Monday, 8 October 2012

Several Quotes of Monday

A FEW QUOTES (i gots me tons)
"Whoever thought of God was very wise indeed"

“Ontology Recapitulates Philogyny.”
Coincidence is very convincing."
“Stance; Attitude; Combinations; Ruthlessness -- Timing Beats Speed."

·         Quotes of Monday

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Absurdity of Space Travel

The Absurdity of Space Travel


We have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Not only does this thirst include desires for cures, environmental, societal, and individual exploration, we have this undeniable desire to explore and conquer Space. Space contains the planets, the myriad and infinite in number stars and galaxies. We -- meaning our Species as whole, has been going into go to space, collecting data, and pictures, of the Earth, of the Sun, the Planets, the Stars, and of course, the Galaxies.

It was first in 1957 that the Soviet Union won the race to the stars by first launching Sputnik-1 -- a truly remarkable achievement. The victory was eventually countered with President John F. Kennedy famously uttering a challenge to all of America, and to the world:


There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

The Soviet Union's
Yuri Gagarin was the first man to go into space; although it has come to light in the last three decades because of Declassification, that Vladimir Ilyushin might very well be that "First Man".

Humans have landed on the moon, and Humans are trying to find existence of life on other planets. Telecommunication, Weather Forecasting, Radio/Television; basically every aspect of our daily lives is made possible through the challenges and the victories this species has made over, in, and under 'Space'. All things in our modern world, are being made possible through our involvement in space.

There really is no limit to Human intelligence, and the thirst for knowledge that leads to the exploration of even the most impossible. Space exploration is the supreme example of this thirst for knowledge and desire for adventure. This is also one of our greatest achievements; it unites us globally, through any distance, age, or time.

Many years... decades actually, has passed in the proverbial blink of an eye, yet we trudge along in our quest for more answers, and inevitably, the many, many more questions that come with those answers. Many incredible -- almost incredulous discoveries have been made and will continue to be made. Nevertheless, one thing eludes Humans to this day... "Are we alone in the Universe?"

Although the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet took place March to July 2011. Discovery being the first, NASA's final shuttle mission was completed with the landing of Atlantis on July 21, 2011, bringing about the end of the 30-year Space Shuttle program; the adventurous streak in our species has not abated one bit. We send a constant stream of probes to everything in our Solar System -- all the Planets, Comets, Asteroids, and even the Sun, though personally, I think we're close enough and can see the Sun just fine; you see, the Sun's pretty hot and it can really hurt you in so many ways.

Technology advances in the space exploration arena appear to be accelerating at a rate difficult to have predicted only a short time ago. Our vision of missions might have to be relegated to the "What could have been section". This isn't to suggest... I'm not suggesting; that Space Exploration is a vision that is best left to Science Fiction authors, or Poets. What I am saying is that I have serious doubts as to whether or not we will ever have the ability to leave this Solar System, let alone reach even the nearest star.

Life on other Planets? That is one question that could really only be answered through the actual exploration of Space at a truly cosmological scale -- that of venturing forth to other Solar Systems, and exploring the planets contained therein physically.

This is an absurd proposition, and one I think will never happen.

