Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Correcting Your Children's Texts To You.

My friend Stacey noted that she regularly corrected her children's grammar and spelling when they texted with her. She then asked her Followers who were mothers whether they practiced the same actions. Here is my conversation with Stacey:

(My questions in red, her replies in blue)

I noticed on Twitter last night, you asked mothers Following you whether or not they corrected their kid's grammar when texting. What kind of responses did you get?

Yes, I do that and I was wondering if other mothers do it as well. All of the responses from mothers with children who are old enough to text said that no, they do not correct them. One homeschooling mom said she added any mistakes to her child's spelling/vocab list to learn the next week, which I thought was a pretty good idea.

Were you surprised at the negative responses?

Yes, I was. Apparently, I'm the only mother I know who corrects spelling and grammar errors by text.

What were the reasons these mothers gave for not correcting their children's texts?

No one gave me a reason, except for one responder who thought correcting by text would annoy the children into not texting with her anymore.

Just so we're clear, what exactly do you correct in your kid's texts? Realize they use a lot of slang and "word shortcuts".

I don't mind the slang and the usual text abbreviations such as how r u?, thx, ttyl, etc. Using numbers for words, those kinds of shortcuts are normal for texting and I know everyone does that. What I correct is when the child clearly is misspelling a word or uses bad grammar, such as "Me and my friend are going to the store." I'll correct that before responding.

How have your children reacted to this instruction?

They send me a corrected text, sometimes with a "Sorry, mom"

Have they always reacted this way? Do they think such correction is unnecessary?

I have taught them to react this way. They understand that to get a reply from me, they'll need to type properly. I'll give you another example. I was at the grocery a couple weeks ago and my 8yo texted me asking for "candee". I replied "Candee is not a word. Are you asking ME for candy?" He replied "Yes ma'am. Candy, please." I'm not sure if they feel the correction is unnecessary. I've never asked them how they feel about it. I feel it is necessary.

Do you have any thoughts about parents who do not correct their children's texting?

Not really. I believe each parent should do what they think is best for their child. Because I homeschool my children, and mainly unschool, I use every opportunity and teachable moment that presents itself.

I've noticed many adults on Twitter having the same problems with grammar and spelling many children have. And they do not take kindly to correction. Is it this type of action you are hoping to prevent by training, or should I say, educating, your kids that good grammar/spelling is essential no matter the medium?

Yes, absolutely. My oldest already has a facebook page and his spelling and grammar are on public display. I know a lot of people ignore mistakes on facebook, especially for kids, but I feel it is important for him to practice now so that he isn't continuing these kinds of things into adulthood. I know many mothers will disagree, but for me, I think ignoring my kids' errors says to them that it's ok. I treat spelling and grammar training just like any other training, like table manners or good behavior. If a child breaks a rule, such as slamming a door, I'd correct them the first time they did it, so it doesn't become a bad habit. Same with spelling rules.

Have you read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua?

No, I don't believe so...

A conversation for another time. I personally agree with your position on this matter, wholeheartedly. I think spelling and grammar are increasingly important in the age of microblogging and text messages where we presume lax standards to be acceptable. And I thank you for a great interview. Thank you very much, Stacey.

Thank you, it was great talking with you as always, Rob.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The pits of Kendra and Felipe

Once upon a time an incredibly wounded soul named Kendra Supersad sighed. Oh, she sighed a lot, such was her life, so sigh-worthy. Kendra lived on an enchanted island called Down There. She had lived there her whole life and she had searched her whole life for someone to share her despair. Though large, her island could not provide her with someone to fill this role.

One day while searching the internet for black clothing, she found a website for people who enjoyed talking in very short spaces about unimportant things. It was called Pitter-Patter, or Pitter for short. On Pitter she could type incessantly about her sadness and dreary outlook on life! These “pits” were responded to with such nice people offering help and comfort. She weeded out these people immediately.

A somber young man named Felipe Easydoesit, much like Kendra, was living in a disconsolate world of his own making in a land called Over There. He sought happiness in pills, but doctors couldn’t ever come up with the right combination for poor Felipe. So he looked for solace in the wonderful little package of American goodness known as the hamburger. He loved them so much he would only work within an arm’s length of one. He also found Pitter and made much of the same pits that Kendra did.

