Stuff

Dec 22, 2007 at 11:38 AM
Here is a great list of reasons to ban guns. I've never heard a more compelling argument.

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I'm in CW right now trying to catch up with work while also on my honeymoon.

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I am blissfully happy and very very nauseating to talk to. Michael this and Michael that and he's so great and I love him so much.

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My little sister just broke up with Zane, so I'm intensely unhelpful. Al I can do is talk about my great new husband and she's broken hearted. I'm trying SOOOOO hard to be understanding though, because I've BEEN there.

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My older sister kicks ass, I love her.

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Vegas was amazing. We were upgraded to the Penthouse suite for free. I took a panorama of that place and will post the pictures soon. It was the 44th floor. It would have been dazzling if I'd been able to open the curtains. Michael's not fond of heights. All the more like Pretty Woman, honestly. The hot tub was the size of my car.

Now we're staying in my sister's husband's father's condo in CW. Very posh. Fantastic view. I took a panorama of that as well, and will post after I can get a chance to photoshop it together for you. Spectacular view. Best in CW, and I'm having a blast hanging out with Michael in that condo.


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Well, I'm trying to stuff some work into my morning before Michael wakes up. So I'll post another time soon.

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days

Dec 14, 2007 at 6:49 PM

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days

at 6:49 PM

On Wealth

at 1:31 PM
I'm surrounded by wealthy people in a minor mecca of oppulence in America, Palm Springs.

This morning, I went to the Hotel restaurant to eat, and I'm all smiles, because Michael/Woody is treating me very well.

The woman sitting at the next table is dripping with the ephemora of wealth, the gold earrings, the bejeweled sandals, the wristwatch that costs enough to feed a small third world country. Her wry face and staid elegance reeked of "I'm too much better than you to communicate to". She was trying to be as unhappy as possible while eating her 40 dollar waffle and fruit plate.

I had been talking to the waiter, his name is Ignacio, and he's from Michoacan, which I know something about. He's called Iggy by his friends. His wife was the omelette chef, and had done a spectacular job making me a spinach omelette (almost as good as the ones at the B&B back home that cost about 15% as much). I liked Iggy, he's a bright shining star of kindness and deserves the good tip I left.

Meanwhile, the lady at the next table treats him like the Mexican low-level help she sees him as, complaining about the service.

I smile at everyone, and look around me cheerfully, so every waiter and waitress in the place is treating me like royalty, and I'm getting some of the best table service I've ever had. My cup of coffee is refilled before I think about it, my orange juice runneth over.

The lady at teh next table accidentally knocks her napkin off, and I get it from the floor and use the opportunity to strike up a conversation. She's here for a weekend of golf with her husband, and I start running tone scale drills on her. Eventually, she's laughing deep belly laughs and talking about how funny those working husbands are, taking you places and disappearing for hours to work.

We walked out together, still smiling.

She's going to have a better weekend now, I think.

Basically, it's just more proof to me that money has nothing to do with happiness.

Back home in Myrtle Pt, a guy named Tim is happily working for a probably tiny wage, lugging wood around the Hardware store, living his life in constant happiness, because he's a great person and his life is a generally happy one that he has created for himself.

I know about 20 people in Myrtle Pt, who collectively make less than that woman's husband does, but her mood was sour and dry. I really found her to be in need of help, company, someone to talk to.

The money means nothing. I pay attention to the emotional tone someone displays, the willingness to communicate, to help. How real are they? What does the social veneer cover?

Can they be of value to others?

That's the real sign of a successful life.

Early Morning in the Woods

Dec 10, 2007 at 9:03 PM

It was a beautiful morning this morning. Everything was crisp and covered in ice. The ground does not give beneath your feet any more than pavement when it gets cold here.

It was bitter bitter cold this morning, and this photo doesn't really convey how pretty it was out this morning at dawn. For one thing, it doesn't show the amazing fog very well, and you can only tell it's fristy out because the grass is the wrong color.

But trust me, I loved it.

I'm definitely going to miss the woods.

Fox News 13 Tampa Bay Kills Expose Story

Dec 9, 2007 at 10:44 PM



This is my old news station - no surprise to me that they tweaked the news - watch til the end and you'll get why this relates.

A dozen times I watched them tell a story about the church and spin it totally bass ackward, so it's nice to see that someone is exposing this station as a seriously skewed station.

My guess is they all are - NewsChannel 8 wasn't much beter.

Stop counter-postulating yourself

at 5:05 PM
Hi -

I have something to say.

You create your own tomorrow. If you choose to fill that tomorrow (in your postulate, considerations, goals and purposes) with doubt, and you choose to fill your life with assignations of responsibility to others, to unknown or all-powerful forces (like fate, luck, God, your horoscope, your mom, the economy, the housing market, etc), you will get what you have put there. There are no unknown forces. There are no secrets, there are no mysteries. Everything that you need to handle is already right there in your own universe, in your life already.

If the basic books of Scientology have taught me anything, it's how to align my life and my goals so that they match.

Whether or not you want to be a Scientologist, I recommend reading the Basic books of Scientology. No education in life is complete without them.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

at 4:58 PM
Hi -

I have a ridiculous number of places to be this month, and will keep you posted what's happening with me while I'm traveling.

I love the changes that are happening in my life right now. They're all from doing the basics.

I'm going to be on the road for a bit here, but will have the laptop and the means to work while I'm jet setting.

What a change from my usual routine, huh? I usually stay in the cabin all winter, occasionally running to town for supplies, if the roads are clear. I'm going to be flying all over the US this month, and making my VSD happen in my job is going to be really interesting and difficult - but I love a challenge and I welcome change.

I'm one of THEM now

Dec 3, 2007 at 9:19 PM
Hi all.

I generally am known for being one of those people who hates it when couples fall all over themselves to talk about how unbelievably happy they are.

I figured out yesterday that the sole reason for that is because I've never been there before.

So, anyway, I found THAT GUY and I'm all gaga for him. It's sickening (and I love it). I spent 6 hours with my best friend yesterday picking apart the first date and gushing about him.

His name's Michael. He drove 13 hours straight to meet me. It was way worth it. I knew right away that this guy was the guy I'm going to spend my life with.

You'll be hearing more about him very shortly. We both have a rather fast speed of particle flow, so I expect we'll be married within a few months.

More Proof that Math and Art come at the same subject from different angles

Dec 1, 2007 at 5:50 AM



Moebius Transformations Revealed



The geek in me, no matter how I try to cram it down deep, keeps on making me find new things out.



In case you're wondering, the piece in the background is "Of Foreign Lands and People" by Schumann, one of my personal favorites to play.

No more need to travel to see the world

at 5:23 AM
You have got to check this out. Amazing.

Start clicking anywhere in the picture you want to zoom in.

Green

Nov 28, 2007 at 8:07 PM
Wow! Lots of big long posts lately. Sorry - that's how it goes sometimes.

Let's try a nice simple one.

It smells lovely in my house right now. Like cedar and fir trees and clove. Some of you think of that smell as Christmas-y, but actually that's just the smell of winter in the woods. (Commercialism at work.)

I love the smell of winter.

Especially when my woodstove is going, I'm all done piling up wood, and the house is nice and warm.

It's beautiful outside. The branches on the trees are so saturated with water from recent rain that they glisten constantly. The sky is one big halo for the forest, and it's gleaming eerily in the pensive way that only pre-dusk can pull off.

I am so blessed to be living this lovely woods life. I live in a utopia of green.

As soon as my camera gets here (I left it in portland last time and it's getting shipped back) I'll take some new pictures for you guys. You won't believe it.

Shooting my mouth off

at 6:34 PM
I want to talk about the Supreme Court Case regarding the gun ban in Washington, D.C. - I have a remote personal connection to it, and it's been on the news, and on my mind, a bit.

I sincerely hope that the Supreme Court of our Nation is still unalloyed enough - and it would be the only government body that is currently still acting on it's initial mission if it was - to stick to the constitution and wipe away this unconstitutional gun ban. That's their job. I wonder whether they'll do it.

Regardless of what people prefer, the Supreme Court has one job - to make sure law sticks to the documents that our country is based on - to keep the rest of the government from coloring too far outside the lines drawn by the founders.

Considering how well they're doing keeping their part of the deal, is it any wonder that I'm watching this one closely rather than assuming it'll come out rationally?

Why anyone thinks -- in the first place -- that a gun ban is the solution to nasty runaway crime is beyond me - it always results in higher crime. All it does is make the scenario run like this:

----

Criminal doesn't follow the law -- by definition. Law abiding citizen Joe does - again, by definition.

Mr Criminal gets desperate and wants a way to make sure he wins no matter what, so he gets a gun illegally.

Criminal picks and chooses from numerous easy victims without defense equivalent to criminal's offense. He chooses Mr. Law-abiding Citizen Joe.

Criminal invades space belonging to Joe, and having prepared for the fight and with weapon ready he already has two up on luckless Joe.

Joe runs away and - if he's lucky - he has time to grab a makeshift weapon like a bat or frying pan.

Mr Law-abiding citizen Joe becomes Mr. Victim, not because he's weaker or more cowardly, but because of having mismatched defenses.

Mr. Victim is incapacitated.

Mr. Criminal gets away with it.

-----

So the solution is to take away more guns from more law-abiding citizens? I don't personally see how that follows.

Now, it is obvious to anyone who knows how to read crime statistics that disarming the law-abiding does not work. If you would argue with me on this, first read the factual statistics for crime rates - not the media spin in either direction - about the gun bans anywhere they've had one active. Ohio, Australia, San Fran, D.C., London -- you'll find the same trends. Lots more premeditated violent crime.

Criminals are cowards by nature -- it requires cowardice to even consider taking by force that which you are too lazy or have too little self-esteem to go earn for yourself. Criminals are naturally not inclined to register their guns, get them through legal means and such.

