I am a fan of the Star Trek universe.  I have enjoyed most of the shows and movies in the Star Trek universe.  I don’t own a Starfleet uniform, but I wouldn’t make fun of you if you wore one.

Today I was watching the Star Trek movie from 2009 (the reboot) for probably the 10th time, when I noticed something.  Obviously there are spoilers so if you haven’t seen this movie, don’t read any farther.  You’ve been warned.

There’s a scene in the movie where Spock is in the captain’s chair, and Nero has just dropped some red matter into the core of Vulcan.  Chekov points out that Nero is creating a singularity (i.e. “black hole”) in the center of Vulcan.  Spock asks how long Vulcan has before it is destroyed.  Chekov replies, “Minutes, Sir.  Minutes.”

Spock then says he is going to beam down to the surface.  He briefly discusses this with Uhura, and then leaves the bridge, giving Chekov the conn at 59 minutes 47 seconds.

Kirk and Sulu fall off the platform, and the transporter crewperson can’t beam them up because they are falling. Chekov realizes that he CAN beam them up, so he is needed in the transporter room. He gives the conn to someone else at 1 hour and 44 seconds. He runs to the transporter room, arriving at 1 hour and 55 seconds.  He successfully beamed Kirk and Sulu back to the Enterprise. Then, at 1 hour, 1 minute and 32 seconds, Spock calmly walks into the transporter room, ordering, “Clear the pad.”  This is so Spock can beam down to the surface of his rapidly dying planet and rescue his parents and the other Vulcan elders.

If we look at the order of events chronologically (leaving out the extra details), it looks like this:

59:47 Spock leaves the bridge heading for the transporter room
1:00:44 Chekov leaves the bridge heading for the transporter room
1:00:55 Chekov reaches the transporter room
1:01:32 Spock reaches the transporter room.

Anybody else see the problem here?  Why did it take Chekov only 11 seconds to get to the transporter room and yet it took Spock (who was in a bigger hurry) 1 minute and 45 seconds? What was Spock doing for that minute and 34 seconds?  Going to the bathroom? Eating a donut?

In any case, this just shows that even though you experience something over and over, there’s always something new to learn.

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Nutrition Advice

Ok, you’re here, that means you have at least 5 minutes to kill.  Stop reading my blog and head over to this site to check out the top five contenders for the worst nutrition advice.  Then come back.

I’ll wait.

You’re back?  Ok, well, just in case you didn’t want to click or if all the information confused you, here’s a summary of the top 5 list of worst nutrition advice:

1. Throw Away The Egg Yolks, The Most Nutritious Part of The Egg
2. Everyone Should Eat a Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet… Even Diabetics
3. A Calorie is a Calorie… Food Quality is Less Important
4. Use Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils For Cooking
5. Replace Natural Butter With Processed, Trans Fat Laden Margarine.

In case you missed it, here’s what you SHOULD do:
1. Eat the whole egg. Yes. As many as you want. Cholesterol is actually good for you.
2. Eat a high fat, low carb diet. Especially diabetics. Your pancreas will thank you.
3. Don’t worry about calories, worry about the quality of your food. 1800 calories of junk is still junk. I can’t stand it when I see “healthy snacks” when it’s a package of small oreos, but they’re “healthy” because they’re only 100 calories.  Yeah.  Your body isn’t a Buick, it’s a complex organism that responds differently to the different things you put in it.
4. Use peanut oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. Stop using corn/canola/vegetable oils. They’re bad for your heart. No, really.  Yes, I know, you’ve been told they are GOOD for your heart.  You were lied to.
5. Eat real butter, not that other stuff that’s yellow and tastes bad. Yes, I know butter is more expensive, but that’s because it’s real food, and really good for you.

