the importance of fathers to their daughters

For our readers, here is a timely essay that is worth reading and thinking about as we celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday.

We recommend this essay to all fathers who have daughters.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers.

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Why do we circumcise?

Why do we circumcise?

Modern doctors (in the US) routinely advise new parents to circumcise their baby boys.  It is a given in many hospitals that newborn males will be circumcised, if possible, before they are allowed to leave the hospital.  (No other industrial country does this to their baby boys.)

Why do we in the USA do this to our baby boys?  Why do parents consent to this without giving much thought to their decision and its life long adverse effects on their son(s) and their future daughter(s)-in-law?

Let’s ignore the vested financial interest that doctors, interns and hospitals have in this procedure that is done a million times each year.  (When nationalized health care systems have been put in place in English speaking countries, circumcision has not been covered as it is correctly deemed an unnecessary surgery.)

Is it that the son must look like his father?  As others have pointed out, we would not amputate a baby’s arm if his father had previously lost his arm.   Yet, with circumcision we are amputating healthy, useful tissue for no good reasons.

Do we circumcise (mutilate) in order to prevent cervical cancer, the spread of venereal diseases, and masturbation?  Well, all these problems were to be prevented or at least greatly lessened by circumcision.  That is what the doctors told us.  At one time or another these were the defenses of circumcision offered to parents and to society as a whole.  By the way, all the numerous evils (cervical cancer, the spread of venereal diseases, masturbation, etc.) that circumcision was supposed to eliminate were never eliminated by it.  All these myths, masquerading as truth, have been debunked long ago.  (The masturbation myth is really offensive to people’s intelligence.  The doctors in the 1800s asserted that masturbation was responsible for many maladies including epilepsy.  And the way to stop masturbation was to circumcise because the greater sensitivity of the natural penis (with its thousands of nerve endings) was the cause of masturbation.  People really believed these quack doctors on this.  If such were true, with all the circumcised males in this country, one would think that masturbation would be very rare indeed!  Forgive me here – but the truth is the truth.  Hey doctors, masturbation has more to do with seminal glands being full to overflowing when there is no other sexual outlet available.)

Regrettably, even today, people blindly listen to doctors and show them the deference due a medieval priesthood.  Doctors are not incapable of error.  They are not infallible and they can, and do, have their own agendas at times (including the unwillingness to admit error!). Do not buy into the nonsense about UTIs and cleanliness concerns – the current justifications for amputating infants’ foreskins.  A natural (uncut) man can easily wash his genitals as any woman can gently wash her genitals.  UTIs are rare in natural men and can be easily treated with simple antibiotics.  The so-called studies showing a reduced risk of contracting AIDS (HIV) for those men who have been circumcised are problematic, and some have been debunked.  (It seems a certain desperation is gripping those doctors obsessed with promoting and defending infant circumcision.)

Why is this important?  Fair enough.  Circumcision is a major issue because it so grievously injures marriages by abnormalizing coitus for both the wife and for her husband.  Our brains and genitals are wired for natural sex – not for circumcised sex.  Do not take my word for it.  This thesis has been very well developed by Kristen O’Hara in her book, Sex as Nature Intended It (2002) which is very comprehensive in its treatment of why natural coitus is more enjoyable and gratifying to both the wife and her husband.  (Kristen obtained many comments from women who had had the comparative experiences of having natural husbands/partners and having circumcised husbands/partners.  She also obtained the comments and insights of men who had been circumcised as adults and could compare from their own personal experiences natural coitus and circumcised coitus.)  Basically, the point is that a vagina and a natural penis (not circumcised) can do truly wonderful things together that cannot be done with a mutilated, circumcised penis.  Among the many benefits of the foreskin is its ability to keep the timing of the man’s thrusts correct for naturally and easily bringing his wife to orgasm(s).  (Go out to Amazon and get a copy of this book.  It is very informative and will open your eyes to the truth of the damage that circumcision does.)

When circumcised adult men think about what they have been deprived of, it is very painful for them.  This is understandable.  Yet, choosing to remain in a state of denial, as so often happens when one is dealing with great pain and hurt, does not help our children and is not the right thing to do.  Perpetuating the superstitious practice of needless infant circumcision is opting for perpetuating ignorance and assaulting future marriages.

It is rather ironic that we have a federal law on the books (from the mid 1990s) prohibiting the genital mutilation of girls in this country, but we look the other way when the genitals of boys are routinely mutilated day in and day out.  And foreskin restoration is not the solution to this injustice.  As the old adage says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is apropos here.  Foreskin restoration is a very lengthy and difficult process in that it requires a very large commitment of time, effort, and inconvenience and does not always yield good results for many men.

