Iraq War Public Service Announcement

Brian Heater of What If Productions and I are in need of funding for our PSA Video. The goals are to bring more awareness to the war, to highlight the overall costs and human life associated with the war and to establish a Memorial Fund for the families and the returning Vets. All proceeds, after production costs, will be going towards this Fund. A website will also be created for this purpose. I would also like to see some sort of a Support Group Forum on the website as well.

If any of you are interested in donating, please let me know and I can e-mail you a Written Proposal. Brian is the technical expertise behind this--I'm merely providing the music and some ideas, so any technical questions will be handled through him.

As those two old dudes from the Bartles and Jaymes commercials used to say, "Thank you for your support."

Religious "Sensitivity"

Apparently dropping footballs with "Allah" printed on them is considered to be offensive to Islam. While I don't know the intention behind this action, it seems to me that a little lightening up on the side of the Muslims is in order and a little more in the way of religious understanding is in order for our military personnel in the Arab world. I mean afterall, we've had a presense there for many years, I would think they would have known this action was a big "uh, NO".


"So You Can Work Faster."

These were the words that came out of my employer's mouth recently when talking about how I use the mouse instead of certain command keys. I said I prefer the mouse, I find it easier and quicker, plus I don't have to remember all of those keys for each of the macro's I use.

"But if you use the command keys, you can work faster."

Work faster?

I didn't know whether to laugh or hit. Instead I took a deep breath and let the comment go. Had I been more courageous, had I taken the time to think about this remark, I would have said something like the following: "I've been here two years and have seen only a thirty three cent raise. I've always done everything that has been asked of me. I've gone above and beyond at times for this department, when others haven't been reliable or able to work. And need I remind you when most of the other employees were let go and I, being the newest of them all, was one of a small handful to be asked to stay because of the kind of work I performed? Let me make this clear: I am willing to work 'faster' as you say only if you raise my pay."

I'm so grossly underpaid. When people find out my job title and where I work, the first response is usually "wow" or "cool". Yeah, don't get so excited. Priorities are so out of whack at that place, it's simply a reflection of the business world at large. You know something's amiss when some big wig coach is given a multi-million dollar salary and someone like myself is paid slightly above minimum wage. Oh sure, Mr. Big Wig helps bring in a lot of money to the place, but so do I in my own way. Because of the work I do, students who have reading disabilities are able to attend class and succeed.

It's actually not my department with whom I have the issue. It's the U as a whole. They are the people who set the pay scale. My department just enforces it. They're kind of like the messenger...

Still, to be told there are ways in which I can work faster, when I already do just that, so much so that my arm, shoulder, neck and hands cramp up at the end of each day, is so insulting. Please!

It's time for the workers of this country who are not paid a living wage or benefits to say ENOUGH! I am going to give you the SAME LEVEL of work as compared to my level of pay. Pay me a good wage, I'll give you a good performance. Pay me an excellent wage, it is excellent work you shall receive. But pay me a low wage, then, well, you figure it out. My spouses boss loves to say "work harder THEN maybe we'll see about a raise." Fucking dictator. Employment is a two-way street. BOTH EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE MUCH EQUALLY BENEFIT! And that is simply not happening in today's world. It's a crisis. It's a disease. But it has a cure. Adapting a consciousness of fairness, respect, compassion, understanding, generosity. Without these values, we'll continue to see human apathy grow, enslavement spread and eventually, the collapse of our system. I guarantee it.


Monday, Monday: A Day In The Life of Yours Truly

I woke up this morning, peeked out from behind my Miss Scarlett sleep mask, saw that the sun had risen, my spouse had stepped in the shower and thus contemplated my options: stay in bed or face the day. Wishing really really hard it was Saturday or even Sunday, then realizing wishing doesn't always make it so, I realized it was time to face the day.

