I consider myself reasonably intelligent

January 25, 2008 at 10:43 am (Random thoughts)

It’s true

At times I have been accused of thinking too highly of myself. Indeed I think I have thought too highly of myself.

However an honest evaluation of my own intellect by comparison basis leads me to the conclusion that I am “reasonably intelligent”.

I have a decent enough understanding about a decent enough number of subjects that I can make “intelligent conversation” with a decent enough majority of any given general population.

Basically I know enough to say that I don’t know enough and that there is much more out there for me to learn and understand.

The point of this post however isn’t to brag about my perception of my own level of intelligence,  but rather quite the opposite. The point of this post is to make known the things I am certain I don’t know.

This post is dedicated to things I have tried  to understand but have yet to “get”.

Some of the things I have tried very hard to make reason of. Some however I have no desire to understand.

I invite you to delight in seeing my ignorance. You may, if you like, try to educate me in my stupidity. Or you may chose to share with the other readers things you don’t get as well.

I really hope this is fun for you…

Things I do not understand…

Haiku- I know what it is. I know how it works, but I just don’t get it. Maybe I have to be Japanese? But this also is bothersome to me because so many completely non-Japanese individuals claim to “get” Haiku. I’ve even studied a bit of Japanese and I still can’t understand it.

Reality TV- What is it? Is it reality or is it Television? How is this different from a documentary? Is a documentary actually more realistic? What about the news? Isn’t the news real?

Pet Ownership- I know, I know, I often rant on this and I’m sure many of you are sick of my pet rants but I honestly can’t understand it. Unless it were something really rare and fantastic like a Bald Eagle or a California Condor.

Large Birds of prey- I don’t understand these because they are just too big to be able to fly. I can kind of understand how jumbo jets weighing around 2 tons can fly (really powerful engines), but I can’t understand how birds weighing up to 30 pounds can fly. Yes they have huge wingspans (9 feet) but even with those giant wings they are going to need an incredible about of energy to flap those suckers. Really incredible.

The difference between “Then” and “Than”- No explanation necessary.

Soccer- As far as I can tell it’s the only”sport” in existence where you are penalized for using your body in it’s most reasonable design. Why can’t you use your hands? Sports are about athletics. Most sports add tools to enhance the physical abilities of the competitors, but in soccer you not only are failing to utilize any tools but you are actually handicapped to the point of being a paraplegic.  What kind of “sport” is that? It’s like reverse evolution.

Evolution- This isn’t merely a religious belief it’s also a very sincere question I don’t understand. I recently read this story about a book explaining how Humans evolved from fish (It used to be monkeys but now it’s fish). Why can’t I get this? I  try very hard to grasp the concept of evolution but it never ever clicks. Is that because I can’t grasp the “billions of years” when I’ve just been around for 28?

Perfume (and the youth version “body spray”)- I get that there are thousands of odors that are repugnant in this world and that many emanate from our bodies. But these aren’t products used to mask those odors (that would be deodorant) they are instead products used to add odors. This is strange to me. I don’t understand why you want to make yourself smellier.

Photosynthesis- Actually it’s not really the Photosynthesis that I don’t get. It’s probably more the cellular respiration that I don’t get. The more I think about it the less I understand how cells work. I mean I can read about how they work and I can see that they work but that they work is something I don’t get.

Global Population- Whether by land bridge or courageous exploration somehow or another nearly every piece of inhabitable land has people on it and people who have been there for thousands of years. As far as I’m concerned nobody has provided a suitable explanation for how everyone who is where they are  got where they is. Maybe the answer is in the evolution question?

Ships- Buoyancy blows my mind. Supertankers can weigh up to 650,000 tons. They are over 1000 feet long and more than 200 feet wide. How can this be? How can something so big and so heavy float? I don’t get it.

Neck Ties- I have many and I wear them with regularity, but I don’t get them. How did they come into such popularity?  They aren’t just popular they are necessary. Every male in western civilization will at some point in his life have to wear a tie. And yet they are as useless as the tassel on a graduation hat.

Cereal as a staple- Most of my readers ate cereal for breakfast this morning. No other meal has such a high level of conformity. Ask 5 people what they had for breakfast and you will probably get 4 out 5 saying cereal. Ask 5 people what they had for lunch and you might get 2 with the same answer. Dinner? good luck. The point is that this doesn’t make sense to me. I understand a certain degree of convenience in cereal, but can convenience alone account for such a united consumption?

Snakes- ugh. blech.

