Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Curtain Down on the World Stage

I have been writing this blog for more than 38 years starting during the Reagan Presidency. I remember posting three - sometimes four times a day for several months in succession without time off. We all thought we were contributing to the cause back then.  I recounted every story I know and some I do not remember in numerous posts here on the blogosphere.  How many thousands of words is that? (A lot- if you consider the average blog post of 2248 characters is the equivalent of 24 type written pages.) I still remember those early days of live blogging during the O.J Simpson trial.  Al Gore called us the original Tweeting Napster's for stealing television news stories and turning them into running (now they call it streaming) text.  

It's a monster, this InterWeb of digital connectivity. It has a veracious appetite. It keeps demanding more and more often. 

The reason for this ravenous consumption of concepts is: Attention span for the Internet is exponentially decreasing at twice the rate of the increase of available content. Since the World Wide Web was first put up on line in 1958 till now, 93% of all facts can be checked in less than .3760 trigiseconds or less. That is to say only 7% of the worlds information cannot be cleared in milliseconds. For that information it takes an average of .9335 seconds for verification. This means any facts or statistics that might be quoted as true are 63% more likely to be false. Facts are checked for accuracy 43% less now, than 7 years ago. This was a time before alkaline batteries.   It is a huge data base and we must feed it.  I have tried to do my share, But, the Intersphere has digested my thousands of words and is still hungry. Here is my parting shot as a pioneer blogger.....


When presidential hopeful Ted Cruz was asked if he thought the division in congress was caused by ignorance, or apathy.  Sen. Cruz immediately stated, "I don't know... and I don't care."

So with that I am "closing" the blog until further notice*. No more words to type.  No more thoughts to share and no more apologies to make for the thoughts I chose to share. Until such time as my fingers heal and I can type once more, here is a summer reading list linked for your convenience.

Until we meet again, Thank you for all your help and encouragement for me to continue.
As you were,
Jay




*PS... Consider this further notice. I'm not going anywhere. Happy April Fools Day..... At what point did none of those facts add up to you.  This is a repeat of the gag I did in 2013, if you do not remember then you are either a new reader or old person.
Monday, April 01, 2013

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Clearly not Clear

I have to say the documentary on Scientology, although compelling, was not as creepy as the Durst interviews.  A television reviewer in Hollywood stated the day"Going Clear" premiered that the entire Show Business community was "anticipating the airing of this exposé like it was Christmas morning." I was one of those anxious to see it.  It was informative for sure.
Although I have known some people who are Scientologists,  I have never discussed the philosophy with them.  It was interesting to find out that this multimillion dollar religion is ultimately based on a cheesy Sifi comic book plot.   It would seem the secrete that "Clears" get after thousands of dollars in audit fees could once be purchased for the price of a pulp paper comic book.
The take away that most people are getting from this documentary is the shock of watching people, who seem so normal, become involved in what looks from the outside to be a scam.  People paying thousands and thousands of dollars to become a slave to an organization that will help them get rid of disembodied spirits, who were killed and nuked eons ago but nonetheless have attached themselves to us humans like psychic leeches.
"Ready to begin your audit?"
Perhaps it is only because Scientology is a mid 20th Century Religion that makes it seem like complete nonsense.  I am not defending the abuses Scientologists are accused of, nor am I defending the organization at all.  However, if you look objectively at most organized religions you might find them to be a scam based upon a mythical story as well. Most are money machines scaring people into believing that salvation is the exclusive possession of one set of rules.
If there is a question that Scientology is an actual religion,  compared to the other established religions world wide they are acting pretty much the same.
Recently an evangelical Minister blatantly asked his followers to donate $65 million dollars to purchase a new jet for his "ministry". Sexual child abuse and cover up has dogged the Catholic church for years, and even after millions of dollars paid out in damages they are still one of the wealthiest organizations in the world with millions of followers. Warren Jesup was able to sexually exploit young girls under the name of religion. Jim Jones, David Koresh both condemned as cult leaders were working with and in the name of  organized religion.  Indiana zealots have been able to pass segregation laws that discriminate under the guise (and tax exempt status) of religion only days ago.
I don't see how we can say that Thetans are substantially different than Christian demons or that an e-meter auditing session is different in principle from Catholic confession.  We think members of the elite Scientology Sea Org are weird because they dress up in dime store sailor uniforms. Where as skull caps, Miter hats, robes and the flowing costumes and gold crosses of other religions are so much more holy.
During the viewing of the doc every time they showed a picture of Tom Cruise all I could hear was Jack Nicholson's voice from "A Few Good Men" yelling, "Are we clear?  I said are we clear?"

