Monday, May 31, 2010

Special Ed. - Life in the military, what can it "really" be like? Suicidal?

Years ago, back in the late 70s, I was in the Air Force stationed at Strategic Air Command (SAC) base at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington. We supported the pilots, as all Air Force did, they were the God's, we lived for them, everything revolved around them. I had a secret security clearance for Nuclear weapons.

At that base, we worked on or in some way, supported the B-52's that the pilots flew, and the KC-135 fuel tankers that refueled them and other birds. We could launch from the Alert Facility, three B-52s or BUFs (Big Ugly Fuckers, and don't let them tell you it stood for Big Ugly Fellow, because it didn't), and one tanker, up in the air during an alert, within 12-15 mins. That was what our job was, we all supported that. Well, I also supported the PJs (parachute jumpers), the ParaRescue guys. Those guys rock! If there is a firefight and guys are down, these crazy bastards will fly, jump, swim, SCUBA, run, whatever, to rescue those downed airmen.

There was a guy we all knew who lived in the barracks, what we called, "The Zoo". The job, the shop where we worked, was called, "The Farm". And I may or may not have been a part of a group known as, "The Brotherhood".

But enough of that. That, for another time.

Back to this guy, let's call him, Dick. Dick was much like the rest of us. Just a guy. A guy who had to work every day, who had to take orders, follow rules, do "the job". Some of the rules seemed rather banal to us. Mind numbing. The job was mind numbing. But that was on a normal day. Sometimes, changes came down from management, from the Squadron level, or the base level from "White House", where the base commander worked, or higher up at headquarters SAC, or from the President, our Commander in Chief.

Sometimes those new rules, regulations, orders, were far beyond the pale for us. But we lived to get through the day, to do our job, to party when possible, to count our days to the end of days; to become a "two digit midget" (under 99 days to get out); to actually, see civilian life again; to experience, freedom. We thought, jail was better, because then, you were restrained by bars, laws, armed guards. But we, we had to go back each day, voluntarily; we had to leave, knowing we would have to come back the next day. And they next morning, we would indeed get up, get ready and go back to the Farm and do it all over again.

Most of us handled it. Some of us couldn't. Like the guy that waited till his wife went to work that day, then sat in his living room and set up a shotgun and blew off the top of his head. She found him that was, when she returned with groceries.

Or the guy that entered the back gate one night, drunk, was getting hassled by the gate guards until he snapped and started beating the crap out of one of them and the other shot him, killing him.

So, some of us apparently couldn't take it. I did. It wore on me too though.

We had a commander of our squadron, who happened to be black. It didn't really matter one way or another, except, we all thought he was an idiot. As isn't really unusual, we liked the second in command better. But he didn't seem to be kind of an empty vessel. To us anyway. But we managed, we put up with it.

So one day I go to work. I'm in the shop and mid morning, we hear, that everyone needs to stay at work, no one is to leave. Lock down. It would seem that Dick, finally lost it. He was in his room on the 3rd floor of the barracks, someone said he was playing with his 9 shot .22 cal revolver. His door was open, he was just hanging out, drinking, fooling with it. Then something got to him and he went to the barracks "day room". The barracks is separated, a hall on either end, and in between its got a large room usually with TV, maybe pool, or other games and chairs, overstuffed ones frequently.

Dick walked into the day room and there were two guys, kicked back, watching TV. Dick raised his gun and put two bullets into the set, then walked out and went back to his room. It turned into a "thing". They cleared the barracks. The SP's (Security Police) were called out, the LE's (Law Enforcement) were called out. Dick, stayed in his room.

When we heard about it, none of us could believe it. But we knew Dick, and knew he wasn't a killer, just tired of all the bullshit like the rest of us. We all wondered all the time just who would snap next, or when it might happen. There seemed to be a high rate of suicides at the base and we just assumed it was part of the package.

It was a high stress place. We were the "Best in the West" of the bases and we were going to keep that rating. The job itself was stressful. We were under constant surveillance. They said even our home phones downtown would be intermittently monitored. National Security. We had to go to "Golden Flow" (urine testing) once a month.

We were under the HRP or PRP programs (Human, or Personal, Reliability Programs). To do our job, you had to have two people who knew the job, had the clearance and the rank necessary. If anyone asked you a question, even a General, you could tell them to go to Hell if they didn't have, the need to know, the security clearance, and proper credentials. Something I did, at least once to a very pissed off General. When he told my boss, a Tech. Sgt. at the time, he told the General to go to Hell too, politely, and that, was the end of it. Interesting life.

In talking to my coworker and friend, Craig (his real name because names have been changed only to protect the innocent), we realized, if we could just go talk to Dick, we could talk him down. But we weren't allowed to leave the shop.

Then we got the news that our Commanding Office had called him on the phone in his room. He tried to talk Dick down, but his reply was, "Fuck you, you stupid, black bastard!" Then slammed down the receiver and shot the phone several times. Now really, we didn't take this much as a racist comment, but rather an accurate one (he WAS black after all) and as for stupid, well, again it just seemed accurate. We actually laughed about it at the time, because, well, we all agreed, he WAS a stupid bastard, in our opinion and we cheered that someone actually had the brass ones to call him on the carpet about it. But then we started to really get worried.

It was getting on about 11am by this time and we heard that the City Police of Spokane, the city SWAT team, the Sheriff's office and the professional hostage negotiators from downtown had arrived and had set up shop in the ground floor of the barracks. I asked, why the bottom floor, and was told, that's where the pool table is. I was also told that base security, who had no experience with this king of talk down, negotiating kind of stuff, would not let the professionals who knew how to handle this kind of thing, any where near Dick. Who really needed them to be near him.

At this point, Craig, our friend and coworker, Dan and I were all getting upset because we knew Dick could be talked down. Now we were pissed off, because we knew where this was headed. You could feel that they wanted this to end badly. That was our feeling at the time anyway. Otherwise, why wouldn't they let hostage negotiators in?

We tried not to think too much about it, but news was buzzing all through the squadron. Then, about 1:30pm we got the word, it was over. At first, we felt elated, but the silence erased that pretty quickly.

It seems the base waited long enough, they wanted to move. The off base Pro's were still on the first floor, playing pool, being pissed off themselves from what I heard, when the base sent two SPs up the outer staircase. Its made of a metal frame like a fire escape but we all used it daily. Well, I didn't as I lived downtown with my wife, but Craig and Dan did. Craig was down the hall from Dick.

So it seems that when the two SPs were going up the stairs, just at that time Dick had decided to come out the top floor. When he saw two fully geared SPs heading up the stairs at about the second flight, he panicked and pulled off a few shots. He hit one SP in the wrist and the other, squeezed the trigger on his M-16. It was in full auto mode. He emptied the clip in an arc across the path where Dick was standing, hitting him in the head and chest. The event was over.

We got this news, and we just stood there. The guy that came into the shop to tell us, just stood there a moment, then turned, opened the door and walked out. Our Shop Supervisor, Pete, turned disgusted and said, "They didn't need to kill that boy! If he'd have wanted to hit someone, he would have, he was a crack shot with that gun. He wasn't trying to hurt anyone!"

A little later Pete just told us all to take the rest of the day off. So Craig and I headed over to Craig's room in the barracks. He was going to get some things and spend the night at my house. He didn't want to sleep in the barracks that night. When we got there, we got out of the car and walked over the grass to the stairs out side as we always did. About the second floor up, we realized, when we saw how the wall looked so different, that this was where the standoff ended. We had known that, we just were so wrapped up in our thoughts, it didn't occur to us until we saw it.

We could see the arc of bullet holes. The blood, pieces of bone, brain. Not a lot, but enough. We never slowed down, but went in, got his things and headed back out down the inside stairs.

And that, is the story of another kind, about a guy named Dick, another kind of hero. Just a guy. Just a guy who couldn't take it anymore.

We have those now, today, happening in the military. People who are living in harsher more difficult situations. And they can't take it either.

The New York Times said in January 2009: "Including the deaths being investigated, roughly 20.2 of every 100,000 soldiers killed themselves. The civilian rate for 2006, the most recent figure available, was 19.2 when adjusted to match the demographics."

American troops are taking their own lives in the largest numbers since records began to be kept in 1980, several years after the story I just told happened.

According to the Air Force times in March 2009: "The Air Force lost 38 airmen to suicide in 2008, a rate of 11.5 suicides per 100,000 airmen. From 1987 to 1996, there was an average of 13.5 suicides for every 100,000 airmen. Of the airmen lost in 2008, 95 percent were men and 89 percent were enlisted."

This story was for those who didn't survive. Who possibly didn't even fight. Who just couldn't handle it. We talk a lot about the heroes, but sometimes we forget tot think about the others, who served, who couldn't survive, and took another way out.

But in the end, here is to all those who served, in whatever capacity.
They ALL deserve our humble thanks, gratitude and support.

Having a bad day? Compared to what?

Hi. How has your week been? Not too stressful, I hope.

Mine has been quite over the top. Some of my "customers" are very high stress and they find it easiest to put some of that stress directly upon my head. Some rightfully so, some I've been told, not so much. Or more precisely, not at all.

Just how stressful HAS this week been? Or last week for that matter, with this one giving it a good run for the money? How so? How can I explain? How can I draw this out and yet keep talking to you till you realize this was just another attempt to talk about strange and unusual times from the past? How can I even keep your attention for that long? Let's see.

I'll just say, this week has been slightly more stressful than I remember feeling one day years ago (harp music), while plummeting to the ground from about 3,000 feet up, having just foolishly let go of a perfectly good airplane, on one fine summer day. It was about just then that I had noticed my parachute was kind of open above me but had not quite really opened as I had been lead to expect it would. It was just flapping in the wind like a streamer held out a car window.

