Life Update?

I start orientation for school in three days. Yikes.

I walked home last night from just north of the Loop down Wabash Ave. to my apartment on 9th St. and I noticed something I really hadn't up until the last week. There are some really scary vacancies in commercial real estate here... places that I frequent - large businesses. A quick rundown of places within about two blocks of me that have went out of business in the last month or two include: Fedex Kinkos, Sam's Wine and Spirits (just opened and beautiful too), Orange (great breakfast place, closed a while ago), a variety of other smaller shops, and now Prairie Avenue Books (story here) is planning to close in September if they can't find a buyer. It's considered the best architectural bookstore in the world. Damn. I start school and they close down a week later, but in the mean time books are 60% off. My area has really improved over the last four years that I've lived here, but this is a regression I could do without.

I've had some really interesting religious... talks/explanations recently with some rather devout Catholics and other Christians. It always kind of amazes me the extent to which logical gymnastics must be performed in order for something to fit into a religious paradigm. Which really is not all that different from scientists working within a certain framework (quantum mechanics and Einstein's theories on gravity) and inventing things to make their observations fit with reality (see: dark matter). The difference being that scientists will move on to the next paradigm when the proof dictates such a shift. Anyways, I found this quote and it reminded me of another that I am fond of:

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brains, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." - Dalai Lama

"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion." - Abraham Lincoln

And as long as I'm talking about science and religion. Why do Christians, generally the more "extreme" ones, often use the fact that the natural world isn't fully understood by science as a reason for God's existence?

Them - "Where did the universe come from then?"
Me - "The Big Bang."
Them - "Well where did the material for the Big Bang come from?"
Me - "That's harder to explain but if I could magically make you understand a lot of physics and make the internet appear before your eyes I'd say baryogenesis."
Them - Pick any of the following: confused look, "You're going to hell.", "There's no proof for that." (yes there is two guys won a Nobel Prize for it and O how ironic).

I promise I will never debate science and religion with anyone who denies evolution or the commonly accepted laws of physics as we currently understand them. And of course I'm going to hell. I've had way too much fun thus far.

Edit: The Air and Water Show is going on in Chicago. Everyone goes "ooohhh" and "aaahhh" when the FA-18's fly by and the F-22's seem to defy gravity, but I always think, "Can you imagine if those things were flying over your city for keeps? Instead of flying 300 knots they were going mach one point something and dropping munitions? Scary is an understatement."