March 24, 2009

What's In A Name?

The other night Pete and I watched a wonderfully entertaining program on CSpan. It featured a talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson who was talking about his newest book, The Pluto Files. The auditorium at the American Museum of Natural History was packed with people of all ages. The questions at the end of the talk were terrific and it made me feel good to see so many people enamored with the Cosmos. I have been thinking about what I learned from watching the program ever since.

Tonight, Mike called me while driving home from work. I love it that he calls me. After catching up, I mentioned something regarding the talk given by Tyson and how much I loved it. Mike replied that I was speaking about his nemesis. I was surprised to learn that he was still sticking to his stance on the whether Pluto is a Planet controversy.

All this time, I thought that the great video he made while wearing a Sandwich Board sign saying “Pluto Is A Planet” was made as an adventure in humor, not an actual protest. It looks like I didn't understand after all. He is sticking to the position that Pluto is a Planet. If we stuck with the old definition, the number of planets that orbit our Sun would be considerably larger than we thought it was when we counted Pluto as the planet furthest from our sun. Apparently there are lots and lots of 'dwarf planets' in the Kuiper Belt where Pluto resides. Maybe that isn't a bad thing. The more the merrier.

The old definition of what makes a planet a planet was: a planet is anything that orbits a star, doesn’t fuse elements in its core and has enough internal gravity to be nearly round.

The new definiton accepted by the IAU is: "A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet, and (c) has "cleared the neighborhood" around its orbit.."

Tyson argues that we need to define more terms to distinguish between the differing heavenly bodies. For instance, Pluto and its moon, Charon, orbit one another; and interestingly, the axis of their orbit is in the space in between them. He suggests that this double planet group should have it’s own classification. I guess what he is saying is that we shouldn't be comparing chalk to cheese. I guess I am satisfied with Tyson's explanation, and at least for now, I'm OK with the new definition.

Everything is changing all the time. The speed of change seems to be increasing at an astonishing pace. There is always more to learn. We truly live in an amazing age.

Posted by Judi at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2009

Good Auras

The week before last, a young woman who lives down the street from us came over and asked me if I had any work that she could do. The retail shop where she works has dramatically reduced her work hours and she needed money. I replied that I always could use some help doing housework as I have gotten woefully behind. I didn't call her immediately because I had several appointments that week, so yesterday she stopped by again and asked if I had any work for her.

She came over for a couple of hours today and we worked along side one another as we started the cleaning. After paying her for her labor, she had to wait a bit for her friend to pick her up for the afternoon. Before she left she said; "I like your house. It has a good aura. It feels calm here." I guess her home is anything but....

Her comments made me feel good. I doubt that most people would describe me as calm. But I am glad that when I am with some people I can be that way. I did feel calm today.

Posted by Judi at 2:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2009

Regarding Amazing Things

Last weekend the girls stayed with us while their parents were away. On Saturday, I took them to the Farmer's market and when it closed at 1:00 PM we drove down to Torrance beach. We were delighted to find that not only was it not as cold and cloudy as it was a bit inland, the sun was out and day was comfortably warm.

I grabbed the blanket I carry in the car for impromptu picnics or a visit to the beach and after depositing the requisite coins in the parking meter; we walked down the ramp to the sand. We found a nice spot and laid out the blanket and sat down. It was nice.

When we returned to the car, we found that we had stayed longer than it seemed. We packed up our belonging for the trip home. I turned onto the next street and realized that I’d made a turn to a different route than my usual one. For a moment, I wasn't sure if I had made a wrong turn and if I was going the right way. When I mentioned this fact out loud, Mira, who is ten years old, whipped out the cell phone that her parents had given her for safety.

Within a moment she began to name every street we were approaching. Apparently her cell phone is equipped with a GPS Navigator. Soon she keyed in my home address and the authoritative voice of the Navigator Lady began to dictate the route home. Since by then I was once again orientated, I ignored the computer's direction preferring my tried a true route.

Mira said I was going to make the Navigator Lady mad. I threw caution to the wind and continued traveling what I consider a short cut until a few block from home. Then we decided to make the lady happy and followed the directions.

Mira and Zoe accept this marvel as a rather ordinary thing. But I think that this is absolutely Amazing! Mira's cell phone is smaller than a Star Trek Communicator and can do almost as much. We are living in extraordinary times.

Posted by Judi at 2:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2009


I love living in Los Angeles! There really isn't another city like it. We have our problems for sure. But as far as I am concerned there is nothing like the diversity we experience here.

Today, I had an appointment with a periodontist to see what was amiss with my mouth. She wasn't able to fix the problem yet and has set up referrals to endodontists to check out the course of treatment to remedy the situation. Though I was not there for a very fun reason, it was really very nice to meet her. She asked me about my last name and I related my husband and my differing ethic heritage. She was interested that we decided to marry considering the difference. When I asked about her name, I learned something personal about her that fascinated me.

The dentist told me that she is a Zoroasterian. I thought that this religion had died out centuries ago, but learned that the demise of this creed is yet to come ... although their numbers are steadily decreasing. I didn't remember much about the little I learned about this ancient religion when I was in school, so when I got home I looked it up. Since the basic message is not so very different than the the path I follow, it looks like everything that is old is new again.

Here is what I learned: "Zarathushtra's message is a message about a spirituality that progresses towards self-realization, fulfillment and completeness, as a good creation of a totally good God. It is a message of freedom - freedom to choose, freedom from fear, freedom from guilt, freedom from sin, freedom from stultifying rituals, superstitious practices, fake spirituality and ceremonials."

"The God of Zarathustra, is not a God of "Thou shalt" and "Thou shall not". God in Zoroastrianism does not care what you wear, what and when you eat or where and when you worship. God instead cares how righteous, progressive and good you are."

1. God is not about fear guilt and Condemnation.
2. God is Wisdom Love and Logic.
3. God does not have favorites and does not discriminate on the basis of nationality, gender, race or class.
4. God treats humans with dignity and respect.
5. God is not a slave master, or despot, among his serfs.
6. God is man's Soul Mate and Partner.
7. God is not Jealous, Wrathful or Vengeful.
8. Man is not sinful, fallen or depraved.
9. God has no opponent and heaven and hell are states of mind and being.
10. Man was created to progress to likeness and eliminate wrong from the Cosmos in partnership with God.

"The Zoroastrian Religion pictures humanity as the growing and evolving creation of a God that respects it, and wants it to collaborate in the task of preserving, nourishing, fostering and refreshing this Living World of ours. A Zoroastrian is supposed to progress towards God (Ahura Mazda) by his own choices. Choosing to do good, and to avoid choosing to do wrong or evil. Zoroastrianism is thus the first truly ethical religion of mankind and teaches that mortals achieve their goal of god-likeness and spiritual completeness by fighting evil through good thoughts, words and deeds."

I like the creed of this ancient religion "Who fears God does not know God."

Here is a cool video made by a young Zoroastrian film maker.

Posted by Judi at 3:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 2, 2009

Are Republicans Cowards?

It seems rather funny that elected Republican officials are terrified of a daytime talk show host, but they are. These days, I guess it is political suicide for any elected Republican to publicly criticize the Republican Right’s Rush Limbaugh. It really isn’t funny of course, it is sad.

I hope the newscasters keep asking Republican office holders about their allegiance to Russ Limbaugh. It is a damn shame to see the power this jerk has here in the US. It is time to pay attention to those who call us to our better selves and to let those who would work to divide us, like the blowhard Limbaugh, fade away into the ether.

Posted by Judi at 3:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack