Monday, October 31, 2011

How small are we?

My mind is drifting again. It happens more and more as I get older. I'm not high. I'm not drunk. It's drifting all on its own. This happens whether I welcome it or not, so I've learned to just go with it.

I'm another one of those who likes to sit outside and look up at the night sky. I love to look at the stars and try to think about how far away and how very huge they really are. Scientists tell me that many of these stars are sometimes thousands and thousands of times the size of our Sun. And even it could hold
a million of our planets within it.

So, how tiny is our world? How tiny are we?

I look up at those stars, so many times larger than our Sun, and even being so unimaginably huge, they're so far away, they appear to be smaller than well-lit specks of dust showing themselves in a sunbeam on a bright morning through a window.

So, how tiny are we?

This perception of something so big, seeming so small, is merely the way it looks from my perspective, sitting on my back porch. Imagining how small we are from a galactic perspective takes us down to smaller than a bacterium, in relation. And here I sit on my back porch.

How tiny are we? How tiny, indeed?

As if considering our size in relation to the galaxy were bad enough, imagine how small our entire world is in comparison to the group of nearby galaxies, then compared to the Universe. In comparison to the whole of the Cosmos, we'd make that aforementioned dust speck seem impossibly colossal in comparison. In relation to the whole of the Universe, our world is smaller than any bacteria. We're smaller than a molecule. We're smaller than an atom. Perhaps, in comparison to our Universe, we might compete with something on the quantum level. But I'd also wager we may yet only be some sort of a particle within that quantum structure– in comparison.

Perhaps, in the much grander scheme of things, the entirety of our known Universe is also but an atom, in some other unimaginably vast plane of existence. We could be a component of a cell in some other living thing, perhaps some part of some giant creature's ass. Perhaps we're just a part of more dark matter itself, a bubble of space gas somewhere, serving no definite purpose at all.

How tiny are we, and yet here I sit considering it. And how very, very vain of us to believe in some creator having made us, just to worship him.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can you see it? ISS crosses full moon

Choose Happiness…!

Be Optimistic! Develop a positive way of thinking. That way you can keep focused on your goals. Keep yourself active. Look for exciting activities, sports, music, painting, playing an instrument or some kind of dance whichever makes you feel happy and they will surely be an excellent happiness booster for you. When we do activities that we like more it will certainly keep us excited.

Enjoy and spend time with nature. Nature has the power to heel us and will help us to stay happy and energetic. A long walk in the woods, sweet fragrance of flowers will keep our mind healthy.

Be close to your family. It is always more gratifying to be with our near and dear ones. It’s better to be in a social environment rather than being lonely. Love is first priority, showing some love to others is very gratifying. If you give love you will be loved, so if you want to feel love from others then give love back first.

Develop your sense of humor, take life lightly and get some laughs….that way you will always feel happy. Value every single moment you experience. Enjoy Life and be grateful for what you receive and give more back.

Come out of the worries and hurt feelings. The more you think about something bad, the more likely it is to happen. Forget about those things that worry you. Do not dedicate time or energy to things that have not yet occurred or things that might never occur.

Above all Be Yourself, letting other people know you exactly as who you are will make you feel free and will make you happy. And accept people as they are. Every human being is unique in a way and has both plus and minus with them. Just count on the good qualities. They will keep you stay positive.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sharing: What does the Internet weigh?

Tired of excessive bank fees? Here's an option.

I was once like you. I found myself tired of the treatment by local banks in regards to the different fees, as well as how snotty a few tellers could be when I had questions. It struck me as odd how a customer could be spoken to in such a condescending tone of voice, on so many occasions.

I was also more than a bit annoyed how, if my account didn't have enough money in it to cover a transaction, they'd let it go through, only to catch me with an overdraft fee of $30 plus. Admittedly, those instances were my fault for not keeping better track of my own money, still, why did they keep letting them go through? Obviously, because the overdraft/insufficient funds fees they charged are all profit for them.

I don't believe in trying to insist a bank change their policies just because I wasn't keeping track of my own funds correctly. I'm a firm believer in taking my business elsewhere, if I'm not happy. But all banks were ever so glad to let an overdraft transaction occur. Of course they were. It's where a big chunk of their earnings came from. I understand. I just really hated how all banks were the same about it. There seemed to be no bank which would decline a transaction for insufficient funds which didn't also charge a fee for that, too. Then, along came the Internet, and with it, some real competition.

Not only does
the bank I use now not play that silly game of letting me hose myself by spending more than I have, they don't charge any fee other than their standard $9.95 per month – flat. No overdraft fees. No insufficient funds charges. No hidden fees. Plain and simple.

If I do happen to use an ATM which isn't part of their network, there is a fee for doing so, and it's based on what the owner of that terminal sets. But that's easily avoided by doing cash back with merchants, instead. At least I get something for what I spend to do cash back that way. AccountNow not only treats me better than any other bank I've ever used, their employees are actually courteous and friendly. That's always a nice treat.

Not only these things, but if you do give AccountNow a try, they'll send you a $10 bonus with the first funding of your account. (Wait until you see what they offer for setting up direct deposit.) You can do that with direct deposit, PayPal and even one of those “GreenDot” cards. Very user-friendly. You won't even go through a ChexSystems screening. They're also major sponsors of this blog. If you're not happy with your current banking relationship, I hope you give them a try.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Anti-Semitism, Socialism and Delusion Within the Occupy Movement

My view of the Occupy Bowel Movement

| Does my sub-title give it away too soon? Will those who come to this page even bother to read further? Or, will they respond in the comments to the title alone? I ask this because, from what I've seen so far, these Occupy protesters seem to only be able to see the surface of things in life - appearances - and lack the capacity to find the devil-in-the-details of anything. Don't get me wrong, I support the right to protest. I do it myself, all the time. I just disagree with the reasons behind the protests, as of late.

When I see young folks in their Che Guevara t-shirts, I want to ask them if he is the only mass murderer they adore, or have they also come to passionately worship Ted Bundy too? Maybe John Wayne Gacy is more their flavor. Would Pol Pot register as a hero to them? Or might they at least take the time to do a Yahoo search on the name first? Who knows, really?

All this bunch has to do is have their ears tickled and their emotions stimulated, and poof goes the critical thinking and desire for analysis. No need for real thought when feelings are so strong. Real thought is hard work, after all. That's why so few do it, according to Henry Ford.

