I am probably going to make somebody mad, but I no longer care.

Remembering a discussion from last night…:

Am I the only one who sees it as hypocritical to acknowledge that there are “other gods” and yet claim to be “monotheistic”?

I saw the flaws in the Bible a long time ago when I was being forced to live and breathe the ten commandment along with the over 600 other “laws” including the holy days and food laws. I also saw the growing flaw in Christianity. The hate, the greed, the exclusivity spawned by multiple misinterpretations and misunderstandings of verses and books.

I was told last night by a practitioner of Judaism that the Jewish OT is not like the Christian OT and that they acknowledge that there are other gods and yet they consider themselves monotheistic.

Here is my point. Not all Greeks worshipped every Greek god or goddess, and not every Roman or Egyptian paid obeisance to all of their gods,yet they acknowledged that they existed. Greek cities had patron gods/goddesses which they devoted their worship to. Same with Rome and Egypt. Even today, India has some villages that are dedicated to a single Hindu god. And yet, we consider these people polytheistic.

And then there is Christianity which believes in the triune. (sort of like believing in a triple god/goddess, but claiming monotheistic status.)Three in one. I can list at least three three-in-one gods/goddesses (most Hindu gods and goddesses have three different “aspects”, the Morrigan was three-in-one. almost all Greek and Roman gods had three different aspects. I can go on, but I believe the point has been made.

So, other than claiming “monotheism”, what makes Christianity or Judaism any different than any other religion? Other than the exclusivity, from my point of view, both philosophically and reality, nothing. Not one aspect of either is unique. Except their claim of exclusivity.

Does this statement mean that I do not believe in God? No. Nor does it state that I do. This is an observation based off of a discussion and a long, drawn out comparison done (as I am a student of history and of mythology) between prevailing thoughts…and a study of the facts and how we have forever treated others, calling civilizations “polytheistic” and ourselves “monotheistic”.

To admit that there are other gods is, in itself, can admission of polytheism if we go on the view that Rome and Greece-and even Egypt and Ancient Sumer-were polytheistic simply because they acknowledged that other gods existed, but still only worshipped one in their own city. So are we truly “monotheistic”? Or are we, as I suspect, actually polytheistic but lying to ourselves by telling ourselves that we are not?

And if we are polytheistic, what happens if all our dreams and wishes never come to fruition? What is this is all there is and there will be no end to it all? What if, all this time, we have been fooling ourselves into believing that any and all prophecies are going to come true without realizing that we have been lied to?


On Being Smarter Than the Average Bear

I grew up lower middle class. Education was the “only way out” of an endless hell known as factory work. Or so I was told.

They couldn’t have been more wrong. Especially in the Midwest. Here, there are only factories or fields. Making it worse, the states seem stuck on agriculture as the only industry worth exporting.

While I have nothing against farmers, I am no farmer. I am also no factory slug. I am not mindless enough to allow the ant-like worker mentality of a factory to kill my creativity. Besides. there is more to life.

I will not disparage those who find the factory life satisfying. Nothing wrong with that. But there are infinite possibilities for the rest of us and a state should encourage creativity. A state should also encourage intellectual pursuits as well. Always.

And while I am not the smartest, nor even a genius, I am observant enough to know where things need to be fixed. Ad there are many things that need to be fixed. Education. Healthcare. Politics. The economy. The way we see and do business.

Nothing made many of these problems more apparent than elections 2016. It was painfully apparent that there was a huge lack in education. Especially among those who are supposed to be the most educated, our older citizens. And their pride in their ignorance was appalling!

I know enough about education to know that we need to reinstitute Political Science back into our schools. We also need to reintroduce our youth to American and World history so that they can learn from the mistakes of the past. And, we need to focus again on being a world leader. This means that we need to make learning a foreign language mandatory.

European students learn at least one language that is not native to their country, and usually learn at least three. I have even heard of them learning up to six from a pen pal or two. If we intend to accomplish anything greater than we already have, we need to catch up with the rest of the world. We need to reintroduce our children to the sciences, math, and creativity. We are behind the rest of the world in all these things and more!

Why? Because we are too focused on what religion, gender identity, or sexual preference our neighbor has. We are too focused on making clones that we have forgotten that individuality is more important, diversity a key ingredient in making progress. For all intents and purposes, we have lost our way in the name of hate, greed, religiosity, and ignorant arrogance.

We suppose ourselves to be the greatest. We suppose that we should come first, that we should isolate ourselves and “purify” ourselves. We were never pure. Humanity as a whole has never been pure. From the very first takeover of one empire by another, purity went out the window. color of skin means nothing except that darker pigmentation was not needed in the more northerly climes.

We accept blindly that our religion is the true religion when religion of and by itself is not a manifestation of the truth. Or of knowledge. Or of wisdom. Religion is the opposite of living a lifestyle as prescribed by underlying philosophies. Hate is the opposite of the love we are to have for one another. Greed is the opposite of the generosity we are supposed to show. Oppression is the opposite of the freedom we are supposed to give. intolerance is opposite of the tolerance. And so on.

We allow ourselves to replace the original tenets of faith with our own biases. Which brings me back to education, and specifically that education which seminaries give their prospective ministers. So many ministers take the Bible, and specifically the Epistles, in a completely wrong context. They are not taught about the culture and history of the “New Testament” world.

They are not taught about where many of the newly converted Christians were coming from, what religions they were coming out of that were spawning the unpublished questions to the answers given in the Epistles. They simply believe, arrogantly, that these instructions harken back to the Old Testament Laws. But this is not necessarily so.

Yes, education is important on all levels. Faith-wise, secularly, and even on the more massive global political/economic level. Sadly, our leadership has shown us that they lack the education to make sound judgments that affect us all fiscally, economically, and socially. Even more alarming is that a portion of the voter base showed that they lacked the education to make a sound choice in leadership.

Granted, the choices weren’t the best, but there were better choices. And the lack of education is still apparent in their support of the shoddy leadership, not to mention their support of ignorant fears, hate, and accepting of lies as truth.

But I have a proposal that can change this in the future. I have drawn up an education bill proposal that reintroduces a few mandatory courses that have been removed from education. It also reorganizes funding, adds free higher education in-state, and places a freeze on unnecessary privatization. The only missing component is help from the education community.

I have asked, but it seems as if I cannot get people to take me seriously on a serious matter. I have been encouraged by several of my more politically active friends, as well as my mother and stepfather, to press forward. To get involved. And, yet, when I try, I cannot gain any interest.

While I understand that this is a Midterms election year, I also know that there should be no time better than now to explore ideas worth examining. Politically, it is expedient. economically, it is imperative. Socially, it is necessary.

But I still sit, waiting for someone to take me serious. When will teachers and education experts wake up? They are always asking for help. they are always asking for outside input. But when someone on the outside wants insider help, they seem to flee.

Why Are People Afraid of Visionaries?

As I sit here pondering my next book, I can’t help but notice how much time I have put into trying to get other things done. I have been sending messages, seeking help on many non literary projects, and trying to get the ball rolling on change. But it seems that too many people, even those who advocate for change, are afraid of change.

It is almost as if they are afraid of the visionaries and innovators who step forward to answer the call. I have asked for help from educators and education associations. I have asked for help from as many sources, including state government agencies, that I could think of. No answer.

I have an education bill proposal I would like help on. It isn’t the only proposal I have been working on, but it is one of the more important ones. You see, to me, quality education is an important part of being able to function as an individual in the world. An educated individual, after all, will make an informed judgment on every level including when they go to vote. Knowing, as opposed to accepting what one is told, is the key.

But, here I sit. No one has answered my queries. No one seems the least bit interested. Are they afraid? Or are they having trouble believing that a average citizen would actually be educated enough to realize what needs to be done?


Talking Points

An effective debate is not made up of erroneous talking points or faulty reasoning. It is well researched and is filled with documented and catalogued data. It is filled with reasonable counterbalances that measure the merit of a proposed action. This means that corporate “talking points”, better known as propaganda, which is filled with misinformation and skewed views created to sell and make a profit, does not make for good debate. Neither does erroneous statements about whatever else “can do the same thing”.

Meaningful debate takes the view that if something was not available, would you necessarily die without it? If the answer is no, then why are you defending the viewpoint you have? Let’s take a closer look at this.


opinion: I want to drink a cyanide solution. It is my right to do as I please, so I should do what I please. Right?

rebuttal: No. Just because you have a right to drink something does not make it right.

Talking points: Cyanide is a poison. drinking it would kill you. Just because doing what you want is your right, does not mean you are doing what is right.

possible arguments: I am suffering a terminal disease and want to end my suffering. I would rather kill myself than kill others. I am suicidal. But it is my right!

Depending on your ethics, you would find most of these as unacceptable…if not all. As it is illegal in many states to have an assisted suicide or commit an act of euthanasia, we see the medical suicide as against the law. And though the killing oneself rather than killing others is a noble stance, committing suicide is not really a sensible option and negates arguments 2 and 3. Finally, as I expressed with the rebuttal, argument #4 is literally a misinterpretation of what one’s right is or is not. just because it is a choice you can make does not make it a right choice.

I face this lack of real reasoning in the arguments of those who are extremist in their gun rights views. They claim that it is their right to own guns, no matter the cost. They do not see this as a problem and refuse to do research to see if their view is right or wrong. They make erroneous claims:

  1. We are at war at some levels, with our government.

Really? You see the people you elect as your enemy? Then why the fuck do you even vote? why are you even still in this country? Wouldn’t it make more sense to leave a country that you see yourself at war with?

2. If you do that, then you need to take them away from the police as well!

While I am all for the demilitarization of our police force, I also know that this is a bunch of BS meant to minimize your desire and make it look like a need for something you really do not need or really have any use for. No, we do not need a militarized police force. No, I don’t believe that the law enforcement needs military grade weapons or vehicles. But it is not relevant to the debate at hand.

3. Guns don’t kill, People do.

while I couldn’t agree more, the regulations or reforms we want have nothing to do with whether guns kill. They have everything to do with keeping guns out of the hands of those who kill. While we understand that no law is perfect, we know that making certain weapons illegal again will keep that gun out of the hands of the next person who attempts a mass school shooting.

4. But they are for home defense!

First of all, several  independent tests have proven that this is a lie.  The guns in question are less likely to be as accurate in such a scenario than-say-a handgun, which we have no interest in banning. In fact according to most of the tests done, these weapons were more likely to cause most damage and more unintended casualties than a hunting rifle or a hand gun.

5. But I can use it to hunt!

Again. Unless you want a strip of jerky instead of a whole deer, these guns are pretty much useless…even to a trophy hunter, who generally wants to have something for the taxidermist to stuff.

6. But it’s my right!

It is also your responsibility to serve your country in order to enjoy that “right”, no matter what a “rights” organization or a single SCOTUS says. The original intent of the Second Amendment, as discussed through the numerous papers included in The Federalist Papers, was to form a standing military. It was the provision that allowed for a permanent army, navy, marines, and the State militias (now under the title of state national guard). It did not give the individual an unfettered ability to buy and stockpile arms. In the era that the Amendment was written, a family had a maximum of three guns. Most only had one or two. These guns were used to protect the family and to hunt for food. It was also understood that owning put them at risk for being called upon to defend the new country as well. (number of guns was usually equal to number of adult males who were of age to hunt, defend, and be enlisted into the military. Number had nothing to do with an obsession or desire. There was no frivolous collecting. Most colonials/new Americans did not have the money to collect but often made their own guns if their previous one became too worn to operate correctly.)

7. But I want it!

I want a million dollars, but that ain’t going to happen. I want world peace, but that ain’t going to happen either. There are a lot of things I want, but it doesn’t mean that I am going to get them. We have a problem in this country with a misunderstanding of the differences between “wants” and “needs”. We often place wants where we should have our basic needs and relegate our needs to the back burner in our pursuit of things we don’t really need. We, in general, do not need assault or non assault automatic weapons. They were not originally designed for civilian use.

8. This is a mental health issue.

Yes, granted it is…but not just where the shooter is concerned. America, as a whole, is suffering from the mental illness called obsession. We have an obsession with profit that borders on mania. We have an obsession with guns that also borders on mania.We have an obsession with color, creed, places of origin, etc. that goes beyond the point of being a mania. If we are to address the lines that is at the root of these shootings, we need to address the illness that has permeated our society as a whole. Without doing so, we are still at an impasse.

Once we address our manic obsessions and rid ourselves of them, we can fully address the mental illness that causes the rage that fills those who are more apt to pull a mass shooting. Once we remove our own blindness to what is really at the root of it all, we cannot fully attempt to fix anything else. But first, we need to be able to sit down and debate with accurate and similar goals in mind. We must be willing to compromise, give up something, in order to attempt a solution. Otherwise, we are never going to be able to fully address any problem. We need to stop making excuses for our own selfishness and step back to view a bigger picture: we really don’t need anything except food, shelter, clothing, and safety. We cannot be safe if we do not come together and form a reasonable plan on how to make it safe.

When you refuse to give an inch on your “rights”, you refuse to negotiate a plan on how to make it safer. The you want to “debate” using erroneous statements and claims, you refuse to make it any safer. You are, quite simply, a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.


The Face of It All

I sit here, in my living room, on the day I should be in Virginia. Why? Because of promises broken less than a week into the planning. Originally, my mother-in-law (Ruth) was supposed to help me with the plane tickets and accommodations. Yet, less than a week after she returned to Virginia, she called and asked if I thought I would be able to find my own way.

Knowing how Ruth is, this usually means that she has things other than being a compassionate, understanding person that she feels is more important. This, along with her selfish ideas on what constitutes a memorial service, spurred me into writing a letter to her minister imploring him to try to get her to see how a memorial is really supposed to be and that the wishes of the dead should be honored, despite one’s own feelings.

Subsequently, Ruth unfriended me because I told her that she needed to show more compassion, something she really does not know the meaning of. Oh, sure, she did send money. But that is not borne of a compassionate heart. That was borne from a view that she had a duty. Compassion sees no duty. Born from real love, compassion simply does without personal desires attached. It understands. It accepts the position of the other. And most of all, it treats all with respect.

It is one of the most important components in Love. It is what exemplifies that you have accepted and follow the truth. And that truth is that your wishes do not matter in the grand scheme of things. There are greater forces at work than you. You are finite. At least this physical shell is. Life itself goes on endlessly. And all life is linked.

But, here I sit. No plane tickets, no way to get to where I should be. Perhaps it is for the best. Maybe the universe is protecting those who are in the wrong from my deep mind. Or maybe something is about to happen that I did not need to be involved in. Either way, their little misguided world is safe. I am safe.

Of course, it is supposed to start storming later and I wouldn’t be able to leave Virginia and land in Omaha. Still, I will remember Kelly my way, the way she was. Not my preconceived notion of what I wanted for her. But then, I never expected her to change. To me, she was perfect the way she was, on the path she was on.

From this point on, I will have to remind myself that to stand in judgment of another is to stand in judgment of myself and to condemn another is to condemn myself. If I bind, so shall I be bound.


Mystic Me

Yesterday, I learned much about who I am. I am always learning, though. It seems that I am not simply a Gnostic, but am a mystic. I believe in so much more than simply the inner journey.

For those of you who do not understand mysticism and mystics, let me give you a short list of our beliefs.

As a mystic:











(source of list: Gaia.com)

I am not comfortable with rites and rituals, or physical pursuits associated with “belief”. I feel that belief is based upon inexorable truth that is not necessarily a tangent quantity, but adds quality to one’s life. Belief has nothing to do with deeds, nor do deeds have anything to do with belief. Someone who does, with expectations of return, do not believe in anything except self.

Life is about experience, nothing else. One must experience every aspect to understand or gain wisdom and insight. Until one experiences, they cannot understand or fathom the fullness of what is around us. In order to experience, you must question existence. Why do we exist? What is our purpose? And most of all, you must value intuition. This does not means that you make the best choices every time (oh, God no), but you know that you often pay the price for second guessing that intuition.

Life is uncertain. It has only been recently, the last 10-15 years, that I have been able to fully become comfortable with this fact. Tomorrow is never promised to us, only today. We must do all that we can, all the positive we can (never negative), within that one day. And even that single day is an uncertainty.

I had to walk away from organized religion for two reasons. The first was the rigid dogma, which states that one must physically follow a certain path (without explaining that one must first change the inner self so that the walk is more pure) in order to be something. My discomfort with hierarchy/rites and rituals made it impossible to sit in a church.

The second reason I walked away was because I had to set my own rules. I do this through exploring the truth and implementing it in my life, which leads to internal growth. I see everyone as being sent to us as an example of what we, as individuals, must change within ourselves. We cannot change those around us, but we can change ourselves.

beyond this, I have always believed that humanity, of and by itself, has no power of its own. We are a collective that is connected to one another through nature and are powered by the universal power to do good and to better the world we are born into. We cannot better the world through condemning it, but through serving as examples and positive forces within it.

I also believe that love is the source of life. Without love, we are empty and dead, though we physically exist. By love, I do not mean the physical attraction to the opposite gender (or same gender as per preference) but rather the love that leads us to understand, accept, and have true compassion upon all without expectations. Without this love, we are nothing.

Finally, I do not know everything. I am always learning. And what I learn, I tend to share with you. I work toward a better understanding of the world and the universe…and ultimately, the meaning of life and our purpose here. After all, life is about learning and growing, not about sitting in place and staying the same. Progress can only be found by moving forward, not going in reverse. Enlightenment is found through diligence and realizing that we cannot remain in ignorance if we seek to be wise.

