My PSA for today – adopt your pet.

Please, do not buy dogs/cats/ birds and reptiles from pet stores – they often come from “puppy mills,” “kitten mills” and even bird and snake “mills” and/or they are poached out of the wild.

If you want a pet – adopt.

My puppy mill story.

Many, many, years ago, while working as a power meter technician (meter reader) for the local power company, I looked at my work order to find one of those addresses that had a gate. The instructions indicated that the gate was usually closed but that that HQ had been in contact with the homeowner who said the gate would be open during a small window of time during my shift. I timed it just right so I would arrive when the gate was open and could get my job done.

Once I arrived on site my orders indicated that I needed to disconnect the power service for the house, a run-down old mini-mac-mansion behind a high iron fence, for which the owner had not paid their power bill in months.

While behind the house looking for the meter, I found a dozen or so tiny metal cages full of what looked like Bichon Frises of all ages – they were so unhealthy, sad, filthy, and inhumanely housed – I had stumbled upon a puppy mill operation. I noted the dogs and their living conditions with disgust and sadness, and went on about my job of locating the meter (but I fully intended to report the operation after I departed the property).

I eventually found the meter hidden behind some junk* beside a screen door I had passed earlier. *I had seen this before. It was probably an intentional attempt to hide/block access to the meter.

I knocked on the nearby screen door and peered through into a dimly lighted dirty kitchen to inform the homeowner (and 6 or 8 children of all ages – a human mill apparently – yes, I said it) that I was there to turn off the power for nonpayment. A very large woman smoking a cigarette and tilted back in a recliner in the corner said something like “Do what you must, the @#%&*! church would not pay anymore…”

Yikes…

I pulled the meter out, the lights went out, and suddenly the woman went totally nuts yelling, screaming, shrieking, cursing at me, and said “you’re going down!” “I’m suing you – you little @#&!!@ …she paused for a moment, coughed several raspy, deep, wet, smoker’s coughs, and then yelled at the top of her cigarette smoke-filled lungs “did you just assault my @#!%* child! I saw you touch my !@#%*! child!”

Yikes, what manner of fresh hell did I just unleash upon myself and the unsuspecting world?!!

That woman was totally bat-shit crazy!

I was outside the house, on the other side of the screen door, holding a power meter in my heavily-gloved hands, and at least 10 feet away from the nearest child – a dirty little kid in a high chair wearing only a diaper and being fed what looked like ice cream by what may have been a sibling – obviously, there was no possible way I could have ever touched the child. I say again – that woman was totally friggin nutterz!!

At the sound of smoking-woman’s shrill, hateful, raised voice – the dirty baby in the high chair started to cry and all the other children in the room went totally silent, petrified still, and looked absolutely terrified. They had probably see the crazy dog-lady’s temper before and knew exactly what it meant – I had only just been introduced to it and I was also totally terrified.

I didn’t say a word – no need to feed a rabid wolf. If you feed them they only grow stronger.

I quickly finished locking down the meter base and took off running, jumped in my work truck, tossed the power meter on the passenger seat, ducked down into the seat, and tore out of the driveway fully expecting to hear gunfire from the vicinity of the now dark house. Luckily – no spinning hot lead slugs flew past me – only the vociferously venomous rantings of a crazy, power poaching, puppy mill perpetrating, low-life of a person – who was now in the dark.

I felt terrible for the kids and the dogs, but nonpayment is nonpayment and orders are orders.

I was really shaken up so I drove a few miles down the street, pulled the truck off in a safe place, took out a pad and pen and started to write down everything exactly as it happened. After I finished writing out the details of the bizarre encounter I called my supervisor and gave her a full and detailed report including the discovery of the puppy mill and all the madness from the toxic lady. My boss stood up for me and later we collaborated on sending in the police, investigators, and others to get the place investigated, exposed, and shut down for animal and human cruelty and negligence. I assumed I would be called to court to testify but it never happened – possibly because the place was so obviously in great violation of so many health and safety, animal, and human abuse and cruelty laws.

The last time I drove by the place it was still dark, overgrown with weeds and small trees, and the house was falling in. Hopefully, the human filth was dealt with accordingly and the innocent dogs and children found new forever homes.

My lessons from this encounter:

  • My first-hand evidence, and the evidence from many other sources, reveal that people who treat animals humanely – will often do the same to people.
  • Do not buy pets from pet shops that often source their stock from and animal mills and or wildlife poaching operations.
  • Adopt.

There are many wonderful orphaned animals out there in need of new homes, maybe you will be the one that gives one of them a wonderful place to call home and to be loved.

Don’t be your own limiting factor

It is a very sad fact that the toxic, tribalism-focused, divisive, narrow, me-first way of thinking that some humans practice is their prime limiting factor.

In the end, they will probably do themselves in (taking many of us along with them) as they cling to their ancient emotion and fear-driven ideas, ideals, idols, crystals, horoscopes, and divisive, evidence and reason-lacking ancient dusty tablets and texts – all while the real miracles come from the readily available peer-reviewed and often freely offered findings of science, application of engineering, and acceptance of reality.

Sad indeed but it seems this fact may be one of the ways natural selection is exhibited in the human species.

Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, thrive.

“Science the shit out of it.”

Dare mighty things.

Do good things.

Be the change.

One Love.

Peace.

Another orbit completed successfully

Another trip around the sun completed successfully.

Some perspective: On this day (July 15th) in 1968 I came into this reality – whatever this reality really is – and as of today, I have existed in this reality for 54 earth years.

Some perspective and observations.

I was premature so I had to cook in an incubator for a while until my body took over and I could support myself without the assistance of science and technology.