To Christians that are concerned with children’s rights, I would humbly point out that children do have a right to bodily integrity.  Sadly, we do not hear of Catholics or Protestants condemning this needless mutilation of baby boys in this country.  (In fact, it was Protestant doctors that introduced circumcision to the US in the late 1800s.  It was not universally advocated for the entire population by Jewish doctors or Rabbis.  Do not blame or fault Jewish folks for this.  Also, Catholic bishops failed (and still fail) to condemn this harmful practice because they believed the doctors’ claims about masturbation’s terrible health effects and that masturbation would be lessened or eradicated by circumcision.)  And this is not a “gay” or “straight” issue.  This is about whether we are going to confront erroneous beliefs and correct our thinking such that we start doing to justice to our children.

Lastly, women have a right to natural husbands.  For the sake of future generations’ marital happiness and strength of marriages, we – both mothers and fathers – really need to oppose this practice.

We, as Americans, need to overcome our ego-centrism in thinking that our way is the only way or even necessarily the best way to do things.  The rest of the world is correct in not doing this to their baby boys.

Thank you for your time in reading this.  Please forward a link to this essay on to any prospective parents that you may know.

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“racism” in the US: why do only blacks get to frame the debate?

As the mainstream media’s narrative is beginning to unravel (much sooner than in the Trayvon Martin case in 2012), and as angry black mobs scream “racism” nightly in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, we ask this question.

As to “racism” in the US:  why do only blacks get to frame the debate?

We leave it to readers to ponder that question.

Before continuing, we caution readers: this is not a politically correct essay.  If you are uncomfortable thinking outside the box of political correctness, this essay is not for you. (We do not traffic in political correctness on this blog.  We search for truth, as inconvenient as that may be found to be.)

First, some thoughts on the developing story in Ferguson.

We want justice for police officer Darren Wilson who is the real victim here.  Was it a hate crime when Michael Brown crushed in Wilson’s eye with his fists causing serious injuries (that may require surgery to repair and may result in vision problems and painful headaches for years to come for Wilson)?!  Brown was black and Wilson is white.  Was that violent assault a hate crime?  This assault occurred while officer Wilson was attempting to get out of his patrol car.

Was this assault motivated by Brown’s racism against white people?

If Brown were alive, albeit in hospital, he ought to be charged with these crimes:  robbery of the convenience store, assault on a police officer (causing serious bodily harm), resisting arrest, and a hate crime.  (His possible intent to kill officer Wilson as he rushed at the officer prior to being killed is not likely provable.)  As well, officer Wilson ought to engage attorneys to sue Brown (if he were alive) for compensatory monetary damages for his serious injuries.

Officer Darren Wilson showed incredible restraint as this unfolded very quickly in real-time.  If your face had just been smashed in by this Brown individual, causing blurred vision in one eye and pain in your head, would you still have fired 4 non lethal shots (prior to firing lethally) as this nearly 300 pound young man charged you from 25 feet away?  Consider that honestly in the privacy of your thoughts.

Make no mistake:  Michael Brown was no saint.  He was no martyr.  He was no innocent victim.

I warned that this is not a politically correct essay.

Now, to larger issues.

US Attorney General, Eric Holder is now visiting Ferguson.  To what end?  He is compromised.  The nation no longer has confidence in him or his Justice Department. Consider that Holder’s Justice Department has failed to comply with House requests (including subpoenas) for information on the several serious scandals, most of which involved the violation of existing laws, of the Obama Administration.  There will be no justice here.  What we likely see is an attempt to destroy Darren Wilson’s life and reputation.

This may backfire as support nationwide for officer Wilson is growing as more facts come out about what actually happened on 09 August 2014.  (Thanks in no small part to non mainstream media sources.)

We now see the charade, the droll farce of the professional race baiters on scene in Ferguson for some time as they were in Florida over the Trayvon Martin case in 2012. What these hypocrites and empty frauds will not bemoan are the nearly 8,000 blacks murdered each year by other blacks.  That is never mentioned by these empty frauds.  If their concern truly is for the lives of young blacks, why are they silent about these thousands of murders of blacks by other blacks?!

FBI statistics, year after year after year, show that the vast majority of violent crimes (murders, rapes, etc.) that are committed where the perpetrators and the victims are of different races are committed by blacks against whites.  Verify that for yourself – you can go to the FBI website.  (In the essay linked to below on the state of race relation in the US we provide some links for you.)  Are these crimes evidence of racism on the part of blacks directed at white people?

I have lived among black people in the mid-Atlantic region of the US and on the West Coast of the US.  This is not abstract for me.  I have seen that there is a very virulent strain of racism within the black community.  This is not to say that all black people are racists.  But, the racism is prevalent in their communities.  That is what I have seen over the years.

some thoughts on “racism”

Black Americans have been free from slavery for 150 years now.  What is that? – 7 or 8 generations now.  There has been 50 years of civil rights laws and enforcement nationwide. For decades there has been preferential treatment of blacks in college and graduate school admissions (known as “affirmative action”).

