Sunday 30 September 2012

Movie Review: Looper

93% on Rotten Tomatoes? Holy cow, I had to go see this one. And it didn't disappoint, but... But I'll come back to that in a moment.

Set in 2044, this science fiction film centers on the idea of time travel. Our protagonist is a Looper, a killer for hire who dispatches his targets in the past. In the future, over 30 years in the future after time travel is invented in 2074, criminal organisations set up hits by sending the person into the past so as to have a foolproof way of disposing of the body. What happens if somebody is sent back in time and supposedly executed before they were born? What would happen to the timeline? If that wasn't thought-provoking enough, at some point a criminal organisation decides to rid itself of the looper himself by sending the older looper back in time where the younger looper kills the older version of himself. It's an odd situation brought about by the logic of time travel and while it's confusing describing it here, the film does a good job of telling its tale of it. Overall, this is a good story, well acted and well filmed. It is surprising to learn the budget was only a paltry thirty million.

Yes there are the actors. (Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt no less!) Yes there is the cinematography. And yes there are the special whiz-bang effects. But first and foremost there has to be a story and a compelling one at that. Behind the typewriter, ah, keyboard is Rian Johnson, a relative new-comer on the film scene. I would add that he may be new but he seems to be batting close to a thousand so far. He wrote and directed the 2005 film Brick which garnered 79% on Rotten Tomatoes and the 2008 caper film The Brothers Bloom which clocked in at 66%. That represents three films written and directed by this gentleman with an average of 79%. Is this guy a bit of a wunderkind?

I Hate Time Travel
And now for the "but" I mentioned earlier. The term "deus ex machina" refers to a plot device where the author paints himself into a corner and can't come up with a logical way of solving his predicament so introduces something new and possibly extraordinary to do so. You have the murder of Lord Axberry and are wondering whether the butler did it. Nope, an alien spaceship landed on the front lawn and little green men inadvertently killed the Lord while giving him an anal probe. Nope, a poltergeist in the hall closet jumped out and scared the crap out of the Lord so much he had a heart attack. Nope, an older version of himself came back in time and killed his younger self which caused a ripple in the space-time continuum resulting in his older self disappearing because he no longer logically existed since his younger self was dead. Got it? Take your time. It can be a challenge trying to wrap your head around that one.

Maybe it's me and my little quirk but I find it more compelling and more satisfying if the author presents me which a logical explanation for what transpires. Yes the butler did it and here's how he did it. I don't remember Agatha Christie falling back on aliens or ghosts or time travel. Okay the whole idea of time travel opens the door to all sorts of logical conundrums, perplexing contradictions in a storyline, which can make for great talk over a few beers but thank God that so far this remains just theory. Who knows what the heck we're going to be letting ourselves in for if somebody someday invents time travel.

As an FYI for all those inveterate lovers of time travel, I would direct you to the master Ray Bradbury and his 1952 short story "A Sound of Thunder". It not only deals with the paradox of time travel, but seems to have been the source for the term "The Butterfly Effect". I read it when I was 12 years old and have never forgotten it.

Final Word
This is a good film and well deserving of its ranking of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. While time travel is not one of my favourite themes in science fiction, the author did an excellent job of handling it and of pointing out in the somewhat surprising conclusion, how the concept of time travel leads to some unusual twists of logic. I would recommend it. This is worth shelling out a small fortune for a bag of popcorn and a large drink. If you're going to travel to the cinema, you might as well make your time a good one, a good, ah, time travel.


Rotten Tomatoes: Looper: 93%
As thought-provoking as it is thrilling, Looper delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action.

Wikipedia: Looper (film)
Looper is a 2012 American science fiction action film written and directed by Rian Johnson. The film stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. It was selected as the opening film of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released in Australia on September 27, 2012, and released in the U.S. and the U.K. on September 28, 2012.

official movie web site: Looper

Wikipedia: Deus ex machina
A deus ex machina (Latin: "god from the machine"; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object. It can be roughly translated as "God made it happen," with no further explanation, and, depending on usage, is primarily used to move the story forward when the writer has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out. However, in other cases, it is used to surprise the audience, or, commonly influenced by editors and/or publishers, bring a happy ending into the tale.

Wikipedia: The Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury (1952)
“A Sound of Thunder” is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury, first published in Collier’s magazine in the June 28, 1952. As of 1984 it was the most re-published science fiction story up to the present time. It is based on the concept that was later termed the butterfly effect.

Wikipedia: Butterfly effect
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane's formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before.


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Saturday 29 September 2012

Danosongs: Mars and Stars


Published on Feb 28, 2013 by angelisland

I ran into this piece of music completely by chance. It was used as background to a video demonstrating a commercial product. I enjoyed its meditative quality and actually watched the video advertisement several times just to listen to the song. After contacting the author of the ad, I discovered Danosongs and his royalty free music.

Danosongs.Com Royalty Free Music & Songs
Hi, I'm Dan-O and I post my original music as free MP3 downloads here on You can listen to the songs online or download the tracks. It's also legal to use the music royalty free in your video, game, film, presentation, slideshow or website.

YouTube channel: DanoRoyaltyFreeMusic
Hi, I'm Dan-O and I post my original music as free MP3 downloads on this site. You can listen to the songs online or download the tracks. It's also legal to use my music royalty free in your video, game, film, presentation, slideshow or website.

YouTube: Danosongs: Mars and Stars

Twitter: Dan-O, @danosongs
Composer, music producer. Audio for video production, independent filmmaking, games, podcasts and on hold. Free to use under creative commons license. New York, NY

YouTube: danosong's channel

Wikipedia: Meditation music
Meditation music is music performed to aid in the practice of meditation. It can have a specific religious content, but also more recently has been associated with modern composers who utilize meditation techniques in their process of composition, or who compose such music with no particular religious group as a focus. The concept also includes music performed as an act of meditation.


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Friday 28 September 2012

Edge what walk are you crazy?

Following the guide's instructions, I sort of sit down so I am hanging from the harness then slowly use my feet to push myself backwards. I get my feet to the corner of the walkway then straighten up so I am now leaning backwards at a fifty-five degree angle. Letting go of the support, I hold my arms out and smile for the camera. I look down. The ground is 356 metres or 1,168 feet straight down and the only thing stopping me from an approximate ten second drop to my death is a steel cable my guide assured me could support the weight of an elephant and a half. The intellectual side of me has calculated the risk and determined I'm safe while the emotional part of my brain has gone into hyper-drive screaming, "Ahhhhh!"

The CN Tower, Canada's phallic symbol, stands at 553 meters or 1,815 feet in downtown Toronto. Completed in 1976, it held two records for 34 years: world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower. In 2010 the Buri Khalifia in Dubai and the Canton Tower in Guangdong, China took over those titles but the tower remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. Currently the world's tallest tower is the Tokyo Skytree.

