Nov 19, 2017


Welcome To Life At The Beach
Updated 07/17




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Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your visit


 About These Blogs


“Perspective gives us the ability to accurately contrast the large with the small, and the important with the less important. Without it we are lost in a world where all ideas, news, and information look the same. We cannot differentiate, we cannot prioritize, and we cannot make good choices. “ -John Sununu

Today there are so many talking heads who daily bombard the airwaves, magazines and periodicals with their version of events and issues that affect our lives and the world. And with so many jabbers reporting what is taking place at home and abroad, often it becomes difficult to distinguish what’s accurate and what’s not. Thus, it’s up to each of us to dig below the headlines to distinguish fact from fiction in order to make a near clean conscience decision as to what the truth might be.

These Blogs are filled with articles and opinions that is not necessarily headlines or openly discussed. It's also filled with an accumulation of insightful information for a bit more clarity of the issues, including pictures and videos for your entertainment.

It's my hope that these blogs will be an open window for a better understanding of the world around us, and through this understanding try and make life better for all. There is no one perfect way, but hopefully with eyes open we can rise above the hype and find mutual awareness that will, hopefully, resolve our differences. It’s also a place where readers, like you, can contribute to the conversation.


LIFE AT THE BEACH is strictly about opinions and information seldom included into headline news. It attempts to point beyond the headlines to allow you the reader to understand what the issues might truly be, ugly or otherwise.

FAITH is pretty much a mirror of Life At The Beach. The difference, Faith Blog is spiritual without the “religion”. It’s not about converting, but solely to enlighten, as well as challenge our faith. Since faith is a personal journey it’s important to be knowledgeable of the facts in order to avoid being manipulated by a system that is prtty much void of the truth.

ODEUM is all about videos, entertainment news, reviews and more. You should be aware that some content posted may be to controversial for some.

JOURNAL and MY DEZIGNS are my own. My Journal is filled with post from my own journey through life, and, My Dezigns, is a display of my art and crafts which is available for purchase.

- Posting Schedule -

Monday Holidays - Will Post The Day After
Vacation - June-July

Always remember, Knowledge Is Power. The more you search to understand, life can be a journey filled with enlightened confidence and positive choices.

Enjoy your visit.

Happy Thanksgiving

"Thank You" by Brianna Haynes

Nov 5, 2017

When Your Body Jerks Awake

Drifting off into la-la land isn't always peaceful. If you have ever experienced (or witnessed) a hypnagogic jerk, you know they can be a bit startling. Fortunately, they are also completely normal, but keep reading to understand why this happens.

Scientists estimate that between 50 percent to 70 percent of all people have them, though most people don't remember them because they fall asleep afterward, which makes them difficult to study, according to DNews.

When you are going to sleep at night your brain makes adjustments. This "shift change," is the source of those twitches, or jerks, you see, according to DNews.

Your brain has two systems located in the middle just behind the eyes. The reticular activating system (RAS) is responsible for regulating your wakeful state. The transition from awake to sleep happens here. The ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO) helps keep you asleep by keeping other areas of your brain dormant, according to the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.

About 90 minutes after you fall asleep your brain actually paralyzes you so that you don't get up and start moving around while you are dreaming, according to Mental Health Daily. As you transition to sleep, the systems change accordingly. Because your body stops producing serotonin while you sleep (which helps control muscle movement as well as mood), this transition sometimes results in twitching, according to Mental Health Daily.

Scientists aren't entirely sure why your body does this, though there are two popular theories, detailed below.

Some experts argue that the twitch is symptomatic of misfiring in your brain when you begin to dream.

Other scientists hypothesize that this instinct is tied to primate ancestors who needed to be woken up to prevent them from falling out of a tree, according to Mental Health Daily.

If you find that you experience these jerks frequently, you may consider reducing your caffeine intake and/or participating in meditation or other relaxation routines before bedtime as stress and caffeine may acerbate the reflex, according to Mental Health Daily. –Remedy Daily

Eating Ice Cream For Breakfast

by Janice Williams

Most parents would consider it a crime to give a child ice cream for breakfast. But they might rethink allowing their kids to have a scoop of the cold, sweet treat first thing in the morning, if they knew it could make them smarter. Although an early morning sugar rush may be parents and teachers worst fears, a new study recently found eating ice cream first thing in the morning can actually be beneficial for the brain. The study, published by Kyorin University professor Yoshihiko Koga, said eating ice cream right after waking up can result in improved instances of alertness and mental performance.

The study, which was published on Japan's Excite News website Tuesday, compared participant’s brain activity in people who had been given ice cream immediately after waking up with those who had not eaten ice cream. Koga found that people who had consumed ice cream for breakfast showed better reaction time and were able to process information better than those who did not have the ice cream. Further tests of brain activity also showed that the people who had ice cream first thing in the morning had an increase in high-frequency alpha waves, which are associated with higher levels of alertness and can reduce mental irritation, the report said.

Subjects were tested a second time, during which they were given cold water instead of ice cream immediately after waking up. Although the results from that particular test did show higher levels of alertness and mental capacity, people who had ice cream for breakfast showed significantly higher mental stimulation.

More research still needs to be conducted to thoroughly determine what specific ingredient in ice cream could be responsible for the mental boost. Koga said in the report that he is also hoping to determine if ice cream is a trigger for positive emotion and higher levels of energy.

As for the sugar high that may come along after eating ice cream for breakfast, that may also be something worth reconsidering, according to a 1994 study that tested the affects of sugar on a group of children and found that sugar doesn’t actually change behavior or affect cognitive skills. –IBT

The American Dream - The Story Of Your Enslavement

The AMERICAN DREAM is a 30 minute animated film that shows how we have been scammed by the most basic elements of our government system. All Americans strive for the American Dream and this film shows you why your dream is getting farther and farther away.

Do you know how your money is created? Or how banking works? Why did housing prices skyrocket and then plunge? Do you really know what the Federal Reserve System is and how it affects you every single day?

The video creators understand that how the monetary system works can be very confusing to some and have done a brilliant job in explaining how the whole system is set up to keep you forever in debt. This is not what the original founding fathers of America had in mind. Also this is not just an American problem. It's the same scam in nearly all countries around the world.

THE AMERICAN DREAM takes an entertaining but hard hitting look at how the problems we have today are nothing new, and why leaders throughout our history have warned us and fought against the current type of financial system we have in America today.

You will be challenged to investigate some very entrenched and powerful institutions in this nation, and hopefully encouraged to help get our world back on track.

“It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” -George Carlin

The best form of government is where you govern yourself. Know thyself and Meditate, could also be called mindfulness of why you think the way you think and act the way you act. The reason most people in the world are slaves is because they simply follow, imitate or believe someone or immediately disbelief someone that contradict their belief system; what they believe or perceive reality is. What we need is to BE the leader, the follower, the teacher and the student.

