the Japanese tea garden in pictures – part one – trees

We will tell a little about the setting of these pictures in the next installment of this essay. For now, we simply present these images.


bonsai tree




trees and sky 2




stand of trees




trees in garden 2




trees and sky






. . . . .  to be continued . . . . . 

copyright 2014 –

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the spectre of mental illness has always haunted human history

the spectre of mental illness has always haunted human history

Kings that went mad and became megalomaniacs (some even going so far as to declare themselves to be God, and then demanding to be worshipped). Religious zealots, or fanatics, who did not (or would not) govern their religious fervor with reason.  Deranged sociopaths that murder and traffic in mayhem.  Delusional utopian Marxists who murdered tens of millions of human beings in the 20th century (here many would object, and label these bloodthirsty tyrants as evil, not insane).  Power hungry, shallow, yet narcissistic community organizers.  Enough examples.

There is a very relevant question lurking here:  What constitutes true mental illness, and what is just pure old-fashioned evil?  The question is not an idle one, nor intended to be an exercise in philosophical speculation.  There are important real world implications here.

If one is truly suffering from serious mental illness, then he or she is not (fully) responsible for his/her actions, but still would need to be confined in a controlled setting if they are violent and dangerous to others and/or to themselves.  If they are mentally competent, not seriously mentally ill, these violent, destructive individuals will be dealt with in the existing criminal justice system (that may need serious reform or restructuring).

Resources, nowadays, often are available to help diagnose and treat such baneful psychoses.  But, psychiatry – it needs to be said – does not have all the answers, nor is it likely ever to possess all the “answers”.  Drugging and sedating individuals in an effort to control their behavior, except in extremely violent cases, is a risky and dangerous path to embark upon, or to continue along.

But, how does one know that he or she is mentally ill, or becoming so?  How can a person recognize the warning signs in themselves?  How can others, close to such a person, recognize the red flags of approaching danger?  Anyone who listens to the news regularly hears of multiple murders, suicides, and not infrequently of multiple murder-suicides where one person kills others (usually family members or co-workers), and then kills himself.  The news reports sometimes indicate that there were existing problems that were known to others, but in other cases it is noted that there were no indications of existing stresses or mental illness that would lead to outbreaks of such violence and destruction.

Perhaps, there is an unrecognized collective psychosis in today’s society that too many individuals are suffering from, albeit they are unaware of its presence and symptoms.

Just food for thought.  We don’t claim to have the answers either.  But, these questions ought to be given consideration.

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Capital Punishment for Convicted Capital Murderers is not a Pro-Life Issue

Capital Punishment for Convicted Capital Murderers is not a Pro-Life Issue

The late Pope John Paul II had a serious distaste, or even animosity, towards capital punishment.  However, he could not impose a de jure change (on this issue) on the Catholic Church as Church teaching had allowed for the use of capital punishment in previous centuries.  However, he was able to achieve a de facto change in Church attitudes to the death penalty.  This can be seen in the articles and opinion pieces published in Catholic periodicals (including local diocesan publications) in the past 15 or more years.  This altered attitude is also to be heard in Church pronouncements on the life issues as these pronouncements now include reference to capital punishment as something to be condemned (as it is unnecessary).

The same is now true in homilies at Sunday Mass in many, if not most, parishes in the USA.  I recently heard one such homily where the 5th Commandment was addressed by the priest.  The correct translation of the 5th Commandment is “Thou shalt not murder”. Note this carefully. It does not translate to “Thou shalt not kill” as some priests are claiming.  In this homily several weeks ago, the priest allowed for national self defense in the form of a just war (a concept the Catholic Church arrived at some centuries ago).  He also mentioned individual or family self defense when being assaulted with lethal force as being morally licit.  He was conspicuously silent on societal self defense and the proper application of capital punishment.  Well, I will not be so silent.  And, this was not the first homily on the subject that I found distasteful.  Last summer, at another parish, a priest specifically cited capital punishment along with abortion as being serious moral evils.

