Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

This was the first of the Bulldog Drummond series, coming out in 1937 from Paramount. It’s Bulldog Drummond Escapes, and it stars Ray Milland as Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond, world-renowned adventurer and sometimes crime detective. I have already reviewed two of the series, which reviews you can find by following the links. I watched this on Amazon Prime Video, where I obtained the screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.

What gets this and other Bulldog Drummond movies on the BMotW list is the absurd plot. Witness:

Opening scenes show Captain Drummond returning to England from the continent in a single engine plane. He’s having trouble landing, due to London’s notorious fogs. He’s in radio contact with the tower and is advised to not attempt a landing. He states he is coming down regardless and orders flares to be lit. Then he starts down, which is ridiculous. In the fog he can’t even be sure he is in the approach to the runway, and his descent can likely take him into the side of some tall structure.

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Of course he makes it all right and ignores questions from reporters, charging off to see his old friend Algy Longworth (Reginald Denny). It’s a matter of life or death. Algy’s wife is having a baby. Drummond must set off on his next adventure absent Algy’s good assistance, at least for the first ten minutes of the movie.

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Charging into the fog to meet with Inspector Col. Sir Reginald Nielson (Guy Standing), he encounters a damsel in distress. She is winsome and so in distress. He hits her with the car. She steals his car when he plops her into the seat and goes to investigate strange goings on nearby, one of which is the body of a dead man slowly sinking into the marsh.

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The movie villains pick up sweet Phyllis Clavering (Heather Angel) and take her back to her palatial abode. She leaves her handbag in Drummond’s car, and that leads him to (ultimately) the love of his life.

She is in great danger, and she slips a note into his hat before he leaves to meet Sir Reginald.

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Sir Reginald commands Captain Drummond leave England immediately. He doesn’t want an amateur detective muddling up his urgent investigations. Of course, Bulldog pays no heed, else no movie.

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Without detailing the plot, I will just note the bad guys are after sweet Phyllis’ fortune. And they play rough.

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Sweet Phyllis plays rough, as well, developing the art of kiboshing bad people on the head with available objects at just the right time. Bulldog falls madly in love with her. And you would too. She is a knockout.

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Things get resolved, and Phyllis makes plans to run away. With Bulldog Drummond, for life. They will shortly be making their wedding plans.

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This was based on Bulldog Drummond Again, a play by H.C. (Sapper) McNeile and Gerald Fairlie. Milland played Drummond in the first of eight in the series, replaced after this one by John HowardLouise Campbell seems to have replaced the charming Heather Angel at some point.

Print quality for this video is God-awful. It’s black and white, of course, and tonal range of the images has been lost somewhere since 1937. The sound track has acquired a odious overlay of noise, which noise could possibly have been eliminated by modern digital filtering techniques. The interplay among the leading characters keeps up viewer interest as the plot develops predictably. This movie strives to create suspenseful interludes, but it comes off as contrived. It’s possible modern audiences have become spoiled by the high technical quality of modern productions. This is what went for excitement 80 years ago.

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Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Not yet

I met an older woman in a bar last night. She looked pretty good for a 60-year-old. In fact, she wasn’t too bad at all, and I found myself thinking she probably had a really hot daughter.

We drank a couple of beers, and she asked if I’d ever had a Sportsman’s Double?

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s a mother and daughter threesome,” she said.

As my mind began to embrace the idea, and I wondered what her daughter might look like.

I said, “No, I haven’t.”

We drank a bit more, then she said with a wink, “Tonight’s your lucky night.”

We went back to her place. We walked in. She put on the hall light and shouted upstairs: “Mom…you still awake?”

Friday Funny

One of a series

Religion-ExtremistsFalsehoods

Friday again. Time to wind down. To help, here is something cute from a world-class intellect:

Candace Cameron Bure told the hosts of Fox & Friends that jokes about hell should be out of bounds because the Bible described it as a “disgusting” place.

I am sure it is a disgusting place. It is so hot… Supposedly when hell freezes over the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series. What is funny is Mrs. Bure, sister of equally noted intellect Kirk Cameron, rests her authority on the Bible, a noted work of fiction. To source another work of fiction, whales are fishes. It says so in Moby-Dick. When Mrs. Bure gets finished with the Bible, I fully expect her to move up to Marvel Comics. Those are funny.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

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If you don’t believe your handgun is your friend, just ask William Brumby of Sarasota, Florida. Mr. Brumby recognizes the 2nd Amendment gives every citizen the right to keep and bear arms. He also recognizes that this is a safeguard to his right to ensure his own safety and that of his family, and he appears to diligently exercise that right. He is perfectly comfortable living with his decision to keep and bear arms:

A Florida man who authorities say accidentally shot and killed his 14-year-old son at a shooting range is blaming himself — not the gun — for the death.

Clayton Brumby, 64, told The Tampa Bay Times that a smoking hot shell casing went down the back of his shirt, causing him to flail his arms at High Noon Guns, where the Sarasota family had gone Sunday afternoon for shooting practice. His finger was still on the trigger of a .22 semiautomatic Ruger SR22, which fired.

He heard his 24-year-old son yell, “Dad, Stephen’s been shot.”

The bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and struck the teen in the jugular vein, Brumby told the newspaper.

“The gun didn’t kill my boy,” he said. “I did.”

He said the gun belonged to his 12-year-old daughter.

It’s heartening to see that Mr. Brumby is not deflected by minor setbacks in his determination to keep his family safe, especially his daughter, who is learning responsible gun ownership at an early age.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I noticed this on Amazon Prime Video. Never heard of it before. But it’s got George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. A thriller about international terrorism and stolen nuclear weapons. Got to be something worth watching. It’s from 1997, which means it’s about 20 years old. Lots of stuff has changed since then. Hopefully more has been learned about nuclear weapons than is reflected in the plot.

Amazon took this off their Prime offerings shortly after I watched it, so I’m getting the fine details from Wikipedia. It’s The Peacemaker from Dreamworks Pictures.

A minister of a Balkan country is attending church when he is paged to step outside to meet his assassin. What’s going on here? We eventually learn.

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Next up, a paramilitary gang stages an elaborate heist of ten nuclear warheads in Russia. The operation involves pulling another train alongside the one carrying the nukes, boarding the moving train, murdering the sleeping Russian soldiers guarding the shipment, and transferring (almost all) the warheads to the other train.

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Then the train with the stolen warheads is parked in a tunnel, and a collision is arranged between the weapons train and a passenger train. There is much death and destruction. Only, the warhead remaining on the crashed train is timed to detonate. By the time it goes, rural folks nearby have already been awakened by the commotion and have gone outside to see the light and smoke from the burning trains. Then the warhead goes off, and it’s as though the sun is coming up. But it’s not the sun. It’s the clap of doom as the fireball grows immensely, frying the countryside. Shortly the shock wave hits, sweeping away everything.

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The remaining train is pulled out of its tunnel, and the stolen warheads are transferred to waiting trucks. They will proceed by road to the Iranian border. All except one. One warhead is disassembled, and the nuclear detonator is salvaged.

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Meanwhile, United States intelligence, always on the alert, takes notice of these goings on. Especially the detonation of a thermonuclear warhead in a civilian area in Russia. Nuclear expert Dr. Julia Kelly (Kidman) is summoned immediately from her daily swim, and, hair still wet, puts together a briefing. It’s the Chechens, she observes. Not so fast, says U.S. Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Devoe (Clooney). He points out a number of facts.

For one, the bomb went off several minutes after the train crash. From the size of the explosion it’s apparent only one of a shipment of ten detonated. This is beginning to look like a planned detonation.

