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Reflective. Calm. Amorphous. [Jul. 1st, 2011|06:01 am]
Love, Laughter and Light
Out of the ashes of my Disappointment I am finding a stronger, more independent Me. I still get sad, I still cry. I prefer to keep it to when I'm alone. Reflective. I'm alone a lot more than I prolly ever have been. These days it's by choice. I'm often surrounded by too much negativity in my life, and I've recently come to the realization that I need to take a step back and remove myself from situations that hurt too much.

On some deep inner level I'm not happy, but I'm okay. That doesn't necessarily speak to chaos, I feel more of an odd sort of Calm. It may be a biproduct, but I've been feeling artistically prolific lately. I see everything as a paintable surface. My mind's eye sees the world as covered in swirls. Right now in particular I'm feeling quite Amorphous.

It's almost six in the morning and I have yet to find this past night's sleep. Plenty of time in the dark hours to ponder whatever directions my Spirit may be flowing. I feel the constant desire to let the dam burst forth and flood the river before my Life Forces can one day manage no more than a trickle. I feel like I'm looking for something. Searching for my own proper form...
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Just one more reason I love The Straight Dope! [Sep. 13th, 2008|06:48 pm]
Love, Laughter and Light
How would the U.S. military fight a zombie army?
August 29, 2008

Dear Cecil:

I'm reading World War Z by Max Brooks, a fictional account of the world's response to a zombie outbreak. In the book the U.S. military fails miserably in its first real battle against the undead but later changes tactics and ultimately triumphs, as does the rest of the world. I have always wondered how the U.S. military would realistically fight the undead. I hope you can answer.

— agibson

Cecil replies:

You're absolutely right, A. — this is a situation that calls for realism. Were we realistic about Iraq? No. You see what happened. If I have anything to say about it, we won't make that mistake twice.

We need to understand the zombie threat before we can formulate a practical plan for combating it. A review of zombie movies tells us they have the following common characteristics: they're generally slow, stupid, and unaffected by bodily damage, they don't have working circulatory or respiratory tracts, they're not fazed by heat or cold, they can't drown, and their thought processes are degraded to the point that shock and awe don't have an appreciable psychological effect. This leaves you with basically three options: immobilize them and leave them to rot, decapitate them or destroy their brains (they apparently do still have central nervous systems, demonstrating that even a modicum of intelligence can be a fatal flaw), or obliterate them entirely.

In The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), which remains the definitive and possibly only treatment of the subject, Max Brooks recommends for hand-to-hand combat something that can efficiently slice zombies into bits, a two-handed Japanese katana (samurai sword) being ideal. (Also receiving high praise are the compact yet deadly WWI trench spike and the much larger and deadlier ancient Shaolin monk's spade.) Brooks says forget about chain saws — no matter how cool they are, they just aren't reliable enough and require fuel, which may run out at a critical juncture. Firearms are a good choice if used properly — you need to aim for the head, rather than waste ammunition on the body. Even a zombie cut in half with automatic weapon fire can still crawl toward you. An old-style combat rifle such as the M1 Garand is perhaps your best bet. The semiautomatic action conserves bullets, and the heavy stock (useful as a bludgeon) and detachable bayonet give you options when the ammo is gone.

The living dead have no fear of fire, which makes it a great weapon. Zombies engulfed in flames will not only not put themselves out, they'll continue to wander around, possibly setting other zombies alight. Electricity will paralyze zombies but usually not kill them outright unless it also sets them on fire and so isn't advisable as a first line of defense. You might think that nuclear weapons would be a good possibility if a city were 100 percent infected, but the downside is that any surviving zombies will be not only shambling horrors but radioactive too.

So what would our military do? Even though the standard-issue M-16 is inferior to the Garand, we have lots of troops and bullets, assuming they're not all tied up indefinitely in the Middle East. Since zombies can't breed except by spreading their infection, containment and quarantine would be necessary to protect uninfected urban areas — typically the sort of job assigned to FEMA, which we may want to rethink. After that, the military could surround and wipe out the zombies using time-honored (and very Hollywood) tactics such as high explosives, incendiaries, and massed gunfire. The army and marines would likely do the heavy lifting, with air force and navy fighters providing close air support. As long as the military can protect the troops from infection and isn't handcuffed by liberal politicians who really want the zombies to win, we should be able to handle things. Strategy and using the stupidity of zombies against them is key, as exemplified in Brooks's recounting of what he tells us was the largest zombie outbreak in history — 121 AD in Scotland. (Also the home of the Picts, who fought naked while painted blue. Combat in ancient Scotland was definitely a trip.) Using funneling trenches, flaming pitch, and swords, a Roman force of 480 men was able to dispatch 9,000 zombies with only 150 casualties.

