Monday, March 25, 2013

Avoid Being a Conservative. Or a Liberal?

This is what I find so annoying about the Conservative mind set. They don't think it through.

Definition of Conservative: "Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change."

You do realize what being conservative indicates? Fear.

Conservatives need to realize how destructive that attitude can be. To retain the status quo requires you to have to change.

The only thing that never changes, is change. To remain as you are, changes you; and the status quo you desire, as counter intuitive as it is, changes you.

That is in great part, the problem with our county these past years. A culpable misunderstanding of what people believe.

But to be too liberal, is also bad.

The issue really is a lack of information, ACCURATE information, and consideration.
Issues, require thought. And accurate information.

What I've been seeing is people adhering to fear, a lack of having or seeking, accurate information, and a desire for things to remain the same. Which in itself is dysfunctional and destructive.

Embrace change, but embrace sculpting that change. Because embracing status quo, which is what Conservatives are all about, is killing us.

The problem is that considering change, considering helping change is fear evoking (there's that fear again, be brave). Considering change means that you have to take responsibility and know something other than going to work each day, watching sitcoms at night, or reading books that aren't good for you anyway.

Once you accept that change is necessary, in fact, it's unavoidable,  then you have to consider what to change and conservatives don't want that responsibility. Because it's so easy to be wrong and God knows they don't want that. What's so funny about that is that in the end, they are typically wrong anyway. So why not be wrong while evoking positive changes?

Why not? Because then they'd be considered "Liberals" and God knows they can't have that label.

But I don't consider myself a Liberal, or a Conservative. If anything, an "Intellectual", because I use my intellect, what little I may have, to make decisions. Therefore I take in the most accurate information possible to me, supported by various and different and disparate sources. Sources that don't always agree with one another. Then I make a decision, act on it, and accept the responsibility for being, sometimes, wrong.

But that's why we have a democracy. Because the more informed a citizenry that we have, the more the chances of our making more right than wrong decisions.

So, don't be afraid to make changes. Just get informed first. And don't select only the information you want to believe in, but the information that is the most accurate, as supported by multiple and disparate sources. And then, act.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The New Philosopher Vampires

There are a set of philosophies going around that are sucking up the energies and thought processes of many individuals who are young either in mind, body, or both. These philosophies, these ways of thinking, paradigms for considering the Universe, Life rules, whatever you want to call them, for they are many and varied, are mind puzzles and a way of thinking that are initially intriguing, but ultimately resource sucking.

And in the end, a nearly complete waste of time.

They are handy however for a variety of things. Getting laid comes to mind. Philosophy majors love preying on young coeds with this kind of thing, amazing them with their minds and their regurgancies of their Professors and famous philosophers throughout History.

Mostly though, they are rehashing already thought up soliloquies and aren't really adding much info themselves. It all just sounds good on utterance.

These are the kinds of philosophies that you are immensely blown away by in your Freshman year of college; when you smoke your first joint, when you start staring at your thumbnail, amazed at the possibilities that there is a universe somewhere down in there. Or obversely and macrotically speaking, in looking up above you at the night sky, dissembling on how similar the universe, the solar systems and planets seem to appear compared to molecules and atomic structures down in the microtic levels.

If you try to tell one of the adherents to these amazing (and typically) men, you will hear things like how you are being "closed minded" and how all "great" men are decried among their own (be it their village, or their major areas of study, such as in philosophy, religion and so on).

I would say to all young minds being educated and feeling the flex of their newly found mental powers, that the surge of energy at the inbound waves of these new thoughts and ways of thinking, to indeed explore, to search among these new ideas. But be careful, for as you call others "closed minded" or "small minded", those who are older and educationally  more mature than you are, that you to may be acting in just the same way that you had perceived them to be acting.

