Saturday, November 12, 2005 - Health - Owner Says Dog Found Her Cancer - Health - Owner Says Dog Found Her Cancer:
"Withers said her dog, Myles, was not afraid to speak up when he thought something was wrong. He did it over and over again to her, reported WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.

'He would jump up and forcefully put his nose right into my arm area, and he would be flipping my arm up, and he would jab me toward my breast and underneath my arm,' Withers said. 'Then he would bark and bark in a frantic-sounding way.'

After six weeks of this routine, Withers began to wonder if something was wrong.

'I started feeling around, and I felt this bead. It felt like a pearl, like a hard pearl, and so it alarmed me,' Withers said. 'A day or so later, I went to have a mammogram and I was diagnosed with breast cancer.'"

Meditation associated with increased grey matter in the brain

Meditation associated with increased grey matter in the brain:
"Meditation is known to alter resting brain patterns, suggesting long lasting brain changes, but a new study by researchers from Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows meditation also is associated with increased cortical thickness.

The structural changes were found in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing, the researchers report in the November issue of NeuroReport.

...Magnetic resonance imaging showed that regular practice of meditation is associated with increased thickness in a subset of cortical regions related to sensory, auditory, visual and internal perception, such as heart rate or breathing. The researchers also found that regular meditation practice may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex.

'Most of the regions identified in this study were found in the right hemisphere,' the researchers said. 'The right hemisphere is essential for sustaining attention, which is a central practice of Insight meditation.'

They said other forms of yoga and meditation likely have a similar impact on cortical structure, although each tradition would be expected to have a slightly different pattern of cortical thickening based on the specific mental exercises involved."

We're the good guys, right? When did that start to mean we're just not as bad as the other guys?

Buffalo News - A betrayal of our most precious values:
"Well, I guess that settles that.

'We do not torture,' President Bush said on Monday. Never mind all those torture pictures from Abu Ghraib. Never mind all those torture stories from Guantanamo Bay. Never mind the 2002 Justice Department memo that sought to justify torture. Never mind reports of U.S. officials sending detainees to other countries for torture. Never mind Dick Cheney lobbying to exempt the CIA from rules prohibiting torture.

'We do not torture,' said the president. And that's that, right? I mean, if you can't believe the Bush administration, who can you believe? No torture. Period, end of sentence."

The New Testament, by Warren Ellis

"I have just noticed that Christmas approaches again. The time of buying stuff. To celebrate the birth of a fine Jewish politician and revolutionary of the First Century who faked his own death and had it away on his toes when the hammer of the occupational forces in the Middle East came down. If that all happened today, churches would feature stained glass windows depicting Jesus with a hood over his head and electrodes attached to his testicles.

And then Donald Rumsfeld could have an epileptic fit on the road to Damascus, declare it a revelatory vision, and start wearing a dress.

Who wouldn't pay money for that?

Love me now."

Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument

Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument:
"President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

Neither assertion is wholly accurate.

...Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.

...Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE. And even the doubts expressed in the NIE could not be used publicly by members of Congress because the classified information had not been cleared for release. For example, the NIE view that Hussein would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or turn them over to terrorists unless backed into a corner was cleared for public use only a day before the Senate vote.

The lawmakers are partly to blame for their ignorance. Congress was entitled to view the 92-page National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq before the October 2002 vote. But, as The Washington Post reported last year, no more than six senators and a handful of House members read beyond the five-page executive summary...."

Our Stories, Our Labels, Our Lives - Pop Occulture

Our Stories, Our Labels, Our Lives - Pop Occulture:
"I tend to think that by default we label things. People seem to be, naturally, organizing/pattern-id’ing/label making types.

I think most folks would benefit from moving away from labels, as a general - extremely general - rule. Having done that, like a lot of folks who get into metaphysics do, then you can look back and see where using labels can be advantageous…"

The historical truths about Xmas would kill most deluded Christians. Those that don't worship Santa Claus anyways...

News Briefs 11-11-2005 | TDG - Science, Magick, Myth and History:
"Too early to say whether it'll be a tempest-in-a-teapot or a firestorm, but Wal-Mart is now facing a boycott for 'banning Christmas'. Adding insult to injury, a Wal-Mart email says 'christmas' is rooted in Siberian shamanism, and that the traditional 'christmas' colors of red and white are a representation of the amanita muscaria mushroom."

Trust in your government, for they will find ways to kill you, even decades later...

Duluth News Tribune | 11/07/2005 | Chemical weapons dumped in oceans:
"In the summer of 2004, a clam-dredging operation off New Jersey pulled up an old artillery shell.

The long-submerged World War I-era explosive was filled with a black tarlike substance.

Bomb disposal technicians from Dover Air Force Base, Del., were brought in to dismantle it. Three of them were injured -- one hospitalized with large pus-filled blisters on an arm and hand.

The shell was filled with mustard gas in solid form.

What was long feared by the few military officials in the know had come to pass: Chemical weapons that the Army dumped at sea decades ago finally ended up on shore in the United States.

It has long been known that some chemical weapons went into the ocean, but records show that the previously classified weapons-dumping program was far more extensive than ever suspected.

The Army now admits that it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard agents into the sea, along with 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and rockets and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste -- either tossed overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels..."