By the way, the CN refers to Canadian National, one of Canada's railway companies which built the tower. The railway has since divested itself of the tower and it now belongs to a Crown Corporation (agency of the Canada's federal government) although the name remains as is.

My humorous reference to "phallic symbol" dates back to a tour I was giving to a Danish student perfecting her English on an extended stay in Toronto. She looked at the tower and asked me, "Is that Canada's phallic symbol?" and I cracked up thinking that "phallic" wasn't a word I would have expected a student of English to know. Her command of my mother tongue was better than I thought.

For those of you unfamiliar with the tower, there are two main observation areas. The main deck at a height of 346 metres or 1,135 feet is a seven story structure containing shops, a revolving restaurant, and observation areas. The upper deck or the SkyPod is at the 446 metre or 1,465 foot mark and is just for observation.

In 2011, the tower opened its EdgeWalk attraction. It consists of a metal walkway going around the circumference of the tower on the roof of the main pod just over the revolving restaurant. Thrill-seekers are tethered to an overhead rail system at a height of 356 meters or 1,168 feet. EdgeWalk is billing itself as the world's highest full-circle, hands-free walk.

The whole experience takes about an hour and a half but the actual time you're out getting the bejesus scared out of you is only 30 minutes. It takes time to get suited up and time to get "unsuited" and to get your photos.

Walking around ain't too bad but it is bizarre. Standing at a window or an outside screened in area on the observation deck is one thing. Standing on a walkway with no screen, no railing, nothing between me and the vast space of open air and the entire city of Toronto laid out at my feet is another and my mind is reeling at this inconsistency between this and my day to day reality. It's not every day I find myself this high off the ground.

The guide, a sadistic young lady about 25 years old named Margo, makes me do two things which completely contradict my sense of well-being. The first, as I mentioned above, is to lean backwards from the walkway. I am hanging by this support cable connected to my chest. My feet are on the walkway but I am literally hanging in open space and yes, the ground is 356 metres or 1,168 feet straight down. I'm chuckling about it now but at the time, every fiber of my being was screaming, "Get the hell out of there!" Ha ha.

The second sadistic thing is to have me lean forward from the walkway so I am looking out over Toronto but I bend my head forward and I'm looking straight down. Hey, are those people or ants down there?

It's an odd comparison but one of my fellow thrill-seekers asked me what felt scarier, this or the parachute jump. When I stepped out of the plane at 4,100 meters or 13,500 feet (approximate equivalency), I was so high up I didn't quite appreciate the height. Being on the tower seemed to give me more vertigo. Is the possibility of death more apparent the closer you are to the ground?

Final Word
Parachute jump, hot-air balloon, zip-lining, parasailing and now, well, this. I am slowly going through my bucket list and checking things off. Sorry did I say bucket list? Maybe I meant death wish. Then again, much to my amusement, these activities look more dangerous than my everyday life but statistically seem to be safer. When I did my parachute jump, my research said that I had a one chance in 100,000 of dying but I had a one chance in 6,000 of dying behind the wheel of my car. Yes, I was 17 times safer getting out of an airplane than getting in a car. Go figure.

Let's chalk up my fear to the fact I don't do these other activities very often and consequently they seem strange. An acquaintance told me she had a zero chance of having an accident on EdgeWalk because there was absolutely no way she would ever do that. Ha ha. At least for me, I now have photographic evidence which gives me perpetual bragging rights so I never have to do this again. Whew! (wipes brow with forearm)

I will close with mention of my parachute jump. Colleagues joked about me soiling myself adding they could get me some Pampers. My response: "Necessary? Depends." But I discovered that the old saying "to be scared s**tless" is apparently not true. I think it took a full 24 hours after the experience for my sphincter to unclench.


Wikipedia: CN Tower
The CN Tower (French: Tour CN) is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

official web site: EdgeWalk
WHERE: On the roof of the CN Tower’s restaurant 356m/1,168ft above the ground! That’s right – way up there – way out there!
WHEN: May – October 2012. Bookings are now available. 1.5 hour total experience with a 20-30 minute outdoor walk.
WHY: You want to experience the thrill of a lifetime and join an exclusive group of EdgeWalkers.
HOW: Tickets are $175 and include keepsake video, printed photos, certificate of achievement and re-entry to CN Tower. You will also receive a Total Tower Experience Ticket which includes access to Look Out, Glass Floor, Sky Pod, Movie and Motion Theatre Ride.

Google image search: EdgeWalk

Google video search: EdgeWalk

Wikipedia: Pampers
Pampers is a brand of baby products marketed by Procter & Gamble. Pampers was at one time only used as a name for a disposable diaper.

Wikipedia: Depend (undergarmet)
Depend is a brand of absorbent, disposable underwear for adults experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence. It is made by Kimberly-Clark. The product was first introduced in 1984. It is the dominant brand of disposable incontinence garments in the United States, with a 30.8 share of the market.

my blog: Parachuting: If God had meant me to...
In the United States, there are over 3 million jumps each year and about 30 people die as a result. This works out to approximately 1 death for every 100,000 jumps. So, your chances of dying by doing a skydive are 1 in 100,000. In comparison, 40,000 people die each year in car accidents. That works out to 1.7 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles. If we take the average person driving 10,000 miles a year, you have a 1 in 6,000 chance of dying in a car accident.

Uploaded by aashleybond on Aug 3, 2011


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Thursday 27 September 2012

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

Like everyone else I've had some experiences. I know one maybe two things. However I have come to understand and appreciate that with sex as with politics the majority of people don't have the same educational opportunities and as a consequence base their "opinion" about the subject not necessarily on experience, but on second-hand knowledge acquired from the media, their (celibate) pastoral counsellor and the graffiti on the walls of toilet stalls. While the world is filled with many wondrous ideas and profound wisdom, it would seem that this "good" has not necessarily trickled down to the common man and woman. In fact, what is sometimes passed off as "common knowledge" is anything but knowledge. It is conjecture, a guess based on false or incomplete information. It is superstition.

In order to have a frank discussion about sex, it is important that we both be open and honest. We should be totally upfront and lay our cards on the table. Since somebody needs to break the ice, I'll volunteer to go first.

I am a 60 year old single male and I masturbate.

sound of a record being scratched (careful, this is loud)

Let the tittering and the Twittering begin! I can hear the yelling now, "Oh my God! Lock up the children. Somebody dial 911 and get a SWAT team over there immediately to arrest that pervert!"

I am certain if I had said that "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" (Wikipedia: Folsom Prison Blues) your reaction would be quite different. Yes, you accept my crime but not my sexuality. You accept me killing but not me having sex. Why? Seriously, why? Sure we don't like crime but sex scares us, well, s**tless. Why?

Norman Herr, Professor of Science Education at the California State University states using data from A. C. Neilson (Television & Health):

The average child will watch 8,000 murders on TV before finishing elementary school. By age eighteen, the average American has seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV, including 40,000 murders.

