Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Editor's Corner

July 2014

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”...Albert Einstein.

Sometimes that quote can be a puzzle but sometimes it rings a bell immediately. Choosing to regard everything good and bad as though there is a miracle wrapped within is difficult. Yet my nephew who crossed over June 23 persistently looked for the good with faith it was only temporarily hidden from view once in a while. You will be missed, David Lee Crowson, but what a happy welcome on the other side with so many family members there waiting for you!

Happiness for your editor has long been the pastime of bird watching with a personal count in the hundreds of species. A regular summer joy comes with the black-chinned hummers that frequent the western part of Texas, and feeders are hung expediently and kept refilled. The picture at the bottom of this column shows that not only hummers imbibe the sugary treat, catching a pair of House Finches visiting.

Judy Kroll aka Featherwind lauds the accessible social media of these times for providing the personal contact that can create true friendship in her column "On Trek." Peg Jones (Angel Whispers) speaks from her heart and chooses an excerpt from her book to share. "Merlin Insights" explains about our built in translators when it comes to defining ourselves.  Merlin's bio has been updated so you can check that out by clicking his byline.

Michael John Fierro has his column (By the Numbers) about the numerological aspects of July 2014, and also an article discussing the Personal Year for the USA which begins on the Fourth of July. Valuable analysis is featured in each. With the column "Merlin Insights" we are given a brief but deep author's viewpoint that may be just what you need to hear.

Mattie Lennon, (Irish Eyes) has been doing his catching up with what is and isn't happening in Nature and has an eye opening column about the declining bee population. Thomas F. O'Neill in "Introspective" talks about the preferences in television in China as well as what is allowed through the internet there.

John I. Blair's column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XIX turns the spotlight on Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. He sent us two poems for July: "June Night," and "Midsummer's Eve 2014."

"Stop Stop Stop" and "Just A Song" are shown by Bruce Clifford. Bud Lemire shares "After Graduation," "Think Positive," and "Remission." On his FaceBook page, Bud celebrates the miracle of a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer returning to the doctors, who could find no trace of cancer ever, with his 'happy dance' in her honor.

Mark Crocker aka Rabbo adds to his serialized tale about Lexi with Chapter 5 - Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll. Remember, this is written from Lexi's perspective.

Thanks again to Mike Craner, our patient webmaster. Just wish we were geologically closer sometimes.

Look for the August issue of Pencil Stubs Online and be sure you are in it by getting your compositions submitted, beginning now.

Click on Mary E. Adair  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at www.pencilstubs.com and also in the blog www.pencilstubs.net with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Merlin Insights

A miracle is but the translation of 
your own denial into truth. 

 To truly love yourself is to heal yourself, so it must follow that those who remain in a state that is 'unhealed' must find they are lacking in love for themselves in some way.

Those who would turn to another in seeking healing are asking for the love that would heal them and yet they are denying it for themselves. If they knew the truth of themselves, of the love that they're part of, the healing of their soul would already be complete.

The task of you, the healer, therefore is to deny the denial of truth. Those who struggle for their own healing love have but obscured the love of which they are a part, for it is there within them.

Having obscured their own light behind a fog, the light of another must shine within them, for that light is also theirs, and show that the fog, behind which their love lies, shines as brightly as ever and is itself but an illusion.

I wish for you today, and for every day, the clear vision to know just how powerful your love is.

God bless you my friend.
June 10, 2014 Merlin

Click on Merlin Energy for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XIX:

Clara Barton

Clarissa Harlowe “Clara” Barton (1821-1912) has earned a place in history as the angel of Civil War battlefields and founder of the American Red Cross. Born in a farming community in Massachusetts to an abolitionist family prominent in the local Universalist church, from an early age Clara knew about nursing because her mother and older sister were chronically ill. Then at 11 years of age she got the job of nursing her severely injured brother for two years. (He fully recovered.)

In her late teens she was put to teaching school, with 40 boys and girls, some not much younger than she. Clara taught in Massachusetts for 10 years. Later she started a free school in New Jersey, but left after a male supervisor was brought in, at twice her pay, to run the school.

She went to Washington, D.C., and became the first woman clerk in the Patent Office. This time she was paid the same as a man. Ultimately, however, she lost the job due to illness, overwork, and a change in administrations and went home to Massachusetts. On Lincoln’s election, she returned to the Patent Office, again in a trusted position. But on April 19, 1861, she was given the opportunity to care for some wounded Massachusetts troops. Following that experience she began obtaining supplies for soldiers, overseeing their packing and distribution.

Field hospital at Savage Station after battle of June 27, 1862.

By summer she got a pass to take 6 wagons of supplies to a battlefield in Virginia where she worked among the wounded for 48 hours with no sleep or food. Later she worked on battlefields throughout the eastern front. Many other women were doing similar work at the time, but Barton is believed to have been the first one with official government approval. Later in the war, after a hiatus due to ill health and resistance from authorities to women on the battlefield, Barton returned to work at the front in Virginia., both in hospitals and in the field. Ultimately she served on a dozen of the bloodiest battlefields of the war.

Headlined News Story
Headlined News Story
After the war, Lincoln put Barton in charge of locating missing prisoners of war, at which she was very effective, locating (and usually burying) a fourth of those listed as missing. In 1866, Barton began a speaking tour about her experiences, then joined the growing woman suffrage movement. She also worked for passage of the Fifteenth Amendment (suffrage for Negro men). But from 1870 onward her primary effort was working with the International Red Cross movement.

