Sunday, August 9, 2009
Apparently, my baby is the size of four navel oranges this week... Suddenly that reminded me:
"Good morning, Mr. Judge. I placed this class of Washington Navel Oranges 3-2-4-1. As a general evalutation of this class, I found that there was uniform eye appeal throughout the class with minor blemishes scattered throughout the bottom plates. There were no apparent signs of imminent deterioration and all appearances indicated a long and fresh shelf-life.
"I placed 3 over 2 because of its general uniformity in color, shape, and size. While plate three had a uniformly reddish-orange color, plate two had signs of oleocilosis and slight shading due to prolonged boxing. The cross-section of plate three was uniform with a medium rind and rag, while plate two showed minor granulations toward the core.
"I placed 2 over 4 because of the uniformity in size and shape plate two displayed against plate four. Plate four showed three oranges of very good reddish-orange color and ovate shape but one whose shape was flattened and discolored, possibly due to prolonged packing pressure. Plate four also demonstrated in its cross section several kists.
"I placed plate 4 over 1 because of the obvious discrepancies apparent upon inspection of plate one. While plate four's oranges were free of any cosmetic blemishes, plate one had katydid, thrips, and snail damage. The cross-section of plate one showed increased signs of advanced granulation and sprouting seeds, demonstrating an expired piece of merchandise.
"In conclusion, I found this class of oranges to be generally suitable for consumption with no major defects except those identified above. For these reasons, I placed this class of Washington Navel Oranges, 3-2-4-1. Thank you."
For those of you who don't get it, that was a reference to Citrus Judging, of which I was the California State Champion for two years in a row, thank you very much.... Someone email this post to Mr. Mailand...
Amanda and I took a drive out to the countryside today and it got me thinking about (besides citrus judging) the wonderful life that is available in the country. After living in cities for the past 8 years I find myself continuously yearning for a life with simpler priorities and less traffic. I also know that it is a much safer environment for Sebastian to grow up in, and hopefully Amanda and I can provide that sort of life as soon as I am done with this whole "serving my country" thing (not to make it sound derogatory...).
It is neat to feel Sebastian kicking and punching. Probably not as neat for Amanda as it is for me, since I don't have to bear the brunt of the discomfort, but she is kind enough to let me know whenever he is active so I can play with him. We went to a class this past weekend where we were told to do a kick-count. If he fails to kick or move 10 times within an hour we are supposed to call them. I honestly think this guy kicks more than 500 times in an hour unless he is sleeping, so needless to say, we have not had to worry about the kick counts, thank God. He is very, very active.
We will be taking our last-hurrah vacation next week, which I'm sure will be very exciting. We are going to the Outer Banks, Wilmington, NC, Charleston, SC, Asheville, NC, and Asheboro, NC. Hopefully Amand will not go into labor while we are driving. She will just have to hold it because "we have to make good time..."
Anyway, the time's gettin' close, and I'm gettin' excited. Sebastian will be a Shortstop.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
We found out that Gorthar is a boy, which made me very happy. I was thrilled that I did not have to feign excitement at the prospect of having a girl. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against all those baby girls out there, but boys seem to be much easier to understand and deal with (Amanda and I both agree on this). I am not sure I would even know what to do with a girl. I mean, softball can barely be called a sport! It's more of a social endeavor, much like bird watching or a scramble game of golf. It's fun to drink beer while participating in these activities, but there's no real sense of accomplishment at the end of it all... So, with the revelation of having a son, I have begun getting Gorthar ready for playing baseball. Several scouts are already interested, from what I hear...
