There is a grandeur in this view of life...while this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a begining endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved
Charles Darwin
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Stop the Incoherent Madness

Trump’s erratic executive orders are puerile and vindictively penned, imbued of a malodorous unconstitutionality—intoxicatingly spurred by the methane gas percolating from the delusional alt-right soggy swamp network, Breitbart; which is, effusive of fake news and riddled with Orwellian 1984 alternative facts. Trump’s inner circle confidants, which are flagrantly sullied of nepotism, are the conduits of the dictums dregs of disaster— and, to exacerbate the insanity, cabinet choices wreak and permeate with ethically challenged, scurrilous plutocrats that are historically unempathetic to the laborer and exhibit no compunction to scalp benefits, and if the bottom line profligate profit is in jeopardy, the populous blue collar will capriciously be discarded, as if, they were trash: For all you ideologues of unregulated capitalism, everything is dispensable, absolute nothing usurps the supremacy of the almighty profit. Hear me when I say, more accurately, read me, The White House, not so much; the white edifice is now besmirched and smudged—the historical corridors are infiltrated by interlopers of this pernicious economic philosophy of oxidizing from the cash-strapped penuries to fill the ostentatious coffers of plutocrats.

Trump’s insidious choices for cabinet positions, unabashedly personify the idiom “fox guarding the hen house” which has probably engendered in the, racing to retirement, baby boomers, more cases of alopecia-like symptoms, hypertension, and angina than any imprudent lifestyle. Of the carnival carnies cabinet applicants, the sword-swallowers that were centered stage and docketed as the main act: Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price, Rex Tillerson, Rick Perry and Scott Pruit—this list of carnies could continue, but I’m getting a headache, there is a twinge in my chest, and lumps of hair are falling on the keyboard…  

Commemorating Life’s Chapters: Flipping Pages

“When I wanted you to share my life, I had no doubt in my mind” Right Down The Line, Gerry Rafferty Mary and I commemorated our Fifteen Wedding Anniversary at the idyllic Sanderling Hotel in the Duck community of the Outer Banks, the very same place we spent our honeymoon. Anniversaries are, in my opinion, bookmarked temporal chapters that are 365 pages long. The more chapters documented the more muscular and robust the couple’s commitment will be to each other—so, the culture lore goes. The recognition and celebratory events associated with this custom has deep historical roots dating back to the Middle-Ages and then, packaged and categorized to a tidy discipline by the Victorians: the era of Charles Darwin, the iconic naturalist. Like a museum display case of Coleopteran insects that are taxonomically labeled, each anniversary year has a gemological gift affixed to it, i.e. 25 years is the silver anniversary; 50 years is gold; and the 15th—drum roll please, a ruby.

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“When I wanted you to share my life, I had no doubt in my mind”

                                              Right Down The Line, Gerry Rafferty       

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Mary 15th Anniversay at Duck, Outer Banks

Mary and I commemorated our Fifteen Wedding Anniversary at the idyllic Sanderling Hotel in the Duck community of the Outer Banks, the very same place we spent our honeymoon. Anniversaries are, in my opinion, bookmarked temporal chapters that are 365 pages long. The more chapters documented the more muscular and robust the couple’s commitment will be to each other—so, the culture lore goes. The recognition and celebratory events associated with this custom has deep historical roots dating back to the Middle-Ages and then, packaged and categorized to a tidy discipline by the Victorians: the era of Charles Darwin, the iconic naturalist. Like a museum display case of Coleopteran insects that are taxonomically labeled, each anniversary year has a gemological gift affixed to it, i.e. 25 years is the silver anniversary; 50 years is gold; and the 15th—drum roll please, a ruby.

Mary and I have a trial and tested strategy for the drive to the beach; filled with Jack Johnson and Jimmy Buffett music, guzzling down Starbucks’ coffee, and conversations about kids, work and politics: generally, we agree on most topics. I find the drive a white knuckling experience, Mary, however, loves long drives— and, there appears to be a strong correlation between speed of dialogue and the velocity of the car. Maybe, we shouldn’t drink so much coffee; it might be safer.

To arrive at the Sanderling, we meander through the community of Duck, an apotheosis of a quaint beach town; trinket shops galore, and renown to the avid hunter for being the migratory path for wild ducks and other wild fowls.

We arrived!

The Sanderling has rooms that view both the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound. We prefer the Ocean view; we enjoy being lulled to sleep with the white noise of breaking waves on the beach.  There were two unique features of the Sanderling that struck me as charming and evoked delight: tea time at 3PM and the impressive display of John James Audubon ornithological prints that dressed the walls. Audubon was an 1800 French American, naturalist painter, whose art depicted North American indigenous birds in their natural habitat.

The bar was low with regards to an agenda; no pressure, we were to luxuriate in beach-ness by taking long walks on the beach, reading— and, the climax was to have dinner at the Left Bank an AAA Four Diamond Award winning restaurant on the sound side of the resort. But, before we were to venture to the Pantheon and partake in ambrosia, Mary had indulged by (pampering) herself with a first; a scheduled pedicure, manicure and makeup/hairstyling at the resident Spa and Salon: a prelude to the climax.

We stayed two nights and left the morning of day three. The days were filled with long leisurely walks on the beach and one brief interlude among the weedy trail of the marsh. The marsh walk had all the trimmings of a Lewis Carroll’s chapter in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland. The trail was pox with mud puddles and hemmed in with Spartina and assorted aquatic plants cording the estuary side, and the beach side, which had gnarly, contorted trunks and boughs of oak trees that were salt-wind manicured in the direction of the prevailing easterly winds, that shroud it’s understory with random shafts of light imbuing a perpetually twilight. As we hopscotch over the puddles, we encountered the local flora and fauna: a box turtle, indigenous songbirds, small inconspicuous wild flowers, and “the rabbit”. Now, I’m not suggesting the rabbit was donning a waistcoat, possessed a pocket watch, spoke in an English accent muttering the words, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late”, but, I thought I witness,…”it pop down a large rabbit hole under the hedge”  Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, 1865.  Unlike Alice, Mary and I reined in our teetering curiosity and refrained from a toboggan down the rabbit hole, and sauntered back to our room for lunch.

Our beach wonderings were also fraught with ethologic anthropomorphizing empathy; possessed by the apparition of Socrates, Mary and I converted to peripatetic-ism and engaged in l-o-n-g excursions over the undulating, wave sculpted cusps of sand, admiring the eclectic drift wood décor of the beach with a backdrop of sea oats blanketing the barricading berm, where we memorably chanced upon, the Clear-Nose Skate, littering the beach as cadavers in a mass graveyard, and an interloper, the clever, adaptable grackle.

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Clearnose Skate Raja elanteria

The Clear Nose skate, Raja eglanteria, is ubiquitous up and down the east coast; like the snowbird hoary elders who pilot the RV’s the size of a school bus, they migrate south during fall and winter.  Kite in shape, almond brown on top with random splattering of dark splotches and bars, and their bottom is opaque white. They averaged in size, about 18” wide and 30” long. What was the perpetrator of the Skateicide?  Was it toxins from man’s pollutions or excreted from an organism; was it a parasitic organism—or, the enigmatic natural causes? My cursory investigation came up empty of any overt, obvious solution to the riddle of the beach carnage.  The sanitation beach crew, the gulls, were air-lifting the odoriferous corpses out; traces and concerns of the mystery will soon be eroded from existence.p4270026-300x224

As we trudged on the saturated sand, which was intermittently soaked by spilling waves that splayed their content as a toppled glass of water would unto a kitchen floor, we spied, what seemed to be an aberrant squatting infraction of a niche entrenched by the indigenous shore birds, or colloquially put, elbowing in on someone’s dinner turf: the swash zone was inhabited by an interloper, the grackle, feeding at the trough of the willet and sanderling, whose predatory strategy is to jackhammer into the wet sand in search of a mole crab morsel. The grackles were exhibiting the same antics of the willet sanderling duo; not completely feckless, but occasionally, beak to carapace contact was made, and a mole crab delicacy was had. The grackle, Quiscalus sp., is a medium size bird, 1 ft. long, 3 ft., wing span; bicolor with its head to shoulder, hood-like, a purple iridescence and the rest of the body is black; sexual dimorphism is inherent of the species, female smaller, conspicuously drab brown; and, they have an omnivorous eating repertoire, to include, now, mole crabs.  The ethological framing of questions that might elucidate this disparate display of foraging might focus on: 1) What problem might it have evolved from; and 2) phylogenetic inquiry of how might common ancestry shaped and constrain this behavior. Change that is shrouded propitiously, deleteriously, or neutral suggest life’s pathways; as in, Ben Hostetter’s, Porcupine Dilemma, 2011, a romantic anthropomorphize tale of a porcupine, whose storyline is a pageant of life changing decisional fork roads. In one conversation between Nick the quilled star, and Poe, a disgruntled, pillow making factory worker, raven, whose volition of a life’s aspirational path was usurped by responsibility; a mixed gift: Poe grumbled, “Had me a son and after…well, everything changed. Forced to give up on the dreams I had—on being an astronaut. Had to give up the stars.”  Yet, as he tilted his beak upward and strained his eyes to view the stars in the stratosphere, he overlooks the “biggest star” his s(u)n!  The wash zone of the beach is the grackles chance dream. As Louis Pasteur commented, “chance favors the prepared mind”, or in this case, genome.

