Thursday, May 29, 2008

God and Moses in Creationism Defined (A Play)

[Scene] Mount Sinai circa 1200 B.C.

God [in booming epochal voice]: MOSES!

Moses: Ahh! What!


Moses [nervously hurried]: NO! What? No, of course not. God? Is that you? Where are you?

God [incredulously]: I am the bloody burning bush you ponce.

Moses [gears cranking, not comprehending]: Bloody. . . and . . . burning . . .. Ponce?

God: Oh, Jesus . . .

Moses: That's a good name.

God: . . . forget it. Turn around, see the fire. That's me.

Moses: Uh, O.K. Whatever you say, your highest holy burningness.

God [feigning annoyance at the superlative style]: Did you bring the tablets?

Moses: Yes, oh Great and Merci--

God: Good. Put them down, we won't need them for a while. Today, we are going to start at the beginning.

Moses: The beginning? Do we have enough time? I mean, that bush can't burn forever . . .

God [making whatever expression a burning bush can make to show that it is going to patiently wait for the realization that previous statement was idiotic]:

Moses: . . . uh God? You there?

God [flicking out a burning ember onto Moses' foot]:

Moses: Ow! I thought you were a merciful God!

God: Oh, just wait until I tell you about Job. [under breath] What I did to him is going to pale in comparison to what I do to you [returning to normal] I am eternal, all-powerful, omniscient, yada yada yada, the bush will burn for as long as I wish it.

Moses: What if I pissed on it?

God: Remember your foot? How would like that three feet higher and a hell of a lot hotter?

Moses: My apologies for my impudence my lord. So the beginning?

God: Alright, pay attention. This is pretty complicated. Do you know what gravity is?

Moses: Like degrees?

God: Um, are you referring to degrees of temperature?

Moses: Is that what you want me to be referring to?

God: Sort of, but not really. We are not quite there yet.

Moses: Then, no.

God: So what degrees are you referring to?

Moses: Um . . . gravity . . .[awkward silence] . . . like, um weightiness . . .

God: [excitedly] Yes, exactly. Like weight.

Moses [overly enthusiastic]: O.K.! [gives bush the thumbs up]

God: [dryly] You have no idea what I am getting at do you?

Moses: Sure I do. Gravity is like weight. The beginning is so very important and serious, so I should pay extra special attention.

God: No, no, no and no. But sort of yes, but more accurately, NO! Gravity is the force that holds you onto this earth. It is why things are heavy.

Moses: Aren't things heavy because they are big?

God: Not necessarily. Compare a rock with leaves balled up in the same size as the rock.

Moses: What's a leaves? Do you want me to go?

God: Argg. Fucking desert. Forget leaves. Compare a rock with balled up cloth. Same size. Different weights. But gravity pulls on both objects the same. Let me show you. Take off your frock and ball it up. . . . Good. Now pick up one of the tablets. . . . Nice work Moses, there may be hope for you yet. Now get up on that rock over there. Good. This is the tricky part. Hold out the frock in one hand and the tablet in other so they are at the same height. Good. Now, how much heavier would you say the tablet is than the frock.

Moses: Oh, about a third of a talent.

God: Good. So the tablet is much heavier than the frock. Because of this, you may think that the tablet should fall faster than the frock. But gravity exerts its force on all objects equally, so they will all fall at the same speed. Go ahead, drop them. They will hit the ground at the same time.

Moses: Uh, won't the tablet break? It is six cubits off the ground.

God: Do I have to give the all-powerful speech again? It won't break.

Moses: O.K. [drops objects. They hit the ground at roughly the same time] I think the tablet still hit first.

God: That is just air resistance. Next time we will use your head. Anyway, gravity is a force that is exerted from the very center of the Earth. At the center of the Earth is a huge mass that is tightly compacted. You know how when you pick up wet sand, you can crush it between your hands into your hands into a smaller denser ball?

Moses: Ayup.

