My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Your Organized Religion is an Insult to Humanity

A British teacher in Sudan asked one of her 7-year-old students to bring in her teddy bear to teach them about animals. She then asked the students to pick a name for the bear and they voted to name it Muhammad. These last weeks she was arrested and convicted for letting them use the name and will be punished with 40 lashes. On Friday (11/30/07), after a reduction in sentencing to 15 days in jail and deportation, thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied in a central square and demanded her execution.

Now the first response is to call this law and these people primitive, but the problem is much deeper than that. This is not a problem with the current division in Islam or any other religion that has its evangelicals, hard-liners, or extremists. This is a problem with organized religion.

When you create a set of laws and call them infallible, you are doing so under the belief that the people, culture, technology, and science will never change. The commonly held belief is that during the new religions inception is that humanity has reached a final destination or perfection that needs to be maintained. This thought process is usually fostered by a powerful group of people who want to preserve their comfortable control over a population. The development of the new religious laws is usually a regurgitation of previous controls and stories from other popular religions into a new form to suit their needs. If not for that reason, religions are instituted to herald in a new form of government or to change direction in a current one.

The insulting part is not that the masses fall into this trap and can made to believe that silent obedience is the way to some sort of existential fulfillment in an afterlife. No, it’s the sheer nerve of them to put forth the belief that there is an ability to understand the universe. As if simply using our limited minds and current understanding of the complexity of the cosmos is enough to explain everything. So what organized religions are offering is easy answers that are destined to be outdated and laughable before they are instituted. It takes blind faith in these dogmas to overlook the obvious inconsistencies and inaccurateness that they contain.

Spirituality is one thing, and is different for everyone, but to believe in one version of a religion over all others is not only foolish, it’s self-defeating. If you put all of your hope into something that can so easily fail, you will bound to become either blind to reality or disappointed with life.

The alternative? Believe in yourself. The strength you have to follow the dogma of an organized religion is the same strength that you can use to just be a good person. And you know what a good person is because every single religion, community, and historical reference to good acts mirrors each other. Be good, you have that power within yourself. Or to quote Abraham Lincoln, “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.”

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Music

Voltaire said, “Anything too stupid to be said is sung”, and this is doubly so of Christmas music -- it is the equivalent of being bludgeoned to death by a Hallmark card.

Having spent a considerable amount of time over the last couple of weeks submerged in Christmas music, I have come to realize the vast majority of these songs have never been nominated for a Grammy, received any internationally recognized awards for musical excellence, or have been hailed for their musical creativeness for a reason. This is because they are intentionally shallow and musically insulting.

Christmas is the time of year in which we can all be proud to wallow in our own ability to be tacky and gaudy. Everything from homemade scenic sweaters, to borderline obscene Christmas yard decorations, all the way to those CDs of dogs barking Christmas carols is fair game. And not only do we allow such embarrassing frivolity, we see it as a necessary part of the kitsch and as essential as the tree or presents.

Think about it, would it be Christmas if you weren’t bombarded with the same repetitive music about Santa and his reindeer, snow, decorations, good-will, and the several quaint reasons for the mostly Pagan holiday? True, some people (usually the die-hard Christians or desperate infotainers) do try to make the holiday out as holy, but it’s a long shot to rebrand all of those Pagan traditions as Christian. Still, it’s an excuse to be carried away in everything delightfully tacky and excessive because we do so under the banner of “The Season”.

So this year, as we spend time with our families celebrating the tackiness of the season by drowning ourselves in a self-imposed orgy of Christmas crap, try to remember that stupid Christmas song on the radio is not painfully bad, it’s painfully good.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the mall is giving 10% off of everything during the all-drum performance of Jingle Bells.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Dichotomy of the US

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between -- Oscar Wilde

We as a nation have always lived with an identity crisis. Now that is not to say that we don't know who we are, but as individuals we are proud of our diversity and that leads to times where as a nation we are extremely polarized.

I offer a simple analogy in the form of two large companies trying to sort out the current range of American thinking: Subway Restaurants and Toyota Motor Corporation American Division.

Subway currently offers an entire Fresh Fit menu with calories listed in full view and healthy alternatives of apples and milk to the normal unhealthy choices. The marketing campaign for this wholesome menu is promoted by a man who lost 245 pounds eating nothing but Subway sandwiches. This is in stark contrast with their other running menu option of a new Subway Feast which promotes a sandwich with 1,400 calories that is "as big as your head".

Toyota is doing about the same thing. Along with announcing a new Prius that will not only offer the best fuel consumption on the market, but will also have an option to allow for a home hook-up for little to no fuel consumption at all, Toyota also has a 7,000 lbs., 12 MPG, Land Cruiser. So why advertising that they are the environmentally green car company, they continue to sell one of the worst environmental cars offered in the American car market.

So why do these two examples, which so openly strive to promote themselves as one thing, also cater so heavily to the antithesis?

I believe that the answer lies not in our current diametrically opposed methods of thought, but in the lack of vocal majority within the center. We have been co-opted into a belief that there are only two sides to every stance, that there are right and wrongs, and that our choices are those of other peoples labels.