Returning from the tangential natural history foray of the beach, we prepared for the anniversary dinner, the summit of the Atlantic Ocean tryst, to be commemorated at the luxurious restaurant, The Left Bank. My preparatory ritual was minimal at most, but Mary’s, on the other hand, had plans to accentuate her accessories, which conjured up the philosophical romp of Darwinian sexual selection. In 1871 Darwin’s, The Descent of Man, chapter on Sexual Selection evoked the countenance of raised eye brows from the prudish Victorians; wherein, the theory posits that certain physical, mental or psychological traits evolved because they aid in competition among individuals for access to a preferred mate or because they are enhancements of traits that help to attract mates. Mary had me with just a smile.

When you already have the ocean’s oysters’ pearl, as a confidant and lover, you wonder how any cosmetic products could enhance this briny precious stone; however, this returned pearl glisten with stunning optical delight: every strand of hair purposefully position, gradation of makeup hues accentuating her chocolate brown eyes and nails painted red, as if to exclaim, eyes on me—and, they were!  After my ocular orgasm had abated, we donned our evening attire and strutted to the planned apogee of our Fifteen Anniversary commemorative dalliance: dinning at the Left Bank restaurant to experience American cuisine with the technique and traditions of French culinary finesse under the auspices of Chef Robinson. The food was sumptuous; cooked and served to perfection—but there was more; the ambiance was condiment-like: it enhanced the emotive experience to a crescendo of rapture. The design of the restaurant evoke the illusion of a bay window looming into the marsh of the Currituck Sound: half elliptical wall sectioned with floor to ceiling windows dressed with elegant curtains allowing multiple vistas that obliged and engendered eye ecstasy of the sunset.

The panorama of the estuary; a polygamous marriage of marine, fresh water, and a ribbon of sand veneered with Spartina grass, optically splashed through the portal holes of my corneas to the shores of my retinas, flooding my optical nerves with the perceptive paradox: nature is art and art is nature; where, art is a conscious construct of the mind that gives non-purposeful nature, meaning and beauty. Captivated by the serenity of the marsh, which precipitated a musing meiosis of proses and lyrics from Charles Darwin’s ,”… a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes , with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling  through the damp earth…”; Rachel Carson’s, “…Underlying the beauty of spectacle there is meaning and significance. It is the elusiveness of that meaning that haunts us, that sends us again and again into the natural world where the key to the riddle is hidden. It sends us back to the edge of the sea, where the drama of life played its first scene on earth and perhaps even its prelude, where the forces of evolution are at work today,…”; and, Jack Johnson’s, Better Together   I believe in memories they look so pretty when I sleep/ and when I wake up you look so pretty sleeping next to me/ but there is not enough time/ and there is no song I could sing/ and there is no combination of words I could say/ but I will still tell you one thing/ WE’RE BETTER TOGETHER .

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Zygote Personhood is an Embryonic Ersatz

The Supreme Court’s hypocenter decision in 1973 on Roe v. Wade has been the epicenter of political tsunamis with the deluging dour consequences of women’s rights and dialogues of reasoning morbidities. The evangelical’s political and religious denouncement of the Court’s decision to empower women rights of choice, conferred to the moral police a faux legitimate suspension of Christian ethics, which rationalizes the hypocritical, “the end justifies the means” strategy of duplicity and prevarication. The purported corroborative references inciting condemnation from the virtue protagonist are the Bible and allege conversations with their God. One is falsifiable, the other, not so much. Within the framing of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason (1650-1700) with their prescient philosophers: Voltaire, Diderot, Spinoza, Locke, and Jefferson who extricated divine intervention as a tenable explanation for natural-world’s phenomena of cause and effect, and so too, I will honed my arguments. Basically, first, I will disqualify the non-falsifiable God conversation; and then, exercise an exegesis of pertinent scripture that would suggest their deity’s intent regarding ensoulment and preferential considerations between mother v. zygote/embryo/fetus: the trinity of the uterus. I will conclude with a scientific– biology solution to the abortion issue by reframing the question from life to humanism: when does humanism start?

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The Supreme Court’s hypocenter decision in 1973 on Roe v. Wade has been the epicenter of political tsunamis with the deluging dour consequences of women’s rights and dialogues of reasoning morbidities. The evangelical’s political and religious denouncement of the Court’s decision to empower women rights of choice, conferred to the moral police a faux legitimate suspension of Christian ethics, which rationalizes the hypocritical, “the end justifies the means” strategy of duplicity and prevarication.  The purported corroborative references inciting condemnation from the virtue protagonist are the Bible and allege conversations with their God. One is falsifiable, the other, not so much. Within the framing of the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason (1650-1700) with their prescient philosophers: Voltaire, Diderot, Spinoza, Locke, and Jefferson who extricated divine intervention as a tenable explanation for natural-world’s phenomena of cause and effect, and so too, I will honed my arguments. Basically, first, I will disqualify the non-falsifiable God conversation; and then, exercise an exegesis of pertinent scripture that would suggest their deity’s intent regarding ensoulment and preferential considerations between mother v. zygote/embryo/fetus: the trinity of the uterus. I will conclude with a scientific– biology solution to the abortion issue by reframing the question from life to humanism: when does humanism start?

In reading the Bible, I truly can appreciate how the scriptures could be easily misconstrued; it apparently, appears to be encapsulated in ancient jingoism and void of any science. You would of thought, the creator of the universe, The Omniscient, would have solicited an assiduous editor; say la vee.

The faithful hold great stock in ensoulment; but, there is a bit of a controversy on its inception. There is a camp of the obdurate pious, who assert that this spiritual imbuement is at conception, and coincidently, simultaneously so does life; a political placard mantra of the pro- life evangelicals.  This “doubled-muddled” polemical, unfortunately, has no scripture support; and besides, even their God, The Omniscient, is acutely aware of spontaneous abortions and identical twins, all crafted by Mister Big, himself, who, needless to say, realizes it would be a profligacy of souls by adorning each zygote with “it” for each and every conception. Adroitly, Mister Big exercises parsimony in doling out the souls, for he knows that ~ 50% of all zygotes are spontaneously aborted, and the splitting of the zygote, days after conception, in the rare case of identical twins, would be a soul short.   

So, what exactly does God say, regarding the instilling of a soul onto the vehicle corpus, Homo sapiens: Genesis 2:7 And Lord God formed man [completely developed; not a zygote, not an embryo, and not a fetus—man] of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils [this is the very moment, we have been searching for; the ensoulment] the breathe of life; and became a LIVING SOUL. To me, The Christian God makes it abundantly clear, that man is fully formed before becoming the recipient harbor of the sacrosanct soul; to repudiate this, is to, recant the word of their God.

The feckless pro-lifers attempt to confer personhood [a political ruse to deny women’s  right of choice implicit in the Supreme Court’s case Rove v. Wade] to the uterine trinity, is solely or should I say soully weighted on scripture, so they proclaim—but wait—the one parable that has pertinence to the preferential consideration, to chagrin of the bible thumpers, sides with the women, the mother: Exodus 22: 22-23: If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow[apparently, abortion is not considered mischief] : he shall be surely punished according as the woman’s husband [I can see why evangelicals are apathetic regarding  women equity with men and comfortable with women subjugation]   will lay upon him: and he shall pay as the judges determine  [the fine is comparable to a health insurance premium] .  23: And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life [God indubitably subscribes to the culture mandate that woman has been conferred personhood and entitled to all the rights and protections deemed to its citizens outline by the country’s laws— and, the uterine resident, not so much.]

The fanatical pro-lifers claim that scripture is, “the source of authority” that substantiates their intransigent position, which incidentally, exposes them to the deleterious consequences of committing a flagrant infraction of the penultimate commandment: Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”  Yet, they persist; when you dismiss the conversation, reason is a casualty. Not only does anti-abortionist’s cause run counter to divine dictate, but the country’s constitution stipulates that theological dogma cannot be the impetus of legislation; for one denomination cannot be officially preferred over another without running afoul of the state and federal constitutions.