Friday, November 11, 2005

12 Step Guide To Keeping Proper Perspective

Head Wide Open: 12 Step Guide To Keeping Proper Perspective:
"1. READ THE PAPER and realize how miniscule your problems really are in the scheme of things. This will provoke simulaneous feelings of relief and depression, which should balance each other out enough to create an approximation of normalcy.
2. LOOK AROUND AT A CROWD OF PEOPLE and realize you're not the ugliest or stupidest one in it. If by chance you actually are, go to downtown Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Oshawa or Hamilton and repeat this step.
3. WATCH RAP VIDEOS and realize that no matter how stupid you may look, sound or feel, if you wear it with confidence people won't question it.
4. LOOK AT THAT PAINTING OF A SKULL THAT SAYS 'ALL IS VANITY.' That shit really makes you think.
5. OBSERVE THE MONKEYS AT THE ZOO and realize sometimes happiness requires taking a few steps backwards on the evolutionary scale.
6. TALK TO ANY VAPID, WESTERNIZED CHILD OF POOR, PERSECUTED IMMIGRANTS and realize how quickly and quietly history can be overcome.
7. SLAP YOURSELF IN THE FACE and realize that, hey, it hurts for a little bit but rejection doesn't leave a mark.
8. GO TO THE BEACH and swim as far from shore as possible. Look at how dry and depressing the surface world looks and reflect on how God must feel.
9. READ NIETZSCHE and realize that no matter how brilliant you think your cynical observations are, you're just going to end up going crazy at the sight of a man beating a horse and have your legacy exploited by your sister to support the Nazis.
10. PAINT YOUR FACE BLACK and go out in public. Count the number of dirty looks you get and realize racism is alive and well.
11. LAUGH AT YOURSELF because it's the only joke you'll ever really get.
12. SLEEP IT OFF and see how you feel in the morning."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Disinformation :: The End of Suburbia

Just caught this last night... sobering.

Disinformation :: The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion & The Collapse Of The American Dream:
"'Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too the suburban way of life ha become embedded in the American consciousness. Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.

'But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, 'The End of Suburbia' explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. The world oil peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary. The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does the Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia?'"

Wired News: Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die

Wired News: Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die:
"...My expectations have been raised to this ridiculous level by technology running amok through my heretofore-bucolic existence. I used to be a laid-back guy. Now I'm impatient. I chafe. I get irritable when my gratification isn't instantaneous. And it isn't just me. The whole world is bitchier these days.

I'm old enough to remember when waiting a few days for a letter to arrive was standard operating procedure, even in the bare-knuckles business world. I recall a time without answering machines, when you just had to keep calling back on your rotary phone until someone picked up. (Which had the unintended benefit of allowing you to reconsider whether the original call was even worth making in the first place.) The world moved at a more leisurely pace and, humanistically speaking, we were all the better for it.

Just because technology makes it possible for us to work 10 times faster than we used to doesn't mean we should do it. The body may be able to withstand the strain -- for a while -- but the spirit isn't meant to flail away uselessly on the commercial gerbil wheel. The boys in corporate don't want you to hear this because the more they can suck out of you, the lower their costs and the higher their profit margin. And profit is god, after all. (Genuflect here, if you must.)

But what's good for them isn't necessarily good for you, no matter how much filthy lucre they throw your way.

Civilization took a definite nose dive when the merchant princes grew ascendant at the expense of the artists and thinkers; when the notion of liberté, égalité, fraternité gave way to "I've got mine; screw you" (an attitude that existed in Voltaire's day, too, you might recall, with unfortunate results for the blue bloods). In the Big Picture, the dead white guys -- Rousseau, Thoreau, Mill -- cared a lot more about your well-being than the live ones like Gates or Jobs or Ellison ever will.

But stock-market capitalism is today's coin of the realm, consumerism its handmaiden, and technology is the great enabler. You think technology benefits you because it gives you an easier row to hoe? Bollocks. The ease it provides is illusory. It has trapped you, made you a slave to things you don't even need but suddenly can't live without. So you rot in a cubicle trying to get the money to get the stuff, when you should be out walking in a meadow or wooing a lover or writing a song.

Utopian claptrap, you sneer. So you put nose to grindstone, your life ebbing as you accumulate ... what?"

The Power of Labels - Pop Occulture

The Power of Labels - Pop Occulture:
"I tend to eschew and avoid the whole “label” thing since I kinda recognized the label isn’t the thing, [the map is not the territory], etc. Effort made in choosing and fulfilling the expectations of any label would seem, to me, to be a wasted effort… Peace might be impossible without certitude [unless one makes peace with the fact that nothing can be certain] but false certitude to achieve peace rings hollow."

"My way of joking is to tell the truth. That's the funniest joke in the world." - Muhammad Ali

At the White House, Prizes for 14 Champs:
"Bush, who appeared almost playful, fastened the heavy medal around Muhammad Ali's neck and whispered something in the heavyweight champion's ear. Then, as if to say 'bring it on,' the president put up his dukes in a mock challenge. Ali, 63, who has Parkinson's disease and moves slowly, looked the president in the eye -- and, finger to head, did the 'crazy' twirl for a couple of seconds.

The room of about 200, including Cabinet secretaries, tittered with laughter. Ali, who was then escorted back to his chair, made the twirl again while sitting down. And the president looked visibly taken aback, laughing nervously.

Was Ali making a political statement? In his remarks about the fighter, Bush mentioned the Olympic gold medal, the grit, "the Ali shuffle, the lightning jabs . . . the sheer guts and determination he brought to every fight." He did not mention Ali's very public opposition to the Vietnam War, which led the prizefighter to lose his boxing license for three years when he refused to serve in the Army.

Or was the boxing legend living up to another trait the president noted, his penchant for psyching out the challenger?"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Praise Jesus!

SoMA Review - Betraying Jesus - Jim Wallis:
"...Assembled for the meeting were theologians, pastors, priests, nuns, and lay church leaders. At one point a Native American stood up, looked out over the mostly white audience, and said, “Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are materialists with no experience of the Spirit. Regardless of what the New Testament says, most Christians are individualists with no real experience of community.” He paused for a moment and then continued: “Let’s pretend that you were all Christians. If you were Christians, you would no longer accumulate. You would share everything you had. You would actually love one another. And you would treat each other as if you were family.” His eyes were piercing as he asked, “Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you live that way?”

There was more sophisticated theological and political analysis per square foot in that room than most places. Yet no one could give an answer to the man’s questions. He had put his finger on the central problem we face in the churches today. Our Scriptures, confessions, and creeds are all very public, out in the open. Anyone can easily learn what it is supposed to mean to be a Christian. Our Bible is open to public examination; so is the church’s life. That is our prob¬lem. People can read what our Scriptures say, and they can see how Christians live. The gulf between the two has created an enormous credibility gap..."

