The Perfect Christmas? Does it exist and how do I get one?

“We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.”
 
― Bill Bryson
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I have been away for a bit, experiencing perhaps a mild case of blogger’s flu. I have been rather neglectful and I have been spending more time in what has been described by some as the “real world”.   The holidays approach like a glittery freight train. I am standing on the tracks with empty shopping bags.
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What do you mean you haven’t started Christmas shopping you foolish woman?”
Santa scolds in a mocking voice before it runs me over…
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christmas santa train
I am standing in what would be described as your typical American Mall during the holiday rush. Two days to go in fact!  The place is abuzz with the collective energy of hundreds of shoppers and various others who for various reasons of their own have decided to visit this shiny tribute to consumerism on this gloriously cold and frosty day in late December.
I relish the excitement and I enjoy the people who also enjoy this type of activity.  We are a motivated lot; we of the last-minute. Our ranks include all walks of life, who for some reason, whether by uncontrollable circumstance, ingrained strains of  procrastination or perhaps just by design have seen fit to shop during these last days before “The Big Day”.
I try not to get hung up in all the stress and the drama of the season. As we file past the endless streams of people I can hear snippets of conversation, much of it is stress-filled and contains the phrase; two days left.
A  lot of expectations are put onto this holiday and it is an emotional and very stressful time of the year. I try to have a good time wherever I go and not to let things get to me.  This is easier said than done and it has taken me many years to cultivate this attitude. I remind myself that December 25th is just  a day and will pass soon enough, what really matters  is the everyday. Today, December 23rd is important as well. It is important to me that I am able to be out here with my beautiful daughter wandering around in all this mayhem, talking, laughing, eating surprisingly good Japanese food and having a wonderful time of it.
All in all, December 25th shows up regardless of whether we are ready for it or not…somehow every year it all works out.  Nothing is ever perfect. This day is no exception and in no way should it be.
We should NOT get everything we want
christmas bow Lexus car

We are bombarded with messages at this time of year. Images of glittery perfection. The silver Lexus in the driveway with the giant red bow. The beautiful and well-behaved children delighting in getting everything they want. The savvy shopanista hunting down one-of-a-kind bargains, playing the perfect hostenista, finding it all and having it all…

I think the holiday season affects us more than all the others combined and I think we inject needless stress into it. Society and the media set impossibly high expectations that no real person can attain. No matter how hard we try we cannot have “the perfect holiday” because it does not exist.
No moment should be perfect. I mean, where do we go from perfect?
Do it now
Do it now
Many say this day has become too commercialized. This is a understatement.
 
Many say we have forgotten the true meaning of the day…this too is an understatement.
andy 546px-Grandpas_visit_Christmas_morning
I don’t really care if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays. I am just glad to be acknowledged in such a positive manner. Whatever you call the day, however you want to celebrate it matters not to me. If anything can be gleaned or gained from all this ado, it is the perfect excuse to get together with those we love. Hopefully to break bread and to partake of each others company. This day is a day for peace, love, understanding, tolerance and compassion. It is not a day to tell anyone how to think or feel or how to celebrate. This I believe.
And I am grateful for what I have, for my friends and family. I am grateful to be able to live in one of the greatest countries in the world. I am grateful to have my health and the free will to follow my dreams.
OUR LOVELY HOME
OUR LOVELY HOME
We all live together on this amazing planet, it is our home. To embrace each other is the true meaning of this day. We are all brothers and sisters,  today, and everyday. We all sit together…and there is room at the table for us all; Jesus, Santa, you and I and Seven Billion others.

 If I could receive any gift this holiday it would be for us all, every single one of us to realize that

 We belong to each other.

 

a-christmas-gift in public domain
Thank you my friends for showing up and reading what I write and leaving such intelligent and thoughtful comments. I’d be all alone out here if it wasn’t for you. My very best wishes to you and yours. 

Happy Christmas from me to YOU!

~Nancy

peace-love-joy christmas

RELATED YOUTUBE
Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)
O Holy Night – Josh Groban
The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
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**Related  Articles**

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus  Written by Francis P. Church in 1897 (http://www.cs.cmu.edu)

The Perfect Christmas Gift (Romance, Inspirational) (mythologystories.wordpress.com)

Interview with Santa Clause (writazondastorm.wordpress.com)

Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Strategies for Procrastinators (abcnews.go.com)

Christmas Cheer/Stress (hudds53.wordpress.com)

Trivial nonsense regarding high finance

Here we are in a dusty under used cherry paneled office with skylights. I am looking around for something in here and I really don’t know what it will be until I find it. MM hands me a book just out of the blue.

dictionary

It is a small concise edition of the very famous and widely popular Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms by John Downes and Jordan Elliot Goodman. YES! That one. This book holds really no sentimental value to me, it is just here, a rarely used item from my distant past but yet this book compels me to open it and open it now..I know you are compelled too and want me to open it and I do and…immediately a feeling overcomes me: I feel funny; not unwell funny but haha funny and decide to make fun of this funny book that helps funny people in a hilarious world indeed.

Random can be fun as well so I decide to take random words out of this book and write a story using each and every word. This can sometimes get the creative juices flowing and what better book, what better time? It is a Saturday and I am the process of doing absolutely nothing; this is one of my favorites things not to do!

Pop!
Pop!

The first word is boring and typical but in the skilled hands of a good writer could be twisted and used to immense success; that is your standard RATE OF INFLATION. This is just what it states…the rate at which something inflates, as in…The Economy…some people’s egos or the number of weeds in my garden. I remember inflation from my youth…too much of it is like cholesterol,  it clogs the arteries…this is NOT fun.

dictionary English-hedgerow-augmented-reality-plate

…so onward to the next word, HEDGE.  It  makes me think of The British and World War II for some reason. Hedgerows are nice aren’t they? Perhaps I could write a story about a big fat flower bush. I really don’t have enough words for any viable ideas so I press on and open the book to a new and random page…oh lovely page 378…and the word is SHARK REPELLENT! Oh what luck! This is a good word. Shark repellent in the finance business is a measure taken by a corporation to discourage unwanted takeover attempts, never to be outdone by The SHARK WATCHER (it is on the same page and I saw it and had to use it. THAT is the name of , of course, a firm specializing in the early detection of takeover activities…sounds like a war and a war of the worst kind; war with sharks in it!

