30 June 2009

A Spiritual Perspective: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009Image by bernissimo via Flickr

From Denny: Most of us enjoyed the King of Pop's music and dance as much as we agonized over the mess in his personal life. That kind of abuse is difficult to heal and you have to be motivated to the point of treating healing like it's an extreme sport to accomplish it. It can be done. Unfortunately, MJ continued to interact with his abuser and, over the decades of not healing, it drove him to drug addiction to avoid the flashbacks of PTSD. Then the toxic long-term effect of the drugs created the ensuing bizarre acts.

I did manage to find some of his videos that were not disabled over at YouTube and embedded them in the sidebar. Already the family is fast-acting to make money off a dead artist who hasn't even been buried yet. Sometimes you really wonder about the crassness of your own culture...

When I was watching his earliest videos it struck me how much he had grown as a dancer, an artist and a producer. Initially, he began by creating the scenarios, designed the set, created the dance choreography. Then, like the director Hitchcock, he would quickly inject and then exit himself from the scene. He reminded me of the fast flutter by of a hummingbird. As his confidence and ability grew he developed a longer dance scene for himself as part of the crowd. By the time of the early 90's like in Black and White he had hit his stride for visual expression on all the levels.

Moon Walking Series Photo by tipoyock @ flickr

Whether it was conscious or not, Michael had started really getting in tune with his spiritual energy. I noticed how he was moving Chi energy during his dance. When you observe others imitating his dance moves the Chi movement isn't there as that is what set Michael apart and made him so attractive to others. Granted, he spent years studying dance films of many other great dancers and put in the hard work to perfect his own moves. The Chi movement explains the smoothness of his Moon Walk and his fluidity of dance.

Lately, I've been reading in the mysticism area of the Kabbalah. It struck me how the Kabbalah talks about spiritual energy distortion. Michael Jackson immediately came to mind. Because he had not fully healed of past trauma he was unable to fully express and cooperate with his given spiritual energy - in Christian circles it is called a spiritual anointing.

An anointing, and the larger and more powerful it is, takes a lifetime to grow into, understand and learn to cooperate with to both receive and give out the full benefits that can become available. One evidence of Michael Jackson's anointing was this new energy to draw the races together: liking the same music, thinking better about each other, choosing to live better. Up until his arrival on the music scene black and white America were divided in their music as well as their lives. Michael changed all that for his generation and the next one to come. In that area he was quite successful in his anointing.

Like most people I wondered about the business of so many plastic surgeries to change his appearance and the skin bleaching. He was a handsome man and it left a lot of us scratching our heads as to why he wanted to change his appearance and so drastically at that. Again, as I observed his metamorphosis over the years, I realized on a spiritual level what he was reaching for as he tried to cooperate with his spiritual energy: this neutral state of straddling all the polar opposites. In an awkward way he was trying to create balance in himself by not being totally male or female, black or white.

Unfortunately, by then the drug addiction had grabbed such a hold on him that his thinking was distorted, unable to flow easily with his outrageously over-powering anointing – even for him. Many unspiritual people don’t realize that the more spiritual energy you cultivate, the more you absorb - and the more you must discipline yourself on every level in order to cooperate with it, most especially your thoughts. If not successful it is like trying to grab a roaring tiger by the tail and it bites ferociously.

Photo by frgdr @ flickr

Michael Jackson was just as vulnerable and imperfect as the rest of us. His contributions to music, dance, social issues like hunger and poverty, and most of all, race relations can be counted among his tremendous accomplishments. Had he been able to mature fully in his spiritual anointing it does leave us wondering how he could have influenced humanity to live better? We will never know. The brief time he was here brought the races closer together in America. Let’s not allow that dream to be lost in Time.

Over at Flickr I found 17 really great photos of Michael Jackson, placing a link to them in the sidebar. They are parked over at my photo blog, Visual Insights. The majority of the photos are All Rights Reserved and only allow blogging them not downloading for use.

It was interesting to see how people perceived him. Many are artistic interpretations; others are candid photos of autograph signing, portraits and performances. Enjoy the photos, as I culled the best of what was on Flickr, and think kind thoughts for an entertainer who brought us all a lot of joy into our lives!

Denny Lyon
Copyright 30 June 2009
All Rights Reserved

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What Do You Do to Reach Enlightenment and Then Afterward?

Alonzo E. Lyon in about 1905 at age 25. He did not become my grandfather until age 80 and lived to almost age 95.

From Denny: This is a post I featured on two of my other blogs: Beautiful Illustrated Quotations and The Healing Waters. Often I've stated that a quote is always good for a short essay and out popped one yesterday and here's the proof! :) Who needs to invent writing exercises when you have scores of quotations from which to choose to write a commentary? Which is also why I quit parking so many quotes on this blog and started up a new companion blog to house them. Live and learn!

I've always liked this quote. What's interesting is that my Christian Grand Dad from Kentucky, who had never heard of Zen, taught me the same concept through his wisdom AND his attitude AND his actions - something completely lost on his own son and other grandchildren, even arrogantly dismissed and ignored.

