Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Author

Publisher's Weekly calls him "...the extant authority on female murderers." Vincent Bugliosi (Helter Skelter) says: "Phelps is one of America's finest writers." His work has appeared all across the country and the journalistic work he does surrounding the cases he writes about has led to his becoming a popular presence on true crime shoes like Snapped. M. William Phelps is indeed first rate at what he does and the books he writes hook his readers from the first page, not to release their grip until the last word is read.

I interviewed M. William Phelps a few years ago and found him to be a warm, fascinating, and incredibly friendly personality. We've remained in touch since then, emails and so forth, and I have followed his work with zeal. Titles like Kill For Me, Death Trap, Cruel Death, and If Looks Could Kill have kept me up reading long into many a night. This man is really one of the finest in his field and I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a writer who can weave an inescapable web.

The Theory of Karma (Pt. 2)

What Is Karma?

The Pali term Karma literally means action or doing. Any kind of intentional action whether mental, verbal, or physical, is regarded as Karma. It covers all that is included in the phrase "thought, word and deed". Generally speaking, all good and bad action constitutes Karma. In its ultimate sense Karma means all moral and immoral volition. Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions, though technically deeds, do not constitute Karma, because volition, the most important factor in determining Karma, is absent.

The Buddha says: "I declare, O Bhikkhus, that volition is Karma. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought." (Anguttara Nikaya)

Every volitional action of individuals, save those of Buddhas and Arahants, is called Karma. The exception made in their case is because they are delivered from both good and evil; they have eradicated ignorance and craving, the roots of Karma.

"Destroyed are their germinal seeds (Khina bija); selfish desires no longer grow," states the Ratana Sutta of Sutta nipata.

This does not mean that the Buddha and Arahantas are passive. They are tirelessly active in working for the real well being and happiness of all. Their deeds ordinarily accepted as good or moral, lack creative power as regards themselves. Understanding things as they truly are, they have finally shattered their cosmic fetters – the chain of cause and effect.

Karma does not necessarily mean past actions. It embraces both past and present deeds. Hence in one sense, we are the result of what we were; we will be the result of what we are. In another sense, it should be added, we are not totally the result of what we were; we will not absolutely be the result of what we are. The present is no doubt the offspring of the past and is the present of the future, but the present is not always a true index of either the past or the future; so complex is the working of Karma.

It is this doctrine of Karma that the mother teaches her child when she says "Be good and you will be happy and we will love you; but if you are bad, you will be unhappy and we will not love you." In short, Karma is the law of cause and effect in the ethical realm.

Jennifer Grey Wins DWTS

From Yahoo! News

LOS ANGELES – Jennifer Grey was named the new "Dancing With the Stars" champ, despite painful neck and back injuries and a voting bloc for Bristol Palin.

The 50-year-old actress, whose performances were almost always flawless during the season, beat out last-place finisher Palin Tuesday on the hit ABC show and actor Kyle Massey, who came in second.

Grey and professional partner Derek Hough earned a string of perfect scores on their way to the mirrorball trophy. The couple consistently topped the judges' leaderboard throughout the season, but Palin's cadre of voter support led to some surprising upsets, including Brandy's elimination after earning a perfect score last week.

Palin's improbable run to the finals had been championed by some conservative bloggers running get-out-the-vote campaigns. She came into the season finale in last place and said she was leaving her fate to the voters.

"Going out there and winning this would mean a lot. It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me," Sarah Palin's daughter said during Tuesday's show, which featured a reunion of the season's cast members and performances from Christina Aguilera.

Grey went into Tuesday's telecast in first place and effortlessly remained there.

Palin made it to the finals despite mediocre and at times poor performances. She said it was challenging to overcome the flurry of media coverage that erupted when she was voted in over Brandy — who had received a perfect score for her tango — on the hit show, prompting some viewers to question the veracity of the "Dancing" voting system.
"Dancing" producers said Tuesday that "a record amount of activity" overloaded its online and telephone voting systems after Monday's episode.

"Some viewers reported experiencing difficulties registering their votes for the 'Dancing With the Stars' finale, which affected each finalist equally," show producers said in a statement. "The issue was promptly addressed" and voting times were not extended.

The judges had the final say Tuesday, when each of the three finalists performed two last dances for judges' scores. Viewer votes counted for half of each competitor's overall total.

The season's contestants got to perform one last number, with Brandy receiving a standing ovation for her two-step.

This Day In History: November 24


1784: Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States, was born in Orange County, Va.

1859: British naturalist Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species," which explained his theory of evolution.

1863: The battle of Lookout Mountain began.

1871: The National Rifle Association was incorporated.

1947: A group of writers, producers and directors that became known as the "Hollywood 10" was cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about alleged Communist influence in the movie industry.

1950: The musical "Guys and Dolls" opened on Broadway.

1969: Apollo 12 returned to Earth after the second manned mission to the moon.

1971: Hijacker D.B. Cooper parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 over Washington state with $200,000 in ransom. His fate remains unknown.

1987: The United States and the Soviet Union agreed to scrap shorter- and medium-range missiles in the first superpower treaty to eliminate an entire class of nuclear weapons.

1989: Czechoslovakia's hard-line party leadership resigned after more than a week of protests against its policies.

2000: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider George W. Bush's appeal against the hand recounting of presidential ballots in Florida.

2003: A jury in Virginia Beach, Va., sentenced John Allen Muhammad to death for the Washington-area sniper shootings. (Muhammad was executed in 2009.)

Wednesday's Flashback

Simple Minds was one of the biggest bands of the mid-80's. The UK sensation burst onto the scene with a delicious #1 hit called Don't You Forget About Me, which was the theme song from the hit John Hughes film The Breakfast Club. Following this, Simple Minds went on a streak of Top 40 US hits that included Sanctify Yourself, Alive and Kicking, and All The Things She Said. Back in the day they could do no wrong.

All The Things She Said remains my favorite of the band's biggest hits. Its riffs are infectious, the lyrics are undeniably contagious, and the arrangement is a perfect 80's pop sound that was defined by groups like Simple Minds in the first place. Still a radio favorite after nearly twenty-five years, this song gets me moving every time I hear it. It makes me feel young again.

Thought For Today

"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." -- Bill Gates