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I had lunch this past weekend with some friends, two of whom are a gay couple. They are as happy as any couple I know and they clearly have a deep love for each other. One of them mentioned a singer he enjoyed listening to, the Irish singer Morrisey.

I am not a big fan of Morrisey.   I do like his voice, he sings with such emotion.   To my knowledge Morrisey has never openly stated he was gay. In many articles he refers to himself as being asexual and celibate.

In the following song I think he asks a very good question.  Why is a person given a desire when expressing that desire is a sin?

A better question is why are some babies born with both male and female sex organs? Science can explain this as a defect or mutation in the childs genes. How does this fit into God’s plan?

I Have Forgiven Jesus – Morrisey

I was a good kid
I wouldn’t do you no harm
I was a nice kid
with a nice paper-round
Forgive me any pain
I may have brung to you
with God’s help I know
I’ll always be near to you
but Jesus hurt me
when he deserted me / but
I have forgiven Jesus
for all the desire
He placed in me when there’s nothing I can do
about desire

I was a good kid
through hail and snow I’d go
just to moon you
I carried my heart in my hand
do you understand?
do you understand?
Jesus hurted
when he deserted me, but
I have forgiven Jesus
for all of the love
He placed in me

When there’s no-one I can turn to with this love
Monday – humiliation
Tuesday – suffocation
Wednesday – condescension
Thursday – is just pathetic
by Friday – life has killed me
by Friday – life has killed me

Why did you give me
so much desire?
when there is nowhere I can go
to offload this desire
Why did you give me
so much love
in a loveless world
when there is no one I can turn to
to unlock all this love
Why did you stick me in
self-deprecating bones and skin
Jesus – do you hate me?

Why did you stick me in
self-deprecating bones and skin
do you hate me? do you hate me?
do you hate me? do you hate me?

I wanted to post something funny and found the two videos below intended to help a Japanese tourist learn some important English language phrases.  The second video in particular may give you some idea of how many Japanese people view America.

Zuiikin English Videos

On April 24th the Hubble Space Telescope site released 59 incredible pictures of colliding galaxies.  The power of these encounters, and the beauty of these images, is beyond my imagination.
 
 
“Fifty nine new images of colliding galaxies make up the largest collection of Hubble images ever released together. As this astonishing Hubble atlas of interacting galaxies illustrates, galaxy collisions produce a remarkable variety of intricate structures.”
 
 
“Arp 148 is the staggering aftermath of an encounter between two galaxies, resulting in a ring-shaped galaxy and a long-tailed companion. The collision between the two parent galaxies produced a shockwave effect that first drew matter into the centre and then caused it to propagate outwards in a ring. The elongated companion perpendicular to the ring suggests that Arp 148 is a unique snapshot of an ongoing collision. Infrared observations reveal a strong obscuration region that appears as a dark dust lane across the nucleus in optical light. “
 
 
“NGC 6240 is a peculiar, butterfly- or lobster-shaped galaxy consisting of two smaller merging galaxies. It lies in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder, some 400 million light-years away. Observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have disclosed two giant black holes, about 3,000 light-years apart, which will drift toward one another and eventually merge together into a larger black hole. The merging process, which began about 30 million years ago, triggered dramatic star formation and sparked numerous supernova explosions. The merger will be complete in some tens to hundreds of millions of years.”
 

  OR

 

I don’t believe anyone has a clue as to whether there is life, complex or simple, outside earth.  I think it is worthwhile to continue to explore this question, as the people at SETI are, http://www.seti-inst.edu/index.php .
 
I would like to believe there are intelligent, sentient, beings on other plants.  When I look at all the conditions where life exist here on earth it is hard for me to believe these same conditions could not exist on other plants.
 
1) Believer
 
In 1961 a young radio astronomer named Frank Drake came up with a formula to estimate how many planets in our galaxy may be home to intelligent life.
 

It became known as the Drake Equation, and when its inventor factored in the number of stars, the percentage likely to have planets around them, the percentage of those planets likely to be right for life, and so forth, he concluded the universe must be teeming with sentient beings.

2) Skeptic

Dr. Andrew Watson at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, says the odds of finding beings like us elsewhere is very, very low — perhaps as little as 0.01 percent over the four billion years that a given planet like ours is likely to be friendly to life.

Dr. Watson argues that there’s a finite window for life on Earth–and we came into being relatively late in that window.  The Sun is slowly growing in intensity so that Earth has “only” about a billion years before it gets fried.

“Structurally complex life is separated from prokaryotes [probably the Earth’s first living cells] by several very unlikely steps and, hence, will be much less common than prokaryotes,” he writes in the journal Astrobiology. “Intelligence is one further unlikely step, so it is much less common still.”

 

An interesting debate on this topic can be found on the link below:

http://www.astrobio.net/news/article236.html

Questions

1) Do you believe there is life on other plants?  If yes, is there a life with an intelligence at least equal to humans?

2) If we did find life found on another planet how do you think you would react to this news?

