One Resolution

** I started writing this post a few days ago, and then yesterday ran across a similar sentiment on one of my favourite blogs. I debated whether or not I should post mine, but decided that since it's great and useful information, the more that's out there, the better. Any similarities you encounter are complete and utter coincidence as this post was independently written by myself about my own experiences.***

Just before Christmas, I came across my 2012 New Years resolutions. Although I've been on and off the "I don't make resolutions because you're only setting yourself up to fail" train, the last few years, I decided to drink the koolaide and go full on resolution mode. Last year was the first year I really followed through to a point where I can say I am content with the changes I made.

It is in part a result of increased motivation, but also can be attributed to the types of goals I set. In the past, a resolution may have read "Workout 5 times per week" whereas last year it read: "Do more: be more active". It was this little change in verbage that helped propel me to making some changes. If I didn't have time for a full five workouts a week, oh well. Maybe I'd walk to the ten minutes to the market instead of drive on a rainy day. Maybe I'd run around and dance a little more while cleaning and cooking.

I also let go of a lifelong belief that in order to exercise you need to take a couple hours out of your day, drive to a gym, and kill yourself to the point where you never want to go back. But you're supposed to go back, but you don't want to, so you don't. So I didn't.

 I ditched the gym memberships, and the "must workout for at least one hour" mentality, and found something that worked for me. I started running. I started small. Just a few kilometers that would take me just over 20 minutes. I was slow, but I ran. When I discovered the Nike running app, I started to get competitive with myself, and wanted to beat my time. Then, I wanted to run further. After a while, I committed myself to 6K runs. I have a great 6K route that I'm comfortable with, and I know it takes me around 34 minutes. Who doesn't have 34 minutes? But then there were times I wanted to run further, longer. And so I would run 10K. But I never beat myself up if I only ran 6K. Or, if on occasion, I only ran 3K. The point was that I was out there. I was doing it.

I had many other resolutions that I followed through with as well. And, upon examining each resolution  and the effects they had on me, there was one resounding theme.

There were no cut and dry goals that I had to "meet" in order to check them off my list. As long as I made tiny improvements, there was no "failing". Every single resolution was a way to live my already great life, just a little bit better. And that's all we can really hope for, right?

This year, I am setting that one resolution, to live better, and I'm bullet pointing it. To be honest, I wouldn't even bother writing anything past those two words optimally, but I do like to have a reminder of what I want to acheive, so bullet points it is. These bullet points will evolve over the year. Some will go, some new ones will come.

You will also see there is no"try". I used to put "try to eat healthy" in my resolutions. No more. There is no try, only do. Thanks Yoda. But really, don't give yourself a way out. You ARE going to live better this year, and every year following.

  • More home cooked meals. From scratch. Less packaged foods. 
  • Less coffee. More tea. 
  • Less salt. Less sugar. More herbs and spices.
  • More fruits and veggies.
  • Continue to make consitent excercise a part of life.
  • Be kind. Everyday. Go out of your way to be kind.
  • Donate your time. There are people out there who need it.
  • More books. Less TV. Less blogs.
  • More hubby time. Less computer time.
  • More face to face friend time. Less facebook.
  • More real. Less tech.
  • More scheduled. Less random.
  • More organic. More nutrients. 
There are more, but you get the gist.  Everything is just in an effort to live my life the way I see as ideal. And so far, it works.

I hope that whatever 2013 holds for you, that it is better than last year. That you may hold your resolutions, should you choose to make them, near and dear to your heart.

To a very merry and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

xox J

Don Ogden: After the End of the World

Predictions about the end of the world have come and gone for millennia and we all know how those turned out. This latest one concerning misreadings of the Mayan calendar got its legs from social networking and the media, but like so many others, when the date on the calendar passed........nothing. Having said that, it seems way past time we seriously addressed the real end of the world: the Climate Crisis. Going back decades and longer, the world's leading scientists (and more than a few activists like myself) have been sounding the alarm about humanity being on a collision course with the natural world. Way back in 1992, exactly two decades ago, The World Scientists' Warning to Humanity  stated: "The earth is finite. Its ability to absorb wastes and destructive effluent is finite. Its ability to provide food and energy is finite. Its ability to provide for growing numbers of people is finite. And we are fast approaching many of the earth's limits". Then the Scientists' Warning went on to say: "No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished".  That was two decades ago.

