The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”
(1 John 1:7)


How to Live Without Regrets After 50

By Margaret Manning, Boomerly, March 31, 2015

You can’t get to age 50 without making a few mistakes. These range from small missteps that nibble at us to larger errors that keep us up at night. Perhaps the most harmful memories are of the times when we have accidentally hurt someone else–or ourselves for that matter!

It’s natural to have occasional regrets about the past. Some of us lament the end of a marriage, while others wish that we had had the strength to end a bad relationship earlier.

While it is “natural” to have regrets, do they have to hurt us? In other words, are there things that we can do to come to terms with our past and start to build a better future?

To get some more insight into this topic, I asked people, “How do you live life without regrets?” We received so many wise and insightful responses that I wanted to share a few of my favorites here. I hope that they help you to come to terms with your own past and start building your future.

Talk to Someone. One of the worst things about regrets is how lonely it feels when we are dealing with them. Maybe we are too embarrassed to talk about the mistakes that we have made in the past. Or perhaps we just don’t want to burden our friends with our sad stories. Whatever the reason, having regrets can lead to isolation and loneliness, which only makes the problem worse.

Several people in our baby boomer communities reminded us that it’s important to find someone to talk to. This could be a person in your circle of friends. Or it could be a spiritual advisor, life coach or therapist. When we sit alone, our thoughts swirl uncontrollably and this is especially true when we are dealing with regrets.

Sometimes the simple act of saying our regrets out loud can help us to gain perspective. Is there another side of the story that we haven’t considered? Do our small regrets sound insignificant when compared to the substance and totality of the good that we have done with our lives? In most cases, the answer is yes.

Find a Way to Forgive Yourself. Regrets are a way of punishing ourselves for things that we can no longer change. Does this sound like a constructive approach to you?

Let’s stop beating ourselves up for our past mistakes. Remember all of the good decisions that you have made and the lives that you have touched. On the whole, haven’t you lived a good life? Are your regrets really so unforgivable? I doubt it. As one woman commented, “Forgiving myself was the first step. Then I was able to start forgiving others.”

Acknowledge Your Regrets and Move On. Don’t get stuck in self-defeating thought loops. Acknowledge what happened and move on. There is a quote that I love from the movie Slumdog Millionaire: “Everything will be OK in the end–and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”

I keep this quote close to my desk to remind myself that, most of the time, the stakes are not nearly as high as our anxious minds lead us to believe. It’s OK to take time to remember the past. After all, this is how we learn and become better people. But don’t dwell on bad choices. Wait until you see the lesson emerge, write it down, and then move on.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t need anyone else’s permission or forgiveness to move on with your life. As another woman said, “Remember that some people won’t forgive you and (will) continually remind you of your mistakes–ignore them and move on!”

Learn to Live in the Present. Most people’s thoughts swing back and forth between the past and the future. Living in the present is hard, but the more you can learn to do it, the better your life will be. Remember that what’s done is done. The results of our decisions echo in the present, but the past itself can’t touch us anymore. So let it go.

Don’t feel bad if you have trouble calming your mind naturally. Most of us, including me, struggle with this.

At the same time, there are plenty of ways to train your mind to live in the present. Meditation and yoga are both excellent tools for quieting your mind. As a nice side benefit, both of these techniques have been shown to improve your health after 50.

Get Back into the World. Regrets can be paralyzing. Unfortunately, the one thing that we can’t afford to do when we have deep regrets is to sit still (unless we’re meditating!).

If you find yourself feeling sluggish or isolated, don’t wait to get help. The longer you isolate yourself from the world the greater your chances of developing a more serious condition like depression.

As Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” I love this advice. If your regrets feel overwhelming, take steps to reengage with the world. Join an exercise class, establish a daily ritual of walking in the park, take up dancing, mentor a younger person. Whatever you do–do something! As you develop your body and mind, you will build up the energy to face your regrets without fear.

Another woman in our online community touched on the importance of mentoring when she said, “Bad choices were stepping stones for me. I made sure I never made the same mistake twice. Do I look back? Absolutely. Only when I am giving wisdom to someone younger.”

See Your Mistakes as Learning Opportunities. As painful as it may be to admit it, mistakes are essential to learning. The goal shouldn’t be to avoid mistakes altogether, but to learn quickly from the mistakes that we do make so that we don’t repeat them.

Regretting past choices or circumstances only means the lessons were not learned, which results in more bad choices until the lessons are learned,” said one woman. “So I study what went wrong, journal about lessons learned, forgive those who’ve wronged me and LET IT GO! Everything happens for a reason–and to teach us.”

Be Gentle with Yourself. Finally, remember to give yourself a break. Not everything needs to be rationalized and sorted through. Sometimes the best way to deal with regrets is just to smile at our foolishness and move on. You’re human, so don’t expect yourself to be anything else.

Sometimes, it even helps to think of your younger self as a separate person who is worthy of your love. For example, another woman from the community told us, “I am totally forgiving my younger self and cradle her (as if) she were here.”

Isn’t that a beautiful image?



The Christian tragedy in the Middle East did not begin with Isis

A hundred years on from the Armenian genocide, and a Christian minority is again suffering


Sunday 5 April 2015

One summer's day in 1990, I walked into a beautiful Crusader chapel in Keserwan, a gentle mountainside north of Beirut, where an old Catholic Maronite priest pointed to a Byzantine mosaic of – I think – Saint John. What he wanted to show me was the holy man's eyes. They had been stabbed out of the mosaic by a sword or lance at some point in antiquity. 'The Muslims did this,' the priest said.

His words had added clarity because at that time the Lebanese Christian army General Michel Aoun – who thought he was the president and still, today, dreams of this unlikely investiture – was fighting a hopeless war against Hafez Assad's Syrian army. Daily, I was visiting the homes of dead Christians, killed by Syrian shellfire. The Syrians, in the priest's narrative, were the same ‘Muslims’ who had stabbed out the eyes in the ancient picture.

I remember at the time – and often since – I would say to myself that this was nonsense, that you cannot graft ancient history onto the present. (The Maronites, by the way, had supported the earlier Crusaders. The Orthodox of the time stood with the Muslims.) Christian-Muslim enmity on this scale was a tale to frighten schoolchildren.

And yet only last year, as shells burst above the Syrian town of Yabroud, I walked into the country’s oldest church and found paintings of the saints. All had had their eyes gouged out and been torn into strips. I took one of those strips home to Beirut, the painted eyes of the saints staring at me even as I write this article. This was not the sacrilege of antiquity. It was done by ghoulish men, probably from Iraq, only months ago.

Like 9/11 – long after Hollywood had regularly demonised Muslims as barbarian killers who wish to destroy America – it seems that our worst fears turn into reality. The priest in 1990 cannot have lived long enough to know how the new barbarians would strike at the saints in Yabroud.

Note how I have not mentioned the enslavement of Christian women in Iraq, the Islamic State’s massacre of Christians and Yazidis, the burning of Mosul's ancient churches or the destruction of the great Armenian church of Deir el-Zour that commemorated the genocide of its people in 1915. Nor the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls. Not even the very latest massacre in Kenya where the numbers of Christian dead and the cruelty of their sectarian killers is, indeed, of epic, Hollywood proportions. Nor have I mentioned the ferocious Sunni-Shia wars that now dwarf the tragedy of the Christians.

Soldiers standing over skulls of victims from the Armenian village of Sheyxalan in 1915, believed to be victims of the Armenian Holocaust

But the Christian tragedy in the Middle East today needs to be re-thought – as it will be, of course, when Armenians around the world commemorate the 100th anniversary of the genocide of their people by Ottoman Turkey. Perhaps it is time that we acknowledge not only this act of genocide but come to regard it not as just the murder of a minority within the Ottoman Empire, but specifically a Christian minority, killed because they were Armenian but also because they were Christian (many of whom, unfortunately, rather liked the Orthodox, anti-Ottoman Tsar).

And their fate bears some uncommon parallels with the Islamic State murderers of today. The Armenian men were massacred. The women were gang-raped or forced to convert or left to die of hunger. Babies were burned alive – after being stacked in piles. Islamic State cruelty is not new, even if the cult’s technology defeats anything its opponents can achieve. In Kuwait last week, a good and thoughtful Muslim, an American university graduate – within the al-Sabah family and prominent in the government – shook his head with disbelief when he spoke of Islamic State. ‘I watched the video of them burning the Jordanian pilot alive,’ he told me. ‘I watched it several times. I had to, because I had to understand their technology. Do you know they used seven camera angles to film this atrocity? We could not compete with this media technology. We have to learn.’

And this is true. The West – that amorphous, dangerous expression – has still not understood the use of this technology – especially the use which the cult makes of the internet – nor have the Muslim Arab imams who should be speaking about the fearful acts of Islamic State.

But most are not, any more than they denounced the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, when around a million Muslims killed each other. Because they were on Saddam’s side in that war. And because the Islamic State’s ideology is too obviously of Wahabi inspiration, and thus too close to some of the Gulf Arab states.

The crimes of Islamic State are as brutal as any committed by the German army in the Second World War, but Jews who converted were not spared Hitler’s plan for their extermination. What the Islamic State and the 1915 Ottoman Turks have in common is a cruelty based on ideology – even theology – rather than race hatred, although that is not far away. After the burning of churches and of synagogues, the rubble looks much the same.

The tragedy of the Arab world is now on such a literally Biblical scale that we are all demeaned by it. Yet I also think of Lebanon where the old priest showed me his mosaic with the missing eyes and where the Lebanese Christians and Muslims fought each other – with the help of many foreign nations, including Israel, Syria and America – and killed 150,000 of their own people.

Yet today, Lebanese Muslims and Christians, though still politically deeply divided, are protecting each other amid the gale-force winds around them. Why? Because they are today a much more educated population. It’s because they value education, reading and books and knowledge. And from education comes justice. Which is why, when compared to Lebanon, the Islamic State is a nation of lost souls.



ON THE PATH OF THE IMMORTALS–PART 6: Orbs, V-Shaped Craft, & Bradshaw Ranch

April 7, 2015 by SkyWatch Editor

Located twelve miles outside of Sedona is the famous Bradshaw Ranch. It got its name when Hollywood stuntman Bob Bradshaw acquired the 140 acre ranch in 1960 for $200 an acre. At that time, all that remained of the original homestead was an old adobe house believed to be the oldest pioneer structure in the area. When he wasn’t working in the movies, Bradshaw turned the property into a working ranch and movie set.

The Western town set on the ranch served as the primary location for five movies, two television series, and many commercials. In total, over fifty full length motion pictures were shot in the area.[2] An original Marlboro man (who didn’t smoke), Bradshaw was a stunt double for many leading stars, including Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Beau Bridges, Kenny Rogers and even Elvis Presley. The “Crocodile Dundee” (aka Paul Hogan) Subaru commercials were mostly filmed at the ranch, as well as many other commercials and photo shoots.[3]

Vegetation in the area consists primarily of pinion pines, juniper trees, Arizona cypress, cottonwood trees, mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus, agave cactus, sagebrush, and tumbleweed along with various other shrubs and bushes.[4] Trees only reach around twelve to fifteen feet and most are scrubby and bush-like. The western town of Hollywood fame was torn down by the forestry service but the ranch house and round fenced livestock fields can still be seen on Google earth. Lately, the most photographed part of the ranch is the locked gate.

John Bradshaw, Bob’s son, explained why he originally started “A Day in West” tour business. “In 1997, the property taxes on my dad’s ranch jumped from $2,500 per year to $25,000, I developed the jeep tour business as a way to help bankroll the purchase of the ranch.”[5] At that time, tourists spent a full day on the still working ranch or classic western movie set. Folks so inclined, could even play cowboy for a day on horseback. A Day in the West quickly became a popular attraction. Nevertheless, the property was acquired by the US Forestry Service in April of 2001 for $3.5 million dollars.[6] What remains unexplained is why the federal agency has forbidden access to the taxpaying public (who paid for the land) since May 10, 2003.[7] The word on the street in Sedona is that the government is covering up a virtual invasion of interdimensional entities coming through a wide open dimensional corridor. While some may doubt, dimensional corridors are held by physicists to be possible. In fact, the Bible describes gates and doors (studied in depth in our upcoming book On the Path of the Immortals) beyond which both good and evil intelligence exists and that, at times, come through these doorways into our reality. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, gives a scientific explanation: “If a black hole connected to one sheet of space-time in the universe happens to make contact with another black hole connected to a different sheet of space-time, that point of contact may (hypothetically) offer a travel corridor.”[8] Interestingly he has also pointed out the occult connection to residual (unexplained) unidentified flying objects (RUFOs): “Observations reveal that professional astronomers deeply involved in cultic, occultic, or certain New Age pursuits often see RUFOs, whereas professional astronomers who stay away from such pursuits never encounter RUFOs.”[9] Perhaps this data is explained by the fact that occult and New Age activities potentiate interdimensional portals?

In magical practice such passages are assumed. A local occultist, David Miller, explains that, “Corridors are tunnels of energy connecting the fifth dimension to the third. In a sense, they are interdimensional, they exist in neither dimension yet connect to both. … There are many corridors in the Southwest, including around Sedona and the Grand Canyon.”[10] Other areas include the San Luiz Valley CO, Skinwalker Ranch UT, ECETI Ranch WA, Yakima WA and Mount Shasta, CA.

We believe the case for extra dimensions, made in Exo-Vaticana and bolstered by the upcoming book sequel and SkyWatch TV Special Investigative Report (On the Path of the Immortals), supports identifying the most active hotspots as entry zones. If finding such a gateway is a possibility, then Sedona’s Bradshaw Ranch on the tip of the ancient Anasazi settlements, was one of our candidates. After living on the ranch for two years, Linda Bradshaw observed:

I believe these openings have always been on our plane and they’ve perhaps been the portals to allow others in, but if one were to ask my opinion of my experiences regarding this magical place, I would say that not only are they being allowed in, but they are coming in in great numbers. I would also love to say that only compassionate beings of light are scooting through these portals, but this does not always seem to be the case. I have come face to face with a few decidedly nasty beings.[11]

Her appraisal is refreshing because interdimensional entities are usually discussed in the glowing terms of a New Age. We were also encouraged that the former Mrs. Bradshaw (who now goes by Linda Ball) prudently aligned with the God of the Bible, offering this advice, “…it is important that one declares his or her position (who one is and whom they serve) and knows this to be true.” And then finishing with Isaiah 6:3 ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts.’”[12] It’s difficult to dismiss her testimony because she displayed good instincts. For example, after an encounter with the Greys she remarked, “They did not leave me with a good feeling.”[13] Bradshaw Ranch or not, a negative assessment of the greys should come as no surprise to our readers.

Over a decade ago, co-author of the upcoming On the Path of the Immortals, Tom Horn wrote, “This is what I was talking about from the moment I mentioned time-dimensional doorways, and the entities that can and do move through them. Since the beginning of time and on every continent of the world the record bears the frightening image of those who often come through.” While the entities change over time, the similar features (like an overly large head) are remarkable.

It seems likely that Sedona has been one of the main demonic doorways in the United States since 1980. The flood of false spirituality and theological error coming from the region is unprecedented. While it’s far from an exact science, the magnetic anomalies, coupled with so much documented vortex and portal lore, leads us to suspect an open preternatural portal area. No other region in the continental United States compares when it comes to identified vortexes. Whether this is a Jungian consciousness driven phenomenon or one quantifiable by materialist science, or some of both, is still open to interpretation. We suspect both. According to UFO Digest, Bradshaw Ranch “has seen more paranormal activity in recent years than perhaps any other US location. So much so, it appears to have attracted the attention of the US Federal Government. A cluster of paranormal activity has been reported; from sightings of strange humanoid entities, to the pulsating lights of UFOs—and the most massive amount of Orb activity ever witness by this investigator.”[15]Bradshaw Ranch is one of the primary reasons we came to Sedona.

A Day in the Weird Wild West

In order to investigate the phenomena, we arranged to meet with a guide named “Hoss” that would take us as close to theBradshaw ranch as we could get without threat of arrest, specifically to an area where “light beings” or “Orbs” have been filmed materializing and dematerializing and which the US Government may be intrigued (or in communion?). Standing six foot two inches tall, at two hundred fifty pounds, our guide sported a tan cowboy hat with an authentic Western poncho concealing an iPhone, hunting knife, and a Smith and Wesson revolver. Bradshaw Point gas been declared “no man’s land” by the US government but even they couldn’t stop us from looking over it from a strategic high point. At least with a gun toting cowboy in the lead, we were prepared for the worst if it came.

Putnam with Hoss on Bradshaw Point

We pulled up to Bradshall Hill, overlooking the ranch to the West, the surrounding canyons North and Northeast, and Sedona to the Southeast (follow footnoted link to Google Maps).[17] The weather conditions were optimal between 5:00 and 7:00 PM on January 15, 2015. When we arrived the temperature was around 54 degrees and it cooled to the mid-forties as the sun went down. Humidity went from a daytime 35% up to 50% at nightfall. There was a lite breeze around twelve miles per hour[18] when we got out of the car and began setting up our gear.

Getting down to business, our guide pulled out a magnetometer which quickly spiked giving a highly anomalous reading. Fortunately, my previous training paid off here. In preparation for writing the Supernatural Worldview: Examining Paranormal, Psi, and the Apocalyptic, I studied the scientific discipline of parapsychology and completed specific training in filed investigation with degreed parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach MS.[19] I learned that of all the fanciful instruments used on ghost hunting shows, magnetometers have real evidential merit. Auerbach found that his magnetometers detect “unusually high magnetic field[s]” at the spot where “ghosts” are seen.[20] He also found that magnetometers register high readings when people communicate with an apparition and fall back down when the communication ceases.[21] A portal researcher, Phillip Imbrogno, observed, “What all these interdimensional vortex and window areas have in common around the world is that they all sit right on top of a number of magnetic anomalies with an intermediate electromagnetic pulse.”[22] If Keel, Auerbach and Imbrogno’s theories are correct, then the high magnetic field reading we observed upon arrival at Bradshaw hill might indicate a spiritual presence, an interdimensional portal, both, or another nearby anomaly. As the night progressed, the interdimensional inference was corroborated.

The portal hypothesis was only on the table for our research because of previous documentation of related anomalous activity. The books Merging Dimensions[23] and Dimensional Journey[24] feature copyrighted photographs of orbs, UFOs and even Bigfoot tracks. Also, the anecdotal evidence for a portal at the ranch is compelling. After living there a few years with her children, Linda Ball (formerly married to Bob Bradshaw, as mentioned above, who later converted to Christianity) wrote:

My perception of reality was tested and questioned again and again as I had encounters with extraterrestrials, Bigfoot and other humanlike entities that towered over me. I was able to photograph much of the phenomena, which began rather benignly with wafting, multi-colored orbs of light, then escalated over seven years to the more heart-stopping episodes where I encountered and interacted with otherworldly beings.[25]

After one particularly scary incident involving flying saucers, Ball writes that Bob thought she [Linda] was an extraterrestrial and refused to let her back in the house. She wrote, “As he later confessed to me, he suspected that I was one of “them” and he was therefore afraid of me. This was tragic. It took about two hours before he relented and unlocked the doors, allowing me to come in out of the cold.”[26]While Mr. Bradshaw passed away in 2008 and is unable to give his side of the story, one is hard pressed to imagine the rough and tumble cowboy in such a state of terror. Ball and Bradshaw eventually split up. Linda now lives in Montana. John Bradshaw, their son, still lives in Sedona operating the tour company that we hired for this investigation.

Merely suggesting the existence of an interdimensional portal is controversial but there is supporting evidence. On the way to Bradshaw hill, Hoss admitted that he was initially skeptical but became a fast believer after only two outings. With half a dozen or so UFO and orb tours based in Sedona (some are led by self-identified alien abductees), it’s becoming a common testimony.[27] In a New York Times article titled “Abandoning Doubt in Sedona, Arizona,” a skeptical reporter concedes, “In approximately two hours, we counted about 40 unidentifiable things flying high above us.”[28] After over twenty five years of investigating, Tom Dongo claims to have witnessed and photographed flying and stationary light orbs of different sizes, shapes and colors many thousands of times.[29] He also believes the evidence supports the existence of some sort of portal. “Some of these lights would fly around some, then either blink out or fly off into the distance. Clearly, after observing for so long, it was evident to me that most of these lights originated from the same point — or points. This would indicate some sort of entrance point, or portal.”[30] After completing our field investigation, we agree.

I (Cris Putnam) have never been an orb believer because most of what I’ve seen looks to be dust particles, drops of water, moisture on the lens, and things of that nature. Even so, my experience on Bradshaw hill changed my mind. At dusk, we were visited by and captured a vivid orb on video without using flash photography. Even though there was no wind, it moved extremely fast, changed direction and then faded out of existence. A brief video clip of this manifestation is included on the book trailer here and will be further examined in the upcoming SkyWatch TV Special Investigative Report (the 1.5 hour Special Report DVD will be given away with the book if ordered through SkyWatch TV in May). The Orb that we filmed from two camera angles even seemed to make intentional, evasive maneuvers. Another elusive orb had earlier been seen from this same hill that “seemed to know people were trying to get a shot of it. It would always blink out just before the shutter was tripped or the camcorder was focused.”[32]

Alternating positions with my wife, one of us awkwardly posed while the other snapped off shots using flash, with a Cannon Powershot SX40HS. All the while our videographer (Chris Florio) continuously shot video. This allowed for rigorous review of the video, when anomalies are in the still image. If a ball of light appears on both cameras then most common natural phenomena created by dust and moisture close to or on the lens of the flash enabled camera are excluded. Accordingly, in the upcoming book On the Path of the Immortals the orb evidence considered appears on both cameras. Bright light-orbs are clearly seen in photos and video shot simultaneously from different angles. On one occasion, the videographer saw a light orb with the naked eye that was later confirmed on the photo and video. It appeared to be the size of a grapefruit (as can be seen shooting up and then hovering about ten to twelve feet behind Putnam in the image below).

