Words

Life

Episode 4 African Rift Valley

by Andrea Elizabeth

This rift formed Mt Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria. The Rio Grande is also an intercontinental rift and separates the Colorado Plateau from the rest of the North American continent. Lake Bakal, the Rhine River, and the North American mid continenal rift (Yellowstone) are also rift valleys.
(Teaching Company’s Geologic Wonder lecture series available on Amazon streaming)

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Santerini

by Andrea Elizabeth

I just subscribed to The Teaching Company’s Signature Series free 7 day trial in order to watch the geologic wonders of the world and the geology of America’s national parks. Episode 1 of the first series is in the devastating volcano eruption on Santerini. Coincidently, the exodus of the Israelites happened about the same time. Could a huge ash cloud, tsunami, and creature evacuation have caused the plagues and Red Sea retreat?

Not that this negates the miraculous, but maybe God programmed the volcano in the Big Bang, or he tweaked the magma cork.

God of the gaps

by Andrea Elizabeth

I caught a little of Star Talk on Sirius XM yesterday where a caller asked if the Big Bang could have been started by God. Neil Degrasse Tyson said that physicists like Isaac Newton and Ptolemy ascribed to the God of the Gaps belief where God exists in what we don’t understand. He said, as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer, btw, that with that belief, scientific discoveries make God smaller and smaller. Bonhoeffer added to the explanation, however.

“how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.[5]

Dr. Tyson doesn’t like the idea of God winding up an ordered clock either because bad things happen and our bodies aren’t as capable or protected as they should be. He probably doesn’t like the explanation of the Fall causing pain and suffering.

He also mentioned the idea that if you knew where every particle was as well as its motion you could predict the future history of the universe. EXCEPT that quantum mechanics changes these predictions from certainties to probabilities. Perhaps this is why meteorologists can’t accurately predict the weather. This unpredictability to me isn’t all about lack of equipment and formulas, but about acts of God, not that they won’t be better explained later. I’m waiting for the equipment that can detect a soul leaving the body or a “spontaneous” energy impulse that can scoot a hurricane over a mile or two.

The Haunting of Hill House

by Andrea Elizabeth

finished.

Despite my favorite words, (phenomenology, epistemology, Derrida) being employed in this article, which contains spoilers, as will the following, I found the only increased understanding in the proposed Jungian interpretation of the above novel is that perhaps there is less that separates us from each other, dead people, and material objects, than we think. This leads us, however un-discussed, except in the novel, to more of a separation from ourselves.

Another thought I have about this book is: what if the house and Eleanor are indeed one, and the author, if this is semi-autobiographical, which other articles suggest, believes herself dangerous. Others are curious about her, but others also seem, from Eleanor’s point of view, unworthy of her. They have all betrayed her, as her mother did. And perhaps she subconsciously killed her mother. Perhaps she will kill them. Perhaps they killed her. It is a deeply pessimistic point of view. But what if it’s right.

I have heard Orthodoxy explained as shining a light, dim at first, on our sins, because we would not be able to bear the sight of all of them at once. What if Shirley Jackson was aware of the sins of others and herself? Here is what Wikipedia says about her death at age 48:

In 1965, Jackson died of heart failure in her sleep, at her home in North Bennington, at the age of 48.[15] She was overweight and a heavy smoker who had for years suffered health problems related to the two issues. Near the end of her life, Jackson was seeing a psychiatrist for severe anxiety, which had kept her housebound for nearly the whole of the previous year. The doctor prescribed barbiturates, at that time considered a safe, harmless drug. For many years prior, she also had periodic prescriptions for amphetamines for weight loss, which may have inadvertently aggravated her anxiety, leading to a cycle of prescription drug abuse using the two medications to counteract each other’s effects. Any of these factors, or a combination of all of them, may have contributed to her declining health and early death.

I will not attempt to lecture her on what she should have done, but as always, I do wonder where these geniuses would have gone if they’d been Orthodox. I no longer think that a cure is inevitable in this life in the Church, but perhaps a better context for these phenomena.

Ouachita pics

by Andrea Elizabeth

The pics are up. See link in previous post.

