20 Oct 2017 Resurrection and Cancer (dreams) – who decides when the cancer fight is over?

Hello to you.  How are you doing?  Me?  Well I had another one of my f-d up and kind of gory dreams.  Thankfully it was short, unlike the dream from the night before last!

The dream I had the night before last (Thursday) was like a montage of subjects compressed together all leading to a gory conclusion.  It started out with my brother-in-law and his husband, something about bathrooms, candles, picking up tiny yellow glowing seed-like things in the dark and then watching something out of a horror movie.  A blonde man with like a circle intentionally stuck into himself, which made me think of Christ watching this, and there was blood everywhere.  Then there was this horrible scene, like in Dracula, and I heard a man’s voice say, “He’s almost there!” Then I watched the bloody corpse of a man reconstituting himself from the dead.  It was so vivid.  I could hear the wet, squishy sound of eyeballs growing back into their sockets etc.  Pretty gross!  My mind seemed to be processing a bunch of themes from my waking world that have to do with religion.

The dream from last night/this morning was, as I said very short but gory and vivid too.  There was a naked woman lying on an operating table on her side and she had bleeding wounds.  Her skin was discolored like has been described of Black Plague victims.  I could hear her ragged breathing but they said she was dead.  They were leaving her to die.

The second dream I believe was triggered by reading letters from my friend detailing a very sad commentary on what it can be for some diagnosed with advanced cancer late in life.  What is being accounted to me is my friends daughter-in-laws mother, Karen,  has been diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer at age 79.  She has become quite weak and they aren’t sure if she would have the strength to endure chemotherapy.  From what I’ve been reading of this ordeal, it seems the medical establishment has basically told her there is nothing they can do for her and she should just go home and die.

Who decides when the cancer fight is over? 

If you have a lot of money and the right connections or live in a country that offers better healthcare, it seems you can literally buy yourself more time.  For the average person who gets such a diagnosis, like Karen…..it seems to be over when “they” (medical establishment and insurers)  say it is!

For me, if I were in such a situation?  It’s easy to say what one would want or what one would do but I’m not actually going through such a horrific ordeal!

What I think I would want is to be able to be home with my family, my stuff, sleep in my bed, smoke vast quantities of great pot and be able to take great pain medication if I needed it.   I would want to spend whatever remaining time I had doing things with the people (and animals) I love and not be hooked up to an IV dripping chemo in a sterile hospital room.

Do we have a choice?  It seems like Karen hasn’t really been given one, like a death panel already convened for her without her even having a say!  What if she wants to fight with the usual treatments?

Who decides when the cancer fight is over? 

I found these links and a good article with information on this issue if you are interested:

http://www.choosingwisely.org/patient-resources/care-at-the-end-of-life-for-advanced-cancer-patients/

http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/content/5/3/224.full – Management of Cancer in the Older Person: A Practical Approach

https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/why-cancer-patients-cannot-afford-treatment-139136.htm

Cancer Patients: Going Broke to Stay Alive

14 Comments

An envelope labeled "treatment" with money showing out of the opening and a stethoscope laying beside it

Rising health care costs leave a growing number of cancer patients – both uninsured or with insurance – without the financial coverage they need, says Dr. Richy Agajanian, M.D. of the Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation.

 “Over 11 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with cancer and it is one of the five most costly medical conditions. This forces many patients to make decisions about their health care and cancer treatment based on finances not on what is best for their health,” says Dr. Richy Agajanian, M.D. of the Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation.

“We spend a lot of time with our patients talking about options based on what they can and can’t afford. As doctors, we are constantly juggling what’s best for patients versus what they can afford. Whether or not health care reform will help fix this problem remains to be seen.”

One in eight people with advanced cancer turned down recommended care because of the cost, according to a new analysis from Kaiser Foundation. And one in four cancer patients or their families said they used up all or most of their savings to pay for treatment.

Financial obstacles cancer patients face include:

 Drug costs

Many of the medical advances that allow cancer patients to live longer come at a high cost. New, more effective drugs are being developed all the time, drugs that are extremely effective in cancer treatment. However, some of the newer drugs cost upwards of $10,000 a month, prices most uninsured people can’t afford. Even patients who do have insurance often have to pay 20 to 40% of that cost.

Cost of treatment

Just like with drug costs, the cost of cancer is astronomical. Treatment costs, deductibles and co-pays put cancer care out of reach for many. “Every year co-pays increase,” says Agajanian. Additionally, he says, managed care is cutting treatments by 20% to 30% with higher co-payments.

Pre-existing conditions

Health insurance companies often charge higher premiums or deny coverage for those who have chronic pre-existing conditions like cancer. Health insurance reform will prevent any insurance company from denying coverage based on an underlying health status, including cancer, according to healthreform.gov, the government’s official website for information on health care reform.

Doctor Agajanian is skeptical, but hopeful. “I don’t know what will happen. My hope is that patients will be insured or reimbursed more. There are millions of patients who need but don’t have insurance, with chronic conditions like cancer who desperately need it. Patients without insurance end up in the emergency room, and often die of cancer.”

 Denying payments

Even those who do have insurance sometimes can’t get treatment, because their insurance company denies payments. In an attempt to help these patients, Agajanian has six people on his staff who fight insurance companies who have denied treatment, and try to get coverage or reimbursement for cancer patients. “An 80-year-old woman will not fight the insurance company alone,” Agajanian says. “We do it on behalf of our patients, although it’s time-consuming and expensive.

Further complicating the issue is Medicare, which authorizes some treatments, but not others. And if a doctor gives a treatment that Medicare deems “inappropriate,” the doctor will be audited.

 Wellness and prevention

If people, including elders, received their recommended cancer screenings, not only would the projected cost of treatment be reduced by catching the cancer early, but thousands of lives would be saved. According to healthcare.gov, health insurance reform will ensure that all Americans have access to free preventive services through their health plans.

The future of cancer treatment for the elderly

What does the future hold, in particular with health care reform on the horizon? “I think there will be difficult times ahead,” Agajanian says. “If costs don’t come down, many patients won’t be able to get the treatment they need, and doctors might have to cut down the number of clinics to provide quality care and cover costs.

The increasing cost of health care raises complex questions related to cancer treatment and the impact the lack of affordable treatment will have on society.


The Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation has five locations in the Los Angeles area, all specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of types of cancer, as well as prevention and education. For more information, visit www.theoncologyinstitute.com .

 

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19 Oct 2017 Revisiting the subject of Zero Population Growth (ZPG) via Dan Brown’s book Inferno

Hello to you.  It’s Thursday evening here as I write to you.  I spent a lot of today sleeping, just haven’t been feeling very well.  I limited the time I spent outside today.  I was out there trying to get some Vitamin D and  I found I didn’t like the taste of the air on my lips.  I got an upset stomach too.  They have been flying over my house quite a bit the past few days, spraying whatever it is they are spraying down on everyone.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s drugs lol.  Sometimes I will see flashes of light afterwards….wonder if that is the silver in their sky cocktail floating down.  Sometimes I will find shiny silver drops on the leaves of the trees and plants in our yard after such operations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_modification.   I’ve resigned to myself that there is little to anything I can do about it short of building a air-tight bio-dome over our house and never going anywhere beyond it!

This picture is from 8 June 2016 but it could have been taken today. Same thing going on.

I decided to get my cake fix today and baked my Mom’s Red Devil Chocolate Cake recipe.  It’s one of my absolute favorites and doesn’t require any eggs to make.  Here’s the recipe if you would like to try it!

