Sunday, July 31, 2011


Last Friday Bill Maher was prodding a Christian conservative on his program with the fact the Christians can be and have been as violent as Muslim fundamentalist. The panelist had obviously rehearsed her response before being a on his show: her answer to his taunt was that Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia were atheistic countries that basked in blood baths.

I am always agog at the simplistic, head in the sand bull shit these morons use to defend the violence of religion.

Again (earlier blog,) she was trying to invoking a negative: Atheism is not a religion or an organized movement with tenants to adhere to and believe in, so you can’t really identify anything as being atheist. It is simply that atheist can’t bring themselves to believe the fantastic lunacy that you are required to believe in as a member of an organized religion - a tenet of beliefs that the religious wish to inflict on all others.

Conservative arguments are usually summed up with ten second catch phrases; so I have an atheistic one for the Christian conservatives that pretty much explains atheism:

God and Jesus!
Are you nuts?

thanks to the blog Dumb Perignon for the link to the above clip.

the Ol'Buzzard

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I’m sick of it!

I’m tired of hearing about it.

Fuck the debt limit.

There is nothing I can do about it.

I voted Democrat.

Our party lost.

I’d vote third party,

But it’s throwing away my vote.

There is no sanity left.

Perhaps there never was.

We stumble along,

The blind leading the blind.

The asylum has been seized

The inmates are in charge

Chaos rules the day

Accept what can’t be changed

We are all along for the ride

The lunatics drive the bus

The destination is nowhere

Then we’ll go somewhere else

You put your right foot out

You put your right foot in

You put your right foot out

And you shake it all about

You do the hokey-poky

And you turn yourself around

That’s what it’s all about.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

CAUSE AND (negative) Effect


When we think of negatives our mind goes to fourth grade math and the counting system:

-10  -9  -8  -7  -6  -5  -4  -3  -2  -1  0  +1  +2  +3  +4  +5  +6  +7  +8  +9  +10

With ZERO being the pivotal number, and any number appearing before the zero as a value of something that doesn’t exist – explain that to a fourth grade math student.

Actually the concept of Zero, as a place value, is probably the single greatest advancement in mathematics, allowing all present day calculations to be precise and possible.   Zero was devised by the Babylonians as a place value in their Base-60 counting system.

But let’s go back to proving ‘the something that does not exist.’   When Cheney bragged that George Bush’s enhanced interrogations policies prevented further terrorist attacks in the U.S after 9/11 he was postulating a negative: we did not have an attack therefore enhanced interrogation was responsible.

In order to verify this claim we would have to use the scientific method: specifically what actual attack plans were uncovered through enhanced interrogation; and of these which were at some level of execution; and exactly what counter measures were used to defuse these imminent attacks.

Postulating a negative is often used as a ploy to take credit for something that would have happened, or did happen, or did not happen as a natural result of cause and effect.

The problem with proving a negative is the unwillingness to present documented proof of the process and the verifiable results.

Some lies postulated as negatives:

1. Because we fight them over there, we don’t have to fight them over here.

2. Our nuclear plants are safe because we have had no major melt downs in the U.S.

3. The Patriot Act has kept us safe.

4. We are a free nation because our Constitution guarantees us the right to bear arms.

5. The Iraq war had made us safer.

6. Because we can not explain cosmology (or specific happenings) there must be a god.

Some negatives are verifiable: one thing that should have never been postulated as a negative was the statement that stimulus spending prevented the loss of jobs. The President has taken a lot of flack for postulating this as a negative when it would have been so easy to present the facts: saving the automobile industry and all the related suppliers actually prevented the loss of x-number of jobs – with the jobs listed; along with an actual list of construction jobs, teachers jobs, police jobs etc. that were actually saved as the results of stimulus spending incorporated in the budgets of identifiable states.

Specificity is preferable to postulating a negative; otherwise it should be suspect as a lie.

We may be falling down a rabbit hole when we blindly accept, and laud our government and societal leaders for things that did not happen.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I profess to be a Buddhist – of sorts: that is I look at the teachings of the Buddha as a guide for living a life of fulfillment in chaotic times. I don’t belong to a Buddhist community, or dress in robes or chant. I do meditate (on occasion) and find it calming and a way to clarify my daily existence.

The Buddha taught compassion, and unlike the Christians, a Buddhist actually tries to live compassionately. Here is my rub. It is difficult not to be judgmental and there are people that I feel resentment toward: I have strong political leanings and prejudice against organized religions; I dislike mean people and stupid people.


