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283 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Long Overdue Award « Verba Mea Vita

  2. Pingback: Congruency: Of Delight in It « manoftheword

  3. A friend recommended your post, he believed we were of like minds. You eloquently scribe mirror images my thoughts.Our stance is completely different, yet meet in that place called “like minds” This is coming from a girl whom the Anglican Church kicked out of Sunday school at the tender age of five. My mortified mother was pulled aside and told in no uncertain terms that I was not welcome the following week. It seems I was disrupting and upsetting the other children by asking too many questions. 🙂

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  4. Hi John, thanks for visiting my blog regularly. Your comments and likes are always appreciated and I regard you a friend, as far as one can be friends in the “bloggosphere”.
    I am, however not such a regular visitor to your blog as you are to mine. The reason is probably that I am not so very interested in theism and atheism. Where I live, there are not so many theists and the society is generally quite secular, so you are not confronted with these topics every day. It is possible to move on to other things.
    I am an atheist, but my atheism is not a defining characteristic of myself. I am just not so interested in religion. To explain this attitude, let me compare religion to other things: I am also not interested in soccer and I am not interested in dogs, but my “asoccerism” and my “adoggism” are also not defining features of myself. It is just not part of my life. There are people for whom soccer or their dog is the center of the universe.
    Although some people I am connected to believe in this or that religion, that is their private matter and they leave me in peace. I considered blogging more on religion and atheism but noticed other topics interest me more, at least at the moment. And you and some others are covering this topic very well.
    Greetings
    Nannus

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, Nannus. I know what you mean about atheism. As an Australian it was a non-issue for me, too. Religion simply isn’t discussed and Australia is strictly secular with no religious interference at all. When i moved to Brazil i found the more insidious side of dogma. It seems to permeate everything here, and there is a growing evangelical movement. I saw the damage it does to people and how it fuels social apathy. That alone motivated me to dedicate the blog to it. If i was still in Australia i’d probably have a blog on folklore 😉

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      • Obviously, the topic is very important in the Americas (maybe with some exceptions, like Quebec, for example) as it is in Africa.

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  5. Pingback: Blogs the boss likes | Random thoughts

  6. Thought of you today, reading Edgar Morin’s “Seven Complex Lessons in education for the future” and I quote:
    “Rationality is the best safeguard against error and illusion…This rationality must remain open to everything that disputes it; otherwise it closes itself into a doctrine and becomes rationalization…True rationality is by nature open and engaged in dialogue with the real, which resists it…This is why, in educating for the future, we must recognize the ‘principle of rational uncertainty,’ if rationality does not maintain constant self-critical vigilance it can turn into rationalizing illusion. Which is to say that true rationality is not only theoretical, not only critical, but also self-critical.” It’s a great little book, but I found the easy slip from rationality to rationalization compelling and thank you for being vigilantly rational…(thought you might expound a post on that transition?) 🙂

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    • Vigilantly rational… i’m actually just being accused of being a fundamentalist! Oh, the irony 🙂

      A post on the transition, huh? Not sure if i have the skills for such a thing, but i’ll have a look at it.

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      • that quirky line between rationality & rationalization… openness and closure type thinking? you’ve certainly the skills – no pressure, just struck me that your voice would do it well

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    • Thanks, Kat! Good article, but i see he was at pains to try and present an image that people are leaving religion because it isn’t somehow satisfying them, rather than kids recognising the total absence of evidence for any supernatural deity. Still, studies like this are important to encourage dialogue. Was just chatting with another blogger about how important it’s going to be in the US to present an alternative to religion… to explain to people that there is no “loss”….. and eating babies, particularly if they’re free range babies, is perfectly fine 🙂

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  7. Pingback: Attitude of Gratitude | follow your nose

    • Gloomy here today, too! Grey from horizon to horizon, wet from top to bottom… and i have a giant dog under my desk who i suspect believes i control the weather. He has that accusatory expression about him 🙂

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      • Ohh, don’t ya just hate that when the dog places all the blame on you? Perhaps a visit from a local evangelist would clear things up for the pooch? Har, har, har!
        😉

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      • He just came back from the day spa! Massaged for an hour by two Brazilian girls, smells like a salon (a special Boris-only oil/shampoo formula which is made up every month for a pretty penny), and sporting a new navy blue tie. Not bad for a dog we rescued half-dead from the street.

