Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Pictures with Gilbert

Gilbert is my cockapoo, cross cocker spaniel and poodle, 11 months old. He loves to be with Laura and me. He takes us on great walks.  I take my camera along just in case I see something worth shooting. More often than not Gilbert is more photogenic than anything we encounter.

Westminister Abbey, Mission, BC

We love driving up Stave Lake Road to Westminister Abbey in Mission. It's a truly spiritual place.  Often on our way back to the city we stop here to kneel in the beauty of the church saying prayers of thanksgiving.  Today we arrived just  after mass and before the church opened in the afternoon, 2 to 4 pm.  Though we weren't able to enter the church we were thankful just to be here again where monks give their lives to the work of the church.

Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa

Sunshine this morning.  Laura, Gilbert and I arrived yesterday in heavy rain. Seasonal Affective Disorders were bloating the office. In Egypt there's riotting to overthrow the military tyrranny of Mubarak.  As yet there's no Islamic Sisterhood to offset the extremes of Islamic Brotherhood. Locally Vancouver was declared the third most unaffordable city in the world.  Added to that was the revelation that it had the greatest density of ex convicts per capita.  Then the news declared more shootings and the largest ketamine drug smuggling operation in years. $50 million dollars worth.  The borders at best get 1 in 10 or 1 in 100 of the traffic. That's why the hoopla from the services.  They rarely get their man or woman these days.  The greatest criminal China has ever known is still being kept in Vancouver despite the demands of FBI and Chinese to release him to prosecution.  Finally the CBC announced that peace in the middle east can't happen because too many Arabs, Jews, Europeans and Americans would be out of a job in the regions greatest job creation industry.  "Let's get together and talk about peace but not do anything." The 20 years of stalemate turn out to be exactly what was ordered.  Wikileaks strikes again.
There is no where better to get away from it all than Harrison Hot Springs.  Nestled in the mountains just beyond the verdant farmland of Rosedale and Agazziz looking out on glorious Harrison Lake, this resort is spectacular. I've been coming for decades and every time I come I'm overjoyed with something new and different.  Always the same old decadence and caring, though.  It's luxurious.
This time, because of Gilbert, we got a cabin. We love the cabin. The last time I got a cabin was when I brought my parents here and had my old dog, Shinto along, some 20 years ago. The cabins are not quite as rustic and cozy as our favourite Bungalow Cabins down the street but they have room service and sit next to the spa.
The view this morning of lawns and blue sky, trees and mountainside are delightful.  When we parked the truck out front and we came through the door Laura exclaimed, "I want to live here."  The little gas fireplace stove is a perky treat.  Naturally I hit the couch immediately and began to read the Carl Hianson  book I'd just bought at the Bookman in Chilliwack. That's when we remembered we had the hot springs to savour.  Gilbert was happy (enough) to stay in the truck guarding it while Laura and I walked in robes to the pools. It was a brisk walk.
It was a younger crowd this year.  I'm the man with the grey hair and ponch.  Laura looks terrific in bathing suit with the soft glow of lights.  A couple beside us were talking non stop. I refused to silence them and instead moved a little away so I didn't have to reflect on the benefits of euthanasia.  Silence.  Healing hot springs.  Kids in another pool.  Just adults here.  All of us preparing our bodies for cannibals.
I'm a mollusk.  Oozing on simmer.  Ahhh.  When I turned to Laura she looked equally contented. She likes to day dream.  I don't think she's thinking of cannibals.  More likely her kids and grand kids or knights galahad or some such drivel.  I'm in my own adventure.  Everyone is naked and it's a Christian Sweedish nudist colony.  Oops. She and he get to wear clothes but not those other two. They should be banned from wearing clothes ever.  Probably make a living nude modelling and had to borrow bathing suits for this pool.  I'm overheating. Time to get to the next pool .
The indoor pool is even hotter. But here we're up close with each other. Face to face.  Better to look away.  The kids stare. A couple of asian kids with floaters on their arms are sitting with their mother. They don't even know about cannibals.
This is a First Nation Kwakiutl land.  A hundred years ago this spa would be a feast area.  The Kwakiutl despite the abundance of salmon and venison ate people.  Anthropologists who thought it was just a last ditch survival tactic of crashed airplane survivors were wrong. Long pig is a delicacy.
These pools are hotter. I don't last long in the soup.  Laura is concerned about Gilbert in the truck.  We run back to the cabin in our robes and free the little guy from his big guy truck watching duty.
Then it's room service Pizza and salad with the order in  movie, RED.  Bruce Willis, Morgan Freedman, Helen Murren, John Malkowich and many others in this great cast and fun action packed thriller about retired CIA assasins forced out of retirement.
Now it's morning. I've slept like a dog. Gilbert has jumped up on the bed several times before I responded to his face licking message about his morning walk.  We found a great nature trail out behind the parking lot and he ran for his life up and down the trail while I wished I'd had coffee first.
What a glorious sunny day.  Great wind, white cap creating, 30 knots across the lake.  I get cappucinos and egg bacon muffins at the Resort coffeeshop. Everyone comments on how cute Gilbert his.  He's focusing on the food and wondering why I've only got two muffins.  He thinks I've forgotten about Laura.   Laura is up when we return.  I do a stupid thing and erase the pictures I took of Gilbert on the walk.  That's really stupid. I haven't done that in years but I'm using mac again and still getting used to the nuances of switchover.  No fault but mine.  Gilbert is quite happy to run up and down the trails again for a retake.  Maybe later.
We've got to check out in an hour and I've got to get another morning fix in the cannibal broth.  I'm convinced that Harrison Hot Springs are highly medicinal.  They list all the minerals that are in the water including magnessium, potassium, iron. But it's the mystical stuff that's not listed that does it magic.  Definitely some sort of natural gift of God for good health given to us here in the valley. I imagine the first Natives finding this place and rejoicing.  Probably kept it a secret for as long as they could.  Then the advertising executives came and after that the bloggers.  Now even Gilbert is talking about it to the chihuahuas who just love heat in any form.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What good thing must I do to get eternal life?

Mathew 19:16-24

"Now a man came up to Jesus and asked," Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Why do you ask me what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
"Which ones?" the man inquired.
Jesus replied,"Do not murder, do not committ adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and your mother, and love your neighbour as yourself."
"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Like most scripture I read again I learn more with each reading. In the past I took some delight in the 'fat cat rich guy' getting 'stuped by the Man". This time round I am a bit older and maybe even humbler. I can only hope.
Elsewhere Jesus says that if you have thought of adultery it's the same as if you have done it. His idea of goodness is pureness of thought, emotion and action. Mostly I think I'm okay if I don't get caught.
With that in mind I've failed all the commandments. Those I haven't actually done (yet) I certainly have thought of doing. As for 'loving my neighbor as myself', that's the hardest commandment of all.
Now equally I have experienced threats of murder, had adultery committed against me, been stolen from, had false testimony made against me and been thoroughly mistreated by my neighbors. I didn't like any of it any of the time.
Yet when I haven't honored my father and mother, for instance, I have not considered how this must feel to them. Instead I have usually been rather caught up in myself. I see actions against me as catastrophic whereas when I do anything against you I say you're 'making a mountain out of a molehill", "you're a drama queen', 'why can't you cut me a little slack', 'don't sweat it', 'whatever!"
The point here is the 'rich guy' was morally and ethically so much further ahead than I. He wasn't a murderous adulterous rogue liar and gossiper who'd shown disrespect for his parents and abused his neighbors. To those commandments he responds "All these I have kept".
This guy was a regular saint and Jesus said to him that all there was left for him to do was be like St. Francis and Mother Theresa. Give his wealth to the poor and follow Jesus.
It's very easy for me to think if I was a billionaire I'd give it up to follow Jesus. I find that future planning is far easier than doing something now. I also find the 'if' word saves me from any real consideration of my self and any changes I need to make now.
The fact is I'm not letting go of my Harley motorcycle or designer jeans without a fight. At least I'm not kidding myself. My self esteem is intact because I know my self worth. I'm no different from the rich man though clearly the scale is different. I want the rich to give up their wealth. Mpsty I want them to give it to me, while I won't give my extra shirt to the guy who has none.
Reading this passage today I see that I am way behind the rich man and have so much more work to do. Scripture can be irritating at times.

