Good! Day 68 and Still Standing. Reflections of a Non-Smoker

CigaretteA little over two months ago, after four decades of puffing away, I finally managed to stop smoking. For good. So far so good. No one that has never smoked, and there are a few,  can know just how amazing an achievement this is.

I have never been addicted to any substance other than nicotine, but I have it on good authority that tobacco is possibly the most highly addictive of all substances. It’s right up there with cocaine and heroin.

In my case, this is a third attempt at quitting. My first attempt was 15 years ago and lasted four-and-a-half years. Yes, I know. I should never have started again after stopping for four-and-a-half years. But that is the nature of the beast. All it took was one drag at the bar one night on a business trip. I was lighting a cigarette for a fellow traveler. Well, after a beer and three tequilas Continue reading

Dan Balsam Emails-Anti-Spam-Crusader. This Man Is My Hero

Dan Balsam Anti-Spam Crusader
Dan Balsam, Anti-Spam Crusader

Eight years ago Dan Balsam received one too many emails inviting him to take advantage of an offer to enlarge his breasts. The rest is history. Dan launched a web site called, quit his job in marketing to go to law school and is now making a living suing the authors of emails offering miracle drugs, free sex and mail order brides.

Spam now accounts for 90% of all email, upwards of 200 Billion emails a day, according to Cisco Systems Inc. That’s a lot of email. ” I feel like I’m doing my bit to clean up the internet” says Dan.

Starting in 2000 Dan used the small claims court system with considerable success. Six years later he was graduating from the University of California Hastings College Law School. By then, some of his cases were being heard in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He was now taking on the big guys such as Valueclick Inc and, the latter after they sent Dan four emails to four different accounts all with the same subject line: “Hello my name is Rebbecca and I love you”. Continue reading

Records On Xray Film: Propaganda Video of Cuban-Missile-Crisis Era

In common with America in the Cold War era of the 1950s, Soviet authorities tried to prevent the evil spread of rock and roll and to save the youth from it’s moral dangers. The video shows a bunch of youths “stiljagi” who are dealing in black-market records behind Continue reading

Was 3 BC Venus “Star of Wonder” the Real Christmas Star?

The "Star of Wonder" - the Christmas Star
The "Star of Wonder" - the Christmas Star

A week ago, one morning after a restless night, I was up before dawn. There in the predawn blue-black sky was a burning “star”. So startling in it’s intensity and so bright it was that it seemed unreal. I stared at it for a long time thinking that I had never seen anything quite so astonishingly brilliant  in the sky. Well, apart from the Sun and the Moon, that is.

Days later my friend Bill, who is an amateur astronomer, solved the mystery for me. “Venus is exceptionally bright in the sky right now”, he said. That got me to thinking about the Christmas Star, it being Christmas and all. Could there really have been a “Star of Wonder”.

In ancient Roman times Astronomy was indistinguishable from Astrology. The ancient records throw some light on this question but not without controversy. Nonetheless, based on the evidence, it is generally accepted that the birth of Jesus must have occurred Continue reading

Information Leak of WikiLeaks and Why the World Has Changed Forever

WikiLeaks and Why the World Has Changed Forever
Assange's WikiLeaks Has Changed the World

In October 2010 nearly 400,000 Iraq war log documents were released to the media. This was the largest leak of information in history. Julian Assange and his organization, WikiLeaks, have changed the world again, as 911 did. Things will never be the same again.

The leak of information continues. An avalanche of embarrassing secrets, of such diverse interests as the Vatican and McDonald’s fast food chain, are now in the public domain. Every day, as each new juicy bit is turned over and dissected and then revealed in the media, things get “curiouser and curiouser” as Alice in Wonderland said.

Those who support Julian and what he stands for say that he is a hero, a champion of Freedom of Speech, that WikiLeaks shines a light on information hidden in dark Continue reading

So What’s in an Avatar?

John L BradfieldAn avatar, or gravatar which is the same thing, is an online identity that appears with your post when you comment online. It can be a photograph, an icon, a drawing or even a cartoon character. It’s usually best to use something clear and simple that is easily recognizable. But of course, it is all a matter of personal taste.