Odds 'n' Ends

 

Introduction


Welcome to my    SECULAR    Odds 'n' Ends page, a page that stands alone, with somewhat off the cuff stuff, a kind of soapbox, or blog perhaps. Here I will be putting anything from random thoughts, notes, quotes, (serious or amusing), and even questions that I might put to the reader in the hope that I will receive an answer via the Feedback form on my website, (accessed via the Contact button). 

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
Noam Chomsky (1928- )



More Wisdom 


"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
Gandhi


So Very True 


"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

A Lesson I've Learnt 


Don’t have an operation unless it’s absolutely necessary.
An operation is a big hit on the body, more so when you're much older. Rehabilitaion can be long and painful, complications can arise, infections can occur, success is not always guaranteed, one can actually be worse off than before, or simply be exchanging one problem for another.

Doctors do not know everything. Do your own research! You may end up having the drop on them.

Know your body well. Listen to what it’s saying to you. Don’t put things off that should be attended to.

Go alternative and natural where possible. Make medical drugs your last resort, and for as little time as possible.


Thought Of The Day 


Peacekeepers try to please everyone in order to avoid the unpleasant, whereas, peacemakers attempt to resolve the issues so that all can move on and get somewhere.


Don't Over Fret. 


When someone tells you something in confidence, and in time you mention that very same thing to someone else, having completely forgotten that such was said in confidence, that's a lesson to learn, not a crime.


Regarding Someone's Life. 


It’s theirs, not yours.
You’ve no right to take it, and if you do:
You’ll lessen respect for its sanctity thereby threatening the sanctity of your own.
You’ll be accountable for the blood on your hands.
You’ll bring shame on your name and family.
You’ll place yourself amongst the evil, disturbed, deluded and conned.
You’ll make a personal statement that’s self-condemning.
You’ll cause others untold grief.
You’ll become a burden to the tax payer via any court proceedings and imprisonment.
You’ll add to humanity's soiled reputation and treachery.
You’ll poison your own heart.
You’ll prove yourself a coward.
You'll leave others fearful of you.


Traps Of The English Language. 


Here's an example of how words can be misenterpreted:

In no society should the poor exist.

I remember him as a ten year old.

So This Is What The World Has Come To 


A string of Presidents far from the likes of Abraham Lincoln.
Unfit presidential hopefuls with murky, shameful backgrounds.
Corrupt, agenda driven, left and right swinging politicians.
Rigged elections.
Biased, puppet journalists.
A monopolised news media.
A decrease in civil, religious liberties.
A United Nations that appears nothing more than a front and joke.
A scull and crossbones club.
Imprisoned whistleblowers.
Warmongers.
Bombed hospitals and food convoys.
An apocalyptic arsenal.
Fanatical, bigoted, murdering terrorists.
Racial policemen.
A growing Klu Klux Klan.
Religious charlatans, false prophets and Messiahs.
A pope who said that if someone insulted his mother he would punch them, a pope who said that he would like to see free speech limited, thus it okay to punch but not speak your mind.
Faithless, power seeking Christians.
Drug enhanced competitors.
Fixed matches.
Millionaire drug lords.
Human traffickers.
Spammers and hackers.
Greedy speculators.
Bogus doctors.
Cowboy builders.
Con-men.
Robberies.
Hollywood fed sex and violence.
Singers, musicians, actors and entertainers who’re more ambassadors for the occult.
Porn on tap.
Cage fighting.
Cyber bullying.
Torture chambers for experimenting on animals.
Abortion clinics.
Paedophile rings.
Needed women’s refuge and rape crisis centres.
Needed night shelters and rehab clinics.
Errant judges.
Aids.
Riots...

Oh, Louis Armstrong, it’s really not such a wonderful world after all, cause,

I see creatures gone, forests too
Far harder times for me and you
And I think to myself
What a terrible world.
I see skies of grey and clouds of ill
Earth less like Heaven and more a hell
And I think to myself
What a depressing world,
The fog of pollution so heavy in the sky
Anxiety on the faces of folk going by.
I see folk shaking heads, saying, "What’s going on?"
They really meaning, “Something’s wrong.”
I see babies die, things that horrify
There’s poverty and war, much awry
And I think to myself
What a pitiless world,
Yes, I think to myself, man, what a shocking mess, oh yeah!


What Americans Need To Keep In Mind 


"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish — where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source — no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials — and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), past American president.

Very wise words.

Look After It 


Our body is like a car. If we don’t deal with a problem straight away, or very soon, it will probably only get worse and can lead to other problems.

The Conundrum Of Refugees And Dreamers.

Refugees
One’s heart bleeds for the likes of those Syrian refugees who feel the need to flee their war torn country and those wicked beheadings.
But what country can cope with so many thousands of refugees suddenly pouring down its streets, especially where there’s unemployment, housing shortages, long hospital waiting lists, strained medical and social services in general, and considerable economic concerns.
Such is overwhelming, too much too quick.
And without those usual boarder checks, that customs clearance, who might be entering? Terrorists? Paedophiles? Murderers? Drug runners? Street thugs? And even disease.
The truth is, that a country’s well-being can be completely thrown out by things quickly upsetting its scales — enter racial, cultural and religious tensions, for example, and such made worse by militant, lawless, or traumatised  refugees, the latter possibly inflicting some terrible ill on society, much like some returned soldiers. Or demanding their own laws and so on.
All this leading to deep resentments that can give rise to all manner of negative things.
Sadly, there’s no simple answer, and thus those ‘Welcome Refugee’ signs rather naive and even perilous, one problem being exchanged for another, or even many.
No matter the crisis, time, thought and care is always needed, not knee jerk reactions based on feelings rather than sense.
Dreamers
Another area where one must mind ones feelings is in regard to those who’ve been called Dreamers — illegal immigrants in America that President Trump has been wanting to send home.
Yes, we can certainly feel for those children who’ve grown up in America, but at the end of the day, they hardly have the right to be there either, their parents having acted unlawfully, and thus the blame resting with them.
When wrong is done, the consequences have to be faced sooner or later, as sad as they may be.
These illegal Dreamers have no doubt taken the likes of jobs and housing that should have gone to the rightful inhabitants of whom many are out of work, homeless, or both.
And how much more have these Dreamers deprived others of via hospital care, and so on, and so on?
Hence the anger that seethes beneath the surface, or that suddenly bursts forth.
Now, I’m not trying to say that President Trump is right or wrong here, but simply that people need to mind those feelings and face facts that are having a huge and detrimental affect, and most unfairly so.
Sure there’s pain on both sides, but illegal immigrants are hardly on the right side of things.
Allowing them to stay is a bit like letting thieves keep their loot. In other words, if something of some nature isn't done about the situation, who's getting away with what? Why should some be allowed to get away with it and others not? The truth is, no one should be getting away with anything.

Hello, America
 

Beware any presidential candidate:

Who shoots their mouth off without due care and thought.
Who crows and says the outrageous and foolish.
Who indulges in petty, childish slagging.
Who mocks and mimicks.
Who swaggers, has an ego problem, bully boy ways, overreaching minders, a checkered past, any skeletons in the cupboard or a lust for wealth and power.
Who’s only too happy to crack a whip, don a holster, sign away rights, limit freedom of expression or torture some foe.
Who suffers from patriotic tunnel vision.
Who courts whoever will aid their rise and agenda.
Who lacks integrity, moral fibre and restraint.
Who’s suddenly a convenient Christian or has Constantine tendencies.
Who can’t abide protest or opposition.
Who belongs to a secret society.
Who acts like a one man band.
Who says one thing and does another or denys what he or she said.


