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I should probably add something in my bio here after being on this site for quite a while. My parents weren't really religious although they belonged to a Methodist church during my childhood in Ohio. When I was 12, my family moved to Southern California. My parents eventually joined a very liberal Unitarian church. I went occasionally but never felt like I fit in there. My parents had other issues that contributed to that issue for me and I never felt like I fit in during my youth in California. I met my wife in High School. We dated and went steady for a while, but we were too young. She was Mormon and I didn't know what I was. We remained freinds and sort of dated as friends into our late teens. After High School, she went to a church school in Idaho while I went to school in Riverside, CA

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I picked a lot of yummy tomatoes last night, and have identified the mystery volunteer vine as mini ...
RussRAB comments on Aug 25, 2019:
They look like specialty winter squash varieties. The oblong one in front looks like a delacota which is now one of my favorites. They are smaller than many squash varieties and have a milder flavor. The one behind it looks like a carnival squash, the dark green one an acorn squash, and the yellow/orange one in front is one I believe we tried last year or the year before, but I can't seem to recall the name. A couple years ago, I read an article about winter squash varieties and it inspired us to try some more than just the butternut and acorn squash almost always available. The delacota was a favorite for both of us and we have looked for them since then. It has been fun sampling different varieties, and for my wife, to try new recipes.
This afternoon, I was playing games on my computer while overhearing programs about serial killers ...
RussRAB comments on Aug 25, 2019:
While Googling to confirm details in my comments, I ran across a list of notorious murders who converted to Christianity while in jail. It more than underscores the sentiment initially expressed. Reading some of the comments to this article makes clear that not all Christians are comfortable with the notion of complete redemption from these heinous crimes of serial killers, but as pointed out by subsequent comments, the biblical principle is clear and the conclusion is sound.
Do you say the pledge of allegiance, when called to do so in a public setting?
RussRAB comments on Aug 24, 2019:
I haven't had much cause to recite the pledge of allegience in a long time. I hadn't really thought about it, but I like your approach. Years ago when "under God" in the pledge had become a current issue, I wrote to my Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (now retired - Thanks? Her replacement was Ted Cruz 😥) suggesting we replace "under God" with a phrase from a recent Pres. George W Bush state of the union address - "diverse and united." I received a letter back from Hutchinson's office thanking me for my letter and supporting the importance of preserving our current pledge of allegience. It wasn't the last time I felt my opinion was ignored by my Texas representives; it may have been the first. Not certain exactly what I expected.
I was in shock this morning.
RussRAB comments on Aug 24, 2019:
Amazing just how destructive these little worms can be. Nasturtium was the first flower I had success growing on my own from seed. A small green catapillar was attracted to these plants, and just like your passion fruit vine, they could eat all the leafy parts of the plant in no time.
RussRAB comments on Aug 23, 2019:
Voting indeed is a right even if it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. The 9th Amendment is one of our Bill of Rights and says "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Parental rights are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution or any of the Amendments (that I am aware of) but no one questions the fundamental rights of parents to raise their children, and the courts have repeatedly upheld parental rights even at times to the detriment to the children. Rights can be removed but it takes due process to enact the removal. No additional Constitutional Amendments are needed since voting is an essential element of our government by and for the people. Remove voting rights and we can no longer ldgitimately claim this characteristic of our government. Those who would deny voting rights to large segments of our population have no dedication to personal individual freedom which is a fundamental and essential element of our national identity and our political traditions. If we would do away with individual freedoms, we may as well simply scrap our Constitution and endure the autocratic form of government which would be the alternative.
A pup date.
RussRAB comments on Aug 22, 2019:
Great News! A happy ending - or middle of the story - from a sad beginning.
UPDATE on Religion's professor saying atheism is a religion.
RussRAB comments on Aug 22, 2019:
I am reminded of Bill Mahar's response to a similar claim. He said that atheism is as much a religion as abstinence is a sex position.
When the great arian nation "Pee Pee Herman" gets Confronted... accidents happen...
RussRAB comments on Aug 18, 2019:
I suppose that would be a deterent to anyone wanting to lay a hand on him.
Public Service Announcement from the Mormons: []
RussRAB comments on Aug 17, 2019:
Of all the perils young people face in this day and age, the Mormon church is warning its young people about the perils of fancy coffees.
Mountain Meadows Massacre 9) Mormonism's repressive ideas about human sexuality, including strict ...
RussRAB comments on Aug 17, 2019:
The problem that some may not get of someone getting ready to convert to Mormonism is that they do not get the whole story from Mormon missionaries, and the Mormon conversion machine is geared to fellowshipping potential converts. At one time, a General Conference theme encouraged all Mormon families to select someone or another family for conversion. They were supposed to put the family on project mode to get them baptised. We knew a couple who were good friends and the guy had been a missionary in the LA area in California. He tells the story of teaching Debbie Boon daughter of Pat Boon. At one point, Pat Boon supplied his daughter with "anti-Mormom literature" which she found apalling. She shared shared it with the missionaries on her last visit with them. Our friend was so disturbed by what he was presented with, that went about trying to prove it false, but instead only confirmed most of it enough so that he left and took his family with him. My current view of Mormonism is that it began as a cult of personality with narcissist Joseph Smith. From my reading, the Smith family were all steeped in magical thinking to an extreme. They apparently engaged in treasure hunting using "seer stones" (which later were used to "translate" the Book of Mormon texts). Joseph Smith was engaged in a number of activities typical of narcissists like infidelity - which was later covered up with the institution of polygamy. More in a bit, I need to take a break. A good book as a reference is Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History. The section on polygamy which is toward the end of the book was very eye opening. The other book I read was The Writings of John D Lee. This one disspelled a lot of the misinformation about the Mountain Meadows Massacre which I had been told from faithful members. Lee's two trials also demonstrated the cult control Brigham Young had on the membership which caused them to lose their own personal integrity in order to demonstrate their faithfulness.
