Watching a game.

Watching a ball-game the other evening as the right fielder was running hard to his left to catch a fly ball, the movements of his legs caught my attention, and my utter amazement. How does he do that? How do his legs know they must rotate like that, at that speed and in that direction? Two of those legs coming off the hip bone moving at opposing times: one leg forward, the other leg behind the torso, as the front foot lands on the ground pushing the spikes on the bottom of his shoes against the ground and pulling back causing the large thigh bone to rotate back which brings the rear leg forward, the hip bone moving back and forth, left and right.

Was the outfielder thinking along the way? Now the left, the right, left, right, left, let’s go legs, knees move, stretch out more, faster, faster more speed. There it is, I see the ball coming, it’s starting to come down.  Move legs, faster, faster, toes grab the ground and push.  Okay, now the left arm; stretch out all the way, shoulders turn a bit toward the infield, stretch some more arm. Yeah, you can do it, just a bit more. Okay good, now to the hand in the glove; here it comes, rotate palm up some but not too far, fingers open the glove and catch, now close it tight. You got it. Good work body. It’s ok slide along the grass a bit. Thank you. The coach, the teammates thank you. We won.

Unbelievable pieces of equipment. One long thick bone covered by muscles and tissue rotating off his hip connecting to a knee apparatus that connects to another tissue and muscle covering double bones connecting to an ankle which feeds the foot bones connecting to the toes. Two of those opposite mechanical apparatuses moving at the same precise cadence together. Truly amazing how this physical body of ours is put together.

 

When I was just a kid we used to sing a song.

The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone,
The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

Scientists, biologists have it all mapped out how these things work. How the muscles and skeletal bones operate around the joints. They tell us how to use the legs properly. They tell us what could happen if they are abused or if we fall and break one of those bones. They’re quick to inform us of our need to exercise the joints and muscles, not just the leg bones, but this entire physical body of ours that the entire human population is similarly equipped with. They also point out the similarities of our bones with those of horses, cows, monkeys, apes and elephants. How often has a horse, whose legs are so thin seemly lacking in muscle tissue around the bone fall down and break a leg? Or, monkeys as they swing from tree to tree missing a branch falling 20 feet to the ground resulting in a broken hip bone? Have any elephants been found unable to walk because of a broken leg. Our legs are designed for this size body, not the body of an elephant, or a Chimp.

They tell us it’s our brain muscle that sends super-fast signals to these muscular legs to get to work, run and catch that ball . . . quickly. The brain? Another muscle? No, not just another muscle, but a mass, like billions of neurons with possibly trillions of connections working together sending signals received by the eyes, the ears, our sense of smell and touch sending those signals to the different parts of the body to do something. The following fact as explained by the scientists is interesting to me. The left side of this brain sends signals controlling the functions of the right side of the body while the right part sends the signals on how the muscles and bones of the left side of the body should operate, both using the one central spinal cord next to our back bone.

But, all these well-educated scientists leave out the why part and leave out the how was all this designed in the first place. They agree that it was a process of evolution over millions or billions of years as these different parts merged together because of a necessity to functionally operate. Two legs are better than one. One spinal cord can handle it. Five fingers are better than three or four. Two eyes closer together than where the elephant’s eyes are located are better. Wow, if only another eye was situated behind the head what a difference in sight that would be. The knee joints should only move the lower leg up and backwards. Strong bones protecting the heart muscle sending a red substance to nourish the body with fluid, and lungs that continually breathe in and out. And, we’ve got to nourish this body with food on a daily basis, which is digested by a stomach sending strength throughout and yes, discharging un-needed parts of that food through a long winding tube and out of the body. Hmm? And then this brain that recognizes sight and sound is also very curious about the hows and whys things work as our reasoning ability has invented modern technology, designing this computer by combining millions of 1’s and O’s into certain configurations, algorithms.  Yes, THE designer has imagined and assembled all these parts together into one physical body very different than the animal world.

We can catch a ball flying thru the air.

 

I can’t hear you.