I was soon adopted by two amazing people Cathy and Clayton – who accepted me into their home as their own child. They later adopted another child in need and named her Lesly who then became my wonderful sister. She met Jonas and they raised two wonderful children – Cody and Ashlyn – who I just know will go above and beyond and do great things. I am lucky and proud to be a part of this family.

I was born in the middle of one of the times of the greatest scientific and engineering achievements humankind has ever experienced: the Apollo-era moon missions and landings…and, fitting the space exploration and cultural turbulence of the times, the first incarnation of Star Trek – my favorite TV series – was on TV…and it still is and all of its incarnations and I love them all for the messages they bring to all of us – if we have the capacity to understand and accept them and put them into practice.

I have been alive (whatever that means) for ~473,040 hours and accruing. I have orbited our closest star Sol 54 times. I have now traveled around 31,536,000,000 miles (50,752,272,384 kilometers) through space in an ever-spiraling circle around a rather remote and average little yellow star while riding on a water-soaked living rock along with you and over 7.9 billion other naked, bi-pedal, mostly hairless, multi-colored, fire and tool-using, thinking apes, and countless other amazing life-forms – while spinning at an equatorial rate of around 1000 mph (1,609.3 kph) while at the same time passing through the icy blackness vacuum of space at around 67,000 mph (107,826 kph) in our orbital path around the sun while also orbiting around Sagittarius A* the supermassive black hole in the center of our home galaxy at a rate of around 514,000 mph. At this rate, it will take me, you, our wet rock, and our star – about 229 million years to make one trip around the galactic center thereby completing one Galactic Year. And all of this, all of us, everything, our entire Milky Way galaxy – is traveling through intergalactic space at around 1.2 million mph (1.9m kph) relative to the cosmic background radiation.

Ponder it.

So far, I have had an amazing existence full of tons of excitement, exploration, friendship, laughter love, and light as well as periods of loss, pain, hardship, and a little bit of darkness.

I was here the last time Haley’s Comet passed by our pale blue watery rock of a dot in 1986 (and I plan to be here to see it again when it comes back around again in 2062).

I rode along in spirit and in support of every space exploration mission humanity has launched since I can remember way back as a 4-year-old kid watching it happen live (well, almost live since round trip communication time between the earth and moon is 2.6 seconds) on TV and then running outside in the yard to look up at the moon where the last Apollo astronauts were bouncing about the lunar surface in the early ’70s. I have since watched in awe, great appreciation, and hope as the space programs of planet earth sent many amazing interplanetary probes to the Sun, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Neptune, Pluto, asteroids, comets, asteroids, and more. I watched as the incredible Space Shuttles flew on huge pillars of flame and 15 nations set aside their differences to build the International Space Station – a castle of science, discovery, and international cooperation 249 miles above all of us in the “sky.” Today I am elated at the rapid evolution of non-governmental space exploration and travel organizations and I hope to see us back on the moon soon – and then sometime before I kick off – great shiny Starships landing on Mars. Go SpaceX! Just a few days ago I witnessed the mind-blowingly beautiful and deeply data-rich images from almost the beginning of time and space come beaming down to all of us overly encephalized hairy tit-sucking mammals living upon this pale blue dot from the incredible James Webb Space Telescope – and I look forward to seeing more that will come to us over the next 20 – 30 years and am so excited for how much the JWST’s imagery will increase our knowledge of our own cosmic evolution.

I chased nature and wild animals, first as a child for personal interest sake, and later in the name of science, education, and conservation of species. My favorites being the misunderstood creatures of the world such as reptiles, amphibians, bats, Opossums, and vultures.

On a few occasions, my body was invaded by festering armies of microscopic “wildlife” that tried to use me as a replicator for more of their kind and/or end me, and yet, my own immune system as well as the findings of many, many great scientists that came before allowed me to boost, augment, and bio-hack my body through the use of antibiotics and vaccinations thereby giving me a “force field of science” inside and out so I could continue awkwardly onward into the future.

In 2014 I came closest to feeding the soil, worms, and trees when a rather archaic and not that useful part of my internal anatomy (my appendix) malfunctioned and suffered a massive R.U.D. (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) – so I had it removed by a robot that was designed by science and piloted by a scientist we all call a doctor so I could continue in my present state of gangly existence.

In 2016 I had an encounter with a wild venomous serpent (Timber rattlesnake) who was only defending himself due to my accidental stupidity and, while I was in no danger of meeting my end – it did really hurt a bit and slow me down for a few weeks (yes, the snake still lives in the wilds of the forest 🙂 ) The only way I was able to overcome this one without losing a finger and possibly suffering lasting damage to my body was through the findings of science. Yep, there is that science thing again. Ain’t it wonderful 🙂

This past year the current plague impacting humanity (SARS CoV2) finally caught up with me. It was no fun at all and took me out for a week or so but I recovered – again thanks to science and my science-augmented immune system.

On all these close calls (and many I have not even been aware of due to my science augmented/trained to recognize and destroy the “bad guys” immune system via all the vaccinations I have gladly rolled up my sleeves to receive since I was a small child 🙂 ) I was given another chance at existing in this reality through the findings of science, miracles of modern technology and engineering…and possibly a little bit of some as yet to be discovered by science mystical energy field or omnipotent ancient and possibly extraterrestrial/interdimensional intelligence that, for some really disturbingly strange reason, many individuals/cultures/factions on the planet have coined many different names/stories/belief systems for – yet cannot ever seem to agree upon…and often even choose to childishly take sides, argue, fight, and believe it or not even murder each other over…so bizarre and childlike is the proudest monkey.