Mom’s Easy Red Devils Food Cake

3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar (can adjust), 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 2 tsp soda, 1 tsp salt.  Mix and then add:

2 cups cold water, 1 cup oil, 2 TBSP white vinegar, 2 tsp vanilla extract.  Mix and put in 9 x13 baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Cupcakes: 15-20 minutes.

(I now realize the irony of the two books – one is for children and the other is exploring a world with a lot less of them!)

The books I picked up yesterday at Half Price Book in Burleson TX

19 Oct 2017 – drawing out what I’m reading in Dan Brown’s Inferno book. The goal of the books antagonist? To reduce the world population to a mere 4 billion….

Source: Internet
Diagram from Dan Brown’s book Inferno about population growth and tasking of this growth on the Earth’s resources

As I mentioned a couple of blogs ago, I purchased Dan Brown’s Inferno to read and am slowly working through it.  One of the subjects in this book, a very sobering one,  is a subject that I used to be quite passionate about some years ago, zero population growth (zpg).

When I was on active duty, we had something called the Air Assistance Fund which was an annual fundraiser for charity (http://afassistancefund.org/).   Once a year we could take a look at available charities and choose the ones we wanted to send part of our paycheck to.   One of the organizations I often chose to donate to was an organization called Zero Population Growth which is now known as Population Connection: http://www.populationconnection.org/ –

America’s Voice for Population Stabilization

Since 1968, Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth or ZPG) has been America’s voice for population stabilization. We are the largest grassroots population organization in the United States—we have over 500,000 members, supporters, and participating educators!

Population Connection works to ensure that every woman around the world who wants to delay or end childbearing has access to the health services and contraceptive supplies she needs in order to do so.

So what does it mean to have zero population growth?

  1. Zeropopulationgrowth, sometimes abbreviated ZPG (also called the replacement level of fertility), is a condition of demographic balance where the number of people in a specified population neither grows nor declines, considered as a social aim by some.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_population_growth

I understood back then and I am recently reminded while reading Dan’s book, that population growth cannot continue at an unchecked rate. We and the other creatures who share this earth with us are already beginning to feel the strain of what a booming human population does to any corner of earth it settles on.

I also understand that it is not entirely population growth that we need to be concerned with.

It is paramount to properly manage any and all of our natural resources which we have not….which we currently do not….at least not with sort of consistency the world over.  We live in a world of planned obsolescence whether it be a human being or a plastic toy.  We are now living in a world where our oceans, drinking water, air and food sources are made up of more plastic particles than anything else.  It is a world sewn together by leadership devoid of sensible priorities or any sort of long-term vision.   Sadly those who are responsible for the lion’s share of creating this dysfunctional world model, and I hate to break it to you, that includes you and me for drinking the slick advertisers Kool-aid,  aren’t going to be around to truly suffer the punishment they have imposed on all those who will remain.

There have been times I wish I had brought a child or two into this world.  This always becomes a fleeting regret.  All I have to do is look at what I have lived through and what it’s like even as we are here in 2017!  It’s different faces and places but pretty much the same crap we’ve been dealing with since the 13th century and before!  The big difference now, there are even more of us to be at the business of it!  I am glad for my hypothetical children that I chose not to bring them here.

Couple of interesting quotes from Dan’s book:

“Ozone depletion, lack of water, and pollution are not the disease—they are the symptoms. The disease is overpopulation. And unless we face world population head-on, we are doing nothing more than sticking a Band-Aid on a fast-growing cancerous tumor.”
Dan Brown, Inferno https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/overpopulation

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. – Bertrand Zobrist”
Read more at http://www.metriber.com/books/best-quotes-from-dan-browns-inferno/#O8Tlvg3zFtqP1hel.99

 

 

 

11 Oct 2017 Today’s Youth are Depressed, Here’s Why (Thoughty2, You tube), THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization (Bright Insight, You tube) and Evening Star (Poem by Edgar Allen Poe)

Hello to you.  It’s 9:28 pm on this Wednesday evening.  How are you?  I’m doing better after Kyle and I were able to talk with our neighbor about the fence, dog and poop situation this evening.  Sounds like chicken wire will be the solution until we can all afford to replace the fence entirely.  Works for me!  It made me feel better to be able to apologize for the outburst this morning and get things sorted out.  All he heard was yelling and wasn’t sure what was going on.  It had been bugging me all day!  I don’t like being mad at people or having unresolved conflict with people.

So this evening Kyle and I were able to squeeze in part of another episode of the Living and Dead BBC One program…make it last as long as we can lol.  We also did our You tube channels scan for stuff to watch and came across this very insightful video from the Thoughty2 channel about why the youth of today are having so much trouble with depression.  It ties in nicely to the links I shared on my previous post today about Smartphones and their effect on young people’s mental health/self esteem and suicide related issues.   This video addresses a lot of things people may have not considered when making harsh judgements about young people of the past couple of generations.

Today’s Youth Are Depressed, Here’s Why…

Thoughty2

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir – Are You Lost In The World Like Me? (Official Video) – this little film sums it all up so well….so sad but true.

This is a video I saw yesterday that was very interesting to me too.  It inspired the chalk drawing I did of the Sumerian and the Reaper.  I have found the story of the Sumerians quite fascinating and kind of crossed paths with some of their history, specifically their language of the cuneiform, when I was trying to get some closure on the character Vanessa Ives from the show Penny Dreadful: https://saymber.com/2016/09/20/20-sept-2016-vanessa-ives-of-penny-dreadful-and-lilith-cuneiform-sumerian-language-finding-mementos-of-your-past-revisiting-harsh-lessons-of-farm-life-and-death-as-a-city-girl/

THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization

Bright Insight

Published on Oct 5, 2017

How is it possible that the Sumerian’s ONLY get 1-3 Sentences in the Textbooks? The world’s FIRST human civilization that dates back 6,000 years, that created our modern system of time, the calendar, writing, agriculture, and everything else is not required learning in school. This video outlines what the Sumerian tablets/records.

Here to close…this beautiful poem by Edgar Allen Poe that I have never read before:

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/evening-star/

Evening Star – Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

‘Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro’ the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
‘Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass’d, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.

Sending hugs, love, hope and all the good I can muster through the wires to you…..please do pass it along 🙂 

7 Oct 2017 Let’s Stay Together (dream and song)

Hello to you. How are you? I hope your doing well. I had a fun dream last night of costume shopping. The parts I found, after opened kept being used or dirty. I just couldn’t find the right one. Then I remembered I could sing like Tina Turner and started singing one of my favorite songs she’s sung, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.

Let’s Stay Together Tina Turner (HD)

Let’s Stay Together

Al Green

I’m so in love with you Whatever you want to do Is all right with me ‘Cause you make me Feel so brand new And I want to spend My life with you

Since, since we’ve been together Loving you forever Is what I need Let me be the one you Come running to And I’ll never be untrue ooh baby

[Chorus] Let’s, let’s stay together Lovin’ you whether, whether Times are good or bad, Happy or sad Good or bad, happy or sad

Why, somebody tell me Why people break up? Turn around and make up I just can’t see You’d never do that to me Would you, baby? Staying around you is all I see Here’s what I want to do

[Chorus: x 2]

Songwriters: AL JACKSON JR, WILLIE MITCHELL, AL GREEN

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

This morning, after scanning some headlines, I see the tide has risen again for anti-gay sentiment around the world.  What I suspect is all of these petty and divisive tactics are just another distraction technique by the “powers that be” as they make arrangements for WWIII.  If we are divided and angry we will be more likely to be compliant to their plans.  The Rainbow Raids in Egypt just the latest overseas:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/rainbow-raids-egypt-launches-its-widest-anti-gay-crackdown-yet/ar-AAsZZuj?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Rainbow raids: Egypt launches its widest anti-gay crackdown yet

Sarah Hegazy has been jailed, beaten by inmates, and could face a life sentence in an Egyptian prison if found guilty of “promoting sexual deviancy” and other charges tied to her alleged crime: waving a rainbow flag at a concert.