Why We Should Take More Care 


The following was shared with me:

It was a costly mistake. The trusting parents went for a brief walk leaving their new baby in the care of their watchful pet dog. They returned to find the baby’s crib upside down and empty, its blanket in scattered bloody shreds. The family's pet—a previously tame and loyal pit-bull—innocently wagged its tail in welcome, unaware of the bloody evidence on its mouth and paws. Betrayed and outraged, the husband shot the dog dead. Soon after, in one dark corner of the room, he found their baby—alive, well and without a scratch. In another corner lay a dead wolf, face pointing to the shattered glass window. CAUTION: Never rush to judgment! Do not judge according to appearances!


A Point In Rhyme 


Give me a woman who knows how to use her femininity, not her sexuality, as the latter offends my masculinity, just treats me like an object too, actually, for any woman should make her appeal to me and not my loins-cum-body.

Women 


Women, if you're looking for a husband, don't give any suitor what he wants, but hold out the hope of it until married. For where such has been given prior to, many a man has lost his motivation; and this why many a man has had his fill and gone his way, thus proving his unworthiness, but too late.

A Smile Costs Nothing Yet Pays Dividends 


Have you ever strolled around a shopping centre with either a full smile or partial smile on your face? And by the way: It’s so much easier for a full smile to beam when there’s already a partial smile present. One particular day stands out for me. I guess I was feeling a little high emotionally, was strolling around a shopping centre like I mentioned, and with that partial smile. I was quite intrigued with the smiles that were returned, and a couple of folk responded as if old friends. I guess there are variables in any day, and depending on whom you're passing, but I’m convinced that a smile has a positive affect on any day, and even just one smile returned is money in the bank of happiness.

Think Before You Have Children 


Now, I’m not saying don’t have children, but I do think that one should think very carefully before going ahead. Why?

Because, when you have children, you’re in for the long haul. And the following list being what you can expect, (for example):
Serious long term costs — nursery furniture, toys, clothes, food, schooling, medical issues, sports, etc, etc.
Sleepless nights — both from babies, night owls and possibly troubled souls.
Much less time alone with your spouse.
Less time for your own pursuits.
Sexual inconvenience.
Added stresses.
Teacher visits.
Unsuitable suitor hassles.
Possible damage to your reputation.
Possible police visits.
Tensions between you and your spouse.
The challenging of your authority.
Unsuitable friends and bad influences.
Disruptions to your peace and quiet.
Greater accommodation considerations, house wise.
A son-in-law or daughter-in-law that you may not get on with.


Charlie Hebdo — A Hero Or Fool 


In my opinion Charlie Hebdo could be considered as both.

A hero because of standing up to the likes of ISIS and saying:
“You’re not going to intimidate me, you bigoted, cold-hearted, tyrannical bully who has no right to be inflicting terror, forcing your will on others or taking their lives. This is my country and in my country I’ve a right to say and do what I wish in line with the freedom of expression that we believe in and greatly value and its place in preserving the likes of human rights, pointing out evil, corruption, deception, hypocrisy, stupidity and danger.”

Many would argue that though there are a lot of Muslims living in France, the French shouldn’t stop doing what the French do.

A fool because at such a time as this when terrorism is rampant, such is clearly like red rag to a bull and the consequences inevitable given that the likes of ISIS is looking for any excuse and has called on its followers, (who're everywhere), to seek revenge for such mockery.
And a fool for misusing freedom of expression in general.

Yes, folk should continue to speak out, and satirists may play an important part in society, but it's clear to me that Charlie Hebdo was pushing the envelope and thus as good as begging for trouble. Trouble that Charlie Hebdo had been warned of, by the way.

Calling a spade a spade is one thing, mockery something else. Many people who might be able to handle criticism, may seethe when it comes to mockery.

Therefore, I'm not condoning the content of any Charlie Hebdo cartoon but also keeping in mind the following:
"There's greater danger in trying to limit freedom of expression than there is in permitting its abuse."

And at the end of the day, such abuse is still no reason for killing people.

A Worthy Tip 


When it comes to voting for a political party, look for integrity, balance and heart.
No, I didn't say it would be easy.


Oh, How Important That Why 


“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Four Hundred Plus Trees! 


I was watching the News on TV and was appalled to hear that 400 plus trees had been cut down in order to move the American space shuttle through various streets to its appointed place.
Personally, I would rather see the space shuttle mothballed somewhere than such destruction given how precious trees are, how long they take to become mature trees, and that our planet badly needs more trees, and fast!
Surely I hardly need to remind of what's going on in the Amazon, and we've all seen those forrest fires on the News that have often raged.
In my mind, despite any positives that may have come from those unnecessary and pointless flights into space, far more good could have been achieved for mankind on Earth given the millions and millions of dollars that have literally gone up in smoke while millions and millions have starved to death, suffered from poverty, and the list goes on and on — the space shuttle effectively just another shrine, and man all the worse off again having exchanged 400 plus beautiful life enhancing trees for 80 tons of heartless metal.
It’s no doubt an amazing achievement that man has landed on the moon and hung things in space, but what good is such if millions and millions have died or gone without as a result, and given that those forays into space will never provide a way out or ahead for mankind, and thus is as pointless an exercise as anyone climbing Mount Kilimanjaro — and yet, such folk are applauded — and how many have died attempting such? — their life sacrificed all for the sake of going on a climb up a mountain. Another absurdity! 


Why Are They Getting Away With It? 


I was thinking how it’s high time that there was an American Idol series looking for crooners-cum-ballad singers who would replace those of yesteryear like Andy Williams, Mat Monro, Englebert Humperdink, Pat Boone and so on. And including easy listening groups like The Sandpipers, The Carpenters, The Seekers and so on.
Though not a follower of American Idol, I’m well aware that it’s all about picking another Madonna, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and so on, as if the music and style of yesteryear were inferior.
Well, such is far from the case, but seemingly not in the minds of both judges and contestants these days, nor those looking for handsome financial returns and who seem to have called the shots — so tell me, why are they getting away with it, (or is it a sign of the times)?


Another Something To Ponder On 


How many wasted-cum-misspent months add up to precious years that we can’t afford to spare given our short time on Earth? — and why surely we should mind how we go.


Electric Bikes 


It would be good to see more people embracing the electric bike. I understand that such are common in Europe, though not so here in New Zealand.
Though somewhat expensive, (though no more than anything else in the scheme of things), they’re an absolute joy, and thus no doubt many new owners like a kid with a toy. One can purchase an electric bike from companies that make them or one can purchase a standard bike and have it turned into an electric bike. The latter probably being the best way to go, because one not only gets to choose the bike of their choice, but to some degree can change or alter things to suit.
Regarding such, the best option, in my mind, is a motor that takes the place of the axle in the front wheel, (easier to remove; just unbolt, unplug connection, and drop), and a rear carrier that incorporates the battery whilst allowing the carrier to be used. The control unit can be placed where desired, and of course there’s the throttle which can sit next to the handgrip or be the handgrip, as on a motorbike.
Depending on the battery as to how far one can go on a charge, (50 plus kilometres, say, pedal assisted — and this on one charge), and as to how fast one can go. Such batteries don’t come cheap, and are a major part of the cost.
The best set up is the one that allows the bike to be ridden either on battery alone or with the battery aiding one’s peddling. Battery alone will cut your range though.
I personally have a three year old battery that I've done nearly 11,000 kilometres on, it still going at the point of my writting this bit -- 20 Nov 2015 -- and after copious charge ups. However, kilometre range has dropped.
If you like the idea of being able to bike without getting tired, (great for chronic fatigue sufferers and the older aged), biking in the summer without getting sweaty, effortlessly biking into the wind, over a bridge, or up a hill, and virtually noise free, then an electric bike is the answer.
Yes, front wheel motors are harder on the tyre, (mind those odd spins), therefore your front tyre will need replacing a bit more regularly than usual, but it’s great to feel that pull as you surge up an embankment via a smooth concrete path, say. And front wheel motors do make for quicker starts and darts. A motor at the front gives a nicer feel to the handling of the bike, turning into corners with more intention, purpose and stability. Something like a motorbike.
Oh, best you invest in a warm jacket for cooler days given that there’s no effort attached to any peddling.
And before you invest in such a bike, check out all the options and find a good dealer or installer, avoiding those kit-sets that have the motor mounted on the side of the wheel, for example; they unsightly, probably a thing of the past now.
Yes, welcome to a greener world and way in which more should be moving. Enjoy!


