What is this site all about? Penetrating question. It's not a blog or tweet. Better check this link.
Whatever you do, keep checking this site. This site changes as often as the Drudge Report or a bot-driven tweet, almost. I expect to be publishing new things all the time, until my personal Statute of Limitations for Octogenarians expires. Besides, catching and correcting typos and other boo-boos is ongoing. I just now fixed three more. You could find keeping tabs on whether I finally recognized and rectified your favorite erratum as exciting as Trump Tweets.
• Senior Moment 3 - brand spanking new. Link
• Cosmic Dust. Re. irreducible complexity of the EPA and the flagellum. Link
• Short Shrifts 7 -- brand new! More and more Shrifts emerging! Link
• Short Shrifts 6. Friday, March 24, 2017 Link
• Believe in Yourself, or, Upsy Daisey!. Saturday, March 4, 2017. Link
• Daubs, Wednesday, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Link
• Senior Moments 2, updated Thursday, March 9, 2017: Link
• Parkbench Platonic Dialog, Friday, October 14, 2016. Link
• "Black Hole Humor" (look for neo-mutant-humanist posthumanity). Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Link
• Artist's Statement, Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Link
READ, PEGGY, READ!
OR, A REBUTTAL TO A NOONAN COLUMN
What is a columnist’s column if not a fast-food bowlful of sour grapes and raw crabs in smelly vinegary broth. But Peggy Noonan somehow can present contentious issues, even conservative issues, in an old-fashioned, ladylike, almost poetic way, spreading aromatic oil on troubled waters, emulsifying indissoluble rocks and volatile fluids into mayonnaise, while with her cool hand soothing troubled foreheads. My fragile octogenarian gut gets her down easy. My aged antsy forehead she soothes. A whiplashing Ann Coulter she is not.
But one of her recent columns, entitled “Politics of The Shallows,” unsettled my innards.
After lamenting the mod society's shallow brains, the consequence of pigging out on the pixel-thin modern media, she forthwith automatically plugs in the hoary old generic remedy I've been dosed with since before whippersnapper Peggy was born -- go read! Read anything. Read books, any book! Read deeply!
That advice is pretty shallow too. Possessed of the wisdom of old age, I (an octogenarian) ratchet myself off my sofa and offer a crotchety but deep rebuttal! Go read it!
MY RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION - OR, AN OFF-THE-WALL OCTOGENARIAN ARTIST'S STATEMENT
Commencing before I can remember, probably at birth, or before, my life in art was like breathing or like drooling Gerber Baby food, that natural. I simply just did it without ado much less an Artist’s Statement. In fact I’d never heard of the Statement until I was halfway through “my life in art,” halfway through life. When I held my first one-man show at age 16 at Occidental College (I was premed but took an art course and the instructors put my drawings on display in the foyer of the auditorium), nobody said anything about an Artist’s Statement. Recently I had my 2nd one-man-show, entitled "A Retrospective, My 87-year Life in Art," and a lot was said.
In about 70 years lots of things have changed besides me. The exhibition was in a splendid campus (not Occidental) art gallery, curator and all. A Biography and an Artist’s statement posted on the gallery wall is standard nowadays. I was required to write one. Likewise standard, tightly standard, the content of the Statement. So I whipped out one that was as inoffensive as last Sabbath’s sermon and a lot shorter than the opening prayer. The curator was satisfied but not old me. So I went home and for over two months belabored a second Statement, as elongated as the first was circumcised, as let-it-all-hang-out as the first was kosher, a substantial part being a nonstandard rant about .... Want to read more? click here
DARWIN'S GOT RELIGION!
A parable or satire in which Mr. Darwin is rescued by the Creationist Curmudgeon, almost
Evolution – symbolized by Darwin, he owns it, Darwin™ -- has evolved from credible science into a clone of religion, hard to tell them apart nowadays. Ergo, Darwin’s™ got religion!
Really? Even religionists who anathematized Darwin at the beginning never accused him of being one. He was an atheist, sometimes covertly, sometimes openly. And it seems likely that a strong underlying motivation for Evolution was to eliminate religion by supplanting God as the origin of life, an aspiration of philosophers since Plato. But now all of a sudden he’s got religion? The Creationist Curmudgeon (me) is skeptical. READ MORE
I am settled on a park bench, soothed by the susurrous summer background hum of bulrushes in the pond and dragonflies on lily pads, many muffled iPod ear buds and – am I imagining it? -- fingers being dragged across a thousand iPads. Professor Plagno, a tenured Platonist with more than a dash of agnosticism, which he espouses possessively, has just strolled up, right on time. Bowing, he says, “Greetings, Dr. Wes, my dear Loma Linda University physician old-time Seventh-day Adventist gormless Genesis-1 creationist.”
“I’m always honored.” says I, making room for him on the bench. “Shall we continue our dialog as Plato and Socrates, or go with Abbott and Costello this time?”
NOTE: clicking the above links will take you to pages on THIS site. All six of the dialogs are also separately published together at a separate web site especially for these dialogs: http://www.parkbench.platonicdialogs.com/index.html (click)
• In accordance with FCC, NSE, EPA, FDA, NFA, DNA, UFO regulations, be it known that this e-facility is a vaguely owned subsidiary of Al-Geezera, Inc, and is closely monitored by Smart Cremation, Inc.
• Latest hearing-aided failure of communication:
SHE: "I just came back from getting cat food."
