Tuesday, January 5, 2010

SHANAS – S.H.A.N.A.S. – Secular, Humanist, Atheist, Non-believer, Agnostic, Skeptic


The road to a true global future is indeed full of many skeptics and skeptical beliefs.

Perhaps it takes time for global reality to set in. Myself I would rather look at the tools available in global communication and set a focus point for others to gather at and to begin a lot of restoring of the human spirit and the human culture after thousands of years of religious bigotry and superstition.

My quest to assert my minimalist Christian beliefs as a Cultural Secular Christian is to have a place at the table of communication and not let some religious or PR hack determine what is best or acceptable for me to believe in.

We all believe and feel billions of different things. We are however bound together by blood and DNA on this fragile planet in space.

As such I termed the word SHANAS as a focal point – focus point as a label to follow, fill out in breath and come back in retort, an umbrella of beliefs and non-beliefs, in reaction to those thousands of years of abuse and superstition that the human race has endured thus far.

We all want to change the world. Perhaps I am too much in a rush to perfection for our human race. The past seems to cling to too many negatives and redundancies. The future or any so-called new world order should be determined by input by all mankind. Part of the future is trying to determine what to jettison from the past. It is no easy task on an individual or on a global scale. I value individual input rather than institutional input.

I took the words most common in these outside cultures and philosophies at present and forming from ideas that gravitate toward similar but not exact goals. Secular, Humanists, Atheists, Non-believers, Agnostics and Skeptics should focus perhaps under one label to ease the path to future communication and integration of a durable global matrix of local and global issues in the present and immerging Global Reality. The energies of these groupings do not seem to be set in stone so much as that energy can turn into quest for a new horizon and or enlightenment for all.

SHANAS – S.H.A.N.A.S. – Secular, Humanist, Atheist, Non-believer, Agnostic, Skeptic – as a label is a start.

Whatever forms in reality in terms of labels in the future will form by common consensus and not by any one SHANAS member of alternate belief systems. And as opposed to the obsolete superstitions and religions plaguing the present world. I want people to start thinking and acting globally and – in a Secular Humanist fashion of sorts.

Christopher Hitchens, a famous atheist, complains that we need a new Age of Enlightenment – well that age is here – it has arrived – it is time for individuals more so than any one or many institutions to bring forth the light within humanity to the forefront of all human existence.

This is the dawning of a new human age.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Freedom of Speech is a Universal Human Right!

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Freedom of Speech is a universal human right.

There is a war out there raging to suppress yours and mine - freedom of speech and expression. The leaders of this war are the Roman Catholic Church, Funadamentalist Islam, and Orthodox Judiasm to name just a few.

The Orthodox Jews in Israel just shouted down an orthodox rabbi who dared to say that “Jesus was a good rabbi”. Blasphemy! I suppose that is an improvement. Forty years ago I do not think that you could get one Orthodox Jew to even admit there was a historic figure called Jesus of Nazareth.

And that is where all this is leading. Laws against Blasphemy are popping up all around the planet. One took place on January 1, 2010, in the universal capital of religious buggery - Ireland.

The atheists there are diving in head first to challenge this piece of shite feel-good to the religionists law that could put a damper on any future criticism of the Catholic Church to go back to buggery in private and protected by the law should someone dare challenge the sacredness and sanctity of the behind the closed doors fantasy world of the clergy.

Atheists condemn blasphemy law
Atheists have begun a campaign against the Government’s new blasphemy law, which came into force on January 1st as part of the Defamation Act.

The group Atheist Ireland has published 25 quotes it says are blasphemous, attributed to people from Jesus Christ to Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.

Under the new blasphemy law, which Atheist Ireland is campaigning to have repealed blasphemy is now punishable by a €25,000 fine.

It defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted.
Another organization, The Center For Inquiry staged a mock Blasphemy Day on September 30 in remembrance of the Danish Cartoonist depiction of Mohammed as a bomb throwing jihadist – the same cartoonist who was almost murdered in his home in Denmark over the weekend by a Mohammedist jihadist.

While this mockery of things held sacred by some is by itself possibly offensive, I believe that people of non-belief or of the new global order want fresh ideas to replace obsolete philosophies from the past. To open up the windows - let some fresh air in to the new global conversation.

There was the first annual Blasphemy Day last September 30 sponsored by the Center for Inquiry – one group representing the growing S.H.A.N.A.S (Secular, Humanist, Atheist, Non-believer, Agnostic, Skeptic) movement.

The Center For Inquiry
The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values...

Fostering a secular society requires attention to many specific goals, but three goals in particular represent the focus of our activities:

- an end to the influence that religion and pseudoscience have on public policy

- an end to the privileged position that religion and pseudoscience continue to enjoy in many societies

- an end to the stigma attached to being a nonbeliever, whether the nonbeliever describes her/himself as an atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker or skeptic.
It seems strange that atheists, non-believers, humanists are at the forefront of protecting Freedom of Speech. Of course, this campaign has its cynical side. I guess atheists, non-believers, secularists and doubters want to deprogram themselves of a lot of religionist bullshit shoved down their throats over the years, centuries.

In response to the most recent Blasphemy Day none other that Hisself, Mister Catholic Virtue, of the Catholic League Bill Donahue chimed in at the catholic blogosphere with a few choice words about the idea of mocking other people’s sacred ideas in the present glutted town square of old and immerging ideas.

'Blaspemy Day' Targets Christianity
Catholic League president Bill Donohue spoke to this event today:

"The Center for Inquiry is factually incorrect to say that “Free speech is the foundation on which other liberties rest.”

"Freedom of conscience is the first liberty, and it is inextricably linked to freedom of religion. Moreover, the whole concept of inalienable rights presupposes a belief in the Creator.

"In other words, atheists have the right to mock religion because our Christian Founding Fathers afforded them human rights.

"They are all such phonies. The stated purpose of Blasphemy Day has nothing to do with any religion but Islam, yet there is not one scheduled event insulting Muslims. We can only guess why. So who have they chosen to mock? You guessed it—Christians.
I am glad to be enlightened that our Founding Christian Fathers made a mistake in giving atheists “Human Rights”. Oh well. Consider the source.

Which brings us back to Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and his human right to practice his trade and live in peace and without fear of Muslim jihadists trying to kill free speech and subvert the world to the worship of their Prophet’s words.

Think back to when you first heard this story in 2005 about the cartoon about Mohammed and the riots in the third world, muslim world over defaming the prophet.

Seems that there was a conspiracy of local Danish Imams/clerics who wanted an apology from the newspaper that printed the cartoon. No apology necessary. Covered by free speech.

Well this conspiracy of Danish Muslim clerics, whether native born or not I do not know, they put together an infamous dossier with collected offensive images against Islam and started passing it along to the chief muslim clerics in Egypt and then Syria etc. Then these local clerics started to issue deflamatory statements against the cartoonist, the newspaper and finally Denmark. If you are a bully like Islam is, then pick on a small country without a Nuke - like Denmark.

Akkari-Laban dossier

To make a long story short, some of the images in that so called dossier got added to from country to country to the point where this weird PR campaign that only a Bill Donahue would understand got turned into Danish flag burnings, bombings, murders, fatwas and totally utterly religionist bullshit. Blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder.

