Archive for February, 2009

On and On

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

How incredible that we embrace any excuse that comes along to celebrate optimism. No god would have accepted “such carrying on.” But here we are on a five day high as if we soaked up alcohol or smelled the library paste. Friday, the 13th no less, there were ads, reminders, and blatant guilt trips laid on TV viewers and newspaper readers to get out there and prove undying devotion to the heart’s desire. Sparkling diamonds, lavish furniture centered around beds, scrumcious dining, yes and even hot music cards, for your Valentine, of course.

I fell right into the whole shebang! Early greetings from friends, can’t get too much of that. And the sun shone on thousands of migrating waterfowl on my favorite wildlife Refuge. Tundra swans are back by the dozen. More Canada geese than I could estimate, duck species galore, a bald eagle graced the raft beyond the bird blind. What a spectacle.

And the world turns. The moon shines brighter than it has for days. I could find my paths in the back yard when I ventured out to get my mile of running well after dark. There is simply nothing an eighty one year old will not do to keep on keeping on. And it is not over. President’s Day is a day of bargains. I am optimistic I can find something to die for.

See you across the aisle in some dreamtime!

Go Fish

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

How long has it been since you played ‘Hide and Seek’? Good hiding places were not hard to find but the seekers soon found them out. Remember the thrill when the seekers came close and you could jump out and frighten them?

The ongoing opposition to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is looking for a safe place to hide. Hiding from our animal nature. Science has proven so many things and the latest fact that amazes me is that our bones, every detail of our bodies, is written in a single cell. Sounds impossible. What I was going to be — physically, that is — was in the DNA from which I came long before I was a gleam in my Daddy’s eye. So it is with each and every one of us.

There are many explanations in research studies where we can read how many disciplines came together to figure it all out. A book with the unlikely title YOUR INNER FISH by Neil Shubin is an easy read about how archaeologists, paleontologists, and the patient lab workers pick apart the genes to come up with the beginning of us all.

Three hundred million years ago before the first critters moved about in the waters the stage was set so to speak. Now I thought the associations of the seemingly unrelated scientific disciplines was strange enough to make me scowl at the thought of being able to understand any of it.

Well I was wrong. The search for fossils sounds unnecessary but Shubin got me curious about the gap between some forms in evolution. Somewhere he hoped to find a missing link between water animals and land animals. It is now well known. The search and how it relates to each digit on our hand and every spot on the jaguar is a real enlightenment. Why do I have five toes? Why does my cat have six?

Your Inner Fish — A Journey into the 3.5 billion-year History of the Human Body.

Neil Shubin, 2008, Random House.

And if you like the deeper nitty gritty go for:

Endless Forms Most Beautiful — The New Science of Evo Devo.

Sean B. Carroll, 2005, Norton and Co.

Try it – you’ll like it. And there is plenty of beef.