IMHO – if this intelligence exists – it is as far “above” us as we are “above” our closest relatives the Chimpanzee and Bonobo…or maybe the bacterium…or the virus. Whatever the case, I’m pretty sure that if it does exist it might be studying us as we study the animals…or the virus…and it cares not one single bit about our posturings on its behalf, the myriad of books we write about it, our childish bickering on who/what it is, who or what is “right” and “wrong,” who uses which bathroom, who’s skin is what color, who is “left” and “right,” etc. – just like we do not care about the comings and goings of bacteria and viral organisms…until they invade our personal space and become overpopulated…hmmmm…something important to ponder if you are able to see deep enough or large enough to ponder it…

At an early age, I became tired of all the factions telling me what to do, how to believe, how to think, how to live my life, and how to be a human – so I chose to follow my own path. I chose to listen to nature, to the evidence and logic and teachings of the wilderness, and to the findings and ponderings of the great minds and philosophies of history. Some may call me a “free spirit” – nice! – thank you! Some have called me “lost” – really, how rude! But whatever the case may be this is my path, no one can choose it for me and likewise, I will never try to force it on you or anyone. You must all find your own path.

I learned to drone a didgeridoo – so very ancient and cool!

I fell in love with a wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent human female called Marian and we settled down a bit…but not too much 🙂

A few years later I fell into a wonderful career inspiring, leading, and sharing nature, science, and reality knowledge with amazing at-risk youth on the connections, beauty, and joy of nature, wildlife, science, and life the universe, and everything.

While working to inspire tomorrow’s youth to better themselves by connecting with nature, wilderness, wild things, and to trust science and let it be their guide in life – I have connected with so many amazing human beings in my students and my coworkers – my life has been so deeply enrichened from my time with all of you amazing people and I am so grateful for all of you and your lasting contributions to your classroom and to my personal journey.

My incredible students, interns, volunteers, amazing friends Jim and Bob, and I all worked together over many solar orbits with many more amazing project supporters to build a photovoltaic solar power plant that benefits not only our classroom and campus but the entire local community with clean, locally-produced renewable energy from our nearest fusion reactor in space – the sun! Update: During my most recent solar orbit we all – and some wonderful and most-generous new friends – worked to create a solar-powered mobile outreach classroom called the SS NaSA PoD (Science Steve’s Nature and Science Adventure Pod of Discovery) – that will allow us to bring our nature, wildlife, and science messages to our students and to the region – so cool!

About 10 orbits ago my wife and I started phasing out almost all our connections to nature, life, and future-harming dirty fossil fuels. We have been driving mostly electric since 2013 and intend to soon go fully electric with most of our transportation, energy, and fuel needs coming from EVs and local renewable energy sources.

Just a few solar orbits ago the amazing findings of the science of genetics and DNA sequencing allowed me to connect with my wonderful biological father, sister, brother, and other awesome family members and answer many of the questions about my genetic roots and my connections to nature that I have had since an early age.

And now I find myself near the end of a global viral pandemic that has sadly ended the lives of many and upset the lives and plans of most. As before, I will follow and trust the science as I ignore all the other randomly repeated, vociferous, evidence-lacking, overly emotional, opinions and options and roll up my sleeve and gladly accept the expertly recommended vaccinations against this microscopic attacker (but I did still get the virus – only not as bad as some I know who did not or could not roll up their sleeves). I will continue to trust in science, even with its changeable and incomplete nature, to give me guidelines and support during this global human emergency. I hope you will choose to join me and in doing so, together, you and I will get through this thing – and hopefully, I will still be here to rewrite this yet again next year on this day.

Whatever all the facts and reasons may be, I am very glad to still be here on this incredible and sometimes bumpy but always interesting wild ride through the cosmos with all of you other crazy wonderful, and beautifully mixed-up mosh pit of humans and always wonderful animals.

I’m not sure where we are going or when, where, and why we exist – but wherever, whatever, whenever, and whyever – at least we are making good time and it has been and will continue to be one heck of a wild ride through the cosmos on this one strange rock we all call home.

Thank you all for being here and for riding along on this roller coaster called life with me 🙂 Now let’s all take another spin around the sun together on spaceship Earth!

Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, and thrive.

Live long and prosper.

Bring the change.

Be the change.

Do good things.

Coexist.

One Love.

Peace.

Dreams are fun

My dreams are usually bizarrely twisted versions of reality – but they are usually not anything to share…until now. I’m sharing the next two dreams purely due to the bizarre comedic nature of their freaky fun content.

Dream 1: I find myself in a vehicle traveling dangerously fast along an autobahn-like superhighway. I am in the back of the vehicle. It is a boxy, obviously an off-road “Jeep” type vehicle. It has many features that remind me of the 1960’s Series Land Rovers that I once owned and drove. A truly off-center difference is that the entire interior is carpeted in plush, deep, black shag carpet. It was really quite nice – in the dream. I then notice that I am sitting, not in a vehicle seat – there are no standard back seats or inward-facing jump seats as in some jeep-style two-door vehicles – I am facing forward and sitting in an old folding aluminum lawn chair with green plastic webbing. There are no seat belts and the seat is not attached to the floor as it should be. It and I are just at the mercy of physics should this wild ride abruptly end.

Weird. But it is about to get even weirder.

There is someone in the driver’s seat and someone in the passenger seat.

The driver turns to say something to the passenger and I recognize him – it’s Elon Musk. Then I recognize the passenger- it’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson. They are chatting about this new truck – so it must be that we are in Elon’s Cybertruck.

Cool.

But it sure does not look like a Cybertruck on the inside. Anyhow, Elon then says into the air “Autopilot Engaged” then he gets up, climbs over the seats, walks past me, and gets a drink from the built-in bar, the bartender is a shiny stainless steel (probably 304L) robot who reminds me of Bender from Futurama – only chrome plated and more menacing with a HAL 9000-like huge red camera-lens-like eye and many more arms – I would guess at least 6 but he is waving them all around like Dr. Octopus so it was hard to count them. The bizarro-bartender-Bender-bot then handed Musk the drink – I believe it was a Mojito…but it was bubbling and glowing blue and had a mad scientist-like smoke-like vapor sublimating from its bubbling surface – Musk passes it to DeGrasse Tyson who thanks him and is laughing while sipping his drink and acting as if all this is nothing new.