So, there you have it, both the bible and the constitution does not support the delusional defenders of the ersatz citizen zygote.  Yet, there are a couple of more nails that need to be pounded in this coffin before entombing.  A biological reality needs to be anatomically defined and explicated to our illustrious pious prevaricators. 

Let us start with by defining the uterine trinity:

Zygote After a female egg is fertilized, the resulting one-celled organism becomes known as a zygote. Once the egg is fertilized, the zygote begins a two-week period of rapid cell division and will eventually become an embryo. The zygote divides through a process known as mitosis, in which each cell doubles by dividing into two cells. This two-week stage is known as the germinal period of development and covers the time of conception to the implantation of the embryo in the uterus

Embryo The fifth week of pregnancy, or the third week after conception, marks the beginning of the embryonic period. This is when the brain, spinal cord, heart and other organs begin to form. The embryo is now made of three layers. The top layer — the ectoderm — will give rise to outermost layer of skin, central and peripheral nervous systems, eyes, inner ear, and many connective tissues. The heart and a primitive circulatory system will form in the middle layer of cells — the mesoderm. This layer of cells will also serve as the foundation for bones, muscles, kidneys and much of the reproductive system. At the beginning of the 11th week of pregnancy, or the ninth week after conception, the head still makes up about half of its length. Now, is officially described as a fetus. This week eyes are widely separated, the eyelids fused and the ears low set. Red blood cells are beginning to form in the liver. By the end of this week, external genitalia will start developing into a penis or clitoris and labia majora. By now, it measures about 2 inches (50 millimeters) long from crown to rump and weigh almost 1/3 ounce (8 grams). The inner layer of cells — the endoderm — will become a simple tube lined with mucous membranes. The lungs, intestines and bladder will develop here.  

Fetus Analogous to constructing a home; the major organs have been 2×4 framed and sheet-rocked, but the intra-structure of plumbing, blood vessels, and wiring, nerve cells are being initiated and completed.  During this gestational period, the discerning structural property that delineates us from the rest of the mammalians is the sublime summit of the colossal complex cerebral cortex. It is not different from other animals, for even a fish has one; but, the convoluted, fissure cut organ has evolutionary bulked-upped, 70% of the total brain weight, and acquired new functions that are uniquely human.

Herein lays my cogent point. The conversation should not be when life begins but when humanism begins; the uterine trinity, zygote, embryo, less than 24 weeks gestational fetus are anatomically not equipped to be a sentient being.

The brain is compartmentalized into three, increasing in function capacities: hindbrain, located at the base of brain composed of the medulla, pons, and cerebellum, which control the basic body functions (without conscious thought) of breathing, blood pressure, intestinal peristaltic undulation, and posture is control; midbrain, visual and audible information is processed—collectively, hind &mid brain are referred to as the reptilian brain stem, the pedestal to the large, Hulking   forebrain, the residence of humanism; forebrain, the cerebrum,  which lords over the brain stem serfdom, complicated withanatomical bureaucracy and communicates via the venue of billions, rivaling in number the stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, of synaptic neurons that houses the incorporeal mind. The cerebrum’s wrinkled convoluted veneer— the cerebral cortex— what distinguishes us from other animals; humanizes, is the anatomical pantheon wherein speech, conscious movement, processor of visual, tastes, and sensory information, and choreographer of social interactions and intellectual endeavors are born. This is the vital real estate of the brain where the elusive mind- consciousness dwells, and if by chance, for any reason, it would sustain damage by disease or blunt trauma, it potentially could defrock the essence of humanism from the corporal:

Severe brain damage can reduce a person to a reflex machine that shows no sign of consciousness or mind. Damage limited only to the cerebral cortex, the highest region of the brain, appears to abolish completely all human characteristics, abilities and awareness. Thompson, R. F. 1975.  Introduction to Physiological Psychology.

Long winded point being, is until this vital tissues are constructed, cerebral cortex, and connected, synaptic neurons, which incidentally, comes on the gestational scene at 24 weeks, humanism is void.

This repudiates the alleged pious prevaricators claims of, “The Silent Scream”, of the aborted fetus agonizing in pain during the procedure, factually put, until the synapses are firing, the fetus is incapable of feeling or conscious of anything, specifically, pain!

Last but not least, coincidentally, survivability of the fetus outside the uterus is temporally limited due to the immaturity of the other organs, especially, the lungs. The 3rd trimester humanism and survivability synchronicity potentiates the reason for women’s choice prior to this gestational age for safe abortions: no soul, no conscious, no foul.   

Roe v Wade is good legislation imbued in sound reasoning, science and theology. 

Abortion Debate: Refuting the Biblical Authority

The first stubborn fact is the word abortion does not reside in the sacrosanct tome of the bible: The sublime spiritual regal trinity, God the Father, Son, aka Jesus and the Holy Spirit are mute on the topic. One would assume that the collective omniscient/s, the purported creator/s of the universe, could muster up enough etymological omnipotence to conger The Word, abortion. The term has been mud-mired and stained in the swamp of legalese and religiosity creating a perceived odious monster, evoking recoiling gestures of eyes averting, nose pinching loathing and subsequent mind numbing, faith embracing, and ignorance of its implicit opprobrium. It’s indispensable that terms of a subject debate be clearly defined to preclude nebulous semantics and tortuous exaggerated interpretations: There are two types of abortions to be delineated. Spontaneous Abortions/miscarriage: a termination of pregnancy before viability that occurs naturally without medical intervention.
Therapeutic abortion: a termination of pregnancy via the intervention of a physician through surgery or the use of RU-486 or some other medication.

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The first stubborn fact is the word abortion does not reside in the sacrosanct tome of the bible: The sublime spiritual regal trinity, God the Father, Son, aka Jesus and the Holy Spirit are mute on the topic. One would assume that the collective omniscient/s, the purported creator/s of the universe, could muster up enough etymological omnipotence to conger The Word, abortion.

The term has been mud-mired and stained in the swamp of legalese and religiosity creating a perceived odious monster, evoking recoiling gestures of eyes averting, nose pinching loathing and subsequent mind numbing, faith embracing, and ignorance of its implicit opprobrium.

It’s indispensable that terms of a subject debate be clearly defined to preclude nebulous semantics and tortuous exaggerated interpretations: There are two types of abortions to be delineated.

  • Spontaneous Abortions/miscarriage: a termination of pregnancy before viability that occurs naturally without medical intervention.
  • Therapeutic abortion: a termination of pregnancy via the intervention of a physician through surgery or the use of RU-486 or some other medication.

I hope to convince the reader by referencing notable scriptures that the evangelicals’ has plied countless times before as passionate testimony of self-righteousness certitude fomenting that the Bible, God’s dictation, sanctimonious prose forbids abortion— does not exist, at least, not in my King James Version of the Bible. My critique of the scriptures I site will challenge the assertion that abortion is immoral and breaks a commandment; a conjecture that teeters on the moral fulcrum that God unambiguously stipulates in the Holy writ of the Bible not to perform abortions, and implicitly connotes the “sanctity of life” by the 6th commandment, if your Catholic, the 5th: Thy shalt not kill/murder.

Let me be abundantly clear; the scripture elucidates and exemplifies a continuum of gynecological stages in the format of antediluvian speak on conception, pregnancy, miscarriage, birth; and, scripted demonstrable terms on what constitutes murder.  Yet, the omniscient failed to take the home court advantage by instructing the Bible scribers to unequivocally condemn abortion as a sin, forbid it, or label it murder. One can brainstorm why God, who was prolix on countless topics, refuses to séance a clear counsel on this 21 century controversy.

 

  • Questions:
  1. What scripture/s indubitably states, in simple categorical declarative terms; commandment-like, thou shalt not commit an abortion?
  2. Why is it, if life is truly precious; you know, we have all heard the shrill mantra, “the sanctity of life”, advocated by the pro-life, pious, proselytizing evangelicals; which incidentally, contradicts their omnibenevolent Almighty, who with  impunity, commits and condones murders and genocide?

I will start off with a challenge to the reader to actually read and research the weighty tome of the bible and spy the elusive term abortion or, a succinct authoritative directive that abortion is wrong, where God or senile hoary, bearded patriarchs dogmatically dictates, “don’t do it!” Let us start scrolling through the scriptures…and, right out of the box is a passage the frenetic fanatics conveniently turn a blind eye to:

Numbers 5: 12-28: This scripture stipulates, if a man suspects his wife of a clandestine sexual liaison indiscretion and consequently heavy with fetus, he could promptly take her to a priest, aka the medicine man/shaman, where from his armamentarium of roots and eyes of newts prescribe to her “bitter water”, an abortifacient produced by combining pennyroyal with black cohosh, which would terminate the pregnancy. This is part of the LAW OF MOSES, general prescription of practice for God’s “Chosen People”. Sounds like a sanction abortion to me.