This inclusion of capital punishment in the life issues does serious damage to the pro-life movement’s credibility and effectiveness by introducing needless confusion into its message.  To be pro-life means that one condemns (and likely abhors) the taking of innocent human life (murder) by any means.  That is why the pro-life position condemns wars that are not justified, murder, abortion (in all its forms), euthanasia, so-called mercy killings, assisted suicides, and the withholding of basic food and water from severely, and even not so severely, handicapped newborns and infants (a growing form of infanticide in the Western world) and all other forms of infanticide.  I have yet to hear a persuasive, much less compelling, argument as to why capital punishment is correctly a pro-life issue. Quite simply, this is because capital punishment is not a pro-life issue. The convicted capital murderer residing on death row is not an example of innocent human life.

Ought the Church address the issue of capital punishment?  Of course, the Church can and ought to address this issue.  The Church, rather than attacking and condemning capital punishment per se, can and ought to address the serious abuses of its application in the world.  Here are a couple of examples of abuses of capital punishment that need to be condemned.  Summary executions, where there is no due process (no fair trials) are to be condemned.  Summary executions often, if not always, lead to individuals being executed who are either innocent of crimes, or are guilty of less than capital offenses.  Applying capital punishment to less than capital offenses is also immoral and must be condemned. In some countries (Communist China comes to mind, but there are other offending nations such as in the Islamic world), individuals can be and are executed for property crimes such as theft, or for such things as adultery.  Those abuses of capital punishment are rightly condemned.

You might also want to read this essay:

Thank you for reading and thinking about this.

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a Yangtze River cruise – day three – the river

In this installment of the river cruise picture essay, we present views of various scenes near the river.

A woman on a boat in a tributary to the river.


in the afternoon


A closer view.


river cruise day three 17


A nearby scene.


river cruise day three 18


A view further away showing some reflections in the water.


river cruise day three 16


A caution to be careful on the path.


river cruise day three 15


A view of the water through the leaves.


river cruise day three 14


Another nearby view.


river cruise day three 13


Trees, boats, rocks, etc.


river cruise day three 12


A closer view.


river cruise day three 11


Nice image of ladies on an arched stone bridge with many trees in the background.


river cruise day three 10


Monkeys that are not shy near tourists.


river cruise day three 9


A closer view.


river cruise day three 8


A solitary monkey.


river cruise day three 7


A warning sign in 2 languages.


warning sign


It is not clear what this is.  Perhaps a resting place on the footpath.


river cruise day three 6


Beautiful image of a stream.


river cruise day three 5


Interesting looking trash disposal containers.


waste containers


What is this about?


coffin sign


Not sure if this hanging coffin can be seen in the below photo.


2 tiny coffins in mid mountain


An interesting pic.


river cruise day three 4


Nearby construction.


river cruise day three 3


Forested hillside with small structures at bottom of image.


river cruise day three 2


A view of the river.


river cruise day three


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musings on God and man – and a short critique of religion

musings on God and man (and woman, too)

“Dust in the wind.  All we are is dust in the wind.”  (Lyrics from the 1977 song of the same name by the rock group, Kansas).

Our featured images are of colored lights at a recent wedding banquet.


lights of wisdom


It is not so very difficult to get married.  The real challenge comes in staying married over the years.


lights of wisdom 2


It can be rather humbling for we humans to consider that God has always existed.  Infinity and eternity are hard concepts for us to get our limited minds around.  There are interesting implications here.  Can one still believe that the Earth was created on – what was it? – October 23, 4004 B.C.?  Is man the only sentient species or intelligent form of life that God has ever created?  Since many of us believe that God has always existed, then He has been around for a very, very long time.  Is it reasonable to think that He only decided to create intelligent life in the very, very recent past?  We think that God has created other intelligent life and that there are likely other intelligent beings alive this very moment in, perhaps, many universes, and/or many different dimensions or planes of existence.

