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Everything posted by Kingfisher

  1. Secretary-General's Message for 2012 This year’s World Humanitarian Day presents an historic opportunity to bring together one billion people from around the world to advance a powerful and proactive idea: People Helping People. That is the best way to honour the many fallen aid workers we mourn today, and to celebrate the efforts of others who carry on their noble mission by rushing assistance to those who are suffering. The spirit of solidarity that animates these courageous efforts drives our commemoration of World Humanitarian Day. I have seen that spirit in my travels around the world, as I meet with relief workers who leave the comforts of their own homes to aid others in need. I also saw that spirit earlier this month when I met Beyoncé Knowles, the superstar who is donating her song, “I Was Here,” to our global campaign promoting action for a better world. Millions of people have already gone to our website to register their support and share their actions. From international efforts to avert a hunger crisis in West Africa to urgent assistance to civilians in Syria to a single good deed from one neighbour to the next, the spirit of People Helping People improves conditions for all. Let us give meaning to World Humanitarian Day by registering acts of good on the website: www.whd‑ Individual actions may seem small, but collectively they will reverberate around the world, generating unstoppable momentum for a better future. Ban Ki-moon
  2. Egotism/altruism

    My point was just that if we only consider our wants without considering those around us, we're destroying the very system that provides the satisfaction. If someone is dying of thirst in the desert I could sell them a bottle of water and squeeze them out of every penny they have, but that's completely selfish. They aren't satisfied, they're just desperate. If I make a profit I have successfully advanced, it is not a loss to myself if I could have made more. I wasn't really deriding the shifting dynamic of a capitalist market, only the parasites who would abuse it because they think their self-interest exists independently and without concern for the interests of the society that sustains them. I probably should have had more coffee before I tried to cobble together that analogy.
  3. Egotism/altruism

    The beauty of capitalism appears when both manufacturers and consumers recognize that their interests are better served by respecting the needs and desires of the other. When either side of the equation feels they have a "right" to profit without respecting the other, it all falls apart. If there is a fair and mutually satisfactory dynamic in a $2 cup of coffee, those who demand it for free and those who charge $4 are equally greedy. They both require someone else make the greater sacrifice in order to enhance their own lives.
  4. I think he's advising us not to tread on him. "I would not enter on my list of friends (though graced with polish’d manners and fine sense, yet wanting sensibility) the man who needlessly sets foot upon a worm." ~ William Cowper, The Task
  5. I don't consider things of this world to be part of me. I live in a higher realm... I'm only visiting here. I don't think violence is evil. How we use it defines the morality, and that's entirely subjective. I don't condemn those who killed bin Laden, nor do I condemn him. For me there is only sadness that this has come to pass, and I'm glad I wasn't a part of it. The issue at hand is that I don't see only two options. Both of those you provide result in suffering. I would love, rather than fight or die. I don't follow the RCC anymore, but that's still my greatest commandment. Telling you I will fight is not a statement of identification, it's a confession. Forgive me, brother. Sometimes I know not what I do. If the fighting is ever to stop someone has to have the courage to lay down their arms. This is not foolish idealism, I have practiced this in the reality of "the 'hood" for decades. I have carried the light into jungles across America, and I am still here. La vida loca is not the only way. The outcome isn't up to me alone, yet I take those risks because death has no power to sway me. A claim of cowardice is just a manipulative appeal to ego that attempts to subordinate the threat of violence to the threat of social discrimination and even greater violence. At first the accusation is "coward" (crime against self)... then it becomes "traitor" (crime against society) and "heretic" (crime against God) as they build into a lethal fury. I'm not afraid, I'm just smarter and kinder than that. I will not surrender to that position. I will not torture my friends in order to encourage them to kill my enemies. Even if I am crucified for it. There's no escaping the fact that I'm an ape-man, but that's only a temporary condition. We can argue semantics and philosophize about nature and spirit and what I am, all I can say is that while I am bound by the flesh my job is to minimize the 'ape' and maximize the 'man'. I can't tell you or anyone else where to draw that line, all I can do is show you the path I have taken. The part of me that lives forever is more important to me than the part that will die. I have made my choice... may God grant me the strength to see it through. שָׁלוֹם السلام عليكم Peace be with you. "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." ~ Luke 17:33 [KJV]
  6. Evil isn't a condition of the soul, it's an action of the soul. You expect me to take a life to save another. I tell you I am not God, I don't judge who is worthy. My goal is to eradicate the sins without eradicating the sinners. Evil can only flourish if we hold it in our hearts. I still have claws, I'll react to save my life if you push me hard enough, but I hate losing that control and I'll be scrambling for alternatives until the last moment. It's not self-defense if I have to hunt them down. 9/11 wasn't self-defense either. I'm not ashamed of my nature, I just believe it's a temporary condition and know I can do better than operating on raw instinct. Violence is the refuge of those who cannot find a better solution. Refraining doesn't mean I just stand back and watch people die. Killing Osama wasn't the greater good, it was just another evil. He used to be our friend. I would have treated him with the same compassion I gave my dog after surgery. She was hurt and scared and biting, but I didn't have to put a bullet in her head. Primum non nocere.
  7. I would rather we had all found something better to do, yes. What difference is this foolish and tragic waste of life if the dead are in New York or Abottabad? The conflict didn't end the violence or defeat evil, it only created more. Hundreds of thousands of people have suffered and died in name of another "righteous" war. Countless millions throughout history. Many more are dying even now. It's not God's will, it's insanity. It's nothing more than unrestrained barbarism. I have seen enough killing. I choose to be more than just another stupid murderous ape. Life has so many greater things to offer. You ask me only if I would prefer to kill or fear being killed. I prefer to fly beyond the grasp of the savage jungle. "A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet. One of the great revelations of the age of space exploration is the image of the Earth, finite and lonely, somehow vulnerable, bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time. But this is an ancient perception... history is full of people who, out of fear or ignorance or the lust for power, have destroyed treasures of immeasurable value which truly belong to all of us. We must not let it happen again." ~ Carl Sagan
  8. I endure my enemies so that I may have the opportunity to correct them, rather than destroy them. I would wish no less mercy for myself. I am not content to let wars thrive, but I cannot defeat evil by becoming the devil. It's easy to kill. It takes a lot more courage to love.
  9. I believe in hell, I just believe it's a matter of karma rather than punishment. What I believe is just what I believe, but I try to allow my mind to be as unrestricted as possible. I think God can do anything, I just don't think God is as crude as we. Nobody wins at war until it's over. The whole point of it is to stop fighting, I just dismiss the extraneous battles and victory is achieved. My perspective is as Israel with the White Tārā. I'm not a pacifist because I think violence is inherently evil, I'm a pacifist because I have seen a God that transcends it all. I merely try to align myself with that universal harmony. I'm not always successful. "Call it peace or call it treason, call it love or call it reason, but I ain't marching anymore!" ~ Phil Ochs God is beyond definition. Sure. I think righteous judgment was laid down at the beginning of time. Measure twice, cut once. I don't see God sitting on a throne handing out decrees for our eternal fate, our rewards and punishments are just a reflection of our own free will. With great freedom comes great responsibility. It's not personal, it's just dharma. And we're all in it together. God doesn't punish us if we jump off a cliff or threaten us with suffering if we disobey, but in love teaches us that it will hurt if we fall. If I'm going to hell, it's through my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault...
  10. Well... There It Is.

