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Originally posted by [ profile] lavenderfrost at GE, Y U NO PAY TAXES?!

The (supposedly liberal) mainstream media is barely doing jack squat to cover this, so it's up to us to spread the word.  BOOST THE SIGNAL, PEOPLE.

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There's a whole host of things that need to be done and societal issues that need to be addressed in order to reduce bullying. One I'd like to mention today is ensuring young children are able to empathize with others. Ideally, this should come from the parents, encouraging their children to try and imagine what another child or person may feel like. However, as, sadly, all parents are not made equal, it must fall to education systems to achieve this task. I'm not familiar with early primary education curriculum, though I suspect there may already be some work in this direction, but I think that learning empathy really needs to be more strongly emphasized.

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For the last year or so, I've been pleased to serve as a patron for the work of [info]ysabetwordsmith . I do so for a number of reasons. First, this is one of the ways that I try to keep creativity alive, especially when so many have to turn away from creative endeavours. Second, the relationship between us, as artist and patron, is one that has been fostered to provide mutual benefit and friendship. Finally, and perhaps most important, by not only giving action to my creative input (i.e., taking prompts for poetry), but also by inspiring and encouraging my own literary output, I'm allowed to taste a little of that creative magic.

Read more... )
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Cross-posted from [info]asexuality .

How Sci-Fi Makes Us More Open to Strange Forms of Sex and Sexuality

And Asexuality gets a mention! (Though, granted, they describe it as an axis point for libido...):

"Each of these variables is not an either/or situation, but sits on a spectrum. So, if asked to self-identify, the question is not “are you asexual or hypersexual” but, “on a scale of one to ten, one being no sex drive, ten being perpetual, overwhelming sex drive, how would you rate your libido?” And a number in one variable might have no bearing on another. A binary is just not enough – there is a reason the rainbow is representative of the queer community."

The visibility is getting out there, folks!  :D

Edit: [info]alias_chick , in the comments below, posted a really interesting link to a TED presentation discussing the problems of relying upon nature as a means to differentiate between people. Those interested in gender studies may wish to give it a view.
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[ profile] ysabetwordsmith  has this to say about her upcoming Poetry Fishbowl:

"I'll be holding a Poetry Fishbowl in my blog on Tuesday, June 7 2011. This time the theme will be "alternative sexuality and gender studies." I'll be taking prompts on all aspects of sex and gender; since I've been covering asexuality recently, I'm hoping to see some activity there. Then I'll write poems based on whatever ideas people give me. At least one of those poems will get posted for everyone to enjoy free, and the rest will be available for sponsorship if people wish. If you'd like to see more positive portrayals of aces and asexuality, here's a chance. Drop by and leave me a prompt, read whatever poems appear, or just watch the fun. Everyone is welcome. You can read more about this project on the Poetry Fishbowl landing page."

You can read more about the upcoming Poetry Fishbowl here.
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... it is good to see that there are still average, everyday people who WILL take a stand against injustice:



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In a (very) recent interview, Nathan Fillion, who played Capt. Malcolm Reynolds in the TV series, Firefly, made a comment that if he were to win 300 million dollars in a lottery, he'd buy the rights to the Firefly series and produce it for internet release. 

The response from loyal fans can be found here: Let's get the Captain his money!

You can read more about fan reaction in the following article: Internet-savvy 'Firefly' fans fly back into the fight

I've been involved in some crowd funded projects before, including helping with the production of a short documentary. This, however, if successful, would be EPIC!

Boost the signal!
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One of my very dear friends bought me a gift certificate for Amazon. (Thank you, [ profile] iammystery_girl, you are so made of AWESOME!) As the gift certificate was for, I took the opportunity to shop for books I cannot readily get on this side of the pond, in particular, books on learning Irish Gaelic. Whilst searching under the terms 'Irish Gaelic', I came across this: 

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As many of you are aware, last evening's Lunar Eclipse, in occurring on the day of the Winter Solstice, is quite a rare event. Sadly, I could not participate in it as I would have liked: the weather was just too foul to see anything in the night sky (and, in actuality, I even had some difficulty seeing some of the city's taller landmarks). I did, however, shared a few words with the Goddess and laid out a number of my female aligned altar and ritual items on the windowsill to absorb a bit of the extra Female energy that was about. 

