Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Some thoughts during the 'Week of Grace'


The week of grace between Christmas and New Year's is a special one to me. I believe it is a time of reflection -- a chance to take a pause before the next chapter of our lives and to consider where we are individually. Yes, this is a news site, but I warned everyone there would be some commentary along the way.

I can only speak for me over the past year, and take a look and evaluate if I lived up to anything I said I would do last year. The report card is in, and I can faithfully say I earned a B-minus, which I will take and consider a 'win.'

Last year, I said I would not yell anymore, I would do all I could and not get angry for the sake of anything either. I said I would be a better person than I was in 2015. Overall, I think there is some progress; good progress. Why though? Why make all these promises to ourselves for the New Year?

Well, life is a proposition in learning and progress. If we aren't getting smarter as we get older, then I suppose we're getting dumber. I learned over the years that getting too excited, for the good or bad, isn't practical. I learned that no one likes being yelled at and people dislike sarcasm at least as much. It is not good to give too much, to receive too much, to love too strongly or to hate at all. These are life lessons that came after passing through some tough places in my timeline. Let me make it clear that this is my truth -- and not one I feel I have to prove to any estimable logic. It is just stuff that came along when I was going through life.

Living easy is an ideal for me. Of course, living easy doesn't mean not paying my bills or being lazy, sleeping in too much or being a patsy for anyone. It means a lot of things, though, from not letting anyone take up space in your own head to letting go of junk that really doesn't matter much anyway.

Of all the things I least miss about my youth, it is those feelings of intense passion that came with throwing myself 150 percent into something, espousing causes of so-called 'right' and 'wrong' and feeling so sure about something that I had to convince people I was right and they weren't that I miss the very least. I don't harbor bad feelings. I don't mull over good old days or bad old days. I finally live in the context of the day. I seek peace and it finds me a lot of the time. You know, it beats the heck out of the status quo just a few years ago.

I am so lucky to be living the life I have today, right now. I am grateful for it. I thank God for it. It became a more beautiful, more shining universe, indeed, when I finally came to the understanding that I was not the only one in it. There are other people in that universe too.

When I went through alcohol rehab, and in my early recovery, people in AA used to talk about the "promises of sobriety." There were a few. But, there was some confusion on a couple major points for me that took a while to understand and accept. I thought I would get everyone back in my 'new life,' the ones I ticked off with my old days when my mental health issues were un-medicated and lived like a drunk. This thought was a mistake. Yes, I have wonderful relationships today; a great family. It is not the one that was there before my bad times, though. Some bridges cannot be rebuilt once they are burned or mined and blown up with a keg of C-4. This is alright, though, because sometimes the only way to welcome what is new and wonderful is to let go of something else that was old and uncomfortable. I guess that means saying goodbye can be better than trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

Today, I celebrate the love and friendship I have in my life, while at the same time making friends with the ghosts of those old people and events of the past. In trying to change and doing better, I honor my past and at the same time my present and future.

I like that.

I daresay there was only one perfect person ever born to this world -- he was it. And, we all just got done celebrating his birthday. For the rest of us, life is sometimes -- not all the time -- an uphill struggle that weighs on us when the going gets tough. I choose to let go of the past and embrace now and the future. History is not changed with good intentions. Nothing can change history, whether that is good history or bad. I don't waste any ink crossing out history anymore, though. I use that ink to write today's story and try and make it the best I can.

Hate is just an ugly thing. It isn't worth hating anyone for anything, and that includes ourselves for things that, when it is all said and done, can't be changed anyway. Today, we have the gift of life. It is up to us not to seize it (seizing life is for young people with a lot of energy) but to welcome it and try as best we can to turn that new, blank slate into happy memories.

Not every day is going to be sunshine and roses. But, when you start looking for them, you'll notice a lot more sunshine and roses than you did when you turned a blind eye to them.

As always, thanks for reading and do have a lovely day.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Dear Readers,

I thank you so much for coming and reading news here. I know that people come here for solid content, and I try very hard to make that content thoughtful and pertinent. In addition, I try very hard to ensure that content is free of smut, political bias or any kind of evil sentiment. Why? Because so much of the world thrives on such terrible things these days. 

For those who follow this site, that means something. While I am far from the perfect Christian, I choose to make Christmas and that blessed week until New Years a special time, a family time. Yes, the terrors of the world are still out there. They happen every day. Maybe it is neglect for not chronicling them this week. Yet, it just seems right to let that wait a little while.

