Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Shamanic Shifts

As I talked about in the previous post I am revisiting my previous studies of shamanism, which is loosely defined as a way of living in which one examines and tests the connections of all things in nature. There are many different concentrations of the practice, some with healing priorities, some with teaching priorities, some with storytelling and tradition preservation priorities, some with fortune-telling and counseling priorities, and many others. One shaman can fulfill all of those functions or any combination of them. It isn't quite right to think of shamanism as specifically segmented as the medical profession with all of its specialties because shamans look at the whole as well as the parts and how all of it moves together harmoniously or not. A healer will need to teach and counsel and guide as part of the healing process. Sometimes storytelling and divination are vital aspects of the healing and guiding too. When I say fortune-telling/divination that means looking at signs, oracles, and all the "moving parts" of a situation and using all the mental tools (intuition, associations, common sense, basic "rules of nature" and so on) to predict the likely path of events. But surprises can also happen in that process.

In my previous studies and interests in shamanism I focused on the more occult, or mystical aspects of it - knowing the unseen and reading of signs and developing the intuitive sense - the fortune-telling aspects. Those are important things to study but I've learned that they are difficult to work with because it isn't always possible to get the feedback needed to know if the messages are mixed up or just plain wrong. And shamanism really depends upon the same kind of testing of ideas, treatments, etc. as scientific study. Shamans do not want to continue any action or course of treatment that is not working. Psychic knowledge is only useful if it is confirmed. I've heard a shaman use the term "direct revelation" to describe her approach, and that resonates with me. I found myself very frustrated by feeling like I was stumbling in the dark not knowing for sure if I was on the right path. That uncertainty was an important lesson in itself because the vast majority of our universe is darkness. Whether you call it dark matter, dark energy, the void or whatever name or concept for it, it is there and there is a lot of it. Our human existence is in the realm of light and it is really rather tiny in the grand spectrum. Trying to see into the dark can be fascinating, scary, frustrating, disappointing, overwhelming, addictive, thrilling, and so many big feelings. But focusing on the vast darkness can make one blind to the light and the subtleties it can illuminate.

My time with the dark and arcane sometimes led to some real mindfuckery, for lack of a better word. It's easy to fall into some delusional thinking when everything seems to have a deeper, hidden meaning, and when certain synchronicities, serendipities, and other ethereal entanglements seem substantial enough to be mutually experienced without actual solid confirmation. These mind games can be entertaining for a time, and sometimes they even cause real limbic, visceral responses. Those who practice phone, cyber, or whatever other "virtual" sex there might be know that just thoughts can be very physically arousing, and a good shared imagination can create fairly satisfying mutual experiences. I am willing to admit that I can't recreate that experience with just any random person. For me it has been rare to have a physical reaction without being in physical proximity but it has happened. Shamans have to learn how to deal with these energies because we view thoughts as things with their own energies and effects. We have to ask for confirmation so that we don't fall into delusions. Mindfucks aren't healing unless they are accompanied by supportive verbal communication. Always making others guess your real thoughts and feelings and making them second guess their own interpretations of interactions is a form of control, and sometimes even abuse when done maliciously. Usually, people are just trying to protect themselves from being hurt, but shamans are already hurt and learn to live with the pain that truth sometimes causes. But truth is ultimately less painful than delusion. Trying to manipulate people energetically (through thoughts but not "real" communication) is an illness that unethical shamans, or other ill people, might develop, but that kind of mindfuckery always backfires and needs to be corrected.       

Now that I've lived through a lot more stuff and have a little more understanding about how the world works I am less interested in solving mysterious puzzles and trying to guess what this sign or that message really means. Not so much looking for hidden messages anymore. What hides itself is not of much use to me. I've grown beyond that hide and seek game and now want to concentrate on real actions, real solutions, real healing. Knowledge is all good and fine but this short life on this planet is incomplete without real engagement with it. 

Shamans usually go through painful initiations. I've been through several. While we heal and learn we remain somewhat wounded because that keeps us sensitive, open and compassionate. Scar tissue is tough and somewhat numb, so there is a constant struggle to heal without becoming too armored by the physical and emotional scars of these initiations.

The popular stereotype of shamans and other types of spiritual "gurus" is that they are always wise and never make mistakes, but that is the fantasy. Most shamans wish to be always wise and knowing and right but if we are honest with ourselves and others we freely admit our mistakes and other downfalls. Sometimes we revisit former attachments. Maybe there is something new to learn or maybe it is just a mistake that we need reminded of its wrongness? Maybe time's passage has evolved misplaced magic into something else? Maybe we have to keep testing everything to make note of changing conditions and other variables? Always learning.

I've had to reread the shamanism tagged posts I've written a long time ago just to see if my recollections are accurate and to judge if my previous statements were completely stupid. For the most part they are all still fair and sometimes even better than I had remembered. I feel a bit more confident moving forward with my current thoughts and plans. My previous focus on animal symbolism and divination will continue to be part of my studies because there are lots of different ideas and traditions still to learn, but I am adding herbalism as a large part of the picture. As I mentioned my childhood experience of knowing that the plants would "talk" to me, I've come to the time and place where I am meant to learn much more about that. Shifting towards plant medicines is more "real" and measurable.

On our farm we have become licensed hemp growers. The State of Tennessee developed an "industrial hemp" program under which people can grow cannabis strains bred to have no THC (or very little) but high levels of CBD (non-intoxicating cannabinoid) that is therapeutic for pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Our first growing season and harvest were complicated and hampered by our daughter's wedding planning and building a new pole barn for that and future events and uses, but we did produce a small amount of a fairly good quality hemp flower. All hemp has to be independently tested to assure that the THC levels are low enough and that the CBD levels are high enough to be therapeutic. Cannabis is an extremely complex plant with many different cannabinoids and terpenes that we are only beginning to learn more about because of its suspect legal status and limited past research. State laws allowing CBD circumvent Federal law which still mostly views all cannabis as illegal though a bill was passed that created this loophole for the states and CBD. Anyway, it is only one part of the herbalism study I am undertaking. There are so many common plants that have medicinal compounds and properties. In addition to the traditional knowledge, we have a lot more scientific research that has confirmed (but sometimes contradict) these traditional uses.

