Confessions of a Christmas Eve


Greetings all and a Merry Christmas to each of you.

I hardly post on Facebook beyond noting we’ve done another video.

For one thing, it tends to be brief, and anything worth writing to my
way of thinking is roughly worth 4000 words at a bare effort and 8000 if it’s anything of note. A little over 6600 in this tiny missive.

Then too, I’ve always viewed Facebook as a lame attempt at having a web site by those who never bothered to learn HTML. HTML isn’t all that difficult. So go build a web site.

But it is probably more what I like to think of as my Saturnine nature, or perhaps more accurately a cynical and broadly skeptical view of everything, that put cheesily cheerful pronouncements all about me beyond my reach. This is a pleasingly euphemistic way of admitting I’m a bit of an old grouch with an attitude problem.

So I’m posting this message of Merry Christmas to all my many friends and family, whom I too rarely reach out to or mention, my deep appreciation for your existence.

And I would like to both apologize and announce in public that I am basically entirely WRONG in all of it. I do truly love and admire and appreciate each and every one of you, and it is simply poor form and a raging personality flaw not to mention it, at least occasionally.

And indeed, Facebook is actually a marvelous simile for something much much larger.

My intimates are probably familiar with my propensity to “obsess” or “focus” on a thing beyond all reason, and at times for years at a time. I’m 59 years old now and have spent most of the last ten years burying people.

That’s not all bad. The food and drink at Funerals tends to be much improved over that to be had at weddings. This is probably a function of being financed out of the estate.

And I do get to see and catch up with relatives and friends whom I spend too little time or effort socializing with otherwise. So funerals have comprised MOST of my social life for the last decade and I am embarrassed to report that I truly enjoy them. It’s one of the few occasions where I actually consort with other humanoids in a relaxed and social fashion. And so for me they are just plain good time fun.

All that points up why it’s probably best I not hang out with friends and family a lot. My true take on most things is….well… let’s say not commonly held. And often upsetting to others to no really useful purpose.

But yes, I’m 59 years old and despite ridiculously and undeservedly good health – the question of mortality arises. Particularly when most good cheer comes from meeting friends and relatives at funerals.

So how would Jack Rickard react to this? The usual mode would be to look into it in a bit more detail. Which is my view of the accusation of obsessing.

The last I had read on the topic was in 1976 in a book by Raymond Moody titled “Life After Life.” Moody is a pretty bright guy – medical doctor, psychologist, philosopher, and author. And this struck me as a uniquely original work. It introduced the topic of Near Death Experiences wherein some trauma is experienced bringing the person to a near state of death and almost always unconsciousness. And it relates to their attempts to report things on awakening, regarding experiences they had while “out.”

Often, it takes a number of years of “processing” before the individual attempts to relate the tale and then it can be very difficult to find words and analogies to build a rough picture of what they experienced that adequately communicates the experience. It is just too foreign to relate to the known and the familiar.

Then too, those that try often experience kind of a condescending dismissal by those older and wiser who have NO clue as to any of it but don’t’ mind their state of “don’t know and don’t know they don’t know”. This can be even more disconcerting if they are an authority figure such as a medical doctor or a religious leader/priest.

As few want to be viewed as mentally deranged, it is rather normal for very few of these experiences to be brought to light.

As you know I was passionately and intimately involved in a dream of a world wide network allowing basically equal access to everyone everywhere. It has grown from a few hundred individuals to perhaps as many as 4.7 billion in the intervening years, while I watched it emerge in front of me. I take no small satisfaction in this development as it tends to enable and empower individuals at the expense of large corporations and governmental entities. Indeed it has formed a central work of my life.

One of the aspects of this network is that individuals can find other individuals with similar interests without “gatekeepers” or channel rulers. The Internet detects censorship or control as damage , and by design it automatically routes around it. It’s actually kind of a cunning design and both large corporate interests and the government have rather fully failed to achieve full control while allowing it to actually pass packets at the same time. It is fundamental to the architecture.

In recent years, it has enabled these NDE “victims” to find each other and share their stories, mostly with each other, but increasingly in the open, both in writing and most interestingly, via video by way of the network.

There are now HUNDREDs of video first hand accounts now on YouTube.

It is fascinating that this organic network has allowed them to slowly “discover” each other and as the group grows, then attracts more of the same, coalescing into a new kind of organic entity.

But of course, who on earth would view HUNDREDS of videos and thousands of writings on the Internet on such a subject? They would have to be some sort of obsessive nutcase would they not?

So I’m probably best served by neither admitting nor denying it.

But if I HAD, the way to do it would be to ignore all the details of the descriptions and just gradually collect the common elements and threads that tend to weave through the majority of it – with an attempt to simply catalogue it without preconceived opinion as objectively as is plausible, given all the built in filters we arrive at any particular moment armed with.

If you boiled all that down to a few generics, what would life after life look like to those who had been there or thought they had been there?

What immediately jumps out is that about 7-10% of it is just bullshit. Like any phenomenon, this one attracts its share of free riders and mountebanks seeking to sell books, DVDs, or make it on the speaker circuit. The reports from these are detectable in that they often have too much detail and some of it is just clear outlier to the body general. COULD be true, but just not likely. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck and smells like bullshit, it most likely isn’t a duck at all. It’s just bullshit. Or perhaps a duck that was inadvertently swallowed by a bull, and then somehow survived to pass. Both unlikely, and unpleasant for the duck.