The Absurdity of Space Travel

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Ritual Sadness

Ritual Sadness

“Come on dad, hurry up, I really gotta pee”, “Can you use the bathroom downstairs please Ross?”, “No, I can’t dad, Delia is in there.” Ah hell, I can barely handle this, and I don’t think I can even shave this morning. “Dad, come on please,” “O.K., O.K., I’ll be out in minute Ross.”
My name is Grissom Miller, and I have two children – a boy and a girl, and one helluva a hangover. Karen, my wife, died five and a half months ago – she was 36. She died of an aneurism in her sleep. At least it was painless and peaceful. Our ten-year-old boy, Ross, knows his mother will not be around, but he cannot really comprehend fully his loss, nor do I blame him. On the other hand, our sweet little girl Sasha, who is four years old… well … she is four.
After relenting the upstairs bathroom, or the lav’ as Delia likes to call it – I guess that is short for lavatory, I made my way downstairs to the kitchen to have a quick chat with Delia. “Delia, yah, you too, good morning, could you please make sure they both eat their breakfast, and then take Ross to his school? You can use the Esplanade today. I’m going back upstairs to the master bedroom, and I don’t want to be disturbed, so make sure the messaging service gets all the calls forwarded to them as well,” “That’ll be no trouble at all Mr. Miller, will you be needing anything from the LDB today?” Delia always asked me that question; she knew I was going through a tough time. I looked at Delia, and wished I was twenty years younger, and not so in love with my dead wife, but things are what they are, “Yes, I would like you to pick-up my usual,” my usual being two bottles of Alberta Vodka, and two cases of VB, and one bottle each of Mondavi Chardonnay, and Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Wines. I have always been a big John Lennon fan, and I began taking on the point of view that I would do what ever it takes me to get through the night and day. One afternoon, about three or five and a half weeks ago, Delia started a conversation with me, and began to talk to me about what might be happening to my family if I kept drinking the way that the drinking was starting to head, but I stopped her short, and told her to never speak of it again. Classic denial I guess.
I work as a contractor. Actually, I started an engineering company that operated in contracting and construction. Today, I am one of three partners in Miller Engineering Company. Miller Engineering is a successful medium-sized firm with almost 180 employees that are recruits from an assortment of various trades – from our Design department, or the Legal department, to on-site caterers and Port-A-John transporters. When my partners in the office heard about my wife’s sudden death, they urged me to, “Take all the time you need. The company isn’t going anywhere, and it’ll all be here when you get back Gris.” So, for the last five and a half months I have been taking care of my children, and things at home.
The first month or two became so trying that I hired an au pair. Delia Smith, twenty-two, is from England on a work visa, and she really loves Ross and Sasha. Delia takes amazing care of them when I am not around, which is becoming increasingly more frequent.
I cannot get the thought of Karen out of my mind. She is my last thought when I fall asleep, and my first thought when I open my eyes in the morning. After the fog of sleep clears, I am alone again, sitting alone in our bedroom fingering through the photo albums, or sitting at the computer staring at the hundreds of pictures we burned together onto DVD. There are other times when I will just sit picking and plucking numbly, aimlessly, at one of my  four guitars that I have sitting next to our computer, in our bedroom. I find that I am not even interested in the Blues anymore.
I stopped drinking socially. I found that two or three drinks helped me fall asleep; I slept more soundly, and when I woke, I felt refreshed. In the mornings, I would see Ross off to school, and I would spend time with my Sasha reading, playing a game, or we would watch her favorite morning T.V. together. My little girl takes after her old man because one of her favorite shows is “Bob the Builder”. On the weekends, I would usually have a game of footy out in the backyard with Ross. He really loves the game, and all bias aside, I really think that he has a real talent for the game. I love watching him play during regular league season play. Nevertheless, I honestly don’t think that I have played soccer with Ross more than eight or ten times since Karen died.
I have my moments when I feel that I am losing my grip. The grip that I have on myself, the grip that I have as a father, and the grip that I think I used to have with reality in general. I catch glimpses of Karen out of the corner of my eye all the time. She strides across the background until I look up, or over, or across. It can be nothing else but the background that sits in my grief.
At first, I did not even notice how I was helping myself to a couple of drinks earlier, or how they went from a couple to a few before bed. It just seemed to happen. This change in ‘habit’ also led to me staying up later and later. Now, I was thinking of Karen in these quietest moments the way I would spend my mornings remembering her, and I was going to bed sadder, and sadder, just as alone as when I had that first drink that evening. There have been some nights where I have gone to bed staring at the ceiling, and being so angry that she left me – abandoned me. I spend hours staring, occasionally muttering to myself at what a bitch; what a fucking trollop she was for doing this to me – to our family. I was angry that she had abandoned me, and my children – our children. My 12 years of utter devotion were all gone, and were, day by day, hour after hour, becoming more and more a memory. Why couldn’t the Sun become a Red Giant now and swallow this Earth, and all the pain that it contained? Other nights, I would pick up my Rotring, and my little book ‘o’ stuff I use for writing, and write about her;

























Eventually, I was not even getting up in the mornings, and, half awake – half-pissed, I think I saw … no, I would see my little girl standing at the side of my bed, just standing, standing and staring at me with her bright Irish green eyes asking me, “Do you want to play with me today daddy?”
This night, like the too many that have already run their course; I’ll start by sitting down in front of our bedroom’s stereo. With some Vodka by who or whatever I told Delia to grab for me earlier, and pretty much naked, start my ritual listening of U2’s One. With the stereo set on repeat, One will play over, and over, and over, until I “fall asleep” on the rug in front of the speakers, with my Fender La Brea in Karen’s spot on the bed. It’s pretty much a ritual, and for better or worse, and for now, and selfishly, gets me through the night and day. It is my little ritual.

Responsibilities: Part Two


My Two Cents; Seeing as I am the one who started…

I myself feel a pang from remorse gene all the time. I used to help out all the time as well, and, as time passed, I believe I have too become de-sensitized to the horrible, horrible things that constantly befall our species everyday; every disaster, or Earth shattering event. I am more pissed off and want to do more when I see someone like Sue Rodriguez denied basic Human Dignity, or when I see the Japanese killing beached Dolphins – supposedly illegal now, but still happening nonetheless. I helped out with Live Aid, I joined Amnesty International, I have adopted children in impoverished Africa, donated for 9/11, Katrina, and Haiti (more on this ‘Haiti’ in a moment), the fights for cures – AIDS, Cancers, Diabetes et al, and it still seems an utterly futile OCD cure for this ‘personal responsibility’ I feel towards my fellow Human Being. If something moves me, I will most definitely help in whatever way I can, but for the most part, I stick to the plan of a blood donation every fifty-two to fifty-four days, and making sure I am on the bone marrow registry. These two things I feel are very important and needed by somebody somewhere. It is the best I can do now, and as far as the blood donation goes, I have done this thing for 15+ years. This whole “futile attitude” will almost certainly change – it is probably a phase.

Now, about Haiti; When the earthquake hit, I did my due diligence to find the best organization to donate to, it was “Doctors Without Borders”. But mere hours after my donation, the search for survivors was called off. I was furious to say the least. I eMailed whoever I thought would listen saying that “there are still people alive – there has to be… don’t give up please!” Wouldn’t you know it, they found somebody… ALIVE a few hours after the search was called off. I visited some blogs on the whole Haiti situation to see if my personal opinion was shared by anyone else, and what I found was truly alarming. The Hate for helping these people, and anyone else for that matter (these blogs went off on seriously deviant tangents) was palpable; it had a life of its own and I decided then that I have done what I could and will just stick to the tried and true basics – blood.

Well, this is my two cents.

I guess I feel a “Duty of Responsibility”.

“In Dreams Begins Responsibilities”


“In Dreams Begins Responsibilities”

W.B. Yeats (January 1914)

Dreams are not merely the succession of visual images, but rather experiences of living in a world of events, actions, and emotions. The widespread belief in the significance of dreams, either as prophecies or divine messages, or as especially valuable indicators of psychological truths, as in the work of Freud and Jung, has little empirical support. Although actual dreams have a nature and a content that is parasitic upon normal experience, since the things in our dreams are persons and objects of a kind with which we are generally familiar, philosophically dreams have been a convenient image of the possibility of total dissociation between what a subject experiences, and how things are in the real world. Hence they form a central metaphor in epistemology; one of the first questions in philosophy is sometimes posed as ‘How do I know I am not now or always dreaming?’ (See method of doubt.) Dreams also provide a test case for philosophers trying to deny the reality of private experience knowable only to the subject.




