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Monday, November 17, 2014

Some Blatant Self-Promotion



It's that time of year again.  And frankly, I think that retailers use the French Revolution as their boilerplate for Black Friday.  I find it unnerving that folks will sit down together and express their individual thanks, only to find some of them a few hours later willing to break arms or legs to get something for that "special someone."  Well, I offer an alternative to the bruising of Black Friday.  

My books, available in 6 x 9 softcover and e-book formats, make great gifts.  And they are available for purchase right on this blog.  For that "special someone" who requires something more, use my Amazon Portal, located at the top right of this blog.  Whatever you want to buy at a large retailer, you can find by taking a trip through my Amazon Portal.  The plus?  No hassles with cane wielding grannies who have no problem whacking you over the head to get at that newest toy for their already spoiled grandchild.  Then there is the problem of finding appropriate greeting cards.  My good friend Tarr Saxon took care of that.  

There are discerning folks who know that Yuletide is the true reason for the season.  I do not wish to offend anyone but this is a case of historical fact.  Tarr Saxon's Asatru Warehouse offers a fine collection of Yuletide greeting cards, and Yule Tree ornaments.  In addition, the shopper will find key chains and spiffy fridge magnets, cocktail plates and coasters for your Yuletide entertaining needs, flasks, mugs, clothing, jewelry, and other household decor.  The Yuletide Greeting Cards and Yule Tree Ornaments are proudly displayed at the bottom of the store page.  


My Books --------- Available for sale on this Blog.....!!!

My Amazon Portal.......for those "department store type" gifts, located at the top right of this Blog.  

Tarr Saxon's Asatru Warehouse Portal, located directly under my Amazon Portal for all of your Yule Greeting card needs.  

                                                    


                                                     Copyright @2014 Terry Unger


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Some Holiday Promotions !!!!

The Holidays are almost upon us.  And, if you are a thoughtful gift giver, you will see that my BOOKS make great gifts.  You can order them all at..... http://terryunger.blogspot.com .  









For those of you who want to buy something for your "special someone,"  use my Amazon portal located at the top right of my blog.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Author's Preface - The View





Admittedly, this book took me a while to write and at times it was painful.  Then there were times that it scared the hell out of me; it's not my usual venue - I entered a brave, new world.  Finally, I settled on a format that I could live with. 

In the past I wrote many blog posts.  Without being specific, they were Asatru/Heathen centric but frankly, these posts can benefit anyone who reads them.  I took these posts, cleaned them up, and added verses of the Havamal as I saw fit.  (The Havamal is a 165 verse poem found in the Poetic Edda).  To this, I added questions directed at the reader.  But the Havamal verses used are not straight out of any Poetic Edda.  They are my personal and relaxed words and my thoughts of what Bellows and Hollander amply translated.  And, I tried to use situations and things that are meaningful in our 21st century.  This is why I experienced that fear.  

In no way or in any manner am I trying to upstage Bellows and Hollander; they have done an admirable job.  All that I have attempted to do was to make their words easier to understand - that's all.  By using simpler words, and with a bend to relevance in our 21st century, I believe that I have succeeded.  However, there are people who will think not, that I have damaged tradition.  I have a few things to say about their rigorist thought.  

We live in the 21st century, not the 8th, 9th, or 10th.  We need to interpret the past to serve us in the present.  What was relevant to our ancestors differs greatly from what we face today; I do not think that I need to elaborate.  However, what I have done does not negate the underlying intent expressed within the Havamal.  This intent is relevant now as it was in the 10th century.  But, we need modern situations to match this intent.  The harboring of a fundamentalist, rigorist viewpoint only thwarts what is needed in our 21st century.  Our ancestors, I truly believe, would not want us to regress but progress.  That said, my feeble and humble work offered in this book is, in my opinion, an attempt to honor our ancestor's desires.  I believe that, to our ancestors, living in the past not just ignores the present but condemns the future.  










  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Let Me Introduce You To Two Good Friends Of Mine


My Reluctant Hero Trilogy took a few years to create, and in my opinion (and other people's), it is a rollicking good romp.  Sometimes, instead of an action-adventure type novel, I think I wrote a layman's guide to understanding why people do the things that they do.  The "good guys" are flawed, just like people are in real time.  And the "bad guys" are more then just bad; you will easily hate them and wish for their demise.  My Reluctant Hero Trilogy is available on Amazon and comes in softcover and e-book formats. Treat yourself to this, my "rollicking good romp" !  



My latest book, The View - One Man's Living Asatru With Help From The Havamal, is a collection of opinions followed by at least one verse from The Havamal.  That verse or verses has one question or more pointed at the reader, with space allowed for the reader to write an answer.  And, every section has a page for notes.  In every sense, The View is meant to be an interactive book.  The View is available on Amazon in softcover and e-book formats.  Buy this book and be the next person to be dazzled !




                                                      Copyright @2014 Terry Unger




Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Published !!!





It gives me great pleasure to announce that my ninth book, The View - One Man's Living Asatru With Help From The Havamal is now published and available on Amazon, Amazon Worldwide, and Kindle.  

My latest book is about a subject dear to my heart: the personal application of Asatru in everyday life. To be properly understood, Asatru is more than religion; it is a way of life that can be prosperous and fulfilling for the true seeker. Often today, The Nine Noble Virtues come under attack, as something akin to the Ten Commandments. Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is true that people created them after poring through the Lore and found the same recurring themes, it pays to understand that the NNV were created to serve as a guideline of living in our complex and diverse modern world. The argument could be made that our Ancestors wrote very little, and therefore why the NNV today? Not to be smug, but we live in the 21st century. In our modern world when the bills come due and the boss is a hassle, it helps to have something on paper to help guide us to try and live a life of virtue in our complex world. Then there is the Havamal. A poem of 165 verses contained within the Poetic Edda, the Havamal offers us direction in our lives. Using translations from Bellows and Hollander, I made an attempt to make their verses more relevant in our 21st century.  