I may have mentioned this before, but if not, let me then say loudly and clearly: I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. Even as a little child, even if it was my birthday, even if it was the last day of school, I would sit at the breakfast table in the morning, yawning and occasionally grumbling something semi-coherent for my family to hear. My poor mother. She was a morning person and the rest of us, dad included, were not. And let me add that I married a morning person. So while he is (usually) all sunny smiles, ready to face the day, I am stumbling around, eyes half open, trying not to hurt myself.

This morning was a pretty typical Monday for me, which means I need to listen to my intuition and ban Monday mornings, from here on out. That means I simply won't do them any longer. I'll go to bed Sunday evening and wake up Tuesday. Around noon.

For starters, Mr. Nina is having a tooth issue. Finding a dentist who doesn't want to make a gazillion appointments plus charge an arm and a leg and run all sorts of ridiculous tests all for a simple filling is proving to be a pain in the ass. And the hours these folks carry is unbelievable. Tuesday through Thursday until 3pm. Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 5pm. Honest to god.

Where's the dentist who will work on you after 10pm for people like me??? I just pray for continued good dental health because god forbid I have to face these folks before noon.

Anyway, Mr. Nina then heads off to work only to return because he had forgotten the key, which we both tried looking for and being I am still waking up, well, let's just say I wasn't much help. Plus my mind tends to wander, so that meant I may not have found the key but I did find my tweezers!

So I eat some cereal and pull out my laptop and get to work. 30 minutes or so later, it crashes. Fuck. That means I have to take a trip up to the U to get another one, which means trying to find free parking. Being I have to pay for parking on my own when I visit, and being the parking is ridiculously expensive, I try and find a meter that already has money in it. Yeah, I can be that cheap at times.

So I phone Mr. Nina, ask when he'll be home for lunch, which is when I will have access to the car. Well, there's been a little mini-crisis at work (of course there has!) and he will be late coming home.


So I wait until he arrives home, haul my dead laptop up to my employer's offices, actually get lucky finding a parking spot--free-- right away, and exchange it for a newer version. I head home, ask Mr. Nina if he's having any further luck finding a dentist. He just grunts. I take the hint and get back to work I had started hours previously. I worked straight through the rest of the afternoon. The day was perfect--not too warm, bright sunshine, a nice breeze. I decided to take a bike ride to my secret spot to pick some blackberries. Well, I am assuming it's a secret spot given for the past several years I've gone there to pick, I have never seen anyone else and there is always a huge supply of berries.

So, I'm picking away, kind of wishing I had waited to go with Mr. Nina, who towers over 6 feet and has what I (affectionately) call "monkey arms". I'm not short, but I'm certainly not tall, so I had to pass on a lot of good clusters.

As I'm picking away, I had one run-in with a spider and 3 very close calls, for a total of 4 encounters. Pick, pick, pick, what's that sticky stuff on me oh my god SPIDERRRRRRRRRRR WEBBBBBBBBBBBB. It took me those 4 times to pay attention. As I mentioned previously, my mind tends to wander.

When I had picked enough, I decided to head back home. As I climbed onto my bike, I felt something in my eye. Not thinking, AGAIN, I rubbed my eye with my pointer finger, also one of my picking fingers. As I looked down at my finger, I saw the berry stains. Again, NOT THINKING, I rub my hand on my shorts then return to trying to remove whatever it was that was obviously caught in my eye. Well, I was making no progress and I had no mirror on me, so I decided to head home.

On my ride home I'm sure I looked like a drunk. First I was riding most of the way into the sun, hurting my stinging eye even more. Plus, whatever it was that was in my eye was hurting me so much at times, I kept trying to remove the object with my right pointer finger as I rode. This doesn't include holding the bag of berries with my left hand (I have no basket on my bike). In short, I was weaving all over the place.

I made it home, went inside the bathroom, tossed off my helmet and sunglasses and looked in the mirror. My eye was very red. The nice shade of purple streaks from the blackberry juice added a nice artistic expression.

Upon close inspection, I found the source of my irritation: a small piece of a blackberry bush.

So I remove the object, clean up and head into the kitchen to put my berries into the freezer. As I pick up my plastic freezer bag, a stream of berry juice pours out of the bottom. Instinctively, I put my hand underneath it to catch the juice, then toss the whole thing into the sink. And once again, with flair, absent-mindedly, I wipe my hands on my legs.