That said, I believe in Grace. The song Amazing Grace talks to the forgiving nature of my God. Thank God, God is Love and Mercy. On my own I am so very limited whereas with God all is possible. Today I will pray again that I may better serve my Lord and follow closer in his footsteps. Thank God for Grace.

Touch my Harley and I'll murder you, sell your body parts, and take your woman, do you hear me! Sorry Jesus.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Gilbert Walks

Gilbert my cockapoo is kind enough to walk me regularly. St. Francis called his body, Brother Ass.  I can so easily get caught up in my head that I forget that shanks mare needs a walk. Gilbert, my personal trainer, keeps an eye on me.  He nips at my heels and gets me out walking.  My donkey is very thankful for having a friend like Gilbert.

44th Street Beef Pot Roast

This is an amazing micro wave feast. I found it at Costco. 2 Roasts in vacuum packed containers. They come with gravy and take 10 minutes to microwave. The result is the ice cream of main course meals. Certified Angus Beef. They can also be done in the oven or stove top as 'boil in a bag'. Laura and I and Gilbert are completely sated again. Thank you 44th Street Beef Pot Roast!

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I know so little about politics here,
Even less about politics there,
But listening to those who claim to know,
I always seem to know more,

That's medical as an abscess lasting weeks
Toxic and bloated, needing surgery at least,
No wonder there's rioting in the streets.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mount Horeb

Today I was worried because I forgot something. In the labyrinth of my mind there is somewhere I left a message to myself to remember something. I was berating myself this morning for forgetting it.
Then I read the Bible, the passage of Moses before the burning bush. I am that is who I am, God tells him. It is on Horeb, Mountain of God. Later when I look up Horeb it's also called Mount Sinai.
As to location, it appears they have lost it. We have lost it. No one knows for sure where it is. Something about Sun and Moon mountains, a Sword of God, Bush but no real certainty about location.
I have lost a phone call I was to have made. Some day's errand. It will likely come back to me through the day.
It's not like losing the 'Mountain of God". It's not like forgetting where God lived and met with Moses.
When one worries about early dementia it's worth while to consider what the human race has forgotten. God is everywhere and nowhere, everything and nothing. But still if he thought to meet us somewhere, isn't that an important thing to remember. Individual dementia is just a reflection of our collective dementia.
Where is Mount Horeb?

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union

Obama is back. It wasn't the content that mattered. Content was there. Economy, jobs, gays in armed forces, health care reform, troops out in July. There was so much. But not being an American I was just impressed with the tone. It was the same Obama that inspired America and won him the election. This speech was the moderate, more mature but very much American Obama. It caused Democrats and Republicans to stand and applause. I loved it.
I expect the Republicans will now have to come up with better. But that's what we like about America. It's a place that thrives on competition. It's just a football game with different coaches.
Obama was sounding pretty tired when the tea party came to town. Now he's rallied. The tea party is going to have to serve coffee if they're going to be awake for his next moves.
Obama got his man for all seasons mojo back. Hillary looked good. Great state of the union talk.
Time to sit back and watch the defense and offense line up. There's the kick. The ball is in the air. It's a new game.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Robbie Burns Dinner 2011

It was another year for Robbie Burns.  A person of Scottish descent may go at most a year without haggis. More frequent haggis encounters is however better.  What is more important is the poetry of the great master. This is the writer of "My Love is Like a Red Red Rose" and many more of the world's greatest poems. Burns has been called that. His Ode to Haggis is a celebration of his sense of good fun.
Burns dinners are that.
Moray, Nairn and Banff Association holds an annual Robbie Burns Dinner at the end of January.  This year as last it ws in the Scottish Cultural Centre on Hudson.
The Scottish dancers are the best.  Always  the Ode to the Haggis is a rivetting experience.  This year it was almost a blessing.  The pipes were splendid.
And what party would be complete without the Mad Celts.  Not only great music but terrific entertainment with humor and the calling out of dances like the Gay Gordon.
It's one of the few times I can wear my complete Scottish regalia.  Having gained weight it was a stretch to   Lorne and Maria from Chilliwack joined Laura and me.  Lorne had just been on a tour of Scotland and regaled us with encounters  traditions ancient.  Too many years since I'd been.  Listening to him I returned to  my own encounter with Loch Lomond.  He'd actually been to Dumfries too. The Boyds were at our table and together we talked of family and clans over the dinner and later between dances.

What a marvellous night.  It's good to be of Scottish heritage!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vancouver Motorcycle Show 2011

The Vancouver Motorcycle Show was held again this year at the Abbotsford Tradex by the Abbotsford Airport.  We've driven out on the Harley only to return in sleet and snow. The weather this year was more conducive to motorcycling. There were quite a few bikes there but what was amazing was how full the parking lots were.  They'd had to open the overflow to accommodate all the cars and trucks.
We drove out in the Ford 350 diesel 4x4 Harley Davidson Edition.  I've got my Honda 230 on the road now but the HD Electraglyde is resting up for the summer riding schedule. It's especially looking forward to the Ride to raise money for prostate cancer research.  Gilbert, the mighty biker dog stayed in the truck to guard it from other biker dogs, like Chihuahas and Yorkies.
The show was packed with this years Ducattis, Harleys, Triumphs, Victories, Hondas, Yamahas, Kawasakis and Royal Enfields.  It was only 3 years ago Laura took a picture of me on the Electraglyde out here.  I'd say Oprah's Secret had something to do with my getting this bike last year.
We did look at a Street Glyde. A friends wife is away and we think he should get a Harley to surprise her on her return.  It's the manly thing to do.  This year's Harleys were as ever stupendous.
The Victory bikes were looking pretty futuristic.  I'm an old fan of the reliable Hondas and loved looking at their new bikes.  Also liked their quads.
What captured our eye though was the Royal Enfield with side car.  Shales Motorcycle has them now. Shales is  across from the Italian and British Motorcycle Store in Vancouver.  I'm thinking of Gilbert and figuring he'd like a side car. Harley had a side car on display as well.
Given I hunt I was really impressed with the Quads. Polaris had some amazing machines.  As I said I liked the Hondas and have always enjoyed the service at Carter but Yamaha has some pretty impressive quads.  The trouble with the ones we'd most like, covered two seaters with big wheels and tilting box,   is that they won't fit in the box of the truck.  
There were great deals happening all over the place.  Honda has specials on their generators throughout January. It's always amazing the deals that companies offer at tradeshows.  Laura got a superdeal on leather saddlebags for her Big Ruckus.
The kids were careening about out back doing all the racing stunts without death which reflected well on the organizers.
I was interested in the various insurance options.Megson and FitzPatrick had good deals for on road motorcycles while Capri was offering off road packages with liabity insurance as well . The only insurance I actually bought was a special cable lock which has an alarm that would discourage anyone but the deaf from stealing my motorcycle.
The Association for Injured Motorcyclists was well represented. Booths for everything associated with motorcyling were present. One fellow even was talking on his trip across Africa.  We'd bought a Tork blue tooth interbike communicator last year but haven't been able to get it to work because of the poor instructions.  The tech there was very helpful and there's hope Laura and I won't be shouting at each other over the engine noise.  I hate when she's screaming 'don't turn' and I am about to only to, realize that she's seen the semi before I did.
The most spectacular women there were these models that were flown in from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. They are greeters for some performance motor oil.  However I couldn't take my eyes off there faces and the shape of their hot uniforms to actually read which oil they represented. It's got racing checkers on it and I recommend everyone buy so the same girls come back next year.
We have all the leathers so couldn't justify getting any more though Laura was really impressed with all the pink selection which reflect the increasing numbers of women bikers. Laura reads my Mojo biker magazine cover to cover and our favourite columnist is a moman motorcyclist.

All in all it was a fun day outing. When we got back to the truck Gilbert had protected it and was overjoyed to see us.  It's a tough job keeping an eye out for biker yorkies.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a topic much influenced by politics. Recently though with the censorship stranglehold of stage 2 feminism and the bullying of political correctness lifting there is more room for science. My research mentor said it wasn't a topic open to study 20 years ago because of the violence inherent to the researcher.
That said, a large Canadian study disclosed that women were most likely to be violent in the home. It was an interesting epidemiological study looking at families in general.
The stage 2 feminist position had been "all men are rapists", "all men are violent kilers'. The only solution for these feminists was 'gender cleansing'. It was like ethical position of the old west which said 'the only good Indian was a dead Indian." Not group likely to come up with viable solution to violence.
The light at the end of the tunnel was beginning to be seen a few years back when a number of radical feminist family, child and political studies were exposed for research bias and flaws. The radical researchers were simply doing experiments to 'proove' their points while ignoring any information to the contrary.
Comprehensive research in the 1980's using all sources of data done by a couple showed that women were more likely to kill their husbands than vice versa. The researcher later said he was almost killed for reporting this and his partner didn't want him working in that area because of the risk to family, all night death threats. What the research had shown clearly was that a lot of couples scrap and that women quite frequently believe it's okay to beat on men. The problem in this situation arises when men fight back, Men get killed 'probably unintentionally' in the heat of passion simply because women are most likely, due to reduced size and strength, to pick up an 'equalizer'. Men will use hands fists and feet with the damage being relatively restricted to bruising and occasionally broken bones. Women in contrast will be most likely faced with their big bruiser husband to hit him in the head with a lamp. The husband occasionally falls down dead and the woman claims self defense. It didn't matter if she'd started the violence and then finished it off with the fatal blow. It was always self defense rather than premeditated since it usually occurred in the heat of passion. The other group was the classic male bullies who married dependent personality disorder women and continually threatened them wanting them to be controlled because they themselves were out of control.
A particular plains Indian (native) mating ritual was for the woman to attack her chosen mate, prospective husband, and fight him viscously until he turned and had sex with her which constituted marriage in that tribe. Given that anthropological evidence no one can really say what women were doing before they killed their husbands most likely accidentally.
The modern female ape studies showed that younger females would attract older men by aggression and avoid being injured by presenting sexually. This was not something males were likely to get away unless they were perhaps exceedingly feminine. Ape groups have heirarchies with younger males being commonly brutalized when they challenged the older males.
The data of female contribution to domestic violence was heavily censored in the 90's. Clinically it was common to see men and women who had fisticuffed in marriage. The coroner was interesting in that he noted that bruises on the arms were common for women and that the bruises were consistent with what occurred when hitting. Naturally these were considered self defense too. By 2000 the courts were increasingly interested in the placement of bruises. The men though were more commonly scarred in the head. Faces equally were slapped but men would come in with lacerations from very objects on their scalps and evidence of many occurrences. With violence to children those most at risk are those whose face and exposed body parts have been avoided. The same was true with those tortured who had injury to feet in contrast to the obvious facial bruising which suggests a scrap as seen when two women or two men go at each other in public. The premeditated violence is most often indicated by injury in places which can't to self induced and yet are specifically chosen as least likely to be seen. Coroners and police medical examinations have been critical in recent years for assessing any trauma.
Men asked why they stayed in violent relationships commonly said, "if I'm not there she hits the children". Not surprisingly this has been the same reason for some women to remain in violent relationships.
The most battered men I personally encountered were a group of males married to a native group, the women owning the land which would become joint property only if the man stayed married 7 years. Those seven years were ruthless. The men could be expelled from the community without anything if they hit the women in self defense. A lot of status and financial power was involved in this situation. The men said they had nothing when they met the girls and that they so wanted to be farmers. It was a classic role reversal to the american stereotype promoted by second wave feminism.
Today it's known that alot of violence seen in the late 40's, 50's and 60's was a consequence of the PTSD or the returning male soldiers. Women today serving in the line of duty faced directly with frontline risk and violence are increasingly returning with PTSD, classic nightmares, sleep disturbance, irritability and exaggerated startle reflex and difficulty controlling their anger. These female police and soldiers are further trained as the men before them in effective interpersonal violence so that when they lash out as trained soldiers and police they are more likely to do damage. It's recognized that this form of reactive violence is inherrent in the training and consequence of exposure to the dehumanization of war and street violence rather than a genetic or moral flaw in the individual.
Study of street gang behaviour comparing female and male gangs shows that men will more commonly use violence as a form of extortion against community members. Women in contrast will more commonly use sex and threat of exposure regarding sex to extort money but will when this doesn't work move on to arson, ganging up and such traditional male gang financial violence. Increasingly the media is covering the violence of female gangs to each other with the increasing death of school girls in the altercations.
Anger Management for Women followed the Anger Management for Men classes which surfaced in the 80's or earlier. I only saw the first Anger Management for Women class circa 2000 in Seatle. Indeed 20 years ago no woman I saw admitted to 'anger'. Frustration, exasperation, irritation, etc was acceptable to most but when asked 'were you angry', the most common response was 'I don't get angry" or "I was depressed". Research today outside of the political restrictive environment shows that males and females of mammalian species experience fear and anger as well as love.
In studies heterosexual marriages faired the best with these having the least violence. Men and women were least likely to enter fisticuffs in their sexual relations. In contrast Lesbians relationships were associated with the greatest physical violence. This was followed by gay men. In all groups alcohol and drugs are most associated with violence and a strong case was made for the excess violence in the lesbian and gay population because of the excessive alcohol and drugs in that community. However, when lesbians began to address what was called 'the great secret' of violence, their statistics began to change quickly and dramatically.
Out of the closet women were most successful at stopping the secret warfare. The changes in the gay and lesbian culture in this regard have surpassed the heterosexual violence which seemed to some to be static and entrenched with a particular group of bruiser men and bruiser women accounting for the violent stats. Male and female psychopaths and sociopaths are most likely to use violence to bully. Violence has however occurred regardless of socioeconomic class or religion or creed. The variations in some groups often explained relatively easily by social crowding, increased contact and poverty.
Domestic violence was a problem in a refugee camp I visited but so was fresh water, food, privacy etc. so it's unfair to compare the statistics from these situations to middle class america. In that refugee camp the mother in laws and grandparents held greatest power and men were violent with their wives predominantly when the women refused to kowtow to the ways of the in laws and the husband was expected to bring his 'guest' into line.
Domestic violence against children is a common problem and it's least where parents stay together, greater in single parent homes, and common in blended families. In violence against children there's a lot more research on cause.
Now that the political censorship of second wave feminism has begun to lessen the wealth of data from the WHO files on culture can be more broadly explored. Unfortunately so far there's usually 'a priori' bias in this area like a lot of the ethnocentric studies of latter years with few able to see beyond this.
A very important factor put forward by a black researcher was that his culture had no large homes to retire too and was commonly out in streets or public so that it could be studied by social workers. The wealthy and powerful had the money and status to hide their violence behind closed doors in great mansions.
Given the increased burden of work and responsibility on single parents it would not be surprising that they would be more likely to be overwhelmed and strike out simply because they were more likely to be tired. Lack of sleep is certainly associated with increased irritability.
However, parenting follows animal husbandry. The wealthy, old money, not nouveau rich, knew long ago that race horses did best if treated well and that beating an animal resulted in poor performance. That said, it's true that the wealthy can hide their mistakes and failures far better than the poor but overall there is a tendency with wealth and power for a decrease in violence of children. Poverty and poor education are greater risk factors than money and status. It remains true that little is really known about truly wealthy and powerful because they have the power to privacy. It's further poor science to believe the 'kiss and tell' stories that later surface in the sordid hollywood scenes of Jerry Springer relationships.
Mental illness plays a role with specific brain lesions such as temporal lobe epilepsy being a cause for unconscious violence. Alcohol and drugs have already been mentioned and can't be over stressed. Bipolar disease, impulse disorders, PTSD and finally personality disorders are associated with increased risk of violence. In these conditions medications, usually antidepressants or mood stabilizers and the atypical antipsychotics can be extremely helpful for people who can't control their emotions. Schizophrenics have commonly got a bad rap because of their rare but often bizarre acts of violence. This usually occurs when the schizophrenic can't escape or when they are in the community without proper supervision of their medications.
Given the history of political violence in the world it's not surprising that marriage, the first political structure has it's share. However marital violence is quite rare considering the numbers married. The vast majority of people don't find it necessary in adult hood to bludgeon their partner or even their neighbor. Further there is ample evidence that education and social change can dramatically reduce violence. It's a relatively short bit of history since Doystoyevski wrote of a man beatting a horse to death in a public square. The collective raising of consciousness has had its impact with hope that it will continue to progress forward.
For one I'm delighted that we are getting further away from that horrid binary era of boys against the girls when whites said blacks were the problems and Americans said it was the Russians and gays said the problem was the heterosexuals and vice versa. Today we know that these political factors may be part of the story but that the story is far more complex. Just as the problems of domestic violence are mutlfactorial, so are the solutions. The good news is that today there are many solutions. Domestic violence isn't any more a necessary fact of human existence than perhaps war. Both clearly are a failure of diplomacy. When people are more diplomatic there is less likelihood of violence.
When people 'blame' and empower those outside themselves perpetually perceiving themselves as victims there's little hope for progress. Empowerment is being open and honest about solutions and having the willingness to make changes yourself if you expect others to change.
In the Canadian game of hockey a good coach will look at both defense and offense. Everyone in the violence equations needs to consider all aspects of what transactional analyists would call the game. When this is done there are often many possible solutions to an apparently insurmountable problem.
Marriage therapy and group therapy and United Nations interventions in war zones have all been extremely effective in stopping violence. Police, social workers, and courts especially where the domestic violence is addressed by male and female judges can be powerfully productive. In France domestic violence is addressed by tribunals. Alot of the domestic violence addressed in the courts for decades here floundered on the limits of the white male dominant workaholic judges with the courts improving in this area as more women balanced that historic impasse on progress in this area. It will be hoped that male and female judges will be a normal as this was found to be the most logical and ideal arrangement in family therapy work , not surprisingly.
Different cultural responses to violence are now a source of learning. Inuit resolved their domestic disputes with poetry wars in public forum. Male violence has been commonly siphoned off into sports. Today women are similarly siphoning off their violent tendencies into contact sports. Maybe men and women fighting in marriage should be given a coach and sent to the gym to at least learn Queensbury Rules of civilized dispute.
The future overall is bright if only politicians don't return the planet to a more primitive era because of their failure to address violence, bullying, miscommunication, and short sightedness on the greater stage. Personally I am truly amazed at the extraordinary history humans have of collectively of surviving. Despite the millions killed in war billions survive. Domestic violence remains rare despite the failure of media to report all those who appear to get along with each other without bludgeoning. We are now at a time when we are open to learning from these surprising individuals in the majority just how they live with each other without killing or maiming.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011


When I was younger and less afraid
When the Berlin wall had fallen
And light shone bright in the world
I believed that good men and women
Could make a difference by telling the truth
And standing up for what they believed

I wanted to help people who were helpless
And see that right was done instead of wrong
I believed in God and goodness
That evil and injustice would be conquered
In our time.

We'd had the War to End all Wars
And the space shuttle begat the Station
St. Theresa, Tennemen Square
String Theory, spirituality

Then there was OJ and Michael Jackson
9-11, and the War on Drugs
Iraq and WMD, Cocaine Cowboys and BC Bud
Vancouver Stock Exchange fiasco,
Wall Street deceit and theft from above
North Korea and Ossama bin Laden
Global warming and Quatanamero,
Nestle Corporation, A dingo et my baby,
Private armies and private police
Always the Middle East
Til finally Wikileaks.

Someone's always making money
When there's a problem someone gains
There always are solutions which seem late
And pre arranged.

Bail outs, brown outs, burn outs
In a fashion that's not a brand
A community not just a market
Where Marshal McLuhan and Warhol stand

A nightmare in the morning
The time before the dawn
When the faith is always weakest
And it's hard to carry on

But the light comes in the morning
Transparency is all there is
When the lies arrive like locust
In the darkness of abyss.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011


Dissociation is a common psychological defense or unconscious coping strategy of the mind. At it's most extreme, there is the phenomena of multiple personality disorder which is really quite rare. In comparison, the fairly common experience of deja vu may in fact be a form of dissociative experience.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is commonly associated with dissociation. Out of body experiences are also dissociative phenomena. The traumatic experience is seen to cause a person to enter and altered state. If this defensive removal of self to the other not being traumatized, away from the trauma into a compartmentalized self or other worldly self were to persist and develop another actual 'person' might occur.
In alcoholism and drug addiction there appears to be a dissociative phenomena occurring as expressed in the 'doctor jeckel and mr hyde' character. The person who had an addiction will experience a sense of not being themselves. They might indeed say "I'm not myself." A person in rage may have a similar sense of loss of self, the 'self' being the central and original cohesive person.
In treatment of addiction it's been helpful to refer to the addicted 'self' as the 'addict'.
In trauma, two identities can develop, the traumatized and not . If more develop this can give give rise to different genders and persons of different ages in the full blown multiple personality disorder.
In those who had dissociated in the act of sexual abuse there is commonly a vistigial person who is the age of the actual trauma. The experience of trauma may cause a person to 'lose the child' that was and become the 'adult' with the child persisting in a compartmentalized form and not growing up. With adult hood such individuals commonly have unconscious and uncontrollable childish behaviours and regressions. Therapy expedites the process and connects the two 'states'. "Persons", "states", "alters" have all been terms used by various people to describe the actual phenomena. Dr. Colin Ross in his classic, Dissociative Identity Disorder uses the latest words which have a common acceptance in the medical community. The term "multiple personality disorder' having been replaced by the more accurate term "Dissociative Identity Disorder."
The key is that an actual full 'identity' may not develop but only a vestigial aspect. For instance it's commonly said that an 'adult is acting like a child' or they sound they are 30 years going on 5 years old.
Emotional development is often arrested in trauma so that in recovery and therapy a person who may have stopped developing in child hood or adolescence will slowly regain the emotional maturity consistent with their biological age. A balanced well developed person doesn't stop being a child or having the capacity to act like a child or enjoy life in a child like way. Its just that in this person the adult person can choose when this is appropriate. It doesn't occur in an unconscious way driven by some trigger such as an adult challenge where fear is experience but expressed as anger and the experience of out of control in such a scenario throws one back to the developmental stage of the trauma or the point of maturity achieved in addressing the trauma. Because of the compartmentalization of identity and the warding off of the conscious encounter with the fear associated with the experience of trauma overall such people are limitted in their learning and commonly have difficulty with concentration and memory.
The computer with it's hard drive and ram are marvellous models for understanding the dissociative phenomena. If a hard drive is segmented and various identities are like a partitioned ram the computer owner will have less energy and computer power left because at any time the whole of the hard drive and ram can't be brought together in the dissociated individual.

At the simplest phobias are a form of dissociation where a person who has had an accident such as being caught in an elevator failure develops intense fear and panic in elevators. This panic and fear is not from being in a functional elevator today but rather because the intense fear engendered by the accidents breaks through from memory into the present.

Dissociative is worst where there has been extreme violence or childhood sexual trauma especially penetration with threats to family if disclosure.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I am thankful today for waking on time. My alarm went off and the sounds of Palestrina filled the room. I got up and didn't feel as sick and dragged out as I've been for some weeks. I didn't feel any great pain. My little big dog was sitting up smiling. It wasn't raining on our walk. I prayed for closer contact with God and that I might do his will.
My friend George has a cake tonight. It's a celebration. I have work to do today. Places to go and people to see. I may be of help to others. I will certainly contribute to paying the rent and as usual pay more taxes than most for the benefit of my government who is at worst the best of a bad lot. I am certainly grateful to not be elsewhere. I have little fear of torture by my government today. I'm unlikely to be bombed or shot with military weaponry. I'm not going to see orphans wandering around the streets like stray dogs. I'm not stuck in a refugee camp, my life on hold till someone will have me as my own have rejected me.
I am grateful today that the Bankers raped the countries last year so are like Vikings less likely to return this year. I am grateful that I don't have to listen to the OJ trial again and really that Michael Jackson's affairs with little boys won't be explained away again as genius.
I'm thankful that I've seen heather and cherry blossoms. I'm thankful it's not raining or snowing today. I'm thankful that I haven't had a heart attack and can still walk and even run. I am thankful for the clean air as I've known smog so bad i couldn't breathe at all safely. I live where air and water are relatively safe. I am thankful too that the majority of drivers are sufficiently mature to minimize the impositions of the frequent idiots who drive on the rode stoned with cell phones in their hands listening to what they believe passes as music while reading magazines and juggling. i am thankful for my truck that makes it likely that I won't be hurt as easily by the dangerous people out there without car licenses.
I am thankful that when my thoughts run away on me I can whistle and they come back. I have met so many who actually lose them. I'm thankful I can think and feel and that once the anger is turned on I actually can turn it off. I am so thankful I no longer take pride in my anger and see it for what it is. I am so glad that occasionally now I can see that mates and bureaucrats aren't saber toothed tigers and bring my natural response to any threat into the reality of this day.
I am thankful for my faith. I am thankful that I see this world like Plato as unreal.
I am thankful for my family and internet. I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for internal combustion engines, space shuttles, indoor plumbing, heating, internet, modern medicine, global trade, music and poetry.
I am thankful for running hot water and soap. I'm going to enjoy these right now. Thank you Jesus. Thank you God of all Creation. Thank you Life and Love and Mystery of mysteries.
Oh yea, thanks for the coffee and yoghurt. They were especially good this morning!