If faced with zombies controlled by a sorcerer or other evil power (as in the classic 1932 film White Zombie), you might save yourself some trouble by having Special Forces teams take out the head guy, though this approach is hardly foolproof — again, witness Iraq. The main thing is, don't underestimate zombies. So often in trying times one thinks, these brain-dead losers can't possibly continue. Yet somehow they do.

My assistant Little Ed Zotti has a book coming out September 2 entitled The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber. It has nothing to do with the Straight Dope, so don't blame me.

— Cecil Adams
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Matthew Patrick Gallaer [Aug. 4th, 2008|07:04 am]
Love, Laughter and Light
This is a public post, for what it's worth. A last resort of sorts in a journal I never use anymore really.

Hey Matt:

I called you yet again this morning about the car. I know it's parked on the street at NanandJayandJette's. I saw it there. Do they have the keys in case it needs to be moved? Is anyone moving it periodically? Starting it up at least?? Letting the enginge turn over at all? Cars don't stay functioning when you just let them sit as I'm sure just about anyone who's ever owned one knows.

Is anyone taking action so that it avoids further tickets? Having it parked on the street and NOT registered, as I've informed you several times now, is illegal. Tom will be liable for any further problems with that car until this situation is resloved, as he is now for your last ticket at a BART station over six months ago that you've failed to pay - you know, the one that's in collections in Tom's name right now?! The one I hand carried you back in very early 2008 so you could deal with it?!! I'm not telling you anything new here.

Could you please have the balls to respond to this issue??? I don't know if all my phone messages to you on the subject have gone unlistened to or not, but you really need to step up to the plate and DO something about this situation. Bust a move. Make the effort. Get off of your asshole.

I spoke to Tom about the car again this morning, we talk about it at least once a week. He's really, understandably, unhappy about the extra stress this is causing him. He doesn't want the car back. His viewpoint is that you paid for it (at least for a time period), it belongs to you. He just wants you to sign the papers, take the small steps needed, deal with your responsibilities. Release him from what he cannot effectively deal with without your cooperation. Stop holding him hostage over this with your inaction.

He's been nothing but kind to you. Your wedding at his house and all the work and money he put into it for you. The gift of the car that all you had to do was take over payments on. All the loans of the Expedition over the years any time you or Kim have ever needed it. You not specifically asking for his kindness does not negate the fact that he has been good to you.Why would you continue to do this to him?? WHY?

And don't say it's because he hasn't called you himself. You KNOW Tom...he feels awkward. I have been the one to deal with you in regard to this car from day one ever since you got it from us. The thin attempt to defend yourself with that point in the past was, in a word, LAME. I have gone to great lengths to try and get you to take care of this. The lack of a personal phone call from Tom is NOT any type of valid excuse...in fact, there IS no excuse. You've been fully informed every step of the way of what needs to be done. The level this has gotten to is shameful. That's right,in case you can't understand what I'm saying, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Kim tells me the transmission is shot, unless I misunderstood. Is that why you haven't taken care of your responsibilities going on 8 months now??? Are you planning to just let the Rodeo rot like your last vehicle? Leave it parked illegally just like last time until someone tows it away?? Not lift a finger because it isn't in your name and then just exclaim "and so it goes" with a wistful sigh??? Completely disregard the kindness Tom has shown you???? CONTINUE TO SHIT ON HIM IN THIS MANNER?????

I could possibly understand if you were doing this to me. Your dislike, or whatever name you want to give it, for me for various reasons real or perceived...but to CONTINUE to do this to Tom???


Do you really and truly believe in The Universe? In Karma? In Buddhism? or are those things just pretty concepts you enjoy spouting misunderstandings about? Your lack of concern for others, well, those that are seemingly unimportant to you, leads me to believe that you really don't understand Zen in the least. I can't help noticing that your life, or at least what you write about it in your blog, from my perspective, seems like a veil of delusion. Don't tell me that "Your perspective matters not," or whatever other crap you use to feebly fend off my words...You're being a real penis, and you know it. Your flaccidity is no excuse for someone as innocent as Tom continuing to suffer, in case you didn't notice. Make it stop.

