The Karl Show
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Sunday, June 26, 2005
 
SUMMER VACATION

This blog is going on haitus for the next week or so. Not that any of you would notice, of course. I do realize that I post much less now than I have in the past, and knowing this does trouble me greatly. I feel like I should be writing more, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Maybe I'm in a "learning" and "discovery" phase of my life, rather than a "writing" phase.

I'll be in Los Angeles and San Diego for the next week, visiting Disneyland and Sea World respectively. I'm a lazy bum, so I really don't deserve a vacation -- but I'm looking forward to it anyway.

See ya'll soon.

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Monday, June 20, 2005
 
UNTITLED

Well, things have been interesting lately.

Starting on Saturday, I helped some friends move into their brand-new apartment here in town. It was exhausting work, but personally, I had a blast. Nothing is quite so cool as just hanging out with friends, even while hauling a television set down from a second-story room. What would life be like without friends? Not worth living, if you ask me.

Sunday night Dan and I were driving home from Latif's when we spotted a locomotive halted on the tracks with police cars and onlookers dotted around the scene.

Homo sapiens are naturally curious creatures. It's apart of our survival instincts, I think, to get as close as possible to danger -- to observe the danger, to understand it -- while still staying a safe distance away. The ones who understand the danger will learn from it and avoid it, thus living another day. The ones who don't understand won't learn from it and won't avoid it, and sadly for them, Natural Selection is a very, very harsh mistress. Sadly for us, we saw somebody who didn't learn that speeding trains are very dangerous.

He (or she?) was laying beside the tracks, right under the rail. He was covered by a thick white sheet, but we could tell the body was crumpled underneath. In fact, it looked a bit too small for a regular body. I wondered aloud if the rest of the corpse could be found on the other side of the track.

As we drove away, one of the police officers knelt down and adjusted the sheet -- very carefully -- so as to not expose the undoubtedly mangled remains. As I recall, it reminded me of a father tucking in his child at night. His hands moved so tenderly over the broken body, moving a shred of cloth here, folding in a corner there.

I'm reminded that one thing Homo Sapiens do, besides investigate danger, is respect their dead. It seems odd, but wholly appropriate, I think, that we should consider a pile of dead bones and meat worthy of such respect. Maybe it's not so much the body that we revere, but the person -- the individual -- no matter who he or she once was. The desecration of the dead is one of the most horrendous, most unforgivable crimes that humans can inflict on others. Our very nature seems to rebel at the thought of harming the corpse of a fellow human -- even the corpse of our greatest enemy. Now, if only we could get around to not harming them while their alive....

Anyway, respect for the dead is one of the things that separates us from other animals, and personally, I'm glad that this is so.

On a lighter note, July 4th will herald the (hopefully) successful completion of the Deep Impact Project over at NASA. I can't wait to see what the results are. My guess?

Water. Lots of water.

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Monday, June 13, 2005
 
I ACTUALLY FACT-CHECKED THIS QUOTE, JUST TO BE SURE.

"We want that democracy in Lebanon to succeed and we know
one cannot succeed so long as she is occupied by a foreign power . . ." -President Bush

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TAGGED LIKE A WILD ANIMAL

I've been drugged and "tagged" with a radio-collar so that scientists can track my movements and migratory patters over the summer. I knew this would happen one day.

Total number of films I own on DVD/video: About three dozen, all VHS. Most of them are cartoon series from the 80's (I get terribly nostalgic), others are Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Hopefully, it's an investment that'll gain value over time.

The last film I bought: I can't even remember.

The last film I watched: Hitchikers guide to the Galaxy. Not bad, but (as always), the Book Was Better.

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:

Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal/blog: No! The cycle of violence ends with me....
 
Sunday, June 12, 2005
 
MONEY 'N FISSION, YO.

I'm hoping to take on some more responsiblities at work soon -- hopefully I'll get some more hours and more of that badly needed green currency that seems to be in such short supply lately.

While you're here, check out Natural Nuclear Reactors in Oklo, Gabon. I guess humans arent the only ones who like to play with atoms. Bacteria do it too.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005
 
THERE IS NO JUSTICE

I, for one, can't believe that Kevin and Sandra are moving. I mean, nobody -- and I mean NOBODY -- else can even begin to understand our long conversations on the nature of reality. I feel like I'm loosing the only other person in Turlock who understands that "Reality" (including emperical observation) is merely a homo-sapien-specific neurolgical construct.

Oh, why must the Universe conspire against me?


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Monday, June 06, 2005
 

HERO WORSHIP

Sorry for not posting in so long. I've been busy doing absolutely nothing, and I must say that it's quite refreshing.

I got to thinking tonight about the way that Americans worship. It's occurred to me that Americans have many more gods than just YHWH, although this isn't a very surprising observations to my more urbane Christian friends. I would argue, however, that even good Christian-American folk end up with a veritable pantheon of lesser gods.

I received my epiphany when I realized that most Americans (at least, most red-blooded god-fearing Americans) essentially worship our nation's warriors. Or, we worship the fallen ones, anyway. Ironically, this puts is squarely in the very long and very ancient traditions of most pagan societies.

Think about this: we build massive monuments, erect gigantic statues, name cities, highways, streets and buildings after them -- we declare mandatory days of rest, we congregate in various places to hold public ceremonies and liturgies, we collect and venerate relics, we sing songs about, write books about, make movies about, pass on traditions about, tell stories about and speak in reverent tones about our nations dead warriors.

We put our faith in them and trust in their past heroic deeds, hoping that their deeds will secure for us a better future.

We even inter their corpses in a place that we describe as “Our Nation's Most Sacred Shrine” and hallowed grounds.

It seems to me, this simple observer, that prayer is the only act of worship that we spare our fallen warriors. We don't pray to them – because THAT would be blasphemous.

In fact, we make it a point to chastise Roman Catholics who pray to Mary and the saints, rightly acknowledging (I think) that receiving prayer is an activity normally reserved for God or other, lesser deities. We don't pray to our dead soldiers for help – so, in our minds – we don't worship them, even though we perform just about every other worshipful act towards them that I can think of.

Now, before you start thinking that I'm on some kind of anti-America or, warriors forbid, an anti-military kick – let me just say that fallen heroes aren't the only deities that Americans worship along with YHWH. We perform many or all of the above activities (minus prayer, of course) for celebrities, politicians, cars, computers, money, movies, houses, history, love, sex, sports, television, video games and ice cream.

It seems to me, this penitent heretic, that Americans either a) define “worship” only as praying towards something, or, b) we worship a larger pantheon of gods than the Greeks or Romans could ever have dreamed of.


I'm putting my money on “b”.

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"Never be afraid to doubt... and doubt in order that you may end in believing the truth."

"Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good." (Job 34.4)

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Location: Turlock, California, United States

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." -William James, Principles of Psychology





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