Additionally, high-ranking Russian general, Aleksandr Kodoroff was aboard the train. There was absolutely no reason he should have been on that that train unless, unless he had some nefarious plan. It’s not going to be possible to determine what happened to the other warheads, because everything within a quarter mile of the detonation point would have been vaporized. Besides, nobody is going to get near the place for years.

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The sexy Dr. Kelly agrees to team with Colonel Devoe, and they go to Austria to track down the trucking company that most likely leased the truck for the stolen nukes. Things go sour. The trucking company is a Mafia operation, and Devoe is identified on surveillance video. This is after Devoe and Kelly torture the owner into coughing up his computer password, said computer containing the company’s leasing records.

Oops. Mafia thugs intercept the Americans and their Russian collaborator Dimitri Vertikoff (Armin Mueller-Stahl). They shoot Vertikoff dead in the street, right in front of the amazed Kelly and Devoe. Devoe kills most of the attackers in a running battle, and he and Kelly regroup.

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The printout the Americans made of the leasing records has been destroyed in the fire that consumed their getaway car. Devoe is impressed when Kelly shows that before leaving the leasing company she emailed the document to herself. They view the records and identify the likely truck carrying the warheads. It’s on a road headed for the Iranian border.

Before it can get there, American special forces helicopters, one with Devoe aboard, penetrate Russian airspace and take the truck under fire, but not before Russian air defense destroys one of their helicopters, killing all aboard. The truck is left teetering on a bridge across a deep gorge.

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Devoe, aboard a surviving helicopter, gets himself lowered by a line to the truck. He battles the surviving truck crew and hoists the warhead cargo aboard the helicopter before the truck plunges over the edge. A nuclear scientist, who has survived the attack, swaps information for salvation. He informs the Americans that one of the gang has previously slipped away with a warhead detonator in his backpack.

Where is the remaining weapon headed? It’s concluded by viewing a suicide tape made by a Balkan diplomat that he intends to detonate the mini-nuke at a United Nations meeting he is scheduled to attend in New York.

There is much excitement as Kelly and Devoe race back to New York and attempt to track down the nuclear device. The chase comes to a conclusion inside a Church near the UN headquarters, where the diplomat shoots himself, leaving the detonator on a timer. Kelly further impresses Devoe by chipping away one segment of the implosion charge.

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That doesn’t prevent the timer from timing out and the detonators from detonating. However, the loss of one segment of the shaped charge ensures there will be no compression of the plutonium core and no nuclear chain reaction. As the pair of heroes dive for a church window, the blast propels them out onto the sidewalk.

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Later Devoe pays Kelly a visit as she is taking her daily swim. She tells him she has ten more laps to go before she can join him for a beer. There’s going to be sex, but only after the movie is over. This movie has absolutely no skin and no sex.

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Except that the basis for the plot is pure imagination. A central premise is that a train crash will somehow cause a nuclear warhead to detonate. Trust me. Nuclear warheads are carefully designed so that nothing will set them off except for a coordinated sequence of events. One of these events is not a train collision.

The gang that stole the warheads planned the nuclear explosion to cover up their crime. Something less dramatic would have worked. A fire aboard the train (following the crash) would have caused the implosion charges to cook off. This would have sprayed molten and burning plutonium all over the place, and nobody could have gone near the site of the collision for days, giving the thieves time to make their getaway.

And there is the business of the nuclear detonator in the church. My knowledge of nuclear devices is decades old, gleaned from popular works on the topic. What seems to be shown in the movie is a small implosion device to set off a plutonium core. That does not appear to be enough plutonium to work. The first time this trick was employed was the first time an atomic bomb was ever set off. That was 16 July 1945, and the scientists who did it packed two tons of explosive charge around a hollow sphere of plutonium about the size of an orange. In his book The Making of the Atomic Bomb, author Richard Rhodes describes the sequence of events that took place of a small fraction of a second.

And there is another thing. When I was a young man in the Navy Reserve, I read up on some damage control documentation. Damage control is a big thing aboard a ship. Miles from any kind of rescue, deep resources are kept available to control all foreseeable events that can send the ship to the bottom. One item I recall dealt with how to handle an accident involving a special weapon. That’s the euphemism used. The instruction said that in the event of an accident that set off the implosion charge, I would be faced with a pool of molten, burning plutonium on the deck. I must put out that fire, or we would all die. I would be required to cover the burning plutonium with dry sand, a supply of which is kept handy, of course. Nothing was said about the life expectancy of the person who got close enough to put out the fire. Nothing needed to be said.

In the light of that, I don’t recall seeing any such calamity in the movie. A pound of drama has overwhelmed a ton of reality.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Religion-PrayerHealingFacebook

I’ve been posting one of these each Tuesday. Regrettably, I don’t have to make them up:

An Oregon couple so devoted to spiritual healing they let their teenage son die in agony instead of getting medical help pled guilty in court on Tuesday and will receive probation.

Russel and Brandi Bellew, of Crewswell, Ore., tried to “pray away” 16-year-old Austin Sprout’s infection from a ruptured appendix in February. The faith healing didn’t work — he died a week and a half later, according to The Register-Guard.

Idaho first and Oregon second seem to lead the nation in this sickness. Religious murder, that is, not appendicitis. Appendicitis seems to respond to treatment. Religion apparently not so.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Science-SugarAndSpoon

Some basic biology is the subject of this week’s Quiz Question. You squeeze grape juice into a vat, add some yeast, and it ferments. What’s happening is the yeast is consuming the sugar, metabolizing it, and producing alcohol. The sugar is the key ingredient. If the grapes don’t have much sugar, you’re not going to get much alcohol.

Now repeat the process with pure sugar. You have to add water, of course. But the yeast won’t metabolize it, and the yeast definitely will not multiply. Why not?

Again, the answer is simple. Provide your answer in the comments section below to become eligible to win Donald Trump’s $150 million ice chest.

Update and solution

Some figured this out days ago. Here it is.

Central to this week’s Quiz Question is a basic misunderstanding of living organisms. They are held in such wonder and esteem, that people often forget living things are subject to the same rules of physics and chemistry as everything else.

Of course, the reason a solution of sugar, any sugar, and water will not ferment.

  • For one thing, in order for yeast to multiply, in order for a bacterium to multiply, a supply of additional chemical elements is required. For one thing, reproduction requires additional phosphorus. Cellular replication involves duplication of DNA. DNA contains phosphorus. You can’t get phosphorus out of the air as you can carbon. It has to be there and available for use in the reproduction process. The same goes for other chemical elements.
  • The fermentation process requires a supply of phosphorus, according to the Wikipedia entry. The article does not elaborate on the chemical reactions involved, except to note that ATP-ADP conversion is involved, as it is in most cellular energy consumption. My note is that phosphorus is continually reused in this cycle, and a continual outside supply is not required.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

Yes, I did see this one on TV, years ago. Brag, as I do, about my memory of steel, the only scene I recalled was the last. It’s another of those Sherlock Holmes movies, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. This is The Woman in Green, and it came out in mid 1945, when I would have been four going on five. It was originally released by Universal Pictures, but I caught it on Amazon Prime Video, the source of these screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.

Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle was a 19th century man, and most of the original stories were set in that era. Movie makers gave Holmes a modern setting, modern meaning the mid 20th century. The setting for this is London.

Here Scotland Yard is bedeviled by a modern day Jack the Ripper. Some fiend has murdered three disparate young women in London, each time severing and apparently keeping an index finger. Some light comedy prevails as official parties to a conference joust over a window being open or closed.

