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Rad note » The text in this entry originally came from another entry. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate entry-page.

At the end of this entry (that you are now reading) I provide a link to the exact spot from where this entry originated.

Here you go...

Some So-Called Christians Give Christianity a » Bad name

Speaking of the moral judgment of some so-called Christians, note that scripture says » "by their LOVE shall all men know."

Fred 'God-Hates-Fags' Phelps (1929-2014) of the Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, KansasNot by their vitriol. Or their cruelty. Or their nastiness.

So it seems that not everybody got the message. The memo.

Where's the mercy and compassion in 'God Hates Fags'?

Paul says that "the standard of sound words" are in » faith and love. (You know Paul.)

I see no love in the cry of '» God Hates Fags'. I see only judgment and hatred and condemnation and xenophobia.

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Did you see the Frontline special on the Vatican? (Released Feb 25. Two weeks ago.)

Pope John Paul II Gives a Warm Papal Embrace to Marcial MacielOh. My. Gawd. I was raised Catholic and I never knew this.

[ Yes, I knelt down and kissed the ring. ]

Pope John Paul II .. not cool, dude.

That's him with arms wide .. embracing Marcial Maciel, the pedophile.

"Come here and get your warm papal embrace, you beautiful coffer-filler, you."

Why would a pope embrace a known-pedophile, you ask?

That's exactly the question I had myself. Watch the video, yourself. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.

This gives new meaning to the phrase » the system is about the money. I did not think that the sentiment in my earlier entry could get any uglier. I was wrong.

And all this has an interwoven narrative that involves the new pope. The job .. is to put the child-abuse scandal behind. But old ways are entrenched. It is really a battle of epic proportions.

And the side of good has been getting its ass kicked for one decade after another. And this last pope, the one who quit (.. Benedict, real name » Joseph Ratzinger, a German) something that hadnt happened in 600 years .. it was *his* job the bury that thing.

And he failed.

Pope Francis Does Not Judge GaysThis is why I feel that such a radically different pope was chosen.

The first-ever Jesuit. The first non-European pope in many centuries.

It is as tho the Catholic church is saying, "We're willing to try pretty much anything right now. Cuz we been getting our ass kicked by this child abuse sex scandal for so long."

When I heard what the new pope said about gays .. it made me think about what Peter said » here.

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» This page is PART FOUR, continued from » Part Three. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

And now, without further commercial interruption, the conclusion of » Dostoevsky, Aaron Swartz and the Broken Butterfly of Tomorrow. Here you go...

Baloo & Mogli | Jungle Book» Parenting & Paraphrasing

So I identify with Aaron, easily .. with parenting representing the most significant difference.

[ I could be wrong, but I do not think Aaron had children. ]

The threat-of-jail pales beside the threat of losing your son. Tho I must say .. that I was faced with mere days, possibly weeks. Not months or possibly years, like young Aaron. ]

The threat of losing your child fucks with your head .. in a far more exquisite manner. In my opinion. Straight to the looney farm.

The thing with jail is that .. it is the FEAR-of-the-unknown that fucks with your head. The p-r-o-l-o-n-g-e-d fear is definitely worse than jail itself. (In my admittedly limited opinion.)

And yes, jail does indeed suk very badly. But any experience with institutions should help there.

That 'parenting' thing .. seems to run below / underneath the part of us that rationalizes.

Cuz I recall that my thinking was obviously severely distorted on one level .. yet remarkably lucid on another.

My clearest recollection .. was that of feeling literally 6 feet under .. as tho I were ALREADY dead .. and as tho I was looking UP at the ground .. at the zero point.

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» This page is PART THREE, continued from » Part Two. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

» Aaron Swartz Hangs Himself in NYC on January 11

Aaron Swartz hangs himself in NYC on January 11, 2013UPDATE - Oh, this is sad. Very sad. I just saw that Aaron Swartz hung himself today. At age 26. In New York City. (Brooklyn.) January 11th, 2013.

Such promise. Such remarkable promise. What a loss. What a colossal loss .. for the cause .. of sanity against insanity.

Of certainty against uncertainty. Of freedom against incarceration. Of life against death.

A beacon in the darkness .. extinguished, silenced forever.

It may surprise you, Mr. U.S. Justice Man, but some people actually need a reason a live .. and you took his away.

When unrighteous shit like this happens to our brothers, to our prophets .. we need to cry out .. to make it know .. that we DO NOT AGREE with our ancestors deeds.

Therefore, let it be known unto you. Let this serve as a solemn protest.

» Fight of the Ages!

Announcer: "Ladies and gentlemen, in THIS corner! .. we have » Yesterday!" [ crowd cheers with wild enthusiasm ]

"And in the OTHER corner, we have » Tomorrow!" [ crowd curiously silent ]

Confused-sounding Announcer » "Uh .. something seems to have happened to Tomorrow."

Tomorrow has been persecuted (by Yesterday) so savagely .. that Tomorrow said, "Fuck it!"

The endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly (male)Tomorrow is a butterfly that has been broken over a wheel.