Can one person really be this stupid???

Oh well. The berries are in a new bag, in the freezer. I have a really pretty blackberry stain/design on my legs. It's kind of cool actually--a swirly pattern. And as for that hole in the bag, I haven't a clue when or how it got there. I'm too afraid to find out. Thank god the color blends in with our decor.


Good Presidential Candidates? There Are None.

I actually sat through one of those debates last Sunday and lived to blog about it. The Democratic National Debate. What a bunch of wind-up dancing puppets. Authenticity? Zero. Sincerity? Same score. Even Dennis Kucinich sounded too much like a Politician, although he did toss out a real authentic zinger when the candidates were asked a laaaaaaaaaaame-ass question about god and prayer, whereby he said to the moderator, George Stepanapalouslalapalooza however you spell his name: "I've been praying all evening that you would call on me, George."

ZOWIE! That one initiated a good round of applause from the audience.

I'll believe in this whole fucking process when these debates become truly democratic and include all candidates from all parties. I'll have my faith restored when truth-telling replaces spin, manipulation and machinations. I'll start to believe in the political system when the tough questions are asked and the religious questions are left out. Who fucking cares what god, if any, these people pray to? I never have, even when I WAS part of the cult of religion. I will believe when the voting system is overhauled, when there is a paper trail that is created for every voter, when manufacturers of voting systems are not allowed to contribute to or support political parties and candidates.

I tried to keep my mouth shut as we watched, at the request of my spouse who knows me far-too-well, but I simply could not. All of the candidates spoke of the need for Universal Health Care. Billary blabbed about this need while failing to point out the MILLIONS she has collected from the Pharmaceutical Lobbyists. Kucinich did point out HR 676, a real plan for Universal Health Care just waiting more co-sponsors, but none of the other candidates acknowledged this piece of legislation. And George Lalapalooza let it slide.

Yep. Not surprising considering some of the advertisers for this little debate included a couple of the pharmaceutical druglords. That being said, I still yelled from my comfy spot on the couch: "HEY?! Come on! Why aren't any of you talking about this?? You SAY you are for such a plan and there is a bill already written! Come on George. SAY SOMETHING!"

Georgie boy did say the number one issue on people's minds is the war in Iraq. Lie. I'm pretty sure it's the cost of housing, health care and lack of living wage jobs. In short: M O N E Y. These issues, with the exception of health care, were not adaquately addressed in my opinion.

If the democrats want to win me back, they had better address the following:

1) Create a Universal Health Care System.
2) Poverty--A real tangible plan to, at the very least, ease it.
3) The outrageous cost of housing. Establishing grants to help low income earners (either that or ensure all make a living wage, see below)
4) Establish a minimum wage that is in-line with a living wage
5) Fix our crumbling infrastructure
6) Clean up the environment
7) Help the small family farmers
8) Promote the growth and use of Hemp
9) Study Tesla. Promote free energy and other alternative, sustainable methods.
10) Get out of NAFTA. (We should've listened to Ross Perot.)
11) STOP IMPORTING FOOD PRODUCTS FROM CHINA and ANY other country that does not have the same level of guidelines as we do here in the states.
12) End the war on drugs and decriminalize all drug use. Put some of those resources into treatment.
13) Put an end to this "Federal Law Supercedes State Law" b.s.
14) Iraq. Get out, of course.
15) OWN UP TO YOUR VOTE THAT GAVE BUSH THE POWER TO INVADE. It was a rushed decision. Sure, Bush lied to and mislead congress. I still say you all knew it was illegal at the onset, or at the very least you KNEW there was no pressing need to invade, even if you DID believe in the whole WMD story. There were some of your constituents who refused to authorize Bush. Why? THEY SAW THINGS AS THEY TRULY WERE instead of listening to the Prez. But, we all know War=Profit. As many of you said, money runs Washington. Yep.