Great White Shark Opening Mouth

I am not making this up…the next word is ASSET COVERAGE. There could be a lot to say here.  I suppose you should use your imaginations on that…suffice to say…it’s something we all have to do from time to time and in the world of finance it has to do with preferred stock and equity positions.

I know you are thinking where is she going with this? I am wondering that myself, I suppose we will all have to wait and see what happens next.

My imagination starts to swirl with various ridiculous images and colors..a totally natural high brought about by the ambrosia of words mixed with the intrigue of high finance. My fingers tremble with excitement…could possibly be next?!

And then suddenly the room starts to spin and I black out– apparently the experience was just too much for me and I woke up several hours later with a slamming headache…   😉

Apparently my bubble burst and invariably whatever goes up…must come down . It’s just like that with that damn market...

 What a ride. I don’t have to tell you that I am laying off that stuff for a while….

Have a fantastic day!

Strawberryindigo.

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” 
― Oscar Wilde

quote inspirational imagesCA8Q1BFG

Tulips and Sexy Speculative Bubbles (picturesinlivingcolor.wordpress.com)

MONEY by Pink Floyd (YouTube)

Stock Market Bubble  (theglobeandmail.com)

An Angry Letter to Mr. Obama from a fed-up American

Obama speaks to record numbers in Portland, Oregon during first campaign
Obama speaks to record numbers in Portland, Oregon during first campaign

Hope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us…A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.”  ― Barack Obama

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BEWARE: I’m feisty again, this is not for the faint of heart…

It is 3 a.m. and I cannot sleep. Images of people fill my mind. I should have known better than to watch the nightly news.  Never before have I seen so many dead people. I cannot shake these images.  These carefully selected images, this horrific display and this obvious attempt at manipulation.

In a desperate appeal to our collective humanity, yes, it is horrible what is happening to the Syrians. But there are atrocities happening all over the globe, even in places that do not sit smack dab in the middle of oil rich countries. Why are we not “helping” these other poor suffering people in Somalia, Sudan or The Democratic Republic of the Congo? What about people in Haiti or even here at home?

We voted you in to stop our American war mongering not to increase it. I voted for you twice. I admit I turned a blind eye to the obvious favoritism shown by the mainstream media to you in the last election. I reasoned we were on the same side you and I. I thought this hope and change you promised was for the common good. I know you inherited much from former administrations.  Afghanistan, Iraq, the economic collapse, even the spying and the drones. But this, Mr President, this Syrian mess, this is all yours.

Can’t you see we Americans are tired of war. We are tired of sticking our noses into other countries business. We cannot save the world. We cannot even save ourselves.

What happened to you? What happened to the wide-eyed optimistic young idealist who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National convention , the one America fell for hook, line and sinker? Are you this same man? What I see now is a tired graying husk with dark hostile eyes.  It is these eyes that frighten me, Are you even the same person? What happened to you Mr President?

What happened to your message? The message that preached hope. What happened to the man who said:

NN_27obama2

“And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.” 
― Barack Obama

 

Why do you call for war? You know I don’t believe you. I cannot and will not believe anything you say…not anymore. Perhaps I’m coming into my enlightenment late in the game. If I am to believe whispers from others, ideas I would have dismissed offhand to be the rantings and ravings of crazy and delusional lunatics. After all this, these rantings don’t all seem so implausible.

obama r-ASSAD-huge

I scour the internet for news;  for some truth. In this wilderness of everything crazy,  these stories run rampant.  Stories that call you everything from disillusioned and misguided to an alien shapeshifter with lizard eyes, a Hitler, and yes, even the Antichrist. I know there is a nugget of truth out there somewhere mixed in with all this craziness. I do know that I cannot believe the propaganda the mainstream media spins.

I don’t know who to believe.  But I do know that I do not believe you Mr. Obama…not anymore.

I expected this out of George W Bush and his father. I even expected this out of Reagan back when I was but a child but not from you.

You promised us change. I expected you meant that we would change; that this country would change. That we would become great again and win the hearts of the world who would see us as they had before as a source of good. You promised us change but it is you who changed.

obama sad and old

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” ― Barack Obama

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You are a parent. What do you daughters think of this?   I am a parent too. My son is 18 and I we have received a letter from the selective service. Did you know I have hidden this in my drawer among bills to be paid? I will assure you this is one bill I will not pay! Would you send your daughters to fight in a war, do you believe in war that much?  I ask you Mr. Obama, can you sleep tonight? I hope not. I sure can’t!

 

Heart-Water-and-Fire-HD

“I’m inspired by the people I meet in my travels–hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.” 
― Barack Obama

**On a side note to my regular readers. Sorry, I had to get this out. Next time, I promise something lighter. Some sort of happy distraction. It’s just that I care too much.**

~SBI

Barack Obama "Hope" poster, original...
Barack Obama “Hope” poster, originally by Shepard Fairey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The speech that made President Obama (YouTube)


An Open Letter to Barack Obama from a Vietnam Veteran (grumpyelder.com)
Don’t Bomb Syria, Mr. President! (interfaithreflections.com)
Letter to President Obama (billp47.wordpress.com)
Obama Attempts to Preserve His Ego by Proposing War With Syria (armyvetchicrants.com)
POTUS Is Not The World’s Police Chief (johnhaydeninmd.com)
An Open Letter To President Obama (yourfaceispolitics.wordpress.com)

The Great and Powerful Hubris

HUBRIS

Extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power. It is often associated with a lack of humility, though not always with the lack of knowledge.

hubris gorilla-fight

Behold the mighty hubris. See how it stands; Proud and defiant. The very image of strength and determination. It matters not to this magnificent creature whether it stands for truth, justice or common sense. It just matters that it stands.