Friday was a senior day at the BA community Center on Main.  Many companies wishing to make known to the hundreds of seniors leisurely strolling from one booth to another while passing by others, what they could do to help seniors. Senior living. Nursing homes. Independent living.  Hospice care. Medicare info. Yes, and funeral director and cremation services too. Not a fast food booth anywhere to be seen.  I stopped and had a conversation with a lady at a hearing aid booth. Told her of my predicament with inadequate ability to hear plainly as I had done for 60 some years previously. Even In situations where background noise was high, I could understand the person sitting across the booth. Now, you put me in a smallish room with cement walls and the voice sound bounces off the walls creating a double tone, an echo of sorts.  Now you put me in a restaurant where background noise is part of the atmosphere and it’s hard to understand a distinctive word said to me by a person leaning on my shoulder.

That’s my dilemma, I told her. “Ah, come on in and we’ll test your hearing”.

Sure. I’ve been through four or more of those tests of sitting inside a soundproof booth with earphones listening to a beep. All I must do is listen and press the button when I hear the beep. Wonderful. Ha, to me they’re useless. That’s what is used to program that tiny computer inside the tiny devise that sits behind my ear that has a tiny tube connecting to the microphone inserted into my ear.

Well, anyway, I’ve got an appointment set for the second week of May.

Our ears. What marvelous pieces of equipment they are. Two of them separated by a 7-inch skull. A sound enters the left ear at the same time a slightly different sound enters the right ear. Perhaps even somewhat similar to our two eyes being separated allowing us to view in 3-D.  The sounds enter the ear canal sending the waves to that drum that vibrates the waves on to another cavity over microscopic bones to the inner system which interprets the sound sending the info to the brain which let’s me know what you said. Holler out BOOM and the drum vibrates faster than the hairs on my head as I descend the ride on the roller coaster. Softly say my name and I suppose the drum barely vibrates.  Is the skin of the drum damaged? Or is it the inner system that interprets what the ears have transmitted damaged? Or, and yes, knowing me, is it the brain that is damaged by that last ride on the roller-coaster, by being hit by a baseball, by the loud noise of a rock band concert, by months of having my ears closely tuned into a radio intensely listening to the dots and dashes of Morse code, or is it the years of operating noisy equipment without ear protection? Hmm?

And our voices, what a distinctive sound we make with our tongues, lips and vocal cords. Our languages; so many there are. Thousands of different languages throughout the world and within each of those are very different dialects. Even here within this smallish town of Broken Arrow, there are many distinctively different dialects of American English, and yes, some too who have not learned enough English words to speak it understandably to a local. There you are in a crowded restaurant of peoples from similar or very distinct backgrounds most all speaking softly, some louder and more forceful unaware of disturbing the next booth of four just wanting to enjoy the fellowship over a nice dinner. The voices of all bouncing off the ceiling, the panels of smooth walls and glass windows, so I must carefully pick which one of those eating places to enjoy a conversation. Rush hour is for them, not me.

Imagine the vocal sounds of a German, a Frenchman, a Russian, a Chinese, a Scandinavian and a south American who have just learned to speak some English incorporating the homeland dialect into the Brooklyn dialect. Would you understand much, if any at all?

This post started with the idea of documenting my own inability to hear well enough to understand the words of someone sitting just a few feet away. My personal conclusion: to all of you with good ears, stay away from those loud in-door concerts, from most of the loud noises that have penetrated this world of secular sensuous arm waving happiness. In a stadium of 70,000 watching a ball game, bring some ear plugs to deafen the noise of the speakers yelling: “Make some Noise.”

Don’t forget nature. Take a walk through the woods. Listen to the waters of a stream, to the bristling of leaves. Tune your ears to hear the calling of a yellow finch, to the sound of butterfly wings, of a hummingbird, and, yes, even the thundering of a lightning strike. Sounds of nature will not hurt your ears but sounds of machinery will.

