Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saturday into Sunday

      Saturday was for doing items on my list. I filed, did laundry, cleaned house and organized my Christmas card materials. Due to my computer crash back in April, I lost all the data for the address labels. I'll be putting that in over the next couple of weeks if I can spare the time from NaNoWriMo.
      In a comment some time back, Frenzied Feline asked what non-fiction books could I recommend. Here are two. Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order by Steven Strogatz and The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas L. Friedman.
      I just finished Sync, and I recommend it highly. Strogatz, an expert mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, writes a lively book about the math behind the synchrony of fireflies, fads, the orbits of the planets, traffic jams and more. Don't be scared off because the book is about math. You won't find a single equation in the whole book. Instead he uses plenty of examples drawn from our lives. It's well worth reading. (I must mention that he gives the strangest explanations of how lasers work that I've ever read. His explantion involves watermelons ...)
      The World is Flat is also worth reading, but you will find it disturbing as Friedman explains how globalization will change -- and is already changing -- America. He discusses the explosion in corporations out-sourcing to India and China and how this out-sourcing will continue to grow due to advances in digital communications. The book paints a bleak picture of the future for many low-income and middle-income jobs in the United States. Friedman argues that we should embrace this globalization and plan for it. He sees it as a good thing, but does discuss some of the problems. The main thing I came away with was that this was going to happen whether we liked it or not. Read the book, and we'll discuss.
      I spent most of today working on my family newsletter and helping my roommate install a new garage door motor. And now I'm heading for bed. Night all. Have a great week.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Friday night

      I didn't blog Friday night as you've no doubt noticed. I spent it working on my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those who came in late) preparations. I had thought I was ready a couple of days ago, but then I read some other blogs where NaNoWriMo participants are making elaborate outlines, intensive character sketches and detailed full-color maps and genealogy charts.
      Well, I got that feeling I get when I dream of being back in college and having to take a test that I haven't studied for and for some reason I'm naked. You'd think I'd be more concerned about being naked, but no, I'm worried about my grade since the desk mostly hides me anyway and I'm going to wait until after everyone else leaves before I stand up. Of course, there's that walk across campus, but I'm wondering if anyone has a coat I can borrow or maybe I can run from tree to tree, and then the bell sounds and class is over and everyone else is handing in their tests and I've NOT EVEN STARTED THE TEST! I always wake up shivering. I guess I wouldn't dream about it so vividly if it hadn't happened to me before. Just kidding; I've always been prepared for tests...
      Anyway, I worked on my NaNoWriMo novel. That was my exciting Friday night.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Long day

      I've been very, very, very busy today. I'm worn out and ready for bed. But at least it was productive. I did 36 items on my list. Unfortunately I still have 26 items left, and that total doesn't include the family newsletter and NaNoWriMo preparations. I've got to finish the newsletter this weekend so that I won't have devote any time to it during NaNoWriMo. At least that's my plan. We'll see how it goes.
      I did some updates to Harbor Street, nothing major. New quotes and scrollies, a bit of clean-up removing some dead links, and adding the NaNoWriMo counter. New and funny scrollies are becoming hard to find and/or make up. Send me your funny sayings and quotes!
      I'm going to call it a night now. Y'all have a good day tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

One of those days

      I had one of those days today. One of those that make you doubt your life and your choices and pretty much every decision you ever made. Do you have days like that?
      I look back -- never a wise thing to do -- and see all my choices and where they led, and I think, this wasn't what I intended. This wasn't the plan.
      Hindsight is perfect, of course, and now it seems plain that Decision A led to Decision B and B to C, but back then, I know it wasn't clear. Or it was misleading, making me think A would eventually lead somewhere else. Sometimes at night, I lie awake and stare at the ceiling, listening to the noises my old house makes, and play what-if and if-only and I-should-have.
      Ah, well, that's the price of being human. Of having our vision trapped in the present and past, straining for glimpses of the ever-shifting future, drinking from regret until we can tolerate the taste, nursing flickering hope from the harsh winds. That's us, walking slowly on the ocean, looking to the ships on the horizon.

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

Now we're back at the homestead
Where the air makes you choke
And people don't know you
And trust is a joke

We don't even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

- Walk on the Ocean by Toad the Wet Sprocket from their CD Fear.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

From The Mystery of Saint Etienne

      Between reason and faith, we make our way through a hard world with edges sharp enough to wound the unwary. Oh Lord guide our steps.
      Faith is what we hold, a lamp to light our way and to let blind eyes see. Oh Lord let Your light shine on us.
      Between what is and what should be, we are stretched, a cord between two black horses. Oh Lord send to us Your mercy.
      Heaven is our hope in this world without hope. Oh Lord may we bring hope as You brought hope unto us.
      Between the precipice and the fall, we take faltering steps, children lost in the dark woods. Oh Lord give us a lodestone that points to You.
      Here we stand unclean in our souls and dark of hearts. Oh Lord send to us Your cleansing rain.
      Oh Lord we are fallen but You lift us up.
      Oh Lord we are scattered but You gather us.
      Oh Lord we are unworthy but You take us.
      We raise hands to You, a thousand thousand tongues give unto You praise, and the rocks and hills and dales resound with voices that cry,