Light Being(?) Or “Orb” Above Putnam Appears On Video And Photo

In connection with the arrival of the anomalos Orb, suddenly in the distance, a fast moving UFO flashed across the sky with untold speed, it was gone before we could even aim a camera toward it. But this was not the case with our next opportunity as we filmed a gigantic V-Shaped craft silently moving overhead (images and info in the next entry and more in the upcoming book). We all had the feeling that clearly multifaceted phenomenon was manifesting throughout the area at the same time, being seen by multiple eye-witnesses and captured on film by our crew. It was our guide’s opinion that what we were witnessing were spirits and/or spirit-craft from nearby Indian burial mounds. But we had a different interpretation, even though the rapid-fire variety of behavior and appearance still leaves multiple explanations open for consideration: spirits, spook lights, earth lights… demons and angels.

First, the weight of testimony suggests that such spirit entities, and interdimensional beings are crossing over from the nearby portal. Regarding our fast jerking orb from the first video, LA Marzulli replied,

“I think you captured an orb on film. In Watchers 1 we showed pictures of hundreds of orbs flying into ECETI ranch. Then there’s the one clip where a man is standing in the field where these orbs appear and one flew into the back of his neck and doesn’t come out again. Posession? Maybe, and this is why I believe the orbs may actually be what dis-embodied spirits look like.”[34]

While this notion is the most common, opinions vary. Max Greiner and Joie Pirkey believe that God’s Holy angels travel about in orb form too. Pirkey has many interesting photos taken during worship services.[35] Of course, in the Bible even “angels” are a bifurcated category, as in “Holy” (Acts 10:21 cf) and “Fallen” (Matthew 25:41). Thus, the category “spirits” is likely multifaceted and distinguishing characteristics are not easily discerned from such photographic evidence.

Second, some of the orbs behave like spook lights or ghost lights, traditionally called the will-o’-the-wisp. The ghost light phenomenon is known by a variety of names in English, including hinkypunk, jack-o’-lantern, friars’ lantern and hobby lantern.[36] Famous examples include the Brown Mountain lights of North Carolina where for over one hundred years “globes of various colored lights, ranging in size from mere points to 25 feet in diameter”[37] have been seen rising above the tall trees. Also the notorious Joplin “Hornet” Spooklight which “has appeared seemingly as a ball of fire for almost 140 years”[38] at the intersection of Spooksville, OK and Joplin, MO. And again, many of these reports are from reputable persons. A recently declassified official U.S. Air Force document even reveals that a project blue book investigator observed the spook light for one and half hours through binoculars. The report describes the orb as “four times the size of a basketball with bright white light” emitting a “red flame trailing” as it moved about silently.[39]

Third, some orbs might be earth lights. A similar portal is believed to be located on the Yakima Indian Reservation on the east side of the Cascade Mountains in southern Washington State. Some researchers, scientists and geologists try to explain these orbs as a natural phenomenon known as earth lights:

There are similar areas around the world which are termed “windows” by Earthlight researchers with these fault line areas where UFO activity or “Earthlight activity” is very strong. Hessdalen Valley of Norway is a good example. I will not discount the Earthlight theory entirely because one must be open to all possibilities not just one when researching the unknown. There certainly exists evidence to suggest that there could indeed be some natural form of energy that releases itself in the form of balls of light or some kind of gases, however this in my opinion does not mean that all of the UFO activity at Yakima can be explained away as earthlights.[40]

Colored orbs on the 1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg painting[42]

According to Greg Long, author of Examining the Earthlight Theory, “The majority of the UFO sightings mentioned by Long involved ball-shaped nocturnal lights. Frequently, they were reddish orange and interacted with observers.” [41] The description matches the orb we caught on video at the Bradshaw ranch. In association with these manifestations, Long also reported strange humanoids, apparitions, and Bigfoot sightings. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross—a Christian scholar at Reasons to Believe—concurs with Jacques Vallee’s writing, saying, “Written records of ancient sightings dating back at least three thousand years document the same highly luminous balls and multicolored disks, breaking up and coming together, darting around at velocities and accelerations that defy the laws of physics.”Whatever they turn out to be, it seems such orbs have always been seen. Yet in our next entry, we’ll go where some of these modern manifestations may now be emanating from… a doorway at “The Canyon’s Secret Underground Base.”

[1] Image of book cover,204,203,200.jpg

[2] Tom Dongo, Mysterious Sedona: Year 2000 Edition (Light Technology Publishing, 2000), Kindle Location 831.

[3] A Day in the West, “About Us,” accessed January 20, 2015.

[4] Dongo, Mysterious Sedona, Kindle Locations 756-758.

[5] Tim Cotroneo, “Sedona Rocks,” American Business Magazine, Aug 03, 2010 accessed January 20, 2015.

[6]“The Land Preservation Task Force,”

[7] Steve Korn

[8]Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples and Mark Clark, Lights in the Sky & Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002), 59.

[9]Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples and Mark Clark, Lights in the Sky & Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002), 119.

[10] David K. Miller, Teachings from the Sacred Triangle Volume 2, (Flagstaff AZ: Light Technology Publishing, 2012).

[11] Linda Bradshaw and Tom Dongo. Merging Dimensions: The Opening Portals of Sedona, Kindle Edition, (Flagstaff AZ: Light Technology Publishing: 1995) Kindle Location 166-169.

[12] (Kindle Locations 194-196).

[13] Bradshaw, Merging Dimensions: (Kindle Location 223).

[14] Tom Horn. “Stargates, Ancient Rituals, And Those Invited Through

The Portal (Pt. 1)” (accessed 08/16/2014).

[15] AJ, “In Search of Bradshaw Ranch…” UFO Digest, August 2011, January 21, 2015.

[16] A Day in the West “Orb/Conspiracy Theory tour”

[17] Bradshaw Hill



[20] Loyd Auerbach. Hauntings and Poltergeists: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide (Kindle Locations 886-887).

[21] Loyd Auerbach, “They See Dead People,” 10

[22] Philip J. Imbrogno. Interdimensional Universe: The New Science of UFOs, Paranormal Phenomena and Otherdimensional Beings(Kindle Locations 1315-1320). Kindle Edition.

[23] Linda Bradshaw and Tom Dongo. Merging Dimensions: The Opening Portals of Sedona, Kindle Edition, (Flagstaff AZ: Light Technology Publishing: 1995).

[24] Linda Ball, Dimensional Journey: Encounters and Teachings (Flagstaff, AZ: Light Technology Publishing, 2003).

[25] Linda Ball, Dimensional Journey: Encounters and Teachings (Flagstaff, AZ: Light Technology Publishing, 2003), xvi.

[26] Ball, Dimensional Journey, 79.

[27] 1) A Day in the West “Orb/Conspiracy Theory tour”

2) Tom Dongo UFO Sky Watch

3) Kim Carlsberg “Sedona UFO Sky Tours”

4) “Sedona UFO Sighting Tours,”

5)”Inner Journeys Angel Medicine,” 6) “Encounter Sedona UFO Tours”

[28] Raquel Cepeda, “Abandoning Doubt in Sedona, Arizona.” NY Times, January 1, 2015 accessed January 26, 2015.

[29] Dongo, Tom, Mysterious Sedona: Year 2000 Edition (Flagstaff, AZ: Light Technology Publishing) Kindle Locations 1030-1032.

[30] Dongo, Tom (2000-07-01). Mysterious Sedona: Year 2000 Edition (Kindle Locations 1069-1071). Light Technology Publishing. Kindle Edition.


[32] Dongo, Tom (2000-07-01). Mysterious Sedona: Year 2000 Edition (Kindle Locations 1034-1037). Light Technology Publishing. Kindle Edition


[34] Personal email LA Marzulli to author Cris Putnam January 22, 2015.

[35] “Supernatural Orbs,” accessed January 26, 2015.

[36] Marie Trevelyan. Folk-Lore and Folk-Stories of Wales, (London: EP Publishing, 1909), 178.

[37] “Spooklight” in Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger, The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained volume 3, (Detroit: Gale Group, 2003), 22

[38] Troy Taylor, “The Hornet Spooklight,” American Hauntings accessed January 22, 2015.

[39] “Project 10073 Record Card,” November 8, 1957, United States Air Force,
Joplin%20Missouri/1957-11-6781798-Joplin-Missouri.pdf accessed January 22, 2015.

[40] Spar Giedeman “The Yakima Ufo Enigma”

[41] Greg Long, Examining the Earthlight Theory: the Yakima Ufo Microcosm (Chicago, IL: J Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, 1990), 36

21 Vallée, Dimensions, xvi–96.




Kansas governor signs abortion law

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

Updated 10:24 PM ET, Tue April 7, 2015

(CNN)A new Kansas law banning a common second-term abortion procedure is the first of its kind in the United States.

The law, signed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday, bans what it describes as "dismemberment abortion" and defines as "knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus."

Supporters of the measure described it as a groundbreaking step, while opponents warned it was dangerous and among the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

The law does not spell out a specific time frame that limits when an abortion can occur, but it bans the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure commonly used during the second trimester of pregnancy. The law allows for the procedure if "necessary to protect the life or health of the mother," according to a statement on Brownback's website.

On Twitter, Brownback, a Republican, said he was proud to sign a law "protecting life at its most vulnerable stage."

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri sharply criticized the move, which it described as the latest in a series of "extreme political measures aimed at denying women access to health care and at undermining their decision-making ability."

"Kansas is now not only the sole state with this atrocious law; it also now has more restrictions on abortion than any state in the U.S.," the advocacy group said in a Facebook post.

Both sides appear to be prepared to take their battle over such measures to other states -- and to court.

Carol Tobias, the president of National Right to Life, said in a statement that the Kansas law was the first of what her organization hopes "will be many state laws."

"This law has the power to transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States," she said.

Julie Burkhart, CEO of Wichita-based South Wind Women's Center, said on Twitter that the signing of the law marked a sad day for Kansas and the United States.

"This law puts women at risk and ties doctors' hands," she said. "We'll continue to fight!"

CNN's Sam Stringer contributed to this report.



A Passover Sign from God?

By Simcha Jacobovici April 5, 2015 , 10:30 am

A fully red cow on a small farm outside Lakewood, New Jersey is attracting worldwide attention in orthodox Jewish circles and various movements with a Messianic or “End of Days” bent. Let me explain why.