So when you have everyone turn in the registered guns, all you're left with are the unregistered criminal's guns.

And violent crime skyrockets because the criminal knows ahead of time that he is not evenly matched and that he probably will get away with it.

So, it follows that if criminals knew that every house in America - or at least a fairly large percentage of them - were armed, there would be far less premeditated violent crime. Sure, the stats would still be what they are for psychotic breaks and for non-violent crime. But the violent crime rates would drop measurably after a burglar or two got knocked down in them in the process of trying to knock down someone else.

Government tries gun bans because they appease people while sneaking away liberties -- they adore solutions with the one-two punch of false-security & stolen-liberty.

But, wouldn't it be totally goofy to try the opposite extreme? I mean, government would N-E-V-E-R do this. I can't imagine anyone doing something so trusting, but imagine if they did...

What if they subsidized the gun ownership of the proven law-abiding citizen?

This idea is, of course, predicated on my basic trust in my fellow men. I really do trust other sane, well-meaning people. I trust them not to misuse power. I trust the average Joe with gun ownership.

Don't you?

Basically, under such a hypothetical subsidy, someone like me who has never committed a crime, lives well (and could get someone else with such a squeaky clean past to vouch for them) could get a tax break for owning a gun. Even better if he got another tax break for getting gun training so he knows how to use the thing.

It would result in a very high number of houses with guns owned by relatively sane, trustworthy people.

I think that'd solve most violent crime. I think it would instantly create too great a consequence for most criminals to be willing to face.

And I think the tax break should be significant enough to work to convince even the extreme liberal. Those who see "gun" and think "crime" (a totally stupid identification) would MAYBE try owning one to see whether or not they feel safer, if you gave them a profitable reason to try it out. Obviously calling on their sense of duty and honor isn't workable. Anyone who thinks in such hypocrisies as believing THEY personally are good but YOU are obviously bad, well, they probably will only answer to the call of money that is the basic methodology of why a subsidy works.

Of course, then most of the criminal element would probably wander over toward other areas of crime, probably the equally cowardly identity theft and internet scam areas.

But at least our lives and real property would be safe.

Wouldn't it be worth it to try at this point? Nothing to do with limiting guns has killed violent crime. Why not point the sights at the real source of the problem - the cowardice of the criminal?

At least there's what I think about this particular subject of gun bans.

What are your thoughts?

Oh Brother

Nov 27, 2007 at 9:44 PM
I hear more and more from some rather exciteable people that I know on the subject of a possible agency that listens to everything - a big brother.

"Don't give your credit card number over the phone - you never know who is listening!"

"I don't want to discuss politics over the phone, I hear they're listening."

"I no longer talk about anything important by email, you know they read it all."

"Watch what you say. It could be misunderstood by them."


Oy vey. They. Them.

None of the people talking about the elusive "they" are any danger and neither am I. The only thing I can personally see happening is the fear coming from those who warn.

Here's how I see this.

I believe strongly in the Code of Honor. It can be found on page 11 of The Creation of Human Ability, or through the link I just included. As a voluntary code relating to honor, it cannot be enforced. You choose to follow it or you don't.

I think that honor - specifically points 5, 6, 9, 13 ,14 and 15 - precludes me from worrying about what a higher power might think.

And by higher power, I mean ANY higher power. Because I am striving to create my own life, and my own future, I don't worry about whether God approves of me. Placing any of my life into God's hands is a shirking of my responsibility as given when I was Created. I believe in God, but I also believe that God gave us little direction other than making it clear that we should strive to do our most as ourselves, rather than shrug off even one tiny speck of the responsibility to create and flourish that has been part of existence since the beginning of things.

So, I do what I know is right by my own judgement. I strive not to care if anyone approves of my thoughts, or admires me. That point of honor alone is a powerful and difficult credo to live by. Very rewarding, though, thus far.

So, why would I give the power to shape and alter my thoughts and the speech that that generates, and the actions those thoughts dictate to anyone else? Why would I grant that power to an agency of the government?




So what if there is the possibility that there is someone listening. Someone with the power to punish me for communicating.

I don't think I want to grant to a (possibly mythical) government body a greater power to alter my actions and change the way I choose to act in life, even suppress my thoughts, than I choose to grant to God.

Whether there is a Big Brother listening or not, I will continue to speak what I hold true. The Code of Honor is how I live my life. Period. This means firstly that I am no danger to anyone decent and virtuous, and secondly that I say what I please.

I'm NOT NOT NOT saying that "as long as you're virtuous you have nothing to worry about" - I'm saying that regardless of the danger presented, the only way to really win is to act anyway.

People may try to tell you about some terrible something to watch out for -- all in order to gain something from you. About how terrible that someone over there is (but I'm your friend). The person to watch out for is the person selling you such dark stories. Talk about danger. All the talk of hidden terrible dark vast influence of the big government conspiracy (such as I've heard lately) is terribly damaging to free speech. The only influence that is ever THERE, really, is whatever influence it has when YOU let it influence you.

Any possible conspiracy is not actually the threat. It's allowing yourself to change your actions and close yourself off in order to protect yourself from the hidden influence if some unknown "maybe it's listening, maybe it's not?" organization.

So, how do you handle a supposedly all-capable government body with the foretold power to shut you up that may or may not be listening to everything you say? Should you do as you're being told you ought to and shut your pie hole? Should you change your actions? Close yourself off and cease to be in communication with the world? Should you diminish your own power in order to protect yourself from a possible harm?

Consider what would happen should everyone shut up completely. The agency would have served it's purpose, to act as a hidden influence and diminish our power as a free people.

If there is a big brother - and I personally think it is likely there is, at least the infancy stages of such an agency - the absolutely ONLY way to defeat it is to ignore it and speak freely. If everyone just continues to speak freely, it will be shut down. It loses its power to pervade and alter your actions, which is the only REAL purpose for such a thing.

If such an organization exists its primary mission is not finding radicals and smooshing them. It exists primarily to act as a cow prod to thought. ZAP! Get back into line, you! It is a crude sort of thought police and we've probably had worse in the past. Like all thought police, it only works because we all think it does.

I get conspiracy theories sent by email or myspace or whatever from a large number of the people I know. I want those people to consider this - what empowers you to freely act? You do. There is no influence capable - at least for now - of changing your mind unless you agree it can. There is no hidden influence - and if your integrity is intact there is no influence except YOU. There is no one but YOU who can affect YOU unless you agree to be affected.

Now, I am not delusional -- I know full well that my sphere of influence doesn't really extend much past family and a few friends. I'm a single momma, pushing pixels around and cleaning up all day. I'm no threat to anything. OK? I am not saying that my big grand ideals mean I am big and grand, or even ideal. Just that every single one of us, as Americans, has the basic right to free speech. Just because I'm a little voice doesn't mean I don't try to speak what is true to me.

So I speak freely. I'm not worried. If there is a big brother, yeah, that definitely sucks. I hope it's abolished as the constitutional violation that it really is.

But think about it. What is the worst they could do? Is it remotely possible that any punishment for free speech could be worse than the effects of alloying my affinities? Of not communicating what I feel it is my duty and honor to communicate?

No. I don't think so.

Now if I only had something more interesting to talk about than babies, the woods and how to run a search marketing campaign, I'd be all set.

But, fortunately for the (possibly mythical) agency in question, I'm about as boring as it gets.

Ron Paul Musings

Nov 24, 2007 at 12:39 PM
There is an unprecedented ground swell of interest in Ron Paul. Every single person I talk to is absolutely bonanza for Ron Paul. I personally can count on one hand everyone I know who DIDN'T tell me to vote for him, forward me some email about him, point out that they support him or otherwise endorse him. I can't believe the public outcry - and I'm not talking about just on the internet. While I was up in Portland a few weeks ago, there were Ron Paul supporters EVERYWHERE - every street corner, every block there was someone with a Ron Paul plackard or with "Ron Paul 2008" spray-painted on their car. A large group of young people (prob college students) walked up to me to talk to me about how important it was to vote for him.

I don't care whether the media chooses to ignore him or belittle him or not -- the ground swell is palpable. You'd have to be an idiot or closed off from society not to see it.


I don't have any particular feeling toward Paul, so I feel I am better qualified to consider the subject than some people whom I've talked to, who are so full of zeal that I'm not certain they are impartial enough to look at this truthfully.

Here are my thoughts about Ron Paul.

He threatens some very large vested interests by wanting to shut down the huge government cash cow. Name a segment of our society that ISN'T dependent upon government contracts and government funding in some way. You can't. Every one from the dairy farmer to the pharmacist, from the doctor to the teacher has been weened away from self-sufficiency into believing that big government is mandatory to existence. That the mediocre pittance government sends their way is better than the self-obtainable.

Because our big businesses and inflated government are also in this frame of mind, I'm not sure that Ron Paul will gain the support of the large corporations that are usually required in order to obtain a presidency.

As a result of this inequity with his fellow candidates as far as "big money backers" is concerned, the media is largely ignoring him. I see why. No candidate with a lack of "big money" supporters behind him ever won a higher office in this country -- that I know of. The media don't want to back up a candidate that past experience shows won't make it to the top of the heap. Not in recent history has a large ground-swell of support actually won a higher office. They like to choose the person that history shows us will likely win the candidacy and follow him.

This can lead to a "chicken before the egg" debate - does the media affect who is the leader or does the leader affect who the media favors? Who knows... Whether they admit it or not, the media itself certainly feels that they drastically affect the outcome of elections and that they drastically affect the mindset of the average person. They certainly believe themselves to be the chicken. (Or is it the egg?) You can tell by just looking at the smug superiority they exude. Take a look at any news outlet from the view of a person receiving a briefing from a peer and you'll notice yourself taking offense to being talked down to so much, as though you were innately inferior to Joe Announcer.

