learning something new every day

If I ever do have a dull moment or two, there’s always the internet. Just a click or two away the world awaits! I know everyone has his/her own favorites, but at least a couple of weird things have caught my attention lately and I’d really like to share them with you.

A museum open in Kentucky in the spring of 2007 that presents an account of the origins of the universe–life, mankind, and man’s early history according to the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. Brought to fruition by an Australian who moved to this country in 1987, it’s called the Creation Museum, and hopes to recruit converts of all its visitors who aren’t Christians already. It rejects evolution theory, asserting that the Earth and all of its life forms were created 6000 years ago over a six-day period. Its exhibits incorporate the idea that humans and dinosaurs once coexisted, and that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark, all in stark contrast to the scientific community’s determination that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and that the dinosaurs became extinct 65.5 million years before humans showed up.

I got  not only a little glimpse into the Museum itself, but figuratively saw it myself in pictures, both word and digital, through the eyes of a science-based educated non-Christian in this blog post he calls “Kentucky Fried Creation.” If, like me, you’re interested in seeing but not really enough to go to the bother of actually going there, you may enjoy what he has to show and tell.

Now, if you’ve had trouble with the big “C”-word lately, no not cancer because as a survivor I’ve demoted that c-word to small letters; no, I mean the one that means elimination. Did I hear a yes somewhere in the back row? Would it surprise you if I say that you may be wearing the wrong bra? Does yours have an underwire? Actually, the last few years I’ve found it hard to find any other kind, and I don’t have a bust size that really requires underwire support. You may want to read this inspiring “weird science” post. Live and learn. Really!

Just in case, that’s not enough diversion for your Monday, I invite you to enjoy this YouTube visit with this toddler who has a lot of serious stuff to say. It takes her about four minutes if you can spare the time. Just a thought: this may possibly be the first female president of the United States. See for yourself:

ten random reasons I don’t go to church

I admit I was not surprised with the results of the recent Pew Survey that showed atheists know more about Christianity and other religions than Christians. I took a short version of that same test online and correctly answered all questions except two. I’ve never been very good at accepting things on blind faith. I am always aware that the people in pulpits are only human like me–no better, no worse. Most of the stuff I’ve read about and heard coming from the mouths of these people frankly disgust me.

I could have given you hundreds of similar quotes, but here are ten random reasons I no longer feel the need to go to church.

1. Ladies and gentlemen, Christianity offers the only viable, reasonable, definitive answer to the questions of ‘Where did I come from?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘Does life have any meaningful purpose?’ Only Christianity offers a way to understand that physical and moral border. Only Christianity offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of life and thought, every aspect of creation. Only Christianity offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world–only Christianity. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) at the First Baptist Church of Pearland, Texas, on April 12, 2002  (Omigod! How am I going to tell this to my Hindu husband and his family? And how in the world did they grow up to be moral without a preacher to feed them drivel like this!)

2. “A religion that doesn’t discriminate wouldn’t exist, because it wouldn’t stand for anything.” –Janet Parshall, Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch Radio Commentary,” Sept. 1, 2000 comments about a church firing a lesbian worker. (Well, that certainly cleared things up for me! There are so many things that I could discriminate against, let me count the ways. I’d better get busy.)

3. “The end goal of gay activism is the criminalization of Christianity.” –Robert H. Knight, Director of Cultural Studies at FRC (family research council) a conservative, Christian rights group and lobbying organization. (Oh yes! Hell is certainly going to be interesting. And probably more fun. 😀  )

4. The Church doesn’t believe in book-burning, but it believes in restricting the use of dangerous books among those whose minds are unprepared for them. –Francis J. Lally, American Roman Catholic Monsignor during an interview with Mike Wallace in 1958.  (Can I be on the committee that gets to decide which ones? Please, please, please!)

5. “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good… Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.” –Randall Terry, The News Sentinel, (Ft. Wayne, IN.), 8/16/93  (I’m feeling it! Intolerance, yes! Hate, yes! Ooooh it feels so good.)

