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Everything posted by Kingfisher

  1. While the end-blown style has its advantages (my favourite being an embouchure suited for whistle accompaniment) the pueblo has been a pretty challenging instrument to play. Bamboo can also be pretty unforgiving, especially in Bb which seems to require insane half/quarter-holing skills to even rasp out a smooth diatonic scale. It's been discouraging at times, so I recently picked up another pair of flutes in D(min/maj). Above, the first is a birch "Kestrel" from High Spirits (Odell Borg), the other is an old Clarke tin whistle. Both have beautiful voices and have been a lot of fun to play. The
  2. I never accept payment for spiritual services so I'll let more experienced voices advise you on your business, I just wanted to welcome you aboard. Wilkommen!
  3. If by "bigger" you mean transcendent, I would say yes, even an in infinite multiverse. I believe the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Whether I take a scientific or metaphysical point of view, whether consciousness is an emergent phenomenon or a fundamental property of the universe, it doesn't seem to make a difference in the result to me. Aye, my gratitude waxes and wanes, but even when the moon is new, so to speak, it is always there. Life is a constant vibration, a magnificent engine, a never-ending journey of growth. Sometimes folks say that the concept of heaven is a crutch f
  4. “If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their own faces in it.” ~ Rumi
  5. I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude. Mmm, free radicals...
  6. I get what you're saying, I'm merely postulating that perhaps the "living" distinction between animate/organic and inanimate/inorganic isn't as clear as we like to think it is either. I believe that the entire universe is alive, and that it's spirit is that which we call God. I also believe that everything in it also has it's own spirit, both individual and interconnected, though we may not be able to relate to them in any meaningful sense. Even the smallest particle is animate, constantly vibrating. What guides them? Do they have any choice in which way they dart hither and yon? I really can
  7. I didn't mean to suggest that the impulses don't also arise in the brain, just the concept of free will isn't as supreme as we like to think it is. It seems we confuse awareness with conscious control. When we make a decision we're not so much influencing the outcome as becoming aware of the sensory input and neuronal activity whose sum is attracting or repelling us in a certain direction. I can become aware of my coffee consumption, but mostly it just winds up in my belly without having made any choice to drink it at all. Determinism is a horrifying thought, if we assume that there is only
  8. I think it's that cooperative middle. We're bound by causality, but through the ego we wrap ourselves in cloaks of free will. Modern studies in neuroscience show that what we perceive as conscious activity actually arises after the impulse is generated. You don't choose to pick up a cup of coffee, you pick up the coffee and then your brain claims the credit. Some say fate guides us, some say we are free, but in a way we exist in both realms simultaneously. If you believe in the gods and live is if there were gods, does it matter if there really are gods? We think the universe runs on simple an
  9. I agree that this is part of the problem. There's isn't any system of government which can't be twisted to suit the desires of those who seek to abuse it. Capitalism enshrines greed and self-interest without placing any ethical checks on power, which is why Adams commented that our system was wholly inadequate for the government of immoral and irreligious people. There are those who witness the decay of society and think our system of government must then be changed, and those who think it should be addressed by restoring the character of the people. I tend to favor the latter approach (though
  10. Corporations are people too, my friend. They'll take the easiest road and make use of whatever resources are available. I don't fault anyone (be they people or groups of people) for taking advantage of the system, whatever their reasons may be. It's just human nature to seek the path of least resistance. I merely disagree with some folks about how much assistance that system should provide. I don't really see a difference between corporate and private subsidies, both foster that sense of entitlement and sap motivation to put forth any real effort of our own. It not only hurts those who receive
  11. I've seen all types of recipients in every welfare office I've ever been in. All the examples provided are true. What I have also seen is a lot of frustrated social workers who know the difference between those who are really trying hard and need more help and those who are just playing the system, but they can't do anything because their hands have been tied with red tape by ideologues from both sides. The larger a bureaucracy grows the less efficiently it can do the job it was designed to do and the more it becomes about blindly following orders and covering your own tail. I hear a lot of pe
  12. We're spending over $400,000,000,000 (that's billion) a year in taxes to cover the interest on the national debt. Over the next decade the CBO predicts that figure to double. That's 1/7 of federal revenue which doesn't go to improve infrastructure, or provide for defense, or help the poor. That's over a thousand dollars a year from every man, woman and child which goes straight into the pockets of global banksters who are all too eager to loan us even more to pay for the things we can't afford because we're throwing our hard-earned wealth out the window. In a couple years that expense will be
  13. “Moral power is always more dangerous to an oppressor than political force.” ~ Mary Crow Dog
