What Really is Christianity?


I just posted this on my Facebook page, and then decided it might fit here in my blogspace.

Today on TCM, I saw Inherit the Wind for the very first time. I don’t know why I have never seen some of the amazing movies – perhaps because until now, I did not have TCM. I am quite certain my mother would never have permitted me to see it when it came out – she being Church of Christ and all that. I was thinking as I watched it – are there any people in the Bible Belt any longer who don’t feel the way those people in that fictitional town did? I have read the Bible through at least three times, and many “scriptures” many times. When Spencer Tracy’s character chose passages to read to that man, who claimed the earth was only 6000 years old based on the Old Testament, I wish the persons (Clifford Odets and someone else) who wrote that script would have mentioned the verse that says, “to God, a day can be a thousand years, and a thousand years can be a day”. I also have wondered, and have said so many times, why do so-called “christians” want us to live by the Old Testament, and post the Ten Commandments, instead of The Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-12). There was no Jesus, surnamed Christ, anywhere in the Old Testament. Yes, I’m a pagan of the Celtic Heritage, and definitely believe in a higher being, a God/dess, a spirit entity without a person’s face, but really, I know the Bible very well, and that is what really gets me about those who call themselves Christians, when they don’t even seem to know what that means.

I can pick apart many bible passages, especially these days, but it is something I don’t regularly do unless I have been challenged by something like this movie Inherit the Wind which I just saw for the first time.

I simply do not understand how anyone can take this bible, put together by catholic priests in 326 AD, so seriously. At the time the bible was put together, there was no Christian church except the catholic church – the protestant churches didn’t even exist until Martin Luther posted his however many edicts there were on that church door. And then men came along and chose what they wanted to become their own churches – like Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. etc. etc.

I just don’t understand at all.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bain Corporation and Mitt Romney Redux


Since it seems our Mitt Romney is planning to run for President again, I thought I would repost this blog I wrote about him last time he ran for president, a direct rebuttal of his claiming to have “made jobs” for we the people. It got a lot of attention back then, and maybe it will remind you all of how the man really operates. He does not have the general population in mind when he wants to become the “strongest man in the American government”.

Repost of a previous blog.

While listening to the news shows yesterday, I was hearing all the stories from people on political ads talking about how they lost their jobs when Bain Corporation took their companies over. For those who are confused about how Mitt Romney can claim creating new jobs through Bain, while many were losing their jobs, I thought I’d throw an analogy out here so you can understand better.

We the people love our entertainment, and our celebrities. And many of you get your stories from the late-night shows. So I am sure a lot of you have seen the movie “Pretty Woman” with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

If you remember, Richard hires Julia for a week to be his companion at functions he needs to attend on behalf of his company, which is a holding company, much like Bain Corporation. His company goes in and buys companies that are failing, or at least not making much money, and then he takes them apart and turns them into smaller companies, firing the employees of the big companies along the way. The smaller companies then start to make money, hire their own personnel (thus new jobs), and then who knows, go off into the sunset. In the meantime, the holding company that bought the original company at a lower-than average price because of its failings, takes its money off the top from reselling the broken apart companies, and leaves it in the hands of the people who bought those smaller companies. The holding company couldn’t care less about what happens to those smaller companies after they’ve taken their profits off the top. They walk away. Sometimes those larger companies are raided and bought against the owner’s will, which was the story of Pretty Woman, and of course, the fuzzy warm feeling you got when Gere’s character was changed by the actions of a pretty call girl. It was just a movie.

But, this is the sort of company Bain Corporation is. Whether or not Mitt Romney still has his fingers in the pie or not (he says not, but we know him for a liar, and he is refusing to meet with news people to talk about how he made his money, as I write this), some of his millions were made by doing this very thing – buying up troubled companies, tearing them apart, taking away jobs, and then selling the smaller companies off for high premiums, pocketing the money, and then walking away to let the new owner fend for himself, hiring people, taking the new smaller business to new heights, or possibly new lows. Who knows?

