In the new year, I will endeavor to make the pet posts in a more timely fashion.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
[N]o matter how much I keep myself embroiled in politics and social bickering on a daily basis, it never for a moment crossed my mind to think that someone would chastise Bill for being politically incorrect, or for not saying "Happy Holidays" instead of invoking the dreaded "C Word." Bill is celebrating Christmas as best he knows how and was just wishing a Merry Christmas to anyone who passed his door. Here I am on Christmas eve day. Between fits of dashing around trying to clean the house for company who are coming on Tuesday, I was running back to my computer to check CNN and run through my blogroll for any late breaking political news about which I might be able to rant. What kind of way is that to spend Christmas Eve? It occurs to me that Bill probably knows a lot more about Christmas than I do. It's going to give me a lot to think about on my way to the in-laws.That's pretty much the payoff, but you really should read the whole long and poingnant post, just to get a better picture of Bill. I don't know the man, and I've never been in Jazz's neighborhood, but I feel like I could walk down my street and find Bill's house right around the corner. And I want to.
Hmmmm. Satan as a self-help guru or life coach. There are stranger things!
[T]his is a rather more nuanced view of Satan’s purpose than simply “evil incarnate.” Rather than just saying he’s evil, it asks us what the purpose of evil could be. And it suggests that perhaps the purpose of evil is simply to challenge us to become better, rather than to simply drag us down into the muck. We might even go so far as to consider Satan as the “house player” in a casino, or “playing against the computer” in a video game. In order to enjoy a game and learn from it, we need someone to pit ourselves against. If there is no opponent, then there is no challenge to overcome and no opportunity for growth.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
- First and formost, I thank my wife for her tireless help and support during the whole ordeal. And for all she continues to do now that I am at home.
- I thank my family and friends for their concern, prayers, and support.
- I thank my blogosphere friends for all the well wishes.
- And last, but certainly not least, I thank the folks at Sky View Medical as well as the staff at Grandview Hospital for their fine work.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
I don't know what to make of this. Oxytocin certainly seems to be a workhorse in the body, especially in women -- natural Oxytocin influences activities related to birth and lactation (and it has even been linked to establishing maternal behavior). At least, according to this Bowen person at the Colorado State University. And some folks are advocating Oxytocin's role in maintaining relationships, calling it a hormone of love. That might lend some credence to the idea that this hormone can affect a person's trust level (willingness to trust someone, not the level of trustworthiness he inspires in others). I am certainly uncomfortable with scientists mucking about in this area. I guess you could say I don't trust them (heh). But think about it ... if chemists can synthesize a compound that inclines anyone who ingests it to be more trusting, then how long will it be before said compound is abused? I'm not typically prone to conspiracy theorizing, but imagine for just a moment, if you will, another five or so years down the road. Administering certain levels of Oxytocin to the general public has been approved and found to be "safe." Perhaps Oxytocin -- or a manufactured derivative -- will be added to a regularly consumed product, much like Flouride in toothpaste. Or it could be released into the air in confined spaces, such as cublicles and fast food restaurants (refer to the snif test in the news release). People feel OK. They trust the media and their elected officials. They don't question what is going on in the world. Goodness me. Could this already be happening? More about Oxytocin: not be confused with the unrelated drug OxyContin (a pain-killer).
Trust Building Hormone Short-Circuits Fear in Humans
[snipped from news release]A brain chemical recently found to boost trust appears to work by reducing activity and weakening connections in fear-processing circuitry, a brain imaging study at the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has discovered. Scans of the hormone oxytocin's effect on human brain function reveal that it quells the brain's fear hub, the amygdala, and its brainstem relay stations in response to fearful stimuli. The work at NIMH and a collaborating site in Germany suggests new approaches to treating diseases thought to involve amygdala dysfunction and social fear, such as social phobia, autism, and possibly schizophrenia, report Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, M.D., Ph.D., NIMH Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program, and colleagues, in the December 7, 2005 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. "Studies in animals, pioneered by now NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel, have shown that oxytocin plays a key role in complex emotional and social behaviors, such as attachment, social recognition and aggression," noted NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D.. "Now, for the first time, we can literally see these same mechanisms at work in the human brain." ...