And sure, another common stereotype of shamans is that they sit around drumming and using psychoactive plants to travel into the "dreamtime" or other dimensions, and that can be part of their practice and tools for their work. But so is being able to recommend other plant allies to assist with ailments and other problems at are solidly rooted in this immediate dimension. Our modern cultures and technologies have separated us from nature, and too often we have been told that we humans are not a good part of nature, that we are killing the planet even. This is not true! And shamanism, if it's truly honest, will work to remind humanity that it is absolutely a natural inhabitant of this world. Of course, our greater degree of conscience and self-determination come with greater responsibility for avoiding real abuse and complete destruction, but to say that humans are the worst part of the world is just not right. When beavers dam a waterway and cause habitat, breeding, and feeding destruction to other species those humanity-haters will say, "Oh, that's just what beavers do and all the other animals and plants will adapt. That is nature." Or when large herds of animals leave widespread damage in the wake of their seasonal migrations, that is the natural life. But when humans build our structures it's somehow unnatural or undesirable. Such nonsense is easily ingrained in people who do live their lives separated from nature. They only ever see concrete and other manmade surroundings and never see where their food is grown or where their garbage goes. They've only ever been given manmade pills (usually lab synthesized from plant compounds) to take for their illnesses, aches, or other ailments, never even aware that the actual whole plants might be even more effective because they are in the form that evolved along with us. We are part of nature, and we can care about it and use it responsibly without buying into all the nature-worship-people-hating religions that seek to destroy human development and evolution. I expect in my shamanic studies I will encounter a fair share of such misled souls, but I hope to be able to contribute the perspective of the naturalness of humans and how we have evolved within all of this nature and as such, we are deeply connected, symbiotic, and even necessary.  

Well, this certainly ended up a lot longer than I'd expected. I have to say it feels pretty good to be writing things out again. I'm still a little rusty and might not consistently have time to do this like in the past. But here it is.  

   

            

Monday, March 15, 2021

The March of Time: Where Have I Been and How Did I Get Back Here?

If for no other reason than to document for myself what has filled the last 10 years, I'm going to attempt to remember and write as much of the notable stuff as I can.

Looking back to see where I left off and what was happening then I have to admit that there are big gaps in my memory. Those are most likely due to life just being very mundane and my keeping focused on those immediate needs and responsibilities. Not to say that life was boring! It certainly was not, what parts I can remember anyway. 

During and for some time after the 2008-2010 period of overwhelming losses, illnesses, and other hardships, I think fell into a hole of insanity, or maybe it was more of a dark, thick cloud of mental and physical exhaustion. I made some mistakes in dealing with some things, and some of those regrets added to the length of recovery. Focusing on others and their needs and giving up my addictions helped pull me out of the funk but it also left parts of myself somewhat neglected (leftover voids). It's all a give-and-take, and ultimately giving wins out, whether by duty or by natural inclination. Those neglected aspects generally remain unchanged...  

The Band Life

Once my kids got into middle school and high school it seemed they needed me more in lots of ways, than when they were little. I became much more involved in their activities, especially marching band in high school. I was all-in as a "Band Mom" because I loved watching my kids perform and because the band program relied on parent volunteers to help it function. Their school had an awesome band program, and it really made all the difference for my oldest, especially, because he excelled and got to have many opportunities and experiences that otherwise wouldn't have been possible. It also took him off a potentially harmful path with some of the "wrong" people. The marching band program was led by a popular, effective director, and the program was loved and well-supported by many of us. In addition to the full ensemble of outdoor marching, my favorite activities were the indoor percussion programs. Man, the drumming and creativity were sometimes like a drug. I still have ideas and visions of potential shows though I don't exactly have the music writing and other technical skills to bring them to life. The 8 year capsule of time involved with music, performance, camaraderie, is a definite highlight of life and resulted in some very nice, lasting friendships. But like nearly all other awesome time periods it was not destined to last forever. The great band director moved on to continue his education and the programs quickly disintegrated into mediocrity and worse under different leadership. It was extremely frustrating to be in the middle of it and to have it somewhat sully the kids' memories of the band life. Heydays come and go. I guess kids have to learn that too. The band life for us ended in Spring 2018. 

The Farm

I had to look back at the official papers to remind myself of when exactly we bought the farm in Grainger County. It was Spring 2017, and it is a little surprising that so much time has passed. It was originally bought to be a kind of hunting retreat for the guys but it has evolved a lot since then. My oldest son rebuilt an old house on the property and lives there and seems to be very happy. Google maps streetview is so out of date in that area that it looks nothing like the current condition, but it's kind of cool to see a reminder of how much work has been done in 4 years. A very old decrepit house (built around 1900) that we called "The Spook House" had to be knocked down. I was a little sad about it but it was a hazard and liability and damaged beyond affordable repair. 

At some point we might build a house on the property but that plan keeps getting delayed for various reasons. I have mixed feelings about it. I sometimes really, really want to start refresh in a new place. Our current house is too big, too much to care for as I'm getting older and less energetic about those things. I used to do all kinds of "manly" home maintenance, but I'm tired of having to do it and it's really hard to find honest, reliable people to do it for me. My guys are too busy playing on the farm to help around here. Last year I was so over it that I basically presented an ultimatum - things have to change one way or another.  For several years I'd been saving most of the rental income I got from renting out my parents' old house. I thought seriously about kicking out the renters and going to live there myself. But that wouldn't have solved the no-help-with-maintenance problem. It just would have moved its location. Then I thought, okay, I'll sell that house and buy myself a condo where I won't have to deal with all the inside and outside maintenance. My sister has a really nice condo I could see myself living in something similar. So the ultimatum was basically that I'm selling the rental house and I'm either buying myself a condo or building something smaller/newer/less maintenance on the farm and you can come with me or not. No divorce. Just a different living arrangement, one that doesn't leave me feeling abandoned and somewhat helpless. If I was going to be left alone all the time then I wanted to at least be where I wasn't also constantly overwhelmed. Divorce has never really been a serious consideration, though I've inquired a few times if that was something that was wanted. It's too complicated and creates too much animosity to go down that path. 

Anyway, as is usual with ultimatums you end up having to eat your words if you don't have the courage to follow through with the most drastic action. The condo idea was scoffed and the promise of a new house on the farm was made. The rental house was put on the market and sold at full price within a week. Well, the closing of the deal took over a month due to the covid restrictions and complications. Approximately one year ago I was a quite wealthy woman, lots of cash in the bank, or at least a lot to me - nothing like a million or even half but enough that I felt secure and valuable, with some means to negotiate if it came to that. Now, I don't want it sound at all like I am, or feel, oppressed or controlled. I am where I am because I choose to be faithful to my duties and responsibilities, not because I've been suppressed into submission. There has been no abuse. There has been some neglect however, as I've tried to explain throughout. So for a short time despite the covid insanities of the world I felt hopeful about the future.