Bad news can wait until January 2nd, I think. God bless to you and yours, and I wish you all light and love during this wonderful season. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lost Gospels of Bible 4 - The Gospel of Mary

German Christmas Traditions with Helga and the Nutcracker at Epcot

The reason for the season: Peace on Earth


I am an unabashed Christian. I love my God, my country and my family. These things are the center of my universe. I report news here. But, for this season, this Christmas Season, I do not want to focus on the evil in the world. It is enough to know that it is there. It not only waits but strikes during this, the brightest season of all.

Still, there is a time to abandon harsh reality; to suspend our negative beliefs. Whether or not the historical Christ was actually born in December is not at issue: He wasn't. However, he was born and this is the season we remember Him. And, thank God he came.

Christmas can be a time when we allow our better angels more sway than the rest of the year. It can be a break from the coldness of a world that has grown bleak with bad news from every corner. So, it is a treat to be able to sing together, gather with our friends and family, laugh a little and maybe even watch a Christmas show that touches a place in our hearts.

When I was a seminarian, the president of my seminary used to say that we live in a "post modern world." I didn't know what that was for the longest time. It was something he said. After a few years of hearing him say that, I took the time to look up what exactly "post modern" meant. In short, it means that no one believes anything anymore, and that cynicism is the rule of the day.

I believe he is right. I also believe, though, that this is the Christmas Season and I will try as best as I can to honor the birth of my personal savior, Jesus Christ. I will, for a time, allow the sun to shine a bit brighter, to linger a little longer when it comes to talking to my friends and family, to walk a little more sharply and to smile a little more.

Let the world not be gray for a time. Let there be a shine, a sparkle for at least this season. Let these few days be a time when the smiles of children, the antics of our pets, our homes and hearths, be the inspiration of a span of time. In our hearts, let us remind ourselves of the people we dream of being and let that shine through.

I thank all of my readers for stopping by and reading this. May you have the peace of the season upon you. God bless to you and yours.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dean Martin - Let it Snow!

Prince Harry Reunites With African Orphan

According to a story in People Royals, by Stephanie Petit, titled "Reunion with Orphan He First Met 12 Years Ago," there was a recent reunion between Great Britain's Prince Harry, 32, and a Lesotho, Africa orphan he previously met, named Mutsu.

Mutsu, now 16 years old, shared a hug and caught up with Harry. The prince first met Mutsu when he took his first overseas trip to Kensington Palace, in London, at the age of four to perform during a fund-raising concert as part of a choir sponsored by one of Harry's charities.

For the full story, follow the link HERE.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Funny Cats : Chorus line of Kittens performs Christmas dance

5 Real Life Christmas Miracles That Actually Happened

As we become adults and face the realities of life, Christmas might lose its luster for some of us. As cynical as I am after a half century, I remind myself there are things that sparkle in life.

Evolution of Santa Claus | History

In-keeping with the season, here is a History Channel presentation on the evolution of Father Christmas himself, Santa Claus.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dean Martin - Let it Snow! happy Holidays Everyone!

Matt Redman - Abide With Me (Live)

Happy Sunday everyone, and may you and your families be blessed in this Holiday Season.

Discovery Channel: Einstein, Scientist for the Ages

Albert Einstein gave the world so much understanding about science, and about ourselves. He is someone whose work should be remembered, and life celebrated.

Ghost of the Machine: The Vladimir Putin Story

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

There is a new idea in the United States today, by some, who cannot remember the Cold War, who never understood the threat that the former Soviet Union posed to the world and still does. Moreover, the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, despite his media savvy and colorful comments, remains a dangerous man and not someone Americans should see as "Uncle Vlad." 

Putin was born on October 7, 1952 to Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin and Maria Ivanova Putina. He had two brothers, Viktor and Albert, both born during the mid-1930s.  His brother, Viktor, died of diphtheria during the Siege of Leningrad by the German Army (Sept. 8, 1941-Jan. 27, 1944). Meanwhile, Putin's brother, Albert, died when he was just an infant. 

Vladimir Putin
Maria Putina
Putin's mother was a factory worker, while his father was an Army conscript in the Soviet Navy, who served in the Soviet Submarine service during the 1930s, until the outbreak of World War II when he was assigned as a soldier in the NKVD's destruction battalion. Later, Putin's father served in the Regular Army until he was severely wounded in 1942.

Putin was born long after the war. He was focused since the very beginning of his childhood on one day becoming a Soviet intelligence officer. His passions then included judo and a martial art called sambo. In high school in St. Petersburg High School 281, he studied German and speaks the language fluently. 

Putin studied law at Saint Petersburg State University beginning in 1970. When he graduated in 1975, his thesis was "The Most Favored Nation Trading Principle in International Law."

