I went looking for this today because I didn’t remember it all, but it is so perfect that I wanted to share here again, just so that you can all remember along with me and enjoy it again.
So, I’m standing at a bus stop and they pull up. A car load of well meaning, bible thumping nut cases that are just frantic! The middle aged professionally dressed woman rushes forward…She takes my arm and with trembling voices she asks….”Have you found Jesus?” Her eyes plead with an urgency that is out of proportion to a bus stop.
Now normally I just politely decline the sermon, and free religious paperwork that such folk pawn off on unsuspecting by-standers. But, unfortunately for her, she is the fourth car to accost me in the last 9 minutes. So by now I’m beginning to wonder what the heck is wrong with these people. I mean if its not Christians it is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Read the rest of the article...
Those of you who have been reading my blogs for some time may want to skip down to the section labeled "TODAY" to bypass the backstory explanation here.
I lost my job February 18, 2007. I had the job for 7.5 years, making about $35,000 a year. It was working in Information Technology as a tech who came to your desk and fixed your computer right there. I worked for Direct Insurance in their corporate headquarters here in Nashville. I was the only person doing this job. I took care of 210 computers and had personally replaced every one of them at least twice. We bought a house.
Somewhere along the line I had made an enemy in the management and they wanted me gone. They had no cause to fire me, so they started a campaign to get rid of me. Over the course of 5 years, they pulled every stupid, ugly and mean trick they could think of to stress me out and make me walk away from my job. Two things kept me there: 1) the paycheck and 2) the insurance. I finally lost my temper at the wrong time, and they had cause to fire me, WITHOUT unemployment benefits. I have not had a permanent job since, despite sending out about 20 resumes a week to various places advertising job opportunities. I have applied at places like Kroger (chain grocery store), McDonalds, WalMart and more. Most times now I don't even get a "thank you for your interest" brush off.
All that said, I have never had to pay taxes. Every year, from the beginning of my work career, I have had refunds. Some times I didn't claim them and let the Gov't keep those refunds (they obviously need it more than I do), but I have never owed money.
When I lost my job of 7+ years, my wife's job became the sole income in the family. She is a person who talks on the phone professionally to men who want to get their rocks off. This is a polite way of saying she is a Phone Sex Operator. When you call into those porn lines, those singles lines, you don't get the girls on the TV, you get my wife, or someone very much like her. She gives good story.
She has worked this job, which is intended to be a supplementary income for the last 5 years. She's an independent contractor, who has to pay her own way. She gets $0.50 per minute that she is talking to people on the phone. She can be available for calls 24 hours a day, but if she only talks to these people on the phone for 10 minutes, total, then she only gets $5.00. With the downturn in the national economy, entertainment like this was one of the first things to go.
When she started this, the income range was approx $8000 to $10,000 per year. Not much, but enough to allow us to pay for things like the occasional meal out at a restaurant, and not the kind where the food comes in a paper bag. When that became the sole income, we went from "Struggling Middle Class" to "Poor" nearly overnight. We lost our house, our car, all of our savings, a lot of "friends" (who abandoned ship when we couldn't provide for them too), and in many ways our family (who got tired of us asking for handouts).
Federal Poverty Line for a three person family in 2010 was $18,310 (depending on which chart you use1). Note that the maximum income that she made was below that level, and this was every year.
I was occasionally able to get a temp job, $50 here, $200 there, just enough to keep our nose above water, but not always. Our expenses (trimmed to the bone) outweighed our income. Power was always about $100 or so. Phone (a requirement) was always about $90. Rent was always about $100 in government subsidized housing. Note that it doesn't quite cover all the bills, so creative financing had to occur. This does NOT include medication we both need to live, nor does it cover ANY food (thank the Gods for Food Stamps).
Last year in 2010, three things happened which impacted all this: 1) our rent went down to $92 on recalculation of our income, 2) my daughter turned 18, 3) my wife only made $5000 TOTAL for the year. We got a prize from a company valued at $1150, and I didn't work a day because no one would hire me, not for the lack of trying. Oh, and because our daughter turned 18, we lost her section of Food Stamps even though we are still supporting her AND paying for nearly everything she needs. We lost a third of the money we used to eat on.
We go to get our taxes done. The delay was so that we could make sure all the W2's and 1099's were in. They were, all 2 of them (one for my wife, one for the prize). Last year we made $8,000 and we got back $2500 in our return. We were expecting that to happen again. Had most of it spent too, on things like pillows, bills and restocking the pantry with things like spaghetti and staples of that type. No Sushi, no wine or beer, no gourmet mushrooms, nothing that couldn't be used fifteen different ways. Chicken, hamburger, flour, eggs, milk. Average grocery bill for us for a week is about $80 or so.
We sit around for three hours, finally get to the preparer. We give her all the stuff, we wait while it is all filled out and she gives us the total:
WE OWE $52.
Yes, that's right. We made the least amount of money EVER in our history as a family, hell, in my ENTIRE working life, and we owe money in taxes.
We freak. M'love is near to tears. We go through everything, and we try to find where we might get more money back. Through a combination of things:
- We can no longer count our daughter as a deduction, even though the majority of the year she was younger than 18. That loses us nearly $7000 in deduction right there (earned income tax credit).
- Wifey poo, having been counted as a independent contractor, is responsible for her own Withholding, SSI and other government taxes. We have not paid in, so it comes out now.
- Me, not having worked, paid nothing in to the system
all came together to take every deduction we had away, and then take all the credits away, and leave us owing money.
Want to know the real topper on this? We have to make payment arrangements to pay that $52 off. We don't have it. We can't pay it all at once. The last paycheck she got was $110, which we had to spend mostly on food because our food stamps hadn't hit until the 10th of the month. So now, we have next to nothing in our bank account, we owe rent, both bills, and now another fee to the Government.
The "tl;dr" version: This past year we have made less than we EVER have EVER in our working life, and we, for the first time ever, owe money to the government. We talked to the IRS, and there's nothing we can do except pay. The poorest of the poor has the Government sticking their hand in our pocket. Why? Because we obviously owe them money.
So when you read about the Banks getting $780 billion, the billionaires getting tax breaks worth the same amount, remember who are paying that $11 Trillion National Debt, people who make less than $10,000 per year.
Hell, most people spent more on their plasma screen TV and cable than we MADE in the whole year.
So, yeah, that's rich.
1 This is according to the LIHEAP Clearinghouse at http://liheap.ncat.org/profiles/poverty
First posted at http://daven.dreamwidth.org/769014.html. There's been thoughts shared with OpenID. Leave your 2¢!
Edited to add: I really would like to hear your opinions on this movie.
Well, it’s been a while since there was some original news here, so I’m going to try to rectify that with this post.
First off, “no new news”. Some have noticed that the Journal here has been recycling old posts. That’s on purpose. I’ve had little new to say here, so I’ve found a WordPress plugin called Old Post Promoter which finds old posts and makes them new again. This is deliberate so that those who just found this site can see what is out there. Plus, there’s nearly 500 posts here, and I could recycle an old post a day for almost two years. I have it set so that every three days an old post is pulled up. I’m pretty sure that those who are regulars here haven’t read everything either. So it’s a boon for everyone.
I do promise as the Muse or the Gods strike me, I will put up a new post or an article. So absolutely new content will not be a stranger, but I do want you all to be entertained here and not bored by seeing weeks/months of no posts. I figure old posts are better than no posts.
I would suggest subscribing to the RSS feed since that will get you the posts that are put up, and if you recognize them, you don’t have to come here and read.
Now, for what I was putting this post up for. I’ve made another movie. Yeah, you get to see my ugly mug. On this movie, I talk about my Druid’s Staff. I had mentioned that I would make this to show you what I had on my staff, and here it is.
Anyhow, I get my ideas all over, and this is the one that I thought was cool enough to be incorporated into a Druid’s staff. Use it or not.
On Livejournal and Dreamwidth there is a Pagan Meme going around. I’m going to fill it out but it’s not going to be exactly like what the author anticipated. There are some of these questions that are invasive and not relevant to anything other than me. My answers are in red and comments are in green. But I have comments in the regular answers too.
But the rest is interesting. So, take a look.
This is her most recent evolution of her art, single runes as pendants. But I have a lot of her pieces and I can tell you that they are absolutely wonderful, useful, beautiful and well made. (let's see, there's the offering bowl, a bone/antler athame, a set of antler runes, several necklaces and multiple pouches...)
So if you want things made from leather/bone, as many do in the various pagan communities do, check out her post which will lead you to her Etsy shop, her website and more.
Pass this around to everyone.
First posted at http://daven.dreamwidth.org/763684.html. There's been thoughts shared with OpenID. Leave your 2¢!
While this sheet is of my authorship, I can’t claim responsibility for developing the information on this sheet. I cribbed from “The Practical Guide to the Runes” by Lisa Perchel to assemble this. However, the names have been changed to reflect a consistent language, not the polyglot that was in that book.
|Letter||Rune||Name||Interpretation meaning||Magickal Meaning|
|Material gain – Fulfillment – Uncontrolled (primal) fire||Increase Money – Protection of Valuables – Sending – Hasten Affairs|
|Wild Ox – Vitality – Male – True Will – Changes – Good Health||New Situations – New Circumstances – Healing|
|Protection – Luck||New Beginnings – Luck – Protection – Push Love – Get rid of opposition|
|Mouth – Spoken Word – Taking Advice – Gaining of Wisdom – Examinations||Gain Wisdom – Confidence – Increase in Magick – “Silver Tongue”|
|Travel – Journey of Discovery||Gain Justice – Safe Travel|
|Fire (controlled) – Positive Attitude – Opening up – Creativity||Strengthen Runes – Healing – Love – Stability – Fresh Start – Protect Valuables|
|Gift – Partnership||Love & Sex – Increase Magick – Partnership – Mind & Body Equilibrium|
|Joy – Success||Fulfillment – Success in Travel|
|Hail – Limitations & Delays – All forces outside your control||Protection – Luck – Positive Result|
|Patience – Passing through a difficult learning situation – Think twice – Failure – Needs||Overcoming Distress – Achieve Goals – Protection – Find Love – Get relationship going|
|Cessation of activities – Relationship cooling||Freeze Situation – Develop Will – Halt unwanted forces|
|Harvest – Reaping of rewards – Justice||Tangible Result – Bring event to pass – Legal matters – Fertility|
|Yew Tree – Protection||Protection – Increase Power – Remove Obstacles|
|Mystery – Hidden things, secrets, occult – Unexpected gains & surprises||Evolve Magick – Investment – Find lost things – Good Health|
|New good influence – Instincts – Friendship – Protection||Protection – Friendships – Strength Luck & Life Forces|
|Victory – Great power – Great Health||Victory – Healing – Strength & Self Confidence|
|Success – Extreme motivation – Increase in money or power – Masculine||Victory – Competition – Quick Recovery – Ardent Male|
|Birth – Family – Home you made||Fertility – Protection – Family – Fruition – Female (nurturing)|
|Physical Movement – New Dwelling – Physical shift – Gradual development & progress||Swift change – Safe Travel|
|Humankind – Independence||Gain Assistance – Increase memory and mental powers|
|Intuitive Knowledge – Female – Memory – Success in learning||Contact Intuition – Increase Vitality – Gather Energy|
|Successful conclusion – Relief||Fertility – Release Energy – Satisfactory End – “Fix” Outcome|
|Increase or Growth||Financial Increase – Change in Attitude – New Beginnings|
|Possessions – Ideal or Visions – Inherited traits||Monetary Gain – Health of Elderly – Protection of Possessions|
These rune interpretations are taken from the book “The Practical Guide to the Runes” by Lisa Perchel, published by Llewellyn Publications.
Make a post to your journal. The post should contain your list of 10 holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fandom-related (fics, picspams, fanmixes) to medium (dvds, books, bracelets, etc) to really big (a new computer, a car, etc).
The important thing is, make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want. - If you wish for real life things (not fics or icons), make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it's your address or just your e-mail address where Santa (or one of his elves) could get in touch with you.
S T E P . T W O
Surf around your reading list to see who has posted their list.
And now here's the important part: If you see a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make someone's wish come true. Sometimes someone's trash is another's treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you won't use - or even know where you could get someone's dream purebred Basset Hound for free - do it.
You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday elf--to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not--it's your call. There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just... wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.