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Sexual Harassment's Secondary Benefit

It's interesting to look for who benefits most form the latest boundaries and sexual harassment legislation. It's not readily apparent. It would appear that women, the most sexually harassed, would benefit most.
However I considered hitch hiking on highways. Police were unsuccessful stopping the highway hitchhikers until they penalized car drivers, first class citizens, in this example, for picking up hitch hikers, hitchhikers. Overnight car drivers stopped picking up hitch hikers on the highways and the numbers of hitchhikers plummeted.
Prior to the sexual harassment legislation, first class mothers had considerable difficulty preventing, second class, women from marrying their children. The principle upward mobility socioeconomically for women was in all those places that laws now restrict socialization. If only they were in place when a King abdicated for the sake of a second class Hollywood floozie, a now dead mother might say.
Considering the the hithhiking analogy the sexual harassment legislation prevents men from approaching women except in designated areas. These 'designated areas', private clubs, private functions etc. are where the upper classes can ensure their sons are with the women of upper classes who are least likely to benefit from any sexual harassment accusations.
Is it possible in a kind of twisted way this legislation was a means whereby the upper classes not only ensured their men didn't get the staff pregnant or the Clinton's didn't mix with the help, but more importantly the upper class women were more likely to have first go at upper class men.
It strikes me that this is clearly a secondary and powerful reason for perpetuating this legislation and ensuring men, especially the sons of the upper class only commingle in designated areas. It strikes me that it would dramatically reduce upward mobility because historically women married upward by dating profs, bosses etc in those very places where sexual harassment law penalize the drivers throwing drivers back to dating arenas where the classes can be contained more rigidity. This would be in keeping socially with all the other legislation that appears to be solidifying the position of the upper classes in a kind of new feudalism.
Naturally it's one more way of keeping lower class men in their place as the sexual harrassment studies show that the lower the class of man the more likely he is to be deemed as sexually harassing.
It's probably not true. The upper classes were born that way and would never manipulate laws or social circumstances to interfere with competition for positions which God gave them as rulers. There would be no need. However it would seem to serve the status quo most of all.

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The word "kin" comes from the Old English, 'cyn' which meant "family, race, kind, or nature" Kinship is considered a modern word first attested in 1833 in the writing of Mrs. Browning.

It's a key word. In McLean's Triune Brain is seen the evolution of man internally as likened externally. The lizard brain is there. Lizards have the basal brain mechanisms for maintaining breathing and heart beat, the very mechanisms of the survival and reproduction, territoriality, fight and flight, aggression, defense, and such.

Robert Hare, points out in Snakes in Suits, that the psychopath is really a lizard person with chameleon capabilities. He lacks feelings and conscience.

Feelings are associated in McLean's Triune Brain with the middle brain development, amygdala, basal ganglia and the whole emotional apparatus that is found in mammals. Lizards drop their eggs on the beach like fish drops theirs in the sea whereas the mammals care for their young and form groupings around the raising of young. ( Jurassic Park was an interesting discussion of whether the dinosaurs could do group hunt behavior because that coordinated activity was thought part of the first development of the mammalian proto kinship brain.)

Robert Hare likens this ability to be mammalian to the 'sociopath'. The psychopath is a loner. The sociopath in contrast is part of a group. In the book On Killing about PTSD in the military the writer quotes a sergeant saying that there were psychopaths and sociopaths in the military, very few in fact, because they couldn't be trained to work together. The psychopath loner might function as a sniper but couldn't be counted on not to pick his own targets. The sergeant described the sociopaths as 'wolves' and himself as a 'sheep dog'. The wolves could hunt in packs but there was a question of their loyalty. Indeed sociopaths make good mercenaries for this reason. The soldier who described himself as a 'sheepdog' had a higher sense of 'kin' associating with sheep and humans, allying as such to a greater social grouping than the mere 'blood line' or 'DNA' derived tribal association.

To Hare the sociopath had the capacity to identify with it's own kind. It had the capacity to form a kinship network. A Hell's Angel might not tell the truth to the RCMP or FBI but he would tell the truth to a fellow Hell's Angel. Similiarly a Palestianian might not speak openly with an Israeli or a Mossad with an Hamaz. Klu Klux Klan and the Black Supremacist organizations aren't going to see eye to eye the way Billy Graham and Bishop Tutu might. The issue here is kin and kinship.

Anthropologists found that all tribal people considered themselves "the people", hence the name "Inuit" meant "the people". The significance of this was any one not of the 'the people' was the "other." The rules for the 'people' didn't apply to the 'other'. This was the next question the anthropologist would ask, 'what do you call the neighbor'. When anthropologists encountered cannibals, the answer was the 'edible ones'.

To the sociopath the 'kinship' tribal boundary stops and those on the other side are 'edible ones'. To the human theoretically the kinship association should be at least as advanced as the sheep dog compared to the wolves though of course this is idealistic.

So it really doesn't matter if there are 10 commandments and we say we believe in the 10 commandments. The 10 commandments say "Thou shalt not steal". However to the sociopath or other tribal person this is like one Hell's Angel knowing that he shouldn't steal from another Hell's Angel. The question is who belongs to the 'Tribe'. A tribe can be a political party, or professional group like bankers or a society like the Freemasons or Feminists or Tea Party people.

Democracy is a pretty word until you ask 'who is a citizen'? Only the rich Athens were citizens in the original democracy. Roman citizenship was what kept St. Paul from being crucified without trial. Crucifying non "Romans" was standard operating procedure of the day. The same holds today with the incredibly lucrative business of "immigration" in the United States and the political and legal naming of whose in and whose out. It's no surprise that King Lear called 'courtly things' just that.

The concept of kinship therefore is far more important than 10 commandments or democracy or even the greatest human command, "love your neighbor as yourself" since the word 'neighbour' doesn't mean the same thing for everyone. Sociopaths simply don't use the same 'definition' as Jesus or Paul or perhaps the Christian today would use the word 'neighbour'. Chameleon psychopaths would even parrot the words,nod their heads and chant all the while they considered where they were going to take the first bite.

Sociopaths and other Tribal people aren't operating with a full deck. The lizard is a very good killing machine but it's not a particularly genteel neighbor. It's a whole other matter when your daughter wants to marry one. Kin and kinship are the stuff of Romeo and Juliett.

That said, can a fish love? Can you 'teach' a lizard conscience. Can a sociopath really become a human being in the sense of global citizenship as opposed to Israeli, Palestinian or American citizenship. And finally can this occur without a 'conversion experience'.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Pictures from Sunday

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Spring Hope

I saw heather blooming
And cherry blossoms
Not many but early
Hopeful, colourful
Characters, they were
Explorers, adventurers
Darlings of the new world
I noticed them
They stood out as daredevils
Against the recent snow and sleet
Real trendsetters and go getters
These were.
I loved them for their zest

I saw heather blooming
For the first time
This year
I have hope
Hope that I'll live the year
The planet with me
Friends and family
If the heather can do it
And the cherry blossoms
So can we
It's in the promises
Heather and Cherry Blossoms

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Father Matthew Johnson

Father Matthew Johnson is the street outreach minister at St. James Anglican Church.  He's a handsome personable chap who I've talked to often "on the street".  He helps the homeless and looks out for the really struggling in the vicinity of St. James Anglican which is at 303 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC V6A 1L4.
It's not an enviable job. Not very much of what might be called 'sitting room Christianity' in his work.  He's surprisingly uptempo despite the sordid and often harsh surroundings he must minister in.
Today I heard him give a sermon for the first time.  He was terrific. It was an amazing sermon on Ecumenicalism. In brief sentences he sumarized the major thrusts of the different Christian ministries. He described the liberal churches interfacing with society and focusing on things like poverty and civil rights. He saw the evangelical churches as concerned primarily with one's relationship with Jesus. The orthodox were equally concerned with the mystical while traditional Catholicism emphasized authority and truth.  He saw the Anglican church as trying to balance these various priorities. He also spoke of the World Congress of Religions.
He spoke to the need to understand that there were differences in a family but that a family was nonetheless a family. I'm really not doing his sermon justice. It was extraordinarily profound and yet simple.  I was moved.  I felt more a part of a greater human whole connected more closely together with God.
After that there was more incense, the choir outdid itself, we said the Lord's Prayer and everyone went to the front to receive communion before returning to our seats to kneel and pray.  Then we were all ushering out of the church to begin another week of everyday life.
I felt uplifted. No small thanks to Father Mathew Johnson.  I think it's good they let him come inside.

