Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hard Times

Weds. Pick up Austin at school. Get some shopping done. Long time at McDonald's while he plays.

Thurs. Pick up Austin at school. Rock climbing for an hour way out in the desert.

Fri. Watch Oobie and Charlie for four hours. Use the
Transcutaneous stimulator to ease the sciatica from rock climbing.

Sat. James and Toni help clean the house. Help Racquell with homework on Dante, Machiavelli, etc.
Help Cory and Ashlyn move (a little). Get carnitas burrito on way home. Make fire. Collapse and eat burrito.

I am coming apart at more than the seams! But the Christmas lights are lovely. The fire is crackling. The view is beautiful. Christmas is coming. Blessings be upon us all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Special Education Week

A Facebook post:

I've been a custodian, groundskeeper, warehouseman, taught it all in K - 6...except Special Ed. That's hard. I did sub for Joyce once, whose post I have forwarded here. (It's Special Education week.) I wonder, from time to time, why we are so supportive of kids in a wheelchair, but so often fear and condemn the learning disabled.

It may shock some, but they're still kids; human children who have a hard time every day. They're not scary and they have it hard enough. They don't need us to make life even harder.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mommy, He Cheated

From the LATimes. -- Mitt Romney said Wednesday that his loss to President Obama was due in large part to his rival's strategy of giving "gifts" during his first term to three groups that were pivotal in the results of last week's election: African Americans, Latinos and young voters. --

So now we finally know. Romney wasn't pandering to the racist bigots. He is one.

The report continued -- The Republican nominee avoided any recriminations about his team or a second-guessing of their efforts, calling the organization "a very solid team that got along." --

Yes, they were so effective, they lost.

If the GOP cannot face facts, we are all in trouble. For better or for worse, our political system is a two party system. It is not healthy for one of those parties to divorce itself from reality. Much as I feel the urge to take a perverse pleasure in watching the arrogant and self destructive policies of the Radical Republicans drive them to defeat, I care about my country, and know we need two centrist parties to make our government function effectively.

As expected, the moderate Republicans (an endangered species...I wonder if a captive breeding program would promote survival...) see this clearly, while the radicals insist they weren't radical enough. I side with the moderate Republicans.

Monday, November 12, 2012


So you want to resign your US citizenship? I understand. I agree that you should be stripped of your citizenship and be registered as a resident alien. Those of us who love our country are sad that you don't share our patriotism, but we won't force you to be loyal to a nation which you despise. We Americans are tolerant, even of those with whom we disagree.

I am certain that you can find a country that meets your needs. Good luck!

The Second Amendment

From a webpost:

PETITION: Declaration of the 2nd Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Intentions to Resist Confiscation of Firearms

Since this right is usually defended by those who lay claim to being originalists, that is, keeping the meaning of the constitution exactly as the founders intended, I am in complete agreement with their cause. There should be no laws whatsoever which restrict the possession of muzzle loading, black powder musketry. Keep a few single shot brass cannons in your yard if you like. All other firearms have no constitutional protection of any kind and can be restricted or totally banned.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Secrets Revealed

Now that the elections are over two revelations have come to light.

1.Speaker Boehner says the American people are demanding compromise and he gets the message. He will continue to make the same rigid and unalterable demands, but he will do so in a nice tone of voice.

2. The secret of Mitt's origins is made public. All previous speculations were wrong! He is not simply a spoiled rich boy who doesn't get it. He is not a robot from the future. The truth is even stranger.

In the 70's, Mattel created a life sized plastic Ken doll for promotional purposes. The doll proved to be more unsettling than expected, so it was stored in a warehouse. There it would still be gathering dust, but for an amazing event. The giant Ken doll was bitten by a radioactive Mormon missionary. This gave it both life and super powers, like the ability to almost be elected President.

Only in America!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weird Science

I understood that light was a wave until it was forced by interactions with the rest of reality to become a particle, aka " decoherence". What was sometimes referred to as "wavicles", in which light was both at once, was a possibility which seemed unnecessary. This experiment indicates it is a real condition. Weird!

Friday, November 2, 2012


--The family, who are secular humanists, claim that the phrase "under God" in the pledge is a violation of the state's constitutional ban on religious discrimination. --

This is one of the most nonsensical, nonissues to ever waste a nation's time. The solution? Stand up and say nothing during the Pledge; say the pledge without the phrase, "Under God"; say it with the phrase included; mouth nonsense syllables under your breath; do whatever you want to do. Theists and atheists both, mind your own damned business!

The Schadenfreude Polka Lyrics

It's the Schadenfreude Polka,
The Schadenfreude Polka
Dance the Schadenfreude Polka,
Ha, ha, ha, ha

You wouldn't listen to me,
I tired and tried to warn you,
But you did it your way,
Ha, ha, ha, ha

You asked for it, you got it
It's everything you wanted
It serves you right to get it
Ha, ha, ha, ha

A Shameful Confession

I am about to admit a disturbing character flaw. Anyone who still maintains an unrealistic view of how kind, tolerant and generally nice I am, should stop reading now. I hate to disillusion you so cruelly.

The Confession: A part of me sincerely hopes that Mitt Romney wins the presidency. Why? Because then I get the awful delight of dancing the Schadenfreude Polka.

Note: Wikipedia defines the term, as: Schadenfreude Listen/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. This German word is used as a loanword in English and some other ...

So, when you want to declare savage and cold hearted delight at the mess someone has made of his life with really stupid and self destructive behavior, you dance to the cruel, yet beguiling strains of the Schadenfreude Polka.

I try not to indulge myself in this. It is wrong and shameful. It is unChrisitan, unholy, and antisocial. But I do love it, nonetheless. I can't help but feel pleasure when I think of Tojo and his fellow Japanese imperialists wasting away in prison as they watched the Emperor bow to Gen. McArthur. The idea of major Nazis surrendering to the "mongrel" and "racially inferior" American forces...The thought of the Southerners who had demanded a "just and righteous war" against the North and the abolitionists sitting in the burned ruins of their mansions... what pure delight!

More recently, I think of all those who voted for Bush, only to see their homes foreclosed, their jobs evaporate, and their lives smashed by his policies. I say to them, "You asked for it, you got it."

So, while I mostly hope for Obama to win, that dark and savage side of me would really love to dance the Schadenfreude Polka once again.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

From National Geographic

-- One of the largest dinosaurs that ever lived, Tyrannosaurus rex was a fierce carnivore. Scientists believe this powerful predator could eat up to 500 pounds (230 kilograms) of meat in one bite.--

I wonder what that translates into in cheeseburgers?

Let's see, assuming they are quarter pounders...

Meditation and Pain

Interesting article. It recalls a method of pain reduction I used years ago when my lower lumbar osteoarthritis was dominating my daily life. It was bad enough that I was forced to wear a brace all day. It ran from just below my hips to under my armpits.

In spite of this, the pain was often severe and disabling. I developed a meditation technique which gave me much relief. I carefully pictured a pleasant, sunny beach. I placed myself near the waves, standing next to an outcrop of sharp, volcanic rock.

I conceived of the rock as the pain. The more severe the pain, the larger and sharper the outcropping. Then I imagined a fog slowly flowing in. As the fog thickened, the outcropping was obscured, bit by bit, and the air temperature dropped. When the outcropping was hidden, and I could tell the ocean was near only by the sound of the waves, the pain was much reduced.

I tried hurrying the process, to make the pain end sooner, but that failed. When I made the fog come in quickly, there was no benefit. I had to reset my image to the sunny, warm and sharp beginning, and slowly let the fog do its work.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tighty-Whities and Tattletales

Lesson, dare to tell the truth about a GOP candidate's falsehoods and the Tighty-Whities will punish YOU! They think you deserve it, you tattletale!

Note: I refer to the Radical Republicans as Tighty-Whities. Can you guess why?

I said, when support for the Iraq War was running over 90 per cent, "The day will come when America will ask, 'How did we get into this mess?'"

I said, when Bush was running for his second term, "If you vote for this dolt and he wins, you will get what you deserve!"

I say today, "If you vote for this aristocrat and he wins, you will get what you deserve!"

