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Brain Rot and Getting Old

22 Apr
Neurons brain old

Neurons firing in the brain

OK, I admit that I passed the half-century mark in age quite some time ago, but I do not consider myself old, although the term “old” does seem to have taken on some fluidity over the years.  When I was a kid, 35 seemed ancient, when I got to be 35, 65 was old.  Now that I’m pushing 60, old is somewhere above 80.  And I most certainly do not consider myself to be the least bit senile, although… I have caught myself having what some would call a “senior moment” now and again.

Just the other day, it was a Saturday, the day I always fix a nice breakfast for my sweetie (omelets are my specialty, but I can do other things too) I found myself standing in the kitchen, with an array of delicious food stuffs neatly arranged on the counter, but could not for the life of me remember what I had planned to cook.  I stood there for several moments, inventorying the items I’d laid out hoping for a clue.  Finally it came to me and I forged ahead again.  But it was embarrassing, even though the dog and I were the only ones who knew about it.

It wasn’t the first time, either.  I can’t even count the times I’ve gone into another room to get or do something only to wonder, “Why did I come in here?”  That is disconcerting.  I do find that telling the dog what I’m going to go do helps me remember.  I suppose you don’t actually need a dog, but if you forget and do this while someone is visiting you don’t look quite so crazy to them.   Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Can You Have Too Much Knowledge?

15 Apr

I have Mitch Mitchell of ImJustSharing and his comments on a Wayback Whensday post to thank for the inspiration for this post.  We were discussing caffeine in beverages.  He asked a question about where caffeine comes from.  It was a perfectly legitimate question and related to the topic of discussion, so I answered it.  Before posting, I (like any responsible journalist would) checked my stated facts for accuracy and turned up an additional historical tid-bit or two, so I worked those in as well.

Mitch’s response to my reply indicated pleasure, and perhaps some surprise, with the quality of my answer.  And I wondered why.  What made this comment so different from dozens of others Mitch and I have exchanged in the past?  After all, I’m a well-read, educated fellow.  My head is crammed full of useful knowledge – and a fair bit of useless fluff that sneaks in.  Why would he be surprised to receive a well-considered response from me?  I pondered that for a while.  When I awoke, I realized it’s because it has not been the type of response I’ve been posting.  For that I blame Chuck… at least in part. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

A Religion of Convenience: This God or That One

13 Apr

In our Sunday School class we’re studying the Old Testament books of Joshua, Judges and Ruth.  These books occur just after the Israelites have occupied Canaan; The Promised Land, and after Joshua, the last of the patriarchal leaders has died.  Without a patriarch to hold them to their religion, the people fall away from God, following the pagan practices of the Canaanites who were not driven out of the land as God had instructed the Israelites.

Baal worship religion

A temple to Baal

A cycle is set up where the people fall away and begin worshiping Baal, his sister Anoth and Baal’s wife: Asherah (who was known to the Greeks as Aphrodite, and to the Romans as Venus, figures who appear in society even today).  God becomes angry with Israel and delivers them into the hands of an enemy for a period of time.  Israel cries out to God for forgiveness, God provides a deliverer who leads them in a miraculous victory over their enemy and guides the nation for a time.  But upon that leaders’ death, Israel slides back into pagan religion and the cycle begins again.  Over and over and over.

Why Don’t They Remember?

Why, when the nation has been delivered so many times from its enemies, beginning with the exodus from Egypt led by Moses, would the people keep sliding back into paganism?  Why is it so hard for them to remember the God who keeps delivering them?

Perhaps it’s the same reason we are doing it again today.   Read the rest of this entry »

 

Pride and Prejudice in Family Communications

11 Apr

This, Dear Reader is a tale of disaster averted.  I will use an episode in my relationship with my wife to illustrate how a little consideration before communication can avert an extended stay in the dog house.  The Old Saying for this week: “Make sure the brain is in gear before engaging the mouth.”

Gender Bias

Gender symbols communicationEven in our “enlightened” times where traditional roles and expectations for males and females are being rewritten, we often find that certain things are – generally speaking – reserved as hallowed ground for one gender or the other.  For instance; household roles of lawn mowing, auto mechanics and operation of a large barbeque grill are almost always reserved for the family member with the highest levels of testosterone coursing through their veins, and that is usually – not always, but usually – the alpha male, Big Daddy, The Man.  This is especially true if this alpha male has a long history with the particular task in question.