Look, if you dare, at it’s mighty muscles. Watch it flex. See and believe. That is all that is required…for now.

Hear it roar. Listen to it defy all reason.  Proud it stands, full of hot air so much so it could heat up the globe for 1000 years.  Do you hear the call to arms; the march to war?  Do you hear it justify it’s existence?  It is the great and powerful hubris in action.

Do not question. Do not think for yourself. This powerful one frowns upon that. See how shiny it is and strong. It must know everything that is needed to be known.  There is no need to think. It will think for you. All that is needed is awe…and obedience.

Obey me it bellows.

hubris war by ivy-mike2

“And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
― Percy Bysshe ShelleyOzymandias

hubris clearcut

We have seen much of this. Too much and it is not just the one inflicted who suffers from its fallout, it’s all of us. The whole world. We are connected and ever more so as our world becomes smaller due to our electronic communications. I myself have been communicating with others from all over the world. The internet has made this possible.

The internet has also made it more difficult to cover over and hide the horrible results of this infliction called hubris. Some of us may be being watched by our governments but this is a two-way street. We have eyes, we have ears and it’s not just the hauteur which has a roar. As does The People and We The People are tired of living in the fallout of mighty pride, arrogance and conceit.

Humility, respect and honesty have power too. As does love, compassion and understanding. Humanity is capable of much greatness. It just needs to be harnessed for the greater good of all instead for the temporary gain of small groups.  We are living at a time of fantastic change. Let us use our mutual talents for the positive. Let us include instead of exclude. There are no enemies, no borders or dividing lines. What affects our neighbors affects us too. We are all the same inside. Let us work with nature instead of against it. Let us be the generation that says stop all the madness!

Thanks for listening,

Strawberrryindigo.

 

world-peace

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” 

― William Faulkner

people happy-boy-face-close-up_w725_h544

Scilla Elworthy: Fighting with non-violence (TED Talks)
30 Dolphins Stranded … Share what happens next! (facebook.com)
Real Life Heroes (YouTube)
Restoring Faith in Humanity (YouTube)

An Indigo Rant

screaming woman in public domain

I’m angry…damned angry. Boiling mad angry. This is a rant my friends and if you don’t wish to see the darker side of SBI please look away. Come back again on another day. That is a warning and this is a rant!

I feel someone should speak up here. I suppose I lead a sheltered existence, safe in my little blog world where I am surrounded by enlightened and caring people.  I do however venture out to the virtual world at large, and oh yes, we all know this world can be ugly, unbearably ugly.

I try to stay  away from all this but I am concerned.  I do care and I am curious.  I recently visited the Huffington Post. It is a place I go. I have an account there and I am called theindigoside. As the name suggests it is the indigo side. I can get somewhat political but I am me, and all the me I can be.

I ran into a story:

Timothy Alsip, Oregon Homeless Man, Robs Bank For $1, Asks To Go To Jail To Access Healthcare

TIM-ALSIP

This is all very sad.  Many of us in The United States have no health care. I was chatting with a British friend of mine on Facebook and had a difficult time explaining how our system “works”. I personally have recently lost my benefits and those for my two children. It is a scary thing to be at risk like that but  I am grateful and I feel blessed to have all that I do…but I digress.  This rant is not about me.

This poor man in the story is a homeless and obviously desperate man. He could be mentally ill. He could have a myriad of problems.  This is not my point….it is obvious again that he could be doing better but he is not. THAT is a fact.  We could go over who and what the problem is. We could blame the government, the Democrats or the Republicans. We could blame the one percent or the 99. We could blame his parents, society or corporations..we could even blame the man himself.

The world is f**ked my friends, oh yes, we all know this…

This is all valid but this is not why I am so upset, at least not at this time. Right now,  I am upset about the type of comments this story received.  I am appalled really.

No one saw the sadness, no one had any empathy for this man. Some blamed the “freeloaders” of society. Many had someone or something to blame.  Some made fun of his appearance and all the comments I read blamed him in some way. Not one of them had any sympathy for this poor fellow human.

It was a competition on who could be more clever and witty than the person before them.  I probably put myself up for ridicule with these people but I had to speak up…I had to…

This was my response:

However someone looks at it. Whoever someone blames for the ills of society. Whatever someone says trying to be clever and witty all the while sitting at home with a full stomach and a nice warm comfortable bed to retire to. In this someone’s opinion it is a sad and sorry state that has befallen us when no one has any sympathy, empathy or any sort of feelings for a fellow human being.
NO one is immune to adversity. However and whatever some may think. One’s fate can turn on a dime, just like that. This story is just sad. Damn sad all around.”

And it is not just here. It is everywhere. I see smug self-satisfied people judging others. It is so easy to do so. It is easy for some to tell themselves that their luck or success or whatever is due to the deserving of it.   It also is easy to save one’s compassion for the attractive while condemning those who are not so much; old people, ill people ,the homeless, the wretched, the insane, and the troubled. It is easy for some to blame and condemn, to point the finger to all except themselves.

Many rich people have worked very hard and so have many poor people. Good fortune plays a huge role and that fortune can and does change.  As we all know the rain falls on us one and all.

I know for a fact that you are not like this. You are compassionate and wise and wonderful.

Surrounded by people like you all the time one could think everyone is like you, but this is not the case.  I know I am preaching to the choir here.  I guess what I’m trying to say….

