December 2005

Besides the liver damage and consideration of the 4 regulative principles (which applies to other intoxicants also), here are a few more reasons to avoid alcohol consumption:

consumption of alcohol may cause you to wake up with breath that could knock a buzzard off a manure spreader at 100 yards.

consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like an a**hole.

consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell the same boring story over and over again until your friends want to SMASH YOUR HEAD IN.

consumption of alcohol may cause you to thay shings like thish.

consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell the boss what you REALLY think while photocopying your butt at the office party.

consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex-girlfriends are really dying for you to telephone them at 4 in the morning.

consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what the hell ever happened to your pants anyway.

consumption of alcohol may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary (whose species and or name you can’t remember)

consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burn on the forehead.

consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, handsomer and smarter than some really, really big guy named Psycho.

Seriously though, binge drinking may cause Alcohol Poisoning, which can be fatal or cause brain damage.


If you are under the age of nine, have your parents read this first and let them decide if you should proceed. Parents? Okay, click thru below to screen this prior to showing young children.

This is Continued.

Personally, I think it is a little wierd that a rite of passage for young children is to find out that not only their parents but an entire society has been lying to them. It’s Christmas time, you all know what I am talking about.


In the Late 1800s a little girl named Virginia asked the New York Times if there was a Santa Clause. The reply is now famous. Someone thought it would be fun to ask the scientists at NASA the same question.

Here is their reply:

No known species of reindeer can fly. But there ARE 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has seen.

There are two billion children (under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn’t appear to handle Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total – 138 million or so. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household, that’s 91.8 million homes. One presumes there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west. This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining gifts under the tree, eat snacks, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh, and move to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8
million houses are distributed evenly (which we know to be false but for the sake of these calculations we will accept) we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops. This means that Santa’s sleigh is traveling at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound.

For comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe moves at a poky 27.4 MPS.

The average reindeer runs at 15MPH.

The sleigh’s payload adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 TONS not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that “flying reindeer” (see first paragraph) could pull TEN TIMES the usual amount, we cannot do the job with 8 or even 9. We need 214,000 reindeer. This increases the weight, not even counting the sleigh, to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison this is 4 times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth 2.

353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates an enormous air resistance. This will heat the reindeer in the same manner as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst in flame almost instantaneously, exposing the next pair of reindeer, and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousands of a second.

Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times the force of gravity. A 300 pound Santa would be pinned to the back ofhis sleigh by 4,325,015 pounds of force.

CONCLUSION: There was a Santa, but he’s dead now.

While those who believe Christmas is about receiving gifts are still enamored by the newness of their toys, let us ponder what to do during these 12 Days. One thing is going to get the bargains stores are now offering on left over decorating items. Strings of Christmas lights and ornaments to hang are usually deeply discounted after the first day of Christmas. It costs stores to take the inventory off the shelves, pack it up, and store it away for next year so sales are common. If you buy now instead of next fall, you get items at half the cost, amounting to a doubling of your investment in a single year. Great financial planning advice, eh? :-)

Of course, things don’t always work out the way we plan. Any number of unforeseen things can happen between now and next year. We do need to perform due diligence in our lives, and the lives of others that we can hopefully influence for the better. Still, sometimes even the best of plans and intentions can blow up in our faces if it is our time, or we are not careful.

“The plant is exceptionally toxic, with one mouthful able to kill a horse or cow within 5 minutes. Toxicity is compounded by the apparent palatability of yew. Many animals are poisoned accidently when yew trimmings are thrown into the pasture or when yew is planted as an ornamental within browsing reach…”

Full article about English Yew, Japanese Yew (Taxus baccata, Taxus cuspidata) and livestock poisoning.

Wreaths are typically not made from yews. Although they are a common shrub planted where deer browsing is light, they are most usually sheared into hedge or topiary forms. Why yews kill cows and not deer is one of Nature’s cruel jokes, as you have to put yews on the Do Not Grow list because deer seem to prefer them to other foods in winter when there is no garden to devastate.

