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

 

 

 

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16 Oct 2017 Detour to Keene

Hello to you, how are you doing? I have been feeling disconnected the past couple of days and it’s probably just the difficulty I am having synchronizing to Kyle working night shift. I really had hoped he wouldn’t get this shift again. He’s the infamous “low man on the totem pole” and one of the youngest people they have there, so he gets night shift.

Yesterday we took advantage of our time together to make a trip to Burleson. We wanted to see if Half Price Books had anything for me and to pick up an inexpensive pair of slip on shoes for Kyle to wear at work. Since we’ve been here, Burleson has become our favorite town. Pretty much everything we ever need is there and we don’t venture much further unless I have an appointment or we absolutely have to! Driving here in our part of the state is one word – awful. Thank you Burleson for being wonderful!

So I dug around in Half Price Books for quite awhile to try and find something to read. I almost bought a book called The Particle Zoo (https://www.amazon.com/Particle-Zoo-Search-Fundamental-Reality/dp/1784298670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508160429&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Particle+Zoo)  but decided to put it back.  I may return to get that one at some point. There were several other books that caught my interest, as if often the case when you go into a treasury of a store like this. I ended up with two. A book of children’s poems, “Favorite Poems Old and New” Selected by Helen Ferris and Illustrated by Leonard Wisegard and “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

I had sent Kyle into Academy Sports to find the shoes but all he found was either way too expensive, uncomfortable or a decent price but none in his size. We tried Kohl’s and it was the same story. Ultimately we found what we wanted in the new 5 and Below Store lol. What we have figured out when it comes to buying shoes, it really doesn’t matter where you buy them, they are all the same. They are not made to last. The price for them seems to be driven by the cost of the name of the store selling…or how much they are paying for rent lol! We have paid $60 for shoes that last less than a year and $5 for shoes we are still wearing. Shoes are definitely one of the things in our world made with planned obsolescence. It’s been so long since I’ve had a great pair of shoes!

After standing in line at yet another store that has 5 checkout lanes but only one or two people to run an entire store (comic Sebastian pops in my head, “Has there ever been 5 cashiers at this store?!!), our “public meter” was pinged. We headed home. We seemed to be well on our way until all the sudden break lights happened and the inevitable crawl and lane changing crap people do with their impatience at being obstructed by some sort of inconvenience.

We decided to get off I-35 and take a detour through Keene.

It was a much more scenic and peaceful drive going this way. We enjoyed the more relaxed pace, talking to each other about random things and taking in the fallish looking trees on either side of the road. This is Texas, so we don’t get a real fall. The kind with brilliantly colored leaves and all that – the fall I miss from childhood or from when we lived on the east coast.

It wasn’t until we got into Keene and Kyle mentioned it, that I fully realized what we went through in this town 3 years ago. It was almost a week to the day (19 Oct 2014), my friend Suzan Michelle Mize Sullivan died at the Town Hall Estates (http://www.americanreligious.org/town_hall_estates_keene.html).

As we drove by the building, so many memories flashed through my mind! Kyle and I had never been through something like this – losing our friend the way we did! We both felt so utterly and completely powerless to stop what happened to her! What we experienced of her life and death has become for us a prime example to us of how awful the “system” can be.

It’s not all tears for our friend Suzan, (we called her Michelle) though.

As I look across the street these days, at the house she and Carroll shared, I think she’d be so happy! People she loved so much (her oldest son, his wife and grandkids), gave her entire life for, are living there now and continuing to make the place home. I don’t see her in my minds eye or dreams like I used to. I am hoping this year will be free of any broken glassware or other strange occurrences in our house as the anniversary of her death nears.  I hope she is at peace wherever she decided her heaven was to be!  I will always miss her.

https://saymber.com/2015/10/19/19-oct-2015-the-last-blue-bowl-a-visit-from-a-lost-friend/ – a bit about what I’m referring to with strange happenings when the anniversary of Suzan’s leaving us nears.

Sometimes detours aren’t simply detours…..are you paying attention?  Is the traffic jam and your choice to find a path around it just mere coincidence?  

A sampling of poems from the poetry book:

 

A Book – poem by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toil;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!

 

Fireflies – poem by Carolyn Hall

Little lamps of the dusk,

You fly low and gold

When the summer evening

Start to unfold.

So that all the insects,

Now, before you pass,

Will have light to see by,

Undressing in the grass.

But when the night has flowered,

Little lamps agleam,

You fly over treetops

Following a dream.

Men wonder from their windows

That a firefly goes so far –

They do not know your longing

To be a shooting star.

