Thursday, June 26, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Europeans are getting taller as Americans shrink, read the whole article here, http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/04/05/040405fa_fact?printable=true
"For centuries, he explained, governments have kept careful records of their soldiers’ heights, providing a baseline against which modern populations are compared...If you were to stretch a string from the head of the earliest soldier in that row to the head of the most recent recruit, you might expect it to trace an ascending line. Humans are an ever-improving species, the old evolution charts tell us; each generation is smarter, sleeker, and taller than the last. Yet in Northern Europe over the past twelve hundred years human stature has followed a U-shaped curve: from a high around 800 A.D., to a low sometime in the seventeenth century, and back up again. Charlemagne was well over six feet; the soldiers who stormed the Bastille a millennium later averaged five feet and weighed a hundred pounds. 'They didn’t look like Errol Flynn and Alan Hale,' the economist Robert Fogel told me. 'They looked like thirteen-year-old girls.'”
"my dad has a barn..."
Alright Harriers (Harryacks? Harricanes?), if you aren't convinced I'm nuts yet this post will leave no doubt. There's been an odd convergence of coincidences in my life this past week that have all pointed to this one, very bizarre idea. The first few times the fates pointed me towards it I was convinced I was nuts, and didn't mention anything, but more coincidences continued to pop up. Today Glenn(?) over at Dirty Harry's Place.com danced around the same subject and I figure somebody wants me to put this into writing, so, here goes...
Thursday, June 19, 2008
"let's all keep calm, folks"
I'm trying to keep up with both sites' posts and comments and hold down my job as an evil capitalist/industrialist. I feel like a 3 legged cat in a linoleum litter box and I also sense some confusion in the comments from you, our dear readers.
Here's what I know; Harry has not told me specifics about his relationship with the folks at "Liber," "Libe," "The site that shall not be named," but he did give me a very polite heads up about the need for this change and a request to post here as the dust settles. I have not had many personal interactions with the man, we've never met, but he has always been gracious and generous to me. I greatly enjoy his writing; he makes me think and laugh. I know no more of his personal life than what he has shared with all of us.
I feel confident Harry will continue to share his thoughts with us and provide a forum(s) where we can discuss the news of the day with each other. None of us yet knows the details, but life obviously threw the guy a curveball yesterday and I say we cut the guy some slack as he finds his way back to the batter's box. His writing has entertained me more in the last two years than any $10 Hollywood movie and he's never asked for anything in return. I sense the guy can use some friends right now. Go to DH's place and let him know you're with him; "Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
Troy/Vincent/Splash (and anyone else I've missed),
Thanks for the feedback on my post about the relationship between Creators and Creation and me and ants. You certainly hit on the salient scriptural points that challenge my opinion. But, and that's why I stress this is not a cop-out, that is the very nature of my point; whatever the answer(s) is(are) they are definitely out of my current intellectual grasp, and that just may be the nature of the relationship. Or, as with children, it may be that I can figure it out as I mature spiritually and we, as God's creation, can figure it out.
That's also why I liked the analogy with string theory and extra dimensions. Even though scripture says certain things that may seem very explicit and direct further understanding may lead us to comprehend that those statements can be true while still allowing for alternatives that seem otherwise contradictory. Some things have a dual nature and that dual nature may currently be beyond our comprehension.
As proof of this possibility I can think of no better example than the 12 men Christ personally chose as ambassadors for his teaching. They walked with the Man, spoke with Him. Listened to all His teachings and they still did not get it! It wasn't until the Holy Spirit descended on them that it clicked, and even then there were internal disputes about some of the details. Christ must have chosen these men because they were the best and brightest available, yet, even after first-hand living, breathing exposure to the Word, the Way, the Life and Light they did not understand. Maybe the separation between our intellect and God's is not as great as me and an ant but it is obviously very, very great. The one real world example we have of hand-picked men living with God on Earth shows us that direct exposure to His teachings was not enough for them (even them!) to understand His message. And we have example upon example of prophets being directly told by God that He cannot reveal His nature directly to us. To use a ridiculous analogy, it's like the Krell computer in "Forbidden Planet." We get a burning bush, a small sliver of God. If we got the whole thing in one swell foop we could not handle it.
The devil can quote scripture to suit his purpose. Just as you have quoted scripture that seems to state the answers are knowable, you all know I can quote scripture that directly makes it clear they are not. The Bible is full of contradictions. It's a great book full of wonderful, wonderful advice, history and spiritual guidance, but it also has some nonsense.
One thing we all seem to agree on is that God has given us the ability to live the life He wants for us if we so choose. Your choice tells you that if certain rules are not followed, to the letter, then salvation is lost. I read the same book and see a Man who, when challenged by Pharisees and Rabbis with dogma and doctrine repeatedly, consistently stressed another way.
"Whatsover you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me." I'm not God, but if I were I'd be much happier with a man who spends an hour ministering to a sick child than a man who spends an hour kneeling on a cushioned pew in a gilded, air-conditioned cathedral. Since God is infinitely more compassionate and infinitely less selfish than I it is impossible for me to understand why He would judge the first man lacking, and the second virtuous.
Oh yeah, whomever made the reference to Pascal's wager... Great stuff! I love that philosophical exercise. I have used that many times to convince my more "logically" minded friends they ought to give church a chance. Why do we buy lottery tickets? We know the odds of us winning are almost zero. Because the pay off in comparison to the minimal amount ventured is so immense.
