Perfect Imperfect Spirituality

Have you ever read a book about spirituality and felt like, this is great, in fact it’s wonderful, but how does it work for me? I hate to admit it, but it’s true. I read a lot of spirituality books and I feel like often the authors don’t take into account that the readers have lives; 40 hour a week jobs, children with ballet lessons and soccer practice, birthday parties and barbeques to attend. Maybe we can’t incorporate everything, which often times the authors make you feel like you have to do just that.

Enter “Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People” by Polly Campbell. Here the book opens with a spiritual allegory that I think most of us can relate to, disciplining a child who has misbehaved. In this case a little girl who has managed to climb most of Mt. Bookcase before Mom noticed. When an angry Campbell goes to talk to an upset little girl who opted for forcible removal, before she can start the little girl wants to know if Mom still loves her even when she has bad behavior. Campbell responds that there is nothing the little girl could do to make her not love her. Campbell wonders why she cannot extend the same compassion and kindness to herself. Why instead of forgiveness does she mentally pummel herself for her errors?

Campbell describes learning more about spirituality, applying it, and accommodating it for her lifestyle, all the while dodging raisins flying out of her kid’s nose, doing sing-song rhymes, and dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The traditional spirituality discussed may not be groundbreaking for the more experienced, but Campbell’s unique perspective makes “Imperfect Spirituality” perfect for beginning seekers and seasoned travelers.

Music Copyright Infringement Project

Something interesting turned up in ye olde’ email inbox. Did you know that there is an online music copyright infringement archive? Well there is. Are you not entirely sure what that means? Remember when Vanilla Ice spent time telling us that his “Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun” wasn’t like Queen and David Bowie’s “Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun”? That was a music copyright infringement case, and now I learned there is an archive online dedicated to preserving that legacy!

This archive I didn’t know existed just moved to the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. According to the press release, “USC Gould is honored to sponsor the Music Copyright Infringement Project,” said Jonathan Barnett, academic director of USC Gould’s Entertainment and Media Law Program. “This is an absolute treasure trove and further cements our reputation in entertainment and intellectual property law.”

Obviously this is an important tool for those studying musical copyright law, or music history, but it is also looking like a great place for music nuts like me! The press release says, “The project offers complete summaries of famous and under-the-radar music copyright infringement cases dating back to 1845, including claims leveled against Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, George Harrison and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The multimedia collection allows visitors to play disputed songs to hear similarities – or dissimilarities – for themselves. They may also compare music scores of disputed works, and view clips of films, television shows, and advertisements at the center of lawsuits.”

You can visit the site at http://mcir.usc.edu/.

The $1,000,000 Hunt is On!

In an effort to highlight the proud histories of both Bigfoot and Olympia Beer in the Northwest, Olympia Beer has partnered with world-renowned Bigfoot experts at The Falcon Project to sponsor what may be one of the most comprehensive searches for Bigfoot ever conducted in North America. A grand prize of $1,000,000 will be paid to any person who finds “irrefutable evidence” of Bigfoot’s existence in compliance with the contest’s official rules. The yearlong contest launched April 9, 2013.

According to the contest rules, there is no set type or amount of “irrefutable evidence” required to establish proof of Bigfoot. All evidence presented must satisfy the three member judging panel convened by Olympia Beer and The Falcon Project. Evidence must include conclusive DNA evidence and visual proof of a live physical body. Visual proof of footprints, bone fragments, inconclusive skeletal remains or any other non-definitive evidence of Bigfoot will not suffice as “irrefutable evidence.” Any photo or video taken of Bigfoot is not sufficient to qualify as evidence in and of itself, but may be considered as supporting evidence. The awarding of any prize is subject to the official contest rules.

If Bigfoot’s existence is indeed proven through the contest, the grand prize winner will be paid in 40 yearly installments of $25,000. The annuity is being underwritten by SCA Promotions.

The Falcon Project is an organization that was convened to conduct the most in-depth search for Bigfoot ever conducted in North America. According to The Falcon Project, science tells us that a great North American Ape did exist at some point in the past, so the relevant question now is: “Does it still exist?” The Falcon Project is in the process of building a quiet, remote-controlled airship that will use thermal imaging technology to search Northwestern forests for evidence of Bigfoot. In support of its research, Olympia Beer has provided a $5,000 grant to The Falcon Project.