All the while the Cybertruck is expertly navigating around all manner of speeding swerving cars that are smashing into each other, exploding into conflagrations of twisted metal and flesh, running off the roads, and smashing head-on into trees and careening off cliffs…suddenly the Cybertruck abruptly swerves and takes an exit onto a dirt road not much wider than the truck itself, it then accelerates to an unbelievable warp-like speed and everything out the windows is an unrecognizable blur – yet its electric drive train is noticeably and eerily silent…and somehow the Cybertruck is staying attached to the road – I think to myself “maybe it is using its cold-gas thrusters and/or Elon and team have invented anti-gravity technology…”

Cool.

Elon and Neil are laughing and drinking their bubbling blue smoking Mojitos and Neil says “How is it that physics isn’t coming into play here – by my best calculations we should be dead in the pool of glacial meltwater at the bottom of that giant crevasse?” I look left and yes, a giant crevasse – we are now on a glacier that is melting fast due to anthropogenic climate change brought on by excessive fossil fuel consumption…Musk says “It’s bad-ass Tesla technology Neil.” he laughs and Neil laughs with him and they drink more of their strange blue mojitos and all the while the Cybertruck is just carrying on without any issue as all hell is breaking loose around us…wait, are we flying?

All I can think about is how I am in a lawn chair, not wearing a seat belt, and the shag carpet was a nice choice – and then I wake up. WTF? I really wanted to see how that one ended.

Now I am worried that when I finally do get my Cybertruck – it won’t have the shag carpet or a bizarro-bartender-Bender-bot.

Dream 2: I’m in a public place. It seems to be a festival of some sort. I see a very buxom woman with long brown hair and a very low-cut tank top running a hot dog stand specializing in vegan brats – her sign reads “My wieners have all the length and girth you can stand.” Woah – really! That’s bold.

I then notice she seems upset. I move closer and she leans down to tell me something – when she does her massive breasts almost fall out of her tiny pink tank top and I notice she has sweat beading up all over her body and she is trembling with fear. She then says something about a snake. For a moment I wonder if her “snake” comment is just her way of coming onto me. My query is answered by her total fear-based reaction – she is clearly terrified of something. Obviously, I investigate further to see if I can assist her with her snake issue. She tells me there is a snake under her hot dog cart and she points in the direction – and I notice she has 2-inch-long electric-blue fingernails.

I look where she is pointing under the cart and discover a smallish snake. It is coiled in the grass near one of the cart’s tires. It is about 2 feet long. At first, it seems to be a Copperhead. Venomous, yes – but not anything to worry that much about as long as you do not get too close. So I get ready to go in and move the snake to a safe place so she can get back to selling her oversized phallically themed sweaty vegan brats.

As if all that was not strange enough…

Suddenly, the snake starts to rapidly grow! It grows and stretches to thousands of times its earlier size to become a monstrous snake-like creature about 20 feet in length with a girth like an elephant’s trunk. It has several rows of unusual crab leg-like venomous talon-tipped appendages below its head and dozens of black, unblinking eyes, and a huge venom-dripping stinger on the end of its whip-like tail. As it is writhing around above the hot dog cart the buxom woman and all the people nearby run off shouting in absolute terror…

I stand there watching the carnage and then say to myself: “This is just not possible, this is not reality – so this must be a dream and I am the dreamer. That is the only logical explanation of this event.”

Then I wake up.

Dang. I really wanted to see how that one ended.

No drugs, alcohol, or unusual foods were ingested before I went to bed. These are just the natural drugs produced by my own brain and some wild drugs they must be.

Dreams are fun.

Happy Independence Day

A few years ago on this very same night, I was trying to go to sleep and my next-door neighbor across the holler had other ideas – so he shot my roof with fireworks! I listened as at least four mortar shells launched, soared into the sky, exploded, and then their spent shells impacted and rolled down my roof! I do not believe it was intentional but then again one never knows. I had to climb up on the roof in the middle of the night while fireworks exploded all around me – just to be sure the spent noisemakers did not light my house on fire!!

Grrrrr…there he goes again…I may have to have a talk with him…or better yet have the sheriff pay him a visit.

Luckily, my house did not burn down. However, my warmongering pyromaniac neighbor ran out of fireworks and started shooting his guns into the air around 11:30 pm all while cranking ’60-’80s music over his overbuilt car stereo so loud I could hear it inside my house over 1200 feet away – even with a thickly forested buffer between us.

While I totally support celebrating Independence Day – damn, I really hate fireworks. There was a time when I liked them but that was long ago. Now that I’m older and wiser and I have cultivated a reverence for all life, I see fireworks as only a celebration of littering, war, and bloodshed and a garish waste of money and resources that needlessly scare wildlife, pets, people, create unnecessary pollution and cause fires and loads of other issues when used incorrectly.

It is no wonder they are illegal in many places. Grrrrr!!!

I was just about to call the sheriff when he powered it all down and all went quiet.

I can only imagine the scene – his house and yard littered with spent fireworks, shotgun shells, and beer cans, a bare-chested, drunk, passed out male bipedal primate – or possibly female …or both…or an assortment of drooling, inebriated, bipedal primates…I have no idea since I have never seen the house where the fireworks originate or the primates that live within it – reclining in a lawn chair with a smoking shotgun in one flaccid pale white hand, a bud “dumber” can in the other spilling warm beer into a puddle being lapped up by a filthy mongrel of a dog while another stinking drunk canine sleeps upside down – tongue and gonads hanging out – on a moldering couch covered in beer cans, cigarette butts, and empty firework and shotgun shell boxes, in the middle of the driveway while a dollar store likeness of a “murican” flag hangs limp in the clearing smoke.