I was the only kid who liked to literally sit at his feet and listen to his tales of his youth, his farming and other business adventures and finally the wisdom of what he had learned in this life. He was one of those rare individuals who read the Bible literally every day as he found great Joy in doing so - yet he never was a finger-in-your-face kind of man. Grand Dad really understood the true messages from Jesus, unlike so many of his time period.

Fred M.Supreme Court Chief Justice Frederick Vinson Image via Wikipedia

As I was doing some family genealogy I found out many things about my grandfather he never publicized. During his time he felt God blessed him with wealth and, therefore, it was his job to be responsible with that wealth and do a lot in the community. He didn't do that on a flashy basis with his name on a million buildings and show off at public events. He did it one person at a time - just like Jesus.

Basically, he functioned in the office of Apostle as he helped so many people from so many walks of life when they experienced hard times. Then those people went out and passed it forward to help others too.

He was a childhood best friend of a Supreme Court Chief Justice (Vinson) who was deciding about civil rights and segregation. That Justice used to come home to Kentucky and go fishing with Grand Dad (Alonzo Lyon). I know my grandfather; he would not let any moment pass to press for the civil rights of African-Americans. He was horrified and disgusted at the treatment of returning WWII black veterans.

Grand Dad also pressed for women's rights as he considered women " the best of mankind." What a unique attitude for his time! He was the parent - and the inspiration - my father never chose to be. Grand Dad often called him down on his bad attitude, especially toward women, "there was no call for that, not even with children."

Women loved his company. Children flocked to him as I often strolled with him around the neighborhood every summer to share him with the other kids who had grandparents who were indifferent to children. Every summer he was like the local celebrity!

Well into his late 80's he made friends with the local five-year-olds. When questioned about that practice he would reply, "I've outlived my wife, my friends and most of my family including my twin. Besides, you make friends with every generation." With a huge knowing smile and a wink in his eye, "It won't be that long before this little boy will be a young man and we can go fishing together!" He definitely was "a fisher of men."


"Before enlightenment - chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment - chop wood, carry water."

~ Zen Buddhist Proverb

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29 June 2009

This Week: Roundup of Sunday Funnies - Sanford's GOP Outreach and More!

From Denny: With so much seriousness in the world these days, we all can use a good laugh. Besides, who can stay up late to watch these guys when we have to start our work week? :)

Here's a roundup of the late-night comics, enjoy. Also, was laughing over at YouTube yesterday and included this little video gem.

Late Show

David Letterman:
This Ahmadinejad guy, during all those protests keeping a very low profile in Iran. His staff said he was hiking.

David Letterman: President Obama, this guy takes everything seriously. He's very upset about what's going on in Iran. As a matter of fact, today he announced that he is going to stop smoking camels.

The Tonight Show

Conan O'Brien:
People were shocked because Republicans traditionally don't do well with Hispanic women.

Conan O'Brien: South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted to having a mistress from Argentina. That's right. Then there was an awkward moment as he waited for someone to give him a high five.

Late Night

Jimmy Fallon:
On July 14 everybody, President Obama will throw out the first pitch at the all-star game in St. Louis. That's pretty cool. Yeah, but Joe Biden will be on hand to commit the first error.

Jimmy Fallon: When our governor in California goes to South America to unwind, he does the right thing. He brings an entire film crew with him to videotape. (Video shown of young Arnold with scantily clad Carnival dancers). By the way, that's the man who runs our whole giant state.

Top 10 Funniest Adds of Super Bowl 2008

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28 June 2009

Iran Headlines 28 June 2009

From Denny: It's getting more and more difficult for Iranian protestors to get news out or into the country. People around the world are carefully forwarding news reports - from different sites other than the official international news sites - in the hope folks in Iran can connect, finding out how much of their message and truth is reaching other parts of the world.

Feel free to send out what headlines posts are here at The Social Poets to someone you know - who knows someone - who knows someone, you get the idea. Hopefully, as bloggers we can fly under the radar for a while before the regime catches on to our support! :)

Remember, keeping this story high profile - while the mainstream media runs around with its head cut-off worrying about Michael Jackson - real people in Iran are suffering for lack of intense coverage. You can help save lives by keeping the heat on the public pressure on the Iranian regime, and, in turn, circling back to forcing mainstream media to carry more coverage.

World leaders stand united against Iran violence

Thousands demonstrate silently in Tehran

Iranian police clash with up to 3,000 protesters

Report: Hospitalized Iranians seized

Iran Crackdown Continues

“Punished mercilessly” – Is this Islam?

Sunday last day for Iran candidates to file complaints

Iran still interfering in Iraq, top Army general says

Iran detains eight local British embassy staff

Britain blasts arrest of embassy staffers in Iran

Iran's security council tells Moussavi to back off

Where is Rafsanjani?

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George Carlin: Outrageous comedian

George Carlin: Outrageous comedian

"'Life's journey is not to
arrive at the grave safely
in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways,
totally worn out, shouting
'...holy sh*t ....what a ride!'"

By alekhouse @ HubPages

From Denny: Here's an interesting article from a new writer over at HubPages you will enjoy!