Which leads to the attempted murder of Kurt Westergaard and his granddaughter by a Somali jihadist over the weekend. The police got him, shot him and then the dirty yellow rat bastard shows up in Danish Court and pleads “not guilty” to his failed hatred actions and religionist revenge. “Not Guilty” – that’s blasphemy!

Stemming out of all this hatred toward Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression is yet another Blasphemy Law before the United Nations to protect the religion of Islam from worldwide modern thought or comment.

AP: Muslim countries seek blasphemy ban
GENEVA — Four years after cartoons of the prophet Muhammad set off violent protests across the Muslim world, Islamic nations are mounting a campaign for an international treaty to protect religious symbols and beliefs from mockery — essentially a ban on blasphemy that would put them on a collision course with free speech laws in the West.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Algeria and Pakistan have taken the lead in lobbying to eventually bring the proposal to a vote in the U.N. General Assembly.

If ratified in countries that enshrine freedom of expression as a fundamental right, such a treaty would require them to limit free speech if it risks seriously offending religious believers. The process, though, will take years and no showdown is imminent.
Let me end by repeating myself.

Freedom of Speech is a Universal Human Right!

Freedom of expression in the form of art, drawing or satire should be protected at all cost.

Whether the Danes acted incorrectly by not apologizing in a local matter, that should have been dealt with locally - official complaints, lawsuits, legislation etc.

The local standard stands - it may change over time - but when in Rome do as the Romans do.

These Muslim Akkari-Laban dossier guys should be tried for incitement to riot and murder in a global court.

Have a safe and free from religious blood thirsty fanatics day.

Jesus as Jewish Rabbi – praised/retracted – Efrat Israel

There is perhaps a tempest in a tea pot and Political Correctness Heresy floating about the tea water regarding the present Rabbi of Efrat Israel.

If the Jesus Seminar ever gets a correct time line on Jesus and his divine message mission to earth, many side notes and foot notes might include on that timeline in present times how a rabbi in Isreal and his PC talk about Jesu may have gotten sabatoged by film editors surrounding Jesus and the whole rabbi thing.

Efrat rabbi retracts praise for 'Rabbi Jesus' over Orthodox ire
Defending himself from scathing criticism for a video in which he refers to Jesus as "a model rabbi," a well-respected Anglo rabbi said this week that while his terminology was "inappropriate," the poorly edited video mauled his message. The current incident is the second time this year that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the New York-born Orthodox rabbi of Efrat, had to clarify a controversial statement regarding Jewish-Christian relations.

In the video, Riskin says he has been "truly fascinated by the personality of Jesus, whom certainly to myself I have always referred to as Rabbi Jesus" ever since taking a university course about the gospels. "Because I think he is indeed a model rabbi in many counts and he lived the life of a Jewish rabbi in Israel in a very critical time in our history. And I have constantly come back to the study of his personality and his teachings, which are very strongly rooted in Talmudic teachings."
No matter how the PC winds blows today, tomorrow or yesterday on the topic of Jews discussing Jesus and his mission, I am presenting this You Tube video of Rabbi Schlomo Riskin in that he speaks a good talk about Jesus, Judaism and a potential Interfaith dialogue, without calling it interfaith - common ground, between Christians and Jews.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Botnet of Humanity - Botnet of Religion


I ran in to a great article by Sarah Posner, author of God's Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, on the Guardian UK Religion section.

Some of the blog comments are fascinating to me once you get past the usual hacks hanging around a comments page. The Americans may have the ingenuity and energy of enterprise part of the English Speaking World, but the Brits retain love of the mother language and real journalism and good discussion of the subjects at hand. No great American Intellectual Dumbing Down yet in Britainnia, I am glad to report.

I have run into an interesting way of looking at or dissecting Religion in terms of computer language and or terminology. I do not completely understand what is being said here but I feel obligated to pass it on to my readers for their own dissemination.

I quote from Commenter Label names – no profiles available - but listed as documentation of source.

The great evangelical rebranding
Timvincible
1 Jan 2010, 1:55PM:

It the world of IT we have the concept of the botnet. A botnet is what is created when a computer virus infects a large number of computers and gives control of certain aspects of those computers' behaviour over to a single individual or organisation. These botnets can be ordered to act like a single multi-component entity, but often lie dormant for most of the time and owners of botnet zombie computers ('zombie' is the term for an infected computer) don?t even realise anything is wrong.

When we become members of an organised belief system that dictates certain aspects of our behaviour, we are joining a human botnet. Over the last decade, there has been a growing divide within society as those who recognise the botnet nature of religion (in essence, if not in name) clash with those who would have us believe that religion is not a form of mind control. The critics of religion (such as Richard Dawkins) point out how individuals who are members of a religion loose a certain capacity to think for themselves, and that this can lead to acts of cruelty, violence and bigotry. The 9/11 terrorist act is an example of what happens when the controller of a human religious botnet activates his human zombies.

The botnet comparison is extremely powerful, as it is now widely accepted in Western Europe that organised religion acts this way (despite the contrary claims made by religious leaders and politicians), even if the botnet term is not applied...
And:
TimGF
1 Jan 2010, 10:49PM

I would say though that the botnet effect is all around us. I have worked with companies where you can see that the employees seem to share many beliefs (about the company) and personal characteristics. Sometimes the employees start to resemble their managers in mannerisms etc. You can see it also when you go to other countries and you find that ways of doing things, accepted values etc can be very different.

But I do agree that such things are common in religion too. I guess the worst examples of this have been the few occasions where mass suicides have occurred. We are used to belonging to groups such as tribes, companies and clubs and people tend to assume that this is also how to operate in spiritual matters, whereas it is inappropriate because it can lead to a lot of "control". I have experienced mild "control" myself in church settings, although there were a lot of good things there too. But if you look carefully at the teachings of Jesus, you find that what he started was not "religion" as we now know it. He started a kind of movement that people originally called "The Way". But at the time of Constantine, many got swept up into a "religion". In fact, if you look at Jesus, you find he is very different from founders of religions and sects. Many committed Christians nowadays do not atttend a traditional "church" because they have given up on religion...

A Future Iran Taking Shape in Exile?


The time may be coming when the war on terror or the war on Islam or the Islamic war on the West or whatever might be coming to an end .

The son of the recently deceased and moderate Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri is talking about the replacement for the current so-called Islamic Republic in Iran in a German magazine Der Spiegel.

Late cleric's son warns of more Iran turmoil: report
"I think the future structure of our society is not so important. It could be an Islamic Republic, a secular republic, or as far as I am concerned, even a monarchy. The main thing is that people can live in freedom and in prosperity," he said. Anti-government protests have flared repeatedly since a disputed presidential election last June, throwing Iran into its most serious internal crisis in the Islamic Republic's 30-year history.

In the last week, there have been bloody confrontations, arrests and hardline demands for the strong suppression of opponents of the government.

Asked by Der Spiegel if he expected a bloodbath, Montazeri said: "I hope it won't come to that. I still hope the rulers will come to their senses and make compromises and take the path of national reconciliation. If they don't, my country will be in a much worse state in one year's time than it is today."
Reference to “even a monarchy” is a clue that crown prince Reza Pahlavi in exile may head a future secular Iranian government as a Constitutional and not absolute monarch in that mid-east mid-asian nation now bleeding under the thuggery of a tyrannical theocracy.

It may also be a reference to recognition that an American influence in the region and the world in general is the necessary social glue that makes the planet move on its political and economic axis. China and India may be emerging as economic power houses but what do they do for the good will of the world in general like the U.S.? That and anybody besides the thugs in power in Iran would be a great improvement.

