Tuesday, December 30, 2008

100 Years Ago

The year of 2008 is coming to a close. Instead of doing a recap of the events of the past year, the following is a recap of the events of 1908 -- 100 years ago.

Jan 1 – For the first time, a ball signifying the new year was dropped in Times Square. Dick Clark was not the emcee that year.

Jan 8 – A subway linking Brooklyn and Manhattan opened.

Jan 11 – President Teddy Roosevelt signed a proclamation creating the Grand Canyon National Monument. I've been there – it's a big hole in the ground.

Jan 15 – Edward Teller, Father of the H-bomb, was born in Budapest, Hungary. "Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible."

Jan 21 – New York City passed an ordinance prohibiting females from smoking in public, punishable by one night in jail and a five dollar fine.

Feb 1 – King Carlos I of Portugal was assassinated by a mob.

Feb 27 – The U.S. flag gained a 46th star with the admission of Oklahoma into statehood.

Mar 2 – An international conference on arms reduction opened in London. I wonder how that worked out.

Mar 5 -- Rex Harrison, actor, was born in Lancashire, England. "Exhilaration is that feeling you get just after a great idea hits you, and just before you realize what's wrong with it."

Mar 11 – Lawrence Welk, orchestra leader, was born in Strasburg, North Dakota. "Ah one and ah two."

Mar 22 – Louis L'Amour, author of 116 western novels, was born in Jamestown, North Dakota. "Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more."

Mar 23 – Joan Crawford, film actress with a fetish for coat hangers, was born in San Antonio, Texas. "I love playing bitches. There's a lot of bitch in every woman – a lot in every man."

Mar 25 – David Lean, film director of BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, was born in Croyton, England. "I've just begun to dare to think I perhaps am a bit of an artist." As for myself, I've just begun to dare to think I perhaps am a bit of a goofball.

Apr 2 – Buddy Ebsen, actor, was born in Bellville, Illinois. No quotes from Ebsen – he was a dull person.

Apr 5 – Bette Davis, film actress, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. She had Bette Davis eyes. "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride."

Apr 21 – Explorer Frederick A. Cook discovered the North Pole. It was cold and icy, so he turned around and went back home.

Apr 25 – Edward R. Murrow, TV newscaster and chain smoker, was born near Greensboro, North Carolina. "Good night, and good luck."

Apr 27 – Hootch Simpson, a saloon keeper in Death Valley, Cal., shot and killed Joe Arnold, the town banker. Simpson was hung and buried the following morning. Soon thereafter, Simpson was dug up and re-hung for a newspaper reporter.

May 10 – The first Mother's Day observance took place in Grafton, West Virginia.

May 14 – The first passenger flight in an airplane took place. The passenger was given a complementary bag of peanuts and his luggage was lost.

May 20 – James Stewart, film actor, was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania. "If I had my career over again? Maybe I'd say to myself, speed it up a little."

May 22 – The Wright Brothers registered their flying machine, dubbed an airplane, for a U.S. patent. Apparently, they thought it might catch on.

May 22 – In San Francisco, U.S. Army Pvt. William Bulwada was sentenced to 5 years in prison for shaking hands with Emma Goldman, an anarchist. I once shook hands with my ex-wife's younger brother in San Francisco and had to get a tetanus shot the next day.

May 26 – Robert Morley, actor, was born in Semley, England. "Anyone who works is a fool -- I merely inflict myself upon the public." Me too.

May 26 -- British engineers struck oil in Iran, the first major oil strike in the middle East. The entire region has been in continual turmoil ever since. In fact, the entire region has been in turmoil for four thousand years.

May 28 – Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, was born in Mayfair, England. He was also the author of the children's book CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. "Older women are best, because they always think they may be doing it for the last time."

May 30 – Mel Blanc, voice of Warner Brothers cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig, was born in San Francisco. His tombstone reads "That's All Folks."

Jun 18 – William Howard Taft was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.

Jun 24 – Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United Stated, died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 71..

Jun 30 – In Siberia, the Tunguska Explosion took place. An estimated 300 square miles were incinerated. Some 40,000 trees over 900 square miles were flattened. People were struck unconscious 40 miles away. It was believed to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite. Other theories also exist.

Jul 2 – Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights attorney who became the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was born in Baltimore.

Jul 7 – The Democratic National Convention opened in Denver.

Jul 8 – Nelson Rockefeller, Republican Governor of New York and Vice President of the United Stated under President Gerald Ford, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Jul 10 – William Jennings Bryan was nominated for president by the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Jul 11 – My maternal grandmother, Amelia, celebrated her 16th birthday, along with her 11 older brothers. She would live to celebrate her 100th birthday. Rest in Peace, dear lady.

Jul 13 – My maternal grandfather, Benjamin, celebrated his 16th birthday, probably wooing Amelia and trying to avoid her 11 older brothers. Rest in peace, dude.

Aug 12 – The first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line. There would eventually be 15 million Model T's built, from 1908 to 1927. The selling price was $825.The Model T featured a steering wheel on the left side of the car for a better line of site when approaching other cars. The first air bag was also introduced when someone took their mother-in-law for a ride.

Aug 27 – Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, was born in Stonewall, Texas.

Sep 3 – Orville Wright began two weeks of field trials with his new flying machine, the Type A Military Flyer. He set an altitude record of 310 feet and an endurance record of one hour.

Sep 9 – Russia annexed part of Poland.

Sep 16 – An upstart company called General Motors filed papers for incorporation.

Sep 22 – The Chicago Cubs won the Baseball World Series. They have not won it since – weak pitching.

Sep 28 – Amos Alonzo Stagg, football coach of the University of Chicago, introduced numbers on the jerseys of football players. Someday, the U.S. government will issue a number for each of us – oh, that's right, they already have.

Oct 6 – Carole Lombard, film actress, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She would later marry Clark Gable. "I live by a man's code, designed to fit a man's world, yet at the same time I never forget that a woman's first job is to choose the right shade of lipstick."

Oct 11 – The Goldfield Hotel was opened in Goldfield, Nevada. The town had a population of 25,000 due to a gold-mining frenzy. Today, the population is 356. It's amazing how greedy people will flock to the middle of nowhere to get rich quick. I've been to Goldfield. It's undoubtedly a much better place with 356 people than with 25,000 vagabonds and hustlers.

Nov 3 – Republican Howard Taft was elected the 27th President of the United States over William Jennings Bryant.

Nov 6 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed in Bolivia. However, there has been some controversy as to whether or not it actually took place, or if it had been fabricated by Butch and Sundance to allow them to return to the United States and live happily ever after. Either way, they're probably dead by now.