The 28-year-old denies waving the flag but is one of 57 people arrested so far in Egypt’s widest anti-gay crackdown yet, a swift zero-tolerance response to a rare show of public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the conservative Muslim country.

The crackdown comes as Egypt, a key Western ally in the Middle East, is under fire for its human rights record and the United States has withheld some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Hegazy, the only woman rounded up in the three-week-old campaign, says police goaded her cellmates to abuse her during her first night in prison, where she is being detained for 15 days and interrogated by special prosecutors who usually focus on Islamist militants.

“This is the game they (police) always play, especially since she is a girl. They incite the other detainees and say ‘this girl wants men and women to be gay’ so they harass her. I saw scratches on her shoulder, she looked very disheveled and exhausted. She was beaten,” said Hegazy’s lawyer Hoda Nasralla.

A security official would not comment on Hegazy’s case but denied that police incite prisoners against each other or otherwise mistreat them.

Lawyers for other detainees said their clients faced similar treatment. Suspected gay male detainees are subject to forced anal exams to determine if they have had homosexual sex, a procedure human rights groups say amounts to torture.

At least five such examinations have taken place, Amnesty International says. Judicial sources do not deny the examinations take place but say they are legally carried out and are not a form of abuse.

Egyptian authorities do not deny going after gays and an investigation report provided to Reuters by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) openly refers to the police’s campaign on homosexuals.

Police, state-aligned media, and the religious establishment all see it as a public duty to combat the spread of homosexuality.

Ten men have already gone on trial during the recent sweep and received jail sentences from one to six years.

MEDIA BACKLASH

On Sept. 22, at a concert packed with 30,000 people headlined by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay, a small group of concert goers raised a rainbow flag and, within hours, the image went viral.

Almost immediately local media, dominated by state-aligned television personalities, began a campaign against homosexuals, saying they were receiving foreign funding, and hosting callers who compared their threat to Islamic State.

Egypt’s media regulator then banned homosexuals from appearing in the media unless they were “repenting”, calling homosexuality a “shame and a disease that should be kept under wraps, not promoted” in order to protect public morality.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said it would stand against gays in the way it stands against Islamist extremists. One church organized an anti-gay conference.

Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered the State Security Prosecution, which normally investigates terrorism and other national security threats, to investigate the flag incident.

At least four people, including Hegazy and 21-year-old Ahmed Alaa, were arrested for allegedly raising the flag although one man has since been released.

The overwhelming majority of those arrested are not involved in the flag case, however, and have simply been arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.

Police have raided homes, parties, and used online dating apps to lure gay men – a common tactic in Egypt – to arrest most of them, their lawyers say.

At a Cairo courthouse defendants stood in a cage, holding up newspapers and books to hide their faces to shield themselves from the stigma of homosexuality in Egyptian society.

WORST CRACKDOWN YET

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

The last comparable crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt was in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat. Fifty-two men were tried in the case, which drew widespread criticism from human rights groups and Western governments.

But the current wave has already surpassed that incident both in numbers and in state action, with defendants facing much faster trials than usual, said Dalia Abd Elhameed, EIPR’s gender and women’s rights officer.

No Western government has publicly condemned or commented on this crackdown, but Egypt is facing criticism from the United States, a major ally, over its human rights record.

Washington denied Egypt $95.7 million in aid and delayed a further $195 million because it failed to make progress on human rights and democracy, U.S. sources told Reuters in August.

Egypt has taken a leading role at the United Nations in opposing gay rights. It was one of 13 countries to vote last week against a U.N. resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex.

It led a dozen states in boycotting a session in January with the first U.N. expert on anti-gay violence and discrimination. It sent a letter last year on behalf of Muslim countries to the secretary-general that led to the exclusion of 22 gay and transgender rights groups from the U.N. General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on Ending Aids.

Gay men and rights activists say the LGBT community has been facing an aggressive crackdown since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as military chief ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi.

EIPR has documented 232 cases between October 2013 and March 2017 where people were arrested for allegedly being gay or transgender, Abd Elhameed said. Many of these cases went to court where the average sentence was around three years in jail, although in some cases it went up to 12.

Sisi has been criticized by the Brotherhood as being anti-Islam, and rights groups say tough treatment of the LGBT community is a way to counter that while diverting attention from the country’s tough economic conditions.

COMMUNITY IN FEAR

The crackdown has Egypt’s already underground LGBT community living in fear. Five gay men who all requested anonymity said they were avoiding gay-friendly spaces and deleting online dating profiles for fear of arrest.

Some are considering leaving the country.

But the recent developments underscore an existing reality for gay Egyptians: they are in constant physical danger.

“I don’t feel comfortable just being myself. We’re not talking about gay rights here, no one is calling for marriage equality, we face the possibility of jail and humiliation for merely existing,” said one 25-year-old gay man.

A 31-year-old gay man recounted how he was tied up and beaten at his Cairo flat last year by two men who threatened to kill him after meeting through the gay dating app Grindr.

They posed as police officers at some point, playing on a common fear for gay Egyptians, before stealing items from his flat. The man says he later felt going to the police was almost as traumatic as the incident itself.

Police records show officers create false dating profiles and set up dates only to arrest the men who show up. Sometimes they tell the men to bring condoms then use them as evidence, Abd Elhameed said.

“There are people in the Interior Ministry who take our money as taxpayers to engage in sex chatting with people then arrest them. It is as ridiculous as this; the evidence sheets include nude photos and erotic chat transcripts.”

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Giles Elgood)

___________________________________

A part of me understands it and a bigger part of me does not accept it as rational behavior to be hating anyone for trying to be who they are. To me targeting a vulnerable population like the gay population is the stuff schoolyard bullies do to make themselves feel better.  As an empathic person, I often find myself trying to understand why people think and act the way they do. Lately, it’s been trying to understand why it seems there is so much hate on the part of some white people, white men in particular, against anyone who is different than they are.

It occurs to me the conversation I had on the way home with my father-in-law after we went to the State Fair and the topic about the NFL kneeling issue came up. From my father-in-law and mother-in-law’s perspective, both of them upper middle class and white, the NFL is a business and no place for such protests. People watch football to escape such things. Well I came back to that with, “If you put yourself in the place of the these mostly black athletes who’s people are being treated the way they are….” The comeback from my father-in-law was swift. He said he felt that these guys were making millions of dollars, what do they know of oppression. I retorted that many of them come from the places the people they are kneeling for came from….it was there only way out. He didn’t agree with me, he said that as a white tax payer it’s not his doing that this is going on. I could tell the conversation was only going to escalate to an ugly place so I didn’t say anything else. I knew mentioning that his tax dollars are paying for some of the law enforcement who are shooting unarmed black men and paying for politicians who are constantly putting together legislation like banning immigrants, building walls and anti-tay bathroom bills wasn’t going to end well. In my estimation, something was lacking from my father-in-law in this conversation and it was empathy. In our short conversation, he just couldn’t and didn’t want to try and understand the people we were talking about.

My parents, also white, are much the same. I grew up with and am still surrounded by a great degree of intolerance, even hostility on the part of white people when it comes to anyone who is different…meaning not straight, not church-going, not white.

