Friday, March 28, 2014


One of the hardest things to rip out of my mind is the old dualist idea that man is dual, having both a physical and a spiritual existence at the same time, that we are physical beings with an immortal soul that lives on after physical death.

This article pretty well debunks that doctrine. I have to admit that I'd still like for the old fairy tale to be true, but there is no real, tangible evidence that it can be.

have a good read:

Thursday, March 20, 2014


We jsut answered a prayer.

It came from little Daisy, our pomchi. She was thirsty and knows if she barks and starts dragging the plastic water bowl across the floor toward us, we will answer and fill the bowl. We never fail her, but I can't begin to remember all the prayers I used to waste my time and energy on and never received any answers that couldn't just as reasonably be accredited to pure chance.

Those chances still come to pass with about as much reliability as they did back then but without the humiliating exercise in subservience to an imaginary entity. In fact, all the good things that have come my way in the past few decades came from private action and pure dumb luck.

I know. It's comforting to imagine some transcendent and omnipotent "master" is going to magically cause things to go right for you and people constantly aver how so many of their prayers are answered. They ignore the millions of concentration camp victims who screamed out their desperate prayers in vain and the brutalized women and children who desperately plead in vain for dliverance as they are victimized and murdered. Their phantom is remarkably deaf and dumb in the face of such realities.

We're sort of like gods to little Daisy. However, we are real and we do act. That ethereal celestial phantom isn't and doesn't.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


We humans are so varied. No two people are exactly alike, even though there may be similariies, such as exist in families and culturally united populations.

I was thinking about myself and my unique talents and proclivities as compared with others I admire, specifically in the area of communications. I admire debaters like the late Christopher Hitchens, but I'm not a debater. I don't have that hair trigger mind and wit debaters have to have. I'd come off poorly, and I know it. So, I'm not about to get out there and do my cause damage by having my ass kicked embarassingly.

I'm an essayist, and I think I'd make a fair lecturer. So, I'm going to stick to what I do well and champion those others who waltze into the lion's den of a debate and carry the day.


I'll cheer you on!


I get so infuriated with these self-righteous, unreasonable assholes who like to quote the bible proscription against people who won't work eating and then denouncing things like food stamps and unemployment benefits -- even earned benefits like Social Security.

Let's get a few things straight here!

Those precepts were enjoined when people lived in small, mostly self-sufficient little groups where everybody had to pitch in their part in the communal effort to provide food, material and shelter. It was not an industrialized world where people had to scroung around for jobs anywhere they could find them and hope there would be something available that conformed to their talents and skills and paid enough to adequately provide for them and their families.

The modern corporation with the goal of mining a host of low paid serfs for the benefit of CEOs and rich stock holders hadn't come along at that time, but the same self-serving goals drove societal evils like outright and in-the-open slavery. What we see championed now by the extreme right is just the modern equivalent of that slave-supported, poverty-generating social system.

The institutions have changed over the millenia, but the driving goals of enslavement have not.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I'm puzzled. We americans and the western europeans constantly trumpet our dedication to democaracy and say that governments should derive their authority and hegemony from the will of the people being governed. It's supposedly a foundational principle to which we say we are dedicated.

Today, 95% of the people in Crimea voted in a referendum to be a part of Russia, not the Ukraine.

Our response?

We refuse to recognize that referendum vote!

I'm not in love with Putin. He's a thug. He's a dictator in all practical respects. Nor am I especially enamored of Russia. My wife studied Russian at ASU. She knows Russian history and Russian proclivities. She's told me repeatedly that Russians are by nature predominantly thugs. It's in their culture. They are, At least the original core population, descended from Viking traders, just like my Norman ancestors. They've retained some of the more unsavory traits some other Vikings managed to cast off. Yet, there are many admirable traits and accomplishments a great many Russians have exemplified.

We're all human. We tend to reflect as individuals what our culture has inculcated into us. I understand how the recent past of the Soviet Union leads people to be suspicious of Russian motives, but lets be realistic about the fact that Russians naturally gravitate toward other Russians and that nearly all of the people of Crimea (and the eastern part of the Ukraine) are ethnically, linguistically and emotionally Russian. If specific regions vote overwhelmingly to ally themselves with Russia, who are we to tell them they can't do it, just because it doesn't mesh with our hegemonic goals?

Am I missing something?


I am so amazed at people who can trumpet their supposed love of democracy and at the same time endorse Putin as some kind of exemplary leader. It betrays their real mindset, which is fascist and authoritarian.

