WeAreTheVoicesInYourHead.com
Mar 262015
 
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…BUT, the reviews by customers still let you in on what this book has done to American society. Here’s a favorite from the top of the list:

Appalling, Disturbing and Eye-Opening August 25, 2014
By WinterWalker95

First off, unlike most of the negative reviewers, I’m a pretty liberal guy. I first flipped through this book 12 years ago when I was involved in some progressive/anti-war groups in college. I was disturbed then, but I didn’t pay it much mind, I just put the book away and found other ones that spoke to me. Several years later, I was working in the non-profit sector working with local community service organizations and someone recommended it to me. I knew that it had now gotten more mainstream attention since its affiliation with Obama, so I decided to take another look. Again, I was immediately turned off.

Now with the situation in Ferguson, I happened to read this book mentioned in my news feed. This time, I decided to read the whole thing. I was disgusted & appalled. What’s most disturbing is how influential this book has been in leftist circles.

AlinskyThe book isn’t about building communities, eliminating poverty and achieving social and economic justice. It’s simply a guide on how to manipulate disempowered people by getting them angry at some external source, setting people up as “enemies” to be the object of people’s hatred, whether they deserve it or not, and exploiting poor people for political gain rather doing a single thing that actually addresses their poverty.

I realize now, that this book is the worst thing to happen to the American left. The income gap has widened, schools are becoming as segregated as they were prior to Brown v. Board, and more poor people are in prison than ever. Dreams of a college education and home ownership, something that we made great progress in the 1960’s are quickly becoming a fading fantasy. Part of this has to do with the push for privatization, and the rise of the prison-industrial complex, for sure. But now I, also believe it is indicative of the failure of the “new left”, made up of privileged, white college students in the 1970’s, many who followed this book to the letter.

Decades of social and economic progress have been undone in the past 20 years, and I think the tactics in this book share a significant part of the blame. The “divide and conquer” philosophy, the focus on hating the opposition at all costs, on smug self-righteousness, and ridicule has turned so many people off of politics and activism, it’s no wonder most people don’t want to get involved. I heard from numerous teachers and professors when I was younger, how our generation was “apathetic” and “cynical”. But now it all makes sense. This terrible book would turn off any well-meaning liberal, create distrust amongst urban communities, and resentment from people who might be unfairly targeted by it. So many “activist” organizations, used this book as a blueprint along with the non-profit model, and end up accomplishing nothing except taking money from poor people to pay the salaries of executive directors and high level staff.

Liberals and leftists need to stop reading this garbage and look for constructive, practical solutions to the real world problems of poverty. This should be looked at with the same disdain as Mein Kampf, a historical curiosity that is pretty much total garbage, but only interesting in how influential it was to a society. But first, we need to break free from its terrible grasp.

For the record, I do recommend that you get a copy of this book — while it’s up to you to decide whether it’s important to know your ideological opponent, I strongly urge you to become familiar with your ideological enemies. Here’s a link to the Kindle version: “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky; and here’s a very brief synopsis of the author’s amoral tactics (that Obama infamously ‘taught’ and was praised for as a ‘Community Organizer’ earlier in his career): “Know Thine Enemy: Tactics from Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals”

LINK: “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky (Kindle version at Amazon.com)
LINK: Online version and downloads in various formats (Archive.org)

Mar 122015
 
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After a couple of job changes and residential moves in the last 15 years, I have become interested in living more simply — and with fewer material possessions — to both save financially but also to reduce the amount of real estate and belongings that become ‘life suckers’. My attention, energy, and time should be spent on growing in safety and comfort — not maintaining an expanse of toys in a losing battle for modern happiness.

There are a lot of options out there for simplifying and downsizing your residential footprint… I’ll be examining as many cost-effective ideas as I can find. Here is a basic, starter-list to give you a sense for what I’m talking about:

  • Move into a smaller home – Lower cost, smaller space for accumulation of junk, less to maintain.
  • Move into a ‘tiny house’ – Not for the faint-of-heart, these houses can be so small that they sit on trailers that can be pulled by a mid-size pickup (not for travelling; but for relocating).
  • Move into a Mobile Home – Usually much larger than a ‘Tiny House’, and relocatable with the help of professional specialists, these ‘temporary’ dwellings have been a favorite for lower-income living around the world for decades… but can cost almost as much as a normal residential home… but usually sits on rented land with utilities available. The advantage is that much of the planning has been taken care of for you.
  • Move into an RV (‘Recreational Vehicle’) – More mobile, less space. Many people find, after traveling in an RV, that the cost and effort of locating RV-friendly utilities is a worthwhile sacrifice when compared with the alternative (‘normal’) needs of maintaining a full-size home, a yard, a Homeowners Association, and all the stuff that will accumulate to fill in that space.
  • Move into your vehicle (car, pickup truck, or van) – Obviously, we’re now talking about so little living space that it would only be selected by those who are forced out of their previous homes — whether for financial or other related reasons. But looking at sites devoted to the practice all over the internet, there are growing throngs of individuals and families who are left with no other option. With a minimum of shelter, utilities become more a factor of location than cost, and storage of food an issue of daily temperature, while a rented storage unit (or a friend’s garage) serves to hold anything that won’t fit, or would be a great loss if stolen.
  • Full Hobo – No one chooses this until they feel they don’t have a choice… but many who do, choose not to return to normal residential living, even if their finances improve to allow it. I may be looking into studies and articles about why this is.

