Saturday, December 24, 2005

Last Minute Shopping

I've honestly finished my christmas shopping three days ago. I only went down to WalMart this evening because I ran out of milk, which signals the necessity of a regular grocery shopping trip. It's just an unfortunate coincidence that the last-minute Christmas shoppers had overwhelmed the store. Ad to that the announcement being broadcast over the store loudspeakers at regular intervals:
Attention WalMart Shoppers, it is now 5:00, and the store is closing at 6:00. Please make your final selections and proceed to the front of the store for checkout. Thank you.
I swear I heard them make the same announcement twice for 5:15. I made my shopping list on the way out the door, and checked it twice while in the drink aisle, only to behold that I had yet to retrieve a bag of cat food. Having made my final cat food selection, I proceeded under pressure to the front of the store, only to find that the first checkout clerk was closing her lane. The second clerk, a miniature three-foot high 60 year-old lady, was finishing up with another miniature three-foot high 60 year-old lady, when she bungled the approval of the customers check. The customer wanted an extra $20 cash returned, and the added complexity was more than the two of them could collectively fathom at such a late hour. Customer Service was called in. Meanwhile, another customer placed his half-dozen articles on the belt behind my dozen articles, only to retrieve them upon seeing what was transpiring (or not) at the register. I had already had the same thoughts, but had determined that by the time I gathered my dozen articles back into my cart and had gone to another register, all avaible checkers would have either closed, or been transformed into Dumb Doris deer in the headlight register flailers. Or the impending 6:00 deadline would have passed, and I would have to spend Christmas locked in a WalMart store full of low-grade food, leftover Christmas merchandise, women's lingerie, and piles of beanbag furniture. So, I perservered, and remained in line while Dumb Doris (her name was actually Barb) mechanically checked an item, placed it in a bag, turned the bag turnstile, and repeated the process untill she eventually realized that she could put more than one item in a bag, and that she could actually fill both bags on the side of the turnstile before proceeding to the next side. So after enduring thirty minutes of last minute shopping horror, I managed to make it home, safe and sound, where I could snuggle sound in my bed with visions of Little Debbies cakes dancing in my head.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

System Overload

I can’t keep up with all the nonsense that’s going on out there, and still blog about it all, and not only run an internet business, but build it up to sustainable levels, get more education in needed skills, do my Christmas shopping, and run a paper route, along with all the extra promotional campaigns the papers are running, all at the same time. To put it simply, System Overload! So I’ll just mention some headline stories that I wish I could write a full article about.

The War On Christmas. It’s now improper to use the word Christmas at Christmastime, so as not to offend those who do not actually believe in Christ. There was an article on this in the Denver Post, and somewhere else, probably many somewhere elses in the blogosphere. Somewhere in Kentucky, I think, school kids were sent home for saying “Merry Christmas” to each other. There’s even a book on The War On Christmas. Someone sent me a video clip (I wish I could post it) of some redneck reading the PC rendition of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. And the non-denominational holiday figure laughed “Lady of the evenin’! Lady of the evenin’! Lady of the evenin’!” Crap, can’t even say “Ho Ho Ho!” Any more. Now they got me counting the Christmas cards that mention the word Christmas, and those that don’t.

Iraq has a huge, successful election. Of course, nobody in the media seemed to notice. It’s one of those things that’s deeply emotional to me, because it’s a sign that we’re accomplishing what we set out to do in Iraq. And the clueless democrats and liberals wanted an immediate withdrawal. It’s a good thing they caught those trucks full of bogus ballots, ready to rig the election.

The Government is spying on you. According to a poll in USA Today, 52% of Americans are engaged in some illegal activity that they don’t want the government to know about, 47% of Americans have nothing to hide, and the other 1% presumably don’t know the difference between right and wrong.

What’ve You Been Smoking? (I’d sure like some of that) I’ll bet the 52% are all smoking pot. I never did use the catch-phrase, “What’ve you been smoking?” I found it offensive when that phrase was used in reference to me, because I’m not a stoner. It’s always the stoners that use that catch-phrase. If I asked a crowd of people, say, company employees, “Everyone who’s drug free, raise your hand” I’ll bet the 47% would proudly raise their hand, and I’d know that the other 52% were all stoners (and 1% are too dumb/stoned to know the difference).

Patriot Act is Killed. It’s always the democrats that use the polls to make their decisions. Since 52% of Americans are opposed to the Patriot Act because they have something to hide, then the democrats are in support of the legalization of marijuana. This has parallels to prohibition, somehow. I just don’t care to figure it all out right now. But it doesn’t seem to have much to do with finding the terrorists.

Medicine Kills. Now, even more slowly. A good friend of mine has an elderly mother that is in the hospital dying. I’d rather not, and don’t have explicit permission to give all the details. Over the past few months I’ve heard reports of this elderly woman going from a relatively healthy, although diabetic and wheelchair bound person to a dying, half-dead person, carved up like a Thanksgiving Turkey. Every step along the way, the doctors were careful to point out the worst of all possible outcomes. And then, the worst of all possible outcomes happens. Have you guys ever heard of psychosomatic illness? Have you guys ever heard of the power of suggestion? Far be it for them to actually encourage a person’s will to live. It’s been said that more money is spent on health care at the end of a person’s life than at any other time of their life. I’m convinced that doctors like this take advantage of the health care plans of well-to-do families in such a way as to prolong the demise of the elderly, maximize the amount of extraordinary health care services provided, and extract the greatest amount of revenue from the insurance companies. I think it’s disgusting.

Tookie Who? Okay, so this guy started the Crips gang, was convicted for murder, never confessed his crimes or showed remorse, but managed to write a children’s book. So, because he wrote a children’s book, some moonbat wants him pardoned. And since Governor Schwarzenegger won’t pardon the guy, poor, poor Tookie gets the death sentence, and Arnold gets a bad rap as Governor Terminator. Arnie, you can terminate all the Tookies you can find, as far as I’m concerned. More power to you.

Angels among us. I’ll end this rant on a positive note. I’ve discovered one of the best Iraq-based military blog I’ve seen. Michael Yon’s Online Magazine. Reading through his archives, I’ve gained a lot of respect for his perspective, just how much progress has been made there, how little of that progress has been reported in the media, and what the soldiers stationed there experience. In one of the most interesting posts: Lost In Translation, Michael interviews a family man who spent most of his adult life either imprisoned or conscripted in the wrong army because he believed in Yezidism, an ancient offshoot of Judaism that believes in angels as central to their faith. Another interesting article is Angels Among Us, where a group of marines get their humvee blown up by an IED. When asked how they all escaped being killed, a soldier looked straight at Michael and without hesitation said, “We had angels watching us.”

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Wish List

Well, the Christmas tips have started to roll in, and I’m looking at how I should spend the money. As I said before, I’m not going to disclose how much I get in tips, because it makes people jealous. If you have such feelings, consider how much BS I have to put up with from idiotic management and angry and forcibly subscribed customers, all the risks I take, having to save for and pay my own income taxes, having to run around in the cold at night, wearing clothing that makes me look like a burglar in order to keep warm, having to pay for auto maintenance and gasoline – don’t you think I deserve some consideration? So I smile when I get a $50 check from someone in the rich neighborhood, and I pass the smile right back to them with the best possible service. After all, TIPS stands for To Insure Proper Service.

It’s not really in line with the Christmas giving spirit, but in keeping with the commercialization of Christmas, I’m giving my Christmas tip money to the merchants and service providers in exchange for much-needed goods and services. So here’s my Christmas tip spending list:

  • Gasoline to feed the ever-hungry gas hog. With the price of gas down to $2 per gallon and my mileage hovering around 13 MPG, depending on the temperature, gas only cost me $7.70 per day, instead of the previous $10 per day when it was at $3 per gallon. It’s nice to see that the gulf coast refineries are back in operation, or whatever is making gas relatively affordable again. Thank you.

  • Lunch. This is another item that a certain portion of the pocket cash goes to. In fact, with gasoline, and an occasional random purchase at Wal-Mart, this is the only other item I spend cash on. For all those who send me cash in the mail (which you’re not supposed to do anyway), that just offsets the amount of cash that I take out of the paychecks in order to sustain a standardized cash level for the gas fund. But those paychecks always feel like something worth celebrating, and I do so by splurging on lunch from the value menu at Wendy’s. Thanks to the cash givers, doing so just feels a little bit easier.

  • A new clutch. Here’s where I start into the auto maintenance category. Last year about this time, the clutch started making a funny noise. Funny noises from the truck really make me nervous, so I had the mechanic investigate, and he said the clutch would eventually go bad, and have to be replaced. Like, any day now. He offered to replace it right then, but said it would slowly go bad over the next few months. I haven’t done the clutch in the 100,000 miles that I’ve driven it, so like Yellowstone Park exploding, it’s due right about now. Like “The Big One” knocking California into the ocean, it’s due any day now. I keep listening for that funny noise again.

  • A new steering wheel cover. I like cheap things. They cost less. When I decided that I needed a special steering wheel cover with enough grip to quickly spin the wheel around while flying through all those cul de sacs, I found a cheap one with knobbies at Wal-Mart for $8. Well, like all cheap things, it’s falling apart, so I’d better put another one in the grocery cart at Wal-Mart next time I’m there.