I think I have an issue with all organized religions.  No matter how earnest they seem or pious their beliefs, when a philosophy forms a club it becomes a beast.  Once you collect dues and buy a club house you need to keep the club house going and that requires money.  And eventually money corrupts the best intent of spirituality particularly since the cash enjoys a tax free ride.
In Truth there is no exclusive way to spirit. There is not a singular path to eternal life,  God should not be pimped out by selling exclusive access to his grace. When any religion says theirs is the ONLY way to paradise, then for sure you are being scammed.

A guy dies and goes to heaven.  St Peter is showing him around. "There is the theatre where we do shows. Playing now is the original cast of Hamlet"
"Wow" says the new guy.
"Over there in the park is where the musicians hang out jamming all day long.  If you get a picnic lunch you can sit in the grass and listen to the best music you ever heard.  Jimmy Hendricks was jamming with Mozart the other day.  Guitar and Harpsichord... brilliant." 
They pass by a walled off area of Heaven where a few houses are hidden away.
"Shh.  You have to be very quiet when you past this area. Don't ever make any noise. Don't let the people inside know that you are here. It is the only place a rule like that exists."
"How come no noise just at this place?"
"Well, to be honest that's where Jerry Falwell and a few of his followers live. They think they're the only ones up here."


As you were,
Jay



Monday, March 23, 2015

Up in the Air

On the last Phoenix  flight out of Burbank Friday, I was across from a lady who commutes to work from Phoenix and flys home on this same flight every week end.  She told me she has been on this schedule for 6 years.  I remarked that I was pushing 3million miles on my American Airlines Advantage account and we breifly shared a "we fly too much" moment. 
As we made the taxi from the gate the pilot gunned the engine. Before we moved very far he pulled back on the throttle and we went to the airplane equivelent of idle.  He did this three or four more times and then we taxied back into the gate. Captain said he was getting a warning light and they would need maintanence to check it out.  Turned out to be a nearly three hour delay.  It was a "restrainer"- something to do with the engine.  
The man sitting in the window seat the other side of the lady commuter became increasingly agitated.  He finally demanded he be let off the plane, claiming he would drive to Pheonix. To be honest we were glad that his "negative attitude" had left the area.  After he was gone the lady said she has made that drive several times and on a Friday afternoon he was looking at a 9 hour trip.
Soon the pilot said that we were a "green plane" meaning we were free to leave. We settled in and began to taxi.  We got further from the gate this time but the pilot raced the engines and pulled back several times like before.  I was concerned that the problem had not really been fixed and we would be heading back to the gate. But the final time he raced the engines we were on our way. 
Climbing out of the Burbank airport is a really steep flight path.  Because there is so much residential area in the  path they try to get as high as they can as fast as they can for noise abatement.  We began to climb steeply. The engines kept accelerating faster and louder straining to make this Burbank climb. 
Suddenly we are in a state of weighlessness that lasted several seconds. Long enough for me to lock eyes with the lady commuter who was now alone in her row.  We both shared a moment of realization that this was not normal.  
Adding to the fear of the moment.  I heard no engine noise.  It was quiet, going from a high RPM roar to silence except for the screams and gasps from nearly everyone on the plane.  The wings banked and I thought we were either going down or back to the airport. A story flashed in my head: The problem had indeed not been fixed and we were in trouble.  
I hear the engines come back on begining to strian again, thankfully, but we are still losing attitude.  I see the hills surrounding Burbank from my window and the thought of a German co-pilot slamming into the French Alps crosses my mind. (At baggage claim later several of the passengers admitted they had the same thoughts for those moments) 
The engines come back on and race faster and faster as we begin to climb.  From that moment on it seemed like a normal flight that was just delayed three hours. The flight attendant was sitting close enough to us to engage in conversation. The commuter lady said, "What the hell was that?"  The Flight attendant said, "Oh just an invisible air pocket."
The commmuter said, "I have experienced air pockets before and they are nothing like that was." I chimed in and agreed.  The lady said, " I have never experienced anything like that before." The attendant said, "Oh, I have." I got a sympathy laugh of relief from those around us when I said, "That does not make me feel better." 
There was no explanation from the pilot.  No mention was made of it, only an appology that the flight had been delayed for hours when we landed.
It will not be on the news. It will never be reported outside of the Airline home office and I am sure I will never know the real reason for one of the scariest moments in my flying experience.
A young lady approched me at baggage claim.  She occupied the seat in front of me.  She asked if she could film a video of me telling her husband it was as bad as she would claim when she got home.  She said, "He will think that I am either making it up or just a woosie flier." In the breif video I touted my 3 million mile status and said it was the worst thing I had ever been through. I was not exaggerating. 
At a time when major airline accidents have filled the front page of newpapers, a moment like this takes on greater significance. Glad to be in Phoenix today. 
On a happier note:  The Burbank TSA could not have been nicer to me and I was allowed to go through the TSA Pre-screened line.  
As you were,
Jay