First, I really should mention, this experience I'm about to relate, took place the day after my High School friend Rod's birthday at his house. He had just turned eighteen. I was seventeen. I woke after a night of very strange things, my ex girlfriend I had JUST broken up with and my soon to be new girlfriend both being there, doing a variety of inebriates I had done and had yet to do, drinking at a keg and waking on the couch, to a hangover and the sounds, of all things, of someone dumping and counting, jar after jar of coins there on the living room floor. It was Jimmy, Rod's older brother.

I said, "HEY, knock it OFF!" Jimmy said, "Sorry, but I have to." I said, "Why?" and he said, "Because, I'm going sky diving." Then he said, "I'm done, later." and he ran out the door.

Shortly after the door slammed shut, Rod came down and said where'd Jimmy go. I told him and he lost it. "WHAT! Oh Hell, he told me he'd take me! I'm going!" and I said, "What? Then I'm going."

On the way there, he realized he didn't have enough money. So, I loaned him what I had. And when we got there, I said I wanted to jump too but I gave Rod all my money. Once I found I didn't need parent's permission as I wasn't eighteen (I thought I did and my mother already made it clear she wouldn't give her permission), I really wanted to go. But I was broke. Rod felt bad and between he and Jimmy, we got the $30 together for me and we all started our five hours of training (still hung over and jumping from a platform five feet up to learn parachute landing form, didn't feel none too good). Finally we were ready to go and we climbed into the plane.

I remember someone asking, do you know what position you are in, as we were on our knees, crowded into the plane to get the most jumpers up as possible. I said, "No" and they replied, "The preying position." Ha ha. Very funny.

I never should have flirted with the beautiful jump master as it was after all, her husband who packed our chutes. But, that was pointed out far too late.

Back to the chute. As I said, it was not inflating above me and thus slowing my descent nominally. Making things worse, I could not actually see it. The risers connecting me to the canopy were crossed against the back of my neck and so I could only therefore stare at my chest, where lay my chin just above where the emergency chute sat all nice and tightly secured to me and ready for instant deployment; oh, and of course that hard ground far beneath and beyond the chute on my chest, with its great grouping of fenced off meadowland that was currently floating gently up toward me at about 100 miles an hour. I could see it between my dangling feet.

After you jump out of the plane, you are supposed to take proper form to keep from tumbling terribly out of control, like Jimmy had just done, almost hanging himself in the fifteen foot static line that pulls the chute out. Jimmy was pretty scared, but hey, he jumped out. Rod had exited the plane fearless and in perfect form. Just the opposite of what I would have expected as Jimmy was always the fearless one. For myself, when dangling my foot, hanging outside the plane, looking down at 3,000 feet of nothingness, when the jumpmaster hit my leg and said, "GO!" I said, "WHAT!?"

She looked at me incredulous. "JUMP!" and hit me again. I looked, thought, "I'm not losing that $30 because I rode the plane back down" and thought, "I only have to relax my fingers and..." and it happened, the plane jumped out of my grasp and I was gone. Swimming for the plane didn't appear to be working. Then the static line snapped and the chute was pulled out. But....

It was all quite hard to miss, but what I missed most was seeing what the chute above my head was doing because, frankly, I just wasn't slowing down. You are supposed to count to six, then look up, check the chute opened, and make a decision, to relax and ride it down, or do some emergency procedures like cut away and pop the emergency chute.

I began to consider feeling stressed out, but I had been told you only have about ten seconds to make a decision on what to do in a situation like that at that altitude, so I really didn't have the time to stress out. Or to be afraid, which I thought I would save for either just before I impacted the ground, or just after I landed and somehow, continued to live. Which, actually, I was kind of counting on.

My hangover seemed to magically dissolve away. I guess adrenalin does that.

I remember thinking I needed to break away, pop the emergency chute; but then I thought, "I don't have $2.50 for an emergency chute repack. So...I'd best just get this one to work then; no sense in being embarrassed. That would really suck." Right. OK.

So, I did the obvious thing, what anyone might do. I pulled apart the risers and snapped my head back, only then realizing how much strength it took to keep the risers apart for more than a second or two as they were supporting all my weight and so, I had to let them snap back into place. At which point, I found I was now staring straight up at the streaming tube-like, "cigarette roll" (as they call those malfunctions); a funny looking arrangement of a Hell of a lot of 1.1 rip-stop nylon all not inflating and there far beyond that, a truly beautiful, silent, blue sky.

Technically, this type of "function" as they like to call them, is known as a "compression twist", but at the time, I really wasn't caring what the correct technical term for it was. It can happen when you twist the chute as you put it into the pack, so when it extracts it spirals and compresses, holding itself in a tube shape, and so it can't inflate as air has no entryway.

I noticed that it was really quite quiet falling like that through the sky. Except for this one noise, and what was that anyhow as it was getting quickly getting louder? I thought about it for a moment (just part of a second, don't worry) and realized finally that it was me, passing through the air, at 100 miles an hour (go ahead, stick your head out the window of your car at 100 mph some time, and you'll see what I mean). There were some other minor sounds from material flapping, or loose harness webbing, but other than that, just the screaming of the air shooting past my ears seemed to take up the majority of my attention.

At about that point, when I realized that my head was stuck back, the riser were holding my helmet back and that I could have it either way, but not easily transition between the two extremes. So, I figured that well, I might as well try to fix it. Besides, I didn't really want to watch my knees being shoved up into my hips should it come to that. I figured I'd feel it either way and no sense in sensory overload, ya know?

It was at that moment that I thought to put into play my brilliance and act accordingly. So, I pulled the risers apart as wide as I could so that the chute above me could inflate and I could sit there happily and relaxed and watch the show of a colorful spectacle of yards of nylon spinning rapidly around up above me, so that it could open to its full and glorious 28 foot diameter of canopy. I was surprised as I pulled them apart, that I was actually able to hold them far apart, and again, I think it was the adrenalin. But then the amazing happened.

I wasn't considering a small overlooked item. That being physics. You see, when you have what you might call an "air anchor" and you try to move it against that of say 190 pounds of dead weight plus gear, well, the larger "air anchor" wins and the dead weight (yes, me) spins instead.

At which point I began to spin uncontrollably as the inflating parachute above instead got to watch my spectacle all with feet flying out as I did a strange little meat puppet twirl. Unbeknownst to me, not so far below on the ground, down there beneath me at the landing zone or LZ, all the other sky divers were watching in shared fascination and sheer horror.

"Why in the Hell isn't he cutting away and deploying his reserve!" They wondered.

Fascinated, they watched the display of me spinning, after having not broken away from the malfunctioning main chute sooner and using the reserve chute; and all in horror at having lived moments that felt like hours to the more experienced jumpers as they watched the far more inexperienced sky diver (my esteemed self) not breaking away from the "compression twist" (something that has killed many sky divers and one time parachutists for nearly a hundred years or more).

I finally had a grand finale as I snapped to and stopped spinning quite suddenly. I was a little dizzy and I had to let my eyes catch up to my head and allow my vision to focus again, but I was very happy to note that I no longer heard any high speed winds, and that above me (yes, I could now look up quite easily through the now uncrossed risers) there was finally a beautiful open and fully inflated "commando" parabolic canopy doing what it was meant to do: slow descent to a reasonable and much more fun speed.

I was now able to enjoy a quiet, and beautiful descent, with a massive view of the entire region below me. It seemed to last forever, until I got within about 40-50 feet of the ground at which point, things seemed to increase in speed and the culmination of the jump. That being, the landing.

Which actually went quite smoothly and I actually hit the ten foot wide target of pea gravel. I was exhilarated. After all, I was the only one that jump who hit the target. The other more experienced jumpers already on the ground had all missed. Which happens, as the jumpmaster in the plane can only zero in on one or a few jumpers to hit the target as the plane is continuing on in a line at about 100 miles per hour. The new "square" chutes make this less an issue now a days.

After I landed, I lost my happy feeling quickly after kissing the ground (literally) and got chewed out by the "ground-master", the guy that guides you in; and yes, I did get down and press my lips to the soft fragrant moss and clean beloved dirt of that beautiful collection of fenced off meadows in the forest. Ah, the Earth is a wonderful thing at that point and not every the really annoyed groundmaster could completely quelch my good feelings. And he knew it. And let it go. But made it clear, that rather than go through what they just witnessed, with a new jumper (no tandem jumps back then), they were all have pitched in to pay the cost of a repack for the emergency chute.

Once again, Life was good.

And thinking back on it, that wasn't even as stressful as this past week has been for me; that week that I would one time experience some several decades later.

Its good to know that you can nearly always count, no matter how things are at the time, that they will at some point in the future, be even more intense than what you are currently going through.

Makes you think.
You know?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is God an Under-Achiever?

Have you ever wondered why prayer doesn't seem to work? Yet, what if it did? Does God not answer prayers on purpose? Or does He, but you don't like what His answer is for you?

Some have said that God is evil. Is He?

Or, is He just a flawed, like the rest of us? If we were indeed created in His image, well....

Of course, getting back to prayer now, if you pray for having your own personal Nation, or something possibly impossible like world peace, you're just fooling yourself; because you're simply not going to get it. Are you.

Now, I'm not really saying you'll get anything at all, no matter what you ask for.

I'm just speculating, what if?

Did you ever consider that perhaps prayer not only works, but what if it works every time? Maybe you just can't see what you're getting for your prayers.

Does God even pay any attention at all?

What if the answer is something as simple as how God passes through Time being different than how we do? Perhaps He is even passing through Time in an inverse orientation to us, His creations? What if as a joke, he created us, but in the opposite direction from how he was traveling in Time.

What if Time is God, and He is only a symptom. Holy books everywhere say we cannot understand God, so maybe we need to consider these "ridiculous" concepts.

What would this mean to us? What could it explain for us?

Sometimes it really helps when trying to understand the un-understandable, to break "out of the box" of one's normal thinking processes, and go into a more oblique angle-of-thought. To leave what we normally consider to be rational. Because sometimes, actually many times, doing this can give us insights that we would otherwise not have been able to achieve. It's just a kind of trick for those wanting to achieve transcendent thought on-the-quick.

Let's say you were having a rough time of it, financially. So in your desperation, you prayed for money. Now if God were passing through that particular moment and heard you (or decided to hear you), and He (also) decided to give you, say, a winning lotto number; well, how lucky is that?

OK, now consider that it had to happen before you prayed for it, not after. Remember? If God passes through time in a completely different and possibly unknowable direction from how we do (and what if its laterally?), that might well be expected to happen. Perhaps He is not unlike Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and is simply, "unstuck in time". He is God after all. Why SHOULD he be stuck in time like we are?

Speaking of the Great Divine One, do you see God as a male or a female? Do you adhere to this small anthropomorphism or as something greater than and outside of that? Or does that really have no relevance at all?

If in the beginning, there was only God, He wouldn't have a need for sexuality. After all sexuality is really there just for reproduction, pro-creation (and therefore, also for bonding purposes). If He did split out parts of Himself to create us, He'd realize that we needed to reproduce, being mortal and needing replacements to continue on, or it would be a rather short term experiment, wouldn't it? Not to mention, He'd know we are weak and need another, where he possibly doesn't. Or does He? Besides, gender can be a symbol as well if you think about it.

So then, regarding gender, what does one call an omnipotent being? "Him". "Her"? "It"? Does it even matter, really?

"It", somehow seems rather disrespectful. But going with the bible in that "He" created Man in "His own image", perhaps I'll just go with that for now until further evidence rears its questionably aesthetic head. It just makes it less clumsy for prosaic and lecture purposes. Don't you think?

Now, perhaps in winning that aforementioned lotto money, you ended up like many lotto winners have in the past by making the same mistakes they made and ending up in debt after having won all that money. Got what you wanted? Sad, isn't it?

So now, there you were, praying for financial salvation and there God was, in his infinite wisdom and reverse forward motion, grants you the answer to your prayers. He gives you a great grandiose grouping of funds. But as that would have to happen before you needed it, you would forever wonder why God never answered your prayers when you were in such dire need. And that's my point, that regardless of this ludicrous scenario, things could be happening that you can't see.

I'm not trying to argue for the existence of God here, just pointing out how damn ignorant we can be in the overall universal size of things.

However, remember now (getting back to it), He did answer you when you had asked, just not in the order you might have expected (and isn't that just like God?). That concept is important. You might think (in hindsight), that winning that lotto money ate up all your good luck and therefore you ended up "eating it" in the end, for all that good grace bestowed upon you.

But that would make no sense at all, would it? Not to you, not at that time. Because in actuality you only ended up with what you reaped for yourself. We do after all, have free will. Most of us just don't make proper use of it, do we? Too often, we tend to do what we think we needed to do, or what others expected us to do, rather than what, deep inside, we really knew we should be doing.

God on the other hand, has no such compunction to follow a group or trend (much to our great dissatisfaction at times, too). For he has no cohorts, no peers (and no, the Angels don't count). Having been passing backward through Time at the moment that you prayed to Him, God would have been completely unacknowledged by you in any efforts He would have made on your behalf.

Because after all, we are such minor creatures, being mere Human Beings. I mean, because of our not being able to move about in Time and all; like God can? What with his traveling through time all cockeyed in relation to us, perhaps this might even be a good argument for Angels. After all, someone has to take care of the day to day matters, feed the fish, water the garden, empty the garbage and all that. And keep us from figuring God out. Yes?

God they say, works in mysterious ways.

This paradigm of interacting with us, would generally appear to be, simply put, insane. Yet He has complete control, doesn't He? He can openly and freely manipulate Reality, perhaps even on a daily or minute, moment by moment basis. Yet remember, only in reverse Time, or simply in some other order of Time to whatever (y)our desires and understandings are.

Comprehension, you see, only comes when you see everything, both in as well as out of order. Enlightenment after all, is a transcendent realization that requires one to see everything. Every, Thing.

While we as people can only be in the here and now, never existing in the before or the after of this moment right here (whoops, and there it goes again, gone as we're suddenly in the next moment, and the next, on into our finity). This single moment that we permanently exist within; God on the other hand, well, is GOD, in part because He can be here and now in every moment other than this mere, but most important moment: Now.

Perhaps He can't even really be in this moment with us, but always in all other moments. Perhaps that is why He is so difficult to contact, because He is always one step away from showing four bars on his celestial cell phone. Or perhaps he isn't on Verizon, or Cingular. Maybe he has the GodFone network from Celestial Enterprises or something, and so, no free minutes with us. Maybe we're not in his Network.

On the other hand, perhaps what makes him God is that He is in every single moment all through time. Only He is experiencing it in reverse (or some other form, or) order, that may not be linear as we tend to experience time. We need linear time as were not sophisticated enough to handle things out of order.

So what if He were "unstuck" in time.

But, why would God do that? Would it even be a matter of God doing it? Or is it just that, because of how he set things up in the beginning, that's how it worked out for him in the end.

Or at the beginning, for that matter.

Well, He is God after all, isn't He?

Isn't that what makes him so all Mighty Great and All Powerful? That He can be everywhere and everywhen, all at once, even?

So, perhaps when we finally and for the first time can "fold space" upon itself in order to travel vast intergalactic distances, we'll not only be able to travel to the ends of the universe in a moment, but also see God at the same time? Perhaps that will be at the end of time. If there is such a thing.

If as one theory goes, by warping space and time to travel around the universe, we could be in all existing points at once, then just choose the one we want to be in, and instantly be in that elsewhere; or "elsewhen". Well, isn't that what they say about God, too? That He exists in all places, at all times? But it appears, to all people as completely different, perhaps according to your cultural contexts.

Consider this: what if you could create a computer that could alter quarks, atoms, molecules; basically altering, Reality?

Think on this: a keyboard attached to supercomputer, with a Star Trek like "transporter" that can alter (or create) matter and therefore, scenarios. Much like the "Holodecks" on later episodes in the Star Trek "Universe". Consider that you could somehow attach a PC to the galaxy itself. Whatever works for you to help you visualize these things.

Then, what if you could type something into that keyboard and the computer would then generate whatever you wanted by manipulating space? Space after all is merely comprised of differing forms and densities of matter or energy and time after all and is merely another form of those. And Time doesn't exist until you create matter and energy anyway. Matter and energy may only be condensed pieces of space. These are the ever Holy building blocks of the Universe; the body and blood of Christ, if you will, using the standard earthbound cannibalistic religious references.

Now, what if someone then wrote a virus for that computer? One which sought out and destroyed everything that God had created in one massive chain reaction across the Universe(s)?

But of course, it could not touch God. Or does changing the Universe(s) change God?

Anyway, the virus would destroy all of God's great works; all He had done in those what, first seven days, was it? Well, with this paradigm, maybe he has a backup somewhere too?

No wait, it was SIX days as I remember it. Because He had to rest on the seventh. Because like everyone else, apparently God gets tired, too. Evidently. Now the bible didn't say God was breathing hard or breaking a sweat or falling asleep from exhaustion or anything, after all that creating. But perhaps, just maybe, He was bored with all that effort and needed some "rest"; some time off, a little while away from creating all this STUFF.

Or, simply He just needed some time to go and walk around to enjoy his creations.

Maybe. Maybe He's still gone, of on a "walkabout". And that's the real issue.

Actually, it was only after the third day that there even were days to begin with. So, how can he have created all this in six days when days didn't even exist for a few days in the beginning? How one can even say the heavens and the earth, lightness and darkness and such were created on a day before that day?

Speaking of that kind of ill-logic, let's skip forward a few years to a Church founded by a guy that just wanted everyone to be nice to one another and look at God as a Father figure and not a mean son of a bitch he had always seemed to be:

"The fundamental tenet of Spiritualism is that the path to God can be found not exclusively through the Church, but through direct communication with God. Pope Paul IV interpreted Michelangelo's Last Judgment, painted on the wall of the Sistine Chapel twenty years after completing the ceiling, as defaming the church by suggesting that Jesus and those around him communicated with God directly without need of Church." *

Well...skipping around a little some more, The Bible, Genesis, Chapter 1:

God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. [then he did some other clever things and....]

There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and so, well, it was so.

God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. But we know now that the lesser light at night is really the sun; but I guess God didn't realize that.

God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Genesis, Chapter 2

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the DAY that the LORD God made earth and heaven.

But you do wonder too, don't you? If God created everything in multiple days, how then in Chapter two could he have done it all in a single day?

Getting back to being all powerful and never tiring, I mean, if there were an Olympics for Gods, could another God do it all in five days? And perhaps not even NEED any resting on the seventh? Maybe, a black God, being a better athlete and all. Or, was God black to begin with, after all, considering the cradle of civilization and all, I mean, you don't really believe Jesus was blond haired and blue eyed do you?

Genesis, Chapter one again:

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

All this shows here really, is simply not to use the bible as a reference.

Now consider this, wouldn't you think that if your computer, the aforementioned one, had destroyed the Universe and all God's Works, then God would simply have to start it all over again (let's skip the idea of a backup copy for now)?

Why you say?

Well, He, in His infinite wisdom, or so I'm told, did do it all in the first place. I mean, didn't He? So I assume He'd feel a need to do it all over again. Pan Dimensional Beings are quite like that, you see. Or so I've been told anyway.

And speaking of which, have you ever had to start something all over again from scratch? I mean like a project, maybe building a table or roofing a house or something. However, nothing like remarrying though, because everyone knows that's one of those things we all will do, all over, again and again, incorrectly. Even though we now know all the wrong things not to do again. Still, we can't seem to stop ourselves. Pity, that.

But usually, don't you take the lessons learned from the first effort and put them into the retuning of the second? As well, second time around, don't you get done in a sooner amount of time rather than later? Because, you've been over that ground once before already.

Or perhaps in this, God would be an Over-Achiever? And do it in six days again or more, but this time do it far, far better. Perhaps this time, dolphins would rule the world. Or that notorious Australian platypus would have more cohesion and focus in its design this time around. You know? You really have to wonder if that wasn't one of His last creations. After all, God might have been just a bit "burned out" or bored by that time (He did rest on the seventh day, remember? So what do you think was his last creation and how well formed was it?).