On the topic of the obvious anti-semitism (For the occupiers, that means "hatred of Jews," simply put) displayed in this example and also this one right here, all I can really say is shame on all of them for that. Have the Jewish people not been through enough already? How can anyone with such a deep and pervasive delusion as racism (of any flavor) ever be reached?

I encountered this same mentality (or lack thereof) when I was caught up in the "9/11 Truther Movement," and I'm just glad I escaped the cult. I hope at least some other folks can find their way back out too. I'm grateful to everyone who ever challenged my delusion, and for a father who taught me the courage to be honest, even if only with myself.

Let's also look at the demands for Socialism from the people at these Occupy protests. There is a fundamental difference between free-market Capitalism and crony Capitalism of America's central banking system (There's four words that should never be used together). At least some of the original Occupy protesters primary statement was a stand against the busybody nature of government interfering with free-market Capitalism, for the sake of protecting their pet boot-lickers, and other business quislings, from natural competition in a free market.

Those ideas are ones which I still support. But then once the news began paying attention to the crowd, along come the Socialists, Communists and union thugs, to change the message from its original theme to one of absurdity the very moment they saw an opportunity for free media coverage.

Look. I don't really expect anyone in the MTV generation to believe me about how terrible Socialism is. How about hearing from someone who has lived under it? (Language warning for the easily offended) The protesters might be deceived into thinking they'll all get an "equal piece of the pie," but all they'll be doing is feeding the parasitic leaders, who will dominate every aspect of their lives. These are the very same sorts of people, who have brought about the problems the protesters claim to be concerned with, in the first place.

If someone wants to give away every single value in their lives to others, that's their right. But to even attempt to have everyone else forced to do so as well, through gun-backed laws (which really means "under a death threat") is blatantly immoral. Perhaps Socialism is the refuge of the lazy, the bitter, the ignorant, and the confused, after all.

Originally published on Yahoo.

The Remake Project

Love this collaborative project concept between
Booooooom and Adobe. The idea is to remake a famous piece of art using only photography.

Check out more submissions here.
This old project with Miranda July posing as extras from classic films is also pretty awesome.

So, looks like I got a little teeny mention in the September issue of Cleo SA. Pretty cool :)

Was interesting that I had to find out about it completely by coincidence and wasn't informed about it... but whatevz.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gotta love SNL! - The Love Boat: The Next Generation

Obstacles Are Stepping Stones, Not Stumbling Blocks

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.
Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand.
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Google+ is Already Being Ruined by Multi-Level-Marketing Scams

It didn't take long for what I knew wouldn't be any surprise. In fact, I was waiting for it any day now. They have arrived – the Multi-Level-Marketing fraudsters on Google+. I'm not saying Google is pulling anything. It's those suckers who have some “Wonderful New Exciting Business Opportunity Never Seen Before All Over Again,” bullsh*t to push.

These folks all but ruined MySpace. They've added significantly to the annoyance factor on Facebook. Now, before it even really takes off, they're waiting like hungry vultures on Google+ already. Dammit. People like these folks who head these rip-off operations make a mockery of real business and they murder dreams for those who would like to build their own financial freedom.

Before I get too far into this post, I want to point out that I'm not anti-business. I'm anti-scam. Having been burned more times than I can count with false promises and pie-in-the-sky garbage, all for a paltry monthly fee, I was really hoping to just avoid these morons. Please go peddle your crap somewhere else besides Google+.

To be clear: When it comes to folks working with a legitimate business,I'm cool with that. One of my friends makes her own all-natural lotions and soaps. She's welcome. I do support small business. I even support big business. If you're hoping to promote your website, I'm all yours. If you're just wanting to spread the word letting folks know you've some ad-space for sell in your on-or-offline publication, then be my guest. My wall/home-page/circle is yours.

But those of you in Amway, Melaleuca, Herbalife or any other of the hundreds and hundreds of parasite con artist businesses out there, I don't care if your MLM vitamins, lotions or potions are supposed to be the niftiest thing since the discovery of cheese and wine. It doesn't matter to me if your 1000-level-payout-double-helix-forced-binary-matrix online advertising “business” is ran by an expert team of industry experts (translation: Ballsy con artists from Russia) who've been around since before the Internet was even a glimmer in DARPA's eye.

Your name is not “I've Been Paid Twice Already.” Nor is it “The Amazing Tripler.” If all you're about is your so-called “income opportunity,” and you don't even have the good sense or the decency to at least use a human name – hell a dog name would be better – please, please, please just go straight to hell. Don't add me to your circles on Google+. I didn't welcome your junk on MySpace. I've vehemently reported you for spam on Facebook. You're not going to enjoy any more progress with me on Google+, @$$holes. I will be the worst prospect you've ever come across. Also, dear readers, feel free to share your story of how you've been burned by rip-offs.
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The Museum of Obsolete Objects

Created by Jung von Matt/next, this site's purpose is to show appreciation and remember all those objects that were once household items but are now just unwanted relics.

You can even add in your own obsolete objects if they aren't already in the Museum. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

States Have Priorities Other Than Selling Booze; The Argument for Privatization

COMMENTARY | Here in America, where a free market and Capitalism has resulted in an unprecedented level of prosperity for even the poorest among us compared to the rest of the world, a debate rages in multiple states over whether liquor stores should be ran by private businesses or the government. In a press release issued today by Teamster's General President James P Hoffa, a specious charge is laid of how Washington State getting out of the liquor business will do more harm than good. Ultimately, the issue of liquor store privatization isn't really about liquor, but about smarter uses of government resources.

Alcohol should be regulated, sure. That's reasonable. It's dangerous stuff.

And, as pointed out by the YES on 1183 Coalition, concerned parents can rest assured knowing that Washington's Proposition 1183 doubles the fines for selling alcohol to minors. No business is interested in losing that kind of money. There are other advantages to liquor store privatization. Among these benefits is the one-time influx of cash into financially-burdened state and local governments. Others include a percentage of the liquor sales ensuring continued revenue for the state. And, for those teetotalers who are offended by the very sight of alcohol, Proposition 1183 has built-in restrictions requiring hard liquor to only be sold in retail businesses which meet certain size requirements, thereby preventing liquor from being sold by just any retailer.

Pennsylvania is also considering the option of liquor store privatization.