 

Writer’s blockage.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve had what is professionally called ‘writer’s block’.  I wanted to write, but the ideas, the thoughts, the words did not come. Thinking that the blanks would be filled soon, I just needed a period of rest, so I shoved the keyboard aside and went about life, breathing in and breathing out, walking and talking, reading other peoples words on the latest news. Killing time.

I got involved watching the winter Olympics. Between the broadcasts, I happened upon a British TV detective series that was interesting, and I was hooked. When an episode ended, I immediately started the next one comfortably relaxed with the coffee cup chilling nearby. I would spend hours glued to watching the screen filled with life. Comfortably relaxed in my recliner, I was intrigued by the mysteries, yet I was there in flesh only being hypnotized by the mystery.  Inside, I wanted to get creative again, but that’s as far as any desire would lead. The want, but no will. No understanding of how to get started again. As I watched the series I noted how the hooks were placed to keep the audience interested. Was this an educational time? A time to learn how the screen writers plot for interest.

Will I get the desire to write, to get creative with words and sentences again?  Why can’t I?  Is this the end of my creativeness? Does God have another plan for me? Be patient. Seek and wait. Wait and seek. I’m listening. Lord, I’m here.

I sat here yesterday desiring to write again. I opened the Word program staring at the whiteness of the screen and the blackness of the keyboard. Closed the program. I opened this blog going all the way back to the first entry, reading each post again. Hmm?  Was that me writing that? Did I actually compose those thoughts, those words into sentences?  Where did those ideas come from?  Does not sound like me.  I was impressed. Reading on I found a few errors I had not seen and corrected the miss-punctuation before hitting the send button. I was still impressed.  I can do this again. Thank you, Lord.

I woke up early this morning way before the sun started peeking over the horizon. I was excited at the thoughts coming wanting the water to seep through the coffee grounds quicker, so I could get with it. I desired to activate my fingers again to follow the thoughts and here I am. The previous sentences came. The sun is still hiding. I’m still punching. I want to write again, and I will. This is the end of my time of ‘writer’s block’.  I enjoy the art of writing. It is an art. I write without the thought of being on the front page of the NY Times. I just enjoy the time spent doing something I love to do. It’s better for me in my old age to keep my grey matter spinning than being reclined in an easy chair letting the flesh get sluggish.

And so, I hope you enjoy reading these lines, all five of you. Stay tuned to the next.

Through the air it goes.

While scanning the latest news, uprisings, shenanigans just now, the mind went back 30 some years ago to my first computer: a Compaq. Wow, how that inspired me back then to see a sentence I typed appear on the screen and to also be able to play Pack-Man.  Fast forward to now, and I don’t get excited at seeing a sentence, a picture, a video or playing solitaire; it’s just business as usual, and why is that blue circle going round and round. Do I need an update?

Growing up as a kid in the 40’s and 50’s we had one telephone, a wire connecting it to the wall and then outside to the telephone post through the back yards of the neighborhoods. You could talk through that one wire to someone in another town far away.

In 1960, I learned the Morse-Code, a simple system of combining dots and dashes into words leaving a tiny bit longer pause between each word, sending the di-dah combinations electronically over the airwaves to the ears of another.  Hmm?  Now, technocrats have learned how to combine 1’s and 0’s into a series of 8 units, a break and then more 1’s and 0’s being combined as the binary code for electronic computing. These typed notes are being converted into those digits sending the signals over the air, then converted back into words on the screens of millions of hand-held smart phones.

The strings of a piano each of differing lengths producing different sounds lower to higher pitch going through the air making music to my ears. Put seven pianos together in the same room, each doing their own thing; wouldn’t that become just noise bouncing echoes off the walls?

I hear your voice. It went from your lips thru the air reaching my ears and into my brain muscle interpreting what you said. Sound vibrations. I’ve been in restaurants where the sounds of everyone chatting bounce off the ceiling and walls adding to the festive atmosphere. Now that I’m partially deaf, those sound vibrations, the echoes all mingling together getting messed up because the ear is not working correctly: those tiny hair fibers are either missing or are not vibrating as they ought, or something like that I’ve been told. That blue circle going round and round.