  • Body work. They told me that this model of Toyota had problems with the bed rusting out along the seam. The rust is starting to work it’s way along in a big bubble. And the paint is peeling in other places. I don’t know how much the discount auto body repair guy would want, but the Bump Shop offered to replace that panel for a mere $2,000. Outch! I think I’ll save my money until it becomes as critical as the clutch, then talk to that discount guy.

  • Software. I’ve pre-spent some of my Christmas tip money on this item. Preventative maintenance, and spending money to keep spam, viruses, and other people’s nasties out of my system. Here, I have to make a sub-list
    • System Mechanic 5, and

    • An expensive upgrade to System Mechanic 6. This might actually have saved my butt a few times.

    • Diskeeper 9 defragmenter. I’ll skip the upgrade to Diskeeper 10 defragmenter. It just doesn’t solve my system performance problems.

    • Error Nuker. Like Diskeepr defragmenter, it didn’t really fix my performance problems. But it’s already paid for.

  • System Mechanic, after having the system do a boot-time disk check, which I could have and did do anyway, seems to be telling me that my hard drive is unreliable, and that it can’t quite pinpoint and flag exactly what spot on the drive is causing the problem. To compensate for this, I should probably buy another hard drive, possibly from a different manufacturer. But then I’ll have to clone the drive data. Yuck.

  • Since all that maintenance software won’t change the fact that I’m just running way to much software on my computer, I should be thinking about getting a new system. It’d really be nice to have one of those 3 GHz systems – are they up to 4 GHz or something higher now? – instead of my old 800 MHz system that can barely keep up with itself. Then I’ll have to contact all those software makers and get my licenses transferred to the new system. Maybe I should take the traditional do-it-yourself approach and just get a new 5 GHz motherboard, and a case to match it. And then watch the system try to re-configure itself, and end up in some crippled state that I have to fix manually. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

  • I’ve really been wanting to get that Access 2000 book, so I can do more better database work. I haven’t seen any good classes for Access. Classes cost ten times as much as books anyway, and you still have to buy the book.

  • Before I do that, I might want to upgrade to Access XP++ 2006, or whatever is coming out next. Naw, why buy the same software twice?

  • In spite of what I just said about classes, I want to take the AWAI copywriting class. I’ll probably have to commit myself to a year of studying to match the year’s worth of monthly payments. Or I could just pop for the $500 right now. Are you kidding??? My Christmas tip money is already spoken for by everything else on this list. This is one of those potentially get-rich-quick schemes. Besides, I was fired from my first job for “poor communication skills,” and now, it’s my life’s mission to learn and practice good communication skills. Why has nobody bothered to use even the 10% discount coupon code I set up on I dunno. Either just saying there are discounts and freebies, and one is a storewide discount isn’t “good communication,” or my web visitors are all illiterate.

  • Income taxes. Sigh. I must’ve been blocking this out of my mind throughout the rest of the list. Well, I’ve still got four more months to save up enough to pay my income taxes. See, as contract labor, my “employer” doesn’t consider me to be an employee, and so doesn’t withhold income tax for me. So I have to come up with the money myself on tax day.

  • Credit card debts. Sigh. Another thing I’ve been blocking out of my mind. When I get the time and energy, I’m going to invent some scheme to take advantage of these zero interest, introductory offer type things to actually pay down the principle instead of continually throwing money away at these creditors.

  • There’s an options-trading newsletter that makes claims of having an 80% success rate of recommendations that at least double your money in an average of six weeks. The cost is $89 each month. If I can start out with some $500 out of my current portfolio, and if it does what it says it does, I should be able to leverage that into a substantial sum fairly quickly. Call it a get-rich-scheme. Call me crazy. But I’ve been a gambler for these types of things before. I’m willing to give this one a shot. And if it doesn’t work, I’ll hold them to their money-back guarantee.

Well that’s about it for my Christmas wish list. Now, to go do some actual Christmas shopping for the family.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 05, 2005

Wind Chill Factor

With the onset of cold weather, my thoughts are turning from politics, business and the holidays to the hazards of an outdoor / nightime occupation in the cold winter months.

Last night, the low temperature was 17 F. Winds were especially strong. I estimated gusts up to 20 to 30 mph. A quick Google search for "wind chill factor chart" brought me to this page, with this chart. That puts the wind chill factor down to -17 F to -26 F. I could feel it. Even though I wore extra layers of clothing and nylon ski pants over my blue jeans, the thinness of my hat and the exposure of my face felt like I was going to freeze my face off. According to the chart, there is greater danger that exposed flesh will freeze.

Tonight, the low is again 17 F. But Tuesday and Wednesday, the low temperatures will be down to 3 F and 1 F. I don't get wind speed forcasts from my desktop weather tool, downloaded from If the wind continues, the wind chill factor could easily be in the region of -40 F.

There's one fella that oddly shows up wearing shorts and sunglasses, no matter what the weather, or time of night. If you're a religious or spiritual type, prayers for myself and the others in the newspaper carrier business would be appreciated at this time. If you have to be out in the cold weather, be sure to dress appropriately.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Happy Thanks-ri-abso-freakin’-lutely-diculous-giving

I didn’t get a chance to write about Thanksgiving. The newspaper made Thanksgiving not only bonus day (everybody gets the paper, regardless of their subscription schedule), but they had to give us five, no, six sections. Three sections devoted exclusively to advertisement. And they decided to give every carrier an extra 50 papers per route. All “sissy pissers.” Sissy pissers? Sigh… someday I’ll have to write up my paper carrier lexicon. These are all delivered on the Saturday and Sunday schedule: abbreviated “SS,” which I pronounce as “sissy.” And the edition is the Denver Post Special (special comics), abbreviated DPS, or simply PS, which I pronounce as “pisser.” They go in piss-yellow bags, and they just piss everyone off. Hence, 50 new “sissy pissers.” And, of course, I still got until 6:00 AM to deliver – fold and deliver – 300 and something enormous papers. And that lady that consistently calls in a complaint if her paper isn’t there by 6:00 AM, the same lady that last Thanksgiving sat and watched at the window until I delivered it at 7:13 AM before calling to complain that she didn’t get her paper (as soon as I delivered it, on Thanksgiving Day), well she got her paper before everyone else this year. Even though driving out of my way to do so made the rest of the route 10 minutes later.

Then, I got to drive 50 miles across the state to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family. For some mysterious reason, I decided that I would enjoy my visit with the family more if I could pre-visit without the fatigue of the Thanksgiving Day route dragging me down. So that meant two 50-mile each-way trips, for a total of 200 extra highway miles.

And, there’s the Christmas card situation. I won’t publicly disclose how much money I got last year from Christmas tips, because it makes some people jealous, and I really really need that extra money. I didn’t get my order of 350 cards in until the Monday before Thanksgiving. That’s three weeks later than last year. The Christmas cards went out with the Sunday edition following Thanksgiving. Much of my energy the past two months has been on efforts leading up to this day. I’ve been importing between 20 and 40 items each day into my web store, each day since October. All this so that I could have all (most?) of my supplier’s products in the store in time for the Christmas season. To kick off my part of the Christmas shopping season, I decided to set up some Christmas specials (go there! There’s discounts and freebies!), and print up a promotion on some card stock to be included with my Christmas card distribution. The card signing and stuffing party took place over the two days following Thanksgiving.

All that work left me just wore out. And now, the credit-card checkout system on the web store isn’t working right. That’s okay, I’ll just keep poking around in the dark until it goes in somewhere. Did I actually say that just now? I get kinda punchy when I’m wore out. Maybe you’ll understand why I play solitaire and procrasti-blog instead of fix things like the checkout problem.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Struggle, The Dream

I’m Procrasti-blogging again. I was running a system repair in System Mechanic 6 yesterday, but I aborted it because wanted to get some more work done, and wasn’t sure if the system “repair” would spontaneously reboot my system, and lose unsaved work. It got to 90%+ finished, and just sat there. For hours. Not making any more progress. Still responding, still working, just not showing progress. Today, I’m running it again. That’s symbolic. I should have read today’s news yesterday.

From, via Cao’s Blog,
The House voted 403-3 to reject a nonbinding resolution calling for an immediate troop withdrawal.
And again,
On Tuesday, the Senate defeated a Democratic push for Bush to lay out a timetable for withdrawal.

Dr. Sanity writes about the same thing, but compares it to the struggle between Good and Evil in the latest Harry Potter story. I never read Harry Potter. The Lord Of The Rings was much more of a heroic epic for me than anything else. The Dr. compares what the movie describes as the difficulty of the decision between what is easy and what is right with that same difficulty in supporting the war against terror.

The Lord Of The Rings may have been considered a metaphor for WW II in the period following that war, but I would argue that it is at least as good a metaphor for the current war as Harry Potter, and in general, as a metaphor for all struggles between Good and Evil. Some probably said that Star Wars was a metaphor for the Cold War. But I would agree with others’ statements made elsewhere that neither Harry Potter nor Star Wars hold a candle to LOTR. Tolkein designed a whole world, integrated a mythos, populated it with distinct races and unique languages, and created characters and cultures with complexity and depth. True, I’ve never read Harry Potter, but from what I know it’s just boilerplate pulp fantasy spun off as children's stories and mass-marketed in a never-ending, self-perpetuating meme.