So.......In other words, in so many ways, remember your priorities and do your damn job by providing for the people instead of Big Biz.

What's goin' through my mind today..............



Earth's Axis Has Shifted

This piece , at the very least, explained to me why meteorologists are not pointing out the obvious changes in our weather patterns, other than to say such patterns are "unusual" and letting it go at that.


America's Infrastructure: A Report Card

Instead of waging war, let's overhaul our infrastructure. Findings provided by the American Society of Civil Engineers.


A Tribute to the Cell Phone User

I wrote this in June of 2006 and I can't recall if I posted it here or not. I'm too lazy to go through my blog and see if I did, so I decided to post it/repost it. I also modified it somewhat, too. One of my biggest pet peeves is the cell phone user who shops at the store and talks, waits in line and talks, sits next to me ANYWHERE and talks, walks down the street and talks, bikes and talks, and my biggest one of all: drives and talks.

I don't own a cell phone for many reasons, one being I would rarely use it and would likely lose or misplace it. Another being the most basic plans are ridiculously expensive (if i could find one for $10/month that offered 30-60 minutes of time, I'd sign up--just to have in a potential emergency). And lastly, the health dangers.

Anyway.....here ya go. Enjoy. Or not.

"hi! yeah! i'm on my cell phone! yeah, i'm in a store! just thought i'd call you up and say hey. i have nothing really new or important to tell you, but being i have one of these call phones, which means i am super important, i had to call you up anyway. yep, i'm standing right next to someone and i am having this conversation and no i do not think i am bothering this person! i am super important afterall! and super important people like me do not consider the idea that i may be bothering others around me as i have my meaningless conversation with you. so ok i am buying tuna right now. hmm, so many brands to choose from. which brand do you think i should buy? oh wait, i have another call i gotta put you on hold..... hey there! what's up?! oh nothing, just shopping for some tuna right now. i KNOW isn't that SUPER IMPORTANT news?! hey, i gotta call you back later i'm on another call. ok, see ya.......... ok, i'm back. did ya miss me?? LOL!! ok, well i picked out my tuna now i am looking at soup. wow my life is SO important that i just have to share all of this with you RIGHT NOW!! i cannot possibly stand to miss out on any phone calls either because, after all, I AM SUPER IMPORTANT! ok i am at the checkout line. no that's ok i can keep track of what i owe and pay the cashier and bag my groceries PLUS talk with you all at the same time and give you the attention YOU deserve. afterall, us SUPER IMPORTANT people know how to multi-task better than most other people! ok now this is weird, the cashier is yelling my total at me and she is giving me a really mean look. HOW RUDE. wow, what a crabby thing SHE is today! she just snapped my money out of my hands! she must be having a bad day or something. and wow, the people in line are giving me dirty looks too. boy did i pick a bad day to go shopping or what??!! LOL!!

ok i am done with that now i am going out to my car. i am loading my groceries. isn't this an EXCITING conversation you are having with me?? ok i am getting into my car and i am starting the engine. oh wow, my windows need cleaning!! ok i am driving away and now i am coming to an intersection and i am still driving and HEY that person just honked at me and flipped me off! whatever could i have done to them? geesh, afterall i am just another SUPER IMPORTANT person having a SUPER IMPORTANT conversation on my cell phone..."


Know what I find funny?

When I hear folks, who are typically either wealthy or very well established financially or the owner of a large, successful company, say there's something seriously wrong with the idea of expecting the government to provide for us.

I wonder how they would feel if Uncle Sam decided to tax that wealth at the appropriate levels to take care of the needy; if Uncle Sam decided to remove some or most all of those nice little deductions (often ridiculous--and I should know considering I used to work for a CPA firm and helped process tax returns) they get to claim every year, thus often greatly lowering their tax burden; if they should ever find themselves experiencing an unexpected calamity where upon they would lose their business/job/wealth.

Think they would have a change of tune then? I mean we already know they scream loudly when there is any hint of their taxes being raised.

