The Great Loss…

Reading through the BBC News website this morning, I came across a sobering article:

They fought for over three months to advance merely five miles.  A third of a million Allied forces killed over five miles of mud.  The population of a large city, composed mostly of British soldiers, died.  Let’s not forget the quarter of a million German soldiers killed on the other side.
A small note of perspective for those who have not crossed the pond or find numbers difficult to grasp:  the combined losses of that Battle of Passchendaele are roughly the same as the total combined number of losses in our Civil War.
Mr Patch, a moving 109 years old, probably has one of the most important voices in the world right now.  He was a 19 year old boy when he fought that battle in 1917.  He and millions of other young men were lost to the world for naught.
There is a reason that so many war monuments I came across in England were surprisingly (at the time) devoted to World War I, the Great War.  When first glancing, I would often wrongly assume they were a tribute to the fallen of World War II.  But it then hit me: the Second World War was a fight for their survival, their entire existence depended on them fighting back against a rapidly conquering evil.  Before the Americans entered Europe, Great Britain was the only remaining democracy on the continent.  Bless the English Channel, no?
World War I, however, was the greatest of tragedies.  An entire generation was lost for absolutely nothing.  All the memorials devoted to those soldiers lost at the opening of the 20th Century are not to idolize champions of a great victory.  They are to mourn and remember the pointlessness of that war.  I do not even think they are really a gesture of gratitude toward these lost men.  Those statues and long lists of names engraved in stones everywhere in the country are part of what ultimately is an apology.
“War isn’t worth one life,” said Mr Patch.
This is a man who, above all others, knows.

Random Deliciousness…

I know my blogging has been infrequent, and I hope to cure it soon.  Hopefully, this little ditty on utter  nonsense can grease the wheels again…

Toaster ovens are superior to standard slot toasters.
This thesis popped into my head this afternoon while making lunch.  Some time ago, when my wife wasn’t feeling well, I did my best to make something that would sit okay in her stomach.  Looking around at the meager items that occupy my kitchen, I did a little experimenting.  I sliced a slightly stale croissant in half and proceeded to fill it with deli meat and sliced cheddar cheese.  It wasn’t anything profound or special (although the croissants from Costco are by far the best I’ve had on this side of the Atlantic), merely a croissant sandwich.
But then the great moment came.  I have long been a fan of hot sandwiches.  Hot food is more filling, melted cheese is a beautiful thing, and frankly I just don’t care for the cold condiments when actual meat and cheese juices can be had.  So I left the croissant sandwich open, cheese on one half, meat on the other half, and broiled the sucker for a bit in my toaster oven.  Lo and behold, the croissant became its natural, flavorful, flaky pastry self to be the bread component of a warm, tummy-filling sandwich.  My ill wife devoured it quickly, and I went ahead and believed my small experiment was a success (as I usually do for myself.)
This great achievement was only through the fact we own a toaster oven rather than a regular pop-up toaster.  I recreated my delectable delight today to the point of recalling its origins.  I can heat sandwiches, cook up fish sticks, and bake personal pizzas without using the big oven or the microwave.  It is a grand life that I lead, all thanks to my toaster oven.
However, I think that this trumps it.

The Wee Ones…

Little People – A tiny street art project

Quite a cool project and often funny project.  This would be something grand to do with the photography students and even animation students at my school.  I love photography that plays with perspectives.
Also for students, I should pick up this woman’s book on grammar.  I think kids would give a much greater hoot about the language they supposedly speak if it was actually about what they really spoke.

One More…

Just one more thought for today (then my quota of three has been filled).

I have always seen studies in the sciences as divine pursuits.  It’s a logical concept, I think.  After all, is God not the creator of the universe, if not the universe itself?  I tend to think any attempts to understand or explain the universe brings us closer to understanding God.  And the more we are able to mimic those workings and use the same tools, then the closer we get to becoming like God, as we were created to be.
So why the seeming battle between the pursuit of science and the study of God?
In my classes, I use a great deal of exaggeration, sarcasm, and complete nonsense to get ideas across.  But every so often, one will chime in to refute what I say.  “Mr Fryer, penguins can’t fly, and they certainly can’t write html code.”  There really is only one response, and it gets repeated over the term enough to where the kids answer it themselves: “Hey kids, who’s the funniest person in the world?  A literalist.”

The Future…

I have often asked myself the question, what is the end goal of a free person’s life?  To get high and watch television.  Thankfully we have nothing more to strive for.  After all, ignorance is… something.  I forget.  Eh, it doesn’t matter.  (Article found at Edge.)

As I’ve been telling my mom lately, we’re overdue for a trip to the Exploratorium.

Fascinating…

Marrying the sciences, letters, and the arts into a new humanism.  (Found via 3quarksdaily).  A really fascinating train of thought, that wonderfully is not too far off from what I think about the world and humanity.  I guess I’m one step of the way there with my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree.  As always, a little research leads to more and more ideas filling my mind.  Once again, the world and its history appears cyclical while at the same time, progressing in whatever direction it goes in.  A return to the renaissance may be due, of course following a great dark period of our development in the Western world.  I think I’ll just go stoic and bide my time.  Either way, I am sure I will read more of Señor Pániker when I can.