Similar to countless migratory and endangered species research programs, Olympia Beer and The Falcon project hope to conduct scientific observations of Bigfoot and then use the information collected to protect the species and preserve its way of life. Neither Olympia Beer nor The Falcon Project encourages or condones the attempted capture or containment of Bigfoot or any other form of wildlife. Any contest participant that demonstrates intent to harm Bigfoot or any other species will be disqualified from the contest, publicly shamed and referred to law enforcement officials.

More information about the contest can be found at www.olympiabigfoot.com, including news of participants’ progress, a map of recent Bigfoot sightings, live social media feeds and official contest rules. Participants can join the conversation by using the hashtag #Olympiabigfoot on Twitter and Tumblr, by following Olympia Beer’s Facebook page and by posing search-related questions to bigfootevidence@olympiabeer.com.

This article created from press release.

Not Tonight Honey

Kathy Gruver, PhD

Headaches have been plaguing humans, probably since humans have been in existence. And though they do offer a traditional excuse for avoiding intimacy, headaches can also interfere with daily functioning and take the joy out of life. According to the National Headache Association:

• 45% of respondents missed at least 5 family or social events in the last year because of a headache
• Nearly 30% have missed up to 5 days of work each month due to headache
• 25% of respondents reported that their coworkers resent the time they spend away from work due to a headache
• 20% of respondents reported their family and friends tend to resent them for missing events because of headaches
And an average o $1500/year is being spent on prescriptions not to mention over the counter drugs like Advil and Excedrin Migraine.

Here are some causes and solutions for that pain in the head that you might not have thought of.

The first thing I’d ask you to explore are side effects from prescription drugs. Often headaches can be caused by something you are already taking. Even if you’ve been on the drug for a while, side effects can still develop. I was prone to horrible migraines and was tested for every disease under the sun. I was also put on numerous migraine medications including Imitrex. Years later when I decided to be drug-free I got off the birth control pill. Miraculously my headaches completely disappeared. Doing some research, I found that headaches are a common side effect of oral contraceptives. I could have saved myself years of pain and extra medication had someone just read the Prescription Drug Reference Guide. Also, a lot of headache medications can cause what are called “rebound headaches” which means over time you must take more and more of the drug to get it to work. Often if you stop taking it your headaches subside.

Another common culprit for headaches is food sensitivities. With so many additives, flavorings, artificial colors and sweeteners and MSG being added to our food, it’s no wonder that people are having more headaches. You can take a food sensitivity test like the LEAP test (which differs from traditional allergy testing that your MD would do) to see if you are vulnerable to certain foods. You could also try keeping a food diary. Chart your daily intake of all foods and drinks and when your headaches occur. Over time you might be able to see a pattern develop that will lead you to eliminate certain foods. MSG is a repeat offender for headaches and migraines as is artificial sweeteners like aspartame and Sucralose. MSG doesn’t have to be labeled in most food and the website http://www.msgmyth.com/hidden_names.html will help you identify its aliases.

In the food diary, it would also be helpful to note stress level, menstrual phase and level of physical activity. Stress is definitely a contributing factor to headaches. We tend to boost our shoulders up to our ears during stressful times and that muscle tension can lead to headaches. Clenching our jaws also add to the problem. Many people not only grind during the night but also clamp their jaws shut during their workday. My observation is, if you wake up with a headache, nine times out of 10, you were clenching and should work on relaxing your jaw. A mouth guard can help but often people continue to grind and chew right though them. Also avoid gum chewing and eating hard foods like jerky if you are prone to jaw tension.

Hormonal changes can also lead to headaches. Many women experience headaches as part of their premenstrual symptoms or suddenly get them as they experience menopause. Making sure you get plenty of rest during this time is key, as is reducing your stress and eating right. See if your headaches at this time of month might be telling you to slow down and look inward to see if you are taking good enough care of yourself. Usually our bodies are trying to communicate something to us through pain.

Sometimes our bodies get out of alignment, the same way our cars do. If the cervical (neck) vertebrae go “out” we might experience headaches. A chiropractor can offer help in this arena as can an osteopath. Multiple visits might be necessary but relief can usually be found.

We know that drinking too much alcohol can cause that next day symptom of a headache. Even if you think you didn’t drink enough to be hung over, think about the circumstances surrounding your consumption. Did you have enough food in your body? Were you staying hydrated? What was the alcohol content of what you were drinking? Are you developing an allergy to sulfites in wine? Did you set out with the intention of getting sloshed? Sometimes even though you’re used to two glasses, the circumstances might be such that those two glasses cause a headache the next day. Don’t rule out that you overindulged.