Nov 14 – Joseph McCarthy, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was born on a farm near Appleton, Wisconsin. He became notorious for his witch-hunts against communists. Personally, I'd rather conduct witch-hunts for real witches, most of whom live in New England, New Orleans, New Mexico or Brea, California.

Nov 14 – Albert Einstein, a man in dire need of a good haircut, presented his quantum theory of light. "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

Nov 20 – Alistair Cook, Journalist and TV host of Masterpiece Theater, was born in Salford, England. "Canned music is like audible wallpaper."

Dec 2 – Zxuan Tong, age 2, became the last Emperor of China. Obviously, China prefers to be ruled by someone who doesn't really know what they are doing yet. In the United States, we elect Presidents who don't know what they're doing.

Dec 11 – The first organized dog sled race took place in Alaska, a 408 miles round trip from Nome to Candle.

Dec 25 – Jack Johnson, a black boxer from Texas, knocked out Tommy Burns in Australia. Johnson became the first black man to become heavyweight champion of the world. Five years later, Johnson would be arrested for violating the Mann Act, which stipulated a prohibition against transporting white women across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. He served time in Leavenworth, Kansas, on basically trumped up charges and was appointed athletic director of the prison.

Dec 28 – Some 100,000 people died in an earthquake in Sicily.

Life goes on.


Quote for the Day – "If you saved a nickel every year for 100 years, you'd have five dollars." Bret

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hitler After The War

A movie titled VALKYRIE, starring Tom Cruise, was release on December 26, 2008. It's the story of the assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler in 1944.

There's nothing like a good Nazi movie to cheer everyone up during the Holiday Season.

Adolph Hitler was born in April of 1889 In Austria. He was a decorated veteran of World War I and joined the National Socialist German Workers Party, also called the Nazi Party, in 1920. In 1921, he became leader of the Nazi Party, and in 1933 became Fuhrer (ruler) of Germany.

Hitler was a fascist dictator who believed in totalitarianism. His goal was to conquer the world and cleanse it of undesirables. It would be a New World Order controlled by the master race (Aryans).

By 1937, Germany and its allies (Japan, etc.) occupied most of Europe, large parts of Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.

This bit of global mischief brought about World War II, which involved over 100 million military personnel before it was over.

In September of 1939, Germany invaded Poland.

In June of 1941, 3 million German troops invaded Russia.

On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S. Navy Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

On December 11, 1941, Hitler declared war on the United States of America.

Good luck, Mr. Fuhrer.

On June 6, 1944, U.S. Armed Forces landed in France and began marching toward Germany

In August of 1945, the USA dropped a couple of atomic bombs on Japan and that was the end of it.

Enough is enough.

Among the many atrocities committed by the Nazis was the systematic extermination of an estimated 6 million people they considered to be unworthy as human beings, primarily Jews, Gypsies (Eastern Europeans, Balkans), Slavs (Indo-European), Soviet Bolsheviks. homosexuals, and others who did not meet the high standards of superiority of the Aryan race.

According to researcher Sean David Morton of Delphi Associates, Hitler survived World War II.

Magda Zeitfeld's father, a plastic surgeon, operated the largest plastic surgery clinic in Berlin, Germany, in the 1930s. He put Magda and her brother through medical school and they both soon joined his medical practice.

When World War II broke out, Magda was given a commission into the German Army and assigned to the SS.

Magda supervised a program that created doubles for Nazis, which were performed by plastic surgery at her father's clinic.

There were four doubles created for Hitler. Same height and build. They were trained to master Hitler's voice and distinctive walk. Faces and dental work were altered. Even their spines were broken in the same place where Hitler had been injured during World War I.

In the fall of 1943, three high-level Nazis came to Magda's father's clinic wanting their faces altered. Unknown to the SS, her father consulted Magda during the process and she made drawings of the men's final appearances.

Two of the men were Adolph Hitler and Martin Bormann. Magda did not recognize the third man.

According to Morton, "it is an established fact that Hitler never gave a public speech after the fall of 1943."

Shortly thereafter, Magda's father and the entire clinic staff were murdered. The clinic was burned to the ground, along with all the files.

Subsequently, every doctor ever associated with Hitler had simply vanished.

On April 30, 1945, Hitler supposedly committed suicide and was burned beyond recognition outside of his bunker in Berlin.

The Russian Army was the first to reach the bunker. The only person who could be located to identify Hitler was a dental assistant who had twice cleaned Hitler's teeth. Under pressure from the Russians, the dental assistant drew a sketch of her recollection of Hitler's teeth.

After much debate, it was concluded it matched the teeth of the mutilated body found outside Hitler's Bunker.

In 1943, the year Hitler visited Magda's father's clinic and stopped making public appearances, a man named Krespi arrived at the Vatican claiming to have come from an Italian/Austrian family in Northern Italy.

Coincidentally, Hitler's mother was a Roman Catholic from Northern Italy. Italian was Hitler's first language and all he spoke until age 12. Newsreels from the era show him speaking fluent Italian to Mussolini.

Vatican City, a walled enclave within the City of Rome that headquarters the Roman Catholic Church, has the status of a sovereign country and diplomatic immunity.

Father Krespi served as a novitiate and was ordained into the priesthood without ever leaving Vatican City, which has never happened before or since.

As a Novitiate, he became Art Curator of the Vatican Archives, a position far above his status.

After the war, SS Col. Magda Zeitfeld surrendered to U.S. Army Col. Kevin Stapleford, head of the OSS (today known as the CIA). During her debriefing, Magda told Stapleford about the Hitler doubles.

Years later, Magda Zeitfeld and Kevin Stapleford were married and moved to Tucson, Ariz.

In 1956, Father Krespi was assigned by the Vatican as the head of the Saliciano Order in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Years earlier, Martin Bormann, a Nazi leader and private secretary to Adolph Hitler, had also initially been given sanction in the Vatican and had relocated to Cuenca, Ecuador.

Kevin Stapleford died in the 80s, shortly after he and Magda had bought another house. The man who sold the house to the Staplefords introduced Magda to a friend, Lt. Col. Wendelle Stevens (Ret.), to help Magda arrange a military funeral for Kevin.

When Stevens met Magda at her home, he expressed admiration for her art pieces because it reminded him of a magnificent collection he had recently seen in a tiny Catholic Church while in Cuenca, Ecuador, searching for old Spanish art.

Stevens went on to relate how the person in charge of the artwork, Father Krespi, showed him a storeroom containing thousands of paintings, worth billions of dollars, stacked on their sides or rolled up as if they had been cut out of their frames.

