Monday, August 27, 2012

Evolution vs. Creationism


I saw this article where Bill Nye (The Science Guy) "slams" Creationism and its really got me thinking today because my daughter has just started learning about evolution in school. 

Growing up in a conservative Christian home I always believed that the world came to be due to Creationism even though at school we were taught about evolution. As I've gotten older I've thought more about the idea and I'm not so satisfied with this black or white option. What if science AND religion are both right, in the theory of how everything started? One side believes "boom! with a big bang we have the world" while the other side believes "let there be light". What if they are the same thing?

Even amongst the religious groups there isn't a consensus about how they think things went down. Some believe in the literal meaning, that the world was created in 6, 24-hour days with the 7th being the day of rest while the other half believes that the days or other lengths of time may not be the same as the schedule we use now. I fall into the latter group and I'm really starting to think that maybe, just maybe some of the things that evolutionists and creationists think are true have some overlap. People  spend so much time fighting about this issue that they never really take the time to see the similarities. I thought this quote from the article was pretty interesting. I really thought more than 15% believed in atheistic evolution!

The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans' views on creation and evolution for the past 30 years.  In June it released its latest findings, which showed 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.
I think I fall somewhere in between the 46% and the 32% groups. Life is not often only black or white and I think that its possible that there is some overlapping between the two theories. Humans are so complex and we HAVE adapted over time so for the idea that things on Earth have evolved and improved I can't say that I disagree with that. Where do you fall into those numbers?

The Devil in the White City

I found this book to have really interesting content but OMG was it painfully slow to finish! I don't know if it was because I read a book review earlier that said it was a "page turner" and I kept waiting to get to that point or if it was because this style of story telling just wasn't my style. Either way, really interesting and I was glad that I did finish reading to the end.

I think the easiest way to describe my feelings is to list out the things I did and didn't like.

  1. World's Fair--I think this was my absolute favorite thing about the book. I've always heard of the World's Fair in Chicago but I really knew nothing about it until I read this book. I didn't know that it lasted such a long time, I was assuming it was a weekend or two like regular local fairs, not months and months. I also wasn't really aware of how many products were displayed and introduced during the Fair. I guess in my mind I thought it was all about rides and food and didn't pay attention in History class to the part about it being a huge expo. If you don't know what really well known thing was first introduced during this particular fair I won't spoil it for you. Don't Google either! Read it and be surprised
  2. The research--At the end of the book the author goes into detail about his research for this book and I was a little surprised that he did none of it online. Seriously, there is a ton of factual info in this book and to do all of it the old fashioned way of traveling to the locations to look at actual books, letters and artifacts is pretty impressive.
  1. Reading reviews ahead of time--Ok, I admit I sorta ruined it for this book by reading too many reviews before reading the book. Someone said it was a page turner so I expected it to go a little faster and kinda kept waiting for that big, exciting moment when it would become a page turner
  2. Book organization--This book easily could have been two books, one about the Fair and one about the killer. I kept waiting for the two main men's stories to come together and overlap and they didn't really do it like I was expecting. I enjoyed both story lines but it might have been an easier read if they were separate books or if their stories overlapped more.

Definitely pick up this book and read it if you have ever wanted to know more about Chicago during the late 1890's or if you have an interest in the Chicago's World Fair. 

Purchase it here!

Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

The No. 1 New York Times bestseller about the architect who led the construction of the great Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and the prolific serial killer who used the fair as a lure. Just blocks from the fairgrounds, the killer built a hotel of horrors equipped with an acid vat, dissection table and crematorium. The book won an Edgar Award for best fact-crime writing, and was a finalist for a National Book Award. In November 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio acquired the rights to make a feature film based on Devil, and has stated he plans to play the role of the killer, Dr. H. H. Holmes.

Skinny Rules

The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin

I got this book from the library, expecting it to be a quick read and that I'd get maybe a recipe or two and a couple good tips out of this book. Thats the way it usually works with health and diet books right? Or maybe thats just me. His "skinny rules" are mostly common sense but its not the things you really think about while you are filling up your plate with piles of crappy food. Thats why America is fat. The majority of us know what we should be doing but we aren't doing it. Bob Harper's book is a good reminder and I have not had one dud recipe yet. My favorite are the meatballs and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the ground turkey in them didn't taste bad at all. I've always shied away from ground turkey or chicken because it kinda creeps me out that they are the "wrong" color when cooked but these meatballs have led me to try more recipes using the ground turkey and chicken. 

I returned the book to the library and ended up buying myself a copy because I really enjoyed it and wanted to have easier access to the recipes it contained. If you need a little kick start in your diet or just want some confirmation about what you should be doing this is a great book for you.

Purchase it here!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Left Neglected

This was my second Lisa Genova book and I was not disappointed! The first book, Still Alice dealt with Alzheimer's and Left Neglected also focused on neurological problems which made me curious why an author would write two books on those topics. I try not to Google too much before I read a book because I don't want to know too much about the story or make a judgement about the author. I couldn't resist it on this one so I broke my own rule. It turns out that she has a degree in Biopsychology and a Ph.D in Neuroscience! By the amount of scientific information in the books, I knew she had to have some connection to that area of science. I tend to really appreciate books where the author puts a lot of work into the research of a book or sticks with their own personal area of expertise. I'm a bit of a nerd in that I actually like to learn so its nice to pick up a fiction book and still feel like I learned new things. I know some don't like Jodi Picoult but I like that she puts so much effort into learning about each new topic so I can't ever hate on her. Ok, back to Lisa Genova, this is a really interesting book and I think anyone could pick it up and enjoy it. Whether you relate more to the lifestyle of Sarah as a high powered corporate woman or to some of the other characters I think you'll find it an enjoyable read. Read the description below from Genova's site

Purchase Here

Left Neglected

Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus.
Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.
A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.
A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future.
Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny—her new, true life—may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

He Broke into the WRONG Home

I bet that's what the guy is thinking who attempted to break into LL Cool J's home! LL totally messed up a burglary attempt and really injured the man trying to break in. I bet he not only feels a lot of pain but also feels like a real loser. Seriously, is this the guy from whom you try to rob?



Los Angeles (CNN) -- A man charged with breaking into LL Cool J's home Wednesday morning faces a long prison sentence if convicted because of his previous convictions, the prosecutor's spokeswoman said Thursday.
Jonathan Kirby, 56, suffered a broken nose, jaw and ribs when he encountered the muscular rapper-actor inside his Sherman Oaks, California, home, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.

And please, LL, pose more without a shirt! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cat on a Leash

Its always interesting at the farmer's market. You never know what you'll see, like Saturday. A cat being walked on a leash. I'm sure you can train your cat to walk on a leash but I tried with my 3 cats and none of them liked it. The one cat that I thought would hate it didn't really so maybe there is hope yet.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cotton Candy Clouds

I saw these on the way home from NY the other day. The colors were amazing and the clouds reminded me of cotton candy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

3 of the Reasons Why I Love the Olympics

In my previous post I mentioned that the Olympics were like my happy place and they really are. When I was younger I remember waiting four years to see the next games and was THRILLED when they voted to hold the Winter and Summer games every two years instead of having both games played in the same year. Four years feels like a lifetime when you are a kid so every two years is much better.

1. Heartwarming, personal stories of the athletes:


Some day this may not be a big deal but for the 2012 games it is a huge deal. Its the first time an athlete was able to petition to compete in the Olympic games instead of the Paralympic games. Oscar Pistorious is a South African sprinter who competed in the semi-finals of the men's 400m race. He also happens to be a double amputee. He did not win his heat but his determination, effort and talent is amazing. Gives me chills to even think about the magnitude of what he has done. Its the first time a "disabled" athlete has competed in the "regular" Olympics and the winner of his heat, Kirani James from Grenada also saw what a special occasion this was, to race against Pistorious. After the race he asked Pistorious if he could switch racing bibs with him, which is often done as a sign of admiration or respect. When James was interviewed he said that he was inspired by Pistorious and that is why he asked him to switch racing bibs.

Pistorios Petitions Olympic Committee for right to run

2. Athletes putting their heart and soul into their sport:

You see their wins
And you see the loses

3. Athletes supporting other athletes:


Here are some shots of Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps watching their teammate Nathan Adrian compete in his race before the big Lochte/Phelps showdown. Look at their expressions as they see him coming in to the wall and once they realized their friend just won his first individual Olympic gold medal. I love the feeling of a team coming together supporting each other.

