History of Mother’s Day

Celebrating Mom in America and the Curious Case of Anna Jarvis

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Happy Mother's Day
Happy Mother’s Day!
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Mother’s Day here in the U.S. is celebrated at just the right time of year — spring, a time of hope, renewal, and new life. In the United States, Mother’s Day 2021 will occur on Sunday, May 9. Many other countries around the world celebrate their version of Mother’s Day on traditional dates with their individual customs.

Early History of Mother’s Day

Those in the know tell us that the origins of Mother’s Day stretch back to the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations. They staged festivals to honor the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. The most modern precedent for our model of Mother’s Day is the old Christian festival called “Mothering Sunday.”

This was at one time a major celebration in the United Kingdom and some areas of Europe. This celebration was held on the fourth Sunday during Lent. It was viewed as a time when the faithful folks would visit their “mother church.” This was the main church closest to their home. There, a special service would be held.



Evolving over time, the Mothering Sunday tradition became a more secular holiday, much as St. Patrick’s Day has. Children would gift their mothers flowers and a variety of other tokens of their appreciation. Eventually, this custom bowed out of popularity before forming the basis of the American version of Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

Mother’s Day in America

The traditions of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped create what were called “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children.

The clubs turned out to be an important unifying force in an area of the country that was still at odds over the Civil War. Then in 1868 Jarvis created “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers joined with prior Union and Confederate soldiers in order to promote reconciliation.

Another player in the development of the holiday was the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870. It asked mothers to unite to promote world peace. (Sound familiar?) In 1873 She pushed for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated on June 2.

There were others. Juliet Calhoun Blakely, for one. She was a temperance activist who conceived of a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering collaborated to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hering has been dubbed “the father of Mothers’ Day.”



Enter Anna Jarvis

What we know today as the official Mother’s Day holiday came about in the 1900s resulting from the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. After her mother’s death in 1905, Anna Jarvis developed Mother’s Day to commemorate the sacrifices mothers typically make for the sake of their children.

She organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. She funded this by securing financial support from Philadelphia department store owner John Wanamaker in May 1908. Coincidentally, on that same day, thousands of people attended another Mother’s Day event held at one of Wanamaker’s stores located in Philadelphia. Should this use of a department store have been a foreshadowing event for Jarvis?

After the overwhelming success of the first Mother’s Day, Jarvis was determined to see that her holiday was appended to the existing national calendar. She contended that U.S. holidays were skewed toward the achievements of men. She initiated a huge letter-writing campaign to newspapers and politicians recommending the adoption of a unique day to honor motherhood.

A great number of states, towns, and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday by 1912. Jarvis had put in place the Mother’s Day International Association as a means to promote the cause. Her persistence bore fruit in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed off on a measure that officially established the second Sunday each May as Mother’s Day.



Jarvis is Conflicted

Jarvis had imagined Mother’s Day to be a day of happiness between mothers, children, and families. Wearing a white carnation as an emblem was to be part of the tradition. Visiting with one’s mother or going to church services were to be standard protocol. However, as soon as Mother’s Day was recognized as a national holiday, florist vendors, greeting card companies, and other commercial interests jumped on its popularity. This all went against Jarvis’ grain.

Ironically, Jarvis had worked with the floral industry initially to assist in promoting the Mother’s Day’s concept. Now she had become disillusioned with how the day had been turned into such a commercial machine. She outspokenly repudiated the way things had turned out and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies.



Eventually, Jarvis mounted an open campaign against these interests. She spoke out against candy companies, florists, and yes, even charities. Additionally, she launched a slew of lawsuits against organizations that used the term “Mother’s Day.” In the end, she exhausted the bulk of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time she died in 1948, Jarvis had disowned the holiday lock, stock, and barrel, and she even lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar. Altogether a sad bit of American history.

On the bright side, we still have a wonderful Mother’s Day holiday, commercial warts and all.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

What is Critical Race Theory?

An Historical Look at the Social Justice Movement in American Society

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Critical Race Theory
Critical Race Theory
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Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a term that is much bandied about on social media and in the press today, but the average citizen is likely to be unsure about what it is. After all, the term is non-specific in meaning, the very definition of a specious term. We know it’s got something to do with race (in America), it’s a theory (OK, an academic concept), and it’s critical, so it’s a make-or-break thing. But, put those parts together, and it’s meant to convey… nothing of any substance. So, to go beyond pundit-spout, we must look at the roots of the movement. Which the mainstream media does not (will not) cover.

The History of Marxism

The Marxist Left structured its political program based on the theory of class conflict. Karl Marx thought that the basic characteristic of his day’s industrial societies was an imbalance of power between the few capitalist have-alls (the 1% in today’s terms) and the many workers. His solution to that imbalance was revolution: the workers would at some point gain consciousness of their situation, secure the mechanisms of production, overthrow the capitalists, and thrive in a new socialist society.

Since then, many societies have enacted Marxist-themed revolutions. Each and every one concluded in sheer disaster. Socialist/communist governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, and elsewhere ended up killing nearly 100 million of their own (expendable or non-cooperative) citizens. Theory generated from the comfort of a London library was one thing, but in practice, Marx’s ideas brought about utter societal destruction.

Fast-Forward to the Mid-1960s

Marxist intellectuals in the West had finally begun to acknowledge these catastrophes. They wanted to close their eyes to Soviet butcheries and ultimately realized that worker’s revolutions could never happen in classic Marxist fashion in Western Europe or in the US, where there were already predominant middle classes and the standards of living were constantly improving. Americans had never really developed a sense of class consciousness or class division in the same sense as those in the Old World. Americans were brought up to believe in the American dream, the concept that they could rise above their beginnings via education, working hard, and practicing good citizenship.

With this realization, Marxists simply adjusted their revolutionary theory to work with the social and racial unrest happening in the 1960s. They discarded Marx’s economic theory of capitalists and workers and substituted the term race for class and initiated a revolutionary conglomerate of the abused based upon racial and ethnic categories, a move where they acted as the cancel culture on themselves! But, Americans preferred the concept of improving the country rather than overthrowing it. The Marxists needed a new strategy.



Critical Race Theory is Born

It was conceived in the 1990s, constructed upon the intellectual skeleton of “identity-based” Marxism. For many years it remained in universities and obscure academic journals. But insidiously, over the past decade, it has solidified into the default ideology in many of our public institutions. It’s been instilled in government agencies, public (and some private) schools, and human resources departments. You’ve probably seen it in the guise of diversity training programs, public policy guidelines, and school curricula. The accepted over-reach is mind-boggling. Writing for Imprimis, Christopher F. Rufo gives some examples:1

  • In the name of equity, UCLA Law Professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth and redistributing them along racial lines.
  • Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others who are deemed insufficiently “antiracist.” This is the cancel culture at its finest.
  • The Department of Homeland Security was telling white employees they were committing “microinequities” and had been “socialized into oppressor roles.”
  • The Treasury Department held a training session telling staff members that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” and that they must convert “everyone in the federal government” to the ideology of “antiracism.”
  • The Sandia National Laboratories, which designs America’s nuclear arsenal, sent white male executives to a three-day reeducation camp, where they were told that “white male culture” was analogous to the “KKK,” “white supremacists,” and “mass killings.” The executives were then forced to renounce their “white male privilege” and write letters of apology to fictitious women and people of color.
  • In Cupertino, California, an elementary school forced first-graders to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.”
  • In Springfield, Missouri, a middle school forced teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix,” based on the idea that straight, white, English-speaking, Christian males are members of the oppressor class and must atone for their privilege and “covert white supremacy.”
  • In Philadelphia, an elementary school forced fifth-graders to celebrate “Black communism” and simulate a Black Power rally to free 1960s radical Angela Davis from prison, where she had once been held on charges of murder.
  • In Seattle, the school district told white teachers that they are guilty of “spirit murder” against black children and must “bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgment of [their] thieved inheritance.”

