A To Z Challenge – W

april-challenge

Whoo-whoo, you’re almost eligible for parole from this letter-perfect piffle.  But first, a word from – my dictionary, starting with

letter-w

Too many Fundamentalist (with the accent on mental) Christians play the definition game, whereby they decide what a word or name means, and use it as justification for hatred and harassment of those who don’t precisely agree with them.

One of the words that sets many of them off, is ‘Witch.’  Their infallible Bible tells them, “Suffer not a witch to live.”  They all know what a witch is, what they look like, how they act, and what they do. (Evil, evil evil!)  Ignoring Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, they focus on the ugly hag, the crone, who is stirring up a batch of bats’ brain, newts’ eyes and frog warts, to cast evil, harmful spells.

My daughter is a witch, and I’m proud of it.  Actually, she’s only kinda, sorta, Wiccan – but there’s many a Good Christian who’s only prevented from having her burned at the stake by strong, secular laws.  She believes in a unifying force of the universe, only she doesn’t believe that ‘It’ is male, and she doesn’t call it ‘God.’

If you’ve read my Rylah Reblog, you know that she’s as loving and caring a person as any judgmental Christian. She gets her morals and ethics from her heart and her mind, not from some list drawn up by a bunch of frightened old men, also listing what you can wear, what you can eat, and who you have to hate, because they’re different.

The witches that ‘they’ believe in, didn’t really exist in the past, and they don’t exist now.  Any witch that I know now, is usually a better, kinder, nicer person, and productive, loving, accepting member of society, than most of these superstitious buffoons.

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It’s All Newton’s Fault

I’m not talking about Sir Isaac Newton. I’m referring to Newton Minow, an American who was Director of the FCC during the Kennedy Era.  In 1961, he declared television to be a vast wasteland.  This irritated many within the industry, to the point that, the SS Minnow that washed up on Gilligan’s Island was named after him.

The cost of accessing this wasteland by cable continued to increase. About 12 years ago, we dumped cable, and went with satellite TV.  Satellite rates soon followed Cable rates.  Two years ago, when the wife’s mobility problems meant that she had trouble going down to the basement rec room to watch TV, we cut the satellite cable also.

Almost 50 years of marriage means that we have little new to talk about, so we relied on books to fill the excess time. OH!  WOW!  Last year’s list of 51 books, has increased this year to 57.

Jim Wheeler’s question about rereading books had me going back to reread some old Sci-Fi. I have quite an interest in time travel and temporal paradoxes. Note toward the bottom of the reread section, the time travel group.

pebble-in-the-sky

nemesis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tunnel-in-the-sky

spacehounds-of-ipc

the-far-traveller

to-conquer-chaos

the-world-swappers

the-super-barbarians

 

armageddon-2419

the-outposter

starlight

the-dark-light-years

i-aleppo

the-world-at-the-end-of-time

renegade-of-time

serving-in-time

masters-of-time

time-raider-1-wartide

Continuing with the time travel theme, I recently bought and read

tales-of-the-time-scouts

I also purchased Book II, and will read it this year.

a-wanted-man

never-go-back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

personal                                                                                                        make-me

skeleton-coastghost-ship

treasure-of-khan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the-judas-strainaltar-of-eden  the-last-oracle

devil-colony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the-doomsday-key

the-emperors-tomb  the-jefferson-key

the-kings-deception

 

 

 

 

 

 

the-lincoln-myth

the-alexander-cipher the-exodus-quest

magic-breaks magic-shifts

all-the-rage hosts

fire-with-fire

crazy-english

And a couple from an up and coming author – not published yet, but look forward to them.
He’s Will Greany.

Blue On Blue

blue-on-blue

Domestic

Tank

locked-on threat-vector

command-authoritysupport-and-defend

guns-germs-and-steel  This one came highly recommended by BrainRants.

flesh-and-blood

the-crusades-from-beginning-to-end  Not what was promised.  Quite disappointing!

the-tau-ceti-agenda

hell-hath-no-fury

the-fold

robert-a-heinlein

free-short-stories-2013free-short-stories-2014

Now that you’ve spent all that time lookin’ at the pretty pitchurs, you won’t have time fer yer own readin’.  Sorry!

 

Flash Fiction #115

lanterns

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Light was the first thing to be lost when “The Wave” rolled through. Electricity stopped flowing, technology disappeared and we reverted to the lives our ancestors had endured, hundreds of years ago.