A beautiful butterfly, broken over an ugly wheel.

A very ugly wheel. A corrupt ugly wheel .. that discriminates against youth .. on the behalf of age.

Do you not recognize .. can't you see .. that Tomorrow is being sacrificed .. for the sake of Yesterday?

From my perspective, it is not difficult to see. Not at all difficult. Because clearly, Yesterday can vote ..

.. while Tomorrow can't. And you only seem to care about getting (re)elected. That's sad. Very sad (.. especially for Tomorrow).

You know .. if the government were smart, it would have funded a Research Group .. and made Aaron the director. Just imagine what effect that remarkable young man might have had ..

. on technology that increases efficiency .. and that helps people everywhere become more efficient ..

.. sort of like, you know » Steve Jobs, Mr. Apple himself. Patriarch of one of our nation's largest companies.

Aaron already HAS contributed to our nation (.. and the entire world) .. things which have had a positive effect. But you dont seem to value his contributions .. as much as the ones by those who MAKE MONEY.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)Perhaps this is why our economy is still sputtering after .. years, now. Why it is only benefitting a select few.

Perhaps .. in their fear of radically new things / technologies ..

.. they are unwittingly stifling good old fashioned Unites States creative ingenuity.

I don't understand why you continue to focus all of your energy on bullshit .. and ignore the real problems facing our nation and our economy.

You need more vision .. than just what you can see leading up to the next election cycle. I think the term for your condition is » myopia. Political myopia.

[ And you need to grow some cojones while you work on fixing the vision problem. Obama needs to grow the courage to follow the law .. just like you & me .. and all the other "little people".]

» The Weight of a Suicide .. of a Geek's Geek

I did not know Aaron, but this grieves me .. more than I expected. I needed to go for a walk. The weight was surprising. (Perhaps because this comes so soon after Newtown. Less than a month. Maybe I am still grieving for those 20 first-graders.)

What a stark reminder that human beings have limits .. to the bullshit they can endure .. especially those who are more human than most.

Even a cursory look at the circumstances and the comments coming in from around the world make it easy for me to identify with him. Because he was Geek's geek ..

.. caught up in an heartless legal system .. that was bound and determined .. to grind him into sausage meat .. without any regard for the need for human dignity. "If you dare disagree with the Overlord$, you are not even worthy of human dignity."

It seems as tho our government cannot tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. As Harvard professor, Lessig [ who knew Aaron since Aaron was just a kid ] said »

"Remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House -- and where even those brought to "justice" never even have to admit any wrongdoing, let alone be labeled "felons."

Alan Turing | Father of Computer Science (1912-1954)I admit .. this kind of shit (injustice, inequality) pisses me off. It frosts my ass. Because it clearly isnt right.

Aaron stood for what I myself stand for. So it feels like a part of me has died .. under nasty circumstances. Horribly nasty.

Light a candle, ye Geeks. A candle of remembrance. The flame will speak.

Meanwhile Jon Corleozonie .. you know » Mr-Uh-I-somehow-LOST-$1.6-Billion-Dollars-of-Other-People's-Money .. has never even been charged with a crime.

[ Not hard to find victims THERE, is it, Jonnie? Because they have lined up .. and line disappears around the block.

The Authorities: "What's that, Jon? You lost a few billion of other people's money? No problem. Hey, shit happens, bro."

Meanwhile, the same Authority a little later: "Hey you over there .. with the 6-pack tucked under your arm. Dont make me tase you, dude." ]

How do we reconcile such vast disparity in justice? We can't. It is merely one-more-spotlight .. on the sad fact .. that our government has been co-opted. Clearly the wealthy-few OWN our government. And therefore they own us.

You set yourselves up as gods when you do that » "We-up-here, above the law, can do whatever the fuck we like. While you chumps down there in Sausage-land .. have different rules. Sausage-manufacturing rules. Make more sausage faster."

» Bouazizi & Swartz » Both 26 when they Committed Suicides-of-Despair

Do you not recognize similarities with Mohamed Bouazizi, the kindly street vendor who torched himself in the streets of Tunisia .. which became the event that led to the outrage that ignited the Arab Spring?

Mohamed Bouazizi (1984-2011).. who also died, coincidentally, at age 26 .. exactly two years and one week ago. And the fires are still raging there in the Middle East.

The same age Einstein was the year (1905) when he kicked maximum scientific ass .. while working in his SPARE TIME, no less ..

.. as a 3rd rate patent clerk .. because he could not land a teaching job, despite countless applications, nor even get into a PhD program.

The world is still trying to comprehend the implications of Einstein's muscular throw-down when he was just 26 years old. (Still.)

I also can't help but think of Alan Turing, the Father-of-Computer-Science, who committed suicide .. by eating a cyanide-laced apple .. after his government had him chemically castrated (.. for homosexuality) ..

in lieu of imprisonment .. after he played a major role in helping them win World War II .. by breaking the German Naval Enigma code (.. at Bletchly Park). No good deed goes unpunished.

Rumor has it that Alan's poison apple is where Apple Computer got its logo .. an apple with a single bite missing.