God is as He is – He is not going to change.  What I mean here is that if God ever evolved in His nature that time is long past.  God has had eternity – an infinite number of years or eons – to grow and evolve.  He is either a compassionate, loving God – or He is not.

Our very short lives – on this speck of dust in an unremarkable galaxy among billions of others – are for what?  There are those who say for everlasting bliss in a heaven or for everlasting torment in a hell.  Here is the problem I have with that view.  Forever is a long time.  A very long time, indeed.  Methinks that we have a God who is restless and may not want for us to remain in a heaven type state for ever and ever.  (Would such a heavenly state be static, or would growth and new experiences be possible, permissible there?)  No, dear readers, we think that there is a good chance that there will be future assignments for humans, future challenges to endure.  God will raise the bar, so to speak, and require more of us.  (For our own good, of course.)  The struggle continues, and will our souls ever know true peace?

Some readers may think that I am immature to entertain these speculations.  Perhaps, to do so indicates that I am no longer straight-jacketed by childish, irrational fears.

Please, dear readers, do not take these thoughts of mine as “dogma”.  These are not intended as such.

Is all the suffering (mental, psychological, emotional in addition to physical) just a cruel jest?  Does all that we endure, what we experience, go for anything, count for anything?

The way I see it things can only be put right – at some future point – if God is truly just, loving and merciful.

Could it be that the suffering we experience is intended to help us to not be so attached to living in this finite, temporary, limiting world?

For those who choose not to believe in a Creator, the current novelty is “alien intervention” via genetic manipulation, genetic engineering.  150 years ago evolution was the novelty for those who would not make the effort to believe.

Our souls come from God – not from “aliens” whether these be inter-dimensional beings, extraterrestrials, demons, whatever.

what about religion and the religious?

If one studies the history of religion, from primitive animism through pagan polytheism to the monotheistic religions, one finds that it has always been about power.  Oh, yes.  Priests – as the interceders, or go betweens, on behalf of us mortals with the gods or God – have preyed upon human fears and on human ignorance.  When considering religion, one needs to take a step back and try to be objective and rational.  The misuse of religion is very dangerous.  (We see this danger today.  As we type these words, the world’s attention is focused on a civilian airliner that may or may not have been brought down by a surface to air missile in the Ukraine, and on the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinians. What is being overlooked or ignored is the daily murders, rapes and pillaging of Christians in Iraq, Egypt, South Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, etc. by Muslims.  And, because of Muslim immigration, Muslims are raping women, both Christian and atheist, in Europe today and are terrorizing Jews in France.)

Some religious people, including not a few preachers, would have us believe that God cannot stand the sight of us.  If that were so, I have a question.  If the Fall (the Garden of Eden story) were so traumatic and painful to God that even Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary could not heal the wound, then why did not God just end the experiment and have done with it?!  (We gave our thoughts on the Garden of Eden story 2 years ago in late July, 2012 on this blog – see the monthly archives.)

There are many Christians who will quote Scripture to me and yet are callously indifferent to the suffering and injustice all around them.  Modern day Pharisees do not make a favorable impression on me.

If your message is immature, primitive, negative, limiting – should we be interested?  It seems those trafficking in fear have little love to share.

Some religions, even today, traffic in fear, guilt and suffering.  I cannot work out my salvation each and every day in fear and trembling as (St.) Alphonsus Liguori (1696 – 1787) counsels we must do.  I cannot operate that way.  The demands of modern life consume much energy and we cannot waste energy on fear for the sake of fear.  I choose not to feel guilty for having been born into this fallen world.  It seems I had no say in the matter.  There is no need to seek out suffering or to glorify suffering.  Suffering stalks us and seeks us out each and every day of our lives.  (Masochism, which is merely sadism directed at one’s self, is no virtue.)

Synchronicity or coincidence is rather amazing at times.  As I had put these thoughts down on paper last week in preparation for drafting this essay, I started to read a book that speaks to some of these same issues.