Legal immigrants to this nation from other distant lands (such as India, east Asia, and Europe) often achieve a middle class standard of living, or better, in one generation or less. (My wife’s family is the example of this that I am most familiar with, but I personally know of many other examples.)  How do they do this?  Through hard work and self-sacrifice. Through getting educations and starting small businesses, or by entering the professions.

What is preventing black Americans in large numbers from doing this?  Institutional racism?

(By the way, both Asians and white individuals have suffered due to affirmative action for blacks in college admissions, and some have won law suits over this.)

“Racism” is the excuse that too many black Americans use so as to avoid facing the unpleasant reality that they themselves are responsible for not bettering themselves. Emotional charges of “racism” serve to perpetuate this state of denial for many blacks.  In the minds of many black people, they are “perpetual victims” – and it cannot be otherwise.

And, what do we have today?

Here is the reality check.

What a phyrric victory for black Americans!

Because of Ferguson – millions of non-blacks in the US have had their hearts hardened and can no longer bleed for the blacks.  People are tired of blacks hiding behind “racism” and continuing to be violent and destructive at a much higher rate than any other group in the country.

As well, black anger or rage will motivate blacks to once again show up in large numbers to vote (in November) for the party of slavery in the ante-bellum South, for the party of Jim Crow (segregation laws in the 20th century), and for the party of the “Great Society” with its welfare dependency (since the mid 1960s).  Ironic, is it not?

As a society, we ought not pander to bogus charges of “racism” and we ought not tolerate violence from any group.  Do we want a civil society or not?

end of essay

Here are some helpful links if you need more to think about (or more to chew on).

Here is a link to an audio interview with a woman known as “Josie” (a friend of the police officer, Darren Wilson) who gives the officer’s side of the events.  You may have to click at the lower right of the screen to start the audio.

Our previous essays touching on these issues and questions.

From earlier this week:

With links to the FBI’s website:

What Obama has done for the blacks who elected him (and then re-elected him):

If you disagree with Obama’s policies, you are a “racist”:

The Trayvon Martin case – another media circus:

A man who has left the plantation (and even been elected once to the US House of Representatives from Florida):

copyright 2014 –

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Are we attaching too much importance to our careers?

For some individuals the prospect of retirement, or the loss of a job, is the psychological equivalent of death.

This strikes me as odd.  In this world, we work in order to live.  We do not live for work. We work to provide for our families, to meet their basic needs.  We humans are not beasts of burden.

Now I know for those millions of adults in the US that do not currently have jobs this does not sound meaningful.  When you are unemployed and struggling each month to get by and pay your bills and not lose your home, your main focus – and your largest, pressing worry – is to get a job.  I have been there.  I know what you are going through.  Sadly, the failed economic (fiscal and monetary) policies and endless regulations coming from Washington are largely responsible for your trouble finding a good job that pays a decent salary or livable wage.

To return to our main point:  Are we attaching too much importance to our careers?  Are we defining ourselves by what we do each workday at the place of employment – and, thus ending up with a rather narrow and limiting view of ourselves?  (We certainly stereotype people we meet in our thoughts when we find out what their occupation is.)  Yes, one has to work hard and work smart to keep one’s job today or to keep one’s small business in business.  But, that is not my question.  Are we valuing our jobs or careers more than we value our loved ones?  Are we so narrow in our focus and in our interests that we are missing so much of life that is out there around us?  (Do we suffer from tunnel vision?)  Are we, in a sense, de-humanizing ourselves by effectively making our work a false god?

One cannot ignore the current “values” prevalent in our society (that is suffering from serious social decay).  The person who earns a large salary and lives in a large expensive home is viewed more favorably and looked up to more than the modest wage earner who has less material possessions.  Career has its place, yes, but it ought not take or occupy the primary place in a person’s life – and it does not need to.

If you are a one dimensional person for whom your career is your identity, the phrase “get a life” is apropos for you.  A job, a career cannot meet all your needs.  The job cannot love you back even if you love it.

Just food for thought.  From time to time, it may help to take a step back and question your priorities in life.  There is always the opportunity cost of how you choose to live your life.  (Time is the scarcest resource as you only have a limited amount of it before you leave this world.)  If you commit much of your time and energy to a career, working 60 or 70 hours a week, you do not have much quality time with your spouse and with your children, or for other meaningful interests and pursuits.

other related thoughts

I have worked for several companies over the years.  There were fellow employees who liked me and there were some who hated my guts.  What of it?  My priority was providing for my family.  Away from the job, I had a full life.  I worked in order to live and did not become overly attached to any job.  (And, I left jobs, too, when what the employer demanded was far in excess of what they were offering in return – both in pay and in quality of work environment.)