We can only be kept in the cages we do not see. A brief history of human enslavement - up to and including our own. From Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophy conversation in the world.

-Knowledge of Today

Love People, Not Pleasure

by Arthur C. Brooks

ABDAL-RAHMAN III was an emir and caliph of Córdoba in 10th-century Spain. He was an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. Here’s how he assessed his life:

“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honor, power and pleasure have waited on my call, neither did any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.”

Fame, riches and pleasure beyond imagination. Sounds great! But then he went on to write:
“I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to 14.”

Abdal-Rahman’s problem wasn’t happiness, as he believed — it was unhappiness. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, that is exactly the great emir's problem. With a little knowledge, he could have avoided the misery that befell him.

What is unhappiness? The common intuition might be that it is simply the opposite of happiness, just as darkness is the absence of light. But that is not quite so. Happiness and unhappiness are certainly related, but they are not actually exact opposites, either. Images of the brain show that parts of the left cerebral cortex are more active than the right when one experiences happiness, while the right side becomes more active when one is unhappy.

As strange as it seems, being happier than average does not mean that one can’t also be unhappier than average. One test for both happiness and unhappiness is the Positive Affectivity and negative Affectivity Schedule Test (PANAST). I took the test myself, and I found that, for happiness, I am at the top for people my age, sex, occupation and education group. But I got a pretty high score for unhappiness as well. That meant, I am a "cheerful melancholic".

So when people say, “I am an unhappy person,” they are really doing sums, whether they realize it or not -- i.e., “My unhappiness is x, my happiness is y, and x > y.” The real questions are why and what one can do to make y > x.

If one asks an unhappy person why he is unhappy, he will almost always blame circumstance. In many cases, of course, this is justified. Some people are oppressed or poor or have physical ailments that make life a chore. Research unsurprisingly suggests that racism causes unhappiness in children, and many academic studies have a clear link between unhappiness and poverty. Another common source of unhappiness is loneliness, from which about 20 percent of Americans suffer enough to make it a major problem [source of unhappiness] in their life.

Credit Andrew DeGraff

There are also smaller circumstantial sources of unhappiness. The Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues measured the “negative affect” (bad moods) that ordinary daily activities and interactions kick up. They found that the Number 1 unhappiness-provoking event in a typical day is spending time with one’s boss (which, as a boss, made me unhappy to learn).

Circumstances are certainly important. No doubt Abdal-Rahman could point to a few in his life. But paradoxically, a better explanation for his unhappiness may have been his own search for well-being. And the same might go for anyone.

Have you ever known an alcoholic? An alcoholic generally drinks to relieve craving or anxiety — in other words, to attenuate a source of unhappiness. Yet, it is the drink that ultimately prolongs his suffering. The same principle was at work for Abdal-Rahman in his pursuit of fame, wealth and pleasure.

Consider fame. In 2009, researchers from the University of Rochester conducted a study tracking the success of 147 recent graduates in reaching their stated goals after graduation. Some had “intrinsic” goals, such as deep, enduring relationships. Others had “extrinsic” goals, such as achieving reputation or fame. The scholars found that intrinsic goals were associated with happier lives. But the people who pursued extrinsic goals experienced more negative emotions, such as shame and fear. They even suffered more physical maladies.

This is one of the cruelest ironies in life. I work in Washington, right in the middle of intensely public political battles. The unhappiest people I have ever met are those most dedicated to their own self-aggrandizement — the pundits, the TV loudmouths, the media know-it-alls. They build themselves up and promote their images, but feel awful most of the time.

That’s the paradox of fame. Just like drugs and alcohol, when one becomes addicted, one can’t live without it. But one can’t live with it, either. Celebrities have described fame like being “an animal in a cage; a toy in a shop window; a Barbie doll; a public façade; a clay figure; or, that guy on TV,” according to research by the psychologist Donna Rockwell. Yet they can’t give it up.

That impulse to fame by everyday people has generated some astonishing innovations. One is the advent of reality television, in which ordinary people become actors in their day-to-day lives for others to watch. Why? “To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved, to walk into a place and have others care about what one is doing, even what one had for lunch that day: that’s what people want, in my opinion,” said one 26-year-old participant in an early hit reality show called “Big Brother.”

And then there’s the social media. Today, each of us can build a personal little fan base, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like. We can broadcast the details of our lives to friends and strangers in an astonishingly efficient way. That’s good for staying in touch with friends, but it also puts a minor form of fame-seeking within each person’s reach. And several studies show that it can make us unhappy.

It makes sense. What do you post to Facebook? Pictures of yourself yelling at your kids, or having a hard time at work? No, you post smiling photos of a hiking trip with friends. You build a fake life — or at least an incomplete one — and share it. Furthermore, you consume almost exclusively the fake lives of your social media “friends”. Unless you are extraordinarily self-aware, how could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?

Some look for relief from unhappiness in money and material things. This scenario is a little more complicated than fame. The evidence does suggest that money relieves suffering in cases of true material need. (This is a strong argument, in my view, for many safety-net policies for the indigent.) But when money becomes an end in itself, it can bring misery, too.

For decades, psychologists have been compiling a vast literature on the relationships between different aspirations and well-being. Whether they examine young adults or people of all ages, the bulk of the studies point toward the same important conclusion: people who rate materialistic goals like wealth as top personal priorities are significantly likelier to be more anxious, more depressed and more frequent drug users, and even to have more physical ailments than those who set their sights on more intrinsic values.

No one sums up the moral snares of materialism more famously than St. Paul in his First Letter to Timothy: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Or as the Dalai Lama pithily suggested, it is better to want what you have than to have what you want.

So fame and money are out. How about pleasures of the flesh? Take the canonical hedonistic pleasure: lust. From Hollywood to college campuses, many assume that sex is always great, and sexual variety is even better.

This assumption actually has a name: the “Coolidge Effect,” named after the 30th president of the United States. The story (probably apocryphal) begins with Silent Cal and Mrs. Coolidge touring a poultry farm. The First Lady noticed that there were very few roosters, and asked how so many eggs could be fertilized. The farmer told her that the virile roosters did their jobs over and over again each day. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mr. Coolidge,” she told him. The President, hearing the remark, asked whether the rooster serviced the same hen each time. No, the farmer told him — there were many hens for each rooster. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mrs. Coolidge,” said the President.

The President obviously figured these must be happy roosters. And notwithstanding the moral implications, the same principle should work for us. Right? Wrong!