  14. Yes and no. You can grow a heart-shaped watermelon by confining it to a box, but it's still a watermelon.
  15. I was also one of those "lost boys" and I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Perhaps one of the best things you can convey to his mother is that, as difficult as it is (especially for a parent), standing back is exactly the right thing to do and it's what he needs from her most. What may help is finding a co-dependence group to gather support among others who have the hard task of watching those they love self-destruct. My mother tossed my out on my arse and we both suffered a lot from the choices I made on that dark road, but she was steadfast in her love for me. I knew that I wasn't g
  16. We walked among the crosses Where our fallen soldiers lay, And listened to the bugle As TAPS began to play. The Chaplain led a prayer, We stood with heads bowed low, And I thought of fallen comrades I had known so long ago. They came from every city Across this fertile land That we might live in freedom. They lie here 'neath the sand. I felt a little guilty, My sacrifice was small. I only lost a little time But these men lost their all. Now the services are over For this Memorial Day. To the names upon these crosses I just want to say, Thanks for what you've given, No one could ask for mo
  17. With my brother's recent injury I've been roped into extra baby-sitting duty and was reminded of this post. It's hard to believe it's been three years already. Here's the little mountain man on one of our nature walks, he refused to believe that hill was too steep to climb! He just kept trying until it started to rain and we headed back in. I guess he's determined to live up to his name; he's certainly as stubborn as the rest of us. I remember falling off a larger cliff very much like this in Germany...
  18. He went in to a local clinic yesterday, but the doctor refused to even examine him because she's not an ophthalmologist. She called the surgeon and he said my brother needs to come in and see him... if it was that urgent why couldn't he keep his appointments on Friday? If we had been late we would have been charged for his time, so I can't really blame my brother for not dancing for someone who thinks their convenience is more important than his eye. This one did give him the antibiotics he needed, but she wouldn't prescribe the eyedrop form because, again, she wasn't an ophthalmologist. Crike
  19. Going by the ones I've watched several times already: Apocalypto Into the Wild Letters from Iwo Jima Life of Pi The Departed As for Hobbitses, as a lifelong Tolkien fan I think The Onion gave it the fairest review:
  20. So they rushed him by ambulance (not covered by insurance) to Albany and then kept him waiting for 12 hours because the surgeon couldn't be bothered to show up until 3am. He was having panic attacks because he developed a cataract from the fluid leaking into his cornea, it was this huge emergency, and nobody would tell him what's going on. Apparently he was so out of it when he woke up in recovery he assaulted several nurses, and they only called off the police when he started to come around. He waits all morning for the doc to do his rounds, but again he never arrived. They then kept him wait
  21. While working at home today my brother somehow managed to stab himself in the eye with a piece of wire. Apparently it was on a coil under tension and sprang back as he was cutting it, entering under the lens on an upward trajectory. I don't know how bad it is yet but he was losing some vitreous humor and there was some foreign matter embedded in the orb. The local hospital ran him up to Albany Medical Center for emergency surgery to see what they could save. He was in good enough spirits when I saw him, joking about how he had named his son after Alexander the Great and now he had lost an eye,
  22. While you may or may not agree, perhaps this will help you understand the reasoning behind the law. A Constitutional Analysis of Tax Exemption for Churches and the Secular Coalition of America's Proposed Changes As for fairness, rather than churches being taxed too little, perhaps it's the rest of the citizenry who are being taxed too much. Lately "general welfare" seems to be interpreted as "any purpose we please." Interestingly, paying our debts doesn't seem to be one of those things.