Monday, December 26, 2011

A visit to the dermatologist

The day started with Gail coming over for piano duet practice.  We will be playing "Angels From the Realms of Glory" at church next Sunday. 

My GP referred me to a dermatologist.  My appointment was today at 2 pm.  He gave me some prescriptions which we got filled at the pharmacy.  I have dry skin.

After we left the doctor's office, we went to Keystone to pick up the receipts for the walking club.  From there we returned home.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

One thing different about my daily activities today is that I did not attend church at Restoration.  They had no service today.  Instead I went with J, first to the 9:00 pm service at the Methodist Church last evening, and again this morning at 10:30.  In the afternoon today, we went to the Dobbs' house.  The Dobbs are the parents of Jennifer.  We had Christmas dinner and played games that afternoon.

We had some good medical news about Jennifer.  It seems her brain tumor has gone away completely.  She had several cyberknife treatments recently.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Interview of Ayn Rand

I fail to see how anybody can be so enamored of Ayn Rand.  Watch the following interview.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Walking and tires

This morning I reached one of my goals for this year.  I had hoped to reach an average of a mile a day walking.  With my 3-mile walk this morning, I reached 367 miles for the year.  At times I thought I would not reach this goal, but I kept walking anyway.  Things worked out so that I was able to reach this goal.  There are still a few days left in this year.  I hope to be able to do a volkswalk or two before the end of the year.  I need to go out to the YRE at Lake Keystone with the stamp plug for 2012.

In the afternoon, I went to Hibdon Tire Co. at Tulsa Hills shopping center.  I bought a new set of tires for the 2008 Saturn Aura.  Afterwards, I went to Target and bought an inflatable mattress for J. who will be baby sitting the grandchildren for a few days following Jen's surgery.  The previous blow-up bed had developed a leak somewhere.  Luke and Ayla are now with us for a few days.

Printing a kidney

Here is a video about some amazing new technology.

Monday events

On Sunday evening we went to a Christmas Cantata at the Methodist Church.  There was an elderly woman (in her 70s or 80s) sitting on my right.  When her cell phone rang, she dug it out of her purse and answered it.  We were sititng on row three.  After she finished talking, she started sending text messages.  The cantata was Tapestry of Light: A Celtic Christmas Celebration.  It was written by Joseph M. Martin.  The program consisted of ten songs intersperced with Biblical text.

We made a trip into Tulsa this morning.  J had an appointment with a doctor.  I would say more, but J does not like for me to give out details on medical matters.  We stopped at the Crescent Cafe for lunch.  From there we went to Dollar General to get a few items.  It rained much of the day.

Nick brought his children (our grandchildren) to our house in the afternoon.  Nick and Jen went to see a doctor in Tulsa.  Jen will be having surgery soon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Article on Ayn Rand

The link above will take you to an article on the late Ayn Rand.  I cannot think of any individual I detest more than Ayn Rand.  The title of one of her books, The Virtue of Selfishness, pretty well sums up her outlook on life.  If you have time, read the article.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Solstice Party at Bradleys

This afternoon the HAT group met at the Genealogy Center.  I left the house early to get there early, but when I got on I-44 the traffic was moving at a crawl.  I bailed out on to Highway 75 South.  When I got to 71st St., I exited on to 71st St.  That is the location of the new Tulsa Hills shopping center.  Traffic moved at a snail's pace until I reached Lewis Ave.  By the time I got to the Genealogy Center, I was 15 minutes late for the meeting.  The meeting was in progress.  After the meeting was over I returned home via 21st St and Avery Drive.

This evening we went to the Solstice Party at the Bradleys.  There were 15 to 20 people there.  They had a table full of hors d'oeuvres which I lingered around for quite some time.  We discussed world issues for a while, and then I moved to the piano and played Christmas carols while the others sang.  We played and sang everything from "Jingle Bell Rock" to "Silent Night."  Around 11 pm we filed out of the house and headed for our homes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Death of Hitchens

I just read a headline which announced the death of Christopher Hitchens at age 62.  He had been diagnosed with cancer several months ago.  His habit of smoking may have been a factor in his death.  The article had no details, but I'm sure there will be more about his death to read tomorrow.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

An evening at Phillips Theological Seminary

PTS was the setting tonight for a speech by Rob Boston, who was flown in from Washington, DC to address the Northeast Oklahoma chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  I saw a few HAT people and a few Restoration people at the event.  Boston spoke for a little more than an hour.

Flooded with calls

Lately I have been flooded with phone calls from family, friends, and admirers of all sort wanting to know what they can get me as a Christmas present.  Fret no more.  I will gladly accept a gift card from Amazon.  I will use it to download more books on my Kindle to keep me reading well into 2012.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Biblical justification of socialism

It has been said that you can find a Biblical text to justify anything.  If you doubt this claim, go to and see for yourself.

To illustrate my point, take the matter of the Bible's stand on socialism.

In Acts, chapter 4, starting with verse 32 we read:

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possesed was his own; but they had all things common.
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possesors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need,
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite and of the country of Cyprus,
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Surely there must be a passage in the Bible which justifies laissez faire capitalism.  When you find it, send it to me or post it on your blog.

Episcopal priest on religion

Hear this confession by an Episcopal priest:

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A visit to Occupy Tulsa

I left out one thing from last Sunday.  During the Religious Education period, 10 am to 11 am, we talked about what we can do to help the Occupy Movement.  We decided to visit the site and talk with the people there.

When I arrived there about five people were at the site.  The person in charge seemed to be Eli.  The group has no structure to speak of, but they have figured out a means to insure that someone is at the site at all times.  When we left, there were about five people there, but not the same five who were there when I arrived.  Supporters came, stayed a while, and then left.

As I was parking my car, I saw another Restoration church member drive up.  It was Joy Avery.  A little later, Mary Rounds drove up.  Joy had brought with her a church hymnal.  We three sang a few songs together, a capella style.  Joy plays guitar, but she did not have it with her.  We asked Eli about upcoming actions, and he filled us in.

I was reminded of something Bill Dusenberry has said.  Nowdays, atheists and Christians have reversed roles.  Today you find atheists out working for social justice, while the Christians play the role of detractor of those working for social justice.  This is something of an overgeneralization for you can find Christians such as Sojourners (associated with the political left) who are working for social justice. 

We stayed about an hour before leaving.

The last few days

I wrote about our trip to Ponca City with Glenn and Gail, eating at Enriques, and visiting the Pioneer Woman's Museum.  That was last Friday.  We got home before dark.  Gail and I played our duet for Glenn and J on my grand piano.

The next day, Saturday, it seemed to rain all day long.  We had Ayla with us from the evening before.  The three of us went to Gail's violin recital that afternoon.  It was held at Hope Unitarian Church.  There were about 50 people in the audience.  Gail was not the only performer.  She is in a Suzuki class with others.  Ayla was getting restless, and we decided to leave at the intermission.

We drove to Charlie's Chicken and had lunch there.  It was still raining and the floor was slippery.  I managed to remain upright despite the slick floor.  Following lunch we went to Hahn's Appliance and bought a new filter for our refrigerator water supply.  We drove home in the rain.  That evening, we went to Randy's for Movie Night.  Gail and I played a our duet once again.  The movie was a documentary about some cave drawings which were recently discovered in France.  It seems a landslide had sealed over the entrance to the cave thousands of years ago.  Inside the cave are drawings of animals.  The drawings were made 30 to 40 thousand years ago, according to carbon dating.  They are the earliest human artifacts that we know.

The next day, Sunday, Gail and I played the special selection at Church of the Restoration.  It was the same music we had played earlier, a combination of Jingle Bells and Silent Night.  The message was given by Bill Dusenberry.  He spoke on "Licensure of Parents."  The next Humanist Sunday will  be on New Year's Day.  I will be the speaker then.  My subject will be World Population Growth.