In 2004, two economists looked into whether more sexual variety led to greater well-being. They looked at data from about 16,000 adult Americans who were asked confidentially how many sex partners they had had in the preceding year, and about their happiness. Across men and women alike, the data show that the optimal number of partners is one.

This might seem totally counterintuitive. After all, we are unambiguously driven to accumulate material goods, to seek fame, to look for pleasure. How can it be that these very things can give us unhappiness instead of happiness? There are two explanations, one biological and the other philosophical.

From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we are wired to seek fame, wealth and sexual variety. These things make us more likely to pass on our DNA. Had your cave-man ancestors not acquired some version of these things (a fine reputation for being a great rock sharpener; multiple animal skins), they might not have found enough mating partners to create your lineage.

But here’s where the evolutionary cables have crossed: we assume that things we are attracted to will relieve our suffering and raise our happiness. My brain says, “Get famous.” It also says, “Unhappiness is lousy.” I conflate the two by “getting famous and you’ll be less unhappy.”

But that is Mother Nature’s cruel hoax. She doesn’t really care either way whether you are unhappy — she just wants you to want to pass on your genetic material. If you conflate intergenerational survival with well-being, that’s your problem, not Nature’s. And matters are hardly helped by Nature’s useful idiots in society, who propagate the popular piece of life-ruining advice: “If it feels good, do it.” Unless you share the same existential goals as protozoa, this is often flat-out wrong.

More philosophically, the problem stems from dissatisfaction — the sense that nothing has full flavor, and we want more. We can’t quite pin down what it is that we seek. Without a great deal of reflection and spiritual hard work, the likely candidates seem to be material things, physical pleasures or favor among friends and strangers.

We look for these things to fill an inner emptiness. They may bring a brief satisfaction, but it never lasts, and it is never enough. And so we crave more. This paradox has a word in Sanskrit: upadana, which refers to the cycle of craving and grasping. As the Dhammapada (the Buddha’s path of wisdom) puts it: “The craving of one given to heedless living grows like a creeper. Like the monkey seeking fruits in the forest, he leaps from branch to branch [life to life]...Whoever is overcome by this wretched and sticky craving, his sorrows grow like grass after the rains.”

The search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly: love things, use people.

This was Abdal-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous: love people, use things.

Easier said than done, I realize. It requires the courage to repudiate pride and the strength to love others — family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, God and even strangers and enemies. Only deny love to things that actually are objects. The practice that achieves this is charity. Few things are as liberating as giving away to others that which we hold dear.

This also requires a condemnation of materialism. This is manifestly not an argument for any specific economic system. Anyone who has spent time in a socialist country must concede that materialism and selfishness are as bad under collectivism, or worse, as when lives in a free market system. No political ideology is immune to materialism.

Finally, it requires a deep skepticism of our own basic desires. Of course you are driven to seek admiration, splendor and physical license. But giving in to these impulses will bring unhappiness. You have a responsibility to yourself to stay in the battle. The day you declare a truce is the day you become unhappier. Declaring war on these destructive impulses is not about asceticism or Puritanism. It is about being a prudent person who seeks to avoid unnecessary suffering.

Abdal-Rahman never got his happiness sums right. He never knew the right formula. Fortunately, we now do.


Secrets Of Happiness

by Joel Achenbach

Sometimes when I’m sitting in my cubicle at work, under the fluorescent lights, I realize that it’s been a long time since anyone called me “swashbuckling.”

No matter. This is the life I have chosen, happily, freely, and without regret because the world needs the laborers and functionaries who keep the machinery going so that other people can be hip-hop artists or astronauts or astronautical hip-hop artists who “rap” from orbit and go to the Paris Fashion Week and then dive in a customized submersible to the bottom of the Marianas Trench before heading off to race in the Monaco Grand Prix. I pity those people, imprisoned by glamour, forced to stay up to ungodly hours, sometimes even past 11 p.m., to cavort in nightclubs with tycoons and movie stars.

These are the pitiful people who do not know the joy of having a favorite chair.

There have been several fine pieces of writing recently about happiness, including one this weekend in the New York Times by Arthur C. Brooks headlined “Love People, Not Pleasure.” He argues that the pursuit of fame, money, sexual conquests, etc., will more likely produce unhappiness than happiness, and he makes a pretty compelling case for giving stuff away, even the things you hold dear. There’s a whiff of New Testament here, though he frames this as a secular argument.

"Happiness," he says, "…requires a deep skepticism of our own basic desires. Of course you are driven to seek admiration, splendor and physical license. But giving in to these impulses will bring unhappiness. You have a responsibility to yourself to stay in the battle. The day you declare a truce is the day you become unhappier. Declaring war on these destructive impulses is not about asceticism or Puritanism. It is about being a prudent person who seeks to avoid unnecessary suffering."

A somewhat less demanding recipe for happiness from “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams. He argues that the recipe for happiness is health + freedom.

Adams puts in a good word for money, saying you need to have some of it if you want to enjoy your freedom:
"Money can’t directly buy happiness, but it can give you more options, and that’s an important part of freedom. So don’t give up too much income potential just to get a flexible schedule. There’s no point in having a flexible schedule if you can’t afford to do anything."

I would note here that freedom doesn’t necessarily mean that your life has to be full of novelty. Maybe you want the freedom to follow a routine. Some of us do the same thing over and over again almost ritually because it keeps us grounded, centered, whatever you want to call it. (I don’t grow tomatoes in the summer because I crave the actual tomatoes, though that’s a nice bonus. My whole life, I’ve grown things. This is what I do. I'm a man of the soil, of the Earth, not just grounded but literally with my hands in the dirt. When people say I’m “grubby” that’s a huge compliment.)

A happy life is a succession of happy days. Some of us are born, like my Mom, with a sunny disposition, and we tend to greet the morning with optimism. –Contributed by Ralph

Which Popular Brands Are Still Testing On Animals

by Awa

You'd think that by 2017 companies would know better than to test on animals. The sad reality is that there are plenty of well-known brands that to this day continue to experiment their products on animals.

A majority of the brands do so because they want to sell in countries like China whose law requires animal testing.

The FAQ pages of most of these brands claim that such testing only occurs when "required by law" but let's be honest, no one is really forcing them to.

You'll notice that there are plenty of popular drugstore and high-end beauty brands that aren't cruelty-free. We've rounded up a list of these brands which you can refer to before you make a purchase. 

Here are some well-known beauty brands that are currently not cruelty-free:


Bobbi Brown


Estée Lauder


M.A.C. Cosmetics

Mary Kay


In case you're curious about other companies that still follow such practices, PETA has an up-to-date and extensive list which you can read on their website. –Shared

Vaginal vs. Clitoral Orgasm

Scientists have known that women have different types of orgasms, but what makes them different? Are some orgasms better than others?
by Seeker

 In a world riven by conflict and division, surely there is at least one thing we can all agree on: Orgasms are good. But female orgasms actually come in two varieties. Is one better than the other? Amy Shira-Teitel has the details in today's DNews special report.