During the intervening years, in every avenue available to us, environmentalists and others have been sounding the alarm. When we launched The Enviro Show on Valley Free Radio in late 2005 we read from the World Scientists' Warning on our very first show. Just this past summer we read those words again on this, the two decade anniversary of the Warning's release. These days we have no shortage of warnings concerning the Climate Crisis. Activists like Bill McKibben and the folks at , Al Gore and even more mainstream groups like Greenpeace or the Sierra Club, as well as a growing student movement may be out in front on this, the most critical issue facing humankind, but governments and industry are not. Do we really need to ask why? In case you missed it, scientifically proven, human-caused climate change is a product of western civilization, industrial development. You probably won't be hearing that from Bill McKibben or Al Gore, much less cable or network news. You can read about the numbers, about the need to return CO2 levels in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, down from its current level of 392ppm, or the need to transition to alternative energy and away from fossil fuels, but seldom will you read or hear about how our own industries, how Corporate America, is destroying the biosphere on our planet, how it is diminishing the lives of our children and future generations.

Recently we had wildlife biologist Guy McPherson on the show. His take on the Climate Crisis is even more grim than McKibben's or The World Scientists' Warning. McPherson's position? Game over.  The link takes you to his recent presentation at Greenfield Community College. Rumor has it that he will not be invited back. Why? No one wants to hear about the end of the world. This is not to say that McPherson has all the numbers right, that his analysis is, dare I say, the last word. I enter it here simply to point out two important things: 1) the real end of the world (as we know it) is an ongoing process, and  2) everyone, everyone, needs to fight back. The time for denial or waiting for the UN or government or God to fix things is over. We are the savior we've been waiting for.  Regardless of McPherson's gloom & doom, just the chance that we may lessen the effects of climate chaos, just the chance that we can give future generations more time, should be enough to motivate us into action. This is what is required: a massive popular groundswell, a movement even more powerful than the abolition of slavery or civil rights. It is the Rights of Nature, and our right to a livable planet that should empower us. Some Mayans have said the turning of their calendar was not "The End of the World" but rather the beginning of a new world. We need that new beginning now.

-- d.o.


Sundays at 10am WXOJ's radio show, "Occupy the Airwaves"
has the latest news from the Occupation Movement,
locally, regionally, nationally and around the planet.
Tune-in at 103.3fm or webcasting at
Blogging at:
Listeners can call-in to the show at (413)585-1033.

The Peter Pan Man Boy.

In a previous post, commentator Iangobard asked if I would make a comment on Dalrock's post about the Peter Pan Manboy.

Dalrock should be commended for putting up the data and the first thing that strikes me looking at it is just how badly the under thirties are faring in the U.S. economy. It certainly confirmed our observations from when we were there a year ago.  It's not just the home of the brave and free but also the poor. The overall impression I got from my visit to the U.S was that it was a failing nation composed of a mass of good-willed people who were being overworked and badly governed.

Be that as it may, this is not a post about economics but a post on on the existence of the manboy. From a female perspective, a manboy is a man who refuses to take on the responsibility of adulthood and engage in adult behaviour.  Now before the MRA's start invading the comment section, I want to make it perfectly clear that adult behaviour does not involve marrying some burnt-out carousel rider, rather, manning up in my lexicon means having your shit together.  For those who are retarded, start here for definitional understanding.

Dalrock's data certainly does show that, across the board, men moderately outperform women in earnings capacity.  But I think focusing on earnings capacity over simplifies things and I'd like to point readers back to Roissy's Dating Market Value Test for Men, which I think is an appropriate analytical tool to use when looking a sexual market analysis. Roissy's test is more appropriate since masculinity can't simply be reduced to one parameter.

