‘Chaos Theory’

So a friend of mine has a theory. What type or kind of theory I am not sure how to classify. Let’s just say it’s familial. He calls it ‘chaos theory’ and explained it somewhat when I visited the family homestead a week ago or so. (It really hasn’t much if anything to do with the mathematical theory.)

We may have had the house to ourselves. I am not sure. It sure seemed that way. My Friend gave me a sort of impromptu tour of the kitchen, a sort of show-and-tell, while explaining the ‘situation’ created by the theory.

He casually pointed out a slice of lime sitting very near the edge of a countertop. The lime wedge had clearly been juiced onto something, squeezed quite effectively, and there wasn’t much left of it in my view. Why it wasn’t discarded into the food scraps bucket or into the garbage neither of us could surmise. Was someone saving it for later?

Then he proceeded to share how this was a commonplace feature in the house. Items, including food, left haphazardly throughout the place. It seems to be especially the case in the dining area. I think there was some bowl of something. What it was I can’t remember, perhaps oatmeal. Spoons and spatulas and creations. Like a mad scientist in a lab. Except these were experimenting or merely hungry cooks and chefs.

My friend was animated, but not agitated, although you could sense his restrained frustration and a sad resignation to the status quo. I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. It was a curious exercise in Sherlockian logic, attempting to decipher the scene of earlier, past events. Fortunately we weren’t trying to solve a crime, at least not a major one. Deducing what our suspects were up to before vanishing was probably a complete waste of time. (But it was fun conjecturing.) This ‘crime’ was merely one of annoyance. Chaos theory in full force.

Since our little demonstration and discussion I’ve found other instances of chaos theory. Recently a thrift store employee in Idaho sold a manager’s laptop (NFS) for 5 bucks. Of course my own family is a prime example, although my father is a control freak, so my parents’ house is an example of law and order, not chaos theory. (I am long gone, which may help to explain part of this.) My mother is not naturally orderly, so it has taken some training by dad. (Years of it, by the way. His teaching methods are usually Cro-Magnon at best.)

Such is the nature of the laws that govern the universe. A lot of this can be explained by personality and personality types. I have been studying some of these basic laws, such as the law of entropy (basically that things break down over time). This law sometimes comes up in evolution versus creation debates.

So the battle rages on.



Lancelyn Green’s ‘Myths of the Norsemen’

Besides the many World War I books I am reading, I also have one of the Inklings’ books, Myths of the Norsemen. Roger Lancelyn Green is the author. I have written about him before. Knowing nothing about him, I stumbled delightfully across his work one day. I wanted to note it here so I don’t forget about this wonderful quote by William Morris:

This is the great story of the North, which should be to all our race what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks.”

I’ll be writing more about this book later. Another author, H. A. Guerber, has a book of the same name.


Are you being chased by aliens?

You may want to talk with this man from Bosnia. Or if you live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, you might want to run down the man who declares himself God, lives in a small RV packed too tightly, eats regularly at Izzy’s using the senior discount, writes messages with black Sharpies and tapes these to the RV exterior, thinks Obama is the Anti-Christ, and has, in his own words, been an “UFO contactee for more than 35 years.”

He often hangs out at the northeast Salem Wal-Mart and the nearby fastfood joints such as McDonald’s and Burger King. A friend of mine, sort of on a dare, told me to go and talk with him. So I did. This was a few years ago. Then he eventually called in to The Bill Post Radio Show on 1430 KYKN. Bill was a bit perplexed by the man, as he claimed to be God, etc, etc. Without giving any background it was difficult for people to follow. And the concept isn’t very common. Not many people go around claiming to be the Almighty.


Kilmer’s Mother

Here’s another Kilmer poem to my liking. It describes his relationship with his mother. The University of Virginia has a collection of his poems as published in a book which apparently included memories of him written by her.

To My Mother on Her Birthday, 1914

Gentlest of critics, does your memory hold
(I know it does) a record of the days
When I, a schoolboy, earned your generous praise
For halting verse and stories crudely told?

Over those boyish scrawls the years have rolled,
They might not bear the world’s unfriendly gaze,
But still your smile shines down familiar ways,
Touches my words and turns their dross to gold.

Dearer to-day than in that happy time,
Comes your high praise to make me proud and strong.
In my poor notes you hear Love’s splendid chime
So unto you does this, my work belong.
Take, then, this little book of fragile rhyme;
Your heart will change it to authentic song.


Kilmer’s ‘Fourth Shepherd’

I have been skimming a bunch of poetry books, mostly the ‘war poets’ of World War I. Included in my stack of stuff is Trees and Other Poems by Joyce Kilmer. Because I am considering what to include in my book on the 42nd Division and the war and there’s quite a bit of material, I am breaking it up into smaller segments.

The second part of Kilmer’s ‘The Fourth Shepherd’ stands out, as an indictment against the war leaders. It is dedicated to Thomas Walsh. I know nothing about this man. I am not sure when he wrote this, but it sure reads as if it would have been during the thick of the war.

It is difficult to fathom how irresponsible the great majority of political and military leaders, on a global scale, were. Only be reading several books, magazine articles and whatnot have I come to this conclusion. I always want to give people a fair shake, so I hesitated laying blame anywhere. Mostly it is assigned to the Germans. But all sides were morally repugnant.

The hand of God is sure and strong,
Nor shall a man forever flee
The bitter punishment of wrong.
The wrath of God is over me!

With ashen bread and wine of tears
Shall I be solaced in my pain.
I wear through black and endless years
Upon my brow the mark of Cain.


‘The Fighting 69th’ with Cagney and O’Brien

I’ve never watched the black-and-white film The Fighting 69th but am doubtful it has much historical interest. It’s about the New York regiment of the 42nd Division during World War I.

I do like Cagney and Pat O’Brien though. They’re (or were) terrific actors. Someone has posted a bit about it on a classic film blog.

O’Brien plays Father Duffy, a very real and fascinating figure. Duffy presided over the funerals of many men, including Joyce Kilmer and possibly Leslie Darling.


Genetic Testing

I just sent off the following in a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. A few days ago the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on “direct-to-consumer” (DTC) genetic tests. The subject has been in the news lately with the Food and Drug Administration warning some companies in letters about claims regarding health and medical conditions.

I have been reading about the recent testimony and investigation regarding DTC genetic testing. As an advocate of and participant in the genetic genealogy I want to raise concerns many of us in this field have about potential oversight. Certainly some of these companies have been overselling their products, making all sorts of claims. While I’d like to see these practices brought to a halt, the government should be very careful to not impede the right of consumers to pursue genetic testing. Competition from these various companies is a good thing. Please keep people like me in mind when drafting any laws and regulations.”