Is Obama Keeping His Promises?

Shortly after President Obama was elected I thought it would be cool to try to track his progress at keeping his campaign promises for The Magical Buffet website. However, then I thought about the time and research that would require and went, never mind. But then I received a copy of “President Obama’s 500 Promises” from U.S. Games Systems.

This box is really neat. It contains 510 cards that compile promises Obama made in interviews, debates, speeches, and on his website while campaigning to become President. It gives the promise, such as Promise 37 “Extend tax cuts for lower incomes” and then provides a bit of explanation. In this case, “Extend the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 (couples) or $200,000 (single).”

What’s the big whoop about that, you may be asking. Well, if I’m curious as to what is going on with this promise I can just go to www.PolitiFact.com, type Promise 37 into their search engine, and bam! I can find out what’s going on with it. In this case, the Promise is “In the Works”. The website tells me where the Promise came from originally and provides updates as to what is going on with the Promise to justify its “In the Works” rating. How freakin’ easy and sweet is that?

Also, the information isn’t from some hack at a computer, like yours truly, it’s from PolitiFact, who just won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the 2008 election. A Pulitzer bitches! (I apologize. I just really wanted to say “Pulitzer bitches!”, like I had a Pulitzer of my own.) And it’s because this great group won a Pulitzer that I will forgive them for having the horribly named, “Truth-O-Meter”, “Flip-O-Meter”, and, wait for it, “Obameter” sections on their site. Great sources of information, well presented, and easily read….but silly names.

So, back to this box of awesome I received called “President Obama’s 500 Promises”. What can one do with a box like this? I think any group of politically minded friends would have fun with this. Each person draws a card. Read the Promise to the group. Everyone vote as to whether Obama has kept the promise, broke the promise, compromised, is it stalled, in the works, or has no action been taken. Then go to the website and see who is right. (Perhaps whoever is wrong has to drink. I haven’t quite fine tuned this into a proper drinking game yet. You might just have to play for the entertainment and educational value alone.)

Or perhaps if, let’s say you had an eclectic blog and wanted to occasionally mention to readers various promises that the President has made and let everyone know what is going on with them, you could probably use it for that too.

Promise 122: Expand the Family Medical Leave Act to include leave for domestic violence or sexual assault.

And how is that coming Mr. President?

No action? Get on that.

The Harpy

By Rebecca
Illustration by Will Hobbs

Generally when we say harpy, we’re referring to, as Random House Dictionary states, “a scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman; shrew, or a greedy, predatory person.” Perhaps it’s that innate fear or repulsion that leads to so much trouble when trying to learn about the mythological creature the harpy.

Let’s start with appearance, one source tells me that harpies started out as beautiful goddesses but over time were morphed into nasty creatures, and then others say they started out down right hideous, but have been toned down to the creatures we generally think of when considering the harpy. Therefore, what are we looking at here? Obviously it varies based on artistic interpretation, but at the most basic it’s a woman who from the torso down is bird and has wings large enough to carry her in flight. Sometimes the face is less human in appearance, with bulging eyes and tusks, other times the face is the only human component and the body is entirely bird. (For the record, for me the harpy will always look like the harpy from the movie “The Last Unicorn”.)

Everyone seems to agree that in Greek mythology the harpies were the daughters of Thaumas and Electra. Of course, how many were there? A few sources say two to three: Aello and Octpete, with Celaeno as a later addition. One source goes so far as to say three to four: Aello, Octpete, Celaeno, and a possible extra to make four! No matter the number, harpies make appearances throughout Greek myth, generally harassing, stealing, or killing anything they feel like.

In the Middle Ages an image of a harpy was used on coats-of-arms. It was referred to as the “virgin eagle”. I have many exciting theories on why the harpy was a virgin, all of them would be inappropriate for me to say, and many of which you can guess for yourself.

In an interesting, and more all age appropriate side note, the largest raptor found in North and South America is the Harpy Eagle. Yup, named after the mythological creature. It’s certainly cuter than any version of the mythological harpy I can imagine. On the other hand, it still totally gives me the creeps.







The Magician’s God

By Bob Makransky
(This essay originally appeared in the March 2009 Magical Almanac Ezine. Used here with the author’s permission.)

The magician’s conception of God is very different from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic conception. This is not to say that one is right and the other is wrong. On the contrary, a tenet of magic is that what is going on out there in the universe is not anything the human mind can possibly conceive of. Therefore all conceptions (beliefs) are wrong. Indeed, a human conception of God, no matter what it is, has definitely got to be puny in comparison with whatever God really is.

However it is instructive to compare the two conceptions of God since the two versions have different implications for how we should behave in our everyday lives. Emulating God, becoming more Godlike, is the meat and bone of any spiritual practice. How we conceive of God will determine what our spiritual ideal is, and what we are trying to accomplish in our spiritual lives.

To avoid confusion, we’ll refer to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic supreme deity as “God”, and to the magicians’ supreme deity as “the Spirit”.

Most people believe that God cares about them personally. Conventional religions inculcate fear of death, and then teach people to cover over that fear of death with the promise of heaven. People believe that if they do X and Y and Z, then God will be pleased with them and they will go to heaven when they die.

The magician’s path is very different. Magicians know that death is not only inevitable, but is nothing to fear. Death is right there in the background all the time. Magicians learn to feel that they are in the presence of death every minute. There is no salvation. Anything that comes through for them they are going to have to make happen themselves, since the Spirit doesn’t care a rat’s butt about them one way or the other. Use your head: if God cared about you, would He have condemned you to death? Believing that you’re special to God is the acme of self-pity.

Both God and the Spirit are all-powerful and created the universe intentionally. That is to say, creation was no accident, as the materialists would have it. (Even materialistic science has its God concepts. In mathematics it’s called The Axiom of Choice; in biology, Natural Selection; in classical physics, The Second Law of Thermodynamics; in quantum physics, Probability. Any intellectual system which purports to describe the workings of the universe must needs have a decision-making mechanism – a representation of intent.) However the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God is monotheistic: God stands outside of His creation. The Spirit, on the other hand, is pantheistic: the Spirit is everything and everything is the Spirit.

God cares about His creation: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son … .” The Spirit, on the other hand, is utterly detached and indifferent, so that there is no point in worshipping it or praying to it: “The Spirit was so indifferent to the world that it left all sentient beings to figure things out for themselves.”

Since spiritual practice entails emulating the supreme deity, evidently caring is a fundamental part of Judeo-Christian-Islamic practice, whereas being detached and indifferent is essential to magic. Most people need the sense of security (from the magicians’ viewpoint, false sense of security) of believing that God is concerned about them personally. They need to feel that they fit in and belong somewhere. They must believe that they’re not all alone, at the mercy of ineffable, incomprehensible, and wholly impersonal forces of the universe. However, magicians need no such assurance. Indeed, they find such a belief useless baggage which weighs them down.

We all lie to ourselves constantly. For example, we believe that our luck is going to change really soon; or that this person we’re in love with is the most marvelous person on earth; and so on. Really, lying to ourselves is about the only way we can keep on keeping on much of the time. The difference between magicians and most people is that magicians know that they are lying to themselves. An example of a magician’s lie is “you create your own reality.” This is something magicians have to believe, even though they know it’s a lie. (It’s a lie because it’s an intellectual construct, and all intellectual constructs (beliefs) are lies. What’s really going on out there in the universe is completely random, as the Buddhists and quantum physicists assure us. We don’t create our own realities. The usefulness of this particular lie consists in providing a point of reference around which intent can be rallied. Therefore it is a more functional lie for a magician than the belief in going to heaven. The belief in heaven tends to inflate self-pity – glory thought forms such as complacency, self-satisfaction and arrogance – and thereby dissipates intent. To magicians only intent matters, not belief systems or being “right.”) Magicians choose their lies with care. Thus their conception of what the Spirit is, is another carefully crafted lie.

Although the Spirit is too vast to have what might be termed a personality, nonetheless it is correct to say that the Spirit is a trickster. The Spirit is a trickster because the magician’s reality is a reality of trickery, and you create your own reality and your own deity with it.

Magicians have to trick themselves to stay on the magician’s path, else who in blazes would follow it? Magic is a path of utmost responsibility, self-discipline and self-denial. Magic requires being utterly alone and facing up to the truth. No one wants to face the truth; not even magicians.

