Religious (and other) Predator Defense

Before I continue, I wanted to state this up front, as this is very important no matter how much of this post you may wish to read:

“If any religious type people approach or talk to you, and this makes you angry, it is time to do some serious introspection, and find out why you feel threatened! Take some quiet time to determine why you believe what you believe. If you believe in nothing, that is fine too, but know why. For some people, belief in nothing is its own belief system, and as valid as any other belief system. Ignorance of why you believe what you believe creates fear, and this type of fear is groundless.”

Religious Predators deny who they are. Preferring to appear in Sheep’s clothing instead. Pretending concern over your well being, your future and your soul. Never mentioning they are on a recruitment campaign and you are the next most likely candidate.

Some predatory religions take on the guise of Christian religions. The word Christian is used in a very loose context with them. However, there are many, many groups out there who profess to other beliefs that sound as if they could be Christian’s with a few modifications to the verbiage. Others are more obscure, and their beliefs are farther from the middle of the road than many are comfortable with.

Religious predators are not limited to Christianity. They can be an offshoot of any belief system. Buddhism, Taoism, Daoism, Cultism, every major and minor religion has its less than stellar subsets. No set of beliefs is immune to predation by Wolf’s posing in Sheep’s clothing.

What should you do when approached by someone who apparently has more in mind than asking how your day is? The answer is both complex, and simple. Most people’s answers and reactions are personality based, and rarely grounded in a rational thinking process. Let’s change that into something positive.

The first and foremost things to remember is, “Be street smart“. Do not volunteer any information you would not want a complete stranger to know. These people are complete strangers. Treat them with respect, and keep them at arms length.

When the matter of belief or religion comes up, it’s time to, “Man or Woman up”, as the case may be. Whether you prefer complete honesty, or a fabricated tale, the choice is yours. It really doesn’t matter if both of you know you are lying. Basic politeness prevents a stranger from calling another stranger out for a lie.

Telling the truth about your beliefs is plausible. For example, “I believe our purpose on this Earth, is to love one another and get along as best we can.” You do not have to go into more detail, other than to say you are happy where you are at. This is my way of firmly stating I am not interested without being rude.

The worst way to manage a conversation with a Religious Predator is injecting energy into the conversation, by being rude or challenging them. Remain calm, and be firm, they are people too. There is no need to disagree with comments they make which you think are wrong. Disagreement opens the door to more conversation. You want to end the conversation, not enter into a prolonged debate.

If the situation permits, state you have to attend to some task where they would not be welcome – use the bathroom for example. Say you need to attend to some distasteful task (picking up dog droppings for example) and they are welcome to join you. Finally, say you need to end the conversation because you have to get home, go inside your house, meet someone, rescue your meal from the stove.

In any of the above examples, you have not opened a door for a Religious Predator to challenge your belief system, force you into conversation or debate (which you will probably lose), as debate is their strength, or have caused any reason for offense. You are simply saying, ‘I have a life and need to attend to it’.

Anger and arguing are poor choices in most situations. You open yourself with emotion, and emotion is a slippery slope on which to mount a defense. If you can not reasonably speak to a potential Religious Predator standing in front of you, simply say, “I am busy and not interested, Thank you”, as you close the door or walk away.

When I hear of someone speaking in anger or being rude, it tells me the person is unsure of themselves and their beliefs. They are bogged down with emotion. As far as religious or other predators are concerned, angry people have a target on their forehead.

Finally, religious predators will want to leave you with a pamphlet, or perhaps a small book for you to read. Politely say, “No thank you”. Accepting material opens the door to further conversation and visitation. If you are curious about the Group, the Internet is your friend with thousands of sites more than willing to share with you any information you wish to know.

If you come home, and find information left on your doorstep, and you can stand the mess, leave where it was placed. Let it fall to the ground. You need to provide a firm message as to what, “Not interested”, means. If you take pamphlets in to throw away, you are creating an opening for further visitation and conversation.

