Saturday, February 5, 2011

More on Oprah, Scientology and Self-Absorption

"Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action."
— Daniel Goleman (Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships)

Back to my fav subject right now, the "almighty" Oprah Winfrey. I need to practice a little compassion in my life, but before I do that, I'd like to know when and how Oprah became such an important icon and influence in American lives. Was it when she began bringing famous movie stars on her talk show? Was it when she started giving away all those wonderful material goodies? Was it because she was the first "real" black/African American woman talk show host? Was it her smile? Her laugh? Her willingness to "bare it all" in front of her audiences, including asking her "important" guests to do the same? Was it her "well-researched" book club - the book club that has influenced millions of people around the world and of which I am sure she included no bias in selecting any subjects she found interesting or important, and which I am also sure recommended each book only after it was carefully considered by a panel of top-level literary, historical, social, educational, etc., researchers and experts?

Whatever it was, or whatever combination of factors it was that brought her to the powerful position that she holds over America today, she now has the attention of most Americans, including myself. She proved this recently by bringing onto her show her newly discovered half-sister, whose name escapes me. That particular episode brought Oprah the highest ratings she has ever gotten. EVER. Why? You've got me. I certainly don't care about her half-sister. Why should I? Why should you? Are you a family member or close friend of Oprah or her half-sister? I doubt it. Then who cares? Why would anyone even watch that episode? When I heard the preview, I told my husband how glad I am I don't have to watch it. I just don't understand. Now if we found out that our president's half-brother was a general in the army of the country of America's most feared enemy, I would give that a serious consideration. There might be consequences to our country that I should know about and information I should share. But who really gives a hoot about Oprah finding her lost half-sister? I'm sorry. I just don't get it.

Wake up folks - Oprah has power over you! She has influenced you by getting you to read her books and infusing her ideas in you. Has she invested in you in any way? NO. She has influenced you by smiling and laughing and pretending to really care about our world while in actuality, she has barely a few charities which you can count on your fingers and toes. I'm not saying the help she gives them isn't appreciated. I'm saying, "Come on, Oprah. You have $2.7b. Instead of buying a TV network to push your interests and ideas, push some of that cash to the people in our country who need it...and I don't mean Scientologists. Hey - help fund the troops who don't have all the equipment they need or who have served six or seven deployments and would like a trip home to see their families but can't afford it. Shove a little cash to our country's police departments and firefighters so they can do their jobs properly. And if you must publicize it, do it gently, without great fanfare, giving God the credit He deserves and pushing credit away from yourself and your magazine and your network and your show. Let's take a step away from self-absorption for a moment and be a grateful giver and a humble benefactor. Don't make such a big deal of everything. "Hey, look what I did! I'm Oprah Winfrey!"

Speaking of self-absorption...I have some things to do for myself right prepare dinner so I can say when I'm finished..."Hey, look at me! I'm the RatLadyMom!"

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mentally Fit

Am I mentally fit? If you know me, based upon the following, what would be your answer?

How does one know if one is mentally fit? Do you look it up in a dictionary? An encyclopedia? Internet? Do you ask a psychologist or psychiatrist? Consult your family and friends? Discern if you conform to social norms? All of the above?

I won't even touch the never-ending question of what is normal. No way. I'm going to move forward with self-reflection and self-talk. My guess is that it "normalcy" has more to do with your own thoughts than anything. For instance, many people know that I suffer from bipolar disorder. I have run the gamut from risky behavior to desperate depression. So now, in an attempt to avoid being "seen" as the stereotypically evil mentally ill person, I wear a happy face. I smile all the time. I laugh at everything. I offer supportive words to everyone. I am so loved because I am so nice. But the tears of the clown are more like a massive wave inside me, washing around my head, my heart, my thoughts, my stomach just waiting until the whole blasted thing comes together in one big flood and destroys the whole being. My being: 

I know there is a sniper outside, perhaps in the hotel down the road, that is probably aiming at me because I haven't closed my blinds yet and he can see me at night. 