Yes, my ears need an update. I’ve had 3 of those man made electronic updates and neither has been able to reproduce the original ability of hearing and discerning sounds coming through the air.

Consider that there could be millions around the world doing the same as I’m doing pressing the ‘send’ button at the same time, and yet those signals do not collide into confusion; no echoes as it goes through the air. All that talking through a wire not bumping into other speech patterns. Through the air and wires without confusion, without bumping into each other without echoes.  How is that possible? Better ask a scientist about that.

Shout out at the walls of a great canyon and you’ll hear an echo.

How is all this possible? Frequency multiplexing is what it’s been named. Waves through the air. What happens to those vibrations when winds whip up a flurry, tornadoes swirling the air, rain drops and snow-flakes dropping?  Does that not interfere with those frequency waves?

How marvelous this is. All part of that first ray of light penetrating the darkness at 186,000 miles per second.

The-heavens-declare-the-glory-of-God

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1–2)

Celebrity Worship

Oprah for president. She is reported to have received a thundering applause from celebrities attending the Oscar whatever. Yeah, yes, go for it. Her home was one of those hit by the recent mud slides in an affluent neighborhood of California. She’s a TV star. She hosted her own show entertaining millions of us for years. She’s African-American. She’s a woman. She’s known all over the world. Her name is familiar to everyone. She’s a world traveler. She supports civil rights. She’s been seen giving food to the homeless in Africa. She can give a speech without a script. She’s rich and famous. What more could we want.

According to some recent polls, Oprah would out star Trump in the 2012 elections by 10 points or more.

Trump was a celebrity. Obama was provided celebrity status. Clinton was a celebrity.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “the state of being celebrated.”  Society celebrates these icons, luminaries, megastar somebodies as standouts and super-stars because they’re a VIP, because one-day in the past they were a nobody, or they were born as a VIP.

One must be a celebrity to win the adulation of enough people to win an election. Your name must be known. Your face must be recognizable. What you have said must be popular. There must be an attractive nature to your voice. You must be good on the eyes. When the media likes you, they will hold back private investigators from digging deep into secret pages of your history.

If you’re not known well-enough to get the attention of the media, forget it.

The media? An entire cyclopedia collection could be and has been written about the media, about the effect of television and this global internet on the populace. Newspapers are losing ground, are looking for ways to keep and attract more readers. Newsmagazines are losing subscribers. Broadcast news finds something to grab our attention in-between commercials that grab our attention.

So, what are we doing with the time? Quietly listening to Beethoven and Bach is out and Hip Rap Rock is in. Kids are spending play time playing games on-line and the 60” screen. Riding a bicycle thru the neighbor hood is dangerous. Playing choose-your team games after school has been handed over to professionals. Education is common-core so no child should repeat a grade or get a “D”.

Technocracy has taken over. Social media is outdoing personal conversational time together over a hot cup of coffee.

We must be busy all the time. We must be involved in something all the time. To sit and just watch nature for ten minutes, for half an hour is not even imaginable. To be quiet enough to hear the trees whistle, the birds chirp, the waters ripple has been put aside for the noise on the screen.

In these retirement years I spend the mornings reading the latest that technology brings to my eyes. Push a button and there it is right before me to digest or just read passing the time: the newest and latest, the newest updates on yesterday’s new news. On and on it goes, day-in day-out 24/7. I have my favorite tabs ready to be opened to pass more time, and then saved in the history folder to be brought up to read and watch again.

We get irritated when someone offends our sensibilities. We write a comment if the writer of a post missed a point that was more important than the point the originator of the post was pointing out.

Are we there yet? Have we become a nation, a world that amuses ourselves to death? Have we become a nation of heretics?