All the way East across the continent, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is also in a heated debate on the topic. This isn't the first time it has come up, either. Former Governors Dick Thornburgh (1979 to 1987) and Tom Ridge (1995 to 2001) also dealt with the same battle during their terms. Last March Governor Tom Corbett was quoted as saying "Government should no more run the liquor stores than it should run pharmacies and gas stations. This isn't about the money. It's about the principle." For those who will claim privatization will lead to underage drinking, even while liquor stores are ran by the state, Pennsylvania ranks in the middle of the pack as it is. So it would seem to be a moot point, within the big picture. If state control were truly a determining factor in preventing underage drinking, the Commonwealth should be somewhere in the top three positions.

How has liquor store privatization worked for other states?

That's a fair question. To answer it, let's look at the results in the State of West Virginia. In a state which finally recognizes the value of abandoning outdated, 148-year-old Puritan ideals, tax revenues have increased along with the immediate increase in immediate revenues from investors. The state even enjoys the revenue from cross-border sales to Virginians tired of the hum-drum ABC stores of Virginia. With the increase in sales enjoyed by businesses, those businesses earn more profit, which means more capacity to hire and certainly more tax revenues for the state. Come visit me on

Scrappy doodle doo

20 ways to overcome negative thoughts...

1. Realize that you only hurt yourself with negative thoughts. Don’t let them trick you.
2. Decide that you will live your day with happiness and not let negative thoughts steal it.
3. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I’m a positive person. I won’t let negative thoughts control me. I’m a winner in life.”
4. Read positive quotes.
5. Never say negative words in your conversation.
6. Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive. For example, instead of thinking “This problem is too difficult” think “This problem is cool and challenging”.
7. If you think negatively about someone, remember positive things about that person. Shift your attention to the positive side.
8. Smile. It’s more difficult to think negatively when you are smiling.
9. Walk and act confidently. Good body language helps you have good thoughts.
10. Pray or meditate. Spiritual peace and calmness is among the most effective ways to overcome negative thoughts.
11. Gather with positive people. Be careful not to choose the wrong people or the situation will only get worse.
12. Take a nap so that you will wake up with a fresh mind.
13. Read an inspiring book. Spiritual books often do well.
14. Go out and appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
15. Sing a cheerful song.
16. Make yourself comfortable with failure. Failure is the stepping stone to success, so don’t be afraid to fail.
17. Have realistic expectation. Accept the fact that people could make mistakes since nobody is perfect.
18. If you think negatively about a situation, decide that you won’t give up even if the worst happens. Prove yourself to be a tough opponent. You are a winner.
19. Accept yourself and be comfortable in who you are. You can’t be perfect but neither can anyone else.
20. Help someone. Shift the focus away from yourself and do good to others.

Three good reasons to fear no evil

Just because I cannot reconcile my understanding of the world around me with a belief in any sort of a deity, it doesn't mean I deny the existence of evil. What I see as evil might not be things like particular words or what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms, but I certainly see evil in those actions which cause unnecessary harm to others. Evil exists in a variety of forms, and even with no God to point the way, walking knee-deep in its flood is perhaps the most natural thing in life.

Both we non-believers and believers alike must deal with the various forms of evil. Whether a person responds to it by turning inward and praying or whether a person responds by turning inward and rationalizing, the net result is the same. It's still there. The existence of evil by the hands of others is one of those immutable facts of life. Denial will not make it go away and it feeds on our fear.

There are three reasons I will not live my life in fear of the harm some might wish on others. There may be more, but for now, I'm only able to identify these three. Maybe, just maybe, one of them could prove key in helping a reader cope with something they're going through. I sure hope so. That person – whomever they are – is the reason I share this today.

Reason number one to fear no evil: I give as good as I get, maybe better. I'm not a big guy, compared to what most consider big guys. I try not to be loud. I try not to impose on others. So, win or lose, anyone who tries to hurt me, mine or anyone in my company will – at the very least – be left with a scar they can brag about later. I won't lie and claim to have won every challenge in my life. I've lost plenty of encounters (physical or otherwise) but no enemy has ever forgotten me.

Reason number two to fear no evil: I could be wrong. In cases where dealing with a harmful person isn't so much a case of a direct conflict, it could be nothing more than a case of different perspectives. I used to think my ex was evil. I now realize hers was a case of someone doing what they felt they had to do. I used to use the figure-of-speech in that sometimes what appears to be a demon is just an angel with a job to do. For example; a burglar might “think” of the police as the enemy. But all of the rest of society knows the cops are just protecting lives and property. In this case, it's the burglar who would be wise to seek a new line of work. Having done so, he may find those officers to be some great allies. (This is merely for illustrative purposes. I'm neither a burglar nor a cop. Please keep the rumors to yourself.)

Reason number three to fear no evil: Evil people eat their own. This is my primary reason for living my life boldly, even in the face of the most vicious and unnecessarily harmful. Ultimately, even in cases where I might lose a challenge and even in those cases where it's not so much a matter of perspective, evil eventually destroys itself. The burglar has to, at some point, transport their loot in a suspicious manner and the law-of-averages will eventually catch up to them with an officer on patrol. Perhaps they'll break into the home of a well-armed and protective homeowner.

Those in power who would oppress their subjects eventually accumulate too many enemies. Liars and false accusers over-speak their case, eventually giving away a key detail and trip themselves up. Murderers live with the memories of their victims. This list could go on forever. One day, in some way and at the most inconvenient time, evil people do themselves in. I may not get to witness it myself, but I know it happens this way. I've seen it happen enough times to take confidence in my walk through this world. I hope you do too.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Melancholy Donkey

What a wonderfully interesting site, dedicated to all things donkey. Every picture or piece of writing is related to donkeys...
It's a German site, and the title, Equus Asinus, is the latin term for donkey, or rather the actual definition is a wild ass of AfricaI'm not even making that up! Oh, how I lol'ed.
Anyway, it's a really awesome collection - the same subject, with every piece as a different interpretation of it. Beautiful and amazing. Check it out here.

An Inspiring story - This too will pass...!

