Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Christmas... War Is Over, If You Want It

I found this video montage set to John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War Is Over) on YouTube... Caution, it contains graphic images of war, but when has the truth ever been easy to watch.

These are the types of images that were sanitized from the media coverage of our current military actions. If we were allowed to see the realities of war every night on the six-o-clock news as we did during the Vietnam war this insanity would not have lasted ten years!

My previous post of Happy Christmas (War Is Over) lyrics by John Lennon.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace On Earth...

In midst of all the Holiday madness and frenzied consumerism, all supposedly in the name of the Prince of Peace, this last weekend we got the news that the war in Iraq has come to an official end. I can't express how happy I am for the brave service men and women who will be home with loved one for the Holidays.

But I am having trouble drawing much solace from what should be the best Christmas present anyone could receive.

The New York Times Sunday Review had an opinion piece by Joshua S. Goldstein and Steven Pinker titled War Really Is Going Out of Style which basically stated that large scale armed conflicts have become less numerous over the years.

Maybe so, but with armed conflicts ongoing elsewhere in the world and with the introduction of un-manned drones doing the killing by remote control, we have a new kind of warfare emerging. By lessening the casualties on our side the use of un-manned drones increases the likelihood of using military solutions to solve diplomatic problems.

In addition, the war weary voting public would be less opposed to drone warfare leaving our military leaders free from the public outcry brought on by images of flag draped coffins returning from foreign lands.

War is not over and we still need to promote peace, protest for peace, and and pray for peace!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Grateful Is Healthy - Happy Thanksgiving!

Cultivating an "attitude of gratitude" is proving to have a beneficial effect on physical as well as mental health in addition to it's obvious spiritual connection.

Psychologist Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis states that:

"Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress, and to achieve a positive sense of the self."

Dr. Emmons found that in an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.

It is not about naturally having a grateful disposition, that goes against how our brains developed. We have been programed for survival to processes threat assessments and therefore we are alerted to negative situations about 3:1 over positive situations. It is, as Dr. Emmons research suggests, about developing a habit of being grateful irregardless of circumstances. It is about looking for things to be grateful for.

Take Dr. Emmons quiz How Grateful Are You? over on Beliefnet.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement

Thursday I will listen to Arlo Guthrie sing Alice's Restaurant again, all 18+ minuets of it, just as I have done for thirty or forty Thanksgivings.

But why is Alice's Restaurant so important to me? While recalling youthful memories and singing along with anti-war, anti-draft protest songs can be fun, Alice's Restaurant remains relevant to me for much deeper reasons. It is because the anti-war movement is still an important part of who I am.

Here it is thirty-seven years after getting my draft card during the last round of the Vietnam "draft lottery" and I am still preaching peace while wars continue to rage and our young men are still dieing on foreign soil.

That is why Alice's Restaurant remains so important to me. As long as our nation continues to send young men off to war I will be part of the anti-war movement.

Here is a video from Farm Aid 2005 of Arlo Guthrie singing Alice's Restaurant:

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our Disposable Brave Service Men & Women

On Sept. 24, 2011 at a cemetery in Easton, PA, Maj. Bruce Lawrence was finally laid to rest on U.S. soil, approximately 43 years after his aircraft was shot down in Vietnam.

I can't believe that we are still burring our dead from the Vietnam War!

Today in a Washington Post article U.S. Air Force officials acknowledged that from 2003 to 2008 the Dover Air Force Base mortuary disposed of portions of troops’ remains (fragments and portions of body parts that were initially unidentified or were later recovered from the battlefield) by cremating them and dumping the ashes in a Virginia landfill.

Is this how we honor our fallen servicemen and women and their families?

We shouldn't be in these wars in the first place, but to literally dump their remains in a landfill shows just how "disposable" our brave men and women are to the warfare state!

"There never was a good war or a bad peace."
~Benjamin Franklin

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

(U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Michael Gibson)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

David Crosby & Graham Nash At OWS

In a show of support Tuesday, David Crosby and Graham Nash preformed at Occupy Wall Street, encouraging the crowd to "Keep going". Watch this Rolling Stone video with an interview of David and Graham on their way down to OWS.

Here is a two thousand year old warning to the 1% by the Apostle James:
And now, you rich people, listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you!

Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire.

You have piled up riches in these last days.

You have not paid any wages to those who work in your fields. Listen to their complaints! The cries of those who gather in your crops have reached the ears of God, the Lord Almighty.

Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter.
(James 5:1-5)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Dirty F@#*ing Hippies Were Right!

With Occupy Wall Street gaining momentum, I thought this six minute video was worth sharing. I don't know who made it, but other than the "F" word, this video is right on! Here is a transcript of the video:

There’s a black granite wall in Washington D.C. that bears 58,260 names on it. All of those whose names that are carved on that wall are dead. For what? Freedom?