Other than that, I agree with the premise behind the “Good Vs. Evil” stories. For me, the most memorable line in LOTR was when Frodo lamented that he had the burden of the ring, and wished that he had never been given it. Gandalf replied, “So do all who live in times such as these. But that is not for us to decide. We have only to decide how to use the time that is given to us.” That line, seen in the movie released not long after 9/11, not long after I lost my job, was the line that changed my life. It echoes the same sentiments of choosing between the easy and the right. Again, in The Two Towers, Frodo laments his burden and the impossibility of their mission. Sam encourages him with “We've got to go on, because we've got to believe that there's still some good in the world that’s worth saving.”

When I lost my job, on May 16, 2001, it was clear to me that my Computer Engineering career was not moving forward as I had hoped. It was clear that others weren’t interested in supporting my ambitions as much as they wished to use me to advance their own ambitions. After sending out some 600 resumes and getting fewer interviews than I could count on one hand, it was clear that I wasn’t likely to get a job in the computer industry anytime soon. 9/11 was the final nail in the coffin. I was worried that my education was becoming increasingly out of date, even as I was looking for a job. When I expressed my concerns to a friend’s aging parent, who echoed my fears in the simplicity of a bygone age by saying, “Does that mean you’re a failure,” that obscene “F- word” hit me with more force than any other vulgar obscenity in the language.

I had been working on the idea of writing and selling my own software. Being somewhat of a stock market dabbler, I had started working on some investment analysis software. I developed this, packaged it with security and licensing measures, payment options, and sold it under the “try before you buy” shareware model.

Somewhere in the middle of this is when the LOTR: The Fellowship Of The Ring, and that line that I quoted above inspired me to continue my work. I felt that the world needed something, and that I was the right person to create it. Getting yet another entry-level job at some startup company that didn't have the commitment to stay in business longer than six months would short-circuit my dream.

My success was very modest. Not anywhere near enough to support me. Marketing became a major consideration. My project wasn’t go anywhere unless I could effectively promote it. That’s when my plan took a hard left turn. I’ve had difficulties with communication skills all my life. I was fired from my first job because they interpreted my soft-spoken nature and privacy of thought as “poor communication skills.” I’ve taken jobs like sales, and customer service, as a way of giving myself opportunities to practice good communication skills. Blogging is just one more of those practice efforts. Another is my web store,, which I’ve been working at most enthusiastically in recent months. Search engine marketing is one thing. The real art of sales and marketing is in charisma, and persuasion, and most of all, cultivation relationships with customers, clients, associates, and service providers. That’s something that’s taught in certain little known courses, which I have yet to take.

The progress towards success is slow and uncertain. I have a little book titled “New Work Habits For A Radically Changing World” (Price Pritchett, 1996). In the chapter titled “Accept ambiguity and uncertainty,” he describes how people like to have their work clearly defined for them, but must ultimately define their work for themselves, especially in uncertain times. Most of the liberals and democrats want their work defined for them, their income assured, their projects unhesitatingly funded by the infinite resources of the government, their wars fought and won according to a schedule that they could fit on their Palm Pilots. It doesn’t work that way, sir. E.L. Doctorow described how it feels like to write a book as "like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." In a sense, the war on terror has become a bit like driving at night in the fog. It worries me that people like John Murtha want to immediately stop all activity because there’s no signs of progress. I'm just glad that the rest of Congress understands (according to the Dr.'s article) that if we turn around now, that we won't get there for sure. For my part, by funding my activities at this time with a mere paper route, I might be driving down some wayward dark, foggy frontage road with only a vague notion that continuing ahead can only take me to someplace new. But at least I know that by continuing ahead, I’ll eventually get there.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The MSM Agenda

I'm blogging again while procrastinating. The newly-installed virus scanner is at around 97% complete with it's complete scan of my system after running 27 hours 33 minutes. System Mechanic 6 thinks my sound card driver is a virus, or at least "a dangerous or unnecessary program [that] is currently lowering performance." Whenever I killed the process, the system would spontaneously reboot itself. The system fitness is rated "poor", and critical repairs with the comprehensive repair wizard are recommended. Ho Hum, what else is new?

Neo-Neocon talks about Pankaj Mishra's book review that
"Iranian democratic elections indicate the will of the people is for a hard-line theocracy"
I was about to comment that elections are not always fair, or an accurate indication of the will of the people, even in the United States. But I was a bit concerned that this might invoke the liberal conspiracy-theory hogwash-meme (here's another wikipedia-based article) of "Bush rigged the election(s)." But after further reading I realized that Neo-neocon is way ahead of me. She followed the Iranian elections, and lists the activities that took place, swaying the elections in favor of Mohammad Ahmadinejad. The same guy that american embassy hostages recognized from the Iranian Hostage crisis in 1979. The same guy that has been spouting beligerence such as "Islam will reign from every mountaintop", and "We will wipe Israel off the map", and "A World Without Zionism".

Now this Pankaj Mishra, who it turns out is primarily an Indian literati, is taking the position that the Iranian people freely and enthusiastically elected this Islamofascist, and blindly follow whatever anti-America, anti-Israel, pro-worldwide shariah law rhetoric he puts forth. I have to conclude that when people are paid writers, when they're paid to produce something written every day in as much quantity as possible, that the quality of research that goes into the writing often suffers along with the value of their work. It seems that the primary objective of the mainstream media is to either a) call into question the validity of those in elected office, or b) stir up, provoke, or fabricate controversy so as to have something more to write about. Either way, it's just yellow journalism with the intent of selling more newspapers. But the net effect is an erosion of society.

I could just about imagine the conversation between Mishra and his editor:
Editor: "I want you to expand your horizons. Write about something other than India. Like, maybe Iran. Iran is current news, write about Iran."
In Mishra's mind: "Well, they just had an election I think. I guess I'll write something about why they elected that guy. Elections in America are always fair, so I guess elections everywhere must be fair. There must be a book written about it; I'll do a book review. "
Moving right along, here's something really maddening at Moonbattery.
Representative John Murtha (D-PA) has taken the next logical step in advancing the Democrats' strategy of deliberately causing us to lose the war in Iraq so that the defeat can be hung around Republicans' necks by calling for an immediate withdrawal of our forces.
I don't even need to imagine the scenario: Iraq falls back into the hands of al-Qaeda, nuclear weapons developed, nukes rain down on US cities, dogs and cats living together, the walls bleeding in the twelfth precinct. Okay, the last part was from Bill Murray in Ghost Busters.

Why do people get such nutty ideas like we should immediately hand Iraq over to the terrorists, and have our soldiers all shoot their commanding officers? Turning back to Moonbattery, there's a clue in the phrase, "the MSM's defeatist propaganda barrage". There we are again, the media is mucking around with world politics, just to create a controversy that's "fit to print". And apparently, there's some politicians as well as regular people who don't pay enough attention to what's really happening to make an informed, responsible decision. And how could they, when the media denies reality, either out of ignorance or of intent.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Why We Fight

I've been looking for the motivation to pay this month's bills, while waiting for a hard disk defragmenter and a system repair utility to make some progress, and cruising through my list of favorite blogs. Procrastinating.

If there's one article today that I would want to share with whoever reads what I write, it would be this: a story of a soldier who gives his heart, his blood, his silent Jewish prayers, and spoken prayers from the Koran in an effort to give an innocent Muslim child who had fallen victim to a terrorists attack a chance to pursue life as just an innocent Muslim child celebrating Ramadan. In spite of all the political rhetoric about lies, pre-war intelligence, WMD's, here's why we're fighting the war in Iraq.

There are many Americans who ask why we’re here. Why are we sacrificing so many American lives and placing so many in harm’s way? What is the purpose of it all? Well, I don’t really know the big picture. But from my small sector of the battlefield, the reason I am here is to give “the least of these,” my children over here, a shot at “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — just like my other children living in America.
I couldn't add any more nobility to the article with my own words. Go read it for yourself.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I love Wikipedia. I've learned so much in the past few months just by looking things up on Wikipedia. I could easily keep my blog filled with interesting articles just by posting a little something about everything that I look up on Wikipedia. In fact, I think I'll do just that.

Today's vocabulary term is "infitadah". I've been seeing this quite a bit recently while reading about the riots in France. Most recently, I found the term used on Moonbattery.

Intifada (also Intefadah or Intifadah; from Arabic: "shaking off") is an Arabic language term for "uprising".
The article goes on to describe several examples of infitadahs, or uprisings. Including two Palestinian revolts aimed at ending Isreali military occupation.

So the story in France goes, a bunch of Muslims immigrated to France, didn't get jobs or otherwise contribute to society, and expected Socialist France to feed and house them, change their diapers, wipe their noses, and so on, yada yada yada.... Boo freakin' hoo. Now they gotta riot when they don't get all the riches that their ancestors had. Sounds like a bunch of Democrat welfare bums. I guess they have some other words for them in France, like citizens. Or whatever French for citizen is. If I could come up with a good "told-ja-so" I would. I guess that's what they get for voting against the War On Terror in the UN. I'm reminded of a line in Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, where Theodin King says "I'll not risk open war", and Aragorn answers "Risk it or not, war is upon you."