One day they found one another on Pitter! And oh there was sadness and grieving and a general cheerlessness between the two that no one else could fathom or wish to become a part of! They made arrangements to meet and it was gloriously morose! Soulmates! They fought, they argued, they were so happy in their sadness together!
Sometimes they had to fight off misguided people who tried to show them that happiness and joy both within this world and into eternity was possible. They seethed at these naïve wishful thinkers. They took them on, one and all, eventually smiting them!! Mainly by clicking 2 buttons on their Pitter BUT THAT WAS ENOUGH. They could revel in their oppressive misery together, and they did. Until they broke up.

The End.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2010 in Review: Movies

By my informal count, there were 204 movies released in theaters in 2010. I have, as of this writing, seen 81 of them. By and large I was pleased with the films released in 2010, though not a great year, I was able to formulate a list of 10 of my favorite films of that year. Also, I have included top performances in 4 acting categories, in my opinion. A disclaimer is that since I have not seen every film released, and not even half, I will probably get into March and see something that should be on this list. An example of this would be The King's Speech. It looks very good and would probably end up in a few of my lists but I haven't seen it yet. That said, let's get deeper into some dream layers.


My pick for absolute best in red

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges- True Grit
Leonardo di Caprio- Inception
Stephen Dorff- Somewhere
Robert Duvall- Get Low
James Franco- 127 Hours

Best Actress

Emma Bell- Frozen
Dakota Fanning- The Runaways
Greta Gerwig- Greenberg
Jennifer Lawrence- Winter's Bone
Emma Stone- Easy A

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale- The Fighter
Matt Damon- True Grit
Jonah Hill- Cyrus
Bill Murray- Get Low

Miles Teller- Rabbit Hole

Best Supporting Actress

Elle Fanning- Somewhere
Ann Guilbert- Please Give
Mila Kunis- Black Swan
Melissa Leo- The Fighter
Hailee Stenfeld- True Grit

Overrated Films of 2010

Though visually pleasing, I thought The Social Network was at heart a biography of a company and do not understand the hype. The Kids Are Alright has nothing new to offer and I am mystified at its heat. Black Swan was a confusing mess, though not bad. Simply overrated.

Underrated Films of 2010

Catfish, a wonderful juxtaposition of documentary and fiction, had me on the edge of my seat. It is a rare thing when you have NO idea where a movie is going. Even when it's done. Splice was more than just a horror film. A complex relationship film, it deserves more viewers. The Joneses, Leaves of Grass, Get Low, and The Human Centipede all may be looked at with fonder eyes years from now. Okay maybe not that last one.

My Favorite Films of 2010
in reverse order

10) Cyrus. What an odd gem of a movie. Curious performances wrapped around
a strange story of an adult son/mother relationship. Jonah Hill proves adept at acting so odd one is afraid he may go violent at any moment or that he may be very funny. John C. Reilly is his usual best in this semi Greek tragicomedy.

9) Paranormal Activity 2. A big fan of the original, I was afraid the sequel would mar my memory. It did not. Using even more cameras with, thankfully, only a fraction of the hand held footage, this movie delivered the scares. Add in a dog and a baby and you have a great sequel Now if they could only stop at this one.

8) Winter's Bone. The Ozarks are another character in this well-acted tale of poverty, gossip, family ties, ad methamphetamine. I felt as if I were with the lovely Jennifer Lawrence as she battled seemingly everyone in order to provide for her younger siblings. It is horrible, the life portrayed by these people and I found it unforgettable.

7) Catfish. If you are online much, if you have arrived at this blog post via Twitter, if you frequent online dating sites, you have probably at one time or another wondered just who the hell is typing to you. Is that person REALLY who they purport to be? Well Catfish takes such a concept to an end. What that end TRULY is, is up for interpretation, for so many people who have seen is STILL don't know if what one sees in Catfish is real. I think I know, but I want you to watch it and tell me your thoughts. Mesmerizing.

6) Get Low. Funny. Touching. Very well acted. This film about an old man who wants to be present at his own funeral showcases redemption, guilt, forgiveness, and letting go. Fabulous performances by Robert Duvall and Bill Murray as well as Sissy Spacek make this a great, great film.