The next day, Monday, Gail came over for our weekly duet practice session.  We are hoping to work up "Tierra Del Sol," a Latin sounding piece.  We played it years before, around 2006 I think.  When you don't play a piece regularly, you forget much about it.  So we are rediscovering this piece.  After we worked on this piece, we played Christmas music.  It is, after all, that time of year.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

An Unusual How-To Book

Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well ForeverTranscend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever by Ray Kurzweil

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kurzweil and I have birthdates that are within one month of each other. He is working on staying around long enough to make use of new technologies that will prolong life. I would like to do the same.

The book is quite inspirational. We have all grown up with the idea that death is inevitable. Could there be an escape from death? Ray Kurzweil says "Yes."

The technologies for life extension described by Kurzweil sound like science fiction. I can remember when the Dick Tracy wristwatch was science fiction, but we have far surpased that level of technology today.

Kurzweil forsees nanobots which travel in our bloodstream making repairs where needed. The nanobots will detect and eliminate cancer. Such devices are not present today, but Kurzweil says they are coming, if we can live long enough to get there. That is the purpose of this book. It is a guide to how to live long enough to get to the point where these life-extending technologies will be available.

There are a number of recipes in the middle of the book for healthy eating. There are also a number of medical tests which the authors (Kurzweil and Grossman) recommend, some of which which are not always suggested by your doctor. A number of links to web sites for further reading are provided.

View all my reviews

Friday, December 02, 2011

Trip to Ponca City

It has been a few days since I have posted anything here.  Not much has happened to write about, except today we did take a trip to Ponca City with Gail and Glenn Storey.

We left Sand Springs around 9:00 this morning and arrived in Ponca City shortly before 11:00.  We went straight to the airport to eat at the world famous Enriques Restaurant.We got there shortly before opening time.  In no time the place was filled up.

After eating we went to the Pioneer Woman Museum.  A lady there gave us a demonstration of weaving using a loom that was around 100 years old.

We returned to Sand Springs around 3:00 this afternoon.

I took a picture of the four of us in the restaurant, but J said I should not post it in my blog.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New duet music

I bought some more piano duet music the last time I was in Springfield.  The title of the pieces are:
  • Dueling Pianos (David Carr Glover)
  • Dramatic Dance (Melody Bober)
  • Lakeside Dreams (Bober)
  • Pelican Rag (Bober)
  • Sea Voyage (Bober)
  • Song of Autumn (Bober)
  • Too Cool (Bober)
  • A Winter Tale (Bober)
  • Golliwogg's Cake-Walk (Debussy)
  • The St. James Infirmary (Traditional)
  • Borodin's Bossa (Borodin)
  • The Water is Wide (British Folk Song)
  • Tiger Rag (Traditional)
  • Solace (Scott Joplin)
  • Hanon Goes Haywire (Olson)
  • Circuspalooza (Roubos)
  • Amazing Grace (Traditional)
  • Marche Diabolique (Brown)
  • Flight of the Bumble Bee (Rimsky-Korsakov)
The first piece, "Duelling Pianos," is a single sheet.  The next six are from the book Grand Duets for Piano.  The last eleven are from the book In Recital for the Advancing Pianist--Duets from the FJH Pianist's Curriculum by Helen Marlais.

Playing a duet

Here is a recent picture of Gail and myself seated at the piano playing a Christmas duet.

Thankful for the Mystery

Here is a thought for Thanksgiving Day:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An actual "death" panel

Following our lunch at Millie's, we returned to the Gillioz Theater and heard a panel discussion respond to the question, "How Should Rationalists Approach Death?"  The hour long discussion was quite interesting.  The members of the panel gave well thought out responses.  Being humanists, all members of the panel assumed that death was the final event in their life.

News Headline, Nov. 23, 2011

Fox News Viewers Know Less Than People Who Don't Watch Any News

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Skepticon IV Agenda

Last week we went to Springfield, Missouri for Skepticon IV.  Here was the agenda:

 9:00   Check In & Introduction
10:00   David Silverman  |  Skepticism, Atheism, and Our Common Movement
11:00   Eliezer Yudkowsky  |  Heuristics and Biases
12:00   Lunch Break
 1:00   Panel: How Should Rationalists Approach Death?
 2:00   Dan Barker
 3:00   Julia Galef  |  The Straw Vulcan
 4:00  Greta Christina  |  Why Are You Atheists So Angry?
 5:00   Dinner Break
 6:00   Rebecca Watson
 7:00   PZ Myers  |  Rummaging About In The Genetic Junkyard
 8:00   Atheist Evangelist Sam Singleton  |  Revival

 9:00   Joe Nickell  |  Undercover! Clandestine Paranormal Investigations
10:00   Jen McCreight  |  Skeptical Genetics
11:00   Richard Carrier  |  Bayes' Theorem: Key to the Universe
12:00   Lunch Break
 1:00   Hemant Mehta  |  The Need For More Critical Thinking In Math Education
 2:00   Spencer Greenberg  |  Self-Skepticism
 3:00   David Fitzgerald  |  The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons
 4:00   Darrel Ray  |  Sex and Secularism
 5:00   JT Eberhard  |  Why The Skeptic Community Must Concern Itself With Mental Illness

Monday, November 21, 2011

Moyers on Plutonomy

Bill Moyers had it right.  Listen and know he knew what was coming.

At Skepticon 4

I wish I had a tee-shirt like this guy. I saw several people wearing a shirt like this one. The quote reads:

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -- Carl Sagan

The people wearing these shirts were from the St. Louis Skeptics Society.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Skepticon 4

The piano duo of Gail Storey and Dan Nerren
We just got back from a trip to Springfield, MO.  We left Friday and returned today, Sunday.  Going there the traffic was a bit heavy but due to the clouds it was not a bright day.  But I had my sunglasses with me, just in case.

We visited with my parents that afternoon, catching up on what had happened since we last saw them, which was just two weeks earlier.  The reason for our trip was Skepticon 4.  We could attend sessions only on Friday.  We had to be back to Sand Springs to provide child care for our grandchildren.  We attended four sessions.

The first session or talk was given by Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists.  The title of his talk was "Skepticism, Atheism, and Our common Movement."  He spoke about the need to come out of the closet.  He said there are far more atheists, but that many atheists hide their atheism for various reasons, but mainly for employment reasons.  However, there are others, such as retired persons, who could be more open about their atheism.  Silverman estimated that about 15% of the American population is now atheist.

At the 11:00 o'clock session Eliezer Yudkowsky spoke on "Heuristics and Biases."  Following this talk we broke for lunch.  Two blocks away is Millie's Cafe.  I had a chicken salad sandwich with fried sweet potatoes.

After lunch we heard Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation speak for an hour without notes.  Barker is a former minister (19 years in the ministry) who changed his mind about religion.  He is now involved in a project (can't at the moment recall what it is called) to assist ministers who have had a change of mind about religion, but due to economic reasons are unable to leave their clerical positions.  He said that currently there are 119 people he is assisting.  Some have been able to "come out" and find work in non-profit groups.  His talk was largely auto-biographical. 

The next talk was presented by Julia Galef.  Her talk was titled "The Straw Vulcan."

After Galef's talk, we went to Hoover Music Company.  I looked through some of their piano duet music and bought three pieces.

I am now being encouraged to free up this computer for use by someone else, whose identity I am not free to reveal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From an e-mail I received today

Tomorrow will be a nationwide day of action in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Occupy Wall Street has put the attention of the country, in fact of the whole world, on the deep wrongness of the current American economy and democracy. Both are broken and rigged by design to produce extraordinary incomes and security only for an elite few.

That's why we will take to the streets for a day of mass action on November 17 to declare an "economic emergency" in every corner of the country, in all 50 states.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Catching up on things

First off, no more earthquakes have rattled the area.  There was no damage to speak of in the Tulsa area from the recent quakes.

Today I went to the service at Church of the Restoration.  There were a few more people there than usual.  I would guess we had 14 in the congregation this morning.  I had to leave a few minutes early and high-tail it home to meet up with J and go to a movie in Tulsa.  We saw Anonymous at the AMC 20.  We met four of our friends there.  It was a good movie and made the case that the works of Shakespeare were written by someone other than Shakespeare.  Due to the political machinations of the times, the overt political references in the plays could get the playwright in trouble.  It may be too much to ask readers to believe that a semi-literate person who left no writings (other than the plays and poems), could be the source of the material produced by "Shakespeare."

After the movie was over, we went by Nick's and got Luke and took him out to eat.  He asked to go to the McDonald's in Sapulpa.  We got there about dark.  Luke enjoys playing on the indoor playground.  After eating and letting Luke play in the play area, we headed back to Sand Springs.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Is fracking to blame for the earthquakes?

Below is one person's explanation for the recent earthquakes in Oklahoma:

The Oklahoma Geological Survey by Austin Holland was published recently, and it states clearly that fracking is one of the causes for earthquakes. When you inject the earth with saltwater to break up the shale beneath the earth, you're creating an instability in the crust that results in sudden and sometimes extreme movement. In other words, the earth sinks a little where the fracking occurs. Doesn't anyone see anything wrong with this? Oil companies are admitting they're damaging the earth, damaging homes, infrastructure, and possibly risking lives...all for the sake of natural gas and oil.

Just to illustrate the point, between 1977 and 2008, there were only 28 earthquakes in Oklahoma: less than 1 per year. Between 2009 and 2010, the state experienced 134 earthquakes: an average of 95 quakes per year. That's a huge difference. And it simply can not be attributed to a fault line or natural causes. Even the British energy company, Cuadrilla Resources, admits that fracking is the most likely cause of increased incidents of earthquakes in the area.

Earthquake felt in Tulsa area

Last night a quake struck shortly before 11:00 pm.  I was in bed but not asleep.  It felt like a big truck rumbling down the street.  I was aware that we had an earthquake the day before and immediately thought of that.  It lasted for about 15 seconds.  I read that some structures suffered damage, but I have not been outside this morning to look at our house.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Asimov quote

I have been reading some famous quotes by Isaac Asimov.  The subject of the talk tomorrow at Church of the Restoration will be Asimov.  I have my talk prepared.  I have been looking at quotes by Asimov to use as the Call to Worship or the Affirmation.  Here is one that I like:

“There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save.”
― Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky

Friday, November 04, 2011

A short trip to Springfield

We got back from a short trip to Springfield, Missouri.  All is well there.  We drove straight through, not stopping once for snacks or restroom breaks. 

That evening we ate out at Golden Corral, not far from the Abbey.  I ate Chinese something, corn, fried fish, hush puppies, shrimp, and I can't remember what else.

When we got back to the apartment, we watched MSNBC in the evening hours.

While in Springfield, I went to Springfield Music, just a couple of blocks from the Abbey.  I bought two books of Christmas music (duets) arranged by Melody Bober.

We stopped once on the way back.  We ate at the Hardee's at Exit 4, just before getting to the border of Oklahoma.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy Tulsa 10.30.11

Today following the church service, I went over to Boston and 6th in downtown Tulsa to see how the Occupy Tulsa movement was doing. I spent two hours there, helping to erect a tent and listening to Chris Lee Becker entertain the volunteers with guitar and song. The crowd numbered about a dozen.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Tulsa 10.29.11

The local occupation movement, Occupy Tulsa, has a web site:  I looked at it this morning and saw a list of needed items.  One needed item was water.  I went to Wal-Mart and bought two gallons of drinking water and took it downtown to the occupation site at Chapman Green, 6th and Boston.  There were only a few people there -- five at the most, I would guess.  I placed the two gallons of water on top of the cooler, exchanged pleasantries with the girl who greeted me, got back in my car, and drove off.

At the most, there were five people at the site.  I will continue to check on the site and report what I find.

Flu shot 2011

Yesterday I got a flu shot.  It is supposed to be 59% effective.  Hmm?  Last year I did not get the flu shot and made it through the flu season without getting the flu.  My neurosurgeon says that getting the flu shot for so many consecutive years leads to early onset of Alzheimers.  He does not take them at all.  The shot costs $14.99.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recent happenings

Last Friday was the day of the Occupy Tulsa rally.  I wanted to be there, but was unable to go due to .........  Instead, we went to the HAT meeting.  After the HAT meeting, we went to the nearby Village Inn, just a few feet away.  There we enjoyed a steak dinner, two veggies, tea and a dessert.

On Sunday, I went to Church of the Restoration.  There were about a dozen people there that morning.  The title of the talk was "The Liberal Agony."  It was delivered by Mary Rounds and was based on an article from a magazine.

Next day was Monday.  Usually on Monday Gail and I practice piano duets, but we put off practice until Thursday due to a scheduling conflict.

And now it is Tuesday.  Yesterday, J took Ayla to her piano lesson.  Today we have Luke in the afternoon.  He has a piano lesson this afternoon, also.  That should be interesting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some thoughts on religion

When it comes to believing something that you can't experience with your five senses, may people assume that the choice is to either (1) believe the predominate religion of your geographical area or (2) believe no religion.  But why should one believe the predominant religion?  Is it because it is the easiest to do?  Probably.

There is quite a smorgasbord of beliefs to choose from.  The one that is closest to you (the religion of your family) is probably the one you will choose.  That seems to be the case with most people.  If your parents were Southern Baptist, you will probably be Southern Baptist.  If your parents were Roman Catholic, you are likely to be so also.  I think most people know this, but it doesn't seem to cause them to reflect on the accuracy of their choice of religion.  Most people adopt the religion of their parents.

There seems to be one exception to this rule: marriage.  Oft times a woman (less so, a man) will switch to the religion of her (or his) spouse.  Such is the case with my sister-in-law.  She was a Methodist, but when she married a Catholic, she switched to Catholicism.  When such a switch occurs, it make you wonder just how devoted a believer the "switcher" was to begin with.

In a recent book, Michael Shermer reports that a person first adopts his beliefs (most likely from family), and then he spends time thereafter seeking confirmatory evidence to prop up those beliefs.  He is quick to remember whatever confirms those beliefs, while easily dismissing evidence which tends to not confirm his beliefs.  Is that why we have so many religions today?  Could be.

It is rare for a person to adopt a religion that is foreign to his environment.  When was the last time you ran into a convert to Hinduism?

There seems to come a point where seeking to reason with someone regarding their religion is futile.  Ever try to get a Muslim to consider some other point of view?  After so many years in a religious milieu, conversion (or opening up one's mind to other possibilities) is well nigh impossible.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Slow week

This week has been uneventful.  Thus the lack of posts to this blog.  I would have to say the highlight of the week was once again my piano duet practice with Gail.

Tonight was Poetry Group.  We talked about Robert Browning.  We were not very enthused about him.  Next month we decided to select two poems and bring them to read to the group.  No one really likes the Bloom anthology we are using.

A couple of days ago I went out to Lake Keystone and replaced the 5K walk instructions with updated instructions.  I added some tabs to the folders in the walk box and placed a label with my name and phone number on the walk box.

I found a few tomatoes in my garden that were ready to come into the house.

I managed to go walking at the fitness center four days this week.  That increases my total by 12 miles.

I was going to go downtown tomorrow for the Occupy Tulsa march and demonstration, but J has vetoed that idea.  Instead I will go to that HAT meeting.