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

  • Neil Postman | Penguin Books Publisher

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics

  • Ross Douthat | Free Press Publisher

In need of Help

I needed help today. Help from fellow members of this human race did not, could not, would not, whatever. I was pondering the problem of technology beyond my understanding. A password was needed. I knew the one I have been using, but it was rejected. I tried another one close to the primary one, it was rejected. I tried an older one, it was rejected. I got on-line to the site after logging in and then requesting help on the “chat” line. Information given. To cut this short, after almost an hour of back and forth chats, printing out the ‘help pages’ to follow, I got nowhere except; “click” end of chat. Is it because, well yes, it’s because I am a user of technology which can get burned out just as I’m about to be burned-up because of this. Why couldn’t the programmers know something like this could happen? Or, their job is more secure when things like this happen: more chat times.

Am I pushing the wrong button? All I see is the result of the configurations of the 1 and 0’s. All I see is my fingers pushing keys on the keyboard resting on my knees which sends signals to the screen which shows in black on white the combination of keys punched combined into English words: “I need help”, then waiting for the answer.

Isn’t that the same position we the people are in?

We say and believe that God created this universe and all that is in it, and we didn’t have any input into its design, as there would have been a few things I’d have changed making it easier for us tech dummies to understand. I use basically the same sign-in code and password for all my tech—stuff. Have I been hacked? Is that devilish one unnerving me? That good book we look to for guidance and answers says He (God) is ready and willing to help when in need, just ask. And, often when we ask for help, nothing seems to arrive relieving our frustration. “End of chat. Click”.

Try someone else for advice. No, I got to figure this out on my own. Get into that closet on my knees and try again. What am I doing wrong? I used the password (the name of Jesus) and the closet is still just as dark as when I entered; no light exposing my asked for help. Try again. But where does my voice go? Where? Seems like it bounced off the ceiling. Maybe go outside and ask again. Shout into the air: “I need help.”  Swat the air; nothing there.

Advice I get is: “Patience brother. Did you miss-spell the password? No, tried it three times. Is there some area of your life you need to correct first?”  Well, yes, undoubtedly, I’m full of it, but I don’t recall anything specific at this moment. Hey, I try to treat all my fellow humans with the same kind of love. It’s me. Sometimes I must work at it, but it’s the way it is, I didn’t have anything to do with the creation of any of this. This technology thingy is the way it is. Hard to understand when something goes amiss. I want help now, yes NOW.

Hmm? Too many like me crying for help at this time and my number has not come up yet, so be patient. Sure, how can God answer all the requests for help at the same time. Could be the guy next door be wanting to chat also, and one down the block, in the next neighborhood, the next town, the pastor of the church, the rural farmer stuck in the mud, traffic jams in the big city, tornado in the next state, the governor, a rep about to lose the election, yeah and even homes across the seas. Millions of us wanting for a “chat time” at the same time. Wait your turn buddy, I’m number 156741. Others waiting their turn on the “chat line”. Be patient.  Yes, Okay, no doubt some of those cries for help are more serious than mine, even life or death, a child fell thru the ice, a witness life threatened, a woman buried under a crashed vehicle, a youngster about to jump. Yes, thousands more pertinent than mine. Let them be ministered to first. Now I’m # 846123.

I’ll go shopping a bit while waiting my turn.

While pushing the cart down an aisle a thought came: “go over to the technology section and select a new one.” Okay, what have I got to lose, just the $35, that’s all. I’m here. Why not?

I did. Spent the $35, took it home, unwrapped it, read the instructions, installed it, typed in the same code again and whoosh, problem solved. Throw the old one in the trash, no longer working as it developed a flaw. Answer received, but hold on, I was way down the list. Didn’t think I’d get an answer at all. It really was kind of quick and unexpected. Did a bunch ahead of me cancel out?

My summary.

Technology? Who can understand the interworking’s of technology? Only the programmers, not the users. Who can understand the interworking’s of spirit and physical? Only the creator, not the creation. The Almighty God is outside our time zone as that spiritual unseen world is without time. We as physical elements are restricted to time; the physical law of gravity keeps us in this physical time zone. For us time keeps moving. For the Creator there is only now: here there everywhere all the time, every millisecond of our time.

The creator, the programmer whispered thoughts to this mind of mine as I pushed the cart.

Like technology, I develop flaws and don’t quite work as well, so one day I’ll be down and out of this time zone being replaced by another.