These two marathon runners are pretty well known here in the US. First they competed against each other, then they trained together. How cool is that?

"Goucher says she owes a lot of her fitness gains to Flanagan, who has pushed her to the limit in training. The two have become good friends over the past year.
They ran the first half of Sunday's race side by side. Then Flanagan pulled ahead. While Goucher knew she was no longer in contention, she still had high hopes for her friend. What she didn’t know was that the course had taken its toll on Flanagan too."

Olympics--My Happy Place

I know its crazy but there are actually people out there who do not like or care about the Olympics. Crazy, huh? I don't know what got me started on them but I have ALWAYS loved the Olympics.  Part of what got my attention as a kid was that my swim coach was Mitzi Kremer I thought it was so cool that my swim coach swam in the Olympics and won a bronze medal. She even brought it to the pool one day and let us all try it on. Back then I hoped I'd have one of my own someday but those days are over LOL

Its funny because as I sit on the couch watching them now with my family occasionally the commentators will mention a previous athlete, stat, record or show a photo of something and almost all the time I have known who or what they are talking about. For example, a few years ago I was watching Nastia Liukin perform and I recognized her father, Valeri Liukin who was also her coach. I KNEW I had seen him before but couldn't remember where, I told my husband I must have seen him coach someone else or something like that. So, of course I hit up Google and I could not believe who her father was, he competed in the 80's for Russia (or was it the Soviet Union then?)! He was amazing in those games, I remember him not only because I thought he was kinda cute but also because he was very, very good. He was the first man to do a triple flip in his floor routine. How insane is that? I can't even do two flips on a trampoline! Here are some clips of him back in the day. Guess there are some good genetics in that family!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saved Myself $150!

I don't know about you but I HATE when I do something stupid and I have to pay extra money to fix it. When you do dumb things that cost you money my favorite money dude, Dave Ramsey calls things like that "Stupid Tax".

On the day before our cruise we were in Ft. Lauderdale and I did something dumb and messed up the cigarette lighter in my car when I tried to plug my iPhone charger into the outlet in the console of my car. Its at the bottom of the console and admittedly, there is crap in there so I was trying really hard to keep the crap from caving in on the outlet, lift the cover of the outlet and put the charger in. I couldn't get it to fit in properly and kept shoving and shoving the charger in and it just wouldn't fit in tight and stay there. Finally I figured out that there was a tiny bell that had fallen into the outlet and thats why the charger wouldn't go all the way in. How the heck did a tiny bell get in there? I have no idea, probably some Christmas craft shoved in there long since forgotten. I couldn't get it out with my fingers so I took a sewing needle and thought that I could poke the end of it in one of the holes or the little loop on top. Well friends, that was a really dumb thing to do because HOLY COW that thing hurt! The whole 7 days I was on the cruise I had a little line on my finger, about 1/2 inch long from where I got burned. Duh! The car was on, there was metal on an electrical outlet and I stuck something metal into it! So dumb but also a very good lesson for the kids LOL

We thought that the problem might have just been a blown fuse since both the outlet in the dash as well as the one in console weren't working. I busted out the manual and saw the spot for the cigarette lighter and we stopped at an Auto Parts store to buy a package of fuses. I thought it would be $4 and all would be fine. It wasn't. It was looking like either my charger was dead or the cigarette lighter was messed up. The chargers alone are like $50 so I was a little annoyed at myself for screwing it up.

Fast forward to today when I hit up Google to get some more help. I called Toyota because I am scheduled for an oil change soon (free for the life of the car!!) and they said it would be $150 to replace 1-2 cigarette lighters. Online they suggested removing part of the dash in order to get the whole cigarette lighter out and honestly, I was not that motivated and I'd rather just live without the lighter. I'd have to get more organized and charge my phone at home or work. But Google saved my butt. Apparently on my Camry there are two fuses that power the cigarette lighters and both fuses can blow. I went straight out to the garage, took out the fuse labeled "Power" and sure enough, the fuse was blown so I replaced it and IT WORKED!! I was so happy not to have to deal with a Toyota dealership's crazily inflated prices AND I was very happy that I fixed my own stupid mistake. I know its silly but that little thing really did make my day

Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympic Diver's Faces

This will only take a few seconds but please go to this link to see what diver's faces look like while they are diving. Its hilarious!

Diver's Faces at 35+mph


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