eXTReMe Tracker WARNING: The opinions expressed and linked to in this blog are not necessarily mine (anymore).

My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Sunday, December 31

Amazing progress in HIV prevention, Killing

I love technology. Sometimes the usefulness of particular things is questionable, but I figure they're just part of getting to the really good things. It's so great, when frequently surrounded by people who think the world is going to hell, to see something like this! Yay! Woohoo!!

Can you imagine? Wiping out a disease like AIDS?! Well, this may not quite do that, but it definitely has the potential. There are a lot of other great things being created all the time. I only heard about this one because I noticed a funny button on my Firefox - "Latest Headlines" it said. Curious, I clicked on it, and it seemed to be a bookmark type list of headlines - including the one about AIDS. I think I've noticed the button before and then forgot about it until today. Handy thing it is. I'll have to remember it better. Of course, the majority of the headlines were bad news - bombings, killings, the body of Saddam Hussein being laid to rest.

I watched a clip of the video of him being led to the execution room. I've sometimes thought that if I had the opportunity to kill a murderer - to prevent him from causing more deaths, that I would do it. Watching him, though, I'm not so sure anymore. He just looked like a regular man - a bit sad. I realized that I don't think I'd be able to kill someone unless they were an immediate threat. Even then, I'm not so sure.

When I was in high school, I was supposed to collect and kill insects for science class. I found a little greeen bug and put it in a jar and dropped the alcohol soaked cotton ball in with it and closed the lid. It struggled to get out. I watched it thinking that if it was going to die by my hand, I should at least have the courage to watch. I couldn't do it. I let the bug go. I think it died anyway, but it did not become part of my collection. My mother had to kill the rest of them for me. I didn't like that she did it. I wondered if it would have been better to fail. Back to Saddam...

I was afraid for a moment that they would show the actual hanging. I was going to turn it off before that. It seemed disrespectful somehow. Then the correspondent said that the network had chosen not to air images of the body or the death.

I wondered if I had it right the first time. Maybe it's more respectful to actually witness what is going on with seriousness and even empathy. Some people might say that some individuals don't deserve to be treated with dignity. I'm not sure what to think of that. It's hard to say what other people "deserve". I don't usually have the desire to treat people any other way - unless I feel immediately threatened. Then it's more a matter of self-protection than consideration for dignity or an attack on dignity.

I've wondered what Saddam might have been like as a child. I was thinking that no infant, as far as I know, was ever "evil" or destructive of others. Neither are children up to age 5 or so generally. Sometimes when I think people might be born "bad", I think about that. Even the children that indeed do terrible things aren't necessarily considered "evil". It seems more like someone failed to care for them and guide them. It's hard for me to understand how it happens that so many adults and even teenagers turn out to be more violent. Maybe they're just big enough to get away with it easier?

Me? A dragon? Eragon and Superman - spoilers

I noticed the book, Eragon, a year or more ago and kept thinking it looked like something my daughter and I would like. I finally bought it for her, but it's been sitting around for months unread.

I didn't know the movie was coming out until I saw previews for it recently. I hate reading a book before seeing the movie because I then tend to find the movie shallow and disappointing compared to the depth usually found in a book. I thought it would be nice to spare us that (and encourage her to pick up the book), so I took my daughter to see Eragon last weekend. I knew we'd love it, and I wasn't disappointed!

Briefly, the boy, Eragon, finds a "stone". It "hatches" unexpectedly and he soon realizes it's a dragon! I love the scene where Eragon climbs on the dragon and then gets to look over a cliff just before the dragon takes off! I hope there's a sequel because it ended with some very interesting unfinished business.

I think the movie likely inspired a fun flying dream I had the night before last. At first, I was like a fly on the wall observing a "family" of dragons or flying dinosaurs. The father dragon/dino was large and black and seemed a bit scary. It seemed like he might kill his young if he didn't approve of them. The parents were taking the offspring out for flying practice. They were intelligent creatures who could talk, walk upright, and the wings looked a bit like bat wings so that when the dragons lifted their arms/front legs, the wings spread from front to bottom legs. Suddenly, I was one of the offspring - the oldest - and was flying over the water slightly behind "father". It was fantastic! I dream of flying fairly often. Sometimes I have fun dreams of being telekinetic. I love those sorts of dreams, but I don't think I've ever dreamed of being a dragon before. What a blast!

Speaking of flying, I saw Superman Returns yesterday. I wasn't thrilled with Lois. The actress seemed perfectly nice, but she was and young... and soft! She just didn't have the obnoxious, in-your-face New York toughness that the original Lois had. They both seemed much younger than the actors were in the original movies. Superman/Clark seemed different too. I think the differences with him were more believable and an improvement. Besides, he's gorgeous! Christopher Reeves was handsome, but the new guy is downright beautiful. His acting had some nice subtleness to it. I suppose that could be the case with the new Lois, but with her it was just a bit too much of a personality shift. It's still an excellent movie and she seems a good actress, it just doesn't quite fit with the old movies.

Friday, December 29

Leaving on a Jet Plane - Fun to Sing

I've had this song stuck in my head lately. It's the first song I'm learning on my new guitar. It's even invading my dreams. I dream about going on plane trips, forgetting to buy the plane tickets, the plane getting delayed, etc.

I found a nice little clip of John Denver singing it on You Tube. I always thought it was a bit of a boring song, but I would find myself singing along just the same.

Some songs are just more fun to sing than to hear.

A lot of popular pop songs seem to be written with this understanding. If you look at the lyrics, there may be one or two unique verses and the rest is the same verse over and over. Who cares to hear the same verse 3 to 5 times? No one. The point isn't to listen to the whole song. You might listen to the unique parts and the first chorus. By the third verse you're singing along. Once you start singing, you're having fun and don't necessarily want to stop, so the singer obliges you by repeating it a few more times. At least, that's my experience.

Of course, there are songs that don't follow this trend. One of my favorite bands to have more "unique" lyrics is Rush. After a while, though, I tend to get tired of listening and Rush really isn't easy to sing along with. One exception is The Trees. It makes for a lovely lullaby (Ok, so it's a bit scary at the end to sing to a baby, but then so is "Rock-a-bye baby").

Thursday, December 28

Commandments Six through Ten

Well, the end of the year is coming up fast, and since the rest of the commandments are fairly straight-forward, I'll list them here:

6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.


I think I have a rough understanding of them. What I don't have is a way to remember them. I've tried to come up with one word to represent the basic concept of each of them...
1. first
2. images
3. vain
4. Sabbath
5. parents
6. kill
7. adultery
8. steal
9. false
10. covet

I don't have any particular reason for deciding to learn this. I see it as part of getting a better understanding of the world's religions - starting with the one I'm exposed to most.

Tuesday, December 5

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Commandments

(Part of my series of posts on The Ten Commandments)

I made a New Year's Resolution to learn the commandments and to be able to explain them. There are multiple translations and ways of breaking the text into commandments. I've chosen to learn a Protestant version.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

[Exodus 20]

These don't seem particularly difficult to understand. I don't know exactly what is meant by "honor", but I am guessing it's something along the lines of the first definition from Dictionary.net:
1. Esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation; respect; consideration; reverence; veneration; manifestation of respect or reverence.