Friday, December 21, 2018

I Never Got to San Francisco

I'll tell you something.

In 1967, everybody was going to San Francisco for the Summer of Love. I wanted to go to San Francisco, I wanted to be a hippie, I wanted to wear flowers in my hair, but I couldn't. I was living in Boulder, CO, I was married, my wife had just given birth to our son, I was chasing flying saucers for a living, and I didn't know what kind of flowers you were supposed to wear.

You probably think that if I was on such good terms with flying saucers, I should have had no trouble getting a quick hop to San Francisco, taking my family with me, and even finding out which flowers I was supposed to wear.

Notice that I said I was "chasing" flying saucers. I never caught any, nor did anyone else on the University of Colorado Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, better known as the "Condon Project" after its director, Edward U. Condon. The U.S. Air Force had given C.U. $313,000 to study the UFO phenomenon so that the matter of little green men in their flying teacups and saucers would be laid to rest once and for all. A psychologist who was part of the study team hired me to be his research associate, because he had no knowledge whatsoever about green men or the kind of saucers that aren't content to stay put on your dining-room table, and I did.

I knew all about UFOs (or "oofoes," as Dr. Condon called them), because I had read everything I could about them, and the psychologist hadn't. So, I helped him prepare the questionnaire that we gave to people who had had sightings, I interviewed them, I wrote letters to people who claimed to have made contact or had close sightings (such as actor Stuart Whitman in the 1965 NYC blackout), one night I went up in the control tower at Denver Stapleton Airport to observe one land as was promised by a Mr. X from the Western Slope (It didn't.), I coded sightings for the computer study, and I flew to Harrisburg, PA, to investigate a flurry of sightings and to gather evidence. (We didn't see any flurries, and we brought back only a Super-8 film of a wiggly white light on a totally black background, a Super-8 film of two small silver lights in a blue sky, and a sample of fungus.)

Meanwhile, my family was growing. My wife and I didn't get any bigger, but my son was growing like a house afire. No, wait! A house afire doesn't grow at all. In fact, it gets smaller as the fire keeps going. So, to be more accurate (This is important, the part about being accurate.), my son was growing like a house abuilding or a-adding on. I realized that chasing flying saucers would probably not be a career to keep me in rocking chairs and dentures later in life, no matter how much money the Air Force would throw away at us, and I began to look around for another career.

This Search for Another Career was probably a Good Thing, because I was becoming an embarrassment to the Condon Team. Whenever visiting dignitaries, high-level Air Force officers, or internationally known scientists and flying-saucer experts arrived to see how well we were spending money, the protocol was first to establish everyone's credentials. No one questioned the Air Force guys, because we could see by their outfits that they were the ones paying our salaries. But when two un-uniformed people got together, the opening conversation usually went like this:

FIRST SCIENTIST: What's your field?

SECOND SCIENTIST: Astrophysics. (Sometimes, "Plasma Phenomena.")

FIRST SCIENTIST (turning toward me): And what's your field?

ME: English literature.

Therefore, rather than take the chance of getting flying-saucer burnout, I applied to IBM to be a technical writer. (Remember that part about being more accurate? That's important when you're a technical writer.)

I got the job, I didn't get flying-saucer burnout, I missed the investigation of Snippy the Horse, and my wife wasn't embarrassed when people asked her what I did for a living.

IBM sent me to Poughkeepsie, NY, for programming school, and every morning at breakfast I played Scott MacKenzie's "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" over and over on the juke box the entire time I was in the dining room.

And that's the closest I got to San Francisco in the summer of 1967.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Prove Whether or Not God Exists

Here's what I believe.

Rationalists need a corollary to counter Pascal's Wager, which is "Either God exists or doesn't exist, but if so and I believe in God, I will go to Heaven after I die; if God doesn't exist, I have lost nothing."