5) True Grit. The Coen Brothers rarely do wrong in my eyes. True Grit is no exception. Incredible performances by newcomer Hailee Stenfeld as well as Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon make this a fun movie to watch. Far superior to the original, the repartee between the three main characters is great fun. My only qualm would be the ending. It should have ended perhaps 10 minutes sooner.

4) Toy Story 3. A very pleasant family film's third go round never gets stale. Woody and Buzz are thrust into new predicaments that they must overcome, along with the rest of the gang and in the end, we watch Andy play with them one last time. Moved me to tears.

3) The Karate Kid. A pleasant surprise was this remake by the People's Repubic of China and Will Smith. New life is brought into a beloved 80's movie and I loved how we saw into China's culture while being given a story that, like Toy Story 3, had me weeping at the end. Props to Jaden Smith for delivering the charisma necessary to make this a hit.

2) 127 Hours. I watche this film twice and enjoyed it equally, for different reasons, each time. What is thought to be a story of a single event where a man is pinned to a rock is made so much more by director Danny Boyle and terrifc acting by James Franco. Boyle's manic celebration of movement and life is so inspiring and an instant classic. Graphic, yes, but not what you've been told. Give it half a chance.

1) Inception. I saw this film twice as well and though my viewing companion brought up troubling logical problems, I enjoyed this inventive, razzle dazzle of a mind bending film. Like nothing I'd seen, perhaps since The Matrix, this film grabbed me and never let go. By the way, I had more fun discussing with my movie watching friend the work of gravity within dream levels than I can remember having with anyone else discussing films. I can't wait to watch more movies with her.

And that's it, the Year in Movies according to me. Great Directors like Boyle, Christopher Nolan, Darron Aronofsky, and the Coen Brothers made it a fun time to watch movies. I hope they all come back with new projects soon. So tell me, what's YOUR favorite movie?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

On The Politicization of the Arizona Shooting

On the morning of Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona at a political gathering outside a grocery store, Sarah Palin shot and killed 6 people, and wounded 13 in a deadly shooting spree. In addition to Palin, several hundred thousand members of the Tea Party also pulled the trigger that critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Democratic congresswoman believed to be the target of the attack. One of the dead, a 9-year old girl named Christina Taylor Green, will likely spur legislation to revoke the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, which, wrongly, gives citizens the right to bear arms. After the much needed ban on guns life will then be safe from crazed individuals like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Tea Party members in general. After the precedent of the 2nd Amendment’s repeal, the 1st Amendment will be amended to ban offensive words and phrases, such as “I’ve got you in my cross-hairs”, “Targeted”, “Pray”, and “God”. The list of words and phrases will be long, updated daily, and result in stiff fines and/or jail time for repeat offenders. In this manner life for Americans and the rest of the world will be a virtual paradise. Especially after Conservatism is outlawed.

If you read that and found yourself nodding and smiling in agreement, then you are probably not going to be smiling and nodding when you reach the end of this post. One reason you may be happy with the previous paragraph is because I failed to mention the name of the ACTUAL killer, Jared Loughner. Perhaps you are eagerly awaiting any morsel of news that Mr. Laughner was spurred in some way by “Talk Radio”, or “The Tea Party Movement”, or some sort of religious leaning. It is in THIS way that you can then apply your own political views onto a situation that clearly does not have any. I know some of you have done this. I have read your words. On the social networking site Twitter, I have sought to engage you in debate. Mostly you ignore me. I wish I knew why. Here are some examples:

From @HiKris

“I wonder how Sarah Palin will sleep tonight? I'm sure a lot better than the parent's of the 9 year that was murdered.”

This was the first reference to Sarah Palin in my timeline, and one that made no sense whatsoever. I remarked on this to her:


"Awesome! I have my first Dumbass Blame Sarah Palin Tweet! wtg @HiKris !!!”

Her reply:

“@InkPanther You're welcome, always glad to help. I do wish you could have used a few more exclamation points.”

A deflection. Rather than explain her nonsense she sought to remark on my choice of punctuation.

The actress Jane Fonda weighed in:


“Progressive Arizona Rep Gabrielle Giffords is shot. In her ads, Sarah Palin had her targeted in a gun site. Inciting to violence.”

“@glenbeck guilty too. Shame. It must stop!”