From Wikipedia,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_day :

“The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969. A second Earth Day, which was founded by U.S. politician Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in the late 1960s, is celebrated in many countries each year on April 22.”

“Responding to widespread environmental degradation, Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin, called for an environmental teach-in, or Earth Day, to be held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people participated that year, and Earth Day is now observed each year on April 22 by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries. Senator Nelson, an environmental activist, took a leading role in organizing the celebration, hoping to demonstrate popular political support for an environmental agenda”

“It is now observed in 175 countries, and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network, according to whom Earth Day is now ‘the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a half billion people every year.’ Environmental groups have sought to make Earth Day into a day of action which changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.”

I remember going to going to the Yale University campus for the first Earth Day. There were speakers and music. I had fun but also learned a great deal I had not know, not bothered to think about. I learned the importance of recycling. A few links with more information: http://www.nrc-recycle.org/ and http://earth911.org

Recycling is a lifestyle, not a slogan. If what we have is not broken why do we need to buy a new one?  If something is broken we should try to get it fixed before we buy a new one.  Never throw anything out until we are sure we can’t use it.  Having a tag sale is better than just throwing stuff out.  We should give what we no longer want to a charity, rather than just throw it away.

We are bombarded with advertisements about great looking products, with the latest styles and newest features. We “want” them all. The first question should be do we “need” them. If we can replace the words “I want” with “I need” we will go along way to making better decisions about our resources.

The beach at dawn

 

This morning I dragged myself out of bed at 4:30 am and drove down to beach and watched the sunrise over the ocean.  I tried not to watch it.  I tried to feel it.  It does not matter what I did, or how I felt, yesterday.  Everyday day is a new beginning.  Wipe the slate clean.  Pretend you have just been born.  Anything is possible.  This works until my bursitis kicks in.  🙂
 
I stopped off for breakfast at a local dinner and meet one of my beach buddies, Rufus.  Him and some of his friends go down to the beach at night when there is a full moon and dance around, banging drums, and howling.  His hair is “perfect”.  🙂
 
Rufus has one thought about life, he is happy to be be alive.  No politics, no religion, just the pure joy of being alive.  He is the happiest person I know.  I need to work at becoming more like him.
There isn’t much I can add to this story.  I will just cut and paste from the story by Stacy Teicher Khadaroo in the online Christian Science Monitor.
 
Another hero, Kathryn Davis, who happens to be 100 years old, founder of Projects for Peace, who is spending her time and money to make the world a better place.  With so many stories about war in the headlines here is one about peace.
 
 
From the article:
 
“Kathryn Davis decided to give a gift to celebrate her 100th birthday: $1 million to galvanize college students’ pursuit of an elusive goal – peace.

A philanthropist with a lifelong interest in international affairs, Mrs. Davis launched 100 Projects for Peace last summer. She was so pleased with the creative, practical proposals the winners came up with that when she turned 101 this year, she put out a call for 100 more.

“I started Projects for Peace because I was really a little discouraged about our world,” Davis says in a phone interview from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Fla. “I got tired of feeling sorry for the younger generation…. I thought maybe [they] would come up with good ideas if I gave them the opportunity.”

Rather than focus on wars and military policies, Davis says, many of the projects addressed “the fundamentals of life,” such as the need for clean water in a village. “You can’t expect people to be interested in peace in the world if they can’t get water to quench their thirst,” she says.

Colleges see the need to prepare young people for a borderless world, but very few can provide grants large enough for such projects outside the United States, says Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., one of the schools that ran competitions for the peace grants. “This is an experiment in encouraging students to be individual social entrepreneurs,” he says.

“In Dafna Ashkenazi’s experience, one weekend can be enough to start a person on the path to peace. She’s an Israeli student at Wellesley College near Boston, where Davis will celebrate her own 80th reunion in May. The school is one of about 80 US colleges chosen to run the peace grant competitions because of their affiliation with the Davis United World College (UWC) Scholars Program, a group that fosters cross-cultural understanding and is funded by Davis’s son, Shelby Davis.

With their $10,000 grant from Mrs. Davis, Ms. Ashkenazi and her twin sister, then a student at Grinnell College in Iowa, set up weekend Arabic courses in Arara, a small Arab village in Israel about 50 miles outside their hometown of Tel Aviv. The cultural-exchange weekends were subsidized so a wide variety of Israelis could attend. One group included soldiers, Orthodox women, and a grandfather-grandson pair. A nonprofit is continuing the first-of-its kind program in Israel because people want to cross barriers, Ashkenazi says.”

The Projects For Peace web site –  http://www.kwd100projectsforpeace.org/

Warning – History and Politics ahead. 🙂

Sunday, April 13th, was Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.  As one of the principle architects of the the US Constitution Jefferson was truly one of our nations greatest leaders.  

He was not a perfect man, he owned slaves, and although he drafted, and tried to enact, several anti-slavery laws he also viewed blacks as inferior to whites. 