LINK: “Tiny houses for the homeless thrive in Eugene: Would this work in Portland, other cities?” (OregonLive.com)
LINK: “‘Tiny houses’ no solution to the unaffordability crisis” (Rabble.ca)
LINK: TheOffGridProject.com
LINK: “The Off Grid Project” (YouTube.com)
LINK: “The Do It Yourself World FORUM” (TheDoItYourselfWorld.com)
LINK: TheDIYWorld.com
LINK: TinyHouseTalk.com
LINK: RVTravel.com
LINK: “Hard Times Generation: Families living in cars” (YouTube.com)

Feb 242015
 
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Some new friends on Facebook chimed in with answers to this question, and I found it strange that no one seemed to know what I learned as a child… I guess there are a lot of Teachers out there who grasp the Core of the Gospel — but are missing out on much of the Bible because we now live in bite-size (140 characters at a time) increments… and the Bible is a daunting volume that few Believers of recent generations have fully consumed. What follows is my attempt to explain the answer as I know it — I’m sure I’m missing a few key points and have probably oversimplified things from a scholarly perspective — but I hope it made sense to those folks leaving comments on the original post. -Editor

In the Old Testament, the Israelites had an appointed and annointed priesthood, who were people trained and set aside to carry out the duties of bringing the prayers of the people to God. They were devoted to this task to the point that there were rituals of washing and purity that they had to carry out before they were ‘clean’ enough to approach God with their requests. They would sacrifice animals on an altar that were without flaw — because sin requires a penalty of blood, and this was the acceptable substitute — at the time — for the death of those people (everyone, really) who had sinned.

No one, other than the priesthood, were allowed to enter certain parts of the temple and speak directly to God.

When Jesus Christ was crucified, one of the events that happened simultaneously (but not at the same location as the Cross) was that the veil in the Temple — the place considered to be God’s ‘home’ among the Israelites — the veil which separated the most-sacred part of the Temple from the rest of the structure — the ‘Holy of Holies’ where ONLY the ‘head dude’ among the priesthood (the ‘High Priest’) was allowed to go — this large piece of fabric literally TORE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM … ALL BY ITSELF … as a sign that the people were no longer separated from their God. The human priests were ‘out of a job’.

Jesus lived (sinless) and paid the penalty for our sins with His death, and became the most perfect (unblemished and clean) sacrifice — replacing the former need for animal sacrifices (we don’t do that any more). He also replaced the High Priest’s role as the intercessor between us and God the Father. When we pray to the Father “in Jesus’ Name”, we are borrowing the authority of Jesus to approach the Father, as Jesus the Son of God recommended.

God the Father wants us to be sinless and live His Way (‘Good’ is defined simply as ‘Godlike’ or ‘as God would prefer’) and when we sin we become unworthy to approach Him. But Jesus, the sacrifice for our sins and the payment of the penalty for our sins — and only Jesus — can go to His Father and say, “Dad, I know what this frail human has been through, and understand his pain and struggle in life, and I’m bringing his request to you humbly and ask that You hear him out.” He is our Mediator. He is our Intercessor. He is our Advocate. He is our new High Priest. He, and only He, can bring us into an audience with God the Father.

LINK: “Holy of Holies” (Wikipedia.org)
LINK: “What does it mean that Jesus is our High Priest?” (GotQuestions.org)
LINK: “Why Pray in Jesus’ Name?” (JW.org)
LINK: “Why Do We Pray In Jesus’ Name?” (BibleAnswers.ie)

46

Dec 162014
 
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On this, Beethoven’s birthday and the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, I turn 46. I do not feel like it’s middle age… this feels more like I’ve passed 8 of my nine lives.

At half this age, I was directionless, broke, and humbled by my circumstance — now, I see that I hadn’t quite improved on that station at all, and am living mercy to mercy with every breath.

I see friends and family who are sick, dying, grieving and cannot help them.

