Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Friday, 28 March 2008

The Snow keeps hanging, on and on and on and on...

Here it was, I just posted how wonderful that Spring had finally arrived, and now we have major traffic jams and school closings because of another snow fall! It's been hovering around freezing all week, and it began snowing in various areas of the Northwest yesterday. Today it hit the heat island of Seattle. Even the birds didn't know what to do with this weather, and continued to act like it was still Spring.

Do March snowfalls bring April showers?
April showers bring May flowers.
Then what do May flowers bring?
Answer: Pilgrims

4/20 Update: It snowed and hailed in Seattle again today.
Will it never end?

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Mothers, Musicals, and Motorhomes

These last few years have been quite the pursuit of the theatrical in my family. A year and a half ago my dad narrated the Lonnie Frisbee story on PBS and for the DVD, and is now working on a similar project on the great Larry Norman, now in Sheol. My sister stars in an art film, due to come out this June. Even my brother managed to get some screen time on Versus, running the triathlon. And there is my own small contribution to the theatre, whose success was due more to the quality of my students' performances and the other teachers.

Now my mom, Susan Cowper, has also received some long-deserved props. For years she has been working in costuming for various productions, beginning as a support for my sister's burgeoning singing career in high-school. The latest edition of the Ashland Daily Tidings Revels had a positive write-up of the "The Great American Trailer Park Musical", mentioning my mom's responsibility for the costuming, with even a photo of her on the front cover. As with all of her productions, she's put a lot of work into this, and it's high time she got recognized. Showings are through April in Ashland and then in Redding, California, in May.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Cancellation of Expelled

To catch people up, there is a new movie coming out, Expelled, which desires to show how evolution caused the Holocaust and how the Intelligent Design Hypothesis is correct. The producers are trying to respond to the successful Flock of Dodos movie- which is a bit odd, since Flock of Dodos wasn't polemic by a long shot, but took shots at both sides of the conflict. Expelled makes the rather specious claim that professors and scientists are losing their positions because of the promotion of intelligent design. As I've been on the opposite side of that situation (losing the position because of promotion of evolution), I find the argument somewhat ... audacious. (And yes, this is the same movie that has possibly violated copyright law in copying the Harvard video from my previous post.)

Recently, a fierce opponent of Intelligent Design, Dr. PZ Myers, was expelled from the movie. This despite him being actually interviewed in the movie, and even thanked in the closing credits. Though he and others were interviewed under false pretenses, being told the movie was about something else and from a different organization than it actually was. (I'm not making this up- these are the basic facts that everyone agrees with.) He signed up the way anyone can online, and to test him out, I decided to do the same thing.

I have been ambivalent about attending a screening of this movie. I don't want to pay money to help spread lies, but it is important to know what is being said. I thought a free screening would satisfy my austere ethics, but unfortunately, there were no more screenings at churches in Discovery Town, Seattle, or throughout the Northwest. Instead, I chose a screening in Pennsylvania, and felt that the Friends Plymouth Meeting would be quite appropriate. Contrary to a friend's suggestion, I was not trying to ensure an empty seat (although the idea of getting hoards of scientists to sign up and not go to ensure an empty theatre does have it's appeal), but rather just to test out whether if, in fact, PZ was telling the truth: that he hadn't crashed the movie, but rather signed up as anyone can. And I've decided also to go ahead and pay for a screening later in the month, as a group from the church I attend will be going, along with a woman who works for the Discovery Institute and goes to this church. I figure the ensuing discussion after will be worth the price of admission, and my soul.

Though I wasn't planning to attend, I was rather surprised to receive this email yesterday:

Due to unavoidable changes in the travel plans of the producers of Expelled, the 7PM screening at the AMC Plymouth Meeting has been CANCELED. We will notify you as soon as possible if we are able to confirm a new screening.


The Expelled Team

Had they found out who I was? Were they trying to find some way to exclude me from a showing as well? I thought perhaps the Plymouth Friends realized that they didn't want to host something not in keeping with the Truth Testimony. I was wrong again.

It turns out that the expulsion of PZ was the most blogged about topic on the internet yesterday. The Expelled producers and the Discovery Institute have tried a whole host of explanations for why they kept someone interviewed in the movie from seeing a public showing that he signed up for. Now they are saying it was to give him a taste of what it's like to be expelled. In other words, because the movie compares (explicitly) evolution to the Nazis (again, not making this up) to show how evil the scientific community is in denying tenure to a professor, the producers decided to deny admission to a professor. Thank God they didn't decide to emulate Nazis in order to show how evil they are.