I was in the Hannaford Food Market today in our little town of about seven thousand. Usually there are between twenty and seventy people in the market at one time. Not for the first time I noticed hugely obese women riding around in electric shopping carts buying food. These women (and usually there are more women than men) are too big to walk and shop. Their legs are as bigger than my wife’s waist, their asses hanging over both sides of the seat and their bellies hang down between their legs when they stand – and they are riding around in electric carts to buy more food? This begs for a George Carlin comment.

So where does this leave me in Buddhist philosophy? I focus on my daily life and try to remain impassive to those things in the world I can not change; but, I’m not really successful.

the Ol’Buzzard

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


You ever have one of those days and you look at the world around you and say “What the Fuck!” Going through Blogs today and seeing rants about religion and politics – child killing and mistrials – global warming and genocide – corporate malfeasants – war and soldiers dying – government corruption – pandemics and environmental destruction; and in general stupid people doing stupid things.

The fact is that 400 children die every hour from cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, hepatitis; every year millions of people – most are children – die from starvation; there is a rape every three minutes and a murder every twelve minutes. These are things we could correct, but we don’t give a fuck. We are focused on petty politics, inconsequential news and sports.

You get what you pay for; or in this case you get what you deserve. We celebrate death and war, we focus on the trivial, we make up gods to tell ourselves we are special and we ignore what we don’t wish to deal with.

The human race is a producer – but other than the ability to make things we are a pitiful and destructive life form. In fact we have produced ourselves into a technological dark age where common sense and basic intelligence no longer applies. We walk around with cell phones and i-pads absorbed in the fantasy world of the World Wide Web.

We need to go out and touch base with reality: do physical work – fuck somebody – get drunk. I think that’s a prescription I need.

Have a good day

the Ol”Buzzard

Tuesday, July 12, 2011



In the world of 1984 George Orwell portrays a chilling parody of today. We are more controlled and manipulated than we even know. Government never has been about the people, and today it has truly morphed into a corporate oligarchy.




“If all others accept the lie which the party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became true. Who controls the past, ran the party slogan, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

“Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version. A great deal of the time you were suppose to make them up out of your head.”

“The aim of the high is to remain where they are. The aim of the middle is to change places with the high. The aim of the low, when they have an aim – for it is an abiding characteristic of the low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of any thing outside their daily lives – is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.”

“It was still true that men were not equal in their native talents and that functions had to be specialized in ways that favored some individuals against others.”

"Imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public execution, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages and the

Headless corpses in the desert...

Build the Damn Fence.
deportation of whole populations not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive."

“In the past, no government had the power to keep it’s citizens under constant surveillance.”

  Who is watching you?

“The essential act of the party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty, to tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any facts that have become inconvenient.”

“The proles (people) are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening. It is in the ranks of the party, and above all the Inner Party, that the true war enthusiasms is found.”

"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end."

NEW SPEAK: (a sound bite) is designed to diminish the range of thoughts.

INGSOC (the controlling oligarchy): “(like religion) successfully manipulated the mind to the point that a person thinks the opposite of what is true.”

DOUBLE THINK: reality control – i.e. thou shall not kill, but glorification of war.

We have been told to be afraid so that we might be less protective of the constitution,less mindful of international law, less respectful toward allies, less discerning in our search for facts, less rigorous in questioning what our leaders tell us; all of this to avoid being accused of aiding our enemies.
From Memo to the President Elect
by Madeleine Albright.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


My last post was on vampires to honor the kick-off of the new True Blood season on HBO. In a comment from Blog Fodder he mentioned Ghost and Goulies, which I find another interesting subject. Christians have to believe in ghost – it’s part of the package – the Holy Ghost, Jesus resurrection… numerous accounts of ghost in the Bible and in the recounting of religious miracles.

To me, the idea of ghost is again the self-conceited idea that humans are not a link in the animal kingdom; but somehow a divine entity not linked to the evolutionary progression. That we have this soul that is immortal and beyond physical understanding; and therefore we can return from the dead by will or providence.

It also is understood that only WE can possess this soul – not dogs, cats, cockroaches, apes, birds… However, if some Civil War general wants to haunt the Vicksburg, Mississippi Confederate Battleground Park he is allowed to bring his ghost horse along to ride; and this specter is complete with saddle, uniform, sword, pistol and all the paraphernalia he carried in the war. I can’t take my cat, but the general can take his horse – that sucks.