As for those dolphins, they did after all turn out with bigger brains than we, somehow. And if we're God's chosen, then how do you explain THAT? Well, sometimes that kind of thing just happens when you're creating huge systems such as the Universe. Or yes, even a smaller, mere planet sized ecosystem. Things like that, just happen, I suppose.

Artists experience this kind of thing all the time.

As a writer I've seen fiction story characters grow far beyond what I was originally intending to create and saw them growing far beyond what I was originally seeing in them. Sometimes in the end, you find that some minor character is actually the better character overall. Then you have to write an entire other novel about that one individual! And they can be quite demanding characters at times like those. They were after all, important enough to have a novel written about them and they can get quite haughty at times.

So, couldn't God simply decide that second time around, we're just not what we were cracked up to be and therefore He might just redo things more perfectly next time around? Perhaps not basing everything so much on chaos theory this time; or not so much with the number 23 in everything; or this time around, not use the Mandelbrot as a template in nature, but perhaps create another, possibly sillier, or maybe even more stringent, theorem?

Perhaps, as we've seen example after example of, God is actually an Under-Achiever (consider that platypus thing, or worse, the Chihuahua, a prime example of an Under-Achiever's creation). Not to mention, if YOU were doing the creating, would you really choose yourself as a template to follow when creating a race of beings, as God allegedly did? Or would you want to improve upon it? Doesn't the concept of "evil" seem just a little bit to you like an Under-Achiever's way of creating a system; then just saying:

"Oh, evil. Yeah, well, its necessary because, um, oh, well so people can see the difference between what is good and not. You know, you can't have dark without light! And all that, rot." (Sometimes I think God is British)

OK. Hmmm, sure. Whatever.

Then again, if God really is just the "C" student type, it might have explained a lot of things over the years. Like our once, Vice-President Quayle. Or President Jr Bush. As a comic once said, "Do you really want the guy who used to hold the service end of the hose on a keg at the frat party, to one day have his finger on the nuclear button?"

The bible says that God created us in his own image. Really!? Well, I know I wouldn't have were I Him. I'd have found all the faults in the design and try to create something far better. But then again, He IS God isn't He, and by definition, that means perfection. Or does it really? If by definition, we are indeed perfection, as God sees things, well, it really calls into question a lot of other things, doesn't it?

For one thing, does God not know what will happen in the future, when comes the end? Does He even want to know where this is all going to end up? Wouldn't that be pretty boring? Perhaps, defeat the purpose of all this? I mean if ALL is already written, what's the purpose? Going through all eternity already knowing the ending? What does that say about someone? And where IS that book where all is written anyway? It must be a huge tome of work! What IS the use in that any how? So, you have to ask yourself, what the Hell IS he doing?

So, what? You say? (O' apathetic one)

Who cares? You say? (O' dispassionate one)

First of all, try not to be such a pessimist. (O' pessimistic one)

Now, you know it really is quite possible that God has had no hand in dealing with Humankind since our creation. If ever at all. And if that's true, then what if all these many and varied and in some cases, purely silly religions are just so much stuff and nonsense? Pap and smear?

Maybe God's sitting around his God-study, waiting to be God-smacked when someone finally gets the right idea! Yet here we all are still, after thousands of years, flailing around miserably lost at all that!

Would it indeed finally take a Sci Fi writer to create a religion reasonably close to what God was waiting for? And what about that "party boy" and slightly psychotic, bigamist Joseph Smith? Did he really believe that Salt Lake City was the chosen land? REALLY?! Or was he just looking for an easy way to get all his magic underwear cleaned? And if he created Adam and Eve, naked, eating the forbidden fruit notwithstanding, what is the burka all about?

IF God allows a religion to be created in His name, don't you think He'd know where it would end up and not allow certain things to happen? I mean, its His reputation on the line there. Like what about the crusades? That was no way to win the "heathens" over to the Son of God's religion, so let's slaughter them all. Or like the Christian missionaries having caused the destruction of so much more than one autonomous people and their entire culture?

And what about these Islamic terrorists who think they are on God's side and get so many virgins when they martyr themselves by killing innocent groups of God's peoples? Bombs are indiscriminate and there are quite frequently some of what the bomber-martyr considers to be His own people getting dissipated.

I'd so much rather have one good hooker attend to me in heaven than 72 no doubt very annoying, virgins. I mean, sexually speaking, have you ever had to deal with ONE virgin? Besides, how many of those virgins, by the way, are over 65 and toothless?

Even if God didn't want to see the future Himself, in some cases, even we can use our brain to work it out, hardly without even thinking, what the end result would be of say, jumping off a 10 story building. That really doesn't take any supernatural abilities whatsoever. Does it? With a brain the size of God's, being someone that knows everything all the time (that's what omnipresence means after all), one would think it would take Him little effort to work things out for Himself.

So, in considering all this one could see how next time around, God might indeed give us more substance and less bravado. And try to improve on "perfection".

Because after all, bravado without substance is what? A Texan? Just a political party, you say?

Since you brought up political parties, what IS the deal with so many President's lately coming from the South? Of the last five President's, four were from the South? Can't the North produce a decent Presidential candidate anymore? Did JFK burn that all out during the Love decade?


Maybe we are indeed the pinnacle of creation in the Universe. Sad though if that's the case.


But I just hope, that should the "Creator of all" decide (or need) to one day recreate everything He had done before, I do simply hope that He will put more thought and corrective effort into it all. And lean toward being an Over-Achiever.

The next time around.

But then, what do I know.

Next time around, the platypus could be in charge.

* quote by Dr. Douglas Fields, Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
From his article, posted: May 26, 2010 09:40 AM at :

Saturday, May 29, 2010

So why CAN'T we all have what we want on Television?

Sometimes I think we just need someone else running things.
OK, most of the time I think that.

Its too bad that the bottom line isn't quality and to just do what is right, instead of just what makes the most money.

As we all know, pleasing the masses does not assure quality, rather it assures the lowest common denominator; usually anyway. Its the old theorem all over again: "intelligence is inversely proportional to the size of the group."

So then I think, wouldn't it be nice, if they would institute levels of "weight" in their analysis? Bare with me here. Just as in pugilism (that's boxing for you normal people), where there are weight classes, so too there could be "weight" classes in the levels of intellectual (or quality) media and entertainment. Even though there are not as many individuals seeking higher degrees (or levels) of quality (or intellectual stimulation), they too could then see shows that would please and stimulate them. And they could be made to show that they are making money, WITHIN their "weight" classification.

Its quite obvious however, that this could never work. If only simply for the reason that the average standard of intelligence would eventually (and perhaps painfully) begin to rise across the viewer base. IF that were to happen, it would require even better levels of quality in each stratum of the viewing market.

Either, this would be the death of TV as we know it, or....

This would require the writers and producers (and sponsors) to need to increasingly produce better and better material for broad(cable)cast. And we all know its better to keep your audience in a state diminishing intellectual pursuits, requiring lower levels of intellectual stimulation.

Otherwise, you could eventually see the writers as not producing a level of quality beyond what the average viewer could produce. Worse still, those viewers would eventually realize this and perhaps turn to reading books, or going outside and playing tennis, or maybe doing something constructive or productive.

Or...maybe not.

Tomorrow's Blog: Is God an Under-Achiever?

Friday, May 28, 2010

BP Oil Spill - The Nuclear Option

I read this today, from Susan Deily-Swearingen (Educator, Writer and Mother) in the Huffington Post, "One solution that is getting increased attention on the web and in the European press is the terrifying sounding nuclear option which, essentially, would detonate a nuclear bomb underground near the oil well shaft."

This is all over the media now. I wonder what size they would be talking here? The size of bomb that took out Hiroshima? The Bikini Island? What about instead of a 4 kiloton bomb, a 4 kilogram bomb? Or just big enough to melt the damn thing closed?

The problem with what they are doing now is if they go too fast, we can see sixteen separate leaks rather than one. Does anyone really think they are going to be able to stop this? If they fail now, they will have to wait till August to dump cement into it and that may fail.

Perhaps as in the Chernobal accident we need the military to handle it. God knows how they will resolve it, though; but they are good at ending conflicts and this oil in the ocean is one of the largest conflict we've ever seen. Its like we decided to fly a plane for the first time with everyone on board, but never considered how to land it. I would argue to call for a stop to all deep sea oil drilling until they have a handle on how to deal with this possibility.

Think they'd come up with a quick answer then?

Hey, its just a thought.

Considering OneSelf, Holistically

Let's for a moment, consider things that are easily left by the wayside. Have you ever on a daily basis, considered your finances? Or, how about your bills? Your retirement savings? Your daily living expenses?

Of course you have. We have all had to. One has to take care of these expenses or one is not long to live this relatively easy life we have during these very modern times, even in this great country of ours called, "America".

But how much do you attend to so called, "luxury" expenses? Such things as entertainment, refreshments including both food and drink beyond mere subsistence? What about your emotional or spiritual concerns? We tend to lend ourselves to the most immediate elements in our lives and forgo the ones that are just as important, seldom giving much thought to those "luxuries" because they are not of so much immediate concern to us. We have heard much through life about the "spiritual" or religious side of things from just about everyone. But we do not hear so much about the other side of that equation. And there is another side of it.

For some people, those foregone conclusions could be one's family; for others it could be any consideration of themselves and their own personal comforts. Or it could even be just giving consideration to the family dog. You have to ask yourself form time to time, what is it I am forgetting in my life?

For yet another kind of person, it could be only considerations for their own creature comforts that guide their every living moment; when really they should be more concerned about their work or profession, their obligations, their family, or simply maintaining the dwelling they live in.

There is something about life in these times, that puts us in the mindset that everything is going too fast around us, taking up too much of our time and so makes for a good excuse for avoiding those things we find most difficult (or boring) to deal with. There are indeed a great many demands put upon us in our daily lives.

