“Bored” Games


Christmas at my house always involves board games, I’m revisiting Monopoly because it defined so many Christmases

notestoponder

As a child we played a lot of board games – Monopoly for the most part – more often than not, it ended long before any satisfactory conclusion. Not that it mattered, the rules were simple and it was something to do.Every family had a Monopoly game; expressions like “get out of jail free” or “do not pass go” became part of popular culture.

Monopoly wasn’t something I would ever classify as fun; the premise of collecting property by forcing others into bankruptcy struck me as vicious – perhaps explaining why the game rarely reached a conclusion. I can’t recall a single game with an amicable parting of players. If we didn’t lose interest, it was guaranteed someone stormed off in a huff.

Before Christmas, shopping found me in a game store. Years since I’ve paid the slightest attention to boxed games on store shelves. I’m can’t say for certain…

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I Lost My Spider


It started without incident, my last day of work before Christmas. No surprises, a repeat client – over and done in time for a quick nap before heading out to power shop Christmas. So far, so good.

Most years my shopping takes place over a frantic day and a half before 5 PM curfew on Christmas Eve. Not much for online shopping, my decision a few days ago to order a wide angle lens for my husband’s camera, brought me to Amazon for the first time. A babe in the woods – pleased with myself for taking his gift off the list, happily clicking on “guaranteed delivery” by December 23, seemed well worth the minimal extra charge. Believing my credit card purchase would be processed before shipping struck as reasonable. Not so fast –  logging into Amazon I discovered an “import fee deposit” of $45 in addition to taxes and expedited shipping fee. Hmm? I came home from work to find the package sitting on the doorstep, logged into my Visa account – holy crap! $45 had turned into $136. With taxes, shipping, and mysterious import fees – a $310 lens cost almost $500. Unimpressed is putting it mildly.

Live and learn notes. Time for that nap and shopping, at least his present was tucked away.My husband and I hit the mall. It was remarkable – giddy with progress, within half an hour it was back to the car to unload. Up went the glass lift-gate, in went the parcels – oops, the top part of the gate wasn’t locked. He opened it again (don’t know what possessed me other than trying to be helpful) I reached in to manually lock the gate just as he slammed it down. I can’t say for certain my finger is broken – without question the middle finger of my right hand is cut, bruised, swollen double size and sports a worrisome “bend”. It wasn’t his fault.

Time to call it a day. I’ll go home, pour myself a glass of wine, post some of his photographs – that will make me feel better.

Anyone who’s followed me a while knows about my Black Widow spider trouble. I’ve lost track – I think the one under the wood valance in my bedroom is number 13. I spotted her a few weeks ago. Not very big, incredibly polite, I cut her a deal – mind your manners, we’ll get along just fine.She thanked me for not vacuuming her to oblivion by keeping her end of the bargain. Until tonight.

I said goodbye this morning, she hasn’t strayed more than an inch or two in days.we were getting along famously. A few minutes ago I looked up – perfect, I’ve lost my spider.

 

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R.I.P Michael C. Ruppert


A few years ago I stumbled upon the HBO documentary Collapse. Utterly clueless on Michael Ruppert – I found myself powerless to turn away. Void of the slightest inkling of who or what he was, caught off guard and unprepared for his persona and unusual choice of film style – I let his hypnotic perspective shackle my full attention. Michael Ruppert blew my mind. Not able to shut up about the experience, sequestering visitors in front of Collapse, posting about him – all the while attempting to resolve why he left me hopelessly saddened and desolate.

On my way home from work tonight, I discussed Ruppert with a friend who happened to click on a link to Collapse in one of my comments a few days ago. Sideswiped by Ruppert much as I had been, we parted with my assurance to send him a link to Ruppert’s blog. What I discovered imploded reality – Michael C. Ruppert committed suicide in April 2014.

Still shaken, my request is that you click on the link below. If that proves daunting, at the very least read the eulogy below. RIP Michael C. Ruppert.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/911-truth-courageous-lapd-whistle-blower-michael-ruppert-committed-suicide-why/5378861


Here is a eulogy from a friend of Michael Ruppert, Sander Hicks

“Mike Ruppert was a friend of mine.

“He was an American prophet, a social critic, and a 9/11 truther. He had his enemies and he had his demons. He confronted the enemies. Not sure he confronted the demons.

But we can’t judge that now.

 “His death this past weekend is a huge loss for the people. When I say ‘the people’ I mean anyone who cares about a political system out of control, blind to its own corruption, deluded by its sugar-free media.

 “Ruppert was a trained investigator who sought to expose the shadow elements of the US government involved in drug trafficking and fake terrorism. He had the financial perception to alert the American people to the imminent economic crash, two years before the meltdown of 2008. Mike Ruppert was one of the first to point out the gross anomalies and obtuse leaps of logic in the Bush/Cheney explanations for the 9/11 attacks. In an authoritative book, Ruppert even accused Vice President Dick Cheney as the chief executor of the 9/11 attacks.

“We met in 1999 in New York City. Ruppert came into my life like a sentinel from a different reality. I had just gone through a kind of gateway, and he was like Morpheus in the Matrix, welcoming me in.  My red pill had been the disruptive re-print of a certain controversial biography of then Governor George W. Bush. As an immediate result, an entire class of underground whistle-blowers popped up to welcome me into their world. Welcome to Zion. You are in. They introduced me to sets of facts and data that were verboten in the blue pill media. Ruppert was at the center of that gang.

“He explained that he had been an LAPD cop and narcotics detective. His Mom had been a Defense Intelligence Agency heavyweight in Moscow, so the CIA recruited him while he was at LAPD. He declined the offer. Why? He saw shit.  He began feeding the LA Times info on CIA heroin trafficking as far back as 1979.  LA Times sat on the story.

 “The drug war was phony. Which meant that both the local criminal justice system and the national intelligence/military apparatus had zero credibility. Wall Street, the White House, and everyone on down needed the drug war like a junkie wants heroin. The system was using. The system was an addict.

“’The entire economy, and the entire political system itself, is currently hooked and dependent upon drug money’ wrote Mike in 1999, on his main site, FromTheWilderness.com

“In the mid 90’s, when Ruppert’s friend Gary Webb broke a huge story in the San José Mercury News, it documented how the CIA and the Nicauraguan Contra network facilitated the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80’s. The CIA sent DCIA John Deutch to spin the story in a public auditorium. Ruppert confronted Deutch and named three specific operations that showed the US agencies were up to their elbows in black market cocaine and heroin. Deutch sputtered, told people to phone the LAPD, and was laughed out of the room. He was swiftly replaced at CIA.

“According to Ruppert, in October, 1999, investigators from the House Intelligence Committee came to Los Angeles, and made copies 6,000 pages of his records.

“That same year, Ruppert asked me for a $10,000 advance to do a book on the US and drugs. I didn’t have the money, and it’s just as well. Two years later 9/11 happened, and Ruppert had a lot more to say.

“It turns out the same parties who pulled off the cocaine sales funding the Contras were at it again. (Those parties being namely, the Bush Family, the GOP, the Democrats, the CIA and other shadowy quasi-government black factions too numerous to list here.)

“The book Ruppert eventually brought out in 2004, was “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil” (New Society Publishers).

“A reviewer on Amazon called it ‘The single most important book written in the last fifty years…. The Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the lies about WMDs in Iraq have created a growing sense of unease in the collective unconscious. As a result, a growing number of intellectuals and every day citizens are beginning to see the Truth and more and more people are beginning to wake up every day. “Crossing the Rubicon” is at the forefront of this new awareness.’

“At the end of 2004, however, tragedy struck. Ruppert’s friend Gary Webb, who had followed in Ruppert’s footsteps by taking on CIA drug trafficking, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

 “Reading Ruppert’s heartfelt obituary for Webb today, I am struck:

“I would never have confronted John Deutch at Locke High had it not been for Gary Webb. 

I myself might have committed suicide in 1996 – broke, divorced and having given up all hope of making people listen — had it not been for Gary Webb. For some years now it has been the farthest thing from my mind.

“Ten years later, suicide wasn’t far away any more. Ruppert’s struggles with depression, [plus a variety of psychiatric drugs, in-patient psychiatric hospitalizations and nicotine addictions over the years – Ed. Note] alcohol, and isolation became insurmountable. He moved to Colorado. He did one final radio show last Saturday and then that was it. We are all so fragile.

 “Wherever men and women of honor gather together from now on, your name will be spoken with reverence, respect and gratitude. Ruppert wrote that for Webb ten years ago. The same goes for him.

  “I prayed hard today to understand why this happened now. What does God want us to know about why this happened? What can we learn? How can this man’s death and life give our lives a brighter, sharper focus?”

   “I look at Ruppert’s life, his hard struggle, his victories and his short-comings. I wish we were closer in his final couple of years. I loved him. I say the following with love. I say the following because I don’t want to know any more great truth-loving writers to die this way. If you have a drinking problem, hit a meeting. Reach out. It worked for me, to stop flailing about, running from city to country to city, always moving, thinking a big move is going to change things. Get centered. Pray and meditate. Be still.

“Something snapped in Ruppert sometime later in that decade, after the book. He moved to Venezuela, in rushed effort to seek political asylum from the Chavez government. Ruppert probably wasn’t anti-imperialist enough for their tastes, at least not in a leftist way. Oh, and the CIA/DIA family background probably didn’t help.

“I wept. I felt rage today. I was mad at you, Mike, going out this way. It was too similar to Gary Webb, to Jim Hatfield the Bush biographer. I don’t want this pattern. Tell me it’s not the fate for writers of deep truth, to die, alone, shooting their brains out, because they went deep and hard after the invisible forces, the slithering stag. The hunter became hunted by the dragon.

“No. Mike will be remembered for his discipline, his writing, his development of a critical paradigm. Our society is stronger for the deep analysis. In the same way that Ruppert investigated Gary Webb’s death, it’s up to us now to do the scientific and careful analysis of the crime scene. To pick up where he left off, and wake up to a new view of the matrix.”

Coulrophobia


I think of “phobia” in terms of a intense debilitating fear, one that drastically alters behavior. Phobia trumps simple wariness or aversion – it elevates uncertainty and caution to “clinical” levels. Phobia can’t be shrugged off as silly, it demands patience, support, understanding and therapy. Phobia comes from traumatic experience, repetitive negative enforcement and childhood impression.

Coulrophobia is a fear of clowns – a phobia Glenn Kohlberger, president of  Clowns of America International takes seriously. Twisty the Clown, from FX series American Horror Story Freak Show , was the last straw. Last week Clowns of America spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about the “demonizing” clowns. They argue “evil clown” portrayals contribute to increased Coulrophobia in children and adults.  Over the last few years clown membership has slipped dramatically – Kohlberger fears clowns hover on the brink of extinction.

http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/10/clown-association-slams-american-horror-story-for-perpetuating-scary-clown-stereotype.html

Clowns are the laps of  creepy “Uncles” children are forced to sit on, faceless strangers lurking behind masks – everything we warn our kids about, rolled into a grease paint atrocity. Children are powerless – adults create characters like “Twisty”.  Adults brave enough to graphically illustrate what all of us are thinking. Clowns are freakin’ scary.Not some phobia, a universal fear of grease paint smiles and rubber noses.

Clowns of America, I beg you – it’s time to reinvent yourselves. If you value entertainment and loathe evil stereotypes – wipe off the face paint. There’s a phobia named after you. People are as afraid of you as snakes, spiders and spontaneous human combustion.

Link to the Business Insider – a brief history of clowns and why they’re so scary….

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-are-scared-of-clowns-2013-8?op=1

 

I Hate Turkey


Hate is a big word, temper that to strong dislike. Strictly a holiday meal, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter demand roast Turkey and all the fixings. Nobody plans a dinner party in May with “hey, a Turkey would be great”.