I love my family but have spent most of my life agreeing to disagree with them about issues such as this.

My dear Grandma Carol Becker and I – she was one of my Moms and is such a huge part of who I am today

So how did I end up the way I did? Being different, being bullied in school, being the “other.” When you go through hard times or are treated differently for being who you are, in my case as a child being overly sensitive and poor, you learn empathy almost as a self-defense mechanism!   I can remember walking home from grade school and having white male classmates hurling snow balls at me and calling me names.  I credit the greatest part of my empathic ability to having two people in my life, my Grandparents, especially my Grandma Becker, who fought for unity and equality for all people that “saved me” from ultimately becoming an angry, hostile, racist white bigot.

The emotion of fear can either motivate you to great empathy and love or it can also push you to hate, hostility and even violence.

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich – which remains incomplete because of it’s perceived pro-gay message: https://globalvoices.org/2017/05/12/diversity-interrupted-anti-gay-crusades-mar-ukraines-tolerant-facade/The incomplete monument serves as a conspicuous reminder of Ukraine’s unfinished battle against homophobia—a problem that has been accentuated by a recent spate of homophobic attacks.Diversity, Interrupted: Anti-Gay Crusades Mar Ukraine’s Tolerant Façade – “

So what is the definition of empathy?

em·pa·thy

ˈempəTHē/

noun

noun: empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This article does a fantastic job of possibly explaining why empathy is lacking in many white males.  Fear seems to be at the core of anger….lack of empathy:

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/angry-white-men-wcz/

The Good Men Project

Why Angry White Men are so Angry

December 20, 2015 by Jonathan Weaver 36 Comments

Instead of ignoring the anger, put it to a positive use.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.”

There is something very wrong with (and for) many white men in America. They are so damned angry.

It is a phenomenon that is distinctly un-lovable, and yet love may be the most effective response.

As a member of that cohort, I get it: every rule we were taught growing up has changed, every promise that was made has been broken. How we interact with women, privilege and all that it manifested for our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers, and everything it meant in terms of being a man, a provider and protector…. Gone.

The problem is the role of virile alpha male provider/protector is hard-wired into our brain. It is our very definition of “manhood.” Faced with uncertainty and change, the response of circling up protection around what we “know” and responding aggressively against the unknown, is second nature.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline.

Being AGAINST something focuses that energy like a laser, whereas being FOR something diffuses positive energy into an array of options. This is why right-wing talk radio works and attempts at liberal talk radio have failed miserably. Conservatives have bulleted talking points that are relentlessly AGAINST something. Even when they say they are “pro-life,” the focus is so narrow, that it comes down to being AGAINST abortion and nothing more. They’re AGAINST “Obamacare,” but press them for an alternative and you get a look of canine puzzlement. Progressives, meanwhile, want to include everybody and can’t seem to herd the cats. Applied to light, it is almost literally the difference between generating heat and illumination. Negativity feeds on its own energy.

The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline. As in pre-WWII Germany, racism whispers in the ears of white men, “It’s not your fault you can’t provide for your family, that you’re not going to do as well as your father did; it’s THEIR fault!” and it points it’s bony finger at women who’ve gone to work (“because if you were man enough, she wouldn’t HAVE to work, taking a job away from a man.”), Or at immigrants. Or anyone else who is “different.”

It’s easy to feel bowled over by the laser-focused blast of anger and negativity, or feel the need to match it in kind. The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

I get it. Angry white guy is exhausting and distinctly unsympathetic. There is much to hate about hatred, but that can only yield more of the same. If we can bring ourselves to recognize bigotry, gun culture, misogyny and white male rage as merely the outward symptoms of a very real fear, we can meet fear with empathy, compassion and even love.

◊♦◊

The solution is found in realizing that our fathers’ definition of what is to be a man doesn’t work anymore and we haven’t filled that void. Packing a sidearm for a Starbucks run and curtailing the rights of others doesn’t make one a man, it makes one a frightened bully.

Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose.

A man is someone who calls fear by its name and leans into it anyway. He is not owned or diminished by it. He realizes that evolution favors not the strongest, but the most adaptable. He realizes that complicated times demand agility. He applies his solution-finding skills in new and innovative ways, as his forefathers did before him.

Angry white men are in their final throes because they refuse to find a way to adapt and evolve. Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose. That’s why we’re seeing terrorism, fascism and a spike in suicide among working class white males. It’s a fine line between offing oneself and making it a political statement by taking others with you.

Hurt people hurt others. We can stop the hurt if we can re-frame a masculine response to a very uncertain time. It may be that the most effective tool against angry white guy is the one weapon he doesn’t have in his arsenal: empathy.

Finally, I wanted to share an excerpt from a very insightful article I found in my quest to try and understand where the hate is coming from towards gays and minorities.  The part I’ve shared, is very resonant to what I have observed going on with young people as I’ve grown up.  I highly recommend reading the entire article.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/roots/franklin.html

Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays by Karen Franklin

(A forensic psychologist, Karen Franklin’s dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. Her interviews with perpetrators and with San Francisco Bay Area college students provide badly needed empirical data on the nature and extent of negative reactions to gays.)

Social Powerlessness

In contemporary American society, young people–from the poor to the upper middle classes–are systematically neglected and devalued. Lacking access to meaningful, challenging experiences, and sensing a declining potential for success in today’s increasingly service-oriented economy, they are often frustrated, discouraged, and socially alienated . Young White males in particular face the contradiction of being taught to expect hegemonic masculine power while being denied any real access to it. This contradiction fosters “power- seeking, adventurist recreational activities at the expense of others who also lack power within the social order,” such as women, racial minorities, and homosexuals. Trapped in a temporal vortex between devalued adolescence and adult male privilege, teenage males are given tacit permission to engage in a certain degree of rowdiness and aggression, under the auspices of “boys will be boys.” This is particularly true for young men from more privileged strata, such as the fraternity boys discussed earlier, for whom peer group dynamics and thrill seeking often lead to exaggerated displays of masculinity regarding which society largely looks the other way.

However, if violence becomes a pervasive way of life and endures into adulthood, the scale tilts from socially excused to maladaptive. Eric’s aggression, which led to 3 years behind bars and cost him an education, is illustrative of a violent lifestyle that falls outside the ideals of hegemonic masculinity. Describing how he drank and fought his way through adolescence, Eric said, “I used to beat people up, just to beat them up. When I ran out of people I didn’t like, l’d beat up people my brother didn’t like.” Of his assault on the businessman, he commented, “I got satisfaction out of kicking the guy.”

Eric’s masculinity has the exaggerated quality of masculine protest , in which violence is employed as an overcompensation for perceived weakness. Connell (1995) views this protest masculinity as a social, rather than individual, practice. In what he labels marginalized masculinity, economically and socially disempowered men like Eric “claim the potency that European culture attaches to masculinity” through a facade of power when their actual circumstances provide “no real resources for power”. In other words, males who incorporate the gender-norm expectations of hegemonic masculinity yet cannot realize these expectations due to their economic or racial status may act out in extreme manners, often with homosexuals as their targets.

This is by no means to imply that the majority of men from lower-class or racial minority backgrounds respond to poverty and oppression with hypermasculinity and violence, even in the most compelling of peer group situations. In most cases, a predisposition is engendered through childhood socialization involving not only poverty and social oppression but also violent victimization and exposure to violence . Eric, for example, experienced not only childhood violence but also parental abandonment, alcoholism, and death. And when Andrew was a child, his sadistic father routinely beat him with weapons while verbally deriding him. Andrew said it had taken him many years to learn to control the violent impulses engendered by this paternal abuse.

