Friday, February 29, 2008

What music was like in my generation

I was born in the early 1950's. My parents had no interest in music at all, not even on the radio, but fortunately I have a brother 11 years older than me. So he had his transistor radio on while I was growing up, and I consider the rock and roll and the blues of the 1950's to be my baseline music. The only exception is that I was not Elvis crazy, but enjoyed him along with the other stars in his time. So even as a three year old I had pretty great exposure to the music of the time. The early 1960's was the same, all radio based. I had a childhood record player and I was able to check out a few albums from the local library. I think my first rock album was Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection, which I checked out of the library a lot of times as I recall until I bought my own copy in college. (I saw EJ and BT in concert in the college gym too; I was quite a fan). But back to talking about the high school years. My best friend's dad had a real stereo because he was a classical music fan, so we could sometimes play a few albums on his stereo. But neither of us could afford either record players or records themselves, with a few exceptions. In addition to rock and roll I liked easy listening, like Andy Williams, and movie soundtracks. I really did not like the references to drugs in rock and roll. For example, I disliked the Moody Blues, one of my favorite groups, for many years because of their Timothy Leary ode. I would not listen to them at all for years because of that song. The same with the Beatles with their psychadelic period, I got very mad at them. I leaned more toward the Rolling Stones because at least their drug reference was sardonic ("Mother's Little Helper"). By high school I could afford a reel to reel tape recorder. It weighed 14 pounds. I learned to set up the microphone by the transister radio speaker, hit the record button really fast, record some favorite songs, and then physically splice the tape. In college I bought my first stereo, as was very common in my generation, where lower class and poor kids like me got their first real system, albeit cheap, as a college freshman. Radio was still a huge influence though and the main source of listening because I was a college student on $200 per month benefit from my dad being a deceased Veteran, so buying a lot of records was unthinkable. I bought Bee Gees and Rod Stewart, also Mountain. I know an awful lot of music from the 1950's-1970's, but often not details (or even remembering the performers) because I didn't actually have the record in front of me. In the 1980's I was working long hours and so my radio listening dropped to nearly nil. The 1980's-1990's are kind of black holes for me for that reason. Rap totally turned me off, for the same reason much rock and roll turned me off when it glorified drugs. I'd sometimes listen to CD's, but usually sticking to tried and true older items from the 1970's - early 1980's, such as Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship, Poco, the Who, especially Pete Townsend. When I'd give listening to pop or the hits music a try it would be a disappointment because of the contorted depressive messages contained in so much "product," which is true to today. I love music but hate what has happened to it. I started listening to more blues and more gospel because they weren't written with the depressive agenda that so much music is packed with today. I'm no creampuff, I do like music with an edge. For example, I like "Breathe" by Fabolous, surprisingly enough. But the drug fueled hidden message of the depressive manics that is behind even the most superficially seeming pop song is a total bummer trip. I have an IPOD but not much variety on it, so I've been mining back in time to the good stuff and buying the CD's. For example I just ordered a Marvin Gaye collection. He was such a presence on the radio during the decades I mentioned before. So while most kids are downloading the hits (and upcoming or niche artists) I'm still buying CD's because I'm putting together elements of the play lists of when music was really great as a total package, and not to be endured. An example of music I like that is edgy without making a listener want to kill themselves is Good Charlotte's most recent CD. So GC has found themselves on my IPOD along with the Beatles and the Byrds and the Doobie Brothers.

Interesting reading about Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale was a patriot soldier during the Revolutionary War, who was executed as a spy by the British at the age of 21 in NYC, where he was captured after it fell to the British. Here's an interesting American Heritage article about him. I'm pointing it out because with our increasingly fantasy and fictionalized oriented society it is important to read the facts in the words of the people who lived at the time. This is also important to remember when reading the Bible. People before this fantasy and personal drama obsessed age tended to be very factual and terse when writing about people and events. The exception is foreign lands and adventure authors because the exploration of strange lands and encountering odd people was where people at that time would let their imagination and descriptions run wild. But in day to day discourse and the writing of letters the people who lived before these past few generations were much less sensational and more fact oriented. There was poetic license when writing what is known as odes or elegies, which are somewhat fanciful tributes toward an individual's memory. I include two really interesting parts. One describes his faith and prayerfulness. The other describes the discovery in the 1900's of a letter by his father, sadly remembering him.

Standard Reminder: By the way, I'm interested in Nathan Hale as part of my general interest in George Washington and the patriots of the time, not because Nathan Hale is reincarnated or because "Hale" is an anagram for "heal."


he was undoubtedly Pious; for it was remark’d that when any of the soldiers of his company were sick he always visited them & usually Prayed for & with them in their sickness.…


A brief excerpt from a letter written at Coventry, Connecticut, the following spring by Nathan Hale’s father, Richard, who had six sons altogether in the Revolution, betrays the deep grief of this unlettered man:…you desired me to inform you about my son Nathan…he was executed about the 22nd of September Last by the Aconts we have had. A Child I sot much by but he is gone…

•This letter, addressed to Richard Hale’s brother, Major Samuel Hale, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on March 28, 1777, was put away in a secret drawer of the Major’s desk. In 1908, the old desk was sold at auction as an antique, and three years later the new owner, the Honorable Frank L. Howe of Barrington, New Hampshire, chanced upon it. Such is the thrill of historical discovery.

By "unlettered" the author means that Nathan Hale's father could not read or write well or at all. By "a Child I sot much by" Nathan Hale's father meant "a Child I sought much by," meaning he anticipated much promise for him and cared for him very much.

Here's the problem with supporting Israel

I'll try to use simple single syllable words where I can. When the Bible spoke of "Israel" the Bible means the kingdom of the religious faith of Judaism. Israel was led by a consecrated Jewish King and a high priest and was organized as a theocracy. That Israel no longer exists. A country of secular gray suits that calls itself Israel is not the biblical Israel. Wise up.

John Hagee and his endorsement of McCain

Hey, Obama is endorsed by Oprah, so every candidate is going to have a nutty loser in their list of endorsements. Hagee is particularly distasteful but there's no shortage of poison afloat in the world today. Oh, and he got an award from Jeane Kirkpatrick, what a surprise.

What founders meant by "natural born"


The problem arises from a phrase in the Constitution setting out who is eligible to be president. Article II, which also specifies that a person must be at least 35 years old, says "No person except a natural born Citizen" can be president.

Sen. McCain is undoubtedly a citizen. He was born on Aug. 29, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone, and Congress has specifically provided that anyone born there of U.S. parents, as he was, is a citizen. Indeed, the general rule is that anyone born of U.S. parents outside the United States is a citizen.

But is John McCain a natural born citizen? The Constitution does not define the term further, and legal scholars say the notes of the Constitution's drafters shed little light on what they meant. It seems clear only that the founders wanted to make certain that whoever was president would be loyal to the U.S. alone and not to some other country. But the term "natural born citizen," many scholars say, was not in common use at the time the Constitution was written.

*Rolls eyes.* I know everyone thinks they are an expert in ancient history yet do not have a crumb of perspective about the period in which they have an opinion, so let me help. The reason the founders coined the "not in common use" phrase of "natural born citizen" is that at that time they came from countries that had monarchies. When you have monarchies you also have the problem of "pretenders to the throne." These are people who pop up and claim to be heirs, just to do a power grab. Now the founders were creating a democratic republic, not a monarchy, but they were intelligent and alert to lessons learned under monarchies. They put in this phrase to prevent the production by a foreign country of an "American" in order to make a power grab for the presidency. Thus the use of the word "natural." A "natural born citizen" is a citizen who just happened to be born American, whether on American soil or not. The opposite of that, in the founders' minds, would be an American who was born to be contrived as eligible for being president as a plan or power grab. Thus if England, for example, enticed two Americans to produce a child for the sole purpose of entering that child into elections in the United States, that child would be viewed as in violation of the "natural born citizen" clause. Obviously this does not apply to John McCain or most citizens today. A little intelligent thought, people, that would be soooooo helpful.

