Xy08's Blog


There’s criminal behavior. There’s offensive behavior. And they are not always the same thing.

A “criminal offense” falls into both categories. In general, law-breaking is offensive at some level – those behaviors that society-at-large generally agrees is *not okay*. (Think of The Ten Commandments here – particularly stealing in all it’s forms, killing and murder.)

Then there’s “offensive” behavior that can seem criminal – selfish, inconsiderate, unkind, uncharitable behaviors. (Think of people being jerks and the a-word here.)

In a society that values free speech and the idea of others being able to hold different views and beliefs than ourselves as a right, the trade-off is a bit more tolerance for offensive behavior. A bit-more-tolerance doesn’t mean the offensive behavior is acceptable, but neither should it be viewed and responded to as high crime. (Think of the kid at school who does something stupid for whatever reason kids do stupid things. Do they really need to be dragged out of the school in hand-cuffs by armed officers? Is this the most effective manner by which to intervene and address the behavior?)

Then there’s the recent incident of the college student taunting protesters on campus who were exercising their right to peacefully assemble and protest, by his wearing a gorilla mask, handing out bananas, carrying rope and a bag with a confederate flag (and a marijuana leaf.) Did he threaten to kill anyone? – No, but he did interfere in others’ rights to express their positions and concerns in a socially acceptable manner – in a vile, hateful display – designed to hurt, cause emotional pain, and possibly to fan the flames and incite a disturbance.

Perhaps addressing offensive behavior early on can help prevent offensive behavior from escalating to criminal behavior, but that addressing may be more effective if it comes from a position of unity and sameness, not from division and difference.

Whether it’s factual or not, there’s this story that has been around that might help to elucidate the point. It’s about an indigenous communal society somewhere in the world where when one of the members commits an unacceptable act, community members encircle the person, and then everyone reminds the person of all the good deeds he has done and his redeeming traits and qualities, with the belief that for the person to have done such a horrendous act, he must have “forgotten” who he really is, forgotten his humanity. – Addressing issues from a place of unity – not division and exclusion.

If we choose to address offensive behavior from a position of power, division and exclusion, it drives the underlying foundational beliefs that fuel behavior underground, unexpressed – where it gets to simmer and roil, awaiting an opportunity for some sort of expression.

To stifle free-speech – a form of expression – is counter-productive to addressing problematic beliefs and behavior. Allowing free-speech – no matter how offensive – allows it to surface, can serve as an opportunity to address it. (Suppression doesn’t make “the problem” go away – it resurfaces, albeit in masked forms sometimes.)

Maybe more mercy and unity, and a lot less judgment and division, can help us to reorient ourselves to a more dignified humanity.


The world’s gone plumb bat-shit crazy. Nothing new here to report. We’ve been riding the crazy train for a while… probably in one form or another since the time Nog and Grogg in the next cave over had *issues* with Hamm and Bamm’s kids stealing the prey bones that were being stored to make the stew for the next chilly night. (But that’s another story for another time…)

The causes of our poor behavior have always been the same – basically, stems from our perceived needs versus greed and fear of vulnerability – whether that vulnerability is physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, religious, relational, idealogical, intra-psychic ego-sustaining, financial, psychological, resource allocation, whatever the sense of vulnerability. (The good news/bad news, depending on your perspective, is we’re all in it together and we’re all going to die anyway… But that’s another story for another time…)

So how do we continually remind ourselves of our ontology? Help keep ourselves on-the-good-path to get through life versus getting caught up in the false doctrines of trying to  allay those fears by poor behavior that hurts others and our world, ultimately hurting ourselves, and that thinking by doing so, it will all somehow make it all okay and somehow make it all different? (Or at least be distracted enough for long enough until the corporeal finality … But that’s another story for another time…)

Church Bells. Yup, Church Bells.

Remember those chimes? Used to be one would hear those tones and melodious chords with hourly regularity wherever we might be, and at some level, whether conscious or not, perhaps they would help remind us of the passage of time, helping us in at least some small way to maybe stop and reflect for just a moment as we deal with our daily monkeys-and-circuses.

Where did all the church bells go? There are still a few around. Some are still broadcast in their communities, but it seems they are a rarity these days. One used to hear them all the time. No more. – When was the last time you heard church bells strike on the hour in your community? (Or, heard the hourly gongs of the grandfather clock in the hall or the cuckoo chirp from it’s perch in the clock on the wall, for that matter?) – Perhaps we’ve just chosen to go the route of having our electric lights and our 24/7 digital life style in exchange for those regular acoustic reminders, thinking it somehow might make it all better that way, not being reminded. Maybe we need those reminders.

I miss the church bells. I say we start a movement to bring them back and see what happens to us.

