Hump Day Hottie – Special Request

Our Hump Day Hottie this week is a special request.  According to the Daily Mail in England, our special hottie is “the pop star turned pin-up professor”, while the Telegraph calls him the man “who made science sexy”.   That’s right – we’re talking about Professor Brian Cox!

November 2009 - Photo by Paul Clarke

I can sum up the professor in one word : WOW!  Cox started out in Hulme Grammar School where he even received a D for A-Level Mathematics.  So don’t worry kids, if you get a few bad grades that will not stop you from obtaining awesome heights!

In 1993, while studying physics at the University of Manchester, he joined the band D:Ream as the keyboard player.  Even while working with the band, Brian was able to complete an undergraduate first class honours degree and a M.Phil – both in physics.  To round things off, in 1997 he received his Ph.D. in high energy particle physics.

Brian has been the host of numerous British programs on radio as well as television.  Some of Cox’s other achievements include:

  1. 2006 – received the British Association’s Lord Kelvin Award
  2. 2006 – elected as a University Research Fellow of The Royal Society
  3. 2010 – won the Institute of Physics Kelvin Prize
  4. 2010 – was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  5. 2011 – won Best Presenter by the Royal Television Society for Wonders of the Solar System

So am I right?  WOW!!  Below is the first part of an episode of the British Panel Show, Would I Lie To You? Brian and his team-mates try to out-lie the other guys.  Hope you enjoy it!  Also, follow Brian Cox on Twitter (if you’re into that).

I was asked to connect to the second part as it was unclear as to which was the correct one from YouTube – so here is part 2 of Brian’s appearance on Would I Lie To You?

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My Poetry – Part 2

This one is dated 9/9/1993 and Mac1949 helped me write this one.  It is more upbeat than my usual poetry.

 

My True Love

 

My true love’s face is dark as night

Deep and velvety, a creamy brown

A handsome, marvelous, wonderful sight

That won’t let my heart calm down.

I’ll never want for anything

So rich is my true love.

Not furs, not cars, not a diamond ring

All this we are above

I’ll never have a love so hot

It’s really down right steamy

All that I want my love has got

Smooth and sweet and dreamy.

 

And though to you it may seem loco

I love nothing more than a good cup of cocoa.

 

My Poetry – Part One

While going through some boxes recently I came across some writing and poetry I had done in high school.  This was before I knew I was bipolar.  I feel some of my best writing was done at this time – so I would like to share some of it with you.

This first one I did not title, but the object of the exercise was to create our own poem using the form and style of Donald Hall’s The Child. Below is my version.

 

We live among a daydream

a bright and loving theme

Nobody can destroy.

 

We sit and think alone

by sparkling pools, in a world

where families are destroyed.

 

Tears roll with sorrow

as the wind breathes softly

with the sound of crying children.

 

We hear soft groaning

with empty thoughts

of a once felt caress.

 

We sit until we ache

of the unforgotten memories

we have left behind.

 

When we stand to leave

we stop suddenly

to drift in eternal bliss.

Knut – you will be missed

Knut in 2007

Sad news was released from Berlin yesterday, March 19, 2011.  Knut the polar bear has died at the age of four.  Witnesses reported that the after the bear’s left leg began shaking, he walked around in circles before falling into the water.  A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Knut made headlines when after his mother, Tosca, rejected and abandoned her two cubs following an uncomplicated pregnancy.  The keepers rescued the cubs but only Knut survived.  The other cub died four days later from an infection.

Knut was hand reared – needing around the clock care – by Thomas Dörflein.  It is amazing how something starting out so small (only the size of a guinea pig) could bring the world so much joy.  And coming from someone with similar experiences, part of that joy encompasses watching them grow.  This German treasure will be – and already is – deeply missed.  Rest peaceful, Knut.

John Thomas Scopes – My Hero

The 1925 trial of John Thomas Scopes, commonly known as the “Monkey Trial”, is probably one of my favorite subjects.  I decided to write about it today because one of the major players in the trial was born today (March 19, 1860), William Jennings Bryan.

John Thomas Scopes 1925

John Thomas Scopes was born August 3, 1900, in Paducah, Kentucky.  The Scopes family lived in the country until John was eight, giving him considerable freedom from is mother and four sisters.  He spent much of his time roaming the countryside.

