Are you sleeping enough?

One of the services that I use to monitor the “world” of the internet is Stumble – I click on the Stumble icon in my browser, and it randomly jumps to a new website based on general categories I’ve indicated an interest in. I also periodically get a newsletter where they highlight some sites I might like based on reviews I have written on their previous recommendations.

One recent newsletter caught my attention with an article about SLEEP. Probably because the last couple of years I’ve had a real problem with getting enough. I am certain that I haven’t slept 7 consecutive hours in over 3 years, and there are whole months that go by (especially in spring) when migraines and arthritis pain tag-team to force 2 or 3 tries at sleeping to reach an accumulated total of 6-7 hours.

Anyway, this article was worth a careful reading to me, and I thought some of you might like it as well.

http://time.com/4672988/the-sleep-cure-fountain-of-youth/

Problem solved . . .

I wrote a few weeks ago that I had received an email from WordPress saying that I had 90 days to set up the 2-step verification, or I’d loose access to my blog. I opened up the Help FAQ on the 2-step verification, and it was even worse than my worst nightmare. They didn’t just want to send me a text message when I lost my password or something – they were going to send me a NEW text message EVERY TIME I LOG IN!

After weeks of searching for an alternate site, and frantically hand-wringing over how much this world seems to be rejecting participation from people like me (individualists, loners, people who value privacy) – – –

I sent an email to Customer Support (WordPress calls them “Happiness Engineers”) asking if I had any options. Today I got a reply. Here is the text:

Hi there!

A while back an errant email was sent out telling users they had to set up second factor authentication. The email was an error, and you are not required to do so, you won’t lose access to your site.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Have a great week 🙂

So, I’m going nowhere, and this blog will continue exactly where it is.

Saturday Posts . . .

Today, just for a bit of fun, I want to share something absolutely funny and wonderful with everyone.

But – you’ll have to do just a little bit of work for it.

Open up your web browser’s search engine, and look for “O’Reilly Auto Parts”. When you get the results, go to the website, and you’ll see (probably in the top left corner) another search tool for their website. Put this into the search tool – 121G – and hit the “enter” key.

Enjoy!

(Major kudos to my wonderful wife for sharing that with me)

Monsanto going down?

Several times in the past I’ve written about the benefits of non-GMO foods, and effects of heavy pesticide use on the environment, and other things on that line. Of course, Monsanto and it’s army of lawyers have maintained all along that there was no PROOF that any of this is true – all while using PR campaigns to make claims that Monsanto is “feeding the world.”

On Wednesday, 3/15/2017, all of that changed. The New York Times has published an article that literally rakes Monsanto over the coals. Rather than telling you about it, I’ll just share part of the text, as quoted in an email I got from the Organic Consumers Association:

Today, the New York Times reported new explosive evidence showing how Monsanto gets away with selling dangerous pesticides and GMOs into our food supply.

As horrifying as this news is, even for those of us who aren’t surprised, it gives consumers a little more leverage—and we intend to use it.

According to the NYT, while farmers and children exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide were dying from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a high-level EPA official was colluding with Monsanto behind the scenes to hide the truth.

And he actually bragged about it.

Newly unsealed court documents reveal that former EPA official Jess Rowland let Monsanto ghostwriters write the toxicology reports that would form the basis for a government investigation into whether or not Roundup causes cancer.

“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland reportedly told a Monsanto executive, who shared the comment in an email.

Wow.

The only way we will stop Monsanto, and other corporations, from this kind of ruthless disregard for public health is to keep the pressure on—through boycotts, through relentless demands for accountability, and through the courts.

We may have lost the battle to label GMOs. But make no mistake—the years of educating consumers about the risks of GMO foods, and the poisons used to grow them, are paying off.

• Monsanto is facing more than 20 lawsuits from victims who say they, or a family member, have non-Hodgkins lymphoma because of exposure to glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup. Lawyers for the victims say Monsanto knew all along that its flagship herbicide causes cancer.

• Just this week, a California judge ruled that the state can require Monsanto to label Roundup sold in retail stores as a “possible carcinogen.”

• On April 18, judges who presided over the International Monsanto Tribunal will assemble in The Hague, Netherlands. They will tell the world what they found, after six months of poring over testimony delivered by more than 30 witnesses, including victims of Monsanto’s poisons, scientists, doctors and lawyers. The testimony was delivered during a 2-day citizens’ tribunal, held in October, in The Hague.