After he graduated from university, Putin immediately joined the KGB. He initially trained, as many others before him, at the 401st KGB School in Okhta, in Saint Petersburg. Upon his graduation, Putin immediately began working in counter-intelligence. He was a counter-intelligence operator, monitoring foreigners and Soviet officials, until 1985, when he was transferred again. 
Putin: The KGB professional

In Dresden, East Germany, Putin used a cover identity as a translator. However, his actual job was serving as a soviet agent there. When the wall finally came down, separating East and West Germany, Putin admitted in his biography that he burned KGB files to prevent demonstrators from obtaining files that cataloged KGB atrocities in East Germany. So, following the fall of the border between the formerly two Germanies, Putin returned to Saint Petersburg University and began scouting potential recruits for the KGB.

But, Putin resigned his post at the KGB, as a lieutenant colonel, in August, 1991 -- on the second day of the coup d'etat against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Putin said, "As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided wich side I was on."

It was a banner year for Putin in 1999, when then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin dismissed his prime minister and promoted former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Putin to the position. Yeltsin then resigned and, in appointed Putin as president as he left office. It was not until 2008 that Putin could run for the presidency of the Russian Federation in his own right. So, he was appointed prime minsiter by his successor and also served as head of the Secret Police. Then, in March 2012 Putin attained his former post of president by the vote. 
Putin the master politician

Putin has remained in power since the election of 2008. He has no likely successor in the immediate or foreseen future. Though it is unlikely he will have a lifetime role as Russia's leader, under their system of government, with no term limits, it is open for him to serve decades in his post. 
In the old Soviet Union, Putin, as a counter-intelligence and espionage operative held great trust and had many connections, which eventually led him to the presidency. When he was constitutionally unable to occupy his current office, it was his colleagues from the former Soviet Union, and likely his associates at the former KGB that assisted greatly with him being appointed to high positions of power in the interim. Perhaps the organization of the KGB ceased operation, but not the political power brokers who were once at its heart. 

Why Putin among all others? Well, that is only known by the shadowy collective of former Soviet leaders who promoted his career. However, being a trusted KGB officer, who was a lawyer who had considerable knowledge about international law, and who was well-versed in German language did not hurt his case. If such a man were made the Russian president then he could help the Old Guard Soviet leadership maintain its power while creating a facade of change for the Russian people. 

This is where we find ourselves today, still living with the shadow of the former Soviet Union not just at Russia's chief executive, but no doubt still behind the curtain of power at the highest levels of the Russian Federation. 

Yes, Putin has talked a good game about paying court to democracy. But, then, like all politicians, his chore is sleight of hand. He is not the Soviet Union's agent of change for democracy. He is, in fact, its continued legacy. Lying is not above a known espionage operatives, or a former head of the Secret Police -- anyone's Secret Police. Mr. Putin could very well be a fail-safe against democracy by the Old Guard who was handpicked to carry on business as usual in the  new Russian Federation.

There are arguments that Putin made the last break with his former Old Guard masters when he fired his former chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, in August 2016. Is this a sign of his fatigue with his Soviet past? Could it be a ruse? Or, maybe, Putin has decided to go the route of a dictator. Only time will tell. 

For more information about Vladimir Putin click HERE.
For additional biographical material, click HERE.
For information about KGB power brokers after the fall of communism, click HERE.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Researching story about Vladimir Putin

Hi Readers,

Usually, I post something every day. However, I am working on a credible biography of Russian President Vladimir Putin and it is taking a certain amount of time. I do not want to get anything wrong. I want this to be a good biography that readers can trust. So, it takes a little time. It will be posted sometime tomorrow and I promise it will not be a waste of your time. So, thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Russian-backed Syrian troops reportedly massacre 82 civilians

Reports of Syrian troops murdering civilians are coming from Aleppo.
According to a story by CNN staffers Angela Dawn, Euan McKirdy and Joe Sterling, dated December 13, 2016 titled "Russia: Syria establishes control over eastern Aleppo,"things have taken a turn for the tragic in Syria. There are reports that 82 people have been brutally murdered by the Russian-backed regime of the Syrian Government. Among those murdered by Syrian Government forces were women and children.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power leveled blame directly at Syria and Russia. Power said, referring to the two governments, "Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there nothing you will not lie about?"