Monday, October 24, 2005


      I had an appointment with my optometrist after work today. My eyes continue to worsen. Very depressing. I keep hoping that they develop those bionic eyes that the Six Million Dollar Man sported. Wouldn't that be cool!
      I'm extremely near-sighted, but the main problem is that I have keratoconus. Here's what Wrong has to say about it: Keratoconus--a progressive thinning of the cornea--is the most common corneal dystrophy in the U.S., affecting one in every 2000 Americans ... Keratoconus arises when the middle of the cornea thins and gradually bulges outward, forming a rounded cone shape. This abnormal curvature changes the cornea's refractive power, producing moderate to severe distortion (astigmatism) and blurriness (nearsightedness) of vision. Keratoconus may also cause swelling and a sight-impairing scarring of the tissue.
      Currently only my left eye seems affected, but my doctor believes it's only a matter of time before I start having problems with my right. Eventually I will need a cornea transplant. (I'll need a good donor, preferably a young man in his early twenties, non-smoker, good eyesight, no health problems. Look around for me. Uh, I did mention the donor has to be deceased, didn't I? So don't pick a friend or loved one.) You can read more about keratoconus at the site for the National Keratoconus Foundation.
      For now, my doctor ordered me some new contacts, and we're going to continue to have me wear glasses and contacts to get the best vision I can. Just call me Six-eyes. But smile when you say that. And make some noise, too, so that I know where you're at.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday afternoon

      I didn't get all the items done on my weekend list. I got most of them crossed off, but several linger. Part of the reason I didn't them all finished is that I helped a friend clean his daughter's house Sunday afternoon. There's a long story on why that happened, but as I washed dishes over there, I thought about service.
      Service has to be its own reward. It has to be done without regard to what thanks you might receive or what goodwill you might build for the future. It's an act of giving. It's human to expect the receiver to be grateful for your service, but if you do service expecting that gratitude, then it's not really a gift. It's an exchange.
      All of us like to recognized for our giving. And it's nice when we are. But I think the essence of loving our fellow humans is giving without regard to how we benefit. Giving unselfishly.
      That's hard to do. Or perhaps you find it easy, but I find it hard. I want that thanks. I want that gratitude. I want those future returned favors. I need to learn how to give, not exchange. That's probably part of the reason that God saw fit to lead me to help my friend.
      At least that's what I thought, elbow deep in hot, soapy water, on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


      It's been a busy, productive day for me. I had a list of 57 items I wanted to get done this weekend, and despite a late start, I did 40 of them. I still had time to watch the animated The Batman vs. Dracula this afternoon and the live action Batman Begins this evening. The animated feature was simply not good. I had taped it for Mikey because he loves superheroes, but I wanted to watch it first to see if it was too scary for him. It was. And it simply didn't have any style. Batman Begins had some good moments on it. I hope there's another movie that builds on it. It's not Spiderman, but it does have potential if they can just keep from messing it up.
      The superheroes that Mikey can't get enough of are Justice League and Teen Titans. They're his favorite shows. The Flash is his favorite character, but he likes Robin, too. We play superheroes some. He always gets to be Robin or the Flash, and I am Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and sometimes, Lord help me, Wonder Woman. I also have to play whatever scary monster is attacking the city unless his papa plays, and then his papa gets to be the monster. The monster is really the best. You get to growl terribly and stomp around the house until the heroes zap you and then you fall down, moaning and thrashing around pitifully before you expire. I tell you it's an Oscar winning role.
      It's late so I'm going to call it a night now. Y'all take care and have a great day tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2005

And even more mums!

And even more mums.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

50,000 words

      I've been working on my novel outline for NaNoWriMo. I think I have a good idea in it. Now if I can just write it well. I still need to write a few more scenes and then work up character descriptions. I'm hoping that this preparation will allow me to meet the goal. But if not, I will have at least tried and will learn more about what is required to use NaNoWriMo effectively. I've never written 50,000 words in one month. Well, maybe once. I remember that Murder by Dewey Decimal was written very quickly. The words poured out faster than I could type them.
      By the way, notice how Crystal is nagging me to post daily, and she doesn't even have a blog anymore! Bah to that. (Although she did mention that Tree Hugging idea again. I think I can forgive her.)
      I have over 50 items on my weekend To Do list. And I added a few more items today. I won't get it all done, but I'm hoping to check off at least 30 items before Monday rolls around.
      One of the items I added today was planting six pots of mums I bought today. I know, I know, but they were only $16 dollars for eight pots. (I gave two pots to Mikey's mom.) I couldn't resist them. They're all red and are a real blast of color.
      Mikey is doing okay. It's amazing how kids can bounce back. He still has some pain, but he was playing today like he always does. Who would have ever imagined that I'd love the little fellow as much as I do? Not me. I thought I had my own dreams to follow, my own life to live. But lo and behold, I put it all on hold for him and do it without a second thought. Go figure.
      I am worn out so I'm going to call it a night. I'll be posting yet another picture of mums. Just endure it. I'll be done with them soon.
      Have a great weekend. I'll catch you tomorrow.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Even more mums

