Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Liar, Liar

Good things may be happening! I just signed up for satellite service. That will speed up my connection by the power of 10. Maybe I can post more often, although the uplink isn't the fastest, it is faster than 9.6 Kbps!

Check the link above for a good article about liars.

Has it always been so? Have we always been a people who lie without thinking and then act indignant when others do the same? To be honest, I believe the author of the article in the Christian Science Monitor has the facts correct and we are justifiably indicted.

I must plead guilty as well, as I find myself telling untruths far too easily. What a shame it is though, that we can’t keep our minds focused on the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

What if it’s an untruth as opposed to a lie? Hmmm…is there a difference? If I try to make the argument that there is a difference, then I quickly find myself on shaky ground. (I think Connecticut’s previous governor was treading on that same shaky ground)

Now that I have confessed to telling a few untruths/lies, shouldn’t I expect our leaders to do the same? After all, they continue to tell us that they are just like us. They stress their common man roots during their election campaigns and so they must be prone to the same failures as the rest of us “common folk”. How refreshing it would be to hear a congressman, a mayor, or even a president say, “I’m sorry…but I lied. Please forgive me.”

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Something completely different

As I was wandering through my files, I came across some excerpts from a great book by Harry James Cargas. I have decided to post one here as the book is no longer in print and hopefully I won’t be prosecuted for copyright infringement. The book is entitled Encountering Myself and I would recommend searching for it on Amazon, as I believe it can still be found at used book dealers.

Christ Died for Me?
How seriously do I believe that Christ died for me? For me? How has the consciousness of this revelation formed my life? Is the thought always before me as a guiding principle? Clearly it should be if I regard myself as a Christian. Of course, I claim to believe this, but if I really do, can it be said that the way I lead my daily life reflects this awareness? That Christ died for me gives me tremendous worth. I am, as it is, infinitely valuable; I have been redeemed by an infinite sacrifice. Do I see myself as someone of consequence? I should since, for me, God sent the only begotten Son. Well, if I am, in such a sense, the center of a universe, am I acting in a fit manner? We might be aware that petty behavior is not what is called for. Rather, action befitting one for whom Christ died. For example, should a person who so received the attentions from God the Creator be a gossip? Or a chronic complainer? Am I particularly quick and eager to blame others when the chance arises? Do I really believe in the dignity of my own life? Goethe wrote that good manners have their basis in heaven-Are my manners reflective of this? There is a tremendous responsibility put on me as one who has "benefited" from the crucifixion. How have I accepted this? By cheating in little business deals? By admiring athletes who break the rules and don't get caught? By encouraging others to hedge on certain regulations? Do I use language befitting one for whom Christ died? Am I anxious to make snap judgments about other persons, often to their disadvantage? Do I, in fact, reflect enough on what it means that Jesus made me the great gift of himself? That has got to be a humbling thought when realized. Yet it is possible that most who call themselves followers of Christ fail to fully deal with this concept. If we did, most of us would change our lives radically. What does it really mean in my life? Christ died for me?
Copied without permission from chapter 3 of "Encountering Myself" by Harry James Cargas

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

The recent move has allowed me to do something I wanted to do many times, and that is to change my voter registration. I have always been registered as a Democrat but now I will be registered as “declines to state”. I wanted to be an independent (with a small i) but that choice is not available. Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Peace and Freedom…all a part of the same coin, simply different faces.

To be truthful, I wanted to be registered as a Centrist. Being in the center I could pick and choose what might be good from the parties at opposite sides. (If there were to be any good to come from any party).

Over the years, those on the Right have evolved into mindless “super patriots”, never willing to entertain any thoughts that might differ from those espoused by Republican Party headquarters. Those on the Left, suffer from the same condition; Mindlessness. They follow whatever sounds or feels right. Democrats don’t even qualify as “Leftists”, as they have drifted so far to the Right in search of power and votes.

Historically, those on the Right have become some of the worst villains in our time. The German Right wing became the Nazi party and the Italian Rightists evolved into Fascists. It’s the same story for the Left. The ideologue’s, Lenin and Marx, became the cruel masters, Stalin and Khrushchev.

All of which leads me to believe that as the Right and Left strain to get further from each other, they actually become the same. Think of a large belt and see the Right and Left as objects on that belt, moving away from each other. Of course they meet in the back. Where they appear to be furthest from each other, in reality they are the same, but where no one can see them. Look at any nation/state where the Right rules and you will find as repressive a state as that ruled by those on the Left. It’s always the same, power corrupts.