But after removing that, what remains is an amazingly uniform agreement on some fascinating revelations. So why do I not believe I have just located a very uniform set of fruitcakes with a similar story?

It is actually VERY hard for people to come up with the same concepts, all decorated with different details, consistently. That is, unless there IS a very common experience.

Basically it is like your own life. Do you ever have the feeling that nobody could make this shit up? You couldn’t write a movie as unlikely as your own life. It just wouldn’t’ sell. Similarly, reality detection is not that hard. The less likely, the more real. It’s just too complicated to make it up. They can’t be that good.

I’m left with three basic questions of interest to me personally.

1. What is it like to be dead? What comes after?

2. What does it mean HERE. Why do we live and why are we here? And how would good information on those topics change things now?

3. A series of quantum physics theories on the relationship between there and here and time and space and frequency relationships of energy and matter assuming reality on both sides.

I’m keenly fascinated with 3, and kind of willing to apply unlimited time and resource to it. I’m guessing you are less likely to be. So let’s throw that out for the moment.

Item 1 is actually the easiest and the focus of most of the reports – various strategies on relating what they saw. I had some pretty given beliefs in this area anyway, and while the details are interesting, they are not as interesting as question 2.

And that leaves number two. What to do about it now. Conclusions that can be applied to the immediate and how that relates to how we live and what our current philosophies are.

Understand, that ALL of these reports, well the vast majority, are from people who returned. They came back. That’s how we learn of the experience. All the people who died and remain dead, we rarely hear from.

These of interest were allowed to come back, or they were actually sent back, often despite their protests, and there is an almost universal agreement that they really, really didn’t want to come back here at all. A few glad to be back on second chance approval after showing up in a NOT very good place. But the overwhelming majority simply did not want to leave death at all. They preferred it strongly. They not only LIKED being dead better than being alive, but report that it is more REAL than things are here.

An interesting aside. Many were dead from devastating accidents or illnesses that just have no “get well” component. It is almost a cliché that after coming back, they experienced miraculous recoveries. Some were long and painful, some almost immediate, but almost always very very unlikely. Like being underwater for 2 and half hours. Or having cancer to the point of being 88 lbs. and experiencing organ shutdown. Some indeed woke up in the morgue hours or days after resuscitation efforts were abandoned. Recoveries with no rational explanation tend to be the norm. Relatively few of the “had heart attack, but they got me back in a few minutes” variety. Massive septic infections are popular. Devastating automobile wrecks also have a following.

So one of the generics is a UNIVERSAL lack of FEAR of death. Kind of a TOTAL lack of fear of death.

But it begs the question, by what reason or device were they sent back? Why not just let them be dead and in the peace enjoyed by dead people everywhere?

Generally, it is that their work here is not finished. And that they have specific work here. And that it is IMPORTANT that they be here to finish it. Implying that it is somehow important work.

Now what would you EXPECT that to be? Obviously family members and loved ones who would be left bereft. Young children left with no mother. Or families without a father. Or something along those lines. You would think this would be THE perception of what would be MOST important if we consider work to be done here on earth.

Clearly that would BE what these individuals would naturally consider and report as the “important work.”

I find it very persuasive to the entire tale that it was not. Were this all made up or dreamed or the product internally of their own mind, that WOULD be why they returned. Certainly that would be what would be most important to them. And it is true that it is occasionally mentioned. But barely. Like almost not.

Oh they were happy to see their kids, their wives, and their husbands. Don’t get me wrong. But it generally was NOT why they were sent back or why they think they were sent back.

This is kind of a key thing. Obviously there are MANY millions of families who have lost fathers, mothers, and children to untimely death and they are truly lost. They don’t come back. So coming back for the benefit of your family does not appear to be a big deal. The presumption is that they will be fine and will be along in a bit.

No the general impression is these were pretty good people, living pretty good lives, but not quit “getting it.” Not quite doing it right. Not quite doing what they were meant to do. Scrooge in a Christmas Carol. A life of promise but just not well spent.

And what was it they were supposed to do?

And here is where it goes very weird. They generally know what they were TOLD they were supposed to do. But there are a wide variety of understandings of how to do that or what it means. And it is a very common admission that they still just don’t get it or quite know why it is that way or how they are supposed to do that. They know what they were told. They’re not sure what that means and it doesn’t entirely make sense to them.

But that their life and the way they live it changes post trauma is an understatement. There is almost NO case where they come back and pick up right where they left off.

Beyond that it is hard to generalize. I can note that divorce is a VERY common result. The spouse who didn’t go, just doesn’t understand and the actions of the returnee often don’t sit well. Like shutting down a multimillion-dollar business to go back to school and learn to be a “counselor.” Indeed, becoming a coach or counselor to people in trouble or pain is extremely common. And careers, often very successful ones, are commonly abandoned to the point where they don’t even bother to clean out the desk. Essentially zero interest in what they were doing previously.

No, the important work and the thing they are sent back to do is almost universally – to love other people. Their understanding of that and what it means is cruelly variable. But they DO know what they were told, and that IS what they relate. Return to your life, and love other people MORE.