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A fourth murder is committed, and Holmes (Rathbone) confers with Inspector Tobias Gregson (Matthew Boulton) in an establishment called Pembroke House. Holmes can’t help noticing, nor can the audience, a striking couple sitting at a table behind them. He is Sir George Fenwick (Paul Cavanagh). She is Miss Lydia Marlowe (Hillary Brooke). He has grand designs. Her’s are grander.

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At Miss Marlowe’s digs later in the evening, Sir George falls under her spell, literally. He wakes up the next morning with headlines blaring of yet another murder. Worse, there’s a strange index finger in the pocket of his jacket.

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Even worse, a character who holds the answer to Sir George’s puzzlement is arch criminal Professor Moriarty (Henry Daniell). He informs Sir George he witnessed the crime, and a monetary settlement will keep it quiet.

Shortly, a charming young woman calls on Holmes and Dr. Watson (Bruce). Even as she exits her car on the street below at 221B Baker Street, Holmes has figured out everything about her. Almost. She turns out to the the daughter of Sir George Fenwick. In that bag she is unloading from her automobile is a small box containing an index finger. Gross!

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A quick visit to Sir George’s digs reveals he has just been murdered. Shot in the back. Holmes characteristically deduces that Moriarty is involved (the blond woman, as well), but he needs to prove it.

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Figuring hypnotism has been invoked, Holmes locates Miss Marlowe at the local Mesmer society and pretends to fall under her spell. She proposes to hypnotize him as a demonstration and hands him a pill to take to assist the process. He switches the pill for another that deadens pain. This allows him to pass the pain test when Moriarty emerges to verify Holmes is, indeed, under the spell.

Holmes is enticed to, almost literally, walk the plank. He is told the terrace ledge high above a London street is a walkway, and he is instructed to proceed to the end, most literally. And here is the part I remember from years ago. Holmes walks to the end, and then, and then Dr. Watson and the police burst in to save the day. When Watson attempts to coax Holmes off the ledge he reveals he has only been play acting, waiting for them to arrive.

Cuffed, Moriarty makes a break for it, out along the window ledge. He slips, and… And that’s the end of the end for Professor Moriarty.

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This print has not been well maintained. We’re probably looking at a copy of a copy of a copy… It’s black and white, of course, but tonal quality is poor. A lot has been lost. Sharpness is lacking. Sound quality is somewhat below standard for the day.

To be sure, the plot diverges widely from a typical Conan Doyle story. Doyle’s Holmes had scant interaction with the criminals of interest. Compared to a Doyle plot this one is practically a running gun battle.

The chance observation of Miss Marlowe and Sir George is also uncharacteristic. Never once in a Doyle story do you have Holmes cornering Watson and saying something like, “I just observed a bank robbery. We need to investigate.” Coincidence is the device of a writer lacking imagination.

This is one of 14 in the series that ran from 1939 to 1946, all featuring Rathbone and Bruce. Some of the films made during the war had a patriotic message involving spies, and a few others reflected original Doyle story lines.

Rathbone did not participate in that war, having served with distinction in the previous. He had himself disguised as a tree so he could escape detection and scout out enemy positions.

For a noted English character actor, Nigel Bruce had an interesting beginning. He was born in Baja California. He also served in the Great War, taking eleven bullets in his left leg. Especially during World War Two the Sherlock Holmes movies were produced in California, where his beautiful daughter (one of two) met and married British air ace Geoffrey Page.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Not yet

A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car.

The dad said he’d make a deal with his son:

“You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut. Then we’ll talk about the car.”

The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he’d settle for the offer, and they agreed on it.

After six weeks his father said, “Son, you’ve brought your grades up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut.”

The boy said, “You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and there’s even strong evidence that Jesus had long hair.”

To this his father replied, “Did you also notice that they walked everywhere they went?”

Friday Funny

One of a series

I’m looking forward to posting one of these every Friday. It’s something to help readers wind down for the weekend. Fortunately I don’t have to make them up:

In a speech delivered in 2012, Ben Carson said the big bang theory was part of the “fairy tales” pushed by “highfalutin scientists” as a story of creation.

Similarly, Carson, a noted creationist, said he believed the theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil.

Calling a central concept of modern cosmology a fairy tale pushed by “highfalutin scientists” speaks to a certain lack of understanding. However, tying modern theories of biological evolution to “the devil” says something else. The devil is well understood to be a piece of ancient folklore, along the lines of Santa Clause. It is funny that an educated person living in the 21st century still believes in fairy tales.

What is not funny is that this person was once the front-running candidate for President of the United States by a major political party.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

If you don’t believe your handgun is your friend, ask Miguel Hector Pugo. His semi-auto pistol came in handy when he found it necessary to confront a troublesome wife:

The kidnapping charge against the suspect originated on March 8, when he was accused of kidnapping his wife of two years at gunpoint and pistol whipping her, according to Lt. Eddie Hernandez with Sheriff’s Department.

The woman was able to escape after the suspect stopped at the victim’s mother’s house to allow her to use the restroom, according to the news release.

On Friday, deputies spotted his vehicle on West 99th Street and Budlong Avenue, Hernandez said.

When deputies tried to pull him over, he accelerated and the pursuit ensued, according to Hernandez.

Again, Mr. Pugo’s handgun came in handy when the police just positively refused to back off and allow him to go about his business.

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How many different ways are there to say, “Go away and quit bothering me?”

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Ow! That didn’t go well. Keep this in mind, and we like to remind friends of handguns, “Your results may vary.” As it turned out in this case… As it turns out in most all cases, the police are better with that first shot than your average man on the street, man running from the police, man deciding to trade shots with the police.

I have not followed up on the saga of Mr. Miguel Pugo, but I suspect once he gets out of the hospital and once he gets out of jail, his privileges regarding the carrying of a handgun will be severely restricted. In retrospect, Mr. Pugo is lucky he was not on the DHS no-fly list, else he would have had to face the cops with just a finger of his right hand.

Over The Top

People, we did it. Donald Trump is now the Republican nominee for President of the United States. It happened last night at the Republican Party national convention in Cleveland, Ohio. And it swells my heart to know I helped make it happen. Here’s how.

Back in March Barbara Jean and I went down to the local polling place on Old Prue Road, and we voted for Donald Trump. We did a bunch of other things following that, but the very next thing we did was keep on going until we got to the Time Warner cable service center. There we turned in out “set top boxes,” terminating our cable TV service. We now only have high speed Internet, which is why these screen shots are from Hulu.

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I need to advise my readers up front that I did not take these photos. I was not in Cleveland, and I certainly was not at the convention. All the photos, except the one at the top above the headline that says “Skeptical Analysis,” I stole from ABC News by way of Hulu. I hope everybody is clear on that. It’s going to be important later on.

People who know me know I think a lot of my own opinion, but that goes with the territory. People who know me also know I have been wrong before:

Don’t you just hate it when you’re wrong? You do? I don’t. I love it. I absolutely love it. Maybe it’s because I am wrong so seldom. In this instance there’s another reason I’m so happy I was wrong. Here is what I had to say last year:

This was back on 16 June. Real estate tycoon and billionaire Donald Trump announced he is a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for president. I recall at the time I had some sort of snarky response. It was something like:

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

That was because I knew, as did anybody fresh out of captivity by the Taliban, that the fun was about to begin. Unfortunately I had mis located my egg timer. The fun was not late coming:

Yes, that part left me a tad sheep-faced. I learn to live with my mistakes and to move on. Unlike some others. Tuesday was a glorious night for Donald Trump. He was officially the nominee, and it was time for him to bring up additional of his assets, chief among which is his lovely and charming wife Melania. Last night she came forward to deliver a blockbuster speech in praise of her husband. It was a home run, the likes of which we have not seen in over in eight years. It was definitely over the top.

