Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ketchup on Eggs, or Things I Don't Get

So.... there are some things in this universe that I Just. Don't. Get. Like why a half gallon of milk is more expensive than a gallon of milk...??? They're just trying to make the cows work harder. There are aspects of this crazy world that make no sense. And so I'll put on my Andy Rooney hat and.... here we go...

I Dunno Criminals are so baffling, or at least, single minded. A Fox 5 report recently talked about idiots that used two vans to smash their way into a CVS drug store (one to smash, one to get away in). And their target? An ATM machine inside the front door. ????? Two things... one, ATMs are so out of date. You can get cash back at the register! So the business people should think about not having the thing installed because the profit made from it will be offset by having to replace your entire front wall. And also... the criminals weren't thinking that if you're gonna break into a drug store.... get the drugs! A bottle full of Lortabs will go for whatever was in that ATM machine. At least get something from smashing a car through the front door. Get some packages of premium M&M's. Something.... I just don't get it.

I Dunno So I'll be working, with a cart of books, a name tag, my red "Borders" polo shirt on, and a radio stuck in my ear like I'm a part of the Borg, and inevitably, at least 10 times a day, I'll get, "Do you work here?" I think it's a way of saying "I need help." without actually saying that they need help. Okay, so that one I do get, but it's annoying anyway.

I Dunno I just don't understand fashion. Just ask anyone that knows me. They'll agree. But there's a difference between being fashionable and doing something that hinders everyday life. For instance, I was driving down GA 20, and I spotted this guy, in his 20s,talking on his cell phone with one hand and holding his belt and his pants up...way below where they are supposed to be. Now, before anyone responds with a certain Youtube link, it's more than I can fathom. Clothing is supposed to be worn, for whatever reason. For warmth, for fashion, for the colorations that somehow attract mates, much like the feathers of a peacock. The only thing I can figure out is that they are trying to show off their butts. Because the usually baggy pants aren't revealing enough. Why hamper movement so, in that way. My brother says that people with pants around their knees is encouraging for police officers, because they're easier to catch when they try to run.

I Dunno So on a related note... Guys wear all this clothing, layers upon layers. I mean, what's the need for wearing more than one shirt at a time??? Doesn't it get stuffy? And it's just more laundry to do. But girls (women...whatever) wear the exact opposite. I see all these female type people wearing shorts that are about a mile from their knees, and tight enough to be cutting off circulation. I know it all has to do with sex appeal, but I'm confused about why. I guess society mandates that women wear as little as possible to show off their physique, and most of the time, it's not a physique that's at all attractive, and yet guys have to wear as much as possible to cover themselves up. I think it all started back in the late 80's, when shorts got longer and the whole depressing grunge/alternative rock era took over. It's also interesting how clothing is related to the style of popular music...but that's another line of thought. Doesn't make sense to me. Of course, I've been wearing the same types of clothes for years. Heck, I'd be wearing Velcro shoes still if they had ones with high arches. I just don't get it.

I Dunno Silly Bandz. I know! I'll make Silly Bandz in the form of perfect circles... kids can use them to tie up their hair, or keep their crayons together in their book-bags, or keep their pants up...oh, wait.... I'll make millions!! They're just Rubber Bands people! And yet they're like $6.00 for a package. Capitalism at it's finest. I'll put them next to my pet rock. I just don't get it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Paper Chase

I go religiously each Sunday morning to the local gas station to pick up a paper. I'd subscribe to the Rockdale Citizen, but for some reason the budget never comes available for it. So I actually spend more getting it at the gas station then having it delivered, but...anyway...

We live in a time when the papers are drastically diminishing in sales and readers, and what with electronic media and all, it's easy to see why. It's all stored and presented easily on your computer, or iphone, or e-reader. And unless you have a parrot, or an 80 year old relative that has to do the crossword every day, it's just not necessary. But I do think there's one exception for this--the local paper. There are very few places where you can keep up with the goings on of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners, or find out what's happening with town events, the local little league club, get the local sales papers for the grocery stores, and find out how much the 1990's Honda's are going for and at least dream. Sure, you can find some of this out online, but there is no revenue from this, except advertisers. So I think it is important to do business with local papers because they are one of the most important avenues of communication between the local governments and the people. For state or Federal, we can always go get brainwashed by whatever 24/7 news network you want to listen to. But for what really matters, the local stuff, it's the 10 page papers that are tossed at houses at 6 in the morning that delivers that news.