…next time you hear some of this garbage being spewed by your fellow human please stand up for us. Set the record straight, help us all and preach understanding and compassion. Let those who hold these sorts of negative and unproductive opinions know that that sort of thing will not be tolerated. Speak up for the voiceless, the misunderstood and the ugly. Stand up for the ill and the homeless and the poor people who have done nothing wrong but be poor.    We all deserve kindness.

speak-the-truth-300x287

Because…

quotes suess EarthDay

Thanks for listening,

~SBI

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato

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Call Me

Captain Kirk on hiscommunicator

A quirk of fate left me with no personal electronic devices whatsoever last Friday. I had no I Pad, no IPhones, no Google Google’s.. no Kindle or the like, I had nothing…not even my dumb phone which was at home. It was just me..my observations and my notebook. I must admit I don’t own any of the before mentioned list of gadgets, except the dumb phone-…I  have that..a stupid phone.
So it wasn’t a big deal when I boarded the Max headed toward Beaverton without a gadget or prop.
I sat in a backward facing seat and braced myself for the long tunnel…

The Robertson Tunnel is the MAX Light Rail tunnel that runs through the west hills of Portland, Oregon. There is one station within the tunnel at Washington Park, which at 79 meters deep is the deepest subway station in the United States and the fifth deepest in the world. It’s almost three miles long and takes five minutes pass through. It is cold, dark and loud…

As we travel faster and faster there erupts a high-pitched scream that echoes off the stone walls. This makes for an unnerving and uncomfortable ride for the passengers. Most try to sit there stoically and pretend nothing is going on while we ride it out. A few cover their ears. I am one of the larger stoic group. The unusually long five minutes pass and then it is over. We emerge out of the tunnel. The sky opens up and there is a collective sigh of relief…

…and then everyone is back at their screens. There are some books or newspapers and a few smallish laptops but mostly is what I once heard referred to of as “a bar of soap”; a personal electronic device that fits neatly into the human hand, becoming really an extension of it. A device that many of us seem to be transfixed on and obsessed with a good portion of our time.

cell phone people

According to edtechmagazine.com

84% of Cell phone owners report they could not go a single day without their device and 44% of them confess to having slept with their phone nearby because they didn’t want to miss a notification.

A bit extreme, but common. Becoming addicted to your phone has become such a real condition that experts have given it a name: “Nomophobia” (no-mobile-phone-phobia).

I know this is a world-wide phenomena. It is amazing how much things have changed in the last twenty years . I am old enough to remember what it was like before everyone was “plugged in” I suppose I use the term “plugged in” a bit sharply. I myself am writing this on a laptop and you are reading it on some sort of device.

It cannot be denied how electronic communications have changed the world for good and bad and that nebulous in-between region that we are unsure of until it passes and becomes history. Time will tell how this will effect the future world and how humanity reacts to and with itself.

cell phone cyborg eye-500x375

Often we must give up something to gain something…and in this there is no exception.

In our modern connected world we are tuned in to the hum of the network and the buzz of the instantaneous all knowing all hearing web. We can converse and share with others all over the world in real-time. Never has the human race been so connected. Connected in a cerebral Ethernet. A system that has a collective “mind” of its own.

Of course nothing ever is all black or white..

mount tabor tree view

Never have we as a species been so disconnected to our true nature, ourselves and each other….and to our planet..  Many immerse themselves exclusively in temperature controlled artificial environments, driving from one place to another in an air-conditioned fossil fuel burning car.

Why ever leave the “comfort” of the indoors?

cell phonest1larg_cellphones_ts

Why strike up a conversation with a stranger on the train when you can stare at your screen and get those thumbs going. I’ve noticed and I can’t be the only one to see that people seem to use their electronic device as a social barrier,,as some sort of protection in a world where increasingly social intimacy with your fellow person isn’t as important anymore…..and isn’t too kosher.  The world is a dangerous place. It is easier and sometimes safer to just keep to yourself and look as disinterested as can be.

invasionofthebodysnatchers-poster1-halfsheet

I am reminded of the classic Science Fiction tales of the 50’s, 60’s where beings from outer space or some unknown alien force takes over humanity in subtle and not so subtle ways.

This whole thing reminds me of just that. The entity, that thing or phenomena…whatever you call it….be it the web, the internet , the screen. the hive mind or the collective or the big stupid distraction, whatever it is…..this THING is taking over.

org Picture-1

Social realities are changing. People tune each other out almost to the point where they pretend each other isn’t there. It seems there is some unwritten law that you can completely ignore your fellow human. As long as you pretend you cannot see one another, as long as you don’t look at each other in the eye. Once you look at another person in the eye, is it is too late and now you are socially obligated to acknowledge each other.  Perhaps to the point of greeting and maybe even.. gasp….conversation.

It makes me wonder what the future brings…

I suppose on occasion I will endeavor to put my dumb phone away. It fits nicely into the zippered pocket of my purse and maybe every once in a while I’ll just forget it all together…

Have a splendid rest of your day…

Strawberryindigo.

*

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

References and Related Articles

Impressive statistics about mobile device use (edtechmagazine.com)

Shocking Ways Your Cell Phone Is Hurting Your Health (fitnessmagazine.com)

Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone? (psychologytoday.com)

Cell Phone Addiction Hits Shocking Levels Reveals Morningside Recovery (prweb.com)

Cell phone scare for men: Don’t hold your phone with your private parts (junkscience.com)

Cell phones in the classroom (hellandnicole.wordpress.com)

Fresh Quotes: April TAX

uncle-sam-taxes

I have been torn about the theme of this month’s fresh quotes. At first I planned to do it on  fools, as in April Fool, but at the last-minute I changed my mind and decided on taxes. As I write this, I find the two to be somehow pathetically linked.

A fool and his money are soon parted and I know some of us feel like fools after immersing ourselves in these inane and overcomplicated tax forms and to add injury to insult, we then shell out our hard-earned money for the privilege while some corporate fat cats pay nothing. It’s enough to pull one’s hair out! UGH!

I can only speak for Americans here but that dreaded day will be soon upon us and I better get on with it!  I have a shoebox full of receipts and big bottle of aspirin, or would a bottle of Tequilla do it?  Wish me luck….and while I am wading through this insane minutiae, take a gander at some quotes I have collected; perfect for the occasion…

~SBI

fool the fool tarot card

“Isn’t it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool’s Day…”

~Rob Knauerhase

hilarious%20funny%20cute%20pictures%20of_your-cute-kitty
Credit: Public Domain

“Be wary of strong drink, it can make you shoot at the tax collector…and miss.”