Power said of yesterday's Syrian Government attack on civilians: "Your barrel bombs and is your noose." Until yesterday, rebels held eastern Aleppo for more than four years, dating back to the Arab Spring Uprising. Sources inside Aleppo have stated that any civilians with family links to any suspected rebels were being hunted down. "Every hour, butcheries are carried out," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Aleppo's residents flee as Syria hunts down the family members of rebels

The massacre at Aleppo has not been confirmed, as of yet, by the Syrian Government or its state-run media. Meanwhile, CNN has not yet been able to confirm the murders through official sources. Still, Power spoke assertively on the issue in no uncertain terms. She directly blamed both Russia and Syria for the murders.

Meanwhile, Russia's Ambassador to the UN informed the UN Security Council Vitaly Churkin today that "over the last hour we've received information that all military activities in east Aleppo have stopped." Churkin stated that, with the Syrian Government firmly in control of east Aleppo, it sets the stage for "practical humanitarian initiatives." However, Churkin refused to comment about the conduct of the massacre or his country's or Syria's involvement in the civilian murders.

For the full CNN story about recent events at Aleppo click HERE.

For a summary of the entire four-year battle at Aleppo, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Relaxing Fireplace with Christmas Music

Best Of Great Smoky Mountains National Park | America's National Parks

The Great Smoky Mountains
I used to live in Franklin, North Carolina, which is in the Great Smoky Mountains. Frankly, there were some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen there. There is beauty everywhere, and the Great Smoky Mountains is one of those places.

The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range that rises along the Tennessee-North Carolina border in the southeastern United States. The Great Smoky Mountains National State Park consists of most of the mountain range. The state park was established in 1934.

The Great Smokies are part of an international biosphere reserve and consists of 187,000 acres.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Commentary: Colin Kaepernick is acting like a punk...there it is

Colin Kaepernick: Disrespectful to the US


Colin Kaepernick and his protests during the playing of the National Anthem before football games should never have begun. America is not perfect. Since it is a democratic republic, the United States exists by the rule of law. Leaders are elected. There is a lot of bureaucracy in this country. America struggles with hate, conflicted politics, unending wars, an economy that is sometimes predatory, and the span between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ has never been wider. So, Kaepernick thinks his protest will do…what?

Let’s see…is Kaepernick’s taking a knee at the National Anthem change anything? No. Will his protest put anyone back to work? No. Just what is he ‘raising awareness’ about? I haven’t heard anything. He just decided to protest because the United States isn’t perfect. Well, as imperfect as this country is, it is still the freest nation in the world. Don’t believe it? Go shopping for another country and move. Try it out.

I respect protest. I have protested for peace during the early days of the Iraq War. I have protested for civil rights in New Jersey during my tenure as an NAACP volunteer. In both cases, both kinds of protest were specific. I protested the war in Downtown Manhattan as part of a group that had its specific ideas about Iraq – and why the U.S. shouldn’t be fighting there – broadcast on television, in the newspapers and online. When it came to the NAACP, we protested establishments that were, in the group’s view, demonstrating bias based on race and color. Before and during the protests, the targets of those protests were met with and very specific goals for policy changes were submitted to the persons concerned.

How is Kaepernick’s protest different? Because he doesn’t make a clear case about what he is protesting. Without that, I suppose he is just protesting an imperfect world. He is not protesting whomever he believes is doing wrong. He is protesting in front of scores of people who neither know nor care about what he doesn’t like. He is protesting as part of his job as an over-paid, only so-so quarterback talent for a poorly performing 49er team. His message is to disrespect the American flag and our National Anthem because it’s fun and can be done.
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson

According to CBS Sports, Kaepernick does give about $1 million per year to charity. Meanwhile, I guarantee you that the money he gives to charity does 1000 percent more for real problems than taking a knee and telling the country responsible for his success to ‘go blow.’

I haven’t watched much of the NFL this year, because I am sick and tired of over-indulged, high-priced, mediocre players who have been given everything and seem to give back only nonsense, guff and headlines for stupidity. This Kaepernick is just the icing on the cake for me.

Reggie Jackson was a free thinker. I have met Reggie before, at a job I used to work at for a sports memorabilia company. By the way, he was nothing like the showman he portrayed during his Yankee days. He was a prince: modest, affable and just a total gentleman. 

Reggie was probably the most dangerous two-strike hitter ever in MLB ever, but certainly so in the late 1970s. He was considered a showboat and not a team guy by some people. He made fun of most everything – but never the United States, its flag or its National Anthem. Why? It’s a matter of class. Class can’t be bought or paid for, it cannot be ordered through Amazon, someone can only fake class for so long and then there is knowing that there’s a line and being cognizant of where it is so someone doesn’t cross over it.
All-time great Roy White

Colin Kaepernick gives the game a bad image. His actions reflect not just on him and the 49ers, but the National Football League. By the by, why the heck hasn’t anyone at the top of the NFL stopped this mockery?