I'm "sick"? Is it my turn to spell out double U tee eff? Why is it that our society accepts violence but not sex? Why is it that our society seems to see nothing wrong with violence but thinks anything sexual is a corrupting influence on children?

A TV network censored a sequence of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony, which showed a mare giving birth, but broadcast the rather hideous sequence from The Godfather showing a beheaded horse.
- Youth, Sex and the Media, CyberCollege

The miracle of life = bad. Decapitated head = not bad. There is something very, very wrong with us.

So you think you know about sex
Please describe each of the following terms in one or two sentences.
  1. fraenulum
  2. perineum
  3. refractory period.
You have thirty seconds.

All those who went to Google and cheated please raise your hands. So, you're an adult. If you're a woman, you've kissed your "Hi men!" good-bye a while back and we're all no longer virgins. Yes, you have some "experience" in air quotes and yet you don't know what these terms are. Hmmm, and how much about sex do you think you know? Just because you've had sex doesn't make you an expert. After all, I drive a car but I know just this side of diddly squat about mechanics.

If I thought the realm of politics was full of misinformation, sex and its various associated topics are pretty close to the top of the list of misunderstood subjects. Anal sex? BDSM? Facials? Pornography? 50 Shades of Grey? We're all going to hell in a handcart. There is a potential tsunami of perversion the likes of which haven't been seen since the right panel of the triptych painted by the Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch called The Garden of Earthly Delights. (Click here for full picture)

What? Really?

Sex Education
Where is anybody learning about sex? Friends? The back seat of a car? Training videos? (I mean porn) Anybody want to make a comment about parents? What about the school system?

Some references:

Reference #1
my blog: Cindy Gallop: Make Love Not Porn
In this posting I talk about this New York self-professed cougar who talks about dating younger men in their twenties and running into undesirable behaviour they had picked up from watching porn. When confronted with the news that such and such a thing is not appreciated, they reply something to the effect that they thought women liked that. Ms. Gallop's conclusion was that the sex education these young men had came from nothing but porn. How is this possible?

By the way, Ms. Gallop has nothing against porn and enjoys watching it herself. Her point is running into young men whose only source of sex education has been porn. She wonders about parents and the school system.
(In a follow-up to the above blog posting, I review Ms. Gallop's book. my blog: Book Review: Make Love Not Porn by Cindy Gallop)

Reference #2
my blog: Sex Ed: Betty Dodson: educator, author, pro-sex feminist
Widely known as a pioneer in women's sexual liberation, her fame has come from both advocating masturbation and conducting workshops for more than 30 years where groups of women would talk, explore their own bodies, and masturbate together. In 1974, she self-published a slim volume of 60 pages entitled "Liberating masturbation: a meditation on self love" in which she encouraged women (and men) to really understand their own bodies in order to have better sex – both alone and with partners.

Here are some emails posted on Dodson's web site:

I've Never Had an Orgasm - Sep 17/2010
I'm an 18 year old female, I've had two male partners. I've never been able to reach an orgasm, it feels close at times, but I push away because of the intensity, it feels so good that it sort of hurts. I and my current partner have tried a lot of different things. Is there something that I could be doing to reach an orgasm??

Married & Never Had an Orgasm - Dec 11/2010
Please can you offer me advice, I am 29 years old and dont really know where to go. I have been with my husband for 8 years now and married for the last year. I have never been able to orgasm, not with him, anyone else or on my own, if I have I have not known about it.

39 & Never Had An Orgasm - Nov 15/2010
I am 39 years old and I have NEVER had a orgasm, i have tried everything i can and ijust cant do it. I am married and I have talked to my husband about it and we have talked about it but there is nuthing he can do. I hate to have sex but i do it now and again. I have has a hystradrectomy about 4 years ago but that has nuthing ti do with it cuz i never had one befor then. I am at my wits end and I please need help.

27 and Never Had an Orgasm - Jun 6/2009
I am 27 years old, never had an orgasm. I'm married 5 years with 2 kids.

Can we talk?
That's my quote from Joan Rivers but the answer seems to be an emphatic "No". I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a pencil than talk to you about sex. Geesh, wha da ya think I am? Some sort of perverted sex addict?

Reference #3: Marty Klein: How to not get an erection
Dr. Marty Klein (b 1950) is an American sex therapist, educator and public policy analyst. He publishes a monthly magazine called Sexual Intelligence and in issue #137, July 2011 he tells the story of Sam who starts dating a year after his wife left him.

Sam arrives at a point in one relationship where he is going to have sex but Sam encounters a problem: he's not getting an erection when he wants one. Sam thinks he is suffering from erectile dysfunction but questioning by Dr. Klein leads to a few discoveries.

Sam describes how he and his girlfriend Yolanda were kissing and it seemed they were going to have sex. Sam was excited by this but didn't have an erection. When Klein asks Sam to describe what they were doing, Sam explains they were making out and rubbing against each other but nothing else. Klein goes on to talk about physical stimulation.

I told Sam that he needed to have direct stimulation on his penis in order to get an erection. He disagreed; shouldn't it be enough that he was "excited"? "It's important that you're emotionally aroused," I partially agreed. "But you need to be physically aroused as well."

The gist of it is that Sam expects to have an erection with little or no direct physical stimulation either by his girlfriend or by himself. Sam is also very, very reluctant to talk about this with his girlfriend.

This conveniently illustrates the three rules for not getting an erection when you want one:
* Don't get the physical stimulation you need
* Envision "sex" as something that requires an erection
* Don't discuss this dilemma with your partner

Going out on a limb
We live in a puritanical society. How puritanical? The far right as exemplified by such organisations as the American Life League is attempting to not just make abortions illegal but to stop the funding of Planned Parenthood and turn sex education, if there is any, into a strictly abstinence only program. (my blog: Planned Parenthood: addicting children to sex!!!) The crazy contradiction to these objectives is that those states promoting abstinence only programs demonstrate a higher rate of unwanted pregnancies. It would seem that uneducated or uninformed people get pregnant more often because they don't know what the hell they're doing. Whatever the case, ya ain't stopping our most primordial of urges. Horny see horny do.

As a consequence, since we are taught from a very young age to suppress our sexuality, to hide it, and display to the world a non sexual facade, we are scared to death of being laughed at, condemned, and ostracized or heck, even arrested for our sexual urges. Gay? Lesbian? Hell, being straight ain't no walk in the park. Talk about the health issues surrounding the use of birth control like Sandra Fluke and end up with Rush Limbaugh calling you a slut on national radio. (my blog: Rush Limbaugh: That's spelled with one F and one U)

Every time we open ourselves up to another human being, we're running a risk. Laughed at? Condemned? I'm reminded of that classic line supposedly said by a surprised woman.

You want me to put what in my mouth?

I keep bringing this following story up in my postings but I think it's a good illustration of the problems of communication.

Back in the early 90's, I'm watching one of the talk shows, not quite as elevated as Oprah but not as low as Jerry Springer. A couple is being interviewed but we're given to understand they have a secret. Commercial break. We return to see two women. I look closer. Woman number two is the husband; he's dressed up in drag. The wife explains that her husband has always had a fetish for women's clothes and once a month he dresses up and the 2 of them go out for a drink together as 2 female friends. She goes on to say that her husband is a wonderful man, a great husband, a good lover and an excellent father; he just seems to have this one special quirk and it is the only oddity out of an otherwise exemplary human being.

Now just mull that one over for a minute. We have a gentleman who has a fetish for woman's clothes. How in heaven's name did this couple arrive at a point where the man could bring this up with his wife? Who knows, maybe he told her about his fetish before they were married and she married him anyways. The point is that their relationship was open and honest enough that they could discuss this. But look at the alternative. What if she had reacted to this discovery with, "Eew. Get away from me your goddamn weird-oh pervert!" Well, there's one relationship which would have come to a screeching halt and there's one guy who would say to himself that he would never, ever again speak frankly with anybody about "his secret".

At some point she must have weighed the pros and cons and felt the balance sheet showed more benefits than liabilities. But picture what would have happened if the man felt so ashamed of his feelings that he never talked about them with his wife; he kept them hidden. Do I see a potential headline? "Respected family and business man Fred Schwartz, seen here dressed up in drag in a photograph taken in the local bar Tom's Eatery, was arrested this past Saturday."

Final Word
I sometimes wonder how we manage to get together at all. We're all fumbling around in the dark not really knowing what the heck we're doing. We live in a puritanical society that vilifies a natural part of the human experience and we have all, out of self-protection, hidden our sexuality scared to death of being condemned as abnormal, weird, or perverted. It's quite the conundrum. We need to talk about it to become better informed and yet we can't because we're afraid.

Kids are learning about sex from porn. I don't condemn the porn, I ask what happened to the parents or the school system. Do people learn to drive by watching the movie series Fast and Furious showing all sorts of crazy driving? Do people learn about human relationships by watching a Sylvester Stallone movie like Rambo where the taciturn hero kills scores of people? Imagine, referring to the emails to Betty Dodson, that women, grown women, have married and sometimes had children without having experienced the pleasures of the sexual experience by having an orgasm. What? Imagine, referring to Marty Klein, that talking about sex is oh so important to being not just physically aroused but emotionally aroused.

Yep, we need to open up. We need to talk. We need to be open and honest. Some of us are missing out and missing out on great deal. But in saying open and honest, let's remember that a frank discussion shouldn't have anybody going, "Eeeew!"

Okay, somebody needs to go first so I'll break the ice by quoting a comedian I heard a while back (Don't you dare laugh to me!):

"Sleep with me and I'll show you four inches of pure steel."


Hymen sounds like "Hi men". Coincidence? I think not. Ha ha.

I have written a number of articles on sex, pornography, women's issues, and politics. Consult the Site Map at the top of the page to browse my literary meanderings.

I would also direct you to Pamela Madsen, author of the book "Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure...and Somehow Got Home in Time To Cook Dinner". (my review)

In a nutshell, this middle aged woman, deciding something was missing in her life, set out to discover herself sexually. For those who are immediately going to jump to conclusions, I would add that Ms. Madsen remains happily married to her high school sweetheart, is a committed mother to her children, and works in the area of sex therapy running a web community and doing consulting and speaking engagements. You may be titillated at first but here is a woman who is open, honest, and living her life in a way many can only dream of.

Psychology Today - Sep 10/2012
Many Shades of Grey: Reclaiming ‘Humanistic’ Sex Therapy by Pamela Madsen
After scanning the literature on the human relationship with sex, I have come up with this very deep and profound conclusion: “Sex is hard”. And it may very well be the gateway for us humans to being whole.


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Tuesday 25 September 2012

Marilyn Manson: The Beautiful People

And I don't want you and I don't need you
Don't bother to resist, or I'll beat you
It's not your fault that you're always wrong
The weak ones are there to justify the strong

The beautiful people, the beautiful people
It's all relative to the size of your steeple
You can't see the forest for the trees
You can't smell your own shit on your knees

There's no time to discriminate,
Hate every motherfucker
That's in your way

Hey you, what do you see?
Something beautiful, something free?
Hey you, are you trying to be mean?
If you live with apes man, it's hard to be clean

The worms will live in every host
It's hard to pick which one they eat most

The horrible people, the horrible people
It's as anatomic as the size of your steeple
Capitalism has made it this way,
Old-fashioned fascism will take it away

There's no time to discriminate,
Hate every motherfucker
That's in your way

The beautiful people
The beautiful people (aahh) [x4]

[Chorus x2]

The beautiful people [x8]


Uploaded by MarilynMansonVEVO on Oct 6, 200

This video: The phrase "hate every motherfucker" has been replaced by the alternate lyric "hate every other hater", and the word "shit" has been excised.

Wikipedia: The Beautiful People (Marilyn Manson song)
"The Beautiful People" is a song from Marilyn Manson's 1996 album, Antichrist Superstar, released as a single in September, 1996. An industrial metal hit written by Marilyn Manson and Twiggy Ramirez, and produced by Trent Reznor, Dave Ogilvie and Manson, its lyrics discuss two major themes: what Manson refers to as "the culture of beauty", and that culture's connection to Friedrich Nietzsche's theory of master-slave morality — the song's "weak ones", who are "always wrong", are oppressed by and exist solely to "justify the strong"; the kratocratic beautiful people whose power is, in a double entendre of phallic and religious implications, "relative to the size of their steeple".

Music video
Floria Sigismondi directed what has been described as "the creepiest of creepy videos" for "The Beautiful People". The clip, filmed in the abandoned Goodenham and Worts distillery in Toronto, Canada, depicts the band performing the song in a classroom-like area decorated with medical prostheses and laboratory equipment. Intercut with these performance clips are scenes of lead singer Marilyn Manson in a long gown-like costume and aviator goggles, wearing stilts and prosthetic makeup which make him appear bald and grotesquely tall; after being placed in this costume by similarly-attired attendants, he appears to a cheering crowd through a window in a scene reminiscent of a fascist rally, and later stands in the center of a circle while people crowd around him riot. Other fast cut scenes include extreme close-ups of crawling earthworms, mannequin heads and hands, and the boots of people marching; and shots of the individual band members bizarrely costumed, including Manson in black and neck braces and an apparent dental device which pulls the flesh of his mouth with hooks, exposing metallic teeth.

Versions and releases
In addition to the version on the Antichrist Superstar album and the version on the single (which differ only in the length of the introductory noise) a radio edit also exists, which removes the profanity. The phrase "hate every motherfucker" has been replaced by the alternate lyric "hate every other hater", and the word "shit" has been excised. This radio edit is the version used in the music video for "The Beautiful People".