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26 June 2009

New Software: Find Out Who Follows Your Tweets on Twitter

Image of Twitter from TwitterImage of Twitter

Photo by PinkMoose @ flickr

From Denny: If you are a blogger and are over at Twitter, try this new fun gadget to help you learn who is following your tweets. Connect with your Peeps! :)

Just plug in your user name @ Twitter:

Twitter Analyzer

Hello to my followers in the following countries and thank you for following, much appreciated!

Here are the countries in order of most followers first - what a surprise to find out Ecuador was right up there with the UK:

Great Britain


New Zealand

South Africa

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Iran Headlines 26 June 2009

Faithful praying towards Makkah; Umayyad Mosqu...Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: This headline is laughable as Iran's desperate gov't tries to say it was the CIA boogeyman who killed Neda. Sorry, guys, but the whole world knows no CIA agent has been on the ground in Iran since 1979 to gather human intelligence - let alone carry out a killing. Dream on. What happens in your house is your stink this time!

Besides, as far as their logic goes: If the CIA were really behind it their gov't would have fallen long ago and the populace would be armed to the teeth. Neither has happened so this is the usual Arab deceptive misdirection so common in the Middle Eastern culture.

Iranian envoy: CIA involved in Neda's shooting?

From an Arab news network written in English:

Iranian clerics seek supreme leader alternative

Top cleric warns unrest may uproot Iran govt

And from the bizarre world of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (some of the comments on the story are just as bizarre):

Venezuela accuses "imperial hand" of Iran unrest

Side note about Arab cultureFrance Banning the Burka (which I favor - how else are these cultures going to grow up and come out of the Stone Age unless they see women as more than subhuman?):

Muslim imams say burka not obligatory in Islam

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Libatons Friday! 26 June 2009

Photo by once and future @ flickr

From Denny: With the triple digit heat across the nation and summer has barely begun – whew! – I’m looking for cold drinks and coffee cold drinks are my favorite. Here are two interesting ones from Food Network.

This one is from Guy Fieri of Guy’s Big Bite who used to be a bartender/mixologist before starting up his restaurant, getting noticed, then offered one happy gig on the Food Network! He’s high intensity and fast forward all the way, definitely as entertaining as he is knowledgeable and talented.

Chai's Big Bite Cocktail

From: Chef Guy Fieri of Food Network
Prep Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 1 drink

Guy FieriGuy Fieri Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr


• 2 ounces coffee liquor

• 2 ounces Irish cream

• 1-ounce vanilla vodka

• 8 ounces Chai-tea concentrate (recommended: Oregon Chai Brand)

• 6 ounces milk or half-and-half

• Shaved chocolate, for garnish

• Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

• Fresh mint sprig, for garnish


Fill blender with ice, pour in all ingredients, and blend thoroughly. Pour into a tall iced tea glass
Garnish with shaved chocolate and fresh nutmeg and a mint sprig.

From Denny: This recipe is from the Ask Aida show over at Food Network. I’m not familiar with her and this recipe popped up on the search and looked so good it just had to be included! Besides, it included my favorite ingredient: expresso! If any of you watch her feel free to leave a comment about her.

Caffe Shakerato

From: Aida Mollenkamp of the Ask Aida Food Network show
Prep Time: 2 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Serves: 1 drink


• Freshly brewed double shot espresso

• 1 teaspoon sugar

• Crushed Ice

• Coffee Whipped Cream, for garnish (Make this recipe before serving)


In the base of a cocktail shaker, mix together espresso and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Fill shaker with crushed ice, close, and shake until shaker is frosted and mixture is foamy, about 20 seconds.

Strain into a martini glass, top with a dollop of Coffee Whipped Cream, and serve.

Coffee Whipped Cream:

• 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
• 3 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)


Place very clean glass or metal bowl and metal whisk in freezer just until cold, about 5 minutes.

When everything is cold, place cream in bowl and begin to whisk until it froths up and starts to thicken, about 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until soft peaks form (the cream will hold a point when the whisk is lifted but will fall back into the bowl almost immediately), about 1 minute.

Add the liqueur and whisk until stiff peaks just form (the cream stays put on the whisk when it is lifted from the bowl), about 1 minute. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use.

Word Cloud Photo by Denny Lyon - from playing over at Wordle.net! :)

From Denny: With the extremely hot temperatures of early summer heat you can expect anything! Instead of a poem, out popped this zany romp of a short story this week that started as a self-imposed writing exercise. I thought you might enjoy trying this idea for yourself to get the writing juices going. Maybe you just want an emotional and mental vacation from the heat or stress of everyday life. That'll work too! :)

Wrote this recently as a raucous fast-paced ridiculous short story. It's really a bit long to post here and when that happens I park those writes over at HubPages. Take a look and you will be amused!

Writing Exercise

Many times I will assign myself some kind of writing exercise to loosen up my mind to push it out of the usual day-to-day analytical mode of just plain dealing with life, you know, solving problems. You might need a break from everything you do, well, this is a great way to take a vacation without spending any money or leaving the house - how convenient! :)

Seriously though, writing like this is such a good idea to stretch your imagination, give you more ideas of what else you could write and most of all, no pressure of deadlines or expectations from yourself or others.