And even more mums from my front porch. The red
ones are my favorite.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Update on Mikey

      Mikey is going to be okay, according to the dentist and oral surgeon. He will probably have to have braces when his adult teeth come in, but for now, there's nothing to be done. The x-rays showed no fractures, thank the Good Lord. He was feeling better today, not quite himself, but closer. He sure is sweet.
      Well, I helped Trixie reach her comment goal and then some. Congrats to her!
      I'm tired tonight so I'm going to call it a day. Y'all have a good night. Take care and be well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More mums

More mums from my front porch.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

The news today

      It's been an upsetting evening. My precious Mikey fell at daycare while playing ball and hit his mouth and broke out one of his front teeth. His lip is all swelled, and he bled a lot. The emergency room didn't do much, other than suggest taking him to a dentist tomorrow. Anyway, he's slept all evening. Poor baby feels so bad. Just about breaks my heart. Keep the little fellow in your prayers. It's going to be a tough next few days.
      In other news, I've been working on the outline for my novel for National Novel Writing Month. I have 42 scenes at present. I'd like to have about eight or nine more. I've been adding details and fleshing the scenes out some. I need as much preparation as possible to write 50,000 words in one month. And I'd like to maintain some quality in the rush. We'll see how that goes. Anyway, that's all I've been working the past few days other than housework and updating the theater group web page.
      The theater web page takes more time than I'd like. It's because I'm using Microsoft Publisher to create it. Publisher isn't really meant for web page creation, but I already have it. Does anyone have any web publishing programs to suggest? Cheap, good ones if that's possible.
      In a comment, ER asked how I got the mums on my front porch to look so good. Well, here's my gardening secret. I bought them at my local garden center. And I can keep them alive for about three months until it's really cold. Then that's the end of them. I once kept a mum alive all winter, but it finally died when it was placed outside again. It hadn't looked healthy for a while, though.
      Have I mentioned that I've started watching Lost? I just hope all the mysteries actually have answers, and the answers make sense.
      That's all for tonight. Be thinking of and praying for little Mikey. Good night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mums from my front porch

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Crystal says

      My friend Crystal sent me an email today complaining about the lack of posts on my blogs this weekend. I asked and received her permission to quote her email. Here it is:
      Wow, you hardly ever blog anymore. It used to be almost daily, now it's more like twice a week. I hate to tell you this, but you no longer have the moral authority to scold FF for not posting more. :)
      But, since I'm a friend and want to help you out as much as I can by finding things for you to do, here are some topics you can blog on and regain that moral authority:
      My favorite crockpot recipes that even Crystal could do
      Places I would like to live where the weather is warm all year, the beach is nearby and hurricanes never come
      The Joy of Tree Hugging
      My favorite places to visit in Oklahoma that would make a good field trip for someone homeschooling a teenager
      Plants that can survive indoors with someone who doesn't like to take care of them
      How to stop your dog from peeing on the bush right outside the door whenever he goes outside, because it's starting to make the front entrance smell funny
      How to tell if a software program, like a Spanish program, is lying when it says you can learn a language in 15 minutes a day, before you pay $45 for it
      Why do lovebirds like to chew on leather straps?
      Why do you have leather straps in your house?
      How do you wake a sleeping teenager without being attacked?
      50 ways to procrastinate
      There, that should get you started! Now, blog!

      Thanks, Crystal! You provided today's post.

Monday, October 17, 2005


      Jean (henceforth referred to as The Beast) memed me again! The woman has no mercy! None! Particularly when you consider that I will be passing the pain on.
      Here's the meme:
      Search your blog for the word "joy" used in the context of "happiness." If you cannot find the word in your weblog, you may use any of the select list of synonyms below.
      joy, amusement, bliss, cheer, comfort, delectation, delight, ecstasy, elation, exaltation, exultation, exulting, felicity, gaiety, gladness, glee, good humor, gratification, happiness, hilarity, humor, jubilance, liveliness, merriment, mirth, pleasure, rapture, regalement, rejoicing, revelry, satisfaction, wonder
      If your weblog does not include a built-in search engine, then you can use Google to search it only for the word you wish to find.
      If you've found the word and it was not used facetiously or sarcastically, good for you. All you need to do is link to your earlier entry, and write a few words about that joyous moment. If, however, you have no joy (whole words only) in your weblog, you must dig deep in your soul and find something wonderful in your life right now. One little thing that fills you with warmth, that bubbles you over with quiet happiness, or tickles you with its good-hearted hilarity, or makes you glad you just took a breath, and are getting ready to take another. It doesn't have to be anything big. A smile someone gave you; your cat on your shoulder; the way the light angles through your window and casts rainbows on your floor. All it has to be is something genuine, something real, something that matters to you.
      Because we all need joy in our lives, and need to take the time -- from time to time -- to recognize it. And sometimes, we need to pass it on.
      Even if we're a big pain in the ass when we do.
      When you've dealt with your own joy, pass the quest on to five other bloggers.

