Resume Fodder & Resume Reality

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It has been my experience over the years that one’s resume is often no more than a list of jobs that one has endured year to date, mine included. Resumes do a decent job of painting a picture without any real details. The proof is in the pudding, it rears it’s ugly head when a person is put to task, when one is asked to prove their knowledge of the process, and to be able to work alone, unattended by a trainer or supervisor. We all know that after all the streamlined bullet points that most of our resume is just sugar coated bullshit. I said most people. Now you’re asking, but where are you going with all of this? Fair enough of a question, I actually have someplace I’m taking y’all. I’m taking y’all to work, my work specifically, where one of my tasks is to train new employees in our department how we do things, our culture, and how to do everything we do in the safest manner possible.

This act of training is very natural for me, it has always been easy for me to teach, from people who don’t have a clue to those who come with a little or allot of experience. So, I have worked at the same place now for almost exactly two years, I have been sent to schools as well as trained by other mechanics. As a mechanic we have a daunting task, we are responsible for the maintenance and repairs on a very broad spectrum, from building (facilities) maintenance to equipment maintenance, and everything little thing in between. I’m forbidden from mentioning the company I work for, but to give your imagination a run for its money, here are a few facts.

It all started in 1962 as a small grocery store in small town by a man with an unfilled vision, and is today the biggest retail chain in the world. From hitting the $1 billion mark for the first time in 1979, it generated more than 482 billion dollars in revenue in 2016. This is more than the total revenue of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Facebook combined! Just so you know, these are the top five most valuable brands in the world. Quite remarkable! In fact, this store brand has more revenue than the total GDP of countries like Poland, Belgium, Thailand, UAE, South Africa, Singapore, Portugal, Qatar, New Zealand, Croatia, Iceland, and Mauritius. Speaking of countries, if this store was a country, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world. A country with only the stores employees alone would also be more populated than 88 countries in the world. Want more?

Wait, did someone mention employees? Well, this store has many, many of them. With more employees than McDonald’s (1.9 million), it is the biggest private employer in the world. In fact, only two organizations have more employees than this store, the US Army and the Chinese Army. You know you are big when you are competing neck and neck with the biggest armies in the world. Which is why it should be no surprise to see that it employs more people than HP, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Motors, Starbucks, Ford, Walt Disney, Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook AND American Airlines COMBINED. Phew! All of these companies: ~2,199,000 employees. This store: ~2,300,000 employees.

You might be wondering how is all of this even possible. Well, the answer lies in the fact that Americans spend more than 36 million dollars every single hour at this store. That’s 864 million dollars in just one day. Additionally, more than 200 million customers shop every single week in its various stores. In other words, more people shop at this store every week than the entire population of Germany, United Kingdom, and France combined. Of course, this means that it makes some serious profits. How much, you might ask? No less than $21,000 every single minute. This store can literally buy 30 iPhone 6S every minute, burn them and still be in profit. Most of y’all have probably figured it out by now who I work for, but I’m still not saying. However, I don’t actually work in a store, I work in the logistics part, not the retail part. I work in one of thousands of the distribution warehouses that receive and distribute groceries to only a handful, 70 or so stores, in the logistical web of stores seen world wide. Many of the details I listed above were in our latest issue of our monthly magazine. I can’t actually give them full on credit without giving away the name of the company.

Ok, now back to my role. Fortunately for me, I learned my department and it’s role very fast. Fortunately for me, I came into this mechanic’s position bringing years of mechanical experience and knowledge, the results of not having a resume full of fluff, fodder, or bullshit. And if the truth must be told, being a jack of most trades has served me well here because there are many days I have to dip into my resources of experiences to solve problems. But wait, there’s more. It was all a trap, almost like being given a lengthy rope to see if I could hang myself. Actually, becoming the trainer did come with extra money hourly and a little prestige since I’m not just another drone mechanic, I actually have a purpose and people depend on me to do my job to a higher standard. Plus, I really do like and appreciate all the daily challenges. Plus, training keeps my own skills sharp and many times I learn a little more. I never know who I will train or what their personal skillset actually contains. I’m not part of the interview process, but my words speak loudly when I have to do the person’s training review close to the end of a person’s initial 90 day period. Fortunately for me, my words, in a company this size, have merit and do determine if a person will continue in the new career he or she has chosen. A fortunate aspect of who I am and how my personality works is that I can spot bullshit a mile away and read a person in a way that interpretation is not necessarily needed. Luckily for me, the human brain has done most of the work for me because one is either mechanically inclined or one is not mechanically inclined. There is no in between and there is no fudging any of that. Remember, I NEVER see the resume that was used nor was I part of the interview process which got a person hired, I get the person cold. I suppose one could say it’s like a blind date, if it goes well for him or her, we get to move forward.

I will discuss, briefly, the latest candidate, and then let y’all get back to your lives. Sam is 32, the mother of 3 girls, recently divorced, muscle car enthusiast, and out in the workforce for the very first time ever in her life. She came in the shop this past weekend looking like an 80’s Guess Jeans poster girl and my first impression was that I’m screwed, not getting screwed by her, but the girly girly smells real nice types don’t usually like to get grease under their nails. My initial impressions were squashed real fast and I must admit I was more than a little shocked. Task one with Sam was to identify why a fully automatic shrink wrap machine was inoperable. I noticed when we arrived at the machine that it had stopped abruptly in a strange position, generally meaning something broke or seized. By the time I mentioned we need to get out the 16 foot ladder (weighing in at 135 lbs, in my opinion weighing more than her by 15 to 20 lbs) she already had it set up and was climbing to the top. She proceeded to request I hand her a flashlight, a 9/16″ open end wrench, and the 6″ crescent wrench. I’m, okay Sam. After a few minutes of silence except for a little grunting, she explained she had identified the problem, the shaft from the main drive motor which drives the rotation gearbox has either has broken into three pieces. I was also informed that we need to go back to the shop for additional tools and the parts to complete the repair. Due diligence states I have to do my own assessment and inspection, which by the look on her face, was insulting. Not my intention, just protocol.

Needless to say, I merely had to show her access procedures, where to find stuff, how to use our hand held computer, and that it was time for break. By the end of our three day weekend (42 hours) I found myself to not only be amazed but also very respectful to the fact that no matter how the package is wrapped that there is always a surprise inside. We did have time to talk, she explained she’s from a family with 8 boys and she was the baby. She had gotten pregnant in high school and married shortly after graduation to the father. She ended her dream of going to college to become a better mechanic because she liked being a wife and mother. Her ex and her were into restoring and building hot rods, an expensive hobby which is one reason they divorced, the other reason was in an argument about money (which she was not earning) that resulted in him punching her in the mouth in front of their 3 children. In her eyes they were now done.

Anyway, after getting to know Sam I realized she was going to make our team better, and even though there is 11 more weeks of training, I don’t see any problems. Wait, unless of course she doesn’t like the cold, because then she’s screwed because we spend allot of time in the -30 degree freezers. But we will find out that next weekend.

What Is Your Religion Really About

Today let’s talk about religion, but not how you are thinking about talking about religion, let’s talk about the “other” religions out there, the off the beaten path religions, the religions that have the odd origins, the odd practices, and the roots that some of us, well me, find just a little bit out there. For those of y’all in practice of one or more religions that I mention, just remember the following information is public as far as I know and is not a leak from inside your particular cult and/or religion. The information, as it would be, was passed along to me by a member of The Scorpion Army, the information was originally collected to write a college sociology paper to discuss the relationships between people and the religious leaders they follow. A paper I could never have written, seems the term sheeple is not an acceptable term to describe a religious organization’s flock of followers. So, without further ado, lets look at religions which might seem a little bizarre or weird to the main stream public of the world. By the way, I’ve fired my proof reader, so if there are duplicates or misspellings y’all just need to suck it up.

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One will notice that there will be a handful of religions not discussed, that should be discussed, but I’m not setting out to bust anybody’s balls today or to ruffle any feathers. This post is for entertainment purposes, maybe even a little educational, and perhaps might even open our eyes to the different things, people, idols, places, ideas, concepts, objects, or times we worship to get through our days and nights. The order of this list is in no particular order, nor does the order of the list mean anything specific. Religion can be understood largely as an attempt of a group of individuals to understand existential questions based on a set of cultural practices specific to that group. Sometimes these practices may not seemingly conform to our normal expectations from a ‘religion’. But they succeed in fulfilling what is expected of a religion- uniting people because of the belief that they may share. However, there is one condition that all religions must comply. They must not hinder the lives of others.