                                                          Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

Monday, September 1, 2014

New Book ---- Manusript Going to the Publisher



My 9th book, possibly my best, is very close to publication.  Below is the cover, a small taste!

                          


                                                   Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

Thursday, July 24, 2014

When Beer Goes Stale



Brewski, Suds, Liquid Gold, and many more monikers are labels we give beer.  It appears that we name our liquid passion as if we are having a romantic affair with it.  But beer, just like us, is organic. And because of this organic nature, when beer goes bad, it's really bad.  Like us, beer (ale and mead too) has a natural lifespan; it will not last forever.  For it to be good, frothy, and tasty beer requires certain care that is wholly incumbent on us to carry out.  

Draft beer, straight from keg to mug is the best.  But, if it is not cold enough, the lines are in need of cleaning, or some fool used a dirty bar rag to wipe out your mug, that Brewski will not only taste bad but could make you sick.  

Then there is the bad batch from the brewery that somehow made its way into bottles and cans.  You know about that:  your favorite Suds taste flat and seriously skunky.  Here you have options.  Either throw it out, exchange it, or get a refund.  There is the horror of seeing your favorite Liquid Gold passed on to you in a plastic bottle.  Seriously?  It's one thing to drink beer in a plastic cup at a ball game, but to find it on store shelves encased in plastic?  Plastic does not enhance the favor, period.  In any case, when beer gets old, care is needed to maintain its' freshness.  One basic rule helps:  do not leave your Brewski in the hot sun - refrigerate it.  Beer is, just like us, organic.  We too can go stale. However, if we care for ourselves as well as we care for our beer, we can live a long and productive life.  

Take care of your body, you only have one.  You cannot exchange it like a bad case of beer or trade it in as if you were buying a new automobile.  The body you have is the one you have, that's it.  And realistically, drinking too much beer or anything alcoholic makes a man not just drunk but foolish. Ditto on food gorging.  Nobody wants anything to do with a glutton; drink moderately.  Feed your body top-notch fuel:  eat a balanced and healthy diet.  And indulge yourself in meaningful exercise and good sleep.  
Havamal, verse 12 - For good is not, though good it is thought, mead (ale and beer too) for the sons of men.  The deeper (the more) he drinks, the dimmer grows the mind of many a man.*  Ancient wisdom tells us - the more alcohol we consume the dumber we become.  
Havamal, verse 21 - The herd do know, when home they shall, and gang from the grass to their stalls.  But the unwise man will not ever learn how much his maw (stomach) will hold.*  No one likes a glutton.  There is more. 

Going to bed with a head full of worry is not conducive to a good night's sleep.  What you worry about when you put you head on the pillow will still be there in the morning when you wake.  In many cases, a problem can be solved after a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast.  Since the problem will still be there in the morning, why take it to bed with you?  
Havamal, verse 23 - The unwise man waketh all night, thinking of this and that.  Tosses sleepless and is tired at morn:  nor lighter for that his load.*  Taking your problems to bed with you does not solve them.  By doing so, you are robbed of sleep and lack a clear and rested mind in the morrow.  But there is still more.  

Feed your head with good things just like you feed your body with good food and exercise.  Read good books and exercise your mind by doing math and crossword puzzles (just two ideas of many).  Do something constructive:  build a birdhouse, plant a garden, or write a book (again, three ideas of many possibilities).  And here is the big one:  change your attitude.  When you change your attitude, you will change your life for the better, guaranteed.  Having a 'can do ' attitude gets things done.  An attitude of 'I can't do that' just will not.  
Havamal, verse 8 - Happy is he who hath won him the love and liking of all.  For hard it is, one's help to seek, from the mind of another man.*   

If, at the close of your life, you are like that case of Brewski in the corner called regret, old, flat, and stale, understand this - you put yourself there.  I prefer to leave this life still fresh, tasty, and frosty.  
Havamal, verse 95 - One's self only knows what is near one's heart, each reads but himself aright. No sickness seems, to sound mind worse, than to have lost all liking for life.   Keep your mind as healthy as your body!   

* Havamal quotes - The Poetic Edda, Hollander translation, Copyright @1962 Lee M. Hollander, University of Texas Press.  

                                                      Copyright @2014 Terry Unger 

    

                    





     

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dream Crushers



You are too fat, you are too tall.  You are too short, you are too skinny.  You do not have the right qualifications, you are over-qualified.  You lack the right education, you do not have the right education.  You do not have the stamina, you do not have vision.  You are wasting your time, you are barking up the wrong tree.  And, this list of put offs/blow offs goes on.  But these naysayers do not take into account the human will, the desire to succeed and accomplish the goal.  

It took Thomas Edison 10,000 attempts before he created the incandescent light bulb.  And at every attempt, Edison meticulously documented his work; he took notes.  Ten thousand times.  He had his naysayers, but he pushed forward, because he believed in his dream, his work.  In our today's world, Thomas Edison may be considered a bit daffy.  Well, just consider who are the daffy ones, when you flip a switch and turn on your lights.  

Abe Lincoln lost every election he entered, with the exception of president in 1860.  His detractors condemned him, even after he was in office.  Modern psychiatry believes that Lincoln was clinically depressed.  Even if he was, he guided the United States through its most difficult and bloody era.  
Lincoln believed in and lived his dream, even though it killed him.  

How many dreams and aspirations have been killed or crushed by some heavy hand?  In our today, how many beginnings have been stopped by some form of, "no, you cannot do that because .....  ."  The sad answer is - one too many.  

The next time someone steps on your toes, kicks you in the balls, or pisses on your dream, ask them this:  what have you done in your lifetime to advance yourself and humanity?  Who are you to judge me and my dream?  What is it that makes my desire to create something special and good a threat to you and your interests?  Are your jealous that my success can out shine you?  Those who condemn another's efforts of any kind for self-improvement or positive human advancement are a sad bunch.  