Tap Water- Not about drinking it, but about having it. How we can turn the faucet and have water come out of it is amazing to me. Every morning I take a hot shower in clean, pure water. You probably do as well. Tomorrow morning when you’re getting clean try and imagine the path that water took to get to your shower head. It’s pretty incredible.

Clouds- If you do the whole water path tracing eventually you will get to clouds. Clouds, they say, are millions of tiny droplets of water and ice that are so light that they can float in the air. When they get to heavy they come falling down on us in rain, snow or hail form. Yeah right. That may be “what they say” but I’m not buyin’ it.

How movies like this can make money- A movie about a girl who must win a “step competition” to afford to go to college??? Best line from the trailer is “This is the best step competition in the universe.” That’s right, not the best in the US, not the best in North America, not the best on planet Earth, heck even the Milky Way was is too small to contain the greatness of this step competition. Sigh. Who is paying 10 dollars to watch this?

How movies like this can be legal- I’ve complained many times about the depiction of torture in films but this one seems to take the cake. The premise is about a serial killer who’s victims are slowly killed with contraptions controlled by the number of people that visit his web site. The preview shows some type of government official saying that “anyone who visits that site will be considered an accomplice to murder”. Such a statement agrees with my assessment that such films should be illegal. And yet here they are making a movie glamorizing horrific random acts of violence. This is good for society how? This is entertaining how? Why is there even such a thing as the MPAA ratings board? If you’re not convinced that this type of thing is wrong then read this review of the film from a Union Tribune movie critic.

Women- I don’t understand them. Not any of them. Not my Mom, my sisters, my co-workers, my friends and certainly not my wife. If you’re female I don’t understand you.



  1. itsasecret2u said,

    Visit the conjunction junction with me and let’s discuss THAN:

    Than is used in comparative statements. More than, less than, greater than, smarter than, better speller than… you get the idea.

    Now, THEN:

    Then is usually an adverb, describing WHEN things take place or under which conditions things take place. We went to church, then we went home. If you like UFC, then I like you. It can also be an adjective (the then-champion, Chuck Liddell) or a noun (Until then, farewell), but it almost always refers to time.

    Something I don’t understand: Why women are so confusing to so many men. What’s to get? Explain.

  2. Matt said,

    This is the longest post I have ever read not written by Echo. Congrats.

    Ships- Buoyancy blows my mind.

    I agree with this and have thought the same thing for a long time.

    Cereal as a staple

    Cereal is the best food creation of all time. Nothing takes less time to prepare, tastes so good and is filling all at the same time. Pure genius.

  3. Alex said,

    Cereal is overrated. The cereals with actual nutritional value usually never get purchased.

    Scrambled egg yolks is much more tasty, carries a significant amount of protein without any cholesterol.

    It’s the breakfast of Ping Pong champions.

  4. itsasecret2u said,

    The yolk is actually where the cholesterol is. It’s the white that has the protein and no cholesterol. I happen to be a fan of cholesterol, so I say eat the yolk and the white. While you’re at it, eat it raw in a smoothie.

    I have no cereal in my house. I like it, it’s just not that good for you unless it’s made from sprouted grains… and those cereals don’t taste very good. 😛

  5. Matt said,

    Cereal is overrated.

    You are overrated. Cereal is underrated.

    Scrambled egg yolks is much more tasty, carries a significant amount of protein without any cholesterol.

    You trying out for Mr. Universe? Us normal guys just eat the entire egg and even that is not as good as cereal.

    I actually like the healthy cereals better than all the sugar cereals anyway.

  6. Alex said,

    I stand corrected, I meant the egg whites. Thanks itsnotasecrettome!!!

    Cereal is not underrated, it’s over -sweetened.

    For you “normal” guys maybe you should try oatmeal.

    I maybe overrated however my eggs are not. The kids say I make the best and that’s all that matters.

  7. RubeRad said,

    Once you understand the general point of Soccer, good luck on understanding the offside rule. At least the infield fly rule makes sense, but as far as I can tell, the only purpose of the offside rule is to subsidize lazy defense!

  8. RubeRad said,

    Global Population

    Are you talking the Americas and Australia, or Hawaii (which is pretty amazing). If you only have 6000 years to play with, it is indeed pretty tight to squeeze so much emigration in such a little time. But if you have 70-100K years to play with (note that these dates match genetic studies of “mitochondrial Eve” as well as acceptable limits of how long the incomplete biblical geneaologies can reasonably stretch) it gets a little easier. Hugh Ross’ reasons.org links the breakup of the Siberian/Alaskan land bridge of 11-14,000 years ago to Gen 10:25. If you’re interested, I can dig up a recent podcast where he discusses it more extensively. That kind of thing might be in his book “Who was Adam”, but I’m not sure.