The Church of Scientology is a cult created by L Ron Hubbard (Elron) in 1952 as an outgrowth of his earlier self-help system called Dianetics. The Church of Scientology holds that at the higher levels of initiation (OT levels) mystical teachings are imparted that may be harmful to unprepared readers. These teachings are kept secret from members who have not reached these levels. In the OT levels, Hubbard explains how to reverse the effects of past-life trauma patterns that supposedly extend millions of years into the past. Among these advanced teachings is the story of Xenu (sometimes Xemu), introduced as an alien ruler of the “Galactic Confederacy.” According to this story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effects.

Nuwaubianism is an umbrella term used to refer to the doctrines and teachings of the followers of Dwight York. The Nuwaubians originated as a Black Muslim group in New York in the 1970s, and have gone through many changes since. Eventually, the group established a headquarters in Putnam County, Georgia in 1993, which they have since abandoned. York is now in prison after having been convicted on money laundering and child molestation charges, but Nuwaubianism endures. York developed Nuwaubianism by drawing on a wide range of sources which include Theosophy-derived New Age movements such as Astara as well as the Rosicrucians, Freemasonry, the Shriners, the Moorish Science Temple of America, the revisionist Christianity & Islam and the Qadiani cult of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the numerology of Rashad Khalifa, and the ancient astronaut theories of Zecharia Sitchin. White people are said in one Nuwaubian myth to have been originally created as a race of killers to serve blacks as a slave army, but this plan went awry. Here is a list of some of the more unusual Nuwaubian beliefs:

1. It is important to bury the afterbirth so that Satan does not use it to make a duplicate of the recently-born child
2. Furthermore, some aborted fetuses survive their abortion to live in the sewers, where they are being gathered and organized to take over the world
3. People were once perfectly symmetrical and ambidextrous, but then a meteorite struck Earth and tilted its axis causing handedness and shifting the heart off-center in the chest
4. Each of us has seven clones living in different parts of the world
5. Women existed for many generations before they invented men through genetic manipulation
6. Homo sapiens is the result of cloning experiments that were done on Mars using Homo erectus
7. Nikola Tesla came from the planet Venus
8. The Illuminati have nurtured a child, Satan’s son, who was born on 6 June 1966 at the Dakota House on 72nd Street in New York to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis of the Rothschild/Kennedy families. The Pope was present at the birth and performed necromantic ceremonies. The child was raised by former U.S. president Richard Nixon and now lives in Belgium, where it is hooked up bodily to a computer called “The Beast 3M” or “3666.”

The Church of Euthanasia (CoE), is a political organization started by the Reverend Chris Korda (pictured above) in the Boston, Massachusetts area of the United States. According to the church’s website, it is “a non-profit educational foundation devoted to restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth.” The CoE uses sermons, music, culture jamming, publicity stunts and direct action combined with an underlying sense of satire and black humor to highlight Earth’s unsustainable population. The CoE is notorious for its conflicts with Pro-life Christian activists. According to the church’s website, the one commandment is “Thou shalt not procreate”. The CoE further asserts four principal pillars: suicide, abortion, cannibalism (“strictly limited to consumption of the already dead”), and sodomy (“any sexual act not intended for procreation”). Slogans employed by the group include “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself”, “Six Billion Humans Can’t Be Wrong”, and “Eat a Queer Fetus for Jesus”, all of which are intended to mix inflammatory issues to unnerve those who oppose abortion and homosexuality.

The Prince Philip Movement is a cargo cult of the Yaohnanen tribe on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu. The Yaohnanen believe that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort to Queen Elizabeth II, is a divine being, the pale-skinned son of a mountain spirit and brother of John Frum. According to ancient tales the son travelled over the seas to a distant land, married a powerful lady and would in time return. The villagers had observed the respect accorded to Queen Elizabeth II by colonial officials and came to the conclusion that her husband, Prince Philip, must be the son from their legends. When the cult formed is unclear, but it is likely that it was sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. Their beliefs were strengthened by the royal couple’s official visit to Vanuatu in 1974 when a few villagers had the opportunity to observe the prince from afar. Prince Philip was made aware of the religion and has exchanged gifts with its leaders and even visited them.

The Creativity Movement (formerly known as World Church Of The Creator), is a white separatist organization that advocates the whites-only religion, Creativity. It was also a descriptive phrase used by Ben Klassen, that included all adherents of the religion. The use of the term creator does not refer to a deity, but rather to themselves (white people). Despite the former use of the word Church in its name, the movement is atheistic. Creativity is a White Separatist religion that was founded by Ben Klassen in early 1973 under the name Church of the Creator. After Klassen’s death in 1993, Creativity almost died out as a religion until the New Church of the Creator was established three years later by Matthew F. Hale as its Pontifex Maximus (high priest), until his incarceration in January 2003 for plotting with the movement’s head of security, Anthony Evola (an FBI informant), to murder a federal judge.

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) was founded in 1981 by members of Psychic TV, Coil, Current 93, and a number of other individuals. The ever-evolving network is a loosely federated group of people operating as a unique blend of artistic collective, and practitioners of magic. TOPY is dedicated to the manifestation of magical concepts lacking mysticism or the worship of gods. The group focuses on the psychic and magical aspects of the human brain linked with “guiltless sexuality”. Throughout its existence, TOPY has been an influential group in the underground Chaos magic scene and in the wider western occult tradition. TOPY’s research has covered both Left-hand path and Right-hand path magick, various elements of psychology, art, music, and a variety of other media. Some of the influences on the network have been Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare, and Brion Gysin.

The Church of the SubGenius is a parody religion that promotes slack, while in a meta-commentarial way, satirizes religion, conspiracy theories, UFOs, and popular culture. The church claims to have been founded in the 1950s by the “world’s greatest salesman” J. R. “Bob” Dobbs. “Bob” Dobbs is depicted as a cartoon of a Ward Cleaver-like man smoking a pipe. The church really started with the publication of SubGenius Pamphlet #1 in 1979. It found acceptance in underground pop-culture circles and has been embraced on college campuses, in the underground music scene, and on the Internet. An important SubGenius event occurred on July 5, 1998: X-Day. The Church had been predicting that on this day the world would be destroyed by invading alien armies known as the X-ists (which is short for “Men from Planet X”). When the event didn’t come to pass, the church administrator who predicted it was tarred and feathered – but allowed to continue on as administrator. Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman) is a SubGenius minister. Patrick Volkerding, the founder and maintainer of Slackware Linux, is also a SubGenius affiliate, and he has confirmed the Church and “Bob” inspired the name for Slackware.

Universe people or Cosmic people of light powers (Czech: Vesmírní lidé sil sv?tla) is a Czech religious movement centered around Ivo A. Benda. Its belief system is based upon the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations communicating with Benda and other “contacters” since October 1997 telepathically and later even by direct personal contact. According to Benda those civilizations operate a fleet of spaceships, led by Ashtar Sheran, orbiting the Earth. They closely watch and help the good and are waiting to transport their followers into another dimension. The Universe People’s teachings incorporate various elements from ufology (some foreign “contacters” are credited, though often also renounced after a time as misguided or deceptive), Christianity (Jesus was a “fine-vibrations” being) and conspiracy theories (forces of evil are supposed to plan compulsory chipping of the population).

The Nation of Yahweh is a predominantly African-American religious group that is the most controversial offshoot of the Black Hebrew Israelites line of thought. They were founded in 1979 in Miami by Hulon Mitchell, Jr., who went by the name Yahweh ben Yahweh. Their goal is to return African Americans, whom they see as the original Israelites, to Israel. The group departs from mainstream Christianity and Judaism by accepting Yahweh ben Yahweh as the Son of God. In this way, their beliefs are unique and distinct from that of other known Black Hebrew Israelite groups. The group has engendered controversy due to legal issues of its founder and has also faced accusations of being a black supremacist cult by the Southern Poverty Law Center and The Miami Herald. The SPLC has criticized the beliefs of the Nation of Yahweh as racist, stating that the group believed blacks are “the true Jews” and that whites were “white devils.” They also claim the group believed Yahweh ben Yahweh had a Messianic mission to vanquish whites and that they held views similar to the Christian Identity movement.

The Church of All Worlds is a neo-pagan religion founded in 1962 by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and his wife Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart. The religion evolved from a group of friends and lovers who were in part inspired by a fictional religion of the same name in the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein; the church’s mythology includes science fiction to this day. They recognize “Gaea,” the Earth Mother Goddess and the Father God, as well as the realm of Faeries and the deities of many other pantheons. Many of their ritual celebrations are centered on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. Following the tradition of using fiction as a basis for his ideas, Zell-Ravenheart recently founded The Grey School of Wizardry inspired in part by Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the school in the Harry Potter novels.

