Friday, December 26, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
During my normal commute home, I exit up a very long escalator. Today, while on that long ride up, I was distracted from my reading by a male voice singing the American National Anthem. I say distracted because at first I was annoyed by this intrusion into my reading. But it took only a few sung words for me to realize that this guy was good. He was really good! I turned behind to see it was from a black man dressed in a Metro train workers clothing, about 3 people behind me. He saw me look at him, but luckily this glance of mine did not dissuade him from continuing his song. And it was exquisite. His volume was not so loud as if trying to merely force attention on himself, nor so soft as to portray embarrassment. And the style he was singing our anthem in was a kind of jazz / gospel blend. After my first quick glance I turned forward again, and just took it in. It really seemed to just come from his heart. When he completed the last words, and the final note was done, I turned again and applauded softly, giving him a big smile. It was then I saw he had tears in his eyes. He looked at me and kind of gave me an 'aw shucks' kind of return smile. I found this whole experience very moving.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
If the Man tells you when to go to work, when you'll get your break, when you'll get your lunch, how much you'll get paid, whether or not you'll get benefits, and when to take a walk when he doesn't need you, I'd say that's Working Class and about seventy percent of Americans fall into that. - Joe Bageant
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
8 : U.S. Vice Presidents have risen to President after their predecessor died in office.
72 : John McCains current age. Would become the oldest elected president.
75.4 : Life expectancy of a U.S. male.
Can you really see Palin running this nation?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Maryland is 2/3rds Democrat
Maryland Electoral votes is winner take all.
If I vote Obama, will it matter?
If I vote McCain, will it matter?
My vote is thereby meaningless, disenfranchised.
We NEED a National Popular Vote!
We have it for every political office except President.
Friday, September 12, 2008
- The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. - George Bernard Shaw
- Faith means not wanting to know what is true. - Friedrich Nietzsche
- I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. - Frank Lloyd Wright
- We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. - Gene Roddenberry
- To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. - Isaac Asimov
- A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. - Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
- Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca the Younger
- Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. - Anonymous
- Not only is there no god, but try getting a plumber on weekends. - Woody Allen
- If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. - Isaac Asimov
- Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination. - Edward Abbey
- With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg
- I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence. - Doug McLeod
- The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence. - Abu’l?Ala al Ma’arri
- Since the Bible and the church are obviously mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust them to tell us where we are going? - Anonymous
- I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony
- The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. - Delos B. McKown
- Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer. - Anonymous
- Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. - Francis Bacon
- The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. - Richard Dawkins
- A God who kept tinkering with the universe was absurd; a God who interfered with human freedom and creativity was tyrant. If God is seen as a self in a world of his own, an ego that relates to a thought, a cause separate from its effect. he becomes a being, not Being itself. An omnipotent, all?knowing tyrant is not so different from earthly dictators who make everything and everybody mere cogs in the machine which they controlled. An atheism that rejects such a God is amply justified. - Karen Armstrong
- It is not as in the Bible, that God created man in his own image. But, on the contrary, man created God in his own image. - Ludwig Feuerbach
- People ask me what I think about that woman priest thing. What, a woman priest? Women priests. Great, great. Now there’s priests of both sexes I don’t listen to. - Bill Hicks
- All the biblical miracles will at last disappear with the progress of science. - Matthew Arnold
- Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence. - Anonymous
- Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one. - Richard Dawkins
- What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. - Christopher Hitchens
- In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point. - Friedrich Nietzsche
- It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible. - George W. Foote
- On the first day, man created God. - Anonymous
- I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts
- You do not need the Bible to justify love, but no better tool has been invented to justify hate. - Richard A. Weatherwax
- What’s “God”? Well, you know, when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God’s the guy that ignores you. - Steve Buscemi (From the movie “The Island”)
- As far as I can tell from studying the scriptures, all you do in heaven is pretty much just sit around all day and praise the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I think that after the first, oh, I don’t know, 50,000,000 years of that I’d start to get a little bored. - Rick Reynolds
- Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish. - Anonymous
- Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. - Don Hirschberg
- God should be executed for crimes against humanity. - Bryan Emmanuel Gutierrez
- To say that atheism requires faith is as dim-witted as saying that disbelief in pixies or leprechauns takes faith. Even if Einstein himself told me there was an elf on my shoulder, I would still ask for proof and I wouldn’t be wrong to ask. - Geoff Mather
- I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. - Mark Twain
- Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men. - Voltaire
- And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. - Bertrand Russell
- Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? - Epicurus
- I’m a polyatheist - there are many gods I don’t believe in. - Dan Fouts
- If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. - Woody Allen
- A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
- Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a God superior to themselves. Most Gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. - Robert A Heinlein
- I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing. - Douglas Adams
- It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. - Mark Twain
- He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave. - William Drummond
- Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family. - Steven Colbert
- Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s? - Friedrich Nietzsche
- Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, Controls people, Deludes people. - Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney
- Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea. - Anonymous
- When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. - Sigmund Freud
- They felt that science would be corrosive to religious belief and they were worried about it. Damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive to religious belief and it’s a good thing. - Steven Weinberg
- Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains. - Robert G. Ingersoll
- History teaches us that no other cause has brought more death than the word of god. - Giulian Buzila
- Atheism is a non-prophet organization. - George Carlin
- We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins
- A believer states everything must have a creator but fail to say how he was created. - Anonymous
- “There are no atheists in foxholes” isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes. - James Morrow
- People will then often say, ‘But surely it’s better to remain an Agnostic just in case?’ This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I’ve been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would choose not to worship him anyway.) - Douglas Adams
- Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived. - Isaac Asimov
- If all the Christians who have called other Christians “not really a Christian” were to vanish, there’d be no Christians left. - Anonymous
- An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support. - John Buchan
- Gods dont kill people. People with Gods kill people. - David Viaene
- If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which He has inflicted upon men, He would kill Himself. - Alexandre Dumas
- Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. - Sam Harris
- I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose - Clarence Darrow
- No philosophy, no religion, has ever brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of Atheism. - Annie Wood Besant
- I refuse to believe in a god who is the primary cause of conflict in the world, preaches racism, sexism, homophobia, and ignorance, and then sends me to hell if I’m ‘bad’. - Mike Fuhrman
- Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. - Frater Ravus
- Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have. - Penn Jillette
- Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power but absolute power is corrupt only in the hands of the absolutely faithful. - Anonymous
- Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense. - Chapman Cohen
- The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it. - Robert G. Ingersoll
- When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion. - Robert Pirsig
- I wonder who got the shit job of scouring the planet for the 15000 species of butterfly or the 8800 species of ant they eventually took on board Noah’s Ark. But at least we got that magical rainbow for all their trouble. - Azura Skye
- I have no need for religion, I have a conscience. - Anonymous
- Man has always required an explanation for all of those things in the world he did not understand. If an explanation was not available, he created one. - Jim Crawford
- I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins
- What has been Christianity’s fruits? Superstition, Bigotry and Persecution. - James Madison
- The characters and events depicted in the damn bible are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. - Penn and Teller
- If god is the alpha and the omega. The begining and the end, knows what has passed and what is to come, like it states in the bible, why do people pray and think it will make any difference. - Mark Fairclough
- The finality of death is the coldest truth one must face. Religion makes the perfect distraction. - Anonymous
- Religion is the opiate of the masses. - Karl Marx
- If God created the world, then who created god? and who created whoever created god? So somewhere along the line something had to just be there. So why can’t we just skip the idea of god and go straight to earth? - Ryan Hanson
- If we expect God to subscribe to one religion at the exclusion of all the others, then we should expect damnation as a matter of chance. This should give Christians pause when expounding their religious beliefs, but it does not. - Sam Harris
- Atheists will celebrate life, while you’re in church celebrating death. - Anonymous
- Animals do not have gods, they are smarter than that. - Ronnie Snow
- I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever. - Daniel Boorstin
- I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake… Religion is all bunk. - Thomas Edison
- Fundamentalism, of any type, due to its prerequisite lack of intelligent thought, could prove to be the worst weapon of mass destruction, of all. - David J. Constable
- To really be free, You need to be free in the mind. - Alexander Loutsis
- Most religions prophecy the end of the world and then consistently work together to ensure that these prophecies come true. - Anonymous
- Jesus hardly made the greatest sacrifice. He knew he would be resurrected anyway. - Anonymous
- Religion is like a virus that affects the behaviour of its host in such a way as to propagate itself further. - Jack Pritchard
- Religions are like pills, which must be swallowed whole without chewing. - Anonymous
- Today’s religion will be the future’s mythology. Both believed at one time by many; but proved wrong by the clever. - Steven Crocker
- The Bible - A Fairytale book of rules brainwashing millions. Obliviously used to help create war, kill, hate, judge and discriminate. - Anonymous
- Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? - Douglas Adams
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Rightly considered an anti-war novel masterpiece. One of those works that should be read by all Americans, heck, all Humans. Even if you consider yourself a hawk, you should read this to get an idea where 'those crazy anti-war peaceniks' are coming from.