A sad scene to be sure and a scene that is becoming all too common in some parts of this country. In my opinion, this blatant disregard for public safety, wildlife, and nature has little to do with patriotism and more to do with childish machismo, dangerous patriotism, and inane stupidity. Our brave forefathers would be sad and disgusted at the level at which many of us have fallen.

At least the bozo has good taste in music.

Here are a few ideas for a meaningful, lasting celebration of our independence that can improve our communities, our country, and our connections with each other and with nature:

1. Plant some trees that will provide oxygen, shade, and sequester carbon. You could make it an annual tradition and call them “Freedom Trees” and over time you would have a “Freedom Forest.” If you and your kids planted fruit trees you could produce some of your own “Freedom Fruit” and before long you would have a “Freedom Orchard” – you get the idea 🙂

2 – Plant a vegetable garden to produce some of your own food. You could call it the “Freedom Garden” or as they did in WW2 a “Victory Garden” – whatever you called it, it would be a great way to grow some of your own food and teach your kids where their food comes from and how to be more self-sufficient and therefore, truly free.

3. You could add some solar panels to your roof/property to lessen your reliance on coal and foreign oil and in doing so you would become more energy secure and self-sufficient by farming the sun and producing your own “Freedom Electrons” to power your personal energy needs.

4. You could trade in that old gas guzzler for a new or used electric car. If you only used it to go to work/town and back as a daily driver for even just a few times per week – it will save you loads of money on fuel, oil, and maintenance – especially with fuel prices as high as they are now – oh and you can charge it up with those solar panels I mentioned earlier and have zero fuel costs.

True self-reliance comes when you are not tied to the grocery stores and fuel pumps – which are tied to corporate farms and oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East by several hundred to thousands of miles long supply chains. Operating and protecting these supply chains – especially the petroleum “umbilical cord” without which all gas/diesel vehicles would be useless – costs billions of our hard-earned tax dollars, the lives of our loved ones in the military who work hard and give their lives to protect it, and what about all the toxic, health, earth, life, atmosphere, and future-destroying pollution that comes with every step of the process?

For a moment just forget all your pre-conceived and/or religiopolitical notions about this idea and just imagine never paying for gas and oil ever again. What would you do with all that money? Imagine quietly making your own clean fuel and energy at home and being able to unplug from the subscription to dependency at the gas pump and the local monopolistic power plant and not needing to feed off of the teat of the twisted, toxic, destructive fossil fuel-based energy system we have created over the last 200 years.

There is a better way and it leads to true energy independence – I know how it feels because I have done it. I have been driving a fully electric car for almost 9 years and I charge it with “homegrown” sunshine so my EV electron fuel costs are around 1 cent per mile! I never stop at gas stations, never worry about tune-ups, exhaust pipes, mufflers, emissions inspections, etc…driving electric is an amazing feeling of freedom and it is a great feeling in every way. If I can do it, so can you.

5. Here is another good idea – what about eating less meat even if only for one day a week.

Aside from the obvious health benefits, eating less meat means less land and resources will be used up for industrial animal farming – “Factory Farms” – and all the problems they create. If you just cannot fathom that move then maybe you can choose to raise and/or ethically hunt and fish for your own meat instead of supporting dirty, unhealthy, industrial animal farms – like gardening, it teaches the next generation where their food comes from, it teaches respect for other life forms, and it teaches self-reliance – aka freedom…and besides, getting outside in nature, be it for hunting, fishing, farming, gardening, planting trees, installing solar, driving your solar-charged EV, or taking a hike in the forest with your kids, family or dog or alone – is just so good for you and your loved ones and it is a great way to celebrate our country’s and maybe your own independence day 🙂

WTF happened???

It is 2022.

By now we were supposed to have flying cars, starships and space stations full of people, outposts on the moon and Mars, thinking robots living among us, renewable and fusion energy sources powering our lives, unlimited low-cost resources from a 100% recycling-based economy, equality, coexistence, and freedom for everyone and all creatures.

WTF happened?

A small number of greedy, wealth and power-mad, crusty old white men who fear change – choose to focus on outdated ancient dogma and toxically-tribal, control-focused, anti-progress, knuckle-dragging fear, and warmongering tactics – are hell-bent on stopping anything and anyone who wants evidence-supported progress, positivity, and coexistence.

These twisted, small-minded, hateful, heavy-handed, charlatans, are plotting and scheming to destroy any chance the majority of us have at a better future by undermining anything that works to better our lives.

The question is why?

Why are they so focused on destroying the future?

I am not targeting one specific political or religious “team” – I despise the competitive “team” approach because it was designed from the get-go to divide us from each other. I am calling out all of those – whomever they are – who constantly and consciously choose to ignore the evidence, ignore reality, ignore the voices of the people and instead choose to do all in their power to – out of greed, control, and possibly even out of spite – choose to do exactly the opposite of what should be done. It is as if they are choosing to intentionally screw things up for future generations.

Maybe I am giving them too much credit. Maybe they are just idiots who do not have the capacity to think ahead and see the consequences of their decisions. Maybe their minds are dumb from breathing leaded gasoline most of their lives, and/or numb and blinded by so many years of conditioning and programming from whatever cult of personality they choose to worship telling them their way is the only way no matter what the evidence, common sense, science, or their rotten, putrid little shriveled stone of a heart my try to say to them – if they even have a heart.

It seems that these toxic individuals may be working to infiltrate the very framework of our society and are trying to divide all of us from each other.

Why? What is their goal?

Why would anyone willingly choose to put their own greedy self-interests over any chance at a healthy, happy, future for all…hmmm…I wonder why?

I suppose the answer comes down to the fact that genetically we are still so very young in the evolution of our species.

