Poetry Sunday, Not All Happy and Sunny

June 29, 2014

Poetry Sunday

Poetry has its darker side to say the least.  After all, poetry is about emotion and we know our emotional house is a briar patch even Brer Rabbit would avoid. Still, as thorny as it may be, it is a rich inspiration to  the poet.  For it is upon the highest peaks or in the lowest valleys of emotion a poet’s best work pours out.

For me, I see the darkness of the valleys as a vital element in the value placed upon the brightness of the peaks.  Without such contrast, would we hold the highs with such esteem?  Moreover, poetry is the vehicle I use to excise the bitter malaise my mind retreats to now and then.  Poetry keeps me yoked to normal; otherwise, I truly would be a madman.

For example, my mind does not rest when I sleep.  It takes me to faraway lands and magical worlds but I have no control of any particular destination. Often, I awake with an overwhelming desire to express my experience.  It is where a good bit of my poetry is born.  When that place is dark, I write poems like this one:


My Nightly Prayer

It’s madding angst in the dark
that infuriates my soul
yellow eyes, light’s only spark
from demons beyond control

It’s no good to hear the lies
from these orbs my mind creates
against the truth each decries
as daybreak my soul awaits

I know the truth when awake
no power do orbs then keep
to steal my soul is their stake
Hell’s reason for them to creep

So each night I take this test
lead by ghouls that haunt me so
I pray for strength and some rest
but mostly for them to go

No more dark with yellow eyes
to destroy my solemn sleep
No more fear of nighttime lies
or reasons to wake and weep


To say expressing darker emotions helps me is not exactly right but it is on point.  Expressing them is a relief valve, yoking me to normal.  The real questions, for me, is not if I write them, but if I dare share them with the world.  I mean who among us wishes to be so vulnerable?  Answer, I must share them.  I must cast them out, otherwise they never leave me and writing about them serves no point.

It is my hope that, for some, reading them does the same thing.  It gives a release. Perhaps someone is helped knowing others have such feelings too.  I wish I could say that was my motive and I was not so selfish but darker poems are, in the end, honest.  It would not do to wrap them with dishonest motives.


My Quote on Creationism

May 23, 2014

Creationism, the art of de-evolution

Lately, I have been misquoted regarding creationism.  My words have been cherry-picked to make it appear I support the theory.  I can assure you I do not.  To clear the matter up, here is a quote for ya that accurately reflects my views:

“Calling creationism a science is like calling horse shit a gourmet meal. You can certainly digest either and there is nutritional value of sorts, they’re just not very palatable nor what humans need to thrive.  Horse shit, be it actual or symbolic, is better suited to sustain flies.”

Feel free to quote me.




Easy as PI, wait make that pie.

March 14, 2014

Easy as PI, wait make that pie.

Today is PI Day. This is my take on it


Understanding Daylight Savings Time

March 9, 2014

earthEarly this morning (2:00AM local time), we “sprang forward” and advanced our clocks one hour.  What was 2:00 in the morning suddenly became 3:00.  Daylight Savings Time is nothing more than a cleaver shift of daylight hours to better conform to when most people are up and about.  It does not create more time of light; it simply is a better use of it for most of us.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the first proponents of such a shift in time.  Back in his day, there were very practical reasons for such thinking, even if he did write somewhat satirically about it[1].  Today, its impact is debatable but does arguably make better use of the day.

Understanding just what really takes place requires a little background.  The earth has 24 time zones.  Think about it for a moment, it also explains a day being 24 hours.  Now I know a day is not exactly 24 hours but we are not trying to set an atomic clock here, gallon chemistry will do.  Humans tend to be creatures of the day, or diurnal.  If the whole of the planet used a single time zone, in London, the sunrise could be 6:00AM on a given day but sunrise would be 11:00AM in New Your City and 2:00PM in Los Angeles on that same day. For centuries, locations around the world used a local time based on the rising and setting of the sun.  As we became world travelers, thank you Ferdinand Magellan, the need to standardize time from one place to another became increasing important. 

Now for a little bit of geometry, and you told your 8th grade teacher you would never use it!  If you think of the planet as a globe, its diameter is a circle with 360°.  When people started to think about time in relation to available daylight, they figured why not make a time zone for each hour of the day.  You do that by dividing 360° by 24 hours.  This gives each time zone 15°.  Think about it this way, when the earth rotates 15° one hour has passed.  Our time zones follow lines of meridian and bisect the North and South poles.  The middle meridian of a time zone is called a standard meridian.  The boundaries of each time zone are plus and minus 7.5° from its standard meridian.  For example, New York City has a central longitude of approximately 74° West.  That puts it 5 time zones away from Greenwich, England, which is the zero reference point.   The standard meridian is 75° West.  The -5 time zone runs from 67.5° West to 82.5° West.  That puts New York City pretty close to the middle of the time zone.  When it is midnight in New York City, it is 5:00AM in London.

That is more than enough of the nerdy stuff.  The thing to remember is each time is one hour different from the time zone next to it.  When we move clocks forward, or spring ahead as they say, we are simply saying we now set our clock to -4 time zones away from Greenwich instead of -5. This has the effect of making the sunrise and set one hour later.  When we wish to end Daylight Saving Time, we simply fall back, or return to our actual time zone of -5.