Then my daughter fell in love and decided to get married. That's all fine and good, and I'm happy she found her life partner. He's a good guy. She wanted a barn wedding, something that's very popular these days, and looking at venues she was discouraged because of the high costs to rent them. Because of covid most churches were refusing to allow weddings so all the other places were getting booked up. When we bought the farm part of the future vision for it was to create a venue for groups to have events, retreats, camps, and so on. As one might foresee how this story is going, my future house funds were diverted to build a new "pole barn" for my daughter's wedding and future weddings, events, etc. It was an investment, of course, into the future for everyone. Again, momma sacrifices everything for the family. No, I'm not really as bitter or upset as that sounds, but it would be dishonest to say that I haven't had my moments of feeling completely drained and done. And let me tell you, planning a wedding can turn the sweetest girls into Bridezillas and my daughter was one of the worst. I've never felt so unappreciated and... unliked. I never thought we had a difficult relationship but the last year has strained it and made me pretty sad sometimes. I've watched a documentary about the female animals that die for their children - they starve themselves guarding them until they hatch and sometimes the hatchlings eat her remains. Sometimes that's how I feel. Fortunately, my sons are much more expressive of their appreciation and affection for me, though I never ever say such comparative things to the kids because that is just not good for relationships.

Despite all of that it was an absolutely beautiful and serene wedding. We hosted over 120 people, mostly unmasked though we had many available if people wanted them or forgot theirs. Lots of hand sanitizers were available. Social distancing was up to the individuals but there were many hugs all around. We broke most of the "rules" but thankfully not a single person got covid from being there. 

And sorry, kids, if you ever read this, for putting certain things "out there" but in reality, pretty much nobody is going to read this anyway, and it's for my own documentation because I am really concerned with my own cognitive decline. I pray to God that I don't succumb to dementia. That has got to be the absolute worst way to go. Watching friends lose their parents to it is heartbreaking. Not that I think I'm going senile already but I have noticed some aging related changes. I am not a young woman anymore. Time marches on.

Current Conditions

So now I am finding myself with that same overwhelmed and somewhat alone feeling that was supposed to have been remedied by now with a new start in a new place. But now I don't even have the bargaining power of a rental house or money. I have nothing, but I also have everything, if that makes any sense. It's just that everything is still more than I can manage. On top of not having an "escape" we have the added complications of my daughter and son-in-law living here with us. It's not a bad thing usually, but sometimes I just want to scream "I want MY house back!" Covid has created a lot of problems in so many aspects of life for nearly everyone, and young married couples have a hard time finding affordable housing if they aren't already in a place on their own. Allowing them to live here is helping them save money to buy/build their own place, and this house is certainly big enough for them to have their own "wing" that can feel like their own place, except for sharing the kitchen and laundry. The arrangement was supposed to include them doing a lot of helping around here in place of paying rent, but that hasn't happened so much. Part of it is because I have lost my "viciousness" (whatever it was that gave me the energy to assert my authority, etc.) due to being metaphorically beaten down by disappointments and some mistreatment (Bridezilla stuff). Like a Pavlov dog, I am not immune to such conditioning. But also, they are young and just starting out in the world of full-time work and learning how to be married and all of that stuff which all can be rather overwhelming too. I try to have some empathy and compassion instead of feeling put-upon, used, and self-absorbed. But come on, how hard can it be for them to take out the goddamn garbage? 

My daughter has all these ideas about what her perfect house should look like, and I'm not that stringent in trying to have the "perfect" house because I've learned that time is valuable and one can spend all day washing dishes to keep the sink empty or one can wash dishes once per day and have time to do other things and so what if there are some dirty dishes in the sink for a short time? My priorities are not to have a kitchen that looks like it is never used. My house is a working house and working efficiently requires stuff to be out and accessible. She might learn eventually not to put so much value on a particular vision of life because those perfect visions really are not functional nor sustainable. Or maybe she will be one of those few people who can maintain that perfect image without completely alienating all the normal people who fail to meet unreasonable expectations? She is the one person who has done the most to make me feel completely inadequate and worthless (I am so sorry for the times I ever made my own mother feel that way- I'm certain it happened because I was a lot like my daughter when I was her age and I didn't even realize what an asshole I was). But the truth is she doesn't really clean as well as I do. Just putting stuff out of sight isn't cleaning. Leaving crumbs and spills on the stove is not clean, regardless of how many dishes you've washed. You see, I do actually have pretty high standards for my kitchen cleanliness which means doing more than just moving things around to make it look a certain way. These conflicts are amplified by having to share the kitchen, but I feel like she has no concept of "hierarchy" in that she acts like we are equals in this situation, but we are not. If they paid half of all the bills and did half of all the work of maintaining the household, then yeah, maybe they could be closer to "equal." But just being adults and married does not really give them the same status in this household as they would have in their own house. **I really do love my daughter and don't want it to seem otherwise. She is "vicious-momma-in-training" ;-) She might feel hurt to read these things but I have to be honest in how I feel. I am allowed to express my hurt and pain even if it makes others uncomfortable to know their part in it. Holding it in has not been healthy. ** 

Blog Therapy

I know this all sounds like a bunch of "woe is me" whining and complaining, and maybe I do sound a bit like Meghan Markle and Prince Harry moaning about how unfair and hard their lives are. Well, my life isn't really so bad, I know that, but it's also okay to exorcise some of the darker feelings by getting them out of my head and into words. Also, as mentioned above, I feel the need to document things for future reference. Now that my kids are all adults and relatively independent I do have more time to spend on my own things. I'm finding new interests, or more accurately, revisiting previous interests with new eyes and perspective. 

Blogging was an important part of my "previous" life, and I hope to include it more moving forward (I've said that before but now I do have more time), although it will most likely be much less "social" than before. An original fellow blogger from the beginning has even passed away (Mr. G rip). I certainly don't expect to recreate the past. But the days of Facebook are waning and Twitter is fun sometimes but rather shallow. I expect Instagram to remain important but it is primarily for images. 

What Comes Around

I am extending my learning about herbal healing and other shamanic or "witchy" subjects. These things have always been of interest to me, even as a young child. When I was about 5 I had a very vivid and never-fading message, not a vision exactly but a deep knowing, that "these plants will talk to you and tell you how to help/heal yourself and others." It sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but looking back on my 53 years I see how this message has endured and built upon itself and is kind of demanding the attention to fully express itself. I have always known that my ultimate goal in life was to be the Old Crone Witch Doctor, and here I am getting closer to that. 

