A “Catch All” Column, Vol. 3

Does Science = God = Science?!

I’ve never understood the struggle between God and Science. That is to say, I don’t understand the feeling held by many that it has to be one or the other. For years, I always figured God was the great inventor of science – it’s primary engineer and law writer (as in laws of physics, not a bill on capitol hill).

In more recent years, scientific discovery itself has not only increased my belief in a higher being, but also one I surmise is steering the ship of science itself. Specifically, several years ago astronomers began arguing that all of the galaxies of the universe were interconnected by a “cosmic web of filaments.” (io9.gizmodo.com, 2014) Filaments are strands of hot gas and matter that stretch across the millions of light years of the universe between each star. Kansas University Professor Gregory Rudnick compared this to an “interstellar superhighway system.” (phys.org, 2017). The gas and particle matter moves toward pressure points and may also explain how those pressure points grow, explode, and expand the universe. Photo imaging technologies are even starting to give us a picture of what these interconnecting filaments look like, as represented by the photos imbedded in this piece. Can something that massive, an interconnectivity so vast, powered by cosmic engineering so ingenious, really be part of a system that merely invented itself or even “evolved” over billions of years?  It’s possible. After all, what about the Big Bang?  I choose to believe the answer is no and have come to believe that God gave us the wonderful world of science… and even created the world of mass and pressure that allowed for the Big Bang. From there, I do believe God let’s his creation grown and evolve based on laws of science he created.

These Cosmic Filaments look so sciency!

But Todd – what about all the mistakes like mosquitos, and … Paul Ryan!?  And what about all of the diseases that disproportionately affect persons of poorer nations!?  Kid’s younger than 10 die of cancer!  What benevolent heavenly power would allow this, Todd!?  To you I say, yes – I believe God gave us even the mistakes and horrible injustices. Did you really think a higher power wouldn’t grant us the “gift” of moral dilemmas, justifiable outrage that inspires us to action, and even a few million jerks to contend with to test our patience and humanity along the way?  He gave us brains to discover his science and keep learning it, hearts to act with compassion and love each other…and even the good sense and historical examples of our forefathers to invent laws and us to improve them. If you don’t think so and think I’m nuts, that’s FINE by me. If you’re an atheist… cool. Whatever works for you. All I ask is you extend me the same courtesy.

What Makes Democratic Billionaires so DUMB?

Several days ago on Facebook, I posted the following (and something similar on Twitter), and I stand by it:

“You know what Republican Billionaires do? They stay out of the way and spend all their money helping Republicans win.”

This is what’s “Electable?” …uh….

I wrote this out of deep frustration with Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer for entering the Democratic Presidential Primary. They feel they need to do so by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a mysterious ego trip that tells them only THEY can save the Democratic Party and beat Trump. What’s worse, many centrists – be they independent or Democratic – particularly feed this belief to Bloomberg’s brain. Candidates like him return the favor by CREATING the narrative that no other candidates can beat Trump. But we already have almost 2 dozen TERRIFIC candidates. Just because millions of Democrats are having trouble making up their minds doesn’t mean these men should be inducing unnecessary and self-fulfilling dread and panic among our half of America.

Take a Quick look at what these 2 billionaires have done by entering the Democratic Primary:

  • As stated, created an unnecessary and self-fulfilling panic within the Party and in doing so created a public narrative that our current field of FANTASTIC candidates can’t beat a horrible, unpopular sitting president
  • Crowded-out the public airwaves from time slots for the other candidates who desperately need them to stand out from the already crowded field. And in a related note …
  • … Made ALL time slots now more expensive for less well-resourced Democratic candidates by their willingness to pay a higher premium for the best commercial time slots that would have gone to the existing field of REALLY GOOD candidates
  • In Mr. Steyer’s case, completely allowed him to take his focus off his impeachment focus. According to Vox.com, “Need to Impeach” had recruited 8 MILLION supporters who signed the petition stating it was time to Impeach President Trump, and he had spent MILLIONS of dollars on advertising creating a drumbeat of support, all BEFORE “Quid Pro Quo.” He could have kept going, but now he’s buying ads to run for President.
Please pool your $ for other candidates!

So now, when the early state primaries and caucuses begin and Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Steyer rob the votes of others and eventually lose the Democratic nomination, they will be hundreds of millions of dollars shorter on resources that should be going to help the Democratic nominee and important candidates up and down the ballot in dozens of states.

Do you see the Walton Family (Walmart), the Mercers (Renaissance Technology Hedge Fund), The Koch Brothers (Kimberly-Clarke, Vanity Fair napkins, Brawny paper towels, etc.), or Richard Uihlein (ULINE office supplies) trying to PERSONALLY run for President?  No. Do you know WHY?  Because Republican Billionaires are smart. They try to stay behind the scenes (by comparison, at least), and spend HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS to own Republican candidates, right-wing think tanks (that author bogus studies), and media networks – all of which are moving public debate in the wrong direction. Is their approach working? Well, there are more Democrats than Republicans in America, and yet Trump is an obvious crook, idiot, and dangerous right-wing President that 40% of Americans will NEVER abandon. The entire Republican party has denied Climate Change and refused to fight it. Private Prisons continue to encroach the criminal justice system. And Republicans continue to hold power in areas where they don’t have a plurality of registered voters. So, you tell me if their approach is working. And after we talk, thank Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer for absolutely doing what Democrats do best – completely screwing everything up. Because Biden, Bernie, Warren, Booker, (Harris), Buttigieg, Castro and Klobuchar? They aren’t the problem.

What’s Todd Watching?

I strongly recommend the following shows right now:

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

  • The Man in the High Castle – We just wrapped this 4th and final season of the show, which imagines a world where the Axis Powers won WWII, and Germany and Japan have divided up the U.S.  Great characters, great plot twists with each season (which extended well beyond the original book by Philip K. Dick), and I think an agreeable conclusion that still left a few possibilities to the imagination.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – We have only watched E1 of the new Season 3, but it promises the same late ‘50s / early ‘60s vibe and color as the previous 2 seasons. This year, Midge’s name grows and we start off an a USO tour. We’ll have to report more from here. But if you haven’t yet adopted this show in into your life… Todd Flora’s America may not be for you.

DISNEY PLUS: 

Who can deny this face?
  • The Mandalorian – A fantastic space “Western” set in the Star Wars Universe, specifically starting 5 years after the 2nd Death Star is destroyed and the Empire has fallen. Pedro Pascal plays the titular character, a superior bounty hunter who’s latest “bounty” turns out to be a baby Yoda. He breaks the Bounty Hunter’s Guild code and – after already collecting on the bounty – steals baby Yoda back to safety and begins a journey to find it a safe harbor in the galaxy.

Should you invest in Disney+?  If you love the Star Wars and Marvel Universes, it’s a no brainer.

HULU

Ladies … let’s hang out more.
  • Dollface – A surprise find and very clever comedy starring (Broke Girl) Kat Dennings and other talented actresses, the show centers on Jules (Dennings), who looks up her old friends after a 5-year relationship ends which had largely isolated her from them. It’s a fantastic and funny ride exploring the importance of women maintaining relationships with their gal pals. Guys – you’ll like this too. Trust me. Season 1 streaming now. Enjoy! 

Castle Rock – Set in the Steven King Universe in the fictional Maine town of Castle Rock, this second season of the anthology series focuses on a younger Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bate’s famous character from Misery), played with a perfectly measured level of crazy by Lizzy Caplan, and the adopted children of Pop Merrill (Tim Robbins), who is a bit shady and runs a surplus store. The plot centers on the 400th anniversary of the town, which awakens the souls of French Satanists who first populated the town. Scariness ensues (bot not really that scary)

“Todd, I want you on me revenge crew.”
  • Reprisal – This “rockabilly” stylized revenge tale stars Abigail Spencer (Mad Men, Suits, Timeless, Todd’s dreams) as Katherine, who’s gangster brother drags her by chain in his truck and leaves her for dead. Several years later, the show re-emerges and she is Doris, married to a dying man and about to inherit a modest fortune. Through the first 3 episodes, the show is colorfully shot, character driven (Spencer herself is only the focus of about ½ of each hour), and looks like it will build to some good, tense and thrilling moments. Plus … did I mention Abigail Spencer? 

HBO

  • Watchmen – Set in the present day about 40 years after the events of the original graphic comic, this groundbreaking television is tough to describe in just a paragraph, so let me just say it this way – racism in Tulsa, cops forced to wear masks to protect their identity, Regina King as a kick ass vigilante named “Sister Night,” Tim Blake Nelson doing Southern cop things, Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt (a.k.a. Ozymendes) off in space prison, Jean Smart as the Federal agent with a superhero past, and (and unseen and uninvolved) Robert Redford has been president for more than 25 years. If that sounds like your speed – go for it.
A Great New Fantasy Universe to Explore
  • His Dark Materials – I was glad to hear HBO was going to reimagine this trilogy of books that produced the somewhat lame by comparison 2007 film, “The Golden Compass.” If you like Harry Potter World, thought Stardust was always an underrated film, and liked some of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe series… His Dark Materials is for you, but without the hard Christian overtones of the latter.  The star is the kick-ass young actress who played the next generation Wolverine in “Logan.” Check it out.

NETFLIX

  • The Crown – We just wrapped S3 of the series and it was fantastic. New actors playing the Royals, and each of them were fantastic. Olivia Coleman and Helena Bonham Carter outdo themselves and Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, and Tobias Menzies version of (that f’ing dickshine) Prince Phillip makes Matt Smith’s earlier iteration look like a hobo…. Though even his sympathetic mother entering the story can’t make him any closer to the same. The young actress who plays Princess Anne also dazzles, and I really enjoyed watching Labour PM Harold Wilson grow from an anti-monarchy sympathizer at the beginning of his term to a Windsor family ally through the years.

2 Comments

  1. If I get this right, Bloomberg should exit the presidential race and instead take his $$ to (a) fund quantum physics research (b) sponsor a brilliant, starving artist to create the next great, binge-able series on the streaming channel of one’s choice (c) play a game of no-limit, Texas Hold ‘Em (or, rather, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Hold ‘Em) poker with Tom Steyer with all of the proceeds going to the most viable candidate to beat the Cheeto(Cheat-o?)-in-Chief in 2020. Also: I need to follow this page more often because I need more HIJINKS! 🙂

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