If we did not take advantage of Daylight Saving Time, during the summer months, as the length of daylight increases, the sun would rise very early, like 4:00AM early. That is not much use to most of us. Daylight Savings Time is not some big conspiracy or governmental mind control trick. It simply is a way to better use available daylight. 


[1] Franklin, Benjamin, and Nathan G. Goodman. “Letter to the Editor of the Journal of Paris, 1784.” The Ingenious Dr. Franklin: Selected Scientific Letters. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1931. 17-22. Print.


Yes Virginia, Global Warming Can Mean Lower Temperatures

February 16, 2014

Snow DayI’ve notice something recently, when I make a comment about all the snow or how cold a day might be on social media, a comment akin to “so much for global warming” always seems to creep in.  I have to shake my head and wonder about the education level of people making such comments.  It is one thing to make a smart-ass comment for effect; I do it all the time.  It is another matter entirely to drink the disinformation of news networks and apply it to serious issues like global warming.

In a very large part, the confusion of us lay-people is due to the moniker, “global warming.”  It is all too easy to miss-apply it and miss the real point is energy trapped in the upper troposphere and tropopause, not the relative high or low temperature of a particular day. 

For those who have forgotten middle-school earth science, the troposphere is the atmospheric layer we live in.  It extends from the earth’s surface up to about 10 miles or so.  The tropopause is the dense boundary between troposphere and the stratosphere.  These parts of the atmosphere are where the weather happens. We all know as you go higher, it gets colder, but that is only to a point.  Once you reach the tropopause, the temperature stabilizes; it then increases through the stratosphere before it again drops.  It is not uncommon for temperatures in this region to reach as low as -75°C (-103°F).

Just for the sake of clarity, the layers of our atmosphere, in order away from the earth, are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere.  The ozone layer lives within the lower stratosphere but is not considered a true atmospheric layer.  Commercial jetliners like to fly in the lower stratosphere too, as it puts them above thunderstorms, clouds and such.

The term global warming, applies less to the temperature at the earth’s surface and more to the energy stored in the upper troposphere and tropopause.  A 1°C change in the average temperature in this area has a huge impact of the weather at the earth’s surface.  This is because the energy required to change the average is tremendous.  Notice I did not say it has a huge impact on the temperature at the earth’s surface.  The change affects the weather in the form of high and low pressure systems and ultimately the jet stream. The temperature will fluctuate up down, for sure, but it is the increase storms and their severity we will most readily endure by warming. 

This is why a warming in the upper troposphere and tropopause can result in lower temperatures and cause a great amount of snow.  In reality, it supports the theory of global warming.  So, keep this little tidbit in mind next time you hear someone make a silly comment about cold weather disproving global warming.  Simply shake your head and realize the person making such a comment does not know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to global warming.



Ice Storm

January 6, 2014

WP_20140103_001 (3)

As 2014 gets settled in, winter is slapping it in the face pretty good around here. First was the snow, lots of snow. Now it is the freezing rain on top of the snow. It should be a fun commute this morning. I have to admit, the backyard looks wonderfully eerie in the glow of the outside floodlights. It occurred to me, we have much to learn from ice storm. Of course, the lessons we learn often depends on where you are in life.

When we are young, the lesson is direct, “be careful as ice is slippery.” We learn that mostly by ignoring our mothers and playing on the ice. Hopefully, the only proof of such a lesson is a bruised knee or fanny. While the direct lesson is useful, a secondary lesson begins to take root, the advice of others has value.

When somewhat older, we no long see ice storm as forms of amusement. At some point, our parents stop warning us of the danger of slipping and limiting our exposure to it. Instead, they send us out to chip away the danger from sidewalks and driveways. Of course, while still warning us of the danger of slipping. This too has its lessons. We learn that we must deal with our problems with and, from time to time, not on our schedule. Chances are we relearn the original lesson that ice is slippery too during this process. While we learn to deal with problems, this time, the secondary lesson is we have responsibilities in life that go beyond ourselves. How we learn the latter will define our character.

Now, as a fully functional adult, I suit up in long johns, layers of shirts, insulated boots, two pair of gloves, earmuffs, hat and a coat worthy of Nanook of the North. I head out and chip ice without direction. I chip and shovel and sweep away the danger to sidewalk and drive. I no longer have lessons to learn from ice storms. I know them, I know that we live our lives and we learn. We learn from others, Mother Nature and ourselves. So, as I head out to do my chore, having learned all the lessons an ice storm can possibly teach, I step out onto the landing, slip, land on my ass and start the learning process all over again.



On why I pay attention to what so-called “nuts” have to say

January 5, 2014

CopernicSystem[1]Just because we believe something true, does not  make it so.  Even a deeply held belief can  be found to be false.  Copernicus, Keller and Galileo (among others) dared to question the truth of the earth being the center of the universe.  They did not change what was true, they simply uncovered it.   Keep this in mind when you so quickly dismiss questions from some nut about what you “know” to be true.

%d bloggers like this: