Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If its Relative Does it Matter?

The admission of stupidity is never an easy process, every one of us wants to be considered intelligent and worthy of the accolades of mental superiority.  It is a humbling exercise in reality and in the relevance of all things that our thoughts and minds seemed stalled and numbed to not only the existential possibilities but in the proposed realities of a meaningful existence.   Not knowing, nor even comprehending the initial essence of relativism or absolutism, the feeling of falling into a deep endless chasm of uncertainty, believing that on either side may be an answer and the hope that if only a small branch or root protruding from the sheer rock would unceremoniously strike us on the face, then and perhaps only then would we start to comprehend.

I know I’m not alone in this but perhaps I’m the only one willing to openly admit to my retarded and stunted progress toward understanding.  It seems so prevalent in the media and with those who proclaim and espouse that an ultimate truth a universal constant is just around the corner but am I the only one who cares that no matter who says this about that the only constant in the human experiment is the theoretical.

Politics aside, every facet of our lives are filled with those who profess and declare absolute pronouncements of this or that, overly whitened teeth gleaming under the false presence of curled lips and winking eyes as the end of controversy is shouted and broadcast for all to see.  Two weeks, a month or even a few decades and the complete opposite views are avowed with equal fanfare and assurances of validity.

The greatness of Einstein was his ability to explain the concrete importance of relativism and the theoretical postulate of never really knowing and understanding that not knowing is perhaps the only constant for man and within the context of our limited and  restricted intellect.

 Because of Einstein we did expand our understanding and advanced our knowledge but to what end?  It is that end that is the ultimate goal but it is also the understanding of those relativistic principles that keep us humble and able to expand and advance, even if we are mostly blind to what is it that constantly surrounds us.

What is interesting to me is the ancient plutonian theory of form being the prominent mechanism of reality for most of the human existence was not really supplanted by Einstein but was integrated and explained though relativism.    Abstract thought does not disprove quantifiable and objective measurements it only means that the relative view may not be broad enough to quantify.

Subjects of religion and spiritualism have a strong relationship with billions of humans but to date no one has been able to measure their relationship, their strength nor their effects, leaving stalwart  scientism as the only means of substantial proof of what many believe to be “reality” but in relation to relativism reality is only based on the perception of those viewing and event with limited senses and even more limited ability to comprehend what may or may not be viewed, leaving the option of Plato and related metaphysical options on the same plane of possibility as any other theoretical theory.

I do take exception to one point in this invective diatribe on the overall stupidity of man espousing and embracing the idea that the metaphysical and the theoretical efforts have continued to advance the physical and are therefore more important in the overall scheme of advancing the ideas toward that ultimate truth.  It will have to be theorized first, tested and proved second, as it should have always been perhaps.  It was this process that has always proved the most successful.  It is this process also when disregarded that the most discord between advance and societal retardation are at its most wide.  Remember the problems Galileo had when he tried to simply prove his theory?

When either science takes the lead and discounts religion or when religion proves too powerful and minimized or demonizes science the advances of human thought and technology both suffer.   It is truly the understanding that all things are relative that gives us a clear and concise view of the need for cooperative efforts from all modes of thought that will ensure our continued advances and the unrelenting evolution of partial truths and ideas toward that ultimate end of perfection.

Should we expect anything less?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pet Peeves

I have a pet peeve.  Only one pet peeve you ask, well actually I have a lot but this one tops the list.  We all have our little annoyances and our issues, our problems with the “way things are” and our concerns regarding what others think as normal or even acceptable but most of us have a few areas that might cause a random psychologist to consider filing for a 5150 (an involuntary psychological hold for 72 hours), if they knew nothing of us but what bugged us.
Squeezing tooth paste from the middle of the tube would be considered a pet peeve or not picking up your cloths.  There are as many pet peeves as people, even using the word pet peeve more than once in a sentence may even qualify as a pet peeve.    
Talking on your cell phone while standing in line…
 Saying like in a sentence after almost every word…Like, it’s like the other thing, like I was trying to say, that’s like, like…. People who wait in line and then not know what to order when it’s their turn…

You get the idea, everybody has their own level of peeveyness and tolerance towards others idiosyncrasies, even people who claim not to have any problems with others behavior may be considered a pet peeve, no one is perfect.

I may be setting myself up to a visit to the funny farm, the 5150, but here are some of my irritants and annoyances:
When a customer has multiple coupons and your line comes to a screaming halt just so they can save a few pennies.  I've often been tempted to pay the difference just to get the misery over with.    
While driving and turning right and the driver in front fails to turn into the open lane because they want to turn onto the far left lane, waiting, and waiting until they can move so they don’t have to merge later…I know, I know,  these are my issues not yours.

Loud talkers, oh my gosh! I’m inches away, I may be getting old but I’m not that deaf modulate the voice, please.
Stupid questions are another source of aggravation, especially when the meeting has gone overtime and you have things to do.  Not just questions that need clarification but questions that suggest that the person was actually sleeping or playing on their phone while the information was previously presented.  Pay attention people, were not all here just for you.

My all time, number one pet peeve however goes well beyond the inane or frivolous inconsistencies of everyday life.   It has to do with the constant and never ending taxation of our properties.  To most this may not qualify for an annoyance and may fall well within the area of revolution but for me it makes no practical sense to tax a product, of which a home is (sorry for the ending preposition) but I can think of only one item that is taxed over and over again. 

Taxes I understand, we need funds for the municipalities and local governments to function and for the federal and state to do what their supposed to do, like Obama care, taxation without representation, but that is another topic for another day but for now the topic of property tax creates a huge hole in the idea of self-liberty and is perhaps the reason for the blatant money grab that is the new health care mandate and that all important pursuit of happiness clause of the Declaration of Independence. 

When I buy a car I pay a tax at purchase, this is a one-time only fee and should not be confused with licensing fees that may or may not be seen as a just cost but they are separate issues.  Once I buy the car I can sit in it, enjoy it, even drive it, on private property without having to pay the registration costs associated with using the public roads, but the tax is still a onetime cost.  Can you imagine paying taxes on the couch in your living room year after year, or the outcry that would come from paying double or triple taxes on items purchased?

We not only pay property tax, a tax that makes home ownership virtually impossible (if you don’t pay they come and take away) but we pay that same tax every year based on the current valuation of that property and in addition we are often triple taxed paying local governments, Schools, county governments and federal and state depending on which state and province you live in.

My number one pet peeve is not in having to pay the tax once but in having to continue to pay over and over and over again, a tax that never ends and will never end, a tax in perpetuity, designed primarily so local and state leaders can more easily budget their needs and wants, knowing that my property taxes will always be paid if I want to continue living in my home. 

The collective mentality of ownership is obviously twisted and perverted establishing a false sense of ownership that favors the government and not the owner.  During my search for statistics and articles that discussed property tax I was amazed at the lack of information and the lack of general interest in absolving this long standing theft of our inalienable rights and the conversion of our hard earned profits for the perpetuation of the STATE.

So I guess my second most annoying pet peeve is the lack of concern by most who continue to pay these usurious fees and do nothing to resolve the issue and take back what is rightfully ours, maybe I’ll just rent… and start using the emergency room for all those little minor issues of life.

Monday, June 17, 2013

processed to our liking

One of my favorite cereals is Shredded wheat, I should probably put one of those registration symbols next to the name but I’ll take my chances that I don’t get sued by the giant food conglomerate that produces the coveted breakfast product.

I’m not sure what it takes to make shredded wheat but when you start to think about the process the food becomes far less appealing.  As you all probably know, wheat comes as a grain, a very hard grain that grows in a little kernel; it does not come off the stock shredded.  Since its natural form is hard, like a pinto bean it needs to be processed in order to become shredded.  The term shredded means torn, threadbare, warn or frayed and in connection with the cereal I’m not sure how or why they come up with the name shredded.