But if you go back in time and read what our predecessors have had to say about the life they were living, it was really much the same for them, too. Times are always faster paced than when we were younger. It's the nature of the beast of making your way through life from beginning to the end. Not to mention we simply tend to slow down through life.

And hey, that's OK!

I have read deciphered hieroglyphics from ancient Rome and found that it was just the same for them. For instance, they had the same complaints parents have always had for their children: "they just don't listen", "they are too self-absorbed", "they have no manners", and "they are only concerned about the here and now".

And so it goes...on and on.

I think the key here is as always, in the balance. One has to consciously weigh out the various elements of one's life. Remember to take the time for yourself, just as you do for every one and every thing else that you feel responsible for. Remember that you too are important. Also, take care for your future self. Do today, what will do well for you tomorrow; just as in the past where you have done then, for your self now.

It really never ends, until it ends.

On the other hand, if you are too absorbed with only your fun times now, reflect on what got you to where you are now. Are you ignoring important things in your life that will come back to haunt you later (or sooner)? But if you do now have the leisure time and the influence (power, money, resources) to be able to do anything you like, also do not forget the other side of the coin, fading off into the past. If nothing else, it makes you appreciate the good times you are now having even more.

Life is good. But Life is also a piece of art, much like a painting. You have to ask yourself, "Is my life framed like a Jackson Pollock painting, with parts of life in the frame (and yes that frame is important too) flung hither and yon with apparent (though possibly not) total abandon?"

"Or am I more like a Rembrandt painting, with a perfection of palette and brush stroke, with great attention to detail, and concern for every sigh and breath involved?"

Well, it's up to you. Life can be good; life IS good.

But a good Life doesn't just happen by accident.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Management vs worker bee

I just heard a report on NPR titled: Oil Rig Mechanic: Managers Argued Before Blast.

The chief mechanic Douglas Brown on the oil rig had something to say about the day of the platform explosion and sinking, there was an argument at the morning rig managers meeting between a BP manager and oil rig management company they leased from, Transocean. BP was a month and a half behind schedule in moving the rig to another well and it was costing them more than a half million dollars a day in leasing fees.

They were arguing that perhaps how they were going to do something would release excess gas and could cause an explosion. BP was rushing to move on to another well. So, hey, its just an oil rig, lets cut corners. It had something to due with removing drilling mud from the drill pipe prior to shutting down the well and the impact that might have on allowing gas to seep out. In the end, the Transocean employees caved to the BP official's desired changes.

The mechanic told investigators that later that night he was down below in the engine room and heard the gas alarms sound off and the engines begin to accelerate. Then came the first of two large explosions and the rest is history.

Excuse me?

It would seem that once again, we have the lesser intelligence (due to monetary based regulatory corporate oversight) overbearing onto the direct greater intelligence. Does that negate the responsibility on the oil platform people? No. But if you've ever had management pressure you to go against what you knew to be best practice, you know what its like. After a while you can even cave when you don't want to. You get a feeling like, not again and oh fine, whatever, damn fools!

But in this case, it costs. Money. Environment. Lives.

Thanks BP. Keep up the good work. Save a buck where ever you can. Don't look long term. Nope, no sense considering any PR, fiscal, or corporate (corpse?) effectiveness.

Media Thinploitation vs Social Obesity Promotion

Should people be paranoid about their weight?

Should people accept who they are and be happy with their condition?

No doubt, people should feel good about themselves. But then, people shouldn't feel good about themselves at times, either.

If I fail my final exam to graduate, SHOULD I feel good about myself? If my marriage fails because I had an affair, SHOULD I feel good about myself? If I weighed 90 pounds all my life, and I start eating and not exercising and one day I wake up and realize, "Hey, I'm 230 pounds"; SHOULD I feel good about myself?

Should I just say, "Well I'm a good person and I'm fat, so I'm OK!" If I have always been 250 pounds and I'm short, SHOULD I feel good about myself? Just accept the condition? IS that healthy? Physically, of course not. Mentally? Emotionally? Even if it could be considered healthy, and only if it makes you want to commit suicide could it be considered healthy, it is still somewhat delusional. When you accept your shortcomings, don't you set an example for others?

Doesn't being overweight cost everyone something? Flying on an airline is a prime exemplification of this. If you are not to pay for an extra seat, then everyone would need to chip in on your bulk. If you are healthy, in shape, and have perhaps too much muscle, well, OK, I suppose I can let that one go. But hey, you too are costing us (probably) Mr. Musclebound. Do YOU really need all that extra muscle? Or is it just there to stroke a questionably healthy ego? Getting back to the point, if you are just lugging around useless amounts of fat, well, I'm not so willing to chip in on your hobby. You are costing us, in food, fuel, healthcare.

Or should I think about what happened to my self discipline. My motivation. My self respect? And do something about it? Is aesthetics something to consider?

Is it good to just accept me for "who am am" now? Or, should I buckle under and get to work? Get busy, change my life, if that's what is making me fat. Or stupid. Emotions, as my son likes to say, can make one stupid. If I have test anxiety, I can fail a test. Stupid, because I knew the answers, I just allowed my emotions to mask them from me so I don't have to deal with the possibility of failure. Emotions, get in the way of rationality.

Is it good for people to be paranoid about their weight? I would argue, that a little of anything is OK, or maybe even healthy; but too much, is just destructive. So being a little paranoid about your weight is productive. But being too paranoid, just as in being too accepting, is counterproductive.

There is definitely a bias in media and advertising about being thin, perfectly muscled and beautiful. But all it should be is just a goal to shoot for. Something to attain, a direction, nothing more. Don't expect to be that, who has the time for that? These are models, people paid to be perfect, so of course they have the time to do all that.

After all, it is fun to watch, and frankly its fun to be, or to be around. But just because you aren't like that, doesn't mean you should go the opposite direction either. "If I can't be beautiful, I'll just shoot for being lazy, unattractive and overindulging?" Thereby shooting for a lack of effort and just doing whatever feels good?

No. I don't think so. If for no other reason than to put a little effort in a positive way into being better, simply makes you feel good. We need to choose our self-indulgences. So choose one that makes you healthier.

As a culture, we really need to stop being such babies. Cease the self pity parties in the head and start with the boundary settings and the "effort parties" on body and mind. Work, or if that scares you, play, but play hard, and play healthy. And eat food. Real food. Right combinations, right proportions.

Got it? Do it! Be IT! But have fun with it.

Even if you can't ever be that perfect person, you can certainly try and you can certainly BE, more than you can be. And without, joining the Army. Its worth the effort and after all, you DO deserve it. Everyone deserves being healthy, and attractive. Because being healthy IS attractive.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mean, be perfect: perfectly toned, perfectly beautiful.

But, there's no reason we can't try to beautify the world by being healthy and happy. It actually takes effort to be fat and ugly. Its just that its easy to not notice it because we are punching our pleasure centers to do so. So put some effort into not going in that direction. I'd rather be around a bunch of healthy, happy and not really beautiful, not fully well toned people, than a bunch of perfectly toned, gorgeous but unhealthy, unhappy people. Both types of people should just try to come a bit more to the center. If its your job, well, then you chose that profession and you should do your best at it; still, don't become psychotic over it.

Don't stress about it, just think about it. ACTUALLY, think about it. Put some effort into it and try. The biggest issue with not looking good is related to weak motivation, or a lack of motivation; basically, a its a lack of self discipline. Something I see running rampant now a days. Much of that comes from two things. Being unhappy with your life and not being busy enough; that is at least, not in the right ways. Yes, there is the push button mentality, but I think there is more to it than just that.

The problem with being unhappy is that most people aren't willing to make the changes they need to redirect the course of their life. They feel trapped, they don't want to change, they fear change, they have a million reasons why they can't change. Because it seems like to change for the better is just too hard, that we aren't good enough to be able to achieve it. So we might as well not try.

Regarding not having enough to do, many of us either have too much to do in order to survive our lives, or we THINK we have too much to do. The first is insidious, the second is simply delusional. Neither sadly, is unusual.

Either of those issues requires rethinking our position in life. Step back. Examine it with a critical eye. Ask people. Get opinions, and don't ignore them if their responses aren't fun to hear. Then, consider what you can do to invoke some change, the needed change. And consider that Change is good. Sometimes getting rid of that "blob" in your life, whatever that may be, is a good thing. You can almost feel the relief, just thinking about it. That fresh Breath of Life appears to you, appeals to you, in just your considering the possibility of that blob no longer being there weighing you down.

That blob can be a spouse, a job, a lifestyle, what we do to relieve our misery in life, a relative, a friend, or even a child. Some of those, are not so hard to cut from your miserable life. Some are, like children. But, you brought them into this world, you need to deal with them. And hopefully you feel you want them. Sometimes, in actually dealing with them, in making their situation a prime priority, you find relief right there. Its a motivation, an orientation, a purpose. Is that what you are lacking? Purpose? Think.

Whatever in the world you decide it is, do something. If you are going to do something any way, as doing nothing IS doing something after all; then pick a path of positive acceptance. Not least resistance, and not one of simply accepting what is. When what is simply is not good, nor healthy, not pleasant, and not really, desired.

IF, you have your lot in life and you can never change it, then indeed, be happy anyway. Only then accept it. Make the best of it. But you know what? Of all the people in the world, those who fall under that umbrella, are maybe 1% of 1% of 1%. And guess what, you probably do not fall into that category.

So, stop being so accepting of the negative and start doing what needs to be done in the way of the positive. If you do need to do something, and you probably do, as typically we all do, the first step is to stop thinking about it, and start doing it.

Then you can start feeling sorry for those others who aren't doing any thing about it and know that people aren't feeling that way about you any longer.

And start feeling good for someone who did do something about it.