I'm not always right, but I am right more often than not; and I am right about this! In the words of the commercial, "You asked for it! You got it!"

Final Note: To the best of my knowledge, the term, "Tighty-Whities" as applied to the GOP and Tea Party are my original conceit. Use the term freely, but give me attribution.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The St James Infirmary

On rare occasion, when I have been sipping a glass or two of Knob Creek, I might follow the lead of SciFi character Gallager and sing my version of the St James Infirmary:

Well, I went to the St James Infirmary
To see if my babe was there
She was layed out on a slab of marble
So cold, so white, so bare

Let her go, let her go, God love her
Wherever she may be
She can search this wide world over
But she'll never find no sweeter man than me

Now if you dress me for my funeral
In my silk tie and my old felt hat
Put a 20 dollar gold piece on my watch chain;
To say that I'm still standin' pat

Take a shot of my favorite bourbon
Smoke a fine cigar for me
Then remember how much I loved you
And don't never speak no ill of me

Betty Boop sings a good version, too. Well, her sidekick, Koko the Clown, does.

Entire cartoon:
Short version:

Much Ado About Nothing

In his new book, A Universe From Nothing, Lawrence Krauss makes his claim that nothing can spontaneously generate something; specifically, our universe. Yet he continuously refers to nothing as being full of various things. If nothing else, it contains the laws of physics, particularly of quantum physics. Like so many New Atheists, Dr. Krauss is a fine scientist, but a terrible theologian. Like his mentor, Richard Dawkins, he is a careful and thoughtful practitioner of empirical reasoning as long as he remains within the confines of his area of study. Also like his mentor, he descends into the very prejudice and emotionalism he condemns in extreme theists as soon as he ventures into religion.

I prefer the statement of Dr. Marvin Mueller, "It does not seem possible for nothingness (as known to physics) to exist anywhere at any time."

It is a long established fact that the branch of philosophy now known as science is superb at determining the nature of the objective world and of the laws which underlie reality. It is also a long established fact that science is limited to the empirically testable. If a reality exists which supersedes the empirical world, science is useless in detecting or analyzing it. That does not mean that such a supernatural reality does exist, only that by postulating its ability to exempt itself from the limits of physics, one makes it, by definition, beyond empirical testing.

Certainly individual details and claims can be tested, but the fundamental existence or nonexistence of such a super reality is outside the scope of science.

Finally, I find it very amusing when I hear Dr. Dawkins' sneering references to philosophers as a sort of glorified fools' guild. He should take a freshman course in the subject. There he will learn that science is a branch of philosophy. Admittedly, a limited and specific branch, but of philosophy, nonetheless. That being so, every scientist is a philosopher.

Reference: The November/December issue of Skeptical Inquirer


Debate scoreboard: Both presidential debates made for good screen tests, but poor measures of leadership. In the first, Obama was distant and contemptuous. In the second, Romney squirmed and wriggled like a naughty kid in the Principal"s office. Good show for each. Little substance for the serious voter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rotten Apple

What I typed:
Now you must think

What auto spell check wrote:
Mao, you must honk

What more need be said?

Educational Deform

-- When it comes to the nuts and bolts of education policy, a topic that ranks high among the concerns of female and Latino voters, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are remarkably similar: both think standardized tests are important, that teachers need to be evaluated rigorously, and that charter schools are an important component of America's educational landscape. --

Which makes both of them contributors to the continued degradation of the American educational system. I repeat, any educator who supports the use of standardized tests for evaluation should be stripped of their credentials for gross malpractice. And we must stop Washington and state governments from "reforming" the system. The more these incompetent amateurs meddle, the worse our educational system becomes. Only they should be surprised at this result.

Tapio Kosunen, State Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Finland (whew, long title!) was recently interviewed on This Is America. His nation has been at the top of the international ratings for quality of education and student performance for the past 40 years. Finland is universally regarded as having the best and the most successful educational system in the world. Now you probably think they must have banned teachers' unions, rely heavily on standardized tests, punish poorly performing teachers and schools, established a fiercely competitive system of for profit charter schools, and retain any student who underachieves.

In fact, they have done exactly none of these things.

They have completely banned standardized tests (which I have insisted upon for decades), with the single exception of one, that is 1, standardized test, which is taken at the end of high school.

Tests, rankings, and competition are not a part of the system. I say again, are NOT a part of the system.

Instead of isolating special needs and low performing students, they are mainstreamed. That is, they are simply part of regular classrooms.

Lessons run for 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute break before the next lesson begins.

Students enter school at age 7.

Music, the arts, and other topics which are being weakened or dropped as distractions in America are an essential part of the curriculum in Finland.

Teachers in America are often attacked as lazy or incompetent. In Finland, they are one of the top five most admired professionals, along with doctors and lawyers.

Every teacher must have a master's degree before entering the classroom.

Teachers' unions in Finland are heavily involved in major policy decisions.

Finland has virtually no charter schools in the entire country.

Retaining a Finnish student is so rare, it is considered to be a shocking action taken only in the most extreme circumstances.

So why are we doing the opposite? More importantly, why do we think doing the opposite of the most successful school system in the world will make our system better? The complete answer is complex, but the basic answer is very accurate...ideology.

If our national driving instructors were being reformed by the same people who are reforming our schools, they would be required to teach students to put their cars in reverse, hold down the brakes, and never change gears. When the cars failed to move, our leaders would tell us that is was all the fault of the instructors.

Thus we advance the self destructive practices begun under the leadership of St. Ronald of Reagan and continued by every President and Congress since. This is the same determined effort to do the wrong thing at every opportunity which both Obama and Romney promise to continue.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Forgive My Trespasses

What can we learn about humanity from this man? When he felt secure from consequences, he behaved despicably. If you have not read the article linked above, I will quote the most damning portion for you:

-- In a phone conversation, Brutsch admitted to being the Reddit user named Violentacrez, who created or moderated sections dedicated to pornographic and violent images, including subreddits called r/rapebait, r/incest, r/picsofdeadkids, r/jailbait, and r/chokeabitch. --

None of these sections targeted the guilty. All attacked the innocent, often
those already brutalized. How did bereaved parents feel about r/picsofdeadkids? Yet, now that he has been uncovered, he pleads for mercy and forbearance. He, in his guilt, demands from us what he failed to provide to his innocent victims.

Clearly, part of his problem lies in an inability to understand the feelings and suffering of others. He is fully cognizant of his own pain, even of his wife's; but strangers are just targets to him. They are not members of the human race. They are just things to be hurt and wounded for his amusement. A good, if limited case, could be made for the progress of humanity as a steadily expanding pool of those we regard as "us".

Consider the Fox News/GOP effort to label Obama as "other". He is a socialist, communist, fascist, Kenyan, anticolonial, nauseum. During both world wars, formerly Germans living in the United States were suddenly Krauts, Huns, whatever. Children on the playground use epithets they don't even understand to dehumanize playmates with whom they are angry. (There is a great story about this from Dick Gregory. I will tell it some time in the future.)

If we are dealing with The Other, it is easy to be cruel and brutal. This is why many languages use a variant of "The People" as their name for themselves. Epithets are a license. They authorize the user to commit acts which he, himself, regards as disgusting, if they are done to other people.

To sum it up, I refer to the following Scripture:

Matthew 18: 23 - 35

Thursday, October 11, 2012

American Theocracy

Wahhabism is to Saudi Arabia as the Religious Right is to the GOP. Now I either have your full attention or you are wondering why you bother to read this weird stuff. Hang in and it will be worth it. Maybe, if you're interested in this weird stuff. Look, I'll try, OK?

Around the 1740's, Ibn Saud and Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab made a deal. Abd-al-Wahhab was advocating a very strict and controversial form of fundamentalist Islam. He did not originate the movement, which is better known as Salafism. (Also, more accurately known as Salafism.). You've heard that name on the news lately. This sect is causing a great deal of suffering among fellow Moslems as it uses violence to force its beliefs on the world. The moment was not popular back in the eighteenth century, but Wahhab hit on a strategy which has kept it strong and influential to this day.