It was not that long ago that we were living in caves eking out our existence with only rock, stick, and fire as tools. We were terrified of anything outside of our very limited frame of reference. Anything different than what we or our tribe knew in our daily existence would be labeled a threat and destroyed – out of fear and self-protection.

Therefore, since not enough time has passed to rid us of these ancient ways of thinking it seems that even though we have technologically evolved to turn our rocks, sticks, and fire into cement, steel, electricity, and rockets – some of us still have strong genetic traces of our ancient tribal tendencies and for some it seems that these fear-based tendencies are absolutely impossible to overcome.

We still often fear differences in others.

We still often attack that which is unknown to us.

We still often deny reality in favor of myth and legend.

We still often harm those we love for false feelings of power.

We still often seek comfort in what we know – not in what could be.

Even with all our amazing accomplishments – many of us still will often choose the path of fear, hate, greed, ancient comfortable dogma, and today, over the much better options of acceptance, love, generosity, peer-reviewed evidence, and tomorrow.

The big question is this: will we ever evolve past our infantile, child-like, me-first, bully-like, natures – before we kill ourselves off?

Maybe, maybe not.

Maybe one day we will overcome the natural odds and evolve to transcend our short-lived primate bodies and the physical world to become one with the energy flow of the universe.

Or maybe we are just a failed evolutionary experiment destined to become only a plasticized blip in the rock-recorded fossil record of deep time.

Only time will tell.

Strive to rise above the status quo.

Strive to find only the positive in life each day and to extinct the negative.

Do only good things.

Be the change.

Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, thrive.

A moment of mind-blowing clarity

Sometimes, I have moments of mind-blowing clarity, epiphany, and illumination when I observe something that I thought I understood and accepted as scientific and factual truth in my limited tiny human way, then I find a new way to experience that thing, and my eyes are opened even wider than I thought possible and entire world’s of wonder are revealed – like living jewels floating in a sea of blackness. This happened tonight when I placed my eye to a telescope and peered at the distant planet Saturn and its moon Titan. Absolutely beautiful and mind-expanding was my experience peering through a rather inexpensive telescope from the porch of a beach house on Edisto Island, SC through 1.2 billion kilometers (746 million miles or 8.2 times farther from the sun than Earth) of space and time. Although Saturn looked like a tiny yellow ball surrounded by glowing golden rings and its fascinating giant yellowish moon Titan a shining point of light adjacent to the planet, I was blown away that I was actually seeing it in reality, as it existed in space and time.

Yes, I have seen it before – recently with my own telescope, at professional observatories, and so on – but the most memorable time was the first time many, many years ago – back in the late 70s when I peered at it through a friend’s dad’s telescope on the same night we watched Skylab crossing over only hours before it fell back to earth. But way back then I was a kid and I did not have a lifetime of experience with which to filter and understand my experience – tonight was very different and so much more powerful because tonight I saw Saturn again in reality. It was not a close-up photo taken by Hubble, a space probe, or a mountain-top observatory…it was a real experience that I lived and felt deeper than I ever thought possible. It was visceral, powerful, moving, mind-expanding, and all those other big words that try to do it justice but really cannot. It was the crushing, humbling, reality that we are such miniscule creatures yet we have built this incredible ability to see reality as it really is and to understand our tiny place in that reality. As Carl Sagan put it: “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

I was unable to acquire a photo due to technological limitations so the photo I have included is almost exactly what I observed although it was taken with a bit larger telescope.

This experience has reinforced what I have known for many years and what I live by:

  1. Experiential education is the best way to teach a person a thing, no matter what that thing is. Turn off your tv and get off your butt and get outside, look through a telescope, play in the mud, climb a tree, travel to other places, eat strange foods, meet new people, climb mountains, swim seas, raft rivers, ride a bike, do good things, be nice, make a difference, coexist with all lifeforms, live in continuous awe of the amazing, grand, ancient and wondrous nature that is all around us and you will better off for it – and remember that all the craziness and insanity of today matters not at all when compared to the vast nature of space, time and the cosmos.
  2. We are very, very small. Do not take things so seriously, live, laugh, love and above all else – do good things!

Do Good Things

Fellow Earthlings,

Fear, hate, aggression, anger, greed, judgment, spite, darkness – these things are mind and spirit killers.

Let go of them.

A few decades ago I let go of my fear, hate, aggression, anger, greed, judgment, spite, and darkness. When I did this an amazing cosmos opened up to me. A living cosmos of beauty, coexistence, love, truth, kindness, and light – a cosmos of amazing possibilities.

Today I choose to treat all humans and all beings with the love, kindness, and respect that they deserve until given a reason not to do so.

I do not hold grudges – what a waste of time and energy.

I do not target, belittle and bully those that do not share my philosophy. Doing so would simply breed more negativity and polarization and again – what a waste of time and energy.

However, when needed I will use scientifically supported facts and common sense to educate others on more productive, environmentally sound ways and options of being human. I am aware that sometimes these suggestions may be interpreted as personal attacks but rest assured they are not. A fact is not an attack, it is only a fact. Aggression and attack are easy, evidence-supported facts are sometimes hard because they may require change – and for some people change is an impossible task.

I am simply offering another opinion, another option, or another path based on self-supporting, peer-reviewed evidence and/or common sense that the reader may not have thought of in their popular philosophy. It is up to them to choose what to do with the knowledge I have freely offered. If it does not work for them – so be it – it is they who will suffer the consequences of their actions be they “good” or “bad” consequences.

In adopting this philosophy I have reduced my stress levels, opened my mind, had incredible mind-opening relationships and adventures, and made amazing friends from all walks and ways of life that have made my life so much more beautiful and full than I ever thought possible.