One of the hallmarks of the marginalized masculinity that may develop out of childhood poverty and violence is a preoccupation with a masculine front, or the protection of reputation and pride. Recall Eric’s explanation that his relative’s gay friend deserved punishment for disrespecting him. And although the businessmen whom Eric and his friends assaulted “didn’t even know it was coming,” among Eric’s peers the assault was far from surprising. For them, the men’s eye contact, laughing derision, and profanity were provocative challenges requiring physical response. Indeed, cognitive research has identified sets of norms, rules, and expectations that are shared within subcultures and lead to this type of predictable, even ritualized, social aggression.

Studying a group of economically and socially disenfranchised White youths similar to Eric’s peer group, Pinderhughes (1991) found perceived powerlessness and victimization to drive their ritualized social aggression against both homosexuals and African Americans, whom they perceived as “taking over”. In these situations, power and violence are in a sense opposites, for “where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears when power is in jeopardy” (Arendt, 1969, p. 56). Thus, whereas violence is often seen as an expression of power, in Eric’s case it can be alternatively conceptualized as a response to real or perceived powerlessness, wherein affluent, presumably gay men wearing expensive clothing symbolize undeserved “special rights” for minorities. …

 

 

6 Oct 2017 Chalk drawings today and sleep (the effect of smartphones and even sleep trackers)

I hope this finds you well and that you have a wonderful RESTFUL weekend!

5 Oct 2017 What Constant Exposure To Negative News Is Doing To Our Mental Health (Huffington Post, Carolyn Gregoire)

Hello to you.  It’s 4:19 pm on this Thursday afternoon as I write to you.  I have spent the day trying to work through some of my anger and frustration that I expressed in my earlier post today and the past couple of days.  I am not liking the person I have been the past few days and I know why.  My sleep has been poor because of Kyle’s work schedule  and I have been inundating myself with negative news!  Not a good combination!

This is a poem I wrote today as part of my therapy, not one of my best, but it describes what it’s like to “tune out” when someone is going all negative at you:

Tuning out – Jackie Wygant 5 Oct 2017 /1:36 pm

I tune out

I’m sick of caring

What the latest fuss is all about

You are talking

Your lips move in slow motion

My thoughts are already walking

It doesn’t matter what I say

I just want you and your troubles

To just go away…..

I feel like I should apologize to those of you who regularly visit me and have been subjected to the torrent of negativity I’ve been expressing here, but I think, I sincerely hope, you understand what I’m working through.  This blog, from it’s inception, has been an outlet for me….a tool in my sanity toolkit.  Lately I have had to work extra special hard at keeping my lid on top!

What’s happening is my trying to be a responsible and informed citizen about what is going on around me has become quite toxic and addictive.  Yes, you can become addicted and actually start to rewire one’s brain after repeated exposure to negative news. This article from the Huffington Post is a couple of years old, but the information still is relevant.  I thought it might be helpful to share so if anyone else is going through what I have been, they can learn about what’s going on in their head!

What do you do to rid yourself of anxiety, stress, anger and frustration?  What are your coping mechanisms?  I’d be curious to know!

19 Sept 2017 – first drawing of the day. This is my husband Kyle trying to keep me from getting sucked into the negative goop of mainstream media!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/19/violent-media-anxiety_n_6671732.html

SCIENCE

02/19/2015 08:49 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2015

What Constant Exposure To Negative News Is Doing To Our Mental Health

The world isn’t falling apart, but it can sure feel like it. The news can be violent, depressing and emotionally-charged.

“Terrorism is newsworthy because it is inherently dramatic and threatening,” political scientist Shana Gadarian wrote in The Washington Post in October. “Media competition means that journalists and editors have incentives to use emotionally powerful visuals and story lines to gain and maintain ever-shrinking news audiences.”

This may be driven partly by our natural negativity bias, which leads us to pay more attention to things that are dangerous or threatening.

According to some psychologists, exposure to negative and violent media may have serious and long-lasting psychological effects beyond simple feelings of pessimism or disapproval. The work of British psychologist Dr. Graham Davey, who specializes in the psychological effects of media violence, suggests that violent media exposure can exacerbate or contribute to the development of stress, anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Negative news can significantly change an individual’s mood — especially if there is a tendency in the news broadcasts to emphasize suffering and also the emotional components of the story,” Davey told The Huffington Post. “In particular… negative news can affect your own personal worries. Viewing negative news means that you’re likely to see your own personal worries as more threatening and severe, and when you do start worrying about them, you’re more likely to find your worry difficult to control and more distressing than it would normally be.”

According to Davey, the way that negative news affects your mood can also have a larger affect on how you interpret and interact with the world around you. If it makes you more anxious or sad for instance, then you may subconsciously become more attuned to negative or threatening events, and you may be more likely to see ambiguous or neutral events as negative ones.

On a neurological level, when we’re confronted with images of violence, we know that images or videos depicting violence are categorically different from actual violence — so we don’t process the input as threatening stimuli. However, we internalize the negative stimuli, which can affect mood and cause one to feel more negatively towards the environment more broadly.

“These images change our overall mood to a more negative one — more sad or more anxious — and it is this change in mood that leads to psychological changes in the way we attend to things around us (e.g. we are more likely to pick out things in our environment that are potentially negative or threatening),” Davey explains. “This can have a vicious cycle effect on mood generally for some time.”

Some research has even suggested that viewing traumatic images in the media can cause PTSD-like symptoms. A 2001 study found that watching the events of 9/11 on television was enough to trigger PTSD symptoms — such as worrying about future terrorist attacks and reduced self-confidence — in some viewers. Severity of symptoms, interestingly, was directly correlated with the amount of time the subjects spent watching television.

A recent study also found that being frequently exposed to graphic, uncensored images of violence is emotionally distressing to many journalists working in newsroom settings. The journalists who were regularly exposed to violent video footage scored higher on indexes of PTSD — including re-experiencing, avoidance and general anxiety — as well as increased alcohol consumption, depression, and somatization (physical signs of distress in the body).

The researchers noted that over time, exposure to graphic violence can cause a process of either sensitization, in which the individuals becomes more sensitive to emotional distress upon viewing the images, or desensitization — a sort of numbing process in which individuals become habituated to what they see — to occur. This numbing effect, which causes the brain to exhibit less of an emotional response to disturbing stimuli, has been observed in those who have been repeatedly exposed to violent video games.

The diagnostic criteria for PTSD — which was appended for the DSM-5 to recognize that not only experiencing something traumatic oneself but also witness a life-threatening trauma to another could lead to symptoms of the disorder — acknowledges this to some degree. Davey notes, however, that the DSM description does say that these events should be witnessed in person.

Of course, it’s important to note that exposure to negative news is unlikely to cause depression, anxiety or PTSD in individuals who are not already prone to these conditions. But it can still lead to a pessimism and world-weariness that leads us to perceive the state of the world in an overly negative light — leading us to ignore and overshadow the many things that are working.

What’s clear from this research is that more positive news is needed to outweigh the violence and destruction we’re exposed to every day. As psychologist Steven Pinker and international studies professor Andrew Mack write in Slate, the world is not going to hell in a handbasket, despite what the headlines suggest. Violence has actually decreased, and quality of life has improved for millions of people. Journalism should reflect these truths.

As Positive News founder Sean Dagan Wood said in a recent TED talk, “A more positive form of journalism will not only benefit our well-being; it will engage us in society, and it will help catalyze potential solutions to the problems that we face.”