After a long period of ill health, in 1877 Barton began lobbying the US Government and ultimately, in 1881, succeeded in getting federal support for an American Red Cross. It was her idea that the Red Cross provide relief for natural disasters as well as during wars. Barton worked for two more decades to keep the American Red Cross alive and part of the relief efforts for such disasters as the Johnstown flood, the Sea Island and Galveston hurricanes, and various yellow fever outbreaks. There were many problems, and Barton was not always effective in her work; but the movement survived.

Recognized by Postage Stamp

Although Barton gave up the Red Cross presidency in 1904, she continued attending suffrage conventions and veterans’ encampments until her death of pneumonia in 1912 at the age of 90.
Researched and compiled by John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.Pictured below: Clara Barton (title: wcb Brady)


Irish Eyes


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
W. B. Yeats had it all mapped out for himself but what would happen if there were no bees in the glade and what would cause that?

Albert Einstein is supposed to have said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live.” Even those who don’t believe that he uttered those words agree that the human race would survive a maximum of five years after the bees became extinct (although Keith Pierce of Dublin Beekeeping Services says, “that 5 year thing is just media hype.“
Researchers from the Royal Holloway University of London have found that at least two diseases are actively being spread from domesticated bees to wild species. The disease transfer is speeding up the decline of essential pollinators such as the bumblebee. Bees pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world.


“There is international trade in honeybees (Apis mellifera) and their hives need constant management to keep diseases under control. Despite this, The bumblebee (Bombus) is in global decline, something that threatens the productivity of farming. The growth of fruit, veg and other crops is dependent on having pollinators of all sorts available but bees are particularly important, the authors write. They decided to study whether disease transfer from managed bees might be putting species like the bumblebee under pressure.”
The idea was first tested in the lab with infection experiments and then a large-scale field study was conducted across Britain and the Isle of Man. They investigated two common diseases in domesticated bees, deformed wing virus and a fungal disease. Genetic studies of the virus also showed that bees tested in shared foraging areas had related strains of the virus showing that there was ongoing disease transmission, the author said.

“Our results provide evidence for an emerging pathogen problem in wild pollinators that may be driven by Apis,” the authors write.

Ireland’s 101 native bee populations are also under considerable stress, said Dr Una FitzPatrick, an ecologist at the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford. “A third of the Irish bee fauna is threatened with extinction,” she said.

The primary cause for this was the loss of bee habitat due to increased urbanisation and more intensive agricultural practices, Dr FitzPatrick said. “There are just fewer places where a bee can make a home. We forget bees provide an essential service. We are totally dependent on them to pollinate our crops . . . . This is yet another stressor that bee populations don’t need.”
So what can we do to protect our bees and consequently the human race? “ . . . letting wildflowers grow in road margins to make them more pollinator friendly. Just don’t cut the grass verges so often,” she said.

That’s only the start. We may lose all the plants that bees pollinate, all of the animals that eat those plants and so on up the food chain It gets worse. We are losing bees at an alarming rate. Possible reasons include the loss of flower meadows, the crab-like varroa mite that feasts on their blood, climate change, and use of pesticides. Of the 101 types of “native” bees in Ireland 42 have decreased by 50% and 11 have decreased by 30%-50% since 1980. We need the bees: Shakespeare got it right,

Where the bee sucks there suck I.
Books are available for more info

Click on Mattie Lennon for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

By The Numbers


July is a 14/5 Universal Month. 14/5 is one of the Karmic Debt numbers in Numerology and has a great deal to do with the human condition and the sexual principles of life. With the 5 being a representation of (among other things) the human condition, July may see more focus and attention paid to things having to do with the physical being of people. This may be especially important in the ongoing fight around women's reproductive rights and the continuing crackdown on abortion by state legislatures. We may very well see an increase and intensity in this battle as people on both sides look to assert their positions, as the 14/5 also concerns the issues of pregnancy and social and family obligations. With the 5's desire for balance and law and order, once again the people's voices must be heard and considered, especially in the realm of legal documents and laws.  

5 also represents the elements of freedom and change and perhaps these elements will gain importance in an area that should be entirely personal, without the interference or constraints of government or social agendas. Additionally, 14/5 includes conditions and situations revolving around national, community and social conscience. As the world continues to struggle in its quest to create balance for all, we may also see an increase in conflicts surrounding viewpoints and agendas of governments and people in power. Might this not be a good time for people and politicians to work from a place of good conscience that includes concern and importance for the common good? With the energy of the 7 Universal Year also at play, everyone must learn to investigate, research and understand the issues that have an effect on you...personally and collectively.

July will also bring about an increase in attention to matters of health, wealth and education. A receptivity to new things may help in propelling the dialogue regarding these matters. It will be important for all to slow down and give thought and consideration to previous behavior patterns (and this is greatly enhanced by the energy of the 7 Universal Year of which we are currently under the influence). Increased concentration and mental transference can bring about new influences and changes where necessary. One positive way to foster and bring about such changes will be through the use of tact, diplomacy and persuasion as well as staying informed and engaged in matters large and small. A key word to keep in mind during all conversations and actions is TEMPERANCE ... giving consideration to all opinions and perspectives and acting, again, from a place that creates the best for everyone and enhances the common good.

5 is known for its bold and adventurous spirit and its willingness to take chances, and July amplifies opportunities to do so. This may be a month in which the unusual or extraordinary receives notice and the time is ripe for new and different products and ideas. The 14/5 energy is good for sales, travel and a change of pace and these conditions may bring about increases in the selling and purchases of goods and services. One caution is to be aware that trends towards desire creates a need for balance, again, keeping in mind the major conditions of the sexual principles associated with this number.