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  8. Pingback: And the Award for Most Terrifying Toilet Goes to… | Tip of My Tongue

    • Eeesh, never heard of it, but i think i agree with you; it’s too over the top. The average Christian is not insane, just mislead. The gripe is with the evangelicals and the apologists; those delusional cupcakes selling the lie, not the victims.

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  9. Yeah. I agree. This dude ain’t trying to be funny either. I found out about this site because he ping backed my Nicolas Wade post on his site. He has another beside the one I linked here where he reposts stuff. I get the feeling he may not have understood I was writing satire and I don’t actually condone cannibalizing Christians. Ugh. Whack jobs all around.

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    • Well, “not condone” unless its a Polynesian Christian. I mean, come on…. 🙂

      Hey, check your last post, and click on the link i put there. That’s something you can do, if you’re up for it.

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  10. John, I just spent the last 3 hours or so reading (and clicking “Like” on) many of your posts here. Huzzah! It’s so heartening to see someone who articulates so well what I’ve been feeling all my life. (Raised methodist, I’ve been an active atheist forever.) Yep, I’m following your blog now. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. John, being, as you are, in Brazil, have you a comment on this?

    The city of Sao Paulo is home to 20 million Brazilians, making it the 12th largest mega-city on a planet dominated by shortsighted humans. Shockingly, it has only 60 days of water supply remaining. The city ‘has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves,’ reports Reuters.

    Technical reserves have already been released, and as the city enters the heavy water use holiday season, its 20 million residents are riding on a fast-track collision course with severe water rationing and devastating disruptions.

    But this isn’t a story about Sao Paulo; it’s a report that dares to point out that human societies are incredibly shortsighted and nearly incapable of sustainably populating planet Earth. In numerous regions around the world — including California, India, Oklahoma, Brazil, China and many more — human populations are rapidly out-growing the capacity of their local water systems. Even though keeping populations alive requires food… and growing food requires water… almost no nation or government in the world seems to be able to limit water consumption of local populations to levels which are sustainable in the long term.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Arch, yeah, Noel just sent me this. Here’s what i said:

      Yeah, I lived in SP for 6 years. Horrid place. The drought is one problem, but the greater reason for the emergency is the utter waste that goes on here. 30% of the water is lost in the pipes through simple leaks (bad infrastructure), but its the monkeys using the water that is the true problem. Brazil has been called the Saudi Arabia of Fresh Water, which is true, and as a result people simply turn the tap on, and leave it on. There is no sense of water conservation here. Being an Australian, where we learn from a very, very, very young age just how precious water is, I was gobsmacked when i first arrived here and saw this waste. It’s endemic.

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  12. I found this sentence particularly telling, in regard to how the Gospels were written:
    As a rumor travels, it is altered in a fashion that brings it more closely in line with the hopes, fears, and world view of those who hear it and retell it’.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Now I know where she got the title of her post. Just think it all started cause one christian couldn’t bare to see me in a tank top and shorts. Good thing he didn’t read my post the culture of rape where I went actually naked for Naked Jihad!

    Lol good blog now following.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I just wanted to say this: “Gulliver’s Travels” was also one of my many favourite books as a child. I need to buy another copy to replace the one that got lost so many years ago…
    🙂

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  15. Hope you don’t mind, I’ll make it go away if you do – I posted a link to “Linguistic Creationism” on Quora.This is one of the comments…

    I honestly can’t tell if that link is supposed to be real of if it is an atheist site mocking creationism. At any rate, I suspect that the group of people who would believe that kind of thing would be a perfect overlap to the group of people who believe in plain old creationism.

    If you want to follow the question, here’s the link –

    https://www.quora.com/How-many-people-believe-in-Linguistic-Creationism

    Liked by 1 person

  16. John, having a small debate concerning the creation. Opponent said what caused the beginning? i replied “Bang” They replied what caused the bang? I thought i remembered you giving an explanation of this somewhere. or at least a logical response.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Larry

      Short answer, no one knows if this universe had a beginning. If someone tries to say it did, they’re lying. The Big Bang has never been proven. It’s still a hypothesis. A strong hypothesis, but still a hypothesis. The problem is, we have exactly zero information in this universe of what was happening before Inflation. All physics breaks down, leaving the only honest answer to be “We simply don’t know… Yet.”

