Archive | December 2005

The Weekly Dream: Lifestyle Changes

Next to Christmas and my birthday, New Year’s is easily one of my favorite times of year. It is something about new beginnings and second chances that is particularly exciting. New Year’s resolutions was something I took very seriously. Everyday after Christmas, i wound hound everyone I came in contact with, asking them what was their New Year’s resolution for the next year, what did they hope to achieve. I received a variety of answers, from people who did not make them to those who did. However, my grandmother always give me the same, interesting answer every year. She would say, “Why wait until next year? Tomorrow is not promised, be a better person today.” As a child I never understood what she meant, but this year I think I finally understand.

Next to Christmas and my birthday, New Year’s is easily one of my favorite times of year. It is something about new beginnings and second chances that is particularly exciting. New Year’s resolutions was something I took very seriously. Everyday after Christmas, i wound hound everyone I came in contact with, asking them what was their New Year’s resolution for the next year, what did they hope to achieve. I received a variety of answers, from people who did not make them to those who did. However, my grandmother always give me the same, interesting answer every year. She would say, “Why wait until next year? Tomorrow is not promised, be a better person today.” As a child I never understood what she meant, but this year I think I finally understand.

The Present is a gift…

There is nothing especially magical about this ordained time. The practice of making New Year’s Resolutions is really a preliminary step to what we should be doing all year. Every day is a new beginning, a chance to bury yesterday’s failures and regrets and an opportunity to make things right. The spirit of New Year’s should be 24/7. Yet, how people approach this special time might be telling about the quality of life they currently enjoy.

Why is it that some people obtain their goals by year’s end, while the vast majority of individuals are beaten before they even begin? I believe the secret lies in the aims.

A Change is Gonna Come

Where most people fail in their aims is that they do not make lifestyle changes, they try to compartmentalize their change. Most people promise to lose weight, exercise three times a week, give up smoking or foul language. These are all admirable objectives, but they fail to understand the power of habits and their relationship to lifestyle. A lifestyle permeates every area of your life. It is a guiding principle that orders your action, words, and deeds. A lifestyle change is the difference between religion and spirituality. This goal and this objectives is so important that you allow it to reorganize every aspect of your daily existence. And the truth is, most of our resolutions are not daring enough. There is not enough at stake.

How can we turn the tide? First, we need to find out the truth about ourselves. There is a distinct difference between truth and facts. Facts tell you where you are now, but the truth reveals who you really are and what you are capable of. Something can be a fact, but it is not necessarily the truth, until we except it as so. Thus, the very first thing is to find out the truth about yourself. What motivates you? What are your principles and believes about yourself? Aligning your objectives with your core is extremely powerful. Once you know the truth about yourself, it cannot help but to make you free.

Second, we need to get angry. Anger is an extremely potent motivator, but in the hands of most individuals, it is just wasted energy. If we could begin to channel our anger and frustration into effective action, we would see some tangible results in our lives. Anger automatically brings a sense of urgency along with it that is always essential to undergo any change. We need to become angry with the status quo to the point we want to do something about it. If you do not like something, do something about it. Uproot those false truths that have become your reality and do not rest until you have conquered them. They are the habits that are keeping you from your destiny.

Third, after we have done some self-reflection, and we know what needs to go, we need strategies. Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented). This will determine your level of dedication to the process. Once your goal has all the SMART characteristics, enlist a partner to hold you accountable. Your chances of success increase 50% when you get an outside party involved.

Lastly, be patient with yourself and the process. Change does not happen overnight, it comes by making consistent decisions and exposing ourselves to environments consistent with those decisions. Once you make the decision, stay the course with vigilance.

Parting Words

2006 is a year I feel will open new doors and possibilities for abundance and prosperity for all of us. Yet, you do not have to wait for the ball to drop in Time Square to begin to prepare for your destiny. The ability to implement positive change within is essential to fulfilling our purpose. Tomorrow truly is not promised, and the fact that we are all here today is a blessing in and of itself. Yet, who is to say we will be here to see this year’s end or the next. Thus, instead of constantly living in anticipation of the next big thing, appreciate the now.

With that said, I would like to wish everyone who reads this a happy and prosperous New Year. Whether I know you or not, you have been a tremendous blessing to by being apart of this initiative for positive change. Just taking the time out to read these articles every week means a great deal. We at the Weekly Dream and at http://www.theSuperSpade.com appreciate you more than you could ever know. God bless.

Carpe Diem 2006

Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas

Can Money Buy Life?

The Associated Press has an interesting story on why there currently exists no HIV vaccine (http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051226/NEWS07/512260307/1009). The article says:

“Private-sector efforts amount to just $100 million annually. This is mainly due to the lack of incentives for the private sector to invest in an AIDS vaccine – the science is difficult, and the developing countries that need a vaccine most are least able to pay.”

There are some who say HIV/AIDS is a manufactured disease; a biological weapon, if you will. Whether that is true or not, it is a sad moment in humanity’s history when one needs financial incentives to work towards eradicating a disease that exterminates millions annually. The selfishness and greed of man is perhaps the world’s mot amazing phenomenon.

What can we do? The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (https://www.iavi.org/), mentioned in the article, is working on this problem in spite of the drug companies’ reluctance. Donations to this group are examples of grassroots dollars at work. I encourage you all to consider such organizations when deciding how to become a part of these efforts.


Garlin Gilchrist II
http://www.TheSuperSpade.com

Sent via Windows Mobile 5.0

Colin’s Convenient Complicity

Sometimes I like Colin Powell, sometimes I don’t. On the one hand, I respect his educational and military backgrounds. On the other hand, I do not respect how he told the U.N. what he now believes were lies about Iraq’s phantom weapons of mass destruction. He’s doing a similar dance on G.W.’s illegal spying, and talked about it Christmas Day.

I have concluded that it must be hard to be a politician. That’s because all the politicians I observer and/or deal with never seem to make honest, direct statements. Take this quote from Powell:

“My own judgment is that it didn’t seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go get the warrants…And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it. The law provides for that…for reasons that the president has discussed and the attorney general has spoken to, they chose not to do it that way…I see absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions.”

My humble interpretation of the above is that Powell knows what went down is wrong and illegal, but he thinks it falls under the umbrella of Presidential prerogative. The reason that this thinking is both crazy AND dangerous is because of the consistent dishonesty of this administration. Such lies have included (but are not limited to):

- Involvement in the CIA Leak
- Number of Iraqis killed during our invasion/occupation
- Claim of no prior knowledge of New Orleans’ levee system being weak (such as this one)

Let’s get stupid about this: if a man lies to you repeatedly, do you trust anything about them: words, [displayed] emotions, intentions/motives? NO!!! Why on earth would anyone think that G.W. has any good intentions with this spying? Why would anyone trust his judgement that has been wrong on so many things before? That is just ridiculous.

The “keep us safe” line has been used too often to fool anyone with sense. We can refer to the country’s leadership as “The Crew who Cried Wolf.” How many times will we fall for it? Colin Powell keeps falling for it, but I do not think many good people will do so for much longer.

G.W. himself said “…fool me once, you ain’t gonna fool me again.

Merry [War on] Christmas

Merry Christmas from The SuperSpade.

It is terrible when people are involved in conflict(s) during the holidays. This is true in both personal (i.e. arguing couples) and political (i.e. warring nations) relationships. And the more conflict, the more difficult the season. Some would lead you to believe that the U.S. is involved in not one, but two wars this holiday: the “War on Terror,” and the “War on Christmas.” Let’s explain these wars are as real as Santa Claus.
I think the stance of this blog with respect to the “War on Terror” is quite clear, so time this holiday will not be spent beating that dead animal. However, the “War on Christmas” is much more interesting.

