American Air

I think Air America's (for those unfamiliar, it is a left wing radio station modeled after the sort of radio that is normally associated with right wing radio, ie Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity) not only falling far short of the popularity and influence of it's ideologically opposed role model, but also failing to achieve almost any popularity or success at all, says something positive about the political left.

I believe it positive that we do not want our news filtered through one individual, who not only makes no attempt at objectivity but thrives on their sense of self righteousness and conformity of their listeners (Rush Limbaugh).

As a child and adolescent, I often overheard talk shows like Rush Limbaugh while riding with my parents. While I was too young to understand the politics, I found myself put off by the condescending tone. I also found it strange that someone would choose to receive much of their information about what is going on in the world about the world through one person who apologetically biased(though, I guess Bill O'Reilly likes to refer to his show as the 'No Spin Zone'). Especially one who seems so angry.

I did not discover Npr until I was 16 and had my own car, but since my first job as a 16 year old was delivering pizza, and so I spent large amounts of time in my car, I found it almost immediately.

Once realizing that a person had the option to get their radio news from a source that at least tries to be objective (I do feel Npr has a biased to the left. I cannot think of a single public radio host that does not, at times, reveal a liberal bias. Think of when Terri Gross interviews of liberal guest versus a conservative guest) and when discussing an issue interviews experts in the particular field being discussed rather than have one person repeat back to you over and over what you already believe.

I do not believe it is healthy to only allow oneself to encounter views they already agree with( although, this is becoming increasingly more difficult to avoid as we now have so many choices of where to get our information, one must almost make an active effort to encounter ideologies different from their own). When one only allows oneself to entertain a single view point it can severely limit the accuracy of ones knowledge. If a person not only does not consider alternate views, but even listen to them, the likelihood they will be able to recognize when their beliefs are incorrect or when another's beliefs are correct is very low. Since we, as a species learn collectively and are still early in our efforts in figuring out how things work and how to best do things, I see it as unwise to not expose oneself to as great a variety of views as possible and to never feel to sure of anything. Also, when when close ourselves off to opposing points of view this tends to dehumanize the opposition.

As an example of the dehumanizing effect: I heard a Rush Limbaugh piece recently about The One World Cafe in Salt Lake City (where he took satisfaction in its current financial difficulty) and was surprised to hear how he used to word "Liberal" as an epithet in reference to the management of One World Cafe. To this man the word Liberal had become an insult. Having that sort of world view must make it difficult to see his fellow world citizens who happen to be liberal as human beings of equal value. I imagine many of his listeners must have the same struggle.

Clearly one who primarily gets their news and information from a source of such single mindedness would have a difficult time having an objective view of the world. Although I realize, some People are okay, and even proud of, not allowing themselves to consider opposing points of view(ie. many Mormons, in regards to their Mormon beliefs), I see this as unfortunate and unhealthy.

Which brings me back to why I believe the failure of Air America to be a good thing. It shows, hopefully, that those on the political left do not want to have their own opinions repeated back to them for several hours a day and consider it news or valuable or interesting.


I am caught in an endless feedback loop with my debit card company.
I am trying to report my debit card has been lost via phone call. (the second debit card I have lost within one week. Both lost in the co-op's atm. Although the co-op atm is mostly super great, no fees, and your $$$$ dispensed in 5$ increments, it is the sort of atm where your entire card must be placed into the machine,{I wonder if in the industry there is a name for that style of card reading. I suspect there is. If anyone ever learns it, please bless you will let me know. Amen} where it remains for the duration of your transaction only to be returned by pressing a button saying you want you card returned. Must they ask? Who wouldn't want their card returned? me apparently. These types atms have long been a hardship in my life, a thorn in my side, a bitter pill I have had to swallow, one might even say, this is the Cross I have had to bear in life. When I lived in Utah I, for many (awesome) years banked with Zions Bank whose atms were almost exclusively of the card abducting variety, and lost about 10 cards this way {after I stopped banking with Zions they upgraded their Machines to the single swipe style[parenthesis in parenthesis}})

Back to what I was saying before the parenthesis (({{[)). Earlier today I called my debit card company to report my lost card and after choosing the the option to report a lost or stolen card I was prompted by the automated operator to enter my card number.

Even though I knew I was interacting with a machine, for some reason I spoke as if to a real person saying "I don't have my card number because I lost it and that was why I am calling." Surprisingly, the machine gave an appropriate albeit discouraging response telling me to please call back with my Debit Card in hand.

I tried calling back three more times with the same results. I will probably end up calling back a fourth time expecting things to somehow be different.


bedroom window

These are some photos I took in my bedroom, out the window.

I really like how there are several horizontal bars of color. like rainbow made from perspective.
a darker shade of green
gold sliver
darker brown

God's Seven Layer burrito, if you will.