Later, Stevens showed Magda slides he had taken of the artwork.

Magda had been in Hitler's office many times and recognized one of the slides. It was a Raphael masterpiece that once hung behind Hitler's desk. She soon spotted a piece that had been looted from her family's ancestral home in Bavaria.

The entire art collection in the storeroom of the tiny Catholic Church in Ecuador was plunder from Europe during World War II.

Magda told Stevens the story of how her father had altered Hitler's appearance.

After comparing his photos of Father Krespi in the 80s to photos of Hitler in the 40s, Stevens soon became convinced of what Magda already knew -- Father Krespi was Hitler.

Father Krespi died in 1993.

Over 2,000 people from around the world, including Stevens, attended the funeral.

Soon thereafter, Father Krespi's priceless art collection was flown out of the country aboard two cargo jets.

To this day, Father Krespi's white marble tomb is polished every week and lavished with flowers, paid for by anonymous donors.

Hitler attempted to create a New World Order by conquering the world through brute force. He was a diabolic egomaniac who presumed superiority over others. Suicide was never one of his options.

These days, those who seek to create a New World Order do so through power brokers and international bankers behind closed doors.

The lust for control of Planet Earth continues.

Quote for the Day – "Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future." Adolph Hitler


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Forty Years Ago -- 1968

Forty years ago, 1968, the following events took place that year:

Jan. 1 – I had been drafted into the U.S. Army in April of 1966 during the Vietnam Conflict and stationed at Ft. McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. In 99 days, I would be a civilian once again.

Jan. 14 – The defending champions Green Bay Packers won the 2nd Super Bowl.

Jan. 21 – North Vietnamese forces attacked the U.S. Marine base at Khe Sahn. Hundreds of mortars and rockets slammed into the base. The siege lasted 75 days. It was the longest and bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War. In the end, the U.S. Marines still controlled the mountain top.

Jan. 23 – North Korea seized the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo, claiming it had intruded on their territorial waters. The captain and 81 crewmen were held captive for 11 months.

Jan. 30 – During the Lunar New Year Tet holiday, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces launched a surprise attack on U.S. troops, known as the Tet Offensive. The Viet Cong seized part of the U.S. embassy in Saigon for 6 hours. The North Vietnamese troops took control of the city of Hue but lost it again after some 6,000 civilians were killed.

Feb. 1 – Richard Nixon announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Feb. 8 – George Wallace, former governor of Alabama, entered the presidential race.

Feb. 13 – The U.S. sent 10,500 more combat troops to Vietnam.

Feb. 27 – CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite announced, "It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out of Vietnam will be to negotiate, not as victors but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best we could." President Lyndon Johnson called the comments a turning point in the war.

Feb. 29 – Robert McNamara resigned as U.S. Secretary of Defense. He was succeeded by Clark Clifford.

Mar. 1 – The Federal minimum wage was set at $1.60 per hour.

Mar. 4 – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. announced plans for a Poor People's Campaign.

Mar. 9 – General William Westmoreland requested 206,000 more troops for Vietnam.

Mar. 11 – A Russian submarine armed with nuclear missiles perished in 16,000 feet of water off the Hawaiian island of Oahu. A U.S. submarine found the Soviet vessel 6 months later and recovered 3 missiles with nuclear warheads, Soviet code books and an encryption machine. In 1974, the CIA sponsored the recovery of the sub. A section was pulled in with 2 nuclear tipped torpedoes. CIA operative Claude Barnes Capehart worked on the vessel that raised the Soviet submarine from the ocean floor. Later, Capehart told his girlfriend that he was in Texas when JFK was assassinated, and that "Oswald wasn’t the only one involved." Just before a scheduled interview in 1989, Capehart dropped dead of a heart attack.

Mar. 12 – President Lyndon Johnson won the New Hampshire Democratic primary, the first primary of the 1968 presidential election year. Johnson won 49.6 percent and Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota won 41.9 percent. In the Republican primary, Richard Nixon won 77.6 percent.

Mar. 13 – Atlantic Richfield Company and Exxon Company announced the discovery of oil on Alaska's North Slope. The two oil companies began efforts to construct a pipeline.

Mar. 16 – Robert F. Kennedy announced is bid for the Democratic presidential candidacy.

Mar. 16 – President Johnson sent 50,000 more troops to Vietnam.

Mar. 16 -- In Vietnam, a company of 105 U.S. soldiers entered the hamlet of My Lai. Some 500 civilians were massacred, including women, elderly and infants who were lined up in a ditch and shot. Hugh Thompson, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, observed the massacre from above. He landed between some remaining villagers and his fellow soldiers, and ordered his gunner to fire on American troops if necessary. Then he airlifted a dozen villagers to safety. He and his gunner were awarded the Soldier's Medal in 1998. The atrocity, known as the My Lai Massacre, was eventually exposed. The Army charged 25 officers and enlisted men in the massacre, but only the company commander, Lt. Calley, was convicted. Gen. Samuel W. Koster was charged with covering up the killings. He was censured, stripped of a medal and demoted one rank to brigadier general.

Mar. 22 – Gen. William Westmoreland was relieved of his duties as overall commander is Vietnam. He was succeeded by Gen. Creighton Abrams. Westmoreland was named the new U.S. Army Chief of Staff.

Mar. 28 – Rev. Martin Luther King led a protest march in Memphis, Tenn., which erupted into a riot. National Guard troops were called in. King urged his supporters to remain peaceful. When he departed Memphis, he vowed to return on April 4 to join another protest march.

Mar. 31 – President Johnson announced he would not seek nor would he accept his party's nomination for president. The stock market soared.

Apr. 2 – Senator Eugene McCarthy won the Wisconsin Democratic primary.

Apr 3 – In Memphis, Martin Luther King delivered a speech to striking sanitation workers. "I have seen the mountaintop."

Apr. 4 – While standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Martin Luther King was assassinated.

Apr. 5 – Riots erupted across the U.S. following the King assassination.

Apr. 9 – In Atlanta, three days before my anticipated Army discharge date, 30,000 marchers and an estimated 200,000 mourners took part in Martin Luther King's funeral procession. The entire world, including the Army, expected massive outbreaks of chaos shortly after the ceremony. Instead of packing to go home, I was in combat gear, a few blocks away, wondering how much live ammo would be distributed for riot control. The funeral ended without incident.