By that reasoning, then follow the teachings of your chosen "God," "Allah" or Whomever. Otherwise, admit that your "God" is so weak as to be fooled by lip service and lets anyone into Heaven just for half-hearted belief, not for good deeds or true belief.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a brilliant scientist, mathematician and writer who also invented a calculating machine at 18. In 1654 he had a "mystical experience" and converted to Jansenism, a doctrine of the sect of Roman Catholics in opposition to the Jesuits.

In other words, Pascal himself had doubts about what he had been taught as a Roman Catholic, and if that isn't enough to make his so-called "wager" suspect, consider that he also wrote "Men blaspheme what they do not know" and "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction," both in his LETTRES PROVINCIALES [1656-1657].

So, for everyone who takes the easy way to "save your soul" or who cannot decide what to believe, here is Culberson's Challenge:

Assume there is no deity. Then, priests, Popes, preachers, ministers, imams and all other self-appointed spokespeople for "God" are either liars or deluded into ignoring the empirical evidence of science and mistakenly believing that "God" exists.

Now assume there is a deity who created us and all the reality around us: the planets, the solar system, the stars, the universe and the "world." Then we are merely figments of that deity’s imagination and therefore do not exist outside of that imagination.

However, if we are merely figments of Something’s imagination, if we are manufactured "real" creatures in Someone's own image or if we are truly independent sentient beings with or without free will, what would eternity in either Heaven or Hell mean? We would either eventually become used to our existence and bored in one or inured to the pain that supposedly awaits us in the other of those futures.

And name one other thing in nature that lasts forever without wearing out, running down, burning up or simply dying.

Thus, I challenge you either to give up your belief in a deity who supposedly created you and controls you and the world or else to continue your disbelief in such a mythology, because either way, you lose nothing.

Of course, there are some misguided fools who will not accept this challenge and say, "Better safe than sorry," which is merely religious belief by Pascal's Wager.

This thinking is the basis for all religious belief, and it is the most dangerous aspect of believing in a deity, because it leads to this sort of logic:

"There must be a God, because everybody says there is. Therefore, I can believe in God and do anything I want, because if I ever do anything that God doesn't want me to do, God will stop me. Therefore, I can do anything I want and ask forgiveness, and try to convince many more people that God exists, because the more people who believe in God increases the chances that God does exist."

However, If you accept my challenge to prove whether or not God, Allah or Whoever exists and take a poll documenting the results, then you will participate in proving whether or not "God" exists.

Choose a comfortable location, look skyward and say, "God, strike me dead if you exist!" Then take the poll located at: and document the results.

Either way, your life on earth will be much less complicated, frustrating and stressful, and it will be much more rewarding, enjoyable and definitely free of self-imposed religious pressure.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Culberson's God

Here's what I believe.

"Schrödinger's Cat" is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935, illustrating what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead, a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretations of quantum mechanics. Schrödinger coined the term "Verschränkung" (entanglement) in the course of developing the thought experiment.

"Schrödinger's Cat" paradox consists of a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (for example, a Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (that is, a single atom decaying), then the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.

This complicated and detailed thought experiment is usually described in lay terms as that the cat inside the box is either alive or dead and that the act of opening the box and observing it either kills it or doesn't kill it, which itself is just a more complicated and detailed example of the 1882 short story, "The Lady or the Tiger," by Frank Stockton: A non-royal subject is accused of the crime of loving the king’s daughter, who also loves him. The accused youth stands before two closed doors, one of which hides a ferocious tiger that will emerge and kill whoever opens the door, and the other conceals a beautiful lady that the princess knows and hates, because she has observed her lover and the lady together and suspects that they, too, might be secret lovers, and if the youth opens her door, a priest will immediately marry the two of them together.

The princess discovers which door contains which, and she signals her lover to open a door with her right hand. However, the story ends before the youth opens the door, and the audience is left suspended and has to decide for themselves whether the beautiful damsel or the ferocious tiger is behind the door he opens.

I propose to use the Schrodinger's Cat example to prove whether or not God exists in a humblebrag thought experiment I call "Culberson's God." Religious believers always challenge atheists to prove that God does not exist, which is a logical impossibility, because it is logically impossible to prove a negative hypothesis, unless certain conditions are added.