Perhaps even, a homosexual wedding cake.


very interesting article.

This is a very interesting article I highly recommend. Click your arrow on these words to view the original, or just keep reading to view the re-posting, with tons of swear words added.

Spirituality Spot Found in Brain

By Robin Nixon,

What makes us feel spiritual? It could be the quieting of a small area in our brains, a new study suggests.

The area in question — the right parietal lobe — is responsible for defining "Me," said researcher Brick Johnstone of Missouri University. It generates self-criticism, he said, and guides us through physical and social terrains by constantly updating our self-knowledge: my hand, my cocktail, my witty conversation skills, my new love interest ...

People with less active Me-Definers are more likely to lead spiritual lives, reports the study in the current issue of the journal Zygon.

Most previous research on neuro-spirituality has been based on brain scans of actively practicing adherents (i.e. meditating monks, praying nuns) and has resulted in broad and inconclusive findings. (Is the brain area lighting up in response to verse or spiritual experience?)

So Johnstone and colleague Bret Glass turned to the tried-and-true techniques of neuroscience’s early days — studying brain-injured patients. The researchers tested brain regions implicated in the previous imaging studies with exams tailored to each area’s expertise — similar to studying the prowess of an ear with a hearing test. They then looked for correlations between brain region performance and the subjects' self-reported spirituality.

Among the more spiritual of the 26 subjects, the researchers pinpointed a less functional right parietal lobe, a physical state which may translate psychologically as decreased self-awareness and self-focus.

The finding suggests that one core tenant of spiritual experience is selflessness, said Johnstone, adding that he hopes the study "will help people think about spirituality in more specific ways."

Spiritual outlooks have long been associated with better mental and physical health. These benefits, Johnstone speculated, may stem from being focused less on one’s self and more on others — a natural consequence of turning down the volume on the Me-Definer.

In addition to religious practices, other behaviors and experiences are known to hush the Definer of Me. Appreciation of art or nature can quiet it, Johnstone said, pointing out that people talk of "losing themselves" in a particularly beautiful song. Love, and even charity work, can also soften the boundaries of "Me," he said.

The greatest silencing of the Me-Definer likely happens in the deepest states of meditation or prayer, said Johnstone, when practitioners describe feeling seamless with the entire universe.
That is, the highest point of spiritual experience occurs when "Me" completely loses its definition.

"If you look in the Torah, the Old Testament, the New Testament, in the Koran, a lot of Sufi writings, Buddhist writings, and Hindu writings, they all talk about selflessness," said Johnstone.

We may be finding the neurological underpinnings of these writings, he said.


Inauguration menstration

My favorite part of Obama's inauguration speech was when he said "..science will return to it's rightful place" (i may have not worded that exactly correct, but that was the jist of it). A clear reference to the anti-science attitude modern American Christians have come to adopt and was embodied by President Bush's Government.

My least favorite part was all the stuff about how American needs to resume its role as the leader of the world. I don't care for talk like that. The incredible ego involved in thinking that know what is best for the world is off-putting for me. We might be the most powerful single economic and military force, but we are not the happiest country. That honor goes to Denmark. (the U.S. is ranked 16th, below Colombia, Canada, Puerto Rico and Iceland)

Since I do not get my news from the television, this was actually the first time I have watched a full Obama Speech. His skill as an orator hasn't been overstated. I found myself, at the times when he spoke of things I disagreed with, having to remind myself of what he was saying, because I had become hypnotized into agreement by his melodious cadences.



I was thinking about adopting a rap name.

I am thinking of J-Walk


Park n' Ride.

George Washington in my heart.

It has been awhile since I believed in Jesus as anything more than a man. At worst, a manic-depressive end times fanatic preaching the world was about to end. (Jesus, speaking in reference to the end of the world: "Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Matt 24:34 or Mark 13:30 or Luke 21:32 or many others) At best a man inspired by something divine with a message that could help heal the world. But most of the time I think of him as some guy with a mostly good message, who after his death, through a serious of unusual circumstances became revered as a God.

Even when I was an active Latter-Day Saint I lost my belief in Jesus as being any sort of World Saving Sacrifice. This change happened on my mission when attempting to convert a Muslim man.
For him to understand the context of Joseph Smith, we first tried to explain the Lds perspective of Jesus. He kept asking why God could not forgive sins on his own. Why, if he was all powerful and all knowing, was he unable to forgive sins? (the non-lds perspective is even stranger, since Jesus actually is God the Father as well. 'I can forgive sins, but only while being killed on a cross'). The traditional Lds answers of Jesus being a ransom to pay a debt to God, the just judge, ran through my mind as responses, but before saying them aloud I predicted his responses and realized I had nothing adequate to say. The more I thought of how to answer him, the more convinced I became that he was correct.

