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Weather Then and Tomorrow

Has it always been that way, with bad weather dominating the news? I borrowed Paul’s time machine again - he’s always tinkering with something - and zipped back fifty years. A snowstorm had blanketed the country. I turned on the TV news, expecting to see reporters standing in snowdrifts, pointing to smash-ups on the roads. Nothing! Not until 35 minutes into the program: “We now break to our weather reporter, Sergeant Garrett. Sergeant, what can you tell us?” “It’s winter,” Sargent said, “suck it up! From Frozentusch, Iowa, back to you, Walter.’”

What barbarians! I hopped in the machine and headed home, but when I hit 2014, I got stuck in a snowdrift. I got out to push. All the networks were there. They rushed over. One reporter fell on her keister.

“Whoa! It’s really slick out there! Here’s a man stuck in a time machine! What do you have to say to America, sir”

“Whoa, it’s really slick out here!” I said. “And cold!”

Reporters helped me break free my time machine and gave me a push-start, but I slid right past my exit into year 2038. It appeared that covering snowstorms had brought such good ratings that television news had expanded their coverage to nightfalls.

“All across the country, Americans are coping with encroaching darkness! We now break to our correspondent General Garrett, in Blackentusch, Iowa. General, what can you tell us?”

“Thanks, Charlie. Well, it’s really something out here since the sun went down. I can’t see my hand in front of my face! It’s really very dangerous.”

‘Thanks, General. Now we’ll go to the Federal Bureau of Aggravation.”

“Every day we warn people, and every day there are some who wait till the last minute! You must make sure that you have light bulbs in all lamps and that all lamps are plugged in!”

“Thanks, General. Excellent reporting as always. Good advice. This is potentially very serious and it’s easy to forget that during daytime. But scientists tell us that the sun will absolutely go down tonight – this is not something you want to play games with!”

From 'No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash'


Oxycotin

I beat CBS to the punch by two years in what they said about the Oxycotin pharma fraud. It is in the Prince chapter of Tom Irregardless and Me, there because Prince died a victim of that fraud. Since the Prince chapter is Chapter 1, it is even in the free preview section.
 
I didn’t mention the company or the drug by name. I followed the lead of Watchtower publications, which I have come to understand their reasons mostly through imitating them. You do not name a villain, for as soon as you name one, you create the impression that removing that villain will fix things. Instead, if you should succeed in taking him out, another villain immediately steps into his shoes and the play continues with barely a hiccup.
 
It is the play we are watching, not the heroes and villains in it. You do not have to know the names of the actors to follow the play – it can even be a distraction if you do. The names don’t matter. If one actor doesn’t show up for curtain call, they simply plug in a substitute, and the play continues.
 
'Tom Irregardless and Me', in the Prince chapter, quotes a Dr. Johnson, who wrote to say he was
 
“forced to paint an unflattering picture of the industry that I have been a part of for the last 15 years. I wish I could tell you that this epidemic was due to an honest mistake. That the science was unclear or had mixed results that only later became evident. But I can’t. I also wish I could tell you that the only reason the problem persists is a ‘lack of physician awareness.’ But I won’t. The reason this opioid problem started and the reason it continues is sadly for the most American reason there is - business.”
 
At one time, Dr. Johnson points out, American doctors prescribed opioids as did doctors everywhere: for pain relief from cancer or acute injury. He then tells of a drug company, introducing a new opioid product in 1996, that swung for the fences. It didn’t want to target just cancer patients. It wanted to target everyone experiencing everyday pain: joint pain and back pain, for example:
 
“To do this, they recruited and paid experts in the field of pain medicine to spread the message that these medicines were not as addictive as previously thought...As a physician in training, I remember being told that the risk of addiction for patients taking opioids for pain was ‘less than one percent.’ What I was not told was that there was no good science to suggest rates of addiction were really that low. That ‘less than one percent’ statistic came from a five-sentence paragraph in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980. It has come to be known as the Porter and Jick study. However, it was not really a study. It was a letter to the editor; more like a tweet. You can read the whole thing in 90 seconds.”
 
The CBS story of 5 days ago reveals a former drug rep of the company who spills for them.. I had it all two years ago, and it is even more damning. I didn’t put it in the book because illuminating Prince’s JW life was the object of the chapter, not crusading against pharma.
 
In fact, not only was the drug far more addictive than doctors and reps were led to believe, but the pain relief it delivered only lasted a few hours, not the 12 that was advertised. Yet, when complaints of such were received, the company would not permit reps to advise patients take it more often, since that exposed the fact that the much more expensive drug was no better than what was already being used for pain. Instead, the advice was to increase the dosage, and that obviously served to intensify the addictive quality. Prince and millions like him got hooked on a drug that the doctor prescribed, and when doctors started to get squirrelly, withholding supply for fear of what they were unleashing, these ones were driven to the black market to find substitutes.
 
It is here in the first chapter, Prince, which, to my knowledge, is the most complete, and perhaps only, published collection of the artist's JW experiences and interactions. And it is in the free section.
 
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/686882

He Messed up the Lord!

Jesus healed the leper and specifically told him to keep a lid on it. Show yourself to the priests, thank God, and go about your business.
 
What did the fellow do? He shouted it out everywhere. He messed up the Lord! Jesus wanted to keep visiting the city. He no longer could do it. He had to hole up out in the wilderness!
 
What could he do? Apart from divinely muzzling the guy or handing him back his leprosy, he was stymied! The Lord!
 
He adapted, though. The cured fellow raised such a ruckus that everyone had to go out in the wilderness to check Jesus out. Maybe it even worked out better this way; they had to do something.
 
I think there’s a lesson for us. You want your companions in service to be discreet and to behave in a certain way, and they don’t. You want them to be like the silhouetted fellow in the videos and they are the exact opposite. It’s enough to drive a guy crazy. It was enough to drive Jesus crazy, too, yet he didn’t go crazy. He just adjusted tactics and it all turned out okay. And maybe at a later date he even ran across the fellow and said: “You know, you really should have kept your mouth shut. But it all worked out.”
 

Contributor of the Day

Ha! Scott Adams tweeted for ideas for his strip and added he would use a submitted one in an upcoming comic.
 
I tweeted: "Maybe play with the idea of the mission statement being written by someone who was binge-watching Mission Impossible. Hmm. Like: ‘If you are caught or killed by this product, our company will disavow any knowledge of your actions’"
 
He gave it a like. Let's see if it appears as a cartoon.
 
Who doesn't love Dilbert?
 
To another tweet suggesting a play on "our employees are our most valuable asset," I added a quote from 'Tom Irregardless and Me': "He knows it is all hogwash. He knows one can go from 'most valuable asset' to 'person non-grata' in a heartbeat. But the newbie from the hills drinks it all in and thinks his new boss is his best friend in the whole wide world."
 
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/686882
 
The line as written refers to Phillip Brumley, Bethel attorney who was plucked from regular Bethel work and put through law school. He said it altered his personality to the extent that his wife said he was like a different person. I sympathized with the remark, but then speculated that maybe it was just him. Maybe he was like the new employee that must sit through interminable drivel about how "our employees are our greatest assets" and then I continued with the bit that I tweeted to Scott's contributor. Pointy-haired_Boss

Who We Are, Why We Are, and Where are We Going

I used to love it when Watchtower publications would run that Vermont Royster quote. After remarking on how far we have come science-wise, he added: “Yet here is a curious thing. In the contemplation of man himself, of his dilemmas, of his place in the universe, we are little further along than when time began. We are still left with questions of who we are and why we are and where we are going.”

It is pretty obvious why Jehovah’s Witnesses would love those words; they make clear that a shallow world of materialism will not do. You can even think those words every time a Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain takes his life. Or anyone else. Suicide is all the rage today. People decide that ‘Hotel World’ has not that much to offer, and they line up at the counter to check out.

Isn't it a little missing the point when people look for the one factor, maybe social media, that is tipping people over the edge? Or suggest that it is all a matter of better mental health care? 

“For over half a century, as a journalist, author, and teacher, Vermont Royster illuminated the political and economic life of our times. His common sense exploded the pretensions of "expert opinion," and his compelling eloquence warned of the evils of society loosed from its moorings in faith,” read the citation when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1986.

There are few things I enjoy more than exploding the pretensions of "expert opinions."


World Without War

On the ‘What’s New’ tab of the JW Library app is a re-release of ‘Will There Ever be a World Without War.’ I thought it was an update of the 1992 tract, and it may be in some minor areas, but for the most part it seems the same.

I always liked the paper brochure. That is not to say I used it much. It presents our Bible view such that it would more likely appeal to someone of Jewish background. For some reason I cannot quite put my finger on, that appeals to me. The Bible is like a prism, and you can turn it this way or that way so that it sheds the most light to different ones according to their background.

