I love this drive. I don't get to do it too often because there isn't much going on in Tres Piedras. I hope I get to drive it next fall when the aspens are turning color. The clusters of aspens nestled in the evergreen ponderosa pines and pinon junipers is stunning.
The economic downturn is showing signs of slowing down and possibly even turning back around. The stock market is much higher than its March low, housing seems to be picking up and jobless claims are slowing down.
I don't buy it.
You know how hurricanes have the "eye of the storm", well, we are in the "eye of the recession". I suspect that it will get much worse before it really gets better.
I walked away from the first land deal I made an offer on. Two days ago I made an offer on a house and it was accepted. Let's see what happens this time.
1900 sqft manufactured home on 1.9 acres with water rights. I'm laughing a bit because it's a water front property. It borders the Santa Cruz River (which is really a stream). But it's a long narrow piece of land so the house is a few hundred feet from the river and hopefully not in the flood plain. I'll find out soon.
Little Hollie Steel messed up on Britains Got Talent semi-final when she forgot some of the words to the song. Her tears got to all the judges and she was given a second chance and she nailed it. Did she deserve the second chance and did she deserve to go through to the final?
Some people try to claim that being gay is a choice. It generally isn't you are attracted to who you are attracted.
I'm a hetero woman. The thought of having sex with another woman is nauseating to me. This isn't a "choice" it's what my biology dictates to me.
Some people are bi-sexual and the argument of choice could be made in their case.
Most homosexuals are not bi-sexual.
Being a homosexual is perfectly natural. The rise in homosexuality in societies today has nothing to do with "sin". Animal populations that grow beyond the carrying capacity of their environment start to produce more homosexual animals. Homosexuality is natures way of telling us that our population is too large and we need to cut back. I don't know what the exact triggers are. It could be pollution based. But we have changed our environment and created triggers that have increased the homosexual population in an attempt to lower our population.
We should be grateful for the gays. They are helping us reduce our population to manageable numbers.
Thank you to the gays and lesbians around the world.
People who stalk and harass are mentally unstable. How do you get them to leave you alone without making them step things up and possibly get violent? Even if they are too far away to hurt you they might, out of sheer frustration, hurt someone.
What if there is something to all the "hocus pocus" of Kabbalah? What if the ancients really did have insight to the true workings of the universe?
According to Kabbalah there are ten emanations of God. Tiferet is "God" and Malchut, the lowest emanation and the closest to us is the one we pray to. Malchut is the one the ancients claim to have "risen" towards. Malchut is female and Tiferet is male. They have sex through Yesod. When we are good they have sex and all is well with the world. When we are bad the stop having sex and the world goes crazy (Do you think they need to have more sex?). Malchut, aka Shechina, is supposed to be everywhere.
According to the Rambam, aka Maimonedes, Malchut was emanated in a flash of light (see Guide for the Perplexed).
When the big bang happened there was a big flash of light. The remnants of that flash of light are everywhere. They are the cosmic background radiation (CMBR).
What if there is something to the ramblings of the ancients and Malchut is CMBR? Could the rest of the emanations be outside the universe? What if they are in another dimension? What if each emanation is the CMBR of a big bang and we are a universe within a universe within...?
I hear that a lot.Christians claim that Jesus died for their sins and that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you will go to heaven. Sounds pretty amazing doesn't it? So why don't I believe it?
The claim is that Jesus was around when the world was created and revealed himself when he did toabsolve people of their sins. Christianity claims that people are born with original sin that needs to be forgiven because of Adam and Eve.
So why didn't Jesus intervene when God banished Adam and Eve from Eden? Why didn't Jesus do something to stop them from being banished and absolve original sin? Why didn't Jesus love Adam and Eve?
Why didn't Jesus intervene when God flooded the earth? Why didn't Jesus intevene when God destroyed Soddom and Gemorah? The Egyptians? The Canaanites?
Why didn't Jesus reveal himself to the whole world? After all, as a god wouldn't he be able to be everywhere? Why didn't Jesus love all the people around the world enough to reveal himself to them and give them the opportunity to believe in him and go to heaven?
Billions of people have lived and died without the opportunity of knowing about Jesus. They were born at the wrong time and/or the wrong place. Why didn't Jesus love them?
Christianity claims to be based on Judaism. The more I learn about Christianity the more absurd this claim seems to be.
According to Judaism the Messiah is a direct descendant of King David. The Messiah is human, not a "son of God". It is impossible to be both a direct descendent of David and a son of God. Descendency from David follows the pateranl line. The Messiah is suposed to come after Gog Umagog and resurect the dead. There was no Gog Umagog before Jesus nor did he resurrect all the dead. The Messiah was supposed to rebuild the Temple. Jesus did not rebuild the Temple.
Jesus is much closer related to the Pagan God Mithra.
Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25th in a cave, and his birth was attended by shepherds. He was considered a great traveling teacher and master. He had 12 companions or disciples. Mithra's followers were promised immortality. He performed miracles. As the "great bull of the Sun," Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace. He was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again. His resurrection was celebrated every year. He was called "the Good Shepherd" and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion. He was considered the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah." His sacred day was Sunday, the "Lord's Day," hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ. Mithra had his principal festival of what was later to become Easter. His religion had a eucharist or "Lord's Supper," at which Mithra said, "He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved." "His annual sacrifice is the passover of the Magi, a symbolical atonement or pledge of moral and physical regeneration."
Oddly enough all Christian holidays coincide with pagan holidays. For example today is Easter Sunday and one of the traditions of Easter is to eat chocolate eggs and bunnies. Ever wonder where that came from? You can find the answer here http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn63/easter.htm http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t020.html http://www.history.com/content/easter/pagan-origins
There are many major differences between Judaism and Christianity, here are a few of them.
1. Prayer. Christians pray to God telling him what they want from him. Jews pray to God thanking him for what they have. Judaism finds it repulsive to ask God for things. God knows your needs and provides them. If you ask that means you think you know something God does not know. The only time Jews ask for anything from God is on Yom Kippur when they ask God to forgive their sins.
2. Charity. Christians make a huge deal out of giving charity. Judaism views charity as something to be done quietly and secretly. By no means should the person receiving know who the giver is and vice versa. That would be humiliating to the receiver.
In ancient times portions of the crops were left in fields for the poor to come at night and collect. Today there are organizations that collect the money and redistribute it where needed. No one knows who their money went to or who their money came from. This continues the tradition of "matan baseter" secret giving.
3. Faith. Christianity is based on faith. The most important thing is to accept Jesus as your savior. In Judaism there is no requirement to have faith in anything. You don't even have to believe in God. Judaism is a set of laws to live by. The Mishna and Talmud do not deal with belief or faith they deal with daily issues like if person A borrows X from person B and ruins it does person A have to replace it? It goes into every possible scenario you can think of depending on the conditions of the loan and what X is rendering judgment on each one (often two or three, we love to split hairs and argue). So while Christianity is faith based Judaism is civil law based.
4. Heaven and Hell. There is no heaven and hell in Judaism. There was however heaven and hell in Paganism.
5. Original sin. There is no original sin in Judaism.
6. The Bible. In spite of being spread out with no communication for thousands of years when European Jews united with other Jews from around the world and the Torah from each community was examined they were identical down to the last letter and symbol. There are many versions of the "New Testament" there is only one "Old Testament". If you want to read you'll have to learn Hebrew. If you've read a translation you haven't read the Bible.
The earliest folowers of Jesus were the Nazarenes. The Nazarenes were Jews who viewed Jesus as a Rabbi, Prophet or Messiah depending on the text you read. None of the Nazarenes considered Jesus the "Son of God". The Nazarenes demanded that anyone who wanted to be accepted as a Nazarene must first convert to Judaism. Some of the apostles decided that this was not necessary and the rift between Judaism and Christianity began.
To broaden the appeal of the new religion of Christianity in those early centuries, the powerful Roman religious authorities, with the backing of the Roman Empire, simply co-opted the rites and practices of pagan religions, relabeled them as "Christian" and created a new brand of Christianity with customs and teachings far removed from the Church Jesus founded.
