GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Friday, December 21, 2007

Just to Give the Claustrophobes a Little Chill...

This is my son crawling the "wild tour" of Cumberland Caverns, TN last year at age 12. [His Scoutmaster took the photo.]

I was holding down a picnic table in the commons area of the caverns at the time. I know my limits. One of the dads that did the crawl admitted afterwards that he started to panic a little, but kept it under control.

On one of these tours, you cain't turn around and go back. It ain't like an outdoor hike where you can turn around and go back after 1/2 mile if you decide you ain't up for it. Or if your knee is getting gimpy.

So to all those that can do this, more power to you. Maybe because Cumberland was drier than Raccoon Mt., there was less slipping and banging of knees. My son said he preferred this dry "wild tour" to the muddier, more slippery Raccoon Mountain Caverns tour (and the ingress and egress of the caverns).

I guess I should have taken some crawling photos in Raccoon Mt., but when I am doing that and pushing a duffel bag, I am thinking "I want out", not "Gee, this is a Kodak moment".

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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - What Are They Afraid of?

The presence of Mitt Romney in the Presidential race is pleasing, if for no other reason that he is not afraid to mention the words "Jesus" and "savior" in public, which sends Libs into tizzies and hissy fits and even a few into blind panic.

How can any mature, thinking adult believe that the United States is destined to become a Christian Theocracy? [Oh, that's right, we are talking about Libs here.] I was a little concerned about that when I was a Classical Lib, but I matured and evolved.

Are they really afraid of an unlikely Christian Theocracy?

Or are they really afraid of being proven wrong?

Deep down in their hearts, some of these Libs know they are on the wrong side of the cultural war, but they are afraid to take the slings and arrows that are associated with speaking out in favor of traditional values and common sense. Are they so shallow as to totally fear evolving into a more mature state? Are they so shallow as to fear admitting that they were wrong about something?

So while you are in a gift-giving mood, give a Liberal a hissy fit by saying "Merry Christmas" and reminding people of "the reason for the season".

And if they say they are offended, just politely ask them how they can justify being so intolerant (being easily offended is a sure sign of intolerance and we can't have that, can we?).

Merry Christmas, ya'll.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Been Neglecting My Blogging Duties Again

It's not like I have been in a cave or something.

Well, actually I have.

After a week or more of juggling the schedules of the two part-time jobs that I have, I added a third one, as the traffic monitoring job ends this Thursday. Work still progresses on the spreadsheet project, I need to finish that ASAP.

The third job, which I will explain sometime later has a project that has to be finished by the end of the month. It is of a nature that would benefit realtors and others in the home-selling business.

As with last December, my son's Boy Scout troop had an overnight trip into a cave, this time it was Raccoon Mountain caverns, just west of Chattanooga, TN.

Last year it was Cumberland Caverns, NW of Chattanooga. In Cumberland Caverns, you walk in to the sleeping area, then you have the option of taking a "wild tour", which involves lots of crawling and a tight squeeze. My son chose to take the wild tour, while I stayed behind with a couple of other scoutmasters (more full-bodied than I). As I may have mentioned, I am somewhat claustrophobic, especially when I have to crawl through anything tight, hundreds of feet underground.

This year, a couple of the other assistant Scoutmasters, again more full-bodied than I, chose to stay in a cabin outside the caverns. I would like to have stayed there, but they needed a certain number of Scoutmasters in the cave, so I chose to do so. I didn't want to, but I did.

At Raccoon Mt. Caverns, you have to crawl through a couple of tight spaces just to get to the sleeping area (Oh joy!). It makes it worse when you have to wait in line in the tight spaces, while those ahead of you wiggle through. We had to load our sleeping bags, tarps, sleeping pads, extra clothes, etc., into Army duffel bags and push them ahead of us through the tight places.

With some prayers and a little silent cussing, I made it through to the area where we were to sleep. I firmly declined the offer to go on the 3 hour tour. The guides were not thrilled with anyone staying behind alone in any area of the cave, but I assured them that solitude doesn't bother me as much as tight passageways. As long as I had a good headlamp on my helmet and two extra flashlights, I was OK. On his own accord, my son did the tour (I don't want him blaming me for forcing him, besides he often does better when I am not there - you know, teenagers not wanting to listen to Dad's advice).