Yes, Ron Paul is being ignored in the media. No debate. It is terribly evident that the media is ignoring him. So go ahead and make a mental note of everyone who is avoiding talking about him, and in the future, know they're OWNED by someone. And in the future, take a grain of salt with anything that media outlet or personality says. Simple solution - at least personally.

Additionally, the media may be ignoring him because they are inequivocably accountable to the advertiser - which is largely the same group as the companies that Ron Paul is a serious threat to. We're talking about Big Pharma, Big Insurance, car companies, nearly every industry. Possible ALL of them. Just take a look at the advertising in any print media and you'll know exactly whose view you are being fed. That doesn't mean the industries behind that media are naturally evil. It merely means our system of media is flawed.

Ron Paul is a serious threat to the corporations who have lobbied hard for years to make the gains they have. Whether ill-gotten or not doesn't matter to them or to the government that feeds these overgrown companies. Ron Paul is a threat to anyone who's ever sent a lobbyist to DC -- and that is a LOT of money. There is a lot of money investable in killing this guy's campaign.

But, The ONLY way to get Ron Paul into office is going to be if every single person I've seen tell me they support him actually votes, and if all of you IGNORE the media completely, HOLD your ground, especially once the media begins the inevitable oozing of rhetoric designed to instill uncertainty - which they always do - as the pre-election whirlwind hits. I can't think of an election yet where I wasn't told I was an idiot and throwing away my vote by someone in the media. I still voted. Sometimes I did vote for the guy who didn't win, but that's not a loss - it's democracy.

Next year and in the primaries, do not get confused in the ballot box into voting a party line, and do not allow your personal integrity as a voter to be alloyed. There will be a calculated media storm of discussion, specifically aimed at changing your mind about who you want to have become president. Whether you support Ron Paul, Rudy Gulliani, Fred Thompson or WHOEVER, vote for the person you feel you would be most comfortable with running your own home.

You will be told next year that you have only two choices, and you will probably be told you can only choose between one EVIL and another EVIL. That's usually how it goes.

I don't vote based on media, I never have. I vote for the person I feel I would want in my immediate vicinity, and would trust with running my own household. I vote for who I think has the best emotional outlook on life, and whose structure of thinking appears least irrational. I still am not sure who I think that is. I need to do some more research before I walk into the voting booth.

It's so odd to me that we feel, in this country, that there are only two choices. It's totally not true. You can vote for anyone you want. We could have 8 parties. We could have no parties at all, and simply vote for a guy who we think would be a good president. If you want to, you can walk into that voting booth and vote for Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie for higher office. Every election, a growing minority vote in protest for Mickey Mouse, I've heard.

So, technically, even if Ron Paul doesn't make it through the Republican primary, he could still become president, if everyone simply wrote him in who currently supports him.

But let's assume somehow he does make it through the Republican primary - entirely from word of mouth. If Ron Paul does become a presidential candidate for a major party in the elections next year, vote at least to a degree based on your opinion of his choice for vice-president. Because that VP will likely end up holding office as President. Ron Paul is the most unyealding in his viewpoint, and thus most vulnerable to assassination in office of any candidate I've seen in ages. If he does make it to being President, he's going to make our enemies within our own borders into very dangerous entities. Large top-heavy groups with no further funding will go to great extremes to maintain their status quo. Ethics out the window at that point, because maintaining survival as "blah blah big money corp" will matter more to them than the greater purpose of the President's aim in cutting off their funding.

Unless of course he's brilliant enough to come up with an alternate purpose for those bodies, an alternate game to play. I don't see it happening. How do you replace the game of "soaking the taxpayer" with something equally profitable to those major players that depend on it?

If he is assassinated, it will definitely be an inside job. And they'll probably blame it on terrorists and we'll end up back here before we know it, funding an endless war again, and enacting new taxes every which way but down.

Anyway, there's my bleak outlook. Either we all choose to vote for an "approved" candidate, or we will expose the huge ugly giant that is our current system and we rudely poke it with a stick and say "hey - it's time to do your worst".

I like the idea of poking the sleeping giant, myself, but this country probably isn't aware enough for that to occur without negative consequences.

It will be very interesting to see if the people who support Ron Paul right now stay this vigilant, stay this exuberant and determined long enough to see through the consequences of what they want to have happen.

Thanksgiving Story

Nov 22, 2007 at 12:09 PM
Original article

The Great Thanksgiving Hoax
by Richard J. Marbury

Each year at this time school children all over America are taught the official Thanksgiving story, and newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines devote vast amounts of time and space to it. It is all very colorful and fascinating.

It is also very deceiving. This official story is nothing like what really happened. It is a fairy tale, a whitewashed and sanitized collection of half-truths, which divert attention away from Thanksgiving's real meaning.

The official story has the pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620-21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard-working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful.

The Pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hard-working or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

In his History of Plymouth Plantation, the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with "corruption," and with "confusion and discontent." The crops were small because "much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable."

In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, "all had their hungry bellies filled," but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims; it was famine and death. The first "Thanksgiving" was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, "instead of famine now God gave them plenty," Bradford wrote, "and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God." Thereafter, he wrote, "any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day." In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, "they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop." They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that "all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means" were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, "all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock." A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that "young men that are most able and fit for labor and service" complained about being forced to "spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children."

Also, "the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak." So the young and strong refused to work, and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first 12 months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called "The Starving Time," the population fell from 500 to 60.

Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was "plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure." He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, "we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now."

Before these free markets were established, the colonists had nothing for which to be thankful. They were in the same situation as Ethiopians are today, and for the same reasons. But after free markets were established, the resulting abundance was so dramatic that the annual Thanksgiving celebrations became common throughout the colonies, and in 1863, Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Thus the real reason for Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is:

Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them.

Pamphlet No. 1078, November, 2000

originally published in
The Free Market, November, 1985
by the Ludwig von Mises Institute

Search and Rescue Mamma

Nov 20, 2007 at 8:07 PM
This last weekend, I finished a four weekend long training thing with other Scientology Volunteer Ministers. We were trained by Firemen and various other professionals how to do triage, first aid, search and rescue, extractions and all that fun stuff. It was great.

Here's the graduation photo. I'm the exhausted one-legged girl in the purple jacket in the front row.



Basically, this means I will be able to assist people more thoroughly than before and can show up at a disaster and actually help with stage 1 as well as stage 2.

Lots of other VMs from around here have also done this. I hope all VMs will do it so that they can aso be of even more help to their communities. Contact me if you want to find out more about this kind of training. I'll get you in touch with the people you need.

New Pictures.

Nov 14, 2007 at 2:48 PM

I took some pictures of me. I uploaded one using this post so I could use one for my profile. I'm changing the photo from the great one of me at 4 years old.

Old Photo:

DirecTV customer experience - Verizon experience flashbacks

Nov 7, 2007 at 7:53 PM
BACK STORY

1. Verizon accidentally bills be $900 dollars.

2. I work with them for weeks trying to fix it, repeatedly calling in, talking to supervisor's supervisors and getting the run-around for weeks.

3. I complain and bitch to anyone who will listen, including the Verizon Escalations Dept and the FCC.

4. Verizon suddenly corrects their error - applying a credit for that amount to my bill. Funny how all I had to do was complain to the FCC. Geez.

5. I cancel my second line to avoid any such future problem and simplify my phone bill because I want as little as possible to do with Verizon as possible.

6. As a consolation, last Friday, Verizon offers me a great deal - nothing up front, lots of channels, etc, including HBO, no down, no fees for months, on their distribution partner, DirecTV. I accept.

OK, So that's how come...

On Friday, DirecTV calls to confirm an appointment for today.

On Monday, DirecTV calls to confirm installation today.

Today their installation guy comes to set it up (including, oddly, an invitation to smoke herb with him), trains me up on how the box works, and then leaves.

I look at my channels. Looks good, except they forgot HBO. I called in, and they said, oops, our bad, we're adding it on now. No mention of any other problem.

I come out in the living room -- not three hours after installation was complete -- to find error message 726 displayed on the silent empty screen.

I called DirecTV customer service AGAIN (second call and I've had service for maybe 3 hours). They tell me my account went to collections.
Excuse me!? I've been a customer for three hours!
There's nothing they can do, blah blah blah.

Then they transfer me to the "other department" (collections) to resolve this.

I talked to a girl who said, OK, let me try to help you, please hold.

I'm on hold for 15 minutes then the system hangs up on me.

I call back. The system hangs up on me again. And I call back again - guess what? The system hangs up on me again.

I called the original customer service line. She says I can't be helped my them, I have to talk to the collections dept. I asked to be transferred there. She puts me on hold for 5 minutes, then transfers me to collections again.

Juanita in collections manages to cut every communication I have, as does her supervisor, Jonathan, while telling me that I am being held liable for the shut off service from a person who used to live at my address.

I was not the account holder then, I never got to use it. I was not the person who failed to pay that bill. It just happens that this person, when staying at this house, was using this phone line also. The phone line belongs to the landlord (my step-mom and dad), with me having permission to use the account. When I leave, the number will probably stay the same unless the landlord shuts it off.

I asked to talk to the supervisor's supervisor again, and they'll call me within 48 hours.

So, I had DirecTV for three hours before owing a two-year old debt of $409.73 that I never incurred.

I probably have to complain to the FTC and the Attorney General before anything happens on this one.

OK, WHY do companies put people on the phones to customers who have little ability to help them, NO authority to do anything about the problem, less than no interest in resolving the error and zero compassion?

I want Juanita and Jonathan fired so badly. I have never --  not even by Verizon, which is saying something  --  received such rude and unhelpful treatment. All they did was repeat the same statement, talking directly over me.

MA'AM, The house can't have service until the past due balance is paid. (but it's not my b...) MA'AM, We have the right to refuse service to any address, we're a private company, (but it's not right t...) MA'AM. You benefited from the previous installation (no I didn...), and you live there in that house, MA'AM, at that phone number, MA'AM


Have you ever noticed that customer service people say "Ma'am" a lot more once you're flustered or upset and if you try to negate them, they start saying it like they mean "Bitch"?