I cannot prove that God does not exist, but if we agree on the definition of God, I can prove that God does not exist inside a box. If I open the box and God is not there, then I have proven that God does not exist inside that box.

However, someone who is religious believes that God exists, but either refuses to prove or cannot prove that God exists. Now, that person has the same opportunity to prove that God exists and is inside the box by opening the box.

However, a religious believer might insist that God is invisible to human eyes and actually is inside the box, but we cannot perceive God's existence. If that is the case, then I insist that Schrodinger's Cat is also invisible, and when we open the box, we cannot tell if the cat is either alive or dead.

As far as I know, a cat cannot choose to be visible or invisible, but an all-powerful, all-knowing God should have the ability to choose in order to prove existence. If there is a God, then why does God choose to avoid proof of existence, when doing so would settle the question once and forever and also recruit billions of new believers?

I will stake my life, my reputation, and everything I hold dear that God does not visibly exist inside that box, and I will prove it by opening the box and observing that God is not inside. Would a religious person do the same to prove that God exists and is inside the box?

I offer to go first.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An Open Letter to All Faith-Based Believers

I'll tell you something.

Don't be so smug as to believe that your own religious beliefs are different from those of the religious fanatics who destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York City.

Assuming that those 19 suicide terrorists who succeeded in killing themselves and thousands of others for Allah were recruited and persuaded to destroy everyone and everything for religious reasons and not strictly for political reasons, something changed them from being benign believers in their god with a simple desire for a happy and peaceful afterlife in paradise to becoming a sacrificial ram doing the hellish work of a charismatic leader whose cause could be either religious, political, personal, or all three.

The same could happen to you if you persist in believing that you are the work of a supreme being who created the world and you, who cares about your personal well-being, and who is offended by anyone who doesn't believe the same way that you do.

All it takes is a charismatic leader, either dead or alive, a popular cause, and the promise that the rewards will be greater than the sacrifice, either here on earth or there elsewhere.

We are told that the Muslim terrorists were each promised a number of virgins in paradise to take care of their every desire, and although the number ranges from 42 to 72, why should that particular promise be so persuasive? Would the virgins remain virgins for eternity? If not, then would they each be replaced after their deflowering? And why would someone unskilled and inexperienced in sex be any inducement to begin with? Were the terrorists mostly interested in having sex with them, in teaching them the pleasures of sex, or in having them wait hand and foot on them, seeing to their every need?

Incidentally, where do the virgins come from? Are they manufactured as needed by Allah? Or are they kept supplied in paradise by the slaughter of new virgins every year here on earth? And what are their ages? A 16-year-old virgin is much more desirable to a lusty man than a 60-year-old virgin is.

However, I cannot believe that the promise of a supply of virgins in the afterlife is all that is necessary to convince a sane man to commit suicide and slaughter thousands of others with him, many of his own religious faith.

Come to think of it, what does a charismatic leader with a cause promise women who are willing to fight and die for that cause? Virgin men in the paradise afterlife to wait on them for sexual desires? Virgin boys? Or simply an endless supply of male servants to do their bidding?

Perhaps in a male-dominated faith-based cause, women are not wanted for anything other than the servicing of the men, and any suicidal female terrorists might wistfully find themselves magically transformed into virgins on their way to paradise, where once again, but for eternity this time, they must continue to pleasure the men.

At any rate, if you paid attention during the all-faiths memorial service after the September 11 destructions, you would have recognized the same fanaticism at work in every religion.

Yes, there was tolerance for the moment among the religions, but did you catch the statement from one religious leader that all the dead were much happier now in heaven and wouldn't change being there even if they could come back to earth?

All that was missing was the bald-faced statement that all the men had a large number of virgins around them up there.

In other words, according to some religions, existence in the never-proven afterlife is better and more desirable than any life on earth.

Now, if you can convince anyone who follows your cause and is willing to further your cause to the death, how difficult is it to convince that fanatic to commit an obscenely horrible act?

