Friday, October 30, 2020

The Mandalorian, Season 2, Dropped Today - Watching Tonight!

(*Edited and P.S. added, after watching Episode I of Season 2 :)

We just added Disney Plus last week and finally watched season I of The Mandalorian - it was surprisingly good.    The first episode of season 2 was released today, and we're watching tonight (and I just realized that unlike Netflix, they only release one episode per week, so no binge-watching; thus, I changed my post title.)

Though I like both Star Wars and Star Trek, I guess I'm actually more of a Trekkie, for two reasons; the first is because its technology is always based on actual principles of theoretical physics, chemistry, and biology, which they often explain to the audience.  Thus, you can see how the rudimentary beginnings today's science could one day actually exist. 

Conversely, Star Wars is almost more pure fantasy, rather than science - other than the androids, we never really understand the principles behind how their technology works at all, we just find it cool, however it works - if it ever could exist at all.  And if something gets broken, they just go, "Oh, the security system is broken" lol.  Even with the droids, at most, they say, "The droid needs reprogramming," but we don't have a clue as to how a droid even works to that level to begin with.  

Also, Star Wars never, ever even touches the biological sciences or modern medicine. To the point that if someone gets sick or hurt, if Yoda or a Jedi can't heal them with the power of their minds, then, oh well, they pretty much just die - almost as if they're in the dark ages of medicine, despite all that technology, which doesn't make any sense. Conversely, Star Trek clearly understands chemistry and the biological sciences - even toying with how new viruses might work and affect a human body, and how to cure them.

Having said that - clearly, Star Wars does take the lead on superior science and technology - when it comes to what is actually happening behind the scenes, rather than in the story itself.

The special effects, CAD, CGI, computer/gaming and other engineering technology they use to convince you that you're viewing landscapes, creatures, and technology that do not actually exist.

The second reason I lean towards Star Trek is getting to know the characters more in depth, over time, following their relationships long term and watching them grow and learn as people. In fact, their "prime directive" is to seek out new life and new civilizations, and just to observe and study without disruption.

There was more that relationship/character development and exploration in the early Star Wars movies, but since then, it's more action, less character development.   As a result, we just don't care as much what happens to the newer characters as we do the older ones.

In fact, to be honest, due to the above, I was almost in Star Wars burnout, over the past 10 years - also because just like the superhero movies, too many came out too fast, and I'm sad to say I was losing interest.

HOWEVER - on the plus side for Star Wars - there's a spiritual element to Star Wars that is lacking in Star Trek - which is the one down side to all of the actual science-based explaining that Star Trek does.

In fact, Star Trek leaves absolutely no room for phenomena, for the unexplained, whatsoever - no God, no ghosts, no nuttin'.  The closest they ever come to the spiritual is beings which possess personal power by greater developed telekinetic or telecommunicative parts of their brains.  But in actuality, perhaps that's all spiritual energy or "power" really is anyway - "miracles" of faith are simply science we cannot yet explain.

It is in this way that Star Wars appeals to me - Star Wars has found a successful balance between faith and science, which appeals to me personally - leaving room for the still scientifically unexplained and unknown - even in a galaxy far, far away in the future, with technology light years ahead of what we have now - and the idea that we will never know the answers to all the mysteries of the universe :)

In fact, The Mandalorian focuses on this "unexplained phenomena" element even more - in that Yoda is much like a Christ figure, with unexplained natural telekinetic power - and protecting him from the re-emerging empire is their "prime directive."

The Mandalorian marks the return of Star Wars story-telling - and that is thanks to getting four different up-and-coming directors to weave together different ways of telling a story (based on the planets they visit to hide Baby Yoda), but still somehow weaving them together cohesively.

Speaking of Baby Yoda - OMG, he is the cutest thing I have ever seen - I want one!

In fact, he's kind of like a little green pug, isn't he! lol

Or is that "Things pug owners/lovers would say for $100 Alex?"

Okay, but seriously - here's my beloved Snuggy Pug (who passed last March) - is there not a resemblance!?!

In fact, I once did a Snuggy Pug Yoda pic of him, but it came out blurry  ...

Well, I think yodas look like green pugs, anyway ;)

Wait, I'm NOT the only one - after I wrote the above, Mark  happened to go to his MSU Alumni site and THIS picture was on the front page!  

It's a Baby Pug Yoda Halloween!


Hooray, I'm NOT the only one!

Hee hee, squeeze him, that fat little cuddle Pug Baby Yoda!

Okay, back to the show :)

For those who haven't watched the series, it's not actually Baby Yoda - he's just of Yoda's species - and he's actually 50 years old, but still a baby in Yoda years.

