May 15, 2008

A Sirius Interview

Buon giorno. Your not so humble host was invited to be on Sirius Satellite Radio's "Blog Bunker", Indie Talk 110. The topic was the Tibet situation. My first response was, "Yeah, sure". But then I found out that it was on the level. I was on last night (14 May 2008) at just after 17.00 for about fifteen minutes. I wanted to be in the studio, but with a series of personal crises and distractions, I had to do it by telephone.

My apologies to the host, I believe his name was Joe Salzone, for being unsure of his name. But I was a bit nervous. Although they bill it as a round-table discussion, it was just Joe and me. When he asked a question, I just launched. (Penne told me later that she wondered if I was going to even take a breath in the first few minutes.) All those years of learning, plus the desire to get my point across, came out like machine gun fire. I think one reason that I launched so badly is that I've seen and heard so many shows where, if the guest pauses for a second, he can't finish his point. But that's just my own hang-up.

Mr. Salzone was not contentious. Obviously, his professional instincts told him that I wasn't used to this. Even though I've spoken to groups that sometimes numbered in the hundreds (different subject in a different life), I was still shaking. At least, my voice didn't squeak. Ernie the Gambler and Nicky both had to help settle me down afterwards.

Also, the host didn't call me on it when I messed up on a couple of questions. When he asked, I launched again. Didn't even take time to make a joke or two, which is rare for me. Later, I began to wonder if I misunderstood the question (or was it two?) and answered something he did not ask.

And he didn't exactly coddle me. There were some standard questions that I was expecting (like the first one), but then he threw me a couple of curves. Glad I knew my subject. And even when I didn't, I was able to bluster through the question.

Anyway, I don't think I did too badly, especially for a first time. Next time, I'll do better. Next time, I don't think Joe will give me a free pass. Yes, I was told that they might have me back sometime. (Maybe this time I'll get to meet Alexandra!) In the meantime, I told them to get with Agam. You ready, Pal?

It was a good experience, if short and nerve-wracking. But I'm willing to do it again. Especially if there's some chance that it will gain some more attention for the people of Tibet.

April 20, 2008

As the World Burns

Buon giorno. I've found out through years of experience that I can't convince people of anything: "I have my mind made up, don't confuse me with facts". But, as I've said before, you never met a Weblog writer quite like me! I have to give my views of the truth, and I like to present evidence when I'm not too busy. And I'm finding time for this one.

Since this article is for Urf Day, I'm writing in green ink. So to speak. Ah, Urf Day. When we hear the gospel of environmentalism, tree-hugging and conservation. Sure, I'm all for conservation and being environmentally friendly. But I like it within reason. It's become quite the religion for some people, and they wear it like a badge or even get smug about it. Hey, save a tree, read online! Too bad cafones don't bother to tell you that trees are a renewable resource; they are farmed so we don't have the barren wilderness that was threatening to happen in the early 1900s.

The biggest deal that puts me off to environmentalism is the global warming hype. Yes, hype. I'm ready to take the heat for this one. (Yeah, I made a funny.) When they show that stuff on channels like Discovery, I call it, "Oh-My-Gosh-We're-All-Gonna-Die" Week. The stories are slanted and alarmist. First they tell us that we all have to work together to stop global warming because it's all humanity's fault (never mind volcanoes, how about capping them?), then some tell us that it's too late, it's irreversible, we're doomed. But "global climate change" had a different alarm in the 1970s, with scares of a coming ice age! And they want to blame humans for what is, in reality, normal cycles of warming and cooling. And global warming will lead to cannibalism. My brain hurts.

We've just had some pretty cold winters. Iraq had snow for the "first time in memory". Record snowfalls in the winter of 2007-2008. Baby, it's cold outside. Tell me something, willya? These people are using computer models, making predictions and all that for 10, 50, 100 years and more. Why in blazes do we trust them to prophesy about the end of the world when they can't even get next weekend's weather forecast right? Sure wish I could remember who said that before me so I could give proper credit.

The high priest of global warming is undoubtedly Al Gore. His Gorebal warming stuff is annoying. What's more annoying is that people are convinced by pretty pictures and believe something just because there's a video or movie with slick production. Hey, Al! You had a serious refutation by a schoolgirl's extra credit work. Too bad the Website she did seems to be down. Maybe it was taken down by those that can't handle the truth! Conspiracy! Algore is pretty reluctant to take on actual scientists in debates. Makes me wonder. No, not really.

Hey, how about those carbon offsets? That's a load of crap. Take a look at the Wall Street Journal. Or the Financial Times. It didn't take long for me to find that bit of information here, to show that it's fraud. I recently bought a bag of "Sun Chips", and I couldn't believe that they had something stamped on the bag to the effect of, "We buy carbon offsets". Oh, please. It's a false guilt conscience bandage for the wealthy; buying carbon offsets will do nothing.

I've said before that constant repetition of one viewpoint, especially masquerading as science, is nothing short of brainwashing. Guess what? There are serious scientists with opposing views, as I hinted before. Why don't we hear from them? Scientists don't like that movie he did, with good reason. I didn't waste my time watching it.

Here's one of the best parts: The Untied (misspelling intentional) Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been challenged by scientists to back off from their absurd global warming position. That's the way, take the challenge to the top! If this has gotten your attention and you want more evidence against what gets shoved in your face every day, let Thomas Brewton show you some things.

So, I laugh at Algore and tolerate rabid environmentalists. I try not to be wasteful and detest pollution. Being environmentally friendly is common sense when it's not taken to extremes, and I'm all for it. Global warming? Nah. That nonsense doesn't scare me, even though it's the current "consensus". I'm much more concerned with the effects of the Chinese communists on the Tibetans, and the rest of the world. Now that is a real problem worthy of my attention. Ciao!

Addendum 12-28-2008:
Here is another link worth reading.

March 26, 2008

It's a Learning Process

Hey, Kids! Don't try this at home. I did, and I regretted it. As I've said before, sometimes I try to use my own experiences as an example for others. In this case, something to avoid.

Something else I've said before is that I have Type 2 diabetes. Don't worry, you can't catch it. It's pretty well under control when I pay attention. On Easter Sunday, I wasn't paying close enough attention. Sure, I can have some dessert (which has sugar) and an extra helping of potatoes (which have starch). Too bad I didn't know that the ham had a kind of sugar glaze or something. And that sugar was added to the corn. When everything was added up, it was harmful.

Two hours after eating, I took a blood reading. And almost fell off my chair because it was my all-time high. Now, other diabetics might look at my number of about 223 and say, "Big deal." Well, the normal range for a healthy adult is 80-120, and my doctor wants me around 100 (which it has been more often than not).

But it was a shock to me, and I overcompensated. Instead of taking one of my remedies, I took three. The third was the worst, because I took an additional 1,000 mg. of Metformin (an oral insulin that I normally have just twice a day, but I did one more). Shoulda stopped with the cinnamon tablet and vinegar water as my first response, but I was wound up and acting like a cafone.

Well, I was getting nervous. Thought it was what I was reading about Tibet, and some things I had e-mailed that were, uh, strongly-worded. I stepped outside to settle down. When I came back in, I was feeling worse. "This isn't a nerve thing", I thought.

I was shaking and pale, and decided to do an extra blood reading. Almost fell off the chair again. I was down to 65! A crash was coming on. I dropped 158 points in an hour or two, no wonder I was feeling weird. So, I had to bring it back up. What a friggin' roller-coaster ride. I ate some things (wasn't hungry, but what are you gonna do?) and I felt better, eventually.

What I did was like smashing a mosquito with a sledgehammer: It kills the bug, but ruins your floor. It had been said to me that dealing with diabetes is a learning process. I learned. It wasn't life-threatening, but it may have threatened my retaining consciousness. Maybe some diabetics can relate to my little story. For everyone else, I have a lesson: don't overcompensate. Respond a little at a time.

March 21, 2008

Yes He Did!

Bunoa sera. I'm writing this on Good Friday. Christians everywhere know what it means, the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. It wasn't a good Friday for him, but it was good for the rest of us. I'm not going to go into the details of what a horrible death it was, nor am I going to give you a theology lesson. But since I'm not planning to write anything on Easter Sunday, I'll write about Easter. But there's so much detail that I have to leave out, you'll have to do your own searches.

Ahhhh...Easter. Candy, egg hunts, candy, fluffy bunnies, candy, spring clothes, candy, diabetic comas...

"Why do we call it Easter, anyway, Cowboy Bob?"

It was named after a pagan goddess and festivals, and, possibly, the time of year that was linked to the goddess Astarte. Then, the observance of the resurrection of Jesus (the time is linked to the Passover observances of the Jews as well) as a reasonable timeframe for everything, and the Christian celebration became dominant over the pagan thing, but the pagan name remained.

He died horribly.

On the third day, he rose from the dead.

Let me take a moment and settle some counting difficulties that people have. When looking at the Gospel accounts, written two thousand years ago in ancient languages, it's a serious mistake to put 21st century Western though, customs and traditions (and expectations!) on the ancient writings. Western thought (and some crackpot "we're the one true church" cults) put the Resurrection somewhere around Wednesday, because they insist on modern interpretations and literal 24-hour periods of days.

Guess what? The way of reckoning time back then was to consider
a part of a day and count it. So, crucified and buried on Friday (day one), all day Saturday (day two), some of Sunday (the third day). Not too difficult. OK? Capice?

From the very beginning (including in the Gospel records), people have tried to suppress, hide and outright lie about this fact of history.

"Gosh, Uncle Bob, you're really being a cowboy today!"

So what? It's my Weblog. Besides, I back things up, remember?

OK, I'll let you look up where they paid off the guards...no, I have to say something there. Roman guards were very meticulous and knew that they faced the death penalty for just about any foul-up. Some genius said, "Tell them that they stole the body while you were sleeping", bribed them and "made it right" with their superiors. Quick question: How do you know what happened while you were sleeping?

Let me take that one a bit further. Suppose the disciples did steal the body. Read the accounts of their activities later on. Would you give your life to spreading a message that was unpopular, face persecutions, lose everything, get executed — all for something you know is a lie?

Had to go there, I love that one. But read the other parts in the Gospels where efforts were made to cover up for the missing body and the empty tomb.

I like what I call the "oops" theory: That everyone went to the wrong tomb. Oh, gimme a break! Nobody was expecting a resurrection! There was a lot of traffic by enemies, disciples and quite a few other people. You mean that nobody said, "Hey, I see your problem. You turned left. The real tomb is over there, make a right..."

How about this one? He was revived in the tomb. Uh huh. Let's take this to the logical conclusion. Wrapped almost like a mummy, suffering wounds, loss of blood...then he woke up, unwrapped himself, rolled a two-ton rock from the entrance of the tomb, overpowered the guards, escaped, then showed himself looking better than ever. Then he lies and says he's risen from the dead. As stupid as that sounds, what about when he really does die? So would the movement he started.

A cute one is that the Resurrection is a myth that was built up over time. Spare me! There were contemporaries. Start a rumor, build a myth — and get struck down by people who where there and saying, "Nope, didn't happen that way." Biblical archaeologist William Albright reported:
"We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today."

Getting a bit long in this segment, I know, but this is important. So I'll tighten things up.

"It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference." — Nelson Glueck, Jewish Archaeologist. Let me add that there is more of Shakespeare in dispute, which is far more recent, than New Testament documents.

One of the most important voices in my own spiritual journeys was Josh McDowell. I highly recommend his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict. He set out to disprove Christianity, and became on of the forefront apologists for it, instead.

As I said before, people who do not want to believe, will not believe. Sure, they have their reasons and brainwash themselves into disbelieve, but they've never bothered to read that book, or others like it: Who Moved the Stone, by Morrison (a former skeptic). Or Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis.

I think I know why the nay-sayers don't look carefully. If they gave serious, open-minded investigation, they would be converted like McDowell and Morrison. After all, if the Resurrection is true, then we'd jolly well better find out about this Jesus person and what he has to say.

For some beginning research, I have a few things for you to check out if you're interested. And if you're intellectually honest.

First, Josh McDowell has a good, readable article here.
Here is one by Dr. Ian Paisley on the evidence.
And here is an article about the reliability of the Bible itself.

Addendum: Freedom's Lighthouse has a video here.

That outta hold you for a while, Gertrude. You can relax, knowing that the truth of Resurrection of Jesus Christ is, indeed, the "best attested fact in history". Happy Easter!

March 16, 2008

No Irish Need Apply

Mora Na Maidine Dhuit! Top of the morning to you! Irish you all a happy St. Patrick's Day. My ancestors did not exactly come from the Emerald Isle. They emigrated there from Scotland.

Although the Irish seem to be the second largest ethnic group in the US, I really don't think that people know much about them. The perception is that they have a cute accent, a way with words, invented terrorism, drink to excess and really know how to throw a party. So, before you go out and have green beer, wear funny hats, fake an Irish accent (which most people do rather poorly), wear green clothing and all that, I'd like for you to read a bit about the Irish.

Are there any famous Irish people that have enriched society in general? Looks like I have to do your work for you again. That's all right, I know you're busy. But just a few names, there are quite a few. The ones I'm listing were born in Ireland.