 

 

 

14 Oct 2017 Red Dress (dream and symbolism)

Hello, it’s Saturday morning here.  Had a dream that was so vivid it woke me up.  Once I’m up, it’s often hard to get right back to sleep lol!

So the dream…

I dreamt I was some sort of escort or something and that I saw a client. Sorry, no graphic details, just remember I was in a bathtub of hot water. Afterwards a man, who looked much like a young Malcom McDowell, asked me, “How did it go? You know the red dress? Must have! Once they get to you, they never let you go.” Sitting beside and behind him was a very tired looking David Bowie who kind of looked like he did when he was in the Hunger (John Blaylock – before the aging happened). I woke up hearing the song “Underground” by David Bowie in my head.

Source Internet: David Bowie’s character John Blaylock from the movie The Hunger having trouble getting and staying asleep

David Bowie – Underground

Underground

David Bowie

No one can blame you for walking away But too much rejection, uh-huh No love injection, nothing

Life can be easy It’s not always swell Don’t tell me truth hurts, little girl ‘Cause it hurts like hell

But down in the underground You’ll find someone true Down in the underground A land serene, a crystal moon

A-ha

It’s only forever Not long at all Lost and lonely That’s underground, underground

Daddy, daddy, get me out of here (heard about a place today) Ha, ha, I’m underground (nothing ever hurts again) (Nothing ever hurts again) well, I found a place (Daddy, get me out of here) nothing ever hurts again (Hoping for the underground) down and down and get me out of here (Hoping for the underground) ha, ha, I’m underground (Get me underground) sister, sister, please take me down Ha, ha, I’m underground (gotta get me out of here) Daddy, daddy get me out

No one can blame you for walking away But too much rejection, uh-huh No love injection, nothing

But down in the underground You’ll find someone true Down in the underground A land serene, a crystal moon

A-ha

It’s only It’s only forever It’s not long at all They’re lost and they’re lonely That’s underground, underground

Daddy, daddy get me out Heard about a place today (heard about a place today) Nothing ever hurts again (nothing ever hurts again) Daddy, daddy get me out of here (daddy, get me out of here) Ha, ha, underground (hoping for the underground) Sister, sister, please (hoping for the underground) Ha, ha, I’m underground (get me underground) Daddy, daddy, get me out

Under, under Under, underground Underground Under, underground Under, underground Under, underground Wanna live underground Wanna live underground Daddy, daddy, get me out of here Ha, ha, underground Sister, sister, please take me out of here Ha, ha, I’m underground Ha, ha, I’m underground Ha, ha, underground Daddy, daddy, please Daddy, daddy, please Wanna move underground Wanna move underground Sister, sister, take me too Sister, sister, take me too

Songwriters: DAVID ROBERT JONES

© SPIRIT TWO MUSIC

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

Now when I was examining this vivid dream, I thought the red dress symbolized being alive, having your skin. When I did a search on the symbolism of the red dress….well it got weird. I know the lady in the red dress was used as a symbol of distraction in the movie The Matrix, I’ve referenced it here before. Apparently there is a theory regarding the infamous Illuminati, New World Order, even the Whore of Babylon and this lady in the red dress!

Source Internet – Lady in the Red Dress distracting Neo in the Matrix

I am thinking this might have been triggered, the last waking key to unlock this dream, was ironically something I recently watching for a couple episodes of The Living and The Dead BBC show. In episode 4, we are introduced to school teacher, Martha Enderby. The episode opens to her being a woman in a red dress, lost in the woods looking for her friend Alice. What came to my mind, was this was symbolic to the story of Alice in Wonderland for some reason. Alice, instead of being a the girl in the story of Alice in Wonderland, was more like the White Rabbit.

Source: Internet
This is opening scene of episode 4, The Living the Dead, Martha Enderby.

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the conjecture, rumors and even conspiracy theories about the red dress and it’s symbolic meaning in Hollywood might be somewhat true. It certainly does seem, from what I’ve seen through the years, you literally have to sell your soul for your big screen and or recorded immortality. This is a link and an excerpt from one of the more tame posts I found about the subject if your curious.

https://thetalkingpot.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/symbolism-of-the-woman-in-red/

Symbolism of the Woman in Red

Posted on August 19, 2013 by angelishka

(excerpt)

‘The woman in red’ is merely the symbolism; an occult symbolism used by the entertainment industry and the media. The woman in red means something different for each person. It could be a drug, an addiction, a dream, money, desire for something forbidden… some sort of worldly trap that can be placed in front of you, designed to derail you from the path of righteousness.