ME:"...from GETTING TATTOOED?"
• To be a mad-dog or a lap-dog, that is the question (if you're a dog or a general).
• You're not surprised the photographer is being sued for virtual sexual harassment or is it sexism? He didn't retouch her enough.
• Anything carried to its logical conclusion is... you wouldn't want to go there, buddy!
• My favorite desert is lemon harangue pie. In your face. Let’s do lunch.
• To have the gift of gab or the gift of garb, that is the question.
• I'm so old I remember when men sought wisdom. Now, smarts. Don't suppose a wisePhone would sell.
• He that sows wild quotes reaps the wind.
• I'm so old I remember when you just said NO! Now, you just hang up.
• I'm so old I remember when news was released. Now without exception it's leaked. So our fake news needs diapers?
• After going through the cafeteria line, school kids are pitching the Michelle-mandated school lunch, 2 pieces of cauliflower and cheese, into the trash can. Now that's sad, sad the kids aren't appreciative of Michelle's trying to bring culture into their lives to prepare them for book signings and Artist Receptions, where 2 pieces of cauliflower and cheese (and chardonnay) are de rigueur. Food stamps accepted.
• To be or not to be, what does it matter? That -- That's the question now, after thoroughly postmodern Hillary.
• Aged executives may retain token respect, even a token office. But no clout.
• The push to make disbelief of Global Warming illegal is proving more sustainable than Global Warming itself.
• There seems to be a sustained campaign to drop the allegiance to the flag and impose allegiance to Global Warming.
• Sustainable the planet may turn out not to be, but a tattoo is.
• It's so sad, so very sad that Caitlyn Brucia Jenner can never experience the miracle of an abortion.
• Kerry must be batty to so consistently cave.
• Old doctors never die, they just sit in young doctor's waiting rooms (take it from me). So what is science's single most valuable contribution to modern medicine? The iPhone, for waiting in the waiting room.
A Story of Hemodialysis from Long Ago
This is an old doc’s tale, but something of a shaggy dog story, from long ago.
I was a young research fellow in the Nephrology research Laboratory at Washington University school of medicine. Our major function was basic research in kidney physiology in health and disease. But we also did clinical consultations, and, in emergencies, hemodialysis, the primitive harrowing way. Thereby hangs this story.
On this particular night the patient we were dialyzing was Jessie, a thirty-something man who, while hunting in the Ozarks, had accidentally shot himself in the right thigh with his shotgun at close range, rendering his thigh muscles a huge mass of well shredded raw hamburger. Hamburger may be tasty but is poison to the kidneys, shutting them down completely resulting in sudden (“acute”) uremia, more frequently fatal than not if left alone.
Jessie was a model husband and father, exemplary citizen, and churchgoer, soft-tongued, virtuous, a deacon of the local Baptist church. But as his BUN rose higher and higher, he changed. He changed from being saintly to demoniac. Now he was screaming unintelligibly, mostly obscenities, many directed at his wife. Dumbfounded, she could only sob. Only after sedation and application of mild restraints could he be wheeled on a gurney to the makeshift basement dialysis area, while his sobbing wife waited at his bedside.
Children yakking screeching in the park,
I used to hate it grating my youngish ear.
HiFi stereo booming hellishly blaring
I would for hours sit and resolutely hear.
Now my deafened ears and aged heart
Delight in children’s laughs and shrieks.
My pricey audio gear I will not go near.
OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE HALL
I’ve driven by the place, driving the freeway, but never stopped, never been inside. Driving fast, I glance over at the sprawling complex of buildings. The main tower appears to be two or three times taller than my old hospital, but it can’t have halls as long as the ones where I used to make rounds. I see no grounds at all. Instead, two or three huge parking structures where the lovely grounds used to be. No zoo. But what I’m really seeing are two anxious families of dear old gentlemen, each at the end of his life – one group seems to be armed -- positioned at opposite ends of an endless hall. READ MORE...
Last night we were watching a TV nature program on flowers. Jasmine, sweat pea, bleeding heart. A fully spread red rose. The orchids, oh, the orchids! All the zoomings-in on petal and bract, spathe and spadix; quivering pistils and arrays of prongs, threads, fibrils, tendrils arched or erect, packets and finials powdery or wet with nectar, hidden and cloaked or flaunted. Petals: textures as leathery as a saddle or as translucent as her peignoir; suggestive, private, sensuous…forbidden. Beards, ruffles, frills; fractals and fugues, confounding or merry and playful. Colors deadeningly intense defeating the digital color gamut, or only hinted by the the delicacy of a dream. Passion flowers and primroses, orchids and daisies; nasturtiums and rhododendron. Astilbes. Hollyhock. Bugbane, bee-wort. Suddenly the narrator stopped and blurted that old question: “Why are flowers so beautiful?” READ MORE...
For thirty years we lived in Ohio in the middle of a dense woods, with a horde of raccoons, but for the first five or ten years we didn’t know it. We had our suspicions. Sonja did, anyway. In retrospect – for the rest of our lives we’ll be rethinking and feeling it – we sensed they’re out there, in the trees, way up there. Up there in the trees, mostly hidden in the maple leaves -- that cluster of odd caterpillar balls in the crotches of limbs – what is it? Why do we feel we are being spied on?
Then en mass they descended, as often hind-first as headfirst, from the trees. READ MORE...