Cheondoism is a 20th-century Korean religious movement that has its origins in a peasant rebellion in 1812. Cheondoist theology is basically monotheistic, pantheistic and panentheistic. Cheondoism is rooted in Korean shamanism and Korean Buddhism, with elements drawn from Christianity. It has become so popular in Communist North Korea that it is now the leading religion there. The religion believes that God exists in each of us and that we should all strive to make earth a paradise. It attempts to transform the believers into intelligent moral beings with a high social consciousness.

Mazdakism is a religion founded by Mazdak, a socialist Persian (Iranian) reformer in the 6th century BC. He claimed to be a prophet (similar to Mohammed 1,200 years later) and instituted communal possessions and social welfare programs. The two distinguishing factors of Mazdak’s teaching were the reduction of the importance of religious formalities — the true religious person being the one who understood and related correctly to the principles of the universe — and a criticism of the strong position of Zoroastrian clergy, who, he believed, had oppressed the Persian population and caused much poverty. Despite the concepts of good conduct and Pacifism, the followers of Mazdak raided the palaces and harems of the rich, removing the valuables to which they believed they had equal rights.

Builders of the Adytum (or BOTA for short) is a religion created in California by Dr. Paul Foster Case. The religion teachs its adherants by correspondence but also has bases around the world where people meet and perform religious ceremonies. Most of the beliefs and teachings are based on esoteric psychology, occult tarot, Hermetic Qabalah, Astrology, and meditation techniques. BOTA is not a strictly Christian organization, nor is it Jewish. B.O.T.A believes that the Qabalah is the mystical root of both ancient Judaism and the original Christianity, but people of all faiths are accepted if they are mystically inclined.

Asatru is a revival of ancient Nordic religion based upon polythesitc faith and mythic tales. According to the religion, there are four key deities and several minor gods. Adherents usually live in communities called Kindreds. They ascribe to the “Nine Noble Virtues” as a model for their lives. While the original Norse would have participated in animal sacrifice, modern worshipers offer mead, a honey-wine, to the gods. Major holidays revolve around the changing seasons with Yule being the most important. It is celebrated in late December and continues for twelve days.

Eckankar was established by American John Paul Twitchell in 1965. It is a monotheistic faith, which worships the divine spirit “Eck.” Eckankar is similar to some Eastern religions in its belief that the soul is constantly reincarnated until it achieves spiritual liberation. The religion teaches that spiritual growth is only possible through special meditative exercises similar to yoga. Through these practices, the soul can escape the physical form and enter the Sugmad, or spiritual realm. Successful completion of one’s spiritual journey results in a reunification with Eck.

Jainism was founded in India over 2500 years ago. It survives today with approximately four million believers, called J. This polytheistic faith preaches that many gods exist alongside humans in a complex hierarchy. The Jain gods are symbolic of common human ideas. Similar to Buddhism, the goal of “Jain Life” is to achieve spiritual perfection and free the soul from the cycle of rebirth. Those who succeed in this endeavor are called jinas. Jain worship centers on icons and numerous Jain temples in India contain images of the 24 tirthankaras, revered spiritual leaders. Offerings are frequently made to these images as part of Jain ritual. Meditation and monasticism are also key features of Jainism.

Founded in the early 20th century, this religion is based around so-called “Prophet Healing” churches in Africa. It claims around one million adherents, mostly in Nigeria. Aladura is directly related to the Anglican movement of Christianity. It was founded as a response to missionary movements in Africa. The religion emphasizes divine healing and a strict moral code. Its practices mix Anglican traditions with African rituals. Many ritual objects are involved in the practice, and the faiths leaders are known as prophets who are entrusted with healing believers through rituals and prayer.

This Vietnamese religion combines elements of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Catholicism. It was founded in 1926 and claims up to 6 million adherents. Believers worship a vast array of saints, which includes such notable figures as Julius Caesar and Pericles. The ecclectic nature of Cao Dai complements its idealistic mission to create a more tolerant world. Adherents see all humans as sharing a divine heritage. The practicies of this faith are somewhat occult and derived from Taoist traditions. Believers hold seances in addition to group prayer and elaborate ritual ceremonies.

Falun Gong is a recent religious movement with roughly three million practitioners. It was founded in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi. It combines elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism with traditional Chinese folklore. Falun Gong aims to obtain mental and spiritual renewal through meditation. Adherents practice special exercises to awaken their center of spiritual energy and rid themselves of physical and spiritual ailments. The faith has received extensive criticism from the Chinese government, which initially saw the new cult as a threat. Outsiders also tend to ridicule Falun Gong’s contention that antagonistic space aliens are manipulating world leaders.

With nearly two billion professed adherents worldwide, Christianity is currently the largest religion in the world. It has dominated western culture for centuries and remains the majority religion of Europe and the Americas. Christian belief centers on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, a teacher and healer of first-century Palestine. The primary source of information about the life of Jesus are the Gospels, four books written by different authors 30-100 years after Jesus’ death. The Gospels eventually became the first four books of the New Testament. Christian practices vary by denomination, but common elements include a Sunday worship service, private and corporate prayer, study and reading of the Scriptures, and participation in rites such as baptism and communion. Distinctive Catholic practices include recognition of seven total sacraments, Sunday mass, devotion to the Virgin Mary and the saints, and veneration of relics and places associated with holy figures. Eastern Orthodoxy holds many practices in common with Catholicism, but is especially distinguished by the central role of icons: ornate images of Christ and the saints believed to provide a connection to the spiritual world.

Wicca is a highly spiritual religion based on the ancient pre-christian pagan religions.  Not all pagans are wiccans!  Wiccans believe in divine forces as the source of all.  It is both immanent and transcendent while encompassing the whole universe.  Therefore the world and all aspects within the world, “nature” and “life itself” in particular, are considered sacred. Wiccans use ancient and modern ceremonies, rituals and shamanic practices to attune themselves to the natural rhythms of nature, the world, and the universe in their efforts to commune with this divine force. To communicate with the force, wiccans believe it to be manifest in the form of a goddess and god.  As they emanate from the same source, both retain equal power, hence equal status.  By manifesting the power in two deities (goddess and god), the natural balance of opposites, cause and effect are retained, e.g.  Summer/winter, light/ dark, life and death etc.  Each opposite is essential to maintaining the balance and rhythm of life on earth.

Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, with over 1 billion followers. It is a monotheistic faith based on revelations received by the Prophet Muhammad in 7th-century Saudi Arabia. The Arabic word islam means “submission,” reflecting the faith’s central tenet of submitting to the will of God. Followers of Islam are called Muslims. According to Islamic tradition, the angel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet over the course of 20 years, revealing to him many messages from God. Muslims recognize some earlier Judeo-Christian prophets—including Moses and Jesus—as messengers of of the same true God. But in Islam, but Muhammad is the last and greatest of the prophets, whose revelations alone are pure and uncorrupted.  The Prophet dedicated the remainder of his life to spreading a message of monotheism in a polytheistic world. In 622, he fled north to the city of Medina to escape growing persecution. This event marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Eight years later, Muhammad returned to Mecca with an army and conquered the city for Islam. By Muhammad’s death, 50 years later, the entire Arabian Peninsula had come under Muslim control. The sacred text of Islam, the Qur’an, was written in Arabic within 30 years of Muhammad’s death. Muslims believe it contains the literal word of God. Also important is the tradition of the sayings and actions of Muhammad and his companions, collected in the Hadith.

Worshippers of Satan can broadly be categorised as spiritualists for whom Satan is an actual deity and atheists for whom Satan is a figure symbolising crisis of faith, individualism and free will. Certain sects are notorious for their activities. Like the ‘Beasts of Satan’ committed murders in Italy between 1998-2004. The ‘Order of Nine Angels’ affirmed human sacrifice (1960s). The public practice began with the establishment of the Church of Satan in 1966.

The Rastafari believe that the Ethiopian King Haile Selassie is the God of All. The aim of the religious movement is to restore pride in African identity which suffered because of the forces of colonialism. They proclaim Zion as the original birthplace of mankind and reject ‘Babylon’ or the world of materialism. Bob Marley is one famous Rastafari who followed the principles of Rastafarian lifestyle including ritual use of marijuana, avoiding alcohol and wearing one’s hair in dreadlocks.

Claude Vorilhon formed the religion in 1974 as a U.F.O. religion. Raëlians believe that a humanoid species of extraterrestrials, Elohim are responsible for the genesis of the human race. They believe that the Elohim misinformed humans that they were angels and that Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and others are Prophets of Elohim. They believe that the Elohim will come back to meet us when we are peaceful and ready. They believe in awakening of the mind through awakening of the body. The usage of the Swastika as a religious symbol has caused the religious group some problems in Israel.

Diego Maradona is a legend to say the least. His fans started a religion for him in the year 1998 and has more than a million followers in more than sixty countries. The supporters of the Maradonian Church count the years since the football legend Maradona’s birth in 1960. The use of the neo-Tetragrammaton, D10S as one of the names of Maradona is popular with this group. D10S is a portmanteau word which fuses 10 (diez in Spanish) which is Maradona’s t-shirt number, and dios which is the Spanish word for God.

Influenced by “Born in Zion,” by Carol Balizet, this group denounces the ”seven systems” of mainstream society which include education, government, banking and religion. But also, medicine, science and entertainment. In 2002, the pastor of  The Body of Christ sect -Robidoux and his wife Karen E. Robidoux, were charged with murder along with her husband for starving their child. They said that they were waiting for God’s sign to feed the baby.  This pseudo-Christian cult believes in the power of faith healing.

The Christian Science Church, founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy who survived an accident which could have been fatal by praying to God and reading her Bible.  She wrote books like ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’. The Church runs on the belief that “Anyone can find God to be a very present help in trouble”. The followers believe that pain does not exist. “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise”. Though the Church propagates faith healing, healthcare is a matter of individual choice.

A religion inspired by George Lucas’s ‘Star Wars’, Jediism was founded by Daniel Jones and his brother Barney in 2008. There have been incidents when Jedis have been evicted from public places for refusing to take off their hood including the founder,Daniel which led to the beginning of a campaign for Jedi rights. The Jedis believe that the ‘Force’ is a reality and that morality is an innate quality of human beings.  The religion asks followers to beware of the dark side of this force which leads to fear which leads to hate and which in turn leads to suffering. There is no scripture as such. But there are guidelines for Jedi marriages.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism) has only one dogma- No dogma! Bobby Henderson’s open letter to the Kansas School Board marked the official beginning of this ‘religion’. The letter demanded that the theory of Intelligent Design and more specifically the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be taught to students along with theories of Evolution. He reasoned that this must be done to appease the monster and usedgraphs showing relation between pirate population and national disasters to prove this. Seen by some as a satire against religion, the adherents claim that satire is intrinsic to religion.

Frisbeetarianism is the universal belief that when you die your soul goes up onto the roof and stays there for eternity as described by the comedian George Carlin and that “the soul stays stuck up there until someone knocks it down with a long pole and your new life begins”. Some people think it is a rouse of sorts to honor Carlin, a Catholic who was educated at New York City parochial schools and thought organized religion was “the biggest bullshit story ever told.”

Though people are mostly skeptic about the identity of Vampirism as a religion, the adherents believe it is. Vampirism is derived largely from the depiction of vampires in popular culture especially Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ (1897). Vampires can be described as active vampires-who indulge in feeding on blood from a human or an animal and psychic vampires- who indulge in feeding on another person’s aura. Sexuality and its representation have a big role to play.

Undoubtedly I will have left out one or three religions of the world which one of y’all will get particularly bent out of shape for, well, don’t. There’s no need to get bent out of shape, this is just a blanket list of many of the religions of the world. If you weren’t mentioned, sorry, maybe next time. Don’t fuck with me or I will dedicate the next ten posts to the cult of The Westboro Baptist Church. No matter what, we can see that there are what each of us could consider different or strange religions out in the world, and of course, the human design is to judge others, but in the end we were all born to eventually die, to live a meager existence within a population of other people who are just as lost as we are. Eventhough this post was not intended to offend anyone in particular, it will offend someone for some reason or another. Just take the generic information for what it is, go read up on it if you please, I am just the passer of information at this point in time in history. For the rest of y’all, the ones with the common sense, I hope you enjoyed this little exploratory trip into the minds and missions of people the world over.

7 Myths About Christmas Explained

One time each year, the world acts civilized for a few weeks. The “holiday” season brings out feelings and thoughts of goodwill and brotherhood in the masses, who would normally be at each other’s throats, for one reason or another. It’s a sad as shit commentary on the state of things that humans can set aside their differences and actually be nice to complete strangers, but just long enough to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas so nobody gets their their fucking panties in a knot.

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I say Merry Christmas. Get over it.

Beginning on Black Friday, the day just after Thanksgiving, although it was on Thanksgiving day this year in the United States, the Christmas season is an officially open invitation for Americans to go on a retail feeding frenzy. As long as you’re not battling your way through the mall or other retail big box stores, someone will offer you good wishes for your holiday season. You may, however, be surprised by the number of widely held beliefs that are inaccurate, misinterpreted, or just plain wrong in regards to the Christmas season. Here’s a look at some of the most common Christmas holiday misconceptions, and how they came to be.

#1 Who Wrote “’Twas The Night Before Christmas”?

An anonymous New York resident submitted this well-known verse, “A Visit From St. Nick,” to the Troy Sentinel in 1823. Clement C. Moore, a local professor and poet, claimed it in 1836, though its structure and style matched none of his other published works. Another family in the area came forward to state that their patriarch had been reciting the poem to them each Christmas Eve since at least 1809. Many suspect that the verse came over with Dutch settlers, because of all the cultural references mentioned in the work. Regardless of its origins, the majority of people are familiar with this poem, but don’t have a clue who gets the credit for writing it or it’s actual origin.

#2 Are Real Christmas Trees A Fire Hazard?

Every year, of the millions of Christmas trees put up all over the world, only a small percentage of fires occur that can be traced back to shitty wiring. Generally, the problem is faulty or overloaded wiring, and not the actual tree, that is to blame. Fire safety experts advise that a real tree is no more hazardous than artificial trees, as long as people are “smart” and remember to keep it watered. But hey, we live in the land of blaming inanimate objects for short comings, why change and accept responsibility once a year. Safety? Fuck safety, we need more fucking lights! Right? Right.

#3 Was Jesus Born On December 25th?

Oddly enough, though bible scholars agree that Christ was more likely born in late Spring or early Autumn, many people still subscribe to the belief that Christmas day is the actual date of his birth. Too many seasonal signs in the scriptures point to the likelihood that he was born during a warmer time of the year. The presence of shepherds in the fields is one of the more blatant signs, but I’m just saying. Centuries later, the Roman Catholics were spreading Christianity to the far reaches of Europe, and trying to assimilate the masses of heathens by superimposing the Christian faith over the pagan traditions already in place. In an attempt to overshadow the pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice, one of Christianity’s more important holy days was intentionally scheduled for December 25th.

#4 Is Christmas The Most Important Christian Holiday?

It may be surprising for many people to discover that, while the celebration of the birth of Christ ranks high in the religious charts, in the eyes of theologians, it comes in second. The birth of the Son of God is an important earmark in history, but the more notable spiritual moment occurred when Christ’s divinity was proven – at his resurrection. Easter marks the historical point where Jesus stopped being a man, and became immortal, and religious scholars consider this the most important landmark in the Christian faith. Interesting enough, the actual date of Easter is also in question, as its springtime celebration coincides suspiciously with the pagan fertility ritual, Ostara, which is where we get Easter eggs and bunnies. Sneaky, huh?

#5 Did Three Kings Visit Jesus In The Manger?

The bible does not say anything about kings visiting Jesus, at any time during his childhood. Scripture states that three wise men followed an exceptionally bright star in the east, finding their way to the Son of God, and bestowing expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Since these alleged ‘wise men’ still believed in astronomical portents, and none of them had a Eurail pass, it is more likely that the magi caught up with Jesus around his first birthday. Centuries later, a mosaic in Ravenna, Italy, depicted the ‘gifts of the magi,’ and the names of the ‘three kings,’ Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar became part of this nativity myth and is still alive and kicking today.

#6 Is It Sacrilegious To Shorten Christmas To “X-Mas?”

The sad truth behind this myth simply illustrates how little modern Christians know about this holiday. Contrary to the belief that people who write “X-mas” are taking Christ out of Christmas, the habit of abbreviating the name is based on the Greek spelling of Christ, “Χριστός.” The Roman spelling also starts with an X. Entomologically, the argument could be made that people who write Christmas as X-mas are keeping the “Christ” in Christmas. This whole ‘X’ thing probably appeals to American rednecks, who can’t spell worth a shit, I know this personally.

#7 Are Santa Claus, Saint Nicolas And Father Christmas The Same Person?

The modern interpretation of Santa Claus, at least in America, is an amalgam of characteristics from several traditions; however, each of these traditions had very different points of origin.