He offered a mutually beneficial relationship, what a biologist would call a
mutualist relationship. That means, both parties benefit and rely upon each other. By combining religion and politics, each side gained while losing nothing. Wahhab acquired a strong government to support and enforce his sect's tenets, Ibn Saud gained religious sanction for his family's rule. The results are that, in the volatile Middle East, both Salafism and Saudi Arabia continue to hold a secure position.

A similar relationship is developing between the two remaining wings of the Republican Party. The once diverse GOP has utilized a political Inquisition to drive out heretics, aka, Rinos. What's left is primarily the wealthy and the socially conservative. The wealthy Republicans want power to establish their own extended royal family. Those who
already have wealth want it to become entirely hereditary. It is already
largely so, but not so securely as the permanence of the House of Saud.

The religious Republicans want their beliefs to become the de facto religion of the United States. Many of them are willing to state that they would prefer it to be the de jure state religion as well.

Here is the basis for a mutualist relationship. The New Aristocracy gets the support and blessing of the national church. The Religious Right gets the police power of the state to enforce its moral code and to maintain its supremacy. The plan is working well, so far. The rich collect welfare in the form of tax breaks and government assistance to their corporations and the freedom to act without restraint through deregulation, while the ultra religious get radical judges and elected officials to undermine everyone else's religious freedom.

The shrinking number of regular church goers, the anger of the middle class, the rising numbers of minority voters with their own political agendas, the New Evangelicals who have very different goals than their parents, and a number of other trends, will, I believe, bring this effort to defeat. The question is, how much harm will it do before it is finally neutralized? I do not know. The answer depends on how long American citizens are willing to put up with the situation, and how effectively they respond.

I am hopeful, but cautiously so.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Comet C/2012

-- As it flares out of the distant Oort Cloud, the newly discovered comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) appears to be heading on a trajectory that could make for one of the most spectacular night-sky events in living memory. --

I still feel cheated by Haley's comet. As a child I learned it was and would be a spectacular display. I waited years for the amazing event, and you all know what didn't happen. This could make up for it. Science and/or God owe me one!

Actually, they both owe me a lot, but I just might but collect on this one.

Friday, October 5, 2012


On the TV front, The Looney Tunes Show and Big Bang Theory are back with new programs. Excellent news. I was excited, but ready for disappointment back when when I saw the ads for Tunes. So much had been recreated in a new pattern I feared a loss of character and spirit, but it was, and remains a great success. I am very happy to have a new season to enjoy. The new Sherlock Holmes was also a worry for similar reasons, but I find it to be engaging and enjoyable, although the director believes the sound effects and music are more important than the dialogue and has a deep love of corpses, which are closely photographed and heavily featured. Creepy, but typical.

Oh, and BBT is always fun.

On the book front, Game of Thrones was mixed. The author created an interesting and engaging world. He created characters in whom I was interested, and characters who are simply too flat and extreme to be taken seriously. His good guy was too good to have made it to adulthood in a feudal society, his bad guys are so bad they make Machiavelli sound like a kindergarten teacher. But I find myself caring about the children of the cardboard figures. The author also takes the lazy path of brutalizing children as a way of projecting emotion to his readers. It is easy. It is what incompetent authors do. It is the serious fiction equivalent of fart jokes in what passes as a comedy in today's theaters. It brings a tear or gets a laugh without any effort or talent needed on the part of the writer. Still, the author managed to interest me, and that is difficult. It means he has some real ability and displays it at least part of the time.

The books are too long. Thankfully, the TV series is surprisingly
true to the books and is much shorter. I will watch it to satisfy my interest. It also has lots of nudity, which is always a plus.

A better read is the fascinating and ugly world of The Peculiar. It does contain the brutalization of children, and I dislike that, but as a novel aimed at the youth market, the threat to the youthful characters is, of necessity, a threat to youngsters. I feel it was overdone, but what a rich and strange world the author has created! And I love the characters, especially Arthur Jelliby. I look forward to the rest of the series

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Doomsday Looms...Loometh..Is Coming

Wise, sound advice for our troubled times. Be sure to watch the slide show. Oh, our sun will turn into a red giant, then a white dwarf. No black hole. Sorry to disappoint everyone.

A Prediction for the Debates

Radical Republicans will declare Romney destroyed Obama.
Democrats will declare that Obama devastated Romney.

I will state that both did OK, but that the debates were over planned and uninformative. Romney will make at least two embarrassing flubs. No minds will be changed, but Romney's flubs will reinforce the image of a spoiled rich kid playing at politics and will help the few nondecided to sadly vote for Obama as the best of a bad choice.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Exciting News

From the LATimes:
-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took to the Sunday talk shows and declared that Wednesday night’s presidential debate will “restart” Romney’s campaign. --

Romney restarts his campaign as often as some people I know stop smoking.

The problem is, none of the restarts actually start anything new. Romney has only one constant, "I am not Obama." We'll, I'm not Obama either. So?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Aliens Among Us

If Star Trek taught us anything, it is that aliens are humans with severe skeletal deformites and even worse skin conditions. Unless they are self modified humans, of course.

Memory and PTSD for A Friend

To a friend, recovering from a shocking, but noninjury accident:

Nothing beats meditation and thoughtful prayer for insight. Don't be surprised, though, if some memories never resurface. I still remember only parts of the accident that left my grandson and me trapped upside down in my truck. These memory bits are stunningly vivid, while whole sections of the event cannot be recalled.

Hypocrites, Public Prayer, and Politics

"When there's a directive that comes down from a federal court that says you can't pray at a public event," he explained, "that's basically saying people of faith should not be involved in the public arena. There's case after case where folks have been pushed back on from standpoint of being engaged in prayer." Gov. Perry, quoted in

I find three problems with this position:

1. If the prayers were to Allah, the Goddess, or to Ganesh; I am certain Perry would suddenly find a reason to ban them.

2. No court has banned prayer at any public event. They have banned government directed or government sponsored organized prayer at public events.

3. As a man of faith, I give the following advice. Whenever you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray while standing in public and on street corners so that people can see. Whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.

I suggest anyone interested in this topic check out Matthew 6. It is quite insightful.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Message to My Middle Daughter

Try this, Kid. This is an excellent way to start meditating, which is proven to increase physical health, reduce stress, depression, anger, etc.
And remember, as the author says, "There is no wrong way to begin."

I have been neglecting my spiritual life, due to certain stresses. It is a mistake. Meditation is essential to well being, and I must return to it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga, I admit it. I was wrong about you. You got class!

Message to the Tea Party

Message to the Tea Party. You want your country back? Well, you see, it's their country too. You need to grow up and learn to share. You know, what you work so hard to teach your grandchildren to do? It's not that hard, sharing. You just stop trying to grab it all for yourself and let everybody have a turn. You should try it. It works for your grandkids, and it can work for you!

Who You Gonna Trust

Speaking of Pox News,

-- According to Media Matters, at least 10 scientists have gone as far as calling the Fox News and the Wall Street Journal's coverage "Utter Nonsense." --

Who you gonna trust? The blessed monks and nuns who work at Fox News (they are required to take an oath of poverty, obedience and meekness) or the money crazed "scientists" who are conspiring to take over the world?

Of Airplanes and Windows

OK, so Romney made a rather lame joke about airplane windows that should roll down. Unfortunately, many media sources took it seriously and made it look, briefly, as if the Pox Propaganda Channel is right about them.

Personally, due to my PTSD from being trapped upside down in my crushed truck a few years ago, roll down windows aren't enough to get me on a plane. I'll fly when they put out a convertible model.

I insist that there at least be a sun deck, as recommended by W C Fields in...was it The Bank Dick?

Note to family and friends: As in COP, you vulgarians! Those were simpler, less crude times. Get your minds out of the gutter, or at least look at the stars from time to time.

Another note: The last reference is one of my favorite quotes. How well do you know me? Can you identify the quote? No cheating! No googling!

Last note: I recently discovered that Barney Google is still a published comic strip! No goo, goo, googly eyes, though. No Sparkplug either. If I didn't know better, I'd say I'm getting old. Thankfully, I know better.

Curses be upon you, auto spell check! My friends and family are vulgarians, not Bulgarians! Not that there's anything wrong with being Bulgarian, they just aren't.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Wisdom of Psychpaths

From Scientific American, October 2012. "The Wisdom of Psychpaths"

-- We can learn a lot from psychopaths. Certain aspects of their personalities and intellect are often hallmarks of success. --

I told them so, but they wouldn't listen to me. The fools!

