Tuesday, 23 October 2012

When is divorce like a Doberman Pinscher?

Two years ago I moved into a one bedroom apartment conveniently located within walking distance from my place of employment. Nothing fancy, mind you. Being at the ground level at the back of the building, sort of a walk down that was partially below ground, I had a lovely view of a brick wall and a row of garbage cans. Beggars can't be choosers as the saying goes and being close to work was important.

Shortly after moving in, I go to do some grocery shopping on a Saturday. As I exit the building, I notice a woman sitting at a picnic table off to one side reading a book. Obviously she is taking advantage of the good weather and catching a little sun. As I approach, I notice a Doberman Pinscher lying on the ground beside the woman. He turns, sees me, and immediately stands up. Call me chicken, but I have always been leery of this type of dog. They have a reputation for aggressiveness and I know they were originally bred as guard dogs.

As I go down the walk which is ten or so feet from the picnic table, the Doberman starts coming in my direction to meet me. I immediately notice that the dog is on a leash and wearing a muzzle. Now on the one hand, seeing a muzzle should make me feel better but on the other hand I have to ask why this dog needs to wear a muzzle. There must be a reason.

The dog takes a few quick steps and comes right up to me. It sniffs once then rises up and jumps on me. I am both startled and a bit afraid. Do I hightail it out of there? Is the dog going to try and bite me? The owner jumps up and yells, "Down!" I back away as she pulls the leash then grabs the dog by the collar. "I'm sorry," she says.

All of a sudden I feel something odd on my leg. I look down. The one leg of my pants is ripped from about mid-thigh all the way down to my upper ankle. The odd feeling is that my bare leg is now partially hanging out of my pants. I look at the woman stunned by what her animal has just done. My pants are ruined. There is no way they could possibly be repaired.

I try to remain calm but explain, "What the heck?" The woman repeats her apology. I guess she hasn't seen my pants. I turn myself to clearly display my bare leg visible in the cut open pant leg. "Look what your dog did." The woman looks down; her eyes widen and now she's very apologetic.

She explains that her dog has only started to behave a little more aggressively lately and she intends to seek help from somebody, some professional. I explain to her how the headlines have had stories in the past year of people being mauled by aggressive animals and my suggestion is that she had better do something. If dog went after a child, if her dog actually did bite somebody, she may end with more trouble than she would care to have. She could be sued.

As I'm talking, I'm not displaying any anger; I'm trying to be rational and convincing. She seems to be accepting this. I ask her name and introduce myself. No harm, no foul, but she must do something. I bring up The Dog Whisper and wonder aloud what Cesar Millan would do about all this. She offers to pay for the pants but I'm sure that will be the last I'll hear of it.

I go back inside and change my pants then go back out again to go to the store. The woman and her dog are gone. After thinking about it, I believe my pants were ripped by the dog's claws that I wasn't bitten. I think when the dog sort of jumped up at me, the front paw passed down the length of my pant leg and obviously a sharp claw just got into the material and VoilĂ ! ripped cloth.

Since that one incident, I have run into the woman again. (She never paid for my pants and never offered again to do so.) Each time the dog has acted aggressively towards me for some unknown reason. When I asked her about this, she explained that I seem to be the only one in the building who elicits such a reaction from the dog. I wonder why. But more importantly, what to do about it?

After the third meeting of being greeted with canine aggression, I started avoiding the woman. If I was leaving the building and she was out sitting at the picnic table, I would go out another exit. If I came home from work and saw her at the back of the apartment building, I would walk all the way around the building to enter via the front door. If she was at the front, I would walk around and go in the back. In other words, my way of dealing with this confrontational situation was to just avoid it. Altogether. There wasn't the question of trying to be friends with the Doberman Pinscher, to try and strike up some sort of peaceful relationship or peaceful coexistence, no, the course of action was to not see the animal at all. Maybe The Dog Whisperer could have dealt with the dog. I couldn't. Maybe a professional knows something I don't. But in lieu of that expertise, it seemed to me the best way of dealing with the situation was to just not put myself in that situation. Period.

I sometimes joke but I am also being serious about being upset that the sun is going to come up in the morning. There is nothing I can do to prevent the sun from coming up so the sooner I accept that this is going to happen, the sooner I can move on to other things I can affect in my life. This is my version of the Serenity Prayer.

In regards to the dog, I don't know why it behaved aggressively towards me. Was it a smell on my clothes? Did it sense my own fear, my apprehensiveness about a dog I perceived as dangerous? I'll never know. Actually I decided to never find out. There didn't seem to be any benefit in tempting fate. Why run the risk of getting my pants torn again? Why run the risk of getting bitten at some point? I'm not angry with the dog. I don't hate the dog. I just accepted that this was the way things were, end of story.

Marcelle Soviero
Ms. Soviero is a blogger at Open Salon. On April 4, 2011, she posted a poignant story called "The Divorce Photo". She paints a bleak view of a break-up that leaves the protagonists with little contact. There are 3 children involved and there is a sharing agreement entailing regular communication but the author points out she only exchanges email with her ex-husband. Seeing him is a rarity and in this article she talks about a chance encounter at Starbucks nine years after the divorce even though the two of them live only 5 miles apart. It seems that seeing him is unwelcome in the sense of what to do, what to talk about after legal proceedings left her in "financial ruins". She mentions their nondescript conversation where they opted to "stay inside safe words, afraid to trigger any of our hot issues."

A Lawyer
A divorce lawyer, who is divorced himself, once told me that in his experience only 10% of divorces turn into major confrontations. That is, the majority of divorces are settled reasonably with both parties being civil to one another. As a glimmer of hope to everyone, he went on to describe how he and his ex-wife had a nice trip to New York together to visit their daughter adding that now, he and his wife are friends.

Marriage is never as blissful as people expect. Divorce is never as devastating as people imagine.
- Raoul Felder, divorce lawyer to the stars, author of "The Good Divorce"

Final Word
I never saw the Doberman Pinscher again. I don't hate it. But I know that if I saw the dog, I would be afraid of it. I would be running the risk of it jumping on me and ripping open my pants or possibly biting me if it didn't have a muzzle. I don't step into the tiger cage because I know I will be eaten. There isn't any animosity; it's just a fact. Some issues can be dealt with; some issues cannot and the best course of action is to just avoid those issues altogether. I may wish otherwise; I may hope for a better resolution but in the end, I had to accept that I would never be able to convince that Doberman I am not somebody bad who deserves an aggressive stance; I am actually a nice guy.

This whole mess is regrettable. I hope that everybody involved will be able to get on with the rest of their lives without suffering any lasting trauma. Believe it or not, I would like to see everyone happy, successful and at peace with themselves and the rest of the world.


References

Wikipedia: Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher (alternatively spelled Dobermann in many countries) or simply Doberman, is a breed of domestic dog originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann.
...
There has been some research to determine whether there are breed differences in aggression. ... [A recent study] found that the Doberman Pinscher ranked relatively high on stranger-directed aggression, but extremely low on owner-directed aggression.

my blog: Raoul Felder: The Good Divorce
In reading about this gentleman, I realised he was not just a lawyer but an expert in the field of divorce. He had been to the front lines; he had fought the battles, and he had been witness to the outcomes both good and bad. ... if your spouse gets a lawyer and here it doesn't matter if you're the man or you're the women, you must immediately get legal representation. The advice is this: you are an amateur playing against a professional. It is imperative you "arm" yourself with the same professionalism and level the playing field. ... once the retainer is paid to a lawyer, the entire nature of the proceedings has changed in both tone and objective and the likelihood of an 11th hour reprieve is slim to nil. That is to say, once one party decides to hire a lawyer, the marriage is over.

2012-10-23

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Election 2012: Rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric! Where's the truth?

Neck in neck. A dead heat. It ain't over till the fat lady sings. Can anybody call it? Whatever happens, on November 7th a lot of people are going to wake up wondering what they're in for. The old saying is that desperate times call for desperate measures and there is no doubt that things are not looking too rosy at the moment. But what measures are the best measures? What measures are the measures as desperate as these times?

