Friday, March 30, 2012

Oxygen Not Included

We attended another Tulsa Town Hall this morning.  The speaker was Alison Levine.  Her talk was entertaining and was titled "Oxygen Not Included.".  It was primarily about her attempts to scale Mt. Everest.  Her first attempt in 1992 came within 300 feet of the summit.  She went back in 2010, and this time she was able to make it to the top.

When we left the PAC, we headed to Bartlesville.  See the pictures below.

Pictures from Bartlesville

Have you ever seen a white buffalo?  How about one with piano keys on its side?  We saw several of these buffalo statues today in Bartlesville.  A few years ago, Tulsa started something when the city placed several penquin statues around the town to raise funds for the zoo.  The statues are painted in many bizarre colors, much like the buffalo you will see below.

               Same buffalo from another angle.
This is Price Tower.  It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  We toured it a few years ago.  It is built somewhat like a Christmas tree.  The central shaft bears all the weight.
             This is the symphony hall, main venue for the annual OK Mozart festival.  It seats 1,500.

What a colorful buffalo.  The two buffalo appear to be grazing on the grass.

The same buffalo seen from another angle.  Note the First Christian Church in the background.

        Here is the church from a bit closer.

          An even closer look at the church.

Below is a close up of the doors.


      Here is a sculpture of an eagle with two eaglets in the nest.

       This depot was once in the town of Hulah, Oklahoma.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mainstream Baptist: 30 Years of Evidence for Climate Change

The link below will take you to a post on climate change.  It comes from the blog of Bruce Prescott titled Mainstream Baptist.

Mainstream Baptist: 30 Years of Evidence for Climate Change

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Lenten Service

Today we went to the Lenten Service at First Christian Church.  The church is just two blocks north of the Methodist Church.  The minister, Scott Ferguson, gave a short sermon and then we all went downstairs to the Fellowship Hall for a meal.

The meal consisted of a bowl of homemade soup (vegetables and hamburger) and a ham and cheese sandwich.  Strawberries, pineapple, and a few other fruits were also served.  For dessert I had a piece of chocolate cake with cherries on the bottom.

Last week the Lenten Service was at the Methodist Church.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The weekend

Last Saturday, the March Food & Fellowship was held at La Hacienda on S. Peoria.  They have excellent Mexican food.  I had the catfish platter.  There were eleven people present.

On Sunday, I attended Church of the Restoration.  At the 10 am religious education hour, we watched a live streaming of the sermon from All Souls Unitarian Church.  The Rev. Marvin Lavenhar spoke about some current issues.  The sermon has been posted in a previous blog.

At 11 am, Gerald Davis spoke at Restoration.  There were about 15 present for that.  Following the service, I went to the Agora Coffeehouse for the meeting of the Atheist Community of Tulsa.  I left early to go to a nearby grocery store to buy an item to take to the potluck at Marilyn Clarke's house.  Marilyn was hosting the Dream Group, where we describe our dreams and talk about them.  After the discussion, we enjoyed a meal together.

A Unitarian sermon

If you click on the link below you will be able to see the minister at All Souls Unitarian Church deliver the sermon on March 23, 2012.  The sermon lasts 35 minutes.  I hope that several of you will watch at least two or three minutes of it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Food and Fellowship, 3.24.12

Today the Humanist group met at La Hacienda for our monthly Food and Fellowship gathering.  There were 11 people present, with two, Mike and Lisa, being first-timers.

One topic of conversation was about a study conducted at the University of Michigan dealing with beliefs and facts.  The study showed that when facts were presented to a person which conflicted with his or her beliefs, that the person would not shift beliefs to make them fit the facts. 

Facts about a matter were ignored so that a person would not to have revise his or her thinking.  The more facts that were presented, the more the person would double down with his or her incorrect beliefs.