Why God does not smite on the spot

Many people who work against the goodness of God do so because they think that if they were doing something wrong and/or if God really existed, they would be punished on the spot. Since they are not punished (and indeed many seem to live normal or even wealthy lives) they assume that God is not watching, does not exist, or they weren't sinning. This is stupid beyond belief. If you actually read the Bible (or the Qur'an) you'd know that generations of evil dictators, greedy plutocrats and sinners lived full lives on earth and their judgment comes when they die and are cast into hell. There is nowhere in the Bible or Qur'an that promises instant judgment. In fact, much of those holy books are dedicated to warning that people live one (that is 1) life and that they will be judged when they die, with hell as a real potential outcome. Jesus warned that the road to hell is very wide. So it is a total modern hedonistic fiction that if God existed and were really angry that he would smite (punish) at the time of sin. Any idiot who can read history can see that the world is not set up that way. Even Cain, who killed his brother, was protected by God from punishment by humans and allowed to live out his life.

This is because God desires that even the most wicked should some day repent and be saved. If God had to punish in earthly time on the spot each wicked deed there would be no humans on earth, only innocent animals. In the Bible you will read that several times God ponders if that would not have been the best thing to do, to leave the earth only for the animals.

However, God does intervene and punish some evil people on the spot. That is what the Bible calls "the hardening of the heart." This means that God decides to not give further chances to repent to the person. So they might fall ill and perish sooner than people expect, for example. God does not send the illness but he allows it to happen because he has turned his back on that person. So an aircraft failure or bad judgment, for example, might be fatal where it is possible that if the person had lived a good life that mistake could have been caught before it's fatal outcome... and of course you can forget miraculous healings in those cases too. God has a bias toward saving, and through the guardian angels and the Holy Spirit he is constantly pressuring people to be good and to be charitable toward each other. It's like a gentle and clean breeze that blows all the time, but most people don't notice it. The planet would be unlivable by humans without it, so you'd know if it were gone, as life would be unbearable. But most people do not notice it. When a person crosses the line with God, God is liable to harden his heart toward that person, which is to basically stop the breeze that could lead to the person repenting. That's because the person is doing so much damage that it catches up with them (like a drunk driver) or because God has come to believe the person will not repent, or will only do so on deathbed after damaging many innocent souls through their actions.

So do understand that this is why God does not "smite" on the spot, but that he does and will intervene through what the Bible explains in several places (including the words of Jesus) "the hardening of the heart."

Reminder that God knows all

I continue to despair over the stupidity of people who believe in God but thinks he doesn't "know what you are up to." Here is an example. I know people who have committed the worse blasphemies imaginable. I'll give a mild example: incredibly disgusting tattoos. These morons worry about what I will think about the tattoos, like showing them to me results in a newsflash to God. God knows everything as it happens (and in advance) so he already knows about your stupid blasphemous tattoos in addition to the stupid blasphemous thoughts that you had as lead up to actually getting the tattoos.

Likewise, how can you be the one to judge what God can or cannot forgive? You act like it is under your control about when you "come clean" on blasphemous actions. But God already knows what you have done. There is no reason on earth to act like a cat in the litterbox covering up what God already knows, and there is no reason and indeed it is further sin to delay remedy to the offended parties. Building a church while still holding your blasphemous beliefs toward innocent people is not remediation.

Valid reasons to curse your parents/caregivers

Jesus taught that one should obey the commandment to honor your father and mother, but he also advised that obeying God will mean splits in households that set child against parent. Here are valid reasons to curse your parents:

1. If they deliberately raise you to be estranged from God. If this is done out of ignorance it can be forgiven. However, if you are raised to not believe in God (in other words, they don't allow you to make your own choice to disbelieve when you are an adult) or are raised to be actively anti-God, you would be justified to curse your parents. Even if you find God later in life you can never regain the mental stability that generations before have had when children were raised knowing the security of God in addition to their family.

2. If they teach you that hell does not exist and that the consequences of life on earth are real. I am totally shocked and dismayed how many millions of people do not believe in hell and worse, likewise misinform their children. Again, it is one thing to raise a child properly and then allow him or her to fall away from the faith if that is their choice when they are adults. But to teach them that hell does not exist and is a real possibility based on choices in their life is as irresponsible as unsafe HIV positive sex by one partner who does not inform the other (I have to use that kind of example since that's all this generation understands). I must tell you that never has a generation lived where so many will go to hell, and have been streaming there for the past several decades.

3. If they brainwash children to think that they are figures from the Bible, or that they are "the beast," or "the Antichrist," or any other holy or unholy figure. A parent who teaches their child that the child has anything to do with things that happened in the Bible (or other holy text) in the past or in God's actions in the future should be vigorously cursed. Don't worry about cursing them being too extreme, because God has already done so (if they are unrepentant).

Archbishop kidnapped, 3 killed in Iraq, I blame

I blame those of you "Left Behind" supporters who egged on the President to get involved in Iraq because of your ignorant, heretical and murderous belief in "the rapture." You put yourself over God by trying to "prophesy" what the "Bible is really saying," and obsessing about the "Antichrist" and your own "personal salvation." You vipers and snakes. You've destroyed the soul of a country, cost many young American lives (including out of your own families, you fools) and have destroyed not only Christianity in Iraq (but who cares, they are those "unsaved" Catholics and Orthodox, right?) but also destroyed the peace of mind of the followers of Islam. Whatever distress existed under Saddam could have been remedied without maneuvering the entire country into destroying each other and each other's shrines.

You know who you are and you'd be smart to develop a good shudder over the curse that you are under in the name of Jesus Christ.

Oprah is consistently sickening

Can Oprah get even more sickening? For someone who was Bible raised she sure has been consistent in her fall from grace. She has made herself (with the encouragement of her background Greek chorus) into being "New Age greater than God" and I can assure you she will have a very bad outcome when she's judged.

I met her years ago at a memorial for the Challenger astronauts. I didn't want to meet her, but my best friend was a breathless fan, and insisted we go over and introduce ourselves. She was alone and yet would not even say hello in return to my teacher in space friend. Her nose was already pretty high up in the air then and she's only gotten worse. Wake up dunce fans of hers.

Reincarnation believers need to detox

I'm not slamming people who were raised in a reincarnation believing faith through no fault of their own. I am slamming new age slobs who adopt a self congratulatory belief in reincarnation (which does not exist in any circumstance).

It's quite a shock to come off your high horse and realize that you are no one "special" except that specialness that comes from being a unique and loved child of God. Sometimes your "specialness" comes from believing you are a reincarnated ex-holy person, royalty, alien or whatever. Other times your "specialness" comes from thinking you were some poor oppressed slob in a previous life and that now you are entitled to harvesting whatever material goods you can wrest from the world. And yet other times you let yourself be manipulated into thinking that emotional or physical ills that you feel are due to something "bad" you did in your past. None of them are true. There is no reincarnation at all, never, ever and there are no "special circumstances."

You would think people would be happy to be corrected on this matter but they are not. They like to cling to the herasy so they can feel "special," since being special to God is not enough to them. That's violation of the First Commandment by the way.

I suggest you spend some time reading obituaries as a detox exercise. As you read the obituaries repeat to yourself (make it your mantra) "That was it. That was the entirety of that person's life and now they will be judged by God."

For normal people reading obituaries is also a worthy exercise. It's not depressing, in general, but a celebration of a unique life, often lived in very adverse circumstances.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Both conservatives & liberals wrong re healthcare

The liberals are wrong when they say that healthcare is a "right." The conservatives are wrong when they say it is a "privilege" or an economic commodity. In fact as far as I can see everyone is wrong about healthcare because they are using an anti-intellectual approach to it.

My policy is that there should be free and universal preventative medicine for all children under the age of 21. The reason why should be obvious, and it would be if anyone remembered what society was like before the past several generations of both left and right wing material obsession.

Just as I paid taxes even though I never had children in the public school system, the health of babies, small children, and teenagers should be the focus of the "free and universal" component of any health plan, not the "illness" orientation that everyone (selfishly) argues about. The obvious example is public innoculations against illness for school children as to why it is in the interest of even those lack compassion. But a society that does not promote the health of its children is doomed to rot and fall. I believe that every child should have free and universal access to both healthcare and preventative medicine services (nutrition, for example). I don't care if the children are rich or poor, there should be no differentiation in their complete level of service and collection of high standard offerings of continual care through childhood. All you have to do is look at childhood diabetes to see how this has increased as the lack of proper care of children decreased in wisdom and comprehension.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More about understanding Jesus

It is important for modern day people to understand that Jesus was in the public eye, performing his ministry, for only several years. By several years I mean just over two years. From his baptism by John the Baptist, where he first appears as a man who is going to lead, to his death and resurrection and final instructions to the disciples, Jesus accomplished his entire public ministry in just over two years.