Among our founding fathers Jefferson was perhaps the leading proponent of the principle of separation of church and state.  Thanks to his efforts this principle is in our constitution.

From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_jefferson :

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743July 4, 1826)

1) Jefferson was raised in the Church of England at a time when it was the established church in Virginia and only denomination funded by Virginia tax money. Avery Dulles, a leading Catholic theologian reports, “In his college years at William and Mary [Jefferson] came to admire Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and John Locke as three great paragons of wisdom. Under the influence of several professors he converted to the deist philosophy.” Dulles concludes:

In summary, then, Jefferson was a deist because he believed in one God, in divine providence, in the divine moral law, and in rewards and punishments after death; but did not believe in supernatural revelation. He was a Christian deist because he saw Christianity as the highest expression of natural religion and Jesus as an incomparably great moral teacher. He was not an orthodox Christian because he rejected, among other things, the doctrines that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the incarnate Son of God. Jefferson’s religion is fairly typical of the American form of deism in his day.

Before the Revolution, Jefferson was a vestryman in his local church, a lay position that was informally tied to political office at the time. He also had friends who were clergy, and he supported some churches financially.

2) Jefferson’s conclusions about the Bible are noteworthy. He considered much of the new testament of the Bible to be lies. He described these as “so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture”. He described the “roguery of others of His disciples”, and called them a “band of dupes and impostors” describing Paul as the “first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus”, and wrote of “palpable interpolations and falsifications”. He also described the Book of Revelation to be “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams”. While living in the White House, Jefferson began to make his own condensed version of the Gospels, omitting Jesus’ virgin birth, miracles, divinity, and resurrection, primarily leaving only Jesus’ moral philosophy, of which he approved. This compilation was published after his death and became known as the Jefferso n Bible

3) Jefferson did not believe in the divinity of Jesus, but he had high esteem for Jesus’ moral teachings, which he viewed as the “principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform [prior Jewish] moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice & philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state.” Jefferson did not believe in miracles. Biographer Merrill Peterson summarizes Jefferson’s theology:

First, that the Christianity of the churches was unreasonable, therefore unbelievable, but that stripped of priestly mystery, ritual, and dogma, reinterpreted in the light of historical evidence and human experience, and substituting the Newtonian cosmology for the discredited Biblical one, Christianity could be conformed to reason. Second, morality required no divine sanction or inspiration, no appeal beyond reason and nature, perhaps not even the hope of heaven or the fear of hell; and so the whole edifice of Christian revelation came tumbling to the ground.

4) Jefferson sought what he called a “wall of separation between Church and State,” which he believed was a principle expressed by the First Amendment. This phrase has been cited several times by the Supreme Court in its interpretation of the Establishment Clause. In an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, he wrote:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

5) From 1784 to 1786, Jefferson and James Madison worked together to oppose Patrick Henry‘s attempts to again assess taxes in Virginia to support churches. Instead, in 1786, the Virginia General Assembly passed Jefferson’s Bill for Religious Freedom, which he had first submitted in 1779 and was one of only three accomplishments he put in his own epitaph. The law read:

No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. 
This being National Poetry Month I thought I try my hand at it.  The best poetry site I know is http://www.poets.org/index.php .  I signed up for their poem a day subscription, free, which runs thorough out April.
 
I lack the patience, and creativity, of a poet like Ric Booth, http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/. I like idea “first-word-best-word”, which I first read about from Jack Kerouac, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Kerouac .  He apparently derived this style from the Buddhist,  Chögyam Trungpa, “first-thought-best-thought”.  It is a purely emotional style.  The words pop into your brain, you right them down.  No searching for a better, more perfect word.  This also appeals to someone lazy like me.  🙂
 
So, from my brain to yours.  🙂
 
#1
 
Paper screams,
 
hands cover eyes.
 
Hearts in flame,
 
mothers cry.
 
Feet dance on water,
 
thoughts sear through pain.
 
Babies fart bubbles,
 
fear melts away.
 
#2
 
A block of stone that says it’s hope.
 
A line in snow that speaks to truth.
 
A cage of prayers that bears it’s fangs.
 
A love of kind that covers cries.
 
If you would like to play along let me know the first mental image that pops into you mind when you read the following words from my poems:
 
1) babies
 
2) fear
 
3) cage
 
4) love
I just got back from my first trip to the beach since winter.  The temps were in the 70’s.  I feel very inspired.
 
There was life everywhere.  Life in the water, life in the air, even some creepy crawlies in the restroom.  🙂
 
There is life in the boiling, sulfuric water of hot springs.  There is life in the frozen ice of Antarctica.  Every where we find the right combination of chemicals, in any environment, we will find life.
This isn’t magic, or a miracle.  It is wondrous, amazing and beautiful.  I need to look no further for inspiration than life itself.
 
I plan to be going back to the beach tomorrow and this weekend, weather permitting.  I hope you all have a very joy filled and inspiring weekend.  See you Monday.

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