Wednesday, December 27, 2006


  1. don't have to be walked or obedience-trained in classes.
  2. can be left up to 3 days alone comfortably.
  3. won't eat all of the cat food left out in 1/2 hour.
  4. will amuse themselves easily.
  5. can settle their own territorial disputes with other catmates.
  1. are genuinely happy to see ya.
  2. can be taught to be good canine citizens and to do tricks.
  3. know that petting them makes their humans feel better.
  4. can be included in walking excursions and car travel easier than cats.
  5. will listen to the dominant cat of the household.
  1. settle territorial disputes by eating the offensive tankmate.
  2. don't usually talk back to their humans.
  3. are easily contained in a tank environment.
  4. some will sleep for several months at a time, thereby saving on the cost of food.
  5. don't get into power struggles with the resident cat or the resident dog.
sapphoq reviews

Friday, December 22, 2006


The cool folks over at CNET (as well as reporters from other places) have reported the settling of the lawsuits by 39 states with Sony-BMG over its rootkit fiasco. Under terms of the settlements, consumers with infected computers will receive $175.00 apiece and the states will receive more.

is where you can read the CNET article.

At issue was the idea that Sony did not warn consumers of the presence of the rootkit on the CDs. Sony-BMG is prevented from using similar rootkits in the future. Other companies aren't, as long as they warn us first.

sapphoq reviews says: not enough, and not thrilled.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

SECRETS OF MENTAL MATH, Benjamin and Shermer 12/14/06

Secrets of Mental Math, by Arthur Benjamin and Michael Shermer. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. paperback, 278 pps.

Secrets of Mental Math is subtitled The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightening Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks. And indeed, the stuff in this book is amazing. The authors illustrate the tricks and they also explain why the tricks work. From mental calculations involving a variety of operations to memorizing numbers to guesstimation, the style is easy to read and the explanations are easy to follow. Answers to the problems can be found in the back of the book as well as a section on how mathematics can help us overcome subjective biases that plague us.

I do a bit of this book each night and indeed, I do find my confidence growing along with the speed of my calculations. Recommended for teens on up.

sapphoq reviews

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I've been aware of a very simple but functional freeware program to create a personal Book of Shadows for sometime now. It can be password protected and it has four sections: spells, rituals, recipes, and incense recipes. Although I was not taught to keep records of my circle work, I know that others have found that to be useful. The electronic Book of Shadows is simple to use. For any who would rather do it on the computer, this little gem of a program is perfect.

sapphoq reviews

Monday, December 11, 2006


Bonewit's Essential Guide to Druidism, by Issac Bonewits. New York: Citadel Press, 2006. paperback, 329 pp.

I was absolutely thrilled to find Bonewit's book on the shelves the other day. Issac Bonewits knows bunches of stuff about Druidism and Witchcraft. He is also a highly accurate historian and scholar. I have several of his other books and looked forward to the release of this book. And this book did not disappoint.

The book covers Paleopagan, Mesopagan, Neopagan, and fakepagan Druids, current beliefs, samples of liturgical services, holidays, divination, and magic. Anyone who wishes some accurate historical writing concerning the Druids would do well to consult this book. The Appendices also include internet resources for those seeking more information.

Highly recommended without reservation.
sapphoq reviews

Thursday, December 07, 2006

MICRONATIONS by Ryan, Dunford, and Sellers 12/7/06

Micronations, by John Ryan, George Dunforth, and Simon Sellers. Lonely Planet: California, 2006. 156 pp. inc. index. paperback.

Classified as a travel humor book with nice color glossy photos, Micronations tells of folks who have set up their own micronations. The micronations range from an Embassy, cow pasture, and one square foot of changing land to cyberspace to outerspace to an old barge to the moon. Most are serious. By far the most serious is an Aussie family who got gypped out of their land by a clause that allows the lender to repossess it in spite of a good on-time payment history. The family declared their own kingdom and was startled to discover that under Australian law they could succede if they were wronged by the courts. Other claims may be frivolous. The reader must decide. I myself am looking into several micronations which offer free citizenship via a webform, including the nation of Freedonia which does not have any land yet but is looking into several tropical islands.

sapphoq reviews


Excuse me, Sir...Your Socks Are On Fire, by Larry Weill. Utica: North Country Books, 2005. paperback, 221 pp.