Wikipedia: Antichrist Superstar
Antichrist Superstar is the second full-length studio album by American rock band Marilyn Manson. It was released on October 8, 1996 in the US through Nothing and Interscope Records. The record's success in mainstream charts turned the band and its frontman into a household name. This led to numerous protests from religious and civic groups such as the American Family Association due to the band's perceived anti-Christian stance as well as the transgressive and confrontational nature of their music, performance and appearance.

Wikipedia: Marilyn Manson (band)
Marilyn Manson is an American rock band from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Formed in 1989 by Marilyn Manson and Daisy Berkowitz, the group was originally named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids with their uniquely theatrical performances gathering a local cult following in the early 1990s. This attention subsequently developed into a worldwide fanbase. The band's lineup has changed between many of their album releases. The current members of Marilyn Manson are the eponymous lead singer, guitarist Twiggy Ramirez (who previously played bass), bassist Fred Sablan and touring drummer Jason Sutter.


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Monday 24 September 2012

Recap of all (my) things political

Election 2012: November 6, 2012. Obama or Romney. Democrat or Republican. Vote for Romney because Obama has failed to get us out of this mess. Vote Obama because the Republicans under Bush got us all in this mess. Left or right. As the Democratic Platform paper points out, "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)

Before you read any further, what's my take? Democrats = warm and fuzzy. Republicans = cold and prickly. I believe the Republican party, as per their platform paper, has been hijacked by the far right as in Tea Party. If you are a woman you can kiss your vagina good-bye. If you are a woman with children you should be scared of your future and the future of your children under the GOP. If you are a man or a woman you should realise that Republican policies have been questionable over the past few decades starting with Reagan and the policies promoted by the current GOP are more of the same, designed to benefit the rich few like Romney instead of the middle class. Trickle down doesn't work, but don't take my word for it, read the experts.

The following is a smattering of my latest posts concerning the up-coming election. For any and all posts, consult the Site Map listed at the top of the page. Good luck on November 6. You'll need it.

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. This man's view of the world is so warped, it is hard to know where to begin. How this gaffe will affect the Republican campaign remains to be seen but it is incredibly difficult to imagine how anyone would vote Republican now. The Republicans in their platform paper, in their speeches and now in these videos 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? After all, the results of your righteous condemnation seem to be a long way from the Jesus Christ I know, that is from the caring, accepting, and very much loving symbol of Holy Grace we should all strive for. In fact, if the results of your condemnation are murder, yes the slaying of an innocent human being, I would say that you are not carrying out the work of the Lord, I would say you have become a tool of the Devil. Yes, the Devil. For who else would take pleasure in hate, in anger, and in the murder of innocent human beings?

my blog: America Is Number One... Not!
Aaron Sorkin recently came back to television in a series called The Newsroom. ... A rant by the central character, Will McAvoy, caught my interest since this idea has been ofttimes bandied about: America is the greatest country in the world. In the show McAvoy states that America is not the greatest country in the world and rattles off a list of statistics which show America to be in anything but first place: seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. But he adds that America is number one in three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies. I'm not sure those last three first place positions are things one wants to be proud of.

my blog: Mitt Romney tweets: America is not number one
While Mr. Romney's tweet seems to be accurate in regards to the ranking of the United States in this Global Competitiveness Report, his tweet also "implicitly" suggests this is the fault of the current president Barack Obama. Is this true too?

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. For the most part, many of these controversial issues seemingly remain innocuous. If my neighbour believes the Earth is flat, it doesn't directly impinge on my freedoms. Unfortunately, a belief usually doesn't stop with the person believing something; that belief leads the person to want other people to believe the same thing and to set up rules to control how other people live their lives. If that person's favourite colour is blue, it doesn't matter if my favourite colour is red. But if that person then wants to paint the entire town blue, the buildings, the streets, even the park benches, well, hold on a sec, I think you're going too far. You may want the entire town to be blue but I don't and it's my town too.

my blog: Republicans want crackdown on pornography? But they buy the most!
The Republicans come to town to officially anoint Mitt Romney as their Great White Hope or the Great White Hype depending on your political inclination. The Party decides to finalize its official platform and announces a crackdown on pornography. When I go down my list of priorities in life, the bleak economic outlook, the unemployment rate, low tax revenue, globalization, war, famine, a lack of health care, or curing any one of a number of diseases like cancer or AIDS, worrying about what people do in the privacy of their own minds isn't at the forefront of my daily To Do. In fact, it's not even on the list.

my blog: Politics: It's not about doing the right thing, it's about winning.
I recently watched the six-episode mini-series called Political Animals about Washington politics. Sigourney Weaver stars as Elaine Barrish the current Secretary of State who is also a divorced former First Lady. ... At one point, in a scene between Elaine Barrish and Paul Garcetti, the current president who appointed her to her position, Garcetti says that he is going to do something not because it politically advantageous but because it's the right thing to do. In light of recent events in the real world as the run-up to the November election in the United States, I have to ask myself if anyone can do something, anything at all because it's the "right thing" to do. Political expediency seems to be more the thing to consider than what's right or wrong.

my blog: Obama is a big time spender... Not!!!
Obama is leading the United States to financial ruin. Obama is bankrupting the nation. Obama is a spendthrift. I have read this. I have heard this. Republicans repeat it as a mantra and apparently some Democrats believe this too. Look in any newspaper or watch any news show and you'll find journalists and pundits dissecting and analysing statistics in an effort to conclusively prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that America, heck the entire world would be better off without one Barack Hussein Obama. Isn't that enough to make you want to sign up for Romney? Isn't that enough to turn any true believer into a Doubting Thomas?

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?

my blog: Obama is destroying America: We're doomed!
The other week I was talking with an American acquaintance. Normally I don't discuss religion and politics as I like to keep the peace and why start something you can never finish? However with the 2012 election looming on the horizon, it was inevitable that the elephant in the room could not be ignored and some comment would be made in passing. This person said, "Obama is destroying America."


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Sunday 23 September 2012

Movie Review: Dredd 3D: body count: 100 plus. That's good, right?

Two judges, three dimensions, and a hundred plus people killed. I think you'd have to see a hundred Alfred Hitchcock films to rack up that number of corpses. Is more less? Is less more? While I question the validity of 3D just as Roger Ebert, the four young guys behind me thought the 3D was terrific. I don't know. A good film is a good film and it doesn't need any gimmicks.

Based on a comic series started in 1977, the story shows a future United States which has turned into an irradiated wasteland. Mega-City One is a vast, violent metropolis of 800 million people kept in check by a police system where "judges", police on motorcycle patrol, act as judge, jury, and executioner. The movie involves two judges entering a 200 story apartment block to arrest a drug trafficker only to be targeted by the head of a drug gang who wants the arrested man back. The rest is the shoot-out at the concrete jungle OK corral.

So why did I go? Get this. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 77%. That's fairly good and I'm a sucker for science fiction and futuristic dystopian scenarios à la Heavy Metal. The "bullet time" scenes are terrific but the producers upped the gore factor by using this technique to show a human body hitting concrete after falling 200 stories. On the anniversary of 9/11, I was reminded of the people who jumped from the towers. Death is instantaneous. (In the Oliver Stone film World Trade Center starring Nicolas Cage, the firefighters are trying to get into one of the towers via a lower level. You hear this occasional thump outside. The thumps are bodies hitting concrete. Horrifying.)

This film is okay: well crafted with great special effects. If you measure a good film by the quantity of violence then this film is for you but it does make me ponder the eternal question about society's fascination for bloodshed but its puritan outlook on sex.

A TV network censored a sequence of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony, which showed a mare giving birth, but broadcast the rather hideous sequence from The Godfather showing a beheaded horse.
- Youth, Sex and the Media, CyberCollege

It's funny. After you hit the fifty-third bad guy blown away watching the bullet slowly disappear into one side of the head only to slowly explode out the other side with an unhurried shower of blood and tissue, you completely lose sight of the fact a human being is having their life brought to an abrupt halt. It's a video game. We're racking up points. Of course, the start of the film justifies any of brutality the "good guy" rains down on the bad guys because the bad guys do the perfunctory bad deed which explains to us just how really really bad they are and why fight fire with fire means the good guy can be really really bad back at'em. Does anybody realise that by the end of the film the good guy has killed a hundred people? Holy Hannah. I'm paying all my parking tickets straight away.

Final Word
This is where I shrug my shoulders. Yeah, it's okay. (A heck of a lot better than the 1995 Sylvester Stallone film "Judge Dredd" which only managed to garner 16% at Rotten Tomatoes.) The "bullet time" scenes are interesting and as I said, overall the film is well crafted. But this is violent. Like really violent. Like dozens of bodies at a time violent. I see that the film was rated at the theatre such that those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Frankly I wonder what good an adult is sitting beside a teenager when this tsunami of bloodshed washes over their psyche. Yep, let your kids see a guy wake up to a severed horse's head in bed with him but God forbid they should see a mare giving birth. I think Judge Dredd sums it all up quite nicely when he says, "The sentence is death."


Rotten Tomatoes: Dredd 3D: 77%
Fueled by bombastic violence and impressive special effects, rooted in self-satire and deadpan humor, Dredd 3D is a rare example of a remake that actually works.

Wikipedia: Dredd
Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland.

Rotten Tomatoes: Judge Dredd (1995): 16%
Judge Dredd wants to be both a legitimate violent action flick and a parody of one, but director Danny Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work.

Wikipedia: Judge Dredd (film)
Judge Dredd is a 1995 American science fiction action film directed by Danny Cannon, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante, and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the strip of the same name in the British comic 2000 AD. It was a critical and commercial disappointment.

Wikipedia: Judge Dredd (comic strip character)
Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character whose comic strip in the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD is the magazine's longest running, having been featured there since its second issue in 1977. Dredd is an American law enforcement officer in a violent city of the future where uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. Dredd and his fellow Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence, and even execute criminals on the spot.

Wikipedia: Heavy Metal (magazine)
Heavy Metal is an American science fiction and fantasy comics magazine, known primarily for its blend of dark fantasy/science fiction and erotica. In the mid-1970s, while publisher Leonard Mogel was in Paris to jump-start the French edition of National Lampoon, he discovered the French science-fantasy magazine Métal Hurlant which had debuted December 1974.

Wikipedia: Bullet time
Bullet time (also known as frozen time, the big freeze, dead time, flow motion, or time slice) is a special and visual effect that refers to a digitally enhanced simulation of variable-speed (i.e. slow motion, time-lapse, etc.) photography used in films, broadcast advertisements, and video games. It is characterized both by its extreme transformation of time (slow enough to show normally imperceptible and unfilmable events, such as flying bullets) and space (by way of the ability of the camera angle—the audience's point-of-view—to move around the scene at a normal speed while events are slowed). ... The term "bullet time" is a registered trademark of Warner Bros., who first used it in March 2005, in connection with the video game The Matrix Online. The term had previously been used in the promotion of the 1999 film The Matrix, and in reference to the slow motion effects in the 2001 video game Max Payne.

my blog: Carnography: Vegetarians need not apply
On May 29, 1972, John Skow wrote a review of the novel First Blood by David Morrell upon which Sylvester Stallone based his film Rambo. In this review, Mr. Skow speaks disparagingly of the "meat movie, the kind in which we pay to see meat fly off someone's head as he is shotgunned" then goes on to describe this book as a "meat novel". The reviewer explains that like pornography and its deliberate creation of a sexual flush to the exclusion of other emotional or intellectual reactions, the term "carnography" describes the deliberate creation of an adrenaline rush in the face of carnage.

my blog: Censorship: Kill me but no sex please
George Carlin: I think the word F**k is a very important word. It is the beginning of life, yet it is a word we use to hurt one another quite often. People much wiser than I am said, "I'd rather have my son watch a film with 2 people making love than 2 people trying to kill one another. I, of course, can agree. It is a great sentence. I wish I knew who said it first. I agree with that but I like to take it a step further. I'd like to substitute the word F**k for the word Kill in all of those movie clichés we grew up with. [Carlin speaks in a low menacing voice like the bad guy talking to the good guy] "Okay, Sheriff, we're gonna F**k you now, but we're gonna F**k you slow."


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Saturday 22 September 2012

Hate! Hate! Hate! Kill! Kill! Kill!

Saturday, September 22, 2012: I go through the news:

Syria's Assad bombs the southern districts of Damascus using helicopter gunships. The 17-month civil war continues.

In Somalia, a suicide bombing killed 14 people at a Mogadishu cafe frequented by politicians and journalists.

It has been reported that a Pakistani government minister is now offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who kills the maker of the anti-Islam film produced in the U.S "Innocence of Muslims".

Renewed clashes between Salafist and Zaidi sects in northern Yemen have led to the death of twelve people, the second straight day of bloodshed.

Okay, at what point do I say, "What the heck?" or "What the hell?" or even "WTF?" Gee-sus H. K. Rist, is this ever going to stop? The above is only a sampling of what I read. This doesn't cover the tensions with North Korea, the third incident in a week of rogue Afghan security personnel attacking NATO troops, the sabre rattling about a future Israel-Iran war, and the destruction of ancient tombs in Timbuktu by Islamists controlling northern Mali.

Taking all of this into account, you now see where the title of this article came from. It just goes on and on and on and on. John Lennon sang, "Give Peace A Chance" however we are collectively so far from that ever happening, it will not be surprising if we don't just end up blowing ourselves up. After all, even Castro making a rare appearance after giving up power to his brother, gave some dire warnings about a possible nuclear conflict between the U.S. and Iran. Oh boy, let's go back to the good old days of the 50's when school children were taught to respond to the warning sirens by hiding under their classroom desks.

A poster has been floating around years; I first saw it back in the 60's, at the height of the Cold War and have always found it to be a hilarious look at the absurdity of a nuclear war.

Instructions to patrons on premises in case of nuclear bomb attack.