“The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice. A crisis born at the pursuit of profit… The trampling of indigenous rights is a cause of climate change. The trampling of racial justice is a cause of climate change.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Terminology

Some of the terms employed by its supporters to describe critical race theory are “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Equity sounds benign. It’s easily confused with the American principle of equality. And really, who among us would object to more home equity? That’s got to be a good thing, right? But the distinction is important. Equality, the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—is explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. To them, equality represents “mere non-discrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.



Critical race theorists and their sycophants like to project the image of themselves as benign social justice warriors, seeking only to improve the condition of society. Nothing is further than the truth. Like Antifa thugs and the more radical arm of BLM, they are Marxists who are determined “by any means necessary” to shift all the power to their control. Unfortunately, the media is only too happy to be complicit and corporate America pays them more homage than they do to consumers. That is capitalism turned on its head. Perhaps it is working after all.

Further Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.


References

  1. Christopher F. Rufo, Imprimis, Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How to Fight It, https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/critical-race-theory-fight/

The History of Cancel Culture

History and Present-Day Deniers Seek to Modify Society, Generally to Totalitarian Class-Specific Ends

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Nazi book burning; an act of cancel culture
Nazi book burning; an act of cancel culture
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What does the term “cancel culture” mean today? Dictionary.com says it is, “the phenomenon or practice of publicly rejecting, boycotting, or ending support for particular people or groups because of their socially or morally unacceptable views or actions: Cancel culture can ruin careers, but it can also make a public figure think twice before posting controversial comments,” and “the phenomenon or practice of publicly rejecting, boycotting, or ending support for particular people or groups because of their socially or morally unacceptable views or actions: Cancel culture can ruin careers, but it can also make a public figure think twice before posting controversial comments.1

So, you should be concerned, very concerned. We have this “new face” of this form of social engineering and revisionist history, but consider this tidbit from the World War II-era:

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

Martin Niemöller, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian opposing the Nazi rise to power

History of Cancel Culture

It has always been used by the powerful to control and isolate the elements of society that they disapproved of. Ironically, today the tables have been somewhat turned via the tools of the internet and social media in particular. Fake news is a particularly efficient vehicle. Here are some examples from a historical perspective.

Where did it all start? Most likely it has been with us from the beginning when a caveman was ostracized from the group for some slight or inability to contribute to the survival of the group. As historically documented though, American Thinker tells us, “Cancel culture has its roots in intolerance dating back to the French Revolution (1789-1794), when Robespierre’s Reign of Terror resulted in some 30,000 deaths — a period accompanied by a concerted effort to erase and destroy Christianity and its traditions and institutions.  The culmination of that phase of the French Revolution was marked by the regimes’ installation of a prostitute as head of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  With that affront to decency and elimination of God, Robespierre and his successors thought they could rule without moral constraints. “2



Russia introduced a kind of Photoshop mentality to the concept. As the head of Red Army, Leon Trotsky was instrumental in making the communist revolution come to fruition for Vladimir Lenin, and for his successor Stalin after the former died in 1924.  However, by 1927, Stalin had purged Trotsky from the now-powerful Communist Party and Soviet politics. He expelled him from the country in 1929. Then Stalin assembled a team to erase all photographs as well as references to Trotsky in each and every historical record. When the order ultimately went out to have him assassinated years later, the cancellation had been done and there was hardly an official record or photograph left showing that Trotsky ever even graced Russia with his presence.

China was hardly different. Mao Zedong’s communist revolution was founded on historical determinism. This was a fundamental tenet of this flavor of Marxism that required the cancellation of past history and the subordination of its citizens to the collective identity of the communist state. During the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976, Mao instructed his Red Guards to unify the country’s populace to cancel and rid itself of what he held to be the so-called “Four Olds”: Old customs, Old culture, Old habits, and Old ideas. The result was devastating, with Chinese people turning on each other and confused, brainwashed youth betraying their own siblings parents, and grandparents. At the end of it all, Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Chinese Cultural Revolution were responsible for at least 40 million deaths, both those for which Mao was ultimately responsible and those that sprung from the draconian, disastrous policies he obstinately refused to change.



The Current American Cancel Culture

Until recently, most Americans were rolling right along, prospering financially, advancing technologically, and seemingly happy as the proverbial clam. All was not so with the government apparatchiks in Washington. The mainstream media, in their own bellicose style, were alternately promoting the far-left agenda, and “reporting” (rather, chopped, pressed, and formed; just like your favorite pseudo-food) events with such a spin that fact-checkers couldn’t keep up. No matter, the fact-checkers in their employ were hardly non-partisan anyway. Classic smoke and mirrors.

Black Lives Matter and Antifa entered the fray, orchestrating and participating in “peaceful” rioting, looting, destruction of both public and private property, and mercilessly beating anyone wearing a red MAGA hat. Others eagerly began to participate. Colin Kaepernick fanned the flames of the abolish-the-police faction of the movement with his infamous pig socks which he gladly flaunted to the press. Nike corporate capitulated and responded by signing him as their flagship lackey. College students were rallied in their legions by progressive tenured professors who had been roused from the slumber of their dotage by all the hoopla. The stage having been set, the left began making damnfools of corporate America and dismantling or renaming (taming) these icons of industry:

  1. The Muppets. Inanimate puppets which PBS saw as racially diverse are now seen by the far left as insulting. How does one meander further left than PBS?
  2. Aunt Jemima. Because you have to slave over a hot stove to get those pancakes out.
  3. Mrs. Butterworth’s. The same as her colleague Jemima but with the added slur of using a pronoun that is not LGBT-approved. Also, “Mrs.” rather than “Ms” is supportive of the ersatz concept of patriarchy.
  4. Uncle Ben’s Rice. Lawd no!
  5. Cream of Wheat. There’s a tiny picture of a Chef-of-Color on the box. Real black men aren’t stereotypical cooks unless it’s barbecue in a beer ad.
  6. Eskimo Pies. I get it — Associating indigenous peoples with a frozen confection is racist.
  7. Land O’ Lakes Butter. Lose the Indian maiden logo; alert all dictionary publishers to red-line the word “squaw.”
  8. Gone With the Wind. No longer a valid historical drama and brilliant cinemagraphic presentation because it not only portrays not only slaves-of-color but female slaves-of-color. You damn misogynistic bigots! Two strikes, damn your eyes!
  9. Cleveland Indians baseball team mascot. Because they don’t win enough?
  10. Washington Redskins team mascot. See number 9.
  11. Mr. Potato Head. Just because of the pronoun “Mr.” Company representatives actually said they didn’t want to limit its gender choices. #tubersaregenderfree
  12. Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. They are saying it’s because he’s a bully. The way I remember it, he was the one excluded from the reindeer games and therefore, the victim. Besides not even getting the story line straight before passing judgement, it’s fiction, you progressive bullies!
  13. Dr. Seus. Oh, for crying out loud. They say the author may have had some racist tendencies which he evolved from post-puberty. When in doubt, pillory and convict.

Did Speaker of the House Pelosi Attempt to Cancel Trump in Violation of the U.S. Constitution?

Judicial Watch, a constitutional watchdog group working in the public interest, has filed a FOIA suit against the U.S. Department of Defense for records of Pelosi’s January 8, 2021, telephone call with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Defense (No 1:21-cv-00593)3 to answer this question.

At the heart of the matter is a phone call that Speaker of the House Pelosi made to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley regarding President Trump. She acknowledges that the call was “to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike. The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy.”

The problem, as the Wall Street Journal editorial page sees it is, “Mrs. Pelosi’s call to Gen. Milley is itself a violation of the separation of powers by seeking to inject herself into an executive-branch military decision. She can offer advice all she wants, but this call at this time has the sound of an order. It might even be construed by some as its own little coup—conniving with the military to relieve of command the person who remains the elected President.”4

Did the CDC Communicate with Big Tech about COVID-19?

Big Tech has taken upon itself the mantle of Ministry of Health Truth by censoring users and doctors with which its opinions disagree. It demands that everyone march in lockstep. To what extent has the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) been involved in this?

Judicial Watch has filed another lawsuit to get to the bottom of this to which they say, “The public has the right to know about CDC’s involvement in Big Tech’s outrageous censorship of Americans, including doctors, who raise questions about the COVID-19 response. The Biden administration should stop stonewalling and release the records about the CDC’s role in suppressing the free speech of Americans.”