These people harbor a belief that they are perfect; they are not.  They think that they have all the answers; they do not.  Believe in your dream and pursue it; the hell with them.  Asatru, the belief in the old Gods, supports those folks who want to advance themselves in a positive manner.  

Verse #9 from the Havamal - It is a happy man who is smart and clever.  Many times you will get bad advice when you ask (or it is thrust upon you......italics, mine) for another's opinion.  

                                            
                                            Copyright @2014 Terry Unger
    



          

      

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Redwoods





A 4G smart phone can put a person in contact with loved ones half a world away.  Also, it entertains its owner with game apps and can put a person in touch with a myriad of information from the Internet. But this device cannot beat a giant Redwood.  

Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to spend a few days among these beautiful trees.  A picture of one or even a picture of a group of them cannot do these magnificent trees any justice.  A person needs to experience them.  

When touching the bark, we had the feeling that they are a tough-skinned tribe.  As we gazed upward, we swore that they touched the sky, and had to have tap roots just as long, embedded deep within the Earth.  Several folks joined together and tried to give one of these Big Reds a group hug; they failed for lack of human arm span.  Then we discovered something truly amazing.  

Many of these trees are at least a thousand years old.  That means that they were here before Columbus. They already had healthy growth and years before Leif Ericsson and crew scampered ashore in North America over a thousand years ago.  We wondered, if these giants could talk, what would they tell mankind?  But would we listen or even care?  After all, it's only a thousand year old plus Giant Redwood, not a 4G smart phone, bound to be obsolete in a few months.   

                                                Copyright @2014 Terry Unger   

    

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Road To Hell





Today I was told that I was "going to Hell."  The reason that I was told this by a self-proclaimed authority is that my worldview collided with his.  And oh, the hate!  If hateful looks could  kill, I'd be stone cold dead.  But I am alive and well, and never felt better.  Maybe my well being has something to do with my worldview.  

Life and the world around me is good.  Prosperity and sex are good.  I revel in life and all that it has to offer.  Condemning life and the world as something bad or evil I see as not just silly and absurd but the ultimate folly.  And, living life in a draconian existence with the hope of some vague after-life promise is a wasted life; if you suffer enough in this life you may have earned a seat in paradise.  What kind of being, what kind of God demands brutal subservience that amounts to lowly serfdom?  A God that acts like a spoiled 13 year old in need of a spanking.  A God created in the image of the men who made him. Real divinity worthy of the title does not dole out punishment for non-belief or demand serfdom/servitude for vague promises of some heavenly paradise.  Only men do this, and have been doing this since the creation of Monotheism in ancient Egypt.  In this matter the old adage, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, does not apply.  The road to Monotheism's Hell was designed by the twins, Ignorance and Intolerance with the goals of servitude and blind faith as their guiding light. This road is paved with the flesh and blood of all those who "did not believe" in their one, true God.  

Every culture has its' native religion and folkway, many of which have been usurped but only partially buried by Monotheism in one form or another.  Today, for the people of Northern European ancestry, that folkway is called Asatru.  In a simple definition, Asatru means the belief in and the following of the old Gods.  But it is more than religion as we understand it.  It is a way of life, it is ancestry, it is culture, and it is heritage.  Northern soul, check it out. Come home.  There is a place prepared for you.  

                                                   Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

                                                              
   





        

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Shall, I Can, I Will





I shall not drink ale before it's brewed.  I shall not sing  a song before it's sung.  In both cases, of course not!  Those two sentences are the silliest I've ever written.  Ale must be made before it can be consumed; you have to make it yourself or buy it.  A song must be written, with deeds and words in one's heart or on a page before it can be sung.  Both require action on my part (and yours).  Maybe this phrase makes more sense - I cannot harvest before I plant.  

Just like a farmer or a gardener who tills the soil in preparation for planting, we must plan.  Planning is our way of tilling our personal "soil."  From planning comes action; we plant our "seeds," those things needed to make our plan grow.  But all the while, we too grow in knowledge and experience as our plan takes shape.  When the time of harvest arrives, we can take pride in our accomplishments.  Our accomplishments in life is the legacy we leave when we depart this life.  And while living, we can take pride in our accomplishments; our personal honor increases and our self-worth, self-esteem is not just healthy but is a light that can shine for others.  

Now drink your ale and sing your song - you've earned it.  

                                              Copyright @2014 Terry Unger       

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Old Time Religion



Recently on this blog (6/20/2014) I posted, Why One God Is Never Enough.  This was in response to what I perceived as the lack of understanding regarding sectarianism and sectarian violence; what is the source.  I was equally put out when I asked several young people about the what and whys concerning July 4th.....sorry, it's not about fireworks, beer, and hot dogs.  But this post is not about the valiant struggle of thirteen colonies struggling to free themselves from the yoke of imperial tyranny. Rather, it is taking the above mentioned post a step further; Monotheism as another form of tyranny.  

*Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines religion as - supernatural constraints, sanction, religious practice, to restrain, to tie back.... 1a:  the state of a religious.... b(1):  the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2):  commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance... 2: commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.... 2:  a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.  3 archaic:  scrupulous conformity.... 4:  a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.    

The same source* defines Monotheism as - the doctrine or belief that there is but one God (italics - mine).   

Monotheism is, bottom line, life and world rejecting.  Their adherents are told to sacrifice themselves in one way or another in this life for vague promises of paradise in the afterlife, an afterlife that is as vague as its promise.  Sadly, because of this vague promise, countless have died.  It is the only belief system that makes men kill one another over a vague religious promise of some Utopian, heavenly paradise based on supposed religious superiority.  You would think that rational people would find this repugnant; hope does spring eternal.  

This view and its subsequent behavior is contrary to our ancestor's worldview of life and world acceptance.  For them, life was good, the world that they lived in was good, and prosperity was good; killing a man because of a different religious opinion was not just silly but  unfounded.  It made absolutely no sense.  Fortunately today, we have a resurgence of these healthy life affirming virtues.  