No-one knew what had caused it, but it was the end of civilization as we knew it. The superstitious called it ‘Magic.’  The religious claimed that it was the wrath of God.  Who knew what scientists called it?  All media, including the internet, had winked out of existence!

The Third World countries scarcely noticed it, and Survivalists suddenly had more friends and followers than any Kardashian ever had.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Criminal Assholed

Grammar Nazi

Alas, poor English language, so assaulted and insulted. You are misspoken, misheard, mispronounced, misunderstood, misspelled, miswritten, misprinted, misrepresented, misused, abused, confused.

The following are only a few of the ways that the more (or less) erudite have mangled the mother tongue recently, some of them professionally. We start with a couple of bloggers who felt the need to include their own definitions.

may the peace of the garden bewith you – Bewith, a word meaning – enchant, enlighten curiously

I think she was trying to define bewitch. Be with is two words, which mean ‘to enter your heart, soul or mind, and remain there.”  The next blogger defined….

gomble – a large risk with no guarantee of success  I’ll gamble that his Spellchecker doesn’t work.  Then on to….

My brain shut down oredi this week – and I’m already pissed that you mumble when you listen.

a still toddering child – toddling? tottering? They’re just making these up as they go.

we are directed, neigh commanded – A horse’s mouth neighs.  A horse’s ass doesn’t know that it’s nay.

My friend became a little two comfortable – because it takes more than one to make that mistake.

an interesting little trieste – in a treatise by a pretentious writer

Jack DeBrul, writing as Clive Cussler – was an instant from firing, before adjusting his site picture.  Stop web-surfing Jack, and see the sights.  He had an old fishing boat – held together with duct tape and bailing wire.  When bailing boats, use a bucket.  Only use wire when baling hay . Later in the story, he had a character ride a motorcycle and – swiftly turn the wheel to avoid a collision.  A steering wheel – on a motorcycle??  Maybe he needs to do that computer research!

choose to lye with the same sex – Ow!  That would smart – If only the writer was.

I remember when Cypress was ‘The War of the Week’ – I remember when Cypress was a large tree, and Cyprus was where Canadian peacekeeping troops went.

The Toronto Sun says ‘Toronto Mayor is not board at council meetings.’ – He looks more like a brick, but I’m bored.

They alluded authorities for weeks – and the correct word eluded the writer.

Dictionary

It never seizes to amaze me – that people don’t know that it’s “ceases to amaze me.”

A Toronto bus driver was punched in the face – over a fair dispute.  I wonder how hard he’d have been punched if it were a serious dispute – over a fare?

I corrected a blogger who published ‘low and behold.’  Damn you Autocorrect, which doesn’t know about ‘lo and behold.’

swallowed chick eyed as slight-of-hand trick – You made a slight mistake!  The phrase is, sleight-of-hand.

Serena ‘pushes the envelope’ with bare midriff, naval ring, – Hello sailor, new in town? – and then wore it in her navel.

Russian fishermen rescued from broken ice float – I’ll float the idea that it was a floe (not a flow).

the likely hood of a revolution – There’s a likelihood SpellCheck didn’t catch this.

Christmas is passed – No, no, laws are passed.  Christmas is past.

an undo emphasis on building walls – Undo your dictionary, and look up undue.

a homeless guy was stabbed in the juggler – by who, a Clown?

murder in disabaled daughter’s death – Another newspaper headline typo that proves that the last proof-reader, like the last dinosaur, is long extinct.

I think I’m ovary acting about this – Then you can’t be Chris/Caitlyn Jenner.

We find are selves back at square one – We should find ourselves back at that dictionary.

A Cambodian student has invented a robot to diffuse landmines.  With 10 million of them in his country, I think they’re diffused enough.  It stabilises the detonator and cuts it out….oh, it defuses landmines.

Crossword clue, cul-de-sac = alley.  No, no!  Alley narrow, open at both ends.  Cul-de-sac wide, closed at one end.  Crossword editor lazy – stupid – pissing me off!

Not an error, but in a recent post I wrote Superbowl as one word, instead of Super Bowl. SpellCheck offered me ‘Superb owl’ as an alternative.  I wish I owned a superb owl.  It could have watched me laugh till I almost peed myself in the dark.