If this country had listened when kids were screaming to stop that slaughter, that wall would have been one hell of a lot shorter. Yet we as a nation still wage wars of choice. Wars encouraged by plutocrats who never had to fight them.

Peace is never discussed. Peace has somehow become a pejorative. Peace is no pejorative. Peace is essential to the survival of the human race. Those who advocate for war are a dangerous and fearful group who should be marginalized and disavowed. War is always the last choice.

The dirty f@#*ing hippies... were right!

Now the oceans have been rising. The polar ice is melting at alarming rates. The climate is changing in irreversible ways. Our survival as a species is on this planet is on a precipice. The science on this is clear, humans are now in trouble because of our reckless stewardship of what we dominate. We have polluted this fragile jewel that hangs in space, our only home.

The food we buy is contaminated. The toys we give our children as presents for Christmas are tainted with poison. The water we drink is rife with carcinogens. The fish in our seas, lakes, and rivers are so full of mercury that it is only recommended we eat them once per week. We have now come face to face with our own extinction.

I hate to say we told you so, but…
The dirty f@#*ing hippies… were right!

We’ve elected sociopath after sociopath for the last 30 years, to every level of government. Many of them slaves to corporate parasites that gorge themselves at the public trough while the most vulnerable people in our society: the sick, the young, and the elderly go wanting.

Billions of dollars in profits are being snatched up at the expense and suffering of our neighbors by the jackals that comprise our pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Both of which pipe their diagnostic wisdom and their fake concern right into our homes via TV and radio commercials. These legal drug dealers now sell their wares with impunity and the insurance gamblers perform a slick game of three card monty right in our living rooms.

Most of these drugs have a list of caveats that would make even the most dishonest used car salesman blush. And the insurance hustlers change the rules of the game just when it’s time to pay up. Profiting from the suffering and pain of others. Profiting from human frailty. Universal Healthcare, it's too expensive we were told. Gasbag-talking-heads on TV and radio have been complicit in this deception while being handsomely compensated for their assistance.

I’ll say it again,
The dirty f@#*ing hippies… were right!

Big box discount stores descend upon small towns in America like alien ships filled with cheap products, bought at low prices, from countries that pay their workers slave wages. Plutocrats love this business model.

Mom and Pop shops can’t compete with the prices set by these huge corporate parasites. And to no one’s surprise many small businesses in these tiny hamlets fail. Leaving small towns filled with empty store fronts and even in some cases forcing these same small business operators to go to work for the very people that ruined their livelihoods. Small town America is subsequently decimated by this invasion, often helpless in stopping it.

Wall Street has cannibalized itself. Still hungry, feeling the pangs of their greed, they’ve now come to the government for their daily meal. And still, without a hint of irony, a spokesman for this ravenous tribe, mounts a soapbox and has the temerity to rail against the evils of socialism.

Turns out, the socialism is for them, the capitalism is for us. Abbie Hoffman once baited these banksters by throwing cash onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. To no one’s astonishment, they demonstrated their insatiable greed. The gluttons couldn’t help themselves, they stopped trading and got on their knees to sweep up the free loot. Wall Street should have been reigned in long ago.

I’ll say it again,
The dirty f@#*ing hippies… were right!

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

"You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone"

Mom always said "You'll miss me when I'm gone"

She was so right!

Even tough Mom had been preparing us for her departure for the last six years, it was still difficult to say good-by. In fact, when I called to check on her just a few days before she passed, Mom said good-by to me. I knew what she meant, she knew it was time, but I could only bring my self to say good night.

Last Sunday when the time came for her to go home to be with Jesus, Mom was ready.

Of all the things about mom, I will remember these three things she taught me about life...

Always pray! "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Even before Mom found Jesus she would pray. She would pray when she couldn't find something she misplaced or she would pray when an ambulance or police car went by red light and siren. I think she always knew Jesus, but when she came to a deeper faith later in life she would pray even more. As a nurse she would pray for help when drawing blood, and sure enough she would hit that vein on the first try. Every morning she would pray for her children, grand children, and great grandchildren.

Have a sense of humor! "A cheerful heart is good medicine." (Proverbs 17:22) I can't even begin to cite the many examples of Mom's quirky humor, but oh how that woman could make you laugh!

What ever you decide to do in life, be the best you can be! "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people." (Colossians 3:23) It didn't matter what we chose to do we were to go at it with all of our being.

Friday we held a celebration of Mom's life. Mom's friends, family, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were there. It was the most beautiful, yet horribly painful experience I have had in a long time, but it was much easier than I imagined it would be.

Mom made me promise many times over that us kids would stay close to each other after she was gone. She would remind me "After all, you three are all that you have". This weekend was a good start in fulfilling her wish.

This was Mom's favorite Bible passage, this is how she was able to get through life...

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

PeaceDay TV

PeaceDay TV International Day of Peace Global Broadcast Broadcasting entertaining humanitarian and educational events; featuring sustainable solutions, the Millennium Development Goals, and hundreds of organizations and Peacebuilders.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Prayers of Hope 9/11

Not many days after 9/11 I created this parchment with scriptures of hope printed on it, my wife and I then placed it at the base of the Peace Pole in front of our local city hall. Every night for eight weeks we would light candles and pray for peace at our makeshift memorial.

(Click Here To Enlarge)

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
1 Timothy 2:1-2

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Monday, September 05, 2011

We Must Concentrate On The Positive Affirmation Of Peace

"So man's proneness to engage in war is still a fact. But wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete...

I do not wish to minimize the complexity of the problems that need to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But I think it is a fact that we shall not have the will, the courage, and the insight to deal with such matters unless in this field we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual reevaluation - a change of focus which will enable us to see that the things which seem most real and powerful are indeed now unreal and have come under the sentence of death. We need to make a supreme effort to generate the readiness, indeed the eagerness, to enter into the new world which is now possible, "the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God".

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say "We must not wage war." It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace."

~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Nobel Peace Prize Lecture December 11, 1964

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Gospel According To Woodstock - Blessed Are The Peacemakers

Max Yasgur on stage at Woodstock 1969 praising the 500,000 "kids" for being able to peacefully gather in one place to have, as he put it, "Three days of fun and music, and have nothing but fun and music, and I God bless you for it".

This is a line up of anti-war songs that were preformed during the three days of Woodstock:

-Richie Havens sang Handsome Johnny, a folk song about young men being perpetually sent off to fight war after war.

-Country Joe McDonald preformed I Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die, a ragtime song filled with sarcasm highlighting the absurdity of the Vietnam War.

-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young performed Wooden Ships, a rock song about survivors from opposite sides of a war meeting each other while navigating the horror and destruction left behind.

-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sang a cappella Find The Cost Of Freedom, a song about the ultimate price of war.

Perhaps the most memorable anti-war song from that list was Country Joe McDonald's I Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die Rag, which clearly expressed the feelings of the Woodstock Generation about the Vietnam War. So here is a video clip, minus his infamous "Fish Cheer"...

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." ~Jesus (Matthew 5:9)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Fair Use Notice

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Gospel According To Woodstock - What God Hath Joined Together, Let No Man Put Asunder

The famous photograph of Nick and Bobbi Ercoline taken by Burk Uzzle at Woodstock in 1969.

This image of young love became the iconic cover of the original Woodstock album and movie poster.

Nick and Bobbie had met just a few months earlier and decided that since Woodstock was so close to where they lived that they just couldn't miss the event.

According to Burk Uzzle it was Sunday morning August 17, 1969, while 500,000 sleepy concert goers were waking up to Jefferson Airplane on stage at Woodstock, that he photographed this now famous embrace of a young couple in love.

More than forty years later Nick and Bobbi, both in their early 60's now, are still together. They married two summers after Woodstock, and they still live less than an hour's drive from the original concert site in upstate New York.

"All because two people fell in love"
~Quote on the wall of Nick and Bobbie's home just above their iconic Woodstock photo

"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
~Jesus (Mark 10:9)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Fair Use Notice

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Gospel According To Woodstock - Amazing Grace

Apparently, even in the midst of all the self indulgent sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll the Gospel could be found at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August of 1969.

Back then spirituality was everywhere, and references to Jesus were very common in music on the Billboard Top Ten List, so I shouldn't have been surprised to find this outtake of Arlo Guthrie singing Amazing Grace at Woodstock.

I love this song and I love Arlo, so what a truly great find it is. Arlo began his Woodstock set with Coming into Los Angeles (a song about smuggling marijuana) and ended with Amazing Grace, an interesting juxtaposition. Too bad it was never released before, we only got to see and hear Arlo sing about drug smuggling.

"There's always a little bit of heaven in a disaster area."
~Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney) Woodstock 1969

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Fair Use Notice

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Gospel According To Woodstock - We Are Stardust

In August 1969 the Woodstock Music & Art Fair took place on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, NY with over half a million people in attendance.

I always loved Joni Mitchell's song about Woodstock, but it wasn't until my faith journey took me off of the Young Earth path and on to the Old Earth path that I fully appreciated the line "We are stardust".

In fact, I didn't even remember until today that she wrote the line "We are billion year old carbon". I think that I blocked it out of my mind all of these years because it didn't fit with my previous Young Earth perspective.

The knowledge that everything on this planet; every plant and animal, every human being, and even every rock contains the remnants of a star that exploded somewhere in the universe - that knowledge excites me.

The basic elements that were created during the Big Bang and then added to by super novas became the building blocks of our solar system. Every molecule of iron in my blood, every calcium atom in my bones came from a star... we are quite literally made of stardust, billion(s) year old carbon.

Here is a video of Joni Mitchell singing Woodstock...

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Fair Use Notice

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm Losing (And Finding) My Religion - Again

When I was a young boy my mom sent me off to Sunday School. I remember that church attendance in my parent's home was mostly limited to special occasions; Christmas, Easter, and funerals. That is not to say that my parents weren't spiritual or even religious in their own way, but it was a bit out of the ordinary to be sent off to Sunday School with my little sister that bright Sunday morning.

I don't recall exactly what the Sunday School teacher said one day, but I do remember thinking to myself that it was totally unscientific, even impossible. Science was my world, and even though I was only nine years old, I realized that there was a gulf between modern science and literalistic religious dogma - so I quit going to Sunday School.

At the beginning of the Jesus People Movement I returned to that church and was swept up in the excitement and comfort of finding a deeper meaning to life, especially during a time when the whole nation and my personal life was in turmoil.

To fully embrace my new found faith I was faced with a choice... Accept a literal reading of the six day Creation Story in the Bible and the popular evangelical thought that the earth was only about six thousand (6,000) years old, or believe that the earth was about four-and-a-half billion (4,500,000,000) years old as I had been taught in the public school system.

My dilemma was that if the first few verses of the Bible were not correct how was I to believe the sixty-six books that followed? So, knowing God to be a higher authority than the Los Angeles Unified School District, I chose the suspension of all scientific thought. I believed that the geologists and astrophysicists were wrong, that they simply had too many zeros in their calculations.

I spent the next forty years as a student of the Bible until 2009 when my dad passed away. My dad's passing triggered within me what I called a mid-faith crisis. I questioned everything, but mostly I questioned the gulf between modern science (which I loved but had abandoned forty years earlier) and ultra conservative fundamentalist Christianity.

I read everything I could find on the Young Earth vs. Old Earth debate, and as most debates go there are good arguments on both sides. With my personal leanings heading towards an Old Earth point of view, I began seeking out how to reconcile my Christian faith and current scientific understanding of the universe.

In my search for reconciliation I came across the book Thank God for Evolution by Rev. Michael Dowd. Michael Dowd makes the statement that "Facts are God's native tongue" and that "The discovery of facts through science is one very powerful way to encounter God directly." Rev. Dowd's book has revolutionized my faith and revitalized my love of science.

I have come to believe that Scriptures proclaiming a six day creation story, given at a time when scientific knowledge was limited to a flat earth perspective, were an acceptable explanation for the origin of the universe for that time. With our current scientific understanding of the cosmos, the six day creation story serves us best as a mythic account intended for a time when scientific knowledge was limited. How could the ancients have known about super novas, black holes, or plate tectonics? How else could they explain the creation of the earth but in the terms we find in the Genesis account?

My rejection of a literal interpretation of the six day creation story is not a rejection of the inspiration of the Bible, but rather a new understanding of the creation story as inspired for a particular time. It is a beautiful metaphor for a Creator who lovingly provided for His creation all of the essential life giving elements of a complex and interdependent world.

With the return of my love for science I feel like I have been born again. I feel as if I have been cured, if you will, of schizophrenia. The marriage of faith and science in such a way as to be intellectually honest and at the same time true to my Christian faith has liberated me from a sense of denial. I am no longer in denial of scientific facts or in denial of my personal experiential spirituality. I am free from having to be an apologist for fundamentalist beliefs and free from having to explaining away scientific observations about the universe as lies of the Devil.

I know that God is real, and I know that the earth was created 4.5 billion years ago. These two are not mutually exclusive nor does one invalidate the other. There is a richness in my faith now that is derived from acknowledging the complex majesty and deep time age of the universe that was lacking in my past due to a narrow literal reading of the first chapter of Genesis.

"It is this mythical, or rather this symbolic, content of the religious traditions which is likely to come into conflict with science. This occurs whenever this religious stock of ideas contains dogmatically fixed statements on subjects which belong in the domain of science. Thus, it is of vital importance for the preservation of true religion that such conflicts be avoided when they arise from subjects which, in fact, are not really essential for the pursuance of the religious aims." ~Albert Einstein

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Has The Peace Sign Become Just A Fashion Accessory?

The peace sign is trendy again, and it is being merchandised just the same way hippie fashions were in the '60s and '70s. It is everywhere these days, on hats, t-shirts, handbags, shoes - you name it, the peace sign is on it!

Will the over saturation of the peace sign by the fashion industry dilute the message?

Will the peace sign lose its meaning and become nothing more than a fashion accessory?

Will the original message be lost on this generation, much the same way the cross has become more of a fashion statement and less of a proclamation of one's faith?

I have to admit that seeing the peace sign everywhere provides me hope that another generation has taken up the cause and that the message of peace and nuclear disarmament remains relevant.

"...Seek peace and pursue it!"
Psalm 34:14

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Photo: Peace sign I spotted on the side of a barn on the road to Nojoqui Falls Park near Solvang, CA.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hippie-English Dictionary

Just for fun I thought that I would post the Online Hippie-English Dictionary by Gamma Ray and Satellite. These guys were like a christian version of Cheech and Chong. I don't know where they are right now, their web site Gamma Ray and Satellite disappeared a few years ago, but I am sure they are up to some sort of cosmic christian fun.

Here is what Gamma Ray and Satellite had to say about themselves:

Gamma Ray and Satellite, The World's Most Lovable Hippies

Turn On to Jesus, Tune Out all the noise,
Drop Out of your sinful life, Experience his joy!

We are refugees from the 1960s. Hair, clothing, music styles, and language have passed us by in the last several decades, but our message never goes out of style. It's true for all generations, man. Surf with us a while, and dig our cool music, comedy, and philosophy of life and eternity.

Note: While many hippie words are derived from drug use, their inclusion here does not constitute endorsement of illegal drugs. Please note that Gamma Ray and Satellite are now drug-free and do not condone recreational drug use. Dig?

So here is Gamma Ray and Satellite's Online Hippie-English Dictionary...

acid (n) LSD, a narcotic drug popular among hippies. see psychedelic, bad trip.
Afro (n) haircut popular among African-Americans during 1960's and '70's.
Aquarian (adj.) we're not sure exactly what this means, but it has something to do with the "Age of Aquarius" and the musical Hair.
bad scene (n) a bad situation. see scene.
bad trip (n) originally described a bad experience using drugs, characterized by frightening hallucinations. Can be used to describe any bad experience.
bag (n) one's main interest or purpose in life.
black light (n) a decorative light, dark blue in color to the human eye, which makes objects or artwork in flourescent colors appear to glow.
blow your mind (v) to have an enlightening or illuminating experience.
bread (n) money.
bummer (n) bad experience.
bust (v) to arrest someone, (n) an arrest.
cat (n) a person. derived from beatnik language of the 1950's.
chick (n) a girl or woman.
commune (n) an community of people who share possessions, living accommodations, and work (or lack thereof). Usually encompasses a farm and other fashionable industries.
crash (v) to sleep, rest, or do nothing.
crash pad (n) a place where one sleeps, rests, or does nothing.
dig (v) like, enjoy, be interested in.
drag (n) an unfavorable situation or state of affairs.
dude (n) person, usually male.
establishment, the (n) traditional business and government institutions, believed to stand in the way of human progress. see "system, the."
far out (adj) very interesting, good. Also an exclamation.
free love (n) love without expectations or commitment.
fuzz (n) police.
get it on (n) successfully interact with others.
groove (v) enjoy, achieve proficiency at. see "groovy."
groovy (adj) good, interesting, enjoyable.
hang out (v) to be some place, usually doing nothing, with no purpose.
hang-up (n) inhibition, usually due to morals, beliefs, or culture.
happening (adj) exciting, new, good.
heavy (adj) thought-provoking.
hippie (n) [still searching for a definition here]. hip (adj) knowledgeable of, or consistent with, the latest trends and ideas.
Iron Butterfly (n) a rock band which had one popular song, "Inna Gadda Da Vida."
lava lamp (n) a cylindrical glass container filled a semi-solid viscous material which breaks apart and forms globules while floating in a clear fluid.
like (?) word used to fill up space in an utterance when the speaker is unable to think of a suitable adjective to describe something. Use of this word has also been adopted by adjective-challenged subcultures of more recent generations.
love beads (n) colorful beads worn around the neck to symbolize love.
man (interjection) used as an exclamation to draw attention to one's utterance. related phrase: "hey, man."
mood ring (n) a ring worn on the finger which contains a large stone, the color of which is supposed to indicate the wearer's emotional mood. Mood rings were a fad in the mid-1970's.
oh wow (interjection) exclamation uttered in response to new, thought-provoking, or exciting information.
out of sight (adj) excellent, outstanding. Often used as an exclamation.
pad (n) living accommodation--house or apartment.
peace (n) absence of war. To see a peace sign, click here.
psychedelic (adj) of or related to a mental state characterized by a profound sense of intensified sensory perception, sometimes accompanied by severe perceptual distortion, hallucinations, or extreme feelings of euphoria or despair. see acid.
rap (v,n) to talk, conversation. More recently used to name a category of music where words are spoken, rather than sung.
San Francisco (n) worldwide center of hippie activity and general weirdness.
scene (n) place, situation, or circumstances.
sock it to me (phrase) let me have it.
spaced out (adj) dazed, not alert.
split (v) to leave, depart.
square (adj) old-fashioned, not aware of new thinking and customs. (n) one who is square.
system, the (n) the system of laws, governance, and justice. see "establishment, the".
tie dye (v) a method of coloring clothing where the article of clothing is tied in knots, then dying it to produce an abstract pattern. (n) an article of clothing dyed in this manner.
trip (n) an unusual experience. (v) to have an unusual experience.
turn on (v) to become enlightened to new ways of thinking or experiencing reality.
uptight (adj) concerned about maintaining set ways of thinking and doing things.
Was that a cool trip? Can you say flashback?

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Gadget - July 16, 1945

Sixty-six years ago today in the Jornada del Muerto Desert basin of New Mexico the first atomic bomb, code named "The Gadget", was detonated marking the beginning of the Atomic Age. In a flash of blinding light the genie had been let out of the bottle! Just weeks later atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. More bombs were being readied to be used if Japan didn't immediately capitulate. The afternoon of August 15, 1945 Japan announced its surrender.

It is a measure of arrogance to assert that a nuclear weapons-free world is impossible when 95% of the nations of the world are already nuclear-free. I think that the vast majority of people on the face of this earth will endorse the proposition that nuclear weapons have no place among us. There is no security in nuclear weapons. It is a fool’s game.”
~General Lee Butler, head of US Strategic Nuclear Forces 1991-1994

"...for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword."
~Jesus the Christ (Matthew 26:52)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Fourth of July in Santa Barbara

On the Fourth of July I took the family to Santa Barbara to watch the fireworks show on the beach. We had a front row seat with an unobstructed view from our hotel balcony... we hadn't been that close to a fireworks show in years. The Fourth also happens to be my beautiful Bride's birthday, so it is always a party on a national scale. I felt so bad for my wife, I had planned on taking her out for an expensive dinner on her birthday at one of the restaurants overlooking the bay, but I came down with food poisoning and she had to eat microwave macaroni and cheese in the hotel room.

The whole vacation wasn't a total loss, I did recover enough to have some fun the next two days and take in some of the sights that are unique to Santa Barbara. We rode bikes along the waterfront, went to the zoo and fed the giraffes, and we explored the marine center on the wharf where we were able to pet stingrays and starfish.

While we were down by the waterfront we came across One Feather and his "original hippie van"... this guy was a total trip-and-a-half!

Check out this story about One Feather:

A Hippie and His Van: They’re a Piece of Work, Man

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Great American Novel

I know I posted this before, this time I added a video of Larry Norman...

by Larry Norman

I was born and raised an orphan
in a land that once was free
in a land that poured its love out on the moon
and I grew up in the shadows
of your silos filled with grain
but you never helped to fill my empty spoon

And when I was ten you murdered law
with courtroom politics
and you learned to make a lie sound just like truth
but I know you better now
and I don't fall for all your tricks
and you've lost the one advantage of my youth

You kill a black man at midnight
just for talking to your daughter
then you make his wife your mistress
and you leave her without water
and the sheet you wear upon your face
is the sheet your children sleep on
at every meal you say a prayer
you don't believe but still you keep on

And your money says in God we trust
but it's against the law to pray in school
you say we beat the Russians to the moon
and I say you starved your children to do it

You are far across the ocean
in a war that is not your own
and while you're winning theirs
you're gonna lose the one at home
do you really think the only way
to bring about the peace
is to sacrifice your children
and kill all your enemies

The politicians all make speeches
while the news men all take notes
and they exaggerate the issues
as they shove them down our throats
is it really up to them whether
this country sinks or floats
well I wonder who would lead us
if none of us would vote

Well my phone is tapped
and my lips are chapped
from whispering through the fence
you know every move I make
or is that just coincidence
will you try to make my way of life
a little less like jail
if I promise to make tapes and slides
and send them through the mail

And your money says in God we trust
but it's against the law to pray in school
you say we beat the Russians to the moon
and I say you starved your children to do it

You say all men are equal all men are brothers
then why are the rich more equal than others
don't ask me for the answers I've only got one
that a man leaves his darkness
when he follows the Son

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Don't Bother Me God, I am Trying To Be Spiritual

Here is a fun little animation that caught my eye. So often we get stuck trying to be spiritual that we don't notice God trying to break through.

How about at church when our best efforts to be spiritual are interrupted by the crying baby, the old man singing Amazing Grace off key, the fidgety toddler, or the single mom with two kids in tow that is fifteen minuets late every Sunday. How about at home when your darling three year old jumps in your lap and wants to play when you would rather watch some televangelist on tv.

Remember... Dog Is God Spelled Backwards

The Misguided Monk - An old monk must learn the value of companionship after losing sight of his teachings. Animation by Tom Long.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Quick, Slow, Slow...

More times than I like to admit, I hear Robert Shaw in my head from his 1976 role as Captain "Red" Ned Lynch in Swashbuckler...