  1. Stay clear of all windows.
  2. Keep hands free of glasses, bottles, cigarettes etc.
  3. Stand away from bar, tables, orchestra, equipment and furniture.
  4. Loosen necktie, unbutton coat and any other restrictive clothing.
  5. Remove glasses, empty pockets of all sharp objects such as pens, pencils etc.
  6. Immediately upon seeing the brilliant flash of nuclear explosion place your head firmly between the legs.

Where is the world going? According to stats from the U.S. Census Bureau, worldwide, over 56 million people will die in 2012 or 107 per minute or over 6,400 per hour. However, the service also states that over 134 million people will be born so that will give us an increase in 2012 of over 82 million people. Gee, with all those extra people, I suppose we could afford to lose a few, eh?

Enough digressions, let's get back to hatin' and killin'!
I must be virginal when it comes to hate or maybe I am just easily flabbergasted but I continue to be amazed at the level of anger which exists in the world. All John was saying was give peace a chance but did we listen? Did we try?

In a previous article, I spoke of a school where various people seem to be able to get along.

A friend is the principal of a public school in an area where the students come from all over the world, from all sorts of backgrounds. The school board publishes a school calendar on which is noted every religious holiday and celebration for everybody: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddha, Bahá'í, etc. and all students are always made aware of everybody else's observances. In fact, ofttimes the entire school celebrates various festivals so that everybody is observing Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Diwali or Ramadan.

I remember seeing not only the students but the teaching staff all sporting Indian henna art for Diwali. It was a wonderful example of multiculturalism. Leave it up to children who come to the table with a clean slate to show the rest of us how getting along is possible.

Subverted Nation by Adam Austin
Mr. Austin enlightens us to the "vicious depravity" of the Jewish culture, the "Jewish threat" of world domination and how the Holocaust is a hoax.

A Voice For Men by Paul Elam
Mr. Elam is a Men's Rights Activist and explains the virulent misandry which exists in modern society and how women have subjugated men.

The Knights Party, USA - The Ku Klux Klan
Protectors of white Christianity, they fight the good fight against those who hate white Christian civilisation.

Salman Hossain
This Muslim extremist, a home grown dyed in the wool Canadian has left Canada out of fear of arrest for promoting hatred running a web site to advocate his radical ideas. From the National Post:

Over the past three years, Salman Hossain has openly called for terrorist attacks in Canada, cheered the killing of Canadian troops in Afghanistan and urged fellow Muslims to "exterminate" Canada's Jewish population.

The message on his web site is one of anger, hate and a call to violence. He offers no rational arguments, no solutions, no viable alternatives to what he perceives as wrong; he merely suggests that killing and destruction are somehow better than what we have. This man exhibits such a focused, vitriolic rage; one can't help wondering about its antecedents and whether his sanity is in question. I predict he is going to have a sad life. Such rage will never be satisfied; such hate will never be quenched.

Baruch Goldstein
A comment to my article on Mr. Hossain read, "Gee-sus H. K. Ryest? That comes across as about as 'tolerant' as Baruch Goldstein". I had forgotten the name but once I looked him up, I remembered his 15 minutes.

Baruch was an American-born orthodox Jewish Israeli physician who in 1994 perpetrated the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, killing 29 Muslims and wounding more than 125. He was a member of the Jewish Defence League, a militant organization founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane, an ultra-nationalist. The FBI has stated that "The Jewish Defence League has been deemed a right-wing terrorist group".

By the way, to the person writing the comment that I am "about as tolerant as Baruch Goldstein":
  • First of all, I do not advocate such acts. I think I'm pretty tolerant.
  • Secondly, did you look at Hossain's web site? He IS advocating such acts.

I'm right and you're wrong. I'm far right and you're dead wrong.
I look at the above 5 names with a great deal of sadness: such anger, such hate with only one way out, to kill. I think of the public school mentioned above where children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds live together in harmony. The contrast between these ideas is remarkable.

The Camp David Accords, signed in 1978 by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin seemed like an unbelievable breakthrough in the Middle East. Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by right-wing elements in Egypt.

I was both stunned and pleased at the Oslo Accords being signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993 in the presence of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. I thought these would be another breakthrough. Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli radical.

Where is the world going? Instead of fighting, we should be working together to fight global warming, stop armed conflicts, and bringing the basics of life to the poverty stricken areas of the planet. The world's military spending stands at over $1.5 trillion per year while the U.S. alone accounting for 44% of the total. This means that $220 per person is being spent for military purposes for every man, woman and child on earth and right now the global population stands at over 7 billion.

It may be corny; it may be a Utopian ideal but John did have a vision:

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...


Wikipedia: World Population
The world population is the sum total of all living humans on Earth. As of today, it is estimated to number 7.041 billion by the United States Census Bureau (USCB).
deaths number 56 million per year, and are expected to increase to 80 million per year by 2040.

my blog: Salman Hossain: Spit Take: Here? In Canada? - July 8, 2010

Wikipedia: Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Kopel Goldstein (December 9, 1956 – February 25, 1994) was an American-born Jewish Israeli physician, terrorist and mass murderer who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125.

Wikipedia: List of countries by military expenditures
This article is a list of countries by military expenditure, the amount spent by a nation on its military in a given year. Military expenditure figures are presented in US$ at either constant or current exchange rates.

[This is an updated version of an article written in 2010.]


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Friday 21 September 2012

I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No.

This is so damn funny. But it is also something more important: it is representative of the twisted logic of the far right as represented by the Tea Party, an ideology which has now taken over the Republican Party.

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.

Uploaded by pyrogamer on Jun 18, 2009
Craig T. Nelson on Government Aid
Coach gives us all a lesson in how personal responsibility beats government intervention. "I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No."

Over the past couple of years, it is this type of logic which has been used to criticize President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. It is this type of logic which has used to explain how America is going to hell in a handcart and everybody has to do something about it immediately. It is this type of logic I have heard over and over again which makes me wonder if the Tea Party, Conservatives in general and perhaps the entire Republican Party have completely lost their minds. Do you people just open up your mouth and say whatever comes to mind with absolutely no regard as to whether or not what you are saying passes the smell test?

The Right bandy about such scary terms as socialism or wealth distribution whenever they talk about government policies of taxation to pay for benefit programs. They use these terms to paint a picture of America as a socialist state as if the United States will someday be another Russia under communist rule. Any notion of all citizens working together for the greater good of the country and all people has been thrown out the window to be replaced with a dour assessment of America's individualism being trampled on by big government.

Mr. Nelson, with all due respect, just where the f**k do you think food stamps and welfare come from? Are you insane? Gee-sus H. K-rist, the purpose of a country is to support its citizenry in a time of need and what the hell do you think food stamps and welfare are for crying out loud?