"I am the owner of my karma .
I inherit my karma.
I am born of my karma.
I am related to my karma.
I live supported by my karma.
Whatever karma I create, whether good or evil, that I shall inherit."
The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya V.57 - Upajjhatthana Sutta

And no, Matt, no one wrote this for me. My correspondence to you is always all me. The two times you and Kim helped me write a letter to my boss does NOT mean that I cannot or do not pen my own thoughts.


WAKE UP, Matt. Come out of your regression and lift the veil that prevents you from doing the right thing.

Do The Right Thing.
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Both Sides Now- Joni Mitchell [Dec. 29th, 2007|10:08 pm]
Love, Laughter and Light
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I was disappointed, this is a very simple term, but the etymology at the end is cool though. [Nov. 23rd, 2007|09:10 am]
Love, Laughter and Light
The Word of the Day for November 23, 2007 is:
cotton • \KAH-tun\ • verb

*1 : to take a liking -- used with to

2 : to come to understand -- used with to or on to

Example Sentence:
It took fans a while to cotton to the changes in the championship series, but they now love the new play-off format.
Did you know?
The noun "cotton" first appeared in English around 700 years ago. It comes, via Anglo-French and Old Italian, from the Arabic word for cotton, "quṭun" or "qutn." In the 15th century, "cotton" acquired a verb use meaning "to form a nap on (cloth)." Though this verb sense is now obsolete, our modern-day use might have spun from it. In 1822, English philologist Robert Nares reported that "cotton" had been used to mean "to succeed" and speculated that this use came from "the finishing of cloth, which when it cottons, or rises to a regular nap, is nearly or quite complete." The meaning of "cotton" shifted from "to get on well" to "to get on well together," and eventually to the sense we know today, "to take to." The "understand" sense appeared later, in the early 20th century.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
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Might as well face it, you're addicted to: [Nov. 23rd, 2007|09:02 am]
Love, Laughter and Light
fill in the blank with your own addiction -

read mineCollapse )
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here's another one :) [Nov. 21st, 2007|04:32 pm]
Love, Laughter and Light
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utterly tragic... [Nov. 20th, 2007|06:43 am]
Love, Laughter and Light
[Feeling |sadsad]

So, ya. Be thankful. Pray to any entity you wish, but be glad you're not in Bangladesh watching your babies starve and go without water. Be glad you didn't have everything you own swept away along with family members.

If I need to, I can go to the store and buy a bottle of water or go out and grab fast food. I don't have to sit idle and helpless watching my baby's big blue eyes lose their light until help maybe arrives while I almost go mad with my own personal grief.

It fucking makes me cry when I hear the survivors on NPR. How desperate they are, how devastated - beside themselves with anguish, and yet struggling to maintain a hold on life. Would I be that strong? Would my will to survive kick in? I'm thankful I can almost reasonably predict, take comfort in, that I may never know.

I know where my holiday donations will be going this season, instead of buying gifts for co-workers, it's no great leap to figure out. Last year it was the Heifer Project to buy bee hives for African farmers to start self sustaining businesses. The year before it was the Montessori Phoenix Project, to help with Grass Roots Montessori start ups - a project I twice personally helped with on site in Tijuana in the first half of the 90s.

Anyways, whatever you do today, be thankful that you're able to do it - good or bad, happy or sad, at least we're alive and not starving.
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according to Merriam-Webster online: [Nov. 18th, 2007|08:53 am]
Love, Laughter and Light
The Word of the Day for November 18, 2007 is:
lenitive • \LEN-uh-tiv\ • adjective

: alleviating pain or harshness : soothing

Example Sentence:
Ryan's mother insisted that a steaming cup of herbal tea would have a lenitive effect on his stomachache.
Did you know?
"Lenitive" first appeared in English in the 15th century. It derived from the Latin verb "lenire" ("to soften or soothe"), which was itself formed from the adjective "lenis," meaning "soft" or "mild." "Lenire" also gave us the adjective "lenient," which usually means "tolerant" or "indulgent" today but in its original sense carried the meaning of "relieving pain or stress." Often found in medical contexts, "lenitive" can also be a noun referring to a treatment (such as a salve) with soothing or healing properties.

...Hey, I didn't know stomachache was one word.
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:) [Nov. 7th, 2007|05:40 pm]
Love, Laughter and Light
[Feeling |amusedamused]

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