Find the others...

Noble Realms: Leaving the Baggage at the Curb:
"Many people involved in researching the “woo woo” topics are leading two lives – they have their mainstream “normal” friends, family and significant others, and then they have their conspiracy / metaphysical research and email / message board buddies on the side. And ne’er the two shall meet.

Some people can co-exist comfortably with a foot in both doors; others however, cannot. Spending time with friends and family who are fully inserted into “the matrix” as it can be called, becomes a tedious, mind numbing energy draining distraction for many. When you’re aware of higher truths, how do reconcile discussing sports scores, television shows, petty gossip and the latest hot and trendy vehicle to trade in the lease for? A lot of people will suffer through “matrix” conversation of this type though, while secretly feeling like they just want to go and bang their head against a wall!"

"Create something better"

Noble Realms: Alternative “News” Sites, or, How to herd a very large group of people onto the worst probable future timeline:
"Many people reading this are probably very familiar with alternative news sites such as Jeff Rense, Alex Jones, the David Icke headlines page, Signs of the Times, What Really Happened, etc. and so on. These websites keep close tabs on what’s supposedly really transpiring in our world, the stories that the mainstream media is either reluctant to report, or flat out won’t touch with a ten foot pole.

At some point, I avidly followed all of the above mentioned sites, as well as a few others... Every day I was visiting the alternative news media headlines pages, absorbing all the conspiracy headline stories. My bookshelves filled with the new books I was buying on all these subjects. I had binders filled with all the articles I’d printed out. My mind was like a sponge, and I couldn’t get enough.

The negative aspect of it all didn’t register right away. The Rense site was by far the worst for me, always packing a huge punch in the gut with stories I could do nothing about. Injustice to people and innocent animals, environmental destruction and annihilation, happening all around the world, every day. More corrupt politicians, lying. More of the illusion, going up in flames right in front of our faces. Each travesty would generate an intense emotional reaction within me from where I sat in front of my computer, helpless to stop any of it. But at least I was being informed. I was aware of the truth. I was not the blissfully ignorant mass public in the sheep pen. . . and ultimately, that’s all that mattered, right? Never mind the negativity!

...For some people though, they never know when to quit. They’re currently having their mental breakdown with this material. . . but keep going with it, and going, and going and going. They post on message boards, full of anger and rage about this country’s situation, and the way the world is going up in flames. Everything is wrong and ugly to them, everybody is corrupt, we’re all going to hell in a hand basket. There’s no hope. different from their “enemies”, the mainstream media. One is supposedly feeding us lies, and one is supposedly giving us the truth, but when they’re both intensely negative and serve the same... fear-frequency purpose, then really, what’s the difference?

...There’s yet another conspiracy story about the NWO, the internment camps, the roundups, the “red and blue list”. Which list will YOU be on, hm? Do they already know about you? Are they monitoring your phone calls and emails? Keeping tabs on which websites you visit, which message boards you post to? There’s another story about foreign militias training on U.S. soil, preparing to take us over. Another story about the boxcars and checkpoints fashioned out of former toll booths in the New Mexican desert. More stories about micro chipping, and how eventually, we will all be forced to take the chip, or else. More stories about the sinister purposes of chemtrails, designed to annihilate half the world’s population. Get rid of the peasants you know, so the world’s elite can have the planet all to themselves. More stories about man made laboratory biowarfare, released onto the helpless population.

And there’s nothing you can do about ANY of it. It’s all bigger than you, out of your hands, and you are a helpless bit of cattle property, at the mercy of everything and anything that’s bigger and badder than you in this world. They can kill you, maim you, and make you sick if you want…

…or, so these stories would like you to subtly believe.

When you’re reading this stuff, what eventually happens?

You begin to absorb that covert message just outlined above, the one about being a powerless, helpless victim at the mercy of everything bigger than you. And more importantly, you begin to envision these scenarios as your future. In fact, you spend an awful lot of time envisioning this particular doomsday scenario NWO take-over, half the world decimated by Bird Flu H5N1 / human flu / SARS / West Nile Virus / epidemic of the moment fill in the blank, future that these websites keep feeding us. Every day you’re reading it, and in doing so, you’re programming your mind to accept this as reality. . . the only reality. . . that lies in store for us. These websites constantly churn out the same horrific doomsday scenario future headlines day after day after day after day, under the guise of revealing the truth, getting us informed, etc. . . . but what they’re also covertly accomplishing is a form of mind control programming. The very thing they rail against, ironically enough. Kind of poetic when you think about it.

Don’t get me wrong – these stories do have legitimacy, in my opinion. Many of what these websites are reporting is happening, or at least, is the intended plan of some nefarious groups that run things on this planet. And it’s good to be informed, and many of us need these stories to help catalyze us into “waking up from the illusion.” But the fact is, what these news sites and conspiracy authors either don’t know or purposely don’t tell us is that:

1.The future is not set in stone. Time is not linear, which means there are multi probable timelines out there where we could wind up;

2.There are still way too many variables to factor into the equation, which can – and will – prevent many of these things from ever happening on certain timelines, and. . .

3.. . . the fact that there are various probable timelines to choose from means you don’t have to wind up on the negative doomsday timeline being fed to us.

Just because they tell us something, doesn’t mean that’s how it has to go. Remember that. And just because they’re giving us the “truth” that the mainstream media won’t talk about doesn’t mean we’re getting the entire “Bigger Picture.” The one thing that most of these news sites and conpiracy doomsday authors lack is the spiritual bigger picture.

Something that needs to be emphasized here, and which more people need to realize, is that we have a say in everything that happens to us, and we can control our own future... It’s the very thing that “The Powers That Be” have continually tried to hide from us and prevent us from knowing. Everything about mainstream society is designed to disempower us at every turn. The rules, laws, authority, control, religion, school, mainstream health practices, everything, it’s all about taking away our personal power and trying to prevent the majority from ever learning the truth: That we have the ability to manifest what we need, heal and cure ourselves from ailments, and, through thoughts, personal frequency and intent, can affect which probable future timeline we wind up on, based on where we choose to align ourselves.