British government: "Thanks for helping us win the war, Alan. Looks like it's now time to cook your nuts now, seeing that we have no more wars for you to help us win. Thank-you for your service at Bletchley Park and cracking the German Enigma code that helped us win the war."

Dude, chemical castration .. is like dropping your 'nads into a pot of boiling water .. and leaving them there until they're well done. Hard-boiled.

That's what the British government did .. to one of the twentieth century's greatest geeks. So I'm not very surprised that he chose to kill himself (.. just like Aaron did).

[ I know it's hard to believe.. but governments have done worse shit than that. Waay worse. ]

» Warning Delivered | Warning Ignored | Momma Wizard Not Happy

Okay .. I tried to warn them » "Do NOT piss off the Geeks," I told them. I tried. You can lead a horse to water. I feel like I failed. Utterly.

Okay, here's what I said May 15th (.. copy-n-paste):

Guy Fawkes Anonymous MaskSo you've been busy. But .. if you piss them off, they will come after your ass. And they have special powers. You will RUE the day, my friend. Mark my words.

Because they are not forgiving, like me (« Mr. Niceguy). No, sir. Like an angry African wasp, they will sting .. and KEEP stinging ..

.. until their asses are good-n-sore. (That's why you dont want to provoke them.)

If they get really pissed, they will come after your ass .. with a vengeance. And then you're fucked. (Give me points for clarity. Ozy sends his best.)

Interesting, no? .. that Ozy was published on this exact date (January 11th) 195 years ago (1818).

Tho I also added:

I am not one of these wizards, no. (Not hardly.) But I understand them. I can FEEL them (.. we must share some of the same geeky chromosomes). Thermo-nuclear bonding, you might say.

This is how I know that you are in trouble. And I'm here to help (.. cue audio track of cavalry bugle cry amid the sound of galloping hooves). Consider it a lifeline.

So it's not like they werent warned. And I TOLD you they were wizards .. didnt I? [ Momma wizard is going to be verrry angry. ]

You probably already know this .. but for the benefit of our obviously-clueless government officials » "Dude, there is a tsunami coming." I dont know when it will make landfall .. but it will not be pretty. You might wanna look around for something sturdy to grab hold of.

» Stand the Fuck By

Mushroom cloudAnd you thought Sandy was bad. "Stand the fuck by."

Dylan wrote "It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls." Unfortunately, Dylan never said when.

Japan had 9 minutes. The clock has started. Tickety-tock went the clock.


Update - Jan 26, 2013. Oh, I just saw » THIS .. Anonymous' response to the government's handling of Aaron Swartz (.. very well articulated, as usual) ..

.. which ends with a promise » "Not this time. This time there will be change or there will be chaos."

Give them points for clarity. Two weeks to the day. That was quick. Easy to see the 'love' they put into it.

I have been trying to tell you .. that they do not think like you. (And they seem to have the patience of a saint.)

Part of the art & craft of Writing, as I see it, is to convey the most .. in either the clearest, most efficient, or most artistic way .. depending on the desired result and your intended audience.

So I caught myself admiring the sentence construction. Nobody will be able to claim that their position was ambiguous. Certainly more tasteful than I would have done.

I find it noteworthy that Henry Miller wrote » "Dostoevsky is chaos and fecundity" .. implying that, in the writing of the Russian, the two forces meet to create a » "vortex in the bubbling maelstrom." In other words » humanity.

If you were selected to write the one sentence that was to initiate the countdown sequence to doomsday .. that would be it. =)

I jest of course, but it's the truthful undercurrent that makes it funny. Actually, the last two sentences go together. The repetition made me think of Hemingway.


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» This page is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)» Who is this DostoYEVsky dude?

"Who?" I interrupted and asked. But the officer [off-going EOOW] wanted to continue with his original train of thought.

So I waited a little and asked again. =)

"Who's this dahs-tuh-YEF-skee dude?"

My recollection of his answer goes something like »

"He's a Russian novelist from the 19th century who wrote about subjects that are DARK, such as Crime and Punishment. He had remarkable psychological insight. He could see into your soul."

The word 'dark' was the thing that stuck out. My curiosity was piqued .. because I found myself wondering » "Why would anybody want to write about a dark subject? Because who would ever READ about such a thing?"

I remember walking away and thinking to myself, "Crime and punishment .. that is a HORRIBLE topic. Nobody in their right mind would ever want to read about crime and certainly not about punishment."

[ Key phrase » in their 'right mind'. ]

The thoughts continued to come as I ducked thru the water-tight door, heading forward to the mess decks .. with the aroma of grease-burgers growing stronger.

[ The officers eat by themselves, with the captain and the XO .. not with us lowly enlisted folks. Heck, even the chiefs won't eat with us. They eat in the "goat locker." ]

"This Dostoevsky dude must be very strange," I thought. And I wondered what events in someone's life could make them such an expert on the disk-side .. that they are able to write entire novels on the subject.