The bottom line is that the history of cancel culture and denial of truth is as old as mankind itself but is perhaps more dangerous today than it has ever been. Totalitarianism? Do you think it can’t happen here? The very fact that so many people are willing to accept erasing and banning from society something as mundane as a cartoon character because a manipulative minority finds it offensive (or contrary to a radical political agenda) speaks volumes. Inevitably, the pendulum swings, as it always does.


Further Reading


Resources

  1. Dictionary.com, Definition of Cancel Culture, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cancel-culture?s=t
  2. Scott S. Powell, American Thinker, Cancel Culture: Its Origins and Implications for America, https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/03/cancel_culture_its_origins_and_implications_for_america.html
  3. Judicial Watch, JW v. HHS CDC Social Media complaint 00625, https://www.judicialwatch.org/documents/jw-v-hhs-cdc-social-media-complaint-00625/
  4. The Wall Street Journal, A Coup of Pelosi’s Own, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-coup-of-pelosis-own-11610148740

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

It Can’t Happen Here

Authored by Sinclair Lewis; A Book Review

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Rise of the fascist brown-shirts
Rise of the fascist Brown-Shirts
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Sinclair Lewis wrote the dystopian political novel It Can’t Happen Here in 1935. Fascism was experiencing its heyday in Europe exemplified by the likes of Adolph Hitler in Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy. The book describes the rise of a US dictator similar to how Adolf Hitler gained power. Today the book is seen as a cautionary tale.



The story describes the rise of one Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after injecting fear into the population and promising comprehensive economic and democratic socialist reforms while promoting a return to classic patriotism and “traditional” American values. Following his election, Windrip assumes complete control of the existing government and imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force similar to Hitler’s Brown Shirts. The basic plot centers on one journalist Doremus Jessup’s covert opposition to the strong-arm regime and subsequently, his struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.



The story isn’t simply a history of how a complacent population allows itself to be taken over and subjugated with empty promises by (all too familiar) politicians. It also illustrates, through the narrative of one average man, Jessup, how the human spirit, can not only resist, but endure.

How relevant is this story to current-day America? That is a matter of personal opinion for each of us to decide. The world we live in today includes so many more variables that Lewis’ contended with.

  • The Internet facilitates fake news.
  • Just before, and at an increasing rate since Biden took office, social media networking platforms have been censoring conservative viewpoints with impunity.
  • Biden/Harris have put packing the Supreme Court with liberal and Democrat Socialist justices on the table. The Constitution does not specify how many there can be. The current number has been accepted by both parties until now. The “gentleman’s agreement” is out the window.
  • The mainstream media has lost all credibility and has abandoned the principles of impartiality.

It Can’t Happen Here is not only entertaining; it’s well worth a read to examine how it is a mirror reflection of what we are going through at this point in history.

Additional Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Philosophy of Martin Luther King

Non-Violence in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi

by Kelly R. Smith

Martin Luther King and Barack Obama
Martin Luther King and Barack Obama
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Martin Luther King Jr., whose birth name was Michael King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He died on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. The central theme of his teachings and leadership was his philosophy of non-violence in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi.

The King Center explains the Triple Evils that MLK defined, “The Triple Evils of POVERTY, RACISM and MILITARISM are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated, all-inclusive, and stand as barriers to our living in the Beloved Community. When we work to remedy one evil, we affect all evils. To work against the Triple Evils, you must develop a nonviolent frame of mind as described in the ‘Six Principles of Nonviolence’ and use the Kingian model for social action outlined in the ‘Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change’.”1

The Triple Evils

  1. Poverty. This Evil encompasses unemployment, homelessness, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, infant mortality, and slums. Poverty is not something new but we now have the resources to get rid of it. “The well off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for the least of these.”1
  2. Racism. This Evil refers to prejudicial mindsets, South Africa style apartheid, continuing ethnic conflict, anti-Semitism, sexism, colonialism (the one that Obama is frenetic about), homophobia, ageism, discrimination against disabled groups, stereotypes.
  3. Militarism. This Evil concerns war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, domestic terrorism (Antifa, BLM), human trafficking from undocumented illegal aliens to sex workers, media violence, drug proliferation, child abuse, and violent crime.


King’s Six Principals of Non-Violence

MLK defined these fundamental principals in his book Stride Toward Freedom.

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is active nonviolent resistance to evil. It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and like happiness, emotionally.
  2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation. The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.
  3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people. Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people. The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.
  4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation. Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
  5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body. Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
  6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win. Nonviolence believes that our righteous God is a God of justice.


Fact: Today over 700 streets in the Unites States are named after Martin Luther King Jr., with one such street in almost every major city.

King’s Six Steps of Nonviolent Social Change

  1. Information gathering. To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent’s position in order to have empathy.
  2. Education. It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy.
  3. Personal commitment. Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.
  4. Discussion/negotiation. Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.
  5. Direct action. These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a “creative tension” into the conflict, supplying moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice.
  6. Reconciliation. Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the ‘Beloved Community.’

The philosophy of Martin Luther King is sound and timeless. Unfortunately, his concepts are sadly lacking in today’s society. Instead, the mainstream media, social media, and the monied few seek to indulge in social engineering through fake news, censorship, and rigged elections. We can do better, can’t we?

Others are Reading

Reference

  1. The King Center, https://thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy/#:~:text=Fundamental%20tenets%20of%20Dr.%20King%E2%80%99s%20philosophy%20of%20nonviolence,to%20evil.It%20is%20aggressive%20spiritually%2C%20mentally%20and%20emotionally.


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Will You be Visited by Krampus this Christmas?

by Kelly R. Smith

Impending doom at the hands of Krampus
Impending doom at the hands of Krampus
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When the holiday season begins to unfold, we begin to indulge in our favorite Christmas traditions. These vary greatly depending on locale and culture, but they’re all fun and grounded in tradition. Everybody is familiar with Santa Claus and his cohort, Rudolf, he of the illuminating red nose. But if you’ve been naughty this year, don’t be surprised if you get a visit from Krampus. Pity you.

Who is Krampus?

The malevolent and mythological Krampus is represented in the form of a hairy half-goat, half-demon. His job? To discipline wee children in the weeks prior to Christmas. His primary stomping grounds are in Germany, Austria, and neighboring Slovakian countries.

While the various Santa Claus representations are jolly old blokes who instill good behavior with the promise of gifts and candy, Krampus punishes naughty kids with whips and birch branches. He threatens to pull them down to his underworld in the event that they misbehave. St. Nicholas, a traditional Santa Claus figure, and Krampus, often work together, with St. Nicholas tending to the good children and Krampus menacing the naughty ones. It’s kind of a “good cop, bad cop” thing. To further increase anxiety, the Krampus goat-demon is traditionally depicted as a devil having a long, prehensile tongue and his feet are a curious mixture of human and hoof.

The History of Krampus

The term Krampus originates from the German word krampen which means “claw,” and the legend is old, pre-Christian in fact. During the 12th century, the Catholic Church not surprisingly tried to ban Krampus celebrations around the Christmas holiday because of the horned character’s resemblance to the devil. Krampus was also booted out of Austria during the 1930s at a time when the country suffered under fascist rule, as the Christian Social Party contended that the character, as represented, was unholy.

Modern Day Krampus

But in the end, it is hard to fight the will of the people and Krampus persisted in popular seasonal lore, with contemporary traditions featuring parades folks dressed in demonic-looking Krampus outfits in some European countries during December. In some countries Krampusnacht or “Krampus Night” is celebrated on December 5.

Today, the proliferation of the internet has exposed the traditional, and unusual-seeming Krampus lore to a multitude of people all over the world, giving Krampus a greater and more international presence during the Christmas season. Because of the figure’s pre-Christian roots, many neopaganists have come to embrace Krampus as one of their own.

So will you be visited by Krampus this Christmas? There might still be time to correct your naughty behavior. He’s watching; you can run but you can’t hide.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

A List of Random Trivia Facts

Increase Your Brain Content and be the Life of the Party

by Kelly R. Smith

Do you know your trivia?
Do you know your trivia?
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This trivia list was updated on 01/06/21.