...If you choose to inundate yourself with fear-based, anxiety generating, doomsday scenario gloom and doom material, you’re putting your focus on that, and are inadvertently aligning yourself to it. As a result, you just may wind up in that future.

If, on the other hand, you declare, “No. I don’t want that,” and begin forging a new path for yourself, then you’ll most likely find yourself in a much better future than you would have otherwise. Forging a new path requires making a conscious effort to align to a new way of being and move on to the next level. So once this material has shown you what’s really happening out there in the world, versus what the mainstream media feeds us, recognize when it has served its purpose and use the information to help you get to the next level. What good is the material after all, if you don’t put it to use and do something with what you know? You don’t want to stagnate, going in endless circles. You want to move forward, and make progress. You want to search for solutions, and create a better way.

So what is this next level I keep mentioning?

It goes by many names, and there are many beliefs surrounding what “the next level” is beyond the 3rd density illusion, but whatever you believe, or choose to call it, it does exist. “Spiraling Out.” “The shift to 4th density.” “Personal freedom”, in the vain of the Toltec warrior’s path. Merging with your Higher Self – my personal favorite! :)

It’s not everybody’s destiny to strive for it; for many, they will be content to just live out their lives and die, which is fine. But for others, that’s not enough. They know they can achieve more, and that there’s something else out there beyond all of this, a better way to be than what we’re all shown in the mainstream world.

Keep in mind too that turning your back on the doomsday scenario material to strive for the next level doesn’t mean burying your head in the sand. This may be a common misconception for many reading this, that I’m possibly advocating being ignorant and covering your eyes and plugging your ears and saying “lalala! I can’t hear you! I don’t see you!” It’s not willful ignorance – it’s about a conscious choice. It’s about directing your intent for where you’d like to wind up, and what sort of future you’d like for yourself.

...Like I’ve written before, whenever we’re given two choices in life, it always means there is a third, or more, choice that we are not being shown. It’s never black and white, yes and no, good and bad, liberal or conservative, and so on. If you mistakenly believe that it’s a choice between the negative doomsday “truth” or blissful sheep pen ignorance, realize that it’s about neither. It’s about awareness, and using what you’ve learned and know to create something better."

Attitude 101

Noble Realms: Ad Astra Per Aspera:
"It is easy to get frustrated at certain people’s utter lack of awareness, level of complacency, and gullibility concerning the lies propagated through media and public education. Of these, a majority appear to be as conscious as rocks and are entirely deaf to reason. At least half the planetary population falls into this category. They will never awaken because there is nothing within them to awaken.

Some of us have been naive in thinking that anyone can be “shown the light” if only given the right opportunities.

The fact of the matter is that there are those who have a potential affinity for truth and those who do not. Meeting resistance and ridicule from the latter will only be discouraging if one falsely assumes such ignorance is characteristic of all people. One can quickly become cynical this way.

But now is not the time for cynicism. We have entered a critical phase of the end game where attitude is everything. To banish cynicism and frustration, turn your attention away from the dead and give your energy to the living. Cursing the darkness is less productive than lighting a candle. Which you prefer defines your attitude.

What is your attitude toward hardship? Does it bring out fear, victimization, hatred, despair, complacency? Or does it strengthen your resolve to break through the barrier into a better reality?

...Whether this journey is an exciting adventure or a death march is up to you and depends entirely upon your attitude. Hold on to the heaven within and you will get there. Succumb to hell within and you will stay there."

Joss Whedon is my Master now...

"Finally giving legs to persistent rumors about a “Season 8” of Buffy coming in comic form as well as giving hope to fans who thought they'd never see the crew of Serenity again, Joss Whedon today posted a message at about his upcoming workload...

Whedon posted:

“And now on to the rumors and allegations section. Many of you want to know what the future holds. Anxiety, hurricanes, and Male Pattern Baldness. But maybe also some art-stuff, which is really what you guys are into. No, I don't know anything about sequels, or spinoffs, or Nathan's President for Life gig. I'll keep my ear to the ground of course, but for now I'm just going to rest on my laurels (I have two). Oh! Oh! But I will tell you that Brett and I are talking about another three part comic, and it's gonna be a hoot. Takes place during the show, and has some sweet character deaths -- I mean moments! ('And what brings you to our ship, FutureTara..?') Sorry. Horrible taste. (Empty inside!) But wait'll you see the cover...

“Speaking of Dark Horse Comics, they are starting a new Buffy comic, and as I understand it, it will take place after the end of Buffy and Angel and be canon in the Buffy world. And I understand it that way 'cause I'M WRITING IT. I'm kicking off the book with a four issue arc that finds Buffy -- you guessed it -- living in Italy with The Immortal. (Scott [Allie] -- don't be mad I spoiled the announcement -- saying it means I have to finish it.) Then I'll be overseeing the book more closely, to make sure it remains true. Gonna be interesting. And it just might tie in to...

“The infamous Spike movie. Still haven't finalized anything, but I feel that very soon I'll be able to go to James and say something a lot more interesting than 'Wouldn't it be cool if...' 'Course, I just hope he's free some time this decade. See how my peeps is all actifying!...

“See, the Buffyverse glows in my brain with a new, overreaching arc that will include the comics, Spike, and more. It's taking shape and soon you will know its name. And you will tremble.

...“Well, I certainly can't say much more, except that Wonder Woman is finally kicking ass that is not my ass, as in, I'm loving this script. She's saving the world in a tiara, people; this is why there's a me!”"

How to Avoid Responsibilities

Anxiety Culture: How to Avoid Responsibilities:
" the time we become adults, our avoidance and evasion skills are badly under-developed. When we finally get high blood pressure or ulcers, we need to drop social duties and quit work, but nothing in our upbringing tells us how to make this escape.