Nostalgia for the peaceful, prosperous, non-religious (secular) reign of the Shah of Iran? Indeed.

With moderate Islamic nations of Moracco, Egypt and Jordan, a moderate Islamic Iran would, could balance a great deal of extremism in that part of the world. A stable Iraq/Iran would mean that the United States could draw down our spent troops. Who knows, maybe even the Taliban would accept moderation and negotiation toward the new global order of things.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happey Pagan new year to you all!

this year i opted to watch times square online with CNN.

I felt a great energy watching youth and kissin and whatever.

Although I have never in over thirty years on and off in the big apple made it to Times Square on New Years Eve - I join the ranks of my maternal grandmother, metaphorically speaking, who lived her whole life in philly and never visited Independence Hall - whatever.

I noticed that the new global New World Order national anthem was played just before the real countdown to the new year - John Lennon - Imagine.

I see now what Obama has to recognize and reflect upon - the energy of the united states that is now that of a global world empire.

The question now is whether that Global Empire is Just or it is controlled by elements of the dark side aka Cheney NeoCon INC.

Anyway, stop your blathering son. I heard a song that really hit the "light" within for me played shortly after midnight in times square, and into the new year. I believe the artist and the song rendition is from the "light" side within our mortal existence.



happy first day of the next ten thousand years of the human race!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye to the Y2Kays Decade


Remember all of the hype and B.S. about how the world was going to end in the year 2000 – Y2K ?

Our computers all over the planet were going to shut down over the supposed glitch that dumb computers would be too stupid to recognize the first two digits 20 of the year 2000 – as opposed to computers built in the twentieth century with the two digit prefix of 19—as in 1999 etc.

I think one nuclear power plant in Japan shut itself down. Other than that, air traffic control, street lights and electricity kept running. What a sorry disappointment that PR fear campaign was.

We had made a journey back east to New York from Arizona in 1999 only to come up against - in your face – too close - to 911 and its very nasty effects and collateral damage.

The world did not come to an end in the 2000’s or Y2Kays or the Naughties.

It was a hard decade to slog through for some of us but we made it. If we are still here in one piece, I guess we can indeed brag about it.

The world never seems to truly end. Does it? No matter what any so-called current in vogue prophecy says. It ends when it ends and not before.

Something perhaps in the universal program of randomness and the drive to carry on and to evolve.

Ran into this on a blog and it brought me close to tears. Even I can’t say everything. This says a lot to me. I hope it says things to you as well.

To my friends the Americans
in which this decade has hollowed your land
raped your soul
and left your spirit bruised and battered
may you find solace,
may you find peace,
may you find your light again…

“The Dude” – a blogger
Best wishes for the new calendar year to you all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

vatican to copyright sky! - news at eleven

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I don’t know what to make of the following – another anti-christian chicken story perhaps?

I guess every government wants to get in on the ponzi cap and trade rackets of natural resources and national images, words, gestures, natural good looks. (Not to mention censoring You Tube viewers from seeing falling pontiffs at Midnight masses that occur at ten p.m..) Etc.

Pope Benedict XVI: Copyright! All Rights Reserved!
The Vatican will establish copyright protection on the use of the name, the image and symbols associated with the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Holy See intends to hold the exclusive right for their use, the Catholic News Agency said...

The news came as a surprise. Pope Benedict XVI previously condemned those who defend their copyright. The Pontiff criticized the struggle for copyright as a phenomenon which contradicted to the notion of mutual help and Christian love to other people…

“How can all this be related to the Pope? I do not see any way to register such copyright – there are no adequate laws for that. The Pope cannot be a trademark because the Pope is a natural person. Why would they do something like that ? Is there a need for that? Even if the Vatican managed to have it all legalized, I doubt that it would win considerable profit from it,” the professor said.

Sergey Fyodorov, a senior expert with the Institute for Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that the Vatican simply wants to make more money.
----Sergey Balmasov, Pravda.Ru
“Greed is good” to quote Oliver Stone’s infamous character Gordon Gekko.

Greed can also backfire. If you have to pay - maybe the brand name and the product will get ignored and forgotten. Free to the catholic blogoshere is free to the choir and empty pews as well, so to speak.

Good luck in the forgotten twilight years of the reign of “what’s his name”?

I quoted from Pravda to get a less than polished (corrupted) western MSM spin on this news article. That and that news agency might report a little more truth, bizarre as it might seem on any given subject. It is good to have a different point of view.

I also think the Russians will laugh when asked to pay a toll to talk about “what’s his name” in the Vatican.

Whatever.

Flight 253 a set up? – Fifth Column Intro to Yemen?


I have to take everything with a grain of salt lately with the MSM.

This Mutallab guy from Nigeria, the suspected terrorist on flight 253 into Detroit on Christmas Day – I have to wonder who set this “terrorist” gig up.

The GOP is in full – shut down the government at all costs - Piranha mode - for the 2010-2012 elections. That's normal politics in a time of economic chaos and global terrorism?

In the past few days, an African face on the news with the word “terrorist” or "Al-Qaeda" planted under that face seems like too much of a casual visual coincidence considering the many months of that same visual set up by the GOP baggers and Fox News and Rush hate Radio - as in Obama's face with the "terrorist" label on placards at FOX/Tea Bagger staged events.

Is it possible that independent agents, independent of currently employed and official US intelligence, in fact traitors, might be at work to sabotage the Executive branch and sabotage the country as well. Is a fifth column in our government a very real possibility? I think the answer is YES!

That stories and situations are not only being planned in Al-Qaeda’s headquarters wherever that gypsy caravan is today or will be next week? That it is a real possibility that traitors or hired out parties can get hold of and manipulate young Muslims and put them in a position to upset Christmas Day, a sacred Christian and family holiday?

More than the Al-Qaeda mobile taco stand could be operating out in the field, the many fields out there in the middle east and mid Asia. This, to top off one year of “Shut Down the American Domestic Government” of Barack Obama – sounds too much of a convenience to this cynic’s ear or stomach, gut to believe.

To end a decade where more than likely - and more like insider information brought down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center – that that decade ends with a Brit trained twit peeing his pants on a jet and ruining a home made cocktail bomb in his shorts – some things just don’t make sense to me. This is the same Al-Qaeda in 2009 as in 2001? Does it make sense to you?

With Cheney whining and hoping for a terrorist attack to justify his personal reign of terror over our democratic government for eight years, and Rush Limbaugh who wants Obama to fail and the country too as well by inference, one have to wonder where our true friends are and where our true enemies lie, or lie with, or lie within.

Is there a real fifth column in America trying to destroy what is left of our democracy and our free enterprise system??? One has to ask that. And who besides the wacko right, the rodents, would be in full throttle behind such a fifth column foraging amidst the shards of and in cover of the once Grand Old Party? And let’s not forget FOX anti-Obama/entertainment “news”.

I went off half cocked in my recent rant on this Detroit incident about Suicide Virgin Humpers.

I saw the following link on a blog on the Guardian UK related to the attempted terrorist attack. The comment with that link was I believe later removed. I do not remember the rhetoric attached to the link but it may have been offensive. I did not despair because I read the link and took it with a grain of salt. Even if true, this testimony from two lawyers supposedly on Flight 253 could be false. MI-5 may have pressed the Guardian to remove the link etc. I was waiting for further second hand confirmation that this story was not a hoax, a Heene baloon boy free publicity thing?

