Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Windows PowerShell

As a long time Windows hater and Linux, OS X lover, I'm a little freaked out by how neato Windows PowerShell appears to be. This comparison of computer shells is quite a piece of work too.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just a Colon, Not a Period

I somehow managed to live 60-plus years without a colonostomy, but it finally caught up with me today. For 36 hours I ate nothing, for the last 12 hours I drank nothing, and in the interim I downed 64 ounces of poop medicine, took eight poop pills, and pooped fiften times. Beyond losing six pounds in a hurry, there's not much about the experience I'd recommend. I'm home now trying to get back to "normal," which has been, shall we say, a real gas. I was rather put off by the brochure sent in advance of my procedure, which in the fine print acknowledged that "in rare cases death from complications could ensue." That gave me pause, until I began to realize that death from complications was even more likely to ensue from undetected colon cancer. 'Twas a worthy risk, as it turned out: my insides seem smooth as a baby's behind, with nary a polyp to snip off.

Favorite among the myriad of bathroom humor I've heard during my weeks of preparation was an apocryphal story about St. Theresa of Avila. Supposedly one day she was in the outhouse eating a muffin and reading her prayer book when she was accosted by the Devil for blasphemy, intermingling the earthly and the heavenly. To which she replied, "The prayers are for God, the muffin is for me, and the rest is for you!"

Universe to Jay: Stop whining!

We were invited to a collaborative dinner and wine tasting event. I spent most of the evening worried that I wasn't being social enough, or appropriately social, or should be more this or that or whatever.

Some of the idle chit-chat was me complaining about corporate America, and Chemistry classes and such. Cathartic for me, perhaps, but probably annoying to everyone else.

Last night I found out that in one of the couples we were with the wife probably won't live more than another year. Cancer will leave the husband and two young children with $50K in school loans for the nursing training she will probably never use.

I need to stop whining and focus on the important things. Life... love...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Spring Semester: 2 weeks down, 15 to go

Getting my first beating with the CHEM stick in 15 years. I hate hate hate the nomenclature memorization aspects of chemistry. An endless series of rules about arbitrary naming conventions from forever ago that all get mixed into each other, changing the "right answer" along the way, a total nightmare for people like me who hate trivia.

I like concepts and ideas. I hate rote memorization.

And don't get me started on the &$*!!$!~ing exceptions to the rules. Our teacher stands up front drilling us with stuff we need to memorize, saying "and remember, this becomes this and that becomes that because of this rule and that rule. BUT - not in this case. In this case, it's this. Why? Because it is." And then he laughs. And I fume. Only decades of social conditioning keep me quiet and in my chair.

This is where I HATE academia, and one of the reasons I dropped out so long ago. I hate the rote memorization of something because someone said so. I hate redundant systems of communication that should be reduced to a singular, comprehensive vocabulary. But NO: multiple messy systems are maintained and taught to students for no damn reason, forever.

I have no idea why elementary kids are taught to write in cursive. Who writes in cursive? And THOSE people should stop, because we can't freaking read what you're writing! If the whole point of you writing something is for me to read it, then make it easy to read! Print! Type!

If you're an artist, do whatever the hell you want. If you want to learn some archaic system, go for it! But if your goal is to communicate something from you to someone else, then do it clearly with a concise system of communication, or don't do it at all. And certainly don't force generations of students to suffer through your failing to throw off the shackles of historical obfuscation.

I'll try to stop ranting now.

I like the fact that I have (at least partially) changed my life focus from pleasing The Man With The Money by doing whatever the hell He wants to trying to understand the fundamental principals of the universe and how the thing works. If I can contribute new, absolute knowledge (in some tiny way) to mankind, then I'll feel like I did something with my life.

I hope hope hope (pray?) that life does, in fact, work the way my mind does. I hope to discover order and beauty buried in the mountains of data only someone with big computers and skills like mine can sort through.

I hope I can mine knowledge from the crush of information mankind has just recently learned to glimpse inside the machinery of all life.

Surely if I cannot find patterns in the mess it is because I am not looking correctly. Not because life itself is a masochistic chemistry professor, laughing me into my grave.

(How's that for existential bullshit? -laugh-)

Noor the World of Warcraft pacifist

Proving yet again that there are a million ways to kill time before you die, I stumbled into Noor the pacifist as I was logging into WoW is all about endless killing of monsters and quests, but not for Noor. Yes, you can play the whole game without killing anything. It just takes a lot more time (60 hours per week instead of 40? -laugh-).