Still, if we look at the income data, it does demonstrate that there is a severe mismatch for women of higher achievement when hypergamy is taken into account.  Now, the thing to remember is that hypergamy is relative to a woman's own status, therefore,  only the men earning the same amount or more are going to be of interest to her. (All other things being equal.)

I've pulled the following chart from Dalrock's post.

Let's assume that the median income for both sexes is somewhere between the 25-40 thousand band.

Under the influence of hypergamy, a woman from this band will find 58% of all single men (these are the men on her pay scale or above) attractive. On the other hand, the pool of available women is much larger for man since a woman's income is not as important in her attractiveness. That's almost a two to one ratio in favour of the man. The problem gets worse for women the more successful they are as there are progressively less men to satisfy their hypergamous instincts.

But income is only one of the parameters of attraction. A woman's judgement of a man is based on a multivariate analysis. Other parameters such as intelligence, status and physical attractiveness matter, and there is that intangible element of "style".

Now, let's look at educational qualification as education is a rough proxy for status and intelligence.

 Percent of U.S. Adults Ages 25-29 With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher, 1969-2009

What is there to say? There are roughly 1.5 times more bachelor qualified women to men in this age group. Now its true that men still outnumber women in the professions that require really hard thinking i.e Science and Engineering, but this is irrelevant when it comes to the dating game.  What matters in the dating game is which social class/group you belong to and an education is a qualification ticket into the middle and upper classes. An industrious redneck trucker is going to need an awful lot of money to appeal to a female sociology major, since the sociology major is going to feel that, intellectually, he is beneath her and will not appeal to her hypergamic instinct. Yeah, I know there may be exceptions but this is the rule.

Now one thing we notice from the graph is that the number of men attaining a bachelor's degree has remained approximately the same since the sixties. However, given the massive expansion in education over the last fifty years it seems that women have taken the opportunities presented to them whilst men haven't. This graph is a dreadful indictment of the modern American male. Perhaps one of the reasons that so many men are unemployed is because they're to dumb (and therefore unnatractive to women) to attain the qualifications that will give them a job.

I know many MRA types have tried to explain away the discrepancy of educational rates because of affirmative action policies by educational institutions.  And they are correct, there is discrimination, but it appears to be in favour of men. So great is the gender imbalance at some of the universities that they are now actively discriminating against women in favour of lesser qualified men.

But perhaps these men have decided to opt out of the materialist cubicle jockey lifestyle and pursue a life of travel and adventure.


This graph shows the percentage of sexes living at home with mum.

Perhaps they're spending all their time at self improvement and doing things like hitting the gym?

Yeah, sure.

I know much is made of the fatification of womanhood by the manosphere but in the U.S. it's the men who actually have a slight edge in fatness during the mating years.

Now, for those who are retarded, pointing out male failure does not equal a support of feminism and those who can't see the distinction can simply bugger off. However, an objective man, looking at the data, can't but conclude that women have fully grasped the opportunities given to them whilst the men haven't.  The data does suggest that there are a significant group of men who fit the Manboy label.

I don't rejoice in these numbers, in fact they profoundly depress me, but what depresses me even more is the both the justification and victimhood mentality that has set in to explain this state of affairs.

Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged

We don't usually reprint an article from another site in its entirety but this article has the kind of bullet points we should memorize.