I see children who have separated themselves from their betters in a farcical belief that their elders hold no wisdom worth seeking.

jesuswept

I see believers who choose Men’s wisdom over God’s.

I see scholars who teach that intellect comes from turning our backs against authority and order, and that chaos is a sign of an bettered mind.

I see families that split to the winds as a matter of generational tradition — and often, as the only one they honor.

I see good men struggle for Truth, and Evil ones re-write our books.

I find a tapestry of denial and deceit in the hearts of broken women and shattered dreams.

In these years of change, I am not lacking for Faith — it is my only refuge. But the God I’ve come to know weeps for us, as I do. And while we are apart from Him, we will find no end to this grief.

God Bless us. God Heal us. God be patient with us.

Nov 242014
 
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[I repost something like this, it seems, about every time Black Friday rolls around… hopefully it will answer some questions if this is new territory for you…  -ed]

 

If you’re asking what software to add to a newly-acquired computer, the first advice I would give you is not to add anything at all… until you need it.  Most users clutter up their computers with a lot of software that they never end up using; and the end result is a tangled, poorly-performing machine.  The best-practice rule is to only add those things that you need… when you need them.  That said, the following list shows software that I personally recommend for most users — and why I chose them for myself:

 

Google Chromehttp://google.com/chrome

Because the web browser that comes with Microsoft Windows is a favorite target of hackers, information thieves, and virus authors, I recommend choosing (and setting as your default) an alternate web browser.  Google’s Chrome is among the top 5 and is available for multiple platforms (Windows, MacOS, Linux).  Additionally, choosing Chrome makes several other software options (listed below) work easier…

Apple iTuneshttp://www.apple.com/itunes

While there are several very well-designed tools for managing media files (music, movies, etc.), iTunes is the current favorite for both MacOS and Windows users — and not just for users of Apple’s iOS devices (iPod, iPhone, iPad).  Just know that using iTunes doesn’t mean that you can only purchase music and movies through Apple iTunes Store — you can simply use it as a (free!) place to organize your files, no matter where they come from.  And, if you also happen to have an iOS device, it’s nearly a requirement for keeping your PC and portable device in sync…

AVG Antivirus Freehttp://free.avg.com

New PCs usually come with some brand of antivirus tool preinstalled — and with a 12-month subscription that is no longer free when that first year is over.  While there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of those first 12 months of free protection, if you don’t want to hand over your credit card when it expires, I have had good success with AVG Antivirus Free.  Just be sure to remove the older antivirus program you are replacing — having two different programs attempting to do the same job can drastically slow down your computer.

VLC Media Playerhttp://www.videolan.org/

Your PC may already have a tool provided for playing movie files in several formats — but eventually, someone is going to give you a file that is in an odd format you can’t open.  The ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of video players is VLC — it plays almost every format in existence.

Audacityhttp://audacity.sourceforge.net/

What VLC does for video, Audacity does for audio files — and you may not have a need for something that opens dozens of different audio formats; but it also allows you to edit (crop, alter, concatenate) sounds to better fit your purposes.  I use it to create short ringtones from longer sounds I find on the internet, or in my iTunes.

Paint.NEThttp://www.getpaint.net

Windows comes with a simple image editor that might be enough for many users — and professional use Adobe Photoshop, which is a very complex (and very expensive) image editor with hundreds of features.  Somewhere in the middle is Paint.NET, which is free, but includes the features most users need for resizing, correcting, cropping, and changing the file format of pictures.  For those who have grander aspirations, there is another free application (closing to Photoshop on the learning curve) called GIMP at http://www.gimp.org/ .

Google Docshttp://drive.google.com

Docs is not an application that you install — it is an online application you can access from any internet-connected computer (Windows, MacOS, Linux).  Included is a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, and simple drawing program — all of which can save out to common file formats (like DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF, etc.).  Documents you create in Google Docs are stored in your online account (requires a free Google account, which also comes with a free personal email address on GMail.com) — again, making your creations available to you from whatever computer you log in from.  NOTE that Google Docs is not as full-featured as a commercially-available office suite (like Microsoft Office); but since most users never use more than 25% of the tools available in MS Office, Google Docs likely provides all the functionality most users depend on.

DropBoxhttp://dropbox.com

There are many vendors out there who provide a way for you to store documents up on some internet server (that’s what the phrase ‘in the cloud’ means); but DropBox is a favorite of mine because it doesn’t require any extra effort to use — AND it makes sharing large files with other people easier (no more sending them through email).  With DropBox installed, there is a folder on your PC that will sync (automatically keep copies in both places) between your computer and your online account, so that if anything ever happens to your PC (breakage, theft, accidental file deletion), you still have the online version to fall back on.  Also, you can reach these files through any web browser on any other computer — so it’s ideal for checking on a document from work that you created on your home computer.  Free accounts at DropBox.com start at 2Gb of storage space.  [See also Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive…]

Calibrehttp://calibre-ebook.com/download

Many eBook readers are limited to just a handful of file formats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats); Calibre is able to read almost all of them, and is a great place to keep all the ebooks you collect from various sources in one place.