The electorate is so polarized right now; I think any calm, rational discussion of the issues for the purposes of brainstorming the right answers is completely off the table. Everybody whether the right or the left have decided and I mean decided categorically and nothing, absolutely nothing is going to change their minds. You're voting Democrat? Who cares if Obama stunk in the first debate? You're voting Republican? Who cares if Romney shoots his mouth off about the 47%?

The problem in any of this though is just what is the right answer? Obama promised that he would get unemployment down to 5%. That hasn't happened. Why not? Romney has promised to give a 20% across the board tax cut. How the dickens is he going to pay for such a thing when the United States has the biggest deficit and almost the biggest debt of all time?

On November 7th, the United States is going to be committed for four years come hell or high water. No matter who gets elected, that president is going to leading the show until 2016. By that time, everybody will clearly know if the right guy got into the Oval Office or not. Unfortunately, if it's the wrong guy, the United States could be in so much doo-doo, it may never again see the light of day. Scary thought. In fact, it's that scary thought which is dividing the nation.

Ronald Reagan is a Conservative god
Ah, the golden era of prosperity. Or was it the beginning of the end? Yes, I may be committing sacrilege but the analysts have pointed out that while Mr. Reagan seemed to herald a time of milk and honey for the country, the seeds were being sown of the current economic disaster. FactCheck.Org studied the question of debt and came up with the following graph. Ronald Reagan, poster boy of all things Conservative, increased the debt by percentage more than any recent president. Why? Increase spending and cut taxes. In fact, FactCheck goes on to point out that things were better under Clinton, a Democratic president. Let's not forget that the Republicans are staunch believers in trickledown theory while the pundits say it doesn't work. (FactCheck - Feb 2/2012 Dueling Debt Deceptions)


Go to Google and query Obama and you will find report after report saying that Obama has failed in turning around the American economy. In fact, so many people are piling on that by the sheer volume of the protest against Obama, one would wonder if Romney might not be right. But here again, where is the truth?

Romeny's Tax Cuts
America has the biggest deficit of all time and the biggest debt (as a percentage of GDP) since World War II. What to do? Heck cut taxes! Heck, let's make it a 20% across the board tax cut. Doesn't everybody need it? I return to Warren Buffet, one of the richest and most astute businessmen in America. He recognised that something was wonky in the American tax system when he wrote an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times pointing out that his tax rate was less than his secretary's. What? And Romney is going to cut his taxes? Why?

The Republican Party has been hijacked by the Tea Party
I read the platform papers of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Have you? If you haven't, I have to ask you quite sincerely how you can possibly claim you are an informed voter. If you're a woman, the possibility that the Republicans win the election should be making you crap your drawers. Yes, you can kiss your vagina good-bye. The Republican Platform clearly states the intention of the party to defund Planned Parenthood, push abstinence only sex education, repeal Roe vs. Wade and make all abortions illegal. On top of it, they intend on repealing Obamacare so if you think you and your children are going to get any assistance from the government for getting health care, you are on your own baby. I remain stunned as in jaw-dropping about the total lack of understanding about social programs and their effect on society. Those states with abstinence only sex education have the highest rates on teen pregnancies. How long before somebody recognises that abstinence just doesn't work? This is insane.

Final Word
George Bush sets the house on fire then hands Obama an extinguisher. It is easy to set a house on fire but it is difficult to put that fire out. If Romney wins, America is screwed. I have never been so convinced of that. The Republicans have faith but the Republicans don't seem to have sense. I am sorry that at this stage of the game, the entire political campaigning has sunk into a morass of sound bites and factoids. Yes, 47% of Americans don't pay federal taxes but that statement is totally misleading. The Conservatives say that the debt has grown more under Obama than anybody else when a study of the numbers doesn't quite say that. The GOP is trying to scare the bejesus out of everybody that the sky is falling so vote for me and I'll save you.

We cannot properly address an issue if misinformation prevents us from properly assessing the issue.

On November 6, 2012, the voters will decide. But I look at the history of the Republicans and I am shaking my head about the future of the U.S. In comparing the beginning of the George W. Bush era and now, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post writes:

This year, 2012, is not 2000. We have deficits rather than a balanced budget. We have historically high unemployment rather than historically low unemployment. We’ve seen what the financial system can do when left unchecked. We’ve watched tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 fail to spark economic growth and seen a rising stock market fail to lift middle-class wages. We do need new thinking. But Romney isn’t offering any.

The American public is scared. The American public is desperate. The old adage is, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." However don't forget the other saying, "Desperate people do desperate things." Even vote Republican.


References

Viable Opposition - Aug 9/2011
America's Presidents: Who was the biggest spendthrift?
The worst President for building up the debt was the much venerated President Ronald Reagan considering that the Cold War buildup ended under his tenure. In fact, I was so surprised that I went back and triple checked the numbers and my calculations because the debt growth was so out of line with the other Administrations in this study. Under the Reagan Administration, the debt rose a massive 188 percent or 14.18 percent on an annual basis, far worse than either the Bush I, Bush II or Obama Administrations.

Wikipedia: Reaganomics
In addition, the public debt rose from 26.1% GDP in 1980 to 41.0% GDP by 1988. In dollar terms, the public debt rose from $712 billion in 1980 to $2,052 billion in 1988, a roughly three-fold increase.

Viable Opposition - Apr 25/2011
The Rich get Richer - How Taxation in America Impacts Wealth
In 2010, General Electric reported world-wide profits of $14.2 billion with $5.1 billion of that coming from its American operations. Its total tax bill? Zero. According to the New York Times, the company is claiming a tax benefit of $3.2 billion!
...
Tax laws have resulted in greater and greater inequalities both in society among individuals and between corporations and small businesses. Rather than equalizing society, governments have shifted the burden of taxes from the wealthy to those of lower and middle income America, from large corporations to small businesses and from the federal government to the state and local government levels.

FactCheck - Feb 2/2012
Dueling Debt Deceptions
Both sides are circulating deceptions about the federal debt, judging by the many queries we get from our readers. So we’ll try to set the record straight here.

The Washington Post - Oct 19/2012
Mitt Romney’s George W. Bush problem by Ezra Klein
Mitt Romney has a George W. Bush problem. In fact, that’s Romney’s biggest problem. It’s George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, who has made voters skeptical of many of Romney’s core policies. It’s George W. Bush, not Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe, who persuaded voters that our ongoing economic problems aren’t mainly Obama’s fault. And so it is, in a sense, the electorate’s lingering disappointment in George W. Bush, as much as its residual affection for Barack Obama, that Romney needs to beat if he’s to become president.

my blog: The 2012 Republican Platform: Are ya scared yet?

my blog: The 2012 Democratic Platform: yes you still can

Wikipedia: Factoid
A factoid is a questionable or spurious (unverified, false, or fabricated) statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity.

2012-10-21

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Saturday, 20 October 2012

I'm 60. Now what?

I've never forgotten a kids' version of Happy Birthday which ends with the lines "You look like a monkey, and you are one too." When I say kid, am I talking about 8 or 10 years old? I've been at family events where everybody sings Happy Birthday and after everybody has finished singing, I'll sing the last 2 lines of the kids' version as though I'm singing slower than everybody else. Not everybody seems to know this version. Beats me why, but I've known it for as long as I can remember and since not everybody knows the kids' version, I guess I'm not so much funny as just weird. Okay, not my best material; a legend in his own mind.

Sixty. Hmph. So the moment is here and this is what it feels like. Hmph. What was I expecting? I do realise however that to a twenty something, I am officially an old man. But just what the heck does old feel like? Are we back to the idea that age is a state of mind? Hey, my puffing because I'm winded or my vitamin supplements or the grey hair showing up in my beard isn't what I would call a state of mind. Nope this is the real deal. This is it.

A friend a few years back referred to us arriving at the age of 60 as entering the fourth quarter. While an interesting football metaphor, I pointed out to him that the fourth quarter is also the last quarter. There may or may not be overtime but I'd say to plan the game as if there isn't. Everything else is a bonus.

So how am I taking it?

I'm not pacing up and down wringing my hands if that's what you think, but I do have my moments when I'm freaked. I know this is a completely dumb thing to say but I sometimes wonder how I got here. Wasn't it just yesterday I was 40 and the day before that I was 25? Yes, I know, it's a funny ha ha thing to say but it's also a funny odd thing. Where did the time go? What the heck have I been doing all this time? What have I accomplished? I look up on my top shelf where years ago I cleared a space for my Oscar and my Nobel Prize and I note that the space is still empty and boy have I been remiss in my dusting.

I know it may sound morbid. I know that even mentioning this may come across as though I'm obsessing about it but it's more a question of facing up to it and accepting it. The other week I was talking with somebody who was 25 years old. During the conversation it occurred to me that when that person is my age, I'll be dead. Ha ha. ... Okay, maybe that is morbid. Maybe I am obsessing about this. Gimme a break! It's my mortality I'm confronting here!

I knew a while back, in my mid-fifties, that I probably wasn't going to take this too well, growing old I mean. Growing old? Ha ha, what am I talking about? I was older at 40; I was older at 50. But I guess I'm thinking that turning 60 is a bit more, ah, dramatic. Or is that melodramatic? When you're twenty you don't think about your mortality. If you don't think about it, it doesn't seem important. I've heard the joke that young people think they're going to live forever. I wonder. It seems more likely they just don't think about it period. That's a little different I'd say.

But me?

According to the statistics, the average life expectancy of a male is 81 years old. My father died just two days short of his 80th birthday. My mother died at 66 but that was from lung cancer because she was a smoker. So I would say it is reasonable to assume I have twenty or twenty-five years left. Just what the heck am I going to do with my time? Is there still a chance to pick up my Oscar and my Nobel Prize?

Some day I'm going to get the news. My doctor is going to tell me I have cancer and I have 6 months to live. I may have pains in my chest, end up in hospital, and be told I have 48 hours to live. The inevitable is going to happen sooner or later. How am I going to react? I spoke at each of the memorials for my parents. I knew the day would arrive when my parents would shuffle off their mortal coil and I had known it for such a long time that when the time came, I merely said to myself, "Ah, the moment has arrived." I wasn't surprised; I wasn't really broken up; I didn't cry. It was inevitable and here was the inevitable happening.

Several years ago, at the age of 57, I had an opportunity to talk (just once) with a counsellor of some sort who did a type of hypnotherapy. All very strange. In any case, I was mentioning about growing old, being worried about it, wondering about life accomplishments, etc., the type of stuff I suppose many think about at one time or another. His opinion? I'm not kidding; this is what he told me, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings. You're 57? What the f**k are you worried about? I'm 73!"

I haven't forgotten that. It's a good point. Is the glass half full or is the glass half empty? It's not about being young or being rich or being famous; it's about being content, happy, and comfortable in your own skin. ... I hate it when people tell me that. Don't you want to give them a cuff upside the head? Ha ha.

It's been an interesting past few years leading up to this moment. Interesting is code for turbulent. I discovered my boss was planning on firing me from my career job and while I've managed to stay on, I live under the constant threat of displeasing my master. Subsequently, I lost my way in life. I've panicked about growing old. I think I've occasionally been depressed and I have suffered from impotence. And now I'm divorced. Hmmm, is divorce just about the worst thing that can happen to you? Although I've heard getting caught in a woodchipper and having your arm ripped off is pretty bad.

In the spring of 2012, I suffered the worst sports injury of my life and spent about 4 months locked up in my apartment with pain twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I am now at the 6 month mark and much better, thank you very much, but have been given to understand this will take up to a year to get back to where I was. Gee, if I was worried about growing old, am I now worried about health? Believe me, if you ain't got health, you ain't got jack squat. Lesson experienced firsthand; lesson learned. I am going to do whatever it takes to ensure this never happens to me again. If I do only have 20 years left, I don't want to waste one minute of it going through this s**t again.

In 2010 I discovered writing and since June 2010, I've shot my mouth off in this blog. Who's reading? According to the stats and my Alexa score, not a lot but I figure I'll keep writing and wait for the world to catch up.

In 2011, I did NaNoWriMo and I'm planning on taking another crack at it this year. As the Chinese say, "the journey is the reward," so I'm not looking for a published book, never mind a bestseller, just a fun and interesting experience. Aim low, shoot high?

Final Word
So here it is, the 4th quarter. Do I throw a pass or do I kick? Do I call an end run or do I go up the middle? Three quarters of the game are over and this is the fourth and final quarter. Okay, I know I'm not going to get the Nobel Prize but will I get "my prize" whatever it may be?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
- Mary Oliver: "The summer day"; New and Selected Poems 1992

It's Saturday and I'm by myself doing a few odd jobs: cleaning the apartment, filing some papers, and jotting down some notes about my one wild and precious life. I'm 60. Now what?


Quotations

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
- Hunter S. Thompson

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
- George Bernard Shaw

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating...and you finish off as an orgasm.
- George Carlin

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
- Henry David Thoreau

Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.
- James Dean

We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.
- Orson Welles

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
- Groucho Marx

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
- Steve Jobs

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
- Mark Twain

2012-10-20

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Friday, 19 October 2012

Boy Meets Girl: Waiting For A Star To Fall


I hear your name whispered on the wind
It's a sound that makes me cry
I hear a song blow again and again
Through my mind and I don't know why
I wish I didn't feel so strong about you
Like happiness and love revolve around you

Trying to catch your heart
Is like trying to catch a star
So many people love you baby
That must be what you are

Waiting for a star to fall
And carry your heart into my arms
That's where you belong
In my arms baby, yeah

I've learned to feel what I cannot see
But with you I lose that vision
I don't know how to dream your dream
So I'm all caught up in superstition
I want to reach out and pull you to me
Who says I should let a wild one go free

Trying to catch your heart
Is like trying to catch a star
But I can't love you this much baby
And love you from this far

Waiting for a star to fall
And carry your heart into my arms
That's where you belong
In my arms baby, yeah

Waiting (however long...)
I don't like waiting (I'll wait for you...)
It's so hard waiting (don't be too long...)
Seems like waiting (makes me love you even more...)

Waiting for a star to fall
And carry your heart into my arms
That's where you belong
In my arms baby, yeah


References

Uploaded by saleemdepoosingh on Nov 6, 2009

Wikipedia: Waiting for a Star to Fall
Waiting For a Star to Fall is a song released by the pop duo Boy Meets Girl in 1988. It was a worldwide hit, and became the duo's signature song.

Wikipedia: Reel Life (Boy Meets Girl album)
Reel Life is the second album released by the duo Boy Meets Girl. Released in 1988 by RCA Records/BMG, the album featured the band's sole top ten hit, "Waiting for a Star to Fall," as well as the minor follow-up, "Bring Down the Moon."

Wikipedia: Boy Meets Girl (band)
Boy Meets Girl is an American duo consisting of keyboardist and vocalist George Merrill and singer Shannon Rubicam. They are perhaps best known for their hit song "Waiting for a Star to Fall" from 1988 and for writing two number one hits "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" performed by Whitney Houston.

2012-10-19

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Pretenders: If There Was A Man



If there was a man I could dream of,
I'd dream about a dream come true.
If there was a man I could ever love,
I'd wait a million years for someone just like you.

All my life I've been belated.
Never taking any chances...always hesitating.
Where's the payoff? Where's the glory?
Where's the one I'm holding out for?
Was he walking through the door,
The one that you walked through...if it isn`t you?

If there was a man I could dream of,
I'd dream about a dream come true.
If there was a man I could ever love,
I'd wait a million years for someone just like you.

Happy endings never find me!
I'd put all my fantasies and hopes of love behind me.
Saw my moments overdue but...

If there was a man out there for me
I wish it would be someone who could love me true
If someone was you.



References

Uploaded on Dec 25, 2011 by TheAtomicFlowers

Written by Chrissie Hynde and John Barry

Wikipedia: The Living Daylights (soundtrack)
The Living Daylights is the soundtrack title for the film The Living Daylights and the eleventh and final Bond soundtrack to be scored by composer John Barry.

