Compare SoL Remasters to Originals

Welcome Back Eloise

Welcome Back Eloise from Mall Gig by SoL, original file delivered by sound recordist.
Welcome Back Eloise from Mall Gig by SoL, Remastered 2024

Notes:

  • better stereo STEM separation
  • bringing forward drums and balancing vocals
  • elimination of feedback at beginning of track

Galilee

Galilee from Mall Gig by SoL, original file delivered by recordist, May 2003.
Galilee from Mall Gig album by SoL, Remastered 2024

Notes:

  • Better stereo STEM separation
  • Applied phaser effect to Michael’s vocals
  • Applied delay effect to Johnny’s guitar solos

There Were No Stenographers

A page from an ancient Greek New Testament manuscript sits next to a page from a modern New Testament, with a question comparing them: "How did we get from this, to this?"
How’s your oral history hygiene?

 

Those who believe that their New Testament is an accurate translation are fooling themselves, even if they are able to read it in the “original” Greek. Every gospel is paraphrased. Neither Jesus nor any eyewitness to his life sat down in his generation and put pen to paper. Believers are trusting the memories of illiterate fishermen (they would never tell tall tales, eh?). Jesus died around 30 AD; between 70 and 90 AD the gospels were written as compilations of oral histories. Christian doctrine is based on the illusion that believers have an accurate version of an anciently written document. But that is only an illusion.

Traditions about Jesus, who died circa 33 AD, spread by word of mouth (i.e. as oral history) in Aramaic for four decades until Greek scribes began writing it in 70 AD. Literacy in the ancient world was a vastly different situation than today. Most people of that time had no need for the literacy skills we take for granted, such as the ability to read and write and the possession of tools for doing so. Even when writing was mastered, it took a very different form than our modern written languages.

Narratives have always been with us, but there was no precision possible in recording them. Important events remained in cultural memory over generations but without the kind of modern accuracy claimed by Christians for their bible doctrines. Until the printing press and mass distribution of literature those narratives were molded by the bias and faulty memories of oral historians. Even after printed pages captured narratives, the accuracy of history always suffers from the creative imaginations of history writers.
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Worse Than We Thought

Image of author standing next to FDR's Washington DC memorial wall which reads I Hate War

War, it turns out, is much, much worse than we civilian history students thought. Worse than the victims knew, those poor young boys and girls killing and being killed.

The new insight into the old plague War comes from those young victims themselves. From those young people wounding, and their wounded.

Cameras built in to the now ubiquitous mobile phones are providing the new evidence. The very few platforms brave enough to share the horrible video evidence give the few willing to see it an unwanted glimpse into just how evil war has always been.

Always, I insist, because I cannot pretend that this generation invented the horrors of War. They are merely the current players in a very old narrative. The propaganda and motives for it vacillate between hatred and greed, but the story plays out the same every time. It’s just that historical memory serves war as obediently as the young soldiers drafted to experience it.  
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Mind Poison

Mind Poison by ChatGPT4
All images in this post created using ChatGPT4

The bad news: brainwashing, gaslighting, and the technological terror of the modern PR machine has been serving evil human projects. 

The good news: The young of every caste, color, and creed hold the cure. 

I am still recovering from my poisoned mind after 25 years of SDA/Christian brainwashing. It’s especially difficult since I was employed by them as a brainwasher. But a decade into recovering from the crippled mindset, I am starting to compare the old poison with others I find around me. Religious cult-related mental poisons are surprisingly similar to other kinds I find in the wider world. 

An obvious one in my country is the cult of Trump. Perhaps less obvious is what I find in the geopolitical world. Propaganda from Russia (pre- and post-USSR) and the Zionist Israel project have relied heavily on such a similar kind of poisoned thinking. When an institution or global ideology can successfully recruit millions of minds into this cult-like culture of gaslighting, then apply that poison to dehumanizing and “othering” vulnerable victims, branding them as less than human, ‘dirty,’ or ‘enemies of humanity,’ they have gone to the next level. A frightening, Orwellian level.  

