Monday, December 31, 2012


Put downs have been around since humans first invented language.  It's the easy way out of really dealing with an opinion or argument.  Inspire automatic disparagment of your oponent by attaching some supposed negative characteristic to that individual and their opinions.

You find it in just about anything that involves differences of opinion or doubt. 

This blog was inspired by my reflections on II Peter 3:3-4:  "..there shall come in the last days scoffers (oh, those awful scoffers)...saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation"  (KJV).   (That was written some time between the 1st and 4th century AD.)

Yep, they sure do, and a multitude of blowhards still fling that biblical retort at anyone who dares to question their prognostications and theological certainties.  In between the time when whoever appropriated Peter's name and wrote those words and now, a whole lot more "fathers" have fallen asleep (face it, they're DEAD), and guess what? 

The world goes on pretty much the same!

I know.  We now have computers and cellphones, drive cars and fly airplanes, etc.  But, the world as a whole is pretty much the same damn place it always was -- a very dangerous place in which to live.

Barach Obama gave a very good speach today, in my opinion.  Soon, his opponents were out trying to belittle it and put him down.  They didn't like what he had to say or the way he said it, and I'm supposed to be surprised and/or offended?  Not hardly.  I toasted his speach with the first bottle of champagne we had.  One more left for tonight so we can ring in the New Year.  Don't worry.  I have no reason to drive, and if I get a little "sloshed," who cares?  From what I read about Jesus turning ordinary water into terrific wine, he wouldn't (if that actually happened).


The opposition? 


Friday, December 28, 2012


I like to figure things out and I've been at it for over 78 years now.  It's taken me in a lot of false directions and involved plenty of mistaken concepts.  I was so sure back there in my late teens and early twenties that I'd been specially chosen for a great mission.  I'd been called into "the truth," and I was going to be instrumental in ushering in and setting up that great kingdom Jesus promised and Herbert Armstrong so graphically described.

That led to great disappointment and disillusionment about twenty-two years after it began.  I catalog all that in my autobiography (

Some lives are relatively placid most of the time.  However, I've noticed that, even in those cases where it looks like everything has been an idylic "walk in the park," when you learn what has gone on behind the scenes, there've been a lot of thorns on those apparent roses with which some people's lives seem to be filled.  They are just hidden from public view.

Soldiers aren't the only ones who suffer from PTSD.  Just as with the military, the severity can vary, but we all are subject to some kind of post traumatic stress due to the happenstances of our lives.  It can involve any myriad of things from a divorce to the sudden death of a beloved child or the tanking of a career.  It provides for a lucrative career field for those in the field of psychiatry, and fortunate is the person who can take advantage of their skills.  I never could.  I had to stumble my way through to the relative peace and clarity I enjoy today.

Everyone has a story to tell and insights to share.  The elderly often yearn to pass on what they have learned but have very little opportunity to do so as the younger people around them are too busy accumulating their own experiences and the tales they will one day wish they could tell.  That's why I wrote my little book.

In a recent blog, I steered people to Johnny Cash's song "The Man in Black."  I've spent some more time studying his life and his last flurry of work struck me.  His wife told him, when she was near death, "Go to work."  Johnny did.  The last few weeks of his life were and unstoppable avalanch of artistic accomplishment. 

I'm in a similar position.  I know my time is growing short.  I used to chafe at the fact that all these things I ruminated about went nowhere.  I had to content myself with daydream fantasies of telling it like it is, but they were all bottled up inside.

My book was my first attempt to get my story and my accumulated "wisdom" out there.  It cost a lot of money and basically went nowhere, so I put it online on one website where it just "sits" most of the time. 

Then, blogging came along, and Facebook.  It took awhile for me to realize what a great tool they could be.  I know my audience is very limited, but at least I can get what I'm thinking and desperately yearning to say out there to anyone who will take the time to read.  I can draw attention to other things I just stumble upon and which would go unnoticed by most people.  It's liberating.  So what, if somebody disagrees or gets angry?  They can vent in a comment or get their own blog and Facebook page. 

That's why we bloggers and Facebookers do it.  It's therapy.  It's fulfillment.  It leads to the peace of being able to just "say it."

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Most of us spent our youths fantasizing about the wild west which was a constant theme on the "silver screen," radio and early TV.  Much of it was overblown.  There was a subculture, especially after the Civil War, centered around crime and banditry and gunslinging, but it was always a minority in the population.  Women and children and the sanctity of the home were generally respected.  In fact, my grandparents who homesteaded in North Dakota shortly after the turn of the century never locked their doors, and neither did my parents until about the nineteen fifties or sixties.  Society was changing even then and not for the best.