I have followed opportunities that have blossomed into amazing positive learning, teaching, and growth experiences. All of these things, all of these connections, and all of these experiences have worked to create the person I am today.

If I had continued to follow the fearful path, if I had continued to live in fear of the things the sensationalistic media, special interest religio-political, and business groups, and smooth-talking venom spitting charlatans with their powerful hate and fear-filled divisive toxic agendas are continually working to feed us through TV, social media, literature, and movies – who knows where I would be today or if I would even still be alive.

How did I rise above all this? How did I escape the fearful madness that tried to assimilate me into their mind-numbing collectives? How did I form a shield against the never-ending onslaught from all directions?

For me, my answer was and still is nature, knowledge, and willpower.

After spending many years living, working, and playing in nature, in the wilderness – experiencing the ancient, age-old beauty and complexity of all that is nature and all that is this thing we call life – I developed a deep, spiritual reverence for life. This reverence stretched deeper into the core of my being, into my soul than anything I have ever experienced in any place of traditional organized religion/worship or anywhere in the human world.

Unlike all the other ways of living and being that wanted my money, my time, my thoughts, and even my very soul – these powerful natural connections did not want anything at all from me – yet they deeply fed me and I thirsted for more. So I dove deeper into the great naturalistic, scientific, philosophical and religious texts/field guides, and manuals, of the world and I learned from them but did not put all of them on pedestals or see them as “gossip truths” – I saw them as the great and powerful teaching tools that they are and I left it at that.

I also spoke to many wise, well-traveled, learned individuals and mentors who had lifetimes of knowledge to share and I listened to them and often, I followed their examples, and sometimes I did not because their examples did not work for me. Soon, I came to realize that we – our entire species – and all life on our earth – are but an insignificant, yet somehow aware of that insignificance, a minute little speck…a tiny hot candle of life and consciousness in the icy blackness of space, a momentary flaring of self-aware existence in the stupendous grandeur of all that has existed, exists, and will ever exist in deep time.

The time we are given to live on this earth in this form is so very brief, so very fragile, so very special.

To waste this finite time living in fear, full of hate, fighting over petty differences, imaginary lines on maps, temporary things, with eyes closed, and heart hardened to all of the wonders of reality and nature that exist and flow around us and within us – would be the ultimate disrespect to our existence and such an incredibly irresponsible waste of our precious time.

I believe that the biggest decision one can make is how to use the time they have been given.

For me, that decision is to spend my time wisely, free of hate, judgment, and fear and in the service and support of others and in service and support of the infinite living organism we call nature that gives life to us and supports and nourishes us all.

To that end, I will work hard to continue to share with others this knowledge and this reverence for all things that I have found and hope to continue to find. I will continue to use the scientific method and the naturalistic eye to explore the natural world in all its magnificence and share with you what I find.

I will continue to work to respect, trust, love, and accept all life in all of its infinite forms, infinite diversity, and infinite combinations and I will work to promote and support all that is good, positive, productive, and supportive of this grand complexity we call life.

This way is my own and I totally understand that it may not be yours and that is OK, I accept and respect that 100% – as long as your path does no harm to others, works in support of peace, nature, understanding, and coexistence with all beings and all things now and into the future.

Some of us must follow our own path, no one can choose that path for us – so follow the beat of your own drum and when the chance to change, grow, and blossom presents itself, take it, live it, learn it, laugh, love, sing, paint, get out into the woods, rivers, mountains, oceans, and let your inner light shine, be the change, and above all else be yourself and do what you feel is right in your heart and all will fall into place.

Be the change.

Do good things.

Viral menace! Be gone with you!

The viral scourge has found her and infected she is, but it seems only a mild vexing.

Yet, exiled from society the fair maid has been by the local lords of the magic known as medicine.

Her beloved nature knight, his weapons of choice earth, air, fire, water, and loads of peer-reviewed knowledge freely passed down from the great natural philosophers along with a lot of practical engineering and improvisation, has therefore reclusively retreated into a miniature wheeled home of his own creation.

Within this tiny bean pod-like shell he must reluctantly reside for a fortnight at most – but less in probability – while his princess valiantly fights her battle alone, aided only by countless armies of microscopic bloodborne troops – enhanced by the magical art of medical science – working round the clock to massacre the many millions of maliciously malevolent microscopic monstrosities munching madly in maid Marian’s body.

Nature knight profoundly misses his beauty who is so close, yet so far away just on the other side of an impenetrable wall of wood and masonry – her only company, the mischievous red canine companion and two troublemaking flatulent felines.

The lone lovers are sad yet they know they will be reunited after the microscopic battle being fought within her flesh and blood is finally over.

Therefore, all he can do is wait, wait within his microscopically minuscule science and star-powered abode as he ponders the countless unanswerable questions of deep time, DNA, and the vast ocean of the cosmos – while partaking of vegan ice cream and chocolate stout.

The condensed version: My wife has a mild case of covid, I’m living in the RV for the duration making the best of it hoping it doesn’t get me.

A few days later…

The masked and gloved physician jammed the nasal probe of pain so far up I thought it might bust through into my brain…only to reveal what my rapidly advancing symptoms suggested – the vile microscopic beastie has finally caught up with me.

Frell.

Frack.

Damn.

I hope this thing is short-lived for I have dragons to slay, fair maidens to rescue, and seeds of knowledge to plant.

Be gone with you, vile, villainous, wretched, miserable, microscopic, malevolence! With what little breath I have left I stab at thee with many choice colorful metaphors – and a hefty, healthy dose of SCIENCE!!!

To the rest of you reading this I say this: WEAR YOUR GORRAM MASK AND WASH YOUR FILTHY POXIFIED HANDS!!!

This must end

I am tired of the senseless deaths of innocents continuing to stack up.