...A mind that sees “avoiding responsibility” as cowardly and dishonourable will never achieve full relaxation (ie letting go of all concerns). It’s impossible to be duty-bound and happy at the same time, which is why those who obey social commandments usually look unsatisfied."


Anxiety Culture: How to Stop Worrying:
"...Once acquired, the habit of worrying seems hard to stop. We're raised to worry and aren't considered 'grown up' until we perfect the art. Teenagers are told: 'you'd better start worrying about your future'. If your worries aren't at least as frequent as your bowel movements, you're seen as irresponsible, childish, aimless. That's a 'responsible adult' game rule.

To the extent that worrying is learned/conditioned behaviour, it can be undone. There are psychological gimmicks for undoing the worry habit. There are also obstacles.

Obstacle 1: Happiness Negation

Centuries-old cultural conditioning has given us a nasty neurosis: the belief that happiness must be 'earned'. It can be 'earned' only by enduring unpleasantness (eg work, pain, misery). But how do you know if you've endured enough unpleasantness to deserve happiness? Another unspoken game rule: 'responsible adults' can never endure enough unpleasantness to truly deserve happiness.

Laid on top of the first neurosis is the idea that spending money will make you happy. This is toffee coating on a bad puritan apple. If you spend enough money to give you the (advertised) conditions for happiness, the neurosis emerges in the form of apparently random worries, guilt, 'feeling shitty', etc. Worrying is the easiest and most popular way to negate happiness.

So: we never stop working, we never stop spending money, we're never really happy – ideal conditions, coincidentally, for a certain type of slave economy.

Obstacle 2: The Idea that Worrying Serves a "Purpose"

You won't stop worrying if you think it serves you. So it's a good idea to distinguish the fight-or-flight response (a healthy bodily reaction to immediate danger) from worry (a psychological problem). By making this distinction, you're less likely to overrate the value of worrying.

...Worrying is never useful. It handicaps and diminishes us. The more it triggers the FOF with imagined threats, the more it prevents clear thinking (which is probably our greatest survival asset)."

"You can't be all that you can be if you're dead"

Woody Harrelson and Laura Louie's VoiceYourself:
"Warwick – If creating a buzz is rule No. 1 in advertising, then an anonymous Warwick Valley High School sophomore has a bright future.

Set on a backdrop of neat rows of tombstones, a full-page ad in October's The Survey, Warwick Valley High School's monthly student-run newspaper, reads:

'You can't be all that you can be if you're dead. There are other ways to serve your country. There are other ways to get money for college. There are other ways to be all you can be.

THINK ABOUT IT. Before you sign your life away.'

The ad was created and paid for by a Warwick student who is a member of the Bruderhof community, a Christian-based communal order in Sugar Loaf that preaches pacifism. And since appearing last week, the ad has sparked controversy in the school district and the community and provoked lively First Amendment debates among students and teachers in the classroom.

The ad was approved by the school's journalism teacher and faculty adviser for The Survey, Denise Markt, and Randy Barbarash, the school's principal.

'I knew the ad would be controversial, but we felt it had a place in our publication as a matter of free speech,' Barbarash said. 'It has definitely been the source of some lively discussion in the classrooms.'"

Evil Is So Damned Boring

Evil Is So Damned Boring:
"...Which is to say, sure, we all love the drama of evil and we love the spectacle of evil and the media (and this very column) can beat the drum of evil's bloody lusciousness until we're red with yawning outrage, but after a while one thing becomes painfully true: We are not moved. We are not really all that scared. We might as well be shaking a fistful of sand: After a minute or two, there's just ain't nuthin' there.

But still we think there is. We are temporarily convinced. Because on one level, these people appear enormously important and significant, their every blink and utterance worthy of report (I should know -- I report it all the time), and hence we glorify and hype them all, these killers and these madmen and these hollow politicos as if they were hot roaring gods among men, as if they were something more than mere bloody blips on the cosmic radar, as if their daily comings and goings were the most breathtaking incidents since UFO anal probes.

But the fact is, they are nothing. Wisps. Yawns. Cosmic flatulence. It is the great existential duality of modern humanity. On one level, we have to care. It is, after all, our world, our life, the here and now, and we should pay attention to its clowns and dictators and devils, and take note and participate. But on that other, more significant level, you cannot help but scream, Oh my God please stop, I am just so sick of these cretins and who really cares about these hatemongers and thieves and can't I just have my wine and sex and books and won't they please just leave me alone?

...Look. You want evil? Groupthink is evil. Mediocrity is evil. Hopelessness is evil. Decision by committee is evil. Glittery kitten sweaters are evil. Loveless marriage is evil. McDonald's marketing is evil. Spiritual homogeny is evil. Family sitcoms. Microsoft Windows. Disney cruises. Food poisoning. Yeast infections. Cruelty.

As for the rest, these warmongers and power sluts, well, theirs is merely an evil bred of ignorance and gurgling ego and impotent weeping in the night. Theirs is an evil so lukewarm and spongy it makes you recoil and shudder as if you accidentally touched a raw calf's tongue at the Japanese market. Hell, I can find better, more gut-wrenching evil in the Wal-Mart music aisle under "Simpson, Ashlee." The others, they're just the same ol' boring noisemakers howling into the Void. "

Caught in the orbit of 'Mars' [Veronica Mars, that is...] Caught in the orbit of 'Mars':
"It started innocently enough: Joss Whedon had just watched what he calls 'a Veronica Marsathon' and he couldn't help himself as he sent his love for UPN's 'Veronica Mars' out in cyberspace via his website,

'I can no longer restrain myself. Best. Show. Ever,' posted Whedon, known in the TV universe as the king of cult for creating one-of-a-kind shows — 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' 'Angel' and even the canceled 'Firefly,' which led to the feature film 'Serenity.' 'Seriously, I've never gotten more wrapped up in a show I wasn't making, and maybe even more than those,' he wrote. 'Crazy crisp dialogue. Incredibly tight plotting. Big emotion, I mean BIG, and charismatic actors and I was just DYING from the mystery and the relationships and PAIN, this show knows from pain and no, I don't care, laugh all you want, I had to share this. These guys know what they're doing on a level that intimidates me. It's the Harry Potter of shows. There. I said it.'

