Andy Williams

Like all such assessments, this one lands at such a safe distance from its target it is hard to take it as more than anything than warm, glancing praise…

I met Andy Williams once long into the sunset of his career. He was still singing and performing, doing new things, doing old things, and meeting new people (like me) when other people his age, and some half his age, were working a job they hated, going home and watching someone else succeed at something on the television.

Andy Williams was a lifelong entertainer and he entertained me—never so much as when he found out I had sat at his private table, one always reserved for him, his family and his closest friends. I did this unknowingly. When he found out about it he approached me with a smile and handshake and told me it was the best seat in the house and he hoped I would feel the same way after my dinner.

I did.

It is rare in this life that a person you meet only once leaves such a silvered memory in you.

That’s worth a lot in my book.

Goodnight, Mr. Williams.

Or Andy… as you preferred.

The Terror by Night

Last night I went to bed around midnight. As I laid there wondering the details of any ten things I heard a noise. It was a strange noise that seemed to come from inside the room. The closest thing it sounded like was when my shower towel, (which is heavy, ribbed and oversized—almost a beach towel) is hung improperly on the shower curtain rod and slowly slides off. It sounds like shhhhhhhhhhh-thump.

Well, it sounded like that but not exactly like that. When this happens I always get up and simply re-hang the towel on the shower curtain rod with better balance and I’m good.

I was already awake. So I got up and went into the bathroom and my shower towel was still on the rod. Perplexed, I looked around for anything that would have obviously accounted for the noise (jeans falling off a chair, something falling over, that sort of thing) but could determine no source for the sound.

I opened my bedroom door and wandered down the hall and into the living room. It was there I noticed the flicker of flame through the glass panes of the front door.

Opening the front door I found a fire had begun next to the porch. In the time it took me to get water it had flared up to a threatening fire. The dry bed of mulch had been smoldering after a discarded cigar had been crushed out near it (not mine). With the extruded, wood-framed bedroom window casings mere inches above the long bed of mulch it is reasonable to assume the fire could have spread very quickly, given how fast it went from a flicker to a garden-hose melting campfire.

We put the fire out and doused the mulch with water thoroughly.

All this to say: I don’t know what the sound was in my room. It has never been explained. The fire was too far away through several doors, hall bends and windows to make any sound I could have possibly heard. The fire was at the front of the house and I sleep at the back of the house.

How do I explain it?

This is how I explain it:

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

That’s it. Psalm 91… or part of it anyway.

I shall not be afraid of the terror by night.

The Ebony Allure of Pam Grier

Pam Grier Though born from the crucible of imperfect race relations of the late 60’s and 70’s, many of Pam Grier’s films are still wildly enjoyable.

Exploitation to some, Blaxploitation to others, her work is a great time capsule to the wild and fashionably suspect 70’s. I remember when I was young trying to find any posters of her but never being able to locate any.

Tall, bosomy, and a little crazy, she was a great break from the demure leading ladies around her.

The Dumbest Argument You Will Ever Hear

The Question that apparently defeats the majority of people:

“If we discovered God is real… are we suddenly in a world of religion or science?”

How hard is that?

Yeah, this is real difficult. Doesn’t this just shipwreck the human intellect?

Well, it does if you are still foolishly clinging to certain outdated either/or propositions like Dan Abrams and Eugenie Scott.

If God is real then guess what—He created science too: gravitation, photosynthesis, leptons, mathematics, star dust, prime numbers and peas. He would have even created the science we haven’t discovered yet.

This is what is so bizarre: people actually think that if God exists (or was unilaterally proven to exist) then science would mystically and inexplicably vanish. That somehow gravity would stop or at least not be gravity as we know it, light would decelerate instantly, cell phones would suddenly fail, osmosis would freeze, milk and chocolate powder would no longer combine to make chocolate milk, and all emails would deactivate worldwide.

Even the mighty Xbox could not be countenanced to work if God was real.

As an adult if you actually think this way you are literally—not figuratively, not allegorically, but literally—an idiot.

And worse, there is little hope of you ever escaping the prison of your idiocy. If this describes you, you’re trapped.

If God is real then He’s real. He is religion, He is science, and He’s everything in between and beyond… and the only creatures who can’t figure that out are a bunch of brief, self-obsessed primates on a mote of dust afloat in the universe who aren’t big or wise enough to realize maybe something other than light can be a particle and a wave simultaneously.

Further, He was God for all those millions of eons before you existed and during your short, confused, agnostic tenure on the Earth. And science was still science throughout those ages too. You know, science was still science long before Mankind discovered it. In fact, science was science long before the Human Race showed up. It is the same thing with God. The only people baffled by this are the emotionally injured who cannot reconcile their abuses (read or imagined) with a proposed “God of love.”

I was watching Dan Abrams openly ridicule Stephen Meyer on The Abrams Report and side with Eugenie Scott over the issue of Intelligent Design, a proposition that maintains blind evolution and natural selection are insufficient to explain aspects of the universe. That’s it: a challenge to an existing and dominant scientific paradigm… remember when science used to do that—challenge itself?

Abrams’ hostility to the anti-establishment position challenging neo-Darwinian theory reminds one immediately of the smug intellectual climates surrounding Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and even Charles Darwin himself. Dan Abrams is yet another example of why we don’t let celebrities interpret data.

When any system gains control it wants to keep control, order the dialog and shape society into its image, good or bad, pious or perverse. Societies have been marred throughout history by religious fanatics, theocrats, monarchs, president, scientists, anarchists, racists, eugenicists, and the all-powerful state.

Remember: there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

Here’s my own experience with people like Dan Abrams.

I remember in college I was doing some research wherein the teacher asserted “there was an uncontested consensus” on a certain geological process (which later would be proposed as the retromorphic model). I was writing a paper on this “uncontested consensus” when I discovered not just a few, but countless examples where this geological process didn’t manifest—same rock, same age, some topography, same environmental conditions.

So I went to my professor and I challenged the “uncontested consensus” and I was told and I quote: “Whatever doesn’t conform to the model just ignore, they are anomalies.”

What the *&#$?

Yes, you heard right. I was told the scientific consensus only works if non-conformist phenomena were excluded.

Now, here’s the chilling part. Did he twist his black moustache and snicker conspiratorially?—no. Did he quietly take me into a back room that had to be unlocked with a special key, and tell me this after a secret handshake?—no.

He didn’t even blink. To him, the way the model works is you reject anything that doesn’t conform to it and then happily declare unanimity to the theory.

In a comedic analog, that would be like saying “See, 100% of all birds are red.” Being the good little student you are, you count the birds and discover three things: 1) there 100 specimens; 2) 70 of them are red; but 3) 30 of them are blue.

You have falsified the claim that 100% of the birds are red.

The teacher smiles condescendingly at you, pats you on the head and says “No, you don’t understand: we don’t the blue ones.”

Anyone who actually thinks evolution and natural selection are not riddled with deeply perplexing mysteries, obstacles and even in some cases paradoxes, has never studied it on any scholastic level.

It reminds me of Niels Bohr’s famous 1927 quote “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory does not understand it.”

There are always people who will run to any new paradigm regardless of how illegitimate or unsubstantiated it is because they see in it a chance to be free from something a previous worldview required of them.

That and that alone is what drives the frightened man. An antelope runs from a lion not for fun but for fear of being devoured by it.