Saturday, February 24, 2007

F.Y.I ~ I shouldn't have ~

While running errands and getting myself completely lost in an area of town I thought I knew - I stopped and had lunch at a place I didn't know. Unfortunately, there was part of what I ate that didn't taste quite right and at the time I thought - I shouldn't. Now, I know I definitely shouldn't have --

There will be no post tonight (2.24) but I will post tomorrow (2.25).

Blogging Is Better Then ~

A number of years ago (in a galaxy far away) a dessert called "better than sex" became very, very popular. Of course, that lead to so many things being called better then sex.

Yesterday I ran across this delightful post by Engtech and I laughed and chuckled for quite some time (even at the party last night I was still chuckling about it).

5 Reasons Why Blogging Is Better Than Sex (With Me)
(Please don't call the SPCA)

1. Reason number one
  • Blogging: I can connect anonymously with thousands of strangers a day.
  • Sex: I can connect anonymously with thousands of strangers a day *IF* I move to New York City.
2. Reason number two
  • Blogging: Technorati will show all the people who are linked to me and it doesn’t make me look like a big slut.
  • Sex: Six degrees of Paris Hilton. (as one of his comments said: that's enough to make me celibate)
3 Reason number three
  • Blogging: I can get the cat involved without the horribly judging eyes of friends and strangers.
  • Sex: Fur is hard to clean
4. Reason number four
  • Blogging: Increased visibility means more page views and a larger audience.
  • Sex: Increased visibility means someone is going to call the cops
5. Reason number five
  • Blogging: Googlebot will crawl your pages quite often and share them with the world.
  • Sex: Googlebot never calls you back.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Love With So Much More ~ Early Morning Thoughts

This will be a somewhat different kind of post this morning.

I don't even remember when I first discovered Yen and Jesse over at Two Lucky People. I just know that from the beginning it was one of those moments that felt as if I had known them a long time. Jesse, as I've mentioned, suffers from a very aggressive form of melenoma - very agressive. Along the way, Yen has posted with honesty, love and a sense of humor.

Recently, Jesse underwent a clinical trial for treatment...a very toxic treatment and Jesse did the best with it he could. There were reasons they stopped the treatment when they did... and for several (to me nail-biting) days he was somewhat "out-of-it." Yen was with him and then one night - Jesse basically came back out of the wherever he had been. Jesse was to be taken home. Yen picked up the story today.
After more than a week of rest at home, Jesse has recovered almost completely from the IL-2 therapy.
He is his usual self, loving and already focused on getting stronger for the next round. Most of his activities are limited to a few minutes of walking outside every day. For the most part, we spend our hours taking naps, reading, and watching TV on the couch.
I’ve hesitated to write because there is really not much to tell. Every day is an exercise in patient living. I attend to his needs: blanket, pillow, water, a peck on the cheek, a hug.
Despite our best efforts, he’s still losing too much weight, hovering at a slender 140lbs for his 6′1in-tall frame. Our diet has whittled down to occasional meals, shared Chinese take-out, ramen, sushi sometimes. He has developed a liking for fresh watermelon, which I try to procure diligently.
But there has been a change that any relationship undergoing stress and strain is bound to encounter. What makes the difference is how those involved handle the changes. Yen continued today:
I miss the days of our courtship, when we walked without consequence, without time. Even in the early months of Jesse’s diagnosis, our hope was still athletic, vigorous.
Times are different now.
When hope to rekindle memories starts to wane, when your lover is changing, deteriorating, it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again.
Regardless of your orientation, Yen's love even with questions stands as a strong memorial to the power of love - of what is deep within that creates a bond or bonds that can withstand almost anything that comes against it. It is not created from outside sources - the universe doesn't have a "shop" where one can buy it. This kind of bond comes from within the individual - from deep within the heart. And while Yen is fortunate in one respect that Jesse "is his usual self, loving and already focused on getting stronger for the next round," I have no doubt that even if he hadn't come back as that - Yen would have stood with him.

I do not care if someone is gay-straight, black-white, moon-man or whatever, this kind of love is so deep and powerful, I maintain that great portions of the universe bow in honor of its strength.