Apr. 11 – President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Apr 12 – I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army as a Specialist E5. I hopped in my 1959 Buick and drove non-stop back home to Minneapolis. Along the way, I got a speeding ticket in Tennessee. When I crossed the St. Croix River into Minnesota, I pulled over and kissed the ground. The structured insanity of the military was replaced by the self-destructive insanity of civilian life. One nightmare replaced the other.

May 1 – I returned to my old civilian job as a computer programmer in St. Paul. New management didn't want me around because they were over budget and I didn't care much for incompetent clowns in cheap suits. But I needed the job so I tried to make the best of a bad situation.

May 10 – FBI director J. Edgar Hoover sent all field offices a memo ordering an escalation of intelligence and attacks on dissidents of the Vietnam War.

May 13 – Peace talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam began in Paris, France. The talks would last for years.

May 28 – Senator Eugene McCarthy won the Democratic primary in Oregon.

Jun 4 – Senator Robert F. Kennedy won the California Democratic primary.

Jun. 5 -- Senator Kennedy was mortally wounded at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after claiming victory in the primary. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was immediately arrested for the shooting. Kennedy died the following day.

Jun. 8 – In London, James Earl Ray, the suspected killer of Martin Luther King, was captured.

Jun. 19 – In Washington, D.C., 50,000 people marched to support the Poor People's Campaign.

Jul. 17 – In Iraq, the Arab Socialist Baath Party staged a coup and gained control as the Revolution Command Council. Ahmed Hasan-al-Bakr became president of Iraq. Saddam Hussein, the strongman of the regime, soon took charge of internal security. He would later be called the Butcher of Baghdad.

Aug. 8 -- Richard Nixon was nominated as presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. He chose Spiro T. Agnew, Governor of Maryland, to be his running mate. Shortly thereafter, a race riot broke out in Miami.

Aug. 10 – My 24th birthday. Race riots broke out in Little Rock and Chicago. My birthday and the riots were not related.

Aug. 24 – France tested a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific. It made a loud noise and blew the hell out of stuff.

Aug. 26 – The Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago. Thousands of antiwar demonstrators took to the Chicago streets to protest the Vietnam War.

Aug. 28 – Vice President Hubert Humphrey was nominated as presidential candidate at the Democratic National Convention. Riots broke out outside the convention arena. Police and demonstrators clashed in the streets. The police won.

Aug. 29 – Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine was chosen as Humphrey's running mate.

Aug. 31 – In Iran, 12,000 people were killed and 60,000 buildings were destroyed in an earthquake..

Sep. 10 – The Big Mac was created in McDonald's franchise in Pittsburgh. It sold for 49 cents.

Sep. 28 – The song "Hey Jude" by the Beatles went to number one on the charts and stayed there for 9 weeks. I sang (enthusiastically) to it when it was playing on a juke box in bar in Minneapolis. It was a solo act -- my one and only public singing appearance. I received scattered applause and a stern look from the bouncer.

Sep. 30 – The first Boeing 747 rolled off the assembly line.

Oct. 11 – The first manned Apollo mission was launched In Cape Kennedy, Florida, with three astronauts who orbited the planet 163 times.

Oct. 12 – The summer Olympics opened in Mexico City.

Oct. 18 – The U.S. Olympic Committee suspended two black athletes, John Carlos and Tommy Smith, for giving a "black power" salute during the medal award ceremony.

Oct. 20 – Former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, married Aristotle Onassis, a Greek geezer with a fat wallet.

Nov 5 – Richard Nixon was elected U.S. President, defeating Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace.

Nov. 12 – The U.S. Supreme Court voided an Arkansas law banning the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Nov. 14 – Yale University announced it would accept female students.

Nov. 28 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared in Magistrates Court where they pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis resin. They were fined 150 pounds, plus 20 guineas for court costs.

Dec. 5 – O.J. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy as the best college football player of the year. In 1999, the trophy was auction off for $230,000 to help defray some expenses in a legal judgment against him in a wrongful death entanglement.

Dec. 9 – In San Francisco, researchers at the Stanford Research Institute demonstrated their new innovations -- the computer mouse, a graphic user interface, display editing, integrated text, graphics and 2-way video-conferencing with shared work spaces. It was to signal the sad ending of the IBM card.

Dec. 11 – I quit my job out of sheer frustration with new management. It was like working for The Three Stooges, except there were only two of them and they didn't swat each other with frying pans. I would return to college after the first of the year and work on my Masters degree.

Dec. 20 – Author John Steinbeck died in New York City at age 66. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1940. I met his daughter-in-law, Nancy Steinbeck, when we were both at a book signing event in Cherokee Village, Arkansas, in 2002. We sat side-by-side for about 4 hours. She sold about 35 copies of her book titled THE OTHER SIDE OF EDEN and I sold two copies of one of my novels. Arkansas is not a bastion of book readers.

Dec. 24 – The three Apollo 8 astronauts read passages from the Old testament during a Christmas Eve TV broadcast while orbiting the moon. Three days later, Apollo 8, splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

Dec. 31 – The Hong Kong flu killed 34,000 Americans in 1968 and the medium price for a new home in the U.S. was $24,700.

The number one song of 1968 was "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel.

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon...Going to the candidate's debate...Laugh about it, shout about it...When you've got to choose...Every way you look at this you lose.

All in all, it was an eventful year, especially in presidential politics, lunar excursions and killing zones on the far side of the globe.

I celebrated the end of 1968 by drifting down Whiskey River. It wasn't really a celebration – it was more like a need to be off the grid.

Every way you look at this you lose.


Quote for the Day – "Whiskey River take my mind.... Don't let her memory torture me.... Whiskey River don't run dry.... You're all I've got, take care of me." Willie Nelson

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Santa Dimension

When I was about five years old, I was excited to learn that Santa Claus was going to appear at my house early on Christmas Eve to personally hand Christmas presents to my little brother and me. My parents explained that Santa was doing this as a special treat for us since we didn't have a chimney.

Sure enough, Santa showed up.

Although he was an hour late, according to my mother, I was thrilled to see him. I rushed outside in the cold Wisconsin night but stopped several feet short. Something wasn't right. Santa was clearly wearing a mask on his face.

I asked him why he was wearing a mask and he told me it was to keep warm.

Later that holiday season, I overheard a conversation between my parents whereby I learned it was my grandfather pretending to be Santa and that my mother was very upset with him for showing up late and drunk.

When my mother realized I had discovered the great Santa deception, she explained that Santa had so many houses to visit that evening that he didn't have time to make special stops and that my grandfather was just pretending to be Santa to make us happy.