The idea is to forget most of what every writing teacher ever taught you. Sit down to the keyboard and start writing, literally, whatever silly thing comes to mind, the more ridiculous the better. Don't plan a thing; don't outline a plot, a theme, characters, nothing. It's strictly funny brain drivel!

The second idea to keep in mind as far as technique is to use a couple of "don'ts" like run-on sentences and cliches which usually are the kiss of death for a good write. But when it is a zany little romp like the short story here it actually is a fit! What I found is that the run-on sentences help increase the intensity of the action and create this fast pace that leaves you dizzy.

Try your hand at this kind of writing exercise, have some fun, and then laugh your socks off at what comes out! The only rule? It has to be utterly and completely ridiculous!

Here's an excerpt from my world of the ridiculous:

"Jack jumped over the electric blue fox - who was hunting down the orange cat - who was preying upon the stupid cockroach that was having an identity crisis - and believed he was a popular dragonfly down at the local Irish pub - because he sang Irish songs everyone loved and wrote some damn good poetry.

The orange cat circled back to chase the identity crisis cockroach - who just knew he was really Irish in a former life - while the blue fox preened and bathed in the fast-paced lights of the nightclub – this fox enthusiastically embraced blue as the new fashion neutral - it was Jack who was looking for the weird alien orange cat that kept eluding him - who was stalking the brave Irish-singing cockroach determined to make it to Broadway.

The powerful-singing cockroach drowned out the elegant Irish pub-singing dragonfly - and soon the people customers complained about the strange odd noises blaring from the rising platform – it was two ants standing on a leaf singing opera - and more ants joined them from the audience singing 49 Bottles of Guinness Beer on the Wall and Get Down Tonight! – and soon the nightclub was jumping and bumping - and the people were dancing and squishing and splatting the friendly ants - who got the place hopping on a Saturday night in the first place."

For the rest of the story just click on the story title link, go here! Thanks for visiting!

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25 June 2009

Obama Headlines 25 June 2009

GOP: Barack Obama too political

Obama: Immigration bill coming soon

Video: Luau at the White House

Video: Michelle hulas, Barack ogles

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Iran Headlines 25 June 2009

Getty Image from CNN

Ahmadinejad calls Obama meddler, likens him to Bush

Iran ambassador: Protesters represent a minority

Khamenei urges tolerance, Iranian media report

Obama administration rescinds July Fourth invite to Iranians

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Happy Birthday to One Talented Trumpeter!

Jeanne "Gabriel" Pocius, left, with Haiti's Minister of Culture, Director of Music Programs, Florence Elie in June 2009

From Denny: Happy Birthday to a dear friend in Boston, Massachusetts by the name of Jeanne Pocius! She’s a classical musician, teaches and tutors trumpet to adults and children alike. Like a lot of public school music teachers she recently experienced the budget slashing of her music program - and their teachers. Goodbye job. To her credit and good character, she still went out there and performed for several charity benefits that raised money for her local school system because she believes that much in a quality public school education.

It's a shame to put our best teachers out on the street. Through music kids develop a personal discipline that will stay with them for a lifetime. A love of music will also help with the adult years ahead when they are feeling stressed during tough times.

The musician’s life can be a tough one and hers is no exception. They go from gig to gig to pay the bills, never able to put down roots any where. Again, to her credit - since she adores teaching children - she connected up with some missionaries in Haiti who were participating in the country’s culture program of teaching music to their children. Jeanne now goes to Haiti several times a year to teach: for free.

Haiti is one of the poorest nations on the planet and yet they have a Minister of Culture who has created a free program to teach music to children. “Do ya think?” that maybe America could take a page out of their playbook?

A few years ago my very talented friend wrote a wonderful book called “Trumpeting by Nature: An Efficient Guide to Optimal Trumpet Performance" [UNABRIDGED] (Paperback or Kindle edition) that is most useful for both beginning children and adults, full of lots of photos to help demonstrate technique.

I’m featuring this book in The Social Poets Amazon book store under Books on Music (just look above the posts area for the store banner in orange) as it is informative and practical teaching for both the amateur and professional alike. You may have a budding musician in the house or a relative who plays on the weekends and feels stuck on a plateau of playing ability and wants to advance, then this book is a great gift, easy to read.

Cover of "Trumpeting by Nature: An Effici...Cover via Amazon

Reviews at Amazon

"Everything You Wanted To Know About How The Heck To Get a Note Out

P. Olguin (Whittier, CA) All I can say is WOW. This is a complete reference, with illustrations and thorough explanations of how to achieve the optimum set-up for yourself. As a working professional musician, I am always looking for tips on how to make my playing more efficient, more musical, more powerful. It doesn't matter what level you're on, you will learn a great deal here. The best part is, although this book is quite thorough, it is not some dogmatic, rigid, my-way-or-the-highway approach to playing. Jeanne's approach is a flexible (like one's playing should be) cafeteria-style menu of information, technique, philosophy and encouragement. This is destined to be a classic, and rightfully so.

Calling all trumpeters

Martin J. Rooney (Boston MA) This is a great book for any level trumpet player. This book will absolutely help any trumpet player improve their playing. Clear, concise, and best of all, IT WORKS! Text is excellent and the photos, which are top quality, illustrate her points very well.