So I pick up copies of the Rockdale Citizen (and you might get the Rockdale News as well, and even though they only publish twice a week, it's all in color and is all in digest form, all about the local area.) at the gas station and then wait in line for 10 minutes while everyone in front of me fills out lottery tickets and buys and scratches instant games to hopefully win a boatload of money. All the while, the lottery contestants are bragging about how they, or someone they know, won $100, or maybe more, right there in that station. And it is a victory, even though they might have spent $200 doing it. And they pay for their tickets with wads of paper cash and walk out, hoping that they didn't just buy useless paper with their paper.

I guess it's just one of those things I don't get. Are there people that win millions of dollars on these lottery numbers? Of course. And the government would love for them to keep on buying those tickets, because a large amount of it goes toward the running of school systems, etc... The lottery is a very small part of the Huxleyian model of governing, through happiness, and this is a blog I'll wait until later to write. I would much rather buy the local paper, with their job ads enclosed, and see what money I could make by actually doing something, rather than hope that a million to one odds that I might win that million through the luck of numbers.

And what if these contestants are buying those lottery tickets with the money they're getting from Unemployment benefits from the government? It's just going around in a vicious cycle, with the losers being the taxpayers and the people buying the ultimately useless papers. So I'll pay for my Rockdale Citizen, go home, and skip the part where I pursue paper money that is a mere shadow, a dream, of ever coming my way, and I'll see what events are happening in my town that I might go to. Actually do something with my time and life, instead of endlessly chasing papers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

B&B: Frankenstein, Faust, and the Tower of Babel

I watched / the greatest miracle
Take three quarters / of a year.
To bring forth life / in a tiny breath
For all the world to hear.

There is a motion here
There is a flow
There is a tension here
like a hard bent bow.
And suddenly, you realize
That this time... it's all right.

David Crosby, "Time is the Final Currency," from CPR

I don't really know how it feels to have brought a baby into this world. I probably never will, but I can imagine it. By having a child, a man and woman have become as much like God as is possible on this Earth. They have created a life form, created a soul, a person, and by that, they have imitated the creation of Adam by the clay by the river in Eden. God has meant us to create, just as he did in Eden so long ago. He gave us free will and reason, the ability to think for ourselves, even knowing that we would partake of the Tree of Knowledge and be thrust forth from Eden into the world, where Death and Satan are forever lurking. The Unmaker... the one standing opposite of the Creator's paradise, but within it as well, as a snake. But we are capable of handling such enemies, because we can create as well as destroy, as we can pass on the wisdom that the Tree of Knowledge held (both good and bad) to the generations following us, by creating life ourselves... our own children.

We don't just create children. As I've shown in previous blogs, we imitate God by creating other things as well, from the imaginary worlds of cyberspace and literary works, to the books themselves, to statues and monuments . We move as one force on sports teams, creating joy and excitement, works of art as balls go into nets and through hoops at precise arcs and speeds. And while the ultimate reason is to imitate God, to create a world in our own image, we do it for other reasons as well. We have an underlying fear of death, a resulting desire for immortality in whatever form we can create. This could mean having kids and passing down knowledge and memories, but it could just as well mean writing blogs, like I do, or making novels, or art, or monuments like the one in Dakar. We desire fame in the present to overcome the idea of death. For fame will make the memories of our lives more widespread, so that everyone will know who we were. Maybe that is why the obituaries I see in the papers sometimes are long, too long, filled with endless nothings about their lives and euphemisms that make it painful to read. As if an obit. details the thread of that persons life by how long it is. I would rather have mine short, and mean something, than pages long, but say nothing.

But what of Frankenstein? I considered the reason why we create things, and it brought up the work by Mary Shelly. Once again I am left with standing upon the clifftops as The Traveler on a Sea of Fog is in Caspar David Friedrich's painting. What if man is not trying to imitate God, but rather trying to become God? When Dr. Frankenstein created his "modern Prometheus," he did so to pursue the unlimited possibilities of science and knowledge available to mankind. He brings the abomination to life, only to realize that he had brought death upon his family and friends. In trying to reach the miraculous feats that he eventually attained, he found that, like the Tower of Babel, he would be severely punished.