The series takes place five years after the empire fell (Return of the Jedi).  I thought it was longer, until I looked it up, because Jedi were already considered mythical beings that never really existed, and the way they talk about the empire, they behave as if it's been  decades to centuries, but it's actually supposedly only five years since the empire fell?

The destroyed empire is, of course, trying to rebuild and wants "Baby Yoda" for themselves, to either harness his power, since Yodas have natural force ability - or to kill him if he won't comply - thus why they have to hide him.

For the rest of the story, you'll have to watch ... ;)



All right - now after all the bragging about how surprisingly good Season 1 of this show was, of course, it floundered - at least with Episode I - totally disappointed. 

Part of the appeal of this show was taking the story in new directions we hadn't seen before - and unfortunately, we've already seen this storyline - what's with the cheesy, trite Western town and marshal scene?

Don't get me wrong, I like Timothy Olyphant - and his character Cobb Vanth - and yet, helllooo - we've already seen this Western/Country story line, even this character - in fact, this particular actor, as marshal - no one signed up to watch Justified  - U.S. Marshal in Space!?!

Perhaps because it's Disney and wants to keep its appeal to kids - and yet still, you can do that and still be unique.  In fact, Disney used to be all about using your imagination - they've only returned to recycling classics in recent years, which is okay - unless you recycle the classics too much - and they're teetering on the border of that.

And from there, I only have mostly negative feedback for this first episode for Season 2 - sorry.

First and foremost - SPOILER ALERT - how the sand dragon was killed?

Okay, so ... I get why he couldn't use his ship to blast the sand dragon (because it was being repaired) - but what I don't understand is why they didn't think of using one of the speedcycles, putting the explosives on it, riding on that towards it at top speed, rolling off, and letting it fly straight into the sand dragon's mouth, and then detonating it?

But no, they had to go with completely implausible high drama, despite the fact that we have to suspend our disbelief so much already -  because as I've already mentioned, one of the down sides of Star Wars is not even rudimentarily trying to explain how the technology works versus Star Trek.

Instead, he allows the sand dragon to pounce, open-mouthed, on himself and the explosive-laden bantha (poor bantha).  Assuming that they're now in the sand dragon's stomach, then flies back out of the dragon's mouth on his jet pack, then detonates it.

Okay, sure - as if we haven't suspended our disbelief enough already.

Now, you know if that sand dragon had pounced on him like that, the sheer weight of the thing would've killed him, if the bite and dragging him underground hadn't, come on. Plus clearly, the dragon's stomach acid was toxic, as he often vomited on people to kill them.

Worst of all - there weren't enough Baby Yoda scenes! lol.

Okay, I'm joking - mostly - because seriously - if you want to hold kids' attention, then go back to the Baby Yoda actual scenes rather than cameos, rather than recycle Western/U.S. Marshal stories we've already seen 1000 times?

All right, this better get better. I'm getting tired of bragging on the first season of shows, only to have them flounder or flop in Season 2.

The only exception, thus far, has been Ozark - which just keeps getting better and better.

My Tobacco Baskets Just Arrived!

So, I'm close to being done with my fireplace display, but still awaiting on a few arrivals.  Okay, so - they're a little bit more gray than brown, than I expected - and this isn't their final placement location - but they just arrived, so I was excited and wanted a preliminary picture :)

What are tobacco baskets, you may ask?

The distinctive baskets were first made in Kentucky - with North Carolina eventually taking over the tobacco-basket industry.

They are designed in a woven pattern such as to carry the large leaves, but still have spaces between the slats, for the leaves to aerate and "breathe." 

Their purpose was to display Kentucky burley tobacco at November auction for the buyers, at the old burley auction warehouses (i.e., Liggett and Myers, RJ Reynolds) which once upon a time, lined the streets of South Broadway, Manchester, Georgetown, and Old Frankfort Pike, here in Lexington.

The original ones were typically much larger - in fact, they were huge - and you'd be pretty hard pressed to find an authentic one now - and if you do, they're very pricey!

These bring back fond memories of the days my grandfather grew tobacco and took it to the auction warehouses downtown for auction at Thanksgiving :)

If you look closely at this old photo from Liggett and Myers, you can see the baskets at the bottom of the piles of burley tobacco, specifically for the purpose of displaying the leaves easier while still allowing them to breathe :)

In fact, I remember growing up in Cincinnati and visiting Lexington for Thanksgiving, there used to be an old billboard on New Circle Road near Old Frankfort Pike to greet us,  paid for by the Kentucky Burley Co-Op, stating, "Quiet please, tobacco asleep." 