Just be aware that while you are listening to ads from the Romney campaign talking about all the jobs “he” has provided, the real truth is not nearly so rosy. At the same time, remember that while jobs in government were lost because of the House No-Repubs, and jobs are not being funded for government, particularly in the infrastructure of this country (remember those bridges you drive across that could end up like the one near Minneapolis-St. Paul, or the pothole that destroyed your last expensive tire), or in helping pay for training for the new manufacturing jobs which many would be happy to have that are now left wanting for lack of personnel, private industry is thriving under President Obama, and many jobs have been opened. Remember the women’s group that Romney did a speech in front of, trying to make it appear that women like him, but was a group that established a company of women, run by women, which is thriving, all under Obama’s watch.

Don’t let the ads fool you. If you don’t want to take time to pay attention to what is really happening, let the movies like Dave or Pretty Woman show you what reality is, even if in a fantasy world. Or let one like Wall Street teach you what the men at the top are really like. Don’t forget companies like Enron, under GWB’s watch, or what is happening to your money with JP Morgan Chase right now, a bank that was bailed out by GWB’s Congress. And do think about what President Obama did for the automotive business when the government LOANED them the money to bail themselves out, and which is being paid back, with interest, with thousands of jobs saved.

Pay attention, especially if you are an independent, or swing, voter who has not yet made up his or her mind on who you will vote for.

This last paragraph probably does not apply so much right now since we don’t know who will actually be running against Romney, if he gets the nod. But the truth still stands about Ann Romney.

And my own gentle nudge here: remember to think about who the First Lady will be – one who buys her and her girls’ clothes at chain stores, or one who buys $990 tee-shirts. There was only one Jackie Kennedy, and we loved her designer clothes because she was Jackie (not so much Nancy Reagan), and while we might love Michelle Obama if she bought designer clothes, I think we appreciate her much more because she doesn’t.

Just pay attention.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

Posted in Economics, Finance, Politics | Leave a comment

My year in review


Altogether this year, I had a very good year. Some ups and downs, but certainly more ups than downs, by at least ten to one. The best as far as blogs are concerned, that my blog about Christmas for the Elderly went viral. First time that has ever happened. The worst – finding out about my sister’s death a year and a half after it happened. Knowing that family really does hate me that much.

I did not post my college football bowl picks this year, nor did I enter them in any contest. Too bad. Today, after 21 games, I have had only five losses. Pretty good for an old woman, but football is not a no-no for older women. After all, I played in high school band, and I love Daryl LaMonica. So today I was delighted that Notre Dame won their bowl, even though they played one of my three 2nd favourite teams, LSU. Another Tiger team won – Clemson, wow, did they wipe out Oklahoma. And that leaves Auburn, which plays New Year’s Day against Wisconsin.

I am all tucked up in my apartment for the next four days. Temperatures starting tomorrow are going the be the coldest so far this winter, though you gotta remember this is Central Texas where I am, and we rarely get really cold weather. But I’ve got my food, my cigarettes, and a dozen bowl games for the next four days (plus two more today). I have my field peas and collards and Texas Toast for Thursday, so I’ll be warm and cozy. I even have three bottles of hard cider for tomorrow night, which does not seem to affect me like beer or any other type of alcohol.

I want to wish everyone a good coming new year. I always feel funny trying to say Happy New Year because that usually refers only to the day itself. And I truly hope all my friends and readers have good days all 2015 long.

Love to you all, ta for now, from

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Friends, Medicine, Mental health, personal thoughts, Sports | Leave a comment

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Crime, Economics, Equality, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Friends, Gay Rights, global warming, Health, Homelessness, Medicine, Mental health, Music, Olympics, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, Religious, Science fiction, Sports, States Rights, Voting Rights, weather, Women's Rights | Leave a comment

The meaning of the happy holidays


Why didn’t I say Christmas? Because it is a word made up to make it sound like it was named after somebody named Christ. I have been told that I should not say happy holidays since that means holy days. Sorry, not all of the November and December holidays are Holy Days. Thanksgiving, for instance.

Oh well, a little rant. How people celebrate these days are their own business, but please, don’t bring your beliefs into my life.

We had a decorated door contest here at where I live. The judging was today. I do not know how it turned out because the winner will be announced tomorrow during our holiday party. I want you to know that I write this not out of resentment, but just as a statement. I decorated my door with blue snowflake paper, but in some batting at the bottom (in layers) to look like a snow-covered hillside, glued some little green snow-covered trees with red stars, and glued on two skiing snowmen, as well as a regular snowman.