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Donald Trump was rightly proud of his wife, an accomplished immigrant to this country, with much to show for somebody who never graduated from college.

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Yes, there was a minor problem. The reason the world never saw such a speech in over eight years was because the last time that speech was delivered was eight years ago.

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ABC News can be cruel sometimes. They put up the two accomplished women side by side and had them repeat what they each said eight years apart.

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First Michelle Obama would deliver part of her 2008 speech, and then Melania would do the same. The same. You could tell which woman was speaking, because ABC News would highlight the speaker at the same time they enabled the sound. Else it was hard to tell. Both ladies were very charming.

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The news media can be brutally cruel at times. Those would be the times when the truth is hard to deny.

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Damage control by Trump, Inc.? Nothing The Donald cannot handle. He’s had a lot of experience. There is one thing, however, that he needs to teach his lovely and accomplished wife. He needs to remind her that before she delivers somebody else’s speech, she should not state, with the cameras recording, “I wrote it, [with as little help as possible].”

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As I mentioned before, I did not take these photographs. I lifted them from other sources, which sources I have properly credited. Trumps, take a lesson. You’re in the big leagues now.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This one was available on Amazon Prime Video, and I had seen it around for several years. So I decided to give it a look. It stars John Travolta and came out in 1999, distributed by Paramount Pictures. Some details are from Wikipedia. It’s The General’s Daughter.

I’m not going to completely recap the plot. I will just note it hinges on edgy sexual escapades and scandal in the United States Military. It’s the story of a criminal investigation and a crime which, though heinous on its own, is eclipsed by a sordid back story.

Opening scenes show Captain Elisabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson), the general’s daughter, at a banquet honoring Lieutenant General Joseph Campbell, (James Cromwell). Not apparent is her dark past.

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Travolta is Warrant Officer 4 Paul Brenner, on a Georgia Army base, masquerading as an Army sergeant to catch an arms dealer planning to purchase stolen weapons. Brenner is part of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

He sets up a meeting with the arms dealer and then encounters a flat tire along the road. Captain Campbell stops to help. Seeing romantic opportunity, Brenner stops by the captain’s office with a gift of thanks. No sale.

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Before Brenner can get on the remainder of the movie plot, he has to deal with the arms dealer, who attempts to bushwhack him at night in his house boat. Brenner disposes of the crooked dealer and is prepared to wrap up the case.

In the meantime some soldiers conducting night bomb disposal exercises on the base discover a body. It’s the late Captain Campbell. She is nude and staked out spread-eagle on the ground. Sexual assault is suspected.

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Brenner joins forces with Warrant Officer 2 Sarah Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe), a previous bed mate of his. They gradually unravel the bizarre details of the case.

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The trail eventually leads to the killer and also to the General. We learn that, although her death did not involve rape, Captain Campbell had previously been subjected to such a crime while on night maneuvers as a West Point cadet. Her father had worked to cover up the crime. The re-enactment of the crime on the general’s base was a ploy of the captain’s to force her father to acknowledge his past transgressions.

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What struck me about the rape scene, recounted in a flashback is, this episode was stolen from the movie and later used in an episode of JAG, a TV series starring David James Elliott as Captain Harmon Rabb, Jr., of the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps. 227 episodes of JAG were produced making it problematic for me to identify the exact episode. Readers’ help will be appreciated.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Religion-NewsweekBranchDavidian

You would think that at some point Charles Darwin would kick in:

A 24 year old self-proclaimed prophet set himself, 21 congregants, and their church building on fire on Tuesday evening while trying to demonstrate what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did in the Old Testament.

Prophet Simangaliso Mncwabe, who runs a church [House of Miracles] with over a hundred and fifty members in Ngodini, Mpumalanga; was preaching about the 3 warriors of the Old Testament in an evening service and then finished off with a demonstration, which did not go so well.

Warning: do not attempt this at home.

There can be no doubt regarding the authenticity of this practice:

Daniel 3:12-26 King James Version (KJV)

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

Unfortunately… As with the rest of the Bible, reality triumphs over ancient belief. As this item from African News Update relates the rest of the story, the congregation cheered as Simangaliso Mncwabe poured gasoline on himself and touched it off. Hard truth kicked in immediately, and Mr. Mncwabe realized he was actually burning. People who came to his assistance also caught fire. It took about 30 minutes for science to win out over faith. Only ashes remained of Mr. Mncwabe and 21 others. Likewise the church. Many more required massive treatment at a hospital, which employed modern medical methods instead of black magic.

Maybe I forgot to mention. This happened in the 21st century, about 48 years after men first walked on the moon, and more than 500 years after scientific methodology began to supplant religion as a way of explaining the universe.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

TechnologyWallSwitch

When you want to turn on the stair lights while going up the stairs, and you want to turn them off once you get to the top, you need this bit of minor technology. The lights are controlled by two switches. One switch is at the bottom of the stairs, and the other switch is at the top. The switches are “double throw” type. That means the switch is connected to two circuits, and the switch has two positions. When you toggle the switch it turns off one circuit and turns on the other. If the light was on, then throwing the switch turns the light off. If the light was off, then throwing the switch turns the light on. Neat.

Now suppose you have a three-story house, and you want to turn the stair lights on when starting up, and you want to turn the lights off when you get to the second floor, and also off when you get to the third floor if you are going that far. How are you going to be able to achieve that? Do you need a new kind of switch?

What if you have a 15-story house?

Post your answer in the comments below.

Update

Some comments have been received, and it’s apparent clarification is needed. This Quiz Question involves single-pole, double-throw switches. Here is how a SPDT switch works:

SPDTSwitch

Update and Solution

The two-switch feature can be extended to more than two switches, but the configuration I had in mind does not work. I had to go to Wikipedia for a workable solution. First, here is how the two-switch configuration works.

 

Technology-DoubleThrow-03

Technology-DoubleThrow-04

Switch 1 and Switch 2 are SPDT switches. In the first configuration no power is supplied to the load, which is typically a lamp. In the second configuration power is supplied to the lamp, and it turns on.

It is trivial to extrapolate from this and determine that flipping either switch turns on an off-lamp and turns off an on-lamp.

To extend this idea to more than two switch requires a different kind of switch, but still a mechanical switch. The following are from Wikipedia:

Readers are invited to visit the Wikipedia article, following which they will be able to install multi-way lighting switches for their five-story condo.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

I am dead sure I never saw this when it came out, and I have a good memory. This is The Sad Sack, featuring all-American comic Jerry Lewis. It came out in 1957, after Martin and Lewis split up their irrepressible comic team, and it relies heavily on Lewis’ standard routine—the perpetual foul-up and acting the fool in public. The Sad Sack is, of course, inspired by the comic strip created by George Baker.

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It’s from Paramount Pictures, produced by Hal B. Wallis, and it also features Phyllis Kirk, one of the hottest items with her clothes on at the time. Screen shots are from Amazon Prime Video. Details are from Wikipedia.

Lewis is Private Meredith Bixby, the quintessential Army screw-up we have all met at least once in our lives. Where to start? Start with Bixby on a train with fellow soldiers Corporal Larry Dolan (David Wayne) and Private Stan Wenaslawsky (Joe Mantell). In an attempt to quench a bothersome lighting fixture so the others can get some sleep Bixby pulls the stop cord and throws the train into chaos. The fun is just beginning.