     We all feel a little sad sometimes, but in true Orwellian fashion, some of us become sadder than others. Sadness is relative in perspective, just as a religious practice, or a social practice has to be accepted across cultures, so do we have to consider cross-social definitions and boundaries when it comes to an illness such as depression. The following is an analysis and summary of three sources that I have researched, and attempted to make understandable to the layman, but there is some terminology and data that, without destroying its impact, could not have been “dumbed-down”.

Recognizing Symptoms

     As a person who has had to live with depression for virtually his entire adult life, recognizing the symptoms of depression is still a formidable task at the best of times. In Wendy Moragne’s book, Depression (p 30-31) she explains – and I have to concur – that there are nine generally accepted signs for recognizing depression:

1.      Feelings of frustration, irritability, sadness, or anger.

2.       Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

3.      Significant increases or decreases in appetite and weight.

4.      Insomnia and/or sleeping too much.

5.      Restlessness, fidgeting, or experiencing slowed movements.

6.      Feeling tired and lacking in energy.

7.      Feeling worthless or guilty.

8.      Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, or decision-making.

9.      Having repeated thoughts of death or suicide.

Forms of Depression

     When a person is diagnosed with depression, it is important to correctly identify the type of depression that the person has. In Moragne’s book Depression (p 27-28), there are several forms of depression discussed, and each one appears to have its own level of severity. It is now that I would like to point out that when a person is depressed, the only thing that is foremost on their mind is getting better. Therefore, I should say that there really are not any levels of seriousness from one person’s illness to another’s, as each case is unique and requires its own form of diagnosis and treatment.

These recognized forms of depression are:

1.      Major Depression – includes the symptoms mentioned above. These symptoms interfere with everyday functioning.

2.      Dysthymia – is a milder form of depression that can last a very long time, sometimes even years. Some young people who suffer Dysthymia go on to develop major depression or Bipolar Disorder.

3.      Bipolar Disorder – is a disorder where patients experience mood swings. These alternate from moments of sheer elation to points of major depression.

4.      Atypical Depression – is associated with people who are generally extremely sensitive to rejection. Symptoms also tend to be chronic in nature.

5.      Seasonal Affective Disorder – seems to be related to seasonal changes, as well as changes in levels of sunlight.

Assessing Male-Specific Depression

     Assessing depression in males is satisfied using several different techniques. These techniques are designed to determine the level of, and the extent that a male meets established criteria for depression. These tools also include the use of questionnaires, and self-checklists, which are designed to gather more information about their depression. Appointments and hospitalization are also often required – but generally for the more/most serious cases. In S.V. Cochran’s, and F.E. Rabinowitz’s Men and Depression: Clinical and Empirical Perspectives (p 80), evidences have been shown that, “men may mask or hide depressive moods,” because of established cultural norms, and “internal psychodynamic” processes, which often take on forms sufficient enough to “mask” (ibid) the underlying condition.

A diagnosis of depression is not a death sentence, if it is properly diagnosed – IN TIME. In a recent study, life-long symptoms of reported depression ran the gamut of the symptoms mentioned earlier in section two – Recognizing Symptoms. Below is a summary of these symptoms as discussed on page 83 in Men and Depression: Clinical and Empirical Perspectives:

Symptoms Lasting Two Weeks or Longer
% Of Men Reporting (n=8311)
% Of Women Reporting (n=10,971)
Thoughts of Death
Changes in Appetite
Changes in Sleep Habits
Diminished Concentration
Psychomotor Dysfunction
Loss of Interest


     As can be seen by this data, men are more likely not to report their feelings of depression to clinicians. However, the specific symptoms that were most frequently reported were the same for men and women. So, if the depression is reported, and subsequently diagnosed, it can be treated, but what methods are currently available?

Treatment for Depression

     Depression has often been linked with an array of biological factors. These scientifically concluded assumptions have been reached because of the recent advances in the treatment of depression with newer, more effective anti-depressants. These recent advances in include relatively fewer side effects, as compared to the multiple side-effects that patients experienced as recent as ten years ago. Medical treatment of men through anti-depressants has shown that it is men who experience, and present the most complaints of side effects.


     There is significance to the sources used in this report. Finding suitable printed material and legitimate information on the Internet is analogous to finding that one doctor with whom you quite literally put the health of your mind in their hands. These are the most up-to-date, and from my perspective, reliable sources that are available, but the science and treatment of depression is always advancing, and there is always a wealth of information on this very treatable illness.

A Social Trend: The Guilty Conscience

A Social Trend:

The Guilty Conscience

“The Guilty Conscience”. It is the New Religion; the Raison D’être; the new Modus Vivendi. North Americans now view this plight as a Natural Right, and as such, views guilt as a unifying force that brings closure, and clarity with all of guilty conscience’ principles of any good-hearted guilt ridden liberally compassionate conservative.

Now more than ever we need guidelines – or so I am told – that we have to live by. I find the trusty English Proverbs always provide a marsh-mellowy landing when times get rough. But, we have to be careful when it comes to safety nets because we could find ourselves right smack in the middle of a contradiction, and for most people, that is not where most of us want to be. Nevertheless, here are some guiltless guidelines coupled with their rejoinders:

He who hesitates is lost! BUT Look before you leap!
Birds of a feather flock together! BUT Opposites attract!
You're never too old to learn! BUT You can't teach an old dog new tricks!
Doubt is the beginning of wisdom! BUT Faith will move mountains!
The pen is mightier than the sword! BUT Actions speak louder than words!
Don't cross your bridges before you come to them! BUT Forewarned is forearmed!
Silence is golden! BUT The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
Clothes make the man! BUT Never judge a book by its cover!
Good things come in small packages! BUT The bigger the better!
A miss is as good as a mile! BUT Half a loaf is better than none!
Great starts make great finishes! BUT It ain't over 'till it's over!
Practice makes perfect! BUT All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! BUT a Man's reach should exceed his grasp!
Ignorance is bliss! BUT An unexamined life is not worth living!

Is it any wonder that drug and alcohol use is always on the rise? Aside from the fact that there is an ever increasing population entering the age of consent. Excess in moderation leading to moderation in moderation is a good thing because it keeps our gene pool in relatively safe boundaries, but we still remember things that we've done, acts that we've committed, and, yes, everything looks bad if you remember it.

A Guilty Conscience surveys as a whole, allows us to see where and why we are generally dissatisfied with predicaments as we objectively see them (note: not objectively because that’s too much work). The key point here is that something more than a force that generates vices and victories but we neglect to give them rein when need be, and then we gripe like a poet that has finally killed his inspiration when things don’t go our way.

Guilt is the oxygen, the greater currency that the West needs to keep going. Western comprehensive doctrine best serves the spiritual and material needs of people, but there is the actual need wherein we need a Douglas Adams Point-of-View to protect our self-serving and very (greedy?) personal interests, and utilize the time tested Zen Method of Navigation. A Guilty Conscience is a slender mistress with locks of gold and a see-through white silk and muslin robe that makes all want to worship Guilt. Pangs of self-reproach bring us aspects of governing morality – a human conscience. Acting purposefully is acting morally; is acting within a guilty conscience. To act within one's guilty conscience is nothing more than to listen to a nagging little voice that is supposedly a part of our spirit and self that tells us how to act. Three purposes that we can all agree on are dictated by this “voice of reason”; to act to 1) preserve one's body 2) develop one's mind and 3) expressing one's spirit that brings alignment with the dictates of one's guilty conscience. Whatever… I still have to say that everything still looks bad if youremember it. “Breakdowns only occur when my feelings are misunderstood” and this is when and where in our being left in confusion with all those silly and annoying conflicting impulses between body and mind, spirit, desire and action, and a good thing as opposed to something that could be potentially debilitating. Who gives a crap about your feelings, I have my own to contend with, and they are some tough mother-in-law ‘fuckers’. As with any voice being given the opportunity to share its opinion, it is time for me to allow the religious right to bear its argument and bring force and explanation as to why we do what we do.