The Spirit is a trickster because although it will bring us what we want, what we’ve been praying for all along, it usually does this in such a guise that we don’t recognize it for what it is, and we therefore reject it. As an example, more than once I’ve seen the Spirit bring a person a true soul mate when they were on the rebound from a break-up, and still too filled with self-pity to see that this person they met accidentally was the one they were praying for all along.

How many times have I seen the Spirit bring someone their true heart’s desire on a silver platter, yet the person rejected it because they still had too much self-hatred to permit themselves to feel happiness. What keeps us from seeing and grasping the Spirit’s gifts is our own self-pity, which blinds us to everything except how much we’re suffering.

My spirit guides used trickery as their main teaching tool. Now that I’m more or less on my own, I have to trick myself. For many years I fantasized that one day a woman would come into my life and love me and make me happy (this rather asinine fantasy is common among men. I call it the “Claudia” complex after the character in Fellini’s 8 ½). My spirit guides really seized on that one. Every time a likely woman came across my horizon they played it to the hilt: “Oh yes! She’s the one you’ve been waiting for, definitely! Very soon now all your dreams will come true and you’ll find true love!” They encouraged me to make an ass of myself and follow every mirage until it too turned to dust. And in my stupidity and desperation I fell for that ploy every time, even long after I understand intellectually what they were doing and why. They were trying to burn that expectation out of me via exhaustion. They always told me that spiritual growth is mostly a matter of exhaustion, of giving up one’s own will. They were right, but I’m so stubborn and obsessive that it took me a long, long time to burn out. Now that their tricks don’t work on me anymore, I have to trick myself. This is what the technique of Creative Visualization is all about.

The point is that the magician’s deity is a trickster because the magician’s path is a path of trickery. There is no ultimate truth in this. The Christian and Hindu Gods are Gods of love because these paths are devotional paths. Magic, by contrast, is a very rational path – detached and coldly objective. There’s love in it, of course, and joy. Lots of joy, actually. In fact, the joy – the incredible joy – is the only excuse for following the magician’s path, because otherwise it’s a complete pain in the butt. But the principle mainspring to action is intent. What drives magicians forward is the quest for power and freedom.

Although the Spirit is wholly impersonal and indifferent, it nonetheless can be put to use. From the magical point of view, the Spirit is our servant. Every time we desire something, no matter how trivial, we emit an order, a desire line. Desire lines are actual fibers of light which pop out of our navels. They can be considered commands to the Spirit, who immediately starts racing around trying to fulfill our order.

The reason why most people can’t bring their desires to realization is because they have their desire lines tangled up. They don’t really want things to spring into existence the moment they think of them, as happens in dreams. Most people are afraid of taking responsibility for that much power. They would prefer to pretend that they don’t have that much potential control over their own lives and destinies. They prefer to cringe helplessly and wallow in self-pity rather than take on the awesome responsibility of total control over themselves: control over their moment-to-moment thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Most people prefer to believe in fantasies, like that someday God is going to bring them exactly what they desire, with no effort on their part. This is why they need to believe in a God who is outside of themselves, disconnected from them, rather than that they are the Spirit, and whatever situation they find themselves in is their own creation. To change it they’re going to have to change themselves by changing their way of looking at the situation they are in. Average people don’t want to have to do this.

The Judeo-Christian-Islamic God pities us and thus mirrors our own self-pity. The Spirit, on the other hand, is pitiless and can only be commanded by erasing self-pity. Power comes from taking responsibility for our decisions. In particular, this means taking responsibility for the situation in which we find ourselves in the present moment – dealing with the reality of it instead of wishing it would go away.

Taking responsibility means not blaming other people or the Spirit for our own unhappiness, nor trying to slough off our unhappiness on other people around us. Rather, it means understanding that we have deliberately, if unconsciously, chosen the circumstances of our lives, and only we can change them. When we truly understand this in our hearts, when we resign ourselves to this truth and begin to act on it, then we become one with the Spirit.

* Even materialistic science has its God concepts. In mathematics it’s called The Axiom of Choice; in biology, Natural Selection; in classical physics, The Second Law of Thermodynamics; in quantum physics, Probability. Any intellectual system which purports to describe the workings of the universe must needs have a decision-making mechanism – a representation of intent.

About the author:
Bob Makransky is a systems analyst, computer programmer and professional astrologer. He lives on a farm in highland Guatemala where he is a Mayan priest and is head of the local blueberry growers’ association. Check out his free downloadable Mayan Horoscope software, free downloadable Planetary Hours calculator, free downloadable Primary Directions / celestial sphere mathematics textbook, complete instructions on how to channel by automatic writing and how to run past life regressions, articles, books, stories, cartoons, etc. etc. at www.dearbrutus.com

A New Science of the Paranormal

It’s time for all my paranormal peeps to step up their game, and Lawrence LeShan is just the man to school you.

I recently finished reading LeShan’s new book “A New Science of the Paranormal” and I have to tell you, I was blown away. Why wouldn’t I be? He has twenty or so books published and he has been in the psi studying game since before I was born! This guy has probably forgotten more about psychic phenomena than I, or you for that matter, will ever know. Now LeShan is here to tell us all how to grow up and start studying it like the big boys, and let me tell you, it’s simple and hard, all at the same time.

LeShan calls for an entire reevaluation as to how we look at science, and from this new perspective shows you how to apply it to studying psychic phenomena as a science. Let’s be clear here, LeShan isn’t telling us to forget about science, he asks you to really think about how science and scientific discovery work. Amongst many persuasive arguments, one suggestion is using the example of how physicists and mathematicians have accepted the idea that you have to change the system of reality you are using if you wish to solve certain problems as an approach to take in psychical research.

“A New Science of the Paranormal” is a fascinating read. LeShan uses passion and logic, and by the end of the book you find yourself asking, how can I help make this happen?

A Letter: The End of an Era?

As you may recall, back in July of 2008 I sent a letter to a bunch of politicians, including a then Senator Barack Obama, about the situation in Zimbabwe. After receiving no response from any of them, I sent a new letter to President Barack Obama in January 2009, I also included the original letter. For those of you who missed some of this, visit here and here if you want to get caught up. Also, in January 2009 I sent a letter to Hillary Clinton in the State Department about Zimbabwe. I didn’t publish the letter on the website because I didn’t want to bore you all to tears with my Zimbabwe letter drama.

However, I did promise that I would share with you any responses I receive. Well, at the beginning of April I received what you might call a “reply”. I was sent a post card from F. Michael Kelleher, Director of Presidential Correspondence. It reads as follows:

Dear Friend:

Thank you for taking the time to share your views.

Americans across the country are eager for information about the state of the economy, national security, and a host of other issues. President Obama is committed to making his Administration the most open and transparent in history, and the Internet will play a major role in delivering on that promise.

We hope you will join us at WhiteHouse.gov to learn more about President Obama’s views on a range of topics, as well as his efforts to provide a window for all Americans into their government. Your voice is shaping our country’s future, and we encourage you to join us online, share your thoughts, and build a community of connected citizens that will help address the pressing issues of our time.

So while some Americans are getting personal responses (Really! Here’s the link!), I got perhaps the lamest form letter imaginable. I bet this kind of thing never happens to Perez Hilton! Of course, I doubt Perez Hilton knows anything about the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. Perhaps that’s not the best example.

I didn’t expect a personal response, but I had hoped for something a little better than my post card. I took the time to put pen to paper because that’s how strongly I feel about this issue. I just thought that in a time where most people express their outrages in 140 characters or less on Twitter, that a well thought out letter would merit a little more respect.

What’s next for me? I don’t know. More importantly, what now for the people in Zimbabwe? If only there was some way to contact an elected official to express my concerns, oh wait……

Where I’ll Be May 2nd

The 5th Annual Spiritual Arts Fair in Oneonta, NY! Why?

Yoga, Labyrinth Walk, Paranormal Investigation with the Shadow Chasers, Zen Meditation, Flower Essences, Tai Chi, and much more, including vendors! One of those vendors is going to be none other than Deborah Blake, author of the just reviewed book “The Goddess is in the Details”!

It’s only $3 at the door and all the activities are free! It should be noted that things like tarot readings, etc. may have their own additional fees.

Join me Saturday May 2, 2009 from 10:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. at the Unitarian Universalist Society (12 & 16 Ford Avenue Oneonta, NY).

For those of you who can’t make it, I’ll be writing up a little ditty about attending and about finally getting to meet Deborah Blake in person!

Also, someplace I won’t be able to be.

4th Annual Earth Day Celebration in Rye, New Hampshire.
Date: April 22, 2009
Time: 10 am to closing
Location: Rte 1A in Rye, NH

Friend of The Magical Buffet, Rev. Ericka Shimkonis C.H., HPs let me know about this event. Here’s some info:

Come join us for the day to experience healing Ocean Medicine with Rev. Ericka Shimkonis C.H., HPs. (Lilly Pond Wolf), & the Moon Sirens of the Ocean Star. Ericka, a certified Herbalist will guide a medicine walk & discuss all the plants, herbs, animals & stones, & their importance to our habitat.

We’ll do a little beach cleansing & drumming. A healing ritual for Mother Earth, & picnic to follow, with crafts for the kids. We’ll be in the waning phase of the April Seed/Egg/Grass/Wind/Hare/Flower &/or Planting Moon before Bealtaine/May Day – Sihnals a time for fertility, growth & wisdom. Sow seeds of Earth Magick.

Please dress warm & wear comfortable shoes; bring your drum or any magickal instrument, a picnic lunch, or a Pot-Luck to share; Poetry or Song. There’s a Sea Coast Science Center, Bathrooms; a Playground for children; & trails for biking along the ocean. We’ll meet in the Parking Lot. Ritual will be at the Sunken Old Forest (same place as last year.) Lunch at the picnic tables on the grass by the Apple & Fir tree.

Admission: Odiornes Point State Park is $3.99 – children under 12 years – FREE. There’s a $1.00 fee for admission into the Sea Coast Science Center – A Tidal Pool where kids can pick up & explore ocean life.

For more details, click here.

Tree Medicine, Magic and Lore: Ash

by Ellen Evert Hopman
illustrated by Will Hobbs

In ancient Europe Ash trees were used to make spear shafts, household crafts, and bows. The proto Indo-European word for Ash gave us the words for spear, lance and javelin in several European languages.

Ash was an important fodder tree for Neolithic farmers. The tender tips and leaves of the European Ash were used as a tea for gout, jaundice, and rheumatism. In winter the branch bark or the bark of the root was employed. Spring gathered leaves were dried for later use as a gentle laxative (the American White Ash is used similarly).

In Greek tradition it was said that Zeus created humans from Ash trees. Yggdrasil was the Cosmic Ash upon which Odin hung for nine days until He discovered the runes. It was also the horse of Odin, who like the mare of Muhammad, bore him to the skies for a glimpse of heaven. On-Niona was the Gaulish Goddess of the Ash groves. The Irish word for Ash, Nion, was also the word for heaven, Nionon. The Icelandic word Aske meant “blaze of great fire”, Ash being one of the best fire woods (especially when burned green!) as well as leading to the fires of enlightenment. Considered a Solar tree, its wood is used for the Yule Log. Druids carved charms from its wood. Ashen divining rods were cut on Summer Solstice. A Druidic Ash wand decorated with spirals was found on Anglesey.

Eating red Ash buds at Midsummer brings protection from sorcery. Witch’s brooms, used for flying, are traditionally made of an Ash pole with Birch twigs and Willow bindings. Ash “draws the flash” and so is used in rain magic.

In Scotland it was believed that carrying the keys, or seeds, brought protection from evil sorcery. Ash sticks were preferred for herding cattle for they were sure not to injure an animal. Snakes were said to avoid Ash trees and their fallen leaves, an adder could be killed by a single blow from an Ashen stick. A circlet of Ash twigs was worn around the neck to heal snake bite. Ash sticks were carried in snake infested woods and according to Pliny, drawing a circle with an Ash wand around a snake would cause it to die.

Ash trees were used in weather forecasting. If the Oak leafed first dry weather would follow. If the Ash leafed first wet weather was forecast. In Lincolnshire, England, it was said that the female Ash, the Sheder, could be used to overpower a male Witch and the male Ash, the Heder, could be used to overpower a female Witch.

In Leicestershire a child with warts was carried to an Ash tree in April or May. A pin would be stuck into the tree then into the child’s wart until pain was felt and then into the tree again and left in the bark. The rhyme “Ashen tree, ashen tree. Pray buy this wart of me ” was recited. In the Highlands of Scotland at the birth of a child a branch of Ash was placed in the fire. The sap which was forced out at the ends was collected in a spoon and fed to the infant.

Children with hernias, weakness, or rickets were passed through a cleft in an Ash sapling, before sunrise, while fasting. The slit in the tree was then bound and as the tree healed, so did the child. If the tree was later cut down the child would be re-injured and so woodcutter’s often found these trees full of nails. In Herefordshire a lock of a child’s hair was pinned to an Ash to cure a bad cough.

about the author:

Ellen Evert Hopman is a Druid Priestess, herbalist and author of “Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey”, “A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine”, “Walking the World in Wonder – A Children’s Herbal” and other volumes. Visit her website for more!


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Carmichael, Alexander, Carmina Gadelica, Hymns and Incantations; Floris Books, Edinburgh 1992

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Grieve, M., A Modern Herbal, Dover Publications Inc., New York, NY 1971

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Hopman, Ellen Evert, A Druids Herbal For The Sacred Earth Year; Inner Traditions/Destiny Books, Rochester, VT 1995

Hopman, Ellen Evert, Tree Medicine, Tree Magic; Phoenix Publishers, Custer, WA 1991

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Kondratiev, Alexei, The Apple Branch; The Collins Press, Cork, 1998

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Markale, Jean, The Druids; Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT, 1999

Matthews, Caitlin & John, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom; Element Books, Rockport, MA 1994

Matthews, John, The Druid Sourcebook; Blanford Press, London, 1996

McNeill, F. Marian, The Silver Bough, Vol. One; William Maclellan, Glasgow, 1977

Meyer, Kuno, Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry; Constable, London, 1959

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O’Boyle, Sean, Ogam, the Poet’s Secret; Gilbert Dalton, Dublin, 1980

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Saintine, X.B., The Myths Of The Rhine; Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, VT 1967 (Reprint of the 1875 edition)

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Yeah, What He Said

BBC America cancelled their world news broadcast week day mornings and so this past week I’ve been left floundering around trying to figure out what morning news broadcast to watch to fill the void. So far I’ve tried “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and CNN’s “American Morning”. All I can say for these is that I REALLY miss my BBC World News. Anyway, after a week of trying these shows I have to say, I really agree with this guy.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Baracknophobia – Obey
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis Political Humor

I’m not saying that “Morning Joe” and “American Morning” are Fox News, but I hear these undertones in news stories all over. I’m looking for news to watch from 6:30am-8am Eastern (from 6-6:30 a watch I cycle of CNN’s Headline News Morning Express with Robin). Please, list any suggestions below.

Passover Fun!

It’s that Passover time of year again. Like most very bad Jews, I tend to celebrate with Cosmopolitans and questionably kosher cuisine. The important thing is that I gather with friends and family to share the story of the Jewish people. (Even more important is having fun.) For those of you who missed the animated film “The Prince of Egypt”, or find the phrase, we tell the story of Exodus confusing, let me drop a little knowledge on you.

And by knowledge I mean, quoting what the anonymous folks over at Wikipedia have to say. “Passover is a Jewish holy day and festival commemorating God sparing the Israelites when he killed the first born of Egypt, and is followed by the seven day Feast of the Unleavened Bread commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.

In the story of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of firstborn sons. However, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb, and upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term ‘Passover’.”

Not a holiday you would necessarily associate with fun, but my motley crew of quasi-Jews generally manages to pull it off. It’s rare to find quality Passover humor, but thanks to one of my favorite webcomics, “Least I Could Do” I have a little something to share.


© Blind Ferret Entertainment — Read More Least I Could Do At LICD.COM

By the way, for those of you who really had no clue what I meant when I referenced the movie “The Prince of Egypt”, check out the trailer below. Every year I suggest we just rent the movie and order a pizza, and every year I’m vetoed.

10 Questions with Cindy Chaney

1. First, how do you define nerd and how is a nerd different from a geek?

That was the big question at Orc Con! I am always surprised when I tell someone about the site and they complain that they are a geek rather than a nerd. Let’s settle the debate once and for all, I think the average person uses the terms interchangeably and only nerds and geeks worry about the nuances between the two. (That’s right, I just called you a nerd. Or a geek.) In media, the term ‘nerd’ seems to be attached to people who are very academic and education-focused, while ‘geek’ is attached to those who are into technology and gadgets.