In the meantime, until I hear them out in the world, maybe I’ll just program in some digital church bells in my devices … (But that’s a another story for another time…)

Church Bells App



The new year is a good time to take a self-inventory and ask yourself the hard questions to make sure your life is on-track, going in the direction you believe it should go.

Are you content?

Do you “sleep well” at night?

Have you become the person you think you should be?

Are you sincerely trying to become that person through your will and actions?

Do you have good values and principles that guide your behavior?

Are you living an honest life with integrity?

Do believe that you should try to live a moral and ethical life?

Are you willing to take an honest self-inventory, an examen of conscience, on a regular basis?

Are you willing to do “the hard things” though it seems no around you is doing so?

Do you practice avoidance of self and negative feelings through the use of denial, anger, substances, material distractions, shutting-down or self-defeating behaviors?

Do you surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart?

Do you have others best interests at heart?

Do your people help you to do right and just, moral and ethical things?

Do you help your people to do right and just, moral and ethical things?

Do you treat others with respect, kindness and dignity?

Do you believe all people have the same rights that you do, considering their feelings, needs and desires in context?

Do you honor and value others for who they are, not just what can do for you or give you?

Do you give of yourself with no expectation of return – pay it forward?

Do you believe it is ever okay to treat others poorly with disregard?

Do you have a grateful heart?

Do you have decent and good family values and live by them?

Do you honor your heritage and your family through your actions?

Do you believe that when you misstep you should own up, atone and make course corrections?

Do you believe that there are social conventions – decorum – and abide by those?

Does your conscience guide you?

Do you make your choices based on how you feel and what you want or on your thoughts and values, after thoughtful consideration?

Can you look in the mirror each night and be willing to put your thoughts, deeds, what you done and what you have failed to do, on a billboard for all the world to see and be proud? Why or why not?

Do you believe in forgiving yourself and others for trespasses, ” To err is human, forgive divine?”

Do you believe that you will have to meet your past self in the future, that “the chickens will come home to roost?” Are you willing to face them? (as if you have a choice!)

Do you believe in a power greater than yourself?

Do you believe you can make the world a better place through your beliefs and actions?


If your honest answers to any of these questions gives you pause, you might want to reconsider your life goals, your place in the world, your relationship with your Maker and what you need to do about it.




A friend posted a video online of a Dutch schooner that stirred up a memory that I thought I’d share as one might find it intriguing, interesting or at least, amusing! – When my son was in elementary school, say third grade-ish, he and his best bud Scotty were into ships and boats – boats in my bathtubs, boats in my sinks, boats in my toilets, boats in the creeks — you know, into boats!

Well, at the same time they were expressing their inner mariners, I was learning about clinical hypnosis. And what does a good psychologist do when learning a new skill? – Why practice on one’s family and friends, of course! Part of the hypnosis training included regression, past lives or otherwise. (This isn’t about whether I believe in past lives, genetic memory or suggestibility and imaginative abilities.)

I was talking about past lives regression and my kid wanted me to try it on him. No big deal – he (and the dog, mind you! – like I said, family members are easy practice prey! – but that’s another story!) had already experienced hypnotic glove anesthesia and sensory distortion effects, etc.

So, we do a regression. He comes up with a “sailing ship” scenario. (Well, no surprise there. If we’d been talking about UFO and alien abductions, it wouldn’t surprise me if he came up with little green men and flying saucers.) What happens next was interesting, though: he tells me he was on a Dutch cargo ship and it went down and he died by drowning. He gave me dates and cargo details. – To this day, I regret not asking him the name of the ship! – Anyway, after the regression, I went and did some research about historical Dutch shipping, cargo types, dates, etc. – all in line. But, what’s interesting is he had no way of knowing anything about the European shipping history – he was in third grade. None of that was on his or his friends’ radar. To my knowledge, he wasn’t exposed to that information in normal everyday life — plus, on his Dad’s side, he has Dutch ancestry, which he didn’t know.

So who knows? Just an interesting little experience. Food for thought. – At least he didn’t sound panicked when talking about dying by drowning! That’s a good thing!


With Stephen Hawking’s new initiative to seek other life in the universe, I find myself torn.

As a rational being that values scientific inquiry, that part of me leads me to believe that in this vast universe of ours, we cannot be the only life forms. Too much space, too much time to evolve, (not to mention the idea of a multiverse!); We aren’t alone. We can’t be.

The *conspiracy* leanings in me tell me we’re not alone. We’ve been visited. Maybe still are – what with UFOs, Nasca lines, reports of alien beings and abductions, flying vimanas, disappearing civilizations that created structures we know not how, strange carvings depicting flying things and other-worldly-looking beings, historical writings and mythologies… All suggest more-than-just-us…

But the spiritual religious side of me wonders if maybe, just maybe, WE ARE the only intelligent rational life in this universe … that we were made – created – to be just that. We are the first and the only, in relationship with Our Divine Creator…

Wouldn’t that be something? We’re that special?! (and if that’s the case, why – as a species – don’t we act like it?)