Do you like trivia? I love it. My wife (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) hates it; too pedestrian, and should I point out, trivial? (See what I did there?) My mother was the trivia boss; nobody could whip her at the game of Trivial Pursuit. In this post I list some of the tidbits that I find interesting as I stumble across them them. I’ll be adding them as I discover them so come back often. You might also enjoy New Years Eve trivia!

Regarding Food & Beverage

Q. Where did Doritos come from anyway?

A. Shortly after Disneyland opened in 1955, the founder of Frito-Lay opened “Casa de Fritos,” a Mexican-style restaurant in Disneyland’s Frontierland. When a vendor noticed the cooks dumping stale tortillas in the trash, he gave the kitchen a little tip: fry them, season them, and sell them as chips. Of course, they were a big hit, and the iconic snack was unofficially born. The VP of Frito-Lay fell in love with the repurposed snack and christened them “Doritos”. The chips proved to be so popular, they were rolled out nationwide in 1966.

Q. Where was Russian dressing invented?

A. Russian dressing was invented in Nashua, New Hampshire, by James E. Colburn who started selling the salad dressing at his store in 1910. By 1914, Colburn began manufacturing and distributing it to retailers and hotels. The condiment came to be called “Russian” since the original recipe included caviar, a staple of Russian cuisine. The dressing is made with a mayonnaise-ketchup base, often complemented with additional ingredients such as pickle relish, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, chives, mustard, and additional spices.

Q. Which of these foods, peas, potatoes, squash, could not have been eaten at the first Thanksgiving?

A. It turns out that our “traditional” Thanksgiving feast may not be as traditional as you might think. Many of the foods we associate with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner were not yet available for “The First Thanksgiving”. Turkey was not the star of the feast either. Instead, venison headlined the meal, although there was a healthy selection of seafood, fowl, and fish. There was no cranberry sauce, no pumkpin pie, and no potatoes. The potato had not yet been grown in North America. There was no gravy either, since they didn’t yet have mills to produce flour.

Q. Introduced in 1954, what was the entrée in the very first frozen “TV Dinner”?

A. The TV dinner owes its existence to Thanksgiving, an order miscalculation, and a salesman named Gerry Thomas. In 1953, the folks at Swanson overestimated how many Thanksgiving turkeys they would sell, leaving the company with an extra 260 tons of frozen birds sitting in ten refrigerated railroad cars. To get rid of them all, salesman Gerry Thomas came up with the idea of filling aluminum trays with the turkey – along with cornbread dressing, gravy, peas, and sweet potatoes. They were sold for 98 cents, and thus, the TV dinner was born.

Q. Breakfastofchampions.com is the official website of which breakfast cereal?

A. Wheaties is well known for featuring prominent athletes on the exterior of its package. The company first sold the product as Washburn’s Gold Medal Wheat Flakes in 1924. After an employee’s wife won a renaming contest, it called the cereal “Wheaties.”The brand adopted the “Breakfast of Champions” slogan in 1933, and in 1934 the Wheaties box featured its first athlete, Lou Gehrig. Its boxes have since been graced by hundreds of other athletes including Michael Jordan (who has appeared on the box 18 times — more than any other athlete).

Q. Which fast-food chain introduced the controversial “Double Down” sandwich?

A. Who needs burger buns when you can use fried chicken instead? We are, of course talking about KFC’s legendary Double Down sandwich. The Double Down is an iconic sandwich with fried bacon, melted cheese, and BBQ sauce all sandwiched between two pieces of chicken fillets. When it was first introduced, it caused a lot of curiosity, because KFC basically replaced the usual burger buns with actual chicken, and deep-fried at that. Genius! It’s not surprising that the limited time sandwich is one of KFC’s bestselling and controversial products ever. No veggie vegan burger here, folks!

Q. Which of these is part of a wine bottle AND a football term? Tackle, punt, rush, or safety?

A. A punt is the dimple at the bottom of a wine bottle. Historically, punts were a function of wine bottles being made by glassblowers. The seam was pushed up to make sure the bottle could stand upright. Bottles nowadays are much stronger and machine-made, so the punt is simply part of wine-bottle tradition, though some say it helps collect the sediment as wines age. It’s also thought that the punt consumes some volume of the bottle, allowing the bottle to appear larger for the same amount of wine, which may impress the purchaser.

Regarding Politicians and Politics

Q. What is Senator Mitt Romney’s first name?

A. Romney’s real first name is Willard. He was named after J. Willard Marriott, founder of the Marriott hotel chain, who was Mitt’s father’s best friend. Romney’s middle name, Mitt, comes from his father’s cousin, Milton, who played quarterback for the Chicago Bears back in the 1920s. Romney became governor of Massachusetts in 2003 and ran for the Republican nomination in the 2008 election, losing to candidate John McCain. He made a second run for the U.S. presidency in 2012, but was defeated by President Barack Obama in a tight race. He returned to public office in 2019 as a U.S. senator from Utah.

Q. Which Vice President famously could not spell the word “potato”?

A. In 1992, Dan Quayle altered 12-year-old student William Figueroa’s correct spelling of “potato” to “potatoe” at a school spelling bee in Trenton, New Jersey. Quayle was widely lambasted for his error. What most people don’t know is that Quayle was looking at a flash card provided by the school that had the “correct” answer on it, spelled incorrectly.

Q. Which president cancelled Thanksgiving?

A. Thomas Jefferson was so adamantly against Thanksgiving that he refused to declare it a holiday during his presidency, and many say that he called the holiday “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.” Most historians agree that Jefferson really refused to declare the holiday because he believed in the separation of church and state, and thought that the day of “prayer” violated the First Amendment. It wasn’t until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a federal holiday, that it was officially scheduled to fall on the fourth Thursday of every November.

Q. Whose ghost did British Prime Minister Winston Churchill reportedly see in the White House?

A. Stories of a ghostly President Abraham Lincoln wandering the corridors and rooms of the White House have persisted for more than a century. Presidents, first ladies, guests, and members of the White House staff have claimed to have either seen Lincoln or felt his presence. A well-known ghost story was reported by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was a guest at the White House. After a long bath, and naked except for a cigar, Churchill walked into the adjoining bedroom — and there was Abraham Lincoln at the fireplace. Churchill said, “Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage.” He reported that Lincoln smiled softly and then disappeared.

Q. Who was president of the United States for eight hours on July 13, 1985?

A. On July 13, 1985, when President Reagan underwent colon cancer surgery, Vice President George H. W. Bush became the first “acting president” of the United States. Reagan sent letters to the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore advising them he “will be briefly and temporarily incapable of discharging the Constitutional powers and duties of the office of the president” and thus “Vice President George Bush shall discharge those powers and duties”. This transfer of power lasted all of eight hours — from 11:28 a.m. until 7:22 p.m. Various press reports say that for most of his tenure as acting president, George H. W. Bush played tennis.

Q. Who is the only First Lady that did not change her last name upon marriage?

A. Eleanor Roosevelt was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, and the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt were 5th cousins, once removed, and had known each other since they were two. They were married on March 17, 1905, in a ceremony that featured Theodore walking his niece down the aisle. When asked for his thoughts on the Roosevelt–Roosevelt union, Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is a good thing to keep the name in the family.” Eleanor is the only first lady to not change her last name upon marriage.

Q. The line “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is included in which of the following?

A. This iconic line comes from one of the best-known speeches in American history. On November 19, 1863, in what would become known as the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln expressed his conviction that the Civil War was the ultimate test of whether the Union created in 1776 would survive, or whether it would “perish from the earth.” The dead at Gettysburg had laid down their lives for this noble cause, he said, and it was up to the living to confront the “great task” before them: ensuring that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Q. What were George Washington’s last words?

A. George Washington died on December 14th, 1799, of a throat infection. He passed away in his bedroom in his home at Mount Vernon, with Martha sitting at the foot of his bed. His last words followed instructions he gave his secretary, Tobias Lear, to “have me decently buried; and do not let my body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead”  After Lear confirmed that he understood his mentor’s final wishes, George spoke his final words: “Tis well.” Martha passed away on May 22nd, 1802, about two and a half years after George died.

Regarding the States

Q. Which state’s capital does not begin with the letter “P”?

A. Many people, if put on the spot, would probably assume that Philadelphia is the capital of Pennsylvania. It’s not necessarily a bad guess considering Philadelphia is the most populous city in the state, and once served as the capital of our nation. The city of Lancaster served as the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812, after which the capital was moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. With a population just under 50,000, Harrisburg is the 13th largest city in the Commonwealth and the 38th-most populated state capital in the country.

Q. Which of Georgia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont was NOT one of America’s original 13 colonies?

A. Vermont was NOT one of the original 13 colonies. The United States of America initially consisted of 13 states that had been British colonies until their independence was declared in 1776. The Thirteen Colonies consisted of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The 13 colonies were divided into three geographic areas consisting of the New England colonies, the Middle colonies, and the Southern colonies.

Regarding Cities

Q. Which resort city was named after the abundance of trees that grow in the area?

A. Nestled in the heart of the White River National Forest and surrounded by the peaks of the Elk Mountains, Aspen is well known as an iconic ski destination for the rich and famous. It was founded as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom, and was later named Aspen for the abundance of aspen trees in the area. Now known as a world renowned and luxurious ski area, Aspen is also a popular summertime destination with outdoor adventures like running races, hiking, and biking. “I came to Aspen for the winter, but stayed for the summer,” is how many locals respond after telling about the years they have lived in Aspen.

Q. Which U.S. city is known as the “City of Brotherly Love”?

A. In 1682, William Penn founded the city of Philadelphia to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. The name he gave his city combined the Greek words for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos), setting up its enduring nickname “The City of Brotherly Love”. Coincidentally, the term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia, when it was coined by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966 to describe the chaos caused by massive traffic jams, car accidents and congested sidewalks that resulted from the shopping day after Thanksgiving.

Q. Where are the US towns are named “Turkey?”

A. There are four small towns in America that are named after the nation’s favorite bird.  There is Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina, Turkey Creek, Louisiana; and and Turkey Creek, Arizona. Oh, and let’s not forget the two townships in Pennsylvania: the creatively named Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot!

Q. On which Hawaiian island is Pearl Harbor located?

A. Pearl Harbor is located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It is located roughly 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland and about 4,000 miles from Japan. Pearl Harbor of course was the scene of a devastating surprise attack by Japanese forces on this day, 12/07/41. The Japanese bombings of Pearl Harbor was a pivotal point in world history and President Franklin Roosevelt would famously describe as, “a date which will live in infamy.” Today, Pearl Harbor remains an active military base, and the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet.

Q. What is the capital of the U.S. state where the country’s deepest lake is located?

A. With a depth of 1,949 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and the ninth deepest lake in the world. Crater Lake is located in south-central Oregon, and Salem is of course, the capital of the state of Oregon. Crater Lake rests in the belly of a dormant volcano. The volcano once stood 12,000 feet tall, but it collapsed after a major eruption 7,700 years ago. The lake is known for its vibrant blue color and purity. Because there are no inflowing streams, the lake is fed solely by rain and snow. According to the National Park Service, it is the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

Regarding Celebrities and Showbiz

Q. Whose 1993 autobiography titled “Private Parts” was released as a movie in 1997?

A. Private Parts is a 1997 biographical comedy film about radio personality Howard Stern, who stars as himself. The film is an adaptation of Stern’s best-selling 1993 book of the same name. The film follows Howard Stern’s life from boyhood to his rise to success in radio. Stern and several of his radio show staff star as themselves in the film, including newscaster and co-host Robin Quivers, producers Fred Norris and Gary Dell’Abate, and comedian Jackie Martling. The film also stars Mary McCormack, Allison Janney, and Paul Giamatti.

Q. Who was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2020?

A. Michael B. Jordan has been crowned 2020’s Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine. Michael B. Jordan began his career as a model and actor, landing roles in television shows like “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights”. Jordan garnered acclaim for his role in the film festival favorite “Fruitvale Station” and for his role as a boxing protégé in “Creed”. His biggest role to date is his portrayal of supervillain Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s “Black Panther“. Previous title holders of the award include John Legend, Idris Elba, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, Adam Levine, and Channing Tatum.

Q. What real life figure did Leonardo DiCaprio portray in the 2004 movie “The Aviator”?

A. The Aviator is a 2004 epic biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, staring Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. The film depicts the life of Howard Hughes, an aviation pioneer and director of the film Hell’s Angels. The film portrays his life from 1927 to 1947 during which time Hughes became a successful film producer and an aviation magnate while simultaneously growing more unstable due to severe obsessive–compulsive disorder.

Q. Which “Saturday Night Live” cast member was shot and killed by his wife?

A. In 1986, Phil Hartman joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, and was on the show for 8 seasons. Hartman played a wide range of characters including Frank Sinatra, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Ed McMahon, Barbara Bush, and many others. Hartman married his third wife Brynn Omdahl in 1987 and they had two children. Their marriage was troubled by Brynn’s drug use and Phil’s constant absence from home. In 1998, while Hartman was sleeping, his wife shot and killed him, and later committed suicide. It was later discovered that Brynn had alcohol, cocaine, and Zoloft in her system. Phil Hartman was 49 years old.

Q. Who is remembered for the catchphrase “Say good night, Gracie”?

A. This line is spoken by George Burns in the TV show “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show”. George Burns and Gracie Allen met in 1922 while they were both touring on the Vaudeville circuit. After falling in love and getting married, the two developed an act together. By the time they brought their act to TV in 1950, the two were a huge hit. The end of every show became a catchphrase: George and Gracie would come out and do some jokes until it was time to close the show, when George would turn to his wife and tell her, “Say goodnight, Gracie,” and she would simply reply, “Goodnight.”

Q. What is the maximum amount of money that a contestant can possibly win in a single game of “Jeopardy!”?

A. Although it’s never happened, the maximum winnable sum in a single game is $566,400. A single contestant would have to sweep both boards, find all three Daily Doubles – in the top tier and at the end of each round – make them true Daily Doubles and then wager everything in Final Jeopardy! The contestant would have $35,600 after Jeopardy, $283,200 after Double Jeopardy, and $566,400 after Final Jeopardy. The highest one-day winning total was $77,000, a record set by contestant Roger Craig on September 14, 2010.

Q. Which band had a No. 1 hit on the “Rocky III” soundtrack with the song “Eye of The Tiger”?

A. “Eye of the Tiger” is a song by the rock band Survivor. It was the theme song for the film Rocky III, and was recorded at the request of Rocky III star, writer, and director Sylvester Stallone, after Queen denied him permission to use “Another One Bites the Dust”. “Eye of the Tiger” was nominated for the 1982 Academy Award for Best Original Song (the only Oscar nomination for Rocky III), but it lost to “Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentleman. The song was also nominated for the 1983 Grammy Award for Song of the Year, but lost to the Willie Nelson hit “Always on My Mind”.

Q. At 8 minutes and 36 seconds, what is the longest single ever to reach #1 on the Billboard chart?

A. “American Pie” is a song by Don McLean that was a No. 1 hit for a full month in 1972. It is the longest song ever to top the Billboard Hot 100, at a whopping eight minutes and 36 seconds. The 45 RPM single had to be split into two parts, and some DJs only played one side or the other, although many played the uninterrupted album version which includes no fewer than six verses. The repeatedly mentioned phrase “the day the music died” refers to the plane crash that killed rock and roll performers Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens in 1959.

Q. What was the fictional town where “The Andy Griffith Show” was set?

A. Mayberry is a fictional community that was the setting for the television sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show.” The show starred Andy Griffith in the role of Andy Taylor, the widowed sheriff of the slow-paced town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Mayberry is said to be based on Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy is also known as Mayberry and called by both names by its residents. According to show episodes, the community of Mayberry was named for fictional founder Lord Mayberry. Purportedly, Andy Griffith himself chose the name of the fictional community.