Flight 253 passenger: Sharp-dressed man aided terror suspect...(MLive.com exclusive)
Haskell said he and his wife were sitting on the ground near their boarding gate in Amsterdam, which is when they saw Mutallab approach the gate with an unidentified man.

Kurt and Lori Haskell are attorneys with Haskell Law Firm in Taylor. Their expertise includes bankruptcy, family law and estate planning.

While Mutallab was poorly dressed, his friend was dressed in an expensive suit, Haskell said. He says the suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. “The guy said, 'He's from Sudan and we do this all the time.'”

Mutallab is Nigerian. Haskell believes the man may have been trying to garner sympathy for Mutallab's lack of documents by portraying him as a Sudanese refugee.

The ticket agent referred Mutallab and his companion to her manager down the hall, and Haskell didn't see Mutallab again until after he allegedly tried to detonate an explosive on the plane.
I saw the link briefly listed on Drudge and yesterday it showed up in Google news spotlight but only briefly. Finally today a legitimate new source, the Detorit Free Press has followed through on the story.

FBI probes account of Michigan couple in Flight 253 case
Lori Haskell said that FBI agents spoke with her and her husband, Kurt, Tuesday morning after the two spoke to news media outlets about Kurt Haskell's account that he saw an older, well-dressed Indian man help suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his effort to board the flight in Amsterdam, Netherlands, without a passport.
I expect a deadend on the story. Nip it in the bud so to speak. Dallas style coverup?

No sooner than this failed plot got some media steam than Senator Joe Liebermann got out his price placard, wearing it on his back, his vote and opinion for sale at various scales – gets on the "we have to invade Yemen" bandwagon because this is where the terrorist was trained etc.

Yemen is Saudi Arabia’s back door. If the Saudis can’t handle it, well it is time to do a “Mission Accomplished” and march into Riyahd tomorrow. Why settle for the toe nail clippings in Yemen when you can eat the whole roasted cow just a few more miles down the road.

The Romans stayed in power for centuries with Bread and Circus. There is plenty of Circus – the Media. But where is the Bread (oil)? Where is the Bread? Forget the Fear Factor bullshit. What’s in it for us the American People to turn a blind eye to global injustice and eternal war?

It is time for some sense in our foreign policy. The tail of the dog, the fifth column, the enemy within, has got to stop wagging the nation - wagging us to death.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Failed States of Israel and Palestine ?

If God is an energy, then I perceive a connection of energy waves and in the same direction or at a same intersection at present.

A curious thing happened in Poland a little over a week ago. Somebody stole the infamous death camp sign over the entrance way to Auschwitz – “Arbeit Macht Frei” – “Work Will Set You Free”. The saying and the truth about Auschwitz are at two different ends of any communication spectrum. Over a million men, women and children died there at the hands of the Nazis – mostly Jews but also “Roma Gypsies, Poles, and Soviet prisoners of war.” No accurate count, only guesstimates of the numbers of this inhumane act toward humanity. The records were destroyed. Who would want to keep records of such things, such evil things.

Polish Police Find Stolen Auschwitz Sign

The thieves were caught. The sign was broken into three pieces. One story is that some collector was willing to pay two to three million dollars for this historic artifact. One has to wonder if the collector had an agenda whether it being admiration for the Nazi killing machine or for the up close and personal memento of the twentieth century holocaust. Or perhaps a billionaire needed to fill a space on the wall of his or her private art gallery in an east side Manhattan townhouse and thought the object a good investment. Once displayed, discerning wealthy guests could make an offer and a profit might be made. It, the sign, is representative of an impressive piece of human history – sad though that history may be.

All that aside, I have to wonder if perhaps the sympathy towards the Jewish entity as a faith and people has worn off in time. The Pope went there to Auschwitz and made a politically correct speech about how the Holocaust should never happen again. But did he mean it? Yes of course he did. But sometimes words and actions have opposing energies.

One has to wonder when the energy of a sacred object such as this stolen sign – when did it turn into secular energy and a prize to be carted away and sold. The death camp is a museum and visited by all people on an international scale. The thieves appear to have been local. Their parents or grandparents no doubt lived down the road and probably did not know what went on in Auschwitz. But human nature tells me that these locals in the 1940s no doubt heard rumors or made up stories. Making up stories or passing around rumors is one thing. The true horror of it all is something quite on a different scale and scope.

The present German born Pope recently signed off on Pope Pius XII and put him on the road to sainthood. Some, in fact many would disagree that Pius XII is saint material. Controversy still surrounds his knowledge and actions public or secret in reference to the rounding up of millions of European Jews during the first years of his rule. The Vatican Archives are not yet fully open to public scrutiny as to what the Pope knew and when he knew it or why he was so silent within his walled castle of the Vatican.

So too, the never complete, perhaps failed state of Israel reached an anniversary yesterday regarding the twenty two day pogrom – Operation “Cast Lead” - against the Palestinians in Gaza of one year ago. This attack on the next door neighbor of Israel cost the lives of 1,000 adults and 400 children. It all took place while America was paralyzed in an economic disaster and between the changing of the guard at the White House.

Sad that the Jews have built walls between themselves and their neighbors. Sad that walls keep others out – out of sight – and walls also traps those within. Is the walled state of Israel a giant Ghetto that replaces the historic presence of Jews in European culture to a place of confinement in the middle east? I hope not.

In any case, whether walled up in the Vatican or walled up in Gaza, who is to say who knew what and when they knew it. Who killed and who died and who pressed the buttons to agitate a response is subject to stories and rumors. Human nature being what it is, there is probably a little bit of truth in everything. Truth is perhaps an energy and a sign of the inner light and energy of God within both Jews and Arabs in the so-called Holy Land.

Perhaps the stealing and recovering of a sign from Auschwitz is not the energy of an angel but a true sign to look hard at the words, actions and historic content of things at hand as well as being a reminder of things past – bad things that got worse – because nobody took a stand and said – Enough is Enough!

Humanity must be recognized as humanity no matter what the propaganda or political agenda dictates. The value of every human being as a child of the light and energy of God must be recognized and respected by all. ALL.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Suicide Virgin Humper Tries to Blow up Plane in Detroit


Some fool Arab wanted to blow up a passenger plane over Detroit. You say he isn’t Arab. The money for this Al-Qaeda bullshit is from Arabia – that is all I have to know.

Christ! You blow up a plane over Detroit, who would notice – it’s Detroit!

And to kill two hundred and eighty odd strangers plus crew for some weird religion – bizarre. Human sacrifice is obsolete - it is the sign of a very primitive superstitious idol worshipping religion. And I thought American Fundamentalists were weird. Religious weirdoes of the world – get your heads out of your asses!

There are an awful lot of lonely Muslim guys in desperate need of virgins in Paradise out there that want to blow up other people in order to get at the real good out of this world stuff.

I am sick and tired of foreigners who come into a country, eat our food, use our institutions of higher education and then leave with a bad attitude or chip on their shoulder and want to blame us for their failings and inadequacies as a people or as part of a culture.

Apparently the worshipers of the Prophet guy who think they are superior and just don’t get western civilization had better sit down and think twice if they want to live on my planet.

Freud or some other lunatic said it best when you can peg these guys as transferring all their hostilities they have for their parents, their native culture, their native land or native religion and do not have the courage to challenge what is wrong there and come over here to punish us for their inferior local culture.