 

Religious Addiction

Bible

A letter came to a pastor recently, from a middle-aged woman determined to take her own life. She has already made an attempt.  She suffers from extremely low self-esteem, depression and other afflictions.

She feels desperate, “cut off from God” and beyond divine forgiveness. Certain readers will already be saying to themselves that she needs to be “saved,” to be “born again,” and to join a church where they “preach the Gospel.”

However, this woman has already been through all that. A Theologian read her letter and felt it was quite obvious that she suffered from far too much literalistic fundamentalism already.  Like hundreds of similar others over the years, she is being tormented by the very religion she once turned to for comfort and “salvation.”

Briefly stated, she is suffering from a form of religion that is ‘bad religion.’ It’s growing and becoming very powerful in some quarters today.  It can look successful on the outside, even imparting a glazed but glowing countenance, but it can tear apart people’s souls.

This form of ‘addictive’ religiosity is not confined to circles dominated by TV evangelists or excessively zealous priests. It cuts across all Christian denominations and, in varying degrees, all other faiths.

Here are some of its major characteristics. It touts black and white answers to every problem – from hormone issues (sex), to when and how the universe was formed.  It encourages passive dependence on a host of authorities, from sacred texts, to faith leaders at every level.  It fosters simplistic, ‘magical’ thinking.  It diminishes one’s autonomy, self-reliance, confidence in one’s own inner voice and ability to grow either emotionally or intellectually.

It views all other faith stances as wrong – or even Satanic, leading to “Hell.”  Such a system whines a lot about what “miserable sinners” we all are and yet never asks itself why it leaves such incredible guilt, anxiety and loss of self-esteem in its wake.

Priest

Yes, it can produce an overinflated ‘high’ at being on the “winning side,” as “God’s elect,” but at a terrible price. This is referred to as loss of authenticity and of one’s inner convictions.  The God being served is too often a narrow, small, vengeful, tribal deity, who is nonetheless supposedly loving.

The Churchman reflected on this phenomenon as he worked on answering the suicide note. Suddenly, with a genuine synchronicity, his mail arrived with a copy of an article from Pastoral Psychology, a magazine dedicated to learned articles on various aspects of soul-care – mainly for clergy, psychotherapists and other counsellors.

It was titled “Religious Addiction, The Subtle Destruction Of The Soul.” It was written by Patricia Anne Venderheyden, a psychotherapist in private practice in London, Ontario.  Her Master’s thesis is from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and was focused on this same issue: religious addiction.

As she told him in an interview, this isn’t a subject that has received much attention in the past. It certainly deserves it today!  She had pondered for many years, beginning with her own experiences of certain faith groups, why it is that so many in every religion gravitate to authoritarian cliques with such alacrity and yet, in the end, with such disastrous results.

She wrote: “I observed how people’s inner authority was compromised in order to fit in with a system of belief whose standards were impeccable – and unattainable. I saw people accepted into groups only if they ‘jumped through the right hoops’, dotted their i’s and watched their p’s and q’s.” The ‘addicts’ had a show of freedom, yet their proclamations seemed ‘hollow and empty.’

She saw many such persons blindly accepting the words and advice of religious elders. All critical awareness and thinking for themselves had long since been suppressed.  “The addicts wanted to be told that he or she was absolutely right, and that any form of questioning is evil.” she said.

Certainly, authorities can help someone at first, but if they are compulsively used ‘as a way of avoiding one’s own reality,’ they ruin one’s hopes of ever becoming mature in either mind or spirit. The addicts she describes are ‘religious junkies,’ obsessed with mood alteration and a quick fix to face life.

There’s no need to assign blame. Religious leaders can nurture an addictive faith unwittingly by never stopping to ask questions of the style and content of their ministry, such as: To whom does it cater, and why?  With what results?

Believers who are really avoiding the shame and pain within by refusing to tackle it, and by ‘leaving it all to God,’ need to stop and realize that the rigidity and exclusivity of addictive religion can one day leave you empty, out of touch with your real self and, hence, engulfed by fear and despair.   😦

 

Hell’s Gate

hells gate

AKA – Book Review #13

Always distrustful of the Lowest-Common-Denominator effect, I have avoided reading many of literature’s Great Books.  While I reference ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’, or ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, I have not actually read them.  Another book I have declined to read is ‘War and Peace.’