God: Good. Now imagine all of the grains of sands across the Earth crushed into the same size ball.

Moses: [closes eyes. Sways back and forth] Hhhhmmmmmmm. I do not mean to offend you your eminence, but I do not understand how that is possible. I have been to Egypt, there is sand as far as the eye can see, yet you pile up all that sand, it is still much larger than the largest pyramids.

God: Yes, I know that it is hard to conceptualize, but I am trying to explain to you the power of gravity. It was gravity that created the Earth.

Moses: But, I thought you created it?

God: Yes, but only evanescently. You think I want to be a burning bush? I would much rather be a cougar, or a Tyrannosauruses Rex, that would scare the hell out of you, hell, I would rather be a camel. The world works according to certain rules that even I cannot change. One soul per body. I cannot push out the camel's soul for my own gleeful purposes. That is the essence of free will. [whimsically] But maybe, if I could have a son, a child, part me, with a tangible presence on the earth, carrying out my dreams, a messiah maybe . . . [trailing off]. But, that is a discussion for another day. I created the universe. I created physics. A nudge here, a nudge there is all it took once I figured out the math. Moses, I figured out how to get three atoms of oxygen to bond with each other.

Moses: Is atom like gravity?

God: Adam? We have not even finished the creation of Earth yet. Don't get ahead of me.

Moses: My deepest regrets at having offended you your illustriousness.

God: Don't do it again. The mass, at the center of earth is what exerts gravity. It is a force that goes off equally in every direction. And before you ask, the Earth is round. Just accept that as fact.

Moses: Round? Huh. I mean, interesting your um . . . godliness.

God: So this dense mass formed, and it pulled lots of other matter to it through gravity. So, you understand gravity now right Moses?

Moses: Yes sir.

God: Good. Because your understanding of gravity is essential to the rest of the story. Gravity is how all the stars were formed, how the sun was formed, the moon, and of course the Earth. You understand this yes?

Moses: Yes. Crystal Clear.

God: OK. Now, we have to go back to before the Earth was created. Before the Universe was created. In the beginning, there was just me. And I had a thimble. And inside the thimble was all the matter ever created.

Moses: Wow. So, if the Earth fit in the thimble, then how big are you?

God: NO! It was a thimble that is the same size as a thimble that you have. Just an ordinary thimble. Like the one Aaron "borrowed" from Miriam. Remember the sand analogy? Same thing, just more matter in a tiny space. The power of gravity. Is this making any sense?

Moses: It is your divine word. I heard sometimes you speak in riddles. I am slow of wit. I know the riddle about what is more beautiful than your face, but I am having trouble solving how you can fit the Earth inside a thimble. Unless it is a very large thimble of course.

God: Oh, Moses smell the roses. It is not a riddle. Follow this. All matter was in the thimble. I exploded the thimble. All matter spread throughout the universe as space dust and gas. Some dust and gases formed clouds. At the center of these clouds, the dust and gases came together to form hugely dense areas. Like the sand. As they got more dense, its gravity increased. At the center, the core pulled in gas, and eventually became the Sun. Further out, more dust came together to become the Earth. Now this all happened over millions of years. It is a very slow, and lonely, process. But, eventually, all that swirling dust formed the Earth as you see it now, thanks to it being the exact right distance from the Sun, among other things. Understand?

Moses: I thought dust was created by dead skin cells? Is that part of the riddle?

God: Damn you Moses! One more mistake out of you, no matter how trivial, and you are barred from entering the holy land. Seriously. [muttering] I knew I should have waited for the Greeks.

Moses [crying]: Oh Holiest of Gods, I mean the one and only true God, I mean, my Master, I am your humble servant, please do not smite me down as I bow before you, on my hands and knees, I beg of you, for I am fallible, I falter in front of your brilliance, for I am weak, unfit to hear your divine prose, I am but one man, and you are all men, I am not worthy to appear in your presence, please, for I will let my people go, you can find them a new shepard, but spare my life, for even now, I will express unworthiness by kissing your feet, placing my face in the fire, to kiss the base of this magnificent bush, and--

God: Get up Moses. Sheesh. Have some dignity. That was a just a test. Yeah, a test. Or, a riddle. No, just a test.