Religious Predation is not something new, it wasn’t invented this year, and has been around as long as belief and religion have existed. A Religious Predator in your face may be new to you, but they are well polished and have lots of experience in accomplishing their objective. Follow the steps I listed above, or create a new plan on your own, and you will be successful.

In their defense, some people I have had conversation with whom I consider Religious Predators, do not see themselves in the same light. They think they are doing what their beliefs tell them they should be doing. Once again, they are just people, so treat them as you wish to be treated and all will be well.

Religious Predators Are After You

Religious Predators are looking to recruit you!

Having finished another period of having people show up at my door for weekly, “Bible” lessons, I realized there is a lot of information you really need to know. Over the previous decades, I have been visited numerous times by various groups, though they all act basically the same.

Some visits were stop and go, others longer term. They all have the same predatory practices, with hidden secondary motives. I won’t be so dramatic as to suggest your soul is in peril, but your lifestyle, family and friends are, if you are not awake and cautious.

Each time I receive a “visit”, I listen cautiously and carefully to what they tell me. I am not so vain, to think I have a lock on belief and knowledge. Caution is key in these situations though. You are constantly challenged to offer opinion or manipulated into a position of arguing a point where you may have no real knowledge, understanding or grounding.

I have Family and Friends who had solid foundations in their respective beliefs and religion. After some months of interaction with Predatory Religion visitors, they unthinkingly recruit themselves into the, “New and Better Belief System and Religion”. For the first months, they generally said little about their day to day life. They would give glowing reviews on how great the people are, what they were learning, and how much their life has improved. A “new” family was often implied.

Slowly, they grew more distant. They said they were learning the real way to believe and act. They were unknowingly transforming themselves from new recruit, into pliable student, to becoming the new recruiter – incidentally, at the bottom of their new ‘family’ food chain. Conversation with family and friends changed to discourse of how everyone is lost and confused, in danger of losing their soul, and ending up in hell.

Then the hook in their mouth is pulled tight. They are now required to not only attend all group functions, but participate in the solicitation of new members in more than their spare time – almost all their time is spent in recruitment. Their own family slowly becomes a dim memory. One was required to become a, “Street Preacher”, in hopes of recruitment of those truly lost on the streets. This in most rational opinions was dangerous and unwelcome street level evangelism.

Most of them dropped out about a year later and went back to reclaim their old religion and reclaim their lost life and now distant and distrustful distant family. One true believer stayed away for many years, always sacrificing more and more of his personal time, work time, and quality of life to promote and recruit new members, because “Church” peer pressure expected this of him.

He was punched on a few occasions while door to door preaching, but it was all in the name of the “truth”. This doesn’t include the times he was yelled at, sworn at, or otherwise demeaned. When he finally had enough and tried to slow down, he was Shunned and Ignored by his Church Group. This was an emotionally devastating time for him. His support system had been pulled out from under him, leaving him in a void. His “Church” was all he had. He lost his job of course as a Church Group Member was his boss.

He had distanced himself from friends and family for years, and was now ignored by his Church Group. He had no one to turn to. He had no current friends. He did not feel he could contact anyone and ask for help as he felt he burned his bridges with family and friends.

In the end he left his home without notice and quietly moved to a new City, hoping his church group would never locate him. After some months, he was located, after distancing himself from this group’s peer pressure, and barely disguised harassment by those who wanted him back in the fold. He was a valuable resource to them. They wanted him back.

These are some of the traits of Religious Predators who will be approaching you soon – if they have not already. In no particular order:

1. Have a pleasing personality

2. Make you feel special

3. Express a sense of urgency for your salvation

4. Are convinced the world is about to end

5. Propose to have the correct belief system

6. Urge you to share their beliefs and point of view

7. Feign being “offended”, that ‘some’ people they contact act rudely towards them

8. Schedule time to have ‘religious conversation’ with you

9. Share “real”, knowledge with you

10. Bible referenced chapter and verse to support their story

11. Bible chapter and verse re-enforcement of what you are being taught

12. Subtle suggested psychological restraints on your current belief system or religion

13. Claim to be a “Religion”, and not a “Cult”

I think 13 is the correct number to stop at. I hope the number 13 makes you think. These Groups are mainly comprised of Religious Predators. Preying on People who they think of as ‘lost’, or perceive to be lonely or vulnerable. They will try to slowly integrate themselves into your life, drawing you away from your life, slowly turning reforming your beliefs into their beliefs.