What person working in a modern corporation can envision doing even a single programming project in two years, and any parent can relate to how quickly two school years go by with your child. Yet Jesus revolutionized the world, and brought the New Covenant, in that amount of time, without any script, on foot, walking from small town to small town, and preaching in synagogues that would have him. The difference between the mindset of today, where people cannot imagine how this happened without handlers, project workbench and media events that carry the "greatest payback" and how the Messiah brought the message of God is greater than the difference between night and day. No reporters covered his day to day movements, and his disciples were hunted and persecuted after him. Yet the honor of the time (when people documented the truth through the principle of "witnessing") and the perfection of Jesus' message and his what we would call "grassroots" approach perserved and spread what he had done in that short amount of temporal time for the benefit of all who would listen and obey eternally.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another analogy about astrology

You know that whenever I can come up with a useful analogy or example I try to share them here on my blog. I put them out as a quick "dose" of perspective, rather than covering the whole subject again, or go into length as I have in the archives. Here's one about astrology and why it is a falsehood and forbidden.

Suppose you had in the 1990's a teenager who is thinking about what career he would like to pursue. An astrologer (especially a meddling parent or aunt) would think she or he is "helping" by studying the teenager's chart to try to discern the future. But while doing so, obviously the astrologer can only think of scenarios that are part of her or his day to day reality. For example the astrologer would look to see if the teenager would be "in the public" or "communications oriented" and "where the money would originate." But God, through free will and openness of heart, has a smorgasbord of possibilities available to each person that neither a so called tool such as astrology or the user of the tool, the human, can predict or even consider or be aware of at all. Suppose the astrologer "guides" the teenager toward a media career because she can "see" that he would "do well" financially and "personal satisfaction" through such a career choice. If the teenager listens to this advice (or is forced to follow because the parents will only pay for certain college choices) he now orients his day to day lifestyle toward that choice. But here is what might have happened had astrology not intruded. The teenager might have picked up a book about Afghanistan, or met someone from the Sudan. The teenager might have had a chat or read that had a profound effect on him, and decided to become a microbiologist who speaks Arabic. I mean, who could look at a stupid so called astrology chart and say, "Hey Fred, if you decide to learn Arabic and go into research medicine, in twenty years you can help build a hospital in war torn Afghanistan!" You can't begin to see the myriad of beautiful choices that life brings in subtle ways through inspiration, conversations, openness to the Holy Spirit, and day to day living by looking at a stupid false chart from within your bourgeoisie Chinese take out mind of choices based on your limited reality. So this meddling "astrologer" guides the teenager to be an Internet programmer, ad executive, or whatever, while "God's plan" would have been that this teenager be inspired by a chat or a book and find himself to be trained for a need that no one even knew would exist at the time, a microbiologist who also cares about a society that had not received much attention but would become a flashpoint of need. This is why astrology is strictly forbidden and works directly antagonistic to God's will for the goodness of all people.

Food Talk: Homemade fish sandwich recipe

Here's what I'm having tonight and it's a fun and healthy food for individuals or families.

Select sandwich size fish fillets. Defrost if frozen by running under warm water a few minutes.
(I used 1 small cod fillet from the bag of frozen fillets I bought at Walmart).

Place the fillet in a microwavable glass pan. Include enough fluid (water, milk or fish fluid) to have the bottom of the glass pan coated. Sprinkle on the top of the fish either paprika (for the taste) or cinnamon (for the taste and its a traditional health wise spice). Microwave for about a minute and a half until it's cooked through (flakes with fork).
(I used the fluid from the inside of the cod fillet's plastic bag and I used cinnamon).

Toast two regular slices of bread. Put on them a spread of your choice, such as butter, mayonaise, or mustard. Steer away from cocktail or tartar sauce because they overpower the taste of the fish and thus it's not very zen, since you're only tasting the very strong tangy sauce and not the individuality of the fish. Also it's a way to avoid yet another processed food additive.
(I used butter because I love the taste of cod and wanted subtle. Otherwise I would have used the wonderful Zatarain's Creole Mustard).

Place the filet on one toast and salt and pepper to taste. Put the other slice of toast on top and cut the completed sandwich in half. Serve.
(Here's a tip if your fish is very flaky. Cut the toast into halves before you put the fish on it. That's what I do so I don't mash the whole sandwich when cutting it into halves. I cut the toast into the sizes I want to serve, halves for example, apply the spread, then cut the fish in the pan and put matching sized pieces on each part of toast).

Additional suggestion: If you really like the taste of the fish itself, halve the use of bread by making open faced sandwiches. So you serve the fish on the bottom slice of bread and don't use a topper slice of bread. This allows you to taste the fish itself more. But if you are cooking for your kids I'd give them a good size of fish and both slices of bread per sandwich.

If you are trying to get your kids to sit down at table with you here's a suggestion. Bring the toast and the pan of cooked fish fillets to the table and let them choose from among a variety of spreads that you have collected. If you have interesting variety of mustards, barbecue sauces, and spreads often kids will enjoy even "healthy" fish sandwiches when they customize them to their own taste, and it's something to talk about during dinner. Even if you have to resort to a cheese sauce option for the really fast food and picky eater, that's fine because the sauce can be a little fattening in the service of getting them to eat the healthy fish and good nutrition bread! Just think how great it could be if you get your kids to eat one fish sandwich a week and they enjoy it with their own spread.

Remember, by microwaving fish cooks up VERY fast (even a thick fish takes only about 3-4 minutes) and you are not frying! You are avoiding all that grease and fat. Instead of "breaded" fillets with fat, grease, food additives and un-nutritious bread crumbs you are cooking the fish with no fat or additives and then putting it on clean and wholesome slices of bread of your choice.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The sugar refinery tragedy

I'm sure everyone who follows the news knows about the terrible explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah, Georgia. Prayers are needed for the families and for the victims, many who are still hospitalized in critical condition. Two have recently gone to the Lord from their injuries. Burns are terrible injuries. They are the hardest to recover from and because they destroy so much they are the ones most resistent to even miraculous grace, but do pray for the survivors that they can resist threats like infection and for their bodies' endurance.

Imperial Sugar is also marketed under the Dixie Crystals name. Up north I mostly saw Domino Sugar and it's a fine product. But once I heard of this explosion I went to the store to look and see what they had, and the Jerry Lee near my apartment carries Dixie Crystals. (I've not bought sugar since I moved here because I've not been doing any baking). I bought a table dispenser of Dixie Crystals Premium Pure Cane Sugar as a gesture of solidarity while the company gets back on its feet from this loss. I don't mean economically they are in danger, as this was just one of their locations and they have capacity, but I mean emotionally, where the company and the community have suffered so greatly. The company has said that they will rebuild a state of the art facility and I think that is correct and wonderful. So I bought one of their sugar dispensers as my personal gesture of solidarity. I had to think of something to use it on so I bought some Louisiana strawberries and sprinkle the sugar on them! Anyway, I thought I'd share this so that some of you who might feel helpless when you read about something like this might share my idea of grabbing one of their products as a gesture of support. All the best to everyone who has suffered through this, and hats off to the heroes, survivors and rebuilders who will not let this focal point of the community vanish into the disaster.

When I moved down here it was sugar cane harvest time in Louisiana. I took some pictures of the trucks and the cane processing plant. I even collected some canes that blew off the truck, using them in my flower arranging (a bit too perishable for what I'd hoped they'd be). But I found sugar cane scented candles at Walmart and LOVE them.

Food talk

I've been buying ingredients to bake bread. I'm going to make what is called a sweet bread or a nut bread, which is a bread that is not made with yeast and does not rise. So while at Winn-Dixie earlier today to buy fresh organic eggs what do they announce? That a new batch of hot French and Italian loaves of bread have just come out of the oven. Mmmm. So I bought the eggs but I also bought a loaf of Italian. I ate a huge piece of it while it was hot as soon as I got the groceries into the car!