Once a King called upon all of his wise men and asked them,“Is there a mantra or suggestion which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and in every time, something which can help me when none of you is available to advise me? Tell me is there any mantra?”
All wise men got puzzled by King’s question. He wanted one answer for all questions?Something that works everywhere, in every situation, in every joy, every sorrow, every defeat and every victory? They thought and thought.
After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested something which appealed to all of them. They went to the king and gave him something written on paper. But the condition was that king was not to see it out of curiosity. Only in extreme danger, when the King finds himself alone and there seems to be no way, only then he’ll have to see it. The King put the papers under his Diamond ring.
After a few days, the neighbors attacked the Kingdom. It was a collective surprise attack of the King’s enemies. King and his army fought bravely but lost the battle. King had to flee on his horse. The enemies were following him. His horse took him far away in the Jungle. He could hear many troops of horses following him and the noise was coming closer and closer. Suddenly the King found himself standing at the end of the road – that road was not going anywhere. Underneath there was a rocky valley thousand feet deep.
If he jumped into it, he would be finished and he could not return because it was a small road. The sound of enemy’s horses was approaching fast. King became restless. There seemed to be no way.
Then suddenly he saw the Diamond in his ring shining in the sun, and he remembered the message hidden in the ring. He opened the diamond and read the message. The message was very small but very great.The message was – “This too will pass.”The King read it. Again read it. 
Suddenly something struck him- Yes! It too will pass. Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my kingdom. I was the mightiest of all the Kings. Yet today, the Kingdom and all his pleasure have gone. I am here trying to escape from enemies. However when those days of luxuries have gone, this day of danger too will pass. Calm come on his face.He kept standing there. The place where he was standing was full of natural beauty. He had never known that such a beautiful place was also a part of his Kingdom. The revelation of the message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about those following him.
After a few minutes he realized that the noise of the horses and the enemy coming was receding. They moved into some other part of the mountains and were not on that path.The King was very brave. He reorganized his army and fought again. He defeated the enemy and regained his lost empire. When he returned to his empire after victory, he was received with much fan fare at the door. The whole capital was rejoicing in the victory. Everyone was in a festive mood. Flowers were being thrown on the King from every house, from every corner. People were dancing and singing. For a moment King said to himself,” I am one of the bravest and greatest King. It is not easy to defeat Me.: With all the reception and celebration he saw an ego emerging in him.
Suddenly the Diamond of his ring flashed in the sunlight and reminded him of the message. He opened it and read it again: “This too will pass”
He became silent. His face went through a total change -from the egoist he moved to a state of utter humbleness. If this too is going to pass, it is not yours. The defeat was not yours, the victory is not yours. You are just a watcher. Everything passes by
We are witness of all this. We are the perceiver. Life comes and goes.
Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes.
Now as you have read this story, just sit silently and evaluate your own life.. Think of the moments of joy and victory in your life. Think of the moment of Sorrow and defeat. Are they permanent? They all come and pass away. Life just passes away. There is nothing permanent in this world. Every thing changes except the law of change.
Think over it from your own perspective. You have seen all the changes. You have survived all setbacks, all defeats and all sorrows. All have passed away. If there are problems in the present, they too will pass away. Nothing remains forever. Joy and sorrow are the two faces of the same coin. They both will pass away. Who are you in reality? Know your real face. Your face is not your true face. It will change with the time. 
However, there is something in you, which will not change. It will remain unchanged. What is that unchangeable? It is nothing but your true self. You are just a witness of change.
Experience it; understand the spiritual dimension behind this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Before we go celebrating Obama's 'Big Success' in Iraq

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy as heck to hear our troops are finally, after nine long years, getting to come home. But the way the end of activities in Iraq are presented, it's as if some in the media want us to all think it's some kind of a rabbit President Obama managed to pull out of his ass. Not quite.

In a non-American news source we all know and love as “The Guardian” it's reported the real reason our troops finally get to come home is merely
the Iraqis no longer want us there. It seems we've done a good enough of a job, and now the Iraqi government wants to do it on their own.

It's not so much that Obama even “did” anything, not even as a ploy to get re-elected. It's just a simple matter of our time there is over. Nothing more.

We'll still keep an embassy presence in Baghdad, and the required troops to make that work. But sadly for our current president, this one isn't really so much a “feather in his cap.” I'm glad they all get to come home, really. I'm one of those who feels perhaps we've been there a little too long as it is. And knowing all those families will be reunited fills me with joy. But this isn't one Obama gets credit for from anyone other than the incredibly gullible.

He'll try though. All politicians do. We should've never been there in the first place. I'd like to see an American politician admit to that.
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Well there goes any hope for women's rights in Libya

Please see the update at the bottom of this entry. Well now, Gadhafi's dead and Libya's free, eh? Think again! In a report from Yahoo News, it's revealed the foundation of new legislation in the country is...wait for it...Sharia Law! The very idea of freedom has effectively been thrown out the window already.

This has to be a record somewhere. Gadhafi was killed just a few days back, and already the entire nation is heading for a future of female genital mutilation, honor killings, women being stoned to death for the “crime” of being a rape victim and denied an education. The speed at which Libya has denied themselves a chance at real peace, prosperity or even something so basic as liberty is amazing.

In the above-referenced news topic it reads “The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil set out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the 'basic source' of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, but rather to chant 'Allahu Akbar,' or God is Great. He then stepped aside and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.” Wow! You can lead a nation to opportunity, but you can't make them think. What a waste.

I suppose folks just can't find the courage within themselves to live their lives without having to rely on superstition, mythology and fairy tales. Sadly, it will be the women and children of a very rich nation who will pay the price for the intellectual laziness of their leaders. It's a sad day when people behave in such a way to lead folks like me to believe Glenn Beck might have been correct after all.

UPDATE! According to the following video, we Americans had the wrong idea about Libya under Gadhafi. We've heard all sorts of horrible things over the years, but check out the following video:

His death may be even worse than I thought. F*ck Islamofascism.
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Responding to Pastor Mark Driscoll; Methinks he doth protest too much

If you're easily offended, go away now. I'm going to speak on a topic which is a bit “adult” in nature, and frankly, I've no time to respond to idiocy. With that being said...

Dear Pastor Mark Driscoll.

I read with some interest the article titled
“Christian Right Wing Pastor Mark Driscoll Says Masturbation Is Form Of Homosexuality” by Stephen D. Foster posted on October 19th, 2011. In the article, it's alleged you said that, for men anyway, masturbation is a form of homosexuality.

You're quoted as having said: “First, masturbation can be a form of homosexuality because it is a sexual act that does not involve a woman. If a man were to masturbate while engaged in other forms of sexual intimacy with his wife then he would not be doing so in a homosexual way. However, any man who does so without his wife in the room is bordering on homosexual activity, particularly if he’s watching himself in a mirror and being turned on by his own male body.”