You don’t see us running over there to eat their food, use their institutions of higher learning etc. What is wrong with that formula? Am I the pig or are you? Oink. Oink.

Until the Muslims look into the mirror darkly in terms of a spiritual sense, their staged pretense at being a religion as a key into a spiritual realm is quite iffy if you ask me. Well you did ask me. You are reading this.

Stay in the forest, desert, jungle – eat your own shit and leave my precious western civilization alone. We have been building this civilization for at least ten thousand years.

We have enough problems trying to cope with the good and bad of modern day life without having to look over our shoulders for losers from Islam that think suicide is a good thing – FECK OFF!

If you cannot act like human beings, then try to pretend to be part of the brotherhood, sisterhood of mankind. If you do not have love in your heart for your fellow human beings – who needs you? I don’t!

There are enough losers in the west without putting out a welcome mat for the likes of your suicide virgin humpers.

We have to live on the same planet. We have to share many of the same resources on this planet. It is simply bad manners to keep acting like the worst thing around and still think your religion is the end all in belief systems. Well it ain’t!

Your shit stinks just like mine. Get a life. Get a belief system that is not a fantasy and an excuse to hate, maim or kill!

Have a nice and not a bloody day you ugly fanatic so-called Islamists.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Joe the Pope Stumbles at Midnight Mass

-
Since the beginning of the age of Darwin certain scientific methods apply to all things. Cause and effect in one such conundrum.

Joe the Pope stumbled the other night at Midnight Mass which was not at midnight. The 82 year old pontiff with a busy seasonal schedule wanted to go to bed early and get some rest for the next day. Midnight mass started at 10 pm. When you change anything around away from its norm – you have cause and effect. If you want to get to bed early, you are not staying up later than the homeless and the wandering crazy people particular to every urban center on the planet.

A young woman, 25, jumped the barricade separating the processional column of clergy including the Pope from the attending crowd. The security guards tacked the possible assassin and in the collateral damage (catalytic reaction) the would be assailant drags the pope to the floor by grabbing onto his garments.

Scuffle over. The pope is unharmed. An aged French cardinal gets a broken leg. The pope, the superstar of the evening, puts on his usual great performance.

Moral of the story. Security at the Vatican is as lax as at the White House where two publicity seeking clowns walk into Obama’s first State Dinner for the Prime Minister of India. They get photos with everyone and slip away as people are being seated for din-din and where there are no place cards for two party crashers.

The security at the midnight mass looked like they hired some husky tall moonlighting Italian policemen for the evening event. These days all corporations and all governments seem to be staffed by part time, minimum waged temporary staff and guards.

The young lady of Swiss Italian background had apparently done the same thing last year and in the same bright red clothing as at last year’s Christmas midnight mass – so much for my theory of staying up later than the crazies. The temp guards from last year who grabbed this same jumper before she touched the pope were not on duty or not looking or screening the people coming into the mass this year? People were admitted by ticket only.

Which goes to my previously stated assumption, of the fact that only tourists fill in the gaps of the big events like midnight mass – staged for the cameras. So easy to get tickets like at your hotel front desk. No real Roman would go out on a cold winter’s night for midnight mass at St. Peter’s. Romans may show up on a warm spring day for Easter in the plaza but other than that, few if any of the native population participate in the ancient rituals of the church.

Which brings me to my previously stated position, that only a few hundred or a few thousand Romans go to church on a regular basis. Which puts the Bishop of Rome as supposed premier moral leader of the Christian world as a shepherd to an active flock as large (or as small) as any Jesus got in his barnstorming days of preaching.

In any case, the pope is a symbol of Christiandom. I personally do not want to see him harmed. He and his office are deserving of global respect.

Besides, who would I have to call Joe the Pope? Better the pope you know than the pope (next pope) you don’t know. But then again I have already named him Pius XIII and Joe the Pope has yet to give him a red hat. (cause and effect).

If and when the rabble and crazies do storm the Vatican with torches and pitchforks, it won’t be with Joe Ratzinger, the current German pope in residence.

In the meantime, the Vatican better spend a few more lira on competent full time security staff.

Pax

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Human Light Holiday - 2009


The so-called War on Christmas did not have much energy this year. Everybody is recycling lights and decorations, those lucky enough to still have their own home. The economy and the massive PR efforts on politics in Health Care legislation has exhausted any patience or tolerance for additional nonsense about the right way to celebrate Christmas – the right talk and the right walk etc. this year.

Indeed Senator Coburn’s recent Prayer on the United States Senate floor to pray for God to strike down Senator Byrd, 92, in a wheelchair, to not make it for a rare One A.M. Senate vote on Healthcare says it all to me about the mean spirited Grinch like love of GOP "Christ-Inane-ity".

The War on Christianity is a self inflicted wound like flagellation. The more you beat yourself, the holier you and your cause becomes? Yeah right.

The War on Christmas is largely I think a time killer on entertainment news which in the Bush years would not dare investigate or report misconduct in government.

Make an artificial enemy out there and blame them for America not being as white or as Christian as it used to be.

Ran into an interesting article about how many foreign born or non-Christians deal with “the December Dilemma” because they do not celebrate their cultural or religious holidays in December.

For many, December's a dilemma
"We definitely had a little bit of anxiety in childhood," Tarin said. But that changed as he grew up and refined his American Muslim persona amid the American atmosphere of diversity and tolerance.

Now, where he and his family live in northern Virginia, "we don't celebrate Christmas. We celebrate our holidays" -- pointing, for example, to Eid al-Fitr after Ramadan and Eid al-Adha after the hajj pilgrimage. But he welcomes the goodwill of the season -- the gift-exchanges with non-Muslim neighbors and the requests from schoolteachers to talk about Muslim holidays.

And

Interfaith couples celebrate their diversity during the Christmas season. Jeff Silver, a certified public accountant who is Jewish, and Shweta Gupta, a dentist who is Hindu, are planning their marriage next year. They will have an interfaith household and said they hope to raise children to understand both of their traditions. At their home in Atlanta, they've set up a holiday tree decorated with Hindu and Jewish ornaments.

And

Non-religious Americans embrace a December "secular holiday" called HumanLight.

Patrick Colucci, vice chair of the HumanLight Committee and member of the New Jersey Humanist Network, said the holiday can uplift "atheist, humanist and nonreligious" people who feel left out and isolated during Christmas.

Which brings me to the Human Light holiday celebrated today December 23. Never heard of it before today. It is a man made holiday by Humanists to make – I won’t say non-believers but perhaps non-conformists – have a day of celebration and gathering in the midst of all the other pagan year end celebrating.

HumanLight

The energy of the diversity of America is sometimes a surprise and delightful.

Happy Human Light Holiday to you all !

(– and that includes Bill O’Reilly and Bill Donahue too. XOXO)

Monday, December 21, 2009

tolerance as a reason in this and every season

People and individuals keep on searching for meaning to life and circumstance in this cold, materialistic, godless, secular global culture.

Some people are writing columns to say that the movie Avatar is a vehicle to sell nature and pantheism. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and not a penis. Sometimes a computer enhanced cartoon or Hollywood fantasy is just a computer enhanced cartoon or just a Hollywood fantasy.