Exodus 21:22: If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follows: he shall be surely punished according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

The first visceral response is, this is pure unadulterated anachronistic chauvinistic clap trap; but, aside from my 21st century tendentiousness, the weighted emphasis is on the women not the fetus, and yes, it was a miscarriage*, but none the less, the passage clearly promotes an accentuated preeminent priority “the woman”, trumping a competitive fetal consideration.

*The miscarriage, “the natural abortion” statistically occurring in 20% of all pregnancies and, with an addition of 20-30% more, jacking-up the total miscarriages closer to 50% (a veritable coin toss percentage) of women who are not cognizant of their pregnancy and assume the miscarriage is nothing more than a heavy menstrual period. Now, stick with me here, I am going to attempt to connect some dots of reasoning: If you are of the mindset that God is responsible for all that exist and a soul is awarded to a zygote at conception, miscarriage might be a conceptual conundrum. For if God has created all, to include, women’s anatomy and physiology; implicit is the engineering of the process of miscarriages, “natural abortion”, this would allegedly confer, not only does God nod with approbation, but liberally employ abortion. Ensouling a zygote is a muddled conversation, at best, but it does implore the obvious query of where does all the ensouled miscarriages go? We should probably direct that question to the Almighty. I will leave that to you, my direct line to the omnipotent has been disconnected.

Continuing with the scripture…

Psalm 139: 13-16: [13] For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. [14] I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. [15] My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. [16] Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 

This is David “rocking with the Lord”; lyrics to music praising God—yet, it’s simply an ancient appreciation for the embryo during gestational development, and stills falls short of marrying up the uterine hitchhiker with a soul: a missed opportunity. Why?

Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

The intransigent dogmatic are straining rationale in the context of abortion to imply anything before conception; are they referring to the sperm, egg, or the twinkle in the parents eyes. Actually, this is Jeremiah tooting his own horn that God knew of his calling as a prophet before he was born.

Psalm 127:3: Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Hells bells, yes, undeniably children are precious, but they are the product of planned and wanted pregnancies. The social worker’s docket is full of the domestic tragedies of unwanted children that are abused.

Isaiah 49:15: Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Again, another metaphor, that plays on the symbolic relationship between God and the people of Israel.

Luke 1: 30-41:  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God [31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus…[41] And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

These passages are about an angel fluttering down, I assume, and saying, “psssst, yo Mary, you are pregnant with God”, and according to the paternity test, the Holy Ghost is the father—really, virgin birth and spirit sex? This has questionable applicability to the abortion issue?? I got nothing.

Genesis 9:6-7: Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. [7] And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. 

The “rabbit” contract to go forth and multiply, a dictum to Noah has been honored and fulfilled; currently, the population is 7 billion, by 2050, it will be 9 billion. It is time to invoke the Genesis 2:15 clause, which under the present circumstances supersedes the rabbit contract: And the Lord God took man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it; thus, we become the implied sapient stewards of the earth. One has to respectfully query the Almighty’s acumen when He/She lays at Noah’s, who is 500 young, door stoop the overwhelming responsibility to build a zoo-boat in preparation for the flood, too house two of every kind of animals, to exclude bacteria and viruses; apparently, God wasn’t privy to microorganisms or the microscope at this time; then, flood the planet to cleansed it of the unsavory, irreverent miscreants; to include, pregnant women and children. Forty days later, after the tides ebb, Noah, the hoary bearded patriarch and clan our tasked with setting the animals free and repopulating the planet. Noah lived to be 950 years young; God, obviously, must have had a different man model back then. God’s sacrosanct platitude of “sanctity of life” loses credibility in the flood that drowned the human race, save Noah, family and some critters. Genocide is genocide, regardless of the perpetrator.

Exodus 20:13: The Commandment, Thou shalt not kill

As one pages through the bible; more specifically, Old Testament, the blanket statement of the 6th commandment, thou shalt not kill/murder has many caveats. The Bible is abundantly clear on what are justifiable and criminal killings with appropriate metered penalties. Below are some cursory samples of justifiable (?) executions/killings/murders/genocides: Stoning was very popular; Deuteronomy 21, disobedient sons; 22, non-virgins and adultery. Once, the whole human race pissed God off and He/She drowned, saved Noah and family, them/us: Genesis 9. If a select nation, Canaan, for an example exhibited malfeasance to the fealty of God’s commandments, He/She would command the Israelites to decimate the offending agents: Deuteronomy 7: 1-5. If per chance, you find late term abortion a touch offensive; then— Hosea 13:16, Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up —might give you pause.

Intriguing is the fact, abortion was never addressed as a God offensive infraction regardless of all the Moses’ madness, minutia

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My King James Bible: closing the chapter on the abortion issue

mandates; and consequently did not warrant recognition by name with a punitive sentence.

I feel the two questions asked at the beginning of the essay have been unequivocally answered with a resolute NO; God of the Bible did not denounce abortion and the inferred, “life is sacrosanct” is true only when God capriciously wants it to be, for in the arsenal of an angry God are inundation and decimation: horrific genocide by any reasonable interpretation.

The political fight of abortion is a farce a falsehood; there is indubitable no supporting scripture condemning abortion. It has been a political ploy by the anachronistic evangelicals to sequester women’s rights to choose. This inane insanity needs to cease!

Chronicling The Legend Of Jackson Wood: Year One

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Precociously “taking the initiative”, JW arrived early, and continues to engage. Like all legends, there are surreal shadowy myths weaved into the perfunctory, blurring veracity—and, as Dave, my son in-law has counseled, truth shouldn’t obstruct a good story; and so, the saga of JW begins.

There is a hint of a parallel with Rudyard Kipling’s character Mowgli in the short story Rukh, which JW personifies. For those who are not familiar with the moral laden anthropomorphize Jungle Book of Kipling, where a child is lost, orphaned to  the Indian jungle during a tiger attack, and, fortuitously a wolf, Father Wolf, happens on the bedraggled, trepid man-cub and corralled him back to the den to be nurtured by mother, Raksha (protector) wolf. Father Wolf promptly and aptly assigned the moniker Mowgli, which translate to frog, because he was furless and in an incessant kinetic. Let me be unequivocally and litigiously clear, JW was not lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains; however, he has as his constant companion two dogs: a Golden retriever, Gatsby and a Labrador retriever, Lucy. This canine comradery will profoundly, in my, GOBY, humble opinion, influence his life’s filter of insights.   

Temporal progress of munchkins is assessed in terms of: modes of mobility, mastication and articulation. He did not conspicuously display any virtuosity in the categories of movement, eating, or talking; bidding his time, I presume. Chillin’ with normalcy, he cooed, cried, and dispensed excrements at will; and then, there was a sighting of purposeful movement: he willfully completed a spatula turn of supine to prone. His self-propelling progressed; where, in ten months he was crawling, and thirteen, walking. These triumphs of portability were accomplished in evolutionary increments. The maneuver of crawling, at its inception, he exhibited a faulty motor skill transmission; it was stuck in reverse, he would push himself backwards to get to his destination. He finally found forward and his acceleration speed tripled. Walking, a two-step stratagem; required that he implement the gravity defying feat to stand upright and balance; then, commandeer the assistance of his pudgy legs to take turns moving forward. The goal was not to stumble and fall: pain was a consequence and incentive. His initial gait emulated his Hominidae cousin, the chimpanzee, with their pendulous sway. His stumbling and chimpanzee sway were tweaked and corrected with repetitive excursions of bipedalism. 

Mastication is still in its infancy; progress is inextricably linchpin to dentition: The current count of teeth is six. He combines a gumming, teeth tearing employment to reduce morsels to a digestible aliquot to slide down his water-hose esophagus to preclude an obstructing choking episode. He has an inordinate fondness for chicken, smoked salmon, and strangely enough, cat food, to be followed by a beer chaser.  This implores a summoning from the deepest recesses of my hippocampus, the idiom “you are what you eat.” That reference is attributed to Antheleme Brillat-Savarin in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826:

“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].

What exactly can we adduce about JW from his eclectic eating proclivities? Possibly, a budding genius, yea, I’m going with that assertion; after all, he is my grandson.

His articulation, a confounding complexity of the anatomical communion of lung, vocal cords and articulators: tongue, palate, cheeks, and lips; which engender his nascent garrulous gibberish with the random recognizable word that has us squealing with exuberance, parroting the sacrosanct verbiage with a dog decibel pitch hopefully enticing an encore. His current exhaustive vocabulary is: Dada, Mama, Lucy, Gatsby, and debatable cat. Yea, I know what you are thinking, how do I explicate the precocious phonation of the dogs names? If you listen carefully, you will hear in the distant background a humming loom weaving the canine conundrum myth; the dog man rapport compact, a contractual pack that transpired, “came to light”, in the dark, dank caves of dawning Neanderthal: the answer lies there; the codified mystical incantations evoking permission to surpass the world’s natural laws of physics, chemistry and biology. The dogs, Gatsby and Lucy projecting the personification of father wolf and Raksha innately petition the ancient rituals of the esoteric covenant. Hence, in compliance with the antediluvian compact, JW adroitly enunciates the family’s dogs’ names.