And my dinner tonight is four slices of the bread, two with butter, and two with olive oil, and a sliced tomato in olive oil, with pepper and salt. Bread is called the staff of life for a reason. It is about the healthiest day to day thing that you can eat. People were healthier and had less diabetes and so forth when they had home made full grain bread (though Wonder bread remains a favorite of mine) and most importantly, they had it in sandwiches, or like me, Italian style, drizzled with olive oil (another wonder food of health) and with glasses of milk. Men drank milk back in the World War II generation and rarely soft drinks. Coffee or tea helped with waking up. But men and women often ordered a glass of milk with their lunch or dinner. Have you ever wondered why dieters are so against bread? Modern dieters are against bread because they recognize that it has a lot of nutrition. Dieting has become so insanely unbalanced. Rather than having healthy moderation in all the way past generations lived, now there are phoney food wars with people looking for magic weight loss remedies and as a result turn away from the healthiest and most stable of foods, like bread. If you truly have Celiac or some other syndrome that is one thing, But if you are not allergic or sensitive to wheat you ought to eat good healthy bread at least once a day and twice is even better. I don't get fancy like having dinner rolls (especially just cooking for myself) but often I have a slice of toast as a "side dish" for my main meal!

Bread also stabilizes the digestive system. So many people with heartburn and bathroom issues don't realize that bread helps to stabilize all of those problems. (Again this applies to the vast majority of people who are not allergic). It takes an effort to reintroduce what used to be the staple of our food now that pressures of fast food and health nut faddish style of eating take people away from classic bread and toast. Grabbing a muffin instead of toast could result in your consuming an extra, yes, not a typo, 500 calories! A slice of bread is about 100 calories before adding butter, peanut butter, or jam. A muffin ranges from 400-700 calories and has unhealthy oils and other additives. When I commuted if I had to "grab a muffin on the way to work" I would always go for a corn muffin, figuring it was tasty but also still marginally healthier. But when I have time I always make toast. So try to get in the habit of having more toast of a good healthy bread and less of pre processed buns, muffin and so forth that are packed with calories and often chemicals and are less nutritious. Also on light nights when you want a simple dinner, you can't do better than what I just did, such as having fresh baked Italian bread with olive oil and a fresh vegetable like a tomato on the side.

I just remembered something about how we ate in the 1950's that will help with this understanding. We never bought hamburger or hot dog buns, we always used slices of bread! So when we made hamburgers at home they were served on toast, and when we made hot dogs we wrapped a slice of bread around it as the "bun." First of all it was expensive and wasteful to buy buns so being poor we'd never think of doing it. But secondly they ("store bought buns" as we called them) are empty bread products, valued more for their shape than their bread content. So here is another example to help you see how toast worked its way into many meals back in those days. In the 1960's we started making "minute steaks," which are those thin sliced cuts of beef that you can fry and you guessed it right, we served each slice on a piece of buttered toast. It was a cheaper and tougher cut of meat so by putting it on buttered toast it became really tasty and easy to digest and very healthy, as the only fat was the healthy and good small bit of dairy butter. I still remember as a kid when we'd have hot dogs and we'd wrap the bread around the dog and it was great tasting, unlike the "cardboard of store bought."

More depression and so forth advice

I just want to pass along two simple tips today, one very easy to do and one more complicated, especially in these economic times.

Here's the simple tip. Aromatherapy has received so much hype and buzz for many years, along with candle burning and so forth. I do not advocate lighting candles because I'm a safety freak, but I do enjoy having them around for their scent. However, in the attempt to be "mysterious" and so forth too many fragrances are not beneficial to people who are subject to depression. In contrast, it is proven scientifically that citrus fragrance has a positive and healthy effect on mood. So I would like to suggest that everyone (whether depressed or not) place a citrus based source of fragrance in the kitchen. It's great for both men and women. The kitchen is your laboratory for feeling better in the sense that as I've written before I believe people need to return to it as the place where meals are hand made and shared. People were less depressed when they ate good not-chemically changed home made food with family or friends at a regular dinner time and a sitdown table. So I recommend that you place a citrus fragrance at all times in your kitchen. Don't do the whole house because you want to create the effect of uplift whenever you walk into your kitchen. I've done it and it works great. I used to use orange peel years ago when I had my house. Now in my apartment I use a wonderful set of candles I bought at Walmart that is jasmine-tangerine! It is awesome. Whenever I walk into the kitchen I have the whiff of that very unique and uplifting combination. I'm the type of person who enjoys spending time in the kitchen doing simple things like preparing fruit and vegetables and who does not view it as a waste of time. So while dicing celery or tomatos I have that great citrus undercurrent too. And when not cooking it still is uplifting to smell that citrus whenever I walk into the kitchen. People used to live in homes that smelled more "alive," back before depression became epidemic. That's because they had windows open, often onto gardens, when it used to be safe, and they had fruits and vegetables or home grown flowers within the home. Real wood was used throughout so there was also the benefit of scent of wood (science studies have also shown that real wood floors are healthier to breathe than artificial materials). So take my advice and do some safe (not burning) aromotherapy of citrus in the kitchen.

My second piece of advice is to reconsider the size and complexity of the home that you own. This whole past two generations have grown up thinking you should buy the largest size and expense of home that you can afford. It didn't used to be that way. Now people think to get the best they can as a given assumption. But several generations ago people lived much more happily in a house that was smaller and simpler than the maximum that they could afford! Young couples started out in a "starter home," which was often cottage, bungalow or small ranch size. Now young couples dive straight into the top of the line house that they can afford. This is both the source of needless stress AND it deprives them of a bond-building process. When you start with a small simple house you, by default, have more time for each other. You also can learn how to do things together to improve the house. My brother and I still admire the small two bedroom ranch that our parents had, even though we have both in our days owned much "finer" and grander houses. When I first married our first house was a grand Tudor, but that was for a specific reason; I had very serious security concerns. I was attracted to other smaller and more "homelike" houses but I had security issues that had to come first and so we went for the larger and more private rugged tudor house. But the generation before us, including my brother's generation, did the "starter" through "retirement" house progression and it was excellent for them and their children. They had many house problems, as everyone does, but none of the problems were from having "too much house to handle" and "having the chain around one's neck" of the pressure of a large, high maintenance and expensive house.

Some of you may be facing loss of your home due to the mortgage crisis. If you do I encourage you to consider a positive, rather than a negative, downsizing. Don't think of the house as being a thermometer of your success. Think of it as a home rather than a house. Think of it as a home rather than a multimedia center on a foundation. Think of it as a home that encompasses you and your family rather than being a high maintenance (of time and money) investment. Many people are depressed because of the load of responsibility that they carry, and a too grand house that is not a real home is a large, often unrecognized, source of depression and anxiety.

I hope this helps.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The insanity continues

I guess the Lord has three new angels, one a back up singer named Jewel.

Whoa... A Blood red full moon

As I stepped out of the laundry room I glanced toward the bay as I usually do and the "just past full" moon over the horizon is an incredible deep red color. I called over two neighbors to look because it is quite a sight to see. It's hanging over the horizon right over the Pascagoula shipyards and that is what caught my attention because out of the corner of my eye it looked like some burning smoke over there. It's like this red and Burgundy wine combination so like one of the neighbors commented, he said "Blood red moon."

Here's a funny coincidence. I ran over to Walmarts earlier today because I wanted just the right color of red paint for a wooden storage box. That's NOT the shade I wanted ha ha. I used to have a wonderful couple of modest pieces of Chinese lacquerware called cinnabar and I want to paint this wooden box that color red, so I spent some time examining reds at Walmarts and being unsure came back with three to try out. If you look at a web picture of the old antique shade of cinnabar you'll see what I mean, it's hard to describe as a red, kind of like Coca Cola red, it's a unique shade of red. Hmm.

More about previous blog posting

Whenever you are in doubt, just think, "What would St. Paul do?" If St. Paul knew of a gathering where the parishoners were forced to listen to blasphemy, pagan ideas or even very lax and weak theology he would immediately order the faithful to no longer attend that gathering. Even if they had to walk barefoot for an hour St. Paul would lead the faithful to a gathering where they were one hundred percent orthodox. Any of the Apostles, including St. Peter, would do the same thing, but St. Paul is the one who left the most writings, including his attitude toward things like refusing the Eucharist to those who approach in an unworthy manner. How much more would he be enraged at "mother earth" references, "womyn priest," and "social agendas." At the first occurrence of any of these he would lead the entire flock away from that gathering place and those responsible. So gas up the cars and find a sweet and orthodox parish that may be nearly empty on most days and exodus, just as St. Paul would have, to a proper place for the Catholic Mass and orthodoxy. St. Paul would not put up with one single occurrence of these heretical behaviors and he'd never allow his followers and their families to do so either. You have to "vote with your feet" and not enable. There's not a single Apostle, disciple or early Church father who would put up with a single instance of the type of thing we have seen in recent years. St. Paul and the others would have "pulled up the tent peg" and walked over rocks if they had to in order to be at a place of one hundred percent pure orthodoxy in worship to God in the name of Jesus Christ, they would for sure.

