the grounds grip on it with every back and forth.
Or, take a wooden crate, drop it on one corner. The fasteners that hold all the pieces together will stretch in that direction. Turn the crate around, drop it on the opposite corner, they will stretch even farther. Keep this up and without a hammer or crowbar or any tool at all, you can ‘Rack’ something apart with your bare hands; crates, furniture, doors, sheds, barns, houses, boats, ships, airplanes, buildings or people.
Get anything moving in one direction, then slam it into another direction, keep repeating this process, and eventually it will come apart.
Today, Nov. 18th, 2013, the Health Care Insurance industry is being ‘Racked’ one way then the other.
I don’t know if this is by design or from incompetence.
I do know that it will come apart if this keeps up.
There are people who think they are clever enough to rebuild something they didn’t make in the first place.
I don’t know about that.
I do know that it takes skill, training and experience to build anything of value, and that any fool will do to take it apart.

Darwin ex Machina

When a story-teller; in a play, novel or movie;  paints his characters or plot into a corner from which there is no believable exit, he can always use – Deus ex Machina -“God from the machine ” – to move the characters or story in the direction he wants them to go, to arrive at the conclusion he wants the audience to make.

Example;

The hero has rescued the damsel and they are escaping, but, the villains have cornered them in a warehouse and surrounded them with fifty men holding – machineguns – crossbows – spears – name your poison. The chief villain gives the command to kill them. The ground begins to rumble, an earthquake shakes the building down, crushing the villains but missing the hero and heroine because they are standing under a skylight. In the final scene you see them  upright and unharmed in the middle of the rubble. Dues ex machina.

The key to the success of this Plot Device, is giving the audience what they want. The boy gets the girl; the deserving orphan gets the treasure; the likable rogue gets a slap on the wrist but escapes real harm. The truly evil are destroyed.

In Star Trek, the audience, and the advertisers, don’t want to see Kirk put on a pressure suit, enter the lander, leave the mother ship, compute his orbit and landing trajectory, fire the retros, descend through a flaming re-entry, pop the chutes, float down to a landing on land or water, be picked up and carried to the next setting in the story. So, he just ‘Beams’ down, or, is ‘Teleported’ to the next scene. There is no such device, nor is it considered possible by any but the most starry-eyed scientists. It does not figure in any plans NASA has for future Space Exploration.
But, it is an excellent way to move Capt. Kirk and crew from  Enterprise to  planet and back again before the next commercial.

Deus ex Machina’s are to be found in every human endeavor; writing of fiction, politics, advertizing, and even in that holiest of all Holies – Science.
Nowhere is this ancient Grecian Plot Device applied more liberally than among the faithful followers of Charlie Darwin. In fact, it can reasonably be said they have invented their own, unique, variation of this literary tool; Darwin ex Machina;
It is statistically impossible for the 286 proteins necessary; to be randomly generated, gathered in one place and precisely arranged as to form the simplest possible life, a single cell.
So, how did happen? Darwin ex Machina.
Darwinian Evolution is dependant on a very specific type of genetic mutation; the Addition of information to the genetic code contained in the DNA; that has never, NEVER been observed in nature. In fact, all that we have learned about mutations in the code, point to the Rigidity of the genetic material. Countless experiments and observations show that the slightest error in transmitting genetic material from parent to offspring is “Relentlessly Fatal.”
So, if the only possible means of explaining a theory of Origins and Diversity of Species is shown, empirically and experimentally to be an impossibility, how do you keep your Theory from being tossed in the trashcan? Darwin ex Machina.

If you hang around a devout Christian or Jew for any length of time, you’ll probably hear them say at one point or another, “With God, all things are possible.”
Apparently the faithful followers of Charlie Darwin believe the same is true of their hero; “With Charlie, all things are possible.” Darwin ex Machina. If that isn’t idolatry, it’s awfully close to it.

When you read that over millions of years, a rat sized creature, by way of countless mutations in genetic material, accumulated enough changes to become an upright human being, you are reading a work of fiction, a piece of literature, a novel as it were. The writer isn’t using scientific tools or methods, but literary ones; plot devices, to move the story in the direction they want it to take, to a forgone conclusion.
It can make for amusing reading. But it can’t be called Science by any stretch of the imagination.