These false choices have historically been reduced to rubble by artists, poets, great thinkers, and a populous that believed in education and free thinking. Unfortunately, the outlet for such things now exists in a medium that sells ad time. Every original thought is bought and sold like a commodity, cheapening its originality and lessening its affect on the public. New ideas are either squashed for their lack of marketability or embraced, repackaged, sold, and forgotten.

This process of commoditizing dissension leaves the moderate and undecided without a real voice while we all wonder whether or not we're in the mood to submit to gluttony or give preemptive penance for our wish to submit to our greed.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Love People at Christmas

Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, may be my favorite day of the year. Hordes of people, all up at an unreasonable hour to stand in lines, be grumpy, only to end up spreading unhappiness to one another over petty fights for cheap Chinese toys and unbelievable consumer deals. They do this to celebrate the birth of some guy who never had a family, had no possessions, and lived most of his life under a self-imposed vow of poverty. The irony is not only palpable, it’s hilarious.

So each Black Friday you will find me camped out watching the masses. If they would let me, I would love to drag one of my recliners into the lobby of a Wal-Mart just for the occasion. Because let’s face it, overweight people running through the aisles and tripping over one other in a department store at 5am to save $20 on something that they really don’t need in the name of love, family, and friendship, just can’t be beat in funny.

Every year this holiday starts earlier and gets crazier and every year I enjoy the show more and more. So please, get out there and shop till you drop. And please, when you collapse on some old woman who was fighting you for the last bag of $1 tube socks, remember that you have fulfilled my Christmas wish to enjoy hilarity of the Christmas Season for all that it is worth.

Live Music

I grew up going to see live shows around Atlanta and Boston. If there was going to be music, any music, I wanted to be part of it. The best of all of these were rocks bands in small venues. There is just something indescribably wonderful about watching a band claim a stage and get bar patrons off their asses. Seeing them earn their sweat while we felt the pulse of the music is one of the closest things to ecstasy imaginable. Tonight reminded me why we all need music in our lives. Music keeps you happy, gets your body back into rhythm, and makes you remember why you live. Music is a higher understanding than all wisdom and philosophy; so make sure that you bathe in music as often as you can and I promise that you live a happier life.

Check out or better yet, see them live. You can thank yourself later.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On Health

I am a realist, I know that I eat too much yummy food and don’t exercise enough, but that is a choice that I have consciously made. What confuses me is the myriad things out there intended to help people lose weight and be healthy. So in order to help out as much as I can, let me explain things in a language that is both simple and easy to understand.

You have evolved over billions of years eating about 80% raw veggies and fruit and 20% meat. To think that your body can cope with eating processed chemicals, mostly meat or all fruits and veggies, heavily altered foods, man-made foods, or things raised using unnatural fertilizers and drugs without side effects is foolish. To put it in simple terms, the more crap that you eat that is not a basic food that your ancestors bodies grew accustom to over thousands of generations, the more health problems you are likely to have.

The same goes for medicine and health care. Your body is an awesome piece of equipment. It is the most advanced machinery that you will ever own. It repairs itself, maintains a balance with its surroundings, and is conscience of itself. When left in an environment in which it has evolved to match, humans do extraordinarily well. Unfortunately, environments change, people build cities, food is harder to produce in larger quantities, and we expose ourselves to things that evolution never had time to sort out. So naturally we are going to get exposed to all sorts of things that our bodies are going to have a hard time handling. The best thing that you can do is to maintain a good natural and physical state so that your billions and billions of years of evolution has the best chance to deal with these new unknown.

All that being said, you need to realize that even though you should try to stay as close to what your body evolved to live with, there are occasionally going to be things with which it will not cope with well. The trick is to understand what is really a threat and what is just marketing.

For instance, your body was not meant to eat Hot Pockets. There are 76 ingredients in a Hot Pocket -- most of which are manmade and unpronounceable. Just because you can eat something and it tastes good, does not mean that it’s food. Antifreeze is sweet and smooth, but it will kill you if you drink it. And a Lean something just means that there are less of the things that we now are bad and more of fillers and chemicals that are further from being classified as food.

Most pharmaceutical drugs are the same. You take them constantly to fix either psychological problems or problems caused by bad health and diet. In other words, they work to counteract the bad parts of your other habits. This is the equivalent of constantly filling up one of you car tires with air when you know that it has a nail in it.

Are you going to occasionally need medical help and eat food that is not what you should be eating? Of course, but you need to realize that it is a conscious choice that you are making and that with each choice it moves you future from your naturally balanced ideal and that will come with side effects.

In short, I offer my easy solution to wellbeing: Eat good food and less of it while exercising more and try to understand who you are through self-reflection and internal understanding. Now I can’t promise anything because life is all about uncertainty and learning, but you can learn to stack the deck in your favor by making conscious choices about who and what you really are.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Dianous is directly translated from Greek as "through thought". It is a deep meditation that is usually aimed at greater self-understanding, but can also mean understanding of external conflict through internal thought.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Entry for November 13, 2007

All the history of human life has been a struggle between wisdom and stupidity -- Philip Pullman

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The world is rarely black and white...

Life exists in a series of grays, please adjust your reality accordingly.