Generally, all conversations regarding human ontogeny, usually, address the issue of the brain; which invariable splashes over into the intransigent debate of nature vs. nurture: the dichotomy construct that purportedly contributes to the IQ. I overtly dodge this contentious topic because, “it aint’ easy to assess” especially within the flippant format that I presently contrived here in this essay…a lot of authors use the expressed cop-out of, it, the subject that is cumbersome, is beyond the scope of the story line, and clumsily throw the reference grenade—I just pulled the pin. However, beyond the ravaging prickly thorns of the briar patch debate that assigns ownership to the agent of brain power potentiating reasoning, that is uniquely Hominid, exclaims another higher mental prowess that Homo sapiens possess: moral judgment. The source of this lofty gray-matter endowment is scaffold with hormones (oxytocin), and the plausible innate and heritable impulse to imitate empathetic behaviors. JW’s parents, Melissa and Justin, love animals and the altruistic, respectful kindness, which is demonstrable daily to the family pets has not escaped the scrutinizing attention of my grandson who precociously emulates. Empathy is inextricably implicit to moral judgment and watching my grandson gingerly pet our cat Copernicus suggest that were ever his brain’s epicenter of empathy resides, it most assuredly is hypertrophied.

Chicago’s Consummate Carnivores, Criminals, and Conflagration

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Mary on the patio of the Trump Tower

At first sniff, Chicago’s history is suggestive of a brewing caldron, wafting odiferous conflicting legends of the origin of its name, mystery of who and what started the great fire of 1871, and what was the meteorological source of the allege tree bowing wind. The etymology of Checagou [Chick-Ah-Goo-Ah], of the language of the Potawatomi tribe is loosely translated as “bad smell”, alluding to a pungent smelling and tasting plant of the Genus Alluim.  The debate is attributed to bad botanizing and misreading of the journals of Henri Joutel who assiduously describe the natural history of three species of plants of the same Genus prevalent of the Illinoisan landscape; they were: A. ceuum, A. canadense, and A. tricoccum.  A critical assessment of Joutel’s journals lays culpability to A. tricoccum, the wild garlic, as the eponymous plant for evoking the nose twitching repugnant reeking bouquet, not the wild onion implicated in the Chicagoan’s museum display cases.

I will continue to address the beguiling historical folklores of Chicago, as one would ply condiments to season their food; selectively interjecting the narrative with peppering hindsight critique—but, I should probably now disclose the impetus of this sojourn. It started with a phone call from our eldest daughter, the gametophyte, (see essay, New Mexico’s Mountain Sirens Entreat Antipodes, http://roysreflections.throughroyslookingglass.com/) she floated the whimsical ideal of flying out to Chicago for dinner—I’m not kidding, just, fly out to Chicago for dinner. Well, there you go, once that seed was planted; like the proverbial, pervasive weed, it would have taken legions of pesticides to evict and eradicate this seeded suggestion; and still, there would have been one lone evolutionary mutant individual that would have elude the barrage of toxic chemicals and survive. It was futile, she was going. I was later enlisted as an escort. Apparently, we are a package deal. The restaurant that siren beckon our gametophyte daughter was the renowned Alinea, that offers a 23 course meal, a fusion of modern art and exotic morsels, which blur the lines between an Art Museum and restaurant.   

One of the many talents Mary wields is that of a logistician: impeccable planner. Game on! Transportation, hotel reservations, funding, daily agenda; check, everything is a go. We were fortuitous, in that, a long lost, elusive relative, her brother Chris, a Chicago home-boy, was located and enlisted to take advantage of our impetuous dinning plans with a possible visit. Chris up the ante with the magnanimous offer to pick us up at the airport and taxi us around the city; to include, brunch, and a lunch at a local establishment Obama frequented (disappointed though, didn’t serve beer). We all indulge in an incredible Italian dinner, where our child of the currents was in attendance to share wine, beer and pasta. In the interim of the punctuated meals, we visited the historical benchmarks of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago and the site of the 1929 St Valentine’s Day Massacre, where the Moran gang was executed by machine gun happy associate of the Al Capone gang in a garage that is no longer there, only a weedy lot. We did a drive-by of Obama’s residence, which is an imperative must for staunch liberal democrats—and, obviously tuff to endure for a fiscally conservative republican, which Chris is. We leisurely strolled through the History Museum, which was satiated in Lincoln memorabilia, and chronicled the etiology of the blustering winds myth, “Wind City”, a derogatory moniker for blow-hard politicians soliciting favor to host the World’s Fair, not inclement weather. The saga of the culpability of the 1871 Chicago conflagration was expounded on, still smacking with reasonable doubt of whether Mrs. O’Leary’s bovine kick the lantern that started the fire that engulfed the city of Chicago leaving 100,000 homeless and 300 dead, or was the perpetrator Peg leg Sullivan. Like a batter who had just hit one over the fence, a home run, we circled the home of the Cub’s Wrigley Field baseball park. Chris exhibiting the attributes of any successful business manager took full advantage of car time as a multitasking opportunity to espouse a litany of recommendations to insure a meaningful visit to the “new” N.Y., the great city-state of Chicago; and finally, dropping us off at our hotel. Thank you Chris, and to reiterate our humble offer, we would love to extend you the same courtesy when you visit Charlottesville, the home of the Founding Fathers.

As a part of Mary’s package planning, her diligence to detail included a Starbucks directly across the street from our hotel; literally, minutes from our room. The next morning with Chris’s suggestions and my book, I drifted across the street to an already beehive of activity to order the routine Americano and strategize the day, beginning with my perfunctory hour of reading. In reality, my strategizing was to relegate/consult the master planer to direct our day’s activities. She did. The agenda was mapped out; times and places indelibly inscribed:  We were to initiate our carnival ride tour by starting 1000 feet up on the 94th floor of the Hancock Observatory Tower, descended to the subways tunneling to the Field Museum to pay respects to the consummate carnivore, Sue, Tyrannosaurs rex, and then, bread crumb retracing back down the anthropomorphic rabbit-hole to wash up on the strand line of the Chicago River Architectural tour, ascend again, the Donald Trump Terrace to drink-in another vantage point of the Chicago’s architecture and meet Heather and friends for libations. Then again, descend to our final destination and primary objective of this world wind trip: the restaurant, Alinea’s.

Starting at “Big” John’s observatory was a propitious initiation of the grand overview of the “City State” Chicago: it afforded us the opportunity of a turret 360 of the city, four states and over 80 miles, which was aided with a surrogate concierge multimedia system explicating what was observed through the staged  telescopes. As enthralling and stupendous the gravity defying towers were my attention kept drifting back to the natural landscape of the shimmering Lake Michigan; its vastness and perceived placidity was mystically alluring. Satiated with the enchanted bird’s eye view, we decided to descend our vantage point and immerse ourselves in Chicagoanness. We were off to see Sue.

Mary is enamored of city life and prides herself a quick study when it comes to mastering the catacomb transportation of the subways, which we availed ourselves to, making our way to the Field Museum. Natural History Museums are candy stores to me; banks of scientific curiosities, and Field, had an exceptional repository. It was well represented in the conventional disciplines of Anthropology, Botany, Geology, and Zoology and glitzed with manicured show cases and a towering fossil: Tyrannosaurs rex, a dinosaur 42 ft. long called Sue name after the paleontologist, Sue Hendrickson, who exhumed its skeletal remains. Time was of the essence and like a funneling wind in a corridor, we breezed through consecutive displays pausing at Sue and looking to the ceiling to appreciate in its entirety, the best preserved sample of an extinct ancient marvel—and yes, pictures were snapped. Reviewing the digital pics, it’s competitive on who had the biggest grin. The second pause was awarded to the insect displays.  I contrite an inordinate fondness for the invertebrates, specifically in this case, a mind numbing collection of Coleopteran, the beetle, whose elytra, front wings, of some of the species were metallic florescent green mimicking the attributes of a precious gem…we had to dash, and with hurried gait we descended to the city’s catacomb and were whisked-away by the train to another venue of transportation: a boat, that sluggishly navigated a one hour cruise of the historic, notoriously polluted, and now, engineered to a state of environmentally salubriousness , Chicago River.