If you observe the second photo, you may notice "sparkles" on the ends of some of the stalactites, these are water droplets. Raccoon Mountain Caverns are considered "live caverns" wherein stalactites and other features are still "growing", ever-so-slowly. I don't recall what they call other other type of caves, where the features have stopped growing (most people don't like to associate the word "dead" with caves/caverns, while they are still inside of them).

Because there is still water dripping from the ceiling, there is damp clay and mud in certain places, making for slipping while walking and climbing. Once your boot treads are filled with clay, they don't have much traction. The slipping was probably the biggest frustration for my son on the crawl out of the cave. He was frustrated at trying to get up slopes, while behind him, I am saying through clenched teeth - "I want out of here."

One more little aspect of the experience. Because of the tight spaces, there are only emergency bathroom facilities. So from the time when we entered the caverns at 7:00 PM until we emerged the next morning about 8:00 AM, we were without bathroom facilities. That was another distraction while crawling back out.

So I guess I can say Raccoon Mountain Caverns was a "once in a lifetime experience", as I ain't doing that one again.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

To the Atheists and Agnostics...

that felt "left out" of Mitt Romney's speech yesterday, stop your hissy fit!

Tolerance is a two-way street. This is a Judeo-Christian culture, with the emphasis on Christian. That culture is what has nurtured classical liberalism and freedom, something you won't easily find in the Muslim world.

So if you want tolerance for your beliefs (or lack thereof), you have to show tolerance for persons that sincerely profess their beliefs in public. You also have to show tolerance for the dominant culture.

And because a President or presidential candidate makes a public profession, that doesn't mean he wants a theocracy.

Most Americans and most American Christians have a life-and-let-live attitude, even towards atheists. Engaging in public attacks on honest, peaceful practitioners of Christianity (or other faiths) is not going to win you any allies.

December 7, 1941...

in another 8 months, it will be 2/3 of a century.

Please remind any young people of what this means. We couldn't have won WWII with the attitudes we have now. This is not necessarily by accident. There is ample evidence of elements of the anti-Vietman movement being influenced and manipulated by the Kremlin. We are reaping the results of those seeds now. Witness Walter Cronkite's continued calls for us to retreat from Iraq, not caring about the power vaccuum that will follow.

If we lose our resolve, it will only get worse.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Earth to Sally Quinn...

and other Lib worry-warts. If Mitt Romney is elected President,...

The United States will not become a Mormon theocracy. We will not be overrun with LDS bicycle missionaries. And Salt Lake City will not become the new Capital of the United States.

And participants in bicycle races, a la the Tour de Georgia, will not be required to wear dark slacks, white shirts, and dark ties (and race in pairs).

Some people will explore the LDS church, a few will stay, many will not. If Mormons have the most important aspects of the faith doctrines wrong, that is up to "the big guy" to decide. I don't agree with some of the doctrines, but beyond that, Mormons seem to get it right on Family Issues, Pro-Life Issues, and other morality and partiotism-related issues.

From this NewsBusters post, commenting on Mitt Romney's speech, Sally Quinn stated:

"...I think it was an obliteration of the idea of the separation of church and state."

How so? How is it that a candidate explaining what his faith means to him - to his own life - how is it going to affect his public policy decisions? I think he explained it fairly well.

From the NewsBusters' post, here is how Romney explained it:

"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or any other church for that matter, will ever influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs. And it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.

As governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution. And of course, I will not do so as president. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law."...

Romney continued:

"...If I'm fortunate to become president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."

I only wish that George W. Bush would explain his faith in such an articulate manner. I understand it, but those biased against him will never get it.

People of faith, such as Mitt Romney and George W. Bush understand the need for moral guardrails and limits on behaviors.

The most zealous "evangelicals" will probably not be swayed, but they compose a small component of the Christian faith in the United States. I think most of this "evangelical resistance" is actually being trumped-up by the MSM and other libs to make conservative Christians look bad.

The election of Mitt Romney isn't going to be a de facto endorsement of the Mormon doctrines that are in conflict with what is accepted within Catholicism and Protestantism. So don't let the MSM scare you with such tales.