Opportunities will exist to create balance in the physical realm as well as the creative ability to manifest change(s). All things and situations should be met with an abundance of enthusiasm and a willingness to make the necessary modifications. The principle of the 14/5 is the destruction of the old and the re-building of the new underscored by learning the lesson of detachment. Through these actions can we discover the true meanings of peace and freedom. It is through learning to love the law of change that it will be conquered. In the world of business, along with the potential for increased sales (especially in the categories of pleasure-driven items), there is also increased energy regarding speculation and competition. While there may be losses of property or business failures, it must be remembered that losses may be necessary in that they will bring about gains.

On the negative side, the 14/5 energy of July may also bring on a rise in dishonesty and irresponsibility. People may leave jobs over issues real or imagined. There may also be an increase in fraudulent practices and these may arise in the areas of business and government. It is important that you stay engaged in the on-going processes and allow your voice to be heard...both individually and collectively.

2014 is a 7 Universal Year and the elements of increased scrutiny, analysis, understanding and education hold sway over all actions. We must all question the status-quo and our leaders and hold them accountable for their words and actions. After the 13/4 energy of June and its elements of transitional change, July continues the vibration under which the world continues to transform as we struggle to bring balance, system and equality to all things. It is imperative that we collectively visualize the world in which we would like to live and then work towards bringing forth those goals and visions.

Blessings of Love & Light!
Michael John Fierro

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

On Trek

How The Computer Is Helping All of Us

We talk to our friends, and our family, and share pictures and stories, we help people who are grieving, and they help us as well. Strangers even help us and share parts of their lives with us.

We get up to date information that tends to share the truth not fabrications. We have instant access to information, like how to prepare freezing beets or some such thing.

It is our world at our fingertips. Let your fingers do the walking takes on a whole new meaning.

What truly inspires me are the people I have met. I do not see these people, but I constantly feel their emotions, their likes and dislikes. I am getting to know them in the physical world but I am tapping into the real person, the spirit side. When we pass over, we can only take our personalities.

Everything physical stays here. So the spiritual side is all we will truly see and feel on the other side.

Each comment made on Facebook for example, is from the heart. Even if it is a comment like I love this thought, I like this. We are learning bits and pieces of people from the inside out. We are not judging them by what they wear or what they look like, but by WHO they truly are as a soul. Now that is a tremendous leap in sharing true unconditional love.

If someone is hurting, we can feel it. If someone shares a recipe we can taste it and know their tastes.
When beautiful photographs are shared, or loving animal videos, kids at play, stories of our heroes in action, we can feel the emotion and love.

The positive view is always the most loving view. Please let us continue to all share our true soul-self on the computer, and spread love like the sun spreads sunshine.

Judith. Aka Featherwind

Click on Judith Kroll for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

2014 – An 18/9 Personal Year for the United States

This year, on July 4, 2014, the United States enters its 18/9 Personal Year. The 9 Year is the end of the current nine-year cycle and will bring to a culmination and end some of what was begun in 2006. As with all 9 Personal Years, it would be incumbent upon our the country to eliminate many of the difficulties, problems and conditions that no longer serve the common good. While it is not my place to list these things, I am sure that many of those of you who are reading this article may have a good idea of what exactly those things may be.

This would be a good year for this country to move away from a world perspective of war and aggression and towards one of peace and tolerance. Under the influence of the 18/9, the United States could once again become a true leader of humanity working from a place of responsibility, brotherhood and Universal love. If this country is going to proclaim itself the leader of the world and a shining example for other countries, then this year would be a great time to get back on-track with appropriate behavior(s). The influence of the 9 is a perfect time to do away with attitudes and actions that no longer serve the common good. It is time for America to shed its mantle of solving problems with guns and aggressive actions and take on the mantle of humanitarianism, benevolence and selflessness (in many ways the President has been attempting to do just that yet sadly, the political partisanship and hawkish nature of many makes such moves the object of scorn and ridicule).

In that regard, the 18/9 will also lend an intense emotional component to discussions which may ratchet up the political discourse to an even louder and more divisive level. There is certainly a caution against acting in an impulsive fashion. Thought and consideration must be given to all situations with the goal of a humane and loving response to the issues that arise. As is the case in all 9 Personal Years, it is very important that strides be taken to rid ourselves of the conditions and situations that no longer serve us for we run the risk of said situations exacerbating if carried forward into the next cycle that will being on July 4, 2015. The 9 Year embraces an attitude of giving and receiving thus this year would be a good time to get the dialogue back on-track to a more understanding and compromising nature.

During the course of this year, the United States needs to do some self-examination and take an inventory of behaviors and attitudes that no longer serve the greatest good. Being under the influence of a 7 Universal Year until December, the time is right for contemplating and researching new methods of problem-solving and creating a feeling of unity. In January, when the world moves into an 8 Universal Year, it will be time to put plans into action and move forward to accomplish the goals that are set.

The country needs to take a good look at its policies both domestically and internationally and move towards a compassionate and all-inclusive approach to matters. Respect must be paid to all and an understanding must take root that everyone is deserving of the same rights and privileges with no exceptions. The 9 demands a tolerant, philanthropic and altruistic vision and now would be a good time to begin to lay the groundwork for moving forward through the disposal of anything that stands in the way of such attitudes. We must become more forgiving.

While all of this is necessary within government, it will be brought about through the personal efforts and behavior of each and every citizen of this nation. Be the change you would like to see and do what you can to foster that change. This is the task that lies before us (the country and its citizens) in the year to come.

