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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Long Time Ago...

When I was 14 I made a friend that my parents didn't exactly approve of. He lived down the street. He was in 7th grade and I was in 8th. He was a bad influence on me. He got me smoking. We were going to a very fundamentalist church at the time. The preacher didn't think Christians should go to movies, watch TV other than Dallas Cowboy Football, and the usual no smoking, drinking, premarital sex, playing cards, dominoes...
In the fall only 9th graders played football so there wasn't anything to do after school until basketball started up in November. M and I sometimes with someone else would go to his house until I knew Mom would get home from work. I'd bang around on his drum set and we'd smoke. During lunch there was a vacant house with a back yard bordering the school. We'd jump the wall and smoke. Mom's reading this so I won't tell anyone how we got the cigarettes. We got caught and were suspended from school for three days. Mom was not pleased. I had to read John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and write a report. She had some other punishments for those three days.
What this did was give me an out from smoking. I really didn't like it. Every time I'd light up I'd look over my shoulder to see if someone was around that would tell my parents and I knew God wasn't pleased.
I could then tell M that I wouldn't smoke anymore. He stopped having anything to do with me and I wasn't all that upset about it.
We had little contact the rest of that year or the next. I didn't play basketball that year, but made varsity in track. I went on over the years to be state champion in the mile, get a track scholarship to college and so on.
A few months ago when we joined a house church pastored by the man I currently do legal assistant work with. M and his wife are also members of this church. He and S (the pastor) worked in a prison ministry. I don't know all the details how M came to find tthe Lord, but it's been nice to meet again. The problem is that his is dying from the forty plus years of smoking and won't quit. It's sad for his wife to come alone to church because he's too sick to get out of bed and see her tears knowing he doesn't have much time.
To a certain extent his story could be mine if I didn't have parents who cared and a faith to help me overcome peer pressure at that time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happiness or Nothingness

Dimitri Hamlin, an ontalogical anarchist, wrote a piece in the Huffpo. Arianna Huffington even suggested to him the title of the piece: Is That All There Is?
This is his conclusion:

Nothing is the positive yet indeterminate impression on the horizon, just before becoming something definite. It is nothing and it is not-nothing. Together with the present, it is the future and it is the past. It is the pure potential and freedom to experience -- the initial "I can" of intentional consciousness that provides for my participation and correspondence with wonder.
I think the world is interesting because I actually care about the possibility of nothing.
Singing, "Is that all?" the chorus calls for us to recognize the continually conspicuous presence of an absence. Disappointment is not so much the problem now if we believe in nothing; because nothing, by definition, actually exceeds all possible expectation: "wherefore it is right that What Is be not unfulfilled; for it is not lacking: if it were, it would lack everything." (Parmenides, fr. 8.33) I think that sometimes we mistake things for their absence and for this, in the end I trust, there will always be more to say about nothing.

Maybe Queen said what he's trying to say better in Bohemian Rhapsody: "Nothing really matters, nothing really matters at all."

Interesting ideas, even compelling to many, but there is nothing more like Hell on Earth that a state of anarchy. Anarchic societies are fear zones. Women must be protected at all costs or they will be kidnapped or raped or sold into slavery. They can't leave the house without protection or being covered from head to foot so no one knows what they look like, their shape or age. Men walk around carrying machine guns ready to shoot at anyone who looks funny at them. Homes are forts built for protection. There is only the law of the gun. But what the hell, there will always be something to say about nothing, because nothing really matters.

Compare this to "Persuit of Happiness."
Definition here: Happiness as meant by Greek thought and used by Thomas Jefferson means contentment, fulfillment, completeness, not just having a good time.
This is closer to Maslow's top on the pyramid: Self Actualization
Happiness is something, not nothing. Happiness is something to strive for, work for, appreciate what you've done, learn from your mistakes, regret the harm you've done to others.
To look back and see that you did SOMETHING in and with your life. You loved a woman or many, you had the joy and despair of being a parent, you worked not just for money to live on, but your labor mattered, you were part of manufacturing products, repaired stuff, grew and harvested plants, nursed the ill, taught children, raised children, kept a clean house, bounced grandchildren on your knee before your knee replacement.
When you have done SOMETHING with your life there is accomplishment, pride, fulfillment, sorrow, pain, regret, completeness, contentment: HAPPINESS.
All of these are emotions some are even opposites, you've loved and hated sometimes the same person at the same time, your feeling good, you feel sorrow, anger, laughter. When you do something you feel something. You feel.

The only emotion anarchy satisfies is greed, selfishness, fear and numbness concerning others. A great philosophy for serial killers, rapists, theives, drug dealers, corporations. Whenever this philosophy is prevalent society is ruled by tyrants, dictators, secret police, and fear.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Golfing again

Got wifey out to play Friday, we did all 18 holes and had fun. We went to play again today, but the course had a tournament. Not often I can talk her into playing that often.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Pleasant Surprise

Finally got the bill from the hospital for wife's gall bladder surgery. PPO dismissed most of the bill, paid a good portion and it looks like we'll be able to pay it off in one year. A little belt tightening but not nearly as bad as we feared. Flex account has covered all the other bills.
Now cross fingers that we remain healthy for the next few years.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Magic Kindle

I have a magic kindle. Whenever I have to go to the doctor or take someone to the doctor and in the waiting room to be called, or am waiting for the wife to finish before we can leave, or just about anytime I'm waiting for someone else all I have to do is take out my kindle and start reading and magically they show up before I can get one page read.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Matthew Iglesias has an interesting post concerning file sharing of e-books. Kind of like file sharing of music a few years back. Most e-book readers like Kindle or Nook are specific, but many e-books are PDF's and can be easily downloaded onto other computers or readers. He's really upset about file sharing books in the public domain, his example: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  I wonder if you can get it free from Amazon or Barne's & Nobles, or get it free by getting it e-mailed to you by a friend, what's the difference? It's public domain!
Here's my beef. I went to Amazon and checked my book. Optimus: Praetorian Guard. They still haven't dropped the kindle price down to $7.99 to match the price now set by Publish America. But if you look at the NEW books offered by different book sellers the price ranges from $8.99 to a whopping 874.25. Most in the 30-40 range. Here's my question. These are new books which should only be sold new by Publish America or through their distributors to book stores where the sales should generate my royalties, or by me after I buy them from Publish America and sell them at a book signing. HOW CAN THESE BOOKS SELLERS GET NEW COPIES OF MY BOOK AND SELL THEM WITHOUT PAYING ME A ROYALTY?
I can understant the used books offered, but if the books are new I should be getting my cut for my work and my copyright.