Saturday, March 28, 2009

Coffee Cake Jesus or Maybe Wilson

Today at work a lady decided that she did not want this piece of blueberry coffee cake. After I took it out of the bag I saw what appeared to be a face! Was it that of a heavenly being? Like Jesus or Mary in a grilled cheese? In the wood grain of a door? No, it looked more like "Wilson" from the Tom Hanks movie where he was alone on that deserted island. So, we named him Wilson and took a few pictures of him around the coffee shop. I wonder how long we can keep him? I wonder if I should try and sell him on E-Bay or should I wrap him up in plastic for all time and eternity. All hail Wilson!!

This is the second time this weekend that I have gotten caught up in watching, "American Beauty". I just can not ever get passed it on the dial. I love that movie. So, I have basically done nothing but work and nap and eat a bit and watch this movie. Although there is no reason to feel badly...... I have learned to love these days of doing nothing of real consequence!! They are rejuvenating. There are plenty enough days to get things done and do those things that make us feel as if we have been "productive".

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Weighty Issues, Dead Scrolls ,Happiness and Mixter's on the Road

After working hard for the last few days I finally have a day off and those things that I have taken issue with have piled up! It can be hard to write about issues after your initial furor has boiled over, but hopefully I can still make a few valid points.

It is also hard when you finally have a day where you have to not only catch up on sleep, but also laundry, dog issues and groceries to deal with. I also want to blog,so.....I have planted myself on the livingroom floor, cup of hot coffee, Matt Lauer in the background and issues before me!

First we go back to the "Happiness Project".
What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

I look at my son, and what seems to make him happy, and the difference in what makes me happy these days. I don't look for the big things. I can be happy and smile with a small gesture. A nice Burts Bees chapstick can make me happy. A good walk with my dog. A yummy box of Girl Scout cookies can be a pleasant surprise. I now know that happiness in life, for me and maybe many people, is made up of all the small stuff. Sure the big things can be extra special nice, but they are not the stuff of everyday.

If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Or, like a “comfort food,” do you have a comfort activity?

Unfortunately I have MANY comfort foods! In the last few years I have also developed "comfort activities". Blogging and journaling have been a great comfort to me. It was initially difficult for me to begin my journaling on my laptop, but once I got over the need for pen and paper I began to love it. Just have to remember to hit "SAVE" every so often!

Now, we move on to religion. You had to know that neither Mixter, nor I, can let a post get by without a passing mention of our current fave topic!

Biblical scholars have long argued that the Dead Sea Scrolls were the work of an ascetic and celibate Jewish community known as the Essenes, which flourished in the 1st century A.D. in the scorching desert canyons near the Dead Sea. Now a prominent Israeli scholar, Rachel Elior, disputes that the Essenes ever existed at all — a claim that has shaken the bedrock of biblical scholarship.' This comes to us courtesy of Time Magazine. Seems to me, after reading this article, that another of the stories connected to the Bible et al may be just another fabrication with which people used to control/manipulate the peoples. Are we surprised? Only reason that folks will get in to an uproar is because they hate it when their "faith" cage gets rattled.

Finally we get to the turmoil over Meghan Mcains weight. Can we get serious!! Are we actually still so controlled by our high school emotions that a radio chat host would act like a pissed off cheerleader and poke fun at another girls weight?

"Ingraham, using an empty-headed Valley Girl voice, also mocked McCain, saying, "Okay, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in the Real World, but then I realized that, well, they don't like plus-sized models. They only like the women who look a certain way."

But on Monday, McCain fired back at Ingraham, whom she admitted "I had actually never heard of," before her comments, stating: "It's terrible. It infuriates me. I'm a political writer on a blog and all of a sudden I'm too fat to write? There's no place for weight criticism of women in 2009."

Seems that conservative radio talk person, Laura Ingraham, decided to blast Meghan Mcain not for her politics, but for being fat! Are you kidding me! No matter what Mcains politics I still believe that she can totally speak or write about what ever she likes without her looks or weight coming in to the mix. I think that people who stoop to those tactics are really the ones who are fearful and have inner strength and like to belittle others to make themselves feel better. I applaud Mcains comments and rebuttals! You go girl.

Our girl Mixter is on the road! Yahoo. She landed a cool, new job that is going to require her to be on the road for awhile and living out of a suit case. Blogging in a hotel lobby or library. Hope they won't escort you out of the city as some sort of subversive for your points of view!! Can't wait to hear about her exploits out there in "God Country". even though I did not know that He showed any personal preference. I live in a college town and figure that we are not counted among His favorite places. Too much drinking and debauchery!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stem Cells, Gays and Religion...Oh My!

WOW! This mornings perusal of the news surely gave us much food for thought. At one point in time I believe that I had at least fifteen tabs open. Not all of it revolves around Rush or Jon Stewart. There is actually some other news being reported today. Lucky for me they are all hot button issues that make people want to gnash their teeth and wear sack cloth, or something like that.

