Monthly Archives: November 2013

Porcupines on the Prowl: Meet Snickers, aka Stinkers

Seeing the popularity of Teddy, I was going to post another video of him, but then I saw this one of Stinkers, who lives with members of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, AK. He was either abandoned by his mother or left for a significantly long period of time, but was raised by humans. He doesn’t talk, but shows some interesting behavior, probably from being raised by humans, but he has a very engaging personality, and is downright silly. The video rights belong to desfees.


Beautiful and New

creating something better

“That, when everything starts breaking down,
You take the pieces off the ground
And show this wicked town
something beautiful and new.”

“Wicked Little Town (Tommy Gnosis Version)”
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lyrics by Stephen Trask

Thanksgiving Square Chapel, Dallas Texas

Thanksgiving Square Chapel, Dallas Texas


People Don’t Want to Know, So They Don’t Look

I know this is not always the most fun blog to visit, that’s it’s not incredible popular, and that it can be downright depressing. I try to keep a mix of things, somedays just posting things that are funny or silly, to lighten the mood a little. I don’t want to depress everyone–I don’t think that’s my purpose in life.

However, there are things I believe in, that make up part of my values and morals, that I simply can’t ignore. Things I feel passionately about. I won’t post the article here, just a link and the picture that goes with it, which leads to another site. Sometimes you find things on other sites that are interesting as well that have nothing to do with the topic.

This is a very conflicting time in politics, where personal agendas seem to have overridden the whole point of the political process. Congress isn’t the personal playground of some specific representatives. That attitude has a trickle-down effect. Marginalized groups are becoming fractured and dissension is common.

The only way to accomplish anything is to stick together. Support each other. As a whole, we are much stronger. Look at it this way–it’s the difference between a toothpick and a battering ram:



Battering Ram

Battering Ram  (Note: Not to scale with toothpick)








This article applies to one rights movement, it could apply to any. As another picture in the article states, all oppression is connected. This article is “7 LBGT Issues That Matter More Than Marriage” from BuzzFeed.

7 LGBT Issues That Matter More Than Marriage

7 LGBT Issues That Matter More Than Marriage

Click on Picture for Article

You Matter

If you think you don't matter.

If you think you don’t matter.

NSA Surveillance is Making Writers Self-Censor

 S-C Protecting you from what?tim-robbins-tim-robbins-i-think-the-enemy-is-self-censorship-in-a

Benjamin Franklin, 1722

Benjamin Franklin, 1722

Re-Blogged from GalleyCat 11/15/2013

NSA Surveillance is Making Writers Self-Censor


Eighty-five percent of writers are worried about government surveillance of Americans, and 73 percent reported that never have they been so worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press, according to a new report from Pen America.

The report found that writers are censoring themselves in order to avoid trouble with the NSA. The report found that 16 percent of writers have avoided writing or speaking about a particular topic due to concerns about the NSA.

In addition, the study revealed that 24 percent of writers have purposefully avoided certain topics on the phone or through email. And 28 percent of writers have avoided social media activities.

Here is more from the report:

Part of what makes self-censorship so troubling is the impossibility of knowing precisely what is lost to society because of it. We will never know what books or articles may have been written that would have shaped the world’s thinking on a particular topic if they are not written because potential authors are afraid that their work would invite retribution.

Replace Rep. John Boehner as Speaker of the House


Every person who believes in equal rights is affected by this petition. No one should be denied equal rights simply because of their sexual orientation. Speaker of the House John Boehner has implied, by his refusal to bring ENDA forward for a vote, that all citizens of the United States are not equal, and do not deserve the protections people who are considered “equal” are afforded. This is open discrimination, and should not be tolerated. One man should not be able to prevent a bill from being brought forward simply because he doesn’t believe in it. There needs to be a representative sensitive to current needs of the people in the position of Speaker of the House, who won’t be swayed by personal belief but will listen to what the people want. The ones who voted for them. The ones they represent.

That’s why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, which says:

“Rep. John Boehner has proven himself inflexible in representing the people of the United States, only his own agenda. He now refuses to bring ENDA to the floor for a vote, which would give equal rights to everyone regardless of sexual orientation. Give someone else more in touch with the people they represent a chance to take his place and move the nation forward. Everyone deserves equal rights.”

Will you sign my petition? Click here to add your name:


Children and Vaccinations

I would like to dedicate this post to an author I am editing right now (and should be editing right now) for causing me to do some fact checking on Smallpox (trying to find out if it was referred to as smallpox or small pox in Victorian England). Smallpox was horrible, much worse than I’d thought. In a city like London, which was filthy, death rates were high. I discovered from wiki that Lady Mary Wortley Montague, wife of the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, helped introduce the vaccine to Britain in–this is amazing to me–1721. In China, references to smallpox ‘vaccination’ were first mentioned in 1549, and history of ‘innoculation’ was shown in India from 1000BC. When Lady Wortley Montague was in the Ottoman Empire, she had her children vaccinated.

A smallpox epidemic hit London in 1721, and the Royal family were afraid of contracting the disease, and had heard of Lady Montague. They didn’t want the process tested on themselves, first, of course, but the condemned occupants of the Royal Prison provided test subjects. Most of them survived (there was still a small percentage of people who did fall ill and die from the innoculation, but it was not as high a chance, by far, of contracting it and living). Lady Montague pushed to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and vowed she would fight any doctors who argued with her.

The World Health Organization eradicated smallpox in 1977.

I’m not exactly sure what to start with next. I’m sure there were people who weren’t having their children vaccinated before this, but the emergence of autism–which first was recognized as a neurological difference in 1910 by a Swiss psychiatrist named Eugen Bleuler while he was trying to define symptoms of schizophrenia–and used the phrase autismus to mean “morbid self-admiration”– “autistic withdrawal of the patient to his fantasies, against which any influence from outside becomes an intolerable disturbance.” Kuhn R; tr. Cahn CH. Eugen Bleuler’s concepts of psychopathology. Hist Psychiatry. 2004;15(3):361–6. doi:10.1177/0957154X04044603. PMID 15386868. The quote is a translation of Bleuler’s 1910 original.

The word autism first took its modern sense in 1938 when Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital adopted Bleuler’s terminology autistic psychopaths in a lecture in German about child psychology.[180] Asperger was investigating an ASD now known as Asperger syndrome, though for various reasons it was not widely recognized as a separate diagnosis until 1981.[178] Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital first used autism in its modern sense in English when he introduced the label early infantile autism in a 1943 report of 11 children with striking behavioral similarities.[34] Almost all the characteristics described in Kanner’s first paper on the subject, notably “autistic aloneness” and “insistence on sameness”, are still regarded as typical of the autistic spectrum of disorders.[49] It is not known whether Kanner derived the term independently of Asperger.[181]

I have to give the wiki link because the actual citations simply won’t format correctly, despite my having tried multiple methods, calling them some not very nice names, and then the blue boxes came, and that was it.

I only give this information because many don’t know the origins. Or that for a very long time, mothers of children with autism were blamed as causing the condition themselves. Refrigerator mothers, they were called. The psychiatrists couldn’t find any cause, so they blamed the parent. Autism is such an individual, all-pervasive disorder, I don’t blame parents for jumping at any straw of hope. So when the article appeared in The Lancet, Britain’s leading and very well respected medical journal, by Andrew Wakefield, linking vaccinations to autism in 1998, I imagine parents stopped having their children vaccinated in droves.

As a result of that, in the United States (I can’t speak for other countries, and this blog has gone in a direction I hadn’t predicted, which I should have predicted), measles is on the rise, and there are occasional outbreaks large enough to draw attention by the Center for Disease Control. Meningitis turns up in colleges and high schools. Whooping cough I got to witness first hand when my boyfriend’s daughter caught it. She was coughing for over three months. It was horrible. But that’s on the rise again. Tuberculosis is coming back. Polio breaks out in little areas. Ah–here are some cases of outbreaks:

  • A 2002–2003 outbreak of measles in Italy, “which led to the hospitalizations of more than 5,000 people, had a combined estimated cost between 17.6 million euros and 22.0 million euros”.
  • A 2004 outbreak of measles from “an unvaccinated student return[ing] from India in 2004 to Iowa was $142,452”.
  • A 2006 outbreak of mumps in Chicago, “caused by poorly immunized employees, cost the institution $262,788, or $29,199 per mumps case.”
  • A 2007 outbreak of mumps in Nova Scotia cost $3,511 per case.
  • A 2008 outbreak of measles in San Diego, California cost $177,000, or $10,376 per case.