[ That is obviously a dangerous rabbit-hole-of-a-question, my friend. =) So let's go take a look .. and see where this wormhole leads. ]

Clearly, there was something I did not understand. But at 21, there's a lot you dont understand. You just don't know it. (Yet.)

Perhaps it is worth noting .. that the first time I heard the name 'Dostoevsky' .. I was standing on a large movable object .. specifically designed to rain down death and destruction .. on a scale never before seen on the planet (.. should the need arise).

So you could call it » The Exterminator. (The life exterminator.)

Tho officially [ repeat after me ] .. "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons aboard this United States naval vessel."

And over the years .. I would hear this distinctive Russian name mentioned .. you know, here and there .. from time to time.

But every time .. the thought would come » "There's something there .. something you might want to look into .. if you have cojones grande sufficientcio. A taunting distant echo » 'Are you afraid of the dark?'."

Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968)» The Great Prophet of the Twentieth Century

And these mentionings always contained a bit of fright in the person who uttered the name ..

.. as tho he would immediately run away, shouting over his shoulder, "He's coming! Run!"

Yes, I exaggerate, but that's the mood I remember. Dostoevsky's name only arises in certain types of conversations.

And this was before I learned that the French existential philosopher Albert Camus [ ca-'moo, 1913-1960 ] called Dostoevsky "the great prophet of the twentieth century".

But the thing I dont get is .. Dostoevsky [1821- 1881] never lived in the twentieth century. He died nearly two decades shy. So how can he be "the great prophet of the 20th century"? See my point?

Is Albert saying that Dostoevsky was ABLE TO SEE INTO .. the next century? Sure would seem that way.

But if Dostoevsky is "the Great Prophet of the Twentieth Century" .. then who is the Great Prophet of the Twenty-First Century? .. the century in which you and I live.

I'll return to this question later. For now, I am merely cocking back our slingshot .. so later we can let the smooth stone fly .. with added velocity.

Yours truly» I am thinking of a book. Try to guess the name of the novel I have in mind.

I will give you a hint. My hint is an excerpt extracted from the Wikipedia entry for this title. So see if this next sentence rings a bell »

"Acclaimed the world over .. by intellectuals as diverse as .. Freud, Einstein, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut .. as one of the supreme achievements in literature."

Supreme achievement? Uh, do you mean as in » 'EV-vuh'? As in » the-history-of-the-planet? Homo sapiens ultimo maximus?

Like » near or at the top of what our species has been able to accomplish in literature? .. a species whose trajectory-of-civilization has been defined by centuries of intellectual development.

The only species capable of inventing symbolic written language and using it to communicate among themselves. "Bonjour."

Such big words. My goodness. Any ideas? Care to venture a guess? Give up?

The KEY word in that excerpt, I think » diverse. There you have writers, yes, of course, but also very prominent philosophers, plus a psychologist [ » thee Psychologist of our most recently completed century ] ..

.. and even a physicist. Not just any physicist. No, sir. Rather thee physicist .. of the 20th century ..

Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer | Father of the Atomic Bomb (1904-1967)[ I say that with all due respect to Oppenheimer, who I hear was also a big fan of my mystery author ..

.. and who gave away copies of this other title (by the same author) to friends as a birthday present ..

.. a title, which, I hear, is "the best book ever written" on the subject of Revolutionary Conspiracy.

"Here's a little something I think you might enjoy. Happy birthday, dawg. How about another martini?" ]

.. not to mention that Einstein was declared Time magazine's » Person-of-the-Century.

You must admit .. that would be an impressive collection of signatories .. adding their John Hancocks to your already towering bona fides ..

.. seeing we could easily add to the list luminaries such as » Hemingway, Chekhov, Joyce, Sartre, Virginia Woolf, and EM Forester. More big names.

Regarding the original six, I could not, for example, have more respect for Cormac McCarthy (.. as a writer, as an author, and as a brave man). For me, Cormac is like Elijah-the-prophet .. in that he » turns the heart of the fathers to the children.

 » Harold Bloom Chokes Twice on Blood Meridian Before Speaking

Speaking of Cormac McCarthy .. the inside-flap of my Modern Library copy of Blood Meridan [thanks to Paula, who gave me her new copy, which she could not read] says »

"Widely considered one of the finest novels by a living writer, Blood Meridan is an epic tale of the violence and corruption that attended America's westward expansion .. I venture that no other living American novelist, not even Pynchon, has given us a book as strong and memorable."

America's most celebrated literary critic, Harold Bloom calls Blood Meridan "the greatest single book since Faulkner's As I Lay Dying" [which was published back in 1930, 83 years ago]. There's an eyebrow-raising statement, no?

Cormac McCarthy (1933- ) | The Real DealBlood Meridian is not an easy novel to read. Even the celebrated Bloom himself choked on it during his first attempt. His first *two* attempts, actually.

Here are Harold's own words (taken straight from the novel's 8-page Introduction):

"I will begin by confessing that my first two attempts to read through Blood Meridian failed, because I flinched from the overwhelming carnage that McCarthy portrays.