6. “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.” –Anita Bryant, 1977  (Everybody! Hide your children in the closet!)

7. “I want to coin a phrase here, and I don’t mind help. What would be the communication version of “ethnic cleansing?” Because that’s what in particular the homosexual activists try to do.” –Dr. Laura Schlessinger, August 11, 1999  (What? Now after that there’s the  “n” word ? How many times does she say that everyday I wonder.)

8. “Women have babies and men provide the support. If you don’t like the way we’re made you’ve got to take it up with God.” –Phyllis Schlafly  (Oh that Phyllis! Just a bundle of information.)

9. The Media is ruled by Satan. But yet I wonder if many Christians fully understand that. Also, will they believe what the Media says, considering that its aim is to steal, kill, and destroy? The Evangelist, January 1988  (Gasp! And the Fox network had only been around two years when they printed that! How did they know?)

10. We don’t have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand. –James Watt, Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan. Washington Post, May 24, 1981.  (Omigosh! I’m gonna fill my whirley water tub up to the rim tonight, fill it with bubbles, and shower it off for ten minutes tonight! Sure takes a lot of the pressure of saving the world off my shoulders.)

critter trouble right here in salt lake city

I began to suspect last winter that we might have a mice problem when I noticed a plastic bag of dried beans, about a quarter of its original content, slowly dwindling, so I looked around for the telltale evidence of poop pellets and found none. So I figured I was mistaken and wondered at my folly for not cooking all the beans at the same time. Pre-cooked beans last quite well in the refrigerator for later use the same week, and in the freezer they last quite long. It seemed silly to use only three-quarters of the bag, but apparently I had. So I lay the bag aside on the same pantry shelf and waited for the day I might need a quarter of a bag. A few weeks later, I picked up the bag again and it was empty. Then I noticed the teeny tiny torn space and thought, uh huh! We have apparently been hosting a mouse for quite a while, one with good manners–since he didn’t poop on the shelf–but a mouse nonetheless. There simply couldn’t be another explanation.

Immediately I announced my discovery to Hubby who, being an engineer and all, simply wouldn’t accept my findings. If there wasn’t poop on the shelves then there had to be another explanation. We’d have to wait and watch, and meantime he wouldn’t have to worry about it. Then came a more sinister and urgent enemy, as I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in early February, and almost everything else was forgotten after that.

Now that the cancer treatments if not the worries are behind us, to say we were caught off guard by what happened on a recent evening when we were sitting in the family room would be somewhat understated. In fact I was quite shocked when I noted the tiniest little movement from the wall-recessed shelving where my photograph boxes sit. It happened so fast I’m not sure my brain processed it properly but I saw a thin furry thing slide from the top of a box down the side to the shelf floor, then down the shelf wall to the carpet where he practically disappeared, as he was so tiny! Our daughter’s dog was lying there dozing, completely unaware and unperturbed at all while I watched the tiny slice of fur swim across the carpet, which was so much taller than he, it indeed looked as if he were adrift in an ocean.

Hubby jumped up to grab a newspaper. He thought he might be able to scoop it up inside the paper so we could toss him outside, but my squeals and his movement alerted little mousey to the fact that we’d seen him, so he hid–first under the couch and then, as I lifted the couch so Hubby could trap him in the newspaper–he scurried across the room disappear behind the bookcases lining the wall. What in the world would do we do now? There was no more refuting the evidence we’d both seen plainly as the nose on our face. We had trouble! We had mice right here in Salt Lake City.

It happens that we live at the base of an area of the Wasatch referred to as Rattlesnake Gulch, thus we were aware that we were prone to critter troubles right from the beginning of our moving here. In fact, the day I arrived for my first walk through before the moving van arrived from Las Vegas where we were living at the time, you can imagine how startled I was to lift the seat of the toilet in the main bathroom to find a drowned mouse floating. Out of instinctual revulsion, I involuntarily flushed it. It was quite dead. For weeks I was unable to use the toilet without seeing–in my mind–that mouse floating in the water.