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

Yesterday the gossip news was all about Senator Tom Cotton's interview on Face the Nation. One of his biggest errors was stating that Iran was "now in control of Tehran..." If I were to give him the benefit of the doubt, knowing he was on Face the Nation for the first time, and knowing that he is as green as Kermit the Frog, I would think he just meant to say "Tikrit" instead of "Tehran".  However, since my personal belief is that he lacks the education to know the difference, it just points out how much he doesn't understand.  
Today the gossip news is about Ted Cruz making a little girl cry with his doom's day disrespect for the very Government he works for.  This led to a link siting Rick Santorum's desire to turn this country into a single religion state.  Then I saw that Rand Paul said he signed the Iran Letter to "Help the President". (Larry, Curly and Moe).  I was so upset by what these reactionary misguided radical white collar terrorist said, I wanted to take to the Net and denounce them in every possible way.  It seemed to me that their misinformation was getting enough attention and it was time to spread a more rational point of view. My own point of view.... of course.  


Fortunately being AADD and the Internet being such a distraction, I was soon looking at something else that grabbed my attention.  It was a statement from Eckhart  Tolle: "Here is a new spiritual practice for you: don't take your thoughts too seriously".  

It stopped me short. I was at that moment taking my thoughts very seriously, thinking my words or thoughts could be of influence.  And I realized that is probably what Cotton, Cruz, Santorum and Paul (to only name a few) were doing as well, taking their thoughts very seriously.  It seems none of us was being very spiritual.
We are just now coming upon that quadra-annual time in America when we all start to see ourselves as "other".  They are democrats, they are republicans, they are Christian, they are Atheist, ProLife, ProChoice etc. ect.  It is called the "Presidental Election process."  We will start to see all kinds of candidates bask in their 15 minutes. Stupid will gain some traction and rise toward the top before it is brought back down by its own stupid mistakes.  Stupid eventually can not hide it's own ignorance. 

What gets me is that all these grand standing egotists are vying for the job of President. The job that most of them have been belittling and disrespecting for the last 8 years.  It seems they are over looking the very golden rule that proselytizing evangelicals claim is a spiritual principle.  "Do Unto Others as You would have others do unto you."  In other scripture, " You reap what you sow." Other beliefs call that Karma.  
Don't these racist, holier than thou, reactionary, pseudo-candidates realize that if they win the Presidency, they will only get back the same disrespect that they have given to the former job holder? They seriously think their ideals and goals will be loved and praised when they are in office.  "Don't take your thoughts too seriously" all you presidential posers. 
Me neither. I admit that my thoughts are nothing more than my own. They influence no one.  My own life needs to be better attended before I think I can "comment" or "influence" anyone else's path. Rick, Ted, Tom, Rand et al, it is your turn.
As you were,
Jay

And PS...John McCain go home immediately, there are kids in your yard that need to be yelled at. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Senator Tom Cotton - Felon or Traitor?

I never heard of Tom Cotton the junior Senator from Arkansas untill Monday.  Evidently he is the author of the Letter sent to Iran signed by 46 of his "co-conspirators". There was no question that there is a faction of idiocy that has taken over congress. However,  their partisan racism and disrespect for the President has now become criminal. 
All the signatories are immediately guilty of violating   18 U.S. Code, Section 953, “Private Correspondence with Foreign Governments,” also known as the Logan Act. Here is that law in its entirety. 