    Congratulations on your success! I haven't read a good book of ghost stories since I was a kid. I don't need it signed, I'll order a copy as soon as I pay off these vet bills.
  11. Rescue Dogs And Cats Rule

    This is Mick. He's a result of the neighbor's neglect. He was really shy and lived in the barn for a while, then he got sick and hungry. I also found a fox sleeping in there yesterday, I guess that explains what happened to the rest of his litter. I can't really afford him but he's decided he's going to stay where he can do more eating and less being eaten. He'll have to be untommed and get his shots pretty soon, but he's a really gentle cat. A few nights ago he took it upon himself to start going along on our walks. Awww. Maybe he wants to be a dog when he grows up.
  12. Dutchess

    My ~6yo Army brat (ret.) golden retriever ("expert treasure hunter") in her catsuit. Likes to run, likes to dig. MPs didn't.
  13. Dutchess

    I had drive down to our old family vet and take her in for pyometra surgery yesterday. She's doing fine and resting at home now, but any prayers for a swift and uncomplicated recovery are welcome. I was a bit concerned about her separation anxiety issues but she handled it pretty well. Thankfully she doesn't seem upset about taking rides, although she's determined not to leave my side again. She said every time she stays with someone else bad things happen. This is a picture of us leaving the wiggle dog behind on Monday...
  14. You're How Old?

    I think "old" and "wise" are both relative terms. The first time I can remember feeling old was in high school when a little kid called me "Mister." He probably thought I was really wise. I still feel young in spirit, most of the time, but I knew I had crossed a line when I heard Guns N' Roses on the oldies station.
  15. Current Mood

    Speaking of trans-dimensional wormholes... [media=]
  16. ** Happens!