What few people we had committed to HATA tomorrow night were dropping like flies that I had to cancel the event.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A fourth chant

See the post below regarding the chant writing project.  I have just come up with a fourth chant:

Can't buy your food?  Can't make the rent?
You're prob'ly in the 99 percent.

Two more to go.  Come on and help me out.

Working on chants

At the organizing rally for Occupy Tulsa last Saturday at Newblock Park, I volunteered to write some chants for our group to use as we march through the streets of downtown Tulsa on Saturday, October 15, starting at noon.  Pause and reflect upon our goals.  Many people have lost their employment through no fault of their own.  President Obama has proposed a jobs plan which would put many people to work.  It is being obstructed by Republicans.

Thus far I have come up with three chants.  They are:

Hey, hey, what do you say?
It's time for greed to go away.

If we want to save our nation,
Banks must have more regulation.

We are serious.  This is no joke,
Spare us from the brothers Koch.

I would like to come up with three more chants, giving us six altogether.  If you can think of any chants, please e-mail them to me, or post them as a comment below.  If you can think of any, I will credit you by name in future postings.  Those of you who have taught English may have some advantage here.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Recent happenings

Before it gets too late, I thought I had better write a little about some events of the last two days.

On Friday morning, we went to the PAC and heard Anna Quindlen speak.  She talk seemed to be well rehearsed.  Perhaps she has delivered the talk dozens of times before.  It sounded like that.  There were no off-the-cuff remarks.  Every sentence seemed pretty well rehearsed.

Once the speech had ended, we walked down to the PAC, a few block to the east.  There people were gathering for a demonstration against job cuts.  Three groups were represented: the postal workers, the transport workers, and Occupy Tulsa.  I grabbed a sign and joined in.  A few speeches were made and the event lasted about an hour.  About 100 people were present.

The next morning I went out and got the newspaper.  When I opened it up, I saw my picture on the front page above the fold.  OK, I was in a group of people and the photo of me was pretty small.

By ten o'clock that morning I was at Newblock Park for a meeting of "Occupy Tulsa."  This is one of several groups which has sprung up as a result of the Occupy Wall Street event.  There were about 50 people there.  This was my first time to attend.  They had met previously, but I was unaware of the group's existence until recently.  The group was made up of people of all ages; people were from all walks of life.  I was impressed at how well the meeting was run.  We will be marching through downtown Tulsa next week,  If you would like to join us, be outside the BOK Center (southeast corner) at noon on Saturday.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

On Pascal's Wager

"If I knew nothing about the tenets or history of a religion except that it claims its adherents are destined for eternal bliss while nonadherents are destined for eternal torment, I would expect upon further examination to find that the religion has some very, very good -- indeed, irrefutable -- supporting evidence.  Otherwise, I would conclude that the inducements of heaven and the threats of hellfire serve merely as mechanisms to gain and keep adherents, the religion not being able otherwise to stand on the evidence.  I reject Pascal's Wager as mental enslavement."

Ken Daniels, from Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary

Tossing out the baby with the bathwater?

While reading the news this morning, I came across this:

"The bill is part of a larger effort among House Republicans to reduce U.S. funding for family planning, both domestically and abroad. The Foreign Affairs Committee voted earlier this year to reinstate the "global gag rule," which blocks all U.S. funding -- including money for HIV/AIDS prevention, water and sanitation projects, child survival and education -- to international health organizations that provide abortions or counsel women on where they could safely have one."

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pictures at the Ozark Folk Center

Listening to the performers at the Ozark Folk Center.

A trio performs as I (in blue shirt) listen.

Exhausted, I stretch out on the recliner.

Each room had a different theme.  Our room was the one-room school.  Our room number was zero.

Tired after a full day of touring the folk center.

Pictures at the Ozark Folk Center

Here I am making my way to the Skillet Restaurant.

The daytime performers at OFC for Sept. 29.

Here is a crafts person working in the pottery shop.

Here is a woodcarver working in his shop.

Pictures at the Ozark Folk Center

This is a real live squirrel puttering around just outside my window at the Skillet Restaurant.

This is an inside view from the Skillet.

Another inside view

Here I am climbing the stairway at the Skillet Restaurant.

Pictures at Ozark Folk Center

A view from the deck

Another deck view

One act at the evening performance

Strum that ole banjo

Pictures from Ozark Folk Center

This is a picture of the lodging facilities known as the Cabins at Dry Creek.  There are 30 of these buildings.  Each is a duplex.  The buildings are hexagonal and are divided in the center.

Here I am standing in the doorway to our lodge.

Here is a view from inside our room.

Out back is a deck.

Vacation Video - Jig Dancing

Here is a video taken on our recent vacation to the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas.  To enlarge the image, click on the arrows on the bottom right corner.  To start the video, click on the triangle in the bottom left corner.

Friday, September 30, 2011

We've been traveling

We got back in today from a few days spent at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas.  Before that we went to Springfield, Missouri.

Our trip to the Ozark Folk Center was great.  We traveled first to Harrison, AR and spent the night in the Days Inn and ate at the nearby Chinese restaurant.  When we got back to the motel, we watched Meet the Fockers on HBO.

The next day we drove to Mountain View.  The weather was perfect with daytime highs in the seventies and nighttime lows in the fifties.  The first thing we did on our arrival in the small Arkansas town of about 2,000 people, was stop at McFadden's Dulcimer Shop.  The have dulcimers but a lot more besides.  It is a music store that has a little of everything.  I bought a tee shirt there.  They have many music books which I browsed.  In the back of the store are two workers constantly building dulcimers.  We drove on down to the cabin rental office.  Although we had reserved a room for two nights, they had recorded only one night.  They were booked up for Thursday night.  We had to make other arrangements.  I phoned a motel in town and booked a room for Thursday night.

The peak tourist season had passed.  The two days we were there, few people were around.  Sometimes you would go into a craftsperson's shop and be the only tourist in there.  There are about 20 shops in the village.  There is one new shop this year -- a glass beads shop.  The workers tell about their craft while making some object.  In the center of the village is a pavalion with live music.  A different act is booked for each day the village is open.  In the evening, five or so acts put on a two-hour show in the auditorium.  We attended the show each night we were there.  All music is performed on acoustic instruments and had to have been written before 1941.  Gospel and Bluegrass are the styles most popular there.

While at the Folk Center we ate at The Skillet restaurant.  We sat at our table and watched the squirrels play outside the plate glass windows.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Compressed Natural Gas

Here is a video explaining the advantage of driving a car that runs on compressed natural gas.  It runs about 15 minutes.  Click on first video.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


"Doubt cannot be imposed from the outside; it must begin from within."

--Ken Daniels, from Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Piano -- tuning and teaching

We had arranged for our piano tuner to come and tune the piano this morning.  She was here for an hour -- from 9:00 to 10:00 this morning.  We had made the appointment about a month ago.  It had been a few years since we had the piano tuned.  The tuning costs $110.  She said she tunes four pianos a day.

We picked up Luke after school and went by his house to get his piano music.  Next we came home for a little while.  At 5:00 pm, he has a piano lesson on Tuesdays.  We drove over to his teacher's apartment not far from here.  He had a 30-minute lesson, but he was not very cooperative.  I think he spent as much time off the bench (in the floor) as on the bench playing his assignments.  Mrs. Hopper (his teacher) is a very patient women.

Last week a worker from a local tile store layed some tile in the hallway for us.  This evening we replaced the baseboard in the hall.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A People's History is now online

Although I have long heard about it, I have never read it.  But this morning I discovered that the full text of the 500+ page book is available online.  I am talking about Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.  Here is the link:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Recent happenings

I did not go to church Sunday morning.  Instead I stayed home and got ready for the 9/11 commemoration ceremony which was held at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa.  I could have gone to church but was advised to not overextend myself.

