Archive for August, 2013

The Art of Stupidity

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

Stupidity is not the lack of knowledge; that’s merely ignorance and is not so very dangerous as true stupidity.

True stupidity is not acting on possessed knowledge. It could also be pretending that you currently don’t exhibit any stupidity in some part of your life.

You told Towns he was behaving as if stupidity was a virtue. If he’s making it into a virtue, YOU’RE MAKING IT INTO A BLOODY SCIENCE!
–Lew from “Flight of the Phoenix”

A Second, Safer Journey behind the Brass Curtain

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

We have successfully infiltrated Jordan Spencer Cunningham’s underground lab once again, this time without any fatalities (see our last venture for more details on the deaths of our valiant men).

An advanced robot was designed with a cost of over $5.2 million (US) specifically for this mission. Its six “armlegs” give it the agility to move quickly across any surface and the flexibility to climb any incline from zero degrees to 180 degrees, and its small size (about the size of the typical smartphone with all armlegs extended) gives it an edge when trying to avoid detection or when sneaking into secured areas. It is equipped with all the typical environmental sensors:  heat, visible light, microwave, magnetic field, proximity, gyroscope, accelerometer, and infrared sensors. We have also equipped it with very highly advanced and beyond state-of-the-art (or state-of-the-science, if you will) “otherworldly” or supernatural sensors, brainwave sensors, and olfactory sensors.

Late last night, a mobile team positioned themselves as close as they dare to Jordan Spencer Cunningham’s known laboratory location and sent in the bot. This is the footage the bot streamed to our servers before it was discovered.

We’re not sure who or what discovered the robot and destroyed it, but the feed of all of the sensors ended the instant the video stream ended. All of the sensors went from normal to overwhelmed that moment before the video stream ended, so we have no idea what happened.

However, we are very pleased to have the short video and sensory data that we did collect. One can see the robot skitter across the floor and climb up some kind of desk (our sensory readings verify the object it climbed was about three or four feet tall). First we see some blackish object a few times larger than the robot, a small white object the robot passes, then a brown object that the robot climbs over– we think this is a multitool of some sort. Another large object emerges out of the darkness, and soon it is clear that it is a typewriter– one can read “Standard Typewriter” in fancy lettering, and an old-fashioned keyboard can be seen above that. The robot then approaches a modern keyboard, climbs over it, and then gives us a brief view of what we believe to be a check– for the payment of what, we haven’t the foggiest. There is obviously some kind of paperwork beneath the keyboard and the check, but the video is too blurry to make out what it says. Beyond the keyboard where the robot pauses to look around for a moment, we see a curious figure: what appears to be a stuffed monkey-like creature, though some of our experts have postulated that this could be the creature that destroyed the robot– but if it was alive, how did the robot not sense its heat, brainwaves, and any supernatural qualities? Why did it not attack when the robot first ascended the desk? Beyond the creature we see what appears to be the wall of the room, more of the typewriter, more paperwork, and, nearest to the wall, a curious device that appears to be made out of wood, brass, and some other unknown substances. The sensors confirm that the odd tapping sounds heard throughout the length of the video stream are coming from the direction of this device. The robot’s sensors also picked up two sources of electromagnetic interference also emanating from the direction of the device. We are fairly certain that this device is the same device that can be discerned near the top-left corner of the desk in this photograph. Beyond the device, the robot approaches something taller than the desk that is obviously made out of wood; we’re unsure if it is an extension of the desk, a large enclosure for some other wicked device, or something else. The robot scales this object and finds at its pinnacle even more curious: a wooden stand with two wires protruding and connecting to who knows where. The robot begins to scale the stand and whatever it is holding, we see more wood, something so blurry that it’s hard to make out, and then– as the robot pauses in its ascent, we see for a brief moment the word “VOLTS” with the beginning of another word. The robot then continues to climb, climbs up something that is glowing blue, something else that is glowing red, and then up something that shines much more than the wood. The robots heat sensors were showing that there was a small amount of heat escaping from whatever it was climbing, which leads us to believe that it was hollow and contained some kind of machinery that was powered by or sent signals through the two wires previously mentioned. We believe that the object the robot scales here is the same wooden box near the top right corner of the previously linked image; the part of the box that appears to be some sort of meter would correlate very well with the word “VOLTS”. Finally the robot scales the object, and we are presented with what appears to be a monitor. Letters or digits appear every few seconds, and it appears that hundreds of these characters have been produced on the screen. After a few moments, the robot is violently seized without any warning from any of the sensors, all of the sensors immediately go haywire, and all of our data ends there.

If you can discover any other clues that our analytical team missed, please let us know.