I know that all of my fb friends who know each other "talk" about me behind my back because I say stupid things and make them angry and one day they are going to all drop me as their friends because they are sick of me. So if I act happy and supportive all the time, I'm not giving them a chance to do that.

I know that the high school kids walking by are scheming up ways to get back at me because my dog scared them a couple of times, so I stay inside a lot.

I don't engage in social groups at the dog park because I say stupid things and act dumb and nobody wants to  be around me. I hate social groups.

Kids bother me because they can see right through me. They know I am not real, that I am just a body filled with awful emotions and feelings. They shy away from me, they cry around me, so I avoid kids.

I am so deceptive. I do little things I shouldn't do and then hide them. Like buying things when we don't have any money to even pay our bills. Then I think I have to hide them from my  husband because I don't want him to hate me.

I'm a huge mess. A big huge mess.

But does my psychologist know this? Does my psychiatrist know this? No. Because I come across as nicely mentally fit. How long will this last? I sent an email to my psychologist last night. I'm too chicken to tell my own psychologist I think I'm nuts. I don't want her to confront me. Go figure.

Am I mentally fit? What do you think?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

God Bless Oprah Winfrey!

Oprah never ceases to amaze me and never disappoints! The current trail she is blazing to promote "self-awareness" and "self-fulfillment" is one I plan to watch carefully. She continues to blaze forward with pro-Scientology guests on her program and to promote their agenda. I encourage you to do some research about Scientology on your own and then watch Oprah's shows, reruns included. Judge for yourself. What you read here is simply my humble opinion.

As I write, Goldie Hawn is appearing on Oprah's show, promoting her foundation to teach children how to be happy. Honestly. Do we need to teach our children how to be happy? Are we dropping a cannonball on our children's feet in order to teach them about pain? Should we also shoot them in the head to teach them about death? What I'm trying to say is that we have gone too far. We can analyze every little thing our children do and mold and form and catechize them until they are no longer capable of acting or thinking independently. We have too many foundations, too many institutions and too many programs to "make ourselves happier." We spend too much time thinking we should be happy all the time. Life is not always happy. Life is not always fair. And while I'm on the topic of Oprah - I'm delighted that she found her half-sister, but why must she over-promote it to the general public? Who cares, really? I'm sorry, but what if Katie Couric found out she had a half-brother? Who cares? I don't. Let them enjoy their new siblings in private. It's really not a public event.

Be aware that Scientology uses unscrupulous and often covert methods to bring in and retain new members. We have been warned of following false prophets. L. Ron Hubbard is one such prophet.

In a chapter borrowed from Stripping the Gurus by Geoffrey D. Falk, Chapter XIV, TeeGeeAck, (Scientology)
the author writes:
"Scientology is the one and only road to total freedom and total power (L. Ron Hubbard, in [Burroughs, 1995]).

In a May, 1991, cover story (Behar, 1991), Time magazine further described Scientology as allegedly being “a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner.”

The aforementioned Behar (1991) further alleged:
One of Hubbard’s policies was that all perceived enemies are “fair game” and subject to being “tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” Those who criticize the church—journalists, doctors, lawyers and even judges—often find themselves engulfed in litigation, stalked by private eyes, framed for fictional crimes, beaten up or threatened with death.
Others have made similar claims:
The Church of Scientology is not known for its willingness to take what it construes as criticism without recourse. Indeed its record of litigation must surely be without parallel in the modern world (Wallis, 1976).
Hubbard has stated, as if invoking a Voodoo curse, that anyone rash enough to take action against Scientology is guaranteeing unto himself an incurable insanity followed by a painful death (Vosper, 1997).
After her first article on Scientology, in 1968, [Paulette] Cooper received a flood of death threats and smear letters; her phone was bugged; lawsuits were filed against her; attempts were made to break into her apartment; and she was framed for a bomb threat (Atack, 1990).
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul G. Breckenridge disclosed his own disturbing impressions of the group in the mid-1980s:
The [Scientology] organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder. The evidence portrays a man [i.e., Hubbard] who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile (in Miller, 1987).
Justice Latey’s opinion of the organization, as expressed in his 1984 London High Court ruling, was no higher:
Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious ... it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous (in Atack, 1990).
Likewise for Conway and Siegelman’s (1982) published view:
According to those who responded to our survey ... Scientology’s may be the most debilitating set of rituals of any [alleged] cult in America.
After a survey of forty-eight groups, Conway and Siegelman reported that former Scientologists had the highest rate of violent outbursts, hallucinations, sexual dysfunction and suicidal tendencies. They estimated that full recovery from Scientology averaged at [nearly] 12.5 years (Atack, 1992).
More recently, a wrongful-death lawsuit was brought (and settled out of court in 2004) by the estate of former member Lisa McPherson against the Church of Scientology. For details, see Ross (2004b) and For the alleged negative effects of participation in Scientology’s activities on other devoted followers, see Chapter 21 of Paulette Cooper’s (1971The Scandal of Scientology, and Chapter 14 of Corydon and Hubbard (1998) for Cooper’s own story. Also, Chapter 22 of the same latter book for Scientology’s alleged treatment of lawyer Michael Flynn—who has since frequently represented Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship in their own legal concerns (Russell, 2001).
Hubbard himself died in the mid-’80s. By the end, he had become a rather unhappy man, living in a rather unhappy, Howard Hughes-like fashion—reportedly believing, at various times, that his cooks were trying to poison him; and demanding that his dirty clothes be washed thirteen times, in thirteen different buckets of clean spring water, before he would wear them.
Psychiatrist Frank Gerbode, who practiced Scientology for many years, feels that Hubbard was not schizophrenic, but rather “manic with paranoid tendencies”.... However, Gerbode suggests that the best description is the lay diagnosis “loony” (Atack, 1990).
[T]he FBI did not take Hubbard seriously, at one point making the notation “appears mental” in his file (Wakefield, 1991).
And yet, Bent Corydon and L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (1998) have equally claimed:
To be a critic of the Church or its Founder is to be insane. Simple as that....
Labeling any dissident “psychotic” is commonplace in Scientology. This is mandated by Hubbard’s written policies."

Keep your eyes and your minds open. - C. Goehring
P.S. Perhaps I'd best be prepared for lawsuits and death threats. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NFL Football

Richard (my husband, Dick) and I are watching Green Bay and Chicago play for the NFC Super Bowl Spot. The game is in Chicago and it looks frigid! We even saw mist and fog coming off one of the player's heads!

Anyway, we decided that we didn't really care who won or lost since we didn't have any strong  ties to either team, so Richard chose Green Bay and we started rooting for the Packers. We watched them put 14 points on the board in the first half, during which time Chicago's quarterback, Cutler, a former Denver Bronco, injured his knee. I did some laundry at halftime and in the second half (Todd Collins, the 2nd team QB for the Bears fizzled) our own Caleb Hainey, of Colorado State University, came in as quarterback for Da Bears.  Hainey promptly showed the naysayer announcers that he COULD pass by putting 7 on the scoreboard with a handoff, a very nice pass and a play to Fortay. Go Caleb! Go Bears! 14 - 7 Green Bay.

Neither team looks like they give a hoot whether or not they win this game, however.

The game got good just as I decided to take a shower. While I was in the shower, Da Bears scored again. By the time I settled back in to watch the game, Green Bay had scored again, Caleb tossed a pick and Green Bay won. Hey - that's not fair. I didn't get to watch the best part of the game!

Oh well, so much for Da Bears; but what about that Caleb Hainey? If no one else says it, we are very proud of a guy who gets no play (and in fact has gotten no play in the three years since he has been in the NFL) and nearly rescued the Bears in a SuperBowl Playoff Game! The question, my husband asks is, "Will anybody, anywhere notice Caleb now? Why don't these coaches give these 2nd and 3rd team players more time on the field?" I remind him that life isn't fair.

Tonight's game is Pittsburgh vs. The Jets. I like Pittsburgh because I know more people in Pittsburgh than I do in New York.

Good enough for me.