A Letter to My Prodigal Daughter 9-24-12

I am sorry I have taken so long to write. Did the kids get their package? What did they so with their coins? Does Rebecca even like amber?

I have had a seemingly endless viral infection. I hope it will wind down soon. In the meantime, please answer me. If you will not, have the children wrote at least a thank you note. Even that formality would mean so much to me.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Innocence Of Muslims - A brief explanation to my middle daughter

The movie is a hateful, personal attack on Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam. Even the actors are saying they were tricked into participating by being told the movie was about another subject.  The movie maker then added words to the sound track after the actors had finished their work.  

The people in the Middle East who are rioting think the US government must have allowed the movie, since that is the way their old governments controlled everyone and did not allow free speech. AntiAmerican groups are taking advantage of this to stir up violence.

Many Muslims, in the US, Lybia, and other places are condemning the violence.

Extremists on both sides are making all the trouble. The rest of us need to stay steady and remember that reasonable people are trying to restore calm.  

We can help by not joining in the hate fest.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Global Warming

More proof that global warming is a deception!  The truth is, the planet is getting hotter.

Lincoln-Douglas: Obama-Romney

Interesting and and telling link, Nick. -- --

I'm  curious as to your opinion on the debates.  With Obama suffering from the economy and his mixed record while Romney struggles with personal unpopularity and a clinical case of the flip flops, I see the debates as essential.

I expect their impact will be as powerful as they were during the Kennedy/Nixon campaign. I am hearing from various pundits, left and right, that Romney is a skilled debater who will almost certainly win at least one of the debates.

As an old debater, I don't see it.  Romney did very well in the Republican debates, but he was up against a set of incompetent, often incoherent opponents.  Even Gingrich was a pale, sickly shadow of the powerful manipulator he had been.

I saw Romney as a competent debater, not a great one.  Furthermore, he was subject to damaging his performance with with jarring oddities that emphasized his wealth and sense of entitlement.  I would be surprised if he wins any of the debates.  

My question is, what do you expect?  Care to make a prediction?  How about an estimate?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Letter to My  Prodigal Daughter   9-9-12

This Sunday, let me speak of love.  Love is not a zero sum game in which there is a limited quantity of a resource which must be allocated on the basis of one person's gains constitute another's loss.  The more love which is given out, the more there is to distribute. 

This sounds like one of the magical  devices of myth and legend.  I recall a story of a salt mill which would produce upon command until halted by another magic word.  Salt being of immense value in the ancient world, someone stole the device and set it to grinding out his fortune.  Unfortunately for him, he did not know the command to turn the mill off.  Soon he was in danger of suffocating in salt.  In desperation he threw the mill into the sea, where it still grinds away, making the fresh water which flows into the oclean into brine.

I have a never empty mug of Coke.  It may drain down, but it always refills itself. OK, so I give it some assistance, but it is never dry.

If I were the kind of father who would stop loving any of his children on command, my love would be false and worthless. Love which lasts, love which is worth having, is deep and enduring.  It is boundless and flows out for all the family. 

If my love was something I could turn on and off, it would not be worth having.  It would not be love, but some sort of self interested business arrangement.  If you could make me stop loving the rest of my children and grandchildren, so that my devotion was be all yours, you would find it to be a sterile and pointless thing which would have neither depth nor endurance.  You would no longer want it.  Do not seek to kill the goose that laid the golden egg if it lays for more than just you.  Share the wealth, share the love.

I will do anything I can for you.  And I will do anything I can for all my children.  One of the things which I cannot do, and still remain who and what I am, is abandon any one of you.  

The day I turn my back on any of my children or grandchildren is the day I have been transformed into a stranger, into a monster.  Nothing short of a major brain injury could cause that.  An injury so great would be so catastrophic that I could truly be declared dead, and a new person would inhabit my body.

All the love I have to give is yours, as it is all my children's.  I will never reject any of you, no matter how you hurt me.  Unconditional is unconditional.  

Did you know it's Grandparents' Day?  I miss my Lost Lambs.  I know they miss me.  Let them call me.  Tell me I may call them.  At least let them write me a thank you card for the gifts I send. Please don't bring more suffering into the world.  There is already too much here.

This mill grinds out love. It must, for that is its nature.  The day it stops 
loving is the day it is no longer a mill.  If you succeeded in changing me, I would no longer have any value.  Not to you, not to anyone.  Love and family are all I have that is of worth.  The rest of me is so much organic tissue.  

Accept my love.  Let your children, my Little Ones, have my love.  There is enough for all.  You do need to take any away from anyone else.
Call me.  Let my Lambs call me.  Tell me I may call.  Take back your command that I be silent.

Don't be like the dwarfs in The Last Battle.  Surrounded by love and plenty, they insist, no, demand, that they are being treated badly.  A feast is interpreted as animal fodder, fine wine as dirty water from an old trough.  These things are pure and wholesome and wonderful, but their fear and bitterness make them seem polluted and foul.  

Here is the same love I give to all my family.  Why won't you take it with joy?  You are loved.  Why isn't that enough?

Join the feast.  

Love, always, love.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sing Along

I posted on Facebook about heading out to get tasks done and being caught just in time to prevent my discovering that it was a national holiday by noticing that the offices I needed to visit were closed.  

Susan (miss you!) pointed put that she and others live for those holidays which I can afford to forget.

So I responded:

Don't be sad!  Sing along instead!  To the tune of Hello Young Lovers...  

Hello, Job Holders, whoever you are
Don't cry cause I'm retired
I had a job once too, like you
I had a job once too

Friday, August 31, 2012

Believe It or Not

Steven Colbert proudly declares the motto of his super pac is, "Making a better tomorrow, tomorrow!"

Apparently inspired by Colbert, the GOP has officially adopted their motto for this election, "Building a better tomorrow, yesterday!".

It is reported that they were considering, "Building a better tomorrow, a few centuries ago!" Reliable sources indicate that this was rejected as being too factual and accurate even for the Party faithful.

Failing Schools or Failing Society?

From the Huff Post --  Poverty among children in America is shamefully high. According to a UNICEF report, U.S. child poverty rate is 23.1 percent -- higher than any other economically advanced nation except Romania. --

Romania is economically advanced?  In any event, we are only the United States of America, we can't afford to bring more of our children out of poverty like those wealthy nations can.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, Greece and Latvia!  You think you're so much better than us just 'cause you're so rich!

And from the same report:
--  According to a Newday Article, a Standford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond points out, "U.S. 15-year olds in schools with fewer than 10 percent of kids eligible for free or cut-rate lunch "score first in the world in reading, outperforming even the famously excellent Finns."

It is clear the link between environments in which economic struggle is rampant directly impact educational success in the classroom. --

So, our public schools are doing the best job in the world, IF their student population is not impoverished.  Add poverty, and it's all the teachers' fault.  I mean the teachers' unions' fault.  It it weren't for those unions, those children would not be poor.

The clear and predictive link between socioeconomic class and school success has been known and well documented for decades.  It was St. Ronald of Reagan who first began the deceitful meme that our schools were failing due to the incompetence and or laziness of teachers.  It was a lie then.  It is a lie now.

This deceit was, and it remains, popular because it suggests a cheap, quick fix to a problem which is actually difficult, complex, and expensive to solve.  The problem is not our failing schools.  The problem is our failing society.  Getting children out of poverty is the most effective answer.  This would best be attained by creating an economy in which the middle class is growing.

Please note that the middle class began to shrink under the administration of Ronald Reagan, and has been shrinking ever since.  

All I ask is that you take some time to think about the facts.  Put emotion and preconceptions aside for a while and do some serious thinking. Do it for our future, which is to say, do it for America's children.

Facts? What Facts?

From the Huff Post  -- Ryan then noted that Obama, while campaigning for president, promised that a GM plant in Wisconsin would not shut down. "That plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight," Ryan said.

Except Obama didn't promise that. And the plant closed in December 2008 -- while George W. Bush was president.