Robert A. Heinlein

tax war $$$
Credit: Public Domain

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Thomas Jefferson

The Poor Tax
Credit: Public Domain

“The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.”
~Gore Vidal

Credit: Wikicommons
Credit: Wikicom
“WE DO NOT PAY TAXES. ONLY THE LITTLE PEOPLE PAY TAXES.”

Leona Helmsley

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”
Albert Einstein

Hippies
Credit: Public Domain

“Tomorrow you’re all going to wake up in a brave new world, a world where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones, created in a stem-cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags. Where tax-and-spend Democrats take all your hard-earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio, and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. Oh, and everybody’s high!”
Stephen Colbert, I am America

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

A Wee Bit of Irish

In tribute to this feative holiday, an Irish lass such as I, am compelled to share a wee bit of the Irish with you…

ENJOY 😀

The Flag of Ireland

“IRELAND IS THE LAND OF POETS AND LEGENDS, OF DREAMERS AND REBELS”

~Nora Roberts

THE IRISH

Be they kings, or poet, or farmers, they’re a people of great worth. They keep company with the angels. And bring a bit of heaven here to Earth.

Ireland-Rainbow

The Mouse

Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floor when the pub was shut for the night.  Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse and stood in the pale moonlight.   He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor, then back on his haunches he sat. And all night long you could hear him roar, “Bring on the goddam cat!”

Credit: Cutestpaw.com
Credit: Cutestpaw.com

“THERE ARE ONLY TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, THE IRISH AND THOSE WHO WISH THEY WERE.”

~Saying~

ireland green

Irish blessing

bright-green-grunge-heart-bg-1

“To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart.”
―    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

St-patricks-day-ireland

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day to you one and all!

Strawberryindigo.

English: An example of the newly-designed Guin...

8 Fun Facts About the Irish Language (mentalfloss.com)

Who’s St. Patrick? (smalltownworld.wordpress.com)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! (willeke73.wordpress.com)

Top 10 St. Patrick’s Day destinations (dawn.com)

Traditional language of Ireland experiences revival (triblive.com)

That Sweet Colleen from Ireland (pjb1943.wordpress.com)

Irish Cream Cupcakes Baileys Buttercream Frosting (cupcakepedia.wordpress.com)

Ireland (infoplease.com)

Irish Culture (islandireland.com)

It’s the end of the world and I feel fine!

 doomsday 12-21-2012

“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.”  ―    Roger Zelazny

Hello!  If you are reading this the world has not ended…yet. I still have time to let you know that I need your help because I’m not even close to being ready for all of this.  Does anyone know any Mayans? Are they still around? Maybe someone can give me their number.  An e-mail address perhaps because as I said I am not ready for this at all.

mayan_calendar

One would think they could have picked a better time for this? I have a million things to do and time is running out…isn’t it always like that around the holidays?  What were those Mayans thinking?  I still have shopping to do and gifts to wrap. I need to clean out my refrigerator and I still have cookies to make… I was also planning on getting my hair done; a girl’s got to look her best if the world is ending… right?  …and what about important things like my TV shows?  The next episode of The Amish Mafia won’t be out till January…

Discovery Channel

Seriously, I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble or rain on anyone’s parade but I think these Mayans may be a bit off.  I know there are supposed to be signs to the coming apocalypse. I’ve seen enough disaster movies for that. I suppose a case could be made in this aspect as crazy as the world is but hasn’t it always been crazy all along? What about those crazy conquistadors? Did the Mayans see them coming?

end alien_in_UFO_cartoon

I have heard many silly stories about this but this one takes the cake: Supposedly a mountain will open up in France and UFO’s will come out, I guess sort of like a spooky pinata spewing alien sweet things all over.

“Some French and international Web sites devoted to the apocalypse claim that the mountain of Bugarach is a sacred place that will protect them from the end of the world. Some even believe that, on doomsday, they will be spirited away by a group of aliens who live under the mountain”

Now if that were true it would be interesting to say the least. I have always had fantasies of “my people” coming to take me home, but they being intelligent life forms would see the sheer folly of it at this time; Christmas is only a mere 4 days away!  I’m sure the aliens are much too busy.

end zombie-apocalypse

And the zombies…let’s touch on the zombies here.  Some including my son have been warning me of the impending Zombie Apocalypse. This seems a tad more realistic, I’ve seen all the movies but for that too…I am not ready.

end zombies_nightofthelivingdead

Apparently there is a training course one must take to be prepared and frankly, I haven’t had the time….and really, zombies?  Most of them are pretty slow and I’m sure I could outrun them. I think I’ve even seen a few in real life:  Ever been to a 24 hour grocery at 3 a.m.? They are no threat believe me, all they seem to be looking for is junk food not brains although I’ve seen some scary ones at the DMV–yikes but really, in all honesty I don’t view a couple of cuddly zombies as any threat.

Some say the magnetic poles of the Earth will do an abrupt shift. Now that is something I could get behind…maybe it would bring us in the northern hemisphere an instant and early summer. I would really enjoy that.

Fiscal-cliff-ahead-jpg

Others, mostly people in the government are predicting we’ll fall off some fiscal cliff thing, now THAT is ridiculous, I can see zombies…but that?  HA!

Don’t forget about Planet X. Ever heard of that one? I hadn’t either until last night upon doing reasearch on this end of the world nonsense and this one sounds the most plausible…

planets_colliding-SOURCE-NASA-Public-Domain

Some claim there’s a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Planet X that is
approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread
destruction.  NASA has taken this one on: they say it’s a hoax, but then on second thought…why believe NASA? Aren’t they the one’s behind that moon landing hoax and all those fantastic claims that the earth is round–ha, who’s crazy here?

RING RING–RING RING…Oh exuse me..the phone is ringing, I must answer this…sorry…

“Hello, Yes?…..What?!  Are you serious?   I’m writing about it now…you guys have the worst timing you know…Damn…”

That was the Maya on the phone, apparently they do still exist. They too don’t believe the world is ending and they want everyone, including me to stop blaming them.