Both men and women experience orgasms, of course, but scientifically speaking, female orgasms are divided into two types. First, let's define some terms: Female external genitalia - the part you can see - is technically called the vulva. The vagina is actually the internal canal housed by the vulva. And the clitoris is the small, extremely sensitive organ above the vaginal opening. The clitoris was "discovered" by male scientists back in the 16th century, although it's safe to say women were aware of it earlier.

Here's the critical part: The clitoris is the external tip of an entire system of internal nerves and muscles called the clitorourethrovaginal complex, or CUV, that surrounds the vagina and the urethra. Since there are external and internal portions of the CUV, there are two types of orgasms women can experience: clitoral and vaginal.

Most women reach orgasm faster via clitoral stimulation, and with good reason: It has more nerve endings than any other human body part, male or female. But internal vaginal stimulation can also trigger orgasm - in the end, it's the same bundle of nerves and muscles.

Whether vaginal or clitoral, male or female, all orgasms have the same general effect on the human body and brain. Rhythmic contractions relax aroused muscles and the brain issues forth a flood of feel-good hormones like oxytocin, dopamine and prolactin. These chemicals have direct and measurable health benefits. With orgasms, everybody wins. –Seeker

Fake Olive Oil Is EVERYWHERE!

The olive oil in your kitchen is likely not what you think it is. Fake olive oil is literally everywhere on the market – up to 70% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the US are fake. And by fake I mean cut with cheaper oils.

In 2008, more than 400 Italian police officers conducted an operation called “Operation Golden Oil,” which resulted in 23 arrests and confiscation of 85 farms. Companies were adding chlorophyll to sunflower and soybean oil and selling it as extra virgin olive oil. As a result of these raids, the Australian government decided to allow olive oil brands to submit their oils for lab tests, allowing them to certify companies as pure “extra-virgin olive oil.” Alas, every company failed to gain certification in 2012.

Prompted by all of these olive oil scams, researchers at the University of California decided to test 124 different samples from eight major brands of extra-virgin olive oil. Over 70% of the imported oils failed the test.

What does it mean when an oil fails an extra-virgin test? It essentially means that all of these oils claiming to be “extra-virgin” are actually cut with cheaper, lower-grade oils (like canola oil, sunflower oil or cola oil). The oil is them deodorized, coloured, and then flavoured and sold as “extra-virgin” oil to a producer. So it isn’t actually the company brand who is at fault here – it is the sneaky supplier at work.
The brands that failed to meet the extra virgin olive oil standards were:

– *Bertolli (I’ve been contact by Bertolli and they have notified me that their olive oils do meet the standards)
– Carapelli
– Colavita
– Star
– Pompeian
– Santa Sabina
– Primadonna
– Antica Badia
– Sasso
– Coricelli

Safeway, Giant and Whole Foods also failed to meet the extra virgin requirements.

Filippo Berio, Mazola, Mezzetta, and Newman’s Own are also selling fake olive oil.
Brands that you can trust are:

– California Olive Ranch
– Cobram Estate
– Lucini
– Kirkland Organic
– Lucero (Ascolano)
– McEvoy Ranch Organic
– Bariani Olive Oil
– Corto Olive
– Ottavio
– Omaggio
– Olea Estates 100% extra virgin olive oil

Aside from brands, how can you tell if your oil’s fake?

Going by taste alone is not enough. There are two tests you can perform that might do the trick:

1. Refrigerate the extra virgin olive oil. If it solidifies, it means that it contains mostly monounsaturated fat, which is good because extra virgin olive oil is mostly monounsaturated, and should grow more solid when cold. Putting your oil in the refrigerator will make it become thick and cloudy. If this doesn’t happen, it’s likely that your oil is not extra-virgin. This isn’t a fool-proof test, however, as the olive oils cut with lower grade oils also cloud over. If the oil you put in the fridge doesn’t thicken at all, though, then you know for sure that the oil is fake.

2. Extra virgin olive oil should be flammable enough to keep an oil lamp burning. However, this test isn’t that dependable, for the same reasons mentioned above. But if the oil doesn’t keep the wick of an oil lamp burning, you know that it contains mostly refined oils.

The best alternative is to buy from the above mentioned companies that you can trust, or, buy from local olive oil farmers. In the United States and Australia, there are certifications that you can look for on bottles. The seal denoting approval by the California Olive Oil Council is labelled as “COOC Certified Extra Virgin.” The Australian Olive Oil Association has a seal labelled as “Australian Extra Virgin Certified.” Other seals of approval are labelled fromItalian Oliver Growers’ Association such as Extra Virgin Alliance (EVA) and UNAPROL. –Live Love Fruit

Zig Ziglar Evaluate Where You Are

One Of The Best Zoos In The Nation

If you live in the Garden State, you live near one of the top five zoos in the country and the 13th highest ranked zoo in the world. While many might expect that zoo to the be the massive Bronx Zoo in New York or the popular Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania, the world class zoo is actually… Cape May Zoo.

The rankings were based on thousands of user reviews and this beloved South Jersey gem seems to be a visitor favorite. Guests think so highly of the zoo that its glowing reviews beat out much larger destinations, earning it a TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award.

The zoo is home to 550 animals, representing 250 species including the African Lion, Cheetah, Giraffe, Cotton Top Tamarin, Red Panda and Snow Leopard. The zoo is also home to 13 flamingos from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

The zoo is free and open year-round. It offers a colorful carousel, rock climbing wall, mini-train, honey bee haven and beekeeper presentation, photo booth and birds of prey show.

Other amenities include a gift shop and full service dining at Safari Cafe. You'll find more than just hot dogs here with menu items including BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, Funnel Cakes, Fresh Fruit and Ice Cream. A recent addition to the zoo is a treetop adventure course (Tree To Tree Adventure Park). The aerial course is completely safe and lets you explore the lush greenery from a unique perspective. Swing from tree to tree and challenge yourself with obstacles like ladder bridges and climbing nets.

Another thing that makes this zoo so great is its family-friendly programs and events. Past events have included Night Out With The Critters, an immersive charity event, and World Giraffe Day. Upcoming events include Global Tiger Day (July 29th), featuring tiger-themed programs, activities and talks, Yoga at the Zoo (July 31st) and the kid-approved PokemonGO day at the Zoo (August 5th) with prizes and more.