This resurgence is called Asatru, loosely defined as belief in the Old Gods.  Check it out and free yourself from the tyranny of Monotheism.  Life is good.  The world is good.  Prosperity is good.  Enjoy it.  Northern soul, come home.  

* Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, Copyright @2007 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated   

                                                      Copyright @2014 Terry Unger





   
     

    







Thursday, July 3, 2014

Life Changes




There are things that we cannot avoid, lie growing older; it  happens so get over it.  Other things, like certain illnesses and disease are genetic and can create more than just an inconvenience for the bearer. However, proper diet, sleep, and exercise not just helps us to age gracefully, but can help reduce the edge of some genetic misfortunes.  Moreover, we are not just physical beings; we also are beings of mind.  

As we age the mind, like the body needs proper nurturing; feeding your head is a necessity.  Read good books, go to the opera, visit museums, or get on a bike and see the sights in adjoining neighborhoods. Find a hobby and do something with it.  You will surprise yourself with your creativity.  And, you just may start a small business for yourself.  There also is volunteer work to be had in any community. Don't laugh.  Those older folks that you see working as volunteers at local hospitals are happier and more fulfilled than those who sit on their ass and wonder where their life has gone.  

Growing old does not mean that you are finished.  You are done, stick a fork in it finished when you quit living.  The choice is yours.   

                                               Copyright @2014 Terry Unger  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Finding Polaris



Polaris, our North Star, can be found at the end of the "handle" on the constellation known as the Little Dipper.  Our pole star is only 2/3 of a degree off center from the north celestial pole.  It's a funny thing that the ancient Arabs considered Polaris not just an open hole in the sky, but believed it to be evil.  But for all of us, it marks the way due north, and the way home.  

Today, in our politically correct, plain vanilla world, many people struggle with their personal identity.  The question, who am I and where do I come from is often asked, albeit silently.  The good news - you have your personal Polaris.  

You have your family, you have your ancestors.  You have your culture and therefore a heritage.  And, you have so many things locked within your unconscious mind that you can tap into.  These things are your collective Polaris.  When you center on these things, you begin your journey home and discover who you are.  Take the journey, it's worth the trip.    

                                                    Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tarr Saxon's Visit

The other day, an old friend, Tarr Saxon came to visit.  Over good food and beer, we talked about many things, especially the future.  And, he made me an offer I could not refuse.  It seems that the old guy is going cyber-retail!  You can find his latest venture, Tarr Saxon's Asatru Warehouse,  right here on my blog !!!!  http://terryunger.blogspot.com.  Tarr is constantly adding new products.  This is the place to buy your Asatru/Heathen Yule cards!!! Take a look!!!

                                                     Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why One God Is Never Enough




We still hear about the sectarian violence between the Arab Muslim Sudanese north and the African Christian south, but it is almost drowned out by the sectarian violence that is coming from Iraq, again. The Shiite government promised to treat the Sunni minority fairly, which apparently it has not.  The rub, the difference between the two Muslim denominations?  The Shiites think that the Sunnis are damned because of the latter's refusal to accept an early religious leader as infallible.  On the other side of the fence, the Sunnis believe that the Shiites are heretics and apostates.  In both cases, this is what we in the western refer to as sectarianism and the manifested sectarian violence that accompanies it.  The thumbnail definition of all of this:  roiling bigotry, intolerance, hate, and gross discrimination that is brought against another denomination of the same religion, or any other religion/way of life that does not share the same world view (now think ISIS). Sometimes, political ambition is thrown in for the added spice.  Well, the Christian dominated west is not without its history of sectarian violence.  

The western Roman Emperor Constantine and his eastern counterpart Licinius, in 313 C.E. issued a joint decree known as the Edict of Milan.  This decree, among other things, legitimized all sects of Christianity and gave them, along with all the various Pagan and Heathen folkways, religious freedom. It also gave the Christians the green light to commit sectarian violence among themselves. People died over religious dogma.  

The Edict of Thessalonica, issued in February 380 C.E. by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, made all Heathen and Pagan folkways illegal within the borders of the the Roman Empire.  And the practice of these now illegal religions was punishable by death.  This Edict did not stop there.  Theodosius's Edict made Nicene Trinitarian Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire.  And, along with all Pagan and Heathen religions, all other sects of Christianity were outlawed.  This gave the Catholic Trinitarians, now known as the Roman Catholic Church, the ability to open wide the doors of sectarian violence, not just against fellow Christians, but also against Pagans and Heathens.  Many more people died.  Let's skip ahead about four centuries.  

Charlemagne was hell bent on conquering territory and people for Christ, and the Roman Church was more than implicit in his actions.  But the Heathen Saxons were not easy for him to overcome.  Even though many nobles came over to Charlemagne's way of thinking, most of the general population refused to lie down, roll over, and play dead.

The Thirty Years Saxon War began in 772 C.E. under dubious circumstances.  Some say the Saxons burned a Church and others say the charge was contrived to give Charlemagne "just cause" to invade Saxony, convert the Heathen Saxons and add their land to his Frankish Kingdom.  This sectarian violence was finally over in 802 C.E.  Charlemagne was victorious, but tens of thousands perished under his conversion sword.  Among other things, he employed the time honored use of terror and deportation, from the beginning of his sectarian violence to the end.  Also, he put draconian laws into place against the Saxons for practicing their ancient folkway; if you were caught you were beheaded. As a violent sectarian reprisal for a triumphant Saxon victory over one of his armies, Charlemagne had 4,5000  Saxons beheaded at a place known as Verden; all were charged with practicing their ancient religion.  When Pope Hadrian heard this news, he created a three day holiday to celebrate "this great Christian victory."  Only fools will dismiss this as not being sectarian violence.