“A widespread belief that dying people are able to postpone death until after important dates is simply not true, according to a US study of cancer patients Almost everyone knows a story of someone who, through sheer willpower, held grimly on to life until a certain date. And small studies of specific populations seemed to bear the idea out…

So he embarked on a study of more than 300,000 Ohioans who died of cancer between 1989 and 2000, using the Ohio mortality database. Using Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the patient’s birthday as the three “special dates”, Young looked for a dip in deaths the week before, with a corresponding peak in the week after. He reports in the Journal of the American Medical Association that he didn’t see any effect at all. “Death never takes a holiday,” he says. Young speculates that the myth springs from selective memory. Stories about loved ones who “held on” until after the holidays are more memorable than those about the uncle who slipped away in mid-November…”

Death proves oblivious to Christmas, Complete Article.

I called my brother today to thank him for sending me his old FFA jacket from our hometown. I had jettisoned mine when entering ashram life. I had previously mentioned how nice it would be to have one to wear with a “Pedro for President” button. (If you watch DVDs , see “Napolean Dynamite“; don’t if you are trying to be “fixed up”.) He was gone so I ended up talking to my sister-in-law for a while. Conversation rolled around to dying on Christmas Day, as she had lost a nephew in recent years on Christmas. My own mother-in-law died on Christmas, so my wife always carries that into the Holidays. Over the years I have have met a lot of peole who knew someone who died at Christmas. My mother-in-law was sickly for most of my wife’s life, but did manage a visit to NV before she left her body.

“It is important to take to Krsna consciousness immediately, because we do not know how much time is left before death. When your time in this body expires, no one can stop your death. The arrangement of material nature is so strong. You cannot say, “Let me remain.” Actually, people sometimes request like that. When I was in Allahabad, an old friend who was very rich was dying. At that time he begged the doctor, “Can’t you give me at least four more years to live? I have some plans which I could not finish.” You see. This is foolishness. Everyone thinks, “Oh, I have to do this. I have to do that.” No. Neither the doctors nor the scientists can check death: “Oh, no, sir. Not four years, not even four minutes. You have to go immediately.” This is the law…”

LON 1: God and The Law of Karma

Well, now that the materialists think Christmas is over, we can get on with it. The merchants try to keep their claws in with liberal return policies and gift cards, but that starts to fade away. The hedonists have had their revelries and now are setting their sights on New Year’s parties. The politicians have kicked semantics around to create dissension and gain power thru divide and control techniques.

Still, through it all, Christmas continues until Epiphany, the 6th of January, so there is still plenty of time for those who prefer to think of the season as the Holy Days. To take the time to quietly contemplate larger issues of living, the still cold nights with stars seeming to be so much brighter than busier times of the year. In a more natural society, the harvests are finished and stored away, and the focus shifts from the business of external endeavors to the inner life, from the body to the soul.

We had a nice Christmas Day shared with friends of long acquaintance and their now mostly grown children. It had snowed a bit at the beginning of December, and then had remained 10-15 degrees F below normal, right up until Christmas Eve when it leaped to 12 degrees above normal, into the 50s F and by the evening all the snow had melted. It rained Christmas Day, then this morning, we awoke to dropped temperatures and a beautiful snow covered scene, every leafless branch carefully covered with snow. It was wonderful.

So we have had to date snow every day in December except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That is funny, really, as if the weather was having a joke on us and the dream of a white Christmas.

(The whole Nativity by Hugo van der Goes is in three panels and can be found thru this link.)

The Old And The New Masters

About suffering, about adoration, the old masters
Disagree. When someone suffers, no one else eats
Or walks or opens the window–no one breathes
As the sufferers watch the sufferer.
In St. Sebastian Mourned by St. Irene
The flame of one torch is the only light.
All the eyes except the maidservant’s (she weeps
And covers them with a cloth) are fixed on the shaft
Set in his chest like a column; St. Irene’s
Hands are spread in the gesture of the Madonna,
Revealing, accepting, what she does not understand.
Her hands say: “Lo! Behold!”
Beside her a monk’s hooded head is bowed, his hands
Are put together in the work of mourning.
It is as if they were still looking at the lance
Piercing the side of Christ, nailed on his cross.
The same nails pierce all their hands and feet, the same
Thin blood, mixed with water, trickles from their sides.
The taste of vinegar is on every tongue
That gasps, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
They watch, they are, the one thing in the world.