We want to quote now from Olive Schreiner’s book, The Story of an African Farm (originally published in 1883, this book is now in print again from Dover Publications). Schreiner (1855 – 1920) saw the hypocrisy and abuses of religion in her day while growing up in South Africa.

From page 160, we offer this passage which alludes to man’s temporary nature.

” . . . . She raised herself on her elbow.  ‘And what, if we could help mankind, and leave the traces of our work upon it to the end?  Mankind is only an ephemeral blossom on the tree of time; there were others before it opened; there will be others after it has fallen.  Where was man in the time of the dicynodont, and when hoary monsters wallowed in the mud? Will he be found in the eons that are to come?  We are sparks, we are shadows, we are pollen, which the next wind will carry away.  We are dying already; it is all a dream.’”

From p. 215, we read this passage about what Lyndall (one of the principal characters in the book) had learned in her short, troubled life.

“. . . . Softly he whispered, asking what she saw there.

“And she said, in a voice strangely unlike her own, ‘I see the vision of a poor weak soul striving after good.  It was not cut short; and, in the end, it learned, through tears and much pain, that holiness is an infinite compassion for others; that greatness is to take the common things of life and walk truly among them; that’ – she moved her white hand and laid it on her forehead – ‘happiness is a great love and much serving.  It was not cut short; and it loved what it had learned.’”

And, on page 218, we have this very poignant yet touching description of poor Lyndall’s death in very early adulthood.

“. . . . The dying eyes on the pillow looked into the dying eyes in the glass; they knew that their hour had come.  She raised one hand and pressed the stiff fingers against the glass. They were growing very still.  She tried to speak to it, but she would never speak again. Only, the wonderful yearning light was in the eyes still.  The body was dead now, but the soul, clear and unclouded, looked forth.

“Then slowly, without a sound, the beautiful eyes closed.  The dead face that the glass reflected was a thing of marvelous beauty and tranquility.  The Gray Dawn crept in over it and saw it lying there.

“Had she found what she sought for – something to worship?  Had she ceased from being? Who shall tell us?  There is a veil of terrible mist over the face of the Hereafter.”

Copyright 2014 –

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a Yangtze River cruise – day three – three gorges dam project

The Three Gorges Dam Project is the world’s largest hydroelectric project.  It no doubt is a source of national pride for the mainland Chinese.  (Electromagnetic induction was first discovered by Michael Faraday, and from that we eventually got electric power generation.)

As the Yangtze is a navigable river, the cargo ships and cruise ships will transit the locks and thereby go around the dam which is impassable to vessels.  See the many electric transmission lines coming from the nearby dam power generation complex.


river locks


Many of these photos show the same cloudy or hazy appearance of the sky that we saw in day two’s photos.  This recalls to my mind the time we visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona in the very early spring of 1993.  There were low cloudy, misty skies then and that made the views we saw and the pictures we took of a rather disappointing quality.  One thing to note, readers/viewers, is that after this multi-part river essay we will present other picture essays from this trip to China where the skies were more clear and a brighter blue in color.

Another view of the locks.


river locks 2


Day three’s itinerary.


itinerary day 3


The model room or visitor center at the Three Gorges Dam Project.


Three Gorges model room


These next 3 pics are of the model of the dam system.

In the distant future, after man is no longer on the scene, these manmade lakes or reservoirs will silt up and the large concrete dams will then become waterfalls.


Three Gorges model


Another view of the model.  It appears that the model’s background shows cloudy skies and reflects the reality of the local weather conditions.


Three Gorges model 2


A final look.


Three Gorges model 3


The escalator up to the grounds near the dam.


esacalator to the dam


Electric transmission lines and a warning for escalator safety.