Because of the exorbitant price, over $5.00 a box and the relative cost of wheat as it comes naturally the level of profit from processing is probably more than 500%, not too bad for destroying the very essence of the grain, boiling out its fundamental nutrients, crushing it, and mangling the once pristine grain into a long crispy strand combined with thousands of other strands that create the coveted biscuit, not an English biscuit, that’s a cookie but a more traditional American biscuit like a cracker or a wafer, don’t get me started with these differences it’s kinda like the differences between a large stream and a small river…

After reading more about the nutritional values of different cold cereals, Shredded Wheat is in fact quite healthy and with little added preservatives, sugars or other processing chemicals like dyes or stabilizers leading me to believe that the essences of the wheat kernel is the reason, not the shredding, not the processing into more palatable forms like the frosted mini wheat’s (again the need for the registration symbol, of which I will totally ignore and hope the cereal police to not come knocking at my door).

The problem with shredded wheat or any other processed foods is the specter of thinking that these foods are better than the original.  Don’t get me wrong I like processed foods, I love the taste, I love the excessive salt and sugar and the overwhelming fat content that you can actually feel, filling the arteries and clogging the digestive system to such a degree that normal bodily functions are drastically impeded, but they taste so good, who cares right?

There really is nothing wrong with processing our foods but when we process to excess we run the real risk of risking our health.  It’s like my father used to say, an apple is good for you but an apple pie is not, but who among us would pass up a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, not me.  And here in lies the dilemma, the quandary and to some the impassible impasse of having to choose health or down right decadence.

It’s not that shredded wheat is bad for you, it’s not, in fact its more good for you than bad and has real health benefits if used responsibly, it sounds like I’m talking about using a hand gun here, but you get the picture, I think.  The problem with foods like shredded wheat is that they turn us, so ever slightly away from the pristine and the perfect, skewing the absolute with doubt and relativism, clouding our minds with only a slight shadow of the once perfect to the almost as good.

I’m not blaming shredded wheat, I would be eating it each morning, if I could afford it, but I am blaming the ever so popular process of moral relativism as it slowly but inexorably takes us away from the original kernels of truth and replaces them with a seemingly more palatable option, a more immediate sensation of pleasure with the comfortable printed labels of health and benefit on the side of each box.

Whole foods (not the store chain) do not need a nutritional label they are the truth of good health but even these innocent kernels are being affected by those same massive international conglomerates as they engineer, patent and legally protect their creations in order to stabilize the costs of production, increase profitability and keep us dependent on what they process, produce and procure.

Wheat is not alone in this conspiratorial epicurean coup; corn also is changing the way the world eats, and soy and rice as well.  It’s gone way past the nutritional benefits of a certain grain, it’s now into the final stages of profit over humanity, the morality of suspect companies not simply profiting but of engineering our lives toward their directed outcomes, ”Soylant Green is People

OOH gosh I hope not, I had trouble when a fly flew into my mouth just as I was biting down on an overly processed Sun Chip, I think it’s still flying around in there….

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lost Art

Since all fruits and vegetables were originally shipped in wooden crates, labels were needed for the ends of each crate to identify its contents, place of origin and to catch the eye of buyers with interesting graphic images. Beginning on the Pacific Coast of America in the mid-1880s, crate labels became America's largest innate art-form, advertising countless millions of boxes of fruit to consumers across the nation and around the globe for the past 130 years!

The largest producer and user, by far, was California. But Washington, Oregon British Columbia, Florida, Australia and New Zealand, and other countries also contributed to the phenomenon. However, in the mid 1950s, due to War shortages and changes in packaging technologies, labels were no longer necessary for most of the produce industry, as pre-printed cardboard boxes replaced the older wooden crates.