The other thing they've done as part of damage control was cancel all showings of the movie, for now. Strangely, the letter I received seems to indicate cancellation of only the showing I signed up for, giving reasons different from what actually occurred. But of more serious import - Darn. I'm not as important as I'd hoped. Again.


April 4th Update: It would appear that the Expelled producers are canceling and rescheduling showings in order to weed out "undesirables". There they go again. Emulating the folks they decry in the movie.

Monday, 24 March 2008

An Evolving Creation

I've seen few things in my life more beautiful. But imagine now, the beauty of the process that was able to form this, and how intelligent you had to be to come up with this process.

Key caveat: the video substantially reduces background noise and high randomness of molecules within the cell for the purposes of clearer pedagogy, creating a greater appearance of design than is actually present.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

He is Risen.

On a cold and miserable Easter morning, 50 of us from three churches gathered at Cal Anderson Park to celebrate the rising of the Son. It was a very odd morning, for it was not spritzing, as is common in Seattle- it was raining, and raining in hard.

James, pastor at Capitol Hill Presbyterian (Off Broadway) spoke a rousing sermon of how Jesus came to this world in weakness and misery. Though more might have attended had the weather been clearer, we couldn't have asked for more fitting weather for a God who came not in power, but in weakness and suffering.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Spring's around the corner...

What I saw on my way to visit all the supermarkets today to look for chocolate Jesuses...

And to celebrate the beginning of Spring, I planted my Exacum affine (Persian Violet) seeds that came all the way from Suqutra (via Britain). We'll see how they do in a month.

Susan Mattson, promoted to glory.

My dad decided that there was overwhelming evidence that Susan did not want to be on life support if her quality of life significantly declined. For the past four days she's been on pain medication that keeps her out completely, except for twice when her eyes fluttered open at the sound of her name shouted. She was experiencing multiple organ failure. My dad made the decision to authorize the machines removed from her last night, and they did so this morning. At 730 tonight she slipped away, to await the resurrection of the dead, when there shall no longer be any pain, nor any suffering, and all tears shall be wiped away.

Please pray for my father, as he struggles with grief, and knowing how to continue his life, and what should come next.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Healing and Illness

I would ask for prayer, for my dad, and his wife Susan. Susan has had great health problems over the past two years, and a few days ago they dramatically increased. She went to the hospital with heart problems, and they determined there was an inflamed appendix that had infected her entire body. Her mental abilities were severely impaired, and they soon discovered she had sepsis, which has a 27% fatality rate. Then she had pneumonia- the bad kind. And then all her organs started failing.

Now the doctors are recommending that they take her off the machines, and initiate involuntary passive euthanasia. (She never wanted to be on machines, but isn't cognitive without a great deal of pain.) The doctors think there is the possibility of a Hail Mary operation that might heal Susan, but they think she may be too far gone for it too work. My dad has to make some hard decisions. He is overcome with grief and responsibility of these decisions. Please pray for comfort for him, and miraculous healing for Susan.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Albatross is Gone!

I'm free. And truly my soul does jump for joy. You wouldn't think it, but there is a great weight lifted off me, to sell that car... I got so tired of all the problems with it, and being worried that the brakes would fail. Well, I sold the car for 55% of what I paid 5 months ago, being honest about the problems. And one would think I'd feel kind of shut-in, depressed, at the lack of a car. Instead, I feel a great sense of freedom. No longer tied into gas at $3.45/gallon, 16 mpg, insurance, repairs- it all tied me down when I couldn't afford it. It would have been different had I a car that I could depend on to get me to jobs, but that wasn't possible, after the seller lied about it's condition. So though I previously felt shut-in without a car, I now find freedom without that burden.

A 19-year old kid, Derrik, bought it from me. Pray for him. Though it hadn't happened while I had the car, he texted me on his way home to say the car stalled though it was full of gas, and evidently started shaking hard on the road to Issiquah. As for me, though I'm sad to lose the bumper stickers, praise God, I now have money for the rent.

A new adventure begins. Savvy readers will see some posts missing. I've moved all my political posts to my new blog, Say it with me. President Obama. Political musings will be there; personal political experiences, like caucusing for Obama, wil be cross-posted in both blogs.