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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton


Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
There are many fluid media in our world today. Obviously, viewers of this vlog are most interested in the aquatic medium, which is at once natural and foreign to us. We spend the first 40 weeks or so floating about in a sea of our own urine, possibly sporting gills for a short while in the "ontology recapitulates phylogeny" process.

Fascinating but possibly off the subject explanation:

[Note to those who took Science for Dummies
TM in college and somehow escaped learning this magical phrase. What it basically means is that our development in the womb, or ontogeny, repeats, or recapitulates, the evolution of ever more complex life forms, or phylogeny, of earth's animal life. We start off as one-celled organisms, progress into something a bit more like a sponge-like ball of cells, progress even further to the gilled salamander stage, etc. until we come out as humanoids 9 months later.

If you ever want to make someone think you are either smart or pompous, you can't do better than to memorize "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" and use it at every possible opportunity.]

Back to fluid media

Only during this womb submersion in the amniotic brine are we totally at home as sea creatures. Once born, we become largely terrestrial life forms, dependent on air, unable to swim without lessons at the Y that once again recapitulate a certain phylogeny--starfish, guppies, eels, pikes, sharks, dolphins.

Fascinating but possibly off the subject reverie:

[More fodder for digression. How many of us did, in point of fact, learn to swim at a Y? I can remember like it was yesterday the half century ago when 6-year-old Jimby took his first breaststroke-like pull in the tiny basement Sewickley YMCA pool, achieved propulsion, and quickly taught my twin brother John how to swim! I don't know what was more satisfying? As the surgeons say, "See one, Do one, Teach one!" To this day, I credit teaching my brother how to swim as one of my signature life achievements.]

Penultimate desperate attempt to justify today's video:

We never regain our vestigial gills, alas; never again regain that amphibean-like blind cave frog nature, the blissful subconsious memories of which, I am convinced, are the chief cause for the return to the womb fantasies guys like me chronically suffer.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I try to return to the womb every chance I get.

Where was I?

Wrapping things up quickly here, let me restate today's vlog's central theses:

1. We are born from tiny seas of our own creation
2. I taught my brother how to swim
3. Air is also a fluid medium
4. Swimmers like to flock together
5. Please enjoy my twin brother's latest charming and short YouTube film, narrated by the irrepressible Cameron, who students of this vlog will recall pronounced me "Sunk" during my inaugural open water swimming event.
6. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.


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Updated January 7th, 2009 at 01:08 PM by jim thornton



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  1. tjburk's Avatar
    Jim, for your reading pleasure...

    The theory of recapitulation, also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism, and often expressed as ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, was first put forward in 1866 by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel proposed that the embryonal development of an individual organism (its ontogeny) followed the same path as the evolutionary history of its species (its phylogeny). This theory, in the highly elaborate and deterministic form advanced by Haeckel, has, since the early twentieth century, been refuted on many fronts. Haeckel's drawings used artistic licence, his theory was associated with Lamarckism, it was quite clearly wrong in supposing that embryos passed through the adult stages of more primitive life-forms, it ignored organs such as teeth which are "held over" to a late developmental stage, and it was used by Haeckel to promote the supremacy of the white European male. However, the basic idea of recapitulation is still wide spread - Stephen Jay Gould's first book begins by declaring that many medical professionals still believe, privately and informally, that there is "something in" the notion.
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    Tracy, I see that magnificent picture of you emerging from the ocean with your surfboard, taking perhaps your first breath of air after a life time of living contentedly in the primordial ooze, determined to climb onto terra firma and tell one and all across the land: I believe in the irrefutable theory of evolution! To adhere to quasi-moronic notions of Creationism is for suckers! Sure, some still find consolation in conservative Wiki sites out to discredit the central organizing tenet of life of on earth! But not me! I am no such dupe and never will be!

    Welcome, newcomer, to the land of enlightenment!
  3. tjburk's Avatar
    Jim, you will be assimilated.....quit fighting it!!!!!

    A little education is warranted here i see....

    human fetuses have pharyngeal or branchial pouches that are sometimes called gill slits. They are transitory structures that eventually become parts of the jaw and the upper respiratory tract and they do not function like gills at all.
  4. jim thornton's Avatar
    Maybe not yours! Mine did! My gills were fully operational. I can still remember inhaling lungfulls of sweet identical twin urine and being sustained by these. Marvelous. If you want, John and I can send you some samples.
  5. tjburk's Avatar
    Updated January 9th, 2009 at 09:00 AM by tjburk (Because as usual, Jim can't come up with anything useful to say!)
  6. Chicken of the Sea's Avatar
    I was flung into the Parramatta River as a small child, and learned to swim by watching my sister

    It is well known that the Parramatta River is mainly comprised of beer, urine, toxic waste, and bull sharks. As a consequence, my sis and I have both retained our gills, and are much sought-after for our party tricks.
  7. tjburk's Avatar
    Updated January 9th, 2009 at 09:00 AM by tjburk (Because as usual, Jim can't come up with anything useful to say!)
  8. quicksilver's Avatar
    I enjoyed the delightful bird video.