That sign sat like a welcome mat to Lexington, letting us know that we have arrived in Lexington and were in now in tobacco country - but more importantly, we were 15 minutes from to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving  :)

Just a little reminder of family history and some of the more happy memories of my childhood, during the holidays :)

Judith Dim Evans and Jeanise Jones, The Hearts of "Borat 2" :)

As the saying goes, the true test of character is what you do when you think no one's watching.  

Though the people pranked in Sacha Baron Cohen movies do know that someone's watching, of course, it is always under false pretenses.  

They don't know it's a Sacha Baron Cohen movie - they're often told it's a training movie, foreign documentary, or some other false context, encouraging them to feel free to be their true selves.

In this way, though on camera, you often get to see who people really are, in a set certain context, in brilliant social psychological experiment  - to an embarrassing degree (cough, cough, Giuliani).

I don't know if you've seen "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" AKA "Borat 2" - and it's not for everybody - though I wish everyone would watch it, you'd learn more about who some people really are in 2 hours, than you ever would watching the news 24/7.

And though he sometimes goes too far, I personally generally find Sacha Baron Cohen hilarious :)

This sequel, however, was - a little different.  And by that, I don't mean in the usual SBC "different" way.

Yes, it's true, he wore a bulletproof vest while filming, and there was a scary moment where a gun was momentarily drawn and he was nearly mobbed at a right-wing rally.  To be fair, he was encouraging the crowd to sing racist songs to see if they'd go along with it.

Now, if you listen to/believe what right-wingers present at the rally say, they'll tell you they attacked him because he was singing racist songs.

Mm-hm, sure.

However, as Sacha tells it, the reason they attacked was somebody blew his cover.  The person who blew his cover was actually a BLM protester, as BLM protestors were attending the far-right rally to protest, and the person said loudly, "OMG, is that Sacha Baron Cohen, under there? Hilarious!" - to a group of about 5 or 6 people.  Word traveled fast, and the group attacked. 

(In fact, here's a link to his Twitter page with footage not released in the film, of him being mobbed and desperately holding his trailer door shut, asking the driver to go, drive now.)  

 Yes, there's also the now infamous,  incredibly creepy, and (hopefully) career-destroying Rudy Giuliani scene, where he lies down on a bed with Borat's 15-year-old daughter and puts his hands down his pants.

But those things are SBC's usual - erm - differences lol.

No, what I mean by "a little different" is that this particular SBL film has a hidden heart - a few of them, actually.  

In fact, it's somehow simultaneously hilarious, shockingly and necessarily uncomfortable, and surprisingly heartwarming. 

One of the biggest hidden hearts of the movie is Jeanise Jones, whom Borat hires to babysit his daughter, Tutar.  Jeanise was told that they were filming a foreign documentary on child brides.  

Jeanise handles the situation like no one else could have, not knowing it was a Sacha Baron Cohen prank movie - and like a grandmother would - quietly just listening to Tutar, and counseling her with love, helping her find her value and appreciate her natural beauty, that she was beautiful already, without needing the scheduled plastic surgery, and being sure marrying an older American man was what she really wanted to do.

While watching the movie, I said:

"That woman has such a beautiful soul, what a wonderful person, despite having no idea she's being pranked!"

"See, that has been my personal experience with people of color - their greater capacity to show mercy and kindness, despite it all."

"They extended God's grace and mercy to me, welcoming me and praying with me, during the roughest time in my life and struggling - when other white people just judged me without knowing the full story. They didn't even know my situation either, just that I was struggling, that's all they needed to know and that was enough to hug and pray with me - just like Christ. It's a divine gift."

"I just wish other white people would get close enough to people of color to ever know what a blessing that having people of color as friends can be, as everyday people, rather than just basing their opinions about people of color on those that make the news."

Now - Sacha Baron Cohen doesn't typically pay the people he pranks in his movies, but had paid her as the babysitter of course, and just donated $100,000 to the GoFundMe page, set up by her church pastor.

The pastor says the unemployed grandmother didn't know it was a prank, and their church had been praying for the poor girl, until the movie came out - and it's okay Sacha pranked them, the messages of what's really going on in this country are more important - but that Jeanise was the heart of the movie, and struggling, as were others in her community.

Thus, Sacha Baron Cohen just donated $100,000 to it and the pastor has reassured both him, and the public, that the money will go to her and their community outreach program, which now includes those affected by the recent Oklahoma City ice storm and COVID. 

