New Developments with Dave

I feel like I need to bring everyone up to date on some developments in my life over the last five months or so. In early June, a longtime cruising friend, sent me the name and email address, of a friend of a friend who was also a long-distance cruiser and had been widowed a couple of years before Janet passed away. He felt that we needed to meet.

Unfortunately she was sailing in the Caribbean, and I’m still in a marina on the south coast of Turkey. So, I was more than a little skeptical, but thought it rude to ignore. I sent off a polite but not very hopeful email to her, and she replied in a similar manner.

Then, it really got like something out of the Twilight Zone. We started exchanging emails, and inserting our comments in the appropriate place in the previous email, and sending it back. Then one of us would insert comments among the comments, and send it back.

The spooky part was that we were so much alike. To the point that I would be reading an email and did not remember writing that particular paragraph. But it was clearly ME talking. And then I realized that she had written that paragraph! Many times I accused her of really being a CIA computer, that was spying on me, and knew my innermost thoughts.

I’m not sure that I have explained it clearly. But, I became convinced that we were from the same zygote, and there was some sort of experiment, like in the movie, “Twins”. Except I was clearly the prototype. They held back her half and greatly improved upon it for about seven years.

With both of us being relatively nerd like, we eventually figured out how she could Skype from her boat. Previously she had to go to a cybercafe onshore, and when you’re on a mooring, in an area that gets frequent torrential rains, that can be a little annoying.

The Skype is ever so much better than an email. Of course it crashes frequently, but it works most of the time.

I have amazed myself with my power of persuasion. She is putting her boat on the hard, and flying to meet me in Istanbul, on November 3. While we are quite aware that there will probably be some learning experiences after she walks out of the International Arrivals door at the airport. We have covered such an incredible amount of conversation since June, that we clearly will be very close friends for life. But, perhaps only as penpals.

Obviously, both of us hope that it will be far more than that, but without actually having been within 9000 km, (abt 5,500 miles) of each other, there is still a great deal for each of us to learn.

A brief curriculum vitae of her many life experiences:

She was born in Massachusetts, to a family that occasionally forgot to put letters in names. She was born, “Robn Gras” (as in Robin Grass). Which actually frightened some of her college friends. They thought that she was going to, “Rob their grass.” But, fortunately for all of us, she never had any interest in such things.

Her father, was the son of an illustrious professor at Harvard, who actually kind of ostracized him, when Robn’s father said that he was planning to go to MIT.

That was considered a trade school. Something akin to aspiring to ride on the back of a garbage truck. Or so Robn’s grandfather claimed. People are really amazing, aren’t they?

But her father knew what he wanted and had a long career as a mechanical engineer including work for the space program. He built the first privately financed, solar heated home in the USA, way back in the 1950’s. Another one of his dreams was to sail around the world on his own boat. Which until recent years, was similar to wanting to be an astronaut.

But he made it happen, and in 1969 Robn, her mom and dad, and two of her brothers left on their around the world trip. In French Polynesia, Robn, became very surprised at her interest in a German single hander. Whom she eventually married. They lived in Germany for a time, and then Sequim, Washington, which is west of Seattle. Not all that far from where Dave was living. They ran a successful plumbing business for many years, and raised a wonderful daughter.

Still infected with the sailing bug, they bought a sailboat and lived on her for several years, leaving on their own round the world trip in 2001. Unfortunately, her husband passed away in South Africa in 2010. And, one of her brothers helped her sail her boat to the Caribbean. Where she has been single handing ever since when crew is not available.

That may be more information than some of you wanted. But that’s just the way I am. And I didn’t even tell you about Gerhard escaping from East Germany.

Robin’s last name is now Diekow, pronounced something like “Dee – Co” as in copilot.

There will be a lot more info in the months to come.

vulnerability

I may have post this before, but this seems to me to be a VERY important talk for everyone. Worth watching again.

http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2014/09/brene-brown-vulnerability/

You can download it here if, like me, you have a jerky Internet connection, and then play it the way it was intended. There is also a full transcript link on the same page.

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

Dave

Prayer in school

A friend sent me this photo (link)
https://www.facebook.com/politicalq/photos/a.1436120840008364.1073741828.1436001520020296/1487227588231022/?type=1

Why can’t they? I pray when I want. I pray where I want.

Perhaps the reason that this is so misunderstood, is that some people don’t realize how many different religions there are in the world.

They want to have the school stop, and do THEIR prayer every day. Screw the rest of the religions. And screw the atheists two or three times.