Parishoners should not attend unorthodox masses

I've just read of an incredibly blasphemous rewriting of the Stations of the Cross into a worship service to "Mother Earth," and this is in a Catholic Church in a major southern city. I know that new age, pagan, heretical and at best sloppy formation has infested many parishes but you must stop enabling this and do what the Apostles and disciples would have done, which is to vote with your feet and leave. I'm sorry but even a parish that only dips into dubious beliefs and social agendas put your soul and your families in jeopardy. Grace is blocked if the sacrifice of the Mass is in any way diminished in reverence. God is not shrugging this off. It is your duty as a Catholic to 1) report to the bishop any infractions and deviations that you notice and 2) relocate yourself to the nearest orthodox and proper parish, even if you have to carpool and organize a commute every Sunday. I am serious. These people are tempters and are sucking grace out of the congregation, but their weakness is that they need an audience. A truly orthodox priest would reverentially and with total correctness celebrate a Mass even if he were the only one present. That is the "sniff test" of whose hands you have placed yourselves within. New age heretical priests need an audience. Their attention has turned from the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass offered to God toward "being conductors of an orchestra" (to quote from this one example's web site). They need an audience to push their agendas and if there is no audience they diminish like the puff of smoke they really are. So do not grit your teeth and wince through the Mass, as that is robbing yourself, your family, and robbing God of what he is due. Be glad that the worst you face in this once great country is a longer commute to a decent Catholic Church and not enduring the hardships many in the world face for expressing their faith. Trust me, these heretical windbags live off of your squirming in the pews since like I said, they need an audience for their agenda, since they have turned their attention away from God. Go and surprise a country parish where the Church may be nearly empty but correct in their devotion and start the exodus to them until the bishop fixes the mess that you report to him before departing for the orthodox pastures.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Preaching in the name of Jesus is one thing

Jesus himself told the Apostles to not be indignant that others were baptizing and casting out devils in the name of Jesus. Jesus pointed out that those who are not against him (that is, they used his name and therefore obviously endorse his legitimacy) are therefore for them. So I have no problem with many vigorous evangelizers outside the Catholic Church who proclaim the Gospel.

But boy oh boy, do I have a problem with evangelizers who claim that God (or Jesus) appears to them in person, tells them about future events, and then these guys in turn claim to have supernatural powers, including controlling the weather. This ought to be a red flag for you too. Remember there's a difference between proclaiming Jesus and claiming to be part of a cabal that has premium information and powers. That's the temptation of you-know-who. Remember that many will call "Lord, Lord!" in the final days but will be rejected since they were not truly of the Lord and who crossed the boundaries into occultism. God did not have sit down meetings with Moses, for goodness sakes, he certainly is not endorsing people and giving them supernatural powers nowadays. People who "call out names" using "information only God could have given them" and who claim to "stop the rain" and who are "told by God" that such and such will happen (hello Pat?) are in deep, deep trouble and better rethink what is truly of God's and what is not. Signing up "lots of souls" for Jesus does not justify pretending to be a Prophet, either through self delusion or worse through tricks of the trade. Evangelizing is not an election (get in the votes) or a circus (put on a good show and be the ringmaster). Tut tut tut.

Eclipse is pretty from my view in Mississippi

I actually forgot about it so around dinner time I decided to jump in the car to do some "retail therapy" (shopping). I'm trying to organize my tiny apartment so I don't feel like I'm living in a storage unit so I bopped over to Lowe's for some plastic storage containers, and got 4 at a great price. Then I went to Walmarts because I've been doing without all my cooking gear these past 18 months (all in storage over a thousand miles from here) so I bought some pretty kitchenware. (By the way you can balance buying made in China by also finding some great made in USA dinnerware, like Corelle, a long time favorite of mine. I picked up 8 of their bamboo design plates). I've been a long time fan of Corning and their fine art division Steuben Glass. Corelle is an innovative GLASS product (I remember when it first came out in 1970) and regular readers know that I'm a big advocate of glass as a chemical and metal free substance to use for beverages and dinnerware.

It's only when I pulled back into my apartment parking lot (such as it is) that I remembered the eclipse since I had a clear view of it already underway. There are some clouds which gives it a nice misty look, but it's still easily visible. Since we don't have winter down here it's comfortable to stand outside and watch, which I've been doing the past 30 minutes or so. Got a little chilled though so I came back inside to have a warm piece of toast. Think I'll take another look and see how it's doing "up there."

(It was entirely clouded over so I ended up gabbing with neighbors who just returned from some good Mexican dining!)

Another example of insane "new age" thinking

I know some people who are so crazy that they think deliberately ditching planes will "prevent" future accidents and mishaps. There's been a few examples of them doing this the past year. They think (if you can use the word "think" with any honesty) that either karma or astrology or angry saints "target" a certain number of accidents at significant times and astro placements (not surprisingly URANUS has a BIG role in their "thinking") so they think they can "cancel out" these bad events by setting up survivable "accidents." They do this with cars a lot too, but since these are rich people with planes that is where most of their worry (fueled by guilty consciences) is "focused."

Har har har. Just think if they spent the money they spend on witchcraft and sadistic manipulation of "muggles" (or whatever Harry Potter calls those dolts "without magic") on the liberal causes they allegedly espouse. How about a fund toward plane maintenance in Nigeria instead of crashing your own spoiled brat planes? That would "prevent" future mishaps if poor people in poor countries could actually afford to maintain their planes. Doh.

Meet the young man with heroic life, this article

He was a hero not only because he gave his life under fire saving his girlfriend, but because he lived a quietly authentic life of devotion, hard work, love, and joy in the Lord's creation. He was a hero even before he made the ultimate sacrifice because he's a role model for the type of life so many have forgotten how to live, even if it is handed to them on a silver platter. Heroes are not "Men in Black," stupid video games, or stupid Manga or whatever it is called. This young man was a hero throughout his life and I'm sure the angels are touching his heavenly shoulders and sleeves in admiration.,0,1240744.story

NYT nice article about the space shuttle

For some reason this is a particularly pleasing article about the space shuttle Atlantis that just returned after the mission to take the Euro Space Lab to the International Space Station. It's just a nice article, read it and see. A deft touch in writing it without hyperbole; that's refreshing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who disgusts me the most among "faithful"

It's not the person who lets God down, or even the person who lets Mary, Joseph or even Jesus himself down. And it's not even the person who lets down the Holy Spirit, even though that person risks never being forgiven by God. It's the person who lets down the infant Jesus, about whom even the Qur'an speaks tenderly. The person who lets down the baby Jesus is worse than scum.

Another quick comment on depression et al

Society has an obligation to have a positive view toward life, a positive belief in God and the "hereafter," and a positive view toward babies and children. When society has these three things there is a safety net that works as a powerful antidote to depression and other emotional imbalances. Society has totally failed the past two generations. What many have believed is "freedom" has been the dissolution of the healthy safety net that is not only the obligation of society to provide but also the abandonment of the truth in favor of "relativism" with a morbid twist.

Prior to the 1960's except in a few "avant guarde" families it was virtually unheard of for an American child to be born without belief and instruction regarding God at the earliest age. Nearly every child, rich or poor, was raised with knowing "Jesus" by sight, by name, by love and by trust from their earliest years. Even if that child grew away from the faith as an adult, that inner certainty of a personal God stayed with him or her and was a buffer from potential depression or other disorders. Likewise every child in the generations before these past two generations knew that babies were precious, again, whether the family was rich or poor. This is not to say that there weren't harsh treatments in disfunctional families, but the difference is that babies were rarely the subject of resentment and certainly not abuse as we see today. Dad may have ranted and raved in some households but the babies were never faulted and that same dad would work long hours in grunt jobs to provide a safe home for that baby. And the third point is that it was an exciting time of continual medical research because all life was sacred and people thought each age was golden years of breakthroughs: vaccines, insulin, antibiotics, geriatric medicine, prenatal care, prevention of heart disease and so on. Children born in every generation previous to these two generations grew up knowing God and feeling his love, knowing that "baby ruled the roost," and surrounded by optimistic and exciting pro-life medical, health, and nutrition developments. For example when I was young, one of the great scandals of the time was the outing of poverty in Appalachia. The war against hunger in America was a huge thing when I was young. But medicine, like society, took a dark twist and turn to have a morbid taint and away from the true progressive medicine that each generation until these past two generations enjoyed. Now medicine is a dogged and grim battle against cancer (while still refusing to understand the true causes), crisis reactive (HIV, various flu threats), how to grind out more and more abortions, and the massive drugging of the vast majority of Americans using powerful drugs that often do more harm than good. Oh, and plastic surgery.