So, why don't the French take some action, and quell the uprising? Why don't they just deport all the Muslims to Saudi Arabia? Just why are the French being so... French? Turning back to my history lessons from The History Channel, there was a widely advertised program a while back about the French Revolution, where the French went off on a terror-rampage, beheading everyone who breathed out of the wrong nostril, and could only stop the violence with even more violence, until the whole thing finally petered out in a bloodbath-orgy of such unbelievable magnitude that they couldn't possibly outdo themselves anymore. My theory is that the French Revolution left the country in such a state of shock, that anytime there was any threat of war, they'd rather roll over than repeat the horrors of the French Revolution. The horrors of the French Revolution turned the French into a bunch of pacifists, and they haven't been able to get over it since. Hence, they failed to build any military sufficient to resist the Germans at the onset of WW II. And hence, they failed to recognize the emminent threat of the Islamofascist thugs that had been occupying their own suburbs for generations.

Speaking of The History Channel lessons, I've been watching a bunch of programs lately about the Crusades. You know what? The Arabs invaded Israel. The Crusades were an attempt to reclaim the Holy Land in the name of Judea-Christian tradition. Jerusalem has been thrown back and forth between owners for thousands of years. First the Jews, then the Romans, then the Palestinians. Even though the Romans tore down the holy Jewish Temple, the Jews built the place in antiquity. This could be another Wikipedia article post about the Temple Mount. But even if the Romans did tear down the temple, the couldn't destroy the massive foundation or the Western Wall, which still exists today as a testament to the construction that was done in 350 BCE. That was the second temple; the first was built in 950 BCE.

And the Palestinians had the arrogance to come along and build their mosque on the Temple Mount, and claim exclusive rights to the Temple Mount. The Arabs have been invading and conquering since times of antiquity. And now, they've effectively invaded, and are in the process of sacking France. The Arabs can't contribute anything to civilization; they've always got to go invade and steal. They invaded Israel, stole Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. They invaded the United States, stole airplanes and attacked on 9/11. And now, they've invaded France. I still think France should dust off their guillotines, and start taking care of business. Of course, nothing like that will ever happen. France is too busy apologizing for the terrorists, calling them "youths", calling the Intifadah "unrest", and using other terrorist-enabling, apologistic terminology that would be fit to print in the New York Times.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fallen Hero Number 2,000

Before I start, I would like to point out that I’ve been away from my blog lately because I have been working very hard to build up my web store business, For the past month, I’ve been importing from between 20 and 40 new products each day, as well as fixing up some of the details of the web site, and my database from which I’m building the web site. It’s been no small task. As much as marketers of “Get Rich On eBay / The Internet” schemes would like one to believe, it takes a lot of work to get something like this going.

So now, this artificial landmark of 2,000 soldiers killed in Iraq is as good a reason as any to come out of my cave and add to the rhetoric. The mainstream media is simply using the arbitrary statistic as an excuse to sensationalize the news and sell newspa… uh, advertising attached to news, er uh… news serving as a vehicle for advertising revenue. So, in effect, the MSM and their advertisers are capitalizing off of the death of one particular soldier, who happens to be in the slot enumerated by a particularly round number in our base-ten number system, while unfortunately demeaning that soldier into a uncelebrated wasteland of statistics.

I thought I might least find out the name and story of that one particular soldier. Even the New York Times couldn’t get that right. Michelle Malkin reports on a story ran by the NYT titled “2,000 Dead: As Iraq Tour Stretches On, A Grim Mark” about Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr. Michelle tells about a letter received from Cpl. Starr’s uncle Timothy Lickness giving the unreported story. The letter contained an excerpt from a letter to Cpl. Starr’s girlfriend, intended to be delivered in the event of his death, which described his reasons for re-enlisting for the third time, his reasons for fighting for freedom, and for bringing freedom to the Iraqi people.

But there’s still more that’s not being told about the NYT article. Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr died on May 30, 2005. Five months before the October 26 NYT article. Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr was not, in fact, the 2,000th soldier to die in Iraq. In other words, the NYT cherry-picked their own set of soldiers to hold up as their poster-child against the war in Iraq. The NYT used Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr’s death to sell newspapers.

I remember delivering the NYT that day. I delivered 18 of them to the liberal residents of Boulder, Colorado, home of Ward Churchill. The NYT was particularly difficult to fold that day. The paper carrier crew commented that there was a lot of reporting on the 2,000-soldier landmark. I looked inside the NYT to see what was adding all the extra bulk, expecting to find a big section on the war, perhaps listing all 2,000 names. The extra bulk was a special auto advertising section.

Back to the quest for the 2,000th soldier’s name and story. One of my first stops in my search for hero number 2,000 was Cao’s Blog. Cao (pronounced “Key”) is from a military family, and is always a good source of responsible facts and views from the military point of view. Cao wrote on 10/26/’05 that Staff Sergeant George Alexander, Jr. was the 2,000th soldier killed in Iraq. A link on the Michelle Malkin article led me to a Fallen Heroes Memorial web site. A search on that site led to Staff Sergeant Alexander’s story. Here’s what Fallen Heroes had to say:
Army Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander, Jr.
34, of Clanton, Alabama.Alexander died at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, of injuries sustained in Samarra, Iraq, on October 17, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia. Died on October 22, 2005.

To put the sacrifice in perspective Cao offers some additional historical war statistics.

2,403: Americans killed at Pearl Harbor
2,976: Americans lost on 9/11
9,386: American soldiers killed taking Normandy
12,500: American soldiers killed taking Okinawa in WW2
24,000: American soldiers on both sides killed at the battle of Antietam during the Civil War
54,246: American troops killed in Korea
58,198: American soldiers killed in Vietnam
116,516: American soldiers killed in World War 1
133,811: Confederate troops killed in the Civil War
295,000: American soldiers killed in World War 2
364,511: Union Soldiers killed during the Civil War

Not to mention the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War 2.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Should I Be A Terrorist?

I haven’t been blogging much lately.  I’ve actually been working on putting more products out on my web store,  After all, the Christmas season starts in October; as a retail web store owner, I need to be ready.  And I’ve been making some good progress – when I’m not blogging, or sleeping.  But I like to stay in touch with the blogosphere.  I’ve added a blogroll of my favorite blogs on the sidebar.

This is absolutely freaky.  I was reflecting just this morning how the same thinking that blames the US government for all of the world’s problems, that has brought us radicals such as Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore has also brought us terrorists, both domestic and foreign: the Unabomber, Eric Rudolph (Olympic Park and abortion clinic bomber), Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City), and Osama bin Laden and the whole al Quaeda network with all of their Islamofascist thugs.  Then I found that neo-neocon has written about this with more lucidity and in-depth analysis than I could hope for.  Excellent work.

But what’s really disturbing is that the passage from the crime library article that profiles the mass murderer’s mind describes much of what I’ve experienced in my life, with the fortunate exception (so far) that I’ve been able to control any homicidal urges, and that I recognize and address my anger issues.  

Mass Murderers are typically quite ordinary. They're reclusive, have few if any friends, and have no criminal record. However, they do not let go of past grievances and they tend to build and fester, with minor incidents being perceived as major offenses, and impersonal ones as personal. Some stress, such as a broken relationship, a loss, or unemployment, may be the trigger that sets everything in motion.

As most people go, anyone is quite ordinary.  At least, to the casual observer.  One doesn’t know what horrors are hidden within.  I’ve had few friends, beginning with when my family moved when I was in the 6th grade.  Teenagers just don’t accept new kids.  And being a shy kid, I lacked the social skills necessary to make new friends.  And I’ve always tried to do the right thing.  Except for minor traffic violations, I have no criminal record.  Is it a crime not to be a criminal?  

But the innate shyness, as I discovered in doing some Theta Healing work, is a result of a past life vow of silence.  Sorry, but you’ll need to have some understanding of, if not belief in, metaphysical ideas such as reincarnation. The reason that I say that it’s a past life vow of silence, is because I’ve been quiet from birth.  At age three, my mother took me to a doctor to see why I wasn’t talking yet.  As a young child, I rarely spoke to relatives at family events.  According to the Theta Healing practitioner/instructor, a vow of silence prevents one from speaking up when they are abused.  The anger and frustration is continuously repressed, eventually expressed years, or lifetimes later, as a seething volcano of anger and bitterness that waits for the right stressor to cause an eruption of immense magnitude.  Maybe you’ve seen the look in someone’s eyes:  a distracted distant gaze, tense upper lip, a clenched fist.  Then the trance is broken with a cheerful “Oh, I’m sorry!  Hi, how’re you?”

I’ve also experienced the other stressors mentioned in the crime library article.  I’ve been laid off from around ten jobs.  I lost my last job four months before 9/11.  As neo-neocon says, “I was mugged by reality” of my situation, and the effect of 9/11 on my situation.  My engineering career is now washed up.  My first and only girlfriend ended our relationship.  My former best friend became a putz when he moved into my basement without paying rent until I demanded it, and then sat at his computer, addicted to computer games, oblivious to the fact that my cat was dying in my arms a few feet away.  Yeah, okay, so uh, break the trance now…

The passage from the crime library article that profiles mass murders departs from my experience with its description of the response to the stressors.