When we were in Guatemala, which is predominantly Catholic, we were hiking in the woods, and we came upon a religious ceremony as practiced before the Europeans came. I don’t know the right term, but the religious leader, the pastor, the rabbi, the religious professional, the holy man, was conducting a ceremony for the lay person. It involved cutting the head off of a live chicken, while burning a special incense, with a lot of words and gestures.

Clearly we did not understand everything it was going on. I mean them no disrespect whatsoever. They were practicing their religion.

So, is anyone proposing that, at a certain time every day, that a Guatemalan holy man, comes into the room, burns incense, says the special words and makes a special gestures, and cuts the head off of a live chicken, at your school?

I can practice my religion in my own head and not bother anyone else. If you have a religion that requires that everyone else, stops and practices your religion at a certain time of day, then I feel sorry for you. I believe in religious freedom. Following my own god.

Some religions do require special ceremonies. It’s my understanding that the Muslims are supposed to pray at five specific times of the day, and in a particular manner. That is not my understanding about the dominant religions in America. To accommodate that in the classroom, is going to be challenging. Because all of the bigots that are present, will immediately know who the people that practice a different religion are. Those OTHER people are the ones that walk out of the room to go pray by their religion’s rules. I would try to accommodate that if we can. I would also not lean on them. Not pick on them, for being different than me.

But a much simpler and more equal and fair solution, is to not have any religion takeover part of the school day. There is no way to get everything equal and fair. I have an advantage because I can pray whenever I want. Some people feel that the little kids in the picture are the way everyone MUST pray. And so on. So, getting public and especially Federal institutions out of the MANDATED prayer business seems like the only practical solution.

I’ve never heard a single one of the people that is so upset about getting prayer out of school, complained that we need to have the Muslim prayer times, incorporated into the school day. (Or to incorporate Guatemalan prayer. Or Shinto.)

To me, religious freedom means allowing people to practice their own religion. I have no problem praying in MY way dozens, sometimes hundreds of times during the day. I sincerely doubt that anyone around me notices. My religion does not involve showing off for other people. Like in the photo. I don’t need for the school, the office, the group of people I’m with, to stop everything so that I can do that. For the people that half that have everyone know how pious they are, I suggest that they show their merit through the way they live. The way they treat other people. The way they allow other people to practice their own religion.

I think that the thing that is so distasteful to some of the people that are active in trying to "get prayer out of school." Is that in practice it usually means forcing everyone to do it the official way. And if you’re so bold as to abstain, then there is tremendous peer pressure, there is incredible stigma attached to you wanting to have your own religion. You absolutely MUST practice the official religion!

It could be that a few, not very enlightened, atheists, want to actually literally stop prayer in school. But that’s not what I want. And that’s not what any enlightened person wants. They just want the massive pressure to switch over to the official religion, to go away. America is suppose to be about religious freedom. And I and many other people believe that’s important. Worth fighting for.

We are people who want people to pray the way THEY want to. Including NOT at all.

The photograph is an excellent example of my point. All of the children are conspicuously displaying the same attitude. If anyone deviates from that, they’re going to stand out like a sore thumb. They are going to get massive peer pressure to conform. If their spiritual belief is the least bit different from the official one, they are going to get leaned on like there’s no tomorrow.

If the official religion is your religion, then you’re going to think, "That’s great. We’ve been able to force lots of children into our mold."

The people that believe in a religious freedom, realize that that’s a dishonest way to be.

I’m not trying to change over to how I think. I want you to keep on thinking the way you want to. And to allow others to do the same.

Dave Comes Out of the Closet

I realize that I have offended many people with my opinions, and that was never my intention. I was just trying to explain what I think. At the time I wrote it.

I reserve the right to change my mind. I’m not trying to change anyone else’s mind. Although I do encourage them to examine their opinions carefully. As in:

>>>>>>>
Cherish Your Doubts – Robert T. Weston

Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the handmaiden of truth.

Doubt is the key to the door of knowledge; it is the servant of discovery.

A belief which may not be questioned binds us to error,

for there is incompleteness and imperfection in every belief.

Doubt is the touchstone of truth; it is an acid which eats away the false.

Let no man fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it;

for doubt is a testing of belief.

The truth stands boldly and unafraid; it is not shaken by the testing;

For truth, if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure.

He that would silence doubt is filled with fear;

the house of his spirit is built on shifting sands.

But he that fears no doubt, and knows its use, is founded on a rock.

He shall walk in the light of growing knowledge;

the work of his hands shall endure.