All the Cathars (aka - Albigensians) wanted to do was live in peace and practice their version of Christianity.  But they were in southern France and Pope Innocent III could let that heresy stand in Christendom.  In 1209 C.E., he ordered the Cathar's Crusade; it lasted a bloody 20 years.  About 15 years into this conflict, the King of France threw his hat into the ring on the side of the Pope.  This king's actions had nothing to do, as least directly, with religion.  He wanted the land of the renegade nobles and got it.  Tens of thousands died in this sectarian violence as it solidified the Dominican Order and the dreaded Inquisition.  And through the Inquisition, more death, destruction, and property confiscation happened due to sectarianism in the name of the one true God.

A few centuries later, we have the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter Reformation, complete with its Office of the Inquisition.  This was sectarian violence, par excellence.

The majority of the fighting took place in what is now Germany.  It is estimated that during the Thirty Years War, at least 40% of the population perished; each side believed that it had the one and only true God on its side (a great book about this time is - The Warwolf - A Peasant Chronicle of the Thirty Years War by Hermann Lons).  There is an underlying, past and present reason for this kind of sectarianism and the violence that a accompanies it.

Put on your big boy pants, tighten your belt, pull up your socks, and tuck in your shirt.  This underlying, underpinning root cause for this sectarianism and violence is Monotheism.

Monotheism is the staunch belief in the one, or in a "one true God," and that belief is backed up by a Holy Book of sacred scripture, supposedly from the mouth of the one true God himself.  There are three versions of Monotheism, all claiming to be the "correct" one.  However, all three versions have a few things in common.
      
Since all three declare that their version is correct, they have no problem declaring that the other two are either false or incomplete (remember the Shiites and Sunnis....the Catholics and Protestants?). Since rigid adherence to the one true God is blind acceptance, that makes all other Gods not just false, but demons in disguise.  Therefore, these false Gods, along with their followers, must be destroyed. The rabid adherence to these beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, and more is the cool-aid  that makes people fly planes into tall buildings, strap bombs on kids, popes giddy with joy over mass murder, awards sainthood to killers, and awards metals to those who commit the most heinous of sectarian violence, all in the name of the one true God.

Monotheism offers a draconian worldview, one of life denying and world rejecting,  putting all its chips on some vague hope of an ethereal after-life with the one true God.  On the other hand, Polytheism, especially those polytheistic folkways that put an emphasis on one's ancestors, are the exact opposite.  These ancient and ancestral religious folkways were then, as they are now, life affirming and world accepting.  The emphasis is placed on living a good and productive life now, and the future, including any after-life, will take care of itself.  And, you will not find in recorded history any record of a polytheistic ancestral, life and world accepting religious culture forcing its religion and worldview on the vanquished.  This only happened in the past, and it continues to happen today when Monotheistic cultures used and continue to use sectarian violence and terror to control and dominate a lesser culture/people.  Maybe its time to invite the old Gods and old ways back into our lives, and toss the usurpers into their own, ready made lake of fire.

Author's Notes:      Informational Sources - the Internet.
                     This is just a simple blogpost that offers the briefest thumbnail sketch concerning sectarian violence due to differing religious worldviews.  To give this subject the justice it deserves, volumes could and should be written.


                                               Copyright @2014/2015 Terry Unger                  







                  

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Forest





The forest moves in grace and beauty,
patiently waiting her man's rebirth. 
Her man now sleeps, with heavy mood,
destroying all in his careless path.
The forest moves in grace and beauty. 

Heavy is her sigh, the graceful forest,
hoping not all is lost, forgotten by her man. 
She remembers how life once was,
earth and flesh, living as one. 
The forest sighs with grace and beauty. 

She sees her man taking, with greed,
  taking without cause, and not replacing.  
Forest ponders, what happened to her man,
to make him a thief of life.
The forest sees her man with grace and beauty. 

Sensing, she does, the lost numbers of her kind,
filled with remorse, but still waiting for her man. 
She well knows the poisoning of her man, 
how ill fit verses, choked out his true life. 
The forest waits with grace and beauty. 

She knows well, those ill fit verses, 
overheard, she did, the verse's sponsors. 
Verses they were, from foreign land, 
 where little grows, and much is sand.  
She waits for her man, with grace and beauty.

One day, she knows, her man will awaken,
and the ill fit verses, will fall away. 
Thoughts of reunion excite her, 
her man coming home to all.  
  The Gods too, are with her, waiting for man. 


Copyright @2014 Terry Unger  









Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Warrior's Prayer



Living in this world, are we not warriors?  Just getting to work can be a struggle.  Do we not do battle daily with those things that stand in our way for a better life?  To provide for family and self?  To strike against those things that threaten personal identity?  Against those things that want to make life harder?  And are we not humbled, by that which forces our knees to bend?  When knee is bent against personal will, there is no shame in calling out for help.  It is human.  And it is Okay.  This may help. 

Prayer to AllFather

For all who need help, strength, and direction......

AllFather, I have wasted my time thinking about many things; this was not one of them. It came upon me and attacked me like a thief in the night; I was unprepared and it took me by surprise. But I will not surrender. I will fight with every ounce of my being. I want to live the rest of my life well, even if my time is short, my days now numbered. All though I have been lax in what I should have done, in what I should have said, AllFather give me not just strength but also direction. If needed, point me to the mists where I can see my line, back to the beginning, as they call out to me to join them in the many Halls of Asgard, where the noble can live forever.



  Inspired by the movie, The 13th Warrior  

                                                Copyright @2014 Terry Unger     

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Butter and Steak



The Paleo Diet is, in my opinion and in the opinion of other folks, terrific.  It gives me extra energy, with the bonus of lower orchestral and lower triglycerides.  In the strictest adherence of the diet, it eliminates all grains (breads, etc), potatoes, dairy products, sugars, and vegetable oils.  It does not eliminate fresh fruits and vegetables.  It was a personal delight to read a major article printed in The Wall Street Journal.  

Within the pages of this noteworthy newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, the weekend edition, Saturday/Sunday, May 3 - 4 2014, in the review section, is an article titled, Fat Reconsidered......The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade.  It features a cow on the page.  I will not give you the link.  If you are interested, you will google it.  It's a great piece.  Within it you will find.......