The numbers reveal the deadening effects of inequality in our country, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.
November 19, 2012 |
1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.
According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.
2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.
In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.
3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.
The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world's Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that's $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.
Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.
4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.
After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.
U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They've passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers' payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it's 22 cents.
5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.
That's enough to pay the salaries of over a million nurses or teachers or emergency responders.
That's enough, according to 2008 estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN's World Food Program, to feed the 870 million people in the world who are lacking sufficient food.
For the free-market advocates who say "they've earned it": Point #1 above makes it clear how the wealthy make their money.
6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.
Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion.
Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.
7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.
The Insight Center for Community Economic Development reported that median wealth for black and Hispanic women is a little over $100. That's much less than one percent of the median wealth for single white women ($41,500).
Other studies confirm the racially-charged economic inequality in our country. For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.
8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, serving only about a quarter of the families in poverty, and paying less than $400 per month for a family of three for housing and other necessities. Ninety percent of the available benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households.
Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day.
9. Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.
21- to 35-year-olds: Your median net worth has dropped 68% since 1984. It's now less than $4,000.
That $4,000 has to pay for student loans that average $27,200. Or, if you're still in school, for $12,700 in credit card debt.
With an unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of almost 50%, two out of every five recent college graduates are living with their parents. But your favorite company may be hiring. Apple, which makes a profit of $420,000 per employee, can pay you about $12 per hour.
10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks.
That's about the same amount of money made by America's richest 10% in one year. But we all paid for the bailout. And because of it, we lost the opportunity for jobs, mortgage relief, and educational funding.
Bonus for the super-rich: A QUADRILLION DOLLARS in securities trading nets ZERO sales tax revenue for the U.S.
The world derivatives market is estimated to be worth over a quadrillion dollars (a thousand trillion). At least $200 trillion of that is in the United States. In 2011 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of over $1 quadrillion on 3.4 billion annual contracts.
A quadrillion dollars. A sales tax of ONE-TENTH OF A PENNY on a quadrillion dollars could pay off the deficit. But the total sales tax was ZERO.
It's not surprising that the very rich would like to fudge the numbers, as they have the nation.
Paul Buchheit
Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (,,, and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at

The Worst of 2012... Just kidding

I'm baaaack!

Happy holidays everyone, and hope you had a very merry Christmas. I sure did, and I'm not yet ready to say goodbye to it. I'm currently writing this post from my brand spanking new Macbook Pro which hubby got me for Christmas. It's the same as my last, just not 4 years old. I'm loving the new Lion and how fast it is compared to my old one. I want to try to cull all the "stuff" on my computer, so I have to sort through 12,000 photos and a gazillion fonts. Sheesh, I may be busy for the next few months!

Anyways, I'm loving the "Best of" posts, so figured why not do one here? I know there are a lot of you who just found my wee space of the internet, so here's what you may have missed in 2012.


My first and only post of January was this makeup organizer that was repurposed from a pasta tray. Does this make me a garbage lady? Please say no.  And check out the first version of my blog logo.... eeeek, cringe!


The month of Saint Valentine was a one-post only kind of month as well, but was really the catalyst for this entire blog and the jet fuel for my etsy shop. It continues to be my most read and most pinned post (I honestly have no way of finding out how many times it's been pinned, but its feature on Dollar Store Mom was pinned over 18,000 times... holy geesh!). Go re-visit my $48 pantry project here.

After two one-post-per-month months, I made a record with the most posts of 2012 in March.

One of my most popular posts (searched via google) is the Moustache Bash baby shower I designed for a friend. Apparantly moustaches were very on trend in 2012!

I also shared our new marble backsplash that we had installed over the winter. It's probably the biggest project we've undertaken in this home (along with our floors), and has certainly made the most impact. Go checkout the blah tan before photos. Blech! It's been a year since we ripped it out and I can say whole heartedly, it's been the best decision we've made in this house so far. Instead of griping about how badly I wish my cabinets were white and not espresso, I can look at my backsplash and be thankful for a little taste of my future dream kitchen.

In March, I also completely re-did our spice cabinet with a very affordable dollar store DIY project. It's still almost as pretty, but I do need to go through and de-clutter than cabinet once more.


In April, I re-did our "dog" cupboard with some, yes, toilet paper covers....

And then, the garbage lady in me came out to play again, and I painted some really nasty nasty outdoor pillow covers.

And I also started my "Look What I Found at the Dollar Store" series... which I really need to continue!


I was in full backyard mode this spring, and decided to do a quick DIY recover of my tired patio cushions using a table cloth.