Herbalism is a really big thing right now as more people are looking for alternatives to the overly processed and artificial stuff that seems to be less helpful than it has been sold to be. It's not a left-right political thing, though some people want to make it that way because they try to tie other overly processed and artificial ideas and movements like Global Warming to the desire to live a more "natural" life. Well, I want to avoid all the political garbage that people try to attach to otherwise nice ideas. 

It is not so controversial to believe that because we humans have evolved within and alongside all the rest of Nature there are going to be inherent relationships between our biologies and the biologies of the plants that we have consumed and evolved alongside. Some of this, I believe, can be intuitive when aided by actual knowledge. Long ago people relied on visual traits for clues about the possible uses of plants. This "doctrine of signatures" has largely been laughed off by modern scientists, but we are beginning to learn more about the actions of plant compounds that sometimes are consistent with that old idea. One personal example that surprised and delighted me was the sweet gum tree growing in my backyard. This tree produces these spiky balls that contain their seeds. And the leaves and balls when crushed have this citrusy, kind of medicinal scent. We are learning a lot about plant terpenes (aromatic compounds) and how they are responsible for medicinal actions through their chemical structure and interactions with our bodies. So with my little bit of knowledge about terpenes and also about the shapes of viruses, I intuited that maybe these sweet gum balls have some antiviral use. (They really are shaped just like viruses.) So being the good little investigator I did some research and discovered that yes, indeed, the sweet gum balls have significant amounts of the very same compound (shikimic acid) that is used to make the antiviral medication Tamiflu. Ha! Of course, this isn't a "real" scientific discovery on my part, but I've learned that life doesn't always fit neatly into a strict formula. Incidentally, I suspect that the sweet gum tincture I made that I've taken nearly every day of this pandemic has helped me avoid getting sick with covid, or any other viruses, along with the obligatory public masking, distancing, and the hand-washing I've always done. 

So I am learning to trust my intuitions a little more, but they must be tested too. The shamanic approach to life really depends on continuous observation and testing. It is not dogmatic. While there are truths of nature that we all live with there is so much more to our human experience than what we have been allowed (by some religions, and also by dogmatic science) to explore and develop. Shamanism and science have more in common than most scientists would like to admit, but let's be real here and acknowledge that there are lots of people who claim to be scientific but they are just as rigid and dogmatic as the worst types of religious people. Anyway, I don't want to debate the abuse of science any more than I want to debate political ideas that are inappropriately connected to nature. My concerns now are more in the direction of finding actual solutions to problems than in fighting about ideas. 

It looks like I've gotten to a fair stopping point for now. I'm not sure yet if by returning to some old places I am only a ghost of the past, haunting and stirring up some unrest. The empty and abandoned places tend to attract restless spirits.                 

      

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Happiness Is a Warm Gun (Be Still and Know)

(I first wrote about 80% of this on 10-6-2018 but decided to revisit and finish it after the re-emergence of relevant concerns.) 


When I hold you in my arms (oh, yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (oh, yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (oh, yeah)
Because, (happiness) is a warm gun, mama (bang bang shoot shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang bang shoot shoot)

~ John Lennon, Paul McCartney


This country does not have a "gun problem." It has a penis problem. We need to ask ourselves why so many men and boys have lost respect for themselves, girls, and life itself. While I am inherently skeptical about the validity of every claim of sexual harassment within the explosion we've seen in the last year or so, I recognize that there is something going on. Obviously, men like Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein, and Andrew Cuomo are just a few of the horrible, nasty creeps who have been exploiting women and using their positions of power to get their jollies. But I suspect that plenty of the one-off accusations that the "me too" hashtag has incited could actually be explained as misunderstandings lacking any true malicious intent or just plain old bandwagoning. No, girls, a guy moving in for a kiss on the first date is not sexual assault. It moves into that dark territory when he won't take no for an answer. And it's not sexual harassment if a man notices and compliments a woman's appearance. We can't go around dressed for attention and then get angry when we get it. Men are confused. They see women who look like they want their bodies to be noticed and appreciated, but when they do notice they are scolded or worse. They want to flirt but if they do they risk being labelled as sexually aggressive. On the other hand, I have to wonder if there really is a growing number of men who just don't know how to behave. I tend to believe that yes, this is also an aspect of the problems we're having with sexual harassment and increased gun violence, especially in our young men, but I just don't know because what I see in my own life does not reflect any of that toxic masculinity that the media et al tell us is running rampant.  

The penis problem isn't just limited to the men. Apparently we women don't know much about them either. We don't seem to understand maleness at all. In this day of gender confusion we're moving into a dangerous mindset of emasculation - of believing that man-ness is bad, that maleness is inherently malevolent, that erasing masculinity will somehow erase all violence and sexual motivation. It's simply bullshit to try vilify the nature of one half of the human population. It's no wonder that boys prefer to immerse themselves into the virtual worlds of their hyper-realistic video games where they can interact with exaggerated, unrealistically idealized feminine characters without being rejected and labeled and where they can wield deadly weapons with no real consequences. We've forced their masculinity into the realms of fantasy and virtual reality. The penis envy of the early feminists has switched over to penis persecution. It's not that different from the way that men thousands of years ago took their envy of women's life-creating ability and switched it to be the source of all sin of the world. And now, the accused-and-therefore-guilty mindset of the anti-feminine witch hysteria days has swung into the accused-and-therefore-guilty mindset of the "me too" sexual assault hysteria where any man accused of sexual misconduct is automatically considered guilty and the only way he can prove his innocence is through a no-win "sink or swim" test (like the accused witches who were thrown into deep water and if they swam/floated they were guilty and executed but if they sank that proved their innocent but they are dead anyway). 

False accusations of sexual aggression/assault have become a weapon of the leftists who seem to hate white men more than any other group in the world. And it's not enough for the accusations to be recent and more easily investigated. They now are going back decades into a man's history to make accusations that even the accusers can't truly remember enough to be adequately supported. Not only are they looking back 35+ years but also back into the teenage years when people aren't even considered legal adults. They are abandoning all aspects of our justice system which was designed to protect the rights of the accused because, and this is the really important part, throughout human history FALSE ACCUSATIONS HAVE BEEN USED TO HURT OTHERS! Yes, I'm yelling that because people forget history and don't want to hear it. There's even a many thousands-of-years-old Commandment against "bearing false witness" against your neighbor. This is and has been a thing that humans have had to deal with from the very beginning of our existence. So, no, it is not rational, logical, ethical, or legal to "believe the women" above all else. I hate to say it but this whole thing makes a lot of women look too stupid to be equal. Equality does not expect special treatment and does not expect exceptions to the rules. This applies to all people regardless of whatever special identities they have given themselves.  