[It was pointed out to me the word "stupid" can be misunderstood as it is used in context here. Look, if you're too stupid to understand the intent, I'm really not overly concerned. I'm not saying that fat people are stupid. I'm saying that everyone is highly intelligent about something; sometimes its just hard to find what that might be. I do personally suspect however that if one chooses to be fat, that is stupid. Or, lazy. Its really one in the same. Its quite normal not to choose be "less than", unless there is something wrong. Choosing otherwise, is abnormal. Speaking of which, try tightening those abs; it all comes easier after that.]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BP's Gulf of Mexico Environmental Donation - The BP Oil Spill Fiasco

I've tried to avoid this one. I hate speaking on something I don't know much about. No, truly. Its the Truth!

I did hear something this week, though. BP said that they will pay, "all "legitimate" claims". First, what in the Hell is a "legitimate" claim? Sounds reasonable on the surface, but that is what thier spin doctors are paid to do, generage rational sounding statements so you don't think/look beyond the surface meaning. Even if they are being above board, even if they pay more than they need to, there will still be those "gray area" types of claims. There always are.

So what about after that? The US government has said that people won't be held in the lurch after that. I took that to mean that once BP stops paying, or for the people they claim to not be "legitimate", the government will step in and take care of it.

All I wanted to do here was to agree with that.

After all, the US government thought all this was OK. They even thought we should do more off shore drilling. Note Govenator Arnold, also note his back peddling. Therefore, were there to be an accident (oh no, wait, there was!), then the US Gov payout department, should indeed be backup for payments for BP. But once the US Gov starts considering THAT idea, they are smart, I think, they will start to realize that means they could be paying BP's ethic financial responsibilities. So how do they feel about that. Seems unreal doesn't it, its happening all over again. Katrina, without the act of God.

Still, all seems real to me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

North Korea

Has China Not Noticed what a Bully North Korea is?

No, I know they know. Like the incident a few years ago. "Don't pick on my little brother, that's only for me to do", China says. Pretty standard, I was the same with my little brother. "I'LL Kill him, but you don't say a word against him!" North Korea, like an irritating thorn in your side, that you can't reach, and that could kill you, under the right circumstances.

I know the Koreas had a civil war. In the end, they sadly split up, unlike what happened to the U.S. after our Civil War. I know they feel like a country separated. But really, might you not feel after a while, that you just don't want to be associated with, to be considered a part of, THAT other country? How embarrassing. You have to feel sorry for South Korea. Not to mention, the many reasons other than embarrassment at having such leaders, the situation of the North Korean people. It hurts, just knowing what they must endure. Even if some are deluded into believing in their so called, leader. More like a lead lemming, than Korean, from what I know of Koreans. They don't deserve their government. No one would.

I am sure they love their lost family members. But I think at some point I might like to change my name to something else. Maybe, the "Republic of I really hate North Korea's leaders"?

"I solemnly urge the authorities of North Korea ... to apologize immediately to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the international community," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, recently said on TV about the sinking of the South Korean sub.

Perhaps that is better, that the South, keep its name, and simply have everyone refer to the bully in the north as, well, "the bully in the north" (note the lack of caps).

Or, "The Republic of The Great Asses" (that is if they really want caps). This of course, refers only to the leaders, the government, and of course, the military for following, "The Asses" or more specifically, "Our Beloved Ass" as I'm sure he would ask to be called in private.

I know this is a touchy case, considering posture, military configurations. No one needs an all out war with this country. But really you cannot let bullies, bully. You have to cut them off as soon as possible and not let them get entrenched. Oh, wait, we already did that. Hmmm...well....

I remember Kim Jong-il's father, what a nut case he was. When I heard his son was taking over, at first I thought, good, couldn't get any worse. But then I heard about his qualifications, his fearful attitude and his lack of wanting to seize power due to his own known incompetence. And I realized, oh great, now its not only a nut case in charge but a thoroughly incompetent one at that, trying to live up to his crazed father's image.

Wikipedia says of him: "[He] is the de facto leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (also known as North Korea); the official leader of the country is still his long-deceased father Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea. He is the Chairman of the National Defense Commission, General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, the ruling party since 1948, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, the fourth largest standing army in the world. Recently, North Korea's constitution has been amended and now implicitly refers to him as the "Supreme Leader". He is also referred to as the "Dear Leader" and the "Great Leader"."

Really? Seriously? People have to call him that with a straight face? One has to wonder, how many have been put to death, because of falling into fits of hysteria when calling him some of these things. Not to mention, actually putting together the actuality of his actions along with the titles, would be death by itself; death by hysterics.

Oh, and let me repeat that one comment: "...the official leader of the country is still his long-deceased father Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea."

Seriously? Really? That should be a warning sign right there. The real leader of "The Republic of The Great Ass(es)", IS A DEAD GUY! And a dead nutzo to boot. Sad.

Paraphrasing Mozart in "Amadeus", "When one hears such things, one can only say, Kim Jong-il!"

And, very ill, at that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Artist, person, public figure, who's to judge?

The other day, I had an indirect conversation. I really have to stop doing that. It went kind of like this, cleaned up a bit for public consumption. In responding to a comment, I said:

"Speaking of flutes, one of my favorite stories about them, was from David Carradine, while in China, shooting Kill Bill. They were at an ancient Buddhist monastery where there was a very cool forest of bamboo. So he got some of it, and in the end, carved a new flute from one of the shafts. Also, he played his, "silent flute", used in the Circle of Iron film, and also one from the Kung Fu series, in the Kill Bill movies.

Their reply was:

"...are we going to also be reminded of the closet incident. Or that just breaks the mood?. I don't see too much spiritualism to be gleaned from this. Turned out to be a sad sack. Very sorry to say."

This response to my rather innocent comment actually made my kind of sad. My only point in bringing it up was in reference to the FLUTE and nothing to do with Dave, and mostly about being able to get bamboo from a forest that was next to a special ancient Buddhist Monastery in China. I mean, how cool would that be? Somehow, I think the intent fell (and the spiritual part) on deaf ears.

And so my reply was:

"Well, its not a big deal either way. I decided years ago though, as a kid, to separate an artist from their personal life. It has to be pretty extreme for me to discount what someone has done in life artistically (NO, I'm probably not going to collect Hitler paintings; then again, buying them, burning them and keeping the ashes in jars, IS an interesting past time; if you're rich).

"That attitude came about because my grandmother wanted nothing to do with Charlie Chaplin, whom I loved, and as it turned out, her distaste for him was for an incorrect reason. Sadly, it didn't come out until after her death.

"Not long after my grandmother made her feelings about Chaplin clear, then my mother said she wanted nothing to do with the works of one of my favorite actors (no, sorry, can't remember anymore who), because he had fooled around on his wife and got a divorce because of it; like I cared.

"Getting back to Dave. If Dave had died from personal choice, then that was sad, as it indicates a problem feeling certain things requiring some aggressive technique, where he may have benefited from sensate focus with a romantic partner, or some therapy, perhaps. But if it was not of his choice, then it indicates some foul play, or an attempt (and very well formed) to discredit him."

Yes, I am a fan. Always have been. When Kung Fu was first on, I was just driving and into my second car, inconsequentially, a 1967 RS/SS 350 Camaro convertible, The first of a line, and at that time, Chevy's finest and deluxe effort for its new car. I was maybe 18. Every Thursday night, I would drive over to my older brother's house and he and I and several of his friends would watch the show. Before it started, he would go next door to his dad's tavern (we had different dads, what of it?!) and get a gallon of beer for $2. Then we'd all settle down to watch the show and imbibe in that which was available and much like breaking bread back then.

And NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO TALK during the show. That's what commercials were for.

There WAS no Tivo. But we watched it with a reverence as its content was special in a wasteland of television shows. W learned something from it; it was one of the few TV shows ever, where you actually learned something from it, where you took away something useful that you could use in your life, and from then on. It probably changed my life. It taught me to not take some things so seriously; to consciously orient my attitude; to persevere and to consider what was really important, even when I thought I knew intrinsically what was. These were things I had already learned from starting Martial Arts in 6th grade, but this drove it home, made it cool, brought it to life.

But in the end, as Dave would tell you, he was just an actor, playing a part, that he was honored to have had the chance to play.

So, am I the one to judge? Does it matter to me what he did in his personal life? Even if his death were attributed to a self inflicted demise, it was a victimless crime. And I've never been one to point the finger at someone for living on the edge, or pushing the envelope, or living a little extreme. Not to mention, I never led a life like his so I really have nothing to compare it to.

Either way, I don't feel its my place to pass judgment. I don't have all the information anyway. And if I did, then I'd be just another armchair referee asshole playing judge. Wouldn't I?

In the end, when I consider what he gave us, gave me, if in only a part of his work, then I'm guess I'm grateful to have it. And so in the end, something that had nothing to do with this actor, became something about him, after all.

But like I said, no big deal.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Dr. Doom" says....well, read the article

I have done, well, not too badly over past years in dealing with the stock market.

In the 90s, I did quite well. It helped me into my next house. Then I got out of it for a while and just before the dotcom bubble burst sadly, I got back into it. Up to that time, I was always able to say that I had never lost money on horse races or the stock market, I only made money.

Then, during the dotcom bubble burster, I lost for the first time. But only about $7,000 overall and well, I wasn't the only, nor the worst stung by that one. So I panned that and got into paying more attention to my 401k, and only that. Paying special attention about how to be careful, yet I tried to be as aggressive as reasonable. I ended up doing very well. But that time, I didn't have a chance to tell anyone, and no one else benefited.

Now, I can change that situation. And so, here is that story.


Before 2000, I did quite well in day trading stocks and with my 401k. The trouble there was, I took an entire year to learn day trading. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it was one of the last two great Bull markets back then. So that next year, I actually played. I put a lot of money (for me) into that market. I even got into margin.

At one point, I can remember watching a stock drop suddenly, unforeseen, leaving me that day, $25,000 in the hole beyond the $15,000 I had into that stock. Bummer. But, you have until a margin call, before you really have to worry. And hey, maybe there won't BE a margin call.

So, you sweat it out. So, I sweat it out.