Please let me know if you would say something in this situation.
RussRAB comments on Aug 16, 2019:
In a situation like this, you might want to ask yourself what you hope go accomplish by either saying something or staying silent. If the guy from Brazil is a close friend of yours, then this may be enough reason to try to advise him of the truth of the matter.
In the Photography group we mentioned Naked Lady bulbs blooming and I promised to go take pics in my...
RussRAB comments on Aug 14, 2019:
How funny! I have known these lilies as Resurrection Lilies. Comical that their other name is Naked Lady. Did someone get their communications crossed when naming these flowers. Are they wanton women or piously Christian?
Imagine for a moment that the concept of god never existed, that no one had ever heard of such an ...
RussRAB comments on Aug 12, 2019:
Religion is often the first thing we think of when we think of controlling cults, but religion isn't the only concept that fits the bill. Cults can and have been based on politics, business, science fiction and pseudo-science to mention a few. We humans seem to be able to latch onto almost any concept and take it too far. The point here is that even if we remove the concept of Gods and diety, we seem to have the potential to create the same zealousness for other ideas - factual or fictitious - as we do for religion.
My fish pond before the raccoons destroyed it. The rootball was over 300 pounds in one season.
RussRAB comments on Aug 12, 2019:
Gorgeous flowers. The lilies my grandfather had in his pond were all white.
The biblical "god" is merely a manifestation of the violent, male-dominant, hunter-killer left ...
RussRAB comments on Aug 12, 2019:
While your point is valid, it's not entirely accurate. All of us need to acknowledge that we each have the potential to contribute to the problem or to a solution (at least I hope that is true). Somewhere I read that the base dieties of many religions was some sort of Father, Mother, and child combination. These three set the archetypes for human relationships. In Christianity, the trinity was Father, Son, and Holy Ghost which were/weren't one and the same. But the Mother and her influences were left out. Roman Catholics brought in Jesus' mother Mary, but she did not hold an equal status with the other 3.
The Christian ethic is to nurture the sick and the elderly, amongst other teachings.
RussRAB comments on Aug 11, 2019:
It's a good question worthy of examination. My conclusion is that in America, being a "Christian" is more of a label some people hang around their neck to indicate they are a "good person". They don't really require themselves to do any of behaviors (or only a bare minimum) Christianity would require of them, but they have their sign indicating their supposed goodness. When they spend their time cheating, backbiting, and judging their neighbors, they can simply refer to their label of being a Christian to prove they are a good person. Then they can sleep at night.
The Acanthus are coming to the end of their flowering now.
RussRAB comments on Aug 10, 2019:
We lived in a rented house when my kids were little which had these Acanthus growing along the front under the windows. I had no idea what they were then, but the flower looks the same and the thistle like spines on all parts of the plant.
I am reaching out to some of the more experienced gardeners out there.
RussRAB comments on Aug 9, 2019:
You are in Wisconsin? You can try to start seeds anytime, but they may not get a chance to mature before getting hit with a frost. In Ohio when I was a kid, 4 O'clocks were perenial and would come back each year. You may want fo plant some of your seeds now just to see what happpens, and save some for next spring. Here in Texas, I believe these seeds are readily available from the garden stores. To store seeds, I typicalls use a paper envelope. Seeds are often sold in paper packets, so I figured paper was a decent choice. Instructions often say to store them in a cool dry place. Good Luck on your endeavor, and let up know how it works out.
A cute pup from one of the local rescue organizations.
RussRAB comments on Aug 9, 2019:
Those ears are something else on that little dog. I hope he doesn't come to live with a beagle as a housemate.
What is more important: your genetic genome or your nutrition?
RussRAB comments on Aug 7, 2019:
I read a book titled "The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of “nature VS. Nurture"" by David S. Moore several tears ago. The book explained how genes interact with environmental factors to effect development and how gene expression can be changed by these factors. Some of the examplees were dramatic. I can't help but believe this is true about the question you ask. Both inherited and environmental factors will have their effects. Careful actions like good nutrition may help counter some effects of some genetic issues, but may not cure them completely.
My points are 166,666. Does this mean I'm the Antichrist?
RussRAB comments on Jul 29, 2019:
I once read that the 666 was a mistranslation and the number was actually 616 (sounds more like a phone area code). I'm no expert, so who knows? My queztion, however, does 666 represent good luck in Confucianism, or you're in for a tranquil day in Buddhism?
RussRAB comments on Jul 29, 2019:
First off, who says anger is a flaw of character? Anger is a valid emotion appropriate in certain circumstances. I find your argument, however, in the existence of evil. Christians typically blame the existence of evil on other such as Satan or man and refute the idea that God is responsible fof it. If God is the creator of this world and evil exist in it, then God must have either created it or allowed another he created to do so. Ultimately, the existence of evil in this world rests with God. Quote from Epicurus: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.  Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.  Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?  Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
If you haven’t been indoctrinated by Christianity then you probably won’t be able to understand.
RussRAB comments on Jul 29, 2019:
I recall feeling much more present in my relationships. It was particularly evident in dealing with my kids.
Mad at god or don't believe?
RussRAB comments on Jul 25, 2019:
Difficult to be mad at something that doesn't exist. I can be mad at those who told me otherwise and told what I now know are falsehoods, and at those who attempted to shame me into conformity when I began to understand the deception. It would seem to me that anger is an appropriate emotion to these circumstances and events. Again this is not anger directed at God but toward tangible beings who perpetrate the deception.
'In God We Trust' Signs Go Up In South Dakota Public Schools, As Required By Law : NPR
RussRAB comments on Jul 25, 2019:
Thef original motto was much more inclusive - E Pluribus Unum. This new one was a 1956 rendition instituted in the aftermath of McCarthyism. After all, only commies were Godless.
A world without religion?
RussRAB comments on Jul 21, 2019:
I found it very intersting to discover more about certain social animals. Jane Goodall's research with chimp was the first, followed her research of wild African dogs. The most recent was a program from a number of years ago about meerkats. In each species, violence was a regular aspect of their lives. With chimps and meerkats, these creatures have regular violent clashes with neighboring clans (tribes, groups, or however their social groups are identified). These clashes have resulted in the deaths of some members of either group. In the case of chimps, the conflict appeared to be over territory. One group wanted to expand their territory to include a partular food source, so they moved in an attacked and killed any chimps from the rival group. Meerkats clashes also appear to be about territory and maintaining boundaries between them. Internal struggles can also be violent. Chimp violently display for hierarchy and dominance. Those that don't submit to the hierarchy can be attacked to re-establish the current order. With meerkats, the matriarch may physicslly punish a daughter who covorts with a male from a rival clan. If she has a litter, the matriarch may adopt them or may kill them if they compete too much with her own pups. African dogs are similar. If a subordinate female has a litter, she is likely to be shunned from the pack by the dominant female. In the case Goodall studied, the dominant female would sneak over to the litter of the subordinant female when she was away hunting, and kill one of the pups. She did this until one pup was left and that one she brought back to her own litter. The point is that these animal behaviors sound very much like human behaviors at various times in history. Neighboring kingdoms would periodically raid one another during the dark ages, and coups were regular events where someone would attempt to surplant one monarch with another - until they tried to get rid of them altogether. Violence was a means of expanding one's territory or establishing a hierarchy. Religion played its role as well, but it was another kind of hierarchy which was molded by changes in its power structure and its attempt to exert some kind of control over people and/or territory. Even today, we witnessed Russia expanding its territory by annexing Crimea and their attempts to do the same with the eastern provinces of Ukraine. We believe we have progressed so far from our animal nature, but we can find examples over and over where it just isn't the case. Only our need for justifications are more sophisticated and our means can be so much more deadly.
In the beginning God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and Evangelicals have ...
RussRAB comments on Jul 18, 2019:
I find it more than merely disappointing that The Hebrew/Christian/Muslim God's first directive to humankind is to remain ignorant.
Homoseexuality is natural. Religion is unnatural.
RussRAB comments on Jul 15, 2019:
Evidence is accumulating to indicate that sexual orientation and gender identity have physiological components which may well be strong and pervasive in these characteristics. The video concerns gender identity primarily, but the same sort of observations have been made concerning oeientation as well.
There are basically two types of agnosticism: the first one takes place and participates in the ...
RussRAB comments on Jul 14, 2019:
I think an agnostic can examine and refute a particular definition offered for a particular God and remain an agnostic. The claims of the existence of a diety are not something that can be readily verified and so we have numerous definitions for God - even within a single religion - with no means for determining which is correct and which aren't. Evidence is completely lacking and very often the evidence offered by believers is of an unreliable nature (such as a feeling). Believers also don't typically address how to differentiate between their God and an imposter who possesses the defined characteristics of their God, but is not God. While the agnostic may side with the atheist in refuting one definition of God, it does not exclude that God may exist, just not under an offered definition. As I read the definition of agnostic, it says "a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience." This is very much how I feel about my agnosticism.
As recently as 30 years ago, America was over 90% Christian.
RussRAB comments on Jul 13, 2019:
The reputation of Christianity is being harmed by their support of Trump. We may well see the percentage of American Christians slip from its current 75%.
How do you console a young boy who's father has just committed suicide?
RussRAB comments on Jul 13, 2019:
How old is the boy? And what has he been told about the circumstances of his father's death? A lot of what would be appropriate to say would depend on answers to these questions. In general terms, you can offer your sympathy and understanding knowing that the death of a parent is very difficult. You can also offer an ear if he ever needs someone to talk to. Grieving takes time and he will likely need to process his feelings over a good ling time. He is fortunate to have caring people in his life who are concerned about his well being during this period of loss.
Now that is some romantic gardening!
RussRAB comments on Jul 11, 2019:
How long ago was that tradition anf where? I'd never heard of it before.
Why do so many people today want to be unique and special?
RussRAB comments on Jul 10, 2019:
The good news is that we are all of us unique and special - each of us in our own way. This characteristic may be the single most common trait we all share. Seriously, the individuals who make it into the history books - the names we all know and remember - are those individuals with particular qualities that made their accomplishments and achievements particularly notable. They are said to have some characteristic that caused them to be unique when compared with most other individuals. Most often, the stand out individuals are thought to possess a superior intellect although this may or may not be the case. Some individuals are best known for being extremely evil as certain notoriously cruel political leaders are known to be or to hae been. Most people like to believe themselves to be rather important which isn't all bad. A healthly self esteem would tend to cause someone to feel they were worthwhile and worth defending their own individual rights and freedoms. By contrast, the average life would be viewed as the antithesis of being unique and special. As we humans seem to tend to do, things that are viewed as the opposite in one way are often considered to be the opposite in all ways (tending toward black or white thinking). So, if the unique is intelligent and special, the average is dull, stupid, and mundane. But it just isn't necessarily the case. As any Zen practioners would point out, we all whether unique as Einstein and Columbus or common as the neighbor down the street wake up in the morning and head to the bathroom to relieve ourselves. As unique and special as we all are - and I for one am willing to believe it - we also all possess our own degree of stink. It is after all a part of what makes us "special and unique."
A man and his Golden do a noodle eating race []
RussRAB comments on Jul 8, 2019:
That's one determined dog! Lol.
Fair is fair! City council may give up opening prayers after Satanist concludes opening with ...