Those young minds (and this can be a fifty year old who is just starting higher educational pursuits) can glue yourself to a concept, having only just heard of it, thinking that, assuming that, it is a grand and unbelievably wonderful idea, far above the standard beliefs of those around you, both lofty and noble in its pretensions  And therefore those (again, typically) men, who are professing those lofty ideas, that they too may be beyond reproach, especially if they have been outcast by their peers. And when someone is outcast by their peers, look really closely at why, because their peers may be onto something.

Refer to Cult Education Forum - Destini

After you have been educated and have received a diploma or two, you get a kind of "second sense" about so called "new" concepts or philosophies.

You get the feel for what is coming down, once you begin to hear this "new" way of thinking on some topic or other. Yes, you should try to take the time to pay attention. After all, if a truly new way of thinking does show up, you want to be on that boat. Or at least, to see it properly considered, "vetting" it as it may be needed. However if it is, as it typically will be found to be, just another pseudo new way of thinking, then you are really just wasting your time; and time is after all, valuable. Yet although we do need to use our time to check these things in the possibility that it may be useful, we also do need to minimize that time in the possibility that it is in no way useful. Which typically is the case. A frustrating, but necessary consideration.

And so these "new" philosophies and their adherents are a constant drain on our lives. They are the "energy vampires" of the "new" philosophies, draining the life's blood in the way of young minds being diverted for the benefit, typically, of a single individual, of their "camp",  their or"religion", or their cult or school of thought.

These people are therefore dangerous, either in their wasting people's time and valuable studies, or in the worst cases, in leading these malleable people to losing so much more, possibly even their lives, as happens in the way of degenerative closed cults.

There are so many different ways of thinking because people are diverse and the human mind is amazingly rich in processing power. So we all have to make up our minds on what to spend out time on. It is an interesting study in Human nature.

To take a case in point, Bernard Poolman. In examining some of his quotes on a page dedicated to that, many of them are merely obvious observations of reality and the Human experience. Some others however, are not.

Here are some of his quotes from

"Psychology is NOT a Science, but a Matter of Opinion that aligns Characters to Illusions and Never Cares about Actual Life."

True, Psychology is not a science, you do not get a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, but a Bachelor of Arts and Letters. Of course it is a matter of opinion, otherwise, it would be a science. Psychology cares only about reality and actual life, and on that, Poolman too is merely projecting an opinion. Of course one could argue that Psychology deals indirectly with reality and not actuality, but it's goal is actuality and some areas of
psychology are directly involved in just that; which makes Poolman's statement sound like someone who is not that educated about Psychology and is talking from outside of the discipline. Something that happens frequently in modern culture and media. And doing that is always asking for being incorrect. Psychologists can more easily speak to Philosophy since Psychology after all, comes out of Philosophy; but Philosophers cannot as easily speak back to Psychology.

"Mastery of the Mind as Enlightenment is the Denial of Reality as Dust, Water and Air." - Poolman

Obscure and typical of this kind of thing as the second part of the sentence completely misses the point of the first part.

"The Atmosphere is the Bubble of Consciousness as the most Fear that Motivates the Illusion." - Poolman

This doesn't mean anything. Again, obscure and can mean whatever they want to claim it means. Any new useful way of thinking will not be this confusing. Basically, this makes no sense whatsoever. And it won't, unless they explain it, giving them the ability to adapt it to whomever they are talking to at the time. It is a trick that charlatans use to attract and keep seekers of knowledge new to that pursuit.

"The Enlightenment Industry is just Consumerism." - Poolman

This is just ridiculous. By this thought, everything is just consumerism. Enlightenment has nothing to do, as well as everything to do, with consumerism.

"All words Used by a Character are always Programmed in Self-Interest." - Poolman

Again, this is true, but it's merely an observation. All it's saying is, words have baggage according to who's speaking. So why didn't he just say that? Because he is trying to sound obscure, highly intelligent, mystic. A true revolutionary philosopher would be clear and precise.