This insanity has to stop. It is not helping our society or species to move forward. There are many aspects to the solution that we must consider. Most of the big problems with our society at this time stem from the mindset of identity politics in which each group of people chooses some trait upon which to base their entire identity and value. For some it's skin color, for some it's their sexual preference, for some it's gender completely separated from biological sex, for some it's religion or political belief. They make that one part of themselves the most important and expect everyone to know how to treat them accordingly. There are a lot of assumptions being made and being expected, and that is ripe for all kinds of misunderstanding. Those of us who have for half a century lived by the idea of judging people not by their skin color (or some other random trait) but by their character (how they act) are now being told that is our "white privilege" to be "color blind" or whatever other blind. In truth, the actual color blindness originated from rejecting looking at everything from a black or whatever-colored lens. It was a black man who taught us to be color blind, so you'd think they would understand that. But this isn't really about race or skin color. We are talking about an even more basic division of human existence. The problem of identity politics is just one part of it.

It is a scary time for young men. But really, it's scary for all of us because the rift between common sense and emotion-driven reaction has become almost unbridgeable. The increasing use of mob protest, personal harassment/intimidation, and threats of violence against anyone who does not agree with the leftist malcontents is only increasing the possibility mass casualties. What can we do to address the problems our males seem to have with getting through life and navigating this messed-up society? Other than defeating the irrational forces that only want to punish males for being male, we must find ways to teach our boys (and girls) how to deal with the stresses of living in a world where conflict is the first response to everything. We need to try to get everyone to keep their fingers off of the metaphorical triggers.

Back when I was in middle school in the early 1980s everyone took hunters' safety classes in which we learned the proper handling of firearms and the rules for safe hunting and sport shooting. We all learned the biggest basics that 1) you never point a gun at a person, 2) you never store a gun loaded, 3) you should always assume a gun is loaded when you handle it (because some people don't follow rule #2). That isn't everything but they are the most basic rules. Nowadays people refuse to learn anything about guns and choose to pretend that ignorance is going to keep them safe. Even worse, they believe that it is possible to make enough laws to eliminate guns and/or gun violence. That will never work. Once people have a right it is immoral and actually impossible to take it away. Instead, we must be more proactive in educating and promoting safe and responsible gun ownership and handling. Instead of prohibitions, we could look at liability insurance much like with vehicles. Of course, people still drive without proper insurance but that is not an argument against insurance itself. This is just one idea.

We need to hold our entertainment industries more accountable for the influences they have on our children. The musicians glorifying violence and disrespect against women and law enforcement need to be held as accountable for their part of "me too" and other social unrest as much as the "young white men" who listen to it. The video game industry that creates hyper-realistic violent games needs to be held accountable for their influence on young people. Sure, free speech allows them to create whatever they want to create, but if we are going to start using decades ago high school antics for reasons to condemn people today, then it's only fair to look at current entertainment to blame for once and future violations of law. I'm not calling for any bans or censorship but for these industries to do a lot more to reinforce the differences between fantasy and reality and encourage/teach kids how to deal with the real world with technology instead of escaping it through technology. All of the Hollywood actors who bemoan the evils of gun violence and sexual aggression need to look at their own products and take responsibility for their own contributions to these problems. Free speech rights require just as much self-control and responsibility as gun rights do. Free speech does not mean that people can say anything without consequences. They love to tell that to conservatives who say "offensive" things but they sure don't want to apply that to themselves. They are the problem.

We need to return to the basic teachings of the original laws such as the Ten Commandments. Now, of course I'm not saying we have to force Christianity on everyone. Don't be stupid. I'm saying that these basic laws were established a very long time ago to address basic human problems. There is nothing particularly religious about laws against murder, stealing, and lying. It's just good interpersonal relations to avoid adultery and coveting of your neighbors' stuff. Those things often lead to the other, "bigger" crimes. The parts about honoring God and having a holy day can easily be thought of as the psychological need to have something to live for and to take time to rest and honor what we have. Whether it is some God or life itself, we humans function best when we hold something sacred and take time to appreciate it. In all of these thousands of years these laws have helped us establish a civilization. While no human endeavors have been free of conflict and problems having these basic rules have helped us advance as far was we have. You'd think that all those intellectuals who think they are so much smarter than the rest of us would actually recognize that this world and everything in it moves in accordance with a knowable set of natural laws. Is it really so hard to observe that emotional actions/reactions operate in the same ways as a ball being kicked or a gun being fired?

Beyond reinforcing the basic laws and the psychosocial issues they address, we need to look at new approaches to treating mental issues and increase mental health treatment options. As our society has technologically advanced it has lagged in its treatment of those who struggle with mental illness. The deinstitutionalization of the last half century has not well-served the needs of our communities. The reaction of closing all the mental hospitals because of the problems inside them only moved the problems. Now our communities are not equipped to handle the worst mental illness because there is nowhere for those who are just unable to function. Our prisons have become overcrowded with those whose mental illnesses have been untreated to the point of their becoming dangerous, but prison is not designed nor equipped for those whose minds don't grasp reality. And the other approach of normalizing mental illnesses, like gender dysphoria, is not going to end well either.

I am a full-fledged, real-life capitalist and believe the free market is truly the only fair and sustainable economy, but with all that freedom there is an equal need for responsibility. Ideally, industries would self-regulate and act fairly on their own but bad people, bad ideas, and bad actions will always exist in some portion. We need to hold the pharmaceutical industry more responsible for the drugs it pushes on kids and families and everyone else. The drug problems are no longer limited to illegal drugs. The opioid epidemic is directly related to the overprescribing of opioid painkillers. We must educate our physicians on alternative pain relief therapies. We must educate everyone that there is no magic pill that fixes everything. So much of the advertising on TV is pushing some pill or other that promises to cure all of our problems, but the reality is that most of these medications have fairly marginal efficacy and come at a huge cost. Our healthcare philosophy over the last half century has been focused on pharmaceutical treatments, but we have only become sicker and less healthy. We need to incorporate a more holistic approach to health and healing. This is not a woo-woo hoo-doo idea. Many regions of the world have developed quite advanced alternative health treatments that are just as, if not more, effective as Western pharmaceuticals. Of course, I'm not suggesting eliminating pharmaceuticals. Do not misunderstand what I'm saying.