I also re-capped this renter makeover from 2007. It's an oldie but a goodie. If you are, or anyone you know is, renting and want to "personalize" your boring kitchen, then this is a must read! Just switch up the colour and pattern to your taste.  


June saw a master bedroom transformation for us! Hubby re-did our free CL dresser, and painted the entire room among many other tweaks.

Still on a backyard roll, I spray painted some outdoor chairs for a little bisto area for our patio. I am sad to report said spray paint did not hold up and is cracking all over. I will have to figure out something to do with them when the weather gets better.

And I shared our DIY/Ikea built-ins...


I failed, and failed again, but ended up really liking our red wine rack.

And finally shared my office tour...

Completed my first reader e-design...


In September, the hubby undertook the task of ripping up and replacing our laminate floors. It was quite  the time suck, but I love how it turned out. I still have yet to fully recap the project... oops!

I also re-did our fridge (and re-did it again) for my guest post over at Modern Parents Messy Kids. Ya, it doesn't look like that anymore (except for the bins).

In October, I shared my experience with changing to a plant-based lifestyle. My family still thinks I'm crazy. I also hit 500,000 page views which was pretty awesome.

And a year and a bit later, my chrome table base finally got a top. Previously it was sunbathing on the beaches in Cannes (topless, get it? Ya I'm not that funny).


In November, I started growing some green. You should try it!

And did another makeover with a dollar store item and some paint..


And last but not least, this month I poured myself into card making, and cheap holiday decorating.

That's just a smattering of the 90 posts from 2012 ( I really wish I was able to hit the 100 mark- oh well, there's always 2013!). 

Hope you enjoy the last few days of this year, and have the very best start to the new year!

Happy happy holidays!
xox Jen

Some Thoughts on Christmas.

 My view of Christmas has changed as I've gotten older. When I was a young child, Christmas truly was magical. However, as I've gotten older Christmas has become more and more a burden to cope with. People, instead of becoming happier and more friendly, actually become more agitated and angry as fight their way through mobs to get that last present or ingredient. Very few people wish each other a Merry Christmas anymore and I used to think it was sales staff not wanting to offend some politically correct bastard, but now I realise is because no one really cares and everyone is going through the motions and theirs no spirit in it.

When I used to work in the Emergency Dept Christmas day was always one of our busiest times of the year. Arguments, fights and stabbings amongst family members were quite common. But then again that's what happens when you bring together family members who otherwise go out of their way to avoid each other. The media like to constantly repeat that Christmas is about giving, about being with the family, about helping the poor and unfortunate and all that other shit. To a degree it is all these things and yet it isn't.

Because all that other stuff matters jack shit if you don't remember just why we celebrate it. And for you dumb bastards who want to forget I'm here to remind you that it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If you take this one trivial aspect away from the celebration then the day becomes another orgy of excess or sentimental banality. The Christmas magic come from the reason for the event. So instead of stuffing your face with food you don't need and giving presents to kids who have so much shit that they don't know what to do with it, how about you go to Church and bend your knee to the babe given to us by God and be thankful for His mercy. For the Master honours those who honour him.

And enough of the Seasons Greetings, Festive Tidings and especially Happy Holiday shit. All of which are an attempt to secularise an otherwise religious spirit. Grow a pair of balls and tell those who get offended by hearing Merry Christmas to fuck off. It's a time of peace and goodwill and if they can't get with the program then they can go to hell. I'm sick of the miserable bastards.

To the rest of you, a hearty Merry Christmas to you all.

A Must-Make Christmas Recipe

I wasn't planning on posting until after Christmas, but my mother-in-law made the yummiest dish for our "Christmas Rehearsal Dinner" the other night, and I loved it so very much I just had to share it with you in case you're looking for something to add to your Christmas menu!

My in-laws tried a similar red cabbage dish at a fancy restaurant in London, and mom-in-law decided to give it a go herself this year. It is a traditional German recipe and absolutely packed with flavour!