What You Have Done.

What Did You Watch in the War, Daddy?

How Old Am I?

Reflections on Beatrice Arthurs Bosom

In the news lately was the tempest-in-a-teapot over a twenty year old painting of actress Bea Arthur topless, when she was in her sixties.

Of all the ills our era suffers from, we have been spared the horrors of a shortage of  images of womens breasts . Civic minded ‘artists’, relentless photographers, and  desperate editors, strive tirelessly to insure that no one can travel from stoop to curb without being smacked in the face with the newest proof that Ms._______ does indeed have a BOSOM, as do three and a half Billion of her sisters on this sad, old Earth. Having seen countless thousands of these proofs over my lifetime, I can state authoritively that they look remarkably similar to each other.

In the early sixties, there was a movie, the title escapes me, about a man married to the worlds foremost Bikini model. He never saw her fully clothed; she was either in a bikini for a photo shoot or lounging around the house nude or nearly so.
He was the envy of every man.
He spent his time daydreaming of her dressed in long flowing  gowns, or bright sun dresses, once I think dressed as a Nun.
It is the ancient curse of Man that he yearns for what he does not have, and tires of what he does.

There is an odd passage in the Bible, Proverbs I think;
“Be content with the breasts of the wife of your youth.”

To the great relief of artists, photographers and desperate editors, people don’t read the Bible much anymore.

Three men at the Tomb

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier                Three men at the Tomb                             

                                 by W A Adams

Three men at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

My Father, My brother and me

At the post, day or night

For all eternity

 

Building the Tomb was my father

Who taught us to face the storm

And turn it aside if we could

If not, To keep others from harm

 

In the Tomb is my brother

Who went to take my place

I hear his heart beating still

Though I cannot see his face

 

In front of the Tomb is a pathway

I walk every day and each night

Behind,  thousands who came before

Ahead, those not yet in my sight.

 

I do not stop for the rain

It is only my father’s tears

I do not stop for the snow

It is only the long empty years

 

That my brother might have lived and sang

Of the joy that was in his soul

But he is in his tomb, and I’m on this path

That the world may see and know

 

That he  never will be forgotten

Through the rain, the snow, or the years

So long as brother loves brother

So long as fathers have tears.

Should We Have Dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima?

Report From The Front

One Virtue of George Bush

Three Marys

Originally posted on thelastminstrel:

Three Marys
by W A Adams

Three Marys on the road going to a tomb
One old one younger one in bloom
Hurrying thru a world  changing as they sped
The dark of the first new day

‘The sun is coming’ the oldest said
She carried frankincense to anoint the dead
The shadows grew lighter on the road they trod
The pre light of the first new day

“Who will move the stone” the younger cried
She had fine myrrh for the one who died
The light was touching the tops of the trees
In the dawn of the first new day

“The stones been moved” sang the bloom
They  knelt and gazed in the empty tomb
The sheet lay flat on the stone inside
In the full light of the first new day

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What is a Man?

What is a man?
I asked the rabbi
“The image of the living God”

What is a man?
I asked the scientist
“Brother to the worm in the sod.”

What is this creature, I asked the lawyer,
Who can love and hate and forgive?
She consulted page twelve-eighty-nine and said
“Depends on the meaning of ‘IS’.”

Where Did All the Blood Go?

A ditch, six feet wide, two feet deep and a mile long, ran alongside the runway at Soc Trang. At one end, across the ditch from the runway, our ten OH-6As were parked on PSP [pierced steel plating]

When it rained the ditch overflowed; the water racing past our area, under the concertina wire, through a screen of tall bamboo, past a ruined Buddhist Temple and into the jungle beyond.

When it wasn’t raining, the dew from the runway trickled into the ditch and filled it enough to keep the water moving slowly past our aircraft.

Once, the water took on a pink cast as it moved by us. If you followed the pink upstream you would find where it flowed, a little redder, into the ditch. The water got redder as you followed it to the skids of one of our ships, up the side and onto the cargo deck where it bloomed to a deep crimson.  A jellied mass of blood, about the size of a pillow, lay  a half-inch deep on the deck . In the heat, it  turned to a jello like consistency that took a stiff brush and countless buckets of water from the ditch to wash out of the aircraft.