  9. RubeRad said,

    How can something so big and so heavy float? I don’t get it.

    That whole boat, which is heavy steel on the outside, is hollow. If you were to make the whole boat of water, and full of water, it would be heavier. Water is actually pretty heavy. Think of a metal pail — how light it is empty, vs how heavy it is full. Thus in the big picture, the big heavy steel boat is just a very large bubble.

  10. RubeRad said,

    A movie about a girl who must win a “step competition…Who is paying 10 dollars to watch this?

    People who like to watch step, just like people paid to see Bring it On, and I rented Drumline (which totally rocked, by the way).

    What I don’t get are gory slasher flicks. Questions of evil and sin aside, why would anybody want to watch that? Why would anybody find it interesting? I mean, Scream was entertaining, but that’s really more of a thriller and a mystery. But Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Watching that is about as brutally destructive to the psyche as The Passion of the Christ! I’ll stick to my Hitchcock, thank you very much.

  11. RubeRad said,


    C’mon — you’ve been in fog, haven’t you? Clouds are just high-altitude fog! You like hiking. You should hike on a foggy morning sometime. It’s mindblowing to be hiking up in the fog, and then emerge through thinning haze, until you can look down on the fog and realize, “Hey, I’m looking down on the top of a cloud! I just walked through that cloud!”

  12. Laura said,

    Neck Ties

    This is an interesting and fact-filled site about neck ties – the link is about the history of the tie, but look around the site for more info; http://www.how-to-tie-a-neck-tie.com/necktiehist.htm

    I like that many men will use the tie as a strong satorial comment on their personal style, as Shannon Sharpe did last weekend on the AFC Championship post-game show – wow, purple and black houndstooth tie with a purple polka -dotted pocket square, with an otherwise dark, somber suit. Professional with a pop! And men of color seem so better able to pull that kind of look off without ridicule. I thought he looked absolutely great!

    While a tie now may have no practical use, it does pull a suit together and seems to project an air of authority, professionalism, and sometimes just that a guy cares about the way he looks.

  13. Laura said,

    RUBE: Drumline is one of my all-time favorite movies…STOMP is one of my favorite shows…Percussion is HOT, baby! That is one reason I love to play the tamborine – and my granddaughter is already picking up the sticks and playing the walls! Girl drummers rock! Woot, woot!

    (Sorry, Daniel – just had to make a side comment!)

  14. Bruce S. said,

    Hugh Ross’ reasons.org links the breakup of the Siberian/Alaskan land bridge of 11-14,000 years ago to Gen 10:25.

    Which is why Ross needs to stick to his day job. This passage is not about geology. It is about the carving out of redemptive history from Adam to Seth to Heber etc. You know – election.

    The Bible is no more a science textbook in Gen 10 than it is in Gen 1. The early chapters of Genesis are there to explain to the Hebrews how they came to be – and other things like federal headship, the sabbath rest, being image-of-God-bearers.

  15. Matt said,

    Once you understand the general point of Soccer, good luck on understanding the offside rule. At least the infield fly rule makes sense, but as far as I can tell, the only purpose of the offside rule is to subsidize lazy defense!

    It actually prevents laziness on the offensive player’s part. Without the rule a foward could just stand down by the goal and wait for the ball to come to him. Very lazy. This rule requires him to come back with the rest of his teamates and play defense.

    As far as understanding the rule: An offensive player cannot be between the opponent’s goal and the last defender before the ball is passed to him.

    Hypothetical: What if your kids get really into soccer and really good and want to play competitvely on a travel team that plays tournaments on the weekends, do you let them?

  16. danielbalc said,

    The Bible is no more a science textbook in Gen 10 than it is in Gen 1.

    Which is why I have intentionally ignored the current flood of debate on Rube’s page.

    It is interesting reading to be sure, but the conclusions are too convoluted by science and not enough shaped by scripture (on both sides) to b taken seriously.

    Whether the earth and the universe is 100 billion, 1 billion, 100,000 or 10,000 years old, is irrelevant with regards to the gospel message.

  17. danielbalc said,

    That’s not laziness on the offensive players part. It’s strategic risk.

    They “lazy” offensive player is betting that the reward ( better chance to score) is greater than the risk (better likelihood of the opponents scoring).

    It’s another stupid rule used to handicap natural inclinations.

    Executions of other such “risk and reward” strategies in other sports are applauded…

    In baseball you will often see a team playing an exaggerated shift where the whole infield moves way to their left, thus exposing a huge “hole” on the left side of the infield. When David Ortiz hits a line drive to the second baseman playing in the outfield we cheer.