I truly have seen everything :-}

Wilmer Wise (Brooklyn, NY) My copy of Jeanne G. Pocius "Trumpeting by Nature" came today. WOW! In clear English Jeanne has addressed every question a trumpet player may have. The fonts are great for the older comeback player. It's a sight for sore eyes.

I Wish I Had This 25 Years Ago!

Ralph Longo (Beverly, MA) For those of us who learned to play the trumpet incorrectly or inefficiently, this book is a revelation... What is in this book will help you learn to play at your highest level for a lifetime."

Jeanne is one of those child prodigies that can play over 10 instruments, though concentrates on the trumpet. Nothing is more fun than getting a phone call on your birthday and on the other end is this trumpet playing Happy Birthday like it’s a live concert! Now that’s unique! She is always serenading those close to her, blessing us with the sweet melody of her music. She is a fun and friendly person which is why children respond so well to her; she makes music fun!

Jeanne is available to play weddings for those of you in the Boston area. When other musicians run late (read that as they don’t show up on time when the wedding has started) she pitch-hits the other instruments to make sure the wedding is perfect; talk about a work ethic!

Jeanne also tutors both children and adults. She has tutored people from all over the world who visit regularly to brush up on their technique (and moral support). She can be contacted through Skype: (617) 326-7824 SKYPE ID: jeanne.gabriel.pocius. And Jeanne’s Email: jgpocius@yahoo.com.

Spread the word, folks, and let’s support the arts by supporting talented musicians and teachers!

Happy Birthday, Jeanne!

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24 June 2009

Iran Headlines 24 June 2009

Clerics join Iran's anti-government protests

Violence flares again in Tehran

Iranian women stand up in defiance, flout rules

Video: Iranian women standing up in defiance

CNN's Ivan Watson talks to a 19 year old woman in Iran about the clashes with government forces.

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Video: Iran Charging Bullet Fee for Retrieving the Slain

From Denny: Just when you think the Iranian regime could not get any more sadistic they impose a "bullet fee" for retrieving the slain protestors' bodies from the morgue. A bit gruesome to basically tax a dead person. This bizarre weird news has been all abuzz on Twitter but just in case you missed it here is a good video from NBC News. I guess about now Las Vegas is placing bets on how long these clerics that run Iran can stay alive as clearly these guys are going to be killed in their sleep by the entire outraged country...

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Cheeky Quote Day! 24 June 2009

Springfield, Illinois, USA. "The Future F...The new President Obama and First Lady Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: Considering how much political heat President Obama is taking from the Republicans, one after another taking potshots and getting shouted down from the public, they have to go hide from view for a while. It’s as if there is this batting line-up like during baseball season. This political season with the first black President ever in the Oval Office the Republican line-up is the following: Cheney, Gingrich, Bush, Limbaugh, and Graham. Every one of these guys wants to be President so badly they can taste it; they do not want to give up the power they used to possess.

During the presidential campaign the Republican smear machine was quite busy making up more lies than the National Inquirer: his daddy wasn't his real daddy, he wasn't black enough or white enough, he had the name of a terrorist, he was a practicing Muslim, that he wasn't as experienced as McCain on the economy (McCain publicly admitted he didn't know or care anything about the economy during his entire time in Washington) and much more.

Humorous political quotes from the presidential campaign trail often take on an eerie quality once one of the combatants gets elected. It’s no different with President Obama’s quotes when he was battling McCain. It is McCain who is still battling Obama trying to wrestle power away from him with some of the most ridiculous and reckless accusations. Let’s take a trip down memory lane of the 2008 campaign trail to see how Obama responded to the world of the Republican ridiculous. McCain didn’t say anything substantive then just like now. It appears that Obama still has his sense of humor...

President Obama Quotes from the 2008 Campaign Trail

"Now, because he knows that his economic theories don't work, he's been spending these last few days calling me every name in the book. Lately he's called me a socialist for wanting to roll-back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can finally give tax relief to the middle class. I don't know what's next. By the end of the week he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich." – responding to John McCain's attacks, Raleigh, North Carolina, Oct. 29, 2008

On his image: "Who is Barack Obama? Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth. Many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father. What you may not know is Barack is actually Swahili for 'That One.' And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for president. If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness, it's possible that I'm a little too awesome." - @ the Al Smith Dinner

"Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he's president that he'll take on, and I quote, 'the old boys network in Washington.' Now I'm not making this up. This is somebody who's been in Congress for twenty-six years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign. And now he tells us that he's the one who's gonna' to take on the old boys network. The old boys network? In the McCain campaign that's called a staff meeting. Come, on!"

"Sen. McCain bragged about how as chairman of the Commerce Committee in the Senate, he had oversight of every part of the economy. Well, all I can say to Sen. McCain is, 'Nice job. Nice job.' Where is he getting these lines? The lobbyists running his campaign? ... I'm not making this up, you can't make this up. It's like a 'Saturday Night Live' routine."

"I mean, you know, as somebody who used to be on the cover of Time and Newsweek, you know. Those were the days." - musing with David Letterman about the Sarah Palin phenomenon.

"I've been called worse on the basketball court." - on attacks against him at the Republican Convention.