So, earlier, everything is pointed
In van der Goes’ Nativity, toward the naked
Shining baby, like the needle of a compass.
The different orders and sizes of the world:
The angels like Little People, perched in the rafters
Or hovering in mid-air like hummingbirds;
The shepherds, so big and crude, so plainly adoring;
The medium-sized donor, his little family,
And their big patron saints; the Virgin who kneels
Before her child in worship; the Magi out in the hills
With their camels–they ask directions, and have pointed out
By a man kneeling, the true way; the ox
And the donkey, two heads in the manger
So much greater than a human head, who also adore;
Even the offerings, a sheaf of wheat,
A jar and a glass of flowers, are absolutely still
In natural concentration, as they take their part
In the salvation of the natural world.
The time of the world concentrates
On this one instant: far off in the rocks
You can see Mary and Joseph and their donkey
Coming to Bethlehem; on the grassy hillside
Where their flocks are grazing, the shepherds gesticulate
In wonder at the star; and so many hundreds
Of years in the future, the donor, his wife,
And their children are kneeling, looking: everything
That was or will be in the world is fixed
On its small, helpless, human center.

After a while the masters show the crucifixion
In one corner of the canvas: the men come to see
What is important, see that it is not important.
The new masters paint a subject as they please,
And Veronese is prosecuted by the Inquisition
For the dogs playing at the feet of Christ,
The earth is a planet among galaxies.
Later Christ disappears, the dogs disappear: in abstract
Understanding, without adoration, the last master puts
Colors on canvas, a picture of the universe
In which a bright spot somewhere in the corner
Is the small radioactive planet men called Earth.

Randall Jarrell

Dogmatic Christians are outraged that they aren’t allowed exclusive use of the Winter Solistice to celebrate Christ’s birth. The fact that the actual date of the birth of Christ is never mentioned in the Bible doesn’t seem to matter. It seems that just as the term Holy Days has been secularized into Holidays, they want to do the same with Christmas by insisting that name solely be attached to the frenzy of consumerism that has evolved around it. Now, why don’t they make THAT (excess consumption) the issue?

For a really complete historical look at Christmas, read this article. Excerpts are included below:

“Celebration of birthdays — even including that of Christ — was rejected as a pagan tradition by most Christians during the first three hundred years of Christianity, but the matter became increasingly controversial. The third century Christian writer Tertullian supported observance of Christ’s birthday, but condemned the inclusion of Saturnalia customs such as exchanging of gifts and decorating homes with evergreens. Chapter 10 of the Book of Jeremiah begins by condemning the heathen practice of cutting a tree from the forest to “deck it with silver and gold”…”

“English Puritanism was probably the most extreme manifestation of the Protestant reaction against the Roman Church. Exodus 20:4 could be taken to indicate that God does not want to be worshiped the way pagans worship their gods — with idolatry such as Christmas trees and Nativity Scenes (much less revelry, drinking and gluttony). Oliver Cromwell campaigned against the heathen practices of feasting, decorating and singing, which he felt desecrated the spirit of Christ. Christmas was called such names as “the Papist’s Massing Day” and “Old Heathen Feasting Day”. The very word Christmas was viewed as taking the Lord’s name in vain…”

“Although the Bible sanctifies Saturday as the Sabbath, many Christians regarded Sunday (the day of the resurrection of Christ) as the new holy day — especially because this distanced Christianity from Judaism. In 321 AD Constantine made Sunday rather than Saturday (Saturn’s Day) the weekly holiday of the state religion of Sun-worship. The revolt of the Jews & the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the rejection of the Hebrew calendar and the increasing pre-eminence of the bishop of Rome were all part of the Romanization of Christianity which accompanied the Christianization of Rome…”

“In 325 AD Constantine called the first Council of Nicea (Nicaea, effectively the first Council of the Roman Catholic Church) to resolve controversy and establish Christian orthodoxy. The Council established the Unity of the Holy Trinity, the date of Christmas and the date of Easter… Also in 325 he declared December 25th to be an Immovable Feast for the whole Roman Empire. The bishop of Rome may have accepted December 25th as the date of birth of Jesus Christ as early as 320 AD, but careful analysis by Catholic scholarship can only establish that it was some time before 354 AD…”

“The standardization of Santa’s image was probably due to Coca-Cola artist Haddon Sundblom who (in 1931) depicted Santa as a portly, jolly grandfatherly figure with a ruddy complexion and white-fur-trimmed red coat & cap — replacing the pipe with a bottle of Coke. Thirty-five years of annual advertising by the Coca-Cola company using Sundblom’s Santa solidified the contemporary image of Santa Claus (but without the Coke)…”

Next Page »