    In football the safety abandons his responsibility of covering a receiver to blitz the quarterback. If he sacks him we are exhilarated.

    In basketball a double team or a full court press shows the same time of behavior that seems natural to athletic team competition.

    Basketball is very similar to soccer but you rarely see a player “cherry picking” because it puts to much pressure on their defense. the risk isn’t worth the reward. Same should be in soccer. But you should also be allowed to use your hands in soccer.

    Soccer sucks.

  18. danielbalc said,

    With regards to my kid playing soccer.

    Ain’t happening. We’ve already decided to have little girls and train them in ballet, gymnastics and figure skating.

    If I want an athletic boy I’m going to have to adopt him. I’ll make sure he comes from physically gifted parents.

  19. Matt said,

    Soccer sucks.

    So I will see you tonight at NCSP weather permitting? 🙂

  20. danielbalc said,

    weather permitting? I thought it was on no matter what.

    You better bring your A game since you happen to be our team captain.

    I officially nominate “soccer sucks” to be our team name.

  21. Pablo Honey said,

    Right now it looks like we have about a 5% chance of playing tonight. Sadly it is not an all weather event. Remember back in the church league days when we would go out there and do everything we could to dry the field so that we could get our game in? Who’s got some fans and squeegees? By the way, my inline spell-checker indicates I just nailed the correct spelling for squeegee. Awesome.

  22. Matt said,

    weather permitting? I thought it was on no matter what.

    I am pretty sure there are some liability issues with playing on a rain-soaked field.

    However, if the rain stops by afternoon as reported we should be good to go by 7.

    And that team name is go.

  23. danielbalc said,

    Add this on to the why soccer sucks list.

    you can’t play in the rain? lame.

    So if our game is delayed what do 12 out of shape old guys do with a free evening?

    My vote is we go see Rambo!

  24. Echo_ohcE said,

    Understanding women involves putting yourself aside. It is helpful to understand that other people think differently than you, because they have different needs and desires and priorities.

    If you want to understand women, then you have to understand a couple of things.

    First, they are not independent like men. They need to be led. They need to be shepherded. Their happiness is derivative. A woman needs her husband. A husband needs his wife, but not for the same reasons. A woman needs her husband, above all else, to affirm her and to cherish her. By contrast, a man doesn’t need the same kind of affirmation. A man wants respect above all else from his wife, but his wife needs her husband to approve of her above all else.

    Second, women aren’t quite so logical as men. This is not to say that they aren’t logical, they are, just as men are also emotional. But there are tendencies in one direction or the other. Women tend to want to feel like something is true, but men want to know that it is true. So for example, women need their husband’s approval. They need to experience this regularly and emotionally. So they need constant reminders of his approval verbally. Men, by contrast, don’t need their wife to say that they respect them, so much as they actually need to show him respect in what they do and say. Men conclude then from her actions and words that she does, in fact, respect him, and he is satisfied. Women need to experience their husband’s approval verbally, because they need emotional assurance. They need to feel approved of. This means that while they appreciate a demonstration of his approval, a verbal declaration of his approval is far more powerful. Even singing songs about how he approves of her, silly little songs, often can have a huge effect on her emotionally, giving rise to her happiness.

    Third, women think differently than men with regard to the house. Women prefer aesthetics over functionality. Men prefer the latter. So while I want to have things out where I can see them and access them easily, my wife wants to put them away where they can’t be seen, so that things look neat.

    Fourth, without women in the world, men would be content to live in an apartment with a lazy boy and a TV. They would be content to drive a car that gets them from point a to point b. Men are always trying to impress women, to earn their respect. Men would be lost without women, because there would be no one to respect them. They’d always be jockeying with other men for position, and there’d be a heirarchy, brought about by warfare of one kind or another.

    Fifth, without men, women would likewise be lost, because they’d be without assurance. They too would be jockeying for position with one another, and warfare would likewise ensue in large part. They would want to be approved of, but they’d have to seek it from other women, and it would be disastrous.

    Well, this is by no means comprehensive, and I’m sure some women will take issue with something here and there, and I’m sure I’ll change my mind about a thing or two, but perhaps this will help the conversation take a direction or two.


  25. danielbalc said,

    Echo I have to admit I am little disappointed by your comment.

    Of all my readers I thought surely you would have caught the subtle references to Proverbs 30:18-19.

    I guess it was too subtle and too obscure. But here it is for all ya’ll…

    There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.

  26. Matt said,

    My vote is we go see Rambo!

    It is a performance-enhanced version. Cannot support.


