Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson

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In 1692, Salem Village was a small community of Puritans located near Salem, Massachusetts.

A group of adolescent girls decided to form a club.  They enjoyed listening to Tituba, a slave from West India, talk about her childhood and the pagan worship practices of her family.

The girls accused Tituba of witchcraft.  They would throw themselves on the ground, roll around, and scream.  They claimed they were being tormented by the witch.  Tituba was convicted of witchcraft based on the girl’s performance.  Immediately after that, the girls started accusing other residents.  They even accused a five year old girl, who was then convicted of witchcraft.

A little over a year later, hundreds of people had been accused and convicted.  Most of them were in prison; however, nineteen had already been executed and an unknown number of victims died in prison.

The witch trials were starting to have a negative impact on the whole community.  Farms were left abandoned and food was becoming scarce.  Slowly, people stopped believing the girls and ignored their antics.

Years later, the judges admitted they convicted innocent people based solely on the girl’s claims of being tormented by witches.

I wonder what became of those girls.  They are responsible for sending people to their death.  The only thing they had to gain was fame and entertainment.  Did they feel guilty for their role in this tragedy?  Was the ring leader a sociopath?

Reclaiming Virtue by John Bradshaw

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John Bradshaw defines virtue as, “an inner strength, an inclination rooted in our spiritual care that moves us toward the achievement of our full humanity, which is also our full human happiness.”  Virtue is acquired through, “exercise and use.”  Also, “acting virtuously embodies excellence and happiness.”

John Bradshaw warns of the dangers of teaching morality through the use of strict moral codes and neglecting to teach virtue.  As a child, John Bradshaw was taught morality based on blind obedience.  However, this did not make him or his friends virtuous adults.  As a result, they struggled to develop a personal code of ethics and morality.

The book, “Reclaiming Virtue” discusses how to develop virtue in our own life and how to teach virtue to our children.  I found the book to be beneficial and would recommend it.

Aston Martin

I was having breakfast at Providence Main on Friday and in the parking lot behind Edgar’s I saw an Aston Martin.  These cars are crazy expensive.  The cheapest model goes for just over $100,000 and some of their cars are over $300,000.

I really wanted to touch the car.  I don’t know why, but it just seemed like a cool thing to do.  I decided against it though and took a picture instead.

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Walking Biohazard

This morning, I woke up with crusty junk caked on my left eyelid and my eye was itching like crazy.  Unfortunitly, I have conjunctivitis (aka: pink eye).

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Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, so my family and friends immediately started to distance themselves from me.  Basically, they  would prefer to have no contact with me while I am infectious.

I don’t really blame them.  After all, I am a walking biohazard at the moment.

Watching, Thinking, Feeling

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While I was watching Gwen’s graduation ceremony last night, I was thinking and feeling so many different things.  My mind and my emotions were in a terminal.

I was thinking about the day Gwen was born.  She was 3 months premature and only weighed 2 pounds 2 ounces.  She spent the first three months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Her tiny body was covered in tubes, IV’s, and even a respirator.

In spite of all that, Gwen thrived.  That’s when I knew Gwen has the heart of a fighter.

I thought about her favorite book as a child, “A Fish Out of Water.”  Gwen would laugh every time I read the story to her and never seemed to get tired of it.  We must have read that book a thousand times.

I thought about her favorite cartoon, “The Legend of Grimace Island.”  She would watch the cartoon and immediately after it was finished, she wanted to rewind the tape and watch it all over again.

I tried to sneak in other cartoons, but Gwen was not having it.  She only wanted to watch that one cartoon and made sure everyone knew it.  She stood her ground on that issue.  After all, she is a Thaler and we are one stubborn bunch.

Memories of Gwen riding a bicycle with training wheels and eventually learning how to ride without those training wheels flashed in my mind.

As a small child, Gwen was reluctant to try new foods.  I helped her overcome that reluctance by giving each new food a creative name.  Curley fries became slinky fries and chow mein became Chinese spaghetti.

Flash forward several years and that little girl is all grown up now.  She has a driver’s license and a high school diploma.  She is not a child anymore.  She is now entering the adult world.

I am proud of Gwen for her accomplishment.  I am excited to see what she will do next with her life and how she will begin to impact the world around her.

I am apprehensive about her entering college and getting a job.  She will have to learn to fend for herself in this world.  I will not be able to protect her in the same way and that scares me.

I am also sad, because that little girl is only a memory.  I miss those years of innocence, playfulness, and the wonder in her eyes as she discovered the world around her.

Last night, so many memories and feelings ran through my mind.  I am sure I experienced every emotion known to man all in one hour.