This begs a question. Ok, let’s suppose that ghost can exist. You are born naked - clothing is a physical cultural addition – when you return as a ghost why do you have clothes? You should be naked. Is there a ghost wardrobe you can choose from? Are there ghost clothes? Are you stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in? The general can take his uniform and the beautiful girl ghost that haunts the bed and breakfast has taken with her a see-through nightgown. If a ghost takes his pants off does he have underwear? I’m just asking.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011



I do not believe in gods, devils, angels, ghost, gnomes, fairies, ogres, zombies, vampires, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night. However, I do like the macabre, and enjoy reading (and viewing) horror stories.

During the 1980’s my wife and I moved into an isolated, one hundred- fifty year old farm house, one mile off the main road in the middle of the Maine wilderness. The house had no neighbors, no electricity and no running water; and at night, in bed, by lamp light, my wife would read aloud a chapter from Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. It was scary as hell.

I am a member at large of The Occupants of the Empty House - a scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars - which hold their meetings in Du Quoin, Illinois. We are a group dedicated to the study of the chronicles of Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes.

One of the Sherlock Holmes monographs I published in the Beeman’s Christmas Annual was an insight to “THE ADVENTURE OF THE SUSSEX VAMPIRE; and I offer it here as a comment of interest at the kick-off of the new season of True Blood on HBO.


But first, on earth as Vampire sent,

Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:

Then ghastly haunt thy native place,

And suck the blood of all thy race;

There from thy daughter, sister, wife,

At midnight drain the stream of life;

Yet loathe the banquet which perforce

Must feed thy livid living corpse.

Thy victims are they not yet expire

Shall know the demon for their sire,

As cursing thee, thou cursing them,

Thy flowers withered on the stem

From: The Gaiour,” by Lord Byron

Baring-Gould sets the date for “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” as taking place between Thursday, November 19, to Saturday, November 21, 1896.

Holmes: “The idea of a vampire was to me absurd. Such things do not happen in criminal practice in England.”

Between 1600 and 1800 while Britain and Western Europe were in the throws of witch mania, Eastern Europe was experiencing vampire frenzy. In the East, even government officials frequently were involved in the hunting and staking of vampires. Westerners never seriously considered the existence of vampires until the mid eighteenth century when there was an outbreak of alleged vampire attacks in East Prussia (1721), and Austro-Hungary (1725).

Two famous cases involved Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Palole.

Plogojowitz died at the age of 62, but returned to raise havoc among his family and neighbors, many who died from loss of blood. According to records, Plogojowitz’s grave was opened and his body was found to be fresh.

Arnold Paole
Arnold Paole was an ex-soldier who claimed to have experienced a vampire attack while serving in Greece. Upon returning home he died from a fall while working on his farm. Within two months after Paole’s burial there were attacks attributed to him. All of the victims died shortly after. Two military officers, two army surgeons and a priest exhumed Arnold Paole’s body; and the corpse was found to be fresh. Over the next five years there were a number of inexplicable deaths. A mass exhumation was carried out in 1732 and eleven corpses were found to display the same trait as Paole – no decomposition.

Both of these cases were well documented by government officials who examined the facts and the bodies. These two cases created an epidemic of alleged vampire attacks in rural villages; resulting in a score of bodies being exhumed. Eventually the Austrian Empress Marie Theresa sent her personal physician to investigate. He reported back to her that vampires did not exist. The Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and the desecration of bodies, bringing an end to the vampire frenzy in Austria. (Vampires in Myth and History, by Beverley Richardson.)

One reason for the dichotomy of folklore between Western and Eastern Europe can be attributed to the split that took place in 1054 between the Orthodox Church in the East, and the Roman Catholic Church in the West. This difference can be linked to centralizing the vampire myth to Eastern Europe. The belief of the Catholic Church was that the bodies of saints would not decay in the grave; while the Orthodox Church believed that undecayed corpses were a sign of evil and a link to Satan.

In 1486 the Catholic Church had published The Malleus Maleficarium as a handbook for the discovery and eradication of witches. It also covered vampires and how they should be dealt with. By 1600 this treatise was being used as a “bible” by witch and vampire hinters across Europe. (Christianity and Vampirism, by Angie McKaig.)

