On the Right to Arm Bears

  I personally do not own any kind of firearm. Now, I don’t really want to own one, nor do I feel any kind of need to own one. BUT – if I indeed have a RIGHT to own one, what is the government doing about that? Why isn’t there grant money available for this?

Oh, did I mention I can’t afford one either? I can’t, nor can I afford the ammunition. But it seems to me if this was truly a RIGHT, then some kind of government grant would be available to make it affordable for me. Chew on that.

MAYBE it’s only a right for rich white people. That’s probably the truth.

All You Need Is Love

Love.

Love is the most powerful force in the universe.  Love is the force behind Light, and Light dispels darkness completely.  You know, from the scientific point of view, darkness doesn’t really exist.  The scientific definition of “darkness” is “the absence of light.” In other words, darkness is nothing. Zip. Nada. There is no power in darkness.

Sometimes we speak of “the forces,” or “powers of darkness.”  These are illusions,  lies really, since some people, falsely believing in their separateness from others (as if they could hurt others without hurting themselves — the ultimate lie), attempt to enlist these powers in order that they may feel superior, or to have power over others.  When the light of Truth and Love is turned on, these folks scatter like cockroaches and hide in the dark places.

There is nothing more powerful than love.  In the face of Love, hate dissipates.  In the face of Love, fear recedes. In the face of Love, so called “black magick,” or “dark arts,”  are rendered  impotent.

This may be a cliche, but nonetheless, the Beatles had it right when they said, “All you need is Love.”

Namaste — el /|\

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.

There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time - 
It's easy.

There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Hyperbole

hy·per·bo·le
hīˈpərbəlē/
noun
  1. exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
    synonyms: exaggerationoverstatementmagnificationembroideryembellishmentexcessoverkillrhetoric;

A friend of mine has stated that my essay on the so-called “Palestinians” was full of “hyperbole.”

Well, ok. She’s a well educated woman so I decided to take another look.

I don’t see it. Not even one word.  But that’s the thing:  when your opponent can’t find a logical flaw in your reasoning, or if they KNOW internally that what you are saying is the truth, they have to resort to another attack. Now, if she had offered a link – something to prove  I was wrong, that would be one thing. That would be legitimate. But an accusation of “hyperbole”?  Sorry, but that’s mishigas .

Heather 11-2-2015 – 12-15-2017

Heather isn’t dead. The time stated in the title is the time she occupied one of the two rooms we rent out to lodgers. I usually do not write about our Housemates, but Heather was unique. So unique in fact that we will NEVER rent to a Pisces again.

She was a nice person. In her 40s. A bit overweight maybe. Hell, she was obese! She probably tipped the scale at 450. But the kind of guys she dated liked that sort of thing. She also had two Masters Degrees, and a very decent job at a local business that provided 215 cards. She always paid her rent on time, and in fact frequently paid a few days early. What was really nice was she held an account at the same Credit Union we are members of, so she could pay her rent via direct deposit.

But (here come the buts) she was dirty. Every time she took a shower she left a ring of dirt in the bottom of the tub. This was in the shower, mind you. You would think that she worked out in the fields. But no, she worked in an office. Once or twice a month we had to run the special Draino drain cleaner for hair clogs. Once a month we would find menstrual blood under the rim of the toilet seat. Gross!

The real issue was her use of her space. Housemates, in addition to their room, have a deep cabinet over and under the the built in oven. They also have half of the bottom shelf in the refrigerator and the “crisper” drawer underneath. In addition, they have a drawer in the bathroom, and Heather had the ancillary space on the thing that hung from the shower head. She also had a cabinet above the washer and dryer in the laundry room. She seemed to think that she had to fill all of these spaces up. But mostly, she filled them with crap. The ancillary space below the shower head had normal stuff, so that one is a pass. The space in the laundry room had laundry supplies, but also a stockpile of special african black soap she used. The drawer in the bath room was a trow all. Used partial slivers of soap, unread mail, read mail, used razors and other crap that normal people would throw in the trash. Not Heather. She saved it all. There seemed to be about 25 months worth.

