Archives For Observations

What About Beirut?

Amy Stinson —  January 3, 2016 — Leave a comment

On November 13, 2015, Paris, France saw the worst violence since WWII. Less than 24 hours earlier, Beirut, Lebanon was also attacked. Both were attacked by “ISIS” also known as the “Islamic State that is not Islamic”. 

The huge outpouring of support for Paris was quickly countered by claims that the west did not show similar feelings about the violence in Beirut. My question is where was the outrage over this violence in the Middle East? 

Seriously, there was no outrage in the Middle East in any English news outlet. I’ll address that issue later. 

Getting back to our response (or lack of) over what was reported as sectarian violence, exactly how are we supposed to respond to two factions that claim us as enemies when they clash in violence that does not involve us? Sure, I wish the sectarian violence would stop, but the reality is that every extremist who kills an extremist means at least one less extremist available to take out us infidels. The only difference between those two factions, with regard to us, is plan of attack.

I personally have a problem getting involved in what is essentially infighting (civil war) in any of that area, and my main reason for that is that our track record for determining who is a (relative) “good” guy is beyond bad. We are arming “rebels” who do kill us intentially with our provided weapons. Whether this is by mistake or by design is unknown. It happens often enough that we should see our arming anyone as a problem, not just a potential problem. 

Our “help” is unwelcome. These people are taught from birth that our values and way of life is evil and detrimental to their values and way of life. And that’s probably true. It’s not intentional. We are different and different does not work well in their world. To be in any Muslim majority country, and to an extent, Israel, is a lot like living in pre 60s USA. Ironically, they are very aware of our move towards equality, and even though there is no sense of tolerance towards religion or differences for anything that we consider normal in our world, they expect us to convey our idea of tolerance towards them without reciprocation because that is not part of their world. In other words, they expect us to be tolerant of their intolerance.

We are in a no-win situation in that area. It is nearly impossible for us to be a help to them. They resent us; they do not want our help; they blame us for the problems they are experiencing. And to a certain extent, they are right. But they are also wrong. The very notion that being of one mind and one accord eliminates discord is ridiculous. The reason for that is because you can’t eliminate individuals…well, you can, but eventually no one is left. Perhaps we need to allow them the opportunity to find that out all on their own. I don’t know, but I do know what we are doing now is not working. 

There must not be a large contingency of type 1 diabetics who watch TWD. Otherwise, someone would have pointed out that little miss short hair (Tina) was not in need of insulin. What she needed was a piece of candy. She was fainting from insulin shock. 

Actually, I’m amazed that more people are not dying from illness, wounds and infections. I’m surprised at how well fed most people look. I’m surprised that anyone is overweight, even in the paradise of Alexandria. 

But back to the “problem” of a type 1 diabetic in an apocalypse. Her main problem would not be needing a supply of insulin. The chances of her needing a lot of insulin are low. Diabetics take insulin to deal with excessive carbohydrate in the diet. Her diet would be largely plant (if she’s eating edible weeds), seasonal fruit, and whatever game she manages to snag. Her Paleo diet and the sheer lack of food would massively reduce her need. Then there are storage issues. Where’s the ice? Those little coolers offer little in the way of cooling or keeping without ice. Shelf life. Insulin has a shelf life which is not measured in years – more like months. So assuming the production of insulin ceased within weeks after the apcalypse, and the supply chain as well, the notion that she had good insulin at this stage of the apcalypse is as realistic as the undead. 

But realistically, if she was in bad shape, which amazingly enough is due to an over abundance of food, she would be gaunt, or dead from complications. Presumably, she would be thrown back to before portable glucose testing, when the life span of a type 1  diagnosed at 10 was about 20 years – well controlled. Then, assuming survival, back to before insulin when the lifespan drops to half that -and only due to the abundance of food – not a problem in TWD reality. 

I just wish someone would have done 5 minutes of research. 