In a departure from conventions of previous Bond films, the film uses different songs over the opening and end credits. The song heard over the end credits, "If There Was A Man", was one of two songs performed for the film by Chrissie Hynde, of the Pretenders. The other song, "Where Has Everybody Gone", is heard as source music in the film (from Necros's Walkman). The Pretenders were originally considered to perform the film's title song. However, the producers had been pleased with the commercial success of Duran Duran's "A View To A Kill", and felt that a-ha would be more likely to make an impact in the charts. In the event, "The Living Daylights" was a hit in many countries.

Wikipedia: Pretenders (band)
The Pretenders are an English–American rock band formed in Hereford, England in March 1978. The original band comprised initiator and main songwriter Chrissie Hynde (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James Honeyman-Scott (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), Pete Farndon (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Martin Chambers (drums, backing vocals, percussion). The band has experienced drug-related deaths of the members, and numerous subsequent personnel changes have taken place over the years, with Hynde and Chambers as the remaining original members.

Wikipedia: Chrissie Hynde
Christine Ellen "Chrissie" Hynde (born 7 September 1951 in Akron, Ohio) is an American musician best known as the leader of the rock/new wave band the Pretenders. She is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and has been the only constant member of the band throughout its history.

2012-10-17

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

What the @#$%^* do I know about religion?

I'm an atheist, thank God.

Faith: not wanting to know what is true.

Praying is like a rocking chair: it'll give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere

Christian Fundamentalism: The doctrine that there is an absolutely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe-spanning entity that is deeply and personally concerned about your sex life.

I grew up in a Protestant middle class family. I remember my father as a salt of the earth type of guy, a touch of the traditionalist but one which was transported into an era outside of his control: the 1950s with the rise of psychology in child rearing and the 1960s with the hippies and social revolution. He didn't know the right answer any more than any parent (including me) and considering the influences outside of the home (friends, school, drinking and drugs), my upbringing like the upbringing of most (all?) kids had an element of luck to it.

Our family started out as regular church goers but by the time I was in my late teens, going to church was relegated to special occasions like Christmas. However there was a period of years where I attended Sunday school every week quite faithfully. That is, faithful as in regularly not as in full of faith or believing.

My Sunday school teachers were lay people who volunteered their time at the church to lead impressionable young people to the Lord. I'm saying that tongue in cheek as I discovered that they more often than not followed the church designated curriculum to the letter without thinking about what it was they were teaching. As I've said elsewhere, I was an avid reader and such a literary proclivity (See the words I learned as kid?) led me to every book in the house, the library at school, and to the public library. This opened my eyes to two important genres of books: science and science fiction.

At this time I was approximately 12 years old. I was reading a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury and was particularly fascinated by the story "A Sound of Thunder". Without going into the details, the central idea was about going back in time to the period of the dinosaurs. Elsewhere I had read about dinosaurs and found the various drawings of these gigantic creatures to capture the imagination of this young boy. The problem with dinosaurs was that they existed according to science millions of years before our time while the Bible seemed to show that the world was only about 6 thousand years old. If the world was only 6,000 years old, how could dinosaurs have existed millions of years ago?

Years later, in clearing up the estate of my parents, I was cleaning out the house and ran across the "family Bible". I could remember this weighty volume as the de facto source of religious teachings, all the more holy by its size and weight. At the top of every page was marked the associated year based on the time of Jesus Christ showing either B.C. or A.D. I have never forgotten that at the top of the page where one found Genesis Chapter 1, verse 1, you could see 4004. That is, the world was created in 4,004 B.C.

At the same time, at school, astronomy was part of the curriculum. I found the study of the planets, the sun, the Milky Way, etc. to be very interesting as this seemed to correlate quite nicely with the ideas I was presented with while reading science fiction. I could argue that the secular school system played a role in disenchanting me about biblical studies.

Within the study of astronomy, I discovered that the concept of a "day" varies from planet to planet. While the Earth spins on its axis approximately every 24 hours, Mars has a rotation of 24 hours and almost 40 minutes, Jupiter under 10 hours and Mercury rotates every 59 days. The concept of a day led me to the concept of a year, the period of time to orbit around the sun. While the Earth orbits around the sun every year, 365 days, Jupiter takes almost 12 Earth years, Neptune takes 165 years and Mercury only needs 88 days.

Obviously, while we here on Earth talk about a "day" and a "year", these ideas are only relative to the Earth, the planet upon which we live. There are other circumstances where the ideas of day and year are totally different.

Back to this conundrum of the Bible and dinosaurs. Genesis stated that God made the Earth in 6 days. Dinosaurs seemed to have lived millions of years ago. Was there a way of associating 2 ideas which seemed to contradict one another?

Suddenly, it occurred to me. What if a day for God was not the same as our day? What if God's day was not 24 hours, but millions, maybe billions of years long? Jupiter takes 12 Earth years to circle the sun. If I was 3 years old on Jupiter, I would actually be 36 years old on Earth. If one of God's days was, let's say a billion years, that could mean that when God made the Earth in 6 days, 6 of "His" days, He actually took 6 billion Earth years.

I remember that I was stunned. Now it all made sense. It made sense how God made the Earth in 6 days, how dinosaurs existed a long time ago, and how there was no contradiction between the Bible and science. I wanted to bring this up in Sunday school. I was excited; I had a revelation to share; I had managed to solve a mystery! However, disappointment was just around the corner. The Sunday school teacher politely listened a bit then told me we all had to follow the prescribed programme and talking around the orbits and rotations of the planets to explain "God's day" did not fit in.

Needless to say, this was the beginning of the end for me; the start of my disenchantment with not just Sunday school, but religion in general. Eventually I dropped out of Sunday school... well; I first played hooky quite a bit then managed to convince my father that I would no longer even go to church. I've never gone back.

Postscript: I recently discovered the term Old Earth Creationism which in effect reconciles the Bible with scientific thought. The term day is not considered as a period of 24 hours but of some period of time which is very long: a day for God is possibly billions of years for us. Finally, some common sense. This may not 100% correct but at least it views the Bible with an interpretive eye not a completely literal one.

We are all God's children
As you can see from the above, I thought I had discovered a way of reconciling science and Biblical teachings. But such a reconciliation meant interpreting the Bible not accepting it at face value. Unfortunately I quickly discovered that while I understood and appreciated that the word "day" did not necessarily mean a period of twenty-four hours, others, many others blindly and adamantly held the idea that a day was a day and that meant 24 hours.

Later an odd thought occurred to me about the reconciliation between science and faith and the saying that we are all God's children.

When I was two years old, did my father talk to me about nuclear physics? Did he explain DNA to me? Did he sit me down in front of a blackboard and write out the calculus necessary to verify quantum mechanics? No he didn't. Why? Well, okay, the first reason is that my father didn't know calculus never mind quantum mechanics but that's another story. My point is that who talks with a child of such things? The subjects are way over the head of a kid.

I began to wonder if the same idea wasn't applicable to the human race in general. God didn't tell us about DNA before because as children we were incapable of understanding a subject that is so complicated. Ditto for quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. We, the human race, are getting a little older and are finding out things for ourselves. In a way, isn't this like a parent? A parent tries to give a kid some guiding principles but the kid must learn stuff. Didn't God give us some guiding principles (which we fail to follow or just ignore: Thou shall not kill) and now we're off learning stuff?

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
-Isaac Newton

Is the Bible the word of God?
The answer is very much dependent on which end of the spectrum you're at. If you are a fundamentalist, the Bible is THE word of God and I'm going to Hell for even asking the question. At the other end of the spectrum, the Bible is an inaccurate document written by man (well, men) and is their interpretation of both historical events and what God, if He exists, meant. It has been rendered inaccurate by the faults of transcribing the texts, of translating the texts, and of various political interests who changed the Bible to suit their needs.