Over Fifty? Exercise is not an Option

Okay, time to come clean and do some sharing. I don’t like being old. I especially do not like feeling old. If you have read anything in any of my Diet and Exercise posts, you know I am a big fan of walking. Exercise is so important for us all and especially the over fifty crowd.

As my Doctor saw I turned fifty he said, “The good times are over, get used to it.” I was devastated. He must be joking. I’m only fifty, I am not getting ready to go make my funeral arrangements. Once the shock of what he told me wore off, I started investigating.

It does seem around fifty is when, if we allow it we start to degrade and fall apart. It gets worse. How fast we degrade and fall apart is totally dependent on how little or much we do to keep body in good condition. It like what the caption on one of my diet and exercise cartoon posts:

“What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?” – Randy Glasbergen February 20, 1957 – August 11, 2015

I didn’t believe it then, but I am a member of the choir now. Simply put, enough can not be said about the importance of real exercise for everyone, especially for people over fifty. Think about how you feel. Everything is getting a little harder, a little more frustrating?

Standing in a static position used to be a non issue, suddenly after thirty seconds something starts to hurt? After a minute, it really gets painful! Yard work that used to be so relaxing, has taken on the proportions of a mammoth undertaking? No pun intended, but if it is strenuous yard work you are doing, you may start to feel feel you are on the way to the undertaker.

When did all this happen? Where did these pains, creaks, and cracks come from? They started the day you sat or laid down on the couch instead of going out and doing something! Little by little we tone down our activities from the mostly physical, to couch surfing.

What I have read many times in books is true. Up until the last hundred years, we had to work for our food. We had to hunt and gather. We had to walk miles and carry heavy pieces of meat back home. We had to carry all our gathered fruits and vegetables, sometimes miles back to our home. After a few days lounging around, we had to do it again.

As we grew older, we aged little – on the inside. Not like today, where it is acceptable too slowly degrade to a cane, a wheel chair, a hospital bed, and death. A few generations ago, if we did not hunt and gather, we didn’t live long enough to get old. We exercised as a life style, not for something to do.

For some people growing weak and decrepit is acceptable. That’s what their folks did, so it must be normal. In just a few generations we have forgotten, what it’s like to live a full life until almost the end and then fall apart quickly. Why anyone would want to live the life of someone in there late eighties for the last twenty years of their life is beyond me!

The More you exercise, the better life you live!

I know from repeated personal experience, if you want to feel twenty years younger in a few weeks, start walking three to four miles every day, and/or join a gym and use it. It is amazing how those painful joints, creaks, and cracks go away in a few weeks of exercise. Those heavy boxes, suddenly are twenty pounds lighter. Yard work is no longer punishment. Wow.

In short the joy in life is back! All it takes is a three week start on a life long plan of getting as much exercise as you can manage. You may feel like you have been hit by a truck when you start. If so, take two aspirin, and slow down. It took all your life to get in this bad of shape, take a few months of going slowly but steadily to get your body back a healthy state.

Find things you like to do that can be counted as real exercise. Mix weights with some walking, rowing, hiking, anything that gets your heart beating faster for more than a few seconds.

While you are doing all this, you may want to think about foods you are putting in your mouth. Just like the old computer saying, “Garbage in, Garbage out”, the food you eat effects you more now than it ever did.

I used to have pizza and beer some days for lunch and dinner, but those days are long gone. As Clint Eastwood said in one of his movies, “A Man has got to know his limits.” This applies especially with eating. I like feeling my heart beat.

Women, until menopause, it is thought (or was) have a somewhat natural immunity to bad diet and lifestyle. Men never did, it just gets worse faster over fifty. Sitting at a desk all day, typing, does need the calorie intake of a day laborer. You do not need a doughnut to start your morning. On the other hand, a day laborer over forty, should find something healthier to eat than burgers and fries.