Later on today, of course, I will be having a private Yule ceremony in which I will be honoring the rebirth of the God. For me, it is a time of new beginnings, as the energies of the world shift from building potential to beginning action. As such, I've chosen this evening to consecrate my new sword, which will finally see ritual use, as well as reconsecrate a number of my other implements. 

In her article for The Washington Post, 
Out of darkness, light: Solstice and the lunar eclipse, prominent Pagan author Starhawk wrote:

More of what both Starhawk and I have written about the Solstice... )

May the promise of the returning Light fill your hearts with warmth, joy and peace this holiday season!
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This topic was brought up in AVEN. It revolves around this article (content shown below), which describes a recent conference held in Baltimore with the purpose of instructing bishops and priests in how to evaluate the need for, and perform, exorcisms. The discussion in AVEN broke immediately broke down into Catholic bashing, completely evading several possible topics that could have made for fascinating discussion.

Read more... )

Catholic Bishops: More Exorcists Needed

AOL News

NEW YORK (Nov. 12) -- Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.

The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

"Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult," DiNardo said in a phone interview before the conference, which is open to clergy only. "The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite."

Read more... )
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In response to [ profile] ysabetwordsmith 's latest Poetry Fishbowl theme, vampires, I wanted to a provide a prompt regarding the real world origins of vampires. I can't seem to locate the original essay I had read many years ago that talked about this, but I do recall that vampire myths began with the Middle Ages peasants experience with death, especially in relation to plagues. The people of this time period would not have a scientific understanding of decomposition, or of the transmission of disease. Very simply, a body put into the ground was expected to be a skeleton the next time it was seen.

Bloated corpses and other fun things! )
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From Digital Journal:

San Francisco federal judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop. 8, finding the California amendment that denied gays and lesbians the right to marry the partner of their choice unconstitutional. Walker noted in the ruling that Prop. 8 had no "rational basis" and perpetuated the notion that homosexual unions are inferior to heterosexual ones. He also stated that same-sex couples' desire to marry adheres to the United States' marriage history and traditions. 

More here...

This news makes me both pleased and hopeful. There is still a lot of work to be done (and my jubilance is tempered by a long evolved cynicism), but this is an important step to finally seeing equality amongst all gender orientations.

More on the ruling from the LA Times...
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It might be considered ironic that, whilst a number of folk have suggested a period of isolation to help me find my path, it was actually through many conversations, here and elsewhere, that I found my way. I suppose that shouldn't surprise me: by nature, I'm pretty damn introspective, so if I'm getting lost looking in, clearly the logical path would be to get some outside opinions... and that worked.

The end result is that, for now, I'll be focussing on deepening my connection to Irish Maritime culture. In my discussions, my grandfather's fiddle was brought up numerous times. It has become quite clear to me that, for me to really begin feeling connected to the traditions of my forefathers, I need to learn how to play a fiddle, too. And I shall!

I've hit one stumbling block already, though. Music lessons are frackin' EXPENSIVE! How expensive, you ask? I'm currently looking between $15 and $25 per HALF hour.  *eyes goggle in astonishment*  

Naturally, this means I need to learn as much as I can outside of these lessons. Fortunately, there IS a number of things I can study by myself first. I even already have the instrument and learning material for it. My year-and-a-day challenge, as my first step towards learning the fiddle, is to learn how read music and learn to play the penny whistle sufficiently to perform one of my favourite Maritime songs Farewell To Nova Scotia.