The zoo can be found at 707 Route 9 North, Cape May Court House, in the heart of Cape May County Park. Current hours are 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.. The zoo is handicap accessible and electric and manual wheel chairs are available for rental. One of my favorite zoo amenities is a private guided tour, just $15 per adult and $10 per child under 12. Guests have the option to add on an animal encounter.

Have you been to the Cape May County Zoo yet? Do you plan on visiting now? While you’re in the area, check out other Cape May attractions like those included here: This Charming New Jersey Destination Is Perfect For A Weekend Getaway. –Only In My State

Could The Language Barrier Actually Fall

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to travel to a foreign country without having to worry about the nuisance of communicating in a different language?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, technology policy expert Alec Ross argued that, within a decade or so, we’ll be able to communicate with one another via small earpieces with built-in microphones.

No more trying to remember your high school French when checking into a hotel in Paris. Your earpiece will automatically translate “Good evening, I have a reservation” to Bon soir, j’ai une réservation – while immediately translating the receptionist’s unintelligible babble to “I am sorry, Sir, but your credit card has been declined.”

Ross argues that because technological progress is exponential, it’s only a matter of time.

Indeed, some parents are so convinced that this technology is imminent that they’re wondering if their kids should even learn a second language.

Max Ventilla, one of AltSchool Brooklyn’s founders, recently told The New Yorker

    …if the reason you are having your child learn a foreign language is so that they can communicate with someone in a different language twenty years from now – well, the relative value of that is changed, surely, by the fact that everyone is going to be walking around with live-translation apps.

Needless to say, communication is only one of the many advantages of learning another language (and I would argue that it’s not even the most important one).

Furthermore, while it’s undeniable that translation tools like Bing Translator, Babelfish or Google Translate have improved dramatically in recent years, prognosticators like Ross could be getting ahead of themselves.

As a language professor and translator, I understand the complicated nature of language’s relationship with technology and computers. In fact, language contains nuances that are impossible for computers to ever learn how to interpret.

Language rules are special

I still remember grading assignments in Spanish where someone had accidentally written that he’d sawed his parents in half, or where a student and his brother had acquired a well that was both long and pretty. Obviously, what was meant was “I saw my parents” and “my brother and I get along pretty well.” But leave it to a computer to navigate the intricacies of human languages, and there are bound to be blunders.

Even earlier this month, when asked about Twitter’s translation feature for foreign language tweets, the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey conceded that it does not happen in “real time, and the translation is not great.”

Still, anything a computer can “learn,” it will learn. And it’s safe to assume that any finite set of data (like every single work of literature ever written) will eventually make its way into the cloud.

So why not log all the rules by which languages govern themselves?

Simply put: because this is not how languages work. Even if the Florida State Senate has recently ruled that studying computer code is equivalent to learning a foreign language, the two could not be more different.

Programming is a constructed, formal language. Italian, Russian or Chinese – to name a few of the estimated 7,000 languages in the world – are natural, breathing languages which rely as much on social convention as on syntactic, phonetic or semantic rules.

Words don’t indicate meaning

As long as one is dealing with a simple written text, online translation tools will get better at replacing one “signifier” – the name Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure gave to the idea that a sign’s physical form is distinct from its meaning – with another.

Or, in other words, an increase in the quantity and accuracy of the data logged into computers will make them more capable of translating “No es bueno dormir mucho” as “It’s not good to sleep too much,” instead of the faulty “Not good sleep much,” as Google Translate still does.

Replacing a word with its equivalent in the target language is actually the “easy part” of a translator’s job. But even this seems to be a daunting task for computers.

So why do programs continue to stumble on what seem like easy translations?

It’s so difficult for computers because translation doesn’t – or shouldn’t – involve simply translating words, sentences or paragraphs. Rather, it’s about translating meaning.

And in order to infer meaning from a specific utterance, humans have to interpret a multitude of elements at the same time.

Think about all the contextual clues that go into understanding an utterance: volume, pitch, situation, even your culture – all are as likely to convey as much meaning as the words you use. Certainly, a mother’s soft-spoken advice to “be careful” elicits a much different response than someone yelling “Be careful!” from the passenger’s seat of your car.

So can computers really interpret?

As the now-classic book Metaphors We Live By has shown, languages are more metaphorical than factual in nature. Language acquisition often relies on learning abstract and figurative concepts that are very hard – if not impossible – to “explain” to a computer.

Since the way we speak often has nothing to do with the reality that surrounds us, machines are – and will continue to be – puzzled by the metaphorical nature of human communications.

This is why even a promising newcomer to the translation game like the website Unbabel, which defines itself as an “AI-powered human-quality translation,” has to rely on an army of 42,000 translators around the world to fine-tune acceptable translations.

You need a human to tell the computer that “I’m seeing red” has little to do with colors, or that “I’m going to change” probably refers to your clothes and not your personality or your self.

If interpreting the intended meaning of a written word is already overwhelming for computers, imagine a world where a machine is in charge of translating what you say out loud in specific situations.

The translation paradox

Nonetheless, technology seems to be trending in that direction. Just as “intelligent personal assistants” like Siri or Alexa are getting better at understanding what you say, there is no reason to think that the future will not bring “personal assistant translators.”

But translating is an altogether different task than finding the nearest Starbucks, because machines aim for perfection and rationality, while languages – and humans – are always imperfect and irrational.

This is the paradox of computers and languages.

If machines become too sophisticated and logical, they’ll never be able to correctly interpret human speech. If they don’t, they’ll never be able to fully interpret all the elements that come into play when two humans communicate.

Therefore, we should be very wary of a device that is incapable of interpreting the world around us. If people from different cultures can offend each other without realizing it, how can we expect a machine to do better?

Will this device be able to detect sarcasm? In Spanish-speaking countries, will it know when to use “tú” or “usted” (the informal and formal personal pronouns for “you”)? Will it be able to sort through the many different forms of address used in Japanese? How will it interpret jokes, puns and other figures of speech?

Unless engineers actually find a way to breathe a soul into a computer – pardon my figurative speech – rest assured that, when it comes to conveying and interpreting meaning using a natural language, a machine will never fully take our place. –IFLS

Sesame Noodle Salad

Recipe by: jkmom

"This amazing salad recipe was given to me by a friend who used to know someone at the now closed Larry's Markets in the Seattle area. I've added to the recipe a little -- so it's not exactly the same... but better! I take this to every picnic and everyone loves it! May also add diced chicken for a variation."


1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon hot chili oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, or more if desired
1 green onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced


Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the angel hair pasta, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
Whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili oil, and sugar in a large bowl. Toss the pasta in the dressing, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onion, and bell pepper. Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate for a cold salad.

Oct 22, 2017

We're A Nation In Crisis Right Now

by Carrie Johnson

Leaving federal government service after decades can be, well, liberating.