There are some more detailed things that are very common. Perhaps not universal, but some variant of these run through.

1. We are all connected. Not just to each other, but to all of life.

2. Your job or “mission” is to love everyone. No real elaboration here. That’s it.

3. You are part of each other and of God and indeed REPRESENT God here on earth.

4. All humans brought to earth are entirely PERFECT in every way. God doesn’t make ANY mistakes. No matter what birth defects, mental or physical limitations, or tragedies of birth YOU perceive, these spirits arrive with EXACTLY the gifts they were given and are not only PERFECT, but are actually enormously powerful beyond all human understanding. Every individual is entirely AWESOME and perfect at birth .

5. Love, life, and light are not three different things. They are three different PERCEPTIONS. They are all exactly the SAME thing. Love, life, and light come from God. We reinterpret them to be different. They are not.

6. The concept that you, and I, and God, are three separate entities, is of local manufacture. It is not that we are similar. We are one. But you are still uniquely you and have entire freedom to do and choose whatever you like.

Now understand, these are not my beliefs. These are reports. And my own understanding of them is of necessity limited.

Indeed I find them damning. I do NOT love my fellow man. Indeed, my entire life has had a strong thread of avoiding them and with an overall view that they are stupid, evil, self centered, infinite in greed and pitieous in a wealth of poor outcomes. The more I can distance myself from them, the better. A smelly, stupid and bovine herd very likely to trample me at the least provocation – mindlessly and with no purpose. A whiff of smoke or a bolt of lightning and they stampede in all directions – often straight over a cliff to their own destruction – not at all mindful of mine. Repulsive on their good days and dangerous to be around generally.

I carefully mark exclusions of individual humanoids that I might safely associate if I take great care and make no sudden moves or alarming motions. These then are my friends and family. And an unruly and unreliable lot at that, but it is ok to love them… a little…

The vast bulk of humanity should be dismissed as woefully stupid creatures that pose a constant threat.

And of course, a common QUESTION among the near dead, and for my part my own as well, is does this directive include obviously bad and evil sorts such as serial rapists, child murderers, people who mow down children with firearms, etc. The clearly hell bound?

Incredibly, the short answer appears to be “those most of all.”

While you may view this with surprise, it is actually worse than I have presented it. The REAL answer seems to go further. Not only “those most of all” but rather “those exist because they were not loved enough.”

Let’s do a more detailed translation – and implicit in this it spirals ever downward to “those most of all because they exist and commit these heinous acts because YOU failed to love them enough”.

As Scooby, Lord Baron and High Priest of Doo, was wont to comment – “rut row.” Or in the vernacular – “Houston…we have a problem…”

This sounds a little damning. Even judgmental. But let’s work it out. One of the reported tenets is that everyone has free will. Some choose against God. But that is not what God wants. If they do chose to turn away from God, then the reasoning is that you, and I, have failed to love them enough. And if you, and I, and God are all part and parcel of one and the same, it is taken as a serious failure by all.

Let’s take an example of this and break it apart from this new and slightly deranged point of view and see if it works – holds water.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members. Prior to driving to the school, Lanza shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home- four shots to the head as she slept.

As first responders arrived at the scene, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

The incident was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school or grade school in U.S. history and the second-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.

A November 2013 report issued by the Connecticut State Attorney’s office concluded that Lanza acted alone and planned his actions, but no evidence collected provided any indication as to why he did so, or why he targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Some time before 9:30 a.m. EST on Friday December 14, 2012, Lanza shot and killed his mother Nancy Lanza, aged 52, at their Newtown home with a .22-caliber Savage MK II-F bolt action rifle. Investigators later found her body clad in pajamas, in her bed, with four gunshot wounds to her head.

Shortly after 9:35 am, using his mother’s Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, Lanza shot his way through a glass panel next to the locked front entrance doors of the school. He was wearing black clothing, yellow earplugs, sunglasses, an olive green utility vest, and was carrying magazines for the rifle. Some of those present heard the initial shots on the school intercom system, which was being used for morning announcements.

The police heard the final shot at 9:40:03 a.m.; they believe that it was Lanza shooting himself in the lower rear portion of his head with the Glock 20SF in classroom 10. Lanza was found wearing a pale green pocket vest over a black polo shirt, over a black T-shirt, black sneakers, black fingerless gloves, black socks, and a black canvas belt. Other objects found in the vicinity of Lanza include a black boonie hat and thin frame glasses. The Glock was found, apparently jammed, near Lanza, and the Bushmaster was found several feet away from him. A 9 mm Sig Sauer P226, which was not fired during the incident, was found on the shooter’s person.

Authorities determined that Lanza reloaded frequently during the shootings, sometimes firing only fifteen rounds from a thirty-round magazine. He shot all but two of his victims multiple times.

On March 28, 2013, court documents released from the investigation showed that the school shooting had occurred in the space of less than five minutes with 156 shots fired.

The results of the toxicology report were published in October 2013, and stated that no alcohol or drugs were found in Lanza’s system. Lanza’s autopsy showed no tumors or gross deformities in his brain.