We also decided to abandon the name, Gorthar, as it seemed a little too odd to keep calling him that. However, we both grew quite fond of the name and we--probably just me--were actually considering using it. If we kept it as a womb name any longer, it may have stuck. (I suppose he can still use it as his rapper name.) After many hours of fierce debate, arguing, tantrums, stormings-out, and finally compromising, the perfect name surfaced: Autonomous Rex. Unfortunately, Amanda did not share my opinion of perfection, so we continued throwing heavy objects at each other. (For those who would actually take that seriously, the above sentences are an exaggeration; Amanda is not allowed to lift heavy objects, so she threw light, aerodynamic objects...) Among the several names that made the finals were Vincent (Blech!), Victor (Pbblt!), Llewellyn (awesome!), and Rach Maninov (more awesome!). For some reason, I have an aversion to V-names though, and Amanda did not appreciate the awesomeness of my names. In the end though, we found a name that neither of us hated, and I must say, I have grown quite attached to it: Autonomous Rex. I mean, Sebastian.
So Sebastian Lawrence Schwartz it is; the "Lawrence" is after my late grandfather, who was the first of three Lawrences in the Schwartz lineage. As far as I know, this will be the first Schwartz of the fourth generation with that name, even though it is not his first name...
On the non-baby side of things, I had been busy purchasing and renovating a house, getting ready to go to Officer Candidate School, and playing with the cats. We purchased a home on April 28th, 2009, which we got a really good deal on. The previous owner, who ended up foreclosing on it, began about 23 different home improvement projects and finished none of them. Amanda and I worked diligently during the month of May painting, baseboarding, spackling, paint-stripping, flooring, wiring, exterminating, landscaping, tiling, decorating, staining, caulking, and rodent-chasing. Now we only have 22 different projects left, but we are getting there. The house is actually livable now and the cats have made friends with the rodents, so we are all happy. (We don't really have rodents... The squirrels that came with the house have taken up residence elsewhere.)
On May 21st, I departed the comforts of my home to attend Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA. It was supposed to be a 6-week venture, fraught with excruciating physical exertion, constantly getting yelled at, and a general degradation of humanity. I was really looking forward to it. Upon completion of OCS, I would have only needed to graduate college in order to get my commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, so I was very anxious to get it out of the way. Unfortunately, the second day I was there, they found out that I had torn my rotator cuff in my right shoulder. Since I had only been doing about a month of rehabilitation, they decided to send me home. The doctors at OCS recommended I get an MRI, surgery, and an additional 6 to 8 months of rehab in order for it to be completely healed.
AN ARGUMENT AGAINST GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTHCARE:
Upon my return to the Hampton Roads, I proceeded to set up the necessary medical appointments to take care of my shoulder. Despite the recommendations from Navy and civilian doctors at OCS for immediate MRI and surgery, I still had to navigate the red tape of a bureaucratized healthcare system.
The first step was to call an automated appointment line just to see my "Primary Care Manager," who, amazingly, has been a different doctor every time I have gone to get my shoulder looked at. Once the appointment was made (for a week later), I would be able to start my rehab. One week later, I saw my "Primary Care Manager"--a different one again--who, after explaining to her the problem, did A Few Tests on my shoulder to see if there was a problem. She explained to me that I would need an X-Ray before they could start treatment. So, she set up an appointment with the X-Ray technician for me. Once I got my X-ray, I would be able to start my rehab.
After the X-ray was completed, I was sent back to the "Primary Care Manager"--a different one again--who explained to me that the X-ray showed I did not have a torn rotator cuff. Fortunately, I had done some research on rotator cuff tears prior to my visit, so I was able to ask the following question: "Won't torn rotator cuffs only show up on an MRI?" The doctor replied with a bit of confusion, "Yes, I think you're right."
Despite this medical revelation, she refused to get me an MRI. Instead she assigned me to go to a Physical Therapist. She was kind enough to set up the appointment for me. Once this appointment was made--for a week later--I would be able to begin my rehabilitation. The next week I went to see my new Physical Therapist, who proceeded to do A Few Tests to see if there was actually a problem. Amazingly, he came to the same conclusion that every other doctor had come to (except for the doctor who looked at my X-ray), that I had a torn rotator cuff; however, to be sure, I would need to get an MRI. Finally, the recommendations from OCS were being heeded. Soon, I would be into surgery and it would all be fixed.