The violence begins on the second page, when the fifteen-year-old-kid is shot in the back and continues almost with no respite until the end, thirty years later, when Judge Holden, the most frightening figure in all of American literature [.. sentence trucated due to spoiler]."

You have to steel yourself before cracking open a McCarthy novel (.. or you will choke) .. for the same reason that you don't set a t-bone steak before an infant.

It's like you have to go into training before taking on Cormac. Good luck. He has no mercy on your soul.

Only the courageous dare to attempt one of McCarthy's darker novels .. and even then at their own peril. The literary gods will gladly administer last rites to those determined to assimilate one of those. America's most celebrated Literary Critic himself twice required resusitation.

But what about some of those other names we find referenced there in my Wikpedia excerpt?

» Einstein Peels Back the Skin of Reality Itself

Einstein is almost certainly the greatest mind of the twentieth century, no? E=mc2. Relativity. Wave/particle duality. Quantum mechanics. The illusion of time. Truly mind-bending shit. Major cranial torqueage.

[ I can almost see Uncle Fester with his bald head jammed in a vice .. saying to Einstein, "Hey Albert, be a sport and give it another turn, will ya?"

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)E=mc2 is the reason I wanted to learn about reactors. "Show me how you boys make that E out of the m using the c-squared thingie."

Like magic, a nuclear reactor turns matter (mass) into energy. A very little mass (.. known technically as the mass defect) .. into energy. Very MUCH energy.

Notice that the c-squared is over on the mass-side of the equals sign, helping it to make LOTS of energy.

Yes, it's true that real matter actually disappears. No mas. Adios matter. Hello energy.

That, my friend, is what you call » power (turning matter into energy) .. a truly remarkable thing to behold .. especially when done on an industrial scale .. and in a highly controlled fashion.

And even more remarkable when the fashion is less controlled. ]

The way that Einstein was able to peel-back the very skin itself of (perceived) reality and say, "Dude, check this out! You won't believe what I found. Lookie here. Aint that some shit." .. is the reason why he is generally considered thee Baddest Dude of the entire 20th century.

And here's the kicker » Einstein did this shit IN HIS HEAD! (As if he werent already intellectually impressive enough.) His mind was like a super-collider. (Powerful enough to destroy centuries of well-entrenched classical ideas.)

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» This entry is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. It was split into two pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go .. the conclusion of » Shooting First Graders? Like Fish in a Barrel? What the Fuck?

» A Curious Connection & the Ability of Man

I'd rather not .. but I must say .. that I find it 'curious' .. that the VERY NEXT section in Matthew [.. in the very same chapter .. right after where Jesus says "Suffer little children" in verses 14+15 ] .. he next talks about » the Rich Young Ruler [ RYR .. in verses 16-26 ] ..

The Ability of Man.. who, as you probably know .. "went away sad." Why? Because » "he had great possessions."

To which Jesus comments » HOW HARD IT IS ".. for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

And everybody knows .. that the reason it's hard .. is cuz it's so easy for the Rich Man to trust in his riches (.. and not God).

Now, I can vouch .. that it's more difficult to trust in uncertain riches .. when you don't have any ..

.. when you are forced to go to Plan B. But EVEN THEN .. even then it's a struggle.

It just so happens .. that I've recently been conducting my own little experiments in this area.

And for me .. this trusting-in-riches thing FEELS LIKE .. a ROOT .. out of which I suck something that feels like security (comforting) ..

.. a root that is very difficult to pull up .. and which starts growing (all-by-itself, it seems) .. soon as you let it drop.

I would go so far as to say .. this is the MOST DIFFICULT scriptural thing I've found. [ Uh, seems like I already have. ]

[ For the sake of clarity .. I approach this thing .. with a technical mindset .. rather than a religious one. As the religious one can be clouded by tradition.

I'd had to leave all that behind. As 'IT' did not work for either of my parents .. who both died young. (And not very nicely, either.) ]

So .. I can sorta see why .. the VERY NEXT thing that Jesus says [.. after talking about HOW HARD it is for the Rich Man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven ] ..

.. is » "With men this is impossible." [ Because uh, I have *tried* .. and not necessarily because I wanted to. ]

» Impossible (with Men)

"Impossible," he said. In other words » with men » Mission Impossible. [ And if you fancy the trick a trifle, let me be the first to challenge you .. to sell everything. Give it all to the poor. Let me know how it goes, dawg. ]

Tolstoy tried this, I understand .. tho his wife, it seems, wasnt too keen on the idea. =) "Wealth corrupts us all," he said .. tho I don't know how unapologetically he said it.

The Ability of ManDoes wealth corrupt? We know that power does.

The love of money. Yes, that is certainly alive-n-well here in the United States.

The problem .. is that THIS PART of our society has captured our government. [ Perhaps that's why they call it 'Political Capture'. ]

And it seems that this love-of-money is the root of all kinds of bad shit.

[ Uh, now I think I know why trusting-in-riches .. feels like a 'root'. Cool light bulb. ]

So the wealth may or may not corrupt .. but the LOVE of it certainly does. Do I have it, right? (Hmmm. I will need to think about that.)