InkScapehttp://inkscape.org/

Vector artwork is imagery that can be stretched in size without losing quality… the industry standard for this in the commercial art world is Adobe Illustrator.  While Inkscape is not feature-for-feature as powerful as Illustrator, it also doesn’t cost several hundred dollars (Illustrator does).  For this reason, many high schools and universities that have art and design classes are favoring Inkscape — and it has quite a following all around the world.

Notepad++notepad-plus-plus.org

Every Windows computer comes with a simple text editor called NOTEPAD.EXE, which is really handy for looking at text without formatting — or for deliberately stripping formatting that you don’t want out of a document.  But it is very limited; the search-and-replace isn’t very capable, and some larger files won’t open in it.  For user who need more control over their plain text files, I recommend Notepad++, which I use to edit web pages, instructional documents, and for projects that require a more powerful search-and-replace than is provided in even strong applications like Microsoft Word.

Browser pluginshttp://java.com (Java Runtime), http://adobe.com (Flash & Adobe Reader), http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/ (Silverlight), http://www.downloadhelper.net (DownloadHelper)

There are literally hundreds of plugins, toolbars, extensions and enhancements that can be added to your web browser to add to it’s functionality, but those linked here are the ones that I put on every computer I configure — some of them are required by most web sites and one (DownloadHelper) allows me to grab an offline copy of YouTube video for watching later when I am perhaps away from a good internet connection.

Skypehttp://skype.com

Of the many tools available for having voice and video communication over the internet, the most popular among consumers is Skype; and it’s well-favored among business users as well.  The free version lets you have one-to-one video chat as well as larger audio-only conversations.  As an added bonus, you can define your own screen as a ‘camera’ in a video chat — so that you can show the person you are talking to what you are doing in an application (such as PowerPoint or Google Docs).  There is a paid version that adds the ability to connect from Skype to a regular phone number, should you need the ability to make lots of outbound calls with a USB headset (I use this instead of my cell phone when I plan to spend the whole day talking on the phone from home).

Scribushttp://www.scribus.net

The industry standard for most professional page-layout artists is Adobe’s InDesign — and in the low-end (non-professional) world is Microsoft’s Publisher.  Somewhere between those two stands Scribus, available on multiple platforms (Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc.) and used by many university, not-for-profit and small-office environments around the world.  If you want to crank out a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or a print advertisement — this may be a tool you’ll benefit from.

Sep 032014
 
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I get asked all the time if I will fix people’s computers. I wish I had the time (I have a compulsion to repair things that are misbehaving); but I really don’t. And unfortunately, computers these days are not getting simpler — they are getting more complex … even though their snazzy user interfaces are getting slicker and ‘swoopier’.

1643_fix_your_computer_mugBut that does not absolve you of the responsibility to maintain your ‘ride’. If it were a car, you would either learn how to do the repairs yourself or take it to a reputable dealer. A ‘reputable dealer’, though, for repairing PCs is more difficult to find than you might think. Many people get frustrated enough to just give up and buy a new machine every once in a while rather than repair what they already own.

I’m not against the idea of buying new hardware every few years… but I’d hate to be forced into it out of ignorance or fear.

If you are one of those people who takes your car to a mechanic for everything, I’ll bet you are still capable (whether you choose do to it or not) of changing a tire, adding windshield-wiper fluid, and vacuuming out the interior. That level of know-how is analogous to basic PC maintenance, as well — you should be able to back up your data, add ink to your printer, and clear out unnecessary files that accumulate on the hard drive — causing it to slow down and perhaps even misbehave.

If your PC is causing you fits, and you’re teetering on the edge of an impromptu trip to the BuyMore — take a deep breath and count to 10 (which in binary is ’00’, ’01’, ’10’ — so it shouldn’t take very long). To start with, you’re going to need some tools. The following are all free (some also offer a ‘pro’ version for $$$):

MALWARE DETECTION/REMOVAL:

CLEANING:

If you pick one from each category, install it, and use it, you might easily add years to the usefulness of your PC.

Jul 142014
 
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I was searching for something completely unrelated today when I stumbled across the first of these videos… and kept clicking through as I learned something from each one; sometimes small, sometimes a bit bigger than I expected.

Hopefully, one or more of these will be a blessing to you, your spouse, and your marriage.