But it's the last part of his posting that meant so much to me ... let me repeat it: "it becomes a challenge to keep loving. Every day is a lesson in patient loving. Every day you relearn how to love again. " This is the portion that meant so much to me. After a failed marriage I read and heard that relationships are composed of three parts: 1) infatuation,
2) romance and then
3) love. The three parts are very separate from each other - and we may go back and forth amidst them - even moment by moment. But the one that is truly the "glue" is love. Which is a conscious choice. The first two can and often do rely totally on feelings - but the third - love, is a choice. And that's why Yen (and Jesse) stand out so much to me.

So, in my own small way, I stand with Yen and Jesse - and keep them in my thoughts, prayers or healing energy (or whatever you are calling it) so that I can feel a part of their life. And maybe, just maybe someday - a love such as theirs will come my way...but - even if it doesn't I will have had the privilege of knowing Two Lucky People (the wonderful name of their blog) and the wonder of their love toward each other .

I count myself lucky as well!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Have I Lost My Mind~ Late Night Rambling (ranting?)

Based on the news I looked at over the last several days, one would have the impression that the only things that truly mattered in the world were: 1) Anna Nicole Smith and/or 2) Britney Spears. I was absolutely stunned to realized that while some major events and a scary event were occurring...people were concerned about why Britney cut her hair (Lice? (ewwww) Her soon to be ex-husband's threat to use it for drug analysis? Because she wanted to make a statement?) and whether and why she's been in and out of rehabs - usually lasting only 24 hours.

In the meantime - seeming unnoticed by most news organizations:
Remember when Republicans ran Congress and everybody was so corrupt and then the midterms happened and the Democrats swept in with a bold plan to have ethics and all that? Well, they were just kidding.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has a great vacation planned for May: He’s going to a fancy golf & beach resort in Puerto Rico where people get “sensually awakened.” And he’s taking a planeload of lobbyists … enough to fill 137 luxury hotel suites. Doesn’t that sound nice?

But unlike Tom DeLay’s unethical golf trip to Scotland with Jack Abramoff, Steny’s seaside lobbyist orgy is completely okay because the lobbyists aren’t paying Hoyer himself — they’re paying Hoyer’s PAC
My local stations started their newcasts with extensive coverage of the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's body and baby. There seems to be great concern over the fact that her body seems to be deteriorating sooner than expected. Personally, I always thought that's what bodies did - but based on the news reports, I could be wrong.

However, in the meantime - no one except PBS seems to have noticed:
Innocent Americans' data is being swept up and stored thanks to the use of the "full pipe" data gathering technique. Second, that the government's Total Information Awareness Program - which was "killed" but never defunded - was being used to build domestic spying facilities around the country.

I caught PBS's NOW program last Friday by chance, and I'm glad I did. They have resources not available to this lowly blogger. What PBS discovered will chill your bones. Yes, data on innocent Americans is being intercepted and stored. Additionally, more whistleblowers have come forward to establish the existence of another secret spy room on AT&T's network, built post 9-11.

The key findings in PBS's report:

--The government is intercepting most emails sent domestically.

--AT&T is collecting most emails and sharing them with the government, specifically the NSA (this is backed up by Klein's documents).

--The NSA spy room at AT&T's San Francisco facility is only accessible to the NSA and AT&T employees cleared by the NSA.

--The NSA's interest seems to be in MAE WEST, *the* major hub of American and international internet traffic on the West Coast.

--The device installed in San Francisco is capable of intercepting 10 GIGBYTES of data per second.
In layman's terms, that means it could go through all the information in all the books in the Library of Congress in 15 minutes.
At least, after digging through a lot of news blogs/sites, I know I haven't lost my mind - I just, perhaps, have a different outlook as to what is important. Or what I feel I should be concerned about.

A Welcome Bit Of News - Yen, Jesse ~

On February 11th and 12th I talked about Yen and Jesse (the person with the aggressive melanoma) from their blog Two Lucky People.
I'll talk more about this later tonight (in Early Morning Thoughts), but I wanted to share a few welcome comments that Yen posted on their blog. Be sure to read the entire post - and don't hesitate to leave a comment for them. I have no doubt they would/will be appreciated...
After more than a week of rest at home, Jesse has recovered almost completely from the IL-2 therapy.