Can you see the contrast? It is appalling to me. I literally do not recognize the world and it's not because I'm some sort of square unprogressive sour old prude. To the contrary, I see people have willfully beaten to death their own joy and thrown it away as a society. Everything that was stable and good about life has been demeaned, dirtied and discarded: love of God, love of babies and medicine in the service of the greater good. I'm telling you and I swear this is the truth, a dull normal day in mainstream America 50 years ago would seem like heaven compared to a day today. And you wonder why so many of you have depression, anxiety, mood swings, paranoia? I've not even gone into the usual physical sources that I've written about before because it's so important that I paint this accurate portrait for you of the philosophical and psyche damage and scarring that has taken place in America (and much of the Western world) because of the lack of the three foundations I described above. The damage is truly terrifying and the bottom has not yet been hit.

It's going to sound somewhat incongruous to now tell you that you have to be positive about life after just giving you such a jarring wake up call to how twisted and destructive our own society has become. We don't need sci-fi horror stories about mad robots taking over because worse has already happened. The LIVING have turned against life.

That is one reason that many of you suffer from the ailments I've described above. Your bodies, minds and emotions are crying out for what you don't even realize you've been cheated of, which is the affirmation of life. It's not like this generation is the smartest that ever lived and have "wised up" to "reality" and that is why it's so dark and depressed and anxious. To the contrary, this generation was raised by the most pig ignorant selfish self-medicating generation that ever lived on earth, and they have robbed this generation of the basic intelligence of the goodness of life and how to cope with the challenges that life can bring. Thousands of years of wisdom and familial development have been thrown into the garbage can and spat upon.

I have the counterintuitive hope that many of you who have suffered from depression, anxiety, ADHD, mood swings and other disorders will actually be the vanguard of recognizing how there is nothing "wrong with you" except that you've been cheated out of what your generations of ancestors worked so hard to cherish and pass on to you, which is the goodness and affirmation of life and how to live it even in the toughest of circumstances. I'm hoping that if it is not too late that many of you who have suffered from these problems will be the drivers of the turnaround so the next generation is not as polluted and cheated as this generation has been treated.

I hope this helps. I know this is not a cheery action list, huh? But it is so essential that you understand what has happened so we can stop the downward slide into total decay and darkness of thought and deed.

I hope people read my previous post and have started working on the getting more regular sleep even if you can't get to sleep yet problem! The more I read about what "sleep aids" are doing the more you must try to get back to the pure form of working with sleep like you would any other activity, which is organization, discipline, practice and experimentation. It's one of those "things we can easily start to try to do that can have huge beneficial effects."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More advice regarding depression, anxiety, BP etc.

While my continuing series of advice is directly mostly to depression and anxiety disorder sufferers much of what I explain applies also to people with mood disorders. Here is an example that everyone can learn from including people who are of good health and who wish to preserve their good health for as long as they can.

First, do understand that humans evolved into their current bodies and mental faculties over a period of millions of years. Think of the body as being sculpted for maximum success and health. Over millions of years the human body is like a sculpture that is being made better and better for health and vigor and the ability to successfully reproduce and raise children. For all of those millions of years humans slept when the sun went down and woke when the sun rose. Therefore the human body has been sculpted to require a full night's sleep every night in order to be at its maximum capability for health and normal operations.

Humans slept for 8-12 hours every single night for millions of years. The body has been created in a nursery, if you will think of it that way, where the sun required "lights out" in the early evening and all humans slept until "lights on" at the dawn. So when people say that humans need a good long night's sleep every night, it's not like prudes discovered that because they have a dull life. People who have been stating that people need a good night's sleep every night realized that it is a fundamental of successful biological life. The human body (and mind) have been sculpted by millions of years to be healthier and healthier and better and better, and all of this was done with the basic configuration (think of bodies like a computer now) of "down time" every night from sundown to sunrise. "Maintenance" takes place during that down time that is vital to healthy bodies.

A recent study shows that dieters lost more fat when they slept MORE. People think the opposite must be true, that is, they think the more active you are the more you "burn fat" and the more lethargic you are the more you gain fat. That's true of exercise and daily activity but that is not true of nighttime. Sleeptime is maintenance time for your body including correcting fat and other imbalances while you sleep. Your body is busy doing "maintenance" during your "downtime," and this is both bodily and mental optimizing and conditioning.

For two generations now adults have not gotten enough sleep and they have sleep deprived their babies and children. This has caused many of the physical (cancer, heart, blood sugar) and mental (depression, ADHD, anxiety, moods) disorders that people are scratching their heads (or their asses) over in puzzlement today. Sleep is not the "cure" but sleep is a requirement for good health, just as is food, water and air. If you are struggling with depression and other disorders one of the best things you can do it to get yourself on a schedule of at least eight hours of straight sleep a night. I know that's hard to do but trust me, it's got to be done.

It's a feedback loop within a society that is now set in concrete against full and good night's sleep so I understand that it will be hard to implement, but you have to do it for your own good, for our children's good and for society as a whole.

First start be redefining your idea of being a perfect person or, rather, a "high achiever." For millions of years the human body was evolved (sculpted) to be a "high achiever" if you got enough air, water, food, shelter, heat and sleep in a day. THAT was a successful day. It was a HIGHLY successful day if you could do that for yourself and for someone else, that is, your spouse and your family. Because obtaining air, water, food, shelter and heat all required physical work humans developed the perfect balance of the active body in the daytime and the receiver of a full sleep night every day with certainty. You are not a "high achiever" if some activity is keeping you from getting a regular full night of sleep every single night for yourself and your family.

You know how when you don't eat enough salt you crave chips or something, or if you've not had fruit for a while you crave some sort of citrus? People with depression unknowingly crave sleep, which is why they often do sleep. They get criticized, though, by "mental health professionals," who have all bought into the high achiever myths themselves and view people with depression who sleep as "showing symptoms" and "being escapists." Um, no, that's not quite it. People with depression are like the canaries in the mine who are the first to recognize, but at a subconscious level, that people are not getting enough sleep. Now the trick is to make yourself stick to a good healthy sleep schedule every night, rather than compensating via naps.

It's hard to get to sleep these days with so many stresses, pressures and worries on your mind every night AND the fact you lack a full day of physical activity to make you tired, which is the way human bodies were sculpted to be. So I understand that it is hard to sleep when mentally under siege and when you don't have enough tiredness in your physical body to crave the sleep. This is why sports at the end of the work day is such a great thing. Forget the stupid TV and computer and video games. If you work at a desk all day try to get involved in a sport after work. Trust me that will make a huge difference for both adults and children. It's hard because consumer society has conspired to rob people of good health and peace of mind. Everyone has to be an overachiever, so they pile on the job stress, the homework assignments, and the whole "perfect" lifestyle of coolness and this sucks away the basics around which the body was created to thrive, which is as I said, goals that are modest and life affirming each day, with physical activity and with a solid regular long block of sleep at night every night.

Sometimes when you make the change you just have to lay in bed whether you can sleep or not. Old studies (not talked about these days because they are anti high achiever propaganda) show that if you just lay in bed all night and don't actually sleep because you can't, you still get a high percentage of the physical and mental benefit of sleep. So don't take sleeping aids unless you absolutely must due to a medical condition! Stick with a schedule even if you feel like a dummy laying there awake. Eventually your body will adjust back to the way it should be, especially if you have, like I said, a sports activity to make up for the desk job all day. Also, obviously, don't have caffeine and energy drinks after 2 pm each day if you are working on regaining this good sleep schedule. The mid afternoon boost of soda or coffee break during the work day should be your last consumption of an energy or caffeine beverage, just to get you over the hump of the end of the work day, but not to carry into the evening. Once you get back in a good regular long night of sleep you can fine tune this and maybe have a soda at dinner or something like that, especially if you are having a sport activity. Drag your kids away from their homework and their Facebook and make them shoot hoops with you after dinner. That's what we used to do in the 1950's and early 1960's. Kids and adults had no trouble sleeping then and they got good grades.