[Note if Mitt Romney is elected, can you imagine the fit Fred Phelps will have? He will probably forget about homosexuals and Iraq (and everyone that is not "pure enough") and will focus entirely on Mormons.]

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I Am Clean This Morning...

No, it is not about taking a shower or anything like that.

Since I awoke at 6 AM, I have had no "media contact", no TV, no talk radio, no websurfing news sites, no blogsurfing NewsBusters, Moonbattery, or any of my blogging buddies. I haven't even made or received any cell phone calls. I have read and sent some work-related emails, but that is all. It has been helping get my wife and son off to their respective schools, walking the dog (3 times before I got "results"), and working on the spreadsheet project and getting ready for the afternooon job.

I wanted to be able to comment on the Omaha shooting rampage without having been influenced by anyone else.

I know what the Talkingheads will say. I know what the Lib pundits will say. I know what the Democrat (and some Republicans) will say. I know what Lib newspaper editors will say, e.g., Cynthia Tucker (AJC). I know what "The View" will say. I know what the Moonbats will say.

"We have got to do something about the easy access to guns."

"...military-style assault weapons..."

"...the suspect sprayed the shoppers with bullets from his high-power assault weapon..."

"Americans do not need military-style assault weapons for hunting."

"...America's love affair with guns..."

"...loopholes at gun shows allow..."

"...the gun crisis in America..."

[Insert your own favorite hackneyed phrase.]

At this point, I don't know where the shooter got his rifle, I heard something about a stepfather last night. I don't know much about the shooter, except that he was a depressed loner.

The UK and Australia have been stampeded into gun control legislation after such tragic events and I am sure that some gun-banners did their private "blood dance" hoping for the same here.

Meanwhile, the crime rates for Britain and Australia are rising and their citizens have lost part of their system of "Checks and Balances".

It goes without saying that any sane person is going to hurt over this, when any innocent person is shot by a criminal or a nutcase.

If a crazy person wants to do something badly enough, they will find a way. He could have just as easily driven a van around the mall parking lot, mowing down individual shoppers or groups of them as they crossed the parking lot. He could have searched out a group of people waiting for a shuttle bus and plowed into them.

A gun is simply a tool that is controlled by the human. As is a motor vehicle. As are other tools.

Through mass-killings such as these, the common thread is not the gun, but the attitudes of the killers. They are mad at society. They blame someone else. They blame society for their ills and the only way to strike out against society is to punish innocent people. The sick person gains that last little bit of control by attacking the unsuspecting people around him. And he deprives the "therapy crowd" of knowing why when he kills himself.

And he becomes famous in our modern media. If his name was dismissed with the statement - "he was just a nutcase that is now burning in Hell", others might see that their nihilistic fantasies will not bring them fame and notoriety. They won't get their 15 minutes of fame.

If the Leftist Government types got their wish and banned all private-citizen-owned guns, there might be fewer of these mass shootings. But the number of home invasions and other street crimes would explode as the criminals (who won't surrender their guns) will no longer have to fear armed victims.

And as suggested above, one of the reasons that our Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights was that they understood what it was to have their doors kicked in by the soldiers of a corrupt king. We maintain our freedom by a series of Checks-and-Balances and the Second Amendment is one of them, to protect us against out-of-control government. It is also to allow ourselves some measure of protection against mob violence. This is one reason that we will probably not see any Muslim-driven, Paris-style riots in this nation. [There are numerous other reasons, but that is for another discusssion.]

As long as we still have the God-given right to self-defense.

In the hands of a law-abiding citizen, semi-automatic rifles are not "assault weapons", they are defense weapons. And that is how it is meant to be.

We face the possibility of a Democrat President and Congress that want to control every aspect of our health through Socialized Medicine. And if they decide that it is unhealthy for a law-abiding citizen to own one or more guns, it can be as easy as an Executive Order and a compliant Congress and MSM. If an emergency was declared, a protesting Supreme Court could be rounded-up and sequestered while the purge took place.

Beware the rush to "do something" in the wake of this or another tragedy.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Something Happened in My County...

but I don't think the local MSM has mentioned it, though I could be wrong.