If you don't like red cabbage, have no fear; this does not taste like cabbage one bit. The apple, vinegar and cloves make this dish taste like pure, unadulterated Christmas. It will leave your taste buds a-tingling. I was weary before taking a bite, but as soon as I tried it, I knew a new Christmas dinner tradition had been born. I'm very much looking forward to having it again for our Christmas meal!

And, did you know that cloves are one of the most anti-oxidant rich foods on the planet? And that red cabbage is probably the most affordable nutrient rich plant food out there? I think that makes this a win-win recipe if you ask me!.

To find the recipe for this deliciousness, check out the original here.

And to my lovely, fantastic readers who put up with my random, sporadic postings, Merry Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope the holidays bring you many happy memories with those you  love.


Ben Grosscup: Social Justice Cries Out for Music

Hey, things are starting to shape up nicely for the People's Music network gathering in Spr9igfield the last weekend in January.  Meanwhile, there's a meeting next Wednesday, 5 pm., at Arise, 467 State St., for local musicians and folks interested in music as a vehicle for social change.  All welcome!

Area musician Ben Grosscup, who is very involved with the People's Music Network, will be performing in the region...catch one of his performances!

Saturday, January 5, 2013, 12:00 p.m - 2:00 p.m
Amherst Winter Farmers Market
Amherst Regional Middle School
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA

Saturday, January 5, 2013, 7:00 p.m
The Nacul Center
592 Main St.
Amherst, MA
Featured Performer at the Pioneer Valley Folklore Society Song & Story Swap
From 7:00pm to 8:00pm, there is a song and story swap on the theme of "ecology", followed by an hour-long featured performance.
(Free will offering.)

Saturday, January 12, 8:00 p.m.
Media Education Foundation
Frances Crowe Community Meeting Room
60 Masonic Street
Northampton, MA
A concert that is part of the Institute for Social Ecology Winter Intensive (Jan 7-14)
(Suggested donation of $5-10, which benefits the Institute for Social Ecology)

Saturday, March 30, 7:00 p.m.
House concert at the home of Dan and Betsy Chodorkoff
491 Ennis Hill Rd
Marshfield, VT

($10 suggested donation)

May 4, 2013, 8:00 p.m (Doors open at 7:30 p.m.)
People's Voice Cafe
Community Church of New York (U-U)
40 East 35th Street
New York, NY 10016
Fellow performers include Elaine Romanelli ( and one other.
($18 contribution -- more if you choose, less if you can't; no one turned away.)

BEN GROSSCUP performs songs of social critique, taking on issues of like student debt, ecological breakdown, and economic injustice. His songs contain a moral clarity about the need for social change and they nurture the longing in each of us to live in a freer society. His powerful voice and thumping guitar are the foundation for lyrics that make no apology for having a position about what's happening around us. Based in Amherst, MA, Ben is an activist involved in organizing for immigrant rights, ecological justice, and resisting military violence. He serves on the Steering Committee of People’s Music Network.

Supreme Court Confirms Citizens Right to Film Police

We need to spread this news far and wide.

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal
28 November 12
he U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review a federal appeals court decision finding it unconstitutional to enforce an Illinois state law that makes it a felony to videotape police officers working in public if a microphone is turned on.
The law had been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, and a divided panel of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed earlier this year that it "restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests" and, "as applied to the facts alleged here, it likely violates the First Amendment's free speech and free-press guarantees," as Judge Diane Sykes explained in the majority opinion (PDF).
On Monday, the nation's top court declined to hear the state's appeal, leaving the 7th Circuit ruling in force, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Meanwhile, a number of citizens throughout the country say they have been charged with a crime (often obstruction) while recording police on the job. A Massachusetts man is facing a wiretapping case after allegedly posting a video on YouTube that shows him instructing a female passenger how to use an electronic device to record a traffic stop by Shrewsbury police.
Irving Espinosa-Rodrigue, 26, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in January, reports theShrewsbury Daily Voice.
Among other accounts of such incidents recently posted on the Photography Is Not a Crime site, Daniel J. Saulmon tells PINAC that he spent several days in jail earlier this month after being arrested in Hawthorne, Calif., while filming police on a public street. He faced an obstruction case, but says the charges against him have been dropped.
A spokesman for the police department wasn't immediately available to respond to a Monday afternoon request for comment from the ABA Journal.
For those who want to know more about the legal issues involved in such cases, the American Bar Association Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division is hosting a Dec. 4 teleconference called Videotaping Police, Wiretapping Laws and the First Amendment. A press release gives the details.

