Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks (in a heffalumps sort of way)

Things I'm thankful for (in no particular order):

Google Images has now added the entire photo collection of LIFE magazine to its digital archives, many that have never been published before.

Florida State's first-string safety Myron Rolle was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship - he wants to be a neurosurgeon. How cool is it that there are college football players who are also excellent college students?

Along the same lines, the philosopher and I are thankful to be visiting friends this weekend in Memphis to watch the Florida State/Florida game. (I will be even more thankful if FSU doesn't embarass itself!)

The Common Cause Partnership is meeting in Wheaton, IL to discuss creating a formal orthodox Anglican province.

The philosopher starts teaching symbolic logic and metaphysics at Samford University in January.

Dewey: The Small-town Library Cat Who Touched the World is being made into a movie.

New Years plans are set with our favorite biologist, who will be visiting us and escaping the frigid climes of West Virginia.

And of course, I'm thankful for family and friends, and all the good things God has provided this year. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, y'all!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fog - or a rip in the space-time continuum?

by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

We've had some creepy fog here in northeast Alabama recently. Last week as I was driving to work, the air and skies were perfectly clear in our little hollow between the hills. As I went through the gap into the next valley, I drove into a veritable WALL of fog. As I was moving towards it, I could see cars emerging, and once I entered it was akin to being trapped inside a giant ping pong ball. I went to school at Sewanee, so I have lots of experience with fog. Usually you'll see what appears to be dense fog ahead, then as you drive through you realize the density was an optical illusion. The air in your immediate area always seems to be a little more clear than the air ahead or behind. Not this fog bank. It was like a knife-sharp delineation between the clear air and the fog, and did not seem to disappate as I drove through. I kept thinking of the Stephen King short story "The Mist" (also made into an absolutely terrible movie). The goverment was performing bizarre atmospheric experiments and ripped the fabric of our space-time continuum, releasing hordes of monsters into a small Maine town. The monsters were preceeded, and subsequently hidden from view, by an unpenetrable fog. Yikes! Fortunately for me, there were no monsters in my fog bank, and I arrived at work with only a short delay.

Two nights ago, I was driving home from work (do you sense a theme here?) It was a clear night, and I could see both Venus and Jupiter near the cresent moon. As I drove through the countryside (very, very dark now that the time has changed) I noticed some tendrils of fog creeping out of the lowlands. Then I saw a sheet of fog, parallel to the road, but very thin. It spanned completely across the road, and as far to the left and right as my headlights could illuminate. And it continued on for over half a mile. So what did my active imagination immediately conjur up? The movie Alien. And that sharp line of mist that hovered over the alien eggs. When you're driving in the dark, through the country with no houses or distant glow of streetlights... well, you get my point. I was driving on a slightly raised roadbed, with the densely wooded land falling off on both sides. There were no fog-tendrils below or above this sharp demarcation that hovered about at the level of my windshield. As I passed through this odd fog formation, I almost screamed (a very girly scream) when the eyes of a deer, reflecting my headlights, glowed through the trees.

I love my job, and I've even learned to appreciate my commute most of the time. But I can do without creepy atmospheric conditions on dark nights!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Michael Crichton, RIP

A great author passed away today: Michael Crichton. Probably his most memorable book was Jurassic Park, because of the movie, but many of his other books (also turned into movies, with much less success) were even better. Congo. Sphere. Andromeda Strain. Timeline. The list goes on. Though one title the linked article mentions is actually incorrect. It's State of Fear, not State of Favor. May God's peace be with his family during this time. He will be missed by many.