Larry was a Wilderness Park Ranger, mostly in the Canada Lakes Area, for three years. I laughed out loud at the old woman who slammed a bear on top of his head with a garbage can lid to keep him from taking her barbequeing steak. There are other humorous but true stories about bears, burning clothes, and tenderfoots-- as well as the colorful rugged local characters-- to be found in these pages. A great easy read for Adirondack lovers and others who like the woods.

sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame
(Version 2.6)

Copyright © 1979, 2001, 2004 c.e., Isaac Bonewits


Events in the last several decades have clearly indicated just how dangerous some religious and secular groups (usually called “cults” by those opposed to them) can be to their own members as well as to anyone else whom they can influence. “Brainwashing,” beatings, child abuse, rapes, murders, mass suicides, military drilling and gunrunning, meddling in civil governments, international terrorism, and other crimes have been charged against leaders and members of many groups, and in far too many cases those accusations have been correct. None of this has been very surprising to historians of religion or to other scholars of what are usually labled “new” religions (no matter how old they may be in their cultures of origin). Minority groups, especially religious ones, are often accused of crimes by members of the current majority. In many ways, for example, the “Mormons” were the “Moonies” of the 19th century — at least in terms of being an unusual minority belief system that many found “shocking” at the time — and the members of the Unification Church could be just as “respectable” a hundred years from now as the Latter Day Saints are today.

Nonetheless, despite all the historical and philosophical warnings that could be issued, ordinary people faced with friends or loved ones joining an “unusual” group, or perhaps contemplating joining one themselves, need a relatively simple way to evaluate just how dangerous or harmless a given group is liable to be, without either subjecting themselves to its power or judging it solely on theological or ideological grounds (the usual method used by anti-cult groups).

In 1979 I constructed an evaluation tool which I now call the “Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame” or the “ABCDEF” (because evaluating these groups should be elementary). A copy was included in that year’s revised edition of my book, Real Magic. I realize its shortcomings, but feel that it can be effectively used to separate harmless groups from the merely unusual-to-the-observer ones. Feedback from those attempting to use the system has always been appreciated. Indirect feedback, in terms of the number of places on and off the Net this ABCDEF has shown up, has been mostly favorable. For example, it was chosen by and is now displayed on the website of the Institute for Social Inventions, who paraphrased it for their “Best Ideas — A compendium of social innovations” listing.

The purpose of this evaluation tool is to help both amateur and professional observers, including current or would-be members, of various organizations (including religious, occult, psychological or political groups) to determine just how dangerous a given group is liable to be, in comparison with other groups, to the physical and mental health of its members and of other people subject to its influence. It cannot speak to the “spiritual dangers,” if any, that might be involved, for the simple reason that one person’s path to enlightenment or “salvation” is often viewed by another as a path to ignorance or “damnation.”

As a general rule, the higher the numerical total scored by a given group (the further to the right of the scale), the more dangerous it is likely to be. Though it is obvious that many of the scales in the frame are subjective, it is still possible to make practical judgments using it, at least of the “is this group more dangerous than that one?” sort. This is if all numerical assignments are based on accurate and unbiased observation of actual behavior by the groups and their top levels of leadership (as distinct from official pronouncements). This means that you need to pay attention to what the secondary and tertiary leaders are saying and doing, as much (or more so) than the central leadership — after all, “plausible deniability” is not a recent historical invention.

This tool can be used by parents, reporters, law enforcement agents, social scientists and others interested in evaluating the actual dangers presented by a given group or movement. Obviously, different observers will achieve differing degrees of precision, depending upon the sophistication of their numerical assignments on each scale. However, if the same observers use the same methods of scoring and weighting each scale, their comparisons of relative danger or harmlessness between groups will be reasonably valid, at least for their own purposes. People who cannot, on the other hand, view competing belief systems as ever having possible spiritual value to anyone, will find the ABCDEF annoyingly useless for promoting their theological agendas. Worse, these members of the Religious Reich and their fellow theocrats will find that their own organizations (and quite a few large mainstream churches) are far more “cult-like” than many of the minority belief systems they so bitterly oppose.

It should be pointed out that the ABCDEF is founded upon both modern psychological theories about mental health and personal growth, and my many years of participant observation and historical research into minority belief systems. Those who believe that relativism and anarchy are as dangerous to mental health as absolutism and authoritarianism, could (I suppose) count groups with total scores nearing either extreme (high or low) as being equally hazardous. As far as dangers to physical well-being are concerned, however, both historical records and current events clearly indicate the direction in which the greatest threats lie. This is especially so since the low-scoring groups usually seem to have survival and growth rates so small that they seldom develop the abilities to commit large scale atrocities even had they the philosophical or political inclinations to do so.