They blame others for their failures and their motive is generally to strike back, to punish, and to exact as much damage as they can manage. The higher the death toll, the better they have succeeded. People who have been dismissing or ignoring them are not going to forget them now. Their choice of targets is typically irrational, and often does not even include the one against whom they wanted vengeance. Some...have shown signs of psychosis, but most have been judged sane at the time of the incident.

There are some who I could hold accountable for lies, bad choices, or other injuries.  There are also other factors that I assume responsibility for.  My washed up engineering career is a result of not continually pursuing technical education.  It’s a result of not cultivating professional relationships.  But I have never acted on any murderous thoughts.  And because of childhood experiences, I do not target random innocent victims out of frustration.

But what isn’t addressed in what I read of the article is if and how a person deals with these experiences.  A person inclined to turn to mass murder will not recognize that there is something wrong.  They may believe that they are entirely justified, or even doing society a favor by their acts.  However, I acknowledge that I have anger issues.  I’ve had some therapy, and done other healing work.  One of the suggestions the Theta Healing practitioner had was to make a list of people I’ve been hurt by, and do some specific release work for each one.  My initial list had 32 names on it.  I should add al Quaeda to that list.  I continue the healing work whenever I get a chance.

Returning to the original theme of neo-neocon’s article – comparing terrorists to mass murders – I’d like to see a more in-depth study of the roots of terrorist thinking.  The Islamofascists have clerics that recruit disenfranchised youth into terrorist cells, and eventually suicide bombers.  It’s not in vogue with the conservatives to offer therapy to the terrorists.  

I would submit that it would be useful to psychoanalyze terrorists and their extremist cleric mentors.  Just some of them.  I don’t have in mind rounding up all Arabs and herding them into shrinks’ offices, but something more like the development of some sort of mass de-programming technique.  Put something in the water, or something.  (  Okay, that’s just wishful thinking.  Then we’d be accused of imperialism, global social engineering, or something worse.  It’d be like in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.  Oh well.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Red Faced Rag Wrangler’s Blues

I’ll make this fast, ‘cause I want to try out a printer that someone left out by the dumpster on the paper route. People leave stuff out there all the time. So far, I’ve collected two printers, a TV and a VCR. The TV and VCR work, although the VCR is missing it’s remote, I don’t know about either printer except that one has a cartridge and the other doesn’t.

I’ve been itching to write about the honorable LTG Russell Honore’s now famous line, “Don’t Get Stuck On Stupid.” I’ve also been itching to write about how I managed to get Richard Tolan, who commented irrelevant self-promotional nonsense on my blog, un-stuck on stupid by commenting irrelevant angry nonsense on every single entry on his blog from beginning to end. Instead, I think I’ll start a whole new blog, and a new business putting together silly graphics for stupid worn-out catchphrases like DGSOS on tee shirts, ball caps, coffee mugs and so on. But first, the printer. Before that, there’s this deal with the circulation department of every newspaper in the world failing DGSOS.

While I’ve been stuck on the stupidity of DGSOS, I found Mickey Kaus’s story via Vodkapundit of how he couldn’t say NO to the LA Times subscription. Someone there failed DGSOS. The LAT? Mickey? Both? Both.

I’m going to explain, as a paper carrier, once and for all, how this works.

Several years ago, when I still had a hopeful career as a Computer Engineer, I got one of those pesky telemarketers from the Rocky Mountain News. That was before they joined forces with the Denver Post. Being a naïve kid, I let them say whatever they want, but never agreed to a subscription to the paper, which they gave me anyway. For six months, I got a free newspaper every day, and every day I threw it in the trash. When the customer service guy gave me a follow-up call, I said that I didn’t want it, and please stop delivery. He said he couldn’t do that, and that I should call the subscription department. Not on my dime. When they started sending me bills, then past-due notices, then threats to stop delivery, I considered it extortion and threw the bills away. I finally wrote a nasty note on the back of the bill about pollution or environmental responsibility or something and actually sprang for the cost of a stamp and envelope to send it back. The paper stopped immediately.

I’ve since learned that the best approach to telemarketers is to just hang up immediately. Be sure to hang up in mid-sentence so that they know that they’ve been hung up on. When I sold vacuum cleaners back in college, they taught us something they called “assuming the sale.” Don’t let it happen to you by submitting to your natural tendency to be polite and allowing the conversation to continue.

But better yet, there’s now this thing called the National Do Not Call Registry. After I registered, I stopped getting calls from commercial telemarketers. Go there. NOW! (after you’ve finished reading this.) Know the rules. This does not stop people who call with a survey. It does not stop charities or political orgs. It does not stop people with whom you have already done business. You have to renew your registration every year. The penalty for violators is substantial, but to get them prosecuted is extremely difficult, requiring exacting documentation of the violation. There’s also a state do-not-call registry for most states. Do your own investigation, and get on that list too.

Now, about the newspaper business. Ironically, after my previous experience, I now deliver the Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Post, the N’York Twymes, the Wall Street Gerbil, the United States of America TODAY, the Investor’s Daily Bullshit, and the Financical Times. My job as a paper carrier has given me some unique insight into the newspaper business.

It’s filled with idiots from top to bottom. They set it up to keep the various layers insulated from each other, so that the whole organization is permanently Stuck On Stupid. It does no good to do things like threaten the person you’re talking to. They’re trained and paid to only hear “yes” no matter what you say.

They don’t get their money from the subscribers. They get more money from the advertisers than from the subscribers. At least, the local papers do. That explains why they’ll let a “subscriber” go delinquent indefinitely without ever actually canceling the subscription. And the advertisers pay by the distribution numbers, so the more papers they deliver, the more money they extract from the advertisers. So, they come up with all these bogus sample subscriptions, and force sample subscriptions on as many people as they can in order to artificially boost their distribution numbers and extract more money from the advertisers.

It does no good to let your papers pile up in your driveway or doorstep, or kick them out in the street, or down the hall of the apartment building. As a paper carrier, I get paid to deliver the paper whether you want it or not. It’s your doorstep, not mine. Technically, I’m supposed to report pile-ups and note-leavers. In fact, there’s nothing in the contract about this, there was just a pile-up policy memo once. But nobody knows or cares about the papers that pile up on the driveways except the resident. Most of the time I don’t even look, because I have to drive so fast, and it’s dark at 4:00 AM. But reporting a pile-up would mean that the managers would cancel it, and I would no longer get paid to deliver it. Since I would lose money by reporting pile-ups, I never do that.

A few of us more intelligent carriers have figured out that if we know that they don’t want it, there’s no point in delivering to those people. Especially when I have to walk around the back of an apartment building, up some stairs, and down a hall, just to deliver one stupid paper that the resident doesn’t even want anyway. I’ve established my pile-up threshold as five papers. At five papers piled up, I start dumpstering them. There’s a balance between the embarrassment of being caught carrying an armload of undelivered newspapers to the dumpster on the way in to the distribution center, and wanting to maximize my income. Dumpstering the pile-up people has proven to be the best policy all around. I get paid to deliver to the dumpster. The resident is happy that they don’t get the paper any more. The managers believe that I’m doing my job. In fact, the assistant manager does the same thing, but I think the district manager (a newbie) is still stuck on stupid. And the advertisers believe that their advertising dollars are well spent. In the end, it’s just the beliefs that count.

And about those freebie papers that they blanket the whole neighborhood with, they call that “alternate delivery”. Everyone gets the freebie paper that doesn’t already get the regular paper. I did that once. Twice. Three times is a charm. Some guy threw the paper at my truck, chased me down the street, and stood there and screamed at me for five minutes. For the next week, I scattered the papers all over his yard while he was asleep, and emptied my urine bottle on his car. I know where he lives; he doesn’t know where I live. There are a small handful of names (about 0.5%) on the route list that are hilighted and marked with big bold capital letters, DO NOT DELIVER HERE! Supposedly those are the people that are so in-your-face about not wanting the papers that somebody has to make a special note. The fourth time I was asked to do alternate delivery, I let them talk me into it, then when I drove down to do it, they had crossed my name off the list and gave that route to someone else. So I swore that if that's how they're going to treat me, I'd never do alternate delivery again.

Now back to that printer that I found….

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Widespread Unrest and Grief

I previously described the effects of geomagnetic storms, and how they affect electrical and mechanical systems, human emotions, and migratory animals.  There have been some recent rather strong GMS alerts and warnings that are associated with some emotional unrest and grief.

Since hurricane Katrina occurred on 8/29/05, there was some GMS activity on 9/02/05 through 9/04/05.  On 9/02/05, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin expressed his outrage in an emotional interview that the state and federal officials, mostly FEMA, were slow in responding with rescue efforts to hurricane victims.  The blame game has escalated out of proportion.  While President Bush continues to encourage continued relief efforts, politicians see this as an opportunity to generate conspiracy theories and portray the Bush administration and FEMA as uncompassionate or incompetent.