Once the mooring lines were casted, and we, the tourist, seated in the uncomfortable little chairs, and I, had a firm grip on my bottle of beer, we were graciously greeted by the guide. She was well poised, articulate, and historically erudite we were soon to learn. There was a laminar confluence of her greeting with the spiel regarding the 40 plus landmarks of modern American architecture we were to view sauntering down the aortic waterway of Chicago: The cruise went down the main branch of the Chicago River, up the north branch to the East Bank Club, and then south. The charming guide called out the names of looming buildings abutting the shore bank that cast long shadows, and their renowned, talented architects; to include, Mies van der Rohe, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and Helmut Jahn, whoever they were. The lecture had filler topics, such as, the Great Fire of 1871; which, like the mythical birth of the sphinx from fire, so to, did the modern architecture of Chicago. The boat ride was fun and entertaining and I am almost positive that the beer had no influence on that laudable critique. Once we disembark, we meander back to our room of slumber to rejuvenate and prep for the evening escapades.

We agreed to meet the instigator, our darling daughter, of this vortex sojourn at the Terrace at Trump, which the owner, it might be redundant to intimate, but still giggling fun to say, and yet, concomitantly scary considering how much money he has and its wielding influence; the eponymous owner is also recognize as the preeminent political birther, crazy bastard! On the sixteen floor patio of the silvery-blue skyscraper of Trump Tower, we met Heather and friends for libations. We were drinking, not only our beer in, but the sights: besiege by fingers of steel and concrete celestially pointing, and then, ratcheting our vision down to the horizon, the vista of Lake Michigan beckoned. I raised my beer in a deferential salute to the architectural panoramic grandeur. Drenched in wonderment, we parted to our final destination, the restaurant, Alinea. Mary, Heather and I crammed into a taxi.

The climax of the journey was upon us, we entered Alinea. The Restaurant is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, unmarked? Was this an air of humility or arrogance? There was a two door entrance; the first open to a long corridor, the second, to the restaurant, the surreal world of the owner and Chef, Grant Achatz, where conventional cooking is as extinct as the dinosaur, and food preparations are under the influence of the trilogy of art, gastronomy, and empiricism. Let us be clear on the impetus of this event: it was to commemorate the ritual bonding of mother and daughter. I played the dual role of chronicler and escort: my evaluated station was no more than a side dish or appetizer. We were seated and the exalted exhibit of the advertised 23 (it should be noted, that our menu had listed only 20 course) acts commenced; and, like any rehearsed play each course was punctiliously executed and delivered with a peroration from each server. I will let a food enthusiast qualify the size of each serving, “average bites per serving were 4.14 and total bites for the entire meal was 116”, which was published on an online food forum. This type of cuisine, molecular gastronomy, entreats eyes, nose, and tongue to collectively assess each morsel; relying heavily on retro-nasal olfaction: nose detects thousands of odors conversely the tongue is limited to five discerning tastes and the eyes are easily subjected to deception. I truly would be remiss, if I were not to comment in detail on the general presentation of the multiple courses of the meal. There were times the exposition of the course was so ostentatious the delectable morsel was hidden from sight; then, there were displays and foods indiscernible from each other and, we had to be counsel on what to eat; and, some arrangements had several skews piercing incongruent layers of something to something, which would lead one to deduce they had an acupuncturist on staff.  This chimera ambrosia seduced the taste buds to realms of delight and distraction; the complexities evoked confusion.  T. rex’s paragon status as the consummate carnivore was in jeopardy by a ritual bonding of mother and daughter at the mythical Alinea. I can say without reservation that Alinea is like no other restaurant, and in spite of my best effort to describe the unconventional uniqueness, one needs to experience it themselves; especial, if there is bonding involved.

With the Chicago winds to our back and a mother-daughter relationship sealed, we leisurely left the surreal city-state to board the rails of reality.   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

An Old Man’s Opinion

I like this story—even though, at the end I, with an interrogative crescendo, head tilting Scooby doo rendition, articulated to myself the Freudian slip of where is Waldo, quickly recovering with the proper Pronoun of Mark?  I suspect my tendentiousness toward this story line is attributed to the evolutionary psychology theory of Patternicity, where there is a proclivity to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise: you see animals silhouettes in the clouds, beatified countenances in pizza toppings, and hear voices in electronic equipment. The suspected proximate cause is the priming effect, in which our brains and senses are prepared to interpret stimuli according to an expected model: life experiences and genetics dictate: the synergistic forces of nature and nurture!

The cognitive perceived commonality, or affinity thread of types of story lines, that you write, which I luxuriate in reading are set in the corridors of academic institutions: UVA, and now, Ralph Waldo…was the omission a projected subliminal… ”Emerson” Elementary. ???

 

I think you should have follow through and not supplanted the name sake with Elementary for two reasons: 1) alliteration effect, you know how I enjoy my alliterations, and, 2) Ralphie Emerson was the patriarch of the transcendentalism; an implicit supernaturalism spin (philosophical religious dogma bickering with the Calvinist about self) in literature—and, the eu-mazing Mark is enigmatically shrouded and foments the air of the ‘spiritual’ transcendental.  You will probably retort that it was too obvious and trite—maybe…

Afflicted with patternicity, I envision a conspiratorial alliance of the janitor that has Willard-like mesmerizing control of small mammals with the precocious maze crafter and expositor, the a-mazing boy, Mark.  The conspiratorial fraternal kinship seed was sowed between boy and janitor with your emphatic fleshing out of the toilet cleaner’s exaggerated behavioral tics: At the waning of saga, I was expecting that Mrs. Hewitt and his dad would find Mark in the company of the janitor.  Unfortunately, there is no absurd or wacky detection network in the brain to discern true and false patterns. We have no error detection governor to modulate the pattern-recognition engine; hence, the use of the filtrating empirical science; therefore, natural selection will favor strategies that make many incorrect causal associations in order to establish those that are essential for survival:

a father’s endearing, unconditional love for his son regardless of the reasons he publicly sports purple hair horns and draws freaky mazes…    

One does wonder if there was purposeful subliminal projection of the schools name to evoke the Turrets syndrome –like outburst of, “where’s Waldo?” I like this story line it has all the potential of a stem cell…

Beach Blusters: Old Men and Hurricanes

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In Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, the opening sentence introduces the narrator with an air of self-deprecation and humility by simply identifying himself: “call me Ishmael”; which, appeals to me, and if it’s good enough for Herman—-so, with as much modesty as Ishmael, call me Roy and I would like to share with you a Cape Hatteras Tale……………….. The annual beach trip was prematurely terminated due to the high velocity, violent winds forecasted to trounce Cape Hatteras. The true vector is still under investigation: a single source, Hurricane Earl; or a synergism of “blowhards”, old men reminiscing with the concomitant window shattering gust of wind of a meteorological squalor.  The general conditions to engender the inception of these inimical tempests are warm surface water temperatures, and low pressure difference; wherein, the lower the barometric pressure the faster the wind blows; however, the propitious conditions of loquacious blowhards putatively are chairs and beers: thrones and the elixir of truth and wisdom, which can, and did, catalyzed into an explosive chaotic vortex of farcical tales. This is not to infer that this was a man’s only club, because apparently, the women, Mary, Kathy, and Jamie were doing their best rendition of The View with assorted wines and Margaritas: salted and unsalted.

The beach stay was punctuated with activities of marathon reading, surfing, plankton tows, frequent jaunts to the local fish market for fresh seafood and a purported golfing foray.

The commencement of every morning was living the lyrics of George Harrison’s song, Here Comes the Sun:

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun

And I say it’s alright

Mary and I would at dawn, the harbinger of sunrise, brew coffee, grab a cup of jo and beach chairs, trek over the dunes, and with each step bare the titillating cool morning sand oozing between our toes before arriving at the ocean’s strand line, where we anchored ourselves firmly in the sand, careful not to spill the ink black, caffeinated elixir.  All comfy in our beach chair sipping the piping hot nectar, enraptured by a balmy brine zephyr during the twilight diffuse light, we would witness silhouettes of the shore break denizens engaging in a game of tag with the swash; the mole crabs were swept up on the beach and when the cloak of the foamy white swash receded back to the ocean, she, predominately female because males are small and parasitic to the female, quickly dug for cover to flee the grasping tong-like beaks of the rapacious team of the willet and sanderling; ubiquitous shore birds, which constituted one willet and two flanking sanderlings. Why that particular combo, it’s an enigma. Inevitably for Mary and me to reach our desired designation, the strand line, we had to trespass with a tippy-toe negotiation through an “archeological dig” of holes excavated by the fleet footed ghost crab.  While we sat besieged by innumerable shaft sites, the indefatigable decapods would fastidiously shovel dirt from their burrow-shafts, which can reach depths of four feet. Not to be distracted from our original intent of the sublime sunrise experience; which incidentally, is a misnomer because in actuality, it’s the earth’s planetary axial tilt and rotation that gives the illusion of a sunrise…..but I digress, it was gorgeous, as was the woman sitting beside me.