  27. danielbalc said,

    Does it enhance his acting performance? this makes me want to see it even more.

  28. Matt said,

    He would have to take a deadly dosage of HGH to enhance his acting to the point where it is watchable.

  29. Alex said,

    Sorry fellas, as long as it doesn’t rain from now until 7:10pm we should be good to go for the soccer game.

  30. Zack said,

    Who is echo?

  31. Echo_ohcE said,

    No one you know…

  32. Amy Juarez said,

    DBALC- you played well tonight in soccer! I too found in the past my hand would just automatically go up! However soccer is strictly for feet, in basketball we can’t use our feet, but only our hands.

  33. danielbalc said,

    Thanks for the props Amy.

    After that remarkable last second goal from my brother-in-law I feel quite confident that fate is on our side.

    I do believe that this is our year.

    The other teams in the league are clearly playing for second place.

    Your husband was on fire, what did he have like 5 goals?

    I don’t know about you guys but it feels like just yesterday when we used to own that soccer park. How long ago was it actually?

  34. RubeRad said,

    you can’t play in the rain? lame.

    Sez who? If soccer couldn’t be played in the rain, then there would be no Football in England.

  35. RubeRad said,

    It actually prevents laziness on the offensive player’s part. Without the rule a foward could just stand down by the goal and wait for the ball to come to him. Very lazy. This rule requires him to come back with the rest of his teamates and play defense.

    I recognize that you have played the game all your life, but c’mon, I lived in England for two years, and watched many games on TV, so obviously I’m a more competent authority than you!

    Defenders can and do pull “forward” to cause an offensive forward to be “trapped” offsides when they see that they’ve been beaten and a pass could be coming. If a forward wants to cherry-pick, so what? Forwards don’t go back and help out on defense anyways (any more than defenders press downfield to attack). I’m talking ordinarily. Of course, when a defender has the ball and room, he’ll take it down, and if somehow he has an opening, he’ll take a shot. But typically, his job is to pass it, and trot back to the defensive half of the field where he belongs (where all the other teams’ forwards are camped out). It’s just not like Basketball, where all players are supposed to be directly involved in every play on both ends of the court.

  36. RubeRad said,

    Ross needs to stick to his day job

    But creation apologetics is his day job. You and I both paid him to do this job by buying some of his books…

  37. danielbalc said,

    Sez who?

    Sez North County Soccer Park (evidently they don’t want people getting injured on their slick little playing field)

    We began a mens 3 on 3 league last night in the little field. Two teams of 6 guys from the Church faced off against each other in a grueling hard fought battle. The winning goal was kicked in with just 5 second on the clock!

    Come to think of it we should have recruited you Rube. Just think how much fun it would be to team up with Alex, Paul, Carl and other guys you don’t know running around a field designed for 3rd graders.

    Plus in this league there is no offsides penalty. (But you’re still not allowed to use your hands).

  38. itsasecret2u said,

    Of all my readers I thought surely you would have caught the subtle references to Proverbs 30:18-19.

    Wow, totally missed that one. Maybe if they had all been in a row in your post…

  39. danielbalc said,

    The verse was actually the motivation of the post.

    While the exposition is “loose” at best I thought it was a playful and enjoyable self-deprecation.

    However from some of the responses (ahem #1) it’s clear that most of my readers missed this and instead focused on assisting me out of my stupidity.

    oh well

  40. danielbalc said,

    Regarding Pet Ownership

    In my opinion cases like this…

    mother blames child in dog mauling

    should be punished by two years in prison.

    The disproportionate degree of justice that comes into play when the subject is dogs is disgusting.

  41. Echo_ohcE said,


    I don’t know why you’d be surprised that people would try to help you out of your stupidity. 🙂

    You asked for that…


  42. Matt said,

    I recognize that you have played the game all your life,

    I played the game all my adolescent life, thus the dry heaving after running for two minutes in our new indoor league.

    If a forward wants to cherry-pick, so what?

    Maybe this rule change will benefit American soccer to the point where people will actually watch it since us simple-minded folk need high scoring action for it to be watchable.

  43. itsasecret2u said,

    I invite you to delight in seeing my ignorance. You may, if you like, try to educate me in my stupidity.

    Psh. You asked for it.

  44. danielbalc said,

    One more example of lunatic pet owners…


  45. What I learned from the CNN debates and my CC poetry class « Daniel’s Den said,

    […] 1, 2008 at 9:16 am (Politics thoughts) In my entry, I consider myself reasonably intelligent, I stated that I simply don’t understand Haiku. Well after you read this post you’ll […]

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