Noor's blog:

I don't understand why people would spend so much time doing that...

Then again, I don't understand why most people spend their lives the way they do...

Then again, I'm not sure about how I'm spending my life recently. Gambling my mid-thirties away for a shot at contributing to medical science, someday... -ponder-

Years ago a girlfriend told me I never live for now, I'm always building for tomorrow. Over 10 years later, she's still right. She thought that was bad. Maybe she was right.

Maybe I should play more video games. :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Missing MLK

We attended the city's 26th annual Martin Luther King celebration tonight, and were reminded again how one prophetic voice can reverberate across the years and create resonance in hearers of another era. The black minister who spoke was careful to NOT speak about King's iconographic "I Have a Dream" speech, but instead drew attention to three of his less renown addresses. His point was that King was interested in much more than just black liberation, and concerned himself with issues of poverty and justice for ALL (including the oppressor). Whatever King's personal failings may have been, he was in my mind a truly prophetic spirit. His speech forty years ago, "Beyond Vietnam," could have been delivered with equal relevance four years ago as we were launching our ill-advised war in Iraq, to the saving of untold lives and treasure. And when decades ago he cautioned the US against the three evils of militarism, racism, and consumerism he could just as well have been speaking to presidential candidates and party platforms in 2008. So tonight I too have a dream--a dream that instead of a War College to forward the cause of militarism we instead form a MLK Institute of Justice and Peace, studying concepts of nonviolent resistance, the worth of persons, and The Beloved Community.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Scent of a Baby

We held a newborn girl at church today, Sharon and I. She triggered a bunch of memories of our own parenting days and what a marvel/mystery it is to have the care and nurture of a young 'un in your arms. One of the best parts is that new-baby aroma you get when you snuggle them close and smell the top of their head. It's as unique as lilac in the springtime, or fresh-mown hay in summer--all three reminders of life's seasons and the goodness of simply being alive.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Bucket List

Morgan Freeman plus Jack Nicholson would equal a winner in almost any circumstance, but particularly so as they teamed up for The Bucket List. The movie's premise was a grabber from the outset: two 70-something guys who both have a cancer diagnosis and a one-year prognosis. Rather than become experimental guinea pigs in the cancer ward, they set out to accomplish a shared to-do list before they "kick the bucket." The pair are very dissimilar: Freeman sustained by faith and family, Nicholson defined by work and cynicism. As they share the common shock and pain of their imminent demise, they are drawn to each other despite their vast differences, and the friendship deepens as they jet set around the globe to sky dive, race cars, climb mountains, and see everything from the Great Wall of China to the Taj Mahal.

A turning point comes when Freeman asks Nicholson the question supposedly asked in Tibetan tradition as persons seek entrance to the next world: Have you known joy? And have you brought joy to others? Nicholson tries to brush off the questions and their implication, but finally reveals that he has a daughter from whom he has been estranged for years. A rift occurs in the budding friendship at this juncture, but a healing occurs later when Freeman has a relapse and Nicholson visits him in the hospital. A dying request by Freeman opens the way for Nicholson's healing, and the friends' ultimate togetherness in death. (Not wanting to give away the ending!)

