Archive for 2016

Happy New Year

So long, 2016.

When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands.

Genesis 47:18

Rogue One

Mini movie review here. Went and saw Rogue One, or – as I like to call it – Star Wars episode 3.5.

Not a full review, because it’s Christmas break and I don’t feel like spending much time writing here.

Summary: It’s Star Wars-y. It has a lot of lasers shooting things and people. A bunch of people (and other beings) die, but without gore (as in true Star Wars fashion).

It is a better story than some other Star Wars movies, and it is told better than some other Star Wars movies. I liked it better than the recent Episode 7, as that had nothing really original whereas Episode 3.5 has an actual plot and good characters to go with it.

Of course, there were some parts that were hard to believe, even within the Star Wars universe. And that one near the end was particularly grating on one’s brain. But overall, it was much better to watch than Episode 7 and Episode 3 and Episode 2. Plus, it explains a number of things in Episode 4, which I won’t list here so as not to spoil anything.

As for a rogue, his weapons are evil; He devises wicked schemes To destroy the afflicted with slander, Even though the needy one speaks what is right.

Isaiah 32:7

Life as a Simulation

I’ve noticed a number of news items or recent articles highlighting the belief that our lives as humans here on planet Earth are merely part of a giant computer simulation.

While many have wondered how we got here and what is the purpose of life, this particular answer does not really fulfill any of life’s great questions.

There are a number of ways one could go about analyzing the meaning of all that, but the main point that I see is that it is pointless. If life is a simulation, then someone is running (or has setup) the simulation. To say that our life is a giant computer simulation gets us nowhere. There is still a reality outside the simulation.

So one cannot cause reality not to exist by claiming that we are just part of a simulation. And if one is inside a simulation, there is no way to break out of it. Again, it’s pointless to believe this. It does make for an interesting diversion, and some entertaining movies have been made on that or a similar premise, but I think that belief is bad for us. Morally, socially, physically, spiritually – the negative implications of that belief outweigh the positive outcomes. Especially for those of us who live in reality.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

Winter Season

There was a discussion in a nearby cubicle at work. They were discussing the start of winter. What drew me over there was that one guy was claiming winter didn’t start until Dec. 21st. This was about a week before Dec. 21st, and we had snow and temperatures below freezing for weeks already. In fact, he was arguing that it was not winter yet, and the temperature was about 10 degrees F with snow and ice all around.

I made my case that winter is a weather season, and it runs December and January and February around here. He said I was wrong because winter is defined as starting on December 21st. Who defines winter?

If you ask Google to define winter, you’ll get my definition. Another dictionary lists time from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox as the first definition, but also lists other definitions.

I stand by my assertion that winter is defined by the weather where you are. For example, I would argue that what makes winter in Michigan is different from what makes winter in Florida.

This guy was dead set on the astronomical definition of the winter solstice. I agree that the winter solstice is Dec 21st, but if anything that should be the middle of winter, since it is the lowest daylight. Consider it as the peak of winter. He argued that this would not be the case, because the coldest weather comes after Dec 21. That was amusing, because he was using weather as an argument against me, when he wouldn’t accept it as an argument against his case. I recognize there is a lag, but that’s due to thermal mass mostly; winter has started blowing in long before winter solstice.

To me, arguing that winter doesn’t start until the solstice is like arguing you’re not climbing a mountain until you’ve reached the peak.

FYI – this is related to the post about the summer season from a few months ago.

Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.

Jeremiah 36:22

All-Haiku Bowl Predictions, 2016

Based on the popularity existence of last year’s article predicting bowl games in haiku form, I present to you this year’s all-haiku bowl game predictions. Still America’s only all-haiku college football bowl game predictions.

These are listed in order of date (earliest first). Some picks are whom I think will win, and some picks are whom I want to win. I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide which is which.

Vacation 2016, Part 5

Here’s a recap of our summer vacation. This year, it was driving to Mt. Rushmore.

Day 7
Up in the morning, continental breakfast at the hotel lobby (which doubled as a souvenir shop and fireworks store), then we were off again. Headed to Minnesota this time.

This part of the trip was the most boring, scenery-wise. On the plus side, it had the highest speed limit, so that was fun.

Not much to report. We drove east for about 8 hours, stopping for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Mitchell. Thought about visiting the corn palace while we were there, but we didn’t. Then more driving, and we got to our destination in time for dinner. Stayed with relatives, not at a hotel, so that was good.

We went from 100+ degrees and dry and windy to this:

image of family vacation to Mt. Rushmore


Vacation 2016, Part 4

Here’s a recap of our summer vacation. This year, it was driving to Mt. Rushmore.

Day 6
Up in the morning, another round of pancakes for breakfast, and we were off. Packed up the van, checked out of the hotel, and left Custer. Destination: just a couple hours northeast to Wall.

First stop: the Badlands.

Of course, we got in free again. Showed the gate attendant the 4th grade pass, and had the 4th grader wave to her because she had to verify we had him with us.

At first glance, the Badlands looks like a lot of nothing. And it is. But it’s a scenic nothing. In fact, if you look at it the right way, it can resemble the Grand Canyon.

image of family vacation to Mt. Rushmore