Tom Harpur, an ordained Anglican priest, Rhodes Scholar, journalist, and theologian, is a proponent of the Christ myth theory. This theory states that Jesus of Nazareth was not a physical historical person, but is a fictional, mythological or solely incorporeal character created by the early Christian community. In his 2004 book "The Pagan Christ", he studies the Bible, its origins, and its development over the centuries. He claims that what began as a universal belief system has become a ritualistic institution headed by ultraconservative literalists and goes so far as to say that "Our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity".

Pick up the newspaper and there can be little doubt that man uses God to his advantage and extremists in all camps, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, lay claim to knowing "the" truth and the will of God/Allah and act accordingly to their own interpretation of right and wrong. No wonder critics of religion put forward the idea that never has so much evil been done in the world than by those who are believers and do so in the name of God/Allah.

Final Word
You may think I'm an atheist but I always tell people that I'm an agnostic. My joke is that I want to spend my life sinning then repent on my deathbed. Of course, I vaguely remember a humorous story of somebody with a plan to do just that but they end up getting killed unexpectedly and never get a chance to repent. So it's off to Hell with ye!

It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.
-Peter De Vries, "The Mackerel Plaza," 1958

Does God exist or not? But more importantly, does it matter? It is interesting to note that certain truths like The Golden Rule show up in all of the major religions. Whether it's Christianity or Islam or Buddhism or even Wicca (modern witchcraft), everyone seems to understand this concept to be fundamental to all human beings. When people dismiss religion, they are not dismissing the ideas. The Golden Rule is a good idea even without the idea of an almightly being. No, people dismiss religion because of the narrow-minded literal interpretation of the scriptures which leads to a self-proclaimed moral superiority over the rest of the world and the hatred of homosexuals, women, Muslims and anybody who disagrees with them. But not me. I'm an agnostic, thank God... maybe.


References

Wikipedia: Bible
The Bible is a canonical collection of sacred texts in Judaism or Christianity.

Wikipedia: Criticism of the Bible
In modern times, the view that the Bible should be accepted as historically accurate and as a reliable guide to morality has been questioned by many mainstream academics in the field of biblical criticism. Most Christian groups claim that the Bible is inspired by God, and some oppose interpretations of the Bible that are not traditional or "plain reading". Some of the most conservative Christian circles, namely the King James Only movement, believe the King James translation of the Scriptures is the only accurate English translation of the Bible, and accept it as infallible. Christian Fundamentalism—as well as much of Orthodox Judaism—strongly support the idea that the Bible is an historically accurate record of actual events and a primary source of moral guidance.

Wikipedia: Old Earth Creationists
Day-age creationism is an effort to reconcile the literal Genesis account of creation with modern scientific theories on the age of the universe, the Earth, life, and humans. It holds that the six days referred to in the Genesis account of creation are not ordinary 24-hour days, but rather are much longer periods (of thousands or millions of years).

The Straight Dope - May 25/2012
Was Jesus copied from the Egyptian god Horus? by Cecil Adams
There’s a hardening realization that, setting aside obvious supernatural elements, we’ll never know which if any parts of the Gospel describe actual events and which are made up.

Tom Harpur: The Pagan Christ
This is Harpur's most radical and groundbreaking work to date, in which he digs deep into the origins of Christianity and how the early Christian church covered up all attempts to reveal the Bible as myth. What began as a universal belief system has become a ritualistic institution headed by ultraconservative literalists. As he reconsiders a lifetime of worship and study, Harpur reveals a cosmic faith built on these truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity.

Wikipedia: Tom Harpur
Thomas William ("Tom") Harpur (born 1929) is a Canadian author, broadcaster, columnist and theologian. An ordained priest, he is a proponent of the Christ myth theory, the idea that Jesus did not exist but is a fictional or mythological figure. He is the author of a number of books, including For Christ's Sake (1993), Life after Death (1996), and The Pagan Christ (2004).

Wikipedia: Christ myth theory
The Christ myth theory (also known as Jesus mythicism, the Jesus myth theory and the nonexistence hypothesis) is the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was not a physical historical person, but is a fictional, mythological or solely incorporeal character created by the early Christian community.

Amazon: The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light by Tom Harpur
Harpur, a former Anglican priest and professor of Greek and New Testament at the University of Toronto, delves into the foundations of the Christian faith, questioning the historicity of the Bible, reinterpreting the familiar stories and restoring what he considers the inner meaning of scriptural texts. "Taken literally, they present a world of abnormal events totally unrelated to people's authentic living today." He documents the many traditions that predate Christianity and parallel the familiar Bible story. He sees Christianity, and the Bible itself, as a rehash of these traditions, merely imitative rather than a record of actual, historical events. He goes so far as to question the existence of the historical Jesus. Harpur believes that the early church establishment, through deliberate acts of suppression and the destruction of books that might challenge the orthodox view (most famously in the Alexandrian Library), shaped a rigid institution unable to cope with an evolving world. He insists that a major change must take place in order for Christianity to survive. His solution is termed "Cosmic Christianity"—a radical reinterpretation not just of the Bible but of the nature of the Christian faith and its links to the world's great spiritual traditions. Harpur's arguments, themselves a rehash of earlier scholarship, are unlikely to convince readers who are not already inclined to his views.

2012-10-16

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Monday, 15 October 2012

Robin Thicke: Sex Therapy


Stressed out, uptight, overworked, riled up
Unleash what you got let's explore your naughty side
Follow me, where we're going, we don't need no bread crumbs
Cant you see, baby? You're the only one

You are among the few hot women
Let me be your medicine
'Cause I got one thing on my mind, I'll be your valentine
Spread your wings and baby, fly away

It's your body, we can love if you want to
Loud if you want to, scream if you want to
Just let me love you, lay right here, girl, don't be scared of me
Give you sex therapy, give you sex therapy

It's your body, we'll go hard if you want to
As hard as you want to, soft as you want to
Just let me love you, lay right here, I'll be your fantasy
Give you sex therapy, give you sex therapy

Baby, that's all for you to do, let your body be
I'll lick you down, I'll make you feel like you're out of body
The doctor's here for you

Take you like Twilight, I'll touch your neck
You don't have to say anything, I'll get you wet, yeah
Push you up against the wall, turn you out and turn you on
Yea, yea, whoa

It's your body, we can love if you want to
Loud if you want to, scream if you want to
Just let me love you, lay right here, girl, don't be scared of me
Give you sex therapy, give you sex therapy

It's your body, we'll go hard if you want to
As hard as you want to, soft as you want to
Just let me love you, lay right here, I'll be your fantasy
Give you sex therapy, give you sex therapy

Girl, it's your body we can do whatever you like
Girl, it's your body we can do whatever you like
It's your body we can ride and rock and roll
Ride and rock and roll
Ride and rock, oh oh oh oh

It's your body, we can love if you want to
Loud if you want to, scream if you want to
Just let me love you, lay right here, girl, don't be scared of me
Give you sex therapy, give you sex therapy

It's your body, we'll go hard if you want to
As hard as you want to, soft as you want to
Just let me love you, lay right here, I'll be your fantasy
Give you sex therapy, give you sex therapy

Shawty, shawty it's your body we can do can do can do
(Sex therapy)
Shawty, shawty it's your body we can do whatever you like
(Sex therapy)
Just let me love you, lay right here, girl, don't be scared of me
Give you sex therapy, give you sex therapy


References

Uploaded by RobinThickeVEVO on Dec 4, 2009

Wikipedia: Sex Therapy (song)
"Sex Therapy" is a song by American R&B singer Robin Thicke. The R&B ballad is the lead single from his album Sex Therapy. The song was released to the radio on October 20, 2009. Its tune and some other elements were sampled from the 1963 number-one song "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore.

Music video
Robin Thicke confirmed on his Twitter account that he shot the video for the song on October 24 in L.A. with music video director Melina Matsoukas, at the same mansion that was featured in the video for Hilary Duff's "Reach Out". The video was released on November 19. Model Saleisha Stowers made a cameo in the video.


Wikipedia: Sex Therapy
Sex Therapy is the fourth studio album by American R&B recording artist Robin Thicke, released December 15, 2009 on Star Trak Entertainment in the United States.