Friday, December 09, 2005
That's great work folks. Now, can someone tell me exactly why they were compelled to do this research (and if any of my tax dollars went for it)? And can any of these scientists explain why my 6-year-old niece enjoys playing with trains, cars and Barbie© dolls?! And does any of it really matter one freaking iota in the grand scheme of things??? I personally do like research about children and thinking/playing. But I like research that shows how children learn. Why they mimic. And how we can help them reach their full potentials. I could care less about gender differences and children (although I have seen research that shows a child knows his/her gender -- and some of the societal rules and roles for that gender -- by age three and that saddens me). Let children be children. Let them gravitate to toys and activities in their own way and time. And for the gods' sakes, don't be freaked out if a child does not conform to your notions of what a good little boy or girl should want to play with. Me? I am waiting for my niece to be old enough for a chemistry set, which is "traditionally" a boy's toy. I don't care. My niece is intelligent and curious, and I can hardly wait to introduce her to fun home chemistry stuff. (And, no, if it turns out that she does not like chemistry, then I won't push it on her.)
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Volcanic Fire Under Glacier Ice Some 1,240 miles (2,000 kilometers) north of Antarctica is an island--Montagu Island--in the treacherous waters of the South Atlantic. This is no place for people, or penguins even. A glacier blankets the island land. And beneath the glacier, actually creating the island, is an active volcano. Now scientists have satellite pictures of the volcano--Mount Belinda--spewing fiery lava down toward the icy sea. In just four weeks' time, the lava, traveling in a 100-yard (90-meter) flow, has released massive amounts of glacier-trapped water into the ocean and built up 50 new acres of land, as the molten rock slides into the water and cools. Scientists expect the changes to be dramatic. A decade ago, lava from a volcano in Iceland melted enough ice to create the second-largest flow of freshwater on the planet. At the time, only the Amazon River sent more freshwater toward the sea. Scientist John Smellie, of the British Antarctic Survey, says, "How hot rock interacts with ice is so poorly understood. This opportunity to monitor a live eruption and see how it affects ice cover is priceless." Dr. Smellie also says he would "give his right arm to be down there right now."Image Credit: NASA / Jesse Allen / Earth Observatory / HIGP Thermal Alerts Team + Full Resolution
Shi Yongxin wears a bright yellow robe and heavy prayer beads and lives in an ancient shrine high up in the mountains of central China. Yet he spends a lot of his time traveling in a chauffeur-driven jeep, jet-setting around the world and hobnobbing with Hollywood types. No wonder some people call him a CEO in a monk's robe. As abbot of the world-famous Shaolin Temple, the holy land of kung fu, Shi indeed plays multiple roles. His latest is executive producer of a $25-million movie about the life and times of the legendary fighting monks that is set to hit cinemas in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also has a reality TV project in the works, a kind of "American Idol" for kung fu masters.I wonder if they'll have a Simon Cowell-type judge on that reality show. If so, he or she will have to have some pretty impressive credentials -- and fight cred -- to poke fun at and insult potential kung fu masters. Otherwise, there will be some interesting footage for the blooper reel.
“Were I to use a device like this, my mind would congratulate itself on being so clever, and then I would quit putting my heart into what I was doing. . . . If I don’t put my heart and whole body into my work, my work will become joyless. And how, then, do you think the water would taste?”-- Zen Calendar Workman Publishing
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
"Deck the halls with lots of tchotchkes, Fa la la la la la la la la la. Tis the season to eat latkes, Fa la la la la la la la L'Chaim!"Chrismukkah is now upon us, or so the good folks at chrismukkah.com would have us believe. And the Chrismukkahans want to help you celebrate a Merry Mish-Mash Holiday. For example, you can build your own Matzoh House (as long as you buy the Merry Mish Mash Holiday cookbook)! Chrismukka Nosh: invite some friends over for a Noel Nosh and a hot cup of Meshugga Nog. You can also read the Chrismukkah blog and submit your own Chrismukkah stories. Now, maybe this whole Chrismukkah thing is a joke. Maybe they really are trying to support interfaith families. But their only serving a portion of the population by narrowly focusing on Judeo-Christian celebrations. If they really want to go interfaith, they have to add Solstice, Yule [Heathen Yule, Wiccan Yule], Bodhi Day, Zarathosht Diso and probably a dozen or so others that I've missed. That would change the thrust of their site ... and force them to really come up with a snazzy name. And while you're checking out Chrismukkah, don't forget about Chrismahanukwanzakah (which I blogged about last year). The "Angel" link uses the song from last year, but not the cool animation. I guess they dropped it for all new stuff this year. That's too bad, the graphics on the original were outstanding.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Cute, right? And I kept thinking it was cute and humorous ... right up until I checked my credit card bill and found over 20 charges for cat toys, fresh catnip, and a video I don't even want to mention. *
Who the blankety-blank-blank showed him how to use PayPal?!
More Pet Blogging
- See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
- Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances.
- Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.
* Um, just in case it wasn't obvious ... the pic is real, but the story is a joke. No, Otis does not know how to order merchandise via the web. At least, I don't think he does. Milo, on the other hand ...