We also just donated to Jeanise - well, not $100,000, of course - and you can too - HERE, at the GoFundMe page Jeanise's pastor, Derrick Scobey, set up :)

YOU are beautiful, Jeanise, what a beautiful soul - we see you, and so does he - (he meaning God, not Sacha Baron Cohen, lest anyone confuse the two lol) :)

"Let us not grow weary in our well doing ..."

Another hidden heart/powerful gem in the movie, was Judith Dim Evans, a holocaust survivor, who welcomes in, hugs, kissed on the cheek, and feeds Borat in the temple - though he's dressed in ridiculous anti-semitic propaganda garb!

Once again, a prime example of how often the people who have suffered the most, often have the biggest hearts - suffering can sanctify - if you allow it to  :)

In fact, growing up in suburban Cincinnati, I went to a public high school that was about 25% Jewish - and it was my Jewish friends who taught me it's okay to be angry, but never to hate back or you become like those who hate you - it's a remarkable gift they gave me - and a hard to do! :)

My husband said:

"That's amazing, she welcomed him in like that. Look at that stupid shit he's wearing, a big nose and bat wings and asking if she's going to eat him, my God, I would've beaten his ass."

I said ...

"But you see, that would only worsen the hatred, and make honest people of liars. This is the best way to combat the liars. Self-defense, even anger is okay, but like Paul said, 'Be angry, but do not sin - don't let the sun go down on your anger,' don't let it brew into hatred and fear, which cause you to sin."

"See what I mean about what my Jewish friends taught me, long ago, and why I strive for that? It's not weakness or a character flaw, it's a divine gift from God, how not to hate back others who hate you. "

"Christ added that we should bless those who curse us, pray for those who despitefully use us. That doesn't fit in with some human base nature or current so-called 'Christian' political ideas, but that IS what Jesus said - and what HE did - like when commanding Peter to drop his sword, telling him "Those who live by the sword will die by it," and then healing the centurion's ear after Peter cut it, when arresting Jesus."

"He never said that would be easy, but that IS what Christ said to do - I'm sorry Christians don't like it, ignore it, justify NOT doing it, and find so many other things to make Christianity about other than what Christ actually said, missing the main tenet of Christianity - preferring oftentimes the exact opposite of what Christ said,"

"Also, he never said not to seek justice -  in fact, he said we should - but also to not to let our hearts hate back, those who hate us, in the process."

"Amazing and powerful, isn't it, that despite all she went through, she still welcomes in and loves those who hate her - what a truly amazing lady she is! Her soul just shines!"

Some sad news, however - unfortunately, Judith died before the film was released :(

Also unfortunately, her daughter, during her grief, initially tried to sue Sacha Baron Cohen to remove her mother from the film, before the film's release, fearing the prank would dishonor her mother after death - but she has since dropped the lawsuit unconditionally.

(Apparently, she realized the movie actually honored who her mother truly was, and that though we all want someone to blame when a loved one dies, suing people won't bring them back, and most importantly, what she was doing was the diametric opposite of what her mother did in the film and would do? ;)

So we won't hold that against her daughter - IMO, grief is the most powerful emotion, and people aren't themselves while grieving, grief can literally drive a person at least temporarily insane, I've seen it - and I also understand why she feared SBC would dishonor her mother because of his history of pranking everybody - however, the exact opposite happened - she was perhaps the most powerful moment in the film and became a legend :)

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Uh Oh, The Dog Ate Tucker Carlson's Homework ;)


Once again, just like the first post on this matter, let's use our critical thinking skills on this accusation made, in the absence of proof thus far.

Now, if you were Fox News' Tucker Carlson -  and you truly did have "damning evidence" on Hunter Biden/Joe Biden - why would you risk sending those sensitive documents via a normal shipping service to California?

And if you were stupid enough or cheap enough to do so, wouldn't you at least make copies of the documents first? 

Helllloooo - there's a reason why the courts, lawyers, and legitimate press use their own internally employed "runners" and couriers, contracted secure private couriers, and/or law enforcement, to deliver more sensitive legal documents, instead of FedEx, UPS, or DHL - which I'm sure Fox News has the money to do, too - but didn't?

So this incident makes Tucker Carlson either the dumbest 'journalist' in America or the most dishonest  - so why would anyone listen to him, now? lol

In fact, why "report" this incident at all, when you know it's a story you can't prove, at least until you know more or have something to show as proof?

(Because that's par for the course for Fox News does, just sayin' - they're not even pretending to be a news source anymore, they're a campaign racket.)

It "got lost in the mail?"