He is his usual self, loving and already focused on getting stronger for the next round.
There is a "however" in the post:
Despite our best efforts, he’s still losing too much weight, hovering at a slender 140lbs for his 6′1in-tall frame. Our diet has whittled down to occasional meals, shared Chinese take-out, ramen, sushi sometimes. He has developed a liking for fresh watermelon, which I try to procure diligently.
That he's home and recovering is encouraging news - and my thoughts/prayers continue to be with them...

more thoughts tonight...

I Am A Self-fulfilling Prophecy ~ Early Morning Thoughts

As I work more and more with integrity, I'm reminded (sometimes by that 2X4 kind of thought that "hits" with great force) that when I allow negative messages to invade my mind, I create self-fulfilling prophecies that not only slow me down - but make achieving success almost an impossibility. Rather than reacting to situations by facing each situation as it is - I react to my perception of the situation, and those mysterious "tapes" that run as some of those website that have the music player embedded - and the music simply starts (and I sometimes have difficulty finding the switch to turn it off). This does not mean that I have to have a full scale mental intervention with every negative thought that passes through my mind. After all, I am NOT responsible for what drives through on the highway of my mind - I am ONLY responsible for what I let pull over and park .

As I've said before, a self-fulfilling prophecy can occur when I accept something that is not true, and let it rule my life, thoughts, actions, beliefs. When I was growing up I accepted some really negative ideas about myself that were untrue. I think all of us probably did at one point of another. The difference is what we do with those ideas.

If they become the truths that I never question
- then they are truths that will govern my reactions. And, it becomes negative truths that draw other negatives into my life. Really? Yes - negative attracts negative. Positive tends to attract positive. What I "hug" will be the predictions that my life will fulfill. It's taken awhile, but I have chosen to live out the positives that will allow me to be happy and free. I have to make the decision to ignore or, in a sense, kick out the negatives. They have had their parking permits revoked and I try to get them towed soon after they park in my mind.

Whatever you think about creates what you experience. In this respect, we are all living out self-fulfilling prophecies, because whatever your perception of reality, whatever thoughts you accept as true, will lead you. You attract negative "energy" by focusing on the negative– that is part of the law of attraction.

Now that I have said the phrase: Law of Attraction, I immediately want to take it back, and try to find another one. The reason for my hesitancy is frankly the terrible use and overuse of that three word phrase. I think that most of the religions of the world have a similar view of it - "as a man thinks - so he is"(Judisim) - "If a man's mind has evil thoughts, pain comes on him as the wheel comes behind the ox...but if one endures in purity of thought, joy follows him as surely as his own shadow." (Buddhism)

Unfortunately, there are people that take something that has personal value and "run" it to the extreme. These are the ones that firmly believe (and want to convince me to believe it) that NOTHING bad can happen unless I think it and thereby attract it. My reaction to that is less than kind or positive, so I'll leave it at that.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by extreme. JO visited an acquaintance's home for the first time. These people were not wealthy by any means, but were getting by - and doing quite well with what they had. He was shown around the house, and then (surprising to him) taken out to the garage. Their car was parked in the driveway - but the garage was empty except for a large white X that had been painted on the floor. "That," said the man, "is where the BMW we're going to receive will be parked." Now, these folks were simply taking something to the extreme. There were no plans as to how they were going to achieve the goal of a BMW, no plans on how to pay for it and certainly no plans as to how they would keep it once they "received" it. As a very wise man once indicated: "don't ask [the universe] to give you a Cadillac if you can't keep gas in your VW bug."
Keep your feet on solid ground. Know who you are, how to handle the storms of change and adversity, and attract the good and create the positive wherever you do have control. You can be at peace in the uncertainty knowing you have the tools necessary to handle life’s tides, and you know where to turn for strength.

You were created with a mind and a will to determine what you embrace and what you eliminate from your thoughts. A child repeatedly told horrible things usually internalizes the messages as true. At some point, that child will grow up and learn there are other messages available. You must decide what to believe.
Keep remembering the term I'm (supposedly) talking about it "self"-fulfilling. What messages have I accepted that STILL control my life and its outcomes? What kind of people do I accept as part of my life - and allow what they think or say to effect my life and outcomes.