I hope this helps and best wishes to all.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has annointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn; to place on those who mourn in Sion a diadem instead of ashes, to give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit. They will be called oaks of justice, planted by the Lord to show his glory.

Isaiah 26:4-10

Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock. He humbles those in high places, and the lofty city he brings down; he tumbles it to the ground, levels it with the dust. It is trampled underfoot by the needy, by the footsteps of the poor.

The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level. Yes, for your way and your judgments, O Lord, we look to you; your name and your title are the desire of our souls. My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you; when your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world's inhabitants learn justice.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Young Egyptians yearn to marry

Read this fantastic article. How ironic that here in the USA where everyone can afford to marry, but resist doing so, these pious and humble people yearn to marry, yet cannot get the basics in order to afford a marriage. Americans ought to appreciate what they have more. I wish some fresh ideas would occur to people to create jobs and apartments for Egyptian youth so they can marry and have families, as they so yearn to do.

Why it is important to wear seat belts

Many people think that seat belts in cars are important only if you get in an accident to prevent the driver or passenger from being thrown around inside the car or ejected out of the car. While that is true there is an important prior reason to wear seat belts at all times.

People do not realize it but when they don't wear seat belts they unconsciously have to brace themselves to maintain their seat behind the wheel. If you have a sudden event, where you have to brake or navigate drastically, the seat belt prepares you to be successful in that event because no part of your body is trying to brace itself behind the wheel. This is why a driver who does not wear a seatbelt is more likely to lose control of a car in a sudden event than one who is wearing a seatbelt (assuming all else is equal, such as the skill of the driver). An example of this is when airplane passengers are told to put on their seat belts when air turbulence is encountered so they don't jounce around. It's the jouncing around I am talking about. When you are relaxed and tooling along in a car there's no problem, but when you suddenly have to react, if you are not strapped in you are either jouncing or having to fight the jounce that comes with a sudden change in your position while having to brake or steer. This all got clearly explained when I was in drivers education back in the 1960's. People don't seem to mention that aspect of it too much nowadays when they debate whether drivers/passengers are at fault for disobeying the law and not wearing their seatbelts. The point is not just to worry about injury from being thrown about in an accident, the point is that by being held securely to your seat you can be quicker and more accurate in your physical reflexes than if you are fighting to keep your position in the seat or actually losing the ability to reach a control because you are trying to brace yourself. Any race car driver can tell you the same thing that having a firm and secured seat position empowers you to respond more strongly and accurately with your movements to control the car.

In fact, here's a little social history. I find that as I've gotten older it helps younger people to hear some of how it really was in order to understand what I'm saying. There was a big debate about whether to use seatbelts in the 1950's and 1960's and you might think it was odd but it was regular family men who were against wearing them. This is because these guys grew up learning to drive one of three ways: driving a tractor on a farm, driving a jeep in the army, or driving in very rural country roads. They worried about being able to "jump out in a hurry" if they were in an accident. This was because if a tractor or jeep overturned, you were trained to jump so you would not get caught or crushed under it. So our dad's generation (your grandfather's generation and great grandfathers) learned to drive in a less congested and combative traffic environment and more as a farm or military context of driving. It was exactly what I said above that finally convinced enough of them to put seatbelts in cars in the first place and start to use them. When that dad generation started understanding that it was more like being an airplane pilot than a tractor or jeep driver, where jumping out is no longer as important as maintaining control over the car, they started to come around and understand why seat belts were needed and actually helpful rather than a hindrance. I listened to those debates many times as a kid, lol. But that was when the roads were still country roads by definition (before highways for the most part) and nowhere near as urbanized, busy, and fast paced requiring fast reflexes as they are today. Hope this helps!

Institutionalize crazy people

So called "mental health professionals" do not believe in institutionalizing crazy people who endanger themselves and others. They pat themselves on the back while watching reruns of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest." They leaf through their scrapbooks of how wonderful they were in the 1960's and 1970's when they made the big bad state dump the insane into the streets and chant how kind and humane they are. When one kills they say, "Oh, well, no one can predict THAT." Well hello? The man arrested for the slice and dice of the therapist has been, according to uneducated reporters who didn't have a PhD or nothing but just interviewed neighbors, known to be crazy for years, terrorizing his apartment building in Queens and no doubt suffering himself from his state.

"Mental health professionals" only believe in confining Christians from preaching the Gospel and that's a fact. When I interned in outpatient services all the "mental health professionals" cared about was getting pro life patients out of their groups and making sure I don't actually ask my patients about their relationship with God. Oh, and that was in a Catholic hospital, but the mental health services was run by secular, um, "not Christians." How kind, how compassionate they are... making sure the crazies in pain are running around in the street while the Christian counselors have their mouths zipped shut.

Isaiah 35: 8, 9

A highway will be there, called the holy way; no one unclean may pass over it, nor fools go astray on it.

It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk.

Mother Theresa said:

"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."


At least when Mary did grieve,
She had no false friends such as Eve,
Women didn't betray
And with tongues their friends slay
Now lies are all that they weave.


God made man and said "It is good,"
Asked man for the love that he could,
But man swings the mood
Becomes intolerably rude
And is not full of grace as he should.


I once had a dear friend named Lin,
Who lived life as neat as a pin,
Like the sun he was warm
Though he's hidden his form
What is it he's trying to win?

Perfection in God's dispensations

No one living knows more about the ways of the Lord than me. No brag, just fact. Yet even with all my total comprehension I cannot describe to you the perfection of how God dispenses with both mercy, and justice, when it comes to one's time to be judged. Even those people who have had very complex and mixed lives are all dealt with perfect completeness by God. Most people I have a pretty good idea "where they are going to go" when they die, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I think, "Wow, this one is a tough call," but I know that God handles every human with the severity or the mercy that is perfectly complete in its appropriateness and outcome. So what may seem a tough case to one of us looking at it as a human is dispensed and judged in total righteousness and correctness by God.

Because God is perfect he is the perfect judge. This should be of great consolation to those of you who are on the whole authentic and good, though you must rely on God's mercy for human flaws, sins and weaknesses. This should not be reassuring to those of you who have secret agendas and internal arrogance for power and control, since as I said, God renders the perfect judgment, and I must warn you, all the facts and intentions are already known to him as you do them.

Humans, understandably, find it hard to comprehend, relate to or even believe in God's perfection. It is fine not to comprehend or relate to it and in fact, that is healthy. But it is essential that you believe and trust in God's perfection. That is, after all, what "faith" really is: the trust in God's perfection to resolve all. Jesus' last words were to commend his spirit into God's hands. Jesus showed that people must trust in God's perfect dispensation of all matters, even as he expired he taught and showed people to trust and indeed, to the astonishment of all, he rose from the dead. Many wonder why God "allowed" bad things to happen to Jesus, and why Jesus "allowed" them to happen to him. It is the sin and disbelief of the people that resulted in the slaying of Jesus, not a divine script. But it was the will of God that people would see in the only way they could believe that Jesus could demonstrate to all the trust of the beloved Son even to the bitter end, and how God repairs all, in his realm. Jesus was not "just a humanitarian or philosopher." Jesus was the one and only who demonstrated that by putting one's faith in God one conquers death, both literally in the physical death, and after, in the personal judgment through which people hope (at least they should hope) that they will attain eternal life in God and not the eternal fire of punishment. As the angels correctly asked at the tomb, why do you seek him in the place of the dead? In this way the angels were not only saying that Jesus had risen from the dead, but they were saying he had achieved eternal life. All of this was done for the sake of humans, to redeem their sinful natures and point the way to grace in the hope of eternal life.

I always feel bad when people preach about "the good thief" and "the bad thief" who died on their crosses to each side of Jesus. While it is true that the good thief believed on the spot, who is truly to say that God would not have mercy on the bad thief too, who in his suffering could not believe with the swiftness of the good thief? Even the disciples took a while to convince, and it did not take place on their deathbeds, or crosses in this case. God dispenses with each human with total perfection and rather than assume the "bad thief" "was not saved," you should share in the love of God and satisfaction that I have in knowing he will treat all with perfect comprehension and completeness of their faith. So while it is natural to wonder, it is not natural or even helpful to assume that you know what will happen, when even I will not state that in every case. Bear this in mind and focus on your own goodness, rather than polishing your faults and thinking you can hide them forever. For you will not and God is the perfect accountant.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Birthday! To, um, 18 million people

I just did a little arithmetic. According to Wikipedia the best guess for the population of earth as of July 2007 is 6,671,226,000 people. Hey, there are 365 days in the year (of course some years have an extra day due to leap year) so if you divide 365 into the 6 billion number you find out that for each day of the year 18,227,331 people have the same birthday! Isn't that awesome? So on your birthday you can have the satisfaction of knowing that just over 18 million people alive today have the same birthday (though not same year, obviously) as you!!