- How bad science and politics, coupled with ambition, has dictated how and what we eat for over 60 years. 
- Why any kind of vegetable oil is not good for you and why butter and even lard can be better.  
- Why grains (cereal grains) are not good for you. 
- How the facts of heart disease have been distorted.
-Why fat does not make you "fat" or diabetic; carbs do.  
- How Proctor and Gamble helped to create and fund The American Heart Association (AHA), and how this influenced the USDA.  
- How since the 1940's, it has been known that when vegetable oils are heated (like in fryers), they produce by-products that can lead to cirrhosis or the liver....and death.  
- Before the end of WWII, many health issues of today were rare.  

It's hard for me to say that bad science should be given a pass; it should not.  A person's general health and well being is essential to a long, prosperous, and productive life.  Over 60 years ago, a select few, prompted by what appeared to be righteous science, "fixed" what was truly not broken within our diet. I do not blame these people.  They believed that the science was correct.  Today we know better. Hence my advocacy of the Paleo Diet.  

Forget those oils, fire up the grill and prep the meat.  Eat those veggies and fruits.  And use those cereal grains to make beer; fermentation eliminates harmful microbes.

                                                 Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

   

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Man Called Egil



There are many people you will meet in your lifetime that you will like; they may be nothing more than acquaintances that can hold up their end of a good conversation.  Then there are others that, to use and old phrase, creep you out.  Egil Skallagrimsson,  of the long ago Viking Age, was a man that people either liked or just plain did not.  In any case, friend or not, a person did not want to get on Egil's bad side.  Egil could go from a state of hateful battle rage to composing some of the world's most beautiful poetry in a matter of seconds.  

Egil was not born a handsome child; some believe that his fiery temper developed while he was still in his mother's womb, taking away any chance of generous features.  That temper often ruled over reason and Egil killed his first time at a very young age.  After reporting to his parents about the first life he had taken, Egil's mother predicted that one day he would be a great Viking leader.  It seems that mothers know everything; she was right.  

Remarkably, Egil often composed his skaldic verse, loaded with kennings, after he defeated and dispatched an opponent.  This begs the question:  how thin and/or perforated is the line between berserker rage and poetic genius?  Maybe sometimes that's why the term divine madness is used when going from rage to creativity.  But what do I know.  The only things I kill are words and the occasional mosquito.     

                                                   Copyright @2014 Terry Unger

Friday, April 18, 2014

Balder Died




There is much wisdom to be gained from The Prose Edda, The Poetic Edda, and the sagas of Northern Europe.  These stories and prose are rich in meaning and so often this meaning runs deeper then just the words on the pages.  Balder's story is one of these.  

Balder is the son the High One, Odin, and his wife, the Goddess Frigga.  Often, Balder is referred to as "beautiful, the shining one."  Balder is a good God.  But, Balder had a bad dream, a nightmare; he will die.  He tells mother Frigga and as all good mothers would do, she does everything in her power to prevent her beautiful son's death.  Frigga exacts a promise from all creation that it/they will not harm her son.  Well, almost all creation.  She passed over the lowly mistletoe, thinking that it was too puny and insignificant to harm her big strong Balder.  That was a mistake.  

Negative, chaotic forces, embodied in the character known as Loki, discover the error.  In grand devious fashion, Loki makes a dart from a mistletoe sprig and cons the blind God Hodr to throw the dart at Balder.  Loki goes as far as guiding Hodr's hand.  The dart strikes Balder, and he falls dead. Now, Balder journeys to the underworld, ruled over by one of Loki's bastard kids, Hel.  Throughout the rest of the Multiverse, hysteria reigns.  

Finally, the Gods see clearly enough through their collective grief and come up with a plan to bring Balder back to life.  Hermondr, another son of Odin and Frigga, takes Odin's eight legged horse Sleipnir, and rides to Hel's domain to try and work out a deal with Hel.  If all of creation would weep for Balder, Hel said, she would release him.  Hermondr returns and the plan is put into motion.  All of creation wept, except for one being, Loki in the guise of a giantess.  Since the deal could not be completed, Balder must remain, dead.  

Death never is a pleasant topic; no one wants to die.  But, this story illustrates some important points.  

There is nothing that you can do to escape death and there is nothing that can be done to bring you back to life.  We and all that grows, dies.  Before you hit the delete button, read on.  There is a positive side to all of this.  

Life is a gift.  It is meant to be lived well and celebrated daily.  Also, life is good and honest prosperity is good.  Living an honorable life and being successful and generous is a hallmark of a good life.  Consider this:  if a person could accurately predict other people's date of death, this guy would make a fortune - all of us would want to know.  Out of this, two kinds of people would emerge.  One kind would run out and live the rest of his life to the fullest, not wanting to die with a list of "woulda shoulda's" in his pocket.  The other kind would do nothing but crawl into a corner and wait; he would stop living.  Living in fear of death is sad.  

So is accepting that life is nothing but trial and tribulation, with the expectation of reward for suffering in some kind of after-life.  What a waste of a life.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, suffering is not forever. Life gives us the opportunities for prosperity and love.  A good, noble life in the present, one filled with love, happiness, success, and generosity lays the planks on which the next one is built.  Sitting in a corner, scared of your own shadow and doing nothing, does not.  

                                               Copyright @2014/2017 Terry Unger   




   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

On Certain Addictions, Family, Dick Tracy, and Captain Kirk


In the past, I have written about our modern technology in a manner that some folks believed I was trying to rain down hell-fire upon it.  That belief is incorrect.  I have droned on and will continue to drone on about our addiction to these hi-tech toys.  It is the addiction, not the toys that I see as a problem.  Well, what would Dick Tracy and Captain Kirk do?  

Long before television, the Dick Tracy comic strip was syndicated and appeared in the majority of American newspapers.  Tracy had a special communication device; his wristwatch was a telephone. At the time, no one ever dreamed that a phone like Tracy's would or ever could be a reality.  Now there is a company that sells them.  Today, Tracy being Tracy would tell you to care for the device, but when the day's work was completed, he also would tell you to take the device off of your wrist, just like you take off your shoes, and relax with your family; chill out, kick back, grab a beer and listen to the stories that your family has to tell you.  