Maybe these sound familiar:

you are stupid, you will never amount to anything, you can’t make it, how could you have even thought you could succeed, you should have known better, why did you even try, what an embarrassment you are, you are ugly, worthless, unintelligent, incapable, and a failure, you are unlovable, no one cares what you think, no one believes what you say.
These cut deep wounds, and it takes intent (and, I've discovered) a lot of work and thought to replace them with positive truths.

The determined intend success and keep going despite obstacles.

They dwell on positive thoughts, and attract the truth they believe. If you are determined, you find a way to make it happen because you believe that you CAN.

If you believe that you cannot, you will not. (It may be difficult, it may be different than you had originally planned, you may have to adapt to the unfamiliar, but if you are focused and think positively, you can achieve your goals.)

If dandelions were rare and fragile,

people would knock themselves out to pay $14.95 a plant, raise them by hand in greenhouses, and form dandelion societies and all that. But they are everywhere and don’t need us and kind of do what they please. So we call them weeds
and murder them at every opportunity.
--Robert Fulgham

More on this later ~

Dandelion painting by Gundula Jacobs Jacobs

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Let the Good Times Roll (just not too much) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Let the good times roll = prenons du bon temps or ├ęclatons-nous (colloquial use) ... A phrase that someone in a high office in the US might translate as "Bring It On...."

D&D met me for some not-so-gentle libations this evening at one of our favorite "watering holes"(does anyone use that term anymore?). And when we realized that this was "The Day" or Fat/Shrove Tuesday - the day before Lent began. I realized that other that thinking that Mardi Gras Tuesday was much like the person about to report to a very strict health spa going on a binge before they entered the program. I really didn't know a lot about how it came to be ... of course, New Orleans is the heart of Mardi Gras here in the US... But Australia is very well known for their celebration. However, one of the most extravagant has to be Brazil's Carnival - which ends with a two day parade involving thousands of participants, and with the extensive TV coverage - millions of watchers.

You may be as surprised as I was to learn a little history of how the dating of Lent and Easter came to be...I never did understand why the date changed to much each year.

The reasons for the great variation in Mardi Gras day can be explained by the custom of aligning the occurrence of Easter Sunday and then Mardi Gras each year with the Sun, spring full moon and the rhythms of the magic number seven.

The first day of spring for those us us who live above the Equator is usually March 21. This Spring or Vernal Equinox is the first day of the year when night is not longer than day. From this point forward in our calendar the sun will shine longer tomorrow than today.

Three months later the the longest day of the year will arrive and be observed in many pagan celebrations. Summer Solstice almost always occurs on June 21. The annual 365.25 day orbit of the earth around the sun varies very little from year to year, however the thirteen cycles of the moon waxing and waning are not so easy to predict.

At this point a calculator and perpetual calendar might come in handy: Easter can fall on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25 because it set to fall on the first Sunday succeeding the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Sunday as the seventh day of the week is considered a day to pause and rest. This tradition of breaking life into seven day periods is many thousands of years old.

I was somewhat surprised that Easter Sunday is determined by planetary alignment predating Christianity. Even more surprising is to learn that this central Christian holiday traces its name to the not so ancient European Spring Goddess Eostre.

Because there are thirteen full moons in a twelve months period is the factor which adds the greatest variation to the Carnival season. The cycles of the moon control the tides of the sea. The waning and waxing of these two elements has long considered a powerful source of feminine energy just as the sun is considered masculine.

Finally, the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday is by calculating 40 weekdays plus seven Sundays. By the way - if you really want to impress people at your next dinner party, discuss the fact that the ancient Egyptians were the first recorded culture which celebrated Carnival, setting aside five of the 365 days of the year to restore harmony to their relationship with the gods of the universe. Known as a time outside of time, the Egyptians would sing ribald songs, drink brew, and carry on in torch parades where the women would hold aloft gigantic erect phalluses. Of course, the first question is - did they get any beads?