They don't care that I had nothing to do with that prior installation. They don't seem to get that this was a completely different person than me. Apparently, they're going to leave my service shut off and start billing me the $409.73 for that prior service.

Arhghyuh! I've had it. Tonight I will probably wake up in a cold sweat saying, "i want to talk to your supervisor"! This is really too much. Both companies have lost me as a customer...

Just as SOON as I have anybody else I can go to instead.


(In case you're wondering, I didn't take up the invite from the installation guy. Never have, never will.)

Growing Pains

Oct 26, 2007 at 12:29 PM
My daughters are growing again. Stevie says they've grown tons since they arrived in FL. As always, my leggy thin beauties are geting closer to being supermodels. They're almost as tall as me already and they're only 10 1/2 years old.

It pains me to miss it. I swear, it is the weirdest thing to be a hands-on mom who just happens to have to - by custody arrangement - miss 6 months of their life every year.

I miss them so much it hurts.

I'm having a birthday

Oct 24, 2007 at 6:39 PM
My something-something-th birthday is coming up on the 1st.

All I want is world peace.

And a lot of money. And one of those talking beer can openers.

A funny thing happened on the way to the nightclub

Oct 22, 2007 at 8:06 PM
Jerry Seinfeld is not a Scientologist, but he's taken some courses. Jerry did the Success Through Communication Course right before he started stand-up, and he said it helped him. That's great.

It is funny that the media has labeled him as a "follower" - a word I find offensive, because Scientology has a ship-full of leaders, and a rare follower. And besides, he's not one. You can do these courses, any of the life improvement courses, regardless. I was once given a study partner of an active Baptist minister while doing a life-improvement course. In fact, that was while I was doing Success Through Communication.

I think it's great that Jerry did a Scientology life-improvement course, and that it helped him.

That's what the life improvement courses are for. Anyone, whether they consider themselves a Scientologist or not, or whether they have any further interest in finding out more or not, can do a life improvement course.

These courses are so good that even seasoned Scientologists sometimes do them for the purpose of aligning related data a bit better.

For instance, I just completed the "How to Be a Successful Parent" Course a few days ago, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants competent, happy children who contribute and love you.

I'm not surprised that the Communication course helped Jerry. I also have done that course, and I found it very helpful in providing a basis for me to operate within - communication is key to ANY operation, to ANY situation. It doesn't matter what you do. While it's terribly evident that communication is fundamental to a stand-up comic, I think it's also pretty darn important in any other field. Any time you work with other individuals, communication problems become very very big in a hurry.

Loose lips make sink ships but so do tight ones, shy ones, disinterested ones, etc...

Armchair Philosophy

Oct 12, 2007 at 1:16 PM
Philosophy is a coined word for what all of us do instinctively. It's nothing more than a label for that which is - at essence - the core of living. We all seem - in my estimation - to be playing this game for nothing more than to overcome something and pick it apart to learn from it.

I think it's terribly funny that philosophers - in searching for the meaning of life by picking apart life and learning from it - are acting out the meaning of life without realizing it.

So anyway, philosophy really turns out to be no more than professional-level thinking, problem solving that pervades all of life and provides the thoughts behind the problem-solving for others.

Modern writing is often canned, trite and fraught with the consideration that all decent thoughts have already been thunk - that all the big problems have already been solved in some mundane, depressing fashion. We're all supposed to toe the line, stick to the mantra, follow the fold, shuffle the same worn deck and arrive at the same conclusions. Real philosophy (AKA professional-level thought), at least in written form, seemed to die for quite some time.

Open most books and you find that the lead character is built around some concept achieved through a college psychology class, rather than around what real people do in real circumstances.

And it is in this wise that I consider that the only decent writing occuring is occuring in blogs. It is in blogs that people are still picking apart life, analyzing the pieces and returning to the game of living.

In essence, it is in blogs that the only writing is presently happening that I find uplifting.

Anyone who blogs, then, is an armchair philosopher in my estimation.

Or at the very least, they are usually living in and talking about present time. That is - all by itself - tremendously refreshing.

And if you blog and have any advertising on the blog, you're actually a professional philosopher, a groundbreaker and a mentor.

There is nothing serious about that statement. There is no weighty label to apply. Applying heavily significant labels to something does it no good. The point is that you're slamming yourself into life and then writing about it. Then you're returning into the fray to slam against the next bit of life. Then you're writing about it some more. It's adventuresome, it's dramatic. It's not in any way a small contribution to the future. It's a small piece of a big contribution - the blog community is a LIVE communication line in a world full of false liveness.

There are few real (aka non-corporate) bloggers without a propoganda to sell you or a psych 101 lecture to mimic. They're not selling scripts - they're just the armchair philosophers of the world.

And I'm darn proud to be a part of it, in my little way.

IDKFA

Sep 16, 2007 at 9:45 PM
Today, the chimney wouldn't work. The stove was full of wood, kindling and paper and was smoking up a storm. Then you closed the door and nothing happened. The fire went out.

Repeat the whole thing, shut the door, the fire goes out.

Obviously something was blocking up the chimney.

So I took it off, I pulled the whole pipe off and I removed about 6 inches of black soot from the bottom of the pipe, piled up and blocking the whole thing up.

Boo-yah!

It's working great.

Last week I took my toilet apart, found where it was blocked up, repaired two leaks and put it together again.

IDKFA.

I'm awfully proud of myself right now.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

I had to buy a bigger wrench to get the toilet job finished last week.

I was in town buying the wrench when a man in line behind me said

"You got some work ahead of you, don't ya!"

Would he have said this to another man? I think not. Stupid patronizing prick.

Anyway, that's all I've got to say on that.

My mom once called me up in the middle of the night because the toilet was freaking out. Her words. Anyway, I came over and patched it up and fixed it at 2:00 AM because I can do that.

That's what comes from never having had a man in my life who could fix things very weel. Or at least not better than me.

I swear, the first time a man picks up a wrench in my house and fixes something to the level I've come to expect of myself, I'm gonna fall head over heels.

All the more reason never to hire a plumber and just do it myself.

Or a chimney sweep. All the ones in the movies are butt ugly. Except Dick Van Dyke. But he's really old now, so he's not a prospect anyway.

I've been sitting on my porch with Amber (my best friend) lately lamenting the supremely obvious lack of eligible men here.

But if I keep fixing all my own fix-it stuff, I'm just never gonna get me a fix-it man.

OK, I'm rambling.

Talk to you later.

Listen to Ron

Sep 2, 2007 at 10:06 PM
You wonder what is happening in your life. You're confused, worried, focused on your past. You are unable to maintain anything in present time that runs you up into a better life.

Or perhaps you're just not as happy as you could be.

Or perhaps there is a person in your life who you have trouble with, who you find to be a difficult effort to handle rather than just a person you can handle.

The basic books of Scientology contain a terrific amount of information, powerful truth that collapses everything it touches that is negative and replaces it with positive -- but only when you apply it. The new basic books make it so much easier to duplicate the information in them that you will definitely have an easier time applying them. Everything I have learned in the last few weeks is intensely easy to apply, and works that much better for my having completely duplicated every single part of that piece of information - from it's root thought through to it's best application. I am able to audit Book 1 now and have done so with ease - no hesitation or difficulty - just a little Book 1 auditing on the fly to solve a particular unease with a particular subject, and I ran it as an assist. It was lovely and fun, and worked for my friend that I applied it to quickly and easily. I had no hesitation because I've completely duplicated the entire subject now and know exactly what works on what and when and how it goes and how to choose which process. It's intensely exciting to know that I am a hatted Dianeticist - which I've never been before.

So you have problems with your present time environment. Ron can totally help you find the data that will fix that. Find out more here. And if you think that's too much for you, add some more to it - become someone who can help others with their situations. It'll work. Surprisingly, the problems in my life are melting away rapidly. I expect them to be completely gone by the end of the month - at this rate.

:)

I am rejuvenated by the new books. I have been studying every day. I'm actually ahead of every other extension course student in the entire Western US right now. I'm on the Advanced Procedures and Axioms book course -- and I have not been skipping past the lectures.

I love this. I wish you would all do it, too. Play this game with me -- it cannot possible harm you, and you have nothing to lose from it. It's cheaper than coffee, and about the best thing you could do for your own best friend -- you.

There is my advice.

------

Updates: Amber is well -- 7 months now. HUGE. Zane is doing well. The girls just finished the WTH extension course. I just finished Self Analysis. Lerey is in Portland now, and doing well last I heard. Libby just visited for a little more than 24 hours. Lots of news, none of which is appropriate for such a public forum. Call me if you want more data.

------

bloggy blog blog

Aug 24, 2007 at 6:57 AM
I have blogged way too little this year. Here's another one just for kicks!

I'm Boring and Proud of it

at 6:11 AM
When I was younger, I used to call people who had ordinary lives and who, most of the time, were good people "boring".

Lately, I've become something of a "do-gooder" - I rescued someone from a bad spot, I've been keeping up my obligations without trying, and I rescued a dog that was abandoned (yellow lab, decided to call him "Buster Bailey"). I've helped a very desperate comrade of mine out of an amazingly deep hole. I have tons of similar incidents I could list but I don't want to. If you've been around, you've seen some of them.

I've been taking good care of myself, exercise and fresh air and lots of water. I've been doing what I ought when I ought, but not out of some kind of discipline, just because that's the game I have in my life right now, that's the mock up.

I help my friends out and defend rather fiercely now -- seen the opposite end of that in action enough times now to realize the TRUE definition of friend and I live and breath it now -- I never desert a comrade in need or in danger.

So, I have become the people I used to scoff at.

Hmph.