On the last point:  Let’s assume you use two pounds of margarine per week. Some of you are saying “Who uses that much??”  Others are saying, “Hello!?! More like two pounds a day!”  But let’s assume 2 pounds on average.   You are paying about $1 per pound for the yellow plastic.  Butter costs about $3 per pound, so it’s more expensive.  But is it worth it?  I say yes!  Over the course of a year, if you replaced your margarine with real butter, you would spend an additional $208 on butter.   That’s sixty cents a day.  Would you pay that much to be healthier and enjoy your food more?  I say yes.

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Noah: The Movie

Today I decided to finally watch the movie “Noah” (subtitle: the worst movie ever starring Russell Crowe). I have seen the reviews of this movie, and that’s why I didn’t see it until it was free (or at least included in my Netflix subscription). I heard that it was unbiblical, and that it was simply a bad movie.

So I decided to watch it. Less than a minute into the movie, there was an error. Then another one. And so I decided to catalog every error I found. There were several:

1. The movie implies that Adam only had three sons. Genesis 5:4 states Adam had other sons and daughters.
2. The Bible never says the fruit was an apple.
3. Cain never lived with a band of fallen angels called “the Watchers.”
4. Cain was protected by God, not by fallen angels.
5. Lamech (Noah’s father) died five years before the flood, when Noah was 595 years old, not a child, as the movie shows.
6. Ham was the youngest child (Genesis 9:24), not Japheth.
7. God spoke to Noah. He didn’t express his wishes through visions. In the movie when Noah’s wife asks, “Did he speak to you?” Noah replies, “I think so.” The Bible says in Genesis 6:13 “Then God said to Noah” Genesis 7:1 says “Then the LORD said to Noah…” Genesis 8:15 “Then God spoke to Noah, saying…”.  God has a voice, and He uses it.
8. Rock monsters. Even if they were fallen angels, they wouldn’t have defended God and done what was right. Fallen angels are demons, spirits. And the Bible never says that fallen angels can be redeemed after their disobedience. The whole rock monster subplot is a fiction.
9. The movie implies God’s visions come through drugs.
10. The flood was sent because of man’s sin, not because of man’s destruction of the environment.
11. Eight specific people got on the ark, eight specific people got off. God told Noah, “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.”  Shem, Ham, and Japheth were already married when they got on the ark.
12. Noah seems to indicate that killing in self-defense is wrong. The Bible never says this.
13. I found their casting choices interesting. We’re supposed to believe that every ethnicity on earth descended from a family of white people?
14. In the movie, there is a battle between the sons of Cain and the rock monsters (defending the ark) right in front of the ark. The battle starts after it starts raining. The Bible is clear that Noah and his family got on the ark a whole week before it started raining.
15. Where were the dinosaurs?
16. The serpent had legs before the fall of man.
17. God did not use evolution to create the world, as the creation montage indicates.
18. God never told Noah He intended to let mankind die out, quite the opposite.
19. Nothing in the Bible indicates Shem’s wife was barren to begin with, nor that Methuselah had magical powers of healing and putting people to sleep.
20. Tubal Cain never got on the ark.
21. Noah got drunk in a tent, not a cave.
22. when they came out of the ark, there was no sacrifice and no covenant.  No indication from God that it was ok to eat meat now (which He did say).  And the rainbow at the end was decidedly cheesy.
23. God never asked Noah to decide if mankind was worth saving.

But the movie wasn’t all bad. There were also things they got right. Namely, these:
1. The flood was worldwide. Everybody died except those who were on the ark.
2. The ark was not a boat, but rather was a box. A big box filled with animals and people.
3. Sin will be judged, but salvation is offered.

Do I recommend this movie? No. The movie is based on nine chapters in the Bible, which takes up nine pages of single-spaced text in Microsoft Word. The details given regarding the flood are sufficient that they could have at least gotten those facts correct. But they didn’t.

The bad guys in the movie decided they knew better than God. And that is the same error Mr. Aronofsky, the director made.