During the late 1960's, the Enterprise was going everywhere, and Kirk usually led the ground team.  At one point he'd flip open his "communicator" and say something like, "Beam us up Scotty.  There's nobody here except Spock's family."  At that time, a telephone like that in real time was unthinkable. Now, we have all kinds of them.  But at the end of the day, Kirk, like Tracy, would tell you to put down the damned phone and relax with your friends.  These are fictional characters, but speak to a higher truth.  

The family is the basic brick with which society is built; families make up clans, and clans become tribes.  Tribes make up a society.  However, it seems that our modern society has become a bit uneasy; it's getting worse.  These times put strenuous demands on all people and the addiction to smart phones and being "on-line and connected" makes the situation more tenuous.  The family is the hardest hit.  

Family meal time used to be a daily, almost sacred event.  Not anymore.  Other than an occasional grunt, parents and their kids do not talk at meal time; they are mesmerized with their on-line activity. It's amazing that food makes it into the mouth; only the Gods know if they chew.  But it's worse than that.  People have become disconnected with real life.  

This disconnected state has cut a wide swath across all age groups.  It has damaged the family and the individual's sense of self-worth.  It has hypnotized folks into believing that the cyber world is just as real and valid as the physical world.  The thing is, people have lost sense of their culture, something that can act like a compass on high seas.  Probably, this lost sense of culture may be a major contributor to folks feeling disconnected and why they rush into cyber-space to fill the need for "friends."  

People go on-line and openly talk about their real time problems.  And cyber friends have replaced real family and real friends.  Advice is freely given and taken by people who in all probability, will never physically meet.  What kids should talk openly about with their parents or older siblings they freely discuss with complete strangers.  Well, can you blame them?  Parents and siblings too are on-line. We need to make some adjustments, take some corrective steps, individually and collectively.  

The first step - we need to recognize what all of this fabulous technology really is:  tools, wonderful and awesome tools.  But, so are bench grinders, milling machines, hammers, manure spreaders, and Zamboni's.  When the job is finished, we put these machines away, until we need them again.  We sure as hell do not clean them up, plug them in and then put them on a night-stand.  

The second step - people must force themselves to make family first.  Put down the phone and talk to your kids.  Who do you want talking to your kids about sex?  An on-line stranger or you?  Who do you want to tell your spouse how awesome he or she is?  Someone on-line or you?  Put down the phone and talk.  Many times the idea about a family night, usually during the week, has been bandied about.  That's not enough.  Add to that one week night a full weekend day.  Unplug the phones, turn off the computer, get back to being a family.  

The third step - On a regular basis, get outside of your house and commune with Nature.  Plant a tree, hug a tree, or sit beneath one and meditate.  Plant a vegetable and flower garden; get your hands in the dirt.  Go fishing, hunting, or both.  Believe me, if you would go fishing or hunting with some of the folks I know and bring along your smart phone, you would be lucky to go home with it in one piece.  Visit national parks, state parks, and wildlife preserves.  The point is to turn off the electronics, put them away and get outdoors.  

The fourth step - Do you get bored?  Let the smart phone and computer alone.  Grab a book, a physical book and read.  Treat your brain to a ride on the wild side.  It will love you for it.  

The fifth step - Discover your culture; find out where you came from.  Dig to find your roots; revel in them.    

When people are addicted, they will do anything for a "fix."  But the addiction to being on-line and "connected" can be just plain silly.  Is it really necessary to know that a cyber friend's dog had puppies?  Unless you are in the market for a "man's best friend" getting all gushy about pictures of puppies hundreds of miles away is, ah, well, different.  It begs the question, were you that enthusiastic when your kids were born?  How serious can it be when your cyber BFF "unfriended" you because you did not "like" something he posted to his wall?  If that happened, not only is the guy a jerk but never was a real friend.  In the real world, do you have a friend who would do that to you?  Really?  Over your not liking a picture?  Do you want your boss texting you on a Sunday morning wanting to know where the files for his XYZ client can be found?  As far as your boss goes, unless he is paying you more money than God, he and those files can wait until Monday morning.  Frankly, this falls just a tad short of bullying.  Besides, even though you cannot see it, the shit sends texts to half the office asking the same question.  And then we have our extremely personal moments.  Why would you want to be on-line and connected, ..... in there?  What? You gonna snap some "selfies?"  Finally, we have the idiot who talks, texts, and drives, all at the same time.  When he puts his car up a poll he is still clueless.  It's time to put down the electronics and reconnect with family, friends, nature, and culture.    

This addiction to being connected and on-line at all costs, I believe, can be broken with the previous mentioned five steps.  We need to remember that these electronic devices are tools to be used to serve us.  They are not and should not be treated or thought of as additional human appendages. Unfortunately, this message will fall on not just blind eyes but also deaf ears.  That's too bad.  So, what would Tracy and Kirk do?  Tracy just might shoot you and then put you in jail.  Kirk would slap you silly and put you in rehab.  Both characters would sight neglect as their reason.    

                                           Copyright @2014 Terry Unger     

     

      








           

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Hole In Space



This hole that I am referring to in the title is not a black hole; it is the hole in cyberspace.  It is the assumption of many of us that if it is on the Internet, it must be true.  That assumption is reinforced by another:  everything and anything can be found on the Internet.  This is so not true.  

If a historical society or any other repository of historical data decides to not enter all, any, or none of its' data on the Internet, the cyber seeker misses out.  The decision to not enter data by these groups has many reasons, but the most common is that the information is so old that photos of any kind can damage the pages on which the information was written.  In other words, it's fragile.  So, the amateur seeker must turn off the computer, get out of the chair, and visit the home where the fragile data resides. However, many people will not do this.  Most certainly this is not any fault of the repository; personal experience has shown them to be quite accommodating.  The fault lies in the belief held by the seeker that the Internet is the Holy Grail of information and that any other sources are non-existent.  Anything and everything is on the Internet and if it's on the Internet it must be true.  This is pompous ignorance. There is one more thing.  Internet access is quick and easy.  But quick and easy does not necessary make it right; it makes us lazy.        