Blessings of Love and Light!
Michael John Fierro © 2014 Michael John Fierro

Michael John Fierro is a Numerologist and the author of YOU KNOW YOUR NAME...LOOK UP YOUR NUMBERS. More information is available at www.michaeljohnfierro.com

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
Pic Below: Michael John Fierro


Angel Whispers

Summertime and the Angels

Summer time is here and the going is easy…. I love the summertime, even though its only 3 -4 months in the Northeast of the USA. The months are full of warm sunny days and we live our days pretty carefree, and do a lot less of thinking negative thoughts. Life seems to be much lighter, and all is well in our part of the world.

So I asked the angels, today, what do they want me to talk about this month. Did they have a message? Did they have a subject, they want to speak to us about, or did they want to just stay in the back ground, and let me do some writing about what is on my mind, today.

The answer I was received was, for me, to write what is in my heart today, on June 30th, 5:30 pm. One thing that I feel in my heart, is gratitude for all the universe has bestowed upon me in my world and the people who are in my life, at this time. I am grateful, for the sunny days and for the days that are not all that sunny. I am grateful for roof over my head and the food that I eat. I am grateful for peace in my heart and joy that is around me. I am grateful my health and for the direction I receive in trying to continue to living a healthy life. I am grateful for the people who I speak to each day, whether it is on the phone or in person. I am grateful for my husband and for the way he shows his love to me each day. I am grateful the gifts that have been given to me by the universe and for the way they help me to remember my worth in this world.

Life isn’t always easy to live, and we all have issues we have to face that are upsetting, very troubling to us. Yet on the other hand, when we learn to be grateful despite the negative happenings, the act of listing the things we are grateful for can for even a few minutes, help us to focus on the good in our life too.. Sometimes, it takes some really hard work to find that, because our human way of approaching our life shows up continually. But when we remember that we too are spiritual beings, and let our spiritual self take over a bit, that we can find some reprieve for the feeling that may block the feeling joy and happiness, and help us to understand that we are more that what we may be feeling at a particular time.

In my work with the angels, and understanding what my purpose is for my life time, and helping others to see their purpose, the common thread I see in all of this is to learn about love. Love of self and love of each person that comes into our life. To understand, that we are here and that we know each other for a reason. Whether is there is a lesson to learn, or a something that may be needed to heal from, or working out something from the past. Sometimes, the most difficult people in our lives are put there for a very important reason, to help to learn specific lessons in our lives. We don’t always understand them or appreciate them at the time. And we may never see the lesson in meeting this person or situation. That is ok… It may help us in some way as we live our life on the earth.

The angels remind me many times of our worth, and love they have for us. That the plan of our God and the guidance we receive as we live our life from the universe and from those we come into contact with each day is important, and to look for the good in all. The universe is here for us, and so many of go through our day with a prayer, of asking guidance and direction. We can also go through our days of just reacting, from the stress or from the happening of each day… Our angels are with us, and our God is with us, too. They are truly helping us through our days; we only need to take time to listen to the messages and to the synchronicity that occurs each day.

Embracing our spiritual self and our physical self together and knowing both aspects of them are so very important for us understanding how the ego plays a big part in our life and how our higher self is important too. So many of us have different understanding of this concept of higher self and the importance of embracing both, yet keeping a balance, of our body, mind and spirit.

It has taken me a long to understand of all three being balanced, to help us understand our purpose in our life, and who we truly are.. Many time we hear, we are who we think we are, in our body, or physical self. We have a spiritual side too, and when we understand all that this entails, then we do have a different understanding our existence and reason for being here.

I wanted to end this article with a message from my book,
Living in the Heart Place With Your Angels:
Daily Angelical Whispers Throughout the Year.
July 2
Ask in your heart, what is the most important thing to do for yourself? We, your angels, ask you this question because we feel that when you know the answer you will know the next step on your journey. When you know the answer you will not need to be concerned about other peoples’ opinions and views of the angels. We ask you to stay in your truth and to do for yourself what you do for others. Let your vision be the goal point of your journey and know that all is well. Journal exercise:
Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing to do for myself?” Take some time to answer this. Think about it and journal about it.
Wishing everyone a wonderful July, where ever you are. The angels are helping us to remember, all that we are and how each of us is truly worthy of all we have to offer to those in our world.

Click on Peg Jones for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Suzhou, China is the influence the American culture is having on China’s youth. From the style of clothing their wearing to the coffee they drink the western influence is here to stay in China.

The western culture is also big and it’s getting bigger with each passing year. From the foods the Chinese are eating to the popularity of the American film industry - it’s a reflection of how China is embracing our western way of life.

I quickly learned that KFC is the most popular restaurant chain in China and the Buick is the top selling car in their country. Western music is also extremely popular among the Chinese and in their large metropolitan cities - there are endless western bars and restaurants at times you can’t help but feel you’re in Manhattan or Chicago.

Many companies in China are also trying to feed on their consumers’ trendier westernized tastes. The Chinese culture for instance often takes Western influences and makes them its own. For example, the first time I walked into a KFC here in China I looked on the menu and saw an egg tart, rice porridge, the menu was almost unrecognizable for someone that is familiar with KFC in the States.
When visiting large public squares in Beijing or Shanghai you will notice young skateboarders practicing their impressive skateboarding moves. The internet has made skateboarding extremely popular along with rollerblading.

Many of China’s youth watch their American Idols online and they watch how their favorite entertainers dress and perform. The youth in China enjoy practicing, and imitating their Idols styles of entertainment.