Link to Hawking’s announcement


….. and makes it the best…

Dylann Storm Roof, for whatever reason in his 21 y/o mind, made the decision to kill in attempts to incite a race war. What he set about to do was divide and the result was expressions of unity. He wanted to raise the hateful part of the Confederate Battle flag. The result was that hatefulness being taken down. He condemned others and he received forgiveness.

We live in a backwards world.

Why do people continually have to die for us to be raised?

Have we not an inkling?


… Or, maybe that big ol’ movie screen we call the world…

Had the occasion to participate in a workshop with a group of people of varied professional ilks. One of the assigned exercises was to describe a dwelling which best reflects who you are. There were the lovely beach houses, log cabins, mansions, castles and cathedrals and so on. What struck me was the three psychologists in the group independently all chose *caves* to describe their dwellings. How Freudian is that? Funny stuff…. Humans are an odd breed, projecting our inner selves onto and into the world all the time, right down to the caves, blissfully (or perhaps, not so blissfully!) unaware of ourselves and who we be, how we be and what we do…


There is something about being raised Roman Catholic that doesn’t quite ever leave you, no matter how long you’ve lived or how far you’ve strayed. It’s a rooted thing. It’s always in you, some small part calling you.

As a lapsed Catholic, I want to share my experience in hopes that it might provide some support and encouragement to some other *lapsies* who might be wavering. Maybe it’ll help.

After almost 30 years away from “The Church”, I was moved to return. (Getting old? Getting ready to meet My Maker? Living a sin-filled life getting to me? – Can’t rightly say, but what I can say, it was time.)

Although I didn’t participate in Mass or abide *by-the-rules* for decades, it doesn’t mean I threw myself away from my religious tradition. I’d always identified myself as Catholic, worn my sacred medal around my neck and had my “Catholic things” around me and my home. I’ve said my prayers, owned-up and confessed my sins, but that’s not Absolution and it doesn’t allow for partaking in the Eucharistic sacrifice and sacrament, does it? So, how do I return in a good way according to the faith? How does one even do that after so long?

I thought long and hard about it. Hmm, maybe it’s that submission/surrendering to authority thing. I decided to attend a Mass, a nice familar ritually rich High Mass, the old Latin ways with all it’s beauty and splendor and symbolism. A little hard to keep up with the ritual, but do-able, even considering the “liturgical aerobics”. (As an aside, I got lost on my way to that Mass and almost didn’t make it, but I persevered, arriving in good time despite the unexpected scenic route. Go figure.)

Then, it’s time for the big one: Reconciliation. I composed my *list-of-sins*, reflecting on the ways I’ve fallen short in “thought, word and deed” over the years and can say I am truly sorry. But, making myself go to Confession to “make a good act of contrition” was a bit harder. Despite my feelings and fears… I didn’t know what was going to happen, the Holy Spirit set fire to the confessional box with me in it, maybe? — Heck, the priest caught on fire during my Confirmation class, so it can happen! — The last time I went to Confession there weren’t even confessional boxes when I went and the Church has changed since then, so who knows?! It seems it was going to be a case of “Spirit was willing but the flesh was not”, so it became a matter of willing myself, not waiting for that emotionally-okay-feeling to make it’s appearance and soothe me.

For me, it was something akin to an out-of-body experience. I made a decision. I watched myself getting ready to go, making sure I had my *sin list* — (Like I might forget them or something?) — my *prayer notes* as the memorization of some prayers was a bit rusty, deciding to take my rosary along with me for good measure. I watched myself driving to the church parking lot, not quite sure I was even going to get out of the car when I got there. I did. (Had to ask a young kid where the confessions were being held and fortunately he knew and kindly directed me.) In retrospect, I think I had a little help from somewhere getting myself there.

Then, inside the church we go. There was a line of sinners, but no box. It was a door. (Uh-oh. What lay behind that door?) Well, got that far, might as well go in. Lucky for me, there was a kneeling rail and a screen instead of a priest in an armchair staring at me, peering into the depth of my decades-long sin-scarred soul!

Try this one on (You have to have been raised an old-style Catholic from your wee years to get the full impact of this):

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, it’s been about 30 years since my last confession and you’re going to have to help me with this because it’s been a while….”

Fortunately for me, I had a priest who was quick on his feet and swiftly composed himself after he said with seeming surprise: “Thirty years? We’re not going to have time to go over all of them, but if you are truly sorry, and just hit the major ones that really bother you, all could be forgiven.”