Is the “Whore of Babylon” symbolic for Hollywood and other things of the highly distracting nature in our world? I wonder!  Right now, if this is true, that old whore Hollywood is getting quite an upturning! 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+17&version=NIV

Revelation 17New International Version (NIV)

Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast

17 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”

3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 The name written on her forehead was a mystery:

babylon the great

the mother of prostitutes

and of the abominations of the earth.

6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

I recently bought the song Hearts Filthy Lesson from the Outside album by David Bowie……yep…been speaking to me. 

 

 

13 Oct 2017 Mustard Seed

Hello to you this Friday evening.  I hope you’ve had a good day from whatever point in your timeline you are at when you visit here.  I know it’s weird for me to talk like that to you but that’s how I think of this blog.  It’s a connection point between multiple dimensions.  Mainly mine and yours.  I think of each of us as walking, talking….living and breathing dimensions all overlapping each other.

The example I always use to illustrate this concept is thinking of when Kyle goes to work and I am here.  Unless I tell him what happened here while he was gone, he has no way of knowing what actually happened.  Unless he tells me what happens at his work, I have no way of knowing that either.  Even when we are both here at home,  even sitting in the same room, we are still recording unique perceptions of reality into our memory.   We are worlds within worlds!

Todays drawings weren’t spectacular but lead me to a particular passage from the Bible I’ve always thought was beautiful; the one about having faith as small as a mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20New International Version (NIV)

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

There are certain passages from the Bible, that even if I no longer participate in organized religion, have always resonated with me.  This particular passage is just such a one.  Revisiting passages like these gives me strength during times when I need it the most.  For me, that is what the Bible or any sacred text ought to be used for.  A resource to help, not a weapon to harm.

I hope that through all these billions of lines of wires, cables, electrical signals, dirt, ocean and sky….through all that is between my dimension and yours that this post helps make the moment you are in just a little better.

*I found this video to share, thought it might be interesting to you.  I didn’t know that Canada was the largest grower of mustard seed!

From a Tiny Mustard Seed

Published on Jan 29, 2015

Ever wondered where mustard comes from? Follow the production of mustard from seeding to harvesting.
Learn more about mustard at http://www.saskmustard.com.

*I found myself craving rhyme tonight and wanting more of the coolness of fall we got a brief taste of the other day.  It was 93 degrees here today!  Anyhew, I looked at several poems before finding this one.  I chose it because it spoke to me for some reason.  If you go to the actual site, you can hear each of the poems read out loud either by a person or computer  person.

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/autumn-friends-2/

Autumn Friends – Poem by Sandra Fowler

If one could bridge the distance with a word,
A journey would become a pilgrimage.
Elegant letters slant across the page.
My leaf has found a home upon your coat.

My kind critic, I think it is our fate
To meet in stanzas of my poetry.
Simile and metaphor must be our bond
Until autumn blows one of us away.

Our rare rapport is irreplaceable.
Old moods glimmer on sills like fallen stars.
My little leaf says thank you every day.
It comforts me to know it traveled safe.

‘With my compliments to Mukund Dave for
all his eloquent reviews’

 

 

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 🙂 

11 Oct 2017 God’s Pop Quizzes – broken fences and dog poop

Hello to you. It’s a chilly Wednesday here as I write to you. Love the cooler temperatures! Really beginning to feel like fall but this is Texas, so give it a blink or two and that can change.  Did you chuckle when you read the title I chose for my blog today?  I hope so….it was intentional lol!

So this morning I was up early, just couldn’t get and stay asleep. Kyle’s current work schedule has us both pretty messed up sleep wise. We’ll probably fully adjust as he’s finishes the outage….just the way it seems to go.

I’m not a very pleasant person when I’m overtired and our neighbors dogs, who busted yet again through our side fence, got some choice words this morning as I shooed them back into their yard (think A Christmas Story with more expletives you can actually understand.)

Sons of B*tches! Bumpuses! (A Christmas Story Quote)

We’ve had this going on literally since we bought this house. My fuse gets shorter and shorter every time something like this happens. This goes back to the loan for buying this house not even being approved yet and one of their dogs was already busting through the fence. They’ve been through probably 10 or more dogs in the past 8 years. Nothing we’ve been able to do or say has dissuaded them from continuing to get dogs they don’t take care of like we take care of our dogs. They usually end up running away or getting picked up by Animal Control, dying , or doing what they are doing now, busting up the fence trying to get to our yard.  This said, our neighbors are good hard-working people.  They work a lot and the kids are in school most of the time, so the dogs get left alone a lot.  Dogs left alone do what dogs left alone do – they get bored, curious, hungry, restless and sometimes destructive.  These dogs seem to just want a different place to go poop.