Something I Just Had To Share 


Whilst out walking, I came across a workman dealing with those manhole covers that seem to litter our roads. My eyes strayed to his vehicle where I saw a sign stuck to the rear window that read: "I love my wife." Now there’s something different I thought. Not the usual comments one sees. Full marks!


A Thought For The First Day Of May 


I came across a comment in a book I was reading — Gunning For God by John C. Lennox — a comment that I was rather taken with, and which I thought I would share with you, though somewhat modified:

Mockery is not an argument but an attitude which does no credit to the individual mocking someone’s stance, view or belief.


Making Good Use Of Time 


Across the road from the house in which we live is a bus stop where an Asian lady of advanced years quite regularly catches a bus. And there while she’s waiting, and in full public view, she goes through a small routine of exercises — leg stretches, star jumps, etc.
Though she draws amusement from observers, be they motorists, pedestrians, or folk from surrounding houses, I only wish that there were more of us game enough to engage in the same worthwhile practice while waiting for a bus, or even a friend.
Now there’s a craze worth starting.


Just Thinking 


I grew up in what was very much a working class family, my father a hard worker, my mother a dedicated stay-at-home mum, our home a rather old house, and my dad not being able to purchase a car until around his forties.
As a child I never went without in the sense of food and clothing, but at some stage became aware that there were those who apparently were different to us.
Well, as a family, class meant nothing to us, and we treated all the same, happy to mix with anyone, though one couldn’t help being aware that certain ones didn’t quite see things the same way.
Personally, I’ve no time for snobbery, no desire to attain some middle class shelf, and to be honest, what I’ve seen coming from many who’re middle class is something I’m glad I’ve never been caught up in. It appears that so many of them are still not content, and are even complaining about being hard done by, and this, despite being well ahead of the working class, alias very comfortable and doing very nicely, and still visiting restaurants and fast food outlets, still going to the movies or some show, still enjoying holidays abroad, and so on.
I’ve never owned a home, (sadly), and I presume I never will, but a humble little cottage would do me fine, and all would be welcome to visit, be they working class, middle class, or upper class.
Take off our clothes and we’re all the same, put on our clothes and suddenly there appears to be a change in behaviour, alias certain levels. And so it seems to be when it comes to professions, positions, money, houses, cars, chattels and so on.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s time we got off this immature and even selfish merry-go-round, and were simply content to have a humble roof (of our own) over our head, a car that’s not always breaking down, and a job that provides us with the necessities in life and keeps the debt collector from the door. Something that those hit by an earthquake, or other, soon discover, though it’s funny how once folk pick themselves up, such often starts all over again.
Our focus should always be on people, not things. And as they say, we can’t take it with us, though many live as if one can.


Time For A Reality Check 


The Rugby World Cup, 2011, (won by the New Zealand All Blacks, and deservedly so in the scheme of things), once again reminded me of the ills of competitive sports, and in this case, they being:
a) The underhand tactics such as cheating, eye gouging, stomping, head butting, crutch grabbing, the feigning of injuries, the deliberate, unsporting and malicious targeting of certain players on the field, and so on.
b) The wrong (alias bad) calls made by referees, or their oversights, which result in a team winning or losing, and which effectively makes a farce of things, especially where a team has won by only one extra point.
c) The angry exchanges and even fighting that occurs between players and teams.
d) The callous, childish yelling, screaming and booing that comes from the fanatical fans of either team, the irresponsible throwing of items, the venting of their anger at seeing their team lose, (often displayed afterwards in  various streets, and fuelled by alcohol intended to drown their sorrow).
e) The pre-match derogatory comments made by certain members of each team towards their opponents.
f) The shady behind the scenes goings-on, so much a part of competitive sports these days given that big money is at stake, and hence the tremendous pressure and pressures exerted on players.
Such all being the result of people competing against each other, (and what with human nature being the way it is) — in other words, attempting to win by ensuring that another person doesn’t, hence all those negatives that we see.
As far as rugby goes, a visitor from Norway who had never seen rugby before, commented on how violent such a game was. And I have to agree, hence the constant flow of injuries that are seen, and the serious punishment their bodies take. I guess New Zealanders have got used to such, and thus its violent nature failing to register anymore like it did in the mind of this visitor from Norway.


It's been snowing!!! 


Well, I've lived in Lower Hutt, (Wellington region), New Zealand, for the last sixty years, (but for two years in Hamilton), and have never experienced or seen snow, (accept in pictures or from a distance), until today -- that being, the 16th of August 2011, when my suburb in Lower Hutt, (indeed Lower Hutt itself), was blanketed in snow. This downfall only lasted for an hour or so, and was probably only about an inch or two deep. Streets, trees, gardens and roof tops were covered just like one sees on Christmas cards. Such has never happened before as we just don't get snow in Lower Hutt, though there is the rare dusting in winter on the tops of the hills on either side of Lower Hutt. It was an amazing experience, and quite exciting. Even managed to toss a snowball or two at my daughter. Yes, I really enjoyed it, but that's the last time I ever want to see snow again, thank you very much!


Undercover Boss 


You may have seen the TV programme Undercover Boss. Lest you haven’t, I’ll fill you in. It’s all about bosses who disguise themselves and who act as if they’re a new employee, thus getting to see and know what’s going on in their company. Well, the idea may sound as if it has some merit, and viewers may even enjoy watching such, but the truth is that it’s most unethical and violates every principle of decency, (even if it does result in improvements).
As far as I’m concerned, no boss needs to stoop to such, and thus all this programme does is make snooping on ones staff seem an acceptable thing, especially when some workers they have contact with are rewarded somehow. Tough about any others who’re just as deserving.
A good boss will make it his habit to regularly mingle with his staff on the  factory floor, getting to not only know them personally, (and having an open door), but also checking to see if they have any concerns, or even ideas. A switched on boss will soon pick up on things, especially if he or she is a people first type person, employer.
Personally, if my boss stooped to such snooping, I wouldn’t think too highly of him, even if I were on the winning side of such. A boss should be transparent at all times — an example to his staff. I’m sure bosses wouldn’t like to be snooped on themselves, nor to experience such were their job to change and they to end up on the factory floor.
You may well be tempted to say that if an employee was doing their job properly they wouldn’t have need for fear. Well, though that may be so, the fact remains that such snooping is most unethical and violates every principle of decency. And bear in mind that even good employees have their bad days. What a pity if their boss struck them on one of those days, midst playing such a cruel game.
Yes, I find it quite disturbing that so much of what we watch as entertainment, and enjoy, is seriously flawed with the likes of such things as I’ve mentioned here, for such is how in time the unacceptable becomes acceptable.