I just Googled “centrist” and found it to be quite enlightening. Here is a quote that really resonated for me. “To be a centrist means first being willing to listen, because no one has a monopoly on the truth.” But after reading more, I see both Republicans and Democrats posing as centrists and spouting the same old rhetoric…shame on them! But certainly not unexpected…

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Now What?

What a week...moving, as old age, is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for wimps. But the move is almost complete now. Another trip down south, a turning in of our keys to the realtor and then a visit to Trader Joe's for supplies will make our day and will signal an end to an era (16 years) in the "big city". It's the country life for us (again!) and we are already growing accustomed to the sights and sounds that make this so peaceful. In a previous life, we were country folk for about 11 years and it suited us well. Since I had to work so far away, I missed out on some aspects of it. But this time...

I need to get a faster connection and soon. 9.6 Kbps? That can't be right...

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Sir Rupert

If you are too young to remember the “yellow press” of the Hearst empire, you can see exactly how it operated by watching Fox News.

It was the Los Angeles Times that interviewed Av Westin, executive director of the National Television Academy and former producer of ABC’s news programs. Westin was interviewed by the Times in connection with charges by a former Fox News producer that the staff of the news channel is under constant pressure to conform to the political views of Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes. Westin noted: "Roger runs the place with an iron hand, and he was put in place there by Murdoch, who selected him for his politics." Westin also stated that Sir Rupert’s politics are even seen in "the uniform smirks and body language" of the Fox News reporters and that the owner's personal bias permeates the news "to an extent that isn't true anywhere else in American journalism."

You don’t remember the “yellow press”? Of course you don’t. Even I am too young to remember it. But the phrase came from the turf wars of the two leading newspaper publishers, Hearst and Pulitzer. One of the things that they fought over was the use of a popular cartoon series of the time, “The Yellow Kid”. First one owned it and then the other. They often used the "Yellow Kid" to sensationalize stories and to discredit the stories of other newspapers. The "Yellow Kid" was also used to sway public opinion on important issues such as the Spanish-American war.

With so much competition between the newspapers, the news was over-dramatized and altered to fit story ideas that publishers and editors thought would sell the most papers and stir the most interest for the public so that news boys could sell more papers on street corners.

In this century, we have substituted TV news for newspaper boys

That is why I suggest you find as many news sources as possible if you want to know the truth. You won’t find it in one place.

May I suggest adding the Economist to your reading list and McNeil/Lehrer for your television viewing? But please, get more than one view!

See for more info on Sir Rupert

Amusement Park

Since my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is INFP, I tend to be very introspective. And that is probably not a good thing when it comes to blogging. I spend way too much time thinking about why I blog instead of just doing it. After recently discovering that millions are blogging, why worry about why I do it? It’s just an opinion and it’s obvious that everyone has one, so get over it, Steve!

On a different subject: The move to Orland is proceeding, with or without me. It’s similar to being on a rollercoaster. You want it to slow down on the downhill sections and you want it to speed up as you climb the hills. And always you want it to be over soon! We know we’re close now as we have some more paper signing to do at the escrow office today.

The moving van will be here on Friday and then the rollercoaster will be on the final downhill and the end will be in sight. I hope to never ride this particular rollercoaster again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004


I just took a look at the larger world of blogging and found it fascinating. Yes, I clicked on the link that leads to the list of blogs posted in the last ten minutes. I had no idea that there were so many! And I was struck immediately by the diversity of the blogging crowd. People from all over the world.

This reminded me of a comment I read recently; a writer was complaining about the proliferation of virus laden e-mail and blamed it all on foreigners. Foreigners? Did the writer live on a different planet?

And blogging is all about “me”. It’s easy to become so fascinated by the sound of your own voice that you forget that there are other voices that would like to be heard. Is that a bad thing?

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Can you hear me now?

Did you hear? I have been validated! I was reading an article in the Economist last month and there was an article that revealed the truth about cell phone use on airplanes. You know how they always told you how dangerous it was to use them on an airplane; that they could interfere with navigation, etc…And FAA regulations prohibit the use of…more etceteras.

I (being cynical) always doubted the truth of that statement. If they were truly dangerous, the pilot wouldn’t take off till he or she had confiscated every single phone on board.

It turns out that they are dangerous…to the cell phone service providers. Imagine an active cell phone as it speeds through “cells” at 500 mph. Now imagine 200 cell phones doing the same thing. It overloads the switching capacity of the cells and the system can fail. But now, with advanced technology, the cells can handle these kinds of loads and the airlines are getting ready to promote, not deny, cell phone usage!

The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out. -Chinese Proverb-