"That's what he talked about yesterday, 'I want to drill here. I want to drill now.' I don't know where he was standing. I think he was in a building somewhere." - on John McCain's energy plan.

"Now that's my phone buzzing there. I don't want you to think I'm getting fresh or anything." - posing for a picture with supporters in Indiana, when he apparently felt his phone start to vibrate in his pocket, against which one woman was closely pressed.

"They say I need to be seasoned; they say I need to be stewed. They say, 'We need to boil all the hope out of him -- like us -- and then he'll be ready.'" To watch the video, go here.

"But the truth is when you really get to know Rahm, he does have a softer side, Amy will attest to this; very few people know, I think, know prior to this evening that he studied Ballet for a few years. In fact, he was the first to adopt Machiavelli's the prince for dance. It was an intriguing piece, as you can imagine, there were a lot of kicks below the waist." -roasting his future chief of staff Rahm Emaneul in 2005. To watch the video, go here.

"Look, when I was a kid, I inhaled frequently. That was the point." To watch the video clip, go here.

"It is true, I worry about the hype. The only person more over-hyped than me is you." – to Jon Stewart.

"I don't want to be invited to the family hunting party." - on revelations that he and Dick Cheney are eighth cousins.

"Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare 'Mission Accomplished' a little too soon."

"I would have to...investigate more of Bill's dancing abilities, you know, and some of this other stuff before I accurately judge whether he was in fact a brother." - on whether Bill Clinton was "our first black president."

The following quotes are from Barack Obama's speech at the 2005 Gridiron dinner:

"It's like I was shot out of a cannon. I'm so overexposed that I make Paris Hilton look like a recluse."

On the controversial Ukraine election: "Well, President Bush said he wanted to export American-style democracy and, by God, I think its working."

"(The pundits) said you can't win in a year like this with a name like Obama. There was quite a bit of confusion at first, but it did get me free airtime on Al Jazeera."

"It's been a great ride. But I know how quickly these fads can pass. You all remember the pet rock, the mood ring, Howard Dean."

"I figure there's nowhere to go from here but down. So tonight, I'm announcing my retirement from the United States Senate."

Obama also held up a mock-up of a supermarket tabloid proclaiming, "Obama's Shocking Secret: He's Strom Thurmond's Love Child."

On excitement in his father's native Kenya that his election would mean the building of billions of dollars in new roads, bridges, hospitals, and schools in their country: "I've tried to explain how it works these days. First comes the invasion and then billions in aid."

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23 June 2009

Iran Headlines 23 June 2009

Obama: World 'appalled' by Iran violence

Feared Basij militia has deep history in Iranian conflict

Iran expels 2 British diplomats, refuses new vote

Gauging Reaction Across Europe to Iran's Protests

Twitter Revolution: Role of Twitter in Iranian protests catches the eye of the Pentagon

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Video: Bad U.S. Scenarios if Iran Intervention

From Denny: Yet another smart person who understands why America should not try to inject itself into the Iranian political unrest. He and Olbermann discuss the possible scenario outcomes if President Obama did what the Republicans demand.

The Republicans must stand down from their destructive political position. It is becoming increasingly evident they don't care how many lives are lost in Iran if we were to follow their unwise course. Yet again more "wisdom" from the guys who brought us the global economic depression and an unwanted war in Iraq...

Keith Olbermann over at MSNBC is a lot like Fareed Zakaria over at GPS @ CNN - he gets smart people who actually know what they are talking about and allows them to speak for longer than a snappy "me first, vote for me!" political soundbite. They usually are not politicans. Take a look! If, for any reason the video fails to play, just click on the title link to take you directly to the page.

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22 June 2009

This Week: Roundup of Sunday Funnies - McCain is Like Benjamin Button

Roundup of the late night comedy shows

Late Show

David Letterman:
They're recounting the ballots cast in the iranian elections, and today they found 14 more votes for Norm Coleman [the Minnesota senator contesting the outcome of the 2008 election].

Late Night

Jimmy Fallon:
I wouldn't mind a second opinion from the other "Supreme Leaders:" Burrito supreme, taco supreme and, of course, Diana Ross.

The Tonight Show

Conan O'Brien:
I found out NBC's already producing a made-for-TV movie about these latest events. [cut to split-screen of Ahmadinejad photo with Ringo Starr photo]. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be played by Ringo Starr. We're all happy about that.

The Daily Show

Jon Stewart:
In the quest for lasting peace while still balancing the demands of a two-front active war on terror all while attempting to prevent a real-life remake of the 'Grapes in Wrath' [Obama clip: The moment is right for health-care reform], the moment is right for -- sorry. It's right for health-care reform. Sorry, were you bored? Not enough on the plate, Jedi Master.

Late Night

Jimmy Fallon:
John McCain said on his Twitter feed, on Monday, that he's buying a brand-new Ford Fusion Hybrid. A year ago, McCain didn't use a computer. Now he's on Twitter and buying a hybrid. What's going on? I think he's like Benjamin Button.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Jimmy Kimmel:
Our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in a cast. She fell and broke her elbow. To wish her well today [photo of White House with half-mast pants on flag post], they flew a pantsuit at half-mast.