"Animals are driven to extinction as they DO NOT feature in the Consciousness of Humans as Equals as Life-Forms." - Poolman

This literally has no meaning whatsoever. Animals existed before Humans. Animals went extinct before Humans existed. To say that is the point, as those animals did not feature in the consciousness of Humans as equals as life-forms and therefore went extinct, is ridiculous. Animals now go extinct who do feature. It makes no difference and goes against his previous statement of "Psychology is NOT a Science, but a Matter of Opinion that aligns Characters to Illusions and Never Cares about Actual Life." Which implies what he believes is different, yet, it is not.

Obviously logic isn't highly necessary in his form of thought.

At this point, I'm already bored with this theory of thought.

That is the point. Once you have an education in this type of thing, you get a feeling pretty quickly when you are hearing something earth shattering or just another charlatan, as in this case. You get a feel for when you are being fooled, your time being wasted. What is interesting in this group, the Destini group, is that they don't appear to be wanting anything, which is nihilistic in a way. But at the same time, mostly harmless.

But they are not harmless, as I had explained earlier. Even if they ask nothing but your time, that is the harm. For more of that, refer to Christopher Hitchen's book, "God Is Not Great". His argument was that (differing from what I'd always believed in thinking, "live and let live"), that to not stand against religion, we are setting ourselves up for problems and allowing bad decisions to continue to be made, over and over again, in the belief of our invisible friend in the sky.

The point on all of this is that these kinds of thought forms are masturbatory in nature. It is not that different from swearing at someone who has angered you, with the added benefit of your being able to feel superior in that others do not understand what you are talking about. Which again, I would argue is fully against what we need from people. If you can't make yourself clear, what the hell are you wasting all your time on this for?

There are so many different forms of philosophy and religion that there is just about something for everybody. That is a good thing and a bad thing. What is important is to not waste your time, or to waste as little time as possible on things that keep you from being productive in life, however you define that. Unless you define it as sitting on a rock, spewing things that no one understands and that makes little sense to them, or others, or leads them into non-productivity in their lives.

Whereas in that case hen, you're good to go.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Expedition of the Arcturus - SF World Premiere on

Today will see the world premiere of my short Science Fiction story, "Expedition of the Arcturus" (free) on the great new little Internet magazine,

I wrote this story just shortly prior to the meteorite and asteroid events of early 2013. When the meteorite struck Russia, I had already submitted my story to the editor, Sam Bellotto. already has published a two part review I wrote on the fascinating documentary, "Chasing Ice" from when I attended its Seattle premiere. It was an amazing night and I invite you to read the review if you already haven't. The review has slipped off the magazine site as there is a more current issue online now. However, I'm looking forward to it being made available again soon as there are plans to bring archives of these writings back to the public:

"Some older stories are already archived by their respective authors. There are plans to also have a "Perihelion" archive of selected stories and articles. Stay tuned." - The Editors March 1, 2013

In "Expedition of the Arcturus", I had wanted to tell the story of a group of individuals who leave Earth on a mission with the highest of concepts, to assure the reach of Human Beings out into the Universe. While having made the decision for their as yet unborn descendants, who will become the first true Earth Citizens of Space, how will they handle their situation? What choice would they have? Will they ever make it to their final destination?

I also liked exploring the juxtaposition of truth and compassion, against that of political expediency and ethical genetic concerns. I played with the chronology of the story in a way that seemed to be the most effective method to bring the central theme of the story  to the forefront and with the greatest impact.

I hope you like it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The New American Imperial President Model

This is long, but it is enlightening. I've been pro Obama since the beginning and anti Bush since his beginning. But if you are pro Obama, you really need to read this. We have some very questionable (bad) things going on now. I still like Obama. But we have some directions in this country that have got to be changed back. ASAP. Sooner. Before it's too late, if it's not already.

John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution

I've always liked John Cusak going back to his first films back in the 1980s. I like his choices in films, I like his acting. I think he's talented and intelligent. His sister on Showtime's "Shameless" is as funny as she has always been. So obviously it runs in the family. "Gross Pointe Blank" is one of my all time favorite films on several levels and I as well liked his latest film, "The Numbers Station".

