Watching the Wheels Go Round & Round

No longer riding on the Merry-go-round, I just had to let it go.

johnlennonWATCHING THE WHEELS – Dec 18, 2016

This is probably as close as I will ever get to a themesong.  It describes perfectly (even though I don’t hear it very well any longer) the recurring theme of my life.

Always and for as long as I continue to draw breath, I strike out in what my contemplations have shown me is a sensible direction.  I almost never embark on any task as a mere whim. This was true even when I had the strength and stamina to chase the random whims.  I contemplate directions in life for years sometimes before embarking on the task.

For every single task I’ve undertaken there has always been someone who approached me, for my own good, to explain why what I was doing made no sense.  When I was younger there were occasions when their advice turned out to be correct.  That is one of the reasons I take the time to contemplate a course in advance, seek out advice and wisdom on a subject before forming opinions and making decisions.

…And still, the helpful ones step forward to let me know just how nuts I am and don’t I want to reconsider? No, I think I know what I’m doing; and even if I don’t, the experience of failure is liable to be informative if it doesn’t prove deadly.

When I applied for disability, everyone around me (aside from The Wife and children. And my attorney) was convinced I just needed to get back to work. Certain that I just needed to get back on that horse.  None of them noticing that I had been getting back on that horse for more than a decade already and could no longer hold the reins of breadwinner any longer if I wanted to be here to see my children grow up. How could they? They were not me.

So I let it go, because my children and The Wife were more important than my desire to be successful in architecture. Were more important than mere financial gain.

I well and truly do sit and watch the wheels go round and round these days.  I have little else to fill my time, and the newshound that I have always been will not let me simply ignore the machinations of the society that continues to grind on around me, like the calliope on the merry-go-round.


This introspection brought to you courtesy of this week’s Freethought Radio tribute to John Lennon (yes, I am an atheist. I don’t talk about it much) I had forgotten how much beautiful music John made during his short life.  Were that he was still here watching with us.  I would love to get his insights on the world today.

FFrF Radio. First week of August

Podcast Link.
August 2, 2008Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics For Choice, Ryan Valentine of the Texas Freedom Network

Jon O’Brien was on in part because of the plight of Webster Cook (on Freethought Radio two weeks ago) and in part a response to William Donahue who has capitalized on events of late, gaining the spotlight by claiming victimhood for Catholics and christians in general. As President of Catholics for Choice, Jon O’Brien has a few pointed comments in response to Donahue’s appearances in the media.

Ryan Valentine (calling from Austin!) of the Texas Freedom Network was interviewed concerning the SBOE’s ill-advised decision last week to pass guidelines for Bible Courses in Texas (I sent my objections to the governor myself, with the suggestion that McLeroy should be sacked) litigation has already been filed, so additional state expenditures on this issue are guaranteed.

Texans interested in preserving the separation of church and state in Texas should Take Action at the TFN website.

It ain’t necessarily so.
The things that your liable to read in the bible,
it ain’t necessarily so.

George Gershwin, Porgy & Bess

2007 Archive episode.
August 4, 2007Special Guest: August Brunsman, director of the Secular Student Alliance

Theocracy Alert. Newspaper editor with more status than brains is set straight; at least on this program. She remained unapologetic in the face of several letters of protest.

August Brunsman of the Secular Student Alliance was on to discuss the advancing cause of freethought amongst the next generation, and the disturbing amount of money funneled into christian causes like Campus Crusade.

Dan Barker’s work on Yip Harburg‘s Rhymes for the Irreverent. Snippets from this song are frequently used as bumper music in later episodes of the show.

Pagan pulpit wraps up the episode. Tithing supported in the bible? Not the way you might think.

Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette

2006 Archive episode.
August 5, 2006Agnostic Recalled from Office over Pledge Issue: Dave Habecker

Theocracy Alert. Reading from the Associated Baptist Press, a speech by Walter Sheridan, calling attention to recent disturbing trends in religion. The continuing saga of the Mt. Solidad Cross.

Dave Habecker was recalled from his trustees position in Estes Park, Colorado, for failing to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance (I’m betting my position on the pledge would send Estes Park into orbit) which does nothing less than establish a religious test for holding office.

Freethinkers Almanac features Rupert Brook and Percy Shelley.

I’m studiously ignoring the plug for Inconvenient Truth at the end of the episode, because it’s not convenient to rant about the environment right now. But then, there’s always Bullshit! to fall back on, when the previous rants fall short.

Poetry vs. Philosophy

Historical musings from the “hey I’ll hit publish later” archive. The comments were a response to Dan Carlin’s Common Sense episode #127 but they had almost nothing to do with the episode.


The song Dan is thinking of, unless I am mistaken, is the Don Henley song Dirty Laundry, from his first solo album. It’s not an Eagles song although as the [previously linked] music video show[ed], the Eagles are not above cashing in on Don Henley’s solo efforts, any more than they are above cashing in on Joe Walsh’s or any other band members work that will gain them a few more bucks. Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down. Pretty much covers the rise and fall of any candidate, including Barack Obama.

Don Henley Live at Austin City Limits. This link will probably also go dead eventually.

The problem is there isn’t a single person who can fix the problems this country faces. Everyone wants to vote and be done with it. Doesn’t work that way. You have to roll up your sleeves and get to work yourself if you want to see change.

As a general rule I hate music videos. I link them only because there isn’t an easy way to share a song without video attached. The greatest music video is the one running in my head when I’m listening to my favorite music. Having someone else interpret what the sound means ruins the entire concept of ‘music’.

As an example, the Eagles song Take it Easy has a specific meaning for me, a meaning related to the time and place in my life where the poetry spoke to me. Supplanting that meaning with surfed up images is fakery disguised as meaning.