Frictions can arise in situations where the non-dominant gender in any arena should challenge the dominant gender of that arena.  For instance, should the alpha male attempt to enlighten the pack’s females on the proper fitting of a brassiere, without being an underwear engineer with a PHD in lingerie construction, hackles will rise and fur will fly.

However, sometimes it is better, when these things come up, to set aside the base instinct reaction and employ a more reasoned response. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

SPIRIT-LED CONCLUSIONS

06 Apr
Calvin S. Metcalf     One of our problems with honest Biblical interpretation is that we want our Bible to specifically address every issue.  We want it to give simple, pat answers to all our complicated questions.  When it does not, we twist and bend certain passages to give us our desired result.  We tend to manipulate the Word of God to suit our own interpretation.  We will not accept the Bible’s limitations.
    The truth is, the Bible does not explicitly supply us with easy solutions to all our problems.  It is not so much an answer book as it is a study guide.  For this reason it is dishonest to make certain passages say things never intended.  The Bible is God’s inspired Word on many issues and it gives us direction and guidelines for all issues, but a specific conclusion on so many matters is ours to discover.
     In no way does this minimize the authority of Holy Scripture.  In reality it allows the Bible to point to something greater.  If the Bible had told us everything, there would have been no need for the Holy Spirit.  Jesus told the disciples before His departure that He had much more to tell them, but they were not ready to grasp it.  He announced the coming of the Holy Spirit who would lead them into all truth.  Here, then, is our clue for approaching today’s complex issues.  Our Lord has not left us without a Leader.   We must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 
     Of course, a question arises.  How do we know our understanding is of the Spirit?  For one thing, it will be consistent with the scriptures.  It will reflect the spirit of Jesus as He dealt with the issues of His day.  There will be no malice or jealousy in the way we discuss our opinion.  We will be open to what others have to say on the matter.  We will be firm in where we search for truth, but not dogmatic in our decisions.  We will leave room for the Holy Spirit to correct our mistakes and redirect our thoughts.
     A closed mind on any issue cannot enjoy the fruit of the Spirit.  We are not sufficient within ourselves to have all the answers.  We do not own the scriptures and neither do we own the Holy Spirit.  We must allow them the freedom to speak to us whenever and however they choose. 
     There is a wonderful peace in permitting the Holy Spirit to control our lives, even our interpretation of scripture.  Love is a marvelous tool for learning.  It equips our mind and emotions to discern truth and error without agitation.
 

Movie Review: Them!

04 Apr

This week’s Classic Sci-Fi Movie selection was another great example of the 1950’s creature features, except this one stands head & shoulder above its brethren.  Movies like Beginning of the End, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Monster From Green Hell, The Giant Gila Monster prove entertaining in a “so bad they’re good” fashion.  But, despite its Saturday Matinee style title, Them! delivers a crisp and witty script, high quality performances from the actors and some decent special effects – considering that this film was made in 1954.

The premise involves ants in an A bomb testing area that have mutated over the years from the residual radiation to become enormous.  When they begin attacking people on the fringes of this desert area the State Police are baffled by the carnage of what they assume is a homicidal maniac.  A cast of an odd imprint at one scene is sent to the FBI, the FBI in turn sends a pair of scientists to assist in the investigation.  This father-daughter PHD team identify the marauders as giant ants and we’re off on a thrill ride that involves an attempt to exterminate the nest then chasing rogue queen ants across the country in attempt to prevent them from establishing more colonies, producing more queens and threatening humankind as the dominant species on planet Earth.

The stereotypical ‘absorbed scientist’ (Edmund Gwenn) injects wit into several scenes.  And of course the pretty daughter scientist (Joan Weldon) provides some love-interest for the FBI man (James Arness).  There is a climactic battle scene, and a satisfyingly happy ending culminating with the elder Dr. Medford’s warning that as man moves onto the atomic age, he may well encounter more unknowns.  This may not be over.

As would be expected of a vintage movie, there is no excessive gore, no profanity, nudity or sexual situations that would make it unsuitable for viewing with the whole family.  There are a few scenes where, faced with a tense situation, the characters light cigarettes.