Maybe, it could happen - especially if you're dumb enough to send sensitive documents via the normal route of your average courier service.

However, "reporting" this without any proof whatsoever this even happened makes him sounds more like a 5th grader claiming the dog ate his homework lol.

And yet people will automatically believe it anyway, that someone from the Biden campaign stole these documents from a shipping service that he shouldn't have been using anyway - without making any copies of it first, mind you - just because he says so, and just because they want to.

By the way, the legally-blind owner of the computer shop could not confirm whether or not it was Hunter Biden that dropped off the laptop

The same people who believe these things without proof yet, mind you, are same people who refuse to believe Trump withheld aid from the Ukraine as intimidation for them to find dirt on Biden - though we have OMB evidence it was "inexplicably" held up by the president and a phone call - or that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and hacked the DNC, though security officials confirmed it - and that mock us for "Russian conspiracy hoaxes" - lol - it's hilarious.

I still read both liberal and conservative press to make sure I'm not missing anything (although admittedly just skim Fox News, chuckling to myself).

And conservative press, we're still trying to listen to you, just in case there's something about Biden we need to know and you ever say anything with the proof to back it up - but you simply don't, anymore - in fact, that's all you do these days -  make crazy accusations without proof.  

Sure, it works on people who are either incapable of critical thinking or their ability to critically think has been temporarily disabled in favor of emotion-based belief  - but is this really the legacy you want to leave?

About four years ago, I had a conversation with a family member who said, "Trump supporters have pretty low IQs and aren't very smart/educated."  

I replied that although that's somewhat true demographically, there are also some very intelligent people who support him.  IMO, this is because either they they're cons themselves or these are people who let their belief and bias "trump" their intelligence on a regular basis - in fact, I think the latter is the biggest reason people still support Trump.

I warned her this can actually happen to anyone, if we let our beliefs outweigh our intellect - in fact, we do this on a regular basis, as human beings - from romantic interests, to members of our family, real estate, a job, a celebrity, and yes, even the President of the United States - we see what we want and we believe what we want to believe.

Thus, IMO, it's always important to be open to new ideas and truth, but to keep our beliefs and bias balanced and in check with actual fact and science - and if one becomes too much at odds with the other, if there's too much evidence to the contrary - time to re-evaluate.

Thus, it's important to for us to sometimes do re-evaluation of our perspective, to balance belief with intellect, to keep them in check, even if it's scary - and reminded her (four years ago) that it was going to become more important than ever to check fact against belief, including group belief.

You can do it - challenging your long-held belief system only makes the resulting belief system tested and true and even stronger - I promise :)

Otherwise, until there's proof, I'm just going to chalk this up to more tabloid lies :)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Indoor Travels ... Assisi, Italy :)

 With two more weeks until I'll be cleared from my foot fracture to indoor cycle again, I'm confined to doing chair aerobics - but I still watch my travel videos, while exercising, of places I'd like to visit once COVID is over, someday :)

This past week, I've "been" to Italy - Tuscany and Umbria.  Along the way, I've learned how to cure proscuitto, age cheese appropriately and make wine in 400-year-old barrels (not that I'll ever find these skills necessary, or become skilled at them, living in Kentucky, USA) lol. 

I also "visited" the site of birth and death of St. Francis of Assisi - the town of Assisi, in Umbria, Italy :)

The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi -  Assisi, Umbria, Italy

In addition to being an architecture fan - often exemplified in cathedrals, over the ages - I'm fascinated with St. Francis, his ability to win the church over, despite his criticism of it.  It was highly unusual, and should've landed him with a "heretic" label and death along with others  - but it didn't - and I think his life and teachings are more relevant than ever today :)

I was thinking about writing about him on All Saints Day, but instead will write a little blurb here, in between St. Francis Day (October 4th) and All Saints Day because it's timely - and I think perhaps we all need a refresher course in St. Francis - now more than ever :) 

I'm not Catholic, I'm Episcopal - but we still love the saints! 

(It's just that we have a few of our own, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa, and believe that anyone who is a believer becomes a saint after death.  We don't appeal to passed-on relatives and other saints to pray for us, no - but some of us do believe they can draw nigh to us, at times, for comfort :)

The oldest surviving fresco of St. Francis, circa 1288 AD

Long story short, St. Francis was a man born to a wealthy merchant in the late 12th century, who initially became an knight.  During war, he was taken captive and caught in illness, which caused him to re-evaluate his life.  

Statue of St. Francis as a weary knight, renouncing wealth and violence, and turning to Christ - Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi.