Revival – Islam Style

Amy Stinson —  October 31, 2014 — Leave a comment

Have any of you ever attended an old-fashioned Christian revival? I’m talking about the tent in the field type – complete with an all fired up preacher and some laying on of hands healing. I haven’t, but I have been to some near revival experiences and they are awesome for getting people all fired up for Jesus. We talk about being “on fire” for Jesus as though it were a good thing. And for the most part, it is.

Make no mistake, IS, ISIS, ISIL, or whatever you want to call it, is nothing more than a good old fashion revival – Islam style. Islam began as a fairly innocuous religion, for a fire and brimstone based “theology”, but it had a fair amount of competition in the monotheistic religions, neither of which is particularly political. Judaism does not go looking for converts, and while Christianity was political during Mohammad’s lifetime and for a few centuries afterward, it’s not supposed to be.

Islam was a failure until Mohammad received the “revelation” concerning jihad. Almost no one was willing to embrace fire and brimstone aspects of Islam until it was sweetened with the concept of the 72 virgins awaiting in paradise if one was to die in jihad. To a horny male, there is nothing that gets their attention more than unlimited sex (I do not get the virgin thing at all). Mohammad found his hook in exchange for promoting his “religion”. Also, everything about Islam promotes this heightened sexuality that is also repressed. Making all sex outside marriage and jihad sanctioned rape punishable by death is a sure-fired way of promoting jihad. Furthermore, they will tell you that covering is all about “modesty”. And perhaps modesty plays a part in it, but the result creates a highly sexualized tension. That, combined with the notion that females exist for the sole purpose of satisfying males and for procreation, turns females into prey.

Islam creates this pressure cooker of sexual tension and religious fervor that can only be quenched by jihad. Only in jihad can females be openly preyed upon with the added “bonus” of eternal virgins.

The mosques and YouTube videos that preach jihad serve to inflame the revival mentality and exploit the sexual tensions of the males. Any peaceful version of Islam doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell because it is perceived as western in origin, milquetoast in comparison, and fails to address the sexual issues.

Perhaps you’ve read recently where artificial sweeteners do not assist in weight loss. I have found this to be the case in my own weight loss issues. The more powdered artificial sweeteners I use, the harder it is for me to lose weight. I struggled with how my Equal sweetened coffee could raise my blood sugar by 15 points if it was metabolically “inert” as any non-caloric sweetener should be. Here is the answer (as I see it): Powdered sweeteners are bulked with maltdextrose, which any way you slice or dice it, is a sugar. The argument for using maltdextrose is that it isn’t enough to matter. That really depends on who you are. It makes NO difference to my husband, who piles on the powdered version of Sweet’n Low in everything he tends to use sugar on. He is normal weight with no history of diabetes. His body does not over-react to sugar – unlike mine. I, on the other hand, am 7 years into my diabetes diagnoses and even after almost 3 years of being “normal” weight, I still have diabetes. I am not affected by drinking diet soda or Crystal Lite. I just can’t put packets of anything in my drinks or food and not experience a jump in my blood sugar.

In my particular case, I overreact to carbs. I put out entirely too much insulin in response to carbohydrates. I can eat 1200 calories a day, which is enough for most adults to at least have a modest calorie deficit, and if the macro nutrients are mostly simpler carbs, I will gain weight unless my energy output is twice that. I have been measuring this for over 3 years and all my weight loss success can be tied to eating less food and mostly low carb.

How do I get around this maltdextrose thing? I buy liquid or small tablet versions of sweeteners. Equal does not have a liquid version of its product, but it does have little tablets. 002Sucralose, stevia, and saccharin all have liquid and/or tablet versions. The caveat is that none of these versions deliver the same sweetness as the powder varieties. If you like things sweet, you will have to adjust your palate or what you use to sweeten. I personally use a mix of liquid stevia and liquid saccharin (less bitter) along with training my palate to prefer less sweet things.

I have also started limiting the amount of sweeteners I consume. I don’t do this because I believe they are harmful. I do this because I believe eating or drinking lots of sweet tasting things fosters a preference for sweets over other tastes, which makes me crave them.