Once again, being a young innocent squirt, I bought the explanation. My grandfather was always a great guy, drunk or sober, and I appreciated him for stopping by on such a cold night just to please my brother and me.

A few years later, in the second grade, I was hanging out with a couple of my buddies during recess. Usually we would shoot marbles behind a big oak tree so our teacher couldn't see us. Mrs. Halverson didn't like it when her boys would participate in games of chance, especially when marbles would change hands.

Instead of playing marbles, we got into a discussion about Santa Claus. There had been some speculation that Santa Claus didn't really exist so the three of us tried to figure it out logically.

Duncan Jones was the brains of the group, Vinny Gagliardi was ever so inquisitive, while I was more action oriented, preferring to play marbles rather than attempting to fathom the unfathomable.

It all started when Vinny came up with a series of intriguing questions. How does Santa visit so many houses on a single night? How can he get all those presents in his sleigh? How can reindeer fly? How does a hefty guy like Santa manage to slip down a chimney and get back to the roof? What does Santa do when there is no chimney? How does Santa know whether you were naughty or nice? And so on and so on.

Duncan made some quick calculations. He figured if there were a billion houses and Santa took only a minute per house, or 60 houses per hour, it would take about 17 million hours, not counting flying time.

Then there was the flying reindeer problem. Duncan and I were fairly certain reindeer couldn't actually fly but Vinny wasn't so sure. He had seen an elephant fly in a Disney cartoon and it looked feasible to him.

Soon a light bulb went off just above Duncan's head.

Suppose there was a parallel universe. Santa could pop in and out of our reality almost instantaneously while doing most of his work in a parallel dimension. This would impose an anomaly in the continuum of time and space whereby a few seconds of our reality could be a year of Santa reality.

This could also explain the reindeer problem. They don't actually fly; there're merely transported to our reality directly onto the roof and disappear the same way. Santa makes his way into the house in the same manner. It's simply a matter of hyper-dimensional travel between simultaneous planes of existence.

The bell rang and we had to go back inside where Mrs. Halverson made us print the alphabet all afternoon. She wanted to make sure we slanted our letters at the proper angle. Mrs. Halverson always emphasized penmanship and seating posture, but had a phobia about teaching math. Numbers greater than 20 made her nose bleed.

It's strange how so many parents are unaware of parallel dimensions. They tell their kids the most ridiculous tales to make up for their lack of knowledge about the anomalies of the continuum of time and space.

I left a plate of cookies out for Santa last year. The next morning the plate was empty. I'm not exactly sure what happened though -- my dog had some cookie crumbs on his whiskers and didn't eat much that day.

Happy Holidays.


Quote for the Day -- "I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked me for my autograph." Shirley Temple

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mithras and St. Nick

In the fourth century, the Romans and Persians celebrated the birthday of their sun god, Mithras, during the last week of December. The sun "dies" at the winter solstice, its lowest position in the sky in the northern hemisphere. Three days later, on December 25, the celebration of the "birth" of the sun takes place.

The Catholic Church felt this celebration by a rival pagan religion threatened the existence of Christianity so they decided to conduct a festival of their own during the last week of December which would force a competition with the pagan festivities.

Even though the Catholic Church believed the actual birth of Jesus Christ was in the spring, they chose December 25 as the official birthday and thereby began a tradition of holding Christ's Mass during a time frame where it would interrupt the pagan celebrations.

Over time, "Christ's Mass" eventually became "Christmas" and December 25 became known thereafter as the day Jesus Christ was born.

A man named Nicholas was born in Turkey in 280 AD. He was very pious from an early age and devoted his life to Christianity. He eventually became a Christian priest and later became a bishop.

Nicholas had a reputation as a kindly, wise soul who was generous toward the poor. He was a rich young man who didn’t like to be seen giving gifts. He traveled the country helping people, always at night after the children were asleep.

The most famous story about Nicholas is when he learned of a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters on their wedding day. Nicholas dropped bags of gold into the stockings the girls had left to dry by the fire. Ever since, children have hung stocking by the fireplace in hopes that old St. Nick would drop by and fill the stockings with goodies.

Turkey was part of the Roman Empire at the time. In 303 AD, the Roman Emperor, named Diocletian, demanded that all of his subjects worship him as god.

Nicholas would not allow his conscience to betray his religious convictions so he refused to worship the Emperor, landing him in prison. Conditions were harsh, including torture, but the 23-year-old Nicholas held to his beliefs.

In 313 AD, when Constantine became the new Emperor of the Roman Empire, he released Nicholas and other Christians from prison.

Nicholas returned to his post as Bishop of Myra, where he continued his good deeds.

Constantine later became a Christian and convened the Council on Nicaea in 325 AD. He appointed Nicholas as a delegate to the Council, the purpose of which was to create statements of beliefs and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy, thereby contriving a unity of beliefs for ecumenical (worldwide) Christendom.

Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD.

In 394 AD, Roman Emperor, Flavius Theodosius, banned all pagan rites. This decree ended the practice of worshipping the sun god, Mithras.

In 800 AD, Nicholas was officially recognized as a saint by the Eastern Catholic Church. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, the patron saint of children, the patron saint of Sicily, Greece, Russia and other countries.

In the 1200s, France began to celebrate December 6 as Bishop Nicholas Day.

By the end of the 1400s, St. Nicholas was the third most beloved religious figure, after Jesus and Mary. There were more than 2,000 chapels and monasteries named after him.

Holland kept the legend of St. Nicholas alive in the 1500s, as Dutch children would place wooden shoes near the fireplace to be filled with treats.

The Dutch spelled St. Nicholas as Sint Nikolaas.

The name later became corrupted to Sinterklaas.

Eventually, the English version of the name became Santa Claus.

And that's how all of the Christmas nonsense evolved.

St Nicholas was a man of strong convictions, having spent many years in prison merely for holding to his religious beliefs.

Such courageous moral fortitude, whether or not one agrees with such beliefs, is a divine example of an individual soul remaining steadfast in a world of petty tyrants who demand the right to enforce their version of heaven on Earth.

Ironically, the pagan worship of the sun god included such notions as Mithras being born of a virgin in a cave on December 25. His birth was attended by shepherds. He was considered to be a master and a teacher. He traveled with 12 companions, performed miracles and promised immortality to those who believed in him. Upon his death, he was buried in a tomb and rose again after three days on March 25 (Easter).

The religion of Mithraism preceded Christianity by approximately 600 years.

Religion is a curious thing.

Quote for the Day – "Bah, humbug." Ebenezer Scrooge

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Art of Daydreaming

When I was a young whippersnapper in school, back when dinosaurs were roaming the earth, I often found myself staring out the window, my mind a million miles away from whatever was happening around me.