Intimacy without Fear

Harsh and Passive-Aggressive Communication

Resolving Bitterness, Wrath and Anger

Signs of an Emotional Affair

The Danger of Turning Your Heart Away

Parents and In-laws

Inner Vows

When You Reject Your Spouse

Communication Deceptions

God’s Role for Men

The Key to Your Spouse’s Heart

Dating and Courtships

Jul 142014
 
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The following is my response to a comment left after one of the videos below… about a separate NRA for black Americans (watch them below for context):

“I find your defense of the NRA troubling, though. If this organization was truly consistent in advocating arming citizens regardless of race, then why isn’t it representatives or leadership (or even the majority of its members) speak up in defense of Trayvon Martin? If anything, he seems like the best possible factual example for anyone to use in order to argue that private gun ownership is necessary to prevent tyranny from the state and its agents (such as the police). If the NRA was truly honest in its conviction to arm people of all races, then I would expect them to argue in Trayvon’s defense, saying “This man should have been armed! He is an example of how minorities need to be armed in order to defend themselves against brutal, violent police racism.” Instead, it seems like more NRA members are coming to Zimmerman’s defense, if anything.” -Benjamin Chylla

It will never be the NRA’s responsibility or agenda to support the Left’s need to hold Race up as the only reason anyone ever fires a gun. “If the NRA was truly honest” ??? In this statement, you are showing, in public, that you are completely unaware that Trayvon was not an innocent bystander, not a victim, and not ‘unarmed’ — for the NRA to ‘support’ or ‘defend’ him in any way would make no sense… he was the attacker! Minus 30 points for your factless, baseless ideological argument.

AngryBlackMenWithGunsThe NRA’s current mission is to protect the right, currently guaranteed by law but constantly under threat by those who the law is supposed to protect us from (those people who don’t get the ‘equal protection’ concept) — for all Americans, regardless of race.

But pretending that Trayvon was the Good Guy means that you are either mal-informed, or are intentionally attempting to continue the agenda the Left has been tilting into for years, that when a black person gets shot, it MUST have been racially motivated — therefore, all resources must be brought to bear to criminalize any non-black who defends themselves.

SarahAndHerFingerYou want to make this an argument that is won or lost based on the number of voices who agree with your version of the ‘facts’? Great — you won; more people in this country currently believe that Trayvon was innocent than those Americans who agree with the jurors determined in court. But, then, there’s the pesky facts that are going to keep getting in the way of that agenda…

I repeat: It will never be the NRA’s responsibility or agenda to support the Left’s need to hold Race up as the only reason anyone ever fires a gun.

You really hate the NRA so much that you’re willing to appear — in public — as a blithering idiot to lambaste them? It’s people like you that make me want to become a lifetime member.

LINK: “Professional Racists convince public that Race the issue in Zimmerman/Martin case, and that officials shorted investigation.” (WeAreTheVoicesInYourHead.com)

“If I am not mistaken, it was George Zimmerman who followed Trayvon all the way to his house, without even a reasonable suspicion of any crime taken place…after specifically being told by the police over the phone NOT to do so. So any argument that Zimmerman was the one acting in “self-defense” is nonsense.

And even, for the sake of argument, you want to point out that Trayvon pulled the first punch (even though he was technically complying with the “stand your ground” precedent), the use of a gun against him was not justified. Zimmerman was hardly even injured. Maybe if Trayvon had a gun (since he had the right to stand his ground), he could’ve simply pointed it at Zimmerman, told him to leave, and the whole thing could have been avoided altogether. This is the argument that the NRA often uses in order to explain how more guns will somehow lead to less violence, and they could’ve applied it to Martin just as easily as anyone else.

If I have to conclude that any ideology is counter-productive here, it would be the idea that the black criminals are somehow are more powerful because the Left is somehow “defending” them out of political correctness.” -Benjamin Chylla

“If I am not mistaken, it was George Zimmerman who followed Trayvon all the way to his house…” Factless. The testimonies show that Zimmerman walked perhaps a block and a half from his car — not even anywhere near Trayvon’s house. Did you read the transcripts? Did you even listen to the (unedited) 911 tapes?

“after specifically being told by the police over the phone NOT to do so” Factless. “We don’t need you to do that” is not a command… not even a suggestion… and the court conversations end up in basic agreement of this, from both sides. So… you DIDN’T read the transcripts…

“(even though he was technically complying with the “stand your ground” precedent)” Factless. Not only did NEITHER SIDE of the case use the SYG argument (or even bring up the definition of what SYG might have meant in this incident), it would only have been relevant if Zimmerman had found himself in a situation — even for a moment, and regardless of anything that might have happened up until that moment — where he would have needed to decide whether it would be more appropriate to run (to save his life), or fight (to save his life). Dragging out SYG shows, again, that you have formed your opinion based on rhetoric and media abuses of the truth, and without a legal understanding of what occurred that night.