It's a quick read / page turner. I give it 5 stars, no hesitation.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
"Money is like manure...
If you make a big pile of it, it sits there and stinks up the area.
If you spread it around all thin, little flowers begin to grow..."
A very interesting analogy that seems to support income redistribution. Surely a rich person can afford much more than the basic necessities of life, fine. He can afford many of the nicer things of life too. But isn't there a point where a rich person has even more than he really needs? Especially when there are so many who are struggling for those basic necessities? I think this is a decent argument for progressive income taxes, if we need to keep income taxes at all. (I think I lean more toward a consumption based tax system.)
Friday, July 11, 2008
Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much. A 7 word summary of the book that sure makes it sound simple. And in a way, it IS that simple. Once you realize what is REAL food versus 'foodlike edible substances', and lot's of other basic guidelines. Oh, but how we have been hoodwinked by Mega Food companies, our own FDA, and misled by well-meaning but unreliable 'nutritionists'. I give it 4.5 stars. Very important, very educational.
Here's a good video of the the author, discussing the book:
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
It is false patriotism to adhere to the "America, love it or leave it" mentality. Those who adhere to this turn a blind eye to America's faults. How will we ever address them if we do not allow ourselves to even see them?
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Heres a cuke recipe that I made yesterday, Julie tried some and liked it a lot.
Chilled Cucumber Salad Recipe
2 cups thinly-sliced chilled cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup thinly-sliced fresh onions
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 dash cayenne
Place cucumber slices in medium-size glass bowl and sprinkle with salt. Stir in onions.
Place remaining ingredients in 2-cup glass measure and beat with fork to combine. Pour over cucumbers and onions and toss lightly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Stir before serving.
I didn't have any cayenne, so left that out. And I used some fresh dill from the garden... mmm!
Monday, June 30, 2008
Usually, history is written about the Presidents, Congressmen, and Generals. This book tells of the history of the U.S. from the perspective of the people. Indians, blacks, women, Mexicans, workers. There was so much to learn from this book, and so much to unlearn that we were taught.
Even if you don't agree with some of the political slants of Zinn, you will see a whole new way to view history. Supposedly it's already required reading in a few high schools and colleges. Let's hope it expands to more.
Power to the People!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
It is often assumed that we live with capitalism in America. I seriously doubt it. It's more like corporatism. The corporations have way too much influence in the government. A corporation is legally considered a 'person', with all the protections given there-in. Phooey.
A corporation is NOT a person. You can't shake hands with 'em. You can't even spit on 'em. Their power allow way too much influence with the government. Giving the corporation the equal value of a person was one of the biggest scandals in American judicial history.
We are all a brotherhood. Perhaps we should share all? But if we are all to share everything, then where is the incentive to excel? Does it come from inside? Will a person desire to excel in brain surgery? Will enough people desire to pursue the important craft of plumbing? Will there be a sufficient number of people farming, to feed everyone else? Perhaps a 'central control' could make sure these requirements are met. How can be sure that central control isn't corrupted?
Capitalism to the rescue! ? Looks good on paper, in reality, it's a mess. Those with power and wealth tend to retain it and at the same time tend to smash the lower classes to keep them down. The fewer competitors the better. The little people can eat cake. If they have what it takes, they'd make it. But they don't, so screw them.
Enough for now...
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Earthbox #1: Tomato 'Big Boy', Tomato 'Taxi' (yellow)
Earthbox #2: Cucumber 'Fanfare', Cucumber 'Sweet Slice', Sweet Pepper 'Nardello', Sweet Pepper 'Banana Supreme'.
Five Gallon Bucket Self Watering System: Tomato 'Better Bush'
- Habanero Hot Pepper
- Bush Beans
- Broccoli Raab
- Butterhead Lettuce
- Salad Bowl Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
Sunday, May 25, 2008
"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reforms. The whole history of the progress of human lliberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of struggle... If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will..."
- Frederick Douglass, 1857
Thursday, May 22, 2008
All-Purpose Cleaner (Fantastic Cleaner)
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons borax
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
2 cups hot water
Combine the washing soda, borax, and soap in a spray bottle. pour in the hot water (it will dissolve the minerals), screw on the lid, and shake to completely blend and dissolve. Spritz every 6 inches or so of surface once or twice, wiping off the cleanser with a rag as you go. For tough dirt, leave the cleanser on for a few minutes before wiping it off.