And, as always, I remain your humble friend. Until the very end.


Living With Tinnitus

Imagine hearing a low hum constantly. Even in an empty room where there is complete silence.  This is the lower end of the tinnitus spectrum. A constant, almost unnoticeable hum. That never goes away.

Now imagine what I can only describe as having a jet engine’s high pitched whine in one, the other, or both ears. Or, maybe, a tornado. Although this is not an accurate description, it is as close as I can get.

Now imagine going through this on a daily basis at varying degrees. Most days could be at the low end of the spectrum, but the high end could strike at any moment, caused by any sound…or just the wind blowing in your ear. Or nothing at all. Onset can be heralded by a sudden case of vertigo or even a sudden loss of balance for no apparent reason.

Tinnitus, by definition, is the excessive vibration in the inner ear, causing a buzzing or humming sound that can only be heard by the sufferer. Even definitions cannot define or describe the attacks accurately. These minimally descriptive definitions mislead the majority of people into believing that tinnitus and its effects are “imagined” by the sufferer, even though it is very real and very devastating and debilitating to the one who suffers from it.

Side effects include vertigo, migraines, and temporary (sometimes for hours) deafness. Of course, all of this depends on the severity of the attack.  At the very least, someone speaking to a person suffering from an attack will seem muffled. At the very worst, the person will not be heard. Some attacks can make the sufferer physically ill or double over in pain. One famous sufferer, Vincent Van Gogh,  even cut off his ear and eventually went insane.

Upon hearing that one of my heroes, Eric Clapton, has come forward and admitted that he also suffers from it and is going deaf has caused me to reflect back on my own experience with this maddening problem. It also reminds me what can cause the problem. Yet, mine was not caused by fantastically loud guitars and concerts. Mine was caused by something much more mundane and yet, much more abusive.

When I was five, I had to have fluid drained from my middle ear. When it was through, I had extremely acute hearing. The doctor did warn my parents that I would probably have occasional bouts of tinnitus, but he thought it would clear up after my ears got used to not being full of fluid.He also warned them that there should be no loud noises or there could be the possibility that there could be nerve damage or permanent tinnitus.

So acute that I could hear a mousetrap being dropped five rooms away! My father, thinking himself clever, delighted in waiting until I was nearby, then dropping a mousetrap just to watch me jump because of the loud noise. And, as the doc had warned, I began suffering tinnitus. At first, it was the low  hum. But as my dad continued to persecute me with the traps, the tinnitus began to rise in pitch and severity.

It reached a peak when I was in my teens. I did not know when it would hit or at what decibel I would be enjoying my next bout.  People thought it was weird that I would lose my balance for what they thought was absolutely no reason (one of the reasons I never went pro as a boxer) or would have to stop and wait for “the colors” to go away so I could see. Some couldn’t even understand the connection between my migraines and my “inner ear problem”.

Over nearly 40 years (I am only three years short of the 40 year mark), I have staggered, lost balance, nearly fallen down stairs, winced in pain, had to cover my ears, had to stop for no apparent reason, or sit down for a few minutes simply because I was hit by a sudden barrage of sound that no one else can hear. I have gotten sick to my stomach, had to go lay down, had to brace myself, and had to suffer through migraines that caused me to vomit. I have had more times than I care to count where I had to embarrass myself and ask someone to repeat themselves because the tinnitus had started up and I did not hear a thing they had said.

I can attest that, at its worst, tinnitus is enough to make the one who suffers from it want to commit suicide. And yes, the thought had crossed my mind a few times about chopping off my ear just to find a little quiet. Both were never truly options to me, though. A buzz is bearable enough to stagger through life with and I can handle having that 747 take off in my ear from time to time as well. And though I don’t feel comfortable with asking people to repeat themselves, I will patiently do so as long as they are as patient with me as I am with them.

I was lucky enough for three and a half years, to be relatively free of much of the worst of my tinnitus. While Kelly was alive, my tinnitus had died down to a barely noticeable hum. The migraines and vertigo were almost nonexistent. I had stability and someone who understood my problems and was patient with me.

Now, my tinnitus is back with a vengeance. And I have nothing. No way to keep it at a minimum. If you remember, I told you at the beginning that tinnitus does not need a trigger. silent rooms can shriek louder than noisy ones. The irony is, with tinnitus, one learns that the old adage “silence is deafening” is very true because in silence, the plague that is that infernal hum of tinnitus can grow to a deafening roar.