Just ask James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, and John Brennan, the former leader of the Central Intelligence Agency. They unloaded on President Trump and the "baffling" way he has embraced Russia while criticizing his own intelligence apparatus during a session at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday in Colorado.

Asked whether the president is taking the Russia threat seriously, Clapper replied: "Well, it's hard to tell. Sometimes I think he's about making Russia great again."

That remark, playing off Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan, drew laughter and gasps from an audience of current and former government officials and the business executives who work with them. But underlying the humor was a tone of deep concern about the morale of people responsible for protecting the nation's security — and dismay about where the country may be headed.

"In some respects, we're a nation in crisis right now," Brennan said.

Then, for the next hour, they counted the ways.

The veteran spies expressed surprise that Trump campaign officials including then-chairman Paul Manafort, son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner would take a meeting in New York last year with a Russian lawyer who promised "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

"They should have known better," Brennan said. "If they didn't, they shouldn't have been in those positions. ... Seems as if some folks swallowed the bait."

Both men withheld judgment on why Kushner had repeatedly revised a government form seeking information about his foreign contacts. But, Clapper said, if that were done by an ordinary federal employee, he would at minimum suspend the person's security clearance, "take a pause" and investigate the reasons the material had been omitted.

Clapper and Brennan said they were particularly distressed by a series of Trump tweets attacking the U.S. intelligence community, including one where the president likened them to Nazis. "Well, I was kind of hopeful that after he got rid of the two chief Nazis — John and myself — things would improve," Clapper said.

They didn't. In recent weeks, the president has continued to cast doubt on a unanimous U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the presidential election and has called the special counsel investigation "a witch hunt."

Compare that with the warm greeting the president offered Russian President Vladimir Putin, "a great honor to meet you," at their recent meeting.

Brennan said that was "a very, very bad negotiating tactic" for a man whose name appears on the front of a book called The Art of the Deal.

"This is Mr. Putin, who assaulted one of the foundational pillars of our democracy — our election system — invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, that has suppressed or repressed political opponents in Russia and caused the deaths of many of them," Brennan said.

Moderator Wolf Blitzer of CNN pointed out that prominent House Democrats such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been wondering, "What do the Russians have on Trump?"

Clapper replied, "Well, hopefully special counsel [Robert] Mueller will get to the bottom of that."

"If there's nothing to hide," Brennan said, "they should cooperate fully in an accelerated fashion."

They agreed Mueller, a former FBI director who worked under presidents from both political parties, was "absolutely" the right man for the job. And, Brennan said, if the president carries out a threat to fire Mueller, members of Congress need to stand up and take action.

Despite the gloomy portrait the two old hands painted, they said the intelligence community would continue to speak the truth, even if the White House doesn't want to hear it.

"The national security apparatus is bigger than one person," Clapper said, "even the president." -NPR

International Leadership Is Slipping

by John McLaughlin

Amid the many controversies roiling Washington these days, there is a troubling trend that is greater than the sum of the parts: America’s singular leadership role, held with minimal challenge since the end of World War II, is rapidly fading. A man who campaigned on the promise of making America great again now risks doing just the opposite.

The United States’ geopolitical stature is based on much more than military power — although might is one of its foundational components. One by one, the administration is allowing the other elements of leadership, reputational and institutional alike, to slip away. The United States can regain them only if the administration develops a more disciplined communication and policy process — and only if the president comes to understand that giving in to impulsive and fact-challenged anger is the opposite of “presidential.”

On the reputation front, America has been admired for the strength, integrity and stability of its political system — and for the values it has always projected. Now we are seen with a mixture of disillusionment and sorrow. As a European ambassador said to me recently: “The power to inspire was the greatest asset of the U.S., and we fear it’s gone.”

Why is this? It’s pretty simple, really. The world has seen even weak American presidents as embodying the values people associated with America. But the long trail of sloppy, inaccurate or false statements that culminated in President Trump’s labeling of his predecessor as a felon on March 4 signal to the world that they cannot trust what the American president says.

The issue is not academic. I assure most foreigners that we’ll muddle through somehow with domestic issues such as health care and tax reform — despite all the partisan wrangling. But I cannot assure them that the Trump administration can manage an international crisis that requires steadiness, careful coordination, resistance to foolish impulse or anger and the confidence of allies. While the new national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, is well-qualified to inject some discipline into the process, he’s got a steeper hill to climb than any of his predecessors since Watergate in 1974.

The president’s actions are not merely sowing divisions within his Republican Party; they also put serious members in an ethical quandary. It mirrors the ethical danger experienced in authoritarian societies and described by Vaclav Havel, the anticommunist dissident who became free Czechoslovakia’s first president. He said citizens and politicians under authoritarian rule had become “morally ill” because they were forced “to say one thing while thinking another.”

This is surely the dilemma serious Republicans now face, knowing their leader has spoken falsely but searching for ways to not acknowledge that. You can sense their discomfort and hear their resort to political bafflegab. Though there are exceptions — Senator John McCain and a few other truth-tellers — their situation must be challenging.

Beyond these reputational issues, administration actions are weakening the domestic and international institutions on which American leadership has rested. Driven domestically by sophomoric ideas like “deconstruction” of the “deep state,” the administration has carelessly demeaned the judiciary, the intelligence community and a free media. This hits the rest of the world as worrisome nonsense, not leadership.

Meanwhile, international alliances and institutions that both reflect and sustain American leadership in the world are shaken. To their credit, American officials such as Defense Secretary Mattis, Vice President Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kelly told world leaders at the Munich Security Conference last month that the U.S. solidly supports its commitments. But all the corridor talk was about whether the president would say the same thing — and mean it.

For decades, American leadership has been marked by the propagation of big ideas. Institutions such as NATO, the EU, the UN, the IMF and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were all created, inspired or supported by the U.S. The ideas behind them were bold, outward-looking and transformational. Today, we are closing off to the world through talk of walls, travel bans, withdrawal from trade agreements and a massive spending cut (almost 30 percent) proposed for our State Department — the institution most directly responsible for engaging the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, we’re letting China corner the transformational idea market with its creation of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (most of our closest allies have joined), its New Silk Road linking China to Europe and the Middle East and its Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership. The latter will fill the vacuum the administration left when it hastened to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Some will ask why American leadership matters anyway. Why should America be the standard-bearer for democracy, the rule of law, etc.? After all, we’ve made our mistakes and have often fallen short of our loftiest goals. Perhaps American exceptionalism was a mere fluke of history.