In November 2014 a 114-page report released by the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate profiled the developmental and educational history of Lanza The report noted “missed opportunities” by Lanza’s mother, the school district, and multiple health care providers. It identified “warning signs, red flags, or other lessons that could be learned from a review of his life.”

The authors of the report relied on extensive documentation and interviews with Lanza’s educators and doctors, as well as email exchanges between Lanza and his parents, to make their determinations and recommendations.

Lanza had not left his room in his mother’s Newtown home for three months before the massacre.

He was anorexic, the report said, and weighed only 112 pounds the day he died, despite being 6 feet tall.

He kept his room locked and his windows blacked out with plastic garbage bags — communicating little with the outside world, and with his mother only over email.

Despite sharing her worries about her son’s condition with friends, the report said it does not appear Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, communicated any concerns to mental health or medical professionals in her final months.

The earliest record of Lanza’s budding developmental problems appeared in an early intervention pediatric evaluation just before his 3rd birthday that indicated Lanza displayed “significantly delayed development of articulation and expressive language skills,” and “fell well below expectations in social-personal development.”

Lanza received special education support in preschool, where through age 5 he made up his own language and was reported to at times “sit and hit his head repeatedly,” the report said.

Adam enrolled in Sandy Hook Elementary School in the first grade after his family moved to Newtown, the report said. Here, he continued to receive treatment for speech articulation problems, though the report showed that his special education classes were slowly phased out as his social interactions with his peers improved.

“The frequency and duration of services provided should be considered minimal,” the report said, “and likely did not have a significant impact for his developmental trajectory.”

I picked this example rather on purpose. Lanza was not a black inner city youth with no family or resource. He had both a mother and father and brother. His mother received $275,000 per year in alimony. The divorce was largely over disagreements over how to deal with Adam and indeed the brother had gone to live with the father.

Despite all this, and with a pretty firm recognition at age 3 that all was not well with Adam Lanza, here he is at age 20, 112 lbs. and obviously anorexic, washing his hands compulsively and changing his socks 20 times per day. His bedroom windows are blacked out with trash bags. And he hasn’t left his room in 3 months.

After murdering 26 little people he doesn’t know at all, the national debate seems to be “Is there something wrong with this guy?”

President Obama’s solution is to blame the guns.

But the test question in point: Did WE love Adam Lanza enough? This is a bit difficult in arrears after he’s gunned down 26 innocents. Did WE love him enough BEFORE he did this?

I didn’t. Did we know? Did we know that a 20-year old weighed 112lbs and didn’t leave his bedroom for three months and was online posting about violence daily? Did we want to know?

Multiply this by tens of thousands or tens of millions of less fortunate, less white, less wealthy children who start out with nothing and nobody, and never receive an encouraging word their entire LIVES.

Is it important work to love other people? Apparently God thinks so.

Given the increasing number of these “crimes of alienation” and the obvious isolation so many feel, I’m guessing he may be onto something. If a large number of people had pressed the panic button and declared an emergency, rallying the troops around “Let’s help Adam” across his 20 years, would this have happened? Perhaps if even ONE had stepped in and engaged him in some worthwhile activity at any age… an entirely different outcome.

Did you know about the services that were “terminated” by the state because he reached the age of 18? Did any of the reports detail the limitations the health insurance company put on his “treatment”. They would be inconvenient to have publicly known at this point.

We are all uniquely beautiful additions to God’s “garden.” And our job is to be ALL that we can be given our individual gifts. And our “mission” is to mutually love and support all OTHERs in the garden so they can be ALL they can be as well.

Let’s talk about something else – being interconnected. I’ve puzzled on this one for some time anyway. Something is just not right. I watched basically 35 guys change the world, starting with a small networking idea. The President of the United States didn’t do this. The FCC didn’t do this. AT&T didn’t do this. In fact, they all basically alluded to the fact that all such activity was ILLEGAL and would not be tolerated. And I watched it over 12 years grow to subsume tens of millions of dedicated individuals and today 4.7 billion by all estimates. They had no real leader. And no government subsidy other than the differently purposed 56 kbps NSFnet backbone as the stone in the soup to start with.

I watched it spread like ripples in a pond, person-to-person, computer-to-computer, clandestinely mostly and often furtively. I personally assisted a tattooed gay anarchist stretch a CATV Ethernet cable across a dirt lot at 2:00 in the morning in San Francisco because they were paving it the next day. THAT’s how it got built. At first, a foot at a time.

There was a strongly held common belief in a dream. And it was fully formed. But it oddly had no real organization, nor any official leader. It spread organically, person to person in the night, and by the least socialized among the population. Today, 4.7 billion adherents.

Being a bit of a computer geek, I’m broadly familiar with a base 2 number system – powers of 2. As it so happens, so apparently were my parents as there were precisely 2 of them at the earliest moments of my existence. Indeed, had they not met in congress at a very specific moment in time, allowing ME to be the one in a hundred million to actually make the trip and join with the egg, I would rather fail to be here at all. What are the odds?

Well, apparently pretty good, because the same thing pretty much happened to them. THEY each had two parents, and if any of the four had failed to make the appointment meeting at the appointed moment, one of my parents goes POOF in the smoke of existence, leaving me in turn in a somewhat compromised situation.