The American Administrations these past ten years have been doing what many of us have been doing, what I've been doing in my own mind. Thinking that the end of our efforts in using the Constitution is what is important. Where in reality it is the end in the meaning of the Constitution that is most important.

I think we've had the right intentions, but have become deluded through fear and intimidation, and that has got to stop. Not the fear and intimidation so much as our reaction to it. At some point you simply have to stand your ground and face the bad guys down and just say, No. If you get killed doing it, well that is Courage and if enough of us say No, it will change things. But if we are all afraid to stand and live (or die) for our belief in our country's foundations, in our Constitution, then how we will win out in the end?

We are too into never making a mistake, never losing ground, never having to wait or sacrifice for our ethics; and so in some ways we are losing. Losing our identity as a nation and as perceived by the world, and losing our credibility. We are losing our freedoms and our protections by and from, our own government. If, you really look around, there are some very scary things happening to our nation. But it's easier and less scary, to simply ignore... all of it. Just wonder for a moment, in twenty years time what will this country look like if we stay on this track?

Here is something to consider along this track, on what is or is not, torture:

Watch Christopher Hitchens Get Waterboarded (VANITY FAIR)

For anyone who thinks that "enhanced interrogation", that "waterboarding" is not torture, please drop by and I'll change your mind.

I'm going to post an interview shortly (below) that was put our by John Cusak that he posted back in September 2012. But first I want to set the tone for what the Bush and Obama Administrations have done to remove our criminality in changing the topic from "torture" to pretty much anything else, like "waterboarding", like "enhanced interrogation".

We have gone from "gutting" Nuremburg now ("you can't charge them as war criminals, they were just following orders"), to actually killing American citizens. It's mission creep and as the butler at Highclaire Castle said in a recent documentary on that famous house used in Downton Abbey, "Once standards go away, they don't come back."

This is rather ironic:

"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson.

We seem to agree with just about anything lately.

Yes these "enhanced interrogations" work to break down resistance, but at some point we have to ask ourselves, who are we? Cowards afraid of anything? Or people of principle who the world looks up to, even when it hurts?

What is water boarding like? See this 3 minute and twenty-second video with a volunteer.

Getting Waterboarded: Vanguard

From now on whenever you hear "enhanced interrogation" or "waterboarding", think in your mind, "Torture" with a capital "T". Because those are keywords hiding reality. The users of these words are doing the same thing people have done in saying they haven't had sex with someone because it wasn't intercourse, or they didn't love the person. So why should their spouse be upset? Or someone who says calories don't count because they ate some off of someone else's plate. It's simply ludicrous, it's twisting reality and that is something we cannot have in our leaders when it comes to abusing and killing people, especially American citizens; but that cannot be the only gauge of who we kill. In killing foreign enemies, terrorists, in killing them using indirect means such as drones, we are creating "collateral damage" in neutral foreign citizens, in innocents, even in children. We are also fostering new angers, new enemies.

Yes, I think drones are a useful tool, but perhaps we use them too much. And what will be the new awareness in this technology with other nations who are starting to use them? There are currently fifty other nations getting into the drone technology for Reconnaissance (defense) and attack (offense). In our abuses, others will us us as their model to get away with the same, or worse. Or use them against us. We need to sponsor new international laws on these devices, just like we did with other easily abused actions and technologies since the First Geneva Convention governing sick and wounded members of armed forces, signed in 1864.

Here are a few snippets from this rather long but fascinating interview. These are several pieces put together from different sections of the interview:

CUSACK: I hate to speak too much to motivation, but why do you think MSNBC and other so-called centrist or left outlets won't bring up any of these things? These issues were broadcast and reported on nightly when John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez and Bush were in office.

TURLEY: Well, there is no question that some at MSNBC have backed away from these issues, although occasionally you'll see people talk about –

CUSACK: I think that's being kind, don't you? More like "abandoned."