Sorry about that. The last thing I want to do is spread misinformation especially on the internet. THAT would be wrong…

I guess I’m back to square one….If it isn’t The Maya behind all these dire predictions, I wonder who it is????

end of the world 2012 John Cusack

It could be the Doomsday Preppers or the 90’s Band REM who did write a song about this very thing and claimed to feel fine about it…or it could be someone in Hollywood, like John Cusack is behind this, perhaps there is a sequel in the works to that 2012 movie he was in…..hmmmm….

end scream

It could be Scientology’s, Tom Cruise, he’s a bit wacked you know or perhaps it’s the Amish Mafia, now those guys are scary tough, talk about scary tough…what about John Boehner? I hear he’s power mad…or…gasp…this guy?

GrinchF
Boehner..oops…sorry, this is THE GRINCH, I got the two mixed up (my bad)

… I could go on…..

I don’t know who it is but whoever it is…STOP THIS because I am not at all ready.

I still have to clean out my fridge. Now THAT is scary.

THE END
THE END???

ESSENTIAL READING IF YOU ARE TO SURVIVE THIS!!!

doomsday_sign
Doomsday Sign (Photo credit: matt.ohara)

It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)  By REM (http://www.youtube.com)

Beyond 2012 why the world won’t end  (www.nasa.gov)

For End of the World, a French Peak Holds Allure   (www.nytimes.com)

10 Essentials for surviving a zombie apocalypse  (www.huffingtonpost.com)

Mayans Unfazed about the end of the world (usatoday.com)

Some end of the world predictions that didn’t come true  (www.journalnow.com)

Tin-foil Hats Will Save You From Mayan Doomsday (weeklyworldnews.com)

Today the world is colder…Senselessness at Sandy Hook Elementary

I am stunned and saddened by what has happened in Connecticut today and I am compelled to write this. I suppose that is only human nature; to reach out after such a tragic event. My fingers are flying across the keyboard as I quickly compose this.

First of all, my  heart goes out to all the families and to everyone involved…really…my heart goes out to everyone because we are all involved.

I yearn to offer words of comfort, of solace. I want to say that everything will be alright. .

I want to ask ‘Why?!”   I want to scream and rage and cry my eyes out! I want to make sense of all this senselessness, but it is all much too shocking and much too fresh…

All I can say at this point is this must stop!

I am frightened at what this world is becoming.  I’ve been making light of this end of days business; this crazy notion that the Mayan’s have predicted the world ending on December 21st of this year.  I still don’t believe in that insane notion but nevertheless, I am keeping myself and my family at home on that day, not because I believe the world will end but because I doubt the sanity of my fellow humans and I don’t trust in them. I guess I should say “us” because it is “us”  and this angers me.

Is this what we humans are about?!  We think the world will end so we go crazy…this mania is contagious and if I have helped spread it by my making fun of it, I regret this… and again I say, this time I am screaming; THIS MUST STOP!!!!

Why oh why do we humans need to turn on each other in times of crisis?

This is a rhetorical question I expect no answer…and I really don’t know why I am writing this…I can offer you nothing really, no insight or answers, no comfort but to offer a discourse and a suggestion…a sugggestion that will probably be repeated time and time again over the coming days.

Be there for your loved ones, hug them a little tighter tonight.  Be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to talk off, or a heart to reach out with love.  Be there; because we need each other–especially right now.

I have tried in the past to keep this blog light…I want to be a port in the storm on a sea of darkness but today is just too dark for that but I will make a promise to you, my friends. On THAT day–you know the one..the day I’ll be staying home, I will be publishing a frivolous distraction and I will do my best to make you smile, perhaps to give you a laugh or two but today the wound is still too fresh but on that day I promise this…

…for now I want to say…. I need to say…I’m sorry…

Take care and remember LOVE is contagious too.

Nancy (aka Strawberryindigo.)

candle-in-the-darkness

Occupy moves on

occupy berlin

From its infancy the occupy movement has run the gambit of highs and lows of the human experience. The movement started in New York as a protest against the unbalance of wealth in our society and it has grown and morphed and spread all over the country and the world.

A movement born out of frustrations brought on by hard economic times mixed with vanishing natural resources, dwindling opportunity and the remains of a system once created for the common good that is now corrupted by the few and the powerful who put profits over everything else.

The American dream is slipping through the fingers of many Americans.  Our golden age is tarnishing. We the people have lost our way.

Occupy Portland March - 60
Image by merrick_monroe via Flickr

I believe this movement is only a beginning and it is a sign of more to come.  The events of late have truly surprised me and have caused me to re-evaluate my feelings on the Occupy movement more than once.

I  have always supported the ideals of the movement, in that there has never been any doubt in my mind. However, I have not always supported the means. This occupying has from day one struck me as unsustainable.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all the good reasons and high ideals cannot trump cold hard reality. These camps created by Occupy degraded into a health and safety hazard that cost our cities dearly at a time when city and state budgets are strained to the max. This occupying also cost the movement valuable credibility.

They showed why it is illegal for a group of people to take possession of a public park and just squat there indefinitely. No matter how worthy the cause, those ends do not justify that sort of means.

Night march through Portland
Image by K. Kendall via Flickr

In most places the cops have moved in and used a varying degree of force to retake the parks once occupied.  Every city is different and in my city, to my surprise, it was relatively peaceful thanks to all involved. The local police showed uncommon restraint and the protestors themselves seemed to police themselves in many instances.

The crowd, estimated to be 2-3 thousand, gasped as a fiery projectile thrown into a row of mounted police injuring one of them and causing him to be taken away during the eviction last Saturday.

The perpetrator was quickly pointed out by the crowd and the man was promptly taken down and arrested. Then in a move that surprised me, the police backed off and allowed the protestors to form a drum circle in the middle of the street, dancers in the hundreds surrounded the circle, cheered on by the overwhelming number of spectators.  A party atmosphere prevailed into the wee hours. There was a sense of unity shown that gave me a sense of long forgotten city pride.