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21 June 2009

3 Kinds of Men to Honor

Peace sign Photo by Steve Rhodes @ flickr


Today is Father’s Day on the calendar and I will be thinking of them throughout this week, we choose this day to honor the good examples of quality men who have influenced our lives beneficially. Most people reflect upon a father, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather, a husband, a good and trusted friend, even a mentor.

Neda killed by the police - Photo by Steve Rhodes @ flickr

Iran Protestors

Considering the political unrest in Iran going on I reflected upon the good men in Iran. These are men who are standing up against injustice and working toward a quality and trustworthy government, willing to give their lives in that pursuit. As a woman, and knowing the negatives in their harsh culture, what has impressed me the most about the male protestors was their willingness to march along side the women (termed the Lipstick Revolution). They also are willing to advance women’s rights.

Even more so, in a public demonstration, they have chosen to go to the defense of women that are strangers to them and not family related. In other words, they choose to be compassionate for the literally downtrodden, for the current harsh regime has ordered their police to target the women first and beat them savagely, kill them as well.

There have been video and cell phone photos released of men running to aid the women as they died. Now that’s a class act and certainly touches my heart for their public courage risks their own lives and that of their families. Yet, they chose to be heroes because someone was vulnerable and in need.

Soldier with peace symbol in hand Photo by Jayel Aheram @ flickr

Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

I think of our American troops in this protracted war the public wants us to end and how this too long of a stressor has taken a huge toll. Suicides are way up the past year from returning troops and those still in the field. PTSD is rampant and difficult to treat. These men (and women) are someone’s parent, spouse, brother (or sister), uncle (or aunt), best friend and mentor.

They also deserve our thoughts and prayers to sustain them during their tough life test. Spiritual testing is often longer than we think we can endure yet eventually we come out on the other side. These troops have the courage to go on when they think they cannot move another step and yet they move forward anyway. Human beings really are not hard-wired for long-term stressful situations like war.

Contemplation Photo by alicepopkorn @ flickr


Today I also reflect upon a wonderful European friend I met while on my travels a decade ago. He is a Carmelite monk by the name of Brother Peter in Austria. What is unique about him is that he works tirelessly with the folks who fall between the cracks of the social network be they refugees (Islamic or Christian) or locals who can’t pay the rent because the husband has a gambling problem. Most of all he spends intensive hours battling the severe rampant depression of suicidal people in his area. He works without notice for what will not bring him status or riches in the world.

Brother Peter is joined with the local Jewish community to help reestablish the Jewish population in Austria that was decimated during WWII and works toward improving Christian and Jewish relations. He is a humble man, a kind man, a sincere man. Most of all he is a loving man like the true Jesus he follows.

I’ve always had a soft spot for monks. They are the global intercessors for Peace. They pray FOR people of all races, religions and misunderstanding - not AGAINST them. As an intercessor I can relate to my Carmelite monk friends and well understand the importance of their life long mission.

Brother Peter had a birthday in April but somehow Father’s Day seemed more appropriate a day to honor his service to others. The man would make a great Pope as he definitely has a heart for the people. I count him a treasured friend!

Father and infant son asleep Photo by *clairity* @ flickr


Recently, I happened upon a new blog by a father of ten children. What a treat! The Mommy blogs are popular and prolific, many a delight to read. This blog is a unique perspective from the dad, one with a huge brood of children. Take a look at his amusing and clever blog post that was published in a local newspaper: Father of 10 Turns Bathtime into a Career.

While I could go on with many other wonderful examples like my cool paternal grandfather whose spiritual legacy I carry with delight, a Taoist spiritual master in Taiwan where in his culture they never trained women, especially teenage Americans - he proclaimed me his student of a lifetime, quite an honor - and the tough guy military mentors I had growing up – the kind that don’t like women but took a shine to me, adored my hutzpah and chose to train me in the unorthodox, hence, the name “Warriors’ Pearl,” I’ll save those stories for another time. Know that you are all in my heart as treasures…

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Thank you for your support!

"Home is where the heart is" montage by alicepopkorn @ flickr - this is such a cool photo and she is one of my fav photographers, such an imagination - as if she is creating her photos in concert with my writing simultaneously, that soul collective thing going on. Her new photos suddenly appear right when I need them, cool, huh?! The God within us is always in tune with itself and all we have to do is hitch a ride! :)

From Denny: Just wanted to take the time to thank everyone for subscribing to the feed on this blog and all the others - and following on Blogger and other sites. You are much appreciated!

Blogging is so much more fun when you have company and such good company you all are, thanks! Thank you for your support and hope you are enjoying your time here learning right along with me as I find amazing things for all these blogs!

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20 June 2009

Why President Obama is Smart in Low-Key Iran Response

Photo of Iran Protest Poster by Gary Burge @ flickr

From Denny: Where do I begin? America has a long smutty history of over-involvement with Iran, like over-throwing their government in the past (1954) and installing our own puppet. That’s the big rub with the people of Iran against America. I doubt any American would appreciate an outside power coming here and suddenly telling us we were now going to do things their way or die.