"My God is better than your god" just doesn't hack it anymore in religious arguments these days after the twin-towers tragedy. What little more does it take to proceed to "My God can kill more of your god's followers than your god can kill"?

And the analogy of the recent tragedy with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is incorrect. That was the beginning of a political war for the United States.

Check the history of your own religion. How many wars has your religion caused or started?

How many has it won?

With or without virgins?

Approved by your "god"?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


On August 16, 2016, I attended "CU Scoop: Featuring Patty Limerick and the Center of the American West," at which Prof. Limerick, the center's director and a C.U. professor of history who was named Colorado State Historian in January 2016 by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, explained how she had come to be picked by Governor Hickenlooper to become the state's first State Historian and what her new duties entailed since becoming Colorado State Historian.

Prof. Limerick is also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as the "genius award," and during her talk she discussed the "highly regarded Center of the American West and its student-based initiatives." Prof. Limerick and the Center are noted for applying historical perspective to contemporary issues.

The program and Prof. Limerick's presentation were given in the auditorium of Old Main on the C.U. Campus, and it concluded with a special reception at Old Main in the C.U. Heritage Center, which features C.U. Boulder history exhibits.

In her talk, Prof. Limerick mentioned STEM, the acronym that refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which according to Wikipedia is "the term typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development," and which also has implications for workforce development, national security concerns, and immigration policy.

Prof. Limerick said that she lamented the absence of the discipline of humanities studies when education policy and curriculum choices are discussed in terms of STEM disciplines and that when she has given her talk before, someone suggested that STEM be expanded to STEAM, with the addition of "Arts" courses to the usual disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

I suggested during the question-and-answer period following Prof. Limerick's presentation that instead of adding "Arts" to STEM to include humanities courses and expanding the acronym to STEAM, we should add the discipline of "Humanities" courses to the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematices, and we should use the tradition of Yiddish and Jewish jokes of saying a word, adding "SH" to that word for comic effect, and then concluding with the joke.

An example of such a joke is "Darwin-Shmarwin," which can be found on the Internet:

"Jennifer Finkel, a gansa 'Ivy' freshman, brought home equally pompous pals. She couldn’t wait to show off her new knowledge with her bubbe. Arguing with great intensity, the co-eds discussed Darwin and the revisionists’ attack on the theory of evolution.

"Finally, bubbe spoke up.

"'Oy vey. For dis mine son pays a fortune?! Feh! Narishkeit!'

"'No, gram,' protested Jen and her pals. 'It’s very complicated!'

"'Complicated-shmomplicated! Please. Even 60 years ago in Russia, we knew the answer, 1-2-3. If the baby looks like his father, that’s heredity. If he looks like the milkman, now that’s environment!'"

Now, whenever we hear someone mentioning STEM courses of discipline, we in the field of humanities can say:

STEM, SHTEM! Humanities should be included in those courses of discipline!

Sunday, July 17, 2016


A Treatment of an Original Screenplay
Dan Culberson
June 11, 1991

This film will be in black-and-white, about three-to-four minutes long, produced on a budget of about $5,000, and will be distributed to film festivals around the country, as well as distributed to various outlets for possible showings on national cable systems.

The film is a spoof of both CITIZEN KANE and the story of Jim Morrison and The Doors.

The film will look like this:

As we FADE UP FROM BLACK, we hear ominous music reminiscent from CITIZEN KANE and see a blatant rip-off of the opening montage of slow fades from one shot to the next of a large mansion at night, one angle to another, but each shot has a light shining in the same bathroom window, and that LIGHT OCCUPIES THE SAME SPOT ON THE SCREEN FROM ONE SHOT TO THE NEXT.
After the last still shot, WE ENTER THE ILLUMINATED BATHROOM and WE HEAR ROCK MUSIC by The Windows PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND as the CAMERA RISES FROM THE FLOOR and PEDESTALS UP, showing an old bathtub. As the CAMERA RISES ABOVE THE RIM OF THE BATHTUB, WE SEE A YOUNG, BEARDED, CHUBBY MAN lying in the water, zonked out by either alcohol or drugs or both.

