Timing Out

Blog Title: Timing Out (aka Flock of Comments - Part 11)

Musical accompaniment: Time Out (1959 jazz album by the Dave Brubeck Quartet)

Graphic accompaniment: Clock tower of Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie in Pozzuoli, Italy (sketched by yours truly during a recent tour of Italian churches and cathedrals)

Spirituous accompaniment: Hot apple cider (with brandy)


Two economists, walking...

Economist #1: "Hey, this weekend we're supposed to turn our clocks back one hour."

Economist #2: "Great, just what this recession needs - another hour."


Two theologians, driving...

Theologian #1 (in passenger seat): "Hey, you didn't turn your dashboard clock back."

Theologian #2 (driving): "I don't believe in the modern concept of time, per se. You see, I believe, as do many of my colleagues, that time is merely a manmade mechanism designed to measure the distance elapsed since God's Creation of heaven and earth. You see, in biblical times they measured time in terms of generations, you know so-and-so begot so-and-so, who begot so-and-so, and so on and so forth ... but now time is measured in terms of minutes and hours, and months and years, and decades and centuries."

Theologian #1: "So, does that mean you're not turning your clock back?"

Theologian #2: "Well, to be completely honest, I lost the car owner's manual and don't know which buttons to push."

Theologian #1: "Amen, brother. Amen"


One blog writer, writing...

I have a problem. I admit it. You see, I spend my time in quiet contemplation, thinking about the origins of the universe and God's place in that universe. Years ago, people would have considered me "touched" or "sleepy." They would have called me "Sleepy Jack ... you know, the odd guy with the wild hair and the flannel shirts who spends his days with his head in the Magellanic Clouds."

I admit it, half the time I'm pondering how something came from nothing. At those times I become completely detached from what's going on around me. It's become a real problem ... well, that and my strange interest in squirrels.

Anyway, in an attempt to get help with this problem I've joined a support group - Singularity Anonymous. After all, as our chapter president states at the beginning of every meeting, "Singularity is at the root of all creation." (Geez, everybody knows that!)

So, I have another meeting tonight.

Yours Truly: "Hello, my name is Jack and I have a problem with the uncertainty principle."

All other members (in unison): "Hello, Jack!"


Until next time, some recent comments.


In response to: God Grief

Once in a while I'm just ahead of the curve. For example, my blog entry about understanding the mind of God in His role as creator of the universe, which I posted about a month ago.

Since then, I just recently learned that Stephen Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time, is coming out with a new book entitled The Grand Design. Although in his earlier book he leaves room for God as creator, in his latest book, according to news reports, he states that God was not necessary due to a theory called "spontaneous creation," which results due to the laws of gravity.

Now, those who know me know I'm not much for organized religion. I see religion as something created by mankind thousands of years ago to explain the world around them. Yet, I do believe in a Creator (aka God).

After all, although "spontaneous creation" brought about by the laws of gravity sounds like a credible scientific theory, I have to ask the obvious question: Who created the laws of gravity?


In response to: Hurricane Earl Rips Cape

Just before Earl made landfall I finally located my hurricane survival guidebook which helped me get through Hurricane Bob back in 1991. Of course, by hurricane survival guidebook I'm referring to Old Mr. Boston - Deluxe Official Bartender's Guide (1972 edition).

Under the guide's "Equipment" section is a handy listing of necessary survival gear to have on hand when any big storm approaches the coast. It reads: "Here is a sensible list of basic, serviceable items...A jigger measure, a sturdy mixing glass or shaker, a glass stirring rod, a bar strainer, a teaspoon or set of measuring spoons, a corkscrew, a bottle opener, a pairing knife, a vacuum-type ice bucket with tongs, a wooden muddler, a lemon-lime squeezer...". Thank God for the lemon-lime squeezer - I don't know what I would have done without it.

Of course, in any hurricane it is important to have plenty of ice on hand. As "Mr. Boston" states: "Use plenty of ice. Whether cubed, cracked, crushed or shaved, all ice should be fresh, crystal-clear and free of any taste."


In response to: The Great Recession Papers

In recent months I've befriended a family of slugs living beneath my front steps. They make their appearance in the early morning as I'm heading out for my walk. I have to be careful not to step on them along the front walk. They're very quiet, not like those pesky squirrels!

I admit, squirrels are my favorite. They're like outdoor pets that I don't have to feed, or walk, or clip their toenails, or bathe, or take to the vet, or worry about when I go away on vacation. One of my neighbors caught me exchanging chirping noises with a squirrel the other day -- kind of embarrassing ... for the squirrel, that is.


In response to: God in Pastel

Back at Stoneycliff College, a former religious studies classmate of mine caused quite a ruckus one night at the college pub when he argued that God was actually a giant squirrel. Other religious studies students who were in attendance that night claimed that the "giant squirrel" theory was simply preposterous. Days later, a debate was held in the lecture hall where my classmate presented his argument that God took the form of a giant squirrel. The head of the theological studies department then argued that God was a being of indeterminate height and weight with a long white flowing beard. In his rebuttal, my classmate cited the uncertainty principle, stating that like the uncertainty that exists between both the position and the momentum of a quantum particle, we cannot know both the nature and the mind of God. Stumped, and hungry since the debate lasted well past lunchtime, the theologians threw up their hands and agreed that God could take the shape of a "giant squirrel."


In response to: God in Pastel

Question: Does God exist?

Answer: Yes.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit a number of Italian basilicas and cathedrals and churches in Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Pozzuoli -- from St. Peter's Basilica to St. Pietro in Vincoli to Santa Maria Maggiore to the cathedral at Catacomba di Domitilla -- and I have come to the conclusion that God does exist. He's just very, very shy.


In response to: The Grapes of Gatsby


  • The last two mornings, while out on my early walk, I've noticed the western sky brightening before the eastern sky. This is an odd phenomenon, which I have taken as a sign from God. If only I could figure out what it means. Perhaps it means for me to do something different with my life. Perhaps it means for me to give up my worldly possessions and dedicate myself to helping my fellow man. Or perhaps it means I need a new compass.
  • I've been watching Jupiter these nights. She greets me as I leave work and make the short walk along Main Street to the carpark. I've also been watching Cassiopeia overhead. And I've been watching the Big Dipper. And Antares. And the Pleiades. Unfortunately, I wasn't watching where I was going and walked into a rose bush.


Jack Sheedy


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