Q. What was the title of the first video ever posted on YouTube?

A. YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim uploaded the first video titled “Me at the zoo” to the website on April 23, 2005. The 19-second clip shows Karim standing in front of the elephants at the San Diego Zoo saying “the cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really, really long, um, trunks.” He ends the video simply by stating: “And that’s pretty much all there is to say.” The video doesn’t look like much, but it sparked a revolution. A year after “Me at the zoo,” Karim and his fellow co-founders sold the platform to the social media Google for a whopping $1.65 billion.

Q. Who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Gandhi in the 1982 film of the same name?

A. Gandhi is a 1982 biographical film based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. It tells the story of Gandhi and his struggle to win independence for India through nonviolent civil disobedience. To embody Mahatma Gandhi, producer and director Richard Attenborough turned to British actor Ben Kingsley, whose father came from the same area in India in which Gandhi was born. The film was a commercial success and received a leading eleven nominations at the 55th Academy Awards, winning eight including for the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Ben Kingsley.

Q. Which television show premiered on the same day that the Soviet Union launched Sputnik?

A. On October 4, 1957, the day Leave It to Beaver premiered on American television, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. Sputnik was a polished metal sphere about the size of a beach ball. It measured 23 inches in diameter, weighed 184 pounds, and circled the Earth once every hour and 36 minutes traveling at 18,000 miles an hour. The U.S. government and scientific community were caught off guard by the Soviet achievement, and their efforts to catch up with the Soviets heralded the beginning of the “Space Race.”

Q. What was the first TV series to be filmed before a live studio audience?

A. Premiering in 1951, I Love Lucy was the first television series to be filmed in front of an audience. This was made possible by the idea of Desi Arnaz to use multiple cameras. This implementation allowed the show to benefit from the strengths of both stage plays (live audience) and film (camera angle options, point of view, etc.). This approach produced a marriage between cinema and theater; television and plays. Shows that subsequently adopted this concept include All in the Family, Cheers, The Jeffersons, Seinfeld, Friends and Full House.

Q. Which band sued Nike after they used the song “Revolution” in one of their commercials?

A. In 1987, the Beatles filed a $15-million lawsuit to halt the use of the band’s 1968 recording of “Revolution” in a Nike running shoes TV commercial. Declaring that the rock group doesn’t “endorse or peddle sneakers or panty hose,” the three surviving Beatles filed the lawsuit objecting to Nike’s use of the song, claiming that the band hadn’t given their “authorization or permission.” Nike stopped running the ads early in 1988, and the “Revolution” lawsuit was settled out-of-court the next year on terms that have been kept secret since.

Q. What were the final words written down by Walt Disney prior to his death?

A. The final words written by Walt Disney were “Kurt Russell”. In 1966, as Disney was suffering from lung cancer and nearing the end of his life, he scribbled down the name “Kurt Russell” on a piece of paper in his office and died soon after. At the time, Russell was a child actor for the studio and had just signed a lengthy contract, according to Disney historian Jim Korkis. To this day, no one knows exactly what Walt Disney meant or intended, including Kurt Russell himself. Walt Disney died on this day in 1966, ten days after his 65th birthday.

Q. Which man was the second person to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in Great Britain?

A. To be or not to be vaccinated, that is the question. William Shakespeare has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. (Yes, you read that right.) The historic name is shared with the second man in Great Britain to receive Pfizer’s approved COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. The 81-year-old man – Bill to his friends – lives only about 20 miles from the actual Bard’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. The historic importance of the moment and the historic name sparked some fun on social media calling the inoculation, “The Taming of the Flu.”

Q. Which classic Christmas film opens at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

A. Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 Christmas film that stars Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, and Edmund Gwenn. The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City, and focuses on the effect of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. Miracle on 34th Street was shot on location in New York City, with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade sequences filmed live while the 1946 parade was happening.” The film has become a perennial Christmas favorite.

Q. The U2 song “Shadows and Tall Trees” is taken from a chapter title in what famous book?

A. The song “Shadows and Tall Trees” is one of U2’s earliest recordings. The song was inspired by William Golding’s dystopian novel Lord Of The Flies. “Shadows And Tall Trees” happens to be the name of the seventh chapter of the book. In 1978, U2 went into a studio in Dublin to record their first demo tape. During that session they recorded three tracks, “Street Mission,” “Shadows and Tall Trees,” and “The Fool.” They became the first songs used to try to gain the Irish rock band a recording contract. “Shadows and Tall Trees” was the only song from the demo tape to be included on their debut album, Boy.

Q. Which musician sold his entire songwriting catalog in December 2020 for over $300 million?

A. Nearly 60 years after writing such classics as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Bob Dylan has sold his entire songwriting catalog — more than 600 songs — to Universal Music Publishing Group in a deal reportedly worth more than $300 million. The deal with Dylan may be the highest price ever paid for a musician or group’s songwriting rights. Universal will now collect money any time another musician covers any of those songs, and it will earn revenue for allowing the songs to be used in commercials and movies as well as when the songs are streamed or sold commercially.

Q. Who rode a horse named Trigger?

A. Trigger (originally named Golden Cloud) was a palomino horse made famous in American Western films with his owner and rider, cowboy star Roy Rogers. When Roy Rogers was preparing to make his first movie in a starring role, he was offered a choice of five rented “movie” horses to ride and chose Golden Cloud. Rogers eventually bought him in 1943 and renamed him Trigger for his quickness of both foot and mind. Trigger was ridden by Rogers in many of his motion pictures, becoming one of the most famous horses in film entertainment.

Regarding History

Q. What French explorer claimed what is now Canada for France in 1534?

A. French navigator Jacques Cartier was sent by King Francis I to the New World in search of riches and a new route to Asia. He led three major North American voyages, and his exploration of the St. Lawrence River allowed France to lay claim to lands that would become Canada. On July 24, 1534, Cartier planted a cross with the words, “Long Live the King of France” on the shores of Quebec, thus claiming the region for France. Cartier is also credited with the naming of Canada, which is derived from the Huron-Iroquois word kanata, meaning “village”.

Q. Which iconic event in American history took place on December 16, 1773?

A. On December 16, 1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British tea ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The midnight raid, popularly known as the “Boston Tea Party,” was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773. Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the “tea party” with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group. The British government responded harshly, and enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts. The Tea Party became an iconic event which escalated into the American Revolution.

Q. Which song was originally written for the Thanksgiving holiday?

A. “Jingle Bells” is a classic song sung at Christmas time, but it didn’t start out that way. First published in 1857, it was written by James Lord Pierpont, to celebrate Thanksgiving — not Christmas. Pierpont wrote a song called “One Horse Open Sleigh” for a children’s Thanksgiving play. When the song was reissued two years later, it had the more familiar title of “Jingle Bells.” Although “Jingle Bells” is now a Yuletide staple, there is no mention of Christmas anywhere in the song. The holiday ditty became associated with Christmas decades later.

Q. Which insect inspired the term “computer bug”?

A. The first “computer bug” was, in fact, a literal bug. Computer scientist and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, coined the term bug in 1947 after operators traced an error in Harvard University‘s Mark II computer to a moth trapped in a relay. The moth was carefully removed and taped to the machines’ log book. Grace Hopper added the caption “First actual case of bug being found”. This was the first time anyone used the word “bug” to describe a computer glitch. The engineers who found the moth were the first to literally “debug” a machine.

Q. Who wrote the Gettysburg Address?

A. No, not a trick question. While subsequent presidents have all enjoyed significant assistance from speechwriters in crafting their messages, President Abraham Lincoln took a more hands-on approach and is one of the few presidents in U.S. history to have written the entirety of his speeches and remarks.

Q. Who was the first person to break the sound barrier?

A. On October 14, 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier. Yeager piloted the rocket-powered Bell X-1 to a speed of Mach 1.07, becoming the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. In order to reach its testing altitude, the X-1 was air-launched through the bomb bay of a Boeing B-29 Super Fortress, and then used its four-chambered rocket engine to climb to 43,000 feet, exceeding 660 miles per hour. Chuck Yeager, who was later immortalized in the film “The Right Stuff,” died last night at the age of 97.