There has been more GMS activity recently.  There have been watches, warnings and alerts from 9/09/05 through today, and forecast through 9/13/05.  There was a G3 (strong) warning Sunday morning at 5:37 UTC (11:37 MDT, Monday night, 9/10/05).  And there was a G5 (extreme) alert at 6:46 UTC (12:46 MDT).  I arrive at the distribution center at about 2:00 AM.  This morning, there was a breeze coming through the open doors, while the paper carriers were folding the papers and loading their vehicles.  This was so upsetting to one individual, who has often shown signs of being emotionally unbalanced, that he felt obliged to close the door, and shout and swear at anyone who wanted to open the door.  

He may very well be fired for his lack of self-control.  I mentioned to one of the managers how this guy was such a nutcase.  He’s the same asshole who parks his car two inches away from my truck so that I can’t get a cart in to load.  He’s always been like this, never thinks of anyone but himself.  The whole world revolves around him.

Elsewhere, there was an emotional 9/11 memorial service in New York at the site where the World Trade Center once stood.  It took four hours to read the names of the 2,749 people that were lost.  Relatives wept and made brief personal statements as they remembered their loved ones and how their lives were lost on this day four years ago.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina Healing Meditation

I feel that it's time to stop the blame game for the victims of hurricane Katrina, as well as for the war on terror in Iraq, and the bipartisan politicking, and start some sincere healing. I've been working on posting a meditation from the Theta Healing technique and classes that I took recently. I've realized since then, that I have a mountain of healing work to do. Until then, I'll pass along this meditation that was forwarded to me by a friend who knows some people from New Orleans that are in need of assistance.

To answer the question that few dare to ask, "why does God let bad things happen to good people?" I answer, "So that they can have the opportunity to make a profound difference in their own or someone elses life." When there's nothing that we can do either directly or financially, then prayers and meditations such as this are the best thing to do.

Please join as many as a million people around
the world in a healing meditation and prayer
for those affected by Katrina.

Meditation and prayer powerfully affect our
world in ways we may never understand. And
when two or more join together the effects are
exponential. Lives will be saved, emotional
trauma healed, families reunited, hearts
soothed, and normalcy returned. Miracles will

1) Everyone will meet in meditation and prayer
at the same time on the same day. Simply
meditate or pray in your own space, and
imagine connecting with everyone else, as
described below.

Sunday - September 18, 2005

11:00 to 11:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time
10:00 to 10:30 pm Central Daylight Time
9:00 to 9:30 pm Mountain Daylight Time
8:00 to 8:30 pm Pacific Daylight Time.

To coordinate with your time zone, visit:

If you are only available for five minutes,
please do what you can.

If you cannot join us at the appointed time,
please do your meditation and prayer at any
time, and imagine your energy joining the

2) Consider doing the following meditation:

* Breathe slowly and deeply.

* Focus on your heart, and see your heart
filled with the beautiful, warm, golden,
healing light of the sun. Feel the limitless
healing energy of love filling your heart.
Magnify the feeling inside of you. See the
energy. Hear it.

* When you are ready, imagine all of the
people who have been affected by the
hurricane, all of those who are giving so much
to assist, each and everyone one of them
wrapped in this warm, beautiful, light of love
and healing. Imagine them perfectly restored.
Imagine them in a beautiful, loving setting,
free of any pain or sickness, happy, healthy,
their lives fully restored. Use all of your
senses. See, hear, and feel them filled with
hope, health, and happiness.

* When you are ready, feel the love energy
growing as your love and compassion joins the
love energy of millions of others around the

* Hold this picture for as long as you can (5
minutes, 30 minutes, one hour)

* When you close your meditation, imagine this
beautiful healing light of love expanding to
envelope the entire world, every country,
every man, woman and child. Hold this vision
and know with complete confidence, with all
your heart and soul, that this healing is
taking place and be thankful for the love of
the world.

* Express your thanks to God, Jesus Christ,
Buddha, Muhammad, your spiritual guide,
universal love energy, to that which is
appropriate and meaningful for you.

(This particular meditation was suggested by
healer and teacher Chunyi Lin, creator of
Spring Forest Qigong. Feel free to meditate or
pray in any way that is right for you.)

3) Please dig deep into your pocket to donate
money to help those affected by Katrina. For a
listing of ways to donate or volunteer, visit:

4) Please send this email to as many people as
you can. To friends and colleagues, any lists you have,
members of the media, your church, anything and anyone
that comes to your mind. Post it on discussion
forums. Consider getting together in groups,
or coordinating telephone conference calls for
everyone you know.

Thank you for joining us, for your support,
and for your love.

Most Sincerely,

Paul Scheele
Pete Bissonette
and all of your friends at
Learning Strategies

Learning Strategies Corporation
2000 Plymouth Road
Minnetonka, Minnesota 55305-2335 USA

Fax 952-475-2373

Friday, September 02, 2005

Floodwaters Receding, Emotions High

Here's a few observations of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The New York Times had a photo on the front page of a dead body floating through the streets of New Orleans. That was in poor taste in itself. Somewhat reminiscent of when CNN aired footage of the dead soldier's body being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in Somalia. Closer inspection of the photo of the floating body revealed what looked like a large tag with a big red question mark stapled to the end of the dead woman's dress, and apparently a poo mark seeping through the appropriate place on the backside. Rather poor taste. Inappropriate for a national newspaper.

I read a transcript of an interview between the New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin and the local TV station. Mayor Nagin was obviously extremely upset, angry, and frustrated that the federal response to the disaster was so slow. I'm sure that he's very passionate about helping the people in his city. It doesn't seem that he's done as much beforehand to mitigate the disaster as he would like for federal and state government to do afterwords. I would say that elected officials are elected more for their passion for the people that they represent, than their ability to plan, make decisions, or direct and coordinate large complex and diverse organizations of people. It's time for that man to quit ranting and raving, realize that there have been and will continue to be losses, and start coordinating the recovery efforts so as to minimize further losses.

I realized that one of the other paper carriers was saving boxes to collect food to send to the relief effort. Feeling some compassion for these people, went to my cupboards to find some unused canned food items, and took a look through my closets for some clothes that I don't use anymore. I took a container of canned food with me as I was out on errends, and stopped by a couple of supermarkets where they might be collecting donation items. But there was no collection effort! Back home, I visited the web sites of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Neither the Red Cross nor the Salvation Army are accepting in-kind donations of collected items such as canned food or clothing. According to the Red Cross article, it's a logistical nightmare for them to collect, sort, clean, transport and distribute such items. It's more effective, they say, to take monetary donations and purchase supplies in large quantities from local manufacturers. As I explained yesterday, because of the high price of gasoline, and how that's such a major expense in my work, I cannot afford to donate cash.

I turned the TV to some of the news stations to get some coverage of what's happening there. There was the President, holding a press conference. The Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, wanted to put her two cents in, but there was some trouble in coordinating the audio feed, so she waited a moment while someone figured that out before she spoke. Like the President, she didn't have much to contribute except for words of encouragement. New Orleans Mayor Nagin was there, still too upset to say anything more, knowing that he'd go off on a tear and say something else he'd regret.

On MSNBC, the reporter had some field worker from FEMA on the air for a report. The guy seemed to be emotionally and physically drained. The MSNBC reporter kept asking the FEMA guy questions aimed at placing the blame. "The news stations had pictures before FEMA did. Is FEMA really that unresponsive?" "Has the response been slower this time than in previous disasters?" "How would you categorize the magnitude of the failure? Colossal? Moderate?" "Who's to blame for the lack of responsiveness?" After a few minutes of this ambush, I couldn't take it anymore, and changed the channel. I would think that with the level of destruction there, it would be near impossible to communicate or coordinate anything.

I found this on Am I A Pundit Now, by means of

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Price of Gas

I managed to get gas this morning for $2.76. My favorite gas station has always been a penny less than the gas station at the supermarket across the street, even with it's member discount card. When I passed the supermarket, it was priced at $2.79. My favorite gas station was at $2.98, up $0.53 from three days ago. I stopped to fill up, and stood at the pump for a moment, pondering. Why is this station so unusually desolate today? Is the supermarket station out of gas, like they were three days ago? Even if they are, I could go to the one down the road for $2.85, and I know they're open 'cause there's cars there. It's worth a shot. I got back in and went over to the supermarket station, and got gas for $2.79 with a $0.03 member discount for $2.76.

Three days ago, I got gas at my then-favorite gas station for $2.45.

A couple of weeks before that, I was getting gas there for $2.15.

Factors affecting the price of gas at this time are:
  • Hurricane Katrina. Refineries in Florida are shut down. There has been talk in the news of "supply disruptions." I suppose that means that delivery trucks aren't running, and oil pipelines have been shutdown.
  • King whats-his-name in Saudi Arabia died. I suppose everyone expects the new guy to turn off the oil spigot. I understand that he hasn't, that he's been the guy making all the decisions all along while the old guy was dying for a long time and nobody said anything. I also understand that the new guy has been considering turning up oil production, and that he's also saying it's the supply lines and distribution that's been making the price of gas go up so much. Anyway, I expect that it takes a bit more than a week for oil to make it's way from Saudi Arabia, through the oil tankers across the ocean, through the refineries, through the trucks and stations to my gas tank. It's just the expectation that makes the prices go up everywhere at once, simultaneously.
  • The war in Iraq. Oh boo-freakin-hoo, the Islamofascist extremists think we're stealing their oil in Iraq. I still haven't seen any sign of our soldiers seizing oil fields, operating oil pumps, pipelines, or tankers, or even having the training to know how to do such a thing if it was even their mission. They're just trying to keep the terrorist sunnis out of the faces of the honest Iraqi citizens so they can set up a new government - any government - so the oil people can get their oil production going again, and sell it at fair market prices. Iraq only produces 20% of the world oil, and the war started two years ago, which doesn't add up to the 50% increase in the price of gasoline in the last month.
  • Labor Day weekend is upon us. This is one year where I think that the traditional drivingest weekend of the year, marking the end of summer vacations, will come in as a minor blip on a hard uptrend in the price of gas.