Gail and Glenn were back from their birding trip to Arizona.  I chatted with Barbara Frey telling her about the movie Midnight in Paris which I recently saw (DVD from library).  Barbara for years taught English and I knew she would like to see the movie.  It is one of the best movies I have seen in recent years.  It is written and directly by Woody Allen.  It contains an element of the supernatural in that the main character is able to time travel back to the 1920s to fulfill I wish he secretly longs for.  One of the characters he meets in the 1920s longs to live in the Belle Epoch of the 1890s.  It is a good movie with a happy ending.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Here is a short video on important work being done in the area of brain science.  To watch, scroll down and click on the triangle in the video.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An outing

We got out of the house today and headed for Tulsa, once we picked up Jen and Luke and Ayla.  We headed for Incredible Pizza.  Jon (Jen's brother) followed in his car. It was a rainy day, and when we got to Incredible Pizza the line waiting to get in stretched out the door on to the sidewalk.  It was still raining lightly.  Noticing that the line was not moving, we decided to bail.  Both grandkids were heartbroken; Luke burst into tears.  Jon suggested we go to Dave and Busters.  We loaded up, and I followed Jon to Dave and Busters about a mile or two away.

Dave and Busters is sort of an upscale Incredible Pizza.  Instead of the all-you-can-eat pizza, D & B has a restaurant with a wait staff.  I ate grilled salmon on rice with carrots and broccoli.  In addition to the meal, you get a plastic card with a magnetic strip on the back which you use to activate the games in the game room.  After eating we played games for about an hour.  You get a number of tickets after you play a game depending on how well you performed.  I gained between 500 and 600 tickets.  Before you leave, you cash your tickets in for prizes.  We adults gave our tickets to Luke and Ayla.  They enjoyed picking out prizes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Labyrinth at Hunter Park

Here is a picture I took with my cell phone.  This is the labyrinth at Hunter Park.  We walked a volkswalk last Saturday at this location.  The labyrinth was near the start of the walk.  The walk went through the park and then got on a trail which crossed Sheridan Ave.  The total distance was 3.1 miles.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Video: Kurzweil on Expanding Intelligence

This past week

This past week we made a trip to Springfield.  We drove there on Wednesday and came back to Sand Springs on Thursday.  While there I walked the halls of the Abbey for three miles in order to maintain my effort to walk an average of a mile a day this year.

Today we did a combination labyrinth walk and volkswalk this morning.  The labyrinth was part of the volkswalk.  The walk started and finished in Hunter Park in south Tulsa.  My walking total for the year is now at 109 miles.  I'm a little ahead of my mile a day average.

Apparently we a having an early spring this year.  Now that warmer weather is here, I hope to get out more and do more volkswalks.  The walk I did today is number 251.  It was 5 kilometers (or 3.1 miles) long.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Woody Guthrie exhibit at Gilcrease

Yesterday after walking three miles at the fitness center, we went to the Gilcrease Museum to see the exhibit on Woody Guthrie.  The exhibit has been open for a couple of weeks.

Guthrie was the famous singer/songwriter born in Okemah, Oklahoma in 1912.  This year would be Woody's 100th birthday.  He died of Huntington's Disease sometime around 1967, if I remember correctly.

It just so happened that when we were there Woody's sister-in-law and other Guthrie family members were touring the museum.

For the longest time the city of Okemah ignored Guthrie because of his leftist associations.  But when they realized they could turn a buck off his name, they started taking advantage of the tourism opportunity.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Birthday celebration

Today I turned 64 years old.  My cousin Vicki from Houston called to wish me a happy birthday.  She also sent me two shirts and several pairs of socks.  My son sent me a $50 Amazon gift card as did J.  My parents sent a check for $50.  So I have a healthy balance now with Amazon.  I can download more books.

We went out to China Star for dinner tonight.  I ate a lot of scallops, shrimp, and salmon.  It was all very good.  I have lost a few pounds in the last month, but I probably put them back on tonight.  I have a health coach who calls me about once a month.  I would like to be able to tell him that I have lost weigh since we last talked.  I walked another three miles at the fitness center this morning. 

Our oven quit working last weekend.  We called Collins Appliance and a repairman came out today and replaced a part.  About a month ago our hot water heater sprung a leak.  We had to have that replaced.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Week in Review Continued

On Tuesday, we went to our new polling location, the Cathedral of Praise.  It had been the Church of Christ.  Why it changed, I do not know.