Unfortunately, that’s more concentrated on money than the number of people involved. Not listed here are outbreaks in Ireland and the UK.


Not Your Kind of People

Sometimes when I get new music there’s a song that particularly strikes me, fits the place I’m at. Feels a little like an anthem of a sort. And it’s nice to know someone else felt the same, enough to write a song I can identify with enough. It is/was a popular song at the time, so obviously it struck a chord, much as Radiohead’s “Creep” did. There are a lot of us, apparently.

This is from the band Garbage, who I’ve always liked. I know someone who could give you a much better history of the band–he’s been to see them more than once in concert and is good with details about that kind of thing. Basically, in my recollection, it was started by a group of people in the music industry, producers, etc., who decided to see if they could start a band. They decided people were going to be cynical of their efforts and were just going to say they were going to sound like garbage, so they took that for their band name. They’re anything but. I suppose one would either like them or not, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say they “sort of” like them.

They don’t pander. They mock. They write ballads. They go heavy on the guitars. And they sound like themselves. Granted, I’m not exposed to a whole world of music, but I don’t often think, “Gee, that band sounds like Garbage,” which sounds funny. I’m sure there are some, I just don’t who they are. Sort of a heavier retro-ish band.

“Not Your Kind of People” is off their 2012 album, Not Your Kind of People. It’s on sale at Amazon for $5.99 right now, a really good deal.

Live version in Taipai–sometimes hard to understand

Album version–Album Cover–You can go do other things

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

Reblogged from:

Given some of the things that have been happening over the past few years (few dozen?) in my life, but especially the past few, I think these are somewhat appropriate. I’ve started to think of it in another way as well–take ownership of yourself and your actions. Sort of, in a more mechanical way, like buying a car. You are responsible for making sure the oil gets changed. No one else is going to do it for you (well, they might, but we’re going to pretend they don’t–at the moment, both my boyfriend and I need to get our oil changed, so what does that say?). We need to make sure the tires get rotated–well, I do, I have a four wheel drive, and if I don’t, the wheels get a little wonky. I continue to make bad decisions without really knowing why, fully understanding that they’re not the decisions I should be making.

**After more formatting and reading through these more thoroughly.** I’m half tempted not to post them. For several reasons–they’re all framed negatively, for one thing, which I don’t like. As an educator, we were always taught to frame each negative with at least 5 or 6 (or more) positives–after all, it wasn’t our job to bring down our students’ self-esteem. Some people may thing it sounds like cozying them, others see it as helping to build self-esteem. Reading things in the negative perpetuates that feeling of, “Oh, I have to stop doing this, it’s bad.” It also reminds of the old, “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps” crap. Pardon me. For some people, doing all of these things is possible. It’s not possible for people who have mental illness and are suffering a severe episode of depression to just “stop” doing some of these things. Reading a list like this would make them feel worse, not better. They know what they’re doing to themselves, most likely, full well. You have to be selective–lists like these help some people tremendously, not so much other people.

Please, don’t get me wrong: I understand the value of this for many, many people. It’s just what they need to hear, and I’m not mocking that in any way, shape, or form. Different people need different things. I still think there are valuable things here, I would just frame them differently, and it’s due to my background and the population I’ve worked with, which changed me more than I can say as a person, and altered my perspective considerably (and probably my sense of humor).

Thus, I fully understand the value of these, and will reframe them my own way in the next post, very grateful to the author of these for giving me a starting point. Thank you, Mr. Chernoff–I do think you are doing very valuable work that reverberates with many, many people. Everyone find help in what speaks to them.

post written by: Marc Chernoff
30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give
the right things a chance to catch you.

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give
the right things a chance to catch you.

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.  Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
2.  Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
3.  Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves. Read The Road Less Traveled.
4.  Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
5.  Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
6.  Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
7.  Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
8.  Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
9.  Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
10.  Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
11.  Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action. You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
12.  Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
13.  Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
14.  Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
15.  Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
16.  Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
17.  Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough. But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past. You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation. So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
18.  Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too. If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
19.  Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
20.  Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway. Just do what you know in your heart is right.
21.  Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
22.  Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
23.  Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done. Read Getting Things Done.
24.  Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile. Don’t take the easy way out. Do something extraordinary.
25.  Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
26.  Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
27.  Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus.
28.  Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
29.  Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
30.  Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

Update: Read our follow-up to this post: 30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

Photo by: Rob Brucker


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