The rift grew to the point that the Nazarenes who were the first followers of Jesus but maintianed their Jewish way of life were persecuted by the Gentile Christians and all contact between the two sects were broken. This broke the tie between Christianity and Judaism.
The New Testemant was written after this rift occured. The writers of the New Testament deliberately changed the testimony of how Jesus died shifting the blame from the Romans to the Jews and opening the door to the vilification of Jews throughout the next 1500 years. Even the Holocaust would never have happened if Christian hatred for Jews had not been so strong. The Nazi's preyed on this hatred incitng the hatred to get the German people to agree to the extermination of the Jews.
When I was 24, after six years of soul searching I came to the conclusion that God was a figment of mans imagination. When I say God I mean the god that watches over us and cares what we do and judges us. I went through a process of breaking every taboo I could think of. The first thing I did was turn on a light on Shabbat. Next I ate bread on Passover. I tried pork (didn't like it at all), and shellfish (ewwwwwwww). The big test was eating on Yom Kippur. I had been fasting on Yom Kippur for 14 years already and half expected to be struck down by lightning when I did it. I had to force each mouthful down. By the third year I wasn't even thinking about it.
For years I shrugged off every ritual and symbol and Judaism.
When I moved back to the US something inside me changed (see my post "Does it Matter?). I started looking for other Jews and decided to take a course in Jewish Mysticism to fulfill my humanities requirement for my environmental sciences degree. I had never studied Jewish Mysticism growing up. Tanach, Mishna, some Talmud and Jewish Philosophy were the mainstream areas of study. This was also the first time I studied Judaism in a secular setting. It was disconcerting in some ways.
The course opened up a new interest in Judaism. I realized that I could study Judaism without having to "believe". I also realized that I wanted to do it. Judaism is so complex and it's a huge part of who and what I am. My family for the past few hundred years were all Hassidic Rabbis. Reverence for study and a thirst for knowledge is ingrained in my genes.
This is part of what made me who I am today and learning it from that point of view is fascinating. Every now and then I'll come across something that makes me ponder whether there is a God (but like I said not the judgmental overbearing one) and what part this "God" plays in the Universe. But every time I think I found something I can believe in I find holes in the logic. Oddly enough it's my Jewish upbringing that makes me crave logic in everything.
I'm still going through the process and I'm still Agnostic.
I was seven years old when my family moved to Israel. I basically grew up surrounded by other Jews. Yes there was a sea murderous Arabs surrounding us and wanting to kill us but like most Israelis I did my best to push that to the back of my mind and not think about it. Thinking about it would drive you crazy. Sometimes I think that Israelis are masters of denial. It's an essential survival mechanism.
When I came back to the US I found myself faced with a dilemma. For the first time in my life I was asking myself whether being Jewish mattered to me. I had long since stopped believing in "God" so what difference did it make? Why was I even asking myself the question?
I was asking myself the question because it did matter. Until then I always felt that people were people and it didn't matter. Being surrounded by non Jews for the first time I realized that there was a difference. It isn't something I can point to and say "that's it! That's the difference!" All I know is that it is there. And once again I think it's biological.
My ancestors went through every type of persecution and died in droves to keep our identity alive.
It definitely does matter.
I don't believe in "God" but I am Jewish through and through.
I grew up Jewish Orthodox. It's probably the strictest most life encompassing religion ever followed. From the moment you wake up in the morning until you close your eyes at night there is nothing you do without saying a blessing. There is even a blessing for when you go to the bathroom.
I've often wondered how it became like that and I have a theory. While we live in Eretz Yisrael there was no reason for us to differentiate ourselves from others. There was no need to strive to keep our identity. Everyone was Jewish. Then the unthinkable happened and we were conquered and thrown off our land. The whole fabric of our existence was destroyed and a set of intricate ritulas and prayers and blessings were put in place to help remind us that we were indeed different.
As the years went by some strayed while others became more obstinate in their preservation of Judaism. Rules got stricter, rituals became more meaningful. Various communities developed their own minhagim (habits-ways of doin things) based on the constraints of the societies they lived in.