Wrong! When I asked the Physical Therapist when I could get an MRI, he stated that I would have to do 6 to 8 weeks of rehab first just to see if that worked. I explained to him what the doctors and Physical Therapists at OCS had recommended and even gave him the phone numbers for their office, but that was apparently not enough. So, he sent me to a Physical Trainer, with whom I was supposed to set up an appointment to begin my rehab. After seeing the Physical Trainer, I set up an appointment--for a week later--and would soon be able to begin my rehab.
Nonetheless, I will have to undergo an almost assuredly wasted 6 to 8 weeks of pointless rehab for the Bureau of Naval Medicine to realize that I need an MRI and surgery in order to get fixed. All despite the recommendation coming from doctors who work for, yes, the Bureau of Naval Medicine that I get an MRI and surgery immediately.
I understand that MRIs are expensive and they only want to use the machine if they have to, but when you consider the 8 weeks of paying the physical therapist, the 8 weeks I am unable to completely do my job despite my being paid at full salary, and the various other costs associated with rehabilitation, I am sure they are not saving that much money. Either way, I am not looking forward to surgery because they employ two echelons of surgeons at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (Motto: "The bottom of the class needs jobs, too!"). The first echelon has the regular surgeons; the second echelon has doctors who fix all the botched surgeries that the first echelon performs... I am not making this up.
On a concluding note, our baby will be born in this very hospital, under this very bureaucracy, under these very doctors, and subject to this very inefficient and grossly incompetent government-run healthcare. Perhaps I will just do a YouTube search of "How to deliver a baby."
Saturday, March 7, 2009
And speaking of fetal development, my Oceanography instructor brought up the tired old demonstration of evolution by comparing human fetal development to that of lizards and chickens, or Haeckel's "Ontology recapitulates Phylogeny." I couldn't believe a college-level class was still using this, and undoubtedly students were accepting it as fact.
The facts are that Haeckel deliberatley manipulated these embryonic graphic representations in order to vindicate his world view. The evolutionist W. R. Thompson, in his introduction to Darwin's Origin of Species, admitted this, saying, "What [Haeckel] did was to arrange existing forms of animal life in a series proceeding from the simple to the complex, intercalating imaginary entities where discontinuity existed and then giving the embryonic phases names corresponding to the stages in his so-called evolutionary series... When the "convergence" of embryos was not entirely satisfactory, Haeckel altered the illustrations of them to fit his theory... The "biogenetic law" as a proof of evolution is valueless."
Yet teachers have inculcated tens of thousands of students by repeating this fallacy as fact.
Evolutionists anger me, not because I disagree with their theory (although I do), but because they are as stubborn and obdurate as their opposition. This in itself does not bother me, since I am all for being obdurate, but theirs is a hypocritical sort of pertinacity in that they condemn theories based on faith while ultimately relying on the same for their own theory. Of course, they will argue that, while Creation can't be tested by the Scientific Method, evolution can.
But this in itself is problematic because the "Scientific Method" was "invented" by humans. It is ultimately conceived through human intervention, not Natural Law. In other words, the Scientific Method is not a constant like gravity is. Has it been important? Yes, but who is to say a future Bacon or Galileo will come along with a different scientific method that is able to test the metaphysical and teleological aspects of nature? Just because a theory can't be tested by our current scientific method does not mean it should be discarded. If scientists and philosophers had always followed that logic, we may still be operating under a geocentric theory.
The other problem is that, as shown above, certain concepts of evolution are continually disproven while the act of creation has never been disproven. Darwin thought the basic unit of life was the cell, and that it was very simple; however, we now know that in order for the simplest single-cell life to exist it must have about 600 different protein molecules. Statistically, it would be impossible for these proteins to form life. The chances of amino acids randomly merging to form a correct sequence for a protein--one simple protein--is about 1 in 10^450 (1 with 450 zeros). This would require about 10 random sequences per second for about 10 billion years in order to complete that probability. And that's just to form one protein... So yes, it must take a lot of faith to accept additional "random mutations" to perpetuate the progression of the species.