By extension, eight people of the previous generation had to show up at the appointed moment, or at least three of us get wiped out.

Gratuitously, we all recognize the family of man as being all “related” in kind of a general sense. But can you do the math?

Given a propogational generation of 20 years, how many generations does this doubling of parentage have to continue to tie us all together?
Adam and Eve? Ten thousand years?

Well 29 such generations gets us back to the year 1434 at which point 536, 870, 912 individuals all had to breed with exactly the right person at precisely the correct moment, for me to be here today. Anybody taking a late lunch in 1434 screws up the entire Jack Rickard development program

Which is doubly interesting since the population of the earth did not reach 500 million by most estimates until the mid 16th century. But it is simply inarguable. No person in that line had less than 2 biological parents at birth. No known cases.

Let’s go the other direction. My father was last born of nine. They all grew up, and they all died. My Aunt Mary was the last of them to go a little over a month ago.

They all had children. And their children had children. And now some of THEM have had children. There are sufficient Rickards out there to fill a Boeing 747.

If I were on that airplane, how many of them could I recognize well enough to call their name at birth? I’m going make a roundhouse guess here – eight. I’m pretty friendly with Aunt Dorothy’s kids though THEIR children would escape my recognition if they weren’t in context. I know Melvin’s two kids passably well, but again, not their offspring so much. And I guess Bernice’s two boys I would recognize.

But I actually DID run into Rick’s daughter at a local restaurant a few months back and she had to run the whole thing down for me as I would never have recognized her – the last I’d seen of her was when she was four years old. She’s of course grown with several children of her own. I never did quite understand what she was doing back in Cape Girardeau.

Given the seating arrangements of a Boeing 747 what are the odds that I would actually SEE any of the 8 – boarding, riding, or disembarking?

My father’s siblings and their descendants. I could be on the world’s largest airliner, and it be entirely FILLED with their descendants, and I would be ENTIRELY oblivious to it. I would never know that I had just flown from New York to St. Louis on an airplane entirely filled with my own first cousins and their offspring.

Indeed, in our world, now picture this, what are the odds that I would even exchange LAST NAMES with the ONE person sitting next to me on either side on the plane? It would be highly unusual, if not unheard of. If the flight lasted two years, it would be toward the end of that that we would discover half of us had the same last name.

The reports from the NDE survivors are nearly unanimous. We are all interconnected in a vast tapestry, not only connected to each other, but to every animal and every plant and every blade of grass. And a single beat of a butterfly’s wing in Oaxaca really does affect the weather in Maine. And it is all MUCH more tightly woven than you can ever imagine.

That sounds both grand and gratuitous. Too grand. Too gratuitous. But indeed, it would account for a profound world change I personally observed in real time starting with a handful of entirely unled and unorganized individuals. And it does kind of encompass my powers of 2 in arrears. And it would cover my Boeing 747.

More to the point is the vanity and self-absorption of the average Jack Rickard. I’m a bright guy. And I have a lot of bright ideas. And if I have just a conversation with another humanoid in passing, and it sparks a thought, what do I do with it?

Well, my first official act is to proclaim it as mine, of course! If it’s a good thought, I might make a video of it or post it on Facebook. But it was MY thought now wasn’t it?

Do I ever go back to the person I spoke with and tell him – “You know, I like what you said. That really made me think about something – let me share it with you. And while I’m at it, might I thank you most sincerely for redirecting my entire freaking life?” Naw. Maybe later. Or maybe not. Or never. Or get real – never never.

Well I know, at least whenever I mention this idea, grand or miniscule, I’ll at least attribute it to the person that sparked it? Doesn’t’ everybody do that?

Actually nobody does that. Ever.

But with every word and every motion, we feed and stimulate each other, and the truth is, I cannot point to one truly original thought I have ever had without interaction with someone else or reading about someone else – being the cause of it.

Beyond that we are much more connected than we are aware, there is actually a counter message to prove its existence. In watching our common campfire, the television, I have been for some years and now increasingly aware of a very consistent message and I now consider it an all TOO convenient message of evil. The message is just too handy. Too quaint. It has the smell of bullshit all over it. Every hair on my head actually quivers when I hear it in both fear and rage. It is TOO pat.

The message is, “You are powerless to effect change in these things. You are only one guy. You can do nothing to change it. Hope that larger more powerful entities such as large corporations or the government or the police or the military handle it. You are NOT responsible. You have not the means. Sit back. Sit back and watch…”

What does evil need in this world to thrive? That good men do nothing. It’s a maxim. And what better excuse to do nothing is there than “It wouldn’t’ do any good if you did. Have another beer. Sit. Watch. You are powerless.”

Where would such a message come from?

But it is the central theme in almost every 60 second spot on television. The only thing we can really do, is buy shit. Soap. Gadgets. Cars. Oxyclean. That’s the only thing we are good for. To go out and buy something on command.

There are some other implications probably a bit vast to go into beyond a glancing blow. But I can touch on them.

We have looked long and hard around our own solar system, but also a bit into the wider universe, looking for a bit of water, a wisp of oxygen, a touch of single cell life. Among many planets, and among many larger.