The first three hundred pages are a boring family lineage tree that makes the Utah Mormons look like amateurs. While epic in scale, the book then plods to a conclusion after almost 1200 pages.  I did read the 5000 page John Jakes’ Bicentennial Saga series, but that was eight 600/700 page books, over five years.

Especially since I have retired, I read to pass time as much as for the enjoyment of a good story. I recently filched a book from the library in the son’s room.  It’s a Science Fiction book that runs to 1208 pages, before a thirty page glossary of all the terms.  It’s a ‘War and Peace’ equivalent that took me almost a month to get through.

The Book – Hell’s Gate

The Authors – David Weber/Linda Evans

The Review –

Like War and Peace, this is an epic saga of two mighty empires, entire planets. They’re both ‘Earth’, although neither of them call themselves that.  This is a tale of parallel dimensional worlds.

About two hundred years ago, portals began appearing, which allowed them to travel to a string of other ‘Earths’ where everything except mankind exists. They have been mining the metals, cutting the lumber, and fishing the seas.

In one group, a minority have Psi powers. They can broadcast and receive thoughts, feel when someone is lying and ‘See’ territory miles away.  They have firearms.

The other side has learned to harness Galactic quantum energy, effectively creating magic. They can throw ball lightning, heal wounds, use crystals loaded with power like computers, and have bred Dragons.  They arm with crossbows, swords and axes for close combat.

The story begins when they arrive at the same alternate Earth, from opposite directions. Each group has 200 years of never seeing any other people.  Two startled scouts meet in a dark forest, and manage to shoot each other.  One crawls back to camp before dying.

Each is convinced the other started it, and the story follows the inevitability of war. Each planet has several nations, benevolent kingdoms and democratic empires.  The story traces the good guys trying to prevent destruction and death, and shows the countries, industries and individuals who cheat, betray and lie to cause war, for personal, group, and national advantages, on both sides.

While the action moves along steadily, there never seems to be any urgency or suspense in the story. It just plods along for the 1200 pages – and doesn’t come to an end.  The author and/or publisher seem intent on capturing readers with a serial.  I have checked out the next book.  I don’t like spoilers, and read a book from front to back, but I checked to see how long Hell Hath No Fury is.  It’s only 678 pages, and I unintentionally got a look at the last page – and it still doesn’t seem to be resolved.

It’s a great book for someone like me. It ate up a lot of spare time – not that I have a lot of ‘spare time’ sometimes.  You’ll have seen it in my yearly list of Books Read, and you’ll see its sequel, and possibly a review, next year – the good Lord willin’, an’ the creek don’t rise.   🙂

Uber

Taxi

A boy and his date were parked on a back
road some distance from town, doing what
boys and girls do on back roads some
distance from town, when the girl stopped
the boy.

I really should have mentioned this
earlier, but I’m actually a hooker and I
charge $50 for sex.”

The boy reluctantly paid her, and they
did their thing.

After the cigarette, the boy just sat in
the driver’s seat looking out the window.

Why aren’t we going anywhere?” asked the
girl.

Well, I should have mentioned this
before, but I’m actually a taxi driver,
and the fare back to town is $75.”

***

What should you do when you see
an endangered animal that is eating
an endangered plant?

***

There was a magic mirror. If you told it the
truth, it would grant you a wish. If you lied to
it, it would vaporize you on the spot. One day a
brunette walked up to the mirror, looked in it
and said, “I think I’m the most beautiful woman
in the world.” Poof! She disappeared.

A little while later a redhead walked up to the
mirror, looked in it and said, “I think I’m the
most beautiful woman in the world.” Poof! She
disappeared.

Later, a blond walked up to the mirror, looked in
it and said, “I think…” Poof!!

***

If at first you don’t succeed, blame your computer.

***

We spend the first twelve months of our children’s
lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next
twelve years telling them to sit down and shut up.

Phyllis Diller

***

Did you know that it costs forty thousand dollars
a year to house each prisoner?

Jeez, for forty thousand bucks apiece I’ll take
a few prisoners into my house! I live in New York,
I already have bars on the  windows.

I don’t think we should give free room and board
to criminals. I think they should have to run
twelve hours a day on a treadmill and generate
electricity. And if they don’t want to run, they
can rest in the electric chair that’s hooked up
to the generator.