Science used to be considered a philosophy, but we now, in our arrogant assumption that we are capable of unlimited comprehension, consider it to be undisputed fact. I may be deemed a radical by saying this, but Science deservedly belongs back in the philosophic category. The Scientific Method does not prove anything, it just shows that a theory can't be completely disproven by known methods of testing. Ultimately, scientists--just like everyone--accept their undeniable facts on faith. But Darwinists have become so arrogant in their faith that they refuse to allow an alternative point of view.
Many scientists who advocate Intelligent Design (a euphamism for Creation) have been excommunicated by the "scientific elite." Creationists are persecuted daily for their faith and are forced to accept the faith of Evolutionists, or they are otherwise treated as a radical fringe, in some cases ruining their careers. Fundamentally, this is the same strategy the Catholic Church used against those who did not accept their man-made doctrines. It took a Catholic monk to recognize the evils of the dominating institution and to liberate millions of people from the accepted dogma of perverted Catholicism. (Martin Luther, in case I was too abstruse.)
I refuse to accept that my offspring is a statistical impossibility. I refuse to accept that he is half-lizard, half-bird in his fetal development, or even that the process is significantly comparable. He does not have gill slits as my learned college professor says he does. (The apparent "gills" are necessary for facial construction, aural development, and endocrine glands. They have nothing to do with respiratory function.) I also refuse to accept that a kumquat was the best description of my baby.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Amanda has been very tired recently. Gorthar has successfully learned how to sap the energy out of his host. Last night he was demanding vegetables. I suppose the pickles and ice cream will soon follow; but if he has inherited my expensive palate, Amanda's cravings will likely consist of lobster, caviar, and coffee that is made from the coffee beans that are digested and pooped out by Indonesian cats.
On a more somber note, my wife and I are apparently on track to being "irresponsible," since we would like to have three children. Jonathan Porritt, a chairman of the Optimum Population Trust and highly influential environmentalist in the United Kingdom, recently stated, "I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible." He believes that government intervention is necessary to curb the population growth, and that abortion and contraception are the way to do that.
I was not really appalled at this statement as it is not the first time I have heard it. Various organizations have been whining about the growth of the world's population since Thomas Malthus wrote his Principle of Population. Paul Ehrlic's Population Bomb in 1968 was a continuation of these Malthusian catastrophe predictions. So, Jonathan Porritt is just the latest influential person to advocate the regulation of humanity; no big deal, right?
Well, Malthus's principles received very little acceptance (but were very influential); Ehrlich's suggestion of "zero population growth" shocked the world with his propositions of passive genocide, but his work gained widespread interest among very powerful and influential people, including Ted Turner, George Soros, and most notably, Mikhail Gorbachev, who called the first "State of the World Forum" in 1995 in order to "address the problem of controlling the world's population," by reducing global population by 90%. Academia, as they are wont to do with any notion contrary to traditional Western ideology, also embraced and promulgated these ideas.
Now it seems that these two notable demographists have set the stage for a widespread acceptance among the commoners. In the comments of article linked above, there are perhaps just as many proponents of population control as there are of those who are outraged. Many seem to have become immune or numb to the idea of regulating humanity. They seem to have accepted that humans are the cause for all things evil, and with that acceptance they naively and arrogantly believe that we can actually do something about it. The proponents of population control have cleverly increased the salability of this idea by implementing global concerns beneath the mask of schemes such as neo-Darwinism, global warming, abortion, and most recently, homosexual marriage. Each of the above reduces the significance of human production and advocates a reduction. Each of these has also gained more and more widespread acceptance, especially over the last 20 years.