These Egyptians possessed remarkably sophisticated mythology that did not separate science from religion. They believed that all things were cyclical with a central organizing pattern based upon a circle divided into the twelve parts of the Zodiac. According to this system 2,160 year long ages they would have first celebrated their carnival during the age of Taurus the Bull.

--the pictures are from Brazil's Carnival
click on them and they should enlarge ...

Self Fulfilling - Integrity? Prophecy? ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Acceptance is acknowledging our sexuality as a given.
Self-love is being thankful for the gift.
-- adapted from a quote by Ken Hanes

Trying to hang onto integrity in what seems to be a world that wants nothing to do with it - getting discouraged is almost a given.
If I'm going to live in integrity - I'm going to have to learn to love in integrity as well. Which opens up an enormous area of thought. No matter what the orientation, belief or concern - it seems there are those who oppose it, want to downgrade it - and want to denigrate those who are interested, believers and followers.

And in the process it become very difficult for people to know who they ARE, let alone what they believe.

Gay - straight, black - white, northern-southerner, democrat - republican, etc., etc. We seems to deal with incredible self-fulfilling stereotypes. Tell people long enough that they are inferior, and they will come to believe it. Most of us believe that we are in large part what society constantly brands us as; in response we come to exhibit the characteristics that justify the stigma.
For example: there are a large number of neurotic, unhappy, compulsively promiscuous homosexuals whom on might regard as "pathological." This pathology is however, the result of social pressures and the way they have internalized these, not of homosexuality itself.

If people are led to feel guilty about an essential part of their own identity, they will in all likelihood experience considerable psychological pressures......The insistence on the objective sinfulness of all homosexual relationships is precisely the type of moral thinking that psychologically destroys the ability of many homosexuals to enter into a permanent and fruitful relationship.

The only certain substantive conclusion that follows from the scientific data is the terrible cost in terms of human suffering and degradation that has followed on the mistaken moral judgments and prejudices of the past which are still invoked to support the prejudices of the present.
--adapted from a passage from:
John McNeill, The Church and the Homosexual

I don't think that the church is responsible by itself for "neurotic, unhappy, compulsively promiscuous homosexuals"...Personally, society at large, the media, politicians carry responsibility. And - I may get in some trouble for this, but I think those in the gay community carry responsibility as well.

And again when I look around, I realize that it's a problem for so many people of all different colors, beliefs, orientations, hopes, dreams and desire to live life. And so much of it seems to be at the door step of "self-fulfilling prophecy." If I take something to be the truth about myself, eventually that will become the truth. If I take something about someone else to be the absolute truth, eventually everything they do I will see through that lens. And the worst part about it, eventually they can come to believe it as true themselves.

To a small acceptance, add a larger acceptance of what we are continually told again, regardless of color, belief or orientation. As an example, my Father decided at around age 55, he was an old man. He began to externalize what he had decided internally. Over and over her would say things such as: "I can't do that, I'm a little old man (then he would chuckle). As time went on, the chuckle became less frequent, but the results did not. Finally by age 65 he had become what he said.

But, as I mentioned above, it also concerns how people regard us. A very troubling study by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, in 1968, gave all the children in an elementary class a test and told teachers that some of children were unusually clever (though they were actually average). They came back at the end of the school year and tested the same class again. Guess what? The children singled out had improved their scores far more than other children. (by the way, they didn't repeat the experiment because they were afraid the children would be ultimately harmed. Interestingly enough the teachers had NO idea they were treating different students in different ways.)

And by the way - a self-fulfilling prophecy generally involves acceptance of an untruth and making it true. This makes sure that the balance of truth hangs over what I am going to accept as truth. For example - at my current ... ahem...age, I am not going to be able to compete in an Olympic swimming event. However, I refuse to accept as true that I'm just "a little old man." It's taken awhile, and several failed relationship to get this through my head (thick skull?)...I am me, and I have worth. At the moment, his side of the bed may be covered with magazines and books, but there WILL come a day ...