In 1913, the family moved to Danville, Illinois, where John liked to attend vaudeville shows.  Danville schools were racially integrated, which greatly impressed Scopes and appealed to his sense of fairness.  After spending two years in Danville, the family moved again, this time to Salem, Illinois.  In Salem, he was a forward on the Salem High School basketball team.

One day, William Jennings Bryan came to speak at Salem High.  Though a superb orator, he repeatedly mispronounced a word, which set Scopes and his sisters laughing.  Finally, the rest of the audience joined in, breaking the spell Bryan had woven over them.  It so rattled Bryan that he remembered Scopes and the incident years later at the trial in Dayton.

Scopes attended the University of Illinois where he majored in chemistry, but had to drop out due to illness.  He then tried at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, but had to drop out again in 1921.  He eventually returned and garnered honors in Educational Psychology, Philosophy, Law, Sociology, Geology, Mathematics and Zoology.  Even though his chief interest was in science, Scopes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Law.

Because of financial problems, he left college to coach and teach in Dayton, Tennessee.  In 1924, he coached, taught algebra, physics and chemistry at Central High School for $150 a month.  In my opinion, Scopes is a hero because of what he did while teaching at Central High.

Fundamentalism was a religious movement based on a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible.  They thought the teaching of Evolution was a crime and had already started anti-evolution movements in fifteen states.  In Tennessee, the Butler Act banned any teaching thought to be conflicting with the Book of Genesis.  The Tennessee House passed it thinking the Senate would not.  The Senate passed it thinking Governor Austin Peay would veto it, be he signed it into law thinking it would never be enforced.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued press releases that stated it would finance any test cases which challenged the constitutionality of the law. Scopes agreed to have George Rappleyea, who owned several local mines, to swear a complaint against him.  Rappleyea pointed out that while the Butler Act prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution, the state required teachers to use a textbook that explicitly described and endorsed the theory of evolution, and that teachers were, therefore, effectively required to break the law. Scopes mentioned that while he couldn’t remember whether he had actually taught evolution in class, he had, however, gone through the evolution chart and chapter with the class. Scopes added to the group “If you can prove that I’ve taught evolution and that I can qualify as a defendant, then I’ll be willing to stand trial.”

Scopes became an increasingly willing participant, even incriminating himself and urging students to testify against him. He was indicted on May 25, after three students testified against him at the grand jury, at the behest of Scopes. Scopes was charged with having taught from the chapter on evolution to an April 7, 1925, high-school class in violation of the Butler Act (and nominally arrested, though never detained). His bail of $100 was paid by Paul Patterson, owner of the Baltimore Sun.

Scopes knew it would mean the end of his teaching career, possibly heavy fines and maybe even imprisonment.  His arrest caused a clash between the ACLU and

William Jennings Bryan Circa 1902

the Fundamentalists.  William Jennings Bryan, former Secretary of State, volunteered to prosecute.  However, the Fundamentalists Association asked him to assist the chosen prosecutors.  Bryan wanted to force the Anti-Evolution Amendment into the American Constitution.

For the defense stood ACLU president, Arthur Garfield Hays; Dudley Field Malone, a great libertarian lawyer; John R. Neal, a Constitutional expert; and the greatest legal mind of his time, Clarence Darrow.  Darrow and Malone volunteered to defend without charge.  Part of Scopes’ defense fund was provided by the Baltimore Sun.  The Sun also sent their best reporter, H. L. Mencken, who named it the “monkey trial.”

Anticipating that Scopes would be found guilty, the press fitted the defendant for martyrdom and created an onslaught of ridicule. Time’s initial coverage of the trial focused on Dayton as “the fantastic cross between a circus and a holy war”. Life adorned its masthead with monkeys reading books and proclaimed, “the whole matter is something to laugh about”.

Clarence Darrow Circa 1922

The case came before Judge John T. Raulston in a special term of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit on Friday, July 10, 1925.  Judge Raulston opened the first day with a prayer.  “Not just an ordinary prayer, but an argumentative one, directed straight at the defense,” wrote Hays.

Scopes said, “Darrow’s opening had been the aggressive sort of speech I had expected him to give, based on what I heard of him and read about him.”

“Your honor,” said Darrow, “every single word that was said against this defendant, everything was true.”

“So he does not care to go on the stand?”

“No,” said Darro, “what is the use?”

“So I sat speechless, a ringside observer at my own trial, until the end of the circus,” Scopes wrote later.