More than 100 printing and lithographic companies created labels for food packers in more than thirty American states. Similarly, several other countries have used labels of their own for decades, like Spain, Italy, Canada and Australia. Worldwide, countless billions of labels have been circulated since the 1880s. Yet, somehow, miraculously, thousands of labels have been found in varying quantities, enough for collectors to appreciate from far and wide. And, that is why label collecting is so fascinating. Because nearly all the collectible labels available today, are here by accident. They were printed, but never used, and so they sat on shelves of old warehouses for decades, until discovered by collectors. I hope you enjoy your framed vintage crate label.

For the past year I’ve been collecting these labels and creating custom, vintage style frames from recycled wood and framing these wonderful pieces of art.
Now that I have so many framed and ready to go I would like to offer them for sale.  My pictures of the finished products suck….it’s the camera phone, not me, you can only do so much with a phone from Wall Mart….

If you’re interested in buying a specific piece let me know, contact me at  free shipping in the US except for Alaska, Hawaii and Arkansas (just kidding).  For those outside the US shipping will be determined by current rates.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

So depressed over depression

Not something I like to admit but in my family there is some serious alterations from reality, that’s simply a nice way to say there is the crazy bug living large and fine within my genetic gene pool, swimming laps, enjoying the warmth of my inner Jacuzzi and just having a grand time at my expense and for those who came before.

Many mental illnesses are passed down but unlike those lauded skills from father to son these crazy talents are very difficult to define as helpful.  We all have that crazy uncle or grandmother who Aunt who is just not right, wearing the weird cloths and speaking in strange ways that only and alien from some far away planet would understand.

The question of mental illness crosses all walks of life and can be seen exposing its silly head in almost one out of ten individuals.  Most families simply have to deal with the weirdness or strange behavior except for those with the proper resources or a private basement or attic apartment those affected will continue to walk among us, letting us witness the imaginary voices, the unseen bugs or microscopic beings that crawl over their skin.

Most mental illness is manageable and most who suffer seem to function from day to day without too much curiosity from those who think their normal.  The word normal then has little if any impact on the general population if one in ten are thus affected, bringing the abnormal to a level of normality by the sheer numbers of those that suffer from the preconceived societal notions of what is normal and what is not.

Depression is a multibillion dollar industry an industry that relies on the continuation of that depression and the subsequent drugs that try to treat or at least mask the symptoms of despair, abject loneliness, Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood, Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex, Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying, Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism, Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning waking, Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain, Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down" Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts, Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions, Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain….ok, ok I think you get the point.  It reminds me in a reverse way of those wagon wheel hucksters who sold miracle cures and listed every malady under the sun.

Depression seems to cover the entire gambit of what is not considered normal behavior and any possibility of a miracle cure falls within the same shotgun strategy sold by those ancient salesmen.   
I know depression is real, I know it has serious effects on how many of us think, perceive and function but when the statistics mention one out of ten you start to wonder if it’s a problem with the people or a problem with the system.  Are we trying to deal with too much, trying to accomplish too much or are we expecting too much from others?

Do our employers expect and demand beyond what is humanly possible for a good portion of the populous and is our educational system too demanding in its attempts to prod and push each and every student toward Harvard or MIT?

Depression is real, those symptoms are real but the incidents and diagnosis have increased exponentially creating the false premise of a pandemic condition when in reality it’s the conditions that create the malady.  I did not find the associated statistics to support this claim but it seems to me that in the years past, 70 or 100 years ago, depression might have existed but it was in a much less percentage of the population.  One reason perhaps, no one had time to be depressed there was simply too much work to do.

Men and women were more concerned with survival than we are today and the pressures of that survivability left little room for self-evaluation and the subsequent malaise and selfishness that may be one of the underlying causes of depression, it may be one of them, not the only one.

There are serious mental issues that stem from brain chemistry, environmental concerns that alter that chemistry, diet, pressures of everyday life beyond what man was designed to endure and many, many other causes that create the negative environment that is the cause of depression.

As one who suffers from depression but also one who is unable to medicate I am forced to deal daily with the ups and downs, the negative lows and the positives highs with only my mental capacity to see me through.  Trust me if I could take something I would but the medications make it so much worse that I’m actually glad I can still function.