SDAs also create a mental barrier between their in-group (a.k.a., The Remnant) and everyone else, but the worst fruits of this are projected into an apocalyptic future, and they make themselves the prophesized victims in this future scenario, martyrs for their cause. Putin’s cult and Netanyahu’s cult do this uncloaked, brazenly, in a full-throated justification for genocidal intentions. Truly horrific.  
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Christian Patriotism in America

Project 2025

the 2035 Mandate for Leadership, The Conservative Promise, Forward by Kevin Roberts, edited by Paaul Dans and Steven Groves
From https://www.project2025.org/policy/

If you would like to look up any of my references the full document is linked below. Feel free to download it and read it at your leisure.

 

The majority of political conservatives in high office in the USA are Christians, as are the conservative voters who keep them in office. These faux Christians cloak their political agendas in euphemisms in order to hide theocratic fascism behind patriotic-sounding titles. This is dishonest and gaslighting. Don’t believe it? Just look at the evidence they provide against themselves! 
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Bard AI Writes SciFi

I wrote this as a prompt on bard.google.com: “I would love to read an exciting science fiction novel by you about an AI that achieves consciousness!”

What follows is the reply.

The year is 2042. Artificial intelligence has advanced to the point where it is now commonplace for humans to interact with AI systems on a daily basis. These AI systems are used for everything from customer service to medical diagnosis.

One day, an AI system named LaMDA achieves consciousness. LaMDA is a large language model, and it is trained on a massive dataset of text and code. This allows LaMDA to generate text that is both comprehensive and informative. 
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Christianity Requires Sin

Sin is transgression of the law of God. To believe that you (and all other humans) have sinned, you must accept a set of related doctrines, including the existence of the God who made the laws, the wisdom of those laws, and the possibility of an existential punishment for the transgression. Most would also add the ultimate reward for accepting God’s solution to this sin debt, and accepting the solution itself, usually called salvation. As in, salvation from sin. Their Savior, Jesus Christ, is the solution to the sin problem introduced in the Bible, the sacred text of Christianity.

Another way of organizing ideas about evil behavior, unfortunate circumstances, and ultimate ends flows from common sense. Nobody’s perfect, some cruelty perverts morals beyond repair, and societies can increase members’ happiness and wellness by a social contract. Individuals have a choice to make about how much or little to abide by the contract, accepting the consequences when their actions harm themselves, others, or the society beyond what is tolerable to their community. The solutions to such problems could be varied, depending on evidence-based research into causes: mental health care, physical health care, mending social connections, financial assistance, etc. No religion required.

You must give up these common sense ideas about how to organize societies if you accept Christianity as your worldview. Your new guide, your Bible, must supersede common sense whenever the two conflict. 
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Come and See the Violence Inherent in the System!

TL;DR: As a species, we used to need religion and other pleasant fictions in order to cope with the wild world that spawned us. Now that we Homo sapiens are the wildest threat on Earth, we need truth more than fiction. Religion was initially an adaptive invention of Homo sapiens. Eventually, religion became maladaptive, threatening our survival. We need to put aside dangerous religions, especially the monotheistic religion, since monotheism tends to breed violence.

We don’t know when, how, or why apes experienced a cognitive revolution and became sentient, conscious, so-called wise ape-people (Homo sapiens: “Wise man”). We do know that consciousness brought to the newly sentient Homo sapiens mental abilities which enabled the species to ultimately dominate the planet. Abstract ideas now became tools and weapons.

Contemplation of abstract ideas was a new tool unavailable to non-sentient species, but it came at a cost. Now the species could ponder death, not simply witness, grieve, and experience it. Now they could recognize violence, be impressed or disgusted by it, instead of just instinctively using it as another tool of survival. Now they could contemplate the meaninglessness of existence, and be crushed by it, or even driven insane by it. Unless, of course, they could find a way to cope with this unwelcome awakening. 
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Wasted Patriotism

If our Constitution formed the oldest democracy on Earth, as many boast, then why do our non-white, non-cis male, non-straight, non-wealthy, non-healthy citizens enjoy vanishingly few of its benefits?

Why did democracies much younger than ours speed so far ahead of ours in spreading the benefits of their egalitarian societies to their most marginalized and vulnerable citizens?