It was just one of several striking and demonstrably misleading elements of Ryan's much-anticipated acceptance speech. And it comes just days after Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned, defending the campaign's demonstrably false ads claiming Obama removed work requirements from welfare, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.". --

Or by facts.

Ryan went on to declare that while Obama claims to be concerned with preventing extinctions, he, "...did nothing, not one single thing, to save the dinosaurs!"

Now that's a fact we can take to the bank.  (Romney recommends a Swiss bank.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breakthrough Discovery!  Starvation Does NOT Make You Live Longer!

There is at least one human scientist who has put himself on a starvation diet to extend his life span.  His decision was based on research which showed that such a severe caloric restriction extends the lives of lab rats.  Now we discover that:

From the Huff Post --  New research published on Wednesday, however, shows the extreme, emaciating diet doesn't increase lifespan in rhesus monkeys, the closest human relatives to try it in a rigorous, long-running study. While caveats remain, outside experts regarded the findings as definitive, particularly when combined with those from a similar study.

"If there's a way to manipulate the human diet to let us live longer, we haven't figured it out yet and it may not exist," said biologist Steven Austad of the University of Texas Health Science Center's Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, who wrote an analysis of the study in Nature. --

Ooops.  Years of misery and poor nutrition, only to discover that it was pointless

Which brings me to the conclusion that I get to eat any way I want to.  Fast food, get ready to hit the accelerator!  Unnamed person who nags me about my eating habits out of a concern for extending my lifespan, see what happens when you don't wait for more research?  

NOTE:  The last question does not apply to global warming, aka, climate change, or evolution., or gravity, or related matters.

Barshop Institute?  Are they hiring?  I wouldn't mind working there. Sounds like a fun place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The stimulus that could...(I just can't call it little!)

From the LATimes: --  WASHINGTON — Without the unprecedented stimulus actions by the   federal government triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, the Great   Recession might still be going on, according to a study by Fitch   Ratings -- 

 The report goes on to identify negative effects of the stimulus, but it is clear that these pale in comparison to the negative effects which would have resulted from inaction.  So why do Republican candidates and officials continue to attack these successful actions?  The answer is because they: 

 1.  ...don't believe in reality.  Ideology is real, facts are not.  This gives believers a sense of absolute security in a confused and uncertain world.  Facts are not simple and unchanging. Reality is messy and difficult.  Practicing mindless ideology means never being wrong, never having to change your mind, and never having to say you're sorry.

 2. about the Party more than they care about their country.  This is partly true of the membership of any party, imagine a Democrat saying his party's candidate isn't as good for the country as the Republican would be.  This sometimes happens, as with so called Reagan Democrats, but it is unusual among voters and unheard of among either Party's leadership.  Due to the increasing radicalism of the GOP, Republicans who even might consider voting for the better man have been declared Rinos and are now independents. 

 3.  ...have turned membership in the Republican Party into a religious movement.  It is an article of faith, an unassailable religious doctrine that Democrats are evil by nature.  It follows that nothing done by Democrats can be good.  This is true even when Democrats enact a Republican plan, like Health Care. This extremism will not last.  The GOP will either turn back from extremism, or will go the way of the Whigs, the Mugwumps, and the Know Nothings. 

Do Not Feed The Animals!

From the Huff Post -- Two attendees at the Republican National Convention were thrown out of the convention center in Tampa on Tuesday after throwing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and saying, "this is how we feed the animals." --

The good news is that RNC officials promptly expelled the offenders.  That is the action which the Tea Party has failed to demonstrate.  Their usual response was to wait until they were criticized, then to complain that the Liberal Media were making it up.   When shown the videos proving it HAD happened, they usually responded with a variation of, "Well, we can't be held accountable for a few extremists!"

In fact, you are responsible if you tolerate or even ignore those extremists.  The RNC took prompt and clear action.  Your organization rarely does so.  Clean  your own yard, or be judged according to its appearance.

Coca-Cola and the "Young Republicans"

Jonathan Martin, from Poitico, referring to the "Young Republicans" like Paul Ryan -- ...these children of the 80's want to dispense for good with New Coke and return to Coca-Cola Classic.--

I can't agree with this assessment.  Yes, Ryan's record is at odds with his current rhetoric, but I am taking him at his word.  He has seen the light and has converted.  If he is not being honest, then I am wrong, but if he is speaking the truth about his current attitudes, and if this is also true of his fellow Young Republicans, they are aiming at a return, not to the 1980's, but to the 1880's.

The Coca-Cola Classic version of Republican conservatism was tolerant, worked well with others, believed in compromise, and was not rigidly doctrinaire.  What these Radical Reactionary Republicans want is is a return to the original formula, Cocaine Coke.  After all, requiring the manufacturer to eliminate the stimulant was regulation; and we all know how regulations strangle free enterprise.  Don't we?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Political Correctness and Black Trench Coat Laws

A Huff Post reports that a well intentioned bill to reduce official use of the term "retarded" is awaiting Governor Brown's signature.  As always, the purpose is to eliminate what has become a pejorative with a value neutral term.  The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wasted his brilliant mind confusing words describing reality with reality itself.  It is easy to do.  It is also a futile, sterile effort.

Changing the term does not change the attitudes of the users of that term.  Consider the familiar history of an equally well intentioned effort. "Crippled" became "handicapped" became "disabled" became "alternatively enabled" and soon will become..what?  Who knows?  All that is clear is that it will change because changing the term just gives the  contemptuous and the hateful a new word to turn into an epithet.

In honesty, I must admit that incorporating the word, "swamp" into the much more inclusive "wetlands" allowed environmentalists to preserve wild areas previously regarded as vile.  However, I regard this as an unusual case; one which proofs the rule

From the article.-- "Mental retardation" was not always a pejorative term. It was introduced in medical texts more than a century ago, replacing words like "imbecile," "moron" and "idiot" that had developed negative connotations. --

I would add that those terms were adopted as value neutral replacements for "mentally defective".  That worked well, didn't it?

What we must do is educate individuals and prevent bullying.  Changing terms is a Black Trench Coat Law.

OK, my term, so I need to explain it.  When a group of bullied students took revenge by murdering their peers at Columbine, the school board was under intense pressure to do SOMETHING to increase student safety NOW!  What could they do?  In terms of an instant cure, little if anything that would be effective.  Yet, terrified parents demanded action.  Since the killers had favored black trench coats, the board banned black trench coats on campus.  That was simply sad.

So the term, "Black Trench Coat Law" refers to any law which has good intentions, but is pointless to the level of complete futility.  I applaud and support the efforts of many to put and end to the bullying of the developmentally delayed...oops, sorry!  That term became pejorative about 30 years ago...  However, I cannot support Black Trench Coat Laws, no matter how much I wish that they would work.

Another Austrian making trouble with confused ideology?  Let's see...Wittgenstein, Austrian Economics, Hitler....I think the Austrians are determined to destroy the world.

Note:  the last comment is a joke, if you took it seriously, you need some help.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Burning! Why it's better than burning witches!

From the Huff Post, a charity group intends to burn copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Great!  I had zero interest in this seres.  It seemed to me to be just another mess of  romance fluff. (Think hair ball-- without the hair.)  However, if some group thinks it's bad enough to burn, I feel a moral obligation to at least read it.  Then I can make a judgement.  Note: even literature I despise, such as Mein Kamph or Waiting for Godot or Ulysses, shouldn't be burned.  If you don't like like it, don't read it.

I suppose I can get a cheap used set through Amazon, skim it, then pass it onto someone who LIKES romances...Hmmmmm... I must know someone who likes romances...


A post to my middle daughter:

Family is the most basic and essential element of who and what we are.  Individuals are themselves due to many factors, but the first is their inheritance from their family.  If physically related, the very genes that form your body and personality are shared, and even this is not so, the  most formative elements of our very selves, good or bad, come from our family.

Family can be a joy or a burden, but it is a part of us.  We can accept, embrace, reject or deny our family, but they are always with us and within us.  I often quote Robert Frost's Death of the Hired Man.  -- Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. --  Sometimes even this essential reality is denied, but in doing so, one rejects parts of himself or of herself.  You can keep your family physically away from you, but their influence  and their presence in your soul are permanent.