Shake the bottle each time before using.
Shelf Life: Indefinite
Storage: Leave in a labelled spray bottle
The first time I tried this, I used the Dawn dishwashing soap we had. It worked great with that. Then I tried it with Dr. Bronner's Lavender Liquid castile soap. Wow, the cleaner still works great, and now it smells great too!
Please note! Baking Soda is NOT the same as Washing Soda. I found the Arm & Hammer washing soda in the laundry aisle of my grocery store.
This is natural, powerful, and CHEAP! :)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
About 2 weeks ago, my wife discovered that her computer, running Ubuntu 8.04, would no longer read her digital cameras. As she was running the 64 bit version, and I was running the 32 on mine, I tried the cameras on my computer. No luck. What a disappointment! We had both happily been using Ubuntu for almost 2 years!
I looked around on the forum and tried a few things, no luck. Well that did it for me. I just find my time is too valuable to spend tinkering with the OS in order to get it to do what I consider basic functions (things like printing, internet access, sound, and cameras).
So I went to distrowatch.com and did some research. Here's the list of distro's I tried, along with a few notes.
- PC Linux OS Gnome Edition 2008- had a good bit of trouble getting it installed.
- OpenSUSE 10.3 - It was ok, just didn't wow me.
- Mandriva 2008.1 - Pretty promising, I put it on my short list. Wasn't happy about it's history though. Some releases were reportedly awe full.
- Debian Etch - I've never, ever had a distro boot up so quick! Pretty smooth install too. Required a bit of tinkering though, and the packages were so old.
- PCLinuxOS 2007 - My current choice. Read on for further review.
PCLinuxOS 2007 almost didn't make it though. The install was not perfect, and I was putting a high value on perfect installation performance. Still, I got through the install ok. Tweaked the desktop... I like a simple one, similar to windows. One small bar on the bottom with a 'start button', task section, notification section, clock. Simple.
I got a real kick when I fired up firefox and noticed the built in PCLinux Home Page was titled: "PCLinuxOS | the distro-hopper-stopper" I had to laugh out loud, as that is precisely what happened to me... I was hopping, now I stopped. I also thought that showed an amusing level of confidence on their part. Was it boasting? Will I stay with PCLinuxOS? I hope so, it seems to offer so much.
Right away, I was able to watch flash online. Many things just worked. I do think they should've included webcore-fonts in the install. It's in their repository though, so not that big a deal.
Very important as well is that my cameras worked! WooHoo!
And THEN I find out that PCLinuxOS is a 'rolling release' style distro. This means that you don't have to worry about major version upgrades, just keep doing the updates and you will always have the latest 'version'. I like this a lot.
I need to find the time to put this distro on my wife's computer. I'm curious how she'll react to a KDE desktop. She does NOT like change when it comes to her computer. We are both so used to GNOME. I think she'll value a properly working OS though over a broken one. I'm also curious to see if the install goes better on hers than on mine.
Maybe I can get to it this coming 3-day weekend.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Planted 5 cloves of garlic in the deep box of the salad table. Just grabbed some out of the fridge, poked a hole in the soil and dropped in a clove, point side up...
The greens are supposed to be pretty good, not as strong as the clove itself.
Also did some thinning this morning in the salad box.
Saturday I made a trip to Behnke's to pick up a new sweet pepper and cuke seedling. They went in the Earth Box #2. I don't like the looks of the other cuke, a leaf is browning and curling up. And it doesn't have a leaf to spare! Maybe it's too cold still for cukes? Night time temps still drop into the upper 40's.
The bush beans are coming nicely, had 6! Too many for the space, it was kinda sad to thin out such nice looking seedlings.
Harvested more mesclun for my sandwich, from the Mom's mesclun bunch I planted a couple weeks ago.
No sign of the peppers in the salad box. But I read that germination could take 10 to 25 days...
Sunday, May 11, 2008
I covered it back up, and am crossing my fingers. But this may activate the fertilizer and burn the young seedlings? I don't know...
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Also last weekend, I started my first Earthbox, with 2 different tomato plants.
This weekend, I bought another Earthbox and planted it with 2 different cucumber seedlings and 2 different sweet non-bell pepper seedlings.
I wish I could find my camera...