After donning my suit, I drove to the designated parking location where a lady gave me a parking pass.  I parked the car and walked over to the BOK Center.  Then I went to the rendezvous location for the speakers.  Each speaker had a spot in the line-up.  I was somewhere in the middle of the pack.  There was a Catholic priest, and Orthodox priest, a Jewish rabbi, a Hindu, a Native American, and so on.  I was there representing Humanism.  We each were given 30 seconds to read a statement or say a prayer.  Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett introduced former mayor Susan Savage who gave the keynote address.  Songs were sung, flags were saluted, etc.  The whole event lasted about a hour.

I chatted for a while with the Orthodox priest.  The Orthodox church is, in my opinion, the church most like the original Christian church.  If I were a Christian, I would most likely be Orthodox.  The Orthodox church every year sponsors a Greek Holiday celebration with song and dance and food.  The festival for this year is this week, and I hope we can get over to the church during the time it is in operation.

Gail came over this morning for our weekly practice session.  We worked on "Tierra Del Sol," "Mountain Belle Shottisch," and "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen."  Since it is September and Christmas is coming soon, we played a few selections from a collection by the title "A Jazzy Christmas."

Friday, September 09, 2011

It's Time to Pray

Dr. Bruce Prescott says it is time to pray.  Please see his list of things to pray for at  (Thursday, Sept. 8)  Let your conscience be your guide.

Today we went to Tulsa Town Hall and heard Ted Koppel speak.  Koppel is the well-known ABC newsman, who for 25 years hosted Nightline.  One thing I learned about Koppel is that he can sing and is a pretty good stand up comic.  He spoke about the news then and now.  Back then, he said that TV newsmen (and newswomen) told the people what they needed to know.  Nowdays people have more choices in news and now news people tell the people what they want to hear.  It is what they need to know vs. what they want to know.  If people want to know about the trial of Casey Anthony, they will find a news outlet to satisfy that desire.  Following the Casey Anthony trial means that there is much real news they will have to ignore,  and that may not be good for the country.

In the afternoon, we picked up Luke and Ayla after school was out.  They attend two different schools, but the two schools are within a half-mile of each other.

This evening, we went to the Poetry Group meeting at Barnes and Noble Bookstore.  We read and talked about English poetry in the period just following Shakespeare.  Herrick, Carew, Lovelace, and Suckling were the poets we read about tonight.  Next month we will read poetry of Robert Browning.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Church and Piano

Last Sunday was Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration.  The speaker was Marilyn Clarke.  Her topic was "Make the Mortal World Enough."  I played the piano during the service as a substitute for Edna, who had to be elsewhere on Sunday.  The special music was a duet played by Gail and myself.  We played "Long Time Ago."  There were 16 people in the congregation that day.  After the service was over, we had a potluck dinner.

The next day, Monday, Gail came over to practice duets.  We will be playing again at the Humanism and the Arts program on the 16th.  I will be getting my piano tuned on the 20th.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

From The Believing Brain

The following is from a new book by Michael Shermer entitled The Believing Brain: From Ghosts to Gods to Politics and Conspiracies -- How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.
Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen. These meaningful patterns become beliefs, and these beliefs shape our understanding of reality.
Once beliefs are formed, the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and thereby accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop of belief confirmation.
How does one escape from a "positive feedback loop" which only serves to reinforce one's prior beliefs? I suspect the older one gets, the more difficult it is to escape. I remember coming to the conclusion that the Christian scheme of things did not make sense when I was around the age of 20. I was able to depart from it at that time.

Overpopulation and abortion

One of my concerns has to do with the overpoulation of the world.  Here is a video which addresses this problem and also speaks to abortion:

Friday, August 26, 2011

God is funny

A friend sent me a link to a video on YouTube.  The accent may be a bit difficult to understand, but you will probably be able to understand most of it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A blog I like

There are some six or seven blogs which I follow regularly.  Being a former Southern Baptist, I enjoy reading the writings of Dr. Bruce Prescott of Norman, Oklahoma.  His blog is entitled "Mainstream Baptist" and can be found at Dr. Prescott follows and writes about issues related to religion in general, and to Southern Baptists in particular.

Home improvements

Lately, we have been involved in a home improvemnt project.  We pulled up the carpet in the hall and will be replacing it with linoleum tile, the peel-and-stick kind.  We have looked at Lowe's and have settled on the tile we want.  It is almost white, which should make the hallway lighter in appearance.

All the while, we have been doing a lot of babysitting.  Once again today, we will be picking up the grandkids when they get out of school.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jim Hightower on Rick Perry

With Perry, you get the two basic political strains of today's Republican Party in one suit. On the one hand, he has carefully posed himself in the past couple of years as the farthest out of Tea Party Republican's far-out right-wingers. Think Michele Bachman with better hair: Perry called the BP oil disaster an "act of God." His response to the drought that's devastating Texas was to pray for rain (God did not oblige). He's a "tenther" who angrily asserted state's rights to nullify Obama's "socialist" schemes (until he needed federal cash to fix his state's bankrupt unemployment fund). He hates government-financed health care -- except for himself and his family. He loudly decries big government intrusion into people's lives, but enacted a law this year to require any woman considering an abortion to have a grossly-invasive probe inserted up her uterus to make her see a sonogram of the embryo. If elected, he would also try to scuttle Social Security, Medicaid and the federal income tax. All this, he warns, or else Texas might secede from the Union -- an idea lustily applauded by the other 49 states.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Peek-a-boo frog

As I was watering my topsy-turvy plants tonight, look what appeared from inside.  Forced to surface by the rising water, a little frog came scrambling to an exit hole.  My two topsy-turvy plants have produced thus far only one tomato, about the size of a grape.  I decided to leave the little feller alone.  It is probably the most interesting thing my garden has produced this year.  (Click on the picture to enlarge the view.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Church service; piano; garden

On Sunday, I went to Church of the Restoration at 10 am for the RE hour which meets prior to the 11 am service.  The topic today was the financial meltdown which happened in 2008 and is still with us to this day.  The service was led by a young man from the School of Metaphysics.  There were about 15 people present.

On Monday Gail came over at the usual time and we played duets at the piano until around 11:40.  She was exhausted by that time, so we stopped.

My garden is a real disappointment this year.  My tomato plants went wild with foliage but produced little fruit.  The cucumber plants did better.  Maybe my garden next year should be all cucumber plants.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Movies we have seen recently

We do not get out to the movies a lot, but with keeping the grandkids much recently, we have seen a few movies.  We saw Mr. Popper's Penguins, Winnie the Pooh, and The Smurfs.

One of the best movies I have seen recently is Transcendent Man: The Life and Ideas of Ray Kurzweil. We viewed it today at the Humanist Discussion Group. Kurzweil is a futurist and inventor.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mid-Week Report

Yesterday, I drove to a small community south of Claremore called Tiawah.  It was in Tiawah where the body of a former railroad co-worker lay at the altar.  The woman was just 39 years old when she was killed by a flatcar which rolled into her.  The accident happened on August 4.  She sat on the passenger side of a Kabota, a small vehicle used by the car department.  The driver did not realize that the flatcar was rolling down the hump.  The knuckle and draft gear of the flatcar struck Debby as they were attempting to cross over the track.  Most likely death was instantaneous.  It took two hours to extract her body from the Kabota.   I had transported Debby in my van many times when I worked at the yard.

Luke and Ayla spent the night with us again last night.  Although Jennifer returned home from the hospital yesterday, J asked to keep the children another night to give Jennifer more time to rest.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Weekend Activities

On Sunday, I went to Church of the Restoration.  The speaker was to be Will Poire.  However, Will sent me an e-mail saying that his employer was sending him to Kansas for the weekend.  He sent me his talk by e-mail, and I read it to the congregation in his place.  I also played a solo at the piano as the special music.  It was "Blackbird" by Lennon and McCartney.  It was Humanist Sunday and three humanists other than myself were there.  Gail was there for the first time since her surgery.  There were close to a dozen there, perhaps a few more as we had three guests.  We had a meal following the service.