“@SarahPalinUSA holds responsibility. As does the violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party”

Ms. Fonda misspells Glenn Beck’s name, and calls Rep. Giffords a Progressive, though Rep. Giffords supported the rights of her constituents to bear arms.

Now I realize the text-message size space limitations of Twitter make a detailed rumination of ones thoughts impractical but one can string many tweets together or, better yet, make truthful statements rather than false ones. As David Limbaugh tweeted, regarding the “gun sights” advertisements on Palin’s website:


“I honestly have 2 wonder whether ths leftist stampede 2 condemn SPalin springs frm projection. They cnt conceive her imagery was jst imagery”

By placing certain congress people in “gun sights” it is obvious to most rational people that she was NOT advocating the shooting of them. When did we go to this extreme in our thinking? It goes along with Mrs. Palin’s independent, frontier attitude of being a rugged individualist and her love of hunting, it is not an assertion that someone should LITERALLY shoot and kill certain congressmen. Ms. Fonda is simply choosing to avoid this obvious point to use this tragedy to attack Palin and Beck.

The crazy was increased later that same day.


“#Tea Party #tcot #2nd Civil War? : I hope, as American's, that we'll realize that #TeaParty members are HOME GROWN TERRORISTS. #BanTeaParty!”

“@GeorgiaElliott7 : I'll tell u what motivated that 22 yo #Gifford shooter: Gun loving, bible-thumping, all Americans. #TeaParty #Terrorists”

This Tweeter actually advocates the banning of a Movement! And the label “HOME GROWN TERRORISTS” is used without any supporting evidence! HOW, in God’s name are Tea Party Members terrorists!? Where is the proof? What is even more egregious is the fact that she HAS ASSIGNED A MOTIVE TO THIS HORRIBLE ACT! What special powers does she have that she can possibly KNOW this? This is perhaps the most irresponsible tweet I have ever witnessed.
Another person on Twitter refused to respond to me directly, only referring once to this blog in an indirect, and incorrect, manner.


“@SarahPalinUSA hoping that you begin to take some responsibility for the rhetoric & pot-stirring you do & renounce violence very clearly ;("

“Dear Rush Limbaugh: Please begin to use your powers for the greater good instead of scum-sucking evil -- luv, ABT”

This person apparently read my tweets to her, yet refused to back up her opinions. I understand this desire to not engage me in debate. She realizes she has nothing with which to back up her rhetoric. Like many of the tweeters condemning the Tea Party Movement, Palin, et al, much retweeting was being done. These people only see a hateful tweet against these people and immediately, instinctually, slap their big paws on the RT button, thinking they are making a point. I would simply like some answers. Why take this tragedy and politicize it? Why shamelessly mischaracterize the views of those you dislike? Failure to do so will grant you the label, “fucktard”, as I rightly called Ms. Bus_Ticket.

“To the dude spewing his prolific skill set of hate-language on me tonight, liked your scintillating series expose' of tuna sandwiches”

I spewed no hate, I asked her questions. Anyone is free to look at my timeline and judge for his/herself. Oh, and my opinions on tuna sandwiches were explained. Even when the subject is, as she intimated, slight, I am still more deep and intellectual than she is.
In conclusion, let us all pray (oops, that will be a banned word shortly) for Rep. Giffords and her family, the family of 9 year old Christine Green, and all the others involved in this incident. Let’s also place blame on the gunman, Jared Loughner, the sole person responsible for this horror. The irony of those wishing to involve anyone other than this man in this situation and then condemning the political climate as being so hateful should be apparent and regarded as silly.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuna Salad Sandwich Challenge #3: Local.

Today has each of us selecting a local place rumored to have very good tuna salad sandwiches. Tuna. Tuna Salad. Weird, just typing those words makes me feel full. Haha. Tuuuuna. Not something we should really be eating, I think. Poor things, living their lives in the freedom of the sea when BAM caught in a net and they gasp their last breath on the way to our restaurants where we GRIND them up and-

Stacey: I selected A Spot of Tea, a famous place located in Mobile and-

Rob: I'm getting to it. Gotta finish up the introduction after all. Tuna Salad. Tuuuna. There. I'm done. Let's eat tuna AGAIN! WOOOOOOHOOOOO! Brain food! I am psyched!!!