The Malthusian irony is twofold, if it is to be believed at face value:
1. The major proponents of population control are almost unanimously evolutionists. If they are to truly accept their world-view of random mutation and natural selection, how dare they hinder the natural evolution of mankind by doing nature's job for her? If they expect mankind to evolve as nature would have them to, they must not interfere with the natural supply and demand of population and resources. They must not preclude the survival of the fittest in an ultra-competitive environment such as an overpopulated globe. Necessity is the mother of evolution after all, right?
2. If population controls are put in place, we reduce the possibility of solutions for the problem itself. Cyrus Hall McCormick, the inventor of the reaper and eventual founder of International Harvester, which revolutionized crop sowing and reaping, was one of three siblings. Thomas Edison, whose invention of the electric light has enabled every modern convenience we enjoy and enabled succesive inventions that drastically increased productivity, was the youngest of seven siblings. Had their parents adhered to Malthusian and Porrittian principles, their discoveries may have never happened. If we are to regulate the production of children, we hinder our own technological progress to solve the original problem.
(I do not believe it is possible for the human population to ever exceed its means to the point of extinction or cause the death of the earth, regardless of an individual's teleological view: A Creator would not allow mankind to cause his own extinction; an evolutionary and uniformitarian ideology presupposes cycles resulting in homeostasis, or nature eventually balancing itself out.)
But to continue the hypothesis:
All morals aside, why would a global enterprise, government, or anyone realistically want to regulate the production of humanity? If global powers such as the International Planned Parenthood Foundation have their way, their agenda of limiting births will be implemented. Mothers would be required to receive surgery after their second birth in order to prevent a further infestation of humanity. But this does not account for the variables involved in birthing (dizygotic and polyzygotic births, black-market births, increased life-expectancy, etc.). The population will continue to increase and the "problem" will still be there, and further action would be needed. The next step would be not to regulate production, but to regulate survival, which, if you really think about it, is ultimately a much more effective way of handling the "problem" than abortion and contraception are. People would be denied medical treatment after they had received so much, since they would have become a liability on society. Living Permits would become a very profitable commodity and would assist in raising governmental revenue; the affluent would be able to purchase a longer life.
You may consider the above postulation a huge stretch. The government, you say, would never allow the systematic execution (or prevention of survival) of individuals because of social status. Why not? Stalin and Hitler did. And their genocidal philosophies were directly influenced by Thomas Malthus, Charles Darwin, and Herbert Spencer. Of course a government wouldn't do that now; it would look too much like those totalitarian dictators we as a collective society still abhor. But they must only find an acceptable reason to administer such a policy in order to gain widespread acceptance.
And once the dystopian policy of depopulation is accepted, there will finally be a problem of global proportions that will enable the call for a one-world government and a global dictator, and man will continue the adventure he has quested since Adam's fall--from the Tower of Babel to the Egyptian Pharaohs, from Alexander the Great to Julius Caesar, from Constantine to Charlemagne, and from Napoleon to Hitler, Stalin, and Hirohito--to become King of the Universe.
As for Amanda, Gorthar, and I, we will continue to strive for "irresponsibility."
Thursday, January 29, 2009
God willing, eight months from now, I will be a father. I have no idea what it's going to be like, but I take solace in the fact that I grew up with a great role model who's constant strivings to demonstrate selflessness definitely did not go unnoticed. I also have a brother who has my admiration for his handlings of family life and child rearing (among other reasons, to be sure). With these considerations in mind, I have confidence that the progeneration of Schwartzes, while it may not be an easy task, has truly been blessed by our Creator, and that He will guide the cultivation of our family's new addition into an instrument of His Will; but it is only through His Son that I will continue these positive eugenics. (How's that for ironic Social Darwinism?)
I am also fascinated at the development that we are able to see already (albeit somewhat vicariously--read Google image search of "fetal development"). It makes me even more amazed at the miracle of life, even at this early stage.
So, I am excited; I am not scared (yet); and I am confident that God's Plan will prevail after all things, and that I would be extremely selfish to consider my "needs" to be superior to His Will.