Ideally, family is our joy and our refuge, our reason for being and our fulfillment.  No family is perfect, but each family is the possession and the personal nation of the individual.

Family is the foundation of our existence, the road to meaning in our lives, the reason to continue to live, the expression of our faith.  Family is the skeleton that gives us form, the heart that circulates our love, the brain that gives us purpose, the soul that makes us human.  Family is why I live and why I will keep on living.  

To deny your family is to deny yourself.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Time capsules

From Huff Post -- Stocks in oil? Historical documents? A small treasure? Speculation over what might be inside a 100-year-old package that's set to be unsealed this Friday in a small town in Norway abounds, according to Verdens Gang, a Norwegian newspaper. --

I bet it contains a stack of pages that all say, "Ha, ha!  Make you look!"

Thoughts on personhood

A link from a post from my friend Nick:

My response:

Someone brilliantly answered the belief that personhood begins at conception by proposing a thought experiment.  Ask such a believer what he or she would do in the following situation:

You are alone in a building, except for a freezer unit containing several hundred frozen human ova which have been fertilized, but which remain in the single cell stage, and a three month old baby.  You receive a warning that a bomb will destroy the building in a few minutes.  You can't carry out both the freezer and the baby.  You must take one or the other.  There will be no time to return to save the one left behind.

Which do you save?

If the ova are fully human, you must save them.  Hundreds of innocent lives will be saved while one innocent life will be lost.  

I doubt even the most radical believer in personhood would actually leave the baby to die and save the fertilized eggs. Of course, extremism IS extreme, so maybe I'm wrong.

I think everyone dislikes, and many hate abortion, but what is the alternative? Do Americans really want a return to the dark days of illegal and amateur efforts to end pregnancy?  It did not save the lives of the unborn, and it often took the mother to her grave. Legal abortion with reasonable restrictions may be disturbing, but it is better than the horrors of the past.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Recent Dream

A message to my four children, sent via dreams.

Sent from my iPad

Message From My Dreamtime

Stil and safe
Reality lost and gone away

In a den of blanket
In a pillow nest
In an armor of warm air

Only here
Only now
Only me myself

And then the shifting of the bed
Behind me, weight
The ending of alone

But safe
Still safe
Stillness, safety, peace

I felt your hair
In gentle touch
Tickle at my face

Your breath
A soft caress
A loving ripple

And then a kiss
Soft brushing of your lips
Against my open cheek

A parents kiss
A child's kiss
I love you kiss

Joy like the sun
Like a cloud cleared sky
Lifting up my soul

Then you shift away
Back away
To leave me in my sleep

To hold the wonder
To lengthen out the love
I reach up

Up to your cheek
But I do not move
I reach unmoving

All happiness 
All security
Yet I will to reach

Effort beyond my strength
Yet loving and affirming
I make my hand to move

Up against your face
Another kiss
Or just a gentle hugging

Cheek hug
Hold me with your face
Sleep while being held

And my hand falls through
Your hair, your head, your flesh
Not there

My face catches it
My hand
My face

A dream

A wistful, hopeful dreaml
Of being loved and cherished
Even in my sleep

I am alone
Held in blanket lair and pillow cave

My greed and need
Too much
I cannot hold the dream

If only I had lain unmoving 
Down and still
Accepting just one kiss


The joy would have remained
Lingered on
Beautiful delusion

Instead there is...
The emptiness
The nonness

There is no kiss
I love you kiss
Parent to child kiss

Given in sleep
To the unaware
Just to feel the love

Kiss I gave
So many times
To all of you

And to my father
On his deathbed
Gentle kiss


Readers, remember that works posted here remain the copyrighted property of the author, me. Thank you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tune in, Turn on, Fall down?

What strange night I had!  I hesitate to discuss it since it was SO strange, but like Ray Bradbury and his horror tales, putting it down on paper takes away much of its force. It is similar to the belief that if you know an evil spirit's true name, it loses it's power over you.  So I'll cry out, "Rumplestiltskin" and procede.

The heat wave has had it's usual bad effect on me, but August is making up for years of being less intense than July and hit us with three weeks of heat and high humidity which evaporative coolers just can't handle.  

The effects began early yesterday. As so often happens, I woke to find the world was tilted.  As usual, my eyes insisted that the entire room was tilted down to the right by about 40 degrees.  Oddly, this changed when I moved my head.  Normally, moving my line of sight does not alter the tilt.  Yesterday, when I looked to the right, the room was tilted to the right.  WhenI looked straight ahead, the room  was level.  When I looked to the left, the room tiled down in that direction.

It made walking even harder than it it is when my room is tilted one way.  During a regular event, as I move through the house, the tilt varies with gravity as I move along, although it tilts consistently when I am lying down.  Yesterday was even more chaotic.  I stayed upright, but my wrists paid for it as I veered about.

In the heat wave, I needed a shower badly last night.  I put my wrists under even more strain until I gave up and took the shower sitting down.  A wrist brace eased the pain on my left, and I collapsed into bed.

But instead of simply sleeping, I began to drift.  Normally a delight, this time drifting in and out of dream was disturbing.  I had the oddest sensations and dream drifts I can recall, even including a fever dream or two when my temperature tried to poach my brain.  Shadows became strange and troubling.  They glowed a soft blue and moved and shifted in ways I'd never seen before.  I thought that these living shadows should frighten me, but they didn't.

My fingers seemed to fold backwards like a carpenter's ruler, unfold and then refold again--over and over.  Since I was drifting, I could reach over and hold one hand atop the other.  This stopped the weird sensation.  But soon I was adrift again and could see and hear the clicking of my now mechanical fingers as I dreamed.
It all sounds so 60's psychedelic, but I do not now, nor have I ever, used drugs.  I say again, this is the oddest thing which has ever happened to me.  I wondered if I had food poisoning or if there was some pollutant in the air.  The oddity began to fade, until by pre dawn I began a poem for which I have great hopes.  Then I slept.

Today was a difficult day, but not exceptionally so.  I am 63 and this is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me.  I have no explanation and feel an urge to conceal this bizarre experience, but I believe it will be better to go ahead and open myself to criticism by speaking openly about it.  It happened. It  has never happened before.  I do not expect it to ever happen again.

By speaking openly of it, I intend to strip it of its power to disturb me.  Better to say, "Hey, you want to try to top this one?" and laugh about just how odd an experience I can have.  As I say, and as I sincerely mean, it's good to laugh at yourself.  Otherwise, you tend to take yourself way too seriously.

So, please join me in enjoying the joke.  It is evident that I can freak out from the effects of a lengthy heat wave, I bet you have to take drugs to get the same effect.

Lucky me!

My Prodigal Daughter -- An Explanation

I am posting letters to my prodigal daughter.  As you probably know, she gave me an ultimatum 3 years ago.  She demanded that I disown my other children, or lose her and her children.  I refused to choose between my children, telling her I chose everyone.  She said that was not good enough and cut me off from her and my beloved grandchildren.

Since she is the wife of a Christian minister and very vocal in her faith, I am hoping that she will feel less free to attack the father and family who love her if she must do so publicly.

I love her, and ask for believers to pray for her redemption and nonbelievers to meditate upon the weaknesses of humanity.  If you have anything negative to say about her, keep silent.  I will not tolerate it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Letter to My Prodigal Daughter          8-19-12

A Letter to My Prodigal Daughter.              8-19-12

Sorry I missed last Sunday.  The heat wave has been very hard on me.  I struggle every day to get through and to accomplish something that justifies my existence.  I have had some good times with family, but I have been unable to do enough even In this most basic area.  

As you know, I have been in a very slowly, but very steadily deteriorating state of health since I was 6.  This pattern was spread over years when I was younger, but accelerated as I matured.  Then something strange and hopeful happened.  Starting about 6 years ago, I began to very slowly suffer less.  It has  been 6 years since I totally lost days from my life.  I still lose them, but now I know the time has passed, though it seems to pass at an incredible rate.

Not in 6 years have I thought I had one bad night on Monday, only to discover that it was now Thursday, not Tuesday.  Neither have I been forced in those 6 years to crawl to the toilet, carefully watching my hands reach out and touch the floor, because if I even glance away from them, I fall over.  