Holmes: “Make a long arm Watson and see what V has to say.” I leaned back and took down the great volume to which he referred…”Hello! Good old index. You can’t beat it. Listen to this, Watson: Vampirism in Hungary and again in Transylvania.”

Vampire myths go back thousands of years and occur in almost every culture. The Vampire folklore spread out along the Black Sea Coast to Greece, the Balkans and the Carpathian Mountains, including Hungary and Transylvania. The Slavic people from Russia to Bulgaria and Serbia to Poland also had rich vampire folklore. (B. Richardson.)

He turned over the pages with eagerness, but after perusal he threw down the great book with a snarl of disappointment. “Rubbish, Watson, rubbish! What have we to do with walking corpses who can only be held in their graves by stakes driven through their hearts? It’s pure lunacy.”

The vampires of folklore of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have only basic similarities to the vampire fiction of today. The vampires then did not fly, or wear capes, or change into bats. A man who was contaminated died; then returned to feed on the blood of his family and neighbors. After a while (anywhere from a few days to a few years, depending on the country of the occurrence) he became more humanlike and was indistinguishable from living humans. He was able to remain out in the daylight and eat normal food. At this time he would move to another village and often get married and have children, reverting to his blood lust only on weekends or certain saint’s days. (The Socially Sophisticated Undead in Folklore, by Patrick Johnson.)

Considering the original vampire legends, the actions of Delores Ferguson in The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire could well have been interpreted as vampirism.

Though vampire fiction became popular in the eighteen hundreds in Britain, the stereotype of today’s vampire fiction had not yet embedded. In 1813 the vampire appeared in Britain in Lord Byron’s poem “The Giaour.” In 1819 John Polidori wrote The Vampyre on a challenge from Lord Byron (Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein at the same time/challenge.) And, In 1848 Varney the Vampyre begin serialization as a penny dreadful. If we accept Baring-Gould’s date of the Sussex incident as 1896, Holmes was conducting his investigation one year before Bram Stoker introduced Dracula, and set the pattern for vampire fiction as we know it today.

Accounts of vampirism in the rural areas of Eastern Europe were not unheard of even in Sherlock Holmes’s time. In The Twelve Years Study of the Eastern Question in Bulgaria by S.B.G. St. Clair and Charles A. Brophy (London: Chaman and Hall Press;, 1877) the authors account an episode that alleged to have taken place in the 1840’a in the Bulgarian village in which they were presently living. The locals told them that a man had arrived in the village and established himself as a tradesman. He married a local girl, but his new wife complained that he was out every night until dawn. Cattle and horses became sick and died and it was noted that blood had been drained out of them. The village suspected the man of being a vampire and when they examined him they found he had only one nostril – a sure sign that he was a vampire. The villagers bound him, took him to a hill outside the village, and burned him alive. Surely with Holmes’s penchant for the unusual he had knowledge of this and other incidents.

Watson: “A living person might have the habit. I have read, of example, of the old sucking the blood of the young in order to retain their youth.”

“You are right, Watson. It mentions the legend in one of these references. But are we to give serious attention to such things?”

This reference is obviously of Elizabeth Bathory who was born a noblewoman to a powerful family in Transylvania in 1560. Elizabeth was married as a teenager, but lived with a constant fear of aging. Her husband died in 1604 and she moved to Vienna. Countess Elizabeth became convinced that the blood of young girls was the secret to eternal youth and beauty. She is believed to have murdered more than six hundred young women in order to have blood to drink and bathe in. In December of 1610 she was put on trial for her crimes, but being a noblewoman she was not allowed by law to be sentenced to death. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in her castle in Cachtice, where she died in August 1614. (Who is …Elizabeth Bathory? By Angie McKaig.)

Holmes constantly reminds us that it is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts (SCAN, SECO, STUD) – yet in the case of the Sussex Vampire he does exactly that. Before leaving Baker Street he has decided the outcome of the case, and he commences to pursue his investigation to secure facts to support his theory. Considering the extensive vampire folklore of Eastern Europe that goes back for centuries, why is Holmes so adamant and closed-minded in considering the possibility of the existence of vampires? Is this an indication of some prior experience with the preternatural, supernatural, and things that go bump in her night? This is the real mystery in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.”

The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far from being on a curise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back, the brain has shut down, the flesh begins to soften, nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you.

(Stiff by Mary Roach)