8 months ago (Oct. 2013) I was gazing at the wondrous spectacle known as the Parthenon sitting atop the Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece. I roamed the sites and toured the amazing museum. I tried to appreciate what I was seeing, but my lack of Greek history and culture limited my ability to comprehend it all--that is, until I read The Parthenon Enigma by Joan Breton Connelly.
Anybody that's ever seen the Parthenon should read this book.…Continue
So I'm playing golf, when I see the superintendant and his helper using a pair of coat hangers to theoretically find a water pipe location by using the "divining method".
Acting ignorant, I couldn't help but ask, "Watcha doin'?" Of course, they both were firm believers in the powers of those coat hangers. They seriously explained their technique. The "Supe" is even a college graduate (which really means nothing when it comes to superstitions). I held back my opinion, skepticism, and…Continue
I didn't sleep very well for several nights after reading Jocelyn Zichterman's book, I Fired God. As the subtitle says, "My Life Inside--and Escape from--the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult". Then inside the cover; "A compelling memoir and account of the IFBC and its shocking history of religious abuse.
While somewhat familiar with the Amish (and their shunning practices), some Mormon sects, and, in general, far…Continue
No, I'm not going to write about the weather. That topic (on TV and in conversation) is way overdone. However, I am virtually "paralyzed" in my own home due to another foot of snow here in Indiana. What a miserable place to live, especially in the winter. But, I'm stuck. Gotta deal with it.
I did get a two week respite from the cold and snow down in the Florida panhandle's "forgotten coast" (as they like to say). It wasn't all that…Continue
Seeing the book title Darwin's Doubt at the library, I just had to check it out. Well, it didn't take long to become seething with fury.
The authur, Stephen C. Meyer, is a "creation scientist". Need I say anymore? He spends over 400 pages trying to disprove Darwin or expounding an alternative theory to evolution--"intelligent design".
Admittedly, I skimmed through much of his detailed analysis and conjectures, picking it apart in…Continue
For the life of me, I don't understand why reasonably sane people watch football games in person.
I've done it, with regrets. I've sat in the rain--and cold. But that was years ago, before one could watch most games on television.
I wondered what obsessed fans to sit in frigid seats to watch Green Bay play (and lose) San Francisco. After all, it was on TV. What does a playoff ticket cost, anyway? What kind of seats do those fans have? Bet mine is better! How many layers to go…Continue
For some reason, I was actually quite nervous--maybe anxious is the word--entering St. Mathews Methodist Church December 22, 2013. I was out of my realm of comfort. I almost (stress almost) felt hypocritical. But I soon fell into a mindset of an outsider looking in, a sort of disinvolved observer.
Memories of past church attendance flooded my mind. And while I had stored such memories in "the attic", out they came as the service…Continue
Okay, here's the background. I grew up a Methodist. My mother was choir director, and I sang. Really, that's the only reason I went, besides being forced.
Fast forward 50 years and my two (twin) sisters are involved at the same church--one plays organ and piano, the other directs the choir. Being that my parents anniversary was on Sunday, Dec. 22, I asked my father if he wanted to go to church to: a) honor mother (who died in '01), b) listen to and support his daughters doing music,…Continue
With today (December 10) being "Nelson Mandela Day", so to speak, I am reflecting on my family progression in racial tolerance. Much has changed in past 100 years.
My grandfather Smith, while raised in Northern Indiana (b 1890), was quite the bigot. I well remember his language regarding blacks--and he didn't call them "blacks". It was all he could do to tolerate a black person playing major league baseball.
And while the apple falls not far from the tree, his son, my father (b…Continue
I just have to vent. Tornadoes ravaged my part of the country a few days ago. Television interviews of victims replayed all the standard cliches thanking god for being spared, etc. I want to scream. Is there some sort of separation or distinction between their god and mother nature? I mean, is it mother nature that is responsible for the tornado and its destruction, and god responsible for saving them? And who or what caused some people to die? I just don't understand the rationalization…Continue
Imagine my surprise when I saw the title THE BONOBO AND THE ATHEIST, In Search of Humanism Among the Primates in my small conservative town's public library! It's a brand new book by Frans de Waal, a Dutch/American biologist teaching at Emory U. in Atlanta, GA.
The book can best be summed up in the cover's introduction: "In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that…Continue
Having just returned from a two week Sierra Club trip to Greece, I feel obligated to share my experience. I'll attempt to be brief. To paraphrase Mark Twain in his autobiography, there's no possible way to go into detail. And the experience is in the details.
For me, seeing and being in Greece was a once in a lifetime highlight. I mean the history, geography, culture. I was transported back in time over and over again. I've seen photos of the Parthenon dozens of times, but to be…Continue
Doctor visited, blood tests good, plane reservations completed. I'm all set to go.
Yep, I'm going to Greece come Sunday (9-22) for two weeks. Way last January I signed up for a Sierra Club trip entitled "Hiking the Greek Islands". I've always wanted to go to Greece--home of democracy, philosophy, science, literature, etc. So I plucked down my $3000 and will join 15 unknown others to fulfill my dream (I won't use the term "bucket list").
It's more than just touring the Parthenon…Continue
All this time, I've been blaming my high blood pressure on my genes. I mean, my BMI is 19.1. I exercise like mad. I try to eat right. I have very little stress in my life (except when I have a 3 foot putt). I'm a model of good health. Or so I thought.
Then I read this book Blood Pressure Down. It's about how to drop ones blood pressure without medication. I take lisinopryl (for 3 years). I evidently need it. When I went on vacation last…Continue
About five or six years ago, I read Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. Its content has stuck with me many times over.
In the book, Chernobyl is referred to as one of those "worlds". And a PBS show featured that area as a good example of how nature reestablishes itself.
Living in a rural area (north central Indiana), I'm very cognizant of the war between man and nature. Farmers subdue all nature's attempts. Weeds, grasses,…Continue
I just finished reading The Future by Al Gore. You all know him, right?
The book is about, well, the future. Good book, but somewhat tedious. In summary, according to Gore, the world is in a pickle--in every way, shape, or form. We must act, or else. All in all, pretty depressing. But I'm not here to review the book or his premise.
It occurred to me that he never brought up the subject of religion, acknowledging its role in…Continue
When I first heard about a bus crash in Indianapolis killing 3 people, I cringed, as I do with most tragedies. How awful, I think.
But when I discovered this bus carried Baptists returning from a church camp, I said out loud, "Ha!". It was a spontaneous outburst. Why? I'm sure you know. Their all-loving, caring, saving (etc.) god failed them.
I know it's wrong, but I get some sort of perverse joy out of lightning burning down a church. I can just imagine the congregation asking…Continue
Now I remember why I don't watch (or follow) major league baseball anymore. In a word--BOOORING.
With nothing else on TV, I decided I'd try to watch the All Star game last night (with a book in hand). First, the introduction of players took forever--and their on-camera antics were embarassing.
Am I being anti-American if I mute the singing of the National Anthem? As usual, the person singing (I have no idea who it was) gave an awful rendition. When Jose Feliciano gave a…Continue
In my last post, I pondered why I was never invited over (or out) for dinner by friends and neighbors I've known for years. Well, guess what? I was!
I recently half seriously teased my golfing buddy about his frequent statements, "We should have you over for dinner", without following through. Last night I went to his 150 year old home. He is currently restoring it, continuing a mammoth task that began 18 years ago. It's one of those old brick "mansions" one sees in little…Continue