Ode to the Musician

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

No, this is not a post about Eric Whitacre (most of my posts about music seem to be), but rather this is about a friend in need.

I have a memory of Kelly DeHaan, my high school choir teacher, telling a choir room full of immature boys the effects that music can have on one’s mind– how it can heal the soul, open up vistas that could never be imagined previously, and explore the dark, secret, beautiful parts of a human soul that could not be accessed otherwise.

Now, being able to sing or play the piano, especially in the oft shallow high school culture, will usually win a person all sorts of admiration and attention. I’m not sure what all the other fellows in that room thought of what he was saying then and in many other deep conversations Kelly D had with his choirs throughout the years, but I wasn’t there for the glory, at least in a worldly, high-school-esque sense.

There’s a lot of glory involved in the various groups and clubs and teams found in the typical high school, but none of them have the potential to open up a person’s soul as those involving music. That’s not all, however. Some people say that, in the end, what kind of teacher a person has doesn’t really matter because the student can make of it whatever he likes. While I believe that the student is responsible for making the best of his or her education, I need to point out that this statement is utterly false. I have been blessed with several truly incredible father-figures in the absence of my own father; most of them came in the form of school teachers, and Kelly D is among these few incredible individuals. These are men who loved what they did, did it exceptionally well, instilled a love of what they did into others, and, most importantly, loved those they were entrusted with. Kelly D is not the least of these.

The only way to rid the world of its darkness is to shine our own lights into it. Music has such potential to disperse the darkness in the lives of people, to heal the hell-stricken soul. I saw it happen in the faces of people we performed for. I saw it happen in the lives of my peers. I saw it happen in my own life. After I graduated, I was able to carry the talent and love I learned from him to other sick souls in dark corners of our universe, and I saw their lives also change. Suffice it to say that some of us owe Kelly DeHaan our lives, and he likely doesn’t know the stories of the darkness he had a hand in defeating in the lives of so many. I daresay Kelly DeHaan’s voice, hands, talent, and love are extensions of the voice, the hands, the talent, and the very love of God.

It’s too soon for the world to lose these things– even just his voice. It’s still too dark out there.

I include his own writing now:

My dear friends,

For more than three years I have been battling a condition called gastro esophageal reflux disorder (GERD). It’s an ugly word for an ugly condition. Due to a combination of hiatal hernia and over-zealous acid and pepsin production in my stomach, there is an almost constant presence of acid on my vocal chords and in my esophagus. This acid eats away at the tissue and leaves my voice raw and vulnerable. The continual erosion and healing in my larynx and esophagus is a cause of concern for doctors as this is an ideal environment for the development of cancer. There is no sign of cancer at this point. For three years I have been taking the highest dosage of anti-reflux medication available. I have changed my diet and eating habits. I have tried vocal rest, voice therapy, allergy shots, chiropractic assistance, and I have had endless scopes that have showed no progress, only progressive damage. I have consulted with 5 different doctors about this issue: an ENT, a gastroentrologist, a general surgeon, and two gastric surgeons. They all agree that the only permanent solution to my particular reflux problem is a surgical process called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This surgical process reroutes the acid and pepsin to the large intestine and creates a small pouch from the stomach for initial digestion. This surgery is common for severe weight loss treatment. It will also stop the acid and pepsin from attacking my esophagus and vocal folds forever. Finally.

After two failed appeals to our medical insurance for coverage, Shellie and I have decided to pay for the procedure ourselves. With two missionaries in the field this is truly a leap of faith, but we feel the time is right. I have scheduled a date for the surgery later this month. I know this is the right path.

In thinking of how to pay for this surgery it came to mind that many of my friends and members of my choirs have often asked me to record some of the songs they have heard me sing at various firesides and church services over the last few years. The Lord blessed me with a small window of time where my voice felt healthy enough to go into the studio and record a few songs. They are all songs of faith and testimony. These are songs that have changed my life over the past few years. My dear friend Merrilee Webb accompanied me and together we recorded the songs at her amazing sound studio. I am reaching out to my friends, hoping that they might be interested in supporting me with this project. If I can sell about 1000 CDs the bulk of the surgical costs will be covered. Maybe you know of someone who could benefit from this type of music. I feel really great about how the songs turned out. You’ll recognize most of the tunes: Consider the Lilies, How Great Thou Art, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, There is a Savior, and many others.

I feel like this project will help me continue serving the Lord with my voice and my music. I’m so thankful for the way He has blessed my life with singing and with friends. Below is a link that will take you where you need to go if you’d like to place an order. Thank you so much for your time and friendship.

Kelly DeHaan

You can order his music to help here.

Here he is playing and singing a song he wrote for us 2008-2009 Madrigals before we graduated.