Even the gunslingers who dueled with each other were generally a problem only in isolated areas like mining towns and Dodge City and they tended to wipe each other out and disappear as soon as the civilizing process through the introduction of women folk, education and churches began taking effect.  I'm pretty sure that most areas of Deadwood and Tombstone were a lot safer for the average child and adult than some areas of Chicago and new York are today, with so many irresponsible individuals owning or stealing guns and spraying bullets with abandon.

Our ancestors sought for the calming effects of civilization and consciously set out to find and apply them.  They wanted safe neighborhoods where wearing guns would become obsolete.  Tombstone even had a statute against citizens wearing guns in town, and enforcing that law against some lawless elements was one factor that led to the famous shootout at the O K Corral.  That "wild west" attitude is quite a contrast with the current attitude exhibited by Wayne LaPierre.

He actually said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

He went on to blame everything from video games and TV shows to a violent culture for the problems we face and called for armed guards in all schools.  He conveniently neglected to suggest ways to pay for such armed protection.  Even if such "protectors" were volunteers, the administration of such a program by school districts, local, state and national government would be astronomical.  I'm sure he doesn't want taxes increased on his corporation or his overpaid self to take care of it.  Probably, he would take the common GOP and tea party approach of cutting more desperately needed safety nets away from desperately needy citizens while he expected the resulting increase in desperation to lead to "law and order."

I don't blame him for not taking questions after such a display of stupidity and ignorance. 

It is impossible to have a civilized society under our present system of letting everyone, regardless of need or qualifications, to be armed to the teeth with military style weaponry and to walk around with impunity any place they choose to do so.  As I pointed out recently: and:, the idea of becoming the member of an etremist militia and "saving America" is pure nonsense and it is an attitude that gave us one civil war a century and a half ago.  Do we really want to precipitate another such paroxism of bloodletting?

As for me, I don't want to see schools transformed into a scene approximating a prison or concentration camp.  I don't want teachers having to strap on holsters filled with loaded guns every morning.  I don't want to walk down the streets of Cottonwood, or anywhere else, and wonder if some deranged individual is going to send either an aimed or ricochet bullet my way or the way of some unsuspecting child merrily skipping rope or tagging along on a shopping trip.

Please, let's see some sanity!

P.S:  P. Z. Meyers has a good statement about this nonsense as well:

And, check out Lawrence O'Donnell:

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Most people assume that charity would cease if it weren't for churches and their faith based efforts.  I don't denigrate any true charitable efforts put forth by any group, but religious efforts are often only cover for proselytization (there's a "hook" in it) or skewed to only help those with which the organization shares a bond.

This article sums up the true picture very well: 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


David Letterman made a very true statement filled with insight: 
"I've never seen a deer worth 30 rounds of ammo and an automatic rifle."

His statement reminded me of a comment my wife's father made to his then son-in-law who was admiring his father-in-law's semi-automatic service pistol and expressed a desire to have one.  The wise old police officer said that such a gun was for killing people and he didn't need a gun like that.

That's the real crux of the matter. 

People who want assault rifles usually have a "Rambo complex."  They often feel that the government is their oppressor and enemy because it doesn't rubber stamp their particular attitudes, assurances and prejudices.  They assume there is a plot for the government to take over and destroy all their "freedoms."  They want to be prepared to resist and "take back my country."

Sound familiar?  It's been a common refrain ever since a black skinned man won the presidency.  It rears its ugly head every time someone points out the insanity of the religious right's attempts to legislate their religion into every aspect of the common citizen's life.  By gawd. they're going to be "christian soldiers" or a "Phineas priest."  They consider it their "faith assignment" to be judge, jury and executioner, and that assault rifle is very effective in carrying out that supposed divine ordination.

When ordinary people become psycologically inflamed by faith-inspired ideology and conspiracy theories, it's very easy for psychoses to take over.  It happened with the inquisition.  It happened in Nazi Germany.  It's happening in Africa where witches are being hunted, denounced and executed right now by Sarah Palin's deluded friends.

We never should have allowed the ban on assault weapons to expire.  It's made millions for arms manufacturers, but it has turned our nation into a very dangerous place where the most minor mental crisis some individual might have can suddenly morph into the most horrible of tragedies.  He or she doesn't even need to own the weapons themselves.  They can simply appropriate the weapons others have lying around.