From a WND story, that follows-up on a previous story, Gwinnett County, GA police impounded an Operation Rescue van (small box truck), the sides of which were emblazoned with graphic, grisly photos of cut-up, aborted babies. This particular article did not say where the van was, but I would guess that it was at one of the two large malls, Mall of Georgia or Gwinnett Place Mall, where the managers were unhappy that without consent, holiday shoppers and their kids were being confronted with the images of things wrought by our hedonistic society.

[OK, we have to be honest. Most babies are aborted because they would be inconvenient to someone. Making abortions illegal across the board will not stop them. I think changing people's hearts will produce more long-term results, though it will not sharply curtail numbers in the short-term. We need to emphasize the after-the-freedom Responsibility that people like Neal Boortz will not address.]

The driver, though cooperative when pulled over, was charged with Disorderly Conduct and the van was vandalized by police when it was impounded, with the picture panels being torn from the van's sides, damaging the van.

[As a disclaimer, I am not a supporter of Operation Rescue's methods. I don't think that in-your-face displays work, despite their uncomfortable truths that they present. I prefer that people be given info and internet links that they can read in the privacy of their homes, allowing them the opportunity of informing themselves on their own time, and allowing them the opportunity of explaining to their children what abortion is and why it is to be avoided, without it being thrown in-their-faces in public. I just think that these brutal tactics are counter-productive to the goal of changing people's hearts. When people are at the mall with their kids doing Christmas shopping (or doing other "errands"), they are not receptive to harsh - but true - messages.]

Operation Rescue is repairing the truck and will send it back out and the police chief is threatening to arrest the driver again for his harsh, free speech expression of things we don't have the courage to confront directly. Yes, I struggle with this.

Their methods ain't right, but they ain't wrong.

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The Source of My Venom This Morning is...

acid reflux.

That is a problem that I almost never have (my wife does, though). I didn't eat anything unusual before bed last night. No chips and salsa, no pepperoni pizza. Maybe it is just an aspect of gettin' older. (Oh, joy!)

But at 4:10 AM this morning, I was awakened by that burning in my throat and now that I have had 2 - 3 cups of coffee (the warmth is soothing), there is no hope of getting back to sleep. And soon the rest of my family will be getting up to go their separate ways.

As I prepare to get back to work on the spreadsheet project, I plan to "retire" the mystery fossil post from the top of the blog and/or rewrite it as part of the "What a Geologist Sees" series. Thanks to all readers that contributed thoughtful comments and I still want an answer from someone in Oklahoma, but I will just have to remain patient. I will have to find the mis-placed Oklahoma Geological Survey publication that describes the locality at which the fossils were found before I can properly explain the setting.

The impressions in the sandstone are either 1) Something that someone has already identified; or 2) Something previously undiscovered. I would like to know either way.

If it is something new, I want someone (maybe a grad student) to get "crackin'" on it, as such things are out of my knowledge venue and out of my area. I could help write a paper, as a contributor, but I have no place trying to be a lead author, especially from this distance. If I was living in Oklahoma and had access to a Geology Department library at OSU, OU, or Tulsa, I might proceed on my own (and I would certainly be nagging the state survey more while using their resources).

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I Think We Found a Replacement for Condi Rice

Finally, finally someone had the "huevos" to smack-down Queen Moonbat/Moonhag Helen Thomas. Our new hero is White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.

From NewsBusters on Saturday:

..."White House Press Secretary Dana Perino gave conservatives and right-thinking Americans across the fruited plain an early Christmas present Friday by smacking down liberal antagonist and so-called "journalist" Helen Thomas.

During Friday's press briefing, when Thomas pressured Perino about American troops killing people in Iraq, the Secretary scolded Thomas for her despicable behavior:

[Dana Perino]: Helen, I find it really unfortunate that you use your front row position, bestowed upon you by your colleagues, to make such statements. This is a -- it is an honor and a privilege to be in the briefing room, and to suggest that we, at the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive." [Emphasis (italics) added by Noel Sheppard.]

This statement by Dana Perino was part of this following exchange between Ms. Perino and the elder Leftist bitch (from NewsBusters):

..."PERINO: They elected a Commander-in-Chief, and the President is bringing home 5,700 troops, based on the recommendations of his commanders on the ground and based on return on success. Hopefully in the future we can bring home more, but it's going to depend on what General Petraeus reports and remember he will come back in March.