You’re the reason God made Oklahoma

by Andrea Elizabeth

I just wrote about our recent eventful camping trip to lovely McGee Creek State Park near Atoka, Oklahoma. Start four posts down on my other blog, I’d rather be hiking. I may add another post with pictures eventually, then the series would begin further than 4 posts down.

Calm Down

by Andrea Elizabeth

I can’t go back into the zone if you’re too scared to come with me. Or at least till I try to relieve your fears. I will go on ahead with or without you. I really shouldn’t try. It might spoil the magic. Oh, but Stephen King is not a worthy guide, you wring. It’s too dangerous to watch Game of Thrones, you continue. On that one I agree. And I wouldn’t watch a Stephen King movie if it was as graphic as he writes. Gross. And I bet it still wouldn’t be as titillating as Game of Thrones, which I wont watch. He’s not that good at it. I may someday watch a dragon-only clean edit of GoT, but I bet it wouldn’t last 15 minutes from what I hear.

I’ll give you a quick outline of Stephen’s and Shirley’s redeeming qualities: Interaction with the spirit world and the possibility of clairvoyance. Who else is practicing these things in America? Btw, I heard Elder Ephraim’s recent saving of an airplane with his mind was a hoax.

Second, – now I’ve only read the first couple of chapters of The Haunting of Hill House, but I loved the Julie Harris movie, shortened to The Haunting, a decade or so ago, – Spoiler – what if the spirit world is as jealous of our earthly affairs as the House is? What if our fantasies of earthly, carnal, emotional pleasures make us neglect prayer, and this neglect isn’t just a declining of an optional dessert, but the neglect of a newborn baby? A baby reminds us by crying, but what if the Saints feel the same heart wrenching result when they and we don’t pray? You have to learn to listen to the other side to feel it.

By telling you I’ve probably spoiled it for myself, but that’s just what I do.

that’s more like it

by Andrea Elizabeth

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone. — the first paragraph of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)

“I think,” wrote Stephen King in Danse Macabre about the paragraph above, “there are few if any descriptive passages in the English language that are any finer than this; it is the sort of quiet epiphany every writer hopes for: words that somehow transcend the sum of the parts.” (lifted from here)

It has been so long since I’ve read anything from this time period. In Bag of Bones Stephen King also references Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, “I dream of Manderly”. I’ve read several of her books. These authors are able to go into the same trance that Emily Bronte did in Wuthering Heights. I’d forgotten how deliciously transporting it was.

I begin listening to The Haunting of Hill House while cross stitching my faux Unicorn Tapestry from around 1500, the end of the Middle Ages where princesses lived among flowers, springs, castles, long narrow dresses, long narrow hair, and everyone and everything doing her modest, patronizing bidding. I’ve so missed it. Surely this one venture into fairy land wont hurt. I’ve talked myself into coming out of it before. After I learned that it’s walls were just thin, gauzy veils to an illusion. Maybe I was wrong to disbelieve… Look! The gauziness is turning opaque. It’s not a ghostly veil but solidifying stone. The arched wooden gate is so inviting. It wont hurt to knock.

Bag of Bones

by Andrea Elizabeth

Having just finished, I like Stephen King more and more. This is despite his story being just a little above listenable/readable. But these days there’s barely anything readable, so that’s a lot. Perhaps his graphic anatomical details are titillating to the uninitiated. Even his scary ghosts aren’t very scary. Is that because I’m initiated? The Shining is my favorite so far – deeper, more realistic female character, and much scarier ghosts. However, I like his psychic connections, and at least he thinks dead people still exist, so. Additionally, the two deaths are just too convenient and seem cop-outy. This is only slightly mitigated by the self-awareness at the end of the book.

What was the most engrossing was his descriptions of the writing process. His self read audible version includes an interview at the end which is more interesting than the book as well.

Oh and I love his put on old timer Maine accent.

More words

by Andrea Elizabeth

Borodin’s Prince Igor

The Teaching Company’s Classics of Russian Literature ch 1&2

People who live in Niger are Nigeriens as distinguished from the Nigerians from Nigeria.

The Georgian celebratory shot drink is called Chacha.