      The cosmological argument is a favourite of theists, but it commits a shocking logical fallacy. For the argument to work the rules of causality must be unbreakable, meaning you can’t have an infinite regress. This in itself is wrong. As Anthony Aguirre said: “Given eternal inflation, the universe may be free of a cosmological initial singularity, might be eternal (and eternally inflating) to the past.” Still, the theist relies on this premise, but then they throw in god and say it is not subject to those rules. Viola! It’s magic!! It’s also a festering case of Special Pleading. So, if your friend is trying to posit a first cause (ie. god), then the simple thing to ask him/her is: If you’re willing to grant an exemption to the rules of causality to your particular god, why then not grant this exact same exemption to the universe itself? Why one and not the other? If they try and answer it’ll typically be a word salad of “metaphysical” nonsense.

      But ultimately, on the question of origin, no one knows. That is the only truthful answer.

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  17. Opponent said what caused the beginning? i replied ‘Bang’” – You walked into their trap, Larry. You should have answered their question with this question:

    What do YOU think caused the beginning?” – then when they say, ‘god,’ you ask, “What caused your god?” Then you follow with this:

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If you’re willing to grant an exemption to the rules of causality to your particular god….” – As the video points out, John, that’s special pleading.

    When Man was earthbound, His god lived in the clouds, above the earth, hence the Tower of Babel fable. Then, early in the last century, Man learned to fly, so their god put in a change of address card and moved into space. Then we went to the moon. Now their god conveniently lives in a place beyond time and space – a location the Bible authors would never have dreamed even existed, and where theists are certain Man can never go.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Paul! Both those links take me to the same page from here, though thank you for including the shortened version. And yes, I am indeed the mysterious Laconic Sesquipedalian. I read your own review earlier this evening in fact; it seems we both got much from John’s work. See you soon my friend, Hariod.

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    • I’m gobsmacked! That’s an awesome review, my friend… and I utterly adore this line:

      ”just as does the invisible and unknowable God commonly worshipped by much of humankind”

      Now, I must apologise for the time its taking me to finish your work. It’s not something you pick up for a 5 minute pre-sleep read. Presently I think I’m about 2/3’s of the way through, but I need time to dedicate to it… and that’s been proving difficult these last few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My account is with Amazon U.K. John, so when I signed in to make the review it tracks me as a verified purchaser within the U.K. and posts the review to the relevant site. In the U.K., the Amazon.com reviews are accessible, but you need to click a link to see them all – so what appears first are U.K. reader reviews, of which mine is the first. I have no idea if the same applies in reverse, though assume U.S. readers can see my review somehow? If not, I can probably duplicate it on Amazon.com for you.

        There is no need in the least to apologise for not reading my own book John; I suggested at the outset that it’s not going to be your cup of tea, it being an introductory guide to formal contemplation and all that malarkey. Also, you oughtn’t feel in the least that you must wade through it so as to leave a comment on Amazon, by way of reciprocation – really. I am more than happy to have the engagements we do on each on other’s blogs, and the book is very much secondary to that.

        Did you understand the remark I made in the review about the greyed-out sections? I thought I should leave some minor gripe there, yet not one which in any way detracted from your amazing words, which were a thrill to read.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I loved that you made some criticisms. Hell, I’m waiting for someone to lambast it completely!

        I didn’t know Amazon UK would be different from Amazon.com. You’d think all reviews would be bundled together regardless of geography. Odd.

        And, my friend, formal contemplation and all that malarkey is my cup of tea! I used to devour Jane Roberts’ books and have explored a universe of alternative concepts. I’ve even seen the Dali Lama speak twice. Atheism doesn’t mean non-spiritual. Buddhists are atheists, after all. In fact, I’ve been meaning to ask you about how much influence Buddhist thought has been on you. I get the sense you’ve read Jainism, too. The concepts come through, but I’m curious to know if you follow those trains of thought through to similar ends?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi John, I’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to the review and posted it on Amazon.com because it wasn’t showing any option to display reviews from other territories, such as the U.K.

        Thanks for asking about my interests and training. I spent about 25 years having a very close involvement with a Buddhist monastery here, practising dry insight meditation. I was typically male-obsessive about it, and used to meditate 4 hours every day, except for the retreats, which comprised about 7 weeks a year, when it would be 8 hours a day. This was entirely due to my lack of perspicacity of course.

        After that, I drifted into the self-formed practices you see in my book, which are somewhere between Vipassana and Zen I suppose, but really neither – particularly not the non-local stuff, which you may not have got to yet. That came about due to what some might call a Satori experience, when everything fell into place, and was so powerfully obvious, yet never realised before then. There had been glimpses of this and that, but never a full-on disappearing act, which was so striking in what I can only call its revolutionary ordinariness. It comes and goes.

