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.

 

Alone with un-familar faces.

The other day as I sat having breakfast in the assembly hall of a large church in Houston, TX, I was  looking over the crowd, hundreds from all over the country in small groups enjoying the chatter over the eggs, a slice of sausage, a biscuit with gravy, I caught myself scanning from one to another wanting to know if there was anyone present I would or could recognize. Looking at their facial composition, skin tones from light to pitch dark, looking at the eyes and the raised brows above, ripples, the shapes of the nose, mouth and chin, the cheek bones and crevices flowing out from the eyes, from the sides of the nose down to edges of their lips, by their head of hair hiding or circling the ears, mustaches and beards, whether they were wearing glasses or still had good eyesight. All those unique features within an average ovalish area of 8 to 9” by 5 or 6”. There were many older folks close to or in retirement, many in the 50’s pushing the golden years, those still young enough that their hair was without grey streaks, 20’s to 30’s, teens and elementary children too were eating away before the morning devotional.

Nope, I did not recognize anyone. Hundreds of un-familiar faces.

My mind then wondered, how is this, why is this? Hundreds of people, each with totally different facial features contained within such a small oval shape.  Look at the features of a group of horses or herds of cows, a few monkeys and their head features are so similar, it is hard to distinguish one monkey from another, one cow from another. Would one monkey be able to recognize his cousin from a dozen of others perched in a nearby tree?

Humans are unique. Our DNA is unique. Our designer has made us this way. A photo of a face is used to identify a criminal walking the streets. Our finger prints are used as an identifying tool. The one and only designer must have wanted to be able to recognize each and everyone of us as an individual, as a unique person so very different from all the rest.  The designer, the grand architect wanted to recognize each one of us distinguished from the millions. Surely the maker could have formed us a bit more like monkeys with the addition of free will,  intelligence and enough curiosity to invent technology.

Yep, The Almighty creator made us this way so, that when I call upon Him, He can say: “yes Arnold, glad to hear your voice today? How can I help?”

I then entered the auditorium of this church where the morning worship service was about to start.  Ah, what a different atmosphere this was compared to the churches I’m accustomed to in my old age. Lights streaming across the stage, a large TV type screen on each adjacent wall, the lights flashed a large picture of the pastor standing on the center stage. It did not have a pulpit raised up as many of the older cathedral churches have, most having two, one for the pastor to use as he delivered his morning sermon, and one for announcements. In the rear of this thousand plus seat auditorium, there was the sound booth with 3 guys adjusting the controls of the computer driven sound system changing the booming effects to large speakers, adjusting the lighting effects streaking down from the ceiling.

From the street, I would not have recognized the building as a church except for the steeple atop the pointed roof and the name emblazed on the marquee on the street.  It appeared more like an auditorium. In America there is the divide between Catholicism and the numerous protestant denominations and sects, but the basics are the same adhering to the one God, the creator of all things sacrificing part of Himself to remove our transgressions so that we could enjoy that blessed reunion in that heavenly realm along with those we never recognized here on earth.

Identifying Gender

When I read stories like this one highlighted here, I wonder what, how, why things like this are happening across this country, and the world at this time of history. Or is it as scripture says: “there’s nothing new under the sun.”

Who says it’s right? Who says its wrong? In all these battles someone benefits, and some lose, as it’s certainly not a win – win situation. In all the human wars throughout history there has been a looser and a winner; ones that benefit and those that suffer the consequences. In court cases after court cases, a judge and/or a jury decides who wins, supposedly based on all the evidence presented. In many of these cases, previously held legal opinions and directives have been overturned by similar new case rulings. If any of this is not satisfactory to one side, the case can be referred to the next highest court, and finally here in the US; the Supreme Court, which is bound to refer to the original constitution and previous court rulings.

The case I’m referring to is this: “A school district in Wisconsin has agreed to pay $650,000 in attorneys’ fees and $150,000 to a female former student who identifies as male, who sued in 2016 after being prohibited from using the boys’ restroom.”

“The court also opined that because no students had complained during the six months Whitaker had used the men’s restroom, no harms had been proven.” Hmm? No harm done? I researched this a bit further.