Wikipedia: Robin Thicke
Robin Charles Thicke (born March 10, 1977) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and actor. Thicke is a dual citizen, also holding Canadian citizenship through his father. Thicke's albums, which he previously released under the name Thicke, are noted for their feature of a predominantly R&B sound. Thicke has written hits for popular artists such as Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Mary J. Blige and Raven-Symoné. Thicke has also been acknowledged for his work in popular albums such as Confessions and Tha Carter III.

Whew. Now I want a cigarette... and I don't even smoke. :-)

2012-10-15

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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Amanda Todd: The cruelty in all of us

On October 7, 2012, 15 year old Amanda Michelle Todd posted a YouTube video (at end of article) in which she showed a series of flashcards describing her experiences of being the target of bullying both on-line and in real life that had been going on for years. Watching the video and reading her story is both startling and perplexing. Why would classmates and total strangers go so far in displaying such cruelty towards Amanda? On October 10, 2012, Amanda committed suicide in her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada.

According to Amanda's YouTube story, this whole mess started three years ago when she was in 7th grade. She was using video chat on the Internet to meet new friends and during one of these sessions, somebody asked her to show her breasts and she did so. A year later, an anonymous user who seemed to know everything about her including her address, her school, her relatives, and her friends began blackmailing her: give me a show or I will send the pictures of your "boobs" around. The pictures began circling on the Internet and from there everything spiralled out of control. She began to suffer depression and anxiety not just from the pictures themselves, but from being subsequently ostracized by her peers. She turned to drugs and alcohol and had self-mutilated herself. She was even physically attacked at her school.

She tried to commit suicide once by drinking bleach but was rushed to the hospital and successfully treated. Amanda moved to another city to live with her mother but the postings on the Internet only got worse telling her to try a different bleach next time and expressing hope she would kill herself. On October 10, the bullies got their wish. But it still didn't stop. Tribute sites to the girl have received hateful comments and offensive images. (National Post Oct 14/2012)

This is a sad story, a very sad story. I am sure parents, pundits, and police will be analysing this one and making recommendations left, right, and center about the dangers of the Internet, posting pictures on the Internet, and doing anything remotely sexual on the Internet but to me, the far-reaching issue is the bullying. Why would one human being bully another? Why would one human being take some sort of pleasure in seeing another human being suffer pain, feel humiliation, and even commit suicide? Why is it that a particular person, in this case Amanda, becomes the lightning rod for the anger and hate of the bully and even for those who may part of the bully's audience? It is so startling to see this group mentality that I have to ask myself with apprehension if one day the crowd may not turn and make me the target of their displeasure.

I read the Wikipedia article Bullying but discovered that the supposed reasons explaining such behaviour are not necessarily conclusive. Studies have shown a variety of motives for bullying: envy, resentment, self-esteem, arrogance or narcissism. Bullying can be a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or boost self-esteem and by demeaning others, the abuser can feel empowered.

But is there more?

World War II
During World War II, the Japanese apparently looked down on prisoners. The story, as I remember it, was that the tradition of death instead of defeat or capture was deeply entrenched in the Japanese culture. Because prisoners had failed to assuage their own shame by committing suicide, the Japanese looked upon prisoners as being less than human, at least honourable human beings. It struck me that if you didn't think of another human being as a human being, someone worthy of honour and respect, but as less than human, mistreating them or killing them no longer seemed like something bad. We all step on a bug and squash it and we don't think twice about it. Could we arrive at a point where another human being would be as insignificant as that squashed bug?

James Byrd
In Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998, 3 white men gave a ride to James Byrd Jr., an African-American but instead of taking him home, they took him to a remote area and beat him unconscious. They then tied him by the ankles to their pickup truck and dragged him for 3 miles. He died when his body hit a culvert and both the right arm and head were severed. A subsequent autopsy suggested the man had been alive throughout his 3 mile ordeal.

Postscript: One of the three was executed by lethal injection. The second is on death row while appeals are pending and the third was sentenced to life in prison.

How can anyone do such a thing to another human being? Unless they didn't think of their victim as a human being.

Matthew Shepard
On the night of October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard a gay student at the University of Wyoming was visiting a bar in Laramie, Wyoming. Shortly after midnight, two men offered to give Shepard a ride home. They subsequently drove to a remote, rural area and proceeded to rob, pistol-whip, and torture Shepard, tying him to a fence and leaving him to die. Shepard succumbed to his injuries three days later in hospital.

Postscript: The two attackers both received two consequent life sentences.

How can anyone do such a thing to another human being? Unless they didn't think of their victim as a human being.

Aside: What has Obama accomplished?
Obama (Office of the President-Elect) made it a goal to strengthen civil rights. On October 28, 2009, he signed into law "The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act" expanding the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

The Nazis and the Jews
How did Hitler get the up-standing Christian population to accept and practise anti-Semitism?

Ten Responses to Jewish Lackeys by Kurt Hilmar Eitzen (1936) (published by Calvin College)
Background: The Nazis were always worried about those Germans who did not accept anti-Semitism. In this article from the party monthly for propagandists, the writer provides ten responses to the most common objections they encountered to Nazi anti-Semitic measures. These were arguments intended for everyday use in conversation with fellow citizens.

Argument 7: “The Jew is a human being too!” — Counterargument: “Of course the Jew is a human being too. None of us has ever doubted it. But a flea is also an animal. But not a very pleasant one. Since a flea is not a pleasant animal, we have no duty to protect and defend it, to take care of it so that it can bite and torment and torture us. Rather, we make it harmless. It is the same with the Jews.” {Joseph Goebbels).

What about you and me?
Chloe Jeffrey's of The Chloe Chronicles reminded me of the Nazis. In her posting "I Am Not Good" (Oct 5/2012), she talks about getting angry (She used the F word!) with a group of "good Christian women" who were getting all holy and righteous and standing in judgement of others doing what they considered to be shameful. What was so shameful? Getting a divorce, having an abortion, working, using birth control, etc. The list goes on but I think you get the idea. One group of people felt they were better than another group of people. And Chloe pushes this to wondering how good Christian Germans became Nazis.

Does a goldfish know that it is living in a fishbowl? Do we truly understand what we're doing and what's going on around us?

"We have met the enemy and he is us."
- Pogo by cartoonist Walt Kelly (1913 - 1973)

In my 2010 posting "Extremism: I'm right and you're wrong" I talk about a number of extremist viewpoints that exist in our society and I point out how such viewpoints can lead to violence. Yes we need freedom of speech but at what point does freedom to speak your mind become freedom to incite hatred which may lead to violence? I end with this admonishment:

Stop. Think. Reflect. If you are about to rise up against your neighbor, something is very, very wrong.

Final Word
Amanda Todd's story is very, very sad. Yes, you can say she should be more careful on the Internet but millions use the Internet everyday without having anything remotely similar happening to them. Yes you can say don't lift your top on a webcam but how many teenagers (or older) do so without such repercussions on the Internet, in the videos "Girls Gone Wild", or in the various web sites dedicated to just that, posting naughty pictures of yourself?

"Everybody does stupid things; it shouldn't cost them everything they want in life."
- Gregory House, fictional character from the TV medical drama House

Okay, maybe Amanda made a mistake but it was a mistake for God's sake, not a capital crime. She paid for it with her life! I think it is a poor reflection on all of us as parents, on our culture and on our society, when we are responsible for producing the human beings who have such a disregard for the lives of others. These people are cruel. They are nasty. They are mean. These people could be Nazis.


References

Wikipedia: Suicide of Amanda Todd
Amanda Michelle Todd (died October 10, 2012) was a 15-year-old Canadian teenager who committed suicide attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website Facebook.

Wikipedia: Bullying
Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target".

Wikipedia: Kamikaze
The tradition of death instead of defeat, capture, and perceived shame was deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture. It was one of the primary traditions in the samurai life and the Bushido code: loyalty and honour until death.

Wikipedia: Murder of James Byrd, Jr.
James Byrd, Jr. (May 2, 1949 – June 7, 1998) was an African-American who was murdered by three white men, of whom at least two were white supremacists, in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998.