Okay, I'll calm down. *sigh* The Right isn't connecting the dots. They see a problem but they seem to be incapable of seeing the cause, the true cause of the problem. I have talked with these people face to face and have realised there is no point in trying to discuss anything in a logical, rational manner. "I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No." These people think they are not being helped. These people do not see this as part of "the system" which the United States government, the representative of the people, has put together to help the people. For some unknown reason, they do not see this as "wealth distribution" or "socialism"; they just see it as "being there".

Years ago I watched a documentary on white supremacists in the United States. At one point, the TV interviewer sits down with a gentleman who turned out to be fairly articulate. The interviewer asks some questions about the group, the movement and beliefs behind white supremacy and this gentleman intelligently answers the questions. The problem was that everything, the movement, the philosophy, the beliefs was based on the idea that the white race is better than all other races. You had to accept that idea for everything else to make sense. If you couldn't accept that idea, the whole thing was totally absurd. Of course this gentleman had various references to back up the premise, quotes from the Bible, writings of various authors, etc. but it all came back to this one idea: the white race is better than all other races. There is no empirical evidence to support such an idea but this gentleman believed it anyway. It was a leap of faith.

The Right want to vote Republican. It doesn't matter if Craig T. Nelson utters absurdities. It doesn't matter if Mitt Romney's 47% remark is unfair. It doesn't matter if Conservatives lie to make a point. The Right is going to vote Republican. Period. This isn't about debating the issues to work together to solve a problem. No, this is about voting Republican no matter what. It is a leap of faith. I'm Republican; I vote Republican. Have I read the Party's platform paper? Probably not but I'm voting Republican anyway. I support my party.

The Republican Party clearly laid out their plans for the future in their policy paper The 2012 Republican Platform. (see my blog: The 2012 Republican Platform: Are ya scared yet?) If you are a woman, you should be outraged. If you are a single mother, you should be petrified. As long as you are white and want to be a stay at home baby making machine, you're all set. But if you want to be one of those highfalutin career gals like on Sex And The City living an independent, self-sustaining life including sex out of wedlock like that slut Sandra Fluke, well, you're in trouble. I have to ask how you can be a woman and vote Republican. If you vote for the GOP, you are voting against abortion, against birth control, against sex education, and against the right to control your own body. I repeat: how you can be a woman and vote Republican? (see my blog: Rush Limbaugh: That's spelled with one F and one U)

I looked at some of the more absurd leaps of logic (leaps of faith) being made in the Republican camp recently. (see my blog: The Right isn't wrong; they're nuts!) In a discussion about the GOP's policies, I ran across an exchange between two female commentators.

Guerilla Mom
I care about reproductive freedom and choice. I care about women not backpedaling 40 years. I care about women's health and safety. I have to care most about this, because the GOP is using it as their poster cause. Any woman isn't totally disgusted by the GOP's complete disregard for our basic human right to control what happens in our bodies is not paying attention.

Cindyhuber, obviously a Conservative, responds:
You're kidding right? Seriously? The economy is in the tank, the country's dollar is circling the drain but according to you, this years entire election is all about the "VAGINA..." If I didn't think you were serious, I would laugh my butt off...

On Twitter, I ran across the following comment:

Hey @SandraFluke? I'm not worried about what's below my belt. I'm worried about the direction of the economy and my country.

How can a woman vote Republican? Because the economy is more important apparently than their vagina. Of course if you're married and don't need an abortion, if you're married and don't need birth control, if you follow an abstinence only program and think that's enough for your children, if you're in a financially secure position and can afford to buy health coverage for you and your children, any of the GOP proposals don't seem to affect you personally so why should you care? Let's focus on the economy. The problem is that if from a bigger picture the GOP has completely screwed things up on women's issues, why in God's name would you think they would have any good ideas about the economy?

Final Word
"I've been on food stamps and welfare, did anyone help me out? No." I just have to shake my head. The Earth is flat and was created six thousand years ago. 72% of Americans believe in angels. (2009 Harris Poll) Why am I not surprised?

After having read over the policy papers of both parties (The 2012 Republican Platform and The 2012 Democratic Platform), there is no doubt in my mind that the Tea Party and the far right have taken over the GOP. This is no longer a vote between Republicans and Democrats; this is a vote against the extreme right end of the political spectrum. Here's my worry.

A country represents you the people, the collective we. The sum is greater than the parts. United we stand, divided we fall. By helping one another, the entire country is better off. The collective we benefits. Food stamps and welfare are programs set up by the collective we to help itself. If the Right keeps hammering home terms like socialism and wealth distribution, the country may stop supporting its citizens. The country may lose sight of the objective to help each and every citizen reach their potential.

Nobody helped you out? Yep, just ignore the food stamps, welfare and a host of other benefits that come from living in America. Yep, nobody helped you out. It's a leap of faith.


Wikipedia: Craig T. Nelson
Craig Theodore Nelson (born Craig Richard Nelson; April 4, 1944) is an American actor. He is perhaps best known for his Emmy-winning role as Hayden Fox on the TV series Coach, Deputy Ward Wilson in the 1980 film Stir Crazy, Steve Freeling in the 1982 film Poltergeist and Mr. Incredible in the 2004 film The Incredibles.

Fox News - May 29/2009
Craig T. Nelson on 'Glenn Beck'
transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 28, 2009.

The Daily Show - Sep 19/2012
Chaos on Bulls**t Mountain - The Entitlement Society

link for viewers in the United States

link for viewers in Canada

Taylor Marsh - Sep 18/2012
Damage Overload: Did Mitt Romney Just Elect Barack Obama?
You’d think we’d be prepared for the last 24 hours, which included Romney believing it’s best to leave the Middle East “unsolved,” and where we not only hear Mitt Romney discount 47% of the American populace who votes, but insult almost half of the American people as “victims,” then imply he’s not interested in speaking for them if he were president.
This is the perfect example of the ugly politician who resents those who won’t support him, while feeling superior to them because they are less. This is clearly represented by Romney’s belief that he won’t ever get half the American public to believe in what he wants to do for America, which to me boils down to doing something to change America for those on his side, while stuffing the policies down the throats of those others. It’s classic us versus them Republican politics.

Uploaded by salamfall on Oct 21, 2008
YouTube: Joe the Plumber " I once was on welfare, my parents twice!"
Joe the Plumber " I once was on welfare, My parents twice!". My question to Joe is " Where do you think welfare money comes from?", if taxpayers money helped you climb the social ladder, once you are pretty high up there shouldnt you return the favor, Selfish Joe.

Uploaded by mykallb on Jun 13, 2009
YouTube: Craig T Nelson 1 on 1 w/ Sean Hannity
Oddly enough, Mr. Nelson sounds a tad more rational in this interview. Nevertheless, he demonstrates a great deal of confusion about the issues he raises. He doesn't seem to understand the bigger picture and the actual cause of the problems he expresses concern about. He's a Republican who votes Republican and sees the current Democratic administration as the cause of all the current problems with no regard of what has transpired over the past decades to contribute to the current problems even what the previous Republican government did to exacerbate the current problems.


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