In the Biblical Book of Numbers (19:2-13) it stipulates that the only way to purify oneself after contact with the dead is to be sprinkled with water that is a mixture of hyssop, cedar-wood, scarlet and the ashes of a red heifer or cow – in Hebrew, “Parah Adumah” – sacrificed on the altar of the Holy Tabernacle. Put differently, according to Biblical law, to overcome the impurity of death, one needs a kosher red heifer for a sacrifice in the Temple. For a red cow to be “kosher” it must be totally red. A mere two black or white hairs, in close proximity to each other, disqualifies it. After the Biblical Exodus, the Tabernacle that Moses built served the Israelites for 40 years in the Sinai desert. Then there were two Temples that stood in Jerusalem for about a thousand years, from the 10th century BCE until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Since then, there has been no Temple and, as far as we know, no kosher red cow – until now.

Many believe that kosher red cows will once again appear when the Temple in Jerusalem – the House of God – is about to be rebuilt. The ingathering of the Jewish people and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 has been seen by believers as signs of the impending arrival of the Messiah, the rebuilding of the Temple and the inauguration of the “Kingdom of God” – a qualitatively new phase in human history. For believers, the sudden appearance of a red heifer could be interpreted as a sign of the impending Messianic age.

And now it seems that such a red heifer – two years old and unblemished – has appeared in Howell, New Jersey. The red cow was born to two black bovines on the farm of Herb Celler, the son of Auschwitz survivors. Rabbis are presently arriving from various locations around the world and, so far, the cow has passed the kosher test with flying colors – so to speak. Mr. Celler said he was offered one million dollars for the cow. He turned down the offer, however, and plans to send the red heifer as a gift to Israel.

But why a red heifer? It is said that this is the only mystery that stumped even King Solomon.

Depending on where you stand on this issue, the arrival of the cow in Jerusalem could be bad news or good news. On the one hand — coming at a time of genocidal nuclear threats against Israel from Iran – the cow could be seen as a sign of Apocalyptic times. On the other hand, it could also be seen as a sign of the imminent arrival of the Messiah whose task it is to defeat the forces of evil and inaugurate an era of peace.



Rabbi Warns of Civil War in the United States

by Eliyahu Berkowitz

The Riminov Rebbe visited the Florida communities made up of South American immigrants from France, gave an unequivocal command to the Jews to leave and go to Israel, saying that there will be a civil war in the US.

BeHadrei Haredim reported that the Rebbe said: “Leave while you still can. The situation will get worse and it will be difficult to move from state to state. After World War II the survivors came to the great men of Israel and Hasidic leaders and asked why they had not ordered the Jews of Europe to leave and immigrate to Israel or the United States before the war broke out? The truth must be told: they said and how much they said, begging Jews to please flee the burning ground, but part of the evil decree was that they were not listened to.

“Today,” the Riminov Rebbe said, “Listen to me carefully dear Jews, whoever has in his hand to get up and go and go to the Holy Land Israel as soon as possible while it is still is possible, this includes leaving large parts of South America and most of Europe.

“Also the US will be a place of danger in the war and it is still too early to say which states within the United States will survive, but many parts will be destroyed and poisoned, even civil war will break out in the United States and states will cut themselves off from the federal government. The US may not be used as a refuge but there will remain here survivors. Eretz Israel will be the safest place to survive the war, although there will also be terrible difficulties there. “

“If I can do it myself I’d get up and go to Israel and to bless the very dirt, but I do not have permission to do so – from heaven it is commanded that in the meantime I should stay here in the US,” he was quoted as saying.

In addition the Rebbe explained, saying, “I am one of the few men in our time who can say that this since it has been published all over the world that my eyes see very far away, like when I found the child Leibi Klecki, may his blood be avenged, and three boys in Halhul and dozens more who were missing, where others do not have permission to see and make order, and this was planted in me by God and Divine Providence and when I had to talk to many and give instructions, I do it and the Divine Presence speaks from my throat, and wherever my name goes out to, it is known that those who listen to me shall be safe”.

Associates of the Rebbe emphasized that the call was made to a small handful of worshipers after morning services at the local synagogue.



Zoology: Here be dragons

Andrew J. Hamilton,, Robert M. May & & Edward K. Waters

Published online 01 April 2015

Emerging evidence indicates that dragons can no longer be dismissed as creatures of legend and fantasy, and that anthropogenic effects on the world's climate may inadvertently be paving the way for the resurgence of these beasts.

Long considered to be the stuff of legend, dragons cross cultures and continents. Until recently, however, scant attention had been paid to the fact that the commonality in cultural representations of such creatures indicates something more sinister. From depictions in Ancient Greek literature and Slavic myth, to the dragons of the East or allusions in Zoroastrian scripture, the descriptions resonate. What if these legends were rooted in truth? The differences in appearance — some lack wings, some have multiple heads and some seem not to breathe fire — once thought to reflect local traditions, can also readily be explained by speciation.

The 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta in 1215 has sparked an unprecedented investigation of literary resources from the early medieval period. One such document, uncovered by chance under a pile of rusty candlesticks in a locked cupboard marked “loste propertie” in the depths of the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, provides strong evidence that the field of fantastical beasts requires urgent re-evaluation. Attributed to the monk Godfrey of Exmouth, the treatise discusses many verified aspects of English history but, crucially, proffers evidence that for millennia dragons have periodically been a scourge to civilizations (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Lizards of legend.

Dragons have somehow wormed their way into the realm of fantasy, which belies the threat posed by them in the twenty-first century. Anderson, Wayne/Private Collection/Bridgeman Images

Further work has revealed that the early medieval period was a veritable paradise for dragons. This can be attributed to the period's unusually warm temperatures (Fig. 2) and an abundance of knights, the beasts' favourite combatant and food. It was also a time when wealth and status were measured in terms of gold and silver — the preferred nesting material for Western dragons. As a result, the major needs for living, feeding and, crucially, relaxation were readily available to dragons, allowing populations to flourish. The roasting of flesh and the indiscriminate demolition of hovels and castles became commonplace.

Figure 2: The rise and fall and rise again of dragons.

The relative frequency of 'dragons' in fictional literature (thick red line), as determined as a unigram probability4, with two historical reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature (decadal smoothing) shown in blue5 and purple6. Global temperatures have been measured since 1855 (thick black line5). Temperature anomalies represent deviations from the 1961–90 reference period. The rising incidence of dragons in the literature correlates with rising temperatures, and suggests that these fire-breathing lizards are being sighted more frequently. As a result, the large-scale 'Third Stir' is deemed to be imminent.

As Godfrey of Exmouth attests, this was an era when humanity as a whole was fully aware of the existence of dragons and all other magical beings. It is likely that the persistent antisocial behaviour of dragons, and the failure of seemingly powerful magical beings to combat the scourge effectively, led to a deep-seated antipathy: witches became kindling, wizards who dared to imagine a heliocentric Universe suffered the indignity of trial and ridicule.

The combination of decreasing temperatures and a sharp decline in the number of knights saw the onset among dragons of The Great Sleep around the start of the fifteenth century. Such a phenomenon is well recognized: many ectothermic beasts enter a period of brumation (analogous to hibernation in endotherms) under adverse food and climatic conditions. The Great Sleep coincided with what is generally referred to as the Little Ice Age (Fig. 2). Historical records demonstrate that this period was a time of relative peace, at least with regard to dragon attacks. Many believed that dragons — the fire-breathing species, at any rate — had become extinct by the thirteenth or fourteenth century1. This belief has further been extended to a perplexing level, whereby conventional opinion now holds that dragons, and indeed all other magical beings, are mere fantasy. Such a creed has been a blessing for dragons, because it spelt an end to the persecutions. Witches are now seen as crazy but harmless women, and wizards as senile old men with nothing better to do than wander around folk festivals in funny hats.

The calm was shaken briefly from 1586 to 1597 with The First Stir. Dragons behave no differently from other ectotherms in their brumation protocols, and they will periodically awaken from their slumber and check to see whether outside conditions justify ending the torpor. With their need to maintain extremely high temperatures in their buccal and nasal furnaces, it is crucially important for the fire-breathing species to ensure that the environmental conditions are energetically favourable before breaking their dormancy: there must be warmth and food. Fortunately, The First Stir coincided with the depths of the Little Ice Age and a bewildering lack of knights. Thus, the decision to return to slumber was made without hesitation. Although very few witnessed the awakenings, those who did (including some highly respected philosophers) were quick to record their astonishment in text (Fig. 2), but were immediately ridiculed by their peers and their writings relegated to the disrespected genre of fiction.

The Second Stir, 1680–90, although generally considered smaller than the first, produced similar results. Belief in dragons was virtually restricted to youngsters — who are readily ignored — and a handful of believing philosophers (scientists), who were acutely aware of how their predecessors had been ostracized a century earlier and so chose to remain mostly silent on sightings. This is reflected in the lower frequency of dragons in the literature in this stir compared with the first (Fig. 2).

The shift in societal views of dragons from reality to fantasy has been described by some as a kind of bewitchment. Newt Scamander2 suggests that there was a deliberate policy among those of a 'magical' persuasion to hide the creatures. This is thought to have taken the form of casting a neurotransfer spell that translocates all information on magical phenomena held in the brain to a small lobe of the neocortex exclusively reserved for imaginative thought. As a result, any reported sightings are almost always done under the unconscious protection of fictitious communication. (This view has been challenged in the light of other cryptozoological phenomena such as the yeti or the Loch Ness monster, although the evidence remains inconclusive and proponents have largely been dismissed as unsuitable for responsible positions.)

It would have been expected that humanity's ignorance of the dragon situation would have been maintained were it not for a combination of events in the past few decades. First, the global economic downturn has led to a rise in the search for 'buried' treasure, and hoards that serve as homes to resting dragons are an ideal way to bolster a failing economic policy. This strategy of 'quantitative thieving' is highly likely to provoke reprisals from slumbering dragons who awake to discover that their nests have been stripped bare.

To make matters worse, it seems that the 'block' on human awareness is occasionally failing, as evidenced in 1976 when a scientist (ironically, a knight and baron) published a non-fiction manuscript on dragons in Nature3. Sluggish action on global warming is set to compound the problem, and policies such as the restoration of knighthoods in Australia are likely to exacerbate the predicament yet further by providing a sustained and delicious food supply. It is now only a matter of time before The Third Stir takes place, and this, to borrow a phrase from Godfrey of Exmouth, will be the “bigge one”. Climatic conditions are rapidly reaching an optimum for breeding dragons, and it is only a matter of time before the neurotransfer spell loses its efficacy completely. Further research into fireproof protective clothing is highly recommended — as is an avoidance of honorific titles.


Hogarth, P. J. Bull. Br. Ecol. Soc. 7, 2–5 (1976).