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
There is no doubt that all 47 Senators are in violation of that statute, in my opinion. Disobeying this rule is a felony by law.  However, this seems serious enough that they should all be charged with Treason.  The harm they have done to the United States on a global level is much more damaging than the actions of Edward Snowden. This idiotic Senatorial letter panders to the Iranians by saying "they may not understand how OUR system of government works." I suggest that it is Senator Cotton who needs the refresher course in how our government works. His letter tells Iran and the world that no one should deal with the President of the United States because there is actually a group of 47 Senators who run the country. I'm not a Constitution Lawyer, but I am pretty sure that was not the idea Thomas Jefferson and the founding Patriots had in mind. 
Politics used to stop at the border and if you messed with one American you messed with all of us.  We Americans stand United. We speak with the voice of a people working together.  That is unless you are a President we don't like, whom we want to embarrass and humilate. If that is the case then it is okay to invite Leaders of other countries to speak to Congress without informing the President.  And it is perfectly fine to let a first year Junior Senator compose a letter to a country we do not even have diplomatic ties with saying, "Our duly elected two term President really has no power to speak for the country. As soon as we can get rid of him we will refuse to abide by any agreements he might have made." 
In the movie the Godfather a war between the rival families starts because in a "meeting" Sonny opens his mouth and implies he is not totally in agreement with his Father Don Corleone.  The Godfather knows how dangerous and damaging Sonny's actions are. When they are alone the Godfather says, "Don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again." Because of Sonny's momentary lack of solidarity he was eventually killed and an attempted assassination was made on Don Corleone's life. 
I am not implying that our government works like organized crime. Government is much less efficient and street smart than the old Mafia. But I am saying that the principle of standing together as a country is paramount to our safety and security just as it was in the crime organization of the Corleone family.  It is a law of the wild that an enemy will always strike at the weakest member of the herd.  If the herd does not stand together to protect the weakest then all are vulnerable to attack.  At this point Congress is not projecting a solid front, but an organized resistance to anything our elected President does. 
President Obama is not the best President we have ever had but he is far from the worst and I would give him marks that are way above average. It is the nature of politics to find a way to work with others even if they have idealistically polar opposite beliefs from your own. That means WORKING together not holding your breath and having a tantrum when you don't get it exactly your way.  It takes a special kind of diplomatic visionary person to be a Senator or Congressman when it is done right.  We have lowered the bar so far for our representitives in Congress it is now populated by a group of entitled, gold digging, bible thumping, stuborn, spoiled children who see Governing as a game to become personally powerful and rich. 
To aid the ememy in exploting the weakness in our country or system of government is TREASON. Sen. Cotton (head) and his 46 co-conspirators have betrayed this country, shown that we can not stand together and have spit on the chain of command and the rule of law that this country stands for. 
I have recently unfriended several connections on Facebook because of hateful posts against the President. Freedom of speech is everyone's right,  being my friend (even on Facebook)  is only mine to bestow.  One of the offending posts refered to President Obama with the right-wing jingoistic slur, "King Obama."  I can assure you if this President WAS actually acting like a King, 47 Senators would be executed immediately for sedition. 
As you were,
Jay


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Dog Emotions

This is my dog Bambu.  She has a difficult job, but she does it very well.  Her job?  "Being Cute". It is the only thing that seems to be required of her other than being constantly at my side. Who knows exactly what motivates a dog other than food. We assume they have emotions that are similar to ours although "food motivation" could account for most of the actions I interpret as her emotions.   But then there was this....
During our walk yesterday we reached our neighborhood park.  It is nearly always filled with dogs and dog owners and although the sign says dogs are supposed to be on leash, the "regulars" rarely abide by that rule. Yesterday there were only a few patrons of the park when Boo and I arrived.  
Alone at one end of the park was a lady with her dog off leash. It looked as if they both wanted the time to themselves, but Boo decided to run over and say Hi. Usually Boo will not venture too far away and comes when I call but not this time.  
The lady did not seem open and friendly like most of the dog owners in this park.  It looked as if she was a little scared of Boo coming toward her.  When I realized Boo was not to be swayed from having a sniff I said, "She is a very friendly dog." 
That statement usually gets a response from other dog owners. They will say... "So is mine", or "My dog is a little aggressive" and we sort out the decorum of dog dominance with small talk. Body language from the Lady suggested she was not thrilled that Boo was being so attentive to her dog. Boo eventually licked the dog's face and nudged it tenderly.  I had never seen her do that before. Trying to ease the fears of the lady I said, "Well, your dog seems to be taking all this attention in stride." 
With that the lady burst into tears.  Through her sobbing she said that her dog was 19 years old and very ill.  They were on the way to the Vet's clinic to have her put to sleep. This was the dog's last trip to this park.  A park that had been her favorite play space in the past. 
There is nothing one can say about this situation.  I told her I had gone through the same experience a few years ago and understood.  But it was of little comfort. She apologized saying, "Sorry to cry like that. You had no idea what you were getting into did you?" I'm not even sure what my response was other than trying to make it all okay for a moment. I was on the verge of tears myself.
Boo licked the old dog one more time and we walked away giving them the space they needed. Twice Boo looked back at the dog as we walked deeper into the park.  Boo looked at the dog, looked at me, then back at the dog.  It could have been my own projected emotions, but in Boo's eyes I saw the sadness of understanding.  
This morning I am still thinking of that experience. It seems to have significance, but my question is: Was this chance encounter for her benefit or mine. I know we two strangers connected on a complicated emotional level that even seemed to affect the demeanor of my dog Boo. And I will need more evidence to the contrary to convince me that Dogs don't have emotions.
As you were,
Jay