Jen had surgery today.  I went to the hospital for a while and sat with Nick and Gary and Adra Dobbs.  Her surgery went well.  She will be in the ICU for a while.

Luke and Ayla are staying with us for a few days.  Luke is a real firecracker.  As it gets closer to bedtime, he becomes more active, running through the house as fast as he can.  J has a lot more patience with him than I.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Oklahoma Freethought Convention

The Oklahoma Freethought Convention was held today at All Souls Unitarian Church from noon to 7 pm.  HAT was one of the groups with a table.  The were 318 attendees, perhaps the largest gathering of freethinkers in Oklahoma.  As Kenny said to me today, "Did you ever think when you started this group we would reach this size?"  I had to admit not.

I arrived around 10 am to set up the HAT table.  Herb also arrived about that time.  Set up was easy since I had all my materials in a box.  I attached the banner to the cloth covering the table with duct tape.  Then I spread out the printed material on the cloth.

I collected e-mail addresses from those showing an interest in HAT.  I got 24 names and addresses.

The first speaker was Dr. William Morgan, formerly on the faculty of ORU.  He lost his faith and became agmostic.  He was followed by atheist Abbie Smith, a researcher at the University of Oklahoma.  The last speaker before the break was Seth, the Thinking Atheist.  Actually, The Thinking Atheist is the title of a series of videos on YouTube which he produced.

During the break, I drove down Peoria and had a couple of soft tacos at Taco Bueno.

Returning to the Convention, we heard two more speakers: AronRa and Matt Dillahunty, leader of the Austin Atheists.  I did not stay for the meet and greet.  I had been there for 8½ hours and had reached my fill of freethought talk for one day.

Below is a picture of Herb, our president.

Tabling at the Oklahoma Freethought Convention

Herb (reading paper) and I manned the HAT table today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Copies of copies of copies

The original autograph is lost, of course, rendering the claim of its inerrancy meaningless.  What we have, as biblical scholar Bart Ehrman reminds us, are copies of copies of copies, in which all the mistakes, both accidental and intentional, have been multiplied exponentially over the centuries.  If fact, there are now more known differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

--Robin Meyers

Crucifixion story

Serious study of the Bible reveals that no crucifixion story even existed for at least forty years after Jesus' death, and yet we continue to read the gospel accounts as if they are the work of eyewitnesses and view the crucifixion itself as if it is the unfolding of a divinely ordained drama.

--Robin Meyers

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Robin Meyers quote

Arguing over the metaphysics of Christ only divides us.  But agreeing to follow the essential teachings of Jesus could unite us.  We could become imitators, not believers.

--Robin Meyers

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week in Review

It has been a few days since I last posted anything (other than some pictures).  Going back to Monday, I got together with my duet partner, Gail, who is recuperating from having a cancerous tumor removed by surgery from her left lung.  She was in good spirits and eager to resume playing duets.  We played for an hour and could have gone on longer, but we stopped there.  For the first time, we held our practice at her house.  It was quite enjoyable to get back to playing duets.

We took Luke and Ayle to the Charles Page Library for a program on magic.  The library had hired a magician, and he was quite good.  He performed many illusions.  He did card tricks, coin tricks, and metal ring tricks.  He was smooth.  He certainly fooled my eyes.  After the program was over, we bought Luke and Alya a kit of magic each.  The kit had three tricks in it.  They seemed to like best the one with a sliding tray which seemed to turn one coin into another.

On Thursday we traveled to Springfield to visit my parents.  The AC in the car kept us cool all the way there and back.  Outside the car the temperatures were over 100.  We have had some scorching hot days here in Oklahoma.  While in Springfield, we went to Hoover's Music Store near downtown.  I bought four pieces of piano duet music: "Hoedown at Cripple Creek," "Festival Suite," "Festival Toccata," and "Waltz" from "Three Fantastic Dances" by Shostakovich.

The previous week I received in the mail 4 American Folk Songs (piano duet), which include the songs "Long Time Ago," "Every Night When the Sun Goes Down," "All the Pretty Little Horses," and "Cindy;" Piano Together (piano duet), a collection of five pieces which are: "Alouette," "Scarborough Fair," "Billy Boy," "A Little Rocky," and "The Fountain;" All American Boogie Woogie, a collection of twenty pieces for piano solo all written in boogie woogie style.  I also received Erik Satie, Piano-Album -- a collection of 286 pages of solo piano music written by Erik Satie.

I have been listening (while walking) to a series of lectures titled Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion.  The lectures were recorded by Bill Messenger of the Peabody Institute of Music.  I recently had to buy a new MP3 player after my other MP3 player went through the wash while in a pocket of my cut-off jeans.  The previous player had a 2G capacity.  My new one has 4G capacity, but costs the same as the 2G.  The music I recorded on the old MP3 player is still on it, but the player will not hold a charge for very long.  We transferred the eight lectures on The Teaching Company discs by Messenger to the new MP3 player.

We always eat well while in Springfield.  Dad took us Golden Corral and the next day to Logan's.  We ate high on the hog.  We returned to Oklahoma Friday evening.

Today was Food and Fellowship for July.  There were 11 of us present at Rib Crib for the meal.  I had the catfish dinner.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garden pictures

Here I am standing next to my tomato plants.  Beneath the plants is a 4 ft. by 4 ft. frame.  It is no longer visible due to the growth of the plants.

In this picture (above) you can see my squash plants in the half-barrel in front of me.  At the rear next to the fence, you can see my cucumber plants.

Here I am examining my topsy-turvy plants.  I have two topsy-turvy plants hanging side by side.

Here is a general overview of my garden.  The topsy-turvy plants can't be seen from this angle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend update

Today at Church of the Restoration we watched another part of the documentary about the Mormons.  Then followed the service which today was led by Mary Rounds.  There were only six in attendance this morning.

I heard on the news that thieves hit another northside (of Tulsa) church, stealing the copper from the AC system.  I figure it is just a matter of time before our church will be a victim of a copper theft.

We had the grandkids after church again today.  Nick and Jen went to a movie and then ate at Panara Bread.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We get rain

It has been dry here, but occasionally we get some rain.  It rained yesterday and again today.    Although the weatherman had said chances of rain were only 20%, we were located in that 20% area.  At times the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled.  It reminded me of James Weldon Johnson's poem The Creation.

After we picked up Ayla, we went to Tulsa and to Incredible Pizza.  First we ate lunch and then Ayla played games.  I like to watch the old TV shows from way back when that are constantly running in the dining area.  I saw an episode of the "Dick Van Dyke Show" and an episode of the "I Love Lucy" program.

The music I ordered from Sheet Music Plus arrived this week.  Among the pieces I ordered is a book of music by Erik Satie, one of my favorite composers.  The book contains dozens of his compositions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Meyers quote

Christianity has become primarily a strategy for "victory," but it is an individual victory over debt, obesity, or low self-esteem, not a collective victory over injustice, poverty, war, or environmental degredation.  Faith has become essentially an individual transaction, and the average image of God is that of a personal trainer.  Much preaching today is framed as an invitation to God to come into our story, but the biblical invitation is radically different.  We are being invited into God's story.

--Robin Meyers

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Reading and From the Mail

I am currently reading a book I downloaded from Amazon to my Kindle.  The title is Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary by Ken Daniels.  The writer is quite sympathetic toward Christianity.  He tried hard to stay with it, but in the end he had to leave the church.  To stay with his religion would have forced him to be hypocritical.  In the foreward, Guy P. Harrison writes "Daniels has retained plenty of sympathy for those who cannot yet see that the supernatural claims of Christianity cannot stand up to honest scrutiny."