Taking into mind this perspective I have of Jesus, it is often somewhat humorous for me to hear people speak of their personal relationship with Jesus, or how he is in their hearts etc. It is comparable to hearing someone say they have a personal relationship with the ghost of Aristotle and that he resides in their hearts encouraging them to do good and use the Socratic method at all times.



It has been so great having Marissa here.
Relationships, of any sort, at their best make life so much easier. When each person is contributing it makes the burdens of life lighter. At their worst, it makes life harder. You not only feel responsible for your own concerns, but the concerns of the other. Both physically and emotionally another person may expect a great deal from you and contribute little. With Marissa it is the first part. In all the time I have known her, only five months though it feels much longer, she has never not been extremely kind and giving. And not just not unkind, but extra mile type kindness.
It is not that she is a people pleaser. Rarely is people pleasing an act of kindness, but rather insecurity selfishness. The people pleaser often wants others to think well of him or her and so won't express their true feelings with hopes of being accepted. Most of us do this from time to time, especially in uncomfortable situations. But of course, true kindness includes honesty and openness. Marissa is, at all times, kind and giving, but not a 'people pleaser'. She gives out of sincere concern for others, not to be thought well of.
Here she is on my bed:



Imagine if it turned out Jesus was alive again today, how disappointed you would be if you found out his favorite band was Primus?



Even though whenever movies (which is most big budget movies being made today) have themes about how the power of love overcomes all obstacles I like to make fun of it with all the force my wit affords me, the difficult aspects of life really are easier when you are with someone you love.

Today, all day was spent running errands, which would normally be uninspiring and taxing was very enjoyable because Marissa was with me.

Having Marissa here with me in Olympia makes these dark and cold days of winter, which is normally the most difficult time of year a pleasure. Laying in bed, being lazy, eating pizza and watching "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia".

Today we went to a mediocre Thai restaurant and as we were being led to our seat we overheard the waitress saying to a nearby table saying "...that's because they don't have peas in carrots in Thai..land or whatver"


only one true church

There was a Mormon boy in my class this last quarter. I didn't find out until close to the end of the quarter when my teacher mentioned it to me.

On one hand, I was surprised because he had not said anything to me about being Mormon even though I often make references to having be raised Mormon when talking about my work. On the other hand, when I saw him on the first day of class I thought 'that kid looks like a BYU student' so in that sense I wasn't particularly surprised.

After I learned he was Mormon, I approached him one day, curious to talk about it. I said, 'did you know I was raised Mormon?' he said he did. I asked why he had never mentioned having been Mormon to me, and he said something about how it was something I was still dealing with so.... I am not entirely sure what he would have said after the 'so' but I get the jist of what he was saying. I guess I hadn't been as clear as I had thought when discussing my Mormon past to my class that he would think it was something I was still 'going through' rather than something i had gone through.

He then preceded to bare his testimony to me. Which was kind of weird, but also fine and kind of interesting. He spoke about an idea I heard on occasion while still Lds about how there can only be one true church and that it must be either Mormonism or Catholicism. (this comes from something a Catholic Bishop once said to...I think it was a general authority? He said something like: 'You Mormon's don't realize how strong your position is......) Catholicism because it came from the time of Jesus directly, and Mormonism because it claims to be a restoration of what Jesus established.

This is an extremely ethnocentric idea full of many bizarre and false assumptions.

1) Why must there only be one true church? it isn't as if religions are mutually exclusive. I think Mormonism is a good metaphor for how one can see world religions. Mormonism has many prophets, but they all come from the same god teaching the same message.(more or less. I think the differences between what Gordon B Hinckley taught versus what Brigham Young taught are far greater than the differences between the teachings of Jesus and Buddha.) Just like how an Lds person need not only recognize one of their prophets and discard all the others, one doesn't need to only recognize one religious founder(and thus the religion they founded) and discard the others, because they message is the same.

2) Even if there were true that there were only one true church, there is no reason to assume it must be Christian.

3) Even if there could only be one true church, and even if it had to be Christian, Catholicism isn't the only church with lines to the time of Jesus, nor is Mormonism the only church which claims to be a restoration of Jesus' original Church.
There is the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Western Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church etc. etc. etc. All these religions have ties back to the time of Christ equally as valid as the Catholic church's. And the amount of Church's which claim to be a restoration of what Christ originally established number in, if not the hundreds then the thousands. In the United States alone there are several hundred.

I didn't mention any of this to my fellow student at the time. I didn't really care to get into it at that moment and sometimes when people seem so eager and sincere in saying something it is hard to have the heart to explain why what they are saying is dumb.