I felt I had been a bit hasty in my predictions of doom and gloom but then I looked around and found the reaction in my city to be unusual.

Occupy Portland
Image by drburtoni via Flickr

The next day 50 people were arrested and the Occupy encampment was retaken by police.  A handful of protestors remained and helped clean up the disgusting mucky mess left behind in the two city parks held hostage in this all too human drama.  Many citizens came out to see the damage and confronted leftover protestors milling about  It seemed not everyone was happy with all the mess and the cost of the occupy.

Heated debates sprung out on street corners.   People that would have never spoken to each other before were voicing their varied but strong opinions,  exchanging ideas and solutions. Citizens were taking to each other instead of just ignoring.

occupy portland
Image by snap turtle via Flickr

By Monday, a press conference was held by what serves as our local occupy leadership fronted by youngish woman in a bright red cap.  She spoke eloquently as she demanded an apology from the mayor and the chief of police for the use of force during the eviction.  Tears welled in the eyes of a nearby protestor as the woman in the red cap spoke of a member of their group, a sign language translator who had apparently been hurt in the scuffle and was now in a wheelchair.

Evidence is sketchy on this and I have this natural inclination to believe the protestors  though I cannot say as I was not there. I have only seen what is claimed to be altered footage of the event.

When asked if they were planning on occupying any more parks, the spokesperson beamed a smile and said “no comment”.  I had hoped for a sign of leadership or a clear focus from the group.  They seem intent on continuing the movement and will not let anyone but themselves know exactly what they have planned.

On Tuesday, the protestors marched and invaded an upscale shopping mall.  On Wednesday,  they marched in solidarity with local university students protesting high tuition and an unfair treatment of school loans.  Today is dubbed “N 17” and a protest on the banks is planned. Events turn on a dime. Only time will tell how this all plays out and how history will view this phenomena.

A smart person once told me that revolutions can be messy and that all that mess makes people stand up and take notice. I have to agree.

It is  prompting us, forcing us  really to look at ourselves as a community of connected individuals who can all have a say in our collective future . This movement has opened a dialogue with ourselves, all 100% of us. It is a discussion that is long overdue and if we want any real and lasting change for the betterment of us all, we need to have it.  If this movement has achieved anything it is this and it is the most essential.

fire
Image by matthewvenn via Flickr

The Occupy movement has provided the spark. To succeed the spark must grow and for it to grow and become something formidable, it must kindle the fires by adding new converts with clearer heads who can focus the attention on key issues.  For this movement to move it needs the help of everyone.  It cannot afford to alienate.  There are many problems and the protestors have every right to be angry, but their anger and a lack of clear focus hurts the very cause most they and I support so very much.

Strawberryindigo.

Occupy Standoff

It was only a matter of time  and  the local media is all abuzz. The too-white smiles and scared eyes of the local newscasters reporting live in front of a hostile crowd  tell the tale.  Tempers are high and people are nervous.  Down at the center of it all, our downtown and “Occupy Grand Central”.  A reluctant mayor, feeling the pressure given by  downtown businesses  concerned about the upcoming holiday season and the bottom line.  Drew his line in the sand and called out a warning to the local occupiers.  It was an ultimatum, really;  Get out by midnight Saturday or else. 

The protestors occupying two parks across the street from city hall have vowed to stay. They have sent out for reinforcements and witnesses from other occupy encampments in other cities.  They are making homemade weapons and shields.  They seem to be digging in and readying themselves for a fight. 

 

The stage has been set.  On one side; the occupiers. On the other; the establishment. Stuck in the middle;  The people.  The real  99%.  Victims of circumstance. People from all walks of life. Very human signs of these hard times. 

We decided to pay another visit  before time ran out on our local occupy. So MM and I went down there on this very overcast Saturday morning. 

We have been there before, earlier in the occupation.   I expected much of the same.  I could have not been more wrong.  The tarps and the tents looked the same but that was about it.  With the deadline looming; the people who could or would leave have left and what remain are the chronic homeless and mentally ill.   And with them remain an unhealthy cesspool of waste and filth. And mud, a foul-smelling gunk all over.  The stench is almost overpowering.  Wet garbage and clothing strewn about.  Food containers and human waste lie on the ground mixed with brilliant yellow autumn leaves.  I almost gag.  I want to leave. We go further in.

Gone is the D.J. and the music.  Gone is the library and medical tent.  The art tent is empty and the local radio station has withdrawn its booth.  The food service has dwindled.  The air of hopefulness is gone.  The unity is gone.  All that is left are the ugly remains. 

The tattered would be heroes.  Dirty, hungry and lost, smoking hand rolled cigarettes, huddled together, worn and wary.  A spirited few cheer on the others.  Pontificating and proclaiming to fight. 

 “This is my home.”  Says a young man in a red cap. 

 His friend, the one with droopy tired eyes, calls for “warriors.”

 

A good Samaritan has brought in coffee and a brown-haired girl with big innocent eyes passes out brownies, she looks about 8 or 9.  She is a sweet little thing and stands as a stark contrast to the mess around her.  As does the  teenage girl shivering in white shorts and flip-flops eating a  glazed twist and savoring every bite. Her dirty face looks sad and alone, I wonder where she’ll go? 

A despondent old man in a wheelchair sits forgotten and ignored, a scene erupts around him, involving a woman who is obviously distressed and upset.  She is almost in tears as she begs and pleads with some occupiers to use their energy for good and leave peacefully. A small crowd has formed aligned against her.  Her young daughter hides her face in her Mother’s warm and fashionable coat. 

Cops stand on the corners. Many of them have donned medical type masks. I suppose to keep from getting sick. I feel sorry for them.  They don’t want this.  I wonder what will happen tonight.  There is a certain queasy unease in the air that goes beyond the lack of sanitation.  I can see it their faces and in the faces of the ones with nowhere to go. Those are the ones I feel for the most.