By creating life as an end to achieve knowledge, or in other words, with life not being the end result, he achieved little but despair. There were a couple of lines in Lord Byron's "Manfred," in which a character says, "the Tree of Knowledge is not the Tree of Life." This takes the idea back to that of Eden, of the Tree that Adam and Eve partook of. "Manfred" is a play that mirrors the Faust story told by Goethe and others. Faust, of course, is a scientist and doctor who, having learned all he can from the schools and practices of his time, resorts to witchcraft, and, thus having summoned a demon (Mephistopheles), makes a deal, ultimate knowledge for his soul. In the end, he has used his maligned agreement not to further his education, not to further his knowledge of life and the great unknowns that mankind has yet to penetrate, but rather to play cheap practical jokes on the Pope. His wish to fly, for instance, is one that comes from man's emotional desires, not any scientific basis. He chooses instant gratification, fame, fortune, and the glitz of the day instead of using his knowledge to create something good for the world. The road to destruction is often the easiest path. It is the most fun, the most dramatic, but it often leaves little behind but misery. This is the Unmaker's intentions. If he can unmake the world, especially with the people who have the most potential to remake it into something glorious, he has achieved twice what a normal person can do. He has knocked the traveler high from his look at paradise, and cost the world the experience and knowledge of such a splendid mind.

So to modern day, in real life. Dr. Craig Venter has recently created a bacteria organism from a computerized generation of DNA strands. In other words, Venter created Artificial life. See an interview with the scientist here:

Does this mean that Dr. Venter is Frankenstein, or that his creation will spell doom for all mankind, as the media is so apt to suggest? No, of course not. But the idea is a valid one. It is easy to suggest that in time, scientists will create a DNA strand that might as well have green skin and bolts for ears. They will see just how bad bad can get. Then we'll see Stephen King's The Stand come to life. If you think about that novel, the antagonist is the Unmaker. He's the same one that exists in Eyes of the Dragon, and verbally talks about raising havoc in each world he comes to.

It can very well happen here. In fact, I would call it inevitable. Like Adam, we crave knowledge. We want to be as much like God as possible, and that drive makes us want to know more and more about the unknowns. We yearn to create life, to find the particles, quarks, photons, in the tiniest parts of this universe. And we gaze upward and outward, wanting someday to reach the farthest stars. And God gave us the free will and the self-determination to do so. He gave us the faculties to create the most wonderful, and most horrific, creations ever conceived, but most importantly, he gave us the mental capacity to determine the outcome of doing so. We must strive forth, ever towards the unknown, but with a mind to the consequences of reaching those far points. Unfortunately, mankind will reach those unknowns and someone, with the Unmaker's intentions in mind, will create something that is great, but terrible (as the Sorting Hat said.). It will be up to us all to fight the Unmaker and his creations.

So.... I guess that's it for this series. I have no knowledge about bio-genetics, nor have I the ability to make sculptures and paintings. But I can write. I can make poems and blogs. So I will leave these things here, as my own creation. It won't give me immortality, but, I think, when I'm gone, there will need not be a Speaker for me to tell of my life. It will be on these pages. And I can also make bread. Loafs of nourishment from flour, yeast, and water. How wonderful is that? It makes me feel like I've created something, as God did at his Picnic of the multitudes. If we cannot create the monuments of this world, let us create what we can, be it bread, or blogs, or boys and girls that we can pass on our knowledge and love.

Monday, July 12, 2010

B&B: Haley Joel Osment, Data, and DNA.

If there's any one character that is a window into the soul of an author, or of a creator, it would have to be Dr. Soong on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Gene Roddenberry speaks through that voice, using as the wise, old scientist that created Data.  I love the episode "Brothers," (Season 4, Episode 3) where Data, having commandeered the Enterprise, goes to Dr. Noonian Soong's planet (which, admittedly, looks a lot like Dagobah) and finds his creator, his tutor if you will.  They have a discussion shortly before the evil brother shows up.  He describes the passion for which people will save the old buildings of their town, and asks Data why they love old buildings.  This is to answer, of course, Data's question, "Why did you build me?"  Very few creations can ask this question, since we are either born or are not sentient.  But Data can ask, and the answer is as pivotal an answer to this blog series as it is to Data's birth:

DATA: Why did you create me?
SOONG: Why does a painter paint? Why does a boxer box? You know what Michelangelo used to say? That the sculptures he made were already there before he started, hidden in the marble. All he needed to do was remove the unneeded bits. It wasn't quite that easy with you, Data. But the need to do it, my need to do it, was no different than Michelangelo's need. Now let me ask you a question. Why are humans so fascinated by old things?
DATA: Old things?
SOONG: Old buildings, churches, walls, ancient things, antique things, tables, clocks, nick knacks. Why? Why, why?
DATA: There are many possible explanations.
SOONG: If you brought a Noophian to Earth, he'd probably look around and say, tear that old village down, it's hanging in rags. Build me something new, something efficient. But to a human, that old house, that ancient wall, it's a shrine, something to be cherished. Again, I ask you, why?
DATA: Perhaps, for humans, old things represent a tie to the past.
SOONG: What's so important about the past? People got sick, they needed money. Why tie yourself to that?
DATA: Humans are mortal. They seem to need a sense of continuity.
SOONG: Ah hah!! Why?
DATA: To give their lives meaning. A sense of purpose.
SOONG: And this continuity, does it only run one way, backwards, to the past?
DATA: I suppose it is a factor in the human desire to procreate.
SOONG: So you believe that having children gives humans a sense of immortality, do you?
DATA: It is a reasonable explanation to your query, sir.
SOONG: And to yours as well, Data.

What he did not factor into the idea of immortality were the emotions that lie behind them. Why do people value old things, or procreate, in some desire to achieve immortality?  There are several emotions that intertwine in the desire to create.  In brief, it is the fear of death, the desire for fame after death (immortality through memories), and the desire to share this world with others, through affection.  Underlying all pretenses of religion, of creation, of this thing we call life is a fear of death.  Fear of the Unmaker that we see around us all the time.  That we might cease to exist, as if blotted out from the universe.  But more importantly, that we might not exist in other's minds and memories.  I think, for most people, that if they died at any given point in their lives, that would be acceptable if they were remembered by the people around them. 

My mother looks, every night, at the Obituaries in the Daily Oklahoman, to see if anyone she knew had died.  Sometimes she finds fathers of old friends, or co-workers at the bank, or church members, or whathaveyou.  Most of the time, the people are just strangers to her, people that she never knew, their lives simply a paragraph in the middle of some newspaper.  What if, then, the name did mean something to more than just family members.  What if the name was someone that everyone knew in that town, or state, or internationally.  How long would that obituary need to be to tell the tale of your life?

I think Orson Scott Card talked a lot about this in his novel The Speaker for the Dead (the sequel to Ender's Game.  In this book, Ender becomes someone that travels to different people's homes, when called, and tries to discover the life that was led by the recently deceased.  Through loving who they loved, and feeling the pain and the joy around that person's life, he became a storyteller, as it were, that could take the emotions behind the story in the obit and make it real to everyone who heard it.  He became a bard for ordinary people.  

Some people need more than an obituary to harbor their memories in others.  They need a physical structure.  They construct in their own image something that will stand for their lives when they pass on.  The Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal, the stadium in Dallas that houses the Cowboys, owned by Jerry Jones (which is why most people call it "Jerry's Palace.") They are all monuments to the people that constructed them, markers that said, "I was here, and I lived a magnificent life that all shall remember."  It was more than just song that they intended to inhabit, but a place as glamorous and spectacular as they foresaw themselves.  Perhaps this is one reason behind the construction of the monument in Dakar, Senegal.
Another example... David in A.I. (Artificial Intelligence, 2001), played by Haley Joel Osment, was an android character created by Professor Hobby, the head of a robotics corporation that made human-like automatons for human use, pleasure...etc. But David was, like Data, unique, because he had the ability to express emotions, like love.  Hobby's desire was to replace his son, who had died earlier (this plot line sounds almost exactly like Astro Boy, which I could have used as well.) It was not the Professor's own immortality that he desired, but that of his son.  The truly horrific part of this was when David finally gets to the office of his father, it is filled with prototypes of David himself, for plans for everyone to have a son identical to him, so that everyone would love his son.  A mixture of Pinocchio and Frankenstein (with an ending that happened about 30 minutes prior to the ending of the movie, but that's for another blog), the bizarre twists of devotion to a child and the intense desire to achieve the ultimate goal for man.  To create life.  To become God, or like God. 

(side note: It is interesting to note that David has the same name as Michelangelo's sculpture.  Note Soong's example above of Michelangelo's feelings about his creations.  As something that comes from within, that already exists.)