TURLEY: Yeah. The civil liberties perspective is rarely given more than a passing reference while national security concerns are explored in depth. Fox is viewed as protective of Bush while MSNBC is viewed as protective of Obama. But both presidents are guilty of the same violations. There are relatively few journalists willing to pursue these questions aggressively and objectively, particularly on television. And so the result is that the public is hearing a script written by the government that downplays these principles. They don't hear the word "torture."

They hear "enhanced interrogation." They don't hear much about the treaties. They don't hear about the international condemnation of the United States. Most Americans are unaware of how far we have moved away from Nuremberg and core principles of international law.

TURLEY: We appear to be in a sort of a free-fall. We have what used to be called an "imperial presidency."

CUSACK: Obama is far more of an imperial president than Bush in many ways, wouldn't you say?

TURLEY: Oh, President Obama has created an imperial presidency that would have made Richard Nixon blush. It is unbelievable.
CUSACK: And to say these things, most of the liberal community or the progressive community would say, "Turley and Cusack have lost their minds. What do they want? They want Mitt Romney to come in?"

TURLEY: The question is, "What has all of your relativistic voting and support done for you?"
CUSACK: But, see, that's a very tough principle to take, because everybody feels so rightfully loathsome about Bin Laden, right? But principles are not meant to be convenient, right? The Constitution is not meant to be convenient. If they can catch Adolf Eichmann and put him on trial, why not bin Laden? The principles are what separate us from the beasts.

I think the best answer I ever heard about this, besides sitting around a kitchen table with you and your father and my father, was I heard somebody, they asked Mario Cuomo, "You don't support the death penalty...? Would you for someone who raped your wife?" And Cuomo blinked, and he looked at him, and he said, "What would I do? Well, I'd take a baseball bat and I'd bash his skull in... But I don't matter. The law is better than me. The law is supposed to be better than me. That's the whole point."


Again, you can read the entire interview and I suggest you do, because I only scratche the surface here of the what all they address: John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution

Monday, March 4, 2013


Any writer who turns out an interesting story on a consistent basis has heard the question, "Where do you get your story ideas?" Frequently it is a question from a novice writer, but more frequently it is from a reader. Most Authors find it a silly question.

There is another side to this issue. The person who says, "Hey, I have a great idea for you." Some go further with, "I have a great idea, you're a writer. Why don't you write it, and we can split the profits."

Right. "Profits".

I've tried to explain all this repeatedly over the years to various types of people, some close to me, some basically unknown to me. Today I had a vision of how to answer this.

I was a technical writer. I wrote on demand, as journalists do, or many other types of writers. It was painful and frequently thankless. The thanks came in the decent pay. But you'd get managers giving you no thought to the effort or skill of your words. Same with programmers I suppose. You're just supposed to do it. THanks comes in your having the job, doing what you love, or the pay which is certainly better than digging a ditch and much less physically challenging by far.

But it is rote work. I had moments of brilliance as a tech writer but mostly I was competant. Tech writing has a goal, to share information for the purposes of a funtion, to make it understandable to a specific audience. You may have to know the topic to write it, research it, learn it, or have to interview people for the information.

But I'm referring here to fiction writing. Conveying feelings through made up stories, based or not upon reality. When I write, I have to "feel" it. I prefer to feel it. i don't have to, but it's more rewarding and I think I do a better job if I have a feeling for it. If I get a feeling for an idea, it starts as a kernal, an idea, a seed of thought, and it grows within me.

I guess I see three types of writing processes.

For the purporses of this blog, I'll call them: rote, seed and corridor.

Rote, is like tech writing. It's on demand, you do it for pay and you produce when needed. It's like journalism, or scientific writing. It's just, writing. Not to diminish it, but it is a technical skill. You start somewhere and build upon it. You may write in a discovery fashion, start from a point and see where it goes. You may or may not have an outline to follow. YOu may do all the work ahead of time. Or you might research and acquire information beforehand or as you go.