Virgin Galactic 


I can’t help feeling a sense of righteous anger and disgust over the colossal amount of money that is being misspent in the world while millions are dieing of starvation, living in abject poverty, or suffering in some other way — all of which could be stopped or alleviated via this money that is so senselessly, irresponsibly, and self indulgently spent.
A classic example of this is Virgin Galactic’s space venture — that is, Richard Branson’s intention to whisk tourists into space at the paltry figure of $200,000 per head, (alias wealthy person), where they will experience about six minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth in a spaceship costing and wasting millions and millions of more dollars. And for what?
If you’ll excuse the pun, it’s as if some folk are living on another planet, or is it simply that they just don’t care? I mean, what a shocking waste of money! In my mind, morally criminal. After all, we’re not living in Paradise. We’re living on a planet that’s about to self destruct, all thanks to the selfishness and folly of man. It’s this same selfishness and folly that sees many suffering while others indulge in a sophisticated form of debauchery, for which they come up with all kinds of justification -- well, in their minds anyway.
The times we’re living in, and the injustice and suffering that’s going on, should be seriously pricking everyone’s conscience, and having them digging deeper into their pockets on behalf of the unfortunates. Mind you, such should also have us all looking at how we can undo the damage we’ve done, and at what we can do to halt the madness of warring, perpetrated or added to by the mindless, misguided, and plain evil.
Even if Richard Branson were to donate millions to charity, it wouldn’t lessen the moral criminality of wasting the rest that he didn’t give — that is, the 99 percent spent elsewhere. By that I mean, the money given to charity by some who've such wealth is but merely petty cash given how much they keep for themselves.
I heard of a Christian man, who, if I have the story right, kept ten percent of his incoming profit for himself, and gave the other ninety percent to God — in other words, for Christian usage. His business apparently boomed! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those with such wealth adopted a similar approach, keeping ten percent for themselves and using the other ninety percent to alleviate suffering in the world. After all, even that ten per cent must be a king’s ransom.


Don't Bleed The Bleeding 


When surfing the internet, one regularly comes across those who supposedly have the answer for this or that, 
answers that are badly needed, that can be found within the pages of their book, say, and at the special price of....
I’m sure that most of these adds aren’t worth the time of day, but if someone did have the answer, where on earth is their charity, their humanity?
I mean, if I stumbled across the answer to a particular health issue that would be of benefit to hundreds, even thousands, I’d be putting that answer on the web for all to see, and without asking for one single dollar.
A lot of people who need such an answer can’t afford to be buying these books, and given the amount of such books out there, which one would be the one that proved true? After all, many can’t afford to be buying book after book until they strike the right one — the one that does have the answer.
In my eyes, those on the internet who're charging for the supply of an answer to someone’s badly needed health issue via such books, are most likely charlatans, or people for whom the lure of filthy lucre is too hard to resist — in other words, "Why not make a killing while I'm helping folk?
Hey, come on you guys, or girls, don’t bleed the bleeding — if you’ve really got the answer, just share it, forget the money thing, thus showing humanity at its best. Yes, play your part, and not some game, thus lessening those miserable burdens that so many of us have to bear.
I would imagine that in most cases, supplying the answer would require very little outlay — simply a posting on the internet.
Should I find a cure of some sort, one that folk are desperate for, rest assured you'll find it here — FREE!
Why? Because lessening another's unfortunate plight — daily misery — is more important to me than making a quick buck.


Re The Christchurch Earthquake, NZ 


Oh, Christchuch, Christchurch, how you've suffered so, and borne the brunt of that which we all fear,
Hence our deepest sympathy, our condolences, for in our hearts, your pain we share.
And how we watch with admiration, for your spirit's strong, and recover, you will,
Thus, midst your present suffering, and those days ahead, may peace and hope, your hearts fill.

I find it hard to comprehend the absurdity of man, who, for one, insists on erecting high buildings -- the twin towers being an extreme example -- and even more absurdedly, in earthquake zones. To make matters worse, these buildings are often covered in glass and unnecessary decorative fittings that in an earthquake would become misiles of no mean order.
A Christchurch resident who managed to get out of one of the earthquake hit buildings was heard to say that she would never again work in such a multi-storied building as she had. Well, I don't blame her, especially after what she has been through.
But surely common sense tells us that erecting such buildings, no matter how well built, and especially in earthquake prone countries, is absolute folly. Here in Wellington, many such buildings have been erected all along a major fault line. Should the same thing happen here as in Christchurch, I would hate to think.
Thus, it astounds me that people are more than happy to dine out in a restaurant that's atop a tall tower many stories up like that which is found in Auckland, New Zealand -- the Sky Tower -- low compared to what's worldwide. It seems that it's not until folk have an experience like this lady in Christchurch that they come to their senses. Not to mention a fire breaking out in these buildings, an explosion of some sort, a serious power cut, and so on.
It reminds me of folk who happily flit around the world in a plane as if they've nothing to worry about, and as if they're just getting on a bus. Well, if they've looked into things as much as I have, they wouldn't be in a hurry to get back up in the sky again, and especially if they were to have a close shave. Having said that though, there are those who no matter how many facts you put in front of them, or even after a close shave, will still happily jump on a plane or work in some skyscraper.
We need to realise that we are living in a very different world now. Everything appears to be coming unstuck. Aside from terrorism, hardly a week goes by without a plane going down somewhere, or having to make an emergency landing. And earthquakes are occurring with greater frequency and intensity. Surely a sign of the times. Personally, I wouldn't catch a plane unless I absolutely needed to, and if possible, I'd find employment in a building no more than two or three stories high -- one well built, and as far away as possible from those other ones. Yes, we take far too much for granted.
For those of you who might be interested in the dangers of flying, I have put together a very brief outline under the heading -- Thinking Of Flying? -- which can be found near the bottom of this page.


The Tightrope Walker 


We seem to live in a reckless age where men seem driven by crazy desires, oft more aptly described as obsessions. It seems that so many will do just about anything in order to break some record, or purely for the thrill it gives them, even if it means that they could lose their life as a result. I find it hard to believe how someone can put their life on the line, the likelihood of leaving their lovely wife a widow and their children fatherless, just for the sake of some record or thrill. As far as I’m concerned, such is hardly manly, but rather, more infantile, selfish, reckless, and to be quite honest, more like insane behaviour.
I was watching a documentary about a French tightrope walker, Philippe Petit, who back in 1974, and with the aid of friends and under secrecy, somehow strung a cable between the then twin towers in New York, (we're talking 110 stories up), and did his thing. Yes, he did get away with it, spending 45 minutes walking back and forth doing this and that, and even lying on his back at one point, but what utter madness.
I can’t help feeling that the area in our brain that provides us with a healthy fear is either missing or just not registering normally in these people, or perhaps there's something else amiss, somewhere.
He was clearly driven, obsessed, even to the point of putting his life on the line, (as a young man), even to the point of leaving his lovely wife a widow and his children fatherless. And for what? And to think that there are those who applaud such antics. Sure what he did was amazing, incredible, but at the end of the day, what was the point of it, and look at what he had to lose: His life, a future, a wife, children, friends and family. And did it benefit mankind? No, not one little bit. And as far as I can see, such just encourages more stupidity, and I guess that's one reason why we're seeing the likes of extreme sports, not to mention those dare-devil things one can see on You Tube that so many young people are into these days. Adrenaline junkies, some call them.
If you were to ask those who applauded such to do the same thing, I've no doubts that their response would be, "No way, man, I'm not that crazy!" And that about sums it up, as far as I'm concerned. Such acts as Philippe Petit's should be condemned, not applauded.