 

 

1 Oct 2017 Are we like ADHD medication for God?

Good evening.  It’s 7:17 pm and our day is about to wind down….head to bed and get ready for the “ass a.m.” wake-up alarm lol!  How has your weekend been?  The weather here today was absolutely lovely and I was able to spend a lot of time outside unpestered.   I did several chalk drawings and had a message come through to me strong enough that I felt I had to jot it down in my pink spirit book.  As I pulled down the backdoor blinds to the fulling moon,  I realize that is probably where this burst of creativity and inspiration is coming from today….it usually does.  The rest of it comes via dreams.

What I’m sharing is not original,  is not fact…. just a variation of theory I read via Philip K. Dick (http://www.tekgnostics.com/PDK.HTM#.WdGH6ORe6M8 – pretty wild stuff here if you are interested) and any number of other smart people through the years.  It just came together so strong and clear today as I sat outside listening to music and taking in everything around me.  I wonder, if we are in a way like ADHD medication for God?!  When God is within us, God can finally focus?!  What I envision is the God of my understanding is all the energy behind all the countless little dots that makes each of us and everything in our reality solid…..alive.   Without us to think and feel, those dots just keep on swirling in the dark matter….chaos….no form or structure assigned to it.

I have told Kyle that from my past couple of episodes, it came to me that it is like all life forms are different manifestations of God. God looks at us through the eyes of each and every living being on this planet.  It is through each of the life forms existing on this planet God feels and experiences what it is like to have senses and be alive in a way no one human being possibly can.  A God capable of empathy beyond our understanding because they know first hand what it is like to be inside and experience any and all ways of life on this planet.  How else to be omnipresent?!  We along with all other living beings are like hosts for a fragment….a seed of God.  Without us, there is only a fragmented (pixilated) existence and it is meaningless.

Pink spirit book message:

“How many random particles does it take to make a single tree?”

“We give structure to God.”  The God of my understanding is the energy that makes everything be “real”….take form.  It is our thoughts, words and deeds that give God energy a blueprint for order in the chaotic swarm that is energy – molecules, photons, particles….dots of light…the pixils.  Without this blueprint, the order in our thoughts, words and deeds there is just swirling chaos.  Philip K Dick came up with this and I see it too.)  “God is the energy we need to give structure and meaning to what would just (otherwise) be meaningless chaos.”

I don’t know if any of what I’m saying here will make sense or resonate with anyone besides me lol but hey, that’s what blogs are for.  We express ourselves and even if we are the only ones to read and understand….well it’s not totally pointless.  At least all those thoughts aren’t trapped and left ruminating inside LOL!

 

 

29 Sept 2017 The Echo Chamber Society has become and the human need to be “right”

Hello again. This morning I made a comment on a blog I just started reading, Light Circle, a two-time immigrant’s blog about her living as such a person in modern Germany (http://alightcircle.com/2017/09/29/of-blood-and-air-homelands-lost-and-made/).  It’s turning out to be what it’s like for many immigrants trying to make a life in America! Not easy by any stretch! I expressed in my comment that while I agreed with what she had written, the message was most likely going fall into, like much of what I write or share, what I call an echo chamber.  I feel like the internet and most everything people engage in conversation on has become an echo chamber….an abyss.   Many of us talking, few of us actually paying attention to what anyone says that doesn’t match our own view of about anything these days.

What is the official definition of an echo chamber?

ech·o cham·ber

ˈekō ˌCHāmbər/

noun

noun: echo chamber; plural noun: echo chambers

an enclosed space for producing reverberation of sound.

Source Internet: very good, if you can make it out, diagram of what is going on with the echo chamber concept.

I explained that what I meant by that is people like to read what solidifies and or validates their current position on most everything and seldom, if ever, deviate from it. Kind of like most social media and chat rooms of old. A lot of people trying to be heard but few if anybody actually listening!

So what happens is people who have a certain position on something will write a blog or some other form of media and the people who will most likely view and or read it already agree with the sharer’s position and or intent….they agree. The people who don’t will, like I’m guilty of doing, look at the title and briefly skim the subject matter and if it doesn’t validate or solidify my existing position, will get pissed and dismiss it altogether! I try to force myself to look at and or read opposite positions on things, but more times than not I get so mad I can’t get beyond my anger to objectively reason with what I’m reading or looking at!

For example, lately I will see a picture of our President’s face and or a member of his supporting cabinet or just our Government in general, and before I even start reading get so mad I don’t even finish the rest of the article! Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t a useful technique being employed for just such a reaction!

So what am I missing by doing that?! Did I miss something positive and good being so blinded by my feelings and preconceived notions about him? From my past experiences of not doing this, most times the answer is no. Still, I am being a hypocrite doing this and behaving this way.

For example, this morning I forced myself to get beyond my feelings about him and was rewarded! I found out he did something positive for a change! He actually decided to help the people struggling in Puerto Rico by waiving the Jones Act so supplies can flow more freely to the territory now.

From everything I’ve read about this behavior, condition, activity….it’s part of the human condition to find strength in numbers. It’s natural for us to congregate together with like-minded people so we feel better about ourselves….get to be “right” about something.

Yes, being “right” is so important to so many people. I’ve struggled with this sometimes crippling condition for most of my life….having the last word….the final say about some argument, position or debate. Like a dog with a bone not willing to just let the other dog take the fucking bone and get on with my life. I see this all around me…it’s not just me that suffers from this inability to just drop the fucking bone and walk away.

No! That would mean failure, defeat, surrender, becoming irrelevant or worthless, admission of being wrong…..being weak…giving up even. God forbid we should do that!

This is what I see going on in the older generations and mine right now. People with money and fear to burn ruling the day, like they have always done, and dragging the newer generations kicking and screaming back to the “good old days” that never were. The only saving grace about what’s happening? We have technology and the internet so at least what they are doing is broadcast and can be recorded everywhere!

Looking back through time, good old days are a great fiction written by the same people who are responsible for the text books of sanitized history our school kids are reading. History is written by the “winners” not the survivors. I’m a survivor of current history and in a couple of generations, after I’m dead and Kyle is gone, my mostly cursive written journals, my art and most everything I’ve created in this lifetime will most likely end up in the local landfill or burning barrel somewhere…like I was never here.

I encouraged this blogger to continue writing, even if she ends up being the only person who reads what she writes. May be someday the internet God we are collectively creating (A sort of Omnibus like in the Dune series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune:_The_Machine_Crusade)  will use her words, mine and those of the countless other canaries singing in the coal mines around the world to fix this mess we’ve made!

After all the internet hears everything….even if it’s in 7 billion plus echo chambers!

 

 

 

27 Sept 2017 This town needs an Enema….

Hello to you.  It’s 6:45 am as I write this part of my note to you.  I’ve been on here for awhile compiling headlines etc.  It’s therapeutic and gives me a false sense of having some sort of control I type laughing uneasily to myself lol.  What is a word I use a lot when I am feeling the way I am, the all-purpose one….

Episode #12 – Using Proper English – The Many Uses of the F word

Some headlines that caught my eye and I am not happy about most of them…..just scratching the surface.  Yesterday I found myself so angry and bitter….just 9 months and all of “this.”  I know and love so many people who don’t see anything wrong with what is happening and I wonder almost daily why I am the one with labels, in therapy and taking medication!

This town needs an enema…….take it away Ben and Jimmy…….

Mad Lib Theater with Benedict Cumberbatch

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-battered-puerto-rico-governor-warns-of-a-humanitarian-crisis/ar-AAssMWv?OCID=ansmsnnews11

I hope these folks get relief soon.  It sounds like our government is trying to do something but in some ways it seems like they are being treated much differently than Texas or Florida.   

