Category Archives: Ze Rest of Ze Ztuffm

New Web Host

Just moved to a new web host after many great years with my friend, Dave Rolling at Infovue. The seasons change, and he is discontinuing his services. It’s sad that I won’t be getting tech support from a good friend, but life – and the Internet – goes on. Best of luck to Dave and his work, and I know I’ll always fondly remember my 17+ years with his hosting.My new host is bluehost and i got a nice deal from them trough a BlueHost Black Friday Deal.

Are We the Bad Guys?

This is always a good question to ask. There’s a very wry bit by the British comedy duo Mitchell and Webb (no close relation, I think) in which they portray German SS officers on the Russian Front. One asks, “Are we the baddies?” and then notes how they have skulls on their uniforms, and how that’s never a good sign.

I’m currently touring Civil Rights sites in the USA, and although not all the horrors visited upon those who fought for their rights were done by men with skulls on their uniforms, there were clear signs of “bad guy” behaviors that should have been reviewed and then abandoned by those who did not want to be actual bad guys. Keep in mind that merely fighting other bad guys alone is not sufficient evidence of being a good guy. There are lots of times that bad guys fight other bad guys.

So, here’s a checklist of things that bad guys do. If you are doing them, please stop. If people on your political side are doing them, please get them to stop or, failing that, disavow their extremism vocally and oppose it at every turn, so as not to have your own political position undermined by its association with bad guys. Now, the list:

1. INTIMIDATION… this is a big one. When, in response to a reasoned argument or appeal to mercy, one chooses instead to emphasize one’s power of one form or another, that is intimidation. Bad guys are always doing this thing, and it underlines the lack of justification for a particular position.

2. VIOLENCE… this one is frequently employed when the intimidation fails. If one has to initiate aggression in order to maintain one’s views and preferences, one likely has views and preferences that are wrong. At any rate, concessions won through violence are either tainted, temporary, or both. Winning through violence does not imply that one is right: it merely indicates one is perhaps better-armed and/or more desperate and inhuman in the application of that violence.

3. MISREPRESENTATION… this is insidious, as one appears to be offering one thing, but instead proffers another and then uses that confusion to entrap another person. If this happens accidentally, good people resolve the confusion and apologize sincerely without using the language of the contract or agreement to extract unwilling concessions from the other party. Bad guys do this stuff intentionally most of the time and, should they find a bonus area for entrapment, seize upon that, as well.

Individuals are, of course, capable of much more bad stuff. These three things, however, exemplify what groups of bad guys will do in order to further their agenda and increase their power over others. Take a possible scenario with individuals out of the picture and consider instead a group conflict. Good guys can disagree on a political point of view: they do so without resorting to intimidation, violence, or misrepresentation. An opponent is not necessarily a bad guy.

However, as I noted earlier, if one’s side is doing any of the above things, one may be on the same side as the bad guys. If this is not desirable, consider either a gradual or abrupt shift away from supporting that side. In a recent example, both Trump supporters that initiate violence with protesters and protesters that initiate violence with Trump supporters are bad guys. Protesters and Trump supporters can both be good guys, provided they abstain from intimidation, violence, and misrepresentation.

Why does this make a difference? Well, I hold the view that a person’s actions determine a path that person will follow beyond this mortal existence. There is a value to being a “good guy”, no matter what suffering one endures in this life. For those who built up their power through intimidation, violence, and/or misrepresentation, shame, regret, and sorrow await them in the eternity to come. In that sense, there is great value, nobility, and dignity in heeding the words of those who said that mercifulness, nonviolence, and honesty were principles by which to live one’s life.

So, take some time and ask the question, “Are we the bad guys?” If not, hooray, you’re on the path towards light, love, and joy. If you are, then you have a crisis of the soul ahead of you, either now, later in your life, or when you’re dead and can’t do much about it.

Choose this day whom you will serve.

Happy New Thingy

The completion of the annual revolution of the earth is marked with celebration and reflection. Our limited mortality prevents us from doing the same when our sun completes a trip around the galactic core or when our galaxy finishes its path around the central attractor of the local cluster… to say nothing of when the local cluster or its containing supercluster complete their cycles. And yet, nature has the biggest bash of all: after the heat death of the universe, quantum tunneling can lead to a release of baryonic matter and energy, in a new big bang event, starting another cycle on its way. Happy New Year, in perspective.

A Discussion of the “Confederate Flag”

What most people call the Confederate Flag is actually an elongated version of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, which itself would have been an interesting footnote in Confederate history were it not for the use of that flag as a symbol promoting the Lost Cause movement and, later, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. I explore the facts and mythology surrounding the flag in this video. If you enjoyed it, be sure to like it, share it, and subscribe to my channel.

A Grander View

Perhaps this might offend someone… but it might also uplift someone else. I write this as a rant, so I’m already convinced of the certainty of these arguments. It’s not a soul-searching piece. It’s just another page of my open-source diary.

Birth is not a beginning and death is not an end. There is no end to existence, though it may pass through phases, times, and seasons. I watched as this world came into being, and I shall exist long after its passing. My life here has a purpose, but it is for an end beyond this life. And of this beyond, what proof do I have? I have enough for my own purposes, and I had to fight and struggle for that proof born of faith. I confess a tired impatience when others speak of that faith as a secondary concern, or of it being no concern at all. It is the same tired impatience I experienced when an ignorant young wag would try to debunk my geographic knowledge by virtue of the fact that I had not yet been to every place in the world. I had been to enough of it to know that it was there and to trust in the tales of honest travelers who had been to other places in the great, wide world.

By that same token, I have been to spiritual places in number enough to trust in what is told to me by honest men that have seen more of that realm. That knowledge informs a view I hold that looks beyond the limits of mortality. I see my ultimate end as being one with God, as part of His family, engaged in the work and glory of bringing to pass the eternal life of mankind.

Why are people born the way they are? Jesus said it wasn’t because of anyone’s sins: it just happens. Pick any condition in the “born this way” category, and it just happens. Each of us faces a string of burdens in life, unique to our own existence. We can choose to be guided by pride and demand that we are right, damn anyone that dares to disagree. In the process, we can destroy goodness around us and blind ourselves to truth. Or, we can choose instead to be guided by humility and accept that we have much to learn and, in the process, open our eyes to truth as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, care and precision.

So how can I, a person who claims to be a just, enlightened, unbigoted intellect, be against the idea of same-sex marriage? How can I be against the idea of full gender equality in my own faith? Well, I shall explain.

First, the same-sex marriage thing: We are here to prepare to be part of an Eternal Family. That is no euphemism. I was a spirit child before I was a mortal child, and as a spirit child, I was the product of a loving union in the realm from which I came and to which I hope to return. Gender was important to the creation of my spirit. Important? No, it was vital. Gender is vital to the continuance of that work, for there is more of it to come. I cannot live alongside my Heavenly Father and do the things which He would have me do without an Eternal Companion of the necessary opposite gender. Biology for the continuation of the species is not limited to the time between birth and death in this mortal existence. It is Eternal. Marriage between a man and a woman can continue for eternity, should it be sealed upon earth by the proper authority and in the proper place. Any other sort of union cannot.

Now, if persons wish to make same-sex marriages legal, that is their business, and they have to accept that I will oppose such measures on my own moral grounds. Even so, if someone wishes to live a life in a same-sex union, so be it. We all are free to choose for ourselves how we live our lives. But don’t expect Eternal truths to change because of societal druthers. No matter what may be permissible in society, I am quite certain that my religion will never recognize same-sex marriages as being acceptable to God as things that can be as Eternally binding as those marriages I mentioned as being sealed by the proper authority and in the proper place. And I’m fine with that.

Now, given that gender has Eternal meaning and implication, part of our existence here is to experience what it means to be who we ultimately will become. Our roles and experiences here guide and form our souls, and our souls have a gender. All the stuff the Greeks came up with about the body being a prison for the spirit is only so much philosophical noodling. The body and spirit are the soul, and gender has no small part of defining our souls’ eternal experiences.

For some reason, men need to learn important lessons about leadership, organization, and service that go with serving in the priesthood in my religion. I don’t believe that women don’t need to learn those lessons: I just believe that they don’t need the priesthood in order to learn those lessons. For some reason, men need to be ordained to the priesthood in order to perform solemn observances in the Lord’s temples in my faith. Women can perform those observances without being ordained to the priesthood – they have that right from birth. There are things of Eternity in this difference and distinction. Asking why is fine, but demanding an answer that fits a notion at variance with Eternal truth is not.

And I admit that my answer on the women not having the priesthood thing is not as solidly formed in my mind as is my response to same-sex marriage. But I do know that the answer is there, and that it explains things fully and to the satisfaction of anyone not motivated by pride, self-importance, or with a mind to justify sin. Yes, it takes faith to muster up the patience to await that answer, but faith and patience have been good to me in the past, so I trust in them for my future.

Women should have the vote, equal pay for equal work, the same standing as men in a court of law, the right to own property, the right to have credit cards in their own name, the right to initiate divorce, the right to have custody of their children, the right to learn any subject taught in the university and a host of other equalities that they have struggled to attain – some only in the last 40 years in the USA – but there is an end to equality where gender makes a difference, and that applies to me as much as it does to my Eternal partner, my wife. The inequalities of gender do not make one greater or lesser – just necessarily different in order to experience the fullness of Eternal Life.

Here endeth the rant. I don’t care if anyone reads this or is persuaded by it. I just care to commit it to a document for my own sense of posterity.