Wow! Just...WOW! Perhaps you sir, are the guy who's masturbating to a mirror, and not fantasizing about some memory of a sexual experience you've had with a woman. If you are, that's okay. Heck guy, a few of my friends are gay and it's really not my business. So, if you are gay, I'm cool with it.

But to make such a sweeping statement about all men, that's just plain, old-fashioned idiotic. Each time I've ever masturbated in my life, it's involved a fantasy of a woman or two. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but an idiotic remark like yours is kind of begging for a response. I know there'll be a few readers who go and scrub their eyes with bleach to get the image out of their head. But, there it is.

I do believe the term is “projection,” when you ascribe to the world around you, those qualities you find within yourself. Again, if you're turned on by your own body, or if you're fantasizing about other men, I'm not judging you. Your sexuality is absolutely none of my business. What does concern me, however, is your teaching illogical, ridiculous garbage like this to other people – especially the youth within your church. How many young people who look up to you as a guide and a role model are now incorrectly confused about their own sexuality, because of your thoughtless words?

I'm shocked that you are so ignorant of life and it's details, you would make such a statement to your followers, just to keep them “guilty” enough, in order to keep the tithes coming in. Is it a degree in theology which gives you such amazing insight? Or, did you just hallucinate the discussion of the topic with the voices in your head?

Or, perhaps, you're hoping to persuade every young male you can that, they too are at least as gay as you for having masturbated? Every male does the deed. Any one of them who states otherwise is lying, and both you and I know that to be true. So I can't help but think you're hoping more young men will be easier to confuse and exploit and you can enjoy a bit of a meat-fest before you're outed by the membership of your church. I'm inclined to believe every single guy in your church wondered the same thing the day you said what you did.

I personally don't believe homosexuality is a “choice” in 100% of the cases. We're wired how we're wired. But perhaps you're hoping to cast a net for new prospects as a gay man, yourself? I can only hope you're not after the underage guys within your congregation. I could care less what you and other consenting adults in your church do. Just leave the kids alone, Mr Driscoll. And I also hope you someday find the courage to be honest about your true nature. Good luck with that.
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So, exactly when has Mitt Romney been the front-runner? Comments please

I've been following the 2012 election campaign about as close as any other American in the general public. I'm struck by something. Although former Governor Mitt Romney has only won 4 (maybe 5 depending on perspective) out of the 33 straw polls held thus far, the media references him as the “front-runner.” This is odd to me.

On the other hand, I'm seeing two other candidates who seem to be somewhat mopping the floor with Mitt Romney's well-styled hairdo. The first is a guy who seems to come from out of nowhere and claims to espouse a “business-minded” style of managing government. His name is Herman Cain. With 12 straw poll wins under his belt, Cain still faces the challenge of his 9-9-9 plan. Even if you buy his 9.99 special, there are many misgivings among the ever-increasingly Libertarian party-influenced non-Democrats in the “right wing” voting segment of society.

Cain's recent pandering to the religious segment of society is sounding quite a lot like bigotry. (Gay people aren't seeking “gay rights.” They're interested in their “individual rights,” just like anyone else would be – regardless of religious beliefs.) Also, with an ever-increasing segment of society coming out into the light and declaring themselves as atheist or agnostic, the idea of another candidate who wants to inflict their god on the rest of America just seems so...Dominionist. We do not need an American Taliban.

Then there's the Congressman from Texas, Dr. Ron Paul. This is his third shot at the presidency. In spite of a State-influenced media working so hard at “ignoring” someone who they try to claim is irrelevant, he sure does seem to have a knack for garnering contributions, volunteers and passion in his supporters. Ron Paul is promoting a platform which consists of/includes elimination of the I.R.S. As well as the Federal Reserve, a return to basic Constitutional principles and a non-interventionist foreign policy. With 11 solid straw poll wins, one in debate from Arizona (supporters say the online votes should be counted too, giving the doctor a sweeping win), and another in dispute since CNN doesn't seem to want to include him as one of the options, Dr Ron Paul is showing quite well too.

I'd even go so far as to say these three men are running neck and neck. But in now way is Mitt Romney showing as the clear “front-runner” as is so often touted by the main stream press. I just don't see it, and that's not personal bias. It's just the numbers. His supporters may come along to this post and start in with their “but,” and “well I” and I still just can't see where Mitt Romney is the clear front-runner.

Besides, Paul's latest straw poll victory was in Ohio at an incredible 53% of the votes. How many times has it been said the presidency often comes down to who wins Ohio? Paul has an appealing quality of being a sincere, down-to-Earth, non-psychopath – unlike most other candidates. He's business-friendly (something which really upsets American Communists). And, he's no lawyer. For all of the talking heads who try to claim his being irrelevant, he sure was re-elected a lot of times from his district. So, he's also very experienced with how the U.S. Federal Government works.

Okay. That's enough of my horn-tooting for the good doctor. Back to the point, right? Can any of my readers please try to show me where Mitt Romney is actually the front-runner in anything? I'm willing to hear you out with an open mind. I promise to publish comments, even if you show me wrong. I'm not afraid to be wrong, when I am. Mitt Romney isn't the front-runner of Jack Squat.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Living with depression

This is something I really haven’t given much thought to. If you were to look back at this blog, which constitutes pretty much all my thinkin about depression since I started it, you’d probably find that around 75% of it are posts featuring me whining about my self-diagnosed chronic depression, around 20% about one or another alternative cure I’ve considered, 5% about miscellaneous stuff, and the remaining 37% about how bad I am at math. But, actually coping with depression, living day after day with this dark companion, is something that I’ve avoided altogether both in my head and on this blog, at least as an explicit topic of conversation. I’ve been so concerned about how much it sucks and how great it will be when I get over it that I’ve missed the obvious. To quote Jack Nicholson’s line, “What if this is as good as it gets?” What then? How have I coped and survived until now and how will I continue to do so?

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a teenager in Australia. Let’s call him Tom. He is also depressed. It appears to be chronic and he’s getting help. He’s not hiding it and, under the Australian health-care system, he has access to real help. So good so far, right? He emailed me because he felt that I, being someone more than twice his age with roughly the same set of problems, could provide some insight that the best of his counselors haven’t so far. To paraphrase because I didn’t ask permission to quote him, he basically had two questions based on the single premise that, since he seems to be stuck with this depression thing for life: 1) Is it really worth it to go on? 2) If so, then how does he cope with it because all the meds and counseling in the world, though they can help, might never make it really go away.