      First, the five I'm going to pass it on to:
      1. Trixie
      2. Michelle
      3. ER
      4. Night-Rider
      5. And of course, Frenzied!
      In searching my blog, I discovered that I had only used the word "joy" once in my blog and not in a context where it was joyous. Well, I meant joy to mean joy, but the post wasn't joyous.
      So I decided share a couple of joys in my life.
      Four-year-old Mikey came to visit the other day. While I was carrying him into the house, he raided my shirt pocket and found a red pen. Immediately he asked for some "white paper." I got him some paper. He sat down at the coffee table and proceeded to write his name! He was excited that he could, and I was excited that he could. We had a grand time as he wrote his name over and over. He explained to me that M's go "up and down and up and down" and I's go "up and dot." Naturally I saved the pages. I want to remember that joy for a long time.
      And here's something else that's enjoyable. I made a huge pot of Many Can Soup last night. It's now resting in the fridge, flavors mingling, waiting to be heated up tonight and devoured with plenty of cornbread. I'm looking forward to it. Here's the easy recipe.


Brown one pound of lean ground beef in a soup pot and drain off the grease.
Add two cans of condensed minestrone soup and one can of water.
2 cans of Veg-All, drained.
1 can of corn, drained.
1 can of pinto beans. You can use Southern Style beans for more spice.
1 can of green beans, drained.
1 can of diced tomatoes.
A sprinkle of diced galic.
Simmer until hot.
Serve with Mexican or regular cornbread. Absolutely delicious, and even better the second day. It will freeze well, although I rarely have left-overs.

      Make the soup and share my joy. And I'll guess I'll forgive Jean ... this time ...

Friday, October 14, 2005


      Jean memed me some time back, and somehow I missed it. I wouldn't want her to think I backed down from it, although I don't know why she memed me because I had NEVER memed her before and have NEVER done anything like that to her ... yet.
      Anyway, here's the meme. And remember it's JEAN'S fault.
      1. Delve into your blog archive.
      2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
      3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
      4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas.
      5. Tag five people to do the same.
      Okay, here's my entry:
      "Any poet, if he is to survive as a writer beyond his twenty-fifth year, must alter; he must seek new literary influences; he will have different opinions to express."
      -T.S. Eliot

      That's the entire post from back then. I was only posting quotes that I liked and recipes with the occasional poems and snippets from books in progress, not any personal stuff. Eventually that would change for good or ill.
      The quote itself is still one that I like and think it holds a lot of wisdom. I know I have to prime the writing pump before the words flow. I like the best want to do that is have a new experience, be it travel, a new author, exploring a river, etc. The more in, the more out.
      And now I have to choose five victims -- participants, I mean.
      1. Frenzied
      2. Jamie
      3. Joel
      4. Mark
      5. Michelle
      Well, it's over. I've been memed and memed myself. I feel so cheap ...
      (P.S. I'm aware some of you have already done this meme. Just remember that once is never enough.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005


     Speaking of my earlier post about evolution, a friend asked me how I stayed informed about so many things. Well, actually she asked, "How come you know so much about so many things and still have no common sense?" I'm assuming that was said in jest as we waited my roommate to bring me my extra car keys since I had locked the car doors with the keys inside the car -- and the engine was running.
     I can at least answer the first part and have a good idea on the second (I was dropped on my head a lot when I was child). I read a lot of books and magazines. Each month I read Popular Science, Discover, National Geographic, Smithsonian, PCWorld, PCMagazine, Scientific American, Byline, The Writer, Writer's Digest, Poet, Popular Mechanics, The New Scientist and Archaeology. I make the magazine recyclers very happy. Yes, I subscribe to them all. Why? Because they all cover subjects that interest me. And then I read at least four non-fiction books a month if I can find ones that interest me at the library. So really, if I know that much -- and actually I just know a little about a lot of things, a jack of all trades, master of none -- it's because of reading.
     I think one of the reasons I write is that I'm conscious of how reading has blessed my life. Books are a great gift to humanity and one that I wish more people took advantage of. I know so many people who simply don't read anything other than maybe the newspaper. Otherwise, it's TV all the way. If humanity is truly getting dumber as some believe, it's because we're not reading. And on that somber note, good night and have a great tomorrow.

