Evolution vs. Creation Resolved

The_Darwin_Fish-1    Vs.Christian Fish

 

Oh boy, it’s back in the news again, the age-old showdown between Evolution and Creation.  I can end decades of debate on this in three simple words. Put everyone’s mind at ease, clear it all up, end all the arguing once and for all.

On the one hand are the Fundamentalists. They know for a fact that God created the universe as we know it in seven days.

Then ‘ol Darwin came along with his theory that we evolved over the eons from lower life forms, and they pretty much freaked. They’ve been fighting his work ever since, and pushing to have “Creationism” taught in schools, a word they totally made up for just for this purpose.

Meanwhile the Scientists and the Atheists put forth all sorts of data to confirm Evolution and shout down the Creationists . They’ve got the Big Bang Theory, Carbon Dating, and of course, Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection.

Soon the Creationists roll out Intelligent Design, another made up word to suit the occasion, to counter the Natural Selection of Darwinism. Which pushed the whole pile of complexity into court where a District Court ruled against Creationism and defined it as a Pseudo  Science, weakening the case for Intelligent Design.

Even with that ruling, there have been competing, confusing charges going back and forth.  But I have the answer to bring it all back to one unified theory and end all the bickering

My solution would make both sides right, nobody wrong, and everybody happy.  And all it would take would be these three simple words:

God Created Evolution!

End of Discussion. Now, everyone off to the bar for drinks!

Fish Museum

IMG_1012My wife and I lived in Japan for 2 1/2 years in the mid ’90s. We were  often amazed when our Japanese students would come back from vacation having visited sites in Northern California that we, born and raised in the Bay Area, had never seen. So when we moved home in 1997 we vowed to start playing tourist in our own backyard.

This led to a personal re-discovery of some very cool places. We went to the Marin Headlands and took pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. We went to Fort Point, Fort Baker, Muir Woods, and the lighthouses at Pt. Reyes, Montara, Marin Headlands, Camarillo, and Pigeon Point, where we spent the night at the hostel and sat in the cliff-side hot tub watching the whales migrate north.

We also went through Pacific Heights in SF, down Lombard Street, on a Segway tour through North Beach, on a fishing boat tour around Alcatraz, to the Palace of Fine Arts and the Legion of Honor. We went champagne tasting in Sonoma, wine tasting in Napa, kayaking down the Russian River, to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, saw the sun set at Carmel beach, drove the 17 mile drive in Pacific Grove, bought T-shirts on Cannery Row in Monterey, hiked through Big Sur, and took three tours at Hearst Castle.

We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves, and frankly, thought we’d seen it all. Until the day  we stumbled on the hidden gem that is the Red Top Market. It happened on Highway 152, about 19 miles east of Los Banos. We’d passed this spot hundreds of times before and never noticed a site worth seeing. Continue reading Fish Museum

Star Mangled Banner

They haven’t even kicked off yet and I’m disgusted. No, not that my team isn’t playing today – I got over that weeks ago. But that yet again, the person given the honor of singing our National Anthem at the Super Bowl, chose to honor herself and punish the rest of us.

It started out great, with John Legend playing piano and singing “America The Beautiful”. John’s performance was clean, tasty and respectful of both the song and the audience. Bravo! You made a new fan. The best version for my money since Brother Ray Charles nailed this for all time back in 1972.

But then the big star chosen for the “The Star Spangled Banner” steps up and throws out a testament to herself: an overblown, drawn out, American Idol “make it your own” version that tortured pitch and tempo like a warped 45.

Listen lady, “The Star Spangled Banner” is a story of American survival during the War of 1812. The British Royal Navy bombed Fort McHenry all night, but when the dust settled and the sun rose, the Americans had raised the flag to show their countrymen they had withstood the barrage and were still in the fight. The song is a testament to every American who’s fought for this country, and a symbol that American democracy could take what the world dished out and survive.