But the trend toward improvement only lasted a few  years.  The progress froze and then  I began to deteriorate again.  This reversal began when you tried to force me to choose between you and my other children.  I am losing the gains I made.  From the age of 6 to the age of 57, I deteriorated.  Then I amazingly began to improve, reversing a pattern which had held constant for 51 years.  Then you began to wound and injure me.  You have made a good job of it.  I am again on the old path downward into more and more suffering.  

You make a great show of your faith.  So I must ask,  is this what a Christian does?  When did Christ say, "Blessed are the vengeful."?  Where does the Bible, Old or New Testament, allow a daughter to injure her father so harshly?  Did He not say that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit?  Yet the fruit of your actions is suffering and injury.  How is it that such a devout Christian daughter is so cruel?

I love you, and I always will.  I want only peace and joy for you.  I most definitely do not want justice for you.  You have sown the wind, but I pray that you will never reap the whirlwind.  Why do you do harm to me?  Does it please you to know how much you have injured me?  If you have a sense of shame, if you regret your rage, then put it out of your house. Say what you will, put on a fine Christian costume, but your actions are what matters.  Be not a whited sepulcher, but a living testament to love, forgiveness, and obedience.

It is too late to undo the suffering you have already inflicted, but you can stop inflicting more.  You can turn away from harming and turn to healing. You can stop looking like a Christian and start living like one.

I love you.  Please stop hurtling me.  My body already makes my life painful and hard enough you do not need to make things worse.  

Please stop hurting me.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Letter to My Prodigal Daughter. 8-5-12

A Letter to My Prodigal Daughter.                                                       8-5-12

Since you have not responded to my pleas for you to stop hurting me by trying to force me to choose between you and my other children, between my grandchildren;  I will try a new path.  Every Sunday, I will write a letter to you.  Each will always bear the same message.  It is that I have never deliberately hurt you or caused you suffering. It is that it is wrong for you to try to force me to make a choice between my children and between my grandchildren.  It is that the only choice I can make is to choose all of you.  It is that you have no right to continue to hurt me and that you should stop doing so.

Since you have not responded to my private pleas, I will publish each letter on my blog in hopes that you will forebear from a public act, where you refuse to do so behind closed doors.

This Sabbath, I send you a poem.  

This is the fruit your actions have borne.  It is not sweet.

Ego sum omnes -- primus

I am the blood upon the altar
The stain upon the stone
Flies cluster thick to feed on me
I feed them with myself

I brown and darken on the rock
I spread my way across the stair
My gift of life is to the sun
And to his mother, time

Atop the empty temple steps
Lie the masks of breath and heart
In the jungle green with life
infested with genetic code

Peace and comfort that I sought
Were cut from me without consent
You the knife to make me bleed
Then the knapper of the flint

I am the rock that will endure
Only I can cut myself
Bits of me shaped into wedge
To make the stone to bleed

I cannot hate myself reborn
Resurrected in the time to come
I can only lie and die
Bled out by my own love

But I cannot die and then be dead
I am Prometheus renewed
I am the altar,  I am the stone
I am the knife, and you the knapper

Temple, altar, blood am I
The victim and the stage
Knife, knapper, priestess, You
Serving strange and thirsty gods

I am support and I am base
I lift you up above the earth
I hold you down below the sky
This is what I do, this is what I am

I am the blood upon the altar
The stain upon the stone
I brown and darken on the rock
I spread my way across the stair

--I remind everyone that the contents of this blog are protected under the 
laws of copyright.  They are the property of the author.--

Saturday, July 7, 2012

America vs. Samaria

So a lifeguard is fired for saving the wrong life. From the view point of unrestricted capitalism, this makes perfect sense. Like the fire departments that let your house burn down if you didn't pay the county for fire service (yes, it really happens), privatization requires such penalization for the uncovered victim (he must take responsibility for failing to protect himself by signing up for our service)and for the lifeguard (he gave away our services to an uncovered individual).

Privatization, got to love it! It takes away the evil socialist concept of public service and replaces it with the sacred concept, "pay or die ". Thanks to privatization, we can become a nation of bad Samaritans. We already have a head start.

An exchange

I commented on a Huff Post entry in which the author speculated and bemoaned the low level of facts in current political attitudes and beliefs.   -- --

My comment was as follows.

Suggested corrections:
From: How can so many people be so arrogantly ignorant?
To: How can so many people be so willfully ignorant?

Answer: It's easy. Knowledge results from work, hard work

A comment was made on my comment, as follows.

nice, simplistic answer.

To this I made the following response.

Actually, I see the matter as deeply complex.  Seeking the answers to my query raises intense philosophic and psychological issues.  Why are people willing to surrender their intellect to their emotions?  What role is played by confirmation bias and other innate tendencies?  How much moral and practical responsibility is engendered by deliberately deceitful media outlets?

The ramifications are worthy of an academic specialty.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A group of teachers were caught In the act of smearing their students' abilities and personal attributes.  One teacher was fired for similar misconduct in an earlier incident. Then -- After her suspension, Munroe was reinstated at the school because she had a "legal right to her job," but was fired last week for poor performance. --

Is any educator surprised that a teacher posting such personal denigrations of her students was also performing poorly in carrying out her duties?

Respect is a two way street. Teachers who deserve react are those who respect their students and their communities.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

From a Huff Post report:

-- In an interview with the BBC, the world's most famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, said Higgs deserved the Nobel Prize. Hawking said he had placed a wager with another scientist that the Higgs boson would never be found.

"It seems I have just lost $100," he said.--

If this unnamed other scientist is Kip Thorne, I suggest Hawking stop making bets with him. It seems Thorne always wins.

My point is that while I am delighted to see our sports/celebrity obsessed culture paying attention to scientists, I fear we are tending to impose celebrity upon those scientists. Dr. Hawking is brilliant, but he is not Einstein, and even Einstein was often wrong. Science is the most successful branch of philosophy because it allows practitioners to utilize a set of procedures and methodologies which correct for the human failings of said practitioners. In other words, science works because it allows for and overrides the human failings of scientists.

We should respect and admire researchers, but let's be careful to remember they are not to idolized.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good news

From Huff post --  They agreed to collaborate on a follow-up to "Cosmos," Sagan's acclaimed 1980 miniseries, with MacFarlane serving as producer. Astrophysicst Neil deGrasse Tyson will host the series, which is scheduled to begin production this fall. --


Edvard Munch

I have only known Munch through The Scream.  Ignoring his body of work was a terrible mistake.  I love this work, very like a visual Poe.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Black holes, holographic gravity, and dirty jokes

As I read the comments following the video on the above link regarding black holes and holographic gravity, I was struck by two facts.  First, no one gave me a hint as to what  could induce a two dimensional set of data smeared across a theoretical, event horizon-like limit to our universe to project that data inward and thus create the reality we all experience and of which we are a part.  Second, I was disappointed in the number of adolescent sexual giggle fests over the term, " black hole".  

I posted the following comments:

  In the flood of comments, may I interject a question?  Assuming that holographic gravity is an accurate model of reality, what takes the place of the photons which cause the two dimentional pattern to project a three dimentional image?  I am not opposed to the concept of our perceived reality being such a projection, but can't conceive of an answer for this element of the picture.

Oh, and as a matter of historical interest, Russian physicists were appalled at the adoption of the term, "black hole" as it actually did have a pre-existing crude sexual meaning in their language.

Does anyone out there have an answer to my question?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tabletop X-ray Laser

From the LATimes:  --After more than half a century of research, the world's first
tabletop X-ray laser has been created an international team  of physicists, a development that promises to bring new  understanding to wide areas of chemistry and biology. --
And the weapons long dreamed of by sci fi  authors.  X -ray lasers have the potential to be the " blasters" of early sci fi, but only of they can be made small enough...

How about a lone infantryman using a single shot from a handgun to take out a main battle tank? Interesting thought...

And does the Second Amendment allow individuals to own what could justifiably be called a super weapon?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Super Nova?