RussRAB comments on Jul 4, 2019:
Satanists have done quite a bit to cause otherwise staunch Christians to appreciate our tradition (at least on paper) of separation of church and state. Several years ago, Oklahoma passed a law which said all religions were welcome to erect a religious monument on public property. It was in response to actions initiated to have a Ten Commandments monument removed from in front of a court house. The first applicants were Satanists who proposed a goat headed statue of Satan with numerous Satanic symbols. The state committee approved the statue and a couple modified ceremonies were conducted before the uproar from other religions (perhaps more than just Christians) caused Oklahoma lawmakers to repeal their law and voluntarily move the Ten Commandments monument io private property nearby. As I understand, the Satanists statue was set up in an undisclosed location (somewhere in Michigan I believe). A photo of the statue may still be on-line. Something similar occurred in Florida when laws were passed to allow religious organizations to come nd make a presentation to school kids. After an atheist organization, and again, Satanists wanted to take advantage of this law, Florida lawmakers decided it wasn't such a good idea after all.
[] Could this mean they will eventually see their error in ever believing at all?
RussRAB comments on Jul 4, 2019:
I also found this comment interesting in the article: "“Over the centuries our language and our understanding of God has continued to change and adapt,”." This concept isn't typical of religion. Most refuse acknowledge that they ever had anything but a complete understanding of God. Mormons like to say that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Even when changes occurred, they were never really addressed or explained, they just happened and the membership was just supposed to accept it without question - and believe that no change occurred.
[] Could this mean they will eventually see their error in ever believing at all?
RussRAB comments on Jul 4, 2019:
I've recently watched several Youtube videos about creation myths of different cultures. Very many of them began with male and female entities with the male typically creating or dwelling in the sky and the female the earth. I recall once reading that very ancient Hebrew writings (perhaps they were just Middle Eastern since they all barrowed heavily from one another) which described the creation of the earth in terms similar to childbirth. As I recall, this same author also claimed that ancient Hebrews were polytheistic and as several other examples he sited, the culture paied down the pantheon until only one - typically seen as the king of all the Gods - remained. If this is an accurate description (and except for the possibility of my poor memory) it is as likely why a male God remained in the conversion to monotheism. Males were the rulers and they preferred, or perhsps required, a male God - like unto themselves.
Ark Encounter founder warns ‘kids of all ages’ that libraries are becoming dangerous - New York ...
RussRAB comments on Jun 30, 2019:
Whenever I see some nonsense from creationists about Noah's Ark, I recall an article from at least 15 years ago about how the GISP2 Greenland Ice Sheet Project proves no global flood occurred within the ladt 110,000 years - much less than the last 6,000 years as claimed by young earth creationists. Never mind all the other problems with the Noah's Ark stories (because the Bible does have two conflicting versions of it). I found the article by Paul H Seely titled "The GISP2Ice Core: Ultimate Proof that Noah's Flood Was Not Global" from a Google search, but can't figure out how to copy in the link since it opens as a pdf download. The Youtube link below covers the same information and through a series of videos goes into details of the evidence and how the data was gathered.
Just for fun, an oldie but a goodie []
RussRAB comments on Jun 30, 2019:
Too, too funny!
Does anyone have these? Skeleton flower
RussRAB comments on Jun 25, 2019:
I've never seen or seen them before. They are very unusual, very cool!
I'm categorizing this under Religion and Spirituality for lack of a better one.
RussRAB comments on Jun 24, 2019:
I've attended a wedding or two of Christians where I thought there was more emphasis on the Christian God and Jesus than on the couple. Plenty of ex-Mormons complain that the Mormon temple marriage has more in it about God and Jesus than about marriage or the couple.
RussRAB comments on Jun 23, 2019:
If I understand the Sikh religion, the turban isn't so much a religious symbol but a means of keeping their hair under control. Sikh males are not supposed to cut their hair or beards and so they grow quite long. When I was a child, my family was a host family for a couple Indian exchange students. They were older men who were married and had children in India. They were both Sikhs and wore the turban and did something to tie up their beards. My dad once asked one of these men how long his hair was and as I recall, he said it was 15 feet. I suppose there are other ways they could keep the tenets if their religion without the turban, but it doesn't seem to be any more practical than wearing the turban. As for the law generally, I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I see a benefit from separating religious symbols from civil government. On the other, the restriction would make civil service difficult for very devout people. I'm not certain we could get such a law passed here in the US. We would run into problems with rights guaranteed in our Constitution.
Two Questions??
RussRAB comments on Jun 23, 2019:
Most of our pets have been buried somewhere in the yard. The last two that passed, however, we had cremated. It was just easier at the time. As for myself, I really hadn't thought about it much. My side of our family had opted for cremation and I'm not opposed to it. My dad had his ashes scattered and something about that appeals fo me. I don't feel a need to have a grave site - I'd much rather the land dedicated to cemetaries be used for something like a park for families or a garden to picnic in. If someone needs something to remember me by, then they can grow something - a flower, a tree, a vegetable garden, anything they like, even a pet perhaps. That way they are never separated from the token of the memory. My mom's ashes were interred in California and I now live in Texas. It's a bit difficult to go to her burial site and when we are in the area, we typically have other things to do with kids and grandkids.
Standing up for atheists, I reported a Christian zealot x-ray tech.
RussRAB comments on Jun 23, 2019:
Most companies I've worked for have policies against discussions of religion and politics. The subjects tend to be too divisive and disruptive when they occur. I have been aware of a few religious zealots who were "talked to" about proselytizing in the work place over the years. It's one thing to do it with other employees, but another to try to preach to customers.
Here is Eddie doing what she loves. []
RussRAB comments on Jun 19, 2019:
That looks very familiar. Bri gs back some fond memories of our late chihuahua mix (I'm still not certain he was chihuahua).