    Nihilism In the beginning, God took a **.
  17. While it's not much fun to work in, the hot, muggy weather has been perfect for the fireflies this year. The meadow out back is only a couple acres but the last few nights with the new moon has brought thousands of them to mate. It's such a relief in the cool breeze after being devoured by deer-flies all day, like standing at the center of the universe as a new peace is born. I'm afraid this camera isn't sensitive enough to pick up the extraordinary display of the night shots but I wanted to catch at least a few for y'all before the heat wave breaks. They're pretty shy around the flash, though a few of them could be coaxed into showing off. Blessed Be! ---- ---- "If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended: That you have but slumbered here, While these visions did appear; And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend. If you pardon, we will mend." ~ A Midsummer Night's Dream ~
  18. Vegetable Growing

    Ya, plastic will kill whatever is under it but it can also create major problems for anything trying to grow on top of it. Ordinarily I wouldn't build on top of fabric either, it's great for isolating plants in a bed but not so much where the whole space will be utilized. (Incidentally, mulch is frequently just a cosmetic application to hide the fabric and I really hate those "pretty" dyed and/or chemically treated bark chips... we're too often obsessed with what looks good rather than what does good.) Ideally you'd want to till out the weed roots to allow the garden to grow deeper instead of trying to spread out (I started a couple new plots this year and had to do 'em three or four times before they stopped trying to grow.. not an easy job), but for a no-dig garden you may find aggressive, established plants pushing through faster than the veggies can take over. The additional layer of soil/compost may well serve the same purpose and prevent the weeds from dominating without it, but you won't have as much trouble with drainage, heating or mold growth with landscape fabric as with an impermeable membrane and if it's already there because of a previous problem I'd just leave it in place. It'll eventually decompose and if the crops are struggling too much you can either rip it up the next time so they can access more resources or plant fewer/expand the bed to reduce the competition. Plastic sheeting I would definitely take up though.
  19. Vegetable Growing

    Leave the landscaping fabric in place. It will allow water to drain while still preventing the weeds from growing through. In the case of a small, raised plant bed it's probably preferable to the plastic sheeting suggested. Since plastic isn't breathable and can also potentially cause overheating problems it would be better suited if you were trying to prevent all plant growth, such as installing a stone walkway. Either way you'll still need to tend the plot to address wind/critter deposited seeds. You can't prevent weeds without destroying the environment for the plants you do want, but this can help stop any existing root systems from growing through the garden.
  20. Tolerant Of The Intolerant?

    Of course they're doing it for the advertisement. Since that's how it works, I don't care. I've seen a lot of these signs and, while I always take a moment of gratitude for each of them, the only name that stands out is the Adopt A Highway® / Sponsor a Highway® program. This country is a mess and they need all the help they can get. I can tolerate the existence of the KKK without tolerating the hatred, violence and excessive pride. It isn't just black and white. If I cannot tolerate their good works I become the bigot. Sure beats those burning cross signs they had been using. Not much to be proud of there. It's not how we look or what we believe that makes a difference, it's what we do. In this case I say, good job. I can tolerate a little socialist capitalism for mutual gain. Even if some litterbugs don't appreciate the beautiful landscape that was handed to them. How is it best to defeat intolerance?
  21. Meat Shopping

    I've found most stores that prepare their own hamburger, especially the large chain groceries but often the small delis, will grind other cuts for ya free of charge as well. At least the stuff off the shelf, I never tried bringing in my own meat. Since they're still priced as a steak/roast I can usually get a better deal by buying what's on sale and having the store grind them, especially when even 80/20 chuck is running almost $4/lb. Plus you've got better control over the quality and fat content. It sure beats whatever comes in those tubes. Mmmm, Kobe filet burgers... and if you like tartare, choosing your own cuts is the only way to go. If you have the option, ask the local farmers; they can often steer (hah!) you to a private butcher who can prepare those slabs (which you can sometimes buy directly from the farm) to your specifications cheaper than an established shop.
  22. Current Mood

    Give me the strength and the courage, to believe that I'll get there someday. [media=] Up next, Hendrix. Missed him by that much. Take me to the mountain, and wash my confusion away...
  23. Serpent-Handling Pastor Dies From Rattlesnake Bite

    Yep, I and I will certainly have to chew on that a while. Thanks.
  24. Serpent-Handling Pastor Dies From Rattlesnake Bite

    I don't think I follow ya, Rabbi. I chose that chapter for the reference to Jacob's Ladder (another fine snakebite remedy) and for the allusion that the Lord isn't only where we expect to find Him. I know it wasn't a full quote of the verse, but if my understanding is in error I'd appreciate some enlightenment.
  25. Serpent-Handling Pastor Dies From Rattlesnake Bite

    Like footprints in the sand. Or the hills of Appalachia. עִמָּנוּאֵל Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. ~ Gen 28:16