"I'm not a gentleman; I'm an Irishman!"

"Quick, Slow, Slow" ...That is what I wrote at the top of my notepad yesterday morning before the start of an important budget meeting to remind me to keep the Redheaded Irishman in check.

Given the ongoing budget crisis in California and the continuing downward spiral the economy is in, budget meetings at a non-profit can be become frustrating at times. I needed to keep myself centered for this meeting, so I wrote myself that little shorthand reminder.

"Quick, Slow, Slow" is a reference to a Bible verse found in the Epistle of James, most likely authored by James, the brother of Jesus.

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires" James 1:19-20

The meeting went quite well, still a lot of work to be done. Not to overuse pirate movie quotes, but as Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean, "We have our heading". How we get there and what we will encounter along the way still remains to be seen.

My little "Quick, Slow, Slow" reference helped me keep my Redheaded Irishman in check. I think that I will be writing that little note to myself more often.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, May 27, 2011

May Remembrances

This May was filled with remembrances... Memorial Day, a day to remember the men and women of the armed services... My dad's birthday, he would have been 89 this month... And the anniversary of his passing on Memorial Day two years ago...

I believe my dad's experiences serving in the Army Air Corp during WWII and as a cop in Los Angeles gave him a jaded view of right wing politics. I remember my dad supporting Barry Goldwater for president in 1964, and then later in his life he ended up at the polar opposite end of the political spectrum staunchly opposed to the republican agenda.

My dad's life's story is one seasoned with service to his country, service to his community, explorations into Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism, and in his later years travel to to far off lands like Bali where he enjoyed meeting new people and learning of their fascinating culture.

My father's personal quest for justice and peace has also been my lifelong quest. To honor his memory, his life, his service, and his quest for peace I will continue to respect our country and those who serve while at the same time work to end war.

I have been opposed to the war machine for as long as I can remember, it is part of who I am. It is rooted in my faith in the Prince of Peace, it is rooted in my Quaker ancestors, and it is handed down to me from my dad who not only served his country in WWII and his community as a policeman for twenty-six years, but who ended up as one who spoke out against war later in life.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

(Photo: My dad with his mother soon after basic training c1944)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yosemite - Light, Water, Earth, Sky, Spirt, and Time

Yosemite Valley at sunset. Truly, a magical event when a shaft of red-orange sunlight moves up the Merced River and strikes the eastern Yosemite Valley wall, adding a reddish glow to Bridal Vail Fall for just a brief moment of awesome wonder.

I am amazed at the grandeur of Yosemite. I can see why the native peoples wanted to keep it a secret and sacred place. I can't help but feel the presence of the Creator calling out to me, yet at the same time my analytical, science craving brain is questioning my earlier "Young Earth" literalistic views.

A mossy grove at the base of Bridal Vail Fall that I almost missed. Yosemite is all about light, water , and time.

None of this would be here without water and ice and the time required to carve out the valley.

None of the flora and fauna would be here without life giving water and sunlight.

Yosemite Falls, the Merced River, and Yosemite Valley Floor. None of this could be enjoyed without light.

We are blessed to have eyesight enabling us to interpret the sunlight reflected off the landscape that was created by stardust flung into the cosmos at the beginning.

When I am in such a magnificent place it is impossible for me to deny the Creator's existence or the events that pushed up the granite mountains that were then carved out by glaciers long ago.

The plate tectonics that pushed up the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the carving out of solid granite by glaciers and rivers that created Yosemite Valley speak of a planet that is older than I can imagine.

The beauty and majesty that is Yosemite declares a Creator's hand and an invitation to a spiritual connection to our universe created in deep time.

"For from the world's creation the invisible things of him are perceived, being apprehended by the mind through the things that are made, both his eternal power and divinity, so as to render them inexcusable." (Romans 1:20)

"In God's wildness lies the hope of the world."
~John Muir

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Autism, Kids, and Animals

Here is our little one at the 2011 Walk For Autism. Everywhere we go she says "Excuse me, can I pet your dog?" Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to connect with animals is such a way that one has to wonder if some form of communication is happening between them.

William Stillman, a writer and lecturer with autism, suggests in his book Autism and the God Connection that the Autistic experience often includes a special connection with the animal as well as the spiritual world.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., assistant professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and author of the book Thinking in Pictures, relates how her Autistic brain thinks in pictures in much the same way animals think. Dr. Grandin's article Thinking the Way Animals Do gives some insight as to how our animal friends and our Autistic loved ones think alike.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Empty Tomb

This is one possible site in Jerusalem where Jesus' body may have been placed after the Crucifixion. The four Gospels proclaim that Jesus' tomb was found empty and he later appeared several times to upwards of five hundred of his followers over a forty day period before he was then taken up into heaven.