For more information, check out the Internet Movie Database listing for Them!  To watch the movie, you can rent it from Amazon as an Instant Download or buy it on DVD. Either way it’s a great choice for some Saturday afternoon Sci-Fi fun.

Originally published Jan 21, 2012  on CinemaRoll.

 

Signs of Spring

01 Apr

Spring time here means rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Our mountain retreat will seem more like Seattle for a month or so from late February through most of March.  The ground will be soggy, the rivers run full, and we make good use of umbrellas and wide brimmed hats (like my fedora).  Not only does it rain often, but some will be very heavy rainfalls, which can lead to the washing out of driveways and roads.  Crusher-run gravel comes at a premium price at this time of year as residents scramble to repair damage to their drives and access roads.  This year with all the budgets cut, including road maintenance, some of our normally top-notch roads are deteriorating rapidly.  One that we normally use as a short-cut into town has become all but impassible because of the pot holes.

Spring Colors

Trees blooming in SpringOn the brighter side; we also enjoy the brilliant colors of spring; all the fruit trees burst into bloom practically overnight, the pink and white of Dogwood trees and the lavender of Redbud trees, yellow of Forsythia and bright red of Quince.  The irises and day lilies have already put up their spiky green leaves and will soon flower into purple, orange and red blossoms.  Pansies are already putting on a show, and a multitude of ground covers are popping open in purple, pink, yellow, and white flowers.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

THE SABBATH PRINCIPLE

30 Mar
Calvin S. Metcalf     There is a Sabbath principle in life that must be observed if we are to be healthy and productive.  It simply means that we cannot work nonstop without some time to recover our emotional and physical stamina.  We cannot endure long periods of stress without some wholesome diversion.  Our human physique has many limitations which requires periods of rest and relaxation.  God made us this way.  When He rested on the seventh day of creation, He punctuated the Sabbath principle for all His creatures.  The fact that we have night and day, sunshine and rain, summer and winter reminds us that there is a time to work and a time to rest.  This law of God is carved into the cycle of the seasons.  How well have we learned it?
     In our scientific world where nature no longer restricts our work, we tend to ignore the Sabbath principle.  We fail to listen to the alarm system within our own weary bodies and, in so doing, we bankrupt our souls before our years are spent.  Insecurity and greed have sent us on an exhausting search for that pot of gold at the end of a very demanding rainbow.  We are often overwhelmed by life’s circumstances as stress takes its toll.
     Yet, we are reluctant to find our rest in the Lord.  God gave us the Sabbath principle, not to restrict us, but to restore us. God does not wish to inhibit our days of productivity.  He wants to give our days a greater sense of fulfillment.  Anxiety and fatigue will never allow us to be at our best.  Overwork results in underachievement.  Perhaps keeping a Sabbath day holy makes all our days holy unto the Lord.
     On several occasions Jesus our Lord needed downtime and turned aside for uninterrupted moments with the Father.  His human limitations left Him exhausted from dealing with the crowd.  He taught His disciples and He is teaching us the need to stop what we are doing long enough to revive our mental, spiritual and physical energies. 
     It is a sin against our spirit and the spirit of God that lives within to destroy the house in which they dwell.  Of course we are not equipped to live forever on this earth, but we are equipped to make the most of our years.  In our mad rush to be materially secure, we must be still and know that He is God.  In knowing Him we discover His Sabbath principle of rest for our work-weary lives.  It is possible to find rest and recreation in the Lord.
 

Review: The Thing from Another World

28 Mar

thing from another worldThis week’s Schlocky Sci-Fi Friday Movie is one of our favorites; a timeless classic of alien monster invasion.

Arctic researchers witness the crash of a flying object and call in the Air Force.  When they investigate the crash site they find what they believe to be a flying saucer embedded in the ice and retrieve a large humanoid alien who had been tossed clear but also trapped in the ice.  Assuming the creature to be dead, they return to their base with it.  But, of course, it is far from being dead.

At their base the creature revives and goes on a rampage.  The lead scientist is determined to communicate with the alien and bucks the military authority.  The situation gets out of control and several members of the party pay for it with their lives.  The thing from another world, then sets about accomplishing what was (apparently) its ghastly mission.  Some of the scientists seem determined to help. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Installation Failure

25 Mar

There is something seriously wrong with Spring this year.

Installation Failure from Doug Bittinger on Vimeo.