He is holding a rubber duck in his hand. WE SEE A CLOSEUP OF HIS MOUTH and his sensuous lips, and the young man whispers what appears to be "Rosebud ... "


She expresses shock and surprise at seeing the dead man.

PAMELA: "Jim? Did you say something? Jim? JIM!"


CUT TO ROCUMENTARY on the life of JAMES RANDOLPH KANE, lead singer, poet, and founder of The Windows, one of the most influential rock bands of the Sixties. WE SEE FOOTAGE of Jim singing in concert, playing with other members of the band, flirting with women, threatening to expose himself, and being surly with his girlfriend and the CAMERA as WE HEAR VOICE-OVER NARRATION, such as we might hear on "Entertainment Tonight."

ANNOUNCER: "New evidence has just come to light on the death in 1971 of James Randolph Kane, who supposedly died of heart failure at the age of 27. Jim was the lead singer and founder of The Windows, the successful Sixties band with such hits as 'Look on Through,' 'People Are Weird,' and 'Walkers in the Rain.'

"PAMELA ANDERSON, Jim's common-law lover, found his body, which was flown to a mysterious location and buried before an autopsy could be performed. Naturally, this caused rumors that Jim was still alive and hiding out in Africa or Nashville to write poetry and collect royalties.

"Well, in a new book, MY LIFE AS A WINDOW WATCHER, Pamela has revealed that she heard Jim say 'Rosebud' just before he died, which is prompting new rumors about the death of the famous rock star."

CUT TO STUDIO as WE SEE a TELEVISION EXECUTIVE talking to a REPORTER after viewing the rocumentary.

TV EXECUTIVE: "This is great! This is CITIZEN KANE all over again. I want you to get out there and find out what Jim meant by 'Rosebud.' Talk to his family. Talk to the rest of The Windows. Talk to his friends, his enemies, his lovers. Talk to his other lovers. We'll make a million."


WE SEE A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS with DIFFERENT PEOPLE, each one suggesting what Jim's final word meant, as they are identified for the camera.

"PAMELA ANDERSON, Jim's Common-Law Lover": "Well, you know, Jim was very much interested in Indians. I think he was referring to the Rosebud reservation, where Jim always wanted to live when he got out of the music business. But, I don't think it's true that he's still alive and living at Rosebud as an Indian. I'm sure he would have contacted me by now ... "


ANDERSON: "I'm sorry. I'm too broken up to talk anymore.

"RAY MANISCHEWITZ, Keyboardist for The Windows": "Jim and I met in film school, you know, and I'm convinced he was just referring to that great film, CITIZEN KANE, because Jim always wanted to make movies, himself. Also, you know, Jim was born and raised in Florida, and I'm sure he never even had a snow sled. Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to give away the ending."

"ROSE KENNEALY, Jim's Mistress (Only One of Them)": "Jim didn't say 'Rosebud.' He said 'Rose's butt.' He always said that I had the nicest ass in the business. He was just thinking of me when he died, not that slut he was living with. I'm proud of that, and my new book, KISS MY ASS, is going to reveal everything."

"STANDING BEAR, Jim's Indian and Spritual Advisor": "I was with Jim in spirit when he went to the Happy Hunting Ground. You know that Jim was unhappy and had gained a lot of weight toward the end. Well, Jim was just thinking about dinner that night.  What he really said was 'roast duck.'" Here's the menu from his favorite restaurant to prove it."

"STEVE COPPEL, Video Store Manager": "I have no idea what it means, but, considering all the movies that have been made, I'll bet you could find the answer somewhere in here. Did I mention that we're running a sale today?"