But here, life literally pads the rock three feet thick to make it difficult to get to the rock. I’m actually in an ongoing battle to keep the yard grass whacked down and the mosquitoes off me. We are encased in atmosphere, water, and life to the point that it is encasing and smothering us, in a universe where it can hardly be found at all in trace amounts.

Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. Have you SEEN Mars? He can have the whole planet and in fact I’ll throw in Afghanistan and Iraq as consolation prizes.

No life. No water. No air. Nothing. In all directions and in profound even awe inspiring size and scale. A whole LOT of nothing. Nothing on such a scale as to itself be a marvel. It becomes something because it is made up of so very much NOTHING.

And here? Life so abundant it is a nuisance. We are enshrouded in it. We’re very nearly at war with it. This miracle is so common, so familiar, that we are oblivious to it. With proper structures, air conditioning, and Internet connectivity, we can even pretend it doesn’t exist.

But in the universe we see, objectively, it is beyond miraculous. It is RIDICULOUS. We are riding on an orb CLUTTERED with life, air, water so abundant we drown in it, in a universe that to date appears in all respects to be DEVOID of it.

So what must I painfully take from all that – even if it doesn’t precisely match my disposition, past habits, or inclination?

1. All are born entirely perfect, though with different gifts. No mistakes.

How have I been using mine? To deride everyone else’s apparently. Good work asshole.

2. Our mission is to love all others as ourselves. Not that that hasn’t been mentioned before. That’s not part of the mission. That IS the mission. Easy? No real mention of easy here. It’s the mission.

3. We are each enormously powerful and enormously gifted with essentially all limitations on that power deriving from our own minds.

With sufficient belief and faith, you probably could actually move a mountain.

4. We are all intimately connected very nearly to the point of being all one organism -in ways that defy human comprehension. Every move you make and every word you speak ripples through the entire population. We just aren’t built to detect the impact.

What is amazing is that ALL of this is rather clearly written out, not only in the Bible but virtually every religious text ever published by every religion no matter how obscure. Kind of right in front of us. Hidden in broad daylight.

And the importance is that we not waste this great gift of life in other pursuits we thought might be important or that seemed important at the time. No NDE survivor ever returned to mention paying a utility bill.

And so on the Eve of Christmas, 2014, it is put upon me to face the fact that I’ve been very wrong about a very many things. And I would take this opportunity, to thank each and every one of my friends and relatives and indeed distant correspondents for in many ways you have MADE me. I deeply appreciate that.

I love each and every one of you. All together and very directly and individually at the same time. You are perfect just as you are and each enormously powerful spirits of unimagined power. And I vow to love you harder and better in the future.

And there is not a goddamned thing you can do to about it.

Except perhaps…. pay it forward….

And yes, Facebook is kind of a microcosm of links and cross links and sharing of life’s little tidbits and photos and scraps. In a very strange way, it actually mimicks the “interconnectedness” of life and makes it to some degree apparent. And so I will try to participate there a bit more enthusiastically. It certainly is a good way to share photographs of kids and cats and such.

As to being a grouch, I’ll work on it. Old dogs….new tricks… it’s not as easy as I make it look…

39 thoughts on “Confessions of a Christmas Eve”

  1. Most city dwellers in the UK live in an atmosphere polluted outside safe limits according to the WHO. Most Chinese cities are many times worse. Encouraging the development of EVs is one way that a socially inept middle class engineer can love his neighbour.

    But the person in front of you is more important still: “I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one.” (quote from an Albanian Nun)

  2. Merry Christmas Jack.
    May your new year bring you less bah-humbug and more herby the love bug…the electric version of course.
    And a Happy Love filled holiday to everyone at EVTV and their families and all my friends at and made through EVTV.

    1. Very much enjoyed reading your Christmas message! Happy Christmas to you Jack and Brian, to your families and everyone at EVTV.

      In the UK its common for Christmas to be replaced by “Festive season”, but even though Im not much of a believer myself and I do lean towards some Buddhist ideas, I was born in a Christian country and I do appreciate your comments, especially about loving each other.

      BTW, now that Anne is off the scene does that clear a spot for the return of Jehu? I did enjoy his videos, I know you guys had a falling out but “in the spirit of Christmas” can he come back?

      Regards from the UK.


  3. Jack, regarding Smarts: earlier this year, my wife and I were hiking in England and we saw this parked car. It was the kind of car that you see for the first time and say, “What is that! I want one!” Turned out to be a Smart 452 Roadster. They were manufactured for only a few years about 10 years ago. I told my wife, “When we get home, I’m buying one of those and converting it to electric.” Sadly, the dream died. You can buy those cars in England, in Germany and even in Mexico. But not in the USA. Smart never made a version to crash test here. I even had the idea of just going to Mexico, buying those pop-off body parts, and trying to put them on some other chassis. But that turned out to be more of a task than I felt skilled to tackle. Ah, well. Guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with driving it in my dreams.