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/interior-secretary-ryan-zinke-fracking-is-proof-gods-got-a-good-sense-of-humor-and-he-loves-us/article/2635573 

It is disturbing to me that our Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke presumes to think evidence of God’s sense of humor is the highly destructive HUMAN activity of fracking….does he even know what fracking is?!  I think his God has a seriously fucked up sense of  humor if fracking is funny.  Ask the people who are losing their drinking water and their homes if fracking is funny!  As a homeowner who in both those categories, fracking is not a joke!  Facepalm! 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/26/politics/health-care-republican-senate-vote/

“In the end, three Republicans had publicly opposed the bill: Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins and Rand Paul. ” — THANK YOU!!!

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/09/26/coffee-sold-in-california-could-carry-cancer-warning-labels.html

https://dailycoffeenews.com/2013/11/15/acrylamide-in-coffee-what-roasters-should-know/

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday released a consumer warning on acrylamide, a naturally a chemical found in cooked foods — including coffee — that is known to cause cancer in animals.”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/head-of-drug-enforcement-administration-to-leave-alluding-to-dismay-over-trump/ar-AAsvc2E?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Another conscientious objector…….it’s starting to feel very “1984” around here — has anyone else noticed how inundated the headlines are with news and pictures of the President?  I’m surprised someone hasn’t posted a picture of him on the toilet Tweeting some random bullshit yet. 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/saudi-king-issues-decree-allowing-women-to-drive-state-media/ar-AAsuWkC?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Yes, a positive headline that I hope truly manifests.  You go Saudi King Salman!

I am ashamed (something actually worth being ashamed of) as a lifelong American citizen to just have recently found out there are two more verses to my countries national anthem and after learning what they are, can see why NFL players and their owners are taking a knee at games now:

http://www.dictionary.com/e/star-spangled-banner/

The Forgotten Verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Do you know all the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Many people have difficulty memorizing the lyrics of the first verse of this song, which is commonly performed at sports events and other public gatherings. But did you know that there are three additional verses that we almost never hear?

In 1814, the poet and lyricist Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” originally known as “Defense of Fort M’Henry.” During the War of 1812, Key witnessed the attacks on Baltimore and wrote the words based on his experiences this night. These lyrics were printed in local newspapers and set to the tune of an existing song called “Anacreon in Heaven,” and then officially arranged by John Philip Sousa. Key’s famous lyrics entered the world as a broadside ballad, or a song written on a topical subject, and printed for wide distribution.

More than a century later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, and in 1931, the US Congress confirmed the decision. The tune has kicked off ceremonies of national importance and athletic events ever since.

While the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is widely known by the American public, the last three verses are generally omitted in performances. Here are all the four verses, as they were written 200 years ago by Key:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream, ’Tis the star-spangled banner—O long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I was curious, following this professional sports line about the statistics regarding getting into the ranks of professional sports and as I suspected….many are drafted but only a few remain.   Young people honestly need to know these odds before putting all their hopes and dreams into such a course:

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-professional-athletics

Estimated probability of competing in professional athletics

More than 480,000 compete as NCAA athletes, and just a select few within each sport move on to compete at the professional or Olympic level.

The table presents of how many NCAA athletes move on to professional careers in sports like basketball, football, baseball and ice hockey.  Professional opportunities are extremely limited and the likelihood of a high school or even college athlete becoming a professional athlete is very low.

In contrast, the likelihood of an NCAA athlete earning a college degree is significantly greater; graduation success rates are 86% in Division I, 71% in Division II and 87% in Division III.

Download the 2017 Probablility of Competing Beyond High School Figures and Methodology

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Picks # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro* % NCAA to Total Pro^
Baseball 34,554 7,679 1,206 695 9.1%
M Basketball 18,684 4,152 60 44 1.1% 19.1%
W Basketball 16,593 3,687 36 35 0.9% 4.9%
Football 73,660 16,369 253 251 1.5% 1.9%
M Ice Hockey 4,102 912 211 51 5.6%
M Soccer 24,803 5,512 81 75 1.4%

Percent NCAA to Major Pro figures are based on the number of draft picks made in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL and MLS drafts only.  See methods notes for important details on the definition of NHL draftee in men’s ice hockey.  Column percentages were calculated as (#NCAA Drafted) / (Approximate # Draft Eligible).

Percent NCAA to Total Pro takes the number of pro opportunities from the “% NCAA to Major Pro” calculation and adds in some additional professional opportunities that we were able to quantify.  So, for football, this calculation includes NFL, Canadian Football League and Arena League slots available to first-year professionals.  For men’s basketball we accounted for NBA, NBA D-League and international opportunities.  For women’s basketball, we assessed WNBA and international roster slots.  See methods notes for details on these calculations.  Data on full-time international professional opportunities available in baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer were not analyzed here.

Methodology and Notes

General

  • College participation numbers are from the NCAA’s 2015-16 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.  These college numbers account for participation in college athletics at NCAA-member schools only.
  • To estimate the number of NCAA student-athletes in a sport eligible for a particular year’s professional draft, the total number of NCAA student-athlete participants in the sport was divided by 4.5.  This figure was used to provide a general estimate of the number of student-athletes in a draft cohort (single draft class) in a given year, accounting for redshirting, degree completion delays due to transfer, etc. that extend the average time to graduation to just beyond four year in all sports.  In other words, we observe a year-to-year departure rate (whether due to graduation, dropout or departure for a professional sports opportunity) of just below one-quarter of the total number of student-athletes in each sport.  Because the sports examined (M/W basketball, football, baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer) have dramatically different rules for draft eligibility, these calculations should be treated as estimates only.
  • Data on available professional opportunities are described below for each sport.

Baseball

  • MLB draft data from 2016.  There were 1,206 draft picks in that year; 695 of those picked were from NCAA schools (source: MLB Draft Tracker 2016).  Of the 695, Division I student-athletes comprised 595 of those chosen, Division II provided 80 and Division III had 20.
  • Percent NCAA to Pro calculated as number of NCAA student-athletes taken in the draft (n=695) divided by the approximate number draft eligible.  Not all of the student-athletes drafted go on to play professional baseball and many draftees fail to reach the Major League.

Men’s Basketball

  • NBA draft data from 2016.  There were 60 draft slots in that year, but only 44 went to NCAA players (others chosen were international players not attending U.S. colleges).  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 44 NCAA selections. Since 2006, 12 international players have been drafted on average each year.
  • On 2016-17 opening day NBA rosters, former NCAA players filled 80% of roster spots (all were from Division I schools).  (Source: Jim Sukup, College Basketball News).
  • Data on other professional opportunities in men’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from eurobasket.com.  Tracking 2016-17 international opportunities for the 2016 draft cohort, it was determined that an additional 751 former NCAA student-athletes played internationally, in the NBA D-League, or in the NBA as undrafted players (535 from Division I, 181 from Division II and 35 from Division III) after leaving college; this includes international players who attended NCAA institutions (previous versions of this document did not include these players).  These numbers were combined with the NBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [44 + 751] / 4,152 = 19%).
  • We estimate that 3.6% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 NBA draft (44 / 1,216).  However, in total, 48% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (NBA, D-League, or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [44 + 535] / 1,216). Approximately 14% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the NBA in 2016 (32 / 225), while 74% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [32 + 134] / 225).