Make sure you’re eating right and also that you are moving your bowels. Constipation is an issue that can definitely contribute to headaches. We should be having 1-3 bowel movements every day. If you are having fewer or needing to strain, look into a cleanse, colonic or change in diet. Also if you are constipated AND get headaches, you might be deficient in magnesium. This important nutrient relaxes smooth muscle and may alleviate both problems.

What if your headaches continue or get more frequent or severe? Seek out medical help as the headaches could be caused by something serious like meningitis, vision problems, MS, a tumor or cancer. Usually headaches are innocent, but in some cases they might be a symptom of a more serious problem. Sudden, severe headache or sudden headache associated with a stiff neck; headaches associated with fever, convulsions, or accompanied by confusion or loss of consciousness; headaches following a blow to the head, or associated with pain in the eye or ear; persistent headache in a person who was previously headache free; and recurring headache in children indicate that you should seek medical attention.

Now, what can we do if we find ourselves plagued by the occasion pain in the noggin?

Since stress is a common cause, do what you can to decrease it in your life. Meditation, taking time for you and spending time with friends can lead to less stress and a lessening of headaches. Muscle tension goes hand in hand with stress so try getting a massage to relax those tight neck, shoulder and jaw muscles. Many massage therapists like myself have helped their clients eliminate headaches. And as mentioned above, think about seeing a chiropractor to help with any alignment issues you might be experiencing.

And an acupuncturist can do some needling to relieve stress and balance the subtle energy in the body that might be causing the headaches. Often these types of practitioners can also recommend stretches to help relieve the muscle tension that may be contributing to your headache. And especially if you work at a desk all day, make sure you take time out to stretch and never hold the phone against your ear while you do other things, this is a sure fire way to throw your neck out of place and create extra muscle tension.

Your Chinese medicine practitioner might also recommend some Chinese herbs to help deal with your symptoms. American herbs can help too. Taking feverfew on a daily basis has been shown to decrease headaches. Some people also recommend sniffing fresh lavender at the first hint of a headache. A homeopathic practitioner also might have some options for you or a combination remedy can be purchased in most health food stores that contain the most common headache remedies. If you are going to consult with a homeopath, make sure to keep track of the specifics of your headache, what seems to aggravate it, time of day, what relieves it, do you crave certain foods or situations, and any other details you can note. These will help the practitioner hit on the right remedy for your specific headache.

Whether you decide to keep a food diary or not there are common triggers that could be avoided as an experiment. Many people are sensitive to aged cheeses, chocolate, beer and red wine. Try getting these out of your diet for at least 6 weeks to see if there is improvement in your symptoms. Also, certain food colorings and additives should be eliminated like artificial sweeteners and MSG. These are huge instigators when it comes to headaches and even if you aren’t prone to them, I recommend you take them out of your diet all together.

Look at your prescriptions and check for common side effects to see if they might be to blame. www.webmd.com is a great resource as is the PDR (Prescription Drug Reference). Even headache medications can cause rebound headaches and you might decide to talk to your doctor about trying a different prescription or getting off them all together. Of course, never stop taking a prescription without discussing this with your doctor first as many prescriptions need to be gotten off of slowly.

I hope this helps you deal with your headaches and gives you some ideas and solutions.

Kathy Gruver, PhD is the author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker. She can be reached at www.thealternativemedicinecabinet.com

Moonlight Tarot’s Question Corner: Mystical Answers to Mundane Inquiries

By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC

This column is intended to provide messages from the Tarot to address modern problems experienced by everyday people. Questioners, also known as “Querents” submit requests to have their issue addressed in a complimentary three card Tarot Reading published as part of the Magical Buffet. The reading not only addresses the Querent’s issue but also provides education about the role of Tarot as a tool for exploration and empowerment.

This month’s Querent is a woman we will call Maria. Maria writes that she has recently undergone many significant life changes, sending her on a very different path than she had planned. She states that she is trying to regroup and move forward but faces numerous unknowns related to the future of her career and other personal goals. Having gone through a lot of upheaval, Maria sums up her numerous questions in a general request to try to learn what she needs to understand about the situation she is in, so that she may use these circumstances to the best possible resolution.

Three cards are drawn from the Fairy Tarots, these are the Three of Hearts, Knave of Acorns, and Nine of Bells. First off, it is worth noting that while Maria is overwhelmed by numerous life changes the cards drawn are minor arcana. This suggests that the larger implications of the changes at hand have been understood. Maria is asking what more she needs to understand about this situation and it seems that she has already gained insight into spiritual implications of what transpired around her, yet needs to understand the finer details in a mundane sense in order to make the most of her circumstances.

The Three of Hearts suggests unity, joy, celebration and support among friends. It bodes well for expansion of loving social relationships and shared happiness in a family or group setting. It suggests the opportunity has arisen for Maria to attend gatherings where others are joining together to celebrate and share their joys and sorrows, finding support and becoming uplifted through their emotional bonds to each other. Although life may have been difficult recently it would appear this is changing, and Maria is in an optimal position to appreciate her connection to others on a deeper level. More emphasis on friendships and family support are arising now and this may be a prime opportunity to slow down and focus on cultivating a more loving, nurturing bond with close friends and family. It also seems likely that a celebration or party of some sort is on the horizon and that this will bring emotional happiness and relief. Celebration is a key element here and it seems Maria is going to find opportunities to express gratitude and experience happiness, a “full cup” that necessitates sharing with others. The focus now is on healing through emotional expression and connecting in small group settings. Presence in family activities, social gatherings and support groups may be indicated at this time as well. There is an indication of finding her place among peers as well, neither dominating, nor subservient. Maria will encounter situations that represent a homecoming, finding her place among friends and sharing in emotional ups and downs with more mindfulness and greater empathy for others.

The Knave of Acorns follows. This card is unique to the Fairy Tarot deck as Acorns are not a traditional Tarot suit. It suggests that difficulties have brought a harsh winter from which the character has become sturdy. It is a mix between the energies of traditional swords (hardship/vitality) and pentacles (sturdiness, practicality) from traditional decks. Maria has experienced loss and hardship which have driven her motivation to succeed and provided insight into her greater strengths. Nonetheless she is starting out as a relative novice in new territory, one which requires greater resilience and determination than she has had to exert before. A new practicality and sensibility are emerging and it is likely that while Maria will come to appreciate the role of social supports more now, she will also have a firm ability to remain grounded and not be heavily influenced by raw emotion. Change is on the horizon and through Maria’s diligent efforts and strength of character she will be forging ahead and entering into new business ventures. Her career may be altered slightly, building on past experience and taking on more advocacy and service in a field that draws out the strength she has gained from loss and changes of the recent past. It would appear she will have the opportunity to embark on a crusade in service to others. Incremental progress is also indicated, gradual development and intermediate gains as she grows into this new role.

Growth on a more polished and professional level is ultimately indicated by the Nine of Bells. It seems that while Maria is experiencing the growing pains of exploring change in her career and how she expends the energy of daily life, uncovering potential strengths and skills refined by recent trials, she will have the opportunity to glean profit financially and in terms of status from the change in her outward and career focus. It appears that Maria will be building up an abundance of material wealth compensating for losses that have occurred and giving further material comfort. It seems that a new way of allocating energy and a new purpose with career will help Maria establish a more comfortable living for herself and her family. She may also be “grandmothered” or eased in to a new position or new career path by those with experience, thereby “inheriting” greater status professionally, or new work opportunities altogether. This does not seem to imply an outright new job or career, but a new development based on her existing foundation, one which presents a heightened, more refined status to the public image and also provides more comfort and abundance personally.

In the short term, it seems that Maria is being called upon to increase her awareness of the importance of social and emotional connections, to nurture emotional needs in a mutually beneficial setting and to take advantage of family and social gatherings, parties and positive, joyful events that help redirect her focus away from past stress and losses. In the mean time it seems that opportunities to further advance or develop skills born of conflict and loss will bring an important change in focus that will allow Maria the opportunity to convert painful experience into personal wisdom, assisting others in the process. The ultimate outcome seems to be a gain both in finances, security and status, with a shift in priorities that emphasizes personal joy, relationships, happiness and an ability to thrive even under difficult conditions.

Best of luck to Maria as spring awakens new beginnings and opportunities for greater understanding. Remember, no matter where you are reading this readings are intended for entertainment purposes in accordance with NYS law.

Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.

About Angela Kaufman:
Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards for over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and formed Moonlight Tarot in 2009 which would become Moonlight Tarot LLC in 2010. Angela uses the Tarot to assist clients in exploring personal growth and development, and in accordance with New York State Law offers readings for entertainment purposes. Angela began providing readings on a professional, “Moonlighting” basis in order to provide affordable readings to those seeking guidance, inspiration and fun. Angela is also co-author of the new book “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions.” (Schiffer Publishing, 2011). In 2006 she joined ISIS Paranormal Investigations and has accompanied the team on numerous investigations in private residences and businesses throughout the capital region, Adirondacks, Vermont and Massachusetts.

For more information on services offered by Moonlight Tarot LLC, visit http://www.moonlighttarotllc.com

Check out Moonlight Tarot on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MoonlightTarotLlc

For more related to Tarot and Wicca, check out: Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? At www.wwtrd.webs.com

Want a chance to get a live Tarot Reading? Check out www.cafenolany.com for listing of Tarot events at Café Nola in Schenectady NY!

This month’s deck is the Fairy Tarot, created by Lo Scarebo and published by Llewellyn in 2000. For more on this deck, visit http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738700069.

Geek Month in Review: March 2013

by JB Sanders

Spring?

More 3D-printing a Moon Base
I know, I just linked to a story about this. The difference here is two-fold. The folks here are a rival team with a better plan. First, they’re architects, so they’re taking the idea of 3D-printing buildings and running with it. Second, they have an idea to use microwaves to fuse the moon dust, which would mean the 3D printers sent to the moon wouldn’t even need binding agents. It’s a cheaper and more energy-efficient method. They think they can have the first module complete in two weeks, once their setup reaches the moon.

Video Game Charts Brain
Scientists are trying to map the connections between neurons in the brain, and to do so they’ve made their neural maps into a game. Players help work out the connections between neurons, expanding the map. They’re also helping the artificial intelligence behind the mapping program learn more about mapping.

It’s a 3D-Printed Dress
No, really! And it’s got this very 1940’s glamor vibe mixed with a sort of scifi nod.

Lord British Needs 1 Million Dollars*
Richard Garriott, creator of Ultima Online, is looking to repeat his success with a new massively multi-player online game. One of the reasons he says they’re kick-starting it (rather than just shelling out the moola himself) is so that the public has a say in how the game is built. Or maybe he’s just cheap.

* To get the full effect, you need to use a cheesy voice and a pinky finger.

Non-Newtonian Fluid on a Speaker Cone
This video will either freak you out, or give you great ideas for special effects, depending on your temperament. It’s just cornstarch and water in a 2:1 ratio (forming oobleck), plus a little blue food coloring. But add in a little stirring and an ultrasonic sound source, and boy howdy do you have some creepy action.

3D Printed Jewelry
It’s not “coming soon”, it’s “happening now”. Still a little high-end, but it looks like it could lead to an interesting trend. Personalized unique jewelry indeed!

The Un-Discovered Country
No, not the future. In this case, it’s islands that are supposed to be there – but aren’t. Including one near Australia that was supposed to be larger than Manhattan, but now has been determined to not only not exist, but to have never existed. Really.

Around the World — On Solar Power
The creators of the Solar Impulse plan on flying their entirely-solar-powered airplane around the world by 2015. It’s capable of flying day and night (on stored power). It has the wingspan of a Boeing 747, mostly to accommodate more solar cells.

Settle Mars!
There was a rumor running around that the Mars One Project (those folks planning to build a commercial settlement on Mars) was accepting applications for Mars Settlers — but no. They are going to be soon, and they reveal a few of the qualifications you’ll need to be signed on. Chief among them, of course, is being prepared to move to Mars permanently. It’s a one-way trip.

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com

April Stuff!

I can’t remember ever in my entire life getting to say this, but holy heck there is a lot of crap happening in April! My inbox has got all kinds of stuff showing up in it, not to mention my father’s birthday is this month too!

First off is a great educational opportunity from The Pluralism Project at Harvard University that doesn’t require you to live or move to the area. The application deadline is April 23rd.