    Bill Dennis

    1. I took the Slasson cut-off until I came to the “Fork-in-the-Road”, Got out of my car and ordered an all aluminum Prius radiator to TIG weld on for my conversion. (Nope, didn’t cut off my Slasson)

  4. Jack,
    Since you’ve mentioned Facebook… what’t your “Facebook Friendship” policy?
    We’ve never met so technically we’re not Friends. Few short emails doesn’t count IMO. Still, I watched all EVTV episodes and I feel like I know you very well. So – what should you do:
    – Accept me as a friend? Warning: regular user account can only have 2000 friends.
    – Allow me to “follow”? You might enable this option in your profile and then anybody could follow (subscribe) all your PUBLIC posts.
    – Create another, public profile (technically: Facebook Page for a public person) and use it. That’s what popular people (pop stars, Barrack Obama etc) usually do.

    1. Yah. You see I don’t really KNOW these things about Facebook. To me, it just looks like a mess with things all jumbled together. Ican’t even tell when I’m on my page or on somebody elses. In the meantime, just do whatever they do to request a link, and I’ll accept it. If i get schpanked for having too many friends….well the kind of problems to have i guess.

  5. jlgh49,
    You’re definitely right about the Smart Roadster being kind of small. For my wife and me, however, not overly large people, the space seemed large enough. You’ve probably already seen this one, but here’s a Smart conversion in EV Album that can get around 120 miles on a charge:


    1. Here is another Smart Roadster conversion: I bought my drive train here, including adapter plate and new engine supports that exactly matches the rear subframe of the Smart, makes the conversion quite easy. Biggest challenge is to get all the batteries in such a small car. With 28 to 32 x 200 Ah Calbs a range of 150 km should be possible, the car is very light. Gear is fixed in 4th, gives a max speed of 120 kmh. No space for the clutch anymore, unless you use a smaller motor (not the size of a HPEVS AC 50 for example), like in the yellow Smart in the link of the previous post. That one drives in Slovenia and the builder (a professionel EV workshop, by the way) retained the clutch and adapted the Canbus so the semi automatic gearbox can still be used.

  6. Wow Jack, you have not only ascerbic wit and uncommon looks, but a conscience and now apparently, a soul. Welcome to the collective. We appreciate your enthusiasm, dedication, attentiveness and candor. Any chance your shows can approach succinctness comparable to your writing?
    Eclectrically Yours,

      1. For two or three weeks now I am trying. But our remote dashboard for the i-MiEV is already exercising me for more than two month. Still no end in sight.

        Tesla is using lots of linux pc’s and a 19 inch dashboard. With video and canbus I decided Gentoo is the way to go. Gentoo is BDSM with your pc the dominat part and the programmer the submissive. But … it is always the sub who makes the dom do what he decides. That is where I am right now. The bondage part only means when you succeed to get thing working for the first time you’ll never switch back to a vanilla system.

        So our remote dashboard is the system I use for making and editing the video. Sound works – but not on video output. I have never seen that video quality of a screen capture taken with a camera. Video 640 x 480 is not exceptional but I want to get canbus and other data into the video

        Taking some video clips and editing and converting them to Jack’s 1280 x 720 at 30 frames NTSC takes days. I dont understand how Jack is doing some two hours every week.

        A European EVTV maybe once a month and translation into Cymry would be enough.

        Peter and Karin

  7. Hi! I am new to the EVTV scene, and Jack, the very social media you speak of is what brought me to your web site.

    Thanks Jack, for your musings and insights. I have been fascinated by NDEs as well and am grateful for your observations on the subject, I think I too have thought similar thoughts about being and existence.

    Your writing makes me even more grateful of my heritage, Mennonite, not Amish, Mennonite.

    An element of my time growing up was being dragged to many an organized family reunion,an afternoon of a large Mennonite feast of many home cooked delicacies, a time of sharing of what has happened in the past year, and a high spirited softball game to round out the day.

    This was a common practice in the local anabaptist faith.

    So, I unlike many people of the U.S. know by sight my 1st, 2nd and even sometimes my 3rd cousins.

    We here are sometimes caught playing the “mennonite game” of when we meet someone of mennonite last name, we start asking oh, who is your father? who is your mother? who was your grandfather? Oh, well that would make us 3rd cousins once removed… ( or whatever…) So I very much appreciate your thoughts of connectedness and how much of a treasure ( and sometimes a curse) that can be.

    I have “discovered” EVTV only a few weeks ago, and I am getting more impressed the more I read. I am an electronics Geek, tinkerer, ex solar installer, and I am interested in all things alternative energy. I have only worked on one electric car in my life and that was the Comuta Car. Remember those? That Car and a Friend of mine named Rich got me bitten by the alternative energy bug, and I have not “Recovered (if there is such a thing) yet”.

    I got to drive one of those Think Electric cars up here in Elkhart, In. and that continued the electric “Buzz” for me.. However, Think is gone from the U.S. and I still want to move around on electrons rather than on Dead Dinos…. can’t afford a Tesla, or a Volt, so I have a dream of conversion of a Ford Festiva, (I have 2) I have lack of $$ but lots of ambition, some knowledge, and lots of passion about electric motivation. I am eager to attend EVCCON 2015 and see all the creations and ideas of the EV conversion crowd. Maybe, God willing we will this summer.

    Holiday Greetings from Northern Indiana!!

    Myron Yoder

  8. For those struggling with bottom balancing non-lithium iron phosphate cells, a little titbit: I have just tried to bottom balance some lithium cobalts. They bounced up 250 millivolts over four and a half days. That’s days not hours.