The problem doesn’t begin or end at with Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers or even the NFL. The problem is that athletes today act like spoiled children, not role models. I weep for sports.

I have met, a few times, Roy White, the steady handed outfielder for the New York Yankees during the Bronx Zoo days of the late 1970s. I have never asked him about how he would feel about someone protesting during a game. So, what I am giving is my own opinion, not his. 

Roy was a steady .290 hitter against some of the toughest major league pitching talent that ever existed, from Nolan Ryan, in his prime, to Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Luis Tiant, Bill Lee, and so on.  He is grateful for his playing days, for the fans that followed his career. He is a real gentleman and created his own business from the ground up during and after his playing days. Roy White was also a black ball player when it wasn’t an everyday thing. He suffered being under-paid, harassed for his color and a mercurial fan base and club house that might make many of us shrink.

Why didn’t Roy White protest? Oh yeah, he is a grown man, unspoiled by life. He understands the world as it is. He respects people, especially his fellow players and fans, and he loves this country. Roy White got noticed for his exceptional play at a time when the talent pool of MLB was extraordinarily high, before expansion when people who should have still been playing AA or AAA ball were in the minors and not playing in the show. He didn’t get noticed because he took a knee for some ridiculous protest.

The NFL will little note nor long remember the career of Colin Kaepernick. Yes, he is a good quarterback – not great, not very good, not particularly all that talented. What he will be remembered for after his playing days won’t be his touchdown to interception ratio, or his passing statistics or anything that happens on the field. He will be the guy who told the United States to go shove it on some of the biggest stages of his day. He’s a punk and there it is.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Casting Crowns Perform 'Glorious Day'

Sunday is a wonderful time to remember our Lord. Happy Sunday and may everyone have great prosperity and health in their lives.

Real Company Stokes 'Zombie Apocalypse' Fears For Some


In order to report something as outlandish as an actual company, Bioquark, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attempting to regenerate dead nervous systems in people, multiple credible sources have to be used. So, I am using a May 24, 2016 report by Washington Post staffer Ariana Eunjung Cha, from an article titled "Sparking fears of a zombie apocalypse: Controversial study aims to 'reanimate' the brain dead" as a reference. In addition, I am using an IFL Science titled "Biotech Company Granted Ethical Permission To Attempt To Use Stem Cells To Reactivate The Brains Of The Dead," by Staff Writer Robin Andrews, written in March, 2016. Finally, I am using a Nature World News article, "This Biotech Company Could Be the Site of A Zombie Breakthrough," by Staff Writer John Raphael, dated May 5, 2016.
Bioquark CEO Ira Pastor

There are many sources online that present 'fake news.' The Purcell Chronicles is not one of them. This story is based on research from credible sources.

According to the Washington Post, Bioquark CEO Ira Pastor has declared his firm's intention of taking 20 brain-dead patients and attempting to "regenerate" their nervous systems. Mr. Pastor has received criticisms from every major religion for his company's works. Meanwhile, Mr. Pastor characterizes those critics as being from the "zombie contingent" for dark fears his firm will be the launching pad of a zombie epidemic. According to Mr. Pastor, many people have asked not to go forward in his company's work for fear of creating a zombie apocalypse.

According to Bioquark's own website, the company " focused on the development of novel biologics that have the ability to alter the regulatory state of human tissues and organs, with the goal of curing a range of chronic diseases, as well as effecting complex regeneration."

According to IFL Science, Bioquark has been given permission by institutional review boards in the U.S. and India to use 20 brain-dead patients for their study. Specifically, Bioquark plans to stimulate their nervous systems in order to restart their brains. The IFL Science report explained that the central nervous system is bioelectrochemical in nature. This system uses biologically manufactured chemicals called 'neirotransmitters' to convey electrical impulses through the body. Stimulating neurons in people, even if they are in a coma, is possible. However, after brain death, neurons wither and degenerate. It is because of this that, for any 'resurrection' to happen, the team must stimulate regeneration of neurons in these brain dead people.

According to Nature World News, Bioquark is partnering with Revita Life, in hopes of having a better understanding on how "to reverse death." The first trial for this project will, reportedly, involve patients who are declared as physically dead, or brain dead, and are only being kept alive by life support. After treatment by specialized teams, these patients will be put under strict observation for about six months. What researchers will be looking for are signs of regeneration in the upper spinal cord using brain imaging technology.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

[National Geographic] Expedition Wild: Inside The Wolf Pack (Wildlife Do...