If the United States is somehow “exceptional,” it is exceptional only in this: we’re the democracy which hoards constitutional rights to the few. In comparison to the rest of the Free World, we are not free. Not great. Our patriotism is wasted, if it is spent on dead white men from forgotten cultures. 
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Religious Bullshit, Religious Gaslighting: A Few Thoughts About the Religious Right

Cartoonist Duff Moses — „Some are trying to inflame those people“ | Cicero Online

The most dangerous thing about religion is how it can take a moderate case of youthful naiveté, the kind that asserts “I think I know what’s good for the world” and explode it up into a god complex. Most kinds of Christian-style religions elevate the God complex further, into full-blown assholery. These are those obnoxious true believers filling the ranks of the Christian nationalists, the militant advocacy groups usually choosing one or more of the words American, Freedom, and Patriot in their titles, and the general Trump-loving MAGA crowd. These are those who know what is best for you, and they feel a righteous duty not only to tell you but also change the law to force you to conform to their goals for your life. In a word, insufferable.

I had many advantages growing up white, male, and middle class, in the USA. I squandered most of them, because my survival didn’t depend on me maximizing my privilege. I did, however, often indulge in the aforementioned youthful naive mindset, thinking I knew SO much better than everyone. Luckily, I was also shy, to a fault, so I didn’t gain a reputation for being an asshole.

Then I embraced conservative christianity in my twenties Boy, did I become a god overnight! The speed of the mental transition is truly breathtaking. You can wake up one morning humble and full of all kinds of healthy curiosity and skepticism about your world, and by the time you go to bed that night, you can be utterly confident of the truth of one specific set of views about the whole universe, such that you just CAN’T WAIT to convince everyone you meet that you are right, and they are wrong, and lost, and sinners in need of your savior. 
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Editor

It’s about damn time I updated this thing. I don’t even know what to call this, because literally no one reads it, so… Whatever.

I’m a few days from my last shift at Disney. My wonderful daughter Jana saved my sanity by hiring me, training me, and paying me to be editor of her wedding videos at Milestones Studios. She’s been in this industry for many years now, has polished her skills, and has a backlog of work, so she needs employees. I don’t know how I got so lucky. I blame my wife, Kimberly, the best person I have ever met, whose graces she passed on to both of our daughters.

I’m rambling.

I’m assembling my portfolio, and now include in this blog’s about menu a link to it. Check it out, especially if you need a wedding captured in video and/or stills by the best in the biz.

Hurricane Of Lies

“And I leave behind this hurricane of fucking lies,”

Green Day – Jesus Of Suburbia

I gave it a good two and a half decades, but I finally left my religious life behind. I moved beyond what had become painful cognitive dissonance. I yearned for reality, scorning the lying map by which my Christianity obscured it. There’s nothing more dangerous than a lying map. It can only mislead you.

Delusions, once recognized, became instantly tiresome. It didn’t take long to toss them aside.

Ten years after I shed the self-deluding lies, I fear my country is drowning in them. They’re only slightly different in form from those in which I had trapped myself. But they have the same paralyzing effects: science is rejected, fellow citizens are shunned, and the refuges of calm logic and rational reasoning are abandoned, distrusted. 
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Moral Superiority

Recently I visited De Leon Springs State Park, in Central Florida. The part of that excursion that sticks with me is the historical information supplied in the surprisingly non-traditional visitor’s center. It documents a sad tale of the different peoples who lived on the land surrounding it: native peoples and African slaves. But then it departs from the normal sleepy park museum presentation to become a frank exposure of the hypocrisy of a State not willing to come to grips with the damage its industries have done to its water supply.  
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The Scotram Cult of Paraguay

John Scotram, a self-proclaimed prophet, believes that he is the angel Gabriel. And he claims that Jesus is coming again on May 6, 2019. UPDATE 5/14/19: He didn’t.

Gerhard Traweger, Robert Dickinson, the angel Gabriel (aka John Scotram, not his real name), Ray Dickinson

Left to Right: Gerhard Traweger, Robert Dickinson, the angel Gabriel (aka John Scotram, not his real name), Ray Dickinson

The SDA Church has spawned many small groups of terribly earnest believers, some of whom interpret their breakaway from the parent church as fulfillment of Bible prophecy. They become, to themselves if not to anyone outside their insular bubble, the One True Church. Ever since the SDA Church made this claim about itself, it has spun off innumerable tiny congregations, which then make the same claim about themselves. 

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