December 31, 2004
I haven't said anything about the tsunami yet. When I first heard about it, I had two very cynical thoughts: 1) wow, that's a lot more deaths than in the war, and 2) how long until someone blames this on the US (which is why I found this humorous dialogue
so funny). I don't really know what to say; how can you even begin to fathom 100,000 deaths? Entire islands under water? I can't even begin to grok it.
I do keep returning to one thought though. I first began to think about it when I read Cosmos, and the thought returned to me as I read Jurassic Park. Watching that silly The Day After Tomorrow right before the tsunami hit made me think about it even more.
Man cannot destroy the planet.
The big chunk of rock that occupies the third orbit around the sun will always be there. What is on it will continue to change though. I've always thought it was awful self-righteous when people say that man is destroying the earth. I don't attribute that much power to mankind. Man might destroy his own habitat, making it impossible for man to live on earth, this I will concede, but the earth will survive anything man throws at her.
I read something else the other day that is pertinent here:
In order to survive, man has to discover and produce everything he needs, which means that he has to alter his background and adapt it to his needs. Nature has not equipped him for adapting himself to his background in the manner of animals.
Man needs the earth a helluva lot more than earth needs man. The tsunami -- heck, all natural disasters -- is a good example of the precarious eqilibrium of adapting the background to our needs. Man wants to live near the water, for the bounty and the beauty of the sea. He tames the sea with retaining walls and houses on stilts, but this time the background won the fight.
I wish when people spoke of Kyoto, they wouldn't say that we're ruining the environment. We might be ruining our environment, making it more difficult for earth to sustain human life, I don't know, I'm not an environmental scientist. But the earth will survive all SUVs and aerosol hair sprays; it just may not be an earth we can live on.
And so I went looking for the exerpt from Jurassic Park and found that another blogger already made my point three days ago. He used the same exerpt:
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity! Let me tell you something about our planet: Earth is four and a half billion years old. There has been life on it for nearly that long: three-point-eight billion years. Bacteria first, later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea and on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals: the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals. Each one enduring millions on millions of years. Great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away... all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval: mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away. Cometary impacts. Volcanic eruptions. Oceans rising and falling. Whole continents moving in an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. And it will certainly survive us.
If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the Earth was sizzling-hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere. Under the soil, frozen the Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. Might take a few billion years for life to regain variety and of course it would be very different from what it is now, but the Earth would survive our folly. Only we would not.
If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the Earth... so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. You think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison. It's a corrosive gas, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on Earth. Those plants were polluting the environment: exhaling a lethal gas! Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless life on Earth took care of itself.
In the thinking of a human being a hundred years is a long time: hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers, or vaccines. It was a whole different world. But to the Earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms... and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we were gone tomorrow, the Earth would not miss us.
And so earth won the battle in Asia this week, which we're not used to seeing on such a large scale. But don't kid yourself: earth will win the war too, eventually.
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Mother Nature is a BITCH. When Man gets too arrogant and tries to take over, she reminds us just who is really in charge.
Posted by: Mike at December 31, 2004 07:13 AM (ErNNc)
We're already being blamed for this.
Have a great new year!
Posted by: Bryan Strawser at December 31, 2004 11:43 AM (csJBt)
Now it's getting really weird! I swear that I had the same two "first thoughts." Must be that thing about great minds thinking alike...
Posted by: Beth at December 31, 2004 11:56 AM (Zycnf)
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December 30, 2004
My mother recently found out more information about the stabbing of the couple from my high school
. The airman who killed both of them will face the death penalty
The rumor around Peoria is that this airman tried to kiss Jamie at a party and she rebuffed him. So he killed them both. Obviously I was not there and do not know the actual details of what happened that night. However, if this rumor is indeed true, then this is one of the most frightening things I can imagine. If this is true, then Jamie did nothing wrong. Any wife could find herself in Jamie's situation, which is what makes this extra tragic in my eyes. If Jamie had been messing around or doing something foolish, then her death might make more sense, but she presumably had done nothing wrong. She turned down a guy who wasn't her husband, and they both died for it. I can't even begin to make sense of that. It worries me when I think about actions and consequences: getting into drugs, cheating, or hanging out with seedy friends are actions that inherently imply consequences; being loyal to your husband is not. I just can't get my mind around that one.
If the events really did happen the way the streets of Peoria say they did, then Andrew Witt should die.
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You may be interested in the book The Gift Of Fear by Gavin De Becker. He runs a private protection as well as post sexual assualt counselling business, and has been on Oprah a few times.
The book de-mysitifies intuition, talking about how you should pay attention to the "funny feeling" you get from certain people, that often it's when you recognize something is wrong (like, why a man did not get out of the elevator) but at the time you don't consciously notice, just unconsciously.
It is a good book about just being prepared for anything and helps with the difference between being prepared and worrying.
Posted by: PlutosDad at December 30, 2004 01:04 PM (NRDlq)
This happened on my old base. The base I still work with and travel to as a defense contractor. Witt was in my old unit although I do not know him. There have also been (according to my friends still there) at least 5 suicides in the last year. It is quite sad to know the people you care about are killing themselves and others are being killed for no reason at all.
Posted by: Silk at December 30, 2004 09:18 PM (XNMB6)
I knew Andrew Witt and both Andy and Jamie. Yes, he did try and kiss her and yes, she did push him away. This happened in July, it's now January and to me, it still feels like it happened yesterday. Andrew was like my brother and was my boyfriend's roommate. It could have just as easily been me and my boyfriend. Thank God we were out of town during this instance because we would have been with them that night...and probably not here today.