I didn’t ask his permission because I didn’t know if I would respond at all. I’m still not sure, as I type this sentence, if I can come up with something worth saying. I’ve been pretty flummoxed since I got his email. Given that I’ve never really considered question 2, it gave me a lot to think about. How have I coped? Do I really know or do I plod through the day, fearful of the alternative? I’m still not entirely sure.

Let’s tackle question 1 first. We’re talking about suicide although he never said it. It’s something to talk about. Most professionals and patients seem to treat suicide as the no-no, hush-hush alternative that we must never speak of or even allow ourselves to consider. I don’t really have a problem with it, I really don’t. Who’s to say that a person in a severe depressive episode is in any less pain than something who’s body is failing from a terminal disease. Your conclusion about whether or not someone in the latter situation should be given the ability to kill herself may be different from mine but, in the post-Kevorkian world, I think that we can all agree it’s something that should be considered and discussed. Ah, you say, depressive episodes pass and the person has the chance at life beyond it. True, but a life punctuated by random, unpredictable depressive episodes may be too much for one to deal with. Ultimately, the moral positions on suicide are not unlike abortion – they are too wrapped up in personal ethics, religious beliefs and societal mores for there to be a clear, universal answer. I believe it should be a personal choice. I do not consider someone who commits suicide to be immoral or even wrong. (The exception in my mind is when one commits suicide when he has obligations, financial or otherwise, to his friends or family. It is condemnable to leave behind someone to clean up the mess that he was too cowardly to clean up himself.)

But, none of that really addresses Tom’s question, does it? Is it worth it to go on? Here’s the answer that seems to have evolved in my life. Yes, for the most part, it’s worth it to go on. I have more good days than bad and, most of the time, I’m hopeful about the future. I’m also curious about the future; I really want to know how things will turn out. It seems a little silly to base my mortality on seeing the plot through but it works for me, somehow. I’m also damn scared of killing myself. At my lowest moments, the thing that kept me from doing the deed can only be described as pure cowardice. So, is it worth it to go on? As I said before, so far, for me, it beats the alternative.

Okay, then, on to Tom’s second question. How to cope with it? This is the bit that really stymied me. I really don’t know how I’ve coped. As I turned this question and the answers I could think of over in my head I began to realize that I was writing a commencement address – seek your happiness, be true to yourself, love your family, blah, blah, blah. Like I said, Tom’s a teenager and he’s set to graduate soon enough. I’ll leave the platitudes for the C-list actor who happened to graduate from Tom’s high-school and gives that speech the year he graduates.

So, I tried harder to come up with real answers. The thing about depression is that it is our problem. It is fairly well defined and we kind of have a list of things it does to us. However, everyone has problems, right? I heard of a study a few years ago that says that babies and toddlers feel the same level of anxiety over their little dramas as we adults do. It seems silly to consider that a missing toy leads to the same amount of stress as trying to figure out how to pay the utilities on a limited budget but, apparently, it does. My point is that I think humans tend to look for and focus on points of tension in our lives. We depressives are lucky in a twisted way in that we know the source of our tension and we sort of know what to expect from it. Other people with a different set of less definable problems are trying to deal with them as best as they can. I’m not sure if I’m making my point very clearly here or if I even really had one to begin with. Let’s move on.

As I’ve stumbled through life, I seem to have settled to two key points that guide me.

The first is to know your depression. This means that it’s important to learn when depression is making you feel a certain way or real life circumstances are. Rage, anxiety and sadness are all occasional symptoms of depression. They are also symptoms of the human experience. Whenever you feel extreme emotions, take a beat and try to identify if it’s a result of real life or some meaningless, internal storm. I’ve lost friends and alienated family members over not being able to tell the difference. Innocent comments can be misinterpreted when observed through a depressive filter and turned into insults.

My second best bit of advice is never blame your depression. I’m talking about both externally and internally. Externally is easy. Just don’t do it. Never use your depression as an excuse for your actions. If you are an ass to your best friend because you misinterpreted an innocent comment while you were having a particularly low day, don’t say you did it because you are a depressive. Your depression might have influenced you but final decision to lash out was yours. Apologize, hope he accepts it and move on. This isn’t to say that you never talk about your depression – your friends might be a great source of support for you - just don’t rely on it as an excuse for your bad actions.

More importantly, never tell yourself that you acted a certain way or made a bad decision because of your depression. Once again, depression might have influenced you but, ultimately, you are responsible for what you do. Blaming depression becomes a crutch, relieving you of all responsibility and that can become a vicious cycle: I’m even more depressed now because my life sucks because I made bad decisions because I was depressed at the time so now my decisions are going to be even worse and my life will suck all the more. Depression may be a part of who you are until the day you die but never let it define who you are.

I tried to avoid platitudes but that last sentence came dangerously close, didn’t it.

So, Tom, there’s my answer. I’m sorry it took so long but you really threw me on that one. You gave me a lot to think about and I hope I gave you a little insight, too. Best of luck, brother!

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Rose For Mother

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.”
The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.” He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers. As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.” She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.
The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house.
 .........Life is Short.  Spend much time as you can loving and caring people who love you.             Enjoy each moment with them before it’s too late.  There is nothing important than family......

Five things you should know about atheists from one non-believer's point-of-view

Over the years I've seen a lot of statements made by the religious of society about atheism. With the advent of social networking bringing people closer together world-wide, now seems a good time to explain a few things about which there are many baseless assumptions. Admittedly, my position on this topic can only be written from my limited, human, individual perspective. Later in life, I may very well find myself to be completely wrong, but I doubt it. I'd love to hear from my readers. Comments are welcome. Attacks will be laughed at.

We atheists are individuals, just like you. We don't all agree. One of the most pervasive assumptions I see made about we non-believers is that we're all Communists or Socialists. While it may be true of some of us, it's also true that there have been a good number of Christian and/or Muslim and/or Jewish and/or Hindu Socialists and/or Communists. A person's political belief system may be tied in with their religious beliefs/non-beliefs somewhat, but it's not always the case. Adolf Hitler embraced Christianity. His Nazi army even had belt-buckles with the slogan “Gott mit uns” emblazoned on them. Would you consider him a good person, based solely upon his religious beliefs?

