Monthly Archives: July 2011

Big Bang? Let there be Light?

In an earlier post, I wrote that:

The problem for any honest theist is,
“What if it isn’t true?”
The problem for any honest atheist is,
“What if it is true?”

Ultimately both represent ways of looking at the universe. There is no factual conclusion, no proof, about either one; both are matters of faith and belief.

Science can argue all it wants that the Logic and Scientific Method is superior to believing in an ineffable reality, but given all we do know and all we don’t know, in the end it is still just a worldview.

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Sideband #22: Perfect Margarita

Now that Sidebands have turned 21 they can have alcohol, so…

Seems that just about everyone has a “perfect” margarita recipe. Not wanting to be left out of the crowd, I’ve decided to give you mine, a recipe based on the incredibly inexpensive, wondrously potent, double margaritas my friend, Nancy, and I used to drink at El Coyote in Hollywood long, long ago. Even back then, it was hard to believe that much punch came in a glass for only $1.95 USD.

It took me years of experimenting, and several false trails, to find a similar taste and potency, but finally I stumbled on the “secret” … pineapple juice!

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Sideband #21: Perfect Popcorn

For the record, here’s a way to make some very tasty popcorn:

Firstly, start with good gourmet popcorn. Orville Redenbacker‘s is pretty decent, although I have noticed that it sometimes creates a bunch of smaller, broken pieces. You definitely don’t want the stuff that comes in a one-pound bag for 39 cents. The thing about good popcorn is that it all pops. When I cook up a batch of Orville’s, it’s usually the case that there’s only a few kernels that don’t pop.

And it’s not uncommon to find none!

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Sideband #20: Spock is not impressed

My contribution to the latest internet meme:

Nuf sed,  yeah?

Sideband #19: LHC

The previous article contains a bit of doggerel I wrote as an informal writing assignment on a current events/blogging site I inhabited for a while a few years back. One of the other regulars sometimes held online “parties” complete with musical playlists (suggested YouTube and other musical links) and multiple, simultaneous conversations. Basically a kick off article followed by a very long, branching tree of comments.

We all had to refresh the article a lot to see the new comments, but it was fun.  Especially as the evening wore on and some of us got a bit tipsy. (All from the safety of our homes, I point out. Virtual online parties: no one drives home!)

Anyway, in the course of one such evening, the “poem” below popped out of my mind. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN was just beginning its testing, and the “it’ll destroy us all” fervor was at its peak.

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In the View of his Car

A few years ago, I spent some time blogging and commenting on another site that wasn’t really a blogging site, per se. It was supposed to be a news-related site, and all blog posts were meant to be about current events (which could include book and movie reviews among other topics). Naturally long-time users found a lot of latitude in what constituted current events. One of the reasons I dropped off was the poor signal/noise ratio, but the main reason was the sense of restriction imposed by the current events policy.

One of the big regulars was a guy who liked to stage writing exercises for those interested.  He would offer a topic and we would all dash off a blog article related to that topic. Below is my contribution to one such exercise. The topic was to write a piece from the point of view of our car. I’m no poet, but I thought this turned out rather well.

In fact, it almost scans well enough to be set to music.  (Needs a bit of work on the metre of the “Avatar” line, though. No, don’t offer suggestions… I’d rather do it myself, thanks!)

In the View of his Car?

In the view of his car?
You have no idea.
Do you know who I am?
I’m the best of my kind.
I’m a Jeep Cherokee.
Don’t you know what that means?
In the view of his car?
My tale’s not a good one.
I was bought on a whim.
“Always wanted a Jeep!”
I’m a Grand Cherokee.
Don’t you know what that means?
In the view of his car?
Well, what I saw was this:
Me traded in by an Owner who cared.
Not even cleaned, only been there since three.
Then they come along, the wife, kids and he.
Test drive, signed contract; new driveway for me.
Since then my status has slipped a few pegs.
Gets me around; that is all that he cares.
At least I get gas and checks ‘neath the hood.
(A bath now and then would be very good.)
I’m dented, I’m rusting, my glass is cracked.
My tabs and his license needs be renewed.
One-twenty K miles; could go many more.
Could change be in sight; a trade in again?
In the view of his car?
No, it just can’t be done.
To him just a car; not his avatar.
I’m a Jeep Cherokee.
Don’t you know what that means?

In fact, I did end up selling it to a friend who bought it for his kid. I have no doubt it found a great home and continues to give great service. And that’s the second vehicle I’ve loved (despite what the car seems to think) and gone on to sell to a young man who, one hopes, loves it as much as I did.

What am I driving now? Well there she is on the left. (She? He? Whatever. I don’t really personalize my car, no matter what the poem above suggests—it was a writing assignment!)

That’s a Ford Fusion (Sport!). When the time came to buy a car, I was (a) definitely going to buy an American car, and (b) going to buy a Ford. For one thing, they were the only car maker that didn’t need to be bailed out due to short-sighted business practices. And it had been a long time since anyone in my family had owned a Ford, so I thought it was time to give it a try (I’d owned a Dodge (sweet car: Dodge Shelby Charger!) and a GMC Jimmy).

Gotta say: no complaints!  Love the car. Love talking to the radio. Love plugging in the iTunes and saying, “Play Bruce Cockburn” (and it figures it out!).

If the car has a flaw, it’s that it goes way too fast way too easily!

Sideband #18: Another Star Dies

Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community.

The Pillsbury Dough boy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Dough boy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects: Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies and Captain Crunch were all there.

The grave site was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Dough boy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.

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The Bug In The Machine

I’ve been a computer programmer for 33 years. Some of my early work is still stored on punched paper tape! And if this computer programmer has a particular skill, it is probably in the area of debugging.

Those who know me know I suffer from a life-long hearing defect and have, thus, grown up being pretty good at figuring stuff out based on scant evidence. This is precisely one of the required skills for debugging, and let me just say that I’ve gotten very, very good at it over the last 33 years.

But for the first time, I have an actual bug in my machine. An honest-to-god, six-legged thing crawling around in my machine.

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Sideband #17: Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille

You may have heard the punchline, “Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille!” Sometimes it’s abbreviated to, simply, “Ready when you are!

It’s dubious that it ever happened, and it’s not a parable — there’s no moral behind it. But it is a pretty good joke! In fact, it’s one of my favorites, and I’ve used the punchline many times.

For your dancing and dining pleasure, here it is:

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Sideband #16: And maybe the horse will sing

The title of this Sideband, “And Maybe the Horse will Sing,” comes from a story told by the ancient Greek philosopher Herodotus.

This is a parable about hope and possibilities; about how you never know what might happen even when it seems that all hope is lost.

This is a story of a thief, Nasrudin, who was caught at his thievery and, by the laws of his land, sentenced to die. Hauled up before the king, he was asked by the Royal Presence: “Is there any reason at all why I shouldn’t have your head off right now?”

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