Evolution 101

      In the past few weeks, I've been reading several debates about intelligent design on several blogs. There were some remarkably uninformed comments from both sides concerning evolution. We'll put aside the whole freedom of speech issue and whether intelligent design should be taught to give a primer on where evolutionary theory stands today. I think both sides will find it surprising. (Wait, keep reading. I promise it's not as boring as it sounds. And one other thing, don't assume that you know where I stand in the debate from this post. I'll be covering my stance and why I believe the way I do later. This post is about information.)
      First, let's start with Charles Darwin. Darwin's theory basically stated that natural selection was capable of producing new species. Here's a definition for you from Princeton's web site: Natural selection is the process in which some organisms live and reproduce and others die before reproducing. Some life forms survive and reproduce because they are better suited to environmental pressures, ensuring that their characteristics are perpetuated. This is also called "survival of the fittest."
      Darwin's idea was that you start with one simple organism, say a finch. Place several finches in different environments like separated islands. Each island has unique characteristics. One island has plenty of water, one island is dry, one has a certain prey species and another has a different prey species. Then you let the finches breed. Over time, finches that have a physical advantage (for instance, a stronger beak that allows them to open clams easier) will survive longer and breed more, allowing their characteristics (stronger beak, hook-shaped beak, etc.) to be passed on to their offspring. You keep this up for long enough, and eventually the various finches on the different islands look different and act different. Allow centuries to pass, and eventually they can't breed with each other anymore. (Read more about Darwin's finches here.) You probably studied this in high school and assumed that covered the theory of evolution.
      But it might surprise you to realize that most evolutionists no longer believe that natural selection is the sole engine of evolution. In fact, some evolutionists think Darwin's theory is quaint and hopelessly outdated and believe his real significance is simply that he raised the idea that a natural process could produce complicated organisms.
      Why would they desert Darwin in this way? Well, natural selection as an evolutionary engine has a flaw in it. Let's consider birds for instance. A current theory has birds evolving from reptiles. It's easy to produce an evolutionary chain that leads to a bat-like creature. (A reptile that jumps well can catch more prey than one that doesn't. It produces more offspring who pass on this characteristic to its young. Young that have larger webs between their toes and lighter bones jump farther. They pass on these characteristics. Eventually you have a reptile that leaps off a rock and then glides. It passes on those characteristics, and so on, and so on.) However, feathers are a problem. Since a parent reptile doesn't have feathers to begin with, why would its offspring? You can create a chain, of course, that leads to feathers, perhaps starting with a parent born with thicker hair and that hair is somehow an advantage which allows it to breed more, and eventually you produce a complicated feather ... But when you add into the adaptations that had to take place to produce such a complicated organism that can fly -- particularly in the time frame in which the fossil record seems to show it happened -- you don't have enough time to do so unless each change was precisely the change needed to produce that feather. (Intelligent design proponents say something had to be directing those changes. This is one of their major arguments.)
      However, since the development of modern genetics in the 1940's, evolution has been defined as a change in the frequency of alleles (or alternative forms of a genetic characteristic) in a population from one generation to the next. In other words, you X-Men fans, mutations!
      Natural selection, however, hasn't been discarded. Today it's thought that evolution is powered by a combination of various things, including genetic drift (the change in frequency in which a gene appears in a population, through mutation, regardless of the adaptive value of the mutation), gene flow (changes in population structure) and ta-da, natural selection.
      Why these changes in evolutionary thought? Because of evolution's biggest problem: time. There's not enough time for natural selection to make the changes necessary. Yes, geologists say the world is billions of years old (4.5 at last estimate), but see, life itself only occupies a small portion of that time, and multi-cellular organisms even less, and man only a tiny fragment. Natural selection is not an intelligent process like a cattleman breeding a better stock. Natural selection has to have time for blunders and dead-ends. And from the fossil records, evolutionists knew they needed something else.
      Enter the late Dr. Stephen Gould who proposed the "punctuated equilibrium" theory of evolution. To quote from the Minnesota State University archives: "His most famous argument for punctuated equilibrium is the panda's 'thumb.' This is a modification of the wrist bone that allows the panda to strip leaves from bamboo shoots which Gould argued must have occurred all at once or it would not have been preserved by natural selection ... Gould wrote a book entitled The Panda's Thumb for which he received two awards, the Notable Book Citation from the American Library Association in 1980, and the American Book Award in Science in 1981." Basically Gould said that rapid change could occur in a species, almost overnight. And the fossil record so far supports this. (Once again, this point is used to intelligent design proponents to bolster their argument. They ask, "After all, isn't it possible that something is directing these sudden changes?")
      At this junction, I should point out that there are many variations on the theory of evolution, and not all evolutionary scientists accept Gould's theory or genetic drift or natural selection for that matter. Some of these battles are quite bitter with name-calling and shoving and general all-around bad behavior. It's a lot of fun to watch.
      Anyway, mutations were proposed as a way for that change to take place. Example: a parent creature doesn't have wings, but its offspring suddenly do. That seems to be our solution, but wait, once again there's a problem. This one is more subtle than the previous one suffered by natural selection, but it still comes back to time. Mutation is a blind process; it has to be if you don't buy into the intelligent design school of thought. Mutations need time to reproduce. And the majority of the mutations will not be beneficial. So to produce new creatures, we need a lot of mutations, and they need a lot time -- once again more than seems to be shown in the fossil record. I say "seems to be shown" because there's a lot of controversy in this. A LOT.
      Some scientists say that the fossil record is misleading and that we don't have enough fossils to really tell when an organism evolved. Others search for more "missing link" organisms, particularly those who are opposed to Gould's theory. Others are working in the labs, decoding genes in an attempt to show that genetics by itself can produce new organisms. And still others discount all of this for other theories or take parts of each theory to use.
      Does it sound confusing? It is. Many people are surprised by all this, believing that science is united by its belief in the theory of evolution. But evolutionists are at least united in this: Organisms change over time. These changes eventually produce new organisms different from their ancestors.
      But what causes those changes? As you can tell, even among evolutionists, that's debatable.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Ramblin' again