Conservative Christian Activist Warns Masturbation Is Gay Sex | Michael Stone
RussRAB comments on Jun 19, 2019:
There were elements within the Mormon church which also believed this silliness. They also decided that masturbation itself was sinful and should be avoided. One of the church leaders (who may have died since I left) wrote a pamphet advising young men how to prevent them from self stimulating. It included things like sleeping on your back, wearing tight fitting night clothing and multiple layers to make access difficult. He even went so far as to suggest tying the dominant hand to the bed post. The pamphlet is hillarious on this side of this religion. I honestly hope not too many young men attempted any of his suggestions.
A few impulse photos from the garden the other day: Rosa "Grande Amore," Zinnia from seed, a baby ...
RussRAB comments on Jun 19, 2019:
Gorgeous flowers and I love the butterfly.
Izzy life
RussRAB comments on Jun 19, 2019:
I recall a Marmaduke cartoon with the wife angry at the husband while Marmaduke the Great Dane is sprawled out on their sofa. The husband is explaining himself saying, " I didn't I had a dog's life, I said I wish I did."
Eddie patiently waiting to play in hose.
RussRAB comments on Jun 19, 2019:
I had a dog who passed away last year who would try to bite the water coming out of the hose. It didn't matter how hard the water was running. He would snarl and try to bite the water. I could never quite understand this behavior.
When did everyone start gardening?
RussRAB comments on Jun 19, 2019:
My parents cultivated my interest in gardening whether they intended to or not. Every summer for as long as I can remember they would go to a local nursery and buy a bunch of bedding plants - mostly sweet alyssum in purple and white and a variety of color of petunias. Then the whole family would participate in transplanting what we purchased into gardens along the walkway in the front of the house and beds around the patio in the back. They also had peonies that lined the driveway in alternating colors pink and white, daffodils and tulips under trees in the front and next to the peonies along with hyacinth. We also had something special that went across from the front door that my mom typically chose - snap dragons, sweet william, or sometning else that caught her fancy. One year when I was seven or eight, I was given a small tray of marigolds seeds in vermiculite. The lid to the tray had places to pierce with a pencil and to add water. Before long, the seeds sprouted and the lid was to be turned upside down to act as a mini greenhouse, and it eventually came off as the seedling grew larger. That year, my marigolds were planted along with our annual ritual. My grandparents always had a garden too. Theirs was a vegetable garden with corn, beans, tomatos, and whatever else they decided to grow that year.
What would you have said?
RussRAB comments on Jun 17, 2019:
What would you gain by being confrontational? As it was, you had what appeared to be a pleasant interchange with this fellow human being. I see nothing wrong with your responses. Having said this, I also understand the feeling you experienced. The one that would annoy me was when someone - especially from a business - would say, "Have a blessed day!" In thinking up come backs (similar to what you commented about) I thought it might be fun to respond with something like, "May yours continue to evolve." I have yet to say it to anyone, but I have often thought it when that annoying phrase is uttered.
RussRAB comments on Jun 15, 2019:
Michael Shermer has results from research he conducted as part of his affiliation with Skeptic magazine and Skeptics Society. The results are published in his book "How We Believe". Surveys were sent to members of the Skeptics Society and separately to a random sample of the public from a polling company. Respondants were asked to answer a number of questions about their belief in God and religion as well as questions about their income levels, education levels, their religious background, etc. The results from both sets of surveys showed the same trends even though the magnitude of responses was much greater among Skeptics Society members than the general public (which was understandable and expected). Concerning education, the result showed a negative correlation between the level of education and their belief in God meaning the more education an individual had, the more likely they would disbelive in God and religion. Among scientists, the greatest degree of disbelief existed even though the same trend could be observed - those with greater education were more likely to disbelieve.
Sign this petition! []
RussRAB comments on Jun 15, 2019:
The link appears to be broken.
Her next job...
RussRAB comments on Jun 15, 2019:
A job where she can still see her old boss from the White House once, maybe twice a day.
According to US media, sex = love = marriage.
RussRAB comments on Jun 12, 2019:
It would seem that the idea of romantic love is much older than Hollywood. Shakespeare's play about Romeo and Juliet as star crossed lovers who marry secretly in defiance of their families predates any Hollywood notion of romantic love, but is even fairly recent to the story of Helen who leaves her husband the king of Sparta to be with her lover Prince Paris of Troy sparking the subsequent Trojan War. It would appear to me that the dynamic and conflict between marriage as a means of improving the status of one's family (their duty) and as an expression of romantic infatuaton (their desire) is very old indeed. I don't disagree with several of the points you make and can think of certain personal observations from my own experiences in line with the dynamics you describe between the sexes. I also recognize it as a gross over simplification since role reversals between the sexes is more than possible. My son who is currently going through a divorce is a personal example. He begged his wife of 16 years and mother of their 4 children to go to counseling but she decided she wanted to sleep with other men and refused (admittedly my own oversimplifcaton of their situation, but essentially the truth).
Catholic priest who works with kids says Pride flag was made by Satan
RussRAB comments on Jun 10, 2019:
So says a "righteous" priest whose God sanction church protected pedophiles among his ranks (they were also priests) allowing to reoffend in new areas with many new victims. Before any Catholic clergy goes about condemning anything gay, they need to atone for their own deplorable policies putting Catholic kids at risk and in danger. If this is the way God wants His organization to operate, then it is no God worthy of worship by anyone. Fly your Rainbow Flags without fear that Satan had anything to do with its creation; this devil was far too involved with Catholic priests to bother with the creation of a Rainbow Flag!
So, God is in control.
RussRAB comments on Jun 10, 2019:
First, my condolences on your loss. I can't imagine what it is like to lose a child. If God is the creator of everything, than this necessarily includes suffering as well as evil. There are no two ways around it, everything is every thing. Even if we allow God not to be the direct creator of suffering and evil, then God created the one that did and allowed them to do it. In my thinking, this is pretty much the same thing. We cannot have a monotheist God responsible for everything and then carve out exceptions. I think the quote attributed to Epicurus is applicable for your comments: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.  Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.  Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?  Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
Asking if there is no god, what is the purpose of life is like...