In the “War on Terror,” we are “fighting” our “terrorist enemies.” Who is the enemy in the “War on Christmas?” If we break it down the same way we do the “War on Terror,” then that means that the “enemy” is people who celebrate Christmas??? I think I have it backwards. FoxNews and Bill O’Reilly’s “War on Christmas” is against those who don’t celebrate Christmas (think “War on Terror,” in reverse). They are disgusted that Wal-Mart greeters say “Happy Holidays.” That means that Wal-Mart is part of the army against Christmas.

Who cares what someone at Wal-Mart, or any store, or anyplace else says to you during this season? I’m Black, but I’m not going to turn my nose up and be offended if someone does not say Happy Kwanzaa to me. I’m not Jewish, but I’m not going to turn my nose up and be offended if someone says Happy Hanukkah to me. I am Christian, but I’m not going to turn my nose up and be offended if someone says Happy Holidays to me.

The problem with O’Reilly and The Fundies is that they equate being religious with being stupid and ignorant. It’s stupid to get offended because someone wishes you well during the latter part of the year. It’s ignorant to pretend like everyone celebrates Christmas. What is even more stupid, ignorant, and hypocritical is that I suspect these individuals are not against what Christmas has essentially become: a month-long shopping spree culminating in a feast. Fundies who study the Word closely and want to follow it exactly (which is what Fundamentalism is by definition) would have more to argue on if they said that Christmas has been corrupted from it’s original intent: to celebrate the Birth of Christ. I guess they can’t say that, since the same corporate cronies commercializing Christmas are paying the bills at Fox News and at most mega churches in this country. I suggest that they stop acting like fundamentalists and actually be them. Don’t go to the mall and buy crap for people you pretend you love. Don’t put [pagan] blown glass ornaments on your [pagan] Christmas trees and overeat. Get all the animals together and sit in the barn burning candles and myrrh. That would be a “real” Christmas. That would be victory. That would be “Mission Accomplished” in the “War on Christmas.” But that obviously can’t happen. So instead, let’s make Jesus the underdog in the war on Christmas. He needs us to cheer for Him, or we may lose the “War on Christmas.” Maybe Jesus is an underdog in The Holy Bible: Fundie Edition. In my translation, that ain’t the case.

Let’s just say that everyone immediately stopped saying “Merry Christmas.” What would be the problem? Would there be no Christmas? Is the existence of the holiday dependent upon these two words? Would Christ’s birth be retroactively edited out of history? I think the answer to all of these questions is NO!!!

I pose these questions as ammunition for anyone who is confronted by Christmas Warmongers. Ask them exactly what victory looks like in this “war.” Ask them what defeat looks like in this “war.” When they are not able to answer, tell the the following:

Happy Holidays from The SuperSpade.

Careless with Colored Conflicts

I was not aware of the $50 million that was supposed to go to the Darfur region that was cut from the Defense bill this past week. The unfortunate reality is that this is not surprising in the least bit. From the article:

“It is extraordinary that Congress, having described the killing in Darfur as “genocide,” should find it impossible to come up with $50 million to try to prevent it — this in a bill totaling $453 billion.”

It sickens me how “paralyzed” the U.S. is when dealing with conflicts in and among African Nations. We are so bold when the charge is “bringing democracy to the Middle East.” I digress. It can’t be because Americans are not interested in Black conflict. After all, G.W. is not a racist.

1984

The Oakland Tribune wants people to send them your used “1984″ books. “1984” is a book by George Orwell that essentially predicts that one day there will be no such thing as privacy. Unfortunately, that day may have already come.

I already sent my copy. I would love for every politician to read it. But realistically, can I expect them to read this book when they didn’t even read the Patriot Act before signing it in 2001?

Did You Ever get the Feeling you were Being Watched?

Boing Boing has a way to test wheter your email is being watched by the government. I suggest trying this, but you probably already know the answer to the question (1984 anyone)?