      I have to post tonight even though it's late and I'm tired because if I don't, I can't jump on Frenzied Feline for not posting. And we all know I live for that ...
      So I'm posting, but I don't have much to say. It was a busy day at work; I came home and worked on a program for the local theater group's play this weekend. I have the proofs printed, and now it only needs to be taken to Staples and copied and folded. Otherwise, I didn't do much. I need to make a list of tasks to keep me focused, but I haven't even done that.
      Among the things I haven't done is make it to the gym tonight. But I have a good excuse -- uh, reason. I fell in my garage over the weekend and landed on my right knee with my full weight. It was a new level of pain, and I lay on the garage floor for a good 20 minutes before I dared to stand. But besides some swelling, ugly bruises and a lot of soreness, I think it's going to be okay. (I had it looked at by a physical therapist and a nurse.) Anyway, my knee's not quite up to the track or the bicycle. I am going to try tomorrow, but I will take it easy and go slow and stop if I have problems.
      What else? Hmm. You might be asking why I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Because it seemed like it would be a great way to get a lot of words down on paper quickly. Because I haven't done it before. Because sometimes I feel I don't spend enough time writing. Because it's there.
      You might recall that I mentioned that I was working on a new templace for this blog. I think it's almost ready to roll. If I get the time, we should see the change this weekend. But I'm going to save the old one just in case.
      I added another blog to my links. Check out Ex Libris and see what you think.
      And that's it for tonight, Frenzied. I hope this was adequate to allow me to nag you! Good night all.

Monday, October 10, 2005

NaNoWriMo & site updates

      No, I'm not writing gibberish. Well, not when I write NaNoWriMo. That stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo takes place in November, and I've signed up for the first time.
      The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 work novel in one month. That breaks down to about 1,600 words a day. I don't know if I can write that much or not, but come November, I'm going to set Dragons Gather aside and attempt a new novel. I'm working on the outline now. I definitely don't want to attempt it without an outline. Dragons Gather has taught me that.
      So posts here may be sparse in November, but I'll keep you updated as to my progress and even post some excerpts if any suitable ones present themselves.
      Go to NaNoWriMo website to learn more about it. And maybe you'd like to sign up, too! That would be really cool. We could cheer each other on! So I challenge you to do so. Let me know. Let's win NaNoWriMo together.
      In site news, I changed the scrollies, the current favorite quote and added a few links -- NaNoWriMo, For Better or For Worse and the American Assocation of Editorial Cartoonists. Jean pointed out FBoFW, and I think it's an excellent comic strip. The AAEC shares many excellent editorial cartoons daily. Check them out.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Amazing discovery!

      I've been gone, but I'm back. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. But right now I want to tell of an exciting discovery that I made recently. Here's what led up to it.
      "Don't you think kissing is funny?" asked Helen as she sat down beside me at the coffee shop.
      "Who have you been talking to?" I asked sharply. "Was it Linda?"
      "Don't be paranoid," Helen said. "I haven't been talking to anyone. And I can't talk to Linda. I can't; her lips are still swelled. Exactly how did you --"
      "Never mind," I interrupted hastily.
      "Anyway, what I meant was, what exactly is a kiss?"
      "Two humans placing their lips in extremely close proximity and tradin' spit," I answered.
      "I know what a kiss is," Helen said. "What I'm trying to ask, is how much of a commitment is it? Is it just a friendly way to say good night or it is an invitation to elope to Brazil?"
      "I think it depends on how much spit is exchanged," I said. "Was it over a pint?"
      "Get real."
      "Okay, what brought this on?"
      "Well, I met this perfect guy the other day," she said.
      "When he wears a white shirt, it's still white at the end of the day," she answered.
      I winced at this. Whenever I wear white, you can tell by the stains what I've eaten, where I've been and sometimes who I've been with. Mulling this over, I groaned inwardly. My stomach growled back while my liver hissed. Startled by this internal exchange of noises, I looked up to see Helen regarding me with an odd smile playing about her lips.
      "Go on," I prompted.
      "I will as soon as I drive this odd smile off," she answered, waving her hand and shooing it away. "There, it's gone. I went out with this perfect guy and kissed him just twice when suddenly he started being a quarterback, throwing passes and trying for touchdowns, while I was only interested in friendly first-downs."
      "So? He was a creep. Forget him," I suggested.
      "Yeah, he was a creep, but I wonder if I led him on," she answered. "Now, I'm not blaming me for his behavior; it was his fault, but maybe my kiss made him think I was more interested than I was."
      "I really can't evaluate your kiss without experiencing it," I said hopefully.
      "I wasn't asking you to."
      "Oh, but if you ever need me to --"
      "I won't," Helen said. "The other thing I wonder about is if I was worth the money."
      "This date is beginning to sound more interesting all the time," I said.
      "Grow up," she said. "What I mean is all the money he spent on the date. He took me to see a movie and then to a nice restaurant. And we went dancing after that. I figure he spent -- as a very crude estimate -- $94.73. Was I worth $94.73? You know, it puts pressure on a girl."
      "Pressure? To do what?"
      Helen looked at me.
      "Oh, that."
      "Yeah, that," she said. "I'll tell you one thing. Going Dutch might not be a bad idea," she said. "Well, see you later."
      Helen left, leaving me first to wonder why she wanted to date someone from Holland, but then to realize with dawning excitement that I wasn't cheap as some women have said. When I took them for hamburgers and fries, I was actually respecting their rights by not pressuring them. Truly, respecting women is the right thing to do. And saves you money, too.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The chalkboard of my soul