Some personal gasoline usage facts

  • I deliver newspapers for a living. I drive two routes, for a total of 50 miles each night.
  • 20 of those miles are driving to and from the route from my house. It's exactly 10.0 miles from my house to the distribution center.
  • I have to fill my tank every three days. It cost me $30 to fill the tank now, so that's $10 a day to deliver the newspapers.
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I deliver the fewest papers: 236. At $0.10 per paper, that's $23.60 income, minus $10 in gas for a net income of $13.60 for each of those two days.
  • My vehicle, a 1988 Toyota pickup, gets 15 miles per gallon on the route.
  • On the hiway, I've gotten as much as 22 miles per gallon.
  • The truck has 230,000 miles on it. I've put a lot of money into repairs and tires and oil changes, especially since I started doing this.
  • It now costs me $4 to go into town for that social club meeting. That shall now be eliminated as being a luxery item that I can't afford!
  • My birthday is this next Monday - Labor Day. Happy Birthday to me! My parents live in Fort Collins, 62 miles away. They always invite me up for my birthday. It'll cost me $20 to drive up there and back. For my birthday, I should ask for the $20 it cost me to go up there and see them. Luxery Item!
  • A friend wants me to come visit to do some spiritual healing practice together. That's 41 miles and $16 away. Luxery Item!

Some more facts, unrelated to the price of gas, that I'd like to acknowledge

I'm really sorry that so many people down in New Orleans are having such a hard time with the hurricane, and the flooding and destruction and all. There's nothing I can do physically or financially to help out. But I'll send my prayers.

I'm also really sorry that so many people over in Iraq died in a stampede. I hear that someone shouted "suicide bomber!" on a crowded bridge or something like that. It was during an important annual shiite religious festival. Some 965 people were trampled. Again, there's nothing I can do but to send my prayers.

I can't control the weather, or the economy, or the price of gasoline, or the terrorists. I can't go to New Orleans, or Florida, or Iraq, or Washington D.C.. I can't afford to send money to all those people in need, no matter how much the people on TV hold up hungry kids, begging for donations. The best thing that I can do is to send my prayers, and put all that aside, and get on with taking care of my own affairs to the best of my ability.

If you subscribe to a newspaper with home delivery service, remember that generous tips are always greatly appreciated.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Israelestine Est. 2525

There are theories of a day when Israel and Palestine will come to peace, and form what has would be called New Jerusalem. Perhaps that’s just my wishful thinking or naïve interpretation of various prophetical writings, which are usually vague to start with. At first, I thought it was just one pet theory by some guy that channels an angelic being that’s come here to facilitate Earth changes into a new era, the New Age, the Age of Aquarius.

The city of Jerusalem is a focal point of three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Temple Mount is the place where the original Jewish Temple in Jerusalem stood on the site where Abraham offered his son Isaac in sacrifice to God. The ancient Israelites built the Tabernacle of Moses on the spot. Solomon built the first temple to replace the tabernacle. The Babylonians destroyed the Temple of Solomon 420 years later, and the Second Temple was built 70 years after that. Romans destroyed the Second Jewish Temple 410 years later in 70 A.D., leaving only the West Wall, the famous “Wailing Wall.” In 691 A.D., Palestinians erected the famous Dome of the Rock shrine, called the Mosque of Umar, on the same spot where it is said that the prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven. Jerusalem was also the place where Jesus preached, performed many miracles, and was condemned to be crucified. I’m beginning to think that Temple Mount in Jerusalem is some sort of holy wormhole portal into Heaven that sucks up all the great enlightened prophets of the ages.

A Google search turns up much more about the New Jerusalem. There’s a poem by visionary author William Blake. There’s a Musical Group (I think) called New Jerusalem Music. There’s a church called the New Church, the General Church Of The New Jerusalem, based on the writings of Mormon preacher Emanuel Swedenborg. Ultimately, the New Jerusalem is described in the Bible, Revelations 21. One web site says that Jerusalem has always been a symbol of God’s presence on earth. Many of these sources say that the New Jerusalem is the end result of human struggle, and is a place of peace and happiness, ruled by reason. Another individual notes that Jerusalem has historically been a place of bloodshed, and is unlikely to be the focal point of Earth’s transition into an age of profound world peace.

Okay, that’s the history lesson. I thought I’d prognosticate how such a euphoric utopia might somehow arise out of a city that is the focal point of two cultures who want to either annihilate each other, or displace and deny the other’s right to exist. Israel, and Palestine. Merging these two states would be a bit like crossing a cat with a dog, and watching the poor creature chase itself to death. Or like crossing an apple with an orange, and answering the cliché “You can’t compare apples with oranges.” I imagine that it would take a very long time for these two cultures to resolve their differences. I can’t help but to think of that 60’s song by Zager and Evans
In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive they may find

Only it should be
. . . If Israel is still alive
If Palestine can survive . . .

When I first read about the New Jerusalem and thought about the Islamic extremists, terrorists, Islamofascists, or whatever you want to call them, I wondered in my own Pantheistic way, “How is it that the left hand of God goes to war with the right hand of God?” In my own unique oversimplification of matters, I think of scooping a bowl of ice cream, how one hand holds the bucket steady, while the other hand scoops the ice cream out. Two hands, working cooperatively in opposition to accomplish one goal. Why is it that Israel and Palestine can't be like that?

To stretch my mind into the distant future, and determine how Israel and Palestine could co-rule the New Jerusalem, I think of the ancient Greek Spartan kingdom. Two kings, who had to come to an agreement to make any decisions, ruled the Spartans. This, along with a strong hierarchical government structure resulted in one of the strongest military kingdoms to have ever existed. Historians theorize that the strength of the dual kingship was because it prevented absolutism. Others believed it was a compromise arrived at to end the struggle between two families or communities. Does this sound much like Israel and Palestine?

Switching to terrorist web site,, there is an article titled Palestinian Cleric: We Will Enter Palestine as Conquerors, Not Through Negotiations But Through Jihad. The article is filled with more jihadist rhetoric about how it’s the duty of every Muslim to exterminate Jews everywhere, and it’s the destiny of Palestine to “liberate Jerusalem and regain Palestine.” The interviewee cites hadith and Koranic verse
Judgment Day would come only when the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims would kill the Jews, and the stone and tree would say: 'Oh, Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew. . . there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him', except for the Gharqad tree.

Indeed, it will be a very long time, if ever Israel and Palestine can make peace. I feel that these Palestinians are behaving like a bunch of naughty children, and ought to all be sent to their room without supper, and give the Temple Mount to Israel. Let them build their Third Temple, and let’s get this thing over with.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Islam Extremists Accept support of Cindy Sheehan

One of the biggest flaps in the ongoing media frenzy over the war in Iraq is Cindy Sheehan is protesting at the gates of President Bush’s ranch in Crawford Texas. It appears that her son, Casey Sheehan, was killed in action while on duty in Iraq. And for some reason, Ralph Nader, felt compelled to write a public letter in support of Ms. Sheehan’s presidential camp-in. Or maybe Nader is writing the letter for his own political agenda.

Go visit Islamic web site,, and you’ll get a feel for how the Islamic extremists really appreciate the support from the liberals. Especially telling are some of the reader comments, such as this one, which was rated a “Good Comment” by fellow readers:

i send my condolences to this poor lady. she is another victim by hands of bush. she is what america use to stand for. bush has no heart, no feelings, and no morals. he sat on ranch relaxing as a grieving lady cries on his door step. all she wants is an answer why her son is ddidd. bush cant even spare a minute for a man who gave his life for the sake of oil. he does not care and he has no value for life.nader who also happens to be an arab showed more respect for this lady then the man responsible of his ddethh. when all you brainless bush supporters get drafted by bush and sent out to dyy i hope you all remember everything you said since the start of this war. you will all turn and run. its easy to support a war when your sitting around at home drinking beer and watching sports. but when your leader comes calling you will all show your true colors and find a rock to hide under because your all kkoowerdds like bush.

If you can keep your spell-checker from going ballistic over this passage, it might be instructive to analyze a few points.