...The mystery-drama about a teen sleuth who was dealt a series of tough blows (her alcoholic mother abandoned her, she was date-raped, her best friend was killed) and overcomes them, in part, by helping her private investigator father, was doing better this season, but could clearly use a ratings stunt. So, this being Hollywood, it wasn't long before Whedon got an offer from creator Rob Thomas and executive producer Joel Silver to make his TV debut in an episode of the show.

..."We're both sort of writing in the 'Heathers' school of stylized teen dialogue, pretty quippy and bantery," Thomas said. "We both imposed metaphors on a high school setting. He did high school as a horror show, and we're doing high school as a noir piece. In our own ways, we re-imagined high school to fit a distinct style of storytelling.""

The Goverment We Deserve? - Pop Occulture

The Goverment We Deserve? - Pop Occulture:
"...To boil this all down, our government is built on layers and layers of people lying to their bosses and their bosses and their bosses, and so on. And at the bottom of the pyramid is us lying to the government, on forms, on taxes, whatever examples you want to use. Anyway this raises what I think is a great question: if Wilson is right, that our government is basically a hierarchy of people lying to one another, then are we getting the government we deserve? In other words, do our small lies snowball and snowball into bigger and bigger lies until people end up in secret prisons, and countries get taken over? If everybody in the hierarchy suddenly began being totally honest and open, would all the darkness dissolve? Would you stop lying to everybody everywhere at all times if this were the case, if total brutal honesty were the price of freedom and perfection?"

Catholic Space Aliens say "Yay God!". Or something like that...

CNS STORY: Do space aliens have souls? Inquiring minds can check Jesuit's book:
"Brother Consolmagno said the Bible is also replete with references to or descriptions of 'nonhuman intelligent beings' who worship God. For example, he said the Scriptures talk about angels, 'sons of God' who took human wives, and 'heavenly beings' that 'shouted for joy' when God created the earth.

...Through the British-based Catholic Truth Society, U.S. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno has penned his response to what he says are questions he gets from the public "all the time" when he gives talks on his work with the Vatican Observatory.

Titled "Intelligent Life in the Universe? Catholic Belief and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life," the pocket-sized booklet is the latest addition to the society's "Explanations Series," which explores Catholic teaching on current social and ethical issues. "

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


So, apparently, my immune system currently hates me.

Gaze deeply into the abyss and view my very swollen throat, words having been reduced to a raspy whisper. Like broken glass mixed with sandpaper. And the occasional expunging of gray green ooze that can only be generously described as phlegm from hell.

Nice visual, yes?

Picked up a nasty cold last week... bit of fever, congestion, head and body ache, one lovely night of sweats and chills. Took a sick day on Friday. Passed mostly over the weekend and felt decent enough on Monday to head back to work. But a day at elementary school amongst the loud throngs of the midget-children reduced my voice to a sad croak a the end of the day.

Took a sick day yesterday, but still this AM had no voice to speak of. Was gonna hold off on heading to the hospital, but given the nagging... errrrr... concern shown by my better half, went instead today. Which is actually good, as it frees her up to spend more time with her parents tomorrow instead of hanging about and helping cart me off to the clinic tomorrow.

So a clinic call took about an hour and I departed with an assortment of pills, powders, gargles and potions designed to return me to form.

All of which, btw, cost 12 bucks American. Hospital visit + about 50-odd pills/powders...

Score one for commie-style socialized medicine.

Plus orders "not to use my voice" for a few days. Bit of kink being an English teacher and all. Oh well, worse things than being stuck at home watching vids and pissing about online I guess... Can't stand being sick though.

But it should all be back to normal soon enough...

Unless of course it's that damn bird flu.

Those avian bastards.

"I'm gonna go find a white person and lie to them right now."

"Jesus is Black, Ronald Reagan is the devil and the government is lying about 9/11."

The Boondocks, on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, is brilliant.

Fell out laughing.

Go watch.


Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 10AM Chris Back from Vacation

Overheard in the Office: The Voice of the Cubicle - 10AM Chris Back from Vacation:
"10AM Chris Back from Vacation

Exec: I was in this fabulous hotel in Banff, in Alberta. And these Japanese businessmen were there too, and you know, the Japanese are so...what's the word? Xenophobic. These Japanese businessmen come walking down the hall, seven abreast, as though everyone should just natrually get out of their way. So I just clipped the guy on the shoulder and spun him around. And he looked at me with this look and I said, 'Hey, pal; welcome to America.' Actually, it was Canada, but same difference.

2000 Westchester Avenue
Purchase, New York"

"I have no coherent political views of my own. The only thing that makes me special is that I’m aware of it."

The Dilbert Blog: Weasel Poll Results:
"Behold the winners of the 2005 Weasel Poll on

...President Bush was a landslide winner for the Weaseliest Individual...

The biggest surprise to me was in the Weaseliest Behavior category where gas gouging lost out to Advocating the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools...

The United States (including Iraq) won again this year as Most Weasely Country. But by next year, Iraq will be a thriving democracy and all of the bad feelings will be a distant memory. I am confident that our efforts in Iraq will work because we’re employing a clever strategy that comedian Larry Miller describes as “driving around until people shoot at us.” How could that NOT work?"

Generation Hex

Generation Hex:
"Magick, like Science, is a way of looking at the world. Science analyzes the mechanisms underlying material phenomena. Magick gives meaning and context to human experience. The former seeks objectivity, the latter celebrates subjectivity. Both are equally valid and are not mutually exclusive. Science can explain the metabolic details of senescence, can determine the trajectory of the bullet and what it did to the skull and brain upon impact. But it can't provide any meaningful reason that a loved one was taken from life in such a way. Nor should it. This is the domain of spirit and soul. Of living magick.