Therefore let us not fear doubt, but let us rejoice in its help:

It is to the wise as a staff to the blind; doubt is the handmaiden of truth.

Responsive Reading 413 from Hymns for the Celebration of Live – Beacon Press
>>>>>>>>

If you’re not known for looking at facts and changing your mind, then you can probably save a lot of time if you stop reading right here. Just go do something you enjoy. No need to look around for your thinking cap. So much simpler.

It probably has something to do with being an engineer, but I’ve always hated dogma. Which I’d define as mindless adherence to something they were told.

This causes me to get sideways on a regular basis with some religious people. So I try not to waive it around. Which is absolutely NOT a sign that I am in the very least bit embarrassed about that particular aspect of my mind. It is only because I try not to offend people if I can avoid it. And I’ve discovered that they don’t usually change their mind anyway. So no point in upsetting anybody.

The reason for this Blog page, is that I recently posted the following on FaceBook:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I do not think that homosexuality is a sin. I do not think that it is a choice. I do think that about 10% of the World has it.

I do think that to financially punish that 10% by not allowing them to marry, is wrong.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/09/judge-says-everything-you-want-say-anti-gay-marriage-crowd-just-smarter-and-more-sass

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And one of the replies was from a good friend who suggests:

“Read Romans verses 1-26…..homosexuals should be persecuted……”

By far the simplest reaction would be to just agree that we disagree. And I certainly value this person as a friend and do not want to endanger that friendship.

However, many years ago someone spouted a lot of Biblical quotes, and so I looked into it a little bit more. I strongly encourage everyone else to do the same, whichever side they are on.

Whatever your religious persuasion or lack of it, I assume that you will agree that the Bible is a wonderful book for extracting sound bites, to support or condemn pretty much anything you can imagine. Much like, we can now find web pages to tell us anything that we want to hear.

Only because it was the first link that came up, I will use http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Popular-Bible-Verses.php

The assumption would be that all versions of the bible say the same thing, which actually they don’t. But this should be adequate.

Romans
(26) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

“homosexuals should be persecuted” seems to be missing. Strangely, when I read the entire text of Romans chapter one and chapter two, it seems clear to me that in line 26, that Paul is saying that God changed them into men that lusted for men, because they had moved away from God. I don’t see anything in Romans about persecuting them for something that God did to them. Homosexuality WAS the punishment, not the crime. Perhaps as a way to reduce their numbers.

I think it is also important to notice that for all the hoopla, homosexuals are only mention six or at the most eight places in the bible, depending on how you count.

And, rather than quote them all myself I will refer you to the following link. Where they mention the many places in the bible that explain that, touching pigskin is just as bad as homosexuality. American football players may be bothered by that. But being a gay basher is probably safer than being a basher of American football players. Those guys tend to be rather large and well muscled. And some of them are taking illegal drugs that make them pretty touchy to be around.

Wearing clothing of mixed fibers is also just as bad as homosexuality. That would be someone that does not wear pure ALL cotton, or pure silk, or pure linen, etc. There are also instructions on how to sell your daughters into slavery.

Personally I think that the group that these were written for, was a small group who needed to increase its population in order to better survive, in a very large world that did not like that small group. Sexual activity that did not create children, would be counterproductive to that goal. But here is the link and some others that follow:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp Please read the whole post there.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-lose/what-does-the-bible-reall_b_990444.html

http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2013/02/13/on-homosexuality-many-christians-get-the-bible-wrong/15775

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3205727.stm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_denominations_in_Judaism

But, this is ONLY to explain MY view. Not to change yours.

BTW, Dave is definitely not a homosexual.  And I can prove it.  Over the years I’ve seen many photos of extremely healthy men, wearing little or no clothing.  I’m a marvel at how did they get that body.  I wish my abdomen looked like that.  But for me they are about as arousing as a photograph of Mount Fujiyama.

However, similar photographs of very healthy females, have a very different effect on me. 

And when we were in French Polynesia, I went to the International Dance Competition, where there were, during the course of the evening, hundreds of healthy young men and healthy young women, in excellent physical condition, and very skilled at that form of dance.  As is the custom, they wore clothing but not much of it.  Personally I found the men almost comical.  I’ve never understood the appeal of the traditional moves that they make.  But on the other hand that maybe because I could not take my eyes off the young ladies.  They had my full attention.

Strictly because I was appreciating their artistic skills.

Just in case you’re wondering.