THOMAS: Why should we depend on him?
[Positive results don't register in Helen Thomas' "mind".]

PERINO: Because he is the commander on the ground, Helen. He's the one who is making sure that the situation is moving --

THOMAS: You mean how many more people we kill?

MS. PERINO: Helen, I find it really unfortunate that you use your front row position, bestowed upon you by your colleagues, to make such statements. This is a -- it is an honor and a privilege to be in the briefing room, and to suggest that we, at the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive.

THOMAS: Do you know how many we have since the start of this war?

MS. PERINO: How many -- we are going after the enemy, Helen. To the extent that any innocent Iraqis have been killed, we have expressed regret for it.

THOMAS: Oh, regret. It doesn't bring back a life.
[But killing the terrorists will save the lives of more innocent Iraqis down the road, if we don't quit. She obviously doesn't lose much sleep over the innocents killed by Islamic terrorists, including the 212 Kenyans and Tanzanians killed when Al Qaida bombed the U.S. Embassies in 1998.]

MS. PERINO: Helen, we are in a war zone, and our military works extremely hard to make sure that everyone has the opportunity for liberty and freedom and democracy, and that is exactly what they are doing."...

Long ago, Helen Thomas shed any pretext and claim to the "respect-you-elders" admonition and she shouldn't be a part of any White House press briefing. This isn't thoughtful dissent. This isn't about correcting our mistakes. This is treasonous idiocy and gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

I guess the only saving grace is that she is so far "out there" that she is generally regarded as the crazy aunt that escaped from the basement. But in a culture where Noam Chomsky is regarded on college campuses as an oracle, there are probably a number of fools that listen to her rants and give them credence.

Helen, it's really very simple.

Our enemies deliberately kill civilians with no regrets - that is their policy.

We do not deliberately kill civilians - that is our policy.

To keep them from killing more civilians, we have to kill the terrorists and accidents happen. And we do offer regrets and retribution (often for events staged by terrorists and then blamed upon us, as that is the easier than fighting the Leftist/Arab media).

We have rules. They don't.

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The "Golden Compass" Doesn't Lead in the Right Direction

You may be aware of some of the controversy surrounding the new movie "The Golden Compass". The loudest of the concerns are being voiced by the "Christian community" for specific reasons. And the MSM is starting to trivialize those concerns, as trivializing/denigrating peaceful people of faith is part of their mission. has this article (not the first) on the concerns and how those concerns were addressed by the thoughtful Laura Miller column in the LA Times:

..."The protests against the forthcoming anti-religious film, "The Golden Compass," are "fundamentally ridiculous" and are perpetuated by "America's religious fear-mongers." That's according to Laura Miller in an opinion article in the Los Angeles Times (Sun., 12/2/07)."...

Laura Miller, et al, would like for the dumb masses to think that the warnings are generated from the fount of ignorance Christians are famous for. More from NewsBusters:

The man behind The Golden Compass is a British author named Philip Pullman. The forthcoming movie is based on the first book of Pullman's trilogy called "His Dark Materials." Quite simply, Pullman has openly declared, "My books are about killing God" (source) and "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief" (source). So is it any wonder at all why Christians are determined to warn believers about this film?? [Emphasis added by NewsBuster Dave Pierre.]

I gather that this film is intended to be an "anti-Narnia" film and it will no doubt be aimed at kids and young people. Of course the slick TV ads (and I am sure those in theatres) will give no hint of the author's statements. And for those parents that unwittingly take their kids, once they "figger out" that "all is not good with the movie theme", the kids will have been caught up with the imagery (and the story) and will not want to leave.

So, let me get this straight. We are concerned because an atheist author is telling us that he intends to attack our faith - through our kids - and that makes us fear-mongers. We don't threaten the producer or the movie houses. We just suggest that families avoid this movie.

While at the same time, the LA Times and the rest of the MSM (and their political operatives) bombard us daily with stories of future apocalyptic climate change and other horrors - over an atmopheric component (CO2) that measures about 380 ppm (0.038%).

Who is fear-mongering here?

Just curious.

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