My teachers referred to me as a daydreamer. They were concerned about my future, or lack thereof. Their notion of a superior student was one who sat in the front row, enthralled with the subject matter and garnering every word at undivided attention. Apparently, I was doomed for failure.

In fact, I was daydreaming so often that once in the fifth grade I discovered the meaning of life, but I forgot to write it down.

I spent most of my adult working life as a computer programmer and system analyst. This requires a lot of thinking. Fortunately, most managers can't tell if a computer programmer is thinking or daydreaming. It was the perfect job for a daydreamer who was doomed for failure.

According to Dr. Laurie Nadel, author of SIXTH SENSE: UNLOCKING YOUR ULTIMATE MIND POWER, our mind is automatically designed to open our intuitive sense to a higher consciousness but our perceptions and thoughts often prevent us from doing so.

Dr. Nadel writes, "Maybe you find yourself staring out the window, your mind faraway from the tasks at hand. If somebody speaks to you, you find yourself startled by the sound of his voice. Or you don't understand what was said the first time and ask the speaker to repeat himself. These are signs that your body is entering an ultradian rest response."

The "ultradian rest response" is a fancy-schmacy way of saying "daydreaming."

Dr. Nadel claims that the pattern of "a subtle mental fuzziness" is repeated about every 90 minutes. During this period, the right hemisphere of the brain becomes dominant. This is the intuitive and creative region of the neocortex.

When a person loses concentration and enters a state of ultradian rest response, the four main regulatory systems that link mind and body realign.

1) The autonomic nervous system that regulates most of your body's important functions.

2) The endocrine system that regulates production of your pituitary, thalamus, hypothalamus, and thyroid hormones, among others.

3) The immune system.

4) The system of information substance chemicals (neuropeptides) in your brain.

This is the window of time where you are most likely to have a sudden insightful moment into yourself.

Rather than forcing yourself to push through the mental fatigue of the ultradian rest response, you should allow impressions from your intuitive right hemisphere to flow through your mind. It's time for a daydream break.

And as you become more aware of the physiology of intuition, your body's natural rhythms will help you ease into an intuitive state. By recognizing the onset of a ultradian rest response, you can enhance the results by spending time in peaceful silence while your body does its neurophysiological repair work.

Ernest Rossi, author of THE PSYCHOBIOLOGY OF MIND–BODY HEALING, writes, "during the ultradian rest response, your body goes into an intuitive mode. You are more receptive to impressions from your unconscious. This is a time when the unconscious wants all the energy it can get. If you train yourself to just watch and observe and not intrude, you're going to fall into a more naturally intuitive state."

If you let the ultradian rest response have all the energy, it can most efficiently do all the necessary physiological healing.

Rossi writes, "Most forms of healing, including shamanism and the holistic forms of healing are rituals for helping out to get into this ultradian response because it's so easy to entrain."

Mind chatter keeps us within the five senses of perceived reality. Daydreaming is when the mind becomes silent. The silence allows you to go anywhere because within the silence is everywhere. This is the moment when insight and intuition and creativity and imagination break through.

Imagination led Ben Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the printing press, the telescope, radio, the telephone, motion pictures, automobiles, television, the Internet, cell phones, men on the moon, rock-n-roll and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

Imagine that.


Quote for the Day – "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Sum of Our Actions

In 1909, Oliver P. Smith developed a mechanical rabbit for use in dog racing. He hired Edward J. O’Hare, a lawyer in St. Louis, to help patent the device. Smith and O’Hare placed the device in dog tracks, most of which were owned by the Mob in those days, in Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois.

Smith died in 1927 and O’Hare gained control of the rights to the rabbit for himself. O’Hare soon divorced his wife and moved to Chicago with his three children: Butch, Patricia and Marilyn.

Al “Scarface” Capone took an immediate liking to Edward J. O’Hare and brought him in as a major partner in the Hawthorne Kennel Club (dog track) in Cicero. Although dog racing was illegal in Illinois at the time, Capone continued to operate the track while the legalities were tied up in court for years.

Capone and O’Hare soon gained control of dog tracks in Boston, Tampa and Miami. When the authorities closed the Cicero dog track, Capone and O’Hare converted it to a horse race track, named Sportsman’s Park, with O’Hare as president.

Edward J. O’Hare also performed many legal services for Al Capone and his Mob associates, from murder, prostitution and gambling problems to setting up elaborate real estate and stock transactions. He was a crooked lawyer doing business with ruthless gangsters in a politically corrupt city.

But Edward J. O’Hare was also a devoted father. When his son, Butch, graduated from high school, he had a burning desire to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. This was a problem for Edward because entry into the service academies required the backing of the local representative in Congress.

A reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, John Rogers, had been a longtime personal friend and knew Edward O’Hare wanted his son to go to Annapolis. Rogers also had a friend who was a federal prosecutor assigned to bring Al Capone to justice.

Through Rogers, the prosecutor made a proposal to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, who then approached Congress with a plan. If Edward O’Hare would cooperate with the Feds, his son Butch would be admitted to the Naval Academy.

Edward O’Hare agreed.

Soon thereafter, Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

In 1937, Butch O’Hare graduated from Annapolis.

On November 8, 1939, as Capone was due to be released from prison, Edward J. O’Hare was gunned down, in his car, by two men with shotguns, at the intersection of Ogden and Rockwell in Cicero.

On December 7, 1941, 28-year-old Lt. Butch O’Hare was transferred from his base in San Diego to the U.S.S. Lexington aircraft carrier.

In February of 1942, Lt. O’Hare and another pilot were flying single-engine Grumman Hellcat fighter planes in the area of the Gilbert Islands. All the other aircraft were on the carrier being refueled.

Lt. O’Hare spotted nine Japanese twin-engine bombers zeroing in on the U.S. fleet below. The other pilot quickly discovered his .50 caliber machine guns were jammed.

Lt. O’Hare swooped into the enemy squadron alone and opened fire, single-handedly taking out five of the nine bombers, causing enough distraction to allow other fighters to take off from the carrier and join him.

For his actions on that day Lt. Butch O’Hare was designated the U.S. Navy’s first “Ace” of World War II and immediately promoted two ranks to Lieutenant Commander.

On November 26, 1943, Lt. O’Hare was shot down while on night patrol near Tarawa and lost at sea.

In 1949, in Butch O’Hare’s hometown of Chicago, they honored his heroics by changing the name of the Orchard Depot Airport to O’Hare International Airport. Today it’s the busiest airport in the world.

