Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Higher Mathematics

So, Ginny and I were standing in this grocery store parking lot discussing bottles of soda pop when one of us ( You can guess which one) asked, “How many ounces in a liter”?

The other one said, “33.8. Why”?

“I’m trying to figure out whether to buy the big bottle or the small bottle. The small bottle is 16 ounces but I’m wondering if there’s more in the big bottle”.

“What does the label say”?

“It doesn’t say how many ounces; it just gives that metric crap and I can’t figure it out. Now they want us to learn kilometers, and millipedes, and liters, and grams and all that foreign stuff. Why should we learn their stupid system? Why can’t they learn real measurements. They sure learned how to count American money fast enough! Why should I have to …”

“You’re beginning to rant. What is it you’re trying to figure out”.?

“Well, if there are 33 ounces in one liter, then there are 66 ounces in two but I don’t want that much. So I’m trying to figure out how much is half of a two liter bottle”.

“You want to know how to figure out what’s half of a two liter bottle”?


“Half of two liters is — one liter”.

“Oh….Oh, I never was any good at that metric stuff”.

There’s a reason I remembered this conversation from about three years ago — I’ll come back to it in a bit.

But first I want to show a few photos of Sail Jacksonville, the Tall Ship exhibit Ginny and I visited during our long weekend.

I’d planned to post a section in my blog Photo Gallery but I could not get into the site. I thought it was because I may have forgotten the password but it seems that I’ve forgotten the User Name too.

So I’ll never be able to get into my photo site again.


Anyhow, last weekend Jacksonville hosted a display of sailing schooners along with speed boats, tug boats, fire boats, shrimp boats, yachts, police boats, motorboats, set skis and a bunch of other sea going craft.

Here is a boat I planed to buy for Ginny. I even had her name painted on the bow:

But alas, my latest book did not sell well enough last week to keep up the payments. I’ll have to let the boat go back to the dealer.

On his deathbed, when my father charged me with taking care of my mother, he compared her to an old-time sailing ship from the days before they invented navigation. She blunders all over the ocean getting becalmed, blasting away with cannon, always alert for shoals, rocks and reefs, seeing pirates in every stranger — but eventually she gets to the right port, he said.

Sailors from all over the world navigated their way to Jacksonville for the nautical event this weekend. Some readers may recognize the flag:

Notice how hazy the air over the St. Johns River is in my photographs. That is not sea fog but smoke from the forest fires about 70 miles away in Georgia. Those fires have burned out of control for over three weeks now. The tv news no longer talks about how many acres of forest have burned; now they talk about how many square miles (148 so far).

We’ve had no appreciable rain in 16 months and working in my yard makes it seems as though the plants are growing in talcum powder. Just can’t get enough water on them.

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and declare his works with rejoicing.
They that go down to the sea in ships,
that do business in great waters;
these see the works of the Lord,
and his wonders in the deep.
For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,
which lifteth up the waves thereof.
They mount up to the heaven,
they go down again to the depths:
Their soul is melted because of trouble.
They reel to and fro,
and stagger like a drunken man,
and are at their wit's end.
Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble,
and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm,
so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet;
so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Apparently there is a difference between nautical miles and real miles and between miles per hour, like in a car, and knots, which measures the speed of a boat or ship or watercraft or yacht (according to sailors the names used of a sea going vessel are not interchangeable).

The names of the people on a boat are also different and describe their job on the boat….


For instance, on the waterfront I saw this young lady from one of the boats. She sported a taut — Well, let’s just say her bowsprits projected far ahead of her stern sheets— and she was wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with the words: CREW MISTRESS.

I did not know that was an official shipboard job.

And apparently it’s not.

I even saw guys wearing that same tee shirt.

Never can tell about sailors, I thought.

But, it turned out that these folks wore the shirts to identify themselves as crewmembers serving aboard a schooner named MISTRESS.

Here’s a photo of their boat:

Pretty boat.

But I think they need to come up with a new tee shirt design.

Some guys might get the wrong idea.

Oh well, unto the pure, all things are pure; everybody else thinks like I do.

Here I’d like to write a smooth transition from the boat show back to Higher Mathematics, but I can’t think of how to do that. So here’s an abrupt change back to where I started from:

Last night’s devotions got me to thinking about math. After supper as Ginny and I prayed together, she read that Bible passage in Mark’s Gospel about the time Jesus feed 4,000 people.

I’d never noticed it before, but the story starts with Jesus saying, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days and have nothing to eat”.


If He had compassion on His hungry followers, why did He wait three days before feeding them?

Looks like God does miracle stuff on His own schedule.

But Mark says the apostles found seven loves of bread and a few small fishes. Jesus blessed the food and gave out 4,000 servings. After the meal, the apostles picked up seven baskets of leftovers.

Now compare that incident to the same sort of miracle just two chapters earlier in Mark. There, when Jesus saw the hungry multitude and felt compassion, He “began to teach them”.

Again, no immediate food for the hungry.

He began to teach them first.

Then, the Apostles came up with five loaves of bread (slices of pieta bread?) and two fish.

This time there were 5,000 people present.

This time they took up 12 baskets of leftovers.

To me these two incidents indicate the divine origin of the Gospels. If I were writing a fiction account, I’d build up to bigger and bigger dramatic effects. Start small, build readers’ expectations, then top the small with an even bigger miracle. But Mark tells things as they actually happened: first 5,000 people then 4,000 people — a thousand fewer people just two chapters later.

Either that’s true or it’s not well-organized writing, and I suspect Mark is a good writer. His book has stayed a best seller for a long time.

So, let me see if I’ve got the math straight:

5,000 people + two fish + 5 loaves of bread = 12 baskets of leftovers.

4,000 people + a few small fish + 7 loaves of bread = 7 baskets of leftovers.

Is that right?

Oh, I left out 1 compassionate Jesus — He’s the common denominator for everything.

He’s the one who counts.

Do you know what He would have done if ten thousand people had shown up?

He’d simply double the recipe.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:20 AM


At 7:58 PM, Blogger k8 said...

ha! i can't do any metric conversions at all.

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Live, Love, Laugh said...

I don't like metrics either, KISS method for me! "Keep It Simple Stupid!!"


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