      I'm frustrated and unhappy. And no, it's not my sex life, thank you very much and keep your mind out of the gutter ... although that's a weird expression. Who is having sex in the gutter? What, you couldn't make to the curb? Just had to have some right there among the drainage?
      Anyway, I am having to cooperate with someone that I cannot stand. I keep trying to find the good in this person, but I can only find ego and selfishness. This person is rude to everyone around them in the guise of being funny. This person, who is highly educated, seems to think that said education gives this person an informed opinion about everything, from nuclear physics to relationships to politics to fashion. And many times, this person is so wrong that everyone is just aghast. Every time I'm around this person, I shudder inwardly, like someone is raking their fingernails across the chalkboard of my soul. (Yes, it has a chalkboard. We diagram things sometimes. Relationships, money, etc. It really is a good metaphor.) And if I don't bleed to death from biting my tongue, it'll be a miracle.
      This person is a poster child for passive/aggressive with that charming tendency to attack you when you least expect it. And if you snap back, you receive that wounded innocence, that "I was only kidding; can't you take a joke?" Hey, yes, I can take a joke, but you're not funny.
      We all have to deal with people like that. How do you do it? How do you keep from losing your mind? Naturally I assume drinking and/or drugs are involved, but what else do you use? Help me or I swear there will blood on my hands soon!
      Okay, okay, this isn't worth getting riled up about. Truly it isn't. In the grand scheme of things, we're talking a mosquito bite. Gotta remember that. Or find somewhere to bury a body. It's could go either way at the moment.
      Actually the best place to bury a body would be a cemetery. This is well-known to organized crime. They like to bury victims with other people. I remember a news story where they had to move a cemetery in New Jersey to make room for a new highway. When they did so, they discovered several graves with more than one person in the casket. Of course, it might have been a funeral home having a two-for-one special, but I don't think so.
      And on that macabre note, good night and pleasant dreams. Cue low, sinister laughter ...

Monday, October 03, 2005

A fable

      Once upon a time, not really all that long ago compared to when the last ice age happened, a young man was born into a harsh world. Up to that time, life for him had been nice and warm, and now it suddenly became mean and cold, starting off with a nasty slap across his tiny behind. If he had been capable of it, he would have crawled back into his mother's womb then and there, but he couldn't, and she wouldn't have let him anyway since she was tired of feeling like a sister to the whales and buffaloes.
      As most children do, he decided to make the best of a bad situation. Perhaps this world wouldn't turn out so bad, particularly if he could have his way all the time in every way possible. Surely that wasn't too much to ask. Unfortunately, he could not get his way always. Actually, he was lucky if he could get it even as often as a Democrat proposes a tax cut -- which is almost never.
      So, as most children also do, he cried and pouted until he figured out that tears and sulking would not lessen the harshness of the world nor make it do what he wanted; not that he hadn't won a few battles with his imperious behavior, but he wasn't making any headway in the war to get the world to behave. And since it wouldn't behave, he wouldn't forgive it.
      At this point, as most teenagers do, he rebelled against any and all authority. This lasted until he discovered fighting also could not alter the cruel world, and besides, the constant protests were making him tired and really cutting into his social life. Who wants to invite a slogan to a party?
      He despaired for a time, sampling life's pleasures and finding them lacking (although women were certainly interesting and worth some investigation.) Finally, he became a harsh critic of the world in which he lived.
      Surely, he thought, this shows how intelligent I am: that I am capable of seeing what is wrong with the world and telling everyone about it -- whether they are interested or not. And if someone is so foolish as to be happy, I will quickly point out everything which is wrong with the world and their life, and then they too can be intelligent and unhappy but oh so smart.
      This continued for many more years than it should have. He went along his way, dispensing his nuggets of nastiness with a smugness rarely seen outside of the Republican headquarters. He criticized the government, the churches, big oil companies, television shows and, of course, any and all people who had the misfortune to cross his path.
      Now you may think that he was lonely. But many people enjoy peeing on other people's parades, and they found him to be witty company. They traveled together -- he and the pee people -- rather like a pack of rabid wolves or mall teenagers, feeding on the misfortunes and mistakes of others.
      Slowly, after too long a time, enlightenment finally came to the not-so-young man who now knew he was not as smart as he had once thought he was. And this is what he had learned: that the world is full of critics, that any idiot that has had a bad day can criticize, that being cruel is too simple a lesson and we learn it too soon and practice it too much.
      He decided he wanted to be on the side of the good guys. While he could not save the world or even stamp out ringworm, he could search for the good things in the world and point them out in hopes that others would pick up the standard and become truly intelligent and wise and perhaps happier. And some of those things which he had found lacking, well, almost everything and everyone has a good side. Perhaps he just hadn't looked hard enough.
      He discovered how he could make people smile bashfully with a simple sincere compliment. He discovered the strength of praise and the mercy of silence. And he discovered it was possible to have an entertaining, engrossing conversation without resorting to spiteful gossip.
      Of course, he lost some of his old friends, but he gained an important new one -- himself. He could look in the mirror without flinching; after all, if he could forgive the world for being imperfect, he could surely forgive his imperfections also.
      Now this tale doesn't have an end because he is still writing it, but he is working for and hoping for "...and they all lived happily ever after."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A music meme from Trixie

      I read this meme at Trixie's Home and thought it was interesting enough that I'd participate.