PS: to the best of my knowledge about 10% of the population is homosexual. About 11% is Left Handed. Left handed people are mentioned FAR more in the Bible, in a negative way. Christians and many groups used to kill them.

I also disagree with killing left handed people or inconveniencing them in any way. See also:

http://www.csun.edu/~djo41504/left.html

Good news/Bad news

Now, the bad news is, that this post is about death. Few want to talk about that or even hear the word. And pretty much nobody wants to be are reminded that that is coming.

However, that’s not a choice you have to make. It’s coming.

The good news is that if you do just a little homework, you can make it almost guaranteed to turn out the way you want it to.

The choice you have is how painful it will be for you and your family. The choice you have is, ‘Will your wishes be a respected or not.’ The choice you have is will it be mediaeval torture, financial ruin for your extended family, or something that everyone understands, and goes especially well, for everyone involved.

There’s a lot of information about this online. I encourage you to read the excellent article at
http://thesunmagazine.org/issues/460/the_long_goodbye

But, there’s lots more information out there.

http://deathoverdinner.org/ has been recommended to me

and  https://www.everplans.com/

A 2012 survey found that 82% of people believe that it is important to put wishes for their final days in writing, yet only 23% have followed that task through to completion.

(And that also makes me wonder if 18% of the population is brain dead already.)

It is absolutely imperative that you have completed a complete collection of paper work. A CURRENT will, for starters.

It is not bad luck. It is just making it more likely that your wishes will be followed.

Let us suppose that you have someone in the family that you really love dearly, and one or more people that you wish you did not know. Do you really want the deadheads to get all of your estate? Do you really want the people that you love dearly, to destroy several years of their life, making some sleaze ball lawyer ridiculously rich, while the deadheads legally torment your wonderful and lovely relative or friend or wife?

Each state has its own rules. You do not need to hire an attorney, but, if you hire a good one, that may be the safest thing to do. There’s a great deal of information online that is absolutely free.

Do a little bit of homework to become confident that you’re doing it right, under the laws of your home state. Here is just one example of a web site. I have no idea if it is correct, but if you compare several opinions, you should get pretty close.

I was told that if you just write out a very clear set of instructions in your own handwriting and sign it, preferably in front of some witnesses that can be found later, that that is legal. HOWEVER, I’m not a lawyer, and so that maybe nonsense. And by the time you would find out, it would be too late to do it right. So, do your own homework. Here’s that link:

http://www.floridahealthfinder.gov/reports-guides/advance-directives.aspx

Funeral expenses can be greater than the Gross National Product of a small Central American country. So, this is a very important thing to think about, and make your wishes known. If you do not get them down on legally binding paper, all it takes is one nut case cousin, or uncle, or whatever, to create a travesty of your wishes, and cost the surviving members of your family a huge amount of money and anguish.

I have found that the hospice people, seem to know the very least expensive way to deal with the body. In our family, we prefer cremation over burial, especially NOT wanting a lavish expensive ceremony. In most states, cremation can be done for about $500.

The Celebration of Life that we had for Janet cost about the same. My mom and dad did not want any ceremony. Exactly what do YOU want? Write it down.

Janet and I like to recycle things and have things be useful. We like to not waste stuff. We like to conserve resources. We like for people to learn whenever possible. So, Janet wanted very much to donate her body to the local medical school. Which was totally free, and they were very respectful. We looked into the situation and came away feeling that it was a wonderful opportunity. A new Doctor would learn a tremendous amount from her that could not be learned in the other way.

Janet & I also strongly support organ donation. But, advanced cancer patients are not so good for that.

But this idea is abhorrent to some of you. All I’m asking is that you decide what YOU want. You may find that if you can get a discussion going with the rest of your family, that there will be some surprises. Better to solve these things NOW, than later.

I think that it is YOUR life and your body, and your choice. But, if you want to adjust those choices to accommodate family members that’s up to you. But if you do not have this conversation, you literally have no idea what’s going to happen. And it is pretty much guaranteed to be bad. Someone will be very unhappy. Probably lots of people. A lot of money is going to be wasted. Not all vultures have feathers.

This whole subject gets very intertwined with religion, and the laws of your home state. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just telling you that you must have this conversation at least in your own head. And you must do something. Even if you’re only 20 years old.

And when something changes in your life, or at least every few years, you should review your decisions, and make sure you’re still happy with them. That cute little girl that your son married, may turn out to be Dracula in drag.

Poop happens. People step in front of the wrong bus every day.

More info at

http://theconversationproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/TCP-StarterKit.pdf