So if I myself am having a struggle in this area .. I don't see how it could possibly be any easier for the rich .. for the wealthy. Do you?

The scriptural implication here .. as I see it (.. correct me if I'm wrong) .. is that .. if we are to 'succeed' in this area (.. big IF) .. then we will need God in order to do it. No?

This is a discussion for another day. But see if this notion resonates with you .. and perhaps we may revisit in the future ..

.. because, it seems to me .. that if the 'root' (.. of all kinds of evil) is coming up (for good) .. then He's gonna have to be the One to do it.

That's MY read anyway .. and I can vouch that it certainly does feel beyond mere human ability.

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Note » This entry is PART 3, continued from » Part 2. Today's entry was split into three parts in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

And now, without further commercial interruption, we present the conclusion of » Righteousness & the Fearless Hoverboard of Faith.

Radiation tri-blade warning symbol» Full Circle

Returning to our original topic of money/wealth (or lack thereof), near where we started, I think the reason that Jesus says this ..

.. is cuz people trust in that .. which is easy to do .. especially in a capitalistic society, where money/wealth plays such a dominant role. Definitely was for me.

Nothing wrong with money, per se .. you just don't want to put your trust in it or love it or serve it. Cuz that spells trouble. Most Christians, I think, would agree.

And it is difficult to trust in "uncertain riches" when you don't have any. =/

So we've come full circle. "Seek ye first" .. which is why today seems like a good day to post this entry .. seeing it's the first day of summer. Key word being » FIRST (.. as in » first things first).

And I neednt tell you that most Americans spend far more time thinking about money .. if what comes out of their mouths is any indication.

I should note that the very verse / idea that got me started along this line of inquiry .. is not the punch line. Getting "things added" is not the end of that line of teaching. Cuz there one more verse in that particular chapter ..

.. which says (I'm paraphrasing) » "Dont worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. You got enough shit to deal with today."

So notice how this seems to be saying » Stay focused in the present / now / today (.. which ties in well, I think, with my earlier point of how faith is about » "living in the moment".

Or to put it yet another way » getting-things-added to you is NOT the most important thing.

» In Reflection » Seek Ye First (HIS Righteousness)

In reflection, I think the reason he stuck the phrase "and his righteousness" in the middle of that verse .. is cuz .. righteousness gets you grace (which is God's "unmerited favor").

Actually grace gets you righteousness, which gets you everything you could ever possibly need .. both today and every day.

And when you have the favor-of-God .. coming on you and overtaking you .. you probably won't be needing much else (.. unless, of course, it serves some purpose).

I am still a rookie, but I have figured out (.. regarding this favor/grace) that you exercise your gift (of grace/favor) in proportion to your faith. (Big sentence.) Fortunately, that (faith) is something that we can do something about.

Expect obstacles. Be diligent.

Regarding that diligence, note that Paul wrote to the Hebrews something interesting. He said  » "And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation"

Now » eternal salvation .. I'm totally down with that, dawg. But I couldnt help but notice the word obey.

Regarding that word, I found three references. See what you think.

  1. the first is according to the very first thing that Peter (the eyewitness) wrote
  2. the second is something Jesus said according to John (another eyewitness)
  3. and the third is again according to John the eyewitness

Now, at first, I focused on the "favor" part of grace .. but I can't seem to get away from the "unmerited" part. I mean, at no time does the God's favor become merited .. or EARNED.

That is a difficult thing / idea / concept / notion for me to wrap my head around. Perhaps because I grew up in a society / culture where we are rewarded according to our works.

It is certainly a humbling concept .. and perhaps even uncomfortable .. this idea that there are things that I cannot do for myself. 

Unfortunately, humbleness was never one of my strengths. In other words, that was not an easy hump for me to get over.

The Fiscal CliffNotice that in a capitalistic culture / society, where money and finances and the things they can buy are elevated to a position of preeminence ..

.. we are taught early-n-often .. that we will be rewarded according to our "works" .. often measured in and rewarded in units of hours/time (.. which represent our lives).

This programming goes back far, very far (at least, for me) and has a high refresh rate. Because it represents the very foundation of Capitalism.

I think this mindset is reason WHY it has been so difficult for me to deal with (grasp) these ideas of grace (unmerited favor) and righteousness (right-standing by faith, not works) ..

.. very difficult. A formidable challenge to surmount (.. tho not impossible). A head-bender. They seem to go against everything I've been taught growing up and since becoming an adult.

Cuz, if I am going to have things "added unto" me .. I feel like I NEED TO EARN them. This thought or mindset COMES SO NATURALLY .. as tho it is a part of me. I never realized how much a part of me it is .. until I tried to shift away from it.

Certainly the process of understanding grace has been a humbling one. In other words, the workaholic mindset can be counterproductive here. Because, from a Capitalist mindset, grace makes no sen$e.

What I'm saying is .. even tho faith seems straight forward (it is simply believing) .. it is not as easy as it might look .. specifically BECAUSE OF these deeply entrenched thought-pattern$.