Extreme Makeover


I’m a great believer in thinking deeply about things. We can overlook such a lot when we fail to do so, and even to the detriment of others and our self. There’s no question in my mind that it certainly pays to give a lot of thought to things, which brings me to the subject matter of this blog, and here I’m presuming that you’ve seen the American TV programme Extreme Makeover where they build homes for certain folk who’re either not well off, have a house that has serious issues, or someone in the family who has some medical condition that the current house aggravates.
It’s really great to see such folk receiving one of these homes, almost palatial at times, sporting swimming pools, and containing top of the line appliances and electronic treats, but in my mind, often over the top, and perhaps fuelling the materialism of the day. After all, just getting a lovely new home and the required appliances and furniture would be wonderful enough. I wonder what those folk in third world countries would think should they get to see such, and with all the poverty in the world, aren’t these houses a little in-one’s-face, and perhaps inappropriate given the times we live in?
Anyway, I’ve often wondered about the following which I thought I would share.
Given that many of these recipients aren’t well off, what are they going to do when these very expensive super deluxe appliances, (oft made to measure and design), and various other electronic things finally pack up, be they TVs and computers, (often in each room), special heating or air cleaning devices, and various other things that would cost the earth to replace.
I suspect that in time, due to not being able to replace such, or like with like, that there’ll be some dead appliances, etc, just sitting around, or ugly gaps in walls, or something else in their place that just doesn’t cut it. It’s all very well to have all these mod cons that these houses are decked out with, (not to mention those huge sized open plan rooms), but imagine the electricity bill, and especially if the family is making good use of them all. Is electricity dirt cheap in America? It’s certainly not so here in New Zealand, believe me — in fact, one has to be extremely careful when it comes to using such things. As far as I’m concerned, the cost of electricity here is shameful, no thanks to those shareholders that I believe should never have a place in such.
It would be interesting to see a follow up programme, one that revisits these families to see where they’re at now. At the end of the day, they’ve still got a nice house I guess, but given that many are so palatial, I wonder how they get on with maintaining them. After all, houses need painting, plumbing breaks down, and so on.
Some of the rooms are also done out to suit the desires of a five or ten year old. Won’t they outgrow such, and won’t there be added costs involved in redoing the room later? Would such made to order rooms appeal to a future buyer should the owners wish to move on?
Sometimes I’ve had cause to think that some didn’t have quite the need for the home they got, (that their old one was pretty good), and that there are surely others far worse off that should've received such instead. If these houses weren't so flash, could two homes be built in the same town thus helping another family?
 Oh well, there’s my blog for today. Make of it what you will.


Jamie Oliver

If you're doing something that you know isn't good to do, admit it, rather than trying to defend it. It's better to say, "I know it isn't good for me to do but I'm doing it because I want to."  At least that's being honest. To defend something that evidence clearly shows is bad, and that you can register is bad, is a form of insanity. It's trying to convince yourself of something that you know otherwise, which brings me to the point of my blurb -- Jamie Oliver.
If you don't know who Jamie Oliver is, let me explain. Jamie Oliver is a well known English chef [cook] who has been trying to introduce people to a more healthier diet. So many are eating that which is harmful, and even worse, are giving such to their children with disastrous results. Jamie has also been trying to bring about changes in schools where children are being fed food that has little goodness and a great deal that's unhealthy -- food that's fatty, sugary, processed, full of artificial ingredients, etc.  And needless to say that though he has had a degree of success, he has also encountered strong resistance, particularly in America, I understand, where junk food appears to be a way of life for most.
Why the resistance?
Most people don't want to know or change because they're enjoying the unhealthy food that they're eating. Rather than face up to the fact that what they're eating is bad for them, they try to justify it somehow. Others may admit it's not good for them but still keep eating it for the same reason.
If a person can't bring themself to stop eating something that they know is bad for them, they're effectively addicted to it. It's as simple as that, or they just don't care -- until they suffer that is. However, I must admitt that some may feel they've no option given certain circumstances, though such is not what I'm addressing here.
Personally, I think Jamie Oliver is very couragious given that he would have known he would meet strong resistance from certain quarters, be that via whatever "system" or individuals in general. And resistance, even abuse, he certainly has meet. But such has always been the lot of those who seek the well-being of others, and who can see the baleful effects on both them and society.
Personally, I believe that Jamie is doing what is needed and because it also affects the innocent -- that is, those being fed by others, be that via some schools, parents or caregivers.
Though I'm a vegetarian, and wish Jamie were too, (just quietly), he is actually dealing with people where they're at. He has enough problems getting them off junk food, etc, without trying to turn them into vegetarians. He'd have a riot on his hands :-)
Anyway, I admire what he is doing, and am glad that there are people like him who are trying to make a difference, and the reason they are is because they care. And for that we should all be very grateful for surely that's what humanity is all about -- caring for others, even at our own expense.  And hey, let's not shoot the messenger, (for what messenger isn't flawed in some way, being human), but seriously ponder on the message.


Patriotism


When I think of patriotism, I immediately think of America, because no where does patriotism seem so marked to me — and for many onlookers around the globe, even a turn off.
You see, generally speaking, we all love our own country — after all, it’s our home, it’s where we were born and raised, it's full of meaning and memories, its something we've been a part of, something we've been involved in, and as a consequence, it naturally has a certain hold over us.
However, we all need to look beyond our own shores and realise that we’re all living on the same land mass that has simply become divided by seas. Thus, one could say that countries have been artificially created. The human race was never meant to compete with itself, nor was it meant to be divided by this or that. We’re really just one big family, humanity.
Though I love my country too, I would never allow myself to become blind to its flaws and drawbacks, any wrong it carried out or carries out, any wrong direction it took or takes, and against such I would make a stand.
In a sense, if not completely so, a country is only as good as its inhabitants, its leaders, its policies, its laws, its societal behaviour, its behaviour  towards other countries, its treatment of its own people, its treatment of innocent creatures, and its land.
Americans may think that their country is the best on Earth, but that is only their personal opinion. What makes a country the best, or better than others?
Americans aren’t the only ones who believe in freedom and civil/religious liberty, America isn’t the only beautiful country, America isn't the only country that has made a difference somehow, (even if that might have been the biggest), America isn't the only country with clever, talented people, nor is it the only country that has lovely people, worthy goals and rightful laws. And every country, including America, has bad things in its past, lawless, selfish, cruel and evil people, (be they an average Joe or someone in authority), as well as criminal and secretive goings on. Quite frankly, I doubt there’s one country untouched by depravity and corruption, nor free of greedy and power hungry people who get rich at the expense of others, and who get where they do via their treading on others.
While I would take pride in my house, if I was fortunate enough to own one, I wouldn’t indulge in a Jones mentality, which is somewhat what we’re doing when we crow about our country and get caught up in patriotic fever. And hence why I guess it’s called patriotic fever, given that it tends toward that which inflames, rather than that which is healing.
Yes, take pride in your country, (just like you should your appearance), but don't gloat over it, don't go getting carried away. Such is acting somewhat introvertedly.
And needless to say, America is no longer the country it was, nor is any other. Whether we like it or not, we're all in the same boat, and can't afford to be rowing in different directions. All said and done, it would make much more sense to be patriotic over Earth, but given the mess we've made of it...
It's worth noting that though America has officially been at peace since World War II, it has unofficially been in almost continuous military conflict.
In my mind, patriotism is somewhat like competitive sports -- great for some, but not for others. After all, that's the nature of competitive sports -- putting one's own interests first, and at the exclusion of others.