The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame
(version 2.6)

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Low High
1 Internal Control: Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members. 1
2 External Control: Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior. 2
3 Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s); amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations; number and degree of unverified and/or unverifiable credentials claimed. 3
4 Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members; amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts. 4
5 Dogma: Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” hostility towards relativism and situationalism. 5
6 Recruiting: Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones. 6
7 Front Groups: Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden. 7
8 Wealth: Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members. 8
9 Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s) of non-tantric groups; amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners. 9
10 Sexual Favoritism: Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s) of non-tantric groups. 10
11 Censorship: Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s). 11
12 Isolation: Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers. 12
13 Dropout Control: Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts. 13
14 Violence: Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s). 14
15 Paranoia: Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories. 15
16 Grimness: Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s). 16
17 Surrender of Will: Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s). 17
18 Hypocrisy: amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain. 18

A German translation of the 2.0 version of this is available at: Isaac Bonewits’ Sektengefahr Checkliste.

A French translation of the 2.6 version is available at: Grille avancée de Bonewits pour l'évaluation du danger potentiel d'une secte.

An Italian translation of the 2.6 version is available at: Documento Avanzato di Isaac Bonewits per la Valutazione del Pericolo del Culto.

A Polish translation of the 2.6 version is available at: Zaawansowany Kwestionariusz Bonewitsa Oceniajacy Niebezpieczenstwo Sekty

A Portuguese translation of the 2.6 version is available at: A Ferramenta Avançada de Bonewits para Avaliação de Seitas.

Other translations will be posted as they are done.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Low High

Copyright © 1979, 2001 c.e., Isaac Bonewits. This text file may be freely distributed on the Net, provided that no editing is done, the version number is retained, and everything in this notice box is included. If you would like to be on one or more of Isaac Bonewits’ emailing lists, click here to get subscription information.

Note: this is one of his most popular essays, so if you want to mirror it, that’s fine with him, but please check back regularly for updates. If anyone wants to translate this or others of his essays into other languages, he will be happy to post them on his website.

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Monday, December 04, 2006


Having spent today with Fibromyalgia, I have decided to provide a review of Fibromyalgia.
While I do recognize that a few excellent books, articles, and suchlike have been written
about Fibromyalgia at a level of competency which perhaps I shall not attain here, nevertheless
I have decided to do this. I'm not a doctor, which will be abundantly clear by the end of this thing.
So naturally, nothing I say here should be construed as medical, useful, or life-saving advice.
Thus said, let us begin.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Yes, it does.
Some folks believe it is part of clinical depression. Well, at least one drug company seems to think so. Which came first? I don't know and I do not have to care. Because, I am not a doctor.

Okay then. For the uninitiated, I will describe Fibromyalgia as a sort of arthritis of the muscles. That is not technically accurate and does not really do justice but it is a beginning. And the Midrash says, "All beginnings are hard." I have never read the Midrash. I hope I am spelling it correctly. But I do know that is what it says. Cuz I saw it somewhere.

Furthermore, besides providing an assortment of muscle pain, Fibromyalgia also provides Fatigue. For those of you who are healing a tbi like me, Fatigue is the Great Enemy. This Fatigue is not regular people fatigue. It is muscle crushing dragging along sleepwalking through life sort of fatigue. It is Oh crap, I gotta keep going even though I want to drop Fatigue.

Unofficially, there exists a suspicion among some of us that Fibromyalgia is somehow related to car accidents or something.
Officially, there are many Explanations.
Everything from [it is felt to be mostly women]: Women with Fibromyalgia are Drug-Seeking.
To: Fibromyalgia is a Lifestyle.

Perhaps folks who have Fibromyalgia are Drug-Seeking, Doctor, because they genuinely Hurt.
Have Pain.

At any rate, my own Fibromyalgia comes Knocking at rather Inconvenient Times.
I am just strolling along, living my life and Fibromyalgia says, Hey You, You are having
Too Much Fun.
Zing! You just took a bath and you Have to Sleep
for Two Hours afterwards.
Zing! You went to the gym and you will not Recover for two whole Days.
Zing! Whatdoya mean you want to Have a Life?!?

I am fortunate that mine responds to exercise and that is how I keep from Screaming.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I am.

Fibromyalgia is a Lifestyle? More of: We are Our Labels. No, I Will Not Have It.
We Are Not Our Labels. We are MORE Than Our Labels. MORE than your labels.
So There.

Freaking Idiopathic Beastie Rumbling Over Muscles Yakking Always Loudly Groaning In Agony.

That's Fibromyalgia.

sapphoq reviews