For me The Bucket List was a very moving and insightful glimpse into the nature of true friendship, the need to live life more fully in the now, and the way meaning can still result from seemingly meaningless circumstances. I'd give this one five popcorn bags on a five scale.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I went to my hair stylist today. Yeah, I know. I'm about the only guy in there, and there's a guy's barber shop practically next door, but it's just one of those things that happened. About ten years ago when we moved here I asked my boss where he got his hair cut, and learned there was a gal who lived close to our office that worked out of her basement, was inexpensive, and flexible in her hours. So that's where I went. Then when she moved out of town about six years later she referred me to Vickie, my current stylist, who runs her own shop in a little strip mall. We hit it off well, and I like her haircuts, so that's the way things are. Usually she schedules me for the last appointment of the day so we have the place pretty much to ourselves, meaning we can philosophize and discuss without disruption. About the only thing I don't like about the arrangement is that she almost invariably gives me the wind-swept look, then solidifies it with hair spray. Being neither the hair spray nor gel type, this I could do without, and usually as soon as I'm out of sight I comb things back to my usual look. I suppose Vickie knows this (after all, month after month I come back in with my same old locks) but I guess she feels she just ought to keep trying with me and not give up. It's an arrangement of sorts, in some aspects not unlike a good marriage. It's not likely we'll either change one change our ways, but we can still respect each other and enjoy the association, unlike those bigger shops where you never know who your next stylist might be. It's enough to keep me coming back.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I had an interesting experience yesterday, traveling down Truman Road. As you approach Independence from the west and cross under a stone archway at Blue Ridge, the Community of Christ headquarters looms into view--a distinct "city on a hill" perspective of the Auditorium and Temple, framed in the archway. On this day, however, a fog hung over the horizon and the familiar structures were shrouded from view. It made me think of how my life would be different had it not been for the church. Most of my working life has been linked directly or indirectly to this faith movement. My friends of longest standing are from the church, as are most of my current friends. My theology and world view are shaped by this faith community. I live, almost literally, in the shadow of the Temple. Even in retirement I receive most of my financial support and invest much of my time in congregational or World Church activity. Sometimes I have serious misgivings about the church, resonating with what one writer once penned: "The church is a whore, and I love her." Through the church I received my most serious injury, but also through her I've received my greatest healing. Another of life's paradoxes...

Monday, January 14, 2008

NEWS FLASH: Hillary Has Emotions!!!!

Politics are so bizarre. After years of preparation and months of campaigning, it appears that Hillary's display of emotion in an unguarded moment while responding to a woman voter's question may have been a critical contributor to her otherwise inexplicable turn-around in the New Hampshire caucus. It happened between Friday's polls and the weekend incident, reversing what was to be an ignominious defeat. Go figure. It's as though the revelation that Hillary might care enough to actually CRY has unleashed a torrent of goodwill, particularly among women voters. How ironic that our decision about the next Commander-in-Chief of the Free World may, after all, be shaped by a momentary thaw (far from a meltdown, as some called it) in an otherwise glacially frozen demeanor of cheeriness. In a male candidate, such an expression of emotion has been known to sink their political aspirations, but ironically it may serve just the opposite end for our first female candidate. Once again, "conventional wisdom" may be stood on its ear. Up 'til now, who'd have thought that in our testosterone candidacy race the estrogen candidate who had so completely controlled her public emotions to "stand by her man" even in the midst of infidelity would finally express some real feelings, and instead of this causing consternation about whether this is the sort of person you want in charge of The Bomb it instead seems to be creating more confidence in her trustworthiness. Move over, All My Children, THIS soap opera is MUCH more fascinating than fiction!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Went to church today to check out how many folks signed up for the small groups I'm to form, and found much to my surprise that about twenty people are interested. Pretty massive. We met with another couple at lunch to plan how we're going to find enough leaders to meet the need--about four groups, we hope. A support group and a fellowship group are the top two interests, plus Sharon and I between us will be also facilitating a young adult group and a study group. I love groups. It's like a chemistry experiment: you never know what you're going to get when you mix folks together, but it's almost always interesting. Even if you use the same formula or identical materials, every group and every session is a unique expression of serendipity. For my money, I wish we had a church based on small groups, with an occasional larger group gathering like most churches have every Sunday. I think the important things about church life are found more in small groups than in large worship services. So it'll be fun to see what develops in the next few months...maybe a grand new experiment?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Biking Blather

It was warm enough (35 degrees) and dry enough that Jack and I went biking today. We got in about 20 miles, probably averaging about 14 miles per hour, so I felt pretty good about that for a 60-year-old who hasn't been in the saddle much lately. I have new quick release cleats that I really like. I had a pretty painful crash several months ago from the not-so-quick-release cleats I was using then, and have been dealing with tendinitis in my left elbow ever since. Still in all, I'd have to say I'm one of the luckiest stiffs around. Last Saturday I had taken off my front wheel as I loaded the bike, then backed over it without thinking--somehow managing to straddle it in such a way that it was unscathed. It will take me a long time to live that one down, but not nearly as long as it would have if I'd have run right over it!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Man Vs. Wild