The Pluralism Project is seeking applications for research internship positions for summer 2013. Interns will conduct research on the growing religious diversity of cities across the United States. This “hometown research” opportunity can be conducted wherever applicants are located and will include field visits to religious centers, ethnographic interviews, and weekly intern cohort meetings via Skype. Research projects may be published in the forthcoming online version of the Pluralism Project’s On Common Ground: World Religions in America. Applications are sought from current undergraduate and graduate students with excellent writing and oral communication skills. Experience in conducting ethnographic field research a plus but not required. Interest in (and respect for) diverse religious communities is a must. Internships are unpaid, although we are happy to work with candidates to secure academic credit or internship compensation through their home institution. Please send a letter of interest and a current resume/CV to staff@pluralism.org, attn: Whittney Barth, Assistant Director. Application deadline is April 23rd, although decisions will be made on a rolling basis. Internship start and completion dates are flexible and will be determined in consultation with the cohort, generally late May through early August.

Since 1991 the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, under the direction of Dr. Diana Eck, has been researching the changing religious landscape of America. The Pluralism Project’s mission to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources. Learn more at pluralism.org.

Are you like me and say that silly line about how you’ll only run when chased? A press release showed up in my inbox that may be just the kind of run for you!

The Zombie Run, a 3.1 mile racecourse of gut-wrenching, blood-pumping, sweat-dripping fear, will soon be mounting a 16-city nationwide infestation, for the most exhilarating 5K of your life… if you survive.

The 2013 tour kicks off April 7 in Philadelphia, where it was created, and by the fall also will overrun the streets of Chicago, New York, Miami, New Orleans, Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and many other U.S. cities. Complete schedule is below. For the latest information, including early registration deadlines, go to www.thezombierun.com.

The Zombie Run is not your typical hometown 5K run, unless of course, your hometown is infested with an army of marauding Zombies.

By using the popular Zombie theme, The Zombie Run creates a running narrative on a racecourse designed like a Hollywood Apocalypse movie-set – complete with helicopters flying overhead – where participants either run through the course as Zombies, or living Zombie prey. Participants must run to safety, while dodging an imaginatively harrowing barrage of apocalyptic carnage.

The Zombie Run is the only nationally touring Zombie race that takes over the actual streets of each city, and focuses on a fully scripted, suspense-filled back story.

Professional, on-site make-up artists transform normal, everyday, warm-blooded runners into blood sucking, flesh eating Zombies. If you survive, there is a party following the race. The Zombie Run benefits Active Heroes (www.activeheroes.org), a volunteer-led charity helping veterans, active duty military and their families. A portion of proceeds from each event also will be donated to a local charity.

They have assembled a seasoned team of professionals with over 100 years of collective experience in race and concert promotion, and live event production and marketing, who will help them bring The Zombie Run to the following cities across America:

The Philadelphia Zombie Run – Philadelphia, PA – 4/7/13, 8am – FDR Park

The Louisville Zombie Run – Louisville, KY – 4/21/13, 12:30pm – Iroquois Park

The Charlotte Zombie Run – Charlotte, NC – 5/19/13, 12:30pm – Freedom Park

The New Orleans Zombie Run – New Orleans, LA – 6/23/13, 9am – New Orleans City Park

The St. Louis Zombie Run – St. Louis, MO – 7/14/13, 11am – Queeny Park

The Denver Zombie Run – Denver, CO – 7/28/13, 9:00am – City Park

The Seattle Zombie Run – Seattle, WA – 8/17/13, 11am – Magnuson Park

The Nashville Zombie Run – Nashville, TN – 9/29/13, 7:30am – Shelby Bottoms Park

The Indianapolis Zombie Run – Indianapolis, IN – 10/6/13, 11am – White River State Park

The Miami Zombie Run – Miami, FL-10/12/13, 6pm- Historic Virginia Key Beach Park

The Portland Zombie Run – Portland, OR – TBA

The Columbus Zombie Run – Columbus, OH – TBA

The Chicago Zombie Run – Chicago, IL – TBA

The Brooklyn Zombie Run – Brooklyn, NY – TBA

The Austin Zombie Run – Austin, TX – TBA

The San Francisco Zombie Run – San Francisco, CA – TBA

The San Diego Zombie Run – San Diego, CA – TBA

The Atlanta Zombie Run – Atlanta, GA – TBA

(Additional cities to be announced.)

For The Zombie Run event tickets and information updates, visit www.thezombierun.com.

This next event is very exciting because it’s happening right in my backyard of Albany, NY! I totally stole the following from their website:

The MOVE Music Festival is an ILMG and Avid Entertainment production. The festival will consist of approximately 100 acts performing at venues across Albany, New York on April 26-27, 2013. The main purpose of this event is to give exposure to regional talent through live performances at select venues and provide musicians with insight on how to conduct their careers in today’s independent music scene.

In addition to the music showcases, MOVE will be holding a merchandise trade show and interactive round table sessions with industry professionals at the Hotel Albany lodging and convention complex in downtown Albany. The interactive round table sessions will give Move artists an intimate opportunity to connect with various companies that will provide vital information, creative solutions and online strategies regarding the development, management and progression of their music careers. By discussing current digital business models, artists will get a number of diverse perspectives on how to advance their musical endeavors and discover new ways to attain sustainability, reach more fans, book shows, promote their music and market their brand.

All for only $15.

Visit movemusicfest.com to learn more.

Also, on April 15th my heroes at Breast Cancer Action, the ACLU, and the Public Patent Foundation will be giving oral arguments to the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of more than twenty plaintiffs against Myriad and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, challenging claims on Myriad’s patents and on the right of any company to patent gene sequences.

Breast Cancer Action will be holding a rally at the Supreme Court that day. If you live in the Washington D.C. area or are interested in traveling there to attend the rally, check in at www.bcaction.org/genepatentrally for more info.

Does American Dad Reflect America?

“But you told me we hate the gays,” Steve questions.

“That was, A, before I knew they came in Republican form, and, B, before they cut and styled my hair,” replies Stan.

Since the Supreme Court decided to do a big ol’ cannonball right into the gay marriage issue it does seem that everywhere I turn I see “gay”. My email is hitting borderline abuse proportions from the Human Right Campaign, NYCLU, and the ACLU. The online news sites that I read have obviously been keeping the coverage front and center, and of course the pundit shows I watch are following it closely and so in turn I am too. However when I flopped down on the sofa to veg out and told Netflix to go ahead and play the next episode of “American Dad” I couldn’t help but laugh to the universe when the episode “Lincoln Lover” started playing.

For those unfamiliar with the series or this episode, Stan (who is the “American Dad”) is not selected by his local chapter of the Conservative Republicans, to speak at the Republican National Convention. After watching a pretentious surrealist play about Abraham Lincoln, he decides to write and perform his own play about the first Republican president, to return to the original values of the Republican party. Stan’s play, a one-man show entitled “Lincoln Lover”, depicts a very close relationship between Lincoln and his most trusted guard, Captain David Derickson. The play becomes successful as many gay men come to watch, though Stan (who wrote the play based on Derickson’s notes) apparently does not notice the homosexual overtones of his play. The Log Cabin Republicans invite him to speak at the convention; however, it is not until during a Log Cabin Republican party that Stan realizes its members are gay. He is won over by an elaborate musical number and begins acting more like a stereotypical homosexual male. Further hijinks ensue. (A slightly modified and partial summary from Wikipedia. I don’t want to give the whole episode away if you haven’t seen it!)

What’s I find interesting about “Lincoln Lover” is that the character Stan, an egocentric idiot, learns something about homosexuality in this episode. (Don’t worry folks, it’s a good thing he learns!) The thing he learns has him accept homosexuality, and that carries throughout the series. Upon reflection I remembered that Stan doesn’t “learn” things. There is no evolution for the character, Stan even has said he doesn’t learn lessons. Apparently he does about homosexuality. There has been only one other episode I can think of where Stan has learned something and his character evolved, and that was “Surro-gate”. That episode deals with homosexual couples being allowed to raise children. Again, it’s a lesson learned that seems to stick. (Again, don’t worry, it’s good!)

I think it’s telling that a show that very much reflects ongoing culture has its most socially conservative character learn to accept homosexuals and eventually their right to exist as a family. Legalize marijuana? No. Wife get a job outside of the home? No. Go to church every Sunday? Yes. Homosexuals are people like anyone else? Yes.

If Stan Smith can learn that lesson, maybe there is still hope for our country to come together.

Oh shit. I temporarily forgot the Stan Smith was an animated character in a cartoon. We’re probably doomed.

FYI – “American Dad” is available for streaming on Netflix and you can view the older season on Hulu Plus. The episodes I talked about today were “Surro-Gate” Season 3, Episode 7 and “Lincoln Lover” Season 2, Episode 4.