CAMERA DOLLIES OUT and TRUCKS AIMLESSLY THROUGH RACKS OF TAPES UNTIL IT COMES TO THE "ADULT MOVIES" SECTION. It ZOOMS IN to a particular tape, and we see the cover, which says "ROSEBUD Does Deadwood/The Indian Maid Who Made Custer's Last Stand the Night before Custer's Last Stand!" and the CAMERA PANS DOWN the cover to the words "Introducing Jimmy Kane as the Horniest Brave with the Biggest Horn at the Little Big Horn!" as the CREDITS START TO ROLL, after which WE FADE TO BLACK.

The History of Humanity

by Dan Culberson
(C) 1995

I'll tell you something.

Liberals are "not narrow in opinion or judgment." Conservatives are "disposed to maintain existing views, conditions or institutions."

Liberals were curious. Conservatives were not.

Liberals climbed down from the trees and ventured out onto the dangerous plains. Conservatives stayed in the forests where they were safe.

Liberals discovered how to cultivate crops for a steady supply of food. Conservatives tried to remain hunters and gatherers, which had worked in the past.

Liberals created stories and myths. Conservatives believed the myths were true.

Liberals saw the need for a set of rules so society could function. Conservatives saw rules as a way to get others to act like them.

Liberals ventured far from home to discover new worlds. Conservatives stayed home and managed their day-to-day affairs.

Liberals discovered new lands and civilizations. Conservatives followed to convert savages to Christianity.

Liberals settled the New World to begin a new life. Conservatives stayed in the Old World where they were comfortable.

Liberals had vision and dreams of what might be. Conservatives had memories and dreams of what had been.

Liberals dealt with ideas. Conservatives dealt with rules.

Liberals wanted to change society for the better. Conservatives wanted to keep the status quo at all costs.

Liberals became workers and Democrats. Conservatives became business owners and Republicans.

Liberals acquired knowledge. Conservatives acquired wealth.

Liberals went to war. Conservatives waged war.

Liberals asked questions. Conservatives gave answers.

Liberals fought for women to get the vote. Conservatives fought to keep women home, barefoot and pregnant.

Liberals made new discoveries in science and technology. Conservatives bought and sold products created from discoveries.

Liberals went to Hollywood and created the motion-picture industry. Conservatives stayed home, went to the movies and complained about Hollywood.

Liberals wrote ground-breaking erotic works of art. Conservatives banned them in Boston.

Liberals embraced the Theory of Evolution. Conservatives condemned it and created "monkey trials."

Liberals were open to other nations and cultures. Conservatives created isolationism.

Liberals encouraged sex education in schools. Conservatives forbade it.

Liberals believed in the equality of people. Conservatives created apartheid and "separate but equal" laws.

Liberals became newspaper reporters. Conservatives became newspaper publishers.

Liberals in the form of 60,000 authors, actors, painters and musicians emigrated from Germany. Conservatives stayed behind and sent over 6,000,000 people to concentration camps.

Liberals wrote books. Conservatives burned them.
Liberals developed the atomic bomb. Conservatives used it.

Liberals became beatniks. Conservatives ridiculed them.

Liberals created rock 'n' roll. Conservatives destroyed records.

Liberals became "freedom riders" and fought for civil rights. Conservatives supported the Ku Klux Klan and fought to preserve racism.

Liberals became hippies and questioned all authority and the Vietnam war. Conservatives derided hippies and supported all authority and the Vietnam war.

Liberals promoted peace and love. Conservatives promoted war and hate.

Liberals went to Woodstock for three days of fun and music. Conservatives tried to ban sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

Liberals watched "Laugh-In" and "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." Conservatives watched "Marcus Welby, M.D." and kicked the Smothers Brothers off the air.

Liberals took to the streets and protested against the Vietnam war. Conservatives beat up the protesters and killed them at Kent State.

Liberals think young. Conservatives want everything to be like it was when they were young.

Liberals create fashion. Conservatives are slaves to fashion.

Liberals are concerned about content and form. Conservatives are afraid of content and embarrassed by form.

Liberals believe the means justify the end. Conservatives believe the end justifies the means.

Liberals believe everyone is equal. Conservatives believe they are better than others.

Liberals are open-minded about sexuality and erotica. Conservatives are close-minded and embarrassed by sexuality and erotica.