As usual, your mileage may vary. You might not be struggling with weight due to powdered sweeteners. However, if you are truly eating low calorie and low carb and are experiencing stalls and unaccounted for gains, and powdered sweeteners are part of your diet, it’s worth exploring.


Habits-tekst-in-3D2I don’t know…yet. What I will try to do is be my own best test subject. Here are some things I want to do:

1.      Write something in my blog every day that consists of about 250 words. Right now, I have no idea what 250 words looks like, but I think it’s the size of a decent letter to the editor, which should force me to edit for readability. It’s easier to be long-winded than concise, but it’s harder to get into the habit of writing every day.

2.      Get in the best shape of my adult life by the time I turn 60. That happens on May 2, 2015. That gives me a hair over 6 months to get the last of my excess weight off and get the fat percentage down. Currently I’m “normal” weight, but I’m overfat. I strongly dislike exercise, although I have enough equipment and DVDs to be very successful. I need to build the habit of working out and planning my meals better.

3.      Become a better cook. I’ve always enjoyed baking, but cooking has been something I do – not particularly well, but at least I don’t burn everything anymore. I don’t become sidetracked the way I used to – thanks to Sydney. She keeps me on my toes when I’m cooking. Besides that, I simply have never learned to use a knife or work through a recipe that requires using somewhat exotic ingredients.

4.      Learn French to speak conversationally. Our youngest son’s significant other is French. Her parents speak about as much English as we speak French, so it makes sense to get better at French.

5.      Work on the house. Once we put on the new porch and decorated/furnished it, I really noticed how forlorn the rest of the house is getting. Sprucing it up seems overwhelming, so doing a bit at a time seems like a better plan.

6.      Get crafty again. I have 6 knitting machines and enough yarn to stock a small store. I have good sewing machines and enough fabric to stock a small store. I have enough ideas and plans to keep my brain and hands busy for at least 10 years. Now I just need to do something about it before I can’t anymore.

So that’s the plan. Work on 2-6 and document with #1. BTW, I’m over 250 words and hopefully haven’t bored you to tears.

Do You Know What You’re Doing, Obama?

Recently a Facebook friend lamented about his privacy having been breeched in an area he deemed “none of your business”. To me, the fact that he announced it on Facebook was ironic. Moreover, he, whether he intended to or not, probably moved a few of his friends to take a moment to find out what all the fuss was about. After all, what’s five minutes if you know where and how to look?

Not smart. Not smart at all.

privacyWhich leads me to ask, what is private? Not much, but this is not a recent occurrence. Our privacy has been diminishing since the 1930s and now it’s easier than ever to find out most anything you’d like about someone; particularly the stuff you would prefer not be found out.

If you are interested in a house, you can find out whatever you’d like, including all the owners, major improvements (that have been legally done), and how much it is worth. You can also find out about foreclosures, sheriff sales, and whether someone was killed or died badly in the home. It’s all part of disclosure and most, if not all is free for the asking (or googling).

If you want to hire someone, or even if you are merely curious, you can find out if someone tends to break the law, whether they pay their bills, or if their resume is accurate. That information is also mostly free, or available for a small fee.

So how do you keep that information from prying eyes? Newsflash! The commoner has never been able to do that. It’s nearly impossible to do it now.

For example, recently I had someone, who fancied himself a troll, trying to engage me on Twitter in a discussion he obviously had no experiential knowledge about. His was a philosophy based on his own world view, which didn’t necessarily line up with the facts and reality of the situation. I pointed that out to him. So he tried to wow me with his credentials, which (unfortunately for him) were overstated. How did I find that out? I googled him and found his profile on Linked In. I had just enough information to be able to find him in under 5 minutes. Another five and I could have run a poor man’s background check. Scary? Heck yes. Nevertheless I stopped him dead in his tracks and hope he learned something like: It’s really a bad idea to lie about your credentials when you are going to seminary. UPDATE: This person truly is a creep. I’ve blocked him on Twitter and he tries to leave a comment here about how he doesn’t do Twitter often and that I didn’t stop him. Duh. Try not doing it at all. The world will get along just fine.