We in the US have it backwards.  We really do.  Finance was supposed to facilitate economic growth and foster commerce.  (Finance was in a support or ancillary role to the economy.)  With economic growth, the needs of families are met.  Thus, finance is to serve the economy and the economy serves the nation’s families.  Today, individuals toil in the wage economy and the profits, the fruits of their labors, are mainly enjoyed by the financiers.  This is not free market capitalism.  It is corporatism controlled by the mega sized banks and trans national corporations.  A corrupt government goes along with this, and the middle class and the small business person are being crushed.

The below image was taken in the northern hemisphere summer of 2013 and shows our photographer in her nephew’s sports car.


bright colored car 2


copyright 2014 –

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the Tibetan style temples in Lijiang, Yunnan province


We now share some photos from Lijiang in Yunnan province in southern China.  The northwestern part of Yunnan Province is not very far from the eastern most part of Tibet. We wonder if the temple and monastery construction shown in some of these pics is not being done for the benefit of tourists.  Perhaps, these constructions are tourist replicas of actual temples and monasteries in Tibet that have been destroyed or are off limits to Western tourists.

As at Dali, picture taking inside the temples was either forbidden or discouraged.

Lijiang is at high elevation and has days with clear blue skies.


China 47


Information about the monastery complex.


China 46


From a distance, one sees the indications of continuing construction.


China 62


Buses in the foreground.


China 61


A street level view of a colorful temple or religious annex.


China 60


Another street level view.  Note the clear blue sky.  (The pictures along the Yangtze were so laden with clouds or river fog or haze.)


China 59


An information sign for visitors (in multiple languages) outside an entrance to a temple.


China 58


Another street level scene while ascending to the monastery previously shown above.


China 57


A zen moment for those open to it.  A waste container in a temporarily deserted area.


China 56


Minutes later we have this view.


China 55


And, the same view from several feet further on.


China 54


Information for visitors.


China 53


More information for visitors.


China 52


A view from above looking down.


China 51


Religious symbols.  Note the tourists at bottom that give some sense of scale to this edifice.


China 50


Tibetan Tantric art is very colorful whether it is in tapestries, paintings, costumes, or sand mandalas.


China 49


Descending now.


China 48


Walking down the stone steps.


China 41



A local stop for snacks.


China 63 Lijiang


An unusual looking local fruit or vegetable.


some kind of fruit in Lijiang


A small, possibly malnourished pig.


China small pig


Recycle and trash containers.  This is likely not from Lijiang but we show it here to finish our picture essay.


China 64


As we are nearly finished with the pictures from China, we share this link to the first photographic essay of this assignment to China (posted when our photographer was still jet lagged after returning the day before from Asia) for the benefit of new readers.  It has some nice images.

copyright 2014 –

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some thoughts on the events in Ferguson, Missouri

For readers outside of the US, on Saturday, 09 August, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black youth (of 18 years of age), Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri (in the St. Louis metropolitan area).  Since that incident, there has been looting and rioting in the community of Ferguson with angry individuals acting in a manner to provoke the police on the streets each night.  (Molotov cocktails have been hurled and police vehicles have been shot at.)  These protests have not been peaceful.  Apparently, there are trouble makers driving to Ferguson from other locales to engage in such provocative and violent activities.

We do not have all the facts about this police shooting – and neither do you have all the facts.  But, here are some of the things we have heard in the media and on radio talk shows.

1. An assertion that the police officer was assaulted (fists to his head) by Brown while the officer was trying to get out of his vehicle.  We do not know if this is true, or if this is based on any eye witness account(s).

2.  There has been a claim or assertion that the youth began to rush towards the officer after verbally telling the officer off when the officer told him to halt.  Note: If the police officer had already been assaulted by Brown, then he was going to attempt to arrest him (Brown) for that assault.

3.  Brown was shot 6 times.  4 shots were to his right arm and 2 shots (lethal) were to his head.  This was confirmed in one of the autopsies performed on his body.  Note: All the bullets entered the front of his body.

We have heard that Brown was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed near 300 pounds.  Thus, he was a big, strong young man.

one possible scenario

Again, readers, neither you nor I have all the facts of this incident.

Here is one plausible scenario to consider and it has absolutely nothing to do with race or racism.

The police officer was assaulted by Brown receiving fist blows, punches to his head.  (I dare say that a 300 pound man puts some serious force behind his punches.  Brown may not have even known his own strength and his adrenaline was likely flowing strong in his body at the time.)