This 24/7/365 knit picking over everything that does not conform to the traditional exceptional American concept of God is not a call to arms to preserve the traditional religionist culture. It is more a shouting in a warehouse, taking inventory, of obsolete aspects of the old Christian belief system before they are carted off onto the trash heap of history.

In my own personal search for a new meaning of the concept of God, I end this year listening to some Christmas Carols like the Brit atheist dilettante Richard Dawkins.

I am more convinced than ever that the current phase of belief in non-belief is wall paper glue filling in the voids of a yet to be printed or determined pastel belief pattern on that wallpaper that will be the norm for decades or centuries to come. Old paper comes down. New paper goes up. The practical and the mundane non-belief is a stop gap glue of many for the moment.

Many years ago as a native tourist investigating every nook and cranny of Independence National Historical Park, I came upon a gem of a colonial building. Back then the only entrance way was down an alley way and into a courtyard. The courtyard with gray paving stones and surrounding brick buildings and simple paned glass windows reminded me of something very plain but European. The RC church of St. Joseph’s was behind a very plain entrance way. Thus I found out that in History, this very pagan Jesuit church was allowed in Quaker Tolerant Pennsylvania in colonial times and still stands in present day downtown Philadelphia. Back then it was probably the only RC church for a hundred miles. It is also a gem inside architecturally in a very subtle kind of Baroque mixed with colonial style interior design.

This story leads me to the Quakers or Society of Friends, or I should say leads me back to Quakers because no matter what your beliefs or ethnic origins, if you grow up in Philly the subtle imprint of a Quaker sub-cultural essence lives on to this day.

This is not an endorsement of the Friends but in reading again in full detail their habits and beliefs I seem to be drawn back to the concept of simplistic beliefs in my personal search for God.

Indeed, the persistent agitator of George Fox against the established COE types is what no doubt got Charles II to settle his debts to the Quaker William Penn’s father’s estate with a land grant to his son a whole ocean away. Best to ship the pesky little religious varmints off to the New World than build more prisons. The Brits had yet to find and settle Australia.

One has to wonder in the recognizable shape of the Quakers that evolved in England, that someone like George Fox was not unaware of the various simplistic aspects of Islam. Perhaps there was a hidden mosque down some London alleyway in days of yore for a native tourist to discover and wonder at. Many books back then about Islam and the Gnostic thing but no hard manuscript evidence, only rumors, on the latter at that time.

I perceive some possible similarities between the two belief systems.

Quakers - the Religious Society of Friends
Among key Quaker beliefs are:

• God is love

• the light of God is in every single person

• a person who lets their life be guided by that light will achieve a full relationship with God

• everyone can have a direct, personal relationship with God without involving a priest or minister

• redemption and the Kingdom of Heaven are to be experienced now, in this world
It is in the inner light thing, this almost Gnostic thing that is a hallmark of Quaker belief.

The Quakers are also not very evangelical, preaching and recruiting to their belief system like some screaming Christian Constantine army press-gang thing.

The inner light of the creative force within endures. You must come to it. It does not necessarily come to you. Indeed, many people raised as a Quaker are not shining examples of this belief system like Richard Nixon as one example. But who is to judge really?

Putting beliefs aside I have to say that for a quiet bunch of unnoticed people in the woodwork so to speak they have founded and maintain many schools, universities – as well as maintain the ground work for doing what some would label as Christian but they themselves do not cling to any faith describing labels or agenda.

The most powerful thing I saw in my youth was a single force, behind the scenes in the widespread opposition to the Vietnam War, in the American Service Friends Committee and its lobbying efforts. At the height of the anger and discord in America around 1972, I remember how the city wanted to widen the road in front of a bunch of nineteenth century brick buildings. The buildings had to come down to make way for the widened street. One of the buildings I believe housed the local AFSC. When vacated I remember a home made sign of about a foot square made of shirt box cardboard and embellished with three simple words in laundry marker or dark crayon – it was tacked over the door of one of these abandoned buildings.

Those words were “Rendered unto Caesar”. Powerful words to make a statement about the then current injustice and unfairness of it all. Those words have lasted in my memory to this day and remind me of the power of simple actions to move governments from the wrong column of history and in to the correct wave energy of human history.

Enough of Philly tales. As this year ends I have two religious belief systems in mind that the world of Christianity, perhaps a dying and or going through a dramatic metamorphosis belief system, might consider in the future shaping of anything to be labelled Christian or Christ-like.

I am mindful of the Quakers and their beliefs and also of the dissident St. Mary’s in Exile Congregation in Brisbane Australia – two places I think I could visit in a service or meeting and where my eccentric at present and eclectic agnostic search for a new meaning or definition of God would be tolerated.

Have a happy and safe new year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

O. Henry - The Gift of the Magi


William Sydney Porter was born in North Carolina, lived some time in Austin Texas, Central America, Ohio (Penitentiary) and of course New York City.

Among many other careers as a Pharmacist, Draftsman, Bank Teller and Journalist, his career in writing was a sideline that he developed and refined later in life.

While in prison in Ohio for embezzlement, working as a Pharmacist on the prison hospital’s night shift, he found the time to write. He started to send items to a friend who would pass them along to magazines in New York. According to one popular legend the penname of O.Henry comes from OHio pENitentiRY.

After prison he went to New York and churned out hundreds of short stories more like small sketches or vignettes of everyday street life and common people living in the Big Apple of that turn of the twentieth century era. It was enough to pay the rent and imbibe whiskey which probably was a direct cause of late in life illnesses and his death.

He definitely is part of the fabric of American literature. He was somewhat forgotten for decades until some of his short stories became staples of movies and even remakes of the same movies over time. The Soviets issued a postage stamp on the hundredth anniversary of his birth much to the embarrassment of the American literacy scene.

The short story of “The Gift of the Magi” has been made and remade many times as the basis of television and movie story lines. It is a short poignant tale of young love and sacrifice for the sake of giving. No doubt the part of the young wife is reflective of the author’s first wife before her early death.

He is buried in North Carolina with his one child, a daughter.


The Gift of the Magi

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

By the way … GOD is not spelled G-O-P


This is perhaps a bit of a rambling piece of writing but all parts I think are related. It is perhaps a news dump of sorts.

Have not published anything these past few days. Looking for something to catch my eye and gut.

I look in the Brit papers first. Because a lot of what you might see featured on a worldwide news highlight section on the Internet is there first. These lead stories appear in America with a follow up time of 12 hours to forty eight hours later in the USA.

There was a piece in the religion section of the Guardian about how the Movie the Golden Compass was not likely to follow through on two promised sequels. The actor Sam Elliott was blaming the boycott by the Catholic League in 2007/2008 that forced domestic profits down but not worldwide. I did a little research and found out that another piece, on the Golden Compass was in the Guardian under Cinema/Arts. Not the same article. The skinny on this whole thing was that this was some sort of PR stunt to stir up interest and capital to get the movie back online with its original schedule.

The Golden Compass

The thing that I did not like was that the truth was not being told in selling the product. The blame on the Catholic League was supposed to stir up resentment against the ethnic minority that supposedly controls Hollywood ( you know the ethnic minority that MG hates ) and were now afraid and listening to the church’s PR mouthpiece.

Further research found that fantasy or sci-fi always does much worse in the States than the Agnostic audience worldwide. Golden Compass made something like $70 million domestically on a 12 week run and over three hundred million worldwide. With an original budget of $180 million that leaves a theoretical profit of $200 million. If you cannot operate on that kind of profit margin, you better get out of the business.