The grounds near to the viewing area of the dam.  Tourists are visible in the distance at the summit of the concrete structure.  From there, one can see the water exiting the dam.


grounds of dam


Another view.


grounds of dam 2


A large dual language book.


lucy at dam site


Close to the concrete promontory.


grounds of dam 3


In a nearby area, Lucy sits among large river rocks.


lucy among the rocks


A reminder to watch your step.




It is not clear what this odd-shaped object is.  An interesting artifact.


grounds of dam 4


Our photographer, regrettably, did not take photos of the dam itself.  The press of the other tourists may have deterred her.  As well, having seen other engineering marvels such as Hoover Dam, the Great Wall (on an earlier trip to China), and having transited the Panama Canal on a cruise ship, she did not think this dam project so singular.  The canyon dams in the southwest US (Hoover, Glen Canyon) have a large and high concrete edifice at the bottom of which the water exits the dam.  The Three Gorges Dam, from the model above is wide in design, and appears to be not as tall as some other well known dams. Many colorful images of this dam in China can be easily found via Internet search engines. (I remember that at Hoover Dam there is a viewing area deep down inside the dam complex (reached by elevator) where visitors can see and photograph the several large electric turbines in their metal housings.)

Among tourists on top of the concrete promontory.


grounds of dam 5


The return staircase or escalator.


close to the dam


A trash can.


waste basket


Upon leaving the dam project area, we see this view of part of the waterway system.


view from dam


Day three’s activities were not over.  We will post a thematic essay next and then return to continue this river picture essay.

copyright 2014 –

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a Yangtze River cruise – day two – river scenes

In this installment of the river cruise picture essay, we present views along, and of, the river and mountains.

Has China been continuously inhabited by hominids since the time of Peking Man (Homo erectus pekinensis) 400,000 years ago?  In any event, it is an old country.

Here we see the bow of the river cruise ship.


bow of cruise ship


The day’s itinerary.  Excursion:  Shennv Stream, a tributary stream of Yangtze River – embark smaller boats to enjoy the beauty of Shennv stream and to continue to the Wu Gorges and Qutang Gorges.


itinerary Wushan day 2


A small, local river boat.


small local boat on river


We have tried to assemble these pictures in the proper chronological order during the day these were taken.  Much of the scenery looks similar in the various gorges and tributaries of the Yangtze.

In this next photo, a structure can be seen on the shore in the distance.


river scene day 2


Is this some kind of river fog or haze, or is this air blown pollution from distant industries?


river scene 3 day 2


Impressive mountains seen through the haze.


more scenery along river


Much green growth on the hillsides.  Did early Taoist sages wander through this area 23 or 24 centuries ago?


more scenery along river 2


Structures along the river.


uzi dwellings along river


A river shuttle launch for ferrying cruise passengers to shore for excursion.


river launch shuttle


There may have been the remains of a stone fortress somewhere here in these pictures.


uzi day 2


Looks like limestone formations along the shore of the river.


uzi 2 day 2


Does appear to be sedimentary rock in this closer view.


uzi 3 day 2


The hand of man, man’s handiwork is visible in this next image.


uzi 4 day 2


Local river people.


uzi 5 day 2


Scenic cruising through a river gorge.


uzi 6 day 2


Another view.


uzi 7 day 2


More nearby scenery.


uzi 8 day 2


Local river sightseeing boats?


uzi 9 day 2


These workers are constructing a barrier to prevent rock slides.


uzi 10 day 2


The mountains often rise very steeply from the banks of the river.


more scenery along river 3


The wide river flows on inexorably towards the sea.


more scenery along river 4


An enigmatic woman, a foreign traveler in interior China – our blog’s intrepid photographer.


lucy kinda mean


copyright 2014 –

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a Yangtze River cruise – day one

It is not the Ganges.  It is not the Nile, nor the Amazon, nor the Mississippi.  But, the Yangtze is one of the world’s great rivers.  Like several other major Asian rivers, the Yangtze’s headwaters are in the Tibetan plateau.