When my wife's adopted Yavapai Apache son was paroled from prison, we knew his alcoholism could flare at any time, and when he is drinking he is completely out of his head.  We were very concerned about the guns I had in the house and never used.  Our solution was to sell them to people who had a legitimate use for such firearms.  Spending time at shooting ranges, plinking away with expensive ammo at targets doesn't appeal to me, and I certainly wasn't going to spend a fortune at my age stumbling around in the mountains after a deer or elk I couldn't deal with after I bagged it.  So, we have not a single gun in the house.  If any cowardly "phineas priest" hates my writings enough, I'm an easy target.  I won't be shooting back.

It certainly doesn't take 30 rounds of high-power ammo to bring down a deer.  A deer hit with that kind of firepower would be rendered inedible.  Little children and dedicated teachers hit like that are just DEAD!  

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I happened on a TV accounting of Johnny Cash's life this afternoon.  One song really registered with me.  For some reason, I don't recall ever hearing it before.  I guess it wasn't all that popular.  Wonder why?

I just had to go to YouTube and look it up.  Here's the link so you can listen to it also:


Greta Christina is one of the best analysts I've ever encountered.  Couple that with  being a fantastically good writer, and you have a dynamite combination.  She has single-handedly summed up what is wrong with the Republican party and how they have backed themselves into a corner they can't easily extricate themselves from.

Read her excellent analysis here:

Friday, December 14, 2012


What a horrible day!

I've spent much of the day glued to the television screen, apalled by the senseless slaughter of innocent children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut.  Gone are the days I remember from my own youth when children went off to school with no worry of some deranged person invading with guns and summarily executing them and their teachers.  Teachers could concentrate on the 3 R's, not on crisis training to deal with such madness.

My rural community was full of guns, mainly rifles and shotguns for the annual hunt and dealing with predatory "varmints."  Little, if any, thought was given to someone invading their homes and certainly not the local school with murder and mayhem on their mind.

I remember my dad handing me his old .22 rifle when I turned 14 and giving me stern instructions how to handle it.  He let me know that if I ever brought that rifle into the house with the clip in or the bolt closed, I wouldn't see it again for a long, long time.

We regarded guns as tools with a legitimate use, and certainly not for harming or even threatening another human being.  I'm sure there were mentally deficient and challenged people somewhere in our community, but for some reason, they never became the kind of community dangers they seem to be today.  I think they were usually consigned to asylums and homes where they could be properly cared for and monitored.  Today, we are too concerned about "entitlements," the possibility of unjust incarceration just to get rid of unwanted people, and especially the social expenses that might take a few dollars away from the bloated rich.  Thus, people who should be supervised and cared for by experts are left to prowl their communities and we have inevitable tragedies such as we witnessed today and in Tucson.

I'm not in favor of draconian gun control.  Our forefathers demanded the right to keep and bear arms for logical reasons, and it wasn't just to be able to hunt.  They also wanted to be able to protect themselves and had no inkling of the world we now live in where resisting the rise of tyranny with individual arsenals would be the height of folly.  You can't resist a military armed with jet aricraft, helicopters, guided missiles, etc. with household arsenals!  Not even with assault rifles and multiple round ammunition clips!

No one needs anything other than rifles, shotguns, and handguns for hunting or home protection, and having to meet common sense standards of mental and psychological fitness and adequate instruction before such ownership is allowed is simply good common sense.  The Swiss are armed to the teeth, but they also have universal military training and know what they are doing when they pick up a gun.

Rather than think we can "save democracy" by becoming wild-eyed militia fanatics, we had better concentrate on electing qualified people who love and support democracy to public office so they can rein in the military industial complex and keep it from taking over our republic.  If that takeover ever succeeds, any militias that might exist would soon be "toast."

Just a few days ago, my friend, Mark Manning, wrote a very inciteful article on this very subject.  Rather than try to say the same things all over, I urge you to read his blog article:

That's all, folks.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I Just got back from picking up some morning purchases at an estate sale to hear the news that the latest rethug hatchet job on a decent and eminently qualified lady, Susan Rice, by the Asshole right has succeeded.  She has withdrawn herself from nomination as Secretary of State.