Scopes wrote, “Today Darrow’s is the name most persons link with the defense.  Certainly Darrow deserves all the credit he has been  given.  At the same time, the work of the other attorneys was just as important.  Hays and Neal remained in the background.  They were the legal mechanics, the engineers who kept the defense roaring down the tracks.  Neither made any dramatic speeches and therefore their brilliance was easily overlooked and their significance soon forgotten.  Hays especially was the one who bounced up regularly to object, to raise legal points, and otherwise to busy himself with the technical aspects of the law, the matters that might prove crucial when he appealed the case.  Without the quiet efficiency and sharpness of both Hays and Neal, the public utterances of Malone and Darrow would never have shone so brilliantly.”  The one thing that cheered Scopes during the trial was that Representative Butler, who had drafted the law they were fighting, admitted publicaly that he did not know what evolution was.

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

The prosecution got Judge Raulston to deny any scientific testimony.  Hays developed a new tactic – to build their case on the Bible.  Darrow called William Jennings Bryan to witness as a Bible expert.  He destroyed Bryan’s credibility by getting him to admit that the Bible could not always be taken literally.  The jury took nine minutes to convict Scopes.  They jury was supposed to set the fine but Judge Raulston set it at $100, giving the Court of Appeals reason to overturn the conviction.  Scopes almost missed his only chance to speak when the judge forgot to ask if he had anything to say before sentencing.  Malone immediately objected.  Scopes stood and addressed the court.  “Your Honor, I feel I have been convicted of an unjust statute.  I will continue in the future as I have in the past, to oppose this law in any way I can.  Any other action would be in violation of my ideals of academic freedom, that is to teach the truth as guaranteed in our Constitution of personal and religious freedom.  I think that fine is unjust.”

After Raulston ruled against the admission of scientific testimony, Mencken left Dayton, declaring in his last dispatch “All that remains of the great cause of the State of Tennessee against the infidel Scopes is the formal business of bumping off the defendant.”

Scopes left teaching and became a geologist.  The Butler Act remained in force for the next 42 years.

The circus in Dayton could hardly be repeated today.  It was like a last gasp of ignorance and bigotry.  Anti-evolution laws remain on the books, not only in Tennessee but in many other states.  Today, there are many schoolteachers in elementary and high schools, as well as professors in state-controlled colleges, who are reluctant to express their views not only on evolution, but also on many other subjects.  Academic freedom in America is still not a clear-cut achievement, but the trial of Scopes went a long way to help make it a reality.

The play Inherit The Wind and subsequent movie of the same title is a dramatized version and loosely based on actual events.  Since 1987, the city of Dayton has staged a reenactment of the trial using the original transcripts, performing it in the same courtroom in which the trial took place. The annual event occurs during Dayton’s Scopes Trial festival with several performances showing over the weekend.

Hump Day Hottie – Tim Minchin

Well, it is Wednesday once again and I shamefully have not put up a post for a whole week.  I am a dreadful slacker, I know.  But since it is Wednesday, that means it is time for another Hump Day Hottie!!!  Woo-hoo!

With everything that has been going on in the world, and in particular the Japan disasters, I would like to spotlight an unusual hotttie – Tim Minchin.  The only reason I say “unusual”, is that some might say he is not conventional.  But I look not only at physical beauty (which Tim has) but internal as well.  Very important.  And get used to it, because I am likely to pick more unusual ones – it makes us unique.

Tim was born in the United Kingdom to Australian parents and grew up in Perth.  He is a comedian, actor and musician but is most known for his musical comedy.  In 2001, Tim married his life-long sweetheart, Sarah, whom he met when he was 17.

Tim has a, um . . ., unique onstage persona. He generally goes barefoot, saying it makes him feel more comfortable.  His wild hair and heavy eye makeup, which he considers important because he is unable to gesture while playing the piano and so relies on his face for expressions and gestures.  Tim says the eyeliner makes his features more distinguishable for the audience.

Now anyone who is familiar with Tim’s work has had the experience of laughing and crying at the same time.  Although “stunningly beautiful” would not normally be a response to his songs, I feel the one I have chosen to spotlight, Not Perfect, is just that.  He has captured a very difficult spiritual concept and given it his personal twist.  When you can look at yourself and say, “It’s not perfect, but its mine,” its a beautiful thing.