Building my Dream

It has always been a dream of mine to have a place to show off all my books and be able just to look at them or find ones I want to reread.  Now that I have completed my Library/Computer room, I can.  I even have the big plush reading chair.

 

My Library

 

Here is a picture of my Library/Computer room I recently completed.

The Means Justify the Ends

This post is in the same vein as my previous post:

There is no I in Teamwork

My thought is to take a well-known and maybe overused saying and turning it on its head.  I am sure everyone has heard the saying that “the ends justify the means” usually in conjunction with questionable activities that someone is trying to justify after the fact.  I felt that flipping the phrase around could be equally educational.  What if we looked at some of our modern problems with the mindset of “the means justify the ends”.  In other words, the means we use to achieve our goals may have a profound impact on the ends we reach.  Sometimes, the immediate ends may look like we planned them to be; however, the means we used to reach them may leave an indelible mark on the end product.  As time goes by, the true costs of our means may come back to haunt us.

One example that comes to mind is Communism.  Setting aside the whole human nature issue, the ideals behind the movement are actually noble and a fine goal to strive for; however, look at who they chose to lead them to their utopia, Joseph Stalin.  A man who killed as many of his own people as the Germans did during WWII.  The taint of his paranoid control carried on long after his death and shaped the future of Communism.  The end nature of Communism was justified by the means used to obtain it.

Now take our brand of Capitalism for example.  Yes, it looks quite wonderful, a large economy generating lots of wealth.  Food quickly available at any hour of the day, cars parked by every house, and shelter for the masses.  Well, maybe it isn’t all that shiny after all, but it is far better than anything else.  Just because you can put your foot through the floorboard doesn’t mean the car is unsound.  You know, I do wonder about some of the means we used to achieve this juggernaut we are riding.

Back in the days of Rockefeller and JP Morgan, some of the wealthiest Americans and the large bank owners weren’t happy with the growth of our economy.  They felt that holding our monetary system to the Gold Standard was limiting our potential.  Why the heck should we actually have money equivalent to the actual assets we can produce?  So they designed the Federal Reserve Bank.  A bank that has no over site from the government and is basically run by the bankers, you know, the ones from back in 2008.  They decided, with the then government’s blessing, to set up a system where more money could be printed than was backed by real assets.  They then used this (fake) money to build their might empires.  Empires we use as positive lessons in our history and economic classes.  We as a country said “wow, look at what we can do with all this money” without ever looking at how it came to be in our hands.  So, what do you do with a good thing?  You run with it!  Which is what the banks and Wall Street have been doing ever since.

The funny thing is that this works, as long as no one comes around asking for the actual assets instead of the paper money.  As long as no one gets afraid that our economy and banking system is nothing more that a ponsi scheme with the one percent at the top, it works.  Of course, there are hiccups.  You know like when the Savings and Loans failed because of poor lending practices or maybe during the Great Depression when banks loaned out more money then they could cover with assets.  Money that was already made valueless by the Federal Reserve.  There have also been numerous bubbles that have crashed upon our economy over the years, as well as, that little mess back in 2008.  They all seem to have one thing in common, banks and people making loans that they could not cover.

Basically, the people who created the Federal Reserve wanted to take a shortcut to having even greater wealth and the prosperity they created has come at the expense of our present.  The spiraling national debt, the fragility of our economy, and the widening gape between the rich and poor can mostly be traced back to this decision.  The means are just now justifying our ends.  Think about it.

 

By the way, by “lender of last resort”, the Federal Reserve means the U.S. Government, which means we the Taxpayers.   We have no say in how they run the reserve, but when they screw up, we get the bill.  Man, I don’t think I would get such an option.  Maybe I should ask a Republican Congressman.

Close Your Eyes and Picture Them in Underwear

Having recorded my flash fiction story “Another Shift” for this blog and thinking about creating more, I thought I would like to talk about the challenge of reading my stories aloud.  First off, I have to tell you that I have been a fan of listening to someone read a story since my elementary school days.  I remember one teacher reading “All Creatures Great and Small” in school.  I also own several audio books including Scott Bricks’ reading of two Thomas Covenant novels.

Second, I use to be a lot shyer than I am now.  Speaking in public was a gut wrenching experience at the best of times; thus, there were few chances to practice reading techniques.  You definitely do not want me to read a poem.  However, I find myself looking forward to stretching my talents this way, if only with my smaller pieces.  Finally, the version that you can hear me read in the file is greatly different from the original story I submitted to a flash fiction contest over at SFFWorld.com.