Surfing was an escapade in humility; I did more paddling than actual wave riding. With the oncoming hurricane, the waves were cresting from chest to head-high manifesting a plunging break: the break is from top to bottom forming a barrel or tube of air as it collapses. This particular type of break is fast and punishing to the hoary seasoned surfer who deliberates a maneuver; conversely, the sinewy youth who engages instinctually is recompensed with dividends of a long ride and spared the embarrassing crest smacking, and subsequent tumbling plunge to the wave’s trough. Regardless of the countless wipeouts, I was still out there paddling. When I’m too old to do that, it will be time to lie with Davy Jones locker; however, with contemplative reflection, there is a good chance, I might be a touch premature, hasty if you will, and besides, I still have my books, microscopes, beer and coffee: I will adapt and adjust.

The brains of the group, the women, were enthralled in lofty cerebral pursuits: a book smack down of how many books can be read in three days. Two strategies were observed: the sprinter and marathoner reader.  The sprinter would burst read: intense interludes of book consuming; conversely, the marathoner would leisurely luxuriate in an immersion of the extolled written word: Kathy excelled in this strategy, wherein, she would stroll down to the water front, stake out the beach terrain that suited her capricious fancy and decorate it with the eclectic shore line furnishing of a towel, chair, and the “bag” of assorted incidentals; to include, the book. Whereupon, she would assume a Yoga-like body alignment conducive to sustain lengthy motionlessness, which insured assiduity to the book’s content at hand and precluded a potential loss of place on the book’s page by repositioning. With sunglasses and lotion, she endured the oppressive heat, and completed the book/s.

The politically charge juggernaut issue of global warming that is inextricably linked to anthropogenic fossil fuel retrieving processes; mining and ocean floor drilling, and ‘energy gleaning burning’ has resuscitated my passion for bio-indices monitoring techniques to ascertain water quality: Sampling the zooplankton communities with plankton net and the aid of the microscope for taxonomic name tagging, afforded me a venue to harvest  the plankton population, miniature, body- transparent arthropods, reveling diversity and species dominance, which is indicative of water chemistry, and a reflection of its health. “The Plan”, still in its embryonic phase, and myself dubious of how to proceed, I solicit James assistance for the first boat run and plankton tow. Once a reliable, economical, small watercraft was secured— James and his long time Coast Guard friend had engineered several convoluted plans to insure that I would readily have a boat at my disposal, an exerted effort immensely appreciated but, beyond the conceptual ecological project: and, violating the edict KISS: keep it simple stupid; a Henry David Thoreau philosophy recapped by the Marine Corp.  I adjudicated to renting a Jon boat, which placated to my principles of KISS and a personal responsibility to support the local small businesses; providing a crutch of currency for a gimp economy.  After a cursory what is and how to of the outboard motor by the proprietor, James and I were off; careening turns, increasing and decreasing speed with wrist flipping executions, and barking out communications to override the droning incessant roar of the propeller twirling outboard that left a signature trail of rippling waves whose ephemeral life spans were terminated by the proximal shore.  Paraphrasing George Harrison’s lyrics: if you don’t know where you are going, then any and every road is the right road, as it was for James and I, plotting our course to “somewhere” in the estuary.  In the same capricious fashion lottery numbers are chosen, we selected a drop site for the initial plankton trial tow. Empirically we toiled to improve our plankton-net towing method with our gut as quantifying calibrators; by tweaking the boat’s speed corollary depth adjustment was achieved, and striving for expediency and efficiency James’ broadside retrieval strategy of the net was employed. Once established, we were no longer sampling the substrate detritus (estuary’s mud), but the water column where the elusive zooplankton jerked and flittered in their anemic, feeble attempt at mobility. I was interested specifically in the group of marine water fleas: Podon and Evadne, which does not have the same canonical status as the great white sperm whale of the 1851 literary classic Moby Dick; however, I do feel, as established in my open sentence, a kindred relation to Ishmael, the autodidactic, philosophical narrator of the nautical tale of Captain Ahab and the leg chomping leviathan—and, James does harbor demonstrable manifestation of the character Starbuck , the level headed, conscientious first mate of the maritime saga. After bagging the planktonic prey; which was neither ominous nor thematically Moby Dick evil, we headed back to shore.  In our zeal to disembark, I failed to make a mental note of a shoreline benchmark of our docking site, and hence, cruised right by it. We finally recognized some landmarks and made it back to port safely avoiding the finality fate of the Pequod.

The Colonel had intimated to us he had scheduled T-time at a local golf course. So, early one morning, he busied himself with the logistics for this endeavor:  Apparently, he had his golf paraphernalia stashed in his car; this strictly was an assumption because his frenetic animation was expended on rifling through the cooler for beers and the refrigerator for rations. Now that I mentioned it, I never did spy any golf clubs. What really transpired is an alleged golf foray. No one can really vouch for the Colonel’s absent time: espionage, maybe, and naturally, he had countless alibis of golf tales to corroborate the truancy. A Sherlockian caper is a foot. Speaking of tall tales, the Colonel is a gifted story weaver and when we three brothers get together there is an anthropogenic engendered barometric pressure drop and blustering spurious epics are spunned: one knows to shutter the windows of veracity when the Colonel prefaces a yarn with, “you might not remember this”…..henceforth, gusts of winds, and as my son in law Dave, said, “one shouldn’t let truth get in way of a good story”.

With all this wind, and riding on its currents, ‘family love’, reminds me of another George Harrison song ,”Blow Away”:

 

All it’s got to take is some warmth to make it

Blow away, blow away, blow away

Winds blowing clouds dispersed

Rainbow appearing, the pressures were burst

Breezes a singing, now feeling good…

New Mexico’s Mountains Sirens Entreat Antipodes

NEW MEXICO’S MOUNTAINS SIRENS ENTREAT ANTIPODES

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Mary and my visit to our daughter’s home in Angel Fire New Mexico revealed a confounding conjugal of incongruent concepts; opposites do indeed, attract: the attractant agent, be it magnetite or myth, appeared to be of a profound, formidable force. Heather and Dave had purchased a home in New Mexico and Mary thought us delinquent in parental obligations, and a visit was way overdue; and besides, neither of us had ever visited New Mexico. With the precursors of love and curiosity, we flew into Albuquerque on the eve of the Christmas holidays; rented a SUV packaged with a SIRIUS XM Radio and GPS, which concomitantly engendered a lyrically lulling reverie and a robotic compliance to the episodic, punctuated monotone road directions committing us to I-25 Hwy North. The long drive in the desert imbued our optical senses to a Georgia O’keeffeian-like harmonious arrangement of line, color, and notan (the Japanese system of lights and darks) artistic appreciation of a duplicitously austere environment peppered with succulents armored with spines, random swaths of sage, and lone sentries of pion pines and junipers. The collective landscape of N.M. was of a Grecian framing with Pythagorean perpendicularity of a horizontal desert and abruptly vertical mesa edifice. The week visit in the enchanted state was to corroborate a ubiquitous Numina essence and a conspicuous converse duality: our daughter’s livelihood is of the sea, yet her residence is fortified in the mountains; geographical juxtapose Bandelier National Monument and the Department of Energy Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of the Atomic bomb, suggest a compass landscape distance that is emblematic of a science continuum with the technically enhanced northern ‘moderns’, scientists in a lab splitting atoms, and to the south, the technically deprived ‘ancients’, troglodytes, The Pueblos, were splitting rocks in their caves; and, the “high desert” in spite of its austerity and paucity of life it evokes a reverence that is generally remitted to rainforest and reefs teeming with life.

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Heather, our eldest, is a child of the currents; where her residency induces morphs of plankton- pollen archetypes, enabling her to drift and waft in two glorious realms of nature: the azure seas of the Caribbean, soup dense with microscopic crustaceans, and the blinding white powdery snow, conifer laden, mythical mountains of New Mexico. With the wind to her back, she has become the proverbial citizen of the world, where she either is landing in an airport or docking in a harbor, personifying the lyrics of Alanis Morissette’s Citizen of the Planet: I grow from a special seed…I linger in the sprouting/ Until my engine’s full/ Then I move across the sea… 

We arrived!