• OCA, along with another organization, will soon file our own lawsuit against Monsanto—details to be made public soon.

Be aware, though. This turn of events isn’t the end of the story. For the last few years, Monsanto has been actively courting mergers with European corporations that it could hide behind, using a new name to continue playing dirty politics while getting entry to European markets that have outright BANS on Monsanto’s products.

Interesting weekend . . .

Weird.

Well, first off, we had a bitterly cold Canadian air mass move through the area starting Friday afternoon, which dropped the local temperatures to sub-freezing. Naturally, the extra strain caused the central heating unit to finally quit – completely.

We’re fine, though. The fireplace insert we put in last fall took over with no trouble, aside from a bit of extra bundling up to keep the setting lower.

Anyway, Sunday afternoon proved to be quite the adventure. It started just after lunch, when my wife took a bag of trash out to our dumpster. As she opened the lid, she discovered about a dozen (used? not sure) syringes in the bottom of the bin. She came running back in and told me – I went out and confirmed it, and then called the local police. They were amazed that someone would go to the trouble to put them in OUR dumpster – there are several houses around where they’d have been less likely to be seen. See, our dumpster sits direcly under that brand-new super-bright LED security light we just had installed about a week ago, making it a very visible location even in the middle of the night. Anyhow, they cheerfully removed the syringes, and said they would do some extra patrols through the neighborhood to see if they can find who put them there.

As soon as the officer left, I went to the kitchen and put a cup of coffee in the microwave to warm up. I’d just sat down at my computer to read the news when *BANG* – I heard something loud right out front that sounded sort of like a head-on collision. That turned out to be pretty close to describing what did happen. Somone’s vehicle jumped the curb just north of our driveway, and destroyed a traffic sign (on a metal pole!) which landed in the street. By the time I got out there, and I tried to respond pretty quickly, the vehicle that hit the sign was gone, but a pickup had stopped in traffic and was keeping other vehicles from hitting the sign. I had my phone in hand, and called the police again. There wasn’t much they could do about it, aside from filling out an accident report. None of the potential wittnesses waited around for the police, and all I could tell them was that I heard it happen and called right away.

More House Maintenance…

Well, we knew it was coming.

Nearly 7 years ago when we bought this house, we were told that the HVAC and water heater were both old. An average water heater has a life-span of 10 years, and the one in the house was already 18. I’m not sure what a normal life-span for an HVAC system is, but I’m pretty sure 45 is pushing it. This one was installed in 1973.

Anyhow, in the last 18 months we’ve had 4 service calls on the heater, so we knew it was about to go. Day before yesterday, we had to have another visit, and after spending 2 hours cleaning burners and electronic ignition switches, he stated that he’d done all he could and it was still uncertain. So, I asked him to have someone from his company come by to give us an estimate on a complete system. That night, the heat failed to light yet again.

The fellow who came to do the estimate was quite impressed that this old thing lasted so long, and said we’d definitely see some energy savings from getting the units replaced before summer arrived. As an added bonus, there will be an actual place to put the filters, so they won’t rub up against the blower motor anymore. It will be easily changed, too. After measuring this, that, and a few other things, he tallied the bill to – – – – $4600, installed.

So, my wife and I spent some time last night looking at how to juggle some plans and savings arrangements, and figured that it is doable. Certainly not the way we wanted to do it, but we can do it. Oh, and we got the bill in the mail for the water heater installation, too. It was just under $700.

So, a quick recap of the last 6 months of home maintenance:
$3500 Fireplace insert
700 Water Heater
150 Security light
4600 HVAC system

I certainly hope that’s enough for a while.

Not working out . . .

Yesterday I posted that I have just under 90 days to do something different with my blogging, because WordPress is changing the rules here and I’ll no longer be able to play on their field.  It wasn’t very long before a good friend pointed out that she couldn’t find a way to subscribe to my original blog the way WordPress is set up to do.

She’s right.  I’ve looked it over, and even talked to the help desk.  Livejournal doesn’t have that capacity at all.  Neither does my preferred alternate idea – Dreamwidth Studios.

Which is leaving me pretty much between a rock and a hard place with WordPress.  They are going to require 2-step verification in less than 3 months, but I do not have a cell phone for them to send text messages to.  My house landline won’t work.  So, in less than 90 days, I loose this blog even if I pay the fee for the URL listing.

I don’t know what to do.

Shutting down . . .