For three nights, I lied next to my beautiful wife, staring at the ceiling; images of horrible debentures, dancing in my head. Each day, I got up more exhausted then the last and commuted an hour to Seattle, trying harder each day not to show the stress; not to kill myself or anyone else, on the highway. My wife asked me, it being patently obvious, what was wrong. I said, nothing, just work stuff. A few friends at work, following my escapades, learned as I went along, or tried their own formulas.

In the end, on the third day, the price of the stock rose. I waited. It continued up. I waited until it went up just enough so that I covered my margin and any transactions fees, and immediately put in a sell. It was still going up, and it took quickly. Then it stopped going up. Then it started going back down.

I relaxed and slept well that night. My positive, happy demeanor returned, and my wife was happy to see me smiling again. I realized, how lucky I was. The down side could have been very ugly. No house. Even no wife (who knows?). I never went on margin again. Maybe once or twice to be honest, but only as far as I could cover. Basically, I don't use margin. Its like going to a loan shark funded by Tony Soprano. Its taking a hell of a chance, and well, its not a good group to be in debt to.

So, though I made money back, though I used that money to buy a new house with some acreage, I backed out of day trading. I got more into my company 401k. I started paying attention to it instead. I started paying attention to U.S. and world politics and monetary fluctuations.

The point....

Some years ago, after 2000, I had heard things weren't going too well and perhaps, we could be in a "situation" shortly. I heard a guy, labeled "Dr. Doom" for his negative attitude about world economy, saying that we were headed to a downturn. I thought about that. And I got onto my 401k manager site and moved ALL my money into bonds. I was still paying into it out of my paychecks; my totals continued to increase, albeit at a much slower rate.

Within a month or so, everyone was complaining about their own 401k's. A few months later, I got into a discussion with friends at work about it and I offered my own complaint. I was really, REALLY annoyed, I said. MY 401k wasn't making ANY money; it was staying at the same amount, month after month. And I was still paying INTO it, so it should at LEAST go up a little. Right?

They all, in one move, turned their heads to me and someone said, "What are you complaining about? My 401k has dropped thousands of dollars." Another said they lost even more. Someone said I was doing really well, and HOW did I manage that. So I told them, a few months ago I pulled everything and put it in bonds. I felt bad for them. But later I reflected on that talk and realized, I was sorry for them but pretty ecstatic for myself and family.

Thanks Dr. Doom.

I continued after that to play with the 401k. I eventually moved all my money into international stocks. And did well, as the US stocks were barely moving. After a while, the international stocks slowed and US were doing better, and I moved mostly into US stocks. Later, both stocks were about even. That was when I used a kind of Occultist program on the 401k web site. You give a bit of your info, and it calculates what you should select for your 401k.

Not trusting it much, I went through the process and did whatever it said. It selected for me, about eight different funds, bonds, etc. Over time, I can now tell you, it worked for me very well. In good times, I will probably use it again.

But let's get to the point, let's get to, today. I just listed to economist, Dr. Nouriel Roubini, better known as "Dr. Doom". He said, he would call himself, "Dr. Realist". He is author of, "Crisis Economics - A crash course in the Future of Finance" (with Stephen Mihm).

He believes that capitalism, is always going to be in crisis. He paraphrased Winston Churchill as, "Capitalism is the worst economic system apart from the alternative. We tried communism, it didn't work; but we need a [proper] market system." He predicted a great deal of the bad things that have actually happened in the five years since he first said them.

Dr. Roubini said that over the next few months, the market is going to have to take a downturn, into a market correction. He said that last time he said something like this, history showed he was actually being optimistic, although everyone had said he was being pessimistic. He was being, Dr. Doom.

So, Doom said that in 2006 when he predicted home prices would fall 20% they actually fell 30%; and his 50% fall in home sales was actually 80%. So, believe him or not, he knows SOME thing. I think what's important here, isn't his degree of correctness but his correctness of a trend.

So now he is saying that the market will need to do a correction over the next few months of perhaps 10%; even the risk of a double dip recession (I don't have a clue what that is, but I don't like the sound of it). He said there could be a bear market for the next few months.

All the major US indices were negative. For the week the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped -426.77 points or -4.02%. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped -47.99 points or -4.23%, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped -117.81 points or -5.02%. It already looks rough, don't you think?

What am I now going to do? I could wait and once I see the turn start in the market, put all my 401k back into bonds as I did last time. When it starts coming out of it, I'll go back to the calculator. But should I wait? The market dropped over 400 points last week. Will it go up a bit on Monday? Maybe.

The big question now is, what are you going to do?

Nobel Prize in Literature 1954 - Ernest Hemingway

I was putting together a humorous scene today (being a scenarist among other things), and in researching Ernest "Papa" Hemingway, I ran into his Nobel Prize speech.

I was so moved, that I thought I would post it here, as his words are rather humbling and rewarding to review. There is really nothing to add to these humbling words, so I offer them here for your consideration, and will for now, simply recede into the shadows....
As the Laureate was unable to be present at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1954, the speech was read by John C. Cabot, United States Ambassador*

«Having no facility for speech-making and no command of oratory nor any domination of rhetoric, I wish to thank the administrators of the generosity of Alfred Nobel for this Prize.

No writer who knows the great writers who did not receive the Prize can accept it other than with humility. There is no need to list these writers. Everyone here may make his own list according to his knowledge and his conscience.

It would be impossible for me to ask the Ambassador of my country to read a speech in which a writer said all of the things which are in his heart. Things may not be immediately discernible in what a man writes, and in this sometimes he is fortunate; but eventually they are quite clear and by these and the degree of alchemy that he possesses he will endure or be forgotten.

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer's loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.

How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.

I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you.»
Hemingway could not make the banquet so his speech was read for him that night. However, he recorded it at a later time. To hear this speech, it is available from

Friday, May 21, 2010

“Eureka! - I have found it!”

How does one affect changes? Not around you, but within.

Are they slow to come? Are they sudden like a heart attack? How does the change happen? An old Zen Buddhist adage says in order to affect change, you simply, "Do". If you want to change, just do it. Don't think. There may be some scientific fact to that method.

A study by Dr. Jeremy K. Seamans from the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute showed that "although it took many trials for the animals to figure out the new rule, the recorded ensembles did not change gradually but instead exhibited a rather abrupt transition to a new pattern that corresponded directly to the shift in behavior, as if the network had experienced an "a-ha" moment." (ScienceDaily - May 14, 2010)

So, even if you have worked hard to institute a change, it still snaps, in a moment, when it finally takes. Or if you are entrenched in a behavior, when it changes, it will still be sudden, that is no mistake.

"We have studied the brain and the dopamine D2 receptors, and have shown that the dopamine system of healthy, highly creative people is similar to that found in people with schizophrenia," says associate professor Fredrik Ullén from Karolinska Institutet's Department of Women's and Children's Health, co-author of the study that appears in the journal PLoS ONE. "Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box," says Dr Ullén about his new

So those with a high degree of creativity, get more information. It comes faster than in normal people, with less barriers blocking the information flow. And if you are a little unstable, it might not hurt the creative aspects of processing. Still there would need to be some kind of boundaries involved to congeal the information, otherwise, you become unbalanced, and not in a good way.

"Fewer D2 receptors in the thalamus probably means a lower degree of signal filtering, and thus a higher flow of information from the thalamus," says Dr Ullén. This means that those artistic, creative types and those with an unbalance in the structures of their thalamus, are able to see a wider range and with greater speed that those with normal processing capabilities, especially in the area of problem solving.

Psychiatrist Szabolcs Kéri of Semmelweis University in Hungary focused his research on neuregulin 1. This gene typically enables functions a variety of brain processes, both developing and strengthening neurons interactivity. Dr. Kéri points out that “molecular factors that are loosely associated with severe mental disorders but are present in many healthy people may have an advantage enabling us to think more creatively.”

Seeing a pattern yet?

Results by Vanderbilt psychologists Brad Folley and Sohee Park recently published by the journal Schizophrenia Research, showed that typically normal creatives use both sides of their brain, not mostly the right side, which is popularly thought and derided by the scientific community. But in the brain scans of schizotypes, "showed a hugely increased activation of the right hemisphere compared to the schizophrenics and the normal controls."

So popular culture is wrong. But still, correct in that, extreme creativity, possibly out of control creativity, is indeed involved in the over use of the right side of the brain.

Where does all this leave us?

Well, let's talk about ADD.

An article on Alterations in Brain's Reward System Related to ADHD (ScienceDaily - Feb. 3, 2010), says: "Differences in the structure of the ventral striatum -- particularly on the right-hand side -- could be seen between those with ADHD and those without the disorder. Children with ADHD exhibited reduced volumes in this region. These differences were associated with symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness."

Interesting. So now what? Not what you would expect? Although ADHD kids also have increased neural functions and cognitive leaps, their motivational parts of the brain are smaller, requiring increased stimulation to maintain focus. Their reward system simply works differently that is considered normal. Which is why discipline is so important as they have to learn to consciously maintain their focus rather than have it come naturally to them.

So now, just see if you can sit still for a little while and think about all this....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Music, mine or yours, what is it?

Earlier this week I had a discussion about what constitutes "music". I was surprised to find, as I have been with others, that there is a disagreement on what it is.

How hard can it be, right? Music. But, what is it?

As a focal point, we picked old school Rap, as it was when it first came out. I really didn't like it. I didn't understand it. I liked music. Worse still, I mostly preferred guitar heavy music, instrumentals. Not just hard rock or "metal" but as I played guitar, I just understood that instrument best. I wasn't that hot on vocals and seldom could tell what they were singing about anyway. But, Rap. Rap was pure rhythm. Arguably, nearly percussion. More a blend. But, I liked "music".

Back when Rap first hit records, I had arguments with its fans that it wasn't really music. I said, until they add melody, it would remain a fringe genre and never make it big. It simply was not "music".