Q. Sarah Fuller made history as a female kicker for which college football team?

A. Sarah Fuller made college football history last month as the first female to play in a Power Five college football game. The Vanderbilt University senior made her historic debut as a kicker for the Commodores in their face-off last month against the University of Missouri Tigers. The soccer player was recruited after members of the squad’s special teams contracted the coronavirus. On Saturday, Fuller continued to make history. This time, she converted two extra points for the Vanderbilt Commodores, becoming the first woman to score in a Power 5 college football game.

Q. Which product was advertised in the first television commercial in 1941?

A. The first official paid television advertisement was broadcast in the United States on July 1, 1941 over New York station WNBT (now WNBC) before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. Before the game began, TV viewers saw a 10-second advertisement for Bulova clocks and watches. The ad showed a clock and a map of the United States, with a voice-over that says, “America runs on Bulova time”. Bulova paid $9 to run the spot that was seen by about 4,000 people in New York.

Q. When and how did Santa Claus start to be portrayed as he is today?

A. In the early days, Santa Claus was depicted as tall and gaunt, and in some cases, he appeared as a spooky elf with a bishop’s robe and animal skin. In 1931, Coca-Cola illustrator Haddon Sundblom redesigned Santa’s image to use in the company’s magazine ads, and that is the figure recognized today as the jolly old fellow.

Q. How did the United States Playing Card Company contribute to the war effort in WWII and help POWs?

A. During World War II, British and American intelligence agencies joined forces with the United States Playing Card Company to create a very special deck of cards. The cards were handed out for Christmas to help prisoners of war escape  Nazi POW camps. Individual cards peeled apart when moistened, to reveal maps of escape routes.

Q. Which Christmas song was banned in Boston by the Roman Catholic Church in 1952?

A. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was commissioned by Saks Fifth Avenue to go along with a postcard designed for a holiday giveaway. Everyone loved the song when it was released in 1952, except the Roman Catholic Church. When first released, Jimmy Boyd’s record was banned in Boston by the Roman Catholic Church on the grounds it mixed sex with Christmas. Boyd made worldwide news when he went to Boston and met with the leaders of the Church to explain the song. The following Christmas, the ban was lifted.

Q. Which war ended on Christmas Eve?

A. Christmas Eve marks the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. On December 24, 1814, in Ghent, Belgium, the United States and Great Britain came to terms ending two and a half years of fighting the War of 1812. The treaty restored relations between the United States and Great Britain, and foreshadowed more than two centuries of peaceful relations between the two countries. Unfortunately, it took a month for news of the treaty to reach the United States during which American forces under Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, and the British won the Battle of Fort Bowyer.

Q. What is the best selling Christmas song of all time?

A. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby is not only the best-selling Christmas single, but also the best-selling single of all time, with sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide. Taking into consideration the sales of cover versions, the number jumps to over 100 million units. The song was listed as the world’s best-selling single in the first-ever Guinness Book of Records (published in 1955) and remarkably still retains the title more than 65 years later. Mariah Carey‘s 1994 track “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the 11th best-selling single of all time.

Regarding Geography

Q. Which of the Great Lakes is the only one located entirely within the United States?

A. The Great Lakes are a series of large interconnected freshwater lakes in the upper mid-east region of North America that connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They are lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes that is located entirely within the United States; the others form a water boundary between the United States and Canada. The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area, and second-largest by total volume, containing 21% of the world’s surface fresh water by volume.

Q. What was on the grounds of the Jefferson Memorial before it was built?

A. The Tidal Basin, which is the center of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival and the setting of the Jefferson Memorial, was originally a popular beach that once featured a cabana and diving platform. At the time,  this summertime swimming hole was a “whites only” facility.  After much debate over establishing a similar beach site for African Americans, it was decided that the Tidal Basin would be closed to everyone instead.

Regarding Countries

Q. How many time zones does China have?

A. China is a huge country with only one time zone! That means that in some parts of China, the sun doesn’t rise until 10:00 in the morning. In the past, China has had five different time zones. This lasted until 1949 when Communist leaders decided having one time zone for the entire country was a good idea. Since then, everyone in China is using official Beijing time.

Q. Which country could fit inside Central Park in New York City?

A. Central Park is located in New York City, and has an area of 1.3 square miles. Shockingly, the entire country of Monaco could fit inside of Central Park with plenty of room to spare. With an area of .78 square miles, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, after Vatican City, and roughly 60% of the size of Central Park. With a population of 38,300, Monaco is also one of the densest countries in the world. Monaco is famous for its lavish wealth, casinos, and glamorous events such as the Monaco Yacht Show and the Monaco Grand Prix.

Q. What is the estimated population of the United States?

A. According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of the United States is currently estimated at 330 million. The population of the United States is equivalent to 4.23% of the total world population. Overall the U.S. remains the third most populous country in the world, behind China (1.44 billion) and India (1.38 billion) and ahead of Indonesia (274 million). According to the agency, the U.S. experiences one birth every 8 seconds; one death every 12 seconds; one international migrant (net) every 47 seconds; with a net gain of one person every 16 seconds.

Regarding Nature and Health

Q. Sunlight is credited for increasing the body’s levels of what vitamin?

A. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to solar rays. If you spend the bulk of your time indoors, you may not produce much vitamin D on your own. Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods, but you can get the nutrient from fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones because your body requires it to absorb calcium. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

Q. In humans, which gender has XY chromosomes?

A. The sex chromosomes are referred to as X and Y, and their combination determines a person’s sex. Males have two distinct sex chromosomes (XY), and are called the heterogametic sex. Females have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX), and are called the homogametic sex. In humans, the presence of the Y chromosome is typically responsible for triggering male development; in the absence of the Y chromosome, the fetus will undergo female development. The XY sex-determination system is found in humans, most other mammals, some insects, some fish (guppies), and some plants (Ginkgo tree).

Q. Russia’s current coronavirus vaccine shares its name with which of the following?

A. Sputnik V (V for vaccine), is the trademarked name of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine. In a nod to last century’s Cold War space race, the Russians named the vaccine Sputnik V after the world’s first satellite named Sputnik. Sputnik V has received some questioning from scientists around the world as the vaccine was approved following less than two months of human testing. Russia is not the only world power to draw on outer space for inspiration in naming COVID-19 treatments. In the United States, the Trump administration launched the initiative named “Operation Warp Speed.”

Regarding Irony & Miscellaneous

In 1567, the man said to have the longest beard in the world died after he tripped over his beard running away from a fire.

Q. Which branch of the US Military operates the American Toys for Tots charity?

A. Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. The program was founded in 1947 by reservist Major Bill Hendricks. In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve. Since its founding, The Toys for Tots Program has collected and distributed more than 584 million toys to 265 million children. To make a monetary donation to the program, visit their website at https://www.toysfortots.org

Q. What was the first song to be played in space?

A. “Jingle Bells” was the first song broadcast from space, in a Christmas-themed prank by Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra. In 1965, shortly before Christmas, the astronauts reported that they spotted a UFO entering the Earth’s atmosphere and that it was moving away from the North Pole and headed south. Before the people at NASA’s Mission Control became too shocked, the astronauts started playing the song “Jingle Bells.” The astronauts joined in with Tom Stafford shaking the sleigh bells he had smuggled aboard and Wally Schirra playing a miniature harmonica.

Q. Bill Lear, founder of the Lear Jet, is credited with inventing what music playback format?

A. William Lear, the man behind LearJet, was also the inventor of the 8-track cartridge tape system. The 8-track tape is a magnetic-tape sound recording technology that was the preeminent portable and car audio format of the 1970s. The main advantage of the 8-Track tape cartridge was that it did not have to be “flipped over” to play the alternative set of tracks. Eight-track players became less common in the early 1980s, with cassette tapes surpassing it in popularity. Throughout his career of 46 years, William Lear received over 120 patents.


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Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Is Scientology a Cult or a Religion?

by Kelly R. Smith

One of many Scientology churches
One of many Scientology churches
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Scientology was the brainchild of the charismatic leader and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard started in 1952. It has been classified as a religion by the United States and the United Kingdom governments for tax purposes. However, Germany calls it an “anti-constitutional sect” and France has labeled it a “dangerous cult” as have many parts of the United States. A looser definition that is sometimes used is a New Religious Movement (NRM), defined as a religious, ethical, or spiritual group or community with relatively modern origins. But is Scientology a cult or a true religion? Where is the dividing line? Does it fall somewhere in the middle, a secret society like the Illuminati?