The reason I thought it might be updated is paragraph 2 of the last chapter: “As bright as the prospects are for the future, they are not bright for all. Jehovah will not wait endlessly for all men to beat their swords into plowshares.” It is the rare Watchtower publication that says “as bright as the prospects are for the future;” most just harp on darkness galore, and Witnesses in the U.S, at least, will comment at length on “wars and rumors of wars,” as though you cannot throw a stone in any direction and fail to hit ten of them. In fact, they are rare today. That is not to say there is peace—peoples and societies everywhere are violently crumbling, but actual flat-out wars are not plentiful. The modern atheists come around and point to the dearth of real wars as though that were proof that all is improving, and the brochure inserts that line to counter it.

The reason I thought the brochure was not updated at all, or if it was, it was just a little bit, is that the science quotes are all quite dated, from the 1980s or even before, as would have been at time-of-publication. Especially what caught my eye is a 1977 quote from New Scientist, that the “view that commonly expects scientists to be nonbelievers…is a view that is widely wrong.” And “as many as eight of every 10 scientists follow a religious faith or countenance principles that are ‘non-scientific.’”

Is it my imagination or is that greatly changed today, just 30 years later, almost to the point of reversing the percentages? Judging by when these characters go online, one would think they are almost all atheist. Are they? Or is this a case of ‘the squeaky wheel that gets the oil’…the simply scream louder than anyone else.

I call them ‘scientist-philosopher-cheerleader-atheists.’ They overlap with scientists but are not the same. The latter just do science. The former ram it down everyone’s throat as the be-all and end-all.  There are some areas in which science is absolutely terrible as a way to look at things, such as quantifying things that are essentially unquantifiable, due to possessing an astronomical and non-replicable number of permutations. Most ‘living things’ are like that.


When My Daughter's Dog...

When my daughter's dog sees that we have gone from one room to another, it follows us. This is particularly true when that room is the kitchen, where it makes us come to grips with the reality that, though it is one third the mass, it takes up at least twice the floor space, and is continually underfoot. "WILL YOU GET OUT OF HERE, YOU PESKY MUTT??!!!"

If we are sitting still and suddenly stir, it instantly springs to life, as though we have finally recognized that feeding or walk-time is long overdue. If it wakes from sleep and does not see us, it "hunts us down," to quote a certain verse, no matter where we are.

  822BD718-333A-424C-A054-33B0F28A0400

You Don't Have to Rub Their Noses in It

So much understanding of basics as: Why does God permit #suffering and the concept of relative freedom lies in understanding of the book of Genesis ...Adam and Eve... but when you refer to it, people roll their eyes...it is a religious fable to them. You get as much #bangforthebuck with such folk by suggesting that they take it as metaphor.

You may get even more, for people love metaphors and they love the idea of proving themselves sensitive and smart by discerning the underlying message.

You don't have to rub their noses in it and insist they take it literally. Go for the underlying message. It is all order of presentation. You can clean up the rest later.


ATB

After three books, you would think I would have learned not to release them prematurely. You would think I would learn that reading them through a few times and running them through proof-readers is not enough. I think this book needed more corrections than the other two combined. Maybe because it was more ambitious. Maybe because most paragraphs weren’t written concurrently and many first appeared somewhere else in modified form. Even the ’extremism free’ version fell short of its goal. I have fixed it.

It’s embarrassing. And I apologize to whoever downloaded it. I got impatient, is all I can say. Download it again, if you will. The price is the same: free. All errors are out, and most were not really errors in the first place, but just clunky expressions or oddball punctuation that I brought under control.

Hmm. Is there a search tool that looks for ending a sentence with a preposition? I still have a few of those, but other than an English teaching harrumphing over it, the sin is probably not that great. And the education chapter still strikes me as a little too unfocused. But overall, I am happy with Dear Mr. Putin, and whoever has downloaded it, I invite them to do it again.


The Icing on the Cake Comes in the New System

The #3 2018 Watchtower made the point about healing: "Consider: If the Creator designed our bodies to heal physical wounds, can we not have confidence in his promise to help us recover from emotional injuries, too?"

Two things interfere, qualifying the healing to a "help us" healing. 1. The mind is in the business of remembering, unlike the knee you scrape, 2. With the knee you scrape, you can get it away from whatever scraped it. In this system, that can be more of a challenge, and won't completely cure out until the new system. As one brother said somewhere on the broadcast: 'In the new system, resurrected people will look back and say 'how could you ever have lived during those times, with the constant stress?"

But we can smoothe it out to some extent, even now, just by activity, routine, who and where we hang out, our 'input' and so forth. "He binds up the brokenhearted" happens even now, but the icing on the cake comes in the new system.

#Watchtower #Healing

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