Muslim-mosque-ophobia

Since I don’t know where to begin, I will just point you to the ridiculousness: G.W. is spying on individuals off the strength of them being Muslim and nothing more. They were looking for increased radiation levels?!?!?! I thought racial profiling didn’t exist? Oh, I get it, this is religious profiling, which is totally different and definitely legal.

Why the US don’t want Dems in charge

Ok ummm Joseph Phillips (the sailor from the Cosby Show) has lost his mind. I will break down two excerpts of his article where he explained why Americans don’t want the Democrats in charge.

Let’s get to the first excerpt where Phillips explains,

“Americans are many things. We are compassionate, industrious and brave. Americans are kind; we are good, we are also winners! Democratic political hopes in 2006 may hinge on their ability to convince Americans that Democratic leaders believe in American virtue.”

I’m sorry, but when did being good become synonymous with winning? In other words, if you win a game because you cheated that doesn’t make you good. And likewise, if you are good, you may not always win (enslavement of Black people anyone?). And the logic that I think that has probably done more harm to the world is that things are “either or”. SO what does it mean to say that Americans are winners? This must mean that there are losers right? Why are the losers never named! Why do we know every detail about every American life lost, but it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago (during the busy holidays I might add) that when Bush was asked about the number of dead Iraqis he stated, “30,000 more or less.” Imagine if he would have used “more or less” while describing American lives lost in this war. And Phillips has the nerve to write that “We are compassionate.’ Because like most people and societies, America is filled to the brim with contradictions and to not highlight these contradictions is to be a liar. Lying aside, Phillips goes on to say,

“Americans may disagree on the wisdom of this war and the manner in which it is being waged. But the idea of losing is hateful to us. The only thing more hateful is the idea of leadership that is uninterested in winning and thinks us incapable or undeserving of victory.”

The first fallacy of this quote is that losing is hateful to Americans. But when you look at your own life, you can not reject the fact that the most important life lessons you learned was when you failed and learned how to pick yourself up. When a baby is learning how to walk, you don’t pick them up every time they fall down. So if that logic makes sense, then why is losing so hateful to Americans? Its because Americans don’t want to confront our own contradictions. Policy makers are experts at pointing out the faults in other countries but when we can’t get our act like together, like we did in Hurricane Katrina, we reject the aid of Cuba because we need to act like we have it under control. And more importantly, can anyone define what victory means in Iraq? Forget the witty comments and all of that. Just someone define that for me because if the terrorists wait to attack until the coalition leaves, then do we have to go back to get the job done?

War is not a game and people are dying for reasons that change from month to month and sometimes week to week. And for any troops reading this blog, you are in my prayers and I hope you can get home as soon as possible.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

History of Human Societies

Have you ever wondered how writing was invented or how why Africans didn’t sail north to enslave Europeans, check out this book review of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

Right now I am reading the Pulitzer prize winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It is about the trajectories of human societies and how they were influenced by guns, germs, and steel. This book sets out to answer one question asked by a Black New Guinean; “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” Diamond takes a whirlwind tour of the world touching on every continent and every major ancient society. He is unapologetic and does not use this book to justify the oppression that has marked our world for thousands of years.

I am just over halfway done, but the first half of the book discusses food production and experimentation with crops while also dealing with animal domestication. I admit it took me a while to get through reading about plants but on a basic level, Diamond explains that it was excess food production that allowed societies to establish social hierarchies, raise armies, invent new technologies, and grow empires.

Right now I am reading about the origin and history of writing and how that influenced societies. I have often thought about why the world the way it is by incorporating food production, armies, technology, politics, religion, environment, etc and this book does an excellent job of doing just this. It is a dense read and while I found it difficult to read about plants and animals, I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a student of history and wishes to understand the evolution of human society.

I would love to get a feel for what other people are reading so if you want to let us know what you are reading, please send an e-mail to TheSuperSpade@gmail.com

Stay up fam,

Brandon

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