We have these wonderful, complex brains that create emotions in response to experiences. Sometimes these emotions are the experience. We might not fully understand all the processes, physiology, blah, blah, blah, about emotions but that doesn't mean we can't figure out how to process and experience them without making ourselves and everyone else crazy or acting in harmful ways. We must teach self-responsibility instead of blaming everything on race, sex, etc., because as humans we all share certain commonalities regardless of those traits. We all have to eat, poop, sleep, and so on, and having emotions is one of those basic human things. It's not in our best interest to try to medicate away our emotions, and it's not adaptable to fight them so much either. We have to learn and teach our children how to identify, process, evaluate, and express emotions without becoming crippled or overwhelmed by them. Happiness is pretty easy, and we all like that one. Anger isn't so popular but it won't go away by ignoring it and it isn't well-served to be overly indulged either. Sadness is another hard one but sometimes it just wants to be felt for a short time and let go. Anger and sadness are closely related and sometimes confused. Anger needs recognition but careful expression. Go find a shooting range or some other safe place to fire a gun and see how powerful that release of energy can help with expelling anger. Happiness is a warm gun indeed.

This whole blathering post is basically about anger - misplaced anger against males and penises and the "patriarchy" that supposedly oppresses anyone who isn't a straight white male. But let's be real and honest. Anyone who's ever worked in an office full of women can tell you that a matriarchy is no less brutal, oppressive than a patriarchy. Desire to control, manipulate, exploit others is not testosterone dependent. I don't know where it comes from exactly, but I am certain that it is as prevalent in females as males or any of the other 37 or whatever number of genders they want to create. And I'm just saying be ready when the much maligned straight white males finally find their metaphorical happiness guns and start making a lot of noise. There is always backlash...

I'll wind this down here by offering some "spiritual" advice in addition to the warm gun therapy. Be still and know. What I mean by that is not "do nothing at all." I mean stop a moment to observe and evaluate all the moving parts (including emotions) and other conditions, consider how all of it might move in accordance with the basic laws of nature, and then know what action to take if any (and to find the most efficient path). This is also a somewhat zen-like advice. I might be perverting a lot of things here but it is what it is. If it causes anyone anger then that's their problem and not mine. I don't hate men, penises, women, vaginas, guns, emotions, laws of nature, fat people, or anything else (except cruelty/meanness). I might be just another ordinary complete fucking idiot but at least I have a warm gun. ;-)




Monday, December 07, 2020

Strange Days and the Looming Storms

The world has officially lost its mind. The main culprits are a power-drunk media which has no ethics or other self-regulation and government which works only for itself and not the governed.  These media and government enemies are not limited to one or two nations but are widespread throughout the world.

Here in the USA our media and deep state have been so focused on overturning the will of the people that they failed to accurately report the growing risk of Covid-19. For the last 3 years all we have heard from them is "Russia, Russia, Russia" and similar conspiracy theories of their own creation. Meanwhile, our President has been warning of the dangers of "China, China, China" to the amusement of his critics but he was right all along.  They put him in this impossible position of having to take ridiculous overreaching actions in response to China's mishandling of their own virus outbreak.

I wrote those two paragraphs on March 21, 2020, and now today, December 7, 2020, so many months later they are just as true as ever. 

But now the world is even more insane and violent riots and protests have overtaken several US cities over the summer. Some cities in Oregon seem to be lost to "antifa" and its ignorance and sub-humanity. It is anarchy and the complicit media celebrate having such strife to "report" though they downplay the violence when it serves them. Look up videos of "mostly peaceful protests." It's laughable but it's also terribly disturbing. The media has proven itself so incredibly corrupt that most reasonable people have abandoned hope that it might turn itself around to some semblance of integrity. 

We watched the corruption of the Presidential election in real time. We knew the cheating was going to happen and how it was going to happen, but foreknowledge doesn't matter if those who can do something refuse to do anything. The Republicans have proven themselves as impotent as ever. The "never Trumpers" and RINOS and other establishment (oligarch/deep state/corporatist/etc) players who have made careers and fortunes in government are just as bad as the Democrats. They hated Trump from the beginning because he wasn't one the them and because he promised to break up their stranglehold on our country. 

I have little hope for the future of this country. I wish we could peacefully divorce ourselves from those whose values and priorities diverge so drastically from the founding principles of inherent individual equality and self-determination and responsibility, summed up as "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness." Of course our founders were imperfect men who lived in ways that were inconsistent with our current understanding of equality and so on, but that is not an adequate reason to abandon the basic construct which they created for a "more perfect union" which has resulted in the greatest "experiment" in self-government and freedom in history. 

I've been watching The Crown on Netflix and see so many parallels in the struggles between "progress" and "tradition" that the monarchy faced throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st. Likewise, our republic is facing similar forces towards socialism and abandoning the traditional government formulation. Any student of history knows that pure democracy is doomed to become mob-rule, as we have seen happen in the silly antifa "autonomous zone" of Seattle, because all such collectives suffer from the mathematical determination of the lowest common denominator. All averages bring down the top in order to raise the bottom. And of course, we are all born equal but that does NOT mean we all have equal outcomes. Outcomes are the sum of effort and variabilities of environment. While some inherent qualities come with more challenges than others they do not reduce one's individual value of life. Too many confuse the value of outcomes with the value of the life itself. 

British monarchy holds that certain families and individuals are somehow by birthright closer to God and endowed with greater value than most others and should have places of power and influence. We Americans reject that notion of birthright royalty/divinity, but we do acknowledge that strong individuals exist and that they are needed in leadership capacity. Unfortunately, our founders missed one point of control for containing the power of the leadership from becoming overbearing and abusive: term limits for all offices. We did correct that with an Amendment limiting Presidential terms but we desperately need to ratify an Amendment to limit Congressional terms to avoid having these career politicians whose lives have been spent in Washington, DC, ensuring their own prosperity and power and not truly representing the needs and desires of their constituents. These people have essentially anointed themselves the ruling class by using their powers to control and manipulate the People. And now we have the media cabal asserting itself as an adjunct ruling class, establishing their own agenda and narrative perhaps even attempting a total coup.

(to be continued)     

Monday, June 17, 2019

Heir of Nothing In Particular

In the quiet stillness delusion implodes
into its lonely vacuum
deflated
depleted
gasping for some molecule of proof
before all dissipates
and leaves only insanity.


As reality's ultimatum winds down 
On misplaced ethereal attachment
The light of the Summer Solstice burns
Shades and shadows of intercepted dreams.

Random conveyed quantum moments,
Entangled my rationality with implausible potential,
Seduced sensibility with clever coincidence,
Little spirit scouts sparkling in the darkness.

Not for me. 
Caught in the fusillade of another's battles,
Another's searchlights.
It was nice for a time.