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Tree No Mo’

Today was Memorial Day.  Both my mom and our friends are visiting from out of town. We planned to sit around today, play games, and not much else.  This afternoon my friend’s oldest son said he was bored, so he asked if he could mow my yard.  Absolutely! While he was mowing, his dad was walking around and noticed that the tree in our front yard had some dead branches.  After cutting off a few branches, he looked closer and told me that my tree was dying.  Evidently it is infected by the “emerald ash borer.”

The tree is to the left in this picture.

The tree is to the left in this picture.

Since we are selling our house, we had two options: do nothing and hope nobody notices until after the house sold, or cut the tree down.

We thought the second option was more ethical. Our African-American neighbor (white guy from South Africa) saw us using a tree hand saw to cut down this tree (about 8 inches in diameter) and loaned us his chainsaw. It went much faster after that.  In no time at all we had the trunk and large branches cut up and stacked, and the smaller branches gathered in our side yard for disposal (no idea how to get rid of them, but I’ll find that out tomorrow I guess).

My best friend expertly wielding the chainsaw.

My best friend expertly wielding the chainsaw.

So now we have no tree.  I looked into methods for stump removal, and since we have no truck, no chain, and no dynamite (the HOA might frown on that last one anyway), I put some bricks around the stump (which is at ground level) and filled the space with dirt.  Tomorrow I will get some flowers and it will look great.  Hopefully nobody looking at our house asks, “Hey, what happened to the tree?”

Before flowers.

Before flowers.

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Do you remember those commercials where the salesman would scream at you from the television to get your attention? This tactic was mostly used by car salesmen, some of whom still use this method.  Terry Crew also utilizes it for effect.

Why do they scream at you?  Why are commercials louder than the actual television program you’re watching (side note, this is actually illegal now).  Because it get’s your attention.  We have short attention spans, and advertisers know this.  They raise the volume to get your attention so you’ll focus on their pitch.

With the advent of the internet, a large portion of what was previously aural (audio) communication is now text-based (visual).  So advertisers have had to adjust.

Enter “clickbait”.  Clickbait is defined as “a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs and to encourage forwarding of the material over online social networks.” (Wikipedia).   Basically, they show you an ad that screams for your attention by inciting your curiousity.  They hope people will have thoughts like these:
“This video made your jaw drop? I wonder why.”
“The action of this person brought you to tears?  Well then it must be worth my time.”

And so you click.  And discover that the video that made someone’s jaw drop was just like every other video on the internet, most of them pointless and banal.  Funny? Maybe.  Interesting?  Possibly.  Jaw-droppingly shocking? Hardly.

I encountered some click bait today on Facebook that prompted this article.  Here is a screenshot of the videos:

No, I did not click.

No, I did not click.

I loathe clickbait.  Unfortunately the news stations are starting to use it as well.  And that’s unfortunate.  But why are they using it? Because it works.  Because people keep clicking.  Why do telemarketers still exist? Because people buy stuff from them.  If nobody ever bought things from telemarketers, they would quit.  If nobody ever clicked on clickbait, they would stop sensationalizing the mundane.

It’s up to you.

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Today is the day I’ve been looking forward to for four years. Ever since I signed up to get my bachelors degree in nursing so that I could continue on and get my Masters degree in nursing, I have been hoping for the day that I finish nurse practitioner school.

Today is the day my classmates are graduating from the University of Indianapolis with their masters of science in nursing degrees. I would like to congratulate each and everyone of them for this accomplishment, and I don’t want to rain on their day since it is a great achievement for them. But that does not change how I feel right now.

Today was supposed to be the day that I was done with formal education for the rest of my life.

But instead, today is just another day. Get up. Rake the yard. Watch a little TV. Take a shower. Go to work. Come home and go to bed.

Sometimes it’s hard to trust in God’s plan. Sometimes it’s hard to remind myself that He knows everything, and that He knows what is best for me.

It’s days like today that I have questions without answers. Why did I fail last semester by only one test question? Why has our house not sold yet? Why am I behind on my bills yet again?