What Is a Cult?

A sociologist will tell you that a cult is a small group of individuals without a distinctive authority structure, usually led by a charismatic leader or a small group of leaders, and who derive their cause and ideology from outside of, and counter to, the more broadly-accepted religious and social culture. However, in layman’s terms, a cult is a manipulating and authoritarian organization that likely uses mind control to recruit members, keep them in line, and poses a threat to mental health to the flock.

The term “cult” has been used broadly to refer to groups such as Scientologists, Obama’s shadow government, Satanists, Mormons, Druids, The Peoples Church, the KKK, the Manson Family, Antifa, Pagans, Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, Trekkies, and Pokemon Go players. The term is broad enough to include both dangerous types and mere enthusiasts.

Cults and New Religious Movements

One problem with the term “cult” is that it has such a negative, and to some people, dangerous and frightening connotations. This is why sociologists have dropped the term and now refer to non-traditional religious sects such as Scientology New Religious Movements (NRMs).

Scientology does not exhibit some of the most common characteristics of a truly dangerous cult. In particular, the presence of a beloved, still-living founder; a relatively small and easily controlled number of followers; and a disturbing history of murders or suicides at the command of the leader. However, there is disturbing concern over the amount of control the church possesses, and its constant legal trouble can be seen as a red flag.

Leah Remini, ex-Scientologist discusses growing up in the church

Scientology and Characteristics of Dangerous Cults

  • Ruled by One Charismatic leader. Scientology was created by one charismatic man, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. His originally intended it to be a branch of science, but that didn’t catch on so he switched his focus to a religious movement. He died in 1986, and the current head of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige took over. He maintains all the power and control over the money. He has a reputation as being abusive and tyrannical often losing his temper and physically attacking members of his staff.
  • Complete Control Over Church Members. One of the ways it does this is the policy of disconnection. But what is it? Mike Rinder says in his blog1, “There IS policy of the church of scientology that REQUIRES someone to disconnect from anyone declared by HCO as a Suppressive Person. HCOB 10 September 83 PTSNess and Disconnection states the following: ‘To fail or refuse to disconnect from a suppressive person not only denies the PTS (person connected to a Suppressive Person) case gain, it is also supportive of the suppressive – in itself a Suppressive Act. And it must be so labeled.‘” In a nutshell, if the Church finds disapproval with a person, the Church member must disconnect association, be it a family member, coworker, or other.
  • The Commission of Felonies. Many legal accusations have been directed at the Church over the years, and many have resulted in felony convictions, for example, in connection with Operation Snow White, which included theft of government documents. Through The Looking Glass says2, “Operation Snow White was a criminal conspiracy by the Church of Scientology during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations into and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members in more than 30 countries.” The most common accusations are fraud, extortion, and harassment, although other accusations such as kidnapping and negligent homicide have also been leveled.
  • Communal Living. Many Church members live in special Church-owned facilities (presumably for more control). There are groups in Scientology (notably Sea Org) that often have semi-communal arrangements in which families may be kept separated. Former employees have reported that they worked long hours, were paid very little, and were actively discouraged from having families.


  • Punishment for Defection or Criticism. According to Learn Religions3, “Defection and criticism can lead to one being labeled a suppressive person from whom other members should disconnect. SPs can become targets of harassment through the church’s ‘fair game’ doctrine. Established by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, the ‘fair game’ doctrine states that anyone identified as an opponent may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. Scientology has sued several of its former members; defectors are shunned or ‘disconnected.’ According to the church and former members, leaving is a lengthy process that can take months. The church requires that the leaving members pay ‘freeloader’ bills—former members report bills of tens of thousands of dollars—and sign affidavits which are drawn up by the officials.”
  • Large Donations are a Way of Life. As soon as they join, members are required to pay large donations for their coursework. This money must be paid up front, not-pay-as-you-go. Next, members are highly-encouraged to use these services since they are a fundamental way of achieving the goals of Scientology. Then there are ongoing requests for still more donations for projects and new buildings.

So, is Scientology a cult or a religion? Given how broad the definitions are, there is a lot of gray area. We do know that they don’t believe in Jesus or any other earthly prophet. Instead, they believe in the Overlord Xenu who headed the Galactic Federation, which was an organization of 76 planets. They do believe in reincarnation (hence, the billion-year contract they sign).


References

  1. Mike Rinder, Scientology Disconnection, https://www.mikerindersblog.org/scientology-disconnection/
  2. The Infomaniac, Through The Looking Glass, OPERATION SNOW WHITE: How Scientology Was Behind the Largest Infiltration of the US Government, https://throughthelookingglassnews.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/operation-snow-white-how-scientology-was-behind-the-largest-infiltration-of-the-us-government-in-history-besides-israel-with-5000-under-cover-agents/
  3. Catherine Beyer, Learn Religions, Is Scientology a Cult?, https://www.learnreligions.com/is-scientology-cult-95820

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Who Was Halloween’s Jack-o’-Lantern?

The History Behind this Holiday’s Spooky, Eldritch Icon

by Kelly R. Smith

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Spooky Halloween Jack o' Lanterns
Spooky Halloween Jack o’ Lanterns

This Halloween season, like many that have come before, people far and wide will be carving Jack o’ Lanterns and putting their creations on displays. For this, farmers all over the country thank you. You likely know of Halloween’s Irish origin, but where did this festive fellow come from?

Who are Jack-o’-Lanterns Named For?

Jack has been a generic term for a lad since the 1500s and because of this, it found its way into a number of children’s songs and rhymes. The English own the original use of the phrase jack-o’-lantern. During the 17th century, it meant a night watchman who carried a lantern as he made his rounds.

But as it turns out, jack-o’-lantern was also a name for bizarre, flickering lights that were seen at night lingering over wetlands or peat bogs and thought to be fairies or ghosts. Actually, it’s natural phenomenon that is known as ignis fatuus, or “foolish fire,” friar’s lantern, and will-o’-the-wisp.

Fast Forward to the mid-1800s

What is known as a turnip lantern became known as a jack-o’-lantern. Young boys fashioned these hollowed-out and lit-up root veggies and used them to spook people. One Irish legend in particular says that this use of jack-o’-lantern was named after a fellow named Stingy Jack.

Fun fact: One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.

Dictionary.com

This legend has it that Stingy Jack believed that he had tricked the devil, however in fact the devil had the last laugh. Ever vindictive, the devil condemned Jack to a lonely eternity wandering over the earth with only an ember of hellfire to light his way. Jack’s lanterns were carved out of potatoes, turnips in Scotland and Ireland, but beets were the vegetable of choice in England. When immigrants brought along this custom with them to North America, for some reason pumpkins eventually became the vegetable of choice. But it makes sense; they are easier to carve.

Pumpkin carving taken to the next level

A More Sinister Jack o’ Lantern

There is also a more dangerous rather than spooky version of a jack-o’-lantern. A poisonous glowing orange fungus known as Omphalotus olearius is commonly known by the layman as the jack-o’-lantern mushroom! It’s found in wooded areas across Europe, this glowing growth forms clusters at the base of decomposing tree stumps. Don’t eat it; try a Shiitake mushroom growing kit instead.

There’s your daily dose of Halloween history. There’s a lot more to Jack o’ Lantern than most people think.



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The Biden Family/China/Russia Connection is Breaking Open

by Kelly R. Smith

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Forget Trump’s Russiagate and the four-year waste of time and money in an attempt to impeach the president. The real story is the Bidens doing back door deals. The mainstream press has been rather successful in protecting Joe Biden.

It all started on Oct. 14, when Delaware computer repairman John Paul Mac Isaac claimed that in April 2019, a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden brought a liquid-damaged MacBook Pro to his small repair shop. That MacBook is now in the possession of the FBI and is reputed to have some very damaging emails about the Biden’s dirty business deals. The ramifications and details are in the video below. Let’s make it go viral. The election is nigh.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.