Saint Nicolas was a Turkish bishop who, around the fourth century, dedicated his life to giving to the poor. He died on December 6th, so when the church canonized him, this date became St. Nicolas Day. In the 15th century, as attention focused back onto Christmas, and less on December 6th, Christians of that era wanted to keep the gift-giving tradition, and he became Father Christmas. The Dutch brought St. Nick to the New World, calling him sinterklaas. So, in America at least, Santa Claus is the modern representation of these varied cultures.

These widely held, but incorrect, beliefs don’t dampen the holiday spirits. It is more common these days for everyone to get their panties in a twist when someone says “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.” Let’s face facts, not everyone celebrates Christmas, but my family and I do, hope that doesn’t get anyone’s ass all chapped. In reality, those who don’t celebrate Christmas don’t offend me, to each his own, the end. Many of your neighbors celebrate Hanukkah, or Kwanza or some will even argue with you to say they are the real Christians who do not believe in Christmas. These days it’s not uncommon to find new age pagans and wiccans, celebrating the Winter Solstice. Count yourselves lucky that, despite your differences, total strangers are willing to extend you the tidings of peace, brotherhood, and goodwill. Considering the intolerance that is so common in the Christian faith and throughout the world, take what you can get from your non-Christian neighbors, and don’t make problems where there aren’t any.

Regardless, of how – or what – you celebrate, have a safe and Merry Christmas season, and a prosperous New Year. So, there you have it, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, Merry Christmas from The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog.

Posted From Scorpion Sting’s Motorola Droid Maxx!

Now I’m Just A Little Fucking Pissed

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I hope the right motherfuckers are going to be reading this post because I have a message for you that you motherfuckers need to listen to and understand. I reference three physical letters of response I received yesterday after I spent hours, many of them months ago, filling out forms, questionnaire, social surveys, household income surveys, military background questionnaires, background checks, applications, and residency verification. Thanks for allowing me to waste my fucking time and your time. I look back now at the time it took y’all to process everything and see why people are frustrated with the fucking wait. Y’all fuckers want to know what is super fucked up? I qualified for the three services I applied for based on my income, employment status, and residency according to all three of the assistance organizations legal standards. I think I get the picture tho, because I really find it to be racial, because NO other reasons were given, unless “we’re sorry you were not qualified for assistance” is a reason. Is it because I’m white that assistance isn’t available? Since I’m white I shouldn’t be unemployed? Is that why we need me to list my race? Is that the first page y’all fucks look at?

Personally, now that a clear stance has been made, I’m beginning to understand what many people say these days, and that is that you need me to have a job because so many depend on my paycheck. I’ve been busting my ass working since I was 14, to include my time in the Air Force and the last fifteen years since I got out of the military. For what exactly? To be told by people who hide behind a form letter that because I’m white I don’t qualify for financial aid or any kind of anything, not even food stamps, nothing. That’s fucking great, I understand now that I am not allowed into the elite group because I’m not an alcoholic, drug dependant, I don’t have excess children with different last names, I’m legal to be in the United States, I’m white, I’m not a felon, I own my guns legally, I am a disabled veteran, and I’ve never received anything in any form of prior assistance. What exactly does it take for help for a white man when I’m in need? I could really do with less go fuck yourself letters!

But why should you give a flying fuck about me? Did I not donate to your political party? Do I not support the government your way? Is it because I speak English and don’t believe I need to push “1” for English? Why? Being white and speaking English seems to be holding me back. Oh, yea, btw, I appreciate all of my original paperwork y’all sent me to fill out being in Spanish, it was a real pleasure contacting your offices to have forms sent to me in English. I’m bet my German last name really fucking confused you fucktards. Or is it just the government standard to shotgun blast out Spanish forms in hopes of identifying potential illegal voters? Don’t worry, I’m not the only one that knows that even dead or fictional characters get to vote, receive government assistance, and are signed up for obamacare. But as long as there are politicians and government offices it is only going to get worse. But fuck, why do you care, you got a job, a paycheck, and get to fuck with people’s lives for entertainment. Yay you!

Sadly, like the voices of many legal American citizens, my voice remains muted. I’m the wrong color living in the wrong state to to quality for anything more than being on a mailing list. Let’s not forget, you overly arrogant motherfuckers, that y’all sent me the initial bullshit in the mail offering the assistance, I did not seek you out. Who would of thought sending shit to a person with a German last name would have result in that person being white? Do I think our system is fucking broke? Yes. Do I think this system is racist? Yes. Do I personally think it will ever change? Not in my fucking lifetime it won’t. So fuck you, that’s why, I will figure something out.

The History Of El Alacrán (Scorpion)

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The history of the deadly El Alacrán (scorpion) throughout time. Why do a history lesson on the scorpion? Well, other than obvious reasons (just look around here), I was asked to do it. However, I cannot comply with the exact request because, if my translation is correct, she would like it to be in Spanish, something I cannot do on my own. But, if any of my bilingual friends would like to help I will be sure to add it to this post, in fact, I think that would be a cool addition to the post. Anyway, this information is from a school report I did in the 80’s (yes I still have it), back when information was collected from books, not Google. So, here’s the story behind one of the most feared creatures on the planet. Do y’all think they truly deserve their awful reputation? Be sure y’all check out my personal, final thoughts on all of this at the end of the post.

Scorpions are among the most visually abhorred creatures that roam the planet, and most people will run a mile to avoid any possible contact. You have to feel sorry that the press scorpions have received over the centuries has been so bad, but when something looks like this creature does, and has since the dawn of time, it is not that hard to see why. Scorpions kill over a thousand people a year in Mexico alone. Perhaps you would be grateful not to live there, but scorpions are not always that easy to avoid. They are venomous arachnids and are considered relatives of spiders. Between 1,300 and 2,000 species varieties are thought to exist, each recognised primarily by the curved tail tipped with a stinger.

Scorpions occur in many places people might not expect them to, from grasslands through forests of all kinds, and caves, and they can even be found over 12,000 feet high in the Andes Mountains and the Himalayas. Thankfully, despite their fearsome appearance, only 25 varieties can kill people, though many have stings similar to that of a bee. Scorpions also glow brightly under ultraviolet light, which makes them easy to find for scientists on field expeditions. The glowing is due to some ultraviolet sensitivity mechanism, perhaps allowing the creatures to avoid damaging light levels. The colour of scorpions under UV light can be quite eerie, from green to bright blue. Preservative alcohol in which scorpions have been submerged may also glow.

Scorpions are fascinating animals, though most people see them as potentially deadly killers, a wildly inaccurate assessment to say the very least. However, it is true that after man himself, followed by snakes and the bees, scorpions cause more human deaths than any other no-parasitic animal. Mexico is one hotspot to watch out for scorpions, as are India, North Africa parts of South America and the USA. The incredibly small percentage of dangerous species cause death via complex neurotoxins, bringing both local and systemic paralysis, severe convulsions and cardiac arrest, which can all occur within a few hours of being stung. Fortunately, good anti-venoms are widely available and death can be avoided with proper medication. In fact, the neurotoxins employed by Death Stalker scorpions are being studied by scientists researching a treatment for some diseases, including some forms of brain cancer and diabetes.

Although only medium-sized, the Death Stalker is one of the deadliest. The extremely potent venom causes extreme pain, fever, convulsions, paralysis, and often coma or death for people stung. The Death Stalker Scorpion is found in North Africa and the Middle East. It prefers a dry climate, and makes its home in natural burrows or under stones. Scorpions can truly be seen as living fossils because they have changed very little in 400 million years of evolution. These amazing creatures have some of the lowest metabolic rates ever recorded in any animal. Most species stay within 1 meter of their burrows and some may spend as much as 97% of their lives inside their burrows. Some species can go a full year without food, and some live without water at all, taking what they need from prey creatures.

Scorpions are often well suited to surviving where food comes by only once in a while. Scorpions also tend to be long-lived for their size, and the females put a lot of effort into raising the young. Another amazing fact about scorpions is that they have the same basic body plan now as they did when they first appeared over 400 million years ago. The first scorpions were most probably marine animals, existing until about 250 to 300 million years ago. The first earth-bound varieties appeared around 340 million years ago, and early versions produced some very large species, with the biggest fossils found so far being about 1 meter or 3 feet in length.

There have always been myths associated with them. The Babylonians dreamed up the 12 constellations of the zodiac, and of course one of these was Scorpio, an indication of how potent a force the scorpion was to people 4,000 years ago. Warrior-god Sadrafa has as associates the scorpion and the snake. He was a forerunner of the god Mithras who, in an old Persian legend, sacrificed the sacred bull in order that his blood might fertilize the universe, thus creating life. The evil Ahriman, however, sent a scorpion to sting the bull on the testicals, poisoning its seed.