“Zimmerman was hardly even injured.” Factless. I will take it from your statement that you have no way of reading a police or medical report, nor have you ever had your head bashed repeatedly on the concrete. I do, and I have…

“…he could’ve simply pointed it at Zimmerman, told him to leave, and the whole thing could have been avoided altogether.” Factless. Again, from an evident ignorance of the testimony and facts in evidence, you presume that Trayvon did NOT circle back and SEEK ZIMMERMAN OUT — which is what the evidence DOES say.

“This is the argument that the NRA often uses in order to explain how more guns will somehow lead to less violence, and they could’ve applied it to Martin just as easily as anyone else.” You are attempting to make Trayvon out as someone who needed to be ‘empowered’ so that he would have as likely a chance to survive the encounter as Zimmerman did. Unfortunately, Zimmerman only pulled his weapon out after he had been beaten on the concrete repeatedly — which effectively quells any argument that Trayvon felt unequal or deficient in any way.

READ SOMETHING that didn’t start on HuffPo or Rolling Stone.

Jul 072014
 
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heldIn my life, I have lost.

I have lost the attention and respect of my now-teenage children.

I have lost the illusion that my wife married me for who I was.

I have lost all confidence I imagined as a provider.

I have lost the security of feeling loved.

I have lost friendships that I realize now were only in my mind.

I have lost reasons for rising in the morning, and for laying down at night.

I have lost memories now tainted with back-stories and realities that aren’t mine to retell.

I have lost respect for some I’ve bailed out and who have bailed me out many times over.

I have lost the music once felt with every inhaled breath.

And I have lost the glowing touch of life that renewed daily just from believing in another person.

My God has allowed me to lose these things, and without promise of replacing them, tells me that my needs do not include them.

He informs me that the Game was changed in my favor and that my station is risen though my eyes are cast down.

He reaches down to hold me in the way a parent comforts a truly helpless child and says I KNOW YOUR PAIN, AND I KNOW YOUR FUTURE, AND I AM THERE FOR BOTH.

But I have lost everything I know, except the frailty of being held down, held back, held up … held.

I look up and am blinded by hot tears or light — I’m not sure which.

I have not lost my Lord.

LINK: “Friday From My Heart: Held” (Living-The-Miracle.blogspot.com)

Jul 022014
 
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But it’s their store, their property, their environment, their customer base, their profit margin. Not a big deal for those of us who will choose to shop elsewhere.

TargetIt’s just voting people

Unlike the mis-characterizations from the Left, People Who Carry are not mean, paranoid, easily angered, unhinged or thick-headed. They are, however, deliberate, predisposed to serve others, interested in self-preservation, and PREPARED.

Along with the decisions that one has to make before making the Lifestyle Choices necessary to Carry comes an acknowledgement that not everyone will agree — and to be OK with that.

We aren’t going to march the perimeter, Jericho-style, like many lobby groups on the Left do… bullying is a tactic of those so amoral and weak-minded they can only achieve their goals as a mob — you won’t find those characteristics as often among people who have come to an understanding that sometimes in life, there is no one to take care of you and your family… but YOU.

P.S.: A special shout-out to the ‘advocacy groups’ who are trying to prove me wrong… that the People of the Gun are the types who show up in groups in an attempt to coerce a company to do their bidding: “HOW’S THAT WORKING OUT FOR YOU?” (oh, and… “STOP IT!”)

LINK: “Tamara Keel” (BooksBikesBoomsticks.blogspot.com)
LINK: “MDA Claims Victory: Target Asks Patrons Not To Bring Guns” (ModernArms.net)
LINK: “Good Citizens and Good Neighbors: The Gun Owners’ Role” (NRAILA.org)
LINK: “Open Carry Texas Controversy” (TopShotChris.com)

Jun 132014
 
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Last summer, I came to the realization that I have failed as a parent. I haven’t been the Daddy that I owed my kids. I vowed to work toward becoming the man they needed me to be… and unsurprisingly, they would have none of it. So, it’s going to be a long, bitter road to changing their opinion of me. The good news is, that over the last year I have seen my kids really shine… you see, I have not been the only influence on them.

Thank You, God, for having the Patience and showing the Leadership that I did not achieve as a Daddy myself.

Thank You, God, for letting me be their Daddy for many years before my own problems clouded my judgement and diverted my focus from the responsibilities and gifts that are bundled into this thing we call Fatherhood.

Thank You, God, for showing me Your mercy in their little victories and sturdy character, in their beauty, in their budding wisdom, in their dreams, in their friendships, in those they choose as mentors.