So now you know why I giggle (when I'm in a good mood) and frown (which is more and more my usual reaction) when astrologers get all crazy over famous historic people having the same birthdays as regular old folks of today and concluding that there must be some sort of "past life" connection. Well golly gosh! Abe Lincoln, for example, was born on February 12. There are over 18 million people alive today who also have a February 12 birthday! And the significance of that would be.... none whatsoever.

Grow up, astro idiots.

Some simple guides to life

Yes, you are a human being.

Humans are born, they live, and they die. Once.

No matter how weird you feel at a given moment, the world is real and you are alive in it. You're not imagining being alive.

(A great cure for feeling very alienated or existential is to go and stand in a very long and slow line at some bureaucracy. Your aching feet will eventually persuade you that you are really alive and not imagining things).

If someone becomes interested in a historical figure, a hobby, a location or some other interest it is because someone has become interested in a historical figure, a hobby, a location or some other interest. It is not because they are finding their way through foggy bounds of past lives. Be glad people are interested in different things, otherwise we'd all be collecting the same spackleware and bidding on the same Babe Ruth cards. Everyone would be restoring the same place, say, Mount Vernon, and ignoring every other monument.

Yes there is a one true God.

If you wonder why God appeared a certain way and instructed certain things, well, figure it out. He could have appeared as a dachshund or a giant talking sunflower, but he didn't. So deal with how he chose to present himself to humans and quit bitching about it.

When scientists dig up fossils that reveal the evolution of plants and animals, it really happened exactly the way the rocks reveal (these rocks don't lie). Neither conspirators nor aliens planted wacky fossils to "fake you out."

If you add one to one you get a sum total of two. The rest of math and life works the same way. One is not an anagram for Neo from the Matrix movie. One is the quantity one. Two is the quantity two.

Two of something good is better than one of something good. Two of something bad is worse than one of something bad.

Pollution is bad. Pollution is bad because at some point it overwhelms the environment's natural ability to process it, break it down, and use it naturally.

Everyone should have access to food, water, shelter, sanitation (that's toilets for those who might think sanitation is an anagram for a secret), education for children and basic reliable healthcare. Until you've provided that for every living being (without using abortion as your solution) I suggest you stop with criticizing God and his ways.

Every person has a guardian angel, who arrives when the embryo attaches to the woman's womb and starts to grow. The guardian angel is there whether you believe in it or not, and whether you call the preborn baby a "fetus," "not yet alive," "lump of tissue," or any other diminishing term. The guardian angel is there and goes where the baby goes.

Four plus four equals eight. Eight of a good thing is better than four of a good thing. Eight of a bad thing is worse than four of a bad thing. The word "eight" means there are eight in quantity of something that you've counted. It does not mean you just consumed something "ate" or that you "hate" something. And for anagram lovers it does not mean if you see eight of something you are getting a secret message from The Ig. If you see two groups of eight things it does not mean that The Ig is telling you to Get Hi. It means that there are eight of one thing in one group and another eight of those things in another group.

If you get stoned all the time you will think like a stoner. If you get drunk all the time you will think like a drunk. If you look for hidden messages in everything soon you won't recognize a real communication when it is spoken to you, even if the person is kind and doesn't use any hard words and tries to use only one or two syllables.

Another way to understand Catholic relics

I just thought of an analogy for better understanding the uniquely Catholic reverence for the relics of saints.

Everyone knows someone, or has read about, who has lost a loved one in a tragedy, especially a child, and who as a result leaves their bedroom and things untouched. We know people who in their grief, especially parents, leave the very clothes the child last wore and held laying on the bed, in the closet, and all their things and furnishings as they were when they died. I know of fathers who still hug the clothes of their child who has passed, smelling the fragrance of their baby who grew up and left the world too soon in tragedy.

Catholics likewise have a love and attachment of comfort in their grief for the remains and furnishings of the saints. But with Catholics the aroma of comfort they "smell" is the fragrance of sanctity. Catholics venerate the remains of the saints because they love and long for what they cannot physically touch, because it is with God, but can "smell" because of the abundance of grace that was in that saint when he or she lived, and memories remain to give one strength. So just as the grieving parent is not worshipping their child's furnishings in an idolatrous way, but drawing sweet yet painful comfort from their clothes and room, so are Catholics not worshipping the relics of the saint, so much as they are pressing themselves against the containers that once held so much grace from God that it still resonates with that aroma of sanctity today, as they seek comfort from the hurts and uncertainties of life's hardships.

I hope this helps to better understand.

When a few years ago I kissed a relic of St. Francis I thought, "Old friend," with affection. I tapped my Franciscan rosary to the glass front of the reliquary with the same thoughts, so when I look at that rosary I think with fondness of him. I have it set aside in my "Catholic first aid kit," ha, not because I now think it is loaded with supernatural power, as it certainly does not work like that, but because if someone should ever need to "feel" the faith I can tell them that story and let them hold the rosary. The reason miracles do occur in connection with relics is entirely of God's will and is connected to the person's recognition of grace at work.

Smoking weed advice

Marijuana is not harmless. I'm not going to go into all the reasons why since I'm trying to focus my blogging on quick and effective remedies to problems. But I must reiterate that weed is an incredible problem and is to account for much of the lack of physical and emotional balance that has impacted the most recent two generations. Even casual use is a problem because it alters brain chemistry in a way that is counterproductive to maintaining realistic balance in one's life and, like child pornography, it is not a victimless crime as you support drug dealers and producers with every purchase. I wrote a long posting about this from a moral "what's God likely to do about it when he judges you" perspective a while ago so I won't cover the same material. Here I want to tell you about some healthier thought processes.

Most of you are too young to remember your grandfather's generation and what they went through when they wanted to quit cigarette smoking. This was before patches and other chemical or therapy options. Most of them just had to decide to quit cold turkey. My mother quit smoking that way, after she drove into a ditch in a snowstorm because she "had" to have another pack of cigarettes. She never smoked that pack or any other from that tow truck day onward, and the pack sat in the living room like a deer antler trophy ha ha. But here's a little history. What did work was the men and women who wanted to quit smoking set up a money jar. Every time they wanted a cigarette, they would put into the money jar how much they would have spent on that part of the pack of cigarettes. So instead of smoking they put the money they would have spent on smoking into the jar. A lot of people quit that way. That money was a real motivator because this was the time before credit cards. People used to save up in a jar like $25 at a time and it really meant something. It either went into the bank account or it was saved up for a major family purchase.

Now I know that in our credit card society this might not be a real motivator to someone who smokes pot, and puts the money in the jar instead of having the blunt. However, this is the new and more accurate way of thinking that I want you to consider. The money that you are putting into that jar when you don't smoke is not going to a drug dealer, even if he is your local pal, because up the chain it ends up in the pocket of the cartels and the big dealers who have caused so much harm worldwide. Every time you do not give a dollar to someone selling pot, you are depriving the drug pushers of what you can think of "as a share of common stock" in their drug dealing company. You have that money to reinvest in "a share of common stock in life," for yourself, your family, or the community. What if you stopped smoking pot and gave the money you saved to a soup kitchen instead? Or to one of the international agencies who help poor farmers overseas to plant food crops instead of harvesting drugs? So it occurred to me to share this old fashioned way that many of our grandfathers and parents quit smoking, so they could have Christmas Club money, or an addition on the house, or clothes for their kids, that otherwise they would have burned up in financing their cigarette habit. You should use the same inspiration for giving up smoking weed, assuming any of my readers are still insane and unbalanced enough to still be doing so despite my many warnings and example setting about using no substance at all, period. Bring back the money jars and stop giving money to drug dealers. Buy "shares" in yourself, your family, your friends, your community, and even the global community by spending the ex-dope money on real goods and generous services.

I hope this helps. Sometimes the old folks really knew what they were doing, and I'm just trying to share the best of what worked for them so that you all can also benefit from their experience and wisdom. Hmm.