So when you step up to the mic, you’re there to remind us of the commitment and sacrifice it took to hold this country together. It is not the time for a vainglorious display of your ability to hold a note beyond reason.

Display your musicianship, not your ego. Pick one tempo and sing the song in time, straight through. Sure, you can interpret the song in your way. But no starting and stopping, slowing down and speeding up, and don’t fuck with the lyrics; pronounce them so we can hear the story.

I hate you right now, and so does every musician in the country.

Context Is Everything

9556224_origMy dentist is a good man and very good at his job. But I don’t really like  the whole ventriloquism thing I’m forced to do while lying in the chair. He always asks me questions while he’s jamming a mirror and pick down my throat so I can’t possibly answer. But he keeps doing it  anyway so I’m compelled to try to throw my voice. It never works.

I went to see him this week and it all happened again like it always does. Then it got weird. He started hitting on me. Or at least he said a few things that, heard out of context, would make you think he was. Things like…

“Hmmm, impressive, nice and pink and firm.” (actually said while inspecting my gums, but sounding like he was checking out some young woman’s fancy parts)

“Feel free to go to sleep, as long as I can crack you open and scrape your teeth” (after I mentioned I wasn’t fully awake yet)

That is the cleanest mouth I’ll probably see all day…” (well, er, thank you very much, Doctor, I think…)

No I don’t think he’s a perv, but I don’t think he hears what he sounds like to his patients. Then again, he does have a very weird job, cracking people open all day and scraping their teeth.

 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

gout-pain-foot-300x224

That about sums up the last 24 hours. There I was in bed sleeping, minding my own business, when all of a sudden my foot starts to blow up. Woke me up at 3:30 am, all swollen and hurting like hell. WTF?! I hadn’t done anything to it, hadn’t fallen, tripped, smacked or kicked it. What the hell was going on?

Psuedogout. That’s right, PSUEDO-GOUT.  Apparently, people who have recently had surgery on a joint (hello! ankle and knee here!) often have  calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals show up, which in turn causes said joint to blow up and inflict intense pain.

It’s just like regular Gout, but without all the fun of gorging on steak, lobster and beer for years and years and years.

I had to go downstairs and ice the thing from 3:30 am – 6:30 am before it calmed down enough for me to sleep. Doc said the intravenous fluids during the surgery were the most likely cause and that it should go away on its own. Otherwise to come on back for a cortisone shot.

Right now it’s about half the size it was, but still tender to walk on. Hopefully there’s nothing more to see here, show’s over, move along. Still,  can’t help thinking, WTF is gonna happen to me next?!!

Recovery: Life’s Been Kicking My Ass – Now It’s Time To Kick Back

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Marianne Williamson

Look around my living room and you’ll see the evidence: crutches, walker, wheelchair. There’s a handicapped parking permit on the way as well. I am down for the count, won’t be able to walk for six weeks, and work is out of the question.

Thank God for State Disability Insurance.

It’s going to be a while before I can resume my regular life, and besides the doctor visits and physical therapy, I’ve got some time on my hands. How to spend it? There’s the TV. Netflix, Vudu, Hulu are all just a remote control away. I could just sit here and get caught up on everything. Even start some new addictions.

But what would that get me? More mid-life angst about not pursuing my dreams, more shame over squandering this gift of time, more worry about the ticking clock of my life. I’ve always been haunted by the thought of being old in that rocking chair, not having made the most of my talents and opportunities, feeling regret over the things I didn’t do. Carrying my music to my grave. So maybe now is the time.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done okay for myself. I’m solvent with a good day job, I own my home and have my financial house in order. I provide for my family and we’re okay – not wealthy, not fancy, but reasonably secure.

But there is a gnawing hunger in me for more. Not more things, but more accomplishment. I worry that if I died today I would be quickly forgotten by all but my friends and family. That is not enough to justify the life and abilities I’ve been given.

Now is the time to make something more of myself. To do some creative work, take some chances, and unleash it on the world. Continuing to playing small will not make me happy when I’m old. I need to swing for the fences now while I still have enough life force left in me to step up to the plate.