After we moved in and I was papering the pantry shelves, it became quite clear from the droppings that the house was infested with mice (and other larvae under the sink that metamorphosed into tiny flies who lay more eggs to become larvae, etc), so our first major fix was to call a pest control. They came and sprayed and set mouse traps outside. While we knew it couldn’t be sugar they were spraying and setting traps with, either Hubby nor me labored long to think what it really meant. Personally, I could only focus on the fact that the law of supply and demand in nature meant that the more mice we had, the more likely the rattlesnakes in the gulch were to visit. Thus began my summer pattern of not setting a foot outside the porch in the back yard in rattlesnake season. If I couldn’t get the weeds or anything else controlled before the snakes started down the mountain, then they got a free pass the rest of the summer.

Long story short, the mice disappeared, the larvae did too after a couple of years. and for most of the past three years we have been relatively pest free as long as you don’t count the hornets and the spiders. While we saw a rattlesnake going after the squirrel family under the neighbor’s deck next door, we never saw one in our yard–yet. No mice = no snakes, and that was good enough for me. End of problem! Until now.

Only a few weeks ago, we were walking around the neighborhood when we met a couple of women also out for a walk. They were practically wringing their hands watching something on the side of the street near a gutter. Turned out it was a huge rat obviously in the agonizing throes of dying. No matter how much you don’t want rodents around your house it hurts to watch them die. Poison. I knew because the way it works to rid a house of them is that when ingested, the pest immediately leaves the house in pursuit of water, usually outside. Knowing it intellectually and actually observing a real death by poison are two completely different things. I felt like Scarlet O’Hara as I walked away from a horrible scene I knew I wouldn’t be able to shake from memory for weeks, all the time silently reciting, with God as my witness I will never (knowingly) poison an animal again!

So here we were with a mice problem without the heart to do much about it. Again. Neither of us wants to use professional pest control because we don’t want to contribute to pesticide runoff, and for the more obvious humane reasons. But we don’t relish being unwitting hosts to possibly disease-carrying vermin (the Hanta virus is a real concern here in the west) in our house either. We discussed a mouse trap–the kind that snaps across the spine when a mouse goes to nibble the cheese you entice him with, but couldn’t bear to think of the mouse suffering if he was trapped but didn’t die right away. Neither of us were up to that. And besides, who would retrieve the mouse and reset the trap? Both of us agreed. Not me! So we did all we knew to do at the time. We went to bed.

The following week Hubby went shopping and came home with a humane mouse trap. It’s a little black plastic box with an opening that allows a small animal to enter in order to nibble on the peanut butter treat the instruction page suggests you use to tempt it. Then when it finishes the treat, it can’t get out again. Next day, voila, you lift the little plastic contraption with mousey inside, open the back door and dump him someplace outside. Where doesn’t matter–maybe in the yard of that crudmugeon neighbor down the street. I don’t know if the scare from a night trapped in a bed of peanut butter is supposed to serve as a life lesson for said mouse, or if this becomes a ritual you’ll have to repeat every few days. Before we got the trap set up in our usual lackadaisical way, Hubby greeted me at the breakfast table recently with a little critter news.

Seems he found a floating mouse in that same toilet I saw the drowned mouse on my first walk-through. He flushed it down, even though it wasn’t dead yet. He tells me, little mousey won’t drown, he’ll just be flushed out into whatever critter heaven the sewer empties out into, whereupon he can find himself a new home to take him in. Wherever that particularly little mousey wound up, and I’m pretty sure he died a watery death despite Hubby’s protestations, I must say he was a thoughtful little critter. Not once did I find mousey poop anywhere in the pantry. But one day not longer after, I did find out where he’d been making his “toilet” all this time. Inside the cabinet under the sink. And no doubt the rest of his family is still using it. I expect any day now we’ll get that humane trap set up somewhere in the house, probably near the bag of beans I left out on the pantry shelf to see if any beans would disappear. Yes, I checked it today. The bag is going down slowly but steadily, and this time I found a fairly large hole. If I procrastinate long enough, maybe Hubby will come to the rescue.