RussRAB comments on Jun 9, 2019:
It's been a while since I read Victor Frankl's book "Man's Search For Meaning". What I recall having read - or perhaps what I inferred from it - was that life's meaning was different for different individuals. While in Nazi labor camps, Frankl would coursel fellow prisoners who were giving up hope, and he would try to find meaning in life for that particular prisoner. It was typically something different for each individual. Reconnecting with what gave the prisoner's life meaning gave him the will to keep enduring their circunstance.
As an atheist and raising my sons as such I found the philosophy Stoicism a fantastic alternative to...
RussRAB comments on Jun 9, 2019:
I had recently discovered Youtube videos about Stoicism and wanted to learn more. I have yet to actually delve into it.
I am playing around with a subject for an upcoming video.
RussRAB comments on Jun 9, 2019:
Please explain how someone has a personal relationship with a nonmaterial object or being they cannot see or touch, and that they only "hear" within their mind. I believe I may have a more personal relationship with the chair I sit in since I can see it, can touch it, and can hear it when I sit down on it. It is a comfortable chair that attractive given the decor of the room it sits in. My veiw of the personal relationship with God is influenced by reports of Nicholas Epley's research reported in Discover magazine.
In you mind, what are you first?
RussRAB comments on Jun 9, 2019:
I don't recall making a choice to be a human, so I suppose that would just be a fact of my birth and my parents. Being a citizen of the country I reside in is also sort of an accident of where I was born, but I do have choices I can make about this aspect of life. Being agnostic is a choice based on my thoughts, reading, and conclusions. How would I rank them? I suppose being a citizen and an agnostic are dependent on being human and having the human capacity for thought which defines the other two. The other two are mutually exclusive since I am able to change one without requiring a change to the other.
What did you want to grow up and be as an adult when you were a pre -teen?
RussRAB comments on Jun 8, 2019:
Sorry, I had to chuckle, but how could you Not have wanted to be a cowboy? We are the same age and have very similar growing up experiences. My list would have been shorter - cowboy, policeman, fireman, and perhaps an armyman. The cowboys had a better costume and generally were allowed more personality than the others as depicted on TV (Joe Friday and Bill Gannon didn't leave much room for expression beyond "just the facts"). The truth is, I didn't think but about career or jobs until I was much older and into my teens. By then I was so confused by changes in my life, I didn't know much about what I wanted out of life.
Dewberry cultivation?
RussRAB comments on May 28, 2019:
I was going to add that I had encountered dewberry while hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountainsin California, but I believe they were thimbleberries instead. The USDA site shows dewberries ib the Eastern US, and the thimble variety in the west. I have no idea how similar the two may be. As for boysenberries, my experience is that they grow like weeds. I loved them except they were difficult to contain and they have endless little thorns all over - just like most bramble berries. Good luck with your dewberries. I'll be interestex in hearing hoe they work out for you.
Who was Jesus ?
RussRAB comments on May 21, 2019:
I listened to a talk on Youtube given by Bart Ehrman. His arbument was that the Gospel go to great length to get the Jesus story to fit the propgezy narrative (or something along this line). If Jesus wasn't a historical individual, there wouldn't need to be these extraordinary stories which most likely attempted to integrate history with fiction to make Jesus more divine. My thought on the su ject is that I'm willing to accept Jesus as a historical i dividual, and thzt fhe Jesus as depucted in the Bible never existed. Sine my most recent religious background is Mormonism, we have an excellent example in that church's founder Joseph Smith. The character of Smith has been sanitized over the last 175 years or so to make this charlatan con man into a larger than life individual who is just a bit lowerthan Jesus Christ. If the character of Smith can be altered so radically in this day with recent documents a historical records, then it is not at all surprising the same could occur with Jesus when word of mouth was more likely the mode of communication and written documents were scarce.
The iris are out in full force.
RussRAB comments on May 21, 2019:
Wow! Those are beautiful. My irises were terribly disappointing this year. Only a few blooms and tne wind and rain were particularly hard on them.
Some folks wonder where all this hate and discontent comes from.
RussRAB comments on May 19, 2019:
After reading more of the article, why isn't this guy denounced as anti-Semitic? He rants about Zionists and claims that after Roe v. Wade, we are living under imposed Judaism. He's a complete nut job. Too bad anyone listens to him.
Some folks wonder where all this hate and discontent comes from.
RussRAB comments on May 19, 2019:
I did read it correctly when he said "impose Christian rule in tnis country." It is amazing to me how these supposed Christians are so intent on gaining political power, and in doing so, would necessarily overturn the rights written into our US Constitution which they claim to love and revere. It must be that tbe love and revere the idea of our Constitution and not the reality of it says and means.
if your mother was on her deathbed and she begged you to pray with her.
RussRAB comments on May 19, 2019:
Sounds to me like a deal made under duress. Aren't these kinds of agreements - between your mother's God and you - unenforceable; like, null and void? How sad that mom would rather have you lie to her to feel better than to have you be honest with her.
I love movies that lampoon religion or put an interesting twist on the norm.
RussRAB comments on May 19, 2019:
'Saved' was pretty good also.
The last comment got me
RussRAB comments on May 19, 2019:
Too Funny! I love it.
Reason Why I Love Dogs 615:
RussRAB comments on May 19, 2019:
This Golden has his priorities, and they have nothing to do with baseball.
The World's Ugliest Iris's.
RussRAB comments on May 17, 2019:
I've seen worse. The UC Riverside Botanical Gardens had an iris garden years and years ago. They had a variety that was a root beer brown color.Why, oh why?? I do like the sentiment you have associated with this flower, however.
Some people think that science has all the answers that matter, and that things that cannot be ...