The idea of getting something without paying for it naturally arouses suspicion. "Okay, what's the catch?" you find yourself asking.

The impression I get here is one of railroad attendant switching the tracks .. from the track labeled $$$ to the one labeled Faith. Two different value-systems. [ Nietzsche is the guy who first got me interested in VALUES .. in analyzing them more closely. ]

Speaking of money, wealth & possessions .. Paul said he lost everything .. and considered it all » shit (.. "dung" in the King James version).

Before him, Moses refused the treasures-of-Egypt, no doubt with a similar opinion of it. Why would anybody do such a thing? What could they see that looks crazy to any capitalist in good standing?

Cuz Elijah might argue here that hanging out by a river during a drought (economic or otherwise) with God is better than living in the finest mansion .. especially if that's as far as your faith extends.

It is no big secret that the global economic system is quaking .. like a diseased man (rotten to the core) .. unsteady on his feet. No telling when the dude might go down (again). Or whether he will have the wherewith all to get back on his feet.

Note » This entry is PART 2, continued from » Part 1. Today's entry was split into three parts in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

And now, here is the continuation of » Righteousness & the Fearless Hoverboard of Faith.

» The Hoverboard of Faith & Living in the Moment

Tho the faith stuff is cool .. cuz is kinda feels like you're riding a hoverboard of sorts .. that is the impression, tho it would take too long to explain right now. A hoverboard that you build by a process similar to gardening. =)

Blue hoverboardAn invisible hoverboard that you "step on." Just cuz you can't see it however, doesnt mean you can't "detect" or perceive its presence. Very clear sense.

A hoverboard that takes you to places you can access no other way.

So while you might not know when you're out of it, you definitely know when you're in it, when you're in faith (.. like how you know-that-you-know .. when you're in love).

Speaking of love .. that's the fuel for your hoverboard. Seems we get an endless supply. That's good news, cuz I go thru quite a bit myself.

And there is only one rule, far as I can tell .. so it's not like you're gonna have trouble remembering.

On the surface, the rule seems certainly noble, but almost dismissibly simple. And it IS simple, but the complexity seems to be in the implementation, which is » not so easy.

And here is the deal [ i just noticed ] » you run into parts of yourself .. parts that may be less than perfect. So a commitment is required .. on this end. And I have committed, but left the actual implementation to him.

My strategy here is simply to » get in the flow (alignment) .. and let the flow do the work. And how do you do that ? » by faith, of course.

[ Uh, I am starting to recognize a pattern here. It's not like I havent tried other ways. ]

That is an interesting design, no? Simple yet sophisticated. Very discriminating, wouldnt you say? Highly discriminating.

One unusual thing about faith .. is that it seems to operate only in the present. It can certainly operate ON the future .. tho the future does not yet exist .. and the past is gone. The past has been relegated to history.

So learning to live IN THE PRESENT is one of the main things I've been working on lately. But that's a whole nuther story .. and I am still working on it.

But if you think about it a sec, you'll see that you can't believe anything yesterday, cuz you're not there and the past is forever gone.

And you can't believe anything tomorrow, cuz you're not there (yet) and "the future" never arrives. Now, you CAN believe something tomorrow .. but only when tomorrow becomes today. Is this not intuitively obvious? .. to even the most casual of observers? But there's no need to wait.

So .. far as walking-in/by-faith is concerned (ala Habakkuk) the only time that matters/counts is » the ever-present now. .. which poets & philosophers & lovers call » LIVING IN THE MOMENT.

[ Yoga, and especially meditation, is very much about » being 'present' .. in the (continuously-self-updating) now. Mastery of which is trickier than it might otherwise seem.

Also note how Paul seems to suggest that the things we can see are somehow connected-to or related-to or limted-by » TIME (.. which is the great insight that Einstein gave us). ]

The effect here -- and I know this sounds a little strange -- is that you » stop time. Or that is at least the effect. Hard to describe, I admit. But very cool.

John Hancock's signature» The Coolest & Most Artistic Signature

I am not positive, but I think .. that the way the deal works .. is that ..

.. if this here what you're reading is indeed true .. and not merely more religious dogma .. then God could / should / would .. let you know.

Oh .. hold on a sec. "What's that?" Okay .. he says, "He will. Most definitely! So you can count on it." =)

.. tho we're not supposed to SEEK signs .. but rather believe .. seeing that the highest form of faith is that which believes the word only .. regardless. Come what may.

And He always does it in the coolest way .. in a way that nobody else could, and in a way that has meaning to you, personally. In a way that would have never occurred to you (.. to your mind).

Cuz, if you could have thought of it yourself, that means it coulda came from you. (Obvious, no?) I think the word here is » confirm.

And I hear He doesnt play favorites .. so you will see what I'm talking about. (When you least expect it.)

My experience is .. these are 'things' that likely mean nothing to ANYBODY BUT YOU. If you say to somebody, "Look at that! Look at that!" .. they will shrug and say, "Look at what?"

One may be easy to write off as mere coincidence. Two would be more difficult, but still possible. But after the third, you think, "No way can that be mere coincidence."