After a hiatus of a month, we now return to the picture essays of the China assignment. There will be several of these and we will post a few unrelated thematic essays in between these picture essays.  As well, to reduce the number of essays, we will include many pics in some of the essays.

Here is another cruise ship passed on the river on the first night.


cruise ship passed at night


The river cruise started from Chongqing (Chungking) in southwest China.


Chongqing day one


On the way to the river docks, this image was captured through the glass of a bus.


Chongqing street


A mid to late afternoon boarding of the cruise ship.


cruise ship for river cruise


In a cruise ship passenger cabin.  Comfortable, if a little cramped.


inside the ship cabin


The next morning’s itinerary.  Note the temperature is in Celsius (centigrade).  This river cruise had some stops or excursions along the way.




A local temple is seen before crossing over to Shibaozhai.


temple neighborhood


The walking bridge (with tourists) over to the main attraction.


bridge to Shabaozhsi


Entering the grounds of the pagoda.


shibaozhai pagoda


The People’s Republic of China official plaque in 2 languages and with a semi-reflective surface.


shibaozhai pagoda plaque


It is not clear what is referred to here.  Perhaps, a hand rail?  Always a good idea to watch where you step.


danger sign


The pagoda.  The cultural past preserved for posterity.



red pavilion of nine floors


Carvings from the past in the pagoda area.




Mythical beings.


mythical beings


Mythical beings # 2.


mythical beings 2


Mythical beings # 3.


mythical beings 3


Mythical beings # 4.


mythical beings 4


Now, on the return to walk to the cruise ship, we see a recycle container.


recycle container


Back on board, with the ship still docked.


lucy on cruise ship 4


A wide, placid river.


lucy on cruise ship 3


A relaxing moment on deck for our photographer.


lucy on cruise ship 5


The captain’s welcome party late in the day after shore excursion to the pagoda.  Western tourists are in attendance.


captain's welcome party 2


Our last shot for this installment.


lucy on cruise ship


Best wishes from the torrid, sun-baked, desiccated desert of the American West.

Copyright 2014 –

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appeasers, bullies, psychic vampires and human relationships

Roy Masters speaks much on human relationships.  The recurring dynamic in these is that of bully and appeaser (or perhaps one could say dominant versus submissive).  Let’s explore this a little in today’s essay.

Fresh berries in China are pictured here.  Our photographer remarked that these look somewhat like worms.


fresh berries looks like a worm


Mr. Masters, 86 years old and still lucid, has a radio show in the evenings. I think it is called Advice Line.  As well, he is the founder of the Foundation of Human Understanding.

The basic choice we are confronted with when another person is trying to dominate or control or use us is to either appease that person or to resist and not let the other dominate us.  Either choice comes with its costs.  If we choose to appease the other person (to keep the peace), then we give up some control over our own lives, and some personal freedom. If we choose to resist the dominant person, the costs we bear are enduring open conflict and resentment and rejection by the other person.  (To clarify here, we are not simply talking about the normal give and take in human relationships which are, so to speak, 2 way streets.  We are talking about an unhealthy, one-sided, potentially abusive relationship.)

Mr. Masters counsels us not to be appeasers and not to allow ourselves to be used by others.  We cannot grow to become psychologically healthy persons if we are appeasing others who seek to dominate our lives.  Wounded parents pass on their psychological and emotional wounds to their children in how they raise them.  This is how the victimization process is perpetuated over the generations.  Have you ever noticed this?  We can consciously choose to raise our children differently than we were raised by our parents.

The fact is that this dynamic is present, is in play, in all human relationships to some degree.  Consider what we see in the relationships and interactions between spouses, between and among siblings, between parents and their children, and between friends.  See what takes place between employers and employees and among co-workers.  (One sees this dynamic at work even within – gasp – liberal families and “progressive” communities.) Ethnically diverse societies and ethnically homogeneous societies show evidence of this dynamic at play between individuals and groups.  We observe this dynamic in the often abusive relationship between the governing and the governed.  To be sure, we see it at work in the power structures of organized religions.  You can see this dynamic in the relations and interactions among nation states where “might makes right” is at play.