World Human Rights Day 10 DECEMBER 2016

Today, Dec. 10, 2016, is International Human Rights Day worldwide.

Psychology: What Makes a Pretty Face

Researchers looked into what makes a pretty face.

In an article written by Alison Pearce Stevens for Science News For Students, the question is asked in psychological terms: What makes a pretty face?

Attractive people do draw more attention than the rest of us. Good looks can be a great asset for people in life. But, what is beauty? The answer to that question is not as simple as it seems. Researchers have discovered some elements that makes some more attractive than others.

Researchers have begun to look into how beauty affects not only people but other animals as well. By doing this work, some common features of 'what is beauty' have been noted.

Scientists have learned there is a practical side to beauty. A pretty face is likely to belong to a very healthy person. Another thought by researchers is that a pretty face may just be easier for our brains to process.

According to scientists, symmetry is important in the equation of beauty. The left and right sides look like each other. Maybe they are not mirror perfect, but they are close. It is reported that our eyes read faces with proportions that are roughly equal.

According to Anthony Little, a psychologist at the University of Stirling in Scotland, "Symmetry looks normal to us. And we then like it." This normality is equated to being average, Little said. Of course, in this sense "average" does not mean "so-so." Instead, average faces equate to a mathematical average (or mean) of most people's features.

Little pointed out that 'averageness' includes many different factors, including the size of features and their arrangement on a face. As an example, the distance between the center of a woman's eyes impacts whether she is considered beautiful. People would find her most attractive if the distance is just under half the distance between a woman's eyes and mouth.

For the full article, click HERE.

Friday, December 9, 2016

'A Charlie Brown Christmas' Premiers 51 Years Ago Today

For the first time, on Dec. 9, 1965, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" made its debut on television. Since then, the wonderful creations of artist Charles Shultz have become a holiday staple.

The Minions sing "12 Days of Christmas"

God bless to everyone in this joyous season of renewal. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Remembering John Glenn: First Man in Orbit, 1962

Today, as the world lost one of its great heroes, John Glenn, it is altogether right to remember one of Mr. Glenn's most shining contributions to the world.

John Glenn, Astronaut And Ex US Senator, Dies At Age 95

John Glenn, the former U.S. senator and astronaut, died today, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. He was 95 years old.
Astronaut John Glenn

In the history books, among his many aviation achievements, John Glenn was the first man to orbit the planet earth. Most recently, Sen. Glenn was hospitalized at the James Cancer Center at the Ohio State University. During 2014, Sen. Glenn had a heart valve replacement procedure done.

Sen. Glenn, after his political career was over, had established an office at the Ohio State University. At OSU, Sen. Glenn founded the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

John Glenn
During the 1960s, Sen. Glenn, who was previously a US Marine Corps aviator, became one of America's seven original astronauts. There were many doubts about the the Friendship 7 mission that then-astronaut Glenn was taking part in. However, with Sen. Glenn commanding the mission, armed with determination and expert flying skills, the outcome was successful. Afterward, Sen. Glenn met then-President John F.
Kennedy at the White House. In addition, a ticker-tape parade was thrown for the returning astronaut and his wife up Broadway, in New York City.

Sen. Glenn is survived by his wife, the former Anna Margaret Castor; two children, Carolyn Ann Glenn and John David Glenn; and two grandsons, Daniel and Zach Glenn.

Special Report: John Glenn, Astronaut And Former US Senator, Dies At Age 95

John Glenn, the former U.S. senator and astronaut, died today, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. He was 95 years old.

In the history books, among his many aviation achievements, John Glenn was the first man to orbit the planet earth. Most recently, Sen. Glenn was hospitalized at the James Cancer Center at the Ohio State University. During 2014, Sen. Glenn had a heart valve replacement procedure done.

Sen. Glenn, after his political career was over, had established an office at the Ohio State University. At OSU, Sen. Glenn founded the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

During the 1960s, Sen. Glenn, who was previously a US Marine Corps aviator, was one of America's seven original astronauts. There were many doubts about the the Friendship 7 mission that then-astronaut Glenn was taking part in. However, with Sen. Glenn commanding the mission, armed with determination and expert flying skills, the outcome was successful. Afterward, Sen. Glenn met then-President John F. Kennedy at the White House. In addition, a ticker-tape parade was thrown for the returning astronaut and his wife up Broadway, in New York City.

Sen. Glenn is survived by his wife, the former Anna Margaret Castor; two children, Carolyn Ann Glenn and John David Glenn; and two grandsons, Daniel and Zach Glenn.