The truth is, we all depend on the government (local, state and federal) to provide for us in some way, either through ensuring our infrastructure is sound and secure (which is IS NOT and this is becoming a HUGE issue that will only worsen unless something is done asap), through ensuring we have police, fire and medical to help us when in need, through ensuring our children have safe/quality education, through ensuring those dollars we invest in a little program called Social Security are there for us upon retirement age, to ensure we have safe, running water, to ensure our homes are safe and sound, etc. etc... And if you happen to be a Corporation here in Oregon, you know Uncle Sam provides for you very well by telling you the minimum state tax you must pay is $10. Anything after $10, eh, forget about it. Keep it!

When looked at in this way, we will see how much we truly do depend on our government.

It all comes down to this: Is Uncle Sam providing for my NEEDS and WANTS. Financially, if you are in the top income brackets, that answer is a resounding Y E S. Of course, given the collapsing of our infracture, I'm sure even those at the top are beginning to see or will begin to see our reps. aren't doing such a good job afterall.

U.S. Military Spending

From Planet of the Chimps, originally found on piglipstick.

This is one example when being Number One is not such a good thing.

At least this, in part, explains the need for the recent billions being added to the market from the EU and Fed Reserve. Or maybe I'm really just unable to wake up from a bad dream and in reality, the money was added to help feed the hungry, house the homeless, provide health care for all, etc. etc.

A girl can always dream.........

Tree Killers

This issue is something that's been weighing on my mind recently. I'm not talking about worms, mites or disease. I'm talking about human beings killing trees simply because they find the trees a "nuisance". A few incidents have prompted me to discuss this issue in the hopes of changing some ways of thinking. And I need to add a little caveat here: I am a huge tree lover. I love to hug them. I love to watch them. Talk to them. Climb them. You name it. I've been this way for as long as I can remember. As such, I'm a little biased in favor of the trees.

When we moved into our home, a neighbor in back of us had just finished cutting down about 5 beautiful, massive, healthy Poplar trees. The reason? The previous winter had brought on a windstorm that knocked a couple of branches on her roof. Rather than realizing living amongst trees does bring some risk, rather than learning to live with that risk, rather than taking the time and money to trim the trees to reduce this risk, the owner, who interestingly enough was from California and according to what she told us, she was not "used" to having trees around, decided to cut them down and killed.

Last month, while Mr. Nina and I were outside enjoying a quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon, we heard a loud "zapping" sound. Looking around, we realized one of the trees next door was touching one of the power lines. Knowing this was a potential hazard, and seeing the neighbors weren't home, I phoned the utility company whereby an employee came out a few days later. I showed him where the noise had come from and he immediately knew what needed to be done. Trim back the tree and keep on top of it every 3-4 years. He said he would have to speak with the owner of the house (who rents out the place) to find out what she wanted to have done and a crew would be sent out. Well, apparently the owner, being the typical tightwad landlord, decided trimming the trees every few years was not an investment she wished to make and instead opted to have the tree (and it's neighboring tree) cut to the ground and killed. Well, needless to say, I was both angered and saddened as were the tenants living in the home. This particular tree provided a lot of shade and privacy. One of my favorite things to do was to sit out back and watch it sway in the wind.

Then this morning, as I was visiting a neighbor, I noticed something strange about the home next door: I could actually see the back yard. Apparently the neighbors decided to cut down all of the trees in their back yard. The trees were healthy and given their size, had been there for decades.

What can I say other than WTF is wrong with these people??? What gives you or any of us the right to cut down an otherwise perfectly healthy tree simply because we're too lazy/unmotivated/uncaring to take care of them?? What gives any of us the right to do the same simply because we find them a nuisance or want more sunlight?? Trees are continuining to be in short supply. Any of these folks stop and think that without these trees WE DO NOT SURVIVE???

Growing up, with the exception of one home, we lived amongst the trees. I remember one tree in particular that my parents had been told was a potential danger to our house--if a strong enough wind storm combined with torrential downpours occurred, this could possibly cause the tree to uproot and blow over onto our home. Our parents decided to keep the tree. I'm glad they did. It taught me a lesson about nature: We live amongst it. We need it. It deserves our respect.