Moses: [still weeping, wiping snot from his nose] Did I pass?

God: Oh yeah, you passed. Passed with flying colors.

Moses: I learn at your feet, oh great one.

God: Sure you do. You learn. Close your eyes. . . . Here is the lesson. There is no truth but the truth as I give it to you. There is no meaning but the meaning I subscribe. Now listen and listen carefully. This is my truth to tell. Memorize it. Share it. Spread it. For this is how I created heaven and Earth. On the first day, I looked at what I had to work with. Not much. Water. Some firmament. I moved across the Earth taking stock. On the second--

Moses: I do not mean to interrupt your sacred narrative, but was this during the day or at night?

God: Oh yeah, forgot that part. On that first day, I said let there be light. That made night and day. Certainly it had nothing at all to do with the Earth's rotation's rotation around the Sun. So that first day, surveyed the Earth, made night and day, and took a nap. That second day, I separated the firmament and the Earth, to make Heaven and Earth. Oh, and I made the sky blue. Do you want to hear about diffuse sky radiation?

Moses: [quizzical uncomprehending look]

God: Okaay. I put some water in the sky and left some water on the earth. On the third day, I called the Earth the Earth and the water the Sea. But when you retell this Moses, try to make this day sound, oh I don't know, busier somehow.

Moses: Like, you planted grass that day too?

God: Sure, that works. Thanks Mose. The Fourth day I made seasons and dabbled more with night and day. Night was too dark, so I figure out a way to reflect light to make most nights not so dark. The next day I filled the seas with all the creatures therein and the land with animals that were the size of 250 men put together.

Moses: No way. That is unpossible. That animal would be, well larger than the pyramids!

God: Yeah, sure, that was another riddle. No giant animals. Just birds. So what day are we on here?

Moses: Fish and fowl were the fifth. Did you take Shabbos on the sixth?

God: No, that is the seventh day. I still had one more day of hard work left. On the sixth I uh, shit, did I make cows yet?

Moses: No your excellency.

God: I made cows on the sixth day, and a bunch of other animals that walk on the land. Then I made man and said, Man, all this is yours. Enjoy.

Moses: Wow, you truly are a great god. Created all of this in only six days. An amazing Earth that provides us with sustenance and a temperate climate and a night that lasts justs as long as I can sleep. It is mind-boggling how perfect you got it. But God, why are the Egyptians so evil to the Jews?

God: Oh, Moses. I made man in my image. I have free will. Man has free will. And now, I shall tell you what a God does with his free will . . .

[scene closes on Moses sitting cross-legged, staring intently into the burning bush, as the Sun slowly sets in the background]

[fade out]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Graduation and Other Things

I have conditionally graduated from law school. I still have one grade outstanding, but I sure as hell did not write a 43 page paper with the intention of getting an "F", so I think that I am permitted to put "Quasi-Dr." on my letterhead now.

Unfortunately, my utter laziness caught up with me this semester. The two exams I took were multiple choice which seriously inhibits my utilization of the one talent I can genuinely attribute to law school, bull-shitting. One exam was so hard, there is no point in discussing it. But I did well enough on it.

The other exam was easy, except for about 10 of the 70 or so questions. All those questions came from a class that I skipped. Being lazy, I did not bother to get anyone's notes for that class, figuring that a) there would only be three or four questions from that class and b) if push came to shove, I would survey the statute book during the exam and find the right answer.