Getting back to the Catholic League boycott about how the movie promoted atheism to the young. I saw the movie on cable and there was none of what the CL said was there. The books, the trilogy by Philip Pullman, is largely not so much an anti-religion theme but more one of the question of the existence of God – legitimate question to ask. The real fear, I think, of the catholic church was that this movie, a watered down version of the books would inpsire the young and everyone to read these books. A symbolic PR and or preventative, aborted "book burning" so to speak. Jeebus money well spent.

The movie is about a secular worldwide control of the people by the Magisterium but the movie is not anti-catholic. There is this PR hack named Bill Donohue, a down on his knees altar boy mouthpiece for the Catholic Church who led the so-called boycott against the Golden Compass.

Bill Donahue is the whole Catholic League.

Considering Donohue’s annual budget, he could not effect a boycott in this day and age – Impossible – nobody in the choir or the pews to preach to anymore. He was helped out by the Mushmouth of Bill O’Reilly over at Fox News that did trash this movie and urge the boycott. Facts however do not follow through on that spin.

With a $25 million opening weekend in 2007, the movie fizzled. The boycott did not work. Word of mouth would have generated more income than expected but the product had been mislabeled. The movie was billed as the next “Lord of the Rings” which it was not. Domestic sales were weak after that and the bully boys take credit for something they did not do.

Donahue and the Catholic League are no innocents. They got picked on in this present situation because it is convenient to generate PR energy, not news, attacking this PR firm. Blowback - payback time for the alleged boycott. If the truth be told I have to agree with the raunchy comedienne Kathy Griffin that the Catholic League is just one man and one computer – and a lot of hot air and bullshit. Kathy knows a lot about bullshit. She makes a damned good living off of it like Donahue. I do admire her moxie.

Moving along, I was waiting on a story yesterday for a Judge in Oklahoma to rule on the ongoing restraining order on the “Scarlet Letter” law in which ten pages of questionnaire stats on every abortion performed in that state would go online for the all world to see.

Waiting for the judge to get back from his three hour lunch, I did some research and realized that a similar recent anti-female, pro-lief Oklahoma law required a sonogram be performed on each perspective women wanting an abortion. That law got vetoed by the Dem Governor Brad Henry only to have the veto overridden in the legislature. The law itself was challenged in the courts and was eventually thrown out because it was not well written and did not conform to the rules of legislative bill writing in that state.

The judge postponed yesterday's expected ruling until February.

Along comes state Representative Dan Sullivan and state Senator Todd Lamb who are either stupid, naïve or both and write this Scarlet Letter law which seems to be sloppy and addressing more that one issue that would make it invalid under judicial review.

I don’t know if these two moral munchkins did the sonogram law but here is the skinny. If you want to generate lot of bullshit energy and get paid to support the Pro-Life Lobby, you write a law in a sloppy manner and generate months of hype and anger and whatever before it too bites the dust. The MSM has easy leads and easy stories and everybody is happy. Of course the courts might not throw this case out and then the appeal is onto the Catholic, I mean, U.S. Supreme Court.

Next story. “Now for something completely different” as they say on Monty Python.

I once wrote a line of poetry to describe how “New York is a loud and constant shouting”.

I guess I was impressed with the energy and the hustle and the loudness and the diversity of the New York City I first encountered over thirty odd years ago.

Thirty years ago Manhattan was still an American city and not an international rival today with the likes of a Hong Kong on the other side of the planet.

Things have changed or I have changed. Perhaps the energy too has changed.

I caught an article on the Internet about the decline of the use of the death penalty and I stopped to read it. A few interesting statistics and the like.

Death penalty use declining nationwide
Use of capital punishment by states continues its steady decline, with fewer death sentences handed down in 2009 than any year since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976.

"The annual number of death sentences in the U.S. has dropped for seven straight years," said Richard Dieter, the report's author and DPIC's executive director. "In the last two years, three states have abolished capital punishment and a growing number of states are asking whether it's worth keeping. This entire decade has been marked by a declining use of the death penalty."

DPIC is a nonpolitical group that provides facts and analysis, while opposing capital punishment as impractical and ineffective.

There were 106 death sentences issued in 2009, compared with a high of 328 in 1994. Death sentences have dropped 63 percent since 2000, when there were 235 issued.
Maybe there are more lenient judges or more lenient juries. Maybe the bureaucracy of the state killing someone is bigger and more cumbersome, costlier than in the past. Maybe there are more appeals etc. Perhaps fewer people are dying violent deaths. The article doesn’t go into detail and perhaps ends on a positive that:
…New Mexico in March became the 15th state to abolish capital punishment, although two inmates still remain on death row there.

New Hampshire's House of Representatives voted to abolish lethal injection, which would currently affect only one inmate on the state's death row. The measure is pending in the state Senate, but the governor has vowed to veto any bill. An execution has not been conducted there in 70 years, when hanging was the preferred method.

Thirty-five states still have the death penalty.
Perhaps we are having less stomach for it. Are we becoming vegetarian so to speak?

Perhaps like my aging perception of New York City, I am changing and not the stats? I do not think so.

There was a time when “law and order” was the stock in trade backbone of the Republican party and conservative Dems. Have we changed or have our tastes moved on?

Perhaps it is a cyclical thing with New York, the death penalty and law and order.

Is this a tribal thing, a beating of the drums? Or does every generation have to latch onto and invent some new catch phrase? In any event, the phrase “law and order” seems to have worn out. “Family Values” from a party of adulterers and closeted gays is definitely worn out. Definitely cliché. Passé.

When there is no substance beyond the phrase, the marketing technique falters, the product fails. The product is discontinued.

So too we seemed to have in the last 40 years (a biblical kind of cycle) worn out the name of God, and of Jesus, putting those names on products such as birth control or adopting a political party. Why no Jesus stadiums? Next logical step after mega-churches. It’s the economy stupid.

Jesus is a product, a commodity and no longer a spiritual energy to most rubes. It has come that far in spent physical and economic $ energy by fervent religionists who mistake humanity for a carton of milk or some other product to sell and or sell to. It reminds me of the book “The Selling of the President” by Joe McGinnis in 1968. Subject of that book … Roger Ailes is still around sad to say…running Fox News. He crowned Richard Nixon king with mere PR and bullshit. His cycle and his Madison Avenue lies, illusions I hope are near an end. I dare say his swan song will be to crown somebody else in the GOP in 2012 – this time maybe a queen. And I am not talking Mitt Romney ( though I think he might look good in a dress ).

By the way … GOD is not spelled G-O-P.

This is not a political endorsement for the anemic Dem party. I hear mayor Bloomberg to going to start, I should say buy a third party in 2012. History has a way of surprising people to quote something from comrade Lenin. We will see. We are living history at this very moment, eye opening moment.

“Family Values” is the stock in trade for the once powerful GOP. Now they seem to be selling their positions short and living from one lobbyists’ paycheck to the next. Hoping to buy back cloth coated values with their current profits somewhere down the road and somebody, everybody loses in the process.

This current debate about health care seems to be going nowhere. There is little substance of change behind the rhetoric and egos of, useless to the American public, doddering old men in the senate.

Congress and the airwaves seem to me be a “loud and constant shouting” too – not very poetic but very real.