  1. Scamander, N. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Bloomsbury, 2001).

  2. May, R. M. Nature 264, 16–17 (1976).

  3. Michel, J.-B. et al. Science 331, 176–182 (2011).

  4. Mann, M. E. et al. Science 326, 1256–1260 (2009).

  5. Moberg, A. et al. Nature 433, 613–617 (2005).

Nature is a prominent interdisciplinary scientific journal. It was first published on 4 November 1869. It was ranked the world's most cited scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports, is ascribed an impact factor of approximately 42.4, and is widely regarded as one of the few remaining academic journals that publishes original research across a wide range of scientific fields. Nature claims an online readership of about 3 million unique readers per month. The journal has a circulation of around 53,000 but studies have concluded that on average a single copy is shared by as many as eight people. Wikipedia

(“Thou didst establish the sea, in thy might, thou didst break to pieces the heads of the dragons in the water.” Psalms 74:13 “And I will remove the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and make it a dwelling-place of dragons; and I will utterly waste the cities of Juda, so that they shall not be inhabited.” Jeremiah 9:11)



Louisiana Makes It Illegal To Use Cash For Secondhand Sales

One of the good features of cash is the fact that it can be used anonymously. It's no surprise that the government hates that, but would you ever expect the government to actually outlaw the use of cash? Down in Louisiana, a recently passed law completely outlaws the use of cash in transactions for secondhand goods. When I read the story, I thought it was so crazy that it had to be a misunderstanding. I looked up the bill, and the original version of the bill actually does not have this clause. Instead, it requires that anyone selling secondhand goods make a detailed recording of any cash transaction. But somewhere along the way, that bill was amended, and the final version (embedded below) does, in fact, appear to ban cash transactions:

A secondhand dealer shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property. Payment shall be made in the form of check, electronic transfers, or money order issued to the seller of the junk or used or secondhand property and made payable to the name and address of the seller. All payments made by check, electronic transfers, or money order shall be reported separately in the daily reports required by R.S. 37:1866.

I do wonder if that's even legal. Our cash clearly says that "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." While businesses may have the right to refuse cash, can a government outlaw the use of cash? That seems pretty extreme.

The state representative behind the bill, Rickey Hardy, seems to think it's no big deal, admitting that this is purely to make life easier for law enforcement in response to criminals who steal stuff and then sell it off:

"It's a mechanism to be used so the police department has something to go on and have a lead," explains Hardy.

You can understand why law enforcement wants that, but just because law enforcement wants details of your private transactions, it doesn't mean you should be blocked from using cash. And people wonder why there was so much interest in Bitcoin (even if Bitcoin itself is rather flawed).


Daily Mail

The computer smaller than a grain of rice: Tiny PC could invisibly monitor you and your home

  • Michigan Micro Mote is a complete computer system less that 5mm across

  • Contains solar cells that power the battery with ambient light

  • Can be equipped with cameras, temperature and pressure sensors


PUBLISHED: 15:39 EST, 7 April 2015 | UPDATED: 15:52 EST, 7 April 2015

It is the smallest computer in the world - and 150 of them can fit in a thimble.

Called the Michigan Micro Mote, to tiny technology is a complete computer system.

Its inventors say it can act as a smart sensor, and give everyday objects computing capabilities.

The Michigan Micro Mote is the first complete, operational computer system measuring as small as two millimeters across.

'To be 'complete,' a computer system must have an input of data, the ability to process that data - meaning process and store it, make decisions about what to do next – and ultimately, the ability to output the data.' Professor David Blaauw explained.

'The sensors are the input and the radios are the output. The other key to being a complete computer is the ability to supply its own power.'

The Michigan Micro Mote contains solar cells that power the battery with ambient light, including indoor rooms with no natural sunlight, allowing the computers to run perpetually.

This line of 'smart dust' devices includes computers equipped with imagers (with motion detection), temperature sensors, and pressure sensors.

They are the culmination of work initiated by Blaauw and Sylvester on very low-power processing for millimeter-scale systems.

The Phoenix processor is miniscule at 915 x 915µm2, and boasts ultra-low operating voltage and a unique standby mode that results in an average power consumption of only 500pW. (Consider that 1pW is the average power consumption of a single human cell.)

Blaauw explained why Phoenix's extreme energy efficiency is so important: 'As you shrink down in size, the percentage of the system tends to be dominated by the battery.

'It's actually not hard to make chips small, but it is hard to make them low power.

'We could have very small chips, but we'd still end up with really large batteries.'

This line of 'smart dust' devices includes computers equipped with imagers (with motion detection), temperature sensors, and pressure sensors.

One key application for this line of smart sensors lies in personal security and information, its inventors say.

The solar system allows the computer to work under indoor lights without ever having to be charged.

'With a 1mm2 solar cell producing 20nW, the device can harvest enough energy under ambient light to run perpetually,' the team say.

The device's standby power consumption is 2nA.

That's about a million times less power than the average mobile phone consumes while on standby, or the comparative difference between the thickness of a sheet of paper and the length of a football field.

There are currently three different systems in the M3 family, focusing on several different applications: sensing temperature, pressure, and taking images.

'Down the road we want these sensors to be able to talk to one another,' says Blaauw, 'and we're currently working to extend their range to about 20m.'

The working computer is smaller than a grain of rice programmed and charged via light and could be used for a variety of medical and industrial purposes.

One key application for this line of smart sensors lies in personal security and information.

Numerous specks of technology could be discretely placed to invisibly monitor a home, business, or personal device.

'We found that a lot of people were very interested in these devices, and that's why we went with the modular or stacked approach.' Blaauw explained.

'It's the key aspect of our design. If you need a different sensing modality you take out one sensor and replace it with another - like mix and match tinker toys.'




The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust

Tim Maughan

| 2 April 2015| 2 April 2015

Black sludge pours into the lake - one of many pipes lining the shore (Credit: Liam Young/Unknown Fields)

Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan.

From where I'm standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

Welcome to Baotou, the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia. I'm here with a group of architects and designers called the Unknown Fields Division, and this is the final stop on a three-week-long journey up the global supply chain, tracing back the route consumer goods take from China to our shops and homes, via container ships and factories.

You may not have heard of Baotou, but the mines and factories here help to keep our modern lives ticking. It is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of “rare earth” minerals. These elements can be found in everything from magnets in wind turbines and electric car motors, to the electronic guts of smartphones and flatscreen TVs. In 2009 China produced 95% of the world's supply of these elements, and it's estimated that the Bayan Obo mines just north of Baotou contain 70% of the world's reserves. But, as we would discover, at what cost?

Element of success

Rare earth minerals have played a key role in the transformation and explosive growth of China's world-beating economy over the last few decades. It's clear from visiting Baotou that it's had a huge, transformative impact on the city too. As the centre of this 21st Century gold-rush, Baotou feels very much like a frontier town.

Workers in a factory in Shenzhen make MP3 players (Credit: Kate Davies/Unknown Fields)

In 1950, before rare earth mining started in earnest, the city had a population of 97,000. Today, the population is more than two-and-a-half million. There is only one reason for this huge influx of people - minerals. As a result Baotou often feels stuck somewhere between a brave new world of opportunity presented by the global capitalism that depends on it, and the fading memories of Communism that still line its Soviet era boulevards. Billboards for expensive American brands stand next to revolution-era propaganda murals, as the disinterested faces of Western supermodels gaze down on statues of Chairman Mao. At night, multicoloured lights, glass-dyed by rare earth elements, line the larger roads, turning the city into a scene from the movie Tron, while the smaller side streets are filled with drunk, vomiting refinery workers that spill from bars and barbecue joints.

Even before getting to the toxic lake, the environmental impact the rare earth industry has had on the city is painfully clear. At times it’s impossible to tell where the vast structure of the Baogang refineries complex ends and the city begins. Massive pipes erupt from the ground and run along roadways and sidewalks, arching into the air to cross roads like bridges. The streets here are wide, built to accommodate the constant stream of huge diesel-belching coal trucks that dwarf all other traffic.

A coal mine in Baotou (Credit: Liam Young/Unknown Fields)

After it rains they plough, unstoppable, through roads flooded with water turned black by coal dust. They line up by the sides of the road, queuing to turn into one of Baotou’s many coal-burning power stations that sit unsettlingly close to freshly built apartment towers. Everywhere you look, between the half-completed tower blocks and hastily thrown up multi-storey parking lots, is a forest of flame-tipped refinery towers and endless electricity pylons. The air is filled with a constant, ambient, smell of sulphur. It’s the kind of industrial landscape that America and Europe has largely forgotten – at one time parts of Detroit or Sheffield must have looked and smelled like this.

Quiet plant

One of our first visits in the city is to a processing plant that specialises mainly in producing cerium, one of the most abundant rare earth minerals. Cerium has a huge number of commercial applications, from colouring glass to making catalytic converters. The guide who shows us around the plant explains that they mainly produce cerium oxide, used to polish touchscreens on smartphones and tablets.

Inside a rare earth mineral processing plant (Credit: Kate Davies/Unknown Fields)

As we are wandering through the factory’s hanger-like rooms, it’s impossible not to notice that something is missing. Amongst the mazes of pipes, tanks, and centrifuges, there are no people. In fact there’s no activity at all. Apart from our voices, which echo through the huge sheds, the plant is silent. It’s very obviously not operating. When asked, our guide tells us the plant is closed for maintenance – but there’s no sign of that either: no maintenance crews, no cleaning or repairs being done. When pushed further our guide gets suspicious, wonders why we are asking so many questions, and clams up. It’s a behaviour we’ll encounter a lot in Baotou – a refusal to answer questions or stray off a strictly worded script.

As we leave, one of our party who has visited the area before suggests a possible explanation: could local industry be artificially controlling market scarcity of products like cerium oxide, in order to keep rare earth prices high? We can’t know for sure that this was the case the day we visited. Yet it would not be unprecedented: in 2012, for example, the news agency Xinhua reported that China’s largest rare earth producer was suspending operations to prevent price drops.

One of Baotou’s other main exports is neodymium, another rare earth with a variety of applications. Again it is used to dye glass, especially for making lasers, but perhaps its most important use is in making powerful yet lightweight magnets. Neodymium magnets are used in consumer electronics items such as in-ear headphones, cellphone microphones, and computer hard-drives. At the other end of the scale they are a vital component in large equipment that requires powerful magnetic fields, such as wind farm turbines and the motors that power the new generation of electric cars. We’re shown around a neodymium magnet factory by a guide who seems more open than our friend at the cerium plant. We’re even given some magnets to play with. But again, when our questions stray too far from applications and to production and associated environmental costs, the answers are less forthcoming, and pretty soon the visit is over.