Thinking about that, it's really kind of OK with me. So I never have gotten that deep blue sports car (Porshe maybe?) with the white soft-top that I wanted. There's plenty of time yet. So, I never did take that trip to Europe. I'll get around it. I stopped getting to play Spades every night and that's sad, but I'm sure if I could drum up enough people, I'd play again. There is no moral disposition at which cards are unacceptable -- at least in my book.

The important things are family, church, friends and expanding my power to help - all of these are critically important to me now. They are what I think and breath in daily life right now. I've caught the do-gooder bug and there's no cure. Today, this astonished me, because I used to have to effort at everything. Push push push myself to be good. Struggle struggle and push some more -- all to be the person I was expected to be. I don't know exactly when it occured, but life of the kind I want to live seems to come easily now.

I am not sure what changed, but I know it changed because of the constant study in Scientology I'm doing now. Every day there are several instances where I am studying LRH.

I highly recommend it, as someone who did not used to think that I'd be able to apply it to my life, that something was wrong with me and I was not going to be able to make positive change. I decided to apply it rather than wonder -- it has dramatically improved my life personally and is worth far more in sums than you could possibly ever pay.

Things that I am amused about - things I used to think were the very crux of who I was, have totally vanished. I don't miss the late nights and slacker attitude, and I definitely don't miss the heartbreak that is choosing friends in low tone levels. I don't miss the constant indecision and unwillingness to fight against something I knew to be wrong.

I don't miss never making any personal progress toward enlightenment, and I definitely don't miss the hangovers. I don't miss the crying, blame, shame and regret. I don't miss the fact that I used to keep things occluded from myself just because I didn't want to do the work involved in taking responsibility for my actions.

I am actually proud of every action I've done recently. Every one. If you'd been following me around with a camera, and told me that you were going to play the tape on TV, I'd be fine with it. I've been so good - and I only even noticed it today because I thought about someone I was friends with a decade ago.

I am finally on the road to actual Happiness, the stable, permanent kind that comes from actually being instead of TRYING to be, from actually doing rather than TRYING to do, from actually having instead of TRYING to have.

Life is so much easier to live now that I'm not lazy, just living. Life is so much happier now that I'm not searching for pleasure, but finding it in accomplishment.

Not to say I'm perfect. But I've come a long way and I want to take a moment to say thanks to every one of you who knew I had a spark and encouraged me. The list isn't long, but you know who you are.

I admire you and am following that example now.

I hope you are also on the newly recovered Basic Books - they are all they are cracked up to be and a lot more.

Love bunches. - Desi

UPDATE: Lerey is in Portland now, didn't end up working out as boyfriend. Moved to Div 3. Libby is thinking about visiting me. Amber, Zane and Harlan are living with me. Steve gets the girls in October at which point I concentrate on study, course and work. Amber is due in October too. Exciting! The cat had kittens, which the girls named Lazlo and Kohl. I love those names.
I personally am simply enjoying the summer. It's gorgeous out here. Come visit!

I love Ron

Jul 8, 2007 at 8:36 PM
"If you think of somebody you hate, you can probably remember a time when you tried to help him or a man like him. Your hatred, actually, is based on the fact that you flopped. You failed you and you failed him. " - L. Ron Hubbard, quoted from Lecture 30 June 1960, Some Aspects of Help

For me, this quote says so much about the nature of human conflict. Think of someone you personally know and hate. At some point, did you try and fail to help them? Pretty awesome, huh?

And this quote sums up how to live life:

"The clue to happiness is being interested in life. People's happiness is as great as they can create it." - L. Ron Hubbard - A New Slant on Life

I aim to live a life that is about helping others, and about being interested in life and in others, rather than being interestING in life and interestING to others.

The thing about L. Ron Hubbard is that I have never, never (never, never) read something by him without recognizing a way to apply it to my life to improve things. And then, when I actually took the data and applied it to my life, things improved. That itself is a shocking and simple fact about Scientology. It works - and it works every time. I have yet to find a piece of it that doesn't personally work for me when applied to my own life, and I have certainly done a lot of applying.

It's not abstract, it's not designed for someone with "greater empathy" or an "open mind" or a more "soulful vision of the world". It doesn't require being humble, castigating oneself, and it doesn't tell you how to communicate with God. I'm totally a "see it and believe it" person, myself, and this fantastic technology for living doesn't require blindfolding myself to any aspect of life. Everything and every concept fits in somewhere.

I just get to have these awesome tools and make myself more and more happy and more and more truly free to be me.

And that is why I personally am a Scientologist. Wow.

Now you see it - Now you dont

Jul 7, 2007 at 11:50 AM
My car was working for a few days there. But now the fuel pump needs fixing. It's supposedly a $250.00 job because my gas tank needs to be removed and stuff.

Crap.

I am so sick of fixing this car.

Poison oak

Jul 6, 2007 at 2:05 PM
Mandy got poison oak again a few weeks ago. Last year, we got the expensive remedies and I swear those made it worse. She eventually ended up so bad I was about to take her to a hospital whe it cleared up. She inflated liek a ballon, cracking skin on her face and hands.

This year, I wasn't going to let that happen. No moisturizers or oils of any kind were allowed. She washed with cold water and soap. We rubbed it down with alcohol to break down the oil and then we did clay masks. We used the oil-free St Ives Mineral Firming mask. Every day.

There was no comparison, it worked great. I highly recommend it as a fix for poison oak. Of course, I'm no medical expert, but this is what we did:

First we washed her skin, the affected area and the surrounding area carefully with cold water and a real bar of lye-based soap and a terry cloth that was not used again until it was washed in the Washing machine.

Lye soap does not include most bar soaps, liquid soap or soft-pour soaps. JUST lye/fat based bar soaps. I recommend Chandler's Soaps for that.

Then we took a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol and carefully wiped down each spot of skin INWARD toward the center of the poison oak, replacing the alcohol wipe after each swipe.

Then we put on a mineral clay mask. The skin was pretty dried out but the poison oak went away fast.

The hardest part for Miranda is not scratching her poison oak rash.

She had to drink lots of water, too. After a week of no poison oak reaction, we started using moisturizer again to fix how dried out her skin had gotten.

For once Miranda'a poison oak was kept in check, and we did it with items we already had in the house. No more $40.00 OTC medication.

Harry Potter Book 7 Musings

at 12:40 PM
This post is about predictions on the plot motions of the final Harry Potter book.

I was a late arrival on the Harry Potter book circuit. I only became interested in reading the books after my children had somehow gotten hold of the books and couldn't stop talking about them. In order to better understand what my children were going on (and on and on and on) about, I read them.

I'm ashamed to say it, but I love something popular.I didn't want to have anything to do with something that was so popular. In my experience, the popular items are usually designed for the lowest mean. Take rap music for example. I usually find popular culture to be comprised of the vulgar and demeaning. Usually but not always...

Harry was certainly an exception. Very well written as children's novels go. I don't follow that silly notion that she's started her own little religion, but I do enjoy the books as fiction. They are better than most people realize, even. Ms. Rowling is a master of the slow reveal.

It's taken six books to slowly peel away the relationship between Harry and Snape and each layer revealed is leading us down a path that will sharply turn in the next book but end up right where it should.

Anyway, we now own our own copies of books 1-6 and are eagerly awaiting our pre-ordered Book 7. I received a notice in the email box today about the upcoming event at Powells, and sharply realized the book will release in a week.

So, here are my predictions for Book 7. If you want to consider these spoilers, then don't read. However, they can't well be spoilers if I've never read the book, can they?

Kreacher and Dobby are still following Malfoy (and Snape by happenstance). Harry never called them off the job, now, did he?

Snape's double agent nature will show that, regardless of how deeply he was made to look like he was working for Voldemort in the last novel, he is actually on the good side.

The argument in the woods in the last novel was because Snape told Dumbledore about his oath to Mrs. Malfoy and Dumbledore ordered Snape to kill him if he must to protect Malfoy from having to kill him or be killed by Voldemort. Dumbledore had reasons to not fear dying. He also had time to prepare. Prepare what? Possibly direction for Harry. Clues or messages for if and when Harry is ready. We will find them out in this novel and Dumbledore will feature as a guide to Harry despite his death. Remember that this is basically a very complex quest novel 6 books in the making, but will contain much the same pacing and plot machinations as a standard quest novel. Where things began, they will end.

Snape will vindicate himself, possibly by giving his life for Harry. Possibly by not giving Voldemort some vital information about Harry or about someone in the order. Harry will hate Snape right up until he vindicates himself and may actually decide to trust him at the last moment despite warnings.

The veil in the Dept of Mysteries and the people Harry has loved but who died will return for another tasty morsel of life beyond death. We will probably hear from both Sirius and Dumbledore. Sirius may not factor in, but I think he will somehow. Yes, I know - he's dead. No matter.

The locket that Kreacher stowed away in his hidey-hole in Book 5 is a horcrux - it is Slytherin's locket. At least we've been made to think so. It was hidden as a plot feature, but maybe it was hidden as a red herring.

RAB is Sirius' brother, Regulus. He did not die. Something that happened in an earlier book will possibly actually be shown to have been contributed to by Regulus. The fact that none of the bad guys know RAB is still alive may be because he's not. Perhaps Regulus is a vampire? Whatever the A stands for will be a clue to his purpose in the books. Remember vampires were brought up in book 1 and rarely if ever brought up again.

The trolls will become a problem to either the good guys or the bad guys.

The giants will factor in, of course. They will switch sides and be good.

The werewolves will not switch sides but Greyback will be killed by Lupin, who will then get to return to teaching at Hogwarts - having killed the wolf that bit him may cure him.

Snape will certainly turn over the location of the Order's HQ to Voldemort. This will reaffirm Harry's certainty that Snape is bad. However there will be a good reason for every "bad" thing that Snape appears to do.