Chief among her hatchet job aficianados was so-called war hero, John McCain.  You may bow down to old John -- not me.  He cost the United States multiple millions of dollars in jet aircraft through his ineptitude as a pilot, long before he was shot down by the enemy, possibly largely because of that same ineptitude.  He almost drowned in one of those accidents becuse he didn't know where the eject button was!  He had to rip off the canopy by "main strength and awkwardness!  Likely, playboy John was so hung over when he was instructed about its location that the instruction never registered in his alcohol-befuddled brain.

You may praise him as a hero, if you wish.  I don't.  I considered him a pampered rich party-boy "fuckup" who never would have lasted in the Navy if he hadn't been an admiral's son.  His fuckup nature was amply demonstrated by his 2008 vice presidential choice of Sarah Palin -- a totally dumb, clueless incompetent.  On reflection, they were well met.

Included with one of the dog kennels I bought was a little crock rolling around on the padding.  I chuckled when I saw "crock of shit" written on the side.  It's not going with the kennel when I resell it.  I'm putting it on my desk, and everything that comes to me from a republican or religious source is going in it.  After an accumulation, I'll put it through my cross shedder, then melt some parafin wax, place the paper in a suitable form and pour the wax over it.  Then I can sit by my chiminea and watch all that "bullshit" burn.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My friend, Dennis Deahl, a former WCG minister, now physical therapist, Has written a very thought provoking article on the subject of religious books and their positions in society.  I recommend it as reading time well-spent:

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I've been ruminating about "gods" and religions, how people dream them up and their nature through history.  Like much of my thinking, it comes easiest while I'm engaged in something physical, like the carpet I worked on yesterday and the bumper crop of Mulberry leaves I was vacuming up today and turning into mulch.

The average person doesn't spend much time on such reflections and I probably wouldn't either were it not for my past associations and activities.  It's impossible to be embroiled in a super-fundamentalist cult for over twenty years and not have religion occupying a significant place in your memories and the concepts you've had to mull over and analyze incessantly for decades.  It's led me into very deep historical, religious and pschological study and never-ending analysis.

Our instinctual search for order and patterns, coupled with our vulnerability in a dangerous world and ecosystem led our primate ancestors to seek something to explain and hopefully offset the natural vulnerability we all feel.  I think that situation led to what seems like a "hardwired" proclivity toward religion.

Humans want answers.  There's always someone who will come along and supply what that individual decides are the answers.  In the early group and clan societies, the strongest and wisest or most vociferous and communicative took care of and tended to rise to leadership over the weaker, more reticent and more vulnerable in their group.  Some of them became legends around the campfires and, like Elvis, the stories got bigger and more marvelous with the telling.  I've often said that, in an earlier, less recorded and literarily fixed age, Elvis would have joined the pantheon of gods.  We see the same force at work in the sometimes largely fictional stories about the founders of our own nation.

Just as Roman emperors were exhalted to the position of gods, some of the legends of these exemplary individuals and their families led to deification.  It took the form of a holy family, even among the ancient Isrealites.  It's clear that the Israelites didn't start out as a strictly mono-theistic people.  They also had a god family, known as the Elohim.  El Elyon was the patriarch and Ashtoreth was his wife.  He had several children, like Baal, Yahweh, Anath, etc.

It wasn't until after the Babylonian captivity, during which the Jews had been subjected to Persian Zoroastrianism, that mono-theism became the totally dominant approach of the Jewish nation.  All the other Elohim suddenly were shoved aside and Yahweh became the one and only god.  It was only after that time that what we now know as the Old Testament began to be constructed in the form we know today.  The polytheistic overtones still can be seen in the modified Babylonian creation account in which the Elohim says, "Let us" do something.

Men always create gods in their image, not the other way around.  That reversal of the actual reality is common in both politics and religion.  The ancient gods that still haunt the faiths of today far more than people realize were usually just ordinary people who had been raised to the level of immortality and semi-omnipotence.  I say semi-omnipotence because all devotees to regional gods were constantly afraid that a more powerful god might thwart their god, and that was a good "copout" for the priests and shamans.  It persists in our dualist perception of God and Satan being at war and Satan sometimes coming out on top.  That whole concept comes straight out of Persian Zoroastrianism.

When one thinks about it, the ancients had a very convenient way of justifying their own failings and inadequacies by holding up these powerful conceptual concoctions as models.  The Greek pantheon, and competing pantheons, were filled with gods who were all too human.  Randy old Zeus and his counterparts in other mythologies, as well as their quarreling families and associates could serve as a justification for just about anything. 

I can picture a philandering husband telling his outraged wife, "Look, honey, I'm only mortal.  If Zeus can't keep 'it' in his pants (or whatever Zeus wore), how can a mere man like me do any better?"