She had a ton of food packed into her kitchen cabinet space. Some of it was open. There were deceased bananas, and other fruit; moldy and breeding G-d knows what. Her refrigerator space was also like this, with lots of takeout containers, jelly jars, several unopened packages of butter. Both the drawer and the space above were overflowing with this crap.
The thing is: she didn’t cook. Well, she must have made toast once in a while. She had a few dozen partially used loaves of sour dough, both in the refrigerator and in her space in the mini freezer. She usually ate out at restaurants, or had take out delivered. I don’t think I ever saw her cook. Yet she had all this space in the refrigerator, and her cabinet space loaded – top to bottom, side to side, front to back. When she left, the local food bank received a sizable donation. Well, of what was still in packages and edible. A lot was way past the expiration date and was tossed.

The real problem was her room. This we discovered as she was moving out. She hoarded garbage. Literally. We gathered eight bags of trash out of her room. Additionally, there were 5 bags of CRV (California Refund Value) plastic (soda, water, etc.), a paper bag full of soda cans, and another of bottles. I made $25 at the recycling center for that. Now, keep in mind that Ceridwen, myself and our other Housemate spent 6 hours bagging this stuff. It was all just strewn about the room.

Anyroad. Heather is gone now.  We’ve mopped down the walls and ceiling took out the trash and vacuumed.  I think we will need to hire someone to clean the carpet. It looks pretty bad.

We kept her deposit.  This is only about the 3rd time we have done this. Mainly because she moved without giving us a written notice, but the violations of her housemate agreement were many, many fold.  She must have known that would be the result of her weird housekeeping habits.

I’ve never written about a Housemate before. We’ve been doing this since about 2007 (it pays the atrocious rent we pay here). Most stay about six months. Heather was one of two exceptions to this rule. We’ve learned not to rent to men (they’re almost always “children”).  And now there will never be another Pisces. Unless she has Virgo rising to counter act it.

Maybe.

Pacifism IS a Pagan Value


Like it or not, Pacifism and especially Peace Activism is a Pagan value. Especially I believe, a Druid value (and I think that the insistence that because the iron age Celts were a warrior society, we Druids therefore must embrace warriorship is absurd). The obvious destruction and pollution to the environment that results from modern methods and weapons of warfare should be enough, I would think, to convince Pagans of this obvious position. But sometimes it takes more, so I direct you to this blog, by Druid Ali: http://meadowsweet-myrrh.blogspot.com which contains a series of articles relating to this idea of Pacifism as a Pagan value. She has really been hit with the Awen here, and I trust you will find these as enlightening as I did.

Here’s a sample: “When trying to understand a philosophy of pacifism or nonviolence, therefore, we can define the word “violence” broadly, without making the absurd claim that all destruction should or can be avoided. Personally, I define “violence” as: a rejection or denial of the unique and meaningful individuality of a being. Rejecting that another being has a unique and meaningful individual existence independent from our own can lead us to impose our wills or passions on them by force. Such force can be physical and cause physical injury or even death, but it can also be emotional, psychological or even spiritual. In her book Living With Honour, Emma Restall Orr talks about the Welsh and Gealic words for “face,” and invokes the notion of “being face-to-face” as at the heart of what honor means in Celtic society. An act of violence against another is an act of dishonor, refusing to come face-to-face, diminishing and disempowering others, alienating and isolating them and denying them relationship with us, denying our interconnection.

Planning on decorating a tree this year?

This time every year, thousands of us go out and purchase a tree to decorate for the Yule.  After the Yule what do we do with it? In the case of artificial trees, we pack them up and put them in the attic for next year.  In the case of cut trees, they end up in the landfill  (actually, back when I lived in Santa Cruz the members of the Pagan alliance there used to keep their trees and other greenery in the backyard until Imbolc, then we’d cart this very dry stuff down to the beach and make a bonfire out of it. It was glorious!). 

This year, I propose that we all purchase live trees (in a pot – in soil).  After the secular New Year is over, we can truck these down to our nearest National Forest or Park and replant them  (check with local officials first of course). 