And so, when they did finally start to add melody to rap, only then did it explode commercially. I even started to like some of it. Some original rap was good, but much of it was just bad, still trying to find its form and a niche.

So the question is, can spoken word be considered "music"? I've always argued, N0. That's why its always been called, up until Rap, spoken word.

Consider some songs that have come out, even before Rap, where the "singer" isn't singing. Think, William Shatner in the 60s and plenty of exploitation songs\albums by the famous who can't really sing, but are such big stars their "songs" and albums sell anyway; some even made it big. Regardless, is THAT music? Now that IS a debate, I'll grant you that. But, when you have no singing voice, no melody, where's the concept of it being "music" come in?

Well, it doesn't.

I think part of the problem is in the definitions. One has to use words as they are generally defined and understood. That's what language is. We can't arbitrarily make up meanings. Although, we can specify definitions of words within a lexicon related to a specific field, your still can't simply just decide what a word means and expect others to know that.

Definition of "Music" from WordNet at Princeton University:

--an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal
tones in a structured and continuous manner

--any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds; "he fell asleep to the music of
the wind chimes"

--musical activity (singing or whistling etc.); "his music was his central

--(music) the sounds produced by singers or musical instruments (or reproductions
of such sounds)


And so, my argument came to an impasse. We basically agreed to disagree.

After this unsatisfactory ending to my argument, where my noble opponent thought music was pretty much anything anyone thinks it is, up against my definition it requiring melody, I then spoke with another who brought up two salient points.

One, that we need to define "melody" which I mistakenly assumed that everyone just intrinsically knows; and two, that this argument of mine had a lot to do with specificity and generalness; AND, definitions. Maybe, I wasn't in the right. But still I have a gut instinct, that I am.

So, what's music to YOU?

PTSD Vets and Marijuana

I heard this report on the internet radio today on NPR and it just got under my skin. I found myself listening to a recent war Vet with PTSD, asking for help by being allowed to relieve intense anxiety from a very unpleasant war induced, condition. And we (yes, us, fellow citizen, via the Government by which we are represented) are making him and many others like him, miserable.


It would seem that some of our Vets who have PTSD are requesting to legally smoke (or be prescribed) what we will here call, Marijuana. Rather incorrectly referring to it as such, too; calling it cannabis would be better. Typically before the end of prohibition, it was called, Cannabis Indica. "Marijuana" came to be called that in the US around the turn of the last century, just after prohibition. It was, really a rather racist attempt, to link it with Mexicans that were claimed to be sowing danger and harm to a fearful American populace.

This is not a history of Marijuana article, but for the sake of clarity, reality, apparently, was buried by FBI "Special" Agent (and please read that as, "short bus special") Harry J. Anslinger, our first drug Czar and a total lying nut case. He needed to find work for his FBI agents who were suddenly out of work from lack of prohibition work and well, that brings us up to the mess we have now. To be fair, the stage was set for Anslinger by the Great Depression when many Mexicans migrated to the US bringing Marijuana and crime with them. Prior to this, cannabis had never been much of a problem and was frequently sold at apothecaries in bottled tinctures.

The campaign against marijuana 1930-1937, is an interesting read in wikipedia. Or, check out "The Emperor Wears No Clothes", by Jack Herer.

Anyway, I find it ludicrous that there are those who put these Vets down for their requests. But then we have historically not taken very good care of our Vets after a war. Eventually we do, we're not monsters, not really, but we usually need to be embarrassed into it.

I mean, REALLY?

You (we) send them to get blown up, die, become anxiety ridden because of a constant and real fear of being severally damaged, experiencing horrific things, or dying possibly horribly, and people are questioning that they want something to relieve their discomfort? Stand the Hell up, salute and hand them a damn baggy, for God's sake!

I have to wonder who in the Hell these people think they are? What right do they have to do this to them. I don't mean, what LEGAL right, I mean, what MORAL or ETHICAL right (remember that all you Doctors out there?).

The therapy they want to give Vets is good, they obviously need that. But then what do they get? Prescription drugs? Isn't it funny that expensive drugs are "warranted" while cheap or free substances are considered "dangerous" or illegal? And something that's been used for decades and decades and back to the beginning of our Country.

They say we need more research on this. REALLY? Haven't we been studying it for quite some time now? For God's sake man, watch a documentary! Don't we have millions of at least anecdotal information on it and its effects? I mean, who do you know that has smoked it all their life? How are THEY doing? Use your eyes, use your mind.

Yes, some people ARE just a waste of space, but that is there personality showing through. I know many who are brilliant individuals and are still productive, intelligent and doing good for our society. What happened to this country allow people their choice to live their life as they see fit. How is their pursuit in this manner damaging to our society? Because its illegal? Do you really want to examine THAT? Because, you should.

NPR had an interview on a Vet who claimed it helped his anxiety levels for PTSD. Well, considering how paranoid it can make you, I wonder about that; but if he says it helps him, hey, let him have it. His wife, stating that they were headed to a divorce ("Sorry, honey, but its true."), said that after he stared putting marijuana in his hot chocolate (rather than smoking it), she saw a dramatic and immediate positive affect.

I find it interesting that "they" want to give us prescription drugs, but not allow us a natural substance; one that in fact grows wild. Why, is it considered so horrible and dangerous and "unknown"? REALLY? Unknown substance? Amazing! Really.

Prescription drugs ARE rather harsh on one's system. In comparison, marijuana is pretty mild. Alas, the drug companies and the government, make no money on it. Uh, oh. Warning sign. However, they do on alcohol and well, that's legal.


But how much do they make on marijuana being illegal? What are the side effects of the "legal" drugs, such as Paroxetine, Sold As Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat in comparison to marijuana (in brackets)?

Serious side effects:
* seizure (convulsions) [no]
* tremors, shivering, muscle stiffness or twitching [no]
* problems with balance or coordination [no]
* agitation, confusion, sweating, fast heartbeat; or [no, unless massive dose]
* easy bruising or bleeding (such as a nosebleed) [no]
Less serious:
* asthenia (weakness) [nope]
* sweating [nope]
* nausea [nope, just the opposite]
* decreased appetite [LOL]
* somnolence (drowsiness) [OK, granted, sometimes]
* dizziness [again, just the oppisite as it helps with this]
* insomnia [absolutely not]
* tremor [No]
* nervousness [no, unless you count paranoia, but depends on strain]
* ejaculatory disturbance [no]
* other male genital disorders [no]
* female genital disorders [no other than possibly dryness at times]
* dry mouth [again, at times, but nothing a drink or beer can't fix]
* constipation [quite the contrary]
* decreased libido [absolutely not]
* yawn [OK, I'll grant you that one, sometimes]
Less common side effects of Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat) include:
* paresthesia (skin sensations) [no]
* blurred vision [no, unless you're really into massive doses]
* flatulence [hmmm, not that I've heard of]

What about cost? Marijuana, esp. in legal to grow states, can be free after initial set up costs which are minimal at the lower end (hey, it takes a pot (no pun intended) some seeds, water, sunlight, the love and care comes naturally after that).

Doses of 20 and 40 mg/day of paroxetine are effective and well tolerated in the treatment of adults with chronic PTSD. Prices vary from what I found around $4.50 a pill, take or leave a dollar.

One online article compared placebo, with the new-generation antidepressants, saying they do not produce clinically significant improvements in depression in patients who initially have moderate or even very severe depression. That’s according to a new meta-analysis of clinical trials research. A triumph for the placebo effect?

So these prescription drugs may not even be that effective; at least, in some cases. With breakthroughs like the Craig Venter team has had, with a bacteria controlled by a man-made, complete collection of genes, we will one day soon maybe, have safer more specific drugs that make all this a moot point. Or, maybe something better than drugs. Ending all this nonsense. Think about all the money that will be saved not spending it on drugs, law enforcement related to drug abuse and the War on Drugs ridiculous pursuits of citizens minding their own business. But for now, well, its not.

Also, how long a drug takes to produce its different effects, is often different for each effect. The side-effects may hit immediately and the main effect only develop after several weeks! Most anti-depressants reach the brain quickly, but take several weeks to have an anti-depressant effect. Let's not even get into here how anti-depressants can lead to suicide. Suicide?

Marijuana? Its cheap, or free, unless you buy outright and don't grow it yourself. Relief? Instant. It wears off soon. Its not harsh to the system, esp., depending on how it is administered. It has no effect like Alcohol or cocaine. Two drugs that have many similar affects like numbness, anxiety, paranoia, even violent behavior; ask any cop on a late Saturday night, if he'd rather deal with a pot-head, or a coked up partier or a drunk).

So. What IS the deal? Why IS this such a big deal?

Who, is getting rich off this deal? And I don't just mean in the way of money, but in resources for government offices and departments who are given license (sometimes too much so) to deal with it. We don't even need to get into the racial aspects of how many ethnic people are in jail due only to marijuana charges; or simply how many in our jails are there for marijuana charges, non violent crimes and put in with violent criminals, leading them to more serious crimes once they are realized. In some cases, we are creating our own worse problems.

This all seems to bring us back around to the "War on Drugs"; doesn't it? This "War" concept, really, that needs to be rooted out of our government and our mentality. Its certainly about time.

So, let's get back to the basics.

The PTSD suffers. I don't advocate giving them whatever they want. I remember the opium or Heroin that Vietnam soldiers got into and what a nightmare that was. But marijuana is not a gateway drug. That argument indicates milk as the culprit. Look it up. All heroin uses once took milk as a child.

These heroes of wars we sent them to, aren't asking for narcotics. And Pot, my friends, is not a narcotic; its just labeled as such by the government. Ask any doctor for a clinical or technical description and they will say calling it a narcotic is ludicrous and at very least, totally inaccurate. Just because you give something a name, does that really make it what it whatever you want to call it?

Let's call a rose a rose and be done with it.

In the end, let's stop thinking about our incorrect historical understandings and consider these people as people. Let's look at things with a critical mind. Look around the world and see what actually is and go forth with that in mind.

Stop being the problem and start being part of the solution.