Oh, and TIMING .. pay attention to timing. Cuz time is really part of space (.. even tho is doesnt seem that way). It is always a cool thing when a glitch-in-the-illusion created by our brains (electro-chemical impulses) enters the spotlight of our consciousness. Very cool.

Tho never underestimate the power of doubt. Even if a guy wearing clothes that shine walks up and shows you daylight thru the holes in his hands and gives you his Calling Card ..

.. with an address that says, "right-hand of the Father" .. you will STILL need to exercise your faith (.. cuz that's the way the system works).

» The Signature that Spans the Centuries

Indian Paintbrush FlowerNotice how closely the word 'signature' is to "sign". In other words, God 'signs' his work. And he has the coolest signature.

His signature spans generations. Centuries. Millenia. Epochs. The ages. Time itself.

I mean, they don't call him the 'Master' for nothing. He's an Artist. And sometimes, you even get to be a paintbrush.

[ Paul said » "To me, the LEAST of all saints, was this grace given..." So there's hope for us all. (Because you can't earn grace.) ]

Which is why Paul cautions believers against "thinking more highly than they ought" .. cuz you eventually learn » it aint you, hoss. =) [ .. a point I now make explicitly for the first time. ]

Tho it certainly feels that way, sometimes. Easy to get the big head when God starts pulling strings and prep'ing his canvas.

I dont know why it is .. but you usually can't notice the signs until AFTER the fact .. even tho they were right there in front of your face .. sort of like the way an economic bubble works, or a credit bubble .. in that you can only recognize it AFTER the fact.

Seems like it would make things a lot easier .. if you could see in real-time .. instead of navigating by faith.

And lest you think me something special .. I should note that God confirms HIS WORD .. never the person. (Unless, of course, the person IS the Word.)

That much becomes clear. Rather quickly.

[ There *is* a personal confirmation .. but that is done, uh .. personally. (Inwardly.) ]

In other words » it Aint Me, dawg (.. notice that I've said it twice, now) .. which is the same thing that ALL the prophets down thru the ages have said. Not hard to figure that out. If I recall correctly, this is very similar to what Jesus said.

Isaiah suggests that God flexes his muscle (bares his arm) on our behalf thru our faith. Paul says a similar thing.

» Happy first-day-of-summer!

Back in the day when the dome was my home .. and I served as a Minister of Radiation Safety at numerous Neutron Cathedrals nationwide  (.. as a Migrant Nuclear Worker of sorts) .. there was a guy who had performed a radiation survey in a highly radioactive space.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant | Hudson River, New YorkLater, his supervisor questioned a number that the tech had entered on the document he'd subsequently written up ..

.. because the value had exceeded the maximum capability of the meter.

The technician famously replied that he'd "estimated" the value .. based on the speed at which the needle pegged. =)

It would be like someone asking how fast you were driving .. when your speedometer was pegged hard.

Now, for the uninitiated, this is an honest mistake, and the tech was genuinely trying to report an accurate value.

The correct approach would be to merely document " > xxxx mr/hr ", where xxxx equals the maximum radiation level capable of being detected by the instrument.

An even better approach however, would be to re-survey the area with an ion chamber capable of measuring the higher radiation levels.

Nevertheless, in the weeks & months that followed, it became a running joke among the other techs .. who would perform little skits, such as, when they exited a highly radioactive space, would come out holding their wrist and wincing, as if in pain ..

Radiation detection meter / instrument.. claiming that the needle had pegged with such force that it caused the meter to torque so violently that it nearly broke their wrist. =)

I always found it interesting, if not ironic, that guys who work in such a serious industry .. could be so funny.

I mean, I can be funny myself, but these guys are downright hilarious. Highly entertaining. Often funnier than folks you might pay money to see.

Other times, guys would be sitting in the break room, writing up their surveys, seemingly talking to themselves, muttering something like, "Hmmm. Let me see now ..."

.. where they would go about estimating a "torque value" for their meter .. or calculating a "torque coefficient," as it became known. A multiplier, if you will. (As you probably know, smart techs can be wickedly funny.)

» Nuclear-Grade Military Training to Deal With Deadly Unseen Dangers

More seriously, tho .. my point here is that » I have spent many years .. studying and working in a field .. where something you can't see, something you can't taste or smell ..

Danger! Radiation Run!.. can kill you. Silently. Invisibly. Deadly.

Can't even feel it .. until you start to feel .. a little weird. With enough exposure, it wont be long until you start wishing you were dead.

This has caused me to "view" the world a little differently.

Just because I can't see something .. doesnt mean I dismiss it. Or ignore it. Or refuse to believe it exists.

No, sir. Not hardly. Au contraire.

I'm not worried about the train coming down the track. I can SEE that. I can hear the whistle blow. I can feel the ground rumble.

I can step out of the way. As can any man with even a lick of sense.

Sliver of Light Spectrum Visible to Humans

We'll return later to this invisible-but-deadly theme. But first, let's discuss something everybody is much more familiar with.

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