Of course, in our area here, a Coast Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirons) would be the ideal choice.

Worlds tallest living Xmas Tree (a Coast Redwood)- Ferndale CA 2017

Poly stuff

Polyamory:
The philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time. All persons involved are friends of each other.

Polyfidelity:
An intimate relationship structure where all members are considered equal partners and agree to restrict sexual activity to only other members of the group.

Line Marriage:
The is a form invented by author Robert A Heinlein. As described in his novel, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (tMiaHM),” basically a married couple adopts another person (male or female) and adds that person to their marriage. This continues until there are many co-wives and co-husbands in the marriage.  When subsequently, partners die off, the marriage continues, and wealth is simply compounded over many years. Wikipedia says this: “The characters argue that the line family creates economic continuity and parental stability in an unpredictable, dangerous environment. Manuel’s line marriage is said to be over 100 years old. The family is portrayed as economically comfortable because improvements and investments made by previous spouses compounded, rather than being lost between generations. Heinlein also makes it a point that this family is racially diverse.”

In tMiaHM, a young woman seeks to join the marriage.  The adult members vote on this. The outcome must be unanimous. On the night of her wedding, she sleeps with the oldest male member, then each night following, with other males according to seniority.  Whether or not she has intercourse with them is a matter of her own choosing, and the choice of the male in question. Any of them can opt out. They may only have intercourse if both agree.

Children are considered to be the “children of all,” although, every child knows who their mother is.

From 1971 to 1981, the Kerista Commune in San Francisco was a kind of group marriage, similar to  the Line Marriage described above. They in fact coined the term “polyfidelity.”  They used an elaborate rotation calendar to determine who slept with whom on any given night (Kerista was divided into small groups of five to six, called BFICs. The calendar governed each BFIC, not the entire community). The calendar was used to insure that favorites didn’t develop; that all men and women had equal opportunity.  Generally, these marriage forms exclude bisexual and homosexual behavior, but I do not believe that they have to be that exclusive.

Why did Kerista split up?  The leader of the group John Peltz “Bro Jud” Presmont,  left. Kerista’s main fault was that it was essentially a  personality cult, revolving around “Bro Jud.” However, there is a remnant of Kerista that exists on the island of Maui, in Hawaii.

Group marriage is considered anti-capitalistic. This is because a group of people will naturally use less resources than individuals will. For example, a group marriage of six adults could share a three bedroom house easily, yet society would only approve of two adults sharing a house. This is why you don’t see many multi bedroom homes anymore. Likewise, they may share a common vehicle, common appliances, etc.

What is the difference between Polyamory and Swinging?  The names give it away. Polyamory means “many loves.”  Swinging, on the other hand, is strictly a sexual practice. Swingers tend to be couples who “swap wives” and engage in casual sex with just about anyone, with no strings attached. You can’t do that with people you love, nor are you likely to.  In fact it is possible to be Polyamorous and never have sex.

Polyfidelity brings the matter to a head, for here you have a group of people who are actually committed to one another and practice sex exclusively in that group.

What about jealousy?  What is jealousy anyway? Popular culture equates love with ownership. Think about Valentines Day for example.  The little candy hearts with “Be MY Valentine.”  When you are in love you belong (are owned by) another person.  That sounds like a form of slavery to me. You cannot own another person, nor should you think of another person, or yourself, as belonging (being owned) by someone else.  Jealousy is therefore a societal  construct of slavery. Your become jealous when someone you believe you own is being used (or allowing themselves to be used) by someone else.  Jealousy is a behavior that has been conditioned into people. It’s a learned behavior. Therefore, it can be unlearned.

Compersion is the opposite of jealousy. Compersion is the celebration of the happiness and or pleasure experienced by a persons partner when they are with someone else.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own… Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.” – Robert A. Heinlein


Censored in my own group?