Voldemort will surprise Harry at finding a Horcrux. Harry wont' have to find all of them, but wil have to destroy the ones Voldemort retrieves in addition to the ones Harry finds. This means that somewhere mid-book, either Voldemort will end up in 12 Grimmauld Place to retrieve the locket after Kreacher (who ends up with Voldemort because Snape and Draco, who he's following, will end up with Voldemort) tells him about the precious locket OR (wouldn't it be funny!) Voldemort will inadvertently destroy one of his Horcruxes by smashing up the HQ with his locket in it. Remember that Kreacher was not ordered to not reveal anything to Voldemort specifically by Harry. Remember that the secret keeper for the Order is dead and 12 Grimmauld Place is no longer protected by Dumbledore as secret keeper. It was not for nothing that Dumbledore was secret keeper.

Harry will successfully trick Voldemort after he gains control of his mind. Or possibly, because Harry hates Snape so much, Voldemort will underestimate Snape as an agent for good. Basically, there will be mind games in this novel as the Occlumency and Legilimency we learned about over the last few books fruit into further polot developments. First Voldemort will have control, then finally Harry.

It will be Voldemort's undoing that he cannot love. Basically, the creation of the Horcruxes that diminished his capacity to feel will be his own undoing. Through his own actions to extend his life, Voldemort will be defeated.

Even if Harry doesn't return to school, Hogwarts will figure in somehow. Hogwarts, A History will reveal something Harry needs to know.

Snape will probably die. I think Dobby will die. One of the Weasleys maybe. One of Harry's male friends will probably die. I assume there will be much death in this book - the title says "Deathly". I don't think Ron or Hermione will die. If any of the above don't die, I'd bet there's some injury involved.

Someone who dies will not stay dead. Harry will definitely not stay dead if he dies. In fact, I think the fact that Harry would die for love - coming full circle to where his parents ended and his story started - will play a part in the undoing of Voldemort. The old magic - love - will be Voldemort's undoing. Perhaps involving the door that wouldn't open at the Dept of Mysteries - behind which is the powerful old magic Harry has that Voldemort has destroyed his ability to have (by splitting his soul). There is something we did not realize or that was not revealed to us about the prophecy and that Harry will realize only after experiencing a loss of some kind.

Perhaps Ginny will die, and that may be why Harry tries to get through the veil. There is a reason we were given a chance to see Harry try to protect her at the end of Book 6. She will be harmed anyway and she will be a guide or help to Harry somehow in spite of that.

The items stowed away in the Room of Requirement will become an issue. Why the Half-blood Prince's book being stowed in the Room of Requirement is important is not clear to me, but I'd bet it factors in somehow to the final Novel. Our view of the importance of that room and who created it will change. Perhaps it is Godric Gryffindor's answer to Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets. The founders of Hogwarts will factor into this book as more than providers of horcruxes for Voldemort. The fact that Voldemort wanted Hogwarts founder's items will be part of how Harry succeeds. And Harry will succeed.

Ron and Hermione will end up together as a love match.

Harry's scar will end up as just a scar, and Harry will still have it even after Voldemort dies.

Anyway, there are my predictions. I'm sure some of them will be off, but probably not all of them.

On Liberty

Jul 5, 2007 at 2:43 PM
Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep
it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of
freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of
destruction.



Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will
within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do
not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but
the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of
the individual.




Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth
itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted
vehicle.




The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.


Thomas Jefferson

Rory and Mandy say Happy 231st, America!

Jul 4, 2007 at 7:08 PM
We drove to CoosBay last night to watch the fireworks show at the Indian Casino. The girls didn't want to watch from the casino parking lot so we eventually pulled in to a railroad track gravel area next to a dock. .

First came sparklers, while we waited for the show to begin.

We were highly entertained by a large number of locals setting off their own fireworks around us, both on the water in front of us and across the street in the parking lot. We had no idea if we'd even be able to see the show when it started.

Everyone else there was in a big shiny SUV and I was driving the beater, so I was not initially welcomed. It is odd how many people judge me offhand because of the car I'm driving.

We turned out to be in view of the barge sending up the fireworks, and when the show started, we were pleasantly surprised to be close enough to enjoy and far enough not to be bothered by the noise.




In the midst of this fireworks show last, the girls started hugging me and singing:

Oh, Beautiful for spacious skies,
For Amber waves of grain!
For purple mountains majesty
Above the fruited plain.
America, America,
God shed His Grace on thee.
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Then they hugged each other and pretended to be conjuring the fireworks into existence.


The entire crowd of SUV people turned and clapped for my girls' singing.

We also beat the rush home, because we were parked along the highway and jumped right into the car when the show ended.

The girls fell asleep as we drove home. All together a nice Independence Day fireworks show.

Twitter is down

Jun 28, 2007 at 4:24 AM

Twitter has been down for at least an hour now. Here's the message on their home page.

Any attempt to read twittering or post via twitbin reaches the following URL:

http://static.twitter.com/system/maintenance/index.html

-----------------

Note from later - I'm moving my twitter thingee here - I'm so over that phase:


Carmic Hayday

at 12:24 AM
Those of you that can spell can tell I made two errors in the title. They are purposeful.

Yesterday my dad gave me a ride into town so I could pick up my car and drive it home at about but it was broken. About 5:45, dad showed up after catching on to my not having gotten home safely with the car. He drove us home.

Today, I was in town, so I gave Josh a ride to go help Marie and Dad with loading up the truck and the haycart with hay. They were in the Wiley's pasture. It has been a hay farm run by the same family since 1846 - it is smack in between us and town, in the winter lakes where the hay is grown.

I asked if they needed me and they said nope.

Well, then at 5:45, dad calls me and tell me I need to come give his car a jump.

They took the pickup out to the very last spot to get hay before heading home and had it all loaded up with hay - except the last few bales - and then the old pickup stalled.

I rushed - I managed to get all the way there in about 17 minutes, which is quite a task from my house.

I had to drive my little Subaru out to the very far edge of the Wiley's back back back field (no road, but the pasture's not too bumpy - enough to worry about loose bolts but not damage.) There I found Marie waving me down. We started up the truck and I stayed for a bit to make sure they were OK.

Then I headed home and they headed off to unload the hay into the barn.

It took up just about the same amount of gas and time as Dad helping me yesterday. It felt like a nice full circle of helping out cause of non-working vehicles.

By the way, I don't know how many of you know this, but I love my dad very dearly. I think he's wonderful. He's always got pearls of wisdom to throw at me. He's full of strange information I never knew, like that steamrollers often get their weight from being filled with water, and that salt melts slugs and that green bananas aren't ripe yet (three pearls from over the years).

I love Marie, too, now. She has added a whole new set of wisdom pearls to the mix, like which plants on the ranch are edible and which to avoid (my advice: stay away from the poison oak), about how to best ride bareback and that soap and vinegar are a great way to wash your hair. She complements dad well, they fit together well and conversations with the two of them are always better for having both of them there to talk to.

If it wasn't for Dad and Marie, I don't think I'd be able to hack living in the woods like this.

So, I rush out to help them when they need it. They do the same for me.

Just joined Twitter

Jun 26, 2007 at 4:36 PM
Beautiful day. I can't believe how pretty it is outside.

I just invited about half of you to my twitter friends. If you already have a twitter account, please email it to me and I'll add you to my twitter friends.

You can see my Twitter info off in the left hand sidebar here on my blog.

Also, remind me I need to blog about:

  • the road
  • the boyfriend
  • the car
  • the poison oak
  • the tent

Ciao for now.

Baby Basketball

Jun 19, 2007 at 4:59 PM
This is so funny.

My kids are wonderful

Jun 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM
My daughters woke up early a few days ago to surprise me. When I woke up, I heard, "Mommy, Mommy, wake up. We, my sister and I, made you coffee. Wake up, please."

So I did. I tried the coffee, and it was ghastly and quite weak, but I was too tired to notice. So I thanked my little snookie-sweethearts for making me such a sweet gift of coffee and I wandered into the kitchen. The kitchen is where I wander to when I'm waking up or asleep - if you ever lose me in a mansion at night, check the kitchen.

Anyway, I tasted my coffee newly in the kitchen. It was very weak, so I couldn't really tell what was going on, but it was also definitely not quite right. The coffee bag - the one I just bought from Safeway wasn't sitting on the counter. When I looked, it was still fresh and unopened in the pantry.

I looked at the coffee maker for a clue. Nope. What about the coffee holder beside it? The whole coffee holder was filled with freshly ground coffee of remarkably varying consistencies. Some was ground to a fine powder and some of it was still big pieces of coffee bean. I leaned over to smell it closely because it wasn't what I thought the new coffee I'd just bought should smell like. It smelled terrible, and it was very dark. I buy medium bodied roasts, so I was surprised to see the coffee was so black.

So, I asked what had gotten ground up and was pointed to the old cupboard. It was a bag of decaf that had been handed down when someone left here - probably 4 years old. Could be older.

Oh well! I thanked my kids and took the newly ground up decaf out of the ceramic coffee holder and stuck it into an old yogurt container instead. I took a magic marker and wrote DECAF on it in big letters. I then tucked it back away in a cupboard.

I then proceded to quietly replace the coffee grounds in the coffee maker with the new bagged coffee from Safeway.

Hopefully the next person who lives here likes decaf.

I'm back from vacation

Jun 14, 2007 at 7:48 PM
Hi -

I came back from vacation. New and interesting things that have happened?

1. I played James Bond in the dead of night in order to help out a friend. Dont' ask if you don't know. But it was exhilarating.

2. I spent late nights talking and staying up with my little sister Liberty who is nocturnal right now. As are all her friends. I think that's why.

3. I worked - yes, I am that silly as to work while I'm on vacation. I worked plenty, actually almost getting as much done as I usually do, although I don't know how. I think it comes down to high speeed internet as opposed to whatever the hell I've got now.