Although guilt is commonly thought to be the emotion most linked with conscience, this is simply not so. Most events which elicit guilt are in fact amoral, but for entirely different reasons than might be suspected. They spring from amoral mental shifts which incorporate ideas into the mind which place mind above the body. This is when a learning experience, a right response is chosen.

Still keeping an eye on guilt as being brought about by peer pressure, itis a good place to start and end with one of today’s culturally exploited heated debates, referendums, or what-have-you arguments. That of same sex marriage. Notwithstanding that it is a fundamental breakdown in constitutional rights in a person’s ability to have dictated who, or what for that matter, to marry although I have no future intention of marrying any goats, I am simply addressing the issue of labels here. Rawlsian, Rortyism, Hobbesianism, and Kantianism states that we have a freedom of will that by right needs be left unimpeded. In our deliberative liberally constitutionally dictated society, we all have certain basic rights, liberties, and opportunities, and one of these is the right to be happy as an end in itself – although being happy in this culture goes against every grainof the democracy in which we presently reside. For years now I have debated with my girlfriend whether Brazilian waxing is better than shaving. But, it has been impressed upon me that the Christian Right whom has been claiming same-sex marriage would destroy our very fabric of being is a severely more important issue.“The gospel of Jesus Christ will be severely curtailed” as recorded in the four gospels that state absolutely nothing about same-sex marriage, or GAYuality for that matter. Nevertheless, poignant “variations” of the Christian Right are fond of using the internet and here are the very strong arguments in favor of the Christian Doctrine, unfortunately their author is not known. I discovered them at some time ago, but the link no longer seems active.

1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know North Americans have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behaviour. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed.

The sanctity of Brittany Spears’  55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in North America.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

WHAT THE FUCK!!! “A good laugh is good medicine" is a good viewpoint, and seems to be in appropriate here, but it is a Christian point of view that appears to poke fun at evolution, and the natural laws as well as a fairness and justice that escapes even the most sensible Mormon, mind you that most people of sense don’t readily have at hand a hat full of golden plates and seer stones that translate God’s words. We laughed at the Queen in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, wherein she“ sometimes believed in six impossible things before breakfast”. So now I am forced to laugh at all my Cosmological buddies and all my Darwinian professors who try to teach me these really outrageous and quite impossible fairy tales to me. From the comma splice in the first sentence to the misplaced period in the second, religion is filled with grammatical faux pas, not to mention factual ones, and downright silly claims such as, and I do not remember who coined this phrase, “Darwinists know they have to hide their atheist religion”. I used some edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:

Atheism: a disbelief in the existence of deity. Religion: the service and worship of God.

“Atheist religion” is an oxymoron.

The too frequently used threat that "God will punish you for...whatever", is mass control at it's worst, reflecting moral arrogance by those who claim to know what God wants, but spend too much time talking to God and too little time listening to the nagging little voice within. I need my little voice, it listens. But in reality, any directive that elicits a guilty conscience remains in the realm of control and has solely to do with politically correct cultural trappings which are Pavlovian learned responses. My mind should no more be elevated above body than my body should be elevated above my mind. Both must work in concert in order to serve me. It is a Cartesian dualism that I feel perfectly at ease with and my nagging little voice is telling me that the instillation and manipulation of my guilty conscience is a heinous, power-stealing practice, which misses the message of any emotion that I might be capable of perceiving…in part or in whole.

I find that a guilty conscience puts me in a “Lingerie State of Mind”.