    They did still end up within 65 mV of each other I have some strategies planned and will keep you posted

  9. Jack,

    I made just one new years resolution. 2015 is going to be the last year I own an internal combustion vehicle. I just finished watching the first EVTV of 2015. Thanks again for all the effort you put into it. I have been thinking about your discussions of Chademo and Tesla L3 charging during some of the recent shows. I enjoy my EV but I can not take it on road trips for obvious reasons. What are those reasons? A lack of available Level 3 charging stations is the primary one. Oh there are Tesla super charge stations, in fact one here in town not even 8 miles away. But so far it looks like you need a Tesla in order to use them. If I had a Tesla I definitely could take it on road trips. But what about Chademo? I don’t need a Tesla for them. On checking the map there are zero Chademo stations near me. Kansas 0, Nebraska 0 Wyoming 0, Iowa 0, South Dakota 0, North Dakota 0, Montana 0. Oh, there are a couple in Minneapolis Minnesota about 600 miles from me. Looks like the closest might be in Fort Collins Colorado some 350 miles away. Looks like Missouri has just six all right around St Louis. My point is that there is no winner in the Level 3 charger arena yet. At least not if using them for a road trip in my area of the US is the goal. If Tesla would sell me a box with the control electronics and with the plug attached to it and a usb port so I could tell it about my battery pack and then charge me the $2500 for the unlimited supercharge access the same as they do for the 60kwh pack model S folks I would be able to declare them winners. I have kind of decided my next conversion will be one of the small SUV’s. A Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, or a Toyota Rav 4 are on the short list. All wheel drive and a big ass pack for road trips and AWD for winter driving around town. Now if I can only get someone to build out a L3 charging network to use for the road trips. You have pointed out many times that we are not even to the early adopter stage so I am certain that this lack of a usable L3 charger network will be addressed eventually. But will I live long enough to be able to use it?

    Happy New Year everyone!

    Doug Ingraham
    Rapid City, SD

    1. Hi Dough,

      that is the revolution to come. Germany, 10 kW three phase is not enough and the electricity dealers want to take the 20 kW sockets away from the mere mortals. On your continent different sockets but the same problem. The japanese have addressed it with CHAdeMO’s own power distribution network. Tesla are making their own electricity from solar. With electric cars growing in number our existing power distribution networks will come to an end. We dont need them anymore.

      Who has still a plain old telephone? VoIP has replaced it with high speed internet. That is yet another problem good old continents are facing. We have got 0.8 MBit via telephone cable. Outside a glas fiber with 50 MBit is waiting for my contract to end. No doubt that revolution will come and it can only come as a revolution. It will not only send oil dealers down the orcus but electricity dealers as well. Dealers they are. Look at their manners. We are not going to miss them.

      Peter and Karin

  10. Jack’s latest rule of thumb for e-motor sizing hits the nail squarely on the head once more. My roller puts out 120 ft*lb from 3k to 6k rpm. The Siemens puts out way-way more Torque 0-3000 RPM. Only a very detailed and conservative torque control algorithm in my GEVCU can make my transmission survive at all. With just the ICE motor I already had to go to a stage-III pressure plate with a copper-ceramic clutch disk. My beef with Nissan Leaf performance was that while torque and acceleration in town was exceptional out on the freeway I found it power lacking above 65 mph. With my EV build type and the programming flexibility of the GEVCU I doubt the available freeway torque will be an issue in a 3,200# post conversion car with a 5-speed/Siemens. By comparison the E-transit connect is single speed at 3,900 pounds and Jack says: “It drives spiritedly”. Programmed torque control may very much like “tipping the can” in fuel racing. Tip it a bit much, and ride the fine line between winning, and trashing the drive line.

  11. Chademo seems to be reasonably strong over here. My brother just acquired a new Nissan Leaf and his FIRST DRIVE was 129 miles to bring it home from the dealer. He Chademoed twice en route

    1. To Chademo, he Chademoed, I Chademo, you Chademo, …

      new verb learned.

      Got a new cam. Does infrared. Nice video in daylight, beatiful colors although somewhat peculiar. At night mostly black and white and not so sharp. One excuse less to keep my promise.

      We are living in the season where most of the day is night so infrared was an idea …
      I always wanted an infrared cam in the first place.

      Peter and Karin

      1. Lots of opportunity for fun and games with words:

        Chademodify = add a Chademo port to an existing EV
        Chademolise = put Chademo charge stations at sensible intervals down a motorway
        Chademoggy = a cat with a great deal of energy
        Chademob = a queue of impatient EV owners waiting for a Chademo EVSE to become available
        Chademollify = calm down a queue of impatient EV owners waiting for a Chademo EVSE to become available
        Chademobilty = a disable person’s scooter which can be charged in 2.8 seconds (if it doesn’t catch fire)
        Chademockery = a Chademo EVSE powered by a 5 amp extension cord
        Chademogul = a guy who controls all the charge stations in a territory
        Chademoist = a waterside station for charging boats
        Chademold = a lichen that grows on Chademo stations sited in silly places where they are not used
        Chademolten = result of fitting a Chademo port to an electric bicycle
        Chademommies = mothers recharging after the school run
        Chademonastic = a Chademo EVSE at a monastry

        etc. etc.

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