        I realised that the whole conception of a subject becoming ‘enlightened’, or absorbing into something conceived of as ‘enlightenment’, was a complete fallacy, a total conceptual failure and misunderstanding. That’s why I write on my blog about the unattainability of spiritual freedom – much to the annoyance of some, as the seeker necessarily conceives of themselves as a subject apprehending objects. In other words, enlightenment is conceived as an object (knowledge) attained by a subject (me the seeker). At some point, the seeker has to disappear, and for it to be seen that subject and object are purely mind creations. Of course, the physical world is still there – Transcendental Idealism is nonsense – but the constant referencing to a point of centrality (my self) is not.

        Awareness is apprehended as non-local, not presumed as something that channels as if along a unique conduit to ‘me here’ from objects or people ‘over there’ (in the way that particles of light do, say). Yes, there is ‘my body here’ in physical reality, and ‘things over there’ too, but the awareness knows of itself that it’s not a localised point of centrality for apprehending the world. It’s bloody hard to explain of course, but there are practices that gently introduce this idea, and even quietly asking of oneself ‘where is awareness?’ inclines the mind to being open to new possibilities. There’s a certain contentedness in it John, or that’s what I choose to call it, as it removes the erroneous idea that there’s something special to be attained, something out of the ordinary and ‘spiritual’ to be grasped by the mind – that can never happen. Some say differently of course.

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      • Reading this I couldn’t help but think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull… The fastest way to travel is to know you’re already there 🙂 This is sort of what you’re hitting at, right?

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      • I suppose that’s one way of putting it, but knowing something intellectually isn’t much help; if it was, then sometime in the last 5,000 years we’d have it orally transmitted, then documented or formulated, and the best anyone’s managed is expressing it in terms of a ‘via negativa’ – a way of knowing what it is not. But yes, obviously there are not two ‘realities’, two ‘truths’, so we can never be removed from either – not that those particular terms are helpful in any way. The mind is stuck in the gearbox of its own comprehension, dividing everything up into a subject/object dichotomy as a reflection of the physical world – it just doesn’t know it’s doing it as a fabrication, a meta-level abstraction from that physical world. We can appreciate that is so intellectually, but it’s not enough for it just to be an accepted concept. The shift is far subtler than we imagine, like a 1db attenuation in signal noise or some visual equivalent, but weirdly it seems revolutionarily different – at first anyway. The lasting effect is that thoughts lose their power over what is now known as an imagined subject, and given they are the prime source of discontent, so we feel more at home in ourselves. Blathering on here! o_O

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  19. Feynman’s one of my heroes, I never tire of lauding his praise. I chose the shorter version – click on YouTube, and it will take you to the original, where you will also have the opportunity to choose from other videos he made before his untimely death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, after a brief look at what’s on YouTube I noticed that. His videos will most certainly be watched. Will likely feature one or two of them over on Learning from Dogs. Once again, great addition from you.

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  20. Absolute ages ago you asked me for recommendations re science fiction novels.First paragraph into tonight’s ponder (remarks on Heinlein”s novel Starship Troopers)finds me breaking away to send this link.With a “duh, why didn’t I think of it sooner”, followed immediately with “duh, I’m sure he thought of it himself” I send you to the complete list of Hugo Award winners since 1953. 🙂
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Award_for_Best_Novel

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Actually they were both concerned that archaeopteryx was not my real name, and I’ve not met anyone else who has ever questioned that, so while they may not be the same person, I suspect that at least, they know and email each other.

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  22. I agree. His 2 internet identities are different too. I started referring to “Bobbie” as “Leroy”, I even apologized for not realizing he was the same guy, and he stopped responding. Kinda creepy. Internet stalkers and pedophiles do this kinda thing. I tell ya, these bible quotin’ Christian types are not playing with all their marbles intact.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ahh, well… apparently I’ve missed this party by several days. LOL

    I had sent you a Gmail John about the very “character(s)” you, Jeff/InspiredBy, ARCHAEOPTERYX1, and Nan are all discussing here. As Jeff is already familiar over on my blog — on 1 page and 1 post — the very topic all of you are sorting out here was manifested on my blog 2-3 days ago.