I wear a lot of different hats online.  I founded the Pagans of Santa Cruz group on Facebook.  My wife and I once lived in Santa Cruz and we had it in our heads that we would like to return there. Santa Cruz has a very active (even pro-active) Pagan community.  In the last year or so Oberon Zell, one of the icons of the Pagan movement, moved there.

I commented about this.  I mentioned that Oberon’s presence in Santa Cruz was a plus for the community and very appropriate, given that Oberon’s “Church” (Church of All Worlds, aka, CAW) was based upon the science fiction novel, Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein.  Heinlein had lived a great deal of his life in Bonny Doon, just north of Santa Cruz.  His papers etc., now reside at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) and his remains were scattered in the Monterey Bay, which Santa Cruz rests on.

In another comment, someone incorrectly stated that Oberon had “coined” the term “neo-pagan.”  I corrected that saying “Neo-pagan” had been in usage since about 1868 or so, and Oberon had perhaps popularized it.

I wondered today if there were any comments on either of those ideas. I was shocked however when I looked at the site and not only were my comments gone, but the entire thread that preceded them was gone as well.

What happened?  I know that criticizing Oberon seems to be a taboo among Pagans.  But I wasn’t criticizing him, I merely corrected an error about him, and also pointed out the appropriateness of his presence in Santa Cruz.

Has Paganism reverted to a kind of Roman Catholicism, where criticism (or “seems to be criticism”) of a Pagan elder is grounds for censorship? How about excommunication?  Why not just burn people at the stake and be done with it?

You know, as the founder of that group, I have to power to delete it. Just sayin’.

Now, my comments were off-topic.  And one could reasonably accuse me of “trolling.”  I get that.  It’s also possible that the original author might have decided to pull the thread.

But still ….  I am the founder.


Medicare Part D Fraud

(It’s been almost a month since I last posted. I’m getting lazy I guess.)

So I’m on Medicare and I get Part D, which is the Prescription Drug benefit. It allows you to buy insurance to pay for your medications. Different companies offer different plans, but the goal is to try to pay less for your meds.

When I first qualified for Medicare I was the only one of us getting Social Security. Medicare recommended that I sign up with Wellcare. My monthly premium was only $7 and they paid for all of my medications. Cool!

The following year, the premium increased to $15.

The year after that, the premium increased to $35. This was because my wife started receiving Social Security, and so our joint income increased. We now make approximately $100/month above the Medi-Cal line, so I am no longer receiving “Extra Help” which is the program for those whose income is below a certain mark.  Medi-Cal was no longer subsidizing my premium, so that explains the drastic increase. But here is where I found out the truth about Wellcare: they didn’t REALLY pay for ALL my medications. They pay – get this – about $30 per month toward my prescriptions. So only the cheapest ones are paid for. Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) paid for the rest. And that means I now have to pay for the expensive ones.

I’ll be switching companies in October, but right now I have to stay with Wellcare, which means I am paying out $10 a month more than I would if I had no insurance what so ever.

I’ve written a letter to Medicare, asking whether or not the Wellcare company is committing fraud or not. I’ll let you know when and if I hear anything.

What did I learn? Do your research.

I found out today when my monthly report came from Wellcare, that they are owned by CVS Caremart.  CVS is a giant chain pharmacy that is in the business to make as much money from human suffering as they can.  I found out this fact because I happened to look at the postage mark on the envelope. There is was – CVS Caremart. I think that might explain why they are worthless.

The new company is through AARP, so I’ll have to join – $12/year.  According to their website, I will pay $22 each month and they will pay for all but one of my prescriptions.  This is how it should be I think. The one prescription they will not pay for (none of the companies I looked at will) is for Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) which I take up to 3 times a day (rarely) for chronic back pain. It is an opioid. No, I am not addicted. Most of the time I can get by with only two a day.

The only downside will be that I have to use Walgreens. I like Costco better. They know me — never ask my name when I show up there. I’ll have to reestablish a relationship at Walgreens.

This means that my monthly expenses will go down by about $125 a month. This is a good thing.

Anyroad, if you or your loved ones are insured with Wellcare, do some research. You may well be paying out way more than you have to.