“According to Ash and his mother, Melissa Whitaker, Ash signed up to run for prom king, doing the volunteer hours needed to qualify. My principal rejected that, saying I am not a boy,” said Ash, who started at Tremper as a female named Savanah.

He said he was told to be on the prom court he would have to run for prom queen. “They said he has to go as female because (his gender) has not been legally or medically changed,” said Melissa, who is a Tremper teacher as well as Ash’s parent.”

That decision left Whitaker feeling “overwhelmed, helpless, hopeless, and alone,” according to the complaint.

I did not see any mention of a father in this case.

Summary.

  • The girl/boy won $150,000
  • The attorneys won big time $650,000
  • The school district, and the tax payers surrendered $800,000.

The new school regulations have been updated to:

Bullying/harassment/hate activities, actions and/or speech are defined as any acts or attempted acts of speech intended to cause physical injury, emotional suffering or property damage through intimidation, hazing, harassment, stress, bigoted epithets, vandalism, force or threat of any of the above, motivated all or in part out of hostility to the victim’s real or perceived age, gender, sex (i.g. gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, and gender non-conforming behaviors), ancestry, creed, color, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical attributes, ability or disability (i.e. physical, emotional, learning, or mental), or individual circumstances such as appearance, social, economic or family status.”

What else could they have done? Had the school attorneys filed for referral to the next highest court, they’d be waiting months, even years watching the attorney fees multiply.

In the future, any transgender anywhere in this country willing to file suit wins, as do the parents, and the attorneys willing to take the case, which will be seen as much easier to win from now on.

Where do we get our ideas of proper and civil code of conduct from?  Two distinct areas: this human realm, our emotional mindset of feelings and desires which can and does change day in and day out. The other realm comes from an unchanging outside source: The Holy Bible which has not changed. Truth does not change. Gravity does not change. Biology does not change. Chemistry does not change, we only learn more about it. It’s the same every day since the beginning of time.

We are born into this world, and as witnessed by the doctor, the nurses, which is stated on the official birth certificate record: born on this day (a fact) this time (a fact), as a male or a female. (A biological truth). It is then up to the parents of the newborn to care for, to instruct, to lead the newborn into adulthood. A child wants his/her parents approval and a parent wants to support their offspring.

Sometimes very much of a dilemma.

Truth is often difficult to discover, as we easily get blindsided by our feelings, our desires during the everyday activities, and that’s been our number one problem as created humans throughout history. There was no shame between Adam and Eve as they nakedly walked the garden enjoying the fruits. An idea was put before them; a deceit that sounded good and intriguing. They bit, and their eyes opened getting a glimpse of evil. They then covered themselves feeling naked and afraid, hiding themselves from the God who had walked the garden with them.

Romans 9:20 states, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’”

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

Too busy to be still.

We’ve all got a navigational system built within guiding us and leading us to and down a peaceful loving fulfilling confident path, but along the way we may see another path that looks and appears to be the one as the footprints are too many to count. It sure looks neat and easy, so why not. Yes, do it. After some time following the deep footprints, getting involved in the brush, shooing away wild dogs, we settle on a neat comfortable grassy plain by the rippled waters watching others doing the same. Yes, this is it. This is the way. I’m happy as a lark.

Then that guidance system knocks on the door. Take another look.

I once was too busy reveling in the pursuit of the comfortable grassy plain while periodically fighting off the dogs, I was following the footprints, negating my own built in guidance system into unconsciousness. Too busy to be still. Too occupied to know. Too comfortable enjoying the entertaining fellowship.

Then one day I noticed a trail of ants, a hummingbird, a butterfly, an eagle doing what they do.

How do they do it?  What path are they following? Can an ant fly? Does a hummingbird get mad? Does the butterfly smile when full? Does an Eagle laugh at the conquest? Do they talk, leaving footprints?

I was watching. I was intrigued by the wonders. I was still. I began to know. I was being renewed. Oh, that peace that is beyond understanding.

  • And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
  • He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
  • Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
  • Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
  • The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46: 8-11