Humans have not evolved, have not sufficiently matured psychologically and emotionally and spiritually to being able to accept and respect others.  The presence in our lives of others who play the part of bully can make it difficult to love our fellow human beings.

Why cannot people treat each other with more respect, treat each other more fairly without frequently trying to use others?  Perhaps, it is the pleasure of power over others that proves too strong for many of us to resist.

Having to deal with aggressive and domineering people can drain us of energy.  In recent years, the term “psychic vampire” has been used to describe the person who never tires of draining others of energy and who never seems to have enough of doing so.  I have worked with a couple of these parasitic type people over the years.  (It was not a pleasant experience.)  They were very miserable individuals who purposely tried to make others around them miserable.

Why do individuals remain or stay in abusive relationships?  Why does a woman (or a man) stay in an abusive relationship when she has her own means of livelihood and there are no children involved?  The abuser, the bully, cannot and will not change unless he/she consciously chooses to make the effort to change.  Sadly, this rarely happens.

A few relevant words about government and religion.  Those in government, including the many thousands of careerist, unelected bureaucrats, abuse and bully the citizenry day by day.  And, we the citizenry, appease them – to no good end – by continuing to surrender more of our rights.  There are those who use religion and a bastardized or false conception of God to justify murdering and oppressing others.  (Personally, my view is that men who oppress women, and institutionalize such oppression/repression with their religion, are sexually maladjusted.  A man who is sure of himself, and confident about his manhood does not feel the need to oppress women.)

In closing, let us share a few words from the song Jackie Blue by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in 1975.

Every day, in your indigo eyes
I watch the sun set but I don’t see it rise

copyright 2014 –

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New on 500px : Triple Strike by GreggB by GreggB


Incredible image of the raw beauty of the desert in the summer. This is for our readers who like pictures. Valley of Fire State Park is about 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

This picture is the property of the copyright owner.  Please respect his copyright.


Originally posted on FSD:

This shot is a two exposures blend (one for the foreground and one a lucky 30 seconds wait for the lighting strike) combined in PS. The image was taken in the Valley of Fire, Nevada last week during the monsoon season (still going on). Please notice the color differences the right lighting developed. Very interesting….

via 500px

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irony of ironies – US blacks begin to turn against Obama and his failed policies

Some US blacks (or, if you prefer, African-Americans) have had quite enough of President Obama and his failed policies.  The current crisis, of Obama’s own doing, at the US southern border, has been the catalyst to bring some black people to openly speak out against Obama.  The blacks in Chicago (and in other US cities) are speaking out now in condemnation of Obama’s call for billions to deal with the tide of illegal immigrants into the US.  (First, the figure was going to be 1.7 billion dollars, then 2 billion, then within 2 more days this figure grew to $3.7 billion.  This may be higher now – I have not heard the latest news.  Most of this money will be siphoned off to a slush fund for Obama’s political allies as has been done with many billions of dollars in previous spending bills Obama has approved.)  The black Americans are saying to the President that we cannot take in more poor who come to the US illegally when we cannot even provide for our own poor.  Blacks speak the truth here.  The fact is that black America is worse off economically today than when Barack Obama took office 5 and 1/2 years ago.

This past Independence Day holiday weekend, July 4 to July 6 2014, saw more carnage in our inner cities as violent drug gangs were on a rampage.  Chicago is a war zone.  (If you do not believe this, ask the people who live there.)  The casualties, both dead and wounded, from the holiday weekend made national radio news.  (I do not watch much television so I am not clear if these dreadful statistics made the TV news or not.)