The way their western Idols dress influences how the Chinese youth dress. Watching their Idols online inspires them to think more about America’s freedom of expression especially in the entertainment world.

The western culture swept into China approximately 30 years ago when the country opened its doors to foreign trade. Western brands and Ideas exploded in popularity within the past decade. It was mostly influenced by the rapid rise of China’s middle class which is now larger than the entire U.S. population. China’s economic boom has also created a vast middle class with disposable income being spent on western brands and western forms of entertainment.

The Chinese Government within the past few years, however, is beginning to view the western influence as a threat. China’s Government has also set new limits on their mass media. For instance, they killed off some of their racier and wildly popular TV shows and pushed other shows out of primetime viewing. I for one rarely turn on the TV here in Suzhou, China - most of my entertainment comes via the Internet.

Many crime shows are also being killed off in China by the government because they were showing the Chinese audiences how to commit elaborate crimes such as robbing and stealing. They also don’t want the Chinese audiences to learn the criminal investigative techniques and how investigators analyze the scenes of the crime.

Other shows that were bumped off the airwaves were popular dramas with contents of immorality, moral and ethical betrayals.

Shows like ‘China’s got talent’ are hugely popular too and they were given the green light to remain on the air. China’s governmental regulators see these sorts of programs as wholesome entertainment and as having a social value for primetime viewing.

China’s extremely popular version of ‘The Bachelor’ was threatened to be axed for having a negative social impact on its viewership. The producers of the show, in order to stay on the air, brought older contestants on the show, and added a professor from a Communist Party school as a third host. The producers were forced to eradicate racy but highly entertaining comments from the shows contestants.

Many in China are angered and frustrated by their government’s new regulations and how it infringes on freedom of expression.

The internet in China is also seeing a fusion of western influences. The Chinese government out of fear has band Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and various other social media sites. They in turn however created their own Chinese versions so that they can be monitored and controlled by Chinese regulators.

There are over 500 million internet users in China and it has become more popular than television. The internet censorship, however, and government crackdowns can and will in the end stifle much of the creativity that is needed for their country to flourish.

The internet seems to have evolved into its own culture and it’s blossoming more fully with each passing year. The Chinese government controlled internet has many popular social media sites but the user comments are being deleted faster than they can be posted. Posts about pollution, corruption and government negligence spread like wildfire. A few summers ago, many Chinese Weibo users criticized the government after a notorious high-speed train crash killed nearly 50 people.
Last year, China’s netizens attacked Beijing’s government for withholding the truth about air pollution. They reposted and discussed at length the U.S. Embassy’s independent air data. In the end, Beijing’s government caved and started publishing more pollution stats on its own website.

The internet is having a huge influence on China’s youth but not just when it comes to fashion and entertainment. It’s also opening up discussions in China’s Universities about the contrast between China’s online censorship and America’s freedom to post and express themselves without fear of government reprisals.

A real concern for China’s Government is the possibility of them losing control of the internet. They are now presenting that concern as a pushback against the negative influences of our Western culture but in the end it’s all about control.

China’s governmental control of their television airwaves has many turning to the internet for their entertainment as well. They can watch video clips of previous broadcasted programs. Many Chinese are offended, though, by how the government rules were rolled out, forcing many popular shows off the air and with no public input.

I like to tell my students at the ‘Suzhou International Foreign Language School,’ in Suzhou, China that this is an exciting time to be alive because many people in China want their voices heard.
Many of China’s youth envy our American way of life too because it’s all about Freedom and that Freedom is what draws many to embrace the American culture. They want to emulate our Freedom and express themselves openly and honestly without fear of being silenced.

The Chinese Government on the other hand is finding it difficult to change their ways and in the process they are stifling the creative spirit that dwells in the hearts and minds of China’s youth.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Email: introspective7@hotmail.com
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:

    Click on Thomas F. O'Neill for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

After Graduation

After Graduation, life begins for you
Follow the path, the one that rings true
You'll find some days will be hard to beat
Other times you'll struggle to make ends meet

 Choose a career that fits you in your role
Don't need to be seeing life from a dark hole
I find when you flow with the universal things
You can float above the normal with Heavenly wings

Treasure every moment, take a picture too
Memories are precious, with everything you do
Love may find you, enjoy what comes to you
Other times it will pass by, but you'll get through

If you strongly want something, see it in your mind
Search for your desires, and you'll surely find
All things that you reach for, are there for you
Presented to you in your life, watch for every clue

Have faith, the road you travel on is right
Surround yourself with friends that help shine your light
Remember no matter what you choose, there can be no wrong
Only the path you chose, and it alone is your song
©June 24, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author's Note:
Your adult life begins after you Graduate
What you do, how you live, how you treat others,
and your attitude about life, all depends on you.
I see life as a miracle day after day. It may be a
challenge for you at times. But, you'll get through
it with help from friends, family, & faith that all will
work out fine. And it will. I just know it will.

Click on Bud Lemire for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

June Night

On a June night, very late,
I’m sitting on the lawn alone,
Staring at the stars, the oaks,
Hoping for owls.

Next door the dog growls low,
Not sure if I’m a stranger
Or the man who feeds him treats;
Down the block a toad croaks.

The toad hopes for a mate,
The dog for milk bones;
But the stars are like the oaks,
No hopes and no regrets;

And owls might be
Compared to stars –
Fierce, intense,
Gone by dawn.