So back to me, my come clean and share. This spring, I was walking over fifteen miles a week, and doing HIT – running and walking, feeling really good. That lasted until about the end of May. Then it started getting really hot on the walking path. Then it got hotter. A few days later, it became no fun. Baking in the sun, feeling the hot asphalt through my tennis shoes. I stopped walking because I didn’t want to be up at five to do it. – Like I couldn’t go out at eight or nine. What a sad excuse…

The end of May, June, and July came and went. By the end of July, I was starting to feel old. I hurt, the couch hurt, the bed hurt, my knees hurt. One shoulder and ankle joints were occasionally cracking as I moved. I was really feeling old. I was falling apart fast.

Three weeks ago, I had enough. I joined a gym for the whopping fee of $13.00 a month! Weight machines, stationary bicycles, treadmills, rowing machines and a shower to boot! In just a little over twenty-one days, I can’t say I feel like I am twenty. I can say I feel like I am forty again.

If I hadn’t been walking all these years, I would have thought how I was feeling was normal. Thankfully, due in part to my old doctor and his doom and gloom statement, I knew it was a small matter of exercise to knock off a few decades of how I feel.

I am working on what exactly is the best plan for the gym. Should I do cardio one trip and weights the next, or do them both on the same visit? I am not sure yet. I do know that in a month from now, I will have refined what I do and how I do it.

I want to have fun and feel young again. I want to have a low pulse rate, be as flexible as is reasonable, and be able to pick and move heavy items when I need to. In wrapping up, at any age, you define your own health and fitness. They are a package deal. The older you get the more important they become. Once you reach or drive by fifty, you have two choices.

You can choose to keep as fit and by default as healthy as you can be, or you can develop age and sedentary related problems as you slowly fall apart, living in pain while you wait to die.

While I wrote this for anyone over fifty, it applies to the younger crowd as well. Do you want to live your best live, or just survive? The choice is yours.

How much is a Vacuum Cleaner Worth?

A few weeks after I wrote about my vacuum cleaner losing suction and how I fixed it, my vacuum cleaner bit the dust. The manufacturer was not to be cheated out of the expected life span of their product. The vacuum’s time to be replaced had come.

Plastic being plastic, one crucial piece of the vacuum cleaner suffered the same stress most hard plastic suffers. A plastic piece snapped off, rendering the vacuum useless for anything except when using the wand. Not very practical….

After doing some research, it became obvious there were only two real choices, irrespective of brands. The first option was to buy an expensive replacement. The second option was to buy the cheapest acceptable vacuum cleaner I could find, and most people liked.

Buying a reasonably expensive vacuum cleaner had many pluses. It would clean well. It would work as expected. It would not break or wear out quickly. Finally, I would feel I made a good purchase. These are powerful pluses for something that rarely gets a thought after it is purchased, unless it is being used.

Of course, buying a reasonably expensive vacuum cleaner means tying up a lot of money into something that in this reality at least, brings little satisfaction. Vacuum cleaners are not like prized, high dollar Cars that are washed, waxed and shown off. Vacuums get taken out of storage, used and put away until the next time.

On the other hand, a well rated vacuum cleaner could be had for about one-fifth the price of the more expensive vacuum cleaner. Just like the more expensive vacuum cleaner models, people were happy with how it cleaned, how it held up, and generally how it functioned. What more is needed?

Here is where the economy of money comes in to play. In my experience, no matter how much I had paid for a vacuum cleaner in the past, they would last between five and six years before starting to break. If they didn’t outright break, they started doing their job in a less than stellar fashion. Sort of like my old vacuum losing vacuum.

When this five year fall apart stage happens, there are really only two options. Either purchase over priced replacement parts which fix one thing, but do not prevent other parts from breaking, or go shopping for a new expensive purchase that really doesn’t add to the initial value. An old vacuum is in essence an old vacuum. No one brags about a vacuum cleaner in general conversation.

How much really needs to be spent on one?