...We live bathed in a sea of memories, images, thoughts, and dreams, all woven together into the ceaseless Now. Our internal maps of the world are linguistic constructs built upon subjectivity. There may be a fundamental Reality out there but if there is, we'll never know it by anything other than inference.

...The relentless curse of the ego insists that life is binary and logical, yet the practical experience of living in the world betrays this assumption. Chemistry is logical. Mathematics are usually rational. Weather is neither. Nor are quantum mechanics and the physics of light, to say nothing of human emotion, intuition, imagination, and love.

I want Science to make better tools and to continue to grapple with the mechanics of the Kingdom. I don't want Science to strip meaning and subjectivity from the world in the process. Rationalism is a convenience for getting things done but it's not the law of the land. I want to live in a world of synchronicities, of living myths, where images and signs and nature all speak to me personally. I want to revel in the mysteries of Love and Creation and be consumed in the darkness of the unknown body of Nuit. I want to write my imagination into being, into existence, the word become flesh writ in flames a thousand years tall. Some wish to reduce all to science. I wish to expand all to magick."

"Magic is the application of sufficient will and imagination to cause positive change in the world.

Ultraculture is lots and lots of people applying sufficient will and imagination to cause positive change in the world."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Bruce Lee before there was Bruce Lee

This is just brutally cool.

I first read the Holmesian "baritsu" bit years ago in a story...

Bartitsu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Bartitsu is an eclectic martial art developed in England during the late 1890s and early 1900s.

In 1898, Edward William Barton-Wright, a British railway engineer who had been living and working in Japan, returned to England and announced the formation of a “New Art of Self Defence”. This art, he claimed, combined the best elements of a range of fighting styles into a unified whole, which he had named Bartitsu.

As detailed in a series of articles Barton-Wright produced for Pearson’s Magazine between 1899 and 1904, Bartitsu was largely drawn from various ko-ryu (“old school”) forms of Jiujitsu, with the addition of tactics and combat techniques from British boxing and wrestling, French Savate, and a combat stick fighting style that had been developed by Professeur Pierre Vigny of Switzerland.

...Although Barton-Wright continued to develop and teach his art at least until the 1920s, it never again returned to prominence. Bartitsu might have been completely forgotten if not for a chance mention by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his Sherlock Holmes mystery stories. In the Adventure of the Empty House (1903), Holmes explained that he had escaped the clutches of his enemy Professor Moriarty through his knowledge of "baritsu, or Japanese wrestling". Doyle mis-spelled the name of the art, and this was enough to intrigue and confuse Holmsian scholars for the best part of the next century.

...Bartitsu was probably the first martial art to have deliberately combined Asian and European fighting styles towards addressing the problems of civilian/urban self-defence in an “unarmed society”. In this, Barton-Wright anticipated Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do approach by seventy years...

A similar philosophy was later to be embraced by Bill Underwood, William E. Fairbairn and others, who were charged with developing close combat systems for use by Allied troops during the Second World War... These systems became the basis for most military and police close-combat training throughout the Western world.

Barton-Wright is also remembered as a pioneering promoter of mixed martial arts or MMA contests, in which experts in different fighting styles compete under common rules. Barton-Wright's champions, including Yukio Tani and Swiss svingen wrestler Armand Cherpillod, enjoyed considerable success in these contests, which anticipated the NHB/MMA phenomenon of the 1990s by a hundred years."

Saying it doesn't make it so Dorothy...

...not even if you close your eyes and click the ruby slippers.

See, on the one hand:

Bush Declares: 'We Do Not Torture' - Yahoo! News

Meanwhile, back in the real world...

Cheney Seeks CIA Exemption to Torture Ban

It's just so amazingly incredible how they just lie straight to your face, innit?

"America doesn't torture people, unless we really do, in which case we'd need an exemption to that law we say we'd never need."


You can only stare in gap-mouthed awe at the sheer audacity.

Warren Ellis on Zombies

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire:
"But what is it about zombies that have recaptured the minds of horror fans the past five years? Ellis had some thoughts on the subject. 'Zombies tend to enjoy a resurgence when Western society feels it's up against a faceless, silent threat -- whether it's conservative culture threatened by Communists or radical Islam, or liberal culture terrified by all-enveloping capitalism and the world turning into a mall full of drones.

'But that's not what you want to hear. PEOPLE LIKE IT WHEN ZOMBIES' HEADS EXPLODE.'"

The Dysfunctional Family Letter Generator

This is brilliant.

And quite the time-saver!

The Dysfunctional Family Letter Generator:
"If you are from a dysfunctional family, you have either received or written a letter like this. Don't waste any more of your valuable time digging deep into the depths of your soul to tell your family off. Instead, let me do all the hard work for you. You just sit back, take a load off.

Let's get started."

Robert Anton Wilson and the Illuminati

Illuminati Conspiracy Part One: A Precise Exegesis on the Available Evidence:
Robert Anton Wilson quote:
"Briefly, the background of the Bavarian Illuminati puzzle is this. On May 1, 1776, in Bavaria, Dr. Adam Weishaupt, a professor of Canon Law at Ingolstadt University and a former Jesuit, formed a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati within the existing Masonic lodges of Germany. Since Masonry is itself a secret society, the Illuminati was a secret society within a secret society, a mystery inside a mystery, so to say. In 1785 the Illuminati were suppressed by the Bavarian government for allegedly plotting to overthrow all the kings in Europe and the Pope to boot. This much is generally agreed upon by all historians. Everything else is a matter of heated, and sometimes fetid, controversy.