Stacey: Tuna Salad on a croissant with Country Style potatoes: 10.74 with tax. (7.99 sandwich only, 8.79 with tax)

Rob: Tuna Salad "sandwich" with Fries and a Coke: 6.39. 6.95 with tax.

Stacey: As you can see, A Spot Of Tea is a nice place. The atmosphere very pleasant and my guest-

Rob: Billy?

Stacey: I'm sorry. Who?

Rob: Just wondered if you took Free Soup Billy.

Stacey: No, I was accompanied by my lovely sister, known on Twitter as @1meanangel .

Rob: Neat.

Stacey: It was great! Took a while to get there and the sandwich is a bit overpriced for the taste of it, which was just okay. But the staff was friendly and our food arrived in minutes. And the potatoes they served were very good, I liked them better than the sandwich actually.

Rob: Can't wait to see the pics:

Rob: My turn? Okay. Well I went to an out of the way place near the Home Depot and Walmart called Wendy's Old Fashioned. Here is a pic:

Stacey: Wait a minute, that's Wendy's.

Rob: Which is what I said.

Stacey: No, the burger chain!

Rob: Clearly not. Look at the bag. They sell tuna salad sandwiches, not burgers.

Stacey: You had a burger!

Rob: Tuna. Anyway. The tuna was moist and very beefy, the bun fresh and the cheese and bacon a nice compliment to the tuna-ness of the whole burger. The Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt-

Yeah, I've seen the NATIONAL commercial for them.

Rob: I'm surprised our local Wendy's would advertise nationally, but anyway they were nothing special. I don't get the hype. Pics:

Stacey: You suck.

Rob: So what's next? Quiche?

Stacey: Something you don't get tired of eating after 2 days....I'll have to think about it.

Rob: Cool.


Stacey: 5
Rob: 7


Stacey: 4
Rob: 7


Stacey: 6.5
Rob: 6.5

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuna Sandwich Challenge #2: Quizno's.

Today is Quizno's turn. How does THIS national chain do tuna salad? Does their signature "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm." mean anything? Do they fear Jared? I know I do.

Assisting me in the challenge once again is the infamous Stacey and Sons. They tried to ban her but you can't stop her, you can only hope to contain her. Stacey ordered a Large Tuna Salad on Italian Herb Bread. I got a Small on Rosemary Parmesan Bread. I also got a lil cup of banana peppers and another lil cup of horseradish sauce.

Stacey: 6.99 plus tax. 7.69 total.
Rob: 4.99 plus tax. 5.43 total. peppers and horseradish sauce .49 ea. Grand total: 6.48

Stacey: I don't think I had ever been in a Quizno's before. I liked it. Very nice people work there, especially the cute guy who made our sandwich.
Rob: Never been in a Quizno's? Weird. Then again...
Stacey: The Vegetarian thing, yeah. Never thought to go into a sub sandwich shop.
Rob: I get that. So you got the large and split it with your boys.
Stacey: Yes, and it was quite filling. Shared it with Son and both of us liked the sandwich. Son thought it "delicious" after a thoughtful pause. The bread was too toasted for our liking, some of it was blackened. The tuna salad was just okay. Pics:

Rob: It looks pretty good but you didn't mention the soup. I should add the cost into the-
Stacey: Oh the soup was free.
Rob: Free? No, they charge for it.
Stacey: Well Billy didn't charge us for-
Stacey: That was the name on his nametag. He gave us a cup of chicken noodle soup with our sandwich.
Rob: Because?
Stacey: I don't know. I don't go there usually, don't you get soup for free? Like bread sticks at Olive Garden?
Rob: No. That isn't usual.
Stacey: Well B had some and deemed the soup a bit too salty.
Rob: Oh, well that was probably why good ole Billy-
Stacey: But J said it was delicious. Better than the soup one gets at a grocery store even.
Rob: Oh. Cool.
Stacey: We had an enjoyable time.
Rob: Super. Guess I'll go on about mine. The bread was good, Rosemary Parm is nice, the tuna was a bit dry though and, seriously? Free soup?
Stacey: Yes.
Rob: The tomato slices were better than Panera. Overall quite dry. Glad I had the not free horseradish sauce and peppers to moisten it up with since Isabel, the 67 year old who made my sandwich didn't bother to offer me free soup.
Stacey: I didn't eat it.
Rob: Yeah. Anyway, here are the photos of mine:

Stacey: Bread alone; 8.5, tuna brought the whole thing down to 7.
Rob: Dry, 6.

