The Sunday Sermon- Pete Holmes on Not Knowing (the glory of discovery)

This is a hilariously comedic critique of part of our modern condition. Enjoy and pass it on!

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar!:) Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke

LAD online tip jar

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Adventures in Picking- I Witness an Epic Battle of Wills at Goodwill- Old Man vs Lady

Besides being a writer and singer-songwriter, I operate three ebay stores to pay the bills and allow for a free-spirited life. I pick things to resell on my ebay stores at all kinds of places, including the Goodwill Outlet Store.

Since you just grab stuff out of the bins at that store, there are lots of people, and new bins are rolled out regularly, it is a recipe for frequent drama between shoppers. I was able to capture a fairly mild example here…

When the new bins were just rolled out, this lady and old man snatched for the same Carhartt coat like ninjas and an epic battle of wills ensued. But, the old man won… I have seen way crazier fights than this at the Goodwill, even to the point that management called the cops.

This is just a reminder to keep it classy when shopping, especially with the approach of “Black Friday” next week 🙂

Homeless Man Shares His Beautiful Melody on Piano- A Lesson on Humility and Compassion (Video)

The only real difference between a homeless person and a non-homeless person is a home. People with and without homes can have all the same wonderful personality traits as well as faults, successes as well as failures. Sometimes, people who find themselves homeless may have had great successes at times, but run up against an insurmountable problem that left them on the streets. Other times, addiction may be a driving force. Among all the reasons that a person ends up without a home, that person is just “us” in a different reality. Who knows if the shoe was on the other foot, that you or I would not be in the same situation or worse. Also, some people choose to live a transient lifestyle for more esoteric reasons rather than homelessness befalling them.

Some may protest, “BUT! Many of the homeless have problems and are on the streets because of their addictions to drugs and alcohol!” Sure enough. Some of the “homed” do as well. They just happen to have the luxury of their own roof over their head.

Last week, immediately after leaving the TEDx Indy convention, I met a guy on the street looking for work (honestly) who was homeless. I took him to grab some Steak ‘n Shake and we chatted for a while. I have done that same thing on multiple occasions before. I have never had a bad experience. It is rare for many men and women who find themselves living in shelters and on the streets to have a “homed” person relate to them with no condescension. Relating to a homeless person as your honest human equal is a great gift, not only to that person, but to yourself as it requires personal humility and perspective. What you may find when taking a  bit of time out of your life to related to a homeless human is that, not only do you have something to offer them, but that they have experiences and friendship (even if very temporary) to offer you. I have had a few experiences with homeless people during my life that have left a positive, permanent mark on me.

I believe that the small, positive actions we share with our fellow humans can make a huge impact. Please visit my blog site, “The Butterfly Flutter Project,” at the link below for more information on having a direct, daily impact for the better. Also, check out this man sharing his melody on piano in the video above. His talents can brighten your day! Thanks for reading, sharing, and have a wonderful day! -Luke

http://butterflyflutter.com/

NYPD Transit Authority Cops Assault/Arrest Legal Guitar Player (Video)

Given the current state of authoritarian Cop Culture in the USA, would you expect anything less than this? That being, the wasted use of police resources at the expense of an unjustified arrest to appease the self-important, egotistical whims of an NYPD Transit cop. At the end of the day though, if you escape a run-in with the law in America and don’t end up shot or beaten, you can count yourself lucky. Merely being unlawfully arrested or given an unjustified ticket or fine is nigh to desirable given the experiences that many US citizens have with law enforcement officers (corporate code enforcement servants) in American weekly. There are plenty of dangerous criminals out there, of course. Yet, regular citizens going about their business are often treated as dangerous criminals.

I have personally been illegally searched before under my protest by aggressive law enforcement officers. I give kudos to singer/musician, Andrew Kalleen, for knowing the law, asserting the law, and standing his ground. Though, after he had proven his case, he was still forcefully cuffed and arrested by a chagrined gaggle of cops…

For more information, please refer to the article below:

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/nypd-assault-arrest-subway-musician-reading-broke-law/#hxR2bMGTmIdHbT7u.99

Take that Pence… Gay Marriage for Indiana

DING DONG! THE WITCH IS DEAD! The appeal by the Pence administration to overturn gay marriage in Indiana has failed. Gay couples MUST be allowed to marry in Indiana 🙂

I am very happy for my fellow Hoosiers who are LGBT and their newly affirmed legal ability to marry. I used to actually be on the other side of this issue. To read my story of what caused me to change my mind, please read this previous blog (and please share):

https://lukeaustindaugherty.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/confessions-of-a-former-homophobe-same-love/comment-page-1/

I also expect the obvious trolling by fundamentalist about how our State has gone the way of Sodom and Gomorrah now, destined to be rained upon by supernatural judgement. Get over it peeps…

By the way, I am an ordained “Universal Life Church” minister and can legally perform marriages in Indiana. If you are an LGBT couple in my area (Central Indiana) and are having a hard time finding a minister to solemnize your marriage, shoot me a message. I would be glad to provide a simple non-religious/secular ceremony for you if our schedules allow. It can be penance for my former bigotry.

