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“Those who wish
to sing, always
find a song.” 

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JERRY SEINFELD JOKE


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TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG JOKE


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DONT JUDGE ME


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MUSIC peace GURU
#18 Secret of Life? You Do Not Find Joy, You Bring Joy

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Not One Person On This Planet Escapes Without A Struggle

Welcome to
Being Human

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Discover How Others Have Overcome

How Someone Just Like You Can Move Forward

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Life Does Not Play Favorites

But It Does Reward Good Thinking

And Good Thinking Is Often Just A Good Song Away

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“A song will
outlive all sermons
in the memory.”

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THE PRICE OF ANYTHING


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BOOBTUBE APPEARING EVERYWHERE ARTICLE BANNER

"The Medium Is The Message."
Marshall McLuhan, 1911-1980, Philosopher

1,000's Of Channels And There's Still Nothing On.
All This Technology To Watch Gilligan's Island At The Bus Stop.

By JOHN HUNTSVILLE
* Voted Worst Bloggerr Ever

GRANDFATHER SWEARS My grandfather swears the internet is just another fad. As cranky as he is, I must admit he gets me riled into these discussions that go nowhere. Like endless loops that I hope are intentional and he's just a practical Joker pulling my leg. It's 60/40.

I did remind him of his other well publicized "bang on" prognostications. For years he refused to use a computer because, and I quote, "those boxes are just more crapolla for the peanut-brained masses". Myself included.

He was impressed nonetheless when I surfed to "Meet Your Match: If You're Over 65 You're Too Young" on my cellphone. That got his undivided attention right quick.

He saw the power of it all and immediately joined using my bit-coin embedded credit card. His first date to Dennys went well and he still owes me the $69 (monthly).

However, beneath the barnacles, he has a point. He's convinced that the "crappolla" level is now at dangerous watermarks. About to exact a very precise price from the generations rising. I asked him to put that theory into 140 characters or less.

He refused. He did borrow my cellphone once again to "text" a photo to his
7 followers -- a risque move since he removed his bow-tie -- after a glass of scotch. My wife suspects I have something going on with very old women. Never "lend" your technology to the innocent geriatric crowd. Just a heads up.

With all this marvelous information flow, we must be near genius levels. Of all his wonderfully odd observations, I have to concur with him on that one. He thinks people are getting stupider. Much, much stupider, citing endless chapter and verse that although are comical, are mostly insightful at their core.

1920 WOMAN His generation has earned the right to be a little jaded. For they've seen this movie before -- technology was going to change the world. They've witnessed the birth of all that we have and our current could-no longer-live-without gadgets. In his defense, television (he was there for the birthing pains) was also going to create an informed populous . It was going to change everything. His modern day version of game changer.

Instead we got reality TV reflecting our not so noble nature back at us nightly. Much better resolution but same crappolla content, according to "speaker on behalf of all cranky seniors" -- he's now pushing his luck as 'spokesperson' after a few stellar online dates.

Our hope is that we are advancing, actually evolving as humans. That all this technology is electrifying advanced concepts from otherwise limited and certainly addled brains. Are we better informed or is it simply that we have access to being better informed?

No, bowtie man, stands firm on technology not adding much to our gray matter. People are people and he's convinced the vast majority of 7 billion plus (hard to believe) are not all that advanced considering the advances. In his day when the population was half that in 1940, he felt the same way. So consider the source.

He clings to the idea that 'The Surprise' came when the insatiable appetite for content overwhelmed the device hawkers. What we got was Boob-Tube III. Hence, the reason he believes not much has advanced -- all this technology to watch Gilligan's Island re-runs at the bus-stop.

Wait till he hears about my latest business adventure -- 140 character novels. He'll go ballistic until he sees the ad revenue projections.
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Washington Post, Op-Ed
DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS REPORTER

You don't have to care about media companies or reporters to care about the state of the news, because if it's in trouble -- and it surely is -- this country is in trouble. That's why, while speaking recently at the Aspen Institute, I called upon President Obama to form a commission to address the perilous state of America's news media.