I am tired of the thoughtless thoughts and empty prayers from so many including our political and religious so-called “leaders” on all sides of all the imaginary fences we have created for ourselves and their sitting on their hands continued lack of action while many of their bank accounts continue to swell with handouts from special interest groups who do not care about us or the future.

I am tired of seeing the flag at 1/2 mast.

I am tired of seeing tears on the faces of my loved ones at the horror they witness almost daily on the “news.”

As a teacher I find myself looking into the eyes of my students – some of them not much older than those in the latest mass shooting terrorist attack – and I look into the eyes of my wife and many of my friends who are or have been teachers or work within the education system, and I find myself in a deep state of pain and despair knowing that any one of them could one day find themselves in a similar situation.

This really hurts me more than anything has in a very long time.

These wonderful students and educators with their entire lives ahead of them…what is next for them…I fear that I may one day see their names and faces on the news and that fear just rips my heart out.

These brilliant children and educators deserve better, they deserve a chance at life just like we had. They deserve a safe educational environment where they can learn in peace and not be fearful of their classmates and other dangerously mentally ill domestic terrorists bringing often easily available weapons of war to their school to massacre their classmates and teachers.

They deserve life.

Anyone who says otherwise while spouting 2nd amendment rhetoric or strutting around in the street brandishing their firearms and waving their banners in an attempt to prop up their fearful positions – is putting guns over the lives of their children, family, and friends and that is not acceptable IN ANY WAY.

Arming teachers will not help the situation – it will only make it worse. A large portion of teachers do not want guns or the responsibility and potential hazard of keeping a gun in the classroom* – they just want to teach.

Furthermore, to keep a gun in a classroom it would need to be securely locked away accessible only to the teacher by a key. To access the gun the teacher would need to:

1. cross the room from wherever they were at the time of an attack.

2. Get out their key and open the locked location.

3. Remove the trigger lock (it would be stupid not to have several protective locks on the gun to prevent accidents/theft/attacks from “inside.”

4. Load the gun. (Keeping the gun unloaded with the ammo in a separate, locked location is yet another safety precaution.)

5. Use the gun.

By the time all these steps have taken place the active shooter could have easily committed their crime against humanity. Keeping a gun in the classroom is just not feasible.

*I know without any doubt that I do not want a gun in my classroom.

Arming everyone will not help the situation – it will only make it worse. This is not the wild west – it is 2022.

More thoughts and prayers – no matter how deep or sincere – will do absolutely nothing to change anything about this situation we have created for ourselves.

If only the thoughts and prayers continue – then so will the mass killings by demented domestic terrorists.

I fear that our country is quickly killing itself from the inside – falling off a cliff while arguing over the cause of the issues as the bloody bodies pile up around us and we slide deeper into a death trap from which there is no escape.

Will it be your child or you that is next?

Are you ready to accept your child’s fate or your fate because of your blind devotion to your beliefs, politics, and archaic words on a piece of dusty ancient text?

The time for thoughts and prayers has passed.

The time for empty excuses has passed.

The time for common sense, evidence-supported action is now!

But here’s the thing – just like the thoughts and prayers will not help, banning guns will not help. The simple fact is that if guns are banned, then only the crooks, crazies, and dangerously mentally ill will have guns.

Yes, making guns harder to acquire will help some and I am all for far stricter, common sense, gun laws just like I am all for strict, common sense drivers licenses and driver training.

However, if an unstable/dangerously mentally ill person really wants a gun and/or wants to do harm to others – they will find a way to get it/cause harm by stealing it, buying it on the black market, or using another thing as a weapon such as an airplane, car, wrench, screwdriver, fork, pocket knife, piece of rebar, 2×4, log, a baseball bat, stick, rock, mouth, foot, fist, household chemical, match, bicycle lighter or pen or pencil, gasoline, toxin, or contagion.

Speaking of sticks, rocks, and such – there are sticks and rocks everywhere and it seems they are not going away anytime soon. If a person – 5, 15, 50, or any age – starts hitting people with said sticks and/or throwing rocks at others and/or their property, we don’t blame the sticks and rocks – we make the common-sense decision and we quickly take away the sticks and rocks and work to teach that person – be they 5, 15, 50 or any age – the errors of their ways. To not take the sticks and rocks away and to not reprimand/educate the person – is a recipe for future disaster. If we do not take the sticks and rocks away then we become part of the problem – not part of the solution.

So go ahead, think your thoughts, say your prayers, and legally, safely, and responsibly own your guns – but for the future’s sake – stand up for life!

The simple fact remains that thoughts and prayers help only those offering them and guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

People make the choice to pick up a weapon – whatever the weapon may be – and commit a crime against another human.

Those individuals doing the killing are not usually the responsible, ethical, safe, gun owners, they are not often military, law enforcement, hunters, homeowners, or hobbyists – they are most often people with serious and very dangerous mental health issues. They have to be because any sane person is not going to pick up a gun – or any other weapon – and turn it on a defenseless person or innocent child.

What is not being addressed here is the obvious huge mental health issue in this country. That, combined with the relatively easy ability to acquire firearms is a recipe for continuing deaths and disasters.

One way to fight back is this: If someone in your family or circle of friends is having problems with reality, is having dangerous mental health issues, is a bully/unstable/dangerous person who is often threatening others in some way – if they are quick to insult/hate/belittle another race/ethnicity/group/religion/political affiliation/”type” of person/the personal choices of others, if they are sounding off with racial slurs/religious and political hate speech, if they are withdrawing from society, or amassing guns and ammo and/or making plans to commit an act of domestic terrorism against other humans – – then please, do not just turn your back on them – intervene and get them some professional help or, if needed, have them separated from the rest of society where they can do no harm to others before this happens again and again and again.

You may be the only thing standing between them and the next act of domestic terrorism.

Make good choices.

Be a good human.

Do only good things.

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