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Directed to drive a dump truck away, Bixby pulls the wrong lever and dumps a load into the sergeant’s Jeep.

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Out on liberty (that’s what we called it in the Navy) with Dolan and Wenaslawsky , Bixby is given the job of driving the three back to the barracks at night. He misses the enlisted men’s barracks and delivers everybody at the women’s barracks, where they spend the night unnoticed. But not for long after reveille. They are soon discovered and all land in hot water. It’s funny.

TheSadSack-03

Seeking to undo the mistake it made recruiting Bixby, the Army enlists the services of Army psychologist Major Shelton (Kirk). Dolan is assigned to assist and becomes immediately enraptured by Major Shelton’s charms. The attraction is reflected, and their lips become dangerously close.

TheSadSack-04

Finagling gets Bixby past his basic marks to become a soldier, and he, along with Dolan and Wenaslawsky, get shipped off to an Army base in Morocco. There has been some trafficking in stolen Army weapons, and the three fools eventually get involved in the workings.

At a Moroccan night club, Bixby is charmed by an exotic dancer named Zita (Liliane Montevecchi), who reminds him of a girl he knew back in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She gets sucked into the plot, as well.

TheSadSack-05

Within his encyclopedic memory, Bixby has stored the instructions for assembling the Army’s super, rapid-fire canon. The arms gang gets interested. Abdul (Peter Lorre) takes a special interest in Bixby, impatiently awaiting the time when he is allowed to slit Bixby’s throat. Now you have seen it all. Previously you saw Hungarian Peter Lorre play a German child killer, a Japanese detective, and now an Arab cutthroat.

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More comedy comes sliding our way, as the three get trussed up in a desert dungeon with chains. This is high hilarity, watching the three buffoons working to unravel the chains, reach the key on the floor, and unshackle themselves.

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Once free, they defeat and capture the bandits. Of course there is a big ceremony, where they are all awarded medals and kissed on the cheeks by a French general. Zita goes back to Scranton to await Bixby’s return, and Major Shelton flies out to Morocco to put the move on Corporal Dolan.

TheSadSack-08

Yes, this is dumb, and that’s how this movie landed in the BMotW. The comic situations are strung together like mismatched beads. The plot moves from one unrelated situation to another, with altered states of consciousness separating them. The romance with Major Shelton sort of ties the latter parts together, but only artificially, with Shelton coming to Morocco for no apparent reason. Zita simply disappears after being rescued by the soldiers at the desert dungeon, never to be seen again.

This could have been a story titled The Redemption of Private Bixby, but Bixby’s redemption is not a constant theme throughout. Comical situations (sleeping over in the women’s barracks) are dropped in with little thought of continuity.

If there is a constant theme, it’s Lewis being Lewis, the butt of all jokes. But there is no running line of comic verbal chatter, no recurring comic gag line to keep the momentum going.

The film pulled $3.5 million, not bad for a 1957 release.

44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults

Creationism-OriginOfLifeReality

This is amazing. I picked this link off my Facebook feed Friday and took a quick read. I am pasting it here:

The theory of evolution is false.  It is simply not true.  Actually, it is just a fairy tale for adults based on ancient pagan religious philosophy that hundreds of millions of people around the world choose to believe with blind faith.  When asked to produce evidence for the theory of evolution, most adults in the western world come up totally blank.  When pressed, most people will mumble something about how “most scientists believe it” and how that is good enough for them.  This kind of anti-intellectualism even runs rampant on our college campuses.  If you doubt this, just go to a college campus some time and start asking students why they believe in evolution.  Very few of them will actually be able to give you any real reasons why they believe it.  Most of them just have blind faith in the priest class in our society (“the scientists”).  But is what our priest class telling us actually true?  When Charles Darwin popularized the theory of evolution, he didn’t actually have any evidence that it was true.  And since then the missing evidence has still not materialized.  Most Americans would be absolutely shocked to learn that most of what is taught as “truth” about evolution is actually the product of the overactive imaginations of members of the scientific community.  They so badly want to believe that it is true that they will go to extraordinary lengths to defend their fairy tale.  They keep insisting that the theory of evolution has been “proven” and that it is beyond debate.  Meanwhile, most average people are intimidated into accepting the “truth” about evolution because they don’t want to appear to be “stupid” to everyone else.

In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves.  Don’t let me tell you what to think, and don’t let anyone else tell you what to think either.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  The following are 44 reasons why evolution is just a fairy tale for adults…

All right. That’s the lead-off. Following are the famous 44. I’m not going to put the pasted text in quotes, but I will insert my response to each in bold to set it off from the original.

For the most part, these challenges do not appear to require serious responses, so I will respond in the same spirit. Here goes.

#1 If the theory of evolution was true, we should have discovered millions upon millions of transitional fossils that show the development of one species into another species. Instead, we have zero.

No, we should not. The “millions upon millions” is a figure thrown out with no basis in fact. Archaeologist have found notable fossils that can properly be characterized as “transitional.” Those would include sequences of fossils recording the development of the mammalian ear, which I have already discussed. The fact is, if a fossil is from an organism that left successors, it can be considered a transitional fossil.

#2 When Charles Darwin came up with his theory, he admitted that no transitional forms had been found at that time, but he believed that huge numbers certainly existed and would eventually be discovered

“Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed. But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?”

Unfortunately Charles Darwin has been dead for over a hundred years, and what he said about the theory of evolution has no bearing on current science. Science is based on what people can demonstrate and not on what people say. Speech is not evidence in science.

#3 Even some of the most famous evolutionists in the world acknowledge the complete absence of transitional fossils in the fossil record. For example, Dr. Colin Patterson, former senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History and author of “Evolution” once wrote the following

“I fully agree with your comments about the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them …. I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”

Again, it’s interesting to note that Colin Patterson said this, but again speech is not scientific evidence.

#4 Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University, once wrote the following about the lack of transitional forms…

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”

Same old-same old. Speech is not evidence.

#5 Evolutionist Stephen M. Stanley of Johns Hopkins University has also commented on the stunning lack of transitional forms in the fossil record…

“In fact, the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.”

How many of these “he said” challenges can I look forward to?

#6 If “evolution” was happening right now, there would be millions of creatures out there with partially developed features and organs.  But instead there are none.

No. The first statement is not correct. It appears to be something made up by uneducated creationists.

#7 If the theory of evolution was true, we should not see a sudden explosion of fully formed complex life in the fossil record. Instead, that is precisely what we find.

Again, no. The writer of the above states this without providing any reasoning why it should be true.

#8 Paleontologist Mark Czarnecki, an evolutionist, once commented on the fact that complex life appears very suddenly in the fossil record…

“A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants –instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”

Again, it is enlightening to learn what some person said about some thing. In the final analysis, what is said has no weight.

#9 The sudden appearance of complex life in the fossil record is so undeniable that even Richard Dawkins has been forced to admit it…

“It is as though they [fossils] were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. Both schools of thought (Punctuationists and Gradualists) despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that they are true imperfections in the fossil record. The only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and both reject this alternative.”

Again, something a famous authority said, with no tie into what is actually so.

#10 Nobody has ever observed macroevolution take place in the laboratory or in nature.  In other words, nobody has ever observed one kind of creature turn into another kind of creature.  The entire theory of evolution is based on blind faith.

This one is almost too ridiculous for response. Read at face value we would expect to be looking for an animal undergoing transmogrification into another species. Since this is something that never happens, no scientific theory exists to explain it. It is definitely not an aspect of modern theories of biological evolution.