The refinement of rare earth minerals, like that done in this factory, can cause toxic byproducts (Credit: Kate Davies/Unknown Fields)

The intriguing thing about both neodymium and cerium is that while they’re called rare earth minerals, they're actually fairly common. Neodymium is no rarer than copper or nickel and quite evenly distributed throughout the world’s crust. While China produces 90% of the global market’s neodymium, only 30% of the world’s deposits are located there. Arguably, what makes it, and cerium, scarce enough to be profitable are the hugely hazardous and toxic process needed to extract them from ore and to refine them into usable products. For example, cerium is extracted by crushing mineral mixtures and dissolving them in sulphuric and nitric acid, and this has to be done on a huge industrial scale, resulting in a vast amount of poisonous waste as a byproduct. It could be argued that China’s dominance of the rare earth market is less about geology and far more about the country’s willingness to take an environmental hit that other nations shy away from.

(Credit: Liam Young/Unknown Fields)

And there’s no better place to understand China’s true sacrifice than the shores of Baotou toxic lake. Apparently created by damming a river and flooding what was once farm land, the lake is a “tailings pond”: a dumping ground for waste byproducts. It takes just 20 minutes to reach the lake by car from the centre of the city, passing through abandoned countryside dominated by the industrial architecture on the horizon. Earlier reports claim the lake is guarded by the military, but we see no sign. We pass a shack that was presumably a guard hut at one point but it’s abandoned now; whoever was here left in a hurry, leaving their bedding, cooking stove, and instant noodle packets behind when they did.

(Credit: Liam Young/Unknown Fields)

We reached the shore, and looked across the lake. I’d seen some photos before I left for Inner Mongolia, but nothing prepared me for the sight. It’s a truly alien environment, dystopian and horrifying. The thought that it is man-made depressed and terrified me, as did the realisation that this was the byproduct not just of the consumer electronics in my pocket, but also green technologies like wind turbines and electric cars that we get so smugly excited about in the West. Unsure of quite how to react, I take photos and shoot video on my cerium polished iPhone.

You can see the lake on Google Maps, and that hints at the scale. Zoom in far enough and you can make out the dozens of pipes that line the shore. Unknown Fields’ Liam Young collected some samples of the waste and took it back to the UK to be tested. “The clay we collected from the toxic lake tested at around three times background radiation,” he later tells me.


Watch the black byproduct of rare earth mining pouring into the lake at Baotao (Credit: Richard John Seymour/Unknown Fields)

Unknown Fields has an unusual plan for the stuff. “We are using this radioactive clay to make a series of ceramic vessels modelled on traditional Ming vases,” Young explains, “each proportioned based on the amount of toxic waste produced by the rare earth minerals used in a particular tech gadget.” The idea is to illustrate the impact our consumer goods have on the environment, even when that environment might be unseen and thousands of miles away.

After seeing the impact of rare earth mining myself, it’s impossible to view the gadgets I use everyday in the same way. As I watched Apple announce their smart watch recently, a thought crossed my mind: once we made watches with minerals mined from the Earth and treated them like precious heirlooms; now we use even rarer minerals and we'll want to update them yearly. Technology companies continually urge us to upgrade; to buy the newest tablet or phone. But I cannot forget that it all begins in a place like Bautou, and a terrible toxic lake that stretches to the horizon.



The Czech President's Lone Stand against US Bullying

By announcing that the US ambassador is no longer welcome in Prague Castle, Zeman has served notice that not everyone in Europe is willing to be pushed around by uncouth viceroys such as Victoria Nuland or the armchair warrior Senator McCain

Vlad Sobell

April 6, 2015

Vlad Sobell lives in Prague and teaches political economy to university students both there and in Berlin

President Zeman’s demarche banishing the US Ambassador Andrew Schapiro from the Prague Castle is a welcome sign that at least some European leaders have drawn the line at Washington’s imperial-like bullying. After all there are limits to what they are prepared to tolerate. It is also an urgently needed reminder to Washington that some European leaders take seriously the values of democracy preached by America: genuine democracy is incompatible with the renewed Soviet-style practice of passing down instructions on how the foreign policy of putatively sovereign nations should be conducted. Although Zeman’s political role in the Czech Republic is honorary (rather than executive), it is to be hoped that the US political class will take notice and interpret his “disobedience” as proof that not everyone in Europe is ready to be pushed around without so much as a murmur.

Let’s briefly consider the most recent events providing the background to the spat – namely Moscow’s reclaiming Crimea. The peninsula was Russian from 1783 onwards, with the vast majority of its residents being Russophone. It was handed over to Ukraine by a totalitarian dictator, Nikita Khrushchev, in 1954 when he needed to strengthen his hand in Kremlin power struggles. Of course the Communists would not have dreamt of conducting a referendum the way Putin did – paying heed to legality certainly was not their style.

Fast forward to February 2014, when, in another illegal act, Kiev fell under the sway of a virulently anti-Russian US-backed regime. Anticipating trouble, the Kremlin swiftly responded by re-claiming Crimea. Would any self-respecting power risk the unleashing of terror on its fellow nationals by far-right “punishers”, not to mention the inevitable transfer to NATO further down the road of the Russia-leased Sevastopol naval base? We saw how Britain, with US support, acted to reclaim the Falkland Islands in 1982 (after they had been annexed by an Argentine fascist junta), eventually declaring its inhabitants British citizens. By reintegrating Crimea with Russia, Putin (like Mrs Thatcher) corrected a historical wrong and respected the publicly declared wish of the overwhelming majority of the territory’s current population.

The US Ambassador in Prague may consider Zeman’s intention to take part in the celebrations in Moscow “short-sighted” and his appearance there “awkward”. However, many independently thinking people, not only in this country but throughout Europe and even in the US, may well see Zeman’s actions as a desperately needed affirmation of national sovereignty and, indeed, democracy. As the Czech President explained, he is going to Moscow above all to honour the 150,000 Soviet soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the liberation of this country from Hitler’s Nazi hordes. As he has put it, his visit to Russia will be a “sign of gratitude for not having to speak German in this country”. From an objective viewpoint, it is difficult to find anything disreputable in Zeman’s plans.

The Czech President’s stance is a courageous act in the context of the unashamed US/EU/NATO-supported revival of Nazi tendencies in Ukraine and efforts to portray the beast as a democracy-promoting force. Zeman has served notice that not everyone in Europe is willing to be pushed around by uncouth viceroys such as Victoria Nuland or the armchair warrior Senator McCain. This is exactly what was needed in a country long traumatised by foreign occupations and which has opened a new page within a supposedly democratic alliance. Zeman has also delivered a much-needed lesson in democracy to the increasingly faltering Washington. High-handed imperial-like instructions and a misplaced sense of solidarity in an alliance that is clearly losing its democratic ways have nothing to do with genuine democracy.



Is Greece About to Play its Geopolitical Trump Card and Ignite a Chain Reaction Across Europe?

Michael Krieger | Posted Thursday Apr 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm

If the EMU powers persist mechanically with their stale demands – even reverting to terms that the previous pro-EMU government in Athens rejected in December – they risk setting off a political chain-reaction that can only eviscerate the EU Project as a motivating ideology in Europe.

Forced Grexit would entrench a pervasive suspicion that EU bodies are ultimately agents of creditor enforcement. It would expose the Project’s post-war creed of solidarity as so much humbug.

Greece could not plausibly remain in Nato if ejected from EMU in acrimonious circumstances. It would drift into the Russian orbit, where Hungary’s Viktor Orban already lies. The southeastern flank of Europe’s security system would fall apart.

Mr Tsipras is now playing the Russian card with an icy ruthlessness, more or less threatening to veto fresh EU measures against the Kremlin as the old set expires. “We disagree with sanctions. The new European security architecture must include Russia,” he told the TASS news agency.

He offered to turn Greece into a strategic bridge, linking the two Orthodox nations. “Russian-Greek relations have very deep roots in history,” he said, hitting all the right notes before his trip to Moscow next week.

– From Ambrose Evans Pritchard’s article in the Telegraph: Greek Defiance Mounts as Alexis Tsipras Turns to Russia and China.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve at times been a strong critic of Greek leadership’s seeming unwillingness to demonstrate the courage necessary to flip the bird to EU bureaucrats and usher in paradigm level change for the long suffering nation. At the core of the problem seems the be the mandate under which Syriza was elected — namely to end austerity, but remain in the euro.

This presents a serious problem, since the threat of leaving the euro is the only real leverage the Greeks have. If they aren’t willing to risk that, then they aren’t really willing to risk much of anything. The key issue facing Tsipras and Varoufakis seems to be how they can take bold action while at the same time reducing the severity of the immediate pain certain to come in the short-term. Surely EU bureaucrats and the U.S. would try to punish Greece as severely as possible so as to ensure that other uppity Southern European nations would never dare follow in their footsteps. This is where a pivot toward Russia and China might provide a hedge and some leverage. Ambrose Evans Pritchard discusses this in his excellent article published by the Telegraph.

Here are some excerpts:

Two months of EU bluster and reproof have failed to cow Greece. It is becoming clear that Europe’s creditor powers have misjudged the nature of the Greek crisis and can no longer avoid facing the Morton’s Fork in front of them.

Any deal that goes far enough to assuage Greece’s justly-aggrieved people must automatically blow apart the austerity settlement already fraying in the rest of southern Europe. The necessary concessions would embolden populist defiance in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and bring German euroscepticism to the boil.

Emotional consent for monetary union is ebbing dangerously in Bavaria and most of eastern Germany, even if formulaic surveys do not fully catch the strength of the undercurrents.

Yet if the EMU powers persist mechanically with their stale demands – even reverting to terms that the previous pro-EMU government in Athens rejected in December – they risk setting off a political chain-reaction that can only eviscerate the EU Project as a motivating ideology in Europe.

Alexis Tsipras leads the first radical-Leftist government elected in Europe since the Second World War. His Syriza movement is, in a sense, totemic for the European Left, even if sympathisers despair over its chaotic twists and turns. As such, it is a litmus test of whether progressives can pursue anything resembling an autonomous economic policy within EMU.

We live in gentler times today, yet any decision to eject Greece and its Syriza rebels from the euro by cutting off liquidity to the Greek banking system would amount to the same thing, since the EU authorities do not have a credible justification or a treaty basis for acting in such a way. Rebuking Syriza for lack of “reform” sticks in the craw, given the way the EU-IMF Troika winked at privatization deals that violated the EU’s own competition rules, and chiefly enriched a politically-connected elite.

Forced Grexit would entrench a pervasive suspicion that EU bodies are ultimately agents of creditor enforcement. It would expose the Project’s post-war creed of solidarity as so much humbug.

Willem Buiter, Citigroup’s chief economist, warns that Greece faces an “economic show of horrors” if it returns to the drachma, but it will not be a pleasant affair for Europe either. “Monetary union is meant to be unbreakable and irrevocable. If it is broken, and if it is revoked, the question will arise over which country is next,” he said.