I wouldn’t ordinarily be so nasty about this but this but I’m overtired and they have not only busted several holes in our fragile, rotting wood fence…they leave doggy presents for me to step in too. The fence needs to be replaced and we can’t afford to do it and I’m pretty sure our neighbor isn’t too eager to spend the money or effort on replacing the shared fence either.

Every time I get pissed off about this, I feel like I failed another “test.” God seems to do that to me with certain things….remember those pop quizzes you used to get in school with no warning? Yeah, it’s like that lol. Just when I think I’ve got something I don’t like about myself all sorted out, God will drop one of those pop quizzes and show me the truth. Nope! Big fat F!

After all, how can I expect the world to live in peace when I can’t even deal with something that simple without getting angry? I have some things yet to work on within myself. Leave it to the dogs and their smooshy stinky gifts to remind me of this glaring reality!

Does what I’m going through resonate at all with you today? Is there something you keep getting “tested” on that you know you need in improve about yourself?

A couple interesting articles about us and our technology habits…addictions:

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/10/11/mind-the-stream-where-mindfulness-and-technology-meet/

Oct 11, 2017— “Look around you. How many devices are bidding for your attention? If someone came into your dwelling space, could they tell what year it was by the technology that immediately surrounded you, or would they have to dig a little deeper?” Writer Emily Barr poses these questions, and others in this reflective essay that weaves together the latest findings around how our minds and our lives are being shaped by the technologies we use, and the steps we can take to make our interactions more conscious.

http://time.com/4974863/kids-smartphones-depression/

We Need to Talk About Kids and Smartphones

Markham Heid

Updated: Oct 10, 2017 8:24 AM ET

(excerpt)

“It seems like every generation of parents has a collective freak-out when it comes to kids and new technologies; television and video games each inspired widespread hand-wringing among grown-ups. But the inescapability of today’s mobile devices—coupled with the personal allure of social media—seems to separate smartphones from older screen-based media. Parents, teens and researchers agree smartphones are having a profound impact on the way adolescents today communicate with one another and spend their free time. And while some experts say it’s too soon to ring alarm bells about smartphones, others argue we understand enough about young people’s emotional and developmental vulnerabilities to recommend restricting kids’ escalating phone habit.”

 

 

10 Oct 2017 Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it never happened (Mike Ditka comment: “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of”

*10/10/2017 9:29 pm after thinking about this post, I decided to come back to it and edit some things, added a couple pictures and changed the title.  I have changed my “tone” a smidge because I know it’s a turn-off to my regular readers and sadly, the people I wish would see this sort of post and learn something will probably never even know it exists.  I know this goes both ways.  I know there are many things I haven’t taken the time to read that are written by people in total opposition to my perspective.  We generally, by nature, don’t go looking to read things that don’t resonate with who we are.   May be that’s part of the problem.  May be that is something I need to tackle for myself personally to help me to broaden my perspective on things!

Hello to you.  It’s Tuesday evening.  I see now that our President is getting his ego massaged by the media and owners from the NFL, he’s decided taking away their tax exempt status would be a good idea…you know….to punish the players.  I’ve never understood why they had it to begin with but not in the context of trying to punish players specifically.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-says-us-should-change-tax-law-to-punish-nfl/ar-AAtfjt3?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Trump says US should change tax law to punish NFL

And then this….

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/mike-ditka-on-protests-there-has-been-no-oppression-in-past-100-years/ar-AAtfsDd?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Mike Ditka is unhappy with the protests that have gone on during the national anthem dating back to last year, and the legendary NFL coach has perhaps the most mind-boggling view on the topic of anyone we have heard.

In an interview with Jim Gray of Westwood One Sports on Monday, Ditka said he agrees with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that any player who kneels during the national anthem should not be allowed to play. In fact, Ditka doesn’t understand why players are protesting. As far as he’s concerned, there has been no oppression in the United States in the past century.

“All of sudden it has become a big deal now about oppression. There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of,” Ditka said. “Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think that the opportunity is there for everybody race, religion, creed, color, nationality, if you want to work, if you want to try, you want to put effort into yourself, you can accomplish anything.

“We’ve watched that through the history of our country. People rise to the top and became very influential people in our country by doing the right things.”