So, I was wrong; on both counts. Some of the statutes necessary to determine the proper answer were not in the statute book (it was only state statutes, and some questions referenced federal statutes). I had the textbook with me, but that proved just as worthless. I suppose there was a reason that there was no assigned reading for that class. Conversely, some of the statutes that were needed were in the statute book. That helped, the annotations however did not. For all of the questions that had an answer contained in a statute I had access to, some of the annotations clearly contradicted the plain language of the statute. So, like a good lawyer, I looked at the most recent cases, the effective date of the statute, and what the statute really said. (Remember, this is while I am taking the exam). In quite a few cases, the statue and the annotations simply did not jive. Needing to make a decision on how to answer the question (already narrowed between two answers), I drew on my prior experience that annotations fucking suck. Numerous times I have seen annotations (at least for the states), fuck up the true holding of the court. So, I went with the language of the statute.

But who knows if that was right or wrong. I could have just as easily screwed up another part of the exam (I did skip about five classes, but most of the stuff was easy. This particular class was hard because there was no text/statute to help understand it). So I got a B+ on that exam. Even though I have known that grade for a week, I am still a little annoyed. At myself really (even though, I had to attend a mandatory function during the class in question). Should have tried harder. Should have gotten notes. Should haves are not going to help me now; now that the 4.01 dream is dead. For the first time ever in law school, my GPA is actually going to go down, regardless of the grade in the remaining class. Annoying; humbling.

Now, I am stuck in IL studying for the IL bar. It is in a good location. There is absolutely nothing out here to distract me, other than watching Cubs games everyday, though the mute button helps limit that distraction. I am spending about 8 hours a day studying (for the last two anyway), trying to study my way through the annoyance of my final law school semester. Or at least force my way through laziness. It is tough though, after reading black letter law for five hours, I lose the ability to focus my eyes. I figure this might be a bonus though, because with double vision I read everything twice. Win-Win.

Yeah, that is enough for now. Over under on the next post is 13 days. Place your bets.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Key to Getting an A

Don't let the timestamp at the bottom fool you. It is about 5:30 a.m. right now. In about three hours I will be taking my first final. I have had about a week to study for it, but did nothing of substance until a couple days ago.

Around 11:30 tonight (last night?) I was halfway through the final read through of my 103 page outline and realized that there was no way I was sleeping tonight without some help. Help comes in many forms. My desired sleeping aid is Tylenol PM. That was out because it takes at least two hours to kick in and knocks me out for about eight hours. Nyquil was also available, but anyone familiar with Denis Leary knows that a Nyquil coma does not relent to even the most fastidious of alarms. That left one alternative, Alcohol. Granted, drinking the night before an exam is never a good idea, but a couple of drinks to tire oneself out cannot hurt.

So I had a couple drinks. Got through the rest of my outline and went to bed. But bed did not take. My mind was racing, running through how all the damn articles of the UCC intersected with each other. Make no mistake, I was tired, but my mind does not bend to the will of my exhausted limbs and torso. After an hour visualizing the flow charts for forged indorsements and presentment warranties, I gave up. Granted, that was about 4:45 a.m. Even if I fell asleep when I wanted to, I was only look at an two hours (2 1/2 if I slept in) of sleep. At 4:45 it seemed reasonable that I would probably be sharper mentally without sleep that I would be with an hour and a half of sleep. After all, the 3.4 I got in undergrad was a direct result of taking exams upon 24 waking hours.

Of course, I am much older now (at least five years), but I refuse to bow down to the necessity of sleep. If marines can go 96 hours without sleep, I can make it 23. After all, I spent the last week getting at least 10 hours a night. I should be good, what with my coffee, and my soon to be run to the gas station for red bull and Five Hour Energy Drink, followed by a McDonalds bagel and coffee. I will probably piss every 30 minutes during the exam, but it is a small price to pay.

Oh and none of that is the key to getting an A. This is the trick. About 13 minutes before the exam is scheduled to start, I put on Flying At Tree Level 1.0 by Brand New. Then I listen to Jet Black New Year by Thursday. Those two songs get me properly amped to take an exam.

That is all.