The police officer then attempted to make an arrest as a crime had just been committed – his violent assault.  Brown, jacked up on adrenaline, used verbal expletives from a distance (of 30 to 35 feet) to basically say I am not going to submit to arrest.  Brown also had a friend, another youth, nearby (this is what we have heard).

Brown, in a highly agitated and aggressive state of mind, gives into the impulse to rush the officer with the intention of physically beating him or perhaps to seize the officer’s firearm.

The law enforcement officer, having already been punched hard in the head, fires at Brown aiming at his arm.  (Shots to the arm are not likely to have occurred after lethal shots to the head.)  This is done to get the youth to stop.  Sadly, it has the opposite effect, and serves to further enrage Brown, who continues rushing at the officer.  (Brown has full use of his left arm which has not been hit by any bullet.)  After 4 shots to Brown’s arm, a critical fraction of a second is reached in real time.

Note: All this appears to have happened before other police officers arrived on the scene.

In your mind’s eye, place yourself in the position of the police officer.

At the last fraction of a second, before the officer fired the 5th and 6th shots that were lethal, the color of Brown’s skin was likely not even on his mind.  His personal survival was very likely foremost in his thoughts – and for good reason.

media circus, yet again

This incident in the St. Louis area, much like the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, could and ought to have remained a local news item, and not gone national or viral.  This event has become another media circus and the media is responsible for stirring the pot so to speak. The professional race baiters are now involved and will not let emotions cool down.  And, some of these race baiting individuals claim to be Christian ministers.

We, in the US, have one of the most corrupt, craven and dishonest news media in the Western world.  (We have already written on journalism not being a “profession”.)

a festering, simmering problem in the black community for decades

Fatherless black youths.

People are going to screw (have sex).  Like it or not – that is the reality.

Those who are going to be “sexually active” (read: promiscuous)  outside of wedlock really ought to use effective means to prevent conceptions.  As they do not use such means, these children conceived either end up being “terminated” in the nation’s abortion mills, or end up growing up without a father in the home.  (Approximately 2/3 of black babies conceived out-of-wedlock are terminated in abortions.  The vast majority of those not aborted are raised by single mothers with no father in the home.  Approximately one third of all abortions performed in the US each year are performed on black women and black teenage girls.)

Family formation is not occurring at a high rate in the black community.  And, the policies of the Left since the mid 1960s have contributed to this serious problem.  (White citizens are not preventing blacks from forming families.)  Young men who have not had a father figure and been taught self discipline and self control by a father are more prone to getting involved in criminal activities and thus will have much interaction with law enforcement officers.  That is the reality based on real world human experience.

Lest you think I write these words from a “racist” mindset, I will say this.  In my neighborhood, we have a few black families.  These are good, decent people with both parents in the home.  We have our share of low life “white trash” youths that get in trouble often enough and are largely the result of absent fathers or fathers who made no effort to instill self discipline in their children (because they were/are alcoholics, drug addicts or simply do not care).  As well, we have young Mexican gang bangers that commit violent crimes in the community.  But, right now, the nation’s attention is focused on this incident in Missouri and many blacks are screaming “racism”.

These young blacks are angry.  But their anger would be more appropriately directed towards the fathers that abandoned them (and perhaps at their unwed mothers), and at the system of welfare dependency that encourages and enables this irresponsible behavior to continue decade after decade.

additional, larger questions

Today, after 5 and one half years of Obama being in power, black unemployment is still noticeably and painfully higher than when Bush and Greenspan (through his earlier interest rate hikes to burst the real estate bubble that he created) crashed the economy in 2007 and 2008.  This situation gives rise to despair in black neighborhoods across this nation.

A question comes to mind:  What, if anything, is President Barack Obama, who owes his re-election in 2012 to the votes of black Americans en masse, going to do for the blacks?!

Or, alternatively, when is he going to get around to doing it?


Today: 19 August 2014 update:  Here is a link to an audio interview with a woman known as “Josie” (a friend of the police officer) who gives the officer’s side of the events.  You may have to click at the lower right of the screen to start the audio.

Further update:  20 August 2014:  Was the assault committed by Brown on officer Wilson a hate crime?  Brown smashed Wilson’s eye and face causing serious injury (that may require surgery on Wilson’s eye).

copyright 2014 –

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the kali-yuga: our world in context

According to the Vedic philosophy of India, the world is currently in the Kali-Yuga, or the age of discord and quarrel, the age of spiritual darkness, spiritual ignorance.  Some people will not accept this premise, but most will agree this is a very troubled, unloving world at present.  In the Vedic understanding, there are 4 principal ages (in each cycle) of which the present one is the lowest or most degraded with the shortest life spans for humans and with the least spiritual development.  The present age of Kali began approximately 5,000 years ago and is to last for more than another 400,000 years.  Perhaps, these ages are allegorical.  In this age, man is very degraded in his consciousness and that is why he is so selfish, so violent, so destructive.  (For Christians, this may seem similar to the concept of a “fallen” nature.)  Few people are interested in spiritual development.