Then I hung a silver wreath at the top of the door with five red bows attached, plus three tree decoration dolls, dressed up in winter duds. My reasoning behind my door was to show the way Christmas should be displayed – the joy, the wonder, the fun – all for the children. I haven’t seen all the doors in the complex, so I have no clue who will win. Nor do I necessarily expect to because I don’t know who the judges were, and they may have been religious.

There are two things I do resent about the way people choose to look at Christmas. One is that they believe “Jesus is the reason for the season”. Actually, that is only because the catholic church needed something to use to bring people into their religious beliefs. I say what right do they have to steal the original meanings of the holiday, which is the Solstice, and the welcoming of the light (sun) back into the sky (the sun begins its journey back to the southern hemisphere on the 20th, and the celebration originated in the known world of the time, which was the northern hemisphere). With all of the money and influence the catholic church has/had, why are they not smart enough to figure out something original to base their holiday on? Well, obviously, they wanted to demonize, and then own, the whole idea of the celebration. Well, they took it away from the 20th, and changed it to the 25th, but everyone should know that the Jesus the New Testament calls the Christ (he was really a Jewish Rabbi) was born when the shepherds and sheep were in the fields, which does not happen when it is cold and snowing. Oh, you didn’t know it snowed in Palestine?

The other reason, and one much more important to me personally, is the commercialization of the holidays. Today I watched a movie on Lifetime which was about a huge store (you can see it from space) decided to have a light contest because they got an overshipment of tree lights. The prize was to be some free shopping, which went from one hour to three hours. Of course, all the people went crazy, and bought and built huge displays, including a Jewish couple who put up giant Menorahs and Stars of David. All on the path of outdoing one another to win the prize. Our “hero” and his girlfriends, who just happened to be the daughter of the man who owned the giant store, went right along with it. Until the hero’s father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, got angry – partly because it was his house, and partly because as he told his son, he wanted at least one more memory of a Christmas before they all went away. I ran into an oxymoron with this ending, as his house was eventually decorated with a manger scene. But it was still a better ending because when everyone lit their lights, a transformer blew up, and the manger scene was lighted with candles. Leaving the house with the only decoration that was lit. Of course, our hero’s father’s house won, and the son donated the winnings to charity.

The moral of the story was, of course, that all that consumerism lost out, and the supposedly true meaning of Christmas was shown as the winner.

Well, to me the real meaning of Christmas is the children. I remember it from my own childhood, before someone told me there was no Santa (my mother and step-father, who left a lot to be desired as parents anyway), but waking up on Christmas morning and seeing what Santa left beneath the tree. It was a magical time which I think way too many people, including children, have forgotten. Now it is about how much loot, how much it all cost, how much comparison was made to each and everybody else, and how it was all forgotten the next day.

No wonder we as a country are in the shape we are in. Consumerism, capitalism, trying to outdo the family next door (and how many families actually live next door that you are familiar with anyway?).

C’mon, people, most of you need to get your priorities straight. Remember when peace and goodwill toward all men meant something (and perhaps we should even change that to all people instead of all men). I fear love is a word that will soon disappear from the common language.

I am enjoying my holiday season. I, with my small income, have still managed to give tokens, pretty much under $5, along with crocheting 30 neck scarves, to everyone of meaning to me, and put out nearly 50 holiday cards on my neighbors doors. Even my door cost me less than $20 to decorate, and it would have been less than $10 if I hadn’t gone ahead and bought a hanger for my wreath. I wish everyone were as happy and full of joy as I am.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Economics, Friends, Mental health, Music, personal thoughts, Religious | Leave a comment

December 7, 1941


It is just after 1:00 in the morning here where I am, and I have taken a break from crocheting scarves, while watching sappy Hallmark Christmas shows, and I have taken noticed of today’s date, a day that will truly go down as a “day of infamy” in America. Pearl Harbor was attacked, and World War II began. Among the losses that day was a ship called the Arizona which went down with many men lost. There were men of many ages, but let us think about those men with an average age of 20, born in 1921. And Doris Miller, a young black man who was not allowed to be a fighter, but who shot down a couple of planes that day. He didn’t die that day, but he did a year or two later.