The first bit comes to us courtesy of U.S. News and World Report. A nice little piece that talks about the ten diseases that might be cured with embryonic stem cell research.
To be fair they also say that maybe they won't be cured, but hasn't that always been the deal with science/research? Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. You just have to keep moving forward and trying things. Nothing would have ever been developed or cured etc. if we did not constantly move forward and try new things.

Next we move to marriage or should I say the idea of gay marriage. Time magazine proposes that instead of worrying about gays marrying why not just go away with the whole business of marriage!! Then no one would have to worry about or get their panties all in a bunch because a gay couple wants to get hitched! None of us would need to marry. How progressive and liberating. "
There is no baptism certificate issued by the local courthouse, and no federal tax benefits attached to the confessional booth, the into-the-water-and-out born-again ceremony or any of the other sacraments that believers hold sacred.

Only marriage gets that treatment, and it's a tradition that some legal scholars have been arguing should be abandoned. Two law professors from Pepperdine University issued a call to re-examine the role the government plays in marriage in a paper published March 2 in the San Francisco Chronicle. The authors — one of who voted for and one against Prop 8, which successfully ended gay marriage in California — say the best way out of the intractable legal wars over gay marriage is to take marriage out of the hands of the government altogether."

Seriously, I may have been a bit tongue-in-cheek here, but I really have no problem with the concept. We can either all marry or none. Why not let everyone share in the bliss!

Finally, we come to our favorite topic....religion. This has also been a much discussed topic in the religious arena as of late. U.S. News also reported today that the "non-religious" part of America is the fastest growing segment.

. In fact, Epstein and the nonreligious students he leads are part of the fastest-growing demographic on the American religious landscape: those who claim no religion whatsoever.

According to a comprehensive national survey released this week by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College, those identifying with no religious tradition, or as atheists or agnostics, account for 15 percent of the population, up from about 8 percent in 1990. "No religion" Americans are the only religious demographic that's growing in every single state."

There is a reason that we are reading, hearing and talking so much on this topic. We are becoming a smarter, more well tread and thinking society. People are becoming tired of being spoon fed the "less than nourishing" stuff that comes out of the organized religions.

"And Kosmin says that many of the 750,000 additional American adults who each year identify as having "no religion" are reacting to what he calls the "triumphalism and judgementalism of the Christian right."

When I was a part of an organized religious group that was where they wanted me to hang out. They want you to come to every thing they sponsor, they want your kids to be in every group. They want you to spend your time there and with all the others as opposed to people outside the group. You become desensitized to the real world. All they want to do is talk about how bad and negative the world is and how they know what is best for you as well as the rest of the sinning population.

"When Greg Epstein arrived as humanist chaplain at Harvard University four years ago, just a handful of students would show up at his events, intended for nonreligious young people looking for a values system and a sense of community. The school's humanist chaplain, first installed on campus in the 1970s, had always taken what Epstein calls a "shy, retiring approach to his presence on campus."

But not Epstein. "The watchword now for young humanists and nonreligious communities like mine around the country is that we're going to be loud and proud," he says. "The time has come to recognize that whatever you choose to call us nonreligious people, we are an integral part of society and culture."

The message has found a receptive audience. All 1,000 tickets to Harvard's big annual event for secular humanists next month—a ceremony to present a humanist lifetime achievement award—have already been sold. And Epstein can't schedule more events quickly enough. "An enormous number of young people have left traditional religion behind," he says. "I'm overwhelmed by the number of people coming to me."

The fact that more people are looking towards Humanism tells us that with knowledge comes power. More and more people are going to look at the God of the bible and realize that any one or person that would ask someone to kill their own son, or commit the violent and vengeful acts that He does, is not something that intelligent people want to be a part of or belong to.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

CNBC Smackdown

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Daily Show and Jon Stewart. I have been watching for days as the stories and arguments grew about him and CNBC's Cramer. I was fortunate enough to actually watch the entire episode that Stewart devoted to interviewing Cramer. Instead of his usual funny news packed show we got an entire show that talked about the economy and how it should be presented.

It seems that even the White House took the time to catch the episode. I guess the economy is something that everyone is sitting up and taking notice about!! Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that he "enjoyed it thoroughly". CNN even announced Stewart as the "winner" of the engagement.

If you have not had the opportunity to see this exchange you might want to try and find it on the net. I have to admit that I did not ever see Stewart as a tough questioner or as a serious journalistic force. After watching him question and pound Cramer I stand in awe. I respect that he is not only quite knowledgeable, but also very serious about the crap that is going on with the economy and the fact that people have questions.