For those who are at a lower level of consciousness, who are not very spiritually inclined it as though they are stuck at the level of the lowest chakras.  These individuals are prone to pursuing sense gratification to the exclusion of other higher goals.  It is not helpful to these people when they make a false god out of sense gratification, out of their appetites.  This is evidence of their ignorance of our true identity as spirit souls.  They are stuck at a bodily level of consciousness and identify with the physical body.

Some would say altering our genetic code, our cells’ DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), would be needed to make humans less aggressive, less violent, and less destructive.  But, I am not so deterministic.  A more evolved, higher level of consciousness can be achieved today, now, if we make the serious effort to cultivate it.

A sad fact is that a fraction of what is spent on the world’s armed forces each year would end hunger in the world.

Atheists’ minds are closed.

Many church men’s minds are also closed.

All this can serve to temper one’s expectations.  But, as Lao Tse (or Lao Tzu) said “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”

Ramana Maharshi (died 1950) told his followers that if they wanted to do something for the world they ought to do something for themselves first.  He explained that if they became better (more loving) people they would then affect the world in a positive way.

Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950) wrote about his integral yoga.  He spoke of first going within one’s self and then raising one’s consciousness higher from within.  At a higher level of consciousness, it becomes easier to shed fears, hate and self-centeredness.  Ascend to the higher chakras of consciousness, and attain a broader perspective and become more spiritually evolved.

What can you do as an individual?

Be that additional candle in the darkness.  Cultivate love in your heart – and share it with others.  You won’t be able to change the whole world, but we are in desperate need of more individual contributions now.  As well, cultivating love in your heart will mean that you are better preparing yourself for what comes after this life.

end of essay

We include two pictures with this essay.  The first is an empty ceramic sugar bowl.


sugar bowl 3


This next image is of a framed picture or painting that Lucy has had for many years.  It predates our meeting each other in the 1980s.  It is called the 100 Birds.


100 birds


. . . .  no blogger is greater than blogging itself  . . . . 

copyright 2014 –

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food pics from China and a wedding banquet in the US

The first 12 pictures below are from within China in the late spring this year.

These are fresh berries and these look a little like worms.


fresh berries looks like a worm


Fresh grapes and strawberries.


more fresh grapes






More grapes.




Deep fried potatoes and Chinese sausages.


deep fried potatoes and Chinese sausages


This blurry image is of Chinese tamales for celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival.


Chinese tamale celebrate Dragon Boat Festival


A food stall at one of the  many stops in southern China.


China 107 food stall




China 105 Longan


Mangosteen fruit.


China 106 Mangosteen fruit


Spinach and tomato.


tomatoes and spinach






Porridge with mushroom.


porridge with mushroom


Now, before presenting images from a wedding banquet in the US, we share a couple of pics that fell through the cracks and did not get included in an essay last week.





And, another image of plants.


more pink flowers


Now, to the various dishes at a recent stateside wedding banquet.

Mellon with dried scallop.


melon with dried scallop


Abalone and duck feet with mustard green vegetable.


abalone, duck feet with mustard green vegetable


Sea bass.


sea bass






Roast baby pig.


roast baby pig


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a visit to the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

This museum is in Kunming in Yunnan province, southern China.  There is an emphasis on early dress and costumes, early textiles of various local peoples that have lived in Yunnan province.

An interesting and artistic artifact.


China 32


A map of the various ethnic groups in Yunnan.


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A directory of the sections of the museum.


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Now we see the section on early dress and costumes.  The Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.), referred to in this wall sign, was the golden age of Chinese poetry.


China 39


Garments with a Tibetan motif.


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Tigers decorate this robe.


China 34


Adult and children’s clothing.


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The color red is often used in clothing in China.


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Another example of local dress.


China 38


Possibly a model of a water wheel or a wheel turned by human efforts.


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Chinese tea.


China tea


An old tea pot or kettle.


China tea 2


Another example.


China tea 3


Much more recent artifacts on display.  These may be field artillery shell casings.  We could be in error here.  Artillery shells (prior to firing) look like giant sized rifle bullets.




Nearby grounds with parked tour buses.


museum entrance


These remaining pictures are of another section of the museum.


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A custom or tradition of throwing items to express feelings.  (Does anyone remember throwing rice as the bride and groom leave the church?)


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This series of informational signs relates to the next image below (which shows examples of “message transmitting articles”).


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Message transmitting articles of various peoples.


China 28


This sign tells that wood board painting was used in religious rites.