Some might scoff at the notion that a president and a country occupied by two wars and a recession should add the woes of the news media to an already crowded plate. But the way the news is delivered, and the quality of the information the American public receives about what's going on here and abroad, has and will continue to have a profound effect on these very issues and on the overall quality of government by, for and of the people.

I am not calling for any sort of government bailout for media companies. Nor am I encouraging any form of government control over them. I want the president to convene a nonpartisan, blue-ribbon commission to assess the state of the news as an institution and an industry and to make recommendations for improving and stabilizing both.

Why bring the president into it? Because this is the only way I could think of to generate the sort of attention this subject deserves. Academia and think tanks generate study after study, yet their findings don't reach the people who need to be reached.

We need a real and broad public discussion of the role news is meant to play in our democratic system of government and a better public understanding of the American news infrastructure's fragile condition. We need to know how things got this way and what we need to change.

An intense period of corporate consolidation over the past 25 years, aided and abetted by deregulation by the Federal Communications Commission, has reduced to a mere handful the sources from which most Americans get their news. While independent reporting has been winnowed and homogenized, the news organizations responsible for this reporting have largely fallen under corporate mandates to increase profits quarterly -- which has meant a reduction in news-gathering personnel, the shuttering of overseas bureaus and the nearly complete subordination of a public trust to the profit motive.

Moreover, corporate values of risk aversion have increasingly filtered down to newsrooms, supplanting news values. The big conglomerates that own most of America's news media may have, at any given moment, multiple regulatory, procurement and legislative matters before various arms of the federal government; their interests, therefore, can often run contrary to the interests of the citizens whom journalism, at its best, is meant to serve. There is little incentive to report without fear or favoritism on the same government one is trying to lobby. Increasingly, the news we get -- and, significantly, the news we don't get -- reflects this conflict of interests.

The news infrastructure, weakened from within by this corrosive dynamic, is at risk of toppling altogether because of a separate, though not unrelated development: the coast-to-coast collapse of the newspaper industry, which has lost the key revenue streams of classified and local advertising to the Internet.

For radio, television and, yes, the Internet, newspapers have been and continue to be the foundation on which "hard" news rests. They provide the reporters who are our primary and often our only independent sources in places as close as city zoning hearings and as far away as Indonesia. Anyone who has worked in other media knows that, if newspapers are taken out of the equation, dwindling news resources will be stretched to the breaking point.

You will not turn on your television and hear an anchor admit this. What you will see, instead, is more opinion, commentary and marketing masquerading as news. You will get more in-studio shouting matches between partisans, moderated by openly partisan talking heads.

And so shows that can be produced on the cheap, with little to no real reporting, fan impotent citizen anger at a government whose workings, absent hard-hitting reporting, seem ever-more opaque -- and at a world that, absent consistent, contextualized coverage, seems to defy comprehension.

We need news that breeds understanding, not contempt; news that fosters a healthy skepticism of the workings of power rather than a paralyzing cynicism. We need the basic information that a self-governing people requires. The old news model is crumbling, while the Internet, for all its immense promise, is not yet ready to rise in its place -- and won't be until it can provide the nuts-and-bolts reporting that most people so take for granted that it escapes their notice.

This is a crisis that, with no exaggeration, threatens our democratic republic at its core. But you won't hear about it on your evening news, unless the message can be delivered in a way that corporate media have little choice but to report -- such as, say, the findings of a presidential commission.

The writer, who was a CBS reporter for 44 years, is global correspondent and managing editor of HDNet's "Dan Rather Reports."

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SUPERNATURAL GRAPHIC ARTICLE



New York Times, Op-Ed
T.M. LUHRMANN, STANFORD PROFESSOR


I was sitting in a commuter train to London the first time I felt supernatural power rip through me. I was 23, and one year into my graduate training in anthropology. I had decided to do my fieldwork among educated white Britons who practiced what they called magic. I thought of the topic as a clever twist on more traditional anthropological study of strange “native” customs.