We'll start with some actors:
* Patrick McGoohan
* Pierce Brosnan (I think he was an excellent James Bond)
* Maureen O'Hara

* Maureen O'Sullivan
* Peter O'Toole

And then some musicians:
* Phil Coulter
* Enya (with the really cool name of Eithne Ní Bhraonáin)
* James Galway

* Turlough O'Carolan
* Cora Venus Lunny

Some literary figures:
* C. S. Lewis (he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, Screwtape Letters, Mere Chrisitanity and more)
* George Bernard Shaw
* William Butler Yeats
* Mary Lavin

* Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory

Moving on to science:
* Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton
* Ellen Hutchins
* Robert Boyle (one of the founders of modern chemistry)

* Lucien Bull (with photography and the electrocardiogram, I've felt his influence myself)
*
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin

Sports? Yes, plenty. Look that up yourself.

I guess there are more Irish people than you thought that have had influence in the world, huh, Scooter?

As far as "inventing terrorism", no, they didn't do that. But they did become famous for it with the Irish Republican Army. That was a radical group of separatists, predominantly in Northern Ireland. They were as typical of the Irish as Bin Laden is typical of Arabs: not. This group's use of terrorism, however, is a black eye that the Irish will have to live down. I was at a Celtic festival and saw a guy wearing a shirt with "IRA", and a fist holding a rifle. It took all I had to keep from showing him some personal terrorism with my fists! Stronzo!

If you look up the Potato Famine, you'll see why there was an influx of Irish immigrants to the United States. What most history books will not tell you, however, is that the English made the whole problem worse. And then they had discrimination in the US.

Let me interject that I get very tired of various groups acting like they have a monopoly on discrimination. (Further interjection: the word slave is based o
n the word Slav, for the slavic people. What does that tell you?) The Irish had plenty of discrimination as well. What were people afraid of? Maybe that the Irish would turn America into a Papist state. Who knows? People fear what they're not accustomed to. Look, they have their share of criminals, slobs and basic losers just like any other group, capice? And a lot more of the quality people than the bad sorts.

So, while you're having your corned beef and cabbage (which is not a traditional Irish dish, but developed in the US by the Irish), try to have a sober thought for the hard-working Irish who have contributed to society in many fields. Maybe give a read about St. Patrick, who was not actually Irish by birth...

Slán leat. Go mbeannaí Dia duit.

March 12, 2008

The Witching Hour

Buon giorno. Well, it seems that someone has been telling Nicky some tales again. These tales tied into things he was told as a child and got him a bit nervous. And I've been wanting to talk again about why we believe things. Or more importantly, why I believe things.

Particularly, it's "The Witching Hour". Now, I've been thinking about it myself off and on (especially when people run off at the mouth). What is it? When ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties go bump in the night, of course. When evil things are more powerful and will get you. Bwahahahaha!

I've heard people who believe in spirit activity say that you can be affected in your sleep during this time. Some say you can't sleep with your mouth open because something will come in and possess you or whatever. Uh huh. Sure.

OK, so the mythology is uncertain. The Witching Hour is mostly a European concept. Do other cultures have one? Also, when is it? Some say midnight, some say three AM, some say from midnight to three (that's a long hour!).

I've always wondered: do spirits observe time zones? "No, Fred, you can't possess him yet. It's central time over there!" For that matter, what do spirits or thingies do during Daylight Savings Time? That would be irritating, to be trying to do some serious evil and then have to wait a while, or discover that you missed your chance because you didn't reset your spirit clock. What happens in other countries, and when does it happen? (The evil spirits in Tibet are wearing Chinese Army uniforms.) If it's witching time here, what about in Italy, for instance? See how easily this gets absurd?

I need reasons to believe things. Not just because someone said, "This is the truth". These reasons include:
* My own experiences
* Experiences from trusted sources
* Scientific facts and evidence
* Archaeological facts and evidence
* The overall weight of evidence in light of other facts: do they hold up
* Reasoning powers
* Combinations of some or all of the above

If someone says to me, "This is so", but has nothing to back it up with, pardon me for being skeptical. For the record, the Bible meets my criteria, and I have found that it is entirely rational to believe that it is true.

Last night, I had a trip to the WC at 2.58 AM (the clock was right there, staring with its evil red eyes. I finished my urgent business and was pulling the blankets back on when I saw the clock blink to 3:00 AM. Ha! Back just in time! Good thing I believe more in getting my sleep than in being alarmed by scattered, unfounded tales.