  • The author believes that President Bush planted bombs beside the roads, sent trucks loaded with bombs into lines of Iraqi children, military checkpoints, sent disillusioned Muslims with bombs into the transit systems of London, and had airplanes flown into the World Trade Center buildings. Last time I checked, it was the Islamic extremists that were carrying out these activities, and this was the reason why President Bush has troops stationed in Iraq to stop these activities.
  • Casey Sheehan gave his life for oil. Is that why oil is up to $65 a barrel now? Casey Sheehan gave his life so that oil could be more expensive? Less expensive? Hmmm, I must’ve missed the big rush to seize the Iraqi oil fields as soon as the coalition forces got into Iraq. Maybe it’s because they wanted to protect the legitimate citizens of Iraq before they set out to seize the oil fields that the price of oil has gone up so much.
  • “Ralph Nader is an Arab.” Well, well, well, you could’ve fooled me. As I recall from the last presidential election (in which Nader was a candidate), he did not have any public position one way or the other about the war in Iraq. His primary issues were relating to the environment. Is this what makes him an Arab? Having no position on Arab issues?
  • The author shows his hatred for “all you brainless Bush supporters…” Now wait a minute. If Bush is responsible for Casey Sheehan’s death, and all the other soldiers who’ve died as a result of their illegal invasion of Iraq, then I suppose that makes Bush an Arab too, just like Ralph Nader. Just who’s side is this guy on, anyway?
  • Bush supporters sit around drinking beer and watching sports. I’ve got nothing against watching sports, or against drinking beer for that matter - as long as you don’t drink and drive. But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a beer, and I only really watch sports whenever the Denver Broncos play in the Superbowl. Until then, I think I’ll see if I can dig enough change out of the couch to go buy a soda pop, sit back in my office chair, and surf the blogosphere, watching illiterate Islamic extremists make fools of themselves in this hopeless war against Muslim children lined up for candy from our soldiers.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Spirituality, Mudslinging, and Religionism

I’ve taken the Theta Healing class. I’m going to take the two-day workshop a week from now, and until then, I’ll suspend judgment of the technique. Just a couple of quick notes about it first. The class was not intended to be, and did not serve as, a healing clinic. It was meant to instruct and familiarize the students with the principles and techniques. Three days before the class started, I decided to get some extra sleep, so I wouldn’t be nodding off during the class. That first day, I woke up at 1:00 PM with what felt like plugged up ears. That’s still happening at this time. I have this, and much more to work on. Most of the students in the class were professionals who work in the healing arts or various areas of alternative medicine, such as massage therapy, naturopathy, herbology, and so forth. As far as belief in God goes, the technique respects all beliefs in God, but does not endorse any particular religion or belief system. Students are asked to claim that they “pray to God, and God heals.”

I’ve decided that blogging on political issues is a major drain on my time and energy. If my main objective at this time is to build up the ecommerce web business, and after that has been accomplished, to develop more writing and marketing skills, then blogging extensively about world politics is interfering with my immediate goals, and not contributing significantly to my development of either writing or marketing skills.

But I can’t help but to maintain an interest anyway. I’ve been reading the Islamic web site,, and the comments that are posted there. I’ve resisted the temptation to add to the already inflammatory comments, which would just be further fueling the terrorist sentiment. I’ve noticed that the articles that are written are often out-dated, and usually distort the views in an anti-American way, or just misrepresent the facts. The comments that are posted are almost universally inflammatory, use extremely poor spelling, grammar and punctuation. I suspect that many of those who post comments are among a small band of hired ghost-writers who post inflammatory comments from the perspective of both extremes, for the purpose of fueling the controversy and the anti-American sentiment.

On another favorite blog, Pedro on the quietist has some good comments that I largely concur with. It’s a little acknowledged fact that negative campaigning is one of the most widely used political tactics: to discredit the other side with loosely supported accusations of insanity or immorality. They used to call this “mudslinging.” I guess calling it “negative campaigning” gives some dignity back to taking the dignity away from one’s opponent. For the record, I voted for Bush in the last election. I thought long and hard about the issue of the war on terror. I concluded that George W. Bush already had a strategy for dealing with the situation in Iraq, and the problem of Islamic extremism, and was familiar with the issues, whereas John Kerry never did present any strategy at all for the war, except to attempt to discredit Bush. At the state level, however, I decided to vote Democratic. Senate candidate Pete Coors, head of the Coors beer dynasty, who I began to refer to as “Senator Beer Baron” represented some rather dangerous possibilities. Coors proposed to cut taxes. It turned out that he wanted to cut corporate taxes, while leaving individual income taxes unchanged. I’ve always been suspicious of trickle-down economic theory. Thinking from the perspective of corporate executives, why would they trickle-down tax savings to the grunt-level employees or even the shareholders, when they could increase their own executive salaries by the same amount? And there was the issue of major funding for Pete Coors coming from the NRA. As much as I believe in gun safety and second amendment rights, I think that the NRA should just keep out of politics. That places the NRA in the position of a militia, which is not what we need when we already have a competent well-trained military. And there’s the fact that the Denver Post advertised for Pete Coors, but not for his democratic opponent Ken Salazar. So I preferred to vote for “Senator Salad-Bar” (Salazar), who would actually do some things for the Colorado citizens, rather than “Senator Beer Baron,” and his self-serving interests.

Another article on the quietist discusses “Religion vs. Spirituality.” I have some strong views on this subject. I’m not sure what the perspective of the original article is; I think it’s facetious, but I’ve always found sarcasm to be confusing, and often take it literally and get in trouble. I grew up in a Christian family. I started seeking broader views of God at about age eight. Sometime during the many years of studying mysticism, I concluded that conventional religionism is suitable only for those who lack the capacity to contemplate the mysteries of life and of the Universe, and derive their own cosmology, that might even be consistent with scientific as well as progressive religious thinking. Religion provides a ready-made package of answers to all of life’s problems. After all, millions of Muslims can’t all be wrong. Except in the eyes of Christians. Okay then, millions of Christians can’t all be wrong. Except in the eyes of Jews. Okay then, millions of Jews can’t all be wrong. Repeat for Hindus, Buddhists, and any other religion you find.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Mars Connection (Part V, Conclusion)

In my natal astrological chart, I was born with Mars in Libra; opposite to Aries, the sign it rules. When a planet is in it’s “fall” like this, its effect is weakened. Mars represents the archetype of the Warrior, passion, desire, energy and action. With an afflicted Mars, I express this in life by often lacking those qualities: passion, desire, energy and action.

With the events of May and June, this lack of Mars energy has become apparent to me in several symbolic ways. Running the paper route has left me with an ongoing battle against fatigue. A friend suggested that my symptoms indicated that I needed adrenal support supplements. I’ve since determined that Enzymatic Therapy’s Fatigued To Fantastic Adrenal Stress End has been the greatest help in alleviating the fatigue. DHEA also helps to an extent. And of course, a few extra hours sleep during the day helps too. I’ve learned a great deal in recent months about adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and these and other supplements and vitamins. Mars rules the adrenal glands, which is what these supplements help. The DHEA supports the adrenals as well as the testosterone level. Mars also rules the sexual urge.

Another problem was the urinary problem, that I mentioned before. Getting “pissed off” is more than a pun. I’ve had urinary problems since I was a kid. Yes, I was a bed-wetter. I didn’t even know when it happened. I think I was about ten years old when my mom took me to a urologist, who treated me for a bladder infection.

The bouts of anger were another indication. With properly modulated Mars energy, one would not respond to unfortunate events out of pure anger. Balanced Mars energy allows one to act rationally, with purpose, and with results.

To everything there is a season...
A time to love, and a time to hate
A time of war, and a time of peace
-- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The mechanical problems with the truck have been further indications of Mars issues. The truck had radiator problems – a corroded radiator, and a leaky hose, both of which had to be replaced. Symbolically, with a defective cooling system, you could say that I “couldn’t keep my cool.” The clutch in the truck has also shown signs of wear, and will likely be the next major component to be replaced. The clutch would be symbolic of a “lack of self-control.” In astrological symbolism, Mars also represents mechanical abilities and mechanical things, which covers automotive repairs.

With all of this multiple symbolism of Mars issues coming up, it soon became apparent to me that this is the source of my problems. I’ve learned to use Sanskrit Mantra to adjust mental and psychic energies. When I first became aware that something wasn’t right, I turned to my Mantra book, Healing Mantras (Thomas Ashley-Farrand). Sometimes, important information seems to leap right out at me. When I opened Healing Mantras in search of answers and solutions, the first section that I opened to covered physical and planetary karma. It explained the different types of karma. Prarabdha karma is the karma that has resulted in the current lifetime, and includes the karma that is described by the position of the planets at the moment of birth. This is what astrology is based on. There are mantras described for resolving karma associated with each of the planets. In Healing Mantras, Mars is related to the sex organs, adrenal glands, and red blood cells. The Mars mantra, which I have been using for at least the prescribed period of time, is

Om Sri Angarakaya Namaha

You will see that mantra in my previous entries. Since I began that practice, I haven’t had any more serious mechanical problems. My fatigue is under control, and I don’t get easily worn out. I haven’t had any more urinary problems. I still get upset from time to time, but it’s more modulated, more easily controlled with humor. I’ve had periods where I have more energy.

My interests have been drawn to other things now. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the problems of the worldwide Islamic Jihad, the war on terrorism, and on the political issues. And, starting tomorrow, I’m taking a three-day class on a form of psychic healing and self empowerment called Theta Healing. I think it’ll be interesting to see, when I “go up and seek God,” in what way I refer to God. But more interesting, I’d like to see what I can make of my life once I identify and remove some of the inappropriate failure-programming that’s been affecting me my whole life. That might be a topic for another blog entry, or series of entries.