#11 Evolutionist Jeffrey Schwartz, a professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, openly admits that “the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed.

Again, a statement and not a piece of evidence. Even worse, the statement is not correct. The formation of a new species has been observed on several occasions.

#12 Even evolutionist Stephen J. Gould of Harvard University has admitted that the record shows that species do not change. The following is how he put it during a lecture at Hobart & William Smith College

“Every paleontologist knows that most species don’t change. That’s bothersome….brings terrible distress. ….They may get a little bigger or bumpier but they remain the same species and that’s not due to imperfection and gaps but stasis. And yet this remarkable stasis has generally been ignored as no data. If they don’t change, its not evolution so you don’t talk about it.”

Another statement by a famous authority.

#13 Anyone that believes that the theory of evolution has “scientific origins” is fooling themselves.  It is actually a deeply pagan religious philosophy that can be traced back for thousands of years.

The link is to a creationist page, thereby losing any possible credibility. The fact is that people long considered biological evolution as an explanation for observations from nature. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace were the first to propose natural selection as an explanatory mechanism.

#14 Anything that we dig up that is supposedly more than 250,000 years old should have absolutely no radiocarbon in it whatsoever.  But instead, we find it in everything that we dig up – even dinosaur bones.  This is clear evidence that the “millions of years” theory is simply a bunch of nonsense

It’s long been known that radiocarbon (which should disappear in only a few tens of thousands of years at the most) keeps popping up reliably in samples (like coal, oil, gas, etc.) which are supposed to be ‘millions of years’ old. For instance, CMI has over the years commissioned and funded the radiocarbon testing of a number of wood samples from ‘old’ sites (e.g. with Jurassic fossils, inside Triassic sandstone, burnt by Tertiary basalt) and these were published (by then staff geologist Dr Andrew Snelling) in Creation magazine and Journal of Creation. In each case, with contamination eliminated, the result has been in the thousands of years, i.e. C-14 was present when it ‘shouldn’t have been’. These results encouraged the rest of the RATE team to investigate C-14 further, building on the literature reviews of creationist M.D. Dr Paul Giem.

In another very important paper presented at this year’s ICC, scientists from the RATE group summarized the pertinent facts and presented further experimental data. The bottom line is that virtually all biological specimens, no matter how ‘old’ they are supposed to be, show measurable C-14 levels. This effectively limits the age of all buried biota to less than (at most) 250,000 years.

Again, no. Carbon 14 can appear in any fossil due to contamination. It is interesting to note that proponents of creationism and creationist sites are coming to this erroneous conclusion. The person who wrote the above item needs to provide evidence produced by real scientists and published in real scientific journals.

#15 The odds of even a single sell “assembling itself” by chance are so low that they aren’t even worth talking about.  The following is an excerpt from Jonathan Gray’s book entitled “The Forbidden Secret“…

Even the simplest cell you can conceive of would require no less than 100,000 DNA base pairs and a minimum of about 10,000 amino acids, to form the essential protein chain. Not to mention the other things that would also be necessary for the first cell.

Bear in mind that every single base pair in the DNA chain has to have the same molecular orientation (“left-hand” or “right hand”)? As well as that, virtually all the amino acids must have the opposite orientation. And every one must be without error.

“Now,” explained Larry, “to randomly obtain those correct orientations, do you know your chances? It would be 1 chance in 2110,000, or 1 chance in 1033,113!

“To put it another way, if you attempted a trillion, trillion, trillion combinations every second for 15 billion years, the odds you would achieve all the correct orientations would still only be one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion … and the trillions would continue 2755 times!

“It would be like winning more than 4700 state lotteries in a row with a single ticket purchased for each. In other words…impossible.”

This is an interesting presentation, but it has no bearing on reality. Biological evolution does not require the scenario depicted, so this is a non-starter.

#16 How did life learn to reproduce itself?  This is a question that evolutionists do not have an answer for.

Finally an interesting point. By “evolutionists” I presume is meant “scientists.” The inability to answer every question related to an issue does not imply certain conclusions are false.

#17 In 2007, fishermen caught a very rare creature known as a Coelacanth.  Evolutionists originally told us that this “living fossil” had gone extinct 70 million years ago.  It turns out that they were only off by 70 million years.

Actually, a living Coelecanth was found in 1938. “Evolutionists” (“scientists”) thought they were extinct up to that point, because they had found no live ones. The discovery of living members of this species reversed that thinking. This in no way offers comfort to creationists.

#18 According to evolutionists, the Ancient Greenling Damselfly last showed up in the fossil record about 300 million years ago.  But it still exists today.  So why hasn’t it evolved at all over the time frame?

This one appears to be wrong on a number of points. A learned explanation can be found on the NeuroLogica Blog. This site warrants further viewing. The writer seems to be addressing all the creationist’s 44 points.

#19 Darwinists believe that the human brain developed without the assistance of any designer.  This is so laughable it is amazing that there are any people out there that still believe this stuff.  The truth is that the human brain is amazingly complex.  The following is how a PBS documentary described the complexity of the human brain: “It contains over 100 billion cells, each with over 50,000 neuron connections to other brain cells.”

I am glad whoever wrote the above is impressed by the human brain. In truth, the human brain seems to be a more capable model of brains found in an array of other living species.

#20 The following is how one evolutionist pessimistically assessed the lack of evidence for the evolution of humanity…

“Even with DNA sequence data, we have no direct access to the processes of evolution, so objective reconstruction of the vanished past can be achieved only by creative imagination.”

Again, somebody is recounting what somebody else said rather than citing any number of useful facts or the results of pertinent scientific study.

#21 Perhaps the most famous fossil in the history of the theory of evolution, “Piltdown Man”, turned out to be a giant hoax.

Yes, the Piltdown Man was a hoax. This does not bear on the validity of modern biological science.

#22 If the neutron were not about 1.001 times the mass of the proton, all protons would have decayed into neutrons or all neutrons would have decayed into protons, and therefore life would not be possible. How can we account for this?

Biologists do not have to account for this. Biologists take the universe as a given and study life forms that exist in the realm of existing physical principles.

#23 If gravity was stronger or weaker by the slimmest of margins, then life sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would also make life impossible. How can we account for this?

Same response as immediately before.

#24 Why did evolutionist Dr. Lyall Watson make the following statement?…

“The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!”

If Lyall Watson made this statement, he likely made it because he thought it to be true. And it may be true. The size of the objects found has little bearing on the facts these objects represent.

#25 Apes and humans are very different genetically.  As DarwinConspiracy.com explains, “the human Y chromosome has twice as many genes as the chimpanzee Y chromosome and the chromosome structures are not at all similar.”

The initial statement seems to have little basis in fact. Again see the useful explanation posted on the NeuroLogical Blog.

#26 How can we explain the creation of new information that is required for one animal to turn into another animal?  No evolutionary process has ever been shown to be able to create new biological information.  One scientist described the incredible amount of new information that would be required to transform microbes into men this way

“The key issue is the type of change required — to change microbes into men requires changes that increase the genetic information content, from over half a million DNA ‘letters’ of even the ‘simplest’ self-reproducing organism to three billion ‘letters’ (stored in each human cell nucleus).”

The foregoing (as before) begins by inserting a false premise into the question. Animals do not turn into other species. The fact is that “new information” comes from purely random processes. I have discussed this before.