Andy and Jamie's death have been the hardest thing for me to deal with. They were the nicest people and two of my best friends. I miss them terribly and look forward to seeing them in heaven. Andrew's trial will probably be in April, and if his sentence is followed through-he'll be the first in Air Force history to be executed. Even though he was my friend, I hope he gets the death penalty...but has to wait forever for it. He wants to die and wants the death penalty-I think he should suffer for it.
Posted by: Lara M. at January 27, 2005 12:24 PM (yw4/O)
I personally know Andrew,and the law states innocent until proven guilty. Andrew had never been in any trouble in his life. Lets all wait and let the truth come out, and not be so quick to judge. Any of these three could have been one of your children, Andrew doesn't have a mean bone in his body, and i ask myself everyday, what would have made this happan? I'm putting all my faith in the a higher being, and hope the truth will come out, and we'll all know just exactly what happaned that night, not presumably, not what someone else heard...what really happaned that fateful night. ask yourself that?
Posted by: m.ballard at April 15, 2005 04:05 PM (UfyCX)
Until proven guilty?
Witt made the confession that he did it... even confessed to finishing off Andy by stabbing him in the heart. http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/local/12699069.htm
You may believe he does not have mean bone in his body - but that doesn't say much for his brain and thoughts.
Witt deserves the death Pentalty and with King as a valuable witness I am sure that will be the case... he does not deserve to breath the same air that he stole from Andy and Jamie.
Posted by: SgtAzrag at September 21, 2005 10:23 AM (Qd4BB)
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Did you know that on the application to work for the Dept of Defense Dependent Schools, the race category of "white" includes anyone "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East"? I guess I've never thought before about which group an Arab might choose; apparently they choose the same one I do. "White". Interesting.
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December 11, 2004
HOLY CRAP, DUDE
I've watched a lot of South Park in the last year, which has affected my vocabulary. I chuckled when I read this article the other day about the word dude
because Stan Marsh is the reason dude is in my vocabulary. Now whenever something surprises me, I hear myself say in my head, "Holy crap, dude
I got an email today that I thought was a hoax. So I checked it out, and it appears to be legit. Ben Stein wrote me an email.
Ben Stein, people. Wrote to me. Holy crap, dude.
God bless you and good luck with your blog. I hope it makes you happy.
And your husband is a star....
Dang. I wish I had said more about how cool Ben Stein is when I wrote one sentence about him the other day. Just in case he ever comes back here, I want him to know that my husband and I used to watch Win Ben Stein's Money all the time and stare in awe at how many questions he could answer. (We were also thrilled to hear his voice in the "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" episode of Family Guy.)
But more than any excitement we have at watching him intellectually clobber people, I have enjoyed discovering his writing. I first read How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World? back in July, and then noted with glee that Stein had written in the comments section in response to a soldier's letter. Then the other day I ran across We Shall Overcome. I never thought Ben Stein would find the time to write to me.
If he reads this, I'd like him to know that I really admire and respect him. And that I consider it an enormous honor that he took the time to email me.
Holy crap, dude.
MORE TO GROK:
And read Col. DenmanÂ’s Luger too! Man, you all know how awful this week has been for me. Well, now I feel like Fry: "I'm walkin' on sunshine, woah-oh-oh!"
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Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 11, 2004 06:08 AM (+S1Ft)
Sarah - that is so sweet. I'm just happy to hear it gave you a major boost for the week. You needed it!! Hmmm. Wonder how Ben came onto you?
Posted by: Toni at December 11, 2004 09:14 AM (TmVUL)
Sarah - you are truly A STAR! Wow. How cool. I have always loved Ben Stein - especially when I see him on TV talking about how little our soldiers get paid. It irritates me everytime Congress gives THEMSELVES a raise - those raises should be going to our soldiers and Ben is the first one to say so. So now that you're all chummy with Ben - tell him 'hi' from New Jersey and thanks for being the voice of reason.
Posted by: Kathleen a at December 11, 2004 10:14 AM (vnAYT)
He's a good man, I'm so glad he came along to brighten your week.
Timing is everything, eh?
Posted by: Tink at December 12, 2004 01:06 AM (S6VXg)
Stein called me a few years ago in response to a letter I wrote him -- just a note to tell him how much I liked his column in AmSpec. He's a class act.
Posted by: Eric Johnson at December 17, 2004 01:33 AM (84Org)
Because a person retains lots of knowledge, does not necessarily make him smart. Ben Stein, however, is smart enough to go where the money is and has convinced the likes of Richard Nixon, he was one of his speech writers, that he is a standup Republican. Don't kid yourself, this character talks out of both sides of his mouth and in the best tradition of Republican's ignores everything but the money, that is why he supports things like WalMart and Sinclair Broadcasting, because they pay the freight and he panders to them. Be advised, he probably will say anything about under paid soldiers, he certainly isn't going to run for Congress or Senate to improve their situation, nor is he going to really push to make sure they get paid more, he just whines about it knowing you want to hear it with no intention to do anything. he wants you to blame someone else for the fact they aren't paid. Well now that the Republicans have the majority in both houses and the presidency, watch and see what actually happens. Currently veteran's benefits are being slashed, V.A. hospitals are being closed, and lots of platitudes are coming from the Republican's along with lots of back slapping and medal hand out photo ops, little else. All as effective as Ben Stein's clap trap about our poor soldiers not getting paid. Wake up and smell the coffee, these people will take advantage of anything that makes them look good at the expense of others, including their Republican buds who are failing to stop the blood shed in Iraq of both the Iraqi people and our own soldiers.
Posted by: Steve at January 09, 2005 12:13 PM (JV9Ez)
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