He became sick not just physically, but mentally and in spirit - and felt it was God's will that he leave the war, renounce wealth, war, and violence, and live and preach a life of poverty, peace, adoration of creation, and giving to, and speaking for, the poor, sick, and oppressed, as Christ did and instructed.

His wealthy father, of course, denounced him, and in fact, had him beaten and stripped of everything, including his clothing - and for a time, he lived the life of a beggar.  

And in fact, during a time of particularly Roman church extravagance, Francis challenged the church's wealth and need for power and support of politics and war, openly criticizing the church for being in stark contrast to Christ's message, including there should be no "deserving poor," as Christ himself did not distinguish.  

If you were in need, Christ gave it and encouraged us to do the same - even if it challenged the church itself or political ideals of the day. 

However, instead of being accused of heresy, Pope Innocent III took an interest in him and his ability to gather a following, and agreed to a blessing only after a time of observation - eventually granting him land and originally a small church in Assisi, establishing the Franciscan order of Catholicism.

In fact, the original little chapel that Francis was given by the church, the Portuincola/Porziuncola, can be seen inside the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, also in Assisi, which was the basilica in Assisi prior to the Basilica of St. Francis, in Francis' time ...

Portiuncola/Porziuncola of St. Francis, Basilica of St. Mary and the Angels, Assisi, Italy

Additionally, St. Francis traveled to Egypt during the 5th crusade, not to fight, but to preach :)

And although he preached to Muslims (Christian enemy, at the time), this did not result in conversion - but Francis was nevertheless welcomed by them and considered a friend, due to his preaching and practice of peace and treating all human life with dignity -  and in fact, he was granted free travel passage without harm to Jerusalem and other holy sites, even allowed preaching, by Sultan the Egypt, Al-Kamil himself :)

In addition to his belief in peace/renouncing violence - as well as that the the church and Christians should give to, and speak for, the poor, sick, and oppressed, as Christ did and instructed - he preached that we should protect God's creation and the environment, believing it to be God's gift to mankind, that was now also in desperate need of redemption and protection, because of our human abuse of the environment and our sins or war upon it.   

Thus, on October 4th, both the Catholic and Episcopal churches celebrate St. Francis Day - which is a time not only to pray for and meditate on peach, but where the clergy bless your pets in remembrance of St. Francis dedication to God's creation :)

This, combined with his earlier suffering - with a few supposed miracles along the way - resulted in St. Francis being canonized into Pope Gregory IX into sainthood in July of 1228 :)

We really could use a St. Francis-type Christian leader, today, couldn't we?

However, if in fact there was a St. Francis today, I'm quite sure he would be demonized and smear-campaigned as "CINO (Christian in name only)" and false prophet, and a RINO (Republican in name only - though no political faction should stake claim on Christ- for criticizing modern politics and "Gospel of Prosperity" Christianity.

Considering his writings, and his criticism of the church back then, I suspect his criticism of modern Christianity and doern churches today, would be similar to mine ...

1) Glorifying wealth as "proof of God's blessing on the deserving," rather than what it really is - advocating greed for what is often ill-gotten, inherited or increased-opportunity gain, and then war-mongering over it out of paranoid, unjustified "protection" of it.

2) Obsession/preoccupation with reproductive issues as sin - and the only sins that most modern Christians appear to care about.

3) Demonizing the poor and sick as being undeserving as excuse not to help them.

4) Mocking those wanting to spend government funding on the poor and sick, as well as to protect God's creation.

5) Bearing false witness on all of the above for personal/selfish and political power/gain.

In fact, considering all of those things are in direct contrast to the direct words of Christ - I daresay those advocating for that version of Christianity, especially over political gain, are actually the ones who are false prophets, not us - but it's our master, who will decide, in the end - who worked iniquity in his name and/or were thieves in his house - not us servants and merciless servants ;)

Regardless, back to my travels - I have "been" to Assisi, Italy this past week - and let me share a few more of those photos with you today :)

Just some photos I found 'round the net of the little town of Assisi itself ...

And a few more views of the Basilica of St. Francis.

I'm not sure St. Francis would've been a fun of its add-ons and extravagance, but nevertheless, here's the basilica in his honor ...

The Basilica of St. Clare ...

... and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels ...

... which includes the original little chapel of St. Francis, the Porziuncola, inside it ... 

.. and a bonus of Pope Francis himself, Francis' namesake, sitting and kneeling inside it, praying :)

Are we getting a more sense of who and what Christ's message and Christianity actually were, as  opposed to what it's become, Boys and Girls?