It's easy to get
Truth never looks at me crookedly
but always straight on.
Sometimes in my small humanness
I try to turn my gaze.
Truth maybe too bright,
too garish,
without pity.
Sometimes truth seems to be not beautiful.
But more and more
with the passage of years
I find that I can turn my gaze
directly into the face of truth.
And more and more
I perceive with quaint surprise
that the truth I thought to be ugly
is more beautiful than the lie
that I feared was true.
-Charles Doss

More on this to come ~

Monday, February 19, 2007

And For Your Listening Pleasure ~

Who knew that Rachmaninoff had such huge hands - that made playing some of his music so difficult ... Ah well, where there's a will - there's a way!!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Darwin Awards (2) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

After all that had gone on with and around me in the last few days, I felt that a good laugh/chuckle was in order for a Monday morning - especially if you are one of the ones that does not have today off ...

As I mentioned previously there are several lists that I enjoy each year. The Darwin Awards is one of my favorites. I'm continually amazed at what people continually do to themselves and others. Here are some of this years nominees. Here are a couple of entries for the 2007 awards. Some have been reprinted exactly as they were sent to the committee.

A demise by train is almost too common for Darwin Award merit. Yet, some people still forget the three most important rules about trains:
1) Trains cannot be stopped easily. 2) Trains cannot swerve.
3) And most important -
in any confrontation with a train,
the train will always win.

Forgetting these rules, an unnamed 20-year old man was walking down the railroad tracks in Comstock Township (near Kalamazoo) Michigan. This in of itself in not even close to Darwin stupidity. Trains are loud and noisy and usually announce their approach from quite a distance, allowing anyone in their path ample time to clear out of the way. However, our Darwin contender decided to up the odds in the trains favor by wearing a pair of headphones with the music turned up quite loud (louder than the train horn apparently). It wasn't mentioned what song he was listening to, but I'm guessing it was "Don't Look Back" by Boston. Not looking back sealed his fate. Despite three or four loud blasts of the horn by the train engineer, our unnamed Darwin contender kept strolling along between the rails in musical bliss until being removed from the gene pool courtesy of Amtrak.

Here’s another attempts at removing genes from the pool:
I used to ride a scrambler motorcycle in my younger days. Mine was a 250-c.c. Kawasaki KL ‘Off-Road’ bike. These machines have very small gas tanks, probably no more than about 3 gallons. As South Africa uses ‘Self-Service’ gas stations, we fill our own gas tanks. It is common practice with bikers to simply straddle a scrambler whilst refueling, place the nozzle in the tank and watch to see when the tank is nearly full as these machines lack a fuel gauge.

Now, when standing up and straddling said scrambler, the tank nestles nicely in the groin area. This day, I was not paying attention while refueling and the tank overflowed. “Oops!” I said as I quickly released the handle of the pump. Too late.

Quite a bit of gas had spilled down the side of the tank onto the forecourt and quite a lot had also run down the front of the tank and soaked my groin area. This was no big deal as I was wearing jeans. I duly replaced the fuel nozzle in the holder and THEN it hit me.

Gasoline on your hands is almost imperceptible other than a cold feeling. In the groin area, it is like rubbing “Deep Heat” on yourself. Fortunately, I had managed to replace the motorcycle’s gas tank cap BEFORE I dropped the bike, did a sideways leap off the saddle and proceeded to rip off my jeans in full view of quite a few bemused onlookers. Once the jeans were around my ankles, I discovered I couldn’t move very well and fell over as I struggled with my gas-soaked underwear, trying to get them away from my very tender skin.

Public indecency laws aside, I tore at my underwear, managed to rip them off and covered myself with my hands. There I sat, waiting for the gas on my jeans to evaporate sufficiently so I could pull up my jeans. It was EXTREMELY painful. My gene ‘repository compartment’ was red-raw, my ‘extension’ to release said genes was equally burnt and the tops of my legs looked like I had ridden a horse bareback and naked for three days.

By now, the forecourt was thronged with very interested onlookers. The interesting thing is; no-one came to my aid! In true ‘biker’ style, I nonchalantly walked back to my motorcycle, kicked it into action and then VERY slowly so as not to lose any ‘cool’, I drove off, gritting my teeth against the searing pain.