Women’s Basketball

  • WNBA draft data from 2016. There were 36 draft slots in that year’s draft, 35 of which went to NCAA players (other selection was an international player not attending a U.S. college).  All 35 NCAA selections came from Division I colleges. Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 35 NCAA selections.
  • Data on international professional opportunities in women’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from eurobasket.com, and are limited to the 2016 draft cohort.  It was determined that an additional 146 former NCAA student-athletes from the cohort played internationally in 2016-17 (131 from Division I, 14 from Division II and 1 from Division III).  These numbers were combined with the WNBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [35 + 146] / 3,687 = 4.9%).
  • We estimate that 3.2% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 WNBA draft (35 / 1,110).  However, in total, 15% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (WNBA or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [35 + 131] / 1,110). Approximately 12% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the WNBA in 2015 (24 / 203), while 28% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [24 + 33] / 203).

Football

  • NFL draft data from 2016.  There were 253 draft picks in that year’s draft, 251 of whom were former NCAA players.  NCAA to Major Pro figure calculated using these data.
  • NCAA divisional breakdown of the 251 NCAA players selected in the 2016 NFL draft: Division I FBS (228), Division I FCS (20), Division II (3).  The five football conferences with autonomous governance accounted for 189 of the 251 NCAA draft picks (SEC=51, Big Ten=47, ACC=33 [includes Notre Dame], Pac-12=32, Big 12=26).
  • Data on Arena League and Canadian Football League opportunities were collected by NCAA staff via rosters on each organization’s website (sources: cfl.ca and arenafootball.com) in March 2017.  Due to the timing of each league’s season, the 2015 draft cohort was used to estimate unique playing opportunities in the Arena League, while the 2016 draft cohort was used to track CFL rookies. It was determined that an additional 57 former NCAA student-athletes from those draft cohorts were listed on a roster (28 in the CFL, 29 in the Arena League).  Across these two leagues, there were 29 former Division I FBS players, 14 from Division I FCS, 13 from Division II and 1 from Division III.  These numbers were combined with the NFL draftees to calculate an NCAA to Total Professional opportunities proportion (calculated as [251 + 57] /16,369).
  • We estimate that 3.9% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 NFL draft (248 / 6,307).  Limiting this calculation to subdivision, 6.7% of FBS players were estimated to be drafted (228 / 3,404), as compared to 0.7% of FCS players (20 / 2,902).  Narrowing further to the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC), we estimate that 11% were drafted (189 / 1,747).  Accounting for Arena League and CFL opportunities, the NCAA to Total Professional figures are estimated as 4.6% for Division I ([248 + 43] / 6,307), 7.4% for FBS ([222 + 29] / 3,404) and 12% for the five autonomous conferences ([189+ 19] / 1,747).

Men’s ice hockey

  • NHL draft data from 2015 (source: hockeydb.com).  There were 211 draft picks in that year.  Only 7 players from NCAA rosters were selected in that draft (all from Division I teams).  However, this is not indicative of the likelihood of going from a college team to a professional team due to the nature of the NHL draft, where players are typically selected prior to turning college-aged.
  • In examining the subsequent hockey pathways of 2015 draftees (hockeydb.com), it was determined that 51 of the 211 (source: collegehockeyinc.com) attended an NCAA college for any period of time through February 2017. These numbers, although not fully comparable to those used in the other sports examined, were used to calculate an approximate NCAA to Major Pro percentage.  Note that only a small subset of players drafted ever play in an NHL game.  Undrafted college players may go on to sign contracts with NHL teams after completing college (those numbers are not part of the current NCAA to Major Pro calculation).
  • In 2016, 30% of players on active NHL rosters played college hockey (all in Division I), up from about 20% in the year 2000 (source: collegehockeyinc.com).  71% of former college players in the NHL played at least three college seasons, and 36% played all four. Thanks to Nate Ewell at College Hockey, Inc. for providing these data.

Men’s soccer

  • MLS SuperDraft data from 2016.  There were 81 draft slots in that year, but only 75 players were selected (all from NCAA schools).  Of the 75 picks, 72 were NCAA Division I student-athletes, two were from Division II and one was from Division III.  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 75 NCAA selections. (Source: mlssoccer.com).
  • These calculations do not account for other domestic (e.g., NASL, USL) or international professional soccer opportunities.

Last Updated: March 10, 2017

and finally, this was sobering.  We only have 4 major airline carriers to choose from now?!  So basically we are back to fewer choices but not for a good reason.  It was very disheartening to find out a product brand Tom’s of Maine I bought, thinking it was a small company, is actually owned by Colgate-Palmolive!  You really have to pay attention anymore to not end up buying products and supporting companies you are trying to boycott! 

Tom’s of Maine was founded by Tom and Kate Chappell in 1970 with US$5,000. The company is based in Kennebunk, Maine, USA and is currently a division of multinational conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive. Tom’s of Maine has approximately 150 employees.

Tom’s of Maine – Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom’s_of_Maine

Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

23 Sept 2017 Word Challenge to myself today – Snail

Hello to you today…..if your reading this then we have averted the latest predicted apocalypse for now….(http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/09/22/doomsday-writer-david-meade-who-is.html) lol. Yay for us!

13 Oct 2016 – The game begins….but I have made this particular game appear more like the one we are all playing together….the pieces and their respective colors on both sides of the board…

So this morning I was lead to the word snail as my personal Word Challenge for today. I was looking at my feed on Facebook and saw a picture of Ben and Sophie Cumberbatch together at a Sigur Ros concert and had never heard of Sigur and was curious. In my search to find out about the artist on You Tube, I was lead to this video.  I caution you, it is not easy to watch for many reasons but it is symbolic, beautiful and the underlying messages brought tears to my eyes:

https://sigur-ros.co.uk/ – you can see picture of Ben and Sophie I’m talking about at Sigur’s official UK website

Sigur Rós – Ekki múkk [Official Music Video]

(Icelandic for “Quiet Here” and Snail is Snigill)

I love the snails we have here in North Texas. Most of the people I know don’t and try to do anything to remove them from their property. I see them as living reminders for me to slow down.  I see them as part of Mother Nature’s clean up crew and think the trails they leave are beautiful in the morning sunshine. After it rains, they come out and clean up after the dogs in the yard and all the other messes natural and not that need cleaning up. Kind of like fish you put in your aquarium that clean up after the other fish. During the dry times, like now, they find a solid structure and seal themselves in until wet times return. I love their shells….spiral shapes! A most sacred design!

23 Sept 2017 – A few snails that have been on the side of our house for quite some time now. I don’t know if they are alive and won’t until the next time it rains! If the shells are gone, that means they were alive and sleeping in there!

So anyhew…..here is my silly Word Challenge poem about snails – like my cartoons, I’ll get better if I keep practicing lol:

The Snail

Wound up tight

Without a tail

A slow forever of little time to travel

Then sealed on the wall until water returns

Waiting….years to unravel.

——————

I hope however, wherever and whenever this silly post finds you that you are in a good space of mind, body and spirit. I hope that there is happiness, joy, laughter….good things for you! Find and try to genuinely exercise those smile muscles today! I will be!

PS – thank you Sen McCain (and all the rest who are standing up for the American people) for your latest act of courage!  It’s not easy doing what is right but it is necessary. 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/republican-sen-john-mccain-announces-opposition-to-health-care-bill-dashing-hopes-for-gop-leaders/ar-AAsmlvo?OCID=ansmsnnews11excerpt, use link for complete article

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain declared his opposition Friday to the GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republican Party’s years of vows to kill the program.

 “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in a statement, referring to the bill by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. His opposition likely leaves the bill at least one vote short of the support needed for passage.

“I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” McCain said. “Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

An undated official U.S. Navy portrait of John S. McCain III. (Courtesy Naval Historical Center)

 

 

 

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