We think that it is significant when the group that supported Obama by the highest percentages (95+ %) in both his presidential elections begins to speak out against him. Black Americans see the undeniable, harsh reality in their communities and neighborhoods. Black unemployment and underemployment is significantly worse now than when George W. Bush was president.  Hopelessness is gripping many black Americans.  Obama, being the Leftist he is, wants to destroy the middle class.  Well, he is succeeding.  Recently, we heard of statistics that tell of a smaller middle class than several years ago.  Sure, Obama inherited an economic mess from Bush and Greenspan (who ought to have been tried for their crimes and imprisoned in my opinion).  But, Obama took all the wrong steps and has prevented the economy from truly recovering.  (Was this simply ineptitude and incompetence, or was it intentional?)  Full time jobs are still being eliminated, and the part-time jobs being created by the US economy do not pay a livable wage.

What is the solution?!  What is the solution for all Americans?

It is not to be found with the 2 major parties – both of which are corrupt to the core!  If a majority of Americans of all racial and ethnic groups, both men and women, would join together to form a new party that would truly be for constitutional rights, for American economic prosperity, pro free markets, for smaller government and for securing our borders, then, and only then, could we take back our country.  Sure, the miserable hard-core Leftists would still garner about 30 per cent of the votes in a national election and some equally wretched phoney conservatives (also known as Republicans) would garner another 20 per cent or so of the votes.  But, the remaining plurality or perhaps even a majority of the votes would go to this new America first party and that would carry it to victory.  Then, let the banks, the megasized, transnational corporations, and the special interest groups, and the Left (control freaks that they are) whine and bitch and complain.

Will this happen?  Realistically, no.  But, that is not because it is an impossibility. The sad fact is that the people have been so divided against each other over the years by the Left, that they cannot come together for the greater good of all.  This is the national tragedy.

From my essay last year on race relations in the US let me quote:  “As citizens in a multi-racial society, we are stronger when we work together.  Let us resist the forces of division in our midst.”

copyright 2014 –

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random images from life – part two

We now present a totally random series of pics to clear out our back log of images to post. The power outages here in the far west (of the US) are also random as we are experiencing triple digit day time temps (on the Farenheit scale).

These images are of the every day simple things, but some of them are interesting.



lobster 2


Dragon dancers.


dragon dancers


We really have no idea what this next fruit is.  Note the droplets of water on the leaves.




As so-called smart meters are installed throughout the US, local utilities are doing much work in residential areas.


smart meter


A plant growing in a city.




Avocados!  A great super food that is good for both men’s and women’s health.  We love them.




A columbarium and mausoleum in Oakland, California.   A reminder to make the most of each day as we are all mortal.


chapel of the chimes


The annual county fair held in Pleasanton, CA in late June, 2013.


county fair




not china crab feed


Electric transmission lines.  Our economy is so dependent upon electric power.


transmission line






Dragon fruit.  Perhaps, these might be called demon’s or devil’s fruit.


dragon fruit


From a walk in the park.




Utility work in a residential area of San Francisco.




We think we may have posted this next image much earlier in an essay on food.  But, we include it here as it is nice.  An apple based dessert.


apple dessert


Now, we can get serious about continuing with the China picture series started more than a month ago and set aside for weeks.  It will be some effort to process all the images, but these are likely to be of interest to some readers/viewers.

copyright 2014 –

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random images from life – part one

After much time consuming file maintenance in recent days, we uncovered some images not previously posted.  So, we make an essay of random images from life that may be of interest to some readers/viewers.  Enjoy.

High voltage electric transmission lines.


transmission line 2


Winter flowers from January, 2014.


winter flowers


Lucy at a county fair in June, 2013.


lucy at fair


Shadows on the grass beneath a tree.


shadows on grass


A fresh concrete patch to an old garage floor.


patch of concrete






I do not know what this is.  May be some type of flowers.


unknown items


Street scene in downtown San Francisco on 20 June 2013.


misc image in downtown


Minor construction work on 19th Avenue a couple of blocks south of Golden Gate Park, a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.


construction 2


Looks delicious.




Our blog’s photographer enjoys posing for an occassional shot.




copyright 2014 –

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