Go Steelers!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blog Design

For those of you who are following me (Drusilla), a big thank you to Drusilla for helping me design the front page of my blog! It looks so much better than when I started! Thank you so much, Dru. Maybe I will double the number of followers I have right now since the improvement!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

FarmVille, CafeWorld and CityVille

When I joined facebook, I quickly learned about fb games, including FarmVille, CafeWorld, Happy Pets, Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, Zynga Poker, Treasure Island, YoVille and on and on and on....I was hooked. I ramped up in FarmVille and YoVille, taking my farm and my "pad" to places no fb'er had gone before. I also learned that if you are not willing to devote your entire waking life to growing your crops and harvesting your animals, your farm would wither away and cost you a lot of farm cash to heal. This is what happened to most of my Villes as time wound away and the sun rose and the sun set and God called it good. (With the exception of SuperPoke Pets which still challenges my ability to place objects on top of or behind each other properly and create a tangible and creative scene. Try it, it's not easy!)

So I moved from one game to another, finding delight in starting a new game until each one took on the same painful teenage growth pains and I lost interest in their delayed gratification if I didn't spend my husband's hard-earned money to buy their virtual trees and bridges or unlock the miniature psychedelic horse in the ice-cube on my property or begging my neighbors to join my mafia or spice my stove. That is, until CityVille.

So far, CityVille satisfies all of the itches without the poisons. We are allocated virtual cash as we grow our cities. We have the challenge of conserving energy while growing our supplies and collecting cash to buy businesses. We can also franchise our businesses out to other friends' cities and allow them to franchise within our cities. If we are clever enough, and we check out the CityVille forum, we learn tips such as how to smash enough cash-percentage-increasing decorations in-between and around our houses and businesses or remove streets and connect our facilities via sidewalks to save space. These tips may not make our cities look very appealing, but if you are in it to get the almighty apartment skyscraper or the Empire State Building or Big Ben, then who cares what the city looks like?

So abandon your farms and your pads, let your frontiers go to the thistles and rattlesnakes and come on down  to CityVille. I'd be more than happy to be your neighbor. It's the fastest growing Zynga game since Zynga starting gaming. I'm pretty sure you'll like it. Oh, and if you do join me in CityVille - please feel free to send me a Zoning Permit - I can't expand without one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Discovering Widgets

Thanks to my dear friend Drusilla Kehl (see The Illustrated Rat on this blog), I am learning about widgets and their placement on my blog page. I can see a lot of widgets in my future! Thanks, Dru

P.S. I just looked at my home page and WOW! Is that the biggest home page photo I've ever seen! Oh well. I'll change it eventually.

Friday, January 7, 2011

More on Oprah...

More concerns about Oprah's focus on the self, and making the self the focus of your life...

Because I am short on my own words today...I quote from "sawboyrick" of hubpages ( For those who are "non-spiritual" or "non-Biblical", I urge you to continue to read regardless of your personal opinions about God or the Gospels:

Have you ever heard someone say “I'm going to find myself”, meaning they wanted to identify their life's ambitions? A man may have gone on an extended trip “to find myself”. A couple breaks up so they can “find themselves”. If the Lord were here, what would He say about this attitude?

Matt 10

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Our lives can be spent focusing on our needs. We can gather all the wealth of the world and sit in a great mansion enjoying it. We can eat in the finest restaurants with the most exquisite wardrobe imaginable. We can jet from fashionable city to fashionable city all for the purpose of looking fabulous. But in the end, what good has it done us if we have lost our souls?

Matt 16

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The Lord taught that if we live a selfless life, a life full of service to others, we shall gain the greatest reward. But if we focus on ourselves and opulent life styles, we have traded in our souls for short-lived enjoyment. This is our own selfish reward, and the price we pay is an eternal one.

We are on the earth to see which choice we will make. Father wants us to show who we really are. He wants to see if we will help the sick and the weary. Will we turn a blind eye to the poor and suffering? Will we dig a pit for our neighbor if it serves to benefit us? Will we love those who love us, and hate those who differ from our views? Will we treat life with respect or indifference? Every choice we make shows what kind of person we are.