If you do not wish to live around trees or do not want the responsibility and risk that comes from living amongst them, find a property that better suits your needs. Or if you do choose to remove trees, if they are healthy, have them removed from the roots and replanted elsewhere. Just, please, local residents, stop cutting down trees and having them killed simply because you find them to be a nuisance.


Free Hugs Campaign. (music by Sick Puppies.net album out)

Join in this world wide campaign!

Yesterday, Rome. Today, America.

This is one for the "duh" file.

A Synopsis of Canada's Health Care System

As America's discontentment with our Health Care System (which includes quality of care and cost of insurance) continues to grow, let's take a look at how things are run with our neighbors up North, aye.

Daniel Cohn, a professor of public policy in Toronto's York University specializing in health policy, offers a detailed overview of Canada's Health Care System:

First off what Canada has: We don’t have one system, we have several. Each province runs its own show within a very lose federal framework. If they obey five general principles they get substantial grants. If they don’t obey the principles they can be fined (though the fines are often trivial and more meant to make a political point than to actually punish). The principles are universality (all permanent residents must be eligible for coverage), portability (coverage must be good whether the resident is at home or in another part of Canada), comprehensiveness (all medically necessary services provided by physicians, hospitals and diagnostic tests as defined by the province must be covered), public administration (the province must have a publicly managed not-for profit system for insuring people), [and] accessibility (services must be reasonably available in terms of timeliness, geography and no fees can be charged at point of service).

After that everything is up for debate. Some provinces insure things others don’t. Some provinces have premiums for health insurance, some have a dedicated portion of income tax, some fund it 100% out of general revenue. Some provinces have regional authorities that directly manage facilities, others (such as Ontario) leave that in the hands of charitable and not for profit corporations. Some provinces have aggressive programs to contract out care to for-profit firms (who provide treatment at no cost to the patient). One thing that is constant is that MDs are predominantly private and bill the provincial insurance schemes for their work, whether in their office or a hospital. They are not employed by the provincial governments. Some work on straight fee for service, others have different compensation, such as capitation. A lot of stuff is not covered and that is why most families have supplemental insurance for things like drugs, medical supplies and devices, dentistry and non-medically necessary stuff (such as private and semi-private rooms in hospitals). Low income families and seniors usually have public coverage for those things. As in the US marginal workers and entrepreneurs are the least likely to have this private coverage.

Second off public opinion: A few years back Matthew Mendelsohn did a meta-analysis of polling data on Canadian health care. He found that Canadians were well aware of the issues and options and had reached a considered opinion that our system works best for us. Canadians may want reform but not wholesale change. You can read the study on the website of The Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada which commissioned the study. To date I have not seen anything that would lead me to believe that Mendelsohn’s conclusions are no longer valid. What is important is that Canadians did not just support the system because of the care they felt they were receiving, but because it resonated with their values, specifically that high quality health care is a right, and as a right ought to be available to all regardless of location or socio-economic status. [my emphasis]

I myself tested something similar with a study of attorneys in the province of Alberta. Attorneys are a relatively political informed group (so they know the issues), they are also a relatively prosperous group (the sort of people who could theoretically benefit from market-based care as they can afford it and would be attractive risks to insurers). Finally Alberta’s government has been among the least supportive of the present health system and has regularly sought to undermine it. The people I surveyed nevertheless overwhelmingly endorsed the present system. Most felt they would not get better care if privately financed care for medically necessary services were introduced. What turned the majority in favour of the present system into a landslide was a sizable portion which supported the present system even though they felt they would get better care if privately financed care were introduced for medically necessary services. I found decent evidence that these people based their support exclusively in the values promoted by the system. You can read that study "Canadian Medicare is there a Potential for Loyalty: Evidence from Alberta" in the Canadian Journal of Political Science 2005, Volume 38(2) [.pdf here].

This relationship of support for the system to values is why I am hesitant to give detailed advice to Americans. Let me just say whatever plan people develop, it had better fit the values of your society or it will never gain traction and might positively hurt you politically as the losers will fight back and whip up the fear of those who think they might be worse off as a result of your reforms.