In my opinion, both groups tend to be interested in things that the mainstream population thinks is un-cool. For example, both geeks and nerds play D&D. However, nerds will take that to the extreme by memorizing the rule book. Geeks may love Zelda, but nerds will get a tattoo of Link on her foot (check out nerdgirl zelda’s profile for proof).

I know you guys are Big Bang Theory fans, so let’s use Sheldon as an example. Sheldon is definitely a nerd, whereas Leonard is a geek. Leonard has the same interests as Sheldon but he does not take them to the same extreme. Plus, he cares about other things like women and being social, and Sheldon has no use for either. I think people often feel nerds have poor social skills. This may be true, but not because they can’t be social. They are just too busy saving the universe to make time for it.

2. Tell my readers about your website My Nerd Girl.

Mynerdgirl.com is a social networking site for nerds. We also have featured nerd girls that we do photo shoots with in hopes to break down the stereotypes a bit and say “Smart is Sexy”. We think nerds can be social and wanted to create a place where they can meet people with similar interest. And membership is free!

As a user you can create your own profile, add friends, watch videos, blog, view and comment on pictures, chat in the forum, view upcoming events, read articles, and send questions to Dr. Ando our sexologist. We’re working night and day in the lab on some new features due out soon.

3. What made you decide to start a website?

Like most great ideas throughout human evolution, it came to about on a trip to Vegas.

4. What has been the hardest part of starting your own website?

I have my MBA, I used to analyze small businesses for a living, and I teach college-level business courses. None of it prepared me for starting my own website.

The hardest part for me was dealing with web companies. The first one did not deliver what they promised, the second flaked out, and the third went bankrupt. Now one of the Nerdgirls has finally signed on to help me fix some of the bugs left by company number three and do some upgrades. Looking back, if I would have learned all the code myself, the site would have launched a year earlier.

5. What advice would you give to other people considering starting their own social networking website?

Don’t give anyone any money up front.

Also, the internet does not have a 9-5 work day.

6. Do you feel there are stereotypes or misconceptions about women who are fans of more traditionally “guy geek” stuff, such as comics, roleplaying and computer games?

Yes, I think that there are many, and that’s why I wanted to start MyNerdGirl. Most of all, I think that people assume that nerdy girls are unattractive, and that is why I do the photo shoots. Nerdy girls are the most attractive women on the planet because they are the whole package. I try to bring out each woman’s individual personality in the photos because that is what makes us beautiful. We also don’t photoshop the pictures because I want young girls that come to our site to see that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, or Dr. Horrible?

I think my favorite is Firefly, but we have fans of all three on the site.

8. We’re doing this interview before the much nerd anticipated movie “Watchmen” releases, but we will be publishing the interview after the film’s release. Care to make any predictions?

I predict it will give me a Nerdgasm, which will be just as hot as it sounds.

9. I only have 8 friends on My Nerd Girl, can you help me amass friends there?

People who blog tend to pick up more friends, as do people who go in the forum. However, the best way to find friends is to scroll through the new users tab and just ask people. We are working on adding a search tool soon, that will allow you to filter users based on their interests.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

What do you like about MyNerdgirl.com?

I liked the idea of place to get to meet other women with interests similar to my own. Outside of the internet it’s hard to find other women who want to swap recipes, AND talk comic books, on MyNerdgirl.com those are the only women I find.

About Cindy Chaney:
Cindy Chaney is a self-proclaimed nerd and creator of MyNerdGirl.com (an interactive and informative social network for nerds). Cindy’s goal is to provide a positive environment for nerds to celebrate what makes them unique. She believes that smart is sexy! Cindy wears many hats in the quest for global dominance including writer, editor, producer, event coordinator…well, you get the idea.

When Cindy isn’t busy talking to fellow nerds on MyNerdGirl.com she is playing games (video games, board games, RPG’s, and the occasional LARP) or reading (books, comics, and manga). Cindy is also a talented scrapbooker and has a gray belt in martial arts.

As with all Nerds, she has a long list of academic achievements including a Master in Business Administration from Cameron University and Bachelors in Organizational Leadership and Communications from Chapman University. Cindy is also an instructor at Westwood College where she is currently Teacher of the Year.