An Amusing Quote


Afluenza -- gross materialism and love of money.


Regarding Correction


This has been prompted by the growing child abuse here in New Zealand, despite tighter legislation. Many could've told them that, but they clearly weren't wanting to accept such. Removing a last resort smack from parents as their right, only leads to serious frustration which can finally result in a volcanic eruption of harmful proportions, or simply constant screaming matches which are very damaging too.
Anyway, to get to the point, I never considered myself as having been a bad child. Simply naughty at times, and possibly with a certain rebellious streak, one that if it had gone unchecked may have seen my life turn out very differently. What may have caused that rebellious streak is anyone's guess. Sometimes parents can foolishly aggravate such a streak, and perhaps even create such.
Anyway, had I known as a child that my parents weren't allowed to smack me, (were such law then), nor use the old strap that was a common means of disciplining in those days, I, midst my moments of rebelliousness would have given them serious cheek and agro -- of that I'm certain. Going without some privilege as punishment would have no doubt seemed worth it for the ability to see my parents wringing their hands helplessly. But a smack or a strap? Oh no!
Hence why I firmly believe that smacks given at an early stage, where necessary, keep a child in-line and on-track, ensuring a better and more lawful citizen. It's my belief that the growing lawlessness amongst the young is due in part, (and probably largely so), to their not being adequately disciplined. I believe that reality is on my side, and it's reality that should dictate -- not some pie in the sky social engineering, nor an over the top reaction to violence within society.


Offshore Drilling

I came across the following comment on a website which you might like to ponder on:

"I once knew an oil man, as tough as steel, who slammed his fist when I asked him if he approved of offshore drilling, then he shouted, “We have no business out there, we could kill all life in the oceans!”


Question

Have you ever wondered, (like me), how our main, (and biggest), meal of the day came to be a few hours before bedtime -- you know, when we just sit around watching TV, (and probably snacking as well), before dragging ourselves off to bed?
Such couldn't be a worse time, especially if our main meal contains fatty ingredients.
It's clearly more sensible to have the main, (and biggest), meal at breakfast time in preparation for the activities of the day, and where the body will not only be able to make could use of that food but also burn off any injurious potentials.
Is it tradition, habit, nurturing, convenience, societal pressure?


Fireworks

Come the 5th of November in New Zealand and out comes the traditional fireworks and thus the personal injuries, damage to property and environment, cruelty to creatures, and last but not least, the tremendous wastage in the sense of money going up in smoke, be that via public displays or citizen Joe. Money that could have gone to food banks, charities, disaster and relief agencies, and that could have eased the plight of many in general.
And hence the following question:
When will we put such selfishness, pointlessness, destructiveness, and folly behind us and get our priorities right? When people are suffering, such is surely inhumane, for think of how many could have been spared from starvation, helped medically, or simply had their lot eased in some way via that money spent so indifferently on fireworks.
And so it is with that Halloween nonsense too, that's buried in the occult. What a shameful waste of money! What kind of distorted signals are we sending to our children?


Spare The Creatures

When I was a young boy, I was given a pet budgie that remained in the usual little cage for the rest of his life, just hopping between his perch and the cage floor.  However, (though I can't remember how often), he was allowed out of his cage to fly about the lounge (then called the sitting-room) when we were watching TV in the evening. In this respect, my budgie was amongst the few that are so privilaged, so to speak.
I've since had cause to reflect on all this, and no longer will keep a creature so cruelly imprisoned. What are we teaching our children, when, for the sake of our own selfish gratification, (for what else can it be), we treat creatures so insensitively that were meant to endlessly fly or roam -- that is, be free like us?
What a dreadful life, day after miserable day, year after miserable year, stuck in a tiny cage, while we enjoy being able to get out and about. And so it is for those poor rabbits or guinea pigs that spend their lives in a small cage also, and that often suffer from cold draughts, little or too much sunshine, and that are almost scared to death by those feline or canine noses that press up against the wire netting, those poking sticks or fingers, and various common noises. And then there are those caged circus animals, or those cruelly confined chickens, pigs and cows, the latter simply in order to please a conditioned appetite.
Oh dear, what we put creatures through, simply for our thoughtless and selfish pleasure, like those who leave their dog or dogs confined to a small laundry all day while they're at work, and such made worse when these folk are working overtime or whatever.
How would we like to be confined to a small compartment (bathroom perhaps) for the rest of our life, and if we're very lucky, being let out for a little spell each day? Yes, it all sounds a bit like death row to me.


Food For Thought

You may wish to pause a moment and dwell on the following:

"The pleasure is in the act, not the body."

The point?
Sexual intimacy should be born of love, not lust. It's not the body that should be the focus, but the person. Besides, how many of us are fortunate enough to have been endowed with the perfect shape, looks, and accessories? :-)
It's better for us to learn to live with our defects, or lesser endowments, and right from the beginning, (be such via birth, accident, illness or age), because the time inevitably comes when we have no choice, and that time may catch us unprepared, thus making that acceptance all the more painful.
And another thing worth remembering: An old oak tree may look rather gnarly, even heavily encrusted, but it is such maturity that gives it its appeal, and thus the beholder (and those who interact with it) greater pleasure, as opposed to the shiny newness and minimalist features of the sapling that has barely experienced life, and thus has no real story to tell, no hidden depths nor lofty heights that truely intrigue, excite, and even endear.
At the end of the day, our bodies are really just a shell, one that eventually breaks down. Our heart and mind are where it's at. One can have a great body but a dreadful personality, and an even worse character. And hence why some men leave a very attractive wife for another woman who isn't that attractive, but who makes him happy with her loving and winning ways.
Both being in love, and sex, are really the domain of the mature, not the immature, for the latter are generally more foccused on the body and their own personal interests rather than their partner's best interests.


Question

If society's acceptance and approval of the following,

pornography; same-sex sexual acts; violent, occultic, and sexually explicit TV programmes and movies; public sexiness; promiscuity; prostitution; abortion on demand; no-fault divorce; feminism; non-medical drugs; witchcraft; evolution; non-smacking,

is sensible, right, and beneficial,

and if the discarding of the basic tenents of the Christian faith, biblical morals, principles and standards is also in our best interests,

could someone please tell me why society's becoming more violent, depraved, corrupt, crime-ridden, lawless, selfish, uncaring, cruel, greedy, wasteful, lustful, intolerant, unstable and confused, rather than getting better? In other words, why is the world getting worse?


Oh, Those Labels

(Secular and Christian entry)

I think its high time we stopped labeling people. People are not their religion. They're themselves. Individuals in their own right. By all means check out what they're saying in order to see whether what they're saying is correct or not, then say so, but don't hang a label on them. Put their beliefs to the test, not them. A person can be a wonderful Christian yet still be upholding error. Thus, it's that error we discredit, and that alone, not the person.
Nor should we treat someone poorly or badly simply because they're a Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, or whatever. Let's focus on the error, not the person, nor even their denomination for that matter, except where it's necessary or appropriate to do so. Remember that a denomination is an organisation -- a collection of people who simply hold the same beliefs. A denomination is not an individual. Effectively, people are not Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, or whatever, but simply themselves. They purely hold to beliefs that come under the heading of Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, or whatever, and go to the same church (denomination) where like believers go, and why not? A place to meet together, a base to work from collectively. In other words, it's their religion that's Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, or whatever, not them.
Once we start labelling people we automatically put them in little boxes in our mind, boxes that far too regularly have biased locks attached. Boxes from which many operate narrow-mindedly. Let's start seeing people as people, as individuals, and not as Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, or whatever. Let's stop the "She's a Baptist," "He's a Catholic," "She's a Methodist," "He's a Mormon," nonsense. When we interact with people, their religion shouldn't cross our minds. We should just see them as fellow humans needing the same love, care, thought, respect, friendship and courtesy. Yes, debate their doctrinal belief, but leave the person alone. At the end of the day, it's all about weeding out error, not about weeding out people.
And let's mind the Cult labelling too. Time and time again I have seen incorrect statements being made via websites that see themselves as being some sort of Cult watchdog or definitive encyclopaedia regarding such. Given the truth and error mixture also found on many of these websites, it's clear that they need watching too. Oh for those who're truely objective, unbiased, transparent, receptive, humble, and who welcome open dialogue.
Let's allow the Christian Bible to have the last word, for it sums things up very nicely: "Above all, maintain constant love for one another..." (1 Peter 4:8). 