Scorpions are frequently found etched on Egyptian tombs and monuments. A part of the ‘Ebers papyrus’ covers “How to Rid the House of Scorpions”. They are mentioned in the ‘Book of the Dead’ as well as in the Talmud and the Bible Old Testament. Hebrew history relates how the scorpion was the emblem of the Dan tribe. ‘Scorpion Man’ is also the guardian of Mount Mashu in the Gilgamesh epic of Indian folklore. The Egyptians also had a scorpion-goddess called Selkit or Serqet who was ‘friend of the dead’. Egyptians really believed until recent times that scorpions originated from the bodies of dead crocodiles. Greek mythology has it that Orion the Hunter, son of Zeus, was also killed by a scorpion sting, and scorpions feature on 14 pages of the great Chinese Encyclopaedia.

No matter how much science tells us that scorpion, snake or spider venom can be used for good as well as bad, we will always hearken to that primal instinct that brings a scream to our throats and adrenalin to our leg muscles whenever we see one because scorpions have no desire to play with us.

Its not until religion, Christianity, and the Bible are explored that we see that the scorpion should be viewed and hated as something which is beyond evil. Below are common findings in a variety of religions known worldwide. The scorpion, one of the largest and most malignant of the in sect tribe. It lives upon other insects, but kills and devours its own species also. It frequents dry and hot places, and lies under stones and in the crevices of old ruins. The Jews encountered it in the Wilderness. (Dent. viii. 15.) The bite of the scorpion is generally fatal, but not always so. The poison is injected by means of a sharp, curved sting at the end of the six-jointed tail. It occasions great pain, in­flammation, and hardness, with alternate chills and burning. (Rev. ix. 3-10.) – Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible

Scorpion in Easton’s Bible Dictionary mentioned along with serpents (Deut. 8:15). Used also figuratively to denote wicked persons (Ezek. 2:6; Luke 10:19); also a particular kind of scourge or whip (1 Kings 12:11). Scorpions were a species of spider. They abounded in the Jordan valley.

Scorpion in Fausset’s Bible Dictionary ‘akrab. Of the class Arachnida and order Pulmonaria. Common in the Sinai wilderness, typifying Satan and his malicious agents against the Lord’s people (Deuteronomy 8:15; Ezekiel 2:6; Luke 10:19). Rolling itself together it might be mistaken for an egg (Luke 11:12). Found in dry dark places amidst ruins, in hot climates. Carnivorous, breathing like spiders by lung- sacs, moving with uplifted tail. The sting at the tail’s end has at its base a gland which discharges poison into the wound from two openings. In Revelation 9:3; Revelation 9:10, “the scorpions of the earth” stand in Contrast to the “locusts” from hell, not earth. The “five months” are thought to refer to the 150 prophetical days, i.e. years, from A.D. 612, when Mahomet opened his mission, to 762, when the caliphate was moved to Bagdad. In 1 Kings 12:11 scorpions mean “scourges armed with iron points”. The sting of the common scorpion is not very severe, except that of Buthus occitanus.

Scorpion in Naves Topical Bible -A venomous insect common in the wilderness through which the people of Israel journeyed De 8:15 -Power over, given to the seventy disciples (the best mss. have “seventy-two”) Lu 10:19 -Unfit for food Lu 11:12 -Sting of, located in the tail Re 9:10 -FIGURATIVE Of enemies Eze 2:6 Of cruelty 1Ki 12:11,14 -SYMBOLICAL Re 9:3,5,10

Scorpion in Smiths Bible Dictionary (Heb. ‘akrab), a well known venomous insect of hot climates, shaped much like a lobster. It is usually not more than two or three inches long, but in tropical climates is sometimes six inches in length. The wilderness of Sinai is especially alluded to as being inhabited by scorpions at the time of the exodus, and to this day these animals are common in the same district, as well as in some parts of Israel. Scorpions are generally found in dry and in dark places, under stones and in ruins. They are carnivorous in the habits, and move along in a threatening attitude, with the tail elevated. The sting, which is situated at the end of the tail, has at its base a gland that secretes a poisonous fluid, which is discharged into the wound by two minute orifices at its extremity. In hot climates the sting often occasions much suffering, and sometimes alarming symptoms. The people have clearly no allusion whatever to the animal, but to some instrument of scourging –unless indeed the expression is a mere figure of evil.

Scorpion in the Bible Encyclopedia – ISBE skor’-pi-un (aqrabh; compare Arabic aqrab, “scorpion”; ma`aleh `aqrabbim, “the ascent of Akrabbim”; skorpios. Note that the Greek and Hebrew may be akin; compare, omitting the vowels, `krb and skrp): In Dt 8:15, we have, “who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents (nachash saraph) and scorpions (`aqrabh).” Rehoboam (1 Ki 12:11,14; 2 Ch 10:11,14) says, “My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the children of Israel (2:6), and “Be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions.” “The ascent of Akrabbim,” the north end of Wadi- ul-`Arabah, South of the Dead Sea, is mentioned as a boundary 3 times (Nu 34:4; Josh 15:3; Jdg 1:36). Jesus says to the Seventy (Lk 10:19), “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions,” and again in Lk 11:12 He says, “Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion?”

Scorpion Scripture – Luke 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Scorpion Scripture – Revelation 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment [was] as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

I have been asked, many times in fact, why I personally have such a fascination with the scorpion. As interesting as the question might be, I simply don’t have an actual answer. But, I will tell y’all this much, it has a great deal to do with the mythology behind the scorpion as well as the real life fascination with such a deadly creature. Part of the reason I named this blog The Sting Of The Scorpion was because I was a bit pissed with Google for killing off my accounts (almost a year ago now), which erased almost 6 years of work and dedication. I almost quit blogging because I was frustrated, but then I decided to sting back, and here we are today. Normally, in today’s times, I don’t refer to religious documents for my information, but, since they continue to prove the point of history, in their own unique way, I thought it to be applicable in this case to leave them in as an original part of the writing.

Well, I hope we enjoyed this look at El Alacrán, written as a research paper so many years ago, (30 to be exact), and I’m sure y’all wonder what my grade was, sadly, I received a failing grade because I didn’t exactly follow the guidance of the assignment which was to “write an essay involving a significant or prominent person or place which has been revered as globally terrifying”. Seems, even back then, I liked to ride the razors edge a bit. Oh, if there are any of y’all wishing to do a free translation to Spanish (or any language really) just leave a comment below and I will contact you back. Do y’all know why The Sting Of The Scorpion will always pack a powerful punch? Simple…… because everything else just bites!

Onsen (温泉) In The Land Of The Rising Sun

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I have been asked numerous times to write about my experiences living in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. So, I thought I might start a new series here chronicling how things were while living in Misawa Japan. Yes, it was the United States Air Force that brought me to Japan, but I want to talk about living there and not so much working there. The easiest place for me to start this all off is to tell about certain traditions that I chose to be a part of while living in the local economy. We rented a house deep in the heart of farm country, nothing new for me since I grew up in southeast Texas. The great thing about the location of this house was straight out the back door and across the parking lot there was an onsen (温泉) (public hot bath). This was important because the bath tub in the house was the size of a postage stamp. We were informed of what exactly it was and the traditions around the onsen there locally by our realtor.

My (ex)wife decided that going to the onsen was not something she was going to take part in. My wife was never real keen being naked in front of other people, high school gym and sports classes proved that fact to me years before. Which is strange because she was quite the quiet exhibitionist when it was just her and I out in public places. She was a closet tease to say the very least. However, that is yet another story altogether. We had it explained to us that the onsen setting was not unlike group showers in American high schools or in public and private gyms. Fair enough, seems like the Japanese got the whole keeping clean thing under control because most local neighborhoods had an onsen or three. Not to mention the large resorts that were centered around the very ornate onsens inside them. We were lucky, we lived in billeting (on-base hotel) for close to two weeks because of the snowstorms that had blown through. This time allowed our belonging to meet us in Japan and gave us time to purchase the other furniture we needed. All we shipped were our clothes, a television, a vcr, towels and wash cloths, dishes, pots and pans, a hand-me-down couch, and my king-size water bed.