RussRAB comments on May 16, 2019:
Science encompasses the body of knowledge gathered through the systemic accumulation of facts by careful observation and experimentation. This body of knowledge is far from complete and may never be finished. We cannot completely rule out things we don't have proof of, but claims without facts supporting them can hardly be relied on as truthful either. If we look back in history at some of the explanations for phenomenon that even some of the most brilliant minds of tneir day believed, we might be more than surprised. They may have lacked the tools,, the insight, or subject to prejudices to be able to form more correct explanations. The same may be true today of some things commonly believed but lacking the means to solve the mystery. I find I tend to be more in mind set of your "Prove it or shut up" category. I don't have a problem with someone speculating about things we don't know about, but when they cross over to trying to tell me certain things are true that can't be are aren't proven or even have facts to support them, then I lose interest real fast and often become impatient. It's ok with me if we don't or can't know cerain things, but I would prefer we be clear when we are speculating or fantasizing and when we are talking facts.
The orthodox definition of the theistic god includes omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence ...
RussRAB comments on May 12, 2019:
I think the trinity is explained as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are aspect of the one God. The roles of the 3 individuals are preserves (supposedly) without violating the monotheistic claim of the religion. I don't believe it makes sense but this is why I'm here and not at church today. I am also interested in the contradiction of the claim of omnibenevolence and omnipotence with the existence of evil in this world. If God is the creator of all, wouldn't this include evil? If not creating evil directly, God would have to at least allow its creation. My thoughts originate from a quote attributed to Epicurus. "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.  Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.  Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?  Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
"If neo-Darwinism is true and reproductive success a measure of evolutionary fitness, then every ...
RussRAB comments on May 6, 2019:
It appears to me that if we follow this kind of logic, then it would be Neanderthals who should be reversed for their genetic fitness over Abraham. All those outside of Africa bear somewhere between 2% and 5% of Neanderthal genes. Since we have no reason to believe that Abraham's descendents spread into the Asian race and ethnicities, we have a very significant number (like, a couple billion) more individuals descended from Neanderthals than descended from Abraham. Of course, this assumes Abraham was a real historical figure (as so many others have pointed out) and that his descendents are as wide spread as claimed. I also recently read a headline that claimed it was likely that all those with western Europeans anscestry were descended fro Charlemagne. Anyone who has looked into their geneology much knows that certain ancestors had large families and created a large number of descendants. Unless incestous relastipns were common, the number of descendants increases exponentiolly each generation. A large descency from someone who lived thousands of years ago is hardly proof of anything except that they had some surviving offspring. The same claim made of Abraham is likely as true for Omar the camel trader who lived at the same time. Perhap, Omar should be equally revered as Abraham is supposed to be?
What is with this Atheist/Agnostic divide stuff lately.
RussRAB comments on Apr 30, 2019:
No doubt a lot of overlap exists Atheist/Agnostic divide. I have heard people define their atheism in the same terms as I have defined my agnosticism. I also understand that there are theistic agnostics but nothing similar for atheists. For me, I am in the camp that believes that God, if such an entity exists, is an unknowable or definable entity. Any entity with greater abilities than we can currently understand may appear to be a God, but may in fact be an entity with faults and foibles (not a God). We could be easily fooled by these aspects of greater ability and still not be a God.
Not really gardening focused.
RussRAB comments on Apr 28, 2019:
What fun! Last year, my wife bought me a good sized bird feeder for Christmas. We had a great time watching the different kinds of birds that came to feed - everything from tiny juncos and chickadees to blue jays, cardinals, and white wing doves. We even got to witness a bit of food chain in action as all this activity attracted a red tailed hawk or two, and some small owls. These were interesting too, but did take some of the fun out of feeding the birds.
I'm still trying to figure out what the massive trees planted around my home are .
RussRAB comments on Apr 27, 2019:
Do you have a picture or two of leaves and flowers? They might be easier to identify if we had something to match with.
“Stop taking my picture, I’m looking for a place to pee!”
RussRAB comments on Apr 27, 2019:
Just not on the roses, PLEASE!
Estranged from family members... anyone experience this?
RussRAB comments on Apr 20, 2019:
I don'think it is necessarily just when someone from a religious family becomes an atheist. I can think of examples of estrangement when one family member joins another religion not respected by the family of origin. I know of one family of Mormons whose daughter married a guy they suspect decided to join a polygamous sect after they had a half dozen kids. The parents don't speak with this daughter or communicate with these grandkids. They are all still technically the same religion, but not really. Polling data (from Pew I believe) has indicated that atheists were regarded less favorably than were Muslims post 9/11. They ranked either last or second to last of people of various beliefs when asked if they would vote for this person. The point isn't that atheists have anything wrong with them but that this belief system isn't regarded well just as the polygamous sect wasn't regarded well by the parents in the first paragraph.
My Irish Irises enjoying a bit of sun, with Orange blossom shrub starting to bud...
RussRAB comments on Apr 20, 2019:
They are stunning.
Baton Rouge, LA, what is this kinda-sorta dandelion wildflower?
RussRAB comments on Apr 20, 2019:
I love these flowers. They're so bright and beautifil. They grow wild here in North Texas and I have thought to try to cultivate them but have yet to try it. They are known here as a Texas Dandilion. The link is to the entry at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
A fun afternoon with Moxie and Squill❤
RussRAB comments on Apr 19, 2019:
Ha! If these were my dogs sitting in a muddy puddle, they would be wanting to come inside right about now.
When one of your neighbours gets a new doggy and everyday as you head out to get the elevator, you ...
RussRAB comments on Apr 17, 2019:
Certain breeds do better than others being left alone. I have 2 dogs so they can keep each other company.when we are away. One tends to be much rougher than the other and we were concerned leaving them together (go figure). So we keep them in separate pens indoors. At leadt tbey can see one another.
AH the Mormon Church as always ready with an appropriate response to the tragedy in Paris, just ...