The points are worth raising — and rebutting. After the second World War, the U.S. dedicated itself to leading the world away from the most violent and destructive period in modern human history, and in this it succeeded. It would be hard to overstate the magnitude of its achievement. Two things were key to its success. First, policies that muted whatever part of human nature that permitted the global holocaust of the 20th century. Second, America’s unique blending of self-interest with the pursuit of universally appealing values.

If the administration undervalues the role of American leadership, there are others who will move into the vacuum regionally and globally. Russia, China and Iran come to mind. And the world they want will not be in any way compatible with the vision that has traditionally animated the United States. –OZY

Man Wakes Up In Hospital Speaking Fluent Chinese

Don’t Shop At My Business

by Michelle Fox

Serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis had some choice words on Wednesday about those who may support President Donald Trump's response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"There's no doubt that there is probably not many consumers in this country today that are in favor of what has been said in the last couple days and if they are, quite frankly, don't shop at my business," said Lemonis, who is CEO of Camping World and host of CNBC's "The Profit."

In a chaotic Tuesday news conference, Trump appeared to equate torch-bearing white nationalists with the protesters who demonstrated against them.

Trump's statements led to a wave of CEO resignations from his advisory councils and on Wednesday, Trump abruptly dissolved the councils. Trump's announcement came shortly after a member of the Strategic and Policy Forum told CNBC the group had decided to disband.

Lemonis told "Power Lunch" he is "horrified" by what he's been hearing and seeing from this administration.

He said it's important that CEOs speak for themselves as individuals on policy and also speak for their companies as it relates to policy that affects their businesses. However, they should be very careful, he said.

"I'm concerned about certain CEOs dancing on the fence, fearing retaliation or fearing something. It's scary right now," Lemonis said.

As for those who believe the economy is being driven by Trump, Lemonis called that notion "somewhat laughable."

"There's good fundamentals that are happening with these companies," he said.


Ordinary Americans Carried Out Inhumane Acts

by Chris Edelson

Men and women went to work at airports around the United States as they always do. They showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, perhaps dropped off their kids at school. Then they reported to their jobs as federal government employees, where, according to news reports, one of them handcuffed a 5-year-old child, separated him from his mother and detained him alone for several hours at Dulles airport.

At least one other federal employee at Dulles reportedly detained a woman who was traveling with her two children, both U.S. citizens, for 20 hours without food. A relative says the mother was handcuffed (even when she went to the bathroom) and threatened with deportation to Somalia.

At Kennedy Airport, still other federal employees detained and handcuffed a 65-year-old woman traveling from Qatar to visit her son, who is a U.S. citizen and serviceman stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. The woman was held for more than 33 hours, according to the New York Times, and denied use of a wheelchair.
Commentary: Trump's order makes America worse

The men and women who work for the federal government completed these and other tasks and then returned to their families, where perhaps they had dinner and read stories to their children before bedtime.

When we worry and wonder about authoritarian regimes that inflict cruelty on civilians, we often imagine tyrannical despots unilaterally advancing their sinister agendas. But no would-be autocrat can act alone. As a practical matter, he needs subordinates willing to carry out orders. Of course, neither Donald Trump nor Steve Bannon personally detained any of the more than 100 people held at airports over the weekend pursuant to the administration's executive order on immigration, visitation and travel to the United States. They relied on assistance.
Trump's sanctuary bullying

The men and women who reportedly handcuffed small children and the elderly, separated a child from his mother and held others without food for 20 hours, are undoubtedly "ordinary" people. What I mean by that, is that these are, in normal circumstances, people who likely treat their neighbors and co-workers with kindness and do not intentionally seek to harm others. That is chilling, as it is a reminder that authoritarians have no trouble finding the people they need to carry out their acts of cruelty. They do not need special monsters; they can issue orders to otherwise unexceptional people who will carry them out dutifully.

This should not be a surprise. The famous Milgram experiment and subsequent studies suggest that many people will obey instructions from an authority figure, even if it means harming another person. It is also perfectly understandable (which does not mean it is justifiable). How many of us would refuse to follow an instruction from a superior at work? It is natural to want to keep one's job, even if at the price of inflicting cruelty on another human being, even perhaps a child.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: What will we do? This is not a hypothetical question. Most of us will not face the stark choice employees at airports faced over the weekend. But we are all democratic citizens. Ultimately, our government can only act if we allow it to act. Under our Constitution, the people rule. Our elected officials, including the president, are accountable to us. We possess the power to reject actions we see as out of bounds. We are used to doing this in elections, but democratic tools go further. Even once an election is over, we can exercise our First Amendment rights to contact elected officials, speak, write and protest.

It is far easier to do nothing, to trust that, somehow, America's dangerous course will be set right. But this is a dangerous gamble, and in fact an abdication of our responsibility as Americans and indeed as human beings. If we do nothing, that is a choice. It means we accept a government that has demonstrated it is capable of inflicting cruelty on the innocent and defenseless.

What will we do?

-Baltimore Sun

She Voted For Trump

She thought “good people” would get to stay.

by Ed Mazza

An Indiana woman who voted for President Donald Trump was stunned to discover that her husband, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, is set to be deported as soon as today.

Despite her spouse’s immigration status, Helen Beristain said she agreed with Trump’s hardline policies.

“We don’t want to have cartels here, you don’t want to have drugs in your high schools, you don’t want killers next to you,” Helen told Indiana Public Media earlier this month. “You want to feel safe when you leave your house. I truly believe that. And, this is why I voted for Mr. Trump.”

But Helen didn’t think those policies would apply to her husband, who owns a popular restaurant in Granger, Indiana.

“[Trump] did say the good people would not be deported, the good people would be checked,” Helen said.

According to the South Bend Tribune, her husband Roberto Beristain came to the United States in 1998 to visit an aunt and stayed. Then, he met his wife and the two started a family.

Roberto was detained during a trip the couple took to Niagara Falls in 2000 after they accidentally crossed the border into Canada. When U.S. immigration agents discovered he was undocumented, they ordered him to leave the country.

Since his wife was pregnant at the time, Roberto did not.

For the past 17 years, Roberto has been checking in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials once a year and has a work permit, Social Security card and driver’s license, The Tribune reported. He worked for eight years at Eddie’s Steak Shed in Granger, then bought it from his wife’s sister in January.

This year, during his annual check-in with ICE, Roberto was detained.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of nearby South Bend, wrote in a column for The Huffington Post that the largely conservative community has rallied to Roberto’s defense:

    “Think of the favorite themes of conservatism: hard work, small business ownership, suspicion of overbearing government, and support for family. Each one of those themes is at stake here ― and each is insulted by the prospect of a person like Roberto being ripped away from his business, friends, wife, and children, by a federal agency.”

Roberto is now being held at a detention center in Wisconsin.