©2014 John I. Blair

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MidSummer's Eve 2014

Sitting in the dusty Grove
On hard unyielding benches
Like stone mastabas

We proclaimed peace
In four directions;
Purified the circle

With air, fire, water, earth;
Invoked protection,
Understanding, strength,

Knowledge, justice, love,
Earth our Mother,
All goodness.

This fed our spirits;
This was true;
This was holy.

But holier by far
Were three ant lion cones,
Two children,
And a single feather.

©2014 John I. Blair

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Stop Stop Stop

Another season
Another reason
Talk to me once or twice without fail

Another moment
Days of silence
Nothing is worse than a world going stale

If you could reach the sky
Would you reach the top
If someone was to ask you why
Would you tell them just to stop stop stop

Another second
Another limit
Too many spaces to compare

Another fragment
The edges are broken
Lost and in dispair

If you could reach up high
would you reach the top
If the seconds were floating by
Would you tell them just to stop stop stop

If you could reach the sky
Would you reach the top
If someone was to ask you why
Would you tell them just to stop stop stop

Another season
Another reason
Talk to me once or twice without fail

©6/4/14 Bruce Clifford

Click on Bruce Clifford  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


I have cancer, but I'm in remission
You could say I'm on break to do some fishing
Going to catch me the big one
Sitting here enjoying the warm sun

Just taking a break from the big fight
Enjoying the time in the daylight
I'll take a little walk in the park
Until my world is once again dark

I never gave up on hope
Just always did my best to cope
There are times when I feel down
Yet I'm still hanging around

Bad news is like a hit in the head
I get back up because I'm not dead
Speaking of that, those who have died
Come around me to support and to guide

I keep hoping one day they'll find a cure for sure
So the pain I live in, I won't have to endure
Many times I spend my time wishing
That I am healed, but it's only Remission
©June 24, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author's Note:
They say there isn't a cure, only remission.
You just have to keep on fighting to live.
Let us hope that one day there will be a cure,
and all the pain and suffering will disappear.

Click on Bud Lemire for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Just a Song

It’s never right
It’s always wrong
They’re only words
In just a song

Time is going
Heart is strong
They’re only words
It’s just a song

Just a song
Hear the music in the air
Just a song
See where we all belong

©6/19/14 Bruce Clifford

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Think Positive

Every day think positive
Each moment that you live
Don't let negative be your friend
Let all those dark thoughts end

 Don't look down, look up high
See the beauty seen in the sky
See the birds as they fly and sing
Don't stop believing in everything

Have a dream, make it real
Know it's true, everything you feel
Don't stop reaching for what you desire
Remember you're the one you should admire

Think of yourself as number one
Always deserving of some fun
You are worthy of what comes your way
All great things from day to day

Depressing thoughts can bring you down
And it's no fun to wear a frown
With each moment that you live
Try your best to Think Positive
©May 19, 2014 Bud Lemire                                                                Author's Note:
Life can bring on depressing thoughts.
Stress and so much more enters our lives.
Ease back, let it pass over and by you.
Thinking positive helps.
The depression is put in your mind,
and can be changed into something good,
In fact something truly wonderful. I believe
you can change it into something that is
much better and greater for you. With just
a thought change, it can become positive.
I believe in you. Believe in yourself.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Lexi - Chapter 5

Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll

If you don’t know who I am my name is “she who must be obeyed” or if you are human I am called rather laughingly “Lexi May” or just “Lexi”. But if you are human and reading this just call me by my real name which is “she who must be obeyed”.
Now you are thinking that this is going to be about me getting my own way and controlling my human’s life. But it's not.
As I have said in the past my human leaves me alone for about 9 hours a day for 5 days out of your human week. Sometimes it's 6 days and every so often it's 7 days and I don’t like it. Well being left alone I get kind of bored and as I have mentioned before and you can kill only so many plants before it gets old.
Now as some of you have guessed I can use a computer and as I have mentioned it's hard on my claws as typing is hard as I have to hunt and peck when I use the keyboard and as yet I have not been able to get the voice program to recognize me when I talk to the computer through it's voice program. So I have to do it the hard way and hunt and peck on the keyboard.
Now when my human is away I like to use his computer that sits in his lap. It’s easy to use and all I have to do is push the button and wait for it to start. Much as I am doing right now by writing. But sometimes I just like to get online and just see what’s out there.
I have my favorite web sites I like.
Now what normally happens is that my human starts to get ready to leave about an hour before he leaves. And just before he does leave he has this little odd ritual that he does. Which is he puts on his head covering then walks back to where I am and looks at me if I am pretending to sleep and whispers “be safe and be a good girl” or if I am sunning myself in the window he will pull back the curtain and tell me “have a good day and see you later”. Then he leaves.
But I don’t get on the computer right away as sometimes he forgets things and comes back and seeing me sitting at the computer typing would be a bad thing.
Just imaging the look on his face if he walked in through the door and saw me sitting at the computer typing away or looking at web sites.
Once he is gone I will go to his computer that sits in his lap and I will turn it on and then I will go and have something to eat while it turns on and starts up.
Now once it has started up I will go online and check my e-mail that I have and answer e-mails from friends who are mostly other cats.
Then if the mood is upon me I will start to write much as I am doing now. But other times I just like to go to my favorite web sites such as cat fancy, modern cat, total cat or to the secret talking rooms that we chosen ones use. And no, I am not going to give you the address so you can go and see what we really talk about and what we really think of our humans. Not only would it get me into a lot of trouble with other chosen ones but you might be shocked at what we say and what we talk about. And to be truthful it’s rare that we say bad things about the humans we have picked. After all if I was to bad mouth my human I would be admitting a mistake and we chosen ones don’t make mistakes.
Ok so back to the computer and going online.
Sometimes I go to my favorite web sites as I have stated and I like to look at male cats after all I have not had my female parts removed and every three months or so my hormones kick in and I become a howling monster that can’t control my urges and that’s normally when I go online and look at male cats. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have kittens and to be a mom. But well my human makes sure I can’t sneak out and deal with my hormonal urges. And that might be a good thing or it might not be.
But getting online and going to “Cat Fancy” or “Cat Today” does help me when my hormones are raging.  And do my hormones rage sometimes?
Yes they do and I sometimes lose control of myself when I am having hormonal issues. All I can think about is getting out and finding an unfixed male cat and letting him do what I need to have done. But well that’s natural behavior as that’s what my hormones make me want to do and you can’t fight nature. Well you can but it’s very hard and it’s easier just to give in and let what’s going to happen, happen. But well as I said my human takes great care not to let me go out when I am fighting my hormones.
I do have another habit which sometimes I combine with getting on the computer when my human is gone. My habit started when my human gave me some green funny smelling dried herbal stuff.
The first time I tried it I sniffed it and sniffed it again. It smelt so good that I put my face right in it and then I got some in my mouth and it tasted even better.
So I ate what was on the floor and then like a few moments later I had all this energy so I started to bounce and run and play. Then it was like “wow”. The colors around me became sharper and the sounds became clearer and I could feel everything from the tips of my whiskers down to the tip of my tail.
My human told me the green stuff was called catnip and that it was good for me as it would give me energy and make me feel good.
And did it ever.
I have to admit that I liked catnip from the very first time I tried it. And for a while all I had was the dried stuff and that would make me bounce and go crazy with me dashing here and there and leaping high and bouncing over things and under things and sometimes even though things. But the thing is that after a while once the catnip is done I have not energy left at all and I have to stop where I am, and sleep.
Sometimes when I am on the catnip I end up curled up in places that afterward I ask myself how I got there. There was one time when I was give catnip that I woke up on top of the window covers with my legs hanging over the sides and my body pressed against the wall.  I don’t even remember getting up there or even how I got up there and the drop down to the ground was a long way so I cried out for my human who had to get me down. I have a feeling he put me up there but it's also possible that somehow I got up there on my own?
Another time I had catnip really strange things happened? I mean really strange things.
I had just sniffed and inhaled the catnip and I had a sudden burst of energy which is normal then the floor kind of moved sideways. But that was not what was really strange. The lights went dark then bright then all strange and amazing colors. The sun beams that streamed in from the window twisted and turned and danced. Then they started to take on different colors that steamed into the room. Then they started to bend, twist and move in ways that I know dust beams can’t move. It felt like I had suddenly became part of the whole universe and I had to close my eyes as the light was so bright and the colors so vivid.
But when I closed my eyes the dust beams where still there dancing, twisting and bending in my mind that I could not shake the feeling. Then suddenly I felt as if I was being carried aloft on arms of soft white clouds that my whole body sung with delight at the feeling. I felt as if I was part of everything and that everything was part of me. I was the wind in the sky, then I was the sky, then I felt as if I was the grass. And with each new feeling I felt more in touch with everything that I had ever done.
Then the feeling started to fade and once again I felt as if I was flying though the air with the wind pushing my fur flat against me.
Then the sounds changed.
I could hear the birds singing and I could hear each heart beat of the birds. I can normally hear my human’s heart beat when he is close but that's something I tune out. But this was different. Sound became so intense that I wanted to close my ears but I could not as my body was not responding to me.
So I laid on the ground with my eyes closed with the sound of the world pouring into my ears so that they started to hurt. I don’t know how long I laid on the floor where I sat down when I had had that first burst of energy but when I opened my eyes it was dark and I was no longer on the floor but on top of the kitchen cabinets covered in dust.
I had no idea how I had gotten up there nor at first did I know how I was going to get down. At first I thought about calling out for my human but that would have been embarrassing for me to have my human help me down. So looking over the edge I figured out that if I got on top of the big white thing that keeps my humans food cool I could get down part of the way and from there I could jump down. But once I was on the big white thing it still looked a long way down. So I looked around and noticed that the forbidden cooking thing was an easy jump and from there I could jump to the floor. So down I went.