Kudos to Stewart for taking the time to use his show as a vehicle to get this crap noticed. I know that ratings and the like are also involved, but I admire the man for changing the format of the show for the evening to really get into the meat of the financial matter and for taking this guy to task!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Happiness Factor

Seems that in these times of economic crisis people are always looking for and interested in information about getting and / or staying happy. I have been a student of the search for several years now. I have come to the conclusion that I can find it and have it whenever I need to, although sometimes it is a bit more difficult to sustain. Especially in these times that we find ourselves in, where we must tighten our budgets and learn to work and live in new ways etc.

Slate magazine has been publishing a series on the search for and what the myths are about happiness.

The series is interesting and makes for a good read. There are things that I agree with as well as not. They do not believe that spending time alone can make you happy. I disagree. Some of the best time that I have spent has been time that I have been alone and devoted to my personal interests. Reading and writing are two things that really are best when done alone. A few years back when I made the move to do these things on a regular basis I feel that I greatly enhanced my happiness level. It still works to this day.

I definitely agree with the idea that a "treat" can cheer you up! Sometimes just a cup of coffee or a lipstick can make my day go from grey to sunny. I have been know to become quite ecstatic at the purchase and use of a new razor!! It can make one quite giddy.

I have also found that when I am happier I attract a better attitude from those around me, especially at work. When I am happier my family is happier. I guess it is a circle.

In these times it can be very difficult. There are things that seem to try our patience at every corner. Finding the rainbow or silver lining can be tedious at best. In my experience it may take some time to find that one thing, or the many things, that can work for you. The day I began to journal was the beginning for me. It also became the best outlet ever! I really look forward to those days.

Not to say that I don't have my dark days or times, but they are becoming much shorter in duration. I have found several things that work for me and I will quickly go to them. With the world wide web at our finger tips it is easy to find the things that can work for you. Your pot of gold at then end of the rainbow.

We All Need a Hero

Decided to spend my next two days off fighting crime and saving the world.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Imagine There is no Religion

Seems as if maybe the tables are turning. According to the American Religious Identification Survey the percentage of those in this nation, who call themselves Christian, is/has been declining.

"Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey."

It flies in the face of a recent article that stated that we are a nation of mostly Christian people. Many Christians have liked to attack Mixters Atheist/Human Secularist articles. As well as the rest of us that do not support a God/bible driven/hell fire/damnation mind set or life style. It seems that people are either becoming more aware of the fact that they have gotten nothing out of their pursuit of organized religion, OR they are striking out in search of something more or much more diverse than organized religion.

Many of us are finding that the hypocrisy is abundant. Some like Unreasonable Faith spent most of their life in a traditional church/Christian lifestyle and had a huge awakening after MANY,MANY years. When I read his blog it was a story quite like my own.

When one begins to thoroughly question the stories in the bible, the fact that God will damn some to hell. Why would a Being of such magnitude just not forgive all and send everyone to Heaven? Why does there have to be so much violence associated with God and Christianity? There always is.......

So many heinous acts have been committed in the name of religion/God.

The people that I have met, and those that I continue to talk with, who are atheist or totally non-religious are good people. They are not mis-guided. Just folks that figured out that life can be good, fulfilling and meaningful without needing to have a reliance on God or a church.

I think John Lennon knew it when he said,"Imagine there's no religion....." People would be less critical, damning of others and less hard headed. Just to name a few. I think it would be a much nicer place.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Nice Day for a Ride

Even though it was only in the 30's it felt like a heat wave after temps in the single digits!! The sun was out and Max and I were both doing some thing out in the yard, so Casey was out with us chasing tennis balls like there was no tomorrow.

Max opened the doors to his car, to clean it and the windows, and she thought that she was going for a ride. So we just open both doors and she will hop in and sit, or lay, in the car like she thinks she is going somewhere. We finish what we are doing and she will either lay there or jump out and chase more tennis balls.

Then I went over to a girlfriends, bottle of The King in hand, and we spent the afternoon eating cheese fondue with fruit and veggies. Then a white chocolate and red raspberry fondue with Girl Scout cookies to dip and whole marshmallows. A totally decadent and wonderful afternoon.

I did not do anything, these two days off, that can count for much, BUT my mental state is in excellent shape. That is what counts.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The King and the Watchmen

As one who is often looking for a new wine to try I settled last night for some grapes of "The King". I just could not pass it up. Look at that label! How could I not spend the $10.99 to enjoy a nice Cabernet from Graceland? After a long five days of working, I know that is not a big deal, but when one is in the service industry it can really wear you down. We had an exceptionally busy week and I needed some serious down time. Lucky for me there is a wine store across the street and a quick stop on the way home. Also, lucky for me, I have the next two days off. More time to get acquainted with the King. By the way, it's not bad!

This Friday I am SO paying full price to go and see The Watchmen!! The reviews are saying it is going to be great. I can already see that it is going to be a visual treat and one that should be seen on the big screen. I can't remember the last movie I saw at the theatre, I think it was Hancock or Batman, and have not been this excited to see one in some time. There are just some movies that don't make the transition to DVD at home and this looks like one of them.