“He’s trying to hold up,” Helen told Indiana Public Media. “He said, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong, I haven’t committed a crime. The only crime I’ve done is wanting to be in the United States.’”

Helen told the news agency that Roberto is in the process of applying for a green card. Even if he is deported, however, she is hopeful he can get the green card and return to her, his business and their four children.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a long vacation in Riviera Maya,” Helen told local NBC station WNDU. “Never been there! I’ve never been to Mexico! Maybe I get to be! To get to beautiful places like go to Cancun or do fun things, right?” -Huffington Post

The Power of Disruption

by Charles M Bowl

The Trump resistance movement is stretching its wings, engaging its muscles and feeling its power. It is large and strong and tough. It has moved past debilitating grief and into righteous anger, assiduous organization and pressing activism.

Welcome to the dawn of the fighting-mad majority: The ones who didn’t vote for Trump and maybe even some who now regret that they did.

They are charging forward under the banner of sage wisdom that has endured through the ages: Show up, get loud and fight back. Do it with your body and words, with your time and money, with every fiber of yourself. They see what this dawning regime means and they don’t intend, not even for a second, to wait around to see what happens. “What happens” is happening right now and it’s horrific.

Donald Trump is a vulgar, uninformed, anti-intellectual, extremely unpopular grifter helming a family of grifters who apparently intend to milk their moment on the mount for every red cent.

Trump still hasn’t released his taxes or fully disconnected from his businesses. His wife is suing The Daily Mail because she believes the newspaper may have injured her “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to “have garnered multimillion-dollar business relationships for a multiyear term.” When his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line was dropped by Nordstrom, Trump lashed out at the retailer on Twitter, citing Ivanka as something of his moral compass: “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” This begs the question: “Why do you need someone to push you to do the right thing?”

Then, top Trump adviser Kellyanne “QVC” Conway, from the confines of the White House briefing room, said during a televised interview: “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say.” She continued: “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online.”

Unethical is too kind a word for these classless cretins. Furthermore, Trump has nominated, and his Republican conspirators in the Senate have confirmed, a rogues’ gallery of some of the least qualified, most questionable appointees in recent memory. Aside from some of them being the fiercest critics of the very agencies they are charged with leading, some have also been accused of bigotry, plagiarism, insider trading and overall vacuousness.

Trump’s Muslim ban has also been an absolute disaster and has met some much-applauded resistance in court, most recently with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rebuking the administration’s lawyers like children.

This administration is already manifesting as the disaster we knew it would be; the stench of its rot surrounds us. What is there to wait and see? A rose will never bloom from a weed; you must snatch that thing up at first sight, by the root.

That is why you are seeing so much grass-roots resistance from a multiplying array of groups. One of the most prominent is called “Indivisible.” The Nation interviewed Ezra Levin, a former Democratic staffer and co-founder of the project and reported on the exchange: “Levin says that Indivisible built on the Tea Party’s model of ‘practicing locally-focused, almost entirely defensive strategy.’ This, he adds, ‘was very smart, and it was rooted in an understanding of how American democracy works. They understood that they didn’t have the power to set the agenda in Washington, but they did have the ability to react to it. It’s Civics 101 stuff — going to local offices, attending events, calling their reps.”

I would add that these groups are practicing one of the most effective tactics of confronting power: disruption. Town hall meetings have been disrupted; protesters disrupted Education Secretary Betsy Devos’s plans to enter a Washington school.

Disruption works!

When Frederick Douglass attacked Abraham Lincoln by saying that he “seems to possess an ever increasing passion for making himself appear silly and ridiculous, if nothing worse,” Douglass was being disruptive.

When women suffragists paraded through Washington, they were being disruptive.

When Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat, she was being disruptive.

When civil rights activists marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were being disruptive.

When LGBT people fought back at The Stonewall Inn, they were being disruptive.

When Act Up flooded Times Square, they were being disruptive.

When Occupy Wall Street refused to move from their parks, they were being disruptive.

When Black Lives Matter took to the streets and ground traffic to a halt, they were being disruptive.

When Native Americans stood in resistance at Standing Rock, they were being disruptive.

When Elizabeth Warren persisted, she was being disruptive.

Disruption is not a dirty word; in this environment, it’s a badge of honor.

Yes, it’s important to show up on Election Day, but it is also important to show up on the hundreds of days before and after. This is what the resistance movements are saying to Trump and his America: Buckle your seatbelts, because massive disruption is in the offing.

Trump is not normal. He is not competent. And we will not simply sit back and suck it up.-NYT

PUTIN AND THE RITZ - A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

Saul Alinsky

Saul David Alinsky is considered to be the founder of modern American community organizing movement. He is also noted for his books: Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals. He attended the University of Chicago. He died on June 12, 1972 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Hillary Clinton did her thesis on Alinsky's writings, and Barack Obama is an avid Alinsky disciple & fan as suggested in his (Obama's) book.

According to Alinsky, there are eight areas of control required to create a socialistic state. They are:

1) Healthcare: control healthcare and one can easily control people;

2) Poverty: increase the poverty level as high as possible since poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if the government provides their basic needs;

3) Debt: increase the national debt to an unsustainable level to justify increasing taxes, and which will produce more poverty;

4) Gun ownership: control by removing the public's ability to defend themselves from the government and other predators, and by so doing, enable the creation of a police state;

5) Welfare: control every basic human need -- food, housing, and Income;

6) Education: control what children learn in school and what people listen to and read;

7) Religion: ban and eliminate belief in God to create a "God-less" society;

8) Class Warfare: create and promote division between groups, e.g. the wealthy vs. the poor, the left wing vs. the right wing, etc.

Alinsky patterned his ideas after Lenin's original communistic control scheme, and Stalin described converts to Communism/Socialism as "useful idiots", who cause the destruction of a nation after they achieve position and power.

Presently, all of Alinsky's eight control areas listed above are being used in the U.S.A. by the current administration.

Grilled Shrimp With Lemon Aioli

"You'll notice a glaring lack of ingredients in this recipe. Thanks to the intensely flavored cured lemons, the aioli sauce needs little more than some fresh tarragon to reach its full potential. Having said that, you are well within your rights to toss in some garlic or hot pepper if you're in the mood." -Chef John


2 slices cured lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Soak cured lemons briefly in a bowl with cold water to remove curing brine, about 10 minutes. Dry lemons with paper towels and finely mince.
  • Stir minced lemon, mayonnaise, tarragon, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill aioli in the refrigerator until cold, at least 15 minutes.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  • Put shrimp in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle paprika and salt over the shrimp, stir to coat shrimp completely.
  • Cook the shrimp on the preheated grill until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer shrimp to a plate and serve with lemon aioli.