Jesus' life and teachings gives us inspiration to get through each day and the empty tomb gives us hope for eternity.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
(1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV)

(Photo: The Garden Tomb, originally uploaded by Dennis1980 at de.wikipedia)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day 2011

And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it.
Genesis 2:15

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

(Photo: NASA - Earth from Apollo 17)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Militarization Of Easter

Our desire to support our brave men and women who serve in the armed forces has created the acceptance of the militarization of every aspect of our society. I believe that camo Easter eggs are just one more example of how our society has normalized the warfare state.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
(Ephesians 2:17)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, April 15, 2011

There Has Never Been A Good War

"There never was a good war or a bad peace."
~Benjamin Franklin, 1705–1790

Note: Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. He was a leading author and printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

War's One Certain Thing - More Taxes

"War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen and unsupposed circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end. It has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes."

~Thomas Paine, Prospects on the Rubicon, 1787

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

The Quaker Peace Testimony

"We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world."

~The Quaker Peace Testimony, Declaration of Friends to King Charles II, 1660

Picture: George Fox (1624 – 1691) Founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The 2011 Budget Deal... War Is Theft

According to Tuesday's press release from the House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, the 2011 budget deal "will cut an unparalleled nearly $40 billion in federal spending"

The press release goes on to say that it is "the largest non-defense spending cut in the history of our nation – tens of billions larger than any other non-defense reduction"

Although there are cuts to just about everything under the sun, there is a key phrase that is mostly going unnoticed, "non-defense reduction".

According to the House Appropriations Committee "The Department of Defense is funded at $513 billion in the CR (continuing resolution)– approximately $5 billion above last year". It goes on to say that "The bill also includes an additional $157.8 billion for overseas contingency operations (emergency funding) to advance our missions abroad."

While cutting most domestic programs, the single largest budget item gets an increase. Most of our income tax dollars go to support the military, close to 50% of each tax dollar is spent on funding past and present wars.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
~Jesus (Luke 12:34)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are three different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs):

Autistic Disorder:
Also called “classic” autism, this is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.

Asperger Syndrome:
People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS):
Also called “atypical autism”. People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.

No matter where an individual falls on the "spectrum" the challenges are very real. As parents of a child diagnosed with PDD-NOS, it is frustrating to hear statements like "she is not that that impacted" or "she doesn't look disabled". Well, we just keep educating everyone about how differently girls on the spectrum present, and then we remind them that it is called a "Spectrum" disorder for a good reason.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Smelling The Light - Autism And Sensory Processing Disorder

This is a photo of a typical sensory moment for Bella. According to studies by The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation more than three-quarters (78%) of children with autistic spectrum disorders have significant symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder.

So what exactly is Sensory Processing Disorder? Here is a definition from The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation:

"Sensory processing refers to our ability to take in information through our senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing), organize and interpret that information, and make a meaningful response. For most people, this process is automatic. We hear someone talking to us, our brains receive that input and recognize it as a voice talking in a normal tone, and we respond appropriately.

Children who have a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), however, don’t experience such interactions in the same way. SPD affects the way their brains interpret the information that comes in; it also affects how they respond to that information with emotional, motor, and other reactions.

For example, some children are over-responsive to sensation and feel as if they're being constantly bombarded with sensory information. They may try to eliminate or minimize this perceived sensory overload by avoiding being touched or being particular about clothing.

Some children are under-responsive and have an almost insatiable desire for sensory stimulation. They may seek out constant stimulation by taking part in extreme activities, playing music loudly, or moving constantly. They sometimes don’t notice pain or objects that are too hot or cold, and may need high intensity input to get involved in activities. Still others have trouble distinguishing between different types of sensory stimulation."

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Monday, March 28, 2011

April Is National Autism Awareness Month

The following article is from The Autism Society:
About Autism - Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

In December 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 110 births in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. The issuance of this report caused a media uproar, but the news was not a surprise to the Autism Society or to the 1.5 million Americans living with the effects of autism spectrum disorder. Nonetheless, the spotlight shown on autism as a result of the prevalence increase opens opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve these families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.

Currently, the Autism Society estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 million to $5 million, and that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs).
Know the Signs: Early Identification Can Change Lives

Autism is treatable. Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.
Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:

* Lack of or delay in spoken language
* Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
* Little or no eye contact
* Lack of interest in peer relationships
* Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
* Persistent fixation on parts of objects

For more info check out The Autism Society - National Autism Awareness Month website.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, March 25, 2011

War Is Theft!

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

~Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1890 - 1969
Five-Star General in the United States Army
Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe
First Supreme Commander of NATO
34th President of the United States 1953-1961 (Republican)

From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

War Is A Racket!

"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."

~Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC
1881 - 1940
Double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Military Madness

Here is a little YouTube video of Graham Nash and David Crosby singing Military Madness...

YouTube - "Military Madness" by Crosby & Nash

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)