Hurr's my list:
( Read more...Collapse )
This entry was originally posted at http://daven.dreamwidth.org/752835.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Let's forget for a moment the rampant commercialism associated with EVERY one of those holidays (with the exception of my birthday [Jan 12] because it gets rolled into Christmas), and lets forget the whole "The Christians stole their holidays from us" wangst. Just the "get together with the family on the holidays" crap makes me want to vomit. I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this understands why I say that. But time has fixed a lot of it, and I have gotten better. Therapy helps too.
Memorial and Veteran's Days both make me really ... embarrassed. Why? ( Read more...Collapse )
This entry was originally posted at http://daven.dreamwidth.org/751616.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
- Current Mood: cranky
By Taylor Ellwood
Immanion Press, 2004 £12.99 UK, $20.99 US
Review by Daven
I’ll admit that when I first heard of this book, I was really skeptical. When it was published, I didn’t know Taylor, and I remember the calls that he was a sellout, a poser and an idiot. That a book based on popular culture and especially the “Buffy Summoning” was just a stupid, fluffy concept. I refrained from commenting because I hadn’t read the book, but to me it sounded interesting since at its core, Chaos magick uses the same concept.
Now I’ve read this book and I think it deserves an honored place next to “Oven Ready Chaos”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that book, it is considered to be a seminal work of Chaos Magick.
Originally posted 2009-11-15 17:15:16.
Well, you may have noticed from the post below here that I’ve started recycling old pages back up. This is going to be standard from now on.
Every 3 days, give or take, there is going to be an old post of mine republished on the Journal here. It is not going to be taking the place of real content, but it will be IN ADDITION TO new content.
I started doing this because my brain has burnout, and I’ve written about nearly everything I can. But I also know that those of you who are fans of my site probably have not read all the pages and posts that are possible. That’s okay. That is why I’m publishing them again.
Articles of the Journal, pages for The Tree or your Book of Shadows will be reposted, but the day to day whining and winging and announcements that I have used this blog for are NOT going to be republished. For instance, you might see a ritual next time, but you won’t see this announcement again. That’ s how I set up things.
I’m also trying out a couple new plugins. One of them is for doing excerpts in the posts, so you only get a section of the post on the front page or in the RSS feed or on the LiveJournal and Dreamwidth pages, not the whole thing. With some of these articles, this plugin is really needed. I’ll do my best to mark the announcements with “Post” as a category, but if I miss one, let me know in the comments, okay? Thanks.
By J.M. Dixon
Red Wheel/Weiser, Copyright 2009, $14.95 US
Review by Daven
One thing you must know before I get to the review; I hate vampires. More to the point, I hate the current “vampire craze”. Especially when there are multiple fiction books out on the market that are simply thinly veiled teen angst/romance novels, targeted to a demographic that is very vulnerable to flattery and “someday my prince will come”.
That being said, I had feared that this book was going to be more of the same. It would be a book full of “Vampires are sexy” and “Vampires drink blood because it’s primal to our sexual energies”. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author and publisher did not fall into this trap.
Version 2.05 (Last updated 7-31-03)
By Daven (Member, Ord Draiochta na Uisnech)
On first meeting a Druid, many Wiccans feel a bond – a commonality must exist. Normally the Wiccan will start talking about The Goddess, their Circle and so on and be somewhat lost when the Druid starts talking about the Triune Thought, the Triskel and Honor or other relevant terms who’s meaning may not be immediately clear.
I feel that the confusion stems from misunderstandings and misconceptions. This article will attempt to explain some of these concepts that may confuse the Wiccan.
The Rede/The Law of Returns
Of all the differences that a Wiccan has with Druidism this is probably the most prevalent. In Druidism, there is no “rede”. In fact, the only people that the Rede pertains to are those who ascribe to it, it is unique to Wiccans and some kinds of Witchcraft.
This is a video that Ellen made up in response to the recent rash of gay/bullying suicides.
Not to detract from the whole story she just told, but I was victim of it too. I suffer from PTSD in regards to one incident where my sexuality and bullying was combined. I nearly killed myself that time. I was the butt of “jokes” from others who thought it would be funny to make a date with me and then stand me up.
This is not acceptable on any level.
Those of you who think it is, need to go to the psychologist worse than the victims of your “jokes” do. This scars for life. There is NO fixing it.
To my shame, I passed on the abuse to others. I can’t make up for it, but when I found out that I had done so, I tried to make it right. There is no fixing it, but the cycle can be stopped.
by Galina Krasskova
New Page Books, 2010, $14.99 US
Review by Daven
I have to admit it, I solicited this book. See, I’m starting to really study the Elder Futhark Runes, and I wanted something more than Blum’s book. I have a book called “The Practical Guide to Runes” that I’ve been using as my “default” text, my go-to book, but now I think that book has been supplanted by this one.
Note from Daven:I was directed toward this essay on Livejournal by a friend. I read it and thought it was one of the best of its type on the Internet. I didn’t want the essay to be lost because it was on an obscure blog, so I asked for permission to repost it here. Please read this and comment on the original article if you chose too.
On a friend’s FB, she commented about how she was tired of Christians whining about being persecuted in the US. She’s a sweet heart of a woman, charming, funny, warm-hearted, everything you’d want in a friend. She’s always a very devout Christian. I don’t think we’ve ever really discussed religion – there’s not a whole lot of need to talk if one walks the walk; there are so many other things to talk about when we get together. But over the years, we’ve come to learn things about one another and the fact that we have different religious beliefs only deepens our friendship.
Her wall post attracted a Christian who very plainly felt she was personally put upon and persecuted by American society for being Christian. When this woman (I’m calling her CP for “Christian Person”) commented that she viewed verbal comments from people expressing different points of view (mind you, not comments that attacked her religion, just expressed a different viewpoint) to be persecution, I’m sorry, but I rolled my eyes. When someone asked her for examples, CP wrapped herself in her privilege and accused the querant of attacking her and not caring; that :::sob::: nobody cared! so she just would go away and not talk to such mean people!
Shades of the old Fascist Meanie Pooh Pooh Head days!
by Dorothy Morrison
Llewellyn Publications, 2000
Review by Daven
Dorothy Morrison is a wonderful author with several innovative ideas that I found truly refreshing. Considering that this particular season and holiday is probably THE most written about holiday in the Western World, that’s saying a lot.
For example, she has an innovative method of harvesting a Yule tree. First she finds the tree and makes friends with it. Then on the day she wishes to cut the tree, she asks the tree to move it’s spirit deep into the tap root, and she cuts off the section of the tree that the spirit has fled from. She knows where that is, and ties a rope around the trunk about 8 inches off the ground. Once all that is done, she cuts the tree. By way of thanks and care for the tree, she then inserts fertilizer sticks into the ground around the stump of the tree to encourage it to regrow the top of the tree. She also comes back several times to give it more fertilizer and talk to the tree. Thus she encourages the trees she has cut from to regrow their tops. I don’t know if she returns and re-harvests trees but I would bet she could.
She covers the other celebrations occurring around this holiday briefly, enough to give the reader a feel for the season so you will know what is being celebrated and why. The holidays thus covered are Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukah, since between those four celebrations, most of the parties during this time of the year are covered.
I was happy to see “Holiday Customs around the world” in this book. She has a chapter dealing with how different countries celebrate this time of the year. It’s good to know that people are being taught just because we do it *this* way in America, it does not necessarily follow that the whole world does it that same way.
Dorothy has an extensive knowledge of folklore and it shows in this book. She shares a lot of crafts, customs, folk traditions and other information. I truly enjoyed the wealth of information she has assembled, things like the omens of the season are needed in many cases these days.
The projects are interesting. One of the projects is how to turn a can for holding chips into a can for holding incense. I thought, “You know, this sounds really interesting. Apparently they ARE good for something other than holding change.”
One other thing, this book probably has more recipes for food than any other book in this series. This is certainly understandable since this is the time for eating. This book also has a day by day breakdown of what happens during this time of the year, and good suggestions as to what to do with all those left over decorations.
It is a book that focuses on the season, rather than the Pagan celebration of Yule. There is only one ritual in there, if you discount the granny projects. It would be good for those who want a book on the season and general ritual information. There is not much about the Pagan history or the pagan celebration in here, but that lack does not really detract from the book overall.
Dorothy has done a good job with this book, and she and her book have earned the 4 stars I’m giving it. This one is another that anyone who wants in depth information should get.