One of my favorite TV series is Man Versus Wild, where Marine ranger Griz is dropped into the wilderness and makes his way back to civilization. (There's a similar show called Survivorman, but I don't like the protagonist nor the premise nearly as well.) I've seen Griz make his way through swamps, jungles, glaciers, deserts, mountains, and tundra. He's eaten worms, grubs, locusts, raw fish, maggots, spiders, grubs, snakes, rabbits, and pretty much anything protein. He's jumped into quicksand and glacial pools, climbed up palm trees and down avalanches, squeezed drinking water out of elephant dung, used his own urine for a hot water bottle, and started scores of fires with flint and steel. I love it, partly just for the "what will he do next"intrigue and partly for the practical survival tips. I find myself collecting camping gear, and have a great sense of anticipation for the next time I can take to the woods.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just Pooling Around

I was watching TV the other night and saw for the first time an exhibition of speed pool. Now there was pool raised to a whole new level! Each contestant broke the rack, then shot in all fifeen balls as rapidly as possible (which seemed to be typically about a minute and a half.) I had no idea pool could be so athletic, as they raced around the table and positione themselves for the next shot as soon as the cue ball stopped rolling. Since then I've even tried it a few times myself, with my best time being two minutes, fifteen seconds. Our Canadian buddy, Greg, is staying with us for three weeks so he and I have been racking up a few games of nine ball and speed pool each night. It's loosening up my game quite a bit, and added some fun new zest to the old pool table.


Suddenly all three of us are sick.

Not cool.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Brad the Birthday Boy

Young Son turned 29 today, at 9:25 AM. Some day I suppose I may need to find another moniker for him, but I guess he'll always be Young Son in comparison to Ole Son, so maybe he's just stuck with that. I found a copy of The Simpsons movie for his birthday, which seemed fitting. We've really enjoyed having him home again this past year and I know there will be a real void when he moves on after DeVry graduation. In the meantime, we enjoy his keen sense of humor, his gentle chiding, and his three-degrees-off-center perspective on the world. We've kind of begun a tradition of board games since his afrrival, rather to my surprise: Rummicubes (Mom), Quidler (Dad), and Guillotine (Brad). Since Christmas, we've also been playing Brad's gift from Zach: Duff Beer. This is becoming one of our favorites, shared with several of our friends as well. Just one of the enrichments brought into our lives by a twenty-something infusion of oafness...


Just took my Calculus Readiness Exam (CRE) @ UNO. Having flashbacks to high school standardized testing in rooms full of people that don't want to be there.

Basically I have 30m to answer 30 questions -- Algebra and Trigonometry. I think I did OK on the Algebra part, but I don't remember squat about Trig from 15 years ago. sin (sine) is that wavy line thing. cos (cosine) is the opposite of that. tan (tangent) and cot (co-tangent) are opposites of each other, but I don't remember anything about their math impact. What the hell are csc and that other thing?? Needless to say I've had no use for Trig for 15 years, so I'm way past rusty.

I'll get my results in a week. I feel like a begger begging to give my money to UNO, and they're playing hard to get. "Money? We don't want your money, you ignorant buffoon!"

"Please! I swear I'm smart enough to learn Calculus again," I whine. Calc. A series of classes I expect to hate. And my Chem classes start next week, another long series of classes I expect to hate. All so they'll let me pay them to take that juicy upper-level Bioinformatics stuff... -sigh- I guess I want a BS degree, but I don't expect it will do much for me. There are no jobs anyway, and there's no money.

Yup, I'm nuts.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Additional Gratuitous Nerdery

Welp, I'm back on 'cause I've cattle-prodded my father into daily blogging and while I love blosxom I've decided I can't live without allowing comments on my entries and I don't want to learn that mojo in the blosxom universe. I also transferred all of to a MediaWiki install over the weekend, so welcome to Jay's homepage version 4 or 5 or something: It's an open wiki, so get off your butt and add stuff!
Note from future self in the year 2015: What are you doing?? You can't trust the corporate giant Google to keep your blog safe! Now I can't export all your old crappy blog entries and have to write an extraction routine! WWW::Mechanize to the rescue. What were you thinking? Dumbass.

Now that that's out of the way and I've commented most of Dad's posts from the last few days so I guess it's time for another head dump blog entry:

Theatre: Andria and I went to the The Office Party, a dinner theater show at the Millard Ball Room. A couple old theater friends were in it. Pretty funny stuff. It's hard to go wrong with a German HR manager gal, complete with eye patch and leather whip-thing yelling at everything and everyone. Speaking of The Office, I got the first 2 seasons of the BBC sitcom on DVD from the Krejci's for Christmas. Boo-ya!