Here is one of my favourite renditions, as performed by The Irish Rovers, (though one of my uncles plays an astounding instrumental version on the mandolin, complete with complex embelishments):

My thanks to all who offered me their ear and their wisdom. 
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As my fortieth birthday approaches (currently with the speed of a freight train), I've been strongly contemplating reaffirming my committment to spiritual growth through some form of ordeal or challenge. From what I've seen challenges and ordeals, they are often utilized for a number of purposes, such as a rite of passage, a confirmation of faith, and altering one's state of consciousness, sometimes even all three at once. An ordeal, as the name implies, involves an extremely challenging trial that often features enduring pain, deprivation, physical exertion, psychological challenge, or combinations thereof. Often, the ordeal also involves extreme risk.

The rest beneath the cut. But please read 'cause I kinda need help with this. )
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Recently, in another forum, my attention was brought to the following article (thank you S.!):
An excerpt: "What a terrible pain it is to see these revealed religionists thinking that cute little phrases like "love one another" and "do unto others" and the like are so profound, when in reality, they are insults. People who thrill to these sorts of statements are like the spiritual children of this world, forever having to be told to be decent and good, when in reality, decency and goodness spring from us naturally, without a word being spoken. Tribal people around the world to this day live in loving connection with their families and with the land without a single "commandment" from their Gods being given them from some authoritative "text" or scripture."

This article raises some interesting points regarding the nature and origin of morality. However, I have to say, the author of this article displays an exceptional amount of arrogance and self-righteous in his criticism of 'revealed faiths'.

Certainly, morality is not dependent upon religion. With mature personalities, we make a conscious choice to abide by the rules of the faith we follow, else we wouldn't choose to follow that faith, no?

However, not all personalities are mature, are they? That's why we have crime and war. That's why we need laws, codices of acceptable behaviour to which a culture's members can be held. Without agreed upon standards of behaviour, it can become very difficult to adjudicate whether someone's behaviour is unacceptable or not, let alone then determine what to do about it.

The problem is, a complex set of specific rules and regulations can become rather cumbersome. Early Christian leaders recognized this. This is why Jesus is credited with simpler guidelines such as 'Do unto others as you would have done unto you.' It's simple, yet flexible, covering a huge range of situations, kinda like 'an ye harm none, do what ye will'.

The author of this article may frown upon the need to have such rules given out, but that, in my opinion, is naively dismissing the harsh reality that not all people are as idealistic as we'd like 'em to be.

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Sadly, I haven't really had much of a chance to spend much of the bonus I just got for the quality of my work. It seems I've been a little too over-enthusiastic with some aspect of my physical routine and have put my back out since last Wednesday, ironically the day before I was to attend a trial class at a local Aikido club I had recently discovered. Argh!!! Of course, having very fews options during which to spend my free time save re-enact my former life as a couch potato, I've been watching a fair number of films. Some are hidden gems; others maybe should have remained hidden.

Here's a quick run down:

Here's a quick run down: )
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Recently, I followed a link, presented by [ profile] fayanora, to a discussion titled How kids in England are smeared in the press, and what to do about it. The following is a reitteration of the thoughts I presented in response to her blog entry:

Upon reading the discsussion couldn't help but reflect on my experiences teaching in England and what I observed of the children (and their parents) there.

Two general themes seemed to run through the comments, the first being a discussion of the idea that thuggery amongst British youth is worse than most other nations because of a lack of any serious consequence for poor behaviour or even proper parenting, whilst the second revolved around the ethical ramifications of corporal punishment (spanking).

Unfortunately, these discussions tended to be really simplified and only touched superficially on some of the major issues that affect British youth. Read more... )

What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding the issues presented here?
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Starring Jack Black... as JESUS CHRIST!!!



See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

A big thanks to [profile] dancingwriter for spreading the word!
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Raising my voice alongside [ profile] fayanora, [profile] dancingwriterand many, many others:

Keith Olbermann Speaks Out On Prop 8
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As presented by [ profile] ysabetwordsmith ...

Woman of Willendorf - Digitally edited photography of ceramic replica by the_vultureMethinks I'll present 'Woman of Willendorf', a project in which I digitally altered a photograph of a ceramic replica I had created of the famous neolithic art piece, the Woman of Willendorf.


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