“Can I use the list I brought with me for reference, Father?”

“That would be good. Very good.”

So, after some discussion about my sins and the state of my soul, time for penance.

“Do you have a smart phone phone with you?”

I did not expect the priest to ask me at Confession if I had a smart phone with me. Ahh, yes, the Church has indeed changed! There weren’t even smart phones at my last Confession. (Basically, penance involved praying the rosary and it would be okay to use a smart phone to search the web for rosary directions if I didn’t remember.)

Later, as I shared my experience with a friend, she said good-naturedly “Ahh, the Franciscans! You got the “Jiffy Lube” version of Confession.” (Personally, I think God was okay with that for me. Hmm, though I do now wonder what would have happened with a Jesuit…)

So, all in all, it IS possible to return to the Church, get right with God in the Catholic tradition. If you are reading this because it’s been a while for you, too, I hope my sharing of my experience helps you on your path back. If I can do it, trust me, you can, too. They’ll be help from that small part of you that’s been calling….


What?!  No clean towels at the Congressional gym during the shutdown? — The horrors !!

More horrors our elected representatives must endure…



Well, it’s been ages since I posted another blog entry!  Goodness! (Wondered if I even remembered my user name, password, security questions among the deluge! – And technology was supposed to “simplify” our lives? Yeah, right…..that worked well…)

 Now, I am all for technology.  I love my internet connection.  I love the ease at which things can be accomplished WHEN they work the way they are supposed to.  However, when they don’t, it’s Satan’s Playground.

For example, I make my living providing services which require my submitting insurance claims to get paid.  I submitted a claim, only to have it be returned weeks later as the person “wasn’t covered.” — Not true.  The person’s employer apparently neglected to enter data in a timely manner to indicate the person was employed/covered during that time. —  although they had a month to do it. — Okay, requires a rebilling – at my expense – if I want to get paid, although it wasn’t my, the covered person’s or the insurance company’s error.  Mistakes happen.  I get that.

 So, I rebill.  Several weeks later the claim is again returned with note that said the provider’s name and address were “illegible.” — Really?  Illegible?  How then was it possible to return the claim to me – the provider – at the address – to tell me it was illegible?  –  I think the “illegibility” issue had more to do with the technology and scanners that could not read the information.  Apparently, human eyes were able to read it. 

And, here’s where I start to get irritated…… technology is NOT supposed to THINK for us.  It’s a tool – like a hammer.  But, somewhere along the line we have created a system where people are widgets and depend on the technology to do the thinking.  And that scares me. It does not bode well for the future. (Hammers do not build houses.  People do.  Maybe.  At least they used to.)

This aforementioned claim saga gets better.  I rebill, yet again, on my dime, accompanied with a letter describing the scenario. (Writing a letter takes far less time than calling, only to be given a selection of menu items that do not address the issue, being put on hold and transferred and transferred and transferred, only to be disconnected, have to leave a message or get an “mailbox full” message.)  This time around the claim gets processed — incorrectly.  Somewhere, somehow, someone, something decides to double-bill the amount charged on the claim, so there’s another mess that I will have to sort out.  (These are the reasons healthcare costs are growing :  the administrative costs of being dependent on a created technology that is flawed instead of thinking.)

So, now on to my real rant:  I hereby declare that I have determined that the reason the whole world is flucked-up is because of IT people and the Bean Counters.  The Bean Counters for trying to lap up every last cent for profit from the worker bees –  think Ferengi Rules of Acquistion! —  and forcing worker bees “to do” versus “think”, putting their tasks in little boxes as if people were widgets and cogs in the system, treating people as if they are low value assets, discouraging active thinking and problem-solving.

And, the Bean Counters cohorts in this crime against humanity? The dang IT people – for their creating systems and algorithms to achieve the Bean Counters’ goals – creating systems that don’t really work when thinking is required because people are not widgets and the IT designs do not take into account human/technology interaction factors of the humans that actually have to use the systems, nor consider the overall processes of what is truly supposed to happen. 

So, things get all screwed-up and no one ever seems to know what to do or how to fix things because “the computer says”  — so they do nothing, repeat the same measures that don’t work, don’t know what to do to fix it or even who to go to get it fixed.  (Oh, stop with the “computer says”, already!  Is that like “the hammer says”? Think, dammit! Think! – Look at the big picture, not from the lens of the widget box!)

Perhaps I should declare myself Mistress of the Planet and fix all this, eh? (Hmm. Take down the grid for a couple of weeks ought to do it.  Make people unable to depend on the technology so they have to get back to their human brains and depend on thinking. – Now, let’s hope some technological bot isn’t scanning this blog and detects “take down the grid” and the FBI shows up at my door thinking I’m a real threat.)

Rant complete… for today anyway!