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This ethnic group, the Dai people, used palm leaves for writing on.


China 25


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some temples in Dali, Yunnan province

Now, we work down this backlog of photos from the China trip in late May and early June, 2014.  Dali is located in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province in southern China.

Picture taking inside the temples was either forbidden or discouraged.


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An information sign for visitors in multiple languages.


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Interesting architecture.


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This appears to be the same temple (as above) now seen from a different angle.


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Another building.


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A closer view of one of the temples.


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This next image appears to be of the Three Pagodas.


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A closer view of one of these towers.


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Closest view.


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“No climbing” – in 4 languages.


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A view captured earlier in the day.


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Western tourists in southern China with local tour guide.


China 77 Dali


Our photographer fondly recalls her early childhood in Kowloon, Hong Kong when she shouldered burdens in a similar manner as shown here.


China 75


A Tibetan woman in traditional dress.


Tibetan lady


A restaurant area.  Observe the reflections in the water.


China 78 Dali


Man made concrete water falls.


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A painting of the Buddha.


Buddha picture


Dali silk factory.  It is not clear to me if this is a painting or a woven silk work of art.  It is a beautiful work of art.


Dali silk factory


Another interesting image.




A framed painting under glass.


painting 2


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memories of the morning commute to work in the city

While listening to music last evening, I reminisced about my morning commute to work in San Francisco years ago.  Some times transient thoughts and memories come into one’s mind.  Before sharing pictures taken this morning by a friend at my request, we write a little about the experiences that are a part of the commute to and from San Francisco on these electric trains.

There is a commuter train system that runs throughout most of the Bay Area and it is called BART (for Bay Area Rapid Transit system).  The commuter trains are powered by electricity and are pretty much run by computers with the train operators being there to open and close the doors at each station and to intervene if emergency stops are necessary.

If you stand at the northern end of the platform at the Embarcadero station, you are just a few yards from the entrance to the metal and concrete tubes that go under the bay so that the trains can travel to and from Oakland (and from there to other points in the East Bay). The tube for westbound trains, that is trains coming into San Francisco is the one to stand by for experiencing an interesting effect.

As a train approaches from a distance, the compressed air in the tube is being pushed ahead and reaches the exit of the tube, which you can be standing near to, in advance of the train by some 15 seconds or more.  One begins to feel the air coming into the station even before one hears the train approach.  At one point, you can actually hear it if you have good hearing.  It is somewhat like a gust of wind that lasts for some seconds. Then the train bursts forth, 10 long cars in length, and begins to slow so that when it stops it occupies the entire length of the station’s concrete platform (which must be nearly 190 or more yards in length as each car is close to 60 feet in length).

A zen moment of sorts.

When you are on the train and it passes through the transbay tube (in either direction), you also get an interesting experience.   The trains reach a maximum speed of about 72 miles per hour for a couple of minutes or so.  (The bay is fairly narrow between San Francisco and Oakland.  It widens both south and north of the city.)  At top speed, you are feeling the train rocketing along the tracks.  (If one is standing during commute hours, this effect is more noticeable.)  You are hearing the loud metallic hiss of the phalanged steel wheels riding on the rails at high speed.  This can actually get fairly loud as the sound is being thrown back at the train from the curved walls of the metal tube.  One sees the flourescent lights that line the tube racing by through the windows of the train.  Then, the computer directs the train to start braking and you feel the train begin to slow and the sound from the rails diminishes noticeably in strength.

Upon exiting the train at Embarcadero station, you make your way up a couple of escalators to reach the street.  Now, on Market Street, you look skyward.  The ego of the individual is squashed.  Office towers of concrete, steel and glass – 30, 40, up to 50 stories tall – tower above you.  Downtown San Francisco is not Manhattan, nor Hong Kong – but it does have an impressive skyline.

One miscellany is that some of the train operators are young women.  And, some are quite attractive in their blue colored uniforms.

San Francisco, for some, is that seaside city of shattered dreams and shattered illusions.

Street level above the Embarcadero station on Market Street (06 August 2014).




The building we see behind the street car is One California Street.


downtown 2


An electric powered city bus.


downtown 3


The view coming up the escalator to street level.  A commuter has already come up one long escalator from the deeper level of the train system below before reaching this point.


downtown 4


Before entering the system, one needs to buy a ticket.  These machines have changed much since the time of my commuting.  Years back, these were much simpler in appearance and did not have so many functions.


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Insert your ticket with its magnetic strip here and take it with you as you enter the station. The ticket is returned to you through the horizontal surface above the red gates.  On exiting, one repeats the process and sees the fare deducted from the ticket.


downtown 6


A view of the station before one descends to the platform where the trains come in.