Photo from Chelzdd's photostream at Flickr.

The Slutification of Taylor Swift.

I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Regular readers might remember a post of mine I put up on Taylor Swift. Well, Taylor seems to have changed her image quite a bit.

Gone is the nice wholesome girl next door image that she cultivated before. She appears to want to appeal to the carousel riding crowd. I imagine that she will draw many of her fans along for the ride.

Christian men please note. Sweet Taylor is singing a song about a douchebag. Its a song about about alpha love. More precisely it's about 5 mins of alpha love.

Taylor Swifts transformation is a good example of how a man should not conflate beauty with goodness. Frequently, when it comes to women, beauty is conferred on those who are otherwise moral idiots. A good woman is not just pretty but has good character. Now go and read this post by Roosh V.

For Christian men, the pickings are mighty slim.

FREEBIES | Printable Merry Chocolate Labels

chocolate christmas label printables

This is going to be a very quick post because I'm turning my tech-self (mostly) off for the holidays, but I did want to share this super easy DIY and printable! (Please forgive the iPhone/insta pics!)

When a Christmas card just isn't enough....

And when a gift is just too much, or too awkward....

... there are two options I like. For the hubby to give, scratch and wins. Who doesn't like those? Hubby put those in some cards for his co-workers this year.

And, my personal fave, chocolate. I found these smaller versions of Lindt dark chocolate bars, wrapped them in some holiday paper, and printed easy labels. It's just a nice little treat that can either substitute or supplement a Christmas cards for co-workers, classmates or acquaintances

The printable template should work for both the metallic (72451) and kraft (72432) versions of Martha Stewart Avery labels at Staples. You could also just print on cardstock and cut to size!

Download "Merry Chocolate" labels here!

Enjoy, and as always, please facebook/ instagram/tweet me pics if you use them! I love to see what people have done with the printables :)

A Universe of Data is Not Enough

Colin Picker

Humans have always recorded information (or data). From early cave drawings to Edison’s phonograph cylinders to the photos and music on I-phones, data recordation and storage seems to be a human attribute. But today we live in furious period of data storage. That data today includes pictures, video, music, documents and records of almost every type of human activity and thought (though, a very large percentage is, as has always been the case, pornographic – there are even pornographic cave paintings).

Today that information is increasingly stored at the electronic level. In the future we can expect almost all data to be stored electronically, and even sub-atomically (utilising the smallest constituent parts of the universe). While occasionally we record over past recordings, we more and more produce data that will be archived, eventually producing archives that will be able to last forever—or at least until the end of the universe (assuming there will be such an end, more on that below). As our technological needs increase, more and more data is needed, more and more is therefore going to be stored. But, is there an upper limit to the amount of data that can be stored? I don’t mean the limit on a hard drive, or a very large data storage array. I wonder whether there is a theoretical limit imposed by the very nature of the universe.

I first started to think about such an upper limit when considering the non-existence of infinity (more on that later, though admittedly an unusual thought experiment for a law academic). In any event, my ruminations took me to a place and time where we, humanity, had already moved to store our data at the quantum level, utilising the smallest sub-atomic components to represent the zeros and ones of data (assuming the correctness of quantum limitations). One quark, or whatever will at that time be the smallest unit, would represent one piece of data; another quark, or its specific absence (a non-quark), would represent another piece of data. But, if the universe is finite in size and composition, then there are a finite number of quarks available for use from the existing matter of the universe—including that used in the memory portion of our brains and that which can be converted from the various forms of energy in the universe. There is therefore a finite amount of data that can be stored on that finite number of quarks. True, utilization of that large capacity is a long way off, but it is, critically, a finite long way off. Furthermore, once imagined, it then exists—and that limitation has some very significant metaphysical consequences.