I still wonder how I got up on top of the kitchen cabinets. But I wonder even more what kind of catnip my human had given me.
Let me tell you what it looked like.
Now normally my catnip is dry and light green. But this catnip was soft juicy and very green. Almost like it was fresh and not dried out which is normally how I get given it. And I think it was catnip before it had all the juices removed.
I would not mind trying that stuff again as it was wild and not scary.
I think it’s a good thing I don’t get given catnip too often as I kind of like it a little too much. But the down side is that I don’t get it as often as I would like.
My human even made a video of me sniffing catnip and he posted it online.
I have thought about going on line and ordering catnip from a couple of web sites but first off I don’t have a money card to give a number for the order and secondly if I did order it and pay for it my human would find out that I use his computer and then there would be all kinds of issues.
Now onto other matters.
The subject matter is sex, drugs and rock 'n roll.
Now you are more than likely thinking I am going to talk about that horrible noise some of you humans seem to like to listen to and call music. I guess I could but well what’s the point as it’s loud, hurts the ears and sounds so terrible that calling it music is totally wrong.
It's boom, boom, boom, thud, thud, thud, I mean you can hardly call it music can you now? No you can’t or rather I can’t. We chosen ones don’t call it music at all. Even one of us chosen ones in a hormonal rage sounds better than what this rock 'n roll sounds like. It’s not music at all just sound and very bad sound at that. I don’t like this so called music one little bit.
But that’s not what I am going to talk about.
No the rock 'n roll I am going to talk about is far more important than the so called booming throbbing thumbing sound you call rock 'n roll.
Now if you read back or remember you will see or recall what I said about hearing my human’s heartbeat. We chosen ones have very good hearing you see. The reason is very simple and if you have been reading all of my tale you will have picked up on something about our hearing. Something very important that might seem minor to you but is not as I will try and explain why it’s important to you.
Our hearing is so acute that when hunting we can hear our prey as it hides in the grasses or bushes or even in the trees. We can hear all kinds of things not just the heartbeats of our prey or the breathing of our prey. We hear things that you don’t normally hear. Sounds that mean so much to us and can tell us things.
Did you know the clouds make sounds just before they rain or make snow. Did you know the sun makes sounds as it hits and warms things? Did you know that water makes sounds when it moves?
Sound as I am trying to get across to you is very important. If you listen you can hear things happening and that can help you or even save your life.
I am not talking about the sound of a transport coming towards you. Or something trying to sneak up on you. Sure they can save you from pain, hurt or even death. No I am talking about something far more harmfull and dangerous and something we chosen ones can hear.
But it’s more than hearing too. It's something we feel. And do we feel!
You humans too are capable of feeling the same thing but your hearing is not attuned to hearing the sound that could save your life.
Let me explain what it feels like before I talk about how it sounds. It’s a feeling inside me like something is pushing inside my head. It swells and builds and pushes. At first it's more like I have just woken up from a long deep sleep and I am feeling fuzzy from sleep. But that’s not the case as this feeling will start even if I am awake.
The strange thing is that it starts as such a little thing. Something in the back of my head that is nothing much, it's more of a faint hardly noticeable feeling that could be just me having too much catnip or from sniffing something that has clogged my nose and is going to make me sneeze.
And sometimes that is all it is.
But other times that faint hardly noticeable feeling will start to grow and build in my head. It will keep growing and building until it starts to get painful and uncomfortable.
It’s almost like when my human turns on his music too loud and plays it too long so that my ears hurt.
Once the feeling has reached the hurting point it then starts to swell out from my head and my whole body starts to feel the pressure of this building feeling.
The building feeling can go on for days sometimes making me uncomfortable and bad tempered. But well there is not much I can do about it so I try and ignore the feeling and the pressure in my head.
Now the sound it makes.
It’s a soft sound at first like soft warm blankets moving. But it grows it turns into to a soft creaking sound kind of like wood bending a little. Then it gets louder and as it gets louder it turns into a groaning sound.
It always stays out of your human hearing range and you humans never hear it or hardly ever hear it. And when you do it's too late as it happens right at the point when you humans are able to hear it.
Then comes the event itself and when that happens it’s like a huge release inside me and all the pain and hurt goes away leaving me weak and exhausted.
The few moments before the event are by far the worst as the building feeling and the pressure is so painful I have to yell and let it out.
Some times the event is so small that only us chosen ones feel it. But a few times my human has felt the event.
Now I am going to explain what the event is.
Just before the event the feeling is so painful that as I have said I have to yell out as there is only so much pain you can hold in.
There was one time when the event happened in the night and my human was sleeping.
Ok this is what happened.
It was a cold night and there had been that horrible nasty white snot that falls from the sky. But for me what was worse was the horrible building feeling inside me that had been building for a few days and had reached the point of me screaming out in pain.
I reached that point as I was laying on the bed next to my human trying to keep warm and get some comfort from the pain inside me. You see this was the first time I had ever felt anything like the building feeling inside me. So as I laid next to my human I had no idea what was happening or what to do about the feeling.
So I yelled out loudly which woke my human.
He reached over placed his hand on me and said “shhhhhh it's ok” Then the sleeping platform started to shake and my human said “Oh, Lexi, relax and stop shaking”.
I told him it was not me but that everything was shaking and not just his sleeping platform but the walls, the roof, and the ground.
The rocking and rolling went on for what seemed ever and in the end it just faded away like it had never happened. I felt so much better too once the rocking and rolling had stopped.
The pain in my head had gone, the pain in my body had gone and all the pressure that had been building up inside me was released and I could finally relax and feel like my normal self.
My human got off his sleeping platform and went to his computer in the other room and sat down. He then made a cup of tea and went back to his computer. After awhile he came back to his sleeping platform woke me up and told me “it was only a little earthquake. Just 3.1 but pretty close like 5 miles away” after a pause he picked me up and spoke again “you are my little earthquake detector”.
Since that first ground rocking and rolling or earthquake I have warned my human when I have felt the building pressure in me.
I am getting pretty good at figuring out when it’s about to happen. The downside is that I can’t tell yet how big the ground rocking and rolling will be.
Many times that I have warned my human the ground rocking and rolling has been so small that he has not felt it. But he always gets on his computer and checks to see how big the ground rocking and rolling was. But he is always happy when I let him know. He also grabs me when I warn him and he takes me outside and away from his house so that if it falls down we are safe.
As he likes to tell me “one day you will warn me and it will save us”.
The last ground rocking and rolling was only a few days ago and it was so small that I hardly felt it. It was only a little one of 0.1 so it was not even worth warning my human. Beside when it happened he was not here.
The thing is that I will keep warning him about the ground rocking and rolling. I guess that is one of my jobs. I am what he calls “a little earthquake detector”.

Click on Mark Crocker  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.