If you have developed an appreciation for classical music, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s a world of difference between a poet and philosopher. Ayn Rand was a philosopher. John Lennon was a poet. Immanuel Kant was a philosopher. Ludwig van Beethoven was a poet. There is no question what a philosopher means when he attempts to define reality. A poet’s every word is open to interpretation, and yet the emotion should ring clearly through the words and/or music.

Mistaking poetry for philosophy highlights a key reason why society is still mired in prehistoric superstition and saddled with problems that can’t be solved on anything other than a personal level. Rational legal structures cannot satisfy emotional needs. Wanting to feel safe is not a reason to enslave the medical profession and force me to contribute. Needing to feel cared for is not a reason to steal my retirement savings.

Wanting to save the earth has no bearing on whether your actions will actually improve the environment, or simply destroy property rights; and through their destruction, the fabric of western society itself. If it can be objectively proven that humans are destroying the planet, then either we can be counted upon to act rationally and alter our behaviors for our own good, or the hard-core environmentalists will get their fondest wish. Destroying property rights just improves the hand of the power seeker, who has no more of a clue than you do what will improve the environment.

Wanting to save another’s soul from eternal damnation by outlawing questionable behaviors like prostitution and recreational drug use has proven to go farther towards creating hell on earth than doing nothing at all might have. Allowing individuals the freedom to live their own lives, whether you approve of their choices or not, underscores the value of liberty. Poor choices serve as their own correction mechanism; there is no need for further punishment, it just clouds the issue bringing in a layer of paternalism when none is warranted.

Poetry appeals to your emotion, comforting or crying out for redress. Philosophy informs your mind, and outlines the possibilities in life. Clarifying whether someone is being philosophical or poetical is the first step in understanding whether they are trying to avoid reason, or attempting to motivate with emotion. And the difference is crucial.

FFrF Radio: Second Week of April

April 12, 2008Special Guest: Scott Dikkers, editor of The Onion

Theocracy Alert details the bill before congress (SR 483) that creates a 10 Commandments Weekend and then digs into the problems with the 10 commandments of the bible, including the fact that the list varies from translation to translation. (the US is not a christian nation. I’m hoping anyone reading this already knows this fact) commandment 3 and the very real monuments that violate it. Commandment 4 and Blue Laws.

I personally have a fondness for Amendments nine and 10 of the completely different & secular Bill of Rights to the US Constitution.

  • Amendment nine: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • Amendment ten: powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Since the 14th amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states as well as the federal government (and if the federal government could be convinced to acknowledge the existence of the tenth amendment in the first place; concede that there is a limitation on federal power) the Ninth & Tenth Amendments could be wielded by the individual as a lever to reduce all levels of government to those functions detailed in their respective enabling documents. Yeah, I know, it’s a dream. John Lennon has his dream, I have mine.

The damage done by the ignorant attempting to impose biblical law in lieu of civil law has already been significant. To more closely align civil law with the bible would be catastrophic. bills like SR 483 should be opposed, because of the damage they appear to promote. Contact you Senators here.

Scott Dikkers and the faux news outlet (not to be confused with Fox News, which is also false, but not funny) The Onion wouldn’t have been guests that I would have anticipated. (America’s finest news source. Gotta love it) I laugh every time I run across an article from The Onion, but I always wonder how many people believe that the news is real and credible. Then I remember The Enquirer and The Star, and stop worrying about it.

“I’ve never met a satirist who was an ideologue”

The most hate mail that the Onion has ever gotten was over a Mary-Kate and Ashley spoof, not the many, many religious spoofs that the paper has contained. Goes to show you where most people’s priorities lie.

The secret to The Onion’s success? Hiring funny people and teach them how to write news stories. Thoroughly enjoyable interview.

Ignore the man behind the curtain. The Great Oz has spoken.

The Wizard of Oz

2007 Archive episode.
April 14, 2007David Randolph, Conductor

The show starts with a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, who died that week. Back when I used to listen to Selected Shorts on KUT, Vonnegut’s stories were some of my favorites.

Theocracy Alert goes into one of the many problems with the Bush administration, his obsession with religious causes and their promotion within the federal government. A change in Presidents can’t come soon enough. Unfortunately, none of the front runners offer much of a change.

David Randolph the famous conductor of the St. Cecilia Chorus (a secular, non-profit group) also wrote the book This Is Music: A Guide to the Pleasures of Listening. He discusses at length his deep love of music, in spite of the fact that he has been a lifelong non-theist. A revealing interview for those who think that there is something essentially spiritual about music.

The list of composers who were non-believers includes a good number of recognizable names.

God is a concept by which we measure our pain

John Lennon

FFrF Radio: Secular Songs

Something that I’ve actually enjoyed while listening to the program. Not so much Dan Barker’s singing, but the other artists who are free thinkers whose works get mentioned and played makes a list too long to get into here.

Podcast link

Amongst the regular recurring songs (Ain’t it the Truth, It Ain’t Necessarily So, etc.) were several other songs I’d never heard before, including one by John Lennon (Found Out) and one by XTC (Dear God) I’m going to have to pick up an XTC album.



2006 Archive episode.

December 30, 2006 – Steven Pinker – Ghost in the machine? He doesn’t think so. The staggering complexity of the neural network in the brain is enough to explain consciousness. I don’t know that I agree with his argument, but he makes a pretty good case.

Several songs featured in this episode as well. Dan Barker’s rendition of Die Gedanken sind frei most prominently. Also a tribute to Auld Lang Syne composer Robert Burns at the end of Freethinkers Almanac.