After two thousand years what we had was the most obstinate of the original Jews clinging to their identity with a maze of laws and rituals.
Then we returned to our land.
Most Israeli's are secular. The majority do have a belief that god exists but they don't follow the religion. About 25% are non believers but still consider themselves Jews.
I got into an argument with several people about being able to be an atheist or agnostic and still be Jewish. After all, you can't be a Christian or Muslim of you don't believe in God. I had someone else tell me that she dated a Jewish guy once and felt alien. It was like everyone else belonged to this exclusive club and she didn't. I understand why she felt that way. After so many years of preserving our way of life there is an intangible bond between us. It has nothing to do with god it's genetics. Those of us who preserved our identity carry certain genes, traits that are unique to our "family". We can sense each other. It isn't "mystical" it's biological.
Regardless of what you believe you are Jewish if your mother was Jewish. We are in a sense a spread out collective that can't agree on anything. Being Jewish is a trip. I love it and wouldn't want to be anything else. But I can totally understand why other people don't get us.
My work takes me to some amazing places. Here's one of them
I had a chance to talk to one of the brothers. He showed me around the public places.
They are off the grid and have solar panels everywhere.
The drive in was so amazing I had to keep stopping and taking pictures. The river is the Rio Chama. The Chama Valley is, in my opinion, the most beautiful area in New Mexico. And I'm not at all biased ;-p I keep telling my colleagues that they are lucky they don't want to work my area because they'd have to duke it out with me to get it.
I was flipping through radio channels yesterday and caught a few minutes a show that talked about drug use in the US. I have no idea what channel it was or who the speaker was but I did agree with the message. If you have high blood pressure or high cholestoral or any other condition taking a pill won't make you healthy.
I know about genetic predispositions. Those genetic predispositions developed because of certain conditions in our former life styles. We were very active and food was scarce, so some peoples bodies developed strategies to cope with less food, they create more cholestoral or triglycerides in the presence of fats and sugars. This was a natural adaptation that we are trying to mitigate by taking drugs.
Instead of taking drugs we should watch what we eat and get more exercise. If you have a tendency in the family for diabetes stay away from sugar and HFC. I was at the supermarket today. It isn't easy to stay away from HFC but if you make things from scratch you'll be so much healthier.
50% of Americans take prescription pills on a regular basis. That can't be a good thing.
I'm all for laws protecting children from their idiotic parents. At first glance the Virginia Graeme Baker act seems like a rule that will protect small children from drowning in a swimming pool the event their parents aren't watching them as diligently as they should.
Unfortunately this is often far from the truth. Here in New Mexico we already have anti entrapment regulations. The difference between our regulations and the VGB act is that they are requiring a very specific type of ANSI approved drain cover. A few days ago I was at a pool inspection and they had installed the new pool drain covers. They told me that the suction from the new drain cover was stronger than the previous one they had that met State of New Mexico standards.
A few years ago I wrote a poem called "Walk With Me". In a fit of anger over his betrayal I erased the poem from my computer but I still remember the last three lines.
Walk with me and be my friend Walk with me and be my lover Walk with me forever
I wrote it for someone I thought was my soul mate. I was wrong.
But each person who enters our lives touches us and changes us in ways we don't often realize until years later. Some we never realize because their contact with us was a fleeting moment. But, like the butterfly effect they do help shape who we are.
We are the sum of our experiences intertwined with our genetic code.
Take a moment and ponder the people who have come and gone in your life and how they affected you. What was good about it and what was bad?
Can you erradicate the bad and only keep the good? I think you can but it takes a lot of inner soul searching and mental strength. Like I said in the beginning of this post he betrayed me and made me much more wary of who I associate with. I've spent the past two years erradicating the damage he did to me and building up the positive things he and others brought into my life.
I'm undecided about that wariness. It seems to be a double edged sword. But I do believe that a true friend will prevail.
I would like to find someone to walk with me forever. But first I'm going to make sure that they really are my friend.
Afew words about what happened. He was severly abused as a child and hates himself. He would hurt me to punish himself. At some point I was so hurt and scared that I started abusing him back. I'm glad it's over and I'm trying to learn what I can from the experience.