A Family of Messengers

I’m going to post a series of short stories featuring characters I have made up. Allow me to introduce them.

“Daniel the Intellectual” – Scientist, father and strong critic of religion.
“Maria the Caretaker” – Wife of Daniel, artist and new age musician.
“Matthew the Warrior” – Son of Daniel and Maria, rock guitarist and singer for the Band of Messengers and computer gamer.
“Suzanne the Feminist” – Daughter of Daniel and Maria, rock singer and guitarist in the Band of Messengers, lesbian and a sworn enemy of the NRA and the Republican Party.
“Tommy the Comic” – Younger son of Daniel and Maria, drummer in the Band of Messengers, loves to tell jokes to make others look stupid, but also very loving to those he cares about.

“Lisa the Latina” – Romantic partner of Suzanne, joins the Band of Messengers as a bassist.
“Carla the Afro” – Matthew’s African-American girlfriend, joins the Band of Messengers as a keyboardist.
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A Kidnapping Gone Wrong

Once a group of criminals kidnapped the teenage daughter of a rich man and called the father a few hours later. They told him that if he did not pay them $100,000 within 24 hours, they would kill the girl. This was the father’s reply:
“So you believe in human sacrifice? The Aztecs did too! Are you descended from them? I heard that some cultures sacrificed virgins to gain favor with their gods. I know my daughter has a boyfriend, so would you like to ask him if they have had sex? As for the 100,000 dollars, did you know that the largest dollar bill ever printed by the U.S. Mint was in that amount? Sadly, no such bills are in circulation today, I would so love to have one! With all the billionaires in the world, we would find such bills extremely useful for special transactions. Anyway, I’m sure once you kill my daughter you will either find someone else to kidnap or the police will hunt you down before you can pull that off. In any case, you won’t get a cent from me! I’m a rich man for a reason and one of those reasons is my refusing to merely throw away money for trivial causes…..and giving money to someone who has not earned it is as trivial as it gets…..unless you consider kidnapping someone to be hard work, of course!”
The kidnappers were so gobsmacked by the rich father’s callous attitude that they soon released the girl.

The Price of Peace

It would be a much easier world to live in if  everyone would simply get along, but there would be no challenges for people to overcome and learn from regarding relationships. Perhaps peace is something that must be earned as a reward for hard work and patience, not merely given to those who don’t deserve it. War and violence may be considered a punishment in themselves on people for harboring hatred towards others and insisting on having one’s own way.

(Note: I wrote this in five minutes out of boredom while sitting in a college class about 20 years ago and then had it typed up and printed out from a computer several years ago. Imagine my surprise when I found later that my mother had taken that printout and put it in a picture frame!)

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Life on Earth is doomed

Today, I was reading the following in a wikipedia entry about the planet Earth:


The world is expected to continue supporting life for another 1.5 billion years, after which the rising luminosity of the Sun will eliminate the biosphere.[17]

The future of the planet is closely tied to that of the Sun. As a result of the steady accumulation of helium ash at the Sun’s core, the star’s total luminosity will slowly increase. The luminosity of the Sun will grow by 10 percent over the next 1.1 Gyr (1.1 billion years) and by 40% over the next 3.5 Gyr.[41] Climate models indicate that the rise in radiation reaching the Earth is likely to have dire consequences, including the possible loss of the planet’s oceans.[42]

The Earth’s increasing surface temperature will accelerate the inorganic CO2 cycle, reducing its concentration to the lethal levels for plants (10 ppm for C4 photosynthesis) in 900 million years. The lack of vegetation will result in the loss of oxygen in the atmosphere, so animal life will become extinct within several million more years.[43] But even if the Sun were eternal and stable, the continued internal cooling of the Earth would have resulted in a loss of much of its atmosphere and oceans due to reduced volcanism.[44] After another billion years all surface water will have disappeared[17] and the mean global temperature will reach 70°C.[43] The Earth is expected to be effectively habitable for about another 500 million years.[45]

Now, there is indeed something interesting about this. We humans as individuals have always known that we are destined to die, and there has also been published speculation about the extinction of mankind as a species. We have even understood that the Sun will evolve into a red giant in about 5 billion years or so and then life on Earth will become impossible, for the Earth itself might be destroyed completely. But the realization that life on Earth will be wiped out much sooner is disturbing, much like a man, at age 30, being told that will be dead at about age 40 when he already knows that his life expectancy is about 70 years.

And it gets even worse:


The Andromeda-Milky Way collision is a predicted galaxy collision that is due to take place in approximately 3 billion years’ time between the two largest galaxies in the Local Group – the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy.[1][2]

Shocking! So even before the Sun dies, our own galaxy will be ripped to shreds.

We humans take pride in our intelligence and our ability to alter our environment to suit our needs. But there is no way we can stop these disasters which are to come billions of years from now. Thus we could simply throw up our hands in dispair and say, “We are doomed anyway, so why should we care about anything?” But that is a narrow vision. As science advances, we might find ways to escape the extinction of life on Earth by finding another planet to live on. And the collision between two galaxies would not kill anyone, unlike an auto or train wreck.

We greatly fear change even though we ourselves are a product of change. For example, the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs made it possible for mammals to take over the world and thus for us to evolve eventually. It is only logical and mature to live our lives in the here and now and not worry so much about what will happen a billion years from now. This is not to say that we should ignore the threat of global warming that we humans may indeed be causing. But that is a relatively minor issue within a much shorter time frame. We can handle that, and must. Just like a man who knows he will live only ten more years would be foolish to commit suicide the next day and thus deprive his loved ones of his presence.