Life expectancy for males dropped since 2015

Information from the National Center for Health Statistics revealed a life expectancy drop for men from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 in 2015. Meanwhile, research has shown distinct rises in heart disease, dementia and accidental infant deaths.

Life span has improved steadily since 1950, when the life expectancy for makes was 68 years. During the 1980s, there was a dip in life span due to influenza.

"This is unusual," author Jiaquan Xu said. Xu is also an epidemiologist with NCHS. "It looks like much more death than we have seen in recent years."

While various causes of death have risen during 2015, one stands out -- incidence of death from Alzheimer's related causes -- by more than 15 percent during 2015. Scientists also credit the life span drop to on aging population and obesity.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Origins of Algebra: A Mathematical Foundation

America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918

One of the most terrible pandemics in modern history was 1918 Influenza, which killed about 675,000 people in the United States and between 50 and 100 million worldwide. The virus was very from January of 1918 through December, 1920.
The H1N1 virus associated with 1918 flu.

About 500 million people around the world were infected with the H1N1 influenza virus. Regions as far as the Pacific islands and the Arctic. While the disease was active, it killed between three and five percent of the world's population at that time.

Many times, 'normal flu' would strike those who are weakest physically -- elderly people, children, those with existing health conditions. In contrast, though, 1918 Influenza tended to strike at people who were previously very healthy. Young adults were typical victims of this kind of flu.

The 1918 Influenza outbreak devastated Europe, especially during World War I. During the outbreak, the virus was given the nickname of the "Spanish flu."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's a Wonderful Life: Christmas Fun for Everyone

"It's A Wonderful Life" is a Christmas tradition for many people. I thought I would put it up for those interested in perhaps adding it to your Christmas tradition.

NASA Awards Contract for Refueling Mission Spacecraft

NASA has awaded the Restore-L Spacecraft Bus and Support Services contract to Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California. The contract is worth $127 million.

Space Systems/Loral will provide spacecraft bus, critical hardware and services for the development, deployment and operations of the Restore-L mission. The Satellite Servicing Projects Division at Goddard was established in 2009 to continue NASA's 40-year legacy of satellite servicing and repair.

Remembering Ryan White


Ryan White was a teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, born on Dec. 6, 1971. He would die on April 8, 1990. However, what this young man did with the time that was given  him is something worth remembering.
Ryan White

Ryan was a national poster child for HIV/AIDS throughout the United States. He had been diagnosed with AIDS after he failed being re-admitted to school. Unfortunately, Ryan, a hemophiliac, had been given a blood treatment tainted with HIV. When he was first diagnosed, in 1984, he was given six months to live. Well, Ryan out-lived that diagnosis by five years and died one month before his high-school graduation.

Ryan tried very hard to get re-admitted to Western School, located in Russiaville, Illinois, near his hometown of Kokomo. There was a lengthy appeal process for the school's decision, and the media coverage that ensued vaulted Ryan into the status of celebrity.

Following is death, the U.S. Congress enacted the Ryan White Care Act, which has been re-authorized twice. Under this act, the largest number of people with HIV/AIDS than under any other piece of legislation.

Ryan died in the Riley Hospital for Children, in Indianapolis, Indiana, after being admitted on March 29, 1990. More than 1,500 people attended his funeral on April 11 that year. In his remembrance of Ryan, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan said, "We owe it to Ryan to make sure that the fear and ignorance that chased him from his home and school will be eliminated."

Monday, December 5, 2016

NAFTA Explained: US History Review

With so much in the news about overseas trade and its impact on the American economy, I thought it would be good to post something that explains just what all the controversy is about to the average person.

Misdirected Help?

We often offer Help To and For people in need, 
but what we should do is to offer help With those in need.
This approach works especially well with addicts and others whose goal is to build self-esteem and self-worth

By David H. Kerr               

Many people and agencies have been providing services to and for addicts, inmates and/or those with mental health issues, and this includes those with all of these issues combined.  In fact, when an issue is found, a label will be pronounced and this is in line with the psychoanalytic approach and a way to secure funding to help “a client.”  In my experience, this is exactly the wrong approach for many, but especially for addicts who must learn to take charge of their life, their families and their recovery.  They need to be encouraged to know their own strengths, even their greatness as well as the contribution that they can and will make not only to themselves but to others, i.e. their family and the community.  You might call this inspirational help and coaching.