What did those men miss in the 73 years since that happened?

Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Clinton, both Bushes, Barak Obama. They missed out on the Atom Bomb; Hitler’s horrors; the Sullivan Brothers; the rise of the military/industrial complex; GI college classes; Korea; television; big-finned cars; big skirts with lots of petticoats; button-down collars; rock and roll; the Cold War and the stand-downs in Cuba; the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall; a presidential assassination; the rise of free love, drugs, 60s music; Vietnam; Civil Rights; Tom Hanks and Marilyn Monroe; computers; 8-track music; cassettes; CDs and videos; DVDs; the space program, landing on the moon; space shuttles, MIR, and the space station; disco; heavy metal and grunge music; the Me generation; the rise of pornography; kitten pictures on social networks; the Internet and social networks; phones one can carry around that take pictures; the rise of Israel and all the problems that came with that; wars and more wars; the rise of terrorism all over the world; drugs and more drugs; hatred against immigrants; starvation and filth and homelessness; anger over religious conflict; intolerance; jet planes and drones and RPGs, both as games for TVs and as weapons; the trashing of our planet and climate change for the worst; and hatred, hatred, hatred.

The united States that so many of those 20 year olds would have gladly fought for after that day are so un-united now that one wonders; were they the lucky ones? The ones who did not live to see what has become of this country and this world that they might have fought for had they not died the first day?

I wonder what happened to that world that we lost on December 7, 1941. Well, we were headed in the right direction for a while, a very little while, when everyone who was alive then was willing to sacrifice for the horrors of the 1940s, but started losing their way by the mid-1960s.

Those 20 year olds of that day would be in their 90s today. What would they think of the world they were gung-ho for on that day think if they came back today? There were some good times, and up times, some prosperous times; but as I write this list, I realize there were many more bad times, and things are falling apart today, everywhere.

I’m not sure they weren’t the lucky ones.

In a very pensive mood. I am

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Equality, Foreign Affairs, Homelessness, Medicine, Mental health, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, Religious, Voting Rights | Leave a comment

Welcome


I noticed when I caught up with my email today that I have several new followers. I also noticed that I have had a couple of days where my readers went over 1,000-2,000. Wow. I’m especially glad my post about gifts for the elderly was responsible for much of that. Thank you all, and welcome.

Just a little catching up from me. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for about eight of my friends (I invited several more, but, of course, some had previous plans, or family to spend it with, so I’m not insulted that they did not come). I also provided plates for two other people here in the complex. Thanksgiving is really my holiday because I love to cook, and it was no holds barred this year – I made a feast. Photos are available in my personal page on FaceBook, and my FB page is public. They are also in a album on my friend Joyce Snodgrass’s page, but I don’t know if her page is available for all to see. She probably has some privacy settings on hers – I keep my public to share my thoughts about politics, the state of the world, and other things I think should be important. So you don’t have to be listed as a friend to see my page. Warning, there is another Carol Stepp, so be sure you punch up the one from Austin, TX.

My blog posts are also sent to my FB page for those who don’t follow them.

Right now I am crocheting neck scarves to go into the Christmas baskets being put together for our Christmas party. I learned today with the calendar that our Christmas event will be held on the 18th, and I have about 15 of the scarves made – I plan to make 30 – so I have time to get them done. But it does mean I don’t have a lot of time to be on the computer for the next few days. But I will be back before Christmas itself.

Football? I’m doing pretty well with my prognostications, at least to be above the .500 point (.622 right now), but there have been quite a few upsets this year, which always keeps the game fun and interesting (I’m talking college football, of course).

My cats and I are well, and happy – yes, really happy – age has taught me to be happy in spite of what is going on in the world. I’m strangely still an optimist, though I have fears for this country of ours which is more un-united than ever. I just hope the generation behind mine has more sense than mine does, and their children will be even more tolerant and open-minded and compassionate. But life is good, and I am grateful for each day I wake up (and quite pleasantly surprised, sometimes). LOL, please. I try to keep a sense of humour – it is the only way to live and stay upbeat.

Anyway, thanks again for all the interest in my blogs, and welcome to all of you. I love each and every one of you, and wish you all the best of everything.

Happy holidays,
Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Friends, Mental health, personal thoughts, Sports | Leave a comment