Thank You, God, for letting me rock them to sleep and change all those diapers when they were little. And sing the songs and read the bedtime stories.

Thank You, most of all, God, for giving me an opportunity to see what if must be like for You to have, love and care for all the children You have Created.

Jun 122014
 
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It’s an interesting video, because the narrative is believable, and and the presenter is engaging — she has a message and uses emotional imagery to evoke agreement with her cause (to garner potential customers of both her way of thinking and the swimsuits she hopes people she matches thinking styles with … will buy from her).

But, no need to break out the burqa just yet. Unfortunately for this young lady, the study she is referencing can actually be read, online (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3801174/pdf/nihms515324.pdf). And it doesn’t exactly come to the conclusions she wants you to get from it. Instead of saying that ‘more skin makes men more thuggish and stupid’ (my own paraphrase), the study actually shows that ‘thuggish and stupid men are affected by more skin’. Now, if you can’t see the difference between these two statements, you are a perfect candidate for her product (her brand of swimsuits, and her brand of modesty). If you CAN see the difference between these two statements, you may still be a perfect candidate for her swimsuits (they’re actually quite attractive), but may be holding your nose from the ‘marketing tactic’ she uses — lying.

There are people in this world who are so messed up in the head that if they see an ankle or a belly button, they claim that they cannot help themselves… they MUST RAPE that person — it’s just science! These people are to be avoided.

There are other people in this world who… for lack of a better vernacular… are led more by the Word than by religion — and find a balance in both modesty and appreciation for God’s creation (people in the Bible arrived completely NUDE!, by the way… and drank alcohol and … gasp … danced) that avoids being a stumbling block for others; but also acknowledges that at some point, the VIEWER is more responsible for their resulting behavior than the VIEWED.

bar990812clpWhen a religious zealot is so flummoxed by the appearance of skin that their mind instantly goes to, “AAAGH! I must either rape or poke my own eyes out!” — that is an example of where Satan has perverted what God has created. It is Satan’s goal to take what is Good (Genesis 1:31) and turn it inside out, upside down, backwards — to render the Good as ‘Bad’, and the Bad as ‘Good’.

The presenter in the video also makes mention of a ‘historical’ progression from ‘bathing houses’ to the dental floss sold as swimwear today… without acknowledging that the ‘history’ she relates only includes those societies who were led by very particular religious morals… notice I did not say Biblical morals. Many other places around the world place no such limits on nekkidity — and to go back through history you might be surprised to learn that an opposite (unclothed to clothed) progression is actually much more common around the world than in our own (western) experience.

So, here’s the thing. The swimsuit is not the thing. The thing is those people who are watching the swimsuit. As you get older, you may find it increasingly easier to avoid those thuggish meatheads who walk around with their tongue hanging out the side of their face. While you are younger, your goal may be to limit uncomfortable encounters with these ‘types’. But don’t confuse ‘coverage’ for ‘goodness’ or ‘skin’ for ‘evil’ — that is putting the responsibility for others’ thinking on your shoulders — where it doesn’t belong.

If you feel that what you wear wouldn’t make you go hide in a locker if Jesus showed up at your pool party… you’re doing just fine.

LINK: “Modesty: I Don’t Think it Means What You Think it Means” (QIdeas.org)
LINK: “My Daughter Talks to Her Dad About Modesty” (GaryThomas.com)
LINK: “When Suits Become a Stumbling Block: A Plea to My Brothers in Christ*” (TheSaltCollective.org)
LINK: “Three immodestly dressed women walk into a church…” (KimberleySuchta.com)
LINK: “From Agents to Objects: Sexist Attitudes and Neural Responses to Sexualized Targets” [PDF] (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
LINK: Genesis 1:31 (Biblia.com)
LINK: “Woman in Swimsuit + Hostilely Sexist Man = ‘Immodesty'” (WheatAndTares.org)
LINK: “ReySwimwear.com”
LINK: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)” (MeaningOfGenesis.com)
LINK: “Toplessness: Traditional societies” (Wikipedia.org)
LINK: “What is a good Christian to do when presented with something as amazing as this?” (StaceyReid.com)
LINK: “Power Morphicon 3 Interview – Jessica Rey” (YouTube.com)

May 062014
 
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I’d fine-tune this to say I’d want a significant other to look at me the way I look at a good cup of coffee.

coffeeCROPIt’s hot (better when it’s warm but still appreciated when it’s cold), it’s consumable, it’s within reach, it’s mine (no touchee my muggee), it’s something I don’t like to rush through, it’s OK when it’s dressed up a la Starbucks froo-froo but most appreciated just by itself, it goes with anything, I’m never ashamed to be seen with a cup in any social situation, there is no time of day when it’s not appropriate, I feel better all day after having just a little bit, and if it’s been a while — I miss it.