The seeker may find the basics of what he or she is looking for on the Internet but this should be considered nothing more than a skeleton outline.  It takes some dedication to cause that drags the seeker out of of his chair to do some field work.  This field work includes not just visiting these places.  It also includes, if possible, interviewing people, and then looking for detailed information in university libraries.  This is a tried and true method of basic research.  It's how it was done before the Internet.   

                                                   Copyright @2014 Terry Unger         

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why We Fight

On this 4th of July......




Every age and every life has its share of strife.  But strife is just one thing that's often lowered to things like stress at work, traffic snarls, or being over weight.  The meaning of the word has been dumbed down by the politically correct police to lull us into a sense of "this is normal."  At one time, strife was akin to chaos.  

In days past, some of which include recent recorded history, men and women rose to the challenge and took a stand against strife.  Strife in its many facets is that which assaults all that is good and wholesome  in life.  This good and wholesome includes not just your way of life; it includes the very existence of life itself.  

When an individual person's body (disease) is faced with oppression from invading forces bent on chaos, there can be only two paths of action.  One path is submission.  Here, the individual relinquishes personal freedom and submits to whatever chaos has to offer.  The other choice is to fight.  

When a person chooses to fight, he or she has made a conscious decision to take a stand against the invading tyranny.  All methods are employed to not just defeat the invader, but to expel him.  This fight takes heart and a huge chunk of will (ask any cancer survivor); it cannot be a small effort.  

If a man's home is invaded, the above two choices also apply.  If you submit, you die.  If you fight, you have a chance to live.  If one's way of life is assaulted, submission gives way to the forced adoption of a foreign belief, while fighting against the invader can lead to his defeat.  It always comes down to these two actions; submit or fight.  

So why do we fight?  We fight to live.  We fight to preserve our way  of life.  We fight to live free from the oppression of disease and from foreign oppressors.  We fight to keep our freedom.  No kind of freedom can be had without a fight.  So, we fight the good fight.

Author's Note:  Since this was first published, quite a bit has happened in the world.  In particular, the Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS.  They have beheaded people, burned various religious shrines, and have become quite adept at forced religious conversion (convert or die).  All of this seems so far away.  Do not be lulled into sense of false security; nobody thought that September 11 could happen - I will never forget where I was or what I was doing on that fateful day.  Can you?  The Islamic State has threatened the Western world.  They have threatened the USA.  They have threatened our way of life. And yet, we still have our own home grown knuckle-heads that think it's cool to burn our flag in the name of free speech.  It's time to grow up.  

                                                Copyright @2014, 2015 Terry Unger    



         

Friday, March 28, 2014

What, Me Worry?


The times of our lives bring us laughter, joy, regret, and worry.  It is unfortunate that the joy and laughter way to often are overshadowed by regret and worry.  This too, is a part of or lives.  The old saying, you've made your bed, now you must lie in it, dovetails well with the old world concept of orlog and wyrd; we are our words and deeds.  But obsessing over what might come down on your head in the future only serves to rob you of needed sleep and peace of mind.  The ancient Havamal says this:  
Verse 23 - The witless man / is awake all night, 
                  Thinking of many things; 
                 Care-worn, he is / when the morning comes, 
                 And his woe is just as it was (italics mine). * 

You may be able to change a thing or two that will mitigate your circumstances.  But do it in the morning, after a good night's sleep.  The problem will still be there when you awake.  A clear head can work wonders.  

* The Havamal, from The Poetic Edda, Henry Adams Bellows translation, 1936.

                                             Copyright @2014 Terry Unger 




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's Your Worth?


John is a good man.  He has a nice house that his wife has made into a home for John and their two children.  He has an above average job that more than pays the bills and puts food on the table.  The casual observer would believe that John is a happy guy; he is not.  Unfortunately, he listens and takes to heart other people's opinions.  These people have no real stake in John's life nor he in theirs.  As becomes the fate of many, John, within the deep of his mind, elevated these people to being greater in life than he.  Sadly, John's sense of self-worth is in the toilet.  He, and he alone gave them power over his self-esteem, his feeling of worth and value.  Fortunately, that power can be easily broken.  The Havamal, ancient wisdom from the northern lands states that:  

Verse 22 - A paltry man / and poor of mind, *
                 At all things ever mocks (italics mine);
                 For never he knows / what he ought to know,
                That he is not free from faults (italics mine).  

Nobody is perfect.  And, many of us are or have been "John" at one point in our lives.  When we step back and take a hard look at these "friends," we find them living in glass houses supported by toothpicks; don't take these people seriously - they will suck the life force right out of you.  And know that they love to feast on your distress.  From time to time, all of us need to take stock of what we already have and what we are capable of doing.  The Havamal says:  

Verse 68 - Fire for men / is the fairest gift, * 
                 And power to see the sun;
                 Health as well / if a man may have it, 
                And a life not stained with sin.  

Verse 69 - All wretched is no man / though never so sick; *
                 Some from their sons have joy,
                 Some win it from kinsmen / and some from their wealth,
                And some from worthy works.  

Verse 70 - It is better to  live / than lie a corpse, *
                 The live man catches the cow; 
                 I saw flames rise / for the rich man's pyre,
                And before his door he lay dead.  

We all have self-worth and sometimes simple reflection helps us find it.  Other times, reading some of the verses from The Havamal can be a big help.  Do not let the blood sucking nay- sayers steal your worth.  Since they are probably not paying your bills, tell them, to bugger off.   

* The Havamal, from The Poetic Edda, Henry Adams Bellows translation, 1936

                                         Copyright @2014 Terry Unger








                     
   

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