If I were to buy a cheap acceptable vacuum cleaner there was another set of possibilities. I would pay about one-fifth the price. At this price, I could buy five vacuums in five or six years, and still be below the price range of a more expensive vacuum cleaner.

I would feel better about spending less than $100.00 for a vacuum that is only thought about when it’s taken out to be used. Once again vacuum cleaners are not conversation makers or breakers.

The money I would save was worth more to me than having a more expensive vacuum. For the $400.00 or more price difference, I would have that extra money to spend somewhere else immediately and that feels better. If, or when the cheap vacuum breaks, replacing it with another cheap vacuum isn’t a deal breaker. I would not lose sleep over the cost of replacement.

I bought the cheaper vacuum. I am guessing, I will get at least two years out of it, before it needs replacing. In that time line, I will be $200.00 – $300.00 ahead dollar wise. The only downsides are I do not see it advertised with angelic voices humming, and the wand flex tube is a little shorter. For the price difference, I can live with those minor problems.

Not everything is this cut and dried when it comes to spending money. Sometimes spending more money initially brings more long term satisfaction. I think a good way to look at how much needs to be spent on a product is how it impacts my life. It is more important my vehicle is operating, then the carpet goes two extra days without being vacuumed.

It’s All in The Cloud, and Maybe Statistical Databases

Two years ago, I bought into the fantasy of Chromebooks. They were going to take over the computing world. I went (almost) all out, lots of memory, folds into a tablet. Thinking about the good things coming down the pipeline, it would be a great investment.

My Chromebook was going to replace one of my Desktops which were beginning to show their age. Just a few more programs or applications, some with local storage, and I would be all set. Two years later and this bubble has burst. I have a very expensive limited laptop or an overloaded tablet, depending on your view.

Apps missing local storage is the problem for me. Everything goes to the Cloud. I ask, what exactly is the Cloud? Why is my data safe, and why does every business and program want to store in the Cloud?

The Cloud is probably the same as one of my local hard drives, only tens of thousands of people are saving their files on it too. It is managed by thousands of people, some brilliant, some not so much. All prone to human error.

As with Application or game, nothing is for free. Buy a game and if you fail to spend money buying things for it, some algorithm(s) will filter you out, and is going to kick in and kill you off in one form or another.

Cloud Storage doesn’t always mean safe and secret storage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the Cloud any different? Why are all these mega Companies so willing to keep my personal secrets, my family photos, my password listing, my favorite collections text files. I am of the opinion, just like paid game apps, nothing is for free?

It must cost a lot of money keeping thousands if not tens of thousands of programmers working on keeping data in the Cloud is millions of users can put their stuff in the cloud? This money is not coming from a Cloud Company’s good will. Cloud Storage, Cloud Computing, anything Cloud is a Business. Business needs to make a profit to survive.

Sure, I can manage local storage, but it’s not as simple and painless as Cloud storage. Why is this? Because someone has access to our files, our personal information, and someone is studying us using our data for profit. Nothing is free.

I use my overpriced Chromebook for basic things. I have an email account on the Cloud. I have some documents on the Cloud. I play my few basic games. I do not have anything sensitive, private, or important on my Chromebook, or in the Cloud.

With all that being said, the Cloud is not a guarantee of data safety and security. Hundreds of people around the world are trying to hack Cloud storage somewhere, every day and night. No one hosting free Cloud storage guarantees your pics, documents, and other files will still safely be there tomorrow.

And back to my biggest issue with the Cloud, “If you don’t want anyone to know, don’t write it down.” Sometimes we have to write it down. We don’t have to send it to the Cloud though, encrypted or not. Do you know anything about your Cloud Storage? Who really runs it, what happens to your files? Apple’s recent Siri problem is a good example. Siri listens while you _______?

I think someday the Cloud will burst, and if we wish to have Cloud storage, we will pay real money for it. The data being sucked out of the pictures and files stored in the Cloud, will be the same types of information stored in the Cloud a decade from now. People are people, and we haven’t changed much in the last x thousand years.

In the meantime, I have an overpriced tablet with an attached keyboard.