Seed, or kernal writing is starting with an idea and filling it in, fleshing it out. I find it to be a step above rote writing. It's like Rote writing, except that you have a feeling for it, there is something beyond just starting and going for it. There is, an emotional element to it. Certainly rote writing can have all these elements too, but the difference is, with rote writing, you right no matter what and on demand. YOu go to work do your eight plus hours of research and writing and go home. Seed writing requires a feeling for the idea first. There is an emotional element that carries you along. Certain rote can gain an emotional element through the process but wheteher you have an emotive element in it or not, you have to be able to write it. No matter how you are feeling. Like digging a ditch. Seed writing requires something more to start, and to carry on. You can flip flop from Rote to Seed as you Seed write, but in the end, you have to have a feeling for it.

For Corridor writing, you conjure up a feeling for an idea so it has elements of Rote and Seed in it, but then you have a flash of insight that goes far along down a corridor with doors everywhere, maybe even in the floor and ceiling, some may just be windows. But you can see the path down a long ways from where you are going to start.

All this being said, when someone offers you a "great" idea ("Let's share the profits after you do all the work."), you are in the Rote mode of writing. In some cases, if it truly is a great idea, if you like the person, if you have affection for them (Love or lust can work wonders here), then it may evolve into a Seed idea and who knows, a Corridor even.

But my experience has been that 99% of these "great ideas" end up in the Rote pile. I don't have any investment in them. I didn't come up with it. When I DO come up with it, that is MY mind, making all the instant connections and it has a lot to do with who I am, with my history and experiences and knowledge. I've come up with great ideas that went no where on anyone else, but then I would write a great story from it and people would be amazed by it. But they didn't see where I was going in the beginning. What if I had offered THEM my "Great Idea"?

When I see a corridor to write, it can go further down a corridor than I can see. I'll need to write to the
end of my "vision" before I can see the rest of the corridor. Somtimes I can see the end, but frequently not. Much of the time I just "know" that I know there is a complete end at the, well, end. These feelings have panned out over time to be quite accurate and sometimes I end up in a place I never expected, or had any inkling that it existed. That is the discovery kind of writing for the most part.

Sometimes it's just that I have a great idea and end, but at some point I discover a better one, or more appropriate one. I dont' see that as discovery writing, though in hindsight, it does turn into discovery writing. I just don't see that that was what i was doing. Because I wasn't. DIscovery writing is starting with a feeling and having no idea where you are going and just writing what is logical and fun to you and you can end up with a truly great story that way.

The trouble with discovery writing is it can quite easily become overly complicated and you can get lost, or lose threads, or they can work themselves into connundrums. It hasn't happened in years, but I've had a few stories die that way. By the time you got to the end, there was just simply no fixing it. I've had to rip it apart and make a different story leaving the other by the wayside. Sometimes I've gone back years later and cannabalized it and come up with something useful, so actually it wasn't all to waste.

Writing in whatever form for you, as long as you enjoy it and as long as it gives the readers something useful, really is what matters. Write for yourself, but don't lose track of what is important. Whatever that is to you, that is.

Just writing for oneself is masturbation. So I find it annoying to hear "I don't write for the money, I write for myself." Say that to your lover when you are having sex sometime, see how much respect that gets you. Sure, write for your pleasure, but keep in mind the other things. A good writer does that. A better writer can write for others too. A great writer can pull it all together.

The January 2013 KDP Newsletter has a piece by Guy Kawasaki, Author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book. He says: Write for the right reasons. Writing is an art form, and a book is an end in itself—don’t write a book solely because it is a means to an end. The good reasons to write a book are the desire to enrich people’s lives, to further a cause, to achieve an intellectual milestone, and to get something off your chest. The bad reasons are to make a lot of money or to increase your consulting or speaking business.

Some day I hope to be a great writer.

But who knows....