What a clown. Nothing created by man is unbreakable and irrevocable. That is the one undisputed lesson from history.

Greece could not plausibly remain in Nato if ejected from EMU in acrimonious circumstances. It would drift into the Russian orbit, where Hungary’s Viktor Orban already lies. The southeastern flank of Europe’s security system would fall apart.

Rightly or wrongly, Mr Tsipras calculates that the EU powers cannot allow any of this to happen, and therefore that their bluff can be called. “We are seeking an honest compromise, but don’t expect an unconditional agreement from us,” he told the Greek parliament this week.

Mr Tsipras is now playing the Russian card with an icy ruthlessness, more or less threatening to veto fresh EU measures against the Kremlin as the old set expires. “We disagree with sanctions. The new European security architecture must include Russia,” he told the TASS news agency.

He offered to turn Greece into a strategic bridge, linking the two Orthodox nations. “Russian-Greek relations have very deep roots in history,” he said, hitting all the right notes before his trip to Moscow next week.

Panagiotis Lafazanis, Greece’s energy minister and head of Syriza’s Left Platform, was in Moscow this week meeting Gazprom officials. He voiced a “keen interest” in the Kremlin’s new pipeline plan though Turkey, known as “Turkish Stream”.

Operating in parallel, Greece’s deputy premier, Yannis Drakasakis, vowed to throw open the Port of Piraeus to China’s shipping group Cosco, giving it priority in a joint-venture with the Greek state’s remaining 67pc stake in the ports. On cue, China has bought €100m of Greek T-bills, helping to plug a funding shortfall as the ECB orders Greek banks to step back.

One might righteously protest at what amounts to open blackmail by Mr Tsipras, deeming such conduct to be a primary violation of EU club rules. Yet this is to ignore what has been done to Greece over the past four years, and why the Greek people are so angry.

Leaked IMF minutes from 2010 confirm what Syriza has always argued: the country was already bankrupt and needed debt relief rather than new loans. This was overruled in order to save the euro and to save Europe’s banking system at a time when EMU had no defences against contagion.

Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis rightly calls it “a cynical transfer of private losses from the banks’ books onto the shoulders of Greece’s most vulnerable citizens”. A small fraction of the €240bn of loans remained in the Greek economy. Some 90pc was rotated back to banks and financial creditors. The damage was compounded by austerity overkill. The economy contracted so violently that the debt-ratio rocketed instead of coming down, defeating the purpose.

Marc Chandler, from Brown Brothers Harriman, says the liabilities incurred – pushing Greece’s debt to 180pc of GDP – almost fit the definition of “odious debt” under international law. “The Greek people have not been bailed out. The economy has contracted by a quarter. With deflation, nominal growth has collapsed and continues to contract,” he said.

The Greeks know this.


The Washington Post

Gloomy Don McLean reveals meaning of ‘American Pie’ — and sells lyrics for $1.2 million

By Justin Wm. Moyer April 8 at 2:52 AM

Songwriter Don McLean's manuscript for the classic song “American Pie” sold at an auction for $1.2 million . (Reuters)

The music died because Buddy Holly merely wanted what every touring musician wants: to do laundry.

Shoved into unheated buses on a “Winter Dance Party” tour in 1959, Holly — tired of rattling through the Midwest with dirty clothes — chartered a plane on Feb. 3 to fly from Clear Lake, Iowa, to Fargo, N.D., where he hoped he could make an appointment with a washing machine. Joining him on the plane were Ritchie Valens and, after future country star Waylon Jennings gave up his seat, J.P. Richardson, a.k.a. “the Big Bopper.” Taking off in bad weather with a pilot not certified to do so, the plane crashed, killing everyone aboard. The toll was incalculable: The singers of “Peggy Sue” and “Come On Let’s Go” and “Donna” and “La Bamba” were dead. Holly was just 22; incredibly, Valens was just 17. Rock and roll would never be the same.

Thirteen years later, Don McLean wrote a song about this tragedy: “American Pie,” an 8½-minute epic with an iconic lyric about “the day the music died.” Now, the original 16-page working manuscript of the lyrics has been sold at auction for $1.2 million.

“I thought it would be interesting as I reach age 70 to release this work product on the song American Pie so that anyone who might be interested will learn that this song was not a parlor game,” McLean said in a Christie’s catalogue ahead of the sale. “It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music.”

That photograph was always a little bit blurry. At more than 800 words, the meaning of “American Pie” proved elusive even for a generation used to parsing inscrutable Bob Dylan and Beatles lyrics. McLean has said the song was inspired by the 1959 plane crash, but has been cagey about other details.

“People ask me if I left the lyrics open to ambiguity,” McLean said in an early interview, as the Guardian reported. “Of course I did. I wanted to make a whole series of complex statements. The lyrics had to do with the state of society at the time.”

But what state was that? It seemed like the song’s cast of characters — which include a jester, a king, a queen, good ol’ boys drinking whiskey and rye as well as “Miss American Pie” herself — were meant to represent real people. The song includes references to Karl Marx; Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (or, more likely, John Lennon); the Fab Four; the Byrds; James Dean; Charles Manson; the Rolling Stones; the “widowed bride,” Jackie Kennedy; and the Vietnam War.

Left: Don McLean in 1972. Right: McLean in Waterford, N.Y., in 1968. (Photos by AP)

What does it all mean? Just what a song about the day the music died seems like it might be about: the end of the American Dream.

“Basically in ‘American Pie,’ things are heading in the wrong direction,” he told Christie’s, as the Newcastle Herald reported. “It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.”

As ideals of the 1960s turned into the cynicism of the 1970s, this feeling was widespread enough to send the song to No. 1 in 1972.

“American Pie is the accessible farewell to the Fifties and Sixties,” Guardian music critic Alexis Petridis wrote in the catalogue. “Bob Dylan talked to the counterculture in dense, cryptic, apocalyptic terms. But Don McLean says similar ominous things in a pop language that a mainstream listener could understand. The chorus is so good that it lets you wallow in the confusion and wistfulness of that moment, and be comforted at the same time. It’s bubblegum Dylan, really.” (Perhaps of note: Dylan’s manuscript of “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for $2 million in June, besting McLean’s measly $1.2 million.)

Forty-four years after “American Pie’s” release, McLean, 69, wasn’t much more positive about the state of the world than he was a generation ago.

“I was around in 1970 and now I am around in 2015,” McLean said, as People Magazine reported. “There is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of ‘American Pie.’ ”

Nor was there romance in McLean’s decision to sell the manuscript. He did it for the dough.

“I’m going to be 70 this year,” he told Rolling Stone. “I have two children and a wife, and none of them seem to have the mercantile instinct. I want to get the best deal that I can for them. It’s time.”

Ahead of the Christie’s auction, McLean did offer some advice to all the budding Don McLeans out here.

“I would say to young songwriters who are starting out to immerse yourself in beautiful music and beautiful lyrics and think about every word you say in a song,” he said.

Here are the words of “American Pie” as transcribed by, the savior of cover bands everywhere. (Note: AZ creatively transcribes what many hear as “whiskey and rye” as “whiskey in Rye.”)


A long, long time ago

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile

And I knew if I had my chance

That I could make those people dance

And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But February made me shiver

With every paper I’d deliver

Bad news on the doorstep

I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried

When I read about his widowed bride

But something touched me deep inside

The day the music died


So bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye

Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die

This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 1]

Did you write the book of love

And do you have faith in God above

If the Bible tells you so?

Now do you believe in rock and roll?

Can music save your mortal soul?

And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that you’re in love with him

‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym

You both kicked off your shoes

Man, I dig those rhythm and blues

I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck

With a pink carnation and a pickup truck

But I knew I was out of luck

The day the music died


I started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye

Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die

This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 2]

Now for 10 years we’ve been on our own

And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone

But that’s not how it used to be

When the jester sang for the king and queen

In a coat he borrowed from James Dean

And a voice that came from you and me

Oh, and while the king was looking down

The jester stole his thorny crown

The courtroom was adjourned

No verdict was returned

And while Lenin read a book on Marx

The quartet practiced in the park

And we sang dirges in the dark

The day the music died


We were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye

Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die

This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 3]

Helter skelter in a summer swelter

The birds flew off with a fallout shelter

Eight miles high and falling fast

It landed foul on the grass

The players tried for a forward pass

With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume

While the sergeants played a marching tune

We all got up to dance

Oh, but we never got the chance

‘Cause the players tried to take the field

The marching band refused to yield

Do you recall what was revealed

The day the music died?


We started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye

And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die

This’ll be the day that I die”

[Verse 4]

Oh, and there we were all in one place

A generation lost in space

With no time left to start again

So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick

Jack Flash sat on a candlestick

‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage

My hands were clenched in fists of rage

No angel born in Hell

Could break that Satan’s spell

And as the flames climbed high into the night

To light the sacrificial rite

I saw Satan laughing with delight

The day the music died

He was singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye

And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die

This’ll be the day that I die”


I met a girl who sang the blues

And I asked her for some happy news

But she just smiled and turned away

I went down to the sacred store

Where I’d heard the music years before

But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

And in the streets, the children screamed

The lovers cried and the poets dreamed

But not a word was spoken

The church bells all were broken

And the three men I admire most

The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost

They caught the last train for the coast

The day the music died

And they were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye

Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die

This’ll be the day that I die”


They were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry

Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye

And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die”

Zero Hedge

The Most Whiney, Thin-Skinned, Easily Offended Society In The History Of The World

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/08/2015 00:39 -0400

Authored by Matt Walsh (Matt Walsh's blog), via The Burning Platform,

PC nation gone amok.

Sorry, but it’s your fault if you’re offended all the time

by Matt Walsh

I truly believe that we are the most whiney, sensitive, thin-skinned, easily offended society in the history of the world.

Nobody has ever been as prolific at getting offended as we are.

Nobody cries over insignificant nonsense as loudly and consistently as us.

It’s the one thing we seem to do better than everyone else on the planet. We corner the Offended Market, and it’s not even close. Modern Americans love to get offended more than we love eating Cinnabon or talking about our fitness goals. If it was an Olympic sport, we’d grab the gold, silver, and bronze every year. If it was a job, we’d all be millionaires. In fact, we have turned it into a job, and the people who do it professionally are millionaires (Al Sharpton, etc). It is our calling card, our national pastime. It is the battle we fight and the banner we wave.

We get offended faster and more efficiently than anyone. And it’s not just our speed that separates us from the rest — it’s our endurance. We have a limitless capacity for offendedness. Every week there are dozens of new national outrages and boycott campaigns and social media crusades to raise awareness about some offensive thing, or to get someone fired for saying some offensive thing, or to teach people that some previously non-offensive thing has now become offensive.

Most of all, I find myself positively dazzled by the dexterity and athleticism with which we get offended. We can juggle six or seven outrages all at once, and then drop them and pick up new ones in the blink of an eye.