Courage is not that absence of fear – it's knowing something else is more important than fear.


Quote for the Day – "We are the sum of our actions." Aristotle

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joy to the World

The winter solstice is upon us. Time to be with friends and family -- to eat, drink and be merry – to give thanks for another joyous year on Planet Earth -- and to watch a lot of football.

Once upon a time, three wise men traveled from the east, following a bright star, and wound up in a stable in the little town of Bethlehem. There they presented a newly born baby with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; once again proving that men have no clue when it comes to buying Christmas presents.

Gold is a heavy metal, frankincense is a liquid fragrance used in embalming and myrrh is a pungent resin that comes from a gum tree. There is no child on this planet, newly born or otherwise, that yearns for stationary metal objects, delicate fragrances or pungent resins. They'd rather play with the box it came in.

If it had been three wise women instead, they would have asked for directions along the way and arrived early. Then they would have helped with the delivery, had a potluck dinner and cleaned up the stable afterwards. And the gifts would have been more practical, such as a blanket, a pair of booties and a box of Huggies.

* * *

The three stages of man are:

1) He believes in Santa Claus.
2) He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.
3) He is Santa Claus.

* * *

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for a burglar named Dwight.

“Santa Claus is watching you,” said a voice from the corner of the room.

The burglar froze. He shined his flashlight everywhere but saw no one. Cautiously, he took another step.

“Santa Claus is watching you,” the voice said again.

Suddenly, Dwight spotted a parrot sitting on a perch in the far corner of the room.

“What’s your name?” Dwight asked the parrot.

“Santa’s Helper,” the parrot said.

“What sort of idiot would name a parrot Santa’s Helper?” asked the burglar.

“The same sort of idiot that would name a 180-pound rottweiler Santa Claus,” the parrot told him.

* * *

Once upon a time, a perfect man and a perfect woman met. After a perfect courtship, they had a perfect wedding. Their life together was, of course, perfect.

One snowy Christmas Eve, this perfect couple was driving their perfect car along a winding road, when they noticed someone at the side of the road in distress. Being the perfect couple, they stopped to help.

There stood Santa Claus with a huge bundle of toys. Not wanting to disappoint any children on Christmas Eve, the perfect couple loaded Santa and his toys into their vehicle.

Soon, they were driving along delivering the toys. Unfortunately, the driving conditions deteriorated whereupon the perfect couple and Santa Claus had an accident. Only one of them survived the accident.

QUESTION: Who was the survivor?

ANSWER: The perfect woman survived. She’s the only one who really existed in the first place. Everyone knows there is no Santa Claus and there is no such thing as a perfect man.

NOTE: Women stop reading here – men may continue.

So, if there is no Santa Claus and no perfect man, the woman must have been driving. This would explain why there was an accident.

And if you’re a woman and you’re still reading, this illustrates another point -- women never listen.

* * *

Santa Claus has a different persona in the Redneck South where he's known as Billy Bob Claus.

Santa Claus is a fat guy with a beard wearing a bright red suit -- Billy Bob Claus is a fat guy with a beard wearing camouflage.

Santa Claus says, "Ho, ho, ho." -- Billy Bob Claus hollers, "Yee haw."

Kids leave cookies and milk out for Santa Claus -- kids leave Slim Jims and a Bud out for Billy Bob Claus.

Santa Claus rides in a sleigh with bells -- Billy Bob Claus rides in a Dodge pickup with a gun rack.

Santa Claus has reindeer pulling his sleigh -- Billy Bob Claus has a deer mounted on his wall.

Santa Claus always lands on rooftops -- Billy Bob Claus sometimes lands in a ditch.

Santa Claus slides down chimneys to get inside -- Billy Bob Claus uses a crowbar.

* * *

Republicans became Republicans when they stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Democrats became Democrats because they never stopped believing in Santa Claus.

There will be no nativity displays in public view in Washington DC this holiday season. They were unable to find three wise men and a virgin in the nation's capitol, although there were plenty of jackasses to fill the stable.


Quote for the Day – "Christmas is like any other day at the office. You do all the work and some fat guy in a suit gets all the credit."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Myths

Christmas, like many other holidays, has its share of historical inaccuracies and myths.

For example, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was not one of Santa’s reindeer and didn’t live on the North Pole. In fact, he was invented in 1939 by Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward department stores, as a promotional gimmick.

By 1946, a total of 6 million copies of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer booklet had been distributed to Montgomery Ward customers.

May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, developed the lyrics and music for a Rudolph song which was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949. It sold 2 million copies that year alone and went on to become the second best-selling record of all time, second only to “White Christmas.”

However, May’s original story differs from the song lyrics.

According to May, Rudolph lived in an ordinary reindeer village considerably south of the North Pole. Even though he was taunted for having a shiny red nose, his parents were not embarrassed. They brought Rudolph up in a loving home and gave him a high sense of self-esteem. Santa delivered presents to their house one night during a thick fog. Impressed by the glow of Rudolph’s shiny red nose, Santa chose him to lead his team of reindeer to complete his rounds.

This brings to mind other Christmas myths.

MYTH #1 -- Santa Claus is a fat man in a red suit. Not true. He's fairly thin and usually wears boxer shorts with a tank top around the house. He just dons multiple layers of clothing to keep warm in late December, when zipping around the night sky in an open sleigh. Santa’s delivery outfit is bright red to protect him from trigger-happy sportsmen – he doesn’t want to be mistaken for a flock of geese.

MYTH #2 -- Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. Not true. He lives in Canada, halfway between Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw. The north pole is a large block of ice, populated by three polar bears and a wayward penguin. Canada is a lot like the North Pole – it's cold and nobody ever goes there.

MYTH #3 – Santa has a bunch of little helpers called elves. Not true. They're mostly vertically-challenged (short) Swedes.

MYTH #4 -- Santa Claus climbs down chimneys to deliver his presents. No longer true. He once did climb down chimneys but got stuck several times in Colorado where legislation in 1969 required all chimneys to contain filters. In 1970, Santa reverted to using doors and windows, but he was busted in 1972 in Hackensack, New Jersey, for breaking and entering. Ever since then, Santa has used the Star Trek method of teleportation whereby his molecular structure is disassembled on the rooftop and reassembled directly in front of the Christmas tree. This way he is guilty only of entering but not of breaking, usually a misdemeanor in most places.

MYTH #5 – Santa Claus likes to have some cookies and milk waiting for his arrival. No longer true. In 1983, he developed a gastrointestinal infection while hovering over Thailand. Too much curry, causing a bad case of diarrhea, which can be quite a dilemma while flying through the air in an open sleigh.