Regarding Funerals

Funerals provide us with an opportunity to reflect on our mortality and to perhaps adjust our priorities. However, such is not the purpose of this blurb, but rather to draw your attention to a number of other things -- things that may strike a cord with you.
I find it rather sad how the birth of someone is greeted with great delight and interest, that little babe doing the rounds of eagerly awaiting arms, yet, when it comes to that person's departure from this world, they often go to a lonely grave, so to speak, having recieved little attention in the years prior. Their entry into this world is greeted with howls of delight, their departure barely noticed. Their early years are full of loving care and assistance, their later years empty, lonely -- well, they're less attractive then, aren't they? Is that what it's all about? Yes, enjoyed as a bonny wee babe, but somewhat ignored in their less attractive (perhaps grumpy and more problem bound) later years, and perhaps are even laughed at.
I've never been one for doing things simply because one should. I prefer to operate on conviction, not the expectations and pressures that others may try to load me with. Yet, so many operate on pressure. Let me elaborate: I dare say that there are many (perhaps most) who will go to someone's funeral because they feel that they had better, not because they really cared about that person, nor even had much to do with them, (perhaps didn't even like them), but simply because if they don't go, it will look bad. Seems we all play this game. And perhaps it could be argued that we should go in some cases, but I can't help sensing a certain hypocrisy in it all, a certain shallowness. Besides, whose funeral do you choose to go to and whose funeral do you choose to not go to? Where does one draw a line?
And then there are those who don't show the degree of support and friendship that they should (and could) show to someone, but who turn up at that person's departure, thus finally giving them the attention (or some attention) that they should have given them when they were alive. Isn't that a bit late? Of course it is. Back to front? Certainly. Even wrong? In my eyes, yes. How much did they really care about that person? Not that much, it seems to me. One could say that the degree of our care is shown by the degree of our effort.
Such reminds me of when a member of my family told me (after my mother had died) how she was very proud of my poetry and would ask visitors (to her room) to read them to her. She had been in a rest home far from where we lived and due to certain circumstances I felt unable to visit her. However, I kept very regular contact via mail, sent the odd poem. Had I known that she felt that way about my poetry (she was unable to reply in her last few years) I would have been thrilled and would have sent her more poems as I think she'd only recieved a few. Yes, we often discover these things too late. If only I'd been told earlier. If only someone had thought to. Yes, so often we could've done more than we did, and should have as well.
Yes, far too many go to their graves without having received the attention that they needed and should've recieved when they were alive. And, I might add, some of the things that get said at funerals are things that should've been said to that person when they were alive. Just like that regarding my mother. Let's not wait until it's too late.

A note to Christians: One of the things that concerns me about funerals -- that is, those held in a church, is the introduction of secular music (via the likes of Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, etc) or slide shows where the secular visual presentation assaults as much as the chart topping music.
Let me enlighten: As a Christian, it is my understanding, (and I believe that it should be so), that churches are dedicated soley to God -- that is, to Holy exercises. Otherwise, why dedicate them so? Why not an anything goes building. And there goes a significant Christian witness in the community, even architecturally. What Christian would want a less visible presence? And where do folk (particularly the young) go to learn (in tangible terms) respect for sacred things, times, and a Holy God? It's a bit like telling kids that they can jump up and down on your lounge chairs on Monday and Tuesday but not on Wednesday and Thurday. Such wouldn't make much sense to them, and is it any wonder. Besides, doesn't God deserve something that's kept especially for Him, unreservedly? Cause for serious thought, I believe.
Thus, those secular assaults leave me feeling most uncomfortable, and not right within myself, for if what I'm saying is true, and I believe it is, aren't I violating my conscience (my convictions) by being present during such? And it's not just funerals. Therefore, should I remove myself during such, or simply not go? After all, Christians can't have it both ways. Such, in my eyes, smacks of hypocrisy, and surely makes a mockery of the Christain's stand in the sense that any knowledgeable Christian knows that Holy and unholy blends have always been condemned by God via His Word. Hence ancient Israel's woes that were the result of doing that very same sort of thing.
But nevertheless, it seems we all play the game, (repeating history?), lest we upset. In this case, man pleasers rather than God pleasers, it could be argued. Oh, how we compromise, how we justify our actions at times. Or are there some of us who don't play the game, won't compromise? Christian leaders who say, "No, not this way, not here." Would you admire or condemn such Christians? Would you call them fanatics or breach repairers?

What's A Friend?

Quite some time ago, (how it came about I don't know), I, midst a short conversation with a fellow church member, mentioned that I didn't see him as a friend, but as simply a fellow church member. Suffice to say, he wasn't very impressed. 
And here I am today, still unrepentant, and I thought that I would share the reason why.
To me, a friend is someone who takes a personal interest in you over time. Not someone who asks your family how you are, but someone who actually makes an effort to contact you personally, both by phone and in person. Someone who sets aside time (on a reasonably regular basis) to be with you, to really get to know you, to enjoy your company, to share things with you, or to help you out -- in other words, they get involved in your life, they even take the initiative, and because they want to. Yes, someone who's always there for you, someone whose actions speak louder than their words. Someone who still keeps in contact should they shift to another town or country.
Otherwise, they are simply aquaintances, workmates perhaps, folk who you know and interact with simply because they move within your sphere. The word "friend" is used far too loosely, just like the word "love." In a sense, it's nice to see everyone as being a friend, but in reality, such just isn't so, and hence why I feel that the person I spoke to had unfair expectations, or was it an insecurity thing?
Someone who comes to your aid when you've broken down on the road, or who invites you to their home for a meal, is hardly a friend, but rather, a thoughful individual or good Samaritain. Both may in time become a friend of course, but their aiding you on the road or inviting you home for lunch doesn't automatically make them a friend, and nor is a church member automatically a friend just because they happen to greet you each week or chat once in a while.  The latter may simply be a fellow traveller or brother in Christ. Even brothers and sisters don't always get on, and are often far from friends.
The word "friend" really only applies to a relationship that has a certain mutually desired depth, an ongoing involvement, and durability.  And so it should be, given the way that some folk are friends one minute and not the next due to some perceived slight, the gossip that they heard about you, your candour perhaps, or some unfortunate mistake on your behalf. Hence why we talk about "true" friends. Those friends who dump us due to such things are really just so-called friends. Best we not concern ourselves over such, and move on.
And then there are those who want you to be their friend, but whom you would rather not have as a friend due to the way in which they manipulate their friends or revengefully mistreat those who for very sound reasons choose to move on and just love them from a distance as it were. People who manipulate their friends may do so due to some insecurity or the fact that they keep losing friends due to their controlling behaviour. And hence why when they get a new friend they almost try to hold them prisoner. Yes, another subject. Oh dear.