One consequence ties in with my original concern about infinity. One way to consider numbers is that they only exist if they can be represented (in our memory, on paper, as data, as cave drawings, etc). But if there is a data limit on the total representations of numbers, then there is a limit on those numbers. In other words, there is a finite number of numbers that can be expressed, and hence that can exist, a number limited by the data storage capacity of the universe. True, it is a large number, but it is a finitely large number. In other words: not infinite.

But back to the data storage issue. Perhaps the most important consequence is that eventually, when we do hit that data storage capacity, all new knowledge has to displace some of the previously recorded knowledge. Thus, while the composition of that knowledge may change, it can never exceed the total finite storage space. Once replaced, the data will then be lost forever (assuming no duplication, which we should assume, for until we have eliminated all excess duplications there really is no storage problem). While much that will be lost at first will be inane, eventually all the inane and frivolous pieces of data and knowledge will have been deleted to make way for more serious and important information. What happens then? We will need to be careful about the creation of new data (including new memories), for it will then require us to make hard choices about what other data must be erased to make room for the new data.

So, every time you download an “app”, create a new document, take a photo on your camera and then download them to your hard drive or into some data cloud or other, you are hastening the day when we run out of data, and hence limit our collective collection of new knowledge. Maybe, like fossil fuel conservation, we need to start thinking about data conservation – not for us, but for our children. A good start would be to delete this comment from your computer and then to forget all about it.

Morality and Economics.

Great article over at The Right Stuff by Matt Forney.  Too bad that mainstream economics, of both Left and Right persuasions, is quiet on the subject of personal morality and its link to economic prosperity. In Economics, as in personal salvation,  "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Economics is a subset of the cultural milleu. Bad culture, bad economics. It's as simple as that. 

The Best Snow Day | House & Home

It seemed like everyone outside of a five kilometre radius of me yesterday had snow. My mom didn't even believe me when I told her I hadn't seen a single white flake on the ground. She kept asking me if perhaps the snow plough had come through early, but what she didn't quite get was that there was no. snow. at. all. It was like our little neighbourhood was under an oversized snowbrella...

Well, all of my grumbling yesterday paid off, as I woke to a beautiful, fluffy, white landscape this morning. Only problem is, tonight is my family "Christmas" an hour plus drive away (in good weather) and then tomorrow we leave for his family Christmas which, in this weather, is probably a 12  plus hour drive away. Wish us luck and safe road conditions!

What is even more exciting than waking up to a marshmallow world? Why, waking to an online feature on House & Home! One of my go to glossies for home decor inspiration has some incredible web content and an admirable social media presence, and I was lucky enough to have my $5 glitzy garland and holiday decor featured on their website today! Just seeing my name and "House & Home" on the same page is one of the best Christmas gifts I've received thus far. Thank you the powers that be at H & H!

Check out the photo gallery (and other great holiday decorating) right here!

And check back later for Round 2 of free printable holiday labels!

Happy snow day!

FREEBIES | Printable Holiday Tags

It's the time of season where Christmas cards are posted, presents are mostly wrapped, and you only have one difficult person left to shop for. It's also the time where you probably realize you need something to label your Christmas presents with. Please, I beg of you, don't go buy the cheesy tags from the dollar store. Unless they're for close, non-judgemental family members. However, for friends, and co-workers, those tags just will not do.

I was in need of some tags the other night, so I whipped these up. In case you're in a bind too, try giving these a whirl. I've designed them in a "shopping tag" shape, however you can also cut off the top to make it a square if you fancy (I did both versions and they turned out lovely). Hole punch at the top and thread a ribbon through, and ta-da! And for beginner printers wondering what to print on, I recommend a heavier card stock (at least 80 lbs) to get a nice, professional feel.

Happy Holidays! And I would love to see your gift wrapping so please tweet/instagram at me @thepapersociety or post on my Facebook page. You just might win a prize! :)