Wikipedia: Matthew Shepard
Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming, U.S.A., in October 1998. He was attacked on the night of October 6–7, and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries.

Wikipedia: Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, is an American Act of Congress, passed on October 22, 2009, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009, as a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 (H.R. 2647). Conceived as a response to the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., the measure expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Note: This is the original video. I have been given to understand the music in the soundtrack is copyrighted material. Some sites are showing the video without the music so this particular copy may disappear if there is a protest about the music. (I don't know if this music was the music originally in the video.)

Published on Sep 7, 2012 by TheSomebodytoknow
My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm
I'm struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I'm not doing this for attention. I'm doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I'd rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don't hate, although im sure I'll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I'm still here aren't I ?
-AmandaTodd



Transcript of video

*Hello!
*I've decided to tell you about my never ending story
*In 7th grade I would go with friends on webcams
*Meet and talk to new people.
*Then got called stunning, beautiful, perfect, etc...
*Then wanted me to flash...
*So I did... 1 year later...
*I got a msg on facebook
*From him... Don't know how he knew me..
*It said... If you don't put on a show for me I will send ur boobs
*He knew my address, school, relavives, friends, family names.
*Christmas break....
*Knock at my door at 4am...
*It was the police... my photo was sent to everyone
*I then got really sick and got...
*Anxiety, major deppersion and panic disorder
*I then move and got into Drugs + Alcohol....
*My anxiety got worse... couldn't go out
*A year past and the guy came back with my new
*list of friends and school. But made a facebook page
*My boobs were his profile pic...
*Cried every night, lost all my friends and respect
*people had for me... again...
*Then nobody liked me
*name calling, judged...
*I can never get that Photo back
*It's out there forever...
*I Started cutting...
*I promised myself never again...
*Didn't have any friends and I sat at lunch alone
*So I moved Schools again...
*Everything was better even though I sat still alone
*At lunch in the library everyday.
*After a month later I started talking to an old guy friend
*We back and fourth texted and he started to say he..
*Like me... Led me on.. He had a girlfriend...
*Then he said come over my gf's on vacation
*So I did... huge mistake....
*He hooked up with me....
*I thought he liked me....
*1 week later I get a text get out of your school...
*His girlfriend and 15 others come including Hiself...
*The girl and 2 others just said look around nobody likes you
*In front of my new school (50) people...
*A guy than yelled just punch her already
*So she did... she threw me to the ground a punched me several times
*Kids filmed it. I was all alone and left on the ground.
*I felt like a joke in this world... I thought nobody deserves this :/
*I was alone.. I lied and said it was my fault and my idea
*I didn't want him getting hurt, I thought he really liked me.
*but he just wanted the sex... Someone yelled punch her already.
*Teachers ran over but I just went and layed in a ditch and my dad found me.
*I wanted to die so bad... When he brought me home I drank bleach...
*It killed me inside and I thought I was gonna actully die.
*Ambulence came and brought me to the hospital and flushed me.
*After I got home all i saw was on facebook - she deserved it did you wash the mud out of your hair? - I hope shes dead.
*Nobody cared... I moved away to another city to my moms.
*another school... I didn't wanna press charges because I wanted to move on.
*6 months has gone by... people are posting pics of bleach, clorex, and ditches.
*tagging me... I was doing a lot better too... They said...
*She should try a different bleach, I hope she dies this time and isn't so stupid.
*They said I hope she sees this and kills herself..
*Why do I get this? I messed up but why follow me.
*I left your guys city... Im constantly crying now..
*Everyday I think why am I still here?
*My anxiety is horrible now.. never went out this summer
*All from my past.. lifes never getting better.. cant go to school
*meet or be with people... constantly cutting. I'm really depressed
*Im on anti deppresants now and councelling and a month ago this summer
*I overdosed... In hospital for 2 days..
*Im stuck... whats left of me now... nothing stops
*I have nobody... I need someone :(
*My name is Amanda Todd....

2012-10-14

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

If you're a woman, this is why you should vote Democrat

On November 6, 2012, you are going to cast your vote. It's your vote; it's your decision. But I ask you, is your decision an informed decision? Is your vote the right one? The United States is in a bit of a pickle right now, an economic pickle, and the Republicans would have you believe they have the right answer. The Democrats have had the last four years to get things turned around and Mitt Romney is telling you Obama has failed. Has Obama failed? Has everyone forgotten that the financial crisis of 2009 which happened under the watch of the last Republican president was the worst economic calamity to have befallen the U.S. since the great crash of 1929? Can anybody including Obama be expected to get everything fixed up neat and tidy in just four years? It has taken decades for the U.S. to dig itself into the deepest hole it has ever seen. Is it going to take just four years to get out?

The Republican Party is trying to scare you. They are trying to scare everybody. The apocalypse is upon us and if we don't vote for them, next stop Hell, fire and damnation. However, the most Conservative elements of the American political landscape including the Tea Party have completely hijacked the GOP. While you listen to their message of economic recovery, they are slipping onto the ballot a number of policies and political views which would turn back the clock to an era of a patriarchal society in which women were second class citizens; they were merely chattel. Think I am exaggerating? Women only got the right to vote in the 1920s; that is less than one hundred years ago. Pay equity? In your dreams. The right to make your own choices about your own body? You're kidding, right?

I took the time to download the PDF files of both The 2012 Republican Platform and The 2012 Democratic Platform. These are the official papers detailing the plans of both parties if they get into office. They are not radically different, they are more like night and day. If the Democrats say white, the Republicans say black. Yes, it is just that different.

"This election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and our families." (page 1, the 2012 Democratic Platform)

Admittedly if the Republicans took power, they may not be able to implement everything they say they intend to as the opposition will probably vote against them. Nevertheless the platform paper spells out their intent.

Anti-abortion and anti-sex
My argument in this hotly contested debate is rather simple. An abortion represents an unwanted pregnancy. If every pregnancy was a "wanted pregnancy", there would be no abortions. It's just as plain and as simple as that. But to have no "unwanted pregnancies", we must have sex education and birth control. We must have sex education and lots of it, from an early age right up to teenagers but not just stopping with teenagers, educating adults too. To drive a car, you have to study the rules, practise, and then pass a test. Only once you are licensed are you allowed to drive. Imagine, anybody can have sex. Is it any wonder we have so many "traffic accidents"?

The Republican Party is clearly against abortion. But what is truly baffling, they are also against sex education and birth control believing that the only way and I emphasize "the only way" of dealing with this entire issue is abstinence. The glitch? Abstinence doesn't work. The states which push abstinence only sex education have the highest rates of unwanted pregnancies. Why? People who are ignorant about sex do not fully understand the risks and hence think they will "get away with it". Wrong! Promoting abstinence only is like saying that if we all drove safely, we wouldn't need safety belts because we wouldn't have accidents. Any of you want to drive around in your car while not wearing a safety belt? Go ahead but you're not going to catch me running such a risk. Oh, and one more thing. The chances of you succeeding in getting anybody to abstain is just about nil. Why? Think about it. No matter what you say, you are not going to get me to abstain from driving my car. And you are not going to get me to abstain from having sex. Get real. I don't care how much Bible thumping you do, it ain't happenin'.

FYI: Do you like Planned Parenthood? Sex education? Birth control? Abortion counseling? Well, those Republicans have every intention of defunding Planned Parenthood. Yep, you can kiss that service good-bye.

Health Care
The United States is the only advanced industrialised nation in the entire freakin' world which does not offer its citizens universal health care. What? Canada can do this. England can do this. France, Norway, the list goes on but you're telling me you can't? The United States can't do this? Fifty million people have no health insurance because they can't afford it. Every year 18,000 people die unnecessarily because they have no health insurance and they miss out on needed treatment or they get treatment too late. Just today alone, 49 people have died. 343 will die this week. And you tell me you can't do this?

But the Republican boogeyman says that this will bankrupt the nation. Horse manure. The United States is paying more per capita in health care costs than any of the above mentioned countries and yes you still don't have universal care. What? Isn't it about time you rethought what the heck you're doing? But there's the more important idea.