    Pamela Anderson has fake gills.
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    Thanks, Mr. Quicksilver, Ms. Chicken of the Sea, and Mr. Tjburk for your comments! The nice thing about Tracy is that if you somehow get him on a topic, like evolution or the Bush Administration's blunders, he is remarkably adept at disproving the obvious, i.e., that evolution and the Bush Administration's blunders are both spectacularly real! A few comments like this will keep things going for months, if not years, which drives up the "blog to comment" ratio, making other people think, "Hmm, this must be a very interesting blog, I shall check it out." Thus, on this note, thank you very much, Tracy.

    One question for you:

    You are saying it is impossible for something to come from nothing, that there had to be a creator of some sort that made this something.

    What is wrong with instead thinking that matter and energy in some form or other have ALWAYS been, and hence were never created at all? They just ALWAYS existed?

    If you disagree with this, then what about God or god himself or herself or itself of themselves. Either God has always been, and hence was never created, or SOMETHING must have created God, in your line of reasoning. But what created the Forerunner God that created the current God, or did the Forerunner God always exist? No? Then a forerunner to the forerunner God must have created Forerunner God, and so forth.

    Bottom line: either something/entity has always existed, or there have been infinite number of creators creating creators, with no first creator.

    Which seems to me to come awfully close to swinging us back to my proposition, i.e., that matter and energy, in some form, HAVE ALWAYS EXISTED and hence were never initially created.

    I will figure out how to turn this into a swimming vlog soon.
  10. The Fortress's Avatar
    Is this facebooK?

    Jim, I've said that before. Perhaps there was no beginning. Shouldn't have to say it again on a SR blog!

    Hey, I was trying to remember the exact thing you said to me about hypoxic training the other day. Something about speed training killing your hypoxic work because of X. Couldn't remember exactly what X was. Chris and I were chatting about it on my blog yesterday.

    Very nice video!
  11. tjburk's Avatar
    Updated January 9th, 2009 at 08:59 AM by tjburk (Because as usual, Jim can't come up with anything useful to say!)
  12. Iwannafly's Avatar
    Did I mention that there are plenty of people who believe that aliens from our own solar system came to Earth and genetically engineered the human race and are the basis of both Christianity and the creation myths of most early civilizations? Take my loving Father as an examply (tongue firmly planted in cheek when I say this). Google Zechariah Sitchin and/or the "The 12th Planet"!
  13. tjburk's Avatar
    Updated January 9th, 2009 at 08:59 AM by tjburk (Because as usual, Jim can't come up with anything useful to say!)
  14. jim thornton's Avatar
    Dawkins said other ridiculous things, too, when he was having sex with Mrs. Garrison on South Park.

    Tracy, your argument about your open mindedness is so Fox News. In this world, every issue has two diammetrically opposed sides, and the producers get two talking heads to sit in the right chairs. On one side sits someone like Bill O'Reilly, spittle flying; on the other side, somebody taking the opposite point of view.

    You have slowly been acculturated to believe that this is how reality works: two sides to every story, both equally deserving of a fair public hearing, the dullards themselves get to choose what they believe.

    The problem here is that when it comes to matters like evolution, the dullards shouldn't get to choose what they believe. It is simply inarguable that the basic tenets of evolutionary "theory" are verifiable, proven, repeatable, and accurate. To say a person who does not believe alternative explanations, AKA, the Flying Spaghetti Monster Theory, are close-minded is simply a wrong-headed argument.


    You say your name is Tracy Burkholder, and that is a picture of you holding a surfboard.

    I say, maybe this is true, but it is just as likely that your name is Liza Minnelli, and that is a tongue depressor you are holding.

    You say, that's not true! I'm not Liza, I'm Tracy. This is not a tongue depressor, it's a surfboard.

    I say, You are so close-minded, Liza! I grant you it's possible you are Tracy. Why can't you grant me the possibility, even, that you are Liza?

    You say, That's not a reasonable argument!

    I say, You and I finally agree.

    Now, just substitute Liza with Creationism, and You for Me, and you will feel a great shroud of ignorance being removed from your field of vision.

    Happy New Year, my newly enlightened friend, Liza!
  15. tjburk's Avatar
    Updated January 9th, 2009 at 08:58 AM by tjburk (Because as usual, Jim can't come up with anything useful to say!)
  16. jim thornton's Avatar
    Liza, I am sorry. But as moderator of the vlog, I am going to have to start editing your comments a little to make them more swimming related.

    And on that note, I ask that you step back on to the wagontrain to the past, perchance to help some neighbors raise a roof beam or groom their hides of insect pests!
  17. tjburk's Avatar
    Updated January 9th, 2009 at 08:58 AM by tjburk (Because as usual, Jim can't come up with anything useful to say!)
  18. chaos's Avatar
  19. tjburk's Avatar
    Updated January 9th, 2009 at 08:58 AM by tjburk (Because as usual, Jim can't come up with anything useful to say!)
  20. The Fortress's Avatar
    Great article, Dave! I'm really on board with the "Atheism: Sleep in on Sunday" slogan from OZ.
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