In the most imitative act we can do, we create someone in our own image, through the DNA structure that lies within our cells.  We have children (at least, most of us have children), to bring into the world a life force that we can share the joys of living with.  This is what we should try to do, but as the Unmaker can use creation for his own purposes, sometimes children are created without that desire for love.  Sometimes, they are simply the by-product of sex, unplanned and unwanted.  To unprepared adults without the self-awareness to bring up the miracle that is life.  We are, at that one moment, God-like, as we have created life just as God did Eve from Adam.  Would that we all understood this, and appreciated it more than simply a one night stand or an extra dependent on a tax form, an extra body to get welfare and social security. 

In the last blog entry of this series, I will look at one more instance of creation.  That of Dr. Craig Venter and his bacterium created in the lab, the beginning of man creating his own life forms, which is creating life to reach new levels of knowledge, new frontiers.  Like Frankenstein and the scientists in Jurassic Park, Venter is trying to reach the top of the Tower of Babel, to borrow a reference.  I want to look at whether this is a good or bad thing, morally, and what the consequences would be if the Unmaker gets a hold of it (think Stephen King's The Stand).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

B&B: Monuments and the Unmaker

If you fly into Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, in Africa, you will soar over a most spectacular statue.  Towering over the Ouakam suburb of town is a bronze structure, depicting three humans, a man, woman, and child, with the baby pointing towards the sea, westward, towards the distant horizon.  The woman is being held by the man (assumedly man and wife), and is clothed only in a loose tunic, with her breasts exposed, as well as her muscular legs.  The man seems to be coming to life from the stone mountain structure that was piled up around the construction.  He wears simply a cloth around his waist and is bare-chested.  The muscular build would remind any science-fiction fan of T'ealc, of StarGate SG-1.  In reality, the face resembles that of Senegalese president, and creator of the statue, Abdoulaye Wade.  Read about it at the Wikipedia site for it.

When first I saw the statue on Yahoo as it was formally opened in April of 2010, the 50th anniversary of Senegal's independence from France, I was awestruck by the beauty of the statue.  It struck me as the statue of Dominique Francone would have stood, unabashedly naked and glorious on the ground floor of Roarke's Temple to Mankind.  It demonstrates the exaltation that man, in his finest hour, should be looked upon, as a creation of God and as a creator of his own destiny.  It is a shining beacon for the rest of Africa, and the world, to look upon and dream about what future we can bring to this globe, and beyond.  The statue brings about thoughts of Tenneyson's "Ulysses," or the United States flag hanging resolutely on the moon, or Voyager's  golden disc that contains a welcome to all who would find it.  That says, "We are a race of truly excellent beings who, given the odds and the uncertainty that anyone else might be out there, would send out a message for others to find."  There are very few times in human history when we can say that we have reached our full potential.  I have talked about some, and I believe that the statue, meant to represent the rising of the African continent into an era of scientific, philosophical, and economical power, is the first step in realizing that dream. 

But as I looked for information about the statue, all I could find is how controversial it was.  How, in the vanity of constructing a monument to himself, Wade squandered the country's resources and funds to construct this "monstrosity" using a construction firm, not made up of his own countrymen, but rather a company from North Korea.  (Of course, if you look at pictures of North Korea's capital, a similar building protrudes from the skyline, that of the Hotel/Office building that, having suffered through economical troubles, stands barren and alone in the middle of the city.  Most government-approved images of the city actually photoshop it out.) I read of critics who slammed the statue as a waste as the Senegal people starved and slaved for a few pennies a day. How that money should have gone toward helping the citizens of that country, for social causes and the general welfare. Why would a president do such a thing when the money and power is more important than some idea of an "African Renaissance."   I read of religious clerics who thought it to be an abomination because the people were not clothed, or that the face didn't look Islamic, or whatever.  I read of people who were offended that a North Korean company constructed it.  But nothing on the sheer beauty of the statue, or of the idea that it represents.  It is as if the media and the other forces of the world want to blank it out of existence.   For if the statue is never seen, save by those who despise it, then there is no use for it being there.  As beauty is in the eye of those who see it, and this statue is certainly worth seeing.