There are entire industries devoted to the relationship between me and my coffee, and there ought to be more.

Apr 282014
 
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Folks, this story originated from a ‘satire’ or ‘spoof news’ site… and is being picked up by more ‘legitimate’ news feeds. Don’t feed the chaos; google up a story if it sounds too odd to be true… chances are, it’s just more guano con queso. Spreading things that may be a stumbling block to others, just because it’s ‘funny’, is not of God. It’s … of the ‘other guy’.

In the case of this particular site (which I’m not even going to link to here), if you step out one level to their home page, you’ll see that all the other articles are ALSO written with one objective in mind: To hurt someone’s feelings or at least mock someone’s ideology.

Do not cast pearls (your time, attention, worries) before the porcine variety of intarwebz trolls.

P.S.: I should offer my own disclaimer here… I do actually enjoy good satire. But to me, it has to be obvious that it’s not true, for it to be funny, and some of these sites are not playing off these stories in that way. Here’s one of my own, that may actually ruffle some feathers; but is obviously not intended to mislead people:

IN CASE OF RAPTURE... BUMPER STICKER
…which is a spoof of a very common bumper sticker that I have been seeing in the wild my entire life (so, I’m not actually mocking the idea of the Rapture, which wouldn’t make any sense unless I were a rude atheist, I guess; I’m mocking the original bumper sticker…):
In case of rapture bumper stickers
Rapture Bumper Sticker
…AND, it appears that I’m not the only one with the same sideways glance at this meme:
WARNING: IN CASE OF THE RAPTURE THIS CAR WILL B... BUMPER STICKER
[I Thessalonians 4:16-17]
[Eschatology – ‘study of the end’]

Apr 242014
 
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Bowl

At the office, I stop to think about my wife at least twice a day, no matter how hectic my schedule, no matter how heavy my workload, no matter how divided my attention is.

I eat almost every daytime meal out of a bowl I made on a date we had at Pottery-By-You.com many years ago.  I hadn’t been very enthusiastic about getting my hands dirty; but was eager for the time spent with her – and it really did turn out to be fun.

So, now I’m reminded of not just my Love, but of the two hours of that specific date on that one occasion, every single day.

If any two hours of our lives can become so important, and we never know which two hours it will be… maybe we should diligently and desperately seek ways to spend as many as possible of our ‘two hours’ with our Someones.

Mar 252014
 
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I like people, and I like being with people. I’m just not at ease socially. Do you remember an uncomfortable feeling the first time you rented a car? I do… it felt like I shouldn’t be there; like there was so much more likelihood that I would damage it than I would have in my own car. My driving probably appeared odd, if not suspicious, to observers. At least, it did to me.

I have been called ‘not genuine’ because I ‘change’ when someone walks up to me and wants to interact… my defense mechanism for ‘apologizing’ through conversations is that I ‘mirror’I actually take on the persona and attitude of the person approaching me — because my actual ‘comfortable space’ (introverted) is quiet and often alone (not lonely, just not ‘on stage’).

SeizeTheDayThe phenomenon has actually been an asset to me professionally; when someone calls for technical assistance on the phone, they don’t realize they’re ‘talking to themselves’!

The result of this is that people who do not know me can’t figure out if I’m the person that I just talked to, or if I’m the person I talked to 10 minutes before that. But I’m not either of them.

I feel like I’d been trained by circumstance to believe that the real me isn’t good enough, or isn’t as good as, those people I ‘borrow’ a mood from through a conversation. So, you won’t likely get to know me after meeting me only a couple of times. (In fact, as a singer, it took me years to find my own voice — in a literal sense — because I’d grown so adept at taking on the tonal character of whatever artist I was borrowing a song from, that when I eventually started writing my own lyrics, I didn’t know how to use them out loud.)

But, I can be reached… it just takes longer. And, it doesn’t even take any additional effort with a crowbar or canopener… just show up over time, and you’ll see me mirroring YOU less and less, and more of me will ‘arrive’.

Now, for those of you who don’t interact with me regularly, and don’t like me at all? Maybe you think I’m a real ass? Sometimes that means that I’m so wildly uncomfortable I just don’t know when to shut up. Other times, well, you know that ‘mirroring’ thing I’ve been talking about?

LINK: “Extraversion and Introversion” (Wikipedia.org)
LINK: “Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts – Join the Quiet Revolution” (ThePowerOfIntroverts.com)
LINK: “27 Problems Only Introverts Will Understand” (BuzzFeed.com)
LINK: “Why introverts love Social Media” (MackCollier.com)
LINK: “Resting Bitch Face” (Google.com)