Our creativity and meticulousness are also quite notable here. We can look at any situation and extract hundreds of offensive factors that an untrained eye probably would have overlooked. We conjure up more fabricated outrages and controversies in a month than past civilizations could have mustered in a thousand years.

Do you remember what everyone was super worked up about four weeks ago? Yeah, me neither. That’s the point. We move on to the new outrage so quickly and the old ones are buried and forgotten. Well, whatever it was way back then, I’m sure it was REALLY bad and we were REALLY upset.

It’s always something. We have located the Fountain of Eternal Indignation, and we drink it by the gallon.

So then it is no wonder that this is the climate which has given rise to a concept called microaggressions.

Have you heard about these? I was thinking about them a lot yesterday after I watched this stirring and important PSA on the subject by Andrew Klavan:

Inspired to do my part in exposing the micro-scourge, I sent out these Tweets:

It was not easy to confront the fact that I’ve been microaggressed upon by both my wife and the cat, but complaining about it on Twitter was deeply therapeutic. Am I a ‘hero’ for fighting these injustices via whining about them on social media? I wouldn’t use that word, but that’s only because I’m so humble.

For anyone who isn’t familiar, a microaggression is something that college students learn about because science and history are too boring. It is, according to Wikipedia, a theory that ‘describes social exchanges in which a member of a dominant culture [or gender] says or does something that belittles and alienates a member of a marginalized group.’

Wait a minute, you might think. Isn’t that just a regular aggression? Don’t we already know that you shouldn’t insult and alienate people? Why do we need a new word for it?

Well, we need a new word because the old words describe things that are objectively and explicitly offensive. Microaggressions, on the other hand, are things that are only offensive because some member of an approved victim group declared it so.

It would be, by any definition, aggressive and belittling for White Guy A to walk up to a Chinese individual and say, “Hey, I hate Chinese people! Go back to China, Chinese person!”

But, as taught by the deranged social theory promoted by nearly every public university in America, a microaggression happens when White Guy B approaches a Chinese person and says, “Hi, where are you from?” or “Hello, I’m interested in your culture. What language do they speak in your country of origin?”

Non-liberals would find those comments to be utterly innocuous, even friendly, but liberals have decided that White Guy B and White Guy A are identical, and their words and actions can be interpreted the same.

A microaggression, in other words, is what happens when someone says something inoffensive but the listener chooses to be offended by it anyway. Microaggressions are closely related to micro-inequities, which is when minorities, gays, and women are ‘overlooked’ or ‘singled out’ by a ‘gesture’ or a ‘tone of voice’ that manifests a ‘deeply rooted and unconscious’ bias.

The great thing about the ‘unconscious bias’ shtick is that it allows someone to infer offensive meanings in what you say, while preventing you from defending yourself by assuming that you don’t actually know what you mean or how you feel. In the bizarre world of contemporary progressivism, only the Offended Person can tell you how you really feel, even if it isn’t how you feel. Essentially, you feel however the Offended Person feels you feel. Got it?

Still confused? OK, check out this Buzzfeed post, which features a bunch of fashionably somber 20-somethings describing the times when someone microaggressively forgot their last name, complimented their hair, or asked where they’re from. (Some of the examples listed are legitimately rude, which makes them regular old straightforward insults. We don’t need any fancy new progressive buzzwords to figure out how to categorize them.)

The New York Times explains, in a piece titled Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions,’ that it’s also microaggressive to praise a person for being articulate, or to acknowledge that Asians are often gifted in math, science, and technological fields.

Psychology Today adds that you’ve committed a microaggression if you mistakenly think a woman is a nurse when she’s really a doctor (then again, calling that a microaggression is, itself, a microaggression against nurses because it seems to suggest that there’s something wrong with being a nurse).

With these in mind, maybe you won’t be too shocked by this example offered by a reader in an email last night:


Love the blog, man. Thanks for it. I’m a sophomore at a college that shall go nameless. I saw your Twitter tirade tonight about micro-aggressions and I thought I’d let you know that my university has launched a “campaign” to make us all aware of our unconscious biases and microaggressions that serve to otherize minority groups…

Today a girl in one of my classes suggested that pulling out a chair or opening a car door for a woman could be a microaggression because it insinuates that she is incapable of doing it herself. Lots of people INCLUDING THE PROFESSOR agreed! I feel like I’m surrounded by crazy people…


Yes, opening a car door is a microaggression.

God help us.

Does anyone else get the impression that college is somehow making a lot of people dumber (or maybe just accentuating preexisting dumbness)? I pray for this young man, that he make it through three more years of higher education without sustaining any serious brain damage. A tall order, to be sure. I’m not even taking these classes every day and I feel slightly concussed just from reading the phrase “unconscious biases and microaggresions that serve to otherize minority groups,” let alone that whole car door bit.

It’s remarkable that many in our society are so addicted to victimhood that they can’t even wait for the handful of fresh media-constructed outrages to come along in the news every week. They have to stop and snack on these infinitesimal little affronts and indignities along the way.

Everyone wants to be a martyr these days, and they’ll grasp at any straw and sob over any banal remark in order to achieve it. They will twist and torture any comment or polite exchange just to find even the faintest hint of a snub or a taunt.

We are absolutely determined to be victims, and I think there are a few reasons for that:

First, many of us have been programmed to desire pity more than anything — even above respect or love. There are a lot of profound spiritual factors at work here, and it would require a hundred different blog posts to even crack the surface. To sum up this phenomenon in a very insufficient way: our obsession with pity stems from our selfishness. Love, charity, and fraternity, in order to exist, must be both given and received. They are a great gift, but also a duty. When we love we are showered with blessings, but we are likewise called to make enormous sacrifices. Pity, on the other hand, works just one way. When a person demands pity they demand something for nothing. They want to be a recipient but not a giver. This is why love has fallen out of favor in our culture and pity has been put in its place. It’s also why many marriages fall apart. When love is extinguished often its void is filled by a lethal mixture of pity and guilt. I think it can be accurately said that some people in our society have spent their whole lives in relationships ruled only by these two forces.

Second, we have come to believe that our Victimhood grants us wisdom and insight. How many times has a constructive debate been derailed when one of the participants suddenly proclaims that only their opinion counts because they’re the only one who “knows what it feels like”? Important cultural and social issues devolve into gladiatorial duels over who can claim the title of Ultimate Victim. Whoever wins then earns the right to make even the most irrational and unintelligible assertions, and anyone who defies them will be deemed a bigot and banished from the conversation. For this reason, people collect their examples of microaggressions like chips at a casino, and then they cash them in as soon as someone mentions abortion or affirmative action on Facebook.

Third, we are bored. Much of the chaos in our culture can be boiled down to this. We are simply bored. We need something to fight about, something to complain about, something to cry about. Without it, we feel like we will cease to exist. Descartes said cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am. But today we’ve changed the expression slightly: I am offended therefore I am.

So that’s the diagnosis, but what’s the cure?

Well, we could start by not sending our kids to public universities. Asinine gibberish like “microaggression” can only be effectively fostered and spread in the cloistered, cutoff, sheltered environment of ‘higher education.’ Maybe if we starve the beast, it will stop infecting our kids with this kind of madness.

But that would be a merely partial solution. The full answer escapes me, but I know it requires everyone to come to terms with these five Absolute Truths:

1) If it wasn’t intended to offend you, then you shouldn’t be offended.

2) You do not get to decide someone else’s intentions. They do.

3) Being offended is a choice you make. Nobody is responsible for that choice but you.

4) Even if the slight was intended and deliberate, functioning adults understand that they must move on and not dwell over every sideways glance or rude comment.

5) You have to stop doing the trendy internet thing where you write something on a piece of paper and take a picture of yourself holding it up while frowning. It’s just annoying at this point.

You’ll never be happy or satisfied if you don’t keep these five points in mind.

But then, for the grievance mongers, I suppose happiness isn’t the goal.

If they’re happy then people might stop feeling sorry for them.

Whatever they do, they certainly can’t allow that to happen.

Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
(Psalm 119:165)


Dear Ones,


As you may be aware we have recently put out an appeal for help in support of a documentary we, “People of the Keys”, are planning on making from mid-May to mid-June with Simon Peterson of “Nightlight” (A radio show which airs out of Uganda). (For more on Simon's bio see the last two weeks editorials.)

Below is Simon's appeal which gives more details on the project.

We at “People of the Keys” would right now especially like to take the time to thank those who have already given from last weeks appeal and those who have pledged. God bless you.

We would also especially like to ask TFI and former TFI folks if they would pray and see if the Lord could be leading them to help with this project.

It only takes enough people giving just a little to make it happen.

Thank you and God bless you!

Simon's Appeal

Robert (of and I are making arrangements to film 2 or 3 documentaries in Jerusalem during the last week of May and the first 2 weeks of June. With the help of a TFI brother who now lives in Jerusalem, we have located an apartment we wish to rent that is just a short walk away from the Old City, where most of the filming will take place.

The Lord has supplied the cameras and other equipment needed for the filming, but we would appreciate some financial help towards our air fares, apartment rental and other costs if any of you would like to chip in with however much you would like to invest in this project.

You can donate via Paypal to Or, if you are a TFI member you can send it with your TFI report as a designated gift to "simonpeter" (my log in). Or you can donate by Paypal via the People of the Keys website.

All donors will, of course, receive copies of the three documentaries, which are:


    A documentary about the past, present and most importantly the future of Jerusalem from where Jesus will reign during the Millennium.


    Completely new script and footage. The linking narrations will be filmed on the Mount of Olives and elsewhere in Israel.


This is Robert's specialty. Where did the Temple actually stand? Discussing this question enables us to bring in the wider spectrum of Endtime prophecies. (We have already done a Nightlight radio show on this topic which you can find at and which will give you a pretty good idea of the content of the documentary.

Robert spent a month in Israel in September of last year and has already done a lot of background research and visited many of the locations where we will film. I also remember Jerusalem very well from the time I spent there filming "Beyond Armageddon" in 1997. I am also already working on the scripts, so when we arrive in Israel we should be able to hit the ground running.

Robert will arrive from the U.S. a week early, so that he can get over jet lag and then start to set things up. Then I'll join him and we'll start to film footage for the documentaries. Then my son, Kingdom, will join us for the last 10 days to film all the 'on camera' narrations and interviews. We'll be sorting and editing the footage each night as we go along, so that when we return to Uganda, the post production stage should not take so long.

Please pray for this project and also donate towards the costs, if you can. These are documentaries that we would like to make freely available to all and will not be a commercial venture.

If anyone has any ideas to contribute, or you would like to do graphics for it, or whatever, please feel free to communicate.

Wow, I'm excited! The Lord is putting all the pieces in place for this to happen and I am sure that He is going to lead and guide and anoint these documentaries and make them a blessing to many!

God bless!