Of Cats And Men

When it's cold (we're talking winter) I often close the door to the room I'm working in. When I say closed, I mean until it touches, but not actually clicks shut. There's a reason for this. I've a little mate who doesn't like to be shut out, you see. So, being the clever Siamese that he is, he pushes the door open and struts on in. Yes, too clever for words.


A Lesson From Nature

The other day my wife drew my attention to a couple who were meandering all over our front lawn as if they owned the place. By couple I mean, a Mr and Mrs Duck. On seeing us staring out the window, they made their way towards us and hung about beneath the window in a manner that clearly conveyed, "Well, come on, don't keep us waiting."  So out I went with a few slices of bread which I tore into pieces and threw to them, though I'm sure they would have eaten such from my hand.
I noticed that Mr Duck was standing back and letting his mate get in first. I surmised that this was probably due to the fact that his mate had a damaged foot and would hobble to any food. Yes, no longer able to quickly dive towards any food, and clearly at a disadvantage, it appeared her mate was allowing her to get her fill first before satisfying his own desire and need for food.
Many have recounted similar incidents they've observed in nature which touch the heart and show that such are far from dumb creatures. Yes, even creatures have emotions and display acts of kindness and thought, not just to each other, but to humans as well.
And I got to thinking, wouldn't it be wonderful if the world was full of Mr Ducks?

Reach Out!

We not only live in a troubled and deteriorating world, but a world where there are so many suffering in some way or another, whether that suffering be from calamities, crime, distressing personal circumstances, ill-heath, an accident, or general misfortune. It's a world in which we all need to pull together, and where we should also reach out to those around us (even despite our own circumstances) and offer what comfort and support we can in order to ease their burdens and misery. 

And yet, midst all the heartache, pain and misery engulfing so many lives (often unseen, unknown) we still see people indulging in petty selfishness, small-mindedness, bigotry, thoughtlessness, insensitivity, indifference, or simply misjudging others' intentions where they shouldn't be judging at all. Be they husbands or wives, brothers or sisters, workmates, friends (perhaps so-called), or whoever, they seem to have lost sight of the bigger picture. Perhaps they never had one. The world's woes and the suffering in general are so much bigger than their own little worlds of which they so often make such a big deal of (and often when they're better off than others, when they've got so much to be grateful for, or are doing very nicely thankyou).

Many are so (foolishly and pointlessly) distracted by their childish jealousies, supposed slights, scraps, attempts to gain this position or that, their keeping up with the Joneses, and so on, while meantime this earth continues to deteriorate, while meantime others suffer and die through starvation, while meantime others have to deal with the cruel blows that life has brought their way, (things that they perhaps can't talk about), or the consequences of their own mistakes (which many sincerely regret) -- consequences that are often far in excess of the mistake they made.

It won't be until we bury self and reach out to those around us (and even further away) that we will see a change in both this world in which we live and within ourselves.  No New World Order or any other plan will work, as change must begin within one's heart and mind.  No government or system of some sort, be it religious or secular, or both, can bring about those changes needed within us. All that any government can do is crack down on things and create a vaneer, whilst behind the scenes or underneath things evil still goes on. Someone once said to me: "The only thing wrong with this world is people." We may smile at such but it contains an element of truth, and therein lies the problem. It's us! So let's give more thought to the bigger picture, let's lose ourselves in others, and do more to help and comfort those around us who're struggling and hurting, be that via depression, insecurity, poverty, oppression, persecution, personal loss and/or trauma, ill-health, or calamity.          

Yes, life is far too precious and short to waste it on soap operas, and given the bigger picture, we can't afford to just focus on ourselves, not that we should. Reach out!

Thoughts On Poetry


I don't consider myself as being a great poet, nor even close to being one, (best you be the judge), but I would like to think that my poetry is of a certain standard that would meet the approval of an examiner's eye, and be well received by the public in general. More so my later poetry.
And though not a poetry expert, I do like to think that I can tell good poetry when I see it, and likewise, bad poetry, which brings me to the point of my blurb:
To me, poetry should not only be well done, but it should also make sense. If it doesn't, I'm not interested in it. As mentioned above, I have to admit that I've never really been into poetry anyway, and still aren't, funnily enough. It's just my accidental vehicle. But most people aren't into poetry it seems, hence the need for poetry to be appealing if one wants folk to embrace it. And hence why I'm amazed by the awards that I see some people getting for what amounts to disconnected gibberish. In other words, poems that only make sense to the person who wrote them, and to be honest, I have my doubts that even they really understand them sometimes. Such poems seem to be a fashionable thing (an Emperor's new clothes mentality?) that is coming from a certain quarter.
So many young people have been put off poetry due to the type of poetry that they were forced to do at school which didn't make sense to them most of the time. And then they were asked, "What do you think the poet is trying to say?" My goodness, if it wasn't obvious in the poem, why bother with it in the first place, unless it has something in it that gets to you for some reason, or has some merrit of some sort. And hence why I've had young people say that they prefer my poetry. It's like it has sparked a renewed interest in some folk.
To me, the only poets that should be getting awards for their poetry are those who write good poetry, poetry that actually makes sense, and provides something of value. It amazes me how people who produce abstract paintings get so much money for their effort given that their pictures are largely just ridiculous visual presentations befitting a five year old perhaps. I don't mind clever designs with striking colours but give me a beautiful painting anyday! Not something that just looks like somebody dropped a can of paint on a canvas, then swished it with a cauliflower and poked at it with a feather duster.
Sorry, I digress somewhat. Given how I feel about these poems I've mentioned, (that really only make sense to the one who has penned them), I thought that I would produce my own example just to prove that I can do such too, though I think my desire for better poetry may have got in the way in the sense that I don't think I've done as half as bad as those poems I'm talking about, (plus I've rhymed it), which possibly defeats my purpose here. Perhaps I should do another. It took me under an hour to do, with distractions. I wasn't particularly watching the time, nor was I particularly interested in doing the poem, (goes against the grain), and was just randomly thumbing a thesaurus. I have to admit though, that I've since done the odd tweaking.
This poem I've produced is simply a concoction, (it's not meant to make much sense), a concoction from which I don't doubt many could have a field day were they to analyse it, only to draw conclusions I never intended, and that don't particularly relate to me. I could improve upon it perhaps, but it was simply and quickly penned in order to make a point, plus I wanted to get on with what I felt were better things.

Note: This poem -- Cryptic Confusion -- has solely been done to make a point, as explained above.

CRYPTIC CONFUSION

Shadows fill the backdrop, darkness draws its curtain randomly.
Corridors of anxiety meander; fear stalking me.
Conscious seemingly, here but not here, dreaming, and yet awake.
Density, dullness, numbness, I'm emotionally opaque.

Footsteps echo from the past, can't grasp, a mental carousel.
Jungles of entanglement, bushy outcrops of waiting ill.
Dusk and dawn merge into one, no sun, haunts me mercilessly.
Condemners, accusers, indifferent abusers -- why me?

Can't find the door, and what's more, there's that familiarity.
Seems life's a game, much the same, pretense, unrest, hostility.
Gasping, clawing, figments of reality, flights of fancy.
Illusions, inventions, perceptions, thwarted creativity.

Yes, breezes of nebulous feelings, plaguing insecurity.
I wish I could metamorphose, oh for invisibility.
I'm tired of inevitably, I'm fed up with dependency.
I'm adrift in a foreign land, surrounded by insanity.

By Lance Landall



Do you think that I might win a prize too? :-)

This poem, (example) -- Cryptic Confusion --  is not to be used without my express permission.