Of course, around here all the yahoos with gun collections and ammunition shops would be out for blood to overthrow the oppressors. If such a dire situation came to America count me out there at the "tip of the spear" with the yahoos. Someone has to organize them and create a smarter idea and winning strategy than just charging down the hill at the opposition. :)

Presidential Timing

The President must remain low-key in his public response for the time being – until the Iranian regime begins the harsh crackdown. THEN you issue the public response to THEIR wrong-doing. For now it is best to work behind the scenes to help the opposition. One of my favorites was our government asking Twitter to move their 2 AM site maintenance to 2 PM our time so the Iranian protestors could have viable communication. Now that was smart!

Photo of harsh regime developing nuclear power by azrainman @ flickr

Wisdom vs. Missteps

There is a wise process of steps in this dance where one step must occur in proper order before the next step. The (Bush-Cheney-Rove) Republicans are notorious for missteps - and wrongly-timed steps - both in foreign policy and domestic issues.

Right now the (American) Republicans are pressing Obama to get public and spout their style of idiot irresponsible and damaging rhetoric. They hope to accomplish two things: one, to reassert Republican dominance (a legend in their own minds) and two, to get Obama’s words to backfire on himself (the Republicans are legendary on the forked tongue blowback).

The situation in Iran is going to continue to foment until the current regime backs off and gets smart (which, of course, dictators rarely do). If they had an ounce of sense they would do a vote re-count, allow Moussavi (pronounced Moose-ah-vee) to come into power and then order him around like they do the current puppet. But no one said these guys are smart or wise.

Why a Low-Key Obama Response

Why does Obama need to remain low-key on his response? Here’s why: If America is perceived as meddling even a little bit publicly it can touch off a firestorm in Iran and throughout the Middle East. What firestorm? The firestorm of unity is where the Iranians will forget all about their rage against the current dictator and rally against America, an historical outside threat. Pretty much the idea of “we hate him but you can’t tell us what to do.” People always rally around their own as opposed to an outside culture no matter how odious their own leaders prove to be. The President avoids that scenario coming into mob reality if he remains quiet or tepid in response.

Foolish Analysts Get People Killed

Too many analysts, politicians and American media complain that President Obama is missing a golden moment to stand up for America. They also complain he is not vocal enough to declare America’s opinion, like that really matters to the world. These analysts and Republican politicians seem to be oblivious to the fact that this current Iranian Revolution is not "all about us" (America).

Too many of these so-called "analysts" have no people skills, don't even like other people and really don't care about other people. The end result is that their oracle predictions and strategies are always wrong. If you don't like or care about other people then you are too immature and incapable of understanding them from the inside out to accurately predict their actions.

As usual, most of the media guys are trying to look at a foreign country through the limited prism of the American mindset that doesn't study world history; we don't even read or study our own young country's history. I call it clueless. We think by reciting a series of concrete separate but related events constitutes critical thinking and understanding of the evolving and long-term situation. Real life cannot be reduced to 10 second sound-bites for the headlines and the cameras.

Photo of injured protestor by .faramarz @ flickr

The Protestors' Accomplishments and Strategy

The protestors in Iran are fully aware this is their moment, not anyone else’s. They are also aware they must press on, even through a violent crackdown. To stand down now ensures their deaths and imprisonments. To press forward with their demands - and challenging the dictator – will actually save more lives in the long run.

By pressing on with the protests in a protracted manner they are wearing down the dictator, the Guardian Council and the Republican Guard. For every day the protestors continue in their fight for vote count and more, they psychologically wear on the regime participants. The longer it goes on the more the regime folks will suddenly realize it is really their lives that hang in the balance. There are cracks in the regime’s alliances; that much has been achieved in only a week of protests. What more can be achieved if they fight on?

How Do We Best Support the Protestors?

The best support we can give them from America is through grassroots venues like blogging and IT help to get their message out. Let the official governments tone it down. We want to hear the voices of the people for they are the ones who have been wronged.

The reason the protestors hold up signs in English is that they want us to know what is happening. They want our support in the way of the notice of witnessing their trial. They aren't interested in what we have to say as much as they want us to pay attention to the new way of over-throwing a bad government: regime change from within, preferably through a democratic vote rather than the old ways of imperial governments to do the work for them, then installing foreign-friendly puppet governments. Basically, if it's going to be a puppet government then it will be one of our own choosing.

Tell the Media & Political Opportunists to Stand Down: Causing More Harm than Good

It's time the political attitude and the media "grow up" in America. Quit measuring another country's progress against the American standard. It's like comparing apples and oranges; some things never correlate.

Acquire the common sense - and wisdom - to know you can only compare the Iranians against the Iranians. Compare their progress today with what happened a decade ago with another generation. Compare their progress today against what today's generation is doing. Quit trying to predict "the point spread" like it's a sports game. This is no game but rather real life in motion. These are real living breathing people - not statistics to enhance your bonus money for your paycheck.

Political Change and Progress in Iran

Change in Iran and other similar Islamic republics will be small and incremental. It will not be change American style. It’s time America, the politicians and the media of self-important attitudes trying to call this political unrest like it is a sporting event get responsible, knowing thousands of lives are at stake. Wake up and accept that Iran is not America and may never be.

Written by Denny Lyon

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