The idea of Turkey eclipses reality. There’s a reason we say “I hope it’s not dry” – everyone knows it will be. Turkey requires gravy, cranberry sauce, or mayonnaise once it lands in a sandwich. Families believe size matters, holiday Turkeys linger for days. Soup is Turkey’s greatest gift, immersing that carcass in water means the end of Turkey for another year.

Restricting Turkey to once a year wasn’t easy. I blame myself, stuffing is practically a food group in my home. Nothing fancy, half bread, half sausage meat, onion, celery, and sage. Preparing copious amounts, even though the “cavity” only holds a few cups is lost on my family. I’ve tried to explain stuffing can be served anytime, pointing out almost all the stuffing is baked far from the demon Turkey. No good.

All day “don’t overcook it”, “I hope it’s not dry”, “are you watching the bird”. It’s a damn Turkey! Have you ever had one that melts in your mouth? Turkey is an obligation, if it rocked our world we’d be roasting them all year long.

Quora


I’m in trouble, as in I’ve found Quora. A friend mentioned it ages ago, he thought I’d find it interesting. Oh man – I can’t decide whether to hug or scream at him.

Quora went public in 2010 – the brainchild of ex-Facebook employees Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever. Think of it as a question/answer site with muscle, a place to ask questions, follow topics of interest and exchange ideas.

Finding myself with a little free time I took the Quora plunge. It required a couple minutes to register and set up topic “preferences”. Holy crap – scrolling and clicking my way down a list of “categories” left me grinning like a fool. Ancient history, space, science, weather, ethics, religion – Quora not only pushed every one of my buttons, it bound my interests in hard cover, first edition leather and begged me to turn the first page.

Testing the water, I posed my first question – “are fairies vegetarian?” (in hindsight a frivolous ground breaker) almost immediately answers appeared (the consensus  is yes if anyone cares) Settling down to business of poring over my “home” page, I was struck by the quality of inquiries and scope of respondents. Quora deserves a peek….

Google it, register and explore my new obsession – don’t say I didn’t warn you, Quora is highly addictive.

86 Pieces of Lego


My basement likely has thousands of Lego pieces collecting dust. Three grown children, two of them boys – I couldn’t guess how many Lego sets emerged from Christmas or birthday wrappers. I should have kept track – how much did we buy, vacuum up or step on with tender bare feet. Lego management was tricky – basic sets for little kids gave way to elaborate engineering feats, sets requiring itsy bitsy pieces of specialized madness. Agonizing objectives stopped dead in their tracks over misplaced nubs of quarter inch plastic.

Don’t get me wrong – Lego is pure genius, infinite possibilities limited only by imagination – a dream toy. Lego appeal isn’t limited to children, it sparks creative thinking in anyone who starts snapping blocks together. Much more than following sets of instructions, once you got the hang of it, Lego is akin to a game of chess. Kids visualized 2 or 3 moves in advance, formulated strategies and elaborate cerebral blue prints to bring their mind’s eye to fruition.

The name LEGO comes from letters in the Danish words “Leg Godt” which means “play well”. Danish manufacturer Lego patented their revolutionary 2×4 plastic block on January 28, 1958. In 2012, LEGO made over 45 billion pieces at a rate of 5.2 million an hour – enough to circle the globe 18 times. It would take 40 billion pieces to reach the moon. If you awarded an equal share of LEGO to every man, woman and child on the planet – we would all hold 86 pieces. LEGO “people” were introduced in 1978, since then over 4 billion rolled onto retail shelves. If you only had 6 ordinary 8 stud blocks – they could be combined in 915,103,765 ways. (2 blocks combine 24 ways, and 3 – 1,060).

LEGO is officially the largest toy company in the world. Congratulations – your leap past Hasbro and Mattel might have something to do with the hit LEGO movie – I’ll look the other way on that point. Heck – I’ll even shrug off pondering how many million barrels of oil were used to produce 50 plus years of indestructible plastic. LEGO reigns as the quintessential example of toy making brilliance.

http://time.com/money/3268065/lego-largest-toy-company-mattel/

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