4. I Went to Jacksonville to visit Ambam. Drove, spent a day there and drove back which was EXHAUSTING. Visiting was great. I wish I could see her all the time, but our lives are not like that. Sigh.

5. I visited my other sister and went out with her to a tanning salon. At the tanning place, I bought those ridiculous little hot-pink eye covers for while you're tanning. I may never use them, but my daughter Miranda has been having a blast pretending to be a pirate with one of them. Very cute. She calls herself "Eye, Matey!" and walks around holding her finger like a hook and trying to say "Argh" but mostly just giggling. She's a great pirate in my book.

6. I ran over an armadillo and it made a popping noise, skidded to the right and I thought it was dead. Then it got up and walked away like nothing had happened. Wow! The power of having built in armor. I'll never underestimate it again, even if I cannot duplicate it.

7. Two nights ago, (I've been back home for a bit now) a bobcat or some other small wildcat and a skunk had a fight in my front yard. It was crazy. I started yelling and throwing stuff and flipping out. (I found out that my dog is extremely loyal, though. He was going to get involved in the fight when I called to him and he paid attention - he came straight back in the house.) The downside of all this is that now my front yard smells like a skunk's behind. Uch!

8. I went and visited everyone (except Liz) in Portland while I was there. But seeing as Liz just visited the ranch right before that, I guess we're OK. I hope she comes back soon.

9. I have a boyfriend, named Loré or Lerey depending on whether you're Liberty or not (pronounced Luh-RAY either way). He's nice. More about him later as things progress. If you want more data call me.

10. The girls are out of school now, so I'm testing a run at home schooling them. Should be fun. Just waiting on the materials to arrive from my Mom (she used to be Headmistress of a school that got absorbed into another school -- so basically she has lots of schoolish stuff laying around).

11. I'm catching up on all of my old blog posts, so you're getting everything at once. Terribly sorry. But that's how it is when you come back from vacation.

Support Gun Rights

at 7:38 PM
Hi -

These are the links to a bunch of websites that relate to a friend of mine, Naish Piazza, and his Firearms Training Resort. He's a second amendment proponent unlike any other. If you believe in the right to bear arms, I recommend you check out his activities. He gives you a serious bang for your buck, training wise, too.

If you want to do something effective to make it easier for us law abiding citizens to bear our arms, this is where to put your support, too.

I'm posting links to his websites in support of his effective work in gun rights and the second amendment:
Here's all sorts of press coverage about him on the national or international level, too...

Front Sight as a resort is covered in these:

Front Sight in Cybercast News Service, Front Sight in Gun Web, Front Sight in Icon Magazine, Front Sight in The Mail on Sunday Review, Front Sight on BBC News, Front Sight in Financial Times, Front Sight on CNN, Front Sight in Guns & Ammo, Front Sight in Black Belt Magazine, Front Sight in New York Times, Front Sight in US News & World Report, Front Sight in London Times, Front Sight in Financial Times.

Naish himself deserves national and international press as well for his actions (and got it from places like Forbes and the Post):

Ignatius Piazza in El Mercurio, Dr. Ignatius Piazza in Gun World, Ignatius Piazza in Handvapen Guiden, Ignatius Piazza in Small Arms Review, Ignatius Piazza in Times Democrat, Ignatius Piazza in Chicago Tribune, Ignatius Piazza in Fort Worth Star Telegram, Ignatius Piazza in Playboy, Ignatius Piazza in the Washington Post, Ignatius Piazza in the National Enquirer, Ignatius Piazza in Forbes Magazine, Ignatius Piazza on Reform America, Ignatius Piazza on World Net Daily.

And of course, he's gonna be in his local news (CA and NV) as well with all that attention. For instance: Front Sight in the Pajaronian Register, Front Sight in El Pais Seminal, Front Sight in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Front Sight in the Sierra Times, Ignatius Piazza in Las Vegas Sun, Ignatius Piazza in San Francisco Chronicle, Ignatius Piazza in Las Vegas Life, Ignatius Piazza in Las Vegas Mercury.

The first amazing thing I found out about Naish is his policy about the media. Often, gun rights activists will shy away from reporters (who tend to be quite a liberal lot). Naish, on the other hand. is totally willing to talk to a reporter or member of the press -- just as soon as they've attended a firearms training course.

Schmogger

at 7:33 PM

I'm presently amazingly pissed off at blogger for deciding my blog is a SPAM blog. Probably because I posted some grass roots emails I got. But it BEATS ME!

Basically, they took my blog away from me, and now I have to wait until someone "reviews" my blog to see if it is SPAM. How uncool.

UPDATE: I posted this after I got my blog back from blogger hell, so someone realized it was a mistake. Thank you blogger. I will return the title of my blog to a more reasonable title.

People I Admire

May 12, 2007 at 3:25 PM
Below you will find a sacred scattering
Of the people I admire
And the words they've spoken.
The strings of words below
I hold to be the truth,
For they define in varied form -
Whether measured verse or simple statement -
That which I believe cannot be said
Any better or any simpler.

Ideas and not battles mark the forward progress of mankind. Individuals, and not masses, form the culture of the race.






You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one





Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.





Arm The Homeless

Anonymous


(OK, so this one's a joke)

How's the NY Times for enough authority?

May 10, 2007 at 11:32 AM
Hi. Here's an article from the New York Times that includes a full exposé of the extent of financial corruption and kickbacks between the drug companies and the psychs.

Here goes...

Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Anya Bailey is among a growing number of children given antipsychotic drugs by doctors who are paid by the makers of those drugs.

Psychiatrists, Children and Drug Industry’s Role


By GARDINER HARRIS, BENEDICT CAREY and JANET ROBERTS
The New York Times
May 10, 2007

When Anya Bailey developed an eating disorder after her 12th birthday, her mother took her to a psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota who prescribed a powerful antipsychotic drug called Risperdal.

Created for schizophrenia, Risperdal is not approved to treat eating disorders, but increased appetite is a common side effect and doctors may prescribe drugs as they see fit. Anya gained weight but within two years developed a crippling knot in her back. She now receives regular injections of Botox to unclench her back muscles. She often awakens crying in pain.
Isabella Bailey, Anya’s mother, said she had no idea that children might be especially susceptible to Risperdal’s side effects. Nor did she know that Risperdal and similar medicines were not approved at the time to treat children, or that medical trials often cited to justify the use of such drugs had as few as eight children taking the drug by the end.

Just as surprising, Ms. Bailey said, was learning that the university psychiatrist who supervised Anya’s care received more than $7,000 from 2003 to 2004 from Johnson & Johnson, Risperdal’s maker, in return for lectures about one of the company’s drugs.

Doctors, including Anya Bailey’s, maintain that payments from drug companies do not influence what they prescribe for patients.

But the intersection of money and medicine, and its effect on the well-being of patients, has become one of the most contentious issues in health care. Nowhere is that more true than in psychiatry, where increasing payments to doctors have coincided with the growing use in children of a relatively new class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics.


These best-selling drugs, including Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Abilify and Geodon, are now being prescribed to more than half a million children in the United States to help parents deal with behavior problems despite profound risks and almost no approved uses for minors.

A New York Times analysis of records in Minnesota, the only state that requires public reports of all drug company marketing payments to doctors, provides rare documentation of how financial relationships between doctors and drug makers correspond to the growing use of atypicals in children.

From 2000 to 2005, drug maker payments to Minnesota psychiatrists rose more than sixfold, to $1.6 million. During those same years, prescriptions of antipsychotics for children in Minnesota’s Medicaid program rose more than ninefold.

Those who took the most money from makers of atypicals tended to prescribe the drugs to children the most often, the data suggest. On average, Minnesota psychiatrists who received at least $5,000 from atypical makers from 2000 to 2005 appear to have written three times as many atypical prescriptions for children as psychiatrists who received less or no money.

The Times analysis focused on prescriptions written for about one-third of Minnesota’s Medicaid population, almost all of whom are disabled. Some doctors were misidentified by pharmacists, but the information provides a rough guide to prescribing patterns in the state.

Drug makers underwrite decision makers at every level of care. They pay doctors who prescribe and recommend drugs, teach about the underlying diseases, perform studies and write guidelines that other doctors often feel bound to follow.

But studies present strong evidence that financial interests can affect decisions, often without people knowing it.

In Minnesota, psychiatrists collected more money from drug makers from 2000 to 2005 than doctors in any other specialty. Total payments to individual psychiatrists ranged from $51 to more than $689,000, with a median of $1,750. Since the records are incomplete, these figures probably underestimate doctors’ actual incomes.

Such payments could encourage psychiatrists to use drugs in ways that endanger patients’ physical health, said Dr. Steven E. Hyman, the provost of Harvard University and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health. The growing use of atypicals in children is the most troubling example of this, Dr. Hyman said.

“There’s an irony that psychiatrists ask patients to have insights into themselves, but we don’t connect the wires in our own lives about how money is affecting our profession and putting our patients at risk,” he said.

The Prescription


Anya Bailey is a 15-year-old high school freshman from East Grand Forks, Minn., with pictures of the actor Chad Michael Murray on her bedroom wall. She has constant discomfort in her neck that leads her to twist it in a birdlike fashion. Last year, a boy mimicked her in the lunch room.

“The first time, I laughed it off,” Anya said. “I said: ‘That’s so funny. I think I’ll laugh with you.’ Then it got annoying, and I decided to hide it. I don’t want to be made fun of.”

Now she slumps when seated at school to pressure her clenched muscles, she said.

It all began in 2003 when Anya became dangerously thin. “Nothing tasted good to her,” Ms. Bailey said.

Psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota, overseen by Dr. George M. Realmuto, settled on Risperdal, not for its calming effects but for its normally unwelcome side effect of increasing appetite and weight gain, Ms. Bailey said. Anya had other issues that may have recommended Risperdal to doctors, including occasional angry outbursts and having twice heard voices over the previous five years, Ms. Bailey said.


Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Anya Bailey has a painful nerve condition called dystonia, in which the muscles in her back clench as a result of taking an antipsychotic drug.

Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Anya Bailey with her younger sister, Melanie, and her mother, Isabella.
Dr. Realmuto said he did not remember Anya’s case, but speaking generally he defended his unapproved use of Risperdal to counter an eating disorder despite the drug’s risks. “When things are dangerous, you use extraordinary measures,” he said.

Ten years ago, Dr. Realmuto helped conduct a study of Concerta, an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug marketed by Johnson & Johnson, which also makes Risperdal. When Concerta was approved, the company hired him to lecture about it.

He said he gives marketing lectures for several reasons.

“To the extent that a drug is useful, I want to be seen as a leader in my specialty and that I was involved in a scientific study,” he said.

The money is nice, too, he said. Dr. Realmuto’s university salary is $196,310.

“Academics don’t get paid very much,” he said. “If I was an entertainer, I think I would certainly do a lot better.”

In 2003, the year Anya came to his clinic, Dr. Realmuto earned $5,000 from Johnson & Johnson for giving three talks about Concerta. Dr. Realmuto said he could understand someone’s worrying that his Concerta lecture fees would influence him to prescribe Concerta but not a different drug from the same company, like Risperdal.

In general, he conceded, his relationship with a drug company might prompt him to try a drug. Whether he continued to use it, though, would depend entirely on the results.

As the interview continued, Dr. Realmuto said that upon reflection his payments from drug companies had probably opened his door to useless visits from a drug salesman, and he said he would stop giving sponsored lectures in the future.

Kara Russell, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said that the company selects speakers who have used the drug in patients and have either undertaken research or are aware of the studies. “Dr. Realmuto met these criteria,” Ms. Russell said.

When asked whether these payments may influence doctors’ prescribing habits, Ms. Russell said that the talks “provide an educational opportunity for physicians.”

No one has proved that psychiatrists prescribe atypicals to children because of drug company payments. Indeed, some who frequently prescribe the drugs to children earn no drug industry money. And nearly all psychiatrists who accept payments say they remain independent. Some say they prescribed and extolled the benefits of such drugs before ever receiving payments to speak to other doctors about them.

“If someone takes the point of view that your doctor can be bought, why would you go to an E. R. with your injured child and say, ‘Can you help me?’ ” said Dr. Suzanne A. Albrecht, a psychiatrist from Edina, Minn., who earned more than $188,000 from 2002 to 2005 giving drug marketing talks.

The Industry Campaign



It is illegal for drug makers to pay doctors directly to prescribe specific products. Federal rules also bar manufacturers from promoting unapproved, or off-label, uses for drugs.

But doctors are free to prescribe as they see fit, and drug companies can sidestep marketing prohibitions by paying doctors to give lectures in which, if asked, they may discuss unapproved uses.

The drug industry and many doctors say that these promotional lectures provide the field with invaluable education. Critics say the payments and lectures, often at expensive restaurants, are disguised kickbacks that encourage potentially dangerous drug uses. The issue is particularly important in psychiatry, because mental problems are not well understood, treatment often involves trial and error, and off-label prescribing is common.

The analysis of Minnesota records shows that from 1997 through 2005, more than a third of Minnesota’s licensed psychiatrists took money from drug makers, including the last eight presidents of the Minnesota Psychiatric Society.

The psychiatrist receiving the most from drug companies was Dr. Annette M. Smick, who lives outside Rochester, Minn., and was paid more than $689,000 by drug makers from 1998 to 2004. At one point Dr. Smick was doing so many sponsored talks that “it was hard for me to find time to see patients in my clinical practice,” she said.

“I was providing an educational benefit, and I like teaching,” Dr. Smick said.
Dr. Steven S. Sharfstein, immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association, said psychiatrists have become too cozy with drug makers. One example of this, he said, involves Lexapro, made by Forest Laboratories, which is now the most widely used antidepressant in the country even though there are cheaper alternatives, including generic versions of Prozac.

“Prozac is just as good if not better, and yet we are migrating to the expensive drug instead of the generics,” Dr. Sharfstein said. “I think it’s the marketing.”

Atypicals have become popular because they can settle almost any extreme behavior, often in minutes, and doctors have few other answers for desperate families.

Their growing use in children is closely tied to the increasingly common and controversial diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder, a mood problem marked by aggravation, euphoria, depression and, in some cases, violent outbursts. The drugs, sometimes called major tranquilizers, act by numbing brain cells to surges of dopamine, a chemical that has been linked to euphoria and psychotic delusions.

Suzette Scheele of Burnsville, Minn., said her 17-year-old son, Matt, was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder four years ago because of intense mood swings, and now takes Seroquel and Abilify, which have caused substantial weight gain.

“But I don’t have to worry about his rages; he’s appropriate; he’s pleasant to be around,” Ms. Scheele said.

The sudden popularity of pediatric bipolar diagnosis has coincided with a shift from antidepressants like Prozac to far more expensive atypicals. In 2000, Minnesota spent more than $521,000 buying antipsychotic drugs, most of it on atypicals, for children on Medicaid. In 2005, the cost was more than $7.1 million, a 14-fold increase.

The drugs, which can cost $1,000 to $8,000 for a year’s supply, are huge sellers worldwide. In 2006, Zyprexa, made by Eli Lilly, had $4.36 billion in sales, Risperdal $4.18 billion and Seroquel, made by AstraZeneca, $3.42 billion.

Many Minnesota doctors, including the president of the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, said drug makers and their intermediaries are now paying them almost exclusively to talk about bipolar disorder.

The Diagnoses



Yet childhood bipolar disorder is an increasingly controversial diagnosis. Even doctors who believe it is common disagree about its telltale symptoms. Others suspect it is a fad. And the scientific evidence that atypicals improve these children’s lives is scarce.

One of the first and perhaps most influential studies was financed by AstraZeneca and performed by Dr. Melissa DelBello, a child and adult psychiatrist at the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. DelBello led a research team that tracked for six weeks the moods of 30 adolescents who had received diagnoses of bipolar disorder. Half of the teenagers took Depakote, an antiseizure drug used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder in adults. The other half took Seroquel and Depakote.

The two groups did about equally well until the last few days of the study, when those in the Seroquel group scored lower on a standard measure of mania. By then, almost half of the teenagers getting Seroquel had dropped out because they missed appointments or the drugs did not work. Just eight of them completed the trial.

In an interview, Dr. DelBello acknowledged that the study was not conclusive. In the 2002 published paper, however, she and her co-authors reported that Seroquel in combination with Depakote “is more effective for the treatment of adolescent bipolar mania” than Depakote alone.

In 2005, a committee of prominent experts from across the country examined all of the studies of treatment for pediatric bipolar disorder and decided that Dr. DelBello’s was the only study involving atypicals in bipolar children that deserved its highest rating for scientific rigor. The panel concluded that doctors should consider atypicals as a first-line treatment for some children. The guidelines were published in The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Three of the four doctors on the panel served as speakers or consultants to makers of atypicals, according to disclosures in the guidelines. In an interview, Dr. Robert A. Kowatch, a psychiatrist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the lead author of the guidelines, said the drug makers’ support had no influence on the conclusions.

AstraZeneca hired Dr. DelBello and Dr. Kowatch to give sponsored talks. They later undertook another study comparing Seroquel and Depakote in bipolar children and found no difference. Dr. DelBello, who earns $183,500 annually from the University of Cincinnati, would not discuss how much she is paid by AstraZeneca.
“Trust me, I don’t make much,” she said. Drug company payments did not affect her study or her talks, she said. In a recent disclosure, Dr. DelBello said that she received marketing or consulting income from eight drug companies, including all five makers of atypicals.
Dr. Realmuto has heard Dr. DelBello speak several times, and her talks persuaded him to use combinations of Depakote and atypicals in bipolar children, he said. “She’s the leader in terms of doing studies on bipolar,” Dr. Realmuto said.

Some psychiatrists who advocate use of atypicals in children acknowledge that the evidence supporting this use is thin. But they say children should not go untreated simply because scientists have failed to confirm what clinicians already know.

“We don’t have time to wait for them to prove us right,” said Dr. Kent G. Brockmann, a psychiatrist from the Twin Cities who made more than $16,000 from 2003 to 2005 doing drug talks and one-on-one sales meetings, and last year was a leading prescriber of atypicals to Medicaid children.

The Reaction



For Anya Bailey, treatment with an atypical helped her regain her appetite and put on weight, but also heavily sedated her, her mother said. She developed the disabling knot in her back, the result of a nerve condition called dystonia, in 2005.

The reaction was rare but not unknown. Atypicals have side effects that are not easy to predict in any one patient. These include rapid weight gain and blood sugar problems, both risk factors for diabetes; disfiguring tics, dystonia and in rare cases heart attacks and sudden death in the elderly.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration received reports of at least 29 children dying and at least 165 more suffering serious side effects in which an antipsychotic was listed as the “primary suspect.” That was a substantial jump from 2000, when there were at least 10 deaths and 85 serious side effects among children linked to the drugs. Since reporting of bad drug effects is mostly voluntary, these numbers likely represent a fraction of the toll.

Jim Minnick, a spokesman for AstraZeneca, said that the company carefully monitors reported problems with Seroquel. “AstraZeneca believes that Seroquel is safe,” Mr. Minnick said.

Other psychiatrists renewed Anya’s prescriptions for Risperdal until Ms. Bailey took Anya last year to the Mayo Clinic, where a doctor insisted that Ms. Bailey stop the drug. Unlike most universities and hospitals, the Mayo Clinic restricts doctors from giving drug marketing lectures.

Ms. Bailey said she wished she had waited to see whether counseling would help Anya before trying drugs. Anya’s weight is now normal without the help of drugs, and her counseling ended in March. An experimental drug, her mother said, has recently helped the pain in her back.


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