God knows. But I don’t. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep going to work. Keep waiting for the day this September when I can start school again, hopefully for the last time.

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Adam Sandler is not Awful

Adam Sandler is funny. Adam Sandler is not funny. Both of these things are true. Today I read this article which informs me that Adam Sandler is “awful.”

I have not enjoyed everything Adam Sandler has produced. But he has his moments. I remember enjoying his “Opera Guy” on SNL when I was a teenager. I have laughed at some of his movies. Some of his movies I have not seen (or shut off after watching part of them) because they were too filthy, too over the top. For every good movie he makes, he seems to crank out another two or three horrible ones.

But his trilogy of romantic comedies he made with Drew Barrymore I have really enjoyed: The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, and Blended.

And I would like to take issue with this Washington Post article written by Michael Miller. Evidently some Native American actors walked off the set of Sandler’s latest movie because of offensive stereotypes. In reading the article, this sounds like one of the filthy, terrible movies, and so I will not be seeing it. But in his defense, it also sounds like they are making fun of the stereotypes, not perpetuating them. But I’m not there, so I don’t know. All I know is that people seem to get offended too easily today.

For instance, Mr. Miller’s critique of Blended (which he calls “bad and bigoted”), which I and the rest of my family found hilarious. Full disclosure: we are not racists. His article quotes another critic, Richard Brody, who speaks of the problems with Blended:

  1. The Friedmans get out of their limo and are greeted by the hotel’s staff, all black…” Well excuse me, Mr. Brody, but they are in AFRICA. Specifically, the movie was filmed in South Africa, where 79% of the population is black. I get the feeling that if most (or even half) of the staff were white (or at least non-black), Mr. Brody would have complained about how that is not ethnically representative: “Where are all the black people?”
  2. “...starting with a singing group, called Thathoo (pronounced “Tattoo”). The group leader’s eye-rolling and glad-handing, his lubriciously insinuating and exaggeratedly jiving, all seem to be taken straight from a minstrel show.” I’m wondering if Mr. Brody even watched the same movie I did. Thatoo was one of the best parts of the movie because they were ridiculously hilarious. Terry Crews nailed that role. The “eye-rolling” is a signature of Terry Crews specifically.
  3. There’s also an obsequious greeter whose exaggerated ingratiations would shame the hospitality business.” Of course he’s obsequious: he’s a concierge, not just a greeter. I could name any number of films with white concierges who behave in the same manner. And at the end of the movie the concierge reveals that his affectation was an act (he knew all along they were not who they said they were).
  4. And there’s an elderly slacker, sleeping on the job and avoiding responsibility, whose lazy ways are a monstrous and venerable cliché.” So if an old person is seen sleeping on the job, and they happen to be black, that’s a cliché and a racial stereotype? Come on, man.  It seems almost like this guy is assuming racism where none exists, much like the man who cried racism about the term “black hole” in a city council meeting.

What it comes down to is that Blended made 126.8 million and cost 40 million to make. That means they made $86.8 million on the movie. I’d call that a success. I guess Mr. Brody would call it evidence that racism abounds.

Mr. Miller refers to “The genius of Punch Drunk Love.” Well, I for one hated that movie. I thought it was stupid, and was not entertained, which is the point of watching a movie. The movie cost $25 million to make, and only brought in $24.5 million. So you can give it all the critical acclaim you want, but if the Hoi Polloi (common people) hate it, then it’s a bad movie. And that movie, which is heralded by Mr. Miller as Sandler’s best movie, cost half a million dollars more than it brought in. So it doesn’t matter that it has a good rating on Rotten Tomatoes. People didn’t go see it. Why? Because it stunk. I’m getting tired of being told by a bunch of critics what I SHOULD like.

So while Sandler has made bombs like “Jack and Jill” and “Little Nicky”, he has also made hilarious movies like “Blended.” I would call that far from awful.

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