We don’t want to get into a detailed discussion about U.S. history, but Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Schools were still segregated prior to 1954. We could go on and on and on, but anyone who says oppression doesn’t exist in this country is misguided.

Ditka said he has no problem with people protesting, but he doesn’t think the football field is the appropriate venue.

“Is this the stage for this? If you want to protest, you have a right to do that,” Ditka said. “But I think you are a professional athlete and you have an obligation to the game. I think you have to respect the game, and that’s what I think is the most important thing. I don’t see a lot of respect for the game. I just see respect for their own individual opinions.”

There are plenty of people who share Ditka’s old-school mentality, and we have even seen one head coach implement a policy the 77-year-old would agree with. But saying there has been no oppression in the past 100 years is just asinine.

http://www.blackpast.org/timelines/african-american-history-timeline-1900-2000 – the past 100 years of specifically Black History

The statements Mr. Ditka made here make him appear to be a very ignorant person.  On this timeline I’ve linked, you can see in the past 100 years there were many advances and firsts for people of color but there are also many examples of just how much more difficult it has been for people of color in this country than for whites.

I honestly don’t think we have found balance on this issue for any “side” but having public figures like Mr. Ditka  denial of 100 years of history littered with oppression, crime, abuse, murder and discrimination is not helping the conversation.  His comments are yet another example illustrating how even if a group of people are living an identical reality, their perception of it will not always reflect the truth of their shared reality.  Perception is a wicked thing especially when it comes to the hot button issues we are facing today like equality for minorities, women and the LGTBQ community.   His   comments are also a great current example of what I mentioned before in a previous blog about people lacking the ability to empathize with others.  His attitude reflects one I see quote often in people from his generation  and that is if it didn’t happen to be personally, if I don’t remember it happening, it never happened.   

Well I will step up, and affirm oppression has happened and is still happening to people of color.  It happened and is still happening to women, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.  

Here are just a few documents I have that my Grandma Becker made sure to give to the family so we would know and be proud of our part in history — fighting for equality for all people.

I wish my Grandpa Becker, a former pastor who was actually a part of the 100 years dismissed as oppression free, was still here to talk to people like Mr. Ditka and share what it was like for him and two other men to drive down to Mississippi to help people of color register to vote.  This during a time when others doing similar things were murdered for doing it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Chaney,_Goodman,_and_Schwerner

Freedom Summer Murders

The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, also known as the Freedom Summer murders, the Mississippi civil rights workers’ murders or the Mississippi Burning murders, involved three activists that were abducted and murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi in June 1964 during the Civil Rights Movement. The victims were Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi. All three were associated with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and its member organization the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). They had been working with the Freedom Summer campaign by attempting to register African Americans in Mississippi to vote. This registration effort was a part of contesting over 70 years of laws and practices that supported a systematic policy of disenfranchisement of potential black voters by several southern states that began in 1890.

The three men had traveled from Meridian, Mississippi, to the community of Longdale to talk with congregation members at a church that had been burned. The trio was thereafter arrested following a traffic stop outside Philadelphia, Mississippi, for speeding, escorted to the local jail and held for a number of hours.[1] As the three left town in their car, they were followed by law enforcement and others. Before leaving Neshoba County their car was pulled over and all three were abducted, driven to another location, and shot at close range. The three men’s bodies were then transported to an earthen dam where they were buried.[1]

The disappearance of the three men was initially investigated as a missing persons case. The civil rights workers’ burnt-out car was found near a swamp three days after their disappearance.[2][3] An extensive search of the area was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local and state authorities, and four hundred United States Navy sailors.[4] The three men’s bodies were only discovered two months later thanks to a tip-off. During the investigation it emerged that members of the local White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved in the incident.[1]

The murder of the activists sparked national outrage and an extensive federal investigation, filed as Mississippi Burning (MIBURN), which later became the title of a 1988 film loosely based on the events. After the state government refused to prosecute, in 1967 the United States federal government charged 18 individuals with civil rights violations. Seven were convicted and received relatively minor sentences for their actions. Outrage over the activists’ disappearances helped gain passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[5]

Forty-one years after the murders took place, one perpetrator, Edgar Ray Killen, was charged by the state of Mississippi for his part in the crimes. He was convicted of three counts of manslaughter in 2005 and is serving a 60 year sentence.[6] On June 20, 2016, federal and state authorities officially closed the case and dispensed with the possibility of further prosecution.

This is a picture of my Grandpa Harold Becker with a young black man whose name I do not have on the winter my Mother died.

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.”

 

 

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