Liberals believe knowledge is power. Conservatives believe knowledge is dangerous.

Liberals are proud to be different. Conservatives are afraid to be different.

Liberals forgive. Conservatives forget.

Liberals want to create the future. Conservatives want to re-create the past.

Liberals talk about rights and wrongs. Conservatives talk about rights and lefts.

Liberals try to discover new ways to make things work. Conservatives keep trying to make the old ways work.

Liberals want people to think for themselves. Conservatives want people to think the way conservatives do.

Liberals mourn the loss of an idea. Conservatives mourn the loss of a privilege.

Liberals trust in people. Conservatives trust in God.

Liberals are brave, self-confident and willing to take chances. Conservatives are cowardly, insecure and afraid to take chances.

Liberals would rather change than die. Conservatives would rather die than change.

That's the history of humanity.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Intelligent

Here's what gets me.

Full disclosure: I was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from college, where I took an IQ test for a psychology class and scored 160, which was classified as being "genius."

Consequently, I have usually been successful at what I did, not always at what I wanted to do. For example, although I decided at an early age that I wanted to be a writer and was writing stories even earlier, I was a reporter for my high-school weekly newspaper and co-editor-in-chief my senior year, I received a journalism scholarship to college, but then I changed my major from journalism to English literature because I decided that I wanted to be a famous novelist instead of a reporter or own a newspaper.

Eventually I did publish a novel, Plastic Man: A Novel of the Sixties.

Which brings me to television, and for those of you too young to know or too old to remember, the title of this piece is a play on the catchphrase for a Panteme commercial in the 1980s featuring Kelly LeBrock, a beautiful and famous woman at the time, which was "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

Speaking of old, I am old enough to remember when television became socially popular and pervasive and when TV executives and society in general debated whether television should give the audience what they wanted or give them what they needed. In other words, to use newspaper terminology, should network television be produced to appeal to the least common denominator of the viewing audience or should it be of higher quality and enrich and enlighten the audience.

There was even the notion that television was going to educate the masses either actively, for example, from "educational TV" or passively from just watching worlds and customs and countries different from our own.

Just look at your TV schedule today, and what do you see? So-called "reality-TV" shows, which are anything but, because they are cheap to produce and they are scripted to bring out the worst in its participants. Unfortunately, "give the producers what they want" won out, and the producers and network executives are greedy and want money.

Which brings me to politics.

I was very much interested in politics and believed that I could make a difference. I attended my first precinct caucus in 1976 for the Democratic party and was disillusioned when the candidate I supported didn't win and another attendee urged me to change my vote to the leading candidate and said, "It's a shame that you won't be represented at the state convention."

In other words, she believed that the best way I would be represented would be if I voted for a candidate I didn't support.

However, I did attend the state convention and became even more disillusioned when I saw most of the people there spending more time wheeling and dealing to be selected to attend the national convention than they did in conducting the business at hand.

Although I stopped participating actively in my party, I continued to vote in every election as I have done since I became eligible to vote, and except for 1976 I was disappointed in every national election for president.

Then came 1992, and I again attended my precinct caucus. Bill Clinton was the candidate I supported, and not only did he win the vote in my precinct, but because the precinct chairman was resigning after the caucus, I volunteered to be the precinct chairman, a position I held without any assistance until I became burned out in 2008 when Barack Obama was running, and I essentially retired from active politics.

I was still writing during that time, however, and wrote and published the newsletter for the county Democrat party.

Politics today is obscene when elected officials vote according to what their pockets and lobbyists tell them instead of what their constituents want.

Which finally brings me to religion. Although I was raised by my parents to be religious, I lost my religion when I thought about all the inconsistencies I was being taught as absolute truths, and I even published a book, An Atheist's Handbook, about my experience.

And to complete the trilogy, I also published The Searcher, my secular response to the hugely popular The Prophet.

I don't need or desire approval from other people to make me happy, and I don't care what other people think about me.

I don't use Facebook or Twitter. I am content being me.

I rest my case.