Back to my Facebook friend with the privacy issues. It will do no good to suggest to him that the best way to protect one’s privacy is to have nothing in one’s past that has gotten one arrested or sued. It’s too late for that. However, the next best thing is to avoid arousing curiosity. It’s also a bit late for that. But the real kicker in the whole thing is that he’s blaming someone for nosing in what he thinks is his business alone; business which exposes him as a liar and a hypocrite when compared to his stated values. Having that bit of background adds a certain context into everything he says.You can almost see the stories he tells himself to avoid the cognitive dissonance. For me, it just adds an entertainment factor to everything he says.

If you’ve read the headlines this week, a clear pattern of federal government behavior by elected officials, appointed cronies and career employees has emerged that can be grouped into three categories: Liars, Priers, and Deniers. Continue Reading…

I “google” Mitt Romney in the news section of Google pretty much every day and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. That trend is for Huffington Post articles and Comedy Central clips featuring Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert being passed off as actual news sources.

Newsflash Google – neither of those people nor the Huffington Post are “news” sources, much less serious news sources worthy of top placement on Google News. So stop it.

Despite my brother’s claim that Jon Stewart is the country’s most trusted news source, Jon Stewart is nothing more than a comedian. As is Stephen Colbert. They should be taken no more or any less seriously than any other comedian. To think otherwise is – well – funny.

The Huffington Post is slightly better than “The Star” when it comes to accurate reporting, but not much. Just how seriously are we to take an organization that starts retweeting the twits who used Romney’s “binders” comment to invoke sister wives? In my world, not at all. Furthermore, being bought by AOL does not up its credibility. It just means it could be bought.

The point being, Google, is that when I google within the “news” portion of your search engine, I want real news from real news sources, not pseudo-journalism from fake news sources. If I want to read fake news, I know where to go. If I want to be entertained, I know where to go. What I don’t want is to be led by Google into believing Comedy Central and The Huffington Post is the best that Google can bring to the table. If you keep it up, I might have to start using Bing.

Mr. Romney,

Someone is going to bring up that 47% comment, and while it is technically true that 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax, I think you need to address the problem this way:  Out of the 47% of Americans who pay no federal income tax, I would imagine that more than 30% of you do not find that a good place to be. I would imagine that you would gladly choose to be in the position of having to pay those taxes rather than being in the position of making so little that you struggle to make ends meet every month. Most people do not choose foreclosure. Most people do not choose to default on student loans,especially after spending years preparing to enter the workforce with the supposed  advantage of higher education. Most adult people do not choose to live with their parents. Most people do not like being out of work, or underemployed. But how can you dig yourself out when you are buried beneath a middle class that has been, by this administration’s own words, buried for the last 4 years?

You know what happens in your own life when you can’t pay the bills. You lose the house. You can’t borrow more money. Some people end up on other people’s couches or in someone’s basement. Other people end up on the street. What do you think happens to nations who continue to spend beyond their means? Think Greece. Think Spain. Think it can’t happen here? Think again. We’ve already seen our credit degraded. We are not too big to fail. Not only that, there are a number of nations that would love for us to fail.

What the president proposes is doing more of what got us in this mess to begin with. It makes absolutely no sense to continue a course that is clearly not working. In 1921 Warren G. Harding faced a huge economic downturn. Do you know what he did? Nothing. He allowed the market to correct itself. It took about 18 months. No one remembers it. But people do remember the Great Depression. Some historians would have you believe that FDR saved the US with his “New Deal”. What saved the US was a world war – not the New Deal. FDR’s policies turned what was most likely a recession into a depression that lasted at least a decade.

Is that really what you want? Do you really want to be buried under an already struggling buried middle class for another 4 years? Are you living out your dream? Are you living the life the Founding Fathers laid out for each of us?

I believe we are the most capable, competent, and productive people on the face of the planet, and I believe you deserve a government that thinks we are, too.

That’s what I would like Mr. Romney to say tonight.