RussRAB comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Isn't it almost all made of granite? Only in inside will burn. This is also a show of the lack of faith Mormons have. They pay lip service to promises of divine protection - tithing to keep your individual finances stable, garments to protect your body from harm, etc. - but when push comes to shove, they want every bit of manmade safeguards they can get. Pay more tithes and offering to protect the temples with material fixtures, while members and their families are to depend on less reliable means of protections. (Sorry fof the rant).
My new puppy Gigi, a miniature Chijuajua.
RussRAB comments on Apr 16, 2019:
Very Cute. I love small dogs.
Rhubarb Rhubarb was recently mentioned (I have 3 plants) and I learned some things today about ...
RussRAB comments on Apr 10, 2019:
It's odd they would declare rhubarb a fruit since it has none of the properties of fruit (such as seeds). I understood a controvery over whether tomatos are fruit due to sugar content. As for how it is used, i regularly see sweet potatoe pies around the holidays here in Texas, but as far as I know, no one thinks to try to call sweet potatoes a fruit.
close ups of the vanilla pollination experiment, see the torn away flowers that I've ...
RussRAB comments on Apr 10, 2019:
Is that a bud or a pod in the lower left of the 2nd and 4th pictures? It looks kind of nobby and the other buds are smooth.
Redbud Trees and Dogwoods are native here in Oklahoma and they are everywhere.
RussRAB comments on Apr 8, 2019:
I planted redbuds in the berm between the sidewalk and the street. Since we live on a corner, we have 2 sides. The trees in the front are about 20 years old and they have had some trouble with the hot summers. The original trunks have all become scarred and rotten, but the tree lives on from the suckers that grow from the base. Every year they have produced a beautiful crop of pick flowers. After the flowers fade on the ends of the branches, a smaller crop blooms on the trunk on small bunches. It is a sight with the new leaves emerging and the flowers blooming on the trunks of the trees.
The continuing saga of the vanilla - today had my first attempt at hand-pollinating (with a bamboo ...
RussRAB comments on Apr 7, 2019:
How do the flowers pollinate naturally? Must be an incsect or bird not from this atea?
Not sure where to shout out about this, .
RussRAB comments on Apr 7, 2019:
Don't most of these athletes receive full scholarships? Isn't that payment enough?
Dedicated to the small dog lover
RussRAB comments on Mar 31, 2019:
I had a golden retriever and a cocker spaniel that would be more likely to lick an intruder to death before barking or biting them. I had a chihuahua mix that would bark and nip at the heals of family that didn't come over all that often. I had a schipperke owner tell me that her dogs wouldn't allow any intruders into her home. I would imagine a jack russell would be more than any intruder would want to deal with if the dog didn't think he belonged there.
Are you paying attention elders?
RussRAB comments on Mar 30, 2019:
There was a girl in High School who said her adult brother got really tired of answering the door to missionaries (Mormons and all others). To stop them, he started answering his door naked when he knew it was missionaries knocking. He wasn't bothered by them much after that.
I finally got all my indoor seeds started! Between those and the plants I have inside for the ...
RussRAB comments on Mar 2, 2019:
I recognize the glow of a grow light. I recently bought one for some house plants that weren't doing so well. I'm thrilled with the result, and now I'm thinking of expanding on the idea. You use the for starting seeds? I wouldn't have thought of it. Great idea.
In case you missed it on the main page! Is this not just stunning? []
RussRAB comments on Mar 2, 2019:
Beautiful! Here in North Texas, someone would seed the sides along the freeways with the state flower, Blue Bonnetts. We would gave these spectacular blooms that turned these areas along the roadside a gorgeous blue color. They must have stopped seeding several years ago because it hasn't been like this for some time. We still get lots of Spring wildflowers that bloom, just not much of the Blue Bonnetts.
New Imported Distemper Strain in Dogs []
RussRAB comments on Feb 28, 2019:
The article doesn't mention if American dog owners need to take any precautions for our pets. Does anyone have information on this issue?
I think being agnostic is a huge sacrifice and it takes courage to even admit it.
RussRAB comments on Feb 14, 2019:
Maybe I have a bit of a different take on the issue, but I see being agnostic as "not knowing". Is this life all there is? I really don't know and I refuse to act as if I do which means I am not going to pin my beliefs, values, and behavior today during this limited time as if there is something more. Some people are not going to like my decisions - regardless what I decide - so I will live in a way that attempts to balance my sense of my personal happiness against certain societal standards. This includes the inevitable loss of loved ones who whether or not they will be accessible after I die are not accessible in my life today. I still hold onto their memory and how they interacted in my life while they were alive. The love I felt for them and they for me is not diminished by their passing, just as the love I experience with those living today isn't diminished when we are apart. My condolences on the loss of your husband; he was obviously very special to you. My hope for you isn't that you will necessarily see him again, but that his memory brings you comfort and the peace and love he brought into your life inspires you to bring the same into the lives of others. Peace to you, my freind. Take care of yourself.
Well now I have another reason to hate the steaming pile of Mormon Hypocrite mouth diarrhoea David ...
RussRAB comments on Feb 5, 2019:
I wonder what some of Matheson's former patients have to say about his change. It must be terribly difficult having a therapist tell you how you have to surpress certain basic feelings to then have him decide he is OK being gay himself and having same sex relationships. I think it's actually a more sensible place for him to be, but he has messed with lots of gay people's heads.
We've an "anti-vax mommy" in the 'burb.
RussRAB comments on Feb 3, 2019:
Anti-vaxxer mom asks how to protect her unvaccinated 3 year old from a measles outbreak in her state.
RussRAB comments on Jan 13, 2019:
The creation of God would be in the hope of an ultimate controller of our universe and prayer would be the hope of being able to access a bit of this ultimate control for our own benefit. The delusion of control isn't absolute since we do control a number of various aspects of our lives; but it is very limited. Ultimately, powers within the universe are much greater than the control we are able to exert.