The day arrived where we took possession of our rental house. It was brand new, one of eight houses built-in this courtyard style block. It was a townhouse, like the rest, we all shared a common “drive” which all of the houses faced with a one car car-port to the side. We were the first people to ever live in the house since it was built. It had a layout we were familiar with which was way different from other houses we looked at. On that same day our belongings arrived and were hastily unpacked by 2 very fast men. Also, the other furniture and furnishings we purchased were also delivered and set up. After some unpacking we needed to go back to billeting to gather our belongings and check out. It never crossed my mind, looking back, to grab a quick shower after such a long day. When we got back to the house she was tired so she laid out on the couch for a nap. I looked in our bathroom for the bath tub, I wanted to soak my cold bones for a while. What did I find? Well, the entire bathroom was a shower basically, if that makes any sense, and in the corner there was a tub created out tile set around three feet into the floor. This “tub” measured 30 inches by 30 inches square. No way to lay out in that tub for sure, it wasn’t happening.

I needed to get cleaned up however, so I told my wife I was going next-door to check the onsen out. It was the 2nd week of January, the temp was about 3 degrees farenheit, the wind was blowing at around 40 mph, and there was close to 4 feet of snow on the ground. I grabbed my wallet, flip-flops, shave kit, my shoes, a towel, walked out back across the parking lot. I had no clue what to do and everything was in Japanese. We lived far enough from the base that they didn’t see too many Americans on purpose. Luckily, the women who was clearing the water and snow from the entrance “showed” me where to remove my shoes, place them in the cubicle, and put on my flip-flops. Then she pointed me in the direction of the lobby. In the lobby there were a multitude of vending machines that sold everything, and when I say everything I mean anything from food, drinks, toiletries, clothes, cars, a date, porn, and tokens to the hot bath of course. I was surprised, the token for the hot bath was the U.S. equivalent to about 65 cents. As soon as my token dropped I heard a grizzly grunt at me who was the man behind me holding his hand out pointing that I should put my token in it. So I did and he then led me the men’s side of the bath house.

It had a typical look to a locker room I guess. Benches to get undressed, sinks and mirrors, and toilet stalls as well. As I was getting undressed I wasn’t sure where to put my belongings so I had to look around like a pervert stalker to see what others were doing. Okay, it’s really simple, place all of it into what looks just like a laundry basket, and then place that into one of the cubicles. I found very fast that I had to get over my trust issues because nothing is secured or locked up. I grabbed my stuff out of my shaving kit and placed it in a small plastic container which I then took with me into the next area, following others as I was unsure of the “process”. Watch and learn right. The next room was the washing area. Reminded me of once when I was in 4H of the washing stations for the livestock. There were three double-sided concrete barriers which had numerous “stations” that included a mirror, a shower head, and the faucet. One sat down on a 6″ tall stool to bath. But watch out, I found out by being smacked in the leg, not to put any body part in the trough that ran at the base of the wall, which served as the drainage that led to a large grate down at the end. Who knew. I had picked a cozy spot right in the middle. I found out later that the desired spots are those at the top of the trough. Lesson learned.

Now, the funny part for you. I’m 6’8″ in the land of the little people, which got me more than one funny or cross look. This place was not built for people my size for sure. Now, it was allot like being at home, I shaved, brushed my teeth, washed my hair, bathed, then rinsed off. I need to mention the water had one temperature, freaking scalding hot. About midway through getting clean a very, very, old man, my guess was he was well over 100 years old, sat next to me. Standing to the rear of him was a young girl, I figured about 16 or 17, completely nude as well, began washing the old man. First thing I noticed is he took out his teeth and handed them to her to clean, which she did with what looked like Lava soap and a brush one would scrub floors with. I’ll admit, she had my attention. I think more so because we were on the all male side of the hot bath so she was quite an unexpected surprise. Perhaps she could see the confusion in my face because she squatted down next to me and began to talk, in great English I might add. She explained she was the great, great grand-daughter of this man, and it was tradition for the youngest to assist the eldest in daily tasks. She also explained that girls up to the age of 19 can assist on the male side and boys up to the age of 13 can assist on the female side. Interesting tidbit of information to say the least.

Nobody, and when I say nobody I mean nobody, paid her any attention whatsoever, except for me it would seem. More out of curiosity than anything really. Here I had only been in Japan for just a few weeks and I already have seen my first live nude Japanese female. I know what you are thinking, and yes she was young, but it was hard not to stare. I got up to go to the first sitting pool which was so hot I sat on the edge with only my legs in it at first, which were turning bright red as I sat there. The girl walked over her grand father to pool I was trying to get the courage to get into and helped him straight in up to his neck. Damn. She then scampered off to do her cleaning. When I forced myself down into the water, which took my breath away, I couldn’t help but to notice she was back. She entered the pool right at my eye level and tended to him. She sat with the old man for a while. I had seen others get out and move to the next pool, so I followed suit.

Now, I only thought the first sitting pool was hot, this one had it topped by at least 500 degrees, but I was able to slither right in because I was already cooking. The men sat in this one for a short period and then moved on. Like a lost puppy I followed them to the next pool. There should have been a sign on this pool, something that reads “Caution. Water Will Melt The Skin From Your Bones. Caution.”, but there was no warning for this Gaijin (外人) (look it up, it was the nickname the Japanese called the servicemen) and I found out the hard way. But, damn, did it feel good after the shock went away. One didn’t sit in this one very long at all. Then, they head to the steam room, a quaint, small room that had a 2 minute egg timer because it was so damn hot. So, in and out it was. I couldn’t breathe, my lungs were on fire, and I wanted to just die right there. Yea, clean up in the sauna please. When I exited the sauna I was basically grabbed by the arm to stop me from walking, I was shown to watch the man in front of me who was in a small “tank” which he was squatted in up over his head in the water. He was out and I was in. One fluid motion until the water covered my head, it took my breath away because it was a temperature just above freezing. Out of there just as fast as I went in. A quick wash off and I was on my way out.

After getting dressed I felt drained of all of my energy and will to live. I don’t think I have ever been that relaxed in my entire life. When I left the dressing room I was guided over to some tables where I was sat down. Soon after I was brought a cup of warm herbal tea and a bowl of some of the blandest noodle soup I have ever tasted. Come to find out, it was ginseng root soup and they weren’t noodles after all. It was to recharge a person, to put a little wang back in your step before you left. It was relaxing and it does bring the energy back. Come to find out it is all included in the price of admission. So far, I’m liking the onsen just behind my house. It was one hell of an experience and became my daily bad habit. I probably went there almost every single day for close to the five years I was there. When I went back home after my first time I really wanted to talk to my wife about it, but she didn’t show an interest or really care because she wasn’t ever going to try it out for herself.

About a year after my daughter was born my parents came to Japan to visit as their big summer trip. This part of the story I have been forbidden to ever tell my mother because, in my dad’s opinion (because he is old-fashioned), he saw things that he should feel guilty for seeing. Anyway, going to the onsen became my everyday, twice a day, habit because everyday that tiny postage stamp size bath tub got smaller and smaller. My dad made the comment that he wished to retire for the evening and was going to get washed up before bed. The look of horror on his face will remain forever priceless when he entered the bathroom and just as fast came out asking where the shower or tub were. So, I explained to him what I knew, well, not everything, but I explained how things were here. You see, he is 6’4″ @ about 265lbs, which makes it hard for him to squeeze into anything. After a brief discussion, we collected our things to head to the hot bath. I gave him one instruction, which was to just follow my lead and follow what I do so he doesn’t embarrass me.

We made the walk across the parking lot, it was fairly warm this time of year so the walk was pretty leisurely to say the least. We went through the “tourist” mode where I had to explain everything in the lobby to him. After 1 1/2 years I have really gotten good at reading Japanese and knew a handful of phrases to always get me on my way. After getting our tokens we entered the area to change out of our street clothes to get ready. Shortly after sitting down to begin the washing of ourselves I get a nudge on my arm from my dad. When I looked over to him he was 12 different shades of red with embarrassment and was holding his wash cloth over his privates. He was showing me that there were young females in the room so I had to go through the ordeal of explaining the traditions and protocols here. He played it off but I could see he was pretty bothered about it all. I remember my first time and after that it became common place, even routine enough where one doesn’t notice it as standing out any longer. We continued with what my routine had become, it really gets shortened to about a 30 minute trip as time moves on because one gets in and gets out. We did sit and have the tea and soup when we were done, sitting there in silence except for one simple command, “never speak of any of this to my mother, not even at her grave”. Unfortunately for my dad, this was his first and last trip to any of the hot bathes in Japan, he decided he could and would make do with the facilities we offered at the house.