Most days I function pretty well, some days I still function but from autonomic manner, going through the motions and doing my best to push the negatives aside.

Thank goodness, no voices yet, at least ones I can recognize and for now I have not turned into a certain relative and with faith and hope all will continue toward normalcy, except when being normal is boring, at least I’m not alone, I have my family and my friends and on occasion crawly little leggy things that scream into my ear…ooh what a comfort it is.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Attack of the Ants

After a few weeks of enduring the coordinated attack I was forced to procure, place and plan my own counter attack against a growing and incessant ant problem. For now it is temporarily under control, which means that they will be back, but for now the honey is safe, the sweet cereal will be left alone and the eternal lines of tiny black bodies crawling across the floor to some microscopic sliver of discarded food source will be forgotten.
The battle with the ant is a forever battle that man may as well consign himself to a limited defeat.  We may have times relief but those temporary ceases in aggression always return as the foraging ant returns once the poisons wear- off, the borax dissipates or the kitchen and floors are not cleaned to perfection.

Most of us have ant issues, those tiny creatures finding the smallest crack or hole to gain access to our supposed clean environment.  They come for food, they come for water and they come for shelter, our houses are perfect for all three. 

Our specific infestational problems arise not just because we have good food or love sweet things , we actually think our home was built on an ancient burial ground of some lost ant culture that has decided to take revenge on our blasphemy for disturbing their sacred site.  The ants in our house come through cracks that don’t exist, trails that end at a solid wall or even groups of ants swarming around previously polished tile, congregating around an invisible food source leaving the tell-tale trail for the millions to follow.  We don’t simply have ants we have super ants that exist in both the physical realm and in some other unknown and undiscoverable demesne that we will never find, giving them free reign over all that is ours. 

Ants are not just ants; they are so much more than the squiggly things that invade our homes.  There are some disturbing facts to consider.  Did you know that the total mass of all ants combined equal the total mass of all humans now living?  That means for every man woman and child there are enough ants to equal the weight of every one alive.

It is also estimated that the brain power of an ant is the most advanced for any within the insect world and in some cased when combined as a hive can equal the brain power of a human, reminds you of the evil Borg of star trek with its drones being guided by the queen but all brains connected, like mini processors linked together for rapid decisions and quick response.   An ant brain has about 250 000 brain cells. A human brain has 10,000 million so a small colony of 40,000 ants collectively equals 10,000,000,000 the same size brain as a human, so the comparison to the Borg may be more real than we may want to admit.  

Taken to its logical conclusion with nearly 50 quadrillion ants (that’s a lot of ants) with the average hive holding approx. 220000 ants and that average colony could produce an equal brain equivalent to one human brain and with the total number of ants being roughly 50 quadrillion, you can do the math if you want but my speculation is if the ants ever started thinking beyond their existence and realized their potential man might have a problem eradicating or even surviving the ensuring battle that might look something like the B movie of attack of the ants or the space version of those giants bugs creatures that waged war against all of humanity.

Keep in mind these are only speculative numbers and only estimates on true numbers of ant with many speculating that many kinds of ant have yet to be discovered.  These are a very diverse culture with similarities to humanity itself.  The ant is the only creature on the earth that farms, enslaves, organizes and plans.

Like humans, ants continue to expand their environment, making changes to alter the circumstances of the environment to better suit their needs and survival.  Ants also like human attack their own in defense and aggression for expansion and protection.  

The bottom line of this sci-fi like scenario is the reality of what might be in our future.  The world may look like it’s ours but the ant is poised and ready to take our place and the most disturbing part is that the ant probably doesn’t even know we exist.   The war may be waging and we may think we’re winning but the ant always returns.  They may crawl across our counters, infect our food, and be a problem day after day but in the end we are the only ones who are bugged by these impressive and overpowering pests.

Who knows man may one day be the aphid to the ant.