Stacey: 7.5
Rob: 4. (No free soup)

Stacey: 7.5
Rob: 5

Another fun time, yes?
Rob: Yup.
Stacey: What's tomorrow?
Rob: Kinda sick of tuna salad.
Stacey: Ooh we should pick a local place!
Rob: Somewhere they put tuna on a burger maybe.
Stacey: HAHA!
Rob: :/

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuna Salad Sandwich Challenge #1: Panera Bread

I am teaming up with a friend for a series of taste tests. This friend is Stacey and she lives in Southern Alabama. I live in Southern California. So how different would certain foods be two time zones apart? Would one region excel in something the other would not? What about chain eateries versus "mom and pop" places? Not to mention our own personal taste differences. We begin with a sandwich. Not any sandwich, but the tuna salad sandwich. How would Panera Bread prepare it for me in California and for her in Alabama?

Panera Bread Tuna Salad Sandwich

Cost: Stacey; 5.59 plus tax. 6.15 total. Rob; 6.19 total, no tax.

Rob: I was surprised that California, eager to tax virtually everything from water to air to thoughts, DIDN'T tax my sandwich.

Stacey: Weird. Mine was taxed.

Rob: Oh well. Turns out the cost was virtually the same. Let's show yours first.

Stacey: I ordered the tomato basil bread and asked for extra lettuce. The bread was delicious, soft and fresh. I tasted the tomato and basil, yum, but the edges were tough and hard to chew. It might just be the type of bread, but tough edges are not to my liking. Other than that, the sandwich was excellent. Good tuna salad to bread ratio and lots of fresh lettuce, just as I wanted.
Stacey's son: I like the tough bread. The tough bread is to my liking.

Rob: Well it certainly looks hearty. The lettuce appears healthy and fresh.

Stacey: I asked that they leave out tomatoes. The tomato basil bread was delicious and there was really no need for tomatoes.

Rob: I like fresh tomato slices on my sammich.

Stacey: I gave the chips that came with it to my kids.

Stacey's son: They were crisp and good. The chips were good.

Stacey: I liked the big dll pickle spear they included with it.

Rob: Now let's take a look at mine.

Rob: I went with their standard tuna sandwich, no alterations. This meant I got Honey Wheat bread and nothing extra. The bread was soft and fresh, the mayo and mustard perfect. I removed my lettuce as I don't eat it and I eventually had to remove the tomato slices as they were raw. The tuna salad I agree was on the sweet side.

Stacey: When I make it at home I don't make it that sweet, but it was fine.

Rob: I agree, though without the pepper yours had, it was still good and there was a lot of it. You get a lot for the money.

Stacey: I'd like your pickle spear.

Rob: You can't have it.

Stacey's son: Did you like the crust?

Rob: No. Not a fan of crusts.

Stacey's son: I enjoy tough bread.

Rob: So overall a good sandwich.

Stacey: Oh I agree. And I called it in, so there was no wait.

Rob: I didn't call ahead but the wait time was less than 4 minutes.

Taste (1-10)

Stacey: 8
Rob: 7.5

Value (1-10)

Stacey: 6
Rob: 6.5


Stacey: 8
Rob: 7

Final Thoughts:

Stacey: I was full after finishing it and it tasted very good. I think the next sandwich place had better be good in order to compare with this one.

Rob: 6 bucks for a tuna salad sandwich is a bit much but it WAS good and filling. The next place may be Quizno's. See you there.

Stacey: I'll be there!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This Christmas has impressed upon me the need to realize that there is a "reason for the season" as the saying goes. It is about Family, Friends, and, yes, Christ. The following is something I wrote as a guest blog post this past February. I thought I'd let you in on some of my thoughts regarding this life and the one beyond. I enjoy discussions such as these so please engage me if you wish.

Darwinian evolution was an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. However, evolution via random and gradual mutations can’t explain some very complex biological systems. Contrary to Darwinian evolution, it appears (and is widely accepted by scientists), that biology itself shows signs of a “designer.” This deduction is arrived at via design deduce of the physical structure of a system.