Over the years I frequented a large sampling of onsen in my extended local area, my absolute personal favorite was a resort on the edge of town that was very cool. I didn’t go there too much, 3 or 4 times, because it was a fair drive and much more expensive. I was wondering how to explain the one at the resort because it was out of this world. Minecraft players or those familiar with Minecraft will understand better. Imagine taking the elevator down, getting of said elevator, and entering through some very large opaque glass doors. The changing area looked like all the other ones I had seen, pretty basic, but going into the hot bath area was incredible. Imagine opening a door and being in a very dense forest, looking up you see the tops of the trees and the stars in the sky. This place looked like being outdoors the way it was done up, it looked so real it made you touch the fake trees and the walls just to remind yourself you were a few stories underground. It’s just hard to explain I guess, but it throws all your senses for a loop with the big waterfalls and whatnot.

My (ex)wife never went to an onsen the entire time we were living in Japan, however, my daughter went with me on occasion once she started toddling. I learned allot while I was in Japan, beyond the language difference, beyond the cultural differences, and beyond the cuisine differences. Tradition is complex and deep-rooted, everything, and I mean everything when I say everything, had a meaning of some sort. The people I interacted with where I lived locally became to know me all to well. I would get invited to a stranger’s house a few doors down for snacks or people would bring local cuisine or gifts to my house as gestures of our “friendship”. Fortunately for me, I chose to immerse myself in the culture and get to know as much as I could. The hot baths were just the tip of what I would take away from Japan when I left. Ask my (ex)wife and she would only be able to tell you the tourist places we went to go visit. Its sad, but very true, but then again, she never got over being roughly 6600 miles from her mother the entire time we were there.

So, this was interesting and fun for me. It was nice to take a trip back in time to a place I really enjoyed living on the northern tip of Japan. I look forward to writing more of these specific subject related posts about living in Japan. Who knows, maybe I will expand and just write about everywhere I have been. Well, I can’t write about “everywhere” I have been, but I can give some insight about place x and place y without giving away the actual place or why I was there. Everywhere I traveled in the world was a “challenge” in its own special way. Until we meet again, thank y’all for taking the time to read a little bit about my life in Japan.

Onsen, as defined by Wikipedia:

  • Onsen (温泉?) is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language, though the term is often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around the hot springs. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen scattered along its length and breadth. Onsen were traditionally used as public bathing places and today play a central role in directing Japanese domestic tourism. Onsen come in many types and shapes, including outdoor (露天風呂 or 野天風呂, roten-buro or noten-buro?) and indoor baths. Baths may be either public run by a municipality or private (内湯, uchiyu?) often run as part of a hotel, ryokan or bed and breakfast (民宿, minshuku?). Onsen are a central feature of Japanese tourism often found out in the countryside but there are a number of popular establishments still found within major cities. They are a major tourist attraction drawing Japanese couples, families or company groups who want to get away from the hectic life of the city to relax. Japanese often talk of the virtues of “naked communion” (裸の付き合い, hadaka no tsukiai?)[1] for breaking down barriers and getting to know people in the relaxed homey atmosphere of a ryokan with an attached onsen. Japanese television channels often feature special programs about local onsens. The presence of an onsen is often indicated on signs and maps by the symbol ♨ or the kanji, 湯 (yu, meaning “hot water”). Sometimes the simpler hiragana character ゆ (yu) is used, to be understandable to younger children. Traditionally, onsen were located outdoors, although a large number of inns have now built indoor bathing facilities as well. Onsen by definition use naturally hot water from geothermally heated springs. Onsen should be differentiated from sentō, indoor public bath houses where the baths are filled with heated tap water. The legal definition of an onsen includes that its water must contain at least one of 19 designated chemical elements, including radon and metabolic acid and be 25 °C or warmer before being reheated. Stratifications exist for waters of different temperatures. Major onsen resort hotels often feature a wide variety of themed spa baths and artificial waterfalls in the bathing area utaseyu (打たせ湯?). Onsen water is believed to have healing powers derived from its mineral content. A particular onsen may feature several different baths, each with water with a different mineral composition. The outdoor bath tubs are most often made from Japanese cypress, marble or granite, while indoor tubs may be made with tile, acrylic glass or stainless steel. Different onsen also boast about their different waters or mineral compositions, plus what healing properties these may contain. Other services like massages may be offered. People often travel to onsen with work colleagues, friends, couples or their families.

misawaafbmaingate

Discussing The Human Race

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When we gather at the dining room table it always amazes me what seems to creep into the conversations while we eat. Last night we talked about “race”, “racism”, and “the human race”. The conversation got me to thinking afterwords because we raise our children that there is one race on planet Earth and that is the Human Race. Why do we raise our children not to look too closely at race? Because a person’s race should have nothing to do with what kind of person he/she actually is. I like to call it breaking the race stereotypes.

The history of my beliefs is based on my own life experiences. Yes, of course, I understand that what works for me doesn’t work for others in every situation, but they are my developed personal beliefs that I try to live with. Meaning? When I was younger, 7 to be exact, my parents decided not to be married any longer for reasons I would not learn until after the death of my father when I was a teenager. When my mom got re-married we moved from the Black Hills of Rapid City South Dakota to the southwestern side of Houston Texas out in the suburbs. Up until that point in my life my interaction with other races was limited to white people and Native Americans (Cheyenne & Lakota Sioux). I had never met anyone of any other race until we moved to Texas.

My step father was, by definition, an open racist and homosexual hater. Growing up we would hear anything and everything negative about what he doesn’t like. Over time one gets brainwashed into believing the way he believes. However, in my defense, growing up a redneck helped me learn that people are people and their race or sexual orientation was not a precursor to certain behaviors. Although, if one watched the news too much one would here that the blacks, Mexicans, Asians, and homosexuals were destroying Houston bit by bit with their crime and cultural influences. I would regularly be in trouble with my father because we disagreed about his racist and homophobic views. I didn’t want to be any part of it so when I could I always made sure I would distance myself from it, people are people, we all belong to one race in my opinion, the human race. Sometimes it made life at home interesting and somewhat difficult, especially after my dad died, he was still stuck in the hippie mentality of love, peace, and rock & roll.

Soon enough after high school I was married to my high school sweetheart and going into the United States Air Force. The first lesson every single person learned when we got off the bus for AFBMT (Air Force Basic Military Training) at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas was that we were in the military now. There were no races, no sexes, and the only thing we were to see from each individual from this point forward was that this person was camouflage and an Airman in the United States Air Force. I appreciated this new way of thinking a great deal, it really made sense. While in AFBMT we were all equally worthless maggots. After AFBMT people tend to go back to their old ways, the ways that they were raised, they would group themselves together based on race it seemed more often than not. In the careerfield I chose it was taken many steps further, we were AMMO up and above everything else. AMMO was a brotherhood that I am still finding out this very day is built on the platform that we are who we are but we are always part of the AMMO brotherhood. my first daughter was born while I was in the Air Force so she wasn’t bombarded with all the race bullshit that civilian born children would be bombarded with. She was now an Air Force Brat.

After the Air Force I found myself back in Texas. I was lured into great riches from my father who was a concrete contractor at the time. He was busy and needed help in the “family business” and I was unemployed so the job sounded good. Due to where we live, most of the skilled labor in the construction arena were of Mexican decent. My father treated them like shit, treated them like dogs, treated them like they were less than humans. I couldn’t stand it in the past and I couldn’t stand now. I hoped as he got older he would mature and mellow out a bit, but I was wrong, he was still a bitter old white man who believes that if you aren’t white you aren’t worth a shit. I didn’t last long, not for obvious reasons, but because he decided to retire and close the doors of his business he had been doing since the mid 70s. He had a good run, made some decent money, and wanted to retire. So be it.

Life continues, right? It did. I also re-married after getting a divorce. My new wife came with a little girl, barely 1 1/2 years old at the time we met. I would find out over time that her ex is quite a racist as well, reminds me of my father in many ways. Now, over time he has tried to rub off on my daughter, yes, my daughter, I am her dad, he was but a sperm donor. But, she wasn’t raised that way, she wasn’t raised to hate a person based on their color. My son, he as well, has not been raised in that fashion. All of my kids see it daily at school, work, and with other families of their friends. But they know that treating people like shit based on color is a choice and they choose not to be that way.

I want my children to see that we are all humans, we belong to the human race, there isn’t anything else that matters, period. Of course, as they get older their influences will change and all we can do is hope we raised them right and in a manner which is comfortable for them to accept. It is sad to see but racism is still strong here in the United States. But nowadays I need to sit back a bit and look at who is being the racist. Just because a person is white doesn’t automatically make them a racist. I know, what a concept. Listen to the music today, listen to the news, listen to the politicians, and listen to your neighbor, racism is alive and well. I fear it may never go away because too damn many people are getting famous and getting rich because of racism. Racism isn’t the answer, being a human being and being part of the human race is what is important.

thr