      1. Go to
      2. Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year.
      3. Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. (Do nothing to the ones you don’t remember or don’t care about. A bit of coding help: Use < s > and < /s > to strike through a line; just remove the spaces between the brackets. Use < u > and < /u > to underline; once again remove the spaces between the brackets.)

      Here are the top 100 songs from 1979, the year I graduated.

1. My Sharona, The Knack
2. Bad Girls, Donna Summer

3. Le Freak, Chic
4. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy, Rod Stewart
5. Reunited, Peaches and Herb
6. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
7. Hot Stuff, Donna Summer

8. Y.M.C.A., Village People
9. Ring My Bell, Anita Ward
10. Sad Eyes, Robert John

11. Too Much Heaven, Bee Gees
12. MacArthur Park, Donna Summer
13. When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman, Dr. Hook
14. Makin' It, David Naughton
15. Fire, Pointer Sisters
16. Tragedy, Bee Gees
17. A Little More Love, Olivia Newton-John
18. Heart Of Glass, Blondie
19. What A Fool Believes, Doobie Brothers
20. Good Times, Chic
21. You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond
22. Knock On Wood, Amii Stewart

23. Stumblin' In, Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman
24. Lead Me On, Maxine Nightingale
25. Shake Your Body, Jacksons
26. Don't Cry Out Loud, Melissa Manchester
27. The Logical Song, Supertramp
28. My Life, Billy Joel

29. Just When I Needed You Most, Randy Vanwarmer
30. You Can't Change That, Raydio
31. Shake Your Groove Thing, Peaches and Herb
32. I'll Never Love This Way Again, Dionne Warwick
33. Love You Inside Out, Bee Gees
34. I Want You To Want Me, Cheap Trick
35. The Main Event (Fight), Barbra Streisand
36. Mama Can't Buy You Love, Elton John
37. I Was Made For Dancin', Leif Garrett
38. After The Love Has Gone, Earth, Wind and Fire
39. Heaven Knows, Donna Summer and Brooklyn Dreams
40. The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
41. Lotta Love, Nicolette Larson
42. Lady, Little River Band
43. Heaven Must Have Sent You, Bonnie Pointer
44. Hold The Line, Toto
45. He's The Greatest Dancer, Sister Sledge
46. Sharing The Night Together, Dr. Hook
47. She Believes In Me, Kenny Rogers
48. In The Navy, Village People
49. Music Box Dancer, Frank Mills
50. The Devil Went Down To Georgia, Charlie Daniels Band
51. Gold, John Stewart
52. Goodnight Tonight, Wings
53. We Are Family, Sister Sledge
54. Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy, Bad Company
55. Every 1's A Winner, Hot Chocolate
56. Take Me Home, Cher
57. Boogie Wonderland, Earth, Wind and Fire
58. (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away, Andy Gibb
59. What You Won't Do For Love, Bobby Caldwell
60. New York Groove, Ace Frehley
61. Sultans Of Swing, Dire Straits
62. I Want Your Love, Chic
63. Chuck E's In Love, Rickie Lee Jones
64. I Love The Night Life, Alicia Bridges
65. Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now, McFadden and Whitehead
66. Lonesome Loser, Little River Band
67. Renegade, Styx
68. Love Is The Answer, England Dan and John Ford Coley

69. Got To Be Real, Cheryl Lynn
70. Born To Be Alive, Patrick Hernandez
71. Shine A Little Love, Electric Light Orchestra
72. I Just Fall In Love Again, Anne Murray
73. Shake It, Ian Matthews
74. I Was Made For Lovin' You, Kiss
75. I Just Wanna Stop, Gino Vannelli
76. Disco Nights, G.Q.
77. Ooh Baby Baby, Linda Ronstadt
78. September, Earth, Wind and Fire
79. Time Passages, Al Stewart

80. Rise, Herb Alpert
81. Don't Bring Me Down, Electric Light Orchestra

82. Promises, Eric Clapton
83. Get Used To It, Roger Voudouris
84. How Much I Feel, Ambrosia
85. Suspicions, Eddie Rabbitt
86. You Take My Breath Away, Rex Smith
87. How You Gonna See Me Now, Alice Cooper
88. Double Vision, Foreigner
89. Every Time I Think Of You, Babys
90. I Got My Mind Made Up, Instant Funk
91. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Michael Jackson
92. Bad Case Of Lovin' You, Robert Palmer
93. Somewhere In The Night, Barry Manilow
94. We've Got Tonite, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band

95. Dance The Night Away, Van Halen
96. Dancing Shoes, Nigel Olsson
97. The Boss, Diana Ross
98. Sail On, Commodores
99. I Do Love You, G.Q.
100. Strange Way, Firefall