O.K., Mrs. Right, this post's for you! Cardio exercise is great; good for body, mind and spirit. As I wrote previously we are built to move and when we move we feel good. However, most of us also exercise to be less fat. Have you ever met avid runners, cyclists and swimmers that are chunky? I ran the Chicago marathon a few years back and there were good runners that beat my time who looked like they just stepped away from their 3rd trip to the buffet line at Caesar's Palace. In other words, just because you do good, honest cardio exercise does not mean you will be svelte.
I hope blackhawk will chime in here because I'm speaking strictly from observation and personal experience, but there is a point of diminishing returns with cardio and the reason for that is the amazing adaptability of the human body I spoke of earlier. To state it very simply, the number one mistake most folks make with cardio exercise is they do not mix up the pace they exercise and they do not go fast enough. They think 30 minutes of running at a 10:00 mile pace is better than 15 minutes of running at a 7:30 pace. 30 minutes is twice as long, it has to be twice as effective, right? Wrong! Your body will adapt to whatever you ask it to do (within reason). If you ask it to run 3, 10:00 miles each day it will get good at that. Very good. Assuming you're starting from coach potato status you'll notice incredible changes the first month. The first week will be a challenge, by the end of the second week you'll hit a groove and by the end of the month you'll be able to do it and carry on a conversation for the entire half hour. Your body is no longer being pushed.
Do not get me wrong; running 3, 10:00 miles is still far, far better than sitting on a couch watching an episode of "The Office," but you are up against the law of diminishing returns. The first few weeks you've really shocked your body, now it's used to the routine and it has adapted. If you like running 10:00 miles do it! That's fantastic! However, if you want to get lean you're going to find you hit a wall that you cannot get around without severe dietary restrictions.
Now, this gets into rather complex stuff. If you have no experience as a competitive athlete you really ought to work with someone who does if you are going to begin a cardio program featuring intervals of intense work. I have a lot of years of football and track work-outs under the tutelage of trained coaches and a lot of years of running and cycling with others and I still make mistakes in my cardio training that lead to minor injuries. In order to do this right you are going to have to push yourself and it is very important to know the difference between "good" pain and "bad" pain. And, you'll need someone to build some paces and durations that make sense for where you are, and continue to push you as you improve. For more information on this concept google "interval training" or "fartlek." I just did that and found this decent little video someone posted in relation to walking. It really helps emphasize the point that this is relative. You don't have to be an elite athlete or sprinter to benefit from intervals. You can even walk. You just have to push yourself out of your comfort level for brief intervals.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Now that my musings on film will be posted solely at the original Dirty Harry's Place, this is where what you're looking for there can now be found.
Many thanks to my blogging partners Rufus and Rich for making this second site the pleasure it is.
Monday, June 16, 2008
"my dad has a barn..."
Alright Harriers (Harryacks? Harricanes?), if you aren't convinced I'm nuts yet this post will leave no doubt. There's been an odd convergence of coincidences in my life this past week that have all pointed to this one, very bizarre idea. The first few times the fates pointed me towards it I was convinced I was nuts, and didn't mention anything, but more coincidences continued to pop up. Today Glenn(?) over at Dirty Harry's Place.com danced around the same subject and I figure somebody wants me to put this into writing, so, here goes:
Let's make a movie.
None of us on our own has the ability to come close, but that's the beauty of this internet thingy; it makes for easy collaboaration across wide expanses of geography. Heck, even overseas readers like Guido and thud can pitch in. We write a script as a team. We solicit funding as a team (none of us can pitch in $1M, but we can find 100,000 folks who can throw in $10, or 1,000 who throw in $100). We find the resources (people, props, equipment) in the locations we need as a team. We are a smart group of people and we literally have natioinwide, semi-global reach. If you throw in our close circle of friends (outside the blogosphere) we are a very, very powerful bunch.
Here's the pitch:
There are two, big topical things particularly driving me nuts right now. I propose we take one of these ideas, refine it and run with it with the goal of getting something in the can (that is what you Hollywood types call a finished movie, isn't it?) in about six months. Here are my two suggestions;
1. An examination of national economies showing the truth of what works and what doesn't, kind of a reverse "Sick-o." We make it clear that free market capitalism works better than anything tried before, or currently being done, and we show the heros of capitalism who truly are inventing cures, saving the environment, caring for the needy, teaching our children...
2. A real, honest depiction of Iraq, life under Sadaam and the immense strides the wonderful men and women in our military have brought to the region. We show women's and children's lives and lack of rights before and after. We show the remarkable economic successes in the north, and other regions. We show the murderous chaos of those trying to destabilize the region.
For #1 I picture something similar to how Ben Stein did his recent ID documentary. A roving narrator (perhaps Ben Stein or P.J. O'Rourke in the flesh), schlepping around the world, showing power points and graphs, interviewing citizens of failed economies and captains of industry, etc. There are a lot of ways we could take idea #2.
So, anyway, I'm not good enough on my own to illuminate it all. That's the whole point of the exercise. I am good at organizing, however, and I'm sure some of you are even better. We already know Harry can direct. Troy is an attorney. Several of you are great screenwriters. Some of you must know how to work a camera. We even need people who can simply help write lists and keep track of stuff. Any able-bodied persion could be very useful. The first few steps I see are;
1. Verify Harry doesn't think I'm a freakin' moron.
2. Who is interested? Let me know if you are interested in the comments and give me an e-mail address to contact you.
3. Troy and/or any other attorneys; what do we need to have folks sign, how do we copyright ideas created in collaboration, what do we have to keep off the public internets, etc?
4. Can anyone do a high level time-line of what milestones have to be hit when in order to produce a documentary in 6 months?
I'm not talking "Lawrence of Arabia" here, I'm talking a low budget $1M or less, indie documentary that shoots in 60 days or fewer.