Drug Testing Pot Smoking Adolescents

If you think your teen is smoking marijuana they probably are. Otherwise they might have a brain tumor. I once did the thousands of dollars work up with complete psychiatric assessment, neurological exam, CTScan and EEG, blood work, and such because the kid's grades were poor and teachers wondered why he was so feral with no memory and no concentration.
Teen and parents insisted he didn't smoke marijuana. I was afraid I was missing some sort of brain eating virus. The kid was that stupid and irritable. Worse than an average teen ager by many points. I was upset that I must be missing something and expressed my defeat to my secretary. She told me his parents were the town drug dealers.
It did a urine test and it came back positive. Mostly marijuana isn't that obvious. It's associated with poor grades, irritability and arrogance. The way to pick it up is by a simple urine drug screen.
Today I'm a medical review officer for government and transportation and such. Refusal to pee is a positive test. That was the agreement between government, unions and Americans with disabilities. If you're not smoking marijuana you're glad to pee because it will be clean. It's a matter of pride for people like me. I'm happy to show you my urine doesn't have drugs. It's not a civil liberties thing. If I'm acting dumb it's a lot cheaper test than doing an MRI. It's the place to begin with teens.

Any family doctor can order a urine drug screen. To make it random the teen has to do it without notice within 24 hours. Marijuania will test positive in urine for weeks to months. It's not like cocaine which clears in days to weeks. The drugs we look for in addition to marijuana are cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, benzodiazepines and hallucinogens. The simple cheap dipstick test has cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, pcp and benzodiazepines. More extensive broader tests have more but truthfully I'm rarely concerned about more than the above. These are all the gateway drugs and if people are doing designers they may be picked up but they're probably doing the 'fav 4" (cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine, opiates.)

There are occasional false positives, the urine tests positive and the teen isn't doing drugs. But we sort this out by having the young adult be seen by an addiction specialist. Addiction specialists have a Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) Certificate or an American Society of Addiction Medicine Certificate (ASAM) or an International Society of Addiction Medicine Certificate (ISAM). GPs, general psychiatrists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, historically haven't been that knowledgeable about addiction despite their common claim that they are. Some of them think they can do surgery and surgeons look askance at generalists operating. In addiction medicine there's the same problem. Lots of people who think they are experts, few are. Look for the certification. If a teen tests positive send them to a certified medical addiction special. When it comes to doing urine testing the Medical Review Officer (MRO) is the most knowledgeable and certified but isn't really necessary for teens unless the teen starts being a jailhouse lawyer. .

I have several patients who are on contract with their parents that if there parents phone me I requisition a urine test at the request of the parents. As the parents are paying for the teens home and school it's reasonable that they want the teen to be present for the experience. It's so much easier to do adolescence, a tough job at any time, if you have your brain in your skull.

Ongoing random urine testing, as opposed to an initial screening test, is only done after a teen has lied but tested positive. If a teen tells me they're using I don't need a confirmation test and I don't like the cost or unnecessary paper floating about. When the teen is clean I order a test to support their claim and to encourage them to remain clean. It's good to sit down and write a voluntary contract with parents and teen so everyone is on board about what will happen next.

Today Narcotics Anonymous has a young peoples group for those under 25. I would definitely send a teen to such an NA group but not the adult one. Often marijuana smokers quit drinking as well and go to AA which also has a young peoples group.

Urine testing isn't 'invasive'. Blood tests are invasive. Urine tests are not.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

House Rules

One of the most common concerns expressed to me by parents of adolescent children is that their teens are totally uncooperative. This isn't a biological necessity of child or adult development. Delayed adolescence and rebellious adolescence is predominantly a modern western urban culture phenomena made worse by media, (aiming to sell to teens and feeding into their greatest depravities), divorce, working parents, loss of control of schools, gangs etc.
There are organizations that it really behooves parents to join. Parents Together is one such organization. Kids spend a lot of time talking about how to "beat" their parents. Parents need allies and in the modern single family homes there is a real need to reach out to get help. Al Anon is an organization for parents whose children have problems with alcohol and drugs. Police organizations, locally, the Vancouver Police and RCMP, often have personnell who will gladly advise parents if they have concerns about their childrens safety or behavior before a problem arises. Child and adolescent psychiatric services are available at hospitals and help lines are often another source of information. It is really important when children are problematic to get information from the school and consider the teachers as allies. It's really critical to know what others are doing or saying in the community.
That said, I commonly start with behavioral problems by encouraging the parents to make a list of 10 commandments, the House Rules. These need to be broad and clear and posted. My experience is not with healthy normal kids but rather with the most difficult teens referred as the worst in the school or sent to psychiatric wards. I tell parents the first thing that kids encounter in 'group homes' is the House Rules. You can look for House Rules on line and get an idea of what juvenile detentions, foster house and such use. So make a set for your house and make sure your teen is on the same page.

Here's some ideas:
1) No physical damage to the humans in this house. No use of knives, guns or baseball bats or fists against other humans. No hitting. No harming pets.
2) No damage to the house itself. No explosive devices. No fire setting. No head banging through walls.
3) No urinating or defecating anywhere else but in the toilet.
4) No cutting, strangulation, overdosing with pills or jumping off roofs in an attempt to suicide or self harm.
5) Be in house before 11 on weekdays and 12 midnight on weekends. These are arbitrary numbers but locking of a house or apartment should be done for the protection of all and all members should be inside at fixed times.
6) No strangers allowed in the house without parental permission.
7) Rooms should be capable of passing a basic health inspection. That means no left over food. I'm a big one for no clothing on the floor since where shoes and feet have been should not be mixed. Ideally parents should be teaching their children's the basics of what natives would call, "learning not to shit where you eat" and the difference between a 'bedroom' and a " nest." There's a lot of self respect to be gained by putting dirty clothes in a bin and clean clothes in another bin.
8) No smoking in rooms. No alcohol or drugs in rooms.
9) Chores - these aren't horrendous, child slave camp things but minimal levels of group living, like washing dishes, taking out garbage, cleaning once a week or something like this in which the adolescent participates in the running of the apartment or home. They should be contributing members.
10) Allowance should be earned and conditional not an entitlement.
11) Television times.
12) Computer times. Televisions and computers, cellphones, wifi and gameboys are not necessary in private bedrooms and can be moved to public areas if there are concerns in this regard. Their use can be limited. Parental controls are good things.
14) Game times.
15) Cell phone usage.
16 Lights out can be set as can wake up times. In psychiatric hospitals it's common practice to wake adolescents up for morning breakfast and to lock the bedrooms of bed seekers.
17) No yelling.
18) No calling your parents or family members names that are demeaning and objectionable to most U.S. marines.

These are just ideas. Ideally a list of 6 or 12 is better than 20. Keep it simple.

When there is an infraction don't discuss it but rather ask the adolescent what rule has been broken to see if they know, are brain damaged or really don't know. When they answer, "what!" or "whatever" or such responses invite them to come to the place where the house rules are posted and point at the number of the infraction. Don't read or repeat or say what it is. Ask them to do this to see if they can read or are stoned. Gain agreement on the misdemeanor. Note this is exactly what police do and it is a means of training children for the adult world.

Sentencing is a wholly separate matter and should be done at a completely different time and place if possible.

Ie. We agree you put the cat in the microwave and that is a breach of
rule number #1. We will discuss what consequences will result from this in one hour. In the meantime go to your room or else. Never tell any adolescent what else is as it quite possibly could lead to your doing jail time.