#27 Evolutionists would have us believe that there are nice, neat fossil layers with older fossils being found in the deepest layers and newer fossils being found in the newest layers.  This simply is not true at all

The fossil layers are not found in the ground in the nice neat clean order that evolutionists illustrate them to be in their textbooks. There is not one place on the surface of the earth where you may dig straight down and pass through the fossil layers in the order shown in the textbooks. The neat order of one layer upon another does not exist in nature. The fossil bearing layers are actually found out of order, upside down (backwards according to evolutionary theory), missing (from where evolutionists would expect them to be) or interlaced (“younger” and “older” layers found in repeating sequences). “Out of place” fossils are the rule and not the exception throughout the fossil record.

I am sure, without going to sources, the statement “The fossil bearing layers are actually found out of order…” is true. There are places in the Earth’s crust where geological activity has scrambled the order of layers. This does not invalidate anything known about biological evolution.

#28 Evolutionists believe that the ancestors of birds developed hollow bones over thousands of generations so that they would eventually be light enough to fly.  This makes absolutely no sense and is beyond ridiculous.

I am glad whoever wrote the foregoing finds “This makes absolutely no sense and is beyond ridiculous.” That is not a valid argument.

#29 If dinosaurs really are tens of millions of years old, why have scientists found dinosaur bones with soft tissue still in them?  The following is from an NBC News report about one of these discoveries…

For more than a century, the study of dinosaurs has been limited to fossilized bones. Now, researchers have recovered 70 million-year-old soft tissue, including what may be blood vessels and cells, from a Tyrannosaurus rex.

The presence of well-preserved tissue may have some basis. None of these findings refute the perceived age of the fossils.

#30 Which evolved first: blood, the heart, or the blood vessels for the blood to travel through?

Wait, wait! This is supposed to be “44 Reasons.” Asking a question is not the same as providing a reason. I am unable to answer this question, and the reason I am unable to answer this question is because I am ignorant and not because theories of biological evolution are false.

#31 Which evolved first: the mouth, the stomach, the digestive fluids, or the ability to poop?

Again, a question instead of an argument.

#32 Which evolved first: the windpipe, the lungs, or the ability of the body to use oxygen?

Same as before.

#33 Which evolved first: the bones, ligaments, tendons, blood supply, or the muscles to move the bones?

Same as before.

#34 In order for blood to clot, more than 20 complex steps need to successfully be completed. How in the world did that process possibly evolve?

Same as before.

#35 DNA is so incredibly complex that it is absolutely absurd to suggest that such a language system could have “evolved” all by itself by accident…

When it comes to storing massive amounts of information, nothing comes close to the efficiency of DNA. A single strand of DNA is thousands of times thinner than a strand of human hair. One pinhead of DNA could hold enough information to fill a stack of books stretching from the earth to the moon 500 times.

Although DNA is wound into tight coils, your cells can quickly access, copy, and translate the information stored in DNA. DNA even has a built-in proofreader and spell-checker that ensure precise copying. Only about one mistake slips through for every 10 billion nucleotides that are copied.

Whoever wrote the above is arguing from disbelief. It is not a valid argument to make.

#36 Can you solve the following riddle by Perry Marshall?…

1) DNA is not merely a molecule with a pattern; it is a code, a language, and an information storage mechanism.

2) All codes are created by a conscious mind; there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.

3) Therefore DNA was designed by a mind.

If you can provide an empirical example of a code or language that occurs naturally, you’ve toppled my proof. All you need is one.

The pattern of reasoning in the foregoing is invalid on a number of points. The writer calls DNA a code, using a figure of speech. Then the wording is used in a different context in an attempt to make an argument.

#37 Evolutionists simply cannot explain why our planet is so perfectly suited to support life.

By “evolutionists” I assume whoever wrote the foregoing means “biologists.” Since the science of biology does not encompass cosmology, I am going to conclude that the statement is irrelevant to the discussion.

#38 Shells from living snails have been “carbon dated” to be 27,000 years old.

They “have,” and this is through a mis-application of carbon dating. Snails do not acquire their carbon from atmospheric sources. Enough said.

#39 If humans have been around for so long, where are all of the bones and all of the graves?  The following is an excerpt from an article by Don Batten

Evolutionists also claim there was a ‘Stone Age’ of about 100,000 years when between one million and 10 million people lived on Earth. Fossil evidence shows that people buried their dead, often with artefacts—cremation was not practised until relatively recent times (in evolutionary thinking). If there were just one million people alive during that time, with an average generation time of 25 years, they should have buried 4 billion bodies, and many artefacts. If there were 10 million people, it would mean 40 billion bodies buried in the earth. If the evolutionary timescale were correct, then we would expect the skeletons of the buried bodies to be largely still present after 100,000 years, because many ordinary bones claimed to be much older have been found. However, even if the bodies had disintegrated, lots of artefacts should still be found.

I have seen this silly question before, and I have previously seen fit to add to it. Where are their credit card statements, as well?

#40 Evolutionists claim that just because it looks like we were designed that does not mean that we actually were.  They often speak of the “illusion of design”, but that is kind of like saying that it is an “illusion” that a 747 airplane or an Apple iPhone were designed.  And of course the human body is far more complex that a 747 or an iPhone.

Saying “we appear to have been designed” is a figure of speech and is not evidence.

#41 If you want to be part of the “scientific community” today, you must accept the theory of evolution no matter how absurd it may seem to you.  Richard Lewontin of Harvard once made the following comment regarding this harsh reality…

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, . . . in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated commitment to materialism. . . . we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

It is certainly enlightening to learn what Richard Lewontin said, but again what somebody said is not scientific evidence.

#42 Time Magazine once made the following statement about the lack of evidence for the theory of evolution…

“Yet despite more than a century of digging, the fossil record remains maddeningly sparse. With so few clues, even a single bone that doesn’t fit into the picture can upset everything. Virtually every major discovery has put deep cracks in the conventional wisdom and forced scientists to concoct new theories, amid furious debate.”

Good to learn what Time Magazine had to say. For what may hopefully be the last time, what people say does not constitute a scientific argument.

#43 Malcolm Muggeridge, the world famous journalist and philosopher, once made the following statement about the absurdity of the theory of evolution…

“I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially the extent to which it’s been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity that it has.”

Oops. I was hoping I had seen the last of these. Sadly not.

#44 In order to believe the theory of evolution, you must have enough blind faith to believe that life just popped into existence from nonlife, and that such life just happened to have the ability to take in the nourishment it needed, to expel waste, and to reproduce itself, all the while having everything it needed to survive in the environment in which it suddenly found itself. Do you have that much blind faith?

This is a statement of the person who posted these “44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults” and does not constitute a valid argument. So, I’m not going to address it. And that’s the end of my response to the “44 Reasons…” Here is a final quote from the author of the 44:

For years, I have been looking for someone that can explain to me the very best evidence for the theory of evolution in a systematic way.  My challenge has been for someone to lay out for me a basic outline of the facts that “prove” that evolution is true.

Perhaps you believe that you are up to the challenge.

Would that you had provided more of a challenge. I congratulate Michael Snyder, who is credited in the post I copied these from. He has dredged up what may be the most comprehensive collection of creationist nonsense I have come across in many years. This has been a refreshing tour and a reminder to me, and others as well, of the shallowness of the creationist argument. If there is any demonstration of the standing of modern science with respect to superstition and myth, these kinds of postings stand out. They are sorely appreciated.

While posting my responses I ran across Steven Novella’s much more enlightened and comprehensive response. Please link to his blog posts and read his responses. His responses are in four parts:

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Not yet

“I’ve broken my what?!”

Doctors of Reddit were asked: “What’s something you’ve had to tell a patient that you thought for sure was common knowledge?” These are some of the best answers.