Aspects of biology strongly appear to be designed. Even Richard Dawkins says, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” (The Blind Watchmaker 1996, p.1) Dawkins doesn’t believe biological structures were a product of intelligent design, but he admits they “overwhelmingly impress with the appearance of design.”

There are structural obstacles to Darwinian evolution, coupled with physical reasons to think that Darwinian evolution can not do what its proponents claim for it. The structural reasons are “irreducible complexity.”

Irreducible complexity contradicts the premise that evolution could operate slowly and gradually one mutation at a time. An irreducibly complex structure cannot evolve that way, for this simple reason: you have some system and it has a number of parts and they act on each other and they are all necessary for the function to exist. You take away one or more of the parts and the function is no longer present.

Think of it this way, and by example, the mousetrap has various parts: a spring, a wire hammer, a catch, a board that holds it all together. Take away any part and you have a meaningless and purposeless collection of parts. There is no way that it could slowly evolve into that complexity.

Another example is a bacterial flagellum. The flagellum is a whip like propeller that a bacterium spins to move. Any part of the flagellum apparatus, without all the rest, is purposeless. Like a mousetrap without one of its necessary parts, this one would be broken as well.

Critics and militant atheist’s responses to irreducible complexity are wishful thinking. They argue that someday they will be able to explain them by random events and such will contradict the designer postulate. Nevertheless, they continue to make grand Darwinian claims as if this evidence already had been discovered. Such claims are urban legends.

Evolution can explain many things, but not everything.

I believe in multi-verses; worlds without number and without end, each of different degrees of glory and far more glorious than that in which we reside.

How utterly horrible would it be, to believe that Life begins, and has its ending, in this temporal sphere. I believe in an Intelligent Designer. One who has my best interest at heart, if only I have Faith. And yes, my faith has evolved. But that is a discussion for another time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Guest Blog Post #5

This blog post is by my very good friend, Stacey. It is about chronic pain, something I know all too well and I thank her for sharing. Follow her on Twitter at @ALHSMommy please.

Sixteen years ago, a man driving a pickup truck ran a red light and changed my life. I had just eased out into the intersection, when he slammed into the driver’s side door of the car I was driving, totaling my sedan. He walked around my car and talked to me while the firemen worked to free me from the wreckage of my car. After the police gave him a ticket for running a red light, he drove his truck away from the scene of the accident, completely uninjured, and I never heard from him again. His name is Jay Pickle and what follows is what I’d like to say to him.

Mr. Pickle, your one moment of careless behavior completely changed the course of my life. Perhaps you never think of that little mistake you made all those years ago. Most of the time, I don’t think about that day, but I deal with the consequences of your action every hour of every day. In the mornings, I get out of bed in pain, barely able to lift my arms or turn my head. I spend the first hour of every day stretching and soaking my body in a tub of hot water to get to the point I can function as a mother. I have all sorts of neat tricks to get me through a day of taking care of my children, too, and I’m very good at multitasking. For example, I can use an ice pack or a TENS unit while reading to my kids. Sure, it takes me twice as long as other mothers to do every little task. Certainly, I have to stop to rest in the middle of chores or lessons, but I still do it all. You ruined my back, but I didn’t allow you to ruin my life.

Yes, I have children, Mr. Pickle. The doctors were able to repair and save my uterus after you damaged it slamming into my car at 40 mph. My first baby was only six months old at the time. I thank God I had just dropped him off with my sister, because the crash completely ruined his car seat. You would have killed my baby. Six hard years later, and after surgery I was able to have another baby. Two years after that, a miracle happened and I had a third child. The doctors never thought that would be possible, but I am strong and determined, and I did it. The third pregnancy stressed my uterus to the point it could no longer be saved and in 2001, I finally gave in and had a hysterectomy. I am happy and fulfilled with the three children I have, but sometimes I get a yearning to have another baby. That will never happen. You took that option away from me.

With each passing year, my spine gets weaker and more deformed. There is a surgical option, but the risks that it could cripple me are too great. I’m not willing to risk it. So, I live in pain, every minute of every day. I no longer remember what it feels like to not be in pain. I give thanks for days when the pain is relatively mild and I use those days to catch up from the ones I spend barely making it through.

I wonder where you are, Mr. Pickle, and what kind of life you have had. I wonder if I ever cross your mind. I wonder if I’ll ever really forgive you.