I was on my way to meet some of the magicians, and I had ridden my bike to the station with trepidation and excitement. On the train, as the sheep-dotted countryside rolled by, I was reading a book by a man they called an “adept” — someone they regarded as deeply knowledgeable and powerful.

The book’s language was dense and abstract, and my mind kept slipping as I struggled to grasp what he was talking about. The text spoke of the Holy Spirit and Tibetan masters and an ancient system of Judaic mysticism called kabbalah. The author wrote that all these were just names for forces that flowed from a higher spiritual reality into this one, through the vehicle of the trained mind. And as I strained to imagine what the author thought it would be like to be that vehicle, I began to feel power in my veins — to really feel it, not to imagine it. I grew hot. I became completely alert, more awake than I usually am, and I felt so alive. It seemed that power coursed through me like water through a chute. I wanted to sing. And then wisps of smoke came out of my backpack, in which I had tossed my bicycle lights. One of them was melting.

People believe what they believe for a range of reasons, but one of the most puzzling — at least for those who have not had events like these — is an explanation from personal experience. Such moments have cherished roles in conversion narratives, of course.

A young man gave me this account of his first encounter with the Holy Spirit at a retreat to which his girlfriend had dragged him. “So they started praying for me. ... It doesn’t feel necessarily like electricity, but it feels like your body would be, like, touched by some kind of extreme power and you’re just shaking, like you just can’t handle all this stuff that’s being poured into you, and all they’re saying is, ‘Come on, Holy Spirit, and fill him up to overflowing.’ ... I felt like there was somebody else in me, like, dwelling, trying to get out to this extreme degree, and I was just overwhelmed in it.” As one says in Christian circles, it convicted him and made him realize that God was real.

But just having a strange and powerful experience doesn’t determine what you believe. I walked off that train with a new respect for why people believed in magic, not a new understanding of reality. Sometimes people have remarkable experiences, and then tuck them away as events they can’t explain.

“The thing happened one summer afternoon, on the school cricket field, while I was sitting on the grass, waiting my turn to bat,” an anonymous Englishman recalled in a passage in an old anthology on mysticism. “Something invisible seemed to be drawn across the sky, transforming the world about me into a kind of tent of concentrated and enhanced significance.” But because the William James-like experience that followed didn’t fit into any of the philosophical or theological orientations he held as a 15-year-old boy, “it came to seem more and more anomalous, more and more irrelevant to ‘real life,’ and was finally forgotten.”

In Scientific American, Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine,recently recounted such a story. On his wedding day, his bride wished intensely that her deceased grandfather could be there to give her away. Suddenly, the grandfather’s long-broken radio, which they had never managed to fix, came on, for that one day, and then never worked again. The experience rocked him back on his heels, he wrote, but it did not seem to have shifted what he takes to be real.

What makes the difference between conviction and startled curiosity? In a conference last autumn at Esalen, a once-countercultural organization that’s famous for its spiritual retreats, Jeffrey J. Kripal, a professor of religion at Rice University, argued that how you think about remarkable experiences depends on your theory of the imagination. As a graduate student at the University of Chicago, he went to Kolkata, India, to study Bengali texts.

As he tells it in his book “Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom,” something happened one evening: “Although my body was asleep, resting almost anesthetized on its back, not unlike a corpse, consciousness was lucid and clear, fully awake. Suddenly, without warning, a powerful electric-like energy flooded the body with wave after wave.”

Mr. Kripal does not take the imagination to be an electrical byproduct of some naturalist process. He takes it to be capable of more, to be real in a more complicated way.

I’ve talked to hundreds of people who have had remarkable, unexpected experiences that startled them profoundly. Some see them as clear evidence of the supernatural and others do not. And there are those who come to a conclusive view of what these events mean, and those who hold them as evidence of the mystery of the human imagination itself.

As for me, I never did figure out what was going on with those bicycle lights.

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