Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stuff My Brain Says #61

For those concerned with keeping the internet "free" and "open", where do you stand on the topic of online gambling? Already, online shopping is being seriously looked at for its taxable revenue possibilities, and the government can impose restrictions based on the Commerce Clause (between states). What do you think the government's level of involvement will be when online gambling becomes "legal"? At what point do we realize and/or accept that having a "free" and "open" internet - one without strict, government regulation - was only a pipe dream?

© Emittravel 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

If I Could Talk to the Animals

"Fooood. Nooooow!"

That was what my cat, Muffin, used to say. Well, at least that was what it sounded like to me. Muffin was my darling.


She made it 20 years before succumbing to "old age". She is now under the bird bath in the back yard; an area we commonly call the "Muffin bed". Full of "piss and vinegar", I often referred to her as the longest relationship I've had with a female - who wasn't family. Now that she is gone, my wife has a chance to beat her record. A very vocal cat, Muffin would sit as the "alpha female" of the house; many times climbing in between my wife and I, with my lap as her goal. She would then look at my wife with an expression that said, "I got him. He's mine."

The Muffin Bed

Can animals talk? Often we say that one of the things that divides us from them is our ability to speak; to say "I think, therefore I am" has just as much value as to think it. But just because we don't understand them, does that necessarily mean they can't speak? Studies with dolphins show communication ability, and some primates have learned to communicate through sign language. So, can they talk?

"Fooood. Nooooow!!"

I took French in high school. Two years worth. At the beginning I was pulling in A's and B's. By the end of the second year I barely passed the course with D's and F's. Each time we learned a verb, we learned a new way of using them, and each time I got more lost. This wasn't just an issue with French either. As part of my Radioman training in the Navy, I took a Morse Code class. If I remember correctly, I was able to send 15 words per minute and receive 22 at the end. I even finished the self-paced course 15 days ahead of the norm. Months later, during military exercises onboard ship, I could feel my blood pressure rise as I struggled to remember ANYTHING. All that to say that language and I don't get along too well.

Yet, the concept of understanding animals and, more importantly, each other, intrigues me.

What a pretty girl!

And now, a little "J.P.-ology": Genesis 2:18-20 (NKJV)

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

According to the above, God brought each animal to Adam so he could name them. Not only that, but the context implies that Adam was being presented possible companions. It's not really a companion if you can't communicate. Which means that the animals were able to talk. He was a regular "Dr. Doolittle".

Later, in Genesis 11:1-9 (NKJV)

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

The above is the account of the Tower of Babel (yes, the same "Babel" that Douglas Adam's "babel fish" is inspired from). Before I comment, I want to tie the above passage to another:

Acts 2:1-12 (NKJV)

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The above, celebrated in Christian churches on Pentecost Sunday, is what I like to call the Inverted Babel. In the Genesis account, we have one language being divided into many. In Acts we have many being pooled together as one.

Question: Did God, in Genesis, actually take one language and divided it into many? Well, it may not really matter, but I believe that He didn't. I believe that He lifted our ability to understand each other. See, back in Genesis chapter two, Adam could understand the languages of ALL of the DIFFERENT animals. What happened? After the Fall (see Genesis chapter three), when the Glory of God lifted (which is the reason that at first Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed, and after they had sinned, when that Glory was lifted off of them, that they saw that they were naked. They were naked the whole time - just didn't know it.), the ability to understand the animals was also lifted. Whether or not the snake was a real snake or not, Eve DID have a conversation with it.

At Pentecost we see a two-fold miracle: the normally emphasized "speaking with other tongues", and the less emphasized "WE HEAR THEM speaking in our own tongues". There was a blessing on both the speakers AND the hearers. God did not take many languages and combine them into one. He gave them the understanding.

Going back to the animals, in the book of Numbers we have the account of Balaam's donkey talking to him (Numbers 22:21-33). Again, I believe that his donkey ALWAYS spoke - in donkey, not Hebrew - and God gave Balaam the "opportunity" to understand him.

As you read through the New Testament you find that things like the topic above are given to us as a taste of what is to come. That is why, even after Pentecost, we don't understand each other - including the animals. But we will. I believe that. Most likely, not until we are in Heaven. If you only spoke Mandarin, and I English, when we get to Heaven, you will understand me (as though I was speaking in Mandarin) and I will understand you (as though you were speaking English). We won't, all of a sudden, all speak the "same" language, but we will understand each other.

And that includes Muffin.

Muffin's favorite position
"Who turned on the lights?!?"
Muffin's last days

© Emittravel 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Stuff My Brain Says #60

I'm having difficulty understanding why free contraceptives are part of ObamaCare in the first place. I understand topics like heart disease, cancer, and surgeries. I understand prescription medication in such cases as well. So let me get this straight: sex is a disease, right? It is a non-choice item like cancer and we need "free" (let's face it, somebody is paying) contraceptives to help cope with it. Really?

Why does the government care about contraception anyways. Don't they (a.k.a. "we, the tax payers") already support Planned Parenthood? Who cares about contraceptives when you can simply go get an abortion - no strings attached??

Is it just me or does this whole argument seem nutty?

© Emittravel 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

Stuff My Brain Says #59

The Amendments do not state what the government has given you rights to, but what rights the government is not allowed to infringe upon. Any breaches of those rights are because the government, and lazy-minded people, have assumed that those rights have been bestowed upon the people by the government, as a king to his peasants, and therefore believe that they can alter and ultimately take them away.

When people realize that the Amendments are simply reminders of the LIMITS of government, arguments concerning things like the Separation of State and Church, and gun control (or, by the new politically-correct "gun safety") would go away, because those arguments are calling for the very limits the government CANNOT overstep.

© Emittravel 2013