Back to the subject at hand…Can you imagine that we do not as a society have the energy anymore to kill criminals, to get revenge. I know in general I do not believe in the death penalty but I leave room for exceptions to my general rule in the case of heinous crimes which defy logic or my strength to forgive. I did not cheer at the recent execution of the DC beltway sniper. Nor did I object. Something poetic and just and right in my gut about it.

Forgiveness is supposed to be a Christian virtue and a Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu virtue to name a few as well.

Are we as a culture evolving out of our stone age angers, hatreds, dysfunctions? Hard to tell from just one news article.

I believe there is hope and redemption and the chance to evolve to a better place and here on this earth as well – and for us all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Un-Christian Chickens in Canada - Beware!


I am not quite certan what to make of this story about alledged “unchristian” chicken farming in New Brunswick, Ontario Canada.

Monks accused of 'unchristian' farming
The animal-rights group PETA, which earlier prompted monks at a U.S. abbey to quit raising chickens, is hoping scripture, moral suasion and the words of Pope Benedict XVI will spark change at Our Lady of Calvary Abbey in Rogersville, N.B.

"It denies God to treat animals this way," PETA's Bruce Friedrich said yesterday. "It's standard factory farming. They are denying these animals everything God designed them to be and to do."

He added that the monks' argument that they "carefully follow government norms" carries little weight.

"The monastery should not hide behind human laws, they should do what is morally right," Mr. Friedrich said. "Cruelty to animals is not just immoral, it's unchristian."
And of course a quote from Joe The Pope when he was Joe the Cardinal in 2002:
...decrying industrial production methods that turn geese and hens into "just caricatures" of birds. "This degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible,"
A true scholar!

There is PC political correctness and there is PC to the extreme of the animal rights people - and then there is “unapproved, unregistered with the Vatican” chicken soup for the soul?

Give me a break.

Franklin Graham - Christian Demagogue


We used to have a good tolerance level in this country regarding religious beliefs. Franklin Graham is exhibiting vulgar hate filled demagoguery that was not the hallmark of his Dad, Billy Graham, as I remember him.

Son of Billy now runs the $400 million dollar a year BILLY GRAHAM INC preaching and charity empire. Son wants to measure up??? Is being a bit spastic in his hate filled remarks against Islam. He is not a screaming demagogue but he is a demagogue never the less.

American Muslim leaders want a conference with him to sit down and talk. That ain't going to happen.

Delivering rice in jets to natives in Alaska combined with photo-ops with Alaskan governor S. Palin is about all I know or see of this very well heeled Christian. That and the occasional hate speech.

The taxes not paid by Franklin could feed cities somewhere and not villages elsewhere. I can only imagine that fear is the factor behind his hate laced words and not the true spirit of Jesus. Are the Muslims muscling in on the charity rackets share of the economic pie in these tough economics times?

America seems of late to be turning into one big gangster racket from Wall Street to main street. With tax free religions and tax abated non-profit "charities" as well as the non tax paying new royalty on Wall Street - it all seems to be turning into one big turf war - over power and money - in this country.

The main stream media are bought and paid for by the money changers like Graham. He goes about spewing hate in the name of Jeebu$ unchallenged.

Evil wicked religion: Franklin Graham's attack on Islam
In 2001, Graham stood by remarks he made about Islam at the dedication of a chapel in North Carolina. At that event, he said: "We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion."

Graham's ignorance is astonishing. The God of Islam is identical to the God of the Judeo Christian faith. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of comparative religion knows that both traditions worship the God of Abraham.
Whatever happened to the occasional turning of the Christian cheek - Franklin?

He is sweet as honey in this video below - some of his best friends are Muslims - but it is a violent religion? He talks about one small slice of the global Islam.

Any comments from any of you violent Muslims out there?


Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiger Woods Syndrome and Family Values


It is not nice to judge others. I have stood by and observed the mess Tiger Woods has gotten himself into. Here are a few notes.

The man seems incapable of handling his own affairs, no pun intended. I discount the tales of publicity hungry women coming out of the woodwork with a story worth selling to the National Inquirer. Over all I will not repeat the tales of the many alleged temporary girl friends.

Some things seem to filter through the tightly protected squeaky clean IMAGE ( now tarnished ) of a man who does not seem to know who or what he is. Tiger is I think a victim of the Schine Effect which as stated previously is that you are only as good or as real as your handlers and the people you trust or delegate authority to. He seems to be too dependent on his many, many covert handlers.

Tiger Woods Syndrome is reflective of this modern age. Who is the real Tiger Woods? Is there a real person behind the image and concept marketing package called “Tiger Woods”?

For a man making $100 Million dollars a year, I was surprised to see that he lived with his wife and children in a very modest $2.4 million dollar house in Florida. For his income the place is a rabbit hutch.

His $20 million dollar yacht sleeps 12 and is no doubt a tax write off giving party filled reward weekends to those executives who pay him or used to pay him non-stop bonuses.

Of course, Tiger, born in California and went to college there, must prefer Florida for of a number of reasons including maybe that Florida is not a community property state like California. Coincidence?

There is a pop Psychology Term called the Peter Pan Syndrome. It is all about not wanting to grow up and later in life having difficulty in relationships and also about having a good childhood – so good that you never want to leave it.

Does Tiger Woods have a good wholesome fulfilling private life separate from the baggage of his public image? He is extremely quiet at the moment.

At least he didn’t slobber aimlessly in public like Governor Mark Sanford when he got caught cheating on his wife and family.

Speaking of family values. I was surprised to see a bit of an old video of the Mike Douglas talk entertainment show from the late seventies. In that video is a two year old Tiger Woods putting golf balls in front of Mike Douglas and Bob Hope and under the firm hand and tutorage of his father.

At least Tiger isn’t slobbering about having no childhood like Michael Jackson. Did he have a good childhood? Does he have a natural passion for the game of golf? One has to look at scenarios of Tiger or Michael or the Williams Sisters and have to wonder how hard it is for minorities to be twice as good before they are accepted in society as on par and at a grudging equal level with the mediocre establishment so to speak.

The image is the product. The product is success. I cannot condemn what is and has been successful in the American Market place since the beginning of the republic. Success at any price is not a good thing if ultimately you do not know who you really are. Not good, if you do not inwardly or outwardly enjoy that success or do not know how to handle it.

The game is golf. Golf is perceived by some to be a rather elitist, expensive and white kind of "sport”.

So long as Eldrick lived up to the image and the image maker’s rules, he did okay. Nobody questioned the man behind the image. Don't mess with success or at least not until the pot boils over.

I hope he reconciles with his wife. I hope he devotes a fair amount of time in therapy for transitioning from a child in a bubble to a man in a media corporate bubble.

The real bottom line on Tiger will be if he has a passion for the game of golf and comes back and plays it for the pittance of the purses that it pays. Endorsements be damned. They will come back over time. I have to wonder if the sport triumphs of Tiger Woods are meaningless sterile things to him alone inside himself.

Statistics, championships and accomplishments are one thing. Family and the values that it implies is a real thing. So many abuse that term these days, in words and actions, of that concept of family values.

I wonder how many truly understand or believe in those values.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

stocking stuffers - Xmas season

-
Mr. Bean




Trans-Siberian Orchestra




Target




Peanuts




Christmas Secrets - Enya




From the Stone Age




Lucky Strike Christmas - Janet Leigh




Love Actually – my favorite modern era Christmas movie.




Mariah Carey - All I want for Christmas is you