“And if your train’s on time, you can get to work by nine.”  – Bachman Turner Overdrive


downtown 8


This person is not a BART rider, so we do not have pics of the trains.  The four downtown underground stations are actually dual stations where both BART and the local municipal public railway (street cars) each have platforms (on different levels) for commuters.  MUNI is the name of the city’s public transit system.


downtown 5


The entrance to the MUNI part of Embarcadero station.  This is very different from the years when I commuted.  Previously, there were small metal turnstile type gates for access to the MUNI stations.


downtown 9


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existential angst, wounded atheists, and attitudes

Recently, I was on the receiving end of a few in-your-face written comments from a militant atheist – oh, yes, such individuals are out there.  After a little back and forth – that was leading nowhere – I asked him if he had any thing substantive to contribute to the discussion (on another essay of ours).  It became clear that he did not, and I had to stop approving his comments.

A number of these individuals, who self-identify as atheists, will claim that they are very “open minded” (high sounding words).

Yet, these same folks adopt the attitude, or position, that insists upon proof of God’s existence in a way that is both satisfying and palatable to them.  If such proof can be presented that meets their demands, then and only then, they may just condescend to believe in God.  The nature of the proof of God’s existence is to be similar to that of the tangible demonstration of the law of gravity, or reproducing known chemical reactions under identical physical conditions in chemistry labs anywhere in the world.

That is, of course, their choice.

Here is why I will not engage them on those terms.

1.  No one can give you belief.  No one can give you certainty in this area.  I could offer many reasons for God’s existence, but the responses that I have gotten in the past (and would likely get in the future) are things like “that is just your opinion” or “that is subjective” or “that is just your experience” or “you cannot prove that”, etc.  There is no end to the excuses, the rationalizations that atheists will make use of to stubbornly remain in their comfort zone of non-belief, and to not make any substantive efforts of their own.

2.  What we have found about human nature over the years is that humans do not generally value what is given to them nearly as much as what they have had to sacrifice and work for to obtain.  That is the reality.  If an atheist, perhaps after acquiring a little honesty and humility, would make some serious effort in this area to acquire knowledge and some understanding, he/she would value what they learned more than anything we could give to them.

No one can give you belief or certainty.  We cannot make the effort for you.

It is like with yoga – yoking one’s soul, one’s consciousness to the Divine.  Jnana yoga, or the way of knowledge, can only take one so far.  Karma yoga, the way of charitable works and actions, can only take one so far on the path.  Bhakti yoga, the way of love, devotion and surrender, is superior as it takes you further on the path back to God.  Those self-satisfied atheists who insist on an intellectually appealing (to them) and satisfying “proof” for God’s existence before they might, just might decide to believe – cannot be helped. The mind of man has its limits.  This is no trite remark.  To know God involves more than just the intellect.  It involves the heart and the spirit as well.

My search and efforts in this quest for spiritual knowledge and experiences began some years ago.  It was in the 1977 -1978 academic year while I was an undergraduate at a large west coast university that my quest began.  It continued after I transferred to a large mid-Atlantic university the next year.  Over these intervening years, I have made use of undergraduate and graduate university libraries to read many works by the philosophers and religious persons of both the east and the west.  As well, there are several bookshelves full of books on religion, spirituality, and philosophy in our home – and all have been read (and some re-read) over the years.  I have met many individuals from different parts of the world and of different faiths as fellow students, co-workers, and friends.  Many conversations as to religion and spirituality have been undertaken.  Spiritual practices were undertaken at times.  (Some turned out to be dead-ends.)  A lot of thinking was required to digest what was read and to interpret experiences and to reflect on many aspects of the whole question.

What I am driving at is that much personal effort and sacrifice were expended over many years to acquire the beliefs and understanding (such as it is) that I now have.  I did not arrive at this point quickly or easily.  A high price was paid in time and effort.  And, that is what it takes if one really is interested in making some progress in this area – time and effort and even sacrifices.

There is no lazy man’s way to belief, faith, or spiritual growth.

Some atheists are rather fond of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900).  And, yes, we have read a couple of his works, The Birth of Tragedy, and Beyond Good and Evil.  (In our view, he was better at the social criticism of the people of his times than at being a philosopher.)

Was it not Nietzsche who said “Any thing worth having is worth working for.”?

There is a saying that I have come across a few times over the years and it goes like this:

“For every step you take towards God, He will take ten steps towards you.”

To leave this world one day as spiritually ignorant as the day you entered this world is a terrible shame, a terrible waste – and to do so from sloth?

Like the song says “You get what you give”.

This blog is not an atheist support group.  And, I must confess that I am slowly tiring of the whining of atheists – both male and female.

Inflammatory, inciteful (to hate) comments will not be approved.

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Now, on to other topics  . . . . . .

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