Trying to work offline from the Med Center, fighting Perl Catalyst and Micros Opera Web Services from my laptop, disconnected from everything. Learning a lot, but it feels like slow going on the Omni front. Tonight is the Omaha Dynamic Language Users Group, Bob McCoy presenting Microsoft PowerShell. Pretty slick stuff! Everything is an object. Better than Linux + bash?

Calculus readiness exam tomorrow, classes start next week. Schedule still isn't set 'cause I have to hope for a standby slot in one of the Chem labs. The break was nice. I like not having classes. Luckily only a billion more classes to go to get my BS degree. :)

Found 81 of Roberta's emails:

Bob's wrapping up and my battery is 18m from death, so I guess I better quit for tonight. Toodles!

Musings on the Muse

I was really energized today in seeing twelve of my photos enlarged to banner size and placed on display in the Temple. For the next three months, as renovations are underway in the Temple sanctuary, visitors will have a "virtual tour" of the interior through photos, a brochure, and a large-screen DVD presentation. Afterwards the display will go on the road, allowing folks who will probably never be able to see the Temple in person to at least get a glimpse. How cool, to think that my photos may travel to Africa, or Asia, or South America...

From this experience I've been made reminded that one of life's greatest blessings is creative expression. I feel it in obvious things like photography, or writing, or music, or preaching. But there are many other occasions as well: building a tree house, placing a Geocache, hosting a small group, building a Habitat home, etc. It has to do with creating something that has never been before, or would never had been without what you bring to it in the way of interest, ability, energy, etc. To me it's one of life's greatest joys, most uniquely revealing of what is truly "me," but at the same time expressive of something much greater.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Intimations of Mortality

About five years ago a friend and I who attended the University of Iowa Writer's Festival came back home and started a monthly writer's group designed to "foster the writing life." It's been one of the most enjoyable associations of my life, with about six word mavens gathering to write, offer friendly critiques, and revel in the written word.

Tonight I was "in charge," and assigned the topic "Intimations of Mortality (Or Thoughts on Death and Dying)." The result was an amazing group of reflections ranging from childhood near-death encounters to a stump left behind from a dead elm treee. My own thoughts first went my childhood fears of death by lockjaw, then to a near-death encounter in the swimmng pool, then to the fatalistic notion that I would likely never live to age forty because my father, grandfather, and uncle all died quite young.

Finally, though, I was drawn to write about my father-in-law, who was born this day in 1920 and died in 2000:

Whereabouts Unknown

Though he's been gone
these seven years and more
at times I turn to him still--

when a butterfly dangles
from wind-tossed bloom,
when spider's web glistens
in morning sun,
when squirrels' antics
amaze and amuse.

"Did you see that, Dad?" I say,
then catch myself
but wonder still
DID he see that?

No longer do I hear his ready laugh,
nor ponder with him life's great mysteries,
nor see him walk along the pond, cane in hand.

But I like to think I see him there
in the very thing
that caused me to turn
and catch my breath,
and see,
really see,
for the first time

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Winning Hearts and Minds, the American Way

How to "win the hearts and minds of the people" of Iraq? Even the hawks acknowledge that this is the question that must answered if we are ever to "win the war in Iraq." Will it be by creating a training and recruiting ground for terrorists, who weren't even a significant presence before the US arrived? Will it be turning a reliable infrastructure of water, fuel, and electricity into intermittent services? Will it be by killing tens of thousands of Muslims, mosly civilian, and creating tens of thousands more refugees? Will it be by building a massive new embassy in Baghdad while at the same time giving assurances that we are only temporary occupiers of the Holy Land? (And then we wonder why they consider us infidels?)

If we're going to spend a trillion dollars, which surely we will before it's all said and done, couldn't we have received a better return on our investment? By rough calculation, had we just gotten out the old checkbook rather than the armed services, we could have gifted each of the 25 million Iraqis with $400,000 apiece, which for a family of six is a pretty hefty chunk of change, particularly for a people with practically no economy currently. I'd have to think with that kind of generosity we could have won some hearts and minds. Anyone who wants to lay that kind of change on me will be my friend forever, far outweighing whatever faults they may have.