1/25 Had a lady measure her baby’s temperature by pre-heating the oven and putting one hand in front of it while the other hand was on the baby’s forehead. She told the nurse her baby’s fever was about 250 degrees.

2/25 Have had to inform a few male patients that the condom only goes on the shaft and should not be pulled down to include covering of the testicles.

3/25 Vet here… Dead bodies decompose! If you leave your dead dog I euthanised in the back of your car on the hottest day of the year, don’t come crying to me when its belly fills with putrefying gases and bursts. Demanding I cover the costs of reupholstering your car might be considered a little rude as well.

4/25 In a free medical clinic I had to tell a mother that she should be brushing her 4 year old’s teeth. The daughter came because her throat hurt. After opening her mouth & using a tongue depressor to see her throat, the daughter squirmed like 4 year olds are prone to do & the tongue depressor hit her gums. Pus flowed everywhere & the child wound-up having to be put on penicillin before having every last tooth pulled due to severe infection.

5/25 I once had a patient with a cancer diagnosis completely depressed about not being able to see their family anymore. I was confused because I had spoken with this individual’s spouse and extended family who seemed supportive; there wasn’t any indication of family problems, etc.

It turns out that this individual thought “genetic” and “family history” had meant something similar to “contagious”, leading them to the conclusion that one should stay away from loved ones lest it be spread through the family.

That was one clarification I was so happy to give.

6/25 My favourite was when someone was prescribed estrogen patches and told to stick one patch on herself every other day. At the next follow-up she said she didn’t like the patches because she’d been “running out of space”

I didn’t think to clarify to her that she should have been placing a new patch and removing the one from yesterday each day. Very amusing. She indeed was covered in sticky patches.

7/25 Mom brought her kids to the ER after they ate all of their Halloween candy because they had tummy aches. They were still eating Reese’s peanut butter cups when they were in the exam room. I had to explain to her that they need to cut back on the candy and she looked at me like I had three heads.

8/25 Paramedic here, have informed numerous people that pouring Gatorade into the unresponsive diabetics mouth is not a good idea.

9/25 That they were 8 months pregnant.

10/25 You’re still sexually active even if you are just on the bottom every time.

11/25 I work as a pharmacologist and one of the patients we had at my company was complaining the cat allergy medicine we gave her wasn’t working (formulated in an inhaler). Turns out she was spraying the inhaler on her cat… We have to explain to her that she needs to inhale it…

12/25 Paramedic. During clinical time in the ER 17 yo girl came in with a bloody rectum/anus. Apparently she wasn’t wiping after using the bathroom and it was basically really bad diaper rash. So the nurse had to call social services. And explain to this girl proper wiping.

13/25 So this happened when I was a family doctor. I got a call in the middle of the night (I was on call) from a very distressed new mother. She said her newborn was projectile vomiting with every feed. Projectile vomiting can be a worrisome finding in a newborn so I asked her to meet me in the ER right away. When I saw the baby he was smiling, happy and in perfect good health. The mom assured me that he vomited with every feed. So I asked her to feed him to let me see what happened. She did and as soon as she finished the baby started to fuss then spit up the milk. I asked was this what she had been seeing. It was. So I asked her if she ever burped the baby. She looked at me puzzled. She had no clue about burping. She said she thought it was some “tv thing”. I assured her it was a real thing and at 2:00am taught her how to burp a baby. I asked her to follow up with me in a day or two. She came in and said “you are the best doctor ever, that burping thing you taught me is like magic – now my baby is happy all the time”.

14/25 A nursing home called 911 for a patient who was having difficulty breathing. When we arrived, a PA was standing in front of the patient vigorously “fanning” the old lady with her hands. She looked at us and said, “I’m giving her some oxygen because we couldn’t find a portable O2 tank” and keeps flapping her arms. Remember, this is a physician assistant!! Probably making 100k a year!! I informed her that she could stop now and my partner and I did our best to wait until we were outside to burst out laughing.

15/25 A “No added nicotine” label on your cigarette box is not the same as NO nicotine.

16/25 Pouring Lysol on your foot will not stop your diabetic foot ulcer from becoming osteomyelitis.

17/25 How a shorter/fatter 5 ml oral syringe held more volume than a skinnier and longer 1 ml oral syringe. “How does this hold more liquid when its shorter??”

18/25 ER nurse. I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldn’t matter “because he uses a condom every time and he makes sure to wash it throughly after every use.” I asked what she meant when she said he washes it after every use. She explained that he washed the condom with hot water and soap before he used said condom again. I had to explain to her that condoms are a one time use product… She had no clue…

19/25 I told a friend of a friend that I had just completed my doctorate, he asked if I could write him a prescription ….sigh

20/25 Pediatric nurse here. I’ve told more than one parent that their infant should not be drinking Dr. Pepper out of their bottle (or any other vessel for that matter).

21/25 No joke, a panicked 29 year old came to the office for corn in his stool. He genuinely thought something was wrong.

22/25 Viagra does not prevent STDs or pregnancy.

23/25 I once had to use the word dick instead of penis because the patient did not know the proper term for his genitalia.

24/25 One lady I was seeing for clinicals was diabetic, and she would come in every week with stupid high blood sugar levels (250-560ish), not knowing why they were so high. She kept a record of everything she ate, and all her food intake seemed fine.

One day, her husband came with her, which was weird, and he ninja slipped me a note while shaking my hand. It read, “Ask her about the Quiktrip slushies. She doesn’t believe me that they have sugar in them.” So I asked her if she was having any soda, lemonade, tea, ice cream, shakes or slushies, and she told me, like a light bulb had gone off in her head, “Well, I have been drinking about 3 of the 48oz Quiktrip slushies every day for awhile now. They’re just so good! And they aren’t food or drink, they’re slushies! So they don’t have any sugar in them, and I don’t need to record them!”

It was so hard to convince her that those are so full of sugar it isn’t even funny. But seriously, 3 a day on a type 2 diabetic. It was one of the stupidest things I have ever heard in my life.

25/25 Vet here. I had this lady bring in her female cat who turned out to be pregnant. She was adamant that it was impossible, as this was strictly an indoor cat. Upon further questioning, she admitted that there was an intact tom also living in the same house, but that he couldn’t possibly have done it because he was the female cat’s brother.

Yeah, cats don’t work that way.

Friday Funny

One of a series

From Wikipedia

From Wikipedia

It’s fortunate I don’t have to make this stuff up:

You heard it correctly, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson just sought to prove that Jesus was real, through a hilarious monologue given at The Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado. “He did come. And every last one of you seated in here, and the rest of America and most of the world – their calendar documents it. It is 2016 years since Jesus showed up. Right? So don’t tell me he wasn’t here!” says Robertson.

“If your calendar is dated on of all the human beings who have ever walked on the Earth, and your calendar is dedicated and predicated to just one of ’em, evidently something rather large went down,” he said.

This was posted on the Hello Christian site, so I know it’s not a hoax. Actually, there is a video that shows Phil Robertson mouthing these words. Maybe he’s making a joke. It is funny.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

CasingsInTheStreet

These days it’s up to private citizens to keep themselves and their families safe from terrorists and an ever-present criminal element. People increasingly rely on the 2nd Amendment for the right to arm themselves. It is impressive how well this is working out:

CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Clarksville police said a 3-year-old boy has died after being shot in the face.

Police said the shooting happened Friday evening in the 500 block of Samantha Lane.

The child had been shot in the face with a handgun. The 911 call said the boy had found the gun and shot himself in the mouth.

The victim was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where he later died.

The .40 caliber handgun was owned by a resident of the home.

Remember, the handgun is your friend. Keep it handy.