This past week I received two courses from The Teaching Company.  The first is on DVD and is titled "Optimizing Brain Fitness."  It is 12 lectures long.  We have viewed the first two already.  The second course is titled "Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion."  This course is made up of 8 CDs, each 45 minutes long.

Today we went to the Humanist Discussion Group, which met at Church of the Restoration.  The meeting started at 1:30 pm.  It was a hot day today.  Brandon was at the church for his monthly computer help.  He help people with their computers, getting rid of viruses and the like.  As he got ready to leave, his car would not start.  I went out to help him.  Even though I was out only a few minutes, the heat was unbearable.  I was soon back in the building.

I suggested that next month we discuss Ray Kurzweil.  According to Kurzweil, knowledge is accelerating exponentially.  He believes that life extention will soon be available for mankind.  I am presently reading Kurzweil's Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever.  He believes that we will conquer diseases, which will aid a lot in the extention of human life.  Of course, there will still be car accidents and other mishaps to cut short lives.

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer deserves to be remembered as the greatest Christian of the twentieth century, yet he did not believe in literal miracles - the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection, or the second coming, just to name a few.  All he did was to walk away from everything the world calls good to follow Jesus.

--Robin Meyers

Friday, July 08, 2011

Christianity as a belief system...

Christianity as a belief system requires nothing but acquiescence.  Christianity as a way of life, as a path to follow, requires a second birth, the conquest of ego, and new eyes with which to see the world.  It is no wonder that we have preferred to be saved.

--Robin Meyers

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The heat is on

There is only one good thing about this Oklahoma heat, and that is it kills the grass. I guess you can look at that two ways. I am thankful that I do not have to get out and mow the stuff. Just as we broke records for cold weather last winter, we are now breaking records for hot weather.

We kept Luke and Ayla from overnight until about 4 this afternoon. We discovered that there is a video that they love. It is titled School House Rock. I think we watched it a half dozen times while they were here. It has some catchy tunes.

Those two kids require a lot of attention; therefore, I did not do much else today. After we returned them to their parents, I did manage to go for a short walk (two miles) on the Katy Trail.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Meyers quote

Strangely, we have come to a moment in human history when the message of the Sermon on the Mount could indeed save us, but it can no longer be heard above the din of dueling doctrines. Consider this: there is not a single word in that sermon about what to believe, only words about what to do. It is a behavioral manifesto, not a propositional one. Yet three centuries later, when the Nicene Creed became the official oath of Christendom, there was not a single word in it about what to do, only words about what to believe!

--Robin Meyers

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Meyers quote

"In my part of the world (Oklahoma is the reddest state in the union), there is actually a positive correlation between high church attendance and negative social statistics like teen pregnancy, divorce, physical and sexual abuse, and chemical dependency. Where there is denial there is dysfunction, and the more one's faith resembles a fairy tale the sooner the clock strikes midnight."

--Robin Meyers

Monday, July 04, 2011

Another Meyers quote

"A whole generation has been asked to accept a false dichotomy. Either you believe that Jesus is God or you don't -- therefore either you are a Christian or you're not."

--Robin Meyers

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Video recommendation

I watched a video tonight that I would recommend to my friends. The video is biographical; it is titled Transcendent Man: The Life and Times of Ray Kurzweil. It is so rich in ideas that I would like to view it again. Anyone who would like to gain immortality (the real kind by not dying) should see this video. It runs for 84 minutes.

Meyers quotation

I recently finished reading a book (on my Kindle) by Robin Meyers, pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City. The title of the book is Saving Jesus from the Church. Here is a quote from the book:

In the end, what right do human beings have to expect eternal bliss for being good -- or on the cheap, for just believing the right things? And what single idea is more shameful or horrific than to project our human longing for vengeance upon God by claiming that in God's infinite mercy God has made and maintains a place of eternal torment? It is no wonder that so many good people avoid the word "Christian" like the plague.

Friday, July 01, 2011

July 2011 Calendar of Activities for Freethinkers

Sat., July 2, 7:00 pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 6705 E 54th

Sun., July 3, 11:00 am
Humanist Sunday; Church of the Restoration (COTR), 1314 N. Greenwood Ave.
Dan Nerren will speak on “Horror Stories from the Bible, part 4.”

Tues., July 5, 5:00 pm
Sapulpa Fellowship of Reality, General Meeting, Java Dave’s in Sapulpa, 122 W. Taft

Wed., July 6, 5 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK

Sat., July 9, 12:30 pm
OutREACH Tabling, 1101 S. Sandusky

Sat., July 9, 1:30 pm
Humanist Discussion Group, COTR, 1314 N. Greenwood

Wed., July 13, 7:00 pm
ACT Mid-Month Social Dinner at Fuji at Brookside

Wed., July 13, 5:00 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK

Sat., July 16, 2:00 pm
HAT Chapter Meeting, Genealogy Center, 2901 S. Harvard

Sun., July 17, 2:00 pm
GodLessons (Bible Babble), Residence at 8017 S. Peach, BA

Wed., July 20, 5:00 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK

Sat., July 23, 8:00 pm
Drinking with Atheists, Blue Rose Café, 1924 Riverside Dr.

Sat., July 23, 11:30 am
Food and Fellowship, Rib Crib, 5025 S. Sheridan Rd.

Sun., July 24, 1:00 pm
ACT Meeting, Agora Coffeehouse, in center of Fontana Center

Sun., July 24, 3:00m
Dream Group at Marilyn Clarke’s, 4917 S. Maplewood

Sun., July 24, 3:15 pm
Post Meetup Social Gathering, Rib Crib, 5025 S. Sheridan Rd.

Wed., July 27, 5:00 pm
Monkey Meetup for kids, 16136 S. Hickory, Lot #2, Sapulpa, OK
Prepared and distributed by Dan Nerren, 918-798-3629

Mall walk

As I was typing content for my blog entry for tonight (7.29.11), a message came upon the screen saying that my content might not be saved. Sure enough, it evaporated. So now I will type my blog content into MS Word and post it later when Blogger is working correctly.

Today we picked up Luke and went to Promenade Mall in Tulsa. We first went to the Food Court where Luke got a kid’s meal at Subway. I got a chicken and rice meal at a Chinese restaurant. J ate pizza.

Next J and Luke went to the play area for children, while I started the volkswalk located inside the mall -- three laps on the upper lever and three laps on the lower level. That is supposed to equal 5 kilometers. I need two more walks and my event book will be ready to mail in.

It was blistering hot as we left the mall in the afternoon. We soon got into our car and turned to A/C to max. We drove back to Sand Springs and returned Luke to his parents. We got back to the house around 3 pm. The walk combined with the heat had me spent, so I took a nap.

In the evening, I went out and watered my garden. The tomato plants are growing like crazy, especially the three planted in the ground. The two topsy-turvy plants are growing, but not like the three planted in the ground. They have grown up through and out of the support inside the 4 X 4 area.

We are supposed to entertain Luke again tomorrow. I guess I had better get to bed now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend happenings

This Sunday began with a video on Mormonism at Church of the Restoration (COTR). The video started about 10 am. We watched about 30 minutes of it and then stopped for a discussion of what we had just viewed. Next the 11 am COTR service featured Mary Rounds and Joy Avery of our congregation talking about the role of women in liberal religion. Following their comments we viewed a DVD on women in religion.

After the service was over I headed for midtown, stopping at the Gateway Market to buy a cake for the afternoon dinner at Marilyn's. Gateway is the only grocery store in north Tulsa. For a long time, north Tulsa had no grocery store. It almost folded after someone went in and held it up at gunpoint. Now there is an armed guard posted at the sole entrance/exit to the store.

After paying for the cake (devil's food with chocolate icing and chocolate chips embedded in the icing), I headed on to midtown. I called Marilyn on the way to see if I could leave the cake with her, since leaving it in a car with temps exceeding 100 degrees did not seem like a good idea. She said I could drop the cake off at her place. I did so , and then went to the Fontana Center for the TAM meeting. (See my Tulsa Atheist Rendezvous blog for what happened at the TAM meeting.)

Following this meeting, I went to Marilyn's. She lives about a half mile away, as the crow flies. Marilyn has been holding a Dream Group -- a place where we talk about our dreams. I very rarely remember my dreams. In fact, since we last met I could not recall anything I had dreamed about. Ron McDaniel was there and he told about one of his dreams. Marilyn also told us about one of her dreams. After about two hours of dreamtalk, but mostly non-dreamtalk, I remembered needed an Insert Card (a volkswalking item). I knew I could get on from the Thornton Y up the street, so I left saying I would be back soon. I went up to the Thonton Y and got the start card and returned to Marilyn's. Soon we were joined by Randy and Dawn. The five of us had BLT sandwiches, followed by watermelon and cake.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Humanist Dinner

Last Wednesday we had a humanist dinner at the Church of the Restoration. We charged $5 per person for a dinner of a salad, spaghetti (with sauce, with or without meat), and a dessert and a drink. It was a good deal. We raised $85 which will be divided equally between the church and HAT.

Today I mowed the front and back yards. Archie had called earlier to see if we wanted him to cut our grass. I told him we would do it ourselves this time.

We had our Food and Fellowship lunch at Chopsticks today around noon. There were ten people at this event.

Tomorrow we start a new topic in the Adult Religious Education portion of our weekly church meetings. We will be viewing videos on Mormons (a six-week program). This is a timely topic since Romney and Huntsman are both Mormons.

Friday roundup

Yesterday we took Luke back to his house following a day at our house. When J came back to the car she had with her Ayla. Ayla came home with us and spent the night here.

Today we took a meal over to Gail in Tulsa. J fixed a chicken dish along with brownies and Jello. I chopped the bell peppers and onions and fixed the Jello. J did the rest. After we left, we drove by the Tulsa Historical Society building and grounds, so that Ayla could see the location of Music at the Mansion that we attend periodically.

Next we drove to the McDonald’s on Yale Ave. for lunch. This McDonald’s has a large playroom for kids. Alya played on the equipment as J and I ate lunch. After lunch we returned to Sand Springs.

We had earlier agreed to take Ayla and the two boys who are grandsons of our neighbor to the south to Bartlesville. Actually Ayla rode with us while the two boys rode with the Lortons. We arrived first. The Lortons had some delay but showed up some twenty minutes later. The kids had fun at the “Kiddee Park” in Bville. It is located in Johnstone Park. It was getting dark, and I wanted to get back home before it got much later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We are back from Springfield

Monday morning we left for a trip to Springfield. On the way, we drove through Joplin and saw the damage from the tornado of May 22 which cut a path through the town 3/4 of a mile wide and six miles long. The number of dead was around 152. At times all you could see was rubble in whatever direction you looked. Churches, the high school, the Home Depot....all smashed.

For lunch we ate at a Bob Evans restaurant. All the restaurants were full as might be expected at 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon. We soon left and drove on into Springfield. We snaked across the divergent diamond on National Avenue and made our way to The Abbey at Fremont and Erie. My parents were both doing well. My sister Paula was there at the time. For our evening meal we went to the Golden Corral.

My friend with lung cancer had a successful surgery and is now on the mend. We hope to be able to resume our piano duet playing in the near future.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lost souls

I came across these words in a book by Rob Bell, Love Wins: "My wife, Kristen, and I often talk about raising our kids in such a way that they have as little as possible to unlearn later in life."

One has much to learn in life, but there is considerable to unlearn in life also. Is anyone so lucky that all of their major precepts turn out to be correct? I doubt it. You may walk down a path and come to a conclusion that it only leads to a dead end. When you reach that realization, you have to backtrack. Most likely you will have several things to unlearn.

I think we all know what I am talking about. However there are some people who for whatever reason swallow everything they have been taught in an uncritical way. These are the true lost souls.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mid-week summary

Earlier this week, on Monday to be exact, we took Luke to Incredible Pizza near Memorial and 71st. We spent about three hours there. First we ate lunch. They have many kinds of pizza there out on a serving line. You help yourself when you want something to eat. There are three large seating areas for dining. Once we had eaten, we went to the games area. The previous time we were there, you would receive tickets based upon how well you played a game. This time, the tickets had been replaced by eTickets, or electronic tickets. As you pay to enter, you are given a plastic card the size of a credit card. You swipe the card to play a game. A computer keeps track of your score and how many tickets you won. Before you leave, you can redeem your tickets for prizes.

In addition to all the games inside the store, there is a nine-hole miniature golf course, a race track for small cars (which you actually get in and drive), and bowling. I think the building was formerly a Venture or Target store. Luke appeared to have a good time there.

Today we expect to have both grandkids while the two parents visit the doctors.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Roundup

Last Friday, J and I went to the dentist for a sixth-month checkup. Everything checked out OK for the two of us.

The next day we had a Humanism and the Arts program at Restoration. Vanessa called me around 5 pm and said I could come by her house to pick up the key. Vanessa lives on the north side of Sand Springs, not far from my son Nick. I left the house and drove to Vanessa's. She was working out in her front year.

When I arrived at the church the SOS group was still meeting there. SOS is an alcohol recovery group led by Larry Hochhaus. Larry is also a member of the church. I brought the refreshments inside. Although eight members had signed up to perform, three were no shows. Only five people performed. The first two people on the program were no shows. Joy had called me hours earlier to let me know she would not be able to be there. Vanessa was supposed to come later but never did. I led off the show playing a piece by a Russian composer with a title something like "Pioneer Campfire." It is a piece I found in a book I bought some forty years ago when Russia was at that time known as the Soviet Union. The book has some twenty songs in it. I enjoy playing them. The book is written in the Russian language. Next Barbara Frey read a poem she had written a few decades ago. She spoke of her time as a teacher. Barbara is now 84 years old.

Next was Marilyn Clarke. She read three poems by Billy Collins. Collins is one of my favorite poets. I always enjoy hearing his work read aloud. Following the Collins verse, Gail and I performed a duet at the piano. We played "Heliotrope Bouquet" by Scott Joplin. Larry Roth, usually a reliable performer, was to finish reading his ghost story, but he did not show.

Today I attended the service at Restoration. The were nine of us there. The number in attendance is much smaller than some Sunday School classes at other churches, but that does not slow us down. We keep plugging right along.

This evening we attended a gathering of the Methodist Church at their new Family Life Center in south Sand Springs. The church has a new minister. The Methodists rotate ministers every few years. Now was the time for a new minister. He preached his first sermon in Sand Springs today. He comes from Mangum, OK. It is in the far southwest of the state .

Luke is spending the night with us tonight. We will have him with us for much of the day tomorrow.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Two events today

The alarm went off around 7 am this morning. Normally we don't set an alarm, but this morning we wanted to go on a volkswalk in downtown Tulsa. The start point was near the old Union Station (now the Jazz Hall of Fame) on 1st Street. After registering, we struck out on the downtown 3.1 mile walk. The walk was billed as an Art Deco walk. The walk passed by many buildings noted for their use of the Art Deco style. Many of the buildings in downtown Tulsa were built during the heyday of Art Deco. After finishing the walk, we went to a McDonald's for a sausage and egg McMuffin.

This evening was "Humanism and the Arts" at Restoration. There were just five of us there. I played a Russian song at the piano. Gail and I played a duet by Scott Joplin, "Heliotrope Bouquet."

This week I learned that a good friend of mine has lung cancer. She is just 60 years old and has never smoked. What a blow!