Good - have a blessed day :)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

PS - Erm - Not Convinced of Right-Wing Press's Theory of McConnell's "Senile Purpura," Sorry

So, it IS  right-wing press, of course, which already makes them (Russian-dysinformation influenced) suspect lol.

Currently,  they are literally guessing that Mitch McConnell's lips and hands are "likely due to senile purpura" - which is easy bruising that comes with age, especially if on blood thinners, after minor trauma.

Erm - being in healthcare myself, and caring for both grandparents on blood thinners into their 90s -  I've seen senile purpura.  

Typically, if just "minor" trauma, it's still fairly localized to the injury  - unless - it's a full extremity trauma, to the level it requires medical attention.  

Extremities can remain a darkish purple color without injury, but it's typically the ankles and feet - due to less circulation flow to the lower extremities, in general.

As an example of hand injury to the degree such that it requires medical attention, my grandfather was trying to hammer a nail in a wall of his work shed, missed the nail, and hit his left hand, which was holding the nail. 

He was on blood thinners, so the skin tore and bruised easily, and he needed to be stitched in ER, but luckily broke now bones.  The entire hand bruised nearly that same color.

HOWEVER - my grandfather was also in his late 80s.   McConnell is the same age as Joe Biden, 78 - who has no senile purpura - at least not to that degree.   Also, it was just one hand - and it was due to blunt-force trauma to the hand, from the hammer.

Thus, the amount of bruising and bandages on both hands (and lips?) is not consistent with senile purpura in a 78-year-old man who'd experienced "minor" trauma, I'm sorry ... 

In fact, had McConnell been triaged in the ER -  and was not known to have another health condition as the cause - they likely would've asked him how he'd been injured.

Perhaps he hit himself with a hammer on both hands and lips  - or someone else did  lol.   

Oh, we can dream, can't we? 

(Just kidding ... mostly) :)

Speaking of the lips, senile purpura typically does not cause swelling, unless there's been significant injury - and there actually seems to be a certain degree of swelling to his lips?

I have seen it worse in smokers and heavy drinkers, though - particularly drinkers - think of the "gin blossom face" and "drinker's nose" ...

 ... and in celebrities, think of the most famous of "gin-blossom nose," W.C. Fields.

HOWEVER again - though it can someone affect the lips and cheeks, it's usually the nose, and typically, more red than purple - and that still wouldn't explain the bandages. 

Of course, I'm not a doctor, and I review health information documentation more than I see it.  

I've seen lips turn purple from allergic reaction, but not the extremities, at least to that degree, as well as auto-immune conditions like lupus, but they're also typically more red than purple. 

Also in frostbite, but we can rule that out - well, other than the icy blood that clearly runs through that main's veins lol

Otherwise - and again, not a doctor - the closest thing I've personally seen to that level of purpura - in fact, the first thing I was reminded of - was rhabdomyolysis - which although can have various causes (including chronic cocaine use? lol) - is most often caused by either acute or chronic kidney injury or failure ...

... and/or the resulting bruising that occurs from kidney treatment via hemodialysis for the kidneys.

But again, dialysis bruising is still typically near the fistula port itself, rarely both extremities or face - but in true rhabdomyolysis from untreated acute or chronic renal failure, it can happen.

Other possibilities are the result of other types of surgery, vein therapy, a blood disorder,  liver cirrhosis, and lung and/or cardiovascular issues - and we already know he had a triple bypass in 2003.

Regardless, Kentucky is voting for its next senator in two weeks - does McConnell really think it's going to help his case that he doesn't clarify what the issue is? 

If some injury happened to him - like the "miss the nail" hammering incident that my grandfather had - why not just tell people, so they're not concerned?

Otherwise,  as I said, I'm no doctor - and as I've just said, it could be a lot of things.

So until then, I'm going with my original theory - the physical transition from Senator into Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, due to inherent evil, is nearly complete lol.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Yessss, the Transition of Senator McConnell Into Evil Emperor Palpatine AKA Darth Sidious is Nearly Complete ...

 Some people just asked us, considering we live in Kentucky, WTH is going on with Mitch McConnell's hands and face.

Oh, like the Chief Senate Swamp Turtle would tell us - I haven't a clue.  

Cyanosis is usually caused by a lung condition, followed by cardiovascular or blood condition, or even renal/kidney issues - though that doesn't explain the bandages - unless it is renal and he's bruised from dialysis, or some sort of venous therapy?

Thus, if not one of those options, then my best guess is, considering all the evil he's done, he's completing the final transition from senator into Emperor Palpatine AKA Darth Sidious from Star Wars :)

PS - I really think we should know what is wrong with him, considering he's up for re-election in a few weeks.  