The blood came from a hole where a mans arm used to be. The hole came from an RPG fired by an NVA regular. The RPG came from the Soviet Union.  The NVA regular came from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam-N. Viet Nam

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam came from a vision in the mind of Ho Chi Minh. The vision followed a very crooked road from his birthplace in North Viet Nam to where the blood sluiced into the ditch at Soc Trang. Every inch of that long, long road was soaked in blood; French, American, Australian, Korean, New Zealand, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai, Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese blood. A lot of Vietnamese blood.

Was it worth it?

Depends on who you ask. You can’t ask Ho Chi Minh,  he died a few months before the blood went into the ditch at Soc Trang. His heirs must have thought it was worth the spilling;  after their victorious march into Saigon they decided that not enough Vietnamese blood had soaked into the ground, so they kept at it for a few more years.

It was all forty years ago. The ‘Great Red Beast’ has moved on to a score of other wars and drunk deeply of human life. Why think about it now?

I don’t think about it much, and when I do time seems to have worn the sharp edges off my memory and it doesn’t cut the way it used to. But, I dream about it, now and then; dipping the bucket in the water, one foot in the ditch, scrubbing at the bloody mess with that useless stiff bristle brush. And then the gorge rising in my throat so that I have to step away for a moment, breathe the fresh air, watch the water flow under the wire, through the bamboo, past the temple ruins and into the jungle where it disappears. You can’t see far in the jungle, so I don’t know where all the blood goes.

If I were a more clever man I would weave an analogy of the blood spilled then and the blood spilling now, and work it all into an insightful metaphor of the wire and  bamboo,  the temple,  the jungle and the ditch.

But I’m not that clever, and I have no great insight. All I have is a fading memory and an occasional dream. And a deep, abiding distrust of the visions of men, no matter how glorious they may seem.

MASTER of ALL I SURVEY

Why do the innocent suffer?

Falling Gracefully

Where Have all the Graveyards Gone?

Things to Do

Where Have all the Soldiers Gone?

The Slaughter of the Innocent; It’s Time to Try Another Way

Where Have all the Young Girls Gone?

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Don’t You Worry at All

The Ghosts of Benghazi; Lost in Libya

Judith Durham Never Had a Wardrobe Malfunction

thelastminstrel:

I’ve been getting a lot of hits on my pieces about evolution.
This is my thoughts on the subject in ryme

Originally posted on thelastminstrel:

The Faith of Our fathers
by Walter A Adams

What is the faith of our fathers
If we are come up from the mud
Are we close kin to the dog and the rat
Does our stomach compel us to blood

Do we rip what we need from whoever is near
And count any feeding as good
What is the faith of our fathers
If we are come up from the mud

Who is the god in our temple
Who tells us we’re born of the slime
Who bids us bow down to the “fittest”
And the devil take him that’s behind

Counting the corpses we claw our way over
To be sure that we’re not left behind
Who is the god in our temple
Who tells us we’re born of the slime

And what is the hymn that we dance to
That drones in our ears day and night

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Why Nador is Smiling

My Fathers Flag

Defusing Muslim Rage

A Little More Room

thelastminstrel:

Lately, I seem to have kicked over a hornets nest with an earlier blog; “Evolution; the Work That Doesn’t”
In keeping with my belief that if you accidentaly kick a hornets nest, you should back off a few feet and chunk a rock at it, here is another earlier post to fuel the fire.

Originally posted on thelastminstrel:

Try this simple experiment; go out to your car and open the hood. Take a pair of wire cutters. Look around at all the wires under there. Pick one and cut it. Get in the car and start it up and drive around the block. Does the car function better or worse?

You have just performed the mechanical equivalent of a genetic mutation, what I would call a vertical mutation – i.e. – the loss or gain of information.

Let’s try a horizontal mutation – i.e. – the rearrangement of information. Turn off your computer and open the case. Pick out two wires, any two will do. Unplug them and swap them out; plug the first wire into the second wires connection and the second into the firsts. Put the cover back on and boot the computer up. Does it work better or worse, does it work at all?

“Oh come…

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Clever Chaps

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

A Little Cottage of Your Own

Why James Holmes is Alive

It All Begins

New Cabinet Post

Changing the World

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