Bill Maher Show: Sam Harris vs Ben Affleck Debate- I’m with Sam on this one

Ideas should never be above criticism, particularly religious ones. Though I have great respect for Ben Affleck’s acting and humanitarian work, I have to go with Sam Harris on this debate. Islam not only leaves room for violence and oppression, its texts call for it. I am grateful that a great deal of the adherents to Islam, being around 1 billion in the world, have found a more nuanced way to view and practice their faith. Yet, many Muslims take the fundamental dictates of Islam regarding violence very seriously.

Affleck was impassioned in his challenge to Harris. Yet, his indignation, straw men, and non sequiturs added nothing to his argument.

There are several key points to consider about this issue:

1. Islam is not a “race,” rather, a religious ideology. Ideas are not above reproach or criticism. People deserve protection, rights, and respect. Ideas are made to be tested, discussed, debated, and even ridiculed. To quote Steven Brutus, “Anything that can’t be mocked is dangerous.” No idea, philosophy, or ideology should ever be off-limits from being battered like a pinata to see what ends up falling out, for better or for worse.

2. Islamic religious texts not only allow for violence against non-believers, but actually prescribe it. The portion of Muslims who put those admonitions into actual practice (or just agree with them) are not employing strained or fringe interpretations of those religious texts, but literal ones. For a list of such references, click the link: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/cruelty/long.html

Not to single out Islam for possessing religious texts with a call to kill unbelievers, as there are plenty of similar verses in the Hebrew Bible & other religious texts. I am no fan of those either. But, it is Islam that is the matter of debate in the video above.

3. Any fundamental and violent faith text or system is an enemy of human progress. ANY text, religious or otherwise, that says, “Kill a person who does not agree with this,” is an abomination to humanity. Any or all texts deserve public condemnation. We should all support religious freedom and also the freedom NOT to be religious. But, that doesn’t include the right to harm, imprison, or kill others for not agreeing with you.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Obama and U.S. Drone Policy

As usual, the “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” team is on point. I don’t have much to add to what John Oliver covered other than a hearty, “Amen!”

A Perfect Example of Why We Fear Those Who Are Supposed To Serve & Protect Us

This is a sad situation… But, not a unique one in the USA. All too often police officers are guilty of intimidating, beating, and even shooting citizens who have broken no laws or only committed minor infractions.

Are there good cops? I’m sure there are plenty. But, they don’t nullify the actions of the bad ones.  A police culture has been cultivated in this Nation which allows for the systematic abuse of citizens and the regular cover-up and minimization of the offenses by police departments when the offenses come to light. That is one reason why the average citizen, regardless of ethnicity, feel instant fear and/or trepidation when they have any reason to interface with a police officer.

Amazingly, in the situation shown in the video above, it appears that the officer is now actually being held to account for his actions. Only when police are regularly punished for violating the rights of citizens and stop seeing themselves as the “masters” rather than true public servants will the overall situation change in this country.

For regular updates on offenses against citizens by police and related information, like Cop Block on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/CopBlock

Headed to Friendship, In. – Down by the Riverside (music video)

My ’94 Buick Roadmaster Wagon is packed up and ready to head out. I’m excited about getting to Friendship, In. even if just for the weekend. When I was a teen, I used to go down in June for two weeks and work at a little cafeteria during the summer musket shoot and accompanying flea market events. They have the event twice a year in June and September.

I love getting back as an adult any time I can. For me, it’s like stepping into a time machine. Very little has changed from the 90’s to now. The smells, “feel,” and hospitality are all the same. Today, I’m taking one of my oldest friends and my twin, 14 year old sons. They are the age I was when I went to work in Friendship the first time. If you’ll be down there this weekend, look me up! I’ll have my guitar in tow for jamming purposes and a fresh bottle of Scotch for sipping purposes 🙂

I have yet to get to the newer, “Whispering Beard,” music festival down there, but plan to next summer.

Here are some links about the town and events if you aren’t familiar:

http://www.friendshipfleamarket.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship,_Indiana

http://www.whisperingbeard.com/festival/