MYTH #6 – Kids will get presents that reflect the latest craze. Not true. There is no latest craze. Remember Cabbage Patch dolls, Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles and Tickle-Me Elmo? They were the latest craze for about fifteen minutes. By the time the kids open presents, the latest craze will become a closet relic. If you want to give your kids a gift that has some worth, give them something that will get them out of the house, like a bicycle or a chainsaw.

MYTH #7 – Santa knows who has been naughty and nice. Not true. That's the CIA, FBI, NSA, NWO, DEA, IRS, ATF, CFR, KGB, MI6, MJ12 and the Jehovah Witnesses who are keeping tabs on everyone. Santa has enough to do without spying on you.

MYTH #8 – Santa’s reindeer are named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Actually, those are only nicknames to make it easier to come up with Christmas jingles. Their real names are Fox Maulder, Elmer Fudd, Engelbert Humperdinck, Johnny Paycheck, Chester A. Arthur, Joe Sixpack, D. B. Cooper and Dweezle Zappa.


Quote for the Day – "Myths die hard. We need them to overcome the paranoia of the narrow confines of our perceived reality." Bret

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Dragonfly Tattoo

I once stood in line in at Wal-Mart behind an attractive woman who had a tattoo of a dragonfly on the small of her back. I asked her if she knew the significance of the dragonfly whereupon she asked me if I knew the significance of minding my own business.

As relationships go, it was remarkably short.

Dragonflies, much like tattooed women, have their fair share of weirdness. They make themselves invisible to airborne prey by using a system called “motion camouflage.” It tricks the victim’s retina into perceiving the dragonfly as a stationary object blending into the background. Thus, the dragonfly becomes “invisible” even though it’s moving forward. Often, the pursuing dragonfly will fly away from its target rather than toward it to maintain the disguise.

I had become familiar with the dragonfly years earlier when I lived in Arizona where a man who claimed to be a shaman gave me a reading using 44 Native American Indian medicine cards. He explained that as we come into the Earth Walk, there are seven directions, each aligned with a particular ability or challenge, surrounding our bodies: East, South, West, North, Above, Below, and Within.

Then I drew seven medicine cards representing the seven directions in my Earth Walk.

1) East – Wolf. The wolf awakens the teacher within to understand the Great Mystery of life.
2) South – Armadillo. The armadillo teaches us to define our boundaries or space.
3) West – Dragonfly. The dragonfly reveals the illusionary facade of physical reality.
4) North – Hummingbird. The hummingbird encourages us to enjoy the succulent nature of life.
5) Above – Bat. Bat medicine teaches that to become your future, you must die and be reborn.
6) Below – Whale. Whale medicine people have the psychic ability to tap into the universal mind.
7) Within – Antelope. The antelope empowers us to honor the gifts sent from the Great Mystery.

The West medicine card reflects the internal solution to your present life challenges and reveals how to reach your desired goals. In my case, this is represented by the dragonfly.

According to the shaman, this world is full of nature spirits. Dragonfly medicine indicates knowledge received from the spirits of the four basic elements of air, earth, fire, and water. Dragonfly medicine is the essence of the winds of change. Messages of enlightenment were supposedly being communicated to me, especially during the dream-time, causing a transformation where illusion was being replaced by true wisdom.

I was indeed going through a transformation at the time.

The physical world seemed more like a robotic world of worker bees toiling in a giant rat race to maintain an economy that seemed more like a pyramid scheme than an intelligent way of life.

Humanity was being duped into a self-perpetuating system of servitude to a formation of governments and mega-corporations whose only purpose was to ensure their own growth.

For a government or mega-corporation, it meant survival.

To an individual human being seeking peace of mind, it was madness.

When I returned home from Wal-Mart, a dragonfly was perched on my mailbox, reminding me to always be aware of the world around me.

For example, a woman who wears a tattoo is a woman who wants to be noticed. And a woman who wants to be noticed is a woman who wants to be admired. But the moment you express a hint of admiration, the same woman will instinctively reject you.

Men may rule the world but women rule the men.

A dragonfly tattoo is a subtle form of camouflage – you can admire it but must pretend you don’t notice it.


Quote for the Day – "Just what you want to be, you'll be in the end." Moody Blues (Knights in White Satin)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Billions and Trillions

The following is a list of major financial outlays by the U.S. Government, recently published by Bianco Research of Chicago. The dollar amounts are the cost of the program, adjusted for inflation at today's value.

NASA -- $851.2 billion
VIETNAM WAR -- $698 billion
INVASION OF IRAQ – $597 billion
THE NEW DEAL -- $500 billion
KOREAN WAR -- $454 billion
S&L CRISIS -- $256 billion
RACE TO THE MOON -- $237 billion
LOUISIANA PURCHASE -- $217 billion
MARSHALL PLAN -- $115.3 billion

TOTAL -- $3.92 trillion

The U.S. Government is currently in the middle of a Credit Crisis Bailout, the largest outlay in USA history. If you add the Citi bailout, the total cost of the Credit Crisis fisaco now exceeds $4.6165 trillion, and it is still mounting.

A billion is a thousand million.

A trillion is a thousand billion or a million million.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959. A billion minutes ago the Crucifixion had not yet taken place. At the rate the U.S. Government spends money, it takes only 8 hours and 20 minutes to spend a billion dollars.

Congress is made up of mostly lawyers. It's truly amazing how ignorant some of them are when it comes to math and accounting.

For example, after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), asked the Congress for $250 billion to rebuild New Orleans.
Interesting number. Suppose it was divided equally among the victims of the hurricane.

If you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you would each receive $516,528. A family of four would receive $2,066,012.There were 188,251 homes in New Orleans. That's $1,329,787 per home.Here's another interesting number. There are 66,498 pages in the U.S. federal tax code.

Our federal government is so far out of control it may be beyond repair. Our national debt now exceeds $10 trillion, about $40,000 for every man, woman, child and newborn in America, and the newly elected president wants to add more government programs, costing more dollars, to the mix.

This is insane. More government means more collective debt and less individual freedom.

The U.S. government solution to this financial debacle is jobs, jobs, jobs, growth, growth, growth. We are mice on a treadmill, running and running in a circle, getting further and further in the hole.

Instead of endless, mindless growth, our objective should be quality of life. A shorter work week. Less wasteful spending. Living within our means instead of a credit and consumption frenzy to acquire things.

It's time to stop the madness.

Quote for the Day – "He who is greedy is always in want." Horace (ancient Roman poet)