He says "nothing of concern," but geez -  he looks like he's already dead, somebody heated him up in the microwave, and then propped him up, moving his hands with puppet strings.

Come to think of it, how is that any different than his usual, so never mind lol

Thursday, October 22, 2020

5 Years, 5 Debates, Clearly Heavy Coaching, and Possibly Several Sedatives Later, Trump Almost Behaved Rationally for Nearly 2 Hours!


Yes, it was civil and both men should be commended for having an actual debate - but then again, the man on that stage tonight was not the real Trump that we've seen every day for the last 4 years, even at the last debate - it was clear he was heavily coached. And possibly sedated? ;) lol. 

Too bad for him, we all saw all his debates prior and town halls, his rally speeches and his Twitter feed - he's not fooling anybody lol.

Otherwise, he still talked out of his backside - lie after lie after lie - continuing to spit out proof-less conspiracy-theory and false accusations - word-twists/words taken out of context - just more subdued.

In contrast, Biden spoke in facts that can easily be proven - including that Trump was just proven to have a secret Chinese bank account - which Trump admitted he had himself.  

Also, I disagree that Kristen Welker did a good job..

In fact, I think the only thing she did right was allow Biden to respond to some of the false accusations Trump made.

Otherwise, she still allowed Trump to control the debate.

Specifically, she made Biden answer every question Trump asked Biden, but never once made Trump answer Biden's questions, nor even her own question - i.e. "What is your plan to to address Russian, Iranian, and Chinese interference in American elections?"

Biden, on the other hand, said that he would tell Putin/Russia, China, and Iran that because our top national security advisors had informed the American public that these countries had interfered in this election, there will be severe consequences for interfering with "America's sovereignty," that he would join the Paris accord and hold China to what they agreed to do regarding environmental emissions, and to hold them to their agreements regarding disallowing North Korea to move nuclear armaments closer to their borders and impose further sanctions on North Korea for further developing nuclear armaments.

What was Trump's answer to what he would do about Russian, Iranian, and China's interference in our elections?

Does anyone know?

No, because he never answered. 

He simply rambled on about Biden receiving money from Russia and China (which there's no proof of because it never happened), despite the proof that Trump himself does hold an interest-bearing bank account in China lol. 

On a positive note, Biden was able to get across his policies clearly, with the exception of the last weird oil industry remark.

He also was able to correct Trump on what he actually said versus what Trump said he said, quite a few times - and when Trump kept plucking proof-less accusations out of the air, Biden said, "My tax returns for the last 20 years are an open book, go look at them. You can see I took no money from Russia or anybody else.  And where are yours?  You owe so much money to foreign countries ..."  

The problem with being innocent of false accusations is that there's no proof of your innocence :/

There's actually no proof of your guilt, either - there's no proof either way. 

Thus, it comes down to he said/he said and who you believe - and belief, of course is based on biased opinion/emotion - not fact or proof.

I mean, I could say that I saw a ghost today, but there's no proof that ghosts exist or don't exist - doesn't mean they don't, doesn't mean they do - or even that I'm telling the truth, is there? 

(BTW, no I did NOT see a ghost today, I completely made that up.  See? lol)

In fact -  does anyone know what any of Trump's policies actually are on national security/foreign intervention in our elections?  A replacement healthcare plan for Obamacare?  Racial Injustice? Environmental emissions?  "Dreamer" immigration/citizenship?


No -  because he spends all of his time deflecting off of answering questions, asking his own conspiracy-theory questions to Biden, and bashing Biden, as well as trying to convince you that that he's done more than everybody else on these issues, without given clear or true examples.

In fact, I'm surprised Trump didn't come out publicly and condemn Iran for their interference - but he didn't - and he had the perfect opportunity to do so.

And to top it all off, not only did she hold Biden accountable to answer Trump's questions and her own questions without holding Trump accountable, but she let Trump talk way over his two minutes and interrupt both her and Biden repeatedly.  I mean, was the mute button ever used?

Sure, it was needed less - but he still did it - and she let him.

It seems to me she was more concerned with people calling her a Democrat (she's independent) than she was giving a truly fair and objective debate.

Ah, well, people have already made up their mind anyway, and if anyone was fooled by Trump's non-typical demeanor tonight, then God help you, I don't know what to say lol.

IMO, this "version" of Trump was deceptive and it may work - because though Biden's performance was strong, IMO, he actually almost did better when Trump was coming at him at the last debate.

IMO, disappointing all around.

Otherwise, I have a friend with COVID to worry more about ...