To expect all individuals within any demographic to be the same is just silly and ignorant. I used to assume that all believers fit into specific categories in other aspects of life too, and fell for the “no true Scotsman” argument like so many others. But fortunately, I came to learn there are good and bad people within any group in life. Assuming that all atheists want a totalitarian government is like saying all white people have blue eyes – it's obviously not true. Like the joke says: “Blanket statements never work.”

Most of us are not anti-church. I love the idea of a stronger community. It just so happens to be what keeps us alive as a species. To know that groups of people, otherwise unrelated, get together and share time with one another – well – that's just wonderful! I also like the good things people do for one another within churches. I even have a favorite church myself!

They saved my life once, and they didn't use guilt or brainwashing or threats of fire and brimstone for eternity to do it, either. I've seen – first hand - the good things people can do for one another and churches do serve a purpose of being a “central clearinghouse” for such activities. They can, anyway. Unfortunately far too many churches express a doctrine of fear, ignorance and hate. It's those things which we non-believers (and a good number of believers) can't stand. I also do not think religious people are necessarily stupid. I just believe they're mistaken.

We do good too. I've seen the accusation that atheists are not charitable. That's simply not true. Just to name a couple of charities based on something other than a hope for reward in the after-life, we have this list from a friend. Just because we don't share the same dogma doesn't mean we don't feel empathy. Love is just as biological as the need for food.

Most of us recognize there are still a lot of mysteries about the universe. Here's where I'm most likely to catch crap from my fellow non-believers. I believe in the existence of life on other planets. I also believe there are certain forms of energy which we as humans do not quite understand yet, and they warrant study. No, I don't believe there is any sort of invisible sky-pimp ready to pop people into a place of eternal torment for not sprinkling goat blood in the middle of the temple floor. But I do believe that ancient peoples would sometimes use the term "God" or “the spirit realm” as an analogy to try and answer some of the other mysteries of life within their very limited scope of knowledge.

If you doubt whether we humans have any sort of as-yet-to-be-understood qualities try this. The next time you're sitting behind a stranger (at the library or a restaurant or wherever) stare at the back of their head. Keep staring. Focus on them. Shortly, you'll see them start scratching the back of their head, they'll begin looking around and eventually, they turn to make eye-contact with you. As a control, only do this with someone sitting by themselves, as to eliminate the possibility of a companion telling them “Hey, that fat guy sitting behind you is staring at you.”

We also have yet to fully understand intuition, and then there's that ability we all have to “sense” whether someone can be trusted, after nothing more than the first handshake and eye contact. Do I think this is anything “metaphysical?” No. Do I think it's anything “spiritual,” (as in the religious use of the word)? No. I do, however believe there are many, many wonderful and amazing things about being a living creature we have yet to understand fully. That's the beautiful thing about science, though. We welcome mysteries as something to be solved. As we learn more and realize we were wrong previously, the knowledge base is updated.

Most of us know more about your religion(s) than most of you do. I'm not saying this as any sort of in-your-face type of insult. There's a study supporting my claim. Last September 28, 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that out of all categories of belief systems, atheists and agnostics got more correct answers out of the 32 questions posed in a survey about religion. It makes sense, actually. If more people would just stop listening to what folks tell them about their religion and actually read their religious texts they'd likely see the documents as the invention of primitive, Iron Age nomads that they are. Then, we can get on with the business of treating each other properly. I know it was a thorough, cover-to-cover reading of the King James bible which finally helped me to choose to not believe in anything not verifiable.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Baby Lisa Irwin: Police behavior is bizarre - Video

CRIME COMMENTARY | Little 10-month-old Lisa Irwin is on the minds of Americans everywhere lately. We'd all like to keep the hope for this little tyke making it home safe and sound to her parents, but so far, no luck in the search. While some of us point out how strange her story sounds, stranger things have happened before and unless investigators find something concrete which belies a baby's murder, I'm still hoping the parents aren't killers.

Even stranger than Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin's story of how their child came up missing is the behavior of investigators, at least to this blogger. After reading the story
here, from ABC News, there seems to be a good number of questions remaining for those of us following the story. Those questions aren't directed towards the parents, but rather, law enforcement. This isn't meant to give the police a hard time whatsoever. I'm sure this scene is as emotionally draining for them as it is for those of us following along.

In the report, police are quoted as having noticed "(a) garden area with portions of dirt having an appearance of being recently disturbed or overturned." Why, oh why have they not dug the spot up? If they're really suspicious of foul play, then leave no stone unturned. In noticing this “recently disturbed or overturned” spot in the garden, did the cadaver dogs show any interest? If not, then why mention it? Are police trying the couple in the media?

Police are also repeatedly pointing out Ms. Bradley's “inconsistent story.” Why keep hammering on that point? Jeez. They were talking to the police and probably scared of being seen as “bad parents” for her having been drunk after putting the baby to bed. No crime to have “grown-up time” after the kids are asleep. Besides, anyone who's ever had the misfortune to talk to police knows how high-pressure and ridiculous cops can be. They watch cop shows and really believe what they hear about going on “gut instinct.” Officers, please remember, “gut instinct” is crap and you're not psychic.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Finally, as readers will learn in the video above, a total of three eye-witnesses in two different scenarios report seeing a similarly-described man carrying a baby in the early morning hours the night the bay came up missing. These witnesses are from multiple households and each description is strikingly similar enough to one another. While police say they've followed up on those accounts, their focus seems to stay on the parents being persons of interest. How about investigating these claims thoroughly, officers? One of these accounts is from a family living just three houses down from the Irwin/Bradley residence. The eye-witness account closest to the home is also the earliest in the time-line of events that morning. Odds are good there's no conspiracy to shield baby killers here. We may all still be reeling from the shock of Casey Anthony, but let's try finding the baby first.

I'd love to hear my readers thoughts on the case.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Love You Dad

A man was polishing his new car; his 4 yr old daughter picked up a stone and scratched on the side of the car. In anger, the furious Man took his child’s hand & hit it many times, not realizing he was using a wrench. At the hospital, the child lost all his fingers due to multiple fractures.
When the child saw her father, with painful eyes he asked ‘Dad when will my fingers grow back?’ The man was so hurt and speechless. He went back to the car and kicked it many times. Devastated by his own actions, sitting in front of the car he looked at the scratches, His daughter had written ‘LOVE YOU DAD’.