Such people invariably want a dictatorship of their own concepts and ideaologies. They gleefully paralyze government with their temper tantrums and waste time on symbolic votes to repeal Obamacare while letting the business of taking care of domestic business go begging and ignored. They blame Obama for the debts they ran up for useless (and lost) wars, gifts to their fellow plutocrats and a host of other boondoggles while demanding cuts in vital services to pay for any sensible program that would help solve the domestic crisis.

I'm tired of hearing black palmed off as white and vice versa. It boggles my mind that so many people never put forth the effort to think things through and see through the scam. Oh, I know how easy it is to fall for a con. I did for decades. Thankfully, I wised up and started to think straighter. Before I could, I had to see through the stratagems of bombastic, prejudicial propaganda and pat cliches. Far too many people are determined to hold onto the familiar lies they swallowed a long, long time ago.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Seth Andrews, in his book, DEconverted, has this to say about his radio career:

"I left my last full-time radio job in 2004. But (and every radio announcer will tell you this), broadcasting gets into your blood. No matter how brutal the competition, no matter how meager the salary, no matter how intense the inevitable burnout, radio becomes a part of you. It's a bully pulpit for the opinionated. It's a blank page for the storyteller. It's a circus for the clown. It's a theater for the mind. Radio is a landing zone for people who aren't content to have their voices heard organically, but instead feel compelled to blast their alerts, rants, stories, jokes and/or antics through the loudest possible bullhorn."

I was never in radio, but I feel much the same way about the worldwide web, blogging and Facebooking. I'd be very frustrated now if that outlet weren't available. From those days of my youth when I rode around on a farm tractor and mentally preached the message that had overwhelmed me and convinced me of ultimate religious and moral truth to today, I am a dedicated communicator driven to do whatever I can to change the world situation.

My efforts of those early years were misguided and driven by the accident of geography and culture. In eight decades, I've progressed to greater understanding and totally different conclusions. But, the drive is still the same.

The basic me hasn't changed -- just my understanding.

Friday, March 7, 2014


It's downright discouraging!

We finally got a president with brains to replace the one who was a swashbuckling, strutting ignoramus that had trouble speaking coherently and went charging off to wars on a whim and people I otherwise respect and look up to badmouth him for things like taking an occasional working vacation, when he takes much less time doing so than his predecessor.

They seem to expect him to go charging off on another ill-conceived mission to put other nations in their place under the dominance of the U S of A while sacrificing the lives and physical and mental health of young men who deserve to live out healthy, unpsychologically ruined lives just to enforce some willow the wisp dream of "pax americana."

I really get pissed off when I see such ignorance and hate paraded. Where do they get this pishtwaddle? Faux News? Wretched Limbaugh?

It took me a long time to get out of the right wing cult mindset, and I'm convinced a good many of my deluded compatriots haven't made it yet.

I wonder if they ever will.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I hate how easily I tire these days. I'm thoroughly pooped by working in the yard much of the day. I got the mulched pine needles scooped up from the end of the garden and desposited under the photinia hedge and around the new rose bush. Hauling that garden cart around is downright exhausting.

I'm just an animated and minuscule collection of cosmic debris that gathered around a run-of-the-mill star in a nondescript corner of this galaxy and finally, through the intricacies of evolution, led to an insignificant but self-aware creature I identify as me. I probably, in my unawareness, stepped on and dispatched a number of even more insignificant denizens of this life-filled celestial orb. I know I chopped a few weeds out of existence.

While I was taking a break, Phyllis brought the mail in and the AARP magazine was in the mix. They have some interesting articles, so I read a few pieces.

An article by Oliver Sacks on the joy of turning 80 caught my attention, since I'm only a few months from that milestone. He's a writer like me and has several works to his credit. I want to quote what he wrote about Francis Crick, the codiscoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule:

"When Crick was told that his colon cancer had returned, he looked silently into the distance for a minute and then resumed his previous train of thought. When pressed about his dagnosis a few weeks later, he said, 'Whatever has a beginning must have an ending.' When he died, at age 88, he was fully engaged in his most creative work."

That's sort of the way I look at the situation of my own life. It began. It's been one helluva ride, and I hope there are several years left, but there's no way of knowing. I'm just determined to keep on keeping on as long as possible and bow out as gracefully as possible, provided I have any choice in the matter.

Oliver went on to conclude his article with this statement: "At 80, one has a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like. I do not think of old age as an ever-grimmer time that one must somehow endure, but as a time of leisure, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together. I am enjoying being 80."

Thanks, Oliver Sacks. I feel much the same way.