In my experience, it is better to learn how to offer help with those in need than to those in need.  It is simple if you can truly care for the person whom we inappropriately call “client[1].”  This doesn’t mean babbling sympathy but some empathy, concern and understanding is critical.  Also, our present approach is often to fire many questions at a person coming for help, so that we can put together an appropriate (fundable) state &/or insurance approved "Initial Assessment," complete with an approved label - i.e. "emotionally disturbed" or "addicted with co-occurring issues," etc., etc.  Also, be very aware of the temptation to prescribe help via drugs.  I recommend working for six months with a person with addiction before offering a prescription even for drugs like suboxone.  In many cases, this dulls the interest by the person with addiction in making any substantive personal change, and with those addicted, a substantial personal change is usually essential.

We shouldn’t be throwing help at a client.  Rather we should be drawing strengths and direction from the person asking for help.  We should be creating an equal or one to one relationship with a person so that information is shared with, not dumped on the person in need of help, guidance and direction.  All of this information must come from the person with addiction.  We help a person by developing a relationship; by demonstrating caring; by coaching and by encouraging and promoting what he/she has that is positive.  Self-esteem and self-worth should be the goal.  The “what can you do and what have you done to help yourself” approach is most effective with addictsand also with the co-occurring recovering people with whom I have worked.  No inflicted labels but rather a caring, guided and sometimes necessarily confrontive[2] approach that puts you in the role of friend and coach rather than counselor.  More importantly, it allows them to better understand the role they must take in their own self-improvement.  Remember that addicts are not helpless or stupid.  In fact national tests show them to have above average intelligence[3].

Work together with the person with addiction showing empathy, not sympathy.  Promote truth in your relationship, and encourage self-learning and self-worth.  Recovery is a long road, and treatment, engagement and coaching will help the person with addiction learn to climb and feel more secure, especially during the first five years of lifestyle change.

[1] I do not like the names (labels) we call people with addiction.  Use their first names instead.  Talk to the person with addiction as a friend/colleague and reason with him/her in normal conversation.  You’re not there to do for him what he must do for himself.
[2] People with the disease of addiction have often had to learn to “stretch the truth” or to flat out lie to receive your money for their drugs.  Criminal addicts have perfected “the language of the lie,” often to the point of believing their lies as truth.


Posted on November 28, 2011
“A new longitudinal study into the relationship between measured levels of intelligence, and addiction shows a marked tendency toward more addiction behavior among those with higher IQs -- twice as much for men, and a three times greater likelihood among women. Also a look at new research on brain physiology and its relation to pain.”
Call Us: (800) 888-0617  CNS Productions inc a leader in drug education since 1980.   Paul J. Steinbroner was born March 18, 1949 in Los Angeles. In 1983, he founded CNS Productions, a publishing and distribution company specializing in topics related to addiction, neuropharmacology, and brain chemistry. He is the publisher of Uppers, Downers, All Arounders, a textbook on theneurochemistry and neuropharmacology of psychoactive drugs. Paul Steinbroner has also produced over fifty films and videos on this subject.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

NASA Images / Videos of Space - Earth and Beyond - Wonderful Images Of S...

Happy Birthday, Walt Disney!


Entertainment entrepreneur Walter Elias Disney, better known to the world as "Walt Disney," was born on Dec. 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. Though Mr. Disney died on Dec. 15, 1966, at the age of 65, his life has left a rich legacy that continues until today.
Walt Disney

Walt Disney was a pioneer in the American animation industry, and though he may be remembered today for Walt Disney World and Disney Pictures, the late Mr. Disney still maintains an unprecedented record all his own with the Academy Awards. As a film producer, Walt Disney was nominated 59 times for his work in animation features. In addition, the innovator of Mickey Mouse won 22 of those Oscars.

Mr. Disney moved to Hollywood, California and established Disney Brother Studios, along with his brother, Roy, in the 1920s. In 1928, Disney Studios came up with its landmark creation courtesy of Mr. Disney and Ub Iwerks, a cartoon mouse that has come to be known in every corner of the world as "Mickey."

Disney Studios then went on to make a slew of motion pictures, considered widely to be classics of the Golden Age of animation, including: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," (1937); "Fantasia," (1940); "Dumbo," (1941); and "Bambi," (1942).

With Disney Studios prospering, Mr. Disney decided it was time for the Disney Company to branch out and, in 1955, he opened up the Disneyland Amusement Park. To fund the ambitious theme park venture, Mr. Disney brought "Walt Disney's Disneyland" and "The Mickey Mouse" to the small screen as television programs broadcast throughout the country.

Not only did Mr. Disney himself become a cultural icon who has stood the test of time, but the company he founded with his brother so long ago continues to be one of the largest and best known entertainment companies the world over.