So here it is. I’m going to build some new habits and challenge myself to produce something. I’ll start with this here blog and see where it takes me. I’m going to fight my fear and perfectionism and put something out there for the world to judge. And if in fact it is good, and it turns out I have something to say that people want to hear, then maybe doors will open and new and exciting things will come into my life. But if it doesn’t, I still win. I’ll be able to sit in that rocking chair and know that at least I went down swinging…

“You Know You’re Crazy, Right?”

Yeah, I know. That’s what I told her. My wife. When she poked her head in my office just now and said, “You know you’re crazy, right?” “Yeah, I know.”

What could I say? It was 4:55 am. I was pulling an all nighter again. I didn’t mean to. It just happened. I got through the whole day and night and hadn’t gotten in here. But I just had to, so then I did.

So I’ll be shot for tomorrow. My day won’t get started til very, very late. There’s lots to do and not enough time, and I’ve just sacrificed half the day.

But I just had to get in here. Because when I don’t, I fail. I can get by with little sleep, but I can’t afford to fail. And now you’re all caught up…

 

Surgery

Yesterday was quite a day. They rolled me into the operating room about 7:30 am – from there my memory just didn’t record anything. Next thing I know I’m in a recovery bed, my wife at my side, and my leg all bandaged up. It’s 10:30 am, two different doctors just operated on two different parts of the same leg, and now I’m about to go home.

But first I have to make the clock on the wall stop jumping around.

If you’ve ever been under anesthesia you may know the feeling. My brains had been scrambled and they were trying to make a comeback. Took about an hour, three cups of water and a bag of animal cookies (no, not the frosted pink and white ones with the sprinkles, but the plain dry ones, and not from the lion cage box either) to clear my head, then off in a wheelchair and back home.

The crutches are a hassle, but the pain is quite bearable. They found more problems than they saw on the MRIs, but they cleaned them all out and my prognosis is good. Physical therapy starts Monday…

Manic Impressive: The Origin Story

You may be wondering who the hell this guy is and what’s a Manic Impressive. And maybe I’m wondering who the hell you are and how did you get here. Tell you what, I’ll fill you in and maybe you’ll hang around and do the same for me. Or maybe not, but I’m gonna do my part anyway.

Manic Impressive is my self diagnosis. Which means, and let’s be totally clear about this, it is totally made up. By me. For me. To explain me to me. And now, maybe, to you.

No, I’m not sick. At least not in that way. But there’s a certain group of symptoms I exhibit that are deeply part of me. They bring me moments of absolute brilliance, then long stretches of other stuff.

I write this to try to connect with others and move myself to positive action in my life. I do it to better understand how to make my way in the world. Perhaps you share some of these symptoms and can get some meaning or reassurance from these pages. Or perhaps  someone you know or care about is like this, and you’re hoping to better understand them, or at least, to know when to keep fishing or cut bait and split.

The awareness of this came while I was driving with my wife one day some 20 years ago. It was a spectacular spring day, the hills were green and there was wall-to-wall sunshine. As I crested a gentle rise in the road, the next five miles were laid out in front of me. It was a majestic view and I was feeling great.

So great that I started to sing. And drum my fingers on the steering wheel. And make up words to my new made-up song. And just as I was completely feeling it, I noticed my wife. She was not feeling it. In fact, the more I was feeling it, the more irritated she seemed to be.

Odd – why would my life partner, the woman who loves me, be irritated by my happiness? Well, she just didn’t understand why I could be feeling so good. It didn’t make sense and it bugged her. So I tried to explain, and these were the words that jumped out of me:    “I guess I’m just Manic Impressive.”

Since that day, I’ve found those words to be the exact explanation for who and what I am. I’ve also found others who are described very well by that phrase. People who are talented, creative, inspiring, but who have trouble putting it all together and getting it out there in the world.

These are my people, and this is our struggle…