Belief, Non-Belief and Common Ground

Belief, Non-Belief and Common Ground.

Vaccines don’t cause autism. Because science.

Much thanks to Vaxplanations for this list.

vaxplanations

vaxnoautism Next time somebody says that vaccines cause autism, or that the link has not been studied extensively, hit them with this list of 109 scientific papers (including studies and reviews) showing no link between vaccines, vaccine ingredients and autism. Compiled by Nathan Boonstra, Allison Hagood, Luci Baldwin and myself.
  1. Albizzati, A., Moré, L., Di Candia, D., Saccani, M., Lenti, C. Normal concentrations of heavy metals in autistic spectrum disorders. Minerva Pediatrica. 2012.Feb;64(1):27-31 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22350041
  2. Abu Kuwaik, G., Roberts, W., Zwaigenbaum, L., Bryson, S., Smith, IM., Szatmari, P., Modi, BM., Tanel, N., Brian, J. Immunization uptake in younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2014 Feb;18(2):148-55. doi: 10.1177/1362361312459111. Epub 2012 Oct 8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23045216
  3. Afzal, MA., Ozoemena, LC., O’Hare, A., Kidger, KA., Bentley, ML., Minor, PD.Absence of detectable measles virus genome sequence in blood of autistic children who have had their MMR vaccination during the routine childhood immunization schedule of UK.   Journal…

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A Scare Is In The Air…

October has arrived!

And with it comes my annual giddiness over the approaching holiday that holds my heart in its hands.

I’m speaking of Halloween, of course.

So many things to love about this time of the year- that first chill in the air after a hot month of August, the autumnal color show of reds, yellows and oranges, the smell of pumpkin guts as you carve the first jack-o-lantern, that sweet, synergistic scent of hundreds of freshly stocked candy bags greeting you as you turn on to the Halloween aisle at the local grocery store. The ghouls, the skeletons, the witches, the monsters! I absolutely love it all. As a tween and then later a teen, I loved the horror flicks (much to my dream life’s chagrin).  I remember many a Friday night at my best friend’s house, eating pizza and watching obscure 80’s scary movies on cable.  “Sleepaway Camp” (now, that was just weird), “The Dorm that Dripped Blood”, “Prom Night”– we loved them all. What is it about slasher movies that is so appealing? I don’t much care for them now. But I do still love me some Halloween fright. We have been gradually taking our Halloween decorum up a notch every year. The street we lived on last year almost demanded it.ImageImage

Everyone there gets into the Halloween spooky spirit. On Halloween night, we all place portable fire pits in the driveways. This is where many would hand out their candy to the menagerie of ghosts, goblins and superheroes passing by. Inside the houses are food and drink prepared especially for the night. Parents trick or treating with their kids stop by for a quick bite and drink. Then off to the next house! Great times. Now that we are in a new house on the other side of town, I’m not sure what to expect. I’m hoping this side of town loves Halloween as much as the former.

In the spirit of my favorite holiday, I’m leaving you with a couple of stories. One is a spook-worthy story about a painting. But not just any painting. A HAUNTED painting (insert maniacal laugh here).

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At least that’s what the owner says. Of course, I’m skeptical but that’s ok.  Sometimes you just gotta go with it for the sake of all that is awesome about Halloween.  I can do that. The story is about a painting titled “The Anguished Man.” Supposedly, it was painted with the blood of the artist. Ewwww. I first heard of this story from one of my favorite websites, Who Forted. Find this creepy story here.

Also, if you’re interested, here is an update on the story.

My next creepy as hell story is about a cave. But not just any cave. A HAUNTED cave (insert more maniacal laughter here). Take my word for it: haunted caves are the worst kinds of caves. This story is long but soo worth it. Make sure you read it during a rainy October night, when you are alone in the house and maybe a little drunk. Do you remember that movie “The Ring”?  That’s all I’m gonna say………

Scary Cave Story. (sorry the site has so many freakin ads!)

Last but not least, I leave you with a hauntingly beautiful song about three butchers who like to steal little children who don’t listen to their mothers. I’ve already started playing this one for my almost three year old. Is that wrong? He’s tough. He can handle it. Plus, he’s already started exhibiting a propensity towards a love for the “scare”.

Must be in the DNA.

Wishing you a spooky October!

Enlightenment at the KOA

Recently, I discovered something about myself:

KOA

I’m a bit of a camping snob.

This epiphany hit me as soon as my hubby suggested we spend a couple of our precious vacation days at the KOA Kampgrounds in Gunnison, CO. Two of our very good friends whom are currently “RV-living” it would be there for about a month and this would be our perfect opportunity to hang out with them for a bit. I could feel my nose crinkling up in vainglorious  superiority as the words “KOA campgrounds” fell from his mouth. The manicured camping conveniences of  a KOA were not my idea of getting back to Nature. But that was ok. We were seeing our friends we hadn’t seen in a good while and that’s what mattered the most. So we packed up the Westfalia and headed towards Gunnison.

The Vanagon.
The Vanagon.

We arrived amidst the summer afternoon heat with our cranky toddler in tow. After discovering our space was right next to two deep ponds, we asked the attendant at the front desk if it would be possible to get a space farther away from the ponds. Water  to our son is like what porch lights are to moths. And since, like moths to a flame,  toddlers seem to have a natural propensity for self-destruction, we thought it best to put as much space between him and the ponds as possible. The attendant was in complete understanding and placed us in a space right next to our friend’s RV.  Perfect! Only catch: we would have to move to another space tomorrow just across from where we would be staying the first night. No problem!  We appreciated the friendly disposition and willingness to work with us. “I have a grandson about the same age as your son, so I completely understand”, she told us with a smile.

KOA Kampgrounds
KOA Kampgrounds in Gunnison, CO.

The majority of the people staying at the KOA  were those in RV’s. And most of them were some of the nicest, friendliest people I’ve encountered. The place began to remind me a little of a  micro-community or maybe a summer camp. My favorite RV was one that had set up bird feeders right outside their vehicle.

Bird Lovers at the KOA.
Bird Lovers at the KOA.

By far the nicest surprise was the Owner and Operating Manager, Dave Taylor. It soon became clear that Mr. Taylor loves what he does. Dave always had a sincere smile and an interesting story to tell. We thoroughly enjoyed his joyful demeanor and gift for gab.

Dave with his much-loved cows.
Dave with his much-loved cows.

He also happens to love animals. Roaming the grounds were Deiter and Guenther- two uninhibited goats with collars like the family dogs and each bearing a tag with his name inscripted upon it. Adjacent to the property was pastureland filled with an assortment of other animals belonging to Dave including llamas, alpacas, horses, a donkey and two cows, all of which live, as Dave puts it, “in a kill-free zone. ”  On weekends, Dave gathers his menagerie together for all the kids to enjoy up close. Unfortunately, we were not there for that but we did get to spend some time with Fancy and Norman, the two resident cows. “He’s just like a big dog”, Dave said about his Holstein, Norman. He’s had him since Norman was a baby and you could see the mutual love between them. It made me happy to know that these were two cows that would never see a slaughterhouse. And I’m glad my son got to see these animals up close.

Norman and Fancy love each other.
Norman and Fancy love each other.

All in all, the visit to the KOA in Gunnison turned out to be a very pleasant and enlightening experience.  I think I learned a valuable lesson-don’t judge an experience until you have it. I’m reminded of advice given by Bokonon in  Kurt Vonnegut’s book, “Cat’s Cradle”:  “Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God”.  Well, I’m an atheist but I get the meaning.

If you happen to make it out to the KOA in Gunnison, tell Deiter and Guenther “hi” for me.

Deiter. Or maybe Geunther.
Deiter. Or maybe Geunther?

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do….

Dear Chik-fil-a,

I know the timing is awful, being your”Appreciation Day” and everything, but I just don’t think I can continue our relationship any longer.

It’s not you, it’s me. Wait, that’s not true. It is you. Oh, how I will fiercely miss your  warm, just the right amount of salty, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside waffle fries dipped in your Polynesian sauce. I will always remember the day I discovered that taste explosion.

The thing is I cannot continue to give you money when I now know you give some of your profits to homophobic groups actively working to discriminate against people. It’s doesn’t take a belief in Jesus to know that’s wrong. 

And, honestly at this point, I don’t think I would be able to get over this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been real, Chik-fil-a.

Injecting a Little Love Into Your Day

Hello out there, fellow humans.

I don’t know what kind of a day you’re having but I wanted to share a music video with those of you feeling a bit on the downside today.

I absolutely adore this video. I don’t know how much of it is scripted (obviously, some of it was) but it does seem to capture some candid moments with random strangers. And so interesting to see the different angles of human nature revealed in such a simple gesture- a stranger asking for a hug.  You see people’s  different reactions of  hesitation, fear, refusal and even some resorting to violence. But you also  see many people reacting warmly, responding with a returned hug. Yes, this could have been the art of editing but I would like to think I’m less cynical than that.

I wonder, had it been me, how would I have reacted to a surly stranger approaching me and asking for a hug? Something to think about…..

Regardless, this video is a nice reminder that there are good people out there despite all the badness in the world. Helping our fellow humans, even with small gestures- that’s what it’s all about.

Have a beautiful day.

(PS-This video gets additional awesome points for starring the guy from “30 Rock!”)

Greetings, Cyberfolk

Welcome to my little corner of the ‘Verse.

What is Space Cadet Glow?

I’m not quite sure yet and maybe I shouldn’t try to define it- just let it unfold as it will. Yeah, I like that idea.

For now, I’ll leave you with a little nugget of awesome, courtesy of Pleated Jeans.

This is what I like to call a target-rich environment. Oh, where do I start? There’s the title, the facial expressions, the “If God Loves Me, Why Can’t I Get My Locker Open?”,  the way they are all listening ever so intently to the blonde dude, whom I’m assuming is giving them tips on  how to be just as awesome as he is (his hair alone qualifies him)……

But wait! There’s more! Go here to read the Amazon reviews. You’ll be happy you did!