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Marriage, Church and State

Marriage was traditionally an "institute of family". It was a union of husband and wife with the intent of sexual congress for the sake of creating children for the community. It was a community based recognition of the biological coupling of families and designated who would be responsible for children.
Children were appreciated by families and communities until very very recently in the history of humanity. Children were proto adults who were the principle workforce and the ingredients of armies and numbers and health and well being of these children defined the futures of the communities. Marriages were almost entirely arranged by adults and families who had long understood the importance of 'breeding' biologically since the early days of herding and politically as the stuff of alliance.
Marriage was monogamous or polygamist. If monogamous and no children, the lack of children could be grounds for dissolution of the marriage as 'barreness', initially of women and later men, was considered a grave disadvantage. In the history of the aristocracy how one pleasured oneself sexually, whether with males, females, animals or otherwise was nobody's business really, as long as children were produced as heirs. Marriage and family were essentially synonymous. If there were no children the marriage was accepted but it was not considered healthy, successful or enviable. Childless marriages were 'cursed' marriages.
In times of poverty and starvation, children, considered the future, might well be sacrificed (even eaten) by the adults who considered themselves by brute strength alone to be the rulers of the present.
Post industrial age, ie post "the age of the machine", the need for human labour for production of food, clothing, shelter,transportation and war was reduced. Children lost value as did all humans. Today one might say that with one button attached to enough warheads to annihilate all men, women and children and the planet itself children and humans in general are at an all time nadir. Certainly the very few at the very top of the food chain have more power than any tyrant of any age previously. The tolerance of these super humans for the rest of us is perhaps the same as the French Queen who said "give them cake" if only to shut them up and stop them riotting.
Mass annihilation of sub groups such as Scots, Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Rwandas, and Aboriginals in general, and mass abortions of undesirable races such as Canadians and now the hope of euthanasia might reduce the numbers of those ruled by those ruling to a much more congenial equation in time. Right now humans and children aren't particularly desirable. Fortunately, Afghans and Vietnamese before them have demonstrated that drones and bombs are not yet as efficient in war as individual human soldiers. Thanks to the success, albeit little, of these horrible rebels, the armies of the right and good are still necessary. Therefore the ruling class continue to have need for the occasional babies.
A time in the not too distant future may come when the planetary rulers could get along with say a million servants and things would be much better all round for everyone especially the lakes and dung beetles, to say nothing of the spotted owl.
It's been only a half century that predictable and readily available birth control has been available for most. Marriage is no longer the dangerous leap into child rearing it once was. Condoms at the turn of the last century were not found in dispensers in outhouses, were highly unreliable and far more undesirable than the modern day Trojan or Sheik condom that claims to be not only secure but hardly noticeable when worn. The birth control pill for women is this generations contribution to the future and the male birth control pill is finally ready for marketing.
Gays, homosexuals or lesbians, who have entered into sexual unions never had the terrifying potential and leap of faith that young women and men did when their community approved sexual relations could saddle them with a toddler and later a teen ager at any moment. Gay sex, like adultery or adolescent sex or any non community sanctioned sex had it's illicit risks but by comparison to illicit heterosexual sex was incredibly safe in comparison. Only very recently has gay homosexual sex been a 'risky business' as a result of biological disease. Lesbian sex both biologically and socially has by many standards been the safest of all sexual unions. Pregnancy and childbirth today are however safer for women than in any other time in all of history. Acute pain therapy for childbirth is one of the miracles of modern science. Despite this childbirth's popularity with women has so decreased that scientists are desperately working all hours to develop extrauterine in vitro birth in case women completely forfeit this role which men, even those who do dishes and floss, have shown no interest in taking over.
Children have not only brought benefit to the family but also grave risk. The behavior of children has for millennia reflected poorly or positively on parents. Increasingly though children have been co-opted by the state, especially totalitarian states, as monitors and police of the parents. Countless adults now have died as a consequence of the intentional or unintentional statements of children.
With the age of machines children became less desirable. Only with the advent of the 19th Century hospitals before Lister was childbirth en mass truly dangerous. When it's dangers were addressed women gained 10 years life expectancy over men who continued to bear the brunt of the dangerous work place and wars that enriched the shrinking numbers but increasingly potent rulers. . Naturally women might opt for more life than more children in contrast with their grandmothers whose experience was 'many hands made a chore less burdensome". In contrast 'many mouths' became the post machine age nightmare.
It's been said that modern times, the last 200 years are best understood as a paragraph, less than a page, in the 200 page book of human life on this planet.
Marriage as an institution of family has been present for a goodly bit of those 200 pages whereas marriage as the term is used today is at best a line in the book of life in the present age of divorce.
Marriage until very recently for most was a lifelong institution, adult life lasting 20 to 30 and at most 40 years beyond childhood. Except in the numerology of Biblical accounting a 50 year marriage was rare indeed. There are countless 50 year heterosexual marriages, and 2/3's of the monogamous ones have not known adultery. The polygamous marriages have probably even more abiding statistics.
Kinsey first looked for Gay long term unions and found very few with supreme effort just a few decades or less than a line of history ago. Today gay unions are a terrific experiment in human relations a kin to the development of the space shuttle and as admirable givens the forces against them.
DINK'S - Dual Income No Kids marriages are another truly recent phenomena, at most a generation in the countless generations of life on earth. Women can safely enter that once dangerous union called marriage knowing they will never have to have children, never take the risk of childbirth, never raise toddlers and teenagers and have all the benefits of marriage without their partners knowing they never ever planned to have children. Men can themselves get vasectomies and marry without ever having to fear one day holding a vulnerable screeching baby in their arms or having a teen ager begging for the keys to Dad's car.
The hard political work of families on behalf of marriages in these recent years of political and economic entitlements have acknowledged the greater cost and obligations that married people, ie parents had over single people, ie unmarried people. There is a desire today for those who aren't parents to have those benefits and given the rapidity of the change in circumstance and naming of things in the last lines of the history the very meaning of marriage and family and sexuality are at stake. The rise of the singles and DINKS also has already gained them many credits over the former majority the married parents. It's no surprise that Gays want what DINKS already have.
It is only very very recently that any sexuality was open to discussion thanks to the pioneering work of Kinsey. Married sex was as much a taboo as unmarried sex. Today Gays are facing the same persecution that unmarried heterosexuals living together only mere decades ago faced. Today the children of interracial marriages are still being persecuted as seen with the colored children in today's Vietnam.
However as a community what will we give to children since all the advantages of 'marriage' given by community were specifically regarding the future of the community, ie the children.
As we define marriage as just two adults, and really whether they're female, male or two eunuchs isn't at issue here, what will we say for families especially families where there are only one adult and children or even adopted children with any number of adults. Can we seriously change the nature of marriage without really addressing the whole antequated graveyard of family legislation especially when for far two long decisions have been made by white privileged upper class old wig wearing men whose traditional servile wives have raised the children.
There would be no dispute about marriage in churches today if the law courts would have done their job of getting in touch with 21st century long before the churches and communities had to attend to the messes left them by the self serving "social courts'.
Given that the average length of marriage in north american between childless of any arrangement is commonly 5 years or less and those with children seem to be divorcing in this culture of divorce earlier and earlier, what does marriage say about 'stability' and 'commitment'. Indeed only one generation ago marriage reflected maturity and responsibility whereas today marriage may be a name associated with stupidity and immaturity. Indeed being married might mean you are gay or childless or only able to commit for 5 years. Given the 50% divorce rate maybe only bad marriages succeed and good marriages divorce. The entertainment and marketting industry responding to the decline of the wedding party began to make profits by promoting divorce parties definitely competing in popularity with he declining baby showers. Black gowns are in and white gowns are out.
The fact remains, what about the children?
All the 'domestic laws' of family and cohabitation need to be rewritten in this post machine age to stop lawyers and judges and the state from disenfranchising children in marriages with children. The divorce courts will be required shortly to pay back the children of divorce for the wholly unnacceptable cut they took from these children's heritage. Gay marriage is truly just an opening gambit in this long overdue process.
DINK's and GAYs ,who don't adopt, really don't deserve the privileges that were sought for families on behalf of the state and community.
Gays however should have every right that heterosexual DINK's have until either have children, adopted or procreated.
Love and lust matches of individuals either gay or heterosexual shouldn't be called called marriage 'retrospectively' as in the term 'common law' marriage. Marriage was and should remain a 'prospective' consensual agreement that two adults enter into and contract to do. The rights of 'squatters' should not be the same as 'homeowners' or the very courts themselves are rewarding the lawless as they have done now for decades. Parliaments and congress need to reel in the self serving courts which are by their actions not interpretting laws but actually making them for their own benefits to the detriment of the community at large. Shacking up is not marriage. Anyone who shacks up should not be seen legally as worthy of the rewards, benefits and rights of the proposed lawful gay, heteroseuxal or eunuch marriages or eunuch marriages.
Sexuality should no longer be punished by the courts who have never been sanctioned to be in the bedrooms of the nations in the first place. Individuals who live together don't get to have the others pensions and judges should stick to what they know which is contractual law, prenuptial agreements or marriage contracts. Increasingly today couples gay or heterosexuals are forced by housing costs to be roommates. Retrospectively any roommate can risk all future income if their roomy gets a slick lawyer and claims there was sexual congress whether there was or wasn't. As Gays today are wanting to have legal unions that is admirable indeed. Legal unions are to be admired by community. The problem remains that the courts don't even uphold their own laws and the consequence is the destruction of all community as we know it.
The state has always increasingly been against families and has demonstrated their penchant for divide and conquer in their unwillingness to recognize the world re live in today. No judge in social courts should be allowed to wear a wig today as it causes them to think like dinosaurs. Perhaps church leadership should consider discussing issues of marriage and family wearing sweats and having only milk with cookies for refreshments. There appears too much evidence of too much alcohol or pot in some of the decisions in this domain.
Finally, what of the rights of children? All of the rights of marriage were there to protect children and family. Should not the marriage laws be changed in the context of family laws and why is polygamy, either male or female, outlawed in a supposedly 'multi cultured' society. Really.