So, today we have several evolved religions on this small planet.  All the writings attributed to the Old Testament developed enturies after what they purport to record and some of those events have been shown to be either total fictions or massive non-factual fabrications of quite different events.  The New Testament wasn't gathered together in anything near its present form until the fourth century -- a time approximately equal to the elapsed time between the first American colonies and now -- in a time of no news services, basically no written records, and a Roman world afflicted with hundreds of competing religions and wandering teachers of multitudinous ideologies looking for followings.

We have a more reliable backup of religious writings connected with Islam and Mormonism than we have for either Judaism or Christianity.  We wouldn't even have Christianity if desperate imperial god Constantine hadn't forced the issue by his imperial decree when he ordered the Council of Nicea.  Want an eye-opening expose of that?  Go here:

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I happened upon Bill Maher's Real time blog and a reader's comment resonated with me, so I'm sharing it:

Saturday, December 1, 2012


A couple days ago, I happened upon a Youtube video of a young Australian singer delivering a tear-inspiring rendition of John Lennon's Imagine.  He and his brother are maimed Iraqi adoptees an Australian woman rescued from an iraqi ophanage.  It was so moving, I linked to it on my Facebook page.  If you go to this address, you will find out why I was so moved:
I had heard the song before but never really dwelt on the message.  I've chosen to take those words and expand on them in my own personal way.

"Imagine there's no heaven.  It's easy if you try."

It's easy for me when I take a really deep view of the universe -- all of the expanse of it -- nearly fourteen billion years worth of continuing expansion and creation.  I occupy only a fleeting dust mote and blink of time in that immensity of time and space in a run-of-the-mill galaxy among billions of other galaxies.  It is the height of haughtiness to imagine this "third rock" from an average star as the center of everything and the chosen apple of a deity's eye in some "heaven" that only exists in human imaginations.

"No hell below us. Above us only sky."

Science tells me what's below my feet.  A rather thin solid crust, then the mantle and core of a unique planet that is horribly hot inside and that heat is only glimpsed through the eruption of an occasional volcano.  No souls are being tortured there at the behest of a vengeful cosmic ogre.  The "sky" has expanded considerably during the last century with the advent of modern telescopes, especially those in space.

"Imagine all the people living for today."

Today is all we really have.  The past is only memories that will fade away, except for the few that are recorded, and even those, like the records burned with the great library of Alexandria, can disappear at some point in the future.  What is to come may get here or it may not.  None of us have the guarantee that we'll survive until tomorrow.  The probability may be great, but there's no guarantee.  I'm doing my best to put these words into action.

"Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do."

It is rather hard for me to do that.  I really don't think countries are ever going to completely disappear.  If they do, it would be far in the future.  I understand the sentiment, but don't expect the reality in my lifetime or in several lifetimes to come.

"Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too."

That would be wonderful, but before it could become reality, we would have to let go of politics as well as religion and just settle down to using hard reason and science to solve human problems.  That won't happen until we advance far enough to eschew individual, cultural and national selfish motives.

"Imagine all the people living life in peace."

A wonderful dream and goal, but it isn't going to happen anytime soon.  As long as cock sure people continue to say, "I'm right and anybody who thinks otherwise is wrong and should be suppressed, imprisoned or killed," the world isn't going to enjoy that kind of peace.

"You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one.  I hope someday you'll join us and the world will be as one."

Yes, I do dream and hope for progress.  I'd like to see our own nation become as one more completely first of all.  I'd like to see, "all for one, and one for all" be the true national slogan as it was during those wonderful years of unity during and shortly after World War II.  Then, it could spread to encompass more of the world.

"Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can.  No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.  Imagine all the people sharing all the world."

That dream is going to take a monumental change in human goals and aspirations.  Pure capitalism will never achieve it and neither will pure socialism -- or any other exclusive "ism".  It's going to take a change in basic human aspirations and attitudes and a wholesale application of the golden rule and humanistic values.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.  I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one."

We must keep the dream alive and strive to make it an eventual reality.  It's been a long climb (the Magna Carta, the United States Constitution, civil wars, revolutions, The League of Nations, The United Nations, etc.)  I know I won't live to see "the dream" fulfilled.  Maybe no one will.  Nevertheless, dreamers gave us our American republic and we continue to try to perfect it in spite of all the negative, hatefilled efforts to subvert it.

The dream we "imagine" makes the journey and the struggle worthwhile.