Remember, Anger and Love have no limit.  Always remember that “Things are to be used and people are to be loved”.  But the problem in today’s world is that “People are being used & Things are being loved”.

    ….share the love and happiness with someone, who loves you the most that makes your life too peaceful and happy……

And you thought Solyndra was bad? Ha! Hold on to your dentures folks! Wait until you hear about Fisker!

Just when you thought the US Government couldn't screw up any worse than the shady deals involving the sham company Solyndra and their $535 million dollar “loan,” along comes an ABC news report which has me hoping Harold Camping might be right about tomorrow being the end of the world. Damitall.

A little-known company named Fisker was approved for $529 million dollars in loans from the US Department of Energy to manufacture reasonably-priced electric cars two years back. According to the ABC report, when the loan was originally announced by Vice President Joe Biden, it was lauded as “a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.” (Now, there was our first hint is was absolute bullshit. It came out of Joe Biden's mouth.)

Sounds great, huh? Sure does. Just one little problem. The manufacturer is outsourcing all those manufacturing jobs to Finland. Finland - After all the smoke blown up or collective asses about these types of programs stimulating American jobs! I do not want to see how deeply we will bleed if any more of Obama's hopey-dopey-changey comes to life!

Fans of conscious thought and rational, objective honesty might also find it interesting to learn, the company is also backed by a venture capital firm involving...wait for it...Al Gore.

Al Gore's name comes up in so many shady, underhanded and dirty operations, I'm beginning to believe he's an operative for some other country. I don't even bother calling him “former Vice President” and I don't care who finds that offensive. (Stock tip: Ask Al Gore what he would invest in, and then do exactly the opposite!)

So, all of those jobs promised by our current administration – all fueled by tax dollars of course – turn out to be smoke and mirrors again as yet hundreds of millions of dollars more are diverted out of America. Obama's lackeys and mindless supporters can squeak “racism” all they like for my saying it, but Obama has siphoned more money out of the U.S. in just his first term than I ever imagined existing in one place. (Admittedly, that speaks to my ignorance of American economics, but can't folks see just how blatantly destructive all of these slobs in D.C. are?) We're being robbed blind, left and right, and nobody speaks up because it's not “politically correct” to criticize a “black-ish man.”

Well, I'm calling bullshit! You might “think” this administration has the country's best interests at heart. And I might think I can squeeze a polka-dotted elephant out of my butt. I'm no Republican. I might even be more liberal than anyone who ever reads this. But that does NOT mean I have to be blind!

We the people have been robbed yet again and I do not give a damn if anyone finds me “disthresthpecthful” for saying it. I owe no loyalty to anyone who seeks to do me harm. Could some politician lackey in D.C. puh-lease strap a pair of plastic balls on long enough to begin the impeachment process, before my grand-kids end up being born into a third-world country? Screw seeing his birth certificate! I wanna see his fangs pulled before he sucks any more life-blood out of our country.

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Inkblots all up on your Mug

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tangible Memories

This last one is particularly significant. It's from a tree outside the office at work that has since been completely cut right down for no apparent reason, along with several others. It makes me so angry... I loved those trees :( This single leaf stuck in my book is all that's left of it now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Great music, great design

So I've got these cool music sites that I've been frequenting for a while, and thought them worth sharing with you guys :) is made up of mixes created and designed by designers. It's about discovering new music and listening to what inspires other designers to create. The themes are very varied and there's pretty much something on each playlist that you'll like, and the playlist cover images are a real inspiring visual treat.

Gorilla vs. Bear is a music blog based in Texas. They feature a wide range of music, not specific to any genre. But apart from their music, how rad is their blog design?! I love it to bits. Their polaroid page is also worth checking out, filled with pics from various music events.

Also check out this site that I featured a while back for more music.
If you find something you love that makes you skin-tinglingly happy on these sites, please do share :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Confidence of a Child

A man had been on a long flight. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: "Fasten your seat belts." Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

And then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightening lit up the darkening skies and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash. The man confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him.

As he looked around the plane, he could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm. And then, he suddenly saw a girl to whom the storm meant nothing. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat and was reading a book. Everything within her small world was calm and orderly.

Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs, but worry and fear were not in her world. When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm, when it lurched this way and that, as it rose and fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid.

The man could hardly believe his eyes. It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, he lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid. The sweet child replied:

"Sir, my Dad is the pilot and he is taking me home."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Religious Bigotry Raises Its Ugly Head Again

FIRST PERSON | For the life of me, I just don't understand the reasoning behind insisting on inflicting my own personal beliefs on everyone else around me. But, then again, I am an atheist. In spite of what readers may hear from the media and from the pulpit-of-their-choice, I'm not out to wreck your religion. I'm just one of millions who wants to live my life in peace. I simply have no need for a God. Life itself is fascinating as it is.

Mankind has lived with one form of mass religion or another over the centuries and we've finally reached a point wherein we non-believers are not
burned at the stake just for questioning the church. Still, we find ourselves chastised by Conservatives on for doing nothing more than demanding secular government and real science being taught in our tax-funded schools.

At the end of the above-referenced article, the author asks "Will a growing list of non-believers attempt to influence elections here in America as well? While Christianity is still somewhat of a litmus test here in the U.S., there's no telling what the future holds as secularists continue to grow in both numbers and boldness." Sorry, Mr Hallowell. Article 6 of our Constitution prohibits a religious test for those seeking office, and that's the point. We are not a theocracy.

Some of us in this world find it terribly unjust to live under the thumb of someone else's religious dogma. We are the ones disgusted by a politician's pandering to the religious of society in order to score votes. Sadly, in the minds of many, the biggest crime committed by we secularists and humanists is doubting the claims made by those referencing some sort of divine authority. Here in America, we've had thousands and thousands of political leaders who claim to be acting under some sort of religious authority - all the while selling out their fellow countrymen time and again for their own political aspirations. Evil is as evil does, my friends.

We atheists are just as flawed, human, and likely to screw up as any other person is. So, why the problem with someone running for office, based on their religious beliefs or lack thereof? Does the God who demanded 9/11 be committed have any good answers? No. Does the Almighty who told the Pope to shelter pedophiles have any solutions? Not likely. So, let's try hiring our elected officials based on what they can do for the country, and not because they pretend to hear some spiritual voices. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic. My sponsors only ask 5 seconds of your time first, and then, speak your mind!

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