From the Huff Post:  -- Betelgeuse, one of the night sky's brightest stars, is losing mass, indicating it is collapsing. It could run out of fuel and go super-nova at any time.--

But NASA says, --There is no reason to think the supergiant star Betelgeuse will become a supernova anytime soon, and when it does explode, it is too far away to hurt us.--

So, it looks like the Big B will go supernova soon, as long as " soon" means in the next 10,000 years.  There are changes to the star, but it is a variable star.  Such changes may just be part of its normal cycle.  If it did go supernova, it would be thrilling and sad.  Thrilling because we would see this amazing event; sad because there goes a beautiful friend in Orion.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A link to contemplate

This link says so much about all I love about America and believers who live a good life, rather than posture and pose. It is worth remembering that Jesus spent a lot of time condeming the publicly pious and the self satisfied.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I am posting a conversation from Facebook.  I found it stimulating and interesting.  I hope you agree.  I have removed the names and addresses of the other two participants as I do not have their permission to post their personal data.  

L:  Stand Against GOP Voter Suppression Tactics --L posted this link.

C :   How are they preventing American Citizen Registered Voters from voting???

Jim Naranjo: Demanding identification which many thousands of voters lack , refusing student id's since young people tend to vote democratic, making new severe penalties for violating ridiculous restrictions on registering new voters, who are mostly minority and or young...etc. etc.


This is a powerful attempt to end free elections in America and replace them with show elections in which everyone knows the winner as soon as the ruling party names its candidate. Vladimer Putin must be a Republican!

El Naranjal: Search results for Voter suppression

C :    So if you want to vote....Get a LEGAL I.D. It's really not that hard. I'm a minority and I vote legally. I don't believe I have ever met a student that didn't have a LEGAL I.D. Face it , the left is counting on the illegal immigrant vote. These are voters that should not and (according to the law) cannot vote. I guess desperate times call for desperate (and illegal) measures? Suffering from voter remorse doesn't justify a feeble attempt at defending the mistake voters made four years ago. Sniff Sniff......I smell a "Blame Bush" comment coming soon.

Jim Naranjo: It is VERY hard for the elderly, for students far from home, for the disabled and the poor, where laws require birth certificates which are expensive and hard to acquire in many states. Voter fraud is almost nonexistent, It just doesn't happen. Your arguments are the same ones ones used to defend Jim Crow when I was young. You have been deluded by agitprop and disinformation. I want all legal voters to vote, even if I dislike their choice. You want to prevent many thousands from utilizing their unalienable rights because you are afraid of illegal immigrants.

Nativism is as old as the US. In Revolutionary days it was the unAmerican Germans, In The Civil War it was the alien Irish, now it's the awful Mexicans. The GOP fears it will lose if an honest election is held. Therefore, they will recreate Jim Crow in a new form and rig the election. The Bush administration spent years and millions of dollars to root out your "voter fraud". They only found that, over ten years, there might have been three one hundred thousandths of one per cent cases, at most.

Gee, big problem. A whole three one hundred thousandths of one per cent.

Stop panicking and check the facts. This is about rights. It is about honesty. Individuals who have voted for decades are suddenly being denied that right. Individuals who come from families which have been citizens for generations!

Jim Naranjo: You're right, I'm sorry. Bush must not be held accountable for the things he did. You Republicans just abhor personal responsibility. Blame a Democrat for Mr. Bush's actions. That's fair and balanced.

C :  Voter fraud??? Does A.C.O.R.N., S.E.I.U., and thug Black Panther members standing in front of voting polls ring a bell with you? You seem to be an intelligent man, denial is not becoming of you. People can spew out all the bull$#*! they want from centuries past. I live in the present and am worried about now. Honestly, are you better off today than you were 5 years ago? Is your house worth as much today as it was 5 years ago? Did you have any furlow days 5 years ago? Your community organizer has had nearly 4 years to improve "Bushes actions" no avail. Maybe someday people will wise up and vote in a person because he/she is experienced and highly qualified, and not because of the color of his skin. (Look everyone, I voted for Obama....I'm obviously not a racist). But alas....most educators are of the liberal mindset and it's very difficut to convince an educator that he may have made the wrong choice. We libertarians just want less Gov and more jobs...obviously too much to ask from this administration.'s spelled "percent"....Teach

Jim Naranjo: Every time I post my comments they read correctly until actually posted. Then they are garbled. Later tonight I shall post them on my blog. My apologies for the delay and inconvenience!

My latest post:

  I have a life long philosophic commitment to the following belief system:  Reality is real.  Facts must be faced and dealt with appropriately.  You may love a fact.  You may hate a fact.  In either case it remains a fact.

  Fact: ACORN was the victim of fraudent actions, not the perpetrator.  it was ACORN which first reported the abuse.

  Fact:  SEIU was accused of inappropriate influence. Maybe guilty, maybe not.  Both political parties are definitely guilty of influence peddling.  That's both.

  Fact:  the "thug Black Panther members", were laughed at by voters and the Bush Justice Department could not find adequate cause to file charges against them.

  Fact:  GOP congressional leaders said repeatedly they would deliberately block Obama's efforts to improve the economy so as to prevent his reelection.  In spite of this, Obama has created jobs, too few, but he has actually created jobs.

  Fact:  More than half of the national debt was accumulated while Bush was still President.

  Fact:  I can spell per cent. 

  Fact: The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language reports that the term  began as per cent, moved to be percent in the 1700s, and in BE, split again to per cent, AE retaining the percent version.  As usual with such generalisations, there are lots and lots of exceptions.  In other words, I used the correct British usage.

 Furthermore,  I have a hard time typing accurately and my proofreading is terrible. I suffer from vertigo and disorientation so severe I am totally and permanently disabled.  Your sneering personal attack based on what seems to be a typographic error weakens your arguments. Argumentum ad hominem attacks are a logical fallacy and have been recognized as such for millennia. For the sake of your own credibility, I suggest you refrain from this error in the future.

  You argue not from facts, but from fear.  I am sorry you are so frightened.  I also feel threatened.  I agree that there is much to fear, but I believe that America is fundamentally strong and that we will weather these terrible times and continue to do well.
  I add,  Obama has done only a good job as President, not a great one.  

  I hope this calms you.  Plato was wrong about so much, but I must agree with his allegory of the charioteer.  We are a chariot pulled by the horses of our passions and emotions.  The charioteer is our rationality, whose job it is to guide and control those horses so that they do good, not evil.

  Yes, I have restated Plato's idea to correct some errors he made, but his point is largely intact.

  I apologize for any offensive typos and/or use of the Queen's English.  (This is a joke, as much at my expense as at yours.  It is good to be able to laugh at yourself.  It keeps one from taking oneself too seriously.  If you and I laugh at the both of us, there is less anger. If there is less anger, the charioteer has more control.)

  Be at peace.


Got to run, The Celestial Dragon, aka Fenris Wolf (son of Loki) is nibbling at the sun.  I need to observe and drive him away with noise and clamor!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Conservatives against the Radical Republicans


From the Huffington Post:

-- This week, two esteemed conservative thinkers published a must-read op-ed in The Washington Post entitled, "Let's Just Say It: The Republicans Are the Problem." Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote: The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. 

Mann and Ornstein are no lightweight centrists; they are the Republicans of the Republicans. If they see fault in their party's lurch to the far right, then you know things have gotten out of hand. --

Note that these two men are, and have been for decades, conservative Republicans.  They are not liberals. They are not independents.  They are conservative Republicans. I had to repeat that because the Radical Republican response to all criticism is to insist that it is all a liberal lie.  These two men are members of the Brookings Institute, a respected moderate conservative think tank, and of the much more right wing American Enterprise Institute.  They point out that Democrats are not innocent, but add that at least the Dems are trying to govern and compromise while the Republicans have become rigid and intolerant.

When conservative Republicans declare their party to be the problem in American politics, isn't it obvious that it is past time for a change in that party?  Oh, that's right, the Radical Republicans don't believe in facts or reality. I'll say it anyway.  This country needs two strong parties.  One center left and one center right.  One with many moderate liberals, some conservatives, and some very liberal members. The other with many moderate conservatives, some liberals, and some very conservative members. We do not need any party composed of extremist fanatics who will make no compromise, who demonize their opponents, and who are reality challenged.