  









Saturday, December 22, 2018

Evolution, Kindness, and Trying Something New

I haven't done as well blogging this year as I had intended.  It turns out this year has been one of big adjustments in my work-world.  Yes, I do work!  I've been the behind-the-scenes bookkeeping, IT, HR, and general mess cleaner-upper for our business for the last 20 years.  This year brought some changes required by external forces, and in adapting to those we updated and modernized several of the processes required for me to do my jobs.  It was hard at first to learn new stuff after 20 years of doing things a certain way, but it's all good now.  It is definitely more efficient in most respects and overall a good evolution. 

Another change has been in the social media world.  I've mostly given up Facebook though I do like to wish people happy birthdays and check up on things occasionally.  But Facebook has made itself nearly impossible to navigate, especially with the mobile app, and I just don't like wasting a hour of my life trying to wade through so much crap (ads, suggested this and that, and the horrible "fake news" stories) to get to the important and interesting posts by actual friends.  I've switched mostly to Instagram because it is so much quicker and easier to scroll through posts until I see that "you're caught up" notification.  I can like and comment quickly and move along.   I follow a few "influencer" accounts that are mostly motivational and positive and a few other special interest accounts.  It's a nice combination that I've "curated" for myself.  And even though Instagram has been around for a while it really feels a lot like Blogger did in its early days because there are a lot of people jumping on and connecting with others who might otherwise be inaccessible.  There is a lot of new networking happening like the way that I experienced when I first started blogging and connecting with people from all over the country and world.  Similar interests are bringing many people together. 

For the most part I've avoided a lot of the hatefulness and negativity that thrives on social media because Instagram makes it easier to filter out the bad, and I hope it doesn't change its ways too much as it gets bigger and bigger.  It should learn from Facebook's mistakes!  However, when interacting with large accounts there is always going to be a element of hateful assholes.  There's one guy I follow whose messages I general agree with and enjoy because he is trying to encourage entrepreneurship and personal responsibility and work ethic.  The main thing I dislike about him is his bad habit of cussing constantly.  On one hand he's preaching kindness and empathy towards others while focusing on our own self-improvement, but then on the other hand he's "fuck this, fuck that, fuck, fuck, motherfucker fuck, fuck, fucking fucker...."  He claims that's his "authenticity" and "passion" and that's fine, but when people speak up to disagree don't be such a fucking dickhead asshole fucker and tell them they "don't get it" or what-the-fuck-ever excuse because you've obviously lost your empathy for why they might find all those fucks a problem.  The word "fuck" has generally been used in a hostile or confrontational tone and intention, and a lot of people have suffered verbal abuse that has consisted of a high percentage of word variations of "fuck."  Fuck is not a word of kindness!  So, Gary Vee, if you are pushing kindness and empathy maybe try not to be a fucking hypocrite by throwing all those fuck bombs of verbal hostility.  I mean really, what exactly do you intend your words to convey other than shock and awe?

There was another account that I used to follow that I had to quit because of their hypocrisy.  I'm all for free speech and all that and people can cuss and be contradictory all they want.  But I don't have to keep listening to it.  This was an account that focused on and sold tools for spiritual development and raising the "vibrational energy" of the world and whatnot.  I enjoy spiritual philosophies and practices, especially those that are meant to improve the "energetic" vibes around us and create more positive interactions among us all.  Love and light and all that good stuff.  This particular account would have "live sales" and they were quite interesting and informative in addition to offering high quality items for sale.  But they kept making all these anti-capitalism statements and hatred towards our current President and his supporters.  Well, regardless of how anyone feels about the current leadership, if they are pushing and profiting from the concept of "raising good vibes" and improving the world and all that, then they can't also be throwing all that hatred out there too.  It negates the good and it's hypocritical to claim to be a purveyor of positivity while also promoting hatred towards anyone.  AND, if they are in the business of selling anything for a profit then they ARE capitalists and to claim to love socialism is just plain stupidity/ignorance.  I suspect their business won't survive long if they continue to promote socialist policies.  However, one of the tidbits of revealing info in one of their live sales was that they actually had an "investor" (sugar daddy as she called him) who got the business started and who probably handles all the actual business details so that they don't even know what running a real business entails.  Of course, if one has a "sugar daddy" who takes care of everything one might really believe that the government should be everyone's "sugar daddy."  But real business people know that is totally untenable and unsustainable.  Also, this person had that same bad "fuck" speech habit.  She tried to justify it by using the same tired arguments of "it's my authenticity" and "it's just a word" and "people are too up-tight/sensitive/etc."  Well, again, here we have to decide are we going to promote positivity and kindness and love and light or are we going to be hypocritical jerks?  I will say it again, fuck is not a word of kindness and empathy!   

I've struggled with speaking up this year because I've mostly decided that people just don't listen, and do I really have something worth saying?  Sometimes I do, like now, and if no one actually reads this it's okay.  I've toyed with the idea of making video commentaries but I am just hideous-looking and don't really want to expose myself to the kind of hatefulness that inevitably comes when people have access to us. I'm still thinking on it and maybe I will try something different.  I'm just not sure it is a worthy use of my energy and I'm not sure that it really needs to be something in the world.  I mean, how many more hypocritical people do we need spouting off online?   

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Welcome to the Jungle

"Welcome to the jungle we've got fun and games
We got everything you want honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey we got your disease"
Guns N Roses, "Welcome to the Jungle"

It is a jungle out there, indeed, and many apologies for the exceptionally unoriginal and punny title for my thoughts about Amazon - the company and the drama about it at this time, thanks mostly to Trump's criticism of it.  I'm not so interested in the political aspects of this story, though I understand the concerns some have about the President "picking on" any company in particular.  I tend to see Trump's approach of agitation as similar to shaking up a snow globe.  It upsets things but eventually they all fall back into place but sometimes in a better arrangement.  But I'm not really here to talk about Trump.

The first time I ordered books from Amazon they included a little logo sticky-note pad and bookmark as thank you tokens.  It was nice.  A lot of the early e-commerce sites did that.  I had ordered a pan from cooking.com around the same time and received a cute set of magnetic measurement conversion charts that are still on my fridge while that company is long gone - probably a victim of Amazon's better business as it expanded its product offerings.  I do enjoy shopping on Amazon and have been a regular customer since 2000 (according to my account profile but I want to think I actually first ordered things before that, but I'm not sure).  I'm not a Prime member, yet, but my oldest son is and he uses it all the time.  He's more into the streaming video and stuff than I am and actually uses more of the Prime benefits than I would.  I'm old school and like my directv, even though it's ridiculous expensive.  I like turning on the TV and channel surfing.  It's a generational thing.  When I was a kid we only had three channels to choose from on the best days, and only one on the worst and just had to watch whatever was on.  I like the serendipity of finding a good show to watch.  There's something about having to be happy with what you're offered as opposed to always getting exactly what you want.  

