Palm Connection

Is it possible for a human being to have a spiritual affinity for certain kinds of trees? Because I think I have such an affinity for palm trees. I didn't always, but I definitely do now. Whenever I am anywhere near palm trees, I am filled with feelings of contentment. Without exception, palm trees make me happy and I enjoy looking at them. There is no specific palm tree or species of palm tree that I am most drawn to. Any type will have the same positive effect on me.

The case could be made that this is the result of simple Pavlovian conditioning over time. Since I live in Wisconsin, where there are no palm trees, the appearance of palm trees in my surroundings usually correlates with being on a trip somewhere tropical, most likely a vacation destination involving lots of fun activities.

It's a strongish theory. Even though my life is basically one big vacation filled with friends, family, and fun on demand, I love the novelty of traveling to other places. But there are a couple significant flaws in this theory. I also like traveling to places sans (without) palm trees and I don't have the same spiritual affinity for, say, the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland (exotic and amazing though they are), even though I had loads of fun when I was there. Also, I have an affinity, albeit somewhat attenuated, for the various varieties of palm fronded friends that inhabit the botanic gardens right in my home city of Madison WI. So the palm tree connection would seem to be only weakly linked to geography.

Another possible basis for my affinity for palm trees - and one that seems to address the problems of the aforementioned theory - may have to do with the mood boosting effects of Vitamin D. Most places with palm trees tend to be sunny places and sun exposure ramps of levels of Vitamin D in the human body, which has putative beneficial effects on mood and well being and general good health. Wisconsin (as well as Ireland) is in the northern latitudes of the United States and sun exposure, the only natural way to achieve healthy Vitamin D levels without supplementation, is reduced, especially in the winter when we are all indoors or bundled up to hide from the cold. So the availability of palm trees and my internal levels of Vitamin D may be highly correlated, and if my Vitamin D levels are directly correlated with my mood, this could explain why I am drawn to palm trees.

Do you have alternative hypotheses? Please leave a comment and expound.


Nigh Upon Us is the End

Armageddon came unexpectedly during the night. Both timing and form were surprising. There were no suggestive clues beforehand. Even the scientists admitted being baffled.

"We're quite baffled," they collectively said.

The media was quick to sensationalize.

"Scientists failed us," said the pundits. "We should never have believed them."

The President pointed something out though. "God failed us too," he said.

Failure to believe brought the End. Without belief, there was only chaos.

In truth, collective belief sustained reality.


Weekend Gupdate

My band GUPPY EFFECT played a show on Saturday evening and it may have been the last performance for a spell because we need to go on indefinite hiatus while our guitarist Stefan adapts to fatherhood. His wife Kat is expecting a baby Stefan or Stefanie in the next few weeks.

If you weren't able to see the show on Saturday, there are snippets floating around on the Internet, most notably on Ustream (search for Cactus Joe Productions there).

In the interim, I am working on a new project with Derek Reynolds and Cody Smalley called SKOOLNITE BENDER, which will play mostly 90s hard rock covers. And just tonight I discovered I may be auditioning for the bass player role in Kelsey Miles' band, FIGHTING FOR, although talks are still very preliminary and there is no guarantee I'll make the cut.*

On September 10, I will be guest rocking on bass with YOUR MOM, a cover band that is the brainchild of one of my musical contemporaries, Phil Dickert.

I am still not sure of the status of classy punk rock band EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE, but I am hopeful that will pick up again at some point.

*Disclaimer: My chances are probably pretty good though.