Well, having accomplished what I set out to do with this blog, I think it is time to shut it down.

The reason I’m doing this now it simple:  I had 90 days to renew my domain registration when they informed me that WordPress has decided to force a 2-stage authentication process that requires a form of verification that I literally can’t provide – a cell phone number.  Since I do not have a cell phone, and wouldn’t tie it to my blog even if I did, it is time to quit WordPress.  Besides, I’ve done what I set out to do with  this blog, by laying personal claim to ideas that were hugely influential in the outcome of the 2016 election for the USA.  Everything else was gravy.

So, I’m transferring all of my files and blog posts to my original blog at:  http://mr-spock.livejournal.com/ and asking that if you want to continue to follow my journey of self discovery, you’ll bookmark that page or subscribe to it.  I’ve been blogging on that page since 2004.

Thank you, one and all, for making this page feel like a resounding success.

Thinking about dreaming…

I know – I have way too much time on my hands if I have time to waste thinking about what goes on in our heads while we sleep.  Still, I am in a rather unique position to do so, and motivated by one particular dream that I have so often it has become a welcome friend.  I’ve blogged about this friend before – the “Superman” dream where I fly, have perfect health, and no disability.  Between that and my reading of spiritual self-help guides like Joseph Campbell, I think I’m getting some insight.

First, let me be the first to tell you that there is no “mystical” component to dreams.  The fact of dreaming something does not mean that the event is likely to happen.  It is my considered opinion – at this time, at least – that dreams are ONLY useful for getting to know ourselves better.  What makes us tick, so to speak.

With that in mind, let me tell you what a dream really is.  There are three types of dreams: wishes, fears, and solutions.  Solutions are VERY rare.  Most dreams are our subconscious mind trying to express our deepest fears or wishes in ways that we can relate to.  Take my “Superman” dream – in the first 16 years of my life, I was a fairly normal kid.  I played outside, got sprained ankles and bruises.  I gathered some unhealthy and unwanted negative attention because I did not fit in with my peers – my spiritual leanings were much stronger and more focused than theirs.  I’d venture to guess they still are.  However, just before I turned 18, I had my first real, personal, brush with mortality, in the form of the bone tumor in my left leg.  I was on active duty in the US Army, and progressing through a development regimen that was contracted to culminate in Special Forces training.  On the day of the surgery, I went from being as close to an ideal man as I could hope to be, to being someone who would never again be physically exceptional in any way.  I’ve struggled long and hard with that, and still do.  This is expressed by the frequent dream of being Superman – it is my innermost greatest dream to reclaim what was lost in the surgery suite that day.

Let me share something from Joseph Campbell’s book “The Power of Myth”.  This book is a running transcript of an interview between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, and I wholeheartedly recommend reading it – again if you’ve read it before.  I’m on my 4th reading.

Moyers:  A man once told me that he didn’t remember dreaming until he retired.  Suddenly, having no place to focus his energy, he began to dream, and dream, and dream.  Do you think that we tend to overlook the significance of dreaming in our modern society?

Campbell:  Ever since Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams was published, there has been a recognition of the importance of dreams. But even before that there were dream interpretations.  People had superstitious notions about dreams – for example, “Something is going to happen because I dreamed it is going to happen.”

Moyers:  Why is myth different from a dream?

Campbell: Oh, because a dream is a personal experience of that deep, dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society’s dream.  The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth.  If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group.  If it isn’t, you’ve got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.

Moyers:  So if my private dreams are in accord with the public mythology, I’m more likely to live healthily in that society.  But if my private dreams are out of step with the public –

Campbell:  — you’ll be in trouble.  If you’re forced to live in that system, you’ll be a neurotic.

Moyers:  But aren’t many visionaries and even leaders close to the edge of neuroticism?

Campbell:  Yes, they are.

Moyers:  How do you explain that?

Campbell:  They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience.  Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve to work out your life for yourself.  Either you can take it or you can’t.  You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations.  The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience —- that is the hero’s deed.

I’m not trying to say that I’m some sort of hero, just because I’m out of step with mainstream society.  Nor am I saying that I should be a leader.  But, mainstream society is not built out of leaders and heroes – it is built out of sheep.  Followers.  People who prefer conformity to adventure because it is safe.

Incidentally, that is why Hollywood makes hundreds of millions of dollars for mass producing epic adventure stories on film.  It gives the sheep the experience of adventure without the risk or the societal estrangement.  For sheep, it is the perfect escape.