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God's Revelation

I do like Calvin's term, "spectacles of faith". If I have faith I can let go of myself just a little to consider that God is in charge and God doesn't want to crucify me personally. He did that gig with Jesus, his son. I sing the song, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord" and admit I was all the players in that play. Not just Jesus. I have to get out of myself and over myself and yes, think of things from the position of myself not as the central player in life's drama. I may be in my own. As the saying goes, I'm not much but I'm all I think about. This is narcissism. It's the essence of the psychopath and self gratification. It's the me first reality of the "infant terrible". It's the teen age drama queen. It's the 50 year old acting like an 11 year old. We intuitively know it is and even if it's politically incorrect to say it. We think, grow up! Self centeredness, even if it gets you riches and cosmetic surgery doesn't bring you closer to humility and spirituality. It's definitely not community awareness when you don't care for others and God is just another name for 'other' or even 'neighbor'.
So imagine God. The supreme being. The great Kahuna. The other who is not just there but really isn't out to get me because for all I know I may be a microbe on the face of creation. In the multidimensional reality I may be a dot or a line or the tabula rusa. I might not even be anything more than a puppet. It's my contention for the sake of this ego that I'm in charge. But face it, I can't make oxygen. Humility is reality. I'm completely unaware of creating this creation so if I did who is it that makes me unaware of what I do. In the Eastern sense of maya, or illusion, who makes this illusion, this life.
So let's hypothesize a God. And rather than many, just consider one of these and myself as the other. Who came first. Did we co exist. That's the proposition of self and overself. I am the "little me" and not the 'higher power".
But if there is a higher power is there a relation. Am I the gnat on the elephants ass or a child of this God. Is this God trying to communicate with me. I certainly am now trying to communicate with God. I'm praying as unceasingly as I can. Often I'm saying, stop the world, I want to get off. Help me, I can't stand a noter day of beaurocratic stupidity. Save me from the propaganda of media. Protect me from the bullies that gang with other idiots and want to hurt me and who ever else they can. Please God don't let microbes plug up my nose. Save me from cancer. Help my family and friends.
Lets face it I acknowledge I need help and I turn to this other, this infinite as compared to my finite, self. If you have ever had a foxhole prayer then you are a theist and all your blather in safety about aetheism is just hypocricy. I consider quite possibly my arrogance of humanism is just that, child like development, the adolescent mind that alienates and isolates. Me first. It's the feminist, masculinist in me. It's the divide and conquer, dualism of my deceptive mind. It's the limits of my capacity to "know" , "grok" God. God may know me but I can't contain the infinite in the finite.
There are no atheists in foxholes and if you haven't got religion, then go to sea. The book, Denial of Death, addresses the whole of societies work to distract itself from the reality of "dust to dust'. Even Napoleon was born between shit and piss. At bedsides, the fear is of death, the afterlife and suffering. I don't worry about crosses and Romans but nurses and doctors run by profit motive greedy rich hospital CEO's who took a weekend course on slow euthanasia and how to save money by cutting back on toilet privileges. I've seen so much of this evil in my life. I don't need cloven hooved winged miscreants and dragons. I've had my fill of stupidity.
But I simply admit my fear. My fear calls out for a protector from the lightning and the big cats. I'm in my cave and I'm man enough to say that I'm afraid.
So I'm not alone and rather silly of me I believe in a God. I'm certainly crying out to that God. That's my spiritual 9-11. Skip police, fire, and ambulance and put me through to central management. Why am I in this soup and who are these hairy faced men and women, long necked women and boys, stirring the broth. Am I the the eater or the food. If I was buddhist I'd be saying, wake me from this nightmare.
As a Christian I'm saying, wake me.
My sweet Lord, I want to know you. I want a relationship with you. I want wealth and health and guidance and honor and peace of mind.
I want to be awake and know and not just be distracted. I don't want to ask, "what is this hand basket and where are we going anyway?".
So maybe when I shut up and the hysteria dies down and I stop my thrashing and running in circles and screaming the 'skies falling', maybe when I put on the "spectacles of faith", I can actually believe in not just an infinitude but another, a higher self, a God, a Lord, a Creator who would like to speak to me. Maybe he's revealing himself to me now,
Even as I sit in this present moment of self if I just relax and trust and love and believe, maybe God is 'revealing' himself to me. Shut up and smell the roses!
I'm a whole lot of nano seconds alive, a whole lot of seconds, I'm a whole lot of minutes alive, a whole lot of hours and days and weeks and months and years. When will I accept the miracle of love and life that says that despite my belief countless times that things were ultimately doomed, it's been okay. I'm still here. Why would I think any different. Why must I believe that when people die they don't just go to sleep and wake in a reality that I don't know but is their new reality. I have no knowledge of ending and 'yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou aren't with me."
I didn't even have any say in the way those people called parents carried me when I was a mewling baby and I didn't have any say in the neighbors picking me up or their dog sniffing me on the lawn or the encounters with wild animals, floods, blizzards, broken machinery and bad food. I somehow survived. Rather than believing negatively that that's just the exception and the shoe will drop and my ass will be in a sling, maybe I could believe that God's in charge and God, as far as I'm concerned, is doing pretty good and has done pretty good by me but I've been pretty ungrateful and expected a rocket ship for my next birthday so had a few little ego disappointments. Further if I really look at the real crap moments in my life and ask sincerely what I had to do with getting there that day or setting the course to that crash a week or two ahead I can usually find a point where I 'did it my way'. I'm deluding myself I'm a victim. I'm more often than not a volunteer. I might well have been a sperm captain on that biblical escape from Egypt through the Dessert to the promised land of Canaan ovary.
I may have been a fool to volunteer. Certainly the leadership I've known locally has been all for me charging machine guns with my single shot rifle or sometimes just a broom when really all I wanted to charge was windmills and come home to Dulcinea.
But God has been revealling him/her/their/itself. I believe God, thyself are trying to reach out and touch me. I'm in love in Thompson's Hound of Heaven. Despite my cynicism and negatively and unwillingness to be exploded by the joy that caused Daniel to dance naked in the streets I'm touched by joy. I'm surprised by Joy as C.S. Lewis said.
I'm alive today. I could be fully alive but my fear of criminals, police and state and terrorists and poverty and corporations and mental hospital and looking silly to the kids limits my expression of the reality of creation. I'll Mona Lisa smile and let my eyes twinkle. I'll hold this kernel of happiness with in me. No matter what happens today I'll protect the little flame of God that burns in my being. I'll blow on that flame and think that God blew life into this dust of me so I'll blow life into god.
God is revealling himself and the more I reveal myself the more closely we'll meet. It's called love. God loves me and I can't explain it anymore than why I love my little dog but my little dog has more faith in me than I have in God. Yet once I loved my parents more than I love God and today I'll practice loving as a child does. I won't spend my time being so mature and 'reasonable' and 'smart' and 'clever' and 'paranoid' but rather I'll quietly shout hallelujah. I'll know the revelation of God and maybe God will reveal more to me. Hallelujah!

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