Heather, our eldest, is a child of the currents; where her residency induces morphs of plankton- pollen archetypes, enabling her to drift and waft in two glorious realms of nature

We were greeted by The Pritchard Company: Dave, the South African import; the metaphorical pollen grain gametophyte, Heather; and, George, the mute philosopher.   With eyes wide open, the sublime mountain landscape was blinding; the ground was blanketed with snow and breeched by the perpendicular pagoda hierarchy limbs of the diverse species of conifers.  Their home, our bed and breakfast for the following week was incredible. It had the vantage panoramic view of a light house; where— when we would position ourselves on the back deck, a promontory into a sea of snow and evergreens, we were imbued in mountainous splendor. The floor plan was open and spacious with a décor that accounted for their enthralling international travels of Africa, Caribbean, and now, the mythical mountains of New Mexico.  

 

George, The omniscient

 

I meet George for the first time. He was [still is] a three foot orangutan fashionably donning a brown Mountie Hat and sunglasses. Folklore has it, that George was Dave’s wing man when sextant navigation [the instrument was first invented in 1759 by John Bird] was in vogue. Incredulous yarns were spunned of the dynamic duo’s carousing Caribbean cantinas: presumably, in search for the perfect beer. George is a listener; epitomizing the deportment of a bartender, or maybe, a psychologist in session, which if one was to entreat his attention, one would perceive a subtle, authoritative head-nod implicit of erudition. It was his “body language” nuance that recommended Dave’s ideal Christmas gift, the wheel barrel.

We had one short week to be immersed and baptized into New Mexico’s occult. Heather, with the lofty aspirations to have us visit as many NM historic benchmarks as we possibly could endure, assumed the roles of concierge and taxi driver. With the verve of New York City taxi driver, she careened curvy mountain roads with no hint of apprehension; fearless, to Taos, Santa Fe, Chimayo, and Bandelier National Monument. Once we arrived on destination, Heather morphed into the gracious concierge fulminating with NM tidbits of esoteric facts, which held us spellbound and entertained for hours on end. One was compelled to acknowledge the religiosity that suffused the culture of NM with the ubiquity of the European Christian and Pueblo icons of Latin crucifixes and Kokopelli caricature of a hunch back flute player, the fertility deity, adorning the walls and shelves of countless retail enterprises. It confounds me that, even though, we are in the 21st century there is still the head nod of approbation towards religions of the paternalistic ancients, whose supposedly god inspired scripture condones genocide, bigotry, slavery, and chauvinistic misogyny—and, comments absolutely nothing about science; yet, it, like the ignoble weed, perseveres.  According to the Hostetter’s sages, ma and pa, the evolutionary meme, religion, mere survivability reflects its relevance. People, the parental sages, of faith wielding the bludgeon instrument of reason, with much to my chagrin, does, evoke pause: damn the perspicacity of the elders. I am philosophically conflicted, not with the questions of immortality or the existence of god/s, for I am confident and resolute in the answer to those questions; however, explicit in the First Amendment is a litigious guarantee tolerance to all religions, as it should be, but herein lays the contention. Tolerance is, with some respect a complicit condoning, and religion has become so politically vitriolic and anti-science; confusing Genesis with Evolution, the incomprehensible perplexing ignorance of a fetus anatomy and physiology with that of a new-born, and the imbecilic denial of global warming attributed to man burning fossil fuels; in that, turning a blind eye and deaf ear is no longer an option. The wall between church and state has been blatantly breached and reason has been compromised—what to do? Oh, look Mary at that colorful Kokopelli.   

Heather personifying all the attributes of Job, patiently entertained all our whimsical wishes to visit historical benchmarks that may appear on the surface antithetical to our life philosophies: Mary and I are of the atheistic persuasion, formerly of the Catholic hood, paradoxically visited with delight iconic Catholic chapels espousing its supernatural dogma defying medical science with claims of miraculous salubrious healing rights….We, the boss lady and I, had bared witness to time worn Catholic missions, cacti, and coyotes inextricably of the desert with double entendre: simple but complex; stratified with perplexity, personifying the duplicitously simple poem, The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams. 

so much depends

upon

a red wheel

barrow

glazed with rain

water

beside the white

chickens

…what can we surmised from Jesus taking refuge in the desert for forty days; George intimating to me that the perfect Christmas gift for Dave is a wheel barrow; and, an atheist referencing the bible, could it be, sirens actually do exist and entreat antipodes… 

 

 

An Intro to Ben’s Love Story

This is a love story venue in anthropomorphism; a means to humanize animals, not to be confused with inanimate personification. The cosmic black hole tugging impetuses to engage in literary metamorphosis of imbuing non sentient animals with human attributes are manifold. Then, there is, a clique of us, biologist, with fertile minds willing to empirically explore plausible scientific mechanisms to explicate these fantasies of anatomical amalgams. As the author of Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White, has written, “all writing is both a mask and an unveiling.” Let us with scalpel in hand; liberate the mask from anthropomorphism and ultimately, the allegory of this intimate animation.

Why and when is anthropomorphism appropriate? The biologist with erudite filters of objectivity implementing the scientific method, which obviates tendentiousness with the regimented formulary of hypothesizing, experimenting, and quantifying subject/s of interest; will demur that animals share comparable cognitive, social, emotional virtues. However, capitulating to empathy and elucidation, some scientists objectively falter: Renowned primatologist and ethnologist, Frans de Waal writes, “To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us.” Even the apotheosis naturalist, Charles Darwin, coddled naïve anthropomorphism with the annotation, “Even insects play together, as has been described by that excellent observer, P. Huber, who saw ants chasing and pretending to bite each other, like so many puppies.”  There is a controversial hypothesis however, that plausibly could produce anthropomorphic chimeras, and it is called Hybridogenesis, conceived by Donald Williamson, British planktonologist and carcinologist. This Frankensteinan feat is specific to organism with external fertilization or male gamete dispersal, where the genome contribution of one distant animal would control the development of the planktonic larval anatomical stages and the co- contributor of genetic material would coordinate the development of the adult anatomical structures: voila, comingling attributes.

Regardless of whether science can empirically fortify demonstrable substantiation, the boundaries in the world of literature are predicated on the limits of the imagination. Recognizing the profound power of anthropomorphism as a literary implement that is inextricably tethered to storytelling with antediluvian roots, one’s search for its inception could lead to The Holy Scripture for the genesis. It is in the chapter of Genesis that the snake receives its anthropomorphic ignoble reputation:

Genesis 3: 1-14 …And the women said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees
of the garden…And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And
the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat…And the Lord God said unto the
serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above every beast of the field; upon thy
belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life..

The inerrant sacred text makes mention also of the willful, obstinate, and strength of the unicorn, Job 39: 9-12, which fortuitously, inertia free, segues into the other literary genres of fairy tales and fables. All the ancient cultures, Egyptians, Greeks and Roman employed this literary tool to teach life lessons, which are to include the dusty tomes: Aesop’s Fable (6th century BC, Greece), The Tale of Two Brothers (13th century BC, Egypt), and Cupid and Psyche (2nd Century AD, Rome).

In a stowaway capacity, we could hitch a ride with the time traveler of H.G. Wells, The Time Machine leaving the catacombs of the ancients to return to the Victorian era, my favorite time period of History for anthropomorphism and other iconic figures: Charles Darwin. In the 19th & 20th century children’s books were coming into their own right utilizing the paved roads of fables and fairy tales. These page worn classics are: Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland (1865), Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1894), Helen Beatrix Potter, illustrator, mycologist, conservations, and author of a series of stories of Peter Rabbit (1901…), Charlotte’s Web (1952) E. B. White, and a/the political satire, Animal Farm (1945) by George Orwell. This anthropomorphic motif has continued up to present with books such as Mary Manatee, Sammy Shrimp, and Harry Horseshoe Crab by Suzanne Tate—and now, contemporaneous to this list The Porcupine Dilemma, which has adult tones and the Aesop Fable’s poignant mores.

It is hard to imagine two porcupines as cuddly and romantic; but, paradoxically as it may be, Nick and Zelda are smitten with each other. There love story is Shakespearean in flavor without the dire consequences; but, physical desires are ironically abated. Nick frustrated and despaired inadvertently consults friend and stranger alike for guidance. We meet characters such as Geoff, the giraffe, married to a cat who he met in a tree, who is a patient and friend with chronic neck ailments requiring the services of Nick, his acupuncture therapist; and Poe, the bird, I envision a Raven for the obvious reason, is a factory worker who stuffs pillows with his own feathers, and is a melancholic chain smoker who readily dispenses with advice. The story hums with Nick and Zelda circumventing discussions of their forlorn predicament; but, failed to address the elephant in the room. The new up and coming author, Hostetter, enlist his trenchant wit deploying a ruse to counter the millennial old anathema of unrequited lust. Hostetter puts under the microscope the sacrificial toll repleting human love; its transformation is as stark and astonishing as the metamorphosis of the sea squirt from its tadpole-like larval stage to its adult hallow flask form tethered to the ocean floor’s substrate.

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