The online shopping experience is like that too.  It's hard to imagine that brick and mortar stores will disappear completely because it's pretty fun to go shopping just to see what they've got and finding that awesome impulse buy.  If you hadn't looked around you would have never found it.  And I'm a tactile person.  Sometimes I buy something just because of its texture or because of its cute, clever, or high quality packaging - things not often conveyed on an electronic screen.  However, several years ago online retailers figured out that shoppers like that surprise/impulse/discovery experience so they started those daily "flash" sales where you had to be invited or sign up by email to participate.  At first they were pretty exclusive with only high-end designer items, but as their popularity exploded so did the variety of flash sale sites and the products offered.  Even Amazon started their own called My Habit.  I was "invited" by Amazon to join and boy, did I.  Some of my favorite buys were the Versace and Missoni scarves I got for $99.  I never would have bought those in person because the kinds of stores that sell them make me uncomfortable because I'm not a fancy or rich-looking woman and I don't like the pretentious people who work in those stores because they either ignore me or look at me like I don't belong in their world.  Online it didn't matter what I looked like or wore, and the prices were attractive enough to justify some indulgence.  In those few years I bought so much from My Habit that I was surprised and disappointed that Amazon discontinued it a couple of years ago.  But most of those sites are now gone.  Retail is a hard business.

I'm not sure why Amazon was named Amazon in the beginning, but it certainly has grown into this huge ecosystem around the "river" of product movement within a jungle of producers and sellers.  You can find pretty much anything you want or need, and they seem to have done fairly well at weeding out any unscrupulous sellers.  I'm sure it's a constant battle, but in the many years I've been a customer I haven't had any fraudulent experiences.  Part of that is probably my own being rather suspicious and cautious about things too.  Online security is a huge issue these days and I am curious about the extent of Amazon's efforts to protect customer and seller data.  I'm guessing it's pretty extensive.  It seems there have been problems in the past with hacks into Amazon's system but I don't recall hearing of any recent massive breaches there like the Equifax and Facebook issues within the last year.  Honestly, I just don't know why people are so much more upset about Facebook's data vulnerability than they were about the Equifax breach which has resulted in my own and many of my friends' credit cards being hacked.  Luckily my little local credit union flagged and stopped the fraudulent charges before they went through, but my friends who use bigger name brand banks weren't so lucky.  

But let's get back to Amazon's huge river of product movement.  One of Trump's complaints about Amazon is that he thinks they are taking advantage of the US Postal Service.  Well, I don't know the details of the deal between Amazon and the Post Office so I can't really know if it's a "bad deal" or not.  I think we all realize that the postal service has struggled for decades and even more so with the advent of email.  Amazon's use of the postal service has surely helped it survive and evolve, and now it even offers Sunday deliveries.  My son has had many of his Prime orders come on Sundays.  But, I do want to emphasize that I do not know the details of the Amazon/Postal Service agreement, so I have to acknowledge that it is possible that it is not the best deal for the Post Office.  This is something I've noticed about Trump's method of bringing about changes.  He shakes up that snow globe and sometimes even knocks things out of place, and then people lose their minds and have fits and foam at the mouth in fear of imminent disaster.  But then somehow, out of sight of the hysteria, negotiations are happening that end up making things better.   I think Trump is looking at Amazon as this big, healthy, wealthy youngster taking advantage of the old poor man of the neighborhood by paying him as little as possible to run from house to house to deliver the newspapers he's supposed to be delivering.  Trump sees Amazon as exploiting the weaker and poorer business, and since he as President represents the interests of government agencies he would like to see a more "fair" deal in which Amazon pays the postal service more for its services.  I'm not convinced that would be a bad thing.  Amazon could afford to pay more.  Its stock price has basically doubled in the last year and is so high that it looks kind of greedy and stingy, especially since Amazon has never paid any dividends to its shareholders.  Yes, it has created this awesome, enormous technological and logistical ecosystem, and I understand that shareholders get more from their investment than just dividends, but let's be objective and fair and not let our love and admiration of Amazon cloud our perception of its lesser qualities and actions.  And let us not allow our distaste for Trump's manners and methods to cloud our ability to be reasonable and logical.  

I am a Trump "supporter" and do not especially appreciate the constant negativity in response to his every move.  I feel like people just don't know how to take him.  They don't understand the method to the madness.  They are used to the scripted and practiced and artificial.  Trump is real and gritty and unscripted and sometimes yucky, but he is that guy who's forcing people to see what they don't want to acknowledge.  We elected him for that reason, not because of all the other bullshit garbage about race and whatever other low imaginations the elitists come up with.  I don't always agree with him, but I also try to step back and observe and give things some time to settle.  So much of the instant reaction to every tweet is just wasted energy.  I would recommend anyone who does not understand Trump to watch a bunch of the old James Bond movies, the ones from the 1960s and 1970s.  (I'm sure Amazon sells them!)  He is a baby boomer man, and the ways and manners of those men has become rather unpopular and misunderstood by our society.  That James Bond character was a role model for that generation of men and his ways influenced those men whether they realize it or not.  That early James Bond character would in today's world be condemned as a male chauvinist, sexually predatory asshole, but at that time he was the epitome of masculine strength and virility.  Just go watch some of those movies and you'll see how he "man-handles" the women and how he forces himself on them (they resist only because they were expected to resist due to that time's expectation of feminine coyness) and how he forces issues and resolutions.  I'm just trying to put some perspective into the way he is.  I grew up hearing about Trump's exploits and successes and failures.  I remember Marla Maples and all the tabloid sensationalism.  I have long known he is a man who loves women and fame and has a certain kind of abrasive personality that takes chances.  Those things don't really bother me.  I don't care how many porn stars he was with before he was President.  As long as he's not sexing it up with White House interns in the Oval Office then it's none of my concern.  

So back to the jungle, there are always going to be changes and evolution, and we have to expect that within our financial and social networks as much as in the natural environment.  I'm not a big investor or expert in market machinations, but I like to understand the way things work overall.  I suspect that Amazon is going to be very resilient and important for quite some time even with these small "attacks" upon it.  We should be careful not to put any company or entity so high upon a pedestal to be isolated from criticism or correction.  We should be as willing to see the faults of our favorite investments as we are our least favorite politicians.  After all, in the jungle the howler monkey might be loudest creature but it's far from the most deadly.