As an aside let me quickly point out that the idea that scores of Canadians sneak across the boarder with private insurance to get medically necessary elective surgery is bogus. Although I have heard some radio ads for this sort of coverage (in the Greater Vancouver Area, but no where else) I have not found a major carrier that provides it. In other words, it is not a huge business or the Aetna’s of the world would be in on it. In fact most private insurance for what we call “extended care” the stuff provincial plans exclude, specifically refuse to pay for out of country care other than that which is related to an emergency (heart attack, broken arm, etc. on vacation or business trip). A couple of years back some researchers did a study of billing recorders in hospitals near the Canada US border and could find little or no documentary evidence that there was a transborder trade in elective surgeries. See SJ Katz et al. “Phantoms in the Snow: Canadians use of Health Care Services in the United States,” Health Affairs May/June 2002.

Finally, the reason the above noted sort of insurance is hard to find relates to what I see as the single biggest problem with the present system for financing US health care. It sucks as a business! In fact many Americans with private sector coverage for health costs don’t even have health “insurance” any more. What they in fact have is employer financed care which is “managed” by an insurance or similar firm. The insurance companies bailed on providing insurance and decided to focus on managing benefits as the risks in providing health insurance are just too unpredictable to accurately price in a way that will make the product both profitable and affordable to clients....

So that’s my little contribution. In sum health care for medically necessary care sucks as a business (and we don't even have your tort problem up here in Canada as judges not juries decide damage awards). Whatever you choose to do make sure it resonates deeply with the values of your society or people will not be willing to sacrifice their own interests. I just you hope you get it together before GM and Ford go bust and trigger a meta crisis in your health system.


So let's begin the discussion. What do we as Americans value? Specifically, what do you value? What is important to you? What do you believe to be the utmost truth and of the utmost importance in your heart of hearts?

For the local folks, you can check out what's going on at: http://www.wecandobetter.org/.



That word is used a lot these days, especially amongst the New Age folks. Most of us believe we're composed of "energy". It's been said Jesus knew how to manipulate this energy. Regardless of whether this man existed or not, I believe in the existance of this energy that makes up life eternal and I have come to the conclusion that it can be used and manipulated by all of us. The following articles (one on fire the grid and the other is a blog entry) I read, while at times sounding ridiculous, do carry some good points to be considered.

I've done some experimenting with spirit communication, which is essentially connecting with energy, to (slowly) learn and accept how important it is to know what you are doing when venturing into this field. There are some things I won't be doing for awhile until I feel more confident/grounded in my own abilities. And now I am wondering if I need to put the same level of attention and importance when I send out my energy, ESPECIALLY when it's part of some organized prayer group. I now think it's important to know about the group organizing the event and its intentions.

I'm also having a growing concern--I wonder how much energy manipulation is going on in our world, especially by the leaders who are making decisions that are affecting all of us, regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. It seems I've been rather naive at times in putting this blind trust into any event centered around healing the planet. I wouldn't give my money or time to any group simply because it sounded good. Why would I give my energy?

I believe we are all very powerful in our own right. We have the ability to use our energy for healing or for destruction. And yet this is not something we are taught--AT ALL. We are given all sorts of mixed messages: "you have this energy but we can't/won't teach you how to use it for only the prophets are given this ability"; or "you are powerful but you are not god"; or worse yet: "you have no power". All lies.

I wonder how many church leaders, government and business leaders, maybe even other beings from other planets, know how to use this energy, know how to manipulate it. And most important of all, know how to take it from ordinary, well-meaning people, all simply because we aren't fully knowledgeable and aware of what we are doing or of the pure potential of our power/energy.

I'm not trying to scare anyone here, just passing along some information and let you decide for yourself. I've had a change of tune. At the very least, it's caused me to take a step back and rethink some things, put more of a focus on this whole topic of energy use and manipulation.

Surf Anonymously

Found at educate-yourself.org.