Sleep well. I will.

February 24, 2008

Emotional Terrorism

You're not going to believe this stuff. I promise you, it's true. My purpose is twofold: to tell the amazing story, and to give an example of how screamingly ridiculous some people can be.

It's ridiculous to "walk on eggshells", trying not to provoke someone. Sure, there's a time for keeping a low profile and just shutting the hell up. But not as a lifestyle. When you live your life so that whenever you're around a certain person you don't want them to "go off" in a baby fit of rage, it's just pathetic. The high-maintenance baby needs to grow up (especially at age 25, for God's sake), and the eggshell walker needs to be himself. Fits happen. Move on. I've written about the psychotic in question before. She's the one that crashed the car on purpose, shown in the previous posting. To show the crimes and psychological studies of this misfit would take an entire Weblog in and of itself.

Neil lives with his second wife and her daughter. There has been enormous tension between Neil and adult-child control freak because he resents her lazy-selfish-criminal-money-grubbing- self-indulgent-drama-queen-welfare-sucking lifestyle. He also cannot understand why her mother lets her get away with things, getting whatever she wants while working extra jobs to pay bills that Freako has run up.

There have been incidents in the past, but on Friday, February 22, 2008, a really interesting thing happened. Neil made an unkind comment to the mother about the daughter. He forgot that the drama queen loves to eavesdrop.

I should point out that Neil is hard on himself. Full of self-doubt and insecurity of his own, he did not say something that he hasn't said about himself—and he's said far worse about himself.

So, wicked child decided to react. Instead of going to the source, she started in on her mother. Her mother said, "Don't put me in the middle, talk to the one who said it." But that did not happen. It was a train load of "oh poor me", and accusations.

Neil could keep silent no longer. He said, "You've got it all figured out, don't you?"

The BB is incapable of reason. She starts railing. Neil made it worse by pointing out a couple of truths that she didn't want to hear. The "F word" flew from her in twenty minutes about as many times as it did in all of Scarface, blaming both him and her mother for all of the misfortunes in her lazy life.

Brace yourselves for this.

The witch actually came over to where Neil was sitting (probably reading this Weblog) and punched him in the face. Twice. (Now, yours truly would have ripped her head clean off, but he must have heard more lessons on restraint and compassion than I have.) She said that he "deserved it". (See what I mean about reason? She's incapable of it.) He says it took all he had, but he only stood up and said, "Do you know what I could do to you?" After more fussing, she proceeded to pick up cans of cat food and threw them at him! They connected twice, and he still has a bruise on his arm.

But he didn't touch her. He also knows how the cops and modern society work—he would have been the one in handcuffs. Why did he stand up in the first place? To dodge further attacks, he was worried about her mother's safety, and the rage that he was barely restraining.

He found out later that the mother thought that the daughter was going after the knives. But I know Neil, he would neutralize a serious threat; it would have been her last mistake. Too bad he's not qualified to work on my crew!

At this point, she blamed her mother for even more of the perceived ills in her life, and then proceeded to call her mother's mother and tell the old lady about how bad her daughter (witch's mother, I don't want you to get lost here) is in life. It's her mother's fault that she has mental problems, that her natural father is said to be a jerk, that she married "some asshole she met off the Internet" (Neil, that is—and Neil uses that word about himself), and God knows what else. Irrational, and actually funny in some ways. Especially the "you've never done anything for me" crap. This testa di cazzo is a taker, not a giver. Neil tells me that he wonders about himself, giving to this creature over and over, when she's not capable of giving anything without an ulterior motive of her own.

Oh, and she confined one of her cats in her room—the one her mother likes best. The cat hated it, scratching at the door and crying to be let out. Tormenting a cat for revenge. How low can you get? But the cat was eventually released.

Note to the guys: think long and hard before getting involved with a woman with kids. You will always be lower on her list than the kids.
The next time you’re considering a relationship with a woman, remember this admonition: If you’re not her number one, you’re number two. And, that stinks. — Marc Rudov

Just know that there is evil in the world that you know nothing about. Does anyone care to share their own irrational nutcase stories?

Addendum 2-26-2008: Neil should see this article about emotional terrorism.

Also, the "adult" in the story above is a lesbian that hates men. Dr. Donald Dutton, an authority on domestic violence, cites a study of 1,100 lesbian and bisexual women. This study shows that women are more likely to experience violence in relationships with women than they do with men. That is, women are quite capable of instigating domestic violence.

Another addendum: A follow-up can be found here.


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