Friday, January 4, 2008

"We are ready to believe again," Barack Obama said last night in conclusion of his victory speech at the Iowa caucus. It was a rather resounding and unexpected 8-point showing over rivals Clinton and Edwards, perhaps signaling that the nation is indeed ready, as the young Illinois senator said, to move from war to peace, from despair to hope, from division to unity. I want to believe it myself, even knowing that Obama now goes to the New Hampshire primary as an underdog, and aware that now he will really be set upon by the the attack dogs. (I saw this morning an internet allegation that Obama is a secret Black Muslim.)

I'm relieved that both the Democratic and Republican front runners seem in marked contrast to the leadership of the last seven years, most importantly for seeming to have actually listened to what the American public has been saying about the Iraqi war, health care, the economy, etc. Bush has shown such a determined lack of curiosity and concern about what his constituency thinks or feels that it's refreshing to think that our top representative might actually make some effort to represent us. Neither candidate seems as ideological, inflexible, clueless, arrogant, and humorless as George W. Bush, so I am indeed "ready to believe again," even while anticipating the inevitable gap between politico rhetoric and politico action.

Who knows? Maybe for the first time in decades I'll actually be able to vote for someone I'm enthused about, rather than against someone I'm concerned about. Ever the optimist, evidence to the contrary. I believe, brother.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It Pays to Be an Iowan

A news report last night said that the presidential candidates have spent more than $100 million on the Iowa caucus--about $400 each for the number of anticipated caucus-goers. It almost makes me wish I'd never left my home and native state, since I'll miss out on cashing in. I think I'll propose to the candidates that there be legislation passed similar to the sovereign nations accord recently enacted by the United Nations, essentially acknowledging that "once and Iowan, always an Iowan." Iowa is, after all, a Native American word. And heck, I don't want an entire reservation or anything as posh as all that, just some modest dues that they were going to give anyway. In the same note I'll suggest that they just send me my $400 direct and save the endangered airwaves, which I can only assumed have been more jammed with political ads than a salmon stream at spawning time. Why not? Shucks, then they wouldn't have to endure the broiling heat and the freezing temperatures I've heard them complain about in this frantic year as the Fly Over Zone has become a Destination for candidates and their retinues. Such a sensible solution would surely be embraced by candidates and Iowans alike, to everyone mutual satisfaction. Even if my proposal fails, I sure hope Mom and Dad at least get their due for having remained loyal through the years to the state where the tall corn grows, despite election years that bring hordes of politicos in tornadoes of hot air.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Planet Earth

For Christmas Sharon gave me the five-CD PBS series, "Planet Earth" and last night I watched the first sequences: from pole to pole, mountains, and fresh water. Absolutely stunning. The dust cover urges "prepare to be overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of Planet Earth," which is altogether as appropriate a caution as the warning label on cigarettes. I'm addicted, AND overwhelmed.

The photography is so exquisite and the scenes so memorable it takes me back to childhood days and the wonder of watching a monarch twitch to freedom from its pale green cocoon, or a dung beetle out for a stroll with its eggs safely ensconced in a ball of cow manure, or an ant lion lying in wait at the bottom of its conical trap for a hapless ant to drop in for supper, or a water skipper effortlessly zipping across the surface of the water on spindly legs. Incredible! That sense of wonder and mystery stirred again through Planet Earth, where a combination of the latest technology and the most inaccessible locations offered never-before-seen views of the wonders of our planet: a massive great white shark leaping clear of the water for a seal tidbit, birds of paradise strutting their stuff in dazzling displays of color and movement, a snow leopard catapulting off jagged mountain crags in pursuit of prey, piranhas stripping their victims to the bone in seconds, massive herds of caribou, water buffalo, birds, and elephants making their annual migrations,

Scene after scene of jaw-dropping action and beauty create what for me is a religious experience, blending creation and Creator in the stirring of awe and gratitude. (CAUTION: PREACHING AHEAD!) Even without that association I think nearly any viewer would sense something of the "miraculous" web of life on Planet Earth which we humans are blessed to share. The "Oh my God!" moments of this series will hopefully move millions toward preserving our natural heritage. It's disturbing to consider how very far away from human disturbance many of these scenes had to be filmed, and even more so that these may be the last glimpses of many life forms our species destroys through pollution, poaching, and destruction of habitat. I'm so grateful to have seen them, even if only second hand, and hope to experience in more direct manner much of what remains. Such a marvel!