In Oklahoma, when you vote in the primary, you are asked your party affiliation.  I told the poll worker that I was registered as a Democrat.  She gave me a ballot, which I marked for President Obama.  There was a second ballot having to do with some local issues.  I marked it as well.

Next we went across the street to the fitness center and walked a couple of miles.  We went home and showered and left for St. Patrick's Cathedral.  There were about a hundred people at St. Patrick's for the Journey to Easter program.  Most of the people were from the Methodist church.  As we were sitting there waiting for the service to begin, out comes the priests and chastises the people in the pews for talking.  A hush fell over the gathering.  Ten minutes later the service started.  St. Patrick's might be the most attractive church in Sand Springs, what with its stained glass windows and statuary (objects which some regard as idols).  After the service, we went downstairs to the fellowship hall and ate chili and a dessert.

When we had returned home, I got a call from someone asking about my education.  They wanted to know if I might be interested in taking further classwork and in what discipline.  I said I might be intered in working on a MA degree in English.  Just prior to receiving this call I had completed another online lesson on building your vocabulary which the library offers through its web site.  I don't know if the two are connected or not.  The person I spoke with asked if it would be all right to contact an online educational institution and provide them with my information.  I said it would.  Within five minutes my phone rang.  Someone from Grand Canyon University called to see if I would like to enroll as an online student.  I asked if they offered a MA degree in English.  It turned out they don't.  That was the end of that.

That evening J and I picked up Gail and Glenn Storey and went to a concert at Tulsa University.  The concert was held in the new Lorton Performance Center.  Tulsa Trio was the group performing.  Roger Price played the piano and two women played violin and cello.  We heard music by Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and Ravel.

Glenn has had jury duty this week.  We heard on the news tonight that there had been a shooting down at the court house.  Four or five people were shot.  It will be interesting to hear what Glenn has to say about this incident.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Church announcement

Cell phones in church:

The last few days in review

Sunday was Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration.  Gail and I played a piano duet as the special music.  We played a piece by Scott Joplin titled "Solace." 

I gave the message which I titled "Human Life Extension."  I began by noting the early deaths of several well-known composers and how long they lived: Mozart (35), Robert Schumann (46), Franz Schubert (31), Chopin (39), Beethoven (56).  And the English Romantic poets: Byron (36), Shelley (30), and Keats (26).  I quoted the poet Dylan Thomas who wrote the lines: "Do not go gentle into that good night./Rage, rage against the dying of the light."  Thomas died when he was 39.

I mentioned that sanitation and medicine have come a long way in extending the lives of people living today.  I cited myself as an example, having contracted pertussis (whopping cough) at two weeks of age.  Today in the U.S., life expectancy is 77.2 years.  Aubrey de Grey, a scientist working in the department of genetics at Cambridge University, says that by the year 2100 human life expectancy will be in the region of 5,000 years.

Bill Gates believes Kurzweil to be the best in the world at predicting the future.  According to Kurzweil computers will have consciousness by 2029.  Then their intelligence will start to exceed that of humans.  By the 2030s, computers will have become millions of times more intelligent than humans.  Then the question becomes, Will the artificial intellegences (AI) be willing to keep humans around.?

We will understand how our brains work in 2024.  We will have "flash memories" we can plug into our brains.

When asked "Does God exist?" Kurzweil replies, "I would say not yet."

I mentioned the DVD a small group of us watched on this subject titled "Transcendent Man."  It can be found in many libraries.  I also mentioned a web site which tracks developments related to life extension. 

Following my talk we had a potluck dinner during which I fielded several questions from the congregation on the topic about which I had spoken.

Afterwards Steve Nunn and I talked about replacing the sign out front (which gives the names of the church and other information) with a better sign.  We will be working on that in the coming months.  Presently Steve is working on replacing the doors of the church.  Steve is the new leader of the Humanist Association of Tulsa.

I have a few other things to write about, but I will save them for tomorrow.

Saturday, March 03, 2012