It has been claimed that Dr. Weishaupt was an atheist, a Cabalistic magician, a rationalist, a mystic; a democrat, a socialist, an anarchist, a fascist; a Machiavellian amoralist, an alchemist, a totalitarian and an "enthusiastic philanthropist." (The last was the verdict of Thomas Jefferson, by the way.) The Illuminati have also been credited with managing the French and American revolutions behind the scenes, taking over the world, being the brains behind Communism, continuing underground up to the 1970s, secretly worshipping the Devil, and mopery with intent to gawk. Some claim that Weishaupt didn't even invent the Illuminati, but only revived it. The Order of Illuminati has been traced back to the Knights Templar, to the Greek and Gnostic initiatory cults, to Egypt, even to Atlantis. The one safe generalization one can make is that Weishaupt's intent to maintain secrecy has worked; no two students of Illuminology have ever agreed totally about what the "inner secret" or purpose of the Order actually was (or is . . .)"

Rushkoff - Business Applications

:: Douglas Rushkoff - Weblog :::
"Too many companies are obsessed with window dressing because they're reluctant, no, afraid, to look at whatever it is they really do and evaluate it from the inside out. When things are down, CEO's turn to consultants and marketers to rethink, rebrand or repackage whatever it is they are selling, when they should be getting back on the factory floor, into the stores, or out to the research labs where their product is actually made, sold, or conceived. Instead of making their communications less Saatchi and more Craig, they should be reinventing their core enterprise.

...Over the past ten years, I've spoken with a lot of people about this conundrum, its historical context, and the ease with which so many businesses could transcend their reluctance to draw on their own expertise. Invariably, the Fortune 500 CEOs, billionaire entrepreneurs, and intellectual leaders with whom I engaged implored me to share these insights with the audience who needed them most: businesspeople. That's why I'm making such a simple proposition: stop solving your problems from the outside in. Get back in the box and do the thing you actually do best. This disciplined commitment to your own core passion - and not a consultant, ad campaign, or business plan - is the source of true innovation."

Information wants to be free. Licensing and tech-support, on the other hand...

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click Online | Open source turns money-spinner:
"The movement believes strongly that rather than being a trade secret, the source code of the software should be open for anyone to play with.

The result is software like the Linux operating system, created through collaboration that can involve thousands of programmers.

"Early on, when software was developed by computer scientists, just people working with computers, people passed around software because that was how you got computers to do things," explained Tim O'Reilly, the founder and CEO of computer information and publishing company O'Reilly Media.

"What we take as the shape of the software industry today, where software is shrink-wrapped and sold, is really a 20-year anomaly that started in the 1980s.

"Now we have companies like Microsoft as the avatars of that movement. But by the mid-80s there were already people saying 'we don't like this'."

And what they did not like was the idea of closing off information, especially information that others could build on.

The open source movement does not object to making money. In fact, many of these programmers can afford to be choosy about how they earn.

The source code may be free, but there is gold in software support, training and publishing.

Damian Conway, who trains programmers through his business Thoughtstream, said: "I think the most successful of those is definitely licensing support; providing the software and then saying: 'if you want to buy a support contract, here's what it will cost you on an ongoing basis'.

"That way people are getting something that they can work with free if they want to, but when they get into trouble they have backup and you make some money out of it." "

Boing Boing: PATRIOT Act secret-superwarrants use is up 10,000 percent

Boing Boing: PATRIOT Act secret-superwarrants use is up 10,000 percent:
"The dread PATRIOT Act created many new powers for law-enforcement, including the ability to secure the prized super-warrants called National Security Letters without judicial oversight. In the time since PATRIOT was passed, their use by the FBI has increased by 10,000 percent. Each of these warrants can be used to invade the lives of many Americans, and none of them are being issued with a judge's oversight after presentation of evidence justifying these intrusions into the lives of private individuals. These warrants are issued on a copper's say-so, without the due process that is the hallmarks of democracy."

The Trouble With Liberal Democrats by Kurt Nimmo

The Trouble With Liberal Democrats by Kurt Nimmo:
"Democrats and liberals seem incapable of understanding it does not matter if a Democrat or Republican is in office – there will be invasions, mass murder, corporate thievery, neolib foreign and economic policy, encroachments on the Constitution and liberty, and an ever-growing police state and police state outrages (the Democrat Clinton, after all, oversaw the incineration of babies at Waco). Moreover, as history demonstrates, more Democrats have started wars than Republicans. Of course, since many Republicans are now neocons (and many founding neocons are former Trotskyites), this has become a moot point."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The 'rents are in town...

Sandy's parents are here for a few weeks.

I was laid up with some weird hacking, sore throat, fever, chills nonsense - even took a sick day on Friday - so I didn't go over and infect the family.

But Sandy did.

Went over, that is. Not infect the family.

Though she could have, I imagine.

Kinda losing the focus here.

Anyways, so she went over and the clan did some bustling about... hence, pictures!


Sandy, Kathy and Malik, right before we hit the art museum last weekend. Cause hey, these are what memories are made of kids!

Well, actually no one really knows what memories are made of. Something like neurochemical transmitter activation mixed in with peptide uptake and squishy brain matter. And magick.

But isn't Malik's "Hey, don't I look like somebody you'd want to have sex with?" look kinda creepy?

You gotta learn to turn it off man...

What international travel is for...

Apparently, for my deranged sister-in-law to ship lava lamps [powered by computer, no less] in the checked baggage.

I appreciate the effort, as it's to replace my poor, lonely, despondent lava lamp stuck back in the States... but seriously, that's just weird.

Mmmmm.... biscuits...

The wife has descended into some weird biscuit-making crazed frenzy.

I'd mock her, but, you know... biscuits and butter are tasty.

Brought to you by the great state of Texas

The Dilbert Blog: Getting Away With Murder:
"Did you see the story about the convicted murderer who escaped prison by using a fake ID and a set of civilian clothes? The guards just opened the door and let him out.

The authorities described the escapee as narcissistic. That’s the fancy way of saying he thinks he’s better than other people.

I hate to take sides, but if I made a fake ID using nothing but a pack of Marlboros and a spoon, and made a set of civilian clothes out of pillowcases, then walked out of jail, I’d be feeling pretty good about myself too. I know for sure that I’d feel superior to the idiot who let me out. And that’s not even counting the part about getting away with murder..."