Others have come to witness this. People here and there, like MM and I.  Some are taking pictures. Others have gathered at the parameters in twos and threes, whispering in an almost revered awe and shaking their heads in disgust.   I see surprise in some eyes.  I know the feeling. Whatever the dream, the dream is lying in a ditch by the side of the road.  It’s tired and hungry and it gets the feeling that no one is listening.

Many hand-lettered signs have been left behind and many of these have valid messages.  I think these people and many others in this country and really in the whole world feel they have no voice and that no one is listening.  The world is going to hell and we know it and there is nothing we can do. 

It seems hopeless.  Our problems are so huge and all the occupying in the world won’t change that.  It’s easy to sit here in my nice warm house tapping away on my nice white laptop and judge these people.  It’s also just as easy to  turn and look the other way.  But it is history we are witnessing here, right or wrong, good or bad.  

These people, those people….We the people. We are The People and we are all connected.  Whatever happens to the least of us happens to us all.  All 100%.

 These problems are not going away. Whatever happens on the streets of my city tonight, will not change anything.  It will only put an ugly face on a valid and much needed social movement. 

….And as the rain begins and  the darkness of night sets in across the city, I can’t help but wonder the outcome.  The deadline has been set and we are all watching and waiting……

Peace.

Strawberryindigo.

 

 

Occupy What Next?

Occupy Portland in Pioneer Square
Image by S.MiRK via Flickr

Recently I paid a visit to my local “Occupy” encampment.  I first wrote about the Occupy Movement in a previous post and   I wondered about the outcome of all this “occupying”. Now after some time has passed and the movement has gone on into full swing, I decided to go see what all the fuss was about.  Well, I should say that MM talked me into it.  He asked what kind of writer I was. To miss out on such an event?  He shamed and goaded me, then offered me a trip to Starbucks. THAT did it…. and before I knew it, we’re on our way.

Much has happened since this whole thing started here and all over the country, even the world.  

Occupy My Town

 Our local occupation consists of two city park blocks across the street from the courthouse.  There are an estimated 500+ people there.  There are two bathrooms.

By the time we got down to the occupation it was high noon, the sun beamed brightly giving the scene a sense of hopefulness.  It was like I was entering a moment in time that would forever be etched in my memory. I felt a great excitement to witness this exercise in freedom; This power of the people.  I felt alive and electric. 

Occupy Portland Image 32 jcj

 A row of shiny police motorcycles caught my attention and then it was the tents, so many of them in a big multi-color conglomerate.  Hand lettered signs everywhere, running the gambit of the highs and lows of cardboard communication. From telling me to vote “nobody” for president and take my money out of the “evil” bank,  to “We are the 99%” and Death to tyrants”.  Someone had even put up a picture of Teddy Kennedy next to one of Che Guevara

Occupy
Image by K. Kendall via Flickr

A man in a rainbow shirt welcomes us to the occupation. We smile hello and are greeted by a woman sitting on the ground, her wares spread out on a blanket beside her, selling beaded bracelets and bran muffins. Her sign proclaims her to be a student and not homeless.  I’m glad that she can clear this up. Later I see the relevance in the sign as we go deeper in.

It all reminds me of a bad Mad Max remake, but with a  dreadlocked D.J. providing  a glitter rock soundtrack. We skirt around the art tent and the first aid booth, with its free condom jar smiling proudly.  There is a lending library and a green  Medical marijuana tent next to a small one labeled “chill”.  A sign proclaims fortune-tellling and a local radio station has a booth, broadcasting live.  

Near the community “garden” there stands, most impressively, a food line, serving what one man exclaimed to be “good shit” around a statue of pioneers, now riddled with police tape and spices.  Someone has put up a sign  asking for dish-washing volunteers and they seem to have a handle on recycling and waste management.

In a way, I am impressed, there is some organization here.  It is good work to serve and feed the needy. But isn’t this supposed to be a protest?   Nobody really seems to be protesting anything, or advocating anything either, just occupying. 

Tent City
Image by kuow949 via Flickr

We reach the other side of the occupation in the adjacent park.This one is a bit more crowded and a lot raunchier.  A blue haired woman kisses a blond rat on her shoulder, while the “cute” tweaker couple in front of us fight over a cigarette.  A heavy-set  woman in a red dress puts a scarf over her head and screams “Starbucks!”  I smile and drift away, thinking of chai lattes.  M.M brings me back to reality when he points out the group of about 20 bikers laughing and partying in the midst of it all.

We obviously don’t belong here and it shows.  We look like total tourists. Most of the occupiers don’t seem to notice us and go about the business of “occupying” which apparently consists of sitting around smoking cigarettes, drinking and yelling out  random drunken nothings.  

 It finally dawns on me that the park is mostly filled with people who have no where else to go.  I saw the local media coverage of this phenomena, most of the people featured in the coverage of the marches and protests seemed to be from all walks of life. I guess those people went home because 99% of these people left here squatting in a public park in the middle of our downtown are obviously street people and the mentally ill. Some look  downright scary.  

I had heard of problems here.  A major uptake in crimes. Theft, damage, assaults, and rape.  Even with the police presence across the street, a certain lawlessness prevails. Seeing all this makes an impression on me.   

In a city that prides itself in weirdness, this wins hands down as one of the weirdest moments of all. But to what end?  Who will occupy what next?

Dare 2 Dream too homeless camp

I think about protests in the past and how this one is different.  It has become bigger than itself and  it’s taking us to a place of no return.  

 Occupy Reality

 The sentiment behind it all, the one that started it, is valid but it has grown into  a monster that lives on the backs of  well-meaning activists and YOU; the citizen and taxpayer.  This monster serves not equality and change, but chaos. These occupiers are setting a precedent that does not bode well for actual social and economic progress in the future.  I believe in the cause but I believe it does not justify the means.

To the occupiers I ask: To what end?

I hope more people don’t get hurt. 

      Stay Safe.             Strawberryindigo.