A healthy nation is more productive. A healthy population is better off. Healthy people can work, make a living, and can be independent contributing members of society. If freedom is a right, shouldn't health be a right? If you're sick, believe me, you are not "free". If you want to make sure your children have the best opportunity of getting ahead in life and of succeeding, you need to ensure they are healthy. I'm not saying Obamacare is perfect (it has been watered down somewhat because Republicans demanded it to be changed), but it is a step in the right direction. You need to demand your rights: the right to be free and the right to be healthy.

Socialism, Wealth Redistribution
Since when did chipping in for the collective good become socialism? Since when did helping my neighbour become wealth redistribution? What the hey? We are all citizens of the same country. United we stand, divided we fall. While each of us has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, there is the question of all of us helping one another so that together we are greater than the sum of the parts. America: "I" didn't build it; "we" built it.

Homosexuality
Elton John has married his long-time partner and they have adopted a boy. He's produced some wonderful music and in general, seems like a nice man. The Republicans would treat him as a second class citizen by not just denying him the right to marry, but by potentially outlawing his behaviour, not allowing him to adopt, and treating him as a sick person with a psychological problem that needs to be cured. Am I exaggerating?

In 1952, when the American Psychiatric Association published its first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, homosexuality was included as a disorder.
...
In recognition of the scientific evidence, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, stating that "homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities." (Wikipedia: Homosexuality: Psychology)

Where's the truth?

As reported by the University of Southern California, a study of children raised by gay parents showed differences in their behaviour from those raised by heterosexual parents. For example, boys raised by lesbians appear to be less aggressive and more nurturing than boys raised in heterosexual families. While the aggressiveness of males may be attributed in part to the genes of the species, is aggressiveness also a learned behaviour? A study showing that lesbian parents have less aggressive boys would seem to point out that if Junior's a tough guy, he may have gotten that way from imitating dear old Dad.

When the Republicans say they are against same-sex marriage, how close are they to saying homosexuality is evil? Think I'm exaggerating? Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich are but a few names who have at one time or another espoused such ideas. I am concerned about the economy. I am concerned about war and famine. I am concerned about the future with globalization, global warming, and the ravages of diseases like AIDS and cancer. Whether Elton John is homosexual and marries his partner is not exactly at the top of my list of priorities. Heck, it's not even on my list.


Published on Oct 10, 2012 by TheAgendaProject
My Country, My Choice
28 women ask America's politicians: "If you don't trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?"



Final Word
I have written a number of articles about the American political scene and the 2012 election. I do not believe in any way that the Democrats are perfect. The United States faces some really really big problems which will require some tough decisions and a lot of effort and sacrifice. The light at the end of the tunnel is not necessarily around the corner and this is going to take years to correct. On the other hand, the Republicans have contributed a lot to the current crisis, do not understand how they contributed to the current crisis, and consequently do not have in any way a plan to right the wrongs. But more importantly, instead of moving the country forward, they want to take the country back to a by-gone era of their forefathers when women were stay at home baby makers and didn't have any rights, homosexuality didn't exist, and a man was a man and he carried a gun to prove it. Wait. They still want to carry a gun! Oh my God!!!

You are a woman. You have the right to choose for yourself. It's your body. You have the right to choose sex education, birth control, and even abortion (but let's hope the first two choices minimize the third choice). I repeat: it's your body. It's your right. If you vote Republican, you are voting to give up those rights. If you vote Republican because you are scared about the economy, I assure you the experts are both critical and baffled by the Republican's plans or lack of plans for addressing this problem. In other words, voting Republican will not solve the economic problems but make them worse.

It's your country. It's your body. It's your right. Vote Democrat. Don't give up what you've fought so hard to get.

"If you don't trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?"


References

Check out the site map under the category Politics for all my articles on American politics and the 2012 Election.

My Country, My Choice
There were 156,964,212 women in the country as of 2010, compared to 151,781,326 men.

The PCTC Blog
What has Obama Done? Here Are 200 Accomplishments! With Citations!

The PCTC Blog - Sep 14/2012
Here's What Obamacare Does. Remember, GOP Wants to Take This Away!

my blog: The 2012 Republican Platform: Are ya scared yet?
Scribd.Com has The 2012 Republican Platform and it's downloadable as an Adobe PDF. I have printed it out and read the entire document. The New York Times commented on a draft of this document in an editorial by saying, "The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream." Has the GOP lost its way or has it lost its mind?

my blog: The 2012 Democratic Platform: yes you still can
The official web site of the Democrats (Democrats.Org) offers The 2012 Democratic Platform as a downloadable PDF. I have printed and read the entire document. My first impression? Nothing is perfect and I'm sure pundits, armchair generals, and of course the Republicans will be jumping all over this looking for any and all flaws but I'm walking away with a warm and fuzzy. That would contrast sharply, no that would be diametrically opposed to the cold and prickly I felt after reading the GOP's policy paper.

my blog: I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No.
On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was dissecting Mitt Romney's 47% gaffe pointing out how Mr. Romney was misrepresenting the number and insulting a lot of hard working, albeit not well-off people, including veterans and the elderly. He ended the segment by showing the following clip of the actor Craig T. Nelson being interviewed on the Glenn Beck Show on May 28, 2009. Craig T. Nelson on Government Aid: "I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No."

my blog: Mitt Romney, Lung Cancer, and Common Knowledge
In the 1950s, or the 1960s if you prefer to think of the television series Mad Men, we collectively thought smoking was okay. Today we do not. What we refer to as "common knowledge" has changed. Oh I think if we dug hard enough, we'd realise that today's common knowledge has always around. After all, why have insurance companies always made smokers pay higher premiums? But it has taken a major shift in society and what we call common knowledge to change our collective thinking so that now the norm is to not smoke.

my blog: Romney caught on video: 47% of Americans are Losers
Just how much out of touch are the Republicans? Watching this video of a rich guy, a multimillionaire rich guy estimated to be worth $230 million (The Atlantic) giving his take on the state of the union is jaw-droppingly unbelievable. ... The Republicans... have demonstrated over and over again not just a total lack of understanding about what's going on, but a callous disregard for anyone who is not of their camp or who is not as financially well-off as them.

my blog: Dear Republicans: You ought to be ashamed of yourselves
You believe homosexuality is an abomination based on your interpretation of the Bible, the supposed official word of God. Homosexuals are vilified, ostracized, and in some cases murdered. Yes, murdered. Any chance you might be wrong? Any chance you or your minister might have made a mistake in deciphering just what God may have meant?

my blog: The Right isn't wrong, they're nuts
Is the Earth flat yes or no? Did God create the world six thousand years ago yes or no? Was the collapse of the twin towers of World Trade Center caused by a controlled demolition yes or no? The debates rage on with little possibility at arriving at a mutually acceptable explanation.

my blog: Rape? No problem! Women must have an orgasm to get pregnant.
During an interview, Representative Akin was questioned about his no-exceptions view on abortion. When asked in the case of rape whether a woman who became pregnant should have the option of abortion he replied:

"Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

my blog: Guns: as American as apple pie
You, America, and maybe not all Americans but some, want the right to carry a weapon into Walmart when you buy milk. I can't help thinking that there is a far greater issue at stake here. I'm not talking about your individual freedom to do whatever the hell you want; I am talking about why you want to have a weapon in Walmart in the first place. Seriously. Are you walking around all the time worried, no scared about God only knows what? A terrorist attack? A crazed psycho mass murderer? The evil federal government bashing down the gates of your Waco compound?

my blog: Obamacare: Congratulations on doing the right thing, America!
Obamacare is not perfect. But it is a step is the right direction. Socialism? Is helping your neighbour socialism? Is helping your country socialism? Is spending more on uncompensated charity care than on insuring people not very astute? Is spending more than any other country on health care but only ranking 72nd in the WHO's health assessment ranking something anybody would not want to turn around? Would you let 18,000 people die unnecessarily each year because they have no health insurance? You have a right to be free. You have the right to work, succeed, and travel. Shouldn't you have the right to be healthy?

2012-10-13

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