There are people who would revel in destroying this statue, and in the ideas it represents.  And mob mentality usually does prevail.  In prior blogs, I discussed the idea of the yin-yang, of good and evil being two sides of the Eastern philosophical symbol.  I equated both sides with the individual and with society.  Think of the symbol as a magnet, with poles on both sides of the figure.  Each person has a compass like yin-yang symbol that is inside them, and some have greater pull toward the positive side, and others toward the negative.  The curious aspect of a large crowd of people is that it makes it very easy to demonstrate malicious intent where restraint, self-control, and virtuosity, is much harder.  Mob mentality, as it were.  It makes a crowd suddenly become violent, for no reason at all, or stampedes to happen in soccer matches overseas.  And people who would use the Unmaker's power for themselves (Hitler, for instance) make it very easy to use mob mentality to get everyone to do the exact same thing, and to make it entirely justifiable to those involved.  This is what I want to pursue in this section.  The Unmaker's power (the power of violence, decay, maliciousness toward man and nature, Entropy) is so much more efficient when a large crowd is involved.  For no one has to think; rather, they simply follow the Unmaker's lead, and destruction reigns.  Would the storming of the Bastille have resulted in so many deaths if anyone could have controlled the powers of destruction and terror that plagued France during the late 1700's?  Or would the Salem Witch trials ever have taken place if someone had realized that hanging so many people outside of a mob (the girls) was reckless, and without solid proof?  Fortunately, there are some leaders who attract the good side of the Yin Yang, those that believe in the Maker's desire to build mankind up and achieve the glory that is possible as individuals working together on creating something.  The most obvious occasion for this is JFK's speech inspiring us to reach the moon before the 1960's was over.  The dream was fulfilled, with many creators involved, with sweat and blood and the lives of astronauts.  But it was achieved, even as the Unmaker's workers were complaining about using the funds for the NASA program for more social programs, for helping the poor and the hungry.  

The argument against this line of thinking, the biblical stories of the Good Samaritan, is somewhat valid.  But consider this... the moon launch, and subsequent missions into space, provided the United States with immeasurable technological breakthroughs, added jobs to the industrial sector, and scientific discoveries that will help the human race for years to come.  Likewise, monuments such as the statue at Dakar do provide jobs, limited as they are (and the one negative to this is that they did employee North Korean workers instead of their own) What needs to happen is for Senegal and President Wade to invest the money they receive from tourism and such to educate the people of Dakar (and Senegal) to pursue occupations that will make Senegal stronger as a nation.  This investment will fulfill the goals of the African Renaissance Movement and propel the country into a more prominent position in the world's economy.  Perhaps Senegal should join with Gambia and the rest of the African states to find and harvest the natural resources that are assuredly present underneath the rocks of Africa.  This, along with the education needed to make doctors, scientists, and with the proper legislation to entice companies to invest in African nations, they could very well enter into a new era of African prosperity. 

The Unmaker, however, would rather not see this happen.  To them, Africa should continue to be mired in Social states, with AIDS epidemics spreading throughout the countries. The poor, the hungry, the children born to parents who cannot afford them, this is the downfall of a once rich continent.  Power hungry tribal lords and leaders of small gangs of people take power grabs and continue the corruption widespread in most all countries (see Somalia's recent events).  It would be truly a shame if the funds coming from the Dakar statue would simply be filtered into the hands of corrupt politicians and terrorist groups. It is up to Wade to make sure this does not happen, else he should destroy the beautiful statue and leave it as a reminder of failed dreams. 

The wonders of this world, the structures that stand, demonstrating the reaching of a dream, why do they attract the minions of decay and destruction?  Napoleon used the Sphinx's nose for target practice, destroying part of a once powerful empire.  The Parthenon was used to store ammunition during the recent wars. And let's not forget the World Trade Centers, a symbol of Capitalism and Democracy, that were destroyed by terrorists. 

The one thing, as I leave this subject, that I can't quite figure out, is how to separate the monument from the maker and his beliefs.  Wade, upon further research, is the head of the Senegalese Populist party, or for us Americans, he's a member of the Liberal party.  I don't know the platform of that particular party in Senegal, but the president seems to have an interest in bringing Senegal into the 21st century and involve itself in world affairs.  According to, Senegal has worked hard in the fields of human rights, and is one of the few African countries not to experience a coup d'etat, or military takeover. As it was a Socialist country prior to Wade's taking over, the freeing of capitalism in the country is slowly taking place. 

We make bread, or write blogs, or build monuments to ourselves or mankind, in a futile attempt to become God. Let us build our monuments to ourselves, our creations that imitate God, and try to reach him, as in the Tower of Babel, but realize it is not to be Him, but be like Him.  Let us strive to go ever forward, upward, onward, to make ourselves the very best we can be.  God would want nothing less.  In the next blog, I want to turn to an article I read in The Economist (of all places) that describes the recent creation of life through empty cells in a laboratory.  Mankind's destiny is to create Frankenstein's Monster.  Will it save us, or kill us all?