    John, you may want to read my Gmail to you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Came home from work to a what the fuck moment and I need to vent, so – tag, you’re it. 🙂 Left a comment on this post,https://sepultura13.me/2016/07/08/still-speechless/#comment-6571 ( mine is the only comment, the next 5 entries are responses from the blog author to my comment. America is bat shit (even if this Canadian was 3 glasses of wine deep when she wrote it ) If the link doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll cut/paste.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I sent WP an email on this. My guess is, it may be an issue they’re having. You can access my blog via the WP reader, and by googling it directly. I hate not to get comments now that I’m “Poe’s Lawing” all this Trump stuff. The guy is a meal that simply does not not feeding me. 🙂

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  26. This week, several of Ark’s posts have given me, “Well, This Is Embarassing!” and informed me that that webpage can’t be found. But only on some of his, the rest, no problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, just tried again and same result. How odd,. Can’t get to it through email notification, or through your avatar here. You are working in the nude, aren’t you? You know WP doesn’t work properly unless you’re naked.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Others don’t have that issue. They can get to it through my avatar but not the variouspontifications.com address from the comment section. Very odd. Still waiting on WP. Can you get to my site from your reader or from a Google search? Oh, I’m always naked and sitting in a bath of warm scented oil when I blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. John- I am now following your blog. Thanks. How did you learn all this stuff? I looked for a biography or something but could not find it using my small, broken and hard to see notebook. I find myself asking myself if I am just slow at learning and remembering things or is everyone else just better at it than me? HaHa.
    Very good blog. I would like to know more about you personally if that is OK. -MD

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    • Hi MD. You’re talking about the stuff here? Product of simple curiosity and a deep love for the Lord Veles: the god of mischief, musicians, and magic… But I can’t play an instrument, or even do a card trick 😉

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      • Hi John. Yes the stuff you wright. The Lord Veles eh. I will have to look that up on your blog. Any kind of biography? Is that even you in the picture or are you being mischievous? I think I need a new computer and a faster connection. -MD

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, that’s me, MD. My biography, though, has nothing to do with the content here.

        Just scanning through your blog, and I’m sorry to hear about your son. I’d never heard of YL until now, but they sound a little like the Good News Club, which I have written a post or two on. In fact, it’s because of organisations just like that why I started blogging.

        I have a great blogging buddy here, Neuronotes, Victoria, who has experienced something along the lines you have. I hope your paths meet.

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  29. John- Doing my regular research on YL I saw that they are established somewhere in your part of the country and noticed that they are talking about expanding their influence there. Bigger and more more more seems to be their style. Neuronotes and I have met a little already. I really need to get a real computer that doesnt lock up and crash regularly. -MD

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      • YL is in both countries and expanding in both. I had noticed that they have a special site just for Brazil and expansion is all that they know. It operates like a pyramid scheme, always building up the bottom with energetic young people while the rich get richer and become “millionaire prophets” with ready made worshipers everywhere. -MD

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Morning, on whichever side of the world you are….
    Going through your Blogs as I chanced upon a comment or three of yours on another Blog and thought I would come over and see what you are about. Well, such an interesting Blog. You are probably raising your eyebrows and saying ” patronising” but it is fascinating. I don’t subscribe to the Atheistic view (?) but I love the reading’ mental fencing I do in my mind with you and generally the lovely style of prose. I am a mere foot soldier with regards to your writing, but more importantly is that I love your point of view. Absolutely disagree with all of it ( I am a great believer in reincarnation) but its wonderful to get balanced views and opinions, so I shall read more and allow my mind to be opened – but never turned…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Looney. Buddhists are atheists, and they believe in reincarnation, so there’s no problem there. A-theism is simply the absence of belief in the gods. You can be an atheist and also believe in panpsychism (Buddhism is a flavour of this), which could well be true. I’m certainly open to that idea, especially considering it’s what 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution seems to point to. Long story short, no problem here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yo there back to you. Thanks for the reply and apologies for the delay in replying. I had to look up a lot of the words and means. Fascinating though. I like the idea of panpsychism and spent a hour or four reading this up today. I see you have great followers and so I fear my comments may be too bland, but I shall continue to read and follows. I love a bloke with passion! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  31. I have your Lewis Carroll quote on my screensaver now. It focuses me when I get all ethereal! its a great bit of text to focus the ( wandering) mind. I think you seem to be pretty prolific re posts but they are so complex I need to spend time on them. Makes a change though to read something other than Pussy Posts – oh well onward and upwards

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: Easter thoughts | unbuttoned or undone

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