Vacation: A Time To Quiet The Mind, Right?

Turns out, not so much. After spending this past week at the coast with my sweetie and puppy dog, where one of my intentions was to quiet my mind, put aside the rambling dialogue that goes through my mind on a fairly consistent basis, dialogue that screams to be put onto paper in some format, I realized my intention was well-meaning, but naive.

I would spot a parent letting their infant child test the cold seawaters for the first time, and my mind would race with thoughts about experiencing things for the first time. I would watch a group of pelicans dive into the ocean in search of food and my mind would want to paint a story around the scene. And don't even get me started on seeing newlyweds embracing or watching the sun set upon the horizon!

To make matters more challenging, I didn't bring paper. I did this intentionally being I had a feeling my mind would not want to take a vacation from creating, especially in such a fabulous spot. Part two of my intention: when the urge to write made itself known, I was to relax into the moment and just become part of the scene rather than try and control it with my ideas.

Again, well-meaning but naive. Now if we had been allowed and able to get away for 3 plus weeks of vacation (as do all of the other Industrialized Nations on the planet mandate of private employers, but I digress), I may have been able to accomplish my goals.

All of this being said and done, it was a wonderful week. The town in which we stayed in is very small and was quiet up until yesterday. The weather was perfect. Low 70's. Mostly sunny skies. The experience of that occasional coastal breeze that seems to come along at just the right moment when the sun is starting to feel a little too intense. I got an amazing suntan (for me that is, which given my 50% Polish heritage isn't saying much). We had nightly campfires in the firepit out back. And we were blessed with 3 completely clear nights, which allowed us to sit outside and star gaze.

Next year, our plan is for 2 weeks of vacation, regardless of what "the man" says.


More Humor: Bush Bumper Stickers for 2007

not sure if these are really that funny when you think about the implications of this presidency. that being said, some of these are pretty good--especially after you've had a couple of glasses of wine...

Bush Bumper Stickers for 07

1. Bush: End of an Error
2. That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
3. Let's Fix Democracy in this Country First
4. If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
5. Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
6. If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
7. Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant
8. Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
9. George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
10. Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blow Jobs Anymore
11. America: One Nation, Under Surveillance
12. They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It
13. Whose God Do You Kill For?
14. Jail to the Chief
15. No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?
16. Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
17. Bad President! No Banana.
18. We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
19. We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
20 Is It Vietnam Yet?
21. Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
22. Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Hand basket?
23. You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
24. Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
25. When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46
26. Pray For Impeachment
27. The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
28. What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?
29. One Nation Under Clod
30. 2004: Embarrassed 2005: Horrified 2006: Terrified
31. Bush Never Exhaled


How To Have Fun

takin' a break from day-to-day life for awhile. i thought i'd post the following ideas that can help us all lighten up and have some fun with one another. as the little sign on my nightstand says: "calculated mischief is invigorating".

1) Sit in your car next to a busy road while wearing sunglasses and point a hairdryer at passers-by. See if they slow down.

2) When leaving the zoo, run out into the parking lot while yelling "They've gotten loose! Run for your lives!"

3) Skip rather than walk.

4) Run up to someone you don't know, pretending you do know them. Give them a hug while proclaiming "how have you been?! I haven't seen you in SO long!"

5) Next time you're out in a public place walking around, suddenly stop, throw your head back, slap your knee and announce "NOW I get it!" then begin laughing loudly.

6) Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

7) Don't use any punctuation when speaking.

8) Finish all of your sentences with "in accordance to prophecy".

9) Put decaf in the coffee maker at work or at home for 3 weeks. Once everyone is over their addiction, switch to espresso.

10) Order a diet water with a serious face.

11) Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

12) When money comes out of the ATM, scream "I WON! I WON!"

13) Sing along at the opera.

14) Next time you visit the doctor, sit down next to someone and say you're here for that "highly contagious rash", then start itching yourself all over.

and last but not least...

15) Ask for/receive and give at least one hug a day. Ok, so this isn't mischevious. But it will help lighten the load of daily living.