I had hoped that I had saved an original version for you to compare with the reading, unfortunately, I did not.  What I can say is that reading the story in my head was a lot different from reading it aloud.  Lines that seemed smooth and comprehensible became tongue twisting nightmares.  Sentences I used to describe atmosphere and mood ended up tripping over one another or coming out hollow.  So, the final version you hear me reading has been hashed out over several trial readings to iron out the kinks.  I hope this and future experiences will serve to strengthen my writing skills.

Something Old

Something I should have done a long time ago was update my profile to give visitors to my blog a better idea of me and my reasons for blogging.  The passages below are now part of my profile.

 

Who am I?  I am a forty something American raised in a family and country where appearances were more important than facing the truths that were slowly damaging my families happiness.  The blog that you see here is my way of shouting to the world that I will be heard for who I am not for what others would have me be.  It exists to give voice to the way I see the world and my need to create things that are important to me.

My blog has two main goals.  One, to express my point of view on events shaping the world around me; to tell you, the reader, about the ideas that rattle inside my skull and their many origins.  You may even be lucky enough to see the quirky sense of humor hidden behind my repressed personality.   Second, I wish to show you my creative efforts in writing and art and ask for your support on this journey.  Sometimes I will even highlight the creations of others, or more accurately, the creations that became a part of me, so that you can see the foundations for my own works.

Come one come all if you have an ear to hear.  Most welcome though are the mystics and misfits, those who refuse to blindly follow what others say is the truth.  Come see if there is a reflection of yourself in my ideas and writings.  As Dukhat said on my favorite TV show “Will you follow me into Fire?  Will you follow me into darkness?  Will you follow me into death?  Then follow.”  Of course, the death part is totally not expected.

Something New

Yes, the post title is not much, but after the programming struggle I just went through, I hope you will understand.  The something new is actually a pair of items on my main sidebar.  The first is a PayPal donation button.  Oh, groan, not another one of those.  I know, there are a lot of sites that want your money and so do I.  I won’t lie to you.  I am unhappy where I am and wish to find a way to live a creative life as I have expressed in many of my posts on writing.  I am hoping this will be a small step towards my destination.  Of course, I am hoping that you, who have read my blog and some of my stories, will help me move into another level; however, if you can’t, I understand.  I find it very hard in my situation to donate to causes like myself.

The second, new item is a MP3  file titled “Another Shift” inside the Box widget below the Donation button.   This is a recording I did on my I-Phone of me reading a flash fiction piece I wrote a while back.  It is yours free to download whether you donate or not.  As I state in the recording, I am distributing this file to you under creative commons guidelines.  Download, copy, and share the file all you want but do not change or sell it.  So if you can’t donate, please share my blog with others who might.

If this little experiment works, I may add more readings for you to enjoy, maybe even with better readers than myself.  Thanks for sharing in this journey.

P.S.  The struggle I had was getting the PayPal button onto the sidebar!  I think I will have a headache for days from that one.

In the Beginning

This is for my friend Nila who posted the first lines of some of her favorite books.

 

A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.

Dune by Frank Herbert

There is a similarity, if I may be permitted an excursion into tenuous metaphor, between the feel of a chilly breeze and the feel of a knife’s blade, as either is laid across the back of a neck.

Jhereg by Steven Brust

Bandits often lay in wait in the ruins of the old town at the four ways — Jenny Waynest thought there were three of them this morning.

Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly

Where Shadows dim with shadows mate

in caverns deep and dark,

where old books dream of bygone days

when they were wood and bark,

where diamonds from coal are born

and no birds ever sing,

that region is the dread domain

ruled by the shadow king.

The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

Killashandra listened as the words dropped with leaden fatality into her frozen belly.

Crystal Singer by Anne Mccaffrey

 

 

 

Vestigial Brain

Is the brain half empty or half full?

This one is for the evolutionists and theologians to discuss, I take no sides but am interested in the views.  I have heard throughout my life that humans only use half of their brain capacity.  I found this interesting from an evolutionary standpoint today.  If evolution favors the better suited species, what purpose does a brain capacity twice what is needed serve, especially when the capacity cannot easily be accessed in cases of trauma to the head, which would indicate a backup system?  Did humans with half the brain capacity once exist but did not pan out in the evolutionary cycle?  Is the extra brain capacity a vestigial hold over from a time when we used all of our brains until evolution decided we did not need so much or is their another purpose to that unused potential?  Could the unused portion have significant bearing on religious teachings or higher states of being that might blur the lines between science and religion?  Basically, my question is this “how can either side completely ignore the other when such a significant question is unresolved?”  Do we have a big lump of vestigial brain matter inside our skulls or are there astounding mysteries to be explored yet?