Future fueling sessions were performed with a large towel between my anatomy and the motorcycle’s tank. For those who are interested, the gas station in question was the last one at the top of the hill in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, just before the road winds down the hill towards the Ponte apartment complex. I suffered no lasting effects and the redness vanished in a few days.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Power was restored to 6,500 people on the southeast side of Grand Rapids after a man nailed a sign on a utility pole and pierced the casing that holds a cable for overhead distribution lines.

The pole, located on the northeast corner of Breton and 28th Street SE, affected the entire Breton substation. There is a protective case around the cable, but the nail pierced it, making contact with 7,200 volts.

The impact started some of the pole on fire, knocked out power to 6,500 customers, and sent a current through the man trying to hang the sign. Witnesses stated that there was smoke coming from his head.

A cashier at the Shell gas station at that corner called 911. The manager ran out and used a fire extinguisher to cool the man down. The victim was taken to a hospital, and it appears he will be fine. The power company was able to restore power to everyone affected around 9:20 a.m..

The company that owns the utility pole, one of 1.5 million it owns across the state, recommend you not post signs on their poles.

My husband worked in 1995 for a farmer from Germany. Franz on Gilkey road in Crabtree OR.

Franz believed that electricity is like a cow. The raw material goes in the mouth and good electricity exited out the tail and left over energy was waste the cow pooped out, i.e. the 3 wires you see in your house black (hot),white (Hot) and green (cold for waste energy). Deryl worked for Franz from August 1995 until this event in around the end of November 1995. A windstorm blew through and took out the electricity for the area. Franz had Deryl hook up a generator. When the electricity came back on the Generator had to be taken off line. Remember, this is a full size dairy, with large leads into the circuit box.

Franz was a cheap man, and had the circuit box 2 times smaller than required. He never kept master plans for the property, so no one really knew where the wiring or the plumbing went, everything had been committed to his memory…

Franz convinced my husband to reconnect the dairy, he would not spend $60.00 to have the main breaker pulled at the pole, so everything in the small box was hot. Deryl put on long rubber gloves, and taped up his wrench. Franz never wore socks so his leather slip on shoes were wet with cow urine and feces, Humidity in Oregon was high (87% or greater), so there was a lot of moisture and cow urine,feces everywhere at the dairy. Franz stood 10 feet back in a shirt and rolled up pants, while my husband wore long sleeves and welding clothes. Deryl got half way through pulling the leads off of there protective poles, 2 off and 2 on.

Suddenly, the poles arced and the lid to the box instantly vaporized. Both men flew backwards, and fortunately, for once, Franz learned that the cow can butt. I met my husband at the door that night to see a man with no face hair, smoking, and a good portion or his chest hair gone. I never saw Franz after this event, but I can imagine. He had less protection. The power company was called the next day and they put things right. Franz never had children, nor should he, thank goodness.

An unidentified man in Xuzhou, China, learned the hard way that it pays to use a bathroom when you have to go. Our hero broke into a power supply office with the help of a partner to relieve it of some spare electrical equipment. However before leaving the premises Mother Nature called, and our hero obediently responded. Without a commode handy, and being in an office that he had just robbed, he decided to simply relieve himself where he stood. Unfortunately he ended up urinating on a fully functional electrical supply switch, resulting in an electric shock and a hasty trip to the hospital.

During a party in Budapest, Hungary, on the 26th, November, 2006, a 26 years old man put the hose of a fire extinguisher into his mouth, and fired the device. While he did this presumably for fun, the outcome proved to be fatal, as he was instantly killed from injuries caused by the pressure, which is up to 14 times of the normal atmospheric pressure.

A 63 year old man in East Germany (Zingst)electrocuted himself when running high-voltage lines (380V) through his yard in an effort to get rid of a mole on his vacation property. Apparently he put several metal rods into the ground and connected these to high-voltage lines. The police had to remove all circuit breakers before they could get on his property. They do not know yet how long he had been lying there before they found him on Wednesday. No word about what happened to the mole.

further nominations later ..

Don't Press - But You Know You Will ~ An Elegant Timewaster

Don't press the button - unless you want to be taken to a very interesting AND frustrating game. Guaranteed to keep you occupied for awhile. Perhaps a LONG while.

Never let it be said that my elegant time wasters had to be either elegant or easy.

The (insert group here) "Problem" ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Forgive the shift in tone from yesterdays warm romanticism (which I will return to) and previous posts about integrity, childlike enthusiasm and such. I had been out and about all day, and came home and opened my emails to see what people had sent, and to enjoy the communication I've had/I have with some of them.

There was one email from a name I didn't recognize. Normally if it's someone I don't know - or the header is wrong, I hit the delete quite quickly. This header referenced Amore and Poison to Medicine. Ah, a problem then. But, there was a problem. I guess I have somewhat "made it" in the blog world,
as I received my first "hate" mail letter today. Right at the start I was hit with that old chestnut "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." (My reaction to that statement EACH time I hear it: Of course, He did. If He hadn't, neither I nor those that espouse that kind of nonsensical rhetoric would be here, would we?)

And it went on from there ... most of it I had read/heard other places (including a variation of Fred Phelps battle cry "God Hates F*"), so I figured this was probably a person without an original thought in his head. A perfect follower of whoever had the loudest voice, and the most compelling sound bites ...until:

The end of the letter gave me pause. A great pause...
"Eventually, there will be no more problems with your kind. The change is coming and it will be for good."
Take a good look at that again, doesn't the phrase "no more problems with your kind" stand out? It almost hit me across the head when I read it. That phrase has fueled great controversy in the past -- the Nazi's and the "Jewish problem," the bigots of the American South and the "N* problem." and most recently for me - the church I WAS attending and the "(denomination) church problem."

The Chicago Sun-Times had an op-ed in January titled "beware the american fascists..." by Chris Hedges in their Sunday Controversy section, however, you can't find it there. You have to go to to read the original: "Christianists on the March."

Disclaimer: I do not necessarily like some of the tone and language used in the original article, but the points raised far outweigh the sometimes "rant" style of writing.
Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told his students that when we were his age—he was then close to 80—we would all be fighting the “Christian fascists.”

The warning, given 25 years ago, came [when public religious leaders] began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts toward taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government.

Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global Christian empire.

This call for fundamentalists and evangelicals to take political power was a radical and ominous mutation of traditional Christianity. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible.
Dr. Adams was in Germany 1935-36 when the Nazi's were coming to full power. The corollaries between that time in Germany and today in the US are remarkable.
Adams saw in the Christian right, long before we did, disturbing similarities with the German Christian Church and the Nazi Party, similarities that he said would, in the event of prolonged social instability or a national crisis, see American fascists rise under the guise of religion to dismantle the open society.

He despaired of U.S. liberals, who, he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil or the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand-wringing by Democrats, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them “demonic” and “satanic,” would not have surprised Adams.

Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.
The...right has lured tens of millions of Americans, who rightly feel abandoned and betrayed by the political system, from the reality-based world to one of magic... This mythological worldview...creates a world where facts become interchangeable with opinions, where lies become true—the very essence of the totalitarian state.

It includes a dark license to kill, to obliterate all those who do not conform to this vision, from Muslims in the Middle East to those at home who refuse to submit to the movement. And it conveniently empowers a rapacious oligarchy whose god is maximum profit at the expense of citizens. We now live in a nation where the top 1 percent control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, where we have legalized torture and can lock up citizens without trial.
Arthur Schlesinger, in “The Cycles of American History,” wrote that “the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights in the contemporary sense—not only for their acquiescence in poverty, inequality and oppression, but for their enthusiastic justification of slavery, persecution, torture and genocide.

George Santayana from Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense (1905!!):
'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'
All that said, I have a strong belief system - some of which aligns with what is being called the "religious right". Some aligns with what is being called the "godless left." So I have grounds and knowledge to be able to speak to most issues. As to the letter I received that caused tonights post, I did send an email back. I gently took issue with some of the statements he made, suggested that he really needed to search his heart and the Word to form his own opinions and seek/see the truth for himself. I even offered some places in scripture to look.

As far as the end of the letter to me, my